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Where Media Innovation, Technology and Creativity Collide

As brands strive to create compelling content and technology changes how that content engages audiences, AToMIC explores the many ways brands, producers and platforms are collaborating to re-imagine and re-shape the mediascape. AToMIC is a one-day conference featuring thought-provoking keynotes, sessions and case studies examining what's working in the evolving space where advertising, technology, media creativity and innovative storytelling converge.

What If Advertising Were Invented Today?

Never-ending developments and innovations in technology and creativity have made this the most exciting time to work in advertising. It's as if advertising is a blank canvas: it must be relentlessly rethought and integrated across an array of techniques with each new campaign. In this session, PJ Pereira will draw upon examples of boundary-pushing ads from around the world to show how branding and digital can inspire new kinds of application-based identities, how PR and search techniques can be harnessed to disseminate ideas, and how filmic storytelling can work in the digital realm.

PJ Pereira started his career as a programmer at age 13 in his native Brazil, only to find a home in advertising nine years later when he helped DM9DDB become Agency of the Year two years in a row. He then co-founded the digital agency AgênciaClick, which won a Cyber Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions during its first year. From there, Pereira moved to California and became executive creative director for AKQA, working on accounts such as Visa, McDonald's and Microsoft. In 2009, he founded the San Francisco-based agency Pereira & O'Dell in partnership with former AKQA president Andrew O'Dell and Grupo ABC, his original investors at AgênciaClick. Four years later, the agency has delivered award-winning work for brands such as Toshiba, Skype and LEGO and ranks in the top 10 on Advertising Age's Agency A-List.

PJ Pereira

Chief Creative Officer & Co Founder

Pereira & O'Dell

Cruising for Connections: What Brands Can Learn From Dating Apps

Back when GPS-enabled smartphones ushered in a wave of location-based apps like Foursquare, it was ballyhooed as fundamentally changing how people would connect. While locative apps haven't reached the critical mass of Facebook or Twitter, there are success stories, specifically in areas of common interest - such as Grindr, a popular app for men seeking other men with five million members, and hundreds of millions of messages sent annually. Drawing on his research, game designer and author Jaime Woo will compare the experiences of Foursquare and Grindr to outline the design lessons and engagement strategies brands can learn from dating apps.

Jaime Woo is a writer, game designer and the co-founder/director of Toronto-based festival Gamercamp. He is also the author of Meet Grindr: How One App Changed The Way We Connect, a book about design principles and hook-up apps, and the creator of Gargoyles, a physical game that was shown at gaming festivals in New York City, Los Angeles, London and Melbourne. Woo has spoken at SXSW Interactive, NXNE Interactive and the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Business.

Jaime Woo
Meet Grindr

Crowdsourcing: Building Communities Around Ideas

Fostering and managing an online community is an important part of a brand's social life. However, online community members often feel powerless to express their ideas in a way that matters to them. In this session, Brennan McEachran, the creator of community engagement app SoapBox, will explain what brands can learn from his experiences crowdsourcing ideas from online groups of consumers, students, gamers and political supporters in order to achieve offline goals while maintaining a highly engaged community through transparency and critical thinking.

Brennan McEachran founded the tech start-up HitSend during his second year as a commerce student at Ryerson University. Looking for ways to make his school a better place he created Soapbox, a community crowdsourcing tool that helps online communities gather, prioritize and execute ideas. It is now used by Ryerson, Indigo Books and RBC and in February 2013, Justin Trudeau partnered with HitSend to solicit ideas from Canadians as part of his federal liberal leadership campaign. McEachran also teaches Mockups to Launch, an ongoing series of seminars on how to design and build web ideas.

Brennan McEachran
CEO & Founder

Incubating Innovation: The New Media Agency Mandate

The rapid-fire rate of tech innovation has given rise to an onslaught of new marketing communications tools – some fanciful, others practical. After building ad executions on apps like Shazaam and Flipboard, media network OMD decided to take its focus on emerging tech to the next level by partnering with client GE to create a start-up incubator to develop the next generation of advertiser-friendly digital platforms.

In a session introduced by OMD Canada CEO Cathy Collier, OMD U.S. East Coast Director of Ignition Factory Trevor Guthrie will overview new and emerging tech that brands should take advantage of, and will discuss the market realities that led OMD and GE to become directly involved in the world of start-ups, arguing that agencies are not only responsible for identifying new tech, but investing in its development.

Trevor Guthrie was promoted to lead OMD's Ignition Factory division on the east coast in 2011 after serving in various digital, strategy and creative roles at the media agency. With a background in creativity and digital, he leads a team focused on reinventing media - both traditional and new – and acts as a creative catalyst to inject new thinking into marketing and media strategies for clients such as Showtime, PepsiCo and GE.

Trevor Guthrie East Coast Director OMD Ignition Factory

Storyscaping Across Physical and Digital Experiences

We all have a story to tell and an audience to share it with. As technology evolves, we're constantly being introduced to new, innovative ways of telling these stories, yet physical experiences have remained somewhat disjointed from the digital ones. New and emerging tech is now bridging that final gap, and opening the door to involving audiences on deeper levels.

In this session, SapientNitro's chief experience officer Donald Chesnut will discuss the agency's storyscaping approach: how stories amplified by technology – from mobile apps to haptic tech – can merge the physical and digital in creative and surprising ways, showing recent examples (the good, the bad, and the ugly) along the way.

As the global lead for SapientNitro's Experience Design practice, Donald Chesnut applies customer-centered thinking to a wide-variety of business problems, from communications to commerce, spanning content, community and digital service design. His work requires leading a broad range of team members, including strategists, designers, information architects, content strategists, writers, developers and user researchers in the design and development of global customer experiences for clients such as Disney, HSBC and Target.

Chesnut leads the agency's Experience Innovation team, which is focused on defining strategies for future customer experiences, and the impact that emerging technology will in have in transforming businesses of all types including retail, financial services, and media. He also recently spent two years in London building the agency's presence across Europe.

Donald Chesnut Chief Experience Officer SapientNitro

Make It So: Learning From Sci-fi Interfaces

Inspired by Nathan Shedroff and Christopher Noessel's book of the same name, Make It So explores the relationship between science fiction and interface design. In this session, Shedroff shows how sci-fi's imagined interfaces have influenced real world innovation, and vice versa. His research yields practical and eye-opening lessons applicable to the design and understanding of online, social, mobile and other media interfaces. He'll explain what's more for show — like Minority Report gestural tech — and unlikely to really take off, and what will have more practical applications when it comes to consumer use.

Nathan Shedroff is the chair of the California College of Arts' MBA in Design Strategy Program, which melds the unique principles that design offers business strategy with a vision of the future of business as sustainable, meaningful, and truly innovative — as well as profitable. He is one the pioneers in experience design, and has written extensively on design and business issues, including, Experience Design 1 and Making Meaning. He is a serial entrepreneur, and consults on how to build better, more meaningful customer experiences, as well as sustainability strategies.

Nathan Shedroff Program Chair, MBA in Design Strategy California College of the Arts

Augmented Creativity with Brainsights

As 'Math Men' march into marketing departments the world over, concerns are escalating over the threat Big Data poses to creativity. Will the relentless focus on numbers throttle the creative process? Can creativity be reduced to an algorithm?

The opportunity of Big Data is in augmented creativity - using data to prove and improve creative output - argues Kevin Keane, a self-professed "datasexual" and co-founder of Toronto-based neuromarketing start-up Brainsights. Drawing on industry cases, personal experience and Brainsights' custom research into the brains of Toronto millennials, Keane will highlight ways in which creatives can use data to prove their own genius, refine their product, and more effectively argue their business case to clients that increasingly demand it.

Kevin Keane is the co-founder of Brainsights, a neuromarketing start-up that uses brain measurement tech to help businesses understand how audiences are responding to content such as ads and programming. Previously, he founded the Canadian arm of MediaCom Business Science, where he worked with the media agency's clients such as Starbucks, Diageo and VW to improve marketing performance and channel ROI.

Kevin Keane

Co Founder Brainsights

What’s in a meme? #newmediarealitycheck

We began with great hopes: mindboggling viral reach, irresistible tipping points, great floods of influence. New media was supposed to remediate the world, giving new instruments to new elites. To be sure, some good things have happened, but most memes in the world are images of kittens layered with funny remarks.

The more communication platforms and technology evolve, so does consumer engagement, and brands must think differently to reach them effectively. This is a good time to go back to basics, explore this new context and understand what experiences – new and old, online and offline – people really respond to, and decide where to go from here.

Grant McCracken holds a PhD from the University of Chicago in cultural anthropology. He is the author of Culture and ConsumptionCulture and Consumption IIPlenitude, Big HairThe Long InterviewFlock and FlowTransformations, and Chief Culture Officer.

He has consulted widely in the corporate world, including the Coca-Cola Company, Campbell Soup, Diageo, IBM, IKEA, Sesame Street, Chrysler, Kraft, and Kimberly Clark.  He has served on marketing advisory boards for IBM and the Boston Beer Company. He is a weekly contributor to the Harvard Business Review Conversation.  His latest book, Culturematic, was published by the Harvard Business Review Press in May 2012.

Grant McCracken Anthropologist & Author

Introducing our Advisory Board

Cathy Collier


OMD Toronto

Dre Labre

Creative Director


Brooke Leland

Connection Planning Director

Jungle Media

James Milward

Executive Producer & Founder

Secret Location

Steve Mykolyn

Chief Brand Officer