They killed my great big idea – I should give them a raise!

January 25, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @NYCA

I had a great idea – no really, a big, rare, juicy one. It was clear, unique – it was an app for cripes sakes! And for a client who is innovation focused!

I ran to the digital producers, “Get your heads out of your cloud computing and get on this faster than now!”

They did their wireframes. Had some questions – actually doubts: cost, timing.

“I don’t care how much money,” I said, “This is a great idea – do it, now!”

They brought it to strategy and they did some research on the target and had reservations. Actually they thought it was a good idea but not in coordination enough with the rest of the work we were doing.

“Go renegade with me!” I called, charging in no one direction.

They brought in media and they did some data digging – interesting idea as it was the target would be insignificant.

Dead. They killed the idea because it wasn’t a grow! idea.

Lucky me, lucky clients.


July 17, 2009

By Michelle Edelman, president @NYCA

We recently conducted a survey among top US marketers. We wanted to know how they were faring as the Great Recession drags on.


We’ve witness declining media spends and our sample of $100+ million companies was no exception. 58% had reduced media expenditures and 79% had slashed their production budgets too. 19% of our sample reported significant change in their marketing strategies as a result of the economy. 69% of these top marketers were experimenting with new ways to get their messages out and sway consumers.

In short, it’s tough out there – getting tougher – and there’s a need for change in the air.

You would think agency partnerships would be more mission-critical than ever. Agencies can help their clients change paths quickly, and deliver alternate media solutions. As third party experts, we live and breathe this stuff all day every day, across industries and see different successes across different companies. 

But only 1/3 of companies reported that they viewed their agencies as collaborators in this dollar-shift, dollar-shrinking challenge. 2 out of 3 marketers said they would hand the changes down to the agencies to execute.

If you’re one of those 2 out of 3 – try your agency out. Put them in brainstormings to see if they can bring creative ways to help you through. If not, drop us a line and we’ll send you 5 ideas next week. Sometimes our solutions sound rather weird for a creative shop – like improving the efficiency of a process so it costs less. As creative entrepreneurs, this is business as usual for us – not just recession talk.

The Art of Production

June 4, 2009

By Lynne Roswall, VP and Director of Production @NYCA 

Producers are a unique bunch.  We are, by nature, PROblemsolvers, PROactive and we PROmote the importance of executing work efficiently for our clients.  Producers who grew up in advertising are most likely focused within an isolated medium; Print Producer, Broadcast Producer, Online Producer. 

Yesterday, that worked well because the world of advertising was also categorized into specific mediums and we found ourselves categorizing our agency’s work, “that’s a TV spot, that’s a sales video, that’s a billboard, that’s a microsite.”


Today, the world is not as clean. A TV spot could be edited from an internal training video and assets for a flash feature could be repurposed from a print shoot.  Today’s producers across all disciplines must collaborate.  Skill sets are expanding. Broadcast producers may produce a flash video for a microsite, print producers may now work with CGI companies to produce 3D renderings at higher resolution, online producers may become broadcast producers developing video used in a viral campaign. Even if you don’t set out to work across disciplines, chances are you will one day be faced with doing so.

The artistry of becoming a good producer is in the ability to be malleable, resourceful and inventive.  We have a hunger for figuring out how to get things done and become fed by accomplishing the seemingly impossible task;  on time and on budget.

I believe the process of production development is similar, regardless of the medium. Producers take something intangible in the creative idea and make it into a tangible thing. The more diverse the project, the more the producer’s tenacity is tested.  What skills or experience we may have gleaned from one project, we take to the next. 

With production budgets getting slashed, faster deadlines, sales targets and most brands needing to interact more directly and personally with today’s consumer, it is imperative that producers start thinking of different ways to develop assets used across many mediums.

While somewhat daunting for those of us who have been in the business a while, there is something happening to our industry.  It is a new time.  There is an art in re-evaluating one’s role, one’s experience, one’s ability to engage a new consumer.  The only ‘known’ is that what was done before is probably not what will be done now, or at least not in the same way. 

The art of production is in the doing of it.  The artistry is in the journey, gaining experience while wading through impossibilities and coming out the other end, grown.  It is in considering the potential of inventiveness.  On time and on budget.  Kumbayah.

A fresh angle to legitimize beer pong?

June 2, 2009

By Lisa Harder, Associate Media Director @NYCA

Is Anheuser-Busch’s sponsorship of Hard Bat Ping Pong just another attempt to corner the beer pong market?


Back in 2005 the company called off its promotion of “Bud Pong,” a game created by the brewery eerily similar to the ever popular beer pong but with one key difference – it was supposed to be played with water. The Bud Pong campaign launched complete with branded tables, balls and glasses to distributors in 47 markets, several in college towns. The distributors helped organize tournaments and Anheuser-Busch even explored trade marking the name. When executives found Bud Pong was being played improperly – with beer – all the fun came to a screeching halt. Drinking games will always be played with the cheapest, chuggable beer on the market. Until the product changes, Bud will continue to be a natural choice to fill those Solo cups.

Now, four years later, Anheuser-Busch is hoping that we have all forgotten about the failed campaign and is hoping to revive a more family friendly pastime as the lead sponsor of the Bud Light Hard Bat Ping Pong tournament. The brewery has gone on record as saying “This is about the residual goodwill we all feel for the better times we grew up with. This conjures up family.” The Bud Light Hard Bat Ping Pong tournament is intended to reach drinkers at the grass roots level and at the same time emphasize on the fun angle of the brand.

Executives behind the project believe that ping pong will be an emerging trend in this time of recession when the country nostalgic for family values and simpler times.

Do they believe ping pong is the next pastime to sweep the nation or is Hard Bat the more politically correct way to reach beer-pongers? I would argue the latter.

A good sponsorship should not only tap into the passion of the target audience but also resonate with the brand image. Bud Pong was an obvious choice based on consumer insight, but a misstep for a brand which attempts to promote responsible drinking. On the other hand, Hard Bat may conjure up fond memories of more wholesome times, but among who? I can’t help but wonder if the Bud Pong backlash pushed marketers of the brewery too far in the opposite direction. Where they once forgot about the brand, they may have now forgotten their audience.