International Creative Strategist


A small update (that doesn’t require you to restart your computer)
2019-01-29 22:43:02.649.jpeg

I wanted to keep the computer metaphor going along with the title of this post, but I can’t torture you with that — instead I’ll get right to the point:

I accepted a new job in November & will be starting this Friday(!). With this exciting news comes the bittersweet farewell to an agency I poured my “Herzblut“ (German for “heart & soul”) into the last four years.

And for once, words fail me.

As a writer, there’s an awful lot of pressure to poignantly summarize the closing of one proverbial chapter before you begin the next.

I have loads I could share, anecdotes full of moments of utter joy, and ones rife with twists and turns. But I don’t think I’d have anything particularly interesting to share right now — though the journals from these past year will no doubt be someday shared in the pages of my book. (But you’ll have to buy that!)

I think I’ll just sit with the past four years for now.

I am not the same naive, new-to-the-Agency-world, 25-year-old girl from Kansas City I was the day I started. Nope. I am now a slightly less naive, very-aware-of-the-ways-of-the-Agency-world, 29-year-old girl who has called Hamburg home the past 4 years — a bit wiser, considerably tougher, and a lover of the Hamburger Lifestyle. (Not to be confused with the food, though I do love that, too.)

To prevent this from becoming a word salad of regurgitated lyrics from Vitamin C’s absolute masterpiece “Graduation”, I’ll just say that the lessons have been innumerable, the friends invaluable, and the memories unbelievable. See! I have to stop now — the cliches & cheesiness are seeping in!

To all of you who were characters in this particular journey, thank you. Truly. Thank you.

Anna A.
A Cinderella Tale for the Cleaning Category — The Magic of Mrs. Hinch

When you think of influencers, the first things to come to mind probably aren’t “deep cleaning” and sponges selling for thousands on Ebay – but that’s exactly you get with @MrsHinchHome on Instagram.

A 28-year-old newlywed from Essex, Mrs. Hinch —  Sophie Hinchcliffe — decided to start her @MrsHinchHome account earlier this year in March to highlight her new home’s interior design. Separate from her private account, @MrsHinchHome is also where she began sharing her daily cleaning routine.

What in words sounds bizarre can only be appreciated when you go through her Instagram highlights before you realize the hype. Something about her style and commentary takes something normally mundane — scrubbing toilets, cleaning floors, vacuuming and more… — and turns it into a Cinderella tale. (Complete with Minkeh, Dave, and Vera — her personified cleaning products.)

Her rise to fame and the followed cleaning frenzy has caused cleaning products like Zoflora, Lenor, and Minky cloths to fly off the shelves, while cleaning aisles in UK retailers have been left bare after hundreds of thousands have been doing their #hinchhauls.

The authenticity of Mrs. Hinch creates the influencer magic marketers only dream of — She’s managed to turn her name into a verb for cleaning, a brand’s most coveted hope, I tell ya! — while her genuine support and enthusiasm for these brands has disrupted the category like no sponsored post could manage to do on its own.  

It’s in this example retailers and brands can see that authenticity goes a long way, and simply letting their products speak for themselves does more than paying thousands on mismatched sponsorship deals.

Retailers and brands supporting Mrs. Hinch’s quirky love has helped millions of new consumers fall in love with their products, creating the perfect case for marketers to look to to emulate for success in future influencer and brand collaborations.

In a time when consumers are wary of influencers and their promotions, seeing millions celebrate in Mrs. Hinch’s elation at receiving a personalized bottle of Fairy dish liquid is as refreshing as the Airwick air freshener she sprays her kitchen with every night before bed.

Nuala O'Faolain on the Art & Power of Words

I first heard of Irish journalist & writer Nuala O'Faolain a few years ago when I happened to grab her audio book Almost There by chance at the library…

I've always wanted to write about so many personal things, more so than I share here, but have had numerable reservations about the whole thing. In Almost There, Nuala addresses so many of the specific concerns I have had about the writing, and she has convinced me it is worth doing, if not for someone else, then for yourself. A journalist-turned-memoirist, I relate to so many of her takes on not only journalism, but the risks in bearing your soul to the world in memoir form. She's inspired me to continue telling my story, no matter how scary it may be at times.


I'm beyond grateful that I was nudged in this direction of Nuala’s writing. What a way life has about answering our unspoken questions. The cherry on top? After hours of listening to her read in her beautiful Irish accent, I feel my accent skills might just be improving.

words i loveAnna A.
What I subscribe to: Words of Women's Newsletter

I came across the Words of Women Instagram a few years ago, and, by some lucky twist of fate, was deemed a Words of Women Ambassador.

Words of Women is an online & physical community with more than 125,000 followers and growing. Its purpose is to educate, entertain, and empower women to rise to their potential and follow in the footsteps of heroines that have come before us.

Each Monday, a newsletter arrives in my inbox, and each Monday, I carve out a space of time in which I can truly devour and meditate on its contents. You see, this isn’t your average newsletter, rather a lesson, affirmation, and encouragement all in one. With an essay of sorts with a theme, followed by a Word of the Week, Tidbit of the Week, Mantra of the Week, and Astrology Fun, there're endless amounts of wisdom to use as reflection and inspiration for your week ahead.


Its most recent newsletter boasted the above quote/imagery which really spoke to me at this current season of my life, as well as this beautiful stated mantra:

A Promise To Myself To Slow Down

A few days ago, I had to remind myself to slow down. Life isn’t a race. Social media isn’t a race. I sometimes get stuck in this vicious cycle of putting pressure on myself to do things that don’t deserve to be pressured, feeling overwhelmed, realizing what I’m doing, quitting — then starting the entire cycle again a few weeks later. Always working, always going, always onto the next thought/project, strongly opinionated, a natural busy bee. It’s how I’ve always been, at my core. But in doing so, I find myself being tired for no reason, with a headache, and overwhelmed with anxiety. This is not a life I want to live, a cycle I want to repeat. So, this is my promise to myself to slow myself down when I’m feeling overly ambitious and headstrong. It’s okay to live in the moment. It’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to not be on top all the time. I want to master the “perfect” balance of rest and relaxation, and hard work and dedication. (via Tumblr)

If you’re looking for a beautiful thing for your Mondays (which I think we all are!), sign up for the Words of Women Newsletter, and follow the Words of Women Instagram for daily brilliance.

subscribed!Anna A.
Healthcare Marketing Magazine: The Future of Healthcare

 This article was originally written for Germany's top-industry magazine 'Healthcare Marketing' & published in German in print for the Summer of 2018.

“Alexa, how will AI affect Healthcare?”

         A mere five years ago few would predict that 24 million homes would feature an Artificially Intelligent (AI) voice-activated assistant in the form of a single speaker.  With technology moving at such a fast pace, it’s no surprise that the advancements in AI have left hardly any industry untouched, including the healthcare industry.

         With society’s collective embracing of such technology in their lives and homes, people show similar enthusiasm for what it could mean for their experiences as a patient.  According to a survey done by Northstar Research Partners, in partnership with ARM, 61 percent of the 4000 participants polled across the globe said they see the world becoming a “better place” because of AI, while 47 percent said they would opt to see an AI doctor.

         However, these findings are not to be interpreted as AI replacing healthcare professionals entirely. Instead, AI will assist them in their work. According to Accenture, virtual assistants are predicted to save doctors 17 percent of their time and 51 percent of registered nurses' time with administrative-related tasks and unnecessary visits. Accenture goes on to state that robot-assisted surgeries result in a 21 percent reduction of length of stay, an advantage for both patient and providers alike.

Patient-Centricity is Key

         CEO and co-founder of Ada Health Daniel Nathrath told Dr. Bertalan Mesko, PhD of Medical Futurist that such AI developments will not replace doctors, but instead help to save them time and provide more time for patient care and disease prevention. Ada Health, which has already had more than 1.5 million users worldwide, offers a conversational approach to telemedicine using a sophisticated AI engine and curated medical-knowledge base to assist in the diagnostic, preventative and proactive care for patients all over the world. For countries with privatized care where many patients pay out-of-pocket, Nathrath says Ada helps patients determine whether or not a visit to the doctor is necessary, while for countries with more rural, less-developed markets such as India or Africa, Ada offers more conclusive assessments than available than a local doctor. But Ada’s offering of a more convenient, conclusive assessment isn’t the only thing patients are drawn to — but to its patient-centric approach, as well.

Me, Myself, & I, the Patient

         From monogramed bags to Nutella jars printed with your name, it’s no secret that people prefer personalized experiences, patients included. And not only in their treatment, but their care, too. In fact, thanks to AI, patients will soon have fast and easy access to medical information in the future, while, according to a report from Deloitte, trackers and wearables will make routine checkups obsolete. The report goes on to predict the provision of healthcare as we have come to know it to be completely unrecognizable by the year 2065. Meanwhile, Forbes & Sullivan’s Transformational Health program reports that by 2025, AI will be used in 90 percent of the U.S., 60 percent of the global hospitals and insurance companies, and will deliver easily accessible, cheap, quality care to 70 percent of patients.

More data means better marketing

         With data and AI’s revolutionizing of the healthcare market comes the expectation of more precise marketing. As AI products and brands learn more about the patient, the opportunity emerges that the brand caters to each consumers specific need. It could be as simple as skin care brand creating an app consumers can use to determine which cream best suits their skin’s need, or as complex as better prostheses through machine-learning algorithms. In an exclusive interview with Medical Futurist, John Hopkins biomedical engineering master's candidate and upper-limb amputee György Lévay explained how AI helps more than humanly possible in engineering prostheses,

“These algorithms are capable of finding nuanced patterns in data that humans cannot. These capabilities are currently utilized through pattern recognition control, which reads data from an array of electrodes attached to the skin surface.”

The Future is Now

         With such care and product innovations made available by AI, brands, and in turn marketers, have the unique chance to create genuine connections with consumers with promising results. Through such relationships, loyalty is established and all stake holders benefit.

         In a recent speech to the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame, Jessica Echterling, Account Director at TBWA\Chiat\Day, a sister agency to TBWA\WorldHealth, emphasized the importance of breaking away from the traditional approaches to healthcare advertising in the wake of such innovations and technological advances. “You have an audience that is actively looking to have a conversation… It’s a requirement [to include] ‘Talk to your doctor,’ right? Well, people these days actually do!” The takeaway for medical marketers now and in the future? Someday soon people will actually talk to their AI-healthcare assistants, too – and we can shape how exactly they do just that.

Anna A.
H&M Targets Gen Z With A New Omnichannel Brand

Never one to shy away from a new endeavor, fast-fashion giant H&M just released its latest brainchild: Afound, an omnichannel discount fashion retailer. Afound will feature external brands (alongside H&M’s own labels) at a reduced price, offering shoppers a premium brand experience with discounted prices.

“Our vision is to be a deal-hunting paradise, giving our shoppers greater access to discounts alongside amazing new brands,” says Afound’s Managing Director, Fredrik Svartling. “We want to make [shopping] easy for our customers by being where they are, whether it’s digitally or in selected physical stores, and by offering a range tailored to local demand. We will be offering a large number of attractive brands at really good prices.”

Afound’s website is a clear example of the effort the retailer put into creating an experience around the Afound brand. With an emphasis on UX, the site creates the feeling that shoppers are going through a digital treasure trove—offering everything from H&M pieces to vintage Chanel at a more accessible price point. Afound could be the answer to Generation Z’s desire for a more curated closet. According to a recent report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Generation Z—those born between 2000 and 2010—are nowhere near as interested in fast fashion as previous generations. The bank’s analysis shows that Gen Z wants fewer but more exclusive garments.

Afound will open brick-and-mortar locations this year in Sweden, with more openings slated for Europe throughout 2019.


An earlier version of this article appeared on


Anna A.
What Millennials Want From Pharmaceutical Brands

Millennials can make for tough customers. Especially when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry. Most millennials distrust “big pharma,” with a whopping 59% opting for alternatives to medication. So, it is not particularly surprising that the average pharma marketing budget allots a mere 9-12% for millennials. But why leave such a market untapped when it’s so rife with potential? According to the MM&M/KNect365 Millennial Pharma Marketing Study 2017, 73% of millennials would rather be “healthy than wealthy.”

So, what do millennials want from pharmaceutical brands?

Authenticity. Transparency. Accessibility.

For millennials, patient-centricity translates to authenticity. One brand that has this down pat is vitamin start-up Care/of. From a quick survey for shoppers to determine the vitamin combination best for them, to personalized packaging, Care/of makes each shopper feel unique and, as suggested by their name, cared for. Care/of also provides all their product information in a succinct, easy-to-digest format that cuts to the chase—a different approach to most pharma marketing, which tends to equate complicated language with efficacy and expertise.

Millennials value this transparency, which has proven to be a successful approach for other brands such as Everlane. Though a different industry, Everlane has been a champion in millennial marketing, building their brand’s success in a mere seven years and competing with the world’s biggest fashion powerhouses.

Finally, to grab millennials’ attention, you must go to them. And you must be accessible to them. Their lives are spent online, and they’re willing to get their healthcare digitally. In fact, they prefer it. Pharma marketing will have to accept and adapt to the fact that Instagram, Facebook, and online ads are where they’ll have to speak to millennials if they want their attention.

An earlier version of this article appeared on
Anna, articles
Titles of books I’ve yet to write (& probably never will)
  1. Watching Dr. Phil in Sweden: Homesickness & the Power It Holds

  2. Texting back & other ways my lack of self control has failed me

  3. Being Single with Shingles

  4. Cry Baby: My First Three Years in School

  5. So Your Mom Has Brain Tumor…

  6. ‘Why Are You Here’ & other questions you’re asked while abroad

  7. Crying on the Ubahn: A Guide for Twenty-Somethings Living Abroad

  8. Carbs on Carbs on Carbs: A Cookbook

  9. Me, Myself, & Ice Cream: On having IBS in an Ice Cream -Crazed Society

  10. Imposter Syndrome: I SURVIVED

  11. Opinions About Pop Culture: I Have Them & Think You Should Agree

  12. When You Are Too Invested: A Royal Fan’s Confession

  13. From Tampons to Chocolate & Beyond: The Glamorous Life of a Copywriter

  14. I Know. I Speak Funny in German.

  15. Freedom, Free Refills, & Free Wifi: Why I love America

  16. 101 Ways to Ruin A Date

  17. Say It Like You Meme It. The Sixth Love Language: Memes

  18. Just Kick It: How to fix your appliances when you’re too lazy to call someone

  19. Why Worry? Because that’s how my brain was wired: A Memoir

  20. I Use My Fork As A Knife, & other ways I have offended people unknowingly

I hear(t) it: 8 Podcasts I love

Living in central Hamburg, I spend a lot of time getting from place to place on foot. And, since having anxiety, I don’t like to give my brain a lot of alone time to come up with new things to worry about. (Probably not the best way to cope, but distraction has gotten my brain this far!) That’s why I love listening to podcasts while getting around. But they’re also great entertainment while you clean, cook, or play Candy Crush on your couch. 

Finding a great podcast is like finding a new favorite series, and each week I look forward to new episodes. Ahead are a few personal favorites I love.

  • Watch What Crappens: As a seasonal “Bravoholic,” there are certain Bravo shows I never miss, and haven’t missed in years. Flipping Out, The Real Housewives of New York City, Beverly Hills, Potomac, et al., Below Deck… being just a few. Unfortunately, not so many of my friends are as into it as I am… leaving me wanting to make fun of it with someone. Anyone. So you can imagine how stoked I was upon finding Watch What Crappens, a podcast where hosts Ronnie Karam and Ben Mandelker talk all things they love to make fun of on Bravo. Check out their website here, and this Huffington Post interview.

  • Terrible, Thanks for Asking: A new favorite, Terrible, Thanks for Asking (TTFA) tackles issues I don’t typically look for in a podcast—stories of incredible sorrow, pain, and the like. Hosted by author Nora McInerny, a “notable widow”, “Episode 0” alone will leave you gutted, hopeful, and most importantly, wanting to know more. It reminds you of your humanity. Your vulnerability. And the strength we all have within to overcome the inevitable challenges and sadness none of us are protected from. Check out the website here, and this trailer.

  • The History Chicks: I used to love Stuff You Missed In History Class, but was ready for something new. Then I discovered The History Chicks and the rest, well, is history. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.) Unpretentious, informative, and wonderfully told, this podcast features hosts Beckett Graham and Susan Vollenweider, two women who describe the show as such: Two women. Half the population. Several thousand years of history. About an hour. Go. And really, that’s all you need to know. I especially loved their Dorothy Parker episodes (listen to one & two). Check out the website here and an interview from my very own hometown newspaper, The Kansas City Star, here.

  • Missing Richard Simmons: As someone who vividly remembers Sweatin’ to the Oldies in my living room with my siblings as a child, I have become absolutely entranced by the “disappearance” of Richard Simmons. So when I started hearing, rather reading, about it on the internet, my iPhone couldn’t download it fast enough. Filmmaker Dan Taberski started this podcast as a way to search for Richard, or possibly as a way to reach him. In any case, it’s bizarre, enthralling, and really shows you a side of Richard Simmons we all most likely underestimated; he affected so many people’s lives in a positive way. Though I will admit at times you do find yourself wondering if maybe we should just leave Richard alone, I will also admit that I can’t stop listening. Check out the website here.

  • Uhh Yeah Dude: The podcast I’ve been most loyal to the longest, Uhh Yeah Dude features hosts Jonathan Larroquette (son of actor John Larroquette) and Seth Romatelli discussing, debating, and making fun of all kinds of current events happening in America. After all, their tagline is “America through the eyes of two American-Americans.” With more than 500 episodes(!), I often find myself listening to old episodes in between the new ones because I just love these guys so much. Check out their website here, and this rad video about the show here.

  • WTF with Marc Maron: I really love listening to comedians talk when they’re not “on.” So, WTF with Marc Maron is an obvious favorite. Hearing about their struggles before and after success, really makes it known that no one has it easy. And more importantly, as someone who struggles with using humor to cope with my anxiety, so many of the interviews talk about the oft unsung side of comedy; how so much of humor is used to mask anxiety, how much of it is rooted in insecurity. Marc Maron is a podcast king and boasts episodes featuring comedians Conan O’Brien, Robin Williams, Will Arnett, Ben Stiller, Lorne Michaels, and even politicians including President Barack Obama. Check out the website here, where you can also find tons of articles that dive into the podcast’s history, success, and notable moments.

  • #HerStory: In a similar vein to that of The History Chicks, #HerStory tells the stories of 50 historical women, but instead of having the same host every story, invites contemporary women ranging from elected officials, academics, and mothers, to filmmakers, authors, activists, and CEO’s to tell the historic women’s stories. A bit bummed it only has 50 episodes, but a great listen nonetheless. Check out the website here, and read more about the project sponsor, Chick History, here.

  • TEDTalks Audio: A longtime lover of TED talks, and a big fan of getting ready while listening to something informative or inspirational, this podcast is a no-brainer. With a wide range of topics ranging from raising brave girls to AI and the second industrial revolution, you are sure to learn something new or have your perspective changed with every listen. Check out the list of episodes here.

There are many more, but these seem to be playing in my earbuds the most as of late. I am also looking for new recommendations, so don’t hesitate to send them through!

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.
— Philip Pullman
Anna A.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘Feminist Manifesto’

Last weekend I found myself wandering around the bookstore, as so often is the case. I was absolutely excited when I saw they had Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s latest book of essays, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

In it, Adichie writes to a friend who asks her how to raise a baby girl as a feminist. This book is Adichie’s response. It’s gentle yet sharp; succinct yet poignant; and reads as though it’s a letter from your best friend.

The main proposition of “Dear Ijeawele” is that feminism is a project that necessarily binds mothers and daughters, and that raising a daughter feminist has as much to do with what you tell yourself as what you tell her. Ms. Adichie’s first of 15 suggestions places a mother’s freedom and growth at the center of a daughter’s feminist education.

“Be a full person,” Ms. Adichie writes. “Motherhood is a glorious gift, but do not define yourself solely by motherhood.” (The New York Times)

As an aunt, a once particularly conservative girl from the American Midwest, I found this book incredibly powerful. It made me face a few aspects of my own missteps and helped me reevaluate a few of my former philosophies and internalized patriarchal beliefs. And, more than anything, it helped me understand how to change my behavior in hopes of not instilling the same misbeliefs on my nieces & nephews.

Below are some of the lessons which most affected me.

On feminism: 

“Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not “if only.” Not “as long as.” I matter equally. Full stop.”

“Beware the danger of what I call Feminism Lite. It is the idea of conditional fenable equality. Please reject this entirely. It is a hollow, appeasing, and bankrupt idea. Being a feminist is like being pregnant. You either are or you are not. You either believe in the full equality of men and women or you do not.”

On marriage:

“Never speak of marriage as an achievement. Find ways to make clear to her that I marriage is not an achievement, nor is it what she should aspire to. A marriage can be happy or unhappy, but it is not an achievement. We condition girls to aspire to marriage and we do not condition boys to aspire to marriage, and so there is already a terrible imbalance at the start. The girls will grow up to be women preoccupied with marriage. The boys will grow up to be men who are not preoccupied with marriage. The women marry those men. The relationship is automatically uneven because the institution matters more to one than the other.”

On being “liked”: 

"We teach girls to be likeable, to be nice, to be false. And we do not teach boys the same. This is dangerous. Many sexual predators have capitalized on this. Many girls remain silent when abused because they want to be nice. Many girls spend too much time trying to be ‘nice’ to people who do them harm. Many girls think of the ‘feelings’ of those who are hurting them. This is the catastrophic consequence of likeability. At a recent rape trial, the woman raped by a man said that she did not want to ‘cause conflict.’ We have a world full of women who are unable fully to exhale because they have for so long been conditioned to fold themselves into shapes to make themselves likeable."

"Show her that she does not need to be liked by everyone. Tell her that if someone does not like her, there will be someone who will. Teach her that she is not merely an object to be liked or disliked, she is also a subject who can like or dislike. In her teenage years, if she comes home crying about some boys who don’t like her, let her know she can also choose not to like those boys."

On “doing it all”:

Our culture celebrates the idea of women who are able to ‘do it all’ but does not question the premise of that praise. I have no interest in the debate about women doing it all because it is a debate that assumes that caregiving and domestic work are singularly female domains, and idea that I strongly reject. Domestic work and caregiving should be gender-neutral, and we should be asking not whether a woman can ‘do it all’ but how best to support parents in their dual duties at work and at home.”

On standards and differences:

“Teach her never to universalize her own standards or experiences. Teach her that her standards are for her alone, and not for other people. This is the only necessary form of humility: the realization that difference is normal.”

Teach her about difference. Make difference ordinary. Make difference normal. Teach her not to attach value to difference. And the reason for this is not to be fair or to be nice but merely to be human and practical. Because difference is the reality of our world. And by teaching her about difference, you are equipping her to survive in a diverse world.”

On love:

“Teach her that to love is not only to give but also to take. This is important because we give girls subtle cues about their lives – we teach girls that a large component of their ability to love is their ability to self-sacrifice. We do not teach this to boys. Teach her that to love she must give of herself emotionally but she must also expect to be given.”


I really look forward to devouring Adichie’s other books in the coming months. I highly recommend this article from TIME,  if you’re new to Adichie, as well as this TED talk. And, I am especially pleased to now know what to gift everyone in my life for all upcoming occasions.

words i loveAnna A.