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Is David Miami currently the best American agency?

By on September 20, 2021 0

Last week was a great week for The David Agency: the Cannes Lions Festival released its annual Creativity Report, which includes a comprehensive overview of the trends that have emerged, as well as counting the ranking of its winners. David dominated with his talent (creative directors, editors and artistic directors), taking up a third of the seats.

As a perspective, the American creative powers Droga5, Wieden & Kennedy, BBDO and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners have not even placed a single individual among the elite of the 30.

As the Matryoshkas, those Russian nesting dolls, David is an independent branded creative satellite of the Ogilvy network, which, in turn, is controlled by the holding company WPP. Ogilvy first established David – named after network founder David Ogilvy – as a conflict store in India in the early 2000s. He was eventually absorbed into what was left of the Bates Asia network. The brand was resuscitated in 2011 in Brazil and Argentina to mark the 100th anniversary of the founder’s birth.

In 2010, 3G Capital, a private equity fund run by a group of Brazilian investors, paid $ 3.3 billion for Burger King. The deal was scoffed at at the time because the price was considered high for a channel perceived to be in decline, in an economy still reeling from the financial crisis. Still, investors put $ 1.2 billion of their own cash into the transaction and, in fact, did so several times over the years since. In 2017, Burger King was valued at $ 12.5 billion.

Private equity generally views marketing as an expense and not an investment, and therefore, they often reduce this type of expense. But 3G Capital believed the brand they were buying was bigger than the company, so they invested in marketing and advertising to improve value as well as efficiency.

In one of its first steps, 3G Capital hired a rock star marketing director from Unilever. Fernando Machado is considered an innovator and risk taker, best known for his Dove’s Sketch, which has generated over 80 million views on YouTube. The work was important from another perspective – he introduced Machado to the founders of David who created the ad:

In his new job at Burger King, Machado hired David, who opened an outpost in Miami. Since then, the ideas of the store have been inspired. Whether it’s a simple print campaign, a complex digital hack, or a news video, the work has made Burger King the center of attention in a time when attention is drifting. easily from one quick shot to the next.

With Machado’s encouragement, the ad created by David Miami focused on experience and purpose. The ads were very intrusive and emotional, but product oriented, with a very engaging execution context. Their multi-layered campaigns were more like a magazine with many different articles and topics, than the linear approach of traditional advertising.

Since the 2008 financial crisis and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, companies have been wary of risk. This is the case with their marketing operations. But time and time again, there is ample evidence that in today’s rapidly changing environment and accelerating pace of technological innovation, taking no chances is often the greatest risk.

Last year, Burger King unveiled a global advertising campaign aimed at underscoring its commitment to ditch all artificial preservatives, leading the public on a bold marketing path. In Moldy whopper, he counterintuitively showed that a Whopper was not consumed by humans, but rather by decomposition:

David Miami’s relentless focus on creativity is based on powerful consumer insights. As you would expect from an agency working for a private equity firm that lives and dies by the numbers, 3G Capital’s affinity for data means the agency is constantly monitored – from the overall health of the brand and sales to the number of people entering its restaurants. Decisions are driven by data, but are not determined by it alone. Burger King marketers use judgment and skill when assessing the risks and potential of new ideas.

Editors and art directors are celebrated in the trade press, but it’s often clients like Machado who inspire the agency and enable the creative sparkle. It takes a client with the stomach for risk taking. This is why agencies often produce lopsided work under one roof – great work for one client who takes risks and poor work for another who wants to play it safe.

Over the years, I’ve found that the best publicity is created when marketers have strong personal relationships with creatives. Smart clients hang out with these agency people, go to lunch with them, have a drink together. I can tell you without hesitation that marketers who gravitate towards creatives will see a better job because the best in the agency will fight to work on their business. A culture of creativity begins with friendship, as well as blurred lines between client and agency.

The closeness between Machado and the creatives, without a doubt, has been a huge ingredient contributing to the success of Burger King and David Miami. However, the agency now faces a few challenges. First, Machado headed for the exit and left Burger King to join Activision Blizzard as Marketing Director last year.

David Miami has selected other 3G Capital brands such as Budweiser, KraftHeinz, Popeyes and Tim Hortons in recent years. Together, they represent almost all of the agency’s billings. This makes David a captive, almost internal agency. 3G Capital’s culture and Brazilian roots have benefited David Miami, but he should be concerned about addiction. The agency’s margin of error is narrow if 3G Capital seeks to change horses. So he has to make the magic grow, as he goes beyond the current roster, and do so while maintaining his creative integrity.


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