Chicago Sun-Times
Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

November 2009 Archives

Independent marketing firm Jacobson Rost is expanding its digital capabilities with the appointment of Nor Sanavongsay as director of creative technology. Sanavongsay will report to J/R Chief Creative Officer Steve Simoncic in the agency's Chicago office. "Nor will be a critical player to helping our clients drive their digital efforts forward," said Jerry Flemma, president and chief operating officer for Jacobson Rost.

Previously, Sanavongsay was a senior front-end engineer with Peak6 Investments, where he was responsible for Web development and user interface of the company's retail sites. He previously held position with Sears Holdings Corp., First Health and Thinktank LLC. With offices in Chicago; Sheboygan, Wis., and Boston, Jacobson Rost's client roster includes Azteca Foods, Boss Snowplow, Carl Buddig & Co. and Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

In an effort to give back to an industry that has helped Stevens & Tate Marketing/Endora Digital Solutions in Lombard thrive during difficult times, the agency is planning to donate $30,000 in marketing services to one travel and tourism-based not-for-profit organization. The program called the "Lend-A-Hand Marketing Giveaway" was launched this fall and is intended to be an annual pro-bono initiative for Stevens & Tate. "Time and again we have offered pro-bono services, allowing us to infuse our shop with meaningful work," said Dan Gartlan, president of S & T.k Gartlan said the winning candidate will be one that "not only demonstrates strong leadership skills in its industry and the region it serves, but one we feel could benefit most from our services and has the best potential to implement the final creative project.

Entries must be received by Nov. 27. A judging panel comprised of Stevens & Tate directors will review all applications in late November. Finalists will be selected, notified and interviewed in mid-December, and the winner announced the week of Dec. 18. Candidates are being asked to fill out a short online form at

Tom Dick & Harry/Chicago has been named social media agency of record for Canyon Ranch, the Tucson, Ariz.-based operator of wellness resorts, hotels, condominiums and spas. "Our relationship with Canyon Ranch has grown organically over the past couple of years, and we are thrilled to be leading this important new initiative," said Stephen Para, digital director at TD&H.

The agency will lead an effort that will include social media strategy and implementation. "More and more of our client relationships are evolving to recognize the growing importance of social media," said Greg Reifel, TD&H co-managing partner, "and our focus there has increased dramatically in just the past year." After a two-month-long, multiple-agency preliminary competition, TD&H bested San Francisco's Loomis Group in the finals.

Has Chicago Creative Partnership become the latest casualty of the sharp downturn in fortunes among many Chicago ad agencies? The central phone line was answered by a recording on Monday, and a message left for CCP CEO Anne Cox was not returned. Creative Director Don Nelson was no longer recognized by the automated office directory.

Sources say the agency had decided to close its doors after recently losing its flagship account, the Bob Evans restaurant chain. Sources also had told us a while ago that the Bob Evans account was quietly being put in review. As soon as we heard the news, we knew it didn't bode well for CCP, which had not been aggressively pulling in new business in recent times.

According to a brief history at CCP's Web site (which was still up Monday), the agency opened around 20 years ago, and its offices at 314 W. Superior were "down the street from Vince Vaughn's condo and around the corner from Senior Presidential Advisor David Axelrod's office, which makes for some pretty crazy block parties."

Perhaps more tellingly, the agency history went on to note that CCP is/was an independently-owned shop and that "if someone thinks we should get a pool table for the office or this Monday will be Pajama Day at work, that's gonna happen, too." Not sure what any of that has to do with establishing CCP's creative capabilities, but maybe that's why the shop could be calling it quits.

Crown Beer Portfolio.JPGChicago-based Crown Imports has awarded Horizon Media all media planning and buying for the company's entire portfolio of beer brands, including Corona Extra and Modelo Especial. The business, which exclude out-of-home media, will be managed out of Horizon's Los Angeles office. "We look forward to leveraging Horizon's impressive media planning and buying experience to maximize the delivery of our brand messages to our targeted consumers across a wide variety of platforms," said Jim Sabia, executive vice-president of marketing for Crown Imports. Horizon will begin working with Crown this month to plan and execute media buying efforts for the 2010 calendar year.

Leo Burnett has added a new team of business-to-business advertising and marketing specialists that will be called Leo Burnett Business, effective immediately. The group was formerly the New York-based arm of Masius/Publicis Consultants. The focus of Burnett's new unit, so we're told, will be the development of creative ideas to close the gap between a client brand's perceived position and its true value. "Our approach to business communication mirrors Leo Burnett's philosophy in that making a true human connection between brands and their audiences is at the center of everything we do," said Lisa Abbatiello, CEO of Burnett Business.

Of course, in addition to its stated goals, Leo Burnett Business undoubtedly will be all about fattening the agency's bottom whenever possible -- something that Burnett has not been able to do much in recent years via the addition of huge, lucrative new accounts. Current Leo Burnett Business clients include Ace Limited, BP, Johnson & Johnson and United Kingdom Trade & Investment.

n-emmy-kazurinsky1109xxok.jpgThis will serve as a final report on the 51st annual Emmy Awards ceremony for the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. Over 425 nominees and broadcast professionals attended the event Nov. 7, at Park West. Second City improv alum Tim Kazurinsky hosted the evening.

A total 67 Emmys went to Chicago area broadcast outlets and other area companies and organizations. Wisconsin stations and production companies won another nine Emmys. There were more than 640 entries in the 2009 Chicago/Midwest competition.

Scholarships of $4,000 each were awarded to three deserving students. The Ephraim Family Scholarship went to Logan Groover of Northwestern University. The Tom Skilling Scholarship was given to Rosanna Laporta of Columbia College and the Sharon A. Palermo Scholarship to Soo Jin Kim of Columbia College.

The evening's co-chairs were Adam Marton and David Ratzlaff. For a complete list of Emmy recipients, please visit

Mark Tutssel, chief creative officer of Leo Burnett Worldwide, will head the film and press juries for the Cannes Lions 2010 competition. Tutssel currently oversees the creative work of Burnett 96 global offices, and he selected Susan Credle to take over Burnett/Chicago's creative department last month.

In 2009, Burnett Worldwide was the third most-awarded network at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, as well as the Network of the Year at the Art Directors Club of New York and the Gold Drum Awards.

Prior to becoming Burnett's worldwide creative director, Tutssel was executive creative director of Burnett/London. During his tenure in London, both McDonald's and Heinz were named advertiser of the year in the United Kingdom by Campaign magazine. Commenting on his Cannes appointment, Tutssel said: I am delighted and extremely flattered to be asked to preside over the world's biggest celebration of creativity in communications."

Footwear maker Crocs Inc. has named Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago its global agency of record. This marks the first time that the company has consolidated all of its advertising, media, digital and public relations with a single, integrated agency. C-K won the consolidated assignment following an three-month review process. C-K's Chicago office will handle brand strategy, creative, interactive, online, media planning and buying and public relations, with global support through the agency's ICOM network.

"Our goal is to help Crocs further differentiate itself and expand the 'Crocs community' by sharing the unique story and substance behind the brand," said Karen Seamen, general manager of C-K/Chicago. "C-K presented a global brand platform and creative executions that, when combined, provide a compelling brand story sure to reach the millions of Crocs fans worldwide, while introducing new people to our unique and innovative footwear," added Ken Chaplin, vice-president of marketing at Crocs.

C-K's first work for the client is expected to launch in spring of 2010.

Scott Voege has joined Two by Four/Chicago as an account director. He will be responsible for managing a variety of accounts at the director level, including Grainger and Bridgestone-Firestone retail and commercial operations. Voege will report directly to Jennifer Nicks, Two by Four group account director. Previously, Voege served as director of client partnership at Lisa P. Maxwell on accounts for Boyd Gaming, Blue Chip Casino, Waterton Residential, David Barton Gym and Two by Four President and Chief Creative Officer David Stevenson described Voege as "creative, strategic and passionate at his core."

Clear Channel Radio Chicago's WLIT-FM (93.9) will flip the switch at midnight Friday, and start broadcasting holiday music 24/7. The annual changeover has become a big event each year for the station, and one that has provided a huge -- albeit temporary -- boost for the station in the Arbitron ratings book. WLIT typically reverts to its regular adult contemporary programming soon after Christmas. In the October Arbitron book, WLIT was tied for 11th place overall in the key 25 to 54 year old demo, down a notch from it's 10th place ranking in the September book, even though the station's overall share increased slightly in October.

Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 may have a long way to go to declare itself a success in the local television news ratings race, but it certainly did okay at the 51st annual Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards show last Saturday at Park West. More than okay, actually.

Now headed by General Manager Michael Renda, WFLD won 10 Emmys, more than any other TV station in the regional competition. WFLD was honored with two Emmys for two investigative reports titled "Murder or Suicide?" and "Property Taxes" and another Emmy for an investigative series titled "Contingency Fund." The station also got nods for two hard news single features titled "Cop Killer Coverup?" and "Stop the Presses?" WFLD's other wins included Emmys for a medical specialty report, a hard news feature series and a politics/government specialty report.

Local TV insiders who have followed the Emmys for years says those stations that submit the largest number of entries often wind up with the most Emmys. WFLD, it could be said, is an avid participant in the Emmy competition. ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, by far the dominant outlet in the local TV news ratings competition, does submit entries for Emmy consideration, but not so aggressively as some other stations.

Hoffman York lands museum account

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The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has named Hoffman York/Chicago as its advertising agency of record. Hoffman York will develop and execute marketing plans that generate awareness for the museum's exhibits and extensive educational programs. The agency will be responsible for creative, strategic planning, media and research related to the Museum's advertising campaigns. "We expect to leverage Hoffman York's strategic and creative expertise to further connect the Museum of Science and Industry brand with our many loyal fans, as well as to help us develop new ones," said Rob Gallas, the museum's chief marketing officer. Hoffman York has developed marketing materials for "You! The Experience," a permanent exhibition celebrating the connections between body, mind and spirit.

ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 will partner with the League of Women Voters of Illinois and Cook County and the Better Government Association for a series of political debates in January, 2010. These debates will feature candidates running for the offices of United States senator from Illinois, governor and Cook County board president during the Feb. 2, 2010 primary race. The debates, which will be broadcast from the Channel 7 studios, will air commercial free and will be streamed live on The time and dates of the debates will be announced in December. As with past debates see on on WLS, the format will include a Channel 7 moderator and a panel of journalists (to be determined), questioning the candidates on important issues.

We don't envy the task facing Bill Leff. The ex-sidekick of WLS-AM (890) afternoon drive host Roe Conn has been tapped to host a new morning show on Tribune Co.-owned WGN-AM (780) called "ChicagoNow Radio," debuting Nov. 14. The program, which will air on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 noon when sports programming doesn't interfere, will feature a rotating cast of bloggers from, the Web home for no fewer than 126 bloggers that is part of the Chicago Tribune Media Group's efforts to appear in sync with the times.

In announcing the new program, WGN Program Director Kevin Metheny obviously had to reach more than a bit to come up with a basic description of the concept: "This will be a crazy collision of experiences and perspectives." Perhaps. But it also sounds as if the program will be chaotic and hard to follow, with so many different bloggers with different areas of interest talking amongst themselves while Leff tries to tie it all together.

Obviously, the Tribune Media Group is trying to use its radio outlet to promote the ChicagoNow venture. It's called synergy. But "ChicagoNow Radio" may very well prove yet another irritant to tens of thousands of formerly loyal WGN listeners who have turned off the station in recent months as Metheny has tried to update and modernize the sound to attract a younger audience.

Smithe Babies 3.jpgGood news for some in the ad world at the Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards ceremony last Saturday at the Park West. Lou Beres & Associates/Chicago won a Emmy Award in the public service campaign category for its "Click It or Ticket" campaign for the Illinois Department of Transportation's traffic safety division. The campaign was designed to break through to an audience of offenders (primarily young adults) and remind them that cops are there watching, even at night. "The idea was to portray cops and enforcement in a friendly manner that underscores their dedication to a motorist's safety," explained Lou Beres & Associates Chief Creative Officer Andy Madorsky.

And the Walter E. Smithe furniture company and its marketing titan Tim Smithe picked up the Chicago/Midwest Emmy for best TV commercial for a spot that had all three Smithe brothers sitting in baby high chairs. The winning commercial is but one in a long line of outrageously creative spots produced by the Smithe company. In his acceptance speech, Tim Smithe thanked commercial director Bill O'Neil for "making TV magic." Smithe also quoted the character Donald Draper from the "Mad Men" TV series in pointing out that "advertising is distilling a company's communication down to its essence."

Some ad agencies merely pop open a few bottles of bubbly to celebrate their 10th anniversary. ESW Partners/Chicago was considerably more ambitious. Late last month, to celebrate their 10th year in business, the folks at ESW debuted part one of a two-part video documentary called "10 Years Ahead."

ESW rounded up no fewer than 25 "opinion leaders" (yes, we were one of them) to record their thoughts about the future of the advertising industry. We have seen part one and enjoyed hearing what a really diverse cross-section of people in the business had to say on the topic. Part two of the ESW video project will, we are told, be posted soon at For part two, viewers will be asked to join in the conversation with their thoughts about the advertising business10 years down the road.

Jim Signorelli, needless to say, is happy his agency has survived to see its 10th anniversary. "Ten years ago we were three people whose assets were a desktop computer and a dream," said Signorelli, adding "it's surreal to think that today we are on the Inc. magazine list of the 500 fastest-growing independent companies in the United States."

IMG_1065.jpgWilliam Byrne has joined Euro RSCG/Chicago as manager of corporate communications. Byrne most recently served as manager of public relations and corporate communications at Classic Residence by Hyatt. In his newly-created position at Euro RSCG, Byrne will report to Euro RSCG Chief Communications Officer Eric Edge.
Byrne will work closely with the Euro RSCG Chicago leadership team to develop new communications programs, both for the agency's employees and its various external audiences. "(Byrne's) passion for communications, specifically its role in the digital and social media space, will be wonderful as we promote the agency's unique thought leadership," added Edge. Byrne received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from DePaul University. He also is part of the Second City Training Center in Chicago.

Clear Channel Radio Chicago has formed what it calling a "one-stop shop" for advertisers to capitalize on the buying and listening power of the African-American consumer. Effective Nov. 6, the Clear Channel Chicago Urban Network will coordinate ad sales on three Clear Channel outlets -- WGCI-FM (107.5); WVAZ-FM (102.7) and WGRB-AM (1390). "Each station targets and influences a different segment of the population," said Earl Jones, president and market manager of Clear Channel Radio Chicago. Together, the three stations reach more than 1.2 million African-Americans weekly.

Advertisers who purchase the Clear Channel Chicago Urban Network will receive a cross-platform of marketing opportunities, including radio, digital and events. "Clear Channel is more than radio -- we are a media and entertainment company," explained Jones. Darlene Park will be general sales manager for the Urban Network, and Derrick Brown will assume the role of director of urban programming for the three urban properties.

A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts Inc., a specialty retailer headquartered in Berlin, N.J., has tapped Wirestone/Chicago as their digital agency of record. This is a new relationship with no prior agency, and billings were not disclosed. Wirestone's first efforts for A.C. Moore will break later this month and will include the launch of the company's first social media platform called "The Common Thread." The agency also will be working on connecting with crafters through the digital channels by providing ideas and inspiration, A.C. Moore deals, exclusive product information and project ideas generated both from the company and the crafting community.

Picture 2.pngGhastly. Unspeakably bad. Pompous. Empty. These are but a few of the descriptives that coursed through our mind as we watched what may be a new low in the world of consumer advertising, namely a new TV commercial for Jeep from Global Hue in Southfield, Mi., called "Time."

Even as the bar for acceptable advertising has dropped lower and lower in recent years, not much out there rises above the merely acceptable. But rarely have we come across a spot as bad as "Time," part of a new campaign with the tagline "I live. I ride. I am. Jeep." The campaign is to be formally unveiled Wednesday during a seven-hour presentation by Sergio Marchionne, the new CEO of the Chrysler Group and the reigning CEO of Fiat.

Marchionne and his underlings reportedly will talk tomorrow about their grand plan for turning around the Chrysler company and breathing new life into the beleaguered Detroit auto industry -- new life funded in large part with bailout money from our federal government.

But if this new Jeep campaign -- as vacuous as it is -- is any indication of how Marchionne and his crew hope to make Jeep a better, more in-demand brand, then there's big trouble ahead. We've looked at "Time" several times now, and it's absolutely impossible to comprehend what the message is supposed to be. Somewhere hidden inside the impenetrable voiceover copy there seems to be a statement trying to come out about what kind of people will appreciate the Jeep brand. But the spot is so busy trying to be clever and important and impactful that the point of it is totally buried - leaving us with what is basically 30 seconds of slickly-edited visual and verbal gibberish. And that vapid tagline is surely one of the worst ever conceived.

After watching "Time," one is invariably forced to wonder who could be foolish -- or dim-witted -- enough to green-light drivel like this? We can only point the finger of blame at Marchionne and hope he quickly comes to his senses.

Lew's view: F-

DraftFCB/Chicago has been named consumer promotions and shopper marketing agency of record for Del Monte Foods' entire portfolio of pet products brands, including Meow Mix, Kibbles 'n Bits, 9 Lives, Milk-Bone and Pup-Peroni. In addition, Catapult Action Biased Marketing will be the consumer promotions and shopper marketing agency of record Del Monte Foods' entire portfolio of consumer products brands, including Del Monte College Inn, Contadina and S&W. "These new agencies will serve as strategic thought partners -- working with Del Monte Foods brand teams to develop and execute programs that resonate with consumers and customers," said Bill Pearce, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer for Del Monte Foods.

Trust us when we say Chicago's Eli's Cheesecake company knows a marketing opportunity when the company sees one. And the city's most famous cheesecake operation clearly sees one in hooking up with the world premiere engagement of Cirque du Soleil's new vaudeville spectacle "Banana Shpeel," debuting at the Chicago Theatre on Nov. 19, and running through Jan. 3, 2010. To celebrate the occasion, Eli's has developed, appropriately enough, a new banana cheesecake flavor that it will introduce at the theater and sell in the form of a "banana dipper," a chocolate-coated piece of cheesecake on a stick. For those unable to make it to the theater, Eli's plans to make the cheesecake available for sale in a limited number of retail outlets. The dippers and the banana cheesecakes also will be available online at, and at Eli's Cheesecake World, 6701 Forest Preserve Dr.

Effective Nov. 11, 2009, Joe Gersh will become general sales manager for three Clear Channel Chicago radio outlets: WLIT-FM (93.9), WKSC-FM (103.5) and Mega 95.5 (formerly WNUA-FM). Most recently, Gersh served as the director of business development at NRS Media in Atlanta, Ga. NRS Media is a Sydney, Australia-based media sales training and consulting company currently working with 174 local TV/cable, radio and newspaper media outlets in the United States. "Joe brings a wealth of experience with an extensive background in media sales management, advertising and marketing," said Matt Scarano, director of sales for Chicago Channel Radio Chicago.

No surprise here. Chicago Blackhawks ratings continue to improve on Comcast SportsNet Chicago, where the resurgent hockey team's games are broadcast live. CSNC's Blackhawks ratings averaged a 1.6 rating in October, a 60 percent increase on the 1.0 average in October a year ago. And compared to the 0.4 rating in October, 2007, the current October, 2009, ratings number represents a 300 percent increase. With a 2.7 rating, the Blackhawks' October 14th game against Vancouver delivered the highest-ever regular season rating for a televised game.

Learning Curve Brands, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RC2 Corp., has retained Euro RSCG/Chicago as agency of record for its mom, infant and toddler business, following a review. Euro RSCG's first effort will be development of an integrated ad campaign for the company's The First Years brand, which will introduce a line of infant nursing, sleep and care products in 2010. "We're delighted to be working with a brand that plays a critical role in the lives of families across the country," said Jamie King, president of Euro RSCG/Chicago, adding "we look forward to helping this brand realize its full emotional and economic value."

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About the blogger

Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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