Category Archives: Advertising Week

Advertising Week: NYC vs. London Town

This post was written by DGC’s International ACE Award winner, Senior Account Executive Megan Sweat. Recognizing her stellar work and contributions to the agency, DGC sent her to London to spend time at Advertising Week Europe and to meet with our strategic partner Eulogy!


Many people in the U.S. ad market are oblivious to Advertising Week in London, and vice versa. This year Advertising Week Europe ran from March 23-27, and compared to past ones in New York (which take place in the fall) the programming had a unique edge.

Many of the players were the same, including Publicis Groupe, Google and the IAB but the gorgeous historic venues such as St. James’s Church and outdoor settings (pictured below) gave Advertising Week Europe an entirely different feel from the New York edition.

adweek euro

Outdoor seating outside of the ADARA Stage


St. James’s Church in Piccadilly

Collaboration, creativity and inspiration were recurring themes throughout the week, and here are some of the highlights that stuck with us:

  • When asked to leave the audience with one “astounding nugget that would blow their minds,” Steve Hatch, Director of EMEA from Facebook replied that everything in our industry “starts and ends with people.” To be successful, we as an industry need to follow people’s trends, and the customer is truly always right, he said.
  • Maurice Levy, CEO of Publicis Groupe, predicted that marketing will become more and more about the “omnichannel” experience. With a few exceptions, he said this is still a complicated world to clients, and it hasn’t yet been mastered.
  • Inter-agency collaboration and how to foster it was also top of mind. One possible solution that came out of MEC UK’s session was having a shared workspace, where a client’s different agencies could meet and work together as opposed to working in silos and trying to come together at the end.

As one panelist put it, “We tell our clients they need to co-own their brand with their customers… Now, we need to co-own our ideas with others.”

A handful of other memorable declarations over heard during the week made us laugh: (Since these are not exact quotes,  I’ve removed the attribution—which didn’t include people’s titles and affiliations either)

  • “Pitches are the crack cocaine of our industry – we’re all addicted to them.”
  • “Is it better to follow your dreams and not make it, or make it and betray yourself along the way?”
  • “Stupid people think complicated is clever. If you can’t explain it to an 11-year-old, you have failed.”
  • “Be uncool. Coolness is a form of orthodoxy. Being uncool is actually a powerful creative force.”

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!



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.

Successful Women Share “Perspectives” on Work-Life Balance with Katie Kempner

Katie Kempner was on set at this year’s Advertising Week event, filming episodes for her show, “Perspectives with Katie Kempner.” The interviews were also streamed live through a partnership with Huffington Post LIVE to help deliver insights from many highly successful women to those that couldn’t attend this year’s Advertising Week in person.

The interviews are designed to inspire and empower women in their quest to live happy, healthy and meaningful lives, both personally and professionally through their career. Katie’s interviewees share their personal (and sometimes hilarious) stories of work-life balance and how to embrace all of the twists and turns that a career in advertising and marketing can present, from how to create your own version of modern-day balance, the challenges that come with trying to be “always on” and why a fabulous pair of shoes can help you more than you think.

Check out these “Perspectives” interviews from Advertising Week to hear more insights from these successful business women:


Amanda Morgan McAllister, Head of U.S. Marketing for Microsoft Advertising


Heidi Browning, SVP, Strategic Solutions at Pandora

Sharon Napier

Sharon Napier, CEO Partners + Napier, a Project:WorldWide Agency

Nancy Reyes

Nancy Reyes, Managing Director of Goodby Silverstein & Partners NY

At Microsoft, Everyone Contributes to Creative Process

Microsoft’s Global Creative Director Jeremy Grubaugh explained his approach to embracing chaos as part of the creative process this way: Be aware of all your options.

“Every year there are new ways to communicate with an audience,” Grubaugh said. “And their expectations for how you communicate with them are heightened.”

Grubaugh was part of the Creative Innovation Roundtable on Sept. 26 at the Times Center Hall during Advertising Week, and he praised the inclusive culture of Microsoft which enhances his own approach to managing. For example, Grubaugh believes that a person need not be a designer by training or even have used a piece of design software in order to contribute ideas about how Microsoft products should work.

Consumers have an inherent sense of how hardware and software should function depending on what they’re trying to achieve, he said. Therefore, Microsoft’s internal creative environment is an inclusive one in which people are often pulled into any of the numerous “idea rooms” from other departments to contribute ideas. “If the white boards aren’t full, we’re not doing our jobs,” Grubaugh declared.

When panel moderator Dan Chandler, Associate Creative Director at Sid Lee, asked the panelists when a new product is ready for the public to see and use, Grubaugh answered: “I’m of the as-soon-as possible mentality. The sooner we can test [products], on a small scale and a large scale, is the best way we can evolve more rapidly.”

His fellow panelists concurred, saying consumer expectations have risen so high that organizations must be much more nimble in addressing their dissatisfaction quickly.

Earlier, Grubaugh told The Hit Board, that he considers himself a “miner” of sorts.

“I scour MSN, Bing, Xbox Live, Skype, Windows 8 and all our other platforms to discover all the features and how to leverage them on behalf of a brand or advertising experience.” His team is working closely with Skype right now to understand how brands might have a synchronous dialogue within the intimate connection between two people having a face-to-face phone call.

Click the video below to hear what Grubaugh thinks has not changed about the consumer-brand even in the chaos of this digital age.

Dan Chandler, Associate Creative Director, Sid Lee, moderated the panel which included Christoph Becker, CEO & CCO of Gyro;  Tim Cronin SVP Global Sales, Mocean Mobile; Arianna Orland Creative Director, Zynga Global Brand; and Shawn Poe Creative Director, InMobi Creative Services North America.

Music Helps Marketers Win Brand Fans

One of the recurring conversations during Advertising Week was the role music plays in marketing programs. Utilizing music in marketing initiatives has helped launch artists’ careers, provided once-in-a lifetime experiences to fans, launched entire festivals sponsored by brands, and more.

That was the focus on a star-studded panel of brand marketers at the “Live for the Applause” panel, sponsored by Live Nation. Moderated by Fast Company’s Tyler Gray, the panel included Paul Chibe, VP Marketing, Anheuser-Busch, Jennifer Breithaupt, SVP Entertainment Marketing, Citi, Chris Holdren, SVP of SPG & Global Web from Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and Russell Wallach, President, Live Nation Media & Sponsorship.

Each of those companies market their brands through music. Anheuser-Busch collaborates with Jay Z to create the Made in America Festival, a successful two-day concert covering a range of genres and artists. Citi works with their rewards program to allow fans unique access to concerts, and also utilizes artists like Katy Perry in special events. Starwood rewards their SPG members with intimate concerts held in their hotels as part of their “Hear the Music, See the World” initiative, where members travel around the world to meet and watch their favorite artists perform.

Below, hear from Paul Chibe, Jennifer Breithaupt, and Russell Wallach on the importance of music in their marketing decisions and connecting with passionate fans.

Why Keeping Content Legitimate is the Most Important Part of Branded Content

CEO of Content & Co Stuart McLean spoke at this week’s OMMA Video conference on the impact that branded content can have – but only when done the right way. For client Schick, Content & Co saw incredible results from “Clean Break,” an original reality-based series now in its third season. By keeping the focus on producing quality content, Content & Co and Schick were able to go beyond traditional advertising to reach the target audience in a new and engaging way, leading to a quantifiable leap in sales—up 21% the first month the program ran.

The series, following three millennial guys who leave their ordinary lives behind for adventures in exotic Hawaii, was the perfect solution to engage with male consumers beyond a thirty second commercial. According to Jeff Chapman, Senior Director, Global Brand Communications, Energizer Personal Care, “Emotion is created over time; it doesn’t happen instantaneously.”

Perhaps most striking is that Clean Break is presented by a men’s razor company, but does not include a single product placement or shot of a man shaving. The key to keeping branded entertainment interesting is creating content that viewers connect with and enjoy while keeping advertising to the usual channels — something that Content & Co strives to do for all clients. For Stuart, “The story is about allowing content to lead,” a sentiment not always echoed in the industry. Hear more from Stuart: [VIDEO]

Next up for the series? Taking on New Zealand. Watch the latest season of Clean Break here.

Microsoft: Stephen Kim’s Passion for Diversity is Personal

An illustration of the discussion sparked by Stephen Kim's panel on the next generation of talent.

An illustration of the discussion sparked by Stephen Kim’s panel on the next generation of talent.

Before Stephen Kim, VP, Global Accounts and Agencies at Microsoft, got to the task of moderating a panel about cultivating the next generation of talent during Advertising Week 2013 in New York, he opened the session with a painful revelation.

The son of Korean immigrants, Kim spent much of high school with one classmate never addressing him by name, but instead calling him “gook” for four years straight. Perhaps even more painful, he said, was that no single other classmate, teacher, parent or administrator intervened to stop the verbal bullying.

That experience, Kim explained, is one of the catalysts fueling his passion as an adult to bring diversity and inclusion to the work place, and more specifically to the advertising and marketing industries.

“Our business faces a really serious challenge that’s based on a rather odd contradiction,” Kim told a packed house at the Times Center Stage auditorium. While the need for the marketing industry to keep pace with change in the way consumers communicate, consume entertainment and exchange information has never been clearer, marketing practitioners do not reflect the changing demographics of those consumers, he said. “We’re doing a fairly lousy job as an industry in keeping pace with that change.”

Kim said he has the “fantastic good fortune of working at a place like Microsoft” which takes the issues of diversity and inclusion seriously. It’s also part of what informs the company’s “People first” positioning regarding its devices and services and how it recruits and mentors its work force.

Microsoft is one of the partners of the Marcus Graham Project, whose co-founder/executive director, Lincoln Stephens, was on the panel that Kim moderated. Also participating were 4A’s President-CEO Nancy Hill; Rodney Williams, CEO, Lisnr; and Remy Sylvan and Aidan Sykes from Y5, an incubator agency of the Marcus Graham Project, that uses Microsoft technology for its creative advertising projects.

During the discussion, Kim revealed that Microsoft signed on for two more years as a sponsor of the Marcus Graham Project, which helps develop the next generation of talent for the ad industry through a three-month summer boot camp in Dallas called iCR8 and invites college and graduate school students considering a career in advertising to participate.

The program includes interactive workshops, speaker series, executive coaching, client assignments and visits to iCR8 by executives from ad agencies and marketers. Lincoln Stephens said that 96 percent of iCR8 participants find employment within six months of finishing the program.

Students in this past summer’s boot camp, the fifth one so far, worked on an ad campaign for Lisnr, an app through which users can receive exclusive content from their favorite musical artists.

Lisnr CEO Rodney Williams said he chose the Y5 student agency for some marketing ideas because “we wanted youth and passion” and were impressed by other work they produced.

Y5’s Remy Sylvan and Aidan Sykes explained Lisnr’s brief for the campaign. The company needed recognition and reach, and because its target consumers were 18-25, Y5 decided on an experiential campaign. They surrounded potential consumers with “listening experiences” by deploying physical boxes around a college campus and in a changing room at a clothing retailer so that users who opted into the app, could receive “push” notifications of exclusive new content from artists they like.

Y5 used the Windows 8 platform to define the brand message and the overall look, feel and action of the app in the campaign. Additionally, Y5 extended the app’s capability on two screens—mobile and tablet. Explaining that the content was also shareable, Sylvan said Windows 8 enabled the team to embed Lisnr ad content seamlessly and non-intrusively into the app’s user interface.

After the Y5 presentation, Kim asked both Stephens and Hill what “success” would look like in terms of a more diverse ad industry work force.

Hill responded by praising the collaboration between the Marcus Graham Project and the 4A’s own diversity program, the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program MAIP, some of whose students also went to iCR8.

The ad industry isn’t on the career consideration list of many talented young people, Hill said. Her definition of success is the collaboration between MAIP and the Marcus Graham Project, the access each provides students to the ad community, and the ongoing support around the students as they advance in their careers.

Stephens said success to him meant that the ad-marketing industry nurtured and retained diverse talent long enough for them to advance to mid- and senior-level positions.

DGC Live at Advertising Week: Building The Sound of Your Brand

Music has become infused into plenty of marketers’ strategies – from using songs in ad campaigns, partnering with artists for tours, and creating live events with an artist in mind. Finding a pitch perfect song or artist for your brand is part art, part science – and all about authenticity.

Pandora SVP Strategic Solutions Heidi Browning moderates “Building the Sounds of Your Brand”

Pandora SVP Strategic Solutions Heidi Browning moderates “Building the Sounds of Your Brand”

That was the focus of the panel hosted by Pandora Radio titled “Building The Sound of Your Brand,” moderated by Pandora’s Heidi Browning.  Panelists included Aaron Fetters from Kellogg, Ryan Gavin from Microsoft, Colin Jeffery from David&Goliath, and Jeannette Perez from Sony Music Entertainment.

“Music is a huge part of what we do on the creative side,” said Colin Jeffery, Executive Creative Director at David&Goliath. “When we launched the Kia Soul campaign six years ago, we had an odd brief on a semi-odd car. So we created the ad, and played it with different music, to help see what felt right. Our spot with the Hamsters has been one of the top 5 commercials viewed on YouTube.”

Ryan Gavin had a different approach to incorporating music into ads. “What we did with our Internet Explorer commercial was to find the right song, then carve the ad from there. We just played it on repeat and created a great spot. When you have people searching ‘Internet Explorer Commercial Song,’ you’ve done your job right for both the artist and the brand.”

As data continues to be one of the top trends to predict success and influence, Heidi Browning, SVP Strategic Solutions at Pandora noted the success of a song in an advertisement. “After the Internet Explorer ad with Alex Clare, Alex saw a 6000% increase in new radio stations. LMFAO saw a similar increase and only continued to climb in following their ad with the Kia Hamsters.”

For Kellogg’s, they’ve partnered with several companies, including Pandora and Live Nation, to create custom radio stations and events on behalf of their Pop Tarts Brand. “Pop Tarts is meant to be a fun, ‘crazy good’ brand,” said Aaron Fetters, Director of Insights and Analytics Solutions Center at Kellogg Company. “We created a right music that fit the brand, and we were able to meet all of our key metrics of success and reach our target audience in a fun, unique way.”

One of the keys to success is remembering the human element to working with bands. “We are dealing with human beings,” said Jeannette Perez, VP, Music for Brands, Advertising & Licensing, Sony Music Entertainment. “We have to fulfill the client’s needs, but we also need to respect our artists. It needs to be an authentic partnership.” The entire panel was in agreement.

At the close of the panel, the panelists all agreed that music is a universally appealing medium to connect with consumers, but stressed the importance that the brand, artist, and song must all be in alignment for the partnership to truly work and be considered a success for everyone – especially consumers.

%d bloggers like this: