Category Archives: Events

Ad Age Digital Day Two: Media, Branded Content, Talent

Ad Age Digital’s second day held a heavy focus on the evolution of media. Executives from Bloomberg Media, Daily Mail, HBO, and Nickelodeon were all part of several discussions that delved deep into their business and how brands intersect in this new era of branded content in a “post-digital” world.

Jon Steinberg, CEO of Daily Mail North America and formerly of BuzzFeed fame, told AdAge’s Michael Sebastian challenged creative agencies to step up to the plate. “I don’t want to be a creative agency, but the media agencies and brands come to us and want us to come up with the idea,” said Steinberg. “I’m still waiting for the creative agencies to jump in, and there is always going to be that opportunity for them.”

Sabrina Caluori, VP of Social and Digital at HBO, continued the Fail Forward series, this time talking about how HBO attempted to bring the second screen experience to its consumers in 2013 with HBO Smart Glass, but instead frustrated consumers by distracting from their top tier television shows, which is the main draw for the premium subscription service. Such humbling admission from a media company which is seemingly at the top of its game shows how grounded and self-aware one must be to stay ahead.

Later in the afternoon Andrew Benett, Global CEO of Havas Worldwide took the stage for a fireside chat with Ad Age’s Nat Ives. Continuing the theme of marketing in today’s “post-digital world,” Benett said this shift can be seen right down to the different workspaces seen today vs. in the 1980s, with 90% of the industry now shifting to an open floor plan model, which he says contributes to “always-on collaboration.” To that end, people and talent was a big focus of the talk, and Benett says the questions he gets most in big RFPs aren’t about award-winning work or strategy – it’s about culture and honing talent. “What do we do for internal people initiatives? How do you grow and manage talent?”

Attention Aspiring Musicians: GreenLight Media & Marketing & Hyundai Have You Covered

If you were among the millions of viewers who watched the 57th annual Grammy Awards last night, you undoubtedly saw the :30 version of this spot from Hyundai and GreenLight Media and Marketing featuring Mark Ronson and Ziggy Marley. In voiceovers, the musicians each talked about the inspiration they derive from creative collaboration as Ronson arrives in a black Hyundai sedan to meet Marley at a recording studio.

The highly stylized ads are in support of the car maker’s partnership with The Recording Academy® and the third annual Grammy Amplifier program, an online music initiative to mentor emerging artists. Full-length versions of the work that tell deeper stories of artist and mentor collaboration can be viewed here.

GreenLight worked with Hyundai to conceive and create the program, in which Ronson will serve as the official ambassador alongside this year’s curators, including The Band Perry, Ziggy Marley and Allen Stone.

They will vet talent through online submissions and select three winners, who will be awarded one of the following prizes:

  • A studio recording session with a Grammy-winning producer
  • Filming and starring in their own music videos with an acclaimed director
  • An opening spot for a noted musician at a music festival.

Artists began entering submissions on January 27th at GRAMMYAmplifier.com. The last day to do so is February 20th.

Financial Times Future of Marketing – Millennials, Music, and Data

Russell Wallach, President of Media and Sponsorship at Live Nation, spoke on how the world’s largest live-entertainment company uses data to reach consumers at the second annual Financial Times Future of Marketing Conference on Sept. 17, which brought together executives across a variety of industries.

“The journey of the fan experience, from ticket purchase to the end of the show months later, can be improved by data, and fans welcome anything they can to enhance those moments,” said Wallach.

And what is the future of marketing? The answer is Millennials, known as the most “social” generation ever because of their global, digital connectedness. Many agreed that music is at the intersection of marketing to this group.

“We have first party data from our over 200million-plus user database,” said Wallach. “So that presents a great opportunity for our brand and agency partners to develop unique properties.”

Wallach listed examples that included a recent investment in electronic dance music (EDM) by 7Up to target millennials and Hispanics and working with Kellogg’s to create a summer concert series targeted towards tweens.

To close out the day, Bruce Flohr, co-founder of GreenLight Media & Marketing, sat down with Marc Roberge, lead singer of O.A.R. to talk about how they market themselves to brands. “Music is worthless, yet everyone loves music,” said Flohr. “Everyone walks around with earbuds on, you can’t escape it, but the music has no tangible value.”

“The U2 deal with Apple really put the nail in the coffin for selling albums and completely devalues music,” said Roberge. “We now look for brands who want to partner with us. We want to understand why a brand chose us, and make sure it fits for everyone involved.”

Everyone agreed that the future for marketing is bright but cluttered as brands try to navigate every channel to reach their audience.

Audience Measurement 2014: The Leadership Mandate

This year’s the Advertising Research Foundation’s Audience Measurement (AM) 2014 focused on the Measurement Mandate and an immediate call-to-action for analysts to embrace the future of programmatic buying and cross platform measurement and lead their respective organizations through the considerable changes brought by today’s complex media environment.

Gayle Fuguitt, President and CEO of The ARF’s opening address set the tone for the event. In it, she explained there is a code red problem facing the industry. For example, the ARF’s research found that less than 10 percent of marketers say that mix models help them understand cross-platform advertising. Fuguitt emphasized that analysts must recognize this to be a transformative moment.

“This is not a measurement mandate, but rather a leadership mandate,” said Fuguitt. “We need to collaborate within our organizations, across organizations and across the world and we need to listen to each other and converge.”

Gayle Fuguitt

In his address Bob Lord, Global CEO of AOL Platforms, delved into the power of convergence and how it can transform industries at the intersection of business and technology.  Lord believes that measurement is key to truly understanding consumers and creating a brand strategy that meets consumers’ needs.

“Convergence of technology, media and creativity allows us to imagine and enable customer experiences like never before,” said Lord.  “Technology, media, and creativity operating within the context of business strategy can transform a marketing problem.”

Bob Lord

Lord also discussed his five principles when using data to better the consumer experience. He explained that brands need to put the consumer at the center and understand what motivates them and their journey to trying or using a product. Marketers must start thinking of their brand as a service and be aware of the fact that they are in the business of fulfilling consumer needs. It is also crucial to reject silos; consumers don’t care about inter-department issues and neither should businesses. Brands also need to act like a startup and employ agile methodology and prototyping. Finally, brands must embrace diversity in order to raise ROI’s on company performance.

AM 2014 wasn’t only a discussion of big data and ways to improve audience measurement across platforms. It was also a look at those who are solving measurement challenges and generating significant business results. In that spirit, the first annual Erwin Ephron Demystification Award was announced at the conference, an award that honors the legacy of media leader, Erwin Ephron.

Bill Harvey, Co-Founder and Strategic Advisor of TiVo Research and Analytics, was the first winner of this prestigious award. He has spent over 35 years in the media research industry and has pioneered thinking in New Media, industry data, and audience measurement standards.

“Bill challenges conventional thinking, and has a rare ability to translate ideas into action,” said Fuguitt. “The Erwin Ephron Demystification Award was part of the greater goal of AM 2014 to support, inspire, and promote the analytical minds that will lead organizations through this period of dynamic change.”

Bill Harvey & Gayle Fuguitt

The overarching message of AM 2014 was the need for analysts to embrace new ways of thinking in order to keep their seat as the C-suite’s most trusted advisor, a mission that the ARF will continue in future events and research.

 

 

4A’s PR Forum: 8 Tips for Pitching Reporters

The 4A’s, the leading trade association for ad agencies, held its second 4A’s Public Relations Forum, this year at J. Walter Thompson’s beautiful NYC offices on May 14, and the event drew a packed house.

Dubbed “24/7 Always On Communications,” the event brought together business journalists and hundreds of communications professionals from PR agencies and ad agencies to discuss changes in news gathering and media relations practices.

Top reporters from outlets including Fast Company, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Ad Age, Adweek and USA Today, as well as PR practitioners from agencies including, CP+B, FCB and Mullen lent their expertise on topics concerning reputation management and crisis communications. Additionally, executives from Twitter and Facebook discussed how social media engagement and real-time communications continues to change the world of earned media.

Still, media relations is the bread and butter of the PR practice, and journalist speakers talked about how technology and emerging media channels continue to impact their profession.

Below are eight insights that PR practitioners should keep in mind when engaging with the media in this 24/7 “Always On” world.

  1. Technology works. Almost all reporter panelists said that if you sent an email, “we got your pitch, and there’s no need to follow up four or five times to check.”  That said, if you want to follow up once, Laura Petrecca  from USA Today suggests writing “FOLLOW UP” in your subject line to make your point clear.
  2. Relationships are key. Reporters are much more apt to take your call if they know you. The takeaway?  Build those connections now; they will pay off for years to come.
  3. Sometimes it’s just about luck: Ever wonder why the pitch you spent hours writing got no response but the one that took ten minutes got an immediate reply?  The truth is, there isn’t a real answer other than timing. As Fast Company’s Editor Bob Safian pointed out, “It’s like getting a parking spot in the mall at Christmas time – it could take one minute, it could take 20. It depends what’s happening on that specific day and time — don’t take it personally.”
  4. The “aha” moment. Reporters and editors are looking for something new and surprising for their readers. If your pitched doesn’t elicit an “a-ha” moment it will be deleted.
  5. Remember the “why.”  When pitching a story, it is essential to include the “why.” While this may seem like a given, the Wall Street Journal’s Suzanne Vranica said it was surprising how many pitches she reads that bury the “why.” Remember to include the business challenge or impetus for your storyline.
  6. Social media is critical. Reporters use social media to inform their stories and gauge hot topics of the day, so PR professionals should align pitches with topics reporters seem to have on their radars. As Twitter’s Melissa Barnes reminded the audience, “Not only are stories being discussed on the platform, sometimes they are breaking on Twitter.” With social comes more competition than ever for reporters, so it’s imperative to stay close to the real-time conversation and how it’s informing journalism.
  7. Deadlines don’t exist. They have become almost irrelevant.  Everything is so real-time that reporters don’t always have time to respond to your pitch.
  8. Be concise. Suzanne Vranica says that actually, a one-sentence pitch via phone is more effective than a three-paragraph email. Take that to heart.

 

Digital Denizens: Reporting from the Future

“Digital Denizens: Reporting from the Future” panel. From left to right: Michael Learmonth, Ad Age; Todd Wasserman of Mashable; Brian Braiker Digiday reporter; moderator is Jill Kelly, Chief Communications Officer of Digitas.

Rhapsody in Blue

Anyone who doubts that brands can produce interesting editorial work should take a look at Bluemasters: Innovation in Denim, an informative, entertaining book that features and celebrates the people and places that have driven innovation in the denim industry.

ISKO

Written by Fabiana Giacomotti, a fashion expert and head of Fashion and Costume Studies at Rome’s Sapienza University, the book profiles denim designers and influencers, including Adriano Goldschmied, Renzo Rosso, Vivienne Westwood and Fatih Konukoglu, the CEO of ISKO, the denim maker that produced the book. In its preface, Elio Fiorucci says the book is a “love song to denim,”celebrating the men and women who have brought innovation, be it in production, creativity, retailing or communications. Just call them the “Bluemasters.”

ISKO, a DGC client, celebrated the book’s launch last week in Soho at the 3×1 Concept store, “a one-of-a-kind place where we can speak about denim while ‘breathing’ denim,” said Marco Lucietti, Marketing Director, ISKO.

Shanna McKinnon, editor of DenimHunt.com, kicked off the event with opening remarks and questions for two designers present for the launch— Adriano Goldschmied and Scott Morrison – as well as sponsors Lucietti of ISKO and Carl Fortin of Archroma. McKinnon took the opportunity to ask Goldschmied if, as the book reports, he really did ruin a washing machine when he used real pebbles from the river near his house in Italy for stonewashing decades ago. (Yes!) And, he shared, when he first attempted bleaching jeans in buckets in his garden, the concoction rubbed off on his black dog, whose fur turned white. The significance of these stories? Goldschmied wanted to stress the importance of a sustainable and environmentally friendly future for the industry, which was applauded by party attendees.

ISKO’s Lucietti noted that it would be impossible to bring together every “Bluemaster” in a single publication but said the company wanted to celebrate innovators in denim, from technical experts to designers and accessory makers.

For now, at least, a must-have accessory in the denim world is a copy of this handsome, informative book.

DGC’s Milli Carr, Marni Raitt, ISKO’s Kutay Saritosun and DGC’s Kelsey Merkel

ADC Festival of Art + Craft in Advertising and Design: Inspiration in Review

The ADC held its Annual Festival of Art + Craft in Advertising and Design this past week in Miami Beach for three days of creative inspiration, and to honor the winners of the 2014 Tomorrow Awards and 93rd Annual Awards. DGC was front row for all of the action, including getting our hands dirty in festival workshops and celebrating alongside award winners each night. Check out the festival kick off video with an introduction by ADC Executive Director Ignacio Oreamuno: http://vimeo.com/91320186

This event is the only beachside festival in North America for the commercial creative industries, championing craft and delivering on its founding mission of elevating advertising to the same standards as fine art. It’s incredible what ADC Executive Director Ignacio Oreamuno and his team put together for 300 creative professionals.

Here are our favorite moments of inspiration:

  • Sculpting a Lionel Richie head with Barcelona-based design studio duo Hungry Castle
  • Building our ‘Agency of the Future’ with award-winning architect Clive Wilkinson
  • Immersing ourselves in a one of kind artistic masterpiece with Miami-based artist KAZILLA
  • Screening the premiere of ‘InspirADCion,’a short film series profiling industry luminaries. The first in the series was the legendary Lee Clow, Chairman of TBWA\Chiat\Day
  • Experiencing the world premiere of Laser Cat, Hungry Castle’s giant feline-shaped installation that projects art from its eyes with lasers
  • Celebrating with award winners of the 2014 Tomorrow Awards, ADC 93rd Annual Awards Night One and Night Two

For a recap of each day’s workshops, take a look here: http://vimeo.com/adcglobal

ADC has its finger on the pulse of creativity. It understands the intersection of art, craft and inspiration needed to take creativity to the next level. To find out more about ADC’s mission, check out adcglobal.org.

Buy Audiences, not Media

The changing media landscape and technology’s increasing impact on brand, media and consumer relationships were among the topics discussed at  the annual Media:Now event, hosted by The Advertising Club of New York. The event brought together some 300 of the industry’s best and brightest on April 10.

Gary Reisman, CEO and co-founder of LEAP Media Investments, a new media company that sells high-value audiences at scale using Emotional Attachment™ technology, was on a panel titled: “Changing Paradigms in Media Investment.”

Reisman joined other media and marketing practitioners to talk about the myriad of ways in which media investment practices are being upended, reinvented and reinvigorated, including how technology is affecting the media buying process. (Check out Reisman’s remarks in the video below.)

Fellow panelists included Dave Morgan (CEO, Simulmedia); Jay Sears (SVP Marketplace Development, Rubicon Project); Adam Solomon (Vice President, Digital Ad Products and Revenue Operations, Time Inc.); and Lauren Wiener (President, Global Sales & Marketing, Tremor Video).

The discussion, which was moderated by Martin Cass (CEO, Assembly and MDC Media Partners), touched on various industry trends and topics including what’s next for programmatic, addressable video, and what lies ahead for the digital publishing industry.

I’m Not a Leader Because I’m a Female, But I’m Proud to be a Female Leader

What is the difference between how men and women lead? Are you a leader because you’re a woman, or is it about the individual? What do you think about Mary Barra and her role? All of these questions and more were posed to our fearless leader Sam DiGennaro on a panel this week at Mercedes-Benz’s U.S. headquarters in Montvale, N.J., in honor of Women’s History Month.

As successful women with unique perspectives on leadership, Sam, along with Samantha Meiler, VP, Content & Programming, at Nickelodeon’s NickMom, and Robyn Streisand, Founder & CEO, The Mixx, a marketing agency, were invited to sit on the panel moderated by Karen Matri, Product Manager, Telematics and Connected Services at Mercedes-Benz USA.

From left to right: Lisa Ragusa, Senior Purchasing Agency, Mercedes-Benz USA; Samantha Meiler, VP, Content & Programming, at Nickelodeon’s NickMom; Sam DiGennaro, CEO + Founder, DiGennaro Communications; Robyn Streisand, Founder & CEO, The Mixx

From left to right: Lisa Ragusa, Senior Purchasing Agency, Mercedes-Benz USA; Samantha Meiler, VP, Content & Programming, at Nickelodeon’s NickMom; Sam DiGennaro, CEO + Founder, DiGennaro Communications; Robyn Streisand, Founder & CEO, The Mixx

The event was sponsored by the company’s Women’s Innovation Network, an employee resource group that champions career advancement and personal growth for women.  Each woman offered the audience –a group comprised of both male and female Mercedes-Benz employees of all roles, levels and departments– tangible examples and tips to inspire them on their own career paths.

From left to right: Samantha Meiler, VP, Content & Programming, at Nickelodeon’s NickMom; Karen Matri, Product Manager, Telematics and Connected Services at Mercedes-Benz USA; Michelle Wirth, Marketing Communications Department Manager, Mercedes-Benz USA; Robyn Streisand, Founder & CEO, The Mixx; Sam DiGennaro, CEO + Founder, DiGennaro Communications

From left to right: Samantha Meiler, VP, Content & Programming, at Nickelodeon’s NickMom; Karen Matri, Product Manager, Telematics and Connected Services at Mercedes-Benz USA; Michelle Wirth, Marketing Communications Department Manager, Mercedes-Benz USA; Robyn Streisand, Founder & CEO, The Mixx; Sam DiGennaro, CEO + Founder, DiGennaro Communications

Here are three of Sammy D’s  takeaways for women who aspire to leadership positions:

1. Lean into the bad times: When asked what she thought of General Motors CEO Mary Barra and her handling of the company’s recall situation, Sam said she admired her willingness to “own” a crisis that she personally had nothing to do with, and that meeting with the victims’ families the day before she was to go on trial was a remarkable way to show empathy and true leadership. Sam’s takeaway? True leaders are measured by how they handle the bad times. By taking responsibility and using her company’s mistakes as a platform for growth, Barra likely elevated her standing in the public eye.

2. Crying in the workplace is okay: On the topic of gender bias in the workplace, all panelists agreed that crying on the job is okay. Sam said,  “I’ve done it. I’ve cried in front of bosses, employees and even clients. It’s who I am; I’m an emotional being, and I lead with my heart. It’s been said that empathic leaders actually resonate more with employees and stakeholders, and I’d rather be authentic and own who I really am than apologize for crying.” One male audience member actually expressed his understanding, saying that as a relatively new grandfather he recently cried watching his granddaughters perform in a school play, and as a result, became more in touch with his emotions, allowing him to relate to female colleagues on a different level.

3. Take time for yourself: During the Q&A portion of the panel one audience member asked the panelists how they carve out time for themselves, despite managing very busy and stressful careers. Sam mentioned her morning meditation ritual as one way she disconnects from technology, ground herself and re-set her mind before diving into the workday. Streisand talked about her Tuesday/Wednesday ritual of putting the cell phones down for dinner with her partner both nights, and Meiler mentioned that when she took her job at Nick, she actually negotiated leaving the office by 6 p.m. each day to get home to her three young children, even if it means she needs to get back online after her kids are asleep. The common thread was setting boundaries and taking time to do what matters most outside of work to be more successful and effective at work.

The panel wrapped up with each woman offering advice to the next generation of female leaders. Sam talked about the importance of giving back and of mentorship – both seeking mentors and being one yourself – and told the audience she actually thought it would be easier for today’s generation to find role models: “Young women now have so many great examples of leaders: their mothers, sisters, colleagues. I hope they seek out mentors to help manage their careers, and also give rising stars within their organizations support and guidance. That’s the only way we’ll continue moving upstream.”

Poster promoting the panel to Mercedes employees

Poster promoting the panel to Mercedes employees

Blurred Lines: The Fine Line between Ads and Editorial at Advertising Week Europe

As part of DGC’s annual exchange program with Eulogy! – in which one DGC’er and one Eulogite have the opportunity to work from each other’s offices for a full week – I’ve been lucky enough to not only be in London, but also attend Advertising Week Europe.

I am less than 48 hours into being in London and have already experienced a couple of sessions with the likes of News Corp and Mashable execs. Here is a brief snapshot:

The Future of News & Advertising

This unique fireside chat between Robert Thomson, CEO of News Corporation, and Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP Global, brought two luminaries to the stage. They spoke to numerous pressing topics today from the future of traditional media, to who’s to blame for failing with digital advertising.

Native advertising was definitely one of the hot topics of discussion. Sorrell explained how the boundaries between the editorial and business sides are breaking down and that it’s fine as long as there is transparency along the way. In fact, both executives agreed that, in an ideal world, consumers would prefer to opt-out rather than opt-in, and people will pay for content if it is good. Thomson also admitted that quality content can be expensive, so it’s critical to identify more ways to increase the monetization of such content. He further explained that the value of content creation proves more than ever that distribution is important.
The session wrapped up with Thomson and Sorrell debating over whether numerous industries, including that of public relations and public affairs, have been creatively or destructively disrupted by digital. Only time will tell…

Fast Company Founder’s Conversation 

This much anticipated session shed a new light on the editorial direction of Mashable. The fireside chat featured Bob Safian, Editor of Fast Company, casually asking questions of Pete Cashmore, the very well-known CEO and Founder of Mashable. And once again, native advertising was a hot topic. Pete agreed that it’s a good thing as long as it’s a win-win for all involved, and that a reader’s best interest is always kept in mind.

The message Pete drove home throughout the session was Mashable’s seemingly transformed focus on its editorial content – no longer restricting its walls to social media and other such related topics. His vision is to bring forth what the world cares about across the board on various topics – even weather.

Pete called out that journalism is a part of Mashable’s DNA. It was evident that the outlet wants to shift its perception of being more like a New York Times than that of say a BuzzFeed or The Huffington Post. That said, Pete still feels strongly that Mashable will always target its core audience of early adopters as they are “likely at the cutting edge of everything – not just technology.”

Something Pete Cashmore mentioned in his session was proven true today: the proliferation of technology has changed the playing field, with anyone and everyone having the ability to be successful from anywhere – not just Madison Avenue and Silicon Valley. It’s safe to say that Advertising Week Europe will continue to grow in its presence over the coming years.

It was a whirlwind of a first day! I’m looking forward to attending additional sessions during my trip and will be back at week’s end with more key takeaways and learnings. In the meantime, follow the conversation @digennaro and check out some pics here to get a snapshot of my week in London and Advertising Week Europe.

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