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

Recently in Energy BBDO Category

Another mystery solved. Katrina Cabrera (formerly known as Katrina Limbaugh) has resurfaced after an extended vacation in Kenya. The former head of PR for the soon-to-be defunct Zig/Chicago, Cabrera is seamlessly transitioning to a new job as communications director at Energy BBDO/Chicago. On this her second day in her new job, Cabrera said the Energy folks had reached out to her at Zig, and she found the opportunities at Energy BBDO sufficiently enticing to accept the shop's job offer.

At least now Cabrera will be working with an established agency in the city rather than one that was trying to find its footing, but never did. Cabrera told us she has taken to chewing a lot of gum since she landed the Energy BBDO gig. Which is a good thing. Chewing gum behemoth Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. is a principal client of Energy BBDO.

Chicago lost another high-profile account to an out-of-town shop when Northwestern Mutual recently relocated its ad account from Downtown Partners to Olson/Minneapolis. But the Rustoleum ad account, now at Periscope/Minneapolis, has been quietly searching for a new agency too. And it looks as if Chicago has a fighting chance of getting back the Rustoleum business that as recently as 2006 was at the now-defunct local Greenhouse shop.

Sources say Periscope is pitching to defend the Rustoleum business, but two Chicago shops, McGarryBowen and Energy BBDO, also are part of the review.

The just-ended 2009 was a tough year for new business wins in Chicago, though McGarryBowen did pull in some nifty Kraft accounts. But just about all the city's ad shops could use some nice wins early in this new year to develop some momentum that we can only hope will continue to grow with each passing month.

Energy BBDO/Chicago became the latest Chicago ad agency to cut staff late last week. An agency spokesman confirmed the shop laid off a total of 19 employees across all departments last week -- approximately 10 percent of the agency's total employee count. At least two group creative directors -- Todd Hoffman and Al Wyatt -- were among those let go.

The Energy BBDO spokesman attributed the staff reduction to a drop in ad spending among its clients, which include the Illinois Lottery and the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., long the agency's flagship account. Energy BBDO also is the agency of record for the Chicago White Sox.

There was a glimmer of good news for the Chicago ad industry in the announcement Tuesday of 27 finalist ad campaigns for the 2009 Kelly Awards, bestowed annually to both ad agency creative teams and advertising clients whose magazine campaigns demonstrate creative excellence and effectiveness in meeting campaign objectives. The awards are given out by the Magazine Publishers of America organization.

Euro RSCG/Chicago -- the local shop that resolutely refuses to return to a corpse-like state despite its decision last week to hand over a chunk of its business to a so-called start-up conflict shop called Palm/Chicago -- was named a Kelly finalist for its Valspar paint magazine work. And Leo Burnett/Chicago, which is looking for a new chief creative officer after the shop parted ways with John Condon, also was named a finalist for the Caesars hotel and casino chain campaign with the tag line "The Life You Were Meant to Live." Yet a third Chicago shop, Energy BBDO, was named a finalist for its Canadian Club campaign with the tag line "Damn Right Your Dad Drank It."

The MPA's Kelly Awards were established in 1980 to honor Stephen E. Kelly, who devoted his career to magazine publishing and promoted the theory that creative magazine advertising made the difference in sales results.

White Sox TV - Catching 3.jpgThe Chicago White Sox advertising campaign for 2009 is celebrating traditions unique to the baseball team and its fans. The campaign tagline is: There are traditions and there are White Sox Traditions."

This theme gives the White Sox and it's ad agency Energy BBDO/Chicago the chance to concoct all manner of wacky traditions and weave them into the advertising. The official White Sox campaign for the 2009 won't kick off until closer to the season opener in early April, but Energy BBDO already has completed two teaser commercials that offer a taste of what is to come. And the work leaves no doubt the agency is going for off-beat, oddball humor.

The first of the two teaser spots introduces us to a White Sox fan who starts growing a beard at the end of one season and doesn't cut it off until the next season begins. It's a tradition, apparently, that annoys his wife no end, who leaves little hints in the form of disposable razors whenever and wherever she can. But his wife's disapproval doesn't appear to phase this particular gentleman, who can keep track of when the new season is slated to begin by the length of his beard.

A second spot is all about the male head of family who loves to sit in the stands and catch foul balls and home runs. So we get to see this particular gentleman practicing catch with a pepper mill, a fish and various vegetables.

You get the picture. Both spots are obviously big on visual gags which depend for their humor on how much the particular gags amuse viewers. We were only mildly amused, but other, potentially more rabid White Sox fans may find these teasers more hilarious than we did.

Lew's view: B-

The Illinois Lottery has awarded Energy BBDO/Chicago its general market advertising contract for an initial term of two years, with two one-year renewals possible. Billings on the account are around $21 million annually. Energy BBDO beat out two other finalists for the Lottery contract -- Marc USA/Chicago and JWT/Chicago.

Per terms of the contract, Energy BBDO and Omnicom Group partners OMD and the Integer Group will assist the Lottery with strategic planning, media planning and buying, creative development, promotion and Web site development. Energy BBDO takes over the Illinois Lottery advertising account at a time of great upheaval within Illinois government. The impeachment trial of Gov. Rod Blagojevich is set to start Monday. If Blagojevich is eventually removed from office, the fallout will be felt throughout state government, including the Lottery.

In recent years, the Illinois Lottery and its advertising have been a focus of some controversy. Several years ago, DDB/Chicago, another Omnicom Group agency, won the Illinois Lottery account and then resigned the business amid allegations Lottery officials were pressuring the agency to target African Americans in the advertising DDB was asked to create.



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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