What: Wells Fargo has shifted its Media and Digital Business after a review that started in February and has not yet been finalized. OMD will pick up Hispanic media from Acento Advertising.
Why it matters: Acento Advertising has handled Well Fargo’s Hispanic Media buying for many years.

N5L2uOTF_400x400Following Wells Fargo latest review, Omnicom Group shops OMD and Organic are said to be in advanced negotiations to take on business handled mainly by Interpublic Group’s units.

OMD, lead agency on traditional media planning and buying, will add responsibility for digital and search, which was previously handled by Interpublic’s UM. In addition, OMD will pick up media planning and buying on multicultural ads, which had been split among agencies like Muse, DAE and Acento.Wells Fargo is also expected to shift its digital creative business from Interpublic’s MRM to Organic.
Acento Advertising has handled Well Fargo’s Hispanic Media buying for many years.  Oscar Mendoza,  Interactive Media Buyer at Wells Fargo spoke last fall at Portada’s Evolving America Summit at Digital Hollywood about Wells Fargo’s Hispanic digital initiative. Mendoza has since moved to work as Digital and Social Media Strategist at Earth Island.

Wells Fargo spent US$177 million in media in 2013.

A year ago Wells Fargo replaced longtime creative agency DDB with its Omnicom sibling shop BBDO after a review.Wells Fargo is the 70th largest advertiser in the U.S., spending a total of US$610 million in 2013 on advertising and promotion, according to its 10-K.  In the Hispanic market, Wells Fargo has sizable initiatives in the Financial Literacy and Sports Marketing sectors. The company spent US$170 million in U.S. measured media in 2013,according to Kantar Media, with more than half devoted to network TV, cable TV and digital display.

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In our new agency profile feature, Susan Kuchinskas writes about Spark’s origin, key clients, its multicultural offering, main decision makers, cool upcoming campaigns and more…Spark’s Elevator pitch? Boutique services with the clout of Starcom Media.

Origin story

Chris BootheThis Chicago-based, full-service media agency is the smallest in the StarcomMediaVest Group, but it aims to be, well, the sparkiest. The company’s genesis was in 1999 as Starlink Worldwide, a media agency aiming to serve independent agencies with a more creative approach. In 2007, it rebranded as Spark Communications, with a digital focus. Chris Boothe, formerly president of Starcom, came aboard in 2012 as the agency’s first CEO.

“We created a model based on the best of both worlds: boutique but backed by a global agency network,” he says. Boothe is emphatic – if a bit vague – about how collaboration with its powerful media parent works, but he notes, “If SMG has a strategic partnership with Univision and SMG, all our clients can benefit from that.”

Spark logoMedia plans are architected and executed by Spark, informed by the agency’s insights as well as those stemming from SMG research partnerships and findings, and they also benefit from the parent’s preferred pricing.
Key Clients: ConAgra, Red Lobster, Kao, Taco Bell

Secret sauce

Spark works with clients large and small. Boothe says, “We work best with clients that are seeking to do things differently and want to develop programs that are content-, data- and analytics-driven; delivering precision targeting and making realtime decisions.” Efficiency and precision come from a scientific approach to campaigns that provides maximum impact with minimal waste – and that’s of interest to every client these days, Boothe says. “All clients now are trying to outsmart versus outspend. You have to have a challenger brand mentality.”

Multiculti beat

Multicultural marketing is built into Spark, which takes the total market approach for all media strategies. That said, Stephen Paez, vice president and director of multicultural, is aggressively going after multicultural accounts, having grown total multiculti revenue by close to 20 percent in his 18-month tenure. Spark Multicultural is part of SMG Multicultural, the nation’s largest multicultural marketing agency. While it has its own internal resources, it also can leverage the resources of SMG MC in the same way that other brands within the parent agency do.

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Media decision-makers

Media plans are architected and executed by Spark, informed by the agency’s insights as well as those stemming from SMG research partnerships and findings, and they also benefit from the parent’s preferred pricing. The lead media planners on client teams make key decisions in collaboration with the client, and they’re responsible for making sure the specific client gets the best pricing, best activations and added value, Boothe says.

Shelby Saville, EVP of digital, oversees close to half of all agency billings. Stephen Paez oversees multicultural media and John Muszynski, chief investment officer, leads all investment, total market, negotiations on behalf of Spark’s clients. 


European Wax Center will launch a campaign with the release of 50 Shades of Grey. The in-cinema TKs place with NationalCinemedia Networks allows ECM to target this movie only, running in 1,500+ theaters across the US. A partnership with Fandango lets Spark serve online ads to women who have purchased 50 Shades of Grey tickets or reviewed the movie.

Cool Campaigns 

Treehive BeehiveTo launch Delta Faucets’ new HappiMess campaign, Spark collaborated with Animal Planet marketing and Discovery Communications ad sales marketing to create multifaceted brand integration centered on a custom, content-driven contest. The partnership in the TV show Treehouse Masters includes custom, on-air vignettes; passive product integration; in-program mentions and bumps; and forefront integration in the show finale.

Digital dimensions include a digital landing page on Animal Planet for contest submissions, co-branded banners on Animal Planet and Discovery Digital Network; a co-branded Rich Media Video Box that features the custom vignettes; co-branded homepage road blocks on Animal Planet and Discovery Digital Network; and a sponsored, “behind-the-build” digital episode.

MontanaA campaign promoting skiing in Montana used location-based mobile ads to reach people in the Midwest who were at ski resorts, top skier airports and other outdoor areas. The idea was to target people in markets where there are lots of skiers but the local skiing is not so good. Spark also geofenced the entire state of Montana to allow the Montana Office of Tourism to track the percentage of people who received a Montana ad and later actually visited the state during the ski season. The estimated $25,000 budget resulted in an incremental lift of 4,752 visitors and an incremental $6.9 million lift in visitor spending — returns of $276 for every ad dollar spent.
[vimeo 105771261 w=500 h=281]

Montana Sparks Tourism with Innovative Geofencing Campaign from SMGSource1 on Vimeo.

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What: Media company Time Inc.  has struck a multi-year agreement with content discovery platform  Outbrain to adopt its’ proprietary technology stack to deliver content recommendations to its audiences.
Why it matters: The content-recommendation space has grown rapidily as it pushes traffic around the web. By using content recommendations services major publishers can derive significant revenues as they offer their digital properties to drive traffic to other sites who pay for the inbound traffic. It is unusual for content recommendation services to be exclusive and for a revenue figures to be announced publicly as is the case in this Time Inc. Outbrain deal.

TimeIncMagazine publisher Time Inc. and Outbrain Inc., a global content discovery platform, have announced an exclusive multi-year agreement that will see Time Inc. enhance its digital strategy by deploying the full suite of Outbrain’s solutions for seamlessly surfacing content that is relevant to audiences across its global portfolio. The partnership is worth more than US $100 million for Time Inc. over the course of the agreement.

It is unusual for content recommendation deals to be exclusive.

To date, Time Inc. had been working with a combination of companies content-recommendation widgets which help push traffic around the web.As part of this agreement, Outbrain, also a “content discovery”  company,  will now power content recommendations on renowned brands such as Time, People, Sports Illustrated, InStyle, Real Simple, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine. Additionally, it will provide Time Inc. with tools for their editorial team, empowering editors to better program and optimize content to meet their KPIs.

Time Inc. is also going to tap Outbrain’s existing premium publisher network to drive incremental engaged audiences to its digital properties.

Time Inc’s works with content brands such as People, Time, Sports Illustrated, InStyle and Real Simple to deliver valued content within brand-safe environments to a highly engaged audience. The company has experienced significant digital growth over the past year and currently boasts more than six billion page views per quarter and 131 million unique users per month, globally. Time Inc. announced revenues of US$821 million in the third quarter, but its ad sales and circulation fell during that period.

Time Inc. announced revenues of US$821 million in the third quarter, but its ad sales and circulation fell during that period.

Outbrain place links below articles published across a variety of websites, including CNN.com, Slate and ESPN. Media companies and marketers pay Outbrain to place those links on publishers’ sites so as to drive traffic to their content. In exchange,  Outbrain shares this revenue with the publishers where the links appear. The platform has offices in more than 11 global territories and partners with publishers and marketers in over 55 countries, including the U.S., UK, France, Japan, India and Brazil. Worldwide, it now serves over 190 billion recommendations per month to consumers in over 150 countries—with more than 561 million unique users in September 2014 according to comScore.

Time Inc. Chairman and CEO, Joe Ripp said: “This provides marketers with an ideal environment to deliver their messaging. Outbrain’s focus on audience experience and surfacing optimized content recommendations was a key to launching this partnership. It maximizes the monetization of our audience to other content publishers. And, it provides key insights and analytics about our core digital users.”

“We are delighted to announce our agreement with Time Inc. and believe that smart and innovative companies like it are the lifeblood of the new look digital media industry. Outbrain began as a straightforward recommendation product, but we have innovated, adapted and evolved into a platform that serves multiple publisher constituencies—the business, editorial and product teams—affording our partners the flexibility to embrace digital opportunities and continue to deliver what audiences crave,” said Yaron Galai, Co-Founder and CEO of Outbrain .

The agreement is said to be effect on November 15.

Read  more on how Content Marketing services providers and content recommendation services are expanding into the U.S. Hispanic and Latin American markets.