Monthly Archives: July 2015

15/16 Broadcast Upfront

Every year in mid-May, agencies and clients flock to New York City to catch the new programming announcements from the major TV networks (and stand in lines to get their photos taken with celebrities). In the last few years, there has been rumbling that TV is dead and digital is the way of the future. Let’s review some stats, then dive into some programming updates.







































Viewing Trends

There is no question that the media landscape is evolving at a rapid pace, and with the evolution comes changes in consumer behavior. TV content is no longer being consumed just on a TV. There are countless ways to access it, although the TV still remains number one. Although number one, in the last few years, research shows that time shifted and smartphone usage is growing and taking shares from live TV viewing (albeit still the most heavily utilized).

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The technology boom has had its impacts on the broadcast world in many ways. The rise of socially interactive programming (voting, checking in and show-specific hashtags) is one way in which consumers are encouraged to multiscreen. According to the iab, 78 percent are using another device while watching TV – most commonly a smartphone (69%); computer and tablet nearly tied (54%/53%).   While show engagement is one type of multiscreening usage, two research sources show that what people are doing most, while using multiple screens, is not interacting with the TV or its content – they’re doing nonrelated tasks. This multitasking activity poses a challenge for advertisers across all platforms – not just TV, where creative must be attention grabbing and engaging and media placements must pop in front of engaged viewers.













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Upfront Announcements

So, onto the fun stuff … what will you be watching this fall? There were some themes that emerged across the week of presentations:

  • Everyone was No. 1 overall in something (except Fox, although Empire was the No. 1 new program):
    • NBC is No. 1 in adults 18−49.
    • CBS is No. 1 in total viewers and adults 25−54.
    • ABC is No. 1 in 18−49 when you remove all sports shows.
  • Networks taking on digital
    • If we had a dime for every time a presenter said the words “data,” “viewability,” “premium content,” “transparency” and “no bot traffic,” we’d be able to throw one hell of a party.
    • ABC spent time discussing its On Demand viewership and equated it to the third largest cable network.
    • Turner/TBS went as far as to say “dayparts are dead” and pushed audience guarantees, data, analytics and advanced targeting.
  • Programming trends:
    • Live shows
      • NBC
        • It’ll follow its formula with the Sound of Music and Peter Pan, and release The Wiz.
        • Undateable (comedy) – after the success of its live show a month ago, it’ll do this next season.
      • Fox (stealing from NBC’s playbook) will have a live performance of Grease.
      • ABC will celebrate Disney’s 60th anniversary with music.
    • Sports – key to live viewing since it’s DVR-proof.
      • CBS hung its hat on the NFL.
      • NBC is proud to have the Olympics in Rio.
      • ABC will air ESPN programming.
    • Even more diversity (from 14/15 season)
      • Success with Empire, Black-ish and Fresh off the Boat has pushed networks to add more diverse cast members in a variety of shows.
    • Reboots
      • X-Files, The Muppets, Supergirl, Coach, Limitless and Minority Report will all get a second go-round on TV.
    • Less reality
      • Not one new reality show is on the fall schedule for any network.
      • Continuing series such as Dancing with the Stars, The Voice and Survivor will be back.
      • Has the day really come?! American Idol will end its run in the 15/16 season.
    • Fewer comedy blocks
      • NBC has nearly abandoned comedy after many failures.
    • Rebrands
      • TBS/TNT are doubling original programming over the next three years.
      • TBS repositioning itself to be younger and more male, closer to Adult Swim and its Millennial core.

Happy viewing!



Still Flipping the Script

It’s been more than five years since our CEO, Billy, came into the office after a rash of teen suicides caused by bullying, and said “we need to do something.” Flip the Script was born, and dozens of employees from across disciplines and offices got involved with this R&R-created campaign that is still near and dear to our hearts.

While the creative team came up with ads, the media team got space donated, and the PR team got press coverage, the Nevada government affairs team worked to strengthen anti-bullying laws in the state. In baby steps, we helped pass legislation that proclaimed the first week of every October the “Week of Respect,” established school safety teams, strengthened reporting requirements on bullying incidents, and more. But it wasn’t enough. Parents weren’t hearing of incidents involving their kids, and the new laws were tough to enforce.


On May 20, Governor Sandoval signed into law Senate Bill 504, the strongest anti-bullying legislation Nevada has ever had. The bill revises the definition of bullying, creates a separate anti-bullying office within the Nevada Department of Education, strengthens reporting requirements for bullying incidents, and creates a 24-hour hotline and a website for submitting complaints. R&R’s efforts kept this issue front and center in the last three legislative sessions, and working with the school districts and elected officials, we helped make changes that will directly impact Nevada students.

There are many campaigns of which we are incredibly proud. Flip the Script symbolizes the passion of our employees for social causes that create real, meaningful change and help the communities in which we work. Below is a link to a story on Governor Sandoval’s signing ceremony for the bill:

The Return of the King

Content is King. But it hasn’t seemed that way. As we crossed into “Web 2.0,” every user with an opinion was King. Not long after, we entered into the “Age of Apps,” which created a true give-and-take between brands and consumers. Simultaneously, consumers started having conversations with the universal megaphone of social media. These empowered consumers started talking about our brands more loudly than our brands were talking about themselves. So we joined in, bringing every brand that might have something to say to the social media party, jumping into conversations, hoping not to get kicked out for rudely interrupting. But the rest of the world figured out that we were only waiting for someone to ask us “what do you think?” so we can reply with “we think you should buy Brand X!” So now what do we do? We return to the universal truth …

You have to give before you get.

Content marketing is generous King. But it’s rarely been the first thought of any brand; “How much can we give away for free?” We know the Groupon Effect causes a temporary bump in sales without a gain in long-term clientele. Giving temporary deep discounts is really only an effective short-term strategy. Giving away product in a sweepstakes is GREAT for lead generation, but who’s going to buy if there’s a chance they’re going to win? So that is how we’ve returned the marketing crown to its rightful owner, content. But remember …

The value of content is that it informs, entertains, or reflects an identity. But it does not sell.

Content marketing is not direct response. It’s not instant gratification; it’s the long game. Content does not inspire conversion it inspires conversation. Good content inspires consumers to talk to the brand, about the brand, and even for the brand. Better gets a Like, Favorite, stars and hearts. The best gets the envious Share, Tweet, Post, Repost, Retweet, Wundertweetpostbump, etc., until the amplification turns your initial $1.25 per engagement of paid media spend into an $.04 eCPE (effective Click Per Engagement). These numbers happened for our Las Vegas Kiss Cam animated gif on Tumblr.


We entertained. And for a brief moment in time, some users out there laughed enough to share us with their friends. All over the world, even in China where our client didn’t spend a dime, Las Vegas brought a smile to people’s faces.

That’s the real way to a consumer’s heart. Give without asking, entertain without selling. Because our only focus was on the giggle chamber (the left ventricle, technically) of the consumer’s heart, our content succeeded. We weren’t kicked out of the social media party; we were passed around like a [insert inappropriate party drug reference].

Campaigns succeed by converting. Content succeeds by being engaging.

Of course, sales matter. You don’t win Effies by not moving the needle. But we can’t push our sales messages into conversations anymore. There are tons of bad blogs out there, brands telling only their own story, tricking people into swallowing a soft yummy shell of content around a hard-selling nutty center. We can’t do that to our consumers anymore; they’ll choke. Then they’ll sue for negligence because they have nut allergies and we didn’t warn them first. They, at least, sure won’t take anything we give them in the future without questioning our motives.

Corporations are now people; brands are now friends. Social media made that happen long before SCOTUS.

You do not have a single person in your life with whom you do not have an emotional bank account. Every relationship is ruled by these accounts. Every brand has one with consumers too. Your next sale isn’t just about quality anymore, or value, or cost, or history, or whether your widget weighs a quarter gram less than your competitors. Your next sale is about your relationship with your consumers and your potential consumers. Do you make them laugh? Do you inspire new ideas? Do you bring them flowers “just because?” When you give good content, listen and tell their story, without asking for anything in return, that emotional bank account grows an until that consumer just loves you. Then comes the conversion.

“Business moves at the speed of ideas. And you don’t have to like it, but you can’t ignore it.” – Gottfrid, Happyish (Showtime)

Happyish is showing off agency life in a way that’s both current and OMG too real. The young bucks are brought in to usher a long-established, large agency into the digital world, and the old guard has two choices: pivot or perish. Being a user experience designer of a certain age, I find myself identifying and empathizing with both sides. OF COURSE our brands need social media accounts and strategies, but I reacted like Thom (the protagonist OG) in that I couldn’t understand why a brand like Pepto Bismol has a Twitter account or why 7,400 people would want to follow them. But then it hit me like a burrito bomb. And I have to give Pepto’s agency respect for both responding smartly to Happyish and for having the most subversive social campaign I’ve ever seen. Pepto, as you might imagine, doesn’t have a lot to say about or to the world. But it doesn’t fall into the trap of selling its product on social either. Instead, it creates observational (and occasionally funny) content. A lot of it is about pizza. A LOT. And sausage and bacon and quesadillas and all kinds of delicious food that, if you’re inspired to eat it, will make your stomach revolt. Should you indulge, you’re eventually going to need Pepto Bismol. And THAT is the long game of content marketing, the game we all had better be playing now.

Long live the King.

How have you enacted content marketing for your or your clients’ success? If you haven’t yet, what’s holding you back?

D.C.: Where Energy and Exports Meet

It’s May in D.C. The year is 2015, but the subject of conversation was the fate of a 40-year-old ban on crude exports, or what most of us laypeople refer to as “oil.” To spotlight this discussion, R&R Partners, along with the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) and the Energy Independence Coalition (EIC), brought attorneys general and energy leaders to the nation’s capital for the Energy Exports Summit.

To export U.S. oil − or not to export − is a highly debated issue among policymakers today, hence the focus of the Summit. One side makes the case that exporting U.S. oil abroad will allow other nations to partner with the United States instead of hostile countries like Russia, ultimately making America and the world safer. The other side argues that exporting U.S. oil will drive up U.S. gasoline prices, hitting Americans where it hurts most – their wallets.

The Summit explored this issue.

Writes the Washington Examiner, “States, industry and energy security advocates are converging on Washington this week to add strength to a growing effort in Congress to kill a federal ban on oil exports.

“The centerpiece of the week’s push will be an ‘Energy Exports Summit’ on Tuesday organized by a group representing Western state attorneys general and a relatively new organization called the Energy Independence Coalition.”

Arguably, the conversation has never been so relevant. Today’s abundance of domestic energy is a stark contrast to the 1970s’ Saudi oil embargo, which caused mass gas shortages and had Americans lining up to fill their gas tanks.

Predictions made by the International Energy Agency suggest that the United States could be poised to pass Saudi Arabia and overtake Russia as the world’s largest oil producer by 2017. Similarly, the Energy Information Administration says that the United States could become a net energy exporter in the near future, ending a 50-year track record as a net energy importer.

The summit featured dueling views from Jamie Webster of IHS Energy and Jay Hauck of The CRUDE Coalition. Other highlights included an introduction by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).

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Writes the Washington Examiner, “The North Dakota Democrat told a group of state attorneys general that a lot more education has to be done to bring lawmakers and the public up to speed on the positive effects of removing the export ban before it can be repealed. The attorneys general were in Washington for a two-day summit on energy exports.

‘The policy of prohibiting exports of oil is wrong, wrong, and wrong on so many levels,’ she said. ‘So, why isn’t this a no-brainer?’

‘Heitkamp said the “number one reason” for not supporting a commonsense reversal of the policy is the belief “that if they vote for this and gas prices go up” they will pay a political price.’”

Also spotted at the summit were reporters with Reuters and the industry trade E&E. They were joined by speakers from ANGA and the National Bureau of Asian Research, among others. Not to be overlooked were our 10 AGs from states as far as Oregon to the Northern Mariana Islands, in addition to U.S. Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.).

Yet perhaps the hottest “ticket” during the two-day event was the after-hours reception hosted at 101 Constitution Avenue, R&R’s D.C. office. U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) kicked off the night offering introductory remarks to the crowd comprised of numerous AGs and their aides, along with other notable players.

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