Category Archives: DiGennaro Communications

Ice Cold: Ice Bucket Challenge Needs More Heat

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.


ARF Re:Think 2014 Looks to Rethink Consumer Engagement, Ideas, and Skills

Monday kicks off the Advertising Research Foundation’s annual Re:Think Conference, which brings together leaders from brand marketers, media/tech companies, research organizations, academics, and new-age analysts.

Scheduled speakers include Soledad O’Brien, CEO Starfish Media Group; Keith Reinhard, Chairman, DDB; and Carolyn Everson, VP, Global Market Solutions, Facebook Inc. The conference will feature more than 50 studies from 100 high-profile presenters. More than2,500 attendees have registered for conference at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. Click here to see more on the papers.

This year’s Re:Think theme is  “Inspire Intelligent Growth.” Each day of the 4-day conference has a different focus. Rethinking consumer engagement is the theme on Monday, March 24; “rethinking” ideas dominates the March 25 agenda;  and March 26 is about rethinking skills.

The conference will also recognize recipients of the ARF David Ogilvy Awards (honoring the creative use of research) and the Great Mind Awards (which celebrate individuals who contribute to excellence and advancement of advertising research). On March 26, aspiring advertising professionals can speak with industry veterans about how to make their mark on the industry.

Follow along with the exciting insights here on The Hit Board as well as on Twitter with #ARFRETHINK2014.

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

DGC + ABC = Philanthropy!

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.

DGC'ers at PS 140

DGC’ers at PS 140

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!


From Across the Pond – DGC Welcomes Eulogy’s ‘Rising Star’ to New York

Last week, DGC welcomed Jax Potter, Account Manager at Onlinefire, the social arm of our London-based sister agency, Eulogy. Jax was her agency’s recipient of the second annual intra-agency Rising Star program, in which staffers compete for the chance to to spend a week at the other’s shop.

Last year, DGC welcomed Eulogy’s Antonia Harrison who filled us in on how PR is handled over in the U.K. This year, Jax shared social media best practices with us through a presentation that provided insight throughout about content marketing in social media on behalf of consumer-facing brands. Jax also attended New York’s Social Media Week.

We touched base with Jax toward the beginning of her trip to get to know her better as well as see how she was enjoying her time in the Big Apple:

From dinners, happy hours and “Wino Friday” with our team, to Top of the Rock and the Statue of Liberty, Jax had a busy week seeing the sights and trying out all the delicious food that New York’s international cuisines can offer.

And speaking of food, DGC hosted its first-ever Olympics-themed potluck lunch – where participants brought in food from their favorite competing country. We had quite the spread of everything from ratatouille, to grape leaves, to a special Australian dessert called Pavlova.

Click here to check out all the pics from the fun-filled week!

Think Nothing Big Happened at the Super Bowl? Think Again.

Sunday night proved to be a bit of a bore with the Seahawks dominating the entirety of the game. So what kept us watching at DGC? The marketing showdown of course! Here are a few trends that emerged from the biggest night in advertising:

  • Nostalgia trumped glitz: A lot of brands like Anheuser-Busch, Chevrolet and Maserati took the sentimental route, opting for feel-good over splashy spots. For example, Microsoft inspired us with a :60 spot narrated by Steve Gleason, a former NFL player with ALS, through the use of eye tracking technology on a tablet. Steve speaks about how technology has the power to “take us places we’ve only dreamed of” as we see images of technology helping a woman hear for the first time, a child run with prosthetic legs and an elderly man losing his eyesight paint.
  • Brands ambush the Super Bowl: Brands that didn’t have TV spots during the big game got creative in how to reach large audiences. Newcastle was a winner, enlisting Anna Kendrick to star in its video “Behind the Scenes of the Mega Huge Football Game Ad Newcastle Brown Ale Almost Made.” While on the other end of the spectrum, jcpenney was sending out tweets filled with typos, calling it a stunt to promote its “Go USA” mittens. Other brands certainly had fun in the social conversation – Coors Light chimed in to suggest the department store drink responsibly and Kia offered a designated driver.
  • Light humor reigned: There was far less over the top, slapstick humor during this year’s big game. Outside of the expected Go Daddy ad, brands and advertisers went with lighter humor. Take Volkswagen’s “Wings” spot created by Project: Worldwide agency ARGONAUT where every 100,000 miles, a German engineer received a pair of wings. And in TurboTax’s “Love Hurts,” the brand compared watching the game between two teams that aren’t your own to watching your crush dance the night away at prom with a cool dude that isn’t you. And, on another nostalgic note, DGC client David&Goliath brought us back to The Matrix in its newest spot for Kia.
  • Double spots: Brands like Pistachio and Chevy doubled up on spots during the game. For instance, we got to see Stephen Colbert try to rely on his fame alone to carry the pistachio commercial but unfortunately fell short. In the second spot, the branding is amplified to the point where Colbert cracks his head open to reveal a pistachio inside.

And it didn’t stop there. Denver-based DGC client and Project: Worldwide agency Motive, along with Mekanism, created the Super Bowl Halftime Show for Pepsi. And DGC client Pandora hosted a “Pandora Presents” Event at the Bud Light Hotel in NYC on January 31. The show was headlined by Imagine Dragons, who just came off its well-received Grammy performance and Grammy award win the previous weekend.

We hope you enjoyed game day as much as we did. What was your favorite part?

Ten Seconds Or Less

SnapChat is like The Little Engine That Could. Its rivals pulled out all of the stops to buy it, duplicate it, replace it and eradicate it – yet the network is still popular.

What’s interesting about SnapChat is its perception, which, for lack of a better term, snaps back and forth in terms of good and bad press.  The early days of SnapChat led many to believe it’s purely an app for all kids to “sext.” And every few weeks, there’s some sort of SnapChat privacy story – various articles on how safe those snaps are (or aren’t,) an actual data breach, or how legal the content of snaps may be.  In a post-Snowden world, these types of privacy breaches would be a kiss of death. Yet the network continues to persevere for its users.

Last week, SnapChat’s founders were on the cover of Forbes’ 30 under 30 – among other things, sharing how Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg essentially bullied the founders to sell to him or face extinction through Facebook’s version of the app Poke. As we now know, Poke fizzled and SnapChat thrives.

Now the startup, like many other networks in the space, is looking to monetize through advertising.  Yet the network needs to find a genuine way to make these ads happen, with content that people actually want to see.  HBO, always one of the boundary pushers in new avenues for social advertising, launched a SnapChat account tied to its popular show “Girls.” The extension is perfect for the show, as one can easily imagine the characters attempting to decipher what their potential suitors are implying by snapping emojis of pandas and guns.

While many critics, professional and amateur, are quick to remind everyone that SnapChat’s founders each passed on more than $750 million in Zuckerberg’s buyout offer, the network’s popularity among users is as great as it’s even been.  It goes to show that a brand can overcome bad press and a potentially bad reputation by sticking to the company’s brand and messaging. Yet so far, SnapChat may need to work on its sincerity when accepting its flaws, and there have been more than a few instances recently.  One could chalk up this up to the brashness of Silicon Valley hotheads – call it growing pains. Finding your voice and credibility is not easily done in today’s hyper reactive world – particularly when there can be so much on the line – and minor stories can explode into “national scandals.” That’s not to say every brand can survive bad press; it requires buzz, a dedicated following and a little bit of luck – but it is indeed possible.

We’re looking forward to following SnapChat’s business evolution in the coming weeks and months.

Play Date: DGC Participates in Day of Philanthropy at Educational Alliance’s Head Start Program

DGC kicked off the holiday season with a morning of philanthropy at the Educational Alliance Head Start program, a pre-school program for children ages 3-5 located on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan. This morning marked our third annual holiday philanthropy effort, having cleaned up the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and participated in a weekly food delivery campaign through God’s Love We Deliver in 2011.

Upon arrival this morning, we attended a brief mini-orientation where we learned all about the Educational Alliance, it’s programming and the wonderful work it does in the New York community. The Educational Alliance is a non-profit organization that helps break the cycle of poverty for low-income children and families through preschool, after school programs and college prep programs. Children in the Head Start and Day Care programs learn, explore, socialize and grow, and families receive help with employment and social services.

After orientation, we broke into groups and headed off to individual classrooms for a morning of play and activities ranging from arts & crafts and cooking class to reading and yes, even recess! We had a blast hanging out with the kids, and more importantly, it was an amazing opportunity for us to give back to our local community, a major tenet of DGC’s company culture. Click here for pics of the day’s activities.

DGC @ Head Start

A big thank you to our friends at UJA-Federation New York for not only making a wonderful experience possible, but also for helping Educational Alliance run its wonderful programming as one of the organization’s biggest annual donors.

Next up on the DGC Philanthropy docket – Casino Day on December 11 at Jewish Home Lifecare, a nursing and rehabilitation facility for elders in northern Manhattan!

Check Out New Film A.C.O.D. Directed by Friend of DGC Stu Zicherman

A.C.O.D. (Adult Children of Divorce), a film co-written and directed by Friend of DGC Stu Zicherman, hits theaters in New York and Los Angeles this Friday, October 4th and in Chicago, Washington D.C., Boston, Dallas and San Francisco the following Friday, October 11th.

A.C.O.D. follows Carter (Adam Scott), a seemingly well-adjusted Adult Child of Divorce. Having survived the madness of his parents’ (Richard Jenkins and Catherine O’Hara) divorce, Carter now has a successful career and supportive girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). But when his younger brother (Clark Duke) gets engaged, Carter is forced to reunite his bitterly divorced parents and their new spouses (Amy Poehler and Ken Howard) for the wedding, causing the chaos of his childhood, including his wacky therapist (Jane Lynch), to return.

Go to the link below to view the trailer and find theaters/showtimes.  You can also find out information about A.C.O.D. actors and filmmakers doing Q&A’s after screenings in NY and LA this weekend.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 953 other followers

%d bloggers like this: