Social, Snackable Content Is The New Strategy For TV Networks

There’s a star-studded cast in the six-part event series, Waco, and audiences will see plenty of actors, including Michael Shannon, Rory Culkin, Taylor Kitsch and John Leguizamo in the promotional run-up to the show’s launch on the Paramount Network early next year.

They’ll also be able to watch mini-documentaries about the real FBI agents and surviving Branch Davidian cult members involved in that deadly standoff. Those stories, many told publicly for the first time, will fan out over digital and social media, giving insight and context to the tragic clash in digestible, shareable bits.

“To hear these opposing points of view from people who were actually there during the siege makes a drama, even an epic one, that much more interesting,” Niels Schuurmans, the network’s CMO, told AListDaily. “We think it will deepen the viewer’s connection to the show.”

The nascent network—a rebrand of Spike—is taking an approach that’s becoming de rigeur for television shows and channels trying to win over consumers who are spending more of their time with digital and social media.

But it’s not enough just to fish where the fish are, industry mavens said, by seeding trailers, traditional ads and tune-in messages on Facebook, Instagram and other high-traffic online hubs.

The promotions have to be compelling and buzz-worthy, like Paramount’s planned “60 Second Docs,” drawing in potential fans with innovative original content, sometimes with a brand sponsor attached.

These ads-as-entertainment, enticing on their own, are doing double duty, with sales pitches strong enough to pull audiences away from the very platform they’re on, be it Snapchat or, and direct them back to linear TV.

The content is taking many forms, from online “therapy sessions” with characters from Amazon’s Transparent, in partnership with Funny or Die, to boost the upcoming fourth season, to integrations between Disney XD’s much-anticipated revival of the ’80s hit DuckTales with kid platforms like Minecraft and Angry Birds.

TNT released several digital shorts to promote its dramas Animal Kingdom and Will that follow the series stars in their downtime. The mini-movies, dubbed “Hiatus,” “continue the social conversation about the actors” and reinforce the fact that “social is the place where word of mouth starts and hopefully grows,” said Brad Roth, principal at Stun, the agency behind the work.

Broadcast and cable networks are so enamored with heavy-hitting social media giants that they’ve doubled the amount of sponsored video they post on Facebook over the last nine months, according to ListenFirst Media.

For a cult favorite series like Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty, fan response to its animated vignettes has been massive, with nearly nine million views of a clever cross-promotion on Facebook with Alien: Covenant. Subsequent Rick and Morty episodes on the Turner-owned network have been the best-watched in the show’s history.

USA Network recently launched an online scavenger hunt that unlocked the season 3 premiere date and a teaser trailer for the hacker thriller, Mr. Robot, and Paramount Network will establish real-world social media accounts for its fictional high-school characters to hook viewers for the reboot of the black comedy, Heathers, coming in early 2018.

“We’re using social and digital to enhance the story and give fans a reason to watch,” said Schuurmans. “Billboards and tune-in messages are important and everyone still does those, but there’s a bigger opportunity to hit people with something that will engage them.”

The E! Network, in addition to creating a tongue-in-cheek PSA in which Kylie Jenner teaches her digital-centric fans how to use a television, devised a first-of-its-kind Snapchat show, “Ask Kylie,” where the star answers fan questions and features guests like her famous sisters and friends as a way to hype her series, Life of Kylie.

“The marketing playbook has changed, and you have to surround young millennial consumers in all the places they live,” said Jen Neal, E! Network’s EVP of marketing. “We want to create the kind of content that converts fans into superfans and has them sharing and evangelizing on our behalf.”

To that end, the network created Kylie-themed Snapchat filters and sticker packs, along with contests, giveaways and exclusive content accessible through social platforms. And to underline the importance of the TV show itself, Neal and her team created a pre-premiere social program called “Kylie O’Clock,” meant to train audiences to head to E! at 9 p.m. every Sunday.

“This audience has a voracious appetite for what’s happening on social,” Neal said. “If you’re not providing them something cool and interesting, they’ll move on.”

Life of Kylie, with 36 million social engagements around its debut, scored the highest ratings of the year for a docuseries with teens and women 18-34, which Neal likened to a lit match. “We need to fuel the fire even more,” she said, “and, given the audience, digital and social will continue to be the core of this campaign.”

TAG Is Designed To Back Brands And Fight Bots In Ad Ecosystem

The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) white lists companies as legitimate sources for digital ad impressions, and business for this certification is booming.

Why? Because marketers lose around $7.2 billion per year to ad fraud, piracy and malware—and they’ve had enough.

Founded by the ANA, 4A’s and IAB, TAG offers marketers a way of verifying companies as legitimate members of the digital advertising industry. After a proprietary background check and review process powered by Dun & Bradstreet and subsequent approval by TAG, companies can be verified by name or by their unique, persistent TAG-IDs in a database.

The process is tedious and expensive—with an annual fee of $10,000—but the initiative is designed to promote transparency while hitting criminals where they hurt the most—their money.

“We obviously need to get a step ahead of the criminals—and then try to remain a step or two ahead,” TAG CEO Mike Zaneis told Ad Exchanger. “But there will always be dark corners of the ecosystem where unscrupulous actors will continue to operate. The key is making sure that the smart money doesn’t go there.”

A program called Methbot, for example, siphons between $3-to-$5 million in video ad revenue from premium publishers every day by posing as sites like ESPN, Vogue and Fortune. Once marketers pay for ads, the bot creates fake impressions and hikes up the price of CPMs.

“We can’t deal with this shit anymore,” IAB president and CEO Randall Rothenberg told Ad Age. “This is serious.” Beginning next June, IAB is requiring all its members to be TAG registered.

TAG announced that more than 350 companies have applied for TAG Registration, an increase of more than 75 percent in the last three months. Applicants represent 26 countries on six continents, the group said in a blog post on Monday. The growth has been so great, in fact, that the company has taken on new hires, including Michael Hahn as general counsel—who was recently brought on by IAB in the same role.

The sudden increase in TAG registration displays a united front against ad fraud, but also a response to pressure from IAB and Proctor & Gamble.

P&G, who spent $7.2 billion on advertising last year, drew a line in the sand this past January when its chief brand officer, Marc Pritchard, announced it would no longer buy media from companies who aren’t TAG registered.

“We’ve been giving a pass to the new media in the spirit of learning,” Pritchard said during the IAB’s annual leadership meeting. “We’ve come to our senses. We realize there is no sustainable advantage in a complicated, nontransparent, inefficient and fraudulent media supply chain.”

With Spending On In-App Ads Bound To Triple, Brands Get Creative

As the world turns to mobile for social interaction, research, entertainment, shopping and more, the market for app advertising continues to rise across the globe. Increased demand means a saturated marketplace, so brands are getting creative with how they present in-app advertising to consumers.

In-app advertising is set to triple from $72 billion in 2016 to $201 billion in 2021, according to new forecasts by App Annie. The company expects this growth to be fueled by continued innovation in areas such as augmented reality, mobile payments and artificial intelligence. The global app economy will be worth $6.3 trillion by 2021.

Heinz and Facebook Creative launched an experimental campaign called “Irresistible posts” that used Instagram Stories ads to give away burgers. The two-hour campaign partnered with local restaurants in Sao Paulo, Brazil. When a user saw one of the local-sponsored stories, they could swipe up and claim the photo. Gourmet burgers were then delivered in special, Instagram-post-inspired packaging.

“We decided to turn people’s craving into reality,” Isabella Rizzo, Heinz’ marketing director, explained in a statement. “Irresistible Posts innovate in the way people consume content—by eating it with Heinz.”

Mobile accounts for 51 percent of digital ad spend, according to IAB—a figure that App Annie predicts will increase over the next four years. Global advertiser spend will grow from $13 to $52 per user over the course of the forecast period. This growth is being driven by broad ad monetization in non-game apps, which is set to outperform the overall advertising market with a nearly 21 percent CAGR.

Pinterest is also taking drool-worthy posts and turning them into real-life purchases with buyable pins and native video ads. Buyable pins are free for businesses, who have the option of paying for promotion. More than 75 percent of pins saved to Pinterest come from businesses, according to the site.

For Kong: Skull Island, Legendary Pictures used Promoted Videos on Pinterest. According to a case study, the video ads made men 15 percent more likely to watch the movie in theaters.

“Pinterest is a great place to reach a receptive audience with video,” said Matt Marolda, chief analytics officer for Legendary Entertainment. “The fact that our video ads were the only motion in people’s feeds really provided us with the opportunity to make a major impact.”

Rewarded ads are popular in the world of mobile games, but a recent partnership between Tapjoy and the Line messenger app illustrates the potential of interactive marketing. Tapjoy offers thousands of opt-in, rewarded ads from hundreds of brands and partners such as LEGO, Starbucks, Clorox and Google.

“Video ads have performed exceptionally well on our platform and we foresee them working just as well in a messenger environment,” Shannon Jessup, chief revenue officer of Tapjoy, told AListDaily. “Videos provide a great user experience because they’re simple to engage with and they provide strong entertainment value. Those same characteristics carry over into any app type.”
The Line messaging app is especially popular in Asia-Pactific countries—where mobile apps are being used far more than mobile web. Research from mobile advertising data company Vpon found that 77 percent of mobile ads served during the first half of 2017 in the region were delivered via mobile apps, as opposed to the mobile web. According to estimates from eMarketer, mobile ad spending in the region will total $53.21 billion this year and will grow to $115.82 billion by 2021, when it will account for 77.5 percent of all digital ad spending there.

Asia-Pacific is set to outpace other regions in terms of in-app ad spend, growing at a rate of 25 percent CAGR, App Annie predicts. By 2021, ad spend there will total over $77 billion—roughly tripling from 2016.

At 15 percent Europe, the Middle East and Africa are behind in terms of mobile ad spend CAGR. App Annie attributes this to a less robust mobile advertising infrastructure in the Middle East and Africa, specifically, that counterbalances growth in Europe.

Blizzard Is Opening Up College Esports For Brands

Blizzard Entertainment is growing its collegiate esports programs across Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, StarCraft II, World of Warcraft and Rocket League. Over the past four years, Tespa has grown from four to 220 student communities across campuses in the United States and Canada. During the 2017 and 2018 school year, there will be over $1 million in college scholarships awarded through Tespa league tournaments.

Adam Rosen and Tyler Rosen, co-founders of Tespa and program managers at Blizzard Entertainment, told AListDaily that while there are over 65,000 student members, that number is about to grow.

“Historically, in order to participate, you had to go to a university or through a league, but that didn’t work for players who didn’t have campus chapters, so now anyone can go online and register to become a member,” Tyler said.

“Every college student in North America—regardless of their school’s Tespa chapter status—can become a member,” Adam added. He also extolled the benefits of Tespa Plus, a paid, premium membership.

Tespa is launching the online hub Tespa University, which will outline the local chapters and opportunities for students to get involved in college esports. This hub will also host six weekly esports broadcasts as part of a regularly scheduled programming push by the organization that will include spring and fall seasons.

The Rosens said this infrastructure focus will replace past one-off events and connect esports with these communities in much the same way college basketball and football do.

“There will be a season and offseason like football or basketball, so that when universities are looking at esports there’s a consistent schedule and it’s predictable and the formats will be the same,” Tyler explained.

This will also open up new opportunities for brands interested in connecting with college esports fans. Adam said the Tespa audience mirrors the overall collegiate demographic, although 70 percent of Tespa’s audience are STEM majors in college.

“For students who are playing or watching these competitions, it’s very much a social experience,” Tyler said. “Students are engaging with esports in their spare time, so it’s best for brands to approach them in a natural way.”

Tespa has had a strong partnership with SteelSeries, which provided keyboards, headsets and gear to its chapters. There was also an integrated media component to this sponsorship, where the SteelSeries brand was integrated into the media pieces in the Tespa broadcasts.

“We’re seeing a lot of interest from brands across the board, which is exciting to the communities and universities already involved,” Tyler said. “Brands are looking at ways to be integrated into the program.”

Adam added that college, in general, is a formative time for students to learn about and align with different lifestyle or esports brands. “As we open membership and become more public, we’re creating that pathway for brands to come in naturally and interact and engage directly with students.”

There’s also a new broadcast push this year to cover the six collegiate leagues, which also opens up new brand marketing opportunities.

“Through each of our broadcasts we can do custom segments and lower thirds and product placements just like with traditional college sports,” Tyler said. “We’re really doubling down on broadcasts this year on the Tespa Channel and see college esports competition through these leagues six nights a week.”

Adam believes college esports are more accessible than traditional professional esports because of the college affiliations—when Heroes of the Dorm aired matches on ESPN, they saw new fans hooked into rivalries like Michigan and Ohio State.

Trying to connect new fans with professional esports rivalries like Cloud9 against Immortals could be more challenging. But there will be new ways to connect pro esports with collegiate, especially with the upcoming Overwatch League that Activision Blizzard is launching.

“While the Overwatch League is officially disconnected from Tespa, it does offer a vibrant ecosystem in which collegiate esports plays an interesting angle,” Adam said. “Collegiate esports will be a great place to discover talent. It will also be interesting way for pro players to go back to college and continue to participate. We believe in the same things as the Overwatch League in that the local fan bases are important.”

‘Steven Universe’ Jumps From Mobile To Consoles

Created by Rebecca Sugar, Steven Universe is a popular animated series on Cartoon Network. The show involves a boy named Steven Universe, who lives in the fictional town of Beach City alongside three humanoid magical aliens who are collectively referred to as Crystal Gems. Steven himself is half-Gem, and episodes focus on his adventures as he teams up with friends to protect Beach City from malevolent Gems.

The whimsical show was made into the mobile game Steven Universe: Attack the Light in 2015, where players controlled Steven and his friends as they traveled the world and battled a variety of enemies in order to retrieve prism weapons. The game released to high critical acclaim, earning a 91 score on Metacritic. Now Cartoon Network and Steven Universe are out to take on the console gaming world.

In an unusual move, Cartoon Network decided to release Steven Universe: Save the Light, a direct sequel to Attack the Light, as a console exclusive instead of starting a new spin-off series. Releasing this fall for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the game will be the second self-published console game from Cartoon Network (the other being OK K.O.: Let’s Play Heroes), and it continues Steven’s adventures as he and his friends seek to retrieve a prism weapon that was stolen in the previous game.

“We got such a strong response from the mobile game that people wanted it on console, but we made it specifically for mobile devices,” Zachary Moore, producer for Cartoon Network Games, told AListDaily. “When we went to make something new, we wanted to go bigger—and if you want to go bigger, you’ve got to go console. We wanted to explore the horsepower of a console and the longer play times of a console to tell more of a story that we couldn’t on mobile.”

Moore confirmed that Save the Light will have deep ties with the show.

“We work with the show team on basically every aspect of it [for] the dialogue and overall story,” he said. “If you’re a fan, you’re going to see some references that you might recognize from the series.”

A cinematic intro will get new players up to speed by explaining the basics of the Steven Universe show and what happened in the previous game. Moore is confident that players who are unfamiliar with the TV series and mobile game will still be interested in the console release.

“Honestly, it’s just a fun role playing game (RPG),” he said. “Anyone who is into this type of RPG can enjoy it. There’s no need to know every little detail about it, but fans will get a little more out of it.”

In Save the Light, players can interact with characters from the show in numerous ways, especially through combat, as players control characters using their signature weapons from the TV series. Outside of combat, the characters can talk to each other, and Steven has dialogue choice moments to direct the story.

But beyond interacting with the characters in the game, Moore doubts that there will be much cross promotion between the TV show and the game. Instead, the developers are treating Save the Light as its own semi-separate universe.

“It’s going to come down to episodes airing around the same time as the game [launches]. There are going to be little touch points between them, but it’s not heavily tied into a show storyline per se. Rebecca has been gracious enough to give us our own story universe to play in within hers. It’s really its own separate storyline—like the adventures that you don’t see in the show are being played out in this game.”

Similarly, Moore admits that there probably won’t be any updates to the mobile game to help drive attention to the console sequel, largely because the mobile game exists on its own. He described Attack the Light as a self-contained experience, and the console game is simply a continuation.

Moore suggested that Save the Light does promote the mobile game by virtue of being a sequel. “If you missed the first game, now is a good time to catch up on it to make sure you’re prepared for this console game.”

At the same time, Moore hopes that the console launch will encourage the mobile game audience to migrate over to consoles.

“People who have mobile devices and consoles—if they enjoyed the last game, I think they’ll really enjoy what we have for them,” said Moore. “It’s basically everything about that game, but even better.”

Moore also shared his thoughts about how the Steven Universe brand has inspired such a dedicated fan base.

“I think the essence of Steven Universe comes down to the teamwork, caring for each other, and supporting one another—that’s such a tenet of the show—and being tolerant and respectful of each other. That’s a strong point. You’re better off when you’re working together and being a team.”

stevonnie character intro

Brands Court Esports Fans With Scripted Shows

Esports sells out arenas, attracts traditional sports players and is being considered for the 2024 Olympics. Competitive gaming has planted itself firmly in pop culture, making it the subject of a new arena—scripted TV.

Art imitates life, and video games occasionally make their way onto popular TV programs as a one-time theme. Gaming-related episodes have appeared on TV shows like Law & Order: SVU and Elementary. The latter even cast real esports professionals for an episode in February about the murder of a former pro gamer.

In other words, gaming has traditionally been a cameo appearance, not the star—but that’s all changing.

Debuting August 30 on YouTube Red, Good Game is a six-episode series that follows a team of gamers trying to become stars in the world of esports. The show stars YouTube personalities Arin Hanson and Dan Avidan (Game Grumps) as two of the main esports players trying to make it big.

YouTube is a natural outlet for a show of this type, considering two of the top five YouTube channels are game related. Believe it or not, gaming has become a spectator sport—with 48 percent of YouTube gamers saying they spend more time watching gaming videos than actually playing.

The top video-hosting site penned a multi-year partnership with leading esports platform FaceIt, creators of the Esports Championship Series (ECS) earlier this year. YouTube is now the exclusive livestreaming home to ECS, which features Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO).

“YouTube has the biggest gaming audience. It’s time to introduce more gamers to esports,” Ryan Wyatt, global head of gaming content at YouTube, told AlistDaily. “We have a lot of people on YouTube who don’t know what esports is. We feel we’re well-positioned to expand this audience.”

Game video content (GVC) is the new TV. SuperData found that more people watch GVC than HBO, Netflix, ESPN and Hulu combined, and the audience for this content is twice the size of the US population. Could esports-centric content win viewers back?

Disney is tapping into this engaged audience with D|XP and a new partnership with ESL. Two new series are in development—ESL Brawlers and ESL Speedrunners, each consisting of seven, 30-minute shows.

“From ESL’s perspective, as esports has gone more mainstream, it makes sense to expand its audience reach to those tuning in on linear TV,” Nik Adams, ESL’s senior vice president of global media rights and distribution told AListDaily. “Given the demographic, esports has traditionally reached a digitally native audience. However, the industry is continually evolving and this deal represents a great way for traditional media companies to adopt this growing area of entertainment . . . Disney’s D|XP is the perfect platform for us to continue creating original programming, and this time, to specifically engage their audience.”

With so many non-endemic brands entering the esports space with sponsorships, branded content is another way of reaching the gaming audience.

Last year, Geico created a comedy series around its sponsored team, SoloMid (TSM). The real-life gamers, known for competing in League of Legends, all live and practice in the same house—as is common in the industry during competition season.

Geico’s series TSM’s New Neighbor tells the story of Russell, an obnoxious neighbor who barges his way into their home and comedy ensues. Russell suspects that the boys are hackers because of their high-tech equipment, but makes himself right at home when he learns their true identities and it seems they will never be rid of him.

According to Newzoo’s 2017 Global Esports Market Report, the global esports audience will reach 385 million in 2017—made up of 191 million esports enthusiasts and a further 194 million occasional viewers.

That’s a whole lot of fans to entertain, and scripted TV could be just the way to do it.

‘Star Trek Timelines’ Introduces ‘Discovery’ By Engaging With Franchise Fans

Star Trek: Discovery is the first new show in the franchise since Enterprise concluded in 2005, and it already has a lot on its shoulders. Debuting in September, the show takes place a decade before the original TV series and stars Sonequa Martin-Green (The Walking Dead), Jason Isaacs (the Harry Potter movies), Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) and others.

Discovery will premiere on the CBS broadcast channel before moving exclusively to CBS All Access—making it the first original show for the digital subscription service. Reigniting a relatively dormant TV franchise, even after three blockbuster reboot movies (Star Trek Beyond released in 2016), while promoting interest in a new subscription service may be daunting, but if any franchise is big enough for the task, it’s Star Trek.

But even the best starship could use some reinforcements once in a while. That’s where Disruptor Beam comes in with its mobile role-playing strategy game Star Trek Timelines, which takes characters and ships from across almost the entire Star Trek franchise, including the TV shows and original movies, and offers them for players to collect and create stories with. The studio has announced that it will be adding in content from Discovery as the premiere draws closer and will continue to do so as new episodes release.

Past Becomes Future

Jon Radoff, CEO at Disruptor Beam

Disruptor Beam has a great deal of experience working with ongoing IPs. The studio also made Game of Thrones: Ascent in partnership with HBO to keep audiences engaged during the show’s off season.

“HBO had told us after the first season aired that they were interested in engaging the audience during the 40 weeks out of the year that the show wasn’t airing new episodes,” Jon Radoff, CEO at Disruptor Beam, told AListDaily. “We worked with them very closely to engage the Game of Thrones viewing audience. Today, it has over 20 million viewers an episode, and I think we played an important part in engaging that audience.”

However, Game of Thrones already had a viewing audience by the time Ascent released for mobile. How will Timelines help to promote a new show that doesn’t have viewership yet—never mind one that will be locked behind a subscription service?

“I see it as new content within Star Trek, which is an enormous franchise,” Radoff explained. “This isn’t like watching a new TV show that people aren’t familiar with. This is drawing on over 700 episodes of Star Trek and continuing the story of exploration and adventure throughout the galaxy. Disruptor Beam isn’t really launching a new TV show per se, as we are continuing a franchise that already exists.”

Radoff believes that CBS chose the right franchise for All Access, given how HBO and Netflix proved that there is a great deal of interest in subscription services when they’re anchored to beloved franchises. All the Star Trek shows, including the 1973 animated series, can be watched on Netflix. Radoff said that “between Netflix’s worldwide presence plus the interest from the Star Trek audience in seeing it come back, I anticipate that the audience will be enormous.”

Discovering Discovery

Game of Thrones is currently in its seventh season, and Ascent has had over 200 content updates that coincided with the show since it launched four years ago. With Star Trek, Disruptor Beam has over 50 years of content to work with. Timelines is well into its second year and has over 400 characters in it, but it doesn’t look like it will be running out of content anytime soon, especially as the studio works with CBS to prepare audiences for Discovery. But interest in the franchise still doesn’t address how the studio will introduce characters that fans haven’t seen before.

“One of the things that we like to do is introduce interesting characters as people are meeting them through watching the show,” Erin Prince, product owner of Star Trek Timelines at Disruptor Beam, told AListDaily. “Already, people have been introduced to some of the main characters and the first ship. So, we’re going to be releasing these characters in a cadence that’s similar to the show. As you see new characters develop into new fan favorites, they’ll be introduced into the game. We’ll be spanning this over the course of the season, not just introducing everything in one big chunk up front. The first things that you see will be things that fans have already gotten excited about from the trailers and the magazine spreads.”

“We’re not leading into the game with things that are unfamiliar,” added Radoff. “We’re taking what you’re already seeing within the show and fostering deeper engagement by giving you the ability to experience the show in a different way.”

Prince said that Disruptor Beam is in discussions with CBS Consumer Products and CBS All Access to establish a cross promotional strategy. They’re working so that the show will help drive awareness of the game and vice versa. “We’re creating a partnership where there’s a back-and-forth,” said Prince. “They love our deeply engaged Star Trek audience and we’re happy to engage with a CBS audience that’s about to become Star Trek fans.”

“We bring an audience of five million people who played Star Trek Timelines,” said Radoff. “We’ve put out over a billion impressions online for the viewing audience, so the Star Trek audience knows that Timelines exists. By adding Discovery to it, it will reinforce the show as the new canonical extension to the universe. From the CBS side, they own channels in addition to CBS All Access, and they have social media channels that have access to over 10 million fans across fan pages,, email lists and so on. CBS has cultivated a lot of different channels for communicating with fans, not the least of which was the Star Trek Las Vegas convention, which is one of the largest Star Trek conventions in the world with 20,000 fans coming together.”

Engaging A Fragmented Fan Base

The Star Trek franchise is over 50 years old and spans multiple TV shows and movies, so Disruptor Beam isn’t just dealing with one kind of Star Trek fan with Timelines. Individuals may have favorite shows or characters dating back to the 1960s show.

“It’s a different fan base and one of the interesting things about that is that they have different levels of experience in gaming,” said Prince. “This is part of why we wanted to expand beyond the mobile platform—we moved Timelines onto Facebook and Steam recently, where we’re reaching an even broader audience of Star Trek fans. When we put new features and content into the game, we make sure we’re never losing any of these fan bases. We start with easy-to-understand mechanics and then we pull in characters from all over the different series plus the movies and isolate them.”

As an example, Prince said that they would take a time traveling character and mash it with other time traveling characters from other shows.

“The fragmentation of the characters benefits the kinds of games we create,” said Radoff. “There are a lot of characters out there with the big five being Kirk, Spock, Data, Warf and Picard. That said, there’s an enormous amount of interest in a whole range of other characters. Everybody has a favorite character they want to have. When we’re dealing with something as expansive as Star Trek, it’s important that we have something for everyone. They may see a character or ship from a series they don’t like, but fans realize that Star Trek is a big universe with a lot in it. It’s fine if they don’t want those characters or ships—it’s a collecting game.”

Radoff also shared his thoughts about where the Star Trek brand fits in today, especially since modern technologies outpace some of those seen in old episodes.

The story of Star Trek isn’t so much of a technological one,” Radoff said. “Yes, we now have mobile phones that are more powerful than the communicators they had in [the original] Star Trek, but we don’t have warp travel and teleporters, so we have a ways to go on that front. What Star Trek is really about is an optimistic view of the future. There’s a lot of darkness in the world right now, and that’s not necessarily new. People who watched the original Star Trek were watching at the time of the Cold War. So, Star Trek has always been a counterpoint to what’s going on in the world and the darkness and cynicism out there. It shows that the human spirit of exploration and adventure is alive and there’s an optimistic future out there beyond the stars.”

LG’s Latest Marketing Splash Is A Dishwasher Aimed At Disruption

LG is soaking spectators during the summer season with a dishwasher-themed experiential marketing installation smack dab in the middle of Manhattan.

The 6,750 square-foot pop-up water park, which coincides with the tenth annual Citi Summer Streets, is intended to promote the LG QuadWash and the product’s four spray arm technology that doubles up on the category’s traditional two-spray-arm design—all while drenching festivalgoers.

The inflatable water attraction, located next to Central Park and about two-and-a-half times the size of a tennis court, is modeled from the exterior and interior elements of the LG QuadWash.

“Let’s face it—the dishwasher is not the most exciting thing in the household. Yet, it’s essential, and a way for parents to have children chip in to complete their chores,” Peggy Ang, head of home appliance brand marketing at LG Electronics USA, told AListDaily. “When we looked at how we can launch a product differently, we considered timing, so the water park consumer experience and idea was born. A water park in the middle of Manhattan is as unique and disruptive as an experience can be for our target audience as we shine on our technological innovations.”

Peggy Ang unveils LG’s QuadWash water park activation during the Summer Streets press conference.

LG wanted as many people as possible to have a personal experience and touchpoint with the over-the-top branding effort while beating the heat and turning a mundane experience into something more rich and meaningful, Ang says. The marketing activation is designed to drive affinity and relationships with consumers and promote the brand’s proposition, “Life’s Good.” Partnering with Citi Summer Streets—they’re part of a larger sponsorship of the festival—was a natural fit for LG, Ang says, because it brings families together.

The LG QuadWash, priced at $699, is one of the brand’s key product launches this year and is marketed for affluent, “technology inclined” consumers. The South Korean electronics manufacturer’s other product launch this year was the LG InstaView door-in-door refrigerator, which was also paired with an out-of-home interactive experience. A third flagship item will launch in the fall.

“LG’s brand strategy with activations and advertising this year has celebrated the realistic elements of life in a no-filter world,” Ang says. “The one tenet that we’re looking for in everything that we’re doing now is disruption. Yes, it’s a common term used in marketing. We look at disruption not for the sake of it, but to give consumers a different view of a boring task like dishwashing, and bringing that to life. It also opens the conversation on how dishwashing merits a second look, and can be a part of the family experience.”

As newfangled appliances hit the marketplace, Ang says LG is finding marketing inspiration from its consumers.

“We give consumers the liberty to think bigger and better than just the traditional context by which our products live in the home. We’re trying to expand everyone’s creative juices while making sure our tech innovation is not lost in the shuffle,” she says. “If we need to bring that out of the traditional view—we will. We’ll not compromise on the consumers, though. Yes, we’re selling dishwashers—there’s no question about that. But we’re embracing and acknowledging consumers while doing so with experiences outside of the kitchen.”

Ang says she considers the brand to be media-agnostic and uses experiences like the one currently erected at Citi Summer Streets until August 19 to gain insights into their consumer profile. For its New York activation, LG is avoiding channels like paid media and surveys to specifically amp up its PR and social presence with contests centered around giveaways.

“We need to bring innovation that makes sense to the daily lives of consumers. That means, ‘how can I bring more meaning to your life? Or a smile?’ The strength of our brand comes from true LG fans. We’re trying to take a different path,” — Peggy Ang, head of home appliance brand marketing at LG Electronics USA.

In addition to livestreams from inside the water park, LG also has 30 on-site ambassadors in poolside cabanas giving product demos and netting nuggets of intel on the kind of value consumers see in their product.

“The comments [on social media] are beyond the usual that we’ve experienced,” Ang said. “They’ve been speaking and referring to us with some of our marketing lingo. The images guests share can be very telling, too. I value that as the most authentic piece of content I can push than any paid media possibly can. They only share stuff to their audience that they’re proud of. When I see the pictures, I can tell they’re excited, and that it’s not a farfetched correlation between what we’re doing, and how we’re making an impact in their lives. When we speak together as cohorts, it makes us more relatable as a brand, all while helping us reinforce our brand proposition.”

Using influencers such as Fortune Feimster, Adrienne Moore, JD Witherspoon and Sam Talbot like they are with the water park is part of LG’s marketing strategy, Ang says, but it’s not the driver. LG considers consumers who share their thoughts with their communities as points of influence.

“Dishwashing is not exciting—we get it. But it’s so ripe for disruption and innovation,” Ang says. “When I joined the company last year, I told the stakeholders, ‘You have great products. We need to innovate the marketing.’ That didn’t mean turning everything upside down . . . We believe LG has an important role to play in the enhancement of the home, and how families can interact with their appliances.”

In the case of the LG QuadWash dishwasher, the main learning so far has been that consumers want to save time on the tedious task of dishwashing duties, no matter how much “fun” it is.

Ang believes the home appliance category can use a serious marketing shake-up.

“I’m a marketer. I get excited about a lot of things,” she says. “We need to bring innovation that makes sense to the daily lives of consumers. That means, ‘how can I bring more meaning to your life? Or a smile?’ The strength of our brand comes from true LG fans. We’re trying to take a different path.”

For Deep Silver, ‘Agents Of Mayhem’ Marketing Is All About Character And Humor

Agents of Mayhem is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC from Volition, the developer behind Saints Row. Together with publisher Deep Silver, the game’s developers focused its advertising around getting close and personal with its 12 new characters.

One way of doing this was through sponsored content on DeviantArt, in which artists imagine what each of the Mayhem agents would do in his/her down time. “Agents of Mayhem: After Hours” reveals each new piece, along with artist interview, over a span of 24 days.

In Agents of Mayhem, players must choose between 12 different agents to form a three-person squad—a “carnage à trois,” if you will, and fight an organization called Legion. Each agent has a unique skill set, personality and weapon specialty.

Volition has and continues to host a number of livestreams on Twitch to give fans an advance look at Mayhem‘s gameplay and features. The team even included the game’s voice actors to help introduce each character with their own dedicated stream session.

On August 18, Volition is hosting a celebration in its home town of Champaign, Illinois, where people can try the game for themselves. Sharp-eyed fans who spot and take a selfie with Mayhem agents seen around town can enter to win Volition swag.

Despite being a direct spin-off from one of the Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell endings, Agents of Mayhem is its own game with its own universe. One thing that hasn’t changed is Volition’s trademark sense of humor—a tool that Deep Silver used to attract existing Saints Row fans to a new franchise.

Deep Silver “leaked” part of one of the game’s cut scenes on adult video site, YouPorn. A fake sex tape called “Deep Under the Cover” features Hollywood, an ex-reality-star-turned-Mayhem agent in some “compromising” situations. The video is actually quite tame—enough to be hosted by YouTube—but created enough buzz on the popular website that it ended up on the front page.

Following the intentional leak, Deep Silver issued a press release addressing the made-up controversy, “denying” that it was Hollywood on the tape.

Not long after, a mix tape by August Gaunt—a villain in the game inspired by Justin Bieber—was “leaked” on SoundCloud. The campaign made it sound like he took over DJing at a Seoul radio station one night. The music is actually from the game, remixed by musician and DJ Grimecraft.

“I think that between the political spectrum and everything, there is an opportunity to make people laugh,” Will Powers, senior manager of marketing and communications at Deep Silver told AlistDaily. “People are starved for content in the gaming space that will allow them to laugh and relax instead of coming home from a serious day at work, seeing serious news and playing a serious game. That’s opened up an opportunity for us to come in and hammer our unique tone and why Volition has always created games that are over-the-top and crazy—they’re fun, but not meant to be taken seriously. That’s the market we see as a huge growth opportunity for this game.”

Facebook: Consumers React Positively To Brands Promoting Gender Equality

Consumers react positively toward a brand when it promotes gender equality, according to a new study by Facebook IQ. Together with Qualtrics, Facebook surveyed 1,547 smart phone and Facebook users in the United States over the age of 18. The study found that both men and women “feel more positive” about a brand that promotes equality on Facebook.

When a brand promotes gender equality, 48 percent of both men and women surveyed say they feel more loyal toward it. Separately, 51 percent of women said they would prefer to shop from such a brand, compared to 45 percent of men.

Facebook also performed a sentiment analysis of aggregated, anonymized brand posts made in the past year. The company compared a selection of brands that engaged in gender-positive advertising—such as celebrating female athleticism or encouraging girls to study math and science—to brands that were less vocal on the topic.

What they found is that Facebook users react positively when a brand promotes gender equality on the platform. Both women (79 percent) and men (75 percent) surveyed said they feel more positive toward such behavior.

For example, US women were 1.85 times more likely to be interested in watching a movie trailer after seeing an ad featuring an image of a woman dressed as a firefighter versus an image of a woman dressed in revealing clothing. When the same ads were shown to male survey participants, there was no significant difference between men’s reactions to either ad.

Facebook’s survey found that 75 percent of women believe the most important thing brands can do to promote gender equality is to stop portraying women as sex symbols. It should be noted that Facebook did not specify whether survey participants were given other options or if this statement was based on if they agreed/disagreed.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, is a strong proponent of gender equality, especially in industries traditionally dominated by men. Together with her non-profit Lean In, she introduced the Glass Lion Award at Cannes Lions to celebrate outstanding portrayal of women in advertising.

“The data shows that people see hundreds of thousands of marketing messages a day [on Facebook]. We actually see more marketing messages [than TV, movies, books, etc.]. I’m a deep believer that we need to change our culture that positions men as leaders and women as nurturers,” Sandberg told Forbes.

Sandberg and others are working to change this culture. The Unstereotype Alliance, for example, was founded to eradicate outdated stereotypes in advertising. Men appear in ads four times more than women and have seven times more speaking roles, according to research from J. Walter Thompson and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

“Marketing doesn’t just reflect culture—it shapes it,” says Facebook alongside its study findings. “Contribute to social good and capture consumers’ attention by busting stereotypes and promoting positive, empowering depictions of people of all genders.”

It seems rather obvious that women would respond well to advertising or brand messages meant to empower them, but what about the other half of Facebook’s respondents who didn’t feel more loyal or prefer to shop from these brands?

Edelman’s 2017 Earned Brand Study of 14,000 people in 14 countries found that 50 percent of consumers consider themselves to be belief-driven buyers—which means the other half doesn’t. A separate study by advertising trade association 4A’s and SSRS found that 58 percent of consumers dislike when a brand gets political.

“Consumers are not looking to brands to take a position on political or social issues. In fact, there’s typically more risk than benefit,” Alison Fahey, chief marketing officer of the 4A’s, said in a statement. “Brands taking a negative approach risk backlash, and only a small percentage of consumers are moved to buy from positive messaging.”

Overall, brands who portray gender equality do get a positive response, as Facebook’s study found—it just depends on whether you see this cup of brand love as half full or half empty.