To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, our Hispanic/Latinx affinity group, GSDyM, has put together a list of recommendations ranging from hit Netflix shows in Spanish that have become internationally successful to works of literature to authentic places to shop/eat. There is an abundance of Hispanic talent out there…. Please enjoy our recommendations to help support the Hispanic community as you become inspired by our beautiful culture.


We created a selection based on our favorite award-winning movies and some “classics.” Some of these movies are great for learning Spanish. If the Spanish is too quick for you, we recommend using subtitles to follow along, or simply watch in English and know that you are supporting Hispanic filmmakers. Grab some Takis con salsa and hit play.

TV Shows 

Netflix and other streaming platforms are doing a great job bringing Spanish-language shows to the U.S. AND making them international hits. Here is our list of must-see TV shows:


Book-lovers, check out these must-read titles in English or Spanish!


Whether you enjoy music for dancing, relaxing, inspiration or nostalgia, these bands and albums have you covered!

Website/Blog/Media outlets

Rejoice, social media hounds and webbies, we’ve got your online entertainment right here.

ATX Restaurants 

Hungry? Restaurants are slowly starting to open back up, but there’s always “para llevar.”

Local Culture

Creators (artists, local craft makers, etc.)

Gift-giving season is right around the corner!

Recently, Austin was named one of the top 10 best places for the LGBTQ+ community to live, just in time for Austin Pride this weekend. Ahead of the celebration, we chatted with members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies within the agency about what inclusivity means to them and how creativity can’t thrive without it. Keep reading to learn more about how an inclusive city and work environment makes all the difference.

Kirya Francis, VP of Diversity and Inclusion

How do you define inclusion?

I like to think of inclusion to be more like a salad. You come together as individuals and you get to stay an individual, but your presence will be missed if you are not there. 

Why is it important for a company to participate in inclusive initiatives? 

A company’s primary responsibility is to be profitable so that it can stay in business and employ talent. Inclusion makes people happier to be there, and happier people make a better product.  

Kyle Nguyen, Media Planner/Campaign Manager

How have you experienced inclusion at GSD&M?

GSD&M’s culture is inherently inclusive with participation in community events like the Allies Diversity Summit and various panels where GSD&Mers share their stories. 

How does an inclusive environment benefit the work that comes out of GSD&M?

It breaks down walls. The less time we worry about how others perceive us, the more time we have to focus that energy on actually working by bringing our authentic selves to work.

Josh Andrews, Assistant Account Manager 

Why is it important for a company to participate in inclusive initiatives?

It’s important for employees to see reflections of themselves and their identities at work. Without a place to be yourself, employees risk losing themselves to the nature of putting up a guard to those around them. 

How have you experienced inclusion in Austin and at GSD&M?

There are LGBTQIA sports teams, book clubs and even Zilker meet-ups. I’m very happy to see the solidarity of GSD&M walking in Austin’s Pride parade, so cheers to that!

Ashley Davidson, Digital Producer

How do you define inclusion? 

Inclusion is providing an atmosphere of support and involvement for all people regardless of race, religion, background, abilities, gender or sexual orientation. An inclusive environment empowers, educates and collaborates so an individual’s worth is recognized by all.

Why is it important for a company to participate in inclusive initiatives? 

Inclusivity initiatives that support all groups are important for morale, productivity, safety and community-building. You build a stronger company where people both tolerate and celebrate each other’s differences.

Ana Leen, Account Leadership

How have you experienced inclusion at GSD&M? 

Through partnering with organizations like ADCOLOR, E4Youth, Time’s Up/Advertising, Austin Pride and more, we’re both impacting and learning from our community that feeds the pipeline of creativity.

How does an inclusive environment benefit the work that comes out of GSD&M? 

We will think beyond the norm. We will come up with ideas and creative that connect with people in new ways. We will give brands the opportunity to do things differently and stand out from the competition.

Companies need to push inclusion initiatives throughout the year, not just during Pride month. While we’re lucky to live in a welcoming city like Austin, we should never take that for granted. We must continuously celebrate and advocate for inclusion to better our community, our industry and the society in which we live. It’s a disservice to creativity and culture at large if we are not including and representing all voices and speaking up for those who aren’t heard. 

What’s the best way to get out and away from our desks? Music, drinks, chips, queso and friends. For this edition of GSD&M Presents, local Austin band, SMiiLE, brought the dreamy, psych-pop vibes right to our backyard. It doesn’t get much better than this!

It’s revitalizing to know that SMiiLE is making the kind of pop-inclined yet defiantly eclectic music that made the indie-rock scene so exciting to follow in the 2000s, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any band in the Austin music scene making art-pop that sounds this frenetic, joyous or vital.” Do512

Watch a recap of the performance below!

Following an overnight drive from Albuquerque to Austin, Arizona folk-rockers made an appearance at GSD&M to play some new tunes for us as they started their national tour with Lydia. Their boisterous set in the middle of the agency filled the halls with good vibes and now we’re all impatiently awaiting the new record.

“Jared & The Mill are straight-shooters. From the start, the indie rockers have made a living out of telling like it is without any strings or frills attached. That extends to their sound, too, replete with swirling, gothic rhythms, rich guitar tones, and sincere vocal deliveries, which feature on their forthcoming album set to be released in early 2019.” –PopMatters, on the latest single, Feels Like.

Pearl Charles is a California native who is flawlessly dreamy with songs that are gritty and honest. She recently stopped by GSD&M to perform an intimate set in our backyard and we’re still jamming her latest tunes.

“Charles’ record takes cues from movements all over the American map. There are hints of southern folk, alt-country, Midwest Americana and West Coast acid rock.” —Pitchfork

Here it comes. The big game. Super Bowl 50. Super Bowl L…uh, okay, 50 sounds better. It’s been the big game for football for 50 years. It’s also been the big game for advertising almost that long. But what is so big about the big game for advertisers and marketers? Is it the inflated media budgets? The staggering number of eyeballs watching? The opportunity for pull-out-all-the-stops celebrity spots? Perhaps… 

When you think about it though, the big game is only as big as we want it to be. After all, it is just a game: a bunch of guys playing catch with a ball, a four-hour time-suck in front of a screen, dozens of commercials trying to get you to buy something.

Or maybe something different. Something bigger and better: athletes who have worked their entire lives honing their skills, strengths and accuracy to prove themselves on the biggest stage of their lives; a worldwide moment when fans and admirers alike can ride the emotional rollercoaster of the scoreboard and join together to will their favorite to win; and brands who are working to become less of an interruption in your programming and instead a welcomed guest in your home.

And for us, as GSD&Mers and stewards of great brands, that makes it no different than what we try to do every day. We as a team strive restlessly each and every day to get great creative, mind-blowing and groundbreaking work out the door. We are always striving to do what’s never been done for our clients or for any brand before and discover and capture unique insights that lead us to create something truly worth seeing, and worth speaking about before, during the game…and long after.

Sure, it is nice to have a media platform that will reach 114 million viewers, which we do this year with another fantastic Avocados From Mexico spot. But after it runs and the hype of the Super Bowl fades away, we still want to speak to the one. The one person in our sights who genuinely wants the product we are sharing. To the one it will actually make a difference for.

So here’s to the big game. Here’s to being dreamers, doers and storytellers. And here’s to every other big game we play every day in this crazy business we love so darn much. And finally, here’s to every single GSD&Mer and beyond who works so hard as a team to make great work happen. Enjoy it! After all, you made it.

IMG_5457 copy 2As a self-professed technophile, attending CES was a life goal for me. So in heading to 2016 CES, I couldn’t wait to find the next great thing to connect with my Sonos, Hue and SmartThings and make my “connected life” complete. More importantly, this was an opportunity to find the new advancements that would be game changers for our department, agency and clients. Bring it, Vegas!

But, upon arrival, as I stood longingly in front of a smart refrigerator that alerts you when your food is near expiration and creates a grocery list based on your purchasing patterns, an unexpected thought occurred to me: Not many (okay, none) of my friends or peers are jumping at the opportunity to have their home play their theme song when they rise in the morning or for their lights to alter to match their mood when they return home from work. In fact, I suspect the average American consumer is barely aware that CES—or this type of technology offering—even exists.

So if it doesn’t apply to everyone, how does technology of the future apply to the audiences of today?

Brands have to find ways to make ultra-forward-thinking technology accessible for and adoptable by the mass consumer. And by doing so, brands have to be realistic about adoption curves.

Brands have to look for insights into the problems technology is attempting to solve and find more realistic ways to address these issues.

Let’s use my coveted refrigerator as an example. Sure, it’d be great if I got a text when my guacamole was about to expire. But the bigger issue here is less about having excess tortilla chips and nowhere to dip them and more about the global problem of food waste vs. food scarcity. Now that’s an entirely different subject for a separate blog post, but my point is that high-end technology isn’t the only way to solve the problem of food waste.

Packaging: Let’s rethink it. What if food packaging changed color when nearing expiration? Or, food that had a 1–2 day refrigerator life was placed in green bags, while food lasting 3–5 days had an orange package?

Existing data. Grocery stores and brands already know what consumers are purchasing. What if we used the technology that gives certain customers certain coupons to send notifications when the bananas they bought last week were better fit for banana bread? 

Communities that work. The social network Nextdoor has made it exceptionally easy to alert neighbors of a lost pet. Could like-apps also offer up to neighbors that carton of milk or unopened tub of guacamole that will go bad while you’re at CES?

Perhaps I have a personal plight with the items in my fridge, but this is the type of thinking that CES inspired. What problems can we solve with the technology we already have, rather than assuming consumers are ready to adopt the latest-and-greatest—in smart fridges?

How can we solve transportation and commuter issues until the drone is ready for prime time? How can we make reality better than the virtual version?

Don’t get me wrong. I think technology is one of our best approaches to solving problems. But in doing so we can’t lose sight of the people who have never heard of CES and will never understand the need for a $10K refrigerator that beeps when their bananas are no longer that perfect shade of yellow.

We, as consumers, brands and advertisers have to be smarter than the smart things.

Now, about that robotic dog. Dog ownership sounds hard, so this is problem solver I could get behind. See you at the “dog” park.IMG_5456 copy

I became a soldier at the Ad Age Digital Conference. I am joining the war on click-through rates (CTR).

Everyone who is anyone in digital advertising knows that CTR is a silly metric. Articles preaching the death of CTR can be found dating back a decade if you look.

But we still use it! We use it all the time. I myself have put CTR as the KPI on a measurement slide. I admit it.

But the fact is clicks on banners do not correlate to brand lift or sales or site traffic or store traffic.

Thanks to some talks at Ad Age’s Digital Conference—specifically Shenan Reed from MEC and Tony Haile from Chartbeat—I have the courage to shun CTR. I have that courage because they put the data in front of me and it implicitly makes sense. It’s not clicks that create lift; it’s time. “Brand recall increases 30% for readers who spend 10 seconds with an ad versus five.” We’ve been transacting in time on TV for decades; why shouldn’t we apply that knowledge to digital?

I don’t think we’re ready to fully transact on time. I’m just not as courageous as Shenan, I guess. But I do think we are more than ready to optimize to time and report on it and use it to calculate success in advertising.

So I’m going to war. I’m not going to lie to myself or my clients and say that click-through rate is a proxy for awareness or engagement or anything else. If the goal is awareness, let’s get a brand study and ask people if they are aware. If it’s sales, let’s track them. If it’s store traffic, let’s conduct a foot traffic study.

Just because we can measure something doesn’t mean it matters. We have amazing measurement tools in this space, so let’s use them.

I’m a media planner and I think I create some damn good plans, and I’m going to prove it—really prove it—by measuring what counts, not clicks.


I’ve nearly always been a planner, relished sketching out the blow-by-blow for any given day, vacation or event, seeking the best way to optimize my enjoyment of the experience at hand. Then I had kids. And yes, I still do a lot of planning for things directly related to my job of course and select household projects, but my energy and thrill for strict insistence on planning for everything seems to have faded on multiple levels over the last several years.

Cut scene to my second-ever SXSW conference today. In my defense, I was given my formal registration late…as in…Thursday. I kept meaning to glance over the panels and different events before arriving at the Convention Center Saturday morning…but well, I chose to put out my fires at work and then play with my kids when I was home instead. So it felt almost alien to arrive for badge pickup and truly have no idea where I was heading after I tossed it round my neck. Those who have always been carefree souls will laugh at my discomfort as I tried to follow in their footsteps nonchalantly, pretending that this knot of anxiety and uncertainty had not suddenly welled up in my belly. And then I suddenly decided, “!*%& it, where will the day take me?” Cut to anyone who has known me for many years crying “Scandal!”

And I started strolling around the convention center, relishing all the people watching, accents and energy already in motion. I casually passed the PBSAnywhere Lounge hosting…Cookie Monster. So I went in and kissed Cookie Monster. (Call me a hussy.) I started toward a panel I was mildly interested in, feeling pangs of guilt about not jumping right in, but then realized I should save my brain for the panels that really leapt out at me and that I was really hungry. So I stopped and ate at this awesome BBQ stand that seemed to just materialize beside me, my anxiety lessening with the assistance of berry cobbler.

The remainder of the day passed in a similarly fluid manner. I attended a responsive design discussion, and though the hosts were entertaining, I was most engaged by the nice woman who let me take the open seat beside her before everything began. I chose to chat with her beforehand instead of Googling the panelists’ bios. I wandered downtown observing visitors and the various installations that had popped up for the event. I went with the flow.

I scanned the afternoon schedule and was intrigued by the Girl Power(ed) panel due to the onslaught of media coverage of late about the gender gaps in the high-tech sector. I followed my instincts and am so glad I did. The panel discussion was lively and featured three women openly sharing their passion for their respective tech fields and the particular challenges they have navigated. When Girl Power(ed) closed, I stood to leave but noticed the next session in the room was She’s a C-Word! Lessons from Tech’s C-Suite Women. How can you not attend a panel with ovaries enough to craft a title like that? So in the zone of the women in tech topic, I sat right back down. Moderated by Re/Code’s Kara Swisher and filled with female executives steeped in the rigors of life in Silicone Valley, the discussion that unfolded about mentorship, female leadership and the critical importance of diversity to a company’s ultimate bottom line was one of best panels I’ve ever seen. Ultimately, I think my interest in the gender diversity challenge of tech is rooted in reality of the witnessing the diversity gaps that exist in advertising and marketing as well. Many industries suffer from a “disease of homogeneity” for lack of more eloquence, and I am happy about the attention shining on our sisters in tech because I think these high-profile discussions will inform our own domain.

What I am most happy about though, is how for at least today, I threw my hands up in the air and let the SXSW wind take me where it may. It was liberating, and I think more true to what the spirit of SXSW was years ago. Much better than my previous festival attendance certainly, and I plan to do the same thing again…tomorrow.

A perfect SXSW day to each and all!



So ye olde Internets were abuzz last week with reports about Samsung Smart TVs both tracking owners’ conversations and serving up ads in the midst of already purchased movie content. Samsung is quick on the defense to assure customers that the parameters of their products’ voice recognition and intent is perfectly business appropriate and not heralding the feared dawn of a dystopian surveillance state for all.

That all said, the hysteria over the initial reports of Smart TVs recording their unsuspecting owners really throws into relief the precarious balance we are going to have to strike in coming years as marketers. One of our core tenets as an agency is that the advertising we put out itself is an uninvited guest to consumers and that we always have to be cognizant that we are crafting engagement that begs their participation, enjoyment and trust. If potential customers are instantly turned off by a brand’s efforts at the data collection that is used to inform and time the creative messaging they receive, we could be hitting a brick wall by the time we arrive on the scene. As the age of the Internet of Things, Big Data and Empowered Data continues to unfold, we can’t lose focus on that delicate entity known as consumer trust during all phases of the marketing cycle.