Exclusive: Ad Execs receive behind-the-scenes tour of Detroit’s rebirth

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DETROIT — More than 100 advertising and marketing professionals were given an exclusive tour of Detroit’s revitalization on Wednesday. It was all for the 2017 AdAge Brand Summit/Detroit. Many of the attendees came from New York City, Chicago and other parts of Michigan.

The morning session kicked off with presentations inside the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. Then, everyone was shuttled on giant tour buses to the Cass Corridor to check out the Third Man Records vinyl pressing plant and the Motor City Brewing Works craft beer brewery. The afternoon wrapped up at The Beacon at One Woodward, one of 90 buildings owned by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert or his Rock Venture businesses.

Quicken Loans CEO Jay Farner talked about how the company moved its employees from the suburbs to downtown Detroit. He also discussed how the company continues to reinvent itself and fuel Detroit’s rebirth.

“I think every good company is starting to look at what the next phase of that company looks like,” Farner explained. “When I first started, we were a branch company. Then, we focused on centralized…having most of our team members in one location. A few years later, we said, ‘We’ve got to get on the internet.’ Most recently, we said, ‘We’ve got to create an online experience that allows somebody to get a mortgage start to finish.’ That’s Rocket Mortgage.”

The Quicken Loans CEO added: “We’re always reinventing and I think that’s kind of what the city’s going through also. The ability for team members to see the hard work that they put in, in reinventing the business and seeing it grow and know that it helps fuel the rebirth of the city. The success of our business, the happiness of our clients equals our ability to help make sure that QLine goes up and down the street. Next week, you’ll be riding it. You can go from downtown to midtown.”

Then, we traveled to Motor City Brewing Works to learn how their 20-barrel brewery got started making craft beers. The company announced plans to open a second location on Livernois in the Avenue of Fashion area of Detroit.

“We’ve been here since 1994 as a microbrewery,” said Amy Sherman from Motor City Brewing Works. “We are the first microbrewery in Detroit since prohibition and the second oldest brewery in the state of Michigan. We are able to brew batches of beer. We have 20-barrel and 40-barrel fermenters outside. Up until 2015, all of our production was done in this facility. We are a 2,500 to 3,000 capacity microbrewery.”

Sherman added: “In 2008, we added food. When John took on a partner, Dan Scarsella, he came and brought pizza. Now, we’re also known for pizza and beer. In 2010, we added an upstairs deck which is a full service patio during the summertime. In 2013, we added an additional bar to do catering and private parties. In 2015, we added the biergarten that you started in.”

We walked across the street to check out the new Third Man Records’ vinyl record pressing plant. The music label was created by Detroit-born Jack White of The White Stripes. The plant is capable of producing 12-inch LP’s or 7-inch singles. Vinyl albums are being manufactured for Third Man Records as well as outside labels and/or local bands. About 5,000 records can be made per 8 hour shift, with a current cycle time of approximately 45 seconds per record.

Anheuser Busch’s Lime-A-Rita

Earlier in the day, we learned how Lime-A-Rita became Anheuser Busch’s first brand to be marketed almost exclusively to women. The margarita-flavored malt beverage comes in several flavors like the original Lime-A-Rita, Straw-Ber-Rita, Grape-A-Rita, Lemon-Ade-Rita, Mang-O-Rita, Orange-A-Rita and the new Peach-A-Rita.”

“Margaritas are special drinks for people,” said Selena Kalvaria, senior director of Lime-A-Rita. “It was a way for consumers to have margarita moments at home. You open a can and then a party happens. We decided to take this approach of reinventing to brand. To ignite growth back into the brand. We’re brand first instead of consumer first. Diet and lite isn’t what resonates with people. People are fine to drink calories as long as they know where it comes from.”

The Tostitos Party Safe bag

Do you remember the Tostitos Party Safe Bag Super Bowl commercial? Two advertising executives from Goodby Silverstein & Partners told us how they came up with the campaign. It was a special bag of chips that came with a sensor to detect alcohol and even request an Uber by scanning a barcode.

It was a very challenging demand…There is a big opportunity here,” said Sam Luchini, creative director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners. “The moment people are eating the chip they are drinking as well. It made it relevant to the brand and the consumer. To make this bag was something that was impossible. There is no way to put a breathalyzer in a bag. A lot of research and prototypes to make it happen. The process of bringing this bag is different than any other packaging. The third technology that we implemented is if this bag connects to your mobile. It would be fantastic. What if we program an NFC to call an Uber? When you touch your android phone, it calls an Uber. I think we got 50 no’s on the process. We just kept finding solutions to every no that we got.

Turner Ignite presented six decision making steps that consumers pass through on the path to buying a car. They offered opportunities that automakers can use to make purchases more seamless.

“The open stage of a decision is subconscious,” said James Russo, senior vice president of client strategy and development at Turner Ignite. “Television creates the highest level of awareness. The digital space and the deal component and the drive. This is the art of the science. A very emotional and important decision.”

Natasha Hritzuk, vice president of client insights and content partnerships at Turner Ignite added: “The journey is far more fragmented. Once they move into start, they narrow their choices a bit. It’s a lot of work for consumers. Meeting personalization needs is going to the showroom and test driving. Consumers hate going to the dealerships because of the sales pressure. Millennial men they are very very interested in how the cars are teched out. Millennial women are interested in safety features.”

“Now we have neutral sources: car site discussions, interesting apps. There’s a lot of good digital sources out there. They also want some element of expertise. The final stage is drive. Consumers have a need for validation after making a purchase. They want to be able to share their experience. Other people love this car. Making people feel confident that they made the right choice. They still want to have points of contact with the brand or manufacturer.

For more information about the 2017 AdAge Brand Summit/Detroit, visit http://www.adageevents.com/events/2017-brand-summit-detroit/


James Russo and Natasha Hritzuk from Turner Ignite explaining “The Consumer Decision Journey (CDJ): Auto” (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


Roger Baran and Sam Luchini from Goodby Silverstein & Partners revealed how they came up with the Tostitos Party Safe Bag campaign that aired during the Super Bowl. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


Mary Jo Corby and Selena Kalvaria discussing Anheuser Busch’s Lime-A-Rita, their first brand marketed almost exclusively to women. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


Then, we traveled to the Cass Corridor for a tour of Motor City Brewing Works. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


The group also toured the newly-opened Third Man Records vinyl pressing plant. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


The afternoon wrapped up with an interview with Quicken Loans CEO Jay Farner (pictured right).

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