McCanners of MPLS | Brian Panek

Welcome to McCanners of MPLS, a short feature on the great people that help make up our agency. 

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How long have you been at McCann and what do you do here? I began working as a Media Strategist at McCann Minneapolis in December, 2016

First celebrity crush? Current celebrity crush? Little Debbie always has been and always will be my one true love

Celebrity doppelgänger? My friends say that I look like Jason Sudeikis. Personally, I don’t see it.

What do you do when you’re not working? I’m probably hanging with my friends or family

Favorite smell? Bonfires!

Last thing you Googled? Tasty, easy crock pot recipes

First-ever job? When I was in the third grade I was the friendly neighborhood paperboy

Where was the last place you traveled to? Last spring, I was able to experience Europe for the first time. We spent two weeks cruising all about Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Estonia and Germany

Current song on repeat? Glamorama by Bryce Vine

What’s on your desk? Far too many post-it notes, my lucky cheese head and a small herd of dust bunnies

Favorite thing to do in MPLS? Brewery hopping is always fun, especially on a bright summer day!

McCanners of MPLS | John Schmit

Welcome to McCanners of MPLS, a short feature on the great people that help make up our agency. 

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How long have you been at McCann and what do you do here? Two good questions… 3.5 years, Webmaster

What was the last picture you took on your phone? Any empty nasal spray bottle (as a reminder to buy more). This one didn’t make it to Instagram

What advice would you tell your high school self? Don’t rest your chin on your fist for your senior year photo. It’s forever…

Name a character trait you inherited from your parents: To gather (borderline hoard) and simultaneously purge material goods. It’s a constant struggle.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? 8th grade badminton champion. I beat the school star athlete and he was soooooooooo mad. I think it scarred him for life.

What is your motto? Keep on truckin’

Your worst habit? Staying up too late. But my latest late isn’t very late.

If you could be any age for a week, what age would you be and why? Forever 21 (for a week)

What would your DJ name be? Apparently it’s “DJ Party Zone” (http://bzfd.it/2fyD8pn)

Favorite scary movie? Blair Witch Project

Who would play you in a movie of your life? Steve Buscemi

The Exciting Evolution of Nielsen and Comcast

Last week’s announcement of Nielsen partnership with Comcast to integrate data from set top boxes of the nation’s largest MSO in local market measurement is an exciting prospect. When combined with Nielsen’s other measurement assets (Dish Network, AT&T/DirecTV, Charter/Spectrum as well as a boost in existing Nielsen panels) this is a far cry from LPMs, set top measurement and diaries currently in play. For those of us who recall the ancient days of only 4 local surveys per year – coupled with manually creating estimates and schedules ON PAPER – its going to be a cornucopia of timely info. The potential of this wealth of data will hopefully result in 1) far more insight into the qualitative aspects of programming  2) an updated profile of viewers, in particular the more elusive such as men and younger targets, and 3) undiscovered nuances in dayparts and programming that allow us to be more accurate – and creative – in reaching our clients’ audiences.  

 

Of course, this evolution will have its critics. But so did the advent of set top household meter, local people meter, personal people meter and code reader technologies. Some will have concerns about the attribution of viewing trends in the former diary-only markets, others will question the validity of resulting audience figures, some may suspect a conspiracy between the traditional linear content channels. But if history demonstrates anything, the “new normal” arriving later in 2018 will become status quo.   Like the advances mentioned earlier, there will be growing pains and it will take time to establish what is the norm.   

 

One challenge to agencies and media will be to project with a strong degree of certainty any impact on CPPs and CPMs. Along with this, it will be crucial to make sure we are carefully watching the initial data and anticipating changes to what we have seen historically and how we advise clients about any fluctuations. Again, this transition is nothing new to those of us who’ve weathered the evolution of media measurement through the years. At the end of the day, if we as an industry can provide our clients with improved accuracy, improved targeting and more sophistication in reaching their prospects, this should be a good thing.

McCanners of MPLS | Kirsten Erickson

Welcome to McCanners of MPLS, a short feature on the great people that help make up our agency. 

How long have you been at McCann and what do you do here? I’ve been here for a little over a year. I started out as a media intern and now work as a media strategist for the Johnsonville and Caboodles team

Have you ever cut your own hair? I cut my own bangs (and hold my breath the entire time, every time)

Favorite go-to drink? Barefoot Moscato. I like the cheap stuff!

Best date spot in MPLS? Betty Danger’s for that ferris wheel life

What movie makes you cry/laugh? Titanic makes me weep every time. Come on, there was so enough room on that door for both of them.

Name 3 things on your bucket list: Backpacking through Europe, seeing Bon Iver in concert and reading the whole Game of Thrones series.

Who are your creative heroes? Donald Glover, JK Rowling, and Peggy Olson

Favorite quote? “Nevertheless, she persisted”

What do you enjoy most when you’re not working? Seeing friends and family, especially if eating food is involved. Also, running with a good podcast in to work off said food.

Go-to karaoke song? I only like Taylor Swift songs a couple of drinks in, so therefore, anything by Taylor Swift.

Favorite curse word? It rhymes with hit and works in just about any situation.

Trends of Programmatic and Social Media

Programmatic and social media are largely used across our industry to generate brand awareness, increase site traffic, and drive sales conversions. Year after year, we see new trends on the horizon, and it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and offerings. The future of programmatic and social media is bright and continues to evolve. Below are some trends to keep an eye out for in 2018.

 

Social:

Ephemeral Marketing

In the world of social, ephemeral marketing will surge in 2018. As we begin to shift our targeting efforts away from Millennials and onto Gen Z, this concept will become increasingly relevant. What is ephemeral marketing, you ask? Well, it’s actually quite simple. It’s the idea that content should be short, precise, and impermanent. Take Snapchat as an example. Brands post “stories” which disappear within 24 hours – giving off the illusion of exclusivity. This goes against the idea of timeless content that continues to generate engagement over time, and instead, keeps content new, fresh, and exciting.

 

Video

Within the last year, video has made leaps and bounds on Facebook. With the new auto-play feature, video views have grown astronomically and we have every reason to believe that the growth with continue into 2018. Within the last few months, we’ve seen short form ads pop up in the middle of a video that was already being watched within the Newsfeed. These ads are non-skippable and have high completions rates because individuals want to get back to the video they actually opted-in to watch. Pretty clever, if you ask us. As Facebook continues to use a “video first” approach, we as advertisers have increased opportunity to profit from this.

 

Transparency across Social Channels

In the era of fake news and in an attempt to be more transparent with the general public, social channels such as Facebook and Instagram are testing a new system which will allow viewability into all ads running on the platform. This comes into light following the most recent election cycle, however, it will impact all advertisers moving forward, not just political ones. With the simple click of a button, viewers will be able to see all active ads from any given business page. While some may see this as a negative, there is also something positive to be gleaned here, and that is insight into your competitor’s social strategy.

 

Programmatic:

Mobile

The foundation of the future revolves around taking a mobile-first approach. For that to work, mobile must not be a siloed environment and a responsibility of a few within an organization, but the responsibility of all marketers. Mobile is no longer an exception, but the rule. By not taking a mobile first approach, your competitors that do will have a leg up on your advertising efforts. It will hurt you in Omni Channel activation and unleashing the power of location based data for cross-device targeting.

 

Location Based Targeting

Who you are is defined by where you go. Being able to understand where you consumers go will help inform your marketing strategies to both their online and offline behavior. With location based data, you are able to tie a device to a person and then a person to a household. With this, you will be able to see what brands a person visits and then see what TV shows and other media they consume to unlock the Omni channel activation. To enable location data will allow you to have a better view of the consumer journey - observing, measuring, and using analytics to find out why your campaign worked and to inform your targeting strategy.

 

Omni Channel Activation

The idea of omni channel campaigns is not necessarily new or novel, however, they are becoming increasingly more important in our industry. In the past, we viewed programmatic and social as separate entities, when in reality, they should be seen as just one. Having this frame of mind will allow us to effectively reach our consumers with the correct amount of frequency, campaign wide. Eliminating fragmentation allows us to have consistency in targeting across the board, which results in smarter and stronger campaigns for our clients.

MIMA Meetup: the Store of the Future

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Last Thursday, the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) put together a “Meetup”, a series in which leaders in the marketing and advertising industry share their knowledge and insight on the digital world. The topic? What is in the Store of the Future? A Conversation About Omni-Channel Retail Innovation. The speakers consisted of leaders from the Target Corporation, including Chris Walton, Anne Mezzenga, and Rick Olson. After a short introduction, a few bagels, and chit chat the most obvious question was asked: “So what is the store of the future going to be like?” Here were our takeaways from the discussion:

 

Omni-channel marketing is essential

In the past, shoppers had to get into their car and drive to the store in order to pick up whatever they wanted or needed. Now, shopping is no longer a linear experience. It has grown with technology and evolved into providing whatever consumers need as soon as they want it, without even having to leave the house. We now have multifaceted technology platforms that allow us to shop whenever and wherever we like. Target, for example, allows its consumers to buy products online, on their mobile phones, or in the store itself. For a store to last in the future, it needs to provide an omni-channel shopping experience.

 

The SOTF is like a party

Walton, Target’s Vice President of Merchandising, jumped at the idea of sharing his detailed analogy to help us visualize what the Store of the Future will be like. He compared it to being like a small party, in which the guests are actually retailers that all bring something unique to the table. Ready for the guest list?

  • Amazon, for their ever-growing ideas and membership option that allows consumers to get what they want in under two days.
  • Starbucks, for its app that redefines customer service, letting users pay with their phone, skip the line, and earn free coffee.
  • Bonobos, because of its one-of-a-kind business model that allows consumers to try on clothes in store, but not take them home. In return, free shipping is offered for those wanting to buy an item.
  • IKEA, for its “work for it” attitude. You walk through the showroom, you find the pieces of the furniture, you load it into your car, and you assemble it at home. The advantage? The insanely low prices.
  • A casino, for being one of the only places left that forces its consumers to get up and walk through its doors if you want what they offer.

 

In-store experiences will be important

Are the brick and mortar retailers doomed? Not exactly. According to Mezzenga, in-store experiences have a chance to save their physical stores. Retailers like Nordstrom and Martin Patrick are providing high-end in-store experiences that make their consumers feel cared for in a way that online has yet to provide. Nordstrom, the costly department store, offers a personal stylist, coffee bars, and seating areas for its guests. Although, these experiences are rarely found in low-end businesses.

 

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

While changing up the business model and re-inventing store experiences sounds great, retailers must be cautious of their older, not-so tech savvy demographic that still clip coupons and solely shop in stores. It’s wise for the Store of the Future to roll out its ideas in a way that won’t push away Baby Boomers and early Gen X-ers. Slowly, but surely, dedicated shoppers will adjust to technology changes, but if they all of a sudden feel like they’re being displaced, they could ultimately cut off ties with a store forever.

McCanners of MPLS | Jackie Grandstrand

Welcome to McCanners of MPLS, a short feature on the great people that help make up our agency. 

How long have you been at McCann and what do you do here? I have been at McCann for 10 years. We were called “MRM Worldwide” when I started. I am a project manager.

What is the fanciest thing you’ve ever done? I rented a designer gown and went to a masquerade ball, mask and all.

What are you currently obsessed with? Orange Theory Fitness and Pure Barre

Iced coffee or hot coffee? From where? Iced. Caribou.

What was the weirdest Halloween costume you’ve ever worn? In third grade, I thought it would be cool to dress as Rambo (I had an older brother). I got decked out in camo and even matching face paint and then cried of embarrassment at school when people asked why I made that decision.

What would be your last meal? Pasta. With a side of pizza. And warm apple crisp with ice cream for dessert.

Who is the most glamourous person you have ever met? Sir Paul McCartney – I got to watch his sound check at Xcel and then he came down and met a few of us.

Which talent would you most like to have? An amazing voice. I love singing, but I’m best as a choir singer.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Raising my two kids. (But it’s not over yet!)

Favorite restaurant in MPLS? Broder’s Pasta Bar, hands down. Pasta all day.

What is the dumbest way you’ve been injured? I first threw out my back just by crouching down to hug my toddler – couldn’t stand up, and couldn’t walk properly for days.

2017 Television Season: Hits & Misses

Week 4 of the 2017-2018 TV Season is about to wrap up, so we can now catch a glimpse of what’s hot and what’s not. Unfortunately, the 2017 broadcast programming premiered amidst the chaos of hurricane recovery in the south and southeast, wildfires burning in the west and the worst mass shooting in US history which affected regular viewing habits.

 

Out of the gate, CBS’s Young Sheldon(prequel to successful The Big Bang Theory) is on top with A18-49.  How can anyone not like this adorable genius? Stay tuned for his return on Thursdays in November.  It should be a big night pairing up with Big Bang Theory which had an “engaging” premiere of its own.

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Returning series This Is Us is no surprise.  They are seeing nice growth even after successful freshman year.  It is definitely the “water cooler” program of the season.

Other freshman shows starting off well are ABC’s The Good Doctor and CBS’s Seal Teamwhich have strong ratings in key demos.

 

Not every show can be a hit.  Here are a few that we predict won’t be renewed:

 

ABC’s Ten Days in the Valley.  The only thing good to say about this show staring Kyra Sedgwick is that it gives us another degree of separation to Kevin Bacon.  It had the lowest rated new show premiere.

CBS, you’re not fooling us here with Me, Myself & I--the one where three completely different looking men (Jack Dylan Grazer, Bobby Moynihan and John Larroquette) play the same character at different stages of his life.  NBC’s This Is US can teach you a thing or two about that.

ABC’s Marvel’s Inhumans had a poor premiere followed by ratings decreases in each consecutive week.

 

Several shows are just too close to call and we will have to keep a close eye on these:

 

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ABC’s Designated Survivor.  When did this become the Agent Hannah Wells Show and what did the First Lady, Alex Kirkman, do to her hair?  Viewers are distracted and the ratings show it.

Fans of Fox’s The Exorcist should start praying…the end is near!

NBC’s (renewed) Will & Grace started strong for their premier but have been losing viewers week to week.  Not sure this show will rebound.  Fox’s sci-fi drama The Gifted might also be lacking momentum to keep around for second season.

Kevin Can Wait on CBS alienated a good portion of its fanbase by killing off Kevin Gables’ wife, Donna, “because they were out of ideas for plotlines”, ratings dropped by over 50% for the key A18-49 demo.  Will the Kevin James/Leah Remini chemistry be enough to keep this show off the “Wait” list?

 

Sources:

 TV Series Finale (tvseriesfinale.com)

TV By The Numbers (zap2it.com)

McCanners of MPLS | Duke Borgerding

Welcome to McCanners of MPLS, a short feature on the great people that help make up our agency. 

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How long have you been at McCann and what do you do here? I’ve been here for over 3 years, this time…plus a year right out of college. I’m an Associate Media Director working on strategy development for Johnsonville and Miracle-Ear.

Have you ever cut your own hair? All the time ;)

Favorite go-to drink? Umm… I have three staples. Water, Diet Pepsi, and Grain Belt… not necessarily in that order. 

Best date spot in MPLS? I have three kids, so I’m probably the worst person to seek dating locales from. Maybe Minnehaha Falls with dinner at Sea Salt

What movie makes you cry/laugh? Anything classic Will Ferrell 

Name 3 things on your bucket list: Go back to Australia, start my own brewery, and finish building a custom motorcycle/hot rod

Who are your creative heroes? Ikea… anyone that can figure out how to get a whole living room into a cardboard box that fits in a hatchback is pretty creative in my book.

Favorite quote? “Where ever you go, there you are” …total dad joke!

What do you enjoy most when you’re not working? Spending time with my wife and kids

Go-to karaoke song? Used to be The Thunder Rolls by Garth Brooks

Favorite curse word? Let’s just say it’s a four letter word

Truth About Street

McCann Minneapolis Blankets the Twin Cities for Truth About Street

On October 10th, over 20,000 McCann Worldgroupemployees across the world dropped what they were doing and flooded into the streets of their city. The purpose? To learn the unique truths that help shape our global and local market and to better develop solutions for our clients.

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Armed with six questions (and matching tees), our task was to ask and survey citizens of the Twin Cities Metro area about their shopping habits, culture, e-commerce experience and consumer attitude. Around the world in over 100 countries, other McCann Worldgroup companies were doing the exact same thing. The answers discovered will later become part of a giant, global study called Truth About Global Brands, helping McCann Worldgroup grow and understand the world we live in.

Our agency broke into groups of five and divvyed up areas of Minnesota to visit, including the North and West metro Suburbs, Northeast Minneapolis, Downtown Minneapolis, South Minneapolis, Mall of America, St. Paul, Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, and last, but not least, the town of Faribault. Aside from our questionnaire, we also kept our eyes open and observed styles and characteristics of each region, like how brands and businesses promote themselves in a unique and local way. The result ended up being a successful and humbling experience. Minnesotans were eager to talk about their life in the consumer world and provided our teams with helpful information that will hopefully lead to greater insight about cultural shifts and shopping trends.

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McCann Worldgroup’s President, Luca Lindner, has said “This is the first time that we have galvanized our entire employee base to help us develop in-depth insights about local culture and its connection today to brand attitudes and shopping behavior.”

Shane Robbins, McCann Minneapolis’ SVP Group Account Director says, “Truth About Street was a great opportunity for our team to get out of the office for a few hours and explore what’s really on people’s minds in the Twin Cities. I was struck by how optimistic people are across the board even in these weird, politically divided times. And also how much everyone hates the stereotype that we all talk like they did in the Movie ‘Fargo’ – 2/3 of the people we talked to mentioned it!”

Truth Central, McCann’s global intelligence unit, has conducted over 20 studies world wide, including Truth about Youth, Truth about Moms, and Truth about Wellness.

Want to see some of the fun that we had? Visit our Instagram page at @mccannmpls or search the hashtag #TruthAboutStreet to check out some of our greatest moments roaming the streets of Minnesota.

Apple iOS11: Advertising Pros & Cons

It’s a pop culture phenomenon. Apple rolls out a new and improved iOS that helps your storage, battery and at-home productivity… or perhaps decreases all three of the above. That, we’re still trying to decide.

With the update, we have seen a drastic enhancement to the user experience. From the addition of indoor mapping technology, Apple Pay peer-to-peer feature, improved Siri technology and option for auto deletion of old data to free up storage – as a consumer, iOS 11 is everything we didn’t know we needed. 

While consumers are enjoying the new bells and whistles, we’re taking a look at what iOS 11 could mean for advertisers and our brands.

PROS:

Augmented Reality – Although this is not a “new” feature, iOS allows users to submerse themselves and get creative in their environments with the AR feature on iOS.

  • The Implications: Brands can allow users to interact with their products, make an e-commerce experience come to life, and instill confidence in their consumers as they’re making their purchases. Gone are the days of buying and toting home a big floor lamp, and realizing it doesn’t quite fit the motif of your living room.

QR Code Identification – With this feature, users no longer need to download and keep an app with the sole purpose of scanning and reading QR codes. This feature is a development that allows a simple point and scan by the use of the phone’s camera.

  • The Implications: Out-of-home environments just got a bit more interactive. This will allow consumers to engage with your OOH units in an experiential way and removes barriers to interaction.

Siri Enhancements – With Siri on-device learning, the personal assistant technology is learning more about your past search and app behavior, along with the ability to predict your future needs.

  • The Implications: Do we sense a future in Siri promoted “suggestions”?

 

CONS:

Intelligent Tracking Prevention – Although previous versions of iOS didn’t allow third-party cookies, iOS 11 will refresh third-party cookies after 24 hours, and first-party cookies after 30 days.

  • The Implications:  Since programmatic buyers are able to leverage 3p data segments to target users on the internet, the idea that those user's identities will be wiped away will result in declines of scale within these behavioral segments on mobile.

Location Services – In the past, developers had to implement the ability for users to only share location “While using the app”. Now, users have this option with all of their applications.

  • The Implications: Like the intelligent tracking prevention feature, this too, could cut down on data collection through application usage.

It’s sufficient to say that the user experience has certainly improved with iOS 11. Advertisers, on the other hand, might be looking down the pipeline of a decrease in scale when it comes to programmatic mobile behavioral data.  We are, however, optimistically looking forward to the future of AR, QR and other immersive features of this update.

Why Cable's Swan Song Isn't this Year's Sound of Summer

The news constantly reminds us that we have entered an on-demand epoch of video consumption. With high speed internet access, unlimited data plans, over-the-top devices, and smart TVs now a ubiquitous part of our personal household ‘technology stacks’, the press frequently reminds us that Xfinity and Time Warner are for whom the bell tolls.

But before the undertaker arrives to solemnly march your cable box away, we would suggest taking a moment to reflect on what you really want from your evening viewing experience.

Because while there is no refuting the extraordinary onslaught of binge-able content that on-demand content creators like Netflix and Amazon have conferred upon us, in their desire to put the cable guy out of work, they’ve created a preponderance of confusion, as the New York Times recently reported.

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When someone hears about a new show like The Tick at the proverbial water cooler, or at the actual in-office kombucha tap or cold-press keg, they now need to figure out what service it is available on, and if they don’t already pay for that service, they then need to decide whether they want to make this new investment.

This is of course on top of the investment required to have access to the high-speed internet data necessary to watch the show to begin with.

The dream of cutting the cord seems to be related to the fiscally responsible nature of the Millennial generation and years of customer service mistreatment by the likes of Comcast and Charter. But, at least today, cutting the cord does not yet lead to a universe of unlimited content for a fraction of the $150 cable tab many of us found ourselves paying when our 6 month, triple pay, introductory offers expired.

Recently, we did a back-of-the-napkin comparison of the least expensive possible cable package we could find versus the least expensive possible cord-cutting comparable.

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Pricing estimates sourced from xfinity.com, sling.com, and netflix.com

We found that you’d save $4, have at least 110 fewer channels to select programs from, and likely be missing out on desirable local channels like your local CBS affiliate. That’s if you only purchase one streaming service. The reality is, according to a recent study, that almost half of 18-29 year olds are subscribing to more than three different streaming services and more than half agree that there are just too many .

And, to give some credit to the cable companies, they’re trying.

They’ve been merged and reformed and are increasingly operating like modern tech companies with options to stream your subscription on any device at no additional charge, free WiFi across the country, and strong slates of on-demand programming including DVR options that will often serve up desirable content far more quickly than a streaming service does. Xfinity has integrated Netflix into its X1 operating system and other streaming services are on-deck.

If you take a step back and examine what’s going on, one must recognize that it’s the cable companies who have the most extensive high-speed Internet infrastructure, the access to the most content, and the ability to seamlessly aggregate it all into one easy to find, easy to use, and easy to access interface.

Before we sign off the cable guy with a cord-cutting swan song, we’d suggest taking another look at how cable companies are reforming themselves to provide a convenient way to harness the increasingly disparate sources for content arising across the entertainment ecosystem.

By the way, you can watch The Tick only with an Amazon Prime subscription for $99 a year.

The Gift(y) of a BrandLab Internship

McCann Minneapolis Learns as Much as it Teaches from its BrandLab Summer Intern

 

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As the BrandLab puts it themselves, “You can’t ask for a job if you don’t know it exists.”

Which is exactly why McCann Minneapolis has been thrilled to participate in this year’s Brand Lab summer internship program and have an opportunity to reveal our craft to someone who never thought of advertising as a career path they would consider.

In our case, that person was Gifty Parker who will be a senior at Park Center High School this year. Gifty was one of 70 interns selected by the Brandlab to participate in an eight week summer internship.

Before coming to McCann, Gifty didn’t find the idea of working in advertising terribly appealing, “My imagination was the suit and tie man, walking down the street, that’s what I thought McCann was going to be like” but after 8 weeks on the job, Gifty looked at the advertising business differently, “It’s so appealing, I feel a lot of knowledge coming in, I’m not just learning one thing and going home.” Her favorite surprise about the advertising industry came during a tour with our General Mills on-site team, “I was surprised to find there was a job called a food stylist! I take pictures of my food all the time and I never get my food pictures to look like that, and now I know why!”

The BrandLab internship may provide new options to explore for the interns, but it was a huge asset to McCann as well.  As Jennifer Grimm, who supported Gifty during her internship said, “The best part was her perspective, her fresh new way of looking at everything. She asked great questions and she looked at our industry differently. You forget some of the cool things we get to do, she was a good reminder of that.”

Gifty was a huge cultural asset to our office, but she was also an active contributor on client business, helping to pull together a significant competitive project which she jumped into with both feet, “My favorite thing to do here was the competitive project. It was looking at the story in the numbers, what happened to that company that changed the numbers, that’s what was interesting to think about.”

Gifty is taking the fresh perspective she developed this summer back to school where she’s looking to take on more managerial roles in various student organizations and ultimately to college where she now plans to major in management and minor in biochemistry.

Thanks Gifty for all you gave us while you were here and best of luck to you as you take on the world!

Learning the Language of R

As a company focused on winning over the hearts and minds of consumers by inventing creative new ways for brands to connect their solutions to the people who would most find them of value, you might wonder why a room full of people here at McCann Minneapolis have gathered together early on a Thursday morning to learn how to write code.

 

“Everyone that works with data should learn to use a code language. Data is increasingly becoming the language of businesses.”, says Sam Krutzfeldt, analytics strategist at the agency. Sam has begun a weekly study group with 15 steady attendees from a variety of disciplines within the agency including management, strategy, web design, and investments, who are learning to code in ‘R’, the coding language for data analytics.

 

“R is (arguably) the most popular language of data scientists. Because it is open source, it means that the wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented every time that a project is started. It can be scheduled, hooked up to data sources, and automate a lot of work.”, Sam explains.

 

At the beginning of each week, Sam sends a challenge to the study group and at the end of each week, the group convenes in person to discuss potential solves.  But the reason these students are committed to learning to code in R goes beyond the practical business solutions the coding promises.

 

Studies and thought leaders argue that learning computer programming languages like R create better problem solvers and stimulates curiosity: https://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/the-real-benefits-of-coding.htmlhttps://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/feb/07/year-of-code-dan-crow-songkickhttp://articles.latimes.com/2014/apr/07/news/la-ol-teach-students-code-computer-science-20140406.

 

In a business environment that values creative solutions powered by the human stories embedded in data to help develop a deep, empathetic understanding of consumers’ needs, the gap between data and creativity is quickly narrowing. “That’s the way that all business is flowing right now, Sam counsels, “Ad agencies are no different.”

Amazon Wants to Be Your Life Operating System

Overshadowed by their earth-shattering acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon’s recent focus on highly usable and really inexpensive devices that offer great utility suggests that, more than an omni-channel retailer, what Amazon really wants is to become the life OS for the mainstream consumer, the inexpensive foil to Apple whose iCloud centered system requires entry via beautifully designed but wildly expensive aluminum encased products.

 

In April, Amazon launched the Echo Look ($199.99).  An extension of the existing Alexa digital voice assistant enabled Echo line of speakers, with a camera built in for analyzing your outfits and taking selfies.  Within weeks they followed with the Echo Show ($229.99), another Alexa integrated device, this time with a video screen for making Jetson-esque video calls or getting visual results to your voice queries.  Why stop at one device when you have multiple rooms in your house from which you want to control the world’s information?  Over the holidays, Amazon sold a 6-pack of their Echo Dots ($49.99 each) in a neat little crate, throwing one of them in for free. And If all this isn’t enough to convince you to integrate Alexa into every room in your home, try the Dash Wand with Alexa, announced days after the Echo Show.  Buy it for $20 and get $20 off your next Amazon order.  That’s right, Amazon is now essentially giving the Alexa digital voice assistant away for free. Actually, it already had been, it’s already somewhat stealthily integrated right into the Amazon app on every iOS and Android phone.

 

Their prolific line of Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets are cut from the same cloth. Easy to use, full of features, really inexpensive, with Fire devices starting at around $50.  Add an Amazon Prime membership for only $99 a year and now you have a constantly expanding array of diverse services easily on tap including discounted prices on almost anything you need with free delivery, a free music service, free on-demand videos, unlimited cloud storage for your photos, free two-hour delivery of some products through PrimeNow, and oh yeah, free books. Of course, many if not all of these services are delightfully integrated into their aforementioned Echos, Kindles, and Fires.

 

And Alexa is integrated wherever possible, the friendly life OS that, with just your voice (and a Prime subscription), navigates you to virtually any product, song, bit of knowledge, or entertaining distraction your life might require.  Access to this ecosystem, is not only relatively inexpensive, it actually can cost more not to participate in it.

 

Do people really want to talk to the Internet? A June 2017 eMarketer study indicates that only about 11% of US Internet users currently have a digital voice assistant plugged in and that same study suggests that by 2021, that percentage will only grow about 7 percentage points. But looking more broadly at all voice assistant usage including access through smartphones, TVs, computers and cars, a full ¾ of Americans have used voice commands with a device according to another June 2017 study by by the Advertising Research Foundation.  Besides that, when SNL lampoons your product, you know you’ve hit the mainstream. The interest is there, we’re all just waiting for the ‘killer apps’.

Amazon is poised to own a dominant stake in this new reality.  Not only do they have the first mover advantage in the digital voice assistant space, but according to a June 2017 Morning Consult poll, they have consumer trust over every other major tech player to keep their information secure as well. A not-to-be-overlooked component in a spooked world with threats seemingly looming on every click. Oh yes, and their products are the least expensive out there.

 

We our counseling our clients to start paying attention and figure out how to best work with Amazon now. For our clients that means exploring selling through their interface directly, or more often, using their robust consumer data (we assume now inclusive of voice search) for programmatic connections across the Internet. For more ambitious clients like General Mills, we’re taking the next step and developing skills (or apps) that will provide functionality and value to consumers on these devices. Finally, we need to recognize the implications of consumers using their voice to navigate digital data more often without a visual element.  Search inquiries in particular are subject to losing their visual component.  The recent ARF study referenced above indicates that north of 50% of those already using a digital voice assistant are using it on a weekly basis not only for music and news but to ask questions as well. Alexa, how much is Amazon’s stock worth today?

 

There’s no doubt that Amazon is playing a growing and more intimate role in a huge number of consumers’ lives.  With Alexa potentially emerging as their Life OS, we need to consider what it means when a consumer is gathering information that will be delivered through a computerized voice instead of a screen. We need to consider what marketing should look like in this new reality. When consumers can control the world with their voice, will they tolerate interruptive advertising? We need to determine how brands can authentically integrate into this ecosystem in a meaningful and useful way to add value to life rather than beg for a transaction.

 

 

 

* Header Photo Credit to Amazon.com, Inc.

Our 32 Under 32 Nominees

Erika Flogstad and Sam Krutzfeldt Are 2017 32 Under 32 Nominees!

For the past 5 years, Ad Fed MN has presented the 32 Under 32 Awards, spotlighting the fastest up and comers, creative leaders and top talent in the Twin Cities’ advertising market. It’s a prestigious award in the community, and has honored some of the best and the brightest in the city over the past 5 years.

McCann Minneapolis and Compass Point//McCann have traditionally been well-represented on the list of honorees, and this year is no exception. We’re pleased to announce that Erika Flogstad, Associate Media Director, Programmatic Strategy, and Sam Krutzfeldt, Data Strategist are two of the nominees for this year’s 32 Under 32 Awards presented by Ad Fed MN and Ad 2.

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Sam Krutzfeldt

Sam rocks because he makes analytics approachable for everyone.  Many people are intimidated by analytics, but Sam can break it down so people understand and feel more comfortable leveraging data in their day-to-day work. He’s involved in the local analytics community via the Tableau User Group, Alteryx User Group, and MinneAnalytics, and we are certain that he will be a force in Minneapolis marketing analytics for many years to come.

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Erika Flogstad

Erika has a huge impact since joining us. She has implemented a new training program, driven substantial revenue increases, won new business and facilitated ongoing thought leadership through transparent discussions about the worlds of programmatic, measurement and social media. Not to mention she is a very active participant in our internal MEET team and our community outreach programs like the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery.

Erika and Sam will be celebrated, along with the other nominees, at the 2017 32 Under 32 Awards ceremony May 18 at the Minneapolis Event Center – The Riverside.

To see all of this year’s nominees, check out https://32under32.org/2017nominees for details.

 

 

* Header Photo Credit to Ad Fed MN

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to Our 2017 Minn-Terns!

Please join us in congratulating Natalie Dolphin and Aadvik Jetley, selected as our newest Minn-Terns for 2017.

We look forward to seeing them in the agency this summer.

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NATALIE DOLPHIN

A May 2016 graduate of Boston College, Natalie’s been teaching English in Spain for the last 8 months and is proficient in Spanish. She loves photography, hiking, running and traveling.

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AADVIK JETLEY

Currently a senior at the University of Minnesota, Aadvik will be graduating in December 2017 from the Carlson School of Management. He knows English, Hindi and intermediate Spanish. He’s also a musician.

 

 

 

 

Predicting the Oscars 2017

Three years ago, we challenged our analytics team to build a model that would predict the Oscar winners for the 87th Academy Awards.  They responded by developing models that correctly predicted the winners of all four major categories, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

 

Last year, they went 3 for 4 missing on Best Picture.  This year, we’re at it again with the following predictions for the 89th Academy Awards ceremony this Sunday, February 26, 2017.

 

BEST PICTURE = LA LA LAND

Model probability of winning – 79-90%

Las Vegas probability – 87%

Key Indicators:

Winning best picture at Producer’s Guild Awards, IMDB user rating, Total number of nominations

 

BEST DIRECTOR = DAMIEN CHAZELLE (LA LA LAND)

Model probability of winning – 75-98%

Las Vegas probability – 93%

Key Indicators:

Winning best director at Director’s Guild Awards, Total Oscar nominations, Winning best director at Golden Globes

 

BEST ACTOR = CASEY AFFLECK (MANCHESTER BY THE SEA)

Model probability of winning – 63-88%

Las Vegas probability – 62%

Key Indicators:

Winning best Actor (drama) at Golden Globes, Winning best Actor Screen Actors’ Guild, Age of Actor in release year

 

BEST ACTRESS = EMMA STONE (LA LA LAND)

Model probability of winning – 47-76%

Las Vegas probability – 83%

Key Indicators:

Age of Actress in release year, Winning best Actress at Golden Globes, Total nominations for picture

 

Yes, our computers love La La Land too, and they haven’t seen anything but the data.  There has been some backlash since its domination of the Golden Globes, and with Hollywood taken to task last year over a lack of diversity, don’t count out Moonlight, Fences, or Hidden Figures in the best picture category.  We also wouldn’t be surprised to see Denzel Washington take the best actor award.

 

The Science

To generate our predictions, we used three machine-learning models commonly used to classify unknown quantities based on known data.  In this case, we are classifying the Oscar nominees as winners or losers based on what we know about the winners from previous years.  We encounter these types of models all the time.  They help us find movies we’d like to watch on Netflix, or books we’d like to read on Amazon.  They also play a role in medicine.  A similar classification model developed in part at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia helps to identify babies most likely to develop autism from MRI images of the babies’ brains.  You can find more information on that study here.

Data Sources:

Academy Awards DatabaseInternet Movie DatabaseRoger Ebert ReviewsScreen Actors GuildProducers Guild, Directors Guild

 

References:

Pardoe, I. and Simonton D. K. (2007) Applying Discrete Choice Models to Predict Academy Award Winners, J. R. Statist. Soc. A(2008), 171, Part 2, pp. 375-394

Silver Warc Media Award

Compass Point//McCann Awarded Silver Warc Media Award!

 

Underscoring its focus on using data and insights to develop revolutionary communications plans, Compass Point//McCann was recently awarded a Silver Warc Media Award in Best Use of Data for its Mission:Responsible campaign for Key Bank.

The Creative Idea: KeyBank understands that even the most responsible among us can have an "Oops Moment." And when we do, it can be a hassle. KeyBank is always looking out for you – bringing you more ways to feel confident about your finances.

The communications strategy utilized this idea to connect consumers to KeyBank, showing them that KeyBank understands them and is there to help. While awareness mattered, the key strategies included contextually aligning KeyBank to "oops moments", tightening the definition of our most valuable customer and ensuring that the channels utilized were able to drive acquisition efficiently.

Understanding how our high-value target responds to all media helped us develop a strong campaign around not only driving efficient conversions in digital and social, but also building brand awareness and consideration to new levels. Through the use of this data-first approach, we were able to better inform content that would influence our higher value target.

"Mission: Responsible" was a successful account acquisition campaign, driving double-digit a 17% lift across the total checking portfolio, while also increasing new accounts in KeyBank's top customer quartile by almost 80% +77%. But it was much more than that. It helped consumers navigate a stressful, and often ambiguous, process in tangible, fun ways, and allowed KeyBank to get noticed as a different kind of partner to the responsible among us. Mission accomplished.  For more information on the campaign, see our post about the Effie it won at http://www.mccannmpls.com/mr-effective

Congrats to Duke Borgerding, Associate Media Director and Charlie LeCrone, Director of Analytics for the industry recognition!

About the WARC Media Awards:

Warc's Media Awards recognize comms planning which has made a positive impact on business results. The fast-paced change across the media landscape is having seismic shifts on communications planning. As a result, some of the most pioneering thinking occurs at this stage of the process. Through these awards, Warc wants to capture communications planning best practice, showing how brands, their media agency partners and media owners are using new tech and platforms to help meet business objectives. The awards will also recognize brands that are getting the most out of their collaborations, as well as showing how data and analytics are revolutionizing communications planning in real time.

It’s Confirmed: Val O’Sullivan is a Winner

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Compass Point’s Associate Director of Investments, Val O’Sullivan, has been recognized as one of the top advertising talents among U.S. media buyers and planners.

One of only 13 winners of the inaugural Cynopsis Buyer & Planner Awards, which recognize strategists, communicators and executors of campaigns for their incredible contributions across broadcast, cable and digital platforms, Val’s being honored with other top U.S. talent from shops like Mindshare, Horizon Media and Zenith.

It’s no surprise to us at Compass Point. While she’s embraced the avalanche of data in her work, for Val data is always just the beginning. It’s her heart that transforms her “buys” into memorable full-on marketing experiences. Val provides insight, market smarts and ideas beginning early in the planning process; as a result, her work pulls in personalities, adjacencies, and content that elevate the creative work and weaves a cross-media message.

You can see Val’s profile along with the other winners here: http://www.cynopsistvawards.com/#buyers-planners

Congratulations, Val, and thank you for all you do to make Compass Point//McCann extraordinary among our peers!