Doesn’t it seem like in every group of friends there is always one that stands out of the bunch when it comes to entertaining? An expert in building a comfortable space for guests whether it’s a stack of magazines on the nightstand, a vase of fresh lilacs, or a fridge full of delicious snacks.

Prior to holiday hosting season to learn all about the art of entertaining, we packed our bags and traveled to the Hamptons in November with 20 editors for CBC’s first Hosting House – an edition of our HOUSE programs that highlights all of the best brands in home decor, entertaining and gifting.

Jackson Family Wines prompted our holiday planning with a lesson on wine and pie pairing, featuring its aromatic La Crema line.

Pro tip: Pair Pinot Noir with berry-based pies and save your Chardonnay for the apple.

Garnet Hill invited the group of editors to their boutique in Bridgehampton to give them a sneak peek at their spring home collection as well as provide a fun tutorial on beautiful holiday gift wrapping. (An added cool factor of this experience was that social engagement tagging #StJudeShareaGift donated $10 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.)

Pro tip: Incorporate natural elements into your gift giving, for a unique twist on traditional wrapping.

Omaha Steaks hosted a delicious, savory dinner cooked by their executive chef to showcase the quality of their easy to prepare, frozen meals. Who knew Omaha Steaks was the secret to holiday dinner success!

Early risers the next morning, Leesa treated the editors and influencers to a yoga class and delicious breakfast a Hampton’s gem, The Topping Rose House. Morning yoga was particularly enjoyable after a restful night’s sleep on our Leesa mattresses!

Pro tip: Comfy mattresses = happy guests.

Cabot Creamery hosted an extra-special edition of “how to craft the perfect cheese board.” New York Times food stylist Judy Haubert taught us all how to make Instagram-worthy cheese boards. Editors from Family Circle, Lonny, and Real Simple magazines all broadcasted these cheese board tips from their outlet’s Instagram channels.

Pro tip: Use Cabot’s effortless cracker cuts to trick your guests into thinking you’re a cheese board genius.

Overstock then hosted a game night in the house’s stunning Great Room – a room they gave an impressive floor-to-ceiling makeover and completely outfitted in Overstock furniture and home décor.

Rubbermaid hosted breakfast showcasing their newest line of storage containers which was followed by a cooking demonstration and lunch with Dyson. Dyson brought in two food and wellness influencers Candice Kumai and Rachel Mansfield to cook healthy, yet aromatic, meals to show off the power of the Dyson Air Filters.

Pro tip: Did you know that indoor air 5x dirtier than outdoor air? Investing in a purifier may be the best decision you could make for your guests and yourself.

In three days, we transformed from gracious guests to hosting experts. At this point, we feel like the Duchess herself – although we certainly wouldn’t say no if Kate Middleton wanted to dish out her tips during next year’s Hosting House!

Curious to know more about our HOUSE programs? Check out our Instagram for an insider’s look.

If you’re a home entertaining brand interested in participating in this year’s Hosting House in November 2018, contact us!

Super Bowl ads are a national phenomenon. As an advertising agency, we had to make sure we gave our POV on this year’s lineup.

Get this: throughout the year, people actively avoid watching ads on T.V. and online, and now with On Demand, Netflix, and Hulu, most people are less likely to watch broadcast television at all. But on Super Bowl Sunday, that norm is flipped. Even people who aren’t interested in the football game gather round their T.V.’s, if nothing else to just watch the ads. With over a million-dollar price tag on these commercials, brands tend to take risks to make sure they stand out. Below are our three stand-out picks:


1. This UGC ad was krafty, to say the least.

Kraft started its campaign by airing a preliminary ad asking people to send in pictures and videos of their families and how they “family on game day.” We saw ads popping up on Twitter and Instagram asking for submissions with the hashtag #FamilyGreatly and #KraftEntry.

In the third quarter, the 30-sec spot was aired, displaying those real-time pictures and video submissions with the message “there is no right way to family” and all families are special. There were no celebrities; no stunts; just real people. And for us, it was pretty cool to see that Kraft was able to drop its ego and shine the light on the consumers in this one-of-a-kind branding opportunity.

The general sentiment was that the ad was well-intentioned, but some didn’t feel it was as heartwarming as expected. For us, we championed the real-time marketing attempt knowing all too well it’s 1) risky not knowing what kind of pictures you’ll receive, and 2) a lot of pressure on the brand to curate the posts, select the ones it wants to air, and piece together a Super Bowl commercial by the 3rd quarter. And with the rise of “real” content, we think it was OK that it didn’t look as polished as the other commercials. Bravo Kraft.



2. The tides have turned on funniest brands at the Super Bowl.

Just when you thought you recognized the ad you were watching, Tide swept in with a plot twist using Stranger Things star David Harbour to poke fun at the most stereotypical Super Bowl ads over the years.

From Old Spice to Mr. Clean to Budweiser and more, Tide mimicked these famous Super Bowl ads and got a laugh when it consistently reminded the viewers they were watching a “Tide ad”.

Perhaps the most important takeaway here was that Tide successfully managed to take attention away from the PR nightmare that came out of the “Tide-Pod Challenge”, a new social media experiment in which people are consuming poisonous detergent pods. But leading with humor seemed to work, as everyone came out of Super Bowl Sunday saying, “Did you see those hilarious Tide ads?”. Watch all of them here on the Tide YouTube channel.


3. Tricked ya, mate!

Did anyone else fall for the Australia Tourism movie trailer trick? In a genius approach to hook the viewer, Austraila Tourism set up its ad like a movie trailer for a new Crocodile Dundee film starring Danny McBride and Chris Hemsworth. The trailer displays funny clips of the actors, all while simultaneously showcasing some of the best things Australia has to offer such as wineries and beaches. The ruse is revealed when Danny McBride says, “Hold up, this isn’t a movie. It’s a tourism ad for Austraila”. The mix of humor and imagery was well-executed and resulted in a memorable ad for Australia Tourism.

But seriously, let us know if this does become a movie, we would definitely go see it.

What are your thoughts on this year’s Super Bowl ads? Tweet us with your top 3 picks!


Did you know an average Instagram user misses 70% of the content in their feed? Since the implementation of feed algorithms, Instagram Stories have become an essential tactic for brands to ensure they are actually reaching their Instagram audience.

Some brands have perfected Stories and are using them to broadcast live events, share visual content, or leverage Instagram Story ads to drive site traffic. Let’s take a look at three brands who we feel have optimized their Instagram Story strategy to achieve their goals.



The denim and apparel brand prides itself on being artful, cool, effortless, and unexpected. It comes as no surprise that its approach to Insta Stories reflects this mindset.

1. Madewell thinks about Stories in a series rather than just one image. This is an example of Madewell’s holiday gift guide, tempting the audience to click-through until the end and expose itself to more products.



2. Here the brand is adding Stories to the “Highlights” bar on its profile. This keeps the content viewable longer than the normal 24 hours and pins it to the top. A great way to create more visibility for a new collection or seasonal items.


3. They utilize a shop instagram link accessible via swipe-up in their Stories or in the bio. Viewers can shop their Instagram content whenever they’d like – which is a total win!




Apartment Therapy is a lifestyle blog and publisher focused on home design and décor. Its use of Stories reflects purpose in a simple, refined way.

1. Simple is always better. The simple text over the photo provides context without complicating it. Insta-addicts who are constantly tapping through their Stories don’t want content that doubles as a brain teaser. Digestible, Visual, and Informative.



2. Swipe-up for success. Through Stories, viewers have quick access to referenced web content on Other brands should be using Stories to drive traffic to their own blog content as well. Viewers are more likely to swipe up and visit the brand site when it’s suggested and easily accessible.




Anthropologie is a women’s clothing brand built on the pillars of creativity, free spirit, and design. This is how the brand was able to stay in touch with its target audience and express that free-spirt lifestyle via Instagram Stories.

1. On its Instagram Stories, Anthropologie designs their content for the appropriate vertical specs. The creative is careful to leave space near the top or the bottom, so as not to interfere with the account icon, exit icon or sharing icon. If you don’t plan for spacing, the content looks cluttered and unappealing.



2. Time-sensitive content goes directly to Stories. In releasing its new arrivals, the brand skipped the static posts and went right for Stories. This move is an easy way to spread news to a larger audience and provide the CTA and link to shop right there.



3. Videos are distributed via Stories. Videos are a natural thumb-stopper on Instagram, encouraging the viewer to stop the mindless clicking and actually view the content. So live footage from events or vertical video footage can be great to leverage in your Stories.

At CBC, we are utilizing our Instagram Stories to showcase what makes us unique. During our recent HOUSE destination experience in Deer Valley we made sure to share our journey eating, drinking, and skiing through Park City, UT via Insta Stories. To create a story that was interesting to our Instagram audience, we curated our favorite local spots into a Deer Valley travel guide. Pictures and captions were kept simple and we applied the new font feature to make sure our text stood out.



With all the content clutter on Instagram, Stories are getting more important to leverage for your brand exposure every day. So take the time and learn how to leverage them to make sure that your content is both seen and engaging.

Have any tricks for Stories up your sleeve? Or need help with your own social media strategy? Drop us a line or tweet us @cerconebrown.