‘Injustice 2’ Hits Comic Con; ‘Farpoint’ Shows Off VR Controller

For this week in video game promotions, comic book heroes prepare for their esports debut, a livestream show is born and a plastic controller has everyone talking.

Injustice 2

The heroes of DC Comics collide in epic fashion with the launch of Injustice 2, and fans are ready to claim their fame. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced the Injustice 2 Championship Series with a combined prize pool of $600,000 that kicks off May 26. Partnering with ESL, Gamelta, Gamestop, Sony and Twitch, gamers will have the chance to show their stuff (and beat the stuffing out of their opponents) on the PS4 across the world.

Injustice 2 battles can be taken on the go thanks to its mobile game counterpart, Injustice 2 Mobile. Those who sign up for the mobile game during the first week of launch receive Catwoman as a special incentive. Since Injustice celebrates the heroes of the DC Universe, Warner Bros. teamed up with YouTube creator, PeanutButterGamer to interact with fans at Silicon Valley Comic Con. A livestreaming series called Bring the Reign kicked off May 8 with the popular gamer interacting with cosplayers and letting them try the mobile game.

As with the original game Injustice: Gods Among Us, DC Comics released a prequel comic to Injustice 2 that delves deeper into the story. “Superman is imprisoned, and it’s up to Batman to put the world back together,” reads the first issue’s official synopsis. “But with Superman’s iron-fisted regime eliminated, other forces rise up to fill the void. And Batman doesn’t have a lot of allies left to help stop them.” Tom Taylor returns as a writer for the second Injustice comic book tie-in series.


Impulse Gear’s VR first-person shooter has been the poster child for Sony’s PSVR and the biggest launch for the platform thus far. Leading up to the big launch day, Sony has been giving fans behind-the-scenes looks into the world, gameplay and, of course, its fancy new controller.

The PlayStation VR Aim controller was developed specifically for use with Farpoint, but demonstrates its immersive capabilities for future VR titles. One of the biggest draws of the FPS genre is multiplayer—so to get players hyped for an FPS in VR, Sony invited members of the press for a private showcase of upcoming PSVR titles, including Farpoint. Stories soon poured in across the internet about how immersive, fun and challenging multiplayer mode is most importantly, how well the controller works.

Singleplayer mode has been shown at previous events such as E3—but surprisingly, the multiplayer mode was not announced until a few weeks before the game’s launch. Sony offers a Farpoint bundle that includes the PSVR Aim Controller, or both game and controller may be purchased separately.

Expedia Transports Mobile Users To Destinations In 360-Degree Video

Expedia has partnered with the San Antonio Tourist Board to create a virtual mini-vacation across its websites. “My Day In San Antonio” allows users to choose from a variety of hot spots around the city such as The Alamo, the zoo and even a Tex-Mex dinner. Once a location has been chosen, the user is transported there via a brief 360-degree video. The ads may be viewed in a browser or with a VR headset for further immersion. On mobile, the ads respond to multiple phone sensors including the gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer.

Wendy Olson Killion, global senior director at Expedia Media Solutions joined AListDaily to share insight into the campaign and which travel industry trends marketers need to know.

Expedia 360Expedia Media Solutions is the company’s advertising arm and the team responsible for Hawaii’s facial recognition campaign, “Discover Your Aloha.” We asked Olson Killion why 360-degree video was chosen to showcase San Antonio as opposed to other technologies available.

“[360-degree video] really puts the consumer in the mindset of being in that destination,” she told AListDaily. “It’s in between beautifully-produced video and true virtual reality, but it gives the consumer control. They can control what they want to look at when they want to look at it. In this instance, there are hot spots that they can click on throughout so they can kind of choose their own travel adventure as they are doing this. The output is a kind of personal itinerary that [users can] book if they wanted to. I think the difference is really that immersive control and personalization of that experience.”

While Expedia is no stranger to 360-degree video experiences—having produced ads for Australia and Norway—”My Day In San Antonio” is the first interactive ad of its kind for the company.

“We’ve never used this technology for any other campaigns or any other cities,” Olson Killion said. “We are always looking for ways of pushing the technology just a bit beyond the bounds. ‘Discover Your Aloha’ was the first in class to use that facial recognition software in a browser. Now we use gyroscopes and accelerometers on mobile—we’re always looking for different combinations and different ways of using technologies . . . we are a technology company first and foremost in the awesome world of travel.”

“My Day In San Antonio” launched on May 1 and will run through September. It may be too early to share metrics, but Expedia Media Solutions is ready to take on any challenges that pop up along the way.

“The feedback has been really good,” said Olson Killion, “[but] we always look to and learn and optimize. If we see something in the campaign where the results aren’t as strong as we would expect, we would look at what we’ve learned from the campaign thus far and optimize it based on data and other hypotheses. We always want to make sure we’re getting good results for every partner.”

Travel brands have proven to be eager adopters of new technology and Expedia plans to stay at the forefront of marketing trends, especially as they appeal to young consumers.

“We definitely feel that VR and AR are going to be more accessible and more affordable, allowing marketers to bring [virtual travel] experiences to life, raising awareness for their products and destinations,” explained Olson Killion. “One of the other big trends we see is personalization through data. Data is very, very important to us. Consumers are expecting content experiences that are personalized to their needs and travel brands will need to use data such as sophisticated targeting in combination with new technologies to create personalized offerings, itineraries, etc. that appeal to specific audiences.”

Could virtual reality vacations replace the travel industry? Olson Killion doesn’t think so. “[VR] can help educate, it can inspire but it can’t replace the authentic feel of being in a destination and really doing some of these experiences.

“I love my job, I love what we do, I love the space and being able to marry technology with travel for the betterment of the world—it’s really cool.”

Hasbro Gaming Crate Will Deliver Fun This Summer

Hasbro is looking to liven up the summer with its Hasbro Gaming Crate service. With it, users can choose between two plans: The Party Game Crate or The Family Game Crate. Similar to subscription services such as Loot Crate and others, Hasbro will send subscribers boxes full of never-before-seen board and card games—curated by professionals to maximize the fun factor—four times a year.

Jonathan Berkowitz, senior vice president of marketing, Hasbro Gaming
Jonathan Berkowitz, senior vice president of marketing, Hasbro Gaming

In describing the service to AListDaily, Hasbro Gaming’s senior vice president of marketing, Jonathan Berkowitz said, “Hasbro Gaming is introducing the Hasbro Gaming Crate subscription service. Subscribers can choose to receive either a Party Game themed crate or a Family Game themed crate and each crate will bring consumers three curated games selected by Hasbro Gaming experts, conveniently delivered right to their door. Subscribers will receive one crate per quarter, priced at $49.99 per crate plus shipping, charged automatically when the crate ships.”

With the rise of services such as Loot Crate, Hasbro believes that this is the opportune time to launch its own crate. “Given the momentum of our gaming business and the appetite we’re seeing from consumers for trying new games, we felt the time was right to offer a subscription service for our fans,” said Berkowitz. “We wanted to make it easy for families and other game fans to receive and try new games.”

What can subscribers expect from the two subscription plans? “Subscribers will see a wide range of play styles—from card games to cooperative games to party games—all meant to bring people together for a great time. The Party Game Crate will contain games that are fun to play and entertaining for adults. Some games will have more edgy content, as they are meant for adults of all ages; college, young adults or parents who have a night off without the kids. The Family Game Crate will contain games that are fun for many members of the family. The games should be easy to understand by both kids and adults, and enjoyed by both.”

Don’t expect traditional Hasbro games such as Monopoly to appear in any of the crates. “Fans will be able to experience different types of games,” Berkowitz explained. “Each crate will include games that are new to the Hasbro Gaming portfolio that have been carefully selected by our gaming experts.” Furthermore, there currently aren’t any plans to base any of the crates on any of Hasbro’s brands such as Transformers or My Little Pony. Berkowitz said, “We currently don’t have games based on Hasbro brands, but are open to it if we identify the right game that we feel will appeal to fans of the Hasbro Gaming Crate.”

Hasbro has clearly been making all the right moves, as its stock has been doing extremely well. The company’s CEO, Brian Goldner, revealed the secret behind Hasbro’s success in an interview with Mad Money: “It’s all about engaging the consumer across storytelling and innovation, a lot of digital engagement. We do it all around the world.”

Hasbro_quote_Jonathan Berkowitz2

We asked Berkowitz how the game crate subscription service fit into this strategy and surrounded Hasbro’s audience with storytelling. “We are very connected to our consumers around the world, and everything we do at Hasbro is based in insights and learning about what our consumers want to see from us,” replied Berkowitz. “Storytelling with our games is about giving our consumers gaming experiences that are fun to play and fun to watch. Plus, each crate will be themed and curated. We look forward to subscribers sharing their stories when they unbox Hasbro Gaming Crates.”

Berkowitz then discussed how they are getting the word out about the Hasbro Gaming Crate to fans. “We will be promoting the service through digital media buys, social media and publicity starting this summer when the crate launches,” said Berkowitz.

Is this the start of a growing trend for Hasbro? Can we expect a Hasbro Toy Crate at some point in the future? Berkowitz doesn’t give a definite confirmation, but he did say, “We’re always open to expanding based on what we are hearing from our consumers and our fans, but right now we’re focused on the Hasbro Gaming Crate service.”

Wargaming’s ‘World Of Tanks’ Grand Finals Heads To Moscow

Wargaming has expanded the culmination of its two-part 2017 World of Tanks esports season to include seven days of Wargaming.net League (WGL) competition in Moscow. After holding the past three Grand Finals in Warsaw, Poland, Wargaming is moving its pinnacle event to Russia—which also happens to be the home country for the studio and the largest World of Tanks player community.

Chris Karlewicz, a former professional World of Tanks player who now heads up North American esports at Wargaming, told AListDaily that this change of venue to Moscow was to see what a major event would look like in a place with a population that’s 10 times that of Warsaw in front of the largest World of Tanks fan base on the planet. Over course of seven days, 12 teams will compete in group stages on May 23 and 24 at an offsite Moscow location before the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals move to the 12,000-seat VTB Ice Palace, which will be turning into a World of Tanks battlefield. Up for grabs is $300,000 in prize money.

“The Russian audience has millions of more players than we do in the US,” Karlewicz said. “This will be a good event for World of Tanks in general, and for WGL.”

With ESL as Wargaming’s production partner, the Grand Finals has grown over the years in Warsaw from a 750-seat movie theater to a 4,000-seat Civic Center, to a 10,000-seat arena last year. Wargaming is planning for a massive live audience by setting up a JumboTron in the parking lot outside the VTB Ice Palace to accommodate fans. There will also be real tanks stationed around the arena, which has become a tradition for the event.

Facebook and Russian telecom company Rostelecom are the two primary sponsors of this year’s Grand Finals, marking an expansion into non-endemic companies. Facebook Live will livestream the Grand Finals for the first time. There will be a dozen teams competing in the event, including Oops The Tough Giraffes (EU), DiNG (EU), eClipse (NA), Team Efficiency (APAC), Natus Vincere G2A (CIS), Kazna Kru (EU), EL Gaming (APAC), YaTo Gaming (China), Not So Serious (CIS), Tornado Energy (CIS), Brain Storm (CIS) and Elevate (NA). Karlewicz said these teams are attracting many brands, noting that some team shirts are completely full on the back with sponsors eager to target this hardcore PC gaming crowd.

Wargaming’s free-to-play game has over 150 million registered players across the globe. That fanbase turned the game, which wasn’t originally designed for esports, into a competitive game organically. “We have an interesting storyline because we didn’t come out of the gate saying, ‘let’s be an esport and fill stadiums,’” Karlewicz said. “We have a viral, sticky audience that loves what we’re doing, and this year we’ve seen new fans come over to watch WGL.”

Wargaming has been targeting the US audience with humorous television commercials, including a Super Bowl spot this year, as well as digital spots. Karlewicz said that’s helped attract new eyeballs to the game, as well as esports.

“On a whole, World of Tanks was getting the word out, and more people were finding out about the game and the esports side,” Karlewicz said. That’s also happening across the EU and CAS regions, where an audience outside of the diehard “tankers” are watching livestreams.

“We have a better understanding of how to present the league in a way that’s geared toward outsider views instead of just catering to the homegrown guys,” he continued. “We’re using Facebook Live, outside media and more social media to grow the fanbase.” During the Moscow event, viewers at home can participate in social media contests and streams, winning prizes and gifts from Wargaming and its partners.

Karlewicz said another key driver in esports engagement has been the WGL Fantasy League. For the North American audience, there’s a dedicated site designed for deep engagement. “While all of the regions have their own Fantasy Leagues, ours has a lot of stats and metadata that has built up a community of fans that play and chat and win lots of prizes,” Karlewicz said. Those prizes have ranged from in-game currency and skins, to Need for Seat World of Tanks gaming chairs, to trips to the Grand Finals.

Wargaming also changed up the rules for competitive play and added a new Attack/Defense mode that has forced players to move around. “Matches are no longer 14 guys staring at each other,” Karlewicz said. “They’re more entertaining to watch because players will flip over tanks and use them as barricades and change up their tactics and strategies.”

Those who attend the event will find more direct engagement with players than in the past with scheduled autograph sessions and Q&As. There will also be virtual reality demos for attendees to be on the battlefield during World of Tanks combat. Karlewicz said the addition of emblems in the game to represent the league opens the door for teams to have stickers in the game in the future. Wargaming headquarters is working on this initiative on a multi-level and multi-region scope. Valve, ESL and pro teams have all profited from the sale of in-game stickers in CS:GO through esports events over the years, so the groundwork for success is there.

Mobile App ‘Infield Chatter’ Strikes Social Chord With MLB Players And Fans

The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) has shortened the bridge between players and fans with its new Infield Chatter mobile social community. The platform already has over 1,000 players on board, interacting with a global fan base about baseball, hobbies and other topics. It’s been designed to streamline the interactions baseball players previously engaged with across social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.

The free app is available on Google and Apple devices, offering major leaguers a new social platform to share unique content to their Infield Chatter accounts, including behind-the-scenes photos and videos that offer fans a more in-depth perspective of the players they cheer for all season long. Players share snippets of who they are away from the ballparks, taking fans inside their everyday lives by sharing interests, hobbies, and personal stories.

Timothy Slavin, MLBPA chief of business affairs, joined AListDaily to talk about this new form of social interaction.

What role have you seen the growth of social media play in helping the sport of baseball grow and connect with fans around the world?

Baseball players have a grueling schedule, so social media is a great way for them to stay in touch with fans while they’re on the go. And because social posts are best when raw and not “produced,” it makes it easier for fans to see the personalities and range of emotions behind the game faces observed on the field. In terms of the reach, social media doesn’t know any geographic boundaries. That’s good for us because of the global nature of our sport. After all, almost 30 percent of our guys on Opening Day rosters are from a country outside the United States. We want all of our fans, wherever they are, to feel like they’re as close to the game as possible.

How did the idea for Infield Chatter come about?

It really came from the players themselves. They asked us to find a way for them to better connect with fans, keeping in mind their schedule and playing commitments. A social media platform was a natural fit, especially given how more fans of all ages are so closely connected to their phones.

What void do you see Infield Chatter filling that current social media platforms leave open?

Infield Chatter is specialized for baseball fans, both serious and casual. Other social platforms definitely provide fans with opportunities to talk baseball, but only when mixed into broader discussions, and rarely bringing the players themselves into the discussion. We plan to be a deeper and richer engagement compared to anyone else. Separate from that, we know people naturally gravitate to others who have similar interests or backgrounds, so we think this platform will provide a built-in social ecosystem fans will enjoy. We think we’re on the front end of a change in the way people will consume social. Just like print media (Time, Newsweek) and broadcast media (CBS, NBC, ABC) started out targeting large audiences, and later evolved to specialized content for specialized audiences (Field and Stream (print), House Beautiful (print); Food Network (TV), Animal Planet (TV)), we think social media will evolve that way, too.

How are you seeing MLB players focus on Infield Chatter while also engaging with established fan bases on traditional social media platforms?

We’ve just started, so guys are getting used to the platform. Many players will continue using other platforms for a time, but they’ll gradually gravitate to Infield Chatter as the best place to share their special and unique content with fans. A big reason we think this is because we’ve got a moderator to eliminate any trolls. It’ll come as no surprise to anyone that lots of players (and other celebrities) have concerns about the amount of trolling and negativity that happens elsewhere in social media.

What types of contests and competitions do you see Infield Chatter opening up for fans and what types of prizes do these open up?

We’ll have funniest video competitions, “double-dare-you” challenges between players, best impressions, karaoke competitions, trivia competitions. You name it. We expect to run everything from silly challenges to academic ones. Prizes can include cash, electronic devices, signed memorabilia, gift cards, “meet-the-player” opportunities, and tickets to events and games.

How are you seeing something as simple as a digital fist bump connecting MLB players with fans?

The overwhelmingly positive response from the fans to the fist bump was a surprise to many of the guys. The fans are really positive about it because they realize it means players are watching, and enjoying what they post. It makes things feel more personal, for sure. We’ve talked to a number of players about that feature, actually. They love it.

What type of real-time interactions are you seeing between baseball players and fans through this platform?

The AMAs have been great. It’s been fun to watch because the players and fans get into it. I never know what to expect from the questions or the answers!

Can you talk about the partnership with Honeycommb and how that company’s history of connecting with Lady Gaga’s global fan base has helped the MLBPA?

Sure. We selected Honeycommb as a partner because they have people with terrific experience succeeding in this space. The model proved itself with Lady Gaga’s platform, which was important for us in making the final decision to go with Honeycommb.

How was the MLBPA involved in the development of this app and its features?

We are in the trenches, but we’ve got partners who are experienced experts guiding us in the right direction. In terms of the day-to-day, the people with the relevant subject matter expertise tend to lead discussions in their respective areas, and then we try to make decisions together.

When you look at MLBAM, that tech company began with a focus on baseball and now covers multiple sports, as well as esports. What bigger picture opportunity do you see with Honeycommb?

There are tremendous opportunities to expand down the road, but we are not focused on that. We’re focused on getting this right—now. We want to walk before we run. As a start-up, we have to be patient because we understand some things take time.

How do you see this app evolving as feedback from fans is received? For example, multiple fans are asking for the ability to follow a specific player’s feed.

The good news is that we have control to make changes. If the fans want it, we intend to get it for them. For some changes, it may take a little time. For others, we can react instantaneously. And we’ll want to get the fans what they want whenever possible. After all, this whole thing started because of the fans.

Today’s youth is social media savvy. What role do you see Infield Chatter playing in introducing new fans to baseball at a young age? 

Infield Chatter meets them where they are. And through it, they’ll get everything on and off the field. They’ll have a renewed sense of how fun baseball is. And how they can get to know their favorite players much better than they will through a post-game interview or box score. We expect it’ll make going to the park that much cooler.

While the app is free, what type of revenue opportunities do you see this new social media platform opening up?

That’s not top of mind for us right now, but we’re always aware of costs. In the end, we’ve got to pay for this thing, and we know brands are asking us about commercial opportunity. So at the right time, we’ll need to consider advertising or sponsorship sales.

How do you see Infield Chatter helping the MLBPA brand as well as the brands of the 1,000 players who are active on this platform?

I don’t think it’s about the MLBPA. It’s really about the players. And they’ll feel closer from the fan perspective. Guys’ll be more human. And in some ways more relatable. That’s great for the game.

Going Behind-The-Scenes With Tumi’s ‘Perfect Journey’ Short Film

Premium luggage and accessory maker Tumi has been associating its brand with The Perfect Journey for quite some time, where people tell personal stories about travel while showcasing its suitcases. The mix of personalities, gorgeous locations and stories matches perfectly with the travel products. Recently, the Perfect Journey campaign was extended to include a competition where 10 filmmakers were selected to tell their travel stories and how the Tumi 19 Degree suitcases were part of those adventures. All 10 short films can be viewed now on YouTube and Tumi’s dedicated web page, The 19 Degree Experience.

Minos Papas, filmmaker, writer, director and producer at Cyprian Films, New York
Minos Papas, filmmaker, writer, director and producer at Cyprian Films, New York

Minos Papas, filmmaker, writer, director and producer at Cyprian Films, New York is one of those 10 creators, and his short Perfect Journey film focused on a pair of professional dancers—Denys Drozdyuk and Antonina Skobina—as they traveled from New York City to Mexico, showing their moves at picturesque locations.

“It was sort of like a road movie,” said Papas, recounting the making of the film, which was a journey in itself that took his crew to a small fishing village in Mexico, through tiny oasis towns, to beautifully colored bus stops and even on a 15 mile stretch through a cactus forest.

When asked how he became involved with Tumi, Papas explained: “I was approached by the Tribeca Film Festival, which reached out to all its alumni filmmakers from its short film department because I had a film in Tribeca in 2013 called, A Short Film About Guns. It was a documentary about the global arms trade and the need for an arms trade treaty that won best online short in 2013.

So, they reached out to their alumni for this competition by Tumi. I worked together with my fiancée, Liz Sargent, and we sent in a proposal that featured two ballroom dancers, Denys and Antonina, who are two-time US ballroom dance champions. We were selected along with nine others to make an up-to-three-minute spot for Tumi featuring its new Tumi 19 Degree suitcase.”

When asked whether Tumi provided any instructions or directions for how the bag should be presented, Papas said, “No, they left it very open, which was great. They had already started a series of films with producers Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, and they had made five or six films by the time of the competition. That provided a sort of guideline for us, but basically, the concept was that each filmmaker had to propose a personality to follow. We selected these two ballroom dancers because they tour the world, travel a lot, live out of their suitcases, and wear these amazing costumes that they transport in those suitcases, so we thought it was a perfect fit. Tumi also gave us a title, The Perfect Journey, and that is a title that is at the head of every film in the series.”

Papas further described working with Tumi. “Tumi gave us a lot of freedom,” he said. “In my experience with this project, I was afforded pretty much carte blanche to do whatever I wanted within the confines of what I had proposed and what they had approved. It was a great experience, and I think Tribeca and Tumi deserve credit for picking up filmmakers from all over the country and giving them this opportunity.”

So, how did Papas become connected with the dance couple? “The cool thing is that it was totally random,” said Papas. “When you live in New York, you’re surrounded by so many talented people. We had been forwarded an email from a friend of a friend asking if there are any filmmakers who were willing to work with these two amazing ballroom dancers. That coincided with the competition, so Liz and I met up with Denys and Antonina, went for coffee, and just hit it off.”

When describing the short film, Papas said, “I like to call it a documentary-style spot or documentary-style film. We didn’t want to showcase the suitcase in a way that was unnatural or contrived. We really did use it in a way that the dancers do and it was more about these two. I was more intrigued with this couple than I was with the suitcase, because they’re people and they’re amazing dancers. We put them in situations that aren’t typical for ballroom dancers. They tour the world and perform at the highest level at gala competitions all over the world, but we took them to a tiny fishing village in Baja, Mexico called El Sargento. There, we had them perform for school children—most of them had probably never left that village and had never seen live ballroom dancing before—and the kids just loved it.

It was very much about the dancers, bringing dance to those who have not experienced it in that way, and removing the elitism from the whole dance scene.”

With that being said, does Papas consider his Perfect Journey film a kind of commercial? “I didn’t want it to feel like a commercial,” he said, “I wanted it to feel like we were visiting a small slice of life from these two performers. Even though it does feature a commercial item, I feel that it is more of a film than a spot. I think that if someone watches it, they’ll enjoy it for that factor. It’s not really about pushing the suitcase, even though the suitcase is there.”

Papas then discussed how importance authenticity is to brands such as Tumi. “I’m excited that lots of other brands can watch this and the other nine shorts because it’s a great idea, and I think more brands should be doing it,” he said. “The less contrived it is, the better. We’ve seen certain soda and beer brands try to do things that are very contrived and it just doesn’t work. People are smart to that, and being contrived can be very insulting. So, Tumi’s approach was really spot-on—bringing real-life characters in—and I encourage everybody to go see all the films on YouTube or Tumi’s site because they are all unique and don’t feel contrived at all.

“I think more brands should take advantage of filmmakers like me and the others involved in this competition. We can bring them very interesting stories to further their online campaigns.”

Sony Pictures Names Tony Vinciquerra New CEO

Veteran media and entertainment executive Tony Vinciquerra has been named the chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Vinciquerra, who formerly led Fox Networks for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., will be based in Los Angeles and take the reins beginning June 1. He replaces former studio chief Michael Lynton, who stepped down from the company in January after Sony Pictures dealt with a series of box office busts and devastating blows—most notably the crippling cyberattack that exposed private emails and internal documents of the company.

“Tony is a proven, results-oriented leader with extensive experience running and driving growth in large, complex media and entertainment businesses,” Sony Corp. CEO Kazuo Hirai said in a statement. “His operating skills, effectiveness working with creative teams and expertise in managing digital disruption and new technologies make him the perfect choice to lead SPE, and build on the studio’s turnaround efforts to date.”

“I am thrilled to be joining SPE at such an exciting and dynamic time for the studio, and for the industry as a whole,” said Vinciquerra. “Everything about how we produce, distribute and consume content is changing, and I see tremendous opportunities working with the enormously talented teams at SPE, Sony Corp. and the other Sony companies. I want to thank Kaz for giving me this opportunity and I look forward to hitting the ground running.”

“Tony’s breadth of experience spanning media, tech and entertainment will enable him to expertly lead SPE and its multi-faceted lines of business,” said Lynton. “After 13 extraordinary years, I know SPE, its strengths and its culture, and I am confident that Tony will make a terrific leader who will take the studio to new heights.”

Dave Peck, a veteran PayPal executive, is switching jobs, and industries, by taking on the chief marketing officer role at Kind Financial, a cannabis company that specializes in end-to-end technology and compliance solutions. Peck previously worked as PayPal’s global head of social and digital media marketing.

According to a job posting on LinkedIn, Amazon Studios has plans to build apps for augmented and mixed reality headsets, per a report by Variety.

Sennheiser has appointed Pete Ogley as chief operating oOfficer for the consumer electronics division.

Biz Stone, one of the co-founders of Twitter who left the social platform in 2011, said that he’s returning to the company. A defined role was not announced.

Peter Stringer has been appointed as UFC’s global vice president of social media.

David Krane, a veteran Google executive, has joined MGM’s board of directors.

Fiji Airways announced the appointment of Marc Cavaliere as CMO.

Ivan Pollard, Coca-Cola’s head of North American media operations, is leaving his post at the soft-drink giant.

(Editor’s Note: This post will be updated daily until Friday, May 19. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.)

Job Vacancies 

Director, Strategic Marketing Aetna Sunrise, FL
Senior Marketing Director ScopeMedia Inc. Vancouver, BC
Director of Marketing Entertainment Benefits Group Aventura, FL
Director of Content Marketing Fusion 360 Salt Lake City, UT
Vice President, Marketing WOOPS! New York, NY
Director, Digital & Marketing Walgreens Chicago, IL
Senior Director, Small Business Marketing Indeed Austin, TX
Marketing Director Tagkast Chicago, IL

Make sure to check back for updates on our Jobs Page.

Here’s How Marketers Are Benefiting From Beacons

Consumers have an intimate relationship with smartphones—we rely on them for everything from communication to research, productivity to shopping and hours of heads-down entertainment to avoid human contact.

Newzoo forecasts 2.6 billion people in the world will have a smartphone this year, with China and India alone accounting for more than one billion users. To connect with these consumers, more and more brands are turning to beacons—proximity marketing—that beam information directly to a mobile app once within range.

What Are Beacons?

Unlike the GPS-or-FourSquare-using Pokémon GO—which uses its own proprietary system—beacons are small, Bluetooth radio transmitters that emit specific information once a device (like a smartphone) is nearby. Mobile apps designed to recognize the specific beacon signals then relay that information to the user and this technology works especially well for detecting consumers inside buildings.

IBeacon is Apple’s technology standard, which allows mobile apps (running on both iOS and Android devices) to listen for signals from beacons in the physical world, and react accordingly. When a consumer using a discount shopping app, for example, approaches a beacon inside a department store, they may receive push notifications offering exclusive deals or provide additional information about a product.

Who Uses Beacons?

Right now, beacons are everywhere. In fact, Android devices pull more than 40 billion queries for beacon-related content from Google services every year. More than four million beacons are already installed in retail locations, and last year proximity marketers Proxbook predicted that at least a million more would be installed in the US alone. Major retailers currently using beacons include Rite Aid, Barnes & Noble, Macy’s and Target.

13570805343_e6deb57644_z“We just see a great upside in using beacons to enrich the one-to-one experience with our customers,” said Gerard Babitts, Rite Aid’s senior director of digital marketing, during a panel at Toshiba’s Retail Innovation & Shopper Expertise Symposium (RISE), per GeoMarketing. “And if they’re in our stores, our customers don’t browse: they are very purposeful about what they want. The dwell time isn’t that great and it’s not the point. When someone is in our store, we want to make it as great an experience as possible, which means getting them directly what they want as quickly as possible. Beacons can help us do that.”

Measurable Data

Every marketer knows that without data, appealing to consumers and measuring a campaign’s success would be a mystery. One of the great benefits to using proximity marketing through beacons is measurable data. Either a consumer interacts with the beacon or they don’t, eliminating guess work.

To promote the company’s partnership with the James Bond film Spectre, Heineken used beacons that communicated with apps like Checkpoints that raised awareness and verified when consumers were inside a retail location. The campaign through inMarket produced 200,000 in-store and point-of-sale engagements and an estimated $320,000 in direct revenue.

Swirl, a proximity marketing platform, found that over the holiday season last year, mall-based specialty retailers saw a 41 percent increase in average basket size, and a 36 percent increase in mall-to-store traffic conversion rates.

Thinking Outside Retail

Beyond working well in a retail environment, proximity marketing provides valuable information to consumers. Bluetooth Facebook beacons allow visitors to learn more about a local business on the social network, prompting them to “like” and check-in, view or make recommendations and more.

Thirty-five percent of the top 20 American airports have deployed beacons offering information to travelers, such as in-flight entertainment, navigation and shopping experiences.

For the game BattlekastersArtifact Technologies uses Bluetooth beacons strategically placed around fan conventions. Users search for certain locations to collect cards, set traps and be the first to achieve an objective.

The Nearby function on Android devices uses beacons to recommend helpful apps based on location. For example, users can access an audio tour while at The Broad museum in Los Angeles, print photos from a phone at a nearby CVS pharmacy or access free in-flight entertainment before boarding United Airlines.

Whether you call it geomarketing, proximity marketing or just plain “beacons,” the industry is worth an estimated $40 billion, according to Proxbook, and it will continue to grow as long as consumers seek instant information about the worlds around them.

China Watched 11 Billion Esports Video Streams Last Year

This week in marketing news, we see how TV consumption has evolved, marketers turn to social media for their digital video needs and—holy Samsung, Batman—that’s a whole lot of VR headsets.

Eyeballs And Esports

Are you ready for VR? Samsung sure is. According to analyst firm SuperData, Samsung’s Gear VR headset was the most shipped VR headset in the first quarter of 2017, selling 782,000 units. Coming in a distant second is the PlayStation VR (375,000) followed by Google Daydream (170,000), HTC Vive (95,000) and Oculus Rift (64,000).

China now accounts for 57 percent of the world’s consumption of esports videos, according to research from IHS Markit. Esports is expected to become a $1 billion advertising industry by 2021, with video driving the lion’s share of revenues along with influencer marketing and sponsorship. Last year, advertising in esports totaled around $280 million globally, IHS reported. The number of video streams delivered in China totaled 11.1 billion in 2016, with the second largest market—North America—providing 2.7 billion video streams.

Trends To Watch

Consumers love their video content, regardless of what device they’re played on. Case in point—the watch time of TV channels on YouTube has increased 50 percent in the last year, YouTube revealed during its Newfronts presentation. In addition, watch time of YouTube content on TV screens has doubled year-over-year.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau released a new study on TV consumption trends in the US. The Changing TV Experience: 2017 revealed that 56 percent of US adults own a streaming-enabled TV—a 56 percent rise from just two years ago. Of those streaming-enabled TV owners, half say they prefer watching commercials over having to pay for ad-free subscriptions when streaming video on TV, up 14 percent over 2015. Forty-four percent said that commercials during digital video are less intrusive than those during traditional linear programming.

Short-form pre-roll ads may see some investment in the next few months, but not so much for livestreaming. According to April research by Trusted Media Brands, of the US agency and marketing professionals polled who are involved in digital or mobile advertising and who place digital video pre-roll ad campaigns, 58 percent said they “definitely will” use short-form pre-roll in the next six months. More than a quarter (28 percent) of respondents said they “definitely will” invest in live stream formats in the next six months, but almost as many (27 percent) said they “definitely will not.”

Socially Reliable

Sixty-eight percent of marketers believe social platforms are the most important partners for digital video campaigns, according to a new study by Advertiser Perceptions on behalf of Trusted Media Brands. According to respondents, 59 percent give social media the highest marks for delivering on engagement, ROI (39 percent) and customer service (38 percent). Advertisers plan to allocate 28 percent of their overall budgets to digital video, a three percent increase from last June.

PR, Please

We’ve all seen a few brands (who shall remain nameless) who could definitely use some good PR right about now, but companies are investing more on internal PR than external, one report shows. Findings by the Association of National Advertisers and the USC Center for Public Relations at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism revealed that 62 percent of respondents plan to increase internal public relations staffing over the next five years.

Twenty-five percent said they planned to increase overall spending on PR over the next five years and a full 75 percent said they planned to do the same over the current year.

Mother’s Day Marketing Gets Creative; Spending Expected To Reach $23.6B

Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate family—with gifts, of course—and spending is expected to reach a record-breaking $23.6 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Warm Greetings

Around 133 million Mother’s Day cards are exchanged each year in the US, and nearly 78 percent of NRF survey participants plan on including a card in their celebrations on Sunday.

Hallmark is making a push to drive awareness among millennials with a new campaign called “Every Mom has a Signature.” The ad, backed by Meghan Trainor’s song “Mom,” introduces Hallmark’s new Signature line complete with 24 new Mother’s Day designs. In addition, the company is rolling out a collection of premium Signature cards in Spanish.


American Greetings took the idea of a signature even further with its campaign, “Give Meaning.” Inspired by a true story, the ad portrays a young woman getting her first tattoo. Rather than a rose or a name, the woman gets a simple, hand-written phrase—”keep shining”—which as it turns out was written by her deceased mother in a birthday card. The emotional ad drives a powerful message about the deep, long-lasting meaning a greeting card can be.


Love In Bloom

Of course, flowers are a tradition for the holiday as well, with 68.5 percent planning to shower mom with bouquets. A survey by FTD found that 76 percent of mothers prefer flowers (76 percent) over plants (64 percent), jewelry (44 percent) and candy (42 percent) if they were to choose their own gifts. Second only to Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day is a top-selling day for florists.

Floral delivery service Teleflora is running a campaign called “Just Like Her” that focuses on all the traits we learn from our mothers. Using the hashtag #ImJustLikeHer, the company is encouraging family members to share what they’ve learned from courage to compassion or even stubbornness across Twitter through Sunday. Last year’s campaign “One Tough Mother” has been viewed over 6.8 million times.


Taste The Togetherness

There’s a reason people claim their recipe is “just like mom used to make”—we tie strong, emotional bonds to food, especially food prepared for us in our youth.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is celebrating when motherhood doesn’t always go right by teaming up with Melissa Mohr, author of Holy Sh*T: A Brief History of Swearing. “Swear Like a Mother” embraces the idea that moms sometimes need to swear, and that’s okay. Mohr offers some alternative swear words moms can use around the little ones but when it’s been one of those days—specially marked boxes of Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese include a pair of ear plugs.


Mother’s Day is a great excuse to give mom a break on cooking, and the NRF found that over half (55.9 percent) of respondents plan on taking her out for a special outing such as dinner.

KFC is celebrating mom on its busiest day of the year with a spicy little romance novella called “Tender Wings of Desire.” This hilarious marketing push stars Colonel Sanders as a sailor with a mysterious past who falls into a passionate love affair with a woman named Madelyn. The 92-page book is available for free on Amazon, but 100 fans on Facebook will have the chance to win dinner and a hard copy of the book.

Moms Know Messes

Brawny teamed up with four real families and strapped Snapchat Spectacles to their children to illustrate motherhood from a child’s point of view. Over the course of four days, these kids made a lot of messes—illustrated in the ad called, “Once a Mother, Always a Giant.”

“In celebration of Mother’s Day this year, we wanted to honor the strength and resilience that mothers rely on to overcome their daily challenges,” Gary Gastel, senior brand director at Brawny, told Adweek. “As a brand that has been an icon of strength, we felt Brawny could help bring attention to that unparalleled resilience.”

Don’t Forget Dad

FTD found that only six percent of dads thought they should buy a Mother’s Day gift, compared to 47 percent of moms. However, men who do give on Mother’s Day spend an average of $54 more than their female counterparts. Of all the people (besides children) mom gets gifts from this time of year, husbands still come in at No. 1—albeit at 20 percent.

Men are also more emotionally impacted by video ads, studies show.

“Dad is about 20 percent more likely to engage with a digital video ad [compared to other consumers],” Devra Prywes, senior vice president of marketing and insights at Unruly, shared on stage at Newfronts.

Prywes also said that fathers are 52 percent more likely to share a video ad on social networks than other consumer segments.