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Author: James Nieman

Selfies That Change Things

Facebook is thirteen years old.

So it’s not exactly breaking news that we live in a direct-led and socially connected world. We’ve been living in it for over a decade now. It’s not going to change our lives; it already has. The way we talk. The way we think. The way we act. As people. As consumers. And, for those paying attention, as brands.

Even the line between brand and consumer is becoming blurred. With brands like Lyft and Airbnb, the platforms themselves have become communities where brand values and benefits are communicated through daily interactions, rather than through headlines. Actions, not ads, have become the coin of the realm.

46-inch TVs sitting in living rooms have become 7-inch smartphones constantly moving. From couch to desk to coffee shop to grocery store. From Facebook to Twitter to YouTube to Instagram to Snapchat. Seamlessly. “Word of mouth” has become “likes,” “shares,” “comments,” and “snapchat follows.”

People are literally carrying your brand around in their pockets. So it makes sense that marketing has become more personal. Now, more than ever, people want to be a part of the brand. They expect to have a voice.

And this is why we invented The Selfifesto® – a new and innovative co-creation process that puts your brand’s most devoted fans at the center of the process to bring the brand truths to life.

Tapping into today’s selfie-culture, we ask brand loyalists to record videos of themselves on their smartphones. Then we package the video into an ad where they become the stars. We provide the brief, strategy, concept, scripts, and editing, but each consumer is their own director, actor, and camera operator. An ad co-created between the brand and consumer.  It’s not just our campaign; it’s theirs as well.

In return, the brand develops a greater understanding of their target audience, increasing customer satisfaction through the back-and-forth interaction. A community is built, and engagement is only further intensified when the superstars themselves spread the spots online.

It’s an experiment we first tried with WeightWatchers a few months back, and then again with Affinity Federal Credit Union. Real customers with real stories… a celebration of their success with the brands, all for a fraction of typical production costs.

No one knows your consumers better than they know themselves, and when you give them the voice they want and invite them to join the conversation, some amazing things can happen. Remember, a brand is not what you tell people it is. A brand is what people tell people it is.

If you want to learn more about how we can do this for you and your brand, we’d love to talk. Email tom@digobrands.com for more on The Selfifesto®.

 

The A-List Podcast: Episode 11 with Kash Sree

In this week’s episode of “The A-List” podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein Chief Creative Officer Tom Christmann chats with the brilliant Kash Sree, Group Creative Director at gyro New York. Kash has worked at many of the top agencies across the world, from SS&K to Perreira & O’Dell, JWT, BBH New York, and Wieden + Kennedy. Working on such global accounts as Vaseline, DeBeers, Axe, Nintendo and Nike, Kash has helped create some of the industry’s most iconic campaigns, including Nike’s “Hackeysack” spot with Tiger Woods. Kash was also the recipient of an Emmy and a Cannes Grand Prix for his inspiring work on two different Nike campaigns in the same year.

Tune in to hear Kash discuss his journey from martial arts teacher to art director to copywriter, what he looks for in creative talent today, and why kindness – to yourself and others – is key.  Full episode and show notes below!

Show Notes

  • [0:00 – 1:55] Intro
  • [1:56 – 7:42] Growing up in East London, eating Kentucky Fried Chicken every day, and trying not to be noticed at school.
  • [7:43 – 10:20] Working as a kung fu instructor and trading in martial arts for design school
  • [10:21 – 18:19] Beginning his journey into advertising and proving his professor wrong
  • [18:20 – 20:52] The importance of research in being a great creative and making a great ad
  • [20:53 – 30:05] Getting fired from Ogilvy after 5 months and moving to Singapore
  • [30:06 – 34:22] Learning to stand up for his work and switching from art direction to copywriting
  • [34:23 – 39:05] Getting a crash course in advertising
  • [39:06 – 44:09] Seeking inspiration in culture and applying lessons from martial arts to advertising
  • [44:10 – 50:12] “Staying stupid” to avoid bad briefs
  • [50:13 – 61:43] Being motivated by fame, getting sued and winning an award
  • [61:44 – 69:42] How today’s creatives can impress Kash
  • [69:43 – 71:06] Outro

“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter. If you want to be interviewed for an upcoming episode, contact us at AdhouseNYC.com.

Inspiring Action Brand of the Month: Bombas

Five years ago, Randy Heath and David Goldberg stumbled upon a quote that would change their lives forever.

“Socks are the number one most requested clothing item at homeless shelters.”

Not coats. Not gloves. Socks. The very same items that we subconsciously put on every single morning also happen to be a luxury to millions of people in need. Socks are what’s called a “wear through” item, which means that you cannot donate used pairs due to hygenic issues. This makes sock donations particularly difficult, putting them in high demand in homeless shelters across the country.

Surprised and upset by this heartbreaking insight, the two began to brainstorm. They wanted to help bring awareness to this under-publicized issue. They wanted to make a change. They wanted to inspire action.

So they did just that. They quit their jobs and launched Bombas, a sock company built from the ground up with an inspiring idea above commercial intent. To help the over 560,000 homeless people in the United States, Bombas would use the same buy-one-donate-one model made famous by TOMS Shoes and Warby Parker to help deliver to those in need.

But a brand is only as strong as the product and experience it delivers. If Heath and Goldberg were to succeed, they would need to design a product that was superior to whatever was already offered in the marketplace.

They spent over two years on research and development, studying the industry, experimenting with countless fabrics, and dissecting every pain point associated with socks.

The result was a perfectly engineered sock, with every minute detail designed with the consumer in mind — perfect for both athletic performance and leisure.

But the needs of the homeless and the needs of the Bombas consumer are very different. With that in mind, Heath and Goldberg reimagined the structure of their donation sock. The donation sock is engineered with reinforced seams for greater durability and a longer lifespan. It contains an anti-microbial treatment that prevents the growth of fungus and odors, and the socks are in darker tones to show less wear and tear. The refashioned sock is a testament to Heath and Goldberg’s commitment to fight homelessness with innovation and further solidifies Bombas’ reputation as a brand that’s driven by purpose rather than profit.

Stitched inside every Bombas sock is the brand’s mantra “Bee Better.” The name Bombas is derived from the Latin bombus, which means bumblebee. Bees are small, but together, they can make a huge impact. Bombas is no different, and the mantra serves as a constant reminder that we are all connected, and that even the smallest of actions can make a big difference.

Anxious and excited to share their product with the world, they went to market with the goal of donating 1,000,000 socks by 2024 – but it took just two years.

Word of their inspiring brand story spread like wildfire, and people flocked to be a part of it. It was human to the core, and consumers felt emotionally connected to the brand’s purpose and mission. It’s much more than just a pair of socks. It’s an experience that leaves you feeling impassioned, rewarded and inspired.

Today, Bombas has donated 2,287,666 socks to charity – a number that rises by the thousands with each passing day.

2,287,666 random acts of kindness. 2,287,666 inspiring actions.

That is why Bombas is our inspiring action brand of the month!

 

The A-List Podcast: Episode 010 With Eric Silver

This week on “The A-List” podcast, host and Chief Creative Officer of DiMassimo Goldstein Tom Christmann chats with award-winning creative genius Eric Silver, McCann’s North American Chief Creative Officer. Since kicking off his career as a copywriter in the 90’s, Eric has left his creative mark on some of the top agencies across the country, working on many of the biggest brands in the world from Nike to ESPN. Recently, Eric brought us the renowned “Fearless Girl” statue that famously stares down Wall Street’s “Charging Bull”.

Tune in to hear Eric discuss his circuitous journey from aspiring attorney to copywriter, the value of attending ad school, and the one piece of advice he gives to new creatives entering the advertising industry today. Full episode and show notes below!

Show Notes

  • [0:00 – 1:25] Intro
  • [1:26 – 4:34] Eric’s childhood in Orange, CT and sneaking into movie theaters
  • [4:35 – 8:25] Attending law school in Los Angeles and realizing that law wasn’t right for him
  • [8:26 – 10:20] Considering a future in advertising for the first time after seeing a Nike ad
  • [10:21—17:19] Eric’s journey into advertising and why he advises young creatives to attend ad school
  • [17:20 – 21:15] Landing a job at Larsen Colby, finding his first partner and building a tribe
  • [21:16 – 30:10] David Angelo’s passionate speech at TBWA\Chiat\Day New York and moving to Earl Palmer Brown
  • [30:11 — 31:54] Eric and Tom’s advice to young creatives today
  • [31:55 – 35:07] Finding his mentors at Wieden & Kennedy
  • [35:08 – 44:07] Eric’s first big TV spot: the retail assignment nobody wanted
  • [44:08 – 49:15] Leaving advertising for David Letterman
  • [49:16 – 56:33] Working at Cliff Freeman & Partners, BBDO and DDB
  • [56:34 – 1:02:26] Collaborating with Rob Reilly on “The Fearless Girl”
  • [1:02:27 – 1:03:44] Outro

“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter. If you want to be interviewed for an upcoming episode, contact us at AdhouseNYC.com.

The A-List Podcast: Episode 009 with Megan Skelly

In the ninth episode of “The A-List” podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein Chief Creative Officer Tom Christmann chats with his long-time friend Megan Skelly, the Group Executive Creative Director at R/GA. Megan has been the creative lead on some of the world’s biggest name brands such as Coca-Cola, Target, Stella Artois, and most recently Verizon Wireless. Last year, Business Insider named her one of the “30 Most Creative Women in Advertising” – an honor that she fully deserves.

Tune in and hear Megan and Tom talk about their time together at Kirshenbaum, stepping over dead bodies, not being afraid to be stupid and so much more. Full episode and show notes below!

Show Notes

  • [00:00 – 01:36] Intro
  • [01:37 – 09:24] Megan talks about her childhood in Connecticut and her aspirations of becoming a painter
  • [09:25 – 13:40] Living on a pull out couch for three years in Westport and trying to get a job in the recession
  • [13:41 – 19:20] Moving to New York City and working at Wonderman
  • [19:21 – 26:00] Megan talks about her role models in the industry
  • [26:01 – 31:03] Working on Cablevision at KBS and becoming a storyteller
  • [31:04 – 37:16] “Making it”, using fear as a motivator, and trusting the process
  • [37:17 – 44:20] Not being afraid to be stupid and knowing your strengths
  • [44:21 – 46:05] Why the industry is more exciting today than ever
  • [46:06 – 54:50] The different DNA of R/GA
  • [54:41 – 55:52] Outro

“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter. If you want to be interviewed for an upcoming episode, contact us at AdhouseNYC.com.

The A-List Podcast: Episode 008 with Rob Schwartz

“Everything is interesting. If you find something boring, then you’re boring”

This week on “The A-List” podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein Chief Creative Officer Tom Christmann is joined in the studio by Rob Schwartz, the Chief Executive Officer at TBWA\CHIAT\DAY New York. Before becoming CEO, Schwartz enjoyed a long and very successful career as a creative, winning nearly every advertising award under the sun and spearheading the creative behind some of the world’s most recognized brands such as Nissan, McDonald’s, VISA, and Thomson Reuters, among others. Rob is also the host of his own podcast titled “The Disruptor Series,” for which he interviews people who are disrupting business culture and life.

In this episode, Tom and Schwartz break down the differences and similarities between agencies in LA and New York, discuss the managerial prowess of pirates, and talk about how the position of CEO is still very much a creative role. Full episode and show notes below!

Show Notes:

  • [0:00 – 1:02] Intro
  • [1:03 – 4:12] Rob’s childhood in New York and aspirations of becoming a writer
  • [4:13 – 9:30] Rob’s story of tearing up his LSAT during the test
  • [9:31 – 11:20] Rob’s experience in a leadership training school
  • [11:21 – 15:50] The epiphany that ultimately launched Rob’s advertising career
  • [15:51 – 20:43] Becoming an ad geek historian
  • [20:44 – 26:50] Mentorship and the value of work ethic
  • [26:51 – 28:59] The fear of failure
  • [29:00 – 34:20] The difference between agencies in LA and New York
  • [34:21 – 36:27] Working with supreme talent at Team One
  • [36:28 – 39:20] Catching the eye of Chiat
  • [39:21 – 47:20] The transition from a creative to a CEO and why it’s cooler to be the pirates than the navy
  • [47:21 – 50:17] Rob’s advice to young creatives
  • [50:18 – 52:13] The future of advertising
  • [52:14 – 55:52] Recommended books and “The Disruptor Series”
  • [55:53 – 56:56] Outro

“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter. If you want to be interviewed for an upcoming episode, contact us at AdhouseNYC.com.
 

The A-list Podcast: Episode 007 with Gerry Graf

“I try to be really clear at what I’m not good at and then think about how I can change that… it’s about just being honest with yourself”

This week on “The A-List” podcast, host and chief creative officer of DiMassimo Goldstein Tom Christmann chats with the one and only Gerry Graf, founder and chief creative officer of Barton F. Graf.

Before starting his own agency, Graf spent the better half of two decades making award-winning creative for some of the most well-respected agencies in the world, such as Goodby Silverstein and Partners, BBDO, TBWA/Chiat Day, and Saatchi among others. For his outstanding work, Business Insider would later label him “The Most Creative Man in Advertising”.

Tune in as Gerry tells Tom all about his time writing for the “SNL of Notre Dame”, hunting rats in Venice Beach, the importance of making your own opportunities and why creativity is valued more today than ever. Full episode and show notes below!

Show Notes

  • [0:00 – 1:42] Intro
  • [1:43 – 4:56] Tom and Gerry’s past at BBDO and what it was like growing up in Lexington, MA
  • [4:57 – 7:30] Going pre-med to Notre Dame
  • [7:31 – 13:07] Writing for the Keenan Revue – the SNL of Notre Dame
  • [13:08 – 14:23] Post Notre Dame life and hunting rats in Venice Beach for six months
  • [14:24 – 17:15] Hating life as a stockbroker for two years in Boston
  • [17:15 – 22:03] Gery’s first portfolio, getting denied from agencies, and the introduction of Ken Fitzgerald
  • [22:04 – 25:48] Being offered a job at Saatchi & Saatchi while on a payphone in Grand Central
  • [25:49 – 27:13] The walk of shame
  • [27:14 – 29:22] Emulating Cliff Freeman
  • [29:23 – 37:50] Gerry’s “pull the rug” copywriting trick and getting his big break on Snickers while at BBDO
  • [37:51 – 44:54] Working at Goodby and finally Reuniting with Ken Fitzgerald after over a decade
  • [44:55 –50:25] Making your own opportunities, asking the right questions and not giving up
  • [50:26 – 52:43] Selling and maintaining a good idea
  • [52:44 – 57: 42] Getting in the industry today and valuing creativity
  • [57:43 – 58:57] Outro

“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter. If you want to be interviewed for an upcoming episode, contact us at AdhouseNYC.com.

 

The A-List Podcast: Episode 006 with Matt Ian

In the sixth installment of The A-List Podcast, host and chief creative officer of DiMassimo Goldstein Tom Christmann chats with Matt Ian, Group Creative Director at Droga5. For just under an hour, Christmann and Ian talk about everything from getting fired and bouncing back in your career, to the art of the headline, and how students can succeed in the industry today. Full episode and show notes below!

  • [0:00 – 1:04] Intro
  • [1:05 – 7:05] Matt’s childhood playing music in Greenwich, Connecticut
  • [7:06 – 11:53] Attending the Pratt Institute
  • [11:54 – 22:45] Matt’s first gig at Lambesis and living in Pasadena, California
  • [22:46 – 27:59] Working on Airwalk and transitioning from an art director to a copywriter
  • [28:00 – 29:40] The art of the headline
  • [29:41 – 32:18] How getting fired made Matt work harder than ever
  • [32:19 –34:20] Matt’s time working at Chiat Day
  • [34:21 – 37:50] The fear of being mediocre and how words are stupid
  • [37:51 – 45:34]: Working at Droga5 and how to get ahead in the industry
  • [45:35 – 51:47] Matt and Tom talk about what they look for in new hires
  • [51:48 – 52:30] Outro

 “The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter. If you want to be interviewed for an upcoming episode, contact us at AdhouseNYC.com.