Branding & Content Disruption

On May 19, 2016, New York Women in Communications and New York Festivals joined hands at the 2016 New York Show events with four creative panel sessions, a cocktail reception, the awards ceremony and an after-party. New York Festivals welcomed award winners, jury members and guests from around the globe to this day-long series of events, honoring the World’s Best Advertising®.

As part of the event, NYWICI hosted a morning panel discussion on “Content Disruption”. The panel included David Angelo, founder & chairman, David & Goliath;  Beth Ellard, executive vice president, Media, The Advertising Council; Maya Draisin, associate publisher and head of marketing, WIRED; Jennifer Bremner, brand director, Skin Cleansing, Unilever. The moderator was Georgia Galanoudis, senior vice president & managing director, Pace Communications.

Consumers today are in control and they are savvier than ever. To meet their increasingly demanding preferences, marketers have broken through the bonds of traditional advertising, and storytelling is now the thread that runs through everything.

So how do brands develop content that breaks through? And what does it take for brands to drive the cultural conversation? Here are a few key takeaways from the event.

On Inspiration

​“Inspiration is a dovetail of storytelling, consumer understanding and unique ad experience.” (Beth)

“Tell the story of what’s coming, which will help you think about what to do next.” (Maya)

“You have to go to where inspiration comes from. At the core, there is a force of courage inside all of us. [At David & Goliath], we try to inspire our employees. We ask them to frame their biggest ’Goliath’ on the wall that they have to overcome. That inspires them to take on whatever obstacle is in their way.” (David)

On the Evolution of the Dove Campaign

It’s about taking facts and finding the right cultural moments to insert them. We started with research that found only 2% of women would describe themselves as beautiful. Ten years later, we see that now, 63% of women feel they have ownership of how they define beauty. Social media was a big part of that. If you Google “beautiful women” you get traditional images. If you type #beautifulwomen, you get quite a diversity of images. So we thought, ‘let’s change the way we talk about beauty in social media.’ We did a campaign with Twitter [watch the video clip]. Today, there’s been a 37% reduction in the amount of negative discussion online.” (Jennifer)

On “Striking the Right Tone”

“Part of it is tapping into something that is culturally real. When you hit the universal, you know you’re onto something.” (Maya)

“We call it ‘goosebump good.’ You feel it long before you think about it — and I look at everything through that lens.” (David)

On Balancing Storytelling and Objectives

“Branded purpose. If you have a purpose, and you’re clear about it, it’s much easier to be creative and push the edge. Trusted relationships are also important.” (Jennifer)

“The reasons things don’t work between a client and an agency is because the casting is wrong. Once you understand who you are, find someone with like-minded values. Then you can do anything.” (Dave)

On Activation

“We ran a bullying campaign [watch the video clip] to help parents help their kids. It was a team-to-team effort about empowering the families. It was interesting because it was a social-first campaign. And because it was digital first, we were able to track everything.” (Beth)

On Authenticity

“Take on the biggest ‘Goliath’ and step into your greatness. We decided to apply this to inspire countries. During the Ebola outbreak, there were kids at school in Sierra Leone who had been affected by the Ebola virus. Some had lost their parents and lost their families to the virus. We sent out t-shirts with affirmations on them. What we got back was nothing short of amazing. We found that the school improved and the kids improved. Then David & Goliath applied this concept to cancer, and people started to come on board. Now, there’s a movement. Our goal is to inspire people to embrace their truth. If you believe in yourself, everything is possible. A lot of people asked, ‘Why are you doing this?’, and my answer is always, ‘Because nobody else is.’ This is our moral responsibility to bear truth and inspire others to do the same. Brave can get rid of fear.” (David)

On Engagement

“The act of people taking over and creating their own version of your campaign is a very special measure. We did the Make Tech Human campaign with Nokia. A lot of people think of Nokia as a phone company, but they have actually spun off their phone business and become a network company. It was great because we came up with this idea to print phrases on napkins and let the attendees fill in the blanks. We posted some of those on the site and the idea just took off. People started making their own phrases. It was a last minute idea but it worked.” (Maya)

This was a great example of innovation as-you-go. (Georgia)

“Hashtags that allow consumers to personalize is a higher form of engagement.” (Beth)

— Angela Morris


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