Thinking Big, KFC Opens Miniature Restaurant In Portland

KFC is the latest brand to jump on the tiny food craze by opening a miniature restaurant over the weekend. The pop-up location in Portland was open for one day only and offered tiny, edible versions of KFC $5 fill-up boxes free of charge.

Patrons who attended the grand opening of the “World’s Tiniest KFC” had to lay on their bellies to place an order through the restaurant’s front doors. The barely-bite-sized creations included two pieces of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, a biscuit, cookie and Dr. Pepper. Orders were presented by full-sized hands through a curtain in the back of the miniature restaurant.

Those in attendance claimed that the food tasted just like regular-sized portions.

Providing ironically tiny “fill-up” boxes closes out a full year of bizarre marketing for the brand. The quick-service restaurant has built a reputation for unusual marketing efforts—from shooting a sandwich into space to Colonel Sanders romance novels and “internet escape pod” Faraday cages.

This isn’t the first pop-up event for the brand in Portland. “The World’s Tiniest KFC” follows an inflatable KFC erected in the city last year, manned by carolers and a man dressed as Colonel Sanders. Guests were provided with inflatable fried chicken and coupons for free, edible food at a real KFC location.

Tiny food became a phenomenon in 2014 when a YouTube channel called Miniature Space began posting videos of real food being prepared in tiny portions. The videos started a craze in their native Japan, and soon after other countries fell in love with miniature food.

Over 3.8 million people tuned in to watch TasteMade cook tiny food over Facebook Live, and this video of strawberry shortcake has garnered over 10 million views to date. The concept of miniature food presents a familiar aspect of everyday life but in a completely new way.

Crafting tiny versions of familiar recipes is challenging, as well. Recipes are modified to account for a smaller size—substituting quail eggs, for example—and since ovens are heated by a tea light candle, temperatures cannot be adjusted.

Whether KFC will offer tiny food in future activations remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure—the brand isn’t afraid to try something different. Not taking itself too seriously has helped earn the trust of young consumers and at the very least, get noticed. After all, it’s hard to ignore Colonel Sanders wrestling a giant chicken.

“We’ve learned that we need to extend our brand positioning beyond traditional advertising to really break through and make a dent in pop culture,” George Felix, KFC’S director of advertising, told AListDaily. “Our tongue-in-cheek humor and over-the-top selling is something that has been working well for us since many millennials distrust advertising to begin with. Instead of running away from that, we run right toward it. We believe that our ability to poke fun at the conventions of typical advertising has given us credibility with millennials. We know the new brand positioning and advertising have put KFC back on the map.”

Facebook Fights Low-Effort Engagement Bait, Emphasizes Importance Of An Authentic News Feed

In the past few months, Facebook has been overrun by “engagement bait”—posts with minimal actual content that beg users to tag a friend or like if they relate to a general statement. Starting this week, Facebook will begin to demote these posts that attempt to game Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, and penalize people and Pages that repeatedly produce them.

This update will adversely affect Pages that repost content with baiting text, hopefully driving more content to original creators. Brands that hope to rank well in News Feed will be forced to organically drive engagement, rather than just beg for it.

“To help us foster more authentic engagement, teams at Facebook have reviewed and categorized hundreds of thousands of posts to inform a machine learning model that can detect different types of engagement bait,” Henry Silverman, operations integrity specialist at Facebook, said in the announcement. “Posts that use this tactic will be shown less in News Feed.”

Additionally, Facebook will begin taking direct action against Pages like EpicLOL and UNILAD that use engagement bait in the coming weeks.

“We will roll out this Page-level demotion over the course of several weeks to give publishers time to adapt and avoid inadvertently using engagement bait in their posts,” Silverman added.

According to Silverman, this update will not demote all posts that explicitly ask for engagement, like circulating missing persons reports or raising money for causes, just ones that are attempting to game Facebook’s algorithms. For now, the feature is only rolling out to English-language posts, though Facebook’s News Feed guidelines page promises that other languages will be covered by the update beginning in 2018.

Facebook has declined to make specific guidelines available for fear of Pages acting in bad faith to continue exploiting its algorithm, but given the rapid spread of engagement bait posts, and clickbait posts before that, it’s only a matter of time before the next reach shortcut springs up. Nevertheless, this marks the second Facebook update in the last week attempting to clean up its News Feed.

“Page Admins should continue to focus on posting relevant and meaningful stories,” Silverman said. “Moving forward, we will continue to find ways to improve and scale our efforts to reduce engagement bait.”


Marketing Executives Tell Us How They’re Championing Diversity

The sociopolitical climate in 2017 called for brands and marketers to take a stance and increase efforts championing diversity. But there is still plenty of work to be done, and it continues to take shape daily, especially within the companies that are crafting the messaging to begin with.

AListDaily polled a group of executives to get a better understanding of how each is championing diversity within their own companies and marketing teams.

“Personally, I take diversity very seriously, if for no other reason than it means we’ll be a more effective marketing team, delivering inspired work to an even more diverse group of consumers we ultimately serve.

“Specifically, within the marketing enterprise, I’m very fortunate that we don’t need a specific diversity remit. Instead, we have an immensely talented group of men and women who represent a patchwork of different ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, belief systems, political views and tequila preferences that I believe make us so successful in our ability to serve such a broad range of consumers for our 70 percent market share.”
Lee Applbaum, Patrón’s global chief marketing officer

“I’m not a conventional entrepreneur—I’ve struggled with dyslexia my whole life and started my first business at 13. My entire career is built on working outside the system and thinking differently than the next guy. Maintaining diversity of both perspective and experience within my company is therefore critically important to me, and I actively seek out people with a broad spectrum of backgrounds when hiring and building my network.”
Michael Cammarataco-founder & CEO of Schmidt’s Naturals

“We currently have gender equality in pay scales. I think that makes a difference. We’re very diverse when you look at our marketing organization, when you look at racial, gender and sexual orientation perspectives. Having diverse people working on a brand almost naturally is going to create more diverse output. We’re really well-positioned.

“One trend you’re going to see in the automotive industry is a focus on women. We’ve been talking about women in the industry as untapped potential for so long, but I think finally brands are at a point where they’re investing, reaching and speaking to women in a more substantive way—and not just the pink-washing of obviously targeted [campaigns] to women.”
Nathan Tan, associate director of brand partnerships and experiences for Cadillac

“I’m all about women empowerment and at Alfa Romeo we have a strong female marketing team. Whenever you’re hiring an employee, diversity is important but you also have to make sure they’re right for the job. As far as our marketing approach and strategy, it is important that we tailor our marketing efforts on how to reach a specific audience or ethnicity group”
Katie Inderelst, head of Alfa Romeo marketing and communications

“Puma is a global brand, and that automatically means we have an amazing and diverse group of talented people who work for the brand, create products and develop marketing messages. At the end of the day, the brand is always looking for the most talented people in the market—it doesn’t matter where they’re from [or] what their background is. We’re an entrepreneurial brand that enjoys finding people of different expertise. As an organization, we’re not only looking to champion the opportunities to reach people who can offer something unique, but also support and develop their careers.”
Allison Giorgio, Puma’s vice president of marketing

“I feel that we’re working very hard on the diversity front. Twenty-six percent of our business is multicultural. We have three agencies—the first is general market, the second is Hispanic, Black and LGBT and the third that does Chinese, Korean and Indian. We’re working very hard to be diverse and inclusive in our outreach, recognizing what’s important and the cultural significance and norms that we have to be touching on. We’re trying our best to meet those expectations.”
Brian Bolain, corporate manager for Lexus product marketing and marketing communications

“The way we champion diversity is embodied in one of our values—people and not robots—which stands for treating others like you’d want to be treated yourself and developing meaningful and lasting relationships inclusive of all backgrounds and cultures. This has manifested itself in attracting a team from a diverse set of cultures and ethnicities without any sort of intimidation.”
Rip Pruisken, co-founder of Rip Van Wafels

“We’re committed to fostering an environment where all the dimensions of diversity are valued. One example that I’m very proud of is our #OneStride campaign which builds on our long history of being an ally within the LGBTQ community.”
Anna Bell, senior marketing director at E&J Gallo Winery

With Team SoloMid Partnership, Gillette Moves Deeper Into Esports

Procter and Gamble brand Gillette is partnering with popular global esports organization Team SoloMid (TSM) as part of the Riot Games’ new 2018 North American League of Legends Championship Series (LCS). With this move, TSM joins the New England Patriots and Barcelona FC as part of the shaving and grooming brand’s international sports teams.

While this is Gillette’s first North American sponsorship for LCS, the company is also sponsoring Edward Gaming, one of China’s top League of Legends teams.

Greg Via, head of global sports and entertainment marketing for Gillette and Procter and Gamble, told AListDaily that while the brand has been exploring the esports arena for over three years now, it has been involved in sports gaming before.

“We’ve had some good partnerships with EA Sports around the Madden franchise and some of the others, and we had to take notice of the community and the number of fans that were flocking to esports,” he said. “We wanted to understand the fandom, understand the community and understand why it was so popular. We did some research. We participated in some events to test and to get a feel if we needed to be in it.”

Gillette first started working with esports as a sponsor for the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) World Championships in Katowice, Poland in February. The company had a razor activation that allowed pro gamers, casters and fans to create custom 3D printed esports razors at a large booth inside the exhibit hall next to the arena.

“We weren’t sure how it was going to be accepted, but fans liked the customization,” Via said. “We did learn a lot about the consumer there. What we saw is that a lot of booths had interactions with fans.”

Gillette decided to engage with fans through pro gamer Enrique “xPeke” Cendeno, who played against the fans, signed autographs and took selfies with them. The company then made Cendeno an esports ambassador for the brand, which is part of the company’s marketing messaging that illustrates the similarities between esports pros and traditional pro athletes.

With that, the razor brand is treating its pro gaming roster the same as the other professional athletes it works with.

“I don’t treat our guys at TSM any different than I treat Thomas Muller, Antoine Griezmann or even Neymar Jr.,” Via said. “They all have their particular talents, they all have their skills and they’re all athletes. We treat everybody the same.”


While Gillette is currently focusing on LCS, which has moved to a franchise model replicating traditional sports for 2018, it’s not the only esports game in town.

“We’re obviously involved with TSM and with League of Legends, but the Overwatch League is something I’m watching closely as well because we are sponsors of the New England Patriots,” Via said. “They play in Gillette Stadium and they’re owned by the Kraft Group, who also has an Overwatch team. So, we are educating ourselves in Overwatch, trying to see if that’s something we need to be in.”

Although Gillette is showing interest Overwatch, it won’t be exploring other shooter game esports, which Via said is dictated by being part of Procter and Gamble.

“Some of the most popular games are shooters,.” he explained, “but just as a philosophy of Procter and Gamble we cannot enter the genre, so there are games out there [like] Counter-Strike, Call of Duty and others that we cannot do as a brand. That’s why League of Legends fits well.”

“Even with Overwatch, which we’re not involved with, we have to look at that even though it’s a shooter. But it’s cartoony, and characters regenerate, so nobody’s really dying. But being part of a larger corporation, it’s hard to get the greenlight to explore some of those things sometimes.”

When it comes to the broader goals for the brand in esports, Via wants to continue finding the best messaging to sell razors without overburdening fans with marketing.

“We’ve been involved in mainstream sports for over 100 years, and no one ever asked me, ‘Why are you sponsoring FC Barcelona? Why do I see your signage at the NFL? Why are you part of Major League Baseball? Why are you part of the Olympics?’” Via explained. “No one ever asks me those questions because we’ve been a part of sports for such a long time. People are almost expecting to see us because we are such a mainstream sponsor. That’s something we’re going to have to figure out a little bit more within esports to truly belong and continue to interact with the community in a positive manner.”

Facebook Lets Users ‘Snooze’ Bad Brands, Adds Mid-Roll Ad Breaks

Brands beware: Facebook’s latest platform update may throw a wrench into your engagement metrics. Starting next week, users will be able to “Snooze” any person, page or group they choose, temporarily hiding their posts from the News Feed.

“One of our core News Feed values is giving people more control,” writes Shruthi Muraleedharan, product manager at Facebook, in the announcement. “We’ve heard from people that they want more options to determine what they see in News Feed and when they see it.”

The Snooze feature is another incremental personal curation tool—like a less-severe Unfollow. Pages that get Snoozed are hidden from the Snoozer’s News Feed for 30 days, and they’re not notified of the lost views.

For brands, this update puts further importance on producing content they know is relevant, as the incremental Unfollow can hurt viewership and engagement without affecting a Page’s likes or follower numbers.

This comes just a day after significant changes to Facebook’s News Feed ranking algorithm, which will give preferential treatment to Pages with active audiences and repeat viewers.

“With this update, we will show more videos in News Feed that people seek out or return to watch from the same publisher or creator week after week,” writes Maria Angelidou-Smith, Facebook’s product management director. “For example, shows or videos that are part of a series, or from partners who are creating active communities.”

Additionally, Facebook is changing its Ad Break settings, only adding mid-roll video ads at the 60-second mark to videos longer than three minutes. Previously, all videos over 90 seconds were eligible for Ad Break placement, with ads appearing at the 20-second mark.

This change marks a further shift on Facebook’s part toward longer-form video content, and also means that ads displayed in the middle of videos will reach more-invested viewers more likely to sit through the ad than click away. Brands that take a part in Ad Break buys will be able to track both impression and CPM metrics at the video level as well.

Facebook also announced that it will begin testing pre-roll ads for sought-out (outside the News Feed) videos next year, promising six-second slots similar to YouTube’s offerings.

‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ Anime Explains Strategy In Collectible Card Game Market

With the digital collectible card game (CCG) industry estimated to reach $1.4 billion in revenue this year alone, the digital games component of Yu-Gi-Oh! has a lot of room to grow—especially given the fandom for the two-decade-old franchise.

For now, Konami seems committed to letting the IP’s physical card game lead the way for now. But few anime franchises have such a close relationship between their media content and games as Yu-Gi-Oh!. The animated show, which will hit its 20th anniversary in the spring, involves characters who compete against each other to become king of a magical card game called “Duel Monsters.” That naturally translates into both a physical trading card game and a digital one on mobile devices called Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links.

Robert Boyajian, marketing specialist for Konami Digital Entertainment, told AListDaily that the anime drives the physical card game. “People remember the classic stories and the rivalries between the characters.”

Both he and Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links senior producer Kenichi Kataoka said connections to the show provide both the physical and mobile games a special advantage. Yu-Gi-Oh! fans who tune in to the latest episodes of the current anime series, Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, get to preview new cards shortly before they come out for the physical game. At the same time, they get to live out their fantasies of becoming one of the show’s characters and striving to be masters of the game.

Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, the fifth series to be spun off from the core franchise, marks the first show to broadcast episodes in Japan and the US at the same time, synchronizing it internationally with the launch of its physical products.

“Trading card games have a social dynamic compared to digital games,” said Boyajian, describing the continued appeal of the physical card game when digital games are fast on the rise. “You have to sit across from people and interact with them, and because of that, there’s a big community when it comes to trading card games. I think that communal aspect is what drives tabletop gaming in the digital age.”

The physical card game remains comparatively more advanced than the free-to-play Duel Links, which launched for Apple iOS devices in 2016, Android in 2017 and released for the PC via Steam in November. Both Boyajian and Kataoka describe Duel Links as a more simplified version of the physical card game, and it only has about 2,000 of the 8,000 physical cards with no special exclusives, covering both the original show and its first spin-off from 10 years ago. This being the case, Duel Links does not share the same connections with the show that the physical game does.

However, Kataoka explained that the digital game makes up for it with accessibility, which is its biggest strength, especially given how players have easier access to it through their mobile devices. Konami is treating the digital CCG as a means of introducing new audiences to the franchise while engaging current ones, as it can prepare players for the physical cards game. But at the same time, he said that audiences tend to be attracted to digital games for the opposite reasons Boyajian believes fans are drawn to the physical versions.

“I think one of the major factors is that a lot of people want to play card games, but they don’t necessarily have the time or money to go to a shop, find an opponent and meet up with them,” Kataoka said to AListDaily through a translator. “Digital card games allow them to play them on-the-go. That sort of accessibility, combined with the basic philosophy of card games—collecting cards—are the biggest draw.”

Kataoka added that a digital game offers people a chance to compete against players from around the world, who return as new cards are added. He also said that longtime fans of the show may appreciate how Duel Link is fully voiced, giving them the feel of playing with their favorite characters.

“We want to keep creating an experience where fans of the show can enjoy playing the game through character interaction,” said Kataoka. “Characters such as Yugi and Kaiba have become sort of cultural icons, and I’m sure lots of people love them.”

Although the physical Yu-Gi-Oh! card game remains mainly anime-driven, with engagements through its website and social media, major events are a strong priority for the franchise.

In October, Konami brought both Duel Links and the physical game to the New York Comic Con, where it hosted tournaments and had experts on-hand to teach attendees how to play. At the same time, world championship competitors engaged with fans by answering questions while showcasing new Yu-Gi-Oh! products. Additionally, Konami brought a “token booth” to these events, where attendees could have stylized photos of themselves placed onto official cards that can be played.

These events, coupled with an evolving franchise, keeps fans enthusiastic for the 20-year-old series. To date, Yu-Gi-Oh! has spawned a multitude of anime and manga comic book spin-offs, several video games and three movies.

“[Fans] get excited any time there’s a new product or when we release a new anime,” said Boyajian. “It’s something that they look forward to. The game constantly changes, so even though it’s pretty old, every series introduces something new to spice things up.”

Boyajian also makes a case for the physical game, stating that cards feel more collectible as a physical property, which is why its community continues to drive that market.

“Collecting digital items is great, and many people are excited by it, but being able to hold the physical cards and play them feels very different,” he explained. “It feels more decisive, and I think it’s a feel that people like.”

Vevo CEO Departs; Hilton, Pandora Bring In New CMOs


Vevo’s president and CEO, Erik Huggers, is stepping down from his position. While the music service searches for a replacement, Vevo’s chief financial officer, Alan Price, will assume Huggers’ responsibilities.

Huggers had been with Vevo since 2015, which he joined from Intel’s online-TV division OnCue. At Vevo, he pushed to expand distribution beyond YouTube, which remains the service’s largest hosting platform.

Hilton has a new chief marketing officer, bringing in Kellyn Smith Kenny to oversee marketing strategy for all 14 of the company’s subsidiary brands.

Prior to joining the hospitality giant, Kenny was vice president of marketing for Uber, leading the brand’s efforts for the US and Canada. Before that, she served at Capital One as senior vice president of marketing.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau is mixing up its C-suite, appointing Patrick Dolan to the position of president and Anna Bager as executive vice president of industry initiatives.

“For over a decade, Patrick has been responsible for much of our organizational stability, proving himself to be an invaluable resource for the IAB leadership team, the board of directors and our members,” said IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg. “Likewise, Anna has a longstanding track record of guiding IAB and its members through dynamic shifts in the industry.”

Dolan has been with the IAB since 2007, serving as the organization’s chief financial officer and chief operations officer during his tenure. Bager is a comparatively recent hire, joining the IAB in 2011 to lead the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence and subsequently launching the IAB Video Center of Excellence.

Pandora has named Aimée Lapic as its latest chief marketing officer.

“Aimée brings to Pandora a deep customer focus and long track record of driving significant growth for consumer brands,” said Roger Lynch, president and CEO of Pandora. “She has the exact performance and partner marketing experience we need to take Pandora to the next level and expand our audience across all tiers of service.”

Lapic joins the internet radio company after a 13-year stint at the Gap, where she ascended to the level of CMO for Banana Republic, where her investments into paid social returned a more than 500 percent ROI.

Chris Bergstresser, president and chief operating officer of Sega Europe, has announced his departure just four months after joining the company. No reason was given, but Sega claims he departs the company on strong terms.

“On behalf of the whole business, I would like to thank Chris for his hard work, integrity and his professionalism during his time at the helm of Sega’s European operation,” said Tatsuyuki Miyazaki, CEO of Sega West.

Miyazaki will step in as interim president while the company searches for a replacement.

Meal-kit delivery service Chef’d has hired Jemie Sae Koo as vice president of marketing, hoping to expand the brand’s saturation among millennial and Gen Z consumers.

“Jemie brings an entrepreneurial, business-first approach to marketing programs,” said Kyle Ransdord, CEO of Chef’d. “At the heart of our business, we are driven to fully understand the needs of our customers and surpass their expectations.”

Sae Koo has created campaigns previously for Amazon, Disney, H&M and Coca-Cola.

P&G is undergoing several executive shifts. Charlie Pierce, head of its Gillette division, will be stepping down in March. Succeeding him will be Gary Coombe, P&G’s current European president of selling and marketing operations.

Additionally, Magesvaran Suranjan, president of selling and marketing operations for the Asia Pacific region, has had his role expanded to cover India, the Middle East and Africa.

The Rest Of The C-Suite

(Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, December 15. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at

Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment (BSE), owners of the Barclays Center, has hired Elizabeth Brooks as its latest chief marketing officer to oversee strategy for branding and advertising for all of the company’s teams and venues. Marilyn Hauser has also joined the company as senior vice president of programming for Barclays Center.

“We are now primed to support and continue BSE’s rapid growth with their diverse backgrounds in sports, entertainment, music and technology,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment. “Both Elizabeth and Marilyn have proven success in their areas of expertise and will be strong leaders for our team.”

Before joining the sports brand, Brooks served as CMO and executive in residence for Sopris Capital Associates, a private equity firm. She has also held the title of CMO for both data-analyst firm Lucid and 3D cinema provider RealD.

CNN’s digital film unit Great Big Story has brought on Christine Cook as senior vice president of global sales and brand strategy, hoping to strengthen revenue strategies.

“Great Big Story is central to our multi-platform strategy and has already had considerable success internationally with over 15 brand partnerships from EMEA, APAC and Latin America and a local version launched in the Nordics,” said Rani Raad, president of CNN International Commercial. “As Great Big Story prepares for further expansion, I am delighted to add to our firepower someone of Christine’s caliber to work with our global teams and take brand integrations to the next level.”

Previously, Cook worked at Flipboard as its senior vice president and global head of advertising partnerships for six years, a founding member of its advertising business team.

Susan Kenney Cotter has joined the insurance provider Royal Neighbors of America as its CMO.

“We are pleased to welcome Susan to our executive team,” said Cynthia Tidwell, Royal Neighbors president and CEO. “Her extensive industry knowledge and marketing expertise, combined with her commitment to our philanthropic mission, are an important addition as we transform to a more robust member-centric organization and continue our growth trajectory.”

Prior to signing up with Royal Neighbors, Cotter held senior-level marketing positions at several other insurance companies, including Colonial Life and AIG.

Augmented reality firm Meta Company has hired Maneesh Dhir as COO.

“We are particularly excited to tap into Maneesh’s unique level of expertise in successfully building and scaling large organizations for long-term growth,” said Meron Gribetz, founder and CEO of Meta. “We know that Maneesh will be invaluable to helping Meta deliver on its vision.”

Before joining Meta, Dhir served as managing director at Apple India, and prior to that was executive vice president at AOL.

Roblox, a social platform and game for children, announced the following new hires: Jennifer Hedding (chief people officer), Daniel Williams (vice president of corporate and production engineering) and Matt Kaufman (vice president of product).

YouTube has brought on a new voice for its original content division, hiring Luke Hyams as its first-ever head of originals for the EMEA region.

“We’re in five markets and we’d like to launch in more, but it takes a bunch of time to get there, and we’d like to commission more content,” Matt Brittin, Google’s president of business operations for EMEA, told Variety.

Before signing on with YouTube, Hyams worked at Disney for its own digital content division.

Anaplan, a planning service provider, announced the hiring of Mara Pergolino as CMO.

“Maria is widely respected as an exceptional team builder and an accomplished enterprise software marketing executive, and we’re excited to welcome her to Anaplan,” said Frank Calderoni, president and CEO of Anaplan.

Prior to Anaplan, Pergolino was senior vice president of global marketing and sales development for Apttus, a revenue management firm. Before that, Pergolino was senior director of marketing for Marketo, a marketing automation software provider, where her efforts drove quadruple-digit growth.

Major League Baseball is undergoing executive reorganization, reassigning Tony Petitti, current COO, to the role of deputy commissioner of business and media, overseeing MLB’s marketing and revenue efforts. Additionally, Chris Park now holds the title of vice president of product and marketing.

Epitaph Records has expanded its marketing team, promoting Hope Selevan as vice president of marketing and digital strategy. Additionally, the label has promoted Matt McGreevey as general manager.

“I’d like to thank Brett Gurewitz for giving me this opportunity and to acknowledge the amazing job that Dave Hansen, my predecessor, has done for the last 21 years,” McGreevey said in a statement. “I have incredibly large shoes to fill and am honored to be part of such an amazing label.”

Both executives previously held the title of director of marketing. Selevan joined Epitaph from New West Records in 2015, where she also served as director of marketing.

Digital-media startup Inverse has appointed David Spiegel as chief revenue officer.

“Inverse is doing the impossible by building an owned audience in the age of distributed media,” Spiegel said.

Prior to Inverse, Spiegel was senior vice president of sales and brand strategy at Great Big Story, and was also vice president of brand strategy and partnerships at BuzzFeed.

Jessica Verrilli, Twitter’s vice president of corporate development and strategy, is stepping down after nine years at the company. Though Verrilli has not declared her concrete next steps, she plans to expand her role at HelloAngels, her investment collective.

“Now I’m looking forward to the holidays and perhaps a literal marathon, now that I have no excuses for not training,” Varrelli posted on her Twitter account. “I’m excited to spend more time investing with HelloAngels and figuring out what’s next.”

Job Vacancies 

Sr. Brand Manager, Local Marketing T-Mobile Redondo Beach, CA
Director of Marketing, Americas Razer USA, Ltd. Irvine, CA
VP, Creative & Brand Synergy JCPenney Plano, TX
VP, Worldwide Marketing Partnerships Paramount Pictures Hollywood, CA
Sr. Director of Global Brand Licensing/Marketing Ralph Lauren New York, NY
Integrated Brand Director, Global Influencer Marketing Nike Portland, OR

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

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Marketing Brings The Galaxy Far, Far Closer

Star Wars: The Last Jedi blasts into theaters this weekend, fueled by nostalgia and galaxy-sized marketing efforts from Disney and its brand partners. With video game tie-ins to virtual reality (VR), 2017 has become the year of interactive Star Wars marketing.

For generations, Star Wars fans have dreamed of becoming a part of its vast world—flying through space, aiding (or impeding) the Rebellion and duking it out with lightsabers. No longer limited to our imaginations, VR makes it possible to embark on these adventures without leaving the safety of Earth.

Star Wars: Droid Repair Bay: Astro-Mechanic for the Resistance is a VR experience for HTC Vive and Samsung Gear. Sponsored by Nissan, the game challenges players to repair droids like BB-8 aboard General Leia’s ship. For those without a VR headset, a 360-degree, non-interactive version is available for iOS and Android devices.

Nissan also helped promote Star Wars: The Last Jedi by hosting an interactive tournament on Twitch. The livestreamed challenge featured two popular Twitch broadcasters competing against one another behind the wheel of a Nissan Leaf. Driving on a real-life course, the competitors navigated the “galaxy” while overcoming challenges along the way. Fans on Twitch chat helped determine the outcome by choosing a side, then deploying mechanics to either help their team or hinder the opponent.

Car dealerships across the US will also feature a ‘See The Unseen’ AR experience that has Star Wars characters such as C-3P0 explain safety features on the Nissan Rogue, Maxima or Titan vehicle models.

“While the competition is focused on Santa Claus and red bows this holiday season, we are filling our dealerships with stormtroopers, virtual reality and the new augmented reality experience—making the Nissan shopping experience much more fun, engaging and educational,” said Jeremy Tucker, vice president of marketing for Nissan North America in a statement.

Partnering with the Star Wars brand as it did for The Force Awakens appears to be serving Nissan well. According to an analysis by Amobee, 37 percent of all digital content engagement around the Nissan Maxima, 33 percent around Nissan Rogue, eight percent of Nissan Altima and 6 percent around Nissan Titan have been Star Wars-related.

Those with a Google Pixel phone can superimpose stormtroopers, droids and other characters from Star Wars onto real-world surroundings with AR stickers.

Lucasfilm, ILMxLAB and The Void collaborated to bring a new multiplayer hyper-reality arcade experience, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, to Void Experience Centers at Disney World for the holiday season.

Having worked on Ghostbusters: Dimensions, the team at Void learned that people are looking for wish fulfillment when they step into a movie universe.

“It’s important that a VR experience delivers on those dreams and desires people have from those properties and the worlds they love so much,” The Void co-founder and chief creative officer Curtis Hickman told AListDaily. “We also learned about flow and experimenting with space and we’re applying all of those things to Star Wars.”

No Disney marketing campaign would be complete without merchandise galore. App-enabled droids, droid inventor kits and augmented reality toys are a common theme this year for Star Wars merchandise.

Jedi Challenges, for example, works with iOS and Android devices and trains users on the art of battle with a lightsaber. It features a smartphone-powered Lenovo Mirage AR headset, tracking beacon and lightsaber controller.

In honor of Force Friday II—the massive unveiling of Star Wars: The Last Jedi merchandise on September 1—the official Star Wars app placed AR characters and creatures around participating retail locations. Users could collect them all and each day, unlocking new characters to encourage repeat visits.

EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront II is hosting The Last Jedi Season—free downloadable add-ons that include maps from the film, new characters and community challenges.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has already earned over $45 million in Thursday night screenings alone, per early estimates and may reach $200 million by the end of the weekend.

The Net Neutrality Repeal Sucks For Marketers, Too

The FCC’s repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules has not been particularly popular, to say the least. In the face of overwhelming public backlash, internet service providers will be able to throttle, block and speed internet traffic according to their whims, which is a problem for marketers, not just citizens.

“Brands will suffer from all sides,” Eric Burgess, vice president of product management at Ayzenberg,” said to AListDaily. “Destroying net neutrality will drive down consumption in general, since it will cost more, naturally allowing for fewer opportunities to reach consumers.”

Editor’s note: AListDaily is the publishing arm of the Ayzenberg Group.

Because ISPs, despite claims to the contrary, can, have and likely will give preferential treatment to network traffic to publishers whom they like, and limit traffic to those they don’t, many websites may be forced to shell out to ensure their content is actually accessible to their audience. This added expense will likely roll downhill to either consumers or advertisers.

This takes control of ad viewability even more out of the hands of ad buyers. Studies by Google indicate that 40 percent of consumers close mobile webpages if they take longer than three seconds to load, meaning that brands may well lose out on ad views from impatient consumers.

In addition to costing marketers more now, the repeal of net neutrality has far-reaching implications for marketing channels in the future.

Despite FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s claims that net neutrality rules stifle innovation, there’s little proof that giving ISPs monopoly control over broadband traffic will lead to advances in online services.

Marketers still have time to prepare, however. Even though the FCC has passed its resolution, it will still take several months for the changes to be codified and enacted. In the meantime, groups of both lawmakers and lawyers have declared their intention to fight the ruling, both in court and in Congress.

Though nothing has officially changed just yet, marketers may need to start allocating some of their 2018 budgets to currying favor among ISPs if they want to ensure their messaging is actually visible to consumers.

Snap Lets Brands Develop Their Own AR Activations With Lens Studio

Just days after Facebook announced the public beta of its augmented reality development tools, Snap has done the same with Lens Studio, allowing brands to design and distribute their own AR activations within the Snapchat app.

Brands can now use Snap’s free Lens Studio application to create their own placeable World Lenses and placeable 3D objects like dancing hot dogs and beer salesmen. Once the Lens is done, the creator receives a Snapcode for the Lens that they can share on their own channels, or choose to place it as sponsored Lenses programmatically.

For Face Lenses, Snapchat’s selfie filters, such as Zynga’s poker overlay, options for brands are less expansive. Snap limited access to its Face Lenses to seven studios: AvatarLabs, Fishermen Labs, Haus, MediaMonks, North Kingdon, Trigger Global and VidMob.

In an interview with AListDaily, VidMob CEO Alex Collmer said that Snap worked with each studio to train them with its development kit and ensure the same level of quality as its own in-house team.

Previously, advertisers had to work with Snapchat’s editorial team to produce Lens content, which meant that Lenses were limited to paying customers. Now, brands can produce AR content and distribute it themselves with Snapcodes, potentially cutting the platform out of the revenue picture, at least in part.

Ushering in a new age of community-generated content for the platform may well cancel out any lost revenue from outsourced Lens creation, however.

Collmer said these publicly available tools will improve Snapchat’s usage amongst its young user base.

Snapchat’s Lens features are its most potent draw for advertisers. The app has been falling behind the likes of Instagram and Pinterest when it comes to potential influencer partnerships. By expanding its creation tools, Snap is playing to its strengths.

For brands looking to take advantage of these new possibilities, there’s no time like the present. The best way to learn what works best is to start and keep experimenting, Collmer said.