This article is part of an ongoing series profiling participants in the PubTech Connect conference, presented on April 20, 2017 by PW and the NYU School of Professional Studies Center for Publishing.
The digital revolution created incredible opportunities for media, but also tremendous challenges. Ian Schafer, founder and chairman of Deep Focus, an international, digitally-led advertising agency with its own in-house creative studio, has been on the forefront of advertising since he began his career in 1997. When digital hit, he didn’t panic--he saw opportunities, which led him to found Deep Focus, helping huge brands--including Starbucks, Lays, and YouTube--get their messages out to the digital world.
Schafer founded Deep Focus after working as Vice President of New Media at Disney’s Miramax films. He took his broad knowledge of the media landscape and channeled it into digital advertising at Deep Focus, helping to reinvent advertising for the digital age. “We’ve had to adapt—all business have had to adapt to the disruption that software has brought about,” he told PW.
Among Schafer’s proudest achievements is Moment Studio, the in-house creative department at Deep Focus, which focus on matching brands with the kind of content digital consumers want, based in part on Schafer’s fresh insights about the way people use the Web--as he points out on the Deep Focus Web site, We spend more than 30% of all of our media time staring at a vertical screen, yet nearly 100% of video produced is made for horizontal ones. Chew on that."
Schafer told PW that Moment Studio, launched four years ago, was “a way for us to rethink our creative process in a world in which we have to make a higher volume of lighter content that would work well on mobile devices and social media. And we realized that the talent and process needed to do that was different than the one that was historically there in any agency’s creative dept. So we had to reinvent that.”
Under Schafer’s leadership, Deep Focus and Moment Studio have done some really cool stuff, from a movie for Rold Gold starring pretzel people, to MadMenYourself.com, a promo site for the hit AMC show that lets anyone create their own Mad Men avatar.
At PubTech Connect, Schafer will take part in a breakout session entitled “Here’s My Platform. Use It Well” in which he will offer strategies for how publishers can utilize Snapchat and other growing platforms for content marketing and distribution. Learn more about the conference and buy tickets here.