First, allow us to introduce ourselves. We’re NinetyEight, a creative ad agency founded by 2020 grads from the M-School at Loyola Marymount University. We are dedicated towards empowering, understanding, and connecting the new generation with the world. We speak the language that advertisers so desperately want to know: Gen Z.
This unique Gen Z perspective is unexplored territory for many advertisers, but second-nature to us because it’s our first-hand experience. As the generational divide grows vast, we seek to bridge the gap between brands and Gen Zs -- helping you adapt to our ever-changing, technology-driven culture.
98things is a quarterly amalgamation of 98 topics, fun facts, trends, habits, and even memes that will help you and your brand track the pulse of Gen-Z culture. Essentially, we’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to -- in fact, our research goes so deep that we live through our findings every day.
For example, in our latest edition we focused on TikTok trends as one of our topics because it’s currently the most relevant app for our generation. Additionally, we touch on Gen Z digital habits, entrepreneurs, food trends, favorite brands, and more. 98things aims to provide you direction on how to navigate this complex, adaptive, and deeply misunderstood generation.
We created 98things as a window to our generation, a generation which many people are still confused by. Even though we are a part of Gen Z, we are all still learning so much about our own generation from writing each section. It is our hope that 98things will help you see the incredible things we can accomplish, the fascinating things we love and keep up with, and interesting habits we’ve taken on as the digitally native generation. Check out our second edition of 98things out now, happy reading!
Posted By Administration,
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2019
How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?
My interest in communications was sparked in high school, mainly through extracurricular activities. I always enjoyed being behind the scenes, working with people and having a hand in making things happen. And when I had the opportunity to be a cast member of a teen talk show, I discovered that I got more fulfillment behind the camera than in front of it. I began to research and explore careers that would allow me to use my skills, and discovered a great communications program at Syracuse University.
During my time in college, all of the internships I held were communications based in some form. I came to realize that internal communications was a great professional starting point for me, because I could learn to use corporate communication to connect with people, drive engagement and shape corporate cultures – all while gaining exposure and expanding my reach in other areas of the business world.
My career kicked off with a media relations internship at General Electric (GE), where I advanced through their two-year Communications Leadership Development Program (CLDP). For the next nine years, I held several public relations, internal communications and marketing communications roles with GE and NBCUniversal. I then transitioned to Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), as their Director of Global Internal Communications and eventually moved over to the marketing team where I was a senior level experiential marketing leader.
As I continued to hone my craft and gain experience, I discovered how expansive the communications field is, touching every aspect of business. I found opportunities to lead initiatives that not only increased employee engagement, but also supported diversity and inclusion. This expanded my career focus, and I joined Buzzfeed as their Senior Director of Internal Communications. While in this role I also helped drive diversity, inclusion and belonging efforts for its entertainment business.
I was offered the opportunity to lead Internal Communications at UTA in early 2018. This role felt like a culmination of all of my experiences, and allowed me to join the internal leadership team that worked to advance diversity and inclusion – an initiative that I will now lead as Executive Director of Inclusion. UTA has made great progress over the past few years and I can’t wait to build on that foundation and see what comes next.
What has been an important, perhaps the most important, lesson you’ve learned in your career so far? The greatest lesson that I have learned thus far is that not only should we be the biggest advocates for ourselves, but we must also be worthy of being advocated. You want to be good enough to earn your place at the table and feel confident that your seat belongs to you. I celebrate everything that I have achieved so far in my career. And while I am ambitious, my ambition is not aimed at gaining further recognition, but to learn, and further develop as a leader, so that accolades come as a result of work, dedication, and never being satisfied with “enough.” I can then serve as my own greatest advocate because I know that I have set my sights on what I want and in spite of my road not being an easy one, I pushed to propel myself to where I want to be.
What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto? My family has always been my biggest motivator and my top priority. My daughter is the greatest inspiration of my life – she is my North Star. I have always wanted to achieve as much as possible, and knowing that she is watching me and what I do, and that these things will inform her decisions and shape her path inspires me to do even better, and to help make the world a better place for her.
Samuel Beckett said it best, “Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again.” I love this because it speaks to being human, and not looking to yourself for perfection but rather for progress.
What excites you most about this industry? Advertising is influential in its ability to determine who and what people buy - but I love how it also reflects what our world looks like at a given point in time – it’s an intersection between commerce and culture.
Through insight, collaboration and inclusion, this industry has the power to tell stories that resonate with people, compel action, shift cultures, and drive change. I am excited to be a part of something that reaches into communities and seeks ways to constantly make connections.
Where is advertising headed? What do the next five years look like? The industry’s influence comes with a responsibility – I hope that advertisers will start paying attention to more diverse markets. I think people are quickly realizing there is a demand for representation and they can leverage diversity to appeal to a greater audience. Social media and digital content have changed the conversation about the approach to advertising, causing more companies to recognize that people want to connect with other people who look like them or reflect the global community.
What advice do you have for emerging professionals who are beginning their careers, particularly women? I can only speak from my own experience, but for me what was important was finding my voice and being able to advocate for myself. I had a strong desire to be both a parent and high performing professional. I am doing both but with the understanding that I had to make some trade-offs and concessions, and those choices work for me and for my family. Women no longer have to assume that life is an either-or proposition; you can design the life you want, but you must stand in your truth - any sacrifices you make should be on your terms. Take ownership of your decisions go forward without fear.
What’s been one of your favorite ThinkLA memories?
My favorite memory is the opportunity I had to participate in the The Diversifying Advertising event back in February 2018. I moderated a panel on the challenges agencies and businesses face when creating a diverse culture. Facilitating this robust discussion resulted in an invitation to join the ThinkLA board, which I accepted with great excitement. I am looking forward to making more memories with ThinkLA.
Have you been to a festival this year? Do you have any money left? Yes, and no. But it’s our fault for splurging on the helicopter.
If you went to a festival this year, did you lose anything? Your car keys? Your wristband? Your lunch in a port-o-let? Our innocence.
How many people in your agency or office play an instrument? Why aren’t they with you onstage? A lot. Clearly we have only the highest and most specific standards. Also they couldn’t get babysitters during practice.
How is a client call like attending a music festival? (You know, crowd too big, people elbowing to get in front, happens over two weekends…) The only way to be heard is to shout as loud as possibly and interrupt whomever is talking. Also the copious amounts of alcohol required to enjoy it.
Are you old enough to remember mosh pits? Can you tell me what a mosh was? Mosh Pits are why Gen Xers never had enough remaining energy to actually do anything with their anger.
Have you ever had to choose between two favorite bands who were on at the same time? What was were your criteria? Do you use that same criteria in your agency life? The one that had the cooler stage to look at.
What else could the letters EDM stand for? Erectile Dysfunction Man, a superhero for the limp and lively.
Why did you choose your festival song? Have you seen it performed live? Is it Haim? ‘Cause Haim is totally way better live, right? One of our people just saw one of our songs performed live at a festival last weekend. Our version is better.
Do you have any reefer? Thanks. Shh. Be cool.
If you could be any animal, would it be the muppet drummer? He’s the only drummer crazier than Keith Moon. He wins.
Follow up, of the members of the muppet band, who us your favorite? It’s Janice, right? Because if it’s not Janice you’re wrong. No, dummy. Animal is the best. See above. Dude needs to be chained up when he’s not playing. That’s a rockstar.
Tits, bits and pits. Discuss. The trick to all three is to let them breathe. And if you don’t mind your pits you’ll never see anyone’s tits and bits.
Who ripped the holes in your jeans, you or someone in China? Holes should be earned, not purchased.
Has a guitar ever gotten you laid? What is the best brand of guitar for getting one laid? Asking for a friend. The best guitar to get you laid is the one you can actually play.
Why did you name your band that? Really. Is your mom okay with it? My mom doesn’t know, nor would she understand the reference. Which is a good metaphor for our relationship.
Whose Spotify playlist would you rather hear:
Kim Jong-un’s or Jared Kushner’s? No.
Kid Rock or Kid Cudi? Kid Cudi is a musician, Kid Rock is like the human version of a cigarette butt floating in an above ground pool. So Kid Cudi.
Steve Bannon or Pennywise the Dancing Clown? (Or is it the same playlist?) Bannon isn’t the same as the Dancing Clown, he just used to work for the Dancing Clown.
It’s been 10 years. Is it okay that we are still leaving Britney alone? I sort of don’t think we ever should have in the first place.
For years, AdJam, ThinkLA's Annual Battle of the Agency Bands, has unleashed the raw, savage – if unheralded – musical talent upon an unsuspecting planet. The top agency bands compete, and the winner receives the coveted AdJam Axe, plus bragging rights in the industry for the whole year.
This year's AdJam is at The Novo DTLA and we are ready for the battle. We're profiling each of the bands to help you decide whom you should root for come decision day. Check out what we asked HB RIOTS (Innocean), and make sure you're registered for AdJam on Sept. 22.#ThinkAdJam
HB RIOTS - Innocean
Why do think so many ad people seem to be musicians? Ad people need a creative outlet after having their dreams crushed on a daily basis.
What’s the hardest kind of ad-musician to find? One that accepts meeting invites.
Are you involved in a band beyond the Adjam? Can we get tickets? Yes! The tickets are usually $135, but you’ll get the bro deal.
Is there a genre or band that is your agency’s soundtrack? Creative Dissonance.
Is there a battle for the music played in your office? What kind of music wins? 80's and Emo run neck and neck.
What is the part of an ad presentation that’s most like performing? Pushing "play".
John or Paul?John AND Paul.
Jay Z or Kanye?ZZZZZZZZ.
Mick or Keith? They're different people?
John Mayer or Permanent Hearing Loss?I'm not familiar with PHL, but I like the name.