Merger? Or Manslaughter? Asks Michael Farmer's Ad Age Article

11/30/2018 Unknown 0 Comments

In a November 29th Ad Age article, BIC Professor Michael Farmer challenged the notion that the recent high-profile WPP mergers that formed VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson are savvy strategic unions designed to optimize WPP capabilities. Instead, he describes them as industry-killing, cost-cutting measures that WPP has practiced since 1986.

As WPP’s growth and profitability have led to a serious decline in its share price, such moves seem justifiable, especially since they can be disguised as “strategic.” But as Farmer points out, “these mergers/cost reductions focus on the wrong problem. What's really killing agencies and holding companies is the declining level of agency fees and billing rates, and the uncontrolled growth of agency workloads.”

The article further states that if WPP CEO "Mark Read wants to make an enduring long-term impact at WPP, he needs to refocus his agencies on 'getting paid for all the work they do' at appropriate rates."

Such sage advice is more fully developed in Farmer's book Madison Avenue Manslaughter which is a starting point of classroom discussions in the Spring semester's B3003 Internal Management course, which he co-teaches with Rodes Ponzer.
To read the entire article, click here

Zontee Hou Named a Top B2B Marketing Influencer

11/27/2018 Unknown 0 Comments

In November, communications leaders and innovators gathered in San Francisco for the 13th annual MarketingProfs B2B Forum for four days of packed programming and networking. To help business marketers navigate the forum, TopRank Marketing published its annual list of top speakers. Once again, it featured BIC Professor Zontee Hou, President/Founder of Media Volery, who presented "How to Build Customer Loyalty Through Behavioral Economics and Big Data."

According to TopRank Marketing: "A variety of criteria go into such a ranking including the topical relevance of the content each influencer publishes, how much their networks engage with that content and the size of their networks with online data pulled from Twitter, blogs, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare, and several other platforms. This is important to know, because many lists rely entirely on Twitter and we all know Twitter alone does not represent the entire social media universe."

To see the full 2018 program, click here.

Three BICsters in The Drum’s 50 Under 30

11/27/2018 Unknown 0 Comments

Every year since 2013, The Drum has published "50 Under 30," a list of high achieving women in creativity who have made their mark before the age of 30.

This year, the conversation-starting list includes three amazing BICsters: BBDO copywriter Vera Golikova Keiter from BIC's first graduating class, Ogilvy art director Amera Lulu from the BIC Class of 2019, and BBDO art director Delilah Kim, a current BIC instructor.

Vera and Delilah are a creative team at BBDO Worldwide working for brands such as Dunkin' Donuts, Pedigree, Band-Aid, J&J, AT&T and Dove Chocolate. They’re jointly teaching BIC’s Multi-Media course this fall. In addition to graduate studies and professional projects, Amera is passionate about using design to solve social issues and bring awareness to subjects like injustice, violence and discrimination.

The annual list sets out to celebrate female creative talent in the industry, highlighting their careers and plans for the future. It’s part of The Drum's ongoing commitment to champion the growing number of hugely talented young women blazing a trail in this sector, racing up the ranks, changing the world, and "caring not a jot for outdated notions around gender roles." It’s based on nominations from readers of this global media platform and curated with the help of a panel of industry experts.

See the whole story and full list here.

BIC and VMLY&R Hack For STEM

11/20/2018 Unknown 0 Comments

Why would 46 college students from 7 different disciplines spend 24 sleepless hours together? To problem-solve new ways to inspire girls to stay in STEM. The clock started ticking at 6PM on Friday, November 2nd as BIC kicked off this unique 24-Hour Idea Hack, a collaboration with VMLY&R, one of America’s most iconic ad agencies, and the Ad Council, one of the oldest public service non-profit organizations. With support from CCNY’s Zahn Innovation Center, the 24-hour session in Spitzer Hall attracted students from across campus, wrapping up at 4PM on Saturday afternoon when judges gathered to review the work and award prizes.

BIC students from all three tracks (creative, management/planning, and public relations) as well as undergrads from Ad/PR, economics, psychology, and engineering quickly formed teams of five to seven to start ideating new concepts for the Ad Council's "Empowering Girls in Stem" initiative. Their challenge: come up with new perspectives, ideas and technology-based solutions that create an emotional connection between young girls and STEM -- all in record time.

Ten coaches from VMLY&R and CCNY were on hand to provide guidance and help teams stay on track. Coaches included VMLY&R professionals Eric Ackley, Digital Experience Director, Fernando Martinez, Sr. Integrated Project Manager, Phillip Pastore, Associate Director of Creative, Katherine Piscatelli, Account Director, David Prince, Sr. Strategist, Rebekah Shufelt, Global Projects Director, and Jeff Small, Creative Technologist. CCNY coaches included Lynn Appelbaum, Professor, MCA Ad/PR, Gerardo Blumenkrantz, Acting Program Director, BIC, Javier Garcia, Adjunct Lecturer MCA Ad/PR, and Paul Kim, Adjunct Lecturer, Colin Powell School. The time flew by, with most of the students working through the night, sleeping in breakout rooms on air mattresses, sleeping bags, and on the floor. Gerardo Blumenkrantz was the only adult who remained at Spitzer throughout the night to provide support to the bleary-eyed teams.

CCNY adjunct lecturer and BIC alum Javier Garcia was impressed by all of the teams. "In just 24 hours, I've seen a new level of growth in the students. They'll bring a fresh perspective with them into the classroom they wouldn't have gotten otherwise. They've learned that everyone has something to offer - from different backgrounds and disciplines. It's about finding ways to help people have the confidence to have a voice."

On Saturday morning, 17 hours into the Idea Hack with little to no sleep, the teams continued working furiously on their solutions. At 4pm they put their game faces on to pitch their ideas to the panel of esteemed judges: Belle Frank, SVP Chief Strategy Officer of VMLY&R, Kesia Hudson, Executive Co-Director, Zahn Innovation Center; Monica Hunter, Assistant Campaign Manager, Ad Council; Catherine Patterson, Executive Creative Director, VMLY&R; and Ashley Gramby, Senior Marketing Manager, Girls Who Code.

Belle Frank found the IdeaHack especially rewarding because as a young girl she was discouraged from going into STEM. Nonetheless, she was able to find her way into research and today firmly believes STEM is important for the world as well as for girls. As a judge, she was looking for "A solution that helps people appreciate how numbers and data can help them in the world today; that helps them experience the beauty and utility of data as a philosophy and can be applied in a realistic way."
L to R: Alisha Amanda Torres, Melissa Lee BIC '20, Penelope Herrera BIC '20, Karla Jacome, Melissa Orr BIC '20, Carolina Perez, Daniel Gaston 
First Place. Team Stemtastic R US won $700 for their STEM Hive emblem mentoring system, where female college STEM students mentor high school girls and high school girls mentor middle school girls.
L to R: Ronald Sherill BIC '20, Raymond Sein BIC '20, Lorenzo Lasagna BIC '20, Julia Almonte, Kacy George, Carlos Matias BIC '20, Kamattie Singh BIC '20 (not pictured) 
Second place Team Femmestem won $500 for their SPARXSTEM solution, an IRL and digital network of resources for young girls to look to in their everyday lives.
L to R: Mohamed Amribet BIC '20, Carmela Vecchione BIC '20, Sanjana Chowdhury BIC '20, Everett Mitchell BIC '20, Sandy Qiu, Karina Gorodkin, Shane Tepper BIC '20
Third Place Team Mileva won $200 for their STEM Force comic book whose characters are based on historical women in STEM and use Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to solve everyday problems.

It took a small army of people to pull off this event. Special thanks to: Karen Wu, Global Talent Manager, Tasha Gilroy, Director, Inclusion & Community Global HR from VMLY&R; Kesia Hudson - Co-Interim Executive Director and Devin Voorsanger, Managing Director from Zahn Innovation Center; Katherine Olives, Program Associate, and Professor Lynn Appelbaum from CCNY MCA Ad/PR; Gerardo Blumenkrantz acting BIC Program Director, Nancy Tag BIC Program Director, and Marlene Leo Program Specialist from CCNY BIC.

More pictures in the Gallery.

ABOUT our partners

VMLY&R is a newly united WPP agency that combines the power of Y&R, one of the industry’s iconic agencies known for building many of the Fortune 500’s biggest brands, and VML, one of the most forward-looking agencies in today’s marketplace – blending award-winning creativity with deep expertise in digital marketing. Commenting on the recent union, former Global CEO of Y&R and BIC Board member David Sable said: “VMLY&R has been nearly 18 years in the making as we have worked to build two successful brands and develop partnerships together with clients such as Colgate-Palmolive, Dell and the U.S. Navy. I’m proud of this pinnacle moment as we are now able to provide clients one robust, seamless offering.”

The Ad Council is the largest producer of public service advertising. It uniquely collaborates with advertising agencies, media services, and business communities to develop pro bono campaigns with donated media to deliver informative and behavior-changing messages to the American public. Founded in 1941 to help sell war bonds, more than seventy years and hundreds of campaigns later, the Ad Council remains America's leading producer of public service communications, including "Smokey the Bear," "McGruff the Crime Dog," and "Love Has No Labels."

The Great Hall Welcomes Paula Scher & Erik Oberholtzer in @BIC's Breaking Brand

11/19/2018 Unknown 0 Comments

As part of its year-long 5th anniversary celebration, BIC held a blockbuster @BIC lecture on November 6th in CCNY's Great Hall featuring legendary designer Paula Scher of Pentagram in conversation with her client, Tender Greens co-founder Erik Oberholzter.  "Breaking Brand -- How Good Design is Great for Business" was moderated by Ina Saltz, Professor and former director of CCNY's Electronic Media & Design program.  

Scher began with a presentation outlining the design rationale behind a few of the iconic brands she helped shape over the years, including Citibank, The Public Theater, Microsoft, The Metropolitan Opera, and Shake Shack. 
Scher and Oberholtzer then got right to the topic at hand: how a brand like Tender Greens is defined and the ways in which the design process elevates that identity. Oberholtzer had decided to rebrand his California-centric fast-casual restaurant chain before embarking on an East Coast expansion. He was introduced to Scher by celebrated restauranteur Danny Meyer with this bold statement: "Paula is the best in the world. She’s in the design hall of fame. You and I are not. Trust her. She’s going to make you uncomfortable, but trust her. Let her take you somewhere amazing.”

Oberholtzer chuckled as he described Scher's visit to Los Angeles. "She visited five Tender Greens L.A. restaurants and spent most of the day insulting us; telling us how folksy and awful we were. But at the end she was able to extract those qualities that made us unique. Not in terms of design but in what we did; that every one of our restaurants has a fine dining chef and the menu changes daily at every restaurant based on the local ingredients available."

These two key differentiators inspired Scher as a designer. "Tender Greens is a lot like my design for Pentagram. It's a place for a chef to work. Each restaurant is not the same; it's based on the individual chef, who they're buying fresh market things from. It's not the same every day. The menu's going to change and the food is amazing. What was strange was the logo made Tender Greens look like a vegetarian place - which was confusing - and the restaurants seemed a little hippie. It didn't seem like something a New York audience would get culturally." 
For the new logo, Scher centered on the chef instead of the greens part of Tender Greens. "The new mark is a pot and a pan with the idea being you're talking about specials which change every day. The notion of getting back to the chef was the heart of what was driving this graphically and then the modernity and the clean-ness was stylistic, nuanced and right for the period but it was driven by what the place is. That's pretty much the way we work."
How did Oberholtzer feel about the design shift from greens to chef? "It let us put the focus on tender as well as greens. It let us highlight the emotion of the brand. How each restaurant IS its chef; how we work with foster youth or daily practices of mindfulness woven into our organization. We really are a heartfelt, heart-centered business in that sense. So it really helped us change the narrative."

The Tender Greens rebrand launched a a year ago. Saltz wondered if the rebrand had been controversial and whether Scher's good design has been good for business. Oberholtzer admitted he knew there'd be criticism and risk - especially with employees and customers who were with the company from the beginning. "It's emotional. People don't like change. But Paula warned me some people would react and that it would be OK. Truth is, I struggled with it. I sat in Paula's office and needed therapy. But as she said, the important thing to remember was we were designing for the future, not for the past."

The success of the company speaks for itself. When it opened 12 years ago, the first restaurant had lines out the door. Tender Greens now operates 28 locations -  including on the east coast. And Oberholtzer plans to double the number of restaurants by 2020.

See more photos of the event in the Gallery.

This @BIC event is the third in a series of high profile lectures celebrating BIC's 5th anniversary. In September, BIC hosted "The Future in Five" a panel discussion with IPG leaders from Golin, Weber Shandwick, McCann, and Facebook which was moderated by IPG Chair Michael Roth. Last month, Barri Rafferty presented "Notes from Davos," which provided insider insights on the global economic leadership conference. 

Over the years, @BIC Lecture Series has provided a platform for industry thought leaders, including Rob Schwartz, Rob Norman, George Lois, and Michael Farmer


Paula Scher is one of the most influential graphic designers in the world. Described as the master conjurer of the instantly familiar who straddles the line between pop culture and pop art, she has won every major design award on the planet. Scher began her career as an art director in the 1970s and early 80s, when her eclectic approach to typography became highly influential. In 1991, she became a partner in the New York office of Pentagram. Iconic, smart, and accessible, her images have entered into the American vernacular.

Erik Oberholtzer is co-founder and Executive Chairman of Tender Greens that started in 2006 with the goal of serving fresh, high-end food at affordable prices — a place that would take inspiration from the Golden State’s haute food temples such as Chez Panisse and democratize it for the masses. Oberholtzer's passion for food policy has made him a strong advocate for reform in food policy issues, which "serves his higher purpose.”

The event was sponsored by BRANDING + INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS (BIC), Electronic Design and Multimedia BFA Program, and The One Club for Creativity. Special thanks to Ina Saltz, Jennifer Bowles, and Mark Addison Smith for helping to bring our rock star guests to campus. 

YouTube, Twitch, & TV in Rob Norman's State of Video 2018

11/13/2018 Unknown 0 Comments

Trendwatcher, GroupM Senior Advisor, and BIC Board Member Rob Norman sees no seismic shifts from last year in GroupM's newly released The State of Video 2018. New behaviors and players aren't emerging as quickly as predicted.  "Linear TV still has enormous value for advertisers," he recently told MediaVillage.  "The surest sign digital isn't the beginning, middle and end of everything is seeing an ad in a magazine for Warby Parker.  Those broad reach vehicles are still important." As usual, demographic differences create distinctly different trends; traditional TV is still strong among older viewers while the battle for engagement among younger viewers is more specific, i.e, Twitch vs. YouTube.

From a marketing perspective, Rob sees more trade support for transactional communication than brand development that aims to build a relationship with the consumer. He calls for a more holistic approach. "Attention and time have become so precious," Norman noted.  "This only works if you think about all of the channels and their functions."

Read MediaVillage's article where you can download the report here.

Michael Farmer's Podcast on Mad Ave Manslaughter Takes Top Disruptor Spot

11/13/2018 Unknown 0 Comments

Owltail just named the top 10 episodes of TBWA/Chiat/Day's Disruptor Series where BIC Professor and Board Member Michael Farmer's episode "Chronicling the Disruptions of the Advertising Business" took the top spot. The podcast series hosted by Rob Schwartz, CEO of TBWAChiatDay NY and BIC Board member, features movers to shakers to great content makers who are disrupting business, culture and life.

See the top 10 list here and check out all the episodes on iTunes, including the September 7, 2017 episode “Disrupting Madison Avenue” featuring BIC Program Director Nancy Tag.

David Sable on LinkedIn's Top Voice List of Influencers for 2018

11/13/2018 Unknown 0 Comments

The list is short. But its impact is significant. And VMLY&R Chairman (and BIC Board Member) David Sable is on it. 

LinkedIn's 4th Annual Top Voice List of movers, shakers, and influencers uses its extensive data and editorial signals to determine who the "must-follow writers and creators around the globe" are. LinkedIn's criteria includes engagement among professionals sharing in their area of expertise. They look for "what kind of conversations — measured by engagement, including comments and re-shares — their original content is creating." Another criterion is " quality and diversity; the list should reflect the world we work in."

In a conversation with LinkedIn, David Sable identified the demise of Sears as the most interesting news story of 2018. “No one ever called Sears a disruptor but their impact was at least as big… bigger than Amazon’s in its day. Amazon is following Sears by the playbook… will they end up the same?”

See the entire list, which includes Richard Branson, Melinda Gates, Justin Trudeau, Susan Cain, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Winer Byanyima, can be found here.

God-is Goes Global at Twitter

11/13/2018 Unknown 0 Comments

In an exciting career move, God-is Rivera kicks-off her new job at Twitter this week as Global Director of Culture and Community. She leaves VMLY&R where she served as the Director of Inclusion and Cultural Resonance after previously being the Associate Director of Social Media Strategy.

For BIC, God-is has been a Portfolio Defense Judge, a contributor to BIC's Creative Round Robin course, and the brainchild of BIC's Social Impact Lab which was held this summer and fall in partnership with Harlem Grown.

God-is will be the first to hold Twitter's newly created position as Global Director of Culture and Community. According to Twitter's Nola Weinstein, "God-is' deep expertise in marketing, culture, and communities makes for a rare and incredible combination." We agree and are eager to experience her latest impact on the communications industry in this culture-shaping role.

In a statement on her new role, God-is said "As a black woman who has worked in industries in which I have been underrepresented, I feel great responsibility to amplify and support diverse communities, and they exists in full force on Twitter."

Read more here and here.

Insider Insights -- Barri Rafferty's Notes From Davos

11/08/2018 Unknown 0 Comments

Each year, global leaders converge in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss and analyze the world's most pressing issues, including inequity, changes in technology, sustainability, global trade, and more. Barri Rafferty, who is an Agenda Contributor to this annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, generously agreed to share her insights at a @BIC lecture on campus at The City College of New York.

It wasn't the first time she has done so. In 2014, Rafferty, who is CEO and President of Ketchum, presented her takeaways from Davos to the entire MCA department. It was an eye opening lecture. So we were eager to welcome her back to hear what she learned from this year's gathering of world and business leaders.

Because Rafferty has attended Davos regularly, she was able to not just pinpoint which topics are “hot” today but exactly what propelled them to center stage. For example, the ubiquity of AI and Blockchain has spawned urgent conversations around the need for regulation; techlash is forcing employers to consider how to retrain their workforce to solve future problems with technology we can't yet imagine; and gender parity, considered an HR topic just a few years ago has rocketed up to become a C-Suite topic - thanks in large part to the #MeToo movement.

Rafferty continues to be an in-demand BIC speaker. One of her most popular presentations in 2016, "Secrets of a Female CEO" unveiled juicy and enlightening secrets to her success.

A member of BIC’s Advisory Board, Barri Rafferty is CEO and President of Ketchum, a top-five, global PR firm, and member of Ketchum's Global Leadership Council where she oversees Ketchum’s global offices, Ketchum Digital and Ketchum Sports & Entertainment (KSE). A frequent speaker on the topic of gender parity and unconscious bias, Rafferty has spoken at TEDxEast, and the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting. She is a founder of a women’s leadership network at Omnicom and a recipient of the Plank Center’s Milestones in Mentoring Award. Rafferty is on the PR Council’s board of directors and the national board of StepUp, an organization empowering girls from under-resourced communities to become confident, college-bound, and career focused. In 2017, she was inducted into the PR Hall of Fame.