Archive for the ‘MKTG NY’ tag

Mahalo MKTG! Rewards Winner Rick Gonzalez’s Hawaiian Adventures

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Clockwise from top left: Rick and helicopter tour pilot Greg give the shaka sign, view from the helicopter, mile-long waterfall in Hilo, view from the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel in Waikiki & dining on "loco moco",

Clockwise from top left: Rick and helicopter tour pilot Greg give the shaka sign, view from the helicopter, mile-long waterfall in Hilo, view from the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel in Kona & dining on Hawaiian favorite “loco moco”.

The MKTG Rewards program is designed for MKTG employees to recognize and nominate fellow team members each quarter for their outstanding work at MKTG. At the end of the year, quarterly nominees become eligible to win an all-expenses paid international or domestic experience. 2015’s winners were announced in June, and lucky recipients have spent the remainder of 2016 taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity. 

Rick Gonzalez is MKTG New York’s Operations Manager and spends the majority of his workday actively running around the office ensuring that everything is running smoothly. So, it’s no surprise that when he was one of this year’s MKTG Rewards winners for a domestic trip anywhere in the US, he picked a ten day Hawaiian adventure where he would be doing anything but sitting around. While most travelers associate The Aloha State with beachbums and honeymooners, Rick avoided the cliches and made the most of historical experiences and venturing to the extreme depths –  land and sea – of the Island’s dynamically volatile geography. From mile-long waterfalls to fiery lava pits to underwater exploration, Rick soaked in these amazing vistas via helicopter, submarine, Camaro SS Convertible, or more traditionally, by foot! Rick curated his trip to blend cultural curiosity and luxe living, ending each day with a priceless sunset at the Hotel Renew in Waikiki and Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel in Kona.

MKTG: What was the feeling when you were chosen as a MKTG Rewards winner?
RG: That was an unbelievable moment for me, I was in such disbelief. I am and will always be so grateful for the staff’s acknowledgement. That was a day I will never forget.

Why did you choose Hawaii?
RG: I have never been to Hawaii and it has always been the destination on the top of my bucket list. 
 
What parts of the island did you explore? 
RG: I explored a good portion of the Big Island – Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, a two hour helicopter tour, rode in a submarine and drove around the whole island. I ventured around Oahu and Honolulu, climbed the Diamond Head State Monument crater and had a day touring historical landmarks: Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona Memorial, the Pacific Aviation Museum, USS Bowfin Submarine and USS Missouri Battleship.

How do Hawaiian beaches compare to other beach destinations you have visited?
RG: The beaches in Hawaii are pristine with remarkably large waves and rich turquoise waters. It’s so easy to be swept away by the beauty of the water itself.
 
You are always in the know of popular cocktails and drink trends! Were there any interesting cocktails you tried that weren’t of the stereotypical “bright blue flaming booze in a pineapple” variety?
RG: Unfortunately no! I stuck to Big Wave Golden Ale and Hawaii’s signature cocktails: Mai Tai and Blue Hawaii. 
 
Did you try any local Hawaiian dishes/delicacies? 
RG: I tried…Poke (Raw Ahi tuna with seaweed and a variety of Japanese veggies. LOVED IT! ), loco moco (hamburger patties served with gravy & topped with two fried eggs), Spam musubi (cooked, seasoned Spam on a bed of sushi rice wrapped with seaweed) and Poi (mashed taro plant root).

What was the most surprising or unexpected moment from your trip?
RG: I was not prepared to see millions of stars shine so brilliantly in the sky as well as an active volcano with lava splashing and flowing! 
 
What was one moment of the trip you will never forget? 
RG: I will never forget the helicopter tour around the Island. I saw parts of the Island that were inaccessible unless you flew by plane or helicopter. Seeing lava flowing into the ocean creating new land right before my eyes was a special moment, too.  

 

–Contributed by Rick Gonzalez, MKTG NY and MKTG Global Communications team

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A Day in the Life: Heikal Aliakber, MKTG NY

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MKTG’s “A Day in the Life” series has spanned the US talking to our amazing colleagues. In this profile, we circle back to MKTG HQ in New York City and chat with native New Yorker Heikal Aliakber. Heikal works in Client Services on the R.J. Reynolds account, managing four mobile tours that conduct consumer engagement activity at music festivals, bars, clubs and retail locations. His days are full on- involving everything from working with major promoters to source/contract events, routing Brand Ambassadors to different locations based on strategic needs and managing on-site at client activations – from communications, creative ideation and sometimes rolling up his sleeves and hitting things with sledgehammers (seriously).

When back home in NYC, Heikel maneuvers his hometown with a nonplussed sense of know-how only true New Yorker’s can encompass – a skill that tourists must definitely gaze at with wonderment.

MKTG: What time do you wake up on a typical work day?
HA: This is highly dependent on where I’m waking up.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Do you have a routine?
HA: I’m the world’s worst morning person. Seriously. I could go to bed the following night, knowing that the next day will be the best day in recorded history, and I will still wake up and shake my fist in the air while yelling incoherently (like Grandpa Simpson). I feel like my brain doesn’t wake up until about 10AM, and that only happens if I do the following:
1) put food in my stomach prior to trying to actually get things done
2) shower (which may or may not serve as a platform for me to warm up my vocal cords so that I don’t grunt on the first few phone calls of the day
3) catch up on current events and anything that transpired over the period of time I was asleep. In our business, knowledge is power (but also, FOMO is real).

Your day cannot be properly started without ______…
HA: A huge bowl of oatmeal.

How do you commute to work, and do you enjoy your commute? Details please!
HA: I was born and raised in Queens, so dealing with NYC public transit isn’t anything new to me. I’m constantly traveling between Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island (where my fiancée currently lives), so suffice it to say, commuting is a major part of my life. Whether I enjoy it or not depends on the characters I meet. The dude who blasts relaxing string quartet music through a boombox on the Staten Island ferry, while doing his morning yoga routine? I’m cool with that. The dude that carries two live, noisy chickens in a puppy crate onto the E train at rush hour, while man-spreading against the pole that I’m trying to cling to? NOPE.

Does your day have a soundtrack? If so, what’s on your playlist that is a daily obsession or gives you that stroke of genius?
HA: My typical day oscillates between rap, reggae, international music, heavy metal, movie scores and slow jams. My current obsessions? “Amazing” – Spit Syndicate (Australian rap group), “Picture Perfect” – Culture Shock (hip hop/bhangra group), “No Leaf Clover” – Metallica, “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst” – Kendrick Lamar, “Made You Look (Remix)” – Nas ft. Ludacris and “Time” – Hans Zimmer.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which ones?
HA: Anything NPR-related I find to be gold. But I also enjoy listening to The Joe Rogan Experience, and Anna Faris is Unqualified is charming.

Name your top five apps and why.
HA:
1) Venmo – because I’m always leaving my wallet somewhere
2) Delta – checking in early is a nervous tick of mine
3) Netflix – because I hate doing cardio, and watching new series “The Get Down” while slaving away on a
treadmill is the only thing getting me through it currently
4) Spotify – perfect for tuning out the chicken-carrying denizens of the NYC public transit system
5) News – to get my daily dose of what’s real in this world

What are some restaurants or spots near your office that make your day- from a lunch place that knows your ‘usual’ to a beautiful park- what locales do you live by?
HA: The fish tacos at Belle Reve are fantastic. But, I’m a Queens kid at heart, so most of the places I know aren’t local to the office, and are more often than not hole-in-the-wall establishments.

What after-work activity makes your week complete?
HA: I like picking heavy things up and putting them back down.

–Contributed by Heikal Aliakber, MKTG NY & Global Communications team

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Written by Andrea D'Alessandro
Andrea D'Alessandro

October 28th, 2016 at 10:20 am

MKTG Presents: Pairings // An Art x Music Experience

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Last week, MKTG New York held our first Pairings // An Art x Music Experience, an exclusive series promoting creative artists and cultural inspiration. Our launch event featured art by Ralph Miller and music by DJ Zev, who spun beats among our office’s chic, pop art-infused space- a fitting backdrop as MKTGers and Dentsu Aegis Network partners sipped Diageo brand cocktails.

Growing up in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, Ralph Miller was influenced by Central American and Caribbean Art. For the past 30 years, Ralph has created cutting-edge experiential media and attractions. DJ Zev, a native of Brooklyn, New York, has spun at some of the most recognized clubs and events around the world; and for celebrities and brands such as Nick Cannon, Fergie, Eva Mendes, Red Bull, MTV, Porsche, Macy’s and Disney.

 

–Contributed by MKTG Global Communications team

 

 

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Written by Andrea D'Alessandro
Andrea D'Alessandro

October 26th, 2016 at 4:48 pm

MKTG Rewards Winner Valerie Morales: Viva l’Italia!

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The MKTG Rewards program is designed for MKTG employees to recognize and nominate fellow team members each quarter for their outstanding work at MKTG. At the end of the year, quarterly nominees become eligible to win an all-expenses paid international or domestic experience. 2015’s winners were announced in June, and lucky recipients have spent this summer taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Valerie Morales is a Senior Payroll Analyst at MKTG NY, and Italy was always on her list of travel destinations. Her wish came true when she was elected one of our three international winners. Valerie toured Italy from August 9-18, accompanied by her Mom who flew in from Puerto Rico for the special trip.

MKTG: What was your initial feeling when you were chosen as a MKTG Rewards winner?
VM: Total shock. At the MKTG Rewards ceremony I saw my face appear on the screen and blanked out.  After that I was actually shy about it- and for those of you who know me- I am not shy! I was so humbled by the fact that I was chosen for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Why did you choose Italy as your destination?
VM:  Italy’s history has always fascinated me. I love art and studied the greats: Michelangelo, Raphael, da Vinci, Botticelli, Donatello etc. Sadly, I don’t have the talent to draw but loved learning about them and always appreciated the beauty of their work. I also wanted to visit a country where the language would not be a barrier. I speak Spanish which has a similar foundation to Italian, so I felt that I could communicate in some way with the locals.

What was it like touring with a group, and would you return to Italy again?
VM: Most of our tour guides were from the cities we visited, and I loved how passionate they were about the history of their hometowns. We pretty much had a tour each day but were also given a day per city to independently explore, so that was fun. I would love to go back as I found it very easy to get around and there was so much left unexplored- such as Lido di Venezia, Milan and Sicily. Even the cities I did visit- Rome, Florence and Venice- left so much to be seen.

How did each city distinguish itself for you?
VM: Rome has a metropolitan feel, and I was surprised by the abundance of graffiti. Rome’s history is remarkably well-preserved and a wonder to experience. Naples is a calmer city, which came to my surprise as it is still threatened by an active volcano, Mount Vesuvius, which is the same volcano that buried Pompeii under ash over 1,500 years ago. Visiting nearby Pompeii was sad but impactful.  The city was indeed ahead of its time and the abrupt loss of their vibrant people was tragic. Florence was my favorite city, as its metropolitan area is both urban and rural. I was able to explore the city’s history, enjoyed some shopping from local vendors yet also visited a local vineyard. The cuisine and gelato were amazing, too! Positano was very congested and felt like the buildings and roads were sandwiched on top of each other. That made for breathtaking scenery and everyone was so outgoing and friendly. Venice was a marvel of a city, and an architectural wonder. We enjoyed the history, getting around by speedboat and learning how their famous Murano glass is made.

Did the Italian way of life appeal to you compared to the 24/7 NYC lifestyle you’re accustomed to?
VM: The typical Italian way of life is certainly appealing, but again, it depends on where you go-  it’s either laid back or the usual urban hustle and bustle.

Italy is defined by its food. What were some of the best meals you had… and some of the most exotic?
VM: The food was very tasty yet I kept it simple trying pastas and pizzas. Each city had their own way of preparing these dishes, but I must say, I love my NYC pizza above all!

What was one moment on the trip you will never forget?
VM: I could not have won this trip at a better time. I purposely chose to go during these dates as I was turning 40 on August 11. For my birthday, we spent the morning in Vatican City enjoying the art that I’ve always appreciated, followed by an evening dinner and moonlight tour of the Colosseum. It was an amazing experience and the tour group really added to it. Apparently my Mom spilled the beans that it was my birthday and the group were so sweet making the night more special. They even added a candle to my dessert to wish me a happy birthday!

 

–Contributed by Valerie Morales, MKTG NY 

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Written by Andrea D'Alessandro
Andrea D'Alessandro

August 31st, 2016 at 2:11 pm