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Category : Thinking

A Flashback to the Famous “Flamingo Girl”

About a year ago this time, “Flamingo Girl” was introduced to the world.

Flocking around in an adorable pink Flamingo costume with matching sunglasses, she charmed the streets of New York City, spreading word downtown and building anticipation for “the biggest, bestest Halloween event in New York City,” the Bronx Zoo’s annual “Boo at the Zoo.”

She instantly became a viral sensation, appearing all over social media and the internet in cute TV spots and in print ads offline. The TV spots were even named an official honoree of last year’s Webby Awards.

By the time we created an experiential pop-up to generate awareness in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, she was already a superstar, but of course, she made time to fly on over and say hello to all her newfound fans.

A year later and a year older, the “Flamingo Girl” campaign remains a classic. Turning an old tradition into something completely new, “Flamingo Girl” was fresh, memorable, and iconic. It was an inspiring action, and one of our favorites of the past year.

On its 1-year anniversary, we felt it was only right to flap our flamingo wings down memory lane and revisit the work that made waves in New York.

Flamingo Girl :45 from DiMassimo Goldstein on Vimeo.

Flamingo Girl: Statue from DiMassimo Goldstein on Vimeo.

Flamingo Girl: Cab from DiMassimo Goldstein on Vimeo.

Flamingo Girl: Chess from DiMassimo Goldstein on Vimeo.

Flamingo Girl: Yell from DiMassimo Goldstein on Vimeo.

The A-List Podcast with Linda Kaplan Thaler

This week on The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by industry icon and Advertising Hall of Famer, Linda Kaplan Thaler.

Over the course of her illustrious career, Kaplan Thaler created some of the world’s most famous advertising campaigns, such as the Aflac duck. She also authored and composed two of the most globally recognized advertising jingles: “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up, I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us Kid,” and “Kodak Moments.”

Kaplan Thaler’s impressive résumé extends well beyond advertising. She is a nationally acclaimed author with several best-selling books to her name; she has worked on two presidential campaigns; and she has become a familiar face on several television programs.

In this interview, Kaplan Thaler talks about leading with kindness, how to write a good jingle, what it was like interviewing Warren Buffet and Jay Leno, and much, much more. Check out the full episode and show notes below!

Show notes:

  • [0:00 – 1:59] Intro
  • [2:00 – 13:30] Growing up in the Bronx, and how Kaplan Thaler first got into singing and writing both music and comedy
  • [13:31 – 16:38] The famous jingle she wrote for Toys ‘R’ Us, and the worldwide reaction it received
  • [16:39 – 22:19] The secret to writing a good jingle, the story behind “Kodak Moments” and putting humor into advertising
  • [22:20 – 27:53] The moment she knew Robin Koval would be a perfect business partner, and the importance of leading with kindness
  • [27:54 – 33:57] Working on presidential campaigns, and the story behind her interviews with both Warren Buffet and Jay Leno
  • [33:48 – 38:10] Her latest book, Grit to Great, and what “grit” means to her
  • [38:11 – 42:30] The one big piece of advice she has for young creatives
  • [42:31 – 43:58] 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 Jamie Barrett

On this week’s edition of The A-List Podcast, Jamie Barrett calls in to the studio for an inspiring interview with host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO, Tom Christmann.

Barrett is the Founder and Executive Creative Director at barrettSF, an agency he launched in 2012. Before opening his own shop, Barrett made a name for himself as an esteemed creative, delivering world famous campaigns for many of the most renowned agencies in the industry, such as Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Fallon, Wieden+Kennedy and Chiat\Day.

In this episode, learn all about Barrett’s life before advertising, when he spent one summer teaching tennis and windsurfing in the French Riviera and the next at a boot camp in Virginia. Hear what he learned working under some of the most iconic names in advertising, why he views his job as a glorified hobby, the importance of great account people, and much more. Full episode and show notes below!

Show Notes:

  • [0:00 – 1:27] Intro
  • [1:28 – 12:22] Barrett reflects on his childhood, talks about teaching tennis and windsurfing in the French Riviera, and talks about his experience spending one summer at a boot camp in Virginia
  • [12:23 – 18:15] His time at Princeton University, aspirations of becoming a sportswriter, and the moment he realized he wanted to go into advertising
  • [18:16 – 29:42] Trying to break into the industry, being denied 15 straight times, and the awesome story of the dinner with Pat Fallon and Tom McElligott that landed him a gig at Fallon
  • [29:43 – 36:00] Barrett reflects on many of the amazing mentors he worked under before ultimately leaving Fallon to take a job at Chiat/Day in New York
  • [36:01 – 39:40] His short yet meaningful time at Fallon, and the transition between being a writer and becoming an Associate Creative Director
  • [39:41 – 50:00] Barrett talks about his different experiences at each of the agencies he worked at, and how they all helped shape the creative he is today
  • [50:01 – 53:56] The importance of great account people, the emotional intelligence required of good creatives
  • [53:57 – 1:01:26] Launching his own agency, why he doesn’t shy away from the word “advertising,” and the meaning behind the agency’s tortoise mascot
  • [1:01:27 – 1:04:14] What he looks for in young creatives
  • [1:04:15 – 1:05:24] 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 Top Four Adweek 2018 Trends All Marketers Need To Know

By: Matthew Zani

It has been a wild week! Thanks to #AWNewYork 2018, I had the pleasure of immersing myself in panels ranging from Data and AI solutions to VR, AR, Voice, Blockchain, Next Generation Production, Prototyping and beyond. As marketers, we can be easily overwhelmed (and also excited) by the number of shiny objects and metaphysical solutions that we are presented with. In this era of transformation, it’s important to understand all evolving realms of marketing, business and technology in the context of providing great customer experiences that connect to our business goals. All of our activities must be analyzed within the same ecosystem and then strategized and executed upon accordingly.

Knowing this, we MUST cut through the clutter and determine the key factors of change that matter to the businesses we seek to build and grow. Let’s take a look at the four main themes from my experience at Adweek New York 2018 and how they relate to our evolving responsibilities as marketers:

1. Marketing Responsibility = Business Outcomes

The advertising industry has experienced a shift of responsibility, from advertising and marketing outcomes to business outcomes. We now have the ability to attribute marketing metrics to business results, which shifts the modern marketer’s scope of responsibility well beyond messaging and media KPIs and channel strategy to business infrastructure, technical solutions and innovation.

IBM’s 2018 report, The Modern Marketing Mandate, was widely quoted around the conference. The report states that four out of five of the modern CMO’s responsibilities are directly related to business building and results. We see CMOs getting promoted to CGO, president and even CEO. An example of this can be seen in Bonobos, Micky Onvural, who went from CMO to co-president to CEO in just two years at the company.

That said, if the business outcome and related operational factors are not in sight from the second a marketer sets foot in the door, it’s going to be a tough road and for any marketer. As Kristin Lemkau, CMO of JPMorgan Chase, mentioned during a panel on the evolution of the decision-making funnel, “If you’re a CMO coming into a role and your first move is to look at a traditional customer journey or funnel, you’re probably going to be an 18-monther.” That may sound harsh, but that’s reality.

2. Great Business Outcomes Come From Great Omnichannel Customer Experiences

Not only are we responsible for the business, but stakes are higher and it’s more competitive than ever. Markets all over the world are becoming increasingly cutthroat as disruption has become the norm. The world is flatter, and reviews are accessible everywhere. Every moment within this customer journey is a chance for a great (or terrible) experience. And that cannot be overlooked.

Companies such as SoulCycle, with life-changing missions driven and optimized by customer data and technology, are capturing the hearts and minds of consumers. These companies are built around impactful and immersive customer experiences, and they construct every single one of their actions throughout the omnichannel experience around that notion.

With that understanding, marketers must look at every touchpoint throughout the customer journey and factor each into the marketing and business strategy as an opportunity to drive great experiences. No channel should ever be looked at as if it’s in a silo. Think about what your brand provides, what problems you can solve through new and existing channels, and how they all work together. Every area in which a business interacts with a consumer should be strategized, measured and optimized to create less friction and drive great experiences.

Additionally, customer experiences and employee experiences need to align. If you’re not mapping your employee journey and responsibilities against the experience of the customer, you’re missing 50 percent of the equation. Businesses must understand employees’ roles in creating great experiences and, in turn, construct strategies for all parties that add up to their common goals.

3. New Technology Makes Great Experiences Possible

The reason we are able to attribute marketing success to business outcomes is grounded in technology. We can use technology to build great experiences, from identifying customers early on in their journey and serving them highly personalized messages throughout the relationship, to creating immersive brand experiences that strengthen affinity for the brand.

It was said throughout the week that marketers need to get their tech stack “on one page.” We need to understand the pieces of technology that are important to driving great experiences and focus efforts around them. If data consolidation is a central priority to providing a personalized experience, then focus on getting the infrastructure in place to enhance customer experience. If an automated customer service strategy is necessary, then understand how that fits into the customer journey of the audience and test it thoroughly.

New technologies such as AI are all the rage, but understanding their role is key to using them in a way that makes sense to your business. AI is going to change the way we work and begin making trivial decisions for us so that we can focus on experience strategies and innovation. Machines will worry about the “when” and “where” for a given message, and as marketers we can stay focused on the “why.”

One of my favorite quotes from the week was provided by Mark Penn from The Stagwell Group:

“Numbers + Creativity = Strategy.”

This notion is critical: As we use technology throughout our business to provide us with data and insights, we should also bring our human decision-making strengths to the table. Use numbers and technology to reduce friction and inform creativity. This will ensure that we’re always keeping the customer in mind as we make decisions based on new technology.

4. And stay innovating

Once our business machine is up and running, we can’t stop. We are responsible for taking the data from customer and prospect activities, content interests and reviews and then building innovative products and experiences out of them.

At Adweek New York 2018 we saw examples of companies going to new lengths to bring innovation to their businesses: Subway partnering with Tastemade to bring data from content strategies into product innovation. SoulCycle getting into the audio and media space, turning insights from the final five minutes of class experiences into inspirational audio experiences that can be taken anywhere. Jordan Brands using Snapchat’s AR capabilities as an immersive platform to market and sell new shoes. Monster.com using first-of-its-kind technology to bring new CGI experiences to its omnichannel strategy.

We must be setting up systems and structures that allow for us to turn old functions into NEW ideas, business models, practices and audiences. We must never stop at a well-oiled machine, but rather look at the pieces of our business that we can grow, the channels we should bring our message and experiences into, and the communities we can create and cultivate through our work.

Thanks for the memories, Adweek NYC 2018! Until next year!

 

 

The A-List Podcast with Tiffany Rolfe

This week on The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by Tiffany Rolfe, Partner and Chief Content Officer at Co:collective.

Prior to joining Co:collective six years ago, Rolfe spent 10 years at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, where she ultimately became the co-executive creative director of their Los Angeles office.

In this interview, Rolfe talks about the importance of taking risks, what it was like working as a web designer in the early stages of the internet, why brands need to align their stories with their actions, and much much more. Full episode below and show notes below!

Show Notes:

  • [0:00 – 1:26] Into
  • [1:27 – 4:14] Rolfe talks about her childhood growing up in Oklahoma before ultimately packing her bags and moving to Los Angeles
  • [4:15 – 8:44] What it was like working as a programmer and web designer for startups in the early stages of the internet
  • [8:45 – 11:55] Going back to school at the ArtCenter College of Design in California and falling in love with advertising
  • [11:56 – 13:41] Rolfe takes us through the first few months after she graduated, and why she wanted to work at Crispin.
  • [13:42 – 19:55] The 10-hour interview with Alex Bogusky that led to 10 years at Crispin, and the unique portfolio that helped land her the job.
  • [19:56 – 29:36] Rolfe talks about the philosophy and culture at Crispin, and how much of what she learned there helped shape the creative she is today
  • [29:37 – 33:22] What you can learn from making mistakes
  • [33:23 – 37:01] Rolfe recounts the moment she realized she was a leader
  • [37:02 –43:52] Moving her life to New York and becoming a Chief Content Officer and Partner at Co:collective, and what makes co:collective different than other agencies
  • [43:53 – 49:35] “Storydoing” and how doing your story instead of telling your story manifests across an entire organization
  • [49:36 – 51: 10] Creating cultural impact with creative ideas
  • [51:11 – 54:30] Rolfe offers advice to young creatives trying to break into the industry
  • [54:31 – 55:57] 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

The A-List Podcast with Dan Lucey

This week on the A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by Dan Lucey, Executive Creative Director at BBDO. With multiple awards to his name from Cannes to The One Show, among many others, Dan is one of the most respected and accomplished creatives in the industry.

In this episode, Dan takes us full circle, starting from his time as a student at Adhouse Advertising School all the up way to becoming a teacher for the program. He shares valuable lessons from his experiences of both triumph and defeat, tells the story behind his hilarious Talking Stain ad for Tide, and explains why having “unrealistic optimism” is an asset in the advertising industry.

Full episode and show notes below!

  • [0:00 – 1:27] Intro
  • [1:28 – 6:05] Dan talks about how being a student at AdHouse helped him break into the industry, and how he returns the favor today by being a teacher for the program
  • [6:06: 11:30] Getting an internship at Mad Dogs & Englishmen and what that experience was like
  • [11:31 – 13:55] How working by yourself can help you find your point of view, and why having a balance of both honesty and respect is essential in a creative partnership
  • [13:56 – 18:30] Dan reflects on the culture at Mad Dogs & Englishmen and what he learned from his time there
  • [18:31 – 21:49] Getting a full-time gig and moving into an apartment on the Upper East Side, and getting to work on Haribo Gummy Bears
  • [21:50 – 25:10] Dan talks about being laid off, what he learned from the experience, and why being unrealistically optimistic is an important asset in the advertising industry
  • [25:11 – 27:50] Freelancing for magazines and getting back into design
  • [27:51 – 29: 29] Getting back into advertising working on the Hard Rock Hotel for DiMassimo Goldstein before ultimately going to Saatchi & Saatchi
  • [29:30 – 36:18] Dan talks about what it’s like to work at a big agency and shares his mental approach to work
  • [36:18 – 42:55] The story behind his hilarious Talking Stain ad for Tide
  • [42:56 – 47:00] Moving to San Francisco to take a job at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, and what he learned from working in Jamie Barrett’s pressure-free environment
  • [47:01 –49:32] Dan shares a recent story that highlights the importance of staying calm in the midst of chaos
  • [49:33 – 55:14] Why he waited 18 months to take the job at Goodby, and the passion and intensity that Rich Silverstein has to make things great
  • [55:15 – 58:35] Why he eventually moved back to New York to work with Chris Beresford-Hll at BBDO, and why he loves the culture there
  • [58:36 – 1:00:27] Dan talks about his leadership and management style, the importance of clear direction, and not forgetting what it’s like being a young creative
  • [1:00:28 – 1:02:58] Dan shares what he looks for in portfolios
  • [1:02:59 – 1:03:41] 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

10 Lessons From Season 1 of The A-List

With season two of the A-List Podcast launching soon, we wanted to first take a look back at Season one and compile some of our favorite clips into one episode for your listening pleasure.

With over 15+ hours of insightful interviews to sift through, this was no easy task. Each episode is jam-packed with insights, incredible stories, and lessons that would prove valuable to any young creative looking to break into the industry.

With that said, the episode below contains some key takeaways from season 1. Ten lessons from ten different A-listers. Have at it, and stay tuned for more updates on season 2!

Show Notes

  • [0:00 – 2:47] Intro
  • [2:48 – 9:00] Terri Meyer & Sandy Greenberg on the importance of a strong client relationship
  • [9:01 – 10:39] Omid Farhang shares Alex Bogusky’s philosophy of “Malicious Obedience”
  • [10:40 – 14:02] David Baldwin shares why young creatives should be looking for a good boss, not a company
  • [14:03 – 17:28] Paul Caiozzo talks about the importance of consistency
  • [17:29 – 23:47] Why Kash Sree thinks that sometimes, it’s better to stay stupid
  • [23:48 – 30:17] Rob Schwartz talks about the value of having a mentor
  • [30:18 – 35:15] Gerry Graf discusses why young creatives should embrace failure rather than be afraid of it
  • [35:16 – 37:10] Megan Skelly on the importance of humility
  • [37:11 – 41:03] Jill Applebaum on the dangers of being too picky when looking for a job
  • [41:04 – 46:10] Greg Hahn on why self-delusion can be a valuable tool
  • [46:11 – 48:20] Outro

 *REMINDER: Fall registration for AdHouse classes has begun! Sign up today and learn from A-listers in the agencies they work! To sign up, click HERE.

  “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

There Is No Such Thing As A Big Agency

In my 25 years in the advertising industry (wow, I’m old) I’ve worked at agencies that call themselves “big”. (Ogilvy. BBDO. JWT.) I’ve worked at agencies that call themselves “small”. (Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners. Taxi. Cliff Freeman.) I’ve been an independent freelancer (it doesn’t get any smaller than that) working at agencies on both ends of the spectrum (sometimes at the same time! Cha-ching!). Today I am a Chief Creative Officer and partner at DiMassimo Goldstein, an agency in New York City that is still smallish in size but growing fast.

Last week, I went to the Ad Age Small Agency Conference in Marina Del Rey, California. And I was inspired. Most of the attendees were “big agency” veterans like me who had bravely gone their own way. Sandy Greenberg and Terri MeyerBill OberlanderAnselmo Ramos. Between speakers (and checking in with our teams), we all chatted about what it means to be small in a world that seems obsessed with size and power. In talking with my fellow “smalls”, one thought kept surfacing in my mind: There’s no such thing as a “big agency”.

A global behemoth like Ogilvy may have offices in every corner of the globe. But, in practice, each client gets a team of smart, motivated individuals dedicated to their brand. Example: When I was ECD on a giant financial news account at one of the big agencies above, we did the whole thing with about 20 people in total. That’s including the account team. And planners. Sure, we could call on the power of the network if we needed it. But, day-to-day, no more than 20 people did the work. Sometimes way fewer. And we rocked it. The big global snack company I ran got about the same (and a lot of them were the same exact people, honestly). One mega-client had the largest team in the whole place I would bet. But it amounted to less than 100 people in the end. And they all worked on other things, too. And took weekends off.

Robin Dunbar, a British Anthropologist, coined the Rule of 150, which states that the evolutionary structure of social networks limits us to 150 meaningful relationships at a time. Once a group of humans grows to more than 150 people, the group tends to lose cohesion and want to split up into smaller groups. This is hard wired into our brains from back when we were bands of hunter-gatherers running from tree to tree trying to not be killed by Sabre-toothed Tigers. Paul Lavoie actually used this 150 people rule to run his agencies. Whenever one got close to 150 people, he would go open another one in another city and start all over again. And every client was serviced by no more than four client-facing professionals. This is where the name of his agency network — TAXI — came from, four being the number of people you can fit into the average city cab. Paul knew that clients don’t hire “agencies”. They hire people they trust.

By Michael Coghlan from Adelaide, Australia (Big FeetUploaded by tm) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

At BBDO, I was lucky enough to get hired to work in Gerry Graf’s group. There were eight creatives in that group. Those eight people made every ad for FedEx, Guinness, Red Stripe, Visa and Snickers. (To be honest, Gerry himself wrote a lot of the ads. He was tough to compete with.) I remember meeting Susan Credle, one of BBDO’s most celebrated ECDs, for the very first time in the halls. She was leaving to go to DDB. (Or was it Leo Burnett?) I shook her hand and she said “Are you new?” I said, “No, I’ve been here for two years.” We had never met until that moment. It makes sense. Susan’s group did M&Ms and AT&T. Were we working at the same agency? Does it matter?

It seems like the market is starting to understand the Big Agency myth. The stock prices of the holding companies have started dropping. Independent agencies are starting to be included in bigger pitches. Maybe technology has made finding great ideas easier. Maybe fracturing audiences and social media have made nimbleness more important than global scale. Maybe talent is realizing its own power and doing something about it. Many of the smartest people I know in this business have chosen to stay “small” as long as they can, at least in spirit. Jay Chiat famously said, “Let’s see how big we can get before we get bad.” But his creative leader, Lee Clow, may have said it best: “It’s more fun to be the pirates than it is to be the navy.” Arrrrr, matey. Arrrrrrrrr.

Another great thing about the smalls is that there’s just so many of them. So you can really find one whose mission aligns tightly with your brand. For instance, at DiMassimo Goldstein, a lot of our clients are direct-to-consumer brands who want to make customers feel like members of a community. We believe in co-creating with the brand team to do things in the world that lead to that result. We call it Inspiring Action. And we’re super passionate about it.

Maybe some boards of directors will always be soothed by the news that the CMO has hired a giant, global advertising agency that they’ve heard of. Nobody ever got fired for doing that, right? And, let’s face it. There’s no replacement for being wined and dined by a holding company exec who has been knighted by the Queen of England. But next time you are tempted to think you absolutely must hire a “big agency”, consider the small. Because in the end, no matter what size your agency pretends to be, all that really matters is the handful of people actually doing the work.

Everything else is just an illusion.