2024 is up and running around here. After a restful holiday break, we’re back in the shop making magic for clients left and right. But you’ll have to wait ‘til next time for a peek behind the curtain. This month, we’re looking at the rise of CTV as an ad platform, celebrating Black History Month, and crying some happy tears. Let’s get into it.



Remember the great promise of Netflix? All your favorite shows and movies — none of the commercials. Those were the days. Now with the rising costs of content deals and original programming, streaming services are hiking prices and subsidizing their entry-level plans with the same ads they once denounced. That’s created a huge new channel for advertisers. Let’s break it down.

Data shows a whopping 88% of U.S. households subscribe to at least one streaming service. Of those, only 13% are opposed to ad-supported tiers, down from 36% in 2022. So we know consumers are resigned to ads in their streaming services. On top of that, we’re seeing more streamers invest in ad units that bring better functionality to advertisers — like shoppable ads and AI-driven personalization.

With the rise of ad-supported tiers, we’re now seeing the maturity of streaming and connected TV (CTV) as a platform worthy of consideration and adoption into a brand’s media plan. It offers the same mass audience as broadcast TV, but with the personalization and trackability of a YouTube ad. If you’ve been trying to reach your audience online with no luck, it might be time to allocate some media dollars toward CTV. Not sure where to start? We got you.



This February, we want to remind you that one of the most practical ways to uplift the Black community is to show up, support and celebrate their work by sharing it with your own community. Here is a small selection of works by Black creators, hand-selected by our team for your consideration. We hope you’ll join us in amplifying Black voices not only this month, but every month as their contribution to the creative community deserves to be uplifted for its power and impact.


Jonathan Escoffrey, If I Survive You: Escoffrey’s debut short story collection weaves interconnectedness among an estranged family while addressing what it means to be home. A love letter to Miami and an interrogation of identity, his humor and radiant prose shine off the page.

Ama Codjoe, Bluest Nude: A debut as dazzling as it is downright human, Ama Codjoe’s Bluest Nude is a collection of poems that shifts between the role of the artist and the subject, the seer and the seen. The speaker in these poems dares to address what we find when we refuse to look away.


Ava DuVernay, Origin. A biographical drama based on Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson, this film is fearless in its asking of deep questions about racism, oppression and hierarchies of power.

Cord Jefferson, American Fiction. Equal parts hilarious and somber, American Fiction follows a successful novelist who grows frustrated at the publishing industry’s narrowing focus on “Black books.”


Arlo Parks: Arlo Parks is adored by some of the biggest names in music. Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, Lorde, Phoebe Bridgers. The list goes on and on. Parks has used her platform as a musician to advocate for mental health, and her tender spirit is evident in her latest album, My Soft Machine.

Ama Lou: A North London native, Ama Lou uses sentimental storytelling to explore personal narratives in her debut album I Came Home Late. During an interview with Complex, she shared that this was the first time she felt she had spoken from her own perspective.



It’s a bittersweet time here at UPBrand as we congratulate Lynn Ullman, longtime VP and Creative Director, on her retirement at the end of February. Over 40 years in the advertising business, Lynn has built a legendary reputation for smart, creative thinking with a side of wit and wisdom. We’re beyond humbled that she chose to spend 10 of those years with us — and we wish her all the best in retirement.

But it’s not all sad news. We’re excited to welcome Kris Wright as Executive Creative Director. Kris is an award-winning designer with a 30-year track record for sharp insights, big ideas and creative energy.

Please join us in wishing Lynn a fond farewell and giving Kris a warm welcome to the team!


Succession planning is integral to the long-term success of any business. Applying to our firm the same planning methods we recommend to clients, we created a multi-year strategic plan focused on developing people and our business for future success. In part one of a two-part series, our founding partner, Jeff Insco, shares his insights into why succession planning is important to all businesses, regardless of size or industry.

And if you missed our most recent announcement, check it out here.


“We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.”

– Amanda Gorman