Archive for September, 2014
These days when people hear “TechCrunch Disrupt,” they immediately think of the Startup Battlefield scenes from HBO’s Silicon Valley. The HBO version, though, is a parody — the headline speakers at the real Disrupt are not startups, they’re CEOs like Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, Tinder’s Sean Rad and Mark Cuban.
This year Johnnie Walker joined this formidable lineup of innovators by bringing its innovative whisky portfolio to Startup Alley. Disrupt marks the first stop on the Tier 2 House of Walker tour, which brings elements of the larger experiential tour into pre-existing consumer events. The House of Walker tour has been running since 2005 and offers consumers a multi-sensory cocktail and mentorship experience through the different variants of Johnnie Walker.
At Disrupt, MKTG INC produced a booth featuring a bespoke cocktail bar serving Johnnie Walker Red label, Black Label and Double Black cocktails to startups and investors looking to take a break from the craziness. Stephen Wilson, National Master of Whisky, took consumers through an in-depth tasting of Johnnie Walker Black and Double Black. Johnnie Walker partnered with 3D printer Makerbot to create a “Keep Walking” award, given to the startup that best encompassed Johnnie Walker’s pioneering and forward-thinking spirit.
Huan Ho and Dan Ellis of Rallyteam walked away with the “Keep Walking” award. Rallyteam is an employee empowerment platform that helps employees find interesting internal opportunities that fit their skill set. Ho and Ellis received a 3D printed Keep Walking award, an engraved Johnnie Walker Blue bottle, and a complimentary 20-person private Johnnie Walker tasting.
After three exhausting days of pitching and networking, entrepreneurs left Pier 48 one step closer to making their dream a reality.
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, we take a look at the business cards of our coworkers and hear the stories behind them. Here’s the story behind the business card of Nikhil Parsad, Art Director from MKTG’s San Francisco office.
Try. To. Focus.
You know how some people can’t look you in the eyes when they speak to you? Whether its a nervous reaction or they’re lying, I’ll never know. That’s how distracting the hair is. And the distraction continues to…erm…distract even on my business card because it quite literally says nothing about me professionally.
Yes, we know the hair blinds. Its sculptural, meringue-like peaks. Its cavalcade of rainbow tinctures.
I read somewhere that your hair is the outfit you wear every day and that it deserves more than just routine. Over the years, the hair has slowly become my brand, if you will. Its had its fair share of experiments; parts on the left, parts on the right, the middle (ugh), Faux hawks, Brohawks and my personal favorite, the “Fro Hawk”. Moral here is change is good, evolution is better.
Every tress strains to touch the heavens, like an army of pagan troll dolls worshipping the sun before battle.
Translation: I never have bad hair days.
Yes, that hair is a monument to acts of hirsute heroism.
I guess this is where my actual job comes in. Some people wear their stress on their face or body language, but I like to think the hair takes a brunt of that stress from my day to day. At least that’s what I tell people on days where I’m working on 6 different creative projects for 6 different clients.
Nevertheless: eyes right here, pal.
Moral of the story, don’t judge a designer by their hair.
The MKTG INC Rewards program is designed for employees to recognize and nominate fellow team members each quarter for their outstanding work at MKTG INC. At the end of the year, quarterly nominees become eligible to win an all-expenses paid International or Domestic Experience. In addition, our CEO Charlie Horsey recognizes the work of additional team members through the CEO’s Choice Awards.
Here are this year’s grand prize winners!
CEO’s Choice Domestic: Jen Robison and Emmett Aiello
CEO’s Choice International: Elizabeth Santos
Congrats to all the winners and happy traveling!
Founded in 2000, BizBash is the leading trade media for the event industry. BizBash publishes magazines and e-newsletters, hosts websites, and produces trade shows and award shows for event professionals. In this two-part Q&A, we sat down with its founder and CEO, David Adler, to discuss tips, trends and his favorite events of 2014.
You are 100% engrossed in events. What attracted you to the business?
In the late ‘70s I started a society magazine called Washington Dossier in Washington, D.C. It was so fascinating to go to events with politicians, White House officials and Washingtonians who were more interested in events than they were in their day jobs. I learned that political organizers are really event organizers. They loved getting people in a room and using every trick in the book to persuade them to their point of view. It was the intersection of public relations and face-to-face events; I saw that people listen when they’re not distracted, and at events you’re forced to listen to the person standing face-to-face with you.
What do you think is the one essential element of every really great event?
Every event detail is designed to make people remember where they were, what they did, who they talked to, and what they gained. BizBash president Richard Aaron feels that all event organizers should be “memorologists,” creating moments that people actually remember.
One essential element for event organizers is to understand the neuroscience of events. They need to know what colors create an impact on the mind, how music changes the way we think, how scent affects how we feel. The science of events studies how the mind works and how people interact.
What to you are the most important objectives of any good event?
The goal is to get the right people to your event; getting to that point is harder than it looks. You need great audience generation, a reason for them to stay, and something that stimulates conversation and creates a shareable, indelible impression. In the old days, that was done through word-of-mouth conversations; today we have social media to help amplify our message.
Most events want to accomplish three basic things:
1. To sell things to others (ideas, products, or concepts)
2. To motivate people to sell things to desired audiences
3. To create networks of people who are motivated around a concept so the word can be spread
Even the most fun event has some sort of agenda. Understanding your agenda is now part of the strategy for event organizing and event marketing.
How has the industry changed in the last 10 years?
The most important thing is that the event industry is now really being taken seriously. I used to say that people in the event industry always had to sit at the children’s table. Now, 25% of marketing budgets are allocated for events—we are beginning to really understand the science of how people interact and the power of that interaction.
Really brilliant planners are studying everything from registration and ticketing, to the experience of being at an event, to the post-event ROI. Marketers are using innovations and activations to create conversations. People like Alex Pentland, who wrote the book Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread, are reinventing the power of interactions and conversations, as they have the power to change the world. It’s important to note that we are no longer hosting events for the people in the room, but rather for their social networks. Social media has been the ultimate game-changer.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into this business?
I’d say that understanding neuroscience is one of the key learnings to being an amazing event organizer. I call event organizers “programmers of human interaction;” having the skills of understanding human behavior and putting those practices into action for events. I find that people involved in their school and college activities naturally seem to gravitate towards events. They understand the importance of human interaction.
It’s also important to be a bit of an extrovert, being able to effortlessly talk to people. It’s a lost art, and the most impressive people are the impresarios who know how to connect people. Connectors are natural event organizers.
Another great attribute for somebody who wants to get into the business is to be an expert on the concept of “surprise and delight.” Understanding strategy and being able to be creative, as well as organized, is a very important skill.
Stay tuned for Part 2!
When it comes to Derek Jeter, there is more to be admired than what you see on the surface. It’s not just the success, the money, the fame or even his enviable bachelor lifestyle that cause me to marvel.
Beneath all of that noise is that classic determination we’ve come to expect. What we’ve truly appreciated about him is his poise, his consistency, his dedication and his seemingly unbreakable focus. Fans don’t need you to beat your chest and proclaim dominance. If we’re to truly embrace you, we want you to put your head down, play hard and deliver. In doing so, Derek Jeter became the embodiment of what’s best about New York City.
Despite being highly scrutinized, he never expressed displeasure with the fans. He’s no nonsense, he shrugs in the face of pressure and he’s extremely reliable. He’s like a good neighbor…always there when you need him. Joe Torre once said that even as a youngster, Derek had a certain look in his eye. Not one of conceit or arrogance, but one that said “I know I’m good and I don’t need to say a word to let people know I feel that way.” The result of that unflappable confidence is a laundry list of memorable moments in his two-decade career. From the classic “flip play” to his head first dive into the stands, the image of a pinstriped Jeter raising his arms in victory is burned into my memory.
Derek Jeter is the face of a generation. Specifically, my generation, and as one of millions of kids around the world (especially in New York), I can honestly say it’s the end of an era – one in which I’ve had more fun watching Jeter play than I’m brave enough to admit. I could go on for days about what the Jeter era has meant to me, my city, and even my grandmother – who lovingly referred to The Captain as “My Derek.” Yet, the only way to honor my boyhood idol is to say thank you. Oh, what a ride it’s been.
On behalf of fans everywhere: “Derek, we’d like to thank the Good Lord for making you a New York Yankee.”
One of America’s greatest sport towns just found a new, higher-octane passion — NASCAR, when MKTG INC helped bring Chase Grid Live to downtown Chicago.
The two-day fan fest gave NASCAR the perfect chance to flex its muscle as the 16 top drivers prepare for the last 10 races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Chase Grid Live featured stock-car displays, live broadcasts from ESPN and SiriusXM, sponsorship areas with partners like Toyota, Sprint and MARS, and, of course, some good old Chicago pizza and burgers provided by some of the city’s most popular food trucks. All the while DJ Johnny Walker kept the energy up as NASCAR footage looped on the giant SprintVision screen next to the stage.
After battling a bit of rain on the first day, the clouds parted and the crowds appeared for a live concert from Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, presented by NASCAR’s sponsor, Toyota. It was the perfect opportunity for NASCAR to put their brand in front of a younger audience.
The second day was nonstop, with crowds showing up early to get autographs from NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace and see onstage interviews with up-and-coming NASCAR drivers. But the main event occurred as the 16 NASCAR Challengers pulled up to the event on the top of a double decker bus that had just paraded them down Michigan Avenue. Their Driver Nations went wild as they weaved through the crowd to board the stage. ESPN’s Jamie Little then hosted a Q&A with the drivers that caught them at their most personable and, frankly, comedic. There were lots of great insights into the upcoming races but the biggest crowd reaction probably came as Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and the other top five drivers began goading fellow driver, Brad Keselowski, about his upcoming wedding. It was one of those great moments that makes you feel like you’re watching a bunch of friends having fun instead of a dull and staid press event. Keselowski went on to win the race, so the teasing may have fueled his fire!
All in all, it was an amazing event in the eyes of both the fans and NASCAR.
“Alright, alright, alright. Come on back to the Airstream after. I make the best margaritas this side of the R-I-O Grande,” said actor Woody Harrelson, mocking Matthew McConaughey at this year’s Emmy Awards. I must have received a dozen messages that night wondering if he was referring to Tequila Don Julio’s Airstream Speakeasy. My response: “I mean maaaaaybe … you never know!” We activated 34 events in 14 different cities and served margaritas and specialty cocktails to over 25,000 people this summer … everyone has been talking about our Don Julio silver bullet lately, so why not Woody, too?!
Airstreams are huge right now — NPR even did a piece on how mobile campers are making a big comeback. Their sleek aluminum design is a fast-growing hot commodity. But that created a challenge for us — how do you create one that stands out? For starters, our Airstream Speakeasy is not just any Airstream: It’s a state-of-the-art cocktail bar on wheels that has all the features of your favorite mixology-centric watering hole. It comes equipped with a “Craft-on-Draft” (cocktails on tap) system, glassware chillers, top-of-the-line refrigeration and even plush leather seating. The Airstream Speakeasy is like sitting on a cloud.
The story behind the Speakeasy’s creation is reminiscent of Don Julio González’ endeavor to change the game in tequila decades ago. It began backstage at Bonnaroo, when bartender Marshall Altier was making drinks on a folding table with packaged mixers. He decided he needed to step up the cocktail experience at festivals by wheeling in his own custom mobile bar.
He called friend and fellow bartender Ben Scorah to explain the concept, without any idea of how to bring the idea to life. Ben introduced Marshall to his childhood friend Mark Wiseberg, a former Aston Martin engineer. Together, the trio created the Airstream Speakeasy — the perfect fit for Don Julio, which supports those who work to follow their passion.
The cross-country tour kicked off on Cinco de Mayo in Brooklyn and wrapped up on Mexican Independence Day (Sept 16) in Austin. Trip highlights included the Food & Wine Classic, a San Francisco Giants game at AT&T Park and the Governor’s Ball in NYC. Some of the most cherished moments were at the intimate Farm to Shaker events, where 30 to 40 local bartenders were invited to local farms to learn about organic farming practices similar to Don Julio’s agave-growing methods. There they had the chance to pick fresh ingredients and create their own bespoke cocktails aboard the Speakeasy.
The summer road trip was so successful that Don Julio will be continuing stops at culturally relevant festivals in the future. So, if you haven’t yet had a chance to see the Airstream Speakeasy, alright, alright, alright, do as Woody says and come on back for a visit.
Football season started September 4, but the real fun kicked off the day before when Smirnoff Ice launched its Ladies with Game Tailgate tour in NYC. Hudson Mercantile played host to a packed tailgate bash, where attendees enjoyed a variety of cocktails made from the Smirnoff Ice portfolio, including the Screwdriver Sangria and the Preparada, a Southwestern favorite made from fresh fruits, chamoy (a popular condiment in Mexican cuisine) and Smirnoff Ice Green Apple. Of course, it wouldn’t be a tailgate without the right bites, so there was no shortage of sliders, mac and cheese, buffalo tater tots, and chicken and waffle snacks.
DJ Stef Nava provided high-energy tunes as guests challenged each other to cornhole, giant Jenga and backyard-tire football toss. For those not ready to get their heels dirty, DryBar provided blowouts and Ami V and Ria Lopez gave custom manicures to prepare them for the custom photo booth. Now everyone knows that a tailgate is nothing without a proper host to make everyone feel at home — so singer and reality TV personality Jessie James Decker led the festivities and showed off her impressive arm in the football toss challenge. Looks like she’s been practicing with her husband!
Over the course of the football season, Smirnoff Ice is hosting tailgate parties in nine cities, including Washington DC, Dallas, Atlanta, San Diego, New Orleans, Charlotte, Nashville and finally Phoenix. With the way things kicked off in New York, this looks to be a winning season for Smirnoff Ice!
Photo credits: Melissa Chow and Smartpjs.com
Prada, Gucci, Versace or Google? Yep, these days your clothes could be designed by Armani, Apple or both depending on if you want the latest fashions … or the latest smart fashions. Wearable tech is emerging at lightning speed, so much so that Google Glass now seems like a classic pair of Levi Jeans — even before it hits the market.
But what about the weirder gadgets at the forefront of fashion? We’ve rounded up five of the strangest trends — the couture of wearable tech:
Taser Bra: This bra gives new meaning to Girl Power. Designed by aeronautical engineering student Manisha Mohan, it has the ability to shock attackers. One grope and the bra activates pressure sensors that deliver an electric charge of 3800kv. Ouch. It can also send a text message to police with GPS coordinates.
Smart PJs: With these interactive pajamas, your kids may actually volunteer to go to bed. They feature dot designs that act as QR codes. Parents can scan a code with their smartphone to unlock a different bedtime story every night. Because, you know, Mom, Kindles are sooooo last year!
Like-a-Hug: Who needs a real hug from a real person? This extra poofy jacket gives you a great big squeeze every time someone likes a post on your Facebook page. The perfect gift for someone who was neglected as a child, or those suffering from anthropophobia (the fear of human company).
Transparent Dress: Talk about a hot date! A dress created by the brand Intimacy becomes increasingly transparent based on close and personal encounters with other people. In other words, it becomes see-through when you’re turned on. Let’s just hope it doesn’t activate before you get home from dinner.
Stink-Free Undies: Yep, they exist. They’re called Shreddies and they’re specifically designed with a carbon back panel to filter the smell of gas, so people around you can’t smell it. Now we can all fearlessly eat refried beans at the office for lunch — ah, the smell of progress!
*Note: the use of the word “football is used throughout this post, in reference to what Americans call “soccer,” and we are sticking to the global term since well … you see the title, don’t you?
As you may remember, on May 26 and May 31 at Emirates Stadium in London and Sinatra Park in Hoboken, NJ, respectively, MKTG INC gave an unreal experience to 240 local athletes (http://blg.mktg.com/2014/05/the-real-work-of-gatorade/) to build excitement around the UAW online contest.
The winners were finally announced in June, and we took them on the football trip of a lifetime. Our fabulous winners represented the United States, Canada, England and Brazil. As we got to know them and their guests over our 17-day trip, we all became a second family.
And now … the details!
Bradenton, Florida – Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) at IMG Academy (July 28 – 30)
The boys received full fitness testing, including physical and psychological, with the experts at GSSI. A full report was given to them on their last day, along with the recommended Gatorade formula for them to use moving forward while sweating on the pitch. Of course, all that hard work had to be rewarded, so we had a special guest come and work out with our winners on the last day – none other than USMNT player Graham Zusi!
Graham competed with the boys in a “crossbar challenge” to finish off the session. Our Canadian representative won, and got to keep Graham’s boots!
Liverpool, England – Liverpool FC (July 30 – August 1)
Jetlag be damned! After about a day’s rest, the boys suited up and made it over to Anfield for a full tour of the stadium, taking in some facts about Liverpool FC’s history and hearing insider stories from LFC legend Jason McAteer.
After a quick lunch, we scooted over to Melwood, the official training ground of Liverpool. The Junior U16 coaches ran a highly individualized training session for our winners, with specific instruction on spatial awareness on the pitch. Let me say that again, we were at Liverpool! Training with the pros! You could almost hear the opening chords of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” ….
Photo credit: Mark Waugh
London, England – Arsenal FC (August 2 – 4)
The express train from Liverpool was smooth and luxurious (well, compared to the LIRR), and two hours later we were in London, heading straight for Emirates Stadium. The Emirates Cup was going on during our visit and the boys had VIP treatment with a tour of the facility and then access to a luxury suite to watch the matches. But don’t be fooled … London was not all relaxation.
The next morning we woke up to beautiful sunny skies and about 75° F (24° C) temperatures – the perfect morning for a football workout at Battersea Park! The Community Coaches from Arsenal met us and ran the session, focusing on overall fitness and one-on-one drills. We even got our client to join in on the workout, although as a former NFL wide receiver, he gave our winners no shot at the final sprint challenge.
Barcelona, Spain – FC Barcelona (August 4 – 5)
Barcelona was the favorite club among most of our winners, and you can imagine the excitement they felt as we pulled up to Camp On. The boys had the opportunity to train at La Masia with the Barcelona Youth Coach. Fully kitted up in their training attire, the winners were instructed in drills that were team-based with passing and moving as the center of the activity.
Milan, Italy – AC Milan (August 5 – 7)
At AC Milan’s training facility, better known as Milanello, we were welcomed with open arms. As soon as we walked in, we were offered an array of Gatorade beverages, biscuits and, of course, espresso.
After a full tour of the grounds and workout facilities, we were served lunch and then bid the boys off to do another set of fitness testing. Different from GSSI, these tests focused on reaction time, plyometrics and balance.
What better way to prepare for a 17-hour flight…
Buenos Aires, Argentina – Boca Juniors (August 8 – 9)
Our last day in Buenos Aires had us training with the Boca Juniors B-Team coach. It was a fantastic session; the boys had the freedom to play some small-sided games against each other with some of the guests joining in.
Rio de Janeiro – Brasil (August 9 – 12)
The final send-off! We had to show these boys we know how to celebrate football!
The first day took us to Maracanã for a Flamengo match, which was high-intensity the whole way through. The crowd and the chants did not stop.Finally, the next day we were off to Granja Comary, the home of CBF.
Our friends in Brazil had a surprise in store for us; they brought in a local Nike academy to have a full-sided match! This is the first time we had the opportunity to play 11 v 11 on the pitch; a real treat, especially since we were again able to involve our guests.
On our last day, we wanted to show the boys local beach culture. Gatorade provided their local experts in the sport of futevôlei, and they ran through a full workout and tutorial. The winners picked it up immediately, and practically owned Copacabana Beach…well, their attitudes said they did anyway ;-)
Overall, it was such an honor to work with Gatorade on such a special project, and communicate the message of putting in real work for an unreal performance. Thanks to everyone who made this program such a success, from the Gatorade clients to the contest champions to all the MKTGers around the globe! Just a reminder to #makeitunreal every day, no matter what you do.