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    Wednesday, July 18, 2007

    MDC Takes Innovation Front and Center

    Innovation is coming front and center as noted in today's Wall Street Journal.

    MDC Partners is expected to announce today that it has acquired a majority stake in Redscout, a consulting firm that works with clients such as Nike, Johnson & Johnson and PepsiCo Inc. New York-based Redscout offers services such as trend watching, brand consulting and package design. It also develops new products -- something Madison Avenue has in vain tried to add to their arsenal. Jonah Disend, Founder and Chief Executive, talks about some of the problems today's advertisers are facing , the currency of ideas, and a few of the more intriguing trends influencing today's marketers.

    The Wall Street Journal: Many ad agencies have flirted with trying to get into product or services development as a way to gain new revenue streams. But it's never really caught on. Why do you think they haven't been able to make that part of their business model?

    Jonah Disend: "The discipline of making ads is often about being as different as possible from the competitors. This is not necessarily the goal with product development, and certainly not the starting point. So often with advertising you think, 'How do I add brand value through communications so that I make them want my brand versus your brand?' We think, 'How do I add value to the thing itself in order to drive desire?' Also, there is a totally different mindset when it comes to innovation versus marketing. Almost every time I interview someone from advertising and I ask them to come up with an innovation solution for a category, they immediately go to marketing and promotions solutions. They may get to targeting and distribution, but they rarely get to the foundational elements of the thing itself. These foundational elements include: the Achilles' heel of a competitor that can be exploited in our new product; recognizing categories which are desperate for a new approach, such as JetBlue to the airline industry; identifying a new behavior that is begging for a new service offering; or spotting technologies or capabilities in a client's stable which are being underleveraged. These are all critical to innovation."

    Innovation is an emerging and greatly misunderstood field. Check out the article for more fascinating insights from one of the brightest and best-kept secrets in the world of brands.

    Redscout Innovation in WSJ





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