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A note from Michael Peters, Founder & CCO of SPARK:

15 years ago, this time in history marked quite a few striking moments for us. Among tragic events that shaped the future of our world and the i-Themed inventions that did the same, I think back to my own defining moment that year.

I arrived in Tampa from New York City on September 10th, 2001, leaving behind the high-pressure and high-strung world of big advertising. I set out to establish a new kind of agency built on solid brands that inspired real connections. 15 years later, our anniversary this year has led to the resurfacing of some scary throwback photos, retrospective thinking, and conversation about how much things have changed since then.

But, beyond the obvious differences, like technology, buzzwords, and hairlines, we started to wonder if things have changed much at all. The resurgence of Pokémon and a new album by Blink-182 made us further question this sentiment (including double checking which decade it is). But more importantly, we've been asking what the past and present of our industry and advertising means for the future.

In this issue, we explore the possibility that everything old is new again. Or not. And ask you, what's your call?

In This Issue


  • Michael Peters

  • Matt Reisinger

  • Alex Coyle

  • Jason McDade

  • Amanda Eichmann

  • Jessica Guy

  • Liz Colburn

  • Jake Kurtz

  • Gordon Weller

  • Nate Carter

  • Jeremy Pawelek

  • Janel Gancena

  • Amanda Story

  • Patrick Guyer

  • Joe Guerra

“The truth:
It shapes a constant dialogue between brands
and the consumers they’re built for.”
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The Tempo of TodayA Cultural Shift from Eras to Moments - Explained Through Music

By: Matt Reisinger
Timeline By: Alex Coyle & Jason McDade; Developed By: Jeremy Pawelek


15 years ago, the iPod hit shelves around the world, undoubtedly a defining moment in history. But when I considered the idea that this technological advancement revolutionized music, I felt conflicted. Not because I didn't agree with that statement on some level, but because it doesn't really tell the whole story. Like many inventions mistaken for catalysts, I asked: Did the iPod create the momentum or did it simply capture it?

For example, is it possible that the iPod was developed to facilitate the exponential growth of information technology, namely in the form of music? After all, the iPod revolutionized music in the same way the cassette tape, radio, or the phonograph did. Each of these technological breakthroughs was made possible because of the speed at which the medium was expanding. So, maybe these devices should be thought of more as stones along the river of progress, which implicitly have little effect over the stream itself. This idea of capturing momentum is not exclusive to music. As our culture evolves, so do the tools we use to define it and interact with it. And the pace of this progression is accelerating.

There was a time when we could describe the past in 100-year chunks; a time when the 17th century could fit into a single chapter in a textbook. Then, in the 20th century, our culture developed quickly enough to quantify eras into decades. For example,the 80's could be defined as an era quite different from the 70's. But now in 2016, terms like 'millennials' can't truly describe the tastes and proclivities of an audience that was born between 1981 and 1998, because cultural growth is reaching terminal velocity. In the near future, will eras be categorized by 100 years or 10 years? Or are our modern eras only describable in moments?

With that said, let's go back to the iPod and ask one more question: Can we use a little history and music to illustrate this cultural shift from eras to moments?


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By: Nate Carter & Gordon Weller
Designs By: Nate Carter

The Future:
Friend or Foe?
Predictions For What’s Next For Our Industry

It’s pretty safe to say that we haven’t seen all of the marketing, branding, and technological advancements coming over the past 15 years. So, how could we begin to imagine where the next 15 will take us? Below you’ll see some of our predictions—both promising and terrifying—for the marketing, tech, and branding of tomorrow.

What do you think? Are we doomed or destined for a greater tomorrow? Join us in predicting the future and cast your vote below:



Prediction: Brands will continue to push the boundaries of product placement, sponsorship, and storytelling with marketing content eventually becoming indistinguishable from big budget, feature-length Hollywood films. This means more beautiful quality content for all.

Prediction: Brands will continue to push the boundaries of product placement, sponsorship, and storytelling with marketing content eventually becoming indistinguishable from big budget, feature-length Hollywood films. This means less authentic quality content for all.



Prediction: Virtual Reality will remove the restrictions of disabilities, illness, and age, allowing us to do more, see more, and be more than ever before. It will grant us new perspectives and show us experiences that will help us understand and empathize with our neighbors near and far.

Prediction: Virtual Reality will usher in an era of extreme isolation. Tethered to a technology that routinely transports us and activates our brain’s pleasure centers with great intensity, we will ultimately decide that life is easier, happier, better inside our custom digital playgrounds.



Prediction: Brands will know everything about you. Your likes and dislikes. The knowledge and understanding will give them the ability to anticipate your needs and be there when you need them.

Prediction: Brands will know everything about you. Your hidden desires and deepest, darkest secrets. The access to this knowledge will give them the ability to make your life a living hell.

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By: Liz Colburn, Jake Kurtz
Illustrations By: David Gonzalez

Writing’s On The WallWhen it comes to communication, we’re basically just modern cavemen. #Savage.

Use the slider to reveal the image!

Fire: Whether carved into cave walls or Snapped for our stories, we all agree that a campfire is worthy of sharing. #LIT

Food: Even primitive #foodies felt the
need to document their #foodporn.

Language: The hunk in the cave next door is so
heart-eyes emoji #RN.

The Most Basic Human Desire: If there was a Kavedashian family, we’re confident
Kimojis would have littered their rock walls. #YASSS.

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  • Agency Life is Pure Poetry
    Vibes Via Haiku

    We asked. You answered. Poetically. Feeling reminiscent of the past, we went way back to the ancient art of the haiku to get your thoughts on modern agency life. After all, enlisting constraint to fuel creativity is always fun. Here are some of our favorite submissions from you guys.

    Know your worth in life
    Too often we second guess
    Embrace your spirit
  • Young'ish hungry and bright
    Native to technology
    The future ad man
    Passion fuels life
    Water your soul's searching roots
    Before they wither
  • A strict brief we got
    Clean finish. Client unhappy
    It needs to pop more
    Photos are low res.
    They want the logo bigger.
    Can you jazz it up?
  • Presentations will
    not go well if you do not
    remember your pants
    The deadline is close
    The team is getting so stressed
    Launch. High five. Repeat.
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By: Amanda Eichmann & Jessica Guy

We All Hate Young People
And we can’t seem to help it. So here are a few tips for curing your juvenoia.

Throughout most of our history, technological shifts have happened gradually without much cultural disruption. Today, kids two years apart will grow up in completely different media environments, which seems completely absurd. Generation gaps are occurring closer and closer, meaning knowledge is becoming obsolete faster than ever. Our rapid evolution means that we are amidst a generation most equipped for change.

This expedited rate of change means that consumers not only expect the brands they interact with to evolve with them, but they fully expect it. The willingness to try new things and experiment with new forms of culture has been referred to as our adventure window. As we age and pass current key points in life, our adventure window fades rapidly. And in this age of change, brands can’t afford to let their adventure window close.

So, how can brands survive and keep their adventure window ajar? Keep your juvenoia in check with a few words to live by below:

  • Include the intern in the next brainstorm. You might be surprised by the perspective behind the tight jeans and beard.

  • Think beyond generations. Getting comfortable with constant change means getting comfortable with your audiences on a level beyond labels.

  • Get a breath of fresh air through that adventure window. Engage in at least one experimental project each year.

  • Create a compelling argument from an inexperienced point of view. If you can’t, you haven’t tried hard enough to understand.

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