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SXSW 2013: The Inspiration of Beer + Technology

Beer + technology. Isn’t that what SXSW is all about? Anthony Stellato, the Head of Research and Prototyping at Arnold Worldwide knows it and his session Drinking Your Way To The Future walked his audience through what goes into making a talking, tweeting beer vending machine.

Arnie, Arnold’s resident beer dispenser, lives in the Boston headquarters. He’s a conversation-starter, perfect party guest and a key feature on tours of the agency. Arnie was born out of Arnold’s “Lab” thanks to their internal The Make Project initiative, that aims to set the stage for innovation. Arnie has earned himself a lot of media and as Stellato shared, people leave events at Arnold saying things like “You work for the best place in the world.”

Arnie in action with an Arnold staffer

Arnie in action with an Arnold staffer

There was an overwhelming sense of inspiration emanating from the audience. I don’t know that the audience members knew they could do this kind of work at an ad agency and many of the questions were talent-related. In fact, Arnie is really great for talent and not just because of the free beer. Ad shops are frequently competing for top digital talent and Arnie is a real, tangible example of the tech opportunities available at Arnold.

Stellato summed it up well by stating that if you don’t invest in hiring people whose job is to constantly be looking for new technology, you’ll fast become obsolete.

So what’s next for Arnie? Stellato would love to build voice recognition and a way to dispense Jack Daniel’s into Arnie 2.0. As Angela Wei, Arnold NY’s Chief Digital Officer so aptly stated, Surprising or not? the beer brewing part was harder than the tech part. Our thoughts: not surprising at all. As much as technology is close to our hearts, beer is closer for many, especially those at SXSW.

If you’re not tapped into the hardcore tech at SXSW, here are Stellato’s top picks for what’s hot:

  • Raspberry Pi, a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard.
  • Lead Motion, a motion controller that lets you control your computer with your hands without touching your computer.

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.
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