GLOWS INTRODUCES AGENCY LOVE LETTERS

BY LINDSAY STEIN, CAMPAIGN US

New York City-based agency Glow knows how difficult relationships can be, which is why the indie shop decided to create a website to allow users to write nice - or not so nice - anonymous letters to their clients and agencies.

The site, AgencyLoveLetter.com, allows people to shower their agency and client partners with warm love letters or vent if they feel the need.

To make the effort even more fun, Glow is tracking the letter sentiment in real-time to determine the health of the relationship in both directions. Are the feelings of love (or disdain) mutual?

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GLOW GROOMS WESTMINSTER DOG SHOW FOR INTERNET FAME

BY LINDSAY RITTENHOUSE, ADWEEK

Until a few years ago, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, established in 1877, was a one-day event cherished by an older audience of purebred enthusiasts who admired the parade of perfectly bred canines from the comfort of their own homes.

Today, it’s expanded into Westminster Week, held annually at New York’s Madison Square Garden, with contests including the Masters Agility Championship and Masters Obedience Championship that lead up to the main and final Best in Show event that aired this year on Tuesday night. Further social media-based efforts, like the Road to Westminster series, allow the handlers to post content throughout the year as their dogs train and enter other championships, giving audiences the opportunity to follow their favorites year round.

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THE TOMBRAS GROUP ADOPTION OF AI INTO MEDIA BUYING

BY ILYSE LIFFREING, DIGIDAY

Artificial intelligence for media buying remains a far-off dream.

“More marketers are using AI for media, but more is a relatively low bar when very few if any marketers were using AI for media as recently as two to three years ago,” said Brian Krick, evp of global media planning at WPP GroupM’s Essence. “It’s still in its infancy.” Krick said most of Essence’s clients are still learning about AI through pilot programs or research.

In media buying, AI is a forecasting process that analyzes massive amounts of consumer data and campaign content to measure campaign performance, allowing marketers to redirect budget toward ad placements that are performing the best. AI also helps marketers diminish their cost-per-acquisition while generating higher-quality leads by working to find the right match of images, videos, headlines and calls-to-action in campaign materials that get viewers to convert. Digiday research has found that marketers don’t understand AI well, with roughly half of the 37 marketers surveyed ranking their company’s understanding of AI as a C on a grade scale from A to F.

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GIANT SPOON: MEDIAPOST CREATIVE AGENCY OF THE YEAR

BY JACK FEUER, MEDIAPOST

Attendees at last year’s SXSW were no doubt down for just about anything. Chances are, though, they never expected to find themselves in Sweetwater, the Wild West theme park featured in HBO’s smash hit “Westworld.”

Yet there it was, an immersive marvel that allowed visitors to stroll across more than 90,000 square feet of space, interact with 66 actors, and lose themselves in 444 pages of immersive theater.

In all, this alt-Westworld drew over 4,000 visitors, generated 1.9 billion social impressions and nearly 500 press stories from around the world. #SXSWestworld was hailed in one of those articles as “one of the best publicity stunts of the 21st Century.” Some diehards even got married in faux Sweetwater.

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GLOW'S DUNCAN BIRD SHARES HIS FAVORITE WORK FROM 2018

BY TIM NUDD, THE MUSE

Our idea that worked
TBS, "Final Space: Cards with Gary"

Animators have long played with the idea of reality and animation interacting together. From Mary Poppins to Roger Rabbit, it seems we want to believe animated characters are real. As early as 1923, Walt Disney experimented with live action and animation in Alice's Wonderland. 

So when TBS wanted to try a Facebook Live experience for their show Final Space—a comedic epic sci-fi space opera, for those who don't normally seek out animation—we decided to create a live animated experience to build stronger fan connections and break the so called fourth wall. 

Using relatively new but untapped Facebook Live technology in a completely imaginative way, we built the first-ever livestreamed interactive game with an animated character voice acted in real time. 

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DIGIDAY LOOKS AT HOW WE MEASURE ROI

BY ILYSE LIFFREING, DIGIDAY

Brands are asking more questions of their agencies when it comes to how public relations drive sales, rather than amorphous ideas around “earned” media. That, in turn, is leading to more brands choosing to in-house their public relations efforts to get more control and visibility into how it’s working.

One example is Sprint, which places a high premium on public relations specifically because telecom is a saturated market that relies on people converting from using other brands. The company now has a 20-person in-house team and says it has found improved measurement.

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BIG SPACESHIP, GLOW AND PORTAL A WEIGH IN ON THEIR FAVORITE SUPER BOWL ADS

BY DOUG ZANGER, ADWEEK

An objective person could watch Super Bowl advertising and plausibly think: “Yeah, that’s a good ad.” Of course, in the ad agency world, creatives tend to be a little more critical, picking little things out that illustrate the difference between a good Super Bowl ad and a great one.

Adweek asked a wide range of industry veterans to share the Super Bowl ads they feel inspired them—and their industry—to do better work.

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WHEELHOUSE ENTERTAINMENT INVEST IN DIGITAL STUDIO PORTAL A

BY ADWEEK, TUBEFILTER, MEDIAPOST, SF EGOTIST, MULTICHANNEL NEWS

Wheelhouse Entertainment, a talent and content company launched one year ago by former ITV America CEO Brent Montgomery, announced today that it has purchased a minority stake in Portal A, a self-described “digital studio” perhaps best known for creating YouTube’s annual Rewind series. Conditions of the deal were not made public.

Late last year, TV host Jimmy Kimmel partnered with Montgomery, who made his name producing unscripted reality shows like Pawn Stars, to debut Kimmelot, a new division within Wheelhouse. Portal A will collaborate with the Wheelhouse organization moving forward to combine resources in the interest of creating branded entertainment for a range of shared clients.

BAILEY LAUERMAN INTRODUCES THE EVERYTHING-IN-BETWEEN NETWORK

BY DOUG ZANGER, ADWEEK

For the most part, there is a perception about influencers. On one hand, they can be considered a valuable marketing channel—essentially word of mouth on digital platforms. On the other, there is all manner of potential pitfalls in the still-emerging space ranging from bots and fake followers to flat-out fraud, not to mention the ridicule from time-to-time.

All told, though, the influencer space, with all of its perceived chaos, shows no signs of slowing. In 2018, the World Federation of Advertisers found that 65 percent of multinational brands surveyed were planning on increasing influencer marketing spend, while eMarketer noted a similar bump in spending—62 percent—by marketers.

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GIANT SPOONS MAKE BUSINESS INSIDER'S RISING STAR LIST

BY TANYA DUA, BUSINESS INSIDER

Business Insider has in the past recognized the 30 most creative people in advertising under 30. This year we broadened the criteria to include rising talent in departments beyond creative while increasing the age limit to 35.

We've included people with a variety of roles and experiences, spanning planning, creative, strategy, business development, and talent.

Veronica Brothwell, 29, Giant Spoon. She's been behind some of the agency's most memorable work, including its splashy "Blade Runner" live experience at Comic-Con in 2017 and the Ready Player One experience at SXSW 2018, which took over a two-story space in the heart of Austin.

Corbin Brown, 30, Giant Spoon. Brown led the creation of Synchrony's recently launched podcast "Business Schooled" with Reddit and Initialized Capital cofounder Alexis Ohanian, in which Ohanian travels the country and gathers business and life lessons by small-business entrepreneurs.

In its first week alone, the podcast landed on iTunes' Top 5 Business Podcasts list and was among its Top 30 podcasts overall.

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DIGITAL-FIRST PUBLISHERS LOVE GSTV

BY KERRY FLYNN, DIGIDAY

The screens at gas station pumps are looking more and more like Facebook feeds.

Gas Station TV has been building a content slate of publishers that are popular on digital platforms, steering away from its past relationships with big TV networks like CNN and ESPN.

This week, GSTV partnered with First Media’s Blossom and So Yummy. Earlier this year, GSTV added Cheddar and Chive TV. They join What’s Trending, CNET, Stadium, MLB and The List. The partnerships are part of GSTV’s strategy to show content that can entertain consumers at the pump and in tandem inspire more advertising dollars, instead of just relying on repurposed content from cable networks. Meanwhile, the digital publishers say GSTV has effective distribution, and the Detroit-based team is a lot more enjoyable to work with than others.

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GIANT SPOON AND SYNCHRONY BANK LAUNCH SPIDER-VERSE ACTIVATION

BY BREANA MALLAMACI, ADWEEK

To promote Sony’s new animated film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Synchrony Bank and Giant Spoon were inspired by the history of the superhero character. The result? An immersive, augmented reality experience.

Guests enter a faux Bridge Street subway station in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn and, after walking through a subway car, are transported into the Spider-Verse. After scanning a QR code to unlock the experience, guests become web-slingers themselves, using a browser-based AR application on their smartphones to web bags of money hanging in the space in the hopes of winning $1,000.

Adweek spoke to Ian Grody, creative director for Giant Spoon, and Chris Merrill, CMO of Synchrony Bank, in this exclusive behind-the-scenes look inside the activation.

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GRAVITY PRODUCTS AND BIG SPACESHIP GIVE POV ON PRODUCT LABS

BY MAX WILLENS, DIGIDAY

Publishers use their audiences, creative services and their editorial judgment as selling points when they’re vying for advertising dollars. A growing number of them are trying to use those same ingredients to cook up consumer products they can sell directly to their audiences on their own, or on behalf of big-spending ad partners.

Less than one year after it acquired a direct-selling operation in Rodale, Hearst has already developed and launched one high-end consumer product — a yoga mat — and it plans to bring eight to 10 other products to market next year. Meredith quietly launched a brand products lab this fall and is weeks away from its first consumer product launch, with several more products in the pipes for 2019. BuzzFeed’s commerce team, which has developed full product lines for its brands Tasty and Goodful, also offers product development sprints as a service to advertisers; it’s helped brands including Scott’s and Maybelline develop ideas for products.

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BAILEY LAUERMAN'S HOMAGE TO PRESIDENT BUSH

BY TIM NUDD, THE MUSE BY CLIO

Nebraska ad agency Bailey Lauerman has worked with Union Pacific, the railroad company, for many years. This week, one of its UP design projects from over a decade ago has suddenly taken center stage. 

In 2005, the Omaha-based shop helped to design the UP No. 4141 George Bush Locomotive, a custom-painted Union Pacific locomotive created to honor George H.W. Bush. The locomotive was designed with the colors and other elements of the Air Force One design used during the 41st president's time in office. 

Click here or on the image to read the rest of this story on The Muse.

PORTAL A LAUNCHED YOUTUBE REWIND 2018

BY ADWEEK, THE MUSE, ADAGE

There are few cultural phenomena on the scale of YouTube Rewind, a head-spinningly packed recap of the video influencers, memes and moments of the year.

Last year’s clip was viewed more than 200 million times, and the newest installment, created again by digital content studio Portal A, is off to a tire-squealing start with nearly 5 million views in its first two hours.

While the Google-owned video platform’s recap is always a bit of a cameo cacophony, there’s typically a theme that runs as a thread through the whole thing. This time around, online gaming mega-sensation Fortnite provides the backdrop, with content creators dropping into a jungle setting via the game’s preferred form of group transit: a school bus hot air balloon.

GIANT SPOON: ADWEEK BREAKTHROUGH AGENCY OF THE YEAR

BY LINDSAY RITTENHOUSE, ADWEEK

Giant Spoon, Adweek’s Breakthrough Creative Agency of the Year, has been steadily turning out striking work since its founding five years ago, but 2018 was exceptional for the scale and impact of its campaigns.

For client HBO, the full-service shop created a meticulous replica of Sweetwater, the town inside hit series Westworld, on a two-acre plot of land just outside Austin, Texas, for South by Southwest. There was live music, taverns, horses, 60 actors and a train that, albeit stationary, resembled to a T the one in the show that carries people to and from the amusement park for which the series is named.

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VILLAGE INN SELECTS WORKINPROGRESS AS ITS AGENCY OF RECORD

BY AGENCY SPY, MEDIAPOST

Casual dining chain Village Inn has selected WorkInProgress as its agency of record, following a review which initially included 15 agencies before narrowing down to 5 finalists.

WorkInProgress will be tasked with increasing brand awareness, affinity and traffic across its footprint. The full-service assignment includes creative across TV, radio, digital and more.

“We were drawn to WIP because of their ability to create breakthrough work that spurs people into action,” Village Inn vice president, marketing David Craven said in a statement. “We’re in a highly competitive and commoditized category and WIP will help us stand out, meaningfully and authentically.”

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP: ALBERT KUGEL SHARES INSIGHT ON BRANDS AND GAMING

BY ALBERT KUGEL, SMARTBRIEF

When we think of esports, we picture filled arenas with flashing lights and big viewer and player numbers, the next big marketing opportunity to reach millions of Gen Zers and Millennials.

But the pro scene is just the tip of the iceberg to a much larger competitive gaming ecosystem.

Every day, millions of people are logging on to game servers to play multiplayer games with their peers. Just like going outside to kick around the soccer ball with friends, Gen Z now hops on a gaming device to compete and connect with friends playing games like Grand Theft Auto Online, Fortnite and Clash Royale, or watch professional gamers and streamers compete on streaming platforms like Twitch.

Click here or on the image to read the rest of this story on Smartbrief.