Unlocking the Creative Potential in Paid Social for Social Media Week's Virtual Conference

Kristin "KB" Busk | May. 11 2020

Tomorrow we’ll be participating in Social Media Week’s first-ever virtual conference, #SMWONE. We’re excited to return this year to host a panel — Breaking Ads: Unlocking the Creative Potential in Paid Social. As Director of Social Innovation here at The Many, I’ll be your co-host, along with our Media Director, Alex Barnes. (Alex and I also share a birthday, and more or less, are the same person.)
In addition to having a lot of fun, our goal is to challenge the entire industry to step out of the traditional day-to-day marketing mindset and expand the definition of the paid social ad unit. Joining us will be Sam Christie, West Coast Lead, Global Business Solutions at TikTok US, Tuck Ross, SVP Marketing at CareCredit, and Rob Schlissel, Marketing and Partnerships Senior Director and Senior Producer at Shorty Awards. 
Here’s a peek at what our session is all about, and if you’d like to join us, go here, click the button to attend and enter the promo code SMWKB1speaker at checkout for 20% off!

You’ve been briefed in on the media plan and you’re off to start creative for your paid social posts. You’re sticking to best practices and creating your messaging hierarchy. You’ve featured the product, but only just enough. Your brand name is highlighted in the first five seconds of your ad, there’s a hint of lifestyle and a dash of tagline. You’ve followed the traditional steps to fit into the paid media mold depending on where you are in the funnel. But the question remains, did you tap into all of the magical possibilities that exist in social to make paid ads that break through and deliver value?
As marketers, it’s up to us to use each platform for its unique strengths and make ads that resonate in crowded feeds. With media consumption changing on the heels of COVID-19, paid social will continue growing to become more integrated into the human experience. And especially now, it should be just as aspirational, reassuring and entertaining as any other form of content.
In this session, we’ll analyze the paid social formula and discuss how to create an innovative new playbook infused with the creative edge that marketers and consumers crave. We’ll hear directly from the people who are throwing traditional practices out the window to set new, adventurous and innovative platform-specific standards. 
Tune in at 3:00PM PST tomorrow for more!

Why Coke in the UK Has It All Wrong

Jens Stoelken | Apr. 7 2020

Today, Ad Age published a story titled “History Shows Marketers Who Keep Spending During Downturns Fare Much Better.” I couldn’t agree more, and I’d go even further to say that, during a crisis, we need to go beyond what’s best for the health of the brand and look at the well-being of the consumer. Brands need to step up and step in where hope is needed, but not all of them are.
These are crazy times. With no concrete end to COVID-19 in sight, the long-term implications this will have on our daily lives are unknown. I understand that it’s extremely challenging for anyone to determine what to do next. Brands included. But that doesn’t mean the answer is doing nothing, like Coca-Cola Great Britain. That’s right, Campaign recently reported that Coke in the UK would be suspending all of its Q2 brand marketing efforts with Q3 currently “under review.”
Really? That can’t be the best they’ve got.
There are certain brands that we count on to make us feel good during universal moments that unite the world, and Coca-Cola is one of those brands. Whether it’s polar bears giving us that warm, fuzzy holiday feeling during the Christmas season or an ode to “America The Beautiful” drumming up Olympic pride across the U.S., Coke has the power to bring us together like few brands can. So, where is the rallying cry we need now? It must go beyond a new “socially distanced” logo.
Fight, don’t flight: I realize Coca-Cola in the UK is just one piece of a much larger network. But now is not the time for any division of a brand with such reach and size to halt all Q2 marketing activities. As a massive global brand, now is the time to lead the way.
People need leaders. Politicians are wavering and indecisive in action, and celebrities are exposed and criticized for their lack of emotional support and awareness despite good intentions (cue Gal Gadot’s assemble cover of ‘Imagine’ that became “proof that even if no one meets up in person, horribleness can spread” – yikes).
Enter brands, our everyday companions who are stepping up to be those leaders in today’s Coronavirus world. Burger King changed its sick leave policies, Crocs donated thousands of pairs of shoes to frontline healthcare workers, Sam’s Club handed the spotlight over to the real people working behind the scenes to keep the world moving, and one of our very own clients, Chameleon Cold-Brew, delivered coffee to hospitals across the U.S.
You can do this, too, Coke, even in the UK. In fact, you can be doing this everywhere.
Brand communication is more important now than ever. Inspire us, invest in us, teach us, help guide us. Live up to your reputation and even make it even stronger while you have the chance. And consider how your actions trickle down. This goes for everyone.
In a world that feels like it’s crumbling, it’s the Coca-Cola’s that can use the power of communication to become a beacon of hope to light the way. Maybe Coke has other plans to do something profound for the world—I hope they prove me wrong. In any case, it’s time to “open happiness” in a whole new way. We’re waiting.
Jens Stoelken is a founding partner at The Many.

Staying Creative While Working From Home

Amanda Cosindas | Apr. 2 2020

We are doing our part at The Many to “flatten the curve” in the fight against COVID-19 by working from home. While going to the office isn’t essential right now, creativity is. But some say working from home is good for productivity, not for creativity. As an agency full of creative humans, we say, nonsense.
In fact, creative director Josh Paialii says he’s up for the challenge, and that sometimes the best creativity can even happen in solitude. He’s done it before throughout his freelance years and while working remotely between The Many’s L.A. and Boston offices. According to Josh, some basics always hold true for staying both creative and productive. The caveat? It doesn’t always come easy at first, so remember to keep your optimism up.
Keep your morning routine:
Wake up, get dressed. Take the dog out at the same time as usual. Go for a run at the same time. Don’t change the way you start your day. It makes a difference.
Work your schedule:
Figure out when you do your best work, and block your calendar to prioritize your craft. Then schedule your calls and Hangouts around that. But don’t forget to stay connected to your team—video/FaceTime even if you don’t have to, even more important at a time like this.
Trade in “cooler time”:
There’s a fair amount of time spent at the office not really working, chatting around the coffee pot or in hallways. And that takes time and energy. Add that up and give yourself some quality time at home in exchange. Tuning in can be primetime for creative exploration—read, watch documentaries or rob banks in Red Dead Redemption 2. Sometimes that’s when you’ll do your best thinking.
Get back to basics:
Put the computer away and change your location. Write with a pen and paper. Get a whiteboard. Concept with and without the screen. You might like working from your patio that much more.
With all that said, it’s important to keep our spirits up. One of our agency values is really working for us right now—optimism wins. Because when things are outside of our control, the optimistic path is the way to go.
Read the full piece and what other industry leaders have to say in Muse by Clio.

Growing Up In Advertising, Literally: An Interview Between Daughter and Single Dad

Michael Chiem | Jan. 21 2020

Our director of project management, Iman Forde, has over 20 years experience in advertising. OK, we realize that doesn’t make much sense since Iman is just shy of 30 years-old, but that’s because she was born into the industry. Quite literally!
The daughter of Benjamin Forde, a young single dad who, at the time of her birth, was finishing art school, Iman spent her early years by his side. She walked with him during his graduation, and when he started out as a young creative, she ventured to the office with him to make “camping beds” for naps and eat late-night dinners with creative teams who spoiled her with hot chocolate. Little did they know, those precious early days would be Iman’s foray into her own advertising career.
What she (somewhat surprisingly) learned alongside her dad’s experience between France, Mexico, the Middle East, Asia and the US, was that the advertising industry can be a welcoming and nurturing place for those looking to balance single parenthood and a career, as long as you have the will and determination to figure it out. And despite a few rebellious teenager years during which she swore she’d never work in the industry, her fond memories were enough to bring her back to the ad world.
In this story for Muse by Clio, Iman interviews her dad about what it was like to raise a daughter on his own while finishing school and beginning his career. Give it a click for a sweet walk down memory lane, and some inspiration for following your dreams.

Davis Jones Talks Media Trends

Michael Chiem | Dec. 26 2019

While Davis Jones has been busy leading the expansion of our media group, he’s also been busy sharing his expertise. In  Velocitize “Take 5” series, he discusses the most exciting developments in media trends, the current state of marketing to Gen Z, and the role of integrating media alongside creative teams.
Here’s a sneak peek, and check out the full story for more.

“Purpose marketing at its best has the power to affect, not just reflect, culture and move it in positive ways. This requires being culturally relevant in some respect, even if that’s to a very small group of people. At any given moment, you can look at the state of marketing as a representation of the state of culture.”

You Hired Risk Takers, What’s Stopping Them?

Kristin "KB" Busk | Dec. 19 2019

As marketers, we tell our friends and family that we are innovative; that we are risk-takers and that we are creating ideas that have never been done before. But are we really doing the most innovative work we could be doing?
Miller Lite recently told fans to unfollow them on Instagram. This goes against every KPI ever set.
Thinx released an ad showcasing what would happen if men had periods. They fought advertisers for space.
Budweiser released mug shots in support of responsible drinking. This directly linked their product to a negative outcome.
Billie highlighted women’s pubic hair. This challenged the “inappropriate content” definition on social media platforms.
Aviation Gin capitalized on an ad gone wrong by hiring the main character and showcasing another point of view. They shot this on a Friday morning and broke tradition of a lengthly feedback and editing process – and got it live that night.
That’s five brands that can answer that question with a yes—they weren’t afraid to take a risk to prioritize innovation.
Every single one of these campaigns received praise from places like Fast Company to Thrillist, with headlines proving that innovation prevails. So what do they all have in common? Their executives trust their employees and their agencies. While they may have been uncomfortable, or had to be pitched for months that the idea would work, they bought it.
Agencies and in-house employees are hired for their ability to think outside the box based on a proven track record. The expectations for everyone involved are high, and we fight to prove that we are who we say we are. So what’s stopping us?
Innovation halts at the C-level. Marketers often fear rejection from their bosses or clients, and once rejection sets in, eventually they stop pitching ideas that push boundaries. In 2019, leaders need to step up and encourage their staff to go against the grain. The trick is, they need to say “yes” to keep the innovation flowing, or else the staff they hired to better their business will fall into the box you’ve put them in.
Kristin “KB” Busk is Director of Social Innovation at The Many.

Thank A Queen
Thank A Queen

Saluting Drag’s Colorful
Vernacular With #ThankAQueen

Amanda Cosindas | Nov. 26 2019

Today, words like “tea,” “serve,” and “shade” have new meanings, with famous shows and people like Comedy Central’s Broad City and GOT’s Sophie Turner using their alternative definitions as part of their lexicon. Yet these terms go further back, originating in queer Black Femme and Latinx subcultures—“reading” for example can be traced back to African American women in the 1950s, and the often overused “yasss” is heard in the 1990 documentary “Paris is Burning,” the documentary that first exposed drag culture and its witty vernacular to the mainstream public.
And while these terms originated with queer Black Femme and Latinx subcultures, drag has played a key role in popularizing them.
Once seen as taboo and often frowned upon, drag and its vernacular has infiltrated the Instagram feeds and households of millions of Americans today through vehicles like RuPaul’s Drag Race.
So much so that a charge has been led by young straight cis women, a demographic notoriously known for picking up and popularizing linguistic trends. A prime example is Taylor Swift’s “You Need To Calm Down” music video released during Pride Month, June 2019, a showcase of queer culture with lyrics like “shade never made anybody less gay.”
So, led by our associate director of design, Jorge Andrade, we set
out to give queens the credit they deserve for their contribution to today’s catchy and often snarky vernacular, by partnering with Merriam-Webster to launch “Thank a Queen,” a 100% organic, agency-led social awareness campaign born out of 100% passion.
What made this campaign so unique was that we didn’t have a client for it when it began. It was inspired by our internal agency initiative “Voices of The Many,” which encourages staff to use their voices and the tools we have in advertising to share positive messages with the world.

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Our associate director of design, Jorge Andrade, had been observing the history of popular terminology—from queer Black Femme to Latinx origins—and the prevalence of this terminology in the world today, especially all over entertainment and social media. Shade is now thrown and spilling tea just isn’t what it used to be!

Thank a queen
Thank A Queen Lingo - Shade
Thank a queen social media responses

A Media Person and a Creative Walk Into a Bar

Amanda Cosindas | Oct. 31 2019

It seems crazy to think about now, but remember how art directors and copywriters used to work on separate floors? And then Bill Bernbach had the genius idea of putting them together and now we’re living in a revolutionary era of creative advertising?
OK, that’s a simplified version, but you get the gist.
Point is, history taught us that partnership and collaboration lead to better, more effective, more breakthrough ideas. And in an era where ideas have to do so much in so many spaces, the question arises: What’s our generation’s version of art and copy working on separate floors?
We think a big missing piece of that puzzle is media. Sure, lots of agencies are bringing media in-house (ha, turn of phrase), but not many are utilizing them to their full creative potential.
So that’s why we locked a media person and a creative person in a room and made them chat about the state of media and creative’s relationship today, hopefully getting a better understanding of how we can facilitate the next revolutionary partnership that will make industry people of tomorrow ask, “Wait, they worked separately before???”
In this Q&A for Muse By Clio, Associate Creative Director, Ashley ‘Mil’ Milhollin, interviews Managing Director, Media Services, Davis Jones, to hash out just how important it is for media and creativity to collaborate early on in the creative process to connect with people and make the most powerful advertising.
Read the full interview here.

The Drum Creative Director Choice with Damien

Amanda Cosindas | Oct. 24 2019

Amazon’s activation for its original series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was the talk of Los Angeles as they transported people back to the rich era of 1959 through solid partnerships with goods and services around the L.A. area. “Maisel Day” caught the attention of commuters when they messed with one of the freeways, adding to the already brutal traffic situation. The Chevron around the corner from our office was serving up gas at 30 cents per gallon, causing cars to be backed up for miles! It received massive media coverage and, honestly, we were impressed.
The activation generated some spectacular earned media and caught the attention of everyone at The Many, especially partner and ECD Damien Eley. Read his thoughts in The Drum for Creative Director’s Choice.

The Designer Who’s Also a Dreamer

Michael Chiem | Oct. 4 2019

The advertising industry is full of creative talent who come from all international backgrounds and bring a unique perspective into the agency and the clients we work with. In the wake of Trump’s administration’s ongoing shifts to legal immigration policies, AdWeek shined a light on stories of foreign-born advertising talent, including our very own Associate Director of Design, Jorge Andrade, who is a dreamer under the DACA program.
The five profiles in this AdWeek feature showcase the challenges and hurdles creatives are facing and what their agencies are doing as they try to pursue their ad-agency dreams in America.