AD THINK Retrospective & Young Innovator Call For Entry


*does not include all presenting start-ups

Since 2013, the ADTHINK program has featured over 60 Founders of cutting-edge advertising and marketing solutions.

In just 3.5 years ADTHINK Alumni Founders have already gone on to be acquired by Pinterest, Wish, Rentrak, Simply Measured and BounceExchange. Even more featured start-ups have been picked up by top brands and we are so proud that the AD Club and REDBOOKs have contributed to these connections.

We thank the The AD Club and REDBOOKs community for being as engaged, forward-thinking and most of all dedicated to this program as we are. We also thank Corporate Member and Sponsor Davis & Gilbert LLP who contribute to making these connections and quality content.



Until we meet again in Q1 2017, we are on the hunt for young, talented minds for the 4th annual Young Innovators AwardThe winner of this year’s Young Innovator competition gets a guest spot at the next ADTHINK along with a new business cash prize and editorial coverage in The Drum.

The AD Club and Google created this competition to recognize excellence and innovation by individuals who are exhibiting achievement in advertising, marketing and media. We have a hunch our ADTHINK community personifies what this Award stands for.

Nominate yourself or someone else by November 4th. It is completely free to submit.

Former AKQA Execs Rei Inamoto and Rem Reynolds Open Business Invention Studio


Just a little over a week after they departed from AKQA, the agency’s former Worldwide Chief Creative Officer Rei Inamoto and New York Managing Director Rem Reynolds have partnered to open a yet-to-be-named “business invention” studio.

The company will be independent and will focus on design, technology and digital transformation, said Mr. Inamoto. So far, he and Mr. Reynolds are the shop’s only staffers and plan to keep the company lean, but over the next few months they are looking to build out a core team of senior leadership against specific disciplines, namely strategy, technology, user interface and data.

Regarding the latter two areas, “User interface is one of the key drivers of success for any company,” Mr. Inamoto explained. “Data is another offering we want to build in from scratch. Data science as a practice hasn’t been fully formed, but we want to create that from day one.”

Ultimately, “we’d like to be the smallest company that has the biggest influence,” he said.

While the firm doesn’t yet have a name (that’s to be decided with the new team members as they come on board) its logo is a foregone conclusion — the star that more often than not graces Mr. Inamoto’s chest on custom-made T-shirts he wears like a uniform. The star’s color changes depending on the day — today, it’s white, representing the fresh, blank slate the company has before it.

Mr. Inamoto said the reason for opening his own company now is largely personal. He’s been in the business for 15-plus years, and “I still have about 20 years to go. I feel like I’ve gone through the first half of the soccer match and I still have the second half to play. Twenty years from now, I want to be able to say that I did something different and started from scratch. Maybe this is my mid-life crisis. It’s a pretty risky way to deal with it. I could have just bought a motorcycle or a leather jacket.”

Ideally, Mr. Inamoto sees the company as operating outside the corporate world, at least in the way he’s known it so far. “We are going to create our own IP or partner with startups.” The company won’t be completely divorced from brands, however, but will work with them on “digital transformation, helping them adapt to the digital, connected world.” Headquartered in New York, the company will have a global focus and digitally can be reached at

Mr. Inamoto said the shop’s inspiration, surprisingly, has culinary roots. In conceiving the new shop, he looked to the business model of Spanish Chef Ferran Adria’s El Bulli, which closes for six months of the year to focus on creating new dishes and techniques so that when it reopens, it presents diners with fresh delights. The company aspires to embrace that spirit of invention, but in the areas of design and technology — and without closing for half the year.

In terms of creating its own IP, Mr. Inamoto and Mr. Reynolds are particularly excited to explore the areas of entertainment, the home and communication/connection, especially in light of how technology is changing them. Oculus Rift and virtual reality, for example, is poised to totally transform how people consume sports and entertainment; products like Nest are elevating our experience of home life, while business tools like Slack have evolved communication in the workspace, Mr. Inamoto observed.

As for funding, Mr. Inamoto said both he and Mr. Reynolds are backing the company, along with an outside financing partner from the technology space, not a holding company partner or a private equity firm.

The pair’s move follows the path of other senior creative talents who have formed their own startups focusing on innovation via lean, nimble models. Linus Karlsson, who departed McCann last year, opened Ming Utility and Entertainment. Argentine veteran creative Nico Pimentel left his big shop job at BBDO Argentina to form +Castro, an innovation house that works closely with big brands such as Mondelez on key branding projects.

While the departure of Mr. Inamoto and Mr. Rem Reynolds came as a shock to many in the industry, they say they had actually given word of their resignation during the summer. “This wasn’t a sudden thing,” said Mr. Inamoto. “We had conversations for many weeks, but ultimately we opted to be independent and not partner with any holding companies. The natural thing may have been for us to join one, but that didn’t feel right for us. We wanted to have independence, flexibility and try different things.”

Both partners only think fondly and have the best wishes for their former company. “We are super grateful to AKQA,” said Mr. Inamoto. “I wouldn’t have stayed for 11 years if I didn’t like the organization, people and clients. I’ve always described AKQA as a family, with each office as a sibling. It’s now 14 offices strong, but it’s still the same family. I feel great about the contribution I was able to make and like to think it meant something to the industry.”

By  and originally appeared on AdAge.

Regulators and Watchdogs Continue to Focus on Disclosure Obligations


By Vejay G. Lalla and Paavana L. Kumar

As native and influencer content campaigns become more integral to marketers’ consumer engagement efforts, regulators and watchdogs are ratcheting up their enforcement efforts to ensure that consumers understand that they are viewing paid advertising.

For example, the NAD recently determined that where a website page links out to sponsored content (in this case, native video content developed by Joyus and linked to from a PEOPLE Magazine website), the lead-in page must include an appropriate disclosure that consumers see before they click the link – even if, once the videos are actually played, it is clear that they contain advertising content.

In a separate and highly publicized instance, Truth in Advertising published an exposé on the failure of the Kardashian and Jenner families to make appropriate disclosures on over 100 Instagram posts they made in connection with  brand sponsorships. The media attention drove several of the Kardashian and Jenner family members to edit their previous posts to add the disclosure “#ad,” which the FTC has deemed an appropriate disclosure for influencer content.

The FTC has not taken action against any of the Kardashians or Jenners, but it is surely keeping a close eye on this development. Although the FTC’s enforcement actions have historically been directed toward advertisers, rather than influencers, every party involved in native and influencer marketing, including publishers, media and technology companies, will nonetheless need to stay on top of its obligations to ensure it is not the next target.

lalla-vejay-g-6510       kumar-paavana-300

Vejay G. Lalla is a partner in the Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Practice Group at Davis & Gilbert LLP. He may be reached at 212.468.4975 or Paavana L. Kumar is an associate in the Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Practice Group at Davis & Gilbert LLP. She may be reached at 212.468.4988 or

13th Annual Advertising Futures Competition


The ADVERTISING Club of New York held their 13th Annual Advertising Futures Competition on September, 29, 2016 at the School of Visual Art’s, state of the art, SVA Theatre  located at 333 West 23rd Street, New York, NY.

Once again we are extremely excited by the level of creativity and commitment by our high school students and their agency mentors. We again paired up ad agency mentors with teams of NYC high school students to create an advertising campaign based on a brief developed by the Ad Council and judged by such notables as, David Shingy “AOL prophet”, Dzu Bui, VP Account Director, Ad Council,  Lina Akgul, Director of Global Media, American Express, Cate Carley, VP Account  Director, Beauty Category, Time Inc., Russell Markus, Director of Strategy & Planning, SpikeDDB


The results were amazing!


1st Place – Francis Lewis High School Team  – Agency Mentor: Rauxa

2nd Place – High School of Economics and Finance – Agency Mentor: HAVAS, Worldwide

3rd Place – Francis Lewis High School Team – Agency Mentor: RedFuse


Welcome Ericka Riggs to our AD Club Team!


We welcome Ericka Riggs to our team as Foundation & Inclusion Manager.  After 2 weeks it is apparent that she has the perfect spirit and experience to help us make some noise and do the important work and necessary work of our Foundation.  She hails from Dallas, Texas, MO, MD, PA, NY, and most recently VA…where she  has been specializing in helping businesses connect with and influence people.  Her career has included working at companies like MCA Records, Motown Records, UniWorld Group, Rogers and Cowan, and Northern Virginia Community College, her strategic and tactical experience is broad, but for her it all boils down to one thing: she loves purposeful action that positively affects change.

Bravery is Good Business.


Our Redefining Series brings inspirational content, a shared experience through personal stories, and empowers the industry to believe in brave ideas. These personal stories let us peek into the industry’s most respected creatives and marketers to what inspires them, what moves them, and what propels them to show up and do the important, innovative and fun work.

Pete Favat, Chief Creative Officer, Deutsch North America, newly appointed ANDY Awards Chairman led the discussion saying, “Expectations are sky high for our brands and for our work. Clients and their partners need to work together more than ever. People are actively avoiding the work that our industry is creating [through ad blocking]. To do work that people don’t want to skip, takes a lot of work, takes a lot of talent and takes a better understanding of what people want to see. We have to make work that people want to respond to and I see it as a challenge. Bravery in marketing has gone from a nice-to-have to a must-have.”

He went on to say, “More than ever Bravery is good business.”

Setting the tone for a moving session, Elizabeth Nolan, ECD of Equinox took us through a journey of Equinox’s brand transition from provocative to actually brave. Kellyn Kenny, Vice President, Marketing of Uber put a call to action to the ‘Brave Hearts’ in the industry looking for a challenge to work on a unique and exciting business model.

To close, AD Club’s 2016 Rising Star at Advertising People of the Year, Katrina Craigwell, VP, Global Marketing Innovation of GE Digital brought home the importance of authenticity and trust in relationships with colleagues and your teams.

The next Redefining Bravery installment is 11/2 at VICE Media. Register Here.

A Big Afternoon for Marketing Bravery


Insights from the 13th Annual Stars of Madison Avenue Awards Luncheon

Paying homage to innovative brands for their brave and creative work was the perfect way to kick-off the city’s week-long celebration of advertising.  Club members and the industry luminaries came out in force to see this year’s winning work and gather insights from brand leaders at Burger King, Comcast/Xfinity, Equinox, Harvey Nichols and Shiseido on how they were able to gain buy-in for their brave ideas.

Hear what they had to say:

Stars of Madison Avenue Luncheon 2016 Interviews from The Advertising Club of New York on Vimeo.

Stars of Madison Avenue Luncheon 2016 from The Advertising Club of New York on Vimeo.

A special thanks to our supporting Sponsors:


13th Annual Stars of Madison Avenue – Shadi Halliwell, Marketing and Creative Director, Harvey Nichols


To kick off Advertising Week New York, The AD Club of NY hosted its 13th annual Stars of Madison Avenue luncheon, which honored an elite group of brave brands including Harvey Nichols, Burger King, Equinox, Shiseido and Infinity from Comcast. Earlier this year, the AD Club’s International ANDY Awards Jury chose the Stars of Madison Avenue honorees based on their unparalleled dedication to and impact on marketing, commerce, culture and social responsibility through brave and creative work. We sat down with honoree Shadi Halliwell, Harvey Nichols Marketing and Creative Director, to see how she fosters creative and innovative thinking at her company, her advice for future leaders and more. Let’s see what she had to say…

How do you foster creative and innovative thinking in your organization?

The beauty about Harvey Nichols is that we can have a lot of fun with marketing campaigns. As a brand, we have never taken ourselves too seriously and that is the essence of who we are. This fosters a sense of creativity within our own team as well as our creative agency, adam&eveDDB, who we have been working with for over 14 years. I never think of agencies as external partners; they are extensions of the family, and that shows in the output and business successes. We constantly strive to think outside of the box and our teams turn to a wealth of sources from all sorts of categories to inspire innovative thinking. Teams are encouraged to research everything, meet people from all areas of industries, and to get out and about as much as possible – you never know what will inspire you and where a great idea may come from.

What are the most useful resources you would recommend to someone looking to gain perspective on becoming a better leader?

For me, it’s all about the team that you surround yourself with and those creative and business minds. Togetherness is much stronger than working independently and the capacity to learn from one another – even a bad idea can spark thought for the next big thing. Never pigeonhole yourself or your thinking to one business sector. It’s so important to keep up with what’s going on in as many industries as possible, from technology, airlines, restaurants, hotels – anything that’s consumer facing could spark an idea for your next great marketing initiative. My previous background was working in telecommunications and I switched to retail two year ago. I was able to bring my experience and insight to our business to launch Rewards by Harvey Nichols, our loyalty app. When we were researching how we should bring the programme to life, we looked at almost every platform that exists to see what’s out there and what actually works, and very few in retail inspired me. That is why we had to think of something new – what would be different and allow us to stand out. As a team we made that happen.

What one thing do you anticipate will affect your business or industry in the next two years that could have an impact on your marketing?

How we can best reward customers – a loyalty program that works is a game changer for any business. Customers are not loyal to any business unless under exceptional circumstances. We launched our loyalty app in May 2015, taking a customer-led approach to developing the program. Customer choice and personalisation were key guiding principles, and market research showed that the luxury shopper is more interested in receiving exceptional experiences than discounting. So we wanted to launch a range of relevant and personal rewards to our loyal customers, which means shoppers can choose their Reward – whether it’s a one-hour massage or dinner for two at OXO Tower Restaurant on London’s Southbank.  Rewards by Harvey Nichols is the only program of its kind to offer a choice of Rewards every three months, rather than just once a year like many of our competitors. Again, we made this decision based on what we were told – customers don’t want to wait every six months or year, they want them more regularly.

What do you feel are the benefits of working in your industry that you would relay to young people coming in to your industry today?

Working in retail allows you to have a lot of fun. You can be cheeky and provocative, but you have to be flexible. I don’t think trends change in any industry as often as they change in fashion, beauty and hospitality, so you need to be reactive and not too one dimensional in your thinking. As I’ve said, inspiration can come from anywhere, not just the retail industry.


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