Dude. Do you even Snapchat?

I can’t tell you the last time I left the house without my iPhone.

My grocery store is approximately 100 paces from my apartment, but you can guarantee that if you need to reach me in the dairy aisle, I’ll have my phone at my hip. It’s there for every commute, every Netflix marathon, every workout, my phone is one of my essentials. It’s there to document every moment of my life — and the lives of my friends and family.

And it is the home of my favorite social medium, Snapchat.


Since Snapchat’s release in 2011, users have been sending photos, videos, drawings and the recently introduced “Stories” to a hand-selected audience. After turning down a $3 billion acquisition from Facebook, Snapchat has never been cooler. Capture an image and add it to your “Story” but not before adding a caption, photo filter, your geographic location, the current temperature, and of course an illustration done by index finger.

Sending something more personal? Select your receivers individually. You know who else is on Snapchat? EVERYONE.

In August of 2014, Snapchat reportedly had 100 million active users sending 400 million snaps per day. Hey advertisers, guess what! 71% of those users are under the age of 25. What’s different about Snapchat versus Instagram, Facebook and other photo sharing communities? Expiration.

Individuals and brands can send short-form messages that a user can see for a maximum of 24 hours. #GoldMine? Last month, Snapchat featured live-stream, user generated content at events like New York City Fashion Week, iHeart Radio Music Festival, College Game Day (a weekly feature) and most recently the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Brands have joined the conversation as well. Vogue Magazine, McDonalds (see below), General Electric and The NBA are just a few adding the photo sharing app to their social media regimes.


According to a recent Mashable study:

“Almost half of college-age Snapchat users said they would open a Snap from a brand they’d never heard of, and 73% said they would open one from a brand they did know. Close to 70% of students said they’d even add a brand as a friend if they also followed them on a separate social network like Facebook or Twitter.”

So, why join Snapchat? It doesn’t get any more local than in the hand of a customer. Whether it’s a traditional “what we’re up to” photo, or a story with a beginning, middle and end, Snapchat starts (and ends) a conversation with consumers in their back (or front) pocket.


The Altitude Group’s New Interns Tell All

What do free ice cream, cheesy puns and George Michael’s Careless Whisper have in common? They are all part of the wonderful welcome we received from the colorful group of people that make up the Altitude Group.

In all seriousness, we’ve found that this team is the intersection where intelligence meets creativity. On our first day we experienced the expected nervous jitters. Do you remember your first job? After every introduction the thought of “I hope they like me” ran through our heads.

Except for Ryan. He assumes everyone likes him.

cbs interns

We were told in the initial interview that this would be a very “hands on” experience, and we quickly saw this materialize before our first lunch break. We didn’t just sit in on brainstorms, we were actively encouraged to participate and contribute to actual projects. Coffee-runners need not apply, the Altitude Group internship gives an actual taste of the real world.

We’ve seen bathroom stalls bigger than our cubicle, but we quickly made a home of our shared digs. Every good real estate agent knows that location is everything. It forced us to get to know each other in a short amount of time, despite Nneka’s best efforts to ignore Ryan’s bad jokes.

There’s a few cons to our location: we sit too far from the team, and being too close to the fridge means that a smelly apocalypse is always imminent from long-forgotten food stuffs.

We are, however, close to Herm’s office, and the onslaught of  puns that come out of his office. If we weren’t so busy working on other projects, we’d probably meticulously note them all and try to get it published.

Despite the highs and lows of our cubicle locale, by the end of our first week there was a moment when we realized that we work here.

The first two weeks have been a truly unparalleled experience, and we can’t wait to see what the next eight have in store for us!

-Ryan and Nneka


TL;DR: The One Sentence Recap of Advertising Week’s Greatest Insights

This year’s Advertising Week was incredible. Unfortunately, there are too many panels for one human-being to physically go to. So we did the next best thing, we sent out our AG staffers to do a little recon on some of the most exciting panels and capture the essence of the panel in one sentence or quote.

Enjoy our #OneSentenceRecaps.

“Staying on top of change while focusing on the next big idea keeps me up at night.” 

-Lisa Cochrane, CMO Allstate,
What Keeps CMO’s Up at Night?

“If you’re not telling your story well, you’re an interruption

-From a Story Told to a Story Lived

“Data in a vacuum means nothing. Context matters.”

-Jeremy Levine,
How to Build an Influential Brand

“The goal of branded content should be that both the brand and the publisher comes out looking better than they did before.”

Ze Frank of Buzzfeed Motion Picture, The Social Experiment
- Creating A New Media Model

“You are living in the dark ages if you think you can be successful in radio without a strong social media connection.”

Angie Martinez,
The Voices of the Original Social Media

“Work at the speed of culture:  Anticipate, respond and repeat.”

-How to Build an Influential Brand

“Imagination is essential to reaching innovation. To achieve great things, you need to embrace technology and forge amazing partnerships that bring great minds together.”

-Unleashing Potential: Creativity & Innovation

“To be a successful strategist you have to be curious and restless, because the best revelations are in the things you don’t know yet.”

-Wired Strategist

“You don’t get more local than the people you choose to spend time with. Local starts with social in that sense.”

-Greg James,
Reinventing Local Media

“There are no sports fans. There are Giants fans and Bulls fans. Marketers need to have that conversation in that context.”

-Alan Blum,
Reinventing Local Media


Top 9 Tweetable Quotes from Advertising Week’s Best Minds


Advertising Week took over NYC this week bringing some of the biggest names in marketing from clients, agencies, media, content partners and more to stages all around Times Square.

It’s amazing how, despite their preordained topic, most of the panels seemed destined to shift to a few key topics: Creativity/Innovation, Content Marketing/Storytelling, Cross-Platform Solutions, Technology & Data, Programmatic, Mobile e-Commerce, and Consumer Engagement.

Here are some of the best quotes from Ad Week’s best minds. Got your own? Let us know @CBSAltitude.

“The simpler the consumer journey, the better the commerce performance will be.” 

-Jill Toscano Vice President, US Media, American Express
Regarding Mobile e-Commerce

“We’re just figuring out the e-commerce funnel on mobile.”

-Kevin Weatherman Director, Global Strategic Publisher Sales, Twitter/MoPub
Regarding Mobile e-Commerce

 “It comes down to access, giving the consumer something they can’t get anywhere else.”

-Jeffrey Moran Vice President of Public Relations, Events and Lifestyle Marketing at Pernod Ricard USA
 Regarding Consumer Engagement

“Sometimes you need to put yourself out there and take a risk.”

-David Beebe Vice President, Global Creative and Content Marketing. Marriott International
 Regarding Creativity/Innovation

“It’s getting the story out there from someone people want to listen to.”

-Lisa Cochrane, SVP Marketing, Allstate Insurance
Regarding Content Marketing/Storytelling

“A compelling story is time honored.”

-Linda Boff, Executive Director, Global Brand Marketing, GE 
Regarding Content Marketing/Storytelling

“Don’t make the content suck.”

-Mr. Marriott via David Beebe, Vice President, Global Creative and Content Marketing, Marriott International
 Regarding Content Marketing/Storytelling

“You can’t silo digital marketing from traditional marketing.”

-Amy Pasca, Director of Digital Marketing Strategy, US Skincare Brands, Johnson & Johnson
Regarding Content Marketing/Storytelling

“We have a little parade you may have heard on Black Friday Eve.”

-Jennifer Kasper, GVP, Digital/New Media & Multicultural Marketing, Macy’s
Regarding Consumer Engagement


5 Things We Learned from Ariana Huffington at #AWXI

huffington ad week

The Altitude women showed up in force to the Thrive panel at Advertising Week. Chaired by Ariana Huffington, Thrive featured an amazing panel with an impressive list of impressive women: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Susan Gianinno (Charman NA, Publicis Worldwide), Lori Hiltz (CEO, Havas Worldwide) and Denise Morrison (CEO, Campbell), to name but a few.

The topic was women succeeding in the work place while living sustainable, fulfilling lives. Here are some of the takeaways.

#1 “Do what you’d do if you weren’t afraid of failure.”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand had to say this about women in the workplace. Definitely a powerful “DUH” statement! Still, the Senator’s words are something we should be repeating to ourselves every day. How many great ideas never came to fruition because someone was too timid, or worse, told she wasn’t capable?

#2 The Balancing act

We’re often told to achieve a “work-life” balance, but it might be time to throw that idea out the window. It no longer exists, it’s all about “work-life” integration.

LOVE this, because there is no way to have a complete 50/50 work and life schedules. One day your life will take precedence, one day work will. You bend, pick and choose, and merge the two.

We live in a world where each individual is their own brand. We’re repping that brand on social media and when networking with colleagues. But you’re checking emails on the train and conjuring up the next great ad campaign in the shower, it also means you get to #treatyourself every now and then.

#3 Ariana Huffington is secretly hilarious

Enough said.

#4 Unplug!

Dr. Richard Davidson spoke on the importance of a calm mind in our crazy world. Easier said than done, sure, but the effects of sleep and meditation can cause “measurable improvements” on our productivity and efficiency.

The science is pretty amazing: mindfulness can improve focus and memory, and as we’ve noted before, a stroll through the park acts like a creativity steroid.

Digital breaks are also essential and so is taking time to be a person. Don’t just think these things are true; practice them and encourage your employees to do the same. You’re a better version of you when you do these things.

And whereas some worship the cult of “no sleep,” the science is pretty solid on why that’s a really, really terrible idea.

*Hits snooze button*

#5 “Appreciation is almost as good as compensation.”

A favorite quote from Susan Gianinno, of Publicis Worldwide. All too often, women are too slow to brag about their accomplishment vs. their male counterparts. Recognition goes a long way in motivating employees.


Live from Advertising Week: Local Media 2020

The eleventh annual Advertising Week kicked off on Monday with a jam-packed schedule of amazing panels and events. This event gets bigger and bigger every year and I was blown away by the lineup of incredible speakers and insights in the mix.

One of the big themes this week has been data, something my fine colleague Spencer has riffed on in the past.  “Using data will make marketers smarter,” Fred Bucher argued.

But I was particularly impressed with this interesting historical fact from this week: Ogilvy discovered that only 4% of women considered themselves beautiful. This inspired Dove to launch its real beauty campaign to challenge beauty stereotypes and inspire women. The “Fearless” panel on Tuesday was also a huge hit, arguing that marketers need to take big risks to reap bigger rewards.

I was honored to be on the Local Media: Vision 2020 panel with Andrew Capone, Fred Bucher, Steven Lanzano and Steve Lindsley.

For those who couldn’t attend, here at some of the points I wanted to drive home.



A huge theme of this year’s Advertising Week was data, as it should have been. But not all data is created the same, and sometimes marketers need to be actively critical of the data they receive. Radio and television like to measure the sheer numbers of eyeballs and ears reached, but we should take a cue from social media marketers and look also at engagement. Radio has been doing this for years, with call-ins, contests and live events. But new opportunities are constantly being created for cross-platform engagement — and we need to keep using Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms to drive brand engagement.

Relevancy and Context


Our good friend Lisa Cochrane from Allstate and her panel refused to play the desert island game when asked what singular marketing technique they would bring with them on a desert island. That’s because, as Dana Anderson aptly noted: context is key. Is TV better than digital? Sometimes. Does one medium (including radio), serve as the be-all and end-all of marketing? Absolutely not. Without an intimate knowledge of the context within which your message is received – the message itself can all too often fall flat.

It’s context and relevancy that drives local, and gives local marketers an edge in the future. Each locale has its own needs, cultures and desire. Marketers who know how to speak to those things will always trump their competitors.

The Future


Engagement, relevancy and context are great starting points for discussing the future of local, but all those things are strategies marketers need to already implement. We can say these things will be vastly important in 2020, but the key is for local marketers to keep up with the amazing onslaught of new technologies which allows marketers to better target their consumers and create meaningful engagement. Whether that’s over the airwaves, on a computer, in your pocket, or on your wrist – we need to leverage these new tools as part of a cross-platform arsenal. Steve Lanzano noted of digital’s relation to broadcast that it’s “additive,” not “instead of.”

The battleground of local in the next 5 years will certainly be over devices, and whatever other innovations Silicon Valley has to throw our way.

We can’t wait. And we’re not afraid to share the playing field. Radio is going to be a bulwark of local engagement in 2020, simply because we’ve been doing for years what new technologies are figuring out. No other medium is more intimate, more connected and more plugged-in to people’s lives than radio.




Gatorade’s Inspiring Tribute to Derek Jeter

After 20 amazing years with the Yankees, Derek Jeter is ready to hang up his pinstripes for good. Jeter isn’t just a player, he’s become a veritable institution for New York City and the Bronx.

A campaign tribute from Gatorade captures this reality as well as any I’ve seen.

The black and white commercial follows Jeter as he walks through the Bronx on the way to Yankee Stadium. He mingles with admirers and local kids before stopping in to Stan’s Sports Bar, a frequent hangout of Yankees fans located close to the stadium. Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” plays in the background, a song Jeter chose himself. It ends with Jeter stepping out in Yankee Stadium to an uproar from the audience.

ABC News had a great writeup about the behind-the-scenes work that made the commercial happen. While many of Jeter’s interactions are with actors, they were never informed that they would be in a commercial for Derek Jeter. Their responses are 100% genuine, and the commercial captures it perfectly. The whole commercial only took about two hours to film.

Sports drink consumers are a huge demographic — over 70 million consumers — that saw sizable gains in 2013. It’s a market that Gatorade dominates with amazing marketing – from their famous sweat commercials to the ceremonial dumping of the Gatorade cooler.

The video immediately saw an overwhelmingly positive reception, and is quickly approaching 6 million views. To give some context, Jordan’s touching Jeter tribute which has been out for 2 months has 8.1 million views on YouTube.

Athletes, and their teams, are integral parts of their community. Commercials like this strike a nerve with us because we realize just how many lives have been touched by people like Derek Jeter, and the positive impacts they’ve had as role models. And that’s what’s amazing about local: the ability to connect with families and neighbors.



The Secret of Local Marketing in a World of Mobile Payments


The growth of mobile internet usage has really taken the world by storm.

This January, for the first time, Americans used smartphone and tablet apps more than PCs to access the Internet.

And mobile device usage shows not signs of slowing. Just yesterday, Apple announced that opening weekend iPhone 6 sales were over 10 million.

Apple’s new phone was announced at the same time as Apple Pay, a new system which allows you to pay at the counter with your iPhone 6. This certainly isn’t the only mobile payment offering today but whether it’s brought to you by Apple or PayPal or Google, there’s no doubt that the future of e-commerce is on our phones.

It’s even gotten to the point that traditional wallet manufacturers have taken notice.

Of course mobile consumers act differently than folks behind a computer. They’re often very busy and want to get business done. Fast. 57% of mobile users will abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load and 30% will abandon a purchase if the site isn’t mobile-friendly.

So as marketers continue to push forward and think about the future of local media, they might also want to think about the qualities of “local” devices. As more of them fit in our pocket or our wrist, they become more and more a tool for making buying decisions.

In addition to developments in mobile payment, tons of location-specific apps are driving sales to local businesses. There’s apps like ScoutMob which serve up discounts for restaurants in your neighborhood and Google Now which is getting closer every day to anticipate exactly what you need when you need it.

But as we’re barraged with choices for local restaurants — who hasn’t been paralyzed by choice when perusing Seamless? — it’s the power of local messaging which makes the difference for local buyers. Consumers need to hear and know about local businesses before reaching for their iPhone. Brand recognition, trust and familiarity are essential components of the buying decision making process that simply can’t be discounted.

When it comes down to it, consumers are reached in a variety of ways: through a billboard they see while driving or by a catchy jingle they’ve heard for years. When it comes to reaching those local audience, there’s no substitute for impactful local marketing.


‘We Can Survive’ Benefit Returns to Hollywood Bowl

We’re incredibly excited to report the return of the We Can Survive concert presented by 5 Hour Energy!

This year’s line-up for the show on October 24, 2014 includes performances from Taylor SwiftPharrell WilliamsAriana GrandeLady AntebellumIggy AzaleaParamore and Sia with a special appearance by Gwen Stefani.

The crew will take over the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles once again for a night of songs, spectacle and surprises.

A portion of ticket sales will benefit Living Beyond Breast Cancer and Young Survival Coalition, two organizations dedicated to supporting and educating women and families who have experienced breast cancer.

Check out the whole story at


Be Sure to Check Out “Local Media: Vision 2020″ at Advertising Week!

MEC_News_AdvertisingweekLocal Media: Vision 2020

The year 2020 is no longer the realm of science fiction…it’s right around the corner. What will the media landscape look like five years hence? And how will marketers target and reach consumers where they live and spend? Will lines between traditional and digital media continue to blur? Will there be a united form of audience measurement? Will the process of media buying and selling be automated? A panel of experts will look into their crystal balls and provide 20/20 vision of local media in 2020.

I’m really excited to be a part of Advertising Week’s panel on local media this year, and am even more excited for the future of local in the year 2020. I’m a little less excited that, despite promises from futurists, I still don’t have a jet pack.

I’ll be joined by some great speakers, like NCC Media’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and business Andrew Capone, Fred Bucher from Time Warner Cable, Steven Lanzano of the Television Bureau of Advertising and Steve Lindsley of Comcast Spotlight.

The year 2020 will see the rise of the millennial: a generation that is more diverse than any generation before and enamored by technology. Even still, they spend more on music than the generation before them, and 65 million of them tune into radio each week. It’ll also see the solidification of up-and-comers in the marketing world like mobile advertising. And if we’re lucky, NFC technology will add an entirely need dimension to local advertising.

Advertising week runs from September 29 to October 3rd this year. It draws in over 90,000 participants and hosts over 250 events featuring leaders in thought, creatives and other trailblazers.

The talk will be given at The Adara Stage at Hard Rock, September 30 at 3:00 PM. Be sure to register for the panel here.