TogetHER makes it to Zahn Semi-Finals


How do you motivate people to engage in a charitable cause in sustainable way? That's the question that Marika Bailey BIC '16 and Naushi Perera BIC '17 sought to answer when developing a campaign to tackle gender inequality. Their solution, the TogetHER app, earned them a semi-finalist spot for the Standard Chartered Women + Tech4NYC  prize of the 2017 Zahn Innovation Center Competition. The app works with wearable devices that keep track of your daily steps, allowing you to team up with a sponsor to create your own personal "walkathon" on behalf of the women in this world who toil at tasks that are barriers to advancement. This transforms charitable giving into a daily habit that is more sustainable. Their team includes other BIC students (Melissa Julien and Nikki Lebenson Angulo), BIC faculty (Nancy Tag and Gerardo Blumenkrantz) as well as professional mentors (Bethany Andres-Beck and Nick Coronges).

Each year, up to six start-ups are chosen to compete for the Standard Chartered Women + Tech4NYC Seed Prize as part of the Zahn Innovation Center's Venture Competitions. Semi-finalists gain access to the Zahn incubator and mentorships. By nature, the chosen start-ups have a social impact mission at their core. Winners will be announced after final presentations in the Spring 2017 semester.


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Rob Norman previews the near future: CES 2017

As we'd expect, GroupM CDO Rob Norman puts the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in perspective...before it even occurs! In his latest "Big Idea" post, Rob previews the upcoming global consumer electronics and technology tradeshow and poses this question: "How can we build, maintain, and make discoverable a data story around brands, with and without screens, to ensure their prominence and survival in an age of machine mediated relevance?"

Read our favorite influencer's latest musings here. Thanks, Rob, for your insights!

BIC Tackles Teen Anxiety on Behalf of the UJA-Federation


It was a challenging goal: to reduce isolation for the Jewish teen community when it comes to issues of mental health. But by joining forces with the UJA-Federation of New York as well as the Jewish Board and 70 Faces Media, BICsters in the Fall 2016 non-profit capstone rose to the challenge.

On Thursday, December 15th, three teams presented strategically driven campaigns that leveraged traditional, online, social, mobile, and other digital communications vehicles to meet the target audience where they live. Each campaign sought to create a movement in which teens could become active participants, content creators, and advocates. Anchored in a "big idea," teams demonstrated how their campaigns would roll out with a timeline of tactical elements for a yearlong plan. Professor Douglas Davis oversaw their efforts.


Throughout the semester, BICsters were aided in this task by members of the Jewish community, BIC faculty as well as BIC alums. Our main client contact, Pam Schuller, Program Coordinator of Teen and Mental Health Initiative, Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services, provided guidance all semester long. She was joined by Jonathan Katz, Elise Slobodin, and Linda Gross for the December 15th client pitch. All four judged the pitches to determine which campaign best met their needs.

Each team developed distinctive approaches, from managing the mental stress that's hiding in plain sight ("The Invisible Truth") to resisting the false narratives of social media ("There's More"). The winning team, Mosaic, uncovered research indicating that teens were more likely to express their hidden feelings when engaged in artistic activity. Their #DareTo Express campaign gave teens, parents and the Jewish community at large a platform to disarm and unlock teen emotions through creativity.
Members of the winning team Mosaic
Special thanks to Mirm Kriegel, Executive Director, Brand Strategy at the UJA-Federation of New York for connecting with BIC Professor and Y&R EVP Belle Frank last spring to make this project a reality. Past non-profit capstone clients have been Columbia Children's Health and the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership.

BICsters Make Waves for Circle Line


All semester long, BICsters in the Idea Development course led by Professors Gerardo Blumenkrantz and Nancy Tag learned how to create brand narratives and multi-media stories by developing impactful campaigns for Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises. Since 1945, the Circle Line has hosted over 60 million passengers; it's the only cruise company in New York Harbor exclusively dedicated to sightseeing. While doing research, first year BIC students got to explore the city by taking actual tours. In another dose of reality, BICsters were then treated to client feedback when the Circle Line marketing team of Laura Stancarone, Michael Mattera, and BIC alum Alex Suazo showed up on December 7th, the last day of class.


As final presentations in a foundation course, these were the first of many that BICsters will be making in front of actual clients. After viewing nine campaigns, the Circle Line team came away with a number of implementable ideas and gave highest praise to a campaign created by Kacy CharlesJason Tai, and Sean Feol-Baugh.


Professor Angela Chitkara named a CUNY Mellon Faculty Fellow

As part of the CUNY Mellon Faculty Diversity Career Enhancement Initiative (CMFDCEI) and with support from the Mellon Foundation, BIC Professor Angela Chitkara has just been named a Faculty Fellow for 2016-2017. The initiative is tied to University-wide efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion as outlined in the Diversity Action Plan and in accordance with the mission of the University. The aim of the initiative is to develop sustained mentorship via research/writing seminars on CUNY campuses and a series of professionalization workshops to increase the success and professional satisfaction of our diverse professoriate.

By creating the intellectual spaces to further advance scholarship and creativity, the initiative seeks to enhance prospects for tenure and promotion and improve upon the overall University climate. Its objective is to anchor and support a tenure-track faculty as they build an intellectual community, work toward peer-reviewed publications, and attend professionalization workshops.

Congratulations, Angela!

Think How They Think @BIC


On Tuesday, November 15th, Douglas Davis kicked off our @BIC Lecture series, demonstrating to designers and business professionals how important it is to “Think How They Think.” As Principal of The Davis Group, Professor, Designer, and Strategist, Douglas was able to give the audience a deeper dive into his recently published book Creative Strategy and the Business of Design that teaches both sides of the creative/business divide about the strategic objectives and marketing decisions that drive creative work.
Some of Douglas’ key observations included:
>> Business is annexing design, as it previously integrated marketing.
>> Clients expect everyone involved with the brand to be strategic.
>> Design schools don’t teach business strategy. 
>> Business school doesn’t teach how to inspire designers. 


Douglas’ astute observations are partly the results of having a successful career as a professional designer/art director who couldn’t get to the next level without pursuing a second graduate degree in Integrated Strategy from NYU.  His personal journey represents the BIC program’s core belief that real leadership in this complex world of communication requires “T” shaped thinkers and doers: people with discipline passion AND more broad-based knowledge of how this industry works. In other words: designers who think strategically. Managers who understand design. Strategists who understand social media and corporate communication. And so on. 


After his presentation, Douglas stuck around for a book signing. Given his recent national book tour, BIC was lucky to have him speak on campus — even though he also somehow manages to teach BIC’s fall capstone every Thursday!

R/GA Hosts the FUTURE


On Thursday night, October 20th, BIC held its annual Mix+Mentor networking event at the AMAZING new offices of R/GA on 33rd Street.  A crowd of over 100 guests showed their commitment to the future by meeting and promising to mentor members of BIC's Class of 2018 featuring 30 hard-working grad students from across the globe, around the United States, and right here from New York City.


Industry professionals, consultants, and recruiters from agencies such as R/GA, Ketchum, Interbrand, VaynerMedia, Droga5, Samsung, Night Agency, Hawkins International, VML, NYTimes T Brand Studio, Finn Partners, Kalson Communications, Jack Morton Worldwide, Y&R, The Barbarian Group, Citizen Relations, FutureBrand, Gravity, Publicis, Rooney Partners, Berlin Rosen, ABW Solutions, HA Roth, Porter Novelli, Deep Focus, DigitasLBi, Siegel + Gale, BBDO, 4A’s, PRWeek, and Time Warner offered encouragement, exchanged business cards, and made commitments to mentor. 


Our special guest of the evening was advertising legend and BIC Board Member George Lois who posed for selfies and offered words of wisdom throughout the night. Several BIC alums now active in the industry were also there to celebrate the power of mentorship. Some were caught on tape as our MentorCam circulated the room to document guests who were there to honor this year’s theme Mentor Like You Mean It. 


BIC Program Director Nancy R. Tag congratulated R/GA on its spectacular new space and expressed gratitude for  sponsoring this year's Mix+Mentor. She expressed a special thanks to catalyst Jenny Tieman and organizer Whitney Donaghy of R/GA as well as BIC Program Specialist Christina Castro and BIC Tech Specialist Mira Steinzor. Professor Tag then welcomed the crowd by introducing BIC's latest incoming class, the fourth since the program's launch in 2013. 


She also highlighted some of last year's outstanding accomplishments -- noting a theme of THREE in BIC's THIRD year: three recipients of $5,000 The LAGRANT Foundation Scholarships, first, second, and third place (once again) at the 2016  CCNY Graduate Symposium, three BIC teams chosen for The One Show Client Pitch, a $5,000 Zahn Entrepreneurship contest winner, our third MAIP winner, two articles about BIC students in AdWeek, and... a super heavy GOLD Pencil at the 2016 One Show Student Competition.  All evidence that mentorship matters!


But the focus of the evening was really on the incoming class: "By committing to BIC's two-year master's degree program in order to think more deeply about the issues impacting media and communications today," Tag noted, "these students have already demonstrated a commitment to the industry -- and to everyone in the room who's dedicated to future." Past sponsors of the BIC Mix+Mentor have been Y&R, Ketchum, McCann, and GREY.

Visit our GALLERY to see more photos!















PR Today: Nimble, Creative, Disruptive


In a recent PRWeek opinion piece, BIC Professor Sandra Stahl of jacobstahl speaks to public relations practitioners' natural "skills as strategists, storyteller, and purveyors of influence can and should take PR in an infinite number of directions if we allow them to, if the communications challenge demands it, and if we have the opportunities."

Read the full article here.



BICsters RISING


BIC alums are on the rise -- snagging new post-graduation jobs, getting promoted, shifting gears at new agencies, or even launching new product lines…!! Here are a few highlights since May 2016.

Donna Dei-Baning BIC ’16 snagged a job at NYTimes T Brand Studio in mid-August as an Insights Strategist on its brand new Creative Insights team. Donna says that she’s “been responsible for a lot of pre-sale ideation, working on pitches and responding to RFPs with stories that are rooted in audience insights and industry data.” So far, her projects have been for BMW, Google, American Express and most recently, L'Oreal. She gets to work across a lot of different verticals and weave insights into the strategies that inspire the creative team to develop custom programs for clients. 

AndrĂ© Ory BIC ’15 was recently hired at BerlinRosen, a public affairs and political PR firm, as a Senior Account Executive. Working in his wheelhouse, Andre manages strategic communications and media campaigns for leading foundations and non-profits on communications and media campaigns focused on public health, immigrant rights, and LGBT rights. His clients include the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Perception Institute, and the MacArthur Foundation. Just before joining BerlinRosen, AndrĂ© worked on communications and thought-leadership initiatives at global health strategy firm Rabin Martin, where he supported non-profit and corporate clients on public health programs targeting underserved populations. 

Himani Gupta BIC ’16 recently joined Retarus Inc., a leading global provider of professional messaging solutions, offering services for electronic corporate communications since 1992. Retarus manages the safe and efficient flow of information for enterprises around the world. Himani will be its Corporate Communications Manager, working closely with the Head of Marketing & Sales Strategy. 

Andy Kwan BIC ’16 parlayed a summer internship into a recently acquired position as Brand Analyst at FutureBrand, which “combines expertise in brand strategy, identity, digital, retails, environmental, product service design to define and connect every aspect of brand experience.” Andy will be helping FutureBrand.edu migrate to a new platform as well as work with its London team to reorganize its online brand identity. 

Javier Garcia BIC ’15 is about to launch his own company, Suyo, a socially conscious active apparel brand dedicated to making a lifestyle of health and fitness accessible to all. Suyo designs and produces gender-neutral activewear bottoms using exclusive designs produced by local artists. Suyo is a Pending B Corp committed to creating work opportunities in urban neighborhoods and investing in socially impactful efforts that benefit its employees, contractors and customers. Look for the official launch in early 2017. 



BICster Builds a Bot -- Cassondra's Responsive Recruiter


Tired of reaching out to recruiters and getting back nothing but radio silence? Cassondra Bazelow BIC '16 did something about it. She coded up Rosie, an automated recruiter with a surprise feature: it responds. Okay -- so maybe it doesn't land you that dream job, but at least Rosie responds quickly AND with flattery!! No wonder Adweek dedicated an article to this "still in progress" invention, stating: "In short, it's a sex bot for people who are sick of hearing "We'll keep your portfolio on file." To fully complete the fantasy, just close your eyes, lean back and fill in the agency's name for yourself."

Currently a senior art director at VaynerMedia, Cassondra snagged jobs in the Creative Department at BBDO and Tribal Worldwide even before graduating from the BIC program. So while Rosie the Responsive Recruiter may not be necessary for Cassondra, the rest of the workforce is grateful!

See Cassondra's work here.

Read the Adweek article here.

Brava to Lynn Appelbaum's Bravo Award from Hispanic PR Association


On Wednesday evening, October 13th, the amazing Lynn Appelbaum, Professor and Director of the Ad/PR Program at the City College of New York, was awarded the first Bravo! Educator of the Year Award from the Hispanic Public Relations Association. The HPRA National Bravo! Awards are the most prestigious awards in Hispanic communications recognizing the industry's finest campaigns across several categories. This is the first year that it has honored educators who serve the industry. 

This impressive achievement recognizes Professor Appelbaum's contribution over the course of a career dedicated to educating a diverse student body and making them profession ready. The HPRA accolade is not only well deserved, but no surprise to those of us who work with her and have seen her in action. Lynn is the lead author in a recent landmark study on diversity in the PR industry. Read it HERE

The Hispanic Public Relations Association (HPRA) is the foremost organization of Hispanic public relations practitioners in the US with chapters in Los Angeles, New York, and other major cities. 

Read more about this momentous evening HERE.  

Clients to Agencies: We Demand More Diversity. BIC agrees...

Photo of ACTUAL BIC students after a client pitch -- NOT from Getty Images!!!
A September 2, 2016 Wall Street Journal article noted that “a recent spate of high-profile scandals on Madison Avenue involving accusations of sexist and racist behavior has put the spotlight back on the advertising industry’s lack of diversity. And now marketing clients are starting to leverage their budgets to insist on change.” Among the companies demanding that agencies diversify its workforce is HP. In a letter to its five agencies, Antonio Lucio, HP's chief marketing officer, “requested that each one submit a plan within 30 days that lays out how the firm will significantly increase the number of women and minorities in key creative and strategy roles.” 

That same week, Ann Simonds, CMO at General Mills, told Advertising Age that it would apply a diversity standard when seeking out creative departments to work with including a requirement that they contains at least 50% women and 20% “people of color.”

A month later, The New York Times article entitled Brands to Agencies: Diversify or Else  noted that the motivation behind these efforts is mostly about demographic parity: "Marketers are expected to have a deep understanding and insight about their markets, about decision makers and about customers," Mr. Scotti [of Verizon] said this week. "We are more likely to create solutions that amaze our customers if our work force and suppliers represent the communities we serve."

However, having marketers reflect "the communities we serve" is not the only reason why agencies should be diverse. BIC Program Director Nancy R. Tag states that the real focus on diversity should hone in on talent. "The recent demands by brands to hire more people who look like the consumers they target is positive. But efforts must go beyond seeking diverse demographics to diversity of skills, diversity of thought, diversity of culture, etc. Being "talent forward" is exactly what will lead to greater demographic diversity. Because guess what? No race, gender, culture has a monopoly on talent. This is a bottom line business imperative: diverse talent creates a dynamic work environment, a more creative work force, and more engaging products. As an industry, demographic parity is a low bar..." BIC Professor Douglas Davis agrees:  "I love that BIC is uniquely positioned to provide the diverse creative and strategic pool the industry and clients are asking for."

While this focus on diversity isn't new (The New York City Commission on Human Rights held its first hearings into discrimination in the advertising industries back in 1968), real engagement in the issue ebbs and flows. And action has been slow.  The BIC program not only celebrates diversity in both its mission, student body, and collaborative multi-disciplinary approach, but in recent original research on diversity principally authored by CCNY faculty Lynn Appelbaum and Frank Walton. Read that report here

Heineken Gets BIC Input on Drinking or Driving Efforts


On August 29th, BIC Program Director Nancy R. Tag attended a brainstorming session at Heineken USA designed to identify new and innovative ways to change the conversation around drunk driving. It was attended by linguists, academic researchers, behavioral economists, and government officials. As a special treat, the attendees got a preview of a commercial that aired this week to introduce its new $200 million partnership with Formula 1 which builds on Heineken's longstanding commitment to responsible drinking. According to Anuraag Trikha, Heineken’s global communications director, “It’s a natural question to ask our point of view on drinking and driving. For Heineken, it’s an obligation and opportunity to promote responsible behavior, because people so want to listen to a brand like us.”

The spot featured here was created by Publicis Italy. As stated in Creativity: “It is a convincing re-creation of Jackie Stewart in his early 1970s heyday, in which he is seen winning and enjoying the jet set Formula 1 lifestyle while courteously refusing bottles of Heineken every time they are offered to him. The soundtrack is a version of David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ by Postmodern Jukebox featuring Nicole Atkins.”

BIC for Hire: UJA this Fall's Capstone Client


Being a 21st century Jewish teen comes with a lot of benefits – modern technology seems to offer just about everything at one’s fingertips. Yet today’s teens are also experiencing new frontiers of stress. Research shows large numbers of teens struggling with issues like depression, anxiety, suicide, and loneliness. Of critical importance, these are the years that set the stage for the future. It’s where we start to build our identity and make those initial life choices about who we want to become. Therefore, there needs to be new thinking and innovation on how we support these emerging adults during this critical life-juncture. 

The UJA’s response is to partner with BIC students to help provide a platform where Jewish teens can find accurate information, comfort, and real connection with the following goal: to reduce isolation for the Jewish teen community when it comes to issues of mental health. Because teens are digital natives, Pamela Schuller, Program Manager, for the Teen and Mental Health Initiative Jewish Community Services is asking BIC students to leverage online, social, mobile, and other digital communications vehicles that meet our audience where they “live.”  In order to create a dynamic community, this project seeks to inspire a movement in which teens become active participants, content creators, and advocates.


This project is part of the Fall Non-Profit Capstone lead by Professor Douglas Davis. All BIC students are required to participate in creating a communications campaign in the not-for-profit space in order to make an impact on society in positive ways. Our partnership with UJA comes through a connection of Belle Frank, EVP at Y&R. 

Five BICsters Win Coveted Spots at Planning Bootcamp



This summer, BICsters not only kept busy going to conferences, succeeding in high profile internships at places like Bloomberg, Quinn, ARF, and HAVAS, and totally rocking it in the MAIP network, but...five won spots at the super competitive Griffin Farley Beautiful Minds Planning Bootcamp sponsored by BBH. The annual competition was launched back in 2013 to honor Griffin Farley’s commitment to up-and-coming planning talent.  Over 200 applied this year to be among a select group to present campaigns in front of a distinguished panel of industry luminaries, department heads and recruiters.  In an intensive few days in late July, teams were tasked to help sponsoring client UberPool increase users in NYC from 0.3% to 2% in the period of 12 months.

The five BICsters included alum Nehal Mahmoud, recent grad Donna Dei-Baning, and current students Rocio Rivera Iglesias, Saif Ishtiaque, and Ben Kent. BICsters have won at least one coveted spot in this competition every year since it launched.



BIC's Melissa Julien Reflects on her MAIP Summer

Melissa Julien (BIC Class of 2017) interned this summer at DigitasLBi as one of an elite group of students chosen for the 4A's prestigious Multi-Cultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP). Melissa is a graduate of Hunter College with a BA in English and is currently in BIC's PR track. Here she recounts the highlights of her summer spent with MAIP.

137 students from over 55 campuses nationwide. 78 advertising and media agencies. 22 weeks of professional training. 3 summer projects. Countless friendships made. This is just a glimpse into the foundation of the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP), a fellowship sponsored by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As). With the goal of diversifying the advertising and communications industries, MAIP gives agencies the opportunity to reach out to highly talented and passionate students.

MAIP Luncheon with CCNY students Wayne Rodgers, Iliana Ortega and Bennett Bennett 

Through MAIP, I spent my summer working at DigitasLBi New York in Account Management for the Accenture and Time Inc. accounts. This was my first time working exclusively in digital advertising and I left my internship with a deeper love and appreciation for the field. Throughout my ten weeks at DigitasLBi, I worked on client projects as well as intern exclusive projects, aptly dubbed “Quickfires.” These week-long, intensive group projects focused on developing strategies and executions for some of the agency's biggest accounts, such as Whole Foods and American Express. At the culmination of the week, each group pitched their ideas to top executives within the agency and some winning teams even had the chance to pitch to clients. Fortunately for us interns, DigitasLBi always demonstrated their strong emphasis on company culture by giving us the chance to bond with each other and employees from different accounts through activities like field trips to Buzzfeed, Bagel Fridays, Friday Happy Hour and Community Service Day. DigitasLBi has no shortage of creative, strategic minds, so it was great to meet with employees across all accounts and capabilities.

First day working at DigitasLBi NY.

Of course, the MAIP experience didn’t stop at DigitasLBi. In addition to the work done at agencies, MAIP fellows must also complete projects exclusive to MAIP. This year, the projects included 12 weeks of professional development webinars, completion of a Khan Academy computer programing class, and a collaborative project that entailed working with MAIPers across the country on a creative brief. The brief for this year’s project was to help the 4As educate others on the various facets of working in advertising. The deliverables for this brief included a website, a video and a form of new media. As the Project Leader for my team, Team Kaleidoscope, it was fun yet intense collaborating with and managing team members across various capabilities and time zones. Nonetheless, we pulled through to create amazing work! Visit our project website, watch our video, and follow us on Instagram.

Overall, my time as a MAIP Fellow and Digitas intern was an eye opening and an invaluable learning opportunity. Throughout the program, I found myself connecting the dots between what I learned during the internship to my academic experience with BIC. Going forward, I cannot wait to make more connections between my classwork and fellowship experience. MAIP not only exposed me to a group of phenomenal peers and mentors, but also helped me paint a better and brighter picture of my career goals.

MAIP 2016 Fellows on MAIP Cares Day at MECA.