Once-Vaunted Ad Agency Factory Design Labs Fights to Survive

This weekend, Jason Blevins at The Denver Post examined the situation at Denver advertising agency Factory Design Labs, and it isn’t pretty:

The 20-year-old ad agency with super-posh offices in Cherry Creek once boasted The North Face, Aspen Skiing Co., Sports Authority, Oakley and Callaway Golf as clients. The big names are gone, and now the agency has left several magazines with unpaid bills and raised the ire of media outlets and at least one company that paid Factory to place ads.

Jonas Temple, CEO of FDL, acknowledged some challenges in a response to the article on Facebook:

In January 2015, I returned to Factory and partnered with Bob Reimer to lead a critical restructuring of the agency. Given the very difficult financial situation at that time, Bob and I identified two unimaginable choices for our strategy: file bankruptcy or fight to keep the doors open. With considerable pause we decided, as a company, to choose the more difficult road — continuing our commitments to our clients and our staff, and to the extent possible, make good on our historical debts.

During this process we have had to trim our staff, restructure the management team, radically reduce expenses, and generally create a new company that’s very different from our past.”


Brilliant Media Strategies Launches

Brilliant Media Strategies, a new Denver-based advertising, branding and marketing agency, has officially launched. Brilliant is the result of the combination of Bradley Reid + Associates and Stage 2 Studios.

Brilliant’s principals include Rick Wright, vice president of Client Services; John Tracy and Debbie Reinwand, founding partners; John Conn, president of Broadcast Services; Tina Lindgren, executive vice president; and David Board, director of Interactive Services.

Great Moments in Advertising

Ford is playing defense this week after this spec ad featuring a caricature of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at the wheel of a Ford Figo with three women bound and gagged in the car’s cargo bay appeared in India. The tagline: “Leave your worries behind with Figo’s extra-large boot.”

UPDATE: PR Daily has more of the back-story on the ad that was neither commissioned nor approved by Ford.

New Denver Ad Club Announces ‘The Fifty’

The New Denver Ad Club debuted “The Fifty” top advertising ideas, recognizing the most exceptional advertising ideas as selected by nationally respected judges with no categories or rankings.

Companies named to The Fifty include: Amelie Advertising & PR, Barnhart, Burns Marketing, Cactus Communication, CCT Advertising, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, David Pahl Photography, Denver Bike Sharing, Futuristic Films, Integer, Juice Communications, Karsh Hagan, Launch and Rabble+Rouser, Location 3 Media, Red Door Interactive, Scream Agency, SpyderLynk, Starz, Sterling Rice Group, Sukle Advertising & Design, Vermilion, and Vladimir Jones.

The Fifty winning entries can be viewed at winners.denver50.com.

Ad of the Week

T-Mobile wins the “Ad of the Week” award for its commercial featuring both Yusuf Islam (a.k.a. Cat Stevens), who called for author Salman Rushdie’s death for writing The Satanic Verses, and Whoopi Goldberg, who argued that director Roman Polanski’s guilty plea to statutory rape charges shouldn’t be pursued because the then-44-year-old Polanksi’s sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl wasn’t really “rape-rape.”

With Ad Agencies Like These, Who Needs Enemies?

The World Wildlife Fund is learning the hard way what happens when you pick an advertising agency more interested in winning awards than serving your needs.

UPDATE: The Denver Egotist has a link to a minute-long television commercial based on the same concept.

SECOND UPDATE: WWF and DDB Brasil now say the ad was approved by “inexperienced” executives on both sides, and that the ad ran once in a small Sao Paulo newspaper. We all  know that mistakes hurt but that it is the cover-ups that kill you, so we’ll see how long this story lasts.

Ad Agency Crispin Downsizes

Boulder- and Miami-based ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky announced plans to lay off about 60 employees, or nearly 7 percent of its workforce, due to “the current economic climate (and) advertising budgets (that) are being reduced in virtually every industry.” It is not clear how many of the firm’s 500 Boulder-based employees might be involved.

Cactus Names COO

Times seem good for Cactus. The 40-person Denver advertising agency, which touts that it has doubled its revenue in the last two years and is approaching $20 million in client billings, has just named Michael Martelon COO. Martelon is a Denver native whose experience includes working with the Islands Of The Bahamas, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Caesars Entertainment and MacWorld Conference & Expo.