HBO Go “Awkward Family Viewing” Earns A Few Lions

We’re back from Cannes and what a week it was! We’re very proud to have picked up five Cannes Lions for the HBO GO “Awkward Family Viewing” campaign and incredibly honored to have received these industry accolades among extraordinary competition.

Congrats to all the winners and thanks to everyone who made it possible.

Gold Lion: Film Craft – Casting
Silver Lion: Film Craft – Direction
Silver Lion: Film Craft – Script
Silver Lion: Film – Internet Film
Bronze Lion: Cyber – Webisodes/Episodes


Rob Shepardson Appointed By President Obama To The President’s Council On Fitness, Sports And Nutrition

SS+K is proud to announce that one of our founding partners, Rob Shepardson, has been appointed to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, an honor that reflects his long 
involvement with public health in America, as well as his athletic

Rob, an adjunct professor at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public
 Health, was instrumental in the launch of LIVESTRONG, the foundation 
that inspired millions of people to take a stronger stance against 
cancer. Rob also led the SS+K team that helped create and launch
 “Let’s Move,” First Lady Michelle Obama’s program to counter the 
obesity epidemic plaguing young Americans, which just celebrated its 4th anniversary.

An avid sportsman, Rob’s athletic glory days did not end when he hung up his cleats as the quarterback of his college football team. To this day, Rob fuels his passion for fitness by running and this past Monday, completed the 2014 Boston Marathon in 3:36!

Rob lives what he loves, as a business strategist, an athlete and as an advocate for public health. We look forward to what he accomplishes along with his fellow Council Members. We’ll book a conference room for co-chairs, Drew Brees and Dominique Dawes any day.


We traded up to E*Trade

We’re helping the pioneer of online financial services expand their engagement with investors.  But why are we telling you when you can read all about it in Adweek?


Brad Kay on the Rising Cost of Super Bowl Spots

SS+K’s President Brad Kay was quoted in a recent article about the rising cost of Super Bowl spots:


“It’s really hard to argue against [the Super Bowl] as an incredible awareness vehicle; an incredible vehicle to generate talk value and chatter,” said Brad Kay, President of the creative agency SS&K.

While carriers clearly benefit from costly Super Bowl ads, it would also seem that it’s in the interest of advertising agencies to convince their clients to shell out for the big game.

“I would hate to think that we’d be the agency that immediately goes behind closed doors when the clients leaves and says, ‘we have an opportunity to be in the Super Bowl, who cares if it this is really money well spent for the client,” Kay said.

Kay believes that while a Super Bowl ad has the potential to be tremendously beneficial, marketers might be more successful if they took a more “holistic” approach to their campaign – one that leverages the high profile TV spot to create more conversion opportunities online.

“Marketers need to be sure that it’s not an ego-driven decision but a really smart business decision”.

You can read the full article at



Lenny Stern Talks Financial Services Marketing

SS+K’s Founding Partner Lenny Stern spoke with Ad Week about the evolving landscape of financial service marketing.

“No one is in the mood to treat finances as a joke,” said SS+K founding partner Lenny Stern. “This category is looking for a new vocabulary [and] new reference points to be authentic. People feel wary and frustrated—mistreated by institutions—and are willing to switch to brands that will include them.”

Read more about the evolution of financial services marketing at Ad Week.


Rob Shepardson on Bloomberg TV

SS+K partner Rob Shepardson was on Bloomberg TV this week speaking about challenges the White House is facing with healthcare and the NSA surveillance program:

White House Needs Results, Not Messages


SS+K Leads Digiday Sammy Awards Finalists

SS+K leads this year’s Digiday Sammy Awards finalists for its work with the Obama for America campaign:

SS+K Leads Sammy Awards Finalists

The finalists have been decided for the annual Digiday Sammy Awards, which recognize excellence and breakthrough achievement in social advertising, media and marketing. Three finalists were chosen in most of the 12 categories, and five categories were narrowed down to four or five. See here for our panel of 10 judges who determined the finalists.

New York-based social engagement agency SS + K’s work with Obama for America was recognized in four categories for two campaigns. The “For All” campaign is a finalist in the “Best Social Engagement Campaign” and “Best Social Creative,” the “First Time” campaign was recognized in “Best Branded Viral Video” and both campaigns emerged as finalists in “Best Use of Social Media for a Cause.”

Read more here.


SS+K Joins Coolhouse Labs in Advisory Role

You might see SS+Kers in an unexpected spot this summer – right on the shores of Lake Michigan. SS+K is spending the summer mentoring startups of the inaugural class of Coolhouse Labs, a brand-new business accelerator founded by former SS+Ker Jordan Breighner, a Michigan alum.


Throughout the summer, several SS+Kers and SS+K alums have been spending time on Skype with the each of Coolhouse Labs’ five teams, working on business and product positioning, messaging strategy and communications planning. SS+K alum Nathan Phillips, a copywriter, comedian and founder of The Oratory Laboratory, has even been coaching teams with their presentation skills.

In July, SS+K founding partner Lenny Stern and I took a trip to Coolhouse Labs to meet the teams in person. We gave a talk on SS+K’s approach to brand strategy + social engagement, and met with each of the teams daily to work through challenges each were facing at their particular stages of development.

Engaging with the teams at Coolhouse Labs, we’ve been fortunate to meet a host of smart and ambitious people – and can’t wait to see what Lorious, Novi Times, TRNK, Project Travel and Every Last Morsel have accomplished by the end of the summer and beyond. If you’re interested in learning more about this first class of graduating companies, or are a member of the Michigan creative and technology community seeking an opportunity to share your work, join Coolhouse for their special culminating event August 23rd – 24th.



SS+K’s Brad Kay in Digiday on Publicis-Omnicom

SS+K Partner and President Brad Kay was quoted in Digiday on the merger of Publicis Groupe and Omnicom Group and how small, independent agencies should respond:

Rivals: Smaller agencies will gleefully point to the 130,000-employee behemoth as all that’s wrong with the mechanized, commoditized ad world. The sheer amount of bureaucratic infighting during an integration will provide an opening for rivals. What’s more, the clear conflicts this presents will provide an opening for WPP and other rivals to swoop in to woo away big clients. Brad Kay, president of independent shop SS&K, summed it up this way: “To-do’s for small, independent agencies: 1) review client list of Omni-Pub; 2) identify top talent; and 3) exploit six months of utter distraction.”

Read more here.


Breaking Ground at Mondelez’s Fly Garage Incubation Lab

This week, SS+K partners Brad Kay and Lenny Stern participated in Mondelez International’s Fly Garage project, a weeklong experimental ideas session and innovation lab with industry leaders in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The lab, sponsored by Contagious Magazine and brought to life by the innovation house Castro, helps the global snacks leader think in new ways about how it does business, shapes the snack world, engages consumers and tells brand stories. The industry thinkers invited were tasked to help Mondelez crack the code of what the future holds for its global businesses, and how consumers’ expectations, experiences and brand relationships will evolve in the coming decade.

Brad and Lenny are looking forward to putting Fly Garage’s ideation and open thinking models to work at SS+K. Here are some snapshots from the week:

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