A Student’s Perspective: The Agency of the Future

Janet Upadhye is a student at Columbia’s School of Journalism. She is one of ten students providing on the ground coverage of SMWNYC- all from the student’s perspective. She is providing her report from The Agency of the Future.

“YouTube will not kill TV,” said Robert Davis, Director of Ogilvy’s Advanced Video Practice. “And actually, video never really killed the radio star.” What Davis meant by his colorful introduction is that agencies of the future need to stop thinking in absolutes. And instead focus on common threads.

Davis highlighted content as the most obvious common thread. The content remains the same in any medium, but how companies think about content needs to change. Davis, accompanied by Mitch Bernstein, Client Strategy Director and Martin Lange, executive Marketing Director of Digital Strategy, laid out ten strategies to create, what they called, a “Content Revolution.”

Briefly, those points included speaking in languages that audiences understand, making content more interactive, creating good distribution methods, measuring success rates by more than just views, creating content that is liberated from the interface, focusing on hand held devices to deliver content, and identifying who the target audience is and when and how they best receive content.

Social TV is one of the most important emerging strategies. A panel comprised of Peter Naylor of NBC Universal, Kimberly Meyers of GetGlue, Matt Crenshaw of Discovery Cannel, and Mark Ghuneim of Trendrr talked about how to socially activate TV audiences.

Ghuneim identified “calls to action” as great ways to get viewers involved. For example, American Idol asks viewers to discuss and vote for their favorite competitors. According to Trendrr, 420,000 people mentioned American Idol on social media sites during its premier on January 18 of this year. This shows increased involvement and a new way to measure a show’s success.

Meyers talked about one of her clients, Pepsi, and one of their new social media campaigns. Viewers that checked into watching the Super Bowl on Foursquare and Facebook received a sticker in the mail worth a free Pepsi. Without mentioning numbers, Meyers said that they strategy was very successful.

Social TV can actually change the artistic direction of a show. The USA Network allowed viewers to tweet about the new opening credits of the television drama White Collar. After an outpouring of negative comments, the network decided to change back to the old opening. “USA took the opinions of its viewers to heart,” said Naylor. “That is what social TV is all about.”

The way that people are watching TV has changed and Social TV is the networks’ response to that change. “People want to be able to discuss the shows that they love with other fans,” said Ghuneim. “Social TV allows viewers to do just that.”

Janet Upadhye is a multimedia journalist covering Hunts Point in the Bronx. In a past life, she was the Development Director at San Francisco Women Against Rape. During her decade in the Bay Area, she also organized within queer and trans communities for safety and justice. You can follow her on Twitter at jupadhye.

For the Most-Viewed Super Bowl Ads, Few Touchdowns on Facebook and Twitter

It’s pretty amazing when you think about it:  40 ads that ran during the Super Bowl have been viewed on YouTube more than 99 million times. That is almost 1 billion impressions. It’s daunting to try to imagine all the creative power that went into the ad-making and the subsequent zooming on the Internet as people viewed and shared the content.

But one company, PM Digital, has discovered that the ads with the most views on YouTube did not generate large increases in Facebook fans or Twitter followers, according to PM Digital’s Super Bowl Commercial Index. (Full disclosure:  PM Digital is a client of DiGennaro Communications, where I work.)

The PM Digital Super Bowl Commercial index measures Facebook Fans, Twitter followers, and YouTube ad views for 40 brands that had ads in the game. The index tracks changes in engagement on the three channels from Monday, January  30, through Monday, February 6.

My DGC colleagues and the folks at PM Digital have been analyzing the statistics this week. While the YouTube popularity of the Super Bowl ads is staggering, other numbers leave us wondering if the ads were a touchdown or a fumble. And we couldn’t help but think that full integration between traditional advertising and social media has a long way to go. “

Indeed, brands use Facebook and Twitter to engage with people, advertise to them, offer them promotions and drive transactions on an ongoing basis. While brands with the most-viewed ads should feel satisfied about their YouTube results, they have not by and large recruited new fans and followers, thereby foregoing chances to engage with people who have clearly shown an interest in entertaining, branded content.

Key findings from the PM Digital Super Bowl Commercial Index include:

  • Volkswagen, which led the Index in YouTube ad views, ranked #33 among the 40 advertisers in terms of Facebook fan increases. The German car maker had just a 1.58 % increase of from Monday, January 30 to Monday, February 6.
  • Chevrolet, whose ads were viewed more than 11.2 million times, saw relatively large increases in fans and followers:  5.77% increase in Facebook fans and 14% increase in Twitter followers. The large Twitter increase is likely due to the company’s pre-game Twitter contest.
  • The 10 most-viewed ads on YouTube had lower-than-average % increases in Facebook fans;  the average fan increase was 12.28%. It should be noted that most brands saw single-digit increases. Huge increases in fans for Taxact.com (117%), the movie Act of Valor (160%), and Bud Light Platinum (119%) drove the Facebook average up; These three advertisers were low on the YouTube scale.
  • Eight of the 10 most-viewed ads on YouTube had lower-than-average % increases in Twitter fans; the average was 5.53%.


YouTube Views, Facebook Fans and Twitter Followers


Ad Views

Facebook Fan % Increase

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Bridgestone Tires
















Top 10 Average



Average of All Ads




Sally O’Dowd is a VP and group account director for New York-based DiGennaro Communications, which specializes in B2B communications for media, advertising and entertainment companies. Previously, she worked in Paris as head of content and social media strategy at MSLGROUP, the 22-country PR and events network of Publicis Groupe. She has also held senior communications roles at Arc Worldwide/Leo Burnett and Razorfish, following a career in journalism and public affairs.