Philly has a new bagel-making tool, and is W+K’s McDonald’s win actually a blow for creativity?

If it looks like a bagel…put Philly on it

Here at The Message HQ, bagels are the preferred delivery mechanism for cream cheese. But what about when we run out? Well, Philadelphia Cream Cheese has come up with the solution: “Bagel That.”

Currently selling for US$10 on Amazon (although it’s currently listed as unavailable), Bagel That punches a hole in any type of bread to instantly transform it into a bagel. “Have toast? Bagel That. A waffle? Bagel That. Even a tortilla? Bagel That too,” said Philadelphia’s associate director of marketing Megan Magnuson in a release.

The Kraft Heinz brand has also released a TV spot from Gut constructed around a jingle that will stick in your head for days (watch it below if you want, but don’t say we didn’t warn you).

Bagel That is obviously intended as a marketing ploy to sell more Philly, but given our seemingly insatiable appetite for convenience and useless gadgets, don’t be surprised if it becomes a best seller.

Does McDonald’s shift to W+K represent a blow to creativity?

In the wake of McDonald’s recent appointment of Wieden + Kennedy New York as its lead creative agency in the U.S., the prevailing narrative is that it’s a victory for creativity in the era of data-driven marketing.

We Are Unlimited, the bespoke agency created by Omnicom when it won the McDonald’s business three years ago, is being retained for what McDonald’s describes as “operational excellence.” According to a report on, that means work on the Happy Meals brand and assignments where there is a “steady volume” of work—such as digital marketing CRM and the mobile app.

But Forrester analyst Jay Pattisall argues that splitting the assignment in that way is the equivalent of “quarantining brand creative from execution,” effectively dividing agencies into either creators or executors.

McDonald’s joins Ford as the second global marketer to separate brand creative from digital, CRM, CX, and data-driven marketing, writes Pattisall in a blog post. Ford also hired W+K for creative, with BBDO and Global Team Blue retaining its broader digital marketing and media assignments.

“Both are reminiscent of agency rosters from earlier in the decade, when separate agencies, using separate insights and responsible for separate executions, were told to work together,” says Pattisall. “Ten years ago, agencies would vie for assignments and projects in isolation. In today’s industry context, however, quarantining creativity is a hindrance.”

Pattisall says that separating brand creativity from digital “inhibits synchronizing loyalty, performance, brand, digital and physical experiences into a total brand experience.” Absence of creative, he adds, leads to “digital sameness and stagnant customer experience.”

Growth and transformation can’t be attained when creativity exists “on its own island,” he says. The idea that select agencies are capable of delivering creative excellence stands in “stark opposition” to helping marketers meet their objectives. And, he warns, the industry’s continued fixation on agencies that specialize in TV is a “shackle” that drags agencies back in time. “It distracts agencies from pushing, innovating, and advancing the capabilities CMOs need. It prevents change.”

Brands storm Area 51 event

This past weekend’s “Storm Area 51” event was supposedly created to find out once and for all if aliens exist. Two days later, we’re still no closer to knowing if there’s life on other planets. One thing is certain, however: The brands were out there.

Arbys, Budweiser and Kool Aid all launched marketing activations around the weekend event, which started as a lark only for a reported 2.1 million people to RSVP (although reports pegged the actual attendance at around 100 people).

Arby’s in particular went all-in, bringing its Roadside Meathouse food truck to the event, complete with special menu that included items such as The E.T. Slider and Galaxy Shake.

Screen shot 2019-09-21 at 5.18.17 PM.pngBudweiser, meanwhile, created a limited edition alien-themed beer (it promised it would produce the beer if it got 51,000 retweets of a July tweet promising free beer to any alien that escaped from Area 51) and was also title sponsor of the Area 51 Celebration music festival at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center on Sept. 19.

Not to be outdone, Kool-Aid created a new flavour called UFO-Yeah Intergalactic Green. The run was limited to 900 tins (which came in neon green, naturally). Durex South Africa also got in on the action with a Sept. 20 tweet reading “Come in peace” and an image of sperm encountering an Area 51 sign, accompanied by the message “there’s no getting inside.”

L’il Wayne is a lousy teammate in Ghost Recon promo

Rapper and Grammy winner Lil Wayne is the worst gaming teammate imaginable in a fun new ad from Ubisoft North America for its new title Ghost Recon: Breakpoint. In a nice bit of cross-promotion, the ad—which is already up to more than 1.7 million views on YouTube—features the Lil Wayne song “Uproar” from his 2018 album Tha Carter V.

The spot starts off with a subtle nod to the now-classic Leroy Jenkins clip, with L’il Wayne ignoring the team’s vote for a stealthy approach and charging into situations with guns blazing.

The mildly NSFW five-minute video shows the rapper continually undermining his team’s efforts, as his avatar is constantly left idle as he takes calls to discuss commercial opportunities (“tell them I need another skate ramp”). It ends with a cameo from a similarly inept high-profile rap star.

Chris Powell