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February 4th, 2014

Nissan Takes 2014 Rogue Shoppers on Cinematic “Detour” with New Google Maps-Based Virtual Drive

New Online Campaign Shows How Nissan Rogue Makes Every Drive More Exciting

Nissan today launched “The Detour,” an exciting virtual driving adventure in support of the ongoing rollout of the all-new 2014 Nissan Rogue compact SUV. Available now at http://www.nissanusa.com/the-detour, The Detour utilizes Google® Street View, Google® Maps and Google® Satellite API – along with Hollywood-style digital effects and a soundtrack from recording artist M.I.A. – to create a custom test drive experience starting from anywhere around the world.

“Recent studies show that new car buyers today spend nearly twice as much time researching their purchases online than at dealerships – more clicking than kicking the tires, so to speak. So why not bring the two together with an informative and enjoyable test drive in buyers’ own neighborhoods?” said Jon Brancheau, vice president, Nissan Marketing Communications & Media, Nissan North America, Inc. “The new Rogue is off to an amazing start since it was introduced last fall and we expect The Detour to direct a lot of traffic from the website straight to local Nissan dealerships.”

The Detour was created by Critical Mass, Nissan’s lead digital agency, and brings together software from Google®, the talents of Academy Award-winning director of photography Guillermo Navarro, digital production and creative technology from Unit9, and digital effects from Digital Domain/Mothership, an Academy Award-winning digital production company. Together, the partners solved the tricky technical challenges of rendering a photo-real vehicle in real-time as commuters travel their personalized routes and more. The virtual test drive’s soundtrack, worthy of a blockbuster trailer, features M.I.A.’s new single “YALA,” which is available for download on NissanUSA.com.

Critical Mass Executive Creative Director Steve Savic explained, “Since driving the new Nissan Rogue is so exciting, we put people in the action by allowing them to take a drive on their very own street. But we couldn’t shoot the car on every road in the world, so we turned to Google® Street View to gives us our set. Working on ‘The Detour’ was like creating an action scene on the most unconventional location ever.”

Optimized for desktops, tablets and smartphones, the virtual test drivers start their cinematic action-adventure by entering their point of origin and destination address or using their current location from the browser settings.

From the driveway to the interstate highways, there are an infinite number of journeys to experience from the driver’s seat of the Rogue. At the end of each drive, users can find their local dealership and schedule a test drive, download the soundtrack on NissanUSA.com, or invite people to try it out by sharing the site and using the hashtag #TakeTheDetour.

For tablet and smartphone users, one swipe of the finger launches the Rogue into mid-air, all based on the user’s current location. To explore further, the site offers some pre-programmed routes around familiar U.S. destinations such as Chicago, Seattle, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and South Florida.

The Detour experience will be supplemented by an online media buy, including homepage takeovers on MSN and Yahoo! and promotion on Nissan’s social media channels.

January 31st, 2014

New Citi ATM Experience Designed by Critical Mass Rolls Out in the U.S.

Citibank recently announced a new ATM experience, designed and developed by Critical Mass. By mid-February, two million customers using 2,900 Citi-owned ATMs across the U.S. will be introduced to a faster, easier and more personalized experience. This redesign, co-promoted by Citi and Critical Mass, is the first major update to the ATM user experience in 15 years.

View the full story here.

January 13th, 2014

Critical Mass continues investment in talent with new executive leadership for Chicago and Los Angeles offices

Critical Mass promotes Amanda Levy to General Manager, Adds Suzanne Michaels as Executive Creative Director and Lisa Penelton as VP of Marketing Science

Critical Mass, a global digital agency, continues its investment in global growth and talent with new leadership across its Chicago and Los Angeles offices. Beginning today, Amanda Levy steps up to General Manager leading business and operations across Chicago and Los Angeles, while continuing her role as SVP and client partner for Nissan and Infiniti North America. Joining Amanda as regional leaders are Suzanne Michaels who joins as Executive Creative Director and Lisa Penelton as VP of Marketing Science.

Dianne Wilkins, CEO of Critical Mass, explained, “The addition of Amanda, Suzanne, and Lisa as leaders across Chicago and Los Angeles, gives us the experience and depth we need to develop our agency talent and serve our clients on their quest to create cumulative customer experiences.”

Amanda has been at Critical Mass for seven years, as a lead for some of the agency’s largest clients. With experience on the client and agency sides, Amanda brings a true understanding of how agencies can be the most effective client partner. Prior to Critical Mass, Amanda led OMD West and worked at Dell, where she led online marketing, and was a client of Critical Mass.

Suzanne is a seasoned creative leader with nearly 20 years of experience leading teams concepting and executing brand programs and ideas. As SVP and Executive Creative Director, Suzanne Michaels will oversee the creative departments in Chicago and LA, driving new thinking and creative excellence across all clients. Suzanne will report into Amanda and recently appointed CCO Conor Brady, and join the agency executive team and global creative council. Prior to joining Critical Mass, Suzanne was as DigitasLBi leading creative for TeamSprint and contributing to several major competitive pitch wins.

Suzanne explained the move, “Agencies everywhere are at a precipice, thinking about who they are and what they want to be. With its expertise in business strategy, user experience and design, Critical Mass is poised to fill a very compelling white space. We can be the partner who helps brands do more than just advertise to people, and become a chosen part of their lives through software, products, and experiences.

Lisa Penelton joins as VP of Marketing Science, overseeing clients across four offices. Lisa’s a seasoned veteran in the data science and marketing analytics field with expertise in driving long-term growth and multi-channel efficiency. She joins Critical Mass from Razorfish where she was Group Director of Consumer Insights, based in Chicago. Previously, Lisa built the analytics practice at DraftFCB and worked on the client side at United Way of America.

Critical Mass continues its investment in global growth and creative excellence. The digital agency recently announced two new global executives, Conor Brady and Chris Hayes, who joined in newly created roles of Chief Creative Officer and Chief Marketing Officer. Additionally, Critical Mass also announced the merger of its London operations with Agency Republic, effective January 18, 2014.

January 6th, 2014

With Addition of New Executive Leaders and Merger of London Operations, Critical Mass is Poised for More Global Growth

Critical Mass adds two global leaders, with Conor Brady as CCO and Chris Hayes as CMO, and merges its London operations with Agency Republic

NEW YORK and LONDON – January 6, 2014 – Critical Mass, a global digital agency, is bolstering its global network with the addition of two new executive leaders and merging its London-based operations with renowned digital creative pioneer Agency Republic.

Digital agency leaders Conor Brady and Chris Hayes join from Brooklyn-based Huge as CCO and CMO respectively. Both roles are new for the agency, and both executives will report directly to CEO Dianne Wilkins. With over three decades of combined experience in digital marketing and advertising, Conor and Chris bring a track record of creating inspired and effective brand experiences and winning new business.

In addition, to continue growing its global network and capabilities in key markets, Critical Mass is merging its UK operations with Agency Republic, a pioneering London-based digital agency. Founded in 2001, Agency Republic works with top-tier global brands and has been named Digital Agency of the Year by Campaign and Marketing magazines four times.

Dianne Wilkins, CEO of Critical Mass, explained, “It takes bold moves to be a leader in today’s marketing agency world. With our new global executives and expanded UK operations, Critical Mass is doubling down on our ability to create smart, customer-centered brand experiences around the world. Today’s news shows our substantial commitment to further strengthening our capabilities and talent available to our global clients.”

Following the merger, Agency Republic’s Matt Kwiecinski and Alistair Campbell will lead the combined UK team as Managing Director and Executive Creative Director respectively. Additionally, Matt joins the executive leadership team at Critical Mass and Alistair joins the newly created Creative Council, led by Brady. Susanne Jones, former Managing Director of Critical Mass London, moves into a new strategic role as SVP Client Partner for one of the agency’s largest global clients.

December 23rd, 2013

Critical Mass Named Digital Agency of Record for South African Tourism UK

LONDON, England – 20 DECEMBER 2013 – Following a competitive pitch process and public tender, Critical Mass, an Omnicom global digital marketing agency, has been named lead digital agency for South African Tourism in the UK. For the new assignment, Critical Mass will lead digital creative strategy, design and development for the brand as it looks to attract more UK visitors to South Africa.

“From the start, Critical Mass impressed us with its smart thinking, creative concepts and digital savvy, and passion for our brand,” commented Juan Herrada, UK Marketing & Communications Manager, South African Tourism. “What stood out for us most was that Critical Mass wasn’t afraid to point out the challenges facing our brand for attracting long-haul tourists. Critical Mass proved its understanding by developing big brand ideas that resonated strongly with our culture and values.”

Critical Mass was awarded the assignment in October 2013 and will begin work immediately. New campaigns and digital experiences are expected to break early 2014 in the UK market. Critical Mass is a 700+ person global digital marketing agency, part of Omnicom Group, with 8 full-service offices in North America, Europe and Latin America. In addition to South Africa Tourism, Critical Mass’ Covent Garden-based office serves as the agency’s European headquarters, working with global and regional clients such as Goodyear Dunlop, HP and Citi.

“Critical Mass has been known for large-scale, long-term relationships with global corporations and South African Tourism adds a key local market client to build out our roster in the UK.” Said Dianne Wilkins, CEO of Critical Mass. “At the heart of the agency across every market, we’re passionate explorers, entrepreneurs, and travelers. It’s wonderful to get the opportunity to combine our personal passions into client inspiration as the new lead digital agency for South African Tourism.”

About Critical Mass
Critical Mass (www.criticalmass.com), an Omnicom digital marketing agency, helps the world’s leading companies use digital media to create extraordinary experiences—experiences that bring together creative thinking, smart ideas and emerging technologies to drive our clients’ businesses. Consistently recognized as a leading interactive agency, Critical Mass operates globally from eight full-service offices in North America, Europe and Latin America.