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Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

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It's official. T3 in Austin, Tex., has been named agency of record for Aircell's Gogo inflight Internet service, replacing Upshot/Chicago. We first reported an agency change was imminent back in July.

T3 will handle strategy, creative and media. Spark Public Relations in San Francisco will be responsible for the company's public relations. "We appreciate T3's quick and nimble way of handling client business, as well as the true partnership we will have with the agency's creative talent," said Aircell president and CEO Michael Small. Today Gogo is available on more than 1,000 commercial aircraft and over 3,800 daily flights in the continental United States.

Another ad account is about to exit Chicago. A Gogo Internet spokeswoman confirmed Friday that Gogo in-flight Internet is in the final stages of an agency review. She said the company has in fact selected a new ad agency and outside PR firm and confirmed that both are not based in Chicago.

That means Upshot/Chicago, the current ad agency of record, soon will no longer have the Gogo business. Gogo is about to begin drawing up contracts with the new PR and ad agencies, and the new contracts are expected to be finished and signed by mid-August.

Gogo is one of the more popular wi-fi options increasingly available to passengers on airlines in the United States and internationally. Among the carriers currently using the Gogo service are American Airlines, AirTran, Air Canada, U.S. Airways, Virgin America, Delta and United Airlines. Gogo was launched approximately three-and-a-half years ago.

Gogo in-flight Internet is in the final stages of an agency review, according to sources familiar with the review. Upshot/Chicago is the current agency working on the business. Gogo is one of the more popular wi-fi options increasingly available to passengers on airlines in the United States and internationally.

Among the carriers currently using the Gogo service are American Airlines, AirTran, Air Canada, U.S. Airways, Virgin America, Delta and United Airlines. A Gogo Internet spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Victoria General Market Poster.jpgChicago-based Crown Imports will debut Victoria beer in Chicago next week -- the launch city for the Mexican brew's United States rollout. Described as "one of Mexico's best-kept secrets," Victoria will target both Hispanic and general market beer drinkers. Victoria, a Vienna-style lager with a copper color, has been produced in Mexico since 1865, making it the country's oldest and most traditional beer brand. Until its rollout next week in Chicago, Victoria was only available in Mexico.

Chicago was a natural choice for Victoria's U.S. introduction, according to Crown Imports prez Bill Hackett, because the city has strong ties to Mexico and a well-established beer culture. Chicago also has one of the country's largest Hispanic populations, many of whom would be familiar with the brand from their home country. The Chicago launch will be supported via a major advertising push with work from Upshot/Chicago and La Comunidad/Miami in both English and Spanish. Facebook users who become a fan of Victoria will find information about tasting events and where to buy the beer via a "Find Victoria" mobile App.

Upshot acquires Emerge Digital

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Chicago-based Upshot has acquired long-time partner Emerge Digital, a Naperville-based interactive agency with expertise in Web design, online promotions, social media, mobile phone marketing and branded interactive games -- capabilities that Upshot hopes will make it a more competitive shop. Emerge has relocated to Upshot's headquarters at 350 N. Orleans in Chicago.

"Our acquisition of Emerge reflects our commitment to consumer engagement," said Brian Kristofek, Upshot's president and CEO. With the acquisition of Emerge, Upshot's client roster grows to include Consumer Reports, Cirque du Soleil, HBO, Harpo and Visa. Over the years, Upshot and Emerge have collaborated on various projects for clients such as Kraft Foods, MillerCoors and Aircell's GoGo Inflight Internet.

Growth in interactive is projected to outpace all other areas of marketing over the next few years.

To leverage its beer portfolio, including Corona Extra and Modelo Especial, Chicago-based Crown Imports has hired Upshot/Chicago to develop consumer and retail promotional campaigns. "Our portfolio has enjoyed great brand advertising, and we want to maximize our efforts at retail to fully engage and connect with all beer consumers," said Jim Sabia, executive vice president of marketing for Crown. Upshot will begin working with Crown this year, and their first work will appear at retail in the summer of 2010.

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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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