Three years ago, few would have predicted T-Mobile would be the talk of the wireless industry. Holding a secure fourth-place position in a four-horse race, T-Mobile was defined by little more than its signature magenta color and possibilities for takeover by one of its larger competitors. T-Mobile was "America's fastest shrinking wireless company," admits one executive.
It used to be that winning in mobile meant merely being active in the channel. Clients were satisfied as long as their campaigns could check off that they incorporated text-based codes, QR scans, activated instant responses or collected user data.
Vikrant Batra, global head of computer and tablet marketing at HP, remembers thinking not long ago that there was something missing in the company's approach to consumers. Given ongoing advancements in media, technology and content and the way trends in those sectors increasingly intertwine with culture and society, Batra saw an opportunity for growth.
In a career that spans decades in chronological time but epochs in media buying and planning history, Steve Farella, chairman of MDC Partners' Assembly, has mastered the intricacies of his craft with a grace and infectious enthusiasm that belies how difficult it is to pull off what he's accomplished.
Michael Lebowitz, Founder and CEO of Big Spaceship, is clearly the opposite of the guarded, high-powered stereotype. No doubt its Lebowitz's leadership and vision that drove his agency to the top, but also, as a 2008 Harvard Business Review 37-page study described in depth, so much about the agency, including the way they run their office, defies convention. And, according to Lebowitz, also defies labeling. "The great thing about this award is that we aren't a social agency. We're just a smart, strategic, modern creative agency that recognizes the truth, which is that everything needs to be social-out."
Lots of agencies claim they are unique because they are "digitally-led." MediaPost is naming Dentsu Aegis Network's 360i as our digital agency of the year because it no longer thinks like a digital agency. It thinks - and executes - like a great full-service agency that happens to have an expertise in digital. And because it sees digital media simply as a means to an end for a client's communications objective, not as the embodiment of it. It's all about the strategy, the communications planning that went into it, and whether it is executed "digitally," on TV, or in a …
There are many reasons MediaPost could have picked The Media Kitchen as its agency of the year for 2014. As it has every year in recent years, it excels in vision, innovation and leadership in many key areas, especially its own culture. While it is a standalone media services organization embedded within parent KBS+ and holding company MDC Partners, it maintains its own persona, philosophical and client-services approach that is separate and differentiated from the rest of its sister organizations, yet somehow sublimely integrated around a concept coined within TMK, but embrace by all of MDC's companies: "creative entrepreneurship."
If you were to step back and look at Madison Avenue the way a trade journalist covering it might, you'd see it as part of the bigger story that seems to be unfolding in front of our eyes. It's the story of an industrial revolution in which businesses - and the business models with which they operate - seemingly change on the fly due to the constant innovation of technology, data and how they affect the way people use media. While it might be impossible to see how that story will ultimately play out, the people managing those businesses have …
Whether Facebook is or is not "the" social network is a matter of debate. But there is little question about how it is leveraging its presiding position among social media users and advertisers alike: It wants to dominate the whole digital world, not just "social." And it took two big steps in 2014 - launching the Facebook Audience Network and relaunching the Atlas ad server - to do it. Both moves give it the potential to greatly extend Facebook's reach off its own pages and screens to become a dominant - potentially the dominant - player across digital media screens.
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