Until 2015, Mullen was a US-only full-service advertising agency, operating as a standalone unit within Interpublic. Highly regarded for its creative work, it had gradually established a national footprint by absorbing fellow independent Long Haymes Carr in 2000, as well as two Bozell offices in 2001. A considerable chunk of US billings came from the agency's diversified services offering, notably media, and Mullen had done well on new business. Nevertheless, its overall profile remained comparatively low, and the shop was more or less unknown outside the US. Yet in 2015, Mullen became the latest in a long line of Interpublic agencies to be merged into its international Lowe & Partners network. That led to Mullen becoming the global HQ, as well as the US arm of the newly baptised MullenLowe Group.
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Adbrands Daily Update 21st Aug 2019: "Just Alright Doesn't Fly Here". MullenLowe USA has this entertaining new campaign out for JetBlue, to highlight the airline's reputation for great customer service (certainly by comparison with most other US airlines). It's a good gag, contrasting the Wright brothers with these Alright brothers; and the individual vignettes of terrible airline experiences are all great. But we can't help noting that this is at least the third time this year we've seen the "Just OK isn't OK" concept in a US ad campaign. We've already featured similar "this is what we're not" campaigns this year from AT&T and Ally Bank. No disrespect intended to MullenLowe because these are very funny and well presented ads, but a completely fresh concept would have been even better.
Adbrands Weekly Update 14th May 2015: Interpublic is making yet another attempt to ramp up its Lowe & Partners network in the US. In the latest of what seems like countless different mergers over the years, standalone agency Mullen is being folded into the business, which will adopt a new identity as Mullen Lowe Group. The last such reboot involved the injection of Campbell Ewald into the Lowe portfolio, but that failed to gel. Lowe Campbell Ewald retains its affiliation but drops the Lowe tag. More significantly perhaps, Lowe's CEO Michael Wall is leaving - to become the first global CEO at Mother! - and the top job goes to Mullen CEO Alex Leikikh. He would be wise to feel some trepidation. Though Lowe retains a certain degree of prestige internationally, especially in Asia and the Latin market, the network has failed repeatedly to establish a lasting presence in the US. Past partners for Lowe in the US include Deutsch, until a divorce in 2013; and before that Bozell, Scali McCabe Sloves and Ammirati Puris Lintas, all of whom vanished without trace into Lowe's US presence prior to the steady defection of their client portfolios. Most recently, the combination with Campbell Ewald was followed by the departure of that agency's Cadillac account. Interpublic managers are clearly hoping that the latest combination will prove the long-awaited charm, but we're not so sure. They would be well-advised to keep a close eye on Mullen's recently won automobile account Acura in case the Cadillac curse strikes again.
Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Aug 2014: Ads of the Week: "My Way". Mullen's new campaign for Acura uses fast cutting and a selection of different anti-establishment musical cues to convey the sense of excitement the car aims to embody. Shorter versions get different backing tracks but the full 60-second spot is blessed with the Sid Vicious version of My Way, and it works better than you might expect. Poor old Sid would have been proud.
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