“Kwittken’s nomination for Small Agency of the Year 2017 is a result of impactful global work, showcasing its ability to break away from traditional Public Relations practices.”

- Paul Holmes

About

We are a modern communications agency that utilizes the most impactful elements of PR, creative advertising, influencer engagement, social and content marketing to employ an interdisciplinary, “design thinking” approach to communications and brand engagement, a process that helps brands identify, articulate and demonstrate their best “selves.”

MOREMORE

Hisense

Hisense, China’s largest television brand for over 13 years and the world’s third largest television manufacturer, set its eyes on the US market in 2010, however retailers and consumers initially dismissed the brand as just another Chinese fast-follower with basement prices and questionable quality.

American Express Global Business Travel

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), the largest corporate travel management company in the world, was approaching its 100 year anniversary. While it was an incredibly important milestone for the company, GBT was only interested in the recognition if it created an opportunity to showcase the entire business travel industry.

frog

frog, a global design and strategy firm, regularly engages in social impact work applying human-centered design to help resolve global issues. In 2015, frog partnered with children’s humanitarian organization UNICEF, and connected technology company ARM, to launch the Wearables for Good Challenge. The incubator–style design contest aimed to uncover innovations in wearable design and technology that serve a greater purpose. Together with UNICEF and ARM, frog designers helped finalists hone their designs to create scalable, wearable solutions that benefit children around the world in need.

PURE

PURE Insurance, a property & casualty insurer of high net worth individuals, launched in 2007 and rapidly expanded into 49 states over the course of the next eight years. Following this growth, PURE needed to validate its unique, and highly advantageous reciprocal exchange model for prospective members (policyholders), insurance brokers, wealth managers and the broader personal finance community, by putting its purpose-driven corporate culture, ‘membercentric’ approach, innovative coverages and exceptional talent on center stage.

Zicam

Zicam®, a leading provider of over-the-counter homeopathic cold shortening, allergy relief and allopathic nasal congestion products, was battling negative perceptions from a voluntary recall of its cold remedy nasal products in 2009. Building on the successful relaunch of its nasal cold remedy spray in the 2014/2015 cold season, Zicam relaunched its most unique cold shortening form, nasal swabs, during the 2015/2016 cold season. With these new nasal products in distribution, Zicam was ready to re-enter the marketplace with a refreshed brand narrative and execute a buzz-worthy campaign to drive positive coverage and purchase consideration in the crowded cold remedy aisle.

Pantone Color of the Year

The Pantone Color Institute was established by Pantone in 1986 to forecast future color direction and study how color influences human emotion. Through seasonal trend forecasts, custom color consulting, and social commentary — most notably its annual Color of the Year program — the Institute is the preeminent thought leader on color. After 16 years, the PANTONE Color of the Year had emerged as a fun pop culture announcement, with media, consumers and the design industry looking for a splash of color to set a tone for the new year — but coverage often failed to connect the selection to the true intelligence offered by the global color authority or articulate Pantone’s business model.

The 2016 unveiling marked a momentous occasion: for the first time, Pantone selected two colors for its Color of the Year: Serenity and Rose Quartz.

American Express

American Express partnered with retailers Birchbox, Bonobos and Rent the Runway to present Online’s Day Off. This two-day event included a thought-leadership panel as well as a live shopping event. The goal of the event was to showcase innovative ways that e-commerce leaders are converting their online success into brick-and-mortar opportunities.

News

Kwittken Releases Latest Ad

April 21, 2017

Crisis of the Week: Pepsi Fights Fallout After Ad Backfires

Aaron Kwittken weighs in on the latest Crisis of the Week
April 18, 2017
PepsiCo Inc. landed in crisis hot water after
airing an ad in which celebrity Kendall Jenner joins a protest against police, then later in the ad hands a police officer a Pepsi. Pepsi pulled the ad less than one day after it started airing, after it was criticized by some for trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement and by others for depicting law enforcement in a poor light. The company was slammed on Twitter, and the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. sent a tweet saying, “If only Daddy would have known about the power of Pepsi.” The company issued one statement, saying it “missed the mark” in trying to portray what it thought was a “message of unity, peace and understanding.”  The experts break down how it’s handled this crisis from a communications perspective. Anthony Johndrow, co-founder and chief executive, Reputation Economy Advisors: “Pepsi is the flagship brand of PepsiCo Inc., and as such, anything done in its name reflects immediately on the corporate parent. That dynamic explains the immediacy of this crisis, but the company’s failure to acknowledge the difference between product brand and company underpins its weak crisis response. “Much of the backlash was against a company attempting to use a volatile social issue to sell a fizzy beverage. Instead of acknowledging a decision the company made to enter into a societal debate–or clarifying what their position was in it—Pepsi responded as a brand, at the bottom of the press release, with the words: “Source Pepsi.” Pepsi is not a source, nor is it a legal entity, nor is it even people; it’s a brand with logo and an accompanying taste profile. “PepsiCo should have authored the response, taking responsibility for the decision to run, and ultimately pull, the ad. Some human voice should have acknowledged that ‘trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding’ without any substance or action behind it was a bad idea. Not only is the response impersonal, it’s disingenuous and fails to own up to why it was trying to project this message in the first place. All Pepsi [seems to be] apologizing for is a poorly executed ad, not for the decision to make the attempt in the first place.” Jolie Balido-Hart, president, Roar Media: “Pepsi’s response to the uproar over its Kendall Jenner ad–a five-sentence statement beginning with self-justification and ending with an apology to Ms. Jenner–comes across about as flat as a can of day-old soda. Seemingly suggesting a fizzy drink can fix profound social matters, Pepsi’s perceived insensitivity to activists’ suffering and sacrifice was compounded by its somewhat-flippant statement that it ‘did not intend to make light of any serious issue.’ Coming across as an excuse, the statement fails to address the real problem: The widespread sense that Pepsi is, quite simply, out of touch. “Making matters worse, in crisis situations of this kind, outraged audiences–including those who have personally lived through the hardship of protests and discrimination–[generally] are not as eager to hear apologies extended to role-playing, high-paid supermodels. Although Pepsi acted appropriately in immediately pulling the ad, the tone and content of its apology leave one wanting–and reaffirm the perception of Pepsi as a bit clueless. “Ironically, this ad and the crisis communications surrounding it have fostered ‘unity’–only not exactly the kind Pepsi had in mind, since the public united to ‘join the conversation’ against the company. A direct, heartfelt apology, regretting the angst Pepsi created and showing it really ‘gets it,’ would have been much more effective in quelling the public backlash than the focus on self-justification. In crisis management, as in other areas of life, owning a mistake with sincerity and visceral regret is key to winning back an alienated public.” Aaron Kwittken, global chairman and chief executive, Kwittken: “I give Pepsi high marks for the speed in which it responded and for doing the right thing by taking down the ad and for immediately halting the campaign. It wins on intent. But Pepsi loses on content by issuing a non-statement statement and by saying it ‘missed the mark’ in too casual of an attempt to downplay the gaffe. It should have said it made a grave mistake by creating an ad that was insensitive, tone-deaf–and now, regrettable. There was no need to apologize to Kendall Jenner. Poor Kendall? Rather, it should have apologized to the citizens it offended with the ad. “Would going out with a stronger statement have staved off the backlash and parodies? Maybe not. But, had it gone a little deeper with more conciliatory language, and had it actually issued the statement using its greatest asset, Chief Executive Indra Nooyi, I would almost guarantee this matter would have been a one-day story. “What does Pepsi do now? I think it needs to ask its internal creative team to donate their time to creating actual public-service announcements that promote gender and ethnic equality, with no mentions of Pepsi or any products. It should pledge the media spend from its aborted campaign toward buying media time for this effort.”

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