Nostalgia On Demand: Why Netflix Is Resurrecting Classic IPs

Ah, “the good old days.” Whenever that might have been for you, chances are there’s a song, TV show or film that perfectly represents that time in your life, and Netflix wants to help consumers recapture those fond memories. The streaming service has filled its already massive video library with classic shows and films, but is taking it a step further by resurrecting beloved IPs through sequels and reboots.

“If you are like me, we grew up with a lot of 8 o’clock-hour programming—scripted programming, that people could watch together,” explained Brian Wright, Director of kids & family programming for Netflix, at the Television Critics Association conference last year. “You could feel good about it, and there were a lot of bonding opportunities between parents and kids.”

Fuller House plays a major role in that initiative for the streaming service. A continuation of the 1990s series, Full House, Fuller House follows the story of DJ Tanner-Fuller, her sister, Stephanie Tanner and best friend Kimmy Gibbler as they raise kids of their own. The show is full of references and cameos from the original series, adding to the nostalgia factor while offering something new for fans. According to data from Symphony Advanced Media, season one of Fuller House was Netflix’s highest rated original series, attracting an average audience of 7.33 million viewers in the 18 to 49 demographic in the first three days in which it was available. Thanks to its success, Fuller House will return for a third season.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life took fans back to the little town of Stars Hollow to check on mother and daughter, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore and their modern day, coffee-fueled adventures. Nearly a decade after the final episode of Gilmore Girls, Netflix drew 5.99 million viewers in the 18 to 49 demographic in the US over the first three days it was available, according to Symphony Advanced Media.

The four-part series was meant to wrap up the story as it was originally intended, but those “final four words” left fans wanting more. Netflix is open to another season of Gilmore Girls, if creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino is interested.

fuller house

“We hope [there are more installments],” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos told the UK’s press association. “We obviously loved the success of the show, fans loved how well it was done, it delivered what they hoped . . . The worst thing is to wait a couple of years for your favorite show to come back and for it to disappoint you, but they sure delivered and people were really excited about more, and we have been talking to them about the possibility of that.”

Netflix’s diverse programming and lack of traditional TV format is good news for creators, as well. When Joel Hodgson, creator and former host of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) successfully crowd-funded a new season of his hit show, many networks were interested but it was Netflix that made the cut.

“I think one of the biggest reasons I’m glad we’re on Netflix is length,” Hodgson told Kickstarter backers in an email. “See, MST is a lot longer than most television shows, because each episode includes most of a cheesy feature film. Back when we were first making MST3K, that wasn’t a problem. In fact, it was really an advantage, because on KTMA, The Comedy Channel, Comedy Central and even Sci-Fi, there was a lot of unused airtime to fill up. So, having two-hour episodes was a good thing back then. But these days, broadcast and cable programming is really competitive, and it’s a lot harder to keep one show on for two hours every week.”

Hodgson wasn’t alone in his efforts to bring classic TV to Netflix—Fuller House was spearheaded by one of the original show’s stars, John Stamos. After years of rewrites and numerous production struggles, Paul Reuben was finally able to bring his film, Pee-wee’s Big Holiday exclusively to Netflix in 2016. Although not based on an existing franchise, Stranger Thingsa majorly nostalga-fueled show—was turned down by a number of networks before Netflix helped it become a breakout hit.

Netflix prides itself in the diversity of its programming, something that creators appreciate when approaching the company with ideas.

“The beautiful thing about the internet is that it has ushered in a new era of television centered on delivering the best possible experience to millions of people around the world—with the singular goal of connecting people with stories they’ll love,” said Netflix VP of product, Todd Yellin in a statement. “Human beings have incredibly diverse and unique tastes—each person is more than the demographic group they belong to. At Netflix, we not only have a catalog that meets the needs of these tastes and moods, but we use our technology to ensure we surface the right story to the right person at the right moment.”

Analytics firm, Gallup, reports that economic decision making is 70 percent emotional and 30 percent rational. If classic TV franchises give you “the feels,” Netflix has plenty more shows on the way, including a Death Note live-action film this year and a Lost In Space series in 2018.

Facebook’s New Features Threaten Snapchat . . . Or Do They?

It’s no secret that Facebook has invested considerable effort and revenue into imitating—and arguably improving upon—Snapchat’s famous features since it was unsuccessful in buying the photo-sharing app in 2013. Last August, Facebook added disappearing Stories on Instagram, tapping into the “fear of missing out” while appealing to young consumers—especially creators. Facebook’s Messenger service later followed suit, as did WhatsApp, another messaging app owned by the social network. Now Facebook has taken it a step further, rolling out Stories for Facebook—complete with an in-app camera, stickers and “masks” galore. If Facebook is trying to kill Snapchat, however, it won’t “give up the ghost” that easily.

Snapchat has introduced targeted ad offerings, mid-roll ads and sponsored lenses to help brands stand out on the platform, but has done its fair share of copying, as well. Shortly after Instagram announced direct video messages, Snapchat responded by enabling one-on-one texts, picture messaging and video chats.

Snap, Inc. is in a delicate position, having just made its debut on the stock market. While an endorsement by Morgan Stanley helped stock prices on Monday, Facebook’s “Story” announcement resulted in a drop down 3.7 percent to $22.95 per share on Tuesday. “We are bullish about Snap’s ability to monetize its highly engaged daily active user (DAU) base,” wrote a Morgan Stanley analyst, valuing the stock at $28. “First, we believe Snap’s millennial audience and differentiated online video ad inventory are in demand by advertisers.”

While brands and creators often prefer Facebook and Instagram for marketing efforts—largely due to helpful analytics—studies show that Snapchat’s young users still prefer the original to imitators. Adweek commissioned a study by Survata, exploring preferences between Instagram and Snapchat. They discovered that users ages 13-to-34 still prefer the original ghost. Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said Snapchat is “cooler,” 67 percent said that Snapchat had better features and if they could only have one app, 51.1 percent named Snapchat.

Facebook Stories bear a number of similarities to popular Snapchat features. (Source: Facebook)
Facebook Stories bear a number of similarities to popular Snapchat features. (Source: Facebook)

The disappearing photo app is still popular among college students, as well—according to a survey by online student loan marketplace, LendEDU, 58 percent of college students are checking Snapchat before Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook combined. Snapchat came in first with 58 percent followed by Instagram at 27 percent and Facebook at 13 percent.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made it abundantly clear—through statements and acquisitions—that the company’s mission is to create a “video first” experience across all of its channels, from virtual reality to video gamesoriginal shows and of course, Facebook Live. Adding more video options makes sense—a recent Cisco study predicts that consumer consumption of video will constitute 80 percent of all global internet traffic by 2019.

While Facebook demands 24/7 attention from its 1.57 billion daily active users worldwide, Snapchat has an advantage that Facebook doesn’t—exclusivity. A new study by Defy Media conducted for Variety found that 30 percent of respondents prefer Snapchat because their “parents don’t use it.”

The downside to becoming a giant is that sometimes the young crowds you want to impress start rooting for the underdog.

Epic Games Forges Path As Global Game Developer

Epic Games has evolved into a much different game studio since Chinese tech giant Tencent invested $330 million for 48 percent of the independent studio back in July 2012. The company sold its bestselling Gears of War franchise to Microsoft, withstood the departure of many of its key creatives, and opened up its Unreal Engine 4 to the world for free, with a royalty structure for those selling games.

Last year, Donald Mustard, co-founder of Epic-owned Chair Entertainment, was promoted to chief creative officer of Epic Games. He’s overseeing a slate of games that includes Battle Breakers, Unreal Tournament, Fortnite, Robo Recall, Paragon and SpyJinx. Mustard talks to [a]listdaily about how Epic’s approach toward game development has changed and how that has impacted its brand.

How did your background with console and mobile development help with Epic’s evolution into games as a service?

I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to develop traditional retail products and I’ve had the opportunity to work on less-traditional digital products. I’ve had lots of experience with mobile as it was really becoming a thing. In 2017, the types of games that people really seem to enjoy are the ones that are good combinations of the learnings of all of those different kinds of games. You look at the successes of Destiny or For Honor, a lot of these games are really learning lessons from all of these different markets, and bringing them into these collective experiences. That’s what you’ll see across our entire product lineup—whether that’s SpyJinx, Battle Breakers or Paragon. You start to see the blending of these different engagement systems, whether it’s at the highest end of console and PC or the bleeding edge of mobile, and everything in between.

A lot more people watch people play games instead of playing themselves. How is that influencing what you guys are doing?

It’s having a huge influence on what we’re doing. Just look at the rise of eSports or streaming. One of the next trends we’re going to see is games that play themselves, and that that will be a big thing. There will be a strong desire for people to just flip a button and allow the game to play itself, and then they just engage more on the meta-mechanics of it.

So, that’s something that’s influencing us a lot, too. This is something that’s huge in the more Eastern markets right now, and coming soon to the West. Fortnite is a game that we’ve been working on for awhile, and we’ll have lots of cool stuff to announce later this year. But we’re exploring how we can innovate in the streaming space, and how we can make it not just fun to watch someone streaming a game, but to actually make that meaningful in the gameplay itself.

Does Gears of War still influence Epic’s approach when developing games that might be picked up as an eSport?

It doesn’t seem like it’s wise to set out and be like, “we’re making an eSport.” It’s more like, “Let’s build games that we think are really fun; stuff that we’re very passionate about; stuff that we want to play.” If the community builds around that, that’s exactly what we want. If that community desires a more competitive aspect to it, we will work with them to provide that. That’s the only way we can do that, and that’s what we want at the end of the day. Our main goal is to delight our players every step of the way.

We want to be actively building our games with our communities, which is why we’ve moved away from putting a game in a box and moving on to the next thing. We get our software to the point that we think is viable, fun and engaging, and then we get it in front of our community and to refine and iterate the game with them. At the end of the day, it’s their game, and we’re just developing it.

For a long time, Epic Games was synonymous with Gears of War, Unreal Tournament and Infinity Blade. Outside of Gears, where does that leave Epic’s original properties, such as Shadow Complex?

Infinity Blade has been such a hugely successful title for us. It still regularly appears in the top charts and is still going strong and doing great. We have lots of ideas of stuff that we could continue to do with Infinity Blade, but nothing to speak of at this time. Last year, we released Shadow Complex Remastered on every viable platform. Again, we have many ideas where we could extend that franchise as well.

How do you approach making games for a global audience, especially post-Tencent investment?

It’s been incredible, being able to access the resources and the data of Tencent alone, let alone having a worldwide studio. But we are definitely trying to consider a global audience in our approach to games. We want to make games that are accessible to all the gamers that want to play them. It’s wonderful to be able to consider, and to be able to have access to, feedback from different cultural viewpoints.

It’s awesome to be able to have our team in Korea look at the games we’re making and give us feedback on what we’re doing. Our teams in Japan give us feedback, and so do our partners at Tencent. Tencent allows us to analyze data and really talk through—with great specificity—the things that we could be doing in our games to make them engage well with players in China. We have our teams in Germany and in England to really help give us that perspective, but also to establish communities in those countries that we can respond to. So it’s very much part of our thinking.

Are there things you can learn from eSports’ massive global community?

Beyond the language barrier—beyond any cultural barriers—there is this love of digital interactive entertainment. ESports, particularly, has really shined a light on how much we all share this love of specific games. It’s crazy how much our world has shrunk in our lifetimes and how rapidly it’s shrinking even more every day.

In several of the games I play, I’m in clans or groups where I have made real relationships and friendships with people in many different countries. Sometimes they don’t even speak the same language, but we speak the language of the game we’re playing, and we work together, and we play regularly.

Inside Pandora’s Personalized, One-To-One Music Marketing Strategy

The acceleration of technology and mobile has brought the sexy back in audio, and Pandora is in the process of proliferating their platform—and betting its future on an on-demand paid subscription model.

Pandora launched their premium personalized radio service earlier this month, and the $9.99 option stands out with customized playlists for its universe of music. Launched March 15, it’s still gradually being rolled out to the public.


The popular online-radio provider’s shift to a paid model positions the company to compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, two rivals who’ve already solidified their seat in the mobile music space and long dominated the paid market. Pandora is trying to separate itself from the triumvirate by banking on its already-existing 81 million user base and 10 years of brand equity by serving customized playlists to each individual user. In contrast, Spotify and Apple Music serve songs on a “learn as you go” basis.

Pandora is poking for profits on the avenues of audio—arguably the most native of all digital ads in the vastly growing earbud era.

In February, they partnered with ad personalization firm A Million Ads to become the first publisher to bring capabilities popular in display and video ads to the audio marketplace. In January, they rolled out muted video and responsive display ads—native mobile ad formats aimed at delivering lift in time spent, brand awareness and quality clicks. The updates are bound to be beneficial to data-driven marketers who are moving toward nimbler practices with their budgets.

According to their Q4 report released last month, Pandora made progress in 2016 with $1.385 billion in total revenue, a 19 percent year-over-year increase, by driving leverage to their core business while accelerating subscriptions for their paid product. But with Spotify and Apple Music still in pole position with subscription models, Pandora’s paid platform journey has only started for its quest of 32 million subscribers by 2018.

Susan Panico, Pandora’s vice president of sales marketing, oversees brand strategy, positioning, messaging and marketing plans on the B2B side. Panico, who previously worked 18 years for PlayStation in a variety of roles, joined [a]listdaily to talk about how their music discovery platform is a place where artists find their fans and listeners find the music they love—and how brands organically get in on the action, too.

Pandora Premium
Pandora Premium

What is your brand strategy in marketing music discovery? How has it changed?

Looking over the last few years, we started primarily from word-of-mouth. In our early days, we did very little marketing. We amassed a huge audience and all of that was because of the personalized music experience that we delivered. Then we got to a certain point where we realized that we wanted to make a stronger connection off the platform with our audience, and we drove a lot of our marketing around the music discovery element of Pandora. We’re right on the cusp of launching arguably the biggest product in our history with the premium subscription service in Pandora Premium, and you’ll continue to see the messaging around personalization.

Your daily focus is mostly on marketing solutions for Pandora’s book of clients. How are they looking to connect with consumers?

Our clients range from globally recognized brands like FedEx and McDonald’s all the way down to the local mom and pop shops that we service in different markets around the country. A lot of brands are looking for ways to connect with consumers in a one-to-one and personalized way. Music is the most universal language of which you can do that. Music transcends culture and age. More brands are recognizing the emotive power of music, and the experiences that are particularly driven by music create such memories with their audience. The brands that engage with us on-site and partner for activations, the consumer recall is amazing because it’s organically woven into music experiences that people walk away with, and even amplify on social their own social channels. . . . Millennials are so tethered to their mobile devices, yet, untethered to about everything else. Experiences are such a great way to earn their hearts, minds, respect and trust. For your marketing strategy, one-too-many doesn’t work well anymore. You need to figure out how to make it one-to-one. Delivering personal experiences, whether it be digital or in real life, is important.

Susan Panico, Pandora’s vice president of sales marketing

How are brand partners looking to work with Pandora?

I think it varies. Some brands have music and experiential as key pillars within their corporate strategy, and even within their organization structure, and they leverage a massive music strategy as part of their brand marketing efforts. And then you have other brands, say, a financial service one, that is trying to figure out how to leverage music to reach customers while also helping to make their brands a little bit sexier.

Whether it be sponsored listening or an ad-free subscription model, Pandora has been constantly tinkering its product. What is your strategy in having ownership from rival on-demand services like Spotify and Apple Music?

Part of our vision is to unify an entire music marketplace under one roof. If you have an ad-supported, free-tier complemented with a premium on-demand service, it’s really providing choice for the way people want to listen to music. We feel that we have a huge strategic advantage in the science that our music service is built on with the Music Genome Project. Our data informs on consumer marketing, and informs on how we help marketers reach their desired audience. All of that fuels the unique experience Pandora delivers to its listeners.

How does Pandora leverage its wealth of data?

We sit on this giant treasure trove of data. When you think about the people who are using Pandora, they’re firing off over a billion signals per day that allow us to capture different information, like the kind of devices they’re using, or the time of day they’re listening music. We create insights that are really valuable to marketers. What that means from an experiential standpoint, and what makes us a unique partner—if you’re a brand who wants to figure out how to leverage a music strategy, we can use our data and talk to you about where your audience is, which artists are trending in certain markets, and help you get aligned to it at a magical intersection.

Woman Listening to Pandora Radio Mobile app

Why is your continued sponsorship of SXSW such a significant part of your yearly experiential marketing strategy?

At the heart of Pandora, we’re about personalized music, and music discovery. SXSW is a great event to connect people with new artists and new music. With our corporate mission, there is no better and natural place for us to go as a brand. We love being in Austin, the epicenter for live music. It’s something that’s made a lot of sense for us strategically. This year we showed up at The Gatsby as one Pandora over the course of Interactive, Music and Film and opened up our space for all badge holders and fans to align with the overall convergence of SXSW.

What are the results that SXSW has yielded? 

With the thousands of people that come through our space, they really look at Pandora being that connective tissue that helps bring them new and emerging artists and expose them to music that they didn’t know—and it turns out being music that they love. That’s what our personalized music discovery service is all about. There’s a balance there of not only having the live music throughout, but it’s also partnering with advertising partners to bring in experiences and activations with sponsors including Advance Auto Parts, Ashley HomeStore, Ltd, McDonald’s, MGM National Harbor, Simple Mobile and The Clorox Company into our space to ensure there are engaging experiences that people want to share on social. What’s most interesting is that we have a soundboard panel of about 50,000 listeners. What we saw particularly around millennials is that ‘experiences trump material possessions.’ You have an entire generation that would rather create memories than buy actual goods. The way we show up is exactly that—we give people wonderful music memories.

How do you see Pandora’s platform changing the way music is consumed moving forward? How will you remain nimble and carry brand momentum during this transformative time?

Right now we’re focused on this next huge step in our path toward innovation. I actually love to think about our founder and CEO Tim Westergren’s vision, who was a musician himself. He’s always talked about how amazing it would be to create this ‘musician’s middle class.’ So that when people are growing up, they can say ‘I want to be a musician’ and people can reply back, ‘that’s a great career for you’ and it’s because we’ve built this platform where artists can thrive, and we connect them with listeners who find and love their music. It brings the trifecta between the artists, fans and brands all under one simple, easy-to-use destination. And I think that’s the path that we’re on. . . . How that relates back to a marketer is twofold. One, music isn’t media. Music is the most emotive, personal environment in which you could insert your brand and make a one-to-one connection with someone through that passion point. Every marketer should really be looking at music as a platform in which to get their brand message across. The other part is because of the proliferation of mobile devices and acceleration of technology, music as is a must-have strategy. The audio ad is a must-have medium. Digital music streaming has brought the sexy back to audio.

Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan

Quidd Brings Super-Fan Community Together With Digital Collectibles

Fans love to collect a variety of items from their favorite TV shows, movies, comic books and other entertainment. Everything from toys to stickers showcase their love and enthusiasm for different franchises. However, one of biggest problems with that hobby is finding the physical space to display and show it off to the world. Quidd has a solution to that problem: digital collection through its mobile app.

The idea of collecting digital goods might seem strange at first, but it makes more sense once you consider how players spend thousands of dollars on cosmetic items in their favorite video games. With Quidd, users can purchase or trade digital goods to show off or complete sets and it looks like the digital age of collectibles is quickly catching on. The company revealed in a statement that over one million digital items have already been distributed on the platform since its founding in 2015.

Quidd’s collectibles include digitized versions of real-world toys and figures, backed by partnerships with companies such as Funko, along with stickers, trading cards and emoji featuring popular franchises such as Star Trek, Breaking Bad and Scream Queens. A partnership with the licensed board game and collectibles company, Cryptozoic Entertainment adds Adult Swim items from Adult Swim shows such as Rick and Morty, Adventure Time, and Steven Universe into the mix. That’s in addition to the app announcing that it raised $6.75 million in funding to help further feed the need for collectibles.

Michael Bramlage, Quidd CEO and co-founder
Michael Bramlage, Quidd CEO and co-founder

According to Quidd CEO and co-founder, Michael Bramlage, the app is quickly winning over like-minded fans, and it is helping to overcome the stereotype that collecting is mostly for the older, male, demographic. He said in a statement: “With an eclectic assortment of content, an immersive digital-only experience, and fun, expressive products like stickers, Quidd is proving that the desire to collect and geek out with fellow fans is cutting edge and universal, encompassing millennials, female fans and more. It’s no wonder that 70 percent of our fans have never collected physical stickers, cards, or toys before they purchased their first digital collectible on Quidd.”

Bramlage talks to [a]listdaily about servicing the new generation of like-minded super-fans, comprised mainly of millennials, by giving them a platform to collect and connect with each other on.

In your words, how would you describe Quidd?

Quidd is an app to collect and trade digital stickers, digital cards, and digital toys. It’s a little bit like a digital toy store on your phone. It might sound silly, but consider the billions of people that send emoji and digital stickers in chat messages each day. We want to serve that market with high-end, limited-edition emoji and sticker content, almost treating it like art or toys to be curated and collected.

How does collecting digital items help fans connect with their favorite shows?

You’re exactly right that we’re helping millennial super-fans connect with the shows they obsess over and love, like Rick and Morty or Bob’s Burgers. But how do we really do that? Well, collecting is far more than just the object. It’s far more than that limited-edition, premium (and hilarious) digital sticker from Rick and Morty that you collect on Quidd and can share in your text messages. It’s the experience around it. It’s meeting like-minded fans that are trying to collect the same thing. It’s hanging out, and geeking out, about the show. There’s a whole social layer to the experience. Think of it as like having Comic Con in your pocket.

What would you say is the appeal of collecting digital items compared to physical ones?

RM_white_1024x512The interesting thing we’re learning is that these are real objects that just happen to be digital. So, it’s a little like comparing reading a novel on a Kindle versus a hardbound book. It’s a similar experience, just more immediate, more frictionless, and we think more heightened. You can trade and exchange items with anyone in the world, instantly, at four in the morning on Quidd. You can’t easily do that with physical items. You can open an endless stream of packs of cards on your phone before you go to bed at night. You just can’t get that immediacy and ability to get more, on-demand, with physical collecting.

Seventy percent of Quidd users have never collected physical stickers, cards, or toys before they purchased their first digital collectible in the app. This includes a disproportionate number of millennial females. What sets us apart is that we’ve built this experience that allows us to tap into the latent need of super-fans, and not just the stereotypical adult male trading card or action figure collector. The app and platform is proving that everyone—young, old, male or female—has an inner geek just waiting to come out.

We’re proving every day that Quidd is expanding the tent of the collecting market by turning super-fans into first-time collectors through a native digital experience and through fun, collectible products like digital stickers.

What can users do with the digital items they collect?

ST_box_openingDigital stickers that you collect on Quidd integrate with our keyboard so you can drag-and-drop them into your iMessage chat messages. Digital cards can be collected and traded and digital toys, like Funko Pop! figures, can be played with and displayed. We’re investing heavily into bringing these stickers, cards and toys to life after you own them on Quidd. So imagine, in the future, building a relationship with a digital doll that you own in the app.

How have you been spreading the word about Quidd?

The app has really been spreading by word-of-mouth in these fan communities. When we launch a new channel like Rick and Morty, the word within that fan base spreads rapidly.

How did the partnership with Cryptozoic to include Adult Swim digital collectibles come together?

Cryptozoic is the preeminent maker of physical collectibles and tabletop games and has been a long-standing partner of Adult Swim and Cartoon Network. It was a no-brainer to take that relationship and the years worth of physical collectibles from Rick and Morty and Adventure Time and recreate that experience digitally. We are very fortunate to have such great partners.

How will the $6.75 million be used to help Quidd expand?

In two ways. First, more and more content is in the pipeline and will be launching on Quidd in the coming months. There is some really exciting big name stuff that you’ll see soon, and the funding will be applied to helping launch this new stuff. Second, the funding will be plowed into even more product development. We’re a technology platform that allows publishers to create, merchandise, and sell collectible digital goods to their fan bases and so it’s imperative that we are continually building the most sophisticated platform possible. We have a roadmap that covers the next half-decade so we’re pushing hard to get that out sooner.


How Legacy Makeup Brands Are Reaching Millennials And Gen Z

Reaching younger consumers as they are initiated into the world of beauty has always been a key focus for legacy beauty brands. After all, they’ve been successfully resonating with consumers across generations for years. Millennials—and now Gen Z—are posing a challenge, however.

Reaching a hyper-social, glued-to-their-phone and fickle demographic has required near-Herculean pivots with products that cater specifically to of-the-moment trends, diversifying the pool of spokespeople brands partner with, working closely with influencers and creating unique branded digital experiences.

Our population is becoming increasingly diverse,” said Laura Brinker, VP, influencer marketing at Coty in a statement to Fortune. Coty has a particularly long history—the company was originally founded in 1904 and now owns a massive portfolio of 77 beauty brands like CoverGirl and Rimmel. “These trends are certainly something millennials have appreciated as they’ve grown up, but they’ll be even more important for Gen Z.”

For CoverGirl, this meant making waves in 2016 by bringing on James Charlesa makeup artist who built his audience entirely on social media—on board as a spokesperson. This signaled to consumers that the brand is recognizing the shifting attitudes of young people regarding gender fluidity and making a statement beauty products are not just for women. Drugstore brand competitor Maybelline then quickly followed suit, announcing a similar partnership with influencer Manny Gutierrez.

Brands are also recognizing that in the days of YouTube makeup tutorials, influencer-created makeup products and the ubiquitous “Instagram Brow,” social media is providing a wellspring of trends and inspiration for the beauty world.

“We know makeup is fun—there are thousands of tutorials about how to create the right look,” said Olay brand director Stephanie Robertson to AList. With YouTube views on beauty-related up 65 percent year-over-year, the impact of influencers is not to be underestimated.

For a beauty brand that has been around since 1963, Mary Kay has long understood the power of influencer marketing with their direct sales approach, and in reaching younger consumers, the brand has continued to leverage this.

“Our Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants continue to evolve with their customers with each new generation,” said Kim Sater, director of US consumer marketing for Mary Kay.

“While we do use influencers to help tell our story, we have found that many of our Beauty Consultants have large followings and are influencers in their own right. They post how-to videos and makeup looks, as well as share about our skin care products,” said Sater.

“Now, a Beauty Consultant might text or send a quick message via Snapchat to let her customers know of a promotion or a new product. Our message and product is really resonating with millennials, especially, and a big percentage of our new consultants are aged 18-24.”

“The new celebrities are the social influencers, and quite honestly some make more money than the people who get Emmy Awards,” said John Demsey, executive group president at Estée Lauder Cos. Inc to LA Times. “If you can deliver an audience and prove that someone can buy your product, you can get paid. As long as that works it will continue to blossom.”

Mobile is also a critical channel for brands to be paying attention to—55 percent of beauty buyers reach for their phones first when it comes to researching new products according to Facebook. Both Olay and Mary Kay have also focused on crafting digital experiences to meet the needs of their customers, paying particular attention to mobile.

For Olay, this materialized with the Olay Skin Advisor tool, which allows customers to create a personalized skincare regimen. The site, which has been built specifically for mobile, has been successful according to Robertson. “To date, we’ve had over one million visits and half the bounce rate of a typical site.”

While the next generation of Mary Kay’s “Beauty Consultants” may focus less on the face-to-face interaction you usually associate with direct sales, the brand has acted to create the closest thing to it via their digital presence with an app for consultants to manage their customer bases and create personal websites.

“Our MyCustomers + app allows them to create orders, easily contact customers, track inventory and more, so they really have all the tools they need right in the palm of their hand.  They can have a personal website, which the company updates for them, so all of their customers can shop 24/7, and they have multiple shipping options which make it easy to service their customers,” said Sater.

Brands are also paying close attention to makeup trends and foresee opportunities to cater to shifting tastes and rapidly-evolving needs via products that fit into the lives of young consumers. Olay’s Robertson noted that the brand has seen a rise in convenience-based skincare, which has led them to reignite their focus on products that deliver performance products in the most convenient way. It’s clear that social media has played a role in accelerating trends and the impact has extended to product development.

“We used to deal in trends that lasted five to 10 years,” said Karen Grant, beauty industry analyst at The NPD Group. “Now, we think it’s a long trend if it lasts 24 months.”

‘Power Rangers’ Movie Gets Some Mighty Morphin’ Marketing

It’s marketing morphin’ time! Saban’s Power Rangers are back in an all-new film—complete with updated cast, story, costume designs and of course, plenty of nostalgia to go around.

Saban’s martial-arts-fighting, power-of-friendship adventures have fascinated audiences of all ages since 1993 with a hit TV show, multiple spin-offs and theatrical films—the last of which just earned a whopping $40.5 million in North American box offices. Lionsgate Entertainment teamed up with IGN to share the star-studded red carpet premiere with fans across Facebook Live in real time. Power Rangers Facebook stickers are available to keep the conversation going.

The official movie app allows fans to bring coloring book images to life and record themselves as “The Might Zordon,” a character from the movie played by Brian Cranston.

Twitch hosted a 17-hour livestream marathon of the original, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV show beginning on March 14—generating over two million video plays, an additional 875,000 unique viewers and 25 million minutes watched . . . all on its first day.

“We knew going into this marathon that Saban’s Power Rangers was a show deeply rooted in the formative years of many of our community,” said Annie Berrones, product marketing director at Twitch in a statement. “Their passion for the show is evident not just in terms of the turnout, but in how they have been celebrating this event with all new memes in chat.”

Heroes from across the franchise’s universe go head-to-head in a new mobile game called, Power Rangers: Legacy Wars. To promote both the game and movie, Ludi Lin, who plays the Black Ranger in the Power Rangers movie and Jason David Frank (the Green and White Ranger from the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) took each other on at the Unity Keynote event from GDC 2017 in San Francisco, California. As an added promotion, attendees were treated to a free ticket to see the movie.

For St. Patrick’s Day, the renowned villain, Rita Repulsa took over the official Power Rangers Twitter account to sling insults at the heroes. Lionsgate partnered with Pantone to let fans discover which color ranger they would be, based on answering a few questions online.

Whether viewers are young or old, new to the franchise or a hardcore fan, Lionsgate made sure to include a bit of colorful hype for everyone.

How MSI Is Delivering A Powerful ESports Experience

Micro-Star International (MSI) is entering its third year of delivering an authentic eSports experience to League of Legends fans. The PC hardware company recently used PAX East in Boston to give fans a chance to be up on stage in front of a vocal crowd with professional casters calling the action in 5-vs-5 gameplay. This particular activation has grown over the years, and it continues to attract long lines at PAX East and PAX West, giving attendees a true taste of what it’s like to be a pro gamer.

Lenny Tang, associate marketing manager at MSI, told [a]listdaily these activations feature five MSI laptops and five MSI desktops, which allows the company to showcase its hardware on stage in a simulated pressure situation. Contestants compete for real prizes, such as MSI graphics cards, in these pro-style tournaments. “Bringing that eSports experience of being on stage is something unique for our fans,” Tang said. “It’s different playing in front of a crowd, and they feel the excitement. They also see the components they’re playing on and they want to bring that home.”

It’s this positive connection with the hardware, aimed at an enthusiastic hardcore PC gaming audience, that’s what bringing more brands into the eSports marketing fold. Having this captive audience lined up at the booth offered MSI the opportunity to unveil the military-themed Camo Squad Limited Edition product series, which includes the Trident 3, the world’s smallest VR ready gaming PC; the Aegis 3, the upgradable and compact desktop gaming PC; the GT83VR, the powerful gaming laptop with dual Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics cards and mechanical SteelSeries keyboard; the GS63 gaming laptop; and a selection of gaming components, including the Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon and B350 Tomahawk motherboards and GeForce GTX 1080 Duke graphics card.

Tang said while the focus to date has been on League of Legends, other games, including Overwatch, could be used in the future. In addition, the eSports experience set-up can be configured for 3- vs-3, 5-vs-5 or 6-vs-6 for different size events. MSI has also used events like Dreamhack and QuakeCon to connect with eSports fans directly.

“Gaming has really taken off with streaming and eSports,” Tang said. “MSI started developing hardware catering towards gamers with graphics cards and motherboards before creating desktops and laptops.”

Tang said what separates the MSI brand from other companies is that it’s always been focused on gamers.

“A lot of the other manufacturers target a broader audience and then started targeting gamers when gaming took off a few years back,” Tang said. “A lot of their hardware and manufacturing process isn’t targeted towards gamers. We know they need cooler temperatures when having the higher speeds. Our laptops have cooler boosts with heat pipes that can draw a lot of heat out of the CPU and GPU. That technology goes across all of our laptops. While Asus and other manufacturers might cut corners and have two heat pipes, we have six to eight heat pipes to make sure they won’t overheat. We’re usually the first to bring out gamer-focused products. We partner with different manufacturers like SteelSeries and Dynaudio to provide the feedback and audio gamers want.”

MSI has also been sponsoring eSports teams like Cloud9 and Fnatic the past three years. “Marketing to these teams speaks directly to the customers we’re trying to target,” Tang said. “A lot of our laptops are focused towards gamers. If the pro teams are sponsored by us and have our products in their videos, individuals watching the pro teams want to be like them and buy the same hardware. Having our brand exposure on their jerseys or having them call us out in interviews speaks a lot about MSI.”

Tang said loaning out laptops to these teams for travel and practice also has other benefits. For example, Fnatic said last year that, while the graphics were great on the laptops, they wanted a higher refresh rate panel. “After Fnatic spoke with MSI product managers, headquarters followed through,” Tang said. “MSI was first to come out with 120Hz panels across all 17-inch laptops.”

Tang said another thing that differentiates MSI from the competition is that it owns the entire chain from production plants to sell-through. This allows the company to implement features gamers want quickly and effortlessly.

“We talk to these gamers and ask them what kind of products and features they like and we take that feedback back to our production team,” Tang said. “Cloud9 talks a lot about the SteelSeries keyboard, which is brighter than most other gaming laptops out there and is easier to see.”

‘Syberia’ Creator Talks About Third Game And The Adventurous Spirit Of Series

Syberia is a steampunk epic centered around the adventures of the main character, Kate Walker, as she travels across Europe and Russia. Beautiful artistry, deep stories, and fantastic elements such as clockwork robots and actual mammoths surviving to the modern era, helped the Syberia franchise emerge as a beloved favorite among the gaming community even at a time when many thought point-and-click puzzle adventure games were going out of style.

It’s been over twelve years since the last game, but fans will be able to continue Kate Walker’s journey when Syberia III launches on April 25 in North America (April 20 in Europe) for PC and console systems, including the Nintendo Switch. Developed and published by French company, Microïds, this will be the first game in the franchise to use full 3D graphics and gameplay, bringing the 20-year-old franchise into a new era. In the third chapter, Kate visits a town called Baranour, which is inspired by the abandoned buildings of Chernobyl, where the remnants of human civilization are taken over by nature.

Benoît Sokal, author and creator of the Syberia series.

Author, artist and Syberia creator, Benoît Sokal, spoke with [a]listdaily through French translators to discuss making Syberia III after such long break from the previous game, and what he thought drove such an enduring and loving fan base for the series.

When asked to describe the new game, Sokal said that, “Syberia III is a kind of re-visitation of the 20th century in Europe, because people love to travel there. Kate Walker is this symbol of girls traveling around Europe for long periods of time.”

Sokal then talked about some of his inspirations for the game. “I’m very interested in the landscape of the USSR because it’s wonderful and awful at the same time—like Chernobyl,” he said. “When I began to make Syberia III, my first idea was Chernobyl. I think it’s the most amazing place in the world because nature is very beautiful. There are many animals—it’s an explosion of life, despite the radiation. It was once a major city, like a Soviet Disney World. After the explosion, nature took back its rights.”

We asked Sokal if he was trying to invoke a sense of nostalgia for late 20th Century Europe with the new game and how that feeling related to the game. “The feel of Syberia is a mix of the fantastic and nostalgia because, for me, Europe is about nostalgia,” he replied. “Kate Walker is wandering around fantastic places that were inspired by European cities. People in Europe during the 20th Century liked to wander around many cities, and Kate Walker represents them. Syberia is based on an old Europe, so it’s more about wandering than [going on] a quest.”

While on the topic of nostalgia, we asked Sokal if it was difficult to get back into the series, especially since it’s been so long since Syberia II released. “Yes, a little, because it’s not the same technology,” he admitted. “I made two other games after Syberia II—Paradise and Sinking Island, so it wasn’t possible for me to make Syberia III. When I began Syberia III, the technology changed to real 3D, so I couldn’t make in the same way I made the first two. With those games, I drew everything in Photoshop, and that’s not possible with 3D. But what I lose in detail, I gain in gameplay.”

Sokal further commented on the change in technology by stating: “For me, the comparison between the first games and Syberia III is like the steam locomotive and the electric train. The last steam locomotive was very beautiful, but it was the end of one technology.”

We also asked Sokal about his approach for attracting a new audience to the Syberia franchise. “I work with young people,” he said simply. “We have discussions and arguments about what to change, because my vision of Syberia is from 20 years ago. The only way give a fresh look to Syberia is to work with young people.” His son, Hugo Sokal, helped write and design Syberia III, turning the game series into a kind of family legacy.

Sokal also gave us his thoughts about what made Syberia such an enduring brand after 20 years. “I think that it’s emotion,” said Sokal. “I tried to make it a very emotional game because I come from a comic book background, and my idea was to write a story in the same way I do a book, by introducing emotion for the player. The most important things to me are story and emotion. People remember with their hearts, not their brains.” Sokal also added that, “Kate Walker is the link between all the games in the saga. In the beginning, she was very meek, but she has evolved across the games.”

We asked Sokal for his thoughts about how Syberia managed to stand out when many thought that adventure games were in decline. “I think people need a story—a real story—and people need emotion,” he said. “It’s a basic need from the beginning of humanity. Even when everyone has a VR headset and things like that, they will need stories. You can make that with an adventure game, but not really with a sports or action game. For me, adventure games are crafted for stories, and it (the genre) is the child of novels and comics. It’s a very good way to tell stories.”

Given the 20-year history of the series, we asked Sokal what he hoped players would come away feeling after they completed Syberia III. Echoing his previous statement about stirring emotion, the artist said simply that he hoped that players will cry. “If they cry, I have a win,” said Sokal. “It’s not important that if it’s a book or a video game. If people cry at the end of the story, then we have a win.”

Dell Technologies Is Rebranding Through Content, Storytelling And Some Magic

When Dell closed a $67 billion merger with EMC last September, it made history by becoming the largest merger in tech history.

In addition to becoming the world’s largest privately controlled tech company, Dell also rebranded into Dell Technologies, a company with seven different subsidiaries aligning allegiances with their PC and hardware brands, which include Dell, Dell EMC, Pivotal, RSA, Virtustream, VMware and SecureWorks.

With a new corporate direction from the edge to the core to the cloud in providing infrastructure for organizations to building their digital future, transforming IT and protecting assets, naturally, Dell Technologies has a new brand message to move across the 180 countries they service.

The company has pegged Westworld actor Jeffrey Wright to play as spokesman in a series of spots that blurs the lines between science and magic and emphasizes the corporation’s clout in computing.

The integrated campaign introduces the brand through cross-screen video and advertising across TV, out-of-home, mobile, desktop, pre-roll and social as well as sponsorship of last week’s Dell Technologies Match Play, and a podcast series with Walter Isaacson. It’s complemented with a new experience on their website where they’re building thought leadership through multimedia content and storytelling that isn’t necessarily about their products, or what they sell, but more about consumers and the challenges they face—and how Dell Technologies is serving up real solutions to their problems.

Liz Matthews, senior vice president of global brand and creative at Dell Technologies, joined [a]listdaily to explain how their campaign is educating consumers, brands and agencies about their new brand ethos.

Liz Matthews, SVP of global brand and creative at Dell Technologies

What is the strategy for Dell Technologies to re-establish the brand in the marketplace?

The launch of the new awareness campaign for Dell Technologies is about making that connection to its family of brands. We definitely want to keep our momentum going with our consumers, gamers and small business clients, but also tell a holistic story from what we can do from consumer to large enterprise, and how we can serve and tee up the device from data all the way up to cloud. So it’s really much more of an end-to-end story introducing the umbrella of brands.

What are the consumer pain points you are trying to solve along in the process?

It’s interesting, because the pain points of consumers and businesspeople are blurring. People want devices that they can engage and play on, but then, they also do a lot of work on it, too. For example, the challenge that people have on protecting their data and security and making sure that their data lives in a cloud somewhere, and they can get it all back—it’s the same for consumers and businesses. That’s going to be a huge focus for us this next year, and how we can solve those problems holistically and really set the stage for amazing and innovative devices.

How are you approaching the marketing of this new strategy?

From a marketing standpoint and strategy, it is absolutely a content-first one. We are starting with that. We have a huge, huge focus on content. As we really started talking to our customers, we understood that transforming businesses and industries is a huge undertaking. It’s not easy. We know that technology makes the world a little more magical, but it’s not magic that makes that transformation happen. We really want to pull back the curtain and make digital transformation real.

Has your branded content approach been successful?

It has. In fact, we’re launching a new podcast series with author Walter Isaacson as one of our hosts to talk about business and industry transformation. It’s really about storytelling. There are no ads in it, and there’s only a slight mention of Dell Technologies. We want people to learn and engage through storytelling—and branded content is a big piece of that, both from the original branded content that we are creating, and the ones where we are partnering with publishers to do it in a native format. … We also create engaging content from an AR and VR perspective that enables people to be entertained, but also how we’re using it with businesses for real practical applications. We look at everything now from the lens of ‘how do we create an experience?’ We partnered with brands who use AR and VR in their marketing, like Jaguar and Landrover for their I-PACE concept car, and were able to supply the technology and partner from a content perspective, too.

Why are brands serving as storytellers so critical, and how do does Dell Technologies plan on evolving its message?

We’re going to continue to think about customers with interactive and multimedia to show how technology enables people to transform and move human progress forward. We don’t want to deviate from that story. Obviously, we still need to sell products, and we’ll continue to do that. But we wholeheartedly feel that the brand has a human aspect—and that aspect is our consumer. There are people behind every move we make, and those are the stories that interest us.

How are you using influencer marketing to amplify your content, and message?

We find influencers to be a huge piece of our marketing mix. Actor Adrian Grenier has been a huge and incredible influencer for us who is aligned to our purpose, and why we exist. It’s about leaving a legacy of good and being able to match our priorities with his priorities, and actually uniting and creating things together that both of us are passionate about. He’s probably the most authentic influencer that we have. In our small business and consumer lines, we absolutely have a number of different influencers like YouTube creators to small business mavens to entrepreneurs that we partner with to tell their story. You’ll see that theme of storytelling a lot. We want to tell the story of our consumers.

How did you introduce the new brand at SXSW earlier this month? How did you measure success?

What we wanted to do in Austin was create experiences in an environment that highlights the best of the best of which we have to offer with our devices by bringing in different elements of our company that still touch and impact consumers. It was the first time we were an official venue at SXSW; it was a place where they can actually touch the products, and play with them, and bring experiences to unexpected places. That included augmented and virtual reality, Dell Canvas, but also have conversations that span the whole portfolio, like panels on the role of security and building a culture around open source for collaboration, and how it’s transforming how we innovate. We measured success by the overall sentiment in the marketplace, and how people were feeling and talking about the brand, and if we were moving the needle. We measured by the trend of our perception. A lot of people know Dell. We want people to know Dell as ‘the new Dell.’ Innovative. Cutting edge. Consumer focused.

Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan