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DC’s thrilled to announce that Gary Stein joins us today as our first chief integration officer. He’s here to accelerate collaboration between our strategy, media and expanded creative team, which now includes experiential and influencer experts thanks to our recent acquisition of A2G. We think Gary says it best:

“The team here has this earnest, heartfelt belief that brands can show up for consumers – and our society – in a meaningful and authentic way. They’re not chasing shiny objects to sell more programs. They’re making major moves to help clients make a bigger impact on people, culture and commerce. DC is an ascendant independent agency with the talent, capabilities and desire to take the next leap. I want to be part of that.”

Gary joins DC after nearly five years at Eleven, most recently as associate partner and head of activation overseeing media, planning and data insights. His career includes nearly twenty years in strategy and work on clients such as Nike, Jim Beam and Google Cloud, including the Cannes Lion-winning ‘Know What your Data Knows’ campaign which featured the first-ever live TV spot created from real-time data during NCAA March Madness.

“We promise clients a holistic view on how creativity can move people’s emotions and actions – online and in real life,” said CEO Andy Berkenfield. “With Gary as our first chief integration officer, we’re ensuring that everything we do across paid, earned, shared and owned channels advances a singular creative vision that helps our clients grow.”

Cheers to that.

Tobacco flavors that seem fun and vaping devices that look like tech gadgets have led teens, and even parents, to underestimate the damage of nicotine. Most people know it’s powerfully addictive. But addiction is only the beginning. Nicotine is actually a neurotoxin whose changes to the teen brain could be permanent. And that’s what our campaign sets out to communicate.

New TV spots show teens in familiar adolescent scenes, yet homework sessions, prom and parental squabbles burst with enough tension to make the viewer wonder if there is more going on than garden-variety angst. To create the unsettlingly true-to-life campaign, DC and director Floyd Russ, who is best-known for his award-winning documentary short Zion, allowed teens to inform the action of the spots — which were entirely unscripted.

Complementing the TV and video are arresting outdoor boards running across the state and a website solely devoted to the dangers of nicotine on the teenage brain.

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It’s not just the sugar talking when we say that we’re so fired up about our new client: iconic candy brand and childhood favorite, SweeTARTS. Check out our Be Both launch work designed to speak to Gen Z’s embrace of duality and fluid identity.

The manifesto video above will live on the brand’s homepage and act as a kind of north star for all the Be Both work. New bite-size TV and digital spots begin playing this week on E!, Comedy Central, MTV and others. And the media spend will be fortified with a robust social presence as well as influencer activity.

Said DC ECD, John Kovacevich: “The Be Both idea is such a rich creative territory — the collision of colors and styles is a fresh new look for an old favorite. We’re excited by the first batch of work and the ways the campaign will come to life in the years ahead.”

We even got a little launch-day love from Ad Age.

Rakuten is back with the latest installment of the “Life to the Power of R” campaign, this time featuring a relatively well-known professional basketball player. Poised to continue the successful awareness-building achieved by the first round of work, these spots continue to bring to vivid life just how easy and rewarding using this no-brainer of a service is. Watch for the commercials all up and down your TV dial and across the digital universe.

And see the spots that started it all here.

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Today we’re thrilled to announce the acquisition of A2G, a widely recognized experiential and social influencer agency. The acquisition extends our reach to two new major markets, adds a robust suite of complementary services to our offering and brings us a powerful new partner.

Amy Cotteleer (she’s the stylish one on the right) founded her agency in 2005 and was a pioneer in the experiential and influencer space. The LA- and New York-based agency created experiences and campaigns with social and digital engagement built into their fabric — from Gap’s award-winning Be Bright campaign, to Nintendo’s Wii video challenge that delivered 900 million earned impressions, to Flo’s Rockin’ Rally for Progressive that engaged a quarter million bikers.

So why’d she sell to the likes of us? We’ll let our new partner tell it: “The last thing we wanted was to be absorbed by a big agency who just wanted to staple us to a long list of capabilities. DC implicitly understood that A2G has an established brand and reputation for a reason. We’re incredibly excited by the possibilities to do great things creatively as we grow together.”

And here’s what our CEO Andy said on behalf of the rest of us: “This move is about a shared vision to help clients succeed in the evolving world of integrated marketing. The days of simply buying attention are dead — and winning brands need to build relationships with consumers online and, ya know, IRL.”

Big thanks to our friends at McCracken Advisory Partners who acted as exclusive M&A advisor on the deal.

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