Is Attention Shrinking, Or Is It Just Selective?

Your customer is not a goldfish.

Believing that consumers have shrinking attention spans isn’t giving them enough credit. And it’s ignoring the fact that they can watch half a season of Game of Thrones in one sitting. The goldfish statistic is an excuse for bad advertising. And sadly, it’s now become a rationale for communication plans built almost entirely on :15 and :06 ads.

I’ve always struggled with the idea of brand-building with increasingly shorter content. Stan told me once that he thinks brand awareness is a silly goal. Brand understanding should be our goal.

I agree. And brand understanding is best achieved in longer forms. Google’s research even shows that longer is stronger for this. YouTube’s top ads last year, in terms of brand favorability, averaged 44 seconds long. We can’t endear brands to people in :06 increments. Maybe we can reinforce an idea or keep the brand top-of-mind, but we can’t raise brand understanding in :06. Imagine if dating were limited to :06 dates – we’d learn a lot of names but never fall in love.

The problem we’re trying to solve for isn’t shrinking attention, it’s selective attention. Which arguably has always been true, long before digital ads. It’s just that we now have a perfect storm of consumers empowered with the ability to skip, marketers empowered with the ability to measure it, and all parties overwhelmed with choices.

Kantar did a nice study on this recently. They found that today’s consumers have an on/off style of attention. They’re either intensely engaged or entirely disconnected. Attention is like a muscle: They either choose to flex it or they don’t. So it makes sense that we can binge-watch Netflix, or happily watch a four-minute ad from Apple directed by Spike Jonze. Once we choose to pay attention, we’re all in.

I’ve seen it firsthand with “Reclaim the Kitchen,” our work for Wolf. Running a 2:41 video on YouTube and Facebook went against popular opinion. But we saw an average view time of 1:49, skip button and all.

All of which makes me believe we should become scholars of attention. Dive deep and try to understand what captures our target audience’s attention. Not just the devices and channels, but the recent topics and story arcs that are worthy of their attention. Because if we don’t understand that, then our brands will likely be on the wrong side of the on/off attention equation.

I think it starts by rethinking the way we answer this question on our creative brief: “When and where is the target most receptive to our message?” It needs to be more than a media-consumption synopsis. It needs to be an insight into the whens, wheres, and whats of capturing their attention. “Reclaim the Kitchen” worked because it tapped into a cultural tension point at a time when our audience was embracing farm-to-table and the slow food vs. fast food movement.

But before we proclaim “Long live long-form,” we can’t limit ourselves to just one :60 anthem. Selective attention is fleeting. A lot of today’s best stuff hits for only 48 hours or so, then it’s on to the next. Procter & Gamble’s two-minute ad “The Talk” this year did just that: tapped into something worthy of attention and hit for a few big days. It’s what makes the John Lewis Christmas ad so brilliant each year. People anticipate it, look forward to it; it hits big for just a few short days but symbolizes the start of Christmas and is shared by millions.

There’s an opportunity for us to zig while most everyone else in our industry zags. Let them believe in shrinking attention spans and that :06 ads are the future. We can believe in selective attention – that brands can still be built with good ads even if they’re long, so long as we find new ways to create stuff worthy of people’s time and attention. And do it again and again.

The post Is Attention Shrinking, Or Is It Just Selective? appeared first on The Richards Group.

Martin Hires Tasha Dean As Head of Integrated Content

Tasha Dean has joined The Martin Agency as its new head of integrated content. She will report to Steve Humble, Martin’s chief operating officer. Working closely with creative, strategy and account leads, Dean will help bring customer journeys to life, impacting culture and driving growth for Martin’s clients. She will lead Martin’s digital production teams, content and production groups.

Dean began her career with Air Ambulance in Canada, flying alongside flight paramedics, filming accidents and disasters onsite and preparing content for an online paramedic e-learning system that she set up. From there she moved to Canadian agency Taxi where she worked in production, strategy and development. Within a few years she was running a production group. Next it was on to TBWA in Canada, then Chicago, followed by her most recent role of five years–running digital operations for TBWAChiatDay New York. 

Dean’s client roster over the years includes global brands such as Nissan, Visa, Apple, Gatorade, McDonald’s, Michelin, Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, H&M, Travelers and Accenture. She has also received accolades from Cannes Lions, One Show, Webbys, Clios, ADDYs and London International Awards.
 
“Tasha is a force of nature,” said Humble. “Whether it’s creating a Star Wars Twitch experience, a mobile-first Facebook Live game of tag, or programming robots in the desert, her work is provocative, compelling and wakes people up.”

Dean said that The Martin Agency’s “leadership and work have grabbed and held my attention. Both continue to ask what if? I am honored to have the opportunity to help shape and grow a modern production collective.”

The hiring of Dean continues a series of moves made by new leadership at Martin. Most recently was the appointment of Kelsey Larus as director of strategic engagement for the agency’s Talent & Culture unit. Larus has an extensive background in strategic implementation having worked for the Obama administration, the Democratic National Convention and two presidential inaugurations. 

Read the full story here.

How we did an emergency HTTPS migration using the ODN to avoid Chrome security warnings [case study]

Getting changes made in enterprise environments is hard, even when there are clear financial impacts of not making the changes. Anyone who hasn’t migrated to HTTPS by this point, is aware of the need; it hasn’t happened yet because of insurmountable blockers like mixed-content warnings in hard-to-update back-end systems.

If this sounds like you, read on because the architecture of the ODN, deploying as a CDN, or between your CDN and origin, means that it’s agnostic to whatever server-side technologies you are using, and whatever CMS you have in place, so no matter what limitations your tech stack is imposing, the ODN can help get past these kinds of blockers and allow you to migrate quickly to HTTPS if you haven’t already done so. Get in touch if you want to learn more or see a demo of the ODN.

CONTACT US TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ODN

With the rollout of Chrome 68 highlighting all HTTP sites as not secure, there has been widespread press about some sites getting “flagged” (here is the BBC highlighting the Daily Mail in their headline and calling out half a dozen retailers by name).

Sometimes companies behave just like the people that make them up. Most of us can remember a time when we’ve left that big piece of work until really close to the deadline, or even ended up starting work once it’s arguably a tiny bit too late. And businesses do the same – whether it’s shipping the GDPR-related privacy policy update on May 24th (yeah, ok, we did that), or fixing mobile-friendliness issues in a frantic mobilegeddon-related rush, what’s important is too often left until it becomes urgent.

In the case of HTTPS migrations, though, there are a range of reasons why it can actually be really hard to get them done in an enterprise environment. It’s common to have an organisational desire to get this done, but to have specific technical blockers. So, with the growing urgency coming from the external changes, we’ve been looking for ways to live up to our core values and effect change and get things done. In alignment with this, we recently got an urgent HTTPS migration done for a major retailer by using our ODN platform to mitigate a range of technical and on-page blockers. Here’s how:

On-page changes

One of the most common blockers to an HTTPS migration in enterprise environments is fixing mixed-content warnings where your newly-HTTPS pages rely on assets or scripts that are still loaded over HTTP. Even once you have your images (for example) also moved over to a secure hosting environment, you still need to update all the references to those images to use their HTTPS URLs.

We have used the ODN to:

  • Update image links from HTTP to HTTPS
  • Modify the embed codes and script references for 3rd party plugins
  • Update inline CSS references to HTTP assets

By being able to do this site-wide, across all pages sharing a particular template, or on specific pages, we get the right blend of power and efficiency that enables a large volume of mixed-content warnings to be resolved in a short period of time.

Fixing meta information

There’s a variety of meta information that might need to be updated during the migration to HTTPS, but probably the most important is the canonical and hreflang information. The ODN can inject this information into pages where it’s missing (including into the headers for PDFs, for example), and update existing links to the new scheme.

Since canonical and hreflang links are poorly-handled by many CMSs, the power of being able to fix this “outside the system” is powerful and can be set up as a final check to ensure correct canonical links.

Setting up redirects

A critical part of the deployment of a migration to HTTPS is the 1-1 page-level redirects from HTTP pages to HTTPS pages. It’s common for this to be hard to manage, because you may well want to prevent your origin server from even responding to port 80 (HTTP) requests in the new secure world, which means your server can’t handle the redirects needed. We can serve them for you, and make sure that every request hitting your origin is port 443 (HTTPS).

It’s possible to set up redirect rules at the edge with a CDN, but our platform brings two main benefits over that approach:

  1. if you are migrating sections of your site at a time, we flexibly update the rules for complex groups of pages
  2. we can add logic to avoid chained redirects which is often difficult with blanket rules.

Adding and modifying headers

Content Security Policy (CSP) headers are an important part of many HTTPS setups, and in particular, in risk-averse environments, you may well want to use a changing set of CSP headers to roll out HTTPS cautiously:

  • Roll out initially with a very lax CSP that allows insecure assets, but reports them via the report-uri policy directive
    • This means, that on any HTTPS page that uses HTTP resources, the browser will still report the page as insecure but it will work and you will get collect data on which resources are still in use where
  • As you then remove all HTTP dependencies, you can tighten up the CSP to much stricter policies and achieve the “secure” label in the browser
    • You may modify this on a section-by-section basis as each section meets the technical requirements
  • Once all pages are fully on HTTPS and redirects are in place, you can add HSTS (Strict-Transport-Security) to the mix
    • HSTS is a header served on the HTTPS version of your site that is cached by browsers and informs them not to trust the HTTP version in future and always to request the HTTPS version of every page on your site (until the expiry of the HSTS setting)

It can be difficult in many hosting environments to achieve this level of granularity, control, and agility with changes to headers, and the ODN can help with controlling them at the page, template, or domain level.

Want to see it first-hand?

The architecture of the ODN, deploying as a CDN, or between your CDN and origin, means that it’s agnostic to whatever server-side technologies you are using, and whatever CMS you have in place, so no matter what limitations your tech stack is imposing, the ODN can help fix up these kinds of blockers.

If you are in an environment where you are blocked from getting important things done by a lack of agility for on-page and server configuration changes, we might be able to help. Drop us a line if you would like to see our ODN platform in action.

CONTACT US TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ODN

Getting an HTTPS migration done in an enterprise environment

There have been some excellent articles written about the steps necessary for a successful HTTP to HTTPS migration. Although we know that a move is becoming more and more pressing, knowing what to do is only a small part of the story when you’re working in an enterprise environment. Somehow, we need to figure out at the very least:

  • Who do we need to persuade, and what’s going to convince them?
  • How are we going to mitigate risk as much as possible?
  • How are we going to get the actual details done? – some of these steps are simple but hard

Many of you will be living this, and be feeling these challenges keenly. We’ve been putting a lot of thought and a lot of work into helping our points of contact make these cases and get these migrations done. Here are some pointers and tips we’ve learned along the way; hopefully they’ll help you.

Sidenote: read about how we used our ODN platform to help to ship an urgent HTTPS migration for a major retailer

If you want to get some sense of the challenges, or if you don’t regularly work with large sites in complex organisations, the journey of the BBC to secure their news section might give you some idea of the complexity:

  1. Two years ago, they talk about making changes at their CDNs to enable HTTPS in the future when the individual products (e.g. homepage or travel news) get to the point of being ready on the back-end
  2. By the end of 2017, they are talking about enabling HTTPS to their origins and worrying about how to warm up the HTTPS caches
  3. June 2018 we get the Medium post about the elusive padlock on BBC News after problems like an Indian government-mandated network block that rendered the site totally inaccessible

And then even after all that effort, we realise that the first links I shared there are on the “BBC blogs” section of the site which is still insecure:

Making the case for the enterprise HTTPS migration

In some cases, I find that business cases and return on investment are the most powerful drivers of change, and there are possible approaches that could use data to make this case (looking first at drops in conversion rate from warnings over unsecured pages) but my first approach would be an argument that looks more like this:

  1. We’re definitely going to have to do this eventually
  2. External changes mean that we shouldn’t keep putting it off – there are reputational, business, and operational risks from delaying

It’s a more risk-averse argument focusing on avoidance of downside, but it has powerful emotional elements to it:

1. We’re definitely going to have to do this eventually

There are plenty of rational arguments for the move to HTTPS (great article) but this is mainly an argument that no matter what decisions we make, we can’t put this off forever. We can look at competitors, large sites, and external moves (e.g. by Chrome) to make this point powerfully:

Websites are moving to HTTPS at unprecedented rates

Google research shows that:

  • More than half of large sites now have HTTPS available (moving from 39% to 54% in the year to Feb 2017) with default HTTPS doubling in a single year
  • The bigger / more popular a site is, the greater its chance of having HTTPS available and the greater the chance of it using HTTPS by default
  • A majority of desktop browsing now occurs over HTTPS

All of which means that users are becoming more accustomed to seeing HTTPS everywhere and increasingly expect it. We have even seen this in qualitative feedback from website user testing (create a free account to watch this video):

High ranking websites are particularly likely to be HTTPS

In just 9 months, after announcing HTTPS as a (minor) ranking factor, the % of HTTPS results on page 1 of Google search results jumped from 30% to over 50%:

New features increasingly assume HTTPS connections

Features like HTTP/2 (which can bring significant speed improvements to many sites), and service workers (which are required for app-like capabilities such as offline functionality) require or assume the presence of HTTPS connections. If you aren’t already up to speed on them, this presentation by our VP Product, Tom Anthony will tell you what you need to know (create a free account to watch this video).

2. External changes mean we should do it now

Browser changes increase the urgency of making the change

We have known for some time that Google in particular was going to use their Chrome browser to push webmasters to HTTPS. Initially, the just flagged sites as insecure if they were on HTTP when a form was detected:

They then announced further changes to take it from just those pages to any HTTP page:

This actually isn’t Google’s last planned update on this theme, there will be a release of Chrome sometime soon that highlights the insecurity in red:

Not only is this change raising the profile of your security setup with your users and customers and most likely hurting engagement and conversion rate, but it is starting to bring bad press down on those who haven’t made the move yet. This BBC article, for example calls out a number of sites by name and cautions that while you shouldn’t necessarily entirely avoid sites that are still on HTTP, “you should be wary on those that require you to sign in or which let you buy goods and services through them”.

Mitigating the risk of an HTTPS migration

OK, so we know it’s something we want to do, and key stakeholders are coming around to the idea, but pretty early in the process, someone is going to bring up risk factors, and how we can minimise and mitigate as many of the risks as possible.

Aside from thorough testing in a staging environment, what else can you do to reduce the risks of going to HTTPS? One key tool in the arsenal is Content Security Policy (CSP) headers. One of the hardest parts of the move is avoiding mixed-content warnings, where your (secure) page references HTTP resources and assets. A good way of mitigating risks and avoiding UI issues and broken functionality from blocked assets is to roll out HTTPS initially with a very lax CSP that allows insecure assets, but reports them via the report-uri policy directive. This means, that on any HTTPS page that uses HTTP resources, the browser will still report the page as insecure but it will work and you will get collect data on which resources are still in use where.

As you then remove all HTTP dependencies, you can tighten up the CSP to much stricter policies and achieve the “secure” label in the browser. Once all pages are fully on HTTPS and redirects are in place, you can add HSTS (Strict-Transport-Security) to the mix. HSTS is a header served on the HTTPS version of your site that is cached by browsers and informs them not to trust the HTTP version in future and always to request the HTTPS version of every page on your site (until the expiry of the HSTS setting).

(Note: the more important security is to your site, the further down this rabbit-hole you may wish to go – right up to preloaded HSTS sites – though note that this is not easily reversible even temporarily in the event of certificate errors.)

There are a variety of great resources on the SEO details, with checklists and processes to follow, so I’m not going to repeat all of the steps here. I recommend:

  • This article on all the benefits of HTTPS and technical features you can use once you have moved over
  • Patrick Stox outlined the process, and Aleyda published a great checklist on the SEO steps and implications
  • You may find it useful to refer to the official Google line (from John Mueller) to reassure stakeholders about Google’s view of the process and its benefits
    • THOUGH I am very concerned about the advice to “use 302 redirects + rel=canonical to HTTP if you want to test HTTPS but not have it indexed”. I would not recommend ever having canonical links that point to pages that redirect back to the original page (even 302 redirects). I would recommend not doing this.

How are we going to get the details implemented?

As always, knowing what to do and getting agreement to go ahead is only a small part of the battle in many organisations. Large websites and big companies typically have myriad dependencies and integrations of older systems that throw up unexpected roadblocks in the way of the objective. In the case of an HTTPS migration, this is often things like:

  • We have mixed-content warnings that we can’t deal with at scale – how are we going to update all the references to images on http URLs? What about our 3rd-party plugins and embeds?
  • Our canonical links all point to the HTTP version of our site and the engineering work to update them across all the different page templates is going to add scary amounts of money to the cost of this project – potentially across multiple back-ends / CMS
  • We want to add Referrer-policy and especially Content Security Policy headers to enable better testing and mitigate risks, but we have no way to control HTTP headers through our CMS

Recommendations of what to do are worthless if you can’t get them done – a mantra that we repeat a lot at Distilled is it’s not our job to deliver reports – it’s our job to effect change. One of the ways we’ve done this is by building the ODN platform which makes it easy to make agile changes to HTML and HTTP responses. We just completed an urgent HTTPS migration for a major retailer where we addressed exactly these kind of blockers with the platform – you can read more about that here.

If you’re in the unfortunate situation of knowing you need to make the move to HTTPS, and having the organisation aligned, but being blocked by these kinds of technical issue, drop us a line to discuss whether we can help.

CONTACT US TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ODN

Training at Briggs Equipment Head Office

The Golley Slater team visited Briggs’ head office in Cannock last week for a product training day. We enjoyed a training session with a materials handling specialist from the Hyster-Yale Group, followed by a tour of the demonstration area.

Briggs Equipment is one-stop shop for materials handling equipment, access equipment and cleaning equipment; supplying to various sectors including construction, logistics and retail.

Golley Slater PRM has been working with Briggs Equipment since 2015. We currently have a team of seven full-time telemarketing agents working for Briggs. They are dedicated to nurturing prospects and delivering high-quality, qualified sales leads.

Let’s talk

about how to acquire new customers

The post Training at Briggs Equipment Head Office appeared first on Golley Slater.

5 Things Google Ads can Now do Automatically

With constant innovations to RankBrain, it’s no surprise that Google Ads has automated so many of their features. While users are accustomed to their frequent updates, more and more of these new features are becoming automated.

What does this mean for users? New automations can make the process of creating Google Ads more efficient since they promise similar results with less work. While they can’t do everything that a PPC specialist can, working with them can prove to be an advantage when it comes to saving time and getting results.

With the latest round of updates, Google Ads has made some major changes in terms of its automated features. Here are five things that Google Ads can now do automatically:

1. Smart campaigns for small businesses

Smart Campaigns was the first solution to debut under the Google Ads brand, formerly known as Google AdWords. Designed for small businesses that don’t have a dedicated marketing staff, Smart Campaigns are almost entirely automated. Built on top of AdWords Express, it’s meant to provide better results.

Smart Campaigns automatically target audiences across all Google platforms and automate ad and landing page generation based on information from Google My Business. While most of the features of Smart Campaign are now automated, there are still a few things that need to be done manually.

Budget, target location, and language will need to be set. Once these are established during setup, they likely won’t change. This means that Smart Campaigns will need little to no management once it’s up and running. While Smart Campaigns will now be the default option, if businesses decide to work with an agency, they can still opt for the full Google Ads service.

By offering more automated choices, users will have the option to choose from different levels of automation and manual management, and find the combination that works best for them.

2. Universal app campaigns

Initially launched in May 2015, Universal App campaigns are often referred to as “AdWords Express for Developers.” With scale and pricing based on outcomes rather than clicks, Universal App campaigns help users get more downloads of their app and help to drive in-app conversions.

Google will automatically manage bidding, targeting, and even put together creative materials to achieve the highest number of downloads and rate of conversion for digital marketers, while working within their set budget. You may be wondering how they manage to generate creative without any human intervention — Google does this by using structured data from the app listing to automatically generate enticing creative elements.

While almost all Universal App campaign features are automated, there are some things that still require manual implementation. To start a campaign, marketers must select a daily budget, optimal cost-per-click, as well as location and language. Google will begin by asking marketers for a few keyword ideas as a starting point for automated ad-generation, such as ad text, and media components like images and videos.

Once users go through the initial setup process, there are few things to optimize when the campaign is launched other than keyword selection and creating ad variations. This is unique to other features that Google has automated since they typically offer automated features in addition to the existing manual options to achieve the same goal.

3. Goal-optimized shopping campaigns

Shopping ads are responsible for 60% of all clicks on Google for retailers. Managing Shopping ads for thousands of retailers can be challenging, so it makes sense that Google wants to make managing them a little easier.

Goal-optimized Shopping campaigns use data from at least 20 conversions over the last 45 days to predict the bids that will achieve the best cost-per-lead, and will automatically run remarketing ads on the Google Display Network. Once marketers set a budget and target CPL, Google will work within their budget to maximize sales and meet that target.

4. Automated bidding

There are seven automated bidding strategies from Google, three of which are based on Smart Bidding. All automated bidding strategies are designed to help advertisers reach their goals with minimal management.

Targets like out-ranking specific competitors are closely aligned with typical business goals. Google can acknowledge targets, which removes the need for marketers to do additional calculations themselves. Google will automatically predict the likelihood of conversions by looking at the device, location, language, and more. These predictions will feed the automated bids used for unique actions.

Although referred to as “automated bidding,” not all aspects are automated in this process. Google’s systems are refined, but they still suggest adjusting targets for factors that automation doesn’t consider. There are certain things that may impact your business that Google won’t account for, so some management is necessary.

5. Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic Search Ads provide marketers that provide a way to keep search ads in sync with what they currently offer. Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) offer an automated solution that uses Google’s algorithm to target ads for the most relevant search queries.

Once marketers choose whether they’d like to include all pages from their site or just the pages that are in a feed, Google will then automatically target ads and show ads with an automated headline.

Just because Google has automated some of its processes, doesn’t mean that PPC specialists have become obsolete. These automations are helpful for those without a dedicated marketing team, but can also help digital marketing agencies by providing a way to optimize their processes. Using these automated features in combination with manual management can help you make the most of your Google Ads.

To learn more about how a TechWyse-managed PPC campaign can lower your cost-per-lead, then call us today at 866.288.6046 or contact us here.

 

The post 5 Things Google Ads can Now do Automatically appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

NOS’ “Human Horsepower” Pits Man Vs Machine

Mistress’s in-house production company, Bastard, just released a nationwide television spot for Monster’s NOS Energy Drink, called “Human Horsepower”.

NOS has always been a no-nonsense brand for those who take life head-on. This premise has been brought to life with incredible special effects and an insane stunt, pitting the raw power of man versus machine.

Specializing in projects for modern media—from online to TV to social and more—Bastard is our full-service production arm.

Check out their latest work, below.

Spot Title: Human Horsepower

Brand: NOS Energy Drink
Client: Lauren Albano

Executive Creative Director, Scott Harris
Creatives: Nate Stroot, Adam Valley
Production Company: Bastard Productions
Director: Trevor Paperny
Executive Producer: Dave Horowitz
Producer: Adam Wiesner
Production Manager: Ben Wiesner
Production Designer: Paul Martin
Director of Photography: Tim Sessler

Post Credits
Editorial: Whitehouse Post, Josh Bodner
VFX: NTtropic
Color: NTropic, Nick Sanders
Sound Design: Defacto
Music: Short Cake

The post NOS’ “Human Horsepower” Pits Man Vs Machine appeared first on Mistress.

General Magic’s forgotten second act was the Siri of its era

The company whose 1990s work set the stage for modern smartphones also created a voice assistant.

The new documentary General Magic is an excellent look at the startup of the same name, which spun out of Apple in 1990 to build software and hardware for mobile computing, did some wildly innovative stuff—and then failed. (My colleagues Mark Sullivan and Katharine Schwab have already reported on different aspects of the company’s story, prompted by the film.)

Read Full Story

Sixth Sense Q&A: Bruce Andreini

  1. Describe yourself in 6 words.
    • Honest, calm, curious, analytical, dedicated, adaptable
  2. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and why?
    • In production you should always hope for the best, yet plan for the worst. It’s great advice because no matter what you do in production, you will face some unexpected surprises. So it’s better to plan or be prepared for them rather than be surprised by them.
  3. How did you get your start in this industry?
    • I came to NYC as part of an internship program with 20 other college students interested in the media industry. It felt like MTVs Real World, but for media students.   I was placed at an ad agency in my chosen field of production and decided to stay and make a career of it. I knew I wanted to get into production, I just didn’t know what it was like to be in commercial production.
  4. What’s your favorite piece of work you’ve been a part of bringing to life?
    • We were given a very open brief from JCPenney to create a special film for the holiday season before that became a yearly thing. The creatives came up with a wonderful story about a little girl who decides to build a rocket to go to the North Pole to visit Santa and we collaborated with Fredrik Bond to bring it to life. We even secured a rare demo version of a John Lennon song that Yoko Ono herself approved for use in the commercial, saying that John would have loved the film. I’ve had numerous creatives reference that work since then.
  5. Who is one of your biggest influencers?
    • Spike Jonze: even though I couldn’t be farther from being a skateboarding Californian, I have always loved the range and depth of his work. From his early music video work with Bjork to his feature films like “Her” or “Where the Wild Things Are.” He is so versatile and so innovative. It’s been nice to see him back in the commercial space with Kenzo and Apple in the last year or so.
  6. What does your sixth sense tell you is going to be the next ‘big thing’ in the industry?
    • Virtual Reality! No… Augmented Reality! Wait – 6-second ads!, yeah those. Or how about blockchain?! Yeah, that’s the ticket! What about live ads?
    • I’m joking of course. I love new technology. And I love bringing back old technology (sculpture, stop motion animation, etc.)
    • For me, it always comes back to creativity. Ideas are what resonate more than anything else. It helps if they can be targeted more efficiently or incorporate a new technology. But it starts with the idea every time.