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Social Media Week – More than just a conference for M&C Saatchi LA

We’re sponsoring a conference.

If you had asked us two weeks ago to explain our partnership with Social Media Week, that’s what we would’ve said. Our logo will appear on websites, emails, and promotional materials, and a few more people will have heard of M&C Saatchi when it’s over.

Reflecting on our involvement in this year’s event, we couldn’t have been more wrong. We did so much more than sponsor a conference.

Conveniently located just a short walk from our offices, the week started with members of our team heading to Bergamot Station to scope out the various panels, sessions and master classes. While we anticipated interest from our social team, we were blown away by the excitement that came from the rest of the agency.

From creative to accounts to planning and design, every single department took something away from the week. Formerly somewhat of a redheaded stepchild of the industry, all eyes were on social media. It was a true testament to its growing importance within the traditional advertising model.

Conference room

On Wednesday evening, the team from Dinner Lab transformed our office kitchen into a dining room for a private dinner where the topic du jour was live streaming. Guests from Mattel, CBS Interactive, FOX, Vanity Fair, and more welcomed themselves (literally) via our “Is LIVE Quick Enough?” art installation featuring three simultaneous Periscope streams.

Over five delicious courses prepared by Chef Jason Fullilove, we had a lively discussion about live streaming – what it is, where it’s headed and what it all means for brands and agencies. Challenges like, “In the form of a toast, what is live streaming?” made for conversation that was fun and engaging. Everyone who attended left with new friends, a full stomach, and a heightened understanding of how live streaming will continue to affect the work that we do.

Is Live Quick Enough

The following afternoon, our Director of Innovation and R&D, Syed Naqvi took the stage at Bergamot Station for a fireside chat with the Founder and Executive Director/CEO of Social Media Week, Toby Daniels. In what could have doubled as a stand up routine, the two discussed the misconception of agency innovation and how we approach the challenges associated with the #1 most overused buzzword (innovation) at M&C Saatchi.

The duo got the audience involved with trivia questions, a Jeopardy-like board of teaser topics, and a Meerkat vs. Periscope battle. Among the fun, we were reminded of just how exciting it was to be even having a discussion about a topic that just a few years ago would’ve been completely taboo. And while insights about Brutal Simplicity of Thought, adaptability, and trust were all touched upon, we think that @dpgoodfellow summarized it best:


In an industry where conferences are plentiful, it was refreshing to have been involved in one that provided us a forum to spotlight social media within the agency, generate conversations with other industry leaders, and have fun in the process. Regardless of where this ever-evolving industry is a year from now, we look forward to bringing more fresh thinking to Social Media Week in 2016.

Truth and Dare – Confronting Truths at TED

I have just returned from a week at TEDActive, the event held in parallel with the annual TED Conference. It features a live simulcast of the conference in beautiful Whistler, and tends to attract the doers of TED’s community — people from around the world who create ripple effects from the ideas shared at TED.

The theme for this year’s TED conference was Truth and Dare, and we certainly heard many uncomfortable truths and were dared to address many difficult issues. For me, three talks in particular made me think hard, reassess previously held beliefs and motivated me to do something. Read more

Heroine’s Quest

Taking the classic pose of ancient Greek heroes (or video games, if you please), I modified it to reflect the modern day heroine’s quest in the so-called Mad Men’s world. We all know it’s been called a boy’s club, but rather than letting it stop us, like so many intelligent, smart, interesting women I have had the fortune to work with and stand alongside, we’re all making it happen in our own way. Read more

Making our numbers count

In 2010, the 3% Conference was started to increase the number of female creative directors in the business, because at the time, only 3% of CDs were women.

As a copywriter at M&C Saatchi LA, I’m proud to say that a third of our creative directors and 60% of the overall creative department are women. I believe that’s what Congress calls a majority.

That means that in any given creative meeting, there is 20% more estrogen than testosterone. That means that our opinions matter. A lot. And that means we are downright badass. Read more

What Happened in Vegas (Or Why every woman should find a way to skip town with her female co-workers)

By Maria Salvador Smith, Associate Creative Director, M&C Saatchi LA

Exactly two weeks ago today, I was on my way to Las Vegas with some of my female coworkers. Not just two or three of them, and not just copywriters like me, but 13 different women from across almost every department of the ad agency where I work. We weren’t going there for a business conference or convention. In fact, we weren’t going there to do work of any kind. We were writers and art directors, office managers and executive assistants, planners and strategists, account directors and supervisors and executives. We were ready to get away for a weekend. And we were going to Vegas. Read more

The Male Perspective

I work in advertising.

I am a male.

My officemates are two women. I’m lucky to get to come to work and listen in on their ideas. They always impress me. Coming to work is such a joy. Working alongside women is a daily inspiration.

I get to work with many women at my agency. I feel lucky in that way. Read more

Social Gold. Or is it Social Black?

Some 24 hours, 1.2 million #thedress tweets and millions of shares later, we are struck by something more than the visual phenomenon or the science of color perception.
We are reminded of the fact that a single image has the power to spread so quickly, start so many similar conversations in so many different offices, and unite people across such a simple idea.
We are reminded, but not surprised, that a simple idea can quickly become a piece of cultural experience that spans the globe. Read more

When a hashtag offers a collective hug

Cynics are quick to criticize social media campaigns in support of charities or social issues, saying that a hashtag makes it easy for people to indulge in armchair activism, rather than taking the extra step to make a difference in the real world. It may well be that #bringbackourgirls brought no serious pressure to bear on the government of Goodluck Jonathan in finding the more than 200 schoolgirls taken by Boko Haram. After Elliot Rodger’s murderous rampage through the streets of Santa Barbara in May 2014, thousands of women posted their personal stories of misogyny and sexual violence with the hashtag #yesallwomen, yet it is unlikely that many of the targeted culprits changed their behavior as a result. Read more

Facebook re-introduces chat rooms with ‘Rooms’

Just when you thought all anonymity on the Internet was lost, Facebook announces its latest app –Rooms. That’s right, the 10-year-old social media giant, often ridiculed for requiring its users to use their real names, is bringing back the anonymous chat room.

The free app, available in the App Store, is completely separate from Facebook and requires no personal information such as name or location. In order to start chatting, you need to be invited to a room. Invitations come in the form of special QR-like codes that can be shared on social media, email, or even in print. Read more