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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  Catching up with the Tomorrow Awards’ Shortlists // Snow Day

Catching up with the Tomorrow Awards’ Shortlists // Snow Day

Posted on December 9, 2010 and read 2,208 times

Catching up with the Tomorrow Awards’ Shortlists // Snow Day thumbnail

rafikcreditpic Catching up with the Tomorrow Awards Shortlists // Snow DayRafik Belmesk
Operations, AKOS

The call for entries deadline for Winter 2011 of the Tomorrow Awards is fast approaching. It has always been our mission at ihaveanidea to not only celebrate incredible, forward-thinking work through the Tomorrow Awards, but to help educate the industry about what goes into creating such work. In that spirit, we have been featuring interviews with the winners and shortlisted entries, to give you all a little taste of what’s needed to stand out at the Tomorrow Awards.

snowday2 Catching up with the Tomorrow Awards Shortlists // Snow Day

After chatting about some campaigns done in very high profile places like TBWA/Chiat/Day and AKQA, today’s post takes us inside Rosetta. A Princeton based agency, where we catch up with Gary Scheiner, CCO and Toni Hess, ECD to discuss their shortlisted entry Snow Day and future plans for the place that calls itself the fastest growing interactive agency in the country.

Snow Day

Tomorrow: Can you first give us a bit of background about Rosetta and what you do since you guys aren’t necessarily as known as some of the other agencies that got shortlisted?

Toni Hess: We don’t have to be shy about it. Right now, Rosetta is not a company that’s top of mind when it comes to creative and creative awards. However, that’s going to change, and I’ll let Gary take it from here, he can give you a little bit of an insight about us and about where we’re going.

Gary Scheiner
: Rosetta the company is 12 years old. It was started as a consultancy, on the internet’s impact on marketing. The founders are both from the client side. the CEO formerly ran the Tylenol and Band-Aid business globally for Johnson & Johnson and the President ran the oral care division of Crest for P&G.

So both of them know that truly understanding who was on the other side of the keyboard, their needs and their behaviours could be a huge tool for a CMO. That’s how the company started, and for the better part of the first seven or eight years of its existence, it was a true consultancy. They brought in people from McKenzie, Monitor, and developed patents on segmentation studies and whatnot. Anybody who knew Rosetta for that part of its life knew it as a segmentation company. It was the first place you’d turn to to set up your marketing strategy and understand your audience, and then you’d bring in your agency to develop your creative platform.

So four or five years ago, they realised that they were missing a lot of opportunities because they were doing most of the foundation work and then turning it over to an agency to do the sexy stuff. So little by little they started becoming more of a well-rounded agency. Then they went and bought a company called Brulant, that was a front-end/back end e-commerce company and largest implementer of IBM’s technology outside of IBM, so that brought 300 people to our technology department.

So suddenly you had these really talented strategy guys, coupled with these very talented technology people. All that was missing was the creative.They had a creative department, but it really had no vision to speak of was more there for means of implementation than anything else. So recently they went out and hired me -I was most recently ECD at TBWA\Chiat\Day – to build that third leg of the stool. We wanted our creative product to be as strong as the company’s other offerings. The aim was to be in that top two or three very best interactive agencies out there.

I quickly brought Toni in and we started bringing more agency side people. People who understand how to take a brand and make it mean something for a consumer. And little by little we’ve been rebuilding this practice within the company.

The client was the Cancer Foundation. They’re the most important players in this since they did all the lobbying with the governors and they’re the ones who fought for the law to begin with.

Toni: The funny thing about us is that we’re definitely reverse engineers. A lot of the traditional agencies started with creative, but that’s not true of Rosetta. We’re doing it sort of backwards. But the thing that’s interesting for creative people is that unlike some other agencies with have a very solid foundation. We have hundreds of tech people and developers and you just don’t get that elsewhere. As well as the people from the consultancy side who also bring a lot to the table.

Tomorrow: Coming back to your Snow Day holiday card. Building that required some pretty unique skills. Most places don’t have those capabilities in house…

Gary: What I tell the creative department is that we’re as much a technology company as we are an advertising agency. Anything that we can conceive from a creative standpoint, we can develop from an executional standpoint.

Toni: When we did this project, we wanted to do something that was never done before technologically, while still being charming and being all the things that we wanted to be creatively.

Tomorrow: How do those two departments work? Do you guys start working together from scratch, or do the creatives come up with the ideas first, just knowing the developers will be able to make whatever you throw at them?

Gary: Our technology team is broke up in front end and back-end. The front end is part of the creative department. It consists of anything from user-experience, design, AI to traditional creative, art directors, writers etc. They all brainstorm together. On Snow Day for example, the brief that I gave the creative department was “We want something to get people talking about us. Nobody thinks of us as a creative agency and we need to start changing that perception”. So I wanted something that was charming and wonderful but I also wanted technology to be at its core. I wanted to show that we understand the technology space better than all our competitors.

What Toni did with her team, is that she brought the UX, the developers and the creatives in a room and started playing with this idea, and once we really had it figured out, we brought the backend guys to make sure we could do it all.

Toni: They were in there with us. We all came with a few ideas in mind but a developer being in a room definitely opens new possibilities. I have to admit they were the ones who first suggested the use of facial recognition, and right there we started conceiving the whole thing. In a way there’s a big trick in it where you think it’s recognizing your face, but it’s actually picking up the colour of your tongue. So collaborating with all those disciplines makes our offering very unique. It feels really liberating to have people in the room with you who want to see the idea to come to life just as much as you do.

Gary: The original idea was marker based. It was your typical hold something to your webcam thing. But the team wanted to do better than that and they wanted the technology to be seamless, which in this case it is.

Tomorrow: How did you drive traffic to it exactly? Did you simply send it to your email database or did you use another type of PR outreach?

Gary: All we did was that we sent it out to our clients and the agency which is a couple of thousand people at most. So we thought we had something cool and different that will be passed around and let’s take a gamble. So within six days we hit our goal.

Toni: We really had no money to promote this thing as you’d imagine. What little budget we have, was being put aside for that huge event in New Orleans, which ended up being really delightful. But the amount of sharing that went on was pretty overwhelming.

Tomorrow: Did it work in terms of clients requesting braver things? Since you did this to demonstrate your creative and technological capabilities, did you get direct results?

Gary: Absolutely. We shared this at an analyst day where clients were also invited, and I used that case study to show how it was possible to solve problems creatively and what sort of solutions we could bring to our clients. So right after, some of them came to us really blown away, because in their minds we were just the company that built their e-commerce site or who did their segmentation. They never knew that we could do these things. There are at least four things that we have in the works right now that are a direct result of this, so hopefully we can build on that.




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