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A host of luminaries grace this new ad for the premium aperitif Martini
Gold. Fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana lent their creative skills to the conception of the film, designed
the bottle and make a cameo appearance alongside luscious Franco-Italian actress Monica Bellucci and the even more statuesque
beauty of the city of Rome. Behind the camera is Jonas Akerlund, currently the world's most sought-after music video director for
his work for Lady Gaga. So it's five star quality all-round. Spectacular.
If you're not from these British Isles you probably won't "get" MCBD's
new ad for top-selling Tetley Tea. The Tetley Tea Folk were arguably the nation's best-loved advertising mascots until
their retirement more than a decade ago. Here they are awakened from their prolonged slumber by the refreshing aroma of their
favourite tea. How very very quaint we British are!
Ogilvy New York unveils its debut ad for package delivery giant UPS,
abandoning whiteboards and the power of "brown" for a song of praise for logistics. Impressively done.
And finally, there are arguably no words that can describe the bizarre new
campaign for Diesel Sneakers, from Argentinean creative hothouse Santo. The point of the campaign is that these
sneakers are not for running, but for kicking asses. Which is what they proceed to do. Or something like it. Odd, but then from
Diesel you would expect nothing less.
In the news this past week: Brands &
The impact of fierce competition in the smartphone sector was demonstrated
in the latest quarterly results from BlackBerry manufacturer RIM. For 2Q, the company posted big increases in revenues and
profits compared to the same period in 2009, and also in the number of new devices sold. However it also reported the most
significant decline to-date in net new subscribers. The company attracted 4.5m new subscribers in 2Q, lower than it had forecast,
and down from 4.9m in the previous quarter. RIM blamed the launch of Apple's iPhone 4 as well as a range of new Android-powered
devices, and said it company anticipated a rebound in net subscriber numbers in 3Q, assisted by the launch of its new BlackBerry
Torch device. RIM is also widely expected to confirm the launch of its first tablet device, the so-called BlackPad. An
announcement is expected early next week.
L'Oreal has appointed its first ever group chief marketing officer.
Marc Menesguen, previously president of the group's luxury products division, assumes that role. He remains a member of L'Oreal's
executive committee, reporting to CEO Jean-Paul Agon. Nicolas Hieronimus, formerly president, professional products, replaces
Menesguen as head of luxury products, and has in turn replaced by An Verhulst-Santos.
There was a similar reshuffle at Verizon Communications, as the
company announced a series of changes designed to anticipate the eventual retirement of chairman & CEO Ivan Seidenberg. Lowell
McAdam, previously CEO of Verizon Wireless, was promoted to group president & COO, filling a role that has been empty since
Denny Strigl retired at the end of last year. McAdam's appointment prompted several other promotions, with Daniel Mead moving up
to wireless CEO, and chief marketing officer John Stratton taking on Mead's former role as COO. Separately, Fran Shammo
transferred from head of Verizon Wireline to replace CFO John Killian who retires at the end of this year. Stratton's successor as
chief marketing officer will be announced in due course.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Procter & Gamble has
ended talks with US snacks marketer Diamond Foods over the transfer of its Pringles chips brand to the smaller
company, which makes Emerald nuts and Pop Secret popcorn. According to Bloomberg, the two groups had been discussing a tax-free
"spin merger", whereby P&G would spin off Pringles to shareholders as separate entity which would then merge with
Diamond Foods. P&G shareholders would end up with a majority stake in the combined business, along similar lines to the merger
of Folgers coffee and JM Smucker last year. However, the packaged goods giant was said to have concerns regarding Diamond's
comparatively small current share issue, which might make it hard for new stockholders to sell their shares.
General Motors and Nissan are gearing up for a head-to-head
contest this Autumn between their respective electric cars, which will be the first fully-electric mainstream vehicles from any of
the major manufacturers. GM's Chevrolet Volt will be the first out of the garage. It goes on-sale in the US next Friday, October
1st, but won't be available in mainland Europe until 2011 and not in the UK until early 2012. The Nissan Leaf will launch in the
US and Japan this December, and will beat the Volt into Europe from Q1 2011. There are some clear pros and cons. The Volt is more
expensive at a list price of $41,000 (to Leaf's $33,000), although both vehicles qualify for a $7,500 tax credit. The Volt takes
two hours longer to charge, and can travel 40 miles on a full battery (compared to 100 miles for the Leaf). But it is American,
which of course counts for a lot with US consumers. And it has a top speed of 100mph (as opposed to 90mph for the Leaf). Other
manufacturers will be watching the contest between the two companies closely in advance of their own electric launches.
Going in a completely different direction, BMW today launched a new
two-wheeled scooter under its Mini brand. The company has called upon supermodel Agyness Deyn to promote the new design.
In a separate development, Renault and Nissan announced
plans to coordinate the structures of their respective global marketing departments in a further expansion of their existing
alliance. Stephen Norman will head up the Renault team, with Andy Palmer as his counterpart at Nissan. The two teams will work
more closely together to maximise cost effectiveness across their global marketing communications.
Video rental chain Blockbuster has today filed for voluntary
Chapter 11 protection as part of a pre-packaged bankruptcy agreed with its bondholders. The company has been struggling for
several years to adapt to dramatic shifts in the way in which consumers watch movies at home, and the rise of mail order and
streamed video-on-demand. Blockbuster aims to reduce its debt mountain of more than $900m to $100m by swapping senior debt for
equity. However all ordinary shareholders are likely to be wiped out.
There was further turmoil in the UK banking sector. Lloyds Banking
Group CEO Eric Daniels announced plans to retire at the end of next year, kicking off a search for his successor. Meanwhile
the Financial Times reported that HSBC's CEO Michael Geoghegan had threatened to quit the company after being informed that
the board was leaning towards former Goldman Sachs banker John Thornton as their preferred choice for the role of chairman, to
replace Stephen Green who is joining the UK government as trade minister at the end of the year. Geoghehan was said to have his
own eye on the chairman role. HSBC reacted angrily to the rumour of his threatened resignation, calling it "offensive
nonsense". Whatever the truth of the story, Thornton now looks unlikely to get the job. The latest whispers point to HSBC
finance director Douglas Flint as the likely final choice.
HP and Oracle called a truce in their legal battle over the
latter's appointment of recently ousted HP CEO Mark Hurd as co-president. HP had attempted to block that appointment on grounds of
trade secrecy. However, it agreed to drop its case in return for Hurd's agreement to waive his rights to any remaining
compensation. More importantly perhaps, Oracle's CEO Larry Ellison confirmed that the two companies could now renew their
long-standing technology partnership. Separately, in the continuing land-grab being undertaken by America's IT giants, IBM
agreed to acquire data warehousing specialist Netezza for $1.7bn. That deal follows a string of acquisitions by HP of storage and
data management companies. In another technology development, Dell announced the departure of chief marketing officer Erin
Mulligan Nelson after just 20 months in the job. She has been replaced by Karen Quintos, previously VP, global public marketing.
British fashion retailer French Connection showed signs of a
much-needed turnaround in performance, signposting an end to the prolonged four year slump which kicked off in 2006 as customers
finally tired of the company's FCUK shock marketing tactics. The company reported a profit for the first half of 2010 after two
years of annual losses, and also announced an important new licensing agreement with the retailer Sears. The US giant will
begin selling an exclusive new fashion range from Spring 2011 under the name UK Style by French Connection. It will market the
clothing through specially created branded boutiques in 500 stores nationwide. The clothes are being produced under contract by
the US arm of licensed apparel specialist Li & Fung.
UK department store John Lewis said it would phase out its Greenbee
service, launched in 2006 as an umbrella for a range of online services including insurance, travel and event ticketing. It will
continue to offer insurance, but this will now be offered under the main John Lewis banner.
Credit services group Experian has acquired US competitor Mighty
Net for $208m. The smaller company offers a similar range of online credit check services for consumers, mainly under the
CreditReport.com banner. Experian owns FreeCreditReport.com.
PepsiCo relaunched its Sierra Mist lemon-lime soda under the name Sierra
Mist Natural, with an altered formula that strips out all artificial ingredients, as well as a new logo and bottle design. A
marketing campaign is launching this week under the tag line "The soda nature would drink if
nature drank soda".
In the news this past week: Agencies
marketing giant Dentsu is reported to have made a lavish preliminary bid of $600m for highly regarded digital agency AKQA,
which is being put up for sale by private equity backer General Atlantic. The Japanese group has been beaten to the punch on
several similar acquisitions in the past, most notably in the case of Razorfish, on which it was outbid by Publicis, and more
recently with the purchase this year of iCrossing by Hearst. Dentsu's eagerness not to be trumped again appears to be reflected in
the reported offer, which is significantly higher than the $544m paid by Publicis for Razorfish, a much larger company. AKQA's
executive directors are said to prefer the idea of an IPO of the business; but a trade sale may well prove more popular with
General Atlantic, especially at that price. However, Brand Republic reports today that WPP is also assembling a bid for
AKQA, raising the possibility that this could turn into a bidding war between two of the world's biggest marketing groups.
Investment bank Morgan Stanley is managing the sale. None of the interested parties have officially confirmed or denied the story.
Australian marketing services group Photon continued to consolidate
its agency portfolio. It confirmed the merger of local media planning and strategy unit Bellamy Hayden into the Australian
office of its flagship agency Naked, and further mergers are expected. In the meantime Bellamy Hayden's founding partner
Phil Hayden was given the task of opening a new office of Naked in Singapore. Photon is still struggling to manage a large
mountain of debt accumulated during the course of rapid expansion between 2005 and 2008, when it acquired more than 50 different
marketing services companies.
In account assignments, Pfizer launched a review of its mammoth
$700m US media business, currently handled by Carat. Levi's called a review of its global media account, currently split
between several different agencies, including OMD in North America and Starcom in much of Europe. Dell began looking beyond
its current arrangement with WPP's Y&R and Wunderman with a brief for a new consumer campaign. US food company Pinnacle
transferred creative for its Birds Eye, Van de Camp and other frozen meals from Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal to TBWA\New York.
Cereal marketer Post appointed BurnsGroup. In the UK, bed retailer Dreams called a review of its GBP 30m
creative account, currently managed by regional shop Robson Brown. M&C Saatchi was handed global launch duties for the
new .xxx web domain. For all appointments, subscribers can access the full Adbrands Account Assignments database here.
In the news this past
A consortium of the UK's terrestrial broadcasters firmed up plans for the
launch of an internet-based video-on-demand service. That service has until now been known as Project Canvas, but now has a
confirmed launch name of YouView TV, as well as a newly appointed chief executive, Richard Halton, previously a senior
executive at the BBC and a key figure in the development of their own iPlayer catch-up service. YouView is expected to launch
during the first half of 2011 in direct competition with Sky and Virgin Media. The business is jointly owned by the BBC, ITV,
Channel 4 and Five broadcast companies in partnership with telecoms companies BT and Talk Talk and transmitter services provider
Hachette Filipacchi, the US magazine publishing arm of French group
Lagardere, named Steve Parr as its new CEO, replacing Alain Lemarchand, who is to move back to France. The group is best-known for
its Elle and Woman's Day titles.
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