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DiMassimo Goldstein blog

Welcome to our blog! Each week, our inspiring action content creators work hard to update this page with the latest and greatest in the world of DiGo.

The A-List Podcast with Dhruv Nanda

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by Dhruv Nanda, Creative Director and Writer at Oberland, a New York based agency with a mission to create purpose-driven campaigns for each of its clients.

Prior to working at Oberland, Dhruv has had a multitude of experience throughout the past 7 years in this industry. He has worked at a range of agencies including Wunderman, Ogilvy, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Momentum Worldwide while also getting a taste of what in-house creative was like at Chipotle.

In this episode, Dhruv shares his life growing up and what led him to his interest in advertising, the importance of brands having a mission behind them, removing ego’s to make for better work, advice on story telling for non profits, and much more. Hear it all below!

Show Notes:

  • [0:00 – 1:28] Intro
  • [1:29 – 5:45] From Growing up in Dubai to attending a private school in Zambia, Africa for 3 years 
  • [5:50 – 12:32] Leaving Africa to study Law at Carleton University in Canada, and working in a hardcore financial sales role right out of college
  • [12:40 – 18:03] Learning the art of persuasion through sales, how reading the “Ogilvy in Advertising” book ultimately drove his attention to the industry, and his decision to attend Miami Ad School
  • [18:54 – 24:00] His consistent interest in drawing comics, drama, and sketch comedy playing a role in his choice to become a Copywriter
  • [24:29 – 30:40] His experience at Miami Ad School, and what meditation and being in the right mindset can do for creatives in this industry
  • [31:10 – 38:10] How Interning at Draft Agency, PI&C, and MRY boosted his career in New York City. The surprises and challenges he faced going from ad school to “the real world”
  • [39:40 – 44:48] The importance of building necessary client relationship standards, accepting the offer from Bill Oberlander to work for Oberland, and what working for a mission based company means to him
  • [45:17 – 49:17] The difference between working at an in-house agency rather than out-house, his experience working alongside Steve Ells at Chipotle 
  • [49:22 – 55:00] Sharing advice on story telling for Not for Profit clients
  • [55:09 – 57:10] The value he feels working as a professor at Adhouse, and where to find Druhv online
  • [58:08 – 1:00:06] 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 Bobby C. Martin Jr.

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by Bobby C. Martin Jr., founding partner of Original Champions of Design, a design and branding agency that builds better brands through informed and strategic identity system design.

In 2017, FastCompany named Martin Jr. one of the Most Creative People in Business. At OCD, Martin Jr. has led design projects for a wide range of clients such as the Girl Scouts of the USA, MTV, The New York Times, the National Basketball Association and the Studio Museum in Harlem to ensure their growth and creative goals.

Martin Jr. is one of the first pure designers to join The A-List Podcast, and offers a unique perspective having worked both in-house at brands and for external agencies. Tune in below!

Show Notes:

  • [0:00 – 0:54] Intro
  • [0:55 – 5:53] Growing up in Virginia to parents who were both educators, and how he still applies what of much he learned in his childhood to his career today
  • [5:54 – 9:59] Falling in love with design in High School, and learning how to express himself visually
  • [10:00 – 11:10] What he learned from design legend Paula Scher and “painting with type”
  • [11:11 – 18:30] Martin Jr. talks about his early career and the job that introduced him to graphic design
  • [18:31 – 20:40] How to manage young talent, the importance of being patient, and giving people the freedom to make mistakes
  • [20:41 – 24:16] How to push clients to be bold while still being respectful
  • [24:17 – 27:45] Why agencies and design firms need to be more integrated, and how the best campaigns have a seamlessness between advertising and design
  • [27:46 – 33:34] Moving to New York City to work for Gear Magazine,  and how that experience taught him relentless work ethic
  • [33:35 – 38:35] Going back to graduate school, why he chose The School of Visual Arts, and the importance of osmosis learning
  • [38:36 – 40:40] Martin Jr. dives into the research tactics that inform design
  • [40:41 – 47:03] His experience as design director of the Jazz at Lincoln Center, and how he sold his ideas to Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis
  • [47:04 – 50:10] Launching Original Champions of Design, and the philosophy of the agency
  • [50:11 – 53:26] The pros and cons of both external and in-house agencies
  • [53:27 – 56:31] How to help people understand design work, and why the designer needs to be involved at every step of the process
  • [56:32 – 1:05:16] Rebranding the NBA logo for the first time in 48 years
  • [1:05:17 – 1:06:12] 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 Anselmo Ramos

The wait is over… The A-List Podcast is back and we’re starting off HOT!

For the season’s premiere episode, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by creative junkie and self-proclaimed ad nerd Anselmo Ramos, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of GUT, an independent agency for brave clients and bold brands with offices in Miami, São Paolo and Beunos Aires.

Prior to launching GUT with co-founder Gastón Bigio, the two partners also founded DAVID The Agency. Under their leadership, the agency became a creative juggernaut and in 2017 was selected as Adweek’s Breakthrough Agency of the Year and Ad Age’s A-List Innovator Agency of the Year. In 2013, while serving as Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy & Mather São Paulo, Ramos led the famous “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” campaign, which considered to be the most watched piece of branded content in history.

In this episode, Ramos shares the story behind that campaign, talks about writing ads in secondary languages and how it can make you a better writer, the legacy of David Ogilvy, the importance of discomfort, and much, much more. Hear it all below!

Show Notes:

  • [0:00 – 1:58] Intro
  • [1:59 – 7:59] Growing up in Brazil, attending a very creative High School with no grades, and his first job in advertising
  • [8:00 – 13:34] Leaving Brazil to become a writer at Y&R Lisbon before moving again to Y&R Madrid
  • [13:35 – 18:44] Coming to the U.S. to work for Y&R Miami, how writing in a foreign language strengthened his writing skills, and the strong advertising culture of São Paulo
  • [18:45 – 24:47] His experience working at Lowe NY for Gary Goldsmith, turning down a dream offer from Tony Granger at Saatchi, and getting the call to become CCO at Ogilvy & Mather São Paulo
  • [24:48 – 30:54] Living David Ogilvy’s legacy, creative visualization and believing in yourself, and how he used “Moneyball” tactics to recruit and turn the São Paulo office into the most creative Ogilvy office in the world
  • [30:56 – 42:36] The story behind the famous “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” campaign, and the importance of finding brave clients
  • [42:37 – 45:17] Opening DAVID, the amazing partnership with Fernando Machado of Burger King, and why he ultimately decided to take the leap and start GUT
  • [45:18 – 49:22] Starting from scratch with GUT, the importance of discomfort, and moving fast and making mistakes
  • [49:23 – 58:30] Ramos talks about the importance of continued learning, the Harvard course he is currently taking, and shares advice on leadership
  • [58:31 – 1:02:55] The current state of advertising
  • [1:02:56 – 1:04:07] 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 Power of Inspiring Action: The A-List Podcast Turns 3

In the booth with Terri and Sandy (Season Two)

“Have you heard our podcast?”

Yes, we’ve become “that guy.” DiMassimo Goldstein has a podcast. No big deal. (Eyeroll emoji.) In all seriousness, we don’t actually talk about The A-List Podcast that much. Because we didn’t do it to make ourselves famous. We did it because we’re curious about creativity and we’re obsessed with starting conversations. Here’s how it happened:

My friend Lauren Slaff has an ad school called Adhouse. A couple of years ago, I noticed that her Facebook presence for the class needed an upgrade and offered to help. At DIGO, we talk a lot about Inspiring Action and resisting the urge to just make a straight-up ad hawking your wares, so of course my first thought was, “We need some hard-hitting print and banner ads!” It’s amazing how theories become so hard to follow in practice. Duh!

Yes, paid ads are important, but the first thing we needed to do was to get across the difference of Adhouse. As I say in every episode of The A-List Podcast, “[Adhouse’s] philosophy? An ad class is only as good as the professional who teaches it.” At Adhouse, you learn from the people who do the work in the very places where they do it. You literally go to the agency where your teacher works one night a week and show them your ideas. It’s the closest thing to breaking into the business you can get for six hundred bucks.

So a team worked on some ads. They were funny. But mostly they were ads. Clever headlines. Hard-hitting copy. Blah blah blah. And in the end, while they might get some people to notice Adhouse, they weren’t going to be great for the team’s book or for DiMassimo Goldstein. We’re an Inspiring Action agency. It says so in our lobby! We needed to innovate.

A reminder from our lobby at 220 E23rd Street. :)

That’s when we had a bigger idea: Let’s just interview some ad greats themselves, giving the audience a little taste of what it might be like to take an Adhouse class but also getting their ad stories. We eventually settled on their origin stories, partly out of not wanting the show to be too production-intensive week to week but also in an effort to keep it valuable to our core target audience: people who are curious about breaking into the ad industry. We originally planned to do films, but that didn’t pass the production-intensive test either. So we settled on a podcast. NOTE: At the time, we had never produced a podcast. But that’s part of Inspiring Action: Jump and a net will appear.

We began by emailing a few ad friends of mine. Rob ReillyTy Montague and Greg Hahn all said yes. Hooray! Gramercy Post, a sound studio upstairs in our building, offered up their recording facilities. We would patch in the guests, and I would ask them their life story. We would record an intro and an outro, slap some music on it, shove in an ad-read for Adhouse and see what we got. Podcast in an hour.

Before we could pull the trigger, I had to talk to my partners and Lauren (our client) about paying for it. As far as the agency was concerned, it wouldn’t make us much money. Make that (scribble scribble) zero dollars, actually. But we would be learning how to make and distribute podcasts, and we would be getting our name out to a young, creative audience. Also, I’d be connecting our agency marketing team to the PR departments of agencies ten or twenty times our size, who would all want to get the word out about their own creative geniuses. Oh, and we could do it pretty cheaply and with a very small team. They said yes (thanks, partners!) and Lauren was happy to try anything (thank the universe for good clients). So off we went.

That was over two years ago now. We have learned a lot along the way and, as we launch season three on May 9th with Anselmo Ramos of GUT, I am struck by how much has changed, but also what hasn’t. Our format hasn’t changed. We’re still asking the guests how they found this weird career we call advertising. (I’m still amazed I found it myself, to be honest. I still feel like that kid from Jersey with the weird hair.) We still record at Gramercy Post. But sometimes we have the guests sit down in the studio with me now. The experience is different that way. It’s easier to connect to the person but can also be scary. (You have to make eye contact and stuff!)

The guests are from new places. I used up all my close friends in season one and two. Now I am interviewing people I never thought would say yes, and I’m still amazed when they say they listen to and love the show. This season will include conversations with the aforementioned Anselmo Ramos as well as Ricardo Casal and Juan Javier Pena of David, Nick Law of Publicis and Karl Lieberman of Wieden + Kennedy. We’re doing a whole design exploratory starting with Paula Scher of Pentagram and Bobby C. Martin of Original Champions of Design.

New Season. New Guests. (Clockwise from Top, Left: Anselmo Ramos of GUT, Ricardo Casal and Juan Javier Pena of David, Paula Scher of Pentagram and Bobby C. Martin Jr. of Original Champions of Design.

(By the way, we have toyed with doing a sub-pod about young people who just entered the business. (The A-List The Next Generation?) We’re still working on ironing out how to do that, which was an idea we got from some young listeners. But Casal and Pena from David and Dhruv Nanda from Oberland start us off with some new perspectives from the millennial point of view.)

One more difference in the show this year is the music. Ross Hopman, a friend of the agency at Duotone, loves the show and wanted to help out. We were thrilled of course. But we had no idea how great the results would be. In the end, we couldn’t choose one song, so The A-List Podcast might just be the only podcast out there with TWO theme songs. The one at the end is my personal favorite, based on an off-the-cuff joke to Ross: “If all else fails, just give me something like The Muppet Show theme.” God, I hope Kermit doesn’t sue.

It’s a funny thing about an Inspiring Action, but it almost always gives you more return than you bargained for. Our little podcast (with very little advertising to support it) has reached tens of thousands of people all over the world. We get notes and emails from listeners who have been in advertising for decades telling us how the show has reignited their passion for the business or kept them going during hard times. DiMassimo Goldstein has gotten clients asking us how to make podcasts and young creatives who want to work here. And, of course, Adhouse has never had so many applicants.

And so it is my pleasure to introduce you to more amazing ad people. That’s the moral of the story of The A-List Podcast by the way: It’s all about the people you meet along the way. This business is full of thousands of amazing people who get to solve problems for the world’s biggest brands in creative, unheard-of ways every day. They did this by finding people who were doing it and learning from them. Our goal was to get more people to imagine themselves doing the same and continue what the Lion King might call the Circle of Ad. Because whether you are a kid from New Jersey like me or a big brand who needs to reinvent yourself, creativity is the way. All you have to do is start a conversation with the right people.

Have we mentioned that season 3 of our podcast launches on Thursday? No big deal. 🙄

The old guy on the left is me. The cool guy on the right is Dhruv Nanda of Oberland.

Selling Behavior Change

Warby Parker doesn’t sell eyeglasses.

Warby Parker sells a behavior change – a different way to buy eyeglasses.

Peloton Interactive doesn’t sell an exercise bike.

Peloton sells a behavior change – a way to make sure you exercise and keep exercising, no excuses.

Airbnb doesn’t sell rooms and apartments.

Airbnb sells a behavior change – a different way to travel.

Uber doesn’t sell rides.

Uber sells behavior change – a different way to get from here to there and a different way to earn a living too.

Dollar Shave Club doesn’t sell razors.

Dollar shave club sells a behavior change – a different way to buy razors.

HelloFresh doesn’t sell meal kits.

HelloFresh sells a behavior change – a way to make home cooking fit modern life.

Sun Basket doesn’t sell meal kits.

SunBasket sells a behavior change – a way to cook Paleo or Whole30 or Vegan…

Stitch Fix doesn’t sell clothes.

StitchFix sells behavior change – a totally different way to get yourself dressed.

If you’re in the direct-to-consumer business, you’re a behavior change marketer. Period.

Your customer doesn’t choose you to get something.

Your customer chooses you to change something.

You are in behavior change marketing. 

Learn more about behavior change marketing here. It’s free. No funnel. 

Grow a Business. Build a Brand. Change the World.

Let’s face it, we live in a world of behavior gone wrong.

Some see imminent apocalypse.

I see plenty of work for behavior change marketers and designers.

Opioid Crisis. Digital addiction. Inactivity. Unhealthy eating. Rising oceans. Uninspiring workplaces.

Pick your target. Go.

The problems that the world faces can only be solved with Behavior Change marketing and design.

Growth and business success are behavior change marketing problems.

Growth problems can only be solved by behavioral solutions.

The process of behavior change marketing is simple.

Determine the key performance indicators that support the growth theory for the business.

Identify the behaviors that lead to those KPIs.

Analyze the key behaviors along the customer journey, identifying gaps, drags and blocks.

Prioritize our design interventions.

Describe the experience that will most likely transform behavior into habit for this brand.

Create experiences that will inspire action, informed by the vast store of behavioral science outcomes and deep direct response and interactive design testing experience.

Relentlessly test and optimize.

Grow a business. Build a brand. Change the world.

Let’s go, Behavior Change Marketer!

Learn more about Behavior Change Marketing by signing up for The Change Agent’s Cookbook for 2019: http://ow.ly/f1ms30nm1BL

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.