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Author: James Nieman

Why Netflix Was The Big Winner At This Year’s Academy Awards

Netflix started out as a DVD rental business roughly two decades ago.

This past Sunday, the tech company was nominated for 14 Oscars.
They took home four.

Reminder: Netflix has been in original content for a mere six years.

(Photo from Mirror)

Their original film, Roma, was edged out by Green Book for Best Picture.
The loss was likely met with cheers from legacy studio heads and traditional media elite.
But the nomination speaks volumes for Netflix’s surging influence on the industry.
An influence that is only growing by the day.

Roma has Hollywood shaking in its suits.
A foreign black-and-white film, not likely to be greenlit by the major studios.
In theatres for just a few weeks before Netflix made it available for streaming online.
Much shorter than the 90-day exclusive window used by the old guard.

Roma had an A-list director in Alfonso Cuarón.
Putting Netflix’s power to secure Hollywood’s top talent on full display.
He would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Director.

Roma proved what many already knew to be true.
Netflix doesn’t just belong.
Netflix is the future, and it’s completely flipping the entertainment industry on its head.

Like a true challenger, they did it their own way.
The way of the master change agent.

With a direct-to-consumer business model, the user is the customer and the focus.
Not pleasing middlemen distributors or networks.

This model holds them accountable.
Cancelling a subscription is just one-click away.

Netflix knew the where was global.
Netflix knew the when was on-demand.

Netflix knew it was a membership-economy.
Which meant community and creating the right change for the people who care – their customers.

Netflix knew that content was king.
Lots of it.

Netflix knew that technology would bring these engaging stories to their audience.
And they knew the audience was everywhere – in their living rooms, on their laptops, or on their phones.

Netflix understood behavioral science.
Ease beats motivation.
Faster is better.

Netflix knew the power of experience and intervention design.
And revolutionized the way consumers watch television.
Giving them the freedom and control to binge entire seasons or watch at their convenience.

Netflix invented their own advantages.
By moving fast, and experimenting without the constraints of a legacy system.

Netflix is the reason Disney, WarnerMedia, CBS, and almost all of the other traditional media titans are now introducing their own direct-to-consumer business models, which will be costly.

For these Goliaths, the time is now, and the stakes are high.
Each of them will have to grow a new business.
While managing the decline of their traditional business.

But these mega corporations are now playing in a different marketplace.
One in which Netflix is the standard of greatness.

With smart data, savvy marketing, and 139 million strong.
Netflix has more than a head start.
The rest will play catch-up.

That little DVD rental business with nothing but a challenger mindset and an inspiring idea.
Is now both “what works” and “what’s great.”
An iconic brand that is defining an era.

That’s #inspiringaction.

Affinity Federal Credit Union & Inspiring Action With DiGo

When Affinity Federal Credit Union first came to us in 2014, the country was in economic disarray.

Following the second-worst financial crisis in U.S. history, seven million people had just lost their homes. More than that had just lost their jobs, and many lost both. Trust in financial institutions had plummeted by 50 percent, while trust in banks fell even more.

Still, the largest credit union headquartered in New Jersey needed new members, and quickly.

The challenge: Help Affinity grow in a post-recession economy where disillusionment with financial institutions was at an all-time high.

Together with our client, we needed to build an iconic brand, change behaviors, and inspire a new movement — and for a fraction of the cost of the marketing budgets of big banks on Wall Street.

We got started with a strategic exploratory of all the key messages that might help Affinity Federal Credit Union achieve its goals, and we found a key insight that did that far better than any other.

Affinity Federal Credit Union isn’t a bank.

You can, however, get a checking account, business loan or credit card there.

Our planning team talked to credit union members and discovered their desire to not see themselves as the victims or enablers of Wall Street. Instead, these members prided themselves on investing in their own community.

And unlike a bank, it had an inspiring idea above commercial intent — a not-for-profit public service mission that aimed to help people and small businesses.

We had our single thought …

“We’re not a bank, we’re Affinity”.

The creative message? All the financial services of a bank, but 100% Fat Cat free.

This was a brilliant example of reframing — positioning a company, a Credit Union, while at the same time de-positioning your competition. And it was based on a single compelling insight, which is way deep into our psyche: We consider all banks the same Fat Cat.

To really position the credit union apart from the bigwigs on Wall Street, Affinity needed to take this inspiring idea and dramatize it through a small number of iconic actions.

First, we created commercials that could never, ever have been done by any uptight bank.

Our major character was a real fat cat behind a desk. The response was so tremendous that the spot ended up catapulting Affinity to a national story and was featured on Spike TV’s Funniest Commercials of the Year — twice.

The campaign went viral on social networks, dramatically increasing the efficiency of the advertising.  It was iconic.

Affinity Federal Credit Union – Fat Cats from DiMassimo Goldstein on Vimeo.

Next, to showcase Affinity’s low checking fees, we took the drama to an entirely new level.

Together with our client, we conducted a social experiment with real people, but one that took a turn for the extreme. We brought elite athletes and fat cat banking customers into the same gym.

Then, to demonstrate how commercial banks clobber their customers with enormous fees, we printed “ATM fees” and other fees on dodgeballs, blindfolded the customers and then let the athletes pelt them mercilessly. (Of course, our lawyers were present with ironclad releases and videotaped disclaimers.)

This insanely lopsided dodgeball game turned into a fully integrated campaign including digital banners, a landing page, and extra outtakes. Talk about an in-your-face advertisement …

It too went viral.

After a couple years, our client’s challenge had evolved.

We had helped Affinity successfully define who they weren’t — a fat-cat-run bank — but now, the credit union needed help defining who they were.

We looked deeper, conducting extensive primary research to learn all about what makes Affinity unique. We spoke with members, employees, stakeholders, and prospects and learned that Affinity members and employees feel proud to belong to something better. And that their tagline, “Belong to something better,” was the core of the brand. The message was authentic, and the sentiment was there, but the members weren’t embedded in the journey enough for this to be showcased to future members. All we needed to do was tell their story by bringing clear meaning to the tagline in a way that allowed every audience to relate to the brand. We needed to showcase the trustworthy human connections that make the Affinity experience so authentic, and who better to tell that story than the members themselves?

The new campaign, titled “A Community Connected,” was co-created with Affinity members. Through a series of regional OOH, display, radio, and TV spots, this innovative approach to advertising brought the brand’s mission to life in a transparent and iconic way. Using our patented Selfifesto® technique, we placed the members at the center of the marketing message and couldn’t be happier with the result. We asked members to record selfie videos detailing their inspiring experience with the credit union, and we worked to compile these videos into powerful ads.

The success wasn’t only measured in accounts and loans, but also by its ability to rally the brand’s employees under one flag. We helped throw a company picnic to celebrate them and build on the idea that they help make Affinity what it is. Our rebranding campaign brought the brand to life and educated audiences about what a credit union is, which is a huge barrier for the category. The campaign worked to tell Affinity’s story to prospects, members, and employees in a unifying way.

Affinity Federal Credit Union – A Community Connected from DiMassimo Goldstein on Vimeo.

The results? A campaign that drove down cost-per-acquisition while simultaneously increasing annual memberships.

During our partnership with Affinity, our client built a thriving community, helping bring the life-changing benefits of the credit union to more and more members each year.

By demonstrating the 10 Signs of an Inspiring Action Company, Affinity changed behaviors and got a new generation to open up accounts and form relationships with a credit union.

People want to be a part of an organization that has their interests at heart, and that’s exactly what Affinity is.

The A-List Podcast With Paul Fix

On the Season 2 finale of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined in the studio by super freelancer and Adhouse NYC advertising teacher Paul Fix.

As a creative director, copywriter, and content creator, Fix has worked at many of the industry’s most renowned agencies, helping deliver world-famous campaigns such as Dos Equis’ “The Most Interesting Man.”

In the interview, Paul shares his unique journey into the world of advertising, talks about his class and teaching style, and offers valuable advice to any young creative trying to break it in the industry. Hear it all below!

Show Notes

  • [0:00 – 1:25] Intro
  • [1:26 – 15:30] Paul talks about the class he teaches at Adhouse and shares stories from his upbringing
  • [15:31 – Paul talks about how his band was almost signed to a label, the importance of independence, and the moment he realized he wanted to be in advertising
  • [26:45 – 44:30] Paul shares the story of how he broke into the industry by collecting data in media
  • [44:31 – 1:02:19] Backpacking in Europe, becoming a high school English teacher, and going back to advertising school
  • [1:02:20 – 1:05:00] Finally becoming a full-fledged creative at
  • [1:05:01 – 1:17:15] The advantages of working freelance, the importance of being kind, and what he loves about teaching
  • [1:17:16 – 1:18:46] Outro

 “The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, 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

Let’s say “No” to compromise. Let’s inspire greatness.

You are a change agent.

You want to create the right change for the people who care — your customers.

You want to inspire action, and now.

As you know, not everyone is a change agent.

And most agencies are not for the change agents.

They compromise speed to meet their own staffing needs.

They compromise outside-the-box thinking to fit their budget.

They compromise selling more and building the brand to play in their own sandbox.

The problem is that your customer doesn’t want to be compromised.

And doesn’t care if you are,

Let’s say “No” to compromise.

I’m Mark DiMassimo, and I’ve spent my entire career learning from change agents.

Iconic, visionary entrepreneurs the ultimate change agents have been my continuing education.

I’ve studied them up close by working with them, day in and day out.

I earn my place by helping those change agents grow their businesses while growing their brands.

This is all I want to do with my career:

Learn from the best. Use that learning to drive growth and value for myself and others.

Give it away to inspire more people to live the creativity, freedom and accomplishment of the change agent life.

Most of my work time is spent trying to keep up with and inspire these iconic change agents.

Through the years, when I could, I took some time to write down what I’d learned from them.

The Change Agent’s Cookbook became one of the most successful email thought leadership campaigns ever.

It led to several billion dollars in sales, inspired founders of new categories and brought together change agents.

My team is putting together some of the greatest hits of the series in e-book and pdf format and calling it The Change Agents Cookbook: How Great Entrepreneurs Use Creative Destruction To Inspire Action.

This isn’t a marketing funnel. You don’t need to give your email to get this book. It’s free to download, and I hope you’ll find it inspires you as others have.

If you use it to ignite the intersection of business and creativity, I’ll be happy.

Let’s say “No” to compromise. Let’s inspire greatness.

Inspiring Action Brands of the Year: 2018

Following last year’s list of behavior change marketers, we’re bringing you a new and updated list of 2018’s most inspiring action brands and people. If there are any brands you think deserve to be added to the list, tweet us here and let us know!

Bird

For using two wheels to reach a $1B valuation at record-breaking speed

Airbnb

For giving the displaced a place to stay

Domino’s

For making technology and innovation its secret sauce

Epic Games

For rewriting gaming history and launching a global craze

UNTUCKit

For being world-class professionals at keeping it casual

Patagonia

For changing the way brands approach a changing world

Cheddar

For striking a chord with cord-cutters

WeWork

For capturing the lion’s share of shared spaces

Spotify

For making sophisticated data science and personalization the soundtrack to success

Marvel

For busting out blockbusters at a record pace

Peloton

For peddling fitness enthusiasts into the future

Square

For reshaping the financial services industry

Hopper

For elevating the way consumers fly

Duolingo

For connecting the globe through language

Ring

For making home-security mobile

Coursera

For making consumers the masters of their own masters degree

The Wing

For shattering glass ceilings

Tough Mudder

For bringing a new definition to running a muck

Netflix

For providing cinematic experiences outside the cinema

Rent The Runway

For extending the red carpet into your closet

Cards Against Humanity

For revealing its cards as being much more than a card company

Slack

For making conversations conversational

BeyondMeat

For being the meat and potatoes of a meatless category

Turo

For paving the road for the peer-to-peer car sharing economy

The New York Times

For putting a modern spin on a timeless publication

Nuts.com

For showing that direct-to-consumer brands can be cooked up in the 1920s

Nike

For taking a stand on taking a knee

The Parkland Activists

For being the voice of a generation

Happy Holidays from DiMassimo Goldstein!

Over the years, we’ve built quite a reputation for our annual Holiday stunts and videos.

Last winter, we famously created a campaign to #SitOutSantaCon, which earlier this week, was named #8 on the CW Network’s Greatest Holiday Video Countdown.

We were thrilled just to make the list, but that excitement would reach new heights shortly after when the #1 video on that very countdown was also video we produced, “We Got Fired by Santa.”

But creating famous Holiday videos takes time, and after a year of agency growth, that time needed to be devoted to our long list of inspiring clients. 

Luckily, DiGo’s workshop has a large network, and in the holiday spirit, a few of our famous friends stepped in to lend a helping hand and deliver a holiday message on our behalf.

And, some of them even took to their personal networks to spread the holiday cheer for all to hear.

From all of us at DiMassimo Goldstein, thank you all for making 2018 such a momentous year. We wish you a warm and joyous holiday, and hope that the new year brings you laughter, peace, and plenty of inspiring actions to celebrate. 

The A-List Podcast with Ari Weiss

Photo from Campaign

The latest episode of The A-List Podcast features Ari Weiss, the first-ever North American Chief Creative Officer at DDB, where he oversees the agency’s 17 North American Offices.

Weiss’ reputation as an illustrious creative has been built working for many of the world’s most creative agencies, including 180 L.A., Wieden & Kennedy, BBDO, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Cliff Freeman & Partners, and Saatchi, among others. Throughout that journey, he has collaborated with many of the industry’s most legendary icons, and he shares many of those experiences in this inspiring interview.

In his discussion with host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann, Weiss talks about why DiMassimo Goldstein was the “best first job you could ever get” and reflects on many of the magical moments, campaigns, and mentors that inspired his career. He shares useful tips about the creative process, offers his unique point of view on the shifting landscape of the industry, and explains why he feels it’s the most interesting time to be in the business.

Hear it all and so much more in the episode below!

Show Notes:

  • [0:00 – 1:28] Intro
  • [1:29 – 9:09] Growing up in California, his early aspirations of becoming a photo journalist, and the connection that landed him an interview with Jeff Goodby
  • [9:10 – 16:05] Weiss talks about his early infatuation with the industry and its culture, his internships as a college student, and the iconic campaigns that inspired him to make it a career
  • [16:06 – 21:40] His first taste of rejection and the discipline and organization that you need to become a successful creative
  • [21:41 – 27:10] Weiss talks about his creative process, the power of a true partnership, and how the industry has shifted to less traditional silos
  • [27:11 – 30:42] The current landscape of the industry and why innovation and technology must still serve the idea and insight
  • [30:43 – 35:55] What it’s like being a CCO, work that breaks into culture, and the value of having strong mentors who teach you attention to detail
  • [35:56 – 38:10] Weiss shares what it was like interviewing for a job during the dot-com crash
  • [38:11 – 49:59] Working for DiMassimo Goldstein and why it was the best first job you could get
  • [50:00 – 54:50] Weiss talks about the secret sauce at Cliff Freeman and the amazing people who worked there
  • [54:51 – 1:08:57] What it’s like sitting in Bill Bernbach’s office, working to resurrect the creative revolution he started, and why today is the most interesting time to be in this business
  • [1:08:58 – 1:11:51] Weiss talks about what he learned working for each of the agencies he worked for and how those experiences have shaped the creative he is today
  • [1:11:52 – 1:12:22] Outro

“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, 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

The A-List Podcast with Franklin Tipton and Libby Brockhoff

(Photo from Ad Age)

This week on “The A-List Podcast”, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by the inspiring duo of Libby Brockhoff and Franklin Tipton.

In 2011, Libby cofounded Odysseus Arms, where she currently serves as the CEO, with Tipton as an agency partner and Head of Copy. Odysseus Arms is a San Francisco-based independent and modern agency that is well known for its unique strategic and creative approach “ThirdeyeTM,” which they  dive into in the episode. In 2014, Odysseus Arms was recognized as an Ad Age “Agency of the Year.”

In this informative and inspiring discussion, Franklin and Libby tell stories from their undergraduate days at the University of Delaware; talk about the brand planning revolution and the importance of consumer insights; share what it was like working in London (where Libby launched the agency, Mother, at age 27); and explain what they look for when viewing a portfolio. Tune in below!

Show Notes:

  • [0:00 – 1:51] Intro
  • [1:52 – 12:00] Franklin and Libby talk about their childhood, how boredom can contribute to creativity, and the rigorous visual communications program they both studied in at the University of Delaware
  • [12:01 – 18:47] The two tell tales of the program’s teacher, Ray Nichols, and how they benefited from his culture of fearlessness
  • [18:48 – 26:55] Franklin talks about working for JWT in his first year out of college, the importance of having a strong portfolio, and the value of solving problems visually
  • [26:56 – 29:39] Franklin tells the story of how Libby ushered the University of Delaware program they’d both graduated from into the modern age
  • [29:40 – 37:40] Libby talks about her first years after graduation, the unique culture at Chiat Day, and the brand planning revolution, and why Wayne Gretzky is her spirit animal
  • [37:41 – 45:40] Moving to London, zigging when others zag, and stories of the legendary Dave Trott
  • [45:41 – 50:03] How Libby launched Mother in London, the importance of wearing different hats, T-shaped people, and how she landed on the name Mother
  • [50:04 – 1:04:50] The two talk about coming back from London and launching Odysseus Arms, explain their unique “third-eye” approach, and chat about the value of consumer insights and planning
  • [1:04:51 – 1:08:55] Learn how you can get in touch with Franklin and Libby, and why it’s essential to get out of your comfort zone
  • [1:08:56 – 1:09:51] Outro

 “The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, 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