FCB : Foote Cone & Belding : advertising &marketing assignments

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The FCB name was reintroduced in 2014 for the network previously known as Draftfcb. That business had been created in 2006 from the merger by Interpublic of two of its existing subsidiaries: direct marketing specialist Draft Worldwide and famed creative advertising network Foote Cone & Belding. Draft had for several years been one of Interpublic's most consistently profitable brands, and the merger was designed to provide added strength to FCB which, while a strong performer in the US, remained weak outside its home market. Under both its names, the resulting business is a fully integrated worldwide marketing services giant offering a broad range of disciplines from traditional creative to direct, digital and sales promotion, all under a single management team. Though it is rarely given full credit for the fact, the creation of Draftfcb anticipated by several years the process taken more recently by several other networks, notably Ogilvy and Publicis Groupe agencies. Yet the combined business got off to a terrible start when it was fired from the Wal-Mart account at the end of 2006 after just three months. Despite that shaky debut, Draftfcb evolved into what was said to be one of Interpublic's more profitable subsidiaries by the end of the decade. More recently, though, the loss of SC Johnson and other major accounts in 2011 and 2012 made something of a dent in performance. The appointment of a new management team has resulted in a marked improvement in fortune since 2013.

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Adbrands Company Profiles provide a detailed analysis of the history and current operations of leading advertisers, agencies and brands worldwide, and include a critical summary which identifies key strengths and weaknesses. Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets. Subscribers may access the following website links:

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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Social Media 28th Jan 2019: "Robots". AB InBev unveiled another of its eight planned Super Bowl ads. FCB Chicago's campaign for Michelob Ultra lacks the star power of last year's Chris Pratt spots, but it has an even cooler idea. Sure, robots are better than humans at just about everything. But they can't enjoy a cool refreshing beer after all that effort, so why bother?

Adbrands Weekly Update 27th Sep 2018: Ads of the Week "Use Your Vote". Levi's is one of several companies urging all Americans to take advantage of their right to vote in the mid-term elections, with an upbeat film from FCB West. It hardly needs to be said which side Levi's will most probably be voting for; the ad makes it quite plain from the mix of voters depicted. We can only hope the message gets through this time: a similar upswell of liberally-aligned ads two years ago failed to connect with sufficient impact.

Adbrands Weekly Update 21st Jun 2018: FCB took further steps to reduce its global network, with the sale of its German office to local management headed by chief creative officer Christoph Nann. The agency will continue to operate under the FCB banner as an affiliate but will be wholly owned by managers. A similar withdrawal has already taken place in France and Australia. FCB is represented in those two countries respectively by independent agencies Change Communication and The AJF Partnership.

Adbrands Social Media 18th Jun 2018: New Zealand's FCB Auckland delivered this adorably quirky spot for local DIY chain Mitre 10, about a wayward donkey that keeps breaking out of his enclosure. It's only with help from those helpful people at Mitre 10 that owner Roy can keep him penned in. Some of us, of course, may be thinking that Kong the Donkey is better off out than stuck in his pen, but that sort of defeats the point of the ad... 

Adbrands Weekly Update 24th Aug 2017: Ads of the Week: "Circles". These days it's probably impossible for any ad to reach the iconic status of some of BBH's classic work for Levi's from the 1980s and 90s, and that once-mighty brand has wrestled with plenty of challenges of its own since then. But current agency FCB's work for Levi's still achieves flashes of sheer brilliance. The ads don't come along very often but they're always worth a look when they do appear, like this lovely new film which manages to celebrate not just denim, but also the joy of dance and the many facets of our multicultural world. Time to get up and get down! 

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Free to all users | see full profile for current activities: [See here for the history of FCB]. Before its acquisition by Interpublic in 1995, Draft Worldwide was something of a shuttlecock in the global marketing industry, changing owners several times in its first two decades. The agency was originally the in-house marketing department for US insurer Bankers Life & Casualty. In 1978, that financial services group spun off the department as an independent agency, with its $7m account as the new company's biggest piece of business. The agency was run by former marketing director Jim Kobs under the name Kobs & Brady. The young Howard Draft was then an account executive, but he gradually worked his way up the corporate ladder. In 1982 he was given responsibility for launching the company's first office in New York, on behalf of new client HBO. Four years later he was named group president. The same year, 1986, Kobs & Brady was acquired by agency giant Ted Bates, becoming Kobs & Draft. Bates was itself snapped up by Saatchi & Saatchi a matter of months later. Backed by Saatchi's, Kobs & Brady opened its first international office, in Madrid, Spain, a year later. Howard Draft became chairman and CEO in 1988, and the company name was changed to Bates, Kobs & Draft.

In the break-up of the Saatchi Group in 1995, Draft mounted a management buy-in, taking the agency independent again as Draft Direct Worldwide. Before the end of the year, however, Interpublic came knocking and added Draft to its own swelling portfolio. Under Interpublic's wing, the agency added a number of additional subsidiaries to its ranks. In 1997, Draft took over Lee Hill Inc, when its own parent Marketing Corp of America was acquired by IPG. Over the next 12 months it acquired a string of agencies in the US and Europe including sales promotion agency DL Blair, Adler Boschetto Peebles & Partners (ABP), KBA Marketing, integrated agency Vogt-Wein, Gingko (Canada), H2O (France), Feedback (Belgium) and M&V (Germany). The new name of DraftWorldwide was adopted in 1998.

During 2000, Draft acquired a series of other marketing agencies including leading UK research consultancy HPI, Scottish marketing group The Boroughloch Agency, international brand consultancy AG Worldwide/Surge Interactive and Swedish integrated agency Trampolin. Other purchases included youth marketer Sloan Group, events marketing agencies Group III, e-services agency Capita Technologies, and Chilean outfit Creactiva. The agency also absorbed Chicago direct marketer Columbian, previously part of the Lowe Lintas group.

In 2001, Draft was aligned with Lowe & Partners within Interpublic as part of The Partnership, a loose alliance of more entrepreneurial agencies. Later that year, AG Worldwide was sold back to management (becoming Arnell Group). Surge, Group III and Capita were merged to form Surge at DraftWorldwide. Originally designed to highlight the agency's interactive offering, the Surge brand was gradually phased out during 2002, replaced by the main Draft brand. Premium Surge was set up at the end of 2001 to market premium gifts after Draft recruited several executives from failing Simon Worldwide. Most of these sub-brands were phased out in 2002 and 2003.

Although the wider Partnership concept quickly fell by the wayside, Draft continued to work closely with Lowe. Between 2001 and 2002, Lowe's Lowe Live direct marketing network was absorbed into Draft in the US and UK. The following year, Interpublic was reported to have considered a full merger of Lowe and Draft. Instead, the group eventually opted for a consolidation of the two networks' back-office functions, with consulting unit Lowe Plus Draft formed to encourage cross-fertilisation of client business. However in many countries, the below-the-line operations of the local Lowe office adopted the Draft brand. During 2005, for example, the Lowe Forever brand in Scandinavia, and Lowe RMS in Canada were both rebranded as Draft.

In 2006, however, the partnership with Lowe was suspended, and instead Draft was given effective control of the storied FCB network. This merger was widely perceived as a personal triumph for Howard Draft, who was given responsibility for running the combined business. Things only got better during 2006 when the agency scored a clutch of prestigious awards at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival, and was then awarded the hotly contested advertising account of Wal-Mart in October. Events move fast in the advertising industry, however, and less than three months later, triumph had changed to embarrassment when Draftfcb was ignominiously fired by Wal-Mart, along with Julie Roehm, the Wal-Mart exec who had handled the review.

The resulting brouhaha became the talk of the industry over the following winter. The specific reasons for the sacking were not initially made public, but it was eventually disclosed that Draftfcb managers and Roehm had contravened Wal-Mart's code of conduct during the course of the review. In pursuit of pitch victory, Howard Draft had gone out of his way to flatter Roehm with gifts and perks, which she failed to decline firmly enough for the purposes of Wal-Mart's strict rules on supplier relations. Later it was alleged that Roehm and a subordinate in Wal-Mart's marketing department had been having an affair, and that they they had even discussed jumping ship from the retailer to join Draftfcb. Wal-Mart's board was also said to have been offended by a smutty house ad produced by Draftfcb in which it crowed over the awards it had received at Cannes with a picture of two lions mating, above the slogan "It's great to be on top." Allegations and lawsuits flew back and forth, leading to the effective destruction (by her own hand) of Roehm's once-promising career, and red faces all round at Draftfcb. The agency made up in part for the humiliation of its loss by subsequently winning rival discounter Kmart.

There was a sudden and entirely unexpected shakeup of the agency's North American management team in summer 2010. Mark Modesto, a 30-year company veteran, had been promoted to president of Draftfcb North America the previous October, but left the company abruptly in August 2010, along with two other senior officers. Their sudden departures were said to have resulted from internal politics, possibly associated with the fact that at the same time Dana Maiman, CEO of Draftfcb Healthcare, was promoted to a wider role as CEO of Draftfcb New York. (She surrendered that role in 2013). See full profile for current activities

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