Old Navy Says Farewell to Amy Poehler

Retailer Plans to Welcome New Spokesperson in December

By Ashley Rodriguez

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Old Navy ran its final spot featuring Amy Poehler on Sunday night — signaling the end of a yearlong relationship with the star who helped spur the brand’s focus in online video. The ad, promoting the retailer’s Black Friday deals, keeps with the theme of earlier spots — building a sense of urgency around the brand as Ms. Poehler rushes to get to a store.

“It’s been a great ride with her,” said Julie Luker, director of public relations at Old Navy. “It’s the perfect end to have her promote Black Friday, which is our biggest day of the year.”

Ms. Poehler may be leaving, but the push is far from over. Old Navy is eager to build on the campaign’s success, and it will usher in a new celebrity spokesperson next month.

“Even though the character is different, you’ll see the consistency of what we’re doing today,” said Ivan Wicksteed, CMO at Old Navy. “It’s going to feel very episodic in a way that you’re going to want to follow with us.”

Mr. Wicksteed did not say who will star in Old Navy’s next ad, which is slated to debut on December 3. “You’ll be seeing a lot of Old Navy during the month of December,” said Mr. Wicksteed, adding the holiday season is the most important time of year for Old Navy in terms of media weight and exposure.

In addition to acting, Ms. Poehler also had quite a bit of creative control over the current campaign, best Known for its outtakes featuring the “Parks and Recreation” and former “SNL” star. It called attention to the brand on TV and online, and pushed Mr. Wicksteed to shift the retailer’s reliance away from TV and towards digital video earlier this year.

“The outtakes that we get from shooting with Amy are always the things that people want to see the most,” said Mr. Wicksteed. “It’s more of a content play than a traditional advertising play.”

The main difference in the latest spot is that it focuses on a promotion and not a particular product, said Mr. Wicksteed. That’s fitting for Black Friday, which is a heavily promotional time of year. This year, Old Navy is bringing back its “Overnight Millionaire” push to give away $1 million to one person in line on Black Friday. Mr. Wicksteed says the odds are better this year, because only the first 100 people in line can enter. The ad also pushes the retailer’s 50% off sale.

The budget for this year’s Black Friday campaign is consistent with last year, said Old Navy. But the push has bigger placements — it will air during Thanksgiving Day football on CBS, a first for the brand. It will also have a presence on YouTube and Google Preferred, which puts the top 5% of YouTube content up for sale to advertisers. Chalendier Creative worked on the spot featuring Ms. Poehler.

Scientists are more creative than you might imagine

But original thinking could be declining among students because of the growing emphasis on test-taking in schools.


Thomas Edison learned how to think creatively as a scientist, but he admitted that his process was more perspiration than inspiration. (DcoetzeeBot/Wikimedia)

Thomas Edison learned how to think creatively as a scientist, but he admitted that his process was more perspiration than inspiration. (DcoetzeeBot/Wikimedia)

Nov 2014

by Alexandra Ossola 

Scientists don’t usually have a reputation for being very creative. They have to adhere to the scientific method, use statistics and data, and carefully measure their results—activities that would appear to take the magic out of the creative process, like having to explain your own joke. But few would dispute that the great scientific and technological innovators were creative thinkers.

“The greatest scientists are artists as well,” as Albert Einstein saos.

“I think we take for granted that we rely heavily on science creativity, whether we realize it or not,” said Rex Jung, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Whether we use our advanced technology to watch cat videos or take advantage of life-saving medical procedures, scientific innovation is “incredibly important to our quality of life,” Jung said.

Society needs creative scientists for continued innovation. But does the process for teaching scientific creativity differ from artistic creativity? And can creativity be taught?

Scientists have a bad creative rap, Jung said, because their work is more tangible and “real.”

“Our work builds on previous work—you’re standing on the shoulders of giants,” he said. “We’re incrementally working to expand upon previous work, and that is deemed less creative, or somehow derivative. But I would argue that artists do the same thing.” Cubist artists built upon the foundation of impressionism, Jung noted, just as scientists innovate based on the work conducted before their own.*

In 1926, social psychologist Graham Wallas wrote a book called “The Art of Thought” in which he described the four stages of creativity: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification. Jung, who has written a number of articles about the neuroscience of creativity, noted that the stage between incubation and illumination involves a pretty big cognitive handoff.

When an idea is incubating, Jung says, you rely heavily on the neural connections your brain uses for brainstorming—a system known as the default-mode network: “You use the regions of the brain involved in daydreaming and imagination. You’re looking inward instead of solving the problems of the world.” That allows ideas to bounce around and intersect in novel ways.

But the cognitive control network takes over once your brain wants to articulate and implement the idea. This is your brain’s error checker, where you plan and make decisions to overcome your habitual inclinations.

Jung is most interested in that tenuous transfer between the two systems, when an idea evolves from something abstract to something it can articulate and evaluate.

“We see that the most highly creative people flip easily between the two and are better able to modulate these networks,” Jung said.

Neurologically, the creative process should look the same regardless of whether a person is an artist or a scientist, Jung says. And researchers have just begun to see this creativity in real time.

Charles Limb, an ear, nose and throat surgeon at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, scanned musicians’ brains as they improvised melodies. Limb disimilar study with rap artists, asking them to improvise on the fly.

What researchers found was that the improvising brains turned off their error checkers and let the ideas bubble to the surface while they were in earlier stages. If they studied scientists, researchers would presumably see the same neurological activity, although they haven’t yet tested it.

But Jung and others who study creativity fear that it’s on the decline among students. Even though creativity is innate, it needs to be cultivated. And as schools place greater emphasis on learning material and taking tests, Jung fears that opportunities for thoughts to flow freely are fewer now than in the past.

The Missing Ingredient of Modern Marketing



You’ve heard this before: Your brand is the sum of customers’ complete experiences with you across all touch points.

Your brand isn’t your company. It isn’t your marketing message. It isn’t even your product. It is an experience — a holistic experience a customer has with your product, your content and your employees. It is the reason to choose you over your competitor.

Relationship capital is arguably the most important goal any business has. After all, there is no such thing as a self-made man. We all depend on others in our success. Businesses depend on partners, investors, vendors and employees. But the most important relationship a business has is with its customers.

Oh, that “relationship” used to be easy. Several key channels (print, TV, radio, phone), one-way broadcasting, millions of impressions as a goal. Things didn’t change much over decades.

Related: The 4 Pillars New Brands Must Communicate to Their Audience

Then the digital revolution came and, with it, brought new channels and new challenges. Web and email started to take over. And just when we thought we got those mastered, the pace of change became unsustainable.

Dozens of social channels, as well as the rise of the citizen journalist brought blogging, newsjacking, podcasting and social posting. With those, the need developed for listening, real-time engagement, managing digital crisis and more. The pace at which social network features, rules and capabilities change is staggering. The number of niche tools supporting various functions of creation, publishing, distribution, management and reporting grew to hundreds.

For those business that recognized the seismic shift in the marketplace, managing consumer experiences through the rise of the social tsunami became not only a challenge, but a priority. But as they started to implement strategies, solutions and tools across the organization, one critical gap became widely apparent. No matter how much you try to serve your customers, if the organization is internally siloed in mentality, processes and technology, no amount of delight will ever deliver a truly holistic experience that your customer deserves.

Sales funnels don’t exist anymore. We now have a sales zig-zag. Every day, our customers are consuming information from many devices through more than 50 channels and engaging with you through thousands of touch points. They are educated, globally connected, impatient and have a high BS radar. They expect that you are listening — on every channel! — and demand a real-time response. They trust their friends over advertisements and brand messages. They buy brands they have relationship with.

Successful business isn’t about impressions any more. It is about building relationship capital through smart experience management. And the only way to achieve that is for all parts of the organization to work together, to become a connected company!

Related: 3 Social-Media Mistakes That Are Killing Interest in Your Company

What is desperately needed is a set of critical capabilities that would work across a lot of channels, to be implemented across a variety of teams, a number of product lines, in every market. What is needed is a complete solution for your digital needs that’s designed to work in tandem with your existing infrastructure.

What’s needed is an integrated business nerve center.

But the reality is a bit grim. A 2014 study by Signal states that organizational and technological integration is a key problem for businesses. While respondents recognize a range of benefits to a fully integrated marketing stack, around half of respondents said their marketing data and technology are either managed separately (10 percent) or that only some tools are integrated (41 percent). Just 4 percent reported having a completely integrated stack.

While 53 percent prioritize developing a single view of each customer (a high priority for marketers around the world, according to MarketingCharts), they’re faced with technological challenges such as multiple/duplicate records (41 percent), too many systems/difficulty keeping track of where data is housed (38 percent), and siloed data (37 percent). As a result, 59 percent of respondents felt that it was a priority to have a single system to deliver customer experiences across all potential digital channels.

Consumers experience our brand through different life moments and in a variety of places: at the store, on our website, through social conversations. This is a remarkable opportunity for brands to connect. Most important, an opportunity to track, manage and align these moments to drive brand love, advocacy and loyalty.

Bringing the voice of your customer into the right business context, at the right time, is the first step in that transformation. To do that, organizations need to build an integrated business nerve center that sits at the core of the enterprise and connects all of the people, processes and systems within it. This is the only way we will enable innovative, positive social interactions that build long-lasting relationships with people who matter.

Social media in orbit: An astronaut’s stunning photos shared via Twitter

  , The Washington Post,  November 10/2014

NASA Astronaut Reid Wiseman captured this image from the International Space Station and posted it to social media on Sept. 28, 2014. He wrote: “The Milky Way steals the show from Sahara sands that make the Earth glow orange.” (AP Photo/NASA, Reid Wiseman)

NASA Astronaut Reid Wiseman captured this image from the International Space Station and posted it to social media on Sept. 28, 2014. He wrote: “The Milky Way steals the show from Sahara sands that make the Earth glow orange.” (AP Photo/NASA, Reid Wiseman)


After almost six month aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Maryland local Reid Wiseman landed safely in Kazakhstan last night. Wiseman built quite a social media following for his pictures from space.

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“It’s been an honor and a privilege to spend 165 days up here. With that said, I’m looking forward to heading home,” Wiseman said on Saturday. Wiseman grew up in Cockeysville, Md., near Baltimore.

Throughout his journey, Wiseman gave a glimpse of life in space through his social media accounts. While not the first astronaut to share photos from space or connect with Earthlings with social media, he gained an almost cult-like following. In the month he first arrived on the ISS, Wiseman had 37,000 followers on Twitter. As of Monday, he had more than 360,000. Wiseman spoke about his social media presence with Time in July:

I think the astronauts have always wanted to share their journey with as many people as possible. And I think Apollo, with the tools they had, they did a phenomenal job. We’re just lucky to live in this day where, when I take a photograph with a camera … we can e-mail it straight into our Twitter feeds, and it just makes it so much easier to share this experience … It’s almost just become a little collateral duty of ours, so you don’t even think about it through the day, it’s so easy. But it’s appreciated and we really enjoy doing it.

What’s most remarkable about Wiseman is his keen eye — and childlike wonder.

“He’s struck a tone of constant awe and incredulity at his daily life on the space station that one wouldn’t expect from a highly trained and capable flight engineer,” wrote Mia Tramz of Time in July. What makes Wiseman’s social media presence so successful, she added, is its “reliability. ”He has found a way to create excitement around an expedition fraught with political tension using photography and video as a starting point for communication and for activating and engaging a wide, universal audience.”

Here’s a look at some of Wiseman’s photos from onboard the ISS:

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