Rhapsody in Blue

Anyone who doubts that brands can produce interesting editorial work should take a look at Bluemasters: Innovation in Denim, an informative, entertaining book that features and celebrates the people and places that have driven innovation in the denim industry.


Written by Fabiana Giacomotti, a fashion expert and head of Fashion and Costume Studies at Rome’s Sapienza University, the book profiles denim designers and influencers, including Adriano Goldschmied, Renzo Rosso, Vivienne Westwood and Fatih Konukoglu, the CEO of ISKO, the denim maker that produced the book. In its preface, Elio Fiorucci says the book is a “love song to denim,”celebrating the men and women who have brought innovation, be it in production, creativity, retailing or communications. Just call them the “Bluemasters.”

ISKO, a DGC client, celebrated the book’s launch last week in Soho at the 3×1 Concept store, “a one-of-a-kind place where we can speak about denim while ‘breathing’ denim,” said Marco Lucietti, Marketing Director, ISKO.

Shanna McKinnon, editor of DenimHunt.com, kicked off the event with opening remarks and questions for two designers present for the launch— Adriano Goldschmied and Scott Morrison – as well as sponsors Lucietti of ISKO and Carl Fortin of Archroma. McKinnon took the opportunity to ask Goldschmied if, as the book reports, he really did ruin a washing machine when he used real pebbles from the river near his house in Italy for stonewashing decades ago. (Yes!) And, he shared, when he first attempted bleaching jeans in buckets in his garden, the concoction rubbed off on his black dog, whose fur turned white. The significance of these stories? Goldschmied wanted to stress the importance of a sustainable and environmentally friendly future for the industry, which was applauded by party attendees.

ISKO’s Lucietti noted that it would be impossible to bring together every “Bluemaster” in a single publication but said the company wanted to celebrate innovators in denim, from technical experts to designers and accessory makers.

For now, at least, a must-have accessory in the denim world is a copy of this handsome, informative book.

DGC’s Milli Carr, Marni Raitt, ISKO’s Kutay Saritosun and DGC’s Kelsey Merkel

ADC Festival of Art + Craft in Advertising and Design: Inspiration in Review

The ADC held its Annual Festival of Art + Craft in Advertising and Design this past week in Miami Beach for three days of creative inspiration, and to honor the winners of the 2014 Tomorrow Awards and 93rd Annual Awards. DGC was front row for all of the action, including getting our hands dirty in festival workshops and celebrating alongside award winners each night. Check out the festival kick off video with an introduction by ADC Executive Director Ignacio Oreamuno: http://vimeo.com/91320186

This event is the only beachside festival in North America for the commercial creative industries, championing craft and delivering on its founding mission of elevating advertising to the same standards as fine art. It’s incredible what ADC Executive Director Ignacio Oreamuno and his team put together for 300 creative professionals.

Here are our favorite moments of inspiration:

  • Sculpting a Lionel Richie head with Barcelona-based design studio duo Hungry Castle
  • Building our ‘Agency of the Future’ with award-winning architect Clive Wilkinson
  • Immersing ourselves in a one of kind artistic masterpiece with Miami-based artist KAZILLA
  • Screening the premiere of ‘InspirADCion,’a short film series profiling industry luminaries. The first in the series was the legendary Lee Clow, Chairman of TBWA\Chiat\Day
  • Experiencing the world premiere of Laser Cat, Hungry Castle’s giant feline-shaped installation that projects art from its eyes with lasers
  • Celebrating with award winners of the 2014 Tomorrow Awards, ADC 93rd Annual Awards Night One and Night Two

For a recap of each day’s workshops, take a look here: http://vimeo.com/adcglobal

ADC has its finger on the pulse of creativity. It understands the intersection of art, craft and inspiration needed to take creativity to the next level. To find out more about ADC’s mission, check out adcglobal.org.

Buy Audiences, not Media

The changing media landscape and technology’s increasing impact on brand, media and consumer relationships were among the topics discussed at  the annual Media:Now event, hosted by The Advertising Club of New York. The event brought together some 300 of the industry’s best and brightest on April 10.

Gary Reisman, CEO and co-founder of LEAP Media Investments, a new media company that sells high-value audiences at scale using Emotional Attachment™ technology, was on a panel titled: “Changing Paradigms in Media Investment.”

Reisman joined other media and marketing practitioners to talk about the myriad of ways in which media investment practices are being upended, reinvented and reinvigorated, including how technology is affecting the media buying process. (Check out Reisman’s remarks in the video below.)

Fellow panelists included Dave Morgan (CEO, Simulmedia); Jay Sears (SVP Marketplace Development, Rubicon Project); Adam Solomon (Vice President, Digital Ad Products and Revenue Operations, Time Inc.); and Lauren Wiener (President, Global Sales & Marketing, Tremor Video).

The discussion, which was moderated by Martin Cass (CEO, Assembly and MDC Media Partners), touched on various industry trends and topics including what’s next for programmatic, addressable video, and what lies ahead for the digital publishing industry.

London Town in Review: From Advertising Week to Lessons in PR Best Practices

Having enjoyed everything from Big Ben to the Tower Bridge, it’s crazy to believe that my unforgettable trip to London has now come to a close. The week flew by in the blink of an eye and brought me plenty of insights along the way to share with the team at home.

In addition to attending Advertising Week Europe and learning how a leader’s body language can make or break a career, I had the chance to participate in engaging brainstorms and daily “paper” meetings (discussing daily news) with the Eulogy! team. I also learned the inside scoop on the agency’s approach to working with reporters and packaging case studies for its clients in a unique and visually appealing video format.

Check out this video to see what else I took away from this memorable week –

All in all, the week satisfied a life-long dream to briefly work abroad and immerse myself in another country’s culture. I look forward to seeing what next year’s DGCer will take away from the trip and hope that they will love it as much as I did.

It’s Not What You Say but How You Say It

As an exciting Advertising Week Europe came to a close, I was fortunate to attend a few more engaging sessions at BAFTA’s Picadilly Circus location.

The theme across the board was how you present yourself – which is of course important not only for the clients we represent, but also for us to remember as public relations professionals.

Here is a brief snapshot of the two unique sessions –

Wired 24/7

This session brought some major female players to the stage, including Olivia Solon, Wired UK’s deputy editor and Carla Buzasi, HuffingtonPost UK’s EIC. The casual discussion honed in on how our world has become plugged in to technology literally 24 hours, seven days a week. Every consumer is on every device – from tablets to smartphones to laptops – whether they want to be or not.

The work/life balance debate was also a hot topic– with these powerful women and mothers speaking to how they are able to take on such demanding jobs without having severely impacting their personal/family lives. The verdict was that it all comes down to managing expectations – with a couple of speakers calling out that they have blocked off dedicated family time that never is – and won’t ever be – interrupted by work.

This led to the group talking about what kind of example they would be setting for their children if they were also in fact connected to their devices 24/7. They posited that today’s younger generations already have a hard enough time disconnecting, so we shouldn’t be making the problem worse by doing the same because it gives the wrong impression and can be extremely rude.

This applies not only to families, but clients as well. Multitasking can be a good thing, but shouldn’t be at the expense of whomever is in the room with you.

Female leaders take to the stage, including Olivia Solon, Wired UK’s deputy editor and Carla Buzasi, HuffingtonPost UK’s Editor in Chief.

Female leaders take to the stage, including Olivia Solon, Wired UK’s deputy editor and Carla Buzasi, HuffingtonPost UK’s Editor in Chief.

The Unspoken Truth

This session proved that even the most intelligent and creative leaders may not necessarily be perceived in the way that they should. Body language is key, with this session covering off on everything from stance to clothing. Body language expert Judi James and fashion expert Gok Wan took to the stage to talk through how to master these elements to set yourself up for success in any and every situation.

That’s not all. The group was also joined by renowned clinical psychologist Oliver James who talked through how to shape one’s persona. He explained that you can do anything if you find the right persona grounded in self-determination.

One interesting point made throughout the presentation is that it’s not necessarily about building your own confidence, but in fact creating an aura of contagious confidence. It’s more about how people feel being around you than anything else. If they feel good, you have won half the battle.

My biggest key takeaway? The first person you need to sell your message to is yourself. You may not love everything, but acceptance and practice are key.

I am sad to leave London in just a few but am looking forward to taking home all the insightful nuggets I picked up this week –from Eulogy’s best practices to Advertising Week’s lineup of inspiring speakers – and share them with DGC. Feel free to check out some more pics here to get a snapshot of my week in London Town and at Advertising Week Europe.

I’m Not a Leader Because I’m a Female, But I’m Proud to be a Female Leader

What is the difference between how men and women lead? Are you a leader because you’re a woman, or is it about the individual? What do you think about Mary Barra and her role? All of these questions and more were posed to our fearless leader Sam DiGennaro on a panel this week at Mercedes-Benz’s U.S. headquarters in Montvale, N.J., in honor of Women’s History Month.

As successful women with unique perspectives on leadership, Sam, along with Samantha Meiler, VP, Content & Programming, at Nickelodeon’s NickMom, and Robyn Streisand, Founder & CEO, The Mixx, a marketing agency, were invited to sit on the panel moderated by Karen Matri, Product Manager, Telematics and Connected Services at Mercedes-Benz USA.

From left to right: Lisa Ragusa, Senior Purchasing Agency, Mercedes-Benz USA; Samantha Meiler, VP, Content & Programming, at Nickelodeon’s NickMom; Sam DiGennaro, CEO + Founder, DiGennaro Communications; Robyn Streisand, Founder & CEO, The Mixx

From left to right: Lisa Ragusa, Senior Purchasing Agency, Mercedes-Benz USA; Samantha Meiler, VP, Content & Programming, at Nickelodeon’s NickMom; Sam DiGennaro, CEO + Founder, DiGennaro Communications; Robyn Streisand, Founder & CEO, The Mixx

The event was sponsored by the company’s Women’s Innovation Network, an employee resource group that champions career advancement and personal growth for women.  Each woman offered the audience –a group comprised of both male and female Mercedes-Benz employees of all roles, levels and departments– tangible examples and tips to inspire them on their own career paths.

From left to right: Samantha Meiler, VP, Content & Programming, at Nickelodeon’s NickMom; Karen Matri, Product Manager, Telematics and Connected Services at Mercedes-Benz USA; Michelle Wirth, Marketing Communications Department Manager, Mercedes-Benz USA; Robyn Streisand, Founder & CEO, The Mixx; Sam DiGennaro, CEO + Founder, DiGennaro Communications

From left to right: Samantha Meiler, VP, Content & Programming, at Nickelodeon’s NickMom; Karen Matri, Product Manager, Telematics and Connected Services at Mercedes-Benz USA; Michelle Wirth, Marketing Communications Department Manager, Mercedes-Benz USA; Robyn Streisand, Founder & CEO, The Mixx; Sam DiGennaro, CEO + Founder, DiGennaro Communications

Here are three of Sammy D’s  takeaways for women who aspire to leadership positions:

1. Lean into the bad times: When asked what she thought of General Motors CEO Mary Barra and her handling of the company’s recall situation, Sam said she admired her willingness to “own” a crisis that she personally had nothing to do with, and that meeting with the victims’ families the day before she was to go on trial was a remarkable way to show empathy and true leadership. Sam’s takeaway? True leaders are measured by how they handle the bad times. By taking responsibility and using her company’s mistakes as a platform for growth, Barra likely elevated her standing in the public eye.

2. Crying in the workplace is okay: On the topic of gender bias in the workplace, all panelists agreed that crying on the job is okay. Sam said,  “I’ve done it. I’ve cried in front of bosses, employees and even clients. It’s who I am; I’m an emotional being, and I lead with my heart. It’s been said that empathic leaders actually resonate more with employees and stakeholders, and I’d rather be authentic and own who I really am than apologize for crying.” One male audience member actually expressed his understanding, saying that as a relatively new grandfather he recently cried watching his granddaughters perform in a school play, and as a result, became more in touch with his emotions, allowing him to relate to female colleagues on a different level.

3. Take time for yourself: During the Q&A portion of the panel one audience member asked the panelists how they carve out time for themselves, despite managing very busy and stressful careers. Sam mentioned her morning meditation ritual as one way she disconnects from technology, ground herself and re-set her mind before diving into the workday. Streisand talked about her Tuesday/Wednesday ritual of putting the cell phones down for dinner with her partner both nights, and Meiler mentioned that when she took her job at Nick, she actually negotiated leaving the office by 6 p.m. each day to get home to her three young children, even if it means she needs to get back online after her kids are asleep. The common thread was setting boundaries and taking time to do what matters most outside of work to be more successful and effective at work.

The panel wrapped up with each woman offering advice to the next generation of female leaders. Sam talked about the importance of giving back and of mentorship – both seeking mentors and being one yourself – and told the audience she actually thought it would be easier for today’s generation to find role models: “Young women now have so many great examples of leaders: their mothers, sisters, colleagues. I hope they seek out mentors to help manage their careers, and also give rising stars within their organizations support and guidance. That’s the only way we’ll continue moving upstream.”

Poster promoting the panel to Mercedes employees

Poster promoting the panel to Mercedes employees

Blurred Lines: The Fine Line between Ads and Editorial at Advertising Week Europe

As part of DGC’s annual exchange program with Eulogy! – in which one DGC’er and one Eulogite have the opportunity to work from each other’s offices for a full week – I’ve been lucky enough to not only be in London, but also attend Advertising Week Europe.

I am less than 48 hours into being in London and have already experienced a couple of sessions with the likes of News Corp and Mashable execs. Here is a brief snapshot:

The Future of News & Advertising

This unique fireside chat between Robert Thomson, CEO of News Corporation, and Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP Global, brought two luminaries to the stage. They spoke to numerous pressing topics today from the future of traditional media, to who’s to blame for failing with digital advertising.

Native advertising was definitely one of the hot topics of discussion. Sorrell explained how the boundaries between the editorial and business sides are breaking down and that it’s fine as long as there is transparency along the way. In fact, both executives agreed that, in an ideal world, consumers would prefer to opt-out rather than opt-in, and people will pay for content if it is good. Thomson also admitted that quality content can be expensive, so it’s critical to identify more ways to increase the monetization of such content. He further explained that the value of content creation proves more than ever that distribution is important.
The session wrapped up with Thomson and Sorrell debating over whether numerous industries, including that of public relations and public affairs, have been creatively or destructively disrupted by digital. Only time will tell…

Fast Company Founder’s Conversation 

This much anticipated session shed a new light on the editorial direction of Mashable. The fireside chat featured Bob Safian, Editor of Fast Company, casually asking questions of Pete Cashmore, the very well-known CEO and Founder of Mashable. And once again, native advertising was a hot topic. Pete agreed that it’s a good thing as long as it’s a win-win for all involved, and that a reader’s best interest is always kept in mind.

The message Pete drove home throughout the session was Mashable’s seemingly transformed focus on its editorial content – no longer restricting its walls to social media and other such related topics. His vision is to bring forth what the world cares about across the board on various topics – even weather.

Pete called out that journalism is a part of Mashable’s DNA. It was evident that the outlet wants to shift its perception of being more like a New York Times than that of say a BuzzFeed or The Huffington Post. That said, Pete still feels strongly that Mashable will always target its core audience of early adopters as they are “likely at the cutting edge of everything – not just technology.”

Something Pete Cashmore mentioned in his session was proven true today: the proliferation of technology has changed the playing field, with anyone and everyone having the ability to be successful from anywhere – not just Madison Avenue and Silicon Valley. It’s safe to say that Advertising Week Europe will continue to grow in its presence over the coming years.

It was a whirlwind of a first day! I’m looking forward to attending additional sessions during my trip and will be back at week’s end with more key takeaways and learnings. In the meantime, follow the conversation @digennaro and check out some pics here to get a snapshot of my week in London and Advertising Week Europe.

Closing Remarks from Re:Think 2014

Following an exciting few days at the New York Marriott Marquis, the Advertising Research Foundation’s Re:Think 2014 conference has come to a close, after more than 168 paper submissions were presented from the top companies in business. With key insights from industry luminaries like Keith Reinhard, Carolyn Everson and Lee Garfinkel, the days were jam-packed with valuable insights and takeaways for attendees to take back to their desks and influence their work.

We caught up with Gayle Fuguitt, CEO and President of the ARF, for her biggest takeaway from the conference and how Re:Think 2014 ushered in a new era for the ARF.

For more Re:Think 2014 highlights, see below for a small sampling of the great coverage that ran this week:

Advertising Age: How Big Data Shapes AT&T’s Advertising Creative

Direct Marketing News: Video: Three Questions with the ARF’s Gayle Fuguitt

The Makegood: Why the Best Advertising is Formed When Art Meets Science

Re:Think 2014: Great Insights, Great Innovation, Great Results

Day Two at the Advertising Research Foundation’s Re:Think 2014 conference was about rethinking ideas to derive better insights, and ultimately better creative executions and results.

Lee Garfinkel, CEO of FCB Garfinkel, gave the first keynote of the day said the industry needs more clarity and simplicity in using smart research to inform smart advertising. Rather than wasting time thinking outside of the box, he encourages people to think about how to get out of the corner. “Science won’t get you great ideas alone. You need the gut instinct of great thinkers.”

Garfinkel’s other call to action was to come up with the great idea that will change the mind of the consumer. Demonstrated by his own iconic Diet Coke example from 1994,  he explained how the soft drink faced several challenges — from being too generic to being seen as for “women on a diet.” Garfinkel realized they couldn’t fix all of Diet Coke’s needs at once. “We asked the right question to get the right answer. The question was ‘which one of these should we address first?” Diet Coke’s response? “Make us relevant again.’”

Garfinkel and his team did just that, creating a spot that alleviated many of these issues and helped Diet Coke re-gain market share. The spot speaks for itself:

The second session keynote of the day was a fireside chat between Kim Brink, VP Marketing at NASCAR, and 4A’s EVP Michael Donahue, titled “Branding 180% Turnaround.” One of NASCAR’s marketing challenges is that people perceive it as a sport only popular in the South, without a huge reach. Conversely, the race car brand is second to the NFL in terms of recognition and hosts as many as 70 million fans at their events every year.

NASCAR’s goal was to have consumers rethink the brand. By tapping into insights around what its most rabid fans love about the sport, NASCAR was able to exact that passion and leverage it for new fans. The exercise allowed NASCAR to find its brand voice, which Brink acknowledged they didn’t previously have. NASCAR then signed their first ad agency, Ogilvy + Mather, and leveraged the insights about what rabid and casual fans love most, to create a dynamic spot that went on to be listed as the “Best Sports Commercial of the Year” in 2013.

The overarching message today was that marketers need to challenge their creative thinking by starting the process with smart research and clear insights.


Insights from Day One at ARF Re:Think 2014

The DGC team has been live from Advertising Research Foundation (ARF)  Re:Think conference in New York City this week, soaking up all of the intelligent conversations and insights being shared around analytics and insights.

Day One focused explicitly on consumer engagement and how to make better decisions across platforms. Here are some of our key learnings from the first day:

Carolyn Everson, VP of Marketing Solutions, Facebook (Photo Credit: Doug Goodman)

Mobile is now. Carolyn Everson, VP of Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook, admitted that even the largest social network in the world was caught off guard by the rise of mobile. But the reality is, that with over five billion phones currently in use, consumers are constantly on the go – and usually active on more than one device. More than one-third of those five billion people are using at least three or more devices in a given day, and 60 percent of consumers start a task on one device and end on another. So what’s the next step in mobile’s evolution? Personalization.


Peter Espersen, Head of Co-Creation, Content, and Campaigns, The LEGO Group (photo credit: Doug Goodman)

Peter Espersen, Head of Co-Creation, Content, and Campaigns, The LEGO Group (photo credit: Doug Goodman)

Understand your fans. Peter Espersen, head of co-creation at LEGO, shared how the brand sought to understand the fans, tap into their passion for LEGOs, and then in fact produce what the fans want. After several petitions, LEGO created several limited edition series, including the infamous DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future, a Minecraft series, and the very first fan-petitioned LEGO, the Shinkai 6500, a Japanese submarine. Espersen explained that no one would have seen the fan demand for Shinkai or Minecraft but, given that LEGO allowed its fans’ voices to be heard, it created what was wanted.



Keith Reinhard, DDB Worldwide (Photo Credit: Doug Goodman)

Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus, DDB Worldwide (Photo Credit: Doug Goodman)

Insights can help create the story. When you leverage insights in the right way, you can tell the story the consumer actually wants to hear. That was the takeaway from ad legend Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus of DDB Worldwide. Reinhard showed a famous State Farm ad from the 1960s, featuring the still-iconic “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” jingle, and a real State Farm insurance agent based in Hawaii. “The insight was that the hometown neighbor is always there, which led to the “Like a Good Neighbor,’” said Reinhard, “Consumers could get their own personal neighborhood State Farm agent.” The tagline is still used today.



The conversation was positive and encouraged the audience to question how brands are engaging with consumers. Even if you’re doing something right, you can always look at new data or find another angle that resonates in a new way, generating more insightful campaigns and buzz.


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