Category Archives: DiGennaro Communications

DGC Rountable: 4th Annual Scavenger Hunt

The DGC Roundtable is moderated by our fall intern, Jamie Kurke.

Each fall, the DGC team hosts their annual scavenger hunt. The team breaks out into teams and treks out for an afternoon running around in the Flatiron District to complete clues ranging from the mundane (Grab an AM New York) to the bizarre (Eat a chocolate turkey.) Our winning team, “The Cluesters” won a free pizza party, and the team with the best spirit, “Team Flashypants,” won a free coffee break. To see all the photos, please check our Facebook page.

With all the fun that was had, not to mention the post-Hunt happy hour, we asked our team to share highlights from our fourth annual hunt as this week’s DGC Roundtable:

Pat Wentling, Senior Account Executive:

This year’s hunt brought some of our most “interesting” challenges yet. By far the most intriguing of them was taking a picture with a parking attendant (with bonus points for a minivan) and the attendant actually pulled up a random mini-van. We were a little concerned that it was someone’s vehicle, but we were more concerned about winning (we came in last place.) After the car arrived we provided a nice “thank you” and went about our way. We also spent more time looking for a chocolate turkey than anything else. I don’t think I’ve been to that many CVS/Duane Reade’s in such a short span and left empty handed.  By the end, I couldn’t wait to eat that turkey.

Lexi Hewitt, Account Coordinator:

For me the funniest aspect of the scavenger hunt was how many people shut us down when we asked if we could get a picture of one of us walking their dogs.  No one trusted us! When someone finally did let us take a picture, they still wouldn’t let go of the leash.  I thought that would have been one of the easier tasks, but it was the hardest.

Kathy Sampey, Vice President:

My favorite part of the scavenger hunt (also) was trying to find a dog to walk, which was on every team’s list. Usually, there are a million dogs sauntering down the block at any given time in this area, but when we were out scavenging, there was nary a canine in sight. Finally, in Union Square Park, a woman with a gentle-looking curly haired dog handed me the leash, and the poor dog thought she was being given away. When she realized she wasn’t, she jumped up to give me a kiss.

 

 

Jamie Kurke, Intern:10390272_944231045604570_7163020465331039479_n

For me, the best part of the scavenger hunt was just seeing the reactions from everyone we interacted with. To set the scene for you, my team was decked out in ’80s workout gear, complete with matching fluorescent pink sweatshirts. Among the most enthused to help us out were the Sleepy’s employees who couldn’t wait to have us take a picture sprawled out on a mattress and the two NYPD officers who graciously agreed to put their dinners on hold to do ‘The Mystical’ in a photo with us. Others, like the Petco employee who was trying to catch a hamster for us, were less than amused by our garb and requests, but those interactions were equally as entertaining. In the end, my team may not have won, but the experience of it all made every second of scrambling around the city worth it– and we did get recognition for being the most spirited!

 

‘Perspectives’ on Work/Life Balance from DiGennaro’s CEO

“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown,” Shakespeare wrote.

As CEO of the 35-person NY based agency, with outposts/partnerships in Los Angeles, London, Mumbai and Sydney — DiGennaro still manages a healthy balance between her work and her personal life. Sam founded her namesake PR firm, DiGennaro Communications (DGC), in 2006.

Sam DiGennaro on Perspectives “I just haven’t given up the things I love,” DiGennaro said of about her personal life in a seaside interview at the 2014 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity this past June. She told Katie Kempner, EVP/Chief Communications Officer at Cripsin Porter + Bogusky, and host of Perspectives with Katie Kempner. “I have sacred rituals and I don’t let anything get in the way of them. It keeps me centered and calm as the work week unfolds.”

DiGennaro talked about how she encourages a supportive, collegial atmosphere at her agency in which employees can spread their wings and embrace an entrepreneurial spirit.

Perspectives with Katie Kempner in an inspirational online series featuring conversations with women in business and how they balance business with their personal lives given today’s “always-on” mentality.

You can check out the full interview here.

DGC Roundtable: Halloween Marketing

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

Seasonal marketing kicks into overdrive this time of year, including storefronts with skeletons and commercials for candy. That’s right, it’s Halloween! Since we’ve all been gearing up for the holiday over the last few days – and celebrating here at DGC, the question this week was:

What is your favorite Halloween marketing campaign/ promo and why?

Pat Wentling, Senior Account Executive:

Cheetos launched Project TP a few years ago, which had Chester Cheetah putting “virtual TP” on houses using Google Earth. As an homage to my childhood, and the adolescent Mischief Night, I loved to see my present day house (and friend’s houses) covered in toilet paper. I even pranked my parents by sending them a “picture” of their house covered while they were traveling, and they were horrified. I guess you don’t really ever grow out of mischief.

Meg McMahon Stagaard, Account Director:

Denny’s “The Grand Slams” (created by our client Erwin Penland) has a great Halloween episode of the original web series: Food Fright, which takes a “stab” at Canadians, and no breakfast food is safe.

Kathleen Ruane, Vice President:

Crest and Oral-B serve up some fun Halloween humor in a kids’ focus group gone wrong. Costumed trick-or-treaters stage a mutiny when their candy is replaced with veggie flavored, vitamin-enhanced treats that look like candy. The only adult in the commercial soon has a mutiny on his hands as the kids reject his offerings. A nice closing reflects on the fact that nothing is more horrifying than a Halloween without candy.

I love this ad becuase the kids’ reactions are so real.  Not sure what they fed those kids, but it must have been pretty awful.

Christine Perez-O’Rourke, Account Director:

Without candy there would be no Halloween. Plain and simple. As a kid we get excited about dressing up in an outlandish costume, traipsing through our neighborhood and begging strangers because of candy. And as an adult, Halloween is the one and only holiday where devouring a whole bag of Reese’s is (somewhat) acceptable. So I’m going to have to give this one to a candy brand. In particular a brand that continues to take a simple idea created a few years back and make it feel fresh, not to mention funny. My favorite Halloween marketing campaign goes to Snickers. In particular, their ‘Horseless Headsman’ spot that aired back in 2012 and has been brought back each year around this time. Because you’re not you, when you’re hungry…

Gab Berman, Account Executive:

I love the Skittles Halloween ad with the giant spider – it shows him befriending a little boy who is trying to get Skittles from the spider’s cobweb. The ad then goes on to show the two doing fun activities together and becoming best friends. The kicker is at the end when the spider says he was just kidding and actually ate the kid, I love it.

Jamie Kurke, Intern:

I have to give my vote to Chipotle.  They’re bringing back their ‘Boorito’ campaign from years past, and it is awesome. Just show up (in costume) after 5 PM and any burrito, bowl, salad, or taco order is only $3.

As if I needed another excuse to dress up tonight….

 

Happy Halloween Everybody!

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:


satc
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!

event_lrg_adweekny._V344938721_

 

Best Practices for Operating at the “Speed of Culture” – sparks&honey and Reebok Break it Down

As a part of Advertising Week 2014, the 4A’s hosted its Competitive Edge series on Sept. 29, bringing together top agency and brand executives to debate the value of operating at the intersection of cultural intelligence and business innovation.

The session kicked off with a video clip from the new HBO show, “Last Week Tonight,” in which anchorman John Oliver explored recent examples of brands’ Twitter #fails. From the DiGiorno mixup with the trending #WhyIStayed hashtag to various brands tweeting misguided 9/11 content, the clip raised some very interesting points about when it is the right time for a brand to engage in real-time social practices.

Terry Young, CEO/Founder of ad newsroom sparks&honey, and his colleague Imari Oliver, VP, Director of Creative Strategy, and good friend, David Oksman, U.S. Marketing Director at Reebok, spoke about best practices for brands that want to operate at the “speed of culture” in a session entitled, Leading Culture and Collaboration.

Why do so many brands struggle with creating authentic social conversations? According to Young, brands need to identify places, trends, dialogue and topics that they want to be attached to as a first step. When thinking about everything that is happening in social – it can seem overwhelming and random, so brands need to sort through everything and zero in on the select areas of opportunities, he said. Moving at the “speed of culture” isn’t an easy feat but it’s essential for brands that want to be successful in today’s world.

Oksman’s advice: Brands need to be strategic rather than opportunistic.  Just like an athlete, brands can develop muscle memory when it comes to identifying trends/cultural elements to attach to  – that is what drives nimbleness, Oksman said.

Culture is the pulse of the social world and there are two types – “slow culture” and  “fast culture,” according to Young. 3D printing, autonomous cars, and the sharing economy are examples of “slow culture” – these affect companies and brands over a long term. Memes and viral videos though are examples of “fast culture” that impacts culture and consumers in the short term.

The panelists concluded that 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?

Because isn’t creating conversations what it’s all about?

(INSERT PICTURE FROM PANEL)  From left to right: Terry Young (CEO/Founder of sparks&honey), David Oksman (U.S. Marketing Director at Reebok) and Imari Oliver (VP, Director of Creative Strategy at sparks&honey) with panel moderator, Advertising Age reporter, Malika Toure

From left to right: Terry Young (CEO/Founder of sparks&honey), David Oksman (U.S. Marketing Director at Reebok) and Imari Oliver (VP, Director of Creative Strategy at sparks&honey) with panel moderator, Advertising Age reporter, Malika Toure

AWXI: Authentic Storytelling with Data

Day one at Advertising Week saw a consistent theme from the advertisers that descended upon New York City. The kickoff keynote panel was moderated by WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell with executives from Live Nation, Amazon CBS, and ESPN to talk about data, storytelling, distribution and more.

“Consumers don’t think about branded content, they ask if it changed the experience for them,” said Russell Wallach, President of Live Nation’s Media & Sponsorship division. “They feel good about brands that enhance experiences for them.”

Mr. Sorrell pushed the panelists to discuss how they work with data and agencies. Most everyone on the panel agreed that first party data was their primary resource for talking to marketers, but agencies had an unusual role in the middle.

“We see that our agencies tell different things, so it can be hard for us to understand exactly what is going on. Some of our longest partnerships, the ones that have gone on for years, have been direct with the brand’s marketing team,” said Wallach.

A panel later in the day hosted by DDB focused on how to build an influential brand, and the panel continued the morning’s session with a focus on data.

“We’ve almost become data poets,” said Nancy Hill, CEO of the 4A’s. “We take the data that we want and use it to tell stories to our audiences.”

“Brands need to understand the influence they can bring and make a long-term commitment,” said Jeremy Levine, SVP of Digital Sales at Live Nation. “To market with music, they need to be in for the long haul, not a one-off event. We have the data to help that partnership”

Much credit was given to Omnicom agency sparks & honey for hosting daily “culture briefs” that look at the pulse of the conversation by consumers, with an eye towards social media trends.

“You have to have a fluid strategy with an ear to the ground, because things change so rapidly and you need to be ready,” said DDB President Mark O’Brien.

Several hiccups from brand’s real time social campaigns were discussed and the agreement was that global brands want to have an influence everywhere, but they must feel authentic.

“Global brand, local touch,” said Hill.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 959 other followers

%d bloggers like this: