DDB’s McGarry makes Instagram site a winner

Jamie McGarry, DDB’s VP/business development director

How does an agency with a reputation for great television commercials prove its worth in the digital arena? If the agency is DDB-Chicago, it’s simply a matter of flaunting the digital work it’s been doing all along on social media sites like Instagram.

DDB VP/director of business development Jamie McGarry and a small team within the agency have been stocking DDB’s revamped Instagram site with a fresh variety of client work, corporate culture and Chicago visuals since May.

As a result, the agency is being “liked” by the thousands, each click sharpening McGarry’s vision of “the opportunity that lies ahead,” which, she says, is “not just broadcast.”

“For nearly every client, we are digital AOR or the digital marketing arm,” she continues. “We’ve pitched against traditional digital shops for new business and won.”

McGarry’s experience in growing multiply-disciplined shops arguably ranks among the most advanced in the industry. Prior to joining DDB last year, she spent nearly a decade at DraftFCB. But upon arriving at DDB, she realized a level of dedication and expertise that exceeded anything she had known in the past.

“When I got here, I was amazed,” she remembers. “DDB’s CEO, Paul Gunning, used to be the CEO of Tribal. He is really digitally-minded and digitally-focused. It’s immersed. It’s not a tack-on. It’s not, ‘let’s pull in the digital team.’”

McGarry searched through the ranks of DDB employees to identify those with the enthusiasm and knowledge to take ownership of various social media functions. Production manager Scott Terry and executive assistant Candace Keene have curated the Instagram site ever since. 

“It’s a way to talk about the agency to different targets,” says Terry. “We had an artist create an overflowing installation of awards for our ‘Awards Closet.’ We posted a picture of our receptionist, Val, who’s been here for 26 years. There’s an image of a McDonald’s Clubhouse burger that’s licking itself: the bacon’s the tongue.”

Although McGarry says that the site’s “number one objective is to show our work,” she is quick to support the mix that Terry describes.

“Culturally, there is a difference in each agency and Instagram allows you to showcase that,” she explains.

“We have about 350 people on staff, but a lot of our clients are global brands and the things we come up with go out to millions of people.”

Among those things is “Gol,” a McDonald’s campaign that turns the world’s most popular sport into a tabletop consumer game by way of a customized app that can be downloaded through a QR code on the packaging.

“Take your phone, scan the french fry box and you have a soccer game that interacts with things on your desk,” says McGarry.

“Gol” scored big during the World Cup, but it is no longer among the most recent posts on DDB’s instagram site, and that’s exactly how McGarry thinks it should be.

“We have weekly meetings to make sure that there is communication going out on all of our forms of social media,” she explains.

“If you haven’t updated in a week, you’re out of date.”