How to channel your reach to today’s “TV” viewer

You can still reach the people who watch popular television shows. Just don’t use television to do it.

Many people are saying that we are in another Golden Age of Television. I can’t argue. It’s difficult to remember when there has been as much good, and varied, episodic programming available at any given time.

I’m even watching. I’ve just finished the most recent seasons of two great shows and right now I’m neck deep in two others. Just finished season 4 of Showtime’s Homeland and season 3 of Netflix’s House of Cards. I’m currently in the middle of AMC’s first season of Better Call Saul and HBO’s amazing six-part documentary, The Jinx. The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.

I know. There’s nothing terribly notable about any of that. They’re all very popular shows, watched by many. But for me, the interesting thing is how I’m watching them. I saw downloads of Homeland on my laptop, mostly on airplanes. House of Cards came via Netflix and my Roku. I’m catching up with Better Call Saul using my cable company’s On Demand service after AMC has actually broadcast the episodes. And I’m seeing The Jinx on HBO GO, HBO’s anytime streaming service.

So, the final count is one via laptop, two using Roku and one from On Demand. Four series, and I haven’t watched a single episode of any of them on “traditional television” as we know it. And I’m 60 years old. Not exactly a “digital early adopter.”

Does that mean that − outside of live sports, news and special events − there’s no way for a marketer to reach someone like me using popular episodic television programming? Well, yes and no. Or maybe the answer is maybe. Traditional TV ads certainly won’t work. Netflix, Showtime and HBO don’t even offer them, and the ads on my On Demand replays of Better Call Saul get the “fast-forward” treatment every time (sorry Capital One and CarMax).

But I believe there are other routes to a television viewer’s mind. Because in today’s world of binge-watching, digital-streaming, on-demand television, many viewers don’t stop at passively watching the episodes. They like to read about them, talk about them and argue about them. Online. With the thousands of others who share their passion for the latest dastardly deeds of Francis and Claire Underwood, the infuriating loose-cannon behavior of CIA Station Chief Carrie Mathieson, or the true meaning of Rust Cole’s latest monologue (I’m wide open to any help I can get on that one).

But that’s just the beginning. Twitter is always filled with discussions after episodes of popular shows have aired. And I can’t even imagine how many subreddit threads are devoted to Game of Thrones. In fact, if all of the sites, discussion boards, threads and digital space devoted just to Game of Thrones were amalgamated in one place, it would constitute a “Westeros Internet” unto itself.

There are reviews, discussions, updates and news about television all over the Web. I know one of the first things I want to do after an episode of Better Call Saul or Homeland is go to The AV Club for the latest review and discussion of said episode. So if a marketer wants to find me and other Homeland fans, that’s where we’ll be – again and again. And that’s where you can market to us, if you do it right.

Which means not just throwing mindless banner ads or annoying pre-rolls at us. Understand why we’re there and tap into it. Use our interest in and devotion to Sons of Anarchy or Mad Men or True Detective or whatever else it is we’re there to talk about and engage us. Odds are good we’ll pay attention.

The point is, today’s popular episodic television constitutes a culturewide shared experience as much as it ever has. But instead of gathering around the water cooler to talk about last night’s installment of Twin Peaks or Hill Street Blues, we’re sitting at our keyboards or grabbing our smartphones to discuss the hilarious white linen “Matlock” suit Jimmy McGill (aka Saul Goodman) wore at the assisted living facility last Monday night.

Shared experience can also be shared passion. Which can be an open door for marketers who understand who’s watching what. And why.

A Grand Opening with Heart

The R&R Phoenix office hosted an open house to celebrate its recent move to Phoenix’s historic Warehouse District and to unveil its newly renovated home. What ended up happening was much more than a typical ribbon-cutting with an open bar.

At the heart of the celebration was 92-year-old Henry Ong Jr., whose father originally owned the warehouse in 1926 in what was then known as Phoenix’s Chinatown.

Mr. Ong spoke emotionally about his father’s legacy and what the revitalization of the warehouse meant to him and his family.

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Henry Ong Jr. takes the stage to speak to the history of the warehouse.

The audience was not only left teary-eyed, but also left with a greater respect for the rich history that the Warehouse District holds.

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R&R Partners CEO and Principal Billy Vassiliadis (far right), CFO and Principal Jim King (fourth from right) and Vice President and Managing Director Matt Silverman (fifth from left) welcome the Ong family and show them the Ong wall, a dedication to the Ong family’s legacy.

 

Sharing the stage with Mr. Ong, R&R Partners CEO and Principal Billy Vassiliadis and Vice President and Managing Director Matt Silverman discussed the impact the project is making to help breathe new life into Phoenix’s Warehouse District.

The party was a full house with more than 300 attendees, including elected officials, clients and community members invested in the preservation of the neighborhood. Executives from across all R&R offices flew in to join the festivities and celebrate the past, present and future of R&R’s new space and the Warehouse District.

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All nine R&R offices were represented at the Phoenix unveiling event. From left to right: Steven Horsford (DCA), Morgan Baumgartner (RNO), Matt Silverman (PHX), John Wells (LAX), Suzanne Hofmann Erickson (AUS), Sean Tonner (DEN), Cathie DeNaughel (SLC), Fletcher Whitwell (LAS) and Diego Velasquez (MEX).

 

The majority of the party took place in the warehouse parking lot, which was transformed into an upscale block-party atmosphere.

 

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A local Fox Concepts food truck served pizza straight out of the oven, while guests enjoyed music by a local rock band, played ping-pong and captured memories in a photo booth.

 

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The Rocket, a 700-degree, wood-burning pizza oven on wheels.

Inside the warehouse, guests were able to take a self-guided tour that highlighted the most interesting and historic features inside the 25,000-square-foot building.

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In true R&R spirit, the Phoenix office has fully immersed itself into the community it lives in, and will continue to be a leading player in breathing new life into Downtown Phoenix.

 

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There isn’t a photo booth the R&R Phoenix family doesn’t love.

Former Congressman Steven Horsford Enters Partnership with R&R Partners in Washington, D.C.

Office will serve as full-service agency, with emphasis on diversity marketing

Increasing diversity marketing reach through authentic and empowering voices isn’t just a win for R&R Partners. It’s an essential and exponentially beneficial victory for the people who matter most – our clients and their customers.

When we launched CMV/R&R Partners in Mexico City, it was more than a move into an international marketplace. It also marked the beginning of an agencywide focus to become an authority on diversity marketing.

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To do that, we need some of those key voices. The exciting addition of former Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford to our Washington, D.C., office is another leap forward in the diversity space, giving R&R Partners a unique position in Washington, and indeed, in the national communications marketplace.

R&R Partners and Horsford’s company, Resources+, have joined forces to establish a full-service agency with integrated services, specializing in diversity marketing, media training and corporate communications, workforce and vendor/supplier engagement and international affairs. Horsford will serve as senior vice president of strategic integration and partnerships for R&R’s nine offices throughout the United States and Mexico City. He will also serve as managing director of our Washington office.

“Steven started his career with R&R, and in the many years since his departure, he has gained incredible experience in business and through public service,” said Billy Vassiliadis, CEO of R&R Partners. “The changing demographics of the U.S. coupled with today’s global interconnectivity make it essential that marketers speak to their customers in a voice that is credible. Our recent opening of a Mexico City office, combined with Steven’s strengths in diversity marketing, places us at the forefront of this new space in marketing communications, and will place our clients at the forefront of the diversified consumer and employee base.”

Steven will also chair the board of directors for Nevada Partners, Inc., a nonprofit workforce training, youth development and housing assistance agency. He served as president/executive director of Nevada Partners from 2001 to 2008, and was the CEO of the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas, its sister agency, from 2001 to 2012.

Digital Content Developer Sal DeFilippo contributed to this article.

R&R Partners Foundation shines in 2014

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2014 was a banner year for the R&R Partners Foundation. Across our nine offices, the Foundation helped more than 20 pro bono clients, each selected based on the passion and interests of our employees.

We volunteered our time. We donated money. We even altered our own appearances, whether it was by cutting hair (Pat Carrigan shed his signature mullet for charity and raised $10,000), or growing it (Movember mustaches netted more than $1,600).

In other words, we did what we do best: Give. Help. Love. It’s what we do.

 

Artificial Intelligence: Putting the Humanity in Programmatic Buying

For decades, science fiction writers and Hollywood have delivered tall tales about artificial intelligence originally designed to take over the mundane tasks for humans eventually launching attempts – sometimes successfully – to take things over. And through it all, the hero of the story must rediscover the humanity inside him or herself in order to prevail.

In the programmatic advertising space, we’re in the expositional flashback phase of that tale, where the technology is developing, and the humans involved haven’t yet fully realized the true potential – or calamity – in what lies ahead. I realized this while speaking on a Client and Agency Panel at Conversant’s Annual Sales Conference (who should be commended for bringing client and ageny-side people on board to give our point of view). Programmatic buying is at it’s tipping point, where it’s about to become mainstream (even print is getting in on the action) and deliver on it’s promise of automating much of what used to be solely a human decision: when and where to insert an ad in front of an audience.

But as powerful of an automation tool as it is, there are still three essential human elements that need to remain well, human, for programmatic to be truly game changing:

Goals are intrinsically human, and should be communicated by them

In the movies, the robots always have the simple goal of eliminating the humans (which is a bit preposterous when you think about it, because what will they do once they win?). But we as marketers have much more complex – and often conflicting – objectives. And whether you’re working with an agency trading desk or a managed partner solution, those need to be effectively communicated to the team managing the buy. You need to clearly prioritize goals, and provide or agree upon KPI’s by which you’ll measure those goals. And in speaking with many people on all sides of the programmatic buying landscape, the best way to do that is through human interaction: in-person meetings to define goals, memoralized in writing with a brief, RFP, or plan that acts as the guidelines for your campaign. The computers can’t achieve your goals until you tell them what they are, and how to prioritize. And if everyone on your team isn’t in lock step, the computers will be confused.

Machines make choices. Humans make decisions.

Machines understand the if-then logic of rules, and choose whether or not to bid on a specific user far faster than any human can. But they can’t make decisions unless you provide them with the logic to guide those decisions. You need a smart human to set the rules of the bidding structure based on the objectives, with very clear logic to prioritize multiple KPI’s. As the data accumulates, and the algorithms adjust their bids to hit your goals, you’ll need a human to review the data to look for patterns and set up new rules, and new logic, to enable the machines to make better choices over time. Many platforms are set up to learn over time and create their own new rules, but they need humans to review to decide fi those new rules are achieving the right objectives.

­Don’t forget the creative side

Most people involved in programmatic buying are probably left-brain brain people, crunching numbers to see patterns and using logic and reasoning to come to conclusions. But don’t forget that the consumer you’re reaching is human, and will most likely act based on an emotional trigger that happens to be very well-timed by your programmatic buy. So as you adjust the rules of your bids – the timing, the segment targeting, the sequences – make sure you’re working side-by-side with the right-brained people – your creative – to make sure the messaging speaks directly to that moment in the consumer’s path to purchase. Computers can optimize our buys, but they can’t write copy to appeal to our emotions.

 

Which brings us back to our science fiction story. During the climax, when the audience is sure the machines are going to take over (which by many media prognostications, programmatic should take over soon), some emotional tie to humanity – a love interest, the future legacy of a family, etc. – inevitably gives the main character the motivation or the knowledge to defeat the onslaught, and go on to rebuild and live happily ever after. Programmatic buying fits snugly into this fairy tale: if we fully realize the importance of the human side to it now, we can harness it to produce some pretty amazing results, and truly revolutionize the way we plan and buy media – both digital and traditional. And the machines will work for us, not the other way around.

The Internet of Listening

I am sure you are aware of the Internet of Things, but are you aware of the Internet of Listening. The Internet of Things takes your devices inside the home and sometimes on your body and connects them to the cloud. Nest, a smart thermostat, is connected to the cloud and adjustable by your phone on the same cloud. But it’s much more interesting than that. Nest is learning from you. It knows when you are in a room. It knows how long you are in said room. It knows when you leave said room. So it can almost gleam how you feel about said room. If you liked it, you stayed longer. If you didn’t, you stayed less. It is deducing such feelings from your interaction with the device. But what if it had more to go from? What if it heard you had cold feet? Of course,assuming it knows the difference between actual cold feet and the term “cold feet” it could turn up the heat. If it heard the sounds of amore, it could change the temperature accordingly … so if you like it hot, it can actually be hot. This may sound good to some and may sound creepy to others. However it sounds … this type of listening has already begun.

Your devices are already monitoring your conversations. If you read any of the books on Edward Snowden, you know that phones can monitor conversations even when they are off. This is not science fiction – it is in government documents. Snowden and the reporters involved would put their phones inside the hotel room refrigerators when they needed to talk about sensitive stuff. Thankfully, the refrigerators weren’t listening yet. … YET. But it’s not just sophisticated government surveillance. Samsung’s new smart TV allows you to give it instructions by voice. It also monitors conversations that aren’t telling it to turn on BETTER CALL SAUL (great show by the way). Of course, Samsung has since changed its terms to sound like it isn’t doing this.

Amazon’s Echo (I ordered one but don’t have it yet) is a device that sits in your living room and talks to you; keeps your grocery list; answers questions; plays music; and promises to learn to do many more things that I am sure I won’t need. But it’s someone else to talk to, so why not? The interesting part is the sophisticated microphone system inside it. Amazon claims it can hear your commands in a normal voice from anywhere in the room. You will forget it’s there until you say the wake up word … Alexa. But is Alexa really sleeping or is she pretending to sleep like an angry lover listening to every word and making plans? Maybe that’s the wrong way to look at it, but who knows what Alexa really thinks or wants?

As I am writing this, Evernote is reading what I am typing. I wrote about Samsung’s TV and Evernote put the perfect link to the article at the bottom of this. Then it gave me a link to Amazon’s Echo when I was writing about that. Evernote is listening and adding context to what I am writing. I hope that is all Evernote is doing, but probably not. Adding context through a couple of suggested articles is one of the nice things Evernote does for me. But what if Evernote could actually hear what I was talking about in my home with my family? And what if it could take what it knows from what I’ve written and put it together with what I might be saying, doing, buying, and connect that to what other devices on the cloud are doing for me?

THE CIRCLE, by Dave Eggers, imagines a world where all is known by everyone through a connected social network with connected cameras everywhere that can hear and see everything except in the bedroom and bathroom. If you think you might be seen, you won’t commit a crime. If you are sick and alone, the world can help when they see you fall. If you want to know what the world really thinks should be done about ISIS, it’s a collective thought away. You can see the implications for privacy and it seems like future fantasy. But it is not. When they can hear what you are saying, it’s almost as telling as the cameras. And don’t forget – cameras are everywhere as well. Everything, from phones, to cams that watch your dog, to cams that watch your front door to hidden cameras all connected to the cloud. This world is becoming very transparent. Your hopes, dreams and actions are becoming more and more obvious to the cloud.

What does this mean to privacy?  There are three kinds of people in the world.  There are people who don’t want anyone knowing anything about them.  There are people who don’t care if anyone is watching them because they don’t think there is any reason why anyone would care.  In other words… the innocent people.  Then there is the group that realizes that it is all being done to sell you something…and they choose to accept that or they don’t.  It is amazing what consumers will accept in order to have the NEW.  Look at any of the app agreements and you’ll know what I am talking about.  Consumers will give up a ton to get what they think they need.

 What does this mean to marketers? Pretty simple. Your targeting is going to get laser. If someone mentions a desire for your product or service in casual conversation, it is going to show up somewhere very quickly. Your Echo, your TV, your speaker system that listens for ambient sounds, your talking refrigerator, or basically anything connected to the cloud with a microphone (remember Mr. Microphone – now think of Mr. Microphone Cloud Edition) will deliver the “context”/”way” to buy, book, get, order, find, embrace – whatever you are talking about in your home. Your Echo will send it immediately if you ask. And once every appliance is connected to every other appliance and connected to social and connected to your Apple Watch and whatever else the Cloud knows about your customer, then it isn’t selling anymore.

It’s the Internet of Listening.

What’s Next for the Opportunistic Bowl?

The Game is not the thing anymore. … It’s the game around the Game that matters. It’s filled with opportunities to engage, hijack and win long before the Game starts.

We all know how brands have been showcasing their Super Bowl commercials in the weeks leading up to the Game. And, of course, there are brands like Newcastle that play around the Game. But this year, more and more brands and others looked for ways outside the official broadcast to play not just with the broadcast itself, but with other brands. What’s next year’s big thing around the Big Game? Start thinking now. It will start sooner than you think.

Newcastle’s Band of Brands

Newcastle couldn’t advertise in the network broadcast of the Super Bowl because Budweiser is the event’s official beer. However, for this latest effort, it used cost as an excuse. So, they, along with Droga5, put together the first crowdfunded Big Game ad.

“Not only did we create the world’s first crowdfunded Big Game ad, but I’m pretty sure we just made the cheapest Big Game ad ever,” Priscilla Flores Dohnert, brand director for Newcastle Brown Ale, said in a statement. “By asking other brands to team up with our brand, we are making a statement that Big Game advertising should be accessible to everyone, whether they can afford it or not.”

R&R’s client, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, was one of those 37 brands. The Las Vegas logo was featured twice in the ad. Las Vegas is another brand not allowed in the broadcast because of the strict gambling rules of the NFL. We considered a ton of ideas to get into the game. Then Band of Brands came along and we were in.

This isn’t the first time we’ve used not being allowed in the Game to our advantage. Years ago, the exclusion got us national news coverage of the ban on Vegas and great play for the brand (because hey, it’s a little hypocritical).

Doritos Gets Hijacked

Newcastle also hacked into Doritos’ ad contest with its own Newcastle-laced version of a Doritos ad entry. Here, Newcastle took advantage of an established Super Bowl brand, Doritos, and used it to their advantage. They weren’t the only ones. There was also an entry that was not as favorable to the corn-chip franchise.

Bud was also big into the hacking game. Just because they have that cute dog doesn’t mean they can’t be evil. They showed up a lot on searches for other brands to keep the conversation about the biggest advertiser in the game – super smart.

The Marshawn Lynch Game

Marshawn turned the Game into his own little brand builder. It’s almost as if he planned it all. … By never talking to the press, he put the talking Marshawn in demand. And the talking Marshawn came out in the week before the Big Game. I personally know that they reached out to many brands in a last-second attempt to make a fast and furious buck off the Marshawn mystique. Because the social channels are being watched as closely as they are putting something together quickly is possible. Skittles, Progressive, and Mortal Combat were three of the brands that answered the Marshawn call to great success.

Totino’s Early Super Bowl

Totino’s tweeted the entire Game a day early. Most of the world thought it was a mistake (until they thought about it). I hate to say it, but Totino’s was ahead of its time on this one. They almost did something that people didn’t get because it was such genius. What better way to stand out during the Big Game than to have all your tweets about the Big Game happen the day before? Big win for Totino’s.

So What’s Next?

More Brands Will Team Up

Band of Brands was just the beginning. Next year, look for more brands to join with other brands to get attention. There are some brands that just go together well, like Doritos and Newcastle. But they aren’t the only ones. And watch out for brands that don’t look like brands but they are. Marshawn was always a brand in waiting. He and some others knew it. Who will next year’s be? I’m kind of surprised that the Chevy Guy didn’t get an ad this year – the nervous everyman would have been a great spokesman for the right Big Game social play.

Someone Will Start Their Super Bowl Program a Year Before the Game

The planning has already started for next year. Brands will be looking to play further and further out. Like Totino’s knows – the Big Game is big enough for brands to start some ripples that will grow to waves as the Game approaches. OK, while I was writing this it already happened. And, of course, it was Newcastle. They are already teasing next year.

You Will Also See More Brands Attacking Other Brands During the Game  

This is my favorite from @RealAvocadoFact.

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From bidding on search words like Bud did, to using other brand’s platforms, to hacking into other brands’ hacking, brands will look more and more to get any advantage. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there – even for that cute Bud dog.

More Just Plain, Unexpected Weirdness Will Happen from People You Wouldn’t Expect with Lower Budgets

The element of surprise works incredibly well during the Big Game. Look at Loctite. Who would even expect that brand to be in the Game? And no one expected them to be considered a winner in the Game. Next time you’re looking for glue, that surprise should pay off.  Even advertisers who wouldn’t be considered big brands can play if they come at it right. Jamie Casino, a lawyer in Georgia, spent $100,000 to do an ad that looks like it belongs in the Big Game. He ran it in one market during Sunday’s broadcast (he ran a similar piece last year). It went viral and now he is not only the talk of Law Game in Georgia – he is a sought-after player in social. Look for more insanity in single markets. Newcastle’s Band of Brands only ran in Palm Springs. If it’s an interesting enough play in a local market, it will get social play nationally.

Expect a Brand to Try and Own the Meme Bowl Next Year

Twitter memes are probably the most fun part of the Game. Check out the Katy Sharks, specifically #LEFTSHARK. Doritos did for commercials what your brand may be able to do with memes. It’s tons of great content and a true winner the entire week after the Game.

More Ads Will Try to Spur Serious Conversation

Because the real game is the social game around the Game, more brands will try and spur conversation using their ads. In the past, it was all about being a great ad that people talked about. Now it will be more about a great ad that starts people talking about something. Just because there were missteps this year with ads that didn’t hit the right tone and weren’t great ads doesn’t mean they didn’t work to some degree in social. And like the guy who owns this joint (Billy Vassiliadis of R&R Partners) says, “If you have a parity brand and you want to reach the millennials, teaming up with a great cause may get them to your website.” Nationwide’s ad stood out and started some talk (just not enough to drown out the dislike of the ad). Nationwide and some others in this year’s Game forgot the biggest rule – if you’re gonna make someone cry – make them CRY HAPPY. Imagine a great ad that spurs a continuing conversation after the Game about a cause close to a brand. Maybe something great could really be accomplished in this wonderful world. That would be an opportunity for a smart, caring brand to show the world what it’s all about.

Bottom Line – It isn’t about buying the spot anymore. It’s about playing the field in the Opportunistic Bowl … and the field is wide.

The Rise of Millennials and Their Importance to the Future of Online Travel

If you haven’t heard the term “Millennial” yet, you may need to do some catching up to ensure you aren’t missing the boat on a generation that now outnumbers Baby Boomers. By 2020, Millennials are expected to account for $1.4 trillion in annual spending, and by 2025 to account for 46 percent of the nation’s income – the next economic powerhouse.

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What makes Millennials different than other generations? They are truly “Internet natives.” According to a recent report based on data from Experian Marketing Services, Millennials are the “most diverse, informed and digitally connected” generation. Simply put: They spend a significant amount of time online and on social media. How much, you ask? Millennials “spend 35 hours a week with digital media,” compared to 32 hours with traditional media.

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It is no surprise then that the most digitally connected generation may also be one of great marketing importance to those in the travel and tourism business – particularly online travel. According to Forrester Research, in 2013, 76 percent of U.S. online adult leisure travelers booked online. And eMarketer, an independent market research company, notes that individuals are spending more time online researching travel – with two-thirds of all travelers researching online before traveling. What’s more, with the number of travel bookings increasing on smartphones and tablets (up 121% and 48%, respectively, since Jan. 2013), coupled with data showing Millennials “use mobile most for travel content,” they make up a powerful, and growing, consumer segment for companies to consider as they develop marketing strategies to capitalize on this travel and tourism trend.

Sources: [The Wire, 5/23/14; Accenture, June 2013; MediaPost, 7/2/14; Forrester Research, 1/29/14; eMarketer, 6/8/12; Adobe, 5/23/14]

Marketing to the LGBT Community: Talk About Brand Loyalists

To some, the LGBT consumer is a “new” consumer demographic of affluent, educated and well-traveled people. R&R Partners has been marketing to the LGBT consumer since the late ’90s, so to us, they’re not new – more like old friends. Not only have they been an important part of our marketing mix for many years, but we have also put our legislative skills to work on successfully expanding the rights of LGBT couples in Nevada, where we’re based.

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Our most high-profile LGBT ad campaigns have been crafted on behalf of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), which recently included a tongue-in-cheek print campaign with the tagline, “Everyone’s invited. Even straight people.” Here is a look at our work as reported by Adweek, The Daily Beast, The New York Times and The Huffington Post below:

“We came to [LogoTV] and said, ‘We can organically be a part of this program,’” R&R SVP Fletcher Whitwell told Adweek of the LVCVA’s integration into RuPaul’s Drag Race-Season Six. RuPaul also talks about Las Vegas’ product placement and references the evolution of the Las Vegas brand. 

The Daily Beast asked David Paisley, senior research director at Community Marketing, for his thoughts on our LGBT work upon the release of a “What happens here, stays here” TV ad aimed at the LGBT viewer. “Vegas has done an incredible job at marketing themselves to the gay community,” said Paisley. “It’s spent far more money on LGBT media than any other gay destination out there. The biggest trend happening right now is that bars and major resorts are all doing a gay night,” he says. “Almost every major gay association out there has held its convention in Las Vegas over the last few years.” Added Arnie DiGeorge, R&R Partners executive creative director, on the goal of the spot, “The whole positioning is that Vegas doesn’t make any assumptions one way or the other. It’s the Mystery of Vegas. We don’t tell people how to feel.” Read more.

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In a recent article in The New York Times on LGBT travel, both R&R’s print and broadcast work was lauded by Merryn Johns, editor in chief of Curve, a leading lesbian magazine.

And a few weeks ago, when the Supreme Court finally overruled Nevada’s same-sex marriage ban, Las Vegas burst into joyous celebration, here, and here.

R&R’s Fletcher Whitwell has a personal stake in the issue as well.

LGBT consumers are estimated at 5 to 7 percent of the U.S. population or roughly 16 million brand-conscious Americans.

To learn how you can command a stake in this $835 million market, please contact Fletcher directly at 702-318-4336 or fletcher.whitwell@rrpartners.com.

Building Brands Across Borders

We’re making our international debut with the opening of CMV/R&R Partners in Mexico City. CEO Billy Vassiliadis made the announcement during a keynote address entitled “Translating Success – Learning to Do Business Across Cultures” at Austin’s BonusMX@ATX, a forum for creative industry executives in the United States and Mexico. It marked a long-anticipated move by our agency into Latin America, and represents our fourth new office in six years.

“The borderless economy is here and now,” Vassiliadis said. “When you look at American brands like Microsoft, Pfizer and Walmart, which are well-established in Mexico, you’re seeing how 20 years of NAFTA have helped erase many of the old trade barriers. Mexico is now the world’s 11th largest GDP and has a tech-savvy middle class that embraces the “Made in USA” label. The potential for U.S. companies to benefit can’t be overstated.”

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But why now? Just like in effective advertising, timing is key. When it came down to deciding whether to invest resources into an emerging international market with CMV, a full-service agency with clients ranging from Pfizer to Birkenstock, Vassiliadis and the rest of the agency brass felt like it was the perfect time – following suit with our expansion model to seek opportunities driven by markets with growth potential, such as our offices in Los Angeles, Austin and Denver.

Additionally, the components are in place: Technology is on the rise. Positive political reforms and deregulation of energy, financial and telecommunication industries have created opportunities. The GDP growth rate in Mexico is outpacing Eurozone countries. And from an economic standpoint, Mexico and the U.S. are more parallel than perpendicular these days.

In his report, “Working Together: Economic Ties Between the United States and Mexico,” Christopher Wilson of The Mexico Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars explains: “Mexico and the United States are no longer competitors, where one country wins and the other loses. They are partners. The Mexican and U.S. economies are now as deeply integrated as any on Earth.”

they are partners

 

 

 

 

 

A partnership with CMV and entry into Mexico City makes perfect sense. Sure, the stats figure into the equation – 53.6 percent of the U.S. Hispanic population lives in the Southwest, where we have the strongest presence, and nearly one in eight U.S. Hispanics lives in a city where we have an office. And we have plenty of experience conducting business in Mexico over the past decade, and more with our work with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Western Union, the 2012 G20 Summit and more.

There are other factors, too. The move will also yield more opportunities at home. This partnership gives us a better vehicle to create an authentic voice and vision to first- and second-generation Hispanic consumers in the U.S.

But ultimately, this bold move is about two things: the opportunities, and teaming with the right people. We’ve found that our partnership with CMV grew out of the recognition that our two agencies share a similar passion for tackling tough issues, developing creative work and having a strong internal culture of excellence. And sharing that passion across borders is something we can’t wait to accomplish together.

teaming