The Martin Agency (US)

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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. It has been one of IPG's strongest-performing subsidiaries in recent years, attracting considerable acclaim for its multiple different campaigns for Geico, and picking up the substantial Wal-Mart account in 2007. Its run of account wins continued throughout 2008 and 2009, earning it the title of US Agency of the Year from Adweek.

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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

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 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.

Adbrands Weekly Update 7th Jan 2016: Ads of the Week: "Flextacular". The Martin Agency's campaigns for direct insurer Geico just get odder and odder. Not all the concepts work, but new ones appear so often it hardly seems to matter. The latest features a couple of oddball bodybuilders, and a new vocabulary based around the friendly appellation Bro'. Also, proof that changing to Geico can enhance your life in ways you'd never expect. Learn the whole Brocabulary by clicking through at the close.

Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd July 2015: The 2015 Cannes Lions Festival finished off on Saturday night with a big blowout of awards. The Film category had two Grand Prix winners. The Martin Agency's four-seconds-plus "Unskippable" campaign for Geico took one of the pair of Grand Prix in Film, satirising pre-roll ads on YouTube and elsewhere. They can't be skipped after four seconds because they're already ended - but you wouldn't want to skip because of what happens next. The second went to F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi's mash-up/homage to many of the most celebrated photographs of the 20th century, recreated in an extended ad for Leica.

Adbrands Weekly Update 5th Mar 2015: Ads of the Week: "Unskippable: Family". The Martin Agency have long excelled at the comically absurd in their multiple prolific campaigns for insurer Geico. This latest series is a post-modern riff on the idea of "skippable" ads, those commercials which TV viewers fast-forward through to get back to the main programme. Here's one ad you wouldn't even want to skip. Top marks to the whole family - especially the kids - for not cracking up. You can catch up with two more funny executions over on our Facebook page. 

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