Category Archives: Tips

Until Next Year, Cannes

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is always a frenetic and fun week for DGC and the industry. It’s a unique opportunity to bring together creative minds across the world to celebrate terrific work, focus on challenges, and how to give back to the world.  As we recover from a week of hard work, lack of sleep and amazing views, we wanted to share a few takeaways.

  • Business happens when you least expect it. Always be prepared to talk shop, even when you’re walking from the Carlton to the Palais on the Croisette. You never know who you’ll run into and when the conversation will turn from the quality of the rosé to solving business challenges.
  • Madison Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard are intersecting more now than ever before. Much of the short and long-form content that won Lions was on-par with short films and documentaries typically generated by Hollywood studios.  Branding took a backseat to storytelling – with compelling content and incredible visuals. If you didn’t know you were at the Cannes Lions, you could easily have thought you were at the Cannes Film Festival.  [insert this link http://www.festival-cannes.fr/en.html]
  • Be Clear. Be Honest. Words taken from the session of healthy-cooking advocate Jamie Oliver rang true throughout the week.  Consumers are now more than ever attracted to brand messages that are sincere and honest.
  • Know your audience. It was clear throughout the week which speakers knew their audiences and which were speaking to serve their own agendas.  Facebook executive Chris Cox gave an excellent presentation that spoke to the larger issues of cultural sensitivities in communications.  In one of his many examples, Cox gave advice about brand messages in India–don’t use the word “password,” he said, because while that word is such a part of the day-to-day lives of Westerners, it is entirely meaningless even to English-speaking Indians.  Knowing your audience and what they need from your brand has become increasingly crucial to gaining consumer receptivity.
  • Strike the right balance of work and play.  There’s plenty of work to be done at Cannes – handling the press, networking, going to sessions and identifying new trends, etc.  Yet, time spent with your clients and colleagues – at dinner, at drinks, on a yacht, etc. – is just as important.  Loosen up a bit and take a moment to get to know the people you partner with a bit better.   You’ll find that a few days in the south of France can equal a year’s worth of relationship building in the States.
  • Be a better global citizen. One of the themes that resonated throughout the week was that we need to use technology to be better citizens, a message that also came through in some of the work that won big at Cannes. From the ALS Bucket Challenge and Like A Girl to Twin Souls, it was all about being more compassionate and sympathetic to one another. Monica Lewinksy, Jamie Oliver and DDB’s Amir Kassaei all spoke to how we can use our skill-set to do good.

Au Revoir!

cannes

Cannes Lions 2015: Surviving a Zombie Attack

This post is written by Sara Ajemian, Senior Account Director, who is on the ground at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

Day one of the Cannes Lions festival got underway in earnest on Sunday, June 21, and one of the morning sessions had an apocalyptic flavor as WPP’s MediaCom hosted a presentation titled “How to Survive a Zombie Attack and Harness Cultural Trends to Grow Brands.”

Dave Alpert, executive producer of AMC’s The Walking Dead,” Josh Sapan, president and CEO of AMC Networks, Inc., and Steven Yeun, an actor on the show, were all on hand to discuss the art of their particular type of storytelling and give a small preview of next season.

MediaCom’s global strategy officer Jon Gittings shared how his agency categorizes storylines–hierarchy, individuality, masculinity/femininity, uncertainty, pragmatism and indulgence—and how different countries’ audiences respond to them. Gittings said, for example, that when episodes are indexed against global viewership, North America shows a high preference for individuality and indulgence while Spain, Turkey and Brazil showed a higher preference for storylines that had a strong element of uncertainty.

On day two, our DGC team was on the ground early supporting client-press meetings followed by more programming.

We stopped in to see Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich and Citi’s Jennifer Breithaupt, SVP, Global Head of Entertainment Marketing, discuss “Music & Branding Moving at the Speed of Culture.” Billboard reporter Andrew Hampp moderated the session, which focused on the evolution of brand/artist partnerships.

For Metallica, corporate partnerships are all about balance, according to Ulrich, and if a company has credibility in its industry and offers a creative outlet for the brand, it’s a win-win for all involved.

If panelists had one major caution, it was this:  Don’t make the partnership a one-off. Invest the time to figure out how to amplify and give it legs to extend the life cycle. Otherwise, you’ll be yesterday’s news before it’s tomorrow.

We’ll be continuing to share updates from Cannes, so be sure to stay tuned here to the Hit Board, as well as following us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Oh, the Wonders (and Limitations) of Periscope

We’re mad about technology at DGC, always casting an eye toward how to use new platforms to tell our clients’ stories. Right now, our obsession is Periscope, the Twitter app that enables users to live-stream content directly to your followers on Twitter.

CNN, The Weather Channel and Coca-Cola are among the myriad entities taking advantage of Periscope and its closest competitor, Meerkat, to offer viewers behind-the-scenes footage, exclusive access and content that makes you feel as if you’re truly part of the story.  Live-stream technology makes our jobs as communicators so much more interesting and offers us a platform to engage more deeply with our clients and audiences.

Some of the ways we can take advantage of these new platforms:

  • Broadcast your news: If appropriate, find a way to live-stream your next big announcement to a global audience on Twitter. Forego the press release and use Periscope to break news in a more engaging, conversational format.
  • Bring your audience in: Use Periscope to share content, engage with a live-audience and start a dialogue with them.
  • Intimate access: A live-stream is a great way for your C-level executive to connect with an audience.

Beware, however, that you don’t livestream owned content lest you draw the quizzical wrath of business titans like New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon.

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.

Insights from Day One at ARF Re:Think 2014

The DGC team has been live from Advertising Research Foundation (ARF)  Re:Think conference in New York City this week, soaking up all of the intelligent conversations and insights being shared around analytics and insights.

Day One focused explicitly on consumer engagement and how to make better decisions across platforms. Here are some of our key learnings from the first day:

Carolyn Everson, VP of Marketing Solutions, Facebook (Photo Credit: Doug Goodman)

Mobile is now. Carolyn Everson, VP of Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook, admitted that even the largest social network in the world was caught off guard by the rise of mobile. But the reality is, that with over five billion phones currently in use, consumers are constantly on the go – and usually active on more than one device. More than one-third of those five billion people are using at least three or more devices in a given day, and 60 percent of consumers start a task on one device and end on another. So what’s the next step in mobile’s evolution? Personalization.

 

Peter Espersen, Head of Co-Creation, Content, and Campaigns, The LEGO Group (photo credit: Doug Goodman)

Peter Espersen, Head of Co-Creation, Content, and Campaigns, The LEGO Group (photo credit: Doug Goodman)

Understand your fans. Peter Espersen, head of co-creation at LEGO, shared how the brand sought to understand the fans, tap into their passion for LEGOs, and then in fact produce what the fans want. After several petitions, LEGO created several limited edition series, including the infamous DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future, a Minecraft series, and the very first fan-petitioned LEGO, the Shinkai 6500, a Japanese submarine. Espersen explained that no one would have seen the fan demand for Shinkai or Minecraft but, given that LEGO allowed its fans’ voices to be heard, it created what was wanted.

 

 

Keith Reinhard, DDB Worldwide (Photo Credit: Doug Goodman)

Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus, DDB Worldwide (Photo Credit: Doug Goodman)

Insights can help create the story. When you leverage insights in the right way, you can tell the story the consumer actually wants to hear. That was the takeaway from ad legend Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus of DDB Worldwide. Reinhard showed a famous State Farm ad from the 1960s, featuring the still-iconic “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” jingle, and a real State Farm insurance agent based in Hawaii. “The insight was that the hometown neighbor is always there, which led to the “Like a Good Neighbor,’” said Reinhard, “Consumers could get their own personal neighborhood State Farm agent.” The tagline is still used today.

 

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The conversation was positive and encouraged the audience to question how brands are engaging with consumers. Even if you’re doing something right, you can always look at new data or find another angle that resonates in a new way, generating more insightful campaigns and buzz.

What TV Shows Will You Likely Watch This Fall?

Every fall TV season brings hits and misses – and the crop of new shows this year is no different.

 With the week of premieres on the horizon, Gary Reisman, CEO of brand strategy and content alignment company NewMediaMetrics, sat down with Lynette Rice, West Coast News Editor of Entertainment Weekly and host of “Inside TV” on Sirius XM 105, to reveal top insights and predictions from his company’s 2013 LEAP™ TV Study.

One of the top findings from the study  – the top 10 shows for the fall 2013 TV season that have a high probability for success are:

Rank

New for Fall 2013

Network

1 The Crazy Ones CBS
2 The Michael J. Fox Show NBC
3 Sleepy Hollow Fox
4 Ironside NBC
5 Hostages CBS
6 Almost Human Fox
7 The Blacklist NBC
8 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ABC
9 Once Upon a Time in Wonderland ABC
10 Reign CW

For the past seven years, NMM has made these predictions with more than 80 percent accuracy by measuring consumers’ Emotional Attachment (EA) to show concepts – a nod to how the media industry should assess content with an evaluation at the front end of the production process.

On the EW radio show, Gary talked about the shows most likely to miss the mark with audiences this season and refuted the suggestion that this process could take the creativity out of content creation. Listen to an excerpt from the Sirius interview with Gary here and here.

 

DGC welcomes Eulogy!’s Antonia Harrison as part of Rising Star Program

Last week, DGC welcomed Antonia Harrison, Account Manager with our sister agency Eulogy!. Antonia was E!’s winner of our inter-agency Rising Star program, a contest offering the opportunity for a DGC’er and a Eulogite to spend a week across the pond at their respective sister agency. The charge was twofold – for each winner to share how PR is handled in their homeland, as well as learning the differences in PR (and culture in general) in their weeklong home away from home.

Below, Antonia shares with us some of her insights on how to “PR” in the U.K.

After spending a week at DGC, Antonia talks through her top (surprising!) learnings of how PR works in the U.S.

There were some distinct differences and many similarities but across the board PR (in the U.K. or the U.S.) is all about understanding the news, finding those great story nuggets, maintaining stellar reporter relations and proactively securing placements.

Creative Dept: Handle with Care

Last week, Nina DiSesa, a creative consultant at R3:JLB, had a column in Ad Age  talking about how love and trust were necessary ingredients in successful relationships between clients and their advertising agencies. She defined a “successful” relationship as one steeped in the following:

1)      Longevity. Love and trust made the client-agency relationship last a long, long time because it meant that during any rough patch, the account lead was able to empathize and smooth things over. Thus, throwing an account into review was a rare occurrence.

2)      Solid relationships between the client and agency allowed the agency to feel comfortable taking chances to produce stellar creative. The constant threat of having to pitch against other agencies makes creative professionals insecure, and they freeze up.

3)      Good relationships lead to a happy result. Agencies produce work that resonates with customers, and client sales go up.

4)      If agency creatives feel that their client loves them, they’ll go through walls to please that client. It’s important for clients and even agencies themselves to nurture and support the creative.

DiSesa should know. For many years she was chairman chief creative officer of the New York office of McCann-Erickson.  DGC’s own CEO Sam DiGennaro wholeheartedly agreed with DiSesa’s column, offering, in part, this insight (via online comments):

“… intimidation, ‘gotchas’ and fear tactics have the trickle-down effect of demoralized talent, marginalized results and, worst case, commoditized offerings. This hurts everyone in the long run.”

A lot of others weighed in as well with equally interesting perspectives. Worth a read if you haven’t seen it.

‘Amercia’ the Beautiful – A lesson in copy editing

From PowerPoints to cover letters, correct grammar and spelling are the lowest common denominators when it comes to mastery of the English language.  Good copyediting skills are critical to any organization or writing endeavor.

We were reminded about the value of copyediting this week after Mitt Romney’s team released an iPhone app that spelled “America” as ‘Amercia.’ One of the unspoken rules of running for President is being able to correctly spell the country you’re trying to run. While I’m confident that Mitt didn’t write this app himself, it goes to show how effective copyediting can make a difference between a strong pro-candidate tool and a small PR crisis.

With this in mind, I asked The Hit Board’s resident copy editor, Kathy Sampey, to talk about some strategies and tips when they copyedit press releases, bylines, and even this blog post.

How did you learn to effectively copy edit? Was it from class, work, or just something you were always able to handle?

Kathy Sampey: I’m not a “copy editor” per se. It’s a very specific skill, and people do it professionally. But yes, I first learned copyediting symbols in a college journalism class and became better at editing in general from working at the Associated Press.

What process goes into your copyediting? Is it on the screen, on paper, do you need private space and silence? 

KS: First I give a piece of copy a read-through on screen but have discovered that printing something out to proofread and edit is far more effective. I catch a lot more to correct. When I print something out, I need to go to a quieter space to concentrate.

In the instance of Romney’s “Amercia” incident, how do you avoid easy pitfalls such as misspelling and incorrect word usage?

KS: Everyone needs an editor. Everyone. So I would recommend always having a second or even a third pair of eyes proofread a piece of copy and by all means, print it out for people to review it.

When you do make an error and it’s published, how do correct it?

KS: In the Internet age, correcting something is easy and quick. Obviously it’s much harder in

Any good stories around errors?

 

KS: Yes, but I’m not sharing.

Are there any tips you could share to aspiring copy editors out there? 

KS: That would be best answered by professional copy editors but it’s good to at least be familiar with AP style. 

Thanks to Kathy for their contributions. Remember – always, always, always have a second pair of eyes review your work before having it post.

They Have Ideas

Portfolio Night entered its 10th year this week, spanning 18 cities across the globe, including New York, on May 23 at the headquarters of WPP Group’s Grey. Sponsored by ihaveanidea.org, the event brings together agency creative directors who meet one-on-one with aspiring copywriters, art directors, and nowadays, creative technologists, to review their portfolios. Brett McKenzie, Creative Manager and lead on Giant Hydra (IHAVEANIDEA’s collaborative crowd sourcing project) talked about what Portfolio Night is all about and why it’s important to the advertising community. A London gentleman named Sherry spoke about how the event helped him make important connections in the industry. Guyen Dinh, a graduate of Columbia College in Chicago, said she always wanted to live in New York and was thrilled to be attending Portfolio Night for the first time.

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