Adbrands Weekly Update 16th September 2010
A weekly round up of key news about 
leading advertisers, agencies and mediaowners
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Procter and Gamble

Starcom MediaVest

Coca Cola

Young and Rubicam



Kraft Foods








Johnson and Johnson


McCann Erickson
Bartle Bogle Hegarty


Ogilvy and Mather

Ford Motors




Four of our favourite ads this week: 

Ikea "Happy Inside"
by Mother

Sony Ericsson "Product Testing: Toddlers"
Dare New York

McDonalds "Playland"
by DDB Australia

Burger King "Breakfast March"
Crispin Porter & Bogusky

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

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Four more great ads this week. Mother unveiled its first work for Ikea in the UK, setting free 100 cats inside a store overnight and observing the results. We'd love to know how long it took to round up all those moggies again in the morning, and just how much poop-scooping was involved. On the plus side, I expect the store is now entirely clear of rodents... See here for an entertaining behind-the-scenes special.

Some more cinema semi-verité now from the New York office of digital agency Dare, which conducted some unorthodox focus groups for Sony Ericsson to promote the new Xperia smartphone. These are not necessarily Sony Ericsson's typical customers, though. Panels include models, surfers, glam rockers, seniors and "guidos" (Jersey Shore Italian-Americans, in case you don't know the term). Much fun is had as these different social types get to grips with the different features of modern mobiles. The Sony Ericsson Xperia, needless to say, comes off best. Here's our favourite of the lot, featuring "Very Small Children". See the others here.

Now, the world's top two fast feeders go head-to-head. Sydney office workers couldn't believe their eyes recently when they arrived in the city one morning to find themselves in front of a giant adult playground, constructed for their enjoyment by McDonalds and the local outpost of DDB. Here's what happened as these buttoned-down workers let loose their inner child.

Back in the USA, Crispin Porter Bogusky have launched an updated version of their meat-loving marching men spot of a few years back, in this paean to the perfect Burger King breakfast. We especially like the throwaway action stunts, like the window jumper (complete with "Do Not Attempt" onscreen warning) and parachutist. Lots of fun. 

In the news this past week: Brands & Advertisers

Mobile phone giant Nokia named Stephen Elop as its new CEO, replacing Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo who has headed the company for the past four years, arguably the most difficult in the Finnish company's long history. Elop previously ran the Office software division of Microsoft, and is the first non-Finn ever to head Nokia. However, he reassured the Finnish media this week that he was fully prepared for the long dark nights and freezing temperatures of Helsinki in winter. "As you may know, I'm a Canadian citizen," he told them. "You may also know that Canada and Finland share the Arctic Circle. That's something that holds me in good stead." A few days later, company veteran Anssi Vanjoki, currently head of the group's smartphone operations, also tendered his resignation. He had been the leading internal candidate for the CEO role. "I was twice running for the job and considered myself to be the right guy," he said in an interview. " When you don't get it the second time, it's a little bit too much." Group chairman Jorma Ollila also gave warning that he will step down, though not until 2012. Although it remains the clear overall leader in global mobile phones, Nokia has been struggling to counter the rapid ascendancy of smartphone manufacturers Apple and BlackBerry as well as the more recent arrival of Android-powered devices from HTC, Samsung and others. It also faces virtual elimination from the US market as a result of a continuing decline in sales there, even at the lower end of the market. The company launched a new range of smartphones this week, but most observers agreed that although these might deflect competition from Android devices, they were unlikely to win over iPhone users. A key hurdle is the lack of apps for Nokia's smartphones. Apple currently offers its users more than 225,000 software apps, while Android supports around 65,000. By comparison Nokia offers just 13,000.

Interbrand published its updated ranking of the Best Global Brands. Once again Coca-Cola tops the list, as it has every year since the first ranking was published in 2000. Apple was the biggest gainer, jumping 37% in value to $21.1bn, although it remains outside the top brands at #17. The biggest value increase among the top ten was demonstrated by Google, whose worth rose 36% to $43.5bn, although it stays in 4th place behind Microsoft (with $60.8bn). IBM holds firm in 2nd place. There were also big increases for BlackBerry, JP Morgan, Allianz and Visa. The losers' list was headed by BP, which slipped off the Top 100 chart in the wake of this year's oil spill disaster. There were also large falls in valuation for Harley-Davidson, Toyota, Nokia and Dell. New entrants to the Top 100 included Sprite, Santander, Barclays, Jack Daniels and Credit Suisse. See here to download the full report.

Deutsche Bank of Germany announced a €10bn cash call to shareholders, mainly to fund a bid for majority control of retail competitor Postbank in which it already holds a 30% stake. Originally an arm of the German Post Office, Postbank is one of the country's biggest retail banking networks. However majority owner Deutsche Post has steadily reduced its interest in its banking subsidiary and had already agreed in principle to transfer a controlling stake to DB by next year. DB will make a formal tender for Postbank's public shares next month. Majority control will allow DB to consolidate the other company's financial results in its own, causing a leap in revenues, profits and balance sheet valuations. DB CEO Josef Ackermann talked up the effects of such a move, saying "We are about to advance to the Champions' League of European retail banking."

Volkswagen Group named Jonathan Browning, a former head of sales & marketing for GM Europe, as the new chief executive of Volkswagen of America, with an explicit brief to ramp up local sales of the VW brand. He replaces Stefan Jacoby, who left VW this summer to run Volvo. Volkswagen has set itself an ambitious target of tripling US sales to 1m vehicles a year by 2018. Until now, the brand has tended to show only patchy performance in what is still unquestionably the world's most important car market. Browning arrived at Volkswagen from GM Europe earlier this year, initially as head of global sales. 

Vodafone's group chief marketing officer Wendy Becker is leaving the company following a restructuring. Morten Lundal, previously regional director for the Middle East & Africa, was appointed to a new role as group chief commercial officer, taking overall responsibility for global marketing, business services and enterprise. Instead Becker's role is to be split in two, with a global brand director and a global marketing director to be appointed shortly. The group also reduced its regional divisions from three to two, folding the Africa & Middle East unit into the Asia Pacific division. 

Revlon appointed Julia Goldin, a former Coca-Cola executive, as its first ever group chief marketing officer, with responsibility for all brands. It also named Adelaide Sharples as local marketing director for the UK. In addition to its flagship Revlon range, the company also owns Almay hypoallergenic cosmetics and Mitchum deodorants. In another personnel change, Heineken USA is looking for a new top marketer, following the resignation of chief marketing officer Christian McMahan, who is expected to leave at the end of the year.

Interest in the soon-to-be-demerged wine division of Foster's Group of Australia hotted up. The press reported that several private equity funds are drawing up bids for the business, which manages some of the New World's top wine labels including Beringer, Wolf Blass, Penfolds, Lindemans and Rosemount. Last week, Foster's kickstarted the sale process by announcing it had already declined an initial unsolicited bid for the business. 

Disneyland Paris received permission from the French government to build additional facilities, including a third self-contained entertainment park, a vacation village and a new housing development. The new plans represent an increase of around 20% in the park's existing footprint.

In the news this past week: Agencies

Omnicom announced plans to acquire majority control of its Australian partner Clemenger Group, parent to the Clemenger BBDO and Colenso BBDO agencies in Australia and New Zealand, as well as a variety of other marketing services companies. Currently, Clemenger is effectively a joint venture, with BBDO holding only around 46% of shares. The remaining 54% are owned by Clemenger's management and staff through an employee fund. BBDO chief executive Andrew Robertson said the move prefaced an expansion of BBDO's presence in the region. "For as long as this partnership was supported by a minority ownership position," he said, "it was neither in the interests of BBDO Worldwide nor of Clemenger Group's other shareholders to leverage the extraordinary companies and individual talents that make up the Group outside the borders of Australasia. Clemenger has built a world class portfolio of companies, across all disciplines, and led by extraordinary people. With this move it will be in everybody's interest to leverage these companies and this talent dramatically across the broader Asia Pacific region, and elsewhere in the world." Omnicom is offering to acquire half of the outstanding shares, building its own position to a little under 75%. It vowed to leave the remaining 25% of shares in local hands. 

DDB Worldwide appointed Pietro Tramontin as its new regional director for EMEA, replacing Michael Bray, who retired earlier this year. Tramontin was previously chairman of the Netherlands, Russia & Scandinavian offices. Separately, DDB's London office has hired its own "scientist in residence" to advise executives on neuroscientific theory and other ways of making ads more psychologically effective. Dr Daniel Muellensiefen is a lecturer in psychology, music and computing at the University of London, as well as an expert in "earworms", the translation of a German term for catchy, memorable tunes.

Engine Group, the parent company for UK ad agency WCRS and direct marketer Partners Andrews Aldridge, reported an improvement in performance for the first half of the year, but postponed plans to issue an IPO at the end of the year. Like-for-like revenues rose 8% for the first six months of 2010 to GBP 34m. EBITDA increased by 12% to a little under GBP 7m. "There is more business on the move," said group chairman Peter Scott. "Clients are thinking further forwards. I don't think any of us are deluding ourselves that it's all going to be great ... but overall we are quietly encouraged by the performance in the [first half]." However he added that "the appetite is not there" among investors for new listings. "There is no point us going out in that market, so we are getting on with business as usual."

In account assignments, McGarryBowen continued its seemingly unstoppable string of account wins, taking Dr Pepper Snapple Group's 7 Up brand from Y&R San Francisco without a review. GlaxoSmithKline is preparing to kick off a review of its substantial US media account, currently held by MediaCom. Restaurant group Darden called a review of media for its brands, which include Red Lobster, Olive Garden and others. Red Bull appointed Carat to handle US media following a review. Kraft called a global review of creative for Swiss chocolate brand Milka, currently managed by Ogilvy. In the UK, Coca-Cola shifted creative for its Oasis still drink from Mother to VCCP. For all appointments, subscribers can access the full Adbrands Account Assignments database here

In the news this past week: Media

Canada's dominant telecoms provider BCE announced plans to take full control of broadcast network CTV, previously held in a joint venture with the Thomson family and financial investors. Under the new arrangement, the CTV Globemedia venture will be broken up, and its private equity partners bought out. BCE will acquire the 85% of equity in CTV it didn't already own for around $1.3bn. In turn the Thomson family's Woodbridge holding company will assume 85% control of Canada's top-selling Globe & Mail newspaper, although BCE will maintain a 15% stake. BCE says it will use CTV to establish a stronger presence in digital broadcasting, integrating the TV group's portfolio of free-to-air and cable channels more closely with its own Bell Canada broadband service.

According to figures for August from Nielsen, Microsoft's Bing search engine actually overtook Yahoo for the first time to take up second place in US search behind Google. According to those results, Bing accounted for 13.9% of all US web searches during the month, somersaulting Yahoo, which slipped to 13.1%. However, Google was untroubled by the development, actually increasing its own share to a mighty 65.1%, at the expense of smaller players. The combined 27% share of Yahoo and Bing was unchanged; it's simply that the two engines effectively swapped seniority.

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Simon Tesler
Publisher, Adbrands