A Look Back at 2013

  • by Mack McKelvey
  • Jan 05, 2014


While reflecting on SalientMG’s first year, I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank several people who were directly responsible for the foundation and success of our business in 2013.

Rovio (Angry Birds) was SalientMG’s first client, and our engagement included the creation of a first stage go-to-market plan for their new advertising business. A special thanks to former colleagues Michele Tobin, Betsy Flounders Novak and Matt Pfeffer (and their extended global ad team), Naz Cuevas (head of consumer licensing) and Jessica Trinca, Kai Torstila from the games team and the full marcom organization. We are continuously amazed and excited by the innovation and spirit in everything Rovio takes to market. From the global launch of one of the largest media platforms in the world, Angry Birds Toons™, to the launch of its Publishing Division, Angry Birds Stars™, technological and creative innovations across games and advertising and new game launches such as Angry Birds Star Wars II™ and Angry Birds Go™, it was impossible to ignore them. 2013 was another breakout year for Rovio, and I dare anyone to underestimate this media behemoth in 2014. www.rovio.com

When Bill Gross calls you—you take the call, and the father of modern search contacted us in early 2013 for a strategy project. His company, UberMedia, reminds us quite a lot of the Big Bang Theory. Not only is this cross-screen innovator based in Pasadena like the Big Band crew, but with Bill Gross, Michael Hayes (CMO/CRO and the former President, Digital of Initiative), and the rest of the team, they are undoubtedly the smartest people in the room. UberMedia’s innovative Emotional Intent™ targeting, leverages social signals and location to truly deliver on the promise of mobile and digital advertising—reaching the right customer at a time when they are solidly in that mid-funnel stage where their purchase decision can be influenced. www.ubermedia.com.

Sparkfly is single handedly disrupting the retail industry. ONLY Sparkfly can measure digital promotions from delivery through point of sale—providing item level reporting back to the brand/retail/grocery/restaurant customers, in real-time. With this technology in place, Catherine Tabor, the founder and CEO of this extraordinary company from Atlanta, GA, essentially has the world at her fingertips, and Sparkfly has the ability to choose their own path in 2014. From a post summer-launch with L’Oreal, Walgreens & PRIMP, to an extended partnership with NCR, to a national partnership with Groupon (where Sparkfly just ended a successful December campaign with one of Groupon’s national accounts), Sparkfly had a tremendous 2013, and their campaign pipeline in 2014 is solid and exciting. www.sparkfly.com.

Beyond its steadfast mission to protect content globally, the MPAA is collaborating with the advertising and tech communities to help prevent brands (and malware disguised as brand advertising) from appearing on illegal sites around the world. Diane Strahan, COO of the MPAA, has an extensive background as a technology executive—particularly in the digital and mobile industries—and is advocating for tighter network quality controls and standards to help cut off the advertising revenue that funds content distribution on illegal sites around the world. We’ve been working with her to help get the message out, and it has been a pleasure getting the chance to partner with such a smart and powerful organization. www.mpaa.org.

We also need to thank Pete Erickson, creator of MoDev and Disruptathon. He fights endlessly for the extensive developer community across the US and abroad, and is tireless in his efforts to foster collaboration, education and promotion of the developers he works with on a daily basis. Please reach out to see what he has cooking—there’s always something (like a Hackathon at CES this week). www.modev.com.

Chad Barnhill, GM of Horseshoe Baltimore, is bringing the Legend to Charm City. Horseshoe (in the Caesar’s family of casinos) will be a mainstay on the Mid-Atlantic entertainment scene once it opens in 2014. Chad and its AGM, Alex Dixon, are some of the most tireless executives I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in my career. I’m personally counting the time to the opening, because there’s nothing like Horseshoe in Maryland—and I’m confident it’s going to change the face of entertainment in Baltimore. www.horseshoebaltimore.com

There are many others we should thank– Andrew Hemingway and the Grassloot team, Jimmy LaSalvia, Justin Gargiulo, Barg Upender; Matt Scheckner, Lance Pillersdorf, Doug Zanger, Louise DiIulio from Stillwell Partners; our attorneys at Cooley, Bernstein Management Group (who seriously is the best property management company I’ve ever worked with), and the city of Laurel, who gave us a sizeable grant to transform our office space into the collaborative environment we need for the type of transformational work we do. And there are many, many others…

Thank you.


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