Martin's Musical Expertise Featured in New York Times

April 06, 2018

Selling Products With a Swelling Score

When the figures on a graffiti mural came to vibrant life in a Coke commercial that debuted during the Olympics last month, they leapt, rolled and scaled buildings to the accompaniment of “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” a movement of Edvard Grieg’s “Peer Gynt” Suite.

A Chevron commercial about the efficacy of drones gets a shot of adrenaline from that bane of piano students, Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee.” Tchaikovsky’s “1812” Overture, once used to sell Quaker puffed cereal, is now featured in an ad for Myrbetriq, a drug for treating an overactive bladder. Meanwhile, a Geico ad makes its point with an assist from Bach’s “Brandenburg” Concerto No. 3 — and a clueless percussionist shredding a triangle solo.

Classical music has long had a place in commercials. The Western canon’s aura makes it just the thing for pitching luxury brands like the Lincoln Motor Company, whose 2017 holiday ad unfolded over a track of Shostakovich’s swoony Waltz No. 2.

And just as Looney Tunes cartoons used chunks of Brahms, Rossini, Smetana and Chopin as oh-so-civilized foils for the mayhem of Bugs Bunny and associates, commercials have often juxtaposed “this supposedly educated music with foolishness and tomfoolery,” said David Muhlenfeld, vice president and creative director of the Martin Agency.

But these days, ad agencies are using classical music as more than a jokey device or a signifier of wealth and sophistication. A snippet of Arvo Pärt’s “Spiegel im Spiegel” threads through an ad for the rugged but hardly luxe Jeep Cherokee. And Coke, while a classic, is the most democratic of beverages.

It may have something to do with pop fatigue.

Agencies also benefit from what the composer and arranger Robert Miller calls the recognition factor.

The risk for advertisers is turning off the audience. “People could be intimidated by classical music or feel they’re out of their depth,” Mr. Muhlenfeld of the Martin Agency said. There’s also a hazard of being just a bit too obvious: reflexively trotting out Delibes or Debussy to provide the soundtrack for a scene that shouts “tuxedo territory.”

Read full article here.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Karen On Why Industry Changes Need To Go Beyond Gender

April 06, 2018

Powerful Female Creatives Are Challenging Representation on Screen and in the Boardroom
Women are rising up as CCOs and changing how they appear in ads

Putting the CCO title next to more women is important, but just one step in a broader process. The Martin Agency’s Karen Costello says all marketers, on the brand and agency side alike, need to embrace change and break stereotypes, and not just those related to gender. In January, Costello was promoted to chief creative officer at The Martin Agency.

“It’s about showing what America really looks like,” Costello says. “Show people of color, people with disabilities, etcetera. Sometimes change feels too slow, but I feel that [the industry is] going there. It’s exciting.”

Read full article here.

Posted By: Karen Costello

We're Slingers.

April 06, 2018

Two couples meet up for a night of adult fun. They’re into options and freedom, without all the commitments. And video’s involved.

But they’re not swingers. Far from it.

That’s right, they’re Slingers, touting the choice and low prices of Sling TV in the OTT streaming service’s first campaign from The Martin Agency, its new agency of record.

Sling sounds like swing. That’s the joke. For some it’s hahaha! For others, heh. We’d rate this particular commercial somewhere in between—heh heh—thanks to crisp acting and direction that recalls Martin’s work for Geico.

“Our goal is to position Sling TV as the solution that gives customers choice and control in a world where traditional pay-TV pain points like high prices, useless channels and terrible customer service are all too common,” says Colleen Sugarman, the company’s head of marketing.

Here’s a billboard for folks who like to Sling/swing, outdoors:

“We’re competing for attention not just with our client’s competitors, but with everything people are consuming as content,” says agency creative chief Karen Costello. “The cheeky misdirect and play on the name is super sticky and a great way for Sling TV to be part of the conversation about TV ‘lifestyle’ viewing options.”

For an encore, maybe they could invite Danny Trejo to swing by. Now that would be a party!

Read full article here.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Agency Spy Introduces the Vanhills

April 06, 2018

By Lindsay Rittenhouse

The Martin Agency invites viewers to meet the Vanhills, a new fictitious and seemingly unethical 1 percenter family behind a large chain of supermarkets, as it kicks off its first campaign for the expanding global German discount grocer Lidl, “Don’t Let Them Waste Your Money.”

“This new campaign is designed to raise awareness about the costly inefficiencies of traditional supermarkets and the savings that Lidl’s streamlined approach brings to customers every day,” Elina Elvholm, director of brand marketing at Lidl U.S., said in a statement. “When customers shop at Lidl, they experience less complexity, lower prices and better quality choices.”

“Don’t Let Them Waste Your Money” launched today with its first 30-second video, “Apple Pyramid,” which will be televised in six U.S. states near Lidl locations. The supermarket chain opened its first 20 stores in Virginia and the Carolinas over the summer, with plans to grow its footprint to 100 locations along the East Coast.

The larger campaign encourages consumers to “rethink grocery,” as it persuades them to believe they are “being ripped off” if they shop at any grocer other than Lidl. The Vanhills, for their part, serve as the face of large, “broken and bloated” supermarket chains that use “tricks to con consumers into paying more for inferior and inefficient products,” according to a statement from The Martin Agency.

As we saw from the first ad, the faux Vanhills Inc. chairman Lance Vanhill questions why the company wastes money on employing a worker solely responsible for stacking apples in a pyramid to make them appear fresher. His mother, CEO Kitty Vanhill, scoffs at him, saying: “What do you know about anything? It’s either fruit pyramids or we start selling apples that are actually fresh.”

Kitty Vanhill then pauses, as if she’s considering the preposterous notion, before she and the rest of the gang (including the stock hand) burst out in laughter.

The Vanhills will be worked into a series of TV ads for Lidl in the coming weeks.

“When you get a chance to work with a brand as fearless and competitive as Lidl, you have to deliver work the category won’t see coming,” noted David Muhlenfeld, vp and creative director at The Martin Agency. “So we went semi-ballistic and took a cheerful hammer to fruit pyramids and all the other tricks traditional groceries use to make you pay more than you should.”

Read full article here.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Campaign Digital 40 Over 40: Spotlight on Emily Eldridge

April 06, 2018

Emily Eldridge 

SVP, executive producer, digital studio director, The Martin Agency

Emily Eldridge began her career in the early days of Flash, at a startup looking to make the web a more engaging and interactive place through online product demos. While there, she lead an Addy-winning campaign to demonstrate the Windows Pocket PC (solid proof of her age). Her "just figure it out" attitude led her to try on many hats: from Digital Photographer to Flash Designer to Project Manager to UX Designer (before the role even existed). If it needed to get done, Eldridge just jumped in to do it.

Eldridge transitioned her digital marketing skills to a product-side role, helping Akamai Technologies recruit new talent, before returning to her roots at Digitas. While at Digitas, she helped develop a process for OLA development to roll out across all GM brands.

And as luck had it, Eldridge accepted the challenge of coming to The Martin Agency to help build a digital capability at an agency known for television and print. She helped build out The Martin Agency’s internal digital design and development team, who have gone on to create countless award-winning campaigns, including early uses of AR and AI. In the first year of its existence, The Martin Agency’s content studio delivered over 500 unique pieces of content for its clients.

Her career highlights include helping to build a dynamic ad platform before most Rich Media platforms even offered this technology, orchestrating early use of augmented reality for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for both the Picasso and Chihuly exhibits, and facilitating the team who implemented one of the first integrations of IBM Watson AI into a marketing initiative for Chevy’s Positivity Pump.

Eldridge is the humble owner of hardware from The One Show, Webbys, Cannes, Addys and FWA. Speaking of the FWA, she has served on their jury since 2016, along with Doubleclick’s Agency Advisory Board and McCann’s Strategy and Digital Leadership Committee.

Read full article here.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

#martindoes EFFIE Judging

March 29, 2018

"EFFIE Judging is a chance to peek inside the minds of our competitors. The way a case is constructed and the quality of the writing tells me all I need to know. And in my experience, the best agencies and clients write the best cases. The stories are crafted, simple and clear. They never over-sell because they don’t have to. All it takes is a provocative insight that spawns an inventive idea that drives measurable results. That’s it. We have those stories so let’s go win some." -Chris Mumford, President

Posted By: Chris Mumford