Augmented And Virtual Reality: The Who’s Who Of Companies In 2017

The augmented and virtual reality market is growing—and with it, possibilities across a multitude of industries from video games to car manufacturers to fashion. In this virtual reality infographic, we take a look at the who’s who of the growing market.

Attracting New Audiences

A February report by Forrester Research concludes that “critical-mass consumer adoption of high-end VR headsets is five years away, but 360-degree videos will flourish on low-to-mid-end VR devices in the meantime.”

While 360-degree video isn’t technically virtual reality, it is an accessible gateway into the technology. In addition to their VR efforts, brands like The New York Times and Discovery Communications produce content that allows users to explore real-world environments for news and education.

Video is another way consumers are trying VR, and Netflix VR is the most widely used app among consumers, according to Magid. The analytics firm found that VR purchase intent has plateaued, and developers are looking for new ways to attract consumer interest.

Rikard Steiber, president of Viveport at HTC Vive knows these challenges first-hand.

“VR clearly has a marketing problem because it’s a very experiential medium,” Steiber told AListDaily. “It’s like The Matrix with Neo and Morpheus—you have to take the pill and run down the rabbit hole to experience the matrix. You cannot explain the Matrix. That’s why it’s so important for us to make VR accessible to everyone in places like retail stores and VRcades so that anyone can try it and understand its potential.”

Despite these hurdles, analysts see growth in the virtual reality market. Juniper Research predicts that hardware revenues from VR headsets, peripherals and 360-degree cameras will reach over $50 billion by 2021, up tenfold from an estimated $5 billion in sales last year.

Many Apps, Many Uses

According to a study from Ericsson ConsumerLab, shopping was the top reason worldwide smartphone users were interested in VR, with “seeing items in real size and form when shopping online” cited by 64 percent of respondents. Ikea created its own VR app that allows consumers to explore a virtual kitchen and even shrink themselves to see what it looks like from a child’s point of view.

Branded VR experiences are inviting consumers to step inside the worlds of film and TV, food, fashion and even alcoholic beverages.

The video game industry, backed by software giants like Unity and Unreal, are helping pave the way for VR adoption through interactive entertainment. SuperData Research predicts that the total market for virtual, augmented and mixed reality gaming will reach $8.8 billion globally by 2020. The non-gaming market for this technology is estimated to far exceed that of gaming by the tune of $31 billion.

According to the 2017 Nielsen Esports Playbook, just five percent of esports fans own a VR device, citing price point as a barrier to entry.

“Views about how virtual reality can and will be integrated into esports remain divided,” Nielsen Esports says in the report, “and the notion that VR is at a tipping point is underlined by the fact that 69 percent of esports fans across [the US, UK, France and Germany], when asked how likely they are to own a virtual reality device in the next 12 months, are undecided (probably will, might or might not, probably will not).”

Oculus VP Explains Overcoming Challenges To Monetize VR

Jason Rubin, vice president of content at Oculus VR

When Oculus VR first formed, there was no VR content as we know it in existence. But the company managed to launch with 30 titles in March 2016 and added another 30 titles when Touch launched in December to become its fastest growing hardware sector.

The Oculus Store now has over 500 titles, with more being added each month to the end of the year and possibly beyond. Additionally, the bar for quality has been significantly raised as developers better understand what works in VR and have longer development cycles. So, this is truly turning out to be the year of content the company promised.

“We were right. Price matters and quality of content matters—investing in the content and bringing the price down,” Jason Rubin, vice president of content at Oculus VR, told AListDaily. “This is exactly what is needed to bring VR to the masses.”

With the recent announcement of Marvel Powers United and the launch of Lone Echo, with its Lone Echo multiplayer component featured as part of the Intel VR esports series, Oculus has been taking on the market in full force over the past year, despite how many have described 2017 as being in the “trough of disillusionment” for the technology.

Rubin sat down to an exclusive interview with AListDaily, discussing the different approaches to bringing games to the market, and where it could grow in the future.

Free-To-Play VR

Oculus hosted a number of free-to-play weekends over the past summer, with the most notable being how Lone Echo (and by extension, Echo Arena) could be played for free for three months following its launch. But even though there are games such as Dragon Front, which are free to download and have in-app purchases available on the Oculus Store, Rubin said that free games make up the minority of content.

“There isn’t much free-to-play going on in the store—it’s either full-priced or someone is giving it away for free because they don’t know how to price it,” said Rubin. “When it comes to free-to-play, you have a top-of-funnel question—how many people could possibly come into this title? And of those people, how many are going to pay for something, how many ads are going to be shown and all these other things that go down in that business model. Right now, none of the VR systems are in a place where there is enough top-of-funnel usage to get to a successful business model at the bottom.”

Rubin then said that the best form of pricing is whatever works best for the consumer and developer. If it doesn’t work for one of them, then it’s not a good system. He said that both free-to-play and premium pricing are great, but it’s a matter of getting the developers and consumers to a consensus about what works.

“Different products have different needs and they work in different ways,” he said. “Free-to-play precludes some types of games because nobody has successfully had you come through a door then have you pay to walk through that door. They tend to pay for time shortcuts and things like that. If you want to make a linear game, you can’t go free-to-play—it just hasn’t worked so far. At the same time, there are things about free-to-play that create games that wouldn’t work in premium.”

The VR market might not yet be ready for a free-to-play system, but Rubin believes that it could change in the long run. He said that, like the PC market, VR will support whatever system developers and consumers agree on.

Subscription Model

HTC currently offers curated games as part of its Viveport subscription, where users can select five titles to play on the Vive headset every month. However, Rubin said subscriptions are a very tricky territory when it comes to video games.

“The question is—’is interactive content good for a subscription model?’” asked Rubin. “Let’s talk about the things that have worked well as a subscription model. Music and movies have worked well. Both of those products are fixed length, you tend to do a lot of them, and you tend not to do them over and over again.”

Rubin admitted to watching Star Wars in theaters eight times, but that is an extreme rarity for the movie business. He contends that people generally don’t watch movies repeatedly, and almost never back-to-back. Likewise, people may have a favorite song, but they’re usually done listening to it after about five times.

“For that reason, those work as subscriptions,” said Rubin. “Because everything is about the same size and is digestible in the same way by the consumer, it’s easy to say to Time Warner or Disney, ‘You both make great movies. We’re just going to see which movies people want to watch and pay you based on how many times they do.’ You’re all on the same ground, and if you make better movies, you’ll make more money. That’s basically how Netflix works.”

Rubin went on to say that things get considerably more complicated with video games because they’re a completely different beast. He cited two examples: Skyrim, a role-playing game that offers hundreds of hours of gameplay, and Uncharted, a deep experience that may be completed in about 10 or 20 hours. Both types of games would cost consumers $60 under a premium system and offer players very fulfilling experiences. But with a subscription, the publisher that has the long game will want an hourly model, while the shorter game will want to be paid equally.

“If you continue to think about how games are played and how they work, you end up in a situation where it’s so uneven that it’s very hard to get developers and publishers behind the idea of bundling because they all believe that their content is the most valuable,” said Rubin. “It’s the same for the movie business, but they’re all different enough that there is no way to compare them. So, what you tend to find with gaming subscriptions are old stuff and crappy stuff. I don’t know what the value is for crappy-stuff subscriptions. Maybe we’ll get there with old stuff, but we don’t have any old stuff. We’re only 19 months old. To discount something like Chronos makes no sense because it’s still a brand-new game to a lot of people. It’s not like a PS3 title on PS4 or a Call of Duty game from previous years. Chronos is still one of the most loved games in VR.”

Rubin said it’s been very hard for the industry to price interactive entertainment as a subscription for that reason.

“It may make sense to the consumer, but when you get to the creators, they can’t wrap their heads around a structure that works,” he said.

Managing A Divided Market?

In the months following the launch of the Oculus headset, the company was said to have bifurcated its own market until the Touch controllers released later that year. Some analysts said that this gave headsets like the HTC Vive a head start, given how its users could purchase both the headset and controllers in a single bundle when it launched in April 2016.

“Whether or not that was true at the time, you’re now looking at the Oculus Touch controllers being reviewed as the best on the market with the vast majority of Rift users owning Touch,” said Rubin. “If there was a moment in time where others had a better solution, it’s now irrelevant. We have the best solution by reviews, and we also have the vast majority of people that have both peripherals. So, I think we’re in a really good space today with Touch.”

However, it looks like history might repeat itself, with some in the media and analysts suggesting that the newly announced Oculus Go and the Santa Cruz development kit may end up splitting the market even further.

“It’s been very interesting to me to watch as Oculus, which was a new company and outsider criticized for bifurcating the market when launched without Touch, and again when we launched with Touch, and how that was going to destroy the market,” said Rubin. “Here we are, not having destroyed the market, and we have a solid base to build upon.”

Rubin also noted how HTC was currently developing Knuckles, an alternate hand controller to the Wand, but no one is asking, “What’s going to happen to Wand users?”

“All the nonsense that we went through is not being equally spread around,” he said. “I believe it was wrong to do it to us, and I certainly don’t suggest it should happen to anyone else, but it’s interesting to watch the different ways people are reacting. I think research is good, and this industry is going to move forward very quickly. As you can see with what happened with Touch, it’s fine.”

Working Without The Steam Advantage

Although there are numerous VR titles found on Steam, the world’s largest platform and store for PC games, its creator Valve has a very close relationship with HTC—it helped develop the Vive. Given how Oculus had to grow its own store from scratch using a number of games that it invested in developing, Rubin spoke about whether the company was at a disadvantage.

“What I would say is that Oculus faced a lot of challenges starting as a small Kickstarter that basically borrowed money from consumers to build the product,” said Rubin. “It didn’t have an operating system—it’s not built on Microsoft Windows—and it didn’t own a phone ecosystem the way Google does. And we didn’t have a store or developer platform. None of that existed when Oculus started, or even a year and a half later when I joined the company.

“Think about how far we’ve come and how much we’ve done in that amount of time. We now have a fully functioning store that is competitive in many ways, especially in VR, with other storefronts. We have a developer ecosystem of very happy developers and two functioning platforms—more than any other company—one on mobile and the other on PC. We have done an incredible amount. So, while these were challenges, I think we’ve overcome them amazingly. Over the next year or two, people will stop asking, ‘Was Oculus at a disadvantage,’ and start saying, ‘How did they catch up so fast and get so far beyond everyone so quickly?’ We’re fully dedicated to VR as a company.”

Data Offers Insights Into Fall TV Audience Drop-Off Behavior

The fall TV premiere season is upon us, and the competition is fierce for audience attention. Convincing viewers to tune in to the premiere isn’t a problem for many of today’s top shows, but episode two doesn’t mean time off for marketers.

According to TV data company Alphonso, understanding who the most loyal viewers are and what else they’re watching could be the key to engagement throughout the entire season.

“The TV viewing experience today is more than just a ratings number,” T.S. Kelly, senior vice president of research at Alphonso, told AListDaily. “Measurement in the age of ‘Peak TV’ means tracking multiple screens and viewing environments for watching the same content, both live and delayed. A more granular view of behavior provides TV companies a better understanding of audience movements before, during and after live broadcasts as well as their constant shifts between networks and platforms.”

 

Fall TV Marketing Momentum

“As premiere week demonstrated, ‘appointment television’ is still alive and well,” said Kelly. “However, our data suggests the need for further promotional focus during the subsequent chase weeks beyond season premieres.”

Alphonso analyzed four top shows for the Fall 2016 TV season—Empire, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory and This Is Us. In all four broadcast examples studied, 40 percent or more of Live +3 viewers of the premiere episode failed to return for the second episode. Live +3 ratings refer to shows that are watched within the first three days after the time they originally air.

“In some cases, we identified drop-off rates of 30 percent or more of premiere show viewers to subsequent episodes,” said Kelly. “While this does not always equate to parallel declines in program ratings, it does illustrate increasing viewer satisfaction with DVRs and OTT boxes as a means of adjusting media consumption. Mini-binges and the clustering of viewing occasions [are becoming] the more efficient and pleasurable viewing options to meet busy schedules.”

Don’t Change That Dial

The Walking Dead and American Horror Story managed to keep viewers coming back more often, with 2016 Fall TV drop-off rates of 27 and 30 percent, respectively. Tracking these top cable dramas, Alphonso wanted to figure out what else fans were watching.

The company found that loyal audiences of American Horror Story are at least five times more likely to keep watching FX, or at least stay within the horror genre across other networks. Loyal watchers of American Horror Story are seven times as likely to tune in to The Strain, for example.

Alphonso saw similar behavior from loyal viewers of The Walking Dead, with a heavy sampling of multiple AMC programs.

Lead-in traffic also helps keep viewers tuned in. For example, 59 percent of audiences watching the season premiere of The Big Bang Theory stayed to check out Kevin Can Wait in the subsequent timeslot. The same percentage of viewers from the Modern Family premiere stayed to watch Blackish after the show.

Think Digital To Avoid Drop-Off

TV is constantly competing with not only other programs but other forms of entertainment. To keep audiences engaged, Kelly urged marketers to remember not just what shows audiences are watching, but what they’re holding while they do it.

“Digital devices are ubiquitous in the living room,” said Kelly. “It’s more common than not for people to have a phone, a tablet or a laptop in hand or nearby while TV viewing occurs. And the commercial breaks are when these devices are being used the most. This near-constant change in viewer focus means marketers must enhance potential exposure not just by simply adding programs or networks to their TV campaigns, but by looking to messaging on all other devices in simultaneous use within the household. It also means refining placement within pods (first spot, last, etc.) as well as the timing of messaging and creative elements within the placements themselves.”

ROI A Major Concern With MarTech; Consumer Electronic Spending Plateaus

ROI concerns are the largest motivators both for and against investing in marketing technology, research by Ascend2 found. Of the marketers surveyed, 69 percent claimed that increasing ROI was their primary objective for acquiring martech, while 44 percent responded that forecasting ROI is a challenge to acquiring marketing technology.

Other goals highlighted by respondents were improving efficiency (48 percent), improving decision making (40 percent) and garnering a competitive advantage (36 percent).


Spending on consumer technology appears to be plateauing, per research by the Consumer Technology Association. Their forecast for Q4 predicts only a 1 percent increase in revenue, to $96.8 billion. However, according to CTA market research director Steve Koenig, the number is no great cause for alarm.

“On the surface, it sounds pretty weak, but we saw 3.8 percent holiday growth in 2016,” Koenig said in an interview with VentureBeat. “That’s a tough act to follow. It’s hard to post 3 percent to 4 percent growth rates year after year.”


Though data collection is swiftly becoming more important to successful campaigns, the crowned king is currently creativity , according to a study by Episerver. Of the marketers surveyed, 59 percent claimed creativity is more important than data.


The largest four digital media companies will repeat their Q2 ad revenue growth, according to analysis by MoffetNathanson. Its research forecasts an average 25 percent increase in spending in Q3 for Google, Facebook, Twitter and Snap. This prediction comes despite worries for the future of the digital advertising space.

“We expect increased scrutiny in the US and EU, which could create an overhang that hinders prospects for further multiple expansion of these companies,” said Michael Nathanson, senior research analyst at MoffetNathanson. “That said, these issues likely had no impact on fundamentals in the third quarter.”


Piper Jaffray Companies has released its 34th semi-annual “Taking Stock With Teens” survey, which spending and brand preference trends among 6,100 teenagers across the continental US. You can find their infographic rundown here.

Overall, spending by teenagers dropped by 4.4 percent this year, with parental contribution to spending keeping steady. Teens are spending slightly less on video games, slightly more on clothing and substantially less on food, dropping by 8 percent. Of the top brands, Starbucks was the only brand to retain higher than 10 percent mindset share among both high-income and average-income groups.


Video ads may be the future, but interactive video boosts already impressive statistics. According to research by Magna, users spend 47 percent more time watching interactive video ads than noninteractive ones. Additionally, users, whether they watch the ad or not, find interactive ads 32 percent more memorable, and drive a ninefold higher purchase rate.


Virtual reality may turn around slumping interest in conventional television, according to a study by Ericsson ConsumerLab. Of the 20,000 consumers surveyed, 30 percent anticipated watching TV in VR in the next five years, 27 percent predicted an increase in watching 360-degree content and 25 percent predicted an increase in time spent watching video in general.

However, according to Ericsson, not everything is hunky-dory in TV Land. Twenty percent responded that they will not watch scheduled programming anymore, and 12 percent claimed that they will watch less on-demand content because of too much variety.


Research by Catalyst suggests that Amazon’s share of the digital advertising space will only grow in the near future: 63 percent of Amazon’s US advertisers plan to increase their budgets for the platform, while only 54 and 53 percent said the same about their Google and Facebook ad buys, respectively.

Despite this sizable figure, only 17 percent claimed that their Amazon strategy is fully developed, and 85 percent responded that they do not use all of Amazon’s advertising products.

The zero-UI space is small, but growing, according to Catalyst. Of those surveyed, 85 percent did not have a voice-enabled skill for Alexa, though 23 percent of that group said they planned to launch one by the end of this year.


EMarketer has released a new report on American media consumption, finding that US adults spend on average of 12 hours per day with major media. Their report breaks down the figure even further, with just under half of the time spent on digital media, and a third with television.


Since Snap unveiled its Maps feature, Axios found that the company has seen a 40 percent rise in Stories posts, stalling somewhat Instagram’s blitzkrieg takeover of new user share.

Axios research also found that 60 percent of Snapchat users create content on the app daily, and 20 percent engage with its AR features.


Social media may increase sales in the short term, but the uncareful use of the platforms can lead to permanently lower engagement, according to a study by Temple University.

Though their research was of a small sample size, the study found that while one firm’s social posts led to a five-point increase in sales, in the long term it saw a 300 percent increase in unfollows.

“The main thing brands should take away from this study is that they need to be careful,” said Paul Pavlou, co-author of the report. “There’s a tendency to send too many messages, because that short-term bump looks nice, but companies [need to] focus on the long-term effect. Otherwise, they’ll annoy customers, not only in the moment but in association with the brand.”


Digital ad sales are expected to outstrip their offline counterparts in the next three years, according to a forecast put out by MAGNA.

Revenue for online ads is expected to reach $84 billion this year, a 16 percent rise over IAB’s income report for 2016.

Additionally, MAGNA predicts that offline ad spending will shrink by 3.7 percent annually, while digital is expected to grow by 9.5 percent per year over the same period.

Riot Games Co-Founders Restructure Roles, Samsung CEO Retires

Riot Games co-founders Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill announced changing their roles in the company to focus more on game development.

“When we founded Riot 11 years ago, we spent virtually every waking hour of the day (and night!) thinking about how to make League of Legends as great of an experience as possible,” they wrote in a blog post. “But this growth also meant that the majority of our time is allocated to ‘managing’ the company rather than focusing on creating incredible experiences for players, which is what we really love to do.”

Taking over their responsibilities will be CFO Dylan Jadeja, CTO Scott Gelb and president Nicolo Laurent. Their blog post also hinted at a new game from the studio, saying they look forward “to finally put the ‘s’ in Riot Games.”


Kwon Oh-Hyun, CEO of Samsung Electronics and Samsung Display, announced his retirement despite record-setting profits this year. The news comes after a major political corruption scandal and the arrest of Jay Y. Lee, the grandson of the company’s founder in August.

“It is something I had been thinking long and hard about for quite some time. It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off,” said Oh-Hyun. “As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry.”

Oh-Hyun has served at Samsung for the past 32 years, starting out in 1985 as a semiconductor researcher. He will stay on until March 2018 and will not seek re-election to the company’s board of directors.

 


Millennial Esports Corporation has brought on Bob Reif to fill an unspecified executive position, claiming a general ramp-up of the company’s executive team as it attempts to drop the “start-up” moniker.

Reif most recently served as CMO for the Indy Race League and EVP for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Before working in the motor sports industry, he worked with the St. Louis Rams as their CMO and CRO for 12 years, helping the team grow from a value of $220 million to $3.5 billion.


Millennial Esports also announced the departure of its co-founder Chad Larsson, who plans to establish a new esports team franchise to partner with the company.

“With the unique confluence of events in today’s esports world, I have been feeling the need to reconnect with the aspects of esports that got me involved in the first place,” said Larsson. “With that in mind, I am already working on a number of new projects which will all hopefully in one way or another involve Millennial Esports.”


A+E Networks is reconfiguring its ad sales department, citing a plan to move “to a demo-agnostic, fully integrated, cross platform selling organization.” Amy Baker will lead a newly formed client strategy and insights team and Lance Still will lead The Bridge and The Build, the network’s internal content marketing agency and ad sales team, respectively.

According to a Reuters report, Disney plans to lay off 200 employees from several of its cable networks including ABC. The source however emphasized that ESPN would be unaffected. This is the second round of layoffs for the media conglomerate—Disney shrank its animation team by 250 positions in September.


 

Redbox has hired Jason Kwong as their chief strategy and business development officer. Previously, Kwong has worked at Fullscreen Media as senior vice president of strategy, program planning and acquisitions.


Paul Graham, Burberry’s vice president of operations, has joined Versace as their global CMO. He had been with Burberry as their vice president of engagement marketing since 2014.


Eighteen senior-level employees at the Staples Center, Microsoft Theater and LA Live have been promoted, including five new senior vice presidents. Laura Geery-Larson holds the new title of senior vice president of telecommunications and IT, Christy Castillo Butcher is now senior vice president of booking and events, Wade Loewe is now senior vice president of broadcast/multimedia productions, Matt Rosenfeld is now senior vice president of sales and Michele Kajiwara is now senior vice president of premium sales and services.


Netflix has poached Monique Meche from Amazon, hiring her as their vice president of global public policy, where she will lead the company’s efforts to comply with government regulations across the 190 countries it services.

Meche held the same position at Amazon since she joined the e-commerce giant in 2013, and before that worked at ArcelorMirral in Luxembourg as their vice president of government affairs and corporate social responsibility.


HitPoint Studios has a new president: Ariella Lehrer. The move follows an announcement of a multi-year development partnership between HitPoint and Legacy Games, a studio that Lehrer founded.

“After more than two years working in AR, we’re just starting to scratch the surface of what will be possible with these new platforms,” said Paul Hake, CEO of HitPoint Studios. “As technologists, we’re always striving to explore new ways to engage our audiences in meaningful ways. Ariella’s business and product savvy, and overall vision for our industry positions HitPoint to become a leader in AR, a burgeoning ‘new frontier.’”


Brian Mullins will be resigning as CEO of augmented-reality startup Daqri, to be replaced by Roy Ashok, the company’s current chief product officer. A founder of the company, Mullins will remain on Daqri’s board of directors for the forseeable future.

“Brian Mullins has built Daqri from an idea to an augmented reality leader with innovative products that are transforming everything from workplaces to the automotive industry,” said Greg Casserly, Daqri board chair. “We’re now entering phase two of the company’s growth, which will be characterized by product shipments at scale, a growing customer base and all the opportunities and associated operational complexities that brings.”

Ashok has worked at Daqri for two years, and was the company’s very first chief product officer. Before assuming the responsibilities of CEO, he will oversee the shipment of Daqri’s Smart Glasses later this month.


Nokia has laid off over 300 workers and cancelled its OZO VR camera, citing the industry’s “slower-than-expected” growth. The technology firm will instead shift its focus to its digital health and licensing operations, claiming it will “optimize” its investment in virtual reality.

Intel has shuttered its augmented-reality glasses manufacturer Recon, after cutting 30 positions from the unit earlier this year. It will still fulfill existing purchase orders for the AR goggles, but will not take any new ones.


Danny Sullivan has joined Google to educate the public on common search issues and take feedback on ways the company can improve.

“My title is still being determined, but the position will be to serve as a sort of public liaison for search,” Sullivan said in a blog post. “The goal is to increase the connection between those at Google who work hard on search each day and the public that depends on Google for answers.”

Sullivan is a long-standing search journalist of high regard, and retired from Third Door Media earlier this year. He has also held positions at the Los Angeles Times and Maximized Online, and published a book entitled A Webmaster’s Guide To Search Engines.


The Data and Marketing Association has announced four new members to their board of directors: Julie Bernard, CMO of Verve; Michael L. Iaccarino, chairman and CEO of Infogroup; John McDonald, executive vice president of DigitasLBi New York and Mike Nazzaro, CEO of Claritas.

“Working towards a shared vision, DMA and its board address the challenges and opportunities currently facing advertising, marketing, media and technology,” said DMA CEO Tom Benton. “It is this collaborative spirit which has carried DMA through 100 years of advocacy for a community which builds lasting relationships with consumers based on truth, results and trust.”

The board’s new elections come as the DMA announces its Data Standards 2.0 initiative, a collaboration on digital marketing best practices.


AdColony has appointed Tim O’Neil as vice president of performance advertising for North America, a newly created position.

“I’ve always admired AdColony’s SDK video platform and the results and scale I have seen it produce for developers,” O’Neil said. “The performance advertising market is booming, and AdColony has the technology, team and existing relationships to drive incredible results.”

Before joining the mobile-advertising platform, O’Neil worked at TUNE as their head of strategic sales, and prior to that held executive positions at Pocket Change and InMobi.


The Los Angeles Times has hired Lewis D’Vorkin as their editor in chief, after ousting several senior staff members in August.

“Lewis is one of the most transformational editors and digital innovators in the media industry and is exceptionally qualified to lead the evolution of the Los Angeles Times newsroom,” said Ross Levinsohn, LA Times publisher. “He knows how to build a competitive, sustainable media business with global clout while preserving the highest standards of journalistic integrity.”

Previously, D’Vorkin served at Forbes as their chief product officer, where he expanded the company’s native advertising options, introducing a branded-content studio known as BrandVoice. Prior to that, he worked at The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and The New York Times.


Corsair has appointed Jason Cahilly to their board of directors in a non-executive capacity, signifying an increased focus on esports.

“This is an exciting time for the development of eSports and its players, who are only just beginning to gain the recognition they deserve as true athletes of exceptional skill,” said Cahilly.

Cahilly joins Corsair from the NBA, where he served as their chief strategic and financial officer since 2013.


Accenture Operations has tapped Nikki Mendonça for president of intelligent marketing operations. In the role, Mendonça will take advantage of predictive analytics to grow Accenture’s client base.

“Nikki is a proven business leader and digital marketing strategist and I’m excited that she will lead and help us to build our Intelligent Marketing Operations business,” said Debbie Polishook, group chief executive of Accenture Operations. “Her arrival comes at a strategically important time in building this capability as we continue to develop innovative solutions that combine platform, analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other core technologies to help clients enhance their marketing impact.”

Mendonça has worked in strategic marketing for a quarter-century, most recently as president of OMD Worldwide for the EMEA region.


The National Hockey League has hired Joseph Mangano as their senior director of national retail sales and marketing, where he will oversee the NHL’s retail relationships globally.


Sean Barror has joined Excel Sports Management as their first-ever head of property sales. He will lead the brand’s efforts to expand into third-party commercial sales. Previously, Barror served at WME-IMG as senior vice president of global partnerships.


Skydance Media has named Bill Damaschke as president of animation and family entertainment, a new position in the company. This comes after the March announcement of a partnership between Skydance and Ilion Animation Studios to produce multiple feature films over the next few years.

“In a very short time, Skydance has made a real commitment to the animation business by bringing best-in-class creative leadership teams into its first two fantastic feature projects,” said Damaschke.

Previously, Damaschke worked at DreamWorks for 20 years, rising to the position of chief creative officer. He oversaw the release of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon, among others. Damaschke also oversaw production of the “Shrek The Musical” live theatrical show.


DreamWorks Feature Animation has hired Abhijhay Prakash as their latest chief operating officer, where he will focus on furthering the studio’s partnership with Universal Pictures in preparing for the release of How To Train Your Dragon 3 in 2019.

“Abhijay is one of the most respected executives in the Universal family, recognized for his integrity, business acumen and most recently for his invaluable contributions to Focus Features,” said Chris deFaria, president of DreamWorks Animation Group.

Before joining DreamWorks, Prakash held the same position at Focus Features, and prior to that served at Universal Pictures as executive vice president of film strategy and operations.


Several of General Electric’s vice chairs have announced their retirement, including Beth Comstock. She will be closing out a 27-year career at the company, having led GE’s Business Innovations unit, and additionally serving as the brand’s chief marketing officer. Also retiring are John Rice and Jeff Bornstein.

“We have relied on Beth to see around corners and lead us to new ideas and invention,” said John Flannery, GE’s chairman and CEO. “Her efforts to push GE into the future have been essential to GE’s growth strategy; including identifying the potential of the industrial internet and helping transform GE into a digital industrial company.”

The three vice chairs will stay on in their current roles until the end of the year.


After a The New York Times report revealed sexual harassment allegations against The Weinstein Company co-founder Harvey Weinstein, the company has announced Weinstein’s dismissal. This comes just days after Weinstein announced that he would be taking a leave of absence from the film-production giant.

According to a statement released by the company, this shift in action came “in light of new information about misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that has emerged in the past few days.”

Lance Maerov, one of the company’s board of directors, told The New York Times that Weinstein violated their code of conduct in the last week, but did not clarify any further.

Additionally, an anonymous source told the Associated Press that The Weinstein Company would change its name in the near future.


Roommate matchmaker Silvernest has brought on Barbara O’Connor as chief marketing officer, announcing plans to draw on social media influencers to market the service to baby boomers.

“Barb’s impressive background driving programs for some of the largest consumer tech and real estate companies in the country is exactly what we need at this critical point in our growth,” said Wendi Burkhardt, CEO of Silvernest.

O’Connor previously worked as chief marketing officer of Move, parent company to real estate websites such as realtor.com and SeniorHousingNet. Beforehand, she served at Yahoo! as its vice president of marketing, and held a senior-level marketing position at Apple.


Calvin Klein has announced that Jake Gyllenhaal will star in the brand’s latest series of ads for their Eternity perfume, alongside Liya Kebede.

The campaign will consist of both print ads and TV spots, and “will focus on ETERNITY Calvin Klein’s longstanding ideas of romance, love, intimacy and commitment.”


(Editor’s Note: This post will be updated daily until Friday, October 13. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.)

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. Director, Enterprise Marketing PetSmart Phoenix, AZ

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

‘RWBY’ Creator Shares Secret Behind Show’s Success

You might not know exactly what RWBY (pronounced “Ruby”) is, but chances are you’ve seen the name or one of its colorful characters featured at video game and comic book events, particularly New York Comic Con (NYCC), which usually takes place a week before a new season starts.

The digital Japanese anime-inspired show that follows a group of magical monster hunters has grown a massive fan base, and it made its presence known on the NYCC show floor, where there was a RWBY megabooth accompanied by a panel held at Madison Square Garden.

Rooster Teeth, famous for creating popular digital content such as Red vs. Blue long before there were platforms for it, is ramping up its activities in perpetration for the October 14 premiere of Volume 5 on First, the company’s digital subscription platform. The studio has worked with Twitch to host a week-long marathon of previous seasons, and it also partnered with Fathom Events to bring the Volume 5 premiere to movie theaters days ahead of its showing on First.

Gray Haddock, head of Rooster Teeth Animation, told AListDaily that the list goes on. Rooster Teeth is also launching the behind-the-scenes mini-documentary series CRWBY along with the dedicated talk show RWBY Rewind to support the animated series, which are both exclusive to the First platform.

Furthermore, NYCC attendees had a chance to try out RWBY: Combat Ready, a board game that’s on Kickstarter, and BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, which is in development by Arc System Works set for a 2018 launch. The fighting game will feature characters from RWBY alongside those from the Persona and Under Night franchises. Fans in the UK will be able to try them this week, as the games will make their way to RTX London—Rooster Teeth’s own fan festival—on October 14.

As if that weren’t enough, Rooster Teeth is also preparing to launch the new mecha action show Gen:Lock, which is the first large-scale production the studio has done since the launch of RWBY. Love for the show has grown all over the world, even in Japan, where the digital show is localized for broadcast TV.

“What’s been really fun is that the fans’ energy seems to have a life of its own,” said Haddock, discussing how Rooster Teeth engages with fans during RWBY’s offseason. “They keep the show alive for us in the offseason through their art, cosplay, representing RWBY at conventions and writing fan fiction.”

However, that doesn’t mean that the show’s crew takes a complete backseat during the offseason. Haddock also said that RWBY Chibi, a Looney Toons-style comedy sketch show that features super-kawaii (super-cute) versions of characters, has also helped keep the energy going. He also said that Chibi provides a safe RWBY viewing experience for families and younger audience members.

“We were very surprised to learn how young the RWBY viewers are,” said Haddock, explaining how kids were either finding the show on their own or through a parent or sibling who watched it with them. As the main show’s themes mature with each season, RWBY Chibi offers a respite from its drama. Nobody dies, so fans can still find characters that aren’t on RWBY anymore.

As the show launches its fifth season, Haddock went into further detail about how new viewers were discovering the show.

“I still think there’s a lot of word-of-mouth. Friends who—once they learn that they know someone who hasn’t seen it—show it to them,” he said. “The show is being distributed in a bunch of different ways. We’re still on Crunchyroll and YouTube, and videos are starting to appear on sites such as Facebook. I think it’s also some of the ancillary activities. It could be the game on Steam, RWBY: Grimm Eclipse. Maybe they play this adventure game and realize that it’s based on a web series, then go to check it out. I think sometimes they see costumes go by at conventions. It’s crazy how far the RWBY brand is breaking into the mainstream. People go into Hot Topic, Target or Walmart and see RWBY products. The look of the show, with the colorful character designs and crazy title, hooks people in. They’re curious, so they look it up and start to watch.”

For a show that’s meant to attract more First subscribers, RWBY remains incredibly accessible. New episodes are shown on platforms such as YouTube and Crunchyroll a week after they premiere on First. Viewers who don’t want to be spoiled, or are interested in the platform’s social features, may be motivated to subscribe, but the approach still begs the question: why release new episodes for free at all? Or why not wait until the end of the season to do so?

“That is a question that our programming team at Rooster Teeth is constantly asking themselves,” said Haddock. “But I think because RWBY has been going on for so long, we want to make sure that decision is more of a conversation with the fans. There are so many people watching RWBY on their platform of choice that we don’t want to disrupt it so late in the game if we can avoid it. Some of the new shows might only live on First or on certain distribution platforms, but right now, the RWBY brand has taken on a life of its own because we keep investing in exposure.

Haddock said that, although Rooster Teeth may consider keeping RWBY behind a paywall or limit it to certain partner sites someday, the company’s current goal is still to get as many viewers as possible exposed to the show. That means erring on the side of broad distribution.

Volume 4 saw more than a million views per episode on YouTube alone. “We keep seeing an accelerated curve to the numbers,” Haddock said, meaning that episodes break a million views faster with each successive season, further demonstrating the growing enthusiasm fans have for the show. However, RWBY’s phenomenal success doesn’t set a roadmap for upcoming shows like Gen:Lock, which will have high expectations at launch.

“We’re all aware of the success that RWBY has brought the company, but you can’t design for that,” Haddock said. “I don’t know how you plan for the happy accidents that we had to have for RWBY to take off the way that it did. So, all we can do is not spend too much time thinking about that and stay focused on trying to tell a good story and have some cool ideas and big action. If we do our job right, and we get lucky, maybe we’ll have a chance to develop another show that people will be as happy with as they are with RWBY.”

Repeating RWBY’s success is no small feat, considering how the show’s rapid growth came as a surprise, even to its creators.

“With RWBY, we didn’t design for this level of success—we didn’t know that it would be what it turned into,” he said. “If someone told me five years ago, while we were working on Volume 1, that it was going to be running on Japanese national television as it is right now, I wouldn’t have believed them . . . It’s like asking, ‘how do you make a viral video?’ All you can do is do your best, love what you do, and keep trying to improve at it. Hopefully, there are people out there who like the same things that you do. If you make enough noise about it, slowly but surely, maybe they’ll find you, tell their friends, and the word-of-mouth keeps growing from there.”

However, that doesn’t mean that Rooster Teeth hasn’t learned a few things about growing digital franchises. One of the biggest lessons is to be careful not be too heavily invested in one streaming platform, as the fate of the brand may become tied to it.

“Rooster Teeth started putting content online before YouTube even existed,” said Haddock. “They’re used having their subscriber model, building their community, and making sure everyone enjoys spending time on the website.”

The company continues to invest in improving the First experience so that it offers features that Twitch and YouTube aren’t capable of. But at the same time, Rooster Teeth is following its own rule by continuing to spread its content out across multiple platforms.

“We want to go where the audience is,” Haddock explained. “If we can encourage people to come to RoosterTeeth.com, then that’s beautiful. But if the person prefers to watch on Netflix, Twitch or Facebook, then we will find a way to bring the content to them. If one of them goes away, then it’s all right. That platform winds down and we can go on to the next one.”

With RWBY growing across video games, clothing, spin-off shows, manga and more, Haddock explained what the core of the RWBY brand was that helped attract a global fan base.

“Storytelling with heart,” he said simply. “We want to entertain people and maybe distract them from what they’re dealing with in real life—telling stories that can energize them so they can go back to deal with things. I think we have very charming characters that you want to spend time with. Regardless of what show it is, you become friends with those characters and emotionally involved with their stories. As long as you’re doing that right, the audience will follow you.”

Should Esports Be In The Olympics? Experts And Fans Weigh In

Earlier this year, the International Esports Federation (IeSF) applied to have esports recognized as a an official sport by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)—the first step to having video games added to the Olympic Games in 2024. IeSF’s move on behalf of competitive gaming has many asking, “Should esports be in the Olympics?”

Nielsen Esports found that while 53 percent of esports enthusiasts surveyed across the US, UK, France and Germany consider esports to be an actual sport, only 28 percent think it should be in the Olympics.

Playing Nice

Esports has already been accepted as an official medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games in China—an event officially recognized by IOC. But even if esports are accepted as part of the 2024 Olympics, don’t expect to see Call of Duty or CS: GO.

“We want to promote non-discrimination, non-violence and peace among people,” International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach told the South China Morning Post. “This doesn’t match with video games, which are about violence, explosions and killing. And there we have to draw a clear line.”

Ken Hershman, executive chairman and commissioner of the World Esports Association (WESA), disagrees.

“The games themselves, even the first-person shooter games, are much more about strategy and skill than they are about violence,” Hershman told AListDaily. “There are other sports that have been a part of the rich Olympic tradition that are far more violent, such as boxing and judo, where there is actual physical contact.

“I don’t believe that the genre of the game should be the litmus test.” Hershman said. “The deciding factor should instead depend on what games are most popular and what games will attract the largest audiences. Nevertheless, this is of course a sensitive topic that must be respected for the sensibilities of the audience and broadcasters, as well as the Olympic spirit.”

Bach’s statement condemning violent games may be good news for Nintendo, whose non-violent Splatoon is already making colorful waves in the esports arena. The publisher did not respond to requests for comment.

Going For The Gold

Analysts agree that adding esports to the Olympic Games would help attract a younger audience—and all the advertiser dollars to go with them. Traditional sports clubs, athletes and brands are using esports to help reach male millennials, who watch as much esports as baseball.

Competitive gaming may actually be more beneficial to the Olympics than to the esports industry, especially if the most popular games are not included.

“To become the sports-cultural phenomenon that it can be, competitive gaming doesn’t need to be part of the Olympics any more than chess or skateboarding,” Joost van Dreunen, CEO of SuperData Research told AListDaily. “Being in the Olympics is a ‘nice to have’ and would certainly go a long way toward unlocking more sponsorship money. The downside of such an inclusion, however, would be a complete sanitization of esports for the sake of advertiser interests.

“Few sponsors are excited about being associated with shooter games, for obvious reasons,” said van Dreunen. “This limits the part of esports that can really participate and runs the risk of becoming irrelevant to the exact audience segment that the IOC would seek to attract by including it in the first place.”

Mike Vorhaus, an executive of Magid Associates, also noted that competitive gaming is doing just fine on its own.

“I think someday, when the Olympics does start to include esports, they’re going to find that it helps them to reach out to the younger generation and being more relevant,” Vorhaus told AListDaily. “I don’t think esports needs the Olympics to be important.”

Burger King Supports Spicy Subversives In Wendy’s Twitter War

Capitalizing on an opponent’s moment of weakness, a superpower spreads propaganda through social media. The American public doesn’t know who to trust in a conflict between incompatible ideologies. Yes, Burger King and Wendy’s are back to beefing on Twitter again.

A refresher for those uninitiated in fast-food history: Wendy’s discontinued its spicy chicken nuggets and was met with the sort of passion that tends to get mustered up exclusively by fried poultry.

https://twitter.com/_aaalidaaa/status/837383358359404548

Wendy’s may not have listened to fan feedback, but the Burger King was silently watching, monitoring, recording. On October 10, the quick-service restaurant announced their own take on spicy chicken nuggets, even buying billboards near Wendy’s locations to roll out the news.

https://twitter.com/frankiemarin_/status/917495158832107520

However, they’ve begun advertising the menu item with subterfuge as well. On October 12, Burger King promoted several of the most outraged tweets by spicy chicken nuggets fans, without comment.

It’s an oddly democratic move, spending marketing dollars to expand the reach of a completely organic, unedited message by average consumers. And in the brand-safety era, where many marketers are tightening their control over as many aspects of their messaging as possible, it’s certainly an unorthodox decision.

However, it seems to be working. Twitter users are picking up on the jab, and even egging the companies on. Only time will tell how Wendy’s will respond, but given the brand’s penchant for social media sass, expectations are high.

Square Enix Uses VR To Promote Japanese Comics

Remi Draincourt, GM and R&D engineer at Square Enix Japan’s advanced technology division

Virtual reality and comic books are enjoying a very close relationship as companies such as Madefire bring the two together through its app and Oculus publishing a Marvel VR game. With the massive success of superhero-themed movies, it makes sense that fans will want to further immerse themselves into these fantastic worlds. But Square Enix Japan is taking a decidedly unique approach to VR with Project Hikari, which is designed to promote the company’s extensive library of Japanese manga titles worldwide.

With the massive success of superhero-themed movies, it makes sense that fans will want to further immerse themselves into these fantastic worlds. But Square Enix Japan is taking a decidedly unique approach to VR with Project Hikari, which is designed to promote the company’s extensive library of Japanese manga titles worldwide.

Hikari means “light” in Japanese, and the new experience is a synergy between two of Square Enix Japan’s different brands. Much of the world knows Square Enix as a video game publisher that’s behind the Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider franchises among others. However, the company also operates arcades and publishes manga books in Japan. With Project Hikari, users take part in a relatively passive experience, where the comic book panels are animated using video game graphics—complete with voice acting and music—and users are free to view the scenes from different angles.

Speaking with AListDaily, Remi Draincourt, general manager and research and development engineer at Square Enix Japan’s advanced technology division, explained that the project began almost two years ago. The platform, which is expected to launch in the early half of 2018, made its official debut at the New York Comic Con with the manga title Tales of the Wedding Rings, a romantic comedy about a young couple who must brave a fantasy world of demons and monsters before they can be married.

“What we’re trying to do is take the stories and visuals of manga, with its distinctive black and white look, and see how we can bring that into VR,” said Draincourt, explaining why Square Enix Japan chose to use VR to promote its manga titles instead of creating a straightforward game.

“We want users to actually enter the world of manga,” he continued. “With the paper format, users are free to flip through pages and looking at a traditional screen would be kind of the same experience. We could add some animation, maybe some AI, but the format would still be 2D. With VR, we can have true 3D. When you stand up, lean to the side or otherwise move, you can see details that wouldn’t be present on a manga page.”

However, there are still a lot of unanswered questions at this stage. Although Draincourt made it clear that the plan was to launch Project Hikari in 2018, he didn’t know what form that would take. Although there will be three or four episodes of Tales of the Wedding Ring to start, the development team is still deciding on whether it will be a standalone app or as part of a larger Hikari platform alongside other titles. Additionally, the team is still considering monetization options, what other titles to bring on board and whether it will create all original VR content for Hikari.

“Everything is on the table,” Draincourt explained. “It’s a new project, and the VR market isn’t that big yet, so the first goal for us is to see what we can do with existing Square Enix IPs. But we can extend that to all the IPs, including different products that aren’t necessarily Square Enix. Personally, I’d love to do a European, French-style comic book, or one day have an American superhero story with colors.”

Although Project Hikari is starting with episodic manga-inspired content, Draincourt said that there was room to expand the platform beyond comic books.

“Depending on the IP or client, we could also be talking about B2B,” he said, “with shorter and more intense experiences like VR rides, for example.”

Draincourt said that ideally, the team wants Hikari to be a new VR platform with different experiences and books slotted into it. As for why Tales of the Wedding Rings was chosen as the debut title, he said, “We had to start somewhere, and the creators of this IP were very open to the idea of VR and high-end technology. For us, it was the easiest way to start. VR isn’t that big of a market—it’s a high-risk area. So, we started with a creator that was willing to go with it.”

He also added Project Hikari is featuring manga instead of a Western IP such as Tomb Raider because it wanted to promote the platform using a distinctly Japanese-style property, considering that the publisher is Square Enix Japan. However, more action-oriented Western properties certainly weren’t off the table.

“There aren’t that many people who own VR devices and are into manga,” Draincourt admitted, “but we believe that this could be a new chance to grow manga. We released a prototype of the project at the Tokyo Game Show, and what was interesting to see was that a lot of non-gamers really liked our approach. In spite of it being VR, it is slow paced and very passive. You don’t have to be knowledgeable about game controls. So, it has a wider appeal than we originally thought.”

Tales of the Wedding Rings manga cover

The Tales of the Wedding Rings demo was shown at New York Comic Con using Oculus Rift headsets, but Draincourt said that it also works for the HTC Vive with a PlayStation VR version currently in development. He also said that Square Enix was interested in bringing the experience to mobile VR platforms like the Samsung Gear VR at some point, but the graphics—despite being in black and white—are quite sophisticated and will need to be optimized for mobile devices.

Additionally, the Project Hikari team is aiming for deeper interaction with the launch product. Draincourt explained that the Comic Con version had its interactive features stripped out to create a consistently timed experience to service people who were waiting on a line.

“Looking at the manga [in VR] won’t be playing a game, but they’ll be able to control the timeline by flipping the pages or staying on a specific frame longer,” said Draincourt. “That interaction is going to be in our product. We want users to be able to freely navigate and control the time. Deeper interaction like shooting or grabbing objects is also something we’re looking into, but this is a romantic comedy, so we don’t think it’s necessary for this type of storytelling. But we might include more interactive components for an action or horror type of manga.”

For the time being, it looks like a stripped-down version of the platform will be the main way people will first experience Project Hikari.

“We face the same problem as other VR titles, which is that it is hard to convey the experience on a screen or paper,” Draincourt said. “We need users to actually experience the game to understand how it feels. So, we’re going to look into more interactive ways for users to experience it. Maybe more demos or events, where the public can put the helmet on and try it.

“It’s a new experience for us and it’s quite experimental—taking the content from a 2D medium into VR. So, I hope the press and the public is going to enjoy it.”

Multicultural Millennials Make Car Companies Rethink Their Marketing

Acknowledging diverse groups is a marketing road businesses are frequently travelling—race is very real, and promoting diversity has heightened arguably now more than ever across the brand map.

Millennials are one of the most multicultural consumer groups in the United States—42 percent of the 75 million millennials in the US today are of African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic heritage, according to Nielsen.

With such a diverse and influential demographic to target and reach, car companies are building marketing programs to connect with an age group whose spending power only keeps growing.

“Whether it’s millennials, or anyone else, there is big room in each demographic,” Russell Wager, Mazda’s vice president of marketing, told AListDaily. “We’re core to our messaging in what we build, design and engineer in every single one of our cars.”

Honda, for one, launched “Fit for Fun” to showcase the redesigned 2018 Honda Fit. It’s replete with TV creative and social content communicated by comedians and influencers on platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram Stories, UPROXX, Pandora, Hulu and mitú. In an interview with AListDaily, Susie Rossick, Honda’s assistant vice president of marketing, said the integrated marketing promotion is the brand’s most robust multicultural, mobile and social-driven campaign to date.

“The multicultural millennial demographic is and continues to be very important to the Honda brand,” Rossick said. “For the Honda Fit campaign specifically, millennials were identified as the core target. This differs from other model campaigns that historically encompassed older audiences based on the strategic target. Because of this, our media strategy was to create content specifically aligned with the DNA of the younger audience.”

Honda saw Fit as the most equipped vehicle in its fleet to further the brand’s messaging among audiences because millennials, the largest age group just behind baby boomers, made up a significant amount of their historical sales. The subcompact car also aligns with the millennial mindset and lifestyle—70 percent of Fit buyers are new to the brand.

To find the right blend of influencers like Nick Cannon, Renny, Lejuan James and Frankie Quiñones, Rossick and her team worked with media partners to identify the specific criteria required. To reach a broader general market audience, Honda worked with digital entertainment and culture company UPROXX for five episodes on the web series Hang Time—the Fit is featured throughout the episodes. For the Latino Comedy Traffic Jam program with mitú, Honda identified recognized influencers whose work would resonate with the audience.

“We looked for individuals who had an existing positive relationship with Honda in other campaigns. Selection for the specific talent was also based on their current relevance, whether they’re launching a new season of a hit show or coming out with a new single,” Rossick said. “We used contextual targeting as a complement to our precision targeted efforts in order to reach millennials in relevant environments and engage with them with branded content that spoke to their passion points.”

To measure the earned media value from its social activity and to determine if its messaging is resonating among the target consumers, Honda is using a proprietary scoring methodology to measure and access the program’s value, Rossick said. Results for Hulu, Snapchat and Instagram Stories will be looked at both individually and as part of the campaign, which includes measures such as video completion rates and video view efficiency.

The multicultural consumer greatly contributes to the overall growth of sales across many categories—53 percent of millennials agree that the more money you have, the happier you are, according to Mintel. In an April 2016 report from Bankrate, millennials were most likely to purchase a vehicle in the 12 months that followed among all age groups that were surveyed.

“We’re challenging convention by listening to our customers and offering new ways for our customers, including millennials, to engage with and experience our brand,” Dean Evans, chief marketing officer for Hyundai Motor America, told AListDaily.

For Toyota’s new marketing campaign promoting the Camry, the company specifically designed ads with different storylines to appeal to African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American ethnicities based on what shows they watch.

Another car company jumping into the multicultural marketing fray is Lexus, which is sponsoring Essence’s digital series I Turn My Camera On, a 10-episode show featuring photographer and actor Lance Gross. Celebrities like Michael B. Jordan, Kelly Rowland and Tim Weatherspoon interact with Gross and his famous crew in the Macro Digital Studio-produced pieces.

The Lexus-owned digital content channel L/Studio, a storytelling and marketing vehicle for the brand that’s now in its ninth year, makes long-form videos to build deeper connections through content with luxury consumers. Lexus is backing the series and L/Studio will feature exclusive behind-the-scenes content for I Turn My Camera On.

“L/Studio was created as a platform for creative passion projects rather than a branded entertainment channel. The objective of L/Studio is to gain a shift in brand perception,” Andrea Lim, digital communications manager for Lexus who oversees L/Studio, told AListDaily. “Research has shown that viewers are positively influenced by our featured content, which helps position Lexus as an innovative, brave and thoughtful brand.”

Brands have developed specialized marketing aimed at minorities for eons, but diverse millennials with unique buying habits are influencing the mainstream with a multiplying effect and radically changing the go-to-market approach for car companies.

“Having strong brand equity already among older generations, we recognize millennials as potential new customers to be introduced to the brand and hopefully become loyal customers,” said Rossick.