May 29, 2019

Roy Rogers® Restaurants announced today that it has selected MDB Communications as its agency of record. MDB will provide account planning and strategy, creative services, and media planning for the iconic 50-year-old brand, building off its core values of traditionally good food and traditionally good values.

MDB will create an integrated campaign around the four key pillars embodying Roy Rogers’ philosophy: Quality People, Quality Products, Quality Experiences, and Quality Business. The agency will employ radio, digital, print, out-of-home, experiential, and social media marketing initiatives and promotions to rebrand the iconic restaurant chain and elevate awareness and excitement throughout the MidAtlantic and Northeast regions of the United States, where the chain currently has locations and plans to expand. Public relations will also advance the brand in conjunction with promotions and expansion milestones.

“We’re delighted to have the opportunity to reignite, as well as introduce, such a beloved brand to existing and new customers. Roger Rogers is truly one of a handful of brands that evoke such loyalty from their fans. To be selected as agency of record from such a tough competitive field is an honor,” said Cary Hatch, CEO of MDB Communications.

MDB has worked with high-profile brands including Sprint, the Newseum, Destination DC, the International Spy Museum, and National Geographic.

“Being Royalists themselves, the MDB team demonstrated an immediate understanding of and enthusiasm for the opportunities that exist with Roy Rogers. MDB brings a portfolio of not only strong creative and strategic thinking, but also the tactics necessary to make these successful in execution. As we work together to create even more excitement through innovation and expansion, we expect increased interest and trial from across the region, and the country,” said Mark Jenkins, Senior Director of Marketing for Roy Rogers.

Jim Plamondon, co-owner of Roy Rogers, shared, “People have a lot of nostalgic fondness for this brand. That is an asset we definitely want to leverage going forward. But we also want to create and capitalize on relationships with new populations, whether they be up and coming generations, additional demographic groups or simply people in markets where we haven’t been before or haven’t been in a long time.”


May 2, 2019

Subject Matter, the Creative Advocacy firm based in Washington, D.C., today announced the addition of new senior talent, with Sarah Kennedy Hillmann rejoining the firm as Creative Director.

"We could not be more excited to welcome Sarah back to the Subject Matter team," said founding partner Paul Frick. "We are sure she will be a valuable asset to the firm and her clients. With a keen understanding of client needs, Sarah is sure to deliver thoughtful, creative and compelling work, and we look forward to her leading our teams to produce the same high-caliber work as Creative Director."

Hillman rejoins the Subject Matter team after a yearlong stint with global public relations firm Weber Shandwick, where she held the title of Senior Copywriter. In this position, she served as creative lead for two of the firm's clients, working in both the government and consumer brand spaces, while also supporting a handful of other accounts, concepting, writing and producing traditional and interactive work.

Prior to Weber Shandwick, Hillmann was a Senior Copywriter at Subject Matter, where she helped launch integrated campaigns for several of the firm's top clients, ranging from large consumer brands to national trade associations and local non-profit organizations.

In her decade of experience in the advertising and public relations sectors, Hillmann's work has been recognized by Adweek, the SABRE Awards and the American Advertising Federation. "I know the value Sarah will add to any project and I'm thrilled to partner with her in her new role as Creative Director," said Kevin Richards, Chief Creative Officer.


March 25, 2019

Washington, D.C.-area marketing and communications professionals come together to honor the winners of the 2019 American Advertising Awards

The American Advertising Federation DC Chapter hosted its 2019 American Advertising Awards (ADDY® Awards) Gala at the Carnegie Institution for Science on Thursday, March 21. More than 250 leading marketing and communications professionals attended the event to honor the winners of this year’s AAF DC ADDY® Awards and to celebrate the creativity and excellence of the District’s advertising community.

AAF DC received over 500 entries for the 2019 ADDY® Awards, including submissions from 67 corporations, non-profits, advertising agencies, public relations firms, digital agencies, film producers and media groups. Ten judges—including creative and art directors from major marketing and communications companies across the country—determined this year’s winners, who earned a total of 35 Gold and 57 Silver ADDY® Awards.

The Best in Show Award, the night’s top honor, was given to Ogilvy Washington for the “#22Victories” social media campaign, which helped the breastfeeding product manufacturer Medela raise awareness about how new mothers can overcome common obstacles to breastfeeding. This campaign encouraged mothers to share their unique breastfeeding journey, and aimed to support, educate and empower mothers choosing to breastfeed, even in the face of adversity, to do so for longer than the first 21 days—a milestone that one quarter of new mothers currently do not achieve. Ogilvy also earned an additional two Gold and two Silver ADDY® Awards at the Gala for other campaigns.

Two agencies received special Judge’s Awards for their work: SMITHGIFFORD for their “Revolt” public service campaign for PETA, and Admirable Devil for their brand positioning campaign for Infolock. SMITHGIFFORD took home eight additional ADDY® Awards at the Gala (five Gold and three Silver) and Admirable Devil took home four additional Gold ADDY® Awards. Other organizations taking home multiple awards included: Brand USA, which earned seven ADDY® Awards; HZ, which earned six ADDY® Awards; and Edelman, WHITE64 and Subject Matter, which each earned five ADDY® Awards. A full list of award winners can be found here.

“The District’s creators and communicators continue to generate enormous value through creativity across a wide variety of industries,” said Andy Blenkle, President of AAF DC and Vice President of Fors Marsh Group. “The creative community is strong and specialized—quiet professionals in many respects—focused on innovative thinking and effective delivery for parent companies and clients alike. This is the one time a year we pause to recognize each other’s professional and creative excellence, and advertising’s contribution to over $270 billion of economic output or sales in the DC, Virginia, and Maryland regions.”

About the American Advertising Awards

The American Advertising Awards Competition is a three-tiered national competition conducted annually by the American Advertising Federation (AAF), its chapters and districts. The ADDY® Awards Competition is the advertising industry's largest and most representative competition for creative excellence. Winners from the AAF DC ADDY® Awards will go on to compete against other winning entries from District Two, which includes New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Washington, D.C.


March 21, 2019

Are you a high school student preparing for the next phase in life but are unsure of what career you’d like to pursue? If you are interested in design, writing, project management or even creative expression in general, advertising might be something to consider further. Join the American Advertising Federation as we introduce interested students to the World of Advertising, July 15-19 at AdCamp in Atlanta, Ga. Early registration is open now. Scholarships are available! To register:

For more information, contact: Melony Hughes at [email protected] or Ayanna Jackson at [email protected].


March 12, 2019

Greg Kihlström, SVP Experience at Yes& and author of The Agile Brand, has launched a new podcast entitled The Agile World. It will provide marketers, branding professionals, digital strategists, and customer experience experts a fresh perspective on the continually evolving dynamic between brands and consumers.

Over 52 weekly episodes, season one of The Agile World podcast will help listeners make sense of a fast-changing brand and consumer landscape. Exploring the origins of the brand-consumer relationship and how modern organizations must adapt to survive, the podcast features thoughts and ideas from Greg Kihlström’s popular Agile series of books, his articles featured on publications such as Forbes, The Washington Post, and Social Media Today, and his international speaking appearances.

The Agile World podcast accompanies Greg Kihlström’s Agile series of books. To be released in late summer 2019, The Agile Consumer will be the third book in Kihlström’s Agile series. The series started with 2016’s The Agile Web, which explores how the agile methodology applied properly website design and marketing can create dramatic improvements in their results. 2018’s The Agile Brand explored how brands that embrace consumer feedback and create a “living” brand that evolves over time while staying true to its values.

The Agile World will be available on all major podcast outlets.

About The Agile World 
We are living in an agile world. What started with technologists and marketers who were early adopters of the agile methodology and way of thinking has spread across entire organizations, and didn’t stop there. Consumers are thinking more agile as well. They are more willing to be part of product development and the process of building brands than ever before, due to a number of social, technological, and economic factors. Also, as employees, these consumers are also more interested in sharing values with the companies they work for, and are looking for new types of management and work environments that embrace their individuality and desire to contribute more quickly in tangible ways. All of this adds up to the makings of an Agile World led by newly-empowered consumers in an evolving economy.

The Agile World podcast accompanies Greg Kihlström’s Agile series of books. To be released in late summer 2019, The Agile Consumer will be the third book in Kihlström’s Agile series. The series started with 2016’s The Agile Web, which explores how the agile methodology applied properly website design and marketing can create dramatic improvements in their results. 2018’s The Agile Brand explored how brands that embrace consumer feedback and create a “living” brand that evolves over time while staying true to its values.

The Agile World will be available on all major podcast outlets.

About Greg Kihlström
Greg is SVP of Experience at Yes&, a performance-driven marketing agency in the Washington, DC region. He was the founder of Carousel30, a digital agency he started in 2003 which was acquired in late 2017 by Yes&. He is an award-winning creative director and digital strategist who has worked with top brands, including AOL, Choice Hotels, Coca-Cola, GEICO, Marriott Hotels, MTV, Starbucks, Toyota and United Nations. He is currently serving as Vice President on the American Advertising Federation District 2 (Mid-Atlantic Region) Board of Directors, Chair of the American Advertising Federation’s National Innovation Committee, and the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Marketing Industry Mentorship Board.

Greg’s latest book, The Agile Brand (2018) follows the evolution of branding from its beginnings to the authentic relationship with brands that modern consumers want, and gives practical examples of what you can do to create a more modern, agile brand while staying true to your core values. His first book, The Agile Web (2016), discusses the changing landscape of digital marketing and customer experience.

He is a regular contributing writer to Forbes, Social Media Today, iMedia Connection, and Capitol Communicator and has been featured in publications such as Advertising Age, SmartCEO, Website Magazine, and The Washington Post. He’s participated as a keynote speaker, panelist and moderator at industry events around the world including Internet Week New York, Internet Summit, EventTech, SMX Social Media, Social Media Week, Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit, ABA Bank Marketing Summit, and ADWKDC, among others. He has guest lectured at several schools including VCU Brandcenter, Georgetown University, American University, University of Maryland, Howard University and Virginia Tech.

Learn more at


March 4, 2019 Ed. note: This article was originally published by U. Group CEO, Lena Trudeau.

On behalf of everyone on our team, I’d like to start by saying hello. We're U. Group. It’s nice to meet you.

We’re an Advanced Technology and Creative Design company founded through the merging of ByteCubed and CHIEF. Together as U.Group, we’re using our expanded capabilities to understand your challenges, your organizations, and your operating environments so that we can create cutting-edge solutions designed for those specific needs.

U.Group combines the skills and experience of our deep tech bench with industry-leading domain expertise. Big data, advanced algorithms, mixed reality—these are just a few of the very powerful tools with which we work. But in some ways our most important resource is the empathy we bring to our work, because we know that at the end of the day, what we do is all about people. This is what enables us to help clients address some of the most difficult challenges of our time.

So how is that different, how does it improve on what you have already come to expect from ByteCubed and CHIEF? Now when we deliver data science and software, we also bring PhDs, MBAs, and economists who can put it all in the context of the business, regulatory, and policy environments in which you operate. And now on the creative side, the solutions we provide are backed by the technical muscle that makes them actionable and scalable.

Most important, we’re doubling down on our commitment to you. Every day at our East Coast, West Coast, and client-site offices, we’re putting everything we have into better understanding who you are and where you’re coming from, in a way that’s both technical and personal. We put you—our clients, customers, and partners—at the center.

From building powerful brands for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and advanced mixed reality NFL training programs, to diving deep into complex user experience challenges for the Federal Trade Commission and expanding the ecosystem of business partnerships for the Department of Defense, the guiding principle of our approach remains constant: every time, we find new ways of seeing and solving problems through the right calibration of creativity and technology, and we never lose our focus on you.

So if we haven’t met you yet, we would love to get acquainted. Let's be in touch. We’ve been talking a lot about us, but we’re really looking forward to learning more about you.

About: Born out of ByteCubed and CHIEF, U.Group is an Advanced Technology and Creative Design Company committed to achieving your strategic goals. To learn more, visit


January 2, 2019

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded Fors Marsh Group (FMG) a contract to study Americans’ attitudes and perceptions toward traffic safety behaviors in order to develop more effective highway safety programs leading to a reduction in traffic-related injuries.

For NHTSA, FMG will conduct an exhaustive literature review to uncover the best methods and data sources for measuring changes in public attitudes. FMG will then create methodology plans to enable NHTSA to accurately and affordably measure changes in community attitudes toward safety. Over a period of 24 months, FMG will provide NHTSA with clear benchmarks to evaluate attitude changes as well as to identify policies and strategies to better protect Americans and their families when driving on highways and rural roads. NHTSA will leverage these findings to build effective programs that will reduce deaths, injuries, and economic losses due to motor vehicle crashes on American roadways.

“We are proud to have been selected by NHSTA to conduct this important work,” said Ben Garthwaite, Senior Vice President of Business, Fors Marsh Group. “This was a competitive task order—with strong bids from competitors, including ICF, NORC, Ipsos, and RTI—and the project award is evidence that FMG’s expertise in large-scale research efforts is recognized as impactful, cost effective, and rigorously implemented to yield the insight required to achieve desired outcomes.”

“As a Certified B Corp, FMG is honored to help NHTSA accomplish its mission and make an impact,” said Sean Marsh, CEO, Fors Marsh Group. “By providing this critical research, FMG is partnering with NHTSA to help create safety countermeasures that will improve traffic safety, eliminate preventable injuries and deaths, and reduce economic costs associated with vehicle use and highway travel.” To learn more about Fors Marsh Group’s market research, program evaluation, and surveys and data collection capabilities, visit our Capabilities page.