Author Archives: the HIT board

DGC Roundtable: Remembering Oscar de la Renta

The DGC Roundtable is moderated by our Fall Intern, Jamie Kurke.

On Tuesday, Oscar de la Renta passed away. To honor his memory and the huge impact he made on millions of lives, this week’s question was:

What is your all-time favorite Oscar de la Renta piece, and why?

Maryliz Ghanem, Vice President:Maryliz

The dress just screams to me ‘live life to the fullest’, which is how Oscar lived his life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jules Smith, HR Director:Jules

I think this dress speaks for itself, it has true “star quality”~ it is a show stopper and a real statement piece!

It showcases his passion, creativity and spectacular talent.

I absolutely adore it!

 

 

Claire Higgins, Account Executive:claire

Oscar de la Renta was undoubtedly a Red Carpet icon and I’m so sad to think about not seeing new work during award season– one of my favorite seasons. One of my favorite looks was Zooey Deschanel at the 2013 Golden Globes. Such a classic, which Oscar de la Renta always managed to do. I love the cut and the flow of the skirt; it’s a perfect Red Carpet dress for me.

 

 

 

 

 

Much of our team (myself included) was moved by this iconic pink dress, featured in Sex and the City:


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Bridget Butlers, Senior Account Executive:

Arguably the most clichéd choice, but this pink silk, full-skirted, mid-length gown was the perfect mix of classic chic with an edgy, forward-thinking twist (and slightly more structured than many of his whimsical designs). When it hit TV screens during the final season, Oscar de la Renta’s name was permanently etched in the memory banks of SATC and fashion-lovers alike. Even a decade on, it’s a piece I still long to own.

Lexi Hewitt, Account Coordinator:

My favorite Oscar de la Renta piece was a dress Sarah Jessica Parker wore in an episode of Sex and the City.  The dress is simple and timeless, and it didn’t matter that SJP’s character wore it to a McDonalds!

Peyton McCarthy, Account Coordinator:

Agree!

Jamie Kurke, Intern:

You think Oscar de la Renta, you think this dress. It’s a beacon of style and character that an entire generation of women simultaneously swooned over. Given its cultural significance and timeless beauty, it’s no wonder that half of the office choose this piece to remember him by.

As much as the Carrie Bradshaw dress speaks to me, I think another important thing to note is that the last Oscar de la Renta crafted before his passing was Amal Alamuddin’s wedding dress.  jamie

Lesson learned: If you’re going to marry George Clooney, you should probably do so wearing ODLR.

 

DGC Roundtable: How to fix Uber

The DGC Roundtable is moderated by our Fall Intern, Jamie Kurke.

Uber has been a hot brand ever since its inception but as of late, they’ve been in the news for all of the wrong reasons. With that in mind, this week’s question was:

In light of recent bad press, what, if anything, should Uber do to clean up their brand image and regain trust from the public?New-Logo-Vertical-Dark

Maryliz Ghanem, Vice President:

Uber needs fixing and they need to show the public the measures they are willing to take to protect their customers. They need to put into action strict measures and guidelines, for example: third-party background checks, suspension and review of drivers with a spotty record, and dedicated customer services. They need to show their riders that they are serious about safety and put these protections in place.

Pat Wentling, Senior Account Executive:

Uber clearly is a hot brand with an in-demand product – it’s practically become ubiquitous for traveling in New York City. The recent bad press, not to mention a satirical look from the writers at South Park, proves that Uber needs to commit to keeping their consumers safe and comfortable. The Uber team needs to publically promote a rigorous training and background check on each and every driver they employ, as well as a clear algorithm behind their pricing methods. If that means having fewer drivers in the interim, it’s worth the price of regaining consumer trust.

Lexi Hewitt, Account Coordinator:

it is hard to ignore all of the negative attention Uber receives.  Uber needs to be more responsive to the bad press that they’re getting.   Ignoring it is not going to make it go away, and they need to be proactive in their public relation efforts by getting ahead of negative stories.  They should sympathize with their customers when they are unhappy and realize that what the media is saying about them does matter.  Their business may be doing fine now, but I think that the negativity will inevitably catch up to them.

Claire Eisenberg, Senior Account Director:

  • Be transparent – Many complaints from consumers are tied to being told that the ride would cost one amount and ultimately being charged astronomically more.
  • Be reachable – Riders can’t seem to get through to customer service when they have a problem. This typically leads to consumers airing their grievances in much more public forums.
  • Take Action – With the most recent claim that a rider was kidnapped, it’s shocking that the customer service tried to convince her otherwise. Are you kidding? Take this feedback seriously and take the appropriate legal actions.

For now, I’ll stick with cabs.

Jamie Kurke, Intern:

Uber has been in hot water, it seems, since their dawn of time. Unless they conduct a serious overhaul, one of these times will be the last straw for their customers. I already have friends deleting the app and complaining about bad service or being afraid—especially when using UberX. While they do have a great business model, my advice would be to stop the expansion for now and focus on their existing customer base. A heartfelt apology from a high up exec and the promise of some driver training and more extensive screening would probably be the best way to gain back rider trust. It would certainly put me more at ease about requesting a black car instead of hailing a Yellow Cab.

DGC Roundtable: SnapChat & Hot Apps

The DGC Roundtable is moderated by our Fall Intern, Jamie Kurke.

The early buzz around the DGC bullpen this week stemmed from Yahoo’s investment in SnapChat. With the latest app to be acquired/invested by a big brand, our question this week was:

What’s the next big app / your favorite app that everyone should use?

Peyton McCarthy, Account Coordinator:

Timehop – I don’t think it’s new to everyone, but it is to me and it’s fantastic. It keeps an archive of your social network posts/statuses and allows you to see exactly what you were up to in years past on that exact date. It’s almost like an effortless diary or time capsule. Definitely would recommend to anyone who is an avid user of social media – sometimes things I don’t remember pop up and they happened just a year ago. Sometimes they are from a bit farther down memory lane and can be a bit embarrassing, but always great material for a #TBT

Kathy Sampey, Vice President

I don’t know about the ‘hottest’ app, but my favorite one is Best Parking, which helps me find parking garages near my Manhattan destinations for the best price.

Jamie Kurke, Intern

As someone who is attached to her phone at the hip, I try out new apps on a pretty regular basis (mainly puzzle games, to be honest, but I’m pretty sure no one else will be captivated by those.)

My latest and greatest find is Snap, by Groupon. It’s amazing for anyone looking to save a few bucks on groceries without having to wait in that mind-numbing Trader Joes line. All you have to do is browse the app for products on promo, buy them at ANY store, send in a picture with proof of purchase, and after you’ve saved $20, you get a check. Where has this been all of my life?

Another great one for New Yorkers is the Transit App, which gives real-time updates on the nearest public transportation. It’s a really great time-management tool– especially when it comes to those pesky trains (ahem, NQR) that don’t post their departure times in the station.

Patrick Wentling, Account Executive:

It’s by no means a “new” app, but the one that’s really changed the way my friends interact is Venmo. Simply put, it serves as virtual cash from your bank account to transfer money to your friends. While most banks play nice with each other within the same network, Venmo is bank agnostic. Gone are the days of “I have no cash” or massive headaches over splitting a restaurant bill. Venmo allows you to pay up (or charge up) right away so everybody endures the same damage.

The other app that is useful for New Yorkers is an app our President Howie Schacter referred to me called Exit Strategy, which gives a map of subway stations and where each staircase will take you above ground, and what subway car you need to take to be close to it. It’s a “premium app” but very worth it to save time while in the underbelly of NYC.

Jules Smith, HR Director

GreenHopping is one of my favorite new health apps…

It makes being healthy in the city and when you travel so much easier!

This app helps the green consumer seek out and access  healthy eateries by placing all vegan, raw, gluten-free and vegetarian restaurants, as well as green juice bars, cold-pressed juice bars, green smoothie bars and health food stores on an electronic map locate via a GPS mobile application. I love it for me because I am obsessed with juicing and love it for my kids so they can eat out with healthy delicious options!

Gemma Pollard, Vice President

Noted: an app that​ helps you remember bars/restaurants/places you want to go, saving new searches on Yelp everytime someone says “Where should we go tonight for dinner?”

Pocket: couldn’t love Pocket (formerly Read It Later) more. I have to consume a lot of content each day and Pocket lets me delay reading of non-urgent stories/articles until I have time (even if I don’t have wifi)

Evernote is a no-brainer for lists, but I love that I can access all of my notes seamlessly across devices, or through any web browser

Sara Ajemian, Account Director

Gemma introduced me to Noted – it’s an excellent app that lets you save best places you’ve been to or those that friends have recommended. So when you’re on the go and unsure of where to eat/say/drink, you can pull up a map of wherever you are give yourself a digital memory jog.

Kelsey Merkel, Senior Account Executive

I do find the Venmo app to be extremely useful and secure. With Venmo you can make and share payments instantly. Since not all banks allow seamless bank-to-bank transfers, Venmo makes it easy to deposit money directly from your chosen bank account into the bank account of the person of your choice.

Normally I would be skeptical on this type of app in terms of security, but with all of the talks about Apple’s new Apple Pay with the iPhone and Google Wallet, mobile payments are sure to be something that will continue to gain attention and consumer use in the coming months, proving that security is really a non-issue.

Let’s Hear a ‘Brava!’ for These Women Leaders

Sam DiGennaro, CEO and founder of her namesake PR agency, DiGennaro Communications (DGC), was among the 40 business women honored at the New York SmartCEO Brava! Awards held at Capitale in lower Manhattan on Sept. 23.

The annual award ceremony recognizes CEOs and decision makers who are chosen for exhibiting qualities such as vision, passion, compassion, dedication and perseverance both in business and in giving back to their communities.

SmartCEO magazine honored women from an array of industries that included ad-marketing, fashion, design, health and wellness, and the law. Hundreds of attendees watched short videos about each woman’s perspectives on what it means to be a business leader.

“It’s up to us as women to really support each other, build each other up and help break through those boundaries,” DiGennaro said in her video, adding that GM’s Mary Barra is the CEO she most admires because she started at the car company as an entry-level employee and rose to become its global leader.

DGC specializes in B2B communications on behalf of ad-media-marketing-tech companies as well as for consumer-facing multinationals such as Facebook, Live Nation, and McDonald’s. The agency supports programs that promote literacy among public-school kids and visits to the elderly. Several times a year, DGC devotes hours for staffers to read to elementary school students and to visit nursing homes to play bingo with residents.

DGC_Brava Awards 2014

The following entrepreneurs are but a sample of the high-achieving 2014 SmartCEO Brava! Award recipients:

  • Jennifer Blumin, Founder & CEO of Skylight Group, a real estate and venue management company that retains some of the raw charm of properties for business clients.
  • Lynne S. Katzmann, Founder & CEO of Juniper Communities. The company runs assisted-living residences that offer skilled nursing care for senior citizens.
  • Elisabete Miranda, President & CEO of CQ Fluency, a multicultural communications firm that promises translation services that observe cultural fluency in all its clients’ messaging.
  • Susan White Morrissey, President and CEO of White + Warren, a high-end women’s apparel company.
  • Ruth Rathblott, President & CEO of Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF). The organization provides academic enrichment programs in underserved communities for students in middle school through high school.
  • Robyn Streisand, President and CEO of The Mixx, a graphic design firm. In 2008, she co-founded the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

The night wrapped up with a toast to all of the fantastic women who have put their full hearts and efforts into their businesses and the larger community. Congratulations all.

DGC Roundtable: Advertising Week Learnings

The weekly DGC Roundtable is monitored by our current intern, Jamie Kurke.

This week was a hectic one. Everyone was shuffling in and out of the office to attend Advertising Week events for our clients– or just for fun! With that in mind, this week’s question was:

What was the best session/ learning/ quote you heard from Advertising Week?

Patrick Wentling, Account Executive:

There was a lot said this week, but my favorite quote actually came from Michael Strahan during his conversation with Facebook’s Carolyn Everson, where he spoke on how his dad said “not if, when.” It was an inspirational story considering how great his career – before and after football – came to be. Although I spent my youth booing him, I now have a new found respect for him.

Megan Sweat, Account Executive:

“Consumers are living in a state of ‘present shock.’ They are living in a world where everything happens now, and they are in a constant state of emergency interruption. There’s no time for advertising and being interrupted. Don’t interrupt me in the flow, provide me with the thing I need when I need it and not a second after.” – Douglas Rushkoff, media theorist and author

Jackie Berte, Account Executive:

Quote of the week:  “You’ll regret it if you don’t take a picture with the Aflac Duck” – at the Advertising Week Icon and Slogan Hall of Fame

Chrissy Perez-O’Rourke, Account Director:

When brands are looking to operate at the “speed of culture” they should be asking themselves three things:

  • What makes sense for their brand?
  • Which aspects of real-time trends and culture are a fit with the brand’s core messaging and essence?
  • Does the brand want to enter an existing conversation or create a new one?

To read more about the panel Chrissy attended, check out her latest Hit Board post!

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DGC Roundtable: Fall TV Season

The weekly DGC Roundtable is monitored by our current intern, Jamie Kurke.

This week, everyone at the office was buzzing about the return of the Fall TV season. With that in mind, this week’s question was:

As the Fall TV season kicks off, which show – new or returning – caught your attention this season, and why?

Kathy Sampey, Vice President:

The returning show that caught my attention is “Sons of Anarchy,” which for some reason, I’ve been following since its inception. It shocks me that it has so many female fans and exactly none of the commercials that run during the shows are targeted to women or even girls. This is the final season so I feel compelled to see it through even though last season wasn’t great.

Patrick Wentling, Account Executive:

Since that two minute trailer aired during 24 for Gotham, it’s certainly had the buzz and attention for many of my friends. It’s been curious to see all of the networks catch on to the superhero genre as a TV property following ABC’s S.H.I.E.L.D.  from Marvel. I worry about the longevity of the show – how long can Bruce Wayne be 12 years old? That said, it’s got the lore and studio budget to lay the groundwork for a strong show, it’s a matter of if the story can stay interesting. It’s overall a weak season for shows, as networks now embrace “52-week seasons” rather than individual seasons. That said, networks can’t afford to take a break with viewers and advertisers.

Sara Ajemian, Account Director:

How To Get Away with Murder! Shonda Rhimes knows how to make a hit – even if the New York Times’ Alessandra Stanley was entirely off base calling her an “angry black woman” – and I think everyone is chomping at the bit to see how Viola Davis’ talents will translate from the big screen to the small screen.

I’m also really excited for The Affair on Showtime. It’s got the best cast: Dominic Cooper (who’s BBC show The Hour was far too short-lived), Joshua Jackson (Bless us all, Pacey is back!), Ruth Wilson (who really shined as a crazy psycho in Luther), and Maura Tierney.

Maryliz Ghanem, Vice President:

Scandal: for the great pre-season buzz they generated via Kerry Washington’s clothing line at the Limited. Great way to energize their audience!

Kendra Peavy, General Manager:

Madam Secretary with Tea Leoni looks promising and leads into one of my favorite shows The Good Wife. I love that we’re seeing another strong female character join Alicia Florrick on Sunday night TV.

Jamie Kurke, Intern:

I’m ridiculously intrigued to see the reviews from (but not necessarily to watch) Black-ish. I’m always into shows that push the boundaries of political correctness and social statements. The promo posters are definitely something you have to look at twice to see if you read them correctly. For ABC’s sake, I hope people can take emerging shows like this with a grain of salt and appreciate the humor but there’s always that chance it’ll blow up in their faces…

In terms of what I can’t wait to binge watch for hours on end, however: Grey’s Anatomy- hands down. Maybe I’m the youngest person alive who is still die-hard though?

Some DGC Team Members just wanted to share their favorites shows, regardless of their marketing for the new season…

Claire Eisenberg, Senior Account Director:

I’ve finally jumped on the Netflix bandwagon and currently can’t tear myself away from House of Cards. What will Frank Underwood do next?! While I love the binge watching nature of Netflix, they sadly don’t always follow the fall TV timing. I’ll have to wait until February for season 3… I guess I’ll use all of my extra time to revisit some old favorites that are debuting on Netflix this month like New Girl and Parks and Rec.

Claire Higgins, Account Coordinator:

I can’t wait for Scandal! Olivia Pope rules all and I want to know where she disappeared to. Also can’t wait for Parks and Recreation’s final season, but NBC’s site doesn’t have a premiere date which is terrifying to me because it’s lit-erally an excellent show. I will say I was intrigued by Gotham, just because of all the hype before it even aired, but I tried to watch the pilot and the acting wasn’t really up to par for me. So no to that one.

Soraya Eltomey, Senior Account Director:

It’s not every day that a show loses its main character, and its season finale feels more like a series closer. But that’s exactly what last year’s episode of Homeland brought to the table. I can’t wait to see what’s to come for Season 4 – if it can survive without one of its leads (as well as its central storyline), or if it will successfully breathe new life into a show that arguably jumped the shark two seasons ago.

John Wolfe:

Favorite Shows in new Fall Season (all returning):

  • The Good Wife
  • Chicago Fire
  • Chicago P.D.

Why?  Because they all take place in Chicago—my hometown!

Chrissy Perez-O’Rourke, Account Director:

Some people get excited about the beginning of Summer, some get excited about Christmas – well, the kickoff of the Fall TV season is my favorite time of year and I couldn’t be more excited that it’s here! To pinpoint just one show that has piqued my interest this season would be impossible though. Many of my old favorites – Scandal, Nashville, Blacklist, Parenthood and Modern Family – are returning with promises of more drama and splashier plotlines than seasons past. And new shows that are debuting are also reeling me in with clever concepts and riveting characters – like How to Get Away with Murder, Mysteries of Laura and Marry Me. All in all, I don’t discriminate. Drama, suspense, comedy, rom-coms – I get hooked on most shows in the primetime lineup. So after the past few months of re-runs and bad reality TV I’m glad that the shows I have come to know and love are back on the air. From Olivia Pope to Rayna James, I feel like my long-lost friends are coming home after a long summer trip – welcome home ladies!

DGC Roundtable: Solving the NFL’s PR Crisis

Welcome to the DGC Roundtable, a new weekly feature on the hot topics of the moment. The series will be monitored by our current intern, Jamie Kurke. Each week, we will ask our team to respond to a question and share their POV on the top stories.

This Week’s Question:

How should the NFL heal its reputation – with fans and with brand sponsors – in the aftermath of the Ray Rice investigation and other off-the-field incidents?  

Gabriella Berman, Account Executive:

The NFL needs to start by practicing what they preach. If they have a zero tolerance policy, there is no reason why Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy should be playing in thisRoger Goodell Sunday’s games. If the NFL can stop contradicting themselves, they may stand a chance in healing its reputation, but until then it seems unlikely that fans and sponsors will be able to trust the brand.

Gemma Pollard, Vice President:

No sport is without scandal, and like any brand suffering a dive in reputation the NFL should be looking into making some tangible changes to its business that can be communicated to its stakeholders – the players, the administration, the fans, the general public and of course, the media. Scandal of this scale can’t, and shouldn’t be covered up. It should be faced with transparency, an authentic commitment to change and a steady flow of communication. Some “good news” stories about players and clubs doing the right thing, shared at the right time, wouldn’t hurt them either!

Don’t get me started on New York Post covers with “Ray Rice has found God” headlines – desperate last-ditch pleas to religion are never a good idea.

Peyton McCarthy, Account Coordinator:

“Another case surfaced with a player of the Arizona Cardinals being deactivated due to a domestic violence case this week and it just goes to show the dire need for the NFL to establish a concrete set of rules/consequences for the crimes of child abuse or domestic violence to be used from here on out. The entire process is unorganized and I believe these cases will continue to rise, until there is a player/organization understanding of the costs of their actions. Fans and brands need to see that something is being done in an organized and well thought manner, especially because right now there is nothing to support, as nothing has been done. The NFL organization and brand looks terrible to the eyes of the public right now and each day that passes that nothing is done to organize the penalization process of these players, the harder is it going to be for them to recover, especially if they lose a brand like Anheuser Busch. In my opinion, the first step to doing this is firing Roger Goodell; fans will then see the actions the NFL is willing to take.”

Claire Higgins, Account Coordinator:

I’ve been really surprised at how brands are reacting to the Ray Rice debacle. While some have pulled sponsorships from Rice already – understandable – some are really taking their time and waiting out final decisions from the NFL before making any changes. In some cases, it could say something about what a brand stands for, but it’s also a business and the NFL is a big name to have on your roster. In this case, I think most brands are reacting smartly and treading lightly, gathering all of the facts and waiting before making big decisions. I will say…some unaffiliated brands aren’t doing so hot – looking at you DiGiorno with that #whyistayed tweet.

Pat Wentling, Account Executive:

It’s been a tough few weeks for the NFL. While there is a lot of accusations going around, the one clear point is that the league hasn’t acted quickly enough — for it’s players or for it’s sponsors and owners. Roger Goodell spoke late on Friday afternoon, which is known for being a bad time for press, and laid his claim to fixing this. Only time will tell if it will, but the two weeks in between the Ray Rice video leak and his public response was too long. Only time will tell if they have truly righted the ship.

Cannes 2014. That’s a wrap!

The 61st Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is done and dusted. It was a huge week for our team on the ground taking a huge number of meetings with clients, friends of the agency and potential new partners, zipping up and down the Croisette more times than we can count, tweeting up a storm, taking in the brilliant creative and on-stage content, clinking glasses of rosé, and helping support the wonderful team at McDonald’s for their Cannes Creative Marketer of the Year accolade.

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Unusually grey skies over the Palais on Day 1 of the Festival

As we dig out of a sea of business cards, Cannes swag, content and inboxes bursting at the seams, we penned some takeaways and themes from the week that was Cannes 2014…

What was trending:

The 60th anniversary of the Cannes Lions Festival last year put the advertising industry’s “All Stars” in the spotlight and this year the balance seemed to swing a little bit back towards the indie shops and lesser-known creative folks.

The DeBussy and Grand Audi saw Kanye West, Courtney Love, Bono, Jared Leto, Ralph Fiennes and other celebs graced the stage with some pretty interesting discussions.

Bono’s speech accepting the first-ever Cannes Lionheart humanitarian award for his work with (Red) at the final awards gala was particularly empowering, not to mention humorous as he drew chuckles from the crowd upon introducing himself as “Bono, the CMO of YouTube.” After a powerful preamble from Apple’s SVP of Design, Jonathan Ive,Bono told the crowd it was their brainy heads that were going to figure things out (in reference to a world epidemic of AIDS) and if they kept making the ads, he’d keep making the jingles.

This year also saw an outpouring of tech industry “celebs” taking the stage — from Sheryl Sandberg to Marissa Mayer — who found clever ways to speak to an audience full of advertising buyers and creatives without overtly making a sales pitch. Sandberg emphasized the proliferation of mobile, and also wove in her “Lean In” platform, calling for the ad industry to lead the charge in shifting the ratios of females in leadership positions, as well as to embrace diversity in the advertising and marketing campaigns they are creating for clients.

Mayer emphasized the creative side of the business, pointing to Tumblr as a perfect platform to create inspiring work. It’s wonderful to see powerful female leaders represent their brands at our industry’s biggest and most important conference.

It’s All About The Work

In some cases, the most awarded work of 2014 was all about doing good and making brands matter, in other cases it was about celebrating the sheer pleasure of consumerism. The mix of styles spoke to the heart of good marketing and what it can achieve when done in the right way.

In the first instance, there was CAA’s YouTube film for Chipotle, The Scarecrow, which took a Grand Prix in both PR and Cyber, along with multiple golds in PR, Cyber and Branded Content.

The film that sits behind an app launch and website was a bold move for the QSR, through the flawless direction of Tim Burton and the haunting sounds of Fiona Apple. Taking on “big food,” and the evils of mass food production, the film went beyond a strong piece of content, as the soundtrack was available for download on iTunes, with 60 cents per download benefiting the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation. Since launch it has racked up nearly 13 million views on YouTube.

The most awarded campaign of the week was created by adam&eveDDB for the luxury department store chain, Harvey Nichols.

An integrated holiday campaign dubbed “Sorry I Spent It On Myself, the hysterical work invited seasonal shoppers to gift “cheapskate” gifts like paper clips and toothpicks — branded with Harvey Nichols and actually sold in stores — so they could instead give themselves larger indulgences like designer dresses and handbags. A hashtag #SpentItOnMyself helped garner additional attention via social media.

Brands and platforms

Every year, the attendance diversifies and while the big tech companies have been at Cannes for years, we saw even bigger programs, activations and events on the Croisette and beyond from the likes of Microsoft, Facebook and others. We were constantly bumping in to tech players from start-up ad-tech to established Silicon Valley players: Lithium, PubMatic and Klout, to name a few.

From “La Galerie D’Instagram” where attendees could peruse real-life works of art straight from Instagram, as well as be photographed by a professional photographer on a staged set, to Microsoft’s swanky Beach Club, to Yahoo’s free pedi-cabs helping deliver delegates from the Palais to The Martinez and back again, there were many creative executions designed to add value to the overall Cannes experience.

Marketers, for their part, showed up more prominently than ever. McDonald’s, Cannes’ Creative Marketer of the Year, brought a crew of at least 20 delegates, curated a high-level panel featuring the top execs at each of their creative and media agencies, and made a big splash in the Young Lions Zone in the Palais with their McCafe space, where delegates could grab complimentary coffee, iced tea and macaroons throughout the week.

Looking to 2015…

The Festival has oodles of programming and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to experience it all. Other marquee events have found success spinning off some of the content, similar to what TED has done with TEDx to make room for both excellent programming and invaluable networking. Another option could be to extend the conference portion to allow breathing space, or better segment the content so you can dip into the areas that are of most interest to you. On a more logistical level, we’d love to see more cell towers, 4G/improved internet connectivity and bandwidth, charging stations and water vending machines (there’s NEVER enough water!).

Au revoir ‘til next year!

Congrats to Cannes Lions Creative Marketer of the Year – McDonald’s!

The Cannes Lions “Creative Marketer of the Year” recognizes a brand’s long-lasting commitment to creativity. This year, McDonald’s was awarded top honors for consistently producing boundary-pushing creative work with the help of top, award-winning agencies Leo Burnett, TBWA, OMD and DDB.

To talk about how they’ve kept the romance alive for more than four decades, McDonald’s hosted a lively panel discussion. Speakers included: Mark Tutsell, Global Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett; Kate Stephenson, President, Global Account Management Omnicom Media Group; Juan Carlos Ortiz, President Latin America, DDB; and Rob Schwartz, Global Creative President, TBWA.

photo-mcds

USA Today’s Laura Petrecca served as moderator.

Matt Biespiel, Global Director of Brand Strategy at McDonald’s kicked off the panel by noting that the brand’s award-winning work sees greater ROI than non-award-winning work. The panelists then shared their perspectives around how to build a lasting relationship and what has been key to their long-term partnership – letting the agencies in, a global philosophy of storytelling and focus on collaboration.

It was apparent that while these agencies are fierce competitors, they work together just as fiercely to make the brand’s creative work better each year. They also may have ketchup in their veins – we learned that Mark Tutssel and Juan Carlos Ortiz each served on the front lines, flipping burgers at McDonald’s to better understand the brand.

Additionally, McDonald’s had a very visible presence in the Palais where a pop-up McCafé served hot coffee, iced tea and delicious macaroons for delegates looking for a quick bite in between panel sessions and workshops.

Cannes Connected

Technology enables different types of connections everywhere, and opportunities for them were abundant at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity last week. As the Festival evolves and agencies are joined by brands, media platforms and a variety of other companies, a spirit of openness, sharing and connectivity emerge.

At a festival full of Art and Creative Directors equipped to engineer the perfect shot, it was interesting to see selfies reach a whole new level of saturation. Samsung’s Oscars Selfie – which propelled selfies to galactic heights – even picked up a Cannes Lion for L.A.-based ad agency, 72andSunny.

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Selfies in full force in the Grand Audi and on the Palais red carpet

Technology stepped in, once again, to solve the most difficult thing about a selfie: the positioning. “Selfie sticks” were distributed to help festival-go’ers turn their too-short arms into a passing-by photographer.

Fabulous pictures of the industry’s finest put Facebook and Instagram front-and-center. Upon arrival, delegates were encouraged to connect their Facebook account to their delegate information and on-ground photographers pushed shots to Facebook in real time throughout the Festival.

Instagram provided the photo filters many need after late nights of rose, with a little more sharing intimacy and cool factor, to boot. The Galerie d’Instagram was stationed at the beginning of the Jetée Albert Édouard outside the Palais, displaying Insta-beauties, swag and the opportunity to be shot on the Instagram set.

For DGC, WhatsApp was the communication weapon of choice. Schedules at Cannes are moving pieces, and information comes in thick and fast so keeping everyone on our team updated with one flick of a quick message was essential. WhatsApp is a simple, easy-to-use app that made our lives so much easier.

But all of this is nothing without connectivity. A quick shout-out to Anker for their brilliant Astro external charger that helped our team and many others with an injection of much-needed juice – how does a mobile phone drain quite so quickly?

The real star, however, was XCom Global for their invaluable global mobile hotspots. The Palais wi-fi struggled to keep up with the demands of so many delegates and with much of the business being done on the Carlton Terrace, one needs to be connected past the perimeter of the Palais without racking up ridiculous bills on data roaming.

The devices are small, slipping easily into a pocket and connect up to five devices, with unlimited data for a flat daily rate. It’s a nice thing to offer clients and potential clients during meetings. The only downside was that the battery lasts only a few hours (enter, Anker charger!).

In a business so reliant on relationships, it was interesting to see how the “Oscars of the creative industry” stayed connected and shared through the Festival. Technology is a blessing!

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