We Must Solve
We recently introduced an updated agency mission that reflects our move from a services to solutions mindset. Our positioning statement to rally employees around the mandate is a simple one—We Solve

The shift is influenced by trends covered in this newsletter as well as implications on our clients' business models, engagement methods and campaigns. It’s a mission we’re uniquely suited to deliver, enhanced by being part of the broader open architecture at IPG.

In Cannes last week, it was clear that the ways we and the broader industry now deliver creative solutions bear little resemblance to great campaigns of the past grounded in media.

Our colleagues at Momentum won a Grand Prix for turning a Chicago church into a cultural hub for youth basketball players for Nike. McCann partnered with IKEA to adapt 13 of their products to make them easier to use for people of varying disabilities. Closer to home at Weber Shandwick, our shortlists included a range of solutions-minded programs including a 
partnership with HSBC to use deep fake technology to increase public understanding of digital fraud in the UK. In Stockholm, we used Clear Channel digital billboards as a real-time alert system to help the homeless find shelters. And in Korea, our teams created an augmented reality storybook with Eisai that helps children understand and cope with dementia. 
More than appreciation for award-winning work, what was most inspiring for me was meeting entrepreneurs and change agents tackling an array of global issues through creativity. I was lucky enough to advise eight female entrepreneurs through IPG’s start up academy run by our colleagues at R/GA. The group included:
  • CLOQ (Brazil), a platform that provides low-cost, accessible, and formal nano-credit to the lower-income and unbanked population through mobile.
  • Medixus (Kenya), a knowledge-sharing platform for African doctors to connect and discuss challenging patient cases together via a secure online app.
  • Pet Parent (USA), a SaaS platform dedicated to facilitating and transacting end-to-end pet adoption, making it easier for both adopters and rescue organizations.
  • Praxis Labs (USA), VR-based unconscious bias trainings that advance diversity and inclusion outcomes through perspective-taking.
  • SheKab (Pakistan), a subscription-based carpooling service for women & girls that aims to empower women by providing them with safe, affordable, and reliable transportation solutions.

These game-changing efforts demonstrate that We Solve is not just a promise from any one agency, but a shared mission for creative leaders from all parts of the world to embrace. If Cannes is any indication, we’re entering a new age for global creativity rooted in new types of problem solving. We’re hard at work doing our small part to step up to the task. 

Chris Perry 

P.S. In case you missed it, Media Genius is the new name for the newsletter. It better reflects how the content within has evolved and what you can expect to see as the worlds of artificial intelligence and media come together at a breakneck speed.  

As always, if you find this newsletter valuable I would be grateful if you encouraged others to sign up by directing them here.
What We're Reading
Leadership Instincts
Isaac Asimov Asks, “How Do People Get New Ideas?”
By Isaac Asimov
, MIT Technology Review

Presumably, the process of creativity, whatever it is, is essentially the same in all its branches and varieties. The evolution of a new art form, a new gadget or a new scientific principle all involve common factors. 

Artificial Intelligence
Photo Wake-Up
By Jason Kottke,

Researchers at the University of Washington and Facebook have developed an algorithm that can “wake up” people depicted in still images (photos, drawings, paintings) and create 3D characters that can “walk out” of their images.

Media Forensics
The YouTubers Who Changed the Landscape for #NaturalHair
By Collier Meyerson, Wired
In the mid 2000's, a group of intrepid hair vloggers brought much more awareness to the many textures of black hair and, alongside it, an entire cottage industry that explains what those textures are, and how to take care of them and style them. 
Platform Dominance
Twitch is Emerging as a Favorite New Platform for Publishers
By Kerry Flynn, Digiday

Twitch is embarking on an example of customer synergy, the concept of creating new products that create meaningful synergies with your original product. The platform is known for live video streaming of video games, but has begun to garner attention among publishers. Citing clear pathways to monetization and active viewership, the Post and Buzzfeed are among those now hosting streams on Twitch.  

Content Experience
Media’s Big Bet: Sports Wagers Will (Hopefully) Keep Viewers Watching TV
By Brian Steinberg, Variety

Big media is looking to tap into interactive wagering on sports to create a more engaged viewership. Crossing into the formerly taboo territory of gambling and betting will ideally boost sports broadcasting’s entertainment value proposition, drive revenue, and cement sports programming’s positioning in the media landscape.  

Media Forensics
The Huge Trend That Realigned the Media Industry Is Over
By Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic

Mary Meeker’s famed internet analysis of the 2010s digital media landscape warrants a retrospective take. Disruptive companies like Facebook and Google snatched a “global opportunity” in capturing digital ad spend, leaving media companies struggling to find value instead from audiences—and leaving us with a lesson to learn. 

Media Forensics
Why Teens Are Selling Clothes Out of Their Closets
By Taylor Lorenz, The Atlantic

Depop is a social shopping platform that’s a little bit eBay and a little bit Instagram, but has distinguished itself by courting young users. But the real secret to Depop’s success is that it allows users to amass two of the most valuable modern currencies: money and clout. 

Emerging Technology
Facebook Has Built Stunning Virtual Spaces for its AI Programs to Explore
By MIT Technology Review

Researchers at Facebook have created a number of extremely realistic virtual homes and offices so that their AI algorithms can learn how the real world works.

Deep Take
The New York Times Has a Course to Teach its Reporters Data Skills, and Now They’ve Open-Sourced it
By Joshua Benton, Niemen Lab
From a pilot training program to a more intensive bootcamp, the New York Times is arming its journalists with a primer on data analysis—and now you can access the curriculum yourself. The initiative speaks to the primacy of cracking data sets, even in industries which historically have not required the skillset. 
Copyright © 2019 Weber Shandwick

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