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VIDEO: More Than Branding does Advertising Week with United


I'm extremely pleased to share with you More Than Branding's video on Advertising Week. I hope it serves as a looking glass on this dynamic and unforgettable experience, while providing a taste of  the amazing host that was New York City.

There's a quote by Henry Miller that I stumbled across as I wrote the series, and it goes like this: ¨One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." And while that may be right, this time, Mr. Miller, I beg to differ.

It was both. 

Check out the entire Advertising Week with United series, here.


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Advertising Week with United: A week in Pictures


Advertising Week was all it promised and more. As we attended its numerous (and diverse) panels and seminars, we witnessed something extraordinary. From its topics to its panelists, this year's Ad Week provided an array of information and stimulation for the industry with takeaways that will personify the context of advertising. It was, without a doubt, unforgettable.  

After a week of daily accounts on the blog (click here for all the posts published during Ad Week), we leave you with our last installment - a week in pictures. We thought: what could be a better way to sum up and bid farewell to our experience, than through a photographic report? Probably nothing.

Until next year, Ad Week!

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  * Pictures taken by Ernesto Maxwell for More Than Branding. 

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Advertising Week with United: DAY 4


Applying big data

Alfonso Marian Chief Creative Officer / OgilvyOne New York | Ben Edwards VP, Global Communications & Digital Marketing / IBM | Dimitri Maex Managing Director / OgilvyOne New York | Melissa Grady VP, eBusiness / MetLife | Mike Berrett Managing Director of Communications Planning / Heat | Todd Cullen Global Chief Data Officer / Ogilvy & Mather

As the business world relies more on data, is creativity in advertising in danger? This panel of executives shared the benefits of involving quantitative information for good creative.

Why is data suddenly good for the creative process? According to our panelists, data enables brands to focus and run tests that help create better campaigns, with far less risk. It also provides information on how to improve what they’re already doing, and to do things that they are currently not doing. Quantitative information is key for good creative.

Organizations with this mindset need to be more agile, quicker in listening and using insights. It’s not just about using data, but also acting upon them, and fast.

In this data driven world, data can help us understand emotions for campaigns that outperform any other. Never has the client – agency relationship been closer; we now speak the same language.


Retail remixed

Catherin Taber CEO / SparkFly | John Dee President / PlaceWise Media | John Roswech CRO / HookLogic | Matt Plumber VP, Business Development / Kuapay, Inc. | Rick Chavez Chief Solutions Officer, Microsoft Advertising | Tim Dunn Director of Mobile / Roundarch Isobar

During this panel, retailers discussed the major challenges and opportunities that they face in today’s digital world: What are we selling? What are people buying? How are people going to find our products and how are they going to buy them? Answering these questions is crucial when you want to be ahead of the game.

Providers and brands are pivotal to moving products for scale. Collaboration in the retail business has never been more important and the consumer decision journey is key in order to measure each step of the way.

Fundamentals that are vital to good a retail strategy:

  • Embrace technology: now, more than ever, retailers have morphed into publishers and technology companies.
  • Leverage your data and share it with your team players.
  • Tie your mobile applications to your in-store experience
  • Create a full shopping experience
  • Run experiments and learn from them.
  •  Ask people for information in order to get feedback on their brand experience.


Changing the rules

Chris Scharaft President, Content Solutions / Time Inc. |  Noah Garden EVP Commerce and Sponsorship / MLB Advanced Media | Paul Marcum Director of Global Digital Marketing & Programming / GE | Seth Rogin Chief Revenue Officer / Mashable 

Media companies and brands are the same business: the business of telling stories that influence behavior and change minds. Understanding a consumer’s journey is a key in order to leverage opportunities of having a voice during each step of the way.

Campaigns have evolved as the media industry has transformed with new players such as digital and social. Publishers, brands and agencies need to rise above the noise, and create strategies to make brands a part of people’s conversation. Brands need to see themselves a publishers that awaken respect, value and trust from customers.

From the advertisers side, engagement has become more about relevancy and content. Even banners can become platforms for interaction. But what works on one social platform does not necessarily works on another platform. A big mistake is to think that information and content works the same in every place, which results in standardizing the information. From an ROI perspective, each social platform works differently. They are all social, but they are all different. What you need to do it set up a different goal per platform to get the return on your investment. Don’t measure them the same way.

Brand storytelling is a great build brand awareness and to deliver the equity that through the years your brand has accomplished. Get content and then share it. Content is king, and distribution is queen - and she wears the pants. Get partners to get your message out there.

What does it take for a person to want to share branded content? If you’re a brand and if you’re going to create content, you need a consumer centric approach that considers:

  • The channels in which they consume content
  • The information they want to consume
  • What is interesting to them - the source of the content or the content itself?
  • Content that inspires credibility
  • Create content that people think their friends are going to like it.
  • Add value

“This age demands constant reinvention. You can’t just reinvent and go ‘Phew, I’m glad that’s over.’”


People as brands

Erica Domesek Founder / P.S. - I made this… |  Fat Jew Content Creator / Thrillist |  James Borrow Co-Founder and CEO / SHIFT | Jason Stein Founder & President / Laundry Service |  Jo Zablud Director, Social Media / Audible, Inc. | Liz Eswein Co-Founder / @NewYorkCity

Nowadays, thanks to platforms such as social media, individuals can be influential and serve as media outlets for brands. Entrepreneurs in this sector have learned to be curators and monetize their online presence.

This panel of individuals embraced technology and became become icons in the world of online with a personality, tone and a voice.

How do they communicate genuinely with the people that follow them?

  • They create interesting and relevant content
  • The communicate authentically
  • They target people who share their interests

Brands need to treat social with the respect and financial support that it needs and leverage off people that have equity on these online platforms.


Line is it

Adam Pincus Founder and Director / MediaCom Beyond Advertising | Alexandra Bruell Reporter / Advertising Age | Benny Lawrence Manager, Media-Brand Innovation / Audi of America |  Erin McPherson VP and Head of Video Programming & Originals / Yahoo!

Storytelling - the industry’s new buzzword. Sales and marketing is being redefined as brands ask themselves: who’s story do we tell? The customers or ours? Do users want to be entertained with a great story or be part of it?

Agency and media executives, reporters and brand managers discussed the challenges in storytelling and how data is enabling new methods of sharing content. Feedback, for one, plays an important role as a channel to find out if people are getting the message and if they like what brands are trying to say.

Consumers are getting bombarded with content.  Successful brands master the marriage of content and technology. Content is better because there is more and better data to inform the creative process. We can use data to know what our audience is looking for. It’s art and science.

Native advertising allows brands to work side by side with digital and social.

Challenges through the process:

  • Listening to clients
  • Failing fast and fixing fast
  • Time
  • Money



Elliot Lum VP, Strategic Marketing / Columbia Records Creative Agency |  Glenn Johnson Co-Founder / RTCMG |  Nathan Coyle EVP, Head Business Development / Refinery 29 |  Ron Farris Founder / CEO of Virgin Special Projects / Virgin |  Stephanie Paciullo Agent, Commercial Endorsements / Creative Artists Agency |  Todd English Founder & CEO / Todd English Enterprises

The business between brands, agencies and celebrities is evolving and the message to the consumer has to be authentic. Industry executives got together for a discussion on how the work between brand, agencies and celebrities is evolving and the message to the consumer needs to be. What are the other key factors to success, and how do you cultivate them?

Very few marketers are willing to take a level of risk when it comes to embracing emotional on social media but as long as that celebrity is transmitting the same values as the brand, a strong idea can become a very lucrative business.

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Advertising Week with United: DAY 3


 CEO Connectors

Christine Fruechte President & CEO / Colle + McVoy | Lori Hiltz CEO, North America / Havas Media | Lori Senecal Chairman & CEO / kbs+ | Maria Mandel Dunsche VP Marketing & Media Innovation / AT&T AdWorks |Matt Seiler Global CEO / IPG Mediabrands | Mike Welch President / AT&T AdWorks | Pete Cashmore Founder and CEO / Mashable | Susan Gianinno Chairman & CEO / Publicis Worldwide USA

In today’s world, business leaders must be connected to consumers, clients, content partners and colleagues on mobile and social platforms. This interesting panel of executives discussed the elements that are vital when it comes to inspiring and educating their organization and clients. 

Passion, integrity and courage play an important role for those who are willing to take risks and blaze the trail.  Data has become the new currency in our business – it’s vital to decision making. Social analytics as business metrics are essential in today’s business world.

Has this orientation to data taken creativity out of advertising? Patterns and analytics can definitely provide an advantage to brands, since they enlighten us on what people want, and also help us write and sell to them. This gives brands an opportunity to be more insightful and be better storytellers. Accessing people through technology is key in order to continue the business dialogue. The way we create content and we distribute it in the world is now very different.

Marketers that will be successful are empathetic and help solve the problems that people are having. They constantly ask themselves, how can I add content, how can I add value? The element of creativity today in ads can come from the audience. They’re willing to consume and share, but also be part of the advertising process.

Bottom line: brands need to stop thinking about mobile as a device and in turn think of mobile as the action of  “being mobile.”


 Celebrity Storytelling

Armando Correa Managing Editor / People en Español | Bethenny Frankel TV Personality | Jess Cagle Managing Editor / Entertainment Weekly | Lara Spencer Anchor / GMA | Larry Hackett Managing Editor / People

In today’s mobile and social world, media has embraced the evolution of celebrity reporting and storytelling. Brands such as magazines always look for ways to be the first source. However, with social media, the chances of breaking news are harder. You only have that competitive advantage for a few minutes.

People want to be told stories in authentic ways, and mobile platforms help celebrities do exactly that.  Content needs to be better than ever.  Sources need to cover stories that are true, instead of making things up. This philosophy will guarantee that celebrities will sit down and talk to brands and editorials that have good faith in publishing the truth.

More than anything, brands have to stop excluding people who can’t or won’t share their information for whatever reason, and instead inspire them to do so.



Seth Dallaire Vice President of North American Display Advertising / Amazon Media Group

During this session, the Amazon exec shared the success Amazon has accomplished by transforming the customer experience through ecommerce platforms.

In the old days, the world of retail was regional and focused on getting more shelf space and lower prices. Nowadays, the Internet has provided a breadth and depth of products and limitless shelf space. Not only does the customer have a choice, they also have a voice where products are concerned. Through word of mouth, the user is more empowered than ever before - and all of this is offering new opportunities in the world of retail.

This customer voice is the new marketing currency. Reviews are essential to the experience. They are a pride for Amazon, since they prove how strongly people feel about the brands Amazon sells.


 Radio connects

Chad Stubbs Head of Digital Engagement & Integrated Media / PepsiCo | Deron Triff Director Distribution / TED | Shelley Zalis CEO / Ipsos OTX | Tim Castelli President, National Sales and Marketing / CCM+E |

There’s no denying the power of music as a vehicle to drive consumer engagement. Local radio shows and DJs are considered local celebrities. They are vital when it comes to the creation of content and driving brand movements.

Branded content today has to be remarkable, not just great, but one that leverages radio, TV, print, etc. People need the WOW factor. Fortunately, digital helps broadcast messages nationally, globally and achieve the levels of scales that are expected.

Nowadays, the fact that people spend more time outside of home and in their automobile makes us relook at how consumers use media.


 Creative Carrousel

Carlos Figueiredo ECD / Publicis Kaplan Thaler | Jay Russel ECD/ GSD&M | Matt Eastwood CCO/ DDB New York | Matt Ian Executive Creative Director / TBWA\Chiat\Day New York | Paul Woolmington Investor, Advisor, Communications Entrepreneur | Peter Moore Smith Executive Creative Director / Saatchi & Saatchi NY | Quincy Cherry CCO / Uniworld Group | Reid Miller ECD / Taxi New York |

In a creative environment, imagination is the difference that will make the difference. Empathy and a balance of creative and business is the basis for leadership and inspiration. During this panel, creative leaders exposed the tricks of the trade when it comes to building relationships with clients and getting results. As clients understand creativity, taking risks becomes a lot easier for them.

Understanding a client’s problem is key. Ask yourself, what does he/she need? Then get the right people to solve the right problem.  Collaboration is a crucial component of communication. Get every department you can get to be involved. Clients and agency departments should understand what’s on the other side of the table. 



Martine Rearson CMO / Macy’s | Nigel Morris CEO / Aegis Media Americas & EMEA

Macy’s is more than just a store, it’s place where magic takes place. And for the past few years, this retailer has embraced technology as a means to feature all it has to offer.

With transformation going in such a fast pace, Macy’s is reinventing the way people are buying. For a brand to be this focused you need a long-term view of what you stand for and what you’re trying to achieve.

From social, to mobile, to real-time, a brand needs to do everything it can to keep up with the times. Understanding what’s happening and what’s not, impacts the decision-making process. Bottom line? Macy’s has transformed a giant business with agility and these elements:


In a convergent world, everything can lead to commerce. (Content, social, shopping and spaces). The point of connection and engagement and the point of transaction are getting closer and closer together.  Our ability to reach and influence people has never been greater or easier.

Big Data

Data is reconnecting society – reconnecting people with businesses. Tap into connected commerce and cultures to create real-time content and in-store experiences that combine social trends and transactions.


Studying trends and users makes the retail experience more personal and socially relevant.


Combining connected commerce, content and culture to create adaptive real-time experiences.


Reinventing the business as a reflection of a connected culture by bringing back value to the experience.

Bottom line:

  • Be big and be bold
  • Go for scale
  • Innovate


The third metric 

Arianna Huffington President & Editor-in-Chief / The Huffington Post Media Group | Bonita Stewart VP, Americas – Partner Business Solutions / Google Inc. | Cindi Leive Editor-in-Chief / Glamour | Jacki Kelley CEO, North America & President, Global Clients / IPG Mediabrands | Lauren Zalaznick EVP / NBC Universal | Mary Gordon Founder & President / Roots of Empathy | Olivia Munn TV Personality, Model & Author | Pat Christen President & CEO / HopeLab 

According to statistics, women that lead successful professional lives have a highter tendency to suffer heart disease and diabetes. An inspiring panel led by Arianna Huffington discussed the redefinition of success beyond the metrics of money and power - the third metric.

Keys to the third metric:


If we don’t have our health, we don’t have anything. Research shows that we can be more creative and innovative if we’d rest more.


We need to figure out what’s important in our life and find time for it.

Capacity to wonder

We need to celebrate life every day. Live each moment to the fullest.


When we give to others, we operate from fullness. Connecting and having a purpose outside oneself is essential.

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Advertising Week with United: DAY 2


 Creative Leadership

John Norman CCO/ TBWA\Chiat\Day LA | John Patroulis CCO / BBH New York | Mark Fitzloff Global Executive Creative Director / Wieden + Kennedy | Paul Venables Founder & Executive Creative Director / Venables Bell + Partners | Rei Inamoto CCO / AKQA | Ted Royer CCO / Droga 5

You can’t have the best restaurant in the world without a great chef. The same principle applies to agencies and their creative teams. In today’s world, coupling the power of creativity is more important than ever. For that matter, top creative executives met for a deep discussion on how best to develop creative leaders in the current realm of advertising.

When it comes to being a leader, harnessing human values is of utmost importance.  Soft skills are hard to develop. Sincerity, respect, sympathy, empathy and honesty are just few of the characteristics make a good trailblazer, and simply put, some people have them and some people don’t.

Exceptional creative leaders all share similar traits that set them apart from everyone else:

  • They provide inspiration to their team.
  • They get out of their chair and talk to people
  • They are as excited with their work as his/her team
  • They feel ownership of the brand
  • They build a one-on-one relationship with their clients
  • They understand the needs and problems of their team and client better than anyone else
  • They adapt and evolve 

In the end, being a good leader boils down to this epic phrase:

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou


The brand as an experience

Dan Hirsch Founder & CEO / On Board Experiential Marketing | Ed Cotton Dir. Of Strategy & Innovation / Butler, Shines, Stern & Partners | Hosi Simon Global General Manager / VICE | James L. McDowell VP / MINI

What good is your brand if it doesn’t evoke an experience? Executives from the world’s most creative brands – MINI, Intel and Nike – came together for a panel on how to engage with clients in new and creative ways.

Campaigns may come and go, but in today’s world, brands should strive to focus on creating movements and memories. Emotions and experience are part of the things people carry for the rest of their lives. Brands such as Nike, for instance, base their vision on elevating the experience of the athlete. Authenticity is a key aspect when it comes to creating a brand experience. Ask yourself,  “Is there a real reason why the client is using the product at that particular moment?” Brands that will succeed in the future will harness this power and add the extra value to people’s life.

Digital platforms such as social media are excellent opportunities to ignite conversations revolving a product that often lead to one of the most powerful assets a brand could have: a community. Creating an environment suitable for user-generated content is the ideal scenario that not only provides a snapshot, but an ongoing story with people.



Alexi Glick CEO / GENYouth Foundation | Elizabeth Harz VP, Business Development / Chegg | Jennifer Enderlin Sr. Project Mgr. Philanthropy / AT&T Foundation

Marketing for millennials - also known as ‘Generation Y’ - sounds a lot easier that it actually is.  Today’s “made-to-order generation” has become a influential target studied by marketers, one that posses a very specific set of characteristics:

  • They are architects their own education
  • They custom craft their media consumption (they decide which emails to open, which apps to download, which brands to follow and even which ads to watch / search for on Youtube.)
  • They build brand relationships in whichever way they want
  • They spend 47 media hours a week on mobile phones
  • They do things on their own terms, whenever they want
  • 84% have smartphones
  • 34% have tablets
  • 61% follow a brand on social media

When it comes to students, brands need to earn their business and trust. It’s not just about the product; it’s what the organization does behind the scenes.  But most of all, 80% of the people under this target remembers the ads that made them laugh – ads that were authentic, entertaining, unexpected and inspiring.

Engagement that works is based on:

  • Product sampling
  • Special discounts
  • Personalized messaging
  • Loyalty rewards
  • Insider apps
  • Real time consumer care


Award winning creativity

Matthew Quint Director, Center on Global Brand Leadership / Columbia Business School

When it comes to creativity, the advertising industry has basically established that thinking outside the box is the best way to boost good ideas. In this seminar, Matthew Quint challenges us to see how thinking ‘inside the box’ can actually inspire innovation and creativity.

Betty Crocker’s cake mix and the Walkman – products that were both created by thinking inside the box – came to life by modifying or adapting existing qualities or ideas for new opportunities.

So how can constraint inspire creativity?  Research shows that award-winning creativity can be crafted from well-defined frameworks.

These “design structures” can be divided into:


  • Unification- when the medium mixes with the message
  • Activation- doing something that unites with the medium and the audience
  • Metaphor- using the brand to deliver the message in a sarcastic way
  • Subtraction – removing the product from the medium


  • Extreme consequences: using the product to illustrate something drastic that’s happening
  • Absurd alternative: illustrating something ridiculous in an ad
  • Inversion: illustrating the problems of not using the product
  • Extreme effort: illustrating some extreme deed in the ad in order to be funny. 


 The new creative director

Diane Jackson EVP, Dir. of Integrated Production / DDB Chicago | Helayne Spivak Director/ VCU Brandcenter | Joe Alexander CCO / The Martin Agency | Paul Lavoie Chairman & Cofounder / Taxi | Susan Credle CCO / Leo Burnett |Ty Montague Co-CEO / Co Collective

What does the new Creative Director look like?

Over the last few years, with the transition of communication towards multiple platforms, creative directors now look at ideas in a completely different way. Their focus on execution has been transformed into strategy, as mediums have become holistic communication platforms. The world of advertising spots has evolved into conversations.

In light of that, directors are now acquiring a broader spectrum of skill sets as they learn to work with bigger teams and adapt to building brands based on big data and analytics. Technology, consumer intelligence and collaboration are more important than ever.

Thinking about why you are creating something and why would anyone want to see it and use it, is vital.  Strategy is the first part of good creative work. Getting the right people around the table is essential in order to execute that strategy. In businesses, we’ve gone from a 'baton-pass' in terms of work, to teamwork. Everything is collaboration.


 Big ideas

Amy Hodgings – Carvajal SVP, Creative Director / Publicis Kaplan Thaler | Conor Brady Chief Creative Office / HUGE |  Gary Koepke Chief Creative Officer, North America / SapientNitro | Reid Miller ECD / Taxi New York | Sam Cannon Executive Creative Director / Razorfish | Teressa Iezzi Editor / Fast Company Co. Create

How do top creatives come up with great ideas and find inspiration? This panel of creative directors discussed the different techniques that have produced successful advertising for brands.

When it comes to new ideas, there’s a secret: we recycle ideas all the time. Good ones always come back as boomerangs. It all comes down to putting together a lot of old ideas in new ways and delivering them in a fresh new format.

In today’s world, brands should stop trying to push the product to clients, and instead focus on the emotional relevance they can build with them.

Top creators don’t focus on winning or losing, but rather on an attitude that can create the ideal scenario for the creation of better ideas.



Anna Christine Diaz Editor / Creativity | Ben Jones Creative Director / Google | Elyssa Gray Head of Creative & Media, Citi North America Marketing / Citi | Freya Williams SVP, Strategy Director / Publicis Kaplan Thaler | Jim Kotulka EVP, Executive Creative Director / Publicis Kaplan Thaler

With the intention of helping residents and visitors “unlock” New York City, the Citi brand aligned itself with a beneficial project – the NYC Bike Share. This act of giving back to consumers in a meaningful way has now translated to stronger brand engagement.

What started out as a project between the city of New York and the brand, it has now become a program that has grown and transformed into an action that provides value. In just 76 days, 3,000,000 rides have been taken on 6,000 bikes all over 330 stations in the city. Not only has it helped people lead a healthier life, it has also reduced 3,600 tons of emissions of carbon dioxide

What has the NYC Bike Share done for the Citi brand? It has completely altered people’s perception of the brand and has allowed for an excellent use of media in a city that has a high degree of competition when it comes to OOH advertising.

Citi Bike is a great marriage between advertising and something valuable for the city.

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