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Deutsch CEO Mike Sheldon Reflects on Two Decades at the Agency

Posted By Don Lupo, Thursday, October 10, 2019
Updated: Friday, October 4, 2019

By Doug Zanger
Senior Editor

Adweek
Reprinted with permission

Deutsch North America’s CEO Mike Sheldon 
is hanging up his cleats. It’s not a retirement, per se, but a move away from Deutsch in Los Angeles after 22 years.

During his tenure, the Michigan native has presided over highs and lows. Most notably, Sheldon is credited with turning Deutch’s then-nascent L.A. operation into one of the staples of the market, taking it from a handful of people to, at its peak, a 600-plus juggernaut. The agency continues to create standout work for brands, including high profile campaigns for Taco Bell, Dr. Pepper and others.

On the downside, the agency split from Target, yet won the Reebok business shortly after that. Additionally, after nine years—and being credited with reviving Volkswagen’s fortunes with breakout work including the oft-referenced “The Force”—Deutsch and the carmaker ended their relationship.

Yet with all of the ups and downs (common in any agency), Sheldon, who spent six years at TBWA\Chiat\Day pre-Deutsch, remained upbeat and steadfast in his mission to build and retain a positive outlook and culture. Adweek caught up with Sheldon to find out a little more about his time at Deutsch and what’s next.

I’ll start with the predictable question. Why now?
Mike Sheldon: It’s a confluence of events. I’ve been doing this for 22 years, and I turned 60 a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been talking to [IPG CEO] Michael Roth about this for a while and want to see what else is out there. I’m not ready to go feed pigeons on a park bench. I want to see what the universe brings. I still have a lot of energy and interest in new and exciting ventures, and I figured after 22 years at Deutsch and 37 years in advertising, maybe there’s something else out there for me.

What would you say, outside of the obvious things like technology, are the most significant changes you’ve seen at Deutsch L.A.?
We’ve always been about investing ahead of revenue. In the future, it will be the same. You have to stay ahead of the business, or you’ll get run over. We got into digital production years ago, 
and started Steelhead [Deutch’s in-house production company] a few years ago. Experiential is now huge, analytics are as well. The future is going to be like the past: Unless you stay ahead, it will get the best of you.

How does an agency “stay ahead”?
For us, it’s having rock-solid clients like Taco Bell, Keurig Dr. Pepper and H&R block that appreciate the partnership and long-term commitment and depths of understanding that an agency can have into a client’s business and provide value way beyond any marketing communication. Then some clients want a TV spot or need to spend time looking at their consumer base. You have to go with the flow since there aren’t a ton of AOR relationships. I keep telling everybody to think of yourself as the ultimate Swiss army knife because that’s what we need to be a good, successful agency moving forward.

You’ve touched on a couple of successful points in your tenure. Aside from those, what would say is another significant accomplishment?
By far, the idea of kindness. There are a lot of really good people in this business—brilliant and creative people. But that has to be combined with being kind and putting your employees first and, unfortunately, making some of those difficult decisions like walking away from a prickly client. It doesn’t get talked about much in this business, but being good to other humans is a business asset.

Anything you would have done differently over the past two-plus decades?
I thought that I could have started an agency at one point, but it was never in the cards or the right things for me. I used to think that I should have done that, but looking back, I’ve realized how much I’ve enjoyed and valued my time here.

One of the tougher times for the agency was the end of the VW relationship. What did you learn from that?
I’d be less than truthful if I didn’t say it was a kick in the gut after nine years of really great results, fantastic work and a great brand point of difference. But that’s advertising. That’s what we signed up for. There are a lot of things that you can’t control, and the best advertising executives have a short memory. So while that stung, nine months later, it’s a distant memory, and we’re on to all the work that’s currently filling up the plate. You can’t take that stuff too seriously, personally or emotionally—it’ll eat you alive.

What’s your view on the agency world today?
It’s a tougher time than it’s ever been in the business, but it’s also kind of a mind game now. You have to stay positive, keep pitching and pushing. Anybody that reads too much of the press or gets bummed out about anything is dead because this business is just unforgiving. So it’s staying ahead. It’s innovating, it’s adding new divisions. It’s not being afraid to invest and keeping both feet on the gas. Otherwise, there’s just too much gravity pulling things down right now. Clients will always pay for ideas, great execution and results-driven communications.

What’s next for you?
I’m going to keep the aperture wide open. I have purposely not overplanned this. My goal is to see what the universe brings in. That might be taking a bike ride on a random Tuesday, consulting, bringing in a direct-to-consumer product to life, or another type of product to life. I really want to stay open.

Is Lil’ Sweet, Diet Dr. Pepper’s mascot, the most underrated ever?
I think he might be. But, in all seriousness, 
we love Lil’ Sweet, and that brand continues to defy gravity year after year because it’s the coolest, weirdest campaign in the world.


Doug Zanger is a senior editor at Adweek focusing on creativity and agencies. Find him on Twitter at @zanger.

This article originally ran in Adweek and is reprinted with permission.
 

 

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Do What You Love

Posted By Editorial, Monday, September 30, 2019

By Robert Bridwell
Creative Director
LO:LA Agency

It is always satisfying when you get to do what you love. One of the greatest pleasure’s we know as a group of like-minded souls is when we are out on location, pulling a story together.

Earlier this year we had the challenge and pleasure to bring to life the stories behind Total Wine & More’s Winery Direct program. Who wouldn’t turn down the chance to spend 10 days in Napa interviewing and filming what are effectively the rock stars of Californian wine making. But I guess that is the rub, how do you do justice to a request like that with limited time and limited resources?

Intelligent collaboration is the way we do things and bringing together the right team for this job was, for us, theory in practice.

Five days, 10 vineyards, and what felt like an infinite number of products to capture, to do justice to this request was only going to be achieved if we thought differently about things. Just creating content was never going to be enough. Today we seem to live in a world where content is king, but that isn’t enough, less really is more. Rather than just flood the world with more things, we need to create better things, we need to connect with consumers on an authentic, sincere level.

On a lifetime value basis, emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers, these emotionally connected customers buy more of your products and services, visit you more often, exhibit less price sensitivity, pay more attention to your communications, follow your advice, and recommend you more – everything you hope their experience with you will cause them to do. So, deploying emotionally – connection-based experiences can help drives significant improvements in business outcomes.

 

At LO:LA we seek out and engage with the emotionally connected customer. The Brand Storytelling Report 2015, commissioned by content marketing agency Headstream, revealed that while 80% of people (UK adults) want brands to tell stories, 85% of them can’t remember a good one.

So, we’re constantly looking for ways to relate. To us it’s about holding up a mirror to consumers and letting them know the story starts from and with them.

“Show customers you know them and show them you care”

This then became our mantra for how we went about capturing our content. To deliver on this we strive to be as authentic as possible. We believe that having a nimble crew is not only cost effective for the client, it’s also improves our ability to be authentic. When large crews show up talent has a tendency to feel overwhelmed, especially when they aren’t hired talent. The winemakers we interviewed were relieved when they saw the size of our crew and more relaxed. Nothing was scripted, just a list of questions tailored to capture the topics we needed in the cut. We were able to move around from vineyards, tasting room and barrel rooms, capturing product still photography, b-roll and drone footage within a few hours.

 

Having a nimble crew was a huge advantage for us as well. We were able to cover two wineries a day. Even on days when we drove from one wine region to the next, we delivered on the ask. Each location had unique elements we wanted to identify and capture. With walkie talkies in hand, we would split up and scout the best options and quickly get set up for the interview. Meanwhile, our photographer set out to capture product stills. Very passionately, we were amazed with what he was able to pull off with very little direction.

Creating content is a labor of love. Having trust as a team instills trust with the interviewees and the client. Being open to all suggestions and working with a team that shares your passion and strives to deliver the best result is how we deliver on our promise of intelligent collaboration.

 

 

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Anniversary of the Signing of the ADA

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 31, 2019
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Entertaining Cord Cutters with Advanced TV

Posted By Sponsored Content, Wednesday, July 17, 2019

By Frank Pasquine

Content Manager

Tremor Video

It is often said that, "The best marketing doesn't feel like marketing." It is our job as entertainment marketers to tell our story to the right audiences without feeling intrusive. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have fun in the process.

Over the years, there’s been no better platform for brand storytelling in the entertainment marketing space than the centerpiece of the modern living room — the television. However, we’re no longer living in an era dominated by linear and cable television. Over-the-top (OTT) video is where it’s at. 

For those of you unaware of what OTT is, it’s pretty simple. OTT covers any premium long-form video content that is streamed over the internet through an app or device onto a TV (or PC, tablet, or smartphone) without requiring users to subscribe to a wired cable, telco or satellite TV service. This content is accessed on Connected TV (CTV) devices include streaming players/sticks (e.g. Roku/Amazon Fire TV), gaming consoles (e.g. PS4), and smart TVs. Just think of how many times you’ve binged The Office or Stranger Things through your favorite streaming platform. It’s almost as if cable is now your old high school friend. Sure, you might still keep in touch, but OTT is your new best friend that you’d rather hang out with!

Let’s take a look at the facts. U.S. cord cutters will increase to 55 million in 2022, from 33 million in 2018, and there are over 820 million connected video devices in the US. Soon you’ll be left with no choice but to include CTV in your video strategy. 

We shouldn’t fear these changes; we should embrace them. Delivering your video to the big screen without as big of a price tag, engaging with millennials and cord cutters, and creating customized creative messaging are just some of the reasons why the latest video advertising trend is rapidly surpassing traditional TV advertising.

Advanced TV solutions provide the ability to be more creative and intelligent in your brand storytelling. You still have access to the largest screen in the room, only now it comes with the ability to reach your audiences with more granularity. So, your new horror movie trailer can now reach cord cutters who not only frequent the movie theater, but also binge on shows like American Horror Story or The Walking Dead. Not only that, viewers will be able to enjoy the full video trailer, as they’re unable to skip ahead on CTV like they would on YouTube.

Furthermore, advertisers can leverage an abundance of data in order to take their creative execution one step further. For example, at Tremor Video, we have an in-house Creative Studio that can build custom overlays, end cards, or branded title cards, based on unique audience data, and incorporate them with unique messaging that is more likely to engage your audience.

Even for those still watching their primary programming on traditional TV or cable – we also have the ability to reach them while they’re multitasking on their phones, tablets, and computers. This past year, through the process of retargeting TV viewers via their second devices, Tremor Video was able to provide actual impactful results for major entertainment clients with KPIs like lift in TV tune-in and lift in movie goers—not to mention overall brand awareness, clicks, downloads, and more. 

The possibilities are seemingly endless. This all starts by being proactive during initial planning and including stakeholders from each team that will work on your campaign. Begin with a creative strategy brief, then align on goals, share insights on what works, and streamline effectively from the get-go. When done right, it makes your brand feel organic to the content and to the consumer you’re connecting with. The key is to understand the technology that is readily available, embrace consumer viewing trends, and think creatively when strategizing your video campaigns. 

After recently joining forces with YuMe by RhythmOne, a leader in Advanced TV solutions, Tremor Video can now offer customers an even more robust set of CTV advertising solutions. If you’re interested in learning more, visit tremorvideo.com.

 

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Reflections from 'Soul of a Nation'

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 10, 2019
The ThinkLA DIG Committee gathered at The Broad museum in Downtown Los Angeles to see the important exhibits at Soul of a Nation: Art in theAge of Black Power 1963-1983

Soul of a Nation shines a bright light on the vital contribution of Black artists made over two decades, beginning in 1963 at the height of the civil rights movement. Soul of a Nation explores how social justice movements, as well as stylistic evolutions in visual art (such as Minimalism and abstraction), were powerfully expressed in the work of artists including Romare BeardenBarkley HendricksNoah PurifoyMartin PuryearFaith RinggoldBetye SaarAlma ThomasCharles White, and William T. Williams. Los Angeles-based artists appear throughout Soul of a Nation, and more deeply in three specific galleries, foregrounding the significant role of Los Angeles in the art and history of the civil rights movement and the subsequent activist era, and the critical influence and sustained originality of the city’s artists, many of whom have lacked wider recognition.

Featuring the work of more than 60 influential artists and including vibrant paintings, powerful sculptures, street photography, murals, and more, this landmark exhibition is a rare opportunity to see era-defining artworks that changed the face of art in America.

Three of our committee members offered their perspectives and reactions to the exhibit. Please see photos in the gallery below.

Kirsten Atkinson
Vice President, Client Partnerships Group
NBCUniversal
DIG Committee Co-Chair

The Broad “Soul of a Nation” took me on a journey of Black America’s (lowercase intentional) frustration and anger of the oppression endured at that time, expressed through various art forms. I was mostly impressed by those who chose to use creatively to heal their souls and document their experience in a personal way – Bearden, Hendricks and Puryear to name a few. New artists emerged, new expressions of art were formed and healing begun. I was touched by the experience.



Christine Rose

Regional Marketing Manager, West Region
Outfront Media

My favorite piece was a wood sculpture by Elizabeth Catlett titled “Black Unity”. The gesture, the raising of a closed fist, is a widely known symbol of the black power movement. The sculpture showed this famous gesture and on the reverse side showed two faces, in the style of African masks. Two very different images. To me, the fist represented power and strength, while the faces (or people behind the fist) felt confident, in control and calm.

 

Another great moment was finding a QR code to a ‘Soul of a Nation Playlist’. This was a great compliment to the exhibit that allowed me to also experience some artist’s music who also paved the way.

 

The entire exhibit was insightful, and really celebrates the age of Black Power. I think it also told a story that is still relevant today.

 



Sara Hope

Owner
Hope Creative

Well, I certainly left creatively inspired! It was great to get out of the office, commune with new friends, and get some culture!

I learned more than I ever imagined through art - and in particular the use of symbols and color as statements to express oppression. As a creative and one who deals in symbols for branding often, it peaks my interest and I want to learn more. 

We even left with a blank panther pin and some sweet Basquiat cards! 
 

 

Samantha Hawkins

Senior Consultant

Deloitte
DIG Committee Co-Chair

A theme that stood out to me was this tension black artists felt, around what it means to be a black artist, and what “black art” should or shouldn’t be. Some believed the black esthetic must be inherently separate from mainstream art, that it must be for activism and politics. Others disregarded any attempt at being defined or contained. In the 1970’s artist Benny Andrews wrote about white mainstream art critics for “not being able to see a black figure done by a black artist without automatically assuming that the work is propagandistic, or politicizing,” and “being unable to look at an all-black art exhibition with the same impartiality that he brings to an all-white exhibition.”

 

This is still very prevalent in our world today beyond art. We want to put everything in a box. Many people feel this tension in their own personal and professional life. There’s a duality of feeling a responsibility to represent my culture(s) and yet assert my own individual perspectives without it being received as something that belongs in a box because of the color of my skin.

 

This was such a great experience to go and learn among other advertising pros of all sorts of backgrounds. I find moments like this are a fun and informative way to open the doors, have intimate conversations to enhance our collective cultural competency and to welcome safe spaces to explore and learn about other cultures and perspectives in the future.

 

We’ll definitely be doing more outings like these, so stay tuned!

 

 

 


PHOTO GALLERY
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SheSuite Recap: June 4, 2019

Posted By Administration, Thursday, June 6, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, July 10, 2019

By Monique Hidalgo
Associate Community Manager
RPA

On June 4, ThinkLA hosted an event which gave people the opportunity to learn and meet some of L.A.’s top executive women who are dominating the marketing and advertising industry. All who attended the event had the pleasure of learning from Kim Getty, President of Deutsch; Laura Jones Joukovski, Chief Media Officer at TechStyle Fashion Group; Paula Madison, Chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management LLC; and former President and General Manager of NBC4 Los Angeles, and Denise Wong, President of Midnight Oil.

The event was moderated by Caitlin Bruno, Strategic Partner Manager at Snap Inc., who started the discussion by asking the panelists about some of the experiences they faced early in their careers. The audience quickly learned that the main driver of success for most of the panelists came from the motivation they received from their families. Kim shared a story, that personally resonated with me, about how losing her father at a young age ultimately became her main driver of her success. Watching her mother struggle as she had to join the workforce for the first time, motivated Kim to never put herself in that situation, and encouraged her to work to get to where she is today.

The panelists were then asked if they had faced any sponsors or antagonists that have impacted their career. Though most of the panel focused on the sponsors who motivated them, Paula shared an example of an antagonizing superior that she once dealt with. His demeaning approach became her motivator for achieving success. Paula made it so that her company recognized how essential she was to it, which even ended up with this particular person being forced to deliver her a promotion, himself.

Another topic Caitlin brought up, which led into an interesting discussion, was if the concept of “work-life balance” actually existed. I was particularly fascinated to learn that all of the panelists do not believe that “work-life balance” is even possible. Kim even stated that she thinks this term should stop being used by companies. Since all of the panelists are also mothers, they agreed that there is no such thing as “work-life balance” when you have to juggle kids, marriage, and a career. Some advice given by Laura was to find a great partner that can help you juggle all of these different aspects of life. Not that it can’t be done alone, but some help makes it a little less difficult.

Caitlin concluded the event by asking the panelists about their takes on the future of marketing and advertising industries. Though they unanimously agreed that since the start of their careers, there has been much improvement from companies being more accepting of diversity and change, they all believe that there is still a long way to go. The industry is evolving, but it’s our job as marketers and advertisers to help clients, companies, or even people to become more accepting of change by normalizing diversity.

One of my main takeaways from this event was to work for somebody that you want to work with, someone that you want to learn and grow from. The panelists were strong advocates about making sure that you put yourself first and are constantly looking out for your best interest. If you’re unhappy with a situation, whether that be because of a superior, your company, your clients, etc., do something about it. Find a somebody you want to work for, a company you want to grow in. Be proactive, “trailblaze your career.”

Path to the She Suite was stocked with some really inspirational women. Though they all have had different upbringings and experiences which lead them to where they are at now, they all shared one common entity – Kim, Laura, Paula, and Denise are all examples of women who are changing the narrative of women in marketing and advertising industries. Their resilience and perseverance are helping to pave the way for future women in the industry. 

 

 

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Monsters Turned Out to Be Just Trees: SheSuite Reflections

Posted By Claire Thompson, Wednesday, June 5, 2019
By Claire Thompson
Client Partner
Vice Media



I feel compelled to outwardly reflect on yesterday’s event, the culmination of many small but significant moments.


Early last year, when we were re-launching this series as ELC Live!, Susan Franceschini, ThinkLA Executive Director, sat down with me and the former co-chair and urged us to think bigger. So we popped a bottle of rosé, challenged ourselves on weak spots, identified learnings and honed our intentions for future work.


Path to the SheSuite emerged as a key focus from those conversations. And when our first event sold out, it validated our sneaking suspicion that value of this idea extended well beyond a spirited brainstorm.      


For several reasons, last night feels like our best work yet.

  • Our speakers absolutely tore it up (and made us laugh while doing it).

  • Caitlin Bruno, a fellow cultivator of community in our industry, achieved a personal first in moderating last night’s discussion (and what a natural she was).

  • We had a fuller, more engaged, more diverse audience than we did at our inaugural event (+500% more men!).


And, we were served up some serious wisdom (plus content recommendations from the baddies themselves, recapped below). Kim told us that the whole “work/life balance” thing probably doesn’t exist. Paula taught us the disarming power of a smile when you’re trying to get promoted. Laura quoted T.Swift and it was good. Denise cleared things up for us: everybody poops.


Most meaningful of all, last night felt like a beginning.


We all scurried off to capture fragments of inspiration buzzing around our heads. And we’re real excited about the ways we can build.


So, please receive this note as our thanks but also as a call to action. We want to brainstorm with you. We want to hear your ideas, outlandish and bland. We want to incubate spin-off events and initiatives.


We’re only as good as the team behind us and last night felt like a radical team effort. And I’m super jazzed about that.


With love,

Claire


P.S BRAINFOOD:


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Recap: Asian American Advertising Federation 2019 Asian Marketing Summit

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 29, 2019

By Frances Rubio, MS
Associate Director of Multicultural Marketing Analytics
GroupM



On May 23, the Asian American Advertising Federation (3AF) held its annual 3AF 2019 Asian Marketing Summit. Held at the InterContinental Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, the summit is the only multicultural conference focused solely on the Asian American marketing and advertising industry.

Top brands, industry experts, researchers, content creators, advertising executives, media and other vendors and partners converged in an insightful discussion on business implications of the Asian American consumer. This year, the 3AF celebrated its twentieth anniversary with the theme, “Honoring Our Past, Celebrating the Present, Empowering Our Future.”

Throughout the summit, events and panels spanned multiple verticals and industries:

- From a brand perspective, Scott Wracher, General Manager of Brand/Cross Vehicle/Toyota Dealer Association/Education, Vehicle Marketing and Communications, Toyota Motor North America and Matthew Choy, Account Director, InterTrend discussed Toyota’s branding within the Asian American community, this year focusing on the hybrid brand.

- Canadian Multicultural Marketing veteran Bobby Sahni shared key insights and opportunities relevant for the U.S. market, along with examples and learnings gained by marketing to Asian consumers in Canada.

- Iris Yim, 3AF Vice President and President, Sparkle Insights, shared results from the 3AF’s second media consumption study.

- HL Gan moderated a panel on the power of Asian media with Danny Wong, Skylink TV; Susan de los Santos, The Filipino Press; Jaideep Janakiram, Sony Pictures Networks; and Brian Jun, The Korea Times. This panel discussed the power of Asian media and how it plays a significant role for business that focus on local audiences.

- Panelists Roslynn Alba Cobarrubias, ABS-CBN Head of Music & Talent, Global, Eljay Feuerman, Director of reDEFINE, an IW Group Initiative, and influencer Tiffanie Marie discussed what it takes to reach young Gen Z and Millennials with meaningful content and effective culture-first activations

- Melissa Flores, Director of Power Rangers Development & Production at Allspark Pictures, a Hasbro Company and Malika Lim Eubank, CEO of Hyper Rabbit Media discussed the opportunities, potential pitfalls and intricacies that come with adapting and marketing new Asian kids’ entertainment to the United States.

At the summit, I presented a session entitled, “From All-American Girl to Fresh Off the Boat to Crazy Rich Asians and Beyond: How the Changing American Landscape has Demanded Better Asian American Representation in the Last 25 Years”. In it, I shared insights and the latest research on the social and cultural impact of Asian representation in the big screen and in television and social media and how the rise of Asian representation affects the rest of mainstream America:

- Asian Americans make up 6% of the total population at nearly 19 million people but their wallet sizes are comparable to other multicultural audiences at nearly $1 trillion in buying power

- Asians have historically been whitewashed or misrepresented, often seen as foreign or secondary, underdeveloped characters--only recently have we seen a shift in Asian American representation

- The launch of YouTube in 2005 and Twitter in 2006 had a significant affect in changing the Asian representation in the media:

- YouTube was a vehicle for Asian creators to represent themselves accurately--today, we see these influencers affect the mainstream, such as Michelle Phan, Wong Fu Productions, and Lilly Singh who was recently named to host a Late Night Show on NBC

- Twitter and social media helped the Asian community affect representation in massive ways--from affecting movie box office results of whitewashed films, to influencing reviews, to starting effective social campaigns such as #StarringJohnCho and ensuring a #GoldOpen for Crazy Rich Asians in 2018

Complementary to my session, Michelle Sugihara, Executive Director of CAPE moderated a panel on “Youth Audience and Entertainment – How to Resonate with The Next Generation of Cultural Influencers” with Director/Producer of Faithful and Jane and Emma, Jenn Lee Smith; COO at China Lion Film Distribution, Robert Lundberg; and Indonesian American actor, model and stuntman, Yoshi Sudarso. The panelists discussed the landscape of content production and the changes in the last decade. The demographics of audiences has also shifted so that more than half of younger audiences are multicultural.

About the Asian American Advertising Federation (3AF) The 3AF’s mission is to advance the Asian American marketing and advertising industry for Asian American consumers through education, advocacy, promotion, and increased collaboration of all industry stakeholders including but not limited to marketers, agencies, research partners and media. Additionally, 3AF seeks to promote and encourage high standards of conduct and ethics among our members and our industry.

 

 

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Suggested Reading for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2019

Posted By Admin, Wednesday, May 29, 2019

By Hana Visaya
Advertising Project Manager
RPA


“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”
-- George R. R. Martin, "A Dance with Dragons"

As Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2019 closes, we at ThinkLA DIG would like to challenge you to read about our community and support Asian/Pacific writers throughout the remainder of the year and beyond. We’ve compiled a list of ten books to get you started.

As marketers and advertisers, we are storytellers. And as we focus in more on telling diverse stories thoughtfully, there is a risk in delivering them in ways that simply do not land. Perhaps they lack authenticity to the group we claim to represent. Worse, you end up with offensive PR nightmares. Even worse, you don’t even try. We need to do the work and introduce even more diverse narratives into our work as marketers.

To really underline the inclusion in diversity and inclusion initiatives, involve the community. And if you aren’t personally part of a community, be a true ally by appreciating rather than appropriating. We need our allies, and we need them to dig deeper into our histories, our stories, our truths. And that often means doing uncomfortable, hard work.

That means doing your research and being empathetic. It means consuming media and reading stories that will help you visualize what a specific community or individual might see and experience in this world – figuratively walking in someone else’s shoes.

From business books to fiction, non-fiction to poetry, we present 10 recommendations to get you started (or continue) your Asian Pacific story journey. Whether you prefer audio books, your tablet, or you simply want the experience a good, old-fashioned page turning, we hope you learn something. Without further ado and in no specific order:

"Asian American Dreams" by Helen Zia is a deep dive into twentieth-century, Asian American United States History. This work helps fill in gaps of our own histories within this country. It’s a great anthropological view of immigrant stories and Asian American identities as shaped by our unique histories, cultures, and struggles with racism.

Zia is a journalist and daughter of Chinese immigrants. She captures diverse stories of politics, Asian American activism, and tension between Asian groups and other minority groups. Zia centers this discourse around the Japanese internment camps during World War II. She even takes care to explore other intersections of identity, from issues of same-sex marriage and the refugee experience to adopted Asian Americans and mixed-race folks.

"Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling: Career Strategies for Asians" by Jane Hyun helps members of the community navigate the corporate ladder and reach beyond middle management. When our cultural values and upbringing do not always sync up with the corporate politics and unspoken rules of western business culture, Hyun offers insight.

"Thousand Star Hotel" by Bao Phi is a powerful collection of poetry by a Minnesota-based, Vietnamese American poet and author who has been a performance poet since 1991. This is his second printed collection of poems, which does not shy away from the rawness of racism, the immigrant refugee identity, and the life of the Asian American urban poor. You can also check out his first children’s book, A Different Pond.

"The Undisputed Greatest Writer of All Time" by Beau Sia is another fantastic collection of poetry, brought to you by a Tony Award-winning and seasoned slam poet. This book showcases work that spans nearly a decade of real-life learnings, revealing the beauty of creative growth and vulnerability. Sia was born to Chinese immigrants from the Philippines and raised in Oklahoma City. He frequently uses his voice to challenge Asian American stereotypes.

"Interpreter of Maladies" is the Pulitzer Prize-winning work of Jhumpa Lahiri (she also authored The Namesake.) Lahiri has a true gift for capturing the Indian American immigrant experience through this collection of stories. She paints pictures of that unique and painfully beautiful world immigrants live in that is not quite the motherland and not 100% American either. Lahiri’s writings will make you feel powerful emotions.

"Crazy Rich Asians" by Kevin Kwan, and the two companion books in the series (China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems) hardly need an introduction after the success of the movie last year but check it out if you need a fun vacation read. The Chinese socialites of Singapore come to life with over-the-top drama set on this breathtaking island. Your mouth will water at the richness of the food described in the famed hawker markets. And you will see this opulent world through character Rachel Chu’s Asian American eyes.

"Hawaii One Summer" is written by award-winning author, Maxine Hong Kingston, author of Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, and China Men. Kingston is a Stockton, California-born (1940), first-generation Chinese American, who also lived in the Bay Area and Hawaii, where her grandfathers worked on plantations upon first immigrating to America. Her stories are a unique blend of autobiography, fantasy and folklore: personal and honest in its’ reflection on post-WWII racism. Hawaii One Summer is a collection of 12 prose selections released in 1987.

"The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini is set in Afghanistan against a heartbreaking timeline that spans thirty years. Like many Asian stories, love and family features prominently. This unlikely tale of friendship between boys of different caste and privilege, during the end of the Afghan monarchy, and the legacy of their fathers’ influence is an emotional ride. The political, religious and ethnic tensions and the beauty of human connection despite it is inspiring and memorable.

"Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama" by Diane C. Fujino is the first biography about 1960s activist Yuri Kochiyama, a Japanese-American activist, who championed human rights after her own family’s experience of the Japanese internment camps after Pearl Harbor. Kochiyama met Malcom X in New York, where she lived after the war in the 1960s, and she got heavily involved defending the rights of Black Americans, as well as Asian Americans, Puerto Rico and political prisoners. She brought diverse communities together, particularly the African American and Asian American communities. She dedicated her life to social justice, defying so many stereotypes and gender, as well as racial norms, especially for her time.

"We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation" by Jeff Chang (writer and journalist who brought you the sociopolitical history of hip hop in Can’t Stop Won’t Stop) is a series of essays exploring more contemporary manifestations of racism such as #BlackLivesMatter and #OscarsSoWhite as well as this greater idea of diversity. He also explains the century-long history of redlining, racial separation in housing, and offers his cultural critique of resegregation in our present day, arguing that undoing its’ effects is the key to cultural and racial equity.

 

Tags:  american  asian  diversity  empowerment  inclusion  islander  pacific 

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The Joy of Not Knowing It All

Posted By Admin, Tuesday, May 28, 2019

By Dave Scott
Strategic Creative Director
LO:LA

In the 2005 film War Of The Worlds, Tom Cruise’s character, Ray, is being a bit of a jerk to his estranged son, Robbie, who is being a jerk right back. In an effort to bond, Ray decides to take his son and daughter outside to throw a baseball around in the backyard.

 

During their conversation, Ray says to his son, “Haven’t you heard? Between me and my brother, we know everything.”
Ray’s daughter then asks, “What’s the capital of Australia?”
Ray says, “That’s one my brother knows”.

Intelligent Collaboration.


There’s a simple genius at the heart of that joke: you don’t have to know everything.

With the rapid rate of change of technology and with it, the constant shape shifting of social media and influencers, there’s increasing pressure to be something of an expert in all the things, all the time. But the saying “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” cautions us all, drink deep or not at all. Of course there’s a simple alternative to having to know everything, surround yourself with people from different disciplines and different ways of thinking, and talk to them.

It takes the pressure away and allows you to focus on what you do well. At LOLA, we like to call it Intelligent Collaboration.

I’m sure everyone has an idea of what collaboration is, but I’ll tell you what it’s not. Collaboration isn’t just saying nice things about other people’s ideas while you quietly push your own agenda. Being nice while working in parallel might feel like collaboration because, in theory you’re working on the same project, but in reality you’re not building a stronger solution — you’re potentially destroying it.

Right People. Right Time.

Collaboration, like insights, should be at the heart of any project, and though it’s a liberating creative exercise, it does benefit from throwing some process around it. For instance, let’s say one of your team, has an idea for a client and brings it to you. As a group, you’d want to throw it around and ask, “Is the idea viable? Have we done it before? Is the client predisposed to this kind of thinking?”

Then you should push and prod a little, and try to poke holes to see if the idea is leaking. If it seems robust, expand on it as a group and challenge the team to think about what it might look like if it were a campaign, a Superbowl spot, an outdoor billboard, or a digital ad on Facebook a YouTube pre-roll. Do all this to figure out if the idea has legs. How big can it go and how little can it be and still make sense? You don’t want to run to the client with a pie in the sky idea that could never work in the real world.

Next, bring in your subject matter experts. Sure, you can google anything, but what you want is an expert opinion — an outside influence. Doing this doesn’t change the big idea, instead, it opens it up to other possibilities.

At this point you want to be open to following the expert’s lead into other areas. The process of collaboration let’s you adapt and evolve, and leads to a solution that you can sell with conviction, safe in the knowledge that you could actually pull this off.

"Well, duh", I hear you say, and it sounds a bit simple, a bit obvious, it’s because it is. So why aren’t we all doing it?

Well, some clients are cautious by nature and want the agency focused on the day-to-day. Fair enough, it’s their money. With that in mind, before pitching a new idea, you want to arm yourselves with the best information and make sure your argument for this brave new idea is compelling. We do this by collaborating from the start. The more we collaborate, the better we can ballpark what the investment will need to be and show what the results could be.

Take the risk away and it becomes a return on ideas, not just a return on investment.

Leave Your Ego At The Door.

Just remember, true intelligent collaboration isn’t just about outside opinions; everyone has an opinion, some more helpful than others. However true collaboration means you’re going to have skin in the game. Don’t swoop in at the 11th hour with information the team could’ve used three days ago. Get involved. Run the risk of your idea not getting up. And be ok with that. Be part of building something you couldn’t have thought up by yourself. You might even impress yourself.

Realize that there are a million jobs out there that only require effort from the neck down. No matter what your role in this industry, you’re in an industry that actually wants you to think and rewards you for doing it well. Think about it, you’re solving problems — with your brain! That’s rad. You’re making things that never existed before. Why would you not collaborate? Seriously! The odds of getting to something truly great are stacked in your favour if you have smart people to bounce ideas off of. Anything I’ve ever been awarded for came as a result of working with a team of brilliant collaborators.

Management and creatives alike need to recognize the benefits of collaborating for the sake of their own careers. Only then will they become more valuable in an industry that pays them to think and create. I say, collaborate or die. Ultimately, as creative problem solvers, “the more, the better, and the different” we can think, the more successful we will all be.

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