How the Unlikely Alliance of Ovation’s ‘Versailles’ and Fiat Benefits Both Brands

September 26, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

There's a sexy, lavish new series coming to cable TV, set in the 17th century, that brings a distinctly modern style to the story of King Louis XIV and his royal court outside Paris. But as contemporary as Versailles may be, don't expect the Sun King to hop behind the wheel of a Fiat , though the brand is the exclusive auto partner for the 10-episode show airing on the Ovation network . The partnership between period piece and marketer is playing out in branded content and behind-the-scenes vignettes that weave together the attributes of both, with nary an in-show product placement. It's part of a trend on television where fantasy, sci-fi, period, animation and unscripted series are increasingly creating what might on the surface seem to be unlikely pairings with brands. For Versailles, which centers on the 28-year-old French ruler and his impossibly beautiful courtiers, there's a focus on design, art and fashion, along with the obligatory palace intrigue, backstabbing and bed-hopping. (Think The Tudors with less gore.) "Even though it's a period piece, there's nothing stodgy about it," said Liz Janneman, Ovation's evp, network strategy. "It's a fashion-forward modern classic with a twist for a cultured audience." As it happens, Fiat sees itself the same way, with the partners collaborating on nearly 100 pieces of content that promote both the show and the carmaker's new 500X crossover sports utility vehicle. Those will include exclusive set visits, deep dives with show creators and historical perspectives, but no Fiats ferrying corseted characters. The alliance with Fiat, which is also sponsoring the limited-commercial, two-hour premiere on Oct. 1, isn't about "the literal connection" but the thematic one, Janneman said. Putting two such bedfellows together is "more challenging, but the result is more interesting," she said. Versailles is one of many such examples where marketers might have thought there was no room for them but found instead, via some creative thinking, that even surreal-world shows can include brands. These are what Kevin McAuliffe, branded content veteran who now heads Francis Productions, calls "contextual opportunities" that match a TV property and a brand with "similar belief systems." He said, "It's been an evolution, but brands are less about integration now and more about connecting with a message. You're driving value instead of just being exposed." Geico has used costume-clad marauding men to intentionally comic effect for its recent ties to History's action drama, Vikings, and Fitbit chose an appropriately creepy zombie theme for its link with AMC's massive hit, The Walking Dead. Ford sidled up to The CW's time-traveling superhero show, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, and Fox's comic-based Gotham with commercials and digital shorts featuring the series' actors. The marriage doesn't even have to be within the same species or galaxy, said Marc DeBevoise, CBS Interactive president and COO, who noted that he's considering contemporary brands as partners for the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery. Or it could be closer to home.

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Clio Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Wants to See More Diversity in the Industry

September 26, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Current gig President, Kaplan Thaler Productions Previous gig Chairman, Publicis Kaplan Thaler Twitter @lindathaler2 You're being honored with a Clio Lifetime Achievement Award this year. Do you remember winning your first Clio? I don't remember the first Clio I won, but I do remember the year I won four. One, I wrote the music and lyrics for "Kodak America," then French's mustard won two. I won for best comedy writing and then we won for a Burger King commercial. I was fairly young at the time and hadn't been in the ad business very long, so I was really thrilled. It was incredible. After stepping down as chairman of Publicis Kaplan Thaler early this year, what have you been working on? I had been doing public speaking for several years off and on, but I decided to leave advertising this past February and be a speaker full time across the country, talking about a variety of topics. I love it because it's a combination of me being able to give stories and insights and empowerment to people as well as my theatrical desires because I never quite gave up wanting to perform. That's what I did in my 20s. I got to combine the two things and I love it. What does your latest book, Grit to Great , tackle? Robin Koval and I started The Kaplan Thaler Group about 20 years ago, and we are very proud of what we have accomplished. Along the way we decided to write books. Most recently we started looking at our success and realizing that neither of us are geniuses or incredibly talented, and we started researching really uber-successful people

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McDonald’s and Omnicom Refer to Their Dedicated Unit as an ‘Agency of the Present’

September 26, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

On Monday, the first day of Advertising Week 2016, McDonald's chief marketing officer Deborah Wahl and DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark made it clear that they don't see Omnicom's unnamed, dedicated Chicago unit as an anomaly. "We say 'agency of the future,'" Clark told the crowd at New York's Town Hall, "but I think it's actually the agency of the present." Clark added that this sort of approach is "where we all need to be." The model in question is one in which Omnicom and McDonald's will operate together to an unprecedented degree, with the client's marketing team "embedded" within the agency. The scale of the pitch process was just as significant. "The important thing about the RFP is that it came in at the holding company level," Clark said, adding, "It was not just a couple of pages." She said Omnicom pulled its "best and brightest" from across almost 20 agencies to help win the business and that the disparate team worked on the pitch for 16 weeks. "It was breakneck, but it was good," she said. Neither Wahl nor Clark directly addressed the most controversial aspect of the documents McDonald's sent to the three biggest holding companies, its demand that all agency profits be tied to unspecified performance goals. "[McDonald's is] not only asking for a new agency model but doing it differently internally, too," Wahl said, adding, "Change is hard." She stated that while the agency structure was not necessarily developed with profit in mind, "there is a lot of room for growth [with] profit built in." Wahl also hinted at the reason for such an unusual arrangement: "I don't think anyone's budgets can go up dramatically unless their sales go up dramatically. We've got to get a lot smarter." In further emphasizing the theme of unity, Clark said the forthcoming agency's assignment would range from "anthemic TV spots to social posts, in-store advertising and employee communications." She said the ultimate goal of the shared enterprise is a greater focus on the consumer. "There's such a huge conversation about McDonald's always," Clark said. "We want to determine trends before they happen and see what's right for McDonald's." Wahl addressed a follow-up question about the dated social media "war room" model from moderator and Fast Company editor Eric Alt by again emphasizing scale. "Someone interacts with or reaches out to us once every two seconds," she said. "We are able to respond once every 10 seconds." Wahl said she hopes to speed up that response time moving forward, but Clark implied quality is ultimately the defining factor when it comes to content strategy. "Brands need to remember that they are uninvited guests [on social]," she said. "McDonald's is not in the business of mediocre." Clark also indicated that the new unit's vision regarding its own internal processes played a significant role in Omnicom's winning pitch. "If you get the process right, it sets you free. You never have to talk about it again."

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Facetime: End of Summer Roundup

September 26, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The media world was out in full force, enjoying the last days of summer on both coasts. In Los Angeles, the Emmy Awards took everyone's attention, while in New York magazines were in high gear. More below

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Agency London in New York Literally Set Up a Work Space Inside the Metropolitan Opera House

September 23, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Many ad agency executives' jobs take them to unique locations. But very few have had the opportunity to work in an environment quite like this one. London in New York, a new shop founded by partners and co-creative directors Carolyn London and Michael Vadino, launched this month. And unlike every other agency in New York, its principals recently worked from inside the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center. During the time London spent working alongside the Met's in-house marketing team, a rack of elaborate costumes sat down the hall from their work space and a morning trip to the basement cafeteria for a cup of coffee might have involved sharing a table with members of the Bolshoi ballet, costumed soldiers, child opera singers or the star of La Boheme. This relationship was a first for the 133-year-old Met, which recently launched a campaign to promote a new season that opens on Sept. 26.

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Ad of the Day: Pine-Sol Is Clueless, Except When It Comes to Cleaning, in 19 Fun Prerolls

September 23, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Most folks won't be floored by these brief, humorous Pine-Sol vignettes. But that's probably OK with the venerable brand, which set out to display its versatility and show viewers that its grease- and stain-fighting action works on lots of household stuff, not just floors. Running as YouTube pre-rolls geared to the site's most popular searches—from "funny cat videos" to "makeup tutorials"—each ad opens by explaining something the product can't do. For example, in the clip below, will Kitty leap onto the table or the countertop? Pine-Sol concedes it hasn't got a clue. But it has got the right stuff to make either surface shine: Heh, Mr. Boddington's all like, "I'm stock footage—meow!" Using stock exclusively allowed Pine-Sol to keep the costs low across 19 videos. "The work was designed to resonate with the audience by meeting them where they are, and talking about the things they're talking about—literally," says Stefan Smith, senior copywriter at Critical Mass, which developed the campaign. "Our target is too clever and focused to watch something they don't connect with right away, and Pine-Sol isn't something they are naturally enthused about." C'mon, dude, who isn't enthused about Pine-Sol? (Maybe they'll put you on a car account next time.) Oh, and the tagline changes to fit each ad. "Pine-Sol. We're not cats" serves Mr. B. well enough, but aspiring rockers get a different slogan: Wow, "We don't rock" shows admirable self-awareness, Pine-Sol! Kidding, of course. You absolutely rock—as much as any household cleaner can

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Branded Content Leads to 59% Better Recall Than Other Digital Ads

September 23, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Branded content bests other online advertising in multiple ways, per a new joint study from IPG MediaLab, Forbes and Syracuse University's Newhouse School. Here are a few quick hits from their research: Brand recall is 59 percent higher for branded content than display and native ads. Consumers are 14 percent more likely to look for additional content from a company after a single impression of branded content. Branded content is getting better, showing a 17 percent improvement in brand recall compared to a similar study in 2013 by the same trio of players. Forbes chief revenue officer Mark Howard wasn't about to diss traditional display ads, though, stating that his publication's clients see a 9 percent lift when display is combined with branded content. "As the study shows, branded content educates audiences on topics in which brands have a domain expertise, allowing our brands to truly connect in a consumer centric way," he added. Check out the rest of the study here.

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NBC Takes Over New World Trade Center Station With GIFs Promoting Superstore

September 22, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

NBC teamed with Giphy for a Superstore GIF installation that operates through Oct. 16. NBC New York commuters who travel through the new World Trade Center transportation hub were met with quite the spectacle today, the debut of a football field-size GIF installation for NBC's sophomore sitcom Superstore. NBC and Giphy partnered on the campaign, which features GIFs of the show's cast, and which the network hopes will appeal to millennials. The network is advertising on all 19 LED displays of a marble-lined corridor in the World Trade Center transportation hub, which opened earlier this year. It's the first entertainment company to appear in the space. The nine most prominent of the 9-by-8-foot panels are devoted to the Superstore installation, with the other 10 featuring more traditional key art for NBC's other shows. "It's about the length of a football field; it's absolutely insane," said Kjerstin Beatty, svp of media at NBC Entertainment. "Customization is everything. That's the way we're able to connect with audiences in a very fragmented world." The network was looking for a different campaign to mark the return of its first successful sitcom in several years. While most series end up advertising in Times Square, "what World Trade Center represented to us was this beautiful, new canvas for us to create something custom and speak to the tech and advertising communities and the very young workforce that's down there," said Beatty.

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Edelman Hires Former Leo Burnett Exec, Moves Further Into Ad Agency Territory

September 22, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

In 2013, Edelman stunned the public relations industry by reversing its opposition to paid media placements as the world's largest communications firm effectively pivoted into marketing. Today the company further strengthened its dedication to working both sides of the paid/earned model by naming longtime advertising executive Mark Renshaw as the global chair of its brand practice. Renshaw, who spent more than 18 years with the Leo Burnett organization and most recently served as the Publicis agency's chief digital and innovation officer, joins Edelman in New York to lead an international team of more than 1000 employees. He succeeds Michelle Hutton, who was named COO of Edelman Europe in February. Edelman renamed its former Consumer Marketing group to mark both Renshaw's arrival and its new status as a marketing and reputation firm with a focus on digital media. "Getting Mark is a huge confirmation of our strategy," president and CEO Richard Edelman tells Adweek. "His remit isn't just CPG [consumer packaged goods], it is actually to move the evolution of Edelman forward. He's like the orchestra leader." Over the past year, Edelman has hired a growing number of ad agency veterans to lead its content practices as it competes more directly with both "traditional" shops and digital consultancies like Deloitte in new business pitches. It is one of very few large PR organizations that has begun creating broadcast ads and other forms of paid content for general audiences rather than simply securing editorial placements or producing sponsored content. Renshaw says, "I don't believe that I am making a shift from a creative agency to a PR firm; I am going to a creative company." Yet Edelman is still focused very intently on managing consumers' perceptions—a responsibility that has only grown more valuable in the social media age as brands and their audiences gain more power to shape a given narrative. "There's a huge gap between what people can do for or against a brand on their own versus how marketers think about it now," Renshaw says. "Communications and marketing can come together as consumers move from buyer to [brand] protector or defender." The new global chair will spend much of his time serving Edelman clients in disparate locations like China and India. "I want to reiterate our confidence in him because of his global background," Richard Edelman says, adding, "A lot of this innovation is not necessarily U.S. driven." Renshaw tells Adweek that his decision to accept the Edelman job was not related to the larger Publicis Groupe's recent restructuring moves, some of which coincided with the loss of certain major accounts like McDonald's and P&G. "Discussions started back in April, so it's been in the works for a long time," he says. Regarding his new position, Renshaw says, "I am looking at marcomms from a new angle, reframing my experience and talking to clients to ask them about what they need to succeed in the future." He adds, "Paid media should still come from a place of authenticity."

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Here Are Lots of Ways You Can Shamelessly Cheat in Your Award Show Entries

September 22, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Agencies goosing their award-show entries for a better chance of winning? That never happens. Does it? Such chicanery won't get entrants anywhere at the 2017 North American Effie Awards, that's for sure. That show honors advertising effectiveness. So, to win an Effie, you'll need verifiable real-world results

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