Blind Items: Hot Houses and Corleones

By Patrick Coffee 

Hot houses, cold clients

Here’s an interesting, completely accurate item submitted in document form by one of our readers. We hear that it does not reflect on standard agency practices, though we have a feeling that it won’t be completely foreign to many of you.

So a major agency, led by its planning team, scheduled an event described in its own words as a global “hot house.” What does that mean? The org flew a group of at least 20 creatives from their respective offices around the world to a certain city this week to work on coming up with new concepts for a single account–presumably while hanging in a hotel or other space beyond the agency’s office, hence the “hot house” name.

This isn’t a new account, and it’s not the agency’s biggest. The project is more of a reintroduction than a launch, according to an internal memo focused on “reimagining the category conversation” on the client’s behalf. This brand is “essentially invisible globally” despite being part of a far larger parent company, and the agency is calling upon its creatives to spend what amounts to a week-long retreat trying to resolve this problem:

“…in a world where we’re more infinitely connected, we’re actually becoming less and less emotionally connected.”

Details regarding the hot house are about what you’d expect: planners want to “develop a global idea that links [Brand X] to emotional connection in a way that moves people personally, collectively, and inspires them to use [Product Y].” They have one week to do it with the help of their creatives. In a perfect world.

The point, as stated earlier, is that target Millennial Women are skeptical about/overwhelmed by marketing messages–and the agency in question wants to ensure that the client’s product connects with them on a “real” level, with real in this case meaning “immersive, tactile, rich, authentic.” The brand in question, however, is “nowhere near this conversation.”

These women “have a nose for sniffing out anyone or anything that overstates their importance,” so the client needs to keep things real without taking itself TOO seriously. The agency wants “an idea that can support multiple product forms so the creative idea can sell product and deliver launch news” but lists no specific presentation date, so they’re kind of playing it by ear.

Sound like a fun week?

You broke my heart, Fredo!

In other blind item news, we hear that spirits are down at the headquarters of one agency after an interesting bit of information made its way around the office: one of the shop’s top executives allegedly auditioned to work for its biggest client.

This client, which recently appeared on one of those “world’s top brands” lists, made some executive changes months ago before launching an all-out attempt to redefine itself in the eyes of the public. We hear that employees aren’t super-psyched to learn that one of their bosses aspired to work on the other side of that equation but returned to the fold after failing to make the cut.

Unlike the top story, we can’t confirm this one. But its timing would be super awkward.