February 5, 2024

5 headlines from our podcast with Ad Age’s Brian Bonilla

Michael Karamanoukian

Marketing Intern

After spending 45 minutes with Ad Age Senior Reporter Brian Bonilla, it’s safe to say we made the right pick for our Super Bowl special. Here’s the house of highlights from that conversation – and if you want to binge the full podcast, tap here:

Pet peeves that kill good press

Standing out among thousands of ad agencies can feel debilitating. Brian warns us of common mistakes that may be getting in the way of an agency’s success. Whether it’s not having a key differentiator, execs that lack personality, or spamming reporter’s inboxes – standing out in a crowded industry requires fresh tactics like consistent thought leadership, radical openness, and a strong TikTok presence. Because Brian receives hundreds of email pitches a day, he recommends ensuring your story is hyper timely and relevant before hitting him up. For all the tips to get his attention, you’re going to have to tune in.

Super Bowl spots to look forward to this year 

The big game is one of the most anticipated televised events of the year. From the halftime show to the commercials and – oh yeah – the game itself, people’s eyes are glued to the TV. Brian says to keep an eye out for lol-worthy spots from snack brands such as Oreo and Doritos. He also expects sportsbook brands (especially MGM) who partnered with fellow small agency Highdive to go big. One thing to look for: One of the most highly acclaimed film directors of all time, Martin Scorsese, is directing his first-ever ad for SquareSpace. 

The state of DEI in advertising

Hot take alert: Diverse talent no longer needs agencies to create. Brian says it’s on agency leaders to sell the benefits of advertising to young, diverse creators. Also, old-school agency leaders, industry experience is great, but so is fair pay – and incoming Gen-Z talent knows their worth.

What it takes to make Ad Age’s A-List:

It’s one of the highest honors in our agency – so how do you make the list? What’s more important: the wins or the work? The truth is both. Ad Age takes both into account when compiling their A-List. A holistic approach is necessary since Ad Age judges several agencies that are different in size, personality, and work. The decision is tough and Brian tells us it takes several weeks to work up the list. Above all, the quality of your work, the results, your DEI efforts, and your agency's growth are most important when making the cut. 

Is the Super Bowl losing relevance?

It’s hard to imagine a time when the hype behind the Super Bowl dies out. And, according to Brian, brands have nothing to worry about – yet. Although younger audiences will do just about anything to avoid ads – the Super Bowl is the one day a year when everyone is open to (and even looking forward to) watching ads. 

Brian also notes that some tweets during the big game last year got more attention than ads on the TV screen. So, is it still worth it to pay for a Super Bowl spot? The short answer is yes. Although cheaper tactics can still make just as big of a splash – the guaranteed eyeballs of a big game spot are hard to argue with.

Talk about an inside scoop. Catch the full episode: here. Plus, you’ll learn about Brian’s sneaker obsession, his favorite Super Bowl spot of all time, and whatever the heck butter service is. This episode is a can’t-miss. Until next time. 👋


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