THE MARTIN AGENCY
Billings, revenue up 20% to $1.3 billion and $120 million, respectively. Won Hoover ($40 million), the American Cancer Society ($15 million), Walmart Smart Network and Walmart Corporate Responsibility. Added projects for Coca-Cola's Fuze, One.org, Rosetta Stone, Dynova Labs. Lost Sirius ($40 million) following XM Satellite Radio merger. Despite fourth-smallest revenue base, agency managed 12th-largest revenue gain.
Geico TV casts Mrs. Butterworth as translator in consistently funny, attention-grabbing testimonials that deliver customer service message in clever and entertaining fashion. FreeCreditReport.com spot stars ID theft victim as waiter at a rock star pool party who tells his plight in a comical, irony-filled, techno-driven music video parody. Walmart "Stock Up on Joy" commercial in which party host sings about his overflowing family gathering is refreshingly warm, non-saccharine double pitch for retailer and Coca-Cola. Walmart spot about two middle-age white guys challenging each other with Madden video game painfully long at 90 seconds. Black-and-white Alliance for Climate Protection spot pairing odd couple Al Sharpton and Pat Robertson to show bipartisan agreement on climate issues produces stiff results. Walmart YouTube effort smartly speaks to moms with useful user-generated money-saving tips on video. Fuze "Be Afraid, Breast Cancer" print feels too brash, boastful and unabashedly male; ad stressing its plastic vs. glass argument makes more practical point.
The 31-year partnership of CEO John Adams and president and creative director Mike Hughes led the IPG agency to its fifth straight year of double-digit growth. The shop leverages its integrated services -- from media and data analytics to PR and mobile marketing -- very well. Martin has thrived rather than struggled with its mammoth Walmart client. It won pitches for the retail giant's corporate affairs business and the reinvention of its in-store TV network -- Smart Network -- which is expected to deploy 27,000 digital screens by 2010. And its "Save money. Live better" repositioning for the company has proved prescient and timely. New business activity included unsuccessful pitches for Hulu, Michelin and Hyatt. Executive hires included Linda Thomas Brooks, formerly of Trilogy and GM Mediaworks, to head up Ingenuity Media Group as president, as former president Mark Pavia assumed new innovation director role. Added creative directors Nancy Hannon, from Y&R Chicago, on Walmart, and Christian Wojciechowski, from Tribal DDB, as digital cd on Walmart. Brand First Entertainment helped attract new clients such as American Cancer Society.
The year began with a small victory, the U.S. Tennis Association account ($8 million), after a review. Shop continues to beef up digital capabilities, hiring chief digital officer Jonathan Sackett from Arnold in January '09. Cut 5% of its staff in February -- 24 employees -- in anticipation of client spending cutbacks this year.
FINAL GRADE: B+
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