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As America awaits a decision from the Supreme Court in one of the most critical LGBTQ-rights cases in history (the high court will decide if men and women should be protected by law from workplace discrimination for their sexual orientation or gender identity), the U.S. today celebrates exactly what the plaintiffs are fighting for: the freedom to come out.

According to a new study from Kantar, a full 46 percent of LGBTQ employees across all industries in the U.S. remain closeted. Reasons include fear of being stereotyped (38 percent cite that as their primary concern for coming out), making people feel uncomfortable (36 percent), losing connections or relationships with coworkers (31 percent) and another 27 percent thinking that, just because they are LGBTQ, people will suspect they are attracted to their colleagues.

A call for a more inclusive workplace
In honor of National Coming Out Day on Friday, TBWA\Worldwide’s commerce arm The Integer Group is going forward with a new campaign, #ActOutInteger, to let its employees know that its is safe to come out, free of judgment or discrimination. In a PSA that runs a little over four minutes, some of the agency’s LGBTQ employees discuss their own personal experiences with coming out, while others lend their support. Integer will be sharing their stories on social media with the hashtag #ActOutInteger. Going forward, it committed to partnering with local, national and internal groups to educate and train the staff on LGBTQ inclusion. Through 2020, #ActOutInteger will also run events, discussions, community service projects and marketing efforts for underrepresented organizations around LGBTQ milestones and celebrations in history.

“While diversity and inclusion have taken a front seat in the form of policies, employee network groups, and annual celebrations, propelled by societal demands, we believe we can—and must—do more,” says Ellen Cook, president of Integer\Dallas and Los Angeles. “We believe that there isn’t one specific day or one specific month to address the truth and friction that many people face in the workplace, for example, the frictions that the LGBTQ community face through the daily process of coming out to each new person they meet.”

Publicis goes out with weak third-quarter financials early
Publicis Groupe quietly released its third-quarter earnings early this week, reporting an organic decline of 2.7 percent. The report was not set to be released until Oct. 16, but due to a French stock market regulations, if a company knows its financials and they are weaker than what is expected, the company has to release as soon as possible.

While the holding company reports net revenue was up 17.3 percent to 2.6 billion euro ($2.9 billion), it is now forecasting for a 2.5 percent organic decrease for the full 2019 year. Shares of Publicis plunged 8 percent on Thursday evening following the report and today, over 14 percent in Europe.

Publicis Groupe CEO and Chairman Arthur Sadoun blames the organic decline on “the cost of our transition.”

“We have clearly identified the challenges affecting our industry, and we haven’t lost a second in addressing them,” Sadoun says. “We have taken the tough but necessary decisions needed to tackle the industry challenges we are facing head-on. We are without a doubt at the hardest part yet of our journey and as is the case with any major structural change, things always get worse before they get better.”

Sadoun says he stands behind the reorganizational changes Publicis has made, its recent acquisition of Epsilon and its efforts to streamline and simplify the company across disciplines. He notes, “Now we are focused on executing our strategy.”

Meanwhile R3 Founder and Principal Greg Paull explains the results differently: “Publicis is battling through a perfect storm of underperforming creative agencies, clients like P&G and other big CPGs finding more diverse solutions and the integration of their digital assets yet to drive financial gains … Their challenge is going to be making Epsilon a real catalyst for growth and not a $4 billion albatross.”

Homeless youth given a chance at an agency job
Rapp U.K., a division of Omnicom Precision Marketing Group, is giving homeless youth a shot at landing a job at the agency. In partnership with youth homeless charity Centrepoint and education specialist Creative Pioneers, the agency says it has opened up an apprenticeship, called The Ready Initiative, for young people who have experienced homelessness and “are suited” for a creative role. According to Centrepoint, more than 100,000 young people ask for help with homelessness a year. What the organization has found is many of these young people are “highly creative” but placed into manual or service-led jobs.

Rapp’s 15-month salaried apprenticeship aims to prepare these youth for “any creative workplace, not just advertising.” The apprentices will work in the creative department including on live briefs, have access to the agency’s mentor network and receive a typical agency starting salary and the same benefits as other full-time employees. Centrepoint helped recruit the apprentices and Rapp says it has shortlisted candidates after sending them creative tests.

“We actively seek out those who bring fresh ideas and new perspectives,” says Sid Gordon, Rapp U.K. creative director. “Yet, people from difficult backgrounds don’t get the same opportunities as others to work in our industry, which means we’re missing a big trick.”

Knotel rides on WeWork’s failed attempt at going public

In the wake of competitor WeWork’s botched initial public offering, “flexible” workplace provider Knotel is calling on companies like Spotify and Verizon to check out the personalized virtual workspace it’s designed for them—to highlight how it crafts custom offices for its customers, versus the run-of-the-mill spaces it claims its aforementioned rival provides. The push, begun on Monday and running through the next two weeks, features Knotel driving (via truck) personalized billboards past the New York offices of eight companies in its first major campaign. Independent agency Duncan Channon handled both the creative and media for the campaign, which is called “Tailor Made.” Each billboard includes a link to a customized landing page with a 3D model of a workspace concept Knotel crafted for the companies: Spotify, Verizon, Fox, Colgate-Palmolive, Vodafone, Discovery, HSBC and IAC. “This campaign underscores what makes Knotel different from the one-size-fits-all office solutions,” says John Kovacevich, Duncan Channon executive creative director. “A mobile billboard driving by a company’s headquarters with a CEO-specific message is probably the modern equivalent of standing on the sidewalk in a sandwich board.”

The new martech offering from IPG
This week, IPG brings to market a new martech company, Kinesso, which will develop products and solutions to help marketers navigate traditional and addressable media through the use of data. Kinesso will be comprised of Cadreon, IPG’s addressable media activation unit, and the company’s data and technology group, while working with IPG Mediabrands and Acxiom. Kinesso claims it will improve the accuracy, agility and effectiveness of campaign performance across all media using “patent-pending” technology and Acxiom data, noting that it will “uphold world-class privacy standards.” Now operational in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., Kinesso will be led by CEO Arun Kumar, who retains his position as chief data and technology officer of IPG.

“With the acquisition of Acxiom, we signaled our intent to lean into data-driven marketing, as well as position ourselves as brands’ trusted partner in their first-party data management,” IPG CEO and Chairman Michael Roth says. “Kinesso furthers this vision by bringing together top data and technology talent with addressable media experts, and leveraging Acxiom’s assets and capabilities.” In a blog post, Forrester Principal Analyst Jay Pattisall says Kinesso should give IPG “the opportunity to power both media and creative with technology and data-driven solutions.” He says Acxiom will be the “data management layer” to compliment Kinesso, “the software layer to connect insight to execution.” Beyond that though, Pattisall says Kinesso’s “ultimate potential” is “to connect marketing precision with brand persuasion.”

“For IPG, this means embedding the data precision capacity within its creative networks FCB, McCann and MullenLowe, as well as creative boutiques Brooklyn Brothers, Carmichael Lynch, Deutsch, Hill Holliday, Martin Agency, et al,” Pattisall says. “However, as we noted in our latest research, creative dissonance, data deserts, and a new business-only mentality remain formidable barriers to data platform creative integration.”

Wins of the week
TaxAct, a provider of affordable digital and downloadable tax-prep solutions, names IPG’s MullenLowe as its creative agency partner following a review that began in June. The review was led by TaxAct Chief Marketing Officer Michelle Hagen and Janet Bustin, founder of Dallas marketing consultancy Myzyme. MullenLowe will be tasked with creating a new multimedia brand campaign for the company targeted to consumers looking for new ways to simplify the tax-preparation process. The agency’s New York team will lead the account and the campaign is set to debut in early 2020, timed to the start of the tax-prep season. “It’s an exciting brief and opportunity for our strategic and creative thinkers,” says MullenLowe New York President Kelly Fredrickson. TaxAct’s primary competitors are of course TurboTax, H&R Block and TaxSlayer.

Havas Chicago becomes agency of record for Yellowstone Forever, the nonprofit partner to Yellowstone National Park, which stretches 3,500 square miles across mainly Wyoming, while dipping into Montana and Idaho. Havas Chicago will provide media, creative and PR pro-bono to the nonprofit. One of its first tasks will be to develop and implement a program to support Yellowstone Forever’s strategic fundraising including protecting, preserving and enhancing the park’s ecosystem and resources. “Our team will collaborate to drive awareness of the philanthropic and education efforts designed to make a positive difference to a place that will truly impact generations to come,” says Lisa Evia, president of Havas Media Group.

Publicis-owned Digitas wins the global media account of Here Technologies, a provider of mapping and location data that is majority-owned by a group of German automotive companies including Audi and Daimler AG. The appointment follows a review and the account will be run out of the U.K. “Digitas impressed us with their marketing tech and data expertise,” says Georg Rasinski, head of brand development at Here Technologies in Berlin. “We are consolidating our media investment to drive more effective b-to-b marketing campaigns and it was clear that Digitas has a deep understanding on how to improve our return on advertising investment.”

RumbleOn—an e-commerce company for buying, selling, trading and financing used cars—selected IPG’s Huge as its agency of record following a review. The global experience agency will take over lead creative, digital advertising, media buying and business-oriented marketing efforts under the designation. Huge says it is also tasked with building out RumbleOn’s business strategy by conducting research and assessing the brand and “its potential evolution.” Heather Harrington, senior VP of marketing at RumbleOn, says the company launched the review to find an agency with “experience in the vehicle space, but more importantly could tackle scenarios using data-centric approaches.” Huge’s other clients include Google, McDonald’s and P&G, as well as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

The NTT Indycar Series and the racing circuit Indianapolis Motor Speedway named Chicago-based independent shop Schafer Condon Carter as its creative agency of record. The shop will develop national campaigns around the open-wheel racing series and Indianapolis 500, presented by Gainbridge. The first campaign is set to debut at the start of 2020, at the start of racing season. Its task will be to elevate and align the Indycar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway brands.

Finally, the hires
David Shulman, formerly the CEO of Omnicom’s Organic, joins WPP’s VMLY&R as chief experience officer. He joins VMLY&R’s customer experience practice in North America which also recently added Karen Boswell as chief experience officer in EMEA. Shulman will be based in New York and report to Global Chief Experience Officer Jeff Geheb. Before Organic, he was president of WPP’s Wunderman (now Wunderman Thompson) and worked client-side at Jaguar as a brand strategy manager earlier in his career. “David brings a winning combination of business-building experience, a deep understanding of clients, passion and pragmatism that will accelerate our ability to deliver truly connected experiences,” Geheb says.

London’s AMV BBDO, part of the larger Omnicom-owned BBDO network, elevated Toby Allen and Jim Hilson to deputy executive creative directors. Working on the agency’s Essity account, the duo are behind award-winning work for the Swedish health company and its products including “Bloodnormal,” “Viva La Vulva” and “red.fit” for Bodyform. Hilson and Allen became the seventh most-decorated creative directors in the world this year after collecting Cannes Titanium Lions and a D&AD Black pencil in 2019, to add to their previous 20 Grand Prix and Best in Show nods at Cannes, One Show and The Clios. The creative director pair joined AMV BBDO in 2012 and previously worked on Honda and Nike at Wieden & Kennedy.

Publicis Groupe’s cross-cultural agency, The Community, poached Roger Baran from Goodby Silverstein & Partners as executive creative director of its San Francisco office, which opened a year ago. Baran had been executive creative director for GS&P since 2012, producing notable campaigns such as the 25th anniversary Academy Award ad for Adobe Photoshop which showed how various artists became part of major films like “Gone Girl” and “Shrek.” At The Community, Baran will lead all west coast creative for clients like Verizon and Bank of the West, while cultivating new business. Baran has also spent time at Razorfish (now part of Publicis Sapient), Digitas and Lowe Worldwide (before it became MullenLowe).

Grey Group elevated Kenny Gold to senior VP, director of social media for North America. He has been serving as senior VP, director of social media for Grey’s flagship New York office for the past 15 months. Under his leadership, Grey New York doubled its social media team. In the new role, Gold will work across Grey’s New York, L.A., Toronto and Montreal offices to build on their talent, capabilities and partnerships with social platforms. “Kenny Gold has brought energy and vision to placing social at the heart of our creative and strategic approach to brand building,” says Dan Bennett, Grey Worldwide chief innovation officer.

Publicis-owned Leo Burnett London named Carly Avener as managing director. She previously held that role at BBH, another Publicis agency. Reporting to CEO Charlie Rudd, Avener takes over the day-to-day operations of the agency and will work across all its clients including McDonald’s, Betfair and Gulf Oil. Avener is credited with leading Burger King’s brand repositioning in 2018 at BBH that included relaunching The Whopper.

Allied Sports, a division of agency Allied Global Marketing, is bolstering its new corporate consulting practice with the hiring of Shawn Morrissey, who will lead the team as exec VP; Kevin McSherry as senior VP and head of strategic planning; and TJ Lynch as senior VP of partnership marketing to oversee client services. Morrissey, who was the first account director at IMG Consulting and is credited with transforming that business into Endeavor Global Marketing, will be based in New York. Lynch, who recently led the NFL’s 100th anniversary campaign, will also work out of New York. McSherry is joining the Los Angeles office.

Nordic independent creative network Hasan & Partners named Johanna Juuvinmaa as CEO. She replaces Panu Nordlund, who becomes the agency’s first chief client officer. Juuvinmaa comes to Hasan & Partners from Avanade, a company owned by Accenture and Microsoft, where she held positions such as chief technology innovation officer and country manager of Finland. Juuvinmaa spent the previous 10 years within Accenture Communication, Media and Technology.

Edelman made Yannis Kotziagkiaouridis its first global head of data and analytics, effective Nov. 19. He hails from Wunderman Thompson, where he was global chief analytics officer, and will be tasked with developing and scaling a data analytics offering at Edelman to be integrated across its capabilities and units. Kotziagkiaouridis will also have oversight over Edelman Intelligence, the firm’s 210-person global research and analytics consultancy. Kotziagkiaouridis, who also has served as VP of CRM analytics and strategy at Merkle (now owned by Dentsu), will be based in New York and report to CEO Richard Edelman.

Molly Warner returns to creative shop BarretSF, after taking a sabbatical, to become head of people. Before leaving, she was with the San Francisco agency for over six years, working as an account director, associate partner and head of account services. Warner also spent time at agencies Eleven and Mortar. In her role as head of people, Warner will lead agency operations, recruiting, staffing, culture, HR and agency PR, while supporting new business.

Health and wellness-focused independent agency in Chicago, AbelsonTaylor, promoted Lynnette Hunter to exec VP and director of client services and Jeanine Koch to exec VP, director of project management. They also join the AbelsonTaylor’s senior leadership team, a five-person committee that advises on business and agency policy decisions. Hunter and Koch report to Jeff Berg, who became president of AbelsonTaylore in August, succeeding Founder Dale Taylor, who remains CEO and chairman. Hunter was senior VP, account director, and Koch, senior VP of project management.