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The California Tobacco Control Program, the state program who works to reduce the health impact and premature deaths due to tobacco use, has selected D/C as its full-service ad agency of record after a comprehensive review. The contract, which began this month, covers advertising strategy, creative and media, and runs for up to five years.

Over the past two decades, the CTCP has proven remarkably successful, helping reduce California adult smoking rates by half, to 12% — the second lowest in the US.

Said D/C CEO Andy Berkenfield: “As Californians, as parents and – some of the team — as cancer survivors, we couldn’t be more honored and excited to collaborate on this great cause with this enormously successful CTCP team.”

And if, befitting the seriousness of the task (and the seriousness with which we take it), this announcement seems uncharacteristically sedate, it’s only because you can’t see us all jumping up and down.

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by Adam Flynn, D/C brand strategist

A few weeks later, and we’re still reverberating from this season of Game of Thrones. Acclaimed as the capstone to our current “golden age of television,” Thrones soaks us in thousands of years of fantasy history, four religions, foreign languages with 14 words for “horse,” and yet we are still able to recognize, love, and mourn a vast assortment of characters. This is all the more ironic given that George R.R. Martin began writing Thrones after half a decade in Hollywood, determined to craft a story nigh-impossible to film.

He was right. By the standards of late 1980s television, GoT was completely untenable. It was too big, too complex, too expensive, and too explicit. Part of the reason for the golden era we’re in is that the experience of watching and following a series is fundamentally different from what it once was.

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As we all know, the world is made up of two kinds of people: those who play for #teamsummer and those on the roster of #teamwinter. In a new spot and outdoor launching today, longtime D/C client Tahoe South introduces the audience to the fun peeps and fantastic creatures of Team Summer in action at the world’s most beautiful lake.

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The integrated campaign is Kona Brewing’s largest advertising investment in its two-decade history and launches today, on the mainland, on TV, radio, billboards and online. The “Dear Mainland” spots feature two Hawaiian brothers commenting on “common mainlander customs,” such as multi-tasking and the brevity of happy hour, while inviting viewers to take a breath.

“Building on more than a decade of robust sales and distribution in 40 states, we’re incredibly excited to further increase awareness for Kona Brewing among the rapidly growing US audience for craft beers,” said Brand Manager Aaron Marion. “The ‘Dear Mainland’ campaign truly captures the unique Hawaiian spirit of Kona Brewing and, in a fun way, delivers our message that reconnecting with family, friends and community is what truly matters.”

The campaign promotes the Kona Brewing brand and two core beers, Longboard Island Lager and Big Wave Golden Ale. To ensure it captured Hawaii’s distinct cultural perspective, the spots were shot on location on the Big Island with a local cast.

“Hawaii has a different sense of time, a different set of priorities,” said executive creative Director Parker Channon, whose family has lived in the islands for 30 years. “Our campaign encourages overworked mainlanders to take a more Hawaiian approach when it comes to work/life balance. And sharing a good beer with those that matter most is a fine place to start.”

Added creative director Anne Elisco-Lemme, “It’s like the new tagline says, ‘One life, right? Don’t blow it.’”

Kona Brewing Company was started in the spring of 1994 by father and son team Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa. It is the islands’ first and largest craft brewery and is headquartered where it began, in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii.

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The coolest deciduous dude you’ll ever meet, Ticket Oak always has tickets to the hottest games and concerts, is a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame and, in his off-time, loves to ride a Chestnut mare. But for the whole strange story, you’ll have to see StubHub’s just-launched Spring-Summer campaign. Created by agency-of-record Duncan/Channon (that’s us), fresh from its 4A’s O’Toole win for last year’s StubHub media plan, the new spots are focused on concert tickets and running on, among others, Jimmy Kimmel, American Idol, SNL and Mad Men. In addition, StubHub is sponsoring the Billboard, CMT and iHeartRadio awards, summer festival coverage on Pitchfork, and NPR’s First Listen Live, among a variety of rockin’ programming. And print ads will appear alongside music coverage in US Weekly and Entertainment Weekly. StubHub and Ticket Oak, we salute you.

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At the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ annual conference in LA yesterday, Duncan/Channon took home the O’Toole Award for Media Excellence in the Small Agency category for StubHub. In addition to a handsome two-foot-high black statue that would not have been out of place in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, the agency receives $10,000 that it is invited to donate to charity (good thing, because otherwise media honcho Leslie Diard might head to Vegas and celebrate by putting it all on black).

In keeping with the mission of the 4A’s O’Toole Awards, the Media Excellence category awards the agency for a body of work. In the past, Duncan/Channon was a finalist three years in a row for the O’Toole Award for Creative Excellence.

“We believe great ideas are as likely to come from media as from creative – that’s why we put so much emphasis on collaboration,” said agency president Robert Duncan. “And this campaign is proof. We couldn’t be more proud of Leslie Diard and her communications planning team. And for me, it was a special honor to accept the award – mostly because it’s the only time they’ll ever let me touch the thing.”

Tying into D/C’s Ticket Oak TV, outdoor and digital campaign, the media campaign honored yesterday involved custom partnerships with FX’s “The League” and with Rolling Stone in a special Venues that Rock program, as well as StubHub-branded food trucks offering Ticket Oak karaoke, free hot dogs and sports- and music-related trivia contests outside football and concert venues. The campaign was designed to counter increasingly aggressive competitors and resulted in dramatic increases in traffic and in StubHub’s brand power index. And special thanks to all our team members at StubHub.

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by Adam Flynn, D/C brand strategist

In a paper for the Nesson Center for Internet Geophysics, Tim Hwang and Adi Kamdar argue that the declining effectiveness of standard online advertising (admittedly a debated topic) will push further market consolidation, encroachment on privacy, and blurring of lines between content and advertising. These trends, hotly-discussed last year, show little sign of abating in 2014. So, if we are where they say we are, how might organizations and brands best navigate this transition in a way that leads to positive results for all concerned?

The first step might be making sure you’re not being creepy.

What do we mean by that?

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The next evolution of the Be Heard campaign begins rolling out in print, out-of-home, digital and primetime TV today, including such shows as New Girl, Brooklyn 99, The Bachelor, American Idol (and in April the Mad Men premiere!). The three new spots (one’s out in June), created by D/C and directed by Aaron Ruell, showcase the delightfully close relationships John Muir Health patients develop with their doctors — relationships so close that an entertaining cavalcade of characters feels completely comfortable asking their most embarrassing health questions.

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