NewFront News and Views: Digitas

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In keeping with its tradition, instead of showcasing content advertising agency Digitas devoted its allocated NewFront time to exploring one or more themes using a mix of short one-on-one or panel interviews, speeches and videos.

Venue:  Highline Stages on W. 15th St., former home of Social Media Week and various NewFront events over the years.  Hashtags from #MeToo to #Time’sUp were posted or flashed all over the space, in line with “The Boycott,” the premise of this event.  Grade: 3.5 Jacks

Presentation:  The theme for 2018: advertisers taking a stand on social issues or controversial content amid a more polarized society.  “There’s an elephant in the room, and he has his own hashtag,” noted Digital Global Chief Content Officer Scott Donaton.  “Do bolder times require bolder brands?”  Grade: 4 Jacks

News:  The introduction of ongoing research on Transformists, a demographic-defying population united by proactive, change-advocating mindsets.  Digitas estimates there are more than 38 million people who fit this new classification, representing 24 percent of people age 18-54. Grade: 4 Jacks

Host:  Donaton stayed with the theme in a cohesive, challenging matter, with contributions from Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Jodi Kantor and PepsiCo Senior Advisor Brad Jakeman.  Grade: 4 Jacks

Star Time:  Former General Hospital and Joan of Arcadia star Amber Tamblyn (pictured at top, right, with Pam Wasserstein, CEO, New York Media and Founding Member, Time's Up), one of the first actresses to come forward through #TimesUp, participated in a panel session.  Singer Gina Chavez forwarded the conversation with a pair of tunes and great audience rapport.  Grade: 3 Jacks

Cuisine:  In plentiful supply for all comers.  Best eats: spring rolls with mustard dip and chicken mini-tacos.  Grade: 3.5 Jacks  (Note: Cuisine ratings do not figure in the overall Jacks score.)

Data Insight:  Among the Transformist community, 86 percent call themselves adventurous eaters, 81 percent like taking risks (against 60 percent of the entire U.S. population), 77 percent like to learn new languages and 67 percent self-identify their lot as “adrenaline junkies.” Grade: 3.5 Jacks

Innovative Opportunity:  Participation in a new big data initiative. Grade: 2.5 Jacks

Overall Grade:  4 Jacks  A controversial quandary more advertisers face these days received overdue public exposure.

Our Jacks rating system:  5 Jacks – Excellent, 4 Jacks -- Very Good, 3 Jacks – Good, 2 Jacks – Fair, 1 Jack – Poor, 0 Jacks -- Don’t go there

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