People: Sir Martin gets caned, Nick Brien craves innovation

WPP has recorded a drop in profits of 16% to £812m after what it described as a ‘brutal’ year for the agency network, which owns creative agencies Grey and Ogilvy and media agencies MediaCom and Mindshare. Revenue across the group fell, with the UK reporting a 6% drop compared to the previous year, while revenue in western Europe fell by 10.2%. North America added to the decline with an 8% drop in revenue, while Asia Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East and central and eastern Europe regions saw a 6.8% like-for-like revenue fall.
In one of his last presentations as Worldwide CEO of Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Mediabrands, Nick Brien, who succeeds John Dooner as head of McCann Worldgroup on April 1, gave an impassioned speech to a standing-room-only crowd at the 4A’s conference, telling his audience the world of new media calls for new types of marketing. “I spoke with 23 of our biggest clients, and each one of them told me that they believed the main drivers of business and market-share growth would come from marketing innovation,” Mr. Brien said. During his speech, titled “Transforming Media Integration for Greater Marketing Impact,” Mr. Brien outlined five things — convergence, performance, technology, talent and partnerships — that the marketing industry needs to address “to truly fulfill the potential of our contribution to driving business” for clients.

Interpublic Announces Management Succession at McCann Worldgroup (eon.businesswire.com)
Global economy ‘less worse’, but not in recovery just yet, says Sorrell (mumbrella.com.au)
WPP stable after ‘brutal’ 2009 (guardian.co.uk)

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Unnatural Habitats, CMOs, In Store, Saatchi’s v Advertising, Hackers v Iran

As if average 28-month tenures weren’t enough of a disincentive for marketers to seek the chief marketing officer hot-seat, a recent assessment of SEC filings of Fortune 1,000 companies suggests that the post remains low on the priority list at many organizations, and CMOs’ authority remains limited.
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While the recession has two-thirds of consumers making shopping lists before they go to the store, Miller Zell found shoppers are making brand decisions 60 percent of the time after entering the store. More shoppers (70 percent) say they are engaged by end-of-aisle signage than by merchandising displays (62 percent), department signage (58 percent), shelf strips (55 percent) or shelf blades (50 percent).
instore display
“In the next three to five years the core of our offering will be advertising, but advertising in forms that are rebalanced toward digital, experiential and shopper marketing,” he concluded. “I don’t want clients to come to me six months before they launch something; I want them to come to me three years before they need something.
future advertising saatchi china
Anonymous, an amorphous band of hackers best known for rallying against the Church of Scientology, has jumped into Iranian election dispute. Working with The Pirate Bay–a massively trafficked site which helps point would-be music downloaders to what they’re looking for–Anonymous Iran has created a new site, offering how-tos on surfing online while remaining untrackable, skirting Iranian firewalls, finding other Twitter-based activists and (of course, given that this is Anonymous) attacking government Web sites.
iran internet
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Axe/ Lynx Archive

I have been an admirer of Axe/ Lynx marketing over the past few years. In my mind they genuinely succeeded in becoming part of the cultural landscape amongst young men (even if the first TV ads reminded me of the Hai Karate ones from the 1970s!) Here’s an Archive of some of the work from around the world.
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Here’s the Hai Karate ad …
On a related note … I learn that Lynx agency FP7 has punished their Doha office over the Lynx scam scandal. Several creative staff are parting company with FP7 Doha and the office is handing back all of its Dubai Lynx awards, it was announced today in the wake of the scam ads scandal. Parent group Fortune Promoseven has issued a statement following the conclusion of its internal investigation into the affair. The action has been welcomed by the organisers of last month’s Dubai Lynx, who are overhauling their entry regulations in light of the recent issues.
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Cause-Related: BBC v Gaza, Fiat v Myanmar

BBC Assailed for Refusing to Carry Aid Groups’ Video Appeal for Gaza Relief
In more than 80 years as a publicly financed broadcaster with an audience of millions at home and around the world, the BBC has rarely been buffeted as severely as it has in recent days over its decision not to broadcast a television appeal by aid agencies for victims of Israel’s recent military actions in Gaza. Andy Rain/European Pressphoto Agency. Demonstrators conducted a sit-in at BBC headquarters on Monday to protest the broadcaster’s refusal to carry a video appeal for relief aid for Gazans. BBC executives made the decision late last week and defiantly reaffirmed it on Monday, citing their concern with protecting the corporation’s impartiality in the Arab-Israeli dispute. The dispute stirs high passions here, and the BBC, like other news organizations, has struggled uneasily for years to strike a balance, even as some critics claim it has tilted heavily toward Israel and others claim it has favored the Palestinians. This move certainly makes the BBC appear biased in favor of the Israelis.

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A new Fiat ad mixes an appeal for democracy in Myanmar with shots of its Lancia Delta vehicle. The ad draws attention to the continuing house arrest of Nobel prize winner and democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi. The ad is getting free air time as a public service announcement in France, Germany, Italy and six other European countries.
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Links

Pound World shop forced out of business by 99p store
Price-conscious customers deserted Pound World in Poole, Dorset when they realised that the same products were available 1p cheaper on the other side of the street. The discount shop did a brisk trade when it started business in June but sales fell by 70 per cent after 99p Stores opened last month. Now bosses have decided that they cannot compete, and the store shut down on Saturday. “It’s amazing we had to close because of a difference of just a penny,” Pound World manager Jamie Lang said.

Honda is bringing out three short films — a k a long commercials — to be watched online. The so-called webisodes, each about seven minutes, will be available, starting on Monday, at a Honda Web site (dreams.honda.com), under the rubric of the “Dream the Impossible documentary series.” Commercials that will serve as trailers for the short films, meant to drive traffic to the Web site, are to appear on ABC.com, CBS.com, hulu.com and NBC.com. There will also be ads on sites devoted to news, technology and other topics; they include CNN.com, time.com, wired.com and yahoo.com.
A vertical farm design modeled after the Capitol Records building in Los Angeles features a prominent renewable energy source: a rotating solar panel that, like a sunflower, gyrates to face the sun.
Naomi Klein is advocating a boycott on Israel. In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on “people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.” The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions–BDS for short–was born. Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause, and talk of cease-fires is doing little to slow the momentum. Support is even emerging among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel. It calls for “the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions” and draws a clear parallel with the antiapartheid struggle. “The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves…. This international backing must stop.”
Consumers, particularly younger ones, who are seriously cutting back spending during the current economic downturn may be establishing new patterns of frugality that will live on after the recovery. That was one of the concerns of Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott, who yesterday kicked off the National Retail Federation’s annual convention in Manhattan. His candid comments come just weeks before he is scheduled to step down as CEO.

Pantless Subway Riders Turn Heads
Improv Everywhere, the guys that organized hundreds of people inside of Grand Central Terminal to freeze in their tracks at rush-hour, were behind the latest public display of confusion. They’re guessing they had between 1,200 and 1,500 participants for the 8th Annual No Pants! Subway Ride, some of which reported the overheard comments on Improv Everywhere’s site. Gothamist picks out two choice quotes: One heard an onlooker openly declare: “This is why I go on the subway; this would never happen on the bus.” While another was asked “Are you guys protesting Madoff?”

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