Microsoft's massive global agency review is moving right along despite marketing leadership changes that moved Mark Penn, a key decision-maker in the review, to a chief strategy officer role and returned Chris Capossela to the role of chief marketing officer.Participating agencies had their first meeting with the tech giant this week in D.C., where Mr. Penn is based, according to people familiar with the matter. Next are regional meetings in Shanghai and London. Final presentations are set for April 9 and 10 in the U.S.The final presentations were originally expected to happen in D.C., but they're now moving to the Seattle area, people familiar with the matter said. That's where Mr. Capossela, a 23-year Microsoft vet who served in a top marketing role between 2011 and 2013, is based.Continue reading at AdAge.com
For once, it was a good week for incumbents in account reviews—at least among media agencies. PHD, the media agency for Mercedes-Benz USA since 1999, retained its assignment, with annual media spending of about $320 million. The other finalists could not be ascertained. Likewise, MediaCom has successfully defended media responsibilities on Brand USA, which spends about $30 million in media each year. Sources identified the other contenders as MMGY in Kansas City, Mo. and MBuy in Chicago. Brand USA is a public-private partnership that aims to bring more foreign tourists to the U.S. The organization launched in 2010 and first hired MediaCom in 2011. In a statement, Roberta Hatchett, Brand USA's director of advertising and media, said that in the pitch MediaCom "easily demonstrated the most successful combination of global reach, process and strategy." And while incumbents ruled in these two reviews, another bowed out a third. Arnold, the lead creative agency for CVS since 2010, exited a pitch for that business, a week before final presentations. The split left a still long list of four contenders: BBDO, Grey, Havas Worldwide, Ogilvy & Mather and Lowe Campbell Ewald. The retailer spends about $115 million in media annually.
Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners is building out its social media practice, with help from parent company MDC Partners. Attention, a social media shop that MDC acquired in 2009, will now be part of KBS. The specialist agency will keep its name and own profit and loss responsibilities, but now report to KBS CEO Lori Senecal. In a statement, Senecal said her agency's clients, which include BMW and Vanguard, will "benefit from Attention's deep experience, not only in improving performance in social channels and content but also in integrating social behavior throughout brand connections." The alliance expands KBS' footprint—albeit just in social media—to Culver City, Calif. and London. Attention also has offices in New York and Toronto, where KBS operates as well. Coincidentally, in New York KBS and Attention work out of the same building in SoHo. KBS has one other office, in Montreal. Attention works for the likes of Mattel (Barbie), Verizon, Bausch + Lomb, Michelin and HBO. The shop, led by CEO Curtis Hougland and chief operating officer Paul Beck, employs about 90 staffers. Like other KBS units, including The Media Kitchen, Attention will share clients with the main agency as well as have its own clients.
Advertising players have descended on South by Southwest Interactive in central Texas en masse, joining tens of thousands of denizens from the media world. That said, SXSWi, now in its 20th year, has become so noisy and crowded that some tech firms that depend on marketing dollars—Foursquare, for one—have decided to sit this one out. Nevertheless, ad agencies are embracing the opportunity to network and, ultimately, increase sales. Adweek caught up with handful of agency leaders on the scene, asking them to explain in 15 seconds (via Instagram videos) why they're here.