In This Era of Persistent Burnout, Brands Need to Make Downtime ‘Cool’ for Consumers

Being busy is not “cool” anymore. There is increasingly talk about the benefits of wasting time, the dangers of hustle porn, the skewed economics of millennial burnout, the rise of anti-strivers. Just like Instagram photos of the unnamed variety of pink objects and avocado toasts, being “crazy busy” shifted from being a boast of self-importance…

Why Brands Need to Stand Their Ground Amid Problematic TV Hosts

Laura Ingraham once again got in hot water over comments on her show at the end of May. In a segment deemed offensive by her critics, Ingraham displayed a graphic entitled “Prominent Voices Censored on Social Media,” featuring many conservative people who have been banned or disciplined on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter….

Ensuring That the Necessary Conversations Are Had at This Year’s Cannes

Every year, the global marketing industry descends upon Cannes, France for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. It is a worthy festival and probably the most important one for anyone tied to the marketing industry. For the creative community, it is an opportunity to get inspired, learn from one another and win recognition. Marketers…

What Cannes Lions Can Learn From Cannes Film

What, as advertisers, can we learn from the entertainment industry? What can we learn from an industry that is constantly creating content that people will seek out and watch instead of paying to avoid? This is a particular challenge we are facing in advertising. Over the last 25 years, I’ve been trying to work out…

Lazy Father’s Day Branding Promotes Damaging and Far-Reaching Gender Stereotypes

It was Father’s Day on Sunday, and I frantically searched for the perfect gift for my dad. Last year, my annual search of “best Father’s Day gifts” yielded a meat thermometer. As he unwrapped an object that bore a heavy resemblance to a rectal probe at our kitchen table, he (very politely) asked what exactly…

Healthcare Creative Is Finally Getting Its Much-Deserved Recognition at Cannes

It’s hard to believe that health only became part of the Cannes Lions family just five years ago. Today, creativity in the category is (rightly) gaining a reputation for being among the best out there. After years of living in the shadows of its consumer cousins, healthcare is shaking off its niche strapline and earning…

Using Partnerships to Reimagine Creativity

What if we reimagined creativity to reinvent advertising? I want to challenge us all to consider this question as we gather at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. This question may seem odd coming from the world’s largest advertiser, but it’s important to ask because the world of advertising is being disrupted. Traditional TV advertising…

3 Questions to Help Marketers Learn at This Year’s Cannes Lions

The advertising industry lives on the cutting edge of culture. We’re constantly chasing and shaping the “next big idea,” but in this world of evolving technology and changing viewer habits, it’s easy to forget what matters most: the story. That’s why the Cannes Lions matters–because the festival is a celebration of brand storytelling. What’s more,…

3 Tips for Marketers to Reach a More Realistic Audience This Father’s Day

There’s a certain kind of dad making the rounds in advertisements. He’s the hapless, good-for-fun-but-not-much-else kind of parent, great at tossing a ball in the park but can’t find his way around a teething ring. With Father’s Day approaching, it’s a good time for advertisers to rethink this lazy messaging that reinforces stereotypical family roles…

3 Advertising Strategies That Can Be Applied to Your HR Department

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s rare that people stay at companies for years on end. One might say this is especially true for the marketing industry. A report by LinkedIn found that marketing roles had a turnover rate of 17% compared to the global turnover average of about 11% (as defined by a percentage of…

We’re Living Through the Beautiful, Improbable Revival of Print

Hours into a discussion, my friend asked what we had all been thinking: “How about print? Are you still asked to do print?” That was years ago, and we had been debating the award shows circuit, its benefits to the industry and what we thought had to change. It was natural that this kind of…

Media Companies Need to Pivot to Owned Commerce Models

Media companies are struggling. They’re missing revenue targets and laying off employees. Cash is drying up. In 2018, Vox missed revenue targets by approximately 15%, Verizon Media Group laid off 7% of its staff, BuzzFeed laid off 200 employees and Cond? Nast plans to paywall all digital content after reporting losses of $120 million in…

Why Brands Need to Focus on Value Creation Over In-Housing

The goal of marketing today remains the same as it has always been: winning the hearts and minds of customers to drive sustainable growth. Yet how marketers do this has radically transformed in recent years. The hyper-fragmentation of media has left marketers facing an explosion of consumer touchpoints and eroded the buying power of their…

Fostering Devoted Communities Is a Necessity for Lifestyle Brands

The unicorn of brand success is when a prosaic product rises above its workday use and becomes a lifestyle brand. A can of deodorant representing the cool kid ready for sex is Axe. Or when your basic drugstore lip balm conveys sustainability and luxury, that’s Burt’s Bees. Both followed a playbook to get from boring…

What Amazon’s Intention to Acquire Sizmek Means for the Advertising Industry

When Amazon announced the acquisition of Sizmek, it was seen as far from a footnote of a commerce behemoth picking up engineers from a bankrupt ad platform. I saw it as a move that would reshape the landscape of advertising as we know it. On Friday, Ycor, parent company of leading European tech and data…

3 Components Needed to Help Utilize the Talent You Already Have

You may have heard that U.S. unemployment is low right now. Extremely low. In fact, it recently hit its lowest point in almost 50 years. Even lower than during the booming late 1990s when McKinsey coined its now-famous term “the war for talent,” which perfectly described the human capital battleground that was playing out during…

How the Internet Morphed Into a Space Run by the Agendas of Massive Corporations

Since halfway through this decade–and more pointedly, since November 2016–the narrative around the internet has been changing. Seemingly overnight, Usenet and web communities like Angelfire gave way to massive behemoths like Facebook and Google. The tools that became the best at providing the exact information consumers sought were viewed in a new light. After elections…

Capturing the Hearts and Ears of Hispanic Consumers With Music

Hispanic consumers know when brands and agencies are checking the multicultural box. Authentic connections happen when marketers begin by asking how they can better understand their audiences. A recent meeting with a brand marketer drove this question home for me. What began as a conversation about multicultural marketing became an opportunity to discuss the critical…

Giving Artificial Intelligence Creative License Leads to Uninspired Advertising

It seems robots can now create artwork and write symphonies. Last year, Christie’s sold a painting created by artificial intelligence for $432,000. But can robot-made or data-driven art, literature or music really stir the soul? I’ve been a judge at various creative awards shows over the years. In this time on awards juries, I have…

Creating a Big Company That Functions as a Small Disruptor Can Help Your Brand Survive

You’d think that with access to a billion-dollar budget and a workforce in the thousands, you could build and maintain a thriving company indefinitely, that the only thing capable of dismounting you from your entrepreneurial throne would be a business bigger than yours. But, of course, we know that isn’t the case. The truth is…