Madison Ave Insights

Detroit Punches Back

Posted in Advertising, Marketing

One of the biggest news stories of the last year occurred on December 3, 2013, when the city of Detroit became the largest municipality in the United States to enter Chapter 9 bankruptcy.  A decades-long economic decline saddled Detroit with $18 billion in debt, high crime rates, extensive urban blight and, it would seem, a problem marketing itself to potential visitors.

But Detroit is one hard city to knock out.  (It is the home of Joe Louis, after all.)  From the Model T to Kid Rock, the Motor City has contributed enormously to the manufacturing, musical, and cultural life of our nation, giving it an enduring appeal.  The only northern city to have hosted two Super Bowls, Detroit plays annual host to marquee events such as the annual North American International Auto Show, and has one of the best theater scenes in the country.  Throw in three casinos, hydroplane races on the Detroit river, and loveable local fare have a Coney dog while you’re in town and there are a whole lot of reasons to make a trip.

Perhaps most curiously, at the same time that Detroit’s bankruptcy is playing out, the city is undergoing an undeniable resurgence.  Dan Gilbert, the founder of Quicken Loans, has not only invested mightily in city real estate, but has led a movement in which employers are relocating thousands of jobs to the downtown core.  Neighborhoods like Midtown and Corktown are bustling with energy, development projects, and attractive new restaurants not to mention hipsters.  It truly is a pivotal moment in the history of a proud city, and one that offers plenty of lessons for urban tourism marketers.

 The Way I See It

  • I see events that make the rich history of the city relevant today like the Woodward Dream Cruise, in which classic car owners cruise Detroit’s main drag before crowds of one million people as an ideal avenue to introduce tourists to the appeal of the city.
  • I see the current revitalization of Detroit as an ideal time for new brands like Shinola to build on the city’s manufacturing heritage and use it to their benefit in marketing.
  • I see Detroit’s image as a positive, not a negative.  Everyone loves a hard-fighting underdog (remember Avis’s “We Try Harder” campaign?), and despite the city’s economic challenges, I think today’s conventions and tourists are more eager than ever to experience unique, authentic locales rich in arts and entertainment.

The Way the Industry Sees It

I sat down with Renee Monforton, Director of Communications with the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, to hear more about the fascinating task rich with challenges and opportunities in marketing the city of Detroit.

 

Q
How has the bankruptcy of Detroit affected your approach to marketing the city to conventions and other tourists?
A
The bankruptcy has actually served as an opportunity to tell the correct Detroit story while the eyes of the world are watching our city. Simultaneous with the bankruptcy, which is largely a city government issue and hasn’t impacted any services or amenities to visitors, another story is being written.  The story is that there has been more private investment in Detroit in two short years than in any time in decades.  More than 15,000 new employees have come downtown in the past two years and the city that was downtrodden a decade ago has now a 100 percent residential occupancy rate.  The city is undergoing an amazing transformation, truly earning its title as “America’s Great Comeback City,” the theme of our latest advertising campaign.  That’s the story we are now getting the opportunity to tell.
Q
What’s the top reason that visitors want to experience Detroit? Also, let’s talk about the city recently remodeled its convention center.  How important has that effort been in attracting conventions to the city, and what amenities are they most interested in?
A
Detroit has a multitude of events and world class attractions that lure more than fifteen million visitors a year. The five main attributes of our destination for tourism are cars, culture, gaming, music and sports – we have unmatched opportunities on those fronts.  And on the meetings side, our $279 million renovation of the Cobo Convention Center has served as a major catalyst for new convention business. Everything there has been upgraded: from the facility, to the labor agreements to the customer service.  And as a result, we more than doubled the number of citywide conventions we are hosting from 2013 to 2014.
Q
The “Pure Michigan” campaign has been very successful, but some might associate it more with Michigan’s lakes and northern destination cities.  Has Detroit been able to leverage that campaign to its benefit?
A
Absolutely.  Detroit is a partner on the Pure Michigan campaign.  We have two Pure Michigan television spots in rotation in national markets that have served us very well and have driven thousands of new visitors to our website.  Pure Michigan has done a lot to change the perception of Michigan as a state and when visitors come to this state, chances are they will take the time to visit its largest city.
Q
What are the biggest misconceptions about Detroit, and how do you seek to correct them?
A
The belief that Detroit is ugly and crime ridden are probably the biggest misconceptions about Detroit.  Like most other large urban areas, Detroit has had its challenges but leaders in government, corporate and public sectors have stepped up in a big way to tackle those challenges and they have.  Many initiatives to highlight green spaces, clean the city and reduce crime have been in place and have made a huge difference.  We always say, “if you haven’t been to Detroit lately, you haven’t been to Detroit.”   The perception and reality of Detroit do not match at all.  Visitors are always pleasantly surprised and amazed by our city when they actually come here.
Q
How does the city’s proximity to Canada play into your marketing efforts, if at all?
A
It’s huge.  We have partnered with our neighbors in Windsor, Ontario on many campaigns over the years surrounding the unique “Two Nation Vacation” experience we can offer visitors.  For example, we have partnered on African American Heritage initiatives.  Detroit was the last stop on the Underground Railroad before slaves fled to Canada and we’ve built tourism experiences around that historical event.  Windsor and Detroit have four casinos and we’ve jointly marketed those in the past as well as our gorgeous riverfront opportunities.  The tourism assets Windsor and Detroit offer are very complimentary to the other and together offer a rich vacation or convention experience.
Q
What is the coolest object in your office?
A
I can only narrow that down to three.  I have a framed magazine article touting Detroit’s success in flawlessly hosting Super Bowl XL in 2006; a unique bid package that we presented and that landed us the American Society of Association Executives Annual Meeting (the “Super Bowl” of conventions) for next year.  And my personal favorite is from my Alma Mater, my Michigan State University Spartan troll.  Go Green!

Finding Your Cheese in the Marketing Law Maze

Posted in Advertising, Marketing

Today’s marketing and advertising landscape may be more laden with legal tripwires, regulatory mines, sharp corners, and dead ends than ever before. Technology is definitely evolving in real time, new laws are creating a tangled web of regulation, and consumers are savvier and more in control than ever.

Fortunately, the 36th Annual BAA / PMA Marketing Law Conference – themed Navigating the Marketing Law Maze – is here to help you find that elusive piece of cheese at the end. Taking place November 5 – 7, 2014 at the Windy City’s Downtown Chicago Marriott, the conference is built for inside and outside counsel, marketing executives and the increasingly eclectic mix of professionals caught at the crowded intersection of compliance and consumer outreach.

The BAA, or Brand Activation Association, is the organization formerly known as the PMA, or Promotional Marketing Association. In July of 2014, the BAA joined the ANA (Association of National Advertisers), giving the new organization more firepower than ever before to help its members understand what motivates consumer behavior and activates brand responses.

It takes change to know change, and after emerging stronger from its own internal evolution, the BAA has readied an agenda full of experts and thought leaders to educate attendees on what’s new in disciplines ranging from social and digital media to big data, privacy, intellectual property, and more.

The Way I See It

  • I see that the BAA has embraced change within its organization, smartly pivoting to reflect the rapid change of the marketing and advertising verticals it represents. After a rebrand and merger with ANA, BAA has emerged better equipped to serve its members.
  • I see that keeping abreast of the latest technologies and regulatory turns is more complicated than ever, and that trying to do so on your own can be daunting, if not overwhelming. I believe this makes attending the BAA / PMA Marketing Law Conference more than a “nice to have” opportunity to network with peers and meet vendors. It’s a critical content download that equips attendees with actionable knowledge and resources, including a 1,800-page conference workbook and flash drive, as well as a Law & Forms guide with sample contracts and new rules to know.
  • I see the BAA / PMA Marketing Law Conference has valuable, approachable insights for folks at all points of the marketing and advertising law learning curve. Don’t feel that you’re too junior or too senior to attend.

The Way the Industry Sees It

I sat down with Bonnie Carlson, the President & CEO of BAA, to preview the upcoming Marketing Law Conference and discuss how her organization is dealing with change – both internally and throughout the industries she serves.

 

Q
The BAA has changed and grown a lot over the past two years I don’t need to tell you. But on the heels of a rebrand just a few years ago, how is the ANA merger impacting the BAA, its membership, and most importantly, this year’s Marketing Law Conference?
A
The ANA merger is having a profound impact on BAA’s ability to provide additional benefits to its members.  Part of the reason for this is ANA’s willingness to manage many back-end functions for BAA, yet allowing us to keep our headcount to reinvest in additional services / products for our members.  ANA’s mantra is all about exceeding members’ expectations by providing a quality experience.  One example for the legal members is the Dierson Law Books, those authoritative two-volume sets of books on the marketing laws of all 50 states that have always been available for members-only at a price of $795 and that will, for the first time, be available to members on a searchable, electronic subscription basis for free.  A second example is a one-day legal conference on the business side of law that will be hosted by MasterCard next spring for ANA and BAA members-only for free.
Q
Navigating the Marketing Law Maze is the theme of this year’s conference. How much of the content and what specifically will attendees have access to that will help them make their way through this metaphorical maze? In other words, what is an example of a concrete tactic an attendee would walk away with to navigate a specific compliance challenge?
A
Attendees at this year’s Law Conference will be able to uncover what land mines might exist in the Marketing Law Maze through insightful legal and business presentations, whether they be in native advertising or real time marketing, and a myriad of other topics. Attendees will also receive a 1800+ page reference binder to consult throughout the year.
Q
You’re bringing in more than 100 speakers this year, including some pretty big names: Carine Roman, Head of Global Advertising Operations for LinkedIn; and Jessica Rich, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection for the Federal Trade Commission. Is there a speaker someone who may not have the same name recognition – who’s floating a bit under the radar and is someone who attendees should absolutely consider seeing?
A
We’re excited about the 120+ speakers at this year’s conference.  It’s important for the attendees to hear from speakers like Jessica Rich on the regulatory side, who can provide insight on policy and enforcement, to see what has the attention of the FTC.  In addition, Carine Roman, speaking for a leader in social media like LinkedIn, can provide the same kind of peek into what’s keeping the social media marketers up at night.
Q
What’s the biggest low-hanging fruit opportunity you see out there that companies simply aren’t grabbing when it comes to managing consumer engagement in accordance with applicable regulations?
A
Marketers have always been focused on making the sale – the first (or zero) moment of truth – and all the advertising and promotion that motivates that sale.  With consumers in control now, so much more needs to be focused on what the consumer has to say after the sale, via reviews, blogs, social media, repurchase of the product, and ultimately making that consumer a loyal advocate for the brand.  A big contributor to the positive experience – and one I think marketers don’t think about enough – is customer service, with attention from employees and everyone who touches the brand.
Q
What is the coolest object in your office?
A
The coolest object in my office may be a large painting I did with one of the BAA staff in 2009 – signed by him and me – that looks a little like a Jackson Pollock painting.  He and I went to Home Depot, bought canvas and a lot of spray paints, and made “art work” for the office.  Most people took theirs home; mine fills one wall of my office.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies Has the 411 on the Latest Regulatory Issues

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Regulatory

Brands and the agencies that help market them have full plates. Just keeping up with the way technology has changed, and how brands communicate with customers is, to say the least, a full time job. But, there are so many things that affect businesses, not the least of which is how government regulation can either help or hinder what we do.

That’s why organizations like the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) are so important. Among its many roles, the 4A’s advocates for advertising and marketing agencies and the other businesses it supports on a wide variety of issues. Some of the biggest items on its current docket:

The deductibility of advertising spending: Tax law has traditionally treated advertising as a fully deductible cost of doing business. But, as part of conversations around reforming corporate tax rates, Congress is considering lowering the deductibility by fifty percent.

Protection against patent trolls: Legislation recently under consideration in Congress would curb the ability of shell companies to buy up dormant patents and pursue companies allegedly violating those patents for licensing fees just below what it would be worth to litigate. We’re talking about patents that can affect a wide range of business and marketing activities, for things like a store locator tool on a website.

Consumer privacy protection: The ability to track consumer behavior and target advertising based on that behavior has been part and parcel of the digital age since its inception. Of course, the National Security Agency has been at it, too, and its methods and goals are much more opaque than trying to identify a basket of consumers who might want to by a snow blower or a cupcake. Establishing policies that protect consumer privacy, and allay consumer fears without disrupting how digital advertising works, is a big concern of both industry and government.

The Way I See It

  • I see these being charged issues. Discussions of taxation and privacy can get very heated, and a lot of times voters, congressional representatives, and regulators feel an extra urgency to act. Unfortunately, because emotions sometimes get ahead of the understanding of the issues, actions can be more reactive then proactive.
  • I see this being a time of extreme congressional gridlock. The flip side to the reactivity I mentioned is often no action at all.

The Way the Industry Sees It

 

I sat down with Dick O’Brien, Executive Vice President of Government Relations at the American Association of Advertising Agencies, to discuss the regulatory issues it’s currently responding to.

 

 

Q
I know the regulatory landscape is constantly changing. What are the three top issues that 4A’s is currently focusing on? In addition, what is the 4A’s doing to advocate for ad agencies on these issues?
A
The most financially damaging threat we’re currently facing is a proposed change to the corporate tax code that would dilute the full deduction of advertising as a necessary business expense and, in the process, result in an increase in the cost of advertising of $169 billion over a ten year time frame. The most systemic threat we’re encountering is the proposed restriction of our use of big data to revolutionize how we target advertising. And, the last of the three hottest issues is actually an opportunity – we’re pressuring the government to place severe restrictions on patent trolls whose extortionate practices have become a serious problem for advertising agencies.  On each of these issues and others, 4A’s maintains a dedicated office in Washington that provides an early warning system of when an issue is moving into dangerous territory and that advocates at the White House, Congress, the regulators, the courts, and the states against any activity that would be detrimental to the best interests of the advertising agency business. I’m pleased to say that we’ve maintained a very strong track record in playing that role and in fending off unwarranted government regulation.
Q
What’s your current prediction for how these issues will resolve themselves?
A
There’s a temptation to believe that nothing significant will be enacted in the current state of paralysis in Washington, which would leave us home free for a while. It’s a real mistake to believe that. External events can make even this government come together and do something. For instance, the recent spotlight on corporate inversions may be what it takes to get the government to get serious about corporate tax reform which would put the change in ad deductibility in play. Or, the revelations by Edward Snowden and the high profile data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus may cause enough public anxiety to generate limits on how big data can be used even by advertisers. We could find ourselves going to battle stations on either, or both, of those issues next year. I believe we’ll prevail as we always have in the past, but I suspect it’d be a pretty rough work out.
Q
Are there other regulatory issues the 4A’s is focusing on? Why are they important?
A
The regulators, principally the FTC, are looking at a number of issues that could shape how advertising agencies will be able to benefit from the advances of the digital revolution – from new rules around native advertising to limits on our ability to segment audiences for fear we’d be discriminating against those groups not included in a target audience. That discrimination issue is particularly serious since it could undermine the principle of segmentation which has been a foundation principle of the advertising industry since its inception.
Q
To what degree are consumers – voters – a part of your target audience? What do they understand or misunderstand about the issues with which you’re dealing, particularly the privacy issue?
A
While our first, and most direct, audience are policy makers, we do focus on the public on certain issues as well. Privacy is a good case in point. The push among legislators and regulators to limit our ability to use big data for more precise targeting reflects a public anxiety about how much information advertisers have about an individual’s personal life. To the extent that the public can be educated about the lengths we go to in order to protect their data, that anxiety should be lessened and the pressure for regulation should be similarly lessened. For that reason, we’re now undertaking a serious consumer education campaign to set the record straight on how benign the use of data for marketing purposes is.
Q
Whether its voters or ad agencies, what are people worried about that they probably don’t need to be, and what are they not worried about that they should be?
A
There’s no contest on what the public shouldn’t be worried about – it’s the use of data for advertising targeting. That data is totally anonymized so an individual’s specific data isn’t even part of the equation. Conversely, the thing that all advertisers should be more worried about than they are is the dreadful state of political advertising. Most of the rules that govern the responsible use of product advertising don’t apply to political advertising. As a result the public is submerged in an ocean of negative, often marginally truthful, advertising that undermines their faith in the credibility of all types of advertising.
Q
What’s the coolest object in your office?
A
It’s a tie. There’s a picture of President George W. Bush giving me a personal tour of the Oval Office. He turned out to be a really nice guy – the opposite of his on-camera persona. The other object is a picture of my two grandsons (aged four and two) climbing all over me. That turned out to be even cooler than the Oval Office tour!

Privacy & Data: 3 Predictions from FTC Commissioner Julie Brill

Posted in Advertising, Legislation, Privacy, Regulatory

Advertising Week has always been an important week to those in the industry, and last week I sat down with Advertising Week’s Executive Director, Matt Scheckner, to talk about this year’s Advertising Week and how it reflects the changing face of the industry.  When discussing Advertising Week’s mission – Matt named education as one of the most important factors, and that’s certainly “The Way I See It.”

For the third year in a row, Davis & Gilbert was honored to sponsor the 2014 Advertising Week annual privacy/data forum, “Mission Impossible IV: Truth and Privacy.” I hosted this forum in NYC, and had the unique opportunity to talk to those who have their finger on the pulse of how exactly data and privacy are impacting the marketplace.

In a two-part session, I once again spoke with FTC Commissioner Julie Brill on the current status of data and privacy, and we discussed a wide range of critical topics that impact the advertising industry.

In the second session, top industry creatives – from agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather North America, LatinWorks, and Venables Bell & Partners – shared their perspectives on how data and technology have altered advertising, as well as their roles, and what to expect looking forward.

The Way the Industry Sees It

At the end of the first session, FTC Commissioner, Julie Brill, left the audience with three predictions on the U.S. legislative landscape, European Union vs. United States on privacy, and the impact of the Snowden revelations.

Q
On the U.S. legislative landscape: will Congress ever enact legislation, or will the states continue to dominate legislative efforts?
A
A variety of states will continue to adopt data security and privacy laws, and pressure for federal data security and privacy legislation will reach a tipping point after more massive data breaches, greater awareness of consumer data collection, and an increasing number of consumers being affected by unexpected analysis of their data.
Q
European Union vs. United States on privacy:  will the divide grow wider, or will we come together?
A
On both sides of the Atlantic, the desire to realize the economic and social benefits of big data will drive regulators to create privacy and security safeguards that allow useful big data analytics to thrive.  Regulators will become more technically sophisticated participants in this discussion, and industry will recognize the need to address fundamental consumer concerns about big data.
Q
What are the lasting impacts of the Snowden revelations?
A
The industry is already responding to consumers concerns around privacy, and that will grow (rather than shrink) in the coming years.  Competition based on privacy attributes of products and services is already starting, and will blossom.

Keeping Tabs on an Industry Keeping Tabs on Itself

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Regulatory

We live in a world of product innovation. There is sea change going on in media and technology. It seems that there is a new media platform and revolutionary device announced every week. Advertising is the currency that allows the offering of free information and services in media to consumers. Consumers absolutely want free content and do not wish to pay for it. Advertising has evolved to keep pace with changes in viewing habits, device use, technology innovation and taste and content. To keep pace with the advertising evolution, there is a critical need for industry self-regulation. This is the role of the National Advertising Division (the NAD).

The best way to establish trust with consumers is to establish standards of ethical advertising behavior and enforce them, which is the job of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC). The ASRC is hosting its NAD Conference September 29 and 30 and its Children’s Advertising Review Unity Conference (CARU) on October 1. Davis & Gilbert is sponsoring the conferences, and among panels and presentations are sessions on best practices for native advertising, the use of social media and surveys in substantiating advertising claims, and creating sound policies for tracking behavior on sites that children frequent.

The Way I See It

  • I see self-regulation as being critically important to help accomplish three key goals:
    • One goal is to ensure a vibrant and well-functioning competitive marketplace.
    • Another is to ensure that consumers are protected and they get what they bargained for.
    • The third is to keep government regulation and involvement at a minimum.
  • The NAD has done an excellent job in helping to accomplish these goals. I see the need for the NAD only increasing in the future.

The Way the Industry Sees It

 

I sat down with Andrea Levine, a Senior Vice President at Council of Better Business Bureaus and director of the NAD Conference to talk about trends in self-regulation and the upcoming conferences.

 

Q
What is the role of the National Advertising Division (NAD), and what the key areas of focus and prioritization? Are there specific product categories and/or practices of focus?
A
NAD’s mandate is straightforward: We examine advertising that is national in scope for truth and accuracy. So, I would say our focus is constant – to assure that the messages conveyed to consumers are truthful, accurate and not misleading – regardless of the advertiser, the product or the medium.  We keep a careful eye on emerging industries or novel product categories and new – or repurposed – advertising channels. For example, NAD decisions have offered advertisers their first comprehensive guidance on Facebook “like-gating,” on native advertising and on claims made in Twitter feeds. As for priorities – it is always our priority to run a sound, user-friendly forum that produces strong, well-reasoned decisions and carefully monitors new claims and emerging issues.
Q
Why is self-regulation so important to the industry?
A
The self-regulatory system helps level the playing field for honest advertisers who make the necessary investments in claim substantiation; it provides a good education for advertisers who are less experienced and it gives consumers confidence that the claims they read or see are true.
Q
What does future of self-regulation look like?
A
We expect that monitoring will continue to be a significant part of NAD’s work, particularly in areas where questions are raised about the truthfulness and accuracy of national advertising. We also expect the number of competitive challenges to remain robust and expand to new industries and new products.
Q
What is the role of the NAD with the rise of new media – including social and mobile? What are the challenges faced?
A
Most of the advertising campaigns we see now include a social-media element – claims made on Facebook on a Twitter feed. As the social-media channels evolve, we will continue to examine claims where they are made. The lightning-fast evolution of social media is wonderful – fascinating and engaging – and it will continue to keep us all on our toes.
Q
What is the coolest object in your office?
A
One of my personal goals is to travel to one hundred countries. I’m making progress, and my office has a lot of little pieces of art that I’ve picked up as we’ve made our way around the world. But the very best thing I have is an origami box, made by my daughter from twenty-six business cards. I cherish it.

Advertising Week – Lights, Camera, and Action

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing, Media

It’s hard to overstate what a “thing” Advertising Week has become. Since it was launched in 2004 by the late Ken Kaess, then chairman of the 4As, Matt Scheckner, and a team that included Burtch Drake, Ron Berger, and Mike Donahue, the conference of advertisers and advertising professionals now comprises more than two hundred and fifty events and more than one hundred and ninety seminars and workshops over four days. This year’s attendance is expected to exceed 90,000 people.

And talk about spanning generations, last year, in addition to a parade and Advertising Week reps opening the trading day on the floor of the NASDAQ, the conference featured presentations as diverse as Sabrina Calouri, ‎Vice President of Digital & Social Media at HBO, talking about the “Game of Thrones” campaign, and Andrew Loog Oldham, former manager of the Rolling Stones, giving a master class on branding. Last year also saw Advertising Week adding a second venue in London.

Keeping the momentum going, the Advertising Week blog, launched in 2011, has evolved into the Advertising Week Social Club, an online source of insights and information with the goal to “be the most important ‘opinion column’” of our industry.

In addition, I am excited to share that for the third consecutive year, Davis & Gilbert is honored to be a part of the 2014 Advertising Week annual privacy/data forum, “Mission Impossible IV: Truth and Privacy.” I will host this forum on September 29 at The Microsoft Stage in Manhattan, and this year’s program will dissect privacy and how data is used in two compelling segments.

The first segment will feature a candid conversation with myself and FTC Commissioner, Julie Brill, on the current status of data and privacy in the marketplace and will discuss a wide range of critical topics that impact the advertising industry. In the second segment, top industry Creatives will share their perspectives on how data and technology have altered advertising, as well as their roles, and what to expect looking forward. For more information on this session, click here.

The Way I See It

  • I see Advertising Week as truly capturing the breadth and diversity of the industry. There isn’t a business, an audience, a media channel, or content provider that advertising doesn’t influence. And it’s the creativity and innovation of the advertising industry that has led the way in exploring the full possibilities of digital and mobile media.
  • I see Advertising Week also demonstrating the importance of the industry to New York. Along with fashion and entertainment, advertising represents some of the city’s most creative and successful professionals.
  • I see Advertising Week as an opportunity to connect and hear from some of the greatest minds in the industry as well as to discuss the most cutting edge and pertinent issues facing the industry.

The Way the Industry Sees It

 

I sat down with Advertising Week’s Executive Director Matt Scheckner to talk about this year’s Advertising Week and how it reflects the changing face of the industry.

Q
This is the eleventh year that you’ve produced Advertising Week. How has the event evolved from past years, and what part of that evolution are you most proud of?
A
The growth curve from 2004 to 2014 is straight up and it’s all grounded in the continued evolution of the thought leadership program. In the early days, there were just a handful of Seminars in one venue, the old Museum of TV and Radio (now the Paley Center). In 2014, we will stage right around two hundred and fifty seminars on seven stages, all in our Times Square “Hub.” Beyond growing in size, the scope of what we cover has expanded tremendously. Perhaps what we are most proud of is that there has never been a singular theme to the seminar program. Rather, we work the year round to deliver a broad spectrum of content tied to the most challenging, dynamic areas of the industry so we cover a very wide range of subjects. Going deep both horizontally and vertically is centric to our DNA and a badge of pride.
Q
What’s new and exciting for this year? What portions of the programming are you most looking forward to?
A
We continue to deliver a balance of what the delegates will expect, going deep on cross-screen, data, mobile, native, programmatic and video, for example, but we also go in unexpected directions and continue to build a bridge to the broader arena of popular culture. So for 2014, we are thrilled to have Tasting Table with us, in conversation with Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud, and Dominique Ansell, followed by Jamie Oliver who is coming over from London. We’re equally thrilled to have Lincoln Center on the program of the first time with an extended Seminar around marketing to the performing arts featuring Bravo’s Andy Cohen. And we’re excited to present the leadership of the new AMSG entity which enjoins music industry powerhouse Irving Azoff with James Dolan and Madison Square Garden who will appear together along with independent film icon, Harvey Weinstein. We’re also quite pleased to have Sir Martin Sorrell, Michael Roth, Yannick Bollore, Maurice Levy and Miles Nadal all on the agenda, along with Arianna Huffington, Marissa Mayer, and Sheryl Sandberg. There is also a big UK presence here in New York City for Advertising Week XI, a direct outcome of the success of Advertising Week Europe which returns to London for the third time March 23-27. Centaur is leading the way presenting Jessica Alba, and we also have Haymarket’s Campaign with their Editor Claire Beale in conversation with Sir John Hegarty, Chuck Porter and Tham Kai Meng, The Drum and D&AD all on the program along with The Lighthouse Company and S.I. Partners. And our buddy Chris Goldson of ITV is chairing a session as well. We love that trans-Atlantic crossover. Sustaining four full days is also something we really strive for and we are strong right to the end with the last seminar of the week on October 2 featuring Carolyn Everson in conversation with NFL Hall of Famer, Michael Strahan. So we begin with a bang Monday early morning, and end with a bang late Thursday.
Q
What do you see as the mission of Advertising Week? Is it simply an opportunity for advertising people to celebrate – and network with – advertising people, or does it have a broader, and maybe more subtle, impact?
A
It all comes down to education, enlightenment, engagement and entertainment. By definition, all of the night-time big concerts, comedy and dinners, etc. only really work as well as they do because that programming all sits on top of a day-time thought leadership foundation. Cause and social impact are also deeply engrained into the fabric of Advertising Week, which is why the Ad Council is bring celebrated this year as long-time President Peggy Conlon steps down and why we stage Seminars like “Doing Good Still Matters” featuring the founder of War Child and leaders from other major causes including the Global Poverty Project and ALS.
Q
How have you seen the industry itself change in the past eleven years?  Obviously the explosion of social and mobile media has altered the media landscape, but are there other changes you’ve seen that maybe overlook in our obsession with all things digital (and millennial)?
A
Well, it really is all about that convergence of technology, content and distribution. We have watched an amazing rise of new players, technologies and accompanying lexicon. Android . . . Behavioral Targeting . . . Big Data . . . BuzzFeed . . . The Cloud . . . Digital Video . . . The Huffington Post . . . iPad . . . iPhone . . . Instagram . . . Mobile . . . Native . . . Netflix . . . Programmatic . . . ubiquitous WiFi. None existed in 2004.
Q
The Advertising Week website talks about “paving the way forward” for the industry. Where do you see the industry and Advertising Week itself in the next ten years?
A
That balance between big ideas that resonate; leveraging technology to foster one on one relationships and how the next generation treats “Traditional” media and how content is consumed will continue to evolve. Business models are going to have to evolve along the way and over the next ten years, history tells us new players will emerge, and long established players will wither away. So for Advertising Week – both here in New York City and in London as well as other parts of the world as we expand –  staying a step ahead will be our mandate. And rest assured, we will continue to surprise, every year.
Q
What’s the most interesting object in your office?
A
A letter my Mom wrote to the President of a rather average company, Otis Spunkmeyer, asking where she could find their blueberry muffins in South Florida. “They’re really exceptional.” My Mom wrote. They are not actually exceptional at all, they are rather average. But I love her passion, and that passion is what drives us to deliver a knockout program every year. I also own the largest collection of original photographs from “The Honeymooners” and have a number of them in my office, but that letter from my Mom always gets me.

State of the Creative Series: Interview with the CEO & CCO at StrawberryFrog

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Direct Marketing, Marketing

For the “State of the Creative” series, we’ve heard from Chief Creative Officer’s at: Ogilvy & Mather North America, Weber Shandwick, GREY, 360i, and R/GA.

For my final post, I turn to StrawberryFrog – a New York City Advertising Agency – to get their thoughts. Drum roll, please…

In my final post regarding the “State of the Creative,” I sat down with StrawberryFrog to discuss the state of the creative today with the agency’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Scott Goodson and Chief Creative Officer, Kevin McKeon.

 

Q
In this new era of data and technology, what has been the fundamental change for creatives?
A
Scott: Well, there are new possibilities for creatives today compared to when I founded StrawberryFrog in 1999. You can be a creative in NYC working on say Emirates Airline based in Dubai, for the global consumer. At the same time there’s a massive amount of noise and, increasingly, a wall of indifference. No one cares about a brand. It is not loved. It is not important. That is unless you can make a brand relevant to people’s lives, or the way they understand things. If you can make a brand speak in a voice that can resonate inside them and it speaks the truth that they recognize then suddenly people want to share that brand with their friends. Once that happens, it’s like a wildfire spreading. No one cares about a brand unless you find a way to speak to why you care about it. That’s why we love to do movement marketing.
Q
What does it mean to be a creative today?
A
Scott: Having awesome drive, being curious, never giving up, asking more beautiful questions (thanks Warren Berger), and being collaborative. Sometimes clients have great ideas. Being a creative today also means being able to use persuasive power to push off walls and limitations, to believe in yourself and your own ideas. Creatives are phenomenal writers: They said in the early days of the Internet that the written word would disappear. Thanks to Twitter and blogs – it’s back with a vengeance.
Q
How important is it for a creative to understand data?
A
Kevin: Well, clearly, the industry, and communication in general, is becoming more data driven. And that data is telling us a lot about the people we need to connect with – where they are, what they’re doing, how they behave and engage with brands. And everything we do, creatively, is about connecting with these people. So, yes, it’s critically important that creatives understand this data. Because it’s not about data, not really – it’s still about behavior, people, and what makes them tick.
Q
Is it harder to be a creative in this world today?
A
Kevin: I’m not sure I’d say harder, but definitely different. It requires a different, broader skill-set. It’s still about big, inspiring ideas, but you can’t just sit back and rely on what you know, the things you’ve been successful doing for the past five years or ten years. You can no longer just rely on your intuition, on your gut instincts as a so-called “creative person.” Now you have to be part strategist, part sociologist, part technology geek, part explorer, always moving, looking for something new. I think, in a way, you have to be smarter.
Q
In the market today, what does it mean to be the best, and what does it take?
A
Kevin: Well, I’m a bit of a purist, so let me start by saying it’s still about brilliant thinking. Beyond that, there’s really no single formula to being “the best.” Being the best is about achieving to some extraordinary degree what you personally set your sights on, so it’s not the same for everyone. The best storyteller, the best designer, the best at tapping into something deep and emotionally powerful, the best at selling in a great idea, the best at understanding what makes consumers tick, the best at understanding how to keep up with and humanize technology… It would be nice to be the best at all these things, but that’s a lot to ask. So start somewhere. Do everything in your power to be the best at one thing, and you’ll always be in demand in this crazy, evolving business.
Q
What is the coolest object in your office?
A
Our StrawberryFrog rooftop deck looking over Manhattan. It’s great for client meetings, brainstorming, and parties. It’s directly across from the New York Life, Credit Suisse buildings and Madison Square Park.

State of the Creative Series: Interview with the Chief Creative Officer at R/GA

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing

 

So far in the “State of the Creative” series, we’ve heard from Chief Creative Officer’s at: Ogilvy & Mather North America, Weber Shandwick, GREY, and 360i. This week we continue to examine what it means to be a creative in today’s world…

 

 

I sat down with Nick Law, Chief Creative Officer at R/GA, to discuss the state of the creative today.

 

Q
In this new era of data and technology, what has been the fundamental change for creatives?
A
The biggest change has been the growing complexity of media and the opportunities that this affords.
Q
What does it mean to be a creative today?
A
In our industry creative was once primarily about telling stories. Now that the media at our disposal is networked software, creativity now includes a range of systematic skillsets. Perhaps most importantly being creative today means collaborating with a wide range of other creative thinkers.
Q
How important is it for a creative to understand data?
A
Creatives work should be informed by the knowledge born from data. Often this means working with people who can decode what data is telling us. Regardless, good creatives take wildly intuitive leaps off this knowledge.
Q
Is it harder to be a creative today in this world now?
A
It’s always been hard. It takes knowledge, obsessiveness and courage to conjure something from nothing. The process has become more variable and less predictable; and so more challenging.
Q
In the market today, what does it mean to be the best, and what does it take?
A
This may sound crushingly obvious, but you’ve got to care about the final product to be the best. The only people who I truly admire in the industry are those with a body of great work. There are plenty of smart and insightful people with fancy titles. There are far less people who have consistently done great work. In my experience, the best are never happy until they’ve made something great, and put it out in the world.

State of the Creative Series: Interview with the Chief Creative Officer at 360i

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Media

So far in the “State of the Creative” series, we’ve heard from Chief Creative Officer’s at: Ogilvy & Mather North America, Weber Shandwick, and GREY. This week we continue to examine what it means to be a creative in today’s world…

 

 

 

 

I sat down with Adam Kerj, Chief Creative Officer at 360i, to discuss the state of the creative today.

 

Q
In this new era of data and technology, what has been the fundamental change for creatives?
A
We have more insight into consumer behavior than ever before, and we are living in a world exploding with content that needs to resonate for consumers to care and to be inspired to share.  Creatives are now using digital and social media as a powerful creative canvas.  To get to better creative and high-quality experiences, requires more collaboration in the creative process and the ability to build ideas and stories across touch points. But ultimately, it’s still about big, simple ideas.  Consumers don’t fall in love with technology, they in love with great ideas and great storytelling.
Q
What does it mean to be a creative today?
A
Creatives today can have a bigger impact on their clients’ businesses.  Marketers and their creative partners have opportunities to create completely new products and services that are integrated in to the DNA of the marketing ecosystem.  That’s a space where Creatives in the past didn’t have access to, but thanks to technology, user experience (UX), creativity and data coming together, creatives today can make a huge contribution to a client’s businesses.

Peel back the curtains and read the rest of the Q&A here!

State of the Creative Series: Interview with the Chief Creative Officer at GREY

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Media

Continuing with the series on the “State of the Creative,” we reached out Chief Creative Officers at some of the world’s leading ad agencies on: What it means to be a creative in today’s world? How many “legs” does an idea have to have when advertisers and marketers are targeting various demographics, each using multiple media devices and social media platforms? And does having all that data mean you or anyone else knows how to use it?

 

 

 

I sat down with Tor Myhren, Chief Creative Officer at GREY, to discuss the state of the creative today.


Q
In this new era of data and technology, what has been the fundamental change for creatives?
A
Broader thinking and a better grasp of the way people are interacting with the different forms of digital media. It was simpler for creatives when it was just television, radio, and print. We all knew exactly how people used those media forms. Now in order to really talk to someone, you need to fully understand the way in which they are engaging with these different media forms. It’s way more challenging and interesting now than it was then.
Q
What does it mean to be a creative today?
A
The same thing it has always meant. In our business, anyone who can creatively solve business or world problems is a “creative.” To draw huge divides between the creative department and other departments is old school, because the business challenges we’re facing now are so much more holistic. So everyone in the agency better be a creative thinker today.
Q
How important is it for a creative to understand data?
A
It is important that we all understand the way people engage with the digital space. As for understanding data, as long as we can read reports and know whether we’re reaching people and connecting with people, that’s the most important thing.
Q
Is it harder to be a creative in today’s world?
A
It’s absolutely harder, and one hundred times more interesting. There is no better time to be a creative person in the business world than right now. All creative industries, from music to Hollywood to tech to marketing, are merging. And, I believe our business is at the nexus of this convergence. We are collaborating in radical, unbelievable ways and we’re sitting right in the middle of it all.
Q
In the market today, what does it mean to be the best, and what does it take?
A
The best in our industry are brilliant story tellers. That will never change. If you can get people to engage with a story, you win. And if you can get people to talk about that story, and pass it around, than that story becomes part of the cultural conversation – and that’s the Holy Grail in our business.
Q
What is the coolest object in your office?
A
When you walk into our lobby there’s a message written on the wall in soft pink paint that says “Driver, surprise me.” It reminds us every day what we’re trying to do at GREY.