Woman to Watch: Annette Stover

AdAge Special Report: Women to Watch
By Tiffany Meyers, May 30, 2008 


Growing up in France, where agency logos appear at the end of TV spots, Annette Stover devised a parlor game at age 10, guessing which shop produced each commercial before its logo appeared. Almost always, the petit advertising enthusiast got it right.

Though she investigated other avenues — including a stint in the West Berlin theater industry — Ms. Stover eventually hit New York in pursuit of advertising. “One well-known headhunter told me that because of my French accent, I’d never amount to anything in U.S. advertising,” recalls Ms. Stover, who’s also fluent in German and studied modern languages at the Sorbonne.

Clearly, that crystal ball was on the fritz. Ms. Stover’s first gig: the legendary Scali McCabe Sloves, followed by posts at JWT, Morgan Anderson Consulting and, in 1997, Euro RSCG Worldwide. In 2006, Ms. Stover rose from chief of staff to her current role as chief operating officer of Euro RSCG’s New York office.

In addition to fostering agency culture, Ms. Stover, 43, focuses on operations, communications and new business. In recent years, she was a key member of the teams that won the Charles Schwab, Reckitt Benckiser and Jaguar accounts.

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Entrepreneurs: Make Like a Bird and Go Cheap

Entrepreneur Magazine
Frugal is Back
Here’s how to channel your inner miser–the right way.
By Tiffany Meyers

As recessionary gale storms blow, entrepreneurs are reining in runaway costs. “Smart entrepreneurs are doing more with less,” says Joseph R. Cardamone, president of the U.S. Federation of Small Businesses. “With diminished cash flow and tight credit, only those businesses that operate efficiently will survive this economic downturn, which may last several years.” So if you’re going to make like a bird and go cheap, these measures can help and range from relatively to totally painless.

Announce your plan to ration paperclips and watch employees use binder clips like they’re going out of style. “Whatever savings you see from one-off efforts will be short-lived, while costs pop up elsewhere, like for binder clips,” says Adam Hartung, managing partner of strategic business consulting firm Spark Partners.

Instead, ask employees to map out how they do their jobs from start to finish, then solicit their ideas for efficiency gains, explains Hartung. “Instead of saying, ‘We need to cut travel costs’–which will get everyone groaning–say, ‘Let’s look at how we get work done and see where we can make changes.'” To jump-start imaginations, ask: How would you do your job if you worked at a different company? How would you do it if you were four years in the future?

You might discover that some part of billing could be automated, a step in payment processing could be eliminated or client interactions could be handled via web conferencing. “Now you’ve introduced more efficient processes,” Hartung says, “and the savings will be everlasting.”

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Marketplace Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

Author’s Note: Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual “Hot Trends” roundup of marketplace opportunities for entrepreneurs, including the two sectors I covered.

Decades in the making, this $209 billion market has its roots in everything from water to energy to food. Look especially to organics, clean energy, alternative fuels, and water reuse and reclamation services.

Representing the biggest wealth transfer in history, these individualists started the green movement and are ready to cash in on the environment, health, financial planning, travel and everything in between.

Design at Warp Speed

STEP Magazine
Design at warp speed
By Tiffany Meyers 

Designer Dario Antonioni, who has created retail environments for DKNY and Ralph Lauren, among others, aims to tell stories through his spaces. In the case of travel boutique Flight 001, the narrative centers on the legendary Pan Am Flight 001, which circumnavigated the globe in the 1960s.

Antonioni’s clean materials, including Plexiglass, walnut paneling, and Pirelli tiles, recreate the bygone glamour of international travel. But beneath the store’s glimmering surfaces, undertones of wit emerge, like the cash wrap shown here, designed to look like an airport ticket counter.

When asked to name the designers who have most influenced his work, industrial designer Dario Antonioni rattles off a list of figures whose innovations fit more appropriately in airport hangars than on display at the Cooper-Hewitt. They’re people like Howard Hughes, the Wright brothers, and Burt Rutan, the aerospace engineer who decided NASA was moving too slowly toward commercial space tourism so he created his own shuttle, the SpaceshipOne.

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Green Cities: Director’s Cut

Author’s Note: In spite of my best efforts, I occasionally geek out on my reporting. In this case, I dug up way more content about green cities than my editors had space to publish. So I sliced and diced it. Then came the blog, vessel for all good stuff that ever got cut. Here is the longer version of the Green Cities story, salvaged from the cutting room floor.

PUBLIC TRANSIT: 18 million trips taken during the second quarter, 2008.
HOME TO: The nation’s largest utility-sponsored sustainable building program, Austin Energy Green Building.
ALSO HOME TO: Whole Foods HQ.
LIKES BIKES: According to The League of American Bicyclists—which gives Austin a Silver—almost 4 percent of Austin’s residents bike to work.

In what Austin Mayor Will Winn has called “the most polluting state in the most polluting country on the planet, from a carbon-emissions standpoint,” the straight-talking city chief enacted the Austin Climate Protection Plan, which calls for, among other things: powering city facilities with renewable energy by 2012; requiring new single-family homes to be zero net-energy capable by 2015; and making all municipal facilities and fleets carbon-neutral by 2020. A major player in meeting these targets? Utility company Austin Energy (AE). That recipient of the 2008 EPA Climate Protection Award offers a sweet photovoltaic rebate (up to 75 percent of installation cost). Meanwhile, so many customers recently subscribed to buy clean energy through AE’s GreenChoice program that the company stopped taking applications until 2009. In 2006, AE and the city launched “Plug-In Partners,” a campaign to show automakers that there’s market demand for plug-in hybrid cars now (So get cracking). Austin is also tackling the water crisis, coupling conservation measures with a Water Reclamation Initiative that will provide reclaimed water for non-drinking purposes to several venues, like the University of Texas.

THE LARGEST URBAN SOLAR ARRAY: In the upper Midwest will be built here, thanks to a $2 million grant from the Xcel Energy Renewable Development Fund.
LIKES BIKES: The League of American Bicyclists gives Minneapolis a Silver.

Mayor R.T. Rybak aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from city operations 12 percent by 2012 and 20 percent by 2020. And in true Midwestern fashion, residents rolled up their civic shirtsleeves in 2007 and did their part, buying enough wind-generated electricity from Xcel Energy’s Windsource program to power almost 2,800 homes for a year. In this City of Lakes—which planted, on average, 3,385 trees annually from 2003 to 2007—environmental enthusiasm reaps rewards: Minneapolis recently awarded 25 grants to support local organizations’ efforts to motivate Minneapolitans to conserve energy. The University of Minnesota continues to garner accolades for its renewable-resource research, while The Green Institute, which operates a $2 million salvaged building materials ReUse Center, diverts 4,000 tons of building materials annually from landfills. The city also cut 150 vehicles from its fleet since 2003, and those vehicles it is adding will be green: In five years, says the mayor’s office, buses on main thoroughfare Nicollet Mall will be hybrid-electric.

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Jim Krantz

Jim Krantz: Artist Profile (excerpt)
By Tiffany Meyers, January/February 2009 Issue

A Chicago photographer captures artful angles and suspended light in his work.

Jim KrantzThe day you realize you’re ruinously bad at one thing can also be the day you chuck your practical concerns, finally, and pursue what you were born to do. And Jim Krantz–just out of Denver University with a design degree and acute case of photography fever–was born to do almost anything other than make stats in the small copy room of Omaha ad agency Dudycha & Associates.

“It was very dark,” says Krantz, who carries an aura of goodwill with him everywhere, and probably even into that copy room. “I was like a mole.”

The complete article, which appears in Communication Arts’ January/February 2009 Issue, is available to subscribers only. For more information, please visit the magazine’s website.

Culture Mosaic

Special Report: Kids and Tweens

Culture Mosaic
By Tiffany Meyers, March 13, 2006  

“Intraculturalism” a challenge to marketers when kids try on different ethnic identities as easily as they switch their T-shirts.

From urban to “hurban,” there’s no shortage of terms to describe marketers’ efforts to reach today’s culturally diverse youth. Now make room for one more concept: intraculturalism.

The concept comes from consulting company Cheskin, where Exec VP-Partner Stephen Palacios defines intraculturalism as the tendency for American youth to adopt traditions and attitudes of cultures other than their own in “a fluid process of identity formation.” Young people shift back and forth among cultural sensibilities continually-not just from year to year or month to month, but even sometimes from hour to hour.

Think beyond the obvious example of the white, middleclass kid who emulates hip-hop culture. Intraculturalism is seen in young people of all ethnic backgroundsencompassing children, tweens and teens, and is most prominent among Hispanic youth, Mr. Palacios says. A Hispanic child, for example, might speak Spanish at home with his family and English at school. In turn, his non-Hispanic peers of all ethnicities are increasingly “picking and choosing from the cultural sensibilities that they find attractive,” says Mr. Palacios. Intracultural kids “can be Asian at home, bicultural at school and something entirely different with their goth friends.”

This fluid notion of cultural identity differs from multiculturalism, in which distinct ethnicities are celebrated — and in the case of multicultural marketing, targeted — separately.

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Concept Farm Among Ad Age’s Best Workplaces

Advertising Age Special Report:
Best Places to Work in Advertising and Media

The Concept Farm
Only One Silo, a Real One, Exists in the Concept Farm
By Tiffany Myers, September 20, 2010

A Farmhouse Table, Open Floorplan, ‘EIEIO’ Blog, Zero-Tolerance Policy on Egos and Lack of Hierarchy Mean Farmers Are Free to Sow Ideas

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — When the Concept Farm launched in 1999, the partners used their farm analogy to support a vision for an ego-free, roll-up-your-sleeves culture. “It was about organic thinking and getting our hands dirty,” said Gregg Wasiak, partner-creative director. “Stripping things down and getting it done without silos.”

Eleven years later, employees and partners still check their egos at the barnyard door. At least one partner sits on every account, giving staffers the chance to work shoulder-to-shoulder with executives. When Art Director Robert Singh started as an intern in 2004, his direct report was none other than Partner-Creative Director Ray Mendez.

“An intern is the lowest rung on the ladder,” Mr. Singh said, “but I had the chance to hit the ground running.” These days, he hears about more hierarchical organizations and feels spoiled. “Here, you’re not running things up a ladder and having to wait. The creative directors sit a few feet away, so you can always grab someone for input. I think it’s a luxury.”

The Concept Farm, whose clients include Windstream Communications, BNY Mellon and ESPN, is all about community, starting with open floor plans in which the disciplines mingle. “We do have some doors,” Mr. Wasiak said, “but they swivel.”

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mono: Agency Profile (excerpt)
By Tiffany Meyers, September/October 2008 Interactive Annual

A Minneapolis agency that stands for simplicity.

For the partners at mono, it was never a matter of if, but when.

As far back as 1994, when Chris Lange and Michael Hart formed their creative partnership at Minneapolis’ Cevette & Company, they kicked around the idea of launching their own agency–a dream they maintained as their partnership moved to Mullen and then Carmichael Lynch. At the latter, they met account executive Jim Scott, who would soon become their co-founding partner.

The trio continued talking–comparing notes about how they’d run a shop when the time came and, as important, how they wouldn’t. “There seemed to be a lot of hierarchy at the more traditional agencies,” says Lange.

For the complete article, which appears in the September/October 2008 issue and is available to subscribers, please visit the magazine’s website.

Adage Special Report: Luxury Marketing

AdAge Special Report: Luxury Marketing
Marketers learn luxury isn’t simply for the very wealthy
By Tiffany Meyers, September 13, 2004 

Purveyors of luxury products increasingly have their sights set on Joe Average as well as Joe Millionaire, and that’s changing the definition of “luxury.”  

The democratization of luxury-variously labeled as the “massification of luxury,” “class to mass,” “new luxury,” “masstige” and even “luxflation”-is taking two main routes: Traditional luxury marketers are expanding their brands to more affordable merchandise, while at the same time the middle class is increasingly willing to, at least occasionally, buy expensive luxury goods.

The latter trend is at the center of the recent book “Trading Up: The New American Luxury,” co-authored by Boston Consulting Group Senior VP Michael J. Silverstein and Neil Fiske, CEO of Bath & Body Works.

“New luxury is not about aristocrats,” Mr. Silverstein tells Advertising Age. “It’s about average Joes on the street who want to buy premium-price products that have real technical, functional and emotional benefits.”

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