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Harnessing the Power of MarTech

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Harnessing The Power Of MarTech

The convergence of advertising and marketing technologies represents an incredible opportunity for those who understand how to manage them. This event helped attendees navigate the complexities, technologies, and organizational challenges with best practices and case studies to harness the power of MarTech.


  • Insight into building and optimizing your MarTech toolbox;
  • Discovering cutting-edge, innovative customer experiences; and
  • Learning strategies for successfully implementing key technology solutions.

Major thanks to supporting sponsor AdTheorent, exhibit sponsor Centro, and pitch sponsors Gimbal, the Trade Desk, and Adelphic.

Please read our detailed recap below.   




Supporting Sponsor

Exhibit Sponsor

Pitch Sponsor


Event Recap

by Pranav Pandit

On a crisp L.A. afternoon, the Doubletree Hotel in Culver City hosted some of the best and brightest minds in the world of Marketing Technology, or as one moderator proclaimed… ”cough, nerds”. Zingers aside, the stage was set for a deep conversation about navigating the complexities, technologies, and organizational challenges of MarTech and how to harness its power.

The event was kicked off by ThinkLA Co-President Tim Hand who welcomed the group. Tim handed off the mic to the event co-chairs Kim Brown Robinson and Paul Santello for opening remarks. They explained the focus of the event: a robust discussion on the convergence of advertising and marketing technologies representing an incredible opportunity for those who understand how to manage them. Hopefully, the audience would walk away gaining insight into building and optimizing their MarTech toolbox, discovering cutting-edge innovative customer experiences, and learning strategies for successfully implementing key technology solutions. And even if none of that happened, there was a raffle and cocktail reception awaiting those who made it all the way through. 

The opening keynote speakers were Patrick Dolan, IAB President and Anna Bager, EVP Industry Initiatives. They set the stage with several pieces of data from the most recent IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report. TL;DR: there’s growth, growth and more growth.

Overall, digital continues to grow with double digit increases in areas like social media and the emergence of audio as a separate category. (Alexa is listening… always.) And it’s not just the usual goliaths driving this upward trend: direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands ditch the traditional ways of thinking through buying efficiencies and an embrace of MarTech, giving the category leaders fits. But the waters are choppy for everyone as customer journeys get more complex every day and regulations such as GDPR and CCPA make companies finally be nice to their lawyers. The pi
èce de résistance of the presentation was the often-seen and crowded slide, eliciting gasps from the audience and a cross-eyed author of this recap.

Notable quote: “DTC brands are causing the big guys death by a thousand paper cuts”.

The data portion of the day was kicked off with a commercial break by one of the event’s wonderful sponsors, Matt Russo from Gimbal.

Shailley Singh from the IAB Tech Lab gave the audience a brief description of the great work his group does including developing standards, software and services for the industry. He then jumped into moderator mode with Matt Mendez from Oracle Data Cloud and Josh Peters from BuzzFeed on the panel. After some debate and definition of first-party vs. second-party vs. third-party data, the panel discussed the impact of GDPR and CCPA regulations. Everyone agreed that compliance isn’t just following the rules but a true embrace of the collection and usage of data from a consumer protection standpoint.

Notable quote: “One man’s first-party data is another man’s third-party data”

Matthew Thornton from Industry Index gave one of the more eye-opening and straightforward presentations of the day regarding Data Leakage. Through their research, it was noted that many of the top websites had a lot of first-party technology embedded on their site. In general, technology isn’t so bad, but with so much of it implemented, the result is a confused web team and ultimately, data leakage.

Notable quote: “It’s not a drip, it’s a deluge”.

The targeting portion of the day featured a panel led by Logan Gufstason of AdTheorent (another amazing sponsor of the event) joined by Karl Meyer of Samsung, Krista Thomas of VideoAmp, and Jason Zollan of Oath. The level of honesty and sharing of opinions was evident right off the bat as the panel agreed that there are pros and cons to some of the industry’s tried and true audience measurement/targeting tools. Nielsen was dubbed a “frenemy” because of its benefit of standardization across the industry but drawbacks due to its continued use of a panel-based methodology. However, a thoughtful approach to mixing and matching data could help solve the use of seemingly disparate targeting tools. That approach is especially helpful in areas like OTT and audio targeting as they lag behind desktop and mobile in targeting advances.

Notable quote: “Putting all your eggs in one basket…or betting on one horse…is probably not the way to go”.

After a small break to check out our exhibit sponsor Centro’s table in the foyer, bug agency people about RFPs, and grab a cookie or three, we got right back into the action.

Two more gracious sponsors, Lorenzo Moreno of the Trade Desk and Jeff Harp of Adelphic kept the momentum to start the ACTIVATION portion of the agenda.

Dubstep music and sharp wit led the way for the next panel. A few glow sticks and Red Bulls could have started a full-on dance party, but the panel, comprised of moderator Leisha Bereson of Canvas, Kenneth Hurta of Brandfolder, PJ Miele of Amobee, and Matt Schmidt of SpotX, dove into topics such as who owns data and how is it actioned upon. The overwhelming consensus was: It takes collaboration and a focus on the end goal. In any given project, groups can get overprotective about deal points and it creates a lack of transparency and forms roadblocks. And then there’s specs. What is often a pain point given the unbalanced attention to targeting over creative could be so DAM easy through the use of a Digital Asset Manager. And finally, for the first time the entire day, someone mentioned “blockchain”. #tooklongenough.

Notable Quote: “Not having a smart, tech savvy team is like having a garage full of cars and no one knows how to drive” - Ian Wilson of Heineken (he wasn’t there but was quoted)

Rounding out the Activation section was an informative and resource-rich presentation from Kerry Bianchi of Visto diving into omnichannel programmatic. FYI, “multi” means more than one, “omni” means all places. Kerry explained that the trend of bringing programmatic activity in-house continues, but the four things to consider when making that decision are: 1) A thorough cost benefit analysis, 2) Getting your data house in order, 3) Be confident in the legal/operations side of the house, 4) Not underestimating or skimping on talent…getting it and keeping it.

Notable quote: “A ‘one-stop-shop’ probably isn’t feasible or even realistic”

We entered into the final topic of the day, analytics, with a mention of The Terminator and how AI isn’t scary technology that’ll take over the world. That’s just what they want us to think…

It was the presentation from Anya Ware of IBM Watson that got people comfortable with terms like Augmented Intelligence and Natural Language Processing. Her discussion started with four common challenges associated with data: 1) Unused data or data that isn’t actionable, 2) Lack of transparency, 3) Walled gardens and the scarcity of data coming out of them, 4) An explosion of tools, seemingly useful but creating confusion. To solve for these challenges, IBM implements AI that understands structured and unstructured data, uses reasoning that can form hypotheses, learns and develops skills and interacts using natural language processing. Ok, so maybe Skynet is real, guys. Kidding…but…we were introduced to Lucy, IBM Watson’s AI powered Marketing Assistant (and also the name of Watson’s daughter in real life #truestory). Lucy can be used for data aggregation and mining, sentiment analysis and personalization, which via several case study examples was proven to save organizations hundreds of hours driving smarter, more efficient use of data.

Notable quote: “90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years”

(You would think at this point there would be tumbleweeds in the room given it was late afternoon and we’d been talking about technology all day, but most of the audience was still there. It was impressive and a testament to the quality programming developed by the committee and speakers)

The audience was treated to lovely closing remarks in the form of a fireside chat with Sharon Harris of Deloitte and Jason Lee of Horizon. After Sharon revealed the winner of the day’s Best Moustache as Josh Peters from BuzzFeed, she summed up the day quite thoroughly yet succinctly. I won’t summarize her summary because, well, I just did that for you but needless to say it was all-encompassing. When asked for some words of wisdom about an approach to data strategy, Jason got his mic skills in order and offered six key tidbits: 1) Adapt your data conversation because the landscape is constantly evolving, 2) Simplify and identify your “north star” or end goal, 3) Identify and prioritize roles and responsibilities, 4) Establish a roadmap to that end goal, 5) Establish data governance, 6) Have a holistic approach. Then Jason tried to throw out something about blockchain but that cat was already out of the bag. He did however leave us with:

Notable quote: “Data. It’s important”

The closing keynote was skillfully delivered by Nichola Perrigo of RPA. The main points of her presentation were quite candid: Advice about data hygiene, a mention of Forrester’s Zero Party Data and the need for constant evaluation were given, but the importance of trust and attention to people were areas relatively unexplored by the other speakers. It was a human ending to an otherwise technology heavy day.

Notable quote: “There’s elegance in simplicity”.

And with that, an afternoon filled with acronyms and talk of technology ended with hors d’oeuvres, vodka sodas and the mutual exchange of rectangular, medium weight card stock with contact info… and a further appreciation of the power of MarTech.

Pranav Pandit is a ThinkLA event committee member and recent transplant from Chicago. He’s a free agent looking for the right gig utilizing his 19+ years in the advertising/marketing business.

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How to Love What You Do More

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Updated: Monday, November 26, 2018

by Chelsea Szabo and Cecilia Gorman

Are you engaged at work?

It’s an important question because, according to Gallup, engaged employees are more productive, collaborative, positive and impactful to a company’s bottom line.
To help you answer this question, we’ve provided 10 questions below. Answer each one with a yes or a no, specific to your experiences in the workplace.

  • Do you smile often?
  • Do you enjoy your job?
  • Do you check your posture throughout the day and is it generally good?
  • Have you said, "How can I help you?" to anyone recently?
  • Do you feel connected to your organization’s goals?
  • Do you proactively solve problems?
  • Would you rate your average energy level as medium to high?
  • Do you find meaning in the work you do?
  • Do you enjoy the people you work with?

If you answered "Yes" to a majority of the questions above, most likely you’re pretty engaged at work. Congrats! If you answered mostly "No", you’re not alone: only a third of America’s workforce is engaged, per Gallup. It’s important if you aren’t engaged to consider what changes you can make to increase your engagement level. Here’s why -

Potential Dangers of Disengagement At Work

  • Stunted career. You stop learning and growing in your role which limits career advancement.
  • Get stuck in negativity and it spreads. You enter a world of negativity, seeing only problems which can pull-down colleagues around you.
  • Case of the Mondays. You feel like you’re just getting through each day and lose enthusiasm to go into work. 
  • Over-indulge. You’ll eat when you’re not hungry or drink excess caffeine to fill the void.

Here’s what you can do -

Ways to Enhance Your Engagement Level at Work

  • Use your talents. Make a list of your top 5 talents and find ways to bring each of them into your workweek.  
  • Make rejuvenation mandatory. Getting sleep, eating properly and doing some kind of exercise are not luxuries, they are mandatories. When you’re physically charged you naturally more engaged.
  • Identify what you love. Discover three things you most enjoy about your job. For instance: maybe you like collaborating with others or being creative or using your analytical mind. Following, find ways to practice those things daily.
  • Enter every room with a smile and strong stature. Use crossing a meeting room threshold as a trigger to remind you to exude happiness and confidence (bonus: even if you don't feel happy or confident, using a power pose and "acting" happy helps release the hormones that can jump-start your engagement).

Thoughts to consider:

1. Are you medium to highly engaged at work? If not, what is getting in your way?
2. What situations or people cause you to feel engaged? Which ones drive you to feel disengaged?
3. What are three things you can do next week to enhance your daily level of engagement in the office?

Are you a woman interested in bringing further engagement into your life or career advancement? Check out Empowershipa one-year, remote-access learning and development program that helps women thrive by building leadership competencies from the inside out. ThinkLA members who enroll five or more women into Empowership receive a 15% discount

Sign up here:

Chelsea Szabo and Cecilia Gorman are the co-founders of Empowership.

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Global Wednesdays November!

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, November 13, 2018
It's big (ad) world, but we aim to make it feel even smaller by highlighting inventive, global ads, monthly, that break the mold from the mundane handpicked by ThinkLA Board Member and Award-Winning Creative, Luis Camano. To capture that global spirit, we will feature inspiration from outside of the U.S.



A very timely activation for this Veteran’s Day, by the Belgium Office of Tourism.


"We are now open 24/7", said McDonalds in Ecuador. And to get the word out they took a very innovative, yet low-tech approach.

Tesco in Malaysia created a brilliant (in its simplicity) incentive for shoppers to re-use plastic bags. The effort had phenomenal results for the retailer as well as for the environment. Tesco continues to lead the way in retail activations.

Tags:  #Thinkla  #thinkMembers  Creatives  Global Ads  Global Wednesday 

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Jillian Ezra, CEO, Ezra Productions

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 31, 2018

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?
I actually got started by playing around with iMovie on the weekends to keep myself from losing my mind while I was working 60- to 80-hour weeks in finance in New York. I realized that there was tremendous storytelling power in marrying visuals with music, and creating videos made me come alive. This was in 2011, right around the time branded content was emerging (anyone remember Casey Neistat’s “Make it Count”?) and I couldn’t get enough of it. I wanted a piece of it. It was also around the time the Canon 5D and Final Cut X came out, so I had the tools to pursue this new hobby without significant investment.

I took my business, marketing and PR background from my time in finance and luxury goods and started Ezra Productions shorty after that. I started making Day-in-the-life videos and Family Legacy videos for families, and somehow I was able to convince some small businesses to let me make videos for them. The process was so thoroughly enjoyable and I felt like I was really contributing to the businesses, so I kept working and learning and getting bigger clients.

Ezra Productions has grown into a boutique video production agency with offices in Los Angeles and New York and a roster of highly talented and diverse creatives who help us service clients like Lowes, JCPenney, La Perla, Umami Burger, and The Agency.

What has been an important, perhaps the most important, lesson you’ve learned in your career so far?
The most important lesson I've learned is that I’ll never have everything “figured out.” Nobody does. Life will unfold as it does and the more I focus on pursuing happiness, riding the waves, and making the world a better place rather than focusing on all of the “should,” the better life will be.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?
I try to remind myself how lucky I am to tell stories for a living. I used to be a cog in a corporate wheel making rich people and companies richer. Now, I have the ability to really make a difference in people’s lives and help impact- and purpose-driven companies grow. I have to constantly re-visit my bigger vision, which is to tell stories that matter while improving businesses and the world, and to help women, minorities, and young people thrive in the production industry. Another thing that truly motivates me is discovering new creatives. Looking at great creative work, whether it is cinematography or graphic design, makes me come alive.

What excites you most about this industry?
Technology is evolving so quickly and becoming so inexpensive, and this is really lowering the barriers to entry and democratizing the creative field. If it weren’t for the inventions of the Canon 5D, iMovie, and YouTube, I would still be working in finance. I’m really excited to see the influx of talent, especially previously marginalized talent, and how they use new technology and their unique experiences to tell stories, reach new audiences, and change the world.

Photos: Don Lupo Photography

Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?
I think advertisers will be able to map our preferences and personalities so well that individualized content will be even more hyper-targeted to carefully segmented audiences. OTT platforms will continue to outperform broadcast as more people households cut their cords. Smart brands have started to lead with purpose and connect with their core customers authentically, and I think more brands will follow that lead. I can’t wait to see the measurable positive impact brands make on the world over the next few years.

What advice do you have for emerging professionals who are beginning their careers, particularly women?
Women: seek support from other women. We will be your champions.

What’s been one of your favorite ThinkLA memories?

One of my favorite moments was during the Math for Agencies workshop hosted by Bill Rosenthal. He asked the audience the most important word you can use when negotiating pricing with clients. The answer was “No.” It’s that simple!

Any closing thoughts for the ThinkLA community?
I’m so grateful to have found a community of likeminded people who are so kind and willing to help one another. If you’re reading this and I can do anything to help you, please drop me a line.


Jillian Ezra is CEO of Ezra Productions.

Tags:  #EzraProductions  #JillianEzra  #Profile  #thinkMembers  Ad Club  She Suite  Women in Advertising 

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ELC LIVE!: Path To The She Suite Recap

Posted By Don Lupo, Monday, October 29, 2018

Written by Jessica McEwan, Copywriter at RPA

Photos: Linda Schwab

It was already dark outside when I arrived at ELC’s “Path to the She Suite” event, but inside Zambezi it was warm and bright. Women (and a few men) mingled together, chatting and taking pictures with a lightbox that said, “Welcome, Lady Bosses!”

Claire Thompson, Associate Director of Brand Connections at VICE Media was our moderator for the evening, introducing us to our panel of:

  • Sarah Ceglarski, Partner and CMO at Omelet
  • Jiah Choi, Partner and CEO at Anomaly
  • Jean Freeman, Principal and CEO at Zambezi
  • Sheila Marmon, Founder and CEO of Mirror Digital
  • Yumi Prentice, President and Managing Partner at David&Goliath

With so much success in the room, the first question focused, naturally, on failure. What had the panelists learned from it? Sheila Marmon urged us to remember that being laid off is not the end of the world, but it is important to always be aware of what is happening in your industry and be mindful of when it might be time to make a move. Jiah Choi recalled a time when she accepted a new job and was unhappy for months, but now feels it prepared her for her current role. Jean Freeman added that failure needs to be seen as part of the process, and that if you are just chugging along smoothly, you aren’t growing and learning from experience.

All of the women spoke about the importance of mentorship and how vital it is to learn from the experience of others. Sheila remarked that in addition to having strong mentorship, it’s important to really take a look at the power structures of the organization you are in. “It is important to position yourself in places where someone will hand you the baton.” Sarah Ceglarski pointed out that “your enemies are your greatest teachers, and as a leader not only do you need to be open to discourse and uncomfortable discussions, you need to lead those conversations.”

When asked what accomplishments they were proud of, Yumi Prentice shared that she is very proud that David&Goliath is a signatory to Times Up Advertising, and that they were promoting mental health by adding a mental-health day to their PTO package. Jean lamented that there is too much talk about diversity and not enough action, reminding us that “leading by example means holding yourself accountable.” She put that into practice by updating Zambezi’s benefits package to be more family-friendly.

The final panel question of the evening: “What’s a must-do in life?”

“Floss. And lead with compassion and integrity. If you don’t, the cost is too great to yourself.”
 – Yumi Prentice

“Be an agent for your own success. Don’t wait for someone to hand you that next opportunity. If you see a gap in your organization, fill it. Become an asset.” – Sheila Marmon

“Everyone should experience a U.S. National Park at some point in their life. Get outside and away from technology. Unplug.” – Jean Freeman

“Values are not values until they cost you something. Know what is sacred to you and protect it.” – Jiah Choi

“You must be empathetic. That’s more important than what you can learn in school. It’s how you connect and understand who you are talking to.” – Sarah Ceglarski

From there, Claire opened the panel up to Q&A. A small-business owner was having a hard time letting go of doing to focus on leading and wanted advice how to better manage that. Jean suggested she be honest with herself. If you’ve been in the same position for years and haven’t let go, do you really want to? Jiah remarked, “Neither you nor your business will grow if you are just doing.” Sheila suggested she bring on someone better than herself at the doing, so that she would feel comfortable handing off responsibility.

After a few more questions, Claire said there was time for one more. I raised my hand. Throughout the panel discussion, my eye had been wandering to the lightbox sign I mentioned earlier. I wondered, how did the women feel about this term, “Lady Boss?” Yumi chimed in first, saying she respected it and thought it had its place, and that there is an underscore to saying we are bosses who don’t fit the normal mold. Jean said she was looking forward to the rising of Gen Z, who don’t look to make everything so male or female. Jiah said, “I respect it, but I hate it. But I think that’s where we are. I’m looking forward to the day that we aren’t.” Perhaps the most empowering response, though, came from Sheila. “Being a lady boss doesn’t keep me from being a boss.”

Key Takeaways:

“Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder.” – Sheryl Sandberg

“There is no work/life balance, there’s only work/life integration. You just have to enjoy what you do. The only way you can spend this much time working is if you like it.” – Jiah Choi

“Be open to discourse and uncomfortable conversations. That is part of your job. If you want to be a leader, you have to lead those conversations. If you have an issue with someone, you have to talk to them and sit them down and say, ‘I have an issue with you.’ That is such a powerful thing that I’ve only recently learned to do. But don’t assume malice every time. Pull back your immediate emotional reaction.” – Sarah Ceglarski

“People in successful leadership positions are curious and always looking to grow. Warren Buffet spends half his day reading.” – Jean Freeman

“Remember that when you get to where you are going, the people you need to mentor may not look like you or have the same background.” – Sheila Marmon

“There are incremental things you can do to promote diversity and equality. It doesn’t always have to mean joining a huge movement.” – Yumi Prentice


Jessica McEwan is a copywriter at RPA and an instructor for The Book Shop School for Ads.

Tags:  #ThinkELC  #thinkStars  C Level Women  ELC Live!  Membership  professional development  She Suite  Women at Work  Women in Advertising 

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Global Wednesdays October!

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 10, 2018
It's big (ad) world, but we aim to make it feel even smaller by highlighting inventive, global ads, monthly, that break the mold from the mundane handpicked by ThinkLA Board Member and Award-Winning Creative, Luis Camano. To capture that global spirit, we will feature inspiration from outside of the U.S.



For most Spaniards, a nostalgia trip back to childhood. A forgotten brand and a sampling program that truly connects with its desired target.

Virgin, Australia
Just another promo giveaway. A brand content master class from Virgin Australia.

20 seconds. This is what it takes to wash your hands properly. For kids, 20 seconds is an eternity. Orange Clean, a brand of hand lotions/soaps in China, found an engaging solution.

Tags:  #thinkLA  #thinkMembers  Creatives  Global Wednesday  Member News 

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Global Wednesdays September!

Posted By Web Admin, Tuesday, September 11, 2018
It's big (ad) world, but we aim to make it feel even smaller by highlighting inventive, global ads, monthly, that break the mold from the mundane handpicked by ThinkLA Board Member and Award-Winning Creative, Luis Camano. To capture that global spirit, we will feature inspiration from outside of the U.S.



If you don’t already know it, Lego Technic let’s you build things for real. How about a drivable Bugatti? Yup!
Great activation of a partnership. And very engaging content.


Omo/Unilever in South Africa has found the formula to separate kids from their screens. To the delight of parents everywhere.


Carlsberg/Denmark shows us the Danish way of living in a mini documentary series. And what people will do for a beer.



Tags:  #thinkLA  Creatives  Curiosity  Global Wednesday  Global Wednesdays  Member News  ThinkLA Members  ThinkMembers 

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Nick Platt, Founder and CEO, LO:LA

Posted By Don Lupo, Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2018

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?
I started in advertising at the age of 19 in London, when I left school all I wanted to do was draw. I wanted to find a job that allowed me to make a living out of my passion, and I was lucky enough to do so. Over the last 30 years, I worked my way up from intern, to Executive Creative Director, to Agency owner. All that time it’s been about connecting with people, creating work that truly resonates with people. Our mantra at LO:LA is that everything is “Made with Love” and I’m proud to say that that resonates in everything I’ve done and that we do.

What has been an important, perhaps the most important, lesson you’ve learned in your career so far?
Being open and transparent about how you feel, about the work or a situation or a problem we have to solve for. Being myself and being honest have been great guides for developing more interesting and effective solutions. 

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?
I so love making great work. The actual process and craft of creation are things I have always loved, and I really believe that the newness of getting a new challenge and then creating to work to meet that challenge keeps me constantly motivated – it never gets old, you know? After all, this job beats working for a living.

What excites you most about this industry?
So many things! Off the top of my head, I’d say the convergence of technology with the immediacy of access to information, storytelling, the changing role of brands in people’s lives... are all exciting. Navigating this always-evolving industry for our clients is more exciting than ever!

Photos: Don Lupo Photography


Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?
In advertising, we’re all creatively driven, and the industry continues to evolve as technology and how we interact with each other changes, so with so many variables, I don’t think I can make an accurate prediction on where advertising will be in fiveyears.

But what I’d like to see, and what we’re trying to accomplish at LO:LA, is making sure that the work serves our clients and the people that they’re trying to reach in a more human way. We’ve stopped talking at each other and have finally started talking to each other. I’d really like to champion the humanness of our industry and see where that goes. 

What advice do you have for emerging professionals just starting in advertising?
Be a sponge. Soak in, and soak up, different types of media to see how things work. Be tenacious, be true to yourself and never give up.

What’s been one of your favorite ThinkLA memories?

Winning a ThinkLA creative award for our creative work on the Toyota Camry.

Any closing thoughts for the ThinkLA community?
It’s an honor to be part of this community. I look forward to learning, collaborating and contributing to the creative industry. Together we are stronger. Cheers.


Nick Platt is Founder and CEO of LO:LA.

Tags:  #ThinkMembers #NickPlatt #LOLA #Profile 

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Lisa Tanner, SVP, Group Account Director, RPA

Posted By ThinkLA, Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2018

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

I actually lucked into the business! I didn’t really know much about advertising or the different departments, and I had a friend of a friend who worked at GSD&M in Austin TX, which is where I moved after I graduated college in Boulder, CO. I accepted an unpaid internship in account management at the agency, and a few weeks in someone unexpectedly quit and they needed someone right away. No better description of “being in the right place at the right time”! From there, I have worked in both account management and new business and both suit my personality. I’ve worked for mostly big agencies in my career on brands like Land Rover, AT&T, GM, DIRECTV, US Olympic Committee, YMCA, Marriott, and AmEx, to name a few. I currently run the Farmers Insurance account, so I certainly can say I lucked into the right department… and career!

What has been an important, perhaps the most important, lesson you’ve learned in your career so far?

Don’t compare yourself to others.
That’s probably what I think about most now that I am more senior in my career. It was a hard and long lesson to learn, and I try to teach that to people around me often. We are all on our own career path, and sometimes things don’t happen the same way for everyone; and that’s okay. Trusting you are on your own, right path allows you to learn so much more about yourself, your workstyle, the industry, your clients.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?

What keeps me motivated is continuing to be challenged on a daily basis: challenged by my peers, by growing my awesome team, by constantly being hungry to learn more about advertising, what makes great creative work, consumer behavior, media consumption, etc. When I ever stop being challenged or rewarded at the end of each day is when I need to start looking for a new job. I’ve been doing it a while and that hasn’t happened too many times! It’s also not too bad to win a few awards and have your ad campaign become part of pop culture.

What excites you most about this industry?

Where to begin? It’s exciting to see how the agency model has shifted since I started my career and learn how best I can adapt to it and still be current. It’s exciting to see ideas that don’t cost a lot or have to air during the Super Bowl to get traction and acclaim, like Fearless Girl. It’s exciting that the discussion about woman executive leaders is finally happening and that I am in a position to participate and hopefully make a difference. It’s exciting to see what impact advertising really can and does have on our client’s business in real time based on analytics and technology. It’s an exciting time for this . industry, and I am happy to be along for the ride.



Photos: Don Lupo Photography


Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?

It’s a complex question and one I think we will all be surprised to watch. TV is not going away, Super Bowl TV ads won’t be the end-all be-all, and we will continue to be geo-targeted for all the habits we exhibit online or things we say to one another. Clients will look to their agencies more as partners and less as vendors, and the full-service agency models will have to turn a corner to be more nimble and cost-effective as content continues to be king. Having everything in one office seems to be the way things are leaning again, which makes such a big difference to get great work and efficiencies all in one place.

What advice do you have for female ad professionals who are beginning their careers?

Have a voice early in your career and establish yourself as a leader and someone who deserves a seat at the table. Know what you are worth and ask for it. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

What’s been one of your favorite ThinkLA memories?

The first year I started with ThinkLA, I taught an Account Management 101 class and it was so rewarding to feel like I was making a difference to someone starting out in their career. The feedback I got was so positive, it only confirmed that mentoring and helping people around me grow, learn, and move up is one of the best things about my job. But I’m not gonna lie: the Award Show Gala after-parties never disappoint!

Any closing thoughts for the ThinkLA community?

For L.A. to continue the momentum we have as a creative hub of the world, we need to keep taking it to the next level and pushing the envelope. There is so much talent and energy in the community right now; I want to make sure people participate and have a voice in keeping us at the top of the game.


Lisa Tanner is SVP, Group Account Director at RPA and serves on the ThinkLA IDEA Council.

Tags:  #thinkmembers  Ad Club  Advanced TV  Idea  LA advertising  samsung ads  think members  thinkla idea council 

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Kyle Carpenter, Senior Sales Executive at Samsung Ads

Posted By Don Lupo, Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2018

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

It’s almost as if I was drawn to digital advertising before I ever knew that it was a possible career path. When I was in high school, I had the opportunity to spend a week shadowing Colin Drummond at AKQA in San Francisco. It was my first exposure to agency life, and while I wasn’t thinking about the future at the time, it planted a seed that grew years later.

Flash forward eight years, I’m working at NBCUniversal, in a job without growth, and looking to find a career path. A friend (Travis Volk) invited me to a couple of ThinkLA events, and I was hooked. While I didn’t know what anyone did, I knew these were the people I wanted to work with. It was “SnowJam” that sealed the deal. I can’t think of a better way to recruit young/eager minds than a weekend trip to Mammoth that passes as “work”.

I was fortunate enough to fall in with a group of people who were willing to mentor me through the process and help me find my first job in digital ad sales. A year later, I had a sales role at a mobile start-up and was on my way to Mammoth for “SnowJam” (#lifegoals). Since joining the industry, I’ve grown alongside the shifting consumer behavior. I was selling mobile (ChaCha) before the application won the war against mobile web. Then I joined a leading network (Conversant) to learn the power of audience buy and pivot tables. There are few things more calming then a good pivot table.

With the rise of programmatic and the increasing demand for video, I made my way to a video DSP (BrightRoll) to learn how to apply data to the ever-elusive branding goals. A little industry reshuffle (BrightRoll gets acquired by Yahoo… Yahoo gets acquired by Verizon), and I knew it was time to follow the consumer once again. Now focusing on Advanced TV at Samsung, the same things that initially drew me to digital advertising stand true.

What has been an important, perhaps the most important, lesson you’ve learned in your career so far?

The most important lessons I’ve learned in my career are to never to stop learning and that everything is easier with friends. I wouldn’t have made it this far without mentors to guide me along the way. I’ve been fortunate to have some fantastic managers that showed me tangible and intangible skills about advertising, people, and life. I guess I would call it networking now, but early in my career I was just making friends. The positive relationships I’ve built along the way make the hard days bearable, the struggle manageable and reminds me that failure is human. I’ve learned the importance of cultivating positive relationships at every opportunity and in many cases, the ability to work with others is more important than the work we do.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?

I believe that energy comes from energy and the energy you put in comes back with interest. If I can convince myself to wake up early and jump into the freezing ocean to surf, everything else seems more relaxed in comparison. While I have to put in a tremendous amount of energy to get myself going, the energy comes back in spades. I find that to be true in all areas of life, whether it’s a hobby, task, challenge, or relationship.


What excites you most about this industry?

Finding the connection between technology and emotion is what excites me the most about our industry. It tickles both sides of my brain in fun ways. I get to understand how to use technology to facilitate a conversation between a brand and its customers. No matter how deep the ad tech rabbit hole goes, the human element is at its core. We can leverage predictive algorithms and attention-grabbing placement, but decisions will always be the customers. 

I imagine crawling into the customers' mind to experience a campaign through their eyes to see how it feels: is there enough context to grasp its message, is it annoying, or helpful? I try to take a step back to see the whole picture from brands objective to the emotional state of a consumer and then connect the two. Maybe it’s all part of being a middle child that wants help translate one sibling’s intentions in a way the other can understand.  



Photos: Don Lupo Photography


Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?

 Advertising is a facilitated dialog between a brand and their customers. I believe the tools we use to mediate the conversations will allow for more productive interactions with less. Through personalization, we can convey more. I think commercials will be shorter and consumers will see fewer of them. With less clutter and more impactful ads, we can reduce the frequency while maintaining recall. Instead of a lecture where an ad campaign hammers a message home through frequency, it will be a conversation. Consumers will drive the interaction as much as the brand, and the campaign will adjust as needed. While I believe this is the direction we're heading in, there are some technical and business hurdles we need to overcome.

Going through some old boxes recently, I found a notebook from a Mass Communications course I took during my senior year in college. On the third page, with little context, I wrote: “Someday TV and the internet will be the same thing.” While I wrote that line over 10 years ago, I think it will finally happen within the next five. The statement is simple, but the ramifications are far from it, and it will be fun to see how disruptions change the rules.

What advice do you have for young ad professionals who are beginning their careers?

Surround yourself with people who motivate you and cultivate friendships. You will grow together and share the things you learn along the way. It makes ThinkLA events a heck of a lot more fun, and you never know who you will be working for in the future. Maintain enough humility to ask questions and enough confidence to fail. 

What’s been one of your favorite ThinkLA memories?

Hands down, the first Advanced TV Breakfast is my most meaningful ThinkLA memory. Taking the event from idea to reality was downright scary, and the day of the breakfast was emotional. From the speaker to the guests, seeing everyone come together to debate and learn as a community reminded me why I love this industry.

Any closing thoughts for the ThinkLA community?

I firmly believe that rising tides lift all ships. When we celebrate each other’s success and push for innovation, we raise the community as a whole. I challenge each of you to put energy into the betterment of our little harbor; you might be surprised by what you get back.


Kyle Carpenter is Senior Sales Executive at Samsung Ads and a member of the ThinkLA IDEA Council.

Tags:  #ThinkMembers  Ad Club  Advanced TV  Idea  LA advertising  samsung ads  thinkla idea council 

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