Author Archives: Kathleen Sampey

L.A. Shop mOcean Creates Campaign for Kids’ Tablet

Art of Teknique-mOcean-cropWho better to advertise a tablet aimed at kids than kids themselves?

A lot of people still don’t know that Nabi2 (made by Fuhu Inc.) is the leading tablet made especially for kids, but this cute-as-a-button spot, which broke this week, hopes to spread the word.

A pre-teen rapper named Lil P-Nut does the singing but does not appear in the video. Instead, a dance group called the Art of Teknique lip-synchs to his voice. Ad agency mOcean in Los Angeles created the campaign.

Check out the spot:

4A’s Celebrates ‘The Face of Talent’

The 4A’s last week completed the 39th year of its MAIP (Multicultural Advertising Intern Program) activities for 2012 with a “Face of Talent” luncheon that honored the 103 young people who completed summer internships this year.

Held at the Edison Hotel in midtown Manhattan, the “Face of Talent” also consisted of a day-long summit in which MAIP participants and agency executives got to mix and mingle. For the interns, it was a chance to learn about job opportunities while the agencies got to size up potential new talent.

In her remarks during the luncheon, 4A’s President-CEO Nancy Hill told the MAIP “graduates” that they can always tap the association as a resource for education and job-search functions. “Our door is always open at the 4A’s,” Hill said. “Feel free to lean on us as you go through your careers.”

The two keynote speakers were J&J’s Michael Sneed, Vice President of Global Corporate Affairs at Johnson & Johnson, and Susan Credle, Chief Creative Officer at Leo Burnett USA.

Sneed told MAIPers that the career world they’re entering is quite different from the one he entered as a J&J intern in 1981. “When I was your age, what I wanted to do more than anything else,” he said. “Was to have an impact.” Through its various philanthropic efforts, J&J has enabled Sneed to have an impact, he said.

Credle showed some of her iconic creative work, including a commercial for M&M’s featuring the candy “characters,” as well as spots for Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, P&G and Kellogg’s.  “The great equalizer [in an agency] is the work,” she said while recounting the trajectory of her career. She began as a fill-in receptionist at BBDO in the 1980’s and rose through the creative ranks to become EVP, Executive Creative Director by 2009.

The 4A’s also awarded several awards to agencies and individuals, notably Sallie Mars, SVP, Chief Diversity Officer of McCann Worldgroup, who was this year’s Pantheon Award recipient.

According to the 4A’s, the Pantheon Award is given to “a transformational leader who is highly regarded as a cultivator, supporter and champion of multicultural talent.  This individual has been recognized as a pillar of unwavering strength amongst peers, superiors and the community at-large, for their efforts to propel the advertising and media industry forward in the area of diversity and inclusion.”

McCann Worldgroup CEO Nick Brien presented the award to Mars, who told The Hit Board:  “The ad industry has entered a new era in its commitment to diversity by making inclusion a key business and talent strategy. Now, it’s agency CEOs who are making a difference by driving change from the top.”  Mars added that “working with other committed people across the country to make our industry more dynamic is reward enough and now I have a beautiful award to show my kids.”

Other award recipients at the luncheon were as follows:

The ANA Multicultural Excellence Scholarship Award
Two MAIP internswere awarded the ANA Multicultural Excellence Scholarship, which may be used to finance undergraduate study at any accredited college or university in the United States. The $2,500 scholarships, which are funded with proceeds from the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) Multicultural Excellence Awards, are granted on the basis of demonstrated academic ability and community involvement.


Robin Chang, Account Management Intern at Merkley + Partners

Kayla Williams, Media Planning Intern at Universal McCann

The Clarence Leroy Holte MAIP Intern of the Year Award
This award was established to recognize the MAIP intern who best exemplifies the passion for advertising, leadership, poise and compassion exhibited by the award’s namesake, Clarence Leroy Holte, who joined BBDO is 1952 and became one of the first persons of color to hold a management position on Madison Avenue.


Troy Harris, Account Management Intern at DraftFCB

The OneClub MAIP Creative Intern of The Year Award
The One Club MAIP “Creative Intern of the Year” Award was inspired by a 2011 MAIP creative intern whose was determined to overcome obstacles to achieve creative excellence.

Paulomi Pratap, Art Direction Intern at Ogilvy and Mather

MAIP Agency of the Year Award
Established to recognize an agency or individual who has made significant contributions to the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program and its alumni.



Was this a #Twitterfail?


Some people refrain from using Twitter because of its potential to get them in trouble. Actually, Twitter is more of a conduit for people to get themselves in trouble–Anthony Weiner, Spike Lee, Alec Baldwin, any Kardashian–the list is long of those who’ve thrown discretion to the wind on the micro-blogging site.

But even Twitter isn’t immune to the backlash of social media, even from its own users. When Twitter suspended the account of a Los Angeles-based reporter for The Independent, a U.K. newspaper, its users unleashed a howl of protest in which the reporter’s name, Guy Adams, became a trending topic with the hashtag #saveguyadams. As a result of the Guy Adams issue, we also saw increased usage of the #nbcfail hashtag, which a web designer from Illionois launched on July 26 for other programming reasons.

Adams’s transgression started in the form of a tweeted complaint about NBC’s delayed broadcasts of the Olympics opening ceremonies. He also tweeted the supposed email address of Gary Zenkel, whose title is listed on as President, NBC Olympics & Executive Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, NBC Sports, NBC Sports Group. (Try saying that five times fast.)

Adams advised other frustrated viewers to email complaints to Zenkel and provided an email address, which we’ve chosen not to repeat here.

Twitter said Adams violated its user policy by publishing private information (in this case an email address) about another user.

First off, it’s not clear that Zenkel’s business email is “public” as some Adams advocates have charged because none of the corporate email addresses of NBCUniversal’s executives are listed on its web page. Because of those omissions, one could argue that these business email addresses are considered “private.” If so, then Adams clearly violated the Twitter user policy.

Additionally, it’s highly unlikely that Zenkel made a unilateral decision about when to air the opening ceremonies in the United States. So why spam his email address? What would it accomplish?

NBCUniversal provides an email address specifically for viewer feedback: A concentrated effort to air grievances to that address is much more likely to be taken seriously.

While Twitter’s outright suspension of Adams’s account is questionable, especially in light of the backlash by Twitter users charging censorship, we think Adams was wrong to publish the email address. Twitter also erred in suspending the account without initial explanation. A warning from Twitter to Adams and a request to delete the tweet should have been sufficient.

UPDATE: Twitter has reinstated Guy Adams’s account:

Pearls of Wisdom from the 4A’s PR Conference

Strong writing skills, strategic communications acumen, and being a good listener are some of the basic skills needed to be an effective and successful PR practitioner, according to our own Sam DiGennaro, CEO and founder of DiGennaro Communications.

“I was an art undergraduate/English major and had no idea what PR was,” DiGennaro said of her college years. She honed her craft in the communications departments of advertising agencies such as D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and J. Walter Thompson, which she left in 2006 to start her own firm, which serves advertising, marketing, media and B2B entertainment companies. “The younger folks we’re seeing now studied PR and are excited about getting into this industry.”

DiGennaro offered her thoughts during a panel session, “Tomorrow’s PR Professional: How Agile Will You Have to Be” at the 4A’s PR conference held in New York April 26-27. She and fellows panelists, Barri Rafferty of Ketchum, Judith Harrison of Golin Harris and TR Straub of Heyman Associates agreed that storytelling skills, especially in multimedia, are increasingly in demand.

“You also need to be a news junkie and know how to sniff out the news and slice and dice all the messages,” DiGennaro continued. “[PR] also [includes] the ability to take a deep breath, get your head around how to go forward and make sure the counsel you’re sending to a client is sound and strategic.”

Straub, a recruiter specializing in placing internal communications specialists, said he looks for candidates with a strong business sense—those who understand how their actions drive the bottom line of the companies they work for.

PR Week editor Steve Barrett was the moderator and asked the panelists what business issue keeps them up at night.

“Finding people at the senior levels who understand the business and really want to run a global account,” Rafferty said, adding that leaders need to have an understanding of the global marketing space and be able to keep up with everything.  “All of us our competing for the same digital talent. People don’t have enough digital strategy talent.”

DiGennaro said she wants her employees to feel just as important and respected as every client on the agency roster.

“I’m [also] always thinking about what the next step is in a 24-7 world,” she added. “Spot the trends, think two steps ahead, anticipate what’s next. It keeps me up [but everyone thinking about it] will help our industry evolve.”

Watching the Detectives

The First Amendment has been getting a workout in the era of social media. Politicians, athletes, celebrities, students, employers, prospective employers, educators, and law enforcement have all gotten caught up in the debate about what is considered free and protected speech on Facebook, Twitter and other online channels. Image

As new channels continue to emerge and current ones continue to evolve, the courts will continue to wrestle with these definitions and debates.

Some argue that members of the military, law enforcement and public-sector employees need to be especially careful with their social-media postings, even if they post images and messages during their free time.

One PR professional who specializes in advising law-enforcement organizations is quoted in this article as saying officers should abandon or otherwise not even register for any social-media accounts.

According to the article, one police officer posted a photo to Facebook while off-duty that showed teenagers and a bullet-ridden T-shirt of President Obama.

There’s no clearly defined policy for employees, including those in law enforcement, regarding the use of social media during off-hours. Most just try to adhere to the broadly worded guidance issued in August 2010 from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which advises uniformed and civilian employees to “be mindful that their speech becomes part of the worldwide electronic domain.”

Because social media often helps police in their work with communities, they should not abandon it. However, the IACP should better define guidelines for acceptable behavior, and departments across the country should institute training about its use both on- and off-duty.

What do you think?

Should police officers and others working in the public sector have the same rights to express themselves in social media? Should they disable their accounts or not register at all? Should their posts adhere to stricter standards than that of the general public?

We may never get to a clear answer. But one thing’s for sure. The debate will last a long time.

The Unbearable Timeliness of Movies

This is a tricky one for 20thCentury Fox. The studio has a big-budget summer movie on its hands that bears the unfortunate title, Neighborhood Watch.

The teaser for this film couldn’t have come at a worse time. As the world knows, George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Fla., fatally shot Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26. The killing has reignited a national dialogue about race and spurred angry protests.mer movie on its hands that bears the unfortunate title, Neighborhood Watch.

Neighborhood Watch the film—starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill—is about residents of a suburban community who are determined to keep the place safe from aliens—not the undocumented kind, the ones from outer space.

Although Neighborhood Watch is billed as a comedy, right now nobody is laughing, least of all the filmmakers and the studio, which released a teaser movie trailer in late February that’s almost as unfortunate as the title.

According to reports, the 20th Century Fox has pulled back on all of its advance publicity and is wondering what to do with a film that cost $50 million to make and is budgeted for millions more in marketing. Delay the release? Change the name?

First, 20th Century Fox should pull that trailer and re-cut it to make it slapstick funny and obviously about the threat of space invaders.  Second, it should keep the film on schedule but change the title and any collateral publicity materials that hint of vigilantism. Third, determine whether or not to delay the film’s  release or change the marketing strategy further based on reactions from multi-ethnic test audiences.

There’s no telling how the events of the Martin case will unfold, but more information will certainly become available in the months to come. Emotions are not likely to subside by July when the film is set for release.

Did Tosca Lay an Egg?

ImageSomewhere along the way, Easter, the holiest day in the Christian calendar, became a holiday associated with candy. We eat egg-shaped little chocolates wrapped in brightly colored tinfoil, chocolate bunnies wrapped in same, jelly beans and Peeps (blech).

One could hardly blame Italian chocolatier Tosca for trying to market itself in a big way as Easter approaches, but its recent execution was a little off.

This story says Tosca gave a 550-pound chocolate Easter egg to Pope Benedict XVI.  We suspected correctly that His Holiness had no practical use for such a gift, especially one associated with paganism. And the opening line to the wire-service story would have made our parochial school teachers fall out of their chairs way back when:  “The Easter Bunny has arrived early at the Vatican.”

The Pope very graciously donated the egg to a local juvenile detention center, and we hope somebody posts pictures soon of what they do with it.

As a PR stunt, though, wouldn’t it have made more sense for Tosca to donate the 550-pounder to a local Italian city and carve out pieces in the main square to give away on Easter Sunday?  The company could have also videotaped the proceedings for distribution to international news outlets as a quirky story in the same vein that local New York news stations cover the annual “parade” of hats on Fifth Avenue on Easter Sunday.

Hey, we just donated a good PR idea to Tosca. Maybe they’ll use it next year.

How Much Have We Really Changed?

In the weeks leading up to the season premier of AMC’s Mad Men, various business publications had a field day showcasing the sexist ads of earlier eras.

As astonishing as some of them are, it’s legitimate to ask just how much society and the industry have evolved, especially when you consider that the percentage of women comprising the advertising workforce has remained flat—holding at 55 percent since 1982, the earliest available data from the 4A’s.

Belvedere vodka recently ran an online ad that was suggestive of an attempted rape.  A steakhouse in Georgia thought it was funny to post on Facebook the name of one of its sandwiches—the Caribbean black and bleu–in honor of Chris Brown and singer Rihanna. And who could forget last year’s Chapstick ad?

In all three instances, the ads went viral, not because people thought them clever, but because consumers wanted to express anger and disgust at words and images that were demeaning or made light of violence against women.

Even though the companies apologized for the ads, it’s tempting to lament that societal attitudes about these issues haven’t changed much. However, the speed with which consumers can and do shame brands on social media regarding questionable messages gives us reason to hope.

Is My TV Watching Me?

In this űber-connected world, technology’s conveniences lull many of us into a state of denial about its dangerous tradeoffs. This story from HD Guru stopped us in our tracks.

The new 2012 Samsung smart TV comes with the following features not offered (yet) by its competitors: “Internally wired HD camera, twin microphones, face tracking and speech recognition. While these features give you unprecedented control over an HDTV, the devices themselves, more similar than ever to a personal computer, may allow hackers or even Samsung to see and hear you and your family, and collect extremely personal data.”

According to the article, Samsung has yet to respond satisfactorily to the reporter’s queries about data collection and the personal privacy of consumers.

If it’s true, as the article says, that the new technology on the Samsung TVs is difficult for customers to disable, Samsung should take immediate action on the PR front:

1)      Act swiftly to publicly acknowledge the concerns brought up in this article

2)      Launch an informative campaign that fully explains the use of these devices and why customers needn’t worry about privacy invasion

3)      If there is real potential for privacy breaches, Samsung should consider recalling the TVs and fix them to allay concerns

Otherwise, spooked consumers will stay away in droves and the door will swing wide open for competitors to develop and tout the impermeability of their own smart TVs.

It’s a Mad Mobile World

NewMediaMetrics co-founder Gary Reisman had an unusual start to his moderating duties at the Digital Hollywood Media Summit on March 8 in New York. Just as he introduced the panelists to a packed room concerned with the issues around Advertising Accountability: Metrics and Analytics around Video, Social Media, Broadband and Mobile, an attendee wandered in talking loudly on his mobile phone, completely oblivious to proceedings. After a few moments of stunned silence during which the phone conversation was the only sound in the room, the caller looked around sheepishly, apologized and exited. Hilarity ensued among the panelists followed by what turned out to be a lively, sometimes combative, hour-long debate: Eugene Becker, VP, Analytics, Xaxis; Bob Ivins, VP of Data & Research, Comcast Spotlight; Scott McKinley, EVP Advertising Effectiveness, Nielsen; Debbie Solomon, Managing Director, Business Planning, MindShare; Mark Pascarella, CEO, uberVU; Jeff Plaisted, Senior Director, U.S. Sales and Strategy, Mobile & Skype Advertising, Microsoft; and Dr. Raymond Pettit, VP of Market Research, PRN.  Click the video to get Reisman’s take on one of the more compelling insights.

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