Monthly Archives: October 2015

Celebrating our independence

I recently attended the Worldwide Partners Inc. (WPI) annual North America conference in Chicago. WPI is a network of independent agencies that have come together to leverage the thinking and resources of 70+ top independent agencies from across the globe. Besides R&R Partners, the network includes fine agencies like BSSP, Mering Carsen, Shipyard, Juice Pharma, Bailey Laurerman, just to name a few. In fact, collectively, WPI ranks No. 10 in terms of billings when compared to other large holding companies.

The conference really shed light on why being independent is really special and unique.


Our clients’ success is paramount – we are all-in for our clients. Creativity is at our core – typically with smaller budgets, we have to find efficient, yet effective and breakthrough solutions for our clients. We are also nimble and quick – structure and process exists, but isn’t a barrier to moving quickly in a fast-paced environment. We invest for our clients – we aren’t beholden to any holding company, so we do what’s right for our clients, not what’s in the best interest of our bottom line. And when needed, WPI agencies come together to scale up to meet the clients’ needs, whether it be geographical, resources or specialty areas.

Independence is at the core of R&R Partners. Our unique experiences and culture, coupled with our candor and empathy, deliver results for our clients. Clients that have been around 20+ years in most cases.


The WPI conference theme was Catalyst, and the diverse programming and content really stimulated some great thinking and new ideas. What follows are 12 things I learned this week:

  1. Programmatic buying is a great way for publishers and clients to take advantage of real-time bidding and traffic spikes due to timely and topical events. But the key to programmatic buying is being transparent to clients, both delivery and cost.
  2. Tongal, a creative, on-demand production studio, not only does great cost-efficient work, but a partner like Tongal could also serve as an alternative to freelancers or help supplement your social content program.
  3. “Your vision is your creativity … but change requires gut and grit … you are the catalyst …” – Jen Spencer, the Humanity of Creativity.
  4. Michael Farmer, author of Madison Avenue Manslaughter, shared with us that consultants have greater value than agencies, thanks most in part to holding company agencies who have squeezed margins so low. Consultants are keen on a desire for client results and shareholder value; meanwhile, holding company agencies are about their own bottom line. He believes big agency brands are becoming more and more irrelevant, and this is good for independent agencies who are similar to the consultant philosophy above.
  5. Doug Wood of Reed Smith law firm has a site called with interesting information on issues facing marketers today – bot fraud, patent trolls, native advertising, programmatic, etc. – all too technical for me to further expand upon.
  6. Vertical networks, particularly in the B2B, but also in some B2C categories, make a lot of sense for clients and marketers. Spiceworks is the top network in IT; Doximity for doctors; Edmodo for educators; Showcase for marketing; just to name a few.
  7. Forbes has put forward the road map for managing, systematizing and optimizing the marketing content supply chain: Own -> Reorganize -> Systemize -> Operationalize.
  8. Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871, the incubator space in the Merchandise Mart, knows his stuff! He believes search is out, and answers are in … and data and accessibility is driving this phenomenon. He also says context is more important than what you’re saying; ritual and regular is more important than frequency; reach, resonance, reaction. Raise is a really cool gift card app where you can buy unused gift cards at really low prices and retailers aren’t balking as they would rather get some revenue versus rebating the unused gift cards based on recent regulations.
  9. Mintel talked about the iGeneration, 5−14-year-olds, since we’re all tired of talking about Millennials. Interesting statistics that prove our country truly is a minority-majority: 5−14-yea-olds are 40 percent diverse today, 25 percent Hispanic, 10 percent African-American and 5 percent Asian. We, as marketers, need to wake up to this; or should have woken up to this a while ago.
  10. rFactor showed us some interesting social trends and success stories: social connect to CRM, segment based on sales criteria, and align key sales and marketing stakeholders.
  11. One large consultancy company measures success in terms of its clients’ financial results. An interesting approach that should be considered for clients who are open to innovative compensation structures.
  12. I terribly missed my kids, Hudson and Sawyer. It was a powerfully packed two-day agenda, which I don’t regret being a part of at the very least, but I was glad to do the redeye in and out in order to limit my time away from my kids.




October media trends & insights

Updates to both the local and national media landscape can help shape our marketing strategies and ongoing recommendations for our clients. Take a look at this month’s Trends & Insights as we explore growing and changing media partners, the takeoff of the cable hit “Fear the Walking Dead,” new consumer offerings from Hulu, and a creative launch from our very own MGM National Harbor.


What’s On Magazine Launches Bilingual Format

What’s On magazine, a bimonthly reference guide providing the latest travel information for Las Vegas visitors, has launched a new bilingual format in both its print publication and website.

The bilingual print format features a high-gloss cover with content covering entertainment, dining, shopping, city highlights and snapshots of celebrities. The content and redesign include a long-form cover story, larger imagery and a new type font. Major features in the publication will now be in both English and Spanish.

What’s On additonally overhauled its website, relaunching with bilingual content under the new domain on Sept. 14.

With a circulation of 100,000, What’s On magazine is a free publication distributed via magazine racks and bell desks in the major hotels/casinos on the Strip, as well as in select hotels along Paradise and Flamingo roads. The publication is additionally placed inside Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty rental cars and within locations along the I-15 between Victorville, Calif., and Las Vegas.

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 9.53.30 AM

Source: Notified by What’s On via email Sept. 1

iHeartRadio Introduces Las Vegas Hip Hop Station


Real 103.9-FM was introduced to the Las Vegas market in early September. iHeartRadio’s newest hip-hop and R&B station is available on-air and online through the iHeartRadio app and website.

Artists featured on the station include Drake, Fetty Wap, Chris Brown, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, YG, J Cole, Kid Ink and more.


Media General to acquire Meredith Corp.

Traditional media giants Media General and Meredith Corp. announced an agreement to merge into a new, even more giant entity that will be known as Meredith Media General. While Meredith, with some of the best-known consumer publishing brands, gets top billing in the agreement, Media General is effectively acquiring Meredith via a cash and stock deal, putting its outstanding common stock value at $2.4 billion.

Media General is one of the nation’s largest cross-screen, multimedia companies that operates or services 71 television stations in 48 markets, including KRON-MY San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose and KXAN-NBC, KNVA-CW and KBVO-MNT in Austin.

Meredith Corp., a publicly held media and marketing services company, operates national media publication such as: EatingWell, Parents, Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Shape and Allrecipes. On a local level, the corporation includes broadcast stations such as Fox 5 Las Vegas.


‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Pulls Largest Audience Ever for a Cable Premiere


The Aug. 23 premiere of “Fear the Walking Dead,” the spin-off prequel of cable’s top-rated series, drew 10.1 million viewers, becoming the top cable premiere of all time. The 90-minute episode also drew 6.3 million viewers in the advertiser-coveted 18 to 49 demographic—surpassing “Better Call Saul,” the “Breaking Bad” spin-off that debuted earlier this year with 4.4 million—to rank as the top cable premiere in that demo as well.

The flagship “The Walking Dead” premiere drew 5.4 million total viewers in 2010. It has since gobbled up considerably more viewers, ranking as the most viewed series on cable and the most viewed in the 18-to-49 demo in all of TV.

“Fear the Walking Dead” will run for five more episodes leading into the Season 6 premiere of “The Walking Dead” in October. AMC has already ordered a 15-episode second season.

Hulu Announces Ad-Free Service

On Sept. 1, Hulu announced that it will open an ad-free version of its service. At a monthly price of $11.99, users will have the ability to view 99-percent-plus of the service’s content ad-free.

The ad-free tier, however, will still include 15-second pre-roll and 30-second post-roll on shows, including Fox’s “New Girl,” NBC’s “Grimm,” ABC’s “Scandal,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Once Upon a Time” and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”


The move should boost Hulu’s competitiveness among consumers picking streaming video services as it tries to expand its subscriber rolls beyond the nearly 9 million people in the U.S. who currently pay for its $7.99-per-month, ad-supported service.

Neither Netflix, which seems to dominate the binge-watching market, nor Amazon’s Prime Instant Video interrupt paying customers’ viewing with ads.

 Hulu expects “a significant majority” of the nearly 9 million people who currently subscribe to Hulu will remain on the paid, ad-supported service, according to Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins.

“People who avoid ads at all costs were never going to do business with Hulu to begin with, so now we have an entry point to them,” Hulu’s Senior VP of Advertising Peter Naylor said. And it can now sell advertisers on the notion that the people who access its ad-supported service will typically be more receptive to their ads—because those less tolerant of ads have filtered themselves out.

3 trends from Digital Summit 2015

Hashtags, culture and trends, oh my! The world today is a fast-paced, ever changing marketplace that we continuously strive to understand. R&R Denver attended Digital Summit 2015, and left with these three integral industry trends:

1. “Unperfection”
Long gone are the days of perfect people ruling the planet. Our culture is obsessed with documentation (because if it’s not on social media, it didn’t happen, right?), and we have come to accept that not every “in-the-moment” moment is picture perfect. We find failures and flaws to be funny, and encourage behaviors that showcase humanity. Campaigns like #nofilter and the Don’t Judge Challenge succeed because the general public now values hilarity and honesty over posed and processed media. What does this mean for brands? Wrong theory (an intentional asymmetry) can finally be utilized to our gain and, finally, mistakes will be embraced … as long as you catch them on Snapchat and they go viral and they are actually completely hilarious.


2. Everyday Stardom
Consistent with our obsession to share, we also believe that we are the stars of not only our own story, but everyone else’s too. We Snapchat our road rage and Instagram our protein shakes because we think that everything we do is worthy of being shared. The growth of personalization and everyone’s secret desire to become “instafamous” means that brands need to find new ways to make everyone feel like a celebrity. The takeaway? Offer your clients a VIP experience based in reality to ensure that they know they are a celebrity − at least to you.


3. Branded Benevolence
Being a globally conscious brand is SO IN RIGHT NOW. Research shows that young people take a big issue with brands who only value their bottom line. Even more, young talent actively searches for charitable actions in future employers. Our challenge? Find tangible ways to give back that align with our brands’ values. Even better, make these efforts visible, fun and contagious. Now let’s go change the world!
With these insights, we feel armed and ready to reach people in thoughtful and innovative ways. We now understand that 1) unperfection is not only acceptable, but embraced, 2) everyone wants to be treated like a star, and 3) the heart and soul of what we do is now more important than ever. Armed with these insights, we’re ready to connect, understand and conquer!