Fort Lauderdale’s Zimmerman Advertising has been very ambitious in recent months.
We recently learned, via one particularly dedicated tipster, that the agency created a series of template sites that seem to anticipate future pitches for the business of several big-name clients including McDonald’s and Sam’s Club.
These are all variations on the agency’s internal site, welcometothezmachine.com. Our source claims to have found them via a bit of Google sleuthing, and they were never intended to be visible to the public.
As soon as we contacted the agency today, the pages were quickly switched to password protected status, so this would appear to have been an internal error.
The individual URLs were in brandname.welcometothezmachine.com format, and each had its own cover page. Here’s McDonald’s:
Additional collateral included a list of Zimmerman’s clients in the given target’s category, attendant case studies, and a download link for a PDF presentation that amounted to a full pitch document.
For example, the 66-page(!) Sam’s Club document compared the chain’s performance to that of competitors like CVS and Party City, and it included data charts and visuals like this one:
It’s not clear whether each of these sites were tied to specific pitches or whether they were simply reflective of the standard agency search for new clients.
In some cases, it seems that the Zimmerman team may have gotten ahead of itself. biglots.welcometothezmachine.com, for example, led to a “this site is no longer available” page, indicating that the shop no longer considered that company as a potential client.
This recently released video overview of the Zimmerman culture was also embedded on each individual site:
Here are a couple of additional screenshots from the home page:
Zimmerman executives declined to elaborate on the template sites today, and we didn’t have the opportunity to try every conceivable brandname.welcometothezmachine.com combination before they switched to password only status.
The message, though, is clear: Zimmerman is in new business mode. They are aggressive and dedicated. They have the data, and they’re not afraid to use it. They might just be coming for your clients next.
That said, make sure all your internal materials are password protected.