Creative people hate tools they view as uncreative, and the word “stock” smacks of satisficing sameness.
Yet, not all creative asset companies are created equal.
While art directors, designers, and creative directors have been challenged with lower budgets, canceled shoots, and tighter schedules, many avoided “stock” sites and services for fear of stock sameness.
DiGo client Shutterstock had built something very different – a great set of tools for enhancing creativity, and a remarkable range of assets that seemed to be anything but “stock.”
Since most of the budget would go into connecting creators, we’d need to hijack news and memes to get our message out. The Fyre Festival fiasco presented us with our first opportunity. Within 72 hours, using $2000 of Shutterstock assets, we created a video that was ultimately seen by millions – nearly 700,000 on YouTube alone. Though it was not a SuperBowl commercial, since it did come out during SuperBowl season, one subtheme of comments was, “Shutterstock wins the SuperBowl with Fyre Festival Video.”
The theme of our winning campaign: It’s Not Stock. It’s Shutterstock.
The creative tools and content at Shutterstock unlock potential, freeing creative people to realize their best ideas. However, our research showed that a mental-behavioral block was preventing most creative people from enjoying these benefits.
Desired Positive Behavior Change
From closed-rigid-creativity to open-nimble-creativity measured by increasing engagement, usage, and revenue-per-creative person on Shutterstock.
BetterHelp reached out to DiGo to change behavior and get more people into therapy.
The largest therapy brand in North America, BetterHelp’s commitment to address America’s behavioral and mental health crisis exceeds even their market share.
In fact, the problem was so big that taking market share wouldn’t solve it. Less than half of the people who need therapy actually get it. The only way to get many more people the better help they need is to change behavior on a massive scale.
Doing this started with a business analysis and identifying the behaviors that would drive impact and value. Many more people would need to try therapy through BetterHelp.
Through our 3M’s Behavior Change Marketing process, we discovered a key insight that unlocked motivation and inspired action:
People suffering from anxiety or depression also suffer from a lot of bad advice.
While much of the advice the target audience was enduring was well-meaning, it made a lie of the notion that non-professional care could address these painful conditions.
Less than half the people who need therapy actually get it. BetterHelp is the largest therapy brand in North America. The way they grow their impact is to grow therapy. They asked DiGo to help them crack this challenge, so we did.
Desired Positive Behavior Change
From relying on the well-meaning but poor advice of non-professionals and white-knuckling it alone to getting better in therapy. This adds up to millions of more people taking advantage of professional psychotherapy.
From “This is your brain on drugs” to “To end addiction, start with connection.”
Over 25 years, we helped the Partnership evolve as the nation’s drug misuse and addition challenges evolved.
Partnership for a Drug-Free America was the largest single-issue public service advertising campaign. A later iteration, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids helped hundreds of thousands of families. Throughout this history, DiGo had a front-row seat for some of the most consequential behavior-change marketing experiments of the 21st Century.
In 2018, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and CASA (the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse) merged, and we helped create a new strategy and lead the process of creating a new identity – the Partnership to End Addiction.
It was an identity with a “moon shot.” The bold mission to end addiction as a public scourge was embedded in the name, signaling an extraordinary level of commitment.
After guiding the Partnership through the creation and launch of their new identity, we faced a mental health crisis in America together. Our job was to get their proven family-based solutions used by many more families.
Desired Positive Behavior Change
From fearfully disconnected to confidently connected, as measured by dramatic growth in the use of the Partnership’s digital and human-to-human services.
Positive Behavior Change Idea
Ending Addiction Starts With Connection.
Suddenly, a global pandemic was sucking up all the attention. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? But something was growing underneath. A mental health and addiction crisis. Families driven suddenly together began to notice things that had been hidden by normal life. In other homes, isolation accentuated problems or incubated new ones.
Naming another crisis wasn’t going to help. Where hope is invisible, denial is invincible.
The behavioral scientists and parent coaches at the Partnership knew a hopeful secret and we decided that our job was to get it out there.
We needed to speak directly about the relationship between young adults and the adults who love them.
Our message, “To end addiction, start with connection.”
We faced a novel set of production challenges that we decided to transform into blessings. Unable to shoot, we shifted our creative attention toward the emotive potential of animation.
Working with Bonfire, we create emotional stories of alienation and connection, accentuated by gorgeous music from The Lumineers.
The results exceeded all expectations. We made hundreds of thousands of connections. We helped the Partnership change behavior and save lives.
For well over a decade, we have been honing our approach to behavior-change marketing.
Then, in 2021, we came together and decided, going forward, Positive Behavior Change would be our everything.
Of course, being a creative agency, we wrote a statement.
And of course, it is a positive one. Read it here:
If Ever There Was a Time For
A Positive Statement,
This Is It.
After more than 25 years of doing well, we all came together and decided to do only good.
We agreed to be guided by a single mission – to help change the behaviors that change lives for the better.
People don’t always do what they know they should. Much of marketing makes it worse. In this industry, too often we have worked on things we did not believe in.
Not anymore. Not here. If we can help anyone eat better, breathe easier, live longer, sleep smarter, learn faster, love deeper, feel mentally healthier, emotionally stronger, or financially more well, then we believe the investment will have been worth it.
DiGo is a community of people with diverse talents all committed to being agents of positive change. We champion the brands that help people make better choices and form more empowering habits. When they succeed, better things happen for us all – individuals, organizations, and the world we all share.
Helping everyone reach their potential is how we intend to reach ours.
There has never been a more important time for a positive statement.
Many people may have tuned into this year’s Super Bowl to catch a glimpse of Jennifer Lopez and Shakira during the Halftime Show, but for the ad industry, tuning into the Super Bowl is like preparing for your own wedding, you just can’t miss it. We get ready every year to see what brands are capitalizing on, and which ones will come out on top.
This year we saw a few themes:
I mean, are we surprised? Celebrity spots have been a staple of super bowl commercials since the very beginning. Hyundai played on the infamous Boston accent to promote their Hyundai Sonota, in their “Smaht Pahk” spot that features a range of celebs such as John Krasinski, Rachel Dratch, Chris Evans and David “Big Papi” Ortiz. Doritos featured rapper Lil Nas X as he partakes in a hilarious dance-off with actor Sam Elliot to the rapper’s hit “Old Town Road”. Among the remaining range of celebrities were John Legend and Chrissy Tegan, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Missy Elliot, Maisie Williams and Jimmy Fallon.
You can always expect there to be at least one tear jerker amongst these infamous commercials. Pulling on the heart strings of the international audience is what these brands do best. Google hit home with a sweet spot featuring a true story of an elderly man remembering his late wife with the help of Google Assistant. NFL deserves a quick shout out for their “Next 100” commercial, featuring aspiring kids with the hopes and dreams of being future game stars in the next 100 years of the NFL. Budweiser’s Typical American spot showcased Americans doing acts such as serving the country, backbreaking labor, and beating the odds at the highest sports levels, of course all while fueling themselves with a Budweiser. They end by taking a moment to say, the next time someone calls you “typical”, show them what typical can do.
This long-lived tactic was utilized by majority of the brands this year. A few that gave us some extra chuckles were first, the Rocket Mortgage spot featuring Jason Mamoa who gets real comfortable at home, taking off his “faux” layers of skin.. Let’s just say they successfully shocked all of America while trying to promote the convenience of their app through this ad. Groundhog day, featuring Bill Murray brought back the nostalgia by recreating the “Groundhog Day” movie, but this time with a twist. Murray jumps in a Jeep that was definitely not apart of the original movie, and we start watching a series of video clips of Murray and his new groundhog friend having a blast over the course of a few days. The purpose here is to show that even though Murray lives the same day over and over again, no day is truly the same in a Jeep Gladiator.
We could go on and on rambling about the Super Bowl spots but we’ll cut you a break this time! As the hype of the Super Bowl commercials starts to die down, we’ve already begun our count down till we get to be entertainment junkies again!
As the Integrated Associate Media Director at the agency, I had the pleasure of representing DiGo at Digiday’s 2019 Media Buying Summit in Key Biscayne, Florida, to soak in the latest-and-greatest of media buying trends and bring home some tidbits for the team. It was there that I was able to immerse myself in panels ranging from media buying trends, to cross-channel audience planning, to deterministic data use, and more. Sitting in a room with hundreds of agency professionals — just like me — discussing every day wins, losses and everything in-between was extremely enlightening, and re-assured me that DiGo is here to compete.
Let’s take a look at the five main takeaways from my experience and how they relate to our evolving responsibilities as stewards of clients media dollars:
1. Measuring Success
Attribution, Attribution, Attribution. Client investment in multi-touch performance models vs. last touch performance models is the #1 industry challenge for big and small agencies alike.
The first exercise of the conference was for agencies to put a post-it on a wall detailing their biggest challenge, and over half of the post-its read “Attribution”. We need attribution to tell the correct performance story, but well-known industry attribution models are incredibly expensive.
We also need to start re-thinking the “A” in CPA. If we only optimize towards short term growth, we could easily be sabotaging long term growth. The audience must come first, and media planning second, as a deep understanding of our target is needed in order to build plans grounded in long-term success. This is why the strategic research phase is so critical; clients need to be 100% on board with this piece first, before jumping into approving media/measurement plans. Communication remains imperative.
2. Media Talent
We are reaching a point of serious automation, so energy needs to shift from training newcomers in the industry on the technical skills to training them to think strategically. The rise of digital over the past 10 years has inundated media planners with technical tasks (trafficking, tagging, reporting, analysis, optimization, etc.), and while newcomers need to be grounded in the skills of a media professional, management needs to shift focus to the WHY behind the tasks when training.
Speaking of talent, there was a ton of discussion around specialists. Social and search experts are typically in high-demand; however, we often forget the community that influences both the search and social marketplaces — Infuencers. We are in a social world led by our mobile devices, so engaging influencer communities has become an integral part of the channel mix for many brands, spanning a variety of verticals. Influencers can drive core brand details authentically and serve as ambassadors for building trust across any and all verticals, which in 2019, is the most important aspect of relationship-building with consumers. Addressing the influencer marketplace more aggressively and staffing for specific skill-sets is crucial in staying competitive.
Lastly, media planners are the unsung heroes of the industry that don’t often get the credit they deserve, and are at the forefront of a changing — and extremely challenging — media buying climate. Changes in the media buying landscape are changing their jobs (rise of CTV/OTT, omni-channel content consumption, advanced targeting and measurement, etc.), which has resulted in an increase in technical tasks. Recognizing and addressing media buying challenges and developing a career path for more dynamic roles will be crucial in retention.
Integration is the name of the game, both internally and externally.
The days of briefing media and creative separately are over. Creative and media must marry and need to be on board with each other from day one to ensure harmony. Creative can be media’s #1 optimization lever, so both departments looking at performance together on a regular basis must become the norm. A certain level of coordination is needed to ensure long-term success, so creatives need to be invited to the table as early as possible in media planning. Mapping creative across strategies together will make performance exponentially better. Creative folks need to be held accountable for looking at performance throughout a campaign, not just upon launch.
Also, the consumer experience is everywhere simultaneously, so finding ways to story tell cross-format is imperative to breaking through. The days of traditional planning in silos are over. We need to connect the dots by tapping into digital addressability as much as possible. The marketplace is getting savvier and savvier with cross-channel sequential-messaging, and we need to make sure we follow suit. Connecting the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel and building out audiences exposed to other channels (Digital OOH and mobile, TV and mobile, etc.) is no longer ‘next level’ — it is the expectation. It’s our job to get clients excited.
4. The Ad-Environment
Brand safety and brand suitability are not the same thing, but need to exist hand-in-hand. Moving into 2020, suitability is becoming a higher priority. Contextual intelligence, semantics of pages, etc. are growing needs. Missed suitability opportunities can lead to consumer angst and revenue loss.
Context DOES matter. Brand perception is highly influenced by context, and needs to be accounted for just as much as brand safety. Below are some stats that support this*:
Ads viewed on high quality sites are perceived 74% more likable than the same ads seen on low quality sites
Audiences on high quality sites showed 20% higher engagement than on low quality sites
Campaigns on high quality sites stand to benefit from 30% greater memorability driven by brand suitable content
Risk management is going to be a big differentiator between who is winning and losing pitches. Viewability, fraud, brand safety, etc. are themes nearly every presenter touched on.
*Source: The State of Brand Suitability, Integral Ad Science in Partnership with Digiday, 2019
5. Media Buying
Agencies are moving away from relying heavily on the cookie world to move towards going deeper with deterministic data. Working with clients to be more transparent with 1st party data for targeting is becoming the norm for agencies. Everyone wants to get their hands on 1st party data, but many clients aren’t there yet in terms of adaptation to Data Management Platforms, making this a challenge. Agencies need to be the stewards of smarter targeting, so DMP or not, we need to push to get our hands on the most ‘lower-funnel’ data possible — including CRM.
We are also in an era of ‘set it and forget it’. Platform algorithms are sharper than ever offering automated settings; however, there is a false sense of security in leaving campaigns on autopilot. Plus, this doesn’t create any form of competitive advantage for an agency. Brand growth objectives need to remain #1 for media planners, with testing at the forefront of every activation. There is still a need to run media on OUR terms, not on a platforms.
As the Amazons, Googles and Facebooks of the world have gotten bigger and bigger… we’ve found there’s a need to start becoming platform experts. Getting certified and understanding deeper levers/testing ideas will be crucial in standing out from the competition.
Biggest takeaway of all? Media buying has significantly evolved over the last few years.
There are more channels than ever, each with their own complications, and the rise of new players in retail media has meant even more buying complexity. New types of companies are transforming how brands are launched and marketed across various platforms. AI technologies are changing the way people do business. There’s increased competition across platforms, within agencies and with the rise of new in-house media buying teams, so everyone is undergoing a serious shift in standards. But, it is an exciting time to be at the forefront of trust and transparency, and that’s where the opportunity lies.
To that end, I’m pleased to say that we’re ahead of a few of these trends.
We’ve added an Analytics discipline that we call digometrics, for Attribution Modeling, Marketing Mix Modeling, and Brand Measurement and Tracking. This discipline is guided by machine-learning and professionals doctorally-trained in nonparametric statistics. Our Strategy team has also created a Net Growth Score Analysis which uncovers where brands need to focus for sustained growth.
digometrics broadens our reach with clients and the relationships they maintain with consumers. It’s a true necessity for today’s modern marketer who relies on knowing what their customer needs day in and day out, and ultimately, our promise to build brands and drive performance simultaneously is something more and more clients will be paying attention to.
Thanks for the insights Digiday Media Buying Summit 2019! Until next year!
– Alessandra Dierking (Geraci) Integrated Associate Media Director
Matt is a Senior Copywriter (and resident sneaker enthusiast) at BBDO Worldwide where he has worked since being an intern for nearly five years. Matt is a graduate of Syracuse University and in his nascent career as a copywriter has received numerous accolades and nominations by bodies such as: The New York Festivals Advertising Awards, The Webbys, and his recognition earned him a feature in AdWeek.
Mani has recently taken on a role as a Senior Planner at BBDO (congratulations Mani!) having previously worked as a planner at mcgarrybowen, as well as a strategist at Laundry Service and Edelman. A graduate of Indiana University at Bloomington, he’s into all things tech media and business and has become a frequent contributor to the digital publication, Medium.
We are glad to have these two on for our second episode of our special “Dean’s List” edition of the A-List Podcast. On the Dean’s List we interview rising, young professionals who are building their legacies in the 21st-century advertising world. This is an interesting episode as we dive into a lot of great conversation and discussion about advertising in today’s world.
Tune in to this week’s episode of the A-List here:
[2:42-5:31] Matt and Mani talk a bit about their roles at mcgarrybowen and BBDO.
[5:32-9:00] Matt and Mani on their shared upbringing and experiences pre-advertising.
[9:26-13:21] Mani on discovering brand strategy and creative planning.
[13:44-16:06] Matt on full time creative and tips for interns learning to excel in the workplace.
[16:09-19:51] Finding inspiration from agencies’ work and setting Google alerts to stay at the cutting edge.
[19:52-24:52] Matt and Mani’s perspectives on industry changes and shifts.
[25:00-27:50] Moms, millennials, and the importance of communication in the modern age.
[28:00-32:28] Combatting instant gratification and developing skills outside of work.
[32:30-38:10] Finding connections and inspiration from the world around us by unplugging here and there.
[38:17-41:29] Discussing the modern workflow of an ad agency.
[41:30-51:40] Matt and Mani’s goals for their future in the industry.