PRNewser FishbowlNY FishbowlDC GalleyCat TVNewser TVSpy LostRemote SocialTimes

Deep Focus

Does Your Agency Have a Big Wireless Client? Why the Hell Not?


Attention all #WWDDD acolytes: “If Don Draper were working today, he’d want a wireless account,” writes Michael Learmonth in the International Business Times.

Does your agency have a wireless client? IBT provided some numbers to show us why the answer should be “oh yes.” Read more

Mediabistro Course

Copywriting: Creative Ad Writing

Copywriting: Creative Ad WritingWork with a freelance copywriter to build your advertising portfolio and land more copywriting jobs! Starting January 12, Kim Taylor will teach you how to make a complete ad using graphics and photos, write strong headlines and body copy for various advertising media, work from a creative brief, and jumpstart your ad portfolio. Register now!

JWT’s Cannata Splits for Deep Focus

“Certified Project Management Professional” Frank Cannata is moving on after spending a few years at JWT New York, where he last served as director of the program management office. We’ve received confirmation that Cannata is headed to Deep Focus to serve as director of production. Some of his other stints at JWT included director of digital production for North America and director, project management for JWT/RMG Connect.

Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer On The Myth of Viral Strategy

Socialize 2011 banner

Nowadays, everyone wants more for less –  newspapers without paywalls, every book ever published available for free on Google Books, and consumers who are such fanatics for your brands that they’ll do your marketing for you.  (That’s what Twitter and YouTube are for, right?)

Well, Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer says the quick and easy way isn’t always the best one.

“If you’re using [a viral strategy] as code for ‘I don’t want to spend a lot of money to get a lot of reach,’ then you’re going to be out of luck,” he said in the final installment of our Media Beat interview. “What we’re finding is one thing can help get more content seen by more people (and it’s the same thing that’s always helped get more content seen by more people),  and that’s money –  paid distribution.”

“If you really wanna guarantee yourself a lot of viewership, just pay for it. You’re already paying for a lot of other things.”

Part 1: Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer: ‘We Struck Gold’ With Mad Men Yourself

Part 2: Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer: ‘We’re Hiring Creatives At Every Level’

Ian Schafer talks about best practices for social media marketing in his keynote presentation at Socialize on April 1 in New York. You can also watch this video on the YouTube channel.

Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer: ‘We’re Hiring Creatives At Every Level’

Socialize 2011 banner

When Ian Schafer started his interactive agency Deep Focus, his goal was to “bust the silos” of traditional marketing, meaning find ways to market to consumers across media verticals rather than simply within them. Now that the boutique agency has been going nine years strong, the CEO reveals what you can do to get a job with his company.

“We’re hiring creatives at every level,” he said in our Media Beat interview. “The challenging part about finding people for us right now is that, while we love specialists, what we really want are what the industry would call ‘T-shaped people.’ People with kind of a broad understanding, a generalist perspective, but an expertise in a particular vertical.”

If you’d rather start your own agency, says Schafer, you better be a people person.

“This business, I’m finding, is definitely personality-led,” he explained. “So, if you’re demure, if you don’t like to network, if you don’t like to tweet, then it’s going to make it that much more difficult for you.”

Part 1: Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer: ‘We Struck Gold’ With Mad Men Yourself

Part 3: Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer On The Myth of Viral Strategy

Ian Schafer talks about best practices for social media marketing in his keynote presentation at Socialize on April 1 in New York. You can also watch this video on the YouTube channel.

Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer: ‘We Struck Gold’ With Mad Men Yourself

Socialize 2011 banner

In this week’s Media Beat interview,’s Carmen Scheidel spoke with Ian Schafer of interactive agency Deep Focus about the success of its Mad Men Yourself campaign. Note to all copycats: creating a Don Draper avatar may look easy, but it’s actually the result of a lot of work and strategic research.

“We knew we had to build something that would turn a die-hard group of viewers that were really only talking to each other about the show, and get them to do something that involved others. We struck gold with that, and we continue to revitalize that every year,” Schafer explained. “It is one of those bright, shiny objects that attracts clients to us, and typically they say, ‘I want one of those.’ We have to educate them on the fact that we didn’t just come up with that idea out of thin air.”

Part 2: Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer: ‘We’re Hiring Creatives At Every Level’

Part 3: Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer On The Myth of Viral Strategy

Ian Schafer talks about best practices for social media marketing in his keynote presentation at Socialize on April 1 in New York. You can also watch this video on the YouTube channel.

Deep Focus Drags The Ad Council Into The 21st Century


The Ad Council has partnered with Ian Schafer’s Deep Focus to get a push in the 21 Century. The interactive company has created the Exponential Action Network (EAN). Users will be presented with a list of Ad Council causes (autism, literacy, reckless driving, etc) and choose they want to support. A widget will be generated that can be posted on all sorts of social media sites. Basically, the Ad Council is going digital. As people sign up and friends join the cause, the image of users grows in real time. The widget also holds videos, news, etc.

In a press release, Schafer said: “These customizable widgets serve as a means to educate, inspire, and provide audiences with the information and tools they need to change behavior and encourage others to do the same.”

Everyone? This is the Ad Council. Ad Council, this everyone. We’re happy to welcome you to the club.

The New Advertising


Sitting in Mediaistro Circus &#151 yes, shameless self-promotion is about to ensue. Guys, please don’t nail me to the wall for giving away this info.

Based on what I’m seeing, there’s a lot to be said for the continuation of online video. More after the salta (that’s Spanish for jump).

Read more

Deep Focus Lays Them Down To Rest

Yesterday, Deep Focus let some folks go. From what we hear, the layoffs came mostly from creative production folks, although a few other departments were touched by the fire. Sucks, right? Ah well…

Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus, had this to say:

“So before anyone jumps to conclusions, the answer is NO – we haven’t lost any clients (in fact, we’re adding them), we aren’t in trouble, and we’re as amazing as we’ve always been. We’ve never done this before, and this was a difficult but necessary move in order to mitigate redundancies and focus on recapturing the magic that can get get away from you as an agency grows very rapidly. That said, it’s unfortunate that we had to let some great people go, many of whom were my friends. Toughest thing I’ve ever had to do. Ironic – avoiding typing something like this was the reason why I started an agency in the first place. But when you do things that have never been done before, you’re bound to learn that not everything you do is going to be 100% right the first time. A wise man once told me, “the only way to learn from your mistakes is by making them.” And so we learn.

Just wanted to be transparent, and wanted you to hear it from me…”

Da Frog Plays With New Tech For Good

Scott Goodson of StrawberryFrog loves the media. Did you notice he’s always showing up in the Google News results? Today, Goodson is out in front for proclaiming that “India will reinvent the way marketing is done globally.” Whether you agree or disagree, Goodson’s agency is deeply ensconced in the country now that they’ve picked up the account for the auto arm of the corporate giant, Mahindra Group.

This comes with a bit of doing good as Mahindra is heavily invested in the future of young girls in India through their non-profit, Nanhi Kali Launches. Da Frog has launched in an attempt to get non-profits, who generally rely on large scale paid placements to spread their message, to use cheaper, more agile technologies instead. The site is one of those mini-window, iSite things that hangs out in the corner of your screen.

As AdFreak pointed out, those who have checked out the Modernista site will immediately feel at home with its functionality. This is one of those collective unconsciousness things where people are picking up on the same tech innovations. Da Frog created theirs around the same time Modernista was developing their version. And somewhere, I believe Deep Focus has used this protocol, too. What this really means is that these agencies are paying attention to innovations happening in real time. Sweet. Three agencies on the curve? Who would have thought…?

Part III: Social Media And The Ad Biz


The social media and advertising agency conversation continues today. For this third installment, we wanted to take a closer look at how agencies are tackling the unwieldy beast that is social media and its assoicated technology. We ran down Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus, in effort to see how one agency (who already has a social media division) is handling things.

We said, “Hey, Ian? What’s the mission statement for Deep Focus when approaching social media? The definition of social media and its associated technology is always being debated, so what are you defining that as? What are you offering clients and what are you working on right now?”

His responses are after the jump. They should make a good conversation starters. The man has a view thoughts about this one.


Ian answered all of our questions throughly. His full text is below, but we did add some headings for easier reading. Enjoy!


“We believe that Social Media is actually a medium within a medium. Social Media is not search, nor is it direct response, nor is it ‘branding’ or ‘awareness’. This is a medium where most of, if not all content is created by the people that use it. It is involvement. Passion. Influence. Passive and active recommendations. Connectivity. Collaboration. Our simplest definition of Social Media is any area of a digital experience where a majority of the content is either created or influenced by users. There is a very different set of consumer behaviors that occur when reading, writing, or responding to a blog post, or sharing thoughts, actions, and experiences via social networks. Social media is dificult-to-control participatory media, which makes it an environment that makes advertisers uncomfortable.

And you know what? Good.

Uncomfortable situations have the potential to bring out the best in us. They can keep us on our toes. They can sharpen our communication skills. They can improve our relationships by understanding what got us into those awkward relationships to begin with. Advertisers that can accept that they are in an uncomfortable relationship with their customers (and want to improve those relationships) are the ones that are most ready for a foray into Social Media.”


“But they have to stop thinking about Social Media efforts as ‘campaigns’. And that goes for not only Social Media properties but creative and media agencies as well.

Campaigns have a beginning and an end. Relationships can go on forever if you respect and cultivate them. We train our clients to look at Social Media as a start of a conversation that begins by extending your hands and ears, and accepting who you really are, trusting yourself, and your brand. To succeed, marketers must have a willingness and ability to be active listeners — or at least trust us to do it for them via the appropriate channels. That means not only soliciting advice, but taking it to heart and doing something about it. It’s likely that there aren’t people at their organizations that are trained (or are even available) to do this, so we’ve got folks here that do it for them.

But it can’t be done within a vacuum. To be successful, Social Media strategies and recommendations need to have unbiased inputs from multiple perspectives. All Social Media efforts at Deep Focus keep our clients’ best interests in mind — which sometimes actually means spending less money in paid media (which might be blasphemous for a purely ‘media’ agency).”


“As an integrated agency, we have significant experience in not only the media planning & buying aspects of social media, but the creative and community management aspects as well. Ours is an unbiased approach in advising our clients about the correct way to reach out and communicate with their audiences. We train them on accepting the role of ‘active listener’, meaning you actually have to ‘do something’ within Social Media, not just set up a social networking profile, advertise on blogs, or monitor comments. And our ‘discipline-neutrality’ that we utilize when making recommendations is what we believe (and have proven to ourselves and our clients) is just the right thing to do.

We’re not just spending a lot of time working within Social Media because it’s hot right now, we’re doing it because it is the eventual future of all media.”



“One recent example of how we’ve put these perspectives to work for our clients is our effort with HBO to support Flight of the Conchords. We built the framework of the community on MySpace and provided all the tools necessary for people that have never even seen the show to not only sample the product before it aired on the network, but to talk about it and share it with others. We listened to the community when they wanted t-shirts, and we gave them t-shirt iron-ons, which quickly became the most downloaded asset from the site, and ultimately, the official t-shirt of the series, now available at the HBO Shop. Managing this community and continually giving them fodder for conversation will be integral to the series’ successful return, delayed by the lingering effects of the writers’ strike. Subsequent efforts around the series will likely take advantage of more Social Media outlets (including other social networks, blogs, and communities), and should become an even more important aspect of the overall campaign. In 2008 you’ll be seeing more fruits of our labor with not only entertainment/media companies, but brands (including CPGs) as well (more on this campaign as well as Deep Focus’ thoughts on Social Media metrics are in today’s Adweek.”


“In the coming months, however, you’ll be hearing about a few big Social Media-related announcements coming out of this agency, and they are going to be reflective of all the learning we’ve amassed over these past 6 years. At the risk of sounding self-important, the advertising and publishing industries need what we are going to be doing to advance. If we can educate the industry at the same time as we educate our clients, the rising tide will, in fact, lift all the ships around us. And a better understanding of how to use Social Media will result in longer-term commitments of brands to the medium, and to their trusted agencies to strategize and execute within it. Social media may very well be the key to improved agency business models by de-commoditizing the services that ad agencies render. Conversations, relationships, sentiment — those are not about scale, they are about brand attitudes, openness, and commitment.”

The integrated agencies that can scale brands’ relationships with consumers with depth (while keeping an eye on breadth) will be the victors. We’re trying to set the example.

It’s our quest to make Social Media marketing synonymous with, simply, ‘marketing’. But there’s a lot of work, a lot of education, and a lot of interaction yet to be done before that’s a reality.”

You can find out more about Ian and Deep Focus over at his blog. Thanks Mr. Schafer!