Monday, November 24, 2014

12252: With Frenemies Like These…

Adweek reported Crispin Porter + Bogusky—the new White advertising agency for Infiniti—is teaming up with Anomaly, whose Shanghai office will handle the China portion of the account for the first year or two until CP+B can establish an office in the country. CP+B and Anomaly are sister agencies in the MDC Partners holding company; plus, the two competed against each other during the pitch for the entire account.

There are at least a couple of elements in this scenario that may be deemed as typical White advertising agency bullshit.

For starters, minority advertising agencies are routinely rejected from even participating in account reviews with the excuse that the firms lack global resources. Yet White advertising agencies lacking global resources are granted a few years to build a shop in foreign lands where they are culturally clueless. Adweek initially reported the following:

In its RFP, Infiniti, a unit of Nissan, identified its priority markets as the U.S., China and Hong Kong, though the brand also is sold in Europe, the Middle East, Russia, South Africa, Mexico, Canada and seven other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. So, having a global footprint is key to servicing the business.

In other words, CP+B was competing with the full knowledge that it did not have offices or capabilities in the priority markets identified by the client.

How do White advertising agencies such as Anomaly literally lose a pitch and still win significant business from the client? Looks like MDC Partners is emulating Omnicom with its use of Corporate Cultural Collusion. Last October, Adweek also reported the following:

Infiniti executives briefed Anomaly but the shop exited before final presentations last month, sources said. And after those presentations, the execs narrowed their focus to Crispin and Goodby.

Did Anomaly exit early knowing there was a good chance of nabbing Infiniti’s China business? Something smells fishy here.

Adweek ran a headline that stated “Crispin Turns to a Frenemy” for global assistance. Sorry, but there are no frenemies within holding companies. In the end, it’s all just business as usual for global advertisers and White advertising agencies, perpetuating the cronyism, exclusivity and discrimination that poisons our industry.

Crispin Turns to a Frenemy to Create Infiniti Ads in China

Gets help from sister shop and pitch rival Anomaly

By Andrew McMains

To handle a key market for its new global Infiniti business, MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky has turned to a rival, albeit one from the same holding company.

Until Crispin opens an office in Shanghai, China, Anomaly’s office there will create ads for the region. The move is unusual, as Anomaly competed against Crispin for Infiniti’s global account. But the luxury auto brand has immediate needs and high growth expectations in China, and starting an office takes time.

As such, Anomaly will handle the China portion of the account for at least a year—and possibly longer—until Crispin sets up shop. The account sharing also illustrates the imperfect choice that Infiniti faced when it selected Crispin instead of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to take on its global business. Goodby has no overseas offices and Crispin has just a few, in London; Copenhagen, Denmark; Gothenburg, Sweden; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In the end, though, Crispin will get by with a little help from a frenemy.

Beyond the MDC connections, Infiniti vp of global marketing Vincent Gillet noted a “genuine cultural fit and respect between CP + B and Anomaly.”

There’s also, of course, a revenue benefit to Anomaly, whose Shanghai office employs about 40 people and is led by CEO Eric Lee, executive creative director Elvis Chau and chief strategy officer Richard Summers. Other accounts include Budweiser, Converse and Pepsi, for which it Mirinda, a citrus soda brand. The office opened in 2013.

In explaining the partnership with Crispin, Anomaly global CEO Carl Johnson cited an affinity with the car brand, its leadership and Crispin. “We are therefore delighted to help our sister agency in the first year or two as they set up operations in Shanghai,” Johnson said.

Crispin CEO international Richard Pinder said the account sharing was borne of “trusting people rather than structures,” adding that Anomaly Shanghai’s leaders “know the market well, the issues.” Besides, he added, “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to find out that when you’re in the car business, China is kind of important.”

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