Selah Sue

Selah Sue graced us with her unique style and raw talent during a private concert at the agency. With just her guitar and soulful voice, Selah introduced us to her rock-meets-funk style of music. Check out her song “Raggamuffin” and more at

A funny thing happened at the eye doctor.

My pupils are dilated to the point that the only thing I’m sure of as I type is that I’m filling the white page with jagged black lines. I suppose I could increase the font size but that would rob me of an unusual way to lead into this blog post. When I was at the eye doctor (not the herbal doctor if that’s where your mind went) about a half hour ago, I spotted (pun, son!) an intersection between two massive trends that are woven into some recent thinking we’ve done for two of our clients: Big Data and Convergence. Those are the two trends, not our clients.

Big Data is the bringing together of massive amounts of disparate data to find kernels of intelligence and insight, the “aha” moments.

Convergence is the wonder that is the smartphone: a mobile telephone, personal computer, camera and jukebox (and etc., etc…) all rolled into one. Or a spork.

During my visit to the eye doctor, I endured the very, very long, monotonous, repetitive test wherein one eye is patched, Jack Sparrow style, and other exposed eye is assaulted by tiny, arrhythmically timed round blue light-dots that appear for a fraction of a second at varying, unpredictable points within a concave half-sphere in the side of a hulking, vanilla colored machine (picture the Death Star after a good power-washing) into which your face is perched. Each time the light-dot appears, you’re meant to press a button on a wired clicker sort of thing. You know the machine – the one where you always blink when they tell you not to. If you haven’t, imagine the most boring yet annoying and interminable, unwinnable video game you’ve ever played, and you have a reasonable approximation of this experience.

I had a lot of time to think (with my eyes WIDE open) during this experience.

It first occurred to me that if the data from this test were analyzed by a doctor other than an ophthalmologist – say, a psychiatrist, some inferences could be made from it. Compared to others with similar eyesight, was there a decline in accuracy over the course of test? Perhaps that’s an indication of ADHD. How about excessive clicking of the button? Hmm…anxiety.

Then I realized that the grip I had on the clicker coupled with my face being pressed against several mounts in the machine could be used to extract vital signs if the machine were pimped with a heart rate monitor and non-invasive contact thermometers. And what about the fact that I spent at least 15 minutes breathing in a fairly confined area? Surely whatever microbes I emit as well as the intervals and volume of my breathing could be monitored by devices that would fit within the giant shell of this oven-sized eye-taunter. And while my eyes were being attacked, why not subject my olfactory senses to a potpourri of allergens to see what makes my nose twitch?

I was also abandoned in this curtained-off area, which made me feel like a dental patient being x-rayed (you know how the dental hygienists always leave the room before they blast you with plutonium powered polaroids). Couldn’t I smile big for a see-through camera hanging from the ceiling above the Death Star while watching for tiny blue light-dots and have my teeth checked out as well?

I figure that in those 15 minutes (ok, maybe it was 10), with a little hardware engineering coupled with clever software, you could provide meaningful information to an eye doctor, a shrink, a general practitioner, a cardiologist, an allergist and a dentist.

I’m sure if I had more space and more time I could cram a few more expensive specialty MDs into the mix.

And I really am sure that in time, things like this will exist.

Thanks to Big Data plus Convergence.

There will always be divergent specialty devices (like high quality, dedicated cameras), but as MIT professor and author, Henry Jenkins, asserts, convergence devices help us find new uses for hold technology.

Big Data plus Convergence has the potential to save a lot of time, money and maybe even lives. The only downside to Big Data plus Convergence in the case of the all-in-one Death Star Health Monitor (irony intended) is more poking and prodding per minute for patients and shorter and less frequent office visits for doctors. Maybe then they’d spend less time buying and learning expensive devices and more time thinking about their patients.

Big Data plus Convergence has massive implications for marketing, too. That’s one of the many things we’re thinking about when we talk about the triumvirate of Media, Content and Technology. That’s actually an entirely true statement, but I mostly brought this post back to what we do here at Dentsu to assure my colleagues that this blog post wasn’t a totally flight of naval-gazing self-indulgence.

The most wonderful time of the (advertising) year.

It’s a special time of year when we sit around with our loved ones, eat for hours, drink too much, and yell at the tv. Yep, it’s the Superbowl of Advertising, with a few football interruptions. If you’re in the ad world, you can probably consider these 4+ hours billable time because you need to be savvy come Monday. And your sodium hangover is no excuse for not having an opinion.

What’s your favorite superbowl pastime? Is it discussing the possible conversations that happened during brainstorms and client meetings to make that terrible ad come to life? Is it hopping online to that obscure URL to “see the rest of the saga unfold!”? Is it going on facebook and inadvertently finding out who’s playing and what the score is? If not, then I have no idea what you normal, non-ad world people do.

You probably watch the game. Let me know who wins.

Love the work.

My advice to people just starting out in advertising – don’t do it. Unless you love the work. In which case please do it. Do it because rewriting a banner headline sounds delightful. Do it because you never fast forward through the commercials. Do it because you really, really, really want to write a fabulous mobile strategy. Do it because you have an unusually strong opinion about Helvetica. One of the great ironies of advertising is that if changing a logo by 4% causes you gastric distress, then this is probably a good occupation for you. The most successful account man in the business has been known to cry when looking at storyboards. Because he loves the work. If you do too, then join us. Advertising is for lovers.

Welcome new CEO David Cameron.

Press Release

David Cameron, who for the last two years has served as Chief of Strategic Development for Dentsu Network West, is our new CEO.  Before joining Dentsu in 2010, David was managing partner of mcgarrybowen’s New York office.  He spent seven years at mcgarrybowen, where he helped build it from a twenty-person boutique to Agency of the Year in 2009.

David says: “I am extremely excited to be joining Dentsu America.  I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last two years getting to know people from all over the Network and digging deep into the essence of what’s made Dentsu Dentsu; what’s made it one of the most dominant and innovative agency brands this industry’s ever seen.  As the US flagship of the Dentsu brand, we have a lot to live up to.  A lot to create.  And a huge amount to draw from, extending the model and the values of Dentsu’s proposition to clients here.”

David Cameron

David Cameron

ML Rogers Joins Dentsu America.

Press Release

ML Rogers is the latest agency to join the Dentsu Network, combining its clients and capabilities with Dentsu America under the leadership of newly named CEO, David Cameron.

Do we show clients too many options?

Presumably, our clients choose to work with us because they believe us to be experts in our field, and therefore, the most adept at solving their advertising and communication challenges. Why, then, has it become standard practice for agencies to offer up so many options, and ultimately let the client choose the “best” solution? We often feel the need to show a range of thinking, so we rarely (if ever) go into a meeting with one direction and say, “This is it. This is the best solution.” But that’s exactly what legendary designer Paul Rand said to Steve Jobs when designing a logo for his company, NeXT. After Jobs briefed Rand on the assignment, they had this conversation:

Steve Jobs: “So I guess you’ll get back to me with some options.”

Paul Rand: “I don’t do options. I will solve the problem, and you will pay me. It’s up to you whether you use my solution…but I don’t do options.”

As this article goes on to say, of course Paul Rand did tons of options. He just didn’t show them to his client. He only showed his very best solution.

Maybe this way of thinking is far too risky for agencies. But I think it’s refreshing and inspiring. Read the full article here.

The Google + Phenomenon

Well it took long enough. More precisely 5 years for Google to finally launch their social media competition to Facebook. Although still in beta form, the Google + network has taken the best aspects of Facebook/Twitter and finely tuned it to its own audience of Google users (via Gmail, Youtube, Picasa Reader, etc.) So what does this mean to you Facebook junkie? Well it depends on what you want to use network for but Google + is the legitimate competition to Facebook social media geeks have been waiting for.


The Circle system in Google + is basically what Facebook wanted their “Groups” to be. Once signed up to Google+ the user has the option to put their contact lists into circles of people with whom he/she would like to share information with. This idea is amazing because there are discussions one would like to keep within a certain group of people that they do not want the entire world to be privy to.  For example, a friend who is a journalist has started to use the circles system to share information with his fellow journalists on particular topics before going to press with an article. As he is editing the article, he is gathering insights on opinions, fact checking and general thoughts. Just over a year ago he would have to wait until he is article is posted/tweeted before insights can be shared. Now in over the 2 hours he takes to write the article, he can get valid up to the minute information and critiques as he is putting together the piece instead of waiting until publication.

I am no journalist but I have found great ways to use the Circle System for my own purposes. My “Circles” so far has aided in continuing discussions on soccer and music (two major passions of mine) as well as planning a mini vacation with friends who were in town for a few days. Although many would argue you can keep intimate conversations or sharing articles/videos using email or even the Facebook Message System, the interface of Google + makes it user friendly and addictive once the user gets the hang of it.


The other strong feature of Google is “Hangouts”. As an extension of Circles a user has an option of extending the stream of conversation to a live format (most popular a group chats using the GChat interface or video chat). Although you have heard the same before presented by Apple, the Google + version is mass to all users with capabilities rather than limited to a small audience.

Where the Hangouts will improve the next few months is if Google will allow games to become a portion of the system. Recently I have enjoyed playing Facebook Games and idea of going against your friend list for top score has kept me addicted. If Google allows programmers to create Hangout games or use the technology for other purposes, the popularity of Google + will be limitless.

Even though the Google + is still in its early stages of development compared to the social media beasts of Facebook and Twitter, it has taken the best portions of both API’s and made it “Google”. There are many questions in how the system will proceed and the one noticeable lack of a Blackberry App which does prevent millions of users keeping the conversation going but right now take it for what it is. Google has developed a surefire competition to Facebook.


Dentsu’s “Your Second Shot” team is embarking on a road trip this Sunday to continue our project for Canon. First stop, San Francisco! We’ll be traveling the country and helping real people recapture meaningful photographs that didn’t turn out the first time around. Check out our new site! You can follow us on the map, read our daily blog, and see the videos and photos we capture along the way. There’s also a camera contest starting in a couple of weeks, so check back to score a free PowerShot camera. Later NYC!

Canon and VII Launch the VII Gallery

We live in a world where cell phone photography has a tendency to steal the spotlight and capture headlines. And that’s unfortunate, because we also live in world with so much awe-inspiring photojournalism capturing everything happening all around the world. These images of war, change, uprising, triumph, turmoil and progress, among others, are often the work of VII–a collective of photojournalists committed to capturing images that define the turbulent times of the 21st century and then relaying them to the rest of the world.

Dentsu and Canon worked with VII to launch the VII Gallery where we’re sending VII photojournalists on assignment to interpret a single word–like CHANCE, NOURISH and CHANGE–and then capture it using the Canon G12, S95 and 7D cameras. The first project for CHANCE is now live at the VII Gallery and the VII photojournalists are busy working on the next assignments amidst their professional work throughout the world.

Follow along as we post new work in the gallery along with interviews and videos about the most unique interpretations. If you feel inspired, you can even photograph your own interpretation and submit it to hang in the gallery alongside the VII photojournalists’ work.