Category Archives: The Hit Board

DGC’s Picks from Day 1

After Day 1 of Advertising Week, DGC pulled together our top picks from the first sessions of the week.  Check back here each morning for some of our favorite content from the day before.

At the “Breaking Down Social and Mobile” Mobile Media Summit session with Bob Hall (SVP of RadiumOne) and Shenen Reed (President, Digital, MEC North America), both offered unique insights. Shenan shared that positive brand association, rather than number of shares, is a strong indicator of campaign success. Bob spoke about how 72% of sharing happens on a desktop, but 54% of viewing is happening on mobile. — Scott Berwitz, VP

During the “Impossible to Ignore” panel with DDB New York’s CCO Icaro Doria, there was an insightful discussion around how advertisers and marketers should always stay on top of what’s current and culturally relevant to create content that’s ‘impossible to ignore’ by the audience. Icaro said, “When it comes to ad blocking, Apple just made bad advertising go away really fast so only good ads with a compelling message can stay.” — Sylvia Zhou, Senior Account Executive

“The Power of Sports: The How and Why of Fan Passion” took a look at the sports stories that often get overlooked in mainstream news coverage. Ryan Eckle, VP of Brand Marketing for Dick’s Sporting Goods talked about some of Dick’s original content and “building brand through cause.” — Ali Colangelo, Account Director

Deep breath in, deep breath out.  As odd as it seemed in the midst of the craziness of Advertising Week, that was how this reflective session started. In this session, MEC’s Global Chief Talent Officer, Marie-Claire Barker and panelists explored mindfulness in the workplace and how companies can use it to improve overall employee happiness and workplace culture. Panelists agreed that it’s not about the industries, but about the human beings in these industries, and that the people are what companies need to focus on if they truly want to be “mindful” in the work place. — Lexi Hewitt, Account Coordinator

At the Cross-Screen Summit: Why Does Context Matter? Because Context Matters! session with Hulu, ESPN, @radical.media, Olson and TubeMogul, there was a lot of discussion around how marketers now must produce multiple creative executions of a campaign around a unifying theme to better meet the needs of today’s multiplatform and multi-device audience. With the industry’s focus on using data for its targeting abilities, Hulu’s SVP Advertising Sales Peter Naylor remarked on the necessary components for ad effectiveness, saying, “Marketers have to have a healthy dose of data and context.” There was agreement among panelists that data needs to be used to inform creative, but that telling a relevant story for the target audience still has to be the primary foundation of any campaign. — Lauren Leff, VP

There was no shortage of amazing content on Day 1, but for me the main highlight was definitely Margaret Gould Stewart, Facebook’s Director of Product Design at IAB MIXX. Margaret discussed the importance of maintaining humility in design, and following “desire paths” to design not only for people, but with people as well. A great example she shared was the “Missed Call” product Facebook developed in India to meet the demand of how people throughout the country were calling each other and hanging up, to avoid being charged. Different numbers of missed calls mean different things, almost like a modern day Morse code. Facebook recognized this and incorporated it into their features, allowing people to connect more easily to the people who matter to them. — Megan Sweat, Senior Account Executive

One of the first sessions of the day was the unveiling of new research by Ogilvy & Mather. The session titled, “Do Brands Still Matter”? was posed to the audience before diving into the findings from the study. Colin Mitchell, Ogilvy & Mather’s Worldwide Head of Planning discussed the research findings which revealed that brands do still matter… just not like they used to. It’s an interesting topic they tackled that also engaged in further discussion with guest speakers, Jennifer Healan of Coca-Cola and Hope Cowan of Facebook — both very different, but extremely relevant brands in the lives of consumers today. Both Jennifer and Hope shared various examples of how and why their brands are successfully mattering to their targets today – from happiness to helping people stay connected – it was evident that they were hitting home on the top factors of mattering in the lives of today’s consumer. — Kelsey Merkel, Account Director

Enjoy Day 2 – it’s already off to a great start!

Advertising Week is Here Again…

It can be all too easy to lose sight of the big picture in our “have to,” ultra-packed, always-connected day-to-day workflow that has the power to both energize and tire out the average advertising executive.  Where is the industry going? What are the key issues that are re-shaping the business?

Enter Advertising Week, the industry’s once-a-year, week-long event that brings together the brightest minds from brands, agencies, tech companies, startups, etc. to take that much-needed step back and have the broader, high-level conversations that are as needed as they are rare. Next week kicks off the 12th Advertising Week, and it will no doubt continue to spark the exciting conversations and ideas that have made it the coveted tent pole industry event it has become.

As always, DGC will be on-site, supporting a vast array of clients at this year’s festivities and tweeting, Instagram-ing, Facebooking and Hit-Boarding (read: blogging) about the most exciting news and insights offered by this year’s incredible roster of speakers – which includes Sir Martin Sorrell, Gloria Estefan, Elizabeth Vargas and Ryan Seacrest, to name just a few.

Here are some of the sessions we will be attending:

  • Do Brands Still Matter — Monday, 10:00am at the Liberty Theater
  • Capitalizing on Mobile Video — Monday, 10:00am at Times Center Stage
  • Breaking Down Social and Mobile — Monday, 2:05pm at the Grand Hyatt New York
  • Connecting in a Mobile World: A Conversation with Sheryl Sandberg — Tuesday, 10:00am at Times Center Stage
  • Frito Lay: The Intersection of Marketing & Technology — Tuesday, 10:15am at Liberty Theater
  • People, Not Pages: What Does “Buying Audiences” Mean for Media and Marketers — Tuesday, 2:00pm at the Metropolitan Pavilion
  • Stories of Creative Invention — Tuesday, 3:00pm at B.B. King
  • Getting Away: Inside the Vacation Mentality — Wednesday, 3:00pm at B.B. King
  • Are We On Target?: Making The Most Of Mobile’s Unique Power — Thursday, 9:15am at the Metropolitan Pavilion
  • The Instagram Effect — Thursday, 10:00am at Times Center Stage
  • WIRED CMOs — Thursday, 12:00pm at the NASDAQ
  • Two Start-Ups, One Mission — Thursday, 4:30pm at Times Center Hall

Please find our take on the most compelling insights on news on the DGC Hit Board, as well as on our Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram feeds!

SUMMER DAYS, DRIFTING AWAY…

Party’s over.  Such is the sentiment of many people this time of year.  As we kick off the first official day of fall, our fun-in-the-sun vacations, weekend shares/getaways come to a close.  For me personally, the moment my Mom starts talking about the Jewish holidays and all the kugels that go along with them, I know it’s back to the grind for me. Oy vey.

So, I’m taking a new line on the beginning of fall – and giving you five reasons why the changing of the seasons is something to welcome rather than dread.  Here goes:

  1. Everyone’s Back! – You know that close friend you haven’t seen since May since she/he has been away every weekend you’ve been in town and vice versa?  Well now you’re both in the city again and can finally catch up, go out, reconnect, etc.  The city feels more like home when it’s fully re-populated with your favorite people.
  2. Find Your Center (again) – It’s difficult to find your center and get into a routine – with work, gym, family, etc. – when every week is different than the one before.  With summer’s end comes a return to more normal schedules that bring with them a feeling of ease, zen and productivity.
  3. It’s Beautiful Out There – The beginning of fall brings gorgeous sunsets, changing leaves, warm days and brisk nights.  In my opinion, the Northeast is never more beautiful than it is in September and October.
  4. Food, Glorious Food! – With the beach behind us and our bathing suits neatly tucked away, feel free – even entitled – to dive into that bowl of pasta, slice of pizza, steak, etc., you’ve avoided like all summer.  Enjoy – next summer is never farther away than it is right now!
  5. Two Words (well, letters): TV – Your favorite shows (and some soon-to-be favorites) are back on with new episodes.  For me, that means Homeland, Modern Family, SNL, and a disturbing amount of reality programs and cooking shows.  I fully admit my entertainment tastes are not universal, but no matter what programs you enjoy they are back in full force during the autumn season.

It’s true that summer is officially over, but the party isn’t.  This is a beautiful time of year – and we haven’t even discussed all the wonderful times to be had with family and friends during Thanksgiving and the December/January holiday season.

And just when you can’t take it anymore – the freezing cold, jackets, scarves, gloves, snow, sleet and pale skin – next summer will be upon us once more.

By Scott Berwitz

Burritos, Bowls, or Tacos? The DGC Chipotle Debate

At DGC you might say we have an unhealthy obsession with one of our favorite fast-causal restaurants, Chipotle. It isn’t uncommon to run in to colleagues while in line, or take trips together for the sweet meal.  So, because our obsession runs so deep, we each decided to let the world in on our sacred Chipotle orders – of course each of us thinking our own is, by far, the best.

If you’re in the mood for some mouth-watering content, continue to scroll down and decide for yourself what the best order of the bunch is.

  • Steak burrito bowl: Extra white rice, Light black beans, Fajita stuff (if I remember), Corn, Mild salsa, Cheese, Sour cream, Lite lettuce, GUAC!!!! – Peyton McCarthy, Account Executive
  • Steak burrito bowl, brown rice, black beans, mild salsa, corn, sour cream, cheese, guac (don’t be stingy with the guac) and a whole lot of happiness. – Gab Berman, Senior Account Executive
  • Hard shell barbaco tacos and an iced tea. Makes me feel like I’m eating healthy despite the sour cream and cheese. – Kathleen Ruane, Vice President
  • Two chicken tacos with chips and guac. Gets the best of both worlds. Add in some hot Chipotle sauce on all parts and it’s a terrific, well balanced meal. – Pat Wentling, Senior Account Executive
  • I love the burrito bowl with chicken, black beans with all the salsas, lettuce & guacamole plus a TON of Tabasco Green Sauce. – Theresa Piti, Office Manager
  • Chicken burrito without rice. – Bridget Bulters, Senior Account Executive
  • Black bean burrito with pork and guac. – Kathy Sampey, Vice President
  • My go-to is a veggie burrito bowl – extra guac, extra cheese – Soraya Hanzus, Senior Account Director
  • Salad, no dressing, a little brown rice, black beans, chicken, fajita veggies, mild salsa, medium salsa, corn, a little sour cream, and guac if I’m feeling crazy (I usually am.). Mmmmm Chipotle. – Claire Higgins, Account Executive
  • Oh em gee, the chicken bowl dude. No problems exist when you got yourself a chicken bowl. – Emily Donoho, Junior Designer
  • My go-to staple at Chipotle lately has been to get 3 flour tortilla tacos with white rice, pico de gallo, cheese and sour cream. The taco option allows me to get a variety of the meat options…I typically get two steak tacos and one chicken taco. I usually walk into Chipotle with the intention of getting the salad but that quickly goes away once I get up to the line. I should just say, “carbs please!” – Marielena Santana, Vie President
  • Gotta go burrito – white rice, steak (because anything else is child’s play), mild, corn (a little more than a spoonful), cheese, sour cream (extra, obvi) and guac (because you’re doing it wrong if you don’t get guac) – Jackie Berte, Senior Account Executive
  • Chipotle is rare for me but WHEN I go it’s almost always a salad bowl with rice, black beans, tomatoes, cheese and extra guac (obvi). Occasionally I’ll throw in a side of chips – Kelsey Merkel, Account Director
  • My absolute favorite is a burrito bowl with chicken, white rice, tomato salsa, sour cream, cheese, and if I’m feeling really fancy, I’ll top it off with some guacamole. – Yana Berliner, Office Administrator
  • So many great options, but my go to is definitely the chicken salad bowl. With guacamole, if I’m feeling fancy. – Megan Sweat, Senior Account Executive
  • Steak bowl with brown rice and EVERYTHING on it… – Sylvia Zhou, Senior Account Executive

We did have one outlier though…

  • I have 99 vices, and Chipotle ain’t one. Judge away. – Scott Berwitz, Vice President

Trumping the Media

Regardless of your political beliefs, Donald Trump is unlike any “politician” in recent memory. He’s never been one to pull verbal punches, which is why I say “politician” in quotes, because he’s far from your stereotypical elected representative.  From his racist terms against certain demographic groups and objectifying phrases towards women, it’s no secret Trump doesn’t hold back. His most recent contretemps came when he had Univision reporter Jorge Ramos ejected from a press conference.

From a PR agency’s perspective, the Donald’s approach is a nightmare. While being “politically correct” is not Trump’s MO, it should be for the rest of normal human society, and Trump’s style and approach are definitely not the way a potential President should behave. To make matters even worse, many of his remarks are not supported by facts, which make them even more outlandish. His comments towards women are uncalled for, and he’s leaving a wide trail of very angry people – and media stations – in his wake.

donald time magazineThat said, his approach has led to a media craze, including the cover of Time this week. What was once a circus now has to be taken more seriously. It’s a unique stance that, from a purely objective angle, is refreshing, considering the election is more than twelve months away. It’s provided some buzz in the dog days of summer, even if it’s for the wrong reasons.

Meanwhile, the news media can’t get enough, and I’m sure the funny folks at Saturday Night Live hope Trump mania continues for their upcoming season. We’ll be following Trump over the next year to keep up with his words – and media buzz – and be sure to share our thoughts here on The Hit Board.

From Bathing Suit to Business Casual, Let Your Co-Workers Get to Know the True You

It’s 11891894_10154162984313079_1388583280605041189_ovirtually inevitable – work long enough with certain people and you’re bound to run into them at a restaurant. Or at the gym.  Or at a company outing in the Hamptons laying out at the pool (more on this in a moment).  These are the moments when your co-workers become “people” or even potentially “friends.”  They are also instrumental to building the type of the congenial, collaborative, transparent work experience so many companies strive to attain.

In a recent article in Fast Company on the cultures at Facebook, Ideo and Virgin Airlines,  a theme of blending the personal with professional at the companies featured runs throughout the story.  “Bring your authentic self to work,” says Facebook.  Virgin Atlantic looks to hire people with a “comfort in sharing their personalities.”  Clark Scheffy, Managing Director at IDEO, implores employees to “bring their whole selves to the workplace.”  The days of putting on a corporate guise every time you walk through the office doors apparently is a relic.  More than ever before, authenticity is the cornerstone of a transparent company culture.

DiGennaro Communications took that to heart during our recent summer outing in the Hamptons – where many of us saw each other in a new light – sunlight!  There’s a moment of authenticity that comes when you’re standing next to a coworker in a bathing suit in a pool rather than sitting next to that same person in a business suit at your desk.

The most effective company cultures are the ones that stress that we present our true selves to our co-workers and feel comfortable with one another.  That’s as true in the conference room as it is in the pool.  I speak from experience when I say there’s nothing quite like watching your co-worker float by in a massive inflatable pink flamingo while shooting everyone with a water gun.

By: Scott Berwitz

To PR a ‘Mockingbird’

Today’s release of Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee’s second book following the American staple of  literature To Kill a Mockingbird, signifies a landmark in a widely considered “dying” industry of book publishing. In the book world, this “new” novel is comparable to any hit summer blockbuster movie.

Underneath the fans’ passion lies a heap of controversy and ethical question marks. Among them are concerns over Harper Lee’s health and whether she actually agreed to publish this book, years after vowing to never publish again. Lots of Lee’s close friends point the finger at her lawyer, Tonja Carter, citing she’s taking advantage of Lee in her old age. In a savvy PR move, Carter provided her story in an op-ed to the Wall Street Jounal of how Watchman went from being stuck in a safety deposit box to being made available to millions of excited fans today.

The public may never know the true story behind Lee’s change of heart or if Carter is telling the truth, but we recognize a valiant effort by Carter to take control of her message in hopes to set the record straight.

With summer season upon us, it’s always a great time to catch up on a new book. Our colleagues are voraciously consuming new, non-fiction, best sellers and best-beloved books.

If you’re looking for a good book to while away the hours until Labor Day and beyond, you might find some inspiration here:

 Kendra Peavy, General Manager, Director of Development

Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Knopf 2013)
Fiction

Kendra says, “Americanah covers race, relationships and identity. It pulls you into the politically complex world of Nigeria at the turn of the 21st century and the love story of Ifemelu and Obinze. It takes an interesting approach to storytelling that is direct, but still descriptive. You feel the energy and emotion of the characters and fall in love with their process of discovery. My sister made the recommendation and gave me her copy of the book. She thought I’d enjoy it.”

Maryliz Ghanem, Vice President

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, Jon Krakauer (Doubleday 2015)
Non-Fiction

Maryliz says, “Krakauer reports on a series of sexual assaults at the University of Montana. He shares the stories of the victims, the accused and law enforcement in a beautiful narrative that brings to life this serious issue. This isn’t an ‘easy’ summer read but anything Krakauer writes is brilliant. He’s an amazing storyteller, even when he’s reporting on such a tough subject. He draws you in, makes you question everything and leaves you wanting more.  This book was recommended for me on GoodReads.”

Theresa Piti, Office Manager

1Q84, Haruki Murakami (Knopf 2011)
Fiction

From the cover blurb: “A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —‘Q is for ‘question mark.’”

Theresa says, “It’s a dual narrative story and as of yet, I’m not sure where it will converge. I’m a fan of Japanese fiction. A friend recommended it and off I went.”

Scott Berwitz, Vice President

Inferno, Dan Brown (Doubleday 2013)
Fiction

Scott says the book involves “a famed Harvard professor who wakes up in a strange hospital after having survived an attempt on his life.  He has to make sense of his predicament while being hunted down by his would-be killers – a task made ever more difficult by the short-term amnesia he suffers from the attack.  What results is a fascinating journey through Florence and the underworld depicted in Dante’s Inferno. It’s sort of a cerebral thrill ride, a really exciting read. I’ve loved other books by this author such as, The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.

Claire Higgins, Account Executive

The World According to Garp, John Irving (1978, republished 1999 by Ballantine)
Fiction

This story chronicles the life of T.S. Garp, the bastard son of a feminist, following him from infancy through all the pivotal moments in his life.  Claire says, “It’s very long, and a little long-winded, but John Irving is a favorite of mine so I had to pick it up and am determined to finish it. Once I hit the most climatic moment in the story, I haven’t been able to put it down. It’s very realistic, heartbreaking at times, and dryly and subtly funny, which I like. I liked John Irving after reading A Prayer for Owen Meany (William Morrow 1989), but both were recommended to me by my aunt and grandma. Irving is a fave of theirs, too.”

Advertising: More Than Just an Award

Amir Kassaei, CCO, DDB Worldwide

Amir Kassaei, CCO, DDB Worldwide

DDB Worldwide’s Chief Creative Officer, Amir Kasseai, gave a raw and personal speech that addressed the state of the advertising industry.  Using an introspective lens, he brought attention to the fact that the industry has a tendency to forget about the real values and the real purpose: connecting with real people.

In a jaw-dropping presentation, Amir shared three short stories, each bringing to light how far the industry has strayed since its initial conception.  There used to be a time when advertising had an impact on society, culture, music, etc.  The industry has lost its focus.

Advertising is not about being the “chief asshole officer of some f**ing agency”, Amir said.  It shouldn’t only be about awards.  Winning an award only means you’re good at wining an award. He asked the audience when the last time someone’s child was truly excited to hear they won [insert any award here] and was met with laughter and applause. Because the truth of the matter is, advertising isn’t about that. It’s about truth, love, responsibility and purpose.

Amir ended the last session of Cannes Lions 2015 pleading with the audience (and industry as a whole) to remember their purpose, be honest with themselves, respect people and don’t waste talent doing things that are completely irrelevant – Do This or Die.

Can We Go “Off The Record” ?

There are three little words that, when improperly construed, can get an executive in a lot of trouble when talking to the media.  What are they?  “Off the record.”

Just exactly what does that mean?  The phrase is one of the most misunderstood in journalism and is open to some degree of interpretation.  As such, executives doing interviews with the press must make sure everyone at the table is crystal clear as to its meaning before any sensitive information is imparted.

The most popular definition is that it means the information a journalist is given in an interview cannot be included in the reporter’s article under any circumstances.  The information is strictly for the journalist’s edification and for contextual purposes to help him/her understand the nuances of the story being reported. They can’t use it directly or indirectly. Period.

But not everyone agrees with that interpretation.  Some reporters (and their editors) believe “off the record” means they can use the information as long as they don’t attribute it directly to the person who is giving it to them.  In other circles, that definition falls under going “on background” with the reporter.  And that opens another door that could be troublesome.  If a reporter does use the information, exactly how is it attributed, and to whom?

Some reporters say “according to a source” while others might attribute the information to “a source with direct knowledge of the situation.”  And that leads to another potential pitfall—what if only three or four people have “direct knowledge of the situation”? Then it becomes possible to narrow down the possible source, and that can lead to finger pointing among the people being covered in the story.  And that can damage business relationships.  Another scenario occurs when the information is attributed to “an agency source” or “a company source”?  Again, that can lead to the source being narrowed down and more easily identified.

The best course of action is to make the rules of engagement perfectly clear from the outset.  If at any point in the interview a reporter asks to go off the record, or if the person being interview decides it’s best to go off the record for whatever reason, make sure each party defines the term immediately.  If it is agreed that the information can be used, then both parties also must decide exactly how it will be attributed.

One final, crucial tip–always remember that all these negotiations must take place before any delicate information is given to a journalist.  It’s exceedingly bad form and totally unfair to give a reporter an important piece of information and then tell him/her it’s off the record after the fact. That’s not the way the game is played and it’s the mark of a rank amateur.

THERE’S NO “I” IN PRESS RELEASE

Press releases are to public relations like TV commercials are to advertising.   In a time of customized messaging – of programmatic advertising and brand-to-consumer tweets – the traditional 30-second spot can come off a bit like a relic of a bygone media era.  Rather than tailored to the specific interests of an increasingly granular audience, a press release seems too “one-size-fits-all” to stand on its own and hook an audience.

The press release shares another point of similarity with traditional TV advertising:  a lot of smart people have been (wrongly) predicting its demise for some time.

The press release – like any other form of communication – has evolved over time.  Once a standalone document that could be blasted out en masse, it now needs to be part of a larger PR toolkit that includes social media outreach, individualized pitches, real-time tie-ins, etc. to generate impact.

For all its limitations, a press release offers a number of strong value propositions to its sender(s) as well as its receiver(s).  For the sender, the internal approval process is essential – insuring that whatever goes out to the press is cleared by executive leadership, legal representation, etc.  Any mistake – from a factual inaccuracy to a typo – lives on in infamy on the Internet.  The formal review process that is required of a press release is integral to protecting an organization from making an irrevocable error.

For the receiver – i.e., the media – the press release is a factual reference sheet.  Its headline places the main news value front and center.  The spokespeople are identified and quoted.  The key story elements – from background facts to company overviews, etc., – are all contained within.  The actual format of a press release may seem dated to some – but the notion of it – its purpose and content – is absolutely core to communicating a company’s news to the press.  If it were to be eliminated – it would have to be replaced by something very similar in substance, if not style.

It’s about evolution, not elimination.  TV advertising has evolved from an isolated channel to working in tandem with digital media; a TV spot is part of the overall cross-channel marketing mix rather than an island all its own.  Press releases are evolving as well—from a catch-all press document that stands on its own to a key part of the PR toolkit – most effective when part of a “team.”

There’s no “I” in press release.

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