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Sapient Buys Campfire, Continuing Agency Acquisition Spree

Our great client, SapientNitro, added another creative boutique to its family. The newest addition, Campfire, has a creative strategy and an interesting background in film.


SapientNitro has acquired Campfire, a digital creative boutique and its second agency purchase of the year.

Parent company Sapient, best known for its roots in information technology, has for years attempted to diversify by adding creative agency services, mostly through M&A and talent, in its SapientNitro division.

Campfire joins a handful of SapientNitro acquisitions over the past few years. In 2011, SapientNitro bought Clanmo, a mobile shop based in Cologne, Germany. Later that year, it acquired D&D Holdings, a London-based ad agency. In 2012, it set its sights on the U.S., acquiring Portland, Ore.-based digital agency Second Story and mPhasize, a marketing analytics company in Westport, Conn. And in January it bought Hispanic marketing shop La Comunidad.

“A lot has been around elevating the creative product and creative reputation,” said Gaston Legorburu, executive director and worldwide chief creative officer at Sapient. Mr. Legorburu spearheaded the latest acquisition. “What’s interesting is the combination of technology and brand. Second Story was at the forefront of that.”

Campfire has the creative chops Sapient wants, but its film roots are what really intrigued Mr. Legorburu; the shop’s founders made “The Blair Witch Project.” Over time Campfire transitioned from independent film to mostly commercial projects. Last year, Campfire’s “Byzantium Tests” — a campaign for the Cinemax show “Hunted” — was named Campaign of the Year at Ad Age’s Small Agency Awards.

Though mostly project-based, the firm touts long-running relationships with brands like Ketel One and Cinemax.

But it’s not the clients that originally attracted Sapient. It was a conversation at a conference. Mr. Legorburu had asked Mr. Monello to sit on a panel at a conference in New York a little over a year ago, and after a conversation about “storyscaping” the rest was history.

“It was the first time I heard someone using language similar to the way we describe what we’re doing at Campfire,” said Campfire Chief Creative and Partner Mike Monello, recalling his first meeting with Mr. Legorburu. “When Gaston was talking about Second Story and La Comunidad, I felt like what he was saying and the way he was acting was consistent. Over time, we got to know each other.”

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McDonald's Has a Pretty Good Comeback to Taco Bell's Hijacking of Ronald

A follow up on yesterday’s posting–McDonald’s uses social media to craft a great comeback to Taco Bell’s “Ronald McDonald” ad.


Taco Bell’s foray into breakfast food has ushered in a new war–the war of morning fast food. It started this week as the ‘Bell introduced a new menu targeted at people who have a hankering for waffle tacos. To promote this confluence of possibly absurd ingredients, Taco Bell unveiled several new commercials featuring real people named Ronald McDonald enjoying their new treats.

This apparently ruffled the colored afro of the House of Clown itself, which responded on Facebook with probably the most gracious reply it could muster. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” it said, next to a photo of Ronnie petting a Chihuahua.

Of course, you could also interpret the photo this way: “Awww, isn’t Taco Bell a cute, harmless little competitor?” Funny, too, that McDonald’s still associates

Taco Bell with the Chihuahua. The spokesdog, Gidget, bless her soul, died way back in 2009.

H/T: @SubtweetCat.

Read more from the source: AdWeek

Taco Bell's Breakfast Endorser: Ronald McDonald

Clever advertising from Taco Bell to promote new breakfast items and rival with top morning competitor, McDonalds.


Ronald McDonald loves Taco Bell’s breakfast.

That’s what Taco Bell is saying in its campaign introducing its biggest menu rollout yet. The Mexican food chain located a slew of actual Ronald McDonalds and got them to appear in new ads for its breakfast launch proclaiming their love for Taco Bell’s new breakfast menu. And the chain clearly isn’t clowning around: Taco Bell says the marketing campaign will be by far the biggest in its 50-plus year history.

The TV spots central to the campaign are a blatant poke at McDonald’s, the biggest player in breakfast by a wide margin, without an actual mention of the category kingpin. “It’s not surprising these guys are loving Taco Bell’s new Waffle Taco,” says the voice-over in one ad. “What is surprising is who they are.” Then the host of Ronald McDonalds introduce themselves.

The commercials were created by Interpublic’s Deutsch Los Angeles and begin airing March 27. The spots include a disclaimer that the Ronald McDonalds in the spots are not affiliated with McDonald’s Corp. in any way, and were individually selected as paid endorsers of Taco Bell breakfast.

Taco Bell President Brian Niccol said that the strategy is to turn heads and pay attention to what he claims is the most innovative breakfast menu in the market. “This is about getting people to understand that there’s a great alternative to their breakfast routine. There are lot of competitors [at breakfast]. Even the advertising all looks the same, and it’s hard to distinguish one breakfast sandwich from another. We needed marketing that is not going to be taken as your ordinary breakfast-menu marketing.”

Brian Niccol

He declined to detail how much the chain is spending on the push, but noted that it will be bigger than its Doritos Locos Tacos launch. Taco Bell’s parent company Yum Brands spent about $280.3 million on U.S. measured media in the first nine months of 2013, according to Kantar Media.

McDonald’s did not return calls for comment by deadline.

Taco Bell will also be making the morning-show rounds Thursday, with appearances on shows like Fox and Friends. Other marketing tactics will include social media, which Taco Bell has invested heavily in, along with apps like Instagram. In the last week the chain has been promoting the launch in unorthodox ways; for example it sent 1,000 prepaid disposable phones to “fans” to go on “brand missions,” asking them to post photos on Instagram or tweet posts related to Taco Bell and get rewarded various breakfast-related gifts. That phone promotion was created by Taco Bell and Publicis Groupe’s DigitasLBi, the chain’s digital agency. Interpublic’s FCB handled in-store marketing and packaging.

The TV spots featuring Ronald McDonalds will likely air for the next four weeks, with additional ads coming out later. Mr. Niccol said that the company will be marketing breakfast for the remainder of the year.

It’s not all that common for brands to call competitors out directly in advertising — so when they do, consumers take notice, said Derek Rucker, professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “The fact that they’re making this aggressive play is likely to generate a lot of stir, especially on social media, so you can see their motivation,” he said.

Mr. Rucker noted, however that the success of the campaign will hinge on how it is received. “Instead of talking just about your brand, you’re talking about two brands, and consumers can view calling a competitor out as everything from entertaining to inappropriate,” he said, but added, “it’s a strategy that clearly has advantages.”

Taco Bell has been testing breakfast since early 2012, and the chain’s rollout is certainly well-timed. Breakfast in 2013 logged its fourth consecutive year of growth for restaurants, while lunch and dinner continue to decline. In 2013, 12.5 billion breakfast visits (which accounts for about 21% of all restaurant visits in the U.S.), were made to U.S. foodservice outlets, up 3% from 2012. Lunch and dinner visits at restaurants declined 1% in 2013, according to NPD.

Fast food, which accounts for 80% of total restaurant morning meals, showed the strongest growth, with a 4% increase over the prior year. And the forecast looks good: NPD estimates that fast-food breakfast will grow a cumulative 9% over the next nine years. By comparison, the industry overall is expected to grow less than a half a percent each year for the next 10 years.

Because breakfast is the only area of growth for the restaurant industry, fast-feeders like McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King and Subway have all been ramping up their breakfast menus and marketing.


Analysts generally think Taco Bell’s breakfast stands to be successful, and if it is, it could be a game- changer for the company. “They have a ton of potential for success,” said Elizabeth Friend, analyst at Euromonitor. “Every chain has been trying breakfast, but Taco Bell has a strong brand and following, and they’re riding the momentum from successful moves they’ve made in the last couple years.”

Those successes are mostly from the Doritos Locos Tacos line of products, which Ms. Friend said will likely help the brand as it’s rolling out new novelty items like the waffle taco, the highest-profile item on the breakfast menu. “They have a reputation for making crazy new items that might seem totally insane, but have proven they ultimately work.”

Waffle Taco

Other products on Taco Bell’s breakfast menu include the A.M. Crunchwrap; co-branded Cinnabon Delights; a Breakfast Burrito; the A.M. Grilled Taco; Flatbread Melt and hash browns. The chain has said that the the A.M.

Crunchwrap — eggs, steak, sausage or bacon, a hash brown and cheese all wrapped up in a tortilla — is the signature item and will be the chain’s equivalent to McDonald’s Egg McMuffin.

Pricing for the products will run from $1 to about $2.49, price points that Mr. Niccol said will provide customers with a range of value. He expects the initial best sellers to be the A.M. Crunchwrap and the Waffle Taco.

Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst at NPD Group, said that Taco Bell, aside from the differentiated menu, has working in its favor drive-thrus; thousands of points of distribution; a low price point and a target consumer group — young people — that are typically the heaviest users of fast-food breakfast.

Another advantage Taco Bell may have, said Ms. Riggs, is that the chain has said it will stay open for breakfast longer than other chains, until 11 a.m. McDonald’s, for instance, typically serves breakfast until 10:30, though it has in recent years experimented with a late-night breakfast menu and other types of extended breakfast hours.

Of course, the biggest question is whether Taco Bell can sustain long-term breakfast success, and whether it can lure customers away from McDonald’s permanently. Breakfast is, after all, the most routine daypart for consumers, and they rarely stray from their ritual. Taco Bell has “done everything it can to ensure immediate success,” said Ms. Friend. “After that, it’s up to the menu itself and their continuing marketing effort to keep that success going.”

Mr. Niccol is optimistic that consumers will be “committed” to Taco Bell’s breakfast. “We can break routines [because] we’ve got a better reward,” he said.

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Ad of the Day: This Weight Watchers Ad Is Unlike Any You've Seen Before

Fantastic ad from Reactive agency for Weight Watchers. They partnered to make a moving and relatable ad that effectively communicates the theme, “Awaken your incredible.”


Weight loss can be one of the most deeply emotional subjects for people. Yet the category seems almost afraid of emotional advertising, preferring to go with bright, bubbly, breezy celebrity endorsements instead.

We’ve seen exceptions, like Medifast’s memorable 2013 campaign. (Those ads, filmed over eight months, used some nifty editing to poignantly show heavier consumers talking to their future, slimmer selves.) Now, we get this inspirational campaign from Weight Watchers Australia, which is light years away from what the brand tends to do in the U.S.

The theme is, “Awaken your incredible.” And it’s all about finding the person you are at your core, whom you might have lost track of over the years as you tackled all of life’s other challenges. It’s a simple idea, communicated effectively and movingly in the humble 60-second spot.

The message seems much more relatable than Jessica Simpson chattering on about how she loves her body. Dieting, after all, is about pursuing the ideal version of yourself, not someone famous–about reconnecting with yourself, not connecting with others.

The campaign also includes an interesting partnership with Getty Images, in which you answer some questions on a website, which then uses Getty photos to create short slideshows illustrating your “incredibleness.”

Via Adland.

Read more from the source: AdWeek