Arizona, home of the Diamondbacks, breathtaking scenery, and unbearable heat, was also host to American Advertising Federation’s 2013 National ADMERICA. Conference.

  Attended by our new Digital Team members, Shane Santiago, Jeff Will, Ian Latchmansingh, Lauren Renfrow and Julian Bravard, the conference was an exciting four-day event held at the beautiful Biltmore in Phoenix. I saw pics and I’ve already put in a bid to attend next year.  While there, our crew learned about innovation in the fields of advertising, marketing and communications through the use of social media, creative, digital, blogging and mobile advertising. In addition to enjoying the National ADDY® Awards Show & Dinner and the National Student Advertising Competition, our gang hobnobbed, dined and imbibed with AAF members throughout the country.  Our VP/Digital Director/Digital Mac Daddy, Shane Santiago, moderated the always-popular Digital Panel, featuring David Shing, Digital Prophet, AOL Inc. ; Ophir Tanz, Founder & CEO, GumGum; John Travis, Vice President, Brand Marketing, Adobe Systems Inc. and Tara Walpert Levy, Managing Director Ads Marketing, Google & YouTube. com.  Afterwards, Shane introduced ADMERICA’s keynote speaker, Mashable founder and CEO, Pete Cashmore. After Pete (aka the Brad Pitt of Social Media) delivered a captivating keynote, he and Shane spent some time chatting about all things digital. You can see pictures from their talk and the event here http://on. fb. me/18WXVf7. Other keynote speakers included the brilliant minds behind Allstate’s “Mayhem” campaign, plus panelists from AOL, Adobe Systems, BBDO New York, BuzzFeed, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Fast Company, Google, Grey New York and many more.  Upon their return, our crew shared some of their own key takeaways from the conference: Jeff: Content (online & mobile) - “It's easier than ever for savvy consumers to tune out slick advertising…. your brand needs to create compelling content that connects with consumers. ” Like Oreo's “Daily Twist” & Old Spice's “Muscle Music”. And Pete Cashmore loves to use animated GIFS.  Lauren:  Emotion – she really loved the Pampers, "For Every Little Miracle", spot shown to highlight the importance emotion plays in advertising. “When you watch this commercial, whether you are male or female, have children or not, you can't help but feel emotionally connected. ”Ian and Julian: Interactive Advertising - a number of panels were geared solely towards digital creative. The talks targeted those looking to jump on the digital bandwagon needing more “how-to” knowledge and immersion. A good indicator of more digital integration to come.   Ian also added, “Pete Cashmore's keynote was definitely the highlight of the event, mainly because he used animated GIFs between virtually every slide in his presentation. ” So, Shane led an informative and stimulating digital panel; Lauren was scolded for not having ID at the casino; Ian learned that a wine glass is fragile, like a baby bird; Julian found out that Blackjack is not his forte, Jeff discovered cacti don't like to be hugged and Pete Cashmore loves animated GIFs. Lots and lots of animated GIFs.

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