Creative Q&A With John Adams

March 18, 2016

On John Adams’ desk is a drawing he made of five symbols that he says sum up his job description over 41 years at The Martin Agency.

The first symbol, an arrow, signifies growth and business development. Below that is a light bulb, for the ideas side of the business. In the middle is a heart, representing community. Next is a chain link, for the agency’s client relationships, and, finally, a tree, representing abundance – in financial management and otherwise, he said.

Adams, who officially retired Tuesday as The Martin Agency’s chairman, said those symbols have guided his goals for Martin over the four decades he’s been a part of the company. In that time, the agency, which recently celebrated its 50th year, received awards and acclaim that culminated last year with its first Grand Prix in Film from the prestigious Cannes Lions festival in France, for an online pre-roll ad titled “Family” from insurance company Geico’s “Unskippable” campaign.

Adams said Martin has also been a leader on the business side of things, developing “a tight discipline” on financials that has resulted in earnings over the past 20 years that he described as superior in the industry.

In recognition of his contributions, the agency recently named its Shockoe Slip headquarters for Adams, whose name is now displayed on its red-brick façade.

Richmond BizSense sat down with Adams the day before his retirement to discuss what he has learned, his approach to balancing business and creativity, and why the Geico Gecko remains one of his favorite campaigns. Click here to continue reading the edited transcript.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

GEICO's New Campaign Is Really Unskippable

February 29, 2016

GEICO's New Campaign Is Really Unskippable

Brand Debuts 'Fast Foward,' Its Follow-Up to Award-Winning Ads

By . Published on .

Geico has debuted the follow-up to its award-winning "Unskippable" campaign with a series of ads so outrageous it's hoping you won't mind that this time around, you won't even have an option to skip the films.

Continue to Ad Age.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Agency Experts Weigh in On Facebook Reaction

February 24, 2016

We asked some of our employees what they thought of Facebook Reactions and how it will affect the industry.

Did they like or love, say haha or wow, or feel sad or angry?

Taylor Wiegert, Senior Planner, UX Strategy

  • This update is a representation of people wanting a more nuanced way of expressing themselves. The “Like” button wasn’t doing that. So Facebook found a good balance between giving people a little bit more of a unique way to express their views for the complex issues being shared online.
  • The “Like” button became sort of passé, now users have something meaningful to react with.
  • More nuanced for users = more data for marketers.
  • From a marketing/branding perspective, this is a good way for brands to evaluate from a deeper level how their content is being received by their audience. In the past, a Like could tell you a little, a comment could tell you a lot, and now reactions will be able to tell you something in-between.

Brad Higdon, Group Account Director

  • More options = more data.
  • For individuals, providing a range is helpful in reacting more expressively, especially when you have occasions of individuals who post about something unpleasant or even something tragic (like someone who passed away) and it isn’t intuitive to “Like” the post, even though you want to show support…so ultimately this is a good move.
  • As it relates to brands, I think it will help draw out the character and further shape the personalities of the brands we support. GEICO has always had a humorous brand personality, so I hope we get a lot of “ha-has” for the content we post. It may also create a new dimension for brands in the sense that GEICO could post a picture of something out in the world that we think is funny, and by having consumers react with “ha-ha” reinforces our brand character. That we’re likable and funny. The more data we have, the more it helps us refine our posts.

Bob Meagher, Associate Creative Director

  • One of the most important updates is the sad emoji. Now when someone posts that their Dad just passed away, people don’t have to give the thumbs up. My guess is that the angry emoji will get a lot of use, both for personal posts and advertisers.

David Vogeleer, Associate Creative Director/Technology

  • I think how emoji have become part of our common vernacular is interesting. For the longest time, it was impossible to provide any emotional context to statements written in shorthand, so adding an “angry face” to a post really gives the reader some understanding of where the writer is coming from.
  • Plus, throwing a poop emoji onto anything is just hilarious.
Posted By: The Martin Agency

Kayak Finds Its New Creative Partner in The Martin Agency

February 17, 2016

Shop known for GEICO ads will handle upcoming campaigns.

By Patrick Coffee | Adweek | February 17, 2016

After several years of decidedly unusual ads from New York's Barton F. Graf, travel aggregator Kayak is going in a new direction, choosing The Martin Agency for its next big creative assignment.

Continue to Adweek.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

The No-Nudity Playboy Is Doing Well With Advertisers, So Far

February 16, 2016

As Playboy CEO Scott Flanders tells it, Playboy didn't drop full-frontal nudity because it wanted to appeal to more advertisers. But Mr. Flanders is certainly happy to see that brands are getting behind the new and improved Playboy, now on newsstands.

"The early indications seem quite positive," Mr. Flanders said. Ad pages in the March issue increased 55.5% year-over-year, to just under 42, according to numbers submitted to MPA-The Association of Magazine Media.

Playboy made waves back in October when it announced that it would move away from full-frontal nudity as part of a larger redesign aimed at appealing to more millennial men.

Brands that got an early look at the March issue have been impressed and have committed to advertising in future ones, according to Mr. Flanders. "I thought advertisers might need to see three or four issues before they'd be comfortable that we were very serious with this commitment," he said.

Sensing that the magazine's first non-nude issue would be a "collector's edition," Stoli Vodka, a longtime Playboy advertiser, jumped at the chance to be part of the March issue in a big way.

"We believered it was really, really important for us to have a significant presence," Stoli Brand Director Russell Pareti said.

Stoli also saw a kindred brand spirit in Playboy. "This change for them, to ... cast a wider net with a wider audience, was a really great fit for what we're also looking to do in terms of our consumer target," Mr. Pareti said. "Millennials are also a big part of our recruitment strategy."

Stoli opted for a premium, gatefold advertising spot in the back of the book, designed by The Martin Agency. Its ads allude to Playboy's new no-nudity policy with lines like "Here's to leaving just a little to the imagination."

The goal was to show "a little wit and humor" while also nodding to Playboy's decision "to shake things up," said creative director Neel Williams, VP-creative director at The Martin Agency. "Creatively, from a messaging standpoint, we certainly wanted to applaud that decision and be supportive of it, as a like-minded brand," he said.

Continue to Advertising Age.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Martin Couples

February 12, 2016

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d take a moment to celebrate some of Martin’s couples. Not the romantic kind, but the work kind — the partner that you might see even MORE than your actual partner.

Here are some of Martin’s most dynamic duos.

Alex Herwig, Sr. Art Director, and Andrew Maaldrink, Sr. Copywriter, "The Tallest Team"

How did you two meet?

We met in 2010 in Amsterdam on the shared patio of our former agencies. During lunch breaks all the creatives played Kubb against each other. We still play. We even brought Kubb to Richmond and organize a tournament every once in a while.

Do you have any nicknames for each other?

Alex is 6’5” and Andrew is 6’8”, so we call ourselves “The Tallest Team.”

If you’d known each other as children, would you have been friends then?

In a classroom only one kid can be the tallest. We’d have hated each other’s guts.

Dean Jarrett, Chief Communications Officer, and Carmina Drummond, Director of Logistics & Operations Management

How long have you been a “couple”?

27 years.

What’s the most annoying trait about your partner?

Carmina: He’s a big dreamer.

Dean: She thinks she’s always right.

What is your favorite thing about your partner?

Carmina: He’s a big dreamer.

Dean: She’s always right but doesn’t say ‘I told you so.’

On average, how much time do you spend with each other a day (or week)?

Carmina: Not enough :)

What is the greatest accomplishment you’ve worked on together?

Dean: Last year’s 50th Anniversary party was, according to most, our best ever. But we both have teams who thankfully make us, and the agency, always look good.

Lorri Riddle, Controller, and Janet White, Chief Financial Officer

How long have you two worked together?

10 years in April.

What is the theme song to best represent your relationship?

“Money, Money, Money!” (“For the Love of Money” — The O'Jays)

If you’d known each other as children, would you have been friends then?

Janet: Definitely. Too bad I’m almost old enough to be Lorri’s mom! Not quite, but close.

Who’s the better cook?

Lorri: I’ve never heard Janet talk about cooking anything so I think this may be me by default. Best of the worst?!

Janet: I don’t cook, so deferring to Lorri on this one.

What is your favorite thing about your partner?

Lorri: We think about things differently yet seem to be on the same page often.

Which one of you is a night owl/morning person?

Janet is definitely the night owl and Lorri is more of a morning person.

Beth Fujiura, Sr. Art Director, and Casey Hall, Sr. Copywriter (work and real-life couple)

Who’s the better cook?

Whoever gets to the vending machine first.

Do you have any nicknames for each other?

Sometimes we call each other by our first names.

Which famous dynamic duo best represents you two?

Laverne and Shirley.

Marco Worsham, Art Director, and Deric Nance, ACD

What is your favorite thing about your partner?

Marco: Deric is so buttoned-up about everything. It’s great.

What’s the most annoying trait about your partner?

Marco: Deric is so buttoned-up about everything. Makes me sick.

Which one of you is a night owl/morning person?

Deric: Marco is definitely an early riser. He wakes up around the time I go to bed.

Which famous dynamic duo best represents you two?

Joe Piscopo and Eddie Murphy on SNL as Sinatra and Stevie Wonder singing “Ebony and Ivory.”

Sandy Vargas, Senior Maintenance Technician, and Gray Jackson, Facility Maintenance Supervisor

How long have you two worked together?

4 years.

On average, how much time do you spend together a day (or week)?

At least 40 hours, but usually more.

What is your favorite thing about your partner?

Sandy: He’s very dependable and always polite.

Who's the better cook?

Gray: Sandy. He cooks a mean empanada.

What have you always wanted to do together but haven’t yet?

Go on a guided Alaskan halibut fishing trip.

Marysia Makowska, ACD, and Heather Schmitz, ACD

Have you ever almost “broken up”?

Yes. We broke up for one year. We try not to talk about it because it brings a lot of heavy feelings back. But it got pretty ugly. Marysia didn’t eat for weeks, and Heather couldn’t stop. Luckily the band’s back together and we’re sounding better than ever.

What is your favorite out-of-the-office spot to hang out at together?

Tulum, Mexico.

What have you always wanted to do together but haven’t yet?

Create a web series about two thirty-something women working in the ad biz in New York City. It’s not autobiographical whatsoever.

Bob Meagher, ACD, and Pat Wittich, Sr. Art Director

What is your favorite thing about your partner?

Bob: My favorite thing about working with Pat is that we agree with each other 100% of the time, except for when we disagree.

What is the most annoying trait about your partner?

Bob: I find it quite annoying when Pat hits me in the head with a baseball bat.

Pat: That Bob swings an axe like a girl.

Which one of you is a night owl/morning person?

Bob: Because of my insomnia and overactive bladder, I am both a night owl and morning person.

Which famous dynamic duo best represents you two?

Definitely Hall & Oates. I’m Daryl Hall but without the golden mullet and soulful pipes. And Bob’s John Oates without the bushy mustache. On second thought, we’re nothing like Hall & Oates.

What is the greatest accomplishment you’ve worked on together?

Pat: This photograph.

Posted By: The Martin Agency