Category Archives: Millennials

Spirits Brands Want to ‘Drink Up’ Your Data

The Internet of Things continues to insert itself into aspects of our lives we could never have imagined.

Take the spirits industry where brands are developing “connected” bottles to monitor when, where, what, how much and how often their products are imbibed by individual consumers.Remy Martin_connected bottle

Our first encounter with the notion of such innovation came from a story about Remy Martin’s connected cognac bottles, scheduled for an autumn debut in China where counterfeit brands run rampant. Part of the thinking behind this development is that Chinese consumers should be able to “verify” the brand pedigree of the cognac via the connected bottle.

Here in the U.S., spirits brand executives are much more straightforward about the potential for such innovations. While touting some of the benefits to consumers—and there are a few such as, home delivery of your favorite liquor when supplies ebb and cocktail recipes—Absolut’s Markus Wulff says point blank that it’s mostly about consumer data: “The more we learn about consumers and their behaviours, the better services we can connect them to.”

This New York Times article previews other personal areas in which the IoT will soon make inroads. We couldn’t help but linger on its opening question: “Just because you can do something, does it mean you should?”

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!

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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

DGC Roundtable: Fall TV Season

The weekly DGC Roundtable is monitored by our current intern, Jamie Kurke.

This week, everyone at the office was buzzing about the return of the Fall TV season. With that in mind, this week’s question was:

As the Fall TV season kicks off, which show – new or returning – caught your attention this season, and why?

Kathy Sampey, Vice President:

The returning show that caught my attention is “Sons of Anarchy,” which for some reason, I’ve been following since its inception. It shocks me that it has so many female fans and exactly none of the commercials that run during the shows are targeted to women or even girls. This is the final season so I feel compelled to see it through even though last season wasn’t great.

Patrick Wentling, Account Executive:

Since that two minute trailer aired during 24 for Gotham, it’s certainly had the buzz and attention for many of my friends. It’s been curious to see all of the networks catch on to the superhero genre as a TV property following ABC’s S.H.I.E.L.D.  from Marvel. I worry about the longevity of the show – how long can Bruce Wayne be 12 years old? That said, it’s got the lore and studio budget to lay the groundwork for a strong show, it’s a matter of if the story can stay interesting. It’s overall a weak season for shows, as networks now embrace “52-week seasons” rather than individual seasons. That said, networks can’t afford to take a break with viewers and advertisers.

Sara Ajemian, Account Director:

How To Get Away with Murder! Shonda Rhimes knows how to make a hit – even if the New York Times’ Alessandra Stanley was entirely off base calling her an “angry black woman” – and I think everyone is chomping at the bit to see how Viola Davis’ talents will translate from the big screen to the small screen.

I’m also really excited for The Affair on Showtime. It’s got the best cast: Dominic Cooper (who’s BBC show The Hour was far too short-lived), Joshua Jackson (Bless us all, Pacey is back!), Ruth Wilson (who really shined as a crazy psycho in Luther), and Maura Tierney.

Maryliz Ghanem, Vice President:

Scandal: for the great pre-season buzz they generated via Kerry Washington’s clothing line at the Limited. Great way to energize their audience!

Kendra Peavy, General Manager:

Madam Secretary with Tea Leoni looks promising and leads into one of my favorite shows The Good Wife. I love that we’re seeing another strong female character join Alicia Florrick on Sunday night TV.

Jamie Kurke, Intern:

I’m ridiculously intrigued to see the reviews from (but not necessarily to watch) Black-ish. I’m always into shows that push the boundaries of political correctness and social statements. The promo posters are definitely something you have to look at twice to see if you read them correctly. For ABC’s sake, I hope people can take emerging shows like this with a grain of salt and appreciate the humor but there’s always that chance it’ll blow up in their faces…

In terms of what I can’t wait to binge watch for hours on end, however: Grey’s Anatomy- hands down. Maybe I’m the youngest person alive who is still die-hard though?

Some DGC Team Members just wanted to share their favorites shows, regardless of their marketing for the new season…

Claire Eisenberg, Senior Account Director:

I’ve finally jumped on the Netflix bandwagon and currently can’t tear myself away from House of Cards. What will Frank Underwood do next?! While I love the binge watching nature of Netflix, they sadly don’t always follow the fall TV timing. I’ll have to wait until February for season 3… I guess I’ll use all of my extra time to revisit some old favorites that are debuting on Netflix this month like New Girl and Parks and Rec.

Claire Higgins, Account Coordinator:

I can’t wait for Scandal! Olivia Pope rules all and I want to know where she disappeared to. Also can’t wait for Parks and Recreation’s final season, but NBC’s site doesn’t have a premiere date which is terrifying to me because it’s lit-erally an excellent show. I will say I was intrigued by Gotham, just because of all the hype before it even aired, but I tried to watch the pilot and the acting wasn’t really up to par for me. So no to that one.

Soraya Eltomey, Senior Account Director:

It’s not every day that a show loses its main character, and its season finale feels more like a series closer. But that’s exactly what last year’s episode of Homeland brought to the table. I can’t wait to see what’s to come for Season 4 – if it can survive without one of its leads (as well as its central storyline), or if it will successfully breathe new life into a show that arguably jumped the shark two seasons ago.

John Wolfe:

Favorite Shows in new Fall Season (all returning):

  • The Good Wife
  • Chicago Fire
  • Chicago P.D.

Why?  Because they all take place in Chicago—my hometown!

Chrissy Perez-O’Rourke, Account Director:

Some people get excited about the beginning of Summer, some get excited about Christmas – well, the kickoff of the Fall TV season is my favorite time of year and I couldn’t be more excited that it’s here! To pinpoint just one show that has piqued my interest this season would be impossible though. Many of my old favorites – Scandal, Nashville, Blacklist, Parenthood and Modern Family – are returning with promises of more drama and splashier plotlines than seasons past. And new shows that are debuting are also reeling me in with clever concepts and riveting characters – like How to Get Away with Murder, Mysteries of Laura and Marry Me. All in all, I don’t discriminate. Drama, suspense, comedy, rom-coms – I get hooked on most shows in the primetime lineup. So after the past few months of re-runs and bad reality TV I’m glad that the shows I have come to know and love are back on the air. From Olivia Pope to Rayna James, I feel like my long-lost friends are coming home after a long summer trip – welcome home ladies!

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.

Ten Seconds Or Less

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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