Agency Visit: Universal McCann

For this week’s visit we took a magic school bus to Universal McCann. While the bus wasn’t magical, the agency was. Winning the 2016 AdAge North American Media Agency of the Year, Universal McCann aims to evolve media strategy. With 9,000 employees worldwide and 130 offices, UM services the big companies such as Sony, Coca Cola, Hershey’s, and Johnson & Johnson. Our session was lead by Dan and Tony who brought to life the mission of the agency which is to create moments that matter to drive momentum for brands. As a millennial, the brands that speak to me the most are the ones who can connect to the consumer on a more personal level.

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The session began with an overview of what a media agency does. I found this lesson interesting coming from Team One, where we have a media department, but I was unaware of what went into buying media. As an agency, UM has a deep understanding of what media works and what doesn’t. I found the stats about attention spans to be relevant and true. Dan and Tony shared that humans have an attention span of eight seconds, so for a brand, the message has to be delivered to the right person at the right time. On average, a person sees 1,200 ads without even realizing it. The ads that stand out are the ones that spark a person to stop and think. Great marketing leads to great conversations. What I loved about the visit was the ability of Dan and Tony to provide us with a really through overview of marketing. I would have liked to hear more about what this office does specifically for their client Sony.

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The one example I loved hearing about was the rebranding that Universal McCann did for Hershey’s when their Reeses Trees weren’t received as well as expected. The product, which was a Reeses peanut butter cup in the shape of a tree, caused social media havoc. Consumers began posting on social media about how it looked like something other than a tree… On the fly, Universal McCann helped Hershey’s tell a different story with the narrative and hashtag #all trees are beautiful. The conversation was turned towards this hashtag and lots of organic content was created. I loved this example because it was a brilliant brand reaction to a problem. Universal McCann is an adaptive agency that continues to create an authentic voice for it’s brands.

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