Deezer And Fnatic Discuss New Esports Partnership

Fnatic has partnered with music streaming service Deezer to promote the brand to its global esports fan base. It marks the first time the professional gaming organization has explored a music partnership, and it’s the inaugural esports marketing initiative for the music company. Deezer has more than 12 million active users in 185 countries around the world, offering access to over 43 million tracks.

A 2008 report from Cassidy and Macdonald found that over 80 percent of gamers play games while listening to music. The recent IFPI Global Music Report 2017 confirmed this trend with the music industry experiencing the fastest growth in 20 years, with music streaming accounting for more than 60 percent of it.

“Music and sports have always gone hand-in-hand, as we know that sports fans are as passionate about matches, their sporting heroes and what they are listening to, as they are about music and artists,” Ralph Pighin, vice president of Central and Eastern Europe at Deezer, told AListDaily. “Following our exclusive partnerships with global football clubs Manchester United, FCB, Flamengo in Brazil and FC St. Pauli, we wanted to expand our offering beyond football into other sports including into esports.”

Pighin said the core premise of the partnership is to give gamers and Fnatic’s fans the chance to connect further in gaming through music.

“Like the music community, esports is a shared platform, so players will be able to connect with their fans in real time and share their personal playlists and tastes to audiences across the globe,” Pighin explained. “As part of this deal, we will also be rolling out joint marketing initiatives which will further promote the relationship between gaming and music, providing further engagement opportunities for both the team and their fans.”

Roison O’Shea, head of partnerships at Fnatic, told AListDaily that this partnership with Deezer provides another great touchpoint for its fans to engage directly with the team’s pro gamers.

“Fans will be able to add their favorite Fnatic players on Deezer and keep up to date with what the guys are listening to when they’re traveling around the world to competitions, chilling out at home, or practicing at Fnatic Gaming Houses,” O’Shea said.

Each pro gamer will have a personalized playlist on Deezer, which they’ll share with fans around the world on their social media platforms. The team members will encourage fans to add them to learn more about each of the players and what kind of music they’re into.

Deezer’s listeners come from 185 countries around the world, all ranging in age and gender, according to Pighin. As a result, there’s a wide range of music and content on its platform, multiple price plans and different campaigns targeting these consumers.

“In general, music streamers are also technically savvy, and it’s a great fit for the esports audience that’s used to watching events broadcast on streaming platforms such as Twitch,” Pighin added. “Both Deezer and Fnatic are global communities that like to share. In the same way that music fans follow their favorite artists, gamers have a dedicated fan base that is genuinely interested in what their favorite players are listening to. Music is also known to help concentration in sports, which is key in esports, where there is a great deal of focus, determination and stamina required.”

Although there’s some crossover, Pighin sees the two consumer bases Deezer and Fnatic reach opening up growth opportunities on both sides. In addition, this partnership enables Deezer to better understand the mindset of gamers and what they want from a music service.

O’Shea said having Deezer on board is just one example of what Fnatic is doing to expand its reach beyond an esports audience, while delivering great opportunities to loyal fans.

“We will use this partnership to showcase both Fnatic’s and Deezer’s unique and pro-active methods to engage music fans and esports fans alike, which we know will encourage more non-endemic brands to step outside of their comfort zone and into the esports space,” O’Shea said.

This latest deal offers another example of how Fnatic is evolving as a lifestyle brand, according to O’Shea.

“We have decided to be the ones to deliver more to the esports community than what is currently available, and by doing so we are opening ourselves up to more and more people drawn by the cool things we do,” O’Shea explained. “We have developed our own range of gaming peripherals that crossover into lifestyle products. We have a range of clothing that are developed by our apparel team, which is very lifestyle focused. We host awesome parties in cities all over the world. We opened the first-ever esports concept store in London. We are creating ways to grow our community and give them products, experiences and content that otherwise they would never have.”

Fnatic works with brands like MSI, Monster Energy, Seagate and AMD.

Beyond History, ‘Call Of Duty: WWII’ Marketing Emphasizes Squad Culture

Call of Duty: WWII takes the franchise back to its roots not only in setting but several game mechanics as well. In fact, history is the major theme of Activision’s Call of Duty: WWII marketing—honoring historical fact, rekindling history among friends and celebrating the history of the franchise.

Brotherhood Of Heroes

This may be Call of Duty’s third visit to World War II, but developer Sledgehammer Games didn’t skimp on recreating the details, spirit and stories of this dramatic time in human history.

“Brotherhood of Heroes” is a documentary that details some of the key locations of the war and the stories behind them, as they relate to the Call of Duty: WWII single-player campaign.

“There is this respect and honor you have to pay to not only the people but to the places,” said Glen Schofield, co-founder and studio head at Sledgehammer Games in the documentary.

In addition to consulting historians, Activision invited WWII veterans to the studio to share their stories.

Call of Duty: WWII launches just before Veteran’s Day, which is a good excuse to remind players about Activision’s Call of Duty Endowment. This program raises money to help train and place veterans in quality jobs.

Boots On The Ground

First released in 2003, Call of Duty took players to the battlefields of World War II. The game’s new take on AI-controlled allies forced players to think like a squad rather than operate as a “lone wolf.” From that point on, Call of Duty spawned a culture of squad play among friends—a theme that resonates in Activision’s marketing efforts for WWII.

Three spots were released called “Reassemble Your Squad,” in which Call of Duty players reunite from wherever life has taken them to play once more.

Gameplay mechanics have returned to more traditional movements—removing unlimited sprint, double jumps, wall running and sliding on the ground. Sledgehammer Games refers to this as a return to the series’ “boots on the ground” play style.

With the launch of Call of Duty: WWII, the road to Call of Duty World League begins. MLG GameBattles will host regional ladders for teams in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions.

Call of Duty World League begins in December, with a $4.2 million prize pool—the largest ever for a Call of Duty tournament.

Having Fun With History

WWII is serious business, but video games are still about having fun. Activision partnered with Spotify to hide a set of cryptic audio messages inside the Call of Duty: WWII beta. Those able to decipher the codes were rewarded with special “calling cards” when the game launched on November 3. This was the first brand activation to use Spotify codes by incorporating code-breaking both inside and outside of a game.

“We’re always looking for new ways to innovate in our digital marketing, especially on popular platforms and with partners that we know our community will love,” an Activision spokesperson told AListDaily. “Once we knew the team was conducting a beta, we wanted to tease our campaign content and characters in new and interesting ways. When we saw what Spotify was doing with their new codes, we felt like it was a perfect fit for our fans.” 

The undead returns to Call of Duty: WWII, and players will be able to battle hordes of Nazi zombies in an alternate history that is separate from the campaign. Sledgehammer Games revealed the Nazi Zombies mode during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con, along with an official trailer.

On the opening day of E3, two groups of World War II-era planes flew over the Los Angeles Convention Center, setting the tone before fans got their first look at the new game.

“Historical authenticity is a central tenet in Sledgehammer Games’ development philosophy for Call of Duty: WWII and a cornerstone of our marketing efforts,” Todd Harvey, SVP of marketing at Activision told AListDaily. “The activation was a great way add impact to the show while celebrating the history of World War II aviation.”

As always, influencer marketing plays a major role in Activision’s Call of Duty marketing battle plan. The publisher partnered with a number of athletes to promote the game, including NBA star and celebrity spokesperson Karl-Anthony Towns, who made appearances at Activision’s E3 booth. Later activations featured wrestler Chris Jericho, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey and Pittsburg Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell.

While the football players received personalized footlockers with consoles and copies of the game, Chris Jericho had to endure a whole lot of hot wings on a sponsored episode of “First We Feast.” Livestreams and giveaways from PlayStation and Activision offered fans their own branded footlocker, PS4 Pro consoles and more.

According to Activision Blizzard’s Q3 earnings call on Thursday, digital pre-orders for Call of Duty: WWII have exceeded prior Call of Duty titles.

Kantar: Personal Information Doesn’t Help Brands Build Trust, Transparency Does

Consumers are short on company confidence of late. New research by Kantar TNS indicates that Americans are becoming suspicious of even the most trusted brands with their personal data, and they are suspecting the government of invasion of privacy.

Sixty percent of American consumers object to having any of their online activities monitored, even in exchange for added convenience. Furthermore, many consumers feel that they are losing out on the value exchange even when they aren’t providing data, as 49 percent stated that content posted by most trusted brands simply isn’t relevant to them.

This mien of mistrust extends beyond just brand marketing, however.

Close to 60 percent of Americans believe that the government doesn’t use personal information it’s acquired to provide better services, and 53 percent claim that the information they see on social media is unreliable.

Despite the pervasive view among marketers that when it comes to data, more is merrier, Liam Hickey, vice president of Kantar TNS, recommends a middle path.

“Protect boundaries—only collect what you need, don’t be creepy and remember the value exchange,” Hickey told AListDaily. “Do people really feel it’s a fair exchange? Are you providing a real benefit?”

In most cases, the answer to these questions seems to be no.

The Brand Trust Divide

While the fake news crisis of recent months has caused many Americans to grow suspicious of global organizations, markets such as China and India feel differently.

“We see a big polarization between developed and developing countries,” Hickey said. “In developing markets, people tend to trust big, global brands more. In developed markets, it is the opposite—small, local brands are most trusted.”

In emerging markets, 48 percent of the study’s respondents claimed to place more trust in global brands, compared to just 23 percent in developed countries and 21 percent in the US. Outside of America, consumers are less suspicious of brands on social media as well, with only a third claiming that brand content is not relevant to them.

These differences between American and worldwide markets suggest that acting small can ingratiate brands with consumers. Compared even to other developed countries, US consumers more frequently rank local companies as their most trusted brands. Thirty-seven percent of Americans trust small brands more, with only 30 percent of developed-market consumers and 21 percent of emerging-market consumers sharing the sentiment.

As more consumers worry about invasion of privacy and companies selling their personal information, the best course forward may be to emphasize honesty over convenience and build brand trust with transparency.

“Keep your customers’ secrets safe,” Hickey said. “Be transparent in asking permission, and, crucially, own up if anything does go wrong.”


Monster Energy’s Marketing Mantra Is All About Experiences

Monster Energy’s marketing and positioning has been somewhat of a marvel to witness ever since cans of the sugary substance hit the hands of consumers in 2002.

During its ongoing 15-year battle with Red Bull as the most relevant energy-drink company on the global market, Monster became a near-$30 billion behemoth with a marketing model mostly devoid of paid media, ad buys and creative campaigns across all platforms.

What it did was build messaging by bringing unique experiences and content within their marketing pillars of action sports, music, esports and gaming as well as the ubiquitous Monster Girls. The publicly traded company complemented the move with an edgy and aggressive image to boot.

Hush executives rarely engage with the press to discuss its products or even promote its “unleash the beast” proposition, so when AListDaily sat down with Marianne Radley, senior vice president of marketing for Monster Energy, the first sentiment shared was that the conversation itself was an anomaly.

“We’re very hesitant about doing interviews for no other reason than focusing on building the brand one can at a time with intimate consumer connections,” Radley told AListDaily. “Our marketing has always been very below the line. We’re mindful of that, so we try to keep our time with the press minimal just so it doesn’t look like we’re pushing so much in your face. Everything we do is genuine and sincere, and we try to keep that for all points of communication.”

Once the conversation can was cracked wide open, Radley said that in order to connect with their core consumers and yield the endless emotional engagement that they’ve capitalized on, it’s all about identifying the correct audience—which for them is 18-to-30 year olds—and bringing them unique experiences.

“We’re a lifestyle in a can. It’s about creating emotional connection, excitement and energy, and living in that space,” Radley said. “Our brand message is always going to be found in our core pillars—that’s not going to change as we expand our portfolio to address the consumers’ changing taste palette.”

It appears to be working. Loyalty and love behind the rebellious brand is so strong that consumers regularly send pictures of discernible neon-colored green M Claw logo tattoos permanently inked on their bodies.

“That’s the kind of connection people have with our brand,” Radley said. “You’re always thinking about what’s creating push and pull when it comes to marketing. For Monster, it’s our unique proposition. Everything about our marketing is intimately driven with one-on-one conversations with fans and consumers.”

One of the key consumer verticals Monster maximizes on is gaming and esports by focusing more on the athletes and teams and less on leagues. The move helps Monster globally identify the emerging games and top players it needs to be involved with. For them, that means more than writing a check and having someone wear the logo. Radley said she’s getting up to speed herself and learning as well, partly being educated by her marketing team and teenage sons.

“I’m much older than our demo. The passion, excitement and energy that exists for gaming is amazing. It’s alive, exciting and completely different from my expectations,” Radley said. “I’ve had the pleasure of seeing tournaments in China, and it’s just a natural fit for Monster to be there. The whole building is full of energy . . . We want to partner with someone who embodies the brand image well. We’ve got gamers so entrenched in it, they’re able to find the right people to make associations with.”

In addition to gaming, Monster also maintains an edgy positioning with the Monster Girls. Although the ladies have drawn public ire for their revealing looks in the past, they remain an integral part of building brand awareness and fan engagement.

“When you put Monster next to any other consumer product group, what we do very well is experiential marketing and fan engagement activations at events,” Radley said. “The Monster Girls are beautiful, smart, energetic, edgy—they’re everything that Monster is. Sometimes there’s controversy, but our brand thrives on that. That’s part of our core, and we don’t shy away from it.”

Radley says they excel in those kinds of environments because they are also bucking the system.

They furthered the brand’s “bad boy” image by rejoining forces with UFC superstar Conor McGregor. For the promotion of the Floyd Mayweather-McGregor mega fight in August, Monster renewed its relationship with the MMA star and strayed from their everyday marketing strategy by embracing paid media with a 360-degree digital plan pushing content across various social channels, fight-viewing parties, retail tie-ins, point-of-sales and sticker-and-jersey giveaways. Radley said landing the partnership, which was highlighted by a commercial and the M Claw logo on McGregor’s shorts on fight night, was like “winning the lottery.”

“We almost never do above-the-line media buys. We’re not a brand that does commercials,” Radley affirmed. “We’ve been involved in combat sports for a long time, and Conor has been a perfect embodiment of everything that we think about our brand. For us, it’s about harnessing and maximizing the association of our brand with Conor and leveraging partnerships and associations with bottlers and retail partners across all platforms globally.”

Radley spoke favorably of Monster’s new product development team and innovations department that helps facilitate its experiences. Monster’s expanded caffeinated portfolio of late includes Monster Green, Ultra Line and the zero-sugar Ultra White.

“It’s an interesting conversation with our bottlers because our marketing is so much different than what they’ve done before . . . I think if you look across the broad spectrum of energy-drink companies, we really are the leader in driving innovation,” Radley said. “It’s not changing our messaging, it’s understanding who our customer is, the changing landscape and offering a broader range of products to them.”

Whether it’s shining the spotlight on up-and-coming artists before they’ve become household names with the Outbreak Tour or continuing to champion motor sports, skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding, Radley said Monster will always have the consumer along for the ride.

“It’s a very easy conversation to have when you’ve got a brand with such imagery and passion packed in a can—it speaks to people. It all fits in,” she said. “It’s not just about the drink, it’s about the unique experiences, it’s about the energy, the emotional connection to the brand and learning from that. It’s getting yourself out there. We take them on a learning journey, and they become believers in the brand.”

BlizzCon Rages On As Activision Blizzard Enjoys Record Q3 Earnings

Activision Blizzard earnings for the third quarter of 2017 were higher than expected, with a record $1.62 billion in net revenue. The video game publishing giant attributes this success to its ability to engage hundreds of millions of players worldwide.

Whether a gamer is casual or hardcore, Activision Blizzard seems to have cornered the market across platforms and genres. The publisher also treats its games as a service, continually updating its games through DLC, in-game add-ons and esports competitions.

Experiential Engagement

BlizzCon is poised to host over 30,000 attendees and millions more via livestream this weekend. For the first time, digital ticket holders will be able to view the happenings from every content stage and not just the main stage, as in previous years. In addition, virtual ticket holders will receive exclusive virtual goods for all of Blizzard’s games.

One of the big announcements at BlizzCon was the addition of an Overwatch map called Blizzard World—an amusement park that celebrates the worlds of Starcraft, Warcraft and Diablo. The map acts as a tribute for existing Blizzard fans and cross-promotion for other franchises.

With a record 42 million MAUsB, Blizzard had the biggest third quarter online player community in its history. According to Activision Blizzard, this is the fourth quarter in a row that Blizzard drove quarterly record MAUsB.

Franchise Favorites Return

Destiny 2 is the best-selling console game year to date in the US and broke the record for the fastest-selling digital console game in a given launch month. In its report, Activision Blizzard said Destiny 2 has exceeded its predecessor in terms of consumer spend. Digital mix was over 50 percent of console full game sell-through, a new record for the company.

Releasing the game on PC through the portal opened the franchise to new global audiences and future growth opportunities, the company said.

Digital pre-orders for Call of Duty: WWII have exceeded prior Call of Duty titles. As a whole, the franchise experienced record monthly active users for the third quarter. Activision had the biggest third-quarter online player community in its history, with a record 49 million MAUsB.

Expansions Expand Earnings

The Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion resulted in players spending more time with the digital card game. Activision Blizzard reports double-digit percentage growth in time spent year-over-year for the franchise.

Seasonal events in Overwatch—Summer Games in August and Halloween Terror in October—both continued to drive strong engagement and participation in customization items, the company reported.

Destiny 2 is “well ahead” of its predecessor in terms of attach rate to the Expansion Pass, according to Activision Blizzard.

Esports Excitement

The new season of Activision’s Call of Duty World League will begin in December. At $4.2 million, players will compete for the largest prize pool in the franchise’s history.

The inaugural season of the Overwatch League is set to begin at the Blizzard Arena Los Angeles, on January 10. Ahead of the earnings call, Blizzard announced Overwatch League sponsorship deals with HP and Intel.

Mobile Motivation

King had 293 million MAUsB for the third quarter and, according to the earnings report, has had two of the top-10 highest-grossing titles in the US mobile app stores for sixteen quarters in a row. Candy Crush Saga returned to the number one grossing position in US  mobile app stores for the third quarter just in time to celebrate its fifth anniversary.

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Marketing Goes For The Laughs

Thor: Ragnarok is the third—and presumably final—solo film for Marvel’s god of thunder, but if the marketing is any indication, he’s going out with a bang. Pairing retro aesthetics with director Taika Waititi’s unique brand of humor, marketing has moved away from the dark, brooding superhero film and into a brightly colored comedy.

Films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Thor and Thor: The Dark World, have shared a few laughs amid dramatic fight scenes and saving the world. Marketing for Thor: Ragnarok, along with the promise of epic battles, has focused almost entirely on comedic dialogue and situations.

One frequently used trailer scene shows Thor pitted against The Hulk, only to excitedly announce to the entire coliseum that they’re friends from work.

Taika Waititi (What We Do In The Shadows, Hunt For The Wilder People) set the comedic stage with a duo of short films last fall. The shorts “Team Thor” not only explain why Thor and The Hulk were not included in Captain America: Civil War, but helped promote the film’s digital release. Audiences got a sneak peek into what Thor has been up to, and met his roommate Darryl.

“That helped us a lot, by shooting [Team Thor],” Waititi told Den of Geek. “It just gave fans the opportunity to see just how irreverent we were gonna be, and just how different we were making Thor, and [Bruce Banner/The Hunk] as well.”

Overall marketing for Thor: Ragnarok has been of the “feel good” kind. Cate Blanchett, who plays Hela, the goddess of death, was the spokeswoman for Marvel’s Superpower of STEM Challenge—challenging teenage girls to “help their family, community or the world be a safer place.”

Participants created do-it-yourself projects using STEM skills that could be easily replicated by others. Five finalists were invited to the red carpet premiere of Thor: Ragnarok received the opportunity to present their projects to a panel of experts and present the winning project on Good Morning America.

Marketing for the Thor: Ragnarok took advantage of recurring internet themes on social media. Blanchett offered some inspirational advice to fans for Monday Motivation and helped explain the meaning of the word “Ragnarok.”

Marvel invited fans to use the Twitter hashtag #WhatsRagnarok to share their definitions of the word, serious or not. Jeff Goldblum was filmed responding to some of the definitions, which proved to distract the 63-year-old actor when he encountered unusual usernames and acronyms such as “LMAO.”

Taking advantage of the film’s timing with Halloween, Marvel touted the slogan “Hellaween” in honor of Blanchett’s character and shared a recipe for candy apples made to look like Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir.

After the success of Guardians of the Galaxy with director James Gunn’s comedic, light-hearted take on the superhero genre, Marvel may have been more open to the idea of a film that is as much comedy as spectacle.

Thor: Ragnarok is expected to reach $400 million at the global box office this weekend—an impressive feat considering the original film earned a lifetime revenue of $449 million.

Magid: Virtual Reality Sports Will ‘Take Off’ With Social Interaction

Through new research, analyst firm Magid found that 10 percent of virtual reality owners and users had watched live NBA games and 16 percent watched live NFL action. More people may be watching basketball in VR since the NBA increased their broadcast frequency.

According to Magid, virtual reality sports broadcasts are opening opportunities for teams and major sports leagues to engage and immerse fervent fans anywhere in the world.

Two years ago, the NBA partnered with NextVR to broadcast games directly to user headsets and is now making the entire 2017-2018 season available in VR for League Pass subscribers. Whether it’s live broadcasts or packaged highlight reels, the NFL, MLB, NHL, soccer clubs from around the globe, and even boxing have all offered consumers a variation of VR.

Debby Ruth, senior vice president of global media and entertainment at Magid, told AListDaily that sporting events in VR is an effective way to reach fans, but not being able to interact socially may be holding it back.

“I think it will really take off when they start building in some degree of social interaction, whether it be voice, chat or avatars,” said Ruth.

Magid is conducting what they call the “Acceleration Study” over the period of eight months to explore consumer sentiment about VR. The study will cover each stage of ownership from choosing which VR unit to buy, initial first months of ownership and beyond to see if the novelty wears off.

“What we’re learning [with the study] is that while VR users love how immersive it is, there’s also a disconnection from others and the world that is also anxiety-creating,” said Ruth. “This applies to VR sports at this point.”

Less than one percent of the NBA’s 155 million core basketball fans experience live games, so technology has become an important part of keeping fans engaged. In addition to VR, the NBA has launched a free mobile AR app called Pop-A-Shot.

Facebook and Microsoft are both heavily pushing social VR, allowing users to witness live events such as sports and concerts—good news for other sports leagues who might consider following the NBA’s lead. In addition to basketball, NextVR offers a number of sports broadcasts in VR from the NFL and NHL.

As more fans engage with VR sports, marketers will need to find engaging ways to reach them on the platform.

“I see VR as a fantastic tool for experiential marketing,” said Ruth. “As it relates to basketball and sports, I think the lessons that can be drawn are that sponsorship opportunities would work really well, as well as branding within that space like product placement. In addition, marketers would learn from how people are reacting to [the campaigns] . . . One thing is clear—the interruption model that we’re so used to cannot be what people do in VR.”

Ruth warned that an interruptive model would lead to resentment more than anything, noting that the issue surfaced in the research they’ve been conducting.

“Users can see how VR would be an amazing platform for advertisers and they’re open to seeing how creative advertisers can get in it, but they’re also completely terrified that they’re going to be trapped into watching ads against their will and have to take off their headsets,” Ruth said. “That, to them, is the worst possible scenario that could happen.”

KFC, Under Armour, Jamba Shake Up CMOs

KFC announced the hiring Andrea Zahumensky to lead the company’s marketing operations. Beginning in December, Zahumensky will assume the role of chief marketing officer, and contribute to build the brand’s turnaround efforts in the US.

“Andrea is a highly regarded marketing professional with a 20-year track record of success building multi-billion dollar brands globally,” said Kevin Hochman, president and chief concept officer of KFC. “With her transformative approach to marketing and ability to build and inspire teams, I’m confident she is the right leader to continue to drive KFC’s marketing efforts to the next level.”

Before joining the fried-chicken company, Zahumensky worked at Procter & Gamble for two decades, rising to the position of brand director for the company’s baby care business in North America. In the role, she spearheaded efforts to rebrand Pampers to better appeal to millennial parents.

Jamba is tapping Claudia Schaefer for the role of chief marketing officer, replacing Rachel Phillips-Luther, who is departing to pursue other interests.

Schaefer has worked with restaurant brands for more than 20 years, most recently serving as chief marketing officer for Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen since 2015. She has also held executive positions at Brinker International and T.G. I. Friday’s.

Andrew Donkin and Pamela Catlett are departing from their respective roles at Under Armour, according to The Wall Street Journal. Donkin served as chief marketing officer, and Catlett was the head of the company’s women’s clothing department.

Kelly Day has joined Viacom as president of digital studios, a new unit devoted to expanding the media conglomerate’s content on digital channels.

“Kelly has an impressive track record of building successful digital businesses, and I am so pleased to have her on board to accelerate our push into digital-native content,” said Bob Bakish, CEO of Viacom. “She and our new Viacom Digital Studios group will ensure that we are delivering more, better aligned and digital-first experiences, helping us to further grow the reach of our brands with our diverse audiences and introducing more opportunities for our advertising and distribution partners.”

Before throwing in with Viacom, Day worked at AwesomenessTV as the company’s first-ever chief digital officer and later chief business officer. Prior to that, she was chief executive at Blip Networks before it was acquired by Maker Studios.

CBS Television Network has brought on Radha Subramanyam as executive vice president and chief research and analytics officer.Prior to signing on with CBS, Subramanyam held executive research roles at iHeartMedia, Yahoo! and Nielsen.

Dustee Jenkins has joined Spotify as its latest head of public relations as the music streaming service prepares for its upcoming IPO in 2018. Jenkins joins the streaming service after a seven-year tenure at Target, where she also led the company’s PR team. Prior to joining Target, Jenkins ran communications for the Department of Housing and Urban development under president George W. Bush.

Bleacher Report is promoting Brian Kelly to the position of senior vice president of ad sales.

“Brian has been on the frontlines telling the Bleacher Report story to our ad partners and helping them tap into our highly engaged, millennial audience,” said Howard Mittman, Bleacher Report’s CMO. “We are excited to have him take on additional responsibilities as we continue delivering to our audiences the interesting stories beyond the scores.”

Kelly has worked with Bleacher Report’s parent company, Turner Sports, for more than seven years, most recently as vice president of integrated sports ad sales.

Norwegian Cruise Line has hired Karen Sequeira as their latest marketing and PR director for the UK, Ireland, Middle East and Africa regions. Previously, Sequeira held the same title at Azamara Club Cruises.

“2018 is set to be a busy year with the launch of Norwegian Bliss, and with Karen’s experience and in-depth knowledge this will strengthen the brand, and we look forward to the support in our ever-increasing focus in these regions,” said Nick Wilkinson, managing director of Norwegian Cruise Line.

Christopher Bailey, currently the chief creative officer of Burberry, will be departing the company in early 2018. Bailey, who was also Burberry’s CEO at one time, has been with the brand for 17 years and was a driving force in its stylistic and business growth.

“Burberry has undergone an incredible transformation since 2001, and Christopher has been instrumental to the company’s success in that period,” said Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti. “While I am sad not to have the opportunity to partner with him for longer, the legacy he leaves and the exceptional talent we have at Burberry give me enormous confidence in our future.”

Burberry has not announced who will fill the soon-to-be vacant position, but reported in its press release that Bailey will assist the executive team transition until December 2018.

Hard Rock International has promoted Edward Tracy to the position of Asia CEO, representing the corporation’s increased focus on developments in the region.

“As the former CEO of Sands China and CEO of the Trump Organization, Tracy brings more than 30 years of proven gaming, hospitality and integrated resort experience to Hard Rock,” said Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International.

As CEO of Sands China, Tracy oversaw a staff of 30,000 and was named one of “The Best-Performing CEOs in the World” by Harvard Business Review in 2014.

Paramount Network has promoted Jason Cipriano to the role of vice president of multiplatform content and strategy, where he will be responsible for original content on platforms owned by company and TV Land.

Cipriano has worked at Viacom for more than a decade, beginning at MTV in 2004, rising to the rank of director of digital content strategy at Spike.

Tony West, a former federal prosecutor and Department of Justice official, will join Uber as its latest chief legal officer. West will be replacing Salle Yoo, who will depart the company in the next few weeks.

“Tony is exactly what Uber needs now,” wrote Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in an internal email that was seen by Reuters.

Before joining Uber, West served at PepsiCo as general counsel.

Netflix is promoting Jessica Neal to the position of chief talent officer, the leading role in the company’s human resources department. Neal has worked at the streaming company since 2006, though she did depart in 2013 to earlier this year to lead Coursera’s human resources department.

Augmented reality firm Magic Leap has recruited ILMxLAB co-founder John Gaeta as senior vice president of creative strategy. Lucasfilm’s virtual-reality studio has already announced a partnership with Magic Leap, which Gaeta will continue to work on for the foreseeable future.

Big Block announced the hiring of Ed Tomasi as the company’s head of esports brand engagement. Formerly of ESL, Tomasi will assist the brand in partnering with brands to provide content to esports teams and fans.

(Editor’s Note: This post will be updated daily until Friday, November 3. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

Director of Marketing Canon Burbank, CA
Director, Product Marketing Audible, Inc. Newark, NJ
Director of Marketing, Brand Management Monster Energy Corona, CA
Marketing Director, Brand and Content Strategy Nordstrom Seattle, WA
Marketing Director, UCAN – Docs and Comedies  Netflix Los Angeles, CA
Director, Engagement & Retention Marketing Hulu Santa Monica, CA

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

Long Videos Drive Higher Engagement; Most Millennials Don’t Cord-Cut

Longer videos lead to higher engagement, according to a new study by Wochit. Videos longer than 90 seconds garner 79 percent more shares and 75 percent more views than other video lengths. Despite this marked difference in performance, 80 percent of videos posted on social media are shorter than 90 seconds. The number of long-form videos posted increased by 24 percent over Q1 this year.

Both Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status have reached 300 million daily viewers, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced. By comparison, the full Snapchat app, temporary public posts notwithstanding, only has 173 million daily users.

Facebook has also registered massively increased ad revenues this quarter, per information released by the company. Facebook’s advertising income hit $10.1 billion in Q3, 88 percent of which came from mobile. Daily active users have increased by 16 percent over the same time last year, reaching 1.37 billion on average in September.

A new report by the Video Advertising Bureau indicates that in spite of the rise of cord-cutting millennials, television still holds the lion’s share of content consumption. Younger Americans spend an average of 5,400 minutes per month watching TV, compared to just 1,163 monthly minutes on YouTube, the closest other platform.

EMarketer has forecasted a dramatic increase in programmatic ad spending in the next two years, claiming that 84 percent of all digital advertising will be transacted programmatically by 2019. Currently, 78 percent of digital ad spending is programmatic, accounting for $32.56 billion spent in marketplaces.

Facebook beats out all other social media networks in last-click commerce, according to a study by Open Influence. Of the polled social media users, 48 percent reported buying an item off of Facebook. The second-largest group was those who had never purchased anything through social media at 35 percent. Only 9 percent had purchased something from Instagram, 5 percent from YouTube, 2 percent from Pinterest and less than one percent from Snapchat.

Microsoft’s Game Pass program showed healthy growth this quarter, contributing to a one percent overall growth in revenue for the company’s gaming division. According to the company’s quarterly earnings report, the service’s revenue grew by 21 percent. Additionally, monthly active users for Xbox Live rose 13 percent, totaling 53 million.

Sony Corporation also released its latest financial results, pointing to the PlayStation driving much of the company’s growth. Sony’s operating income has increased by 364 percent this year, hitting $1.8 billion. In Q2 of 2017 alone, Sony shipped 4.2 million PS4s, bringing the total to 67.5 million.

Consumers are beginning their holiday shopping earlier in the year, according to a report by Brand Keys. Of the 11,625 people surveyed, 51 percent reported intent to shop for gifts before Black Friday, up from 41 percent last year.

Additionally, only 20 percent reported that they’ll shop on Black Friday itself, down by five percent from last year.

“Marketers have taught, and consumers have learned, that deals abound year-round,” said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys. “This has resulted in earlier shopping and the knowledge that deals are likely to only get better as Christmas approaches.”

Dark social—private messages between users—accounts for vastly more shared holiday shopping content than conventional social media, according to a study by RadiumOne. Seventy-two percent of respondents shared Christmas-related content on dark social platforms, compared to just 22 percent publicly on Facebook.

Global ad revenue is set to hit $1.225 trillion this year, research by PQ Media indicates. With last year’s presidential election and Summer Olympics having been long gone, the industry is set to grow by 3.9 percent in 2017. This rate is substantially lower than 2016’s figure of 4.9 percent.

According to PQ Media’s data, this growth is due mainly to mobile channels.

User spending on the Apple app store is increasing dramatically, per a new report by Sensor Tower. On average, individuals will spend $88 per year on apps in 2019, an 86 percent increase over 2016. Game purchases make up 70 percent of that figure, but streaming services are set to become the second largest contributor to app-store spending.

AppLift has released a new report on video advertising in mobile games, breaking down click-through rates (CTR) by genre. The adventure genre features the most enticing ads, with CTRs of 16.15 percent across all regions. First runner-up was simulation with 13.52 percent, and last place fell to puzzle games, with only a 4.41 percent CTR.

(Editor’s Note: This post will be updated daily until Friday, November 3.)

‘Magic: The Gathering Arena’ Aims For More Engaging Digital Card Game Experience

Christopher Clay, game director at Wizards of the Coast

Launched in 1994, Magic: The Gathering is credited as the collectible card game (CCG) that started them all. Even after 24 years, the tabletop card game maintains an enthusiastic fan base as it continues to issue new cards and adjust the rules for tournaments.

But at the same time, the classic franchise is suffering from a unique problem. Despite its popularity as a physical card game, it has yet to effectively break into the digital space where games such as Hearthstone—which are thought to be derived from Magic—dominate.

It’s not for lack of trying, either. Wizards of the Coast released several different video games based on the franchise, including the free-to-play Magic Duels and Magic Online, both of which are still in operation. However, they have not been able to fully elevate the Magic experience in the digital space, and some attribute this problem to a variety of reasons ranging from the game’s complexity to how its tabletop design isn’t as much fun to watch as purely digital card games.

Wizards is taking on the issue by developing Magic: The Gathering Arena, a game that aims to make Magic easier for new players to understand and more fun to watch on livestreams, but keeps the gameplay depth that makes MTG appealing.

“We’re enhancing Magic by providing an intuitive digital interface that focuses on providing players with meaningful actions and eliminating needless clicks,” Christopher Clay, game director at Wizards of the Coast, told AListDaily.

Arena was inspired by the team’s shared love of Magic as they look to bring new life to the game. The game is being developed with “full transparency,” which means that the game is being made for and in front of fans, according to Clay.

Wizards has been hosting weekly Twitch streams to grow awareness of the game and engage directly with the community while demonstrating Arena’s gameplay and watchability. Stress testing for the game will run from November 3 to 29, followed by a closed beta that may start as early as November 30.

Clay said that Arena is being designed to appeal to all types of Magic players, from those who are completely new to hardcore fans. He said that the reason Magic is played by tens of millions of fans worldwide is because it’s the deepest card game in the genre. Despite that, it hasn’t been a leader in the digital space.

“We believe that if we can take what is core to what makes Magic fun, keep it authentic and make gameplay smooth and fun to watch, we will have a uniquely compelling experience, said Clay. “That’s our starting line with the closed beta. From there, we’ll deliver new features that will give gamers more freedom, more experimentation and more mastery than they’ve seen before in a digital card game.”

Wizards of the Coast has made it clear that Arena will have no impact on the operation of Magic Online, as the game serves a slightly different audience. Clay explained that Arena will focus specifically on the newest cards and game modes while Magic Online has almost every card printed in the game’s entire history.

“We want the combination of both games to offer any Magic player the digital experience they crave,” said Clay, affirming that development on Magic Online will continue with new card sets, updates and ongoing tournaments.

While Magic Online might be more attractive to longtime fans, Wizards hopes that a new game might bring new players to the longstanding CCG. The game may also evolve into a larger service someday, as Clay explained that Arena will integrate modern online services that create dynamic experiences. Those experiences could someday integrate with other aspects of a player’s in-game life.

MTG has been a featured part of events such as Hascon, a new public event hosted by Hasbro (Wizards of the Coasts’ parent company) that kicked off in September. The physical game has also been at the center of numerous high-profile tournaments. But success in the physical world doesn’t necessarily mean that audiences will quickly regard Arena as an esport the way Hearthstone was.

Although Clay could not reveal specific details at this time, he says that the team recognizes the importance of esports as an aspect of modern competitive gaming.

“We’ve been a major proponent of esports since our first broadcast of the Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour on ESPN in the ‘90s,” said Clay. “We’ve been pioneers in the esports space in tabletop, and we’re excited to share how we will put that expertise to work for a game like MTG Arena.”

Clay, who began playing MTG back when it first started in 1994, always found his way back to the game.

“The common thread that has kept me coming back for more is the possibility space of the game and the social connections it provides,” he said, musing on how the game has become an enduring brand.

“At every game company I’ve worked at there’s been a MTG-sealed league, and it’s always been a great way to meet and interact with co-workers from parts of the company I might not normally work with.”