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After arm-twisting, haranguing and even shedding the occasional tear, DC finally convinced the multi-talented John Kovacevich to join us full-time as executive creative director. John comes to us us after three years as one of the city’s most sought after freelance talents. Before he broke up with the agency world, John worked at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and FCB West. So how did we get this confirmed bachelor to tie the knot again? Better if we let him tell it: “5 Reasons I Hung Up My Freelance Shingle to Go Full Time.”

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With pre-season underway, our Purpose Practice Director, MJ Deery, recommends some serious changes to the NFL’s playbook in Adweek.

“Today’s consumers, especially younger audiences that represent the sport’s future, expect brands to stand for more than product and profit. Yes, even sports teams need values beyond winning.”

MJ goes on to share her POV on four things we should learn from the NFL’s missteps.

1. Consumers have no tolerance for lip service – In January, the league announced its “Let’s Listen Together” program, an $89 million seven-year initiative to support social, education and criminal justice reform, only to undo it with its anthem actions. Such a seismic shift between words and actions can call question to the NFL’s authenticity.

2. Brands must make room for diverse voices – Business leaders need to tap diverse perspectives across race, culture and gender in their workforce or risk sounding tone deaf.

3. Purpose requires the long game – Forward-thinking business leaders aren’t bandaging short-term injuries like the ratings drop and the president’s disparaging tweets at the expense of long-term brand health.

4. Attempts to silence voices often amplify them – Players took to Twitter to re-up their commitment to the cause. And owners like the New York Jets’ Christopher Johnson said they’ll cover fines for players who continue to kneel.

“The NFL anthem saga shows the perils for brands navigating our purpose-driven economy without clear, inclusive values. That said, the NFL still has time to make good on its promise to “Listen Together” and to use the league’s influence to fight systemic racism in a way that builds their business. I hope the NFL finds its way back to its social purpose, by the dawn’s early light.”

See MJ’s full article here and get yourself educated.

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If you didn’t see it, DC’s director of social purpose, MJ Deery, was featured in a recent Adweek outlining a best-practices reset on rules for the burgeoning conscious economy. Check it out here. Ignore at your peril!

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DC sidestepped the sophomore slump to bring home a silver Small Agency of the Year in the west award for the second year running. Announced last night at Ad Age’s Small Agency Conference in Nashville, the award takes into consideration business results, agency culture as well as a range of creative work across accounts.

To bring home the award last year from among the hundreds of entries was a thrill. But to win in back-to-back years has us positively blushing. Thank you to Advertising Age and, of course, our clients who made it all possible. Kegger at our parents’ house!

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Our own ECD Anne Elisco-Lemme is featured in the latest edition of The Drum’s Beyond The Brief with words of wisdom for all you creatives out there looking to make your mark.

In addition to relaying her trenchant career advice, the article teasingly makes mention of her Led Zeppelin tribute band, Black Dog, while providing no photographic evidence. Let’s rectify that egregious oversight right now. (Anne’s the one holding it down in the middle.)
 

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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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