Tagged: France

Noreen O’Leary, One of Advertising’s Most Iconic Journalists, Has Died

Noreen O'Leary, a giant of advertising journalism who spent the past 31 years perfecting her craft at Adweek, passed away Saturday after a battle with cancer. She was 59.

A native of Pittsburgh, O'Leary attended the Elis School for high school and then studied at Carnegie-Mellon University. In 1985, she joined Adweek, and over the ensuing decades, she more than earned her reputation as one of the industry's most respected and recognized agency reporters. Her stories also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and The New York Times.

She is survived by her husband, Chris Garland. Funeral services have not yet been set.

For 30 years, O'Leary set the standard for covering the ad world. Colleagues and sources alike will remember her as a no-nonsense, old-school, hard-as-nails reporter who dug deep into the heart of every story. That said, she had a gentle way about her, and she always strove to be as fair as possible—acutely aware that professional reputations and jobs often hung in the balance. She helped take agency coverage beyond its trade-press infancy and made the companies and personalities of the business come alive. 

Last year, while battling cancer, O'Leary continued to work as much as she could, and was so dedicated to maintaining her coverage that she'd take her laptop with her to chemotherapy treatments so she could still be able to meet her deadlines. 

Word of her death spread quickly through advertising circles Sunday, with dozens of colleagues and executives voicing their sorrow while also sharing their memories of a class act who always took the time to write the story fairly and elegantly. Indeed, O'Leary was described by many as a "class act."

"She was as tenacious as she was gracious, and we will miss her and her byline very much indeed," said James Cooper, Adweek's editorial director, in a note to the Adweek staff. 

Added Adweek editor Lisa Granatstein: "She earned the respect and trust of top-level executives, who in turn gave her a front-row seat to the tectonic shifts occurring within the advertising world. She will be greatly missed." 

O'Leary will be remembered particularly for several profiles that changed the perception of her subjects—sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. The highlight, many in the industry agree, was her profile in 1992 of ad legend David Ogilvy, who let her into his French chateau for several days, years after cutting himself off from the press. 

Here's how the story began:

For a half-century, David Ogilvy has blazed across the advertising skies. The tail of his comet stretches from the pre-television era and Madison Avenue in its gray-flanneled heyday on through the creative revolution and into the world of global mega-mergers. All the while, Ogilvy's sharp, iconoclastic personality has illuminated the industry like no other adman's. Now "retired" to his chateau in France, Ogilvy still has strong, informed views about the state of advertising and the fate of agencies. Here are his latest, and perhaps last, confessions. 

Autumn in the Loire Valley is not David Ogilvy's favorite time of year. Too wet, too cold, too lonely after all of summer's visitors leave Touffou. Storm clouds smudge the November sky, Ogilvy's beloved gardens wilt under the first frost, and afternoons are so quiet you can hear leaves drop. Still, on a long twilight walk to show visitors his river views and fiery countryside, he is more puzzled by the passage of time than saddened by it.

"It's a curious thing about age, something I'm terribly conscious of these days," says Ogilvy. "Can a man of 81 be good at anything in advertising, or is it ipsofacto that you're useless at 81? They're out there saying, for God's sake, get rid of that old codger. But I've had to become outspoken. There is still very much I would like to do and not many years to do it."

(The full story has not been available online, but Adweek is working to digitize the article from our archives.) 

Craig Reiss, former Adweek editor in chief and current creative director for the New York Daily News, recalls how the exclusive Ogilvy profile came together:

"The EALs [editors at large] had just been assembled a few weeks before. Their job carried a simple description: Come back with a story that could run proudly in any magazine, wherever it takes you, whatever it takes," wrote Reiss in an email. 

"Noreen came into the conference room where [former Adweek editor and ex-Esquire EIC] David Granger and I were holed up re-imagining a new Adweek. 'I was just talking with Mary Wells,' Noreen said, 'and told her I was having trouble coming up with a worthy story idea. She asked if I'd be interested in meeting with Ogilvy at his chateau in the south of France.'

"I believe Mary sent David a request in a letter. A few days after, Noreen had a personal note from Ogilvy, inviting her to come stay at the Chateau and sample wines," Reiss continues. "She went, they talked and drank and drank for days, and she came home with the seminal story that changed the perception and importance of Adweek. We are all saddened and the lesser for her passing."

O'Leary's fondness for Ogilvy as a subject was evident in her obituary of him in 1999.

O'Leary's 1993 feature story (written with fellow Adweeker Richard Morgan) on the power struggle between McCann and Los Angeles talent agency CAA over the Coca-Cola account is also industry legend. Remembers Michael McCarthy, a longtime Adweek colleague who is now with The Sporting News: "It had everything: deal-maker Mike Ovitz on the CAA side; John Bergin and Phil Geier for McCann and IPG; Cola Bears; hush-hush conference rooms inside the bowels of Coke. The industry held its breath until that story hit the newsstands." 

Here's an excerpt:
Coke's receptivity to CAA, to Hollywood's encroachment on Madison Avenue, was so obvious that some on the McCann team felt like throwing in the towel before their round of presentations even began. "You could see the account go sailing right out the window of a windowless room," one says. "Now that's Hollywood." At that moment, Bergin later confided to a friend, he scribbled a note while CAA was still pitching and shoved it in front of a colleague. "We are dead," it read.

More recently, she wrote a feature story in 2007 about the Chinese marketing industry that essentially introduced U.S. readers to what was going on in the rapidly rising Asian nation. She was very proud of the piece, and it set the pace for a lot of mainstream coverage on China that followed.

Returning to the topic of Ogilvy, this time the agency, O'Leary profiled CEO Miles Young in early 2013, probably her last great in-depth piece—though she continued to write through June of this year, as she battled cancer. 

Several colleagues shared their thoughts and memories:

Kevin McCormack, former editor of Adweek and current WPP communications director of North America: "Noreen was a colleague that any journalist who wanted to cover this industry effectively and responsibly studied. She was a brilliant writer, reporter and editor, and she changed lives and changed the way advertising was covered."

Barbara Lippert, former Adweek columnist and currently columnist for Mediapost: "She had the institutional memory and unique talent to be able to do tough, deeply reported stories, and was unique in the field of ad journalism in that gift. She had really high standards. Her profile of Ogilvy is the standard bearer. She also had a wonderful, rueful sense of humor. She was a kind person and a great colleague. I am really devastated to hear this.

Jennifer Comiteau, former Adweek reporter/editor and currently executive director of corporate communications, Project: "I will never forget her guiding me so much coverage, including the end of Ally & Gargano. And, the stories she told while holding court at Molly's every Thursday night, were legendary. The industry lost a great historian."

David Kiley, former Adweek writer and current director of Communications: Ross School of Business at The University of Michigan: "She was such a classy person with me always. She was that consummate pro who the big ad execs would always sit down with for the big in-depth piece because they knew she knew her stuff, would be fair and thorough."

Longtime Adweek freelancer Joan Voight: "Back when I was working on my first big feature for Adweek, I had just met Noreen, who was the pro. We were drinking beers and eating burgers with the AW group (of course). I was exhausted and worried that much of my interviews with the agency seemed like boilerplate B.S. that wasn't interesting nor insightful. 'Was I doing something wrong?' She leaned over and said something like. 'Don't worry. You have to wade through all the B.S. and pay close attention because there will be bits of good stuff hidden in the platitudes. Don't give up.'" 

Brian Morrissey, former Adweek digital reporter and current editor of Digiday: "Noreen was a pro's pro. She helped me immensely in finding my footing in a new industry. She was always very generous with her time and insights, sharing her incredible knowledge of the ad industry and how it worked. What I always found striking was even as accomplished Noreen was she was always curious to know more. She'll be missed."

Douglas Quenqua, former Adweek news editor and current editor in chief of Campaign U.S.: "Noreen was the best advertising writer I ever worked with. There is no second place. And she did it without ever being mean, loud or dishonest. Her Miles Young profile from 2013 should be required reading for everyone in the industry, especially those who cover it. We were lucky to have her." 

Article originally appeared on Adweek Advertising & Branding: Link.

Growth Rings

Growth Rings identity Growth Rings is a UK-based woodworking business that proudly brings almost seventy years of New Zealand saw-milling heritage to the Kent coastline.

Article originally appeared on Identity Designed: Link.

France, Often Late to U.S. Culture, Had a Great Reaction to Getting Game of Thrones on Time

France is tired of America getting access to the coolest things first. So now it's drawing the line at Game of Thrones.

To promote French cable provider Canal+ airing the Game of Thrones Season 6 premiere at the exact same moment it debuts in America on HBO (that's 3 a.m. on April 25 for those en France), agency BETC created a clever outdoor campaign. 

Each illustrated ad shows something Americans got to enjoy long before the French could, from blue jeans to skateboards. In the second panel of each ad, we see one of the iconic logos from Game of Thrones' most notable houses and the good news that both nations will be revisited by these clashing clans simultaneously. 

Check out the ads and credits below:


Client: Canal+
Client Management: Audrey Brugère, Elise Lacroix and Eugènie Rodrigues

Agency: BETC
Agency Management: Guillaume Espinet, Elsa Magadoux and Mathilde Lançon
Executive Creative Director: Stéphane Xiberras
Creative Direcotrs: Jean-Christophe Royer and Eric Astorgue
Art Directors: Marion André and Aurore De Sousa
Copywriter: Sandra Mac Millan
Art Buyer: Victoria Vingtdeux
Illustrator: Timothy Durand

Article originally appeared on Adweek Advertising & Branding: Link.

Facebook Made an Amazing Deck of Playing Cards With Marketing Insights for Agencies

Facebook combined a playful concept with great design in this recent initiative to send its 2015 marketing insights to agencies—via a beautiful deck of 52 illustrated playing cards.

The deck was made by London creative agency Human After All. Each card offered a unique and engaging insight about Facebook and its U.K. users—from Santa to Star Wars, from Jay Z to Jon Snow—the agency says.

The packaging was personalized to the agency that would be getting each pack. And in addition to the U.K., country-specific packs were created for France, Italy and Spain with alternative insights and illustrations.

In all, more than 1,000 decks were distributed to agencies that work with Facebook. Human After All also created a large poster of the cards for Facebook to display in its headquarters and send to clients.

More images below. Click to enlarge. Via Creative Bloq.

Article originally appeared on Adweek Advertising & Branding: Link.

Canal+’s Soccer Fan Hasn’t Missed a Match in 30 Years, but Hasn’t Seen One Either

Soccer fun fact: A "clásico," which originally referred to a Real Madrid vs. Barcelona game, now means any game between fierce rivals within the same country—like Manchester United vs. Liverpool—making them highly anticipated national events. 

On Feb. 7, France's clásico will take place between Olympique de Marseille (OM) and Paris Saint-Germain. To build hype for the game, cable network Canal+, which has had exclusive rights to the broadcast for the last 20 years, released a new ad called "The Fan."

Created by BETC, the spot is so much more than your garden-variety soliloquy about the personal significance of the sport in the life of a die-hard OM follower.

This story has a twist. Watch the full, unspoilered version below. 

The poor guy works in stadium security.

That means he can never watch the matches happening right behind him, on the same field he's standing on … that is, until the day his daughter—who, if her dad's anything like the sports fans in our family, probably gets short shrift attention-wise—uses Canal+ to help him witness a long-cherished moment for the first time. 

"Some games you just can't miss," the ad concludes, and the smile that lights our fan's face up is priceless. It's the smile of the dedicated, dogged and downtrodden devotee getting his payoff.

But it's also the redeeming smile of our jocular, middle-aged dads, who, after decades of career fidelity, have poured all of their human passion into something that everyone else in the family might consider pointless, or just not worthy of so much energy. (For my dad, it's boats. Boats in bottles. Boats at boat shows. And the lonely forgotten boat of Joe DiMaggio, still sitting in our home dock.)

Sports ads are probably best characterized for stoking the contagious emotions of fans and shining a spotlight on an underdog. In this sense, "The Fan" fits neatly in its genre. But it also refreshes with smart use of drama, comedic timing and tiny twists that refocus interest … and are, incidentally, the key selling points of Canal+ in France, which easily invites comparison to HBO.

Solid work here; it's almost enough to make us want to watch dudes kick balls.

Article originally appeared on Adweek Advertising & Branding: Link.

This Food Retailer Is Celebrating a ‘Gender Free Christmas’ for Kids With an Adorable Ad

Système U, the fourth-largest food retail group in France, is tackling bigger issues than hoverboard stockage in its holiday catalog this year. With a new campaign from TBWA, it's asking: What worldview are we passing on to our kids?

The supermarket group gives us "#GenderFreeChristmas," which explores the biases kids learn about play. The ad kicks off with girls and boys authoritatively explaining which toys are appropriate for their respective genders: Tea party sets are for girls, while sports and toy guns are for boys, for example. 

But the ad demonstrates these opinions are less what kids naturally believe, and more a reflection of what they've been taught. We jump to a huge set that resembles the playhouse you wanted as a kid but your parents were too busy to build you. The kids are let loose … and once free of prying questions, their behaviors reflect more fluid affinities.

Girls play with trucks and drum sets; one boy bemusedly holds a doll by its leg and contemplates a cloth diaper. While a few girls make ice cream in a miniature kitchen, another boy, dressed like a superhero, pushes a vacuum cleaner around like a toy car.

As they play, a photographer moves quietly among them, snapping photos, providing the perfect entry point to introduce Système U's Christmas magazine concept: "There are no toys for girls or boys. Just toys." The magazine is illustrated with shots the photographer took while the children cavorted unstaged. 

The work echoes Target's recent move to stop classifying toys in its store by gender. According to Système U, "few French brands dare display their social commitment, and even fewer dare to do so through film." The idea was to sidestep the classic holiday hard sell and use its brand platform to take a stand instead. "Being a major retailer in France today means being a social stakeholder, in touch with the French people," the company adds. 

It's also part of Système U's ongoing effort to promote "added social value" in its communications, which it previously supported by being the first French retailer to remove parabens from cosmetics in its bespoke Produits U brand range, and by replacing aspartame with stevia in carbonated beverages (which, granted, also bears some risks—but hey, points for effort). 

The ad concludes with the following message: "Giving kids the image of a better world. That's what Christmas is all about." Certainly it's nicer than a hoverboard, even if it's not something you can show off on the playground come January. But we like the idea of giving kids the gift of deciding for themselves what they want to play with, and ultimately choosing what kinds of adults they want to be. That decision is impacted by all kinds of things, from toys to jokes, as we most recently learned in a decidedly traumatic ad from Care Norway.

Article originally appeared on Adweek Advertising & Branding: Link.

Porsche Punks New Drivers by Making Them Take Their Test in a 911 Carrera 4

There's a reason your parents put you in a beater when you got your driving permit.

To promote the opening of a new Porsche Experience Center in Le Mans, France—the fourth in the world, after Leipzig, Silverstone and Atlanta—agency Quai des Orfèvres came up with an idea it knew would generate lulz aplenty: It slid a Porsche 911 Carrera 4 under the noses of people who don't even have driver's licenses yet. 

In the video below, attendees of a local driving school show up for their exam to discover "something's changed," and they'll have to take their test in a new car, but that they shouldn't worry. 

Regardless of whether or not the video is "real" (in a filmed-to-truth sense versus a reality TV sense)—and we're about 60 percent sure it isn't—the resulting hijinks yield some prime hilarity. The first reactions alone are gold, because the panic of these already-stressed would-be drivers is tangible: "I learned to drive in another car," a guy says flatly. One woman simply backs away and repeats "No" as many times as she can. 

Things only worsen from there, and that's when you start to get a real sense of the sadism required in bringing this scenario to life. 

"What's this engine?" a student asks after a cursory peer under the hood.

"That's the boot," the teacher replies (meaning, the trunk). 

Several others can't find the key because Porsche starters are on the left, prompting another student to uncertainly ask, "Is this for left-handed people?" 

These early negotiations of comedic space set you up for what's to come: The woman who screams when, asked to hit the gas, she suddenly finds herself doing donuts in a roundabout. The awkward, sweat-inducing parallel-park, as onlookers take photos (mostly because of the car, but immortalizing the driver's shame in the process). The palpable concern on the teacher's face at the sensation of a nervous driver just trying to get the Porsche to go straight.

(Fuel to the flames: French drivers generally learn to drive on manual transmissions. There is no solace anywhere.)

Despite its 3:23 length, the ad ends in a way that seems abrupt: "Want to learn how to really drive in a Porsche? We've got just the experience for you." It then cuts to action shots of people doing donuts (willingly) and otherwise cavorting on the Le Mans track, where you can learn to drive Porsches properly across 32,000 square feet—or just visit the Porsche Museum and check out the new models.

The video, which came out Nov. 23, has clocked nearly 1 million views. It's unclear how many of those are qualified Porsche Experience Center targets; we suspect most just enjoy the schadenfreude. On the cheery up, the victims of this evil social experiment are going to go home, licenses in hand, with a new appreciation for their steady, predictable Renaults and Citroëns (made especially for right-handed people).

They don't know it yet, but they've probably just saved $100,000.

Article originally appeared on Adweek Advertising & Branding: Link.

A Cognac Brand Just Made a John Malkovich Film That No One Will See for 100 Years

Robert Rodriguez and John Malkovich have made a movie that no one currently alive will ever see—and that's just fine by them.

The film is called 100 Years, and it was financed by French cognac maker Louis XIII (pronounced "Louie Trez"), whose marketers conceived this unusual, ingenious idea.

Louis XIII, officially known as Louis XIII de Remy Martin, is a brand that prides itself on craftsmanship. Its cognac is made from wine grapes grown in the Grande Champagne territory of Cognac, France. It is blended from 1,200 eaux-de-vie (brandy) that takes 100 years to craft. Its Paris-based agency, Fred & Farid Group, produced the film under head of production Karim Naceur, in conjunction with Moonwalk Films and executive producer Gaspard Chevance.

Ludovic du Plessis, the brand's global executive director, noted at a press conference with Rodriguez and Malkovich on Wednesday that it takes a century for each bottle of Louis XIII to age. So, why not do the same with a film?

"Our cellar master is crafting Louis XIII today that will be ready in 2115," he noted. "He will never see his baby. He is working on something for people who haven't been born yet. This is impressive, and this is our source of inspiration. This was the creative source of inspiration for the movie 100 Years."

Similarly, the cast and crew of 100 Years will never see the final cut of the film, not even Rodriguez, who sent his rough edit out for visual effects to be added and never saw the final cut before it went in the vault.

A few stills from three futuristic teasers for the film were leaked on entertainment websites earlier this month, but the news that the actual film was to be held for release for another century was only revealed Wednesday.

Though specifics about 100 Years were not disclosed, the filmmakers describe it as set in the current world.

"It's set today, it's very elegant, it's emotionally charged, and it's John's writing," said Rodriguez, dressed casually in dark clothes and a leather jacket, referring to Malkovich. "You have to touch people's hearts if they're going to show it in the future, so it has to be honest. The teasers are what we imagine the future would be to grab your attention. I'm proud of it, even though nobody I know will ever see it."

Malkovich plays the hero, Chinese actress Shuya Chang (Revenge of the Green Dragons, the upcoming Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend) plays the heroine, and Chilean actor Marko Zaror, who appeared in Rodriguez's Machete Kills, plays the villain.

Though few details about the plot are known, du Plessis described it as Malkovich's vision of the next 100 years. "It's the delicate relationship between the past, the present and the future," he said. "It's really, for us, a tribute to the mastery of time."

He would not disclose the genre of the film or its budget, although when pressed, he said it was in "the seven figures."

"It's not a drama; it's not a comedy," he added. "It's in between these two. Some moments are more drama, and some are more comedy. We do not put it in a certain category."

Du Plessis said choosing Malkovich to write and star in the film was an easy decision. "He is the best actor of his generation" and "a creative genius," du Plessis said. He joked that the two-time Oscar nominee (Places in the Heart, In the Line of Fire) speaks better French than he (a native of France) does.

"I've watched him work, and I've seen the creativity in his eyes," he said.

The completed film was to be placed in a safe specially designed by Fichet-Bauche, a two-centuries-old French security company, at the Sheats Goldstein Mansion in Hollywood. The safe, fitted with bulletproof glass and a state-of-the-art timer that records the time and date and will mark the countdown, is slated to travel around the world under high security for an international tour beginning in Hong Kong on Dec. 11, before it reaches its final destination at the House of Louis XIII in Cognac, where it will remain until it will automatically open in the 22nd century. Louis XIII is giving 1,000 silver-plated movie tickets to certain "influencers" around the world so their descendants can one day view the film.

Asked whether there is product placement of Louis XIII in the film, Rodriguez responded, "Yes, there is a bottle there. But it's about John's vision of the future."

Quipped Malkovich, nattily dressed in one of his own designer suits, "I thought it was a little fantastic idea; I wish it would have happened to some of my other films."

He went on to say, "I liked the idea. … When they showed me the plans Robert had, it seemed exciting to imagine."

Photographed by renowned director of photography Claudio Miranda, whose credits include Tomorrowland and Life of Pi, the film is one of Rodriguez's proud achievements. He is best known for action films including From Dusk Till Dawn and Sin City, as well as the family friendly Spy Kids movies. He said working with Malkovich and the Louis XIII team has been a creative and exciting experience.

"I've worked with John before, and the idea to work with him again was great," he added.

Of his association with Louis XIII, he complimented the brand's ambition, although he admits he didn't initially realize the film would be locked away for 100 years when he signed on.

"It speaks to the product," he said. "It's about craftsmanship and about doing something sight unseen for future generations. The more I thought about this project, the more I couldn't say no. I want to make something that's going to open in 100 years."

Rodriguez says he is looking forward to his great-grandchildren seeing the film one day, along with his clone.

As for his thoughts about the future, Malkovich was philosophical.

"I don't think about it so much," he said. "I try to fill the time I have left with things that interest me. As I'm not an inventor or scientist, I don't know how much I can contribute to the future."

For those who can't wait a century to see 100 Years, you can still get a sneak peek—an exclusive trailer and three teasers can be viewed at on YouTube. Viewers are invited to join the conversation on social media with #notcomingsoon and follow Louis XIII on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Article originally appeared on Adweek Advertising & Branding: Link.