May 29, 2020

Advertising: A Season of Families, Vampires and Aliens

O.K., that is an exaggeration. But analysts and executives at media agencies who are studying the schedules announced during upfront week in New York see patterns amid the many shows the broadcasters will introduce in hopes of finding the big hits that have eluded them recently.

The 2012-13 season, which is about to end, “was so lackluster,” said Marc Berman, editor in chief of TV Media Insights. “Nothing broke out, and the networks realized they needed to step up to the plate.”

As a result, “the networks are being more aggressive,” Mr. Berman said, particularly with scripted shows, “the meat and potatoes of any schedule.” Of the 26 series to be introduced in September or October, Mr. Berman counted only one reality series, Fox’s “Junior Masterchef,” (which has already earned a nickname, “Kids With Knives”).

Including the series the networks have on the bench as midseason replacements, the number of new shows climbs to 52.

“I’m still trying to absorb it all,” said Steve Kalb, senior vice president for video investments at the MediaHub division of Mullen in Boston, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies.

Still, he spotted a trend of “more family-centric sitcoms, with a twist here and there,” in the vein of “Modern Family,” the popular ABC series that was picked up for a fifth season and will begin in reruns this fall on the USA Network cable channel.

Among those shows, he listed “Back in the Game,” “The Goldbergs” and “Trophy Wife” on ABC; “The Crazy Ones,” “The Millers” and “Mom” on CBS; “Dads” on Fox; and “Welcome to the Family,” “Sean Saves the World” and “The Michael J. Fox Show” on NBC.

David Campanelli, senior vice president and director for national television at Horizon Media in New York, described “The Goldbergs,” set in the 1980s, as “having a ‘Modern Family’ meets ‘The Wonder Years’ feel to it” and praised it as “the most promising” of the new comedies.

But in its period of 9 p.m. on Tuesday, “The Goldbergs” will face formidable competition, he added, from returning series: “NCIS: Los Angeles” on CBS, “New Girl” on Fox and “The Voice” results show on NBC.

After looking at the premises of the new sitcoms, Ed Martin, television columnist for MediaPost, said he found that “an awful lot of them are about parents moving in with kids and kids moving in with parents.”

“I don’t know how appealing that’s going to be,” he added.

But he described himself as “really intrigued” by the family sitcom “The Michael J. Fox Show” because Mr. Fox will play a television reporter and father who, like Mr. Fox in real life, has Parkinson’s disease.

“Barriers are broken in television when characters you don’t normally see in lead roles are put into lead roles and have a little fun with themselves,” Mr. Martin said. “That will make or break the show, if you think he is having fun.”

Another trend for 2013-14, involving dramas, echoes the last couple of seasons. “There are so many vampires and monsters and aliens and kids with supernatural powers,” Mr. Martin said. “It all felt very familiar, like I’d seen it before, and I had.”

Among those new series are “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” and “Resurrection” on ABC; “The Originals,” “The Tomorrow People,” “The 100” and “Star-Crossed” on CW; “Almost Human” and “Sleepy Hollow” on Fox; and “Dracula” on NBC.

A new ABC series set in a comic-book universe, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” is the drama “that looked the most exciting to me,” Mr. Martin said, partly because it is based on the hit movie “The Avengers.”

Shari Anne Brill, chief of Shari Anne Brill Media, was also dismayed by what she called “the usual crop of dark, supernatural shows with monsters, mayhem and magic.” Those “derivative” series may have a chance to stand out, she said, if they play up “underlying themes of power, betrayal, greed and revenge.”

After upfront week, a guessing game always begins: Which new shows will be among the first to be canceled? In the 2012-13 season, that dubious distinction went to “Made in Jersey” on CBS. 

“I don’t see anything along the lines of ‘Animal Practice,’ ” Ms. Brill said, citing a widely derided sitcom from the 2012-13 season that NBC canceled in November. She said she was unsure about the staying power of newcomers like “Trophy Wife.”

Mr. Martin, too, said he had little hope for “Trophy Wife” and doubted the prospects for “Sleepy Hollow” and “Lucky 7,” a drama on ABC.

Mr. Campanelli said he believed that a midseason replacement at Fox, “Gang Related,” may not see prime time because it “looked like an unnecessarily uber-violent show.”

Mr. Kalb, who called his record of predicting early cancellations “so bad every year that I have to leave it up to the American people,” wondered about “Reign,” a drama on CW about Mary, Queen of Scots, because it differs greatly from the network’s typical fare.

Although viewers may not go for “a period piece taking ‘90210’ to a new century,” he said, it could work if it is perceived as “the same good-looking people, just in different costumes.”

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Advertising: Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation Begins New Campaign

“If you have inflammatory bowel disease (I.B.D.), life can feel like a three-ring circus,” continues a block of text. “Chances are, you know one of the nearly 1 in 200 Americans who suffers from the debilitating pain and constant disruptions that come with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.”

Other stall-door ads show a shin-to-floor view of a woman in a wedding dress (“I.B.D. gave her a day she’ll never forget”), Santa Claus (“I.B.D. doesn’t care if you’ve been naughty or nice”) and a young girl whose feet don’t reach the floor (I.B.D. can make growing up a real pain”).

While the photos and headlines sound a note of whimsy, the text below the ads is decidedly serious, all of them noting, “The physical and emotional toll can be devastating.”

The public service ads encourage readers to learn more about Crohn’s disease by visiting a microsite,, which has been created for the campaign. The pro bono effort is by the New York office of DraftFCB, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies.

In a commercial for the campaign, the viewer hears, “Chances are you know someone with I.B.D.” The voice turns out to be that of the actress Amy Brenneman (“Judging Amy” and “Private Practice”), who says near the end of the spot, “Someone like me.”

The organization hopes that the public service announcement will run widely on television and in movie theaters. Other elements for the campaign include billboards and ads online and in airports. Ads printed on transparent adhesive film will even appear on mirrors in public restrooms.

The nonprofit group projects that it will secure from $20 million to $23 million in donations of broadcast and print advertising over the next year. But it did not initially want to show bathrooms in its campaign.

“We really started this campaign by saying we wanted to stay away from the bathroom, because we thought the bathroom would underrepresent our disease,” said Richard Geswell, the president of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

Along with needing to evacuate frequently, symptoms of Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract, include abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, fevers, weight loss and extreme fatigue.

“I was worried that our patients might think it was too lighthearted, and some aren’t in public restrooms because they can’t even leave the house,” said Mr. Geswell, who added he was won over by the new campaign, which he said struck the right tone and would spur awareness.

Rich Levy, chief creative officer of DraftFCB Healthcare, said, “When we first started this project, the last thing we wanted to do is what I’d call bathroom humor.” But he said that although the campaign was set in restrooms and had whimsical notes, its impact aimed to be more profound.

“What was the universal truth was that behind those doors are thousands and thousands of people who are suffering, and you don’t know who they are, but they know who they are,” said Mr. Levy.

Although the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation was founded in 1967, only 18.7 percent of Americans have heard of the group, according to a survey commissioned by the group.

As for Crohn’s disease itself, the survey found that 44 percent of respondents knew at least a little about the disease, below the number familiar with diabetes (86 percent), multiple sclerosis (58 percent) and lupus (46 percent).

Mr. Geswell, the foundation president, said that by raising awareness about Crohn’s, his group hoped that along with helping those who don’t know they have the disease, it would help others understand that friends and relatives might be too embarrassed to disclose their condition.

“Aunt Sally who never left the house or came to social occasions” may, far from meaning to snub her family, “turn out to have had Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis,” Mr. Geswell said. Some with Crohn’s disease must visit the bathroom as much as 40 times a day, the foundation says.

Carol Cone, co-author of “Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding” and managing director for brand and corporate citizenship at Edelman, the public relations firm, acknowledged the challenge any agency would face with such an awareness campaign.

“How do you talk about bowels and bowel movements, and do it in a way that’s not so slight and flip that it’s not taken seriously?” said Ms. Cone.

After reviewing the new campaign, Ms. Cone was impressed.

“The way they showed the feet and footwear was a wonderful analogy that Crohn’s and colitis affects anybody in any walk of life,” Ms. Cone said. “This is a sophisticated, hip and modern branding campaign.”

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Webdenda: Accounts and People of Note in the Advertising Industry

Bottlerocket Marketing Group, New York and Foxborough, Mass., was acquired by Brand Connections, New York. Financial terms were not disclosed. The acquisition is the second in a month for Brand Connections, coming after a deal to acquire Pie Advertising, New York.

The Center for Tobacco Products at the Food and Drug Administration selected three agencies to work on public health education campaigns to help discourage youths ages 12 to 15 from using tobacco. The initial budget for the assignments during the next two years is $188.6 million. The Rescue Social Change Group, San Diego, will handle assignments aimed at four demographic groups: African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics and youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Sensis, Los Angeles, will handle assignments aimed at youth who live in rural communities. Better World Advertising, San Francisco, will handle assignments that are to be determined.

Jennifer Cohan joined Edelman, New York, part of Daniel J. Edelman Inc., as chairwoman of the global consumer practice. She succeeds Christina Smedley, who left to join PayPal, a unit of eBay, as vice president for global communications. Ms. Cohan had been a managing director at the New York office of GolinHarris, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies.

Tom Cotney joined mBlox, Sunnvale, Calif., as chief executive. He succeeds Andrew Dark, who is now nonexecutive chairman at Miura Systems. Mr. Cotney had most recently been a board adviser to Catavolt and before that held posts that included chief executive at Air2Web.

Craft Worldwide was formed by the McCann Worldgroup, New York, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, to unite all its production operations at a single business unit. Craft has more than 570 employees in almost two dozen cities that include London, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Toronto. Among the clients for which Craft is working are Aldi, Coca-Cola, General Mills, L’Oréal and Microsoft (Xbox).

Michael Di Girolamo, partner and executive producer at Station Film, was named the 2013 chairman of the AICP Show, sponsored by the Association of Independent Commercial Producers, New York. The date for the 22nd annual show, which will also include the presentation of the Next Awards, is to be announced early in the new year; the show is usually held in June at the Museum of Modern Art.

Kevin Dillon joined Ratio Interactive, Seattle, in a new post, president. He had most recently been director for engagement strategy at Ascentium, Seattle, now known as Smith.

Erin Dorr and Layla Revis joined the New York office of We Are Social. Ms. Dorr becomes an account director; she had managed social media and advocacy programs at the Dachis Group. Ms. Revis becomes senior director; she had been vice president for digital strategy at Ogilvy Mather Worldwide, part of WPP.

Emcee Design was opened by MeringCarson, Sacramento, Calif., to serve current and new clients. The design unit has seven employees and is being led by Michael Leonardini, design director at MeringCarson, and Mina Robertson, senior account manager at MeringCarson.

Samantha Fennell joined GTM, New York, in a new post, strategic adviser for branded entertainment. She had most recently been executive director at Time Inc. Branded Solutions, part of the Time Inc. unit of Time Warner.

Suzanne Grimes joined Clear Channel Outdoor Americas, New York, part of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, in a new post created after a reorganization, president and chief operating officer. She had most recently been a consultant and before that held executive posts at magazines owned by companies like Condé Nast Publications, News Corporation and the Reader’s Digest Association.

David Kurtz joined AdColony, Los Angeles, in a new post, chief product officer. He had most recently been vice president for the publisher network at ATT Interactive.

Duke Marr joined R/GA, New York, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, in a new post, managing director for commerce. He had been vice president for e-commerce product management at 1-800-Flowers. Also, R/GA opened an office in Austin, Tex., which it said in July it was planning to open later this year.

Mary Warren McCarthy, senior vice president and group director/strategy at Blitz Media, Boston, was promoted to a new post, chief media officer.

Norman M. Miller joined Niche Media, New York, in a new post, executive director for luxury brands. He had been integrated sales director at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, New York.

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Advertising: E*Trade’s Baby Creates the Most Online Buzz

For the fourth consecutive year, Zeta Interactive, an interactive marketing agency, has released a report of which ad campaigns generated the most buzz online. Zeta uses a technology that monitors what consumers are saying about online ads that they see on blogs and on video sharing and social media sites.

Zeta Interactive gives ads scores reflecting the volume, or the total number of posts each ad had per day, and tone, or the number of positive or negative posts about the ad. The company analyzed more than 200 million online posts.

This year, of the top 10 ads, eight made their debuts during the Super Bowl. In 2010, only four on the list made their debuts during the Super Bowl.

At the top of the list was an ad for E*Trade Financial called “Enzo the Tailor,” which featured a baby being fitted for a custom-made suit and talking about how his tailor could retire in Tuscany. The spot was made by Grey New York, part of the Grey Group unit of WPP.

Both E*Trade and Snickers, whose “Logging” spot featuring Roseanne Barr and Richard Lewis was the seventh ad on the list, showed how some brands were able to have success in campaigns with recurring themes, said Mary Beth Keelty, vice president for marketing at Zeta. “They found something that worked and they are refreshing it,” she said.


The Snickers spot was created by BBDO New York, part of the BBDO Worldwide unit of the Omnicom Group. Snickers was the only brand to have a repeat appearance on the list this year.

Automobile ads were popular with digital consumers as well, with Volkswagen’s ad featuring a young boy dressed as Darth Vader, and Chrysler’s ad featuring the rap artist Eminem and the city of Detroit, taking the second and third spots, respectively. The Volkswagen ad was created by Deutsch LA, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, and the Chrysler ad was created by Wieden Kennedy.

“Cars really were a big part of the top 10 here,” said Minna Rhee, Zeta’s chief executive. The auto ads were a “reflection of coming out of the recession and the car industry taking a bigger role in 2011,” she said.

Other car ads in the top 10 included Mercedes-Benz’s ad featuring the artist Diddy, in the ninth spot on the list, and an ad for Nissan’s Leaf in the eighth spot. The Nissan ad, called “Gas Powered Everything,” shows people using everyday items like alarm clocks and hair dryers that are powered by gas engines. It featured a new trend on the list — the eco-conscious ad. The spot was created by TBWA/Chiat/Day, part of the TBWA Worldwide unit of the Omnicom Group.

An animated ad for Chipotle Mexican Grill, called “Back to the Start,” was the fourth most popular ad on the list. The ad, which was also shown in movie theaters, tells the story of the industrialization of farming. The film, which was more than two minutes long, was directed by Johnny Kelly and featured a Willie Nelson version of the Coldplay song “The Scientist.”


The ad demonstrated that it is possible for brands “to break that top 10 with something that wasn’t necessarily with TV at the center of what the campaign was about,” Ms. Rhee said. The Chipotle ad also tied with an ad for the PepsiCo beverage H2oh! for the most positive tonal ranking. The H2oh ad, which was created by BBDO Argentina, was the first and only ad in Spanish to make the list.

Bud Light and CarMax rounded out the list in fifth and sixth place, respectively. Bud Light’s commercial, “Product Placement,” featured swashbucklers on a movie set, while CarMax’s spot, “Kid in a Candy Store,” promoted its selection of auto and money-back guarantee.

The Bud Light commercial was created by DDB Chicago, part of DDB Worldwide, owned by the Omnicom Group. The CarMax ad was created by Amalgamated New York.

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