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DC is thrilled to announce the arrival of not only a true talent, but an important new agency offering. Today, we welcome MJ Deery as the first director of our social purpose practice. “In an increasingly connected world and given our current political climate, a brand’s values, actions and social impact matter more than they arguably ever have,” said CCO and partner, Michael Lemme. “It’s no longer optional. It’s a vital component of a healthy brand.”

“We’ve always marveled at MJ’s gift for strategic insight, creative leadership and artful storytelling, but it became clear we needed to create a purpose-driven role for her when she revealed a deep personal passion and understanding of how consumer expectations, social media and politics are transforming the role of brands as citizens.”

Prior to joining DC, MJ served as a creative director at Mekanism where she worked on campaigns for Nordstrom, Jim Beam and Alaska Airlines. Her brand-side experience includes copywriting roles at Gap and Levi’s Strauss & Co. And to further prove she’s no slouch in the typing department, MJ holds an MFA in creative writing and literature from Emerson College, and has published short stories in literary journals around the country. Here’s what she had to say:

“DC’s campaigns to call out big tobacco for the California Tobacco Control Program and to herald doctors who actually listen for John Muir Health showed me they make work that matters. They were the first agency I pitched to create this role because of their work and our shared perspective on how human connections, transparency and values shape our experience.”

Welcome aboard, MJ.

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It’s a red-letter day around here as the agency proudly launches a new logo, look and website, along with some important new leadership. In addition to the four partners and longtime communications planning director, Leslie Diard, Jamie Katz will now lead the account management practice, Rachel Hermansader will be the agency’s first director of marketing and business development and Anne Elisco-Lemme will serve as the sole executive creative director. (Shout out to Timothy Archibald for the handsome photo.)

CCO Michael Lemme led the rebrand. “Our new mark is custom-made – hat tip to our co-conspirators in Helsinki / Amsterdam / Den Haag, Underware. In the context of increasingly algorithmic and measured marketing, we wanted our identity to be a symbol of the incalculable, unpredictable role of creativity and personal expression in every aspect of our work.”

And because the logo is so wonderfully peculiar, the agency doesn’t just expect, but welcomes, troll commentary. So much so, we’ve even created this helpful video to get the troll juices flowing. Let us have it. (Special thanks to The Cabinet and Feintly for letting us abuse their goodwill.)


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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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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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I am in San Francisco. I am in Texas. I am whirring on the back of a golf cart speeding to the closing gates of a midnight flight to Bogota. I am breathing, living, moving from one life to the next, remembering my always-on travel mantra that helps me dive full-in whenever I travel: I am that.

All of it. Everyone I see, all the idiotic things, the lamentations and prejudices, the angelic offerings and the petty short changings. The joy in the eyes of the smiling grandfather whirring along side me, on his way to a family reunion in the countryside of Colombia. The passive voice of the driver echoing- anyone else going to Bogota? Anyone?

The plane doors shut. I am asleep.

I am in Bogota. I am waiting. I am in Lima.

I am in Piura. The airport.

I am waiting for an official cab, though the gypsies hover on the other side of the curb with laments and pleas and intensity. A legit taximan with lines on his face deep like ocean trenches pulls up, helps me get my bag in the car. He eyes me with a weary friendliness through the rear view. Where are you from? He asks in Spanish.

Guess, I say.

France?

No. Guess again.

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a) One of the first things you see after customs. DON’T FUCK WITH BJORN BJORG
b) Swedes take care of things. I rode ferries and subway cars my parents’ age that are in prime condition.
c) Old Town is full of old, quiet buildings.
d) The military band plays ABBA. Not kidding.
e) Actual Swedish fish.
f) Gift shop > gallery @ Moderna Museet.
g) A coffee break on steriods. They call it “fika.”
h) Skansen, a park of Swedish history. Peacocks roam free.
i) Sweden does pickled herring and boiled potatoes, not burritos.
j) The archipelago is full of tiny, perfect islands.
k) Candy bins like this are everywhere.
l) With eighteen hours of daylight you can hang out in parks all day*
m) *and go to playgrounds after dinner**
n) **did I mention playgrounds after dinner?
o) This makes me happy.
p) The sky looks like this at 1 am.
q) Music all over Stockholm on National Day. Old Swedish men play jazz and sing in English.
r) Summer in Stockholm is drop-dead gorgeous.
s) This boat might still be for sale.
t) Even the bittersweet train ride to the airport was smooth, fast and quiet.

Tried to post this on Facebook on the occasion of Clarence Clemons’s passing. Too long. So here you go. A couple adventures with the Big Man (and just dig that Eric Meola cover photo):

Met Clarence after a Springsteen show in Detroit, ’75 or ’76, while I was at Creem. When Bruce crashed (he never was into partying), I found Clarence, who was. It wound up around 3 am with me challenging the truly Big Man, an ex-college player, to some kind of football duel. Whereupon he jovially, but terrifyingly, set up in his 3-point stance and blasted me across the hotel room.

Hung out in New Orleans in ’78, too, but sober: two of us walking down the middle of Bourbon Street. White cop confronts Clarence, accuses him of stealing a purse from a nearby bar. Pure harassment, seeing as how we had yet to enter any bar. And little choice but to take it. I’ll never forget looking up at the Big Man afterwards to see tears welling in his eyes.

Big soul, big talent and big fun and taken too soon.

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She wouldn’t want me telling you this — the first thing to know about Roni Hoffman is that, unlike some of us, she tends toward the taciturn. In fact, after more decades together than we’d ever admit, I’m still hearing new details of her story.

But it’s a helluva story.

Her boyfriend was among the first of the dubious breed that came to be known as rock critics. You see, back in the day, there were these things called daily newspapers and each one had a middle-aged guy who wrote about jazz and that’s who the dailies would send to cover rock concerts, often with laughable results, at least to rock fans. But along came a publication called Crawdaddy, the first real rock magazine, a year before Rolling Stone. Sandy Pearlman wrote for it. And so did Roni’s b.f. Which meant that at 17 she got to hang out with Jimi Hendrix backstage at a club in Greenwich Village, and later to attend the press conference atop the Pan Am building where, in a publicity stunt, the nascent guitar god had just landed in a helicopter. She was at the Dom on St. Mark’s Place when the Velvet Underground played, and a 17-year-old Jackson Browne opened. She was at Patti Smith’s first poetry reading, before Lenny Kaye strummed along on guitar, and then backstage at the Bitter End when Bob Dylan stopped by to pass Patti the torch as rock ‘n’ roll poet laureate.

Jim Morrison put his arm around Roni’s shoulders and a joint in her mouth. Mick Jagger just put his arm around her shoulders — though the occasion happened to be a birthday party for a raging drunk Norman Mailer, who put his hands all over her. She dined with Lou Reed at the writer Lisa Robinson’s apartment. She and her b.f. shared a house with the Blue Oyster Cult, back when those metal pioneers were called the Soft White Underbelly. She met the young Iggy and Alice Cooper and Marc Bolan of T-Rex and such monumental rock elders as Muddy Waters and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. She was at the celebrated Rock Writers Convention in Memphis in ’73, where the original lineup of Big Star, Alex Chilton’s band, played their one and only gig, and on the infamous Hells Angels boat ride around Manhattan, the same year, where she got to know Jerry Garcia and Bo Diddley, both of whom performed, and where she witnessed the Angels preparing to throw overboard a smarmy young local-TV reporter named Geraldo Rivera. She was in the room when Epic signed a raggedy-ass outfit from SUNY/New Paltz called the Dictators, who would then make the first-ever punk record. An undergraduate Gary Lucas crashed on her couch, a dozen years before he captained Beefheart’s Magic Band and an over-served Lester Bangs passed out in her armchair, a dozen years before he overdosed.

Her kids think of her as their unassuming mom. Little do they know.

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