AIGA LA Guest Speaker Jorge Andrade on Diversity in the Workplace

Amanda Cosindas | Jul. 10 2020

Tomorrow, Jorge Andrade, The Many’s Associate Director of Design, will be the guest speaker for AIGA LA’s Community Meeting focused on diversity in the workplace.
AIGA LA is committed to building a well-connected design community to have a stronger impact on society. Their community meetings are an “opportunity to connect with like-minded creative professionals, learn new skills, and discover new relationships and opportunities within the creative community.”
The event is free and will take place at 11:00AM PDT. Click here to register, and here’s a preview of what to expect:
“Join us from the comfort of your couch as we chat with award-winning designer Jorge Andrade, Head of Design at The Many Agency in LA. The Many recently shared the diversity of their workplace and committed to change along with Six Hundred & Rising. We’ll be discussing what an inclusive creative culture looks like and how to build it.”
To get to know Jorge a bit more prior to the event, read his story about being a Dreamer under the DACA program and how his experience as an immigrant amidst the ongoing shifts around immigration policy has shaped who he is today.

Transparency in an Industry That Hasn’t Done Enough

Christian Jacobsen | Jun. 18 2020

In 2019, our agency went through a transformation—rebranding ourselves from Mistress to The Many. That name change was born out of a spirit and core belief that our strength as creative problem solvers is the result of our many diverse experiences, talents, backgrounds and expertise; that greatness is never achieved in isolation.
We believe that mantra has never been more true than now. And that if we are to see true progress and the dismantling of systemic racism, it’s going to take all of us, together.
It’s become incumbent upon us to look at our own name, not just as a reflection of who we are, but who we still strive to become: an agency and industry of many more diverse voices.
Our commitment to diversifying our industry begins with transparency. So we’d like to share an honest look at the fabric of our agency. Not just to be open about who we are, but to be clear in our commitment about who we must become.
Together with Six Hundred & Rising, we commit to change.

Influencer Marketing and Brand Impact During COVID-19

Alyssa DeSangro | Jun. 2 2020

Amidst the smog of COVID-19, brands and advertisers have been reassessing their objectives and strategies. Along with first-hand experience in crisis management, we are leaning on news, research and reports to validate or debunk our thoughts. From linear to streaming to OOH, we’ve seen immediate implications due to our current climate and are being flooded with publisher trends on the matter. However, perhaps the one advertising tactic that isn’t as obvious, is influencer marketing. 
While brands reconfigure current campaigns, they should take a deeper look at the influencer marketing strategies they are using currently and have previously leveraged. In doing this, they can uncover brand perception, observe attitudinal shifts in influencer consumer relationships, and unlock ways to connect with influencers and their following. This is essential in providing more personal guidelines on how to step back into reality, whatever reality may be at the end of this. 
For brands with live influencer marketing campaigns, what are the risks and rewards of advertising during COVID-19?
What we know is that consumers have leaned more and more on influencers as a trusted source of information (no thanks to the idea that mainstream media is full of “fake news”). This makes it even more important to look at how that influencer is connecting with their audience. Is it sensitive? Is it a hard sell? What is the sentiment of their engagement? And how could this positively or negatively affect your brand’s perception through the eyes of that influencer’s following? For those who do this well, your brand is in excellent hands, as influencers are arguably the closest your brand can get to a consumer.
Furthermore, with production dramatically affected by social distancing guidelines, influencers are more powerful than ever as a resource for content creation. The more an influencer maintains their authenticity and vulnerability, connects with their following and curates content, the more trust they gain from those that follow. However, the consequences of those who fall short of this could be devastating for your brand. 
For brands with a long-standing influencer partnership, with no live campaigns, how could an influencer’s notorious association impact the brand? 
The implications for this scenario are the exact same, because as consumers, this relationship between brand and influencer never dissipates for us. 
So what does this mean for influencer marketing during COVID-19 and beyond? Right now, it’s important to keep up with your influencer network, past and present. Just as they’ve been a representative and voice for your brand up to this point, it is more important than ever that they are authentic, yet tactful. On the flip side, it is equally as important that brands show up and support their partners. This is a defining moment in time. The loyalty brands exemplify during a crisis builds much needed trust.
Looking to the future of influencer marketing, while it’s in flux right now, it’s not going anywhere. 
However, the current climate and looming grief hanging over society raises the possibility that this advertising medium will see a shift much like other mediums. There will be prevalence for those who influence effectively. But on the other side of that, we may find a bigger barrier of skepticism for brands and future influencer partners to overcome in order to gain the same trust that was more easily won by fans pre-Coronavirus. And while this is very likely the course in which influencer marketing was heading to begin with, COVID-19 will be the ultimate catalyst for change.

Alyssa DeSangro is Associate Media Director at The Many.

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

Kristin "KB" Busk | May. 15 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 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’s “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. Take a look at the full interview:
Five questions with Davis Jones, Managing Director of Media Services at The Many, an award-winning creative advertising agency based in Santa Monica.
1) In just one word, how would you describe the digital media landscape today?
2) What do you consider to be the most exciting developments in marketing and media right now? 
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. So at any given moment, you can look at the state of marketing as a representation of the state of culture.
Right now, we see many brands seeking to understand and appeal to younger audiences, and some are finding their desired audiences, for example, are generally tech-savvy, connected and informed, and caring about all kinds of issues—social, environmental, health, etc. And so brands spend a good chunk of their marketing budget trying to demonstrate that they hold similar values.
However, people have increasing power to block, or at least limit, brands from communicating with them if they’re not relevant. This has forced brands to think deeply about why they exist so that they can find ways to not only say what they value, but also show it—those that try to say it without showing, or that show it in an inauthentic way, are called out or ignored.

“Living by one’s values requires a great deal of reflection, intention, and vigilance, and seeing brands care about and prioritize this ultimately deepens the work we all do.” 

As an agency partner, we provide an outside perspective and work to challenge the marketing teams we work with to think differently about who they are as a brand, what they can be and how they can show up. It opens up possibilities in marketing and, with a little optimism, we can push each other to do work that is meaningful for the organization, agency, and audiences alike.
People, and in particular younger people that represent the future, have challenged brands to stand for things that have the potential to push our culture forward and as marketers, our job is to understand and navigate it. That’s exciting!
3) How do you integrate the creative+media with the agency’s overall marketing strategy?

“Marketing is often most effective when it’s true.”

We are a values-based agency, so leading by our values gives us a pretty good sense of what drives us to do the work we do and how we like to work with each other and clients. Our values inform our culture, which is the foundation for any marketing that we create. But the most important part of our marketing strategy is that we deliver on the promise of what it will be like to work with our integrated teams. If that falls down, no amount of marketing strategy can save us. So our best marketing is how we interact with and work with our clients every day. It is critical for both retaining current clients and attracting new ones.
4) Do you feel like The Many has been able to target Gen Z successfully with its “human-centered” approach?
I do, though generally I am skeptical of targeting purely based on generation or demographics. A human-centered approach requires us to be less fundamental on the stereotypes of generational definitions and more focused on the values or mindsets of the people with whom we want to communicate.

“While it’s true that Gen Z may have certain traits that are generally more prevalent than other generations, those traits are not necessarily limited to that group alone. Those traits can in fact cut across many generations.”

Our job is to identify groups of people based on the values they share, understand what matters to them and why, and find moments for meaningful connection. And in each of those moments, we can ensure that what we say is tailored to fit with or positively disrupt the experience that the person is having. This kind of work takes care, collaboration and perhaps most importantly, the diverse, vibrant agency culture from which we draw every day.
5) What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Connect with Davis on LinkedIn.

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