Adbrands Weekly Update 24th June 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




Cannes Lions Grand Prix winners 2010: 

Orcon Broadband "Orcon Iggy"
by Special Group, New Zealand: Grand Prix Direct

Gatorade "Replay"
by TBWA|Chiat\Day: Grand Prix Promo & PR

Nike Livestrong Foundation "ChalkBot"
by Wieden & Kennedy: Grand Prix Cyber

Andes Cerveza "TeleTransporter"
by Saatchi & Saatchi Buenos Aires
: Grand Prix Outdoor

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

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This week we're devoting the Ads of the Week spot to four of the winners announced so far from the Cannes Lions advertising festival. First up, a previously unknown creative boutique from New Zealand called Special Group who took the Grand Prix in the Direct category with a campaign for broadband start-up Orcon. The campaign involved a competition to find eight New Zealander musicians to participate in an online jamming session with legendary singer Iggy Pop. The climax of the campaign came when the eight winners were all separately linked up in a conference call with Iggy in Miami to perform a version of his classic The Passenger song.

TBWA\Chiat\Day collected two Grand Prix in the Promo & Activation and PR categories for Gatorade's Replay campaign. To promote the idea of maintaining an exercise routine after you've stopped playing regular sport, the agency organised the replay of a celebrated 1993 grudge match between two high school football teams that ended in a draw. It called back the original players, now all aged in their mid 30s, to repeat the game. More than 15,000 people attended the event, tickets for which sold out in just 90 minutes, and it was aired in primetime in both team's home states. As a result, Replay has been commissioned as a regular cable sports TV series. No Grand Prix was awarded in the Radio category, but Golds went to eight campaigns including Heineken USA by Euro RSCG, P&G's Bounty paper towels by Lapiz and the Colombian Red Cross by Leo Burnett Colombia.

Two Grand Prix were awarded in the Outdoor category. One was collected by Anomaly for their Be Stupid posters for Diesel. Saatchi & Saatchi Argentina took the other for InBev's Andes beer TeleTransporter. This was a specially designed sound-proof phone booth installed in bars in Argentina which allowed drinkers to make "excuse calls" home to their wives or girlfriends with a choice of different background sound effects. In the Media category Leo Burnett and MEC Australia took the Grand Prix for Photochains, a social media campaign for Canon which encouraged camera owners to upload their own photographs to create a linked chain of connected images. Case study here

In Press, the Grand Prix was initially awarded to Ogilvy Mexico for a campaign for Mattel's Scrabble boardgame. That decision was quickly cancelled after it was pointed out that the campaign had already been entered in last year's competition. The Grand Prix was awarded instead to Almap BBDO of Brazil for a press campaign for trade magazine Billboard, presenting a series of images of famous singers made up out of tiny pixelated images of those singers who had in turn inspired them. In Design, the top prize was collected by Belgian agency Happiness for a campaign for Toyota's IQ small car, featuring the IQ font: "the first typeface designed by a car". The letters were "drawn" on the ground by the car, using its tight turning circle to produce perfect curves. Case study here.

And in the Cyber category for digital marketing, the Grand Prix was shared by DDB Stockholm and Wieden & Kennedy. DDB's was for a campaign for, a website promoting Volkswagen's BlueMotion fuel efficiency system. To encourage subway users to take the stairs instead of the elevator, the agency turned a staircase in one of Stockholm's underground stations into a giant musical keyboard that played a different note on each step, the idea being to make exercise fun. (Case study here). Wieden & Kennedy's nod was for the Nike Chalkbot, a web-based initiative for the Nike Livestrong Foundation, whereby cycling enthusiasts could send their own messages of support to Tour De France riders via an online application which took their online messages and chalked them directly onto the actual route of the race. Winners for the last four categories will be announced on Sunday, and will be featured here next week. For more details, including all the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners, see the official Cannes Lions site.

In the news this past week: Brands & Advertisers

In the World Cup, England and the USA scraped through into the next round, but the poor performance of the French football team, followed by their disgraceful behaviour off the pitch last weekend, caused several major sponsors to distance themselves from the team. One of Les Bleus' main backers, Credit Agricole, pulled an advertising campaign celebrating that partnership on Sunday night, even before the side's ignominious defeat by host nation South Africa two days later. As a result the French Football Federation faces the nightmare scenario of not just rebuilding the national team but also calming the anger of other key sponsors including Carrefour, GDF Suez and SFR, all of whom expressed their outrage at the players' unprofessional and childish antics. Another sponsor, Adidas, didn't make any comment, but are probably wishing that the loss of the team to rival Nike had happened a year ago rather than after this tournament. In a separate development, FIFA dropped all charges against the two women accused of organising the "ambush marketing" stunt to promote Bavaria beer at the Holland v Denmark game at the expense of official sponsor Budweiser. The court case had threatened to create far more promotional branding for Bavaria than even the little noticed stunt itself.

Pernod-Ricard announced plans for a global name-change for one of its top-selling wine brands. Originating in Marlborough in New Zealand, Montana is currently the group's #2 wine business behind Jacob's Creek. However that branding has caused a certain amount of confusion, especially in the US, with some buyers assuming that it must originate in the mountainous US state of the same name. It is already rebadged in America as Brancott Estate, the first vineyard in Marlborough to start growing Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The Brancott Estate name will be rolled out worldwide from September instead of Montana.

In another name-change, British electronics retailer DSG International is to abandon the controversial 2005 rebranding, whereby it dropped its well-established Dixons store brand from the High Street and from its own corporate name. From this summer it will change back to Dixons Retail Group. That announcement came as the group reported resilient performance for its most recent financial year, with underlying profits up 60% on sales up 3% to GBP 8.5bn. The group reported its first profits after two consecutive years of losses. A strong performance from the group's Nordic operations was the biggest contributor to the rise in sales, along with sales of televisions in advance of the World Cup. DSG's main UK chains are Currys and PC World.

Struggling music major EMI named Roger Faxon, long-serving head of its music publishing division, as group chief executive, with responsibility for recorded music as well as publishing. It is, arguably, the first sensible decision made by EMI's private equity investment owners since they acquired the business in 2007. Faxon is one of the few senior managers from the old EMI to survive or remain under its new owners, and has an extensive understanding of how the entertainment industry works. EMI has struggled to adapt to the changing marketplace under a string of leaders recruited from other sectors, including biscuit manufacturing and packaged goods.

Australia's dominant telecoms provider Telstra agreed terms for an $11bn deal with country's government, under which it will contribute its existing broadband infrastructure to an ambitious project to build a new national high-speed network, known as the NBN or National Broadband Network. The new deal is designed to put an end to years of argument between Telstra and Canberra over wider access to the telecoms group's network. Currently, Telstra is the only company capable of providing anything close to national coverage for the country's widely dispersed population. The government wants to use this infrastructure as the basis for a new high-speed network that will reach the country's remote inland communities as well as the larger urban developments around the coastline. Telstra will receive A$9bn for contributing its own network to the NBN project, and a further A$2bn will be spent on restructuring and the creation of a new company to oversee the project and supervise delivery of Telstra's other fixed line and mobile services.

UK supermarket group Sainsbury's announced a shake-up of its management team. Among other changes, Mike Coupe, previously trading director, transferred to the role of group commercial director and will take over responsibility for marketing, among other areas. Meanwhile, customer director Gwyn Burr, currently the group's most senior marketer, will move to a newly created role as director of customer service & colleagues, with responsibility for customer service, HR and internal communications.

Danone strengthened its position in Russia and the CIS region by agreeing to merge its local fresh dairy division with that of local competitor Unimilk. The resulting business, Danone-Unimilk, becomes the clear #2 in the region behind leader Wimm-Bill-Dann, with annual sales of €1.5bn and around 21% market share. While Danone has traditionally done well in Western Russia, Unimilk has a much stronger profile in Eastern Russia and other CIS countries. In other food-related deals, HJ Heinz added to its sauce portfolio with the acquisition of Chinese soy sauce company Foodstar for $165m, and US group Ralcorp bought American Italian Pasta, a maker of private label and consumer pasta brands, for $1.2bn, as well as two Canadian cracker manufacturers.

Toymaker Hasbro is reported to be in preliminary talks with private equity firm Providence Equity Partners regarding a private buyout of the business. If that deal goes ahead it would be the biggest private equity buyout of the year to-date. Hasbro has a market capitalisation of around $6bn.

In the news this past week: Agencies

In what is certainly a serious, and possibly even a mortal blow, independent US agency Doner has been dropped by Mazda. Doner had held the account since 1997 and was responsible for the Japanese auto manufacturer's "Zoom Zoom" slogan. Following a review, Mazda this week announced that the account will instead be handled by a new hybrid unit to be assembled by WPP, along similar lines to the Team Detroit entity which handles Ford, the US manufacturer with which Mazda has close ties. WPP's JWT network already handles Mazda in Europe. The loss of Mazda is the most serious of a string of account departures suffered by Doner since 2006. It was the agency's biggest account by some margin, accounting for as much as 20% of revenues.

Meanwhile, Advertising Age reports that GM's new marketing chief Joel Ewanick is preparing to pull the Cadillac account from Bartle Bogle Hegarty, which was appointed to the business just six months ago by his predecessor. Neither side has commented officially on the rumoured change, and there are no indications of where the account may end up if it does move.

Kimberly-Clark has reshuffled creative appointments for its brands, shifting brand portfolios between roster agencies JWT and Ogilvy. As a result, Ogilvy will take over global responsibility for baby, adult and feminine care brands including Huggies, Kotex and Depend, while JWT will manage the family care portfolio which houses Kleenex, Scott and Andrex among others. On balance, that's a sizeable net win for Ogilvy, which wins back several assignments which it lost to JWT in 2006. Separately, Ogilvy poached Steve Simpson from Goodby Silverstein to become chief creative officer for North America, working alongside Lars Bastholm, chief digital creative officer for North America & chief creative officer, New York. For all other appointments, subscribers can access the full Adbrands Account Assignments database here

In the news this past week: Media

The three-year legal battle between Viacom and Google reached a conclusion this week when a judge ruled against Viacom's claim that Google had actively infringed copyright by allowing its users to post video clips on subsidiary site YouTube. Viacom had argued that the site was itself liable for damages relating to the "tens of thousands" of clips uploaded illegally by consumers. However the judge ruled that this was not the case, and that YouTube could not be held responsible for the actions of its users, provided it continues to remove those clips as soon as it is informed of infringements. In effect, the ruling puts the burden of monitoring for infringement on the shoulders of mediaowners, not on YouTube. The web giant said "This is an important victory not just for us but also for the billions of people around the world who use the web to communicate and share experiences with each other." Viacom vowed to appeal against the decision.

The board of France Telecom approved plans to take the lead role in a consortium which is bidding to acquire control of French daily newspaper Le Monde. The paper, which has until now always been owned and run by its journalists, put itself up for sale because of a growing cash crisis. France Telecom's partners in the consortium are news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur and Grupo Prisa of Spain. The main appeal of the paper to the telecoms giant is its website, one of the country's most visited news destinations. If the France Telecom bid is successful, the company would end up with a 20% stake in Le Monde's newspaper publishing operation, and a 37% holding in the Le Monde website. It faces competition from a rival consortium of three wealthy businessmen.

Bebo, the social networking site acquired a little over two years ago by AOL for $850m, has been sold for an undisclosed sum rumoured to be less than $10m. The buyer is US-based venture capital firm Criterion Capital Partners. Bebo's profile has been almost entirely eclipsed by the huge growth of Facebook, and by the emergence of Twitter. Although it claimed 40m registered members at its peak, users numbers have fallen sharply since the site was acquired by AOL.

Meanwhile, over at News Corp's MySpace, also withering in the shadow of Facebook and Twitter, one of the two co-presidents appointed to run the business at the beginning of the year, has left. Jason Hirschhorn stepped down at the end of last week, leaving Mike Jones as sole president. MySpace's international marketing director Lindsay Nuttall has also left the company. The latest changes occurred just two weeks before the end of a search marketing deal agreed three years ago with Google. That arrangement has contributed significantly to MySpace's revenues, and its termination is expected to leave a sizeable hole in the company's finances.

Tom Florio, Conde Nast's longserving publisher of US Vogue, is to leave at the end of the month. Since 2009, Florio has also overseen a small group of other titles including Conde Nast Traveller and Bon Appetit.

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Simon Tesler
Publisher, Adbrands