Adbrands Weekly Update 9th December 2010
A weekly round up of key news about 
leading advertisers, agencies and mediaowners
 
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This is our last Weekly Update of 2010. Season's Greetings to all our readers, and our best wishes for a prosperous 2011. We look forward to seeing you again on Thursday January 6th!

Our favourite ads this year: 

Lavazza "Julia Roberts"
by Armando Testa

LG Electronics "Something's Lurking'"
by Y&R New York

Logitech "Ivan Kobenk"
by Goodby Silverstein

Unilever "Pot Noedle"
by AKQA 

Update only subscribers: click here to view Ads of the Week

Please note: If you are attempting to view these ads shortly after receiving this mailout on a Thursday, you may find that the video streams run slowly because of heavy simultaneous demand from other Adbrands subscribers who have also just received the same email. Please wait for the ads to load before pressing play, or try again later. Apologies for any inconvenience.

Inevitably, the very act of picking four great ads on 45 separate occasions during the course of the year tends to highlight the brilliance of some agencies - and indeed clients - over others. So we thought we'd go back over the past year and see who really stood out. There was no question whatsoever about which agency stood out as the year's most creative. Work from Wieden & Kennedy appeared no less than 16 times over the course of the year, including four spots for Nike, one of the two most frequently featured clients. Stella Artois also notched up four appearances, contributing strongly to Mother's nine visits to the Ads of the Week arena. Among other individual agencies, the creative stand-outs were TBWA\Chiat\Day and Fallon (US and UK), both of whom were featured seven times. RKCR/Y&R London and Goodby Silverstein appeared five times apiece. 

Aside from W&K, the most featured network was BBDO, with 13 separate appearances, by five of its offices. BBDO NY was featured four times; AMV BBDO London three times. Perhaps the most impressive network performance came from DDB, which contributed 11 ads of the week, spread widely between no less than eight separate offices. Y&R also did well, with ten network outings. As already mentuioned, the London office contributed half of these, but New York was also a strong performer at three. TBWA also notched up 10 appearances, though largely because of its US outposts. Another strong network performance came from Saatchi & Saatchi, with nine Ads of the Week split between five different offices around the globe. Ogilvy produced seven of our Ads of the Week. How about the other networks? In desecnding order they were Leo Burnett (four), Grey and Euro RSCG (three each), and Publicis and M&C Saatchi (two each). JWT, McCann and Lowe managed only one. Oh, and no appearances at all by Draftfcb unfortunately, although we almost selected their work for Honda in Australia on two separate occasions...

 

 

Several ads just missed the final cut, including BBH New York's holiday campaign for Johnnie Walker, a cool spot by W&K Tokyo for the Sony Playstation Move controller, a case study we overlooked earlier this year by Colenso BBDO New Zealand for the Yellow Chocolate campaign for Yellow Pages, a moving ad from Leo Burnett Belgium for cancer charity Fondation Mimi, Draftfcb Australia's latest for Honda, and a funny ad for Lotus toilet paper by Les Ouvriers Paris. Come and see them here on our Facebook page.

Next week: in our last Adbrands Weekly Update of the season, we tot up the big winners in Ads of the Week this year. Which agencies, which networks, which clients did we feature most often?


In the news this past week: Brands & Advertisers

There were unexpected resignations from CEOs of two leading American marketers. Jeff Kindler, chairman & CEO of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, announced his early retirement after less than five years in that role. He claimed that the rigours of the job had worn him out. He was quickly replaced as CEO by Ian Read, previously president, worldwide biopharmaceutical operations. A non-executive chairman will be appointed in due course. Separately, Kellogg's president & CEO David Mackay also announced his sudden retirement. He will be replaced on January 1st by John Bryant, previously COO.

Fortune Brands, one of the last wholly diversified consumer products groups in the US, confirmed plans to break itself up in the new year. It said it would spin off its substantial home hardware and kitchen cabinet business into a separate publicly traded company, and sell its market-leading golf division. That will reduce the group to its core drinks business Beam Global Spirits & Wine. Brands include Jim Beam, Courvoisier and Canadian Club. The company is unlikely to remain independent for long, with a takeover bid expected from one or more of its larger rivals Diageo, Pernod-Ricard and Bacardi.

Hedge fund manager William Ackman, already the largest shareholder in US bookstore chain Borders, has said he will finance a $960m bid for its much larger rival Barnes & Noble, which put itself up for sale earlier this year as a result of increasingly fierce competition from online sellers, including the latest entrant Google (see Media below). Up to ten private equity and trade buyers have already registered their interest in the B&N sale, but Ackman's plan for a merger of America's two biggest booksellers could strike a chord with B&N shareholders.

The UK's second-largest soft drinks company Britvic reported results for its most recent financial year, which ended in October. Strong growth in Great Britain and a developing presence in France resulted in revenues which broke the GBP 1bn barrier for the first time, at GBP 1.1bn. Operating profits were also up sharply, at GBP 109m. However, Ireland's economic problems prompted a large write-off against local operations in that country, acquired three years ago from C&C Group. That resulted in a net loss of GBP 48m. Britvic's brands include Robinsons, Tango and Fruit Shoot, as well as local rights to the PepsiCo drinks portfolio. 

Family-owned household care giant SC Johnson recruited Richard Conti, a former Clorox executive, as its new chief operating officer for North America. The appointment could put pressure on SC Johnson's long-established relationship with ad agency Draftfcb, which currently works on all brands worldwide. That arrangement came under scrutiny earlier this year when the agency abruptly ousted its North America chief Mark Modesto after an internal power struggle. Modesto had been one of two long-time account heads on SC Johnson's business. However, the other, Mark Pacchini, remains at the agency, and now heads up the network's operations in North America and the Asia Pacific region. Newly appointed Conti has strong ties to Clorox agency DDB.

Premier Foods said it was in advanced talks with two different bidders for its meat-free Quorn business. One is thought to be Osem Group of Israel, which is in turn majority-controlled by Nestle. Separately, Premier promoted Tim Kelly to the role as group COO with a brief to oversee all grocery divisions, and named Jon Goldstone as group marketing director. 

British Airways has begun to confirm members of the management team for the new International Airlines Group (IAG) parent company, currently being formed from the merger of BA and Iberia. BA's chief executive Willie Walsh will take the same role in the merged company. BA's marketing chief Andrew Crawley was named as commercial director of IAG, overseeing both brands. Some of his duties at BA will be inherited by Frank van der Post, recruited from the Jumeirah hotels group, in the new role of managing director, brands and customer experience. 

More than 70 descendants of Thierry Hermes, founder of what is now the Hermes luxury group, voted for the creation of a new private holding company that would acquire a majority stake in the business and have right of first refusal to acquire the remaining family-owned shares. The family between them control around 73% of Hermes' equity, but were recently shocked to discover that their notoriously predatory rival LVMH had secretly accumulated the majority of the remaining publicly owned shares. This new move is designed to prevent LVMH from building a larger stake by negotiating separately with individual family members. However, Hermes requires permission from regulators to establish the unit without making a bid for all the company's shares.

Meanwhile, L'Oreal's controlling family appear to have resolved their own bitter three-year dispute. The 86-year-old Lliane Bettencourt, only daughter of the company's founder, and her own daughter Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers have been fighting over the older woman's extravagant gifts to a male friend. Bettencourt-Meyers had demanded her mother undergo medical tests to determine her mental fitness, and asked for her to be made a ward of court. The case even threatened to become a national scandal after it was alleged that the elderly Bettencourt had regularly made cash gifts to senior politicians. In a joint statement released this week, the two ladies said they have now resolved their differences. A key factor was Bettencourt's decision to cancel plans to transfer more than E1bn in life insurance benefits and paintings to Banier. He does, however, get to keep the E200m he has already received from her.

Cosmetics and fragrance group Coty moved back into mainland China with the acquisition of a controlling stake in local company TJoy, which specialises in whitening products and men's skincare. The price tag was reported as $400m. Coty had previously controlled local brand Yue-Sai Kan, but sold its shares in 2003 to L'Oreal.

The Wall Street Journal flagged up Pick n' Pay, South Africa's second-largest supermarket retailer, as a strong potential target for an overseas buyer such as Tesco, Sainsbury, Carrefour or Metro. Sales are around $7bn a year, and the group's shares have underperformed others in the sector. Walmart recently launched an offer for control of the country's #3 by sales, MassMart, which has a broader footprint in other African territories. Others include Shoprite, the local market leader, and 4th-placed but fast-growing Spar.

Next February's Super Bowl game, airing on the Fox network,  is expected to feature several new advertisers alongside regular fixtures such as Coke, PepsiCo and GoDaddy, and the return of General Motors, who skipped the 2009 and 2010 events for financial reasons. Among the companies already marking Fox's Super Bowl dance card are BMW, with their first appearance in the telecast for a decade, and electronics retailer Best Buy, who have promised to use their first-ever in-game spot to launch "big news that will revolutionize retailing". That's what their US marketing VP told AdAge this week, although he refused to divulge any more details. The main attention will be on car companies though, with no less than eight different auto brands shopping their wares during the game. Hyundai are expected to run no less than three separate ads, while Kia and Mercedes will both air extended 60-second spots.


In the news this past week: Agencies

The annual Agency of the Year season kicked off in the UK and Australia this week. The UK's Campaign and Marketing magazines both named Adam & Eve as Agency of the Year, citing its rapid growth and the the strength of its John Lewis and Foster's campaigns. Both also picked PHD as Media Agency of the Year. Dare collected Digital Agency of the Year for the second consecutive time from Marketing, while Campaign plumped for AKQA. Wieden & Kennedy and Carat took Campaign's awards for Networks of the Year. Meanwhile, in Australia, B&T honoured Three Drunk Monkeys as Advertising Agency of the Year, and Ikon Communications as top media agency.

Korean marketing group Cheil Communications strengthened its presence in the UK, where it already controls creative agency Beattie McGuinness Bungay, by poaching Chris Harris, previously managing director of Leagas Delaney London, to become president & COO of Cheil UK.

The Walt Disney Company called a review of US media across all its Disney-branded divisions, including movies, theme parks, consumer products and the Disney Channel. The business has been handled for the past decade by Starcom, and forms the cornerstone of that agency's Los Angeles office. The Publicis-owned agency is defending the review.

Hard-pressed McCann scored an important victory in Europe, winning back creative for former flagship account Coca-Cola in 23 markets across Southern and Central Europe, including Italy, Greece, Hungary and Bulgaria. Creative for the region will be led out of McCann's Spanish office. The account had been held in those territories by Publicis. However the French group is expected to remain on the roster, handling local market implementation.

Dreams, the UK's biggest beds retailer, appointed Starcom MediaVest to handle its GBP 35m media account. The decision prompted incumbent agency Robson Brown to call in administrators. Sister shops AW Media and Attinger Jack were sold soon afterwards, reportedly to their respective management teams, but no buyer could be found for Robson Brown, which closed mid-week with the loss of more than 90 jobs.

In other assignments, US restaurant chain Arby's awarded creative to BBDO New York, out of Omnicom stablemate Merkley & Partners. BMW named Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners, following a split with GSD&M Idea City. In the UK, Burton's Foods named VCCP as its new agency for all biscuit brands, and Gu Puds signed up with DDB London. For all appointments, subscribers can access the full Adbrands Account Assignments database here


In the news this past week: Media

Talks between Google and coupon marketer Groupon ended without a deal last Friday, despite the search giant's more-than-handsome offer of up to $6bn. Without even pausing for breath, Google moved swiftly on, launching its Google eBooks online store in the US on Monday with hundred of thousands of current and out-of-print books for sale and around 3 million more out-of-copyright titles available for free download. On Tuesday the group unveiled its new Nexus S Android smartphone, developed in partnership with Samsung. Then on Wednesday, the company gave the first public demonstration of its new Chrome operating system for laptop computers which aims to mount a direct challenge to Microsoft's Windows software. The key difference under the Chrome OS is that all users' content will be stored online in Google's vast cloud computing farms, allowing it to be accessed from any computer anywhere in the world. The system will launch officially early next year. And on the fourth day Google rested. So far at least...

Media mogul Barry Diller stepped down as CEO of InterActiveGroup (IAC), the internet group which controls numerous properties including search engine Ask.com, local events directory CitySearch and dating service Match.com, as well as 50% of newly merged Newsweek Daily Beast. Match.com's Greg Blatt takes over as CEO; Diller remains chairman. At the same time, Diller resolved his long and occasionally fractious partnership with investor John Malone and his Liberty Media vehicle. Although their working relationship dates back to the early 1990s, it has become strained in recent years as a result of Diller's moves to restructure IAC's holdings. This week, Malone agreed to surrender his controlling shareholding in IAC in return for a cash payment of $220m and full control of two group subsidiaries, Gifts.com and eVite. As a result, Diller becomes the single largest shareholder with around 41% of equity.

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Simon Tesler
Publisher, Adbrands