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Testimonial: PopShorts

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 15, 2019

We asked Jake Hay of PopShorts to tell us about his company's experience working with ThinkLA to reach the advertising, marketing and media community in Los Angeles. Here's what he had to say.

 

ThinkLA has been an invaluable community both for myself and for our company, PopShorts. Since PopShorts joined ThinkLA a little over three years ago, we have grown our business by over 700% and have added new diversity to our portfolio of clients. We attribute a great deal of this newfound success to ThinkLA, as the majority of our new clients have come from within the L.A. advertising community. The networking at these events has been instrumental for us in both client acquisition and client retention. 

For our employees, we've taken advantage of the many professional development programs that ThinkLA offers. Our CEO has been so impressed with ThinkLA that he decided to give back by joining their mentor program back in January of 2018. He has since helped two motivated women who were new to the community with their career aspirations, professional development and networking needs by sharing his personal and professional experience, knowledge and skills via one-on-one mentor sessions. 

ThinkLA sets a standard for the LA advertising community and professional communities as a whole. It has been an honor to grow alongside this organization and within this community. We are grateful for the incredible people we’ve met through ThinkLA, the expertise and ideas that have been so openly shared, and the unconditional support we’ve received. On behalf of myself and the rest of PopShorts, we want to give a huge thank you to all of the ThinkLA staff. We wouldn't be where we are now without you!

Thanks, Jake! ThinkLA is grateful to all of our members like you and PopShorts who make our community great by giving back and collaborating with us. We wish you continued success! 

Tags:  members  membership  popshorts  testimonials 

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Ben Sarmiento, VP Sales at Eyeview and ThinkLA IDEA Council Member

Posted By Web Admin, Thursday, July 26, 2018

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

Fax machines and follow-through is how it all began.

Over 20 years ago, I was a recent UCLA grad with no experience and working knowledge in advertising. I stumbled upon our industry by accident, flooding the market with my résumé for entry level positions. After having been turned down by several agencies for zero experience, I had a great interview with the Sony Theatrical media planning team at McCann-Erickson. Within an hour after it ended, I went straight to Kinko’s, typed out my thank-you letters, and faxed it to every person I met. I got an offer that day and I accepted. Key life lesson learned: be hungry and never underestimate the follow-through.

Since my days at McCann, my career road map has been more like a Lego set: everything connects and builds. It’s very interesting to see over the years what’s been added and taken away, but understanding it is all part of the process.

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

Stay even keel, because with every peak, there’s a valley.

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

Being a part of something bigger than me. Seeing how my contribution impacts the greater good. This is why I thrive in start-up environments and why I volunteer my time with ThinkLA.

What excites you most about this industry?

The ever-changing tech landscape. It’s fascinating to see how our industry continues to evolve as new technology gets developed.

 

 




Photos: Don Lupo

 

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

Data-driven video creative and analytics will be the next big wave. Consumers want relevancy and brands want to tell their story in a more impactful way. In this mix will come better creative storytelling and the ability to assess its effectiveness.

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

The most important brand is you. It’s not the ones you work for or work on, because all of that is temporary. You should ask yourself: What can you do to make your brand unique? Successful? Long lasting? Then put it into action.

What’s been one of your favorite ThinkLA memories?

Winning ThinkLA Sales Person of the Year.

Any closing thoughts for the ThinkLA community?

It’s more a question: What can you do to give back to our ThinkLA community? ThinkLA has helped many of us find jobs, advance our careers, create long-lasting friendships, and even marriages. What can you do to help ThinkLA thrive well beyond our generation?

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Ben Sarmiento is Executive Director, Sales - Auto at Eyeview Digital and currently serves on the ThinkLA IDEA Council as Co-President.

Tags:  #thinkMembers #memberspotlight Advertising  Brand Marketer  Future of Advertising  LA Advertising  Members  ThinkLA  ThinkMembers 

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Sunny Behniwal, Senior Account Executive, Adelphic

Posted By Emily Hope, Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Updated: Thursday, July 5, 2018

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

After earning a degree in Economics and Accounting from UCSB, I spent the first two years of my career in Accounting at Conversant. My career in Accounting was progressing well, but I felt I was underutilizing other skill sets I possessed. So I looked to make a change. Luckily, I was working for an AdTech company at the time and was able to move into and Account Manager role on the media team.

After a little over a year, I was promoted to Account Executive (AE). I spent a little over two years in an AE role with my prior company before joining Adelphic-Viant as a Senior Account Executive about a year ago.

What has been a surprising lesson you've learned so far in your career?

I’ve learned that emotional intelligence is one of the most important traits to possess and consistently work on. When I was younger, my thought process was very linear: Work Hard > Get Promoted > Make More Money > Success. However, there will be so many highs and lows during your career that learning how to treat people and react to situations during the lows becomes more important than your behavior during the highs in regard to your long-term success.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a motto?

I’ve found the happiest people I have come across in my life are those who continue to strive for progress. So, my motivation every day is to make progress whether that be professionally, mentally, spiritually or physically.

Two of my favorite quotes which I often reference are:

  • "I do not believe in taking the right decision; I take a decision and make it right."
  • "You know the comfort zone is never static. It’s always in a state of expansion or retraction."

 




Photos: Don Lupo

 

What excites you most about this industry?

I love how the industry is constantly changing, forcing me to adapt, and continue learning. But more important than that, I love the diversity and inclusion of our industry. I have been able to interact and forge meaningful relationships with individuals from so many different walks of life.

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

The industry is going to continue to consolidate with only truly differentiated companies remaining. With the consolidation, I feel the need for great customer service will be at an all-time high.

Transparency will continue to be a hot button, and I see advertisers moving more and more away from traditional digital KPIs while focusing more on meaningful measurement such as actual online/offline sales.

What advice do you have for those just starting in advertising?

I would advise anyone that is new to advertising to be as open-minded as possible and to try different roles/responsibilities until they find a truly great fit. Luckily for them, our industry has a plethora of job types within our industry ranging from Sales to Engineering to Creative to Analytics, etc. 

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Sunny Behniwal currently serves on ThinkLA's Emerging Leaders Council, and is a Senior Account Executive at Adelphic (a Viant, Inc. company). Prior to joining Adelphic, Sunny worked at Conversant

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #ThinkMembers  Career Advice  Member Spotlight  Members  Sales Career  Sales Executive  ThinkLA  ThinkMembers 

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Kristin Glushon, EVP Client Development, Branded Entertainment Network

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, June 27, 2018

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

Although I had a passion for communication, I don’t have a typical advertising career road map. Instead, I started in the research and technology sector, working for Thomson Reuters first as an editor before transitioning into Client Services and B2B Sales.

Interestingly, I think my background gave me a bit of a business consulting approach to the ad world, which I entered after earning my MBA at Pepperdine and taking a role at Interpublic Co. to lead the west coast expansion of one of their specialized media agencies, Orion. This agency experience allowed me to serve clients in every industry, globally and also afforded me the opportunity to support IPG’s Women’s Leadership Network, where I chaired their LA chapter and supported their national board. From there I joined Branded Entertainment Network (BEN) where I currently lead their global client development team, partnering with CEO’s and CMO’s to deliver custom brand integration campaigns into premium content across TV, streaming, film, and influencer programming.

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

I have a lot of respect for those with a strong work ethic, and following that approach keeps me motivated to never give up and to stay focused on delivering what I promise.

In today’s ad world, delivering results often requires us to wear many hats, and although being a mom of two little boys has schooled me in the art of prioritization, I’ve also learned to map out what I can confidently bring to the table and where I need to ask for help.

What excites you most about this industry?

It’s a really exciting time to be working within branded entertainment in particular because of the dramatic shifts we’ve seen in consumer behaviors and the value that integrations offers to reach a more engaged audience. Inside the content, brands have the opportunity to enhance, rather than disrupt, and reach consumers in an authentic and meaningful way. BEN is at the forefront of this evolving marketplace, so every day presents a new opportunity to introduce brands and creators to the power of integration.

 




Photos: Don Lupo

 

Where do you think advertising is headed?

In addition to the shifts in content consumption, I think we’ll continue to see growth in more sophisticated use of data and technology to make advertising more relevant to consumers and more successful for brands.

 What advice do you have for those just starting in advertising?

Regardless if you are just starting your career or sitting at the executive level, I think today’s marketplace requires us to be adaptable, informed and always learning.

I still believe face-to-face networking is the best way to get a head start and to grow your career. Take advantage of mentorship and also pay it forward by being a mentor – and seek out opportunities to learn from others who offer a unique perspective. Having these experiences will enrich your career journey and help support the growth of our industry to reach and engage with today’s diverse and inclusive audiences.

We are in the middle of a cultural shift with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. What has/does BEN do to support women and inclusion in the industry?

BEN’s values of teamwork, accountability, passion, and inclusion are a part of our DNA and reflect an entrepreneurial spirit that supports everyone having a voice and an opportunity to make an impact. Today’s cultural shifts further reinforce our commitment to diversity and inclusion, ensuring that our workforce is representative of the multicultural communities where we work and of the brands we represent.

I am also proud to be the executive sponsor of BEN Includes, which is our committee that provides access to programs, services and events to support a workplace and community outreach that is welcoming, equitable and empowering to achieve success for BEN and our clients.

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Kristin Glushon currently serves on ThinkLA's Diversity, Inclusion, and Gender (DIG) Committee, and is Executive Vice President of Client Development at Branded Entertainment Network (BEN). Prior to joining BEN, Kristin worked at Orion Worldwide.

 

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #ThinkMembers  Member Spotlight  Members  ThinkLA  ThinkMembers 

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Member Spotlight: Frank Scherma, President, RadicalMedia

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

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

I started off as an assistant producer at Chiat Day N.Y. when they first opened their doors. Soon after, I was producing for the agency. Three years went by, and I left to freelance (there weren’t that many freelance producers in the market at that time) and worked for Ammirati Puris on BMW. Three years after that, I moved to Los Angeles and began producing for production companies and their directors. Eighteen months later, I opened up the West Coast office of my partner’s production company. We built that company into what it is today: RadicalMedia, LLC.

And how has the industry changed since you’ve been involved?

When I started in advertising, television, print and radio were the main ways to reach the consumer. My parents were grateful to advertisers as they brought entertainment into our living room. Since then, we’ve had to adjust from strictly doing commercials, print, and radio. While those three still exist, we’ve all had to learn and embrace additional ways to reach the consumer. Branded content and digital storytelling, live events, memes, etc. We also work with brands who’ve begun to incorporate VR, AR, and experiential media into their storytelling as well, and I think we’ll start seeing more of that as time goes on. It’s still about the storytelling, just using different methods.

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned so far?

Be nice to everyone. Today’s assistant could be tomorrow’s creative director. Secondly, don’t be afraid of change. Embrace it and dive in head first.

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

My goal in life is to wake up everyday and still want to go to work. I’ve succeeded so far. I also try to live by Radical’s motto, which is "Never Established." Things are always changing, and it’s important to adapt to the times. If you want longevity, you have to be able to do it all: feature films, episodic scripted and unscripted television, advertising, experiential, public events, smartphone applications... the list goes on.

What excites you most about this industry?

The people, creativity, and the fact that it’s ever-changing. Everyday I learn something new.

 


Photos: Don Lupo

 

 Where is the entertainment industry headed? What do the next 5 years look like?

As I mentioned, it will always be about storytelling and finding an audience for those stories. Five years from now, streaming services will be even more prevalent than they are today. Network TV will still be there, albeit they will be looking for additional revenue streams from advertisers and cable/satellite companies.

What advice do you have for those just starting out in entertainment?

I have a few pieces of advice for those just starting out in the business.

One: Be the first one to show up and the last one to leave. It’s a bit cliché, but you have to make it known that you want to be there and you want to learn. Two: Ask lots and lots of questions, and don’t be afraid to not know the answer. The worst is pretending to know, when you really don’t. Third: Watch, listen, and get your hands dirty. Be open to trying new things and taking a different path. You never know where something can lead you. And lastly, step out of your comfort zone.

We are in the middle of a cultural shift with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. What has/does Radical do to support women and inclusion in the industry?

RadicalMedia not only has a diverse staff, but a diverse roster of directors. As I like to say, we have directors that happen to be female, not female directors. We want everyone to feel like they’re working in a safe environment, always. That’s not up for debate.

Why are you involved with ThinkLA?

I enjoy working with the varied and interesting people on the board. It combines media, creativity, public relations, etc., in one place, kind of how ad agencies used to operate. And not to be cliché, but it’s rewarding to give back to an industry that has treated me very well over the years.

At the end of the day, I love what I do, and I think that’s the most important thing of all. 

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Frank Sherma is a ThinkLA Board Member and President of RadicalMedia, a multi-disciplinary studio that creates some of the world’s most innovative content across all forms of media. RadicalMedia has been honored with an Academy Award®, Emmys®, a Golden Globe®, Grammys®, Webbys, NASA Awards, The Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Communication Design, two Palme d’Ors at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, and just about every other accolade and trophy associated with the advertising, marketing, and programming businesses.

 

 

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #MeToo  #ThinkMembers  Entertainment  Entertainment Marketing  Member Spotlight  Members  ThinkLA  ThinkMembers 

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Member Spotlight: Kristina Jenkins, Chief Strategy Officer, Zambezi

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, May 30, 2018

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

Believe it or not, I have E.T. and the Reese’s Pieces candy he loved eating to thank for my start in advertising. My mom took me to see the movie to celebrate my eighth birthday and when the final credits started rolling, I turned to her and asked if she could please take me to the store to buy some Reese’s Pieces. When I took my first bite I didn’t like them at all (yuck; M&Ms tasted so much better, I thought), but I kept eating them because E.T. did.

I knew the influence the movie had on me and I was fascinated. I wanted to be part of creating that type of influence one day, by inspiring people to make choices that they enjoyed. Advertising seemed like a way (at least to my 8-year-old self) to do that, and so here I am.

E.T. inspired my start and me in countless other ways. He showed me that even if you don’t see yourself in the place you dream of being a part of, that doesn’t mean that you won’t get there. I never saw a Kristina Jenkins in any of the cultural expressions of who worked in advertising growing up (I’m not Darren from Bewitched or Amanda from Melrose Place). I still rarely see her today. But I’m here in the place of my dreams.

He also helped me discover that inspiration resides in the most unexpected places like aliens and in candy. It doesn’t matter where or who your dream comes from; it’s where you take it.

Throughout my career, I’ve followed an inner compass more than a road map. My career started with a calling that gave me a vision for what I wanted to be and why. I wasn’t always exactly sure where I wanted to go. There were many times when I got distracted, disappointed or lost during my career. And when I did, I closed my eyes and thought back to that moment when I watching E.T. with my mom in a Long Island movie theater. It’s the moment when I decided that I would do extraordinary things in advertising. I remember how I wanted to help influence people in positive ways. Then I opened my eyes, promised myself I would settle for nothing less, took some time to get clear on where I was going and figured out a way to get there.

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

What keeps me motivated is thinking about all the people who are made to feel that it’s not okay to be different, who encounter “no” and “can’t“ and “never“ again and again while they’re pursuing their dreams and goals. I think about a generation of talent that is growing up right now dreaming about being a Chief Strategy Officer one day, and I keep doing what I’m doing so that they can see themselves in what I do and what I am, and so that they have someone who inspires them to do great things in this industry, to remind them not to let anyone talk them out of their dream or make them doubt the difference they can make.

 



Photos: Don Lupo

 

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?

When I found the courage to be myself and do things my way and take on roles that allowed me to think and collaborate with supportive talent, that’s when I realized there was nothing I couldn’t achieve. I’m totally comfortable working with companies that aren’t always the “it” award-winning agencies with the top clients in the hottest cities. I’ve learned to look past all that and focus on my own vision and larger purpose, and on my career. I look for the right opportunities with the right companies at the right time. That’s what I’ve learned to do.

What excites you most about this industry?

Complex business problems and heightened consumer expectations are creating all sorts of opportunities for agencies and their leaders to let go and re-imagine existing strategic staffing models, fundamentals, frameworks, and playbooks. This excites me the most. In too many instances, we’re relying on 20th century ways of working to solve 21st century challenges. This industry can be more of catalyst for what’s new and what’s never been done before.

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

I think it’s going to be challenged in unprecedented ways. Those that hang on and resist change will become irrelevant. Those who create opportunity out of these challenges will thrive.

What advice do you have for those just starting in advertising?

Discover that you’re different. Surround yourself with people who believe in your “different.” Master your “different.” Push boundaries with your “different.” Help others unlock and confidently charge forward with their “different.”

This industry may try to make you feel that you are lucky to work in it. That’s how the industry made me feel when I first started. Remember that this industry needs you. We need your optimism, courage, energy, and “different" to help us re-imagine the way things have always been done.

Be the strongest version of yourself, mentally, spiritually and physically. This industry requires a level of strength like you can’t imagine. Unapologetically create space and time to take care of yourself and recharge.

I’ve made all my career decisions by listening to my heart. For example, saying "Yes" early in my career to what many saw was a huge mistake (leaving a big NYC TV agency to live in the sunshine in L.A., while also working at a digital agency). There also was a time when I said "Thank you, but no thank you" to working 24/7 at some of the most prestigious agencies on the most iconic brands, so I could say "Yes" to working with a company that designed a role around me and the life I wanted.

Start by asking yourself what life you want. Then think about the job you want and where.

You’ve worked in advertising in both coasts. Which does it better?

They are very different and offer very different opportunities. There is nothing like working in advertising in N.Y. It’s a city that celebrates sophistication and polish. It’s a city of random collisions that lead to collaborations and ideas that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Agencies own their point of view. There is an electricity that fills their walls, along with a relentless pursuit of greatness. It forces you to assert yourself in unprecedented ways. It humbles you and challenges you with setbacks where you have to decide if you are going to get back up and try again daily.

Los Angeles is bright, optimistic and full of possibility. It doesn’t take itself so seriously. I once read that California is the place that New Yorkers go when they want to be a better version of themselves. I’ve found that to be true. It’s a great place to be as a talent if you want to experiment with new ways of approaching things. It gives you space and permission to recharge, and encourages you to use the inspiration that emerges when you do in your work.

What should our industry be talking about in 2018?

I’d love to hear more conversation about what senior leaders can learn from talent that is brand new to the advertising industry. They have much to teach us. I’ve always wanted to create a program where someone who is a year into their career mentored someone who has been in the business for 20 years.

Any closing thoughts?

We never do great things alone. There are so many people who have been part of helping me get to a place where I can inspire others. To each and every one of them I say, "Thank you".

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Kristina Jenkins is Chief Strategy Officer at Zambezi. Prior to joining Zambezi, Kristina was Culture Intelligence Officer at mcgarrybowen. 

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #ThinkMembers  Member Spotlight  Members  ThinkLA  ThinkMembers 

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Member Spotlight: Reddit LA's Matt Joanou and Will Cady

Posted By Emily Hope, Monday, April 23, 2018


How did you get started in advertising?

Will: Music happened to me first. I studied electric bass through high school and college and then played professionally for another decade in Boston. I learned so much about the idea of Expression and not enough about the idea of Audience. Everything was “practice, practice, practice”. This was essential to the craft, but I saw a gap between what the supposed “best” artists create and what most people actually care about. Why do more people listen to Flea than do Jaco Pastorius?

Trying to answer that question led me to L.A. to work at a legacy music magazine going digital. Who better to understand what most people actually care about? Their whole value proposition is that they know what’s cool and more people -- or supposedly “bette”’ people -- trust their take than do the other magazines. That was the hustle, at least.

Through that experience, I found that my inner scales were tipping the other way. I was focusing too much on Audience and not enough on actual Expression. It left me asking, “How do you build an audience of people who are actually paying attention?”

Honestly, trying to answer that question created more frustration in me than it did inspiration. So I quit. I hit a big reset button and made time for myself to “figure it out”. That’s when I got the call from Reddit, which is funny because in a lot of ways Reddit was going through the same internal reckoning at that time. I suspect that’s how resonance operates.

A couple of years into Reddit, I’m feeling a harmony and things seem to just work. Reddit has been a place where I’ve found a balance between Expression and Audience, because it is a platform of communities built on the experience of shared expression. So now, I’m gathering the answers to hopefully someday share with others who may find themselves asking the same questions I did.

Matt: In 2010, I was focused on helping long-tail businesses (i.e., “mom and pop shops”) market directly to their customers via mobile phones. While at Cal Poly SLO, myself and five friends built a loyalty platform called Punchd, essentially digitizing buy-x-get-y-free physical punch cards. Groupon had come onto the scene a few years prior and demonstrated the potential of grassroots digital campaigns to drive foot traffic. The challenge was how a business could retain their new customers after a discount-driven surge in foot traffic.

The industry soon saw that daily deals were only a small piece of the online-to-offline commerce puzzle. Punchd served as a natural evolution and offered small business owners a simple tool to engage with their customers regularly. After moving up to the Bay and going through the first batch of an incubator called 500 Startups, we were acquired by Google. As a team, we continued to tackle similar challenges with an internal group called the Mobile Apps Lab.

After several years of working on Loyalty efforts and in-turn Google Wallet and Offers, I was encouraged by my mentors to make the jump to the Ads side of Google. Ads is the engine of Google, and the next two years served as my introduction to digital advertising. The work was split between partnering with brands and agencies across Google’s offerings: Search, Display, YouTube, and Mobile. Understanding multiple layers of the digital funnel, especially brand versus performance, taught me to always consider the big picture and how marketing fits into a larger strategy.

In 2015, a couple of my former colleagues from Google had joined Reddit to help rebuild the company (Reddit had been owned by Condé Nast for the nearly eight years prior). It was the sleeping giant of the internet, with nearly 300 million users and under 100 employees. I joined the team the following year to help launch our L.A. presence with Will, Ben (Miller), and Dante (Orpilla). The biggest questions we needed to answer at the time were, “What does L.A. mean to Reddit? And what does Reddit mean to L.A.?”( See below for their thoughts two years down the road.)

Why Reddit? Why L.A.?

Will: Reddit and Los Angeles are both grids with massive pockets of culture that often manage to shift culture entirely. The difference is, Reddit is where passions are shared and Los Angeles is where passions are made.

Now that we have this IRL presence in LA, we have opened up the connection between industry and the masses in a very exciting way. We’re making it happen through our partnerships with showrunners, tech companies, and advertisers alike.

This past month, Reddit’s Chief Technology Officer Chris Slowe moderated a conversation with Vint Cerf, one of the founding fathers of the internet at the Google L.A. office. Chris sourced his questions directly from the r/LosAngeles subreddit community and the r/Technology community. These Angelenos and tech fans had their voices heard.

As more partners come to us, we’d like to explore how we can dip further into giving that megaphone to the staggeringly wide spread of communities hosting passionate conversation every day on Reddit. Redditors are not just techies; we’re also baseball fans, and makeup artists, and hypebeasts, and auto mechanics. Anything you love, we have a community for it. There’s even an r/Advertising.

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

Matt: Drive to do good work and make an impact. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of companies whose missions I truly believe in, that what we’re doing is worthwhile. It makes all the difference. The work will not always be inspiring, but the end goal still can be. With individual projects or campaigns, I gravitate towards those that I can be proud of once finished. Ultimately, I want to be able to sign my name on quality.

Will: What keeps me motivated is motivation itself. Giving a damn. It’s the one thing us humans can do that the robots can never take from us.

Robert M. Pirsig died one year ago this month. He wrote a book called Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance and in it he describes an idea of quality that’s as refreshingly practical as it is abstract. The idea is that only as much quality can be extracted from a creation as was put in it. So a motorcycle will only have has many miles in it as the manufacturer cares about the thing when they make it; and beyond that how much its owner cares to fix it.

You’ve got to give a damn if you want the things in your life to be good.

Looking at advertising specifically, I’ve found this to be the most useful standard to hold for my own process of developing creative content and campaigns for partners. If it’s engagement we’re looking for from people, then we need to be engaged ourselves when making whatever we’re putting in front of them.

Funny enough, giving a damn is also about 70% of the formula for getting to the front page on Reddit. That’s why it’s always good.

 What excites you most about this industry?

Matt: We are living through a unique time of information availability and proliferation. There is societal awareness of the power of influence and attention like we’ve never seen. The next generation was born into this connectedness and has just started to realize its power. The March for Science rewrote the rulebook on advocacy and demonstrating what true digital influence looks like. Their movement has a cause and ethos behind it that resonates on its own. At the same time, brands are being asked to take a stance in how, where, and what they stand for. While it’s a precarious place to play from, it’s also a huge opportunity and will define the successful brands of tomorrow.

Will: The evolution of Creative’s role in advertising over just these past few years has been exciting for me. Now that we effectively have the ability to reach anyone, anywhere, anytime, the question we’re left with is, “What do we say?”

That shift has moved creative from a supporting role in advertising into a driving one. At its highest expression, you see brands functioning as patrons of the arts in a manner that used to be reserved only for royalty and the church.

Most encouraging of all, is that in order for this approach to work at all, these brands have to actually add value and move a creative field forward – and when they do, it absolutely soars. Look at Apple’s “Shot on an iPhone” campaign. Look at Vans’ Warped Tour.

 


Photos: Don Lupo

 
What advice do you have for those just starting in advertising?

Listen to what everyone is saying and figure out how to say it better. The best ideas are self-apparent, so learn how to express them in a way that moves conversation forward faster and further, whatever the medium.

I find words to be especially important. It’s vital to not only recognize which words have become empty language, but to also make an effort to replace those words with richer language. That’s how we evolve. I’ve learned this from watching how Reddit fosters healthy conversation. Our users refuse to let language, whether it’s words or memes, go stale.

Applying that to advertising right now, I’d say we should talk less about being “authentic” and talk more about being “human”. “Authentic” is a great example of a term I habitually say and hear in discussions quite a bit, oftentimes with a wince or a caveat. So let’s ditch it! I’ve started to replace it with “human”; to me, that’s a more precise, rich term for the same root idea while being a supposedly less sophisticated piece of vocabulary. That’s the good stuff.

Also, read Marshall McLuhan.


What’s next for Reddit?

Will: Reddit is waking up and finding that it is strong. The platform is modernized at long last and now the rest of the world can access the big secret. Our job (on my team anyway) is now to communicate that we’re open for business - and that our business is to drive Reddit’s larger mission to bring community and belonging to everyone.

We’ve gained a clearer vision on what makes this Reddit thing such a unique beast and now we know how to run with it. For instance, I’ve learned that unlike other social media platforms, Reddit is defined more by the spaces our users occupy than by the users’ identities themselves. How cool!

Where we are defines who we are. Whether it’s the place we call home, the event we bought tickets for, or the bar we’re dancing in. The spaces we inhabit affect our identity deeper than we may have yet considered. That’s not only a useful insight for Reddit, but it’s also a meaningful, refreshing way to look at the world. Reddit is a treasure trove of truth like that. Ultimately, that’s what we’ll be building our business on.

Matt: I’m focused on building out Reddit’s global agency practice. Reddit’s brand partnerships team has already done a lot of quality work with agencies over the past two years. And we’ve done a really good job of showing what’s possible with some of the biggest brands in the world: Coca-Cola, Toyota, McDonald’s, Amazon, etc. Now we’re at a point where we can be more intentional with our agency relationships and start forming longer-term partnerships. That means bringing additional resources to the table and exploring ways that agencies can leverage our data/insights, creative teams, trainings, etc. We are ultimately in the business of connecting brands with our communities in a meaningful and healthy manner. Agencies will often be the vehicle to drive those engagements.

 


Any closing thoughts?

Matt: As the industry continues to evolve, we will need more folks willing and able to grasp concepts from different angles, levels, and perspectives. I believe that the industry will increasingly seek out people from a wide variety of backgrounds. As the delivery and creative executions become more democratized, it boils value down to its simplest form: storytelling. More than ever, advertising will need diverse experiences, contextual awareness, value establishment, and a deep understanding of human nature. For me, that’s an exciting future.

Will: It’s vital for us to remember to focus on the end, not the means. Advertising is the means through which we send our messages. What is your message?

My message at Reddit is clear to me. It’s one of the company’s core values: “Remember The Human”.

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #ThinkMembers  Members  Reddit 

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Member Spotlight: Cynthia Pena, Account Executive, Marketing and Communications

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, April 11, 2018

 


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

I studied PR but I kind of fell into advertising. When I graduated, I was working weddings on the side, and a contact through there also worked in the ad world managing events and facilities. While working a month-long agency project under her, I ended up falling in love with the work and culture.

I stayed on in this hybrid role they created including facilities, reception, and barista. I ended up meeting a ton of people in the agency, (learned how to make bomb lattes) and within a few months, I easily transferred into their PR department. Ever since, I’ve always been involved in events in some capacity, but my main focus has been agency communications and marketing.

 

 

What excites you most about this industry?

The fact it’s always evolving. The ways brands are reaching consumers and joining conversations are never the same. When you see someone do it in a clever way and actually add value, it’s gold.

Why are you involved with ThinkLA?

It’s the perfect opportunity to not only meet and network with others throughout LA, but also to make a difference and impact the events in our industry. Even early in your career, you have a voice and opinions, ThinkLA lets you explore both.

What’s the best advice you’d give to someone interested in a career in advertising? Are there any written materials you suggest to read?

Find someone already doing what you want to do and ask for coffee or 10 minutes of their time. See what you can learn from them and how they got to where they are.

For reading materials: Read the trades! Know what’s going on in the industry, the trends, the changes. It’s all valuable.



Photos: Martin Aranda

 

Tags:  #Memb  #MemberSpotlight  #ThinkMembers  Marketing  Member Spotlight  Members  Team One  Team One USA  ThinkLA  ThinkMembers 

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I'm Conflicted About Virtual Reality; You Should Be, Too

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, August 30, 2017

 
Aaron Dubois 
VP, Digital
Phelps

The more I play and work with VR, the more I’m awed by its potential. But my awe cuts both ways. I’m excited by what we can do with VR but worried about the unintended impact it could have on society and marketing.

VR redefines what an immersive experience can be, reshaping how we interact with people online. VR is inspiring a new generation of games, operating systems, and interactive tools, to the point of defining a completely new vernacular of digital interaction. And VR is driving the creation of virtual marketplaces for niche audiences (Facebook will undoubtedly be a huge player here) that represent treasure chests for brand connection. This will only spread as the cost differential — a Google Cardboard costs about $10 while an Oculus Rift setup costs over $2,500 all in — comes down. 

Here’s the rub: The more we feed technologies that encapsulate people and allow us to hyper-profile them, the more we risk isolation and regulation.  

VR represents a quantum leap in withdrawal from the physical world. We already divide our attention with smartphones and count checking up on the activity postings of our Facebook friends (who we haven’t seen or talked to in over 10 years) as maintaining relationships. And we compulsively maintain virtual connections while doing other things. I mean, who doesn’t watch TV with a phone or tablet handy these days? 

Now we can retreat into a bubble that replaces our reality altogether. You can’t multitask when you’re doing VR. You cut off all contact with your immediate surroundings and sensory perception attached to them, not realizing that time in corporeal reality is critical to honing your skills at interacting with other people (read: being in the world). 

Meanwhile, marketers can record every granular micro-touchpoint from your stay in a branded virtual world, and build predictive personas that will make today’s targeting look like foggy glasses. That’s an invitation to regulation which could close off the marketing opportunity altogether. 

Now is the time for marketers to put guardrails on VR — to protect the vehicle before we lose the keys. We need to pause and consider the potential ramifications of the plunge into VR marketing, including the risk of cannibalizing attention. Marketing depends on people being available and emotionally receptive — neither of which extended VR engagement promotes. The dystopian future that science fiction writers paint of entire societies hooked into virtual worlds is starting to look eerily accurate. 

Technology moves exponentially faster than our ability to know how best to use it responsibly. And every new platform hits the boundary harder. As marketers, we share a responsibility for the impact of our work, so we need to think through how we use the wondrous technology taking shape before our eyes. Before we get around to some sort of industry standard, we can all do the world a favor by asking ourselves why we’re using VR and whether we’re prepared for the tradeoff. Not every occasion will pass that test.

The original version of this article appeared on MediaPost.

About Phelps
Phelps creates and delivers integrated messaging and media campaigns for category leaders such as Bosley, City of Hope, Dunn-Edwards Paints, Learn4Life schools, Natrol vitamins, Panasonic, Public Storage and SunPower Corp. Founded in 1981 and 100% employee-owned, Phelps ranks as one of the largest independent agencies on the West Coast, and is regularly listed among the Best Places to Work in Los Angeles. Phelps is a member of the ICOM global network of agencies.
www.phelpsagency.com

Tags:  #ThinkMembers  Commentary  Member News  Members  Phelps 

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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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