The Next Big Ad Innovation: Stop Stealing My Time

by Lizzie Widhelm, Senior Vice President, Ad Product Sales & Strategy, Pandora

I think about time, all of the time. With a busy career, spouse and three young sons, I often feel like I have very little of it. So little, in fact, that I’m relentless about choosing who and what gets my attention.

Do I sound like anyone you know? The quest for time and attention is a hot topic in our households as well as every marketing meeting. Now more than ever, consumers are taking control of their time, so capturing it has become exceedingly difficult for brands. They want attention but it’s not surrendered easily. Continue Reading →

Two Lessons From the Road: Never Get Comfortable and Always Look Up the Hill

I’ve worked for the same company for 14 years.  Crazy, right?  When you start early at such a dynamic company like PepsiCo, it’s hard to make a change.  But, it’s more than that.  Throughout those 14 years, I can honestly say I’ve transformed.  And I’ve had to because the company and industry have moved so fast.  It’s been exciting to run, or in my case, cycle, at that pace.  I’ve been an avid cyclist for many years, so I tend to appreciate high velocity.  I’m inspired daily by my colleagues, who are pushing the beverage category and consumer marketing to the next level.  This is why, 14 years later, it still feels just as exciting as it did in the beginning.

So, that got me thinking about the keys to create a culture within a company that inspires and encourages transformation.  What have I learned from my own career path at PepsiCo and my passion for being an ever-evolving employee?  It’s interesting — two lessons that immediately came to mind are also true in cycling; never get comfortable in the saddle and always look up the hill. Continue Reading →

Strengthen Consumer Engagement Through Ad Tech and Marketing Collaboration

In today’s always-connected, on-demand digital world, consumers can choose where and how they get their media, like never before. This creates a big challenge, as brands need a constant stream of content to address their audience’s needs. However, it also opens new opportunities for marketers to establish stronger personal relationships between brands and consumers.

Brands need to be prepared to engage with their target audience across a wide spectrum of media at any time, in any place. This can include a video or photo that pops up on a social channel, an article on a favorite news site, blog posts or podcasts on a company web page or a digital ad that appears while doing an online search. Continue Reading →

Seth Kaufman, PepsiCo to Keynote AAF’s Digital Conference

Seth Kaufman, PepsiCo to Keynote AAF’s Digital Conference

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 9, 2015)—Today, the American Advertising Federation (AAF) announced that Seth Kaufman, Chief Marketing Officer for PepsiCo North America Beverages  will deliver the opening keynote for AAF’s Digital Conference, Edge Effect: Media Meets Technology in Advertising.

The conference will bring together Senior- to Executive-level marketing, advertising, advertising technology and media professionals from major brands, agencies and media companies to address important topics emerging out of the shift to advertising technology and its uses across industries. The powerful line-up of speakers, preceded by Kaufman, will explore topics, such as best practices and business models for brands onboarding new technologies for advertising in “Brands As the New VC’s,” what we can power and create with technology in advertising in “Truth, Lies & Advertising Technology,” what a tech-driven future looks like in a Fireside Chat and the role of video in the future of digital advertising with AOL. Through keynotes and exclusive one-on-one networking sessions with AOL, Pandora, Starcom MediaVest Group, Yahoo! and other industry pioneers, the conference will deliver an enriching and unique experience for attendees. Continue Reading →

How AAF’s Student Conference Evolved Over the Past 11 Years

Student Conference on Advertising

Let’s take a look back at the AAF Student Conference. In partnership with Postal Vault (a former NSAC sponsor) and McDonald’s, the very first conference kicked off at Hamburger University in Oakbrook, Il on October 31-November 1, 2004. Postal Vault and McDonald’s teamed up to discuss advertising from a client perspective and there were other sessions on mentorship, media and diversity. Other sessions covered topics relevant to college chapters and NSAC teams, like Innovative Chapter Projects, Creating a Successful Plans Book: Creative and Research, and What Are They Doing Now: Former AAF College Chapter members.

Knowing that not every college chapter member participates in the NSAC, the student conference became its own program in 2012. Its goals are still the same though: providing college chapter members with the tools they need to successfully transition from the classroom to the professional advertising world. In a few weeks, college chapter members from across the country will gather in Washington, DC for the newly branded Insight+Interaction: AAF’s Student Conference on Advertising. With sessions on programmatic, account management and translating data into brand strategy, to name a few, participants will learn from inspiring speakers and advertising leaders. They’ll increase their knowledge of the industry with visits to local agencies – something that previous conferences did not offer. And they’ll also connect with recruiters from top organizations and agencies like Razorfish, IPG Mediabrands, RPA, Team Detroit and Wieden+Kennedy. Of course, the conference won’t completely ignore the National Student Advertising Competition as research partners like Nielsen or AdMall for Agencies will offer their takes on current market research trends!

You can learn more about this year’s Student Conference, which will be held in Washington, DC on October 22-23, at Student registrations will be accepted until October 2, 2015. Or if you are an agency or company interested in recruiting at Insight+Interaction, email us today!

What to Expect During Our Advertising Week Panel: Images, Ethics and Power

Images, Ethics, PowerOur advertising week panel of advertising, media and academic professionals are coming together to discuss the necessity of TV Networks, producers, advertisers and professionals to portray multicultural groups fairly. We will document with specific illustrations of how multicultural groups, including youth, are being portrayed with overwhelmingly negative stereotypes, especially in Reality TV, and our professional beliefs that these unfair depictions lead to violent encounters in society, as well as discouraging multicultural youth from striving to grow through education and hard work.

Our industry and its professionals have an obligation to encourage and achieve the fair portrayal of diverse groups. While these unfair depictions do not violate laws, ethics should rise above the law. Following the ethical definition of “Doing the Right Thing”, our programming should reflect the values of America: equality and inclusiveness of our citizens, and fairness and objectivity in their treatment.

From a positive perspective, our panel will also document what is and can be done to encourage a fairer depiction of multicultural groups. The “business case” for ethics will be demonstrated on how action taken by caring groups will bring about change.

The group will also discuss resources available that will influence producers, script writers, actors and sponsors to do the right thing when facing this ethical dilemma. Tools include making the case for the negative impact of stereotyping that can be conveyed on Facebook and Twitter. Also, focus on advertisers by encouraging them to sponsor shows that give more balance with positive images and then to support those companies that do so. Key findings from the Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) will also be presented on how to effectively communicate about diversity and inclusion through media.

Images, Ethics and Power: The Portrayal of Diverse Communities on Television and in the Media

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 2:30 p.m.
New York Times Building

Presented By:

ShocaseAmerican Advertising Federation

About the Author

Wally Snyder

Wally Snyder, Institute for
Advertising Ethics, AAF

Wally Snyder has devoted his entire professional career to working on advertising development, regulation and ethics. He served as a trial lawyer and as Assistant Director for Advertising Practices at the Federal Trade Commission before joining the American Advertising Federation where he served as president and CEO, from 1992–2008. Currently, he serves as Executive Director for the Institute for Advertising Ethics. Wally was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame® in 2009.

Brand Publishing: Talent, Team, And Tools

It’s impossible not to have noticed that the publishing world, both consumer and B2B, has fallen on hard times. Publications have up and died, publishers have closed down and failed. Thank the Internet.

While this is certainly a calamity for the media industry, it is something of a boon for savvy brands and marketers, who are realizing that this is their chance to fill the content void left by the disappearance of newspapers and magazines—a chance to, well, become publishers themselves.

Now, if being a publisher were easy, everybody would be doing it. But it’s not. Being a publisher requires the right talent, team, and tools to get the job done, and not every enterprise is willing to make that happen. For those that do, however, an opportunity to shine awaits.

Today, in the new digital world, content-creation and content-production tools that were once the province of publishers are available to all enterprises, large and small. Content-management systems and content-curation technology can help turn brands into publishers overnight.

But here’s the catch: None of these tools or technologies helps with the creation of good, worthwhile content. That’s up to the CMO and his or her marketing team. Everyone has been creating lead- and demand-gen content for years now—musty white papers that potential customers have to provide name, rank, and serial number to get the privilege to receive.

That’s not being a publisher, and that’s not content marketing.

Being a publisher means looking at content 180 degrees differently. Good content is about what the customer is interested in, not what you and your marketing mission statement says is interesting. It’s about them, not about you. This is probably the main impediment to brands truly becoming publishers.

At some conference in the recent past, I was listening in on a discussion with a brand marketer who “got” content marketing and one who was struggling. “Who is a good example of a company that does content marketing well?” asked the rookie. “Well,” said the sage, “you have to look at Red Bull to see how far you can take this. The fact is, Red Bull is a media company that just happens to make an energy drink.”

You might not want to take it to Red Bull extremes, but are you and your team ready to create something new and valuable and interesting and entertaining for your customer?

All the tools and technology in the world won’t make you a publisher; thinking like a media company, a storyteller, and an editor will.

Here are some links to recent articles on about content marketing and brands as publishers that might get you going:

Four Predictions For The Future Of Brand Storytelling

Marketers And Journalists – Joining Forces To Create Killer Content

Content Marketing: Focus On Quality Over Quantity

Brand Newsrooms: THE Model For Real-Time Content Marketing

Competition On The Content Battleground

CMOs Buy Into Content Marketing

About the Author

Tim Moran,

Tim Moran, Editor in Chief,

Tim Moran is the editor in chief of by Adobe. He has been with the site since its inception. Before that he spent 20+ years in the B2B technology press. [Read more]

Marriage Equality and Advertising

In the past weeks, the Supreme Court has, with the stroke of a pen, made significant strides for freedom and fairness with its historic rulings in favor of marriage equality, to uphold the Fair Housing Act, and to solidify the Affordable Care Act, among others.

The Court upheld what have always been underlying theoretical ideals of equality and liberty; however, in reality in 2015 we are still seeking after these ideas in practice. As disseminators and shapers of images and messages, media, content outlets, and the advertising industry are situated to not only reaffirm these rulings, but to push this country to take the remaining steps towards a better, more equitable nation and world.

We put forth images of families. We put forth images of friends. We put forth realistic and unrealistic images of education, of crime, of right and wrong, proper and improper, on a continuous basis. And in so doing, we have more potential to influence the future of our country than perhaps any other industry – while the Court must wait for someone to bring suit, industry strategists, creatives, media mavens and promotion professionals can and do regularly release new images, giving us a distinct voice.

The question remains, then, what is it we want to say? Will we speak of love and acceptance of all? Will we speak of the right of families and children to have adequate healthcare, housing, enough food, and strong schools, regardless of their area codes? Will we speak of the things people need to hear and show the images they need to see in a tone that resonates, increases understanding, and inspires all of us to work collectively so this great country realizes its full potential?

There is no definitive answer to the question: “what should we be saying?” It is, however, our definitive professional and personal responsibility to think about the consequences and impact of our words we chose to say and images we choose to show.

About the Author

Constance Cannon Frazier


Constance Cannon Frazier joined the American Advertising Federation (AAF) in January of 2004 as the senior vice president, AAF Mosaic Center and AAF education services. She was promoted to executive vice president after one year of service to the organization. In October of 2007, Frazier became the AAF’s executive vice president of corporate programs and marketing and as of August of 2010, Frazier is AAF’s chief operating officer. Read More…

ADCOLOR 2014: Building an Inclusive Culture

 Vita HarrisWe’ve all heard the numbers about spending power and how the changing demographics in the United States have had a tremendous impact on how brands and businesses shift their models. As the lead agency of the award-winning 2010 U.S. Census campaign, partners in the creation of the New America microsite with Adweek and a founding member of the Cross Cultural Marketing and Communications Association, FCB is keenly aware of the seismic shifts related to race, age, ethnicity, geography, income and other key areas that are now redefining the marketplace. With $10-15 trillion dollars up for grabs globally, brands and businesses like ours are trying to figure out how to adjust their operations to best reach an increasingly more diverse market. Marketers and the agencies that boost their standing in the marketplace have to understand the total market to communicate authentically and effectively.

To do that, we need to bridge the talent gap that still remains in our industry. A recent study by The University of Michigan revealed that diverse teams exhibit a higher level of creativity and a broader thought process that better delivers for their companies and the brands that they steward. Companies that leverage diverse employee ideas and have more diverse workforces and inclusive cultures perform better. In fact, according to The Institute for Entrepreneurial Thinking, companies with the highest rates of racial diversity brought in nearly 15 times more sales revenue on average than those with the lowest levels.

At FCB, we’re committed to building an inclusive culture. Our Worldwide CEO Carter Murray is fiercely committed to having a diverse and inclusive workforce across all disciplines. Having support at the top is mission critical to creating an inclusive culture.

Is this the type of organization that seems right for you? As a longtime supporter and sponsor of ADCOLOR, we’re giving conference participants the chance to tell us why they want to work at FCB. In a 15-second video, Instagram post or tweet, send us your elevator pitch by 5 p.m. EST on Tuesday, September 23. Make sure to flag us @FCBglobal. Or, email us Ten contest winners will be granted a meeting (in person or via Skype) with a senior FCB leader in their discipline of choice.

Good luck to all you inclusion champions!

Vita M. Harris

ADCOLOR Legend and FCB Chief Strategy Officer

More from David Shing, AOL

David Shing at ADMERICA! 2014

Monica Helms (a resident blogger here at the American Advertising Federation) sat down with AOL’s Digital Prophet, David Shing, to dive deeper into his thoughts on where things are headed with online advertising and how we can get the most out of it. The interview touches on image production and sharing, cutting through  media overload, and creating an experience for those who engage with your brand.

David Shing

David Shing, AOL’s Digital Prophet

Monica: There is new content on social media every day. Now more than ever, the users have the ability to create and customize images quickly, easily, and fairly professionally. What is your favorite image you have seen on social and why?

Shing: Greg Olsen, actually, from my presentation – Jesus talking to the young kid, that’s my all-time favorite. And it’s a painting, actually. It wasn’t meant as crude – he’s actually a Christian artist. But I just thought it was absolutely appropriate to tag, it’s one of my all-time favorites.

Monica: Understanding that users now have the ability to create art from an app and share it quite globally, what type of impact do you see this having on brands?

 Shing: I do think the impact is massive, because it reduces what it costs to commission. We’ve already seen that; and I know that as a real designer, there’s always a revolution that happens. But what does happen, once you go through the cycle of it being inexpensive and easy to produce – what sticks out are people who have become craftsmen, who have done all these crafts with digital pixel design, and have become (in my mind) artists, with an incredibly powerful new craft. And so there’ll be a new genre. Let me be very frank. Back in the day when I came through design school, desktop publishing was just starting. Color printers were just starting. Everyone designed in their head, ‘cause you’ve got 40 fonts, but don’t know what the hell you can make them do, so everything looks like crap. And so once you cycle through that, you really need to design as a particular art, so arts, craftsmanship becomes very important. So it’ll have a new genre as a craft.

Monica: You’ve spoken on media overload in the past as a contributor to stress. In the attention-economy, brands struggle to consider their utility and capitalize on how they can be useful to someone’s day-to-day habits in the midst of this overload. These things considered, what advice would you offer a brand on where to start when building a strategy?

Shing: The first thing is insight – you’ve got to use enough insights to understand what you’re doing. Then the insight asks the question: Why? Why are you doing that thing? Most brands that I know jump into the water, with the attitude “Well, we need social. We need… just do it.” I’m like, are you out of your mind? What you really want to do is make sure you have the insight that says this is why people want to engage with you, so you can go this way. It’s all about authenticity; it’s not about creating a motion because everybody seems to be doing that. What’ll happen is that, over time, we will move away from distractions. It’s already happening. People are sort of fragmenting their marketing. They’re not focusing their time on the ones that really matter.

Monica: Many brands understand that they have to engage their audience with something unexpected. Often times, you will hear a request to “create something that will go viral.” What do you say to these leaders requesting a “viral” content piece?

Shing: First of all, “viral” needs to go away. The way that people, I believe, have to think about marketing, is a portfolio. Because if you’re going to do one beautiful craft or experience and say, “That’s it. We’re going to put it all out. We’re going to put our muscle behind this. This is the thing that’s going to get us the awards,” then it’s probably not going to happen. But if you do 20 of them, you have a chance that one might work, ‘cause at the end of the day, somebody who’s looking at that experience is a human. They’re the ones who are going to determine what it can do, not you, not you as a brand. You may have an instinct, but the best ideas, I think, come from making mistakes. Coke is really good at that. It divides the budget by 70/20/10. Seventy percent of it goes to ROI-driven tactics, so nobody gets fired – amen. Then they spend 20 percent of their budget on stuff that’s perceived has having risk, and then ten percent goes to stuff that they have no idea if it’s going to work.

David Shing and the AAF

(Left to Right) Monica Helms (AAF Blogger), David Shing (AOL Digital Prophet), Ciara Ungar (AAF Manager of Digital Marketing and Content Strategy)

Monica: Similarly, leaders of brands are often looking at the number of “likes” as a success measure and are developing content with this objective in mind. Can you speak to this a bit and offer guidance to brands who may be working to achieve “likes.”

Shing: Yeah: “likes” are rubbish. And they’re rubbish because it’s passive. There’s no skin in the game. If you and I want to be friends, you have to accept my friend request. That used to happen. So we went from a brand having several hundred committed friends to several thousand “likes” because we thought it was a better concept than what it was. The “like” button came out of a hack, and it feels like it. It’s just a soft metric. You need metrics that are verbs; you need something that allows people to pass it on. That’s why I like “share,” because it’s physically something you commit to.

Monica: With advertising being the backbone of digital, it’s important to build experiences for the user that can be passed on, with “experience” being key to success. Creating sharable experiences may be easier for larger brands that have more budget to afford, leaving smaller brands in a more difficult place in the competition. Can you offer any advice to smaller brands that may be unable to afford a celebrity or more attractive experience?

Shing: That’s a multi-threaded question you’re asking. It’s no longer about digital marketing, it is marketing in a digital world. You need to balance paid advertising marketing, which gives you scale with marketing which is you are prepared to experiment with channels, where you know your prospects are spending time. For example, Trulia. Earlier today, when I showed you the example of Barbie’s house being sold for $25 million, by Mattel, and they supplemented some paid ads around it. It’s a really smart way of saying, “Who buys our product? Where are they shopping? How can I grab their attention?” Barbie’s house? Genius. It’s a genius idea. And in the place of Trulia, it would be really inexpensive to do that as a listing. If you put it as a listing? It would be tiny. But they were just trying to pitch this new way of thinking. So brands just need to do that. It’s not about budget. Budget will get you scale, but it’s not going to get you attention. So you need to have really good ideas. Niche ideas can be really good, as long as they actually have a use. I’ll give you another example – I can’t remember the brand that did it, but the concept, it was called a Band in a Banner. They took a standard, 720×90 banner, and they built an actual stage, with the same particular scale, and they had a band crawl into it and play their instruments, and so if you come across it, you see this band playing, and you think, “What’s that about? Is this a band or just a banner ad?” It was just lovely. Different. Unusual. And contextual to the banner, because they did the 720×90 scale; it was pretty cool.

Monica: Then it comes to storytelling in your content strategy, creativity has to be redefined with each product launch. Brands don’t have to originate the story but rather just have to own it by placing it in smart places. This can present brands the opportunity to use their audience for curating content by having them blog for them, create home videos for testimonials, etc. You’re familiar with the suggested hoax by Apple, wherein a band held a jam session on a train by playing music from their iPhones. Considering the pressure that brands are experiencing to stay ahead in the game, can you speak to the importance of transparency when developing content?

Shing: I don’t think transparency is necessarily that important. The reason for that is, if it’s just good content, people will pass it around. A good example of that is Pepsi. I don’t know who the driver is now, because I’m not really a sports fan, but there’s a NASCAR driver who took a guy on a whiz round in a car. And the only thing you saw is that Pepsi MAX was on the dashboard. So if you did look close, you’d see the Pepsi MAX was there. But the thing about it was, the idea, was that it was a hoax. And they all transparently said it was a hoax, but people could care less, they still shared it a hundred million times. It’s just the idea. Where it becomes really important is if you’re able to balance that with doing something authentic and interesting, then it can happen. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Dog driving is a classic example. But it’s been viewed a hundred million times.

Monica: Shifting to the topic of search, search is always changing, and although the intent is to better serve the consumer, it can actually be more difficult to find what you’re looking for now. Do you have any predictions for how search might continue to evolve and what challenges brands might consequently face?

Shing: It’s really going to change from the model of search today. Search is important, because it’s what we do. A referral code goes up because people tend to want to learn by what’s recommended. So if you go to a recommendation, that’s a search thing, it’s just going to evolve into something completely different. In addition to that though, if we’ve gotten all the gadgets that actually have push, meaning I don’t have to search because it’s actually pushing me information as I want it and need it, in location-based services, it’s going to evolve into something completely different. So search today is just a very passive environment. However, if you think about it, search is the number one way they’re able to afford to do all the things that they do – “they” being Google.  They took an organic search results page on Google, and the majority of it is not organic, it’s paid. So search is already an evolving environment. But if we have wearables, and the penetration of wearables goes up, it has no screen to take with you. So yeah, it’s coming back to how you change or morph. As somebody who is selling a physical brand, you’re going to have to become really, really interesting, and different when thinking when thinking about your physical brand connected to a physical device that has no screen. It’s easy on phones today; you have an iPhone. That iPhone is your brand particularly. And if that brand is of use, than I promise that’s something I’m going to remember and travel with it. If there’s no screen, there’s no icon. So either brands are going to have to get into wearables, or they’re going to have to figure out ways to connect their physical product to the wearable that connects to the phone to give them a reason to actually use their phone.