Four smart takeaways from ANA Masters of Marketing 2015

Every year, the ANA brings together the marketing industry’s top CMOs, agency leaders and thought leaders to engage with each other and share the latest insights, innovations, and best practices in an atmosphere conducive to collaboration. This year’s range of topics included how to use traditional and digital marketing tools most creatively, how to make sense of evolving technologies and how to use content and data to reach today’s distracted consumers. Andrea Spiegel, Partner, Client Engagement, reported back on some key takeaways from the 2015 conference.

1) We could all use more “Moai” to drive growth. To convey her message that generosity plays a key role in growth, Dana Anderson, SVP & CMO at Mondelez International, introduced the term “Moai”—an Okinawan word for a circle of people who purposely meet up and look out for one another. Anderson believes that in order to see growth, people in an organization should have an open mind, help each other and constantly be excited to learn. She even goes so far as to say that every company—even if you’re a “giant”—should be working with start-ups to be exposed to fresh ideas.

2) There might be a “fake fight” between Millennials and Boomers. There is constant buzz around the growing purchasing power of millennials and how brands can target them. However, Mark-Hans Richer, CMO at Harley-Davidson, argues that the struggle between marketing to millennials versus the boomers is a fake battle and that “old people are a growth market, too.” He cited that, currently, millennials have $200 billion in purchasing power, while those 50+ years have $3.2 trillion. So there is growth power in both More specifically, Richer noted, “Products can adjust, logos can change entirely and brands can grow in multiple generational directions simultaneously.” In summary, when a brand has rich meaning, it is ageless.

3) Disruptive messaging still sells. Raising eyebrows worldwide for years, and again at the ANA, Melisa Goldie, CMO at Calvin Klein, showed how the beloved brand uses controversial figures and creative content to drive growth. Being with the brand for 15 years, she was one marketer to rely on her “gut intuition,” rather than heavy data. In fact, she said that after being with the brand for 15 years, they’ve only leaned on data analytics within the past two to three years. Goldie says that her teams stays close to Calvin Klein’s four truth when making creative and marketing decisions: (1) dance with controversy, (2) leverage tension to build intrigue, (3) seek simplicity, and (4) embrace the greater culture. She highlighted Calvin Klein’s latest Justin Bieber campaign as meeting all four of those criteria.

4) Confront the inconvenient truth head on. Airbnb is a rising super brand. It has grown from three beds in San Francisco to one of the world’s most valuable private companies with more than one million homes and 40 million guests in 32,000 cities worldwide. While the brand has seen exponential growth, it faces some uncomfortable truths—one being the anxiety and notion of “strangers.” Jonathan Mildenhall, CMO at Airbnb, says that the brand’s number one goal is to drive people to believe in human hospitality, and they’re doing this by “leaning right into it.” Their most relevant example of this is their recent TV spot. Mildenhall says that the brand’s marketing agenda focuses on five key elements: (1) inspire conversation, (2) drive deeds more than messages, (3) mine human truths, (4) create global resonance and local relevance, and (5) measure everything.


Andrea Spiegel is Partner, Client Engagement and leads VSA’s New York office, overseeing a portfolio of clients including Bloomberg, Xerox and Haworth. She is a 20+ year marketing, branding and advertising veteran who has held senior leadership roles as client, agency and marketing consultant—developing integrated brand solutions and building businesses. Some of her past roles include Head of Sales and Marketing for JetBlue, Head of Marketing for Virgin America, VP of Marketing for Cunard Line, Director of Marketing, NA for Virgin Atlantic, EVP Account Management for Leo Burnett, Managing Director at Partners and Napier, and President AKS Marketing.