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 ESPN.com 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

Play with OREO in the Press

March 05, 2015

As part of the "Play with OREO" campaign, we sought out 10 emerging artists from around the world and asked them to share their creative OREO expressions of “play.” The results were showcased around NYC, LA and Indianapolis and were featured in Adweek, Creativity and Fast Company


Posted By: The Martin Agency

Common Sense Simple and Still Crazy Hard: Agency Onboarding

February 10, 2015

Common Sense Simple and Still Crazy Hard: Agency Onboarding

A group of valuable new employees you've diligently recruited shows up for their first day at the agency. They are eager, and maybe even a little anxious, to start their new jobs. Until now, they've known the agency by reputation only and they can't wait to be wowed by the most exciting, welcoming first day ever.

Instead, they get a quick introduction to their new teammates who are running late for a client call. They may even hear the refrain: "It's not always like this but today is crazy busy." Then they're ushered into a conference room where they face a mountain of health insurance and orientation paperwork and a cold box lunch.

Sound familiar?

Far too often, in hectic agency environments that are increasingly time starved, new employee onboarding simply doesn't get the attention it deserves. Yet, a recent Aberdeen Group study found that "new employees are 69% more likely to stay longer than three years if they experience well-structured onboarding."

That statistic was the nudge we needed to completely overhaul our onboarding program. We shifted our mindset and worked to make orientation a personal, enjoyable immersion in our business and our culture. This allows new employees to actually hit the ground running and contribute more quickly, which, as we all know, is one of the great joys of work. Most importantly, we're hearing from our new hires that this process is helping reinforce that they made the right career choice.

Here are a few changes we've made that are making a big difference:

You Told Them You Wanted Them, Now Show Them. Rather than a dull conference room, orientation takes place in our gallery, which is a bright, busy, open space at the center of the agency. During the next few hours, new hires hear from our CEO, Matt Williams, about our culture of "Good & Tough" and our Chairman, John Adams, talks to them about our company values that he penned in 1996. Next a creative director pops in to talk about our approach to the work followed by a seasoned project manager who explains in detail how work moves through the agency. By the end of these sessions, new employees know exactly who we are, what we do and how we do it. Finally, at the end of the day, they are invited to an informal mixer where their supervisors and colleagues gather to welcome and get to know them.

Throw the Book at Them. Our new hires say our Welcome Book (onboarding journal) is one-of-a-kind. It arms our new employees with a personal map for their adventure at The Martin Agency, guiding them through a four-month immersion into our company. It gives tips and ideas for engaging with supervisors and teammates. And to show that we don't take ourselves too seriously, each tab features doodles and notes sections with page 34 even encouraging 'your best conference call art.' The book was conceived and written by a team here at the agency with a production assist by The Frontier Project.

Save HR & Paperwork for Day #2. HR plays an invaluable role in the new hire process and we've got a fantastic HR team. But we made the decision to minimize their involvement on the first day by engaging employees from across departments to lead the orientation charge. It can be a project manager and an AV specialist working together, or a copywriter and a producer teaming up. They're given basic guidelines and material to cover, but are encouraged to put their own personal touch on the day.

Show Them the Ropes – No Excuses. When we asked some relatively new employees about their onboarding experience with us, we learned we suffered from another common onboarding faux pas. New hires couldn't contribute right away because no one had time to train them. The solution was simple: Have a training plan and stick to it. Now, departments customize specific plans for onboarding new talent that are faithfully completed during the employees' first few days at the agency.

Play Matchmaker. Nothing makes new employees feel more welcome than other employees. And if these new friends are folks they might not otherwise get to interact with in their first 90 days, all the better. With our new buddy system, we find out our new hires' interests and hobbies, how old their children are, where they're going to live, etc., and connect them with like-minded employees. It's like Match.com, but for work friends (and without the .com).

Tell Us What Your Fresh Eyes See. We love new hires; they bring an invaluable fresh perspective and we find it invigorating to talk with them. From the beginning, we go to great lengths to make sure their voices are heard and to remind them that we really want their opinion. At every orientation, an executive committee member welcomes the group. We share our story and talk candidly about the agency and the industry. We remind them that they're bringing something to the table that the rest of us can no longer bring and that's a fresh set of eyes without a Martin filter. That's critical to us and we encourage them to be vocal and have a point of view on what we could be doing better. We tell them our doors are always open and to stop by often. In fact, our CEO meets with new hires monthly.

"The onboarding process was ground-breaking for me when I started The Martin Agency," said Lauren Prociv, an Experience Planner in our strategic planning department. "Not only did I meet people that became good friends, I learned about the Good & Tough culture of the agency – good to each other and tough on the work – which instilled in me the confidence to immediately share my ideas despite being an ad rookie."

While none of these steps may sound individually earth-shattering, we've found that when everyone faithfully does their part, the combined effect really does make a big difference both to new employees and to all of us who welcome and learn from them.


Beth Rilee-Kelley is the chief operating officer of The Martin Agency and has been with the company for 31 years. She has worked in the account management and creative departments, and right before stepping into the COO role she was head of the company's human resources group. She is a tireless mentor and sponsor for women.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Top Five Big Game Ads, Live from London

February 03, 2015

The big game kicked off at 11:30 pm here in London, and we didn't see the double-cliffhanger ending until almost 3:30 am Monday morning. Even so I wouldn't have missed it, instant classic.

However, in contrast to the prime-time eyeball magnet that is the US broadcast, here it's a late-night showing of a game no one much cares much about, so naturally the quality of the ads they showed was a bit different. Nevertheless, there were some standouts.

Here are my Top 5 ads from the UK broadcast:

1. Prof. Alistair Collingsworth-Whitehead's School of Fisticuffsmanship for Lads
"I Dare Say Sir, How Rude!"
Well art-directed Victorian setting, great dialogue. I guess everyone eats mutton? Weird.

2. Mr. & Mrs. Squidgy Oven and Countertop Cleaning-Up Liquid
"Might we disinfect your kitchen if it's no trouble?"
Who would have thought a kitchen cleanser would inspire such an extravagant musical number? My kids will be doing this dance for the rest of the year, thanks Mr. & Mrs. Squidgy, sheesh! :(

3. Miss Rose Marblehead-Winterbottom's Hand-Crafted Lavender Shoe Trees (:90 anthem)
"Shore is summin innit, wooncha say missus, I'm well chuffed"
I could barely understand a word through the thick accents and heavy rain, but the claymation chicken & leek pies made it fun.

4. City of Westminster Ministry of Unfortunately Unavoidable Billings
"No One Likes A Rate Increase But We Are Terribly Sorry To Announce Tariffs Will Increase From March 1"
CGI world made entirely of clotted cream, so inspiring. I will forever see Victoria sponge cake as a villain now.

5. Lady Agnes' Undergarments For Polite Ladies Who Place Decorum Above All Else
"Help! I've had a poo"
A difficult topic well handled, I say. Not sure it was necessary to have the diaper voiced by an Italian man, but I am new to the UK so what do I know?

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Full Frontal Nudity: What Brands Can Learn from Lena Dunham

January 26, 2015

Full Frontal Nudity: What Brands Can Learn from Lena Dunham
Three Ways Brands Can Find and Use their True Voice

By Anne Marie Hite

I recently read an article in which HBO's "Girls" creator Lena Dunham talked about what it was like growing up in New York's most exclusive schools. "I didn't feel chic. I didn't feel special…I was bad at sports. I wasn't the girl that boys liked. But (writing about it) made me feel like I had something."

Something indeed. By baring her soul, and a few other things too, Ms. Dunham found her true voice, which she was then able to amplify across a wide range of mediums -- from a TV show to a book -- and connect deeply with millions of young women. And quite a few of us slightly older women, too.

It occurred to me that brands can learn a lot from Ms. Dunham. And don't worry; it doesn't involve taking off your clothes in front of a national audience. Well, perhaps in the metaphorical sense.

1. Be honest about who you are not.

We don't like people who go around talking about how great they are. And yet, brands do this all the time. I'm not saying you need to dis your brand. Just spend a bit more time exploring its struggles and flaws. Chances are, you can turn them into something positive and in the process, lead your brand into much more interesting, authentic territory.

This reminds me of an old Dudley Moore movie about advertising, where he presented an ad for Volvo that said, "They're boxy but they're good." He was immediately committed to a mental hospital but I actually think he was onto something.

Dove was a pioneer in this honest approach by admitting their products won't make you look like the women in magazines. Their brilliant spin was that no product can do this because even the women in magazines don't really look like that.
Another great example is Toyota's "Swagger Wagon." By openly stating what they knew we were all thinking -- that minivans are the ultimate sign that you're no longer cool -- Toyota's Sienna made driving its minivan actually seem kind of cool.

More recently, Newcastle Ale's series of online "Super Bowl" ads -- which they openly admitted they couldn't actually afford to run on the Super Bowl -- became the most talked-about ads of the Super Bowl.

2. Use "who you are not" to find your authentic voice.

Brands have come a long way in trying to define themselves, but there is still work to be done. Some of today's more common positioning statements include the tech-savvy "innovative," the health-conscious "pure," and the No. 1 choice of female brands everywhere -- "empowering!"

There's nothing wrong with these statements, but there's nothing ownable or differentiating about them either. However, combine them with a perceived flaw or even an attribute that's authentic to the brand, and suddenly things get interesting.

One of my favorite commercials is Nike's "Find your Greatness," which ran during the Super Bowl a few years back. In it, we see a chubby kid panting his way down the road --albeit quite determinedly -- while a voiceover talks about all the things greatness is "not." For the millions of us sitting on our sofas drinking beer and eating cheese dip, this was much more relatable and even more motivating than seeing a star athlete sprinting down the street, talking about all the things greatness "is."

3. Use your authentic voice to build a community of like-minded souls.

I imagine Lena Dunham gets invited to a lot of dinner parties. And it isn't because she was the most popular girl in school. It's because she wasn't. I also imagine that at these dinner parties, there are quite a few people sneaking into the dining room switching their place cards for a chance to sit next to her. Our brands should be so lucky. Again, it comes down to having something to say that people connect with, which is especially important when trying to build a presence on social media.

As the mother of a 12-year-old boy who leaves for school every morning smelling like Old Spice Swagger, I can say with authority that moms don't care too much for Old Spice. Rather than ignoring this fact, Old Spice took it head-on with "Mom Song" and instantly connected with the millions of moms out there lamenting their boys becoming men -- this from the brand that's basically aiding in this abomination. I still don't like that my son is wearing Old Spice, but I love that Old Spice gets that. And judging by the responses from moms in the comments section of YouTube, I'm not alone.

The secret to success

I think back to that episode of "Girls" last season where Lena Dunham spent the entire episode walking around the Hamptons in a green string bikini. She wasn't flaunting her perfect body. She was flaunting a body that 99% of women can relate to. And it was glorious.

Yes, it takes bravery. And no, it's not always comfortable. But a little bit of vulnerability never hurt anyone. In fact, it could be the secret to your brand's success.

Link to story.

Posted By: Anne Marie Hite