The 5 Best Moments From This Year's AAF Hall of Fame Dinner

April 21, 2015

21 April 2015, Adweek. By Andy McMains

The annual American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame dinner this year was as earnest as it was funny, as inductees spoke as passionately about their families as their peers.

In all, eight people and one corporation (PepsiCo) were honored at the event, which took place Monday night at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. Some 975 people attended, and the AAF raised around $2 million for college scholarships, student ad competitions and diversity initiatives.

Here are five of the best lines of the night, showing the range of jokes, insights and reflections shared by honorees:

Spike Lee, filmmaker, CEO of Spike DDB and force behind the Mars Blackmon Air Jordan ads with Michael Jordan in the late 1980s and early 1990s, said he owed his entrance into advertising to Nike agency Wieden + Kennedy and Nike's "visionary" founder Phil Knight. "People told him that having Michael Jordan as the face of your company will be detrimental to your business, to have a black man as the face of your company would be death," Lee said. "But thank god Phil Knight did not listen to those stupid motherfuckers—excuse my language."

Lee Clow, director of media arts at TBWA, thanked the ad leaders who inspired and trusted him—including George Lois, Bill Bernbach, Jay Chiat, Steve Jobs, John Wren and Jean-Marie Dru—adding that he has had an "amazingly special" advertising life. "And I'd also like to speak about real life: my wife, Eileen, [of] 45 years," Clow said. "Last couple of weeks I realized that being loved by her is all that really has mattered. So, thank you tonight."

John Adams, chairman of The Martin Agency, said he was overcome by deer ticks while clearing brush on the outer banks of North Carolina last weekend. "So, I started to pull them off, thinking about how boorish it would be to go to New York, to sit in a ballroom with these distinguished advertising people, covered with these blood-sucking parasites," Adams said. "But then I thought, wait a minute ..."

Linda Kaplan Thaler, chairman of Publicis Kaplan Thaler, had tears in her eyes when she took the stage after watching a video tribute created in her honor. The video ended with her husband, son and daughter singing the Toys 'R Us jingle ("I want to be a Toys R Us kid.") that she helped create at JWT. "First time I'm seeing this," she explained. "I'm so glad I splurged for the waterproof mascara at Duane Reade."

Chuck Porter, chairman of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, was clearly a bit freaked out by the honor of being inducted into the Hall of Fame. But rather than talk about himself, he reflected on the best ads that his agency and the industry has produced. "People—they care about being informed, being entertained, being engaged, and mostly I think they care about being inspired," Porter said. "If you remember those things from the start when you do what we do, you can do magic."

The other honorees were iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman, Radio One founder Catherine Hughes and actor Michael J. Fox, who received the President's Award for his contributions to advertising, including his fundraising efforts to combat Parkinson's disease.

Finally, the tribute videos for each Hall of Famer ranged from sentimental (like Clow's, which George Lois made) and straight-up congratulatory to goofy. Adams' video had fun comparing the agency leader from Virginia to America's second president:

Link to video.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

RAC & Alex Ebert’s “Tear You Down” Video: Idolator Premiere

April 14, 2015

14 April 2015, Idolator. By Robbie Daw

RAC has delivered a truly thought-provoking short film experience for Strangers cut “Tear You Down,” a pair-up with Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros vocalist Alex Ebert.

Here we see main RAC man Andre Allen Anjos falling into the ranks of a religious collective after receiving an invite from a pretty young woman. Andre arrives at a house that serves as the base for the group, where he passes through an initiation process, and finally is accepted as a member.

The police eventually raid the collective’s home, but there’s a twist ending that poses a specific question: Whether you belong to a religious cult or not, don’t we all serve the purpose of some larger group or other in the end?

Continue to Idolator.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

If 'Game of Thrones' was an ad agency

April 12, 2015

12 April 2015. Digiday. By Martin Agency Associate Creative Director, Neel Williams

If you’ve noticed a palpable anticipation in the air lately, it’s not just because Raekwon’s new album is dropping in a few weeks. Game of Thrones’ fifth season is about to begin and it’s got nerds around the world (myself included) in need of a proper fainting couch.

One of the great things about GoT is its perfect mix of drama, violence and frontal nudity. Another great thing is how the show’s characters run the gamut from heroic and moral to despicable and putrid. Hey, this is starting to sound a lot like an agency! OK, so the violence is mostly passive aggressive in ad life, but it’s hard not to see some slight similarities between the show and everyday agency culture.

So without further ado, here is what Game of Thrones might look like if it was an advertising agency. Please understand that there are like 5,000 characters on GOT so most of them have been left out, some of them are currently deceased, and there are plenty of spoilers if you haven’t watched any of the series. OK, now read on.

Hodor: Production
Arguably the most lovable, faithful character in the whole series (if you haven’t watched “Game of Hodor” on YouTube, do it right now). Hodor gets Bran Stark where he wants to go, quite literally. Production is the muscle behind any great idea. Without it, nothing would happen and you’d just be stuck on the ground ruing the day you accidentally became witness to some hot Lannister incest and got pushed out a window. (Note: most producers are far better conversationalists than Hodor.)

Tywin Lannister: Accounting
Head of House Lannister, Tywin is as pragmatic — and rich — as they come. He’s all about the numbers and the outcome. This approach has taken him and his family to the pinnacle of Westeros. As any good number-cruncher knows, you can only get so far on creative strength if you can’t keep the lights on. In the end, the Lannister motto says it all: “A Lannister always pays his debts.” Too bad not all clients share that point of view.

The Night’s Watch: I.T.
A motley crew of bastards, rapists and youngest sons (I’m talking about The Night’s Watch…relax!) They are the first and last line of protection from the scariest of foes. It’s easy to get wrapped up in Game of Thrones with all its drama and politics, but that means nothing when you’re confronted with a million zombies wielding swords. In the agency world, the only thing scarier than an undead army is the prospect of your internet search history falling into the hands of a hacker. Sure, we totally believe that “Naked Golden Girls Pics” was a work-related search.

Varys: Account Management
With a network of informants across several continents, Varys the Eunuch uses this intelligence to the realm’s (and his own) advantage. For a guy with no physical assets, he shows some pretty strong metaphorical ones from time to time. Just like Varys, any good account person should be focused on fostering relationships and gaining inside knowledge that can one day come in handy…COUGH…blackmail…COUGH-COUGH.

Daenerys Targaryen + Her Dragons: Creative
Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, Khaleesi of the something-or-other. She’s racked up a lot of impressive-sounding titles and has the whiz-bang thunder of three dragons. Unfortunately, you can’t really domesticate dragons and sometimes they eat small children. So it is with Creative, the firepower of any agency worth its salt. Sure, they’re hard to tame and difficult to love, but if you ever need a Super Bowl spot in 24 hours (or get imprisoned by warlocks in a creepy tower), man are they handy to have around.

Lady Stark: Human Resources
There’s not a whole lot of compassion in the Seven Kingdoms, but Lady Stark provides a strong example of motherly love. She was mostly kind and completely devoted to her (legitimate) children. In a similar way, Human Resources is all about the people, making sure they’re taken care of and looked after. H.R. also isn’t afraid to “slap the taste out your mouf” if you disrespect your siblings. Momma keeps it real.

Jon Snow: Project Management
On GoT, it’s tough to find a heroic character who’s still above ground. Somehow Snow manages it. In Season 4, Ned Stark’s bastard keeps 100,000 wildlings at bay when pretty much everyone else on The Wall has gone bonkers. Snow takes the reins, keeps everyone on task and does a hell of a lot with a tiny force. This is Project Management at its best, a calm yet assertive force that can turn 5 fingers into a powerful, Wildling-smashing fist.

Tyrion Lannister: Planning
What Lord Tyrion lacks in stature, he more than makes up for in strategy. His thoughtful planning saved King’s Landing from Stannis Baratheon’s navy. And what did he get in return? A big scar on his face and the hatred of his entire family. Yep, planning can be a bit thankless at times, but without good strategy sometimes all it takes is a mosquito fart to send your castle defenses a-crumbling.

Stannis Baratheon’s Weird Spirit Baby: Freelancers
In one of the more odd moments in GOT, Stannis Baratheon’s Red Priestess gives birth to a shadowy spirit that goes and kills his enemy/brother. The whole thing leaves everybody feeling a bit…icky. Freelancers aren’t nearly that scary, but they do come at a steep cost for carrying out a singular task. Then they disappear into the ether never to be seen or spoken of again.

If you actually read through each of these, you deserve a merit badge. If you skimmed through a few and then got down here, well, I can’t blame you. Let’s just all be glad we’re not actually in Game of Thrones because “winter is coming” and half of us would be dead already. So let’s just kick back with a nice cup of ale and enjoy what season 5 has to offer. Rest assured, it will be packed with more vices than one of Lord Baelish’s brothels.

Continue to Digiday.

Posted By: Neel Williams

Supreme Court Justices Will Be Invited to So Many Same-Sex Weddings

April 02, 2015

1 April 2015, Creativity-Online, Editor's Pick

Tie The Knot, a non-profit organization that supports marriage equality founded by "Modern Family" actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband Justin Mikita, is turning the traditional wedding "Save the Date" into ammo for its cause.

Along with the Martin Agency, Tie the Knot has launched "Supreme Save the Date," targeting the 14 U.S. states that have yet to legalize same-sex marriage. It will feature a "Save the Date Builder" that helps gay couples who hope to marry create their own Save the Dates and send them to Supreme Court Justices before they make their ruling on same-sex marriage in June. The idea is to potentially inundate them with wedding plans that can't move forward without the Supreme Court's help.

Continue to Creativity-Online for video and full article.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Benjamin Moore Debuts Its Biggest Ad Campaign Ever

March 24, 2015

24 March 2015, Adweek, By Noreen O'Leary.

Benjamin Moore is launching its most aggressive advertising campaign ever, spending $50 million to differentiate the brand in a commodity category where paint increasingly is just seen as color on the wall.

Ron Schuller, who joined Benjamin Moore as CMO last November, said the initiative emphasizes its two strongest attributes: Consumers' perception of Benjamin Moore as a premium brand; and its distribution through smaller merchants, rather than big-box stores.

"In the first phase [of the campaign], we'll talk about product quality where the product is the hero," said Schuller, "while in the second phase we'll focus on our independent, expert retailers who give you the right advice and help you through the process."

The 132-year-old company's pitch, from The Martin Agency, uses TV, radio, print and digital and introduces the brand's new tagline—"Paint like no other." Benjamin Moore previously leaned on a more locally-focused approach. Schuller said the company had to turn up the volume with a clear positioning in a category where there's been "a lot of noise" in recent years, especially as the economy has improved and consumers return to do-it-yourself household projects.

The first phase of the campaign, "Feats of Can," which just broke, highlights paint coatings that correspond to different product offerings. Benjamin Moore lays claim to industry firsts like creating a product that combines paint and primer, and one with zero VOCs (symptom-producing solvents) and no emissions.

Continue to Adweek for full article.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Penske Truck Leasing Debuts First National B-to-B Campaign

March 16, 2015

16 March 2015, Advertising Age, By Kate Maddox

Penske Truck Leasing today is launching its first national b-to-b campaign, designed to raise awareness of its truck leasing, rental and logistics services for businesses.

The campaign, which has the theme "Moving Forward," includes print, online and social media. Online videos break today on around coverage of the NCAA "March Madness" men's basketball tournament.

The ads use humor to show what can go wrong when businesses don't use Penske for their critical shipping and transportation needs, from chickens hatching out of egg cartons to truckers with lousy horns. The campaign was created by The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., and the budget was not disclosed.

"We have done a lot of advertising around our individual product lines -- primarily in trade-specific publications -- but we wanted to tell a broader story of what we do," said Sherry Sanger, senior VP-marketing at Penske Truck Leasing.

Penske has three main b-to-b product lines -- commercial truck rentals for businesses' short-term needs; full-service truck leasing for longer-term needs; and logistics, such as handling businesses' transportation and warehousing operations.

The company also provides truck rental services to consumers, although that side of the business makes up less than 10% of the company's total revenue, Ms. Sanger said. Penske Truck Leasing had total revenue of $5.6 billion last year.

"The consumer side is the most visible part of our brand. People are used to seeing our bright yellow trucks," she said. "What we really wanted to focus on is the commercial breadth of our offerings."

So Penske turned to The Martin Agency, its agency of record for the past three years, to develop an integrated campaign that would reach a national business audience.

"Many people in the b-to-b space forget that they are really talking to humans," said Cliff Sorah, senior VP-creative director at The Martin Agency. "We are showcasing the humanity behind the brand and connecting to the audiences with humor."

Continue to Ad Age for full article.

Posted By: The Martin Agency