10/20/22: Cynopsis Reports From Advertising Week


Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Thursday October 20, 2022

Insights and Highlights from Advertising Week New York 2022

By Charlotte Dulany, Event Content Manager, Cynopsis

The final day of AW NY 2022 wrapped up with a celebration, sending everyone inspired to improve, innovate and invest in tomorrow.


From early morning meditation groups to a leadership session with Deepak Chopra, who wrote the book on meditation, AW NY 2022 stressed the importance of mental health. Said Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global, “The pandemic has accelerated the crisis, and has moved these issues to the front of every business agenda.”

In a session titled “Let’s Talk About Men’s Mental Health,” panelists compared what it means to be proactive and reactive. “Mental health is health,” said Richard Dorment, editor-in-chief at Men’s Health. “If you’re not well mentally, you’re not going to do well in any other area of your life.”


“The morning introduces the questions and the evening answers them,” observed Audie Cornish, anchor and correspondent at CNN. And CNN CEO Chris Licht said there’s nothing like the chemistry between the anchors on the network’s new morning show, “CNN This Morning” – Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins. “We’d like to create a family… People love familiarity,” said Lemon. Hailing from different regions of the country, the three anchors want to show the world what it looks like for differences to interact.

As for what’s on the anchors’ playlists? You can expect Lemon to be listening to Earth, Wind & Fire, Harlow to be vibing to Taylor Swift, and Collins to be sticking to her country roots.


The relationship between a brand and influencer used to be trifold: collect a check, film a commercial, promote – end of relationship. Now, creators are increasingly integrating into companies and filling the content gap. As creator Coco Mocoe put it, “Brands and creators are coming together as a team instead of [it being] a touch-and-go moment.”

Thai Randolph, CEO of Hartbeat quoted founder Kevin Hart: “If we can laugh together, we can live together, if we can live together, we can love together.”

But there continues to be a need for awareness when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion. “It’s not something you do to check a box, it’s a strategic business decision,” said Randolph. “Championing creatives of color – on-screen, behind the scenes and in our C-Suite – has proved to be profitable for us as a brand and for the talent involved, but it’s also how we keep the world laughing.”



Super Bowl ad “The Sopranos”-meets-Chevrolet was heralded for its appeal to Gen Z, offering an electronics-forward perspective in a shot-for-shot recreation of the early 2000s mob series. The spot played with people’s emotions as the character Meadow Soprano, reprised by Jamie-Lynn Sigler, stepped into her father Tony’s shoes in the original show’s opening sequence.

For Grant Theron, CEO of Commonwealth//McCann, the priority was to keep the process “as pure as possible,” citing the commercial as an example of how to speak to Gen Z’s desire for intentionality and to feel something, not just to be sold to. Theron said the idea for the collaboration came from an uptick in streaming for the show during the pandemic; he asked, “There’s so many young people and others watching ‘The Sopranos,’ and why is that?”

Still, “You can’t predict something that goes viral,” Theron said. “You can do the best you can to keep something pure, authentic and meaningful… You have to be adventurous enough to experiment with those things and see what sticks.”


“You need to see it to be it,” said Francine Li, VP of brand management and marketing at Riot Games. Disruptors think differently, pivot and question the status quo. For Christiane Pendarvis, co-president of Savage X Fenty, “zagging” is a result of intentionality. “It looks super smart if you think about the job I’m in today that all of those moves really positioned me to be in this role,” Pendarvis said. “I could not have predicted this role… It’s about opportunity, learning, and curiosity. Making decisions for those reasons will never lead to a bad outcome.”


The first thing CJ Bangah, software and digital platform leader at PwC, wants organizations to focus on is creating authentic consumer experiences for the type of movement and environment they’re in. “Online experiences don’t have the full sensory engagement with current technology,” she said. “Offline experiences and connections may not be as personalized and engaging.” Too often, advertisers target scale over quality in a one-size-fits-all approach. “The ad experience needs to be optimized to the environment that it is in for it to be effective,” advised Bangah.

“Transparency is something we can push for every day,” said Sara Johnson, SVP ground director and US head of investment at Carat USA. With safety checks, security and frequency, streamers can establish better control overall to enhance the consumer experience.


How can companies leverage current data to do better?
I think cyclical re-learning the leading edge data capabilities of the full circle of ad video companies – be they publishers, MVPDs, cross-platform research/measurement companies, identity or commerce enabling platforms and many others is critical. Re-learning and refreshing the new best advancements takes quarterly sweeps through data capabilities, not yearly; fall back on what you can re-learn, not what you remember from a year ago.

What’s an advancement you’re excited about, within VAB or the industry at large?
I think the quickly advancing art and science around quantifying the real qualitative differences around video ad impressions is an extremely important development for marketers, our migration to “quality matters to brand impacts” from “an impression is an impression” is going to make or break a lot of brand sales success over the next few years.


“When I started out in this role, ‘CTV’ was a bad word,” said Jocelin Schultz, director of North America CxO, precision media and digital capabilities at Johnson & Johnson. And there is still a world of opportunity to expand the CTV space as content evolves, she added: “The execution doesn’t match the intuition yet.”

It’s been around for decades but the open web is one place that hasn’t yet been harnessed fully. What Kristi Argyilan, SVP of retail media at Albertsons Company, wants to do in the digital space is raise the bar on what can be done by marrying identity and pushing the open web to be a richer marketing experience.

While many companies have some kind of relationship with their consumers at a point in time, Evan Hovorka, head of products and innovation at Albertsons Company called first-party data, frequency and depth of transaction the “golden goose egg” for improved longevity.

Jason Swartz, VP of advanced advertising and new business for national sales at NYI, said, “We take our linear and our streaming, and we use that same target to reach the households that make sense.” Noted Huda Kazi, VP of ad technology and operations at Warner Bros. Discovery, “No one really minds advertising that matters to them.”



Audio has the magic combination of direct messaging and engaged audiences. “It’s a really great space to find engaged, tuned-in listeners,” said Sara Tehrani, VP of global digital partnerships and media responsibility at MAGNA Global. “It’s also a really great space for advertisers to experiment with new audience types.”

“For me, podcasting is in between making a TikTok and writing an essay,” said Emily Ratajkowski, the author and supermodel whose upcoming podcast series, “High Low with EmRata,” will focus on high- and low-brow topics in the cultural zeitgeist.


Where do you see room for advancement in the industry?
Relative to our focus at Ampersand, which is specifically audience-based multi screen television, the broad answer is there is room for advancement everywhere. More specifically, though, we now have technologies built out in the industry that allow buyers to buy audiences as opposed to demos based on panel data upon which traditional television has been bought. Despite these significant advancements, we still see much of the marketplace continuing to buy on demos. We know based on data that buying on richer audiences is better for brands, and better for consumers, so step one is to get the industry educated and excited to buy rich first and third party audiences as opposed to demos. Once that happens, there will be a greater concentration on billing on impressions delivered, more appropriate frequency capping across supply, and a slew of other benefits..

What phase of the business life cycle do you think Ampersand is currently in?
Ampersand has been around since the early 1980’s, so in many ways we are a mature organization. Our revenue this year will be over $2.5 billion dollars, so we are one of the more scaled players in television. However, in many ways we are just starting out. We have been in a transition since late 2018 as we started pivoting a linear national spot company, then called NCC Media, to now one of the leaders in the advanced television space. We are only a little over four years into that journey, which makes it feel like working for a start-up. I always joke it’s nice working for a $2B profitable start up! We are a unique company holding a unique place in the industry.


Who here is a gamer? According to Meredith Hughes, VP and client partner at Labelium, the definition of the word continues to be a discussion point. She defines gamers as people who consider playing games a hobby and a part of their identity – in a broader sense, “the population,” or even “all of society.”

What’s holding advertisers back is the hesitation to test gaming ads, to find ways to integrate ads rather than disrupt the game experience. Yet there is a “shocking amount of opportunities” to fuse gaming with other aspects of culture in the metaverse, said Hughes.



Geoffrey the Giraffe, the formerly-retired mascot from Toys”R”Us, returned to Advertising Week as 2022’s iconic brand mascot, walking around the marketplace to spread smiles and snap selfies.

“We are a rocketship,” said Ryan Spicer, chief revenue officer at Atmosphere.

“It’s expensive to be in business with EmRata, but it’s because it works,” said Oren Rosenbaum, partner and head of audio at UTA, on his partnership with Emily Ratajkowski on her upcoming podcast.

“Celebrities do feel a little unattainable, and that’s why they’re interesting,” said creator Coco Mocoe.

Advertisements that focus too much on struggle were called “the sadness trap.”

“I want to be all of them when I grow up,” whispered an audience member at the session with CNN’s Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow, Kaitlan Collins and Audie Cornish.


The atmosphere at AW NY 2022 has been a combination of collaboration and competition, with bright lights, packed rooms and lines for merch snaking through the crowds. Some final thoughts:

“It became clear this week at AW NY that we are collectively way closer to real breakthroughs in premium video measurement/currency innovations than most thought possible – a lot is accelerating going into 2023,” said Sean Cunningham, CEO of VAB. “More competition perpetually breeds more innovation.”

“AW NY offers the chance for us to connect with industry colleagues, and meet new ones, to discuss all of the changes and opportunities our industry is facing,” said Ariella Astion, GVP of marketing and strategy at DIRECTV Ad Sales.

“AdWeek is an important opportunity to come together and be reminded of the power of community,” noted Kirstyn Nimmo, group director of inclusive design and marketing strategy at Code and Theory.

The week showed us a snapshot of the now – a setting to take risks, lend the mic to valuable voices, share modern day ideas and technology, and exchange learnings.

Until next year!

Cynopsis Team

Lynn Leahey
Editorial Director

Kerry Smith
Division President
Access Intelligence

Robbie Caploe
VP/Group Publisher

Executive Director of Sales
Albert Nassour
Cynopsis Job Listings Sales
John Cox


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