Omnicom buys into

Just a few months after Montreal-based ad agency Bos agreed to swap advertising services for a small piece of equity in fledgling (see 'Agencies taking stake in dot-coms,' Strategy, Nov. 22, '99), advertising and media buying behemoth Omnicom Group has...

Just a few months after Montreal-based ad agency Bos agreed to swap advertising services for a small piece of equity in fledgling (see ‘Agencies taking stake in dot-coms,’ Strategy, Nov. 22, ’99), advertising and media buying behemoth Omnicom Group has picked up a 20% stake in the Web-based employee recruiting firm.

In announcing the deal last week, New York-based Omnicom said the main benefit of its investment in San Francisco, Calif.-based will accrue to its recruitment advertising firm, Bernard Hodes Group, which is already working with Recruitsoft to develop an integrated Web-based hiring system.

While on the surface it might seem odd for Omnicom to be buying into employment-related ventures, the company’s executive vice-president and chief financial officer Randall Weisenburger said in a telephone interview that it’s all part of a broad-based approach to marketing.

‘Given what’s going on in the digital world, you really need to think much broader than what might be viewed as traditional advertising or marketing,’ he said. ‘Recruitsoft is a technological platform that assists companies in managing their whole HR process, and that goes everywhere from constructing and placing ads to managing the resumés that come in.’

While Bos’ stake in Recruitsoft is nowhere near that of Omnicom, Bos vice-president Claude Carrier says that never in his career has one of his clients been owned in part by another ad agency interest. He adds that while the situation hasn’t spurred any talks between the two stakeholders, ‘you never know.’

In Canada, Omnicom’s holdings include BBDO Canada, Palmer Jarvis DDB, TBWA Chiat/Day and Optimum Media Direction Canada. Harrison, Young, Pesonen & Newell has a seat on the Omnicom board, but operates autonomously.

From Karen Howe’s dining table: Creativity, COVID and Cannes

ICYMI, The Township's founder gathers the best of the best campaigns and trends so far.

Cannes Base Camp

By Karen Howe

I’m attending Cannes from the glory of my dining room table. There’s not a palm tree in sight, yet inspiration and intel are present in abundance.

Cannes Lions is a global cultural pulse check. The social course correction in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and BLM has delivered far greater diversity in the judging panels as well as the work. And we are all better for it.

I’m proud to say that creativity defeated COVID, which speaks to its power. Great work and big ideas flourished, despite unimaginable odds.

The work from the past two years spans a vast emotional range. From the profundity of Dove’s “Courage is Beautiful” to the hyper exuberance of Burberry’s “Festive,” they are opposite ends of the spectrum, but each answered a need in us.

Take note, the ascendency of gaming cannot be understated. Smart brands have embraced the channel. It makes sense, because gamers participate to meet others around the world, not just to play. And they represent a huge and powerful community. That’s why QSR Wendy’s gamified their iconic gal in RPG’s Feast of Legends.

Burger King sponsored the unknown Stevenage Football Club, transforming the team into online heroes and vaulting BK into the fray at the same time. Once again, the brand embedded itself in culture.

The birth of gaming tourism arrived when Xbox snuggled up to travel guides and created a brilliant baby: a travel guide for gaming worlds. It, too, embedded itself in culture.

From the standpoint of social good, Reporter Without Borders showed how it worked with Mindcraft for its “Uncensored Library” to bypass press censorship, with Minecraft providing a loophole to a space where young people could be educated. It provided youth with a powerful tool to fight oppression: truth.

COVID changed us in unexpected ways. We learned how to pay attention again and there was a notable lack of 30-second commercials. Instead, longer format content thrived. Apple’s WFH was seven minutes long. Entertainment reigned king, so we find ourselves returning to our advertising roots.

Seeing competitive brands form partnerships was one of this year’s other great surprises. The brilliantly simple “Beer Cap Project” by Aguila to reduce binge-drinking saw the brand reach out to competitive beers to join in. Aguila put incentivizing (keyword: free) reminders to drink water, eat food and get home safely on its bottle caps from all sorts of fast food chains, ride-share co’s and H2O brands.

On a personal level, I’m so proud of Canada again this year. Given that it was two years of work from all over the world being judged, even making the Cannes shortlist was an accomplishment. Canada is herding in the Lions in tremendous numbers – and it’s not even over. Fingers are crossed.

KAREN-HOWE-PIC-higher-rez-300x263Karen Howe is a Canadian Cannes Advisory Board Member and founder of The Township Group