Mad Men, The Final Season. Sort of.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

It’s the beginning of the end for our favorite men on Madison Avenue, and I applaud AMC for giving us a gentle ride out for the series.  The first half will air these next 7 weeks, and we will get the final send-off in 2015.  I have grown fond of the 7-12 episode story arch; it gives me just enough entertainment without getting to the eye roll stage of using filler material.  Remember those flashback episodes that were popular on 80’s sitcoms?

Each episode moves the story along, and gives us the opportunity to savor Mad Men as a whole.  Now that we live in the days of binge watching, I make a proposal that we try to slow things down, enjoy and reflect.  Instead of racing to hit play on the next one, pause and think: “Is Roger going to hit Woodstock this year with his new hippie friends?”  “If I existed in 1969, would I smoke?  Live in the city?  Protest the Vietnam War?”

When an episode ends, I snap out of my time travel trance and look around.  Slightly disappointed that is it 2014, but I like to keep that 1969 feeling as long as I can and do some old school chores.  Usually some ironing, since hey, it is Sunday night after all.

Take your time, enjoy the warmer weather, and enjoy these last few episodes.  I look forward to chatting with you around the office bar, but only once a week.

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Written by Katie Kirby
Katie Kirby

April 21st, 2014 at 9:47 am

What’s In Your Wallet?


Have you looked at your business card recently? If not you should. MKTG INC’s cards are known for their unique perspective and purpose (the latter being expressly to embarrass their bearer, natch). In our new column Business Cards Explained, we take a look at the business cards of our coworkers and hear the stories behind them. Get ready to blush.

They say it all began for Dan with a casual hand slap with Michael Jordan.
Not sure who ‘they’ are but I always liked that the first line of my business card kind of makes me sound like a stalker who got smacked by MJ (couldn’t we just say high five?).  The truth is the Bulls were playing an exhibition game against the NJ Nets in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse where I grew up, and I was lucky enough to get tickets right by the Bulls tunnel.  I high-fived him on his way out to the court and think I just stared at that hand for the rest of the game (a la Peyton Manning in that epic Mastercard commercial).  I also high-fived Bill Cartwright but somehow that copy ended up on the cutting room floor.

To compare that pivotal moment in Dan’s life to Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam”, is way out of bounds, but nonetheless, that courtside half-second experience changed him forever. 
I remember saying I was never going to wash that hand again but thankfully that wasn’t the change they’re referring to.  This sentence seems like one of those ‘Not to throw anyone under the bus…but that’s exactly what I’m going to do’-type statements.  We’re not saying it was as important as the “Creation of Adam”…but that’s exactly what we’re saying.

And ever since, Dan became not just competitive but clutch.  If there are 2 clicks on the clock, you want the ball in Dan’s hands.
When I first got this card a number of my friends asked if this was referring to beer pong.  Not sure what that says about my hobbies (or my friends)…

When he’s not making last second victories from certain defeat, Dan can be seen and heard yelling at certain Big Ten rivals.
As a Michigan grad this comes naturally but this line actually had to be edited from the original copy.  There were a couple of specific schools called out (I’ll let you do the math) that I actually started working with as part of our NIKE activations.  Meeting new partners with the promise of me yelling at them didn’t seem like the best move.

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Are you a Nueva Latina?


Cincinnati may not seem like the cultural hub of the universe – but we do some pretty cool work for Orgullosa – a US Hispanic community for women driven by Proctor & Gamble.

Orgullosa just launched their Nueva Latina campaign. It’s a new initiative that celebrates the cultural pride and undeniable bond that Latinas share by inspiring women from across the country to reveal what it means to be a Nueva Latina.

They kicked it all off with an event in NYC attended by the likes of Roselyn Sanchez from Lifetime’s Devious Maids and Lala Anthony of MTV DJ fame. There were amazing performances of their Nueva Latina Monologues, which were written specifically for Orgullosa.

MKTG INC will be taking these monologues into the digital stratosphere by creating content for [] and attracting new US Hispanic women to their community and encouraging them to share their stories of being a Nueva Latina.

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NCAA Brings Madness to MKTG INC

Photo Credit: CBS

Photo Credit: CBS

Well, this is awkward.

We do an annual March Madness pool at MKTG INC. Traditionally, we’ve just done brackets – $20 to join, fill out your bracket, and then sit back and watch what happens. Some people grumble about the time it takes, so this year we added a second way to win: throw in $10, get assigned a school, and if your team wins it all, you take home the pot. Simple as that. No bracket, no paying attention to seeds, no weighing expert predictions. We found an app that scrambles lists and then randomly matched the participants with the top 48 schools.

I was responsible for sharing the bracket and the pool with the company – my name was on the emails, and I’m the person who collected payment from employees across the US (and even a few in the UK). When I was assigned a 7-seed, I figured “well, maybe next year” and moved on. I kind of stopped paying attention – it’s baseball season, after all.  So imagine my delight when I woke up today to see that my seven-seed – University of Connecticut – had won the National Championship game, making me look like the sketchiest bracket administrator in history.

Congratulations to MKTG INC’s Tom Tromba, who – despite having chosen Florida as the national champion – took home bragging rights on the bracket. As for me, I guess I’ll just say Congratulations Huskies!

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Escape to Hawaii!

Hawaii Collage 2
Like everywhere else in the US, the Northeast has experienced a long, insufferable winter. I finally reached a point where I couldn’t stand the sight of snow anymore so I chose to cash in my MKTG RWRDS trip and go to Hawaii. I wasn’t sure what to expect besides leis, luaus & Hawaiian shirts, but if this mystical place could make Don Draper smile, then I knew it could bring me out of my winter funk.

My girlfriend Lillian and I started the trip with two nights on Waikiki Beach. We ate amazing Japanese food, relaxed on the beach and hiked to the top of Diamond Head State Monument for some incredible panoramic views. Once we had a chance to thaw out, we drove to the North Shore of Oahu. Along the way, we stopped at the Pearl Harbor Memorial and the world-famous Dole Plantation to ride the Pineapple Express (James Franco not included).

My favorite experience on the North Shore was walking through a Banyan tree forest to the secluded Kawela Bay. There we spent the day stand up paddling through crystal clear waters filled with sea turtles, drinking fresh coconuts and eating fresh pineapple from a nearby fruit stand. The area is famous for their shrimp trucks and we aggressively sampled the different versions of shrimp scampi (our favorite was Fumi’s). I also cliff jumped at Laie Point, which some people might recognize from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I’m glad to report that my jump was slightly more graceful than the one performed by Jason Segal’s character (also named Peter).

To end the trip, we visited the beautiful island of Kauai, full of jagged mountain ridges and exotic plant life. Jurassic Park was filmed there and at times it felt like a dinosaur was going to jump out and spray blinding venom in my eyes. Luckily that never happened and we had a wonderful time hiking along the Napali Coast, which provided breathtaking views of the island. We woke up early on our last morning to take a helicopter tour, a first for both of us. We flew around the whole island and saw things that never would have been possible from the ground, including canyons, waterfalls and a breaching humpback whale.

While the weather and activities were amazing, the thing I miss most is the food. I’ve done my best to find Hawaiian food here in NYC, but a day doesn’t go by that I don’t crave Açaí bowls, Ahi Poke, fresh pineapple and coconut ice cream. If it’s not already obvious, my trip was truly a once in a lifetime experience that I’ll never forget. I’d like to thank MKTG for providing the opportunity, my colleagues for selecting me and the entire House of Walker crew for their tireless support during my last year on the program.

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Written by Peter McCutcheon
Peter McCutcheon

April 3rd, 2014 at 10:39 am

Posted in Experience

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with one comment – Latest by: Escape to Hawaii! | EventSpeak
[…] By Peter McCutcheon […]

MKTG INC’s Gone Crackers for Mary’s Gone Crackers

In our guest-columnist series, we share insights from some of our favorite staff, clients and industry experts. This month we highlight Mary Waldner, chairman and founder of MKTG INC client Mary’s Gone Crackers.

MARY_WITH_BOX[1]How did Mary’s Gone Crackers get started?

After my celiac diagnosis in 1994, I started creating gluten-free versions of baked goods. I developed the crackers and would bring a bag of them wherever I went.  Then others started asking for them. I woke up one morning with the clear message that we needed to manufacture the crackers. Thus began an incredible five-year journey that led to Mary’s Gone Crackers.

This is the company’s 10th anniversary. How has the gluten-free industry changed over the last decade?

When we first started, the gluten-free world was very small — determined and vocal, but not well known. Most restaurants didn’t know what gluten was. There are still very few organic choices in the gluten-free category, and most companies use the same highly refined ingredients. But some mainstream companies have gotten onboard: Rice Chex became gluten-free a few years ago, and Betty Crocker and King Arthur Flour have gluten-free mixes. But there is still the perception that gluten-free is somehow healthier, which is not usually true. Replacing gluten-containing refined food—bagels, pizza, cookies, donuts—with gluten-free versions is not healthier. People who are ill from eating gluten will feel better eating gluten-free, for sure. But that’s a long way from eating whole, real food.

You’ve brought some new products to market recently – new graham crackers and Everything Pretzel. How do you determine what’s next?

Generally we look for food that we’d want to eat. We consult data to find potential categories – there’s room in the gluten-free and organic sectors for great-tasting and more nourishing versions of popular foods.

Tell us about your new partner, Kameda Seika.

Kameda Seika is the largest rice cracker company in Japan, a publicly traded company. They bought 80% of our company and Dale and I have retained the remaining 20%. It has been wonderful partnering with them. They support our vision 100%. They also specialize in manufacturing, which is where we need a lot of help.

Women in business – how has that dynamic evolved in the last 10 years?

There is progress in that women are starting companies, at least in the food industry. At the same time, there is little progress in terms of how men treat women. Being the only woman on our board for most of our 10 years, I have been treated in ways that I think are familiar to other women — as invisible, as though I’m speaking a language that no one else speaks, and often as if I’m not speaking at all. It took me a while to understand what was going on and learn how to respond. There’s lots to talk about in this area.

Knowing the past 10 years have been an amazing journey; what is your favorite memory in building this company?

Wow, there are so many: winning the Most Outstanding Cracker award in 2008 and getting my picture taken with Jacques Pepin; listening to Oprah talk about her favorite foods including “my Mary’s Crackers”; reading thousands of emails from people grateful for how our products have improved their lives; getting to love an incredible team of people who are committed to growing our company; expanding my world in unimaginable ways.

What’s next for you and the company?

Some great new products — granola that is unique and fabulous; fig bars and other filled bars; expanding our market into Europe and other countries; improving production as we expand.

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Glory Glory Man United!


Winning the Barclays Premier League Trophy is a HUGE achievement, winning 20…well that is INCREDIBLE!  In 2013 global football powerhouse Manchester United did just that and claimed their 20th Premier League Trophy.  The Red Devils have one of the largest fan bases in all of sports, and what better way to say thank you than to share the trophy with all of them.  Manchester United partnered with MKTG INC to travel the world with the Premier League Trophy to say thanks to fans, partners and supporters that were a part of the historical season.

Man U

MKTG traveled all over the world to put the Trophy Wall and Museum structures together.  Working closely with the local venues and partners throughout the tour to create a consumer experience like no other.  The tour has spanned over 152 days, traveled 96,000km and visited 31 cities in 24 countries across 4 continents.  Fans and partners in local markets got the opportunity to come out and meet Manchester United Legends and have their photo taken with the trophy.  Fans also got the opportunity to explore the Story Wall Museum taking them down memory lane through Manchester United’s history.  Showcasing artifacts from previous eras and allowing fans young and old to get an up close and personal look into the historical club.

The celebration might be coming to an end but the support for the Reds will carry on…Glory Glory Man United!

Shanghai Mall 5

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Written by Carter Parrish
Carter Parrish

April 2nd, 2014 at 11:57 am

MKTG INC & Yahoo Take Over SXSW’s Brazos Hall


The annual SXSW festival presents a unique cross section of emerging technology, digital media and entertainment. Through a diverse set of events, Yahoo’s Brazos Hall was a representation of the many dimensions of SXSW and Yahoo. With 8 days of events that included tech talks, comedy shows and music concerts, Yahoo partnered with MKTG INC to become a daily habit for festival-goers.

To kick off interactive, Yahoo Sports hosted a day full of college basketball games, sports trivia and a beer pong tournament. On Sunday, Yahoo Tech editor David Pogue launched his Tech Mix series and included discussions with influencers such as Biz Stone and Brandon Stanton, among others. Other daytime events included recruiting sessions and panels from the Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Sports teams. At night, Yahoo’s Brazos Hall was transformed for comedy showcases, featuring notable comedians such as Tim Meadows, Jeffrey Tambor, T.J. Miller and Adam Pally.


Over the final 5 days of SXSW, Yahoo’s Brazos Hall played host to many top performers. Headlining Tuesday, March 11 was Hey Marseilles, followed by Big Sean and Pusha T in the G.O.O.D Music Showcase on Wednesday night. Blondie and the Foxboro Hot Tubs (aka Green Day) stole the show Thursday and Friday before 2Chainz and B.O.B. wrapped up an incredible week of performances with their Saturday show.

During the day guests were treated to an intimate environment where they could sit in on live acoustic recordings from up-and-coming and established artists such as Spandau Ballet and Mary Lambert as part of  Yahoo Music’s Up Close on Yahoo Screen. Outside of Brazos, Yahoo’s fun purple-branded Barcycle made its way around Austin, giving out purple popsicles and mustaches to SXSW attendees. This activation drew a considerable amount of buzz across social medial platforms, with #yodel as the rallying cry for Yahoo’s week at SXSW.


In what was a success for both Yahoo and MKTG INC, Brazos Hall became a must-see space within SXSW that represented Yahoo’s innovations. We look forward to partnering with Yahoo again to continue the innovation!

Check out photos from our time at SXSW on Flickr.

Written by: Eric Evenson & Jenny Appel

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Baseball’s Back!


This winter has been straight up Game of Thrones. It’s been dark, cold and full of snowy terrors. Thankfully spring has officially arrived and although it’s still pretty frosty out there, the sights and sounds of major league athletes preparing for the 2014 season is enough to make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Seriously, it’s called “spring training.” Even if you aren’t a fan of baseball (or training for that matter), you’re still pretty stoked about the spring part.

With only a few days remaining before Opening Week, there are already headlines aplenty. Can the Yankees bounce back? Will the Red Sox repeat? Can the Nationals live up to expectations? Will Miguel Cabrera win ANOTHER MVP!?

Many of these questions will be answered in the coming months as spring gives way to the dog days of summer, and summer to the excitement of October. This is a fresh start, a clean slate…a blank page, as they say. Yet as we know, time tends to fly when you’re having fun and moments are fleeting, especially when it comes to baseball.

Last year we closed the book on a legendary career as Mariano Rivera took his final bow. The outpouring of appreciation for the best closer in baseball history was apparent as night after night fans took to their feet and applauded the man they call “Mo.” This year, a similar farewell tour will commence in ballparks across America as the grand old game will offer its final sendoff to its most respected and adored superstar. You know who I’m talking about:

Derek Jeter.

That’s right, “The Captain” will play his final season in 2014 and trust me, you won’t want to miss a single swing of the bat.

Well, now that I’ve set the stage and we’re all properly excited, there’s really only one thing left to say:


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Bitcoin: A Layman’s Guide

If you follow the news in tech, finance or pretty much anything else on the Internet chances are you’ve heard a relatively new term being batted around: bitcoin. While not actually that new, the term burst into the national consciousness in 2013 and so far in 2014 has been trending alongside the polar vortex, MH370 and various Russian antics.  Here is a quick 101 on what you need to know and what you can expect from the amorphous alt-currency world this year and beyond.
So bitcoin. What is it?
Simply put, ‘bitcoin’ is a peer-to-peer digital currency.  It is made up of a web-based line of code “mined” from an increasingly difficult to solve mathematical riddle — that’s how it maintains its scarcity and therefore its value. Bitcoin was invented by an anonymous hacker and because no federal government or central bank controls it, the currency changes hands anonymously and crosses borders easily. Naturally, it was quickly adopted as a black market currency. Today though, bitcoin is an increasingly legitimate and rapidly changing ecosystem of technologies, exchanges, VCs, vendors and customers.

What’s the difference between bitcoin and Bitcoin?
Great question! bitcoin (lowercase b) refers to the currency itself, while Bitcoin (capital B) is the largest, most well-known service used to buy, sell, exchange and retain bitcoins (lowercase b) via digital “wallets.”

This sounds awesome, I want to go buy some right now. 
Not so fast. Because it’s backed strictly by the market (rather than gold, a central bank or an agency like the FDIC), the currency is notoriously volatile, giving many would-be investors pause. Just this year the exchange rate has fluctuated anywhere between $80 and $1,200. Compounding the issue is susceptibility to security flaws: the late Mt. Gox, once the world’s largest exchange, recently collapsed due to hacker meddling and mismanagement. So buyer beware.

Yeah, pump the brakes.

So how will it affect me?
Bitcoin ATMs are already popping up in major cities, and the currency has even begun to creep into many mainstream vendors, including Home Depot, CVS and Amazon. The Sacramento Kings recently became the first professional sports franchise to accept the currency, and one has to assume the forthcoming Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco will soon be on board as well. Bitcoin also bodes well for any brand with an interest in e-commerce; continued innovation of payment systems is rapidly reducing precious time spent at the point of sale. If you’re a believer, you can use bitcoin for most of your day-to-day purchases right now.

But why would I want to?
Fair question; and the truth is, many people will not.  Right now bitcoin is most attractive as an investment opportunity- a way to make a quick buck betting on the wild swings back and forth.  But as things stabilize many see virtual currency as the way forward for payment systems.  Picture this: you are in your seat at a Kings game, and want some nachos.  Soon you will be able to place the order from your smartphone and have it brought to you without ever exchanging cash or a credit card, even in the nosebleeds.

I already do that with Uber! 
Yes you do- but you pay with a standard credit card.  While you see no difference, bitcoin vendors like Bitpay are charging flat fees to merchants, rather than the standard credit card percentage.  Lower fees mean higher margins for merchants, which means the roster of bitcoin-friendly businesses will continue to grow.

Ok, fair enough.  What’s next?
Tough to say. Mt. Gox was a major black eye for supporters, but the momentum is tough to deny. Even NASCAR is getting in on the action; Bitcoin competitor Dogecoin (yes, that doge) has signed on as an official sponsor and will be featured this spring at Talladega on Josh Wise’s no. 98 Ford.

Long story short, the bitcoin world will look very different 5 years or even 1 year from now, but whatever it looks like it’s definitely not going anywhere. Though it has some major detractors (Warren Buffet and essentially every federal government in the world, to name a few) and flaws, enthusiasm is only building and savvy techies like Marc Andreessen, the Winklevoss twins and others with a vested interest are going to make sure it succeeds. When is anyone’s guess, but bitcoin will become a major player for consumers, marketers and brands alike.

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