The Martin Agency : advertising & marketing achievements

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The Martin Agency is one of the largest advertising shops in the Southeast US, and a leading non-network agency within Interpublic. Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia - a city not otherwise noted for its ad agencies - Martin also has an office in New York. It became part of the Interpublic portfolio in 1993, but operates as a standalone unit within the group. A spectacular run of account wins between 2007 and 2009 earned Martin the title of US Agency of the Year from Adweek, though that new business record has quietened considerably in recent years. Neverthess, it has been one of IPG's strongest-performing subsidiaries in recent years, attracting considerable acclaim for its multiple different comic campaigns for insurer Geico. The sheer volume and consistent quality of these ads is quite awe-inspiring. In 2015, the hugely popular 'Unskippable: Family' ad earned Martin its first ever Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions Festival. There was some turbulence within the agency at the end of 2017 with the ousting of its long-standing chief creative officer over allegations of harassment. A rebellion within staff over the handling of the incident led to the replacement of other members of the top management team. Kristen Cavallo is now CEO with Karen Costello as chief creative officer. AdAge estimated revenues of $108m in 2017.

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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Social Media 7th Sep 2018: FRIDAY CLASSIC: Discover Financial "Peggy" by The Martin Agency (2010-13). Between 2010 and 2013, one of America's most popular – and most unlikely – advertising mascots was a charming but wholly incompetent customer service call-handler located in some remote and unspecified Eastern European country. The Martin Agency created this comic anti-hero for Discover Card as an illustration of everything that was bad about other credit card companies; not least their habit of outsourcing customer service to obscure foreign sub-contractors. Kevin Ragland was Martin's associate creative director in charge of the account, with Hal Tench as creative director. Copywriter was John Mahoney with Marco Howell as art director, and Baker Smith was the director for the whole series. ...[Story continues here]..

Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Dec 2017: What's going on at Interpublic's The Martin Agency? Almost two weeks ago, the agency's chief creative officer Joe Alexander departed suddenly as a result of what were subsequently reported to be allegations of sexual misconduct. Though there were some further headlines regarding whether Alexander jumped or was pushed, that seemed to be the end of the matter. Yet this week, in another equally abrupt announcement, IPG named MullenLowe strategy chief Kristen Cavallo as the new CEO of Martin, without making any direct comment regarding incumbent Martin CEO Matt Williams or president & COO Beth Rilee-Kelly. Their status remains unclear as we go to press this morning. The press announcement also included an extraordinarily emotional statement from Cavallo, which suggested - probably for the first time to most outsiders - that there were other serious issues at play within the agency. "This is an important moment," said Cavallo. "I want people to feel the possibilities that exist for this agency. They are talking about us, but soon I hope they are rooting for us. As a strategist, I love opportunities for transformation, and feel fortunate to play a part, with the full support of Interpublic and its leadership, to help re-write the ending of this chapter. Obviously, there is a need for a new direction, and the culture has to evolve. To be the first female CEO of this agency, in this year, under these circumstances - the weight of this isn't lost on me. It's going to be hard, but we can do hard things. As a mom, I want my kids to see that, and to set an example that resilience and possibility matter." It appears that Alexander's sudden dismissal, and especially the way it was handled with great secrecy by senior managers, caused considerable concern among lower-ranking staff. The Martin Agency said it was protecting the identity of Alexander's accusers - to complicate matters, Alexander himself still denies the allegations - but staff wanted greater transparency, openness and discussion and are venting their dissatisfaction against the incumbent management team.

Adbrands Social Media 4th Dec 2017: "Star Captain: Lost Keys". Phew! Let's take a Christmas breather with the latest ad series for Geico from the hardest working agency in the insurance business, The Martin Agency. We're always astonished by the sheer volume of top-quality ad content Martin keep on generating day-in day-out for Geico. Currently, they're delivering four completely separate ads every week, each with its own associated additional click-through content or alternative edits. Some - this one for example - also require substantial amounts of post-production work. The workload is quite astonishing, yet there's almost never a dud among them. Incredible. 

Adbrands Social Media 7th Mar 2017: "Century" Avoid consuming hallucinogenic substances before viewing this hypnotic spot from The Martin Agency for Benjamin Moore's new line of Century paints. It might look like it's computer-generated but in fact the entire thing was filmed in stop-motion using real paint on real walls (by people with very very steady hands). The end results are spectacular, though we suspect they might give you a serious headache if copied in your home. Here's proof that watching paint dry *doesn't* have to be boring. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Jul 2016: Walmart announced a wide-ranging strategic alliance with Publicis Groupe's Publicis Communications division, aligning creative, digital and shopper marketing with the French-owned business. The brief also includes "resources outside of marketing, including capabilities to support corporate reputation and technology that builds relationships with customers." That's presumably a consultancy angle to be managed via Publicis.Sapient. Though the deal is described as non-exclusive, it will lead to the termination of the retailer's nine-year creative relationship with IPG's Martin Agency, in favour of a new dedicated entity drawing resources from various different agencies under the Publicis umbrella. The core contributor will be Saatchi & Saatchi, which already produces advertising for Walmart in the US, and captured advertising for the retailer's UK subsidiary Asda earlier in the year.

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