Venables Bell & Partners is an independent creative agency headquartered in San Francisco, best-known for its work on the Audi of America account, which forms the bedrock of the business. Another cornerstone advertising client, Intel, departed at the end of 2014 (VBP still handles some creative content projects for the tech giant) but Venables Bell bounced back from that blow with a string of account wins, as well as some superb creative work. The agency enjoyed a triumphant session at the Cannes Lions advertising festival in 2016, taking home two Grand Prix and a shelfload of metal awards for its #OptOutside campaign for retailer REI. That triumph earned it the title of Breakthrough Agency of the Year from Adweek for 2016. Paul Venables and Greg Bell, former colleagues at cross-town rival Goodby Silverstein jumped ship in 2001 to launch the shop, along with Bob Molineaux from AKQA. Bell left in 2009 though his name remained above the door. Venables took on a less day-to-day role of chairman in 2015, passing over creative lead to Will McGinness. Bob Molineaux retired and was succeeded as president by Paul Birks-Hay. The agency also operates inhouse units offering production services and customer experience consultancy. Adbrands does not currently offer a business profile for this company but subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to Adbrands.net premium services. Click here to access Adbrands account assignments (subscribers only); or see here for information on how to subscribe.
Capsule checked 10th August 2016
Adbrands Weekly Update 23rd November 2017: Ads of the Week: "Parking Lot". Everyone wants their little bit of the holidays, don't they. Well we won't complain when they deliver an ad as good as this. For Audi of America, Venables Bell & Partners delve into their inner rage to give us a situation we all know all too well: finding that last available space in a jam-packed car park before the other guy does. Lots of familiar but funny frustrations along the way and a truly exciting final sequence - shame they cut away from what would have been a great two-car stunt!
Adbrands Weekly Update 13th Apr 2017: Ads of the Week: "Go Beyond". Venables Bell & Partners launched two major new campaigns this week. One is for Chipotle Mexican Grill - we weren't especially impressed; have a look at it on our Facebook page - but the other is much more interesting. This sweet spot launches a mammoth global campaign for Sheraton Hotels, now part of the vast Marriott portfolio. It celebrates staff members who "go beyond" the call of duty to provide excellent service. The commercials are accompanied by a wide-reaching print campaign showing other employees in similar situations. It's a refreshingly imaginative concept for a sector that often settles for bland brochure-ware ads depicting lavish bedrooms, smiley receptionists and expensive food.
Adbrands Weekly Update 29th Sep 2016: Ads of the Week "Duel". Audi is getting political with this new spot from Venables Bell & Partners, which first aired just before that friendly little chat between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The idea being that the presidency isn't the only thing worth fighting for. But you don't find out what the prize is for these protagonists until the end of the spot (you've probably got a pretty good idea though). There are (apparently) political references throughout. So we know about elephants and donkeys, but which party has a lobster as its mascot?
Adbrands Weekly Update 30th Jun 2016: Venables Bell collected two Grand Prix at Cannes Lions 2016, in the Promo & Activation category and also Titanium, for its campaign for camping and outdoor retailer REI. Breaking the mould for US retailers, REI took the decision not to open at all on last year's annual Black Friday shopping frenzy, encouraging all its staff and customers to "opt outside" instead. Admittedly, we bet most of them secretly joined the queues at other retailers, but the high profile decision certainly grabbed headlines and news coverage.
Adbrands Weekly Update 5th Mar 2015: Ads of the Week: "The Drones". The latest spot for Audi of America by Venables Bell is something close to pure genius, poking fun at the idea of aerial drones delivering Amazon packages as a contrast to Audi's superior engineering technology. Film buffs will especially appreciate the witty sustained homage to Alfred Hitchcock's movie The Birds, from dialogue and camerawork to a musical pastiche of longtime Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Herrmann.
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