Archive for December, 2014

TopSpin & MKTG Raise Over $400K for Youth Charities

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TopSpin 2014

MKTG INC and TopSpin, a national philanthropic group dedicated to empowering America’s youth through education, brought together members of the sports, media and entertainment industries on Wednesday, December 10th for the sixth annual TopSpin charity table tennis tournament at Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City.

Dozens of celebrities, including current and former athletes including John Starks, John Wallace and Zab Judah, supported #TopSpin2014, which is produced pro-bono each year through our MKTG4GOOD initiative. In addition to world-class table tennis, the event featured three DJ’s, 15 food stations, top shelf bars, a silent auction and much more.

Proceeds benefit youth and education-focused programs in the New York metropolitan area. This year the money raised went to Horizons – BFS, A Better Chance, Wishbone, New Heights and Prep for Prep. With over 1,250 in attendance, the event raised $400k for these valuable programs.

For more information, visit www.topspincharity.com.

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Zacapa Hits the Links

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While the weather is certainly frightful in many parts of the USA, many of us still can’t stop dreaming of the sun, sand, and… grass? Golfers may need to travel a bit further than normal during the winter months to keep their game strong, but MKTG INC and Zacapa Rum were able to join some of them as they practiced their craft in sunny Arizona in December.

From December 3-5, 225 players from Troon Privé clubs nationwide came together at the Gallery Golf Club in Marana, AZ, to compete for the coveted title of Troon Cup champion. Against a dramatic backdrop of sandy deserts, blue skies and Saguaro cacti, Zacapa Rum was on hand from beginning to end, with tastings, cocktails and on-course sampling courtesy of our staff and talented National Brand Ambassador Robert Pallone.

So what’s a great cocktail to try when you’re out on the green? We suggest:

The Zacapa 23 Ginger
1.5 oz Zacapa 23 Rum
4 dashes Angostura bitters
5 mint leaves
Half of a fresh squeezed lemon
.75 oz Demerera simple syrup (or regular simple syrup)
Fever Tree Ginger Beer

Stir rum, mint, lemon, and simple syrup together. Pour over ice, add 4 dashes of bitters and top with Ginger Beer. Enjoy!

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Written by Rachel Wasserman
Rachel Wasserman

December 24th, 2014 at 10:06 am

What’s in Your Wallet, Emmett?

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FullSizeRender

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). This column takes a look at the business cards of our coworkers and hears the stories behind them. Here’s the story behind the business card of Emmett Aiello, Senior Design Director in MKTG INC’s New York headquarters.

This Emmett Aiello in front of you wanted to be a baseball player when he grew up.
This was my dream when I was 10. Since then it’s been a slow pulverization of my dreams, hopes and ambitions at the hands of a world too insensitive and ignorant to recognize my greatness.

We feel he’s hit a few home runs already.
Slight embellishment here. There were no actual home runs. I hit the fence once, had another one caught right at the fence by some snotty little dirtbag, and then got thrown out at home trying to leg one out. One year I did lead the league in HBP, however. (Editor’s Note: That’s Hit by Pitch, if you’re curious.)

He storyboarded the 81st Academy Awards, worked on the set design for our favorite shows The Colbert Report and The Daily Show, and now he’s working for us (maniacal laugh).
Some shameless self-promotion, this. I feel bad about it. But not as bad as you all should feel when considering the fact that you didn’t get to draw a barely representative version of Hugh Jackman dancing in a tux above the caption “Hugh Jackson – dancing!”

He tells us the best thing about his job is “starting with a blank page and filling it with something smart and beautiful”
They left off the rest of the sentence “…before it’s stripped of all its beauty by Allen Goldman.” #neverforget

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Experiential Brand Spotlight: GoPro

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Photo courtesy of Adweek.com

Maya Angelou once said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

These days that famous line is especially resonant for us as experiential marketers. Consumers today seek inclusion, conversation, and, above all, powerful emotion from their brands. As technology thrives and the world vacillates between online and off, brand interactions must be deeply personal, customized and meaningful. At the core of all this lies experiential, the place where people join your circle, trust is built and lasting memories are made. Just one reason why investment in experiential marketing is up nearly 5% from last year.

Knowing the needs, aspirations and interests of the target consumer is more essential than ever before, and one brand has hit all these notes perfectly in 2014: GoPro.

In an era where standalone consumer electronics crash and burn at the hand of the dominant smartphone, GoPro’s $2.95 billion IPO was the largest of its kind in 20 years. What impresses me about this feat is not the camera’s innovative size or quality (while impressive), but rather the way the company has sold people on the experience of using the camera rather than the camera itself. They sell the spectacular memory of catching a surf wave, braving a double black diamond or jumping from an airplane (on my bucket list). A GoPro camera symbolizes the thrill seeker. A society of adventure lovers that captures life’s most exciting moments and empowers them by giving them a voice to share content digitally with fellow enthusiasts.

GoPro’s success is a testament to the emotional value we place on experiences. Technology is making this easier and easier. As we’ve seen with GoPro and other tech wearables, the latest gadgets allow brands to personalize experience even more through robust, user-generated data and content.

So what next? Savvy experiential marketing is the perfect medium for sowing intimate relationships and leaving your consumers feeling valued and inspired. Just look at the brilliant experiential campaigns put out by GoPro, Red Bull or Converse’s  music-recording studios. These are the mavericks that take their purpose to heart and understand that while experiential may not reach the ten million viewers that see a flashy TV ad, it reaches a more concentrated and valuable audience.

 

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Written by Alexander Fellows
Alexander Fellows

December 22nd, 2014 at 3:59 pm

NIKE+ Training Journey Through NYC

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Nike

One of the most innovative training experiences ever to hit New York City just wrapped, all thanks to Nike and MKTG INC.

As part of the NIKE+ NYC Training Journey, six of New York City’s most influential trainers were tasked with leading teams through a comprehensive four-week training journey. Each week, trainers and their teams were taken through dynamic workouts in iconic locations around the city, each time focusing on a new discipline of fitness. The first workout emphasized natural movement, and was led by nationally recognized Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Animal Flow instructors. The following week, MKTG transformed a rooftop to deliver an innovative workout focusing on power and explosiveness. The third and final team workout took place in an abandoned warehouse, where two professional boxers developed an intense workout to test the physical and mental toughness of the trainers and their teams.

After the three workouts were complete, a special forces-inspired competition tested the athletes and their all-around athletic ability. Each team was tested on their mastery of natural movement, power and stamina through a variety of exercises that were scored based on times, rank and repetition.

This program was the first of its kind. As Nike moves into 2015 and readies the launch of the “Nike Training” category, the brand will begin to target athletes who train like athletes, for the sake of fitness. Through this activation and beyond, MKTG INC will continue to be a key partner in the connecting and execution of these innovative workout sessions.

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Written by Cody Hawkins
Cody Hawkins

December 22nd, 2014 at 3:48 pm

The Most Epic Vacation Ever Taken

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NZ 4

When deciding where in the world (literally) I wanted to go for my MKTG Rewards trip, I came up with a few ideals:

Must be one of the furthest countries possible

With a captivating history and super cool culture

That offers tons of adventuresome activity yet an abundance of untouched nature and breathtaking scenery

Where we can discover awesome food, drink some of the world’s best wine, meet the nicest people and have the opportunity to go to a legendary concert

And a beach…there’s gotta be a beach.

Surely these ridiculously high expectations could only be met in a fantasy country?! Or perhaps, a country that produced one of the most successful fantasy film series of all time…

Cue New Zealand.

After sharing my ambition with Marlena Edwards, she said, “Girl, if you’re going all the way to New Zealand you HAVE to go to Fiji!!”

Done. Beach

NZ 2

My boyfriend, Dave, and I started our journey in a very fitting way – we sat back, relaxed and watched The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made on our Air New Zealand flight to Queenstown. Most MKTGers have had their fair share of airplane safety but this one is worth watching, despite the fact that at the end of the video you won’t take off for vacation.

After 22 long hours of travel we landed on the south island and made our way to an Airbnb apartment on the edge of a cliff, overlooking snowcapped mountains and turquoise-blue water. Our first activity included a visit to a cozy vineyard, a four-course lunch and A LOT of wine – perfect way to recover from jetlag. We explored Queenstown and hit the famed Fergburger, which nearly put us into food comas before jumping in our car for a road-trip.

Driving along the coast of New Zealand was one of my favorite parts of the trip. The country’s vistas were spectacular (it was hard not to drive off the road while being distracted by the beauty!) We made it to our kayak tour of Milford Sound, which is a fiord in the south island. Officially, a fiord is a long, narrow inlet with steep cliffs created by glacial erosion. Unofficially, it’s really cold(!) and one of the most remarkable sights I’ve ever experienced. With waterfalls, mountains and adorable little penguins, Dave and I were in awe as we kayaked through the area. After an overnight cruise, we hiked our way north and made the trek back towards Queenstown.

How did we top such an awesome adventure to end the Queenstown segment of the trip? Jump off a bridge, of course! Before we could change our minds, Dave and I found ourselves clipped into individual bungees on the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge. 43 meters and a 4-second free-fall later (it felt like an eternity), we could say that we lived through the scariest adrenaline rush ever! The video still makes my stomach flip:

 

Auckland, on the north island, is the metropolitan area of New Zealand so after getting a taste of kiwi city life, we boarded a ferry and headed to the most popular holiday destination of locals, Waiheke Island. Here we zip-lined our way around the beautiful, warm environment and spent the remainder of the day exploring vineyards, known for their Bordeaux wine-type grapes.

The Coromandel Peninsula was the next stop on our itinerary. Dave and I took a boat to a bus to a beach where we discovered the Coromandel’s hot springs. Just a few feet from the chilly ocean water, we dug a large hole in the sand and relaxed in the thermal water. We continued on to Cathedral Cove for a hike down to a beach with phenomenal rock formations.

How did we top such thrills and gorgeous sights to end the Auckland segment of the trip? A Rolling Stones concert, of course! Dave and I were lucky enough to score tickets to The Stones’ last stop on their tour. It was an epic way to end our time spent in New Zealand.

Joanna Rewards

Thanks to Marlena’s advice, we were able to recover from the boats, hikes, bridges, drives and wine while laying on a white-sand beach at the Lomani Resort on the Mamanuca group of islands in Fiji. Snorkeling, paddle boarding and hammock-ing (with Pina Coladas) was how we spent these blissful days. The Fijian people are so welcoming and the serene atmosphere felt as if it were a dream.

So, how do we top the most epic vacation ever taken? Not sure it’s possible, but we are up for the challenge! Thank you, MKTG, for providing the best reward possible: an unforgettable experience.

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12 Drinks to Make Your Holiday Brighter

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Diageo Post

The holiday season is upon us. However you celebrate, it’s an exciting and crazy time of year – the lights, the gifts, the time with friends and family. The shopping, the wrapping, the cooking. Fighting for a parking space, elbowing for an XBox and clamoring for an aisle seat. Rudolph marathons, office parties, tinsel everywhere, Christmas Carols, the Elf on a Shelf OMG WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON NEW YEAR’S EVE?

Woah, I’m thirsty. Are you thirsty?

Nothing will put you in the holiday spirit like a signature seasonal cocktail in front of the fireplace. Heck, if you don’t have a fireplace, turn on the Yule Log channel (it’s a real thing) and your space heater and grab a blanket and a buddy.

To help, here’s a few drink ideas from our friends at Diageo for the #12DaysofCocktails. And to help guarantee your name will be on the “nice” list after that fit you threw over the aisle seat, you might consider leaving one of these for Santa instead of those milk and cookies.

Johnnie Walker
Johnnie Walker Gilded Punch
1 1/2 ounces Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve™
¼ ounce Dolin Blanc Vermouth
¼ ounce Simple Syrup
½ ounce Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 ounce Brut Champagne
Combine all ingredients except the champagne, in a mixing tin. Shake and strain into a champagne flute. Top with champagne. Garnish with a wide lemon twist. (Recipe courtesy of Andy Seymour for Johnnie Walker)

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Zacapa Solera Hot Cocoa
1 1/4 ounces Zacapa Rum 23
1/2 ounce Pedro Ximenez Sherry
5 ounces Hot Cocoa
Grated Cinnamon and Cracked Pink Peppercorn for Garnish
Combine rum, sherry and hot cocoa into a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Pour contents into glass mug. Garnish with grated cinnamon and pink peppercorn. (Recipe by Lynnette Marrero for Zacapa)

Don Julio Austin Farm to Shaker
Don Julio Mulled Mule
1 1/2 oz Tequila Don Julio Blanco
1 1/2 oz Spiced Apple Cider
1 1/2 oz Ginger Beer
1/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 dash Apple Bitters
Candied Ginger for Garnish

Build by pouring tequila and lemon juice over fresh ice in a collins glass. Top with equal parts spiced cider and ginger beer. Top with a dash of apple bitters. Garnish with candied ginger. (Recipe courtesy of Marshall Altier for Don Julio)

Ketel Ernestos Way
Ketel One Ernesto’s Way
1 ½ ounces Ketel One® Vodka
½ ounce Fresh Lime Juice
¼ ounce Maraschino Liqueur
1 dash Absinthe
2 ounces Grapefruit Soda
Combine first four ingredients in a mixing glass. Shake with ice and strain into a collins glass filled with ice. Top with grapefruit soda. Garnish with a mint sprig. (Recipe by Michael Martensen for Ketel One)

Tanqueray Alexander
Tanqueray Old Tom Alexander
1 ounce Tanqueray Old Tom
¾ ounce White Crème de Cacao
1 ounce Heavy Cream
Shake and serve up with grated nutmeg as garnish. (Recipe courtesy of Tanqueray)

Don Julio Austin Farm to Shaker
Don Julio Sage & Fig Smash
1 1/2 ounces Tequila Don Julio Reposado
5 Lemon Wedges
1/2 ounce Grenadine
2 slices Mission Fig
2 whole Star Anise
4-5 Sage Leaves
Muddle lemon wedges and star anise with grenadine in a cocktail shaker. Add tequila, sage sprig and 1 slice fig to the cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with fig slice, star anise and sage sprig. (Recipe courtesy of Marshall Altier for Don Julio)

Captain Morgans Mustache
Captain Morgan’s Mustache
2 ounces Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
1 ounce cola
4 ounces Guinness Stout
Pour rum and cola into a glass. Top with Guinness Stout. (Recipe courtesy of Captain Morgan)

Don Julio Austin Farm to Shaker
Don Julio Siesta
1 1/2 ounces Tequila Don Julio Blanco
1/4 ounce Campari
3/4 ounce Fresh Lime Juice
3/4 ounce Simple Syrup
1/2 ounce Grapefruit Juice
Grapefruit Peel for Garnish
Combine tequila, Campari, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain contents into a coupe glass. Garnish with a long peel of grapefruit. (Recipe courtesy of Marshall Altier for Don Julio)

Zacapa Vines
Zacapa Vines & Fallen Leaves (Punch – serves 30)
4 cups Zacapa Rum
1/4 cup Orange Liqueur
1 cup Riesling Sparkling Wine, chilled
1 cup Sparkling Water, chilled
1/4 cup Pumpkin Spice Syrup
1 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
Fresh Sage and Cinnamon for Garnish
Combine lemon juice and pumpkin spice syrup into large punch bowl or pitcher and stir. Add in rum, orange liqueur, Riesling and sparkling water and stir gently until blended. Add Ice. Strain into punch glasses. Garnish with fresh sage and cinnamon. (Recipe by Lynnette Marrero for Zacapa)

Captain Snow Storm
Captain Morgan Snow Storm
1¼ ounces Captain Morgan White Rum
1 ounce Rumchata
¼ ounce Rumpleminz
Chocolate Syrup
Fill shaker with ice. Combine ingredients, shake and pour into a glass. Drizzle with chocolate syrup. (Recipe courtesy of Captain Morgan)

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Bulleit Hot Toddy
1.25 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
1 tsp fine grain sugar
2 small clove(s)
1.5 oz. boiling water
Add Bulleit Bourbon, fine grain sugar, and cloves in a mug. Add boiling water. Stir.

Tanqueray Gin Flip2
Tanqueray Gin Flip
1 ¼ ounces Tanqueray® London Dry
½ ounce almond syrup
½ ounce heavy cream
1 egg
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Shake vigorously and pour into a coupe glass. Garnish with star anise. (Recipe courtesy of Tanqueray)

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Merry Happy Christmas from MKTG LDN

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MKTGers, it’s holiday season at last, and for those of us in the UK office, that means terrific confusion on holiday traditions and vocabulary. To help alleviate the anxiety, below is glossary of holiday terms in common use over here in the British Isles. Brilliant.

1. Christmas “Sweater” vs Christmas “Jumper“: They both look equally tacky at Christmas parties, they’re just called something different on opposite sides of the pond. Likewise, you can jump in a jumper as easily as you can sweat in a sweater. Again, brilliant.jumper

2. Cheers: While Americans serve eggnog, an odd concoction of milk, sugar, eggs and brandy, during the holidays, the Brits have their own weird festive drink: the Wassail (from the phrase meaning “good health” in Old English), which consists of hot mulled cider or wine.  The common denominator in all of this is, of course…booze. Cheers indeed.

3. Christmas Crackers: We implore you, please do not eat a Christmas cracker, even if it does kind of look like a wrapped candy. A Christmas cracker is actually a gift tube that hold treats, bad jokes and paper crowns. The highly competitive moment when all family members converge to pull apart their crackers with a pop is the stuff of family legend across Britain. Word of advice, though: don’t try opening one on an airplane. Trust me on this point.

Children-pulling-a-Christ-007     4. The Royal Christmas Message: Every Christmas Day at 3pm, the Queen addresses all of the UK to personally wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year. And to you, your majesty!

     5. Black Friday vs Boxing Day: The biggest shopping day of the year has different names on either side of the pond. In the US  it’s called Black Friday and happens the day after Thanksgiving. The British call their day Boxing Day, but it happens the day after Christmas and isn’t nearly as scary.

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Q&A with psLIVE’s Peter Pearce

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Peter PearceFor this month’s Guest Column, we sat down with Peter Pearce, who heads up the Atlanta office for our new sister agency, psLIVE. Hear how he got where he is, where he’s going and why he loves his job.

Tell us about psLIVE – how do you describe the company to strangers?
My elevator pitch usually starts with defining “lifestyle marketing” (sports, entertainment, grassroots, retail) and who our clients are. Then I describe the work we do: Large-scale sponsorship activation, event development, mobile tours, sampling, street teams, staffing. You take it for granted because you live it every day, but the usual reaction is “that sounds like a lot of fun,” and it is!

What differentiates psLIVE from the competition? 
I think it all starts with our values – we live them every day. We are fiercely competitive, and our reputation for “doing it right” has followed us since inception. Secondly, the Dentsu Aegis push to collaborate across agency brands is a huge advantage – shared insights, tools and resources are a great business driver. Finally, we’re not just a creative, client-service and production agency. We are vertically integrated, with assets and services inhouse that many agencies outsource. This allows us to achieve budget efficiencies and get to market quickly.

What three words would you use to describe your staff?
Best. In. Class.

How did you get into this industry?
It’s sobering to realize I’ve been in the business for 18 years! I finished school and worked for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games after school, then I began in the agency world at what is now CSE (formerly Career Sports Entertainment). After five years, I helped open the Atlanta office of Strategic Sports Group, where I spent another five years building that business. I’ve now been with psLIVE (formerly Vivid and Team Epic) for eight years, and it has been a great ride so far.

Looking back at 2014, do you have a few favorite programs or campaigns your teams managed?
That’s hard because we emotionally invest so much in all our clients, but a few programs stand out. Our work on ESPN’s Heisman House is remarkable because of sheer scale, complexity and inherent logistical challenges. Our USTA work, which showcased the US Open of Tomorrow exhibit, really pushed the design envelope. And our work for AT&T is constantly evolving to keep pace with technology and continue to integrate into the consumer experience.

How has technology changed the way you approach the business? 
The smart phone has dramatically changed the event landscape, and we’ve leveraged technology in creative and compelling ways. We strive to design a pre/during/post-event engagement via mobile and social channels because mobile technology shortens the time between brand engagement and purchase. I see a bright future for two-screen interactive experiences at events, where you use your personal device to play on larger screens, or to create physical action onsite. You’ll also see more photo opportunities designed for selfies, and a decline in green screen/photo booths. Finally, I think beacons, NFC and other pushes to mobile engagements will become more prevalent in 2015.

What publications/website do you find most relevant?
I always try to stay current with AdWeek, MediaPost, BrandWeek, etc. to understand the broader media world. I also read traditional Lifestyle Marketing media like Event Marketer, Sports Business Journal and BizBash. However, I think the single most relevant website I visit frequently is Reddit – it’s truly the “front page of the Internet.” Although it’s not always totally PC, no other website captures the current cultural zeitgeist like Reddit.

What are your favorite apps?
The ones I use routinely are pretty limited, but my essentials are Uber, Spotify, Delta Airlines, Waze (traffic in ATL sucks), Open Table, GolfNow and Instagram.

What excites you about psLIVE’s integration with MKTG INC?
I’m most excited about the combined potential of two agencies coming together. The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts, and I’m looking forward to what 2015 holds. We’re so culturally similar: the type of work we do, how we do it, and everyone I’ve met along the way has been great!

What do you do to relax?
With this job, and two active kids under 10 at home, relaxation comes in small doses. I’m a formerly avid golfer, fisherman, skier and sailor, so I try to vacation where I can combine at least a few of these. Also, cocktails.

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What’s in Your Wallet?

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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). This column takes a look at the business cards of our coworkers and hears the stories behind them. Here’s the story behind the business card of Kim Barrett, Account Group Director in MKTG INC’s New York headquarters.

Feeling lucky? We are.  
Actually I think I am the lucky one – because every day I have the chance to work with some of the most exciting  and innovative clients in the world. From helping ESPN, College Football Playoff, and NASCAR kick off their new formats, to creating a new, fresh community-outreach project for MSNBC, my days are filled with new experiences.

That’s because as a former spokesperson for the New York Lottery, Kim brings with her a special insider knowledge of what it means to be lucky.
To be honest, I consider myself lucky that all of the jokes surrounding that job description no longer apply. Use your imaginations – but let’s just say people liked to cross that line …

And she brings that enthusiasm to work for our clients – she knows exactly how to make all their dreams come true.  
I don’t know about making dreams come true, but I do live by the tenet that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing with 100% commitment and passion.

So yeah, we feel pretty lucky to have her.
The feeling is mutual!

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