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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.

Bon Jour, Cannes!

The Ad world morphs at lightning speed. Traditional lines of branded entertainment, advertising, technology and media companies continue to blur, data scientists now sit alongside artists, data has become a crucial part of the creative process, etc. One of the only constants is The Cannes Lions Festival – the industry’s global celebration of creativity. It remains the center point of the ad world– a moment for all of us to look back and honor the best of our industry while simultaneously looking ahead and preparing for the changes yet to come. If the festival has changed at all, it’s only that it’s gotten bigger.

With this year’s event just days away, our team will be on the ground supporting clients and sharing the week’s most exciting news, bringing you insights from industry players, highlighting trends and observations and sharing live content right from the Croisette. As in years past, this year’s festival has attracted top names to the Palais including, Vannes Bayer (Saturday Night Live), Anthony Bourdain, Anderson Cooper, David Copperfield and many more.

Some of the sessions we’re excited about:

  • Tuesday, June 21, 11:00AM: “How to Change The World Through Advertising”, Cindy Gallop, Lions Lounge
  • Wednesday, June 22, 10:00AM: “Fireside Chat with Daniel Ek, Spotify”, Inspiration Stage
  • Thursday, June 23, 3:30PM: “Is Technology Making Creative More Intelligent” Mark Douglas, SteelHouse, Jose Molla, the community
  • Friday, June 24, 4PM: “Music as Marketing: Flipping the Script on Celebrity Talent” Jared Gustadt, Jingle Punks, Inspiration Stage

We expect a jam-packed week with lots of learnings, applauding the best of the best, networking with clients, prospects and friends, and, hopefully, having a moment in all the fracas to take a sip of rose and toast to everyone’s hard work.

Please check for updates on the DGC Hit Board, Facebook, Twitter and our new Instagram feed!

Face-to-Face With Mobile’s Future

Mobile World Congress 2016

Day One has closed on the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the largest conference in the world dedicated to the art and science of mobile technology. It’s a gathering of the greats who believe passionately in unlocking mobile’s untapped potential.

Mobile video was a headline theme of the day and the topic of a colorful debate in the “Mobile Video Explosion” panel discussion. It was an all-star line-up of the industry’s best mobile players – from Facebook to YouTube to Viacom to Netflix – each sharing their unique points of view.

Facebook’s Head of Global Tech & Telco Strategy, Jane Schachtel shared her views on how video is pushing the boundaries of innovation by creating immersive experiences for people and businesses. Facebook is seeing numerous brands seizing upon this opportunity and firmly believes that video is, “the” global medium that transcends language barriers and sparks great creativity. image1.jpeg

“We’re building a canvas for businesses,” said Schachtel. “If the content is relevant, people will create it and continue to discover it. The richness and relevance on your newsfeed is what’s helped drive such explosive video growth at Facebook.”

Alex Wellen, CNN’s chief product officer, explained how the app, CNNgo, is tracking every story in real time, each minute of the year, annotating real frames with every piece of live content that augments the story.

But there are challenges at the 24 hour news network. CNN “needs to be a technology and storytelling company at the same time, and it’s really tough to be famous for both,” mused Wellen.

There’s good news, though: “People are now binging on [Anthony] Bordain, when no one had consumed news programming like this in the past.”

David Benson, Director, Brand Strategy EMEA for YouTube, agreed about binge watching mobile video content, which he said is driving deep change in the market. Benson added that 400 hours of content are uploaded via YouTube every minute.

“The way in which we consume and connect has been rewritten by mobile,” Benson added. He posited there’s no more water cooler chatter and comparing notes about, “what you watched last night.” In its place, we have become a culture of spoiler alerts and binge-watching.
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“We’re having less sex as a result,” said Benson, who cordially invited us to chat with him after the panel for more info on the “sex” stat.

The consensus among all the panelists: Mobile is exploding and there’s an obligation to continue to make great content — via stellar storytelling — so that people will to want to engage.

In his day-one closing keynote, the one-and-only Mark Zuckerberg took the video discussion to the next level saying that video will have to get increasingly better for virtual reality; in particular, resolution will have to be very high.

Zuckerberg closed with something important to consider, “Video is just as big in 2016 as mobile was in 2012. Bandwidth opens up desire to make and consume videos, which makes the developers want more, which ultimately perpetuates demand.”

 A great finish to a great opening day.

 I am looking forward to a week of seeing and hearing about the technology and creativity that is going to reshape our world.

 More soon.  #MWC16 #MWCVID

 

 

AdAge Digital Day One: Viewability, Humanity, #failing

 The 9th Ad Age Digital Conference kicked off today in New York with a packed first day lineup. Some of the hot topics addressed today included viewability, humanity, and failing.

The morning’s first discussion between Rob Norman, Global Chief Digital officer at GroupM and Lisa Valentino, SVP, Digital Sales at Conde Nast, surprised some in the audience when the two executives vaguely discussed the terms of a recent deal where Conde Nast agreed to only charge GroupM’s clients for ads that were guaranteed to be viewed by consumers. While 100% viewability is never a guarantee, the two partners stressed that they reached an acceptable & agreed upon viewability level for their ad units.

The afternoon panel “The Story Makers” talked about the evolution of storytelling to storymaking – where consumers work with brands to create the story. Hirschhorn stated that it can be much less risky for brands to enter stories already being told rather than create one of their own.  Anne Lewnes, SVP and CMO of Adobe, showed an inspiring video celebrating Adobe Photoshop’s 25 year anniversary wholly created with user-generated imagery and exhorts viewers to “Dream On.”

We loved the “Fail Fast Forward” series of 10 minute vignettes, that highlighted a “fail” moment, the learning, and what was implemented to “fix” things. Meredith Kopit Levien, EVP, Advertising, New York Times, led with the story of a 161-year old article in the Times about Solomon Northup, aligned with the release of Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, and a subsequent Gawker piece entitled “This Is the 161-Year-Old New York Times Article About 12 Years a Slave  that performed way, way better than the Times piece about the original article.

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The three actions the Times took? One was to “defy the gravity of tradition”, by embracing the notion that finding the audience is just as important as the story itself — Alexandra MacCallum was recently appointed to audience development and there is now a “masthead level” or leadership-level focus on finding the right audience. Two was to “Invent new ways to create value” which spurred the creation of T-Brand Studio and the Times’ entrance into the branded content biz, continuing striving to create content that makes people feel things, regardless of whether it is paid or not. Number 3. is to “never lose sight of what got us there in the first place” summed up with two simple words: Quality. Storytelling.

Our favorite quotable from the “Moving at the Speed of Culture” interview with Beats by Dre’s Omar Johnson: Jimmy Iovine said to me one day “What’s a SWAT? Your job is to sell headphones, right?” We had to work at a speed that most brands don’t have to. And they live it every day – Beats agency, R/GA, has to present every idea on one slide. Love this challenge!

Atlas’ Jennifer Kattula wrapped the day eloquently with “Five Things Marketers Ought to Know,” challenging us to move on from the Four Ps from Philip Kotler’s 1967 book Marketing Management, to the 4 Cs…. from Product to Choice, Price to Convenience, Place to Cross-Device, and Promotion to Creative Sequencing. Some compelling stats within, including touting the cookie’s demise and how people-based marketing is more effective for reaching the right people at the right time – something that digital marketers have a responsibility to aim higher on.

Super Bowl XLIV Preview: The Biggest Event of the Year

This year, the high holy day of American sports falls on Feb. 1, with kick off set for 6:30 p.m., ET as the Seattle Seahawks face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.

An estimated television audience of 112 million will include a significant number of non-sports fans who are most interested in the commercials, for which NBC sold air time at a record $4.5 million per 30-second spot.

Here at DGC, we revel in all of it: The game, the parties, the commercials, the half-time show, the real-time marketing moments, social media, the second screen, the entire omni-channel experience and, of course, the PR opportunities that abound.

DGC staffers want all of our clients to win, but some have taken sides regarding the two teams that will actually play the game. Click on the video to find who they’re rooting for and why.

Say “No Mas!” To Segmenting Your PR Strategy

Most marketers are paying attention to multicultural audiences and, in particular, U.S. Hispanics. No wonder: with 131 Hispanic babies born every hour into a population that represents $1.2 trillion in purchasing power, Hispanics are an important consumer group for companies to reach.

Companies are being urged to incorporate a “total market approach” meaning they should consider a cross-cultural approach to marketing – one that taps into universal truths, rather than specific ethnic groups. In theory, if this approach is deployed correctly, it allows organizations to influence and reach all consumers – not just one segment of the population. However, what many do not realize is that even if your company employs a total market approach, your strategy can fall apart once it’s turned over to PR.

If you are utilizing a total market approach, your PR strategies must be aligned. Here are tips to ensure you’re covering all bases:

  • Understand the audience: The majority of Hispanics, specifically millennial Hispanics, consider themselves “ambicultural” – meaning they feel 100% Latino and 100% American and are easily able to switch from one culture to another. This cultural duality creates an appetite for all things Hispanic. Total market PR campaigns and communications should be culturally relevant and reflective of this Latino-American life. A reminder to stay devoid of stereotypes and sensitivities by doing research beforehand.
  • Get your PR teams talking: If you represent a large organization or brand, you most likely have two PR agencies or teams – one exclusively handling your multicultural outreach that works within its own silo. If you are managing multiple PR agencies, make sure teams are coordinated and utilize a cross-cultural strategy. Total market PR campaigns that share a common cultural thread – a Hispanic spokesperson or a nod to a Hispanic passion point (e.g., multi-generational families, Latin-inspired music or food) can prove to be more effective with all audiences – not just Hispanics.
  • Reach your audience where it consumes content: The media industry now includes more than 100 networks dedicated to Hispanic programming – with hundreds upon hundreds of print, radio and online media outlets targeted to this audience. Don’t exclude media outlets that may only target Spanish-speaking Hispanics or similarly, English-speaking consumers, in general. A lot of Hispanics consume content in both languages so it’s likely to have more of an impact if you get your message in both.

It’s also important to know that Hispanics watch 62 percent more digital video than non-Hispanics – about six hours of video per month on their mobile phones according to Nielsen. And according to eMarketer, 72 percent of Hispanic Internet users will use social networking in 2014 vs. 68 percent of the total population. For these ultra-engaged Hispanics, digital and social media offer an immediate way to start a fruitful dialogue.

Successful PR lasts beyond a campaign or project. Similarly, total market PR initiatives should be consistent and continuous with audiences. Look beyond short-term ROI and consider engaging Hispanics with long-term communications. Known for their considerable loyalty to brands, this will prove worthwhile in the end.

Food for Thought: How Advertisers Can Stoke Super Bowl Buzz Year Round

When it comes to reaching a mass audience, TV is the undisputed king of all media (sorry, Howard Stern). Or is it? In this column, originally published in Adweek, Radha Subramanyam of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment demonstrates how radio delivers not only reach, but receptivity and the sense of community consumers want. Read on for insights on how marketers can create Super Bowl-style results with the original social medium:

How Advertisers Can Stoke Super Bowl Buzz Year Round

Look to radio for reach, receptivity and community By Radha Subramanyam

Football fans around the country geared up for weeks before last Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers and their opposing coaches—brothers Jim and John Harbaugh, who took sibling rivalry to new heights.

The big game did not disappoint.

From the power outage to the 49ers mounting an almost-comeback to that electric Beyoncé performance—there was no shortage of drama. And the commercials were no exception.

For marketers, advertising during the Super Bowl is a once-a-year moment of unprecedented reach and consumer attention. Never does advertising have a more captive audience. But most brands can’t afford the $3.8 million it takes to buy just a 30-second spot. What’s more, everyday TV buys don’t come close to generating the awareness of a Super Bowl spot—and in fact, can be a fumble for brands.

The magic of the Super Bowl ad spectacle is that rare alchemy of reach, receptivity and community. Don’t underestimate the power of community; at a time when we are more plugged in than ever through email, Twitter and Facebook, what many of us actually yearn for is to feel really connected. That’s the feeling we get when we’re sitting around the living room with family and friends, engaged in a common experience—like the Super Bowl. But if you want to achieve Super Bowl-sized results all year, radio is the only medium that delivers a Super Bowl kind of reach, receptivity and community year round.

To read the full column, click here.

Super Bowl XLVII – Cut the Lights, Cue the Tweets

Super Bowl hype has become almost formulaic over the years. In the weeks leading up to the actual game, many marketers release their TV spots in increments online for everyone to get an early look. Then there’s the game, which always has an exhilarating halftime show. The commercials are discussed ad nauseum for days afterward. It’s clear the formula is working. This year the Bowl didn’t break its own record, but still reached the 100 million viewer threshold. The only real variable is the game itself, which was another exciting finish featuring the extremely rare voluntary safety play.

When the lights went out in the third quarter,  we reached uncharted territory; the largest event of the year was put on hold due to a power outage, and the networks, players, fans in the stands and the viewing audience were scratching our heads. Some ads like Bud Light’s Lucky Chair were run again to fill the gap. Many took to social networks.

My personal Twitter feed was full of jokes – the most common being Bane / The Dark Knight Rises references, Beyonce’s “second” performance, and crude Ray Lewis jokes – but the tweets that stood out the most were from brands.

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Oreo stole the show by following the brand’s “Whisper Fight” spot with a tweet that perfectly inserted their product into the immediate chaos of the blackout.  Other kudos go to Audi, PBS, and Tide. I’ll even give credit to Calvin Klein, though that Vine was for a different target audience than the one I belong to, but I digress.

While massive marketing events like the Super Bowl seem so planned out from every possible angle, the lesson learned – for PR professionals, advertisers, social media gurus, and others, is to always be ready to make the most of the unexpected and quickly adapt to the unknown. Of course,  that is much easier said than done but these brands showed us it’s possible, and can help change brand perception with just 140 characters and a mouse click.

Let the countdown for Super Bowl XLVIII begin. We hope MetLife Stadium in New Jersey can withstand the high power consumption that the Super Bowl demands.

Truth and Privacy in Advertising – Is it ‘Mission: Impossible?’

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As the advertising world continues to collide with the digital age, issues of consumer privacy and truthfulness in marketing are at the forefront of everyone’s minds. These were the topics addressed in an Advertising Week event Thursday evening hosted by MediaCom, Davis & Gilbert LLP, and Idevoita at the Liberty Theater in New York.

Following an introduction by MediaCom U.S. CEO Sasha Savic, Jonathan Salem Baskin – who co-authored the newly-published Tell The Truth with MediaCom’s own Sue Unerman – shared his views on the relationship between transparency, purchaser data, and the emergence of “brand truth” as a basis for effective customer relationships. He discussed why it is so important for brands to be honest and forthcoming with consumers, especially in today’s world where brands don’t only talk TO consumers, but also WITH them via social channels. The consumer has more power now than ever before, and advertisers can use this as an asset when they correctly – and honestly – engage with the buying public.

Also part of the presentation was a conversation between Ronald Urbach, Chairman of the law firm Davis & Gilbert, and FTC Commissioner Julie Brill. They addressed a wide range of topics critical to the advertising industry, from privacy to data collection and security, citing specific examples and particular responsibilities of the government agency.

The packed theater was addressed by the real life Frank Abagnale, who was famously portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the big screen classic “Catch Me If You Can.” Abignale told his life story from teenage runaway turned identity thief to convicted criminal and FBI informant and academy instructor.

Following the event was a cocktail reception at Lucille’s (inside B.B. King’s Blues Club) sponsored by MediaCom and Evidon.

What do you think are the biggest issues regarding privacy and advertising? What brands do you think “tell the truth” the best? Or the worst? Share your thoughts below.

DGC Rewind

This is the first in a series titled “DGC Rewind”, pioneered and written by our summer intern, Julia Tomasek.

Before finding our niches in the whirlwind world of PR, many of us here at DGC have experienced an array of previous jobs that were interesting, unexpected, and even humorous, helping to enrich our already effervescent office environment.

By digging into the past employment of my fellow coworkers, I aim to showcase the diverse pool of characters we have working here at DiGennaro Communications. The “DGC Rewind” blog series will introduce readers to the multi-faceted experiences of my coworkers that shaped the unique, hard-working individuals they are today.

DGC founder Sam DiGennaro (aka Sammy D) used to spend her college summers supervising rowdy kids as well as manning a mini-bus to transport them to and from “the world’s best day camp.” A favorite among campers and counselors alike, Sam had patience and bottomless energy, two traits that won her the “Counselor of the Year” title at the camp.

Sam’s “celebrity” status at the camp even landed her a spot in their national commercial, where she was shown directing her troops into the mini-bus she drove, transporting them to a typical fun-filled day at camp. (See video at 0:09).

DGC’s President, Howard Schacter, also has a noteworthy occupational past. In the mid-90’s, Howard’s sports-marketing/PR job sent him on a month-long journey to the Maui Invitational NCAA Basketball Tournament–all expenses paid. It was an ideal trip for the self-proclaimed basketball junkie, providing Howard the opportunity to meet some of his favorite players and coaches like Dean Smith and Bob Knight.

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Above, DGC’s Howard Schacter presides over a press conference with University of North Carolina’s Coach Dean Smith and guard Jeff MacInnis at the 1995 NCAA Maui Invitational.

However, the saying “work hard, play hard” definitely resonates here, as Howard and his colleagues were responsible for transforming Chaminade University’s small-scale recreation center into a major venue to facilitate media coverage and relations for the 75 press who attended the event. Howard’s experience with this sports-marketing firm is reflective of DGC’s brand message that working hard does not necessarily have to be painful. It can be fun, too.

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