Calling All Manbassadors

July 11, 2016

Better Gender Diversity Requires More Male Sponsors

Beth Rilee-Kelley | July 8, 2016 | Advertising Age

I first heard the term "manbassador" at the 3% Conference a few years back.

And it resonated with me.

Manbassadors are men who are particularly tuned in to the roadblocks women face in business and do all they can to mentor, encourage and promote women in the workplace. In essence, they're sponsors.

There's a very important conversation going on right now about gender diversity and respect (or sometimes lack thereof) of women by men in our industry. But in the midst of this discussion, I want to acknowledge the men who elegantly served as manbassadors long before the term was coined and who played instrumental roles in the careers of women like me. And perhaps more importantly, I'd like to ask more men to step up and carry the manbassador torch for the aspiring female leaders of tomorrow.

Several weeks ago, I was named president of The Martin Agency. I've worked at this great company for 33 years and it's a wonderful honor to be named president. And yes, it's even more wonderful to be the first female president.

So, a moment like that naturally spurs a great deal of personal reflection. As I thought about what I might want to say to our staff following the announcement of my new role, I reflected on the most influential people in my career.

That's when it struck me. They were all men. And of course they were, because early in my career there simply weren't very many women in leadership positions in our industry.

Here are three lessons I learned from my "manbassadors:"

Continue to Advertising Age.

Posted By: Beth Rilee-Kelley

James Robinson on What It Takes to Be a Great Creative

July 07, 2016

Minda Smiley | 07 July 2016

The Drum recently caught up with James Robinson, executive creative director at The Martin Agency in New York, to find out what he thinks it takes to be a great creative. Robinson joined the agency last summer as its first New York executive creative director after stints at TwoFifteenMcCann and Venables Bell & Partners.

For Robinson, a great creative is somebody who “knows the rules of advertising but really is in the game to sort of break them.”

“It does mean that you have to know your audience very well,” he said. “You have to know the environment and the media that you’re in, but you have to know how to play with that media, how to upend it, how to change it.”

He also said great creatives have the ability to “stay in that uncomfortable place where you don’t have the answer” for as long as possible.

“I think what happens to most creatives is they find a solution that they think is a good solution and they eject really quickly,” he said. “I think a really great creative keeps rolling that idea around and finding new ways that it can express itself.”

Throughout his career, Robinson’s work has been recognized by Cannes, the One Show and the Webbys. A campaign he helped create for the Montana Meth Project was once cited by the White House as one of the most effective anti-drug campaigns in US history.

Continue to The Drum.

Posted By: James Robinson

The World's 24 Best Commercials of 2015-2016

June 28, 2016

See the Grand Prix and gold winners from Cannes' two Film contests 

Tim Nudd | Adweek | June 28, 2016

The 2016 Cannes Lions festival has come and gone, but we'll be doing some roundups this week of the big winners and some interesting work from the festival that we hadn't seen before.

Film Lions Gold Winner: Geico "Forest"

Agency: The Martin Agency Richmond 

Production Company: Furlined New York / Cut+Run New York / Mpc New York

Continue to Adweek to additional 23 pieces of work.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Martin Brings Home 7 Cannes Lions

June 27, 2016

The Martin Agency continued their winning streak at Cannes last week bringing home 1 Gold, 4 Silver and 2 Bronze Lions from the Cannes International Festival of Creativity held June 18-26.

Two GEICO campaigns scored the honors this year with “It’s What You Do” campaign winning two Silver Lions in Film, and the “Fast Forward” campaign earning a Gold and Silver in Film, a Silver in Cyber, a Bronze in Promo and Activation, and a Bronze in Direct. 

Martin Chief Creative Officer, Joe Alexander, served as the President of the Film Jury. 

President Beth Rilee-Kelley and Group Creative Director Wade Alger also participated in the ''Behind the Scenes with Cannes Lion Winners’ forum. The two presented insights from 2015’s Film Grand Prix winning campaign, “Unskippable” to the group of senior marketing leaders enrolled in the Cannes CMO Accelerator Program. 

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity recognizes the world’s best creative work in 24 disciplines within the industry.


Posted By: The Martin Agency

US' Most Creative Partnerships: GEICO & The Martin Agency

June 22, 2016

For more than 20 years, Geico has been saying: "Fifteen minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance." The message has become so well known that the insurance company turned its pitch into a punchline in its own ads.

It launched its "Did you know" ad series in 2013 after identifying a 93% recall of the "15%" positioning. The ads start with a person reciting the line, prompting a dismissive "Everyone knows that" response. This leads the first person to retort with a (usually invented) "fact" of their own.  

"We’re the only ones who can question our own tagline," says Wade Alger, senior vice-president and group creative director at The Martin Agency, which won the account in 1994. 

It’s a privileged position for a brand that has been able to saturate the market with a hefty media budget and a steadfast commitment to its formula for success: humour with an unwavering strategy and easily repeatable story structure. 

"The media budget (some years, up to $1bn) gives the freedom, and need, to run several narratives at once"

"We describe our approach as ‘relentlessly consistent’," says Ted Ward, vice-president of marketing at Geico. More than two decades of the memorable ads have moved it from eighth to number two in its category. 

"The 15/15 promise has been our anchor," says Steve Bassett, senior vice-president and group creative  director at The Martin Agency. The media budget (some years, up to $1bn) gives the freedom, and need, to run several narratives at once. 

The brand’s cast of characters has included an affable animated gecko (the solution to a 1999 actors’ strike), the "Hump Day" camel and even celebrities such as Little Richard and Joan Rivers, cast to comically translate real customers’ testimonials. "Geico advertising has always been a little self-aware," Bassett says. 

The brand’s "Unskippable" take on pre-roll ads was one of the most-awarded campaigns of 2015. Geico’s message appears in the first five seconds, before the "skip ad" prompt, then characters freeze as the action continues around them. "You can’t skip this Geico ad because it’s already over," the voiceover says. The ad that won the Grand Prix in Film at Cannes "freezes" a family at dinner – except a dog, which jumps up and gobbles their food.

"It’s really understanding how people view advertising," Bassett says. "People aren’t waiting or dying to see the next Geico ad, but it’s become one of the most shareable brands."

The comedy is different in each ad series, but, Alger says, "It can’t be weird for weird’s sake." 

"Geico has permission to seamlessly split into a new campaign as long as it’s anchored by 15/15 and the humour’s interesting," Bassett explains. "[It’s] not really changing direction, just taking the same information and re-presenting in a fresh way that is going to surprise and hopefully get you talking."

The strategy has worked well: Geico has been the fastest-growing insurance company in the US for more than ten years. 

Ted Ward 

Vice-president, marketing, Geico

The people [at] both The Martin Agency and here at Geico are in it for the long haul. I’ve been at Geico 32 years. I hired them [more than] 22 years ago. And over those years, most of the critical pieces and parts have stayed in place. The current head of the agency, Matt Williams, was our very first account executive. One of the key people on my side who works with the Martin folks has been with Geico 32 years. So, there’s consistency in both people and approach. 

Wade Alger

Senior vice-president and group creative director, The Martin Agency 

It really is a partnership. Everyone is valued and their opinions count. That’s what makes the work better. No one has a giant ego in the room, everyone can be very humbled and it really is like a giant round table where we’re all equals. Ted will, obviously, make the final decision, but when you walk into a room with that sort of mentality or that amount of confidence in your partner, it really helps the work get better.

Steve Bassett

Senior vice-president and group creative director, The Martin Agency 

There’s not a revolving door as far as the CMO goes, which is great, and the people above him have been there since the beginning. I’ve been on shoots with clients where there’s a feeling of fear or "them versus us"; on a Geico shoot there is no fear. We’re all in it to make the best spot we can. A lot of the good edits and ideas come from the client. Everybody knows where the "North Star" is. A lot of that has to do with Ted. I can’t give the Geico team enough credit.

Continue to Campaign.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Stoli #DrinkWhatYouWant on Adweek

June 20, 2016

New Stoli Campaign Aims to Break the Stigma Against Men Who Enjoy Fruity Cocktails

The Martin Agency's ads tell guys to drink what they want

Katie Richards | Adweek | June 20, 2016

It's a tough life for macho men out there who want to enjoy a nice fruity cocktail on a Friday night, but don't want to be seen holding said pink beverage amongst friends. Stoli's latest campaign, a movement you might say, hopes to break millennial men from these chains and let them know it's OK to drink whatever the hell they want.

After speaking to bartenders across the country and conducting a survey, the vodka brand found that while young men enjoy flavored cocktails, they typically opt for a beer or whisky instead. According to the survey, which polled 1,475 men over the age of 21, 73 percent of millennial men enjoy flavored cocktails, but 63 percent will avoid ordering them in public out of fear that friends will make fun of them for it. 

The "Drink What You Want" campaign, created by The Martin Agency, hopes to break the stigma against men who enjoy fruity beverages. It includes a larger anthem spot and three shorter videos, which focus on individual products, featuring three different cocktails made with different Stoli flavors.

Continue to Adweek.

Posted By: The Martin Agency