Author Archives: the HIT board

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, 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:

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:

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

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.

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

4A’s Kicks Off with Keen Insights on Building Better Partnerships

It has been a busy month with numerous marketing and tech industry events taking place across the country, and this week is no exception. The DGC team is on the ground at the 4A’s Transformation conference in Beverly Hills with many of our wonderful clients, including the 4A’s itself. Not only have we already experienced an earthquake, but also we’ve gleaned some key insights into how collaboration, trust, transparency and talent can drive better business. Whether you’re on the client or agency side, here are three things to keep in mind to create better partnerships, and ultimately, garner better results: 

1. Collaboration, Collaboration, Collaboration: Always a hot topic, but even more so in today’s results-driven environment, collaboration was one of the most-talked about themes. Dana Anderson, SVP of marketing strategy and communications (and a seemingly part-time comedian) at Mondelēz, discussed the fact that successful collaboration is a two-way street, and that clients should endeavor to respect and support their agencies, with the goal of reaping better work. She stressed that the more direct and specific clients can be in their briefs; the more creative, strategic and cutting edge ideas agencies can derive. Offering her own ingredients for fruitful agency/client collaboration, Anderson said it is a lot like love: it requires trust, commitment and giving.

2. The Trust & Transparency Imperative: Definitely a hot-button issue as it relates to data and metrics, but also within the context of client/agency relationships, trust and transparency emerged as two non-negotiables for getting to good work. For PR practitioners, trust is the basis for successful results. Our relationships – with journalists as well as clients – are rooted in a common trust and mutual respect for one another. We can’t lead our clients and provide solid communications counsel unless they trust us enough to be open and transparent, and allow us the room to push back on them. John Hayes, CMO of American Express, went so far as to say that he loves it when one of his agency partners tells him he’s wrong. He said it tells him they are thinking about his business.

3. Talent Wars: When you get a group of 1,200 marketers together, where the majority of attendees either work or have worked inside an agency, you can bet the subject of talent is top of mind. With increasing competition from tech companies and start-ups, agencies are facing more challenges than ever in attracting and retaining their primary currency: rock-star talent. In a fireside chat, Andrew Benett, CEO of Havas Worldwide, told attendees that the CEO now needs to play the role of Chief Talent Officer, dedicating a significant portion of time to finding and nurturing talent. He also suggested aligning your best talent with recruiting efforts, saying that when you have your greatest stars leading talent and recruitment, they become the ambassadors of your brand and ultimately recruit more great talent.

Check out this video clip of DGC Founder + CEO Sam DiGennaro as she shares her initial observations on the key themes being discussed at this year’s 4A’s Transformation conference: 

A Circus Visits the Circus: The DGC Team Spends a LEGENDary Night in Brooklyn with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS®

One cold night in February, DGC’s “Children of All Ages”® stepped off the subway and into Barclays Center for a magical evening at “The Greatest Show on Earth®.”  This year marked DGC’s second year working with the world famous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus as it traveled through the New York Tri-State area. “Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS”® is an all new show that rolled into the area in mid-February on the largest private train in North America, carrying 100 performers, 100 animals and 200 crewmembers.

There’s been quite a bit of media excitement about the new show, with feature stories appearing in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Daily News, The Huffington Post and New York Magazine as well as broadcast segments on Good Day New York, WPIX and NY1. But after months of listening to DGC’s Ringling Bros. team pitching stories about the circus, the rest of the crew wanted to experience the show for themselves and see what all the excitement was about!

The DGC team arrived early for the interactive all-access pre-show an hour before official show time and watched juggling and balancing skills, met performers and hung out with the famous Ringling Bros. clowns.

DGC goes to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus!

DGC goes to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus!

LEGENDS is truly a magical journey into the imagination. DGC’ers watched with amazement as the Torres family, eight motorcycle daredevils, raced together inside a 16-foot steel sphere at speeds up to 65 mph; as the Cossacks performed astounding acrobatics from the backs of magnificent steeds galloping full speed around a small ring; as the China National Acrobatic Troupe leaped and flipped into our hearts with four incredible acts of strength and grace; and as the loveable clowns from Ringling Bros. famous “clown alley” made us laugh and cheer.

DGC'ers watched as eight motorcycle daredevils raced together inside a 16-foot steel sphere at speeds up to 65 mph.

DGC’ers watched as eight motorcycle daredevils raced together inside a 16-foot steel sphere at speeds up to 65 mph.

The Medeiros troupe performed hair-raising aerials suspended 30 feet in the air by their long tresses. The magnificent “king of the big cats,” Alex Lacey, tamed some of the world’s most ferocious felines. Audiences were charmed by the menagerie of almost 100 animals, including elephants, rescue dogs, llamas, goats, pigs and kangaroos and left speechless as a Pegasus, unicorn and wooly mammoth performed on the arena floor.

Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson, who stands 6’5”, is a 15-year veteran of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey family. At 22 years old back in 1998, he was the youngest and first African American ringmaster in the history of “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Joining Johnathan was his sidekick Paulo, the “legend seeker,” whose feats of strength belied his diminutive stature.

As the lights came up, the DGC team rolled out of Barclays Center full from nachos, slushees and cotton candy. Visions of clowns and elephants danced in our heads.

A big thanks to the folks at Feld Entertainment for a LEGENDary evening.

“Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS” continues its journey through New York and New Jersey with runs at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island from March 5 – 10; Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., from March 13 – 16; and IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J., from March 19 – 23. For tickets and additional information, please logon to

Content and Audience are King In Today’s Online Media Landscape: Key Learnings From 2014 Digital Hollywood Media Summit

Fed up with exorbitant prices and programming packages that include more channels than a viewer needs – consumers across the U.S. are “cutting the cord” and sourcing their TV programming elsewhere. Over the last few years, audiences have gone from live TV viewing to time-shifted viewing to now binge-TV viewing, and consumption habits continue to change and evolve. So, the question that begs to be answered is –is this an evolution or a revolution?

Those questions and others about the value and future of online video surfaced at Digital Hollywood’s annual Media Summit in NYC on March 5. Experts including Gary Reisman, CEO of Leap Media Investments ( delved into topics including how the online content landscape is changing, what is a trend vs. what is a fad, what will be the media hub of the home in 2017, and how brands and marketers can better leverage online video to connect with their consumers.

On the panel, Gary was accompanied by Nathan Brown (General Manager, Video and Complex TV, Complex Media), Alyssa Vitrano (Director of Content Marketing, Mindshare), Maha Al-Emam (VP of Product and Technology, Daily Candy), Reid Genauer (Chief Marketing Officer, Magisto), Cameron Friedlander (VP, Global Innovations, Blast Radius, WPP Group), and Wes Williams (Director of Product Management, Scripps Networks Interactive).

The room was abuzz with conversation for the entire session, but one question in particular that got the room talking was one posed by moderator, Steve Bradbury, Chief Operating Officer of Zazoom, when he asked the panelists to fill in the blank: “Content and ___ are king.” Some said context, some said experience, some said distribution. Reisman declared, “audience.” See the video below for his full explanation.

The future of China’s social media

China Social Media

This post comes from Jax Potter, an Account Manager at our sister agency Eulogy! London. Jax spent a week with DGC and attended Social Media Week in New York as part of our “Rising Star” exchange program. One of the seminars she attended was “The Social Media Future of China.”

The following post was originally shared on E!’s blog.

There are currently 618,000,000 internet users in China, making up 45.8% of the population. The access choice of these users is predominantly through a mobile device rather than on desktop. The user base is predicted to grow by a staggering 800,000,000 users by 2015, providing an even greater audience for brands to speak to.

Currently, Facebook and Twitter are both banned in China due to lack of content control and regulation by the government. There is a slight exception for this, in that businesses operating in Shanghai can have access to Facebook in order to sell and connect to international markets.

Obviously members of the public want to connect with each other in the social-sphere so local variations and amalgamations of multiple platforms are popping up all over China.

Probably the most well-known channel by brands internationally is Weibo, which offers users a similar experience to Twitter but with wider image sharing options. Government content regulation is beginning to be enforced on the platform and as a result, 28,000,000 people left the network last year.

Social Media Week speaker, Yuanbo Liu described emerging platform, YY as “Whatsapp meets Zynga, meets American Idol”. The network originally started as a way for gamers to share tips and talk to each other on level completion and what’s coming up next. It has now evolved to users uploading videos of themselves performing acts such as karaoke and spectators giving them virtual gifts as endorsement of their skills. Users can then cash in these virtual gifts for money and make a profit from their talents.

It doesn’t seem obvious what the brand opportunity is yet for selling to the Chinese audience through this network, but this is going to be one to watch.

One of the largest opportunities to brands wanting to attract and engage with a Chinese audience is capturing the interest of tourists. In Chinese culture, the act of giving and gifting is a very high family value and those going abroad are expected to bring back gifts and souvenirs as a token of their travels.

Carefully worded brand content can therefore have a big impact on companies looking to target Chinese tourists with British or international products.

The biggest local social media platforms in China at the moment are:

  • Tencent
  • Ren Ren
  • YY
  • Wechat

Interestingly, one of the biggest national days in China that provides opportunities for brands to sell in Singles Day. A day in which single people purchase gifts for themselves to ensure they receive something over Valentine’s Day.

This year, Single’s Day in China generated more money than Cyber Monday, demonstrating the huge opportunity for brands in China.

Looking towards the future, it seems content regulation is going to carry on being a big focus for the Chinese government so new social media platforms will continue to pop up.

Brands therefore, need to keep a constant eye on which networks are opening and look for ways to get their products in front of the Chinese audience.

‘Tis the Season!

It’s hard to believe another year has come and nearly gone. Earlier this week the annual DiGennaro Communications holiday festivities commenced and, once again, it was a huge success.

Before the festivities, however, we still had some business to take care of as DGC executives presented the State of the Agency, recapping highlights of 2013 and vision for 2014, reminiscing about all the fun we have had and giving some special shout-outs and honors to our awesome team.

The first-ever “DGC MVP” honors went to Account Director Claire Eisenberg and Senior Account Executive Chrissy Perez-O’Rourke for their hard work, dedication and true embodiment of the DGC spirit in all they do. We also inducted our inaugural members into the “DGC Hall of Fame”— General Manager/Director of Development Kendra Peavy and VP/Group Account Director Erin Donahue. The Hall of Fame is reserved for our top talents who consistently work to make DGC a better place for three or more years.

Additionally, we announced the winner of the second annual Rising Star program with our sister agency Eulogy! in London. Amidst some tough competition, Account Director Soraya Eltomey was selected to represent DGC for a week next year at Eulogy!, where she’ll get to know our partners and learn about how PR is practiced in the U.K. And a special shout-out to Senior Account Director Marielena Santana and Account Director Lee Lubarsky for their fantastic contribution to the program’s entry process.

After many rounds of applause, Secret Santa presents for all (complete with an appearance from “Mr. and Mrs. Claus”), and a champagne toast with some snacks – it was time to get the party started.

At The Library inside the Public Theater, we proceeded to stuff ourselves with delicious food, enjoy signature cocktails and dance the night away in the gorgeous space. Nothing gets this team up and moving like a little Beyoncé or Britney.

A great time was had by all, as you can see from the photos. Already excited for next year!


Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners’ 9th Annual 2wenty 5ifth Floor Features Rap Legend Biz Markie

For the past nine years, Philly-based ad agency Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners has celebrated the creative community of Philadelphia through its annual 2wenty 5ifth Floor party. The invite-only bash – held on the agency’s 25th floor in the former penthouse of the historic PNB building – draws artists, designers, writers, musicians, photographers and ad folks alike. They come to raise a glass and celebrate the creative innovation of the “City of Brotherly Love.”

Each year, while creative folks dance, schmooze and booze in the name of creativity, the agency brings in music acts to pump up the party. Past performers included Lady Gaga cover band Rad Bromance, indie sensation White Rabbits, Questlove from The Roots and Tay Zonday, the YouTube “Chocolate Rain” phenom.

This year, opening act The White Cheddar Boys set the stage for headliner and legendary rapper Biz Markie, best known for his 1989 single “Just a Friend.” Like every year, the party kicked it until the wee hours and drew in a crowd of almost 900 people! See ya next year 2wenty 5ifth Floor!

Biz Markie

Rap Legend Biz Markie on stage at Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners’ annual 25th Floor party.


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