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Prepare for 2015 at the upcoming Most Contagious event in London

Contagious Communications was launched ten years ago in London by Paul Kemp-Robertson and Gee Thomson. Currently operating offices in London, New York, Sao Paulo and Singapore, Contagious is well known for helping brands and advertising agencies understand and adapt to shifts in marketing, consumer culture and technology. Through Contagious Magazine as well as the firm’s I/O intelligence platform, its Insider consultancy and its original events, the company aims to “make brands braver” by simplifying, filtering and advising.

On 10 December, the company’s annual Most Contagious curated innovation event will return to London. Celebrating the biggest innovations and analyzing the past year’s most impactful marketing, this is your opportunity Read more

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Honor military veterans


Today is Veterans Day here in America, a day of honor and celebration that has its roots in “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918, when Germany signed the Armistice to end World War I. I have written before about what this day means to me. My military service took place during the relatively peaceful era of 1985 to 1990, but it still wasn’t all that easy. I know firsthand about the dread of boot camp, and the difficulty of enduring even basic training… but to me, my motivation was clear: I wanted to serve my country.

Through those experiences and others, I came to have ultimate respect for those who have gone far beyond “basic training” to become the Marines, the SEALS, and other elite members of our special forces… whose bravery and daily commitments are seemingly made of granite. It is nearly impossible to duly honor them and express the appreciation they deserve. Read more

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The Movember Foundation’s growing effects

The Movember Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization focused on having an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health. Started with a single conversation 11 years ago, that dialogue has grown into millions of others taking place on the subject of men’s health each November, when men are invited to grow moustaches to spark new discussions and raise funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health.

Together with its expanding community, the organization has so far raised over U.S. $550 million and funded over 800 world-class programs in 21 countries, and its commitments to changing the face of men’s health are growing. Read more

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Adventures in sound with Another Country

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve had the great honor of providing PR support for Another Country, the well-known sound design studio in Chicago. A leader in high-definition surround sound, the studio’s award-winning talents specialize in sound design and mixing for cinema, television, radio, gaming and online media. Each of its four 128-track Pro Tools HD suites is 5.1 to 7.1 capable, hosting all the best plugins, and offering ISDN and Source Connect capabilities and unparalleled stock music and sound effects libraries. Staff sound designers/mixers include John Binder, David Gerbosi, Drew Weir and Erik Widmark, and the executive producer is Tim Konn.

One of my many 2014 highlights from this relationship is an email I received from acclaimed filmmaker Steve James, commenting on Drew Weir’s contributions to his sensational Roger Ebert documentary feature from Kartemquin Films. Mr. James wrote: “Drew and his team at Another Country did a stellar and inspired job on our mix for ‘Life Itself.’ What I love about Drew is that no matter how granular we get about every detail of the mix, he’s right there with us, wanting to make it the very best it can be.”

To let you hear some of the latest sound designs from Another Country, I’ve organized the YouTube Playlist embedded above. You can also visit http://anothercountry.net to learn more.

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Living artistically: Mary Elizabeth Williams

Welcome to my newest series of blog posts. With “Living artistically,” I plan to shine some light on artists I admire who are living in ways that seem to be lifted to higher levels by creative sensibilities, talent and character. First up, I’m proud to feature NYC-based writer Mary Elizabeth Williams, who brought the awesome video I’m embedding above to my attention a couple of years back and has been on my regular reading list ever since.

On her personal blog, Mary Elizabeth describes herself as a writer, consultant, and radio commentator, “with about a thousand years experience, give or take a century.” On Twitter, she adds even more color: “Melanomaniac. Clinical trial lab rat. Uptowner. Instigator. Caller of shenanigans.” A writer for Salon.com, she has also written for The Nation, Read more

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Marketing imperatives: Center everything around your PR strategy

I have a longstanding working relationship with a CEO who recently changed jobs. Coming into his new company, he told me that his mantra was this: putting PR strategy at the center all of their marketing initiatives. I took this as a personal compliment, and I know that many marketing industry leaders are increasingly endorsing the idea. One more recent example comes from Jason Harris of San Francisco- and NYC-based Mekanism, where in an interview with AgencyPost.com, he described his agency’s framework for creating shareable content.

“Our approach is to always think about the PR headline. Why will the idea, content, innovation, etc., travel? Why will people care, and why will they want to talk about it and share it? If there is no PR headline, the idea won’t be shareable. That is our goal on every project.”

To me it’s very clear that, right now, the smartest marketing thinking is powerfully concentrated in the realm of public relations. Read more

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Let’s impact inequality on 16 October: Blog Action Day 2014

Knowing that Blog Action Day 2014 is this week, I have given the assigned subject (inequality) some thought, beginning with wondering what it might mean to you. Whatever comes to mind, I hope you will use your voice and your power to make your presence felt. To encourage you to advance your choice causes today, here are some inspirational examples of how other human beings are effectively addressing inequality.

. #Inequality – International charitable organization Oxfam is actively working in more than 90 countries worldwide to find global solutions to poverty and injustice. As key 2014 Blog Action Day partners, Oxfam has published this very helpful guide for writing about inequality. Consider this:

“Extreme inequality is not inevitable – it is the result of years of deliberate policies and rules that have been rigged in favor of the few. We know that these rules can be changed to benefit everyone, and that together, we can tackle inequality.” Read more

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YouTube insights for fun, inspiration and success

Earlier this year, our 10-year-old son told us his career aspiration: More than anything else, he wants to be a YouTuber. In all honesty, our knee-jerk response was not 100% positive, but as the conversation continues, it’s clear that the boy’s onto something. We actually have two highly active young YouTube aficionados in our household (adding our 13-year-old daughter), and as you can see in the sources listed below for this article, my views on YouTube reference multiple perspectives. For anyone wanting to actively participate in the self-broadcasting revolution, here are some noteworthy insights from my latest research. Feedback is most welcome and very much appreciated. Read more

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Sharing secrets: Film finance and distribution tips from Emily Best

Seed&Spark is a new, LA-based crowdfunding and digital distribution platform for independent films that is already winning major awards and large-scale investments, while rapidly breaking new ground in what founder and chief creative Emily Best calls “fair trade filmmaking.” According to Emily, Seed&Spark selects independent films for fans to back, then helps filmmakers raise funds and distribute their films through partnerships with the likes of the American Express Amex Now cable network. Seed&Spark differs from crowdfunding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo by handling both funding and distribution. Since launching the company in December, 2012, Emily has raised more than $1 million to help 70 films get made, won the 2013 season of New York Observer blog BetaBeat’s “The Pitch” competition, been named one of Indiewire’s Top 40 Influencers of the past year, and most recently, helped the company close a U.S. $1-million round of seed funding.


Currently touring film and tech festivals around the world (“Sundance and SXSWV2V to Sheffield and Galway”) to educate filmmakers and learn best practices for connecting with audiences, Emily’s background also includes feature film production, strategic consulting for large companies, managing restaurants, and anthropology. Clearly, we all can learn something from this enterprising and hard-working young entrepreneur and her colleagues, right? Read more

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NYC’s Advertising Week begins on 29 September

This year’s annual Advertising Week gathering of marketing and communications leaders is set to begin in New York City on 29 September. Offering over 250 distinct events, “The Week” is a hybrid of thought-leadership seminars presented by some of the industry’s best and brightest, as well as highly engaging special events which aim to unite and galvanize bright and diverse audiences.

Originally established in 2004, The Week draws from all facets of the creative communities and shines the spotlight on key business drivers shaping and influencing these industries worldwide. In the words of its organizers, “Measured by breadth, scope and impact, Advertising Week transcends standard industry conferences and The Week moves the needle on key industry challenges like talent and diversity via GeneratioNext and Advertising Futures.”

Learn more at http://www.advertisingweek.com

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