“A-List” Burrell, Russell Stover, Zapwater, box office

Burrell's McGhee Williams Osse, Fay Ferguson and Lewis Williams

Burrell’s McGhee Williams Osse, Fay Ferguson and Lewis Williams

Burrell among Chicago shops on Ad Age’s annual A-list

While some were out shopping for mattresses or watching Marvel’s Black Panther for a third time on President’s Day, Ad Age dropped its annual “A-List” issue of the best agencies, and some Chicago shops made the list.

We’re not surprised. We’ve been covering them all year.

Burrell was named 2018 “Runner-up for Multicultural Agency of the Year.” The agency was celebrated for developing a Social Listening Lab that enables it to get feedback from a network of 10,000 African-American influencers.

The offering, Burrell says, has been instrumental in building African-American market share for existing clients such as Toyota and new ones like AARP, which enlisted Burrell two years ago.

Ad Age “Stand Outs” included Starcom, which won $1.5 billion in new billings. Ad Age cited the media agency’s participation in the #WeAccept Super Bowl spot of 2017 for client Airbnb.

Ad Age’s “Agencies to Watch” included PR agency Edelman and creative hot shop, OKRP.

Edelman is shaking up the PR industry through its paid-media practice that it told Ad Age grew by 150% last year. It also added new clients, grew existing business and saw its revenue rise to $1 billion in 2017.

As OKRP enters its fifth year, Ad Age noted that Tom O’Keefe and company “is ready for the big time.” We don’t disagree following a year that we covered OKRP’s first Super Bowl spot for Groupon featuring Tiffany Haddish, bringing the baby back for Chili’s and increasing revenue by $4.2 million. The agency also added important new capabilities with its acquisition of Juice Interactive.

FCB Chicago also got a shout out in the “Agencies to Watch” list as part of the larger FCB story. Ad Age noted that FCB Chicago is building an AI practice. Something we will be interested in following.

Other agencies, with offices in Chicago, to make the list were mcgarrybowen and VML.

Reel Chicago congratulates all of you. Well done.

Zapwater Communications reaches for the Skydeck

PR agency Zapwater Communications announced today it has been named AOR for Skydeck Chicago, located in Willis Tower.

The highest observation point in the nation
The highest observation point in the nation

At 1,353 feet in the air, the Skydeck is the highest observation deck in the country and Chicago’s second most visited tourist destination. It is also home to The Ledge, a series of glass boxes that extend 4.3 feet from the tower’s west side on the 103rd floor, providing unobstructed views of the city.

Zapwater has been retained for media relations, influencer marketing, strategic partnerships, events and programming, and social media.

“As a Chicago-based agency, we’re thrilled to be working with Skydeck, a standout destination in our city,” says Zapwater president and founder David Zapata. “Skydeck’s national and international appeal is an exciting addition to our travel and destination clients. We are looking forward to bringing Skydeck Chicago to the forefront of the travel and tourism industry and to increasing traffic to the destination from both tourists and residents in Chicago.”

In addition to Skydeck Chicago, Zapwater’s travel and destination clients include international destinations like Finland and Serbia and iconic attractions like Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles.

Russell Stover saves Valentine’s Day

"A happy holiday tradition"
“A happy holiday tradition”

Most of the time when candy is being offered from a van, it’s not usually a good thing. But in the case of Russell Stover Chocolates, not only was it a good thing, it was a great save for those in need of a Valentine’s Day assist.

Teaming up with AOR VML and experiential marketing agency, OutCold, the chocolatier dispatched its Valentine’s Day SOS van.

The customized 1960 International Harvester Metro provided a limited number of free 14-ounce heart-shaped boxes of chocolates to passersby at Daley Plaza.

Holly Heffinger, COO of OutCold had this to say in a statement:

“Russell Stover chocolates have been a happy holiday tradition since our childhood. Who could ever forget picking out your favorite chocolates from that iconic heart shaped Russell Stover box? We are so excited to work with our partners at VML to help bring this special surprise to local Chicago Romeos and Juliette’s downtown this Valentine’s Day. You won’t miss our cute chocolate truck!”

“Black Panther” dominates, and then some

Can’t say we didn’t see this coming over the four-day holiday weekend. Disney and Marvel’s Black Panther, with 97% Rotten Tomato score and A+ Cinemascore, earned an estimated $201.7 million over the three-day and is expected to surpass $235 million for the four-day weekend.

This makes Black Panther only the fifth movie to debut with over $200 million over its opening weekend and the third highest four-day gross in history, passing Jurassic World’s $234.1 million four-day gross.

ALSO READ: Author Blair Davis on Black Panther’s epic influence

The film will most likely break even more records once actuals are in, perhaps including the largest Sunday gross (the current Sunday estimate is less than $500k shy of Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the top spot).

The estimated $33.2 million gross for Monday is already the second largest Monday of all-time, trailing Force Awakens’ $40.1 million Monday from back in December 2015.

After just four days in release, Black Panther has achieved: the 25th highest grossing CBM adaptation of all-time, 12th highest grossing film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and 17th highest grossing Marvel comic adaptation of all-time.

Next week, it will pass the domestic gross of Wonder Woman. There were other movies out as well. Believe it or not, but we have proof with the chart below:


Contact Colin Costello at colin@reelchicago.com or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.