Blog Archives

Creativity Matters

Thank you creativity.

It’s the clear theme of the 2016 Cannes Lions Festival. And it’s also what you can’t help but feel when you walk inside the Palais or stroll down the Croisette.

No one deserves that thanks more than Spotify’s Daniel who personifies creativity. His passion for innovation has helped Spotify become one of the world’s largest streaming platforms and he is not stopping there.

Video and data are two of the most prominent trends at Cannes – both of which Ek was quick to point out Spotify has in abundance and will look for innovative ways to good use. Spotify’s deep insights into who is listening to what, when and where has impacted every facet of the music business. Bands like Metallica are analyzing what songs are most listened to in each city on their tour to determine what their playlist will be for that particular show.

Creativity has also found its way into the American presidential race. Creativity on the Stump, a panel that featured PR players and writers from Politico, looked at the campaigns of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. In a “one-minute” news cycle, Trump’s unorthodox but authentic approach, especially on Twitter, is rewriting political campaigns. Not lost though was Sander’s more traditional TV spot “America.” Borrowing its soundtrack from Simon and Garfunkel, the comparably long (.60) spot demonstrates that even in an age of social media, the power of creative television advertising is very much alive and well. That ad notwithstanding, Politico’s editor in chief, John Harris, did proclaim that Donald Trump might be a better marketer than most everyone in Cannes.

While creativity is essential to winning Lions it’s vital to attracting and winning new business. Flanking the Palais are rows of cabanas where the likes of tech startup Luma hand out cans of oxygen to passersby and host clients and prospects for meetings looking out towards the Mediterranean.  Beyond the Palais are rows of yachts where agencies and their partners like SteelHouse and the Daily Mail have taken up residence for the week hosting clients. On land, SteelHouse’s CEO Mark Douglas looks to discuss how technology is making creativity more intelligent. He’ll be speaking alongside Jose Molla, Founder & co-chief creative officer at The Community and Peter Horst, Chief Marketing Officer for The Hershey Company. Global media agency, MEC has taken imaginative marketing to a whole new level with their welcoming presence at the Carlton Hotel. Throughout the week, MEC plays host to a number of sessions including Breaking the Band which looks at how MEC Wavemaker, its content specialist arm, helped uncover an aspiring new brand.

Other themes throughout the week remain centered on technology, the blurred lines between agencies and brands and the merits of the work being shown in the Palais. Cannes celebrates all the rapid fire changes in our industry, but holds paramount the one unchanging element that separates the best work from the ad clutter: creativity. That will never change.

Forbes Shares “Aha” Moments of America’s Top Entrepreneurs

Image via Forbes

We’re in the throes of election season where topics like job creation and unemployment rates are being thrown around by candidates, pundits and citizens, alike. Did you catch last night’s debate?

While both sides of the aisle have ideas for change, Jim Clifton, the Chairman of Gallup, suggested that what we really need is more entrepreneurship inspiring people to start companies and grow organizations, ultimately leading to more job opportunities.

Well, ForbesAlan Hall recently spoke with 100 founders of growing businesses about the “Aha” moments that solidified their decision to move forward with their entrepreneurial initiative -– what inspired them, how they did it and ultimately, how many jobs they created in the process.

Our very own Samantha DiGennaro weighed in, explaining that after 15 years as a corporate communication executive at global companies where corporate politics “starved her soul,” she knew she could build a better alternative. And so, DiGennaro Communications was born.

Read on to be inspired by the experiences of 99 other talented entrepreneurs in “100 Founders Share Their Top “Aha” Moments — Guess How Many Jobs They’ve Created So Far?”

From Across the Pond: Every Little Added Value Helps

Sometimes it’s refreshing to hear a PR person share her thoughts from a consumer perspective on what brands should be doing to improve shopper loyalty and marketing programs. Claudia_M at Eulogy recently shed light on the fact that today’s consumers – even across the pond – want the brands they use day-in and day-out to listen to their desires and reward them for their continued business.  Take a look below at her opinions on Tesco, BBC and Starbucks, and let us know your thoughts on the matter. For one…Many DGCers would welcome the chance to have an extra shot of coffee in our tall mocha every morning…

It’s common knowledge that the marketing services sector has never had to work harder to gain consumer trust and as a consumer and PR professional alike I feel that this is how it should be. I don’t want to be told what to do, I will make up my own mind whether I choose to buy a product or use one service over another. As consumers we’ve never been so powerful – we can pick and choose where we spend our hard-earned cash and have disloyal love affairs with different brands. “Customer is king” and all that jazz. But seriously, it’s one thing for a consumer to buy a product and a whole different matter for a brand to expect us to be their long term “friend.” Brands must adapt, particularly as we’re increasingly inclined to jump ship for better value. I have been working with marketing agency {united} who are keen to tease out the balance that brands provide in value but also in standing up for their values. This has got me thinking about how brands go beyond selling a product – it’s everything (and added extras) that comes with it. So beyond the cheap price tag, what brands are giving back a little more to the consumer?

Marketing services has a strong role to play in improving people’s lives and helping us to live them. Just a few weeks ago the senior vice-president of marketing at Unilever warned that the profession has become about “selling for selling’s sake” and that it needs to move beyond a pure commercial stance to promote products that “create progress and improve lives.” It was a bold argument which I wholeheartedly agree with. I question the marketing strategies of some of the most well-known behemoths. Take Tesco. Or should I say ‘Detestco.’ Tesco imposes itself on every one of our communities like a stranger that arrives uninvited. In return we receive a highly prized 2-4-1 offer! It has such a great strapline, ‘Every little helps.’ However, it doesn’t do anything in little proportions. Tesco marketing department should perhaps look more deeply into the meaning behind such a promise. Having been largely responsible for changing the look of retail, driving out independent stores by selling everything from clothes to irons, I’d like to see Tesco helping and educating customers to live a little better. Could it remove all plastic carrier bags from its stores perhaps? And the recent halving of Clubcard points awarded per pound of purchases was not such a good idea – it looks to many shoppers as if it is giving with one hand and taking with the other. It is its own fault for getting customers addicted to points in the first place.

Yet, there are some brands out there that are taking steps to listen to consumers’ needs. The beautiful BBC for one. It was no surprise that the world’s best known broadcasting brand made it to 5th place in the recent Consumer Superbrands index. What I admire about it is how it increasingly engages with and responds to consumers’ desires. Choosing to listen to social media groundswell when supporters of BBC 6 Music tried to save it from closure really sticks in my mind as an example of healthy brand-to-consumer friendship.

I have until recently been rather skeptical about Starbucks in terms of its brand values (although I am admittedly swayed by a skinny Frapa-dappa-ccino, or whatever they’re called). Starbucks hasn’t always been friendly to its customers in giving them a little extra to make them want to return, especially with the likes of Cafe Nero providing a good loyalty card scheme. But Starbucks is now providing such a scheme and even better news came last week that it will be pouring an extra shot of coffee into our cups at no extra cost. Amazing! And it’s all down to customer taunts that its coffee isn’t as good as Costa and Cafe Nero. Improving a service directly in response to their customers should keep them sweet and tempt others into the Starbucks fold.

These are just two random examples showing that brands can be aware and attentive to the consumer. As we move deeper into 2012, and with a raft of highly lauded marketing opportunities afoot for brands to capture the public’s attention, it’s time for venerable marketing to be woven into the fabric of the profession.

The ‘goody two shoes’ brand, that honors the consumer, has never looked so appealing.

Four DGC Clients Make Ad Age’s A-List

Advertising Age AdAge Agency A List 2012 DGC DiGennaro Communications winnersA huge congratulations to Arnold, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Organic and Translation – four DGC clients who made this year’s Ad Age & Creativity‘s A-List issues!  We’re incredibly proud of each for achieving this wonderful accolade. Here’s a little more about what each agency was honored for:

    • Arnold: Arnold earned the #10 spot on Ad Age’s A-List for impressive 2011 revenue growth, thanks to new business wins from Dell and Tribe Hummus and growth from existing clients like Volvo, Hershey and Ocean Spray. Arnold’s work for Progressive got special mention. Who doesn’t love Flo, the customer-service rep Arnold created for the brand? In addition to driving results, Flo was one of the most popular Halloween costumes of 2011. Progressive’s CMO says he treats the agency as “part of my extended staff.”
    • Goodby, Silverstein & Partners:  Goodby, Silverstein & Partners was named to Creativity’s A-List. Creativity editors called out the agency for striking a “technical and touching” tone with its Chevy “Then and Now” campaign. Also lauded: the agency’s stunts for Chevy, which included sending a Sonic on a digital remote-controlled bungee jump.
    • Organic: Organic was named Comeback Agency of the Year, thanks to an incredible new business run in 2011 following a recession-induced loss of two marquee accounts the previous year. Organic brought in more than 10 new pieces of business in 2011, brands like Pepsi, The Hartford, Hasbro, and more, and launched its first-ever TV spot, a collaboration with acclaimed filmmaker Darren Aronofksy, for the Meth Project.  It’s no wonder their client Kimberly-Clark called them “the smartest guys in the room.”
    • Translation:  Translation was honored as a standout agency of the year, thanks growing revenue by a staggering  60 percent last year and doubling their headcount. Translation received praise for bringing in major clients like Coca Cola and, Nokia. Next to come from Translation: a Super Bowl spot for Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light Platinum.

Not Sure What To Expect In 2012? Don’t Worry—There’s A Resolution For That.

With every New Year comes a new set of resolutions. “My diet starts January 1.” “I’m going to ride my bike to work.” “No more checking my Blackberry at the dinner table.”

Although those of us in the PR world probably wouldn’t last a week resolving to do the latter, the DGC team has resolutions of its own that it intends to keep this year:

  • Get rid of the garbage. PR would be the perfect profession for a hoarder—we are terrified to throw away anything that might be remotely important. But, our projects change on a daily basis, so it’s crucial to keep a clean desk and orderly files.
  • Print less paper. Half the battle of keeping yourself organized is killing fewer trees. If you’re running into a client call and need an agenda, skip the printer and read it off your iPhone. This is the digital age, after all.
  • Add it to the list. The only thing better than the power of creating a to-do list is the satisfaction of getting to cross those items off once they’re finished.
  • Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. By now we all know not to underestimate the power of spell-check, but more importantly, if you’re sending a mail-merge, make sure you’re not a mass message to the same reporter who you grabbed drinks with last week.
  • Eliminate industry jargon. If you cringe every time your clients describe their work as “innovative,” then you shouldn’t use that word either. Cleanses are all the rage right now—why not try one for your vocabulary?

Unnecessary abbreviations and heightened green practices aside, the unanimous theme of 2012 seems to be a shift toward embracing the human element of the business.  That means more face-to-face interaction, picking up the phone instead of emailing and improving work efficiency to drive more meaningful results. Business is not just about making money—it’s about building relationships.

Do you have a New Year’s PR resolution? Let us know in the comments section below!

On The First Day Of Christmas My Agency Gave To Me…

By the time the DGCers discovered the Forever Lazy, it was too late to order and brand them in time for our office holiday card photo shoot. Instead, we opted for something we were even more comfortable with: our tried and true media outlets. Whether laughing at a particularly amusing Ad Age article, peering creepily up from between the pages of Direct Marketing News or admiring an interview with Leonardo DiCaprio in The Hollywood Reporter, we wanted to wish our DGC network the best headlines in 2012. In addition, we’ve also spearheaded a new philanthropy effort at DGC this holiday season, participating in Toys for Tots and the New York Cares Annual Coat Drive.

Holiday cards and philanthropic efforts have become a tradition within the advertising industry, with agencies annually raising the bar for creativity. Here’s a look at what we’ve seen so far this year:

  • Arnell Group: The Arnell Group wishes all a happy holiday season with its digital snowflake card—a modern take on the paper snowflake.
  • Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide: Blue Chip, in a clever nod to Conan O’Brien’s “If They Mated” segment, morphs its employees faces together to showcase the beauty of being “united” this holiday season.
  • Ignited: Ignited proves that–no matter what—“there’s an app for that,” as its digital choir of iPhones sings “Deck The Halls.” Ignited will donate five cents to the Los Angeles Mission every time the video is viewed.
  • MKTG INC: There’s nothing like some good holiday snark, and for that we can count on MKTG INC. MKTG INC’s video card infomercial advertises the “Holiday Sock”…for that special someone who complained about the brand new iPad that you gifted them last year.
  • Modea: Modea’s Wisdom Tree of Wishful Wonders app ties with Facebook, where you can select the friend for whom you need a gift suggestion. After answering a series of questions, the app will serve up a gift recommendation for that friend. But watch out: this tree has a warped sense of humor.
  • Wing: Wing emphasizes charity, urging people to give back to children in need this holiday season through an interactive holiday graphic. If you don’t want to get this kid a present…Wing will literally keep asking you questions until he cries.

Have you seen any other great industry holiday cards this year? Please spread the cheer and share in the comments section below!

%d bloggers like this: