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Goodbyes are hard.My colleagues' farewell cake had this heartfelt message for me.

But goodbyes are significantly less hard when you live one block over. I will make sure to use the windows as a mirror to fix my hair right in front of each of your desks, loiter around the patio while I wait on an Uber, and walk up to the front desk asking about legal aid.

I have had a wonderful and illuminating (that’s an SAT word) experience at Brokaw, and most of that was because of the people. Sure I learned about programmatic advertising, analytics, and competitive/consumer research, but most importantly I met some great and incredibly intelligent people that I will be emulating in my future internships/career (likely without giving you any credit, sorry).

So thank you all for an amazing summer.



Oh man, it feels like just yesterday that I was writing my first blog and waxing poetic about The Handmaid’s Tale (it was really good, not that you asked or anything). I can’t believe how quickly these ten weeks have passed.

This experience has truly been a crash course in good advertising. I’ve watched projects go through every stage, from conception to execution. Seeing the whole creative process has made me completely admire everyone who works here. The collaborative aspect of advertising will always amaze me— like how Kelsey can take something I wrote and make it look beautiful and turn it into something that’s real. It’s insane that there are this many talented people working for one agency—it almost seems unfair.

I’m so grateful that I got to learn from these people, especially Steve and Mark. They were so kind and welcoming, beginning with my interview to even get this position. They’ve taken every possible negative stereotype about advertising (i.e. everything people saw on Mad Men) and turned it on its head. Their patience and willingness to teach was so important and basically the reason I learned everything that I did. Also, they’re really funny.

Special shoutout to Mark here for editing these sweet, sweet blizzies.

The culture of this place is unreal and unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of. Congrats to Gregg and Tim for making their agency such a fun, cool place to work. I could back up my evidence with anecdotes about playing videogames at work or kicking off the weekend with free beer, but it all sounds too good to be true and you probably wouldn’t even believe me anyway.

So thanks to everyone who has taught me what an acronym stands for or showed me how to work the phones or provided me with breakfast on a Friday. Something that kept coming up in our internviews was this place is so great because of the people. After my internship experience, I couldn’t agree more.

As for me? I think I’m going to start watching Glow on Netflix. I’ve heard good things.

Until next time, Brokaw.

I have never felt more out of touch than when I was trying to talk to my 13-year-old cousin. I had foolishly asked what she was watching on her phone. She rattled off a litany of “YouTubers,” none of whom I recognized.  She tilted her screen toward me and I watched a crew of shirtless dudes set fire to a mattress in a well-manicured backyard.

The ring-leader was Westlake’s Jake Paul, a 20-year-old who’s made more money from social media fame than I will probably see in my entire life. His fame has expanded beyond the tween girl set recently, but for all the wrong reasons. Paul’s “Team 10,” a group of “influencers,” has been called out by his neighbors for overrunning the streets with crazy, destructive antics.

When news station KTLA went to interview Paul about the complaints, he came off as a real jerk (an understatement), spawning another viral video. I mean, you have to hand it to him—he knows how to get views, for better or for worse.

These antics had repercussions. As a blonde kid with an army of loyal fans, Paul is a template for the perfect Disney star. His employment with the House of Mouse was inevitable, and he landed a role on Bizaardvark as a dare devil vlogger named Dirk (Imagine reading that sentence ten years ago).

Disney, however, was not pleased with his tantrums and fired mutually agreed with Paul that it was best if he immediately exited the show (tune in Thursday at 7/6c to see how they kill Dirk off!). Paul also has endorsement deals with other companies, usually promoting their products in his YouTube videos. It’ll be interesting to see how they react.

Jake Paul is just one recent example of an influencer gone rogue. Rob Kardashian posted revenge porn of his ex to the same Instagram account he uses to promote his sock line and teeth whitening kits.  Vlogger PewDiePie lost deals with Disney and Google after several outlets called him out for anti-Semitic content in his videos.

Influencers are risky investments. They can be very beneficial if they align with a company’s mission and if a brand keeps to smaller, more niche names, like Ajoyo’s recent influencer posts. It might also be helpful to keep contracts short and on a project basis in case you need to cut ties sooner than expected.

Also—if you think Jake Paul is bad, meet his older brother Logan. Better yet …don’t.

My birthday is March 31. The year I turned 6, I celebrated with my friends on April 1. This is more commonly known as Brokaw’s birthday, but you might also recognize it as April Fool’s Day. My small friends and I were living it up, feeling the buzz from some carefully planned party games.

Then it was time to eat.  My mom brought in cups of cherry Kool-Aid, the obvious complement to pizza. I went to guzzle that sweet, sweet sugar, but nothing came out. I slurped harder. It didn’t work. I immediately assumed muscle atrophy and figured if nothing else, I’d lived a good six years.

But here’s the thing: it wasn’t cherry Kool-Aid at all. It was Jell-O. Carol Ertle, that rascal, had fooled us.

This is a roundabout way of saying I don’t like pranks…when I am the victim. However, I love a good joke when it’s executed by agencies under the guise of a “publicity stunt.”

The most recent example is Heinz’s “Chicago Dog Sauce.” Heinz repackaged and renamed their classic tomato ketchup in an effort to get the Windy City to embrace the condiment in time for National Hot Dog Day. People were receptive before it was revealed they were, in fact, enjoying ketchup. Got ‘em!

Heinz is following some other accomplished jokesters. Budweiser set up shop in a hipster Brooklyn bar and got beer snobs to sing the praises of Bud by pretending it was, well, anything else.  People were perplexed that they liked it, but Anheuser-Busch won new customers that day—even if they’re drinking it “ironically.”

Finally, Pur’s “Water Bar” combines a stunt with a social message. Since the (ongoing) Flint water crisis, Pur has been informing the public about outdated legal limits for contaminants in water. The “bar” they set up offered tap water from all 50 states, and people were shocked to learn about the impurities—lead, mercury—that might be coming from their spouts.

All of these are representative of good advertising because they upend expectations. They surprise and delight (and embarrass).  The stunts show a level of self-awareness and address any negative connotations head on. Even if the stunt is temporary, the results can live in print and in video. As consumers, it’s a good chance to question what we know and how we perceive different products.

Anyways, I have to run to my therapist’s office—today we’re digging into my trust issues. Until next week!

Empathy is a driving factor in my life.  Looking around the world it seems that it is not as common as it should be.  I consider myself a very lucky person.  To that end, I try to see how other people experience the world in their own way to keep myself grounded.

I am thoroughly impressed by an upcoming campaign via End Allergies Together (E.A.T.) and BBDO New York regarding food allergies.  They are seeking to raise awareness, and money for research, for people that suffer with food allergies (adding to my luck, I’m not allergic to any types of foods that I know of).

In the E.A.T. ad, celebrity chef and James Beard Award winner Ming Tsai setup a food truck called “Khil Me” in Madison Square Park, consisting solely of poisonous foods such as puffer fish and toxic yew berries.  He informed potential customers about the deadly side effects that they could expect to exhibit if they were to order particular dishes off of the menu.  Tsai was instrumental in a 2009 Massachusetts law requiring menus to inform diners about potential allergens in meals served.  This was all done to show consumers without allergies how serious one bite of food can be for those with allergies.

The spot is dedicated to 11 year old Oakley Debbs who died last year after eating a walnut, with only previously having a mild allergic diagnoses to walnuts.  Some 225 million people around the world (17 million here in the USA) are allergic to some type of food.

It’s understandably easy for us to get caught up in our own stresses and dilemmas.  We see the world through our own looking glasses.  It’s nice to see  an ad that seeks to empathetically inform and assist, especially when produced in such a creative manor.

I was planning on cranking out a post about Amazon Prime Day, the insane event that led to astronomical sales, a nationwide decrease in productivity, and millions of new Prime memberships.

Then Beyoncé posted a birth announcement to Instagram celebrating her new twins, Rumi and Sir Carter, and nothing else seemed to matter.

And that’s coming from me—I’m not a card-carrying member of the Beyhive, wading through Cedars-Sinai’s medical waste bin to snag a pair of scrubs that might have been in the same room as the twins.

However, I am in awe of Beyoncé. I cannot believe one person has had such a prolific career, and I think this video of her walking has the power to make bald men practice flipping their nonexistent hair in the bathroom mirror.

At this point, Beyoncé has ascended beyond mere mortal. She is her own brand. What’s strange is that she’s gotten to this point by eschewing the rules of celebrity.

B almost never talks to the press—and why would she? She takes control of her own stories. Any magazine would’ve given the head of Graydon Carter on a silver platter for even the smallest detail about Jay-Z’s (yes, everyone, we’re back to the hyphen) infidelity. Instead, Beyoncé kept it all to herself and then turned it into fodder for Grammys.

Instead of doing a big press release about pregnancies or new albums, she just posts on her Instagram with minimal captions and lets the Botticelli-influenced images do the talking.

She takes her time producing albums, but when she does give them to the world, they’re instantly platinum selling and spawn one million think pieces and win all the awards.

In short: she’s pretty much the best at advertising. Like any truly great brand she stays on message, controls her message, and keeps her message simple. She doesn’t make her logo bigger or bore us with a litany of attributes (ahem, Kanye). She just carefully (some might say, strategically) parses out only the best possible content and then lays back in the cut, staying oh so mysterious, and keeping her audience (see: the world) constantly intrigued and tuned in—waiting for the moment when she’ll blow our minds yet again.

Basically, every brand should aspire to be like Queen Bey. And if you want to steal more tips from her, there are several (unauthorized) biographies on Amazon, although you might want to wait. They’ll be cheaper next Prime Day.

The Fourth of July was a few days ago, which means you might still be hung over from all that Toby Keith music or, you know, actual alcohol— the perfect complement to all of those super hazardous fireworks.

Since those patriotic endorphins are still coursing through your body, what better time to check in on one of the most American restaurant chains out there: KFC.

If you’re wondering what qualifies it as “most American,” I could point out that the acronym stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken or that it’s founded by a man named Colonel Harland Sanders. Really, though, I just need to remind you of the Double Down and I think I’ve made myself clear.

Even at 70 years old, KFC is always innovating and forging new paths—kind of like the grandpa in Jurassic Park. In celebration of National Fried Chicken Day on July 6 (how did your family celebrate? Let us know in the comments!!!), KFC and Wieden + Kennedy made an animatronic Colonel Sanders to take orders at the drive-thru.

It seems goofy, but the H.A.R.L.A.N.D. (short for Human Assisted Robotic Linguistic Animatronic Networked Device) has been tested at a real location and really is a rather impressive display of AI technology.

In a more low-tech move, a KFC in Saskatoon—the first franchise location to bless Canada’s soil—temporarily renamed itself to K’ehFC. Not only are they paying homage to those Canucks’ most adorable verbal tic, but also celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday (Damn, Canada, I wouldn’t put you a day past 125).

So what can we learn from KFC’s recent advertising hits? There’s the reinterpretation of a mascot using modern technology, a publicity stunt, and a sense of humor running through it all.

Cheers to the red and white (and okay, blue, if we’re keeping it in line with the ol’ USA).

A few weeks ago, GE Healthcare launched its new short film Heroines of Health. But rather than a standard linear format, the film was chopped into easily digestible, minute-long segments released on Instagram. Constructed so they may be watched in any order, the videos stand alone or grouped together in the way that viewers naturally discover them. This video-a-la-carte format may work best for branded content where viewers are less intrigued than, say, a Game of Thrones episode. It also allows maximum shareability, as users can share only their favorite bits to friends instead of sharing an entire 30-minute film.

At a time when brands are scrambling to create custom content, a-la-carte videos let viewers choose their own adventure to keep interest. It fits the success of Youtuber content, 3-5 minute videos that follow into any other video from that same Youtuber found through the sidebar (or related content from another Youtuber). Subscribers can watch in any order, skip uninteresting videos, and share small bits of content.

The videos do not appear to garner much organic reach (non-promoted posts have a few hundred views), but they are posted on a dedicated Instagram presumably to extend the life of the content past recent posts on a more active page. This keeps videos top of feed, but limits the initial reach. Promoted posts are seeing substantial views in the 20-30k range, but limited comments, maxing out at 30 comments. Many comments appear to be in Arabic, while the subtitles are in English. The lack of success may simply be an issue of targeting.

Have you ever struggled when writing? You drum your fingers on the keyboard, prepared for the perfect idea to strike. In the meantime, your mind wanders to important questions, like how the post office operates (Mail AND packages? That just seems like too much going on).

Yeah, that’s never happened to me. I mean, I’ve been close. Like that time when I couldn’t think of anything to write for this post until I received a gift from the Spotify gods: the Counting Crows’ song “Mr. Jones.”

In between thinking about how insane it is that “attractively challenged” frontman Adam Duritz ever dated Courteney Cox AND Monica Potter, I realized that the lyrics—when taken completely out of context—contain some good advice for advertising.

“We all want something beautiful”

A profound truth. Every product has a chance to be beautiful—take, for example, the redesigned Fanta bottle. It took years to develop, but the result is a container that’s a clever twist (pun intended and relished) on what’s inside. Even the ninth best-selling soft drink can inspire intriguing design.

“We stare at the beautiful women”

An obvious critique of the depiction of women in popular culture. A recent collaboration between The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and J Walter Thompson New York shows that gender roles are still alive and well in advertisements, and that’s a colossal bummer. Kudos to the Crows for telling it how it is…and probably how it was back in 1993, when the song was released.

“When I stare at the television, I want to see me staring right back at me”

 This speaks to the success of the Dove campaign for real beauty. When people see themselves reflected in the media, the message resonates. What a great opportunity to cast people who represent the real world. (Either that or the CCs totally predicted the rise of social media, in which case, mind blown.)

“Shalalala la la la”

Lighten up. Get weird with it. Have fun.

Sincere thanks to the Crows for inspiring me with their, um, poetry. Let these lessons sit until next week, when I’ll be dissecting “Tubthumping” for investment tips.

“I’m breaking up with you.”  Those five words have crushed boys and girls, men and women alike ever since people started disagreeing over whether or not it’s OK to put pineapples on pizza (for the record, that’s my favorite topping even if Gordon Ramsay said not to).  However, public breakups are not just organic to Taylor Swift and her ex-boyfriends.

McDonald’s recently broke off their sponsorship of the Olympic Games after 41 years, not to mention with three years remaining on their contract.  Industry experts have noted rising costs and declining TV ratings.  A deeper look indicates that there is a litany of reasons for why this was the right move.

Right off the bat, it’s cheaper and wider reaching to directly sponsor athletes that compete rather than the entire Olympics Games.  Furthermore, more viewers follow the Olympics on Twitter and Facebook because of the accessibility that we now have.  Lastly, the International Olympic Committee might have backed themselves into this corner by selecting three straight Olympic locations in Asia which isolates U.S. viewership (AT&T and Citigroup already pulled away from the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea).

The “golden arches” will potentially save hundreds of millions of dollars by backing out from this deal.  There isn’t an analyst that would scold McDonald’s.  Despite the potential savings, it still must have been tough to cut ties with the Olympic Games after four decades.

Breakups aren’t easy.  They are one of the few things in life that are a bit harder to deal with than finishing a Netflix binge.  But people (and companies) need to make sure that they are looking after themselves and getting value out of relationships.  So, this weekend if your tasks are weighing you down, my advice is to just breakup with them and ignore all of your obligations.

Actually, don’t do that.  Mow your lawn, watch your kids, and walk the dog.  But cut ties (see picture below) from your negative stress and enjoy yourself!