Adbrands Weekly Update 26th August 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: 

Carlton Draught "Men In Slow Motion"
by Clemenger BBDO Melbourne

Chanel "Bleu de Chanel"
Martin Scorsese / Chanel SA

AT&T "Ballet"
by BBDO New York

The Last Exorcism movie "Chatroulette promotion"
Lions Gate Films

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A host of impressive new ads debut this week as summer draws to a close. First up, the latest instalment in Carlton & United Breweries Made From Beer campaign for Carlton Draught, from Clemenger BBDO in Australia. You may remember that Clems' last offering for Carlton, the "Tingle" ads from March, were pulled by parent Foster's Group for being a touch controversial, what with their references to "goolies", "man-plums" and "your weenis". This follow-up is a touch less physical, although it continues to celebrate the glories (such as they are) of the male beer-drinker's physique. And it's in super slow motion, a strategy which is always guaranteed to attract our attention. According to Clems' ECD Ant Keogh, "Since the invention of the Phantom super-slow motion camera we've seen it used to beautiful effect. We thought we'd jump on the bandwagon but subvert the usual beautiful imagery and focus on blokes and the dumb stuff they do; blokes in all their wonderful, fallible glory." We also love the revised lyrics for this version of Nessun Dorma. Listen hard and you'll hear: "Slow motion / Men in slow motion / Men look much better in slow motion / It makes me want to sing quite loud / Now, now, I want a Carlton Draught, chips and lasagne / Men in slow mo… / In slow mo… / Slow motion / Blah blah blah…"

The fragrance market never fails to attract top talent these days, and there are two smoking hot new spots out this week. The new one for Gucci Guilty fragrance is directed by Frank Miller (of 300 and Sin City fame) and is awesomely cool (see it here) but can't compete with the ad for Chanel's new Bleu fragrance, which is directed by none other than Martin Scorsese, is photographed by legendary fashion snapper Jean-Baptiste Mondino, and features a classic retro track by the Rolling Stones. Can't beat that hand.

BBDO New York is unleashing a barrage of new ads for AT&T at the moment, all of which merit attention. However, our current favourite is the elegant little story contained in this ad, Ballet, which attempts to demonstrate how crucial fast download times can be in determining your future. Very nicely done.

And finally, another split-screen for an ingenious promotional stunt mounted by distributor Lions Gate for its new horror movie The Last Exorcism via video chat service ChatRoulette. Different viewers got into a chat link with what they thought was a nubile young teen about to take off her top. What they got was something very very different... Totally brilliant!

In the news this past week: Brands & Advertisers

General Motors reported its largest quarterly profit since 2004 and pressed ahead with plans for an IPO, filing preliminary registration documents with the SEC. Surplus for 2Q was an impressive $1.3bn. One of the biggest surprises unveiled in these results were the spectacular surge in sales of Buick, hitherto written off as the car choice of the older generations. GM's shakeup of the Buick portfolio appears to have paid off significant dividends, with US sales growing at a faster rate than any other automobile brand. However Ed Whitacre also took the opportunity to announce his resignation as CEO and chairman, prompting widespread criticism from industry pundits for not staying on through the float, which is expected to take place early next year. Whitacre will replaced as CEO next week by Daniel Akerson, and will relinquish the role of chairman in December. Like Whitacre, Akerson has a background in telecoms. He is a former CEO of Nextel, and already serves as a non-executive director of GM.

The musical chairs continued at General Motors in the marketing department. GM's recently appointed marketing chief Joel Ewanick mounted a raid on his former employer Hyundai, poaching Chris Perry, who had replaced him as the Korean manufacturer's head of marketing in the Spring. Perry was named as the new VP marketing for GM's flagship Chevrolet brand, replacing Jim Campbell who transfers to a new role as VP, performance vehicles & motorsports. 

L'Oreal reported encouraging half-year figures, demonstrating a strong recovery following a difficult 2009 in which its annual sales declined for the first time. For the first six months of 2010, net profits jumped 21% to €1.3bn on sales up over 10% to €9.7bn. The strongest growth in sales came from luxury products, such as Lancome and Yves St Laurent cosmetics, with sales up 12% on the same period last year. The fastest-growing region was Latin America, which reported impressive growth of 35% year-on-year, compared to under 3% in Western Europe. Diageo reported generally resilient performance for its most recent financial year, ended June, despite a slump in the key US market where group volumes slipped 2% despite an overall 1% increase across the spirits market as a whole. Worldwide sales including excise rose 6% to GBP 13bn, while pretax profits were up 10% to GBP 2.2bn.

Two new deals added blood to the feeding frenzy in the IT sector as the market leaders gobble up smaller players in order to broaden their range of products and services. Chipmaker Intel signed off on the biggest acquisition in its history by agreeing to buy McAfee, the maker of security and anti-virus software for almost $7.7bn. It aims to embed McAfee's technology in a new line of premium chips which would remove the need for computers to require an additional layer of security software. According to Infonetics Research, McAfee is the global #2 in anti-virus software with around 22% market share in 2009 to Symantec's 42%. Separately, Dell announced an agreed deal to acquire 3PAR, a maker of data storage systems for $1.15bn, only to have its offer trumped by arch-rival HP. The latter, attempting to bounce back from the surprise ousting of CEO Mark Hurd two weeks ago, offered a more attractive $1.51bn in cash. Dell responded today with an increase to $1.53bn. Both companies had already been involved in earlier talks with 3PAR.

Insurance giant Aviva turned down an offer from rival RSA, formerly Royal & Sun Alliance, for most of its general insurance operations in the UK, Canada and Ireland. The lavish bid of GBP 5bn would have doubled RSA's size. Elsewhere in the financial services sector, HSBC is close to securing a controlling stake in Nedbank of South Africa, while Santander is pursuing Polish lender Zachodni. Meanwhile Swiss banking giant UBS launched a new global marketing campaign, its first since 2008, as it tries to draw a line under the problems of the past two years. A key pillar of the new strategy is a newly agreed sponsorship of Formula 1 racing. UBS joins rival bank Santander among the F1 sponsors. RBS and ING both pulled out of the sport last year.

Sportswear manufacturer Puma renewed its endorsement contract with Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt for a further three years, in a deal said to be the biggest ever in athletics. No figures were divulged but inside information has suggested a sum close to the $8m a year earned by footballer Cristiano Ronaldo from Nike. Bolt apparently turned down approaches from Nike and Adidas to stay with Puma, who have supported him since he was 15. "He's an extraordinary athlete and he's paid in an extraordinary fashion," said Puma's chairman & CEO Jochen Zeitz, who compared Bolt to David Beckham in terms of his natural global appeal. "He connects to the fans in a unique way, and not just in a stadium – he can connect on the performance side as well as the lifestyle side – and I think that's the difference to many other athletes who do great things but cannot really find that connection to the fans." Bolt came from nowhere to win three Gold medals at the 2008 Olympics, and then set two new world records for the 100m and 200m at last year's World Championships in Berlin. He plans to develop a line of footwear and clothing for Puma equivalent to Nike's Michael Jordan Jumpman range.

Keen to develop its presence in the Asia Pacific region, currently its smallest but arguably most stable market, Levi's launched a new global brand in China this week. Denizen from Levi's is designed to compete more effectively with local denim rivals, but is priced at around half the cost of the flagship Levi's brand in China. It will be rolled out into other developing Asian markets over the course of 2010 and 2011. Meanwhile, clothing giant Gap extended its ecommerce operation across Europe for the first time, stealing a march on rivals Zara, which will introduce its own online shop next week, and H&M, which is to extend web shopping to the UK for the first time next month.

McDonald's appointed Steve Easterbrook, previously head of the company's operations in the UK and Northern Europe, as its global chief brand officer, a new role which encompasses marketing, menu innovation and consumer insights. He was replaced as chief executive UK and president, Northern Europe by Jill McDonald, previously chief marketing officer for the region. In other personnel news, Terrie Tinella, marketing director for confectionery at Nestle UK, is leaving to return to her native Canada as local marketing head for Nestle. Bacardi appointed Stefan Bomhard, formerly commercial director at Cadbury, as its new president for the EMEA region. Marks & Spencer named Robert Swannell, a former banker, as its new chairman designate. He will replace Sir Stuart Rose in that role in January 2011.

According to a report in the British media, Campbell Soup Company is preparing a break-up bid for the UK's United Biscuits, maker of the McVities range. That business would complement the group's US subsidiary Pepperidge Farm. However Campbell's is thought to have less interest in UB's snacks operations, which includes the Hula Hoops and KP brands. Campbell's currently has no direct operations in the UK, having sold its local business to Premier Foods in 2006.

In the news this past week: Agencies

WPP posted strong results for the first half of 2010, with pretax profits jumping by more than 36% to GBP 243m on revenues up 3% to GBP 4.4bn (or $6.8bn in dollar equivalent figures). Billings were up 8.5% at GBP 20.3bn. The like-for-like (LFL) increase, stripping out currency and acquisitions was 2.5%. The best performance came from North America, where LFL revenues rose by 5.8%. CEO Sir Martin Sorrell told analysts, "The US has shown the sharpest turnaround that I think we've ever seen for a region," but said that the future remained unpredictable, with the possibility of an increase in taxes. "There is a view in the Obama administration that business is making too much money," he warned, "that it's not paying enough tax." The UK was also encouraging with a 2.8% increase, but the rest of Western Europe remained weak, down 0.2%. Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Turkey, showed relatively strong growth, but France, Spain and Portugal remain tough.

Mitchell Communication Group, owners of Australia's leading media buyer Mitchell & Partners, reported a strong set of financial results for the year ending June 2010. The company recently agreed to be acquired by Aegis for A$363m. The agency reported billings of A$1.3bn (around US$1.2bn), revenues up 16% to A$261m (US$234m) and profits of A$19m.

Havas and Sapient announced the creation of Team Volvo, a new joint venture that combines executives from Arnold Worldwide, Euro RSCG 4D and SapientNitro, and will take charge of global communications for the Volvo passenger cars business. Previously the business was split between Arnold and SapientNitro. Team Volvo is to be headquartered in Amstelveen in the Netherlands, initially working from the local offices of Euro RSCG 4D. It plans to open additional offices in Boston and China. The agency is headed by Jorian Murray, a former chief executive of DDB London and founding partner of Dye Holloway Murray.

Publicis was reported to be in advanced negotiations to acquire Talent, one of Brazil's leading independent advertising agencies. Any deal is likely to be structured as a joint venture, with Talent's founder Julio Ribeiro retaining management control of the business, which would also absorb some existing Publicis assets in the region. WPP had also been in talks with Talent, but is not thought likely to make a counter-bid. Brazil is set to become the China of the second decade of the century, experiencing rapid growth and significant foreign investment as a result of its role as host not only of the next FIFA World Cup in 2014 but also the 2016 Olympics.

Interpublic CEO Michael Roth gave an interview to the Financial Times to discuss his slow but steady turnaround of the marketing services giant since 2005. That recovery has gathered pace over the course of 2010, with IPG's share price outperforming all its rivals. Roth played down the possibility of any big deals - which after all were the main cause of IPG's woes in the first half of the decade. However, he did acknowledge the potential synergies which might ensue from a takeover of IPG by Publicis Groupe. "On paper there is some logic to [such] a transaction," he said, "given our client base and things like that. But there is no compelling reason for it. We don't need the capital, we don't need the areas of expertise and [Publicis CEO Maurice Levy] is not about to pay an exorbitant price that would cause us to look at it." He also drew a distinction between his approach to the industry and that of his Omnicom counterpart John Wren, compared to Publicis's Levy and Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP. "I don’t talk about other businesses. I would say John Wren and I are more similar in that regard than Maurice and Martin. I don't make it about me, I make it about our agencies."

JWT expanded its digital offering in the US with the acquisition of San Diego shop Digitaria, for an undisclosed sum. Interpublic's Campbell Mithun agency in Minneapolis also strengthened its interactive chops, absorbing the local outpost of McCann's MRM digital network.

In personnel, Mother appointed Angelina Vieira Barocas, most recently SVP marketing at entertainment parks operator Six Flags, to become managing director of its New York office. Across town, fast-expanding Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners named Bill Grogan as its global chief marketing officer. That announcement raised a few eyebrows. Industry veteran Grogan, most recently managing director at Momentum Worldwide, also happens to be the husband of KBSP CEO Lori Senecal. In London, newly merged DLKW London confirmed several senior management team members. DLKW's George Prest becomes executive creative director of the combined business, supported by deputies Steve Boswell (from DLKW) and Tom Hudson (from Lowe). Lowe's strategy director Rebecca Morgan was named as managing partner for strategy at the combined agency. The role of former Lowe managing director Robert Marsh has yet to be confirmed.

In account assignments, Philips launched a review of its $100m global digital creative business, handled mainly by Tribal DDB. Chevrolet put its European creative duties, split between Lowe, Draftfcb and others, up for review. Energizer batteries consolidated global creative with the TBWA network, moving non-US duties out of DDB. In the US, in the continuing shakeup of the restaurant sector, Red Lobster moved creative to Grey New York (out of Richards), Denny's appointed Interpublic's Gotham (out of Goodby Silverstein) and Arby's called a review (out of Merkley & Partners). In the UK, Sky moved digital media into Mediacom (out of Carat's Diffiniti); Ferrero Rocher went to RKCR/Y&R. In Australia, DIY giant Bunnings reappointed Initiative to handle media. For all appointments, subscribers can access the full Adbrands Account Assignments database here

In the news this past week: Media

Video streaming service Hulu,  jointly owned by NBC Universal, Fox and Disney, is preparing to issue an IPO which would almost certainly be the biggest this year in the media or internet sectors. The business is thought to be aiming for a valuation of around $2bn, or around ten times this year's anticipated revenues.

Facebook launched a new service, Places, that allows users to broadcast their location to friends by "checking in" from their mobile phones at named shops, restaurants, businesses and other venues. The new feature is designed to squash rising competition from Foursquare and similar services which have gained a strong following in the US. The social media giant also acquired location-based networking service Hot Potato for an undisclosed sum. Meanwhile Google took on VoIP service Skype, with the launch of a new service allowing users of its Gmail email service to make voice calls to any landlines and mobiles. It already allowed calls between Gmail users.

News International, the UK newspaper publishing division of News Corp, shrugged off speculation that it would be obliged to abandon its new paid subscription strategy for The Times newspaper's website. Recent figures from researchers ComScore and Experian Hitwise have shown a steep fall in the number of visitors to The Times and Sunday Times websites, most of which now lie behind a paywall. Only the front page is free-to-view. News International has yet to release figures for the number of users who have signed up as paying subscribers, but Rupert Murdoch denied concerns and said the results so far have been "encouraging". This week, there were reports that the paper will extend its paywall to the site of the News Of The World, the country's best-selling Sunday paper, in October. The Sun, the top-selling daily, will follow soon after. The company also appointed ad agency VCCP to launch a new social media marketing campaign designed to build traffic and subscriptions.

Time Inc appointed Evelyn Webster, currently chief executive of its UK magazine publishing arm IPC Media, as EVP of its US-based lifestyle division, responsible for Real Simple, Health, Southern Living and other titles. Webster effectively swaps jobs with her former boss Sylvia Auton, who is returning to the UK after four years in New York to head up IPC once again. Separately, IPC is reported to be in negotiations to sell Loaded, the first of the UK's "lad's magazines" to independent Vitality Publishing. The company has already put a number of its specialist titles up for sale.

In an extraordinary development which could only happen in a developing economy, the Argentinean government has pulled the plug on one of the country's leading ISPs, Fibertel, as a result of a bitter war with its owner, the media conglomerate Grupo Clarin. Fibertel, which has around 25% market share, had its license to operate terminated, forcing its 1m customers to find a new supplier before the service is forcibly suspended in October. Its main rivals are the foreign-owned Arnet, controlled by Telecom Italia, and Telefonica's Speedy. The government claims that the decision to terminate Fibertel was prompted by an unauthorised corporate restructuring which combined Fibertel with Clarin's cable TV division. However in reality the row stems from the hardline stance taken by the group's flagship newspaper Clarin, Argentina's top-seller, against the government of President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner. The government is also attempting to seize control of Argentina's leading supplier of newsprint, which could give it the opportunity to limit circulation of both Clarin and the country's other leading daily La Nacion. It has even launched a personal assault on Clarin's owner Ernestina Herrera de Noble, attempting to prove that her two adopted children were in reality stolen as babies from political prisoners murdered by the country's military dictators in the 1970s.

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Simon Tesler
Publisher, Adbrands