Twitch Builds Live Chess Ecosystem To Attract Sponsors

Twitch continues to diversify its viewing options—and by extension, marketing opportunities—by sponsoring‘s entire lineup of live chess events. Twitch has been the broadcast partner for’s regular chess programs and major events like the Speed Chess Championship and Pro Chess League. As an official sponsor, Twitch is committing to increase viewership of the sport now, and into the future.

The multi-year partnership between and Twitch announced Wednesday is designed to attract additional fans, players and sponsorships for online chess. According to Twitch, the union will help develop an ecosystem of live chess content for users in both communities. The pact will also include monetization opportunities for chess players.

What do chess and video games have in common? Quite a lot, actually. Both practices require concentration and skill, can be picked up at any age, gender or athletic ability and oh, yeah—sponsors pay major moolah to support the world’s best players.

Ryan Chaply, senior esports program manager for Twitch, told AListDaily that teaming up with creates more meaningful ways for brands to engage with chess events, players and viewers alike.

“From a content perspective, chess encompasses an entire spectrum of livestreaming experiences, from the relaxing backdrop of a friendly conversation to the tense back and forth of a speed chess match between Grandmasters,” said Chaply. “The inherent engagement available to broadcasters on Twitch has sparked innovation throughout the community.”

It just so happens that some of the world’s best players are already streaming chess on Twitch, including World Champion Magnus Carlsen. Last year, a Blitz Battle on Twitch between Grandmasters Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura set records with nearly 200,000 unique viewers. The live match peaked at the No. 3 spot on Twitch’s ranking of live concurrent viewers.

The worldwide chess industry is growing at a CAGR of 2.5 percent, according to forecasts by Ken Research. The analyst firm says that sponsorships and competitive playing have driven a “perfect money-making business” that exceeds most other board games. Creating a prominent livestream ecosystem for chess players could help raise awareness for the game community and industry as a whole.

Chaply explained that the strategies being employed for this activation can be applied to other games and brands.

“In addition to premier competitive events, we’re actively focusing on the growth of content creators, professional players and grassroots communities,” he said. “ By providing value across both Twitch and, broadcasters have more opportunities to be discovered and connect with their audience . . . We’ve also seen other content categories grow following tailored promotional efforts. For example, when we recently did a series of promotions around fitness streamers, after every spotlight we suddenly saw a new wave of people broadcasting fitness content. We also had a lot of success with Rocket League when promoting individual pros after tournaments.”

Inspired by positive Twitch audience reactions to televised content, digital network CONtv just launched its own 24/7 channel on the site. The new channel will livestream pop culture-driven films and TV shows such as Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, 21 Jump Street and Little Shop of Horrors, along with original programming.

Known for its gaming livestreams, Twitch boasts 15 million daily active users that watch videos live and on-demand while interacting with the community. Over the years, Twitch has introduced non-gaming content such as TV marathons, wrestling and anime, each with positive results.

CMOs Share Their Approach In A ‘Post-Advertising Era’

At Ad:tech New York, there was a common refrain: brands must get away from thinking about reach and frequency and embrace a concept of when, where and how they’re needed in a “post-advertising era.” That was the sentiment shared by Catharine Findiesen Hays, founding executive director of The Future of Advertising Program at The Wharton School and host of this year’s event, which came to a close last week.

“Think about an orchestration of all interactions with a brand,” Findiesen Hays said during the keynote presentation at The Metropolitan Pavilion. “All the experiences that people have. If you think about it from a people-centric standpoint, this is what they see. They don’t just make a distinction between your advertisements and your product and customer service—it’s the sum total of all of these interactions.”

Hays outlined forces of change, which include exponential advances in technology so we can understand ourselves better than ever. Emotion is ultimately what drives people, and technology lets them act on it. There’s also an “explosion and redefinition of the media landscape,” which is transforming communication between brands and people through devices and word-of-mouth. At the heart of it is the notion of empowering a skeptical consumer, who has the power to skip, ignore or block messages.

“Companies can no longer think of themselves as separate from what’s going on in the world,” said Findiesen Hays. “The barriers between what their role is in the world and nations and communities are changing, and there are a lot of issues and challenges to take care of.”

As science, data and creativity come together, new alliances are being formed across the entire C-suite. The biggest impediments brands face to change are entrenched mindsets, she said.

“The listening, learning and delivery is there for real-time customer activations and enabling,” said Findiesen Hays. “That is in conjunction in a longer-term building of platforms and branding away from campaigns, which have a start and a finish, to more of an investment mentality.”

Here’s how brands are tackling the challenge of integrating listening, creating and sharing:

NHL Takes Brand Digital For Deeper Fan Engagement

The National Hockey League is a 100-year-old brand, and like all sports leagues, it faces the challenge of remaining relevant in the digital age. That’s why Heidi Browning, EVP and chief marketing officer for the NHL, was tasked with crafting the experience that will define the next century.

Browning did not come into the league as a hardcore hockey fan, which is something commissioner Gary Bettman liked. The mission was to grow the sport through connecting with casual sports fans and younger generations by helping make the hardcore community more approachable.

The first step in transitioning the brand to digital was using data, which include 31 different feeds from both real world and digital touchpoints. The data covers where consumers buy tickets, merchandise and food along with when they visit, download the app and participate in contests and polls. The information builds a fan profile to deepen relationships.

“A big part of our transformation is how we harness of all this information down to a single place—single-fan identification—then look for opportunities to help our fans get personalized plans for ticketing and messaging,” said Browning. “We’re also looking for opportunities to promote more events and merchandising opportunities and increase the fan base through the use of our data.”

Browning said that it’s important to both rights holders and advertising partners that the NHL be able to tell a story about who the fans are.

“We have the youngest fans, with the highest income who are the most educated out of all the leagues, but there’s so much more a story that we can tell about them,” she said. “The notion of harnessing the fan data into a single ID so that we can activate it is really exciting.”

The second most important aspect is social media, which Person said makes up the fabric of millennial and Gen Z’s lives. At the same time, they’re disrupting sports, since younger audiences interact with the games they watch more than older generations. For example, younger audiences don’t need to watch full games, as they’re satisfied with highlights across multiple screens.

Other trends include how younger fans are looking more to engage with individual players rather than teams, which runs counter to the NHL’s mentality of putting the team first and not be self-promoting. Browning said that the NHL is working with its players to help them feel more comfortable about connecting with fans and sharing their contributions to the community.

“I think we’re seeing the birth of a new type—or definition—of fan,” said Browning. “For us to be able to understand what it is that makes people consider themselves fans and how they want to interact with our product—live, digitally or on TV—is critical, and social media is that connective tissue.”

Browning highlighted how ongoing commitment to community service was paramount to the digital strategy. The NHL has a corporate social responsibility platform that’s dedicated to giving back to others—covering the environment and people fighting cancer while celebrating how hockey is for everyone.

November is Hockey Fights Cancer month, and the entire league is celebrating by wearing lavender; every team has its own featured day. Channeling the spirit of Movember, the NHL is also doing a huge mustache push this month.

“We realize that it’s not just about doing a good deed and giving back,” Browning said. “Our fans expect to have shared values because this truly is a family and the connectedness that we have within the fan base when kids start playing and grow up into fans. This is about making sure our shared values are out there, both for our fans and brand marketing partners.”

Using Tech To Deliver On Brand Promise

Jack in the Box has been around since 1951, and it regards itself as a constant innovator that’s committed to its brand promise of making life easier for customers. It prides itself on being the first restaurant to use a two-way intercom in its drive-through lanes, removing much of the friction from the take-out dining experience. Fast-forward to today, third-party delivery services like DoorDash and Uber are being used as another way for consumers to experience the brand.

Jack in the Box CMO Iwona Alter explained that for 2017, it hasn’t been about having different dining experiences, but it’s about how the brand talks to its guests and while making their lives easier.

“Word-of-mouth, being the most fundamental marketing technique, is alive and well right now,” said Alter. “All these different ways we communicate with each other are just enabling us to share through word-of-mouth. It’s a traditional principle used in a modern way.”

To engage with a new generation of diners, the brand has relied heavily on its mascot Jack. Before he was part of Project Moon Hat, which used the solar eclipse to promote the chain’s philanthropic efforts, he was the central figure of the “brunchfast” campaign. Last year, restaurants emphasized how it served breakfast all day. Jack in the Box offers a breakfast menu 24/7, so it changed the conversation away from breakfast by leaning into the more relevant term—brunch.

The story was that Jack’s pregnant wife was experiencing late-night cravings for brunch-like food, which tapped into an opportunity that was relevant to younger diners who wanted to have Sunday brunch every other day of the week. In doing so, Jack tapped into a new audience that doesn’t normally eat fast food.

The brunchfast campaign kicked off with a virtual reality music video featuring Bart Baker, Josh Elkin and Daym Drops. Jack partnered with Funny or Die to create a cravings chat show on Facebook Live along with a chatbot on Messenger. This was in addition to a series of Snapchat stories showing Jack on a quest for brunch in the middle of the night and a multisensory brunchfast experience at the inaugural ComplexCon.

Alter said the campaign resulted in over five million impressions, with the VR music video getting a 90 percent completion rate, and Jack’s social mentions went up by 408 percent. Jack in the Box sales increased by five-to-eight percent in the first five weeks following the launch of Brunchfast.

Jack in the Box also discovered that there are indirect and non-intrusive ways to interact with consumers. One prime example is the Crave Van, which was featured across a number of TV spots. Alter explained that it began as a way to showcase the menu, but then it was taken in a new direction.

The brand discovered that its audience loved video games, but it also realized that the last thing gamers want to see is brands trying to sell them something.

Demonstrating an understanding of its audience, Jack in the Box created Crave Van mods that could be used the immensely popular driving games Grand Theft Auto V and Rocket League as playable vehicles. They were seeded using Reddit and influencers so that the branded content wasn’t forced onto audiences, and gamers loved it.

Twitter Doubled Its Character Limit—Here’s How Brands Are Using It

After a limited roll-out in September, Twitter has now officially doubled the character limit for Tweets in most languages. Space-saving languages such as Japanese, Korean and Chinese will retain the classic 140-character aesthetic, however, due to “cramming” not being nearly as much of an issue.

The move is an effort to address issues of “cramming” for English-language Twitter users, where a significant amount of users hitting the character limit when Tweeting. “This reflects the challenge of fitting a thought into a Tweet,” writes Aliza Rosen, Twitter’s product manager, “often resulting in lots of time spent editing and even at times abandoning Tweets before sending.”

According to Twitter’s analytics, the longer character count has solved the problem, with just 1 percent of 280-character Tweets hitting the character limit, down from 9 percent of 140-character Tweets.

However, the Twitter community at large has been less than receptive, expressing fears that the new longer character limit will dilute Twitter’s trademark pithiness and brevity, exemplified by Brian Barone’s markup of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s original announcement:

Rosen addresses user fears outright in her blog post. “We–and many of you–were concerned that timelines may fill up with 280 character Tweets, and people with the new limit would always use up the whole space,” she writes.

However, Twitter’s data indicates that this won’t be nearly as large of a problem as some users fear. “Only 5% of Tweets sent were longer than 140 characters and only 2% were over 190 characters,” the blog post reads. “As a result, your timeline reading experience should not substantially change.”

So far, Tweets under the trending hashtag #280characters have fallen into three major buckets: users testing out the feature for the first time, users complaining about not getting an edit button, and, most of all, users reacting to the first two groups with gifs.

(Editor’s Note: We’ll be tracking how brands are taking advantage of longer Tweets. Stay tuned.)

Several brands have sided with the 140-character Luddites, citing traditional values and the futility of ever capturing their qualities, no matter the character limit.

Nesquik also complained, but for different reasons.

Archie Comics got straight to the point.

Spotify used the longer limit to give their fans a challenge.

Twitter’s update has caused some internal existential conflict for McDonalds.

Discord used the update to give Twitter users a valuable public service announcement.

Other brands just couldn’t contain their excitement about things like space. And socks.

Sometimes, on very rare occasions, brands used the longer limit without calling attention to it.






Snapchat Redesigns Itself To Address Investor Concerns

In 13 pages of prepared remarks to investors for Snap Inc’s Q3 earnings call, CEO Evan Spiegel announced a major Snapchat redesign, focusing on ease of use and closer alignment with other, larger social networks.

Spiegel addressed several complaints about the app’s user-friendliness in the letter, an issue that has plagued the company from almost the outset, and one that spurred Snapchat to produce a lengthy user manual for its IPO.

“One thing that we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use, and our team has been working on responding to this feedback,” the letter reads. “There is a strong likelihood that the redesign of our application will be disruptive to our business in the short term, and we don’t yet know how the behavior of our community will change when they begin to use our updated application.”

Spiegel did not mention when or even what to expect from the redesign, though he claimed that the company is looking at taking advantage of machine learning and personalization to “make it easier to discover the vast quantity of content on our platform that goes undiscovered or unseen every day.”

In layperson’s terms, part of the Snapchat redesign may include something similar if not in name then in functionality to Facebook’s News Feed. “We are developing a new solution that provides each of our 178 million Daily Active Users with their own Stories experience,” Spiegel writes.

Just last week Snapchat announced it would be adding audience tracking features similar to those offered by Google and Facebook. The company’s stock prices fell by 20 percent after the earnings call, and Snapchat continues to struggle to win new users over Instagram. The app must walk a narrow line over a yawning precipice, proving to investors that it’s following industry best practices without losing what made it special to begin with.

Equilar Study Reveals 10 Highest Paid CMOs In The US

Those holding the highest paid marketing jobs at major international brands can make as much as $15 million per year in compensation, according to new research by Equilar.

Charter Communication had the highest paid CMO last year, granting $15 million in total compensation to Jonathan Hargis. However, this was just 15 percent of the income of the company’s CEO, Tom Rutledge, who made $98.5 million in 2016.

Dell Technologies’ Jeremy Burton and Palo Alto Networks’ Rene Bonvanie were neck and neck for the No. 2 spot, earning $13.4 million and $13.1 million, respectively.

The gender disparity among top US CMOs should be noted, as there is only one woman, Stephanie Linnartz, among the ten list of highest-earning salaries. However, even with the gender gap, the Equilar study found that female marketing executives made an average of $400,000 more per year than their male counterparts.

The top-earning CMO of 2016 made a full $10.5 million more than Frank Eliasson, the executive in the number 10 spot.

For the study, Equilar looked at all US-based or listed public companies with more than $500 million in revenue from fiscal years 2012 to 2016 and included bonuses and stock options awarded in addition to listed salary figures.

Equilar noted that the median earnings of the highest paid marketing jobs increased by 24 percent over the last five years and additionally points out that the number of CMOs named as one of the top-five highest paid executives in the company increased by 157 percent over the same period.

However, despite the general trend upward, the median CMO salary has stagnated somewhat in the last two years. This year’s average of $1.26 million is, in fact, lower than 2014’s figure of $1.27 million in compensation for marketing officers.

Grubhub Gamifies To Engage College Students On Snapchat

As gaming becomes ubiquitous across all age demographics, more companies are finding ways to blend social media, advertising and video games together. Grubhub is the latest brand to get into the game with its free retro puzzle game, Food’s Here. Developer TreSensa has created two different puzzle games aimed at different demographics. In addition to the game targeting general consumers, which is playable across Grubhub’s desktop and mobile website, there’s also a Snapchat version targeting college students.

“We created a version of the game that targets college students and lives via Snap ad,” Mallorie Rosenbluth, Grubhub’s senior manager of social media, told AListDaily. “The Snapchat version of the game features familiar and approachable characters for college students—a member of a sorority, a student studying in the library and someone tailgating.”

Rosenbluth said the brand is using Snapchat’s Geofilters and Shared Space Filters on campus to broadly target thousands of campuses, or specifically address a student population at one particular location or event.

“Beyond traditional advertising that other social channels allow us to utilize, Snapchat offers media that is designed with millennials and Gen Z in mind,” Rosenbluth explained. “Filters and lenses allow for co-storytelling and for our brand to be a part of the user’s story. Our filters aren’t complete without the user’s image, nor without them sharing the image and filter. Food’s Here is an experience that requires active engagement versus passive viewing—a truly exciting opportunity for Grubhub.”

In developing the game with TreSensa for Snapchat, Grubhub wanted to ensure that the creative design was familiar for its target Snapchat audience of college students. Rosenbluth also wanted the game to be immediately intriguing to users, as it would be featured as a Snap Ad and require the user to swipe up to play.

The concept of the game is to unscramble the road, which is divided into puzzle pieces, by tapping the screen. The goal is to help the Grubhub driver navigate to deliver food to the customer. There are three levels of progressively more challenging puzzles.

“For the general Grubhub user, we designed Food’s Here to feature different characters, inspired by the everyday consumer,” Rosenbluth said. “For example, you’ll see a mom in her early 30s, a man ordering to his office, a younger, single female and more. We used our demographics data to find relatable experiences for the typical Grubhub consumer.”

Rosenbluth said Food’s Here allows Grubhub to reach a captive audience—both in the mobile version that lives in premium games, as well as Snapchat.

“We’re able to see the number of engagements, how many people are opting to swipe up into the experience, the amount of time users are spending in the game and social sharing,” she added. “In addition, we’re also able to measure bottom line metrics, as users are prompted to download the Grubhub app and they’ll receive a promotional code if they’re first-time diners.”

Snapchat and the mobile version of Food’s Here allows the company to measure the true engagement of a user, according to Rosenbluth.

“When the user is playing Food’s Here, we have their full attention and are able to capture a variety of metrics around the user’s engagement,” Rosenbluth said. “Having our game live on premium playables and Snapchat allows for us to narrow our targeting and have a fully captive audience.”

Prior to this campaign, Grubhub has traditionally focused on out-of-home and TV advertising to reach consumers.

Forrester Predicts CMOs Need To Pursue Martech And Data In 2018 To Survive

Forrester has released the latest edition of its industry forecast series, calling 2018 “a year of reckoning” for both businesses in general and marketers specifically. The vision of the future the Forrester Predictions report paints is a bleak one, one of failure and disappointment, stagnation and missed opportunities.

“2018 . . . will force many companies to take decisive action,” said Cliff Condon, chief research and product officer at Forrester. “While the economy is still growing and employment is healthy, the fate of companies has never been more uncertain.”

According to Forrester predictions, the gulf will widen between companies embracing innovative marketing technologies and those who aren’t willing or able to keep up. Forrester’s report claims that a full 30 percent of companies will fail to meet rising user expectations for customer experience, and another 20 percent will not properly adapt to the changing digital market.

“As a result, those firms will be acquired, or begin to perish,” the report’s introduction reads.

For firms lagging behind in the digital space, life will only get harder. Forrester predicts that 25 percent of companies will fail to grasp the algorithms that drive duopoly platforms, “resulting in their brand becoming undifferentiated and silenced in the market.” Furthermore, these “digital laggards” will find it more difficult to find the talent necessary to close the gap, as in-demand specialists will flock to brands already ahead of the curve.

The future of advertising is equally shaky, Forrester predicts. In 2018, 1 percent of the American population will take advantage of advancing AI technology to filter out advertising and further cocoon themselves in filter bubbles. That’s $24 billion in spending that marketers will be separated from, Forrester warns, and that number is likely to increase as AI and intelligent agents become more powerful and more popular.

As Americans increasingly avoid ads, Forrester predicts that the industry will suffer. According to their research, ad spending will fully plateau in 2018. Instead, chief marketing officers will shift their focus and investment in consumer experience, digital platform algorithms and advancing marketing technology.

Forrester points to short-sighted investment and managerial decisions for many of the problems on the horizon, especially at CEOs and managers for neglecting AI and blockchain research, as well as failing to properly understand both GDPR and digital platform algorithms.

Most importantly, Forrester says, slow and safe adaptation just won’t cut it anymore.

“Incrementalism may feel good, but it masks the quiet deterioration of the business,” the report reads.

“The window of opportunity to take bold action is starting to close,” said Condon. 

ComplexCon Looks To Capitalize On Millennial Consumers

ComplexCon returned to Los Angeles for the second consecutive year with a two-day consumer show that mashed a mall, hip-hop festival and art and fashion show all into one.

The jam-packed floors of the Long Beach Convention Center served as a convergence for bleeding-edge and mainstream culture, music, fashion, entertainment, sports and art, giving brands and marketers alike a unique playground to experiment with a diverse core group of trend-conscious consumers. Part commerce, conference and concert, ComplexCon was grounds for consumers to congregate and swoop exclusive drops for their own collection or to resell later.

“If you want to be a part of culture and see what’s going on with millennials, this is the place to be,” Patrick Buchanan, global marketing director at K-Swiss, told AListDaily. “We’re all about the next generation of young hustlers and go-getters—and here is where all those people are. It’s inspiring to be a part of this.”

Buchanan said that ComplexCon, founded by Complex Networks founder Marc Ecko, is different from traditional trade shows because it’s designed for the consumers rather than industry executives. The show also taps into a demanding market that is somewhat underserved.

“Entrepreneurs like these attendees are the new heroes, and we fully support that,” Buchanan said. “The sneaker culture is a huge imprint on popular culture. It’s a cool venue for a brand like us to show up and share what we’re working on, launch something new and reach fans in exciting ways.”

Buchanan said the event allowed his team to re-introduce the popular ‘90s brand with those who might be lost in today’s millennial mindshare. K-Swiss tapped into the entrepreneurial zeal of the show by debuting a signature sneaker with businessman Gary Vaynerchuk as part of their brand campaign “Generation K.” Buchanan also used the forum to further the company’s content marketing efforts by recording episodes of their podcast “CEOs Wear Sneakers.”

Consumers at ComplexCon, who all appeared as though they were under the age of 35 and came from all walks of life, seemingly were eating up all of the activations as they shopped shoulder to shoulder. Much like they do for shoe drops, consumers slept outside the night before the show opened its doors and swarmed in before doors were officially open Saturday morning. Lifestyle and retail store Undefeated may have very well taken its first ever loss when an army of attendees forced the brand to shut down its space due to safety concerns. Demand for some brands was that high.

Nike tapped into that culture and craze by celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Air Force Ones with a workshop that put the creativity keys in the hands of the consumer. Sneaker aficionados were able to customize the classic white sneaker on the spot with an array of options provided by Nike for their own one-of-one shoe.

“Consumers are really interested in being the designers for their own footwear more than ever. A workshop like this is unique—the Air Force One becomes the canvas,” Jenna Golden, Nike’s director of North American communications, told AListDaily. “The energy level was great within our space. We focused our marketing on the young consumer to bring the legacy of Nike and the Air Force Ones to life.”

Nike also reached shoefiends outside of ComplexCon through its Nike SNKRS App by leveraging the camera experience to allow fans to purchase one of the five shoes that were dropped at the show.

“We wanted to celebrate the culture of sneakers, and ComplexCon is the perfect forum to do that,” Golden said. “We took it to a next level this year.”

ComplexCon certainly was not short on star power. A small sample of the who’s who that attended the show to speak at panels, partake in brand activations or surprise fans with impromptu performances included Kendrick Lamar, Kobe Bryant, Pharrell, Usher, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Migos, Ludacris, Steve Aoki, Michael B. Jordan and Jaden Smith. Dozens from rap royalty, including DJ Khaled, Gucci Mane and N.E.R.D., headlined the live music portion of the festival.

J Balvin, owner of the global hit song “Mi Gente,” was one of the many artists on hand furthering ongoing ambassadorships with brands. The musician partnered with whisky-maker Buchanan’s for an airline-and-terminal inspired product-and-clothing activation.

“Buchanan’s and our team are making a real movement right now with fashion collaborations,” J Balvin told AListDaily as fans purchased Kappa and MCM products adorned with his name. “Everything is for the culture . . . I just want people to feel cool and comfortable and be unique.”

The collaboration furthered Buchanan’s “Es Nuestro Momento” (It’s Our Moment) marketing campaign with the Colombian artist.

“Our space was a perfect opportunity to spotlight up-and-coming Latino designers and artists and support Jose [Balvin] too,” Tara King, senior brand manager at Diageo, the parent company of Buchanan’s, told AListDaily. “For Buchanan’s, our positioning is staying true to our cultural roots. We’re natively a Hispanic and Latino brand and have always resonated with that consumer group. Jose supports us, and we support him with a lot of co-branded products. We’re always aligned together, and ComplexCon is a great place to bring that to a mainstream audience.”

The convention was not only limited to big box brands. In addition to Adidas, Guess, Ugg, G-Star Raw, Urban Outfitters, PacSun and New Era, emerging marques like the Big Baller Brand, Billionaire Boys Club, The Hundreds and countless other vendors welcomed new and returning fans to their spaces. The likes of Giphy, Shopify, McDonald’s, Intel, Postmates and eBay were some of the exhibitors powering brand experiences more than products.

Rajeev Puran, Intel’s director of client VR business development and strategic partnerships, told AListDaily that ComplexCon served as a great place for them to share stories of how their technology powers innovation used by artists and fashion companies.

Intel furthered its brand storytelling by immersing attendees in the world of Linkin Park through One More Light, a new VR experience from Spatialand and Intel.

“We go through dynamic shifts—there is going to be needs to use tech in new ways that’s never been thought of before in music, art and lifestyle,” Puran said. “Intel’s tech sits inside of those things. From a branding perspective, once we market to passing consumers, it then starts to click that ‘Intel is an ingredient company.’ We’re trying to show it’s not about nerdy tech, but getting out there and reaching a customer base that normally wouldn’t know about Intel, or what we do.”

Ariana Angrisani, senior marketing manager for Authentic Brands Group, told AListDaily that ABG brought brands like Airwalk, Vision Street Wear and Tretorn because they wanted to reach a consumer who was in the market for something limited.

Tretorn looked to accomplish that by debuting 100 pairs of “Candy Cane,” the first-ever footwear collection by André 3000.

“In this day and age there is so much going on in the sneaker world—it’s a sensory overload. There’s a lot going on at ComplexCon, too, but you have a niche audience with a purpose and a focus that you could be reaching,” said Angrisani. “The biggest way to do that is with collaborations and trying to give consumers something new and different.”

Angrisani said the show is not about sales and key performance indicators for ABG but more about building awareness and relationships with consumers within the specific demographic.

Allison Giorgio, Puma’s vice president of marketing, shared the same sentiment as the brand announced a creative collaboration with Big Sean celebrating the 50th anniversary of Puma Suede.

“It’s a good opportunity for our brand to not only provide great products, but also give back to the community,” Giorgio told AListDaily.

Puma marketed the core group at ComplexCon by offering six fans contracts to separately work with the brand moving forward in various creative verticals.

“We try to have a mix of great brand partners and product that attracts consumers, and offer them the opportunity to lend their talent back to us,” said Giorgio. “As a brand, we’re looking to resonate with millennials.”

PlayStation’s Strategy For PSVR In 2018: Getting Consumers To Try It

PlayStation VR (PSVR) cornered the console virtual reality market when it launched last September, selling over 745,000 headsets in its first quarter and 1.3 million as of October 1, according to SuperData.

Mary Yee, vice president of marketing for PlayStation told AListDaily that they’re just getting started.

“Overall, I feel like we’re just at the beginning,” said Yee. “We’ve had a phenomenal start in the first year. We expect it to continue with the amount of content that’s coming to the platform and how we’re marketing. We’re continuing to get excitement and support from gamers about the products and I think the future looks bright. It is something that we are very invested in for PlayStation.”

PlayStation launched a new PSVR campaign called “Feel Them All.” The campaign’s videos employ imagery like a beating heart, goosebumps and a dilating iris to illustrate “feeling” a video game rather than just playing it.

“We’re thinking about how we distinctly talk about the VR experiences,” said Yee. “This new campaign really focuses on sensory experiences and transporting you in a different way than a non-VR game does.”

According to Yee, PSVR currently has over 100 games. Between now and 2018, the company plans to release more than 60.

Allowing consumers to try PSVR before they buy is a major part of PlayStation’s marketing strategy, said Yee. Demos will be available at GameStop and Best Buy locations, in addition to trade shows and fan events like PlayStation Experience (PSX) in December.

“[PlayStation] is investing in demos knowing those types of experiences will change someone’s perspective, not only of VR, but of the industry and the innovation that’s coming. We want to get as many consumers to try the product as possible so they really understand this new technology. Getting more interested gamers exposed to it would not only be good for us, but for the industry.

“Accessibility of the product is important. With any new technology as big as this, you really have to try it to see how transformative it is,” said Yee. “We’re really making it a 360 approach to talk about VR, how consumers experience it and—the really important thing—the number of games coming to the platform.”

In addition to the “Feel Them All Campaign,” the November 17 release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR will be a big push for the brand into the holidays.

“Another thing we did in year two is add the camera to our bundle, so it really increases the value of our entry-level bundle, lowering the price entry for someone who has a PS4 but doesn’t have a camera yet and is interested in VR. We want as many people to try it and feel like they’re part of it because it is the first of its kind,” said Yee. “You really have to try it and experience it. I think the future looks bright for us and for what I know is coming for the year.”

Even With Gender Gap, Female Marketers Make Much More Money

Gender gap representation in workforce leadership is a problem—that much has been well established. However, a new study by Equilar has introduced a small, if significant wrinkle. Among marketing executives, women are paid more on average than men.

In 2016, female marketing executives made an average of $400,000 more per year than their male counterparts. In fact, this gap is not new. Female marketers have garnered higher salaries since 2013, though this gender gap has never before been quite so drastic.

Even though women’s salaries have risen dramatically, their representation in marketing C-suite roles has stagnated in recent years. In 2016, women made up 18.5 percent of marketing executives at public companies, a number slightly lower than 2015’s of 18.8 percent.

Though the number is small, marketing departments are ahead of the admittedly shallow curve when it comes to gender diversity. Women make up 16 percent of board directors and just 5 percent of CEOs.

The total number of female marketing executives have grown steadily since 2012, but this is representative of a growth in hiring of marketing executives across the board, not of increasingly progressive hiring practices.

Dan Marcec, director of content and communications at Equilar, suggests a few potential explanations, theorizing that larger companies with higher-compensated executives tend to value diversity more, citing another Equilar report that indicated a smaller-than-average gender gap at the 500 largest public companies. But he’s quick to point out that none are “100 percent certain . . . since each company’s situation is unique.”

The report also offers some insights into increased value assigned to marketing directors. In the last five years, the number of marketing executives listed as one of the top five highest-paid employees at public companies jumped by 157 percent, from 74 in 2012 to 190 in 2016.

“This clearly shows that companies are putting greater emphasis on marketing expertise as a critical role within the C-suite,” wrote Marcec.