BICster's Lighten Up with This Spring's Corporate Capstone for Diageo

3/09/2021 Unknown 0 Comments


After partnering with Memorial Sloan Kettering last Fall, BICsters have a deliciously new opportunity to put their skills to work for Diageowhich has returned as the 2021 Spring Corporate Capstone client. This year's marketing communications challenge is to help launch Baileys' newest brand extension, Deliciously Light. 

Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands across spirits and beer.  Headquartered in London and here in New York City, Diageo produces over 200 brands, including SmirnoffJohnnie WalkerBaileys, and Guinness,  that are enjoyed in more than 180 countries around the world. It's a business built and sustained through innovation; developing new ideas is crucial to its growth strategy. 

BICsters in the Class of 2021 have been entrusted to work on Diageo's latest product innovation: Baileys Deliciously Light. With 40% less calories and 40% less sugar than Baileys Original Irish Cream, people can get a light and versatile treat with all of the yummy taste of the original Baileys people know and love. 


Working from a brief presented on February 11th by Diageo's Alex Carantza, Director of Consumer Planning, and Jason Chebib, former Vice President of Consumer Planning at Diageo, the four capstone teams will pitch their final integrated marketing communications campaigns to the client on May 20th. In between, BICsters will do a deep dive into market research to uncover insights that will drive strategic communications solutions that will deliver lick the screen deliciousness in product-specific ways. 

Each Spring semester, the BIC Corporate Capstone is led by BIC Professor and Program Director Nancy R. Tag who divides students into separate communications teams to fulfill the brief of a corporate client. Past clients have been Univision, Universal Music Group, and Heineken. In the Fall semester, BICsters focus on a non-profit organization. This year, they worked on behalf of Memorial Sloan Kettering and CCNY in their research collaboration Redressing Access to and Disparities in Immunotherapy for Breast Cancer (READI). 

Michael Farmer in Media Village: Forget the Ivy League

3/03/2021 Unknown 0 Comments


By BIC Program Director Nancy R. Tag

BIC Professor and Board member Michael Farmer knows what he’s talking about. A Princeton English major with a Harvard MBA, he’s been a high-level international consultant for decades, clocking in some time as director of Bain & Company, founding its office in Paris. The third edition of his book Madison Avenue Manslaughter includes a forward from Sir Martin Sorrell.

So when he speaks, we listen. What’s he saying right now? If you want to be in the trenches with a smart and focused professional during a global health crisis, amid societal unrest, and with an industry in turmoil, pick a BICster.

When Michael agreed to teach in my graduate program in Branding and Integrated Communications (BIC), I felt so lucky. He not only fills the classroom with his vast knowledge, leadership, and compassion, but with guest speakers who are at the top of their game (Former Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Brian Sheehan is featured in the photo below). But the thing that tickles me the most about Professor Farmer is the utter joy he derives from the BIC students he teaches. He captured this in a recent article —a tribute, actually — for Media Village in which he shares tales from BICsters in his Internal Management course.


Two of my favorites tales from the article:

"One of my students grew up in Castro’s Cuba during the PerĂ­odo Especial, when aid from the Soviet Union collapsed. As a child, she chanted, 'Pioneers for Communism, we will be like Che!' every morning at the commencement of classes."

"Another was born in Afghanistan during the political turmoil of the Soviet Union communist regime and the Mujahedeen resistance in the 1980's. He has worked on reconstruction projects and was able to come to the U.S. with his family on a green card due to his extraordinary efforts for USAID."

In Media Village, he summaries: “Our students are not put off by Madison Avenue's manslaughter -- they are used to upheavals, toughened by their personal experiences, and eager to attack the real world with all its opportunities. For an industry needing transformation, diversity, equity and inclusion, CCNY stands ready, as it always has, to provide well-educated graduates who have the right stuff.”

As always, well said, Michael! To read the entire Media Village article, go here.  Please do. It will inspire you.

Behind the Scenes with Creative Team Vera Keiter BIC ’15 & Delilah Kim

3/03/2021 Unknown 0 Comments

On January 12th, 2021, one of our favorite creative teams, Vera Keiter BIC ’15 and Delilah Kim, hit the BIC grid for "How Creativity WORKS," our new speaker series which explores how to transform your passion into a profession and creativity into a career through the lens of successful BIC alums.  A copywriter/art director duo since first meeting at BBDO, Vera and Delilah spoke candidly about their award-winning projects, how creativity fuels their professional (and personal) life, and the secret to having an effective creative partnership.  In addition to working together at BBDO, 160over90, and now Facebook, Vera and Delilah were featured in The Drum's 50 Under 30 in 2018 and have team-taught B3011 Multi-Media Executions in the BIC Program.

So exactly how does creativity work? BIC Program Director Nancy R. Tag demonstrated the importance of creativity by first asking the audience to consider  life without it. Responses included "defeated," "depressing," "rigid," "dull," and "boring." She then introduced Vera and Delilah by playing one of their recent commercials for Aviation Gin Commercial -- a perfect example of how creativity is put to work. 

Vera and Delilah jumped into the conversation by spilling the tea on how a celebrity brand turned Arlene Mako, an 84-year-old gin drinker, into an unexpected star. What inspired the idea? What was the process of transforming a big idea into a produced commercial? And how cute is Ryan Reynolds? 

It turns out that the process was fairly unconventional -- a lot like the agency where they were working, 160over90which sits inside leading entertainment and media talent agency William Morris EndeavorAs a talent-forward agency, creatives often receive "open briefs" not for a specific brand, but built around a personality, an occasion, or some other trigger. The creative catalyst for this particular brief was Leap Year. For Vera and Delilah, the brainstorming got interesting when considering what life was like for "leaplings," people born on Leap Day who celebrate their birthday every four years. What were some of the challenges when their "official" age was significantly lower their actual age? One light-bulb: they're not allowed to legally drink alcohol until they're 84! Suddenly, the product category became clear and they searched among 160over90's long roster of alcoholic brands for the perfect sponsor, zeroing in on Ryan Reynolds' Aviation Gin. Not only did Reynolds love the pitch, he made the production happen in a matter of weeks so it could air in time for Arlene's 21st birthday on Leap Day 2020. 

The Aviation Gin commercial proves why these two are a match made in creative heaven! When asked about their unique dynamic, Delilah spoke about how “when we started working together, we realized that our priorities for the creative process were very similar...This is the thing that keeps teams together.” 

After their gig at 160over90the team made their own leap to Facebook where they are currently Senior Creatives working on brand messaging around Facebook's mother brand. Delilah spoke about how a lot of what they do is around storytelling of people who use the platform. She added that “finding creativity in this job is about finding the right stories.” You can check out their work here.
Nancy wrapped up the conversation by asking Vera how her BIC degree made a creative career work for her. “BIC is the only program that teaches creatives to be more than just creatives," Vera explained. "It helps you understand other people in the agency.” BIC grads accelerate faster. Beyond just developing a portfolio for that first job, they become true professionals who are well-rounded, collaborative, and strategic innovators who see the big picture.  

But the evening didn't end there.... Prospective students interested in the Creative Track stuck around for "LATE NIGHT with Gerardo" where BIC Professor & Creative Track Director Gerardo Blumenkrantz provided tips and tricks for submitting a killer BIC Admissions Portfolio and answered questions from prospective students. 

Overall it was a fantastic evening. A big BIC thank you to Vera and Delilah for sharing their creative wisdom and letting us in on How Creativity WORKS for them. Stay tuned for our next alumni conversation in our newest series.