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CRAFT congratulates the new members of the 114th Congress, especially those we helped to elect.

CRAFT congratulates the new members of the 114th Congress, especially those we helped to elect.

Fraud and viewability in the digital ad space has been a hot topic in 2014. Recently, Google released a study claiming 56.1% of all digital ads are unseen. These issues should be a concern for any digital ad buyer, but can be overcome using technology and knowhow. CRAFT’s digital buying practice ensures campaigns produce the best results with the least amount of waste and fraud, providing the best value for our clients.

How is this done?

To combat fraud and waste CRAFT has taken numerous steps to empower our ad buying team with the tools and information necessary to make the most educated decisions for each campaign. This began when we built our own trading desk, CRAFT Levers. Using Levers we have direct access into our campaigns and full transparency into where and when our ads run. Using this information we can generate “black lists” of suspect websites so campaigns never run in questionable inventory. This is important because the Google study points out, “a small number of publishers are serving most of the non-viewable impressions.”

Each site our ads run on is scrutinized to determine the credibility of the site and the likelihood our ads will be served and seen. If we believe an uncharacteristic spike in impressions is the result of bots or unseen ads, we block that site for the current and future campaigns. On the flip side, when we see credible, well performing sites we select them for our “white list.” With each campaign, we are improving our understanding of which sites to run on and which sites to block.

While it is experience and knowledge that differentiates CRAFT, technology is necessary to help inform the decision making process. To do this, we enhance the human element of our ad buying operation by utilizing technologies like Integral Ad Science’s TRue Advertising Quality (TRAQ) score to analyze each ad impression we deliver. Using tools like this empowers our ad buyers by providing additional information that safeguards against potential fraud and viewability issues.

While digital ad fraud and viewability are concerning issues, waste is pervasive in all media. How many TV ads ran last night that went unseen? How many print ads in newspapers go unseen? There will always be fraud and viewability issues in all forms of advertising, but the advantage of digital is the ability to measure and make actionable decisions to counter these issues.

Tweet. Congress Listens.

When you tweet, does Congress listen?

As organizations and constituents ponder that question, CRAFT has perfected the answer.

CRAFT has worked with top social networks, members of Congress, trade associations, and candidates.  We understand how social media can be used to complement government affairs efforts by creating awareness around a legislative issue, amplifying a legislators’ position, or bringing attention to a non-supporter. Utilizing social media to advance government affairs initiatives drives results.

When engaging with a member of Congress on social media, it’s most effective to tailor your message to their audience and constituents. Localizing the message in a way that is pertinent to the Member’s constituency is the most effective method to draw engagement. This is why CRAFT’s social media and digital advocacy approach is successful.

On behalf of our clients, we engage with legislators who support our issues, thanking them for their leadership.


However, we are not afraid to reach out to those that are indecisive or who take harmful policy stances.

Steve Stivers

This begins a conversation that creates tangible results.

Baldwin engagement

In a recent survey, congressional staffers noted that their members found social communication to be authentic and organic,

“In a poll of House and Senate offices by the Congressional Management Foundation, three quarters of senior staff said that between one and 30 comments on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter were enough to grab their attention on an issue. Thirty-five percent said that fewer than 10 comments were enough.” (Source: Connectivity by Roll Call)

At CRAFT, we adhere to this approach.  By leveraging creative to engage with congressional leaders, their staff, and their constituents. Social media has become an essential component of any government affairs initiative.

potato punjoni

So start the conversation, because when you tweet, Congress listens.



CRAFT Announces Break Away From Candidate Campaigns, Advancing Further in Public Affairs, PR and Corporate Branding.

Dear friends, I wanted to share important news.

The culmination of this election cycle marks the beginning of CRAFT’s fifth year – a short while for a five-person start-up. We have grown into our third office with over 30 team members, won 55 agency awards, served 367 clients and booked over $65 million in advertising.

But, the reason for my note is to share with you that today CRAFT | Media / Digital’s mission is changing and expanding. CRAFT will no longer serve political candidate campaigns, instead shifting our primary focus – and creative, strategic and technological – resources into the public affairs, PR and corporate branding sectors.


Our quest is to delve deeper. The world of media, digital, messaging, ideas and culture is exploding. At no other time in history has the way people consume information changed more significantly than in the last ten years. There is no more appropriate time than now to sharpen our focus and create outcomes for clients from this dynamic information consumption environment.

We’re an agency born of revolutionary impulse, hell-bent on marketing ideas, and communicating on behalf of people, brands and entities that impact our culture for the better.

The move to break away from candidate work is a logical step in a direction to grow our passionate desire for greater aesthetic expression and technological innovation – delivering results for brands, organizations, industries, coalitions and people. However, only through this departure from candidate campaigns will we achieve our greatest expression of personal freedom.

Our mission is clear. Our team of industry, issue and advocacy experts is expanding. Our tactics, tools and technologies will remain cutting edge. We are eager to bring more success to our partners and clients.




O-F-F-E-N-S-E   offense for our victory

As mentioned, defense wins games, and breakdowns are heart breaking [cough.. cough.. USA vs. Portugal]. Attacking, making plays, and controlling the tempo are all products of offense in soccer. You can see these same offensive tactics and maneuvers in the execution stage of CRAFT campaigns.

Once we have the strategy, the marketing plan, and established goals and objectives, our team hits the ground running on execution and fulfillment. During this stage in the game our teams are inspired, working together, passing ideas back-and-forth, and finally after careful precision and management the campaign goes live……..AND THE CLIENT GOES WILD!!!!!!!!!


The Perfect Pitch


Soccer — Futbol — The Beautiful Game.

World Cup 2014 has kicked off and believers, brands, and band-wagoners are getting in on the action.

Much of what it takes to be the best of the best on the pitch also goes on in agencies with creative teams as they put themselves through the same wringer.

Practice –> Every day thinking through the strategy, execution, and campaign creative. Eat, sleep, breathing the concept.
Conditioning –> Researching, going to conferences, participating in Hack-a-thons, etc. The creative industry is a constant meet-up, always ideating, always creating.
Scrimmage –> Team unity and fine tuning to understand what’s working, and what part of the campaign needs optimizing.
Game Day –> Pitching the perfect campaign to your client, winning that coveted business, or exceeding expectations on ROI. IT’S ALL ABOUT DELIVERING.

Just like the final 23 roster, agencies rely on specific team members to deliver on unique responsibilities. When it comes down to performance, soccer players aren’t that different from agency professionals:

They say defense wins games, and when you think about it, it truly wins campaigns too.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 11.33.40 AM

So you want to be the next Spielberg?

Since the inception of YouTube and the camera phone the ability to call oneself a filmmaker has been as easy as pressing a button. Setting yourself apart from other amateur auteurs has become paramount, and the recipe for success is minding the fundamentals.

The following list outlines the fundamental steps necessary to get the most out of your video project:


As with most multi-step projects, the most important part of completing a project is in the preparation. It is important to shoot in the order you are going to edit, but details such as time of day and weather can have a major affect on a shoot.

In cooking, the French word for this type of preparation is called Mise en place or “putting into place”. By preparing everything beforehand, it is much easier to overcome any hurdles that might come your way, or avoid them entirely.

Begin with a brainstorming session to determine what the message of the video is. It helps to do this with a team, if applicable, since you may not think of every little detail and sometimes hearing an idea out loud can change your perspective. Begin writing a script that will not only assist you in the actual shoot, but it will give the editor the framework for how it is to be pieced together. If necessary, create a storyboard to help you develop a timeline for how the piece is going to fit together and what shots will be needed to make it complete.

Do you want to see the effects of proper planning? The video below is the perfect example of how planning ahead relieves future problems. Because we did our research, we knew that the day of this shoot was going to be in the low teens temperature-wise. Had we not planned ahead for this, there was a real chance our equipment would have failed due to the cold and our talent could have gone the way of the wooly mammoth.


Once you’re prepared, it’s time to go out and film. There are a million tips that one could give depending on the situation, but there are some that remain consistent throughout any shoot.

Use a tripod whenever possible

Unless you are a world-renowned surgeon, there is a good chance your hand is not as steady as you think. A camera can pick up the slightest movement, so it is important for the benefit of the editor and final product that each shot is still, so that none goes to waste.

Less may be more, but not in production

Just because you think you might have gotten the shot you need does not mean it’s time to start packing away the gear. By getting at least 3 or 4 takes of the same shot, you allow your editor the ease of finding the perfect mixture that will allow for a greater final product.

Once you pack up and call it a day it makes it harder, not to mention more costly, to have to go back and re-film.


Now that you have all your shots (along with second and third takes of those shots) it is time to edit.

Organization is priority number one

Depending on the length of the video you are producing; there is a chance you may have hours of footage or a large number of different shots. Before you even begin thinking about how you are going to piece it all together, you need to organize everything.

By creating a system of organization, it will be easy to find any clip at any given moment, be it an hour or three months after the project has been completed. This is very important when working within a team, as the editor may not always be around to assist whoever needs to find a certain shot.

It might be a visual medium, but the audio makes or breaks your piece

Especially with projects that need background music to help add an emotional flare, it is just as important to make sure the audio is balanced. The point is not to deafen your audience, but you definitely do not want to overshadow the action/discussion in your project. Using instrumentals is the easiest way to avoid having the lyrics or vocals clash with whoever is speaking on-camera.


Knowing your audience should be your first priority. This will point you in the direction of how you are going to create your piece. But now that there is a completed project, it is time to decide how you are going to get this out to them.

Whether it be Youtube, Vimeo, or any number of social platforms, make sure you can get the most out of your video project, as it would be a shame for all your time and effort to be for naught. Correctly titling and tagging your video can increase the chances of your project coming up in a variety of searches.

There are also a number of paid options that, if you have the money in your budget, will assist in promoting your piece to the audience you want.

With these helpful tips, you are more than on your way to winning that Academy Award.

Before They Were CRAFTers…


“Experience is the teacher of all things.” – Julius Caesar

At CRAFT, the diversity of our team members’ experiences contributes to how we approach our work… every day.

On the political battlefront, it’s easy to forget where you came from. So we asked our team to remind us, or in many cases, to tell us for the first time:

What was your first job, or a job you’ve had that you wouldn’t find on your resume, and what was one thing you took away from that experience?

So see for yourself. We think you’ll raise an eyebrow or two.

Brian Donahue, Partner

  • Job: Valet Car Attendant
  • Takeaway: Hustle. The more you hustled the more tips you got. Hustling says a lot about how you approach your career.

Matthew Dybwad, Partner

  • Job: Summer Camp Garbage Man
  • Takeaway: Do your job on time every time and then enjoy the time you have left, free from worry about what you still have left to do.

John Randall, Director of Digital

  • Job: Prison Guard
  • Takeaway: Keep control of difficult situations and maintain a steady outward facing persona.

Lana Tsimberg, Director of Human Resources

  • Job: Babies R’ Us
  • Takeaway: When you need a job, you can’t be picky. The opportunities in front of you are meant to be taken.

Alex Finland, Director of Media Booking

  • Job: Window Manufacturer
  • Takeaway: Driving my boss (who was also my grandfather) home from the office provided me with many useful real world insights.

Buck Cram, Director of Political Accounts

  • Job: Landscape Architect (a.k.a. “Hole Digger”)
  • Takeaway: Never underestimate the misery of northern Virginia summers.

Chelsie Paulson, Director of Social Media

  • Job: Babysitter
  • Takeaway: Have patience with all things, but first, with yourself.

Lee Doren, Director of Research and Outreach

  • Job: Restaurant Waiter
  • Takeaway: Keep cool under pressure and hit deadlines.

Joe Greeley, Director of Production

  • Job: Lifeguard
  • Takeaway: Treat all customers, clients, or guests with respect.

Evan Gassman, Manager of Business Development

  • Job: Game Associate at GameStop
  • Takeaway: Build relationships with your customers to understand their tastes and preferences, and encourage them to keep coming back.

Sinead Casey, Administrative Coordinator

  • Job: Little League Umpire
  • Takeaway: Be fair, lead by example, and know the value of a hard day’s work… And don’t use your cell phone while umpiring a baseball game.

Travis Holler, Account Manager

  • Job: Coldstone Creamery “Ice Cream Maker”
  • Takeaway: Good customer service is the most important part of retaining clients and customers.

Cory Maran, Account Executive

  • Job: Pizza Delivery
  • Takeaway: Small order or big order, a client is still a client. Treat them all equally. And resist the temptation to eat the chicken off their pizza.

Joe Richards, Account Executive

  • Job: Lifeguard
  • Takeaway: Even when a workday seems light, you must be prepared for surprise situations and know how to handle them.

Sri Shankar, Digital Production Manager

  • Job: Bookkeeper
  • Takeaway: People skills are just as important as hard work. Also, doing jobs not in your ideal field can still help shape your career.

Danielle Theroux, Graphic Designer

  • Job: Selling caramel popcorn on the boardwalk
  • Takeaway: Peanut allergies are no joke.

Catie Weckenman, Social Media Manager

  • Job: Camp Counselor
  • Takeaway: Children remind you to take notice of the little things in life and be the first to see/kill the bug.

Chelsea Hurley, Account Executive

  • Job: Babysitter
  • Takeaway: Get CPR certified. Preparedness and understanding have a huge influence on how you work… And you can help in life-threatening situations.

Jess Matsumoto, Associate Creative Director

  • Job: Coldstone Creamery “Ice Cream Scooper and Cake Designer”
  • Takeaway: Camaraderie is important when working in high stress situations.

Matt Atkinson, Digital Advertising and Marketing Manager

  • Job: Carpenter/Painter
  • Takeaway: Helping to build a house provides an incredible sense of accomplishment.

Alice Ly, Front End Website Developer

  • Job: Dim Sum Cart Pusher
  • Takeaway: It’s important to manage stress in a fast-paced environment, when you have to provide great customer service in both English and Cantonese.

Jerry Stephens, Front End Website Developer

  • Job: Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HazWOpEr)
  • Takeaway: If the job doesn’t seem to meet legal guidelines, make sure you question it.

Bradley Heinz, Content Analyst

  • Job: Caddying
  • Takeaway: Early bird gets the worm, angry golfers are scary people, master small talk, and wear sunblock.

Louisa Tavlas, Communications and Content Manager

  • Job: PR Intern | Bank of Greece
  • Takeaway: It’s important to maintain focus and productivity amidst distractions and chaos.

Ashley Carter, Political Manager

  • Job: Pet Shop Sales Associate
  • Takeaway: Working in a small business teaches you the importance of hard work among the entire team, but also the importance of listening.

Evan Ross, Digital Data Analyst

  • Job: Camp Counselor
  • Takeaway: You have to be assertive, but not aggressive when dealing with others if you want positive results.

Bryan Levine, Production Fellow

  • Job: Lobstertrician, Clam Bar Manager
  • Takeaway: As a manager, keeping your employees happy ensures you can trust them to get the job done correctly, without having to constantly look over their shoulders.

Morgan Farenthold, Political Intern

  • Job: Camp Counselor
  • Takeaway: Hand-writing a note is a lost skill. Taking five minutes to say thank you leaves a small but everlasting impression.

Liberty Riggs, Design Intern

  • Job: Pottery Barn Kids
  • Takeaway: The importance of treating every customer like an individual: commission.

Tyler Klink, Intern

  • Job: Canvasser, MoveOn.org
  • Takeaway: You can literally pay your bills with “hope” and “change.”

Nicole Drummond, Booking Intern

  • Job: Hostess, Carrabba’s
  • Takeaway: Hungry people are always angry.

You’d be hard pressed to find someone these days who doesn’t engage social media on even the most basic level. It’s because of this that social media often takes a back seat when brands or campaigns make decisions about where to invest. Simply put, people need convincing that their organization actually needs help doing something that they personally already do every day.

So what actually goes into launching a social media campaign? What does a defined strategy look like? What are some best practices?

These questions need answering, so we had our social media strategists weigh in.

Without further adieu…


Think, what’s my goal?

Your social presence is a process. It lives. It breathes — Take it in stride. Goals will help you reach incremental milestones, which we guarantee you’ll find much easier than trying to conquer the beast all at once.

Do you want as many fans and followers as you can possibly amass, or do you cater to a smaller, more personalized and qualified audience?

Do you want people to donate to a campaign or cause, or do you want to drive attendance at an event?

These are examples of questions to ask yourself, and your team, before embarking on the social journey.


Wait, posts are planned out in advance?

News stations plan feature stories in advance, why wouldn’t you? Good content grows out of good monitoring and strategic planning.

Map out the details. When will you use graphics? How often will you link to your other online properties? How many posts will ask your audience to take action compared to those meant simply to educate?

But don’t constrict yourself. Leave some breathing room for the uncontrollables. Our general rule of thumb is 80/20: plan 80% of your content, and leave 20% for breaking news or the cat meme that’s gone viral on Buzzfeed.


Which of these posts would you click?

A good post evokes emotion and tells a story.

Let’s play a game. Which of these posts seems more compelling?

Post 1: Tomorrow, Congress is voting on the Jobs Act. Make sure to tell Congress to support jobs.

Post 2:  Sara opened her bakery 2 years ago. She’s struggling to pay her employees, turn a profit, and find leftover money to invest back into her store. If Washington continues to overregulate, Sara will be forced to lay off several workers. Let Congress know that the Jobs Act would provide the relief Sara needs to keep her business running strong.

Engaging your audience is as simple as telling a relatable narrative. Show the firsthand effects of the issues your organization supports or opposes. If orchestrated properly, your content will incite your followers to share it, extending your reach to potential fans, supporters, or customers.


How do you Engage with your audience?

Someone walks into your business. Do you hide from them and act like they’re not there? Of course not; you greet them.

Someone walks into your Congressional office to express disappointment about a certain issue. Do you hide and act like they’re not there? Of course not; you listen to their point of view and tell them you’ll pass along their concerns.

Why wouldn’t you do the same on social media?

Life is a series of interactions that come together to create an overall experience. This translates to social media. Treat your social feeds as if someone were standing in front of you. You needn’t respond to every comment or tweet, but if someone asks a pressing question or expresses a valid concern, respond. Engagement makes for a better experience, and a better experience means more loyalty.


How do I integrate my new social media strategy?

Social media is not a siloed effort; it’s an extension of your existing marketing toolbox.

When you host an event, provide a branded hashtag, or set up a photobooth, making it easy for your attendees to interact with you online, before, during, and after your event.

Add Facebook and Twitter sharing icons to email signatures and landing pages.

Re-share that video on Facebook that you already have YouTube pre-roll dollars behind.

Leveraging the uniqueness of each marketing tool with social media extends your reach, reinforces your message, and ensures an engaged audience.