Category Archives: jwt

jwt happy with marco & fun in fairfield county

Harvey Marco is getting settled into his new job at JWT here in the city and though it is early, it sounds like the self-styled biggest agency in the country has pulled off quite the coup in enticing Marco back east.

From what I hear, the creative team is happy. The clients like him. And the man has a trail of success that goes back years.

Of course, even coming from Los Angeles, he is going to be in for a bit of sticker/culture shock…just check out this article in the Wall Street Journal about how the recent economic turmoil has hit Fairfield County, CT (where Marco lives):

Local Democrat Ned Lamont, in one fell swoop compared Greenwich’s money woes to the Japan malaise, Asian tsunami and the New Orleans flood.

“It really is a financial tsunami, and it could go either way,” said the multimillionaire telecommunications mogul who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2006. “It took Japan 20 years to recover from their buying binge. How long does it take us to work through excessive leverage? That could take years not months. This is our Katrina.”

That’s right. He compared the recent economic issues to Katrina.

I know that a few big investors lost a lot of money (like $700 million dollars of money by one guy alone), but I struggle to see how that is in any way comparable to the swath of destruction and misery that Hurricane Katrina wrought in Florida, Alabama and Louisiana.

Marco, an unflashy regular guy, may need some time to adjust to a place like Fairfield County, a place where coddled rich folk consider losing money as tantamount to a large-scale people-killing natural disaster.

That said, it’s nice to know that you can still make a pretty darn good living doing this advertising thing.


harvey marco goes cross-country

The last time that Harvey Marco worked in New York, so the stories go, he threw a desk out a window in frustration/anger/creativity…lest that little tidbit make him seem like a dickhead, I have yet to run into anyone who has worked with or for him that has anything bad to say about the man personally. And his work speaks for itself.

A legend and a nice guy? Who would have thought it?

The New York story is relevant because the former ECD at Saatchi LA is on his way back to New York City to run things at JWT.

A strange move considering that he had moved to Los Angeles in the first place because of family ties – he and his wife are from southern California – and the fact the it’s JWT that we’re talking about, but he surely knows what he’s doing…I mean, were I to get a call inviting me to work at JWT with Mr Marco I can’t say that it would be easy to say no.

i really wanted to like this…and kinda do

I swear, I really did want to like this self-promotion piece by new Los Angeles-based agency Inform-Ventures. No, seriously, I wanted to like it. I wanted to like it more than I wanted to like Indiana Jones.

Both had a lot of promise…especially Inform-Ventures, whose self-promotion piece opened with what can only be called a breakthrough image:

Of course, I could neither take a screengrab of the mailer nor could I copy it as an entire image, but I was willing to overlook that and give them a chance because I like small agencies who make fun of big agencies to the tune of a mailer that reads:

Old World Agencies,
Stop the fleecing of our clients! Stop the heavy taxation! Stop isolating our clients from the truth for profit’s sake! It not only hurts our clients, it undermines our industry and makes us collectively less competitive.

We do not live in a time where efficiency and authenticity can be forgone for control and greed. We live in a New World. Our clients need to be closer to the source… closer to the ground floor where the information, ideas, and execution occur.

Be honest about your strengths and when assistance will make a profound difference. Do not appropriate ideas from those on the ground floor. It is a disservice to the creators and our clients, and rarely goes unnoticed. The people and the press are too smart for that type of practice to succeed for long.

Empower your clients with new alliances. Allow them to be unencumbered by the ideas of the Old World. It will make our clients stronger and you more valuable.

With warm regard,

Then the let me down a little bit with that agency name. Inform Ventures. Really? Really?

Then I went to their website…which has neat and expensive-looking Paper Vision Flash but ended up getting me stuck on a page and unable to click back to Home. A cardinal sin.

Such a cardinal sin that, coupled with their miss on the mailer and the agency name I was about to write a sarcastic post the vast wrongitude of their self-promotion attempt. And then ask them to please stop.

When everything changed.

Or at least most of it did.

Before I ruin it for you I want you to go to their website. Go now. Okay, now sit through intro. This may take a while.
I know, it’s kind of ridiculous how long it takes…
Okay, now click on “Old World” and let the pop-up box happen. Everything will be okay. Then click “Proceed with Caution” and let everything be wonderful.

I laughed out loud when I saw JWT’s site pop up…and just for shits and giggles I reloaded it again only to find the link point to DDB. I tried it again and it went to <a href=””>Deutsch and then Ogilvy and then laughter got in the way of me clicking through the whole thing any more. What a classicly awesome smack in the face to the BDAs.

It made up for everything.

I really wanted to like this…and kinda do.

periscope pays attention to search

Minneapolis agency Periscope has seen the light Tribble-style by caring about search. They have paid links at Google to a number of searches including “ad agency” and, funny enough, “tribble ad agency.”

Before you – and you know who you are – start emailing me again about being too Minneapolis focused, the reason that I know this has nothing to do with geography.

I bought a new computer (special thanks to The Girl Riot for talking me out of the black Macbook) and because of the sudden and tragic death of my old computer, I have to manually do my bookmarks again.

Tribble Ad Agency is one of my bookmarks.

To find the URL for the blog, I did what everyone did and Googled them and that is how I saw that Periscope had the paid search. So there.

Agencies like JWT have been given a hard time for advertising themselves, but neither they nor Periscope deserve to get shit for trying to sell themselves on more than reputation and connection to the CMO old boy network. Ad agencies advertise. Why not advertise themselves?

Oh…and search counts as advertising.

ford’s cars are better than its advertising


Just when you think that re-designed cars that actually look good and drive well – step forward Focus and Edge – might position Ford to start winning back the market share and brand battle that they have been so abjectly losing to their Japanese rivals, AdAge reports on Ford’s new campaign, called “Drive One”.

Have you driven a Ford lately, anyone?

When a tarnished brand like Ford asks me to be surprised when I “drive one” I may register that Ford is building quality cars, but I am also reminded why I should be surprised by that – because their products were so bad for so long.

The work will focus on what Ford thinks are its four brand pillars: safety, quality, environmentalism and smart systems.

That is all well and good, but it is more cost of entry to the category than actually breakthrough. At this point, every car must be safe and Volvo still has the high ground. Quality is still a major ding on American cars so Ford should spend some time there, but Honda owns that. Environmentalism is clearly Toyotas. Smart systems, which basically means Ford’s version of OnStar, is owned by GM. There is simple nothing in the “four pillars” of the Ford brand that is uniquely ownable to them.

In each pillar they pinpoint, the brand is playing catch-up.

To wrap this up, Ford’s campaign is grounded in un-ownable equities and creatively driven by a call to action that reminds me that their cars used to be crap. Not good, my friends, not good.

spanning the globe with a single brand message

Two agencies are better than one, at least that is what the Wall Street Journal is reporting about Nokia’s decision to utilize creative hotshop Wieden & Kennedy as the lead creative agency with JWT (and their 196-office global network) adapting Wieden’s work internationally.

I know that it is padding the bottom line, but that arrangement can’t make the creatives at JWT all that happy.

And it doesn’t really burnish their brand.

At any rate, the major challenge with a shop the size of the House of Biz is that we do not have the institutional credibility of a bigger name place (not to mention a global reach). There is something to be said about the comfort that bigness gives to clients, especially clients that are big themselves, and Nokia has found a way to feel good about that while harnessing the creative abilities of a smaller, more creative-driven agency.

The Nokia arrangement bodes well for shops like mine.

The real question is the need for global advertising of the type that looks to adapt core creative to different markets around the world: it’s not a good idea.

The difference between the positioning and communication needed to succeed in 3G South Korea, for example, is different than in 2G America and different again for sub-Saharan Africa. The consumers are different, the marketplace is different, even the products offered are different. Something more than mere adaptation is needed.

Even though something more than mere adaptation costs more money.

gsd&m rearranges deck chairs on the titanic

Times have been tough at GSD&M. One can well and truly say that their glory day are over as they have lost Wal*Mart, Chili’s and AT&T this year. Agency Spy has the autoposy.

I am mainly interested in their attempt to re-brand themselves, going from GSD&M to…GSD&M Idea City.



That move reminds me of the J. Walter Thompson rebrand to JWT. It saved a whole syllable! And that’s about all it did.

I just don’t understand what the point is. Roy Spence says that he wants the agency to stand alone from the founders, but the agency had become so iconic that the name already stood for more than partners’ initials (it had that brand equity thing going for it).

Plus, Idea City sounds so unserious. Like something my third grade teacher would have called the part of the classroom that we did creative writing in. Or where the munchkins go to think about how to off the wicked witch.

I’ve never been a fan of hokey ad agency names, like the (very successful) StrawberryFrog (though I actually like Goodness Manufacturing). And anyway, an agency is a brand, and GSD&M is walking away from its current equity for what? To make the current agency people feel better about the partners retiring? Because they always liked Idea City as a name, but thought of it after they put their initials on the door and have now found an excuse to make the change?

This is just silly, and whoever is running the rebrand might be better utilized working on new business. It smacks of a case of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.