*tap* *tap* Is this thing on?

Hello out there.

Things have been pretty quiet around here as of late, and I know for many of you who stop by from time to time, your worlds have been turned upside down in ways you never could have anticipated. But life–and business–is still moving, albeit differently than it has in the past.

Putting the usual “I hope you’re well and staying safe” platitudes aside, I’d like to hear from you, and learn more about how you’ve been handling the chaos of the past few months.

If you’re willing to share your experiences, the ups and downs, or anything in between, drop me a line or leave a comment here.

Back to basics

UPDATE

Friends from both the Boise Advertising Federation and the Idaho Advertising Federation have reached out to provide additional clarification and context around the awards and the event:

The official name is “The Rockies,” which dates back to 1983.

The annual IAF Creative Awards Competition first launched in 1978 as a statewide competition (previously it was a local only competition of the Boise Ad Club), but it was rejuvenated in 1983 as The Rockies after a judging fiasco in the prior year.

IAF as ‘creator’ of its awards competition is sole authority as to ‘naming conventions’ cited below. Hence, The Rockies Award Ceremony is correct, and may be alternatively stated as The Rockies Award Show, despite assertion to the contrary.

BAF, has made herculean efforts for more than 40 years in hosting the success of the statewide competition on behalf of IAF.

While this is not the first time–nor will it likely be the last–that I’ve drawn the ire of BAF, that doesn’t mean my opinions or observations are necessarily correct. I appreciate those who have taken the time to set the record straight, and always welcome comments and discussion – either here on the blog or via email.

I have been, and always will be, a vocal supporter of agencies throughout the state of Idaho as well as the ad clubs and other organizations, and will continue to promote events, recognize good work, highlight job openings and other relevant information as time allows without obligation or expectation of anything in return.


Original post:

It’s awards season all over the place.

Unfortunately, our friends at the Boise Advertising Federation have gotten lax — dare I even say lazy — with their naming conventions for the state’s creative awards show.

So, to help get things back on track, or for those who may be new to the game, here’s a little cheat sheet for reference:

Rockie Award (Singular)
An individual award for creative excellence. Can be Silver or Gold.
Shorthand: Rockie
See also, for reference/comparison: Academy Award/Oscar, Golden Globe Award/Golden Globe

In context: Against won a Gold Rockie Award in Sales Promotion for the Auya Co. Tradeshow Booth
–or–
Brad Pitt won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Once upon a Time…In Hollywood.

Rockie Awards (Plural)
Two or more awards for creative excellence.
Shorthand: Rockies
For reference/comparison: Emmy Awards/Emmys, Academy Awards/Oscars

In context: Drake Cooper won 4 Gold and 18 Silver Rockies in 2017.
–or–
PARASITE won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director, International Film, and Writing (Original Screenplay).

Now, this is where it gets a little tricky. Stay with me here.

Rockie Awards Show (Event)
The annual awards show where multiple Rockie Awards are presented
Shorthand: the Rockies
For reference/comparison: Emmy Awards Show/Emmys, Golden Globe Awards Show/Golden Globes

In context: Drake Cooper’s 18 Summers campaign for the Idaho Travel Council won Best of Show at the 2019 Rockie Awards Show.
–or–
2020 marked Ricky Gervais’ 5th time hosting the Golden Globes.

The annual event is NOT the Rockies Award Show (there’s no such thing as a Rockies Award – see singular above), nor is it the Rockies Awards Show (also no such thing as Rockies Awards – see plural above), as it has been referred to in recent years.

You’d never see the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences refer to their event as the Oscars Award Show or Oscars Awards Show, would you?

It may seem minor to some, but details matter. And lack of attention to those details makes the entire organizing body look bad.

Let’s do better Boise Ad Fed.

The cycle repeats itself

If you follow an industry long enough, you start to see the same patterns and cycles repeat themselves every so often. The ebbs and flows of staffing as clients come and go through different shops. The shouting from the rooftops PR pushes, followed by periods of radio silence.

This one is no exception.

Every decade or so, there’s another wave of new businesses that make an appearance. Call them agencies, call them creative shops — whatever label you choose to put on them, it happens like clockwork. Some survive, some thrive, and others wilt away.

Often, those new agencies are formed by senior or experienced staff from other agencies that want to be in charge of their own destiny.

A decade ago, it was the likes of Carew Co., Red Sky, Sovrn, The Agency Creative Network, and Mitchell Palmer who made their grand entrances.

And like clockwork, another chapter in this story is being written.

It started a little over year ago with Duft Watterson, whose namesakes split from Stoltz Marketing Group to hang up their own shingle. Our friends at Boise Dev recently published a piece on them.

It continued earlier this year with the launch of Against. Founded by former Drake Cooper staffers Jennie Myers and Brad Weigle, Against bills themselves as a creative company that “focuses on helping companies define their purpose and rebel against the norm.”

Collectively, Myers and Weigle have over 20 years of experience, and have worked with clients in myriad industries, from finance and technology to consumer packaged goods, real estate and much more.

In addition to launching Against, Myers and Weigle have also developed a unique certificate of innovation and design (ID:EA Certificate), offered through the College of Innovation and Design at Boise State University.

Once again, the cycle repeats itself. The question remains — who else will join this latest group?

Big boulder in a little pond

You’ve seen it. And probably done it more than once. You’ve picked up that big, heavy rock and heaved it into a pond.

First there’s the big splash.

Then the ripples spread. And spread.

Ripples in water

As we rolled into 2018, the boulder dropped with the seemingly abrupt departure of Ward Duft and Jill Watterson from Stoltz Marketing Group.

Shortly thereafter, a new player emerged in the Boise agency game, and at least two other shops have been pulled into the fray.

The first ripple: Stoltz Marketing Group

The departure of Duft and Watterson left an obvious hole at the top of the agency, as they represented two-thirds of the new leadership announced in the summer of 2017.

The vacancy was short-lived, however, as SMG recently announced that Jaime Ekman has taken the helm of the company as president and COO. This marks Ekman’s second go-around with the company originally founded by her father, Ken Stoltz. She most recently spent the past eight years with Castor & Pollux, now a Nestle Purina brand.

Shortly after taking the reins, Ekman appointed Kate Holgate creative director, and announced that Crissie McDowell will be rejoining the agency as associate creative director. Holgate has been with SMG for 16 years, progressing from art director to associate creative director and now to her current role. McDowell rejoins the agency, having been an art director from 2006 to 2015.

The second ripple: Duft Watterson

Shortly after their departure from Stoltz Marketing Group, Duft Watterson emerged as a new addition to the agency lineup in the Treasure Valley.

According to their website, Duft Watterson is led by Ward Duft as co-founder, CEO and creative director, and Jill Watterson as co-founder, COO and head of client service. Joining them are two other former SMG colleagues, Marc Cowlin as director of content and digital, and Tony Hart as associate creative director.

Rounding out the Duft Watterson team is designer Madeleine Godwin, Kesey Badgett handling branding and digital, accounting specialist Talia Spencer, and Lisa Cloyd as account manager.

Duft Watterson is based in Boise, and also has a presence in the San Francisco bay area.

The Oliver Russell connection

How does Oliver Russell factor into all of this, you ask? The answer, of course, lies in the moves outlined above. At the end of her first stint with Stoltz Marketing Group in 2015, Crissie McDowell departed to join Oliver Russell, where she’s spent the past three years as a senior art director.

The DaviesMoore association

Similarly, DaviesMoore factors into the drama, as Lisa Cloyd spent a short stint with them as director of client services, before joining Duft Watterson in January.

The rest

Time will tell what — if any — other fallout there will be as a result this shakeup in the Boise-area agency scene. Is there more to the story? Most definitely. But those are details that are best left to the parties involved to share (or not share) as they see fit.


On a personal note:
As some may know, I spent several years at Stoltz Marketing Group, and have worked with many of the people mentioned here. That being said, I’ve done my best to be as impartial an unbiased as it relates to these changes. Hopefully it came across that way.

 

The leadership exodus continues

On a national level, at least.

Last week, we came across two separate stories via Adweek about senior-level departures. At Young & Rubicam, global strategy officer Sandy Thompson and North America chief strategy officer Dick de Lange are both leaving the agency. Meanwhile, at George P. Johnson, president Denise Wong is leaving — rather unexpectedly it seems — to pursue “another opportunity.”

More recently, Ian Schafer, founder & former CEO of Deep Focus and Chief Experience Officer at Engine USA, announced that he’s  stepping away from that role at the end of the year, with an eye on “something(s) new.”

While turnover and staff departures — even at the senior level — are nothing new in the agency business (much of its growth has happened that way), it seems that these days the “new opportunities” no longer involve starting up or joining a new agency. Rather, the destinations appear more likely to be outside of the agency business altogether — either moving to client-side roles, consulting firms, tech startups, etc.

It’s not the first time the talent pendulum has swung away from the agency side, and it certainly won’t be the last. The question remains, however — is the exodus of talent getting worse each time around, or are we just more aware of it?

Something to ponder.