Karen Recaps Advertising in 2017

January 18, 2018

SHOOT's 2017 Year End Survey: Positive & Proactive

A look back at 2017, brands pushing back against negativity, and the promise of AI, AR

By SHOOT Staff Reporter

2017 has been a trying year. Political divisiveness on the rise, civility seemingly in decline. Sexual harassment coming to the fore in entertainment, media and the body politic. Those narrow of mind and short on tolerance emboldened to spew forth hate speech and scapegoating, coming to a tragic escalation one weekend in Charlottesville.

Yet out of the negativity, brands are among those finding their voice and pushing back, espousing positive values and addressing issues—as reflected in SHOOT’s Year-End Survey of ad agency creatives and professionals. For example, Karen Costello, executive creative director of The Martin Agency, said she and her colleagues at the shop are committed “to do more work that creates positive change and social impact. Just recently, after the tragedy in Charlottesville here in Virginia, we created a simple but powerful message of inclusion based on the ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ tagline created by the agency years ago.

The Martin Agency built upon that nearly 50-year-old tourism slogan with the added line “Virginia is for everyone” along with the hashtag #standforlove.

“It immediately resonated with people and took on a life of its own,” continued Costello. “As agencies and brands, we have incredible opportunities to affect change, and that inspires and energizes me greatly.”


What industry trends or developments were most significant in 2017?

One big trend is not necessarily a new one, but its massive importance and scale in the last year is unignorable—and that’s the voracious appetite for video content. This has led to some really great content and some not so great content. It’s led to compelling brand messages and fractured ones. With smaller agencies and content creators popping up almost every day, it’s a wild world out there with no end in sight.

Gazing into your crystal ball, what do you envision for the industry—creatively speaking and/or from a business standpoint—in 2018? (can focus on advertising, entertainment, production or post)

I envision more brands working to find their true north – their purpose or their “why” as they endeavor to rise to the shared values expectations of consumers.

I envision a lot more video content creation coming from all over the map and the continued land grab this creates across the industry.

What’s your New Year’s resolution, creatively speaking and/or from a business standpoint, for your company, agency or division? Do you have a personal New Year’s resolution that you can you share? And if you like, tell us briefly about a project you’ll be working on in early 2018?

My personal new year’s resolution is not dissimilar from the resolutions of many at The Martin Agency and that is to do more work that creates positive change and social impact. Just recently, after the tragedy in Charlottesville here in Virginia, we created a simple but powerful message of inclusion based on the Virginia is for Lovers tagline created by the agency years ago. It immediately resonated with people and took on a life of its own. As agencies and brands, we have incredible opportunities to affect change and that inspires and energizes me greatly.

Link to full article here.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Martin Lands #3 On 2017 YouTube Ad Leaderboard

January 17, 2018

Here Are the 4 Creative Agencies That Ruled YouTube in 2017


January 10, 2018

Each month, Google and Adweek present the YouTube Ads Leaderboard, a listing of the 10 most-watched commercials on YouTube in the prior month—with the caveat being that the spots must have significant organic views, not primarily paid views.

Google has now looked through all of the 2017 Ads Leaderboards and identified the creative agencies that placed the most spots on the monthly lists throughout the year.

Below are the results.

Runner-Up: The Martin Agency

YouTube Ads Leaderboard placements in 2017: 4

Sample spot: Geico – Triangle Solo

When was the last time you noticed the triangle player in an orchestra? The Martin Agency took an often neglected instrument and gave it a moment in 2017. The ad was watched by millions and even inspired a series of equally funny parodies across YouTube.

Link to full article here.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

SHOOT Names GEICO Game Night Top Video of 2017

January 17, 2018

Comedy Spots Dominate SHOOT's Ten Most Watched Videos of 2017

A rundown of the top 35 videos of the year from our ScreenWork gallery

By Shoot Staff Reporter

Of the 10 most viewed SHOOT videos of 2017, eight were marked by humor, perhaps reflecting the need for comic relief during what many regard as serious, trying times for society at large. 

Indeed the need to get away from it all was the theme driving the entry which generated the most views of 2017--Booking.com’s “Kindergarten” directed by Jared Hess of Community Films for Deutsch. In the spot, a beleaguered kindergarten teacher surrounded by classroom chaos talks of how she values her precious vacation time, which she gets the most out of thanks to Booking.com.

The second most viewed SHOOT video of 2017 yielded more comedy--Little Caesars’ “#1 Dad” directed by Mike Warzin of production house Arts & Sciences for agency Barton F. Graf, New York. In this commercial, a dad pays the price for not bringing home the Little Caesars “Extra Most Bestest” pizza which has the most cheese and pepperoni at an unbelievably low pricetag. Going to somewhere other than Little Caesars and paying more for less toppings is a big mistake. A father makes this mistake and as a result, his son demotes him, stripping the #1 off his cap. So the “#1 Dad” is demoted to just “Dad.”

The year’s #3 entry, Lexus’ “Man & Machine,” takes a break from comedy and moves into the visually driven, stylized arena compliments of director Jonas Akerlund via Serial Pictures for agency Team One. “Man & Machine” features dancer Lil Buck and the single from Sia titled “Move Your Body.” The spot parallels the relationship between the shapes and movements of the human form and the power and athleticism of Lexus’ most premium models. Minnie Driver debuts as the new voice of Lexus, introducing the new global tagline, “Experience Amazing.”

Finishing fourth and returning to the comedy discipline in SHOOT’s 2017 video derby was Nissan Titan trucks’ “No Lazy Horses” directed by the Traktor collective of production houses Supply & Demand and Traktor for TBWA\Chiat\Day New York. When a guy’s truck conks out, he lifts up the hood to reveal how powerless his horsepower had made him. Under the hood are hybrid human/horse characters (actually folks in cheesy horse costumes) who are lazy and insist that in order to rev up they need the gent to sing a ridiculous “Pretty Pretty Pony” song and then accompany it with a dance. At the mercy of his “lazy horses,” the man sings and dances only to be seen by the driver of a Nissan Titan truck who stops to lend a hand, thus rescuing our song-and-dance man. TBWA\Chiat\Day turned to humor in a product category not known for it. Titan disrupted the myth that to be a serious truck, you need serious advertising. Comedy appeals to the younger truck buyer--as does the Titan which sports a customer base that has tapped into the GenX demographic.

GEICO continues the laughter with the #5 entry, “Game Night” directed by Randy Krallman of Smuggler for The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va. In the piece, a neighborhood game night gets a little tense as people become a bit exasperated as they try to guess what a sloth is drawing (at a painfully slow pace). At the end of the ad, a spokesperson relates: “As long as sloths are slow, you can count on GEICO saving folks money.”

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Discover Financial Airs Its First Six-Second Spot

November 28, 2017

Marketing Daily

Discover Financial Airs Its First Six-Second Spot 

by Tanya Gazdik

There are long-form and short-form ads. Now there are really short form ads.  

Discover Financial debuted its first six-second TV commercial during the Ohio State vs. Michigan football game on Nov. 25. The company is the first in the financial industry to move forward with this new type of TV advertising, according to Discover Financial.

The spot, created by The Martin Agency, aired twice during the game and will air twice more during the Big Ten Championship game Dec. 2 on Fox. Spark Foundry negotiated the contract with the Big Ten for Discover’s sponsorship, which included the 6-second spots.

The goal of the spot is to show the excitement and joy Discover’s Cashback Match program can bring to a new cardmember, says Vijay Konduru, Discover’s vice president of media and sponsorships.

“There is a nod to brand reinforcement in the sense that it plays off our doppelganger theme between cardmember and call center agents, but ultimately we are hoping that the six-second spot, in combination with our 15s and 30s, drives long-term consumer consideration for Discover,” Konduru tells Marketing Daily.

The goal is to place a 30-second spot in the first quarter. The next break will show an in-game billboard lead into the six-second spot.

“This process should repeat itself in the third quarter as well,” Konduru says. “We want the combination of the 30-second spots, the in-game billboards, as well as the six-second spot to effectively connect with consumers.”

It’s too soon to say whether a six-second spot as a standalone unit is effective, he says.

“What we are excited for is to use the six-second concept in conjunction with our 15 and 30s, and in the case of the Big Ten Football Championship Game, with our in-game billboards,” he says. “The key for us is how these units can work together to tell a cohesive story to our audience.”

Before looking at the programming placement of a six-second spot, Discover Financial needs to make sure the spot itself is resonating with a wide-reaching audience. 

“We also need to make sure it supports the more traditional 15- and 30- second spots it’s working with,” Konduru says. “If the combination tests well, tells a good story, and delivers a clear message, it should be able to be placed on a variety of shows and platforms.”

The company will listen to the consumer when it comes to deciding which commercials to use. 

“We are always looking at data and listening to feedback for insights allowing us to better serve the consumer,” Konduru says. “That customer-first approach drives our business, including our marketing and advertising decisions."

Read full article here.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Randy Jackson's 'Dawg' Show in Adweek

November 09, 2017

Randy Jackson Finds New Gig Judging a ‘Dawg’ Show in Geico’s Latest Ad Westminster Kennel Club awaits


Music producer and American Idol judge Randy Jackson calls people “dog” so much, it became the central gag of a new Gecio ad.

This spot by The Martin Agency, titled “Dawg,” sees Jackson lend his patented brand of vague critiques to a kennel club dog show. He’s also wearing what looks like Will Smith’s prep school jacket from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

There’s a behind-the-scenes video for “Dawg,” too, and it might be even more staged than the ad itself. Watching Jackson try to coach a poodle through scene banter is totally worth it, though. His comedic timing works much better in interactions. And I mean, it probably beats working with Stryper again.

“Dawg” is part of Geico’s “It’s Not Surprising” campaign, where most (if not all) of the ads are built around obvious wordplay. It’s one of the insurance company’s most charming marketing initiatives, and has been in play for over a year at this point.

Read the full story here.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

'It's Not Surprising' Featured by The Drum

November 09, 2017

By Kyle O'Brien

Geico hits the mark again with another spot from the Martin Agency, featuring a 'Casual Friday' beefeater at Buckingham Palace.

It’s the latest in the insurance company’s ‘It’s Not Surprising’ campaign, which has also included Ice T selling lemonade, an orchestral triangle solo and Tiki Barber running a barber shop.

‘Casual Friday’ finds a changing of the guard for the Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty's Royal Palace. While the outgoing guard is perfectly upright, stoic and on point, his replacement saunters in wearing the signature puffy hat, but also an unkempt bathrobe and tee shirt, plus flip flops and carrying a coffee drink and a bag of food as he sits in a folding chair on guard.

“Casual Fridays at Buckingham Palace? Surprising,” says the voice over. He goes on to say that it’s not surprising that people are saving money by switching to Geico.

"With a lot of Geico ads, we try to tap into human, relatable truths. Like say, butt-dialing or looking-busy-while-the-boss-walks-by from our 'It's What You Do' campaign," said Ken Marcus, senior copywriter with the Martin Agency. "Casual Fridays are pretty much a universal experience, so we tried to come up with a situation in which a Casual Friday would be unexpected and fun-to-play-with. Originally, we talked about 'Casual Fridays' at The Center For Disease Control. You know, all these folks are in hazmat suits and some guy in a bathrobe walks up, eating a donut. But ultimately, we felt like Buckingham Palace would be more visually interesting and well, surprising."

Marcus gives credit entirely to the team at Geico for the success of the campaign.

"They have this disciplined instinct to keep our messaging bone simple. In this case, demonstrating our savings claim with real customers. This allows us the time to let a joke breath and play out, versus cramming all of these RTBs into thirty seconds. Also, we try and mine our humor from everyday life. Versus just being weird for weird's sake. So hopefully, our material is always relatable and universal in appeal," he said.

Read the full story here.

Posted By: The Martin Agency