Category Archives: DiGennaro Communications
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.
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!
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 this 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.
It’s always news when a piece of content goes viral but in the case of the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” we’re happy to report that dumping a bucket of ice on your head is all for a good cause. The idea is simple: Pour a bucket of ice on your head and have someone video tape it; post the content to the web (preferably a social-media channel), and then challenge up to three friends to do the same within 24 hours. If they do not, they must donate $100 to “Strikeout ALS.” ALS is more commonly known as Lou Gherig’s Disease.
If you haven’t seen videos on your newsfeed, you likely will soon. Or simply search #icebucketchallenge on Twitter. It’s been everywhere as of late, including the Today Show. This week I found five different “Challenge” videos on my Facebook newsfeed from one day.
The origins of the movement are unclear, but there is no doubt that it has caught on quickly, seemingly achieving social media success without proper PR support or a formal marketing campaign.
As communications professionals, we see a missed opportunity for a brand or research organization to really own the program. What would make sense is a unifying site where these “ice droppers” could share their videos and encourage donations directly on the site. Movember’s site is a great example of a social movement site done right.
Without that central support and core message, the viral sensation – while for a good cause – feels misguided. Is the objective to dump ice on your head (and get those ego-boosting “likes” at the same time) or to truly encourage donations? Many of the videos I’ve seen lack that link to a site to donate.
In the meantime, if you’d like to donate to ALS without dumping ice on your head, please click here.
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.
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.
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 http://www.ringling.com.
This week, DGC’ers took a field trip to PS 140 on NYC’s Lower East Side where we got to spend time with great students, grades 1-5, at one of Educational Alliance’s After School Programs. We helped them with homework, did group reading, learned about the cutest boys in One Direction (it’s a toss-up between Harry Styles and Zane!) and were treated to an early viewing of talent show dance moves.
During our mini-briefing about The Educational Alliance After School Programs, we learned that the organization provides almost 2,000 kids between 5 – 17 years old with tutoring, homework help, snacks/meals – and “a safe place to go” after school. Activities are modeled after The Boys & Girls Clubs’ nationally-recognized program, so classes and events focus on important issues like education, the arts, health, exercise & nutrition, and alcohol/drug, pregnancy & gang prevention.
This experience was DGC’s second time working with the Educational Alliance. For our annual holiday philanthropy in November 2013, we spent a morning with the Educational Alliance Head Start program, a pre-school program for children ages 3-5 located on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan.
As always, we had a wonderful time with the kids – in large part, thanks to the UJA-Federation New York for helping to coordinate DGC’s participation. Giving back is not only something we love to do; it’s one of DGC’s core cultural values. Now it’s time to brush up on our dance moves as we get ready to attend PS 140’s upcoming talent show!