Author Archives: the HIT board

Ariana Grande’s Privacy Breach

Photo Credit: E! Online

Photo Credit: E! Online

Poor Ariana Grande. She became the “hate” girl du jour earlier this month when she was captured on video in a California donut shop saying she hated America and Americans.

It’s important to remember that the pop singer, who was born in Florida in 1993, and is in fact, American, had no idea her image or voice were being recorded at the time of the incident. Grande was in the shop with a couple of friends, and her actions and words appear to have been recorded by a camera mounted behind the counter and perhaps not visible to customers.

She and a male companion appear to take turns licking, or pretending to lick, some donuts on a tray that was placed on the counter. When a worker comes into frame and tries to place another tray of donuts on the glass counter right in front of Grande she disgustedly remarks, “[WTF] is that? I hate Americans. I hate America.”

Although it happened in a public place, hers was not a public pronouncement but an off-the-cuff, reaction to a friend.  Once released online, the video went viral. No surprise there.

The whole kerfuffle that ensued raises a number of important questions and observations:

First the observations:

  • There is no privacy for anyone no matter where you are.
  • Retail stores are recording your every move.
  • If you’re famous, say nothing beyond please and thank you when out in public.
  • In private, put your smartphone in another room and make any companions do the same if you intend to have a conversation or do anything you’d rather not have appear on the Web.

Now for the questions:

  • Why did the donut shop release this video?
  • What did they hope to gain?
  • Do they hate Ariana Grande?
  • Why were Grande and her male friend pretending to lick the donuts?
  • If she’s so disgusted by the site of a tray of donuts, why was she in a donut shop in the first place?

The whole situation is a publicist’s nightmare. But then the tables turned. The Health Dept. in Riverside County investigated Wolfee Donuts for incorrectly placing trays of donuts on the counter where they could be tampered with.

But then, even the donut shop came out smelling sweet after this promotion.

Maybe there really isn’t any such thing as bad publicity.

Until Next Year, Cannes

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is always a frenetic and fun week for DGC and the industry. It’s a unique opportunity to bring together creative minds across the world to celebrate terrific work, focus on challenges, and how to give back to the world.  As we recover from a week of hard work, lack of sleep and amazing views, we wanted to share a few takeaways.

  • Business happens when you least expect it. Always be prepared to talk shop, even when you’re walking from the Carlton to the Palais on the Croisette. You never know who you’ll run into and when the conversation will turn from the quality of the rosé to solving business challenges.
  • Madison Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard are intersecting more now than ever before. Much of the short and long-form content that won Lions was on-par with short films and documentaries typically generated by Hollywood studios.  Branding took a backseat to storytelling – with compelling content and incredible visuals. If you didn’t know you were at the Cannes Lions, you could easily have thought you were at the Cannes Film Festival.  [insert this link http://www.festival-cannes.fr/en.html]
  • Be Clear. Be Honest. Words taken from the session of healthy-cooking advocate Jamie Oliver rang true throughout the week.  Consumers are now more than ever attracted to brand messages that are sincere and honest.
  • Know your audience. It was clear throughout the week which speakers knew their audiences and which were speaking to serve their own agendas.  Facebook executive Chris Cox gave an excellent presentation that spoke to the larger issues of cultural sensitivities in communications.  In one of his many examples, Cox gave advice about brand messages in India–don’t use the word “password,” he said, because while that word is such a part of the day-to-day lives of Westerners, it is entirely meaningless even to English-speaking Indians.  Knowing your audience and what they need from your brand has become increasingly crucial to gaining consumer receptivity.
  • Strike the right balance of work and play.  There’s plenty of work to be done at Cannes – handling the press, networking, going to sessions and identifying new trends, etc.  Yet, time spent with your clients and colleagues – at dinner, at drinks, on a yacht, etc. – is just as important.  Loosen up a bit and take a moment to get to know the people you partner with a bit better.   You’ll find that a few days in the south of France can equal a year’s worth of relationship building in the States.
  • Be a better global citizen. One of the themes that resonated throughout the week was that we need to use technology to be better citizens, a message that also came through in some of the work that won big at Cannes. From the ALS Bucket Challenge and Like A Girl to Twin Souls, it was all about being more compassionate and sympathetic to one another. Monica Lewinksy, Jamie Oliver and DDB’s Amir Kassaei all spoke to how we can use our skill-set to do good.

Au Revoir!

cannes

Advertising: More Than Just an Award

Amir Kassaei, CCO, DDB Worldwide

Amir Kassaei, CCO, DDB Worldwide

DDB Worldwide’s Chief Creative Officer, Amir Kasseai, gave a raw and personal speech that addressed the state of the advertising industry.  Using an introspective lens, he brought attention to the fact that the industry has a tendency to forget about the real values and the real purpose: connecting with real people.

In a jaw-dropping presentation, Amir shared three short stories, each bringing to light how far the industry has strayed since its initial conception.  There used to be a time when advertising had an impact on society, culture, music, etc.  The industry has lost its focus.

Advertising is not about being the “chief asshole officer of some f**ing agency”, Amir said.  It shouldn’t only be about awards.  Winning an award only means you’re good at wining an award. He asked the audience when the last time someone’s child was truly excited to hear they won [insert any award here] and was met with laughter and applause. Because the truth of the matter is, advertising isn’t about that. It’s about truth, love, responsibility and purpose.

Amir ended the last session of Cannes Lions 2015 pleading with the audience (and industry as a whole) to remember their purpose, be honest with themselves, respect people and don’t waste talent doing things that are completely irrelevant – Do This or Die.

Six Things We Learned from Pharrell at Cannes

Pharrell is “happy” by nature, not just because he wrote and sang the 2014 Oscar-nominated mega-hit but because, according to himself, he goes after what he wants.  He truly embraces collaboration through creativity and is unafraid of working to get the creative mix of people he knows will win.

American TV and radio personality Ryan Seacrest sat down with Pharrell at the Cannes Lions Festival on June 24 to talk about collaboration and creativity.  Pharrell provided some crucial advice about bringing one’s “A” game to creative projects.

Here’s what we learned.

  1. Intention is essential. When Ryan asked Pharrell to give the young creatives in the audience advice, he emphasized “intention,” noting that if you are going to create something, make sure to “write some intention in there.”  What is your intention for a given project? Intention should be the number one ingredient in everything that you do and, if it isn’t, consumers won’t buy into it.
  2. Multitasking is important. Multitasking allows you to diversify projects without “blurring the lines,” Pharrell said. It’s important to have your hand in different things to get the creative juices flowing.  That said, you don’t want any crossover between your projects because it will keep them from being truly fresh and unique.
  3. Have a “second element.” A song isn’t great just because of the way it sounds, but because of the way that it makes you feel.  Just like a movie with all great actors and no plot – you may think that you’re going to like it, but it fails by not providing consumers with the second dimension they need and crave.
  4. Creativity and commerce are related. Many people believe that you can’t have both, or that one relies on the other, but as Pharrell so simply put it, when you really concentrate on your creativity, it translates into commerce.
  5. Bottled delusion would sell millions. Pharrell noted that if you were able to bottle the delusion for greatness that many people have, it would be a wildly successful product.  It’s like the people who genuinely believe they are good singers, but can’t sing a lick – it’s that sense of confidence and delusion that helps people succeed, in addition to providing a fantastic laugh.
  6. Adele is the master of intention.

pharrell

Cannes Lions 2015: Surviving a Zombie Attack

This post is written by Sara Ajemian, Senior Account Director, who is on the ground at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

Day one of the Cannes Lions festival got underway in earnest on Sunday, June 21, and one of the morning sessions had an apocalyptic flavor as WPP’s MediaCom hosted a presentation titled “How to Survive a Zombie Attack and Harness Cultural Trends to Grow Brands.”

Dave Alpert, executive producer of AMC’s The Walking Dead,” Josh Sapan, president and CEO of AMC Networks, Inc., and Steven Yeun, an actor on the show, were all on hand to discuss the art of their particular type of storytelling and give a small preview of next season.

MediaCom’s global strategy officer Jon Gittings shared how his agency categorizes storylines–hierarchy, individuality, masculinity/femininity, uncertainty, pragmatism and indulgence—and how different countries’ audiences respond to them. Gittings said, for example, that when episodes are indexed against global viewership, North America shows a high preference for individuality and indulgence while Spain, Turkey and Brazil showed a higher preference for storylines that had a strong element of uncertainty.

On day two, our DGC team was on the ground early supporting client-press meetings followed by more programming.

We stopped in to see Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich and Citi’s Jennifer Breithaupt, SVP, Global Head of Entertainment Marketing, discuss “Music & Branding Moving at the Speed of Culture.” Billboard reporter Andrew Hampp moderated the session, which focused on the evolution of brand/artist partnerships.

For Metallica, corporate partnerships are all about balance, according to Ulrich, and if a company has credibility in its industry and offers a creative outlet for the brand, it’s a win-win for all involved.

If panelists had one major caution, it was this:  Don’t make the partnership a one-off. Invest the time to figure out how to amplify and give it legs to extend the life cycle. Otherwise, you’ll be yesterday’s news before it’s tomorrow.

We’ll be continuing to share updates from Cannes, so be sure to stay tuned here to the Hit Board, as well as following us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Another June, Another Cannes

We’re just a few days away from the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (June 21-27) and the DGC team can’t wait to hit the ground running!
 
Cannes Lions is a spectacular, week-long celebration of the world’s most creative minds and best advertising as well as an opportunity for over 12,000 delegates to network over rosé and intimate dinners. Over the course of the week and against the backdrop of the beautiful French Riviera, talks will be given, awards handed out and meetings taken along the famed Croisette. It’s a chance for the industry to recognize the best creative work of the past year and look forward to where we might be next year.
 
The DGC team will be on the ground supporting clients and sharing the week’s most exciting news, bringing you insights from key industry players, highlighting key trends and observations and sharing live content. This year’s festival has attracted top names to the Palais including, Sarah Koening (Serial), entertainers will.i.am and pharrell and activist Monica Lewinsky.
 
Here are just a few of the sessions we have on our radar:
 
  •  Tuesday, June 23, 3:30PM – 5PM: MediaLink & Adweek “Daily Dose” Programming with Ian Schafer of Deep Focus; Carlton Hotel; Sean Connery Suite 7th Floor
  •  Thursday, June 25,
    • 2PM – 2:45PM: “Ogilvy & Inspire” Tham Khai Meng, Ogilvy & Monica Lewinsky. Grand Audi
    • 2:30PM – 3:15PM: “Watson & The Future of Advertising” Saul Berman, IBM & Jerry Wind, Wharton. Experience Stage – Data Creativity
    • 3:50PM – 4:20PM: “Solving the Marketer’s Latest Identity Crisis” David Jakubowski, Facebook & Julia Heiser, Live Nation NA Concerts. Inspiration Stage
  • Friday, June 26 4:15PM – 5PM: “Do This Or Die” Amir Kassaei, CCO, DDB Worldwide. Debussy
We expect a jam-packed week with lots of learnings.
 
Please check for updates on the DGC Hit Board, Facebook, Twitter and our new Instagram feed!

What Can Brian Williams Do?

The Brian Williams story will ebb and flow until NBC figures out whether it will bring him back to the anchor chair following his six-month suspension, which began in February. As you may recall, Williams, the $10 million man, was disciplined for exaggerating some of his experiences reporting on the Iraq War, among other stories.

Williams has his supporters, not least the eight million nightly viewers he drew to the NBC Nightly News.brian williams

Some of the debate has revolved around Williams’ journalistic credentials or lack thereof.

Sam DiGennaro, founder and CEO of DiGennaro Communications, is in the camp that thinks his journalistic chops are beside the point and argues that this is more of a CRM story—the relationship Williams has with the general public and devoted viewers.

She writes on the Forbes Leadership blog that Williams’ situation is a cautionary tale for everyone: “In the age of social media, public and private citizens alike, not to mention brands, are at risk of being pilloried at any moment,” and offers some steps the anchor man can take to restore the public’s trust in his personal brand.

Eulogy’s Ann Wiltshire Spends a Week at DGC

The first time Ann Wiltshire visited New York from her native England, she was 13, and it was the dead of winter.

In April 2015, she returned to the city to work for a week here at DiGennaro Communications in the Flatiron District as part of an exchange program with the shop’s sister agency, Eulogy, in London. Ann is an account manager there.

Ann saw lots of similarities between the working cultures of New York and London and could definitely imagine herself living in the Big Apple, especially after the celebrity encounter she had in an elevator, which she reveals in the video.

Ad Age Digital Day Two: Media, Branded Content, Talent

Ad Age Digital’s second day held a heavy focus on the evolution of media. Executives from Bloomberg Media, Daily Mail, HBO, and Nickelodeon were all part of several discussions that delved deep into their business and how brands intersect in this new era of branded content in a “post-digital” world.

Jon Steinberg, CEO of Daily Mail North America and formerly of BuzzFeed fame, told AdAge’s Michael Sebastian challenged creative agencies to step up to the plate. “I don’t want to be a creative agency, but the media agencies and brands come to us and want us to come up with the idea,” said Steinberg. “I’m still waiting for the creative agencies to jump in, and there is always going to be that opportunity for them.”

Sabrina Caluori, VP of Social and Digital at HBO, continued the Fail Forward series, this time talking about how HBO attempted to bring the second screen experience to its consumers in 2013 with HBO Smart Glass, but instead frustrated consumers by distracting from their top tier television shows, which is the main draw for the premium subscription service. Such humbling admission from a media company which is seemingly at the top of its game shows how grounded and self-aware one must be to stay ahead.

Later in the afternoon Andrew Benett, Global CEO of Havas Worldwide took the stage for a fireside chat with Ad Age’s Nat Ives. Continuing the theme of marketing in today’s “post-digital world,” Benett said this shift can be seen right down to the different workspaces seen today vs. in the 1980s, with 90% of the industry now shifting to an open floor plan model, which he says contributes to “always-on collaboration.” To that end, people and talent was a big focus of the talk, and Benett says the questions he gets most in big RFPs aren’t about award-winning work or strategy – it’s about culture and honing talent. “What do we do for internal people initiatives? How do you grow and manage talent?”

AdAge Digital Day One: Viewability, Humanity, #failing

 The 9th Ad Age Digital Conference kicked off today in New York with a packed first day lineup. Some of the hot topics addressed today included viewability, humanity, and failing.

The morning’s first discussion between Rob Norman, Global Chief Digital officer at GroupM and Lisa Valentino, SVP, Digital Sales at Conde Nast, surprised some in the audience when the two executives vaguely discussed the terms of a recent deal where Conde Nast agreed to only charge GroupM’s clients for ads that were guaranteed to be viewed by consumers. While 100% viewability is never a guarantee, the two partners stressed that they reached an acceptable & agreed upon viewability level for their ad units.

The afternoon panel “The Story Makers” talked about the evolution of storytelling to storymaking – where consumers work with brands to create the story. Hirschhorn stated that it can be much less risky for brands to enter stories already being told rather than create one of their own.  Anne Lewnes, SVP and CMO of Adobe, showed an inspiring video celebrating Adobe Photoshop’s 25 year anniversary wholly created with user-generated imagery and exhorts viewers to “Dream On.”

We loved the “Fail Fast Forward” series of 10 minute vignettes, that highlighted a “fail” moment, the learning, and what was implemented to “fix” things. Meredith Kopit Levien, EVP, Advertising, New York Times, led with the story of a 161-year old article in the Times about Solomon Northup, aligned with the release of Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, and a subsequent Gawker piece entitled “This Is the 161-Year-Old New York Times Article About 12 Years a Slave  that performed way, way better than the Times piece about the original article.

aad

The three actions the Times took? One was to “defy the gravity of tradition”, by embracing the notion that finding the audience is just as important as the story itself — Alexandra MacCallum was recently appointed to audience development and there is now a “masthead level” or leadership-level focus on finding the right audience. Two was to “Invent new ways to create value” which spurred the creation of T-Brand Studio and the Times’ entrance into the branded content biz, continuing striving to create content that makes people feel things, regardless of whether it is paid or not. Number 3. is to “never lose sight of what got us there in the first place” summed up with two simple words: Quality. Storytelling.

Our favorite quotable from the “Moving at the Speed of Culture” interview with Beats by Dre’s Omar Johnson: Jimmy Iovine said to me one day “What’s a SWAT? Your job is to sell headphones, right?” We had to work at a speed that most brands don’t have to. And they live it every day – Beats agency, R/GA, has to present every idea on one slide. Love this challenge!

Atlas’ Jennifer Kattula wrapped the day eloquently with “Five Things Marketers Ought to Know,” challenging us to move on from the Four Ps from Philip Kotler’s 1967 book Marketing Management, to the 4 Cs…. from Product to Choice, Price to Convenience, Place to Cross-Device, and Promotion to Creative Sequencing. Some compelling stats within, including touting the cookie’s demise and how people-based marketing is more effective for reaching the right people at the right time – something that digital marketers have a responsibility to aim higher on.

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