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Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

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Chips Ahoy screen grab.jpgChips Ahoy! will debut a new TV advertising campaign during the Super Bowl pre-game telecast on Sunday. The new campaign with the tagline "Crammed With Joy" marks the first work on the brand from McGarryBowen/Chicago, which was assigned the account in mid-2010. The "Cookie Guy" characters, which had been a centerpiece of the brand's advertising in recent years, are being retired. In their place, MB is introducing TV spots that demonstrate how Chips Ahoy! help bring joy to life.

The first spot debuting Sunday shows a friendly football game in which a bag of Chips Ahoy! replaces the football. The commercial, which has an unusual 3-D effect, is comprised of a series of freeze-frame moments that the camera pans across to build a sense of anticipation and drama. Live action kicks in only at the end of the spot. Like many Kraft Foods brands in recent months, Chips Ahoy! is seeking to contemporize its image -- a move that has helped to refresh several other familiar Kraft brands over the past couple of years.

McGarryBowen/Chicago -- one of just a couple of Chicago ad agencies that can truly be said to be growing in a market where accounts skitter out of town with shocking and depressing regularity -- has hit the jackpot again.

Sources report McGarry, which works on a huge chunk of Kraft business and recently added Advil to the roster, is now prepping some Bud Light spots that could very well wind up debuting on the upcoming Super Bowl. We're told that the work McGarry hopes to sell to Bud Light parent Anheuser-Busch tries to bring a fresh feel and conceptual hook to the way-too-tired and predictable punch line schtick that has prevailed in the Bud Light work since DDB/Chicago first went in that direction many years ago.

And speaking of DDB/Chicago, the McGarry coup once again suggests that DDB is losing even more of its already tenuous grasp on one of its flagship accounts. Whatever has been happening -- for better or for worse in the closed-off bunker that is now DDB -- certainly has not managed to bring fresh spark to an agency that, sadly, seems to be terribly scared of even its own shadow at this late stage in its life.

Meanwhile, we won't know for sure whether the McGarry work will make the Super Bowl until it has gone through the rigorous focus group testing that all A-B advertising is subjected to before being cleared for airing on the big game. But sources say the Anheuser-Busch folks were mighty impressed with the sample work the McGarry crew presented recently.

Separately, on the Advil front, McGarry is also pushing to bring a new feel to a product in the pharmaceutical category via more of a story-driven approach. Let's hope the Advil execs buy into it. The world can always use a few more good -- or even great -- story-driven commercials.

Rustoleum to McGarryBowen/Chicago?

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Sources are reporting the Rustoleum advertising account has come back to Chicago. McGarryBowen/Chicago reportedly has won the business, which had been quietly put into review. Periscope/Minneapolis most recently had the account. Energy BBDO/Chicago was competing along with MB and Periscope for the business. The Rustoleum account had been based in Chicago as recently as 2006, when it was housed at the now-defunct Greenhouse shop.

McGarryBowen's Chicago office has been on a roll in recent months. The agency picked up the Maxwell House coffee account recently, the latest in a series of Kraft Foods brands the agency has added to its client roster. The agency also recently moved into new digs in the American Medical Association building. McGarry execs could not be immediately reached for comment.

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.

McGarryBowen/Chicago has finally found what it hopes is the right person to help pull in new business at the agency. Timothy Scott joins MB this week as managing partner, succeeding Adrian Keevil who left MB and the ad business in mid-2008 (yes it seems to take an extraordinarily long time to replace ad executives nowadays). Scott reports to McGarryBowen CEO John McGarry and will lead day-to-day operations in the Chicago outpost.

A veteran packaged goods ad executive, Scott apparently was tapped in part to help keep key client Kraft happy. The agency has just added Kraft cheese singles and Philadelphia cream cheese accounts to its growing portfolio of Kraft brands serviced out of the Chicago office.

Along with MB/Chicago Executive Creative Directors Ned Crowley and John Moore, Scott also will lead the charge on new business efforts, a task that has proved tough for every just about every shop in this city. Some local agencies have been pretty good at adding new business from existing clients, but otherwise it's been tough. McGarryBowen put out its shingle here in Chicago in late 2007, and said it would become a major contender in the marketplace. So far, however, it hasn't quite gotten there.

Scott arrives at McGarryBowen from DDB/Chicago, where he was a senior vice-president and global business director. He worked on DDB's Wm. Wrigley Jr. business. Scott also did stints at DraftFCB/Chicago and the soon-to-close JWT/Chicago.

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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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