AGENCY NEWS YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEK
By Aleda Stam and Brian Bonilla.
Corona calls out Hollywood
During the Academy Awards, Mexican beer brand Corona asked the film industry to stop using a yellow filter to portray Mexico in movies. “Unfilter Mexico,” from Gut Mexico City, argues the color yellow should be used for Corona’s beer—not to perpetuate stereotypes about the country.
“Yellow in cinema denotes heat, risk and danger,” says a voice-over in a 60second spot.
Corona partnered on the initiative with Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, a Mexican director of photography, who has won three Academy Awards. Lubezki worries that continued use of the filter will keep audiences from seeing the “vast color palette” of Mexico.
“Adding a heavy yellow filter is an artistic choice, and artists should have the freedom to do what they want,” he said in a statement. “But I feel that it deprives the audience of experiencing something much more complex… and beautiful.”
The campaign launched across digital platforms and TV broadcasts during the Academy Awards and will continue to run throughout March.
Also this week, Gut opened an office in Amsterdam, its first in Europe. The office is currently being led by Managing Director Natalia Forster, Head of Strategy Bruno Steffen and Group Account Director Meme Traverso. Clients include Kraft Heinz and online delivery brand Foodora.
At its 11th annual SXSW Party, GSD&M invited attendees to enjoy some “Bloody Mary Misogyny” in an effort to draw attention to the so-called tampon tax. Attendees had a choice of two drinks: The Bloody Mary, which came with a $1 luxury tax, and The Bloody Marc, which was free.
The initiative was created in partnership with Omniwomen, an Omnicom network group to support women leaders. Twenty-two states, including Texas (the conference takes place in Austin, the state capital), currently charge sales tax on period products. Women in the U.S. spend an estimated $120 million a year on sales tax for period products, according to GSD&M.
The activation will be supported through paid social and print ads, as well as QR codes at SXSW events that will redirect people to BloodyTax.com.
Texas legislators are currently weighing a bill to repeal the tax.
VaynerMedia expands presence in Canada
VaynerMedia is broadening its work in Canada by opening its 11th global fullservice office. The agency spent the last five years in Toronto working on the Mondelēz media business, and the new office will offer creative, strategy and media services. Jeanny Ponce, who currently leads the account, will assume the roles of VP and country manager.
“I feel the market is right to bring VaynerMedia’s incredible social-first strengths in creative and media to clients in Canada and am thrilled to expand our presence here,” said CEO Gary Vaynerchuk in a statement. “Jeanny’s knowledge and expertise of both the market and VaynerMedia make her the perfect lead as we make this transition.”
This is the latest expansion of the media agency, which was founded in the U.S. in 2009. In the last four years, the agency has expanded into the AsiaPacific region, Mexico and the Netherlands.
VMLY&R Commerce grows leadership team
VMLY&R Commerce named Ivan Mayes its first global chief technology officer and Charlie Wade its first global executive director of growth and innovation. Mayes adds global responsibilities to his former role of chief technology officer, while Wade was exec VP for business development in North America.
VMLY&R Commerce has doubled the amount of commerce-led assignments year-over-year since its launch in 2021.
“In the future, there will be no distance between ‘brand love’ and ‘brand buy,’” VMLY&R Commerce Global CEO Beth Ann Kaminkow said in a statement. “Our investment in best-in-class talent, systems and tools have proven the result of applied human insights with an explosion of creativity to engage and convert shoppers.”
Joe Grigsby has also been appointed global VMLY&R Commerce lead on The Coca-Cola Co. business and Aisha Krupski has been tapped as global commercial lead, succeeding Chief Commercial Officer Keith Sherwood, who moved into an undisclosed new role at WPP on its Colgate business. In North America, the agency hired Chance Chapman as exec VP of innovation, a new adaptation of the role formerly held by Wade.
Former Dr. Squatch employees launch a TikTok agency
Two former employees of personal care brand Dr. Squatch launched their own TikTok agency called Gassed. The agency, founded by Dean Rojas and Michael Woolsey, counts Dude Wipes, Ridge Wallet, Crocs and Scentbird as some of its clients.
Rojas previously served as a social media growth marketing manager at Dr. Squatch, while Woolsey served as a paid media manager. Gassed is dedicated to creating content as well as handling media buying on the popular platform. The agency is currently spending over $2 million a month on the platform.
“We launched Gassed to combat the creative fatigue that brands often suffer,” Rojas said in a statement. “Gassed counters this problem by understanding how to convert for sales on TikTok, tailoring creative so it’s performancebased to reach clients’ KPIs whilst also managing the paid side of the media campaigns.”
Arts & Letters promote four key execs
Richmond, Virginia-based agency Arts & Letters promoted four executives.
Adrian Mojica was named head of operations, a newly created role for the agency. Mojica joined the agency in 2021 as director of operations for XYZ, the agency’s in-house studio.
Brenda Schneider was appointed to the newly created role of head of business management-group business director. Schneider, who previously served as a group business director, will lead A&L’s business department while continuing to lead initiatives for ESPN, which includes work for “This is SportsCenter” and college football.
Sara Kastner, previously a director of creative operations, was appointed to the newly created role of head of staff. Theo Abel, previously the agency’s director of operations, is taking on the role of managing director. The role was previously held by Rich Weinstein, who joined VCU Brandcenter as associate director of extension programs earlier this year.
BBH USA appointed Deb Archambault as head of production, a newly created role. BBH is a familiar place for Archambault, who previously worked at the agency eight years ago. Since then, she had a stint at McCann New York, where she worked on the iconic “Fearless Girl” campaign. She has also held freelance roles at Cartwright and metaverse company .Erth.
O’Reilly Auto Parts selected Chicago agency 9rooftops as its media agency of record following a review led by the client. Part of the agency’s remit will include developing a media plan across general and Hispanic markets, according to a statement by 9rooftops. It’s unclear who previously held the account.
Two former TRG creatives, Bill Milkereit, a creative director, and Todd Tucker, an art director, have launched their own creative agency called Poke the Bear.
Clyde Group has hired Marianne Kaiser as its first senior VP of creative and digital. Kaiser will be responsible for the agency’s art, digital and content teams and will bring them together for the first time under the creative umbrella.
Accenture Song and HBCU platform Urban Edge Network partnered to launch Project XL, a talent program to facilitate the entry of Black talent into the workforce. The platform introduces students from HBCUs to companies for training to close the Black talent sourcing gap.
Publicis agency Formerly Known As appointed Linsey Loy as chief growth officer. Loy, who was previously chief growth officer at Brandtech Group, wil lead all new business strategy for the Publicis digital agency.
Healthcare IT company WalkerhealthcareIT appointed Detroit-based agency Ludwig+ as its creative and media agency of record where the agency will oversee the launch of the company’s first integrated marketing campaign.