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Member Spotlight: Samantha Hawkins, Supervisor, Community Management, RPA

Posted By Emily Hope, Monday, March 26, 2018

"I was lucky enough to be Sam’s Mentor through ThinkLA’s Mentorship program and I fell in love with her immediately; she is so powerful, smart, kind, dynamic, understanding, AMAZING. Her desire to grow and learn from everyone around her is infectious – to progress not just for progression’s sake, but to expand and learn about everything around her. I so value our time together and our friendship moving forward!" - Leisha Bereson, VP, Group Director, Programmatic, Canvas Worldwide 

 


Photos: Don Lupo Photography

 

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

I was a Business Marketing major in college, I was active in extracurriculars like sports, but also within the business department. Because I did two sports year-round, I didn’t have a lot of time to get real-world experience with internships until around my senior year. So I supplemented my course work with things like clubs, organizing local business owner speaking events, competing on the business presentations team, etc.

I eventually did get an internship where I was the Public Relations and Marketing intern for a fashion brand that was new to the West Coast and was trying to get more awareness of its denim line. I did things like compile press clippings from magazines, ship samples to Nylon and TeenVogue for their photoshoots, reach out to local bloggers for events we hosted. It was a lot of fun that was formative for me early on.

Then I got into my first real corporate job in Orange County in the automotive industry. I knew nothing about cars but Kelley Blue Book took me in as a Public Relations Coordinator. It was a temp position that eventually lead to a full-time role as a Marketing Coordinator. From there, I worked my way through the lower ranks of Marketing Specialists and then Associate Marketing Manager.

I learned a lot during those years, wearing a lot of hats in maintaining my team’s media and production budgets, learning to write effective briefs, managing our social media community and the content development process. I also learned a lot working with our media and creative agencies. I loved that the people were authentic, personable but had so much expertise in their fields.

I decided it was time for me to join the agency side so that I could learn from these amazing experts by working with them, and here I am at RPA!

 

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

I’m motivated by learning, growing, and helping others learn and grow. We should never lose a student mentality; we should always be learning. And at the same time, if we can each teach one another, we learn even more ourselves and we share that knowledge to help others grow. Let's elevate one another.

What excites you most about this industry?

The fast pace and changing landscapes that always keep me on my toes. I love challenges and collaboration, so this is a great industry for that!

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

As the content bubble begins to burst, we’ll leave the days of viral video, click bait, and surface-level content that is stimulating but not valuable. The pendulum is swinging toward advertising and marketing that is both valuable in content -- what that content contributes to the daily lives of people -- and also that puts the values of people and brands front and center: humanitarian values, societal values, equality, etc.

Authenticity, transparency, and equality take center stage. I also think we’ll see traditional continue to emerge in new forms. For example, the changing landscape of digital video and original programming and that shift from TV: what’s old is new again, just in slightly different formats and spaces.

What advice do you have for black advertising professionals who are beginning their career?

Stay hungry! Hungry to learn and hungry to push for growth. Don’t expect to do the bare minimum and get more opportunity or to get meaning from your job; you have to dig deeper. Learn as much as you can and always challenge yourself, reach higher... and once you’ve achieved that, reach even higher again and again.

Make sure you give back, mentor someone, be someone’s role model, help bring someone up the ladder as you go, whether you had someone to do the same for you or not, again we need to lift each other up. Be yourself and have fun with it, surround yourself with people that contribute to your happiness and positivity; don’t feel you have to change yourself just to get by.

What should our industry be talking about in 2018?

We should be talking about what we’re actually doing to increase diversity and inclusivity within our industry, within our agencies, in the work we do for clients. Let’s talk about what we’re actually doing about it. How is it working? How are we measuring success? Let’s share best practices and learnings.

It’s 2018. We know the realities of this issue, so it’s time to show action and celebrate those that are doing it well.

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #ThinkDIG  Diversity  Diversity in Advertising  RPA  Social Media 

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Member Spotlight: Clarissa Garrett, Senior Art Producer, RPA

Posted By Emily Hope, Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Photos: Don Lupo Photography

 

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

I was about 5 years old when I began performing my favorite ad jingle for my mother and her friends at their Saturday night hangouts. I’d sneak in the kitchen, steal a frying pan and start singing “I can bring home the bacon…fry it up in a pan”! This circa 1980 Enjoli perfume commercial reenactment always resulted in riotous laughter to my satisfaction.

Completely unaware that Advertising was a viable career option, I applied to Syracuse Universities S.I Newhouse School of public communications out of high school, in hopes of becoming the next Oprah. It only took 3 weeks of a first-year broadcast journalism class to confirm that the “News” was not my passion. I switched to the Advertising track and consumed all aspects of the discipline.

After graduation, I had no idea how to land a job in the field so I researched mentoring programs. [ThinkLA's] Minority Advertising Training program (MAT) helped me to land an internship at Saatchi & Saatchi where I partnered with an amazing mentor. With her help, I found the Art Production department which was a creative mix of photography, project management and world travel!

After a decade working Automotive accounts and then a few years freelancing, I landed my dream job working on the Apple account. With a deep love for Apple products at an intensely creative agency, I proudly helped to launch the iPad and was one of the Senior producers for the Shot on iPhone campaign. I’m now happily working on Honda on a brand I both love and respect at an agency whose mission is to put its people first (RPA).

 

     

 

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

“Just keep singing”… My love for music and performing keeps me motivated. Learning, writing, performing and creating music cleanses my soul! Even just listening to music of all genres calms my mind. It’s sort of prophetic in the way that it becomes the window into what is happening in culture and in our collective consciousness. When I began writing my own music, it gave me a voice and allowed me to live life more “woke” and happy. Music is therapy and it sparks creativity. Everyone should have something in their lives that fills their heart in this way. What excites you most about this industry? It’s exciting because it’s always evolving and requires its members to evolve as well. You can’t hate change and be successful in this business. Advertising reflects and informs culture and so we have to watch it and live it and make sure we are hiring diverse cultural influencers and experts so that our voice remains relevant and our ideas stay fresh.

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

 You only have to watch a couple of Black Mirror episodes to know we are only at the beginning of the digital media evolution. My kids aren’t into social media at all, they are busy building their own worlds in Minecraft! Ads are becoming product placements in our digital lives and that is probably only going to go to deeper more savvy levels.

What advice do you have for black advertising professionals that are beginning their career?

 Find an amazing mentor! Please note, this person does not necessarily need to look like you! If you find someone you admire, just start asking questions. See if they are willing to make an investment in your dream by sharing what they’ve learned. I’ve had incredible mentors through the years at every level in my career from diverse backgrounds and each enriched my life and path in profound ways.

What should our industry be talking about in 2018?

As advertisers I think we have the power to change the narrative in culture. I believe we should be putting out messages of unity and continue to focus on ending divisiveness in the world.

In the summer of 2016, I was one of the producers on an Apple spot called “The Human Family” which celebrated global diversity and was narrated by the late poet laureate Maya Angelou. It was released at a time when our country needed the message. And yes, it sold products but it also sold hope, unity and the idea that we are all “more alike, than we are unalike”.

Any closing thoughts?

Just keep singing…

Tags:  #ThinkDIG  Art Producer  Career Advice  Creatives  Diversity  Member Spotlight  RPA 

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5 Questions for Pete Imwalle, EVP, COO at RPA, ThinkLA Board Member

Posted By Emily Hope, Thursday, September 7, 2017


Pete Imwalle
EVP, COO
RPA Advertising

What’s the biggest challenge or opportunity facing the ad industry right now?
The challenge: Margins are the biggest challenge facing the industry right now. There is simply more competition in almost every industry. Our clients have slimmer margins, our vendors have slimmer margins, and we have slimmer margins. Obsession with efficiency and cost cutting have us all chasing incrementally cheaper solutions. That combined with the multi-agency model has caused an erosion of the relationships between clients, agencies and their partners. The hunt for revenue has led to price cutting and fee slashing. In the end, that hurts margins even more.
The opportunity: Continue to evolve the agency business to maintain the highest-quality work while reducing the cost and effort to get there. The solutions are out there. We are excited about some we’re already pursuing.

What is the single most significant change you need to make in your agency in the next 12 months?
We need to reduce the effort required to make great work. Our clients have never been happier with our work, but today everybody needs things cheaper and faster. Improved workflow and technology will greatly aid efficiency.

What products/services/unique skills do ad agencies offer that guarantee the industry’s survival for another 100 years? I’m not sure there are products and services that agencies will still be providing in 100 years, but a truly objective perspective and cross-client experiences are agencies’ greatest assets. It’s hard for in-house teams to maintain objectivity, and creativity is greatly aided by a variety of experiences that come from working with other clients in other industries.

What attributes do you look for in your next generation of leaders/managers?
Curiosity and a collaborative spirit. The industry will continue to evolve. The people most able to evolve are those who embrace change instead of resisting it. The curious. Collaboration is critical in the agency business today. There is no place for “rock stars” who go away and work in isolation. The solutions and executions are so interrelated and complicated that we need people who welcome subject-matter experts to make their ideas better. Award-show credit sheets are getting longer and longer. It takes a village to make a great holistically integrated campaign. I want a village where people complement each other instead of competing.

If you weren’t working in advertising, what would you be doing as a career?
I’d be a sports talk radio host. I love sports, and my opinions are just as valid as the people I spend way too many hours listening to on my L.A. commute.

This content was originally posted on 4A's '5 Questions' series.

About RPA
RPA is an independent, full-service advertising agency located in Santa Monica, California. They believe in a 'people-first' approach.

Tags:  collaboration  Curiosity  Future of Advertising  Future of Leadership  Pete Imwalle  RPA  ThinkLA Board 

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Interns, Advertising, and the Future

Posted By Emily Hope, Friday, October 14, 2016

When the challenges are obvious to the interns, it's time to realize the platform we're standing on is burning, writes Tim Leake, RPA's SVP of creative, marketing and innovation

A couple of times a year, I do a presentation for our current crop of interns. I begin by asking them to think about "the future of advertising" and what it looks like. Inevitably, they surprise me with their remarkably clear vision of what's coming. And then I explain that it was actually a trick question, because the future of advertising is, of course, them.

If you just rolled your eyes, that's cool. I probably would, too. But the gag is effective. Suddenly, the interns aren't at the bottom of the totem pole, hoping for a glance inside the Wonka-esque magical idea factory. They realize they're important. They realize the factory is going to be theirs someday.

Any agency is fundamentally only as good as the people that make it up. People are everything to us. Internships aren't just an opportunity for them—it’s an opportunity for us to show them why we love advertising and why it’s worth keeping their smart brains in our industry. And perhaps even more importantly, interns are an opportunity for senior folks to learn as well.

So, at RPA, we commissioned a survey of recent interns from agencies in the Los Angeles area (not just our own) to see what else we could learn about the future of our industry. Here’s what we learned:

They really do want to do this. One thing we learned is that they didn't stumble into this field by chance. Ninety-five percent of them were already interested in pursuing a career in advertising before their internship. And only 4 percent were less interested in the industry after their internship.

Also interesting is what they aren't interested in. For all we hear about the freelance economy, startup culture and the millennials' passion for doing good, the vast majority of our interns want to work for either a well-known brand (84 percent) or an advertising agency (81 percent). Less than half of them have any interest at all in working for a start-up (44 percent) and 26 percent expressed an interest in working for a nonprofit. They did intern for an ad agency, after all, not for Heal the Bay—so maybe this shouldn’t be surprising.

But this is surprising: only 21 percent have an interest in working freelance in the future. Considering how mainstream the idea is today, it’s interesting that our future leaders have a much stronger bias towards full-time work.

Creativity is (still) our secret weapon. Whether they plan to work in the department with the word "creative" in its name, or not, people are attracted to our creativity. Seventy percent of respondents listed "Creative Work and Environment" as one of the top-three most appealing aspects of the industry.

This is vital, as the industry continues to evolve. In this big data, programmatic, digital-everything world, it’s easy to let creativity take a back seat. But creativity is the one job artificial intelligence will have a hard time replacing. It requires people.

And the silo-ing of creativity into a dedicated department has a similar effect. Too often, both young and seasoned people disclaim an idea with "I'm not creative, but...." This needs to stop. Creativity comes in all shapes and sizes, and we need to foster it across every discipline if we want to thrive in the future.

They see our challenges without bias. Interns aren't part of the advertising system already, so they have no interest in perpetuating legacy thinking. This helps them see industry challenges with clarity. In one respondent’s words, they "worry about the ethics of the industry and how the continued use of digital media may turn off more and more consumers to advertising in general."

They don’t resist change, they adapt to it—even when it comes to where they see themselves. They recognize that "the trend of doing more in-house will continue," and as such, can potentially see themselves as being client-side in the not so distant future, or even understanding why their friends are "more interested in working at Facebook and Twitter than advertising." When these challenges are obvious to people who've been working for only a few weeks, it's time to wake up and realize the platform we're standing on is burning.

They can remind us how to thrive. For even the best of us, it's easy to get bogged down by our day-to-day tasks and forget the attitudes and actions that help make superstars.

We asked the interns what traits they believe are most important for achieving success. Their answers are valuable advice to anyone who wants to make an impact, at any level:

  • Adaptability – Being able to go with the flow was key for them, and given the industry’s unpredictability, that’ll be good trait to have moving forward.
  • Open Communication – Simply talking to people outside of your own team was something they valued. Finding mentors is key these days, and so is finding new ideas.
  • Initiative – Being told what to do isn’t in this generation’s DNA, so it’s no shock that standing up and creating their own projects that can benefit the larger team is something that they gravitate towards. 

In general, internships exist to help the interns learn. But in an industry that's all about people, there's a lot to be said for taking the time to learn from the interns as well. They are often more sophisticated than we give them credit for, and it’s up to us to help them grow into tomorrow’s industry leaders.

--Tim Leake is SVP of creative, marketing and innovation at RPA in Los Angeles

This article was originally written for Campaign Live and can be found HERE.

Tags:  #InternSummit  Career  Future of Advertising  Infographic  Interns  RPA  Survey  Survey Results 

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Congrats to Cannes Lions Winners

Posted By Emily Hope, Monday, June 27, 2016
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is a global event for those working in the creative communications, advertising and related fields.


 
Congratulations to our Corporate Members that just won!

 

 

 

180LA

Outdoor Lions - Ambient Experiential & Immersive Digital

Bronze Lion 

Dream Adventures | Client: Expedia | Product: Travel

 

Health & Wellness Lions - Clinics, Hospitals, Retail & Facilities

Bronze Lion

Title: Dream Adventures | Client: Expedia | Product: Travel

 

Health & Wellness Lions - Clinics, Hospitals, Retail & Facilities

Bronze Lion

Title: Dream Adventures | Client: Expedia | Product: Travel

 

Film Lions - Non-Fiction Series

Bronze Lion

Title: Unfairy Tales Series | Client: Unicef | Product: Humanitarian Aid

 

Film Craft Lions - Use of Licensed/Adapted Music

Bronze Lion

Title: Jane | Client: HP | Product: Sprout

 

Film Craft Lions - Animation

Silver Lion

Title: Malak and the Boat | Client: UNICEF | Product: Humanitarian Aid

 

Entertainment Lions - Online: Non-Fiction Series

Bronze Lion

Title: Unfairy Tales Series | Client: Unicef | Product: Humanitarian Aid

 

Entertainment Lions - Live Broadcast/Live Streaming

Bronze Lion

Title: Dream Adventures | Client: Expedia | Product: Travel

  

Cyber Lions - Websiodes/Series

Gold Lion Campaign

Title: Malak and the Boat | Client: Unicef | Product: Humanitarian Aid

 

Cyber Lions - Websiodes/Series

Gold Lion Campaign

Title: Ivine and Pillow | Client: Unicef | Product: Humanitarian Aid

 

Cyber Lions - Websiodes/Series

Gold Lion Campaign

Title: Mustafa Goes for a Walk | Client: Unicef | Product: Humanitarian Aid

 


72andSunny

Digital Craft Lions - Interface & Navigation (UI)

Silver Lion

Title: Lightsaber Escape: A Chrome Experiment | Client:Google, Disney, Industrial Light & Magic, Lucas Film | Product:Google Chrome

 

Digital Craft Lions - Native & Built-in Feature Integration

Silver Lion

Title: Lightsaber Escape: A Chrome Experiment | Client:Google, Disney, Industrial Light & Magic, Lucas Film | Product:Google Chrome

 

Mobile Lions - Networked/Connected Mobile Technology

Silver Lion

Title: Lightsaber Escape: A Chrome Experiment | Client:Google, Disney, Industrial Light & Magic, Lucas Film | Product:Google Chrome

 

Cyber Lions - Web

Bronze Lion

Title: Lightsaber Escape: A Chrome Experiment | Client: Google, Disney, Industrial Light & Magic, Lucas Film | Product: Google Chrome

 

Cyber Lions - Web Service/Apps

Silver Lion

Title: Lightsaber Escape: A Chrome Experiment | Client: Google, Disney, Industrial Light & Magic, Lucas Film | Product: Google Chrome

  


Deutsch

Digital Craft Lions - Digital Illustration

Bronze Lion

Title:Taco Emoji Engine | Client:Taco Bell | Product: Taco Emoji Launch

 

Media Lions - Retail, e-Commerce, Restaurants & Fast Food Chains

Bronze Lion

Title: Target Creates First Ever Live Music Video with Gwen Stefani | Client: Target | Product: Retail

 

Mobile Lions - Content for User Engagement

Silver Lion

Title:Taco Emoji Engine | Client:Taco Bell | Product: Taco Emoji Launch

 

Film Craft Lions - Achievement in Production

Bronze Lion

Title: Target Creates First-Ever Live Music Video with Gwen Stefani | Client: Target | Product: Retail

 

Entertainment Lions for Music - Artist Associated Stunt or Activation in Partnership with a Brand

Bronze Lion

Title: Target Creates First-Ever Live Music Video with Gwen Stefani | Client: Target | Product: Retail

 

Entertainment Lions - Live Broadcast/Live Streaming

Silver Lion

Title: Target Creates First-Ever Live Music Video with Gwen Stefani | Client: Target | Product: Retail

 

Cyber Lions - Social Business

Bronze Lion

Title: Tacobot | Client: Taco Bell | Product: Tacobot

 

 

RPA

Design Lions - Motion Graphics Design & Animation

Gold Lion

Title: Paper | Client: American Honda Motor Co. | Product: Honda

 

Film Craft Lions - Sound Design

Bronze Lion

Title: Paper | Client: Honda | Product: Honda

 

Film Craft Lions - Animation

Silver Lion

Title: Paper | Client: American Honda Motor Co. | Product: Honda

  


TBWA

Promo & Activation Lions - Live Shows/Concerts/Festivals

Silver Lion

Title: Grammy Cam | Client: The Grammy's | Product: The 58th Grammy Awards

 

PR Lions - PR Excellence in Effectiveness

Silver Lion

Title: No Borders | Client: AirBnB | Product: AirBnb

 

Outdoor Lions - Integrated Campaign led by Outdoor

Silver Lion

Title: Color Bars | Client: Apple | Product: Apple TV

 

Cyber Lions - Response/Real-time Activity

Silver Lion

Title: #LiveInTheMovies | Client: AirBnB | Product: AirBnB

 

Film Lions - Cars & Automotive Products & Services

Silver Lion

Title: Shoulders of Giants | Client: Nissan North America | Product: Nissan Titan

 

Film Craft Lions - Production Design/ Art Direction

Bronze Lion

Title: History of Sound | Client: Apple | Product: Apple Music

 

Film Craft Lions - Use of Licensed/Adapted Music

Bronze Lion

Title: Compton | Client: The Grammy's | Product: The 58th Grammy Awards

 

Mobile Lions - Response/Real-time Activity

Silver Lion

Title: #LiveInTheMovies | Client: AirBnB | Product: AirBnB



Tags:  #thinkMembers  180LA  72andSunny  Cannes Lions  Deutsch  LA Advertising  Members  RPA  TBWA 

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