StandUp Digital Enlists Kevin Hart To Make And Market ‘Gold Ambush’ Mobile Game

Pinxter Digital and StandUp Digital have launched Gold Ambush with Kevin Hart, a free-to-play strategy game that blends the endless runner and city builder genres on mobile devices. The game is out on iOS now and will launch on Android in a few months. Kevin and his wife Eniko and kids Heaven and Hendrix are among the playable heroes in the game, which challenges players to build and fortify castles to ward off incoming enemies.

Pinxter Digital started four years ago as an Android and Apple app development company focusing on “apps as a service,” which Pinxter Digital CEO Sergei Dubograev told AListDaily is a different way of creating dynamic apps.

“After partnering with major brands like Bud Light all the way down to small startups, in the last year we have transitioned into the celebrity gaming space with StandUp Digital,” Dubograev said. “Kevin Hart is a perfect example of an authentic one-to-one celebrity who not only has a loyal fan base, but is all-in with the project. He’s not just a face that’s going to tweet about it. He’s been involved from every aspect from marketing to product development.”

Dubograev pointed out other similar celebrities that have that have one-to-one engagement levels, including Hart’s co-star in the upcoming Jumanji film Dwayne Johnson, and singer Taylor Swift.

“In looking for these celebrity influencers, StandUp Digital wants people that are very dynamic and see this as a long play,” Dubograev explained. “They see this as a medium where they can entertain the consumer, not just sell to their base. In addition, we want to work with true brands, corporations, that see their base in the same way and want to provide a great service and a great environment for everybody to connect in a very authentic way.”

Brandon Miller, co-founder and CMO of StandUp Digital, told AListDaily that gaming is another platform for these brands and celebrities to connect with people.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re Kevin Hart, Geico or Nike, creating a game gets you exposed to a much larger audience,” Miller said. “And taking the apps as a service approach, which is how we partnered with Kevin, allows us to use his brand and authenticity. While we’re the ones driving this partnership with him, he’s doing just as much as we are.”

The game has been designed with Easter eggs that Hart’s fans will connect with, including a bad raccoon that attacks him (a raccoon story is part of the Kevin Hart: What Now? movie).

“Kevin’s not only helping with the marketing plans, but he’s the voice on user acquisition,” Miller added. “He filmed a commercial for the game. He’s been involved in every aspect from digital to offline, and I think the plan marries all of that together to what Kevin is good at.”

“When we talk about the DNA of the influencer, Kevin, being integrated into the game, that means his comedic value is in the game,” Dubograev explained. “If you play the Kevin Hart game, it’s no different than going to the Kevin Hart stand-up or the latest Kevin Hart movie.”

Miller said Hart had been pitched many game ideas over the years, but this opportunity made sense both in the quality and in the approach.

“He loved that it was family-oriented and had a positive African American lead role,” Miller added.

Before launching Pinxster Digital, Dubograev had been in the development world for five years and watched studios release poor game concepts by slapping a brand on top of it.

“Brands would get screwed because people didn’t advise them that the correct way to design apps was as dynamic and always changing experiences,” Dubograev explained. “What we’re seeing now is brand celebrities taking a step back and introducing their DNA and authenticity into an app that inspires consumers to drive action. We take a brand’s approach and come in at the concept stage, rather than just bidding on an RFP. And because our focus is apps as a service, we stick with you after launch.”

The company has plans to expand this franchise beyond mobile. Dubograev said the company is talking to Hart about doing a virtual reality version of Gold Ambush.

“From the marketing perspective, we think there’s a lot to be said in working with the brands and integrating with the brands in an authentic way to drive people to different things, very much like what Pokémon did with Pokémon GO in augmented reality,” Dubograev said. “We think that AR play could have a really good piece, and VR is another platform that provides another way to engage people and grow the brand.”

For Beauty Brands, Augmented Reality Is A Growing Part Of The Company Makeup

Beauty brands are merging the real world with the digital one at an increasingly higher rate, and activations through emerging tech such as augmented reality are turning into pivotal players in helping legacy makeup brands reach millennials and Gen Z.

Looking for a new concealer, foundation or shade of lipstick? Rather than trudging into a brick-and-mortar and making it a half-day event to find a new product that’s going to add more color to your life than an Instagram filter, tech-savvy consumers are taking to mobile for beauty on their own terms.

As makeup mavens take to tech and mobile, marketers are looking to tap into the modern millennial mindshare with their omnichannel strategies.

“Today’s consumers expect their shopping experience to be fun, effortless and tailor-made to meet their momentary aspirations, moods and desires—wherever they are,” Esohe Omoruyi, senior vice president of global open innovation and digital services for L’Oréal, told AListDaily. “Services are an important part of this modern consumer journey—and it’s especially true for beauty, where personalization, advice and the possibility to try products is key.”

Earlier this summer, L’Oréal integrated its worldwide makeup brands and collections into YouCam Makeup, an AR beauty app. The move builds on the 2014 launch of their own virtual makeup app, Makeup Genius from L’Oréal Paris, which has been downloaded 20 million times worldwide.

Omoruyi says L’Oréal’s omnichannel approach opens opportunities to develop stronger relationships with consumers at every touchpoint, learn more about their aspirations and grow their business both online and offline.

L’Oréal is the number one beauty brand in the US and accounts for roughly 19 percent of America’s $56.8 billion dollar industry, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute.

“This strategy allows integrating L’Oréal products and brands into the daily routine of our consumers—it can be a chatbot helping you selecting a beauty gift for your friend, a hairbrush that can recommend products based on the texture of your hair, a virtual makeup experience or a personalized foundation tailor-made for you at our counter,” Omoruyi says. “Technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence and augmented reality allow us to be where consumers expect us to be—online and offline—and to offer them personalized services which enhance their daily beauty experience.”

True-to-life, virtual try-ons offer convenience and eliminate the mess of testing physical products in stores. To further find out how millennials interact with virtual events as part of their digital lifestyle, L’Oréal went to the Cannes Film Festival with YouCam earlier this year to bring the 64 best film-inspired looks. They paired the activation with livestreamed tutorials.

“These new kinds of highly interactive events are only possible because of the most advanced AR technology,” Alice H. Chang, CEO of Perfect Corp., the parent company of YouCam Makeup, told AListDaily. “Engagement in this type of content is dramatically higher than any normal post or video coverage from Cannes, as users feel more personally involved by trying red carpet looks on their own selfies. We’re encouraged by how much users enjoyed participating.”

Chang says AR takes the convenience and ease of online shopping—quick searching, easily narrowing down product choices—and brings it to the experiential physical space—actually touching and feeling the product.

“AR connects the dots to create a very unique experience that cannot be replaced by any other channel,” she says. “Try-before-you-buy gives customers greater confidence in the purchase decisions. The impact of AR try-outs on cosmetic sales is real.”

According to an independent consumer report conducted by YouCam in July, mobile AR try-ons drive two times more conversions for beauty products, and Gen Z users are 10 times more likely to purchase beauty products after using YouCam Makeup.

“With 73 percent of today’s customers shopping both online and offline, we know there are benefits to shopping in each channel,” Chang says. “Retailers can take advantage of AR technologies to combine what consumers love best about the physical world with the endless possibilities of the digital world. AR and 3D technologies have the potential to bring the best of the digital world into the physical retailer.”

Retailers like Sephora are trying to bridge the gap between digital and physical commerce by driving personal connections and enhancing the consumer shopping experience.

Sephora Studio, a digital-and-mobile-first, small-format concept store launched last month, and it is all about high-tech beauty upgrades. The flagship Boston location is designed to be a larger part of the upmarket brand’s omnichannel strategy.

Jennifer Halpainy, Sephora Studio’s store director, told AListDaily that the studio supplements its existing store strategy by enhancing the shopping experience.

“The studio is uniquely differentiated from the rest of the fleet because of its emphasis on driving personal connections,” Halpainy says. “This is fostered not only through the small format and easy access clients have to the beauty advisors, but also through the new digital features that will allow for customized recommendations—both self-guided by the client using the many digital tools and with the help of the pros.”

One of the intended store-stopping showcases Sephora is banking on is the Digital Makeover Guide, which captures a person’s product, application and look preferences from a makeover.

“Sephora is continuously refining in-store, online and mobile experiences to ensure they are offering something that does not exist anywhere else for the consumer,” Halpainy says. “The studio is an example of that. The design re-imagines what their store looks like, where it fits into their omnichannel ecosystem and the experience they’re offering clients. We do not approach digital for the sake of adding new, cool technology. We use it to help the client. The studio integrates a variety of digital tools to optimize client experiences before, during and after their store visit.”

In addition to the physical store, Sephora is looking to secure consumer affection socially with the launch of Beauty Insider Community, a loyalty member-only mobile and online platform that launched last month to drive a deeper connection between their beauty insiders. The digital endeavor is designed to serve as a unified communal destination for the brand’s staunch supporters.

Bringing consumers true value means continuously improving the customer experience, Chang says.

“The virtual experience democratizes beauty, making brand products available for all consumers to experience products instantly,” Chang says. “It should be as effortless as looking in the mirror or taking a picture.”

‘NBA 2K18’ Marketing Is All About The Love Of The Game

If your basketball-loving friends and co-workers are suspiciously absent today, that’s because Friday was 2K Day—the early access release of NBA 2K18. 2K helped get fans pumped for the big day by creating branded excuses, doctor’s notes and even a letter to break up with a significant other for more time to play. A sponsored hashtag on Twitter inserted a special logo next to tweets containing the phrase, #2KDay.

Beginning on September 8, 2K offered a free downloadable experience called The Prelude on the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live. With it, players could get a head start on the game’s career mode, and all progress carries over to the full game.

The annual sports franchise celebrates not only a love but a life of basketball—a passion shared by millions of fans and NBA all-stars worldwide. Promotion around NBA 2K18 has largely centered around “The Neighborhood”—a new open-world mode to explore. The game’s slogan, “Run the Neighborhood,” captures the idea of hard work and building a reputation from the ground up, beginning in the players’ own virtual neighborhoods.

Locations and challenges inside NBA 2K18 are natural opportunities for branded partnerships that include Spalding, Ruffles, Big Baller Brand sneakers, Nike, Mountain Dew, Walmart and Reese’s Puffs cereal.

However, the partnerships expanded beyond logo placement. Players using the NikeConnect app were able to unlock special in-game offers including boosts and jerseys.

Consumers are also able to unlock 5,000 virtual currency in NBA 2K18 by purchasing the game from Walmart, along with cans of Mountain Dew Kickstart.

Specially marked boxes of Reese’s Puffs cereal contain a 25-digit code printed inside that unlocks 2,500 worth of in-game currency that gives players a jumpstart in building their custom MyTeams. General Mills (parent company of the Reese’s Puffs brand) also sponsored a full-game livestream ahead of the game’s launch.

Of course, the biggest draw of the NBA 2K franchise is the roster of real-life basketball stars. This year’s cover stars include Kyrie Irving (Standard Edition), Shaquille O’Neal (Legend and Legend Gold Editions) and Kristaps Porzingis (My NBA 2K18 companion app).

NBA athletes are not only included in the game but also prominently featured in trailers and personalized promotions.

A new Snapchat filter overlays Shaq, Karl-Anthony Towns, Paul George and Kyrie Irving over the NBA 2K18 logo, each performing their respective victory dances. Irving even had a bit of fun by “dancing with himself” on 2K Day.

Copies of the game may be going fast, but not as fast as the GameStop NASCAR stock car, racing the circuit with NBA 2K18‘s cover prominently displayed on the hood. The car is driven by Erik Jones, NASCAR’s Rookie of the Year, and came in at number 18 over the weekend at 300 in Chicago.

Considering the “Run The Neighborhood” trailer has been viewed nearly 5 million times in just two weeks, it’s pretty safe to say that fans are excited. All this hype will aid both publisher Take-Two Interactive and the NBA as they prepare to launch the inaugural NBA 2K esports league in 2018.

“We know our players are big fans of the NBA 2K game and many of them work closely with the development,” Matt Holt, vice president of global partnerships at the NBA told AListDaily. “It’s going to be interesting to see how we can connect our players with this esports league.”

Major Brands Leverage Twitter Influencers To Prep For Fall

Editor’s note: Julie Truong is an analyst for Ayzenberg Insights. AListDaily is the editorial and publishing arm of the Ayzenberg Group, the parent company of Ayzenberg Insights. For more on Ayzenberg Insights, visit

Advertising becomes increasingly competitive on Twitter around the end of the summer, and major brands rely on smart marketing and strategic distribution techniques to stand out. Here are two case studies of brands using influencers on Twitter to reach their targets in an effective way.


Back-to-school is a key campaign for marketers in the retail space. To leverage this trend, Walgreens and Clearasil partnered up for a timely campaign aiming to help teens feel #ClearlyConfident. This campaign educated followers on the importance of skincare and doubled as a helpline for teens and parents to learn more about Clearasil’s benefits and building teens’ confidence.

The brands reached out to influencers Makeba Giles and Jenny Ingram to help promote Clearasil skincare products through social media and blog posts, sharing content as parental advice to help combat their teen’s acne and prepare them for the first day of school.

Within a short period, #ClearlyConfident gained the attention of moms, mommy bloggers, and parents interested in fashion and beauty.

Clearasil has been inactive on Twitter since 2016, so leveraging popular influencers—particularly within the parental demographic—and using ads to boost their work on social media was key.

To amplify the hype, Walgreens contributed to the campaign by retweeting influencers’ posts—infographics, sweepstakes and positive advice. Although the campaign ran throughout the month, #ClearlyConfident trended briefly in the United States and spiked conversation to 4,800 mentions.


Sprint’s #LiveUnlimited campaign successfully took an influencer and community management approach. Taking a leap with influencer marketing, the mobile service provider strategically collaborated with their US and Latin teams to hit both markets with their message, which involved Latino/American influencers who fit the goal of the campaign to #LiveUnlimited.

In this campaign video, the brand diversified their social influencers from various lifestyle sectors to inspire consumers to live life their own way. The influential cast: Lele Pons, content creator; Gerard Adams, motivational entrepreneur; Bradley Martyn, bodybuilder; Rachel Cook, model; and Prince Royce, musician. In the video, Sprint focused on driving their narrative by letting the talent be themselves.

Sprint’s community managers were also highly involved, responding to their audience and their talent’s audience with playful responses to their tweets.

Sprint’s campaign video was broadcast on Sprint, Sprint Latino, and the influencers’ social media channels as a method to further expand their messaging into other markets. The campaign began in late August and trended in the United States for 30 minutes, resulting in 6,311 mentions.

Office Depot Names New CMO; Verizon, NBCUniversal Announce New Corporate Programs

Jerri DeVard has joined Office Depot as their new chief marketing officer and executive vice president. Most recently, she held the position of senior vice president and CMO of security provider ADT.

“We are excited to welcome Jerri to Office Depot, as her leadership and fresh perspective will be instrumental in driving a more integrated omnichannel marketing approach that builds brand loyalty and positions the company for growth,” said Gerry Smith, Office Depot’s CEO.

Verizon’s chief marketing officer Diego Scotti has followed up on a letter to agency partners on the lack of diversity in the advertising field, starting up a diversity fellowship program of its own. The program, called Ad Fellows, will allow 20 college graduates of diverse backgrounds to rotate through a variety of positions at Verizon and its agency partners.

“As one of the country’s top five advertisers, Verizon sees it as our responsibility to lead the conversation on diversity and take action to promote broader industry change,” Scotti told Business Insider. “We want our company, as well as our agency partners, to reflect our customers, and to make that happen we need a pipeline of diverse talent.”

NBCUniversal has created a new division devoted to unifying the network’s research efforts across all their platforms and partnerships, transferring Kavita Vazirani to lead the team as executive vice president of strategic insights and analytics.

“NBCUniversal continues to push the envelope in advanced advertising, content development and distribution strategies to best serve our viewers and our advertising partners’ ultimate sales objectives,” said NBCUniversal’s executive vice president of business operations Krishan Bhatia. “Now more than ever, we need someone who can unify the innovative consumer and marketing insights and analytics taking place at our company.”

Vazirani has been at NBCUniversal for 20 years, most recently holding the position of senior vice president of media strategy and sciences. Prior to her term at NBC, she held a variety of senior roles at Comcast.

Allstate chief marketing officer Sanjay Gupta, who has helmed the post for the past five years, is no longer in that role, according to a report by AdWeek. The former Ally executive recently sold $1.44 million in Allstate shares. The publicly held insurance company has not officially announced the move yet.

TiVo is undergoing executive changes this week, losing chief marketing officer Ira Bahr and gaining Ted Malone, who is signing on as vice president of consumer products and services.

Before joining the TiVo team, Malone was head of Ericsson’s IPTC portfolio, and prior to that worked at Microsoft as principal product planning lead for their IPTV platforms. Bahr has joined medical technology firm AliveCor as their chief commercial officer.

Netflix has brought on Melissa Cobb as vice president for kids and family, who will oversee creation and acquisition of family-friendly content.

“Given the creative freedom offered here and the global audience, there’s a huge opportunity for talented creatives across the industry to create the world’s best kids and family series and features for Netflix,” said Cobb. “My goal for this team is to offer a diverse slate of great, powerful and timeless family entertainment with global appeal.”

Before signing on with Netflix, Cobb was chief creative officer and studio head for Oriental DreamWorks, where she led all collaborations between the China office and its domestic counterpart.

Pete Hawley has joined Telltale Games as CEO, replacing Dan Connors, who will assume an advisory position once Hawley begins work on September 18.

“Pete Hawley is widely regarded as a forward-looking executive with a strong grasp of where the interactive entertainment business is heading,” said Jon Feltheimer, Lionsgate CEO and board member of Telltale. “We at Lionsgate look forward to working closely with Pete, John and the rest of the Telltale team.”

Previously, Hawley worked at Zynga as senior vice president and general manager.

Yellow Pages has appointed David Eckert to the position of president and CEO.

“David has a keen understanding of our industry and a proven track record of improving business performance,” said Robert MacLellan, chairman of the board of directors at Yellow Pages. “As a CEO, David has demonstrated his ability to devise and execute on strategic plans to deliver results. David is the right person to lead Yellow Pages as we focus on stabilizing and growing the business over the long-term.”

Eckert has also served as CEO for Hibu Group, among numerous other international companies.

SeaWorld has elected Yoshikazu Maruyama as their latest chairman of the board, replacing David D’Alessandro, who will be stepping down from the board entirely. Furthermore, the board has appointed Donald C. Robinson as lead independent director.

“Our Board is committed to continuing to advance its governance standards and independence, and we believe that by establishing these two complementary roles with clear responsibilities, we can enhance the rigorous and independent oversight of the company and the Board,” said Robinson.

Maruyama, in addition to his role on SeaWorld’s board of directors, is president of Zhonghong Group America, a major shareholder in the theme park. Prior to his promotion, Robinson had worked at SeaWorld as a director since 2016, and before that was executive vice president of Hong Kong Disneyland.

Twitter has poached Kay Madati from BET, appointing him as their latest head of content partnerships. He replaces Ross Hoffman, who quit the company in May.

Before signing on at BET in 2014, Madati worked at Facebook as head of entertainment and media global marketing solutions, and before that was vice president of audience experience at CNN Worldwide.

Comedy Central has promoted Shawn Silverman to the position of senior vice president of brand marketing, where he will oversee all off-channel advertising, as well as promotional events and experiential marketing.

Before entering his elevated role, Silverman was vice president of brand marketing and events, working on campaigns for The Daily ShowSouth Park and Key & Peele, among many others.

National Geographic is expanding its digital media executive staff, bringing on David Miller and Kyle Christensen as general manager of the brand’s website and vice president of social and digital strategy, respectively.

Miller previously served as vice president of product management at AOL. Christensen joins National Geographic from Netflix, where he was marketing and social manager for the company’s original films and series. While at the streaming service, Christensen won a Cannes Lion and Facebook’s grand prize for best TV social campaign for his campaigns promoting Narcos.

Jennifer Garner and John Foraker have signed on as co-founders of Once Upon a Farm, another company joining in on the fast-growing organic baby food market. The two will hold the positions of chief brand officer and CEO, respectively.

Before joining the new brand, Foraker led organic-food company Annie’s as president for 18 years, departing after negotiating its $820 million sale to General Mills. Garner has been an ambassador for Save the Children for the past five years, and has appeared in numerous critically and financially successful films over her 21-year career.

Flaregames has recruited Marja Konttinen as their latest head of brand management, where she will work with the mobile games publisher on promoting their Zombie Gunship and Nonstop franchises.

“Flaregames has built such a diverse portfolio in a short amount of time, and that’s testament to both the in-house collective skillset and the world-class developers behind the games,” said Konttinen. “I was initially drawn to the marketing team’s philosophy of backing up creative decisions by research and numbers, and I’m excited to further build on this mindset.”

Previously, Konttinen worked at Rovio, holding the title of marketing director, overseeing the launches of Angry Birds Space and partnerships with NASA, Samsung and 20th Century Fox.

Tom Schmitt has joined advertising software provider VideoAmp as chief financial officer, which recently raised $21 million in funding. Alongside this announcement, Krista Thomas has joined the company as well, holding the title of global head of marketing.

“VideoAmp is aggressively pursuing our go-to-market strategy around becoming the key operating system technology that unites the linear TV and digital video markets,” said VideoAmp’s chief strategy officer, Jay Prasad. “A key part of our approach is to clearly communicate to clients, partners and the market the value that is realized using these product.”

Schmitt most recently was CFO and COO for Freewheel TV, while Thomas joins VideoAmp from her previous role of vice president of product marketing for Rubicon Project.

iThrive Games has promoted Heidi McDonald to the position of senior creative director, where she will lead the nonprofit’s partnerships with game developers to create prosocial projects.

McDonald has been with the company since 2015, where she spearheaded iThrive’s design guide and game jam programs. Prior to joining the organization, McDonald worked as a designer and writer for Schell Games.

The Branded Content Marketing Association has expanded, opening a new chapter in Canada. Heading the new division as president will be Kaaren Whitney-Vernon, with Walmart, Shaftesbury, SGS International and KPMG as founding members.

“Canadian brands and marketers have really embraced the impact and potential of branded entertainment,” said Whitney-Vernon. “Our mission is to create an engaged and active community for branded content professionals throughout Canada and to work towards building a standardized tool for measurement.”

Whitney-Vernon led branded entertainment agency shift2 for the past three years, and before that was president and CEO of Youth Culture Group.

Txampi Diz has departed KCD Worldwide after 15 years at the PR firm, joining Balmain as its first-ever chief marketing officer, though he will remain an advisor for his former employer’s executive board of directors.

Boutique investment advisors ValueSetters has recruited Coreen Kraysler as their latest chief financial officer. In the role, Kraysler will work to further the firm’s partnership with Netcapital.  A chartered financial analyst, Kraysler has most recently held the position of senior vice president and principal at Independence Investments, where she served on their investment committee.

ValueSetters has shaken up its full executive team this year, having hired a new CEO and CTO earlier in the summer.

Starwood Retail Partners has brought on Michael P. Glimcher as CEO, succeeding Scott Wolstein, who will assume an advisory role for Starwood Capital Group.

Before joining Starwood, Glimcher was CEO and chairman of Glimcher Realty Trust from 2007 to 2015 and at WP Glimcher until 2016. He is also an executive board member of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.

PDL BioPharma has appointed a new president in Dominique P. Monnet, who will oversee the company’s efforts to acquire other businesses in the industry.

“Dominique’s proven track record of achieving significant commercial success with other biopharmaceutical companies will benefit the current products that Noden has on the market in addition to growing the business through acquisitions,”said PDL BioPharma CEO John P. McLaughlin.

Previously, Monnet served as senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, and she has held senior-level positions in the biotechnology field for over 30 years.

Marketing and customer experience optimizer Optimizely has hired Carl Tsukahara as CMO, where he hopes to expand the company’s platform to make experimentation simpler. Tsukahara also reports plans to recruit new executives for Optimizely’s 400-person team.

“Corporations across the world are trying to figure out how to get better at working with new customers and prospect behavior,” said Tsukahara. “I really think the time is now to take data science and apply it to these hard problems.”

Tsukahara has held CMO positions at five different companies—Birst, Monitise, Clairmail, Dun & Bradstreet and Aim Technology—and has held senior-level marketing positions in the Bay Area for almost 25 years.

(Editor’s Note: This post will be updated daily until Friday, September 15. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

Director, Marketing Razer USA, Ltd. Irvine, CA
Director, Marketing Sony Music Entertainment New York, NY
Brand Manager BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. Santa Clara, CA
Director, Product Marketing Facebook Menlo Park, CA
Sr. Product Marketing Manager AT&T El Segundo, CA

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

How Instagram’s Funnel Nabs Engaged Users

Instagram is hoping that if a picture says a thousand words, it will fill up 600 million shopping carts. That’s why the social platform is experimenting with new ways to convert inspiration into sales.

One way is the “Shop Now” button that takes users to a brand’s website. Apparel, jewelry and fashion brands in the US are participating in the Instagram test to gauge user interest and potential ROI.

Instagram is also experimenting with a tool that tags products that same way one might tag a friend. Twenty brand partners have signed on to try the new feature, including JackThreads, Warby Parker, Kate Spade and J. Crew.

Call to action is the next natural step for the Facebook-owned site, especially since users already use Instagram as inspiration for purchases. Of the 13 million total interactions during New York Fashion Week in 2016, 97 percent took place on Instagram, according to a report by L2.

According to recent research from fashion brand Dana Rebecca Designs, 72 percent of Instagram users say they have made a fashion- or beauty-related purchase after seeing a product on the social network. Forty percent of surveyed users also say Instagram was the social media platform that most impacted their shopping habits.

Retailers turn to Instagram not only to inspire but to look for inspiration, themselves—noting and reacting to trends as they happen.

“Savvy retailers look at hashtags to understand street style and what’s cool right now,” Apu Gupta, CEO of visual commerce platform Curalate, told Digiday. “It’s not about your own products—it’s about gaining insight into what people are wearing and how they wear them.”

This kind of symbiotic relationship between brands and users helps keep the inspiration flowing without being disruptive to the natural flow of discovery.

Eighty percent of all Instagram users follow at least one brand on the platform and 41 percent either follow or would follow brands to take advantage of perks and giveaways, says Instagram analytics platform Iconosquare.

While fashion and beauty are natural fits for a visually-driven social network, other brands take advantage of Instagram’s engaged users in creative ways. Sparkling water brand LaCroix appeals to millennials through its easy-going brand message and partners with influencers to spread the word.

In fact, influencer marketing on the platform is booming. Estimates place this year’s Instagram influencer market at just over $1 billion. At the current growth rate, the platform could reach $2 billion by 2019.

Juniper Research predicts that over two billion mobile phone or tablet users will make some sort of mobile commerce transaction by the end of 2017 and over three billion by the year 2021. Studies have shown that more than half of consumers research purchases online before committing and for users on Instagram, seeing is believing.

“Our partnership with Instagram has been very successful,” says Mary Beech, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Kate Spade New York. “Traditionally, our customer had turned to Instagram for inspiration, and we’re seeing that she’s reacting positively to the new shopping experience, which allows her to seamlessly tap and shop the product—going from inspiration to information to purchase in just a few steps—we’re excited to see where the feature continues to take us.”

New York Fashion Week Isn’t Just For Fashion Brands Anymore

New York Fashion Week is a time for the world to see what’s “in,” but it’s not just for clothing and accessories. The annual event is also about ideas from social justice to inner beauty, inspiring a host of non-endemic brands to create spectacles of their own.


Each year at New York Fashion Week, American Greetings hosts the Café by Papyrus–a pop-up venue where attendees can grab a coffee or tea and send intricately designed greeting cards. The decadent hangout spot returned this year, but Papyrus “popped up” somewhere else for the first time—the runway.

Papyrus—an American Greetings company—partnered with fashion designer Adam Selman and artist Daniel Sean Murphy to create a set made entirely of paper. Bright blue flowers, grass and 100 Papyrus hummingbirds lined the runway as models showed off Selman’s collection.

“This is really historic. Integration into a show has never really happened before as far as we know,” Alex Ho, chief marketing officer for American Greetings, told AdWeek. “It’s a testament to the traction we’ve had over the years and the tie to fashion.”

Farrow & Ball

Floral designer Lewis Miller and his team have been known to create guerilla-style flower installations around New York City with splashes of bright colors and texture in unexpected places.

For New York Fashion Week, Miller chose a construction site for his latest work and this time, he collaborated with wallpaper brand Farrow & Ball. Normally described as a “pretty bleak city corner,” the construction site was transformed by wooden pallets layered with vibrant flowers. The walls surrounding Miller’s installation are covered in printed Farrow & Ball wallpaper.

“Ultimately, I think we are creating something truly spectacular, fresh and whimsical that celebrates the best of both our brands,” Miller told Vogue.

“Building on the creative energy of a city like New York, especially during Fashion Week, we hope to inspire people everywhere to find a moment of escapism in the everyday—whether it’s in their home, on their daily commute, at work, or on their way to a fashion show,” added Charlotte Cosby, head of creative for Farrow & Ball.

Refinery29 And Partners

Female-focused publisher Refinery29 hosted an immersive experiential installation for New York Fashion Week. The colorful activation featured 29 individually curated rooms linked to brand partners including Ulta Beauty, Aldo, Clarins, Dunkin’ Donuts, Juicy Couture and Cadillac with Jason Wu.

Each room in the aptly named “29Rooms” activation holds an interactive brand message. The Clarins room includes plants used in the company’s Next Generation Double Serum, for example, and Belletrist—a community devoted to books and authors—featured a giant typewriter that encouraged visitors to share their stories.

Visitors were able to rent Snap Spectacles for free and were encouraged to share their experiences across social media.

Shoe brand Aldo curated a room that invited guests to celebrate their own styles on a runway called “Love Walk.”

“Our team believes that Refinery29 has really redefined what it means to do a brand collaboration and what it means to do an experiential marketing campaign,” Katie Green, Aldo’s senior director of communications, told AdWeek. “They’ve been able to create an opportunity in this new digital and social era to really create meaningful content for brands while also allowing you to be part of a greater conversation during a time when let’s face it, there’s a lot of clutter during fashion week.”


Continuing its #HowFashionTravels campaign, New York Fashion Week sponsor Lexus provided a fleet of nearly 100 vehicles for show-goers and industry insiders.

Another activation in partnership with Interview Magazine called “Lexus: Set in Motion,” let visitors be the star, stepping onto a set to be professionally photographed next to a Lexus vehicle. The activation was more than just a photo op, offering professional makeup and hair touch-ups. Even the photos were taken by an industry professional.

“Through our partnership with Interview Magazine, we are able to invite the public to experience what a real editorial fashion photo shoot is like, which is something Lexus has not executed in the past and is a unique opportunity that we can offer to the general public,” Lexus general manager Greg Kitzens told Marketing Daily.


Celebrities are everywhere during New York Fashion Week, but this year ushered in a new era for one unexpected icon—Minnie Mouse. The Disney icon, whose reputation as a fashionista dates back to 1928, hobnobbed with the likes of Kate Bosworth, Jhené Aiko, Nicki Minaj and Paris and Nicky Hilton.

Minnie met with fashion designers and swung by the offices of both Instagram and Refinery29. She even wore a custom outfit courtesy of fashion designer Monse and appeared at the Monse fashion show.

In the past year, Minnie has worn custom designs by Alice + Olivia’s Stacey Bendet and Olympia Le-Tan, helping to solidify Disney’s place in the fashion world.

Wargaming Aims To Expand ‘World Of Tanks’ Console Esports

While the majority of Wargaming’s 150 million registered World of Tanks players are on PC, the company continues to look for new ways to engage with console gamers. The company’s latest effort to market the free-to-play WWII brand to a global console audience is through Xbox Live Arena support, which opens up new opportunities for Wargaming’s esports initiatives.

TJ Wagner, creative director and executive producer at Wargaming’s Chicago and Baltimore studios, told AListDaily that Xbox Live Arena support will allow anyone to create clubs and customized user-generated tournaments on Xbox One.

“We are working closely with Microsoft to carefully implement Arena into World of Tanks,” Wagner explained. “Arena is a great tool that allows players to create tournaments and publishers like ourselves to sponsor major events. The Wargaming development team is working with Microsoft to create the necessary tools to seamlessly integrate World of Tanks into the Xbox ecosystem.”

Along with the release of user-generated tournaments, gamers can now sign up for the first Wargaming Skirmish, which will take place on September 15.

Wagner said that both Wargaming and Microsoft are marketing these Arena competitions across social media, their respective game portals and directly from the Arena platform.

“These Wargaming Skirmishes will be our first tournaments with prizing,” Toby Mast, senior producer of the World of Tanks, told AListDaily. “As these become more competitive, it may lead to even larger tournaments with higher number of teams, longer-running events and improved prizing.”

Initial prizing will include in-game currency and virtual items but are opportunities for brands and sponsors to step in or host their own custom tournaments. Hollywood studios like 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Pictures have worked with Wargaming in recent years to cross-promote films like Fury and Dunkirk, which could open opportunities for film swag, tickets and other items to be won through competitive play.

To date, the focus of Wargaming esports has been solely on PC, where the majority of World of Tanks gamers reside. That league play has attracted brands like Facebook, Intel, PayPal, SanDisk and Razer to connect with that audience.

“Over the past few years, we’ve worked with our community leaders to host Wargaming Community Tournaments (WCL),” Mast said. “During these WCL events, we’ve seen a consistent increase in the number of teams participating and we know they are eager for more frequent competitive events. Now with Xbox Live Arena, the process to host user-generated tournaments is all within the console and much easier than ever before. Our community is already planning to create their own tournaments, so we expect UGTs to grow quickly.”

As the global World of Tanks esports ecosystem grows on consoles, Wargaming is looking for better ways to integrate sponsors.

“We’re very excited for the future of esports on the console,” Mast said. “World of Tanks has the perfect player base for sponsored events, so we’ll see what opportunities will be revealed as Xbox Live Arena participation grows.”

These tournaments on Xbox Live Arena can live separately from the established World of Tanks global esports league, which makes it easy for brands to host and run their own console tournaments.

“Arena allows Wargaming to bring an esports component to World of Tanks on console, something our players have been asking about for some time,” Wagner said. “Our console team is dedicated to player happiness, so we are happy to bring something to our tankers that they have been asking for.”

Mast added that the plan is to add a tournament structure to PlayStation 4 in the near future, further expanding the esports opportunities across console for this free-to-play brand.

‘Voltron’ Blasts Its Way Into VR Game Series

Voltron, the children’s animated series that started in the 1980s, saw a great revival when DreamWorks Animation and World Events Productions brought Voltron: Legendary Defender to Netflix in June last year. Now on its third season, the show that centers on five Paladins who pilot robotic lions that combine to form a giant robot to fight the evil Galra Empire has led to comic books, action figures and now a VR series that debuts for PlayStation VR on September 26.

DreamWorks Voltron VR Chronicles is a joint project between visual effects studio Digital Domain (which also launched an original VR series called Monkey King in August) and Universal Brand Development, which announced a strategic focus on games publishing in May. In it, viewers become Paladins and go on adventures through time and space alongside the show’s characters Lance, Hunk, Pidge, Keith, Shiro, Allura and Coran and fight the villain Zarkon by solving puzzles and beating challenges.

“Digital Domain has been an innovator in the entertainment industry by creating content that fans want to consume,” Wayne Kennedy, Digital Domain’s director of creative development on Voltron, told AListDaily. “The team decided to collaborate with Universal Brand Development to develop Voltron VR Chronicles and create a new level of interactive storytelling, allowing fans to step inside the Voltron universe for a completely immersive VR experience.”

Kennedy said that Voltron was the ideal IP for a VR experience because it was exciting and that it was a chance for fans to interact with their favorite characters and experience the robotic lions at their true scale.

“The size of the Voltron lions, the vastness of space and the overall grandness of the Voltron universe makes for an incredible VR experience,” Lalie Fisher, senior producer for games and digital platforms at Universal Brand Development, told AListDaily. “We’re able to bring the huge iconic world of Voltron: Legendary Defender to life in an immersive 3D experience that allows fans to virtually step inside an episode, and that is something really special. The users are able to view their surroundings in a full 360-degree setting, giving them a definitive and up-close look at the environments and the Voltron lions themselves. This simply would not be possible to do in any other medium.”

Fisher said that Voltron VR Chronicles has its own story and acts as an extension of the show. The VR experience will be promoted across all the Voltron social channels. Meanwhile, Kennedy made it clear that Voltron VR Chronicles isn’t a promotion VR experience for the show.

“It’s a complete experience unto itself that allows fans to step inside the world of Voltron: Legendary Defender and partake in their own memorable adventure,” he said. “This interactive narrative experience allows us to creatively extend the series’ storylines, putting fans in the center of the action.”

To that end, Kennedy explained that Digital Domain worked closely with the showrunners, who provided some of their writing expertise and knowledge of the Voltron universe to ensure authenticity.

“Fans of the show will be excited to learn that the TV show’s voice actors lent their voice talents to the experience,” said Kennedy.

One-Third Of Your Video Ads Aren’t Being Seen, Says Google

DoubleClick has released a report on video-ad viewability for 2017, registering a massive disparity between YouTube and other sites’ figures. Their research, using Google’s Active View measurement technology, found that 95 percent of ads on YouTube were “viewable,” while only 66 percent of ads on other platforms met the same requirements.

Their study uses the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Media Rating Council’s definition of “viewable,” which requires at least half of the ad to be in view for at least two continuous seconds. Ads playing on separate tabs or ones that the user scrolled past too quickly were not counted.

Their data also found that desktops offered significantly lower rates than mobile and tablets for all sites and apps, including YouTube. On average, desktop viewability was 5 points behind other platforms for YouTube and 11 points behind for the rest of the web.

Although the figures look low, DoubleClick’s viewability figures have been trending modestly upward, increasing 10 percent over the last three years. YouTube’s own metrics have gone up, too: DoubleClick claims that only 93% of ads on the video platform were viewable last year.

Breaking up the data by region, DoubleClick’s report found that consumers in France, South Africa and Hong Kong were the savviest at avoiding video ads, reporting viewability figures of 59, 59 and 57 percent, respectively.

Google’s report does not offer analysis of its findings, but the ready availability of tabbed browsing and prevalence of inconspicuous autoplay ads likely explain the marked difference between desktop and mobile platforms, and YouTube’s shift to six-second ads makes consumers less likely to switch tabs to avoid messaging.

Despite recent controversies around brand safety and anti-competitive behavior, YouTube’s impressive viewability statistics may bring advertisers, perhaps reluctantly, back into the fold. Earning $26 billion in ad sales in the second quarter 2017, Alphabet is still the industry leader for digital advertising: many brands simply may not have a choice.