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The cutting edge of cutting-edge

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Cooking up innovation in the Digital Lab
Cooking up innovation in the Digital Lab

Remember science fairs? The construction paper, the childish handwriting on oak tag, baking soda volcanoes, ribbons for the best projects…Well, BBDO‘s Digital Demo Day isn't like that at all. But there is the same feeling of discovery and excitement. Speaking of volcanoes, the place was brimming with innovation.

On Aug. 9, BBDO hosted the third annual Demo Day at its newly revamped office space on Sixth Ave. in NYC. Each year, fifteen up-and-coming tech startups set up tables and share what they're all about with BBDO staffers, who wander up and down the space chatting with the reps and seeing what new info they can glean for upcoming client campaigns or their own personal edification. Or just because the stuff is kind of neat.

For example, take Bluefin Labs and what it's doing for social TV analytics. Using a dashboard, agencies and marketers can keep track of, and amplify, the social impact of specific commercials and television campaigns. Then there's mobile game monetization provider Tapjoy. Let'sWombat is a company that facilitates product sampling to specific audiences at targeted events. [Note the first three letters of the word “wombat:” “word-of-mouth,” the inspiration behind the name. Ha ha!] And also Viggle, a free app that rewards individuals who check into and engage with TV shows. See our August cover story on DRTV for some juicy bits on what Viggle is doing with client Capital One.

Startups galore. I didn't have time to stop by them all, but I did notice SocialFlow was there. SocialFlow purveys a platform that helps brands optimize their social efforts. We did a video interview with the founder and CEO Mike Perrone a while back. Cool guy.

Demo Day is just one of the initiatives facilitated by BBDO and Proximity Worldwide's Digital Lab, the brainchild of Simon Bond, CMO of BBDO Worldwide. It's a global initiative, and getting the New York lab off the ground was one of his first orders of business when he came to the city from Asia in 2008. The lab also promotes internal thought leadership, puts out an email newsletter, and regularly invites speakers from emerging media platforms and tech incubators to give presentations. Reps from Radian6, Quattro, Buddy Media, reddit, Foursquare, and Wildfire all spoke at BBDO's Digital Lab before the companies were well-known, Bond says.

Manager of the lab Edwin Philogene—also VP and director of business planning and digital strategy for BBDO New York—says the lab's number one goal is “to stay on the cutting-edge” to ensure BBDO creatives and strategists can provide the best possible work to clients.

“Things move fast, so it's important to keep your finger on the pulse,” Philogene says. “We live in the information age, so of course we have to stay on top.”

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