Mobile Games Lack Inclusivity Toward Female Players, Study Shows

Mobile gaming is on the rise, but could a lack of inclusiveness be holding it back? A joint study by Newzoo and Google Play found that while women account for 49 percent of the US mobile gaming population, most female players don’t think games are made for them.

Still, women are taking advantage of the ubiquity of mobile games. According to the new white paper published by Newzoo, 43 percent of female players play mobile games five days a week or more, compared to 38 percent of men.

“The research shows that women are gaming in unprecedented numbers,” said Newzoo in a statement, attributing the growth to snackable formats, as well as affordable and free-to-play (F2P) games. In the US, 65 percent of women age 10-to-65 play mobile games, and of those, 64 percent prefer mobile over other platforms. Only 38 percent of male respondents prefer mobile over platforms like consoles and PC.

Newzoo found that women are more likely than men to see games as entertainment or stress relief across nearly all genres played.

As much as these players enjoy kicking back with a mobile game session, women don’t feel included in the marketing demographic. Among the top 50 grossing games in the Google Play store, twice as many icons feature men as women—a fact that Newzoo calls “discouraging.”

When female participants were asked what portion of mobile games were made for them, 60 percent chose the answer, “30 percent [of mobile games] or fewer.”

The study draws attention to a bias against playing with female players, even among women. When it comes to competitive mobile games, 37 percent of men who play 10 or more hours per week told Newzoo that they would play even more if they knew they were playing with or against other men. Only 10 percent of women said they would play more if it was with or against other women.

“An examination of the data reveals the impact that this environment is having on the women who play mobile games,” said Newzoo. “They are less likely to explore genres, talk or connect with friends about mobiles games, invest in their play and identify with gaming. Though women are gaming more than ever before, they are less likely than men to embrace it.”

This statement mirrors previous findings by Pew Research. Their study found that only six percent of women between the ages of 18-to-29 would describe themselves as a “gamer,” despite accounting for nearly half of all video game players.

Newzoo’s research was carried out among the total American online population aged 10-65 with more than 3,300 respondents. Newzoo estimates that mobile gaming will generate $50.4 billion in 2017.

“Although women prefer mobile games more than men, the mobile gaming world has a long way to go before it’s truly inclusive,” said Newzoo.

A lack of female inclusion in the video game industry has been a hot topic in recent years. Some brands are trying to make a change through female esports teams and by creating strong female characters in their games.

Bud Light Uses ‘Dilly Dilly’ Brand Message To Issue Cease And Desist

Bud Light turned an awkward situation into a marketing opportunity by issuing a cease and desist letter as read by a medieval-ish town crier.

Defending one’s IP is normally an ugly affair between two parties, but Bud Light decided to keep things well, light. Modist Brewing Company not-so-modestly adopted the name “Dilly Dilly” for its latest beer recipe—a catchphrase used in a series of Bud Light commercials set in the Middle Ages. Rather than get mad at the copyright infringement, Bud Light got creative.

Dilly Dilly Mosaic Double IPA debuted at noon on Friday and by 2:15 pm, an actor burst into the brewery dressed in medieval garb. The “town crier” proceeded to read the cease and desist letter, which had been hand-written on a scroll.

With all the fervor of a Shakespearian thespian, the town crier read aloud a formal request to make Modist’s latest brew a limited-edition run. As a peace offering, the letter also offered two employees a free trip to the Super Bowl. A video of the reading was posted to Modist Brewing Company’s social media pages, along with a post saying that they would re-name the beer “Coat Tails.” The scroll is now hanging on the wall at the brewery.

The entire message reads as follows:

Dear friend of the Crown, Modist Brewing Company,

Congratulations on the launch of your new beer, Dilly Dilly Mosaic Double IPA! Let it be known that we believe any beer shared between friends is a fine beer indeed. And we are duly flattered by your loyal tribute. However, “Dilly Dilly” is the motto of our realm, so we humbly ask that you keep this to a limited-edition, one-time-only run. This is by order of the king. Disobedience shall be met with additional scrolls, then a formal warning, and finally, a private tour of the Pit of Misery. Please send a raven, letter, or electronic mail to let us know that you agree to this request. Also, we will be in your fair citadel of Minneapolis for the Super Bowl, and would love to offer two thrones to said game for two of your finest employees to watch the festivities and enjoy a few Bud Lights. On us.

Yours truthfully,
Bud Light

Bud Light’s “Dilly Dilly” ads began popping up a month ago during NFL and college football games. Set in the Dark Ages, the light-hearted spots were timed with the new season of Game of Thrones but have taken on a life of their own. The spots depict royals toasting friends and peasants hanging out in the Pit of Misery. “Dilly Dilly” is the greeting or exclamation appropriate for any situation, much as someone might yell “Huzzah” at the Renaissance Festival.

“’Dilly Dilly’ doesn’t mean anything,” Anheuser-Busch InBev chief marketing officer Miguel Patricio told Business Insider. “That’s the beauty of it. I think that we all need our moments of nonsense and fun. And I think that ‘Dilly Dilly,’ in a way, represents that.”

Among beer lovers, the phrase “Dilly Dilly” has gone viral—popping up around social media and among friends. Unlicensed t-shirts have even appeared online bearing the catchphrase, although whether they will also be visited by a town crier remains to be seen.

Until then, Bud Light stayed true to its campaign message by taking a light-hearted approach to an otherwise awkward situation.

Sprint Boosts Its Mobile Brand Through Turner’s ELeague

Turner and IMG continue to attract non-endemic sponsors to esports. They’ve just announced that Boost Mobile—owned by Sprint—has entered into a cross-platform partnership with ELeague. The deal, which goes through 2018, includes tournaments for games such as Rocket League and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO).

Nick Holt, senior manager of advertising and creative at Boost Mobile, told AListDaily that esports is something Boost Mobile was a part of back in 2006 with the Major League Gaming Pro Circuit. This new partnership with Turner is an opportunity for the brand to dip back into the segment with a credible partner and platform.

Seth Ladetsky, senior vice president of sales for Turner Sports, told AListDaily that the partnership includes sponsorship integration on the ELeague caster desk.

“Our casters are our gateways to the fans—they help guide the audience through the intense action and provide analysis that keeps the program moving,” Ladetsky said. “It’s a great place to have an integration with our brand partners, whether it’s branding on the desk, on screen or through other elements.

“We are exploring other non-interruptive ways to integrate Boost within ELeague, including branded experiences that fit within any breaks in the action, inclusion within our AdTracker that also houses up-to-the-minute news and stats, as well as other social and on-site initiatives that will take advantage of spaces like the upcoming ELeague Major in January.”

As part of the year-long partnership, the brand will be promoted across ELeague’s platforms, including, its social media channels and on TBS. Twitch and YouTube are ELeague’s digital distribution partners for live event coverage and on-demand content.

“While we do believe in a true cross-platform ELeague experience inclusive of our programming on TV (via TBS), we understand that the core esports audience is happening on streaming platforms like Twitch,” Ladetsky said. “Our brand partners understand that dynamic as well; we collaborate closely with them on developing marketing programs that harness the best of these platforms, whether it’s on TV, on mobile, on streaming platforms, on social, or on-site with fans directly.”

Holt said Boost Mobile is still in early relationship building with esports teams and players, but it is looking forward to seeing what its partnership and brand integrations with ELeague will bring throughout the season.

“From in-arena to in-game, we’ve crafted several ‘simple’ integrations that embrace and celebrate the fandom,” Holt said, referring to the caster deck brand integration and elements like the AdTracker during digital and television broadcasts.

Holt added that the messaging that Boost Mobile wants to market to this esports audience by giving them “a boost” when it comes to their wireless service.

“For a brand like Boost Mobile, ELeague provides incremental opportunities to reach and speak to young millennial fans, many of which may not be reachable in traditional marketing environments or stick-and-ball sports,” Ladetsky said.

Ladetsky said the number one thing that any successful marketing program needs to account for is striking the right tone and delivering an authentic marketing message that makes sense within this emerging environment.

“This is a community that will wholeheartedly embrace you, sometimes in surprising ways, that increase the value of the program exponentially,” Ladetsky explained. “But, it’s also one that you can easily turn off if coming in with just a hard sell and not really showing that your brand embraces the sport’s culture.”

Holt hopes that reconnecting with this esports fan base that’s grown exponentially and globally over the past decade, will help insert the Boost Mobile brand into gamers’ awareness. Wireless service is something that’s often top-of-mind with tech-savvy esports fans, and Turner’s ELeague structure offers both traditional and digital engagement across both established and up-and-coming esports titles.

US Brands Will Spend $20B On Third-Party Audience Data In 2017

By the end of 2017, companies in the United States will have collectively spent $20.2 billion on third-party audience data and data-activation solutions, according to a new report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Data & Marketing Association (DMA). Marketers will have invested $10.1 billion of their data budgets not on the data itself, but on third-party providers that are processing, cleansing and integrating that data.

“The State of Data 2017” sheds light on how marketers are budgeting and utilizing this coveted information and is the first industry-wide effort to address the gap between data spending and understanding how that spending is allocated.

The IAB says that by providing credible, practitioner-informed insight, it hopes to “demystify how US companies are investing in audience data (and its associated support functions), helping practitioners benchmark their own spending against industry norms and establish a firmer basis for future investments.”

Consumers have come to expect personalized experiences, which makes audience data more critical in marketing strategies. However, the sheer size of third-party data makes it difficult to analyze and implement without outside help.

“Audience data is only powerful when you can put it to work, and this research shows that US companies are turning to outside help to tap into that power,” said Orchid Richardson, vice president and managing director, IAB Data Center of Excellence in a statement. “These findings must be seen as a call-to-action for more guidance and education across the ecosystem.”

The study also found that across data types, marketers will invest the most—$3.5 billion—on omnichannel identifiers. This illustrates the desire for marketers to identify and engage with consumers across media touchpoints such as display advertising, website content, email and more.

IAB observed that of all data activation solutions marketers budget for, integration, processing and hygiene rank up top with $4.3 billion. Transactional audience data is the second-highest category in terms of spending, at $2.997 billion followed by digital at $2.078 billion. Marketers are spending less on specialty and identity audience data, at $0.886 billion and $0.563 billion, respectively.

Including modeling and segmentation accounts for a relatively small portion of outsourced data budgets. Spending $1.6 billion on analytics compared to $4.3 billion for integration likely stems from the work being done in-house, IAB speculates. Another reason may be that analytics, modeling and segmentation solution services have been bundled with paid media, campaign strategy and other offerings.

“As customers come to expect a hyper-personalized experience, marketers and advertisers are focused on fully optimizing their third-party audience data, and they’re willing to invest in that optimization,” said Neil O’Keefe, senior vice president of content and marketing at Data & Marketing Association. “Companies are spending significant sums on services and technology to assist with key data functions—more money than on the data itself. A key challenge to rein in these costs will be stronger budget oversight and increased focus on developing data talent that can rise to the occasion.”

New Stardock VP Kevin Unangst To Focus On Broadening Brand’s Reach

As a company that makes desktop applications, strategy games and technology platforms, it can be difficult to pin down exactly what Stardock’s brand is. Even the company’s founder and CEO Brad Wardell has trouble sometimes, but that’s a challenge that Kevin Unangst, the company’s newly appointed vice president of global marketing and strategic partnerships, is ready to take on.

Unangst, who has worked in various marketing roles at Microsoft for the past 30 years and helped establish Windows 10 as a gaming platform, will look to broaden the multifaceted brand’s reach as a technology platform by creating greater equity between its desktop application, tech and gaming divisions.

“As a marketer, this is one of the most exciting things about joining Stardock—that Stardock has both a long legacy of building desktop enhancement software as well as a loyal fanbase for their strategy games,” Unangst told AListDaily. “Stardock builds innovative technology and applies that to both productivity and gaming; that’s what I want to capitalize on and build brand equity in moving ahead.”

Unangst said Stardock has led the way in technologies since its founding in the 1990s, but the brand hasn’t generally been able to capitalize on that, noting that the leading digital store today is Steam, not Impulse, which was once owned by Stardock. Unangst noted that the software development and publishing company once had the first-mover advantage when it launched the digital-retail store Impulse in 2008 to compete with Steam, but the service was subsequently sold to GameStop in 2011. His goal now will be to capitalize on such opportunities as they present themselves to Stardock.

“The fact that my role is leading both the global marketing and strategic partnerships for Stardock shows just how inseparable these efforts are in terms of driving future success,” said Unangst.

The capital from the Impulse sale was put into a fund to develop technology and content that Stardock is planning to fully bring to market by 2021. These include Nitrous, created by a company Stardock co-founded called Oxide Interactive, which allows games to smoothly work across a wide range of computer systems. Although the details are confidential, Unangst said that his primary effort will be to broaden Stardock’s brand-and-product reach by aligning with partners, from hardware makers to publishing, that share Stardock’s values and passion for innovation.

Unangst’s first step is to learn from what Stardock has already done and use his experience to see what’s happening in the PC gaming industry to amplify those efforts.

Promotion for Star Control: Origins—a sci-fi action strategy game based on a cult classic PC game from the 1990s—is likely to be one of Unangst’s main starting points. The game, which launched its first beta in November, is being planned for a multiplatform launch for PC, Mac, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. Given the game’s nostalgic roots in the PC gaming space, its planned debut for console systems is a notable move.

Unangst said that in order to stand out in today’s digital marketplace, you need to have a great game and a vocal and active community to drive awareness.

“Being where your customers are with the right strategic partners is critical,” he said. “Anytime you create a new entry in a respected franchise you always have to balance the affinity and nostalgia behind that IP while building something that can appeal to a broader audience. Not to mention the expectations of modern gamers are very different. It’s not easy, but from what I’ve already seen, Brad and the team are going to deliver something very special.”

Patagonia Takes Cause Marketing To Court Level For National Monuments

Patagonia Clothing has announced plans to sue the Trump Administration in defense of two Utah national monuments. The recreational clothing brand has long expressed its interests in protecting the environment and supporting fair trade but has taken a more aggressive political stance in response to executive orders to shrink the borders around Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

“Americans have overwhelmingly spoken out against the Trump Administration’s unprecedented attempt to shut down our national monuments,” Rose Marcario, president and CEO of Patagonia wrote on the company website. “The Administration’s unlawful actions betray our shared responsibility to protect iconic places for future generations and represent the largest elimination of protected land in American history. We’ve fought to protect these places since we were founded and now we’ll continue that fight in the courts.”

Patagonia has adopted the slogan, “The President Stole Your Land” on its website and across social media to garner support.

The President’s executive orders reduce the borders around Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah. Those who support the orders claim that placing control back into the hands of the State instead of the Federal Government will allow local officials to better decide how to protect and manage it. Those who oppose claim that the orders steal land revered by Native Americans and place these locations at risk for destructive private enterprises like logging and fracking.

An increasing number of brands have taken a political stance following the 2016 election of President Donald Trump. Taking a stance one way or the other risks alienating consumers, leading to boycotts and loss of sales.

According to Edelman’s 2017 Earned Brand Survey, 57 percent of consumers across the world will either buy or boycott a brand based on its position on social and political issues. A consumer study fielded by SSRS found that 58 percent dislike when brands get political and are more likely to avoid brands that take a position contrary to their beliefs.

On the other hand, 79 percent of Gen Z consumers said they would engage with a brand that could help them make a difference in the world, according to a recent study by Saatchi New York.

In the case of Patagonia, environmental activism is as much of its brand message as selling parkas. In response to its posts on social media, user comments have ranged from praising the brand to arguments about the truth in Patagonia’s statements.

Fellow recreational clothing brand REI has also expressed its concern over the executive orders, albeit in a bipartisan statement.

“Despite the loss of millions of acres of protected lands this week, REI will continue to advocate for the places we all love,” the company wrote in a statement. “REI will not retreat from our strong belief that there is common ground in the outdoors. We will continue to pursue bipartisan support to protect public lands and prevent death by a thousand cuts. REI members can be assured that we will honor our shared passion for our public lands, dedicating time and resources to leaving them healthier for future generations.”

REI is trying to take a safer route that supports the protection of public lands without alienating consumers. The brand is asking those on social media to replace their profile pictures with a “We [Heart} Our Public Lands” slogan. As with Patagonia, however, the resulting comments have been positive and negative alike.

YouTube’s Brand Safety Team Expansion Marks Shift From Automation

As part of the Alphabet-Facebook advertising duopoly, YouTube’s heavy reliance on algorithmic suggestions and policing have drawn both high-spending advertisers and creators seeking to game the system without actually producing quality content. In response to “bad actors” jeopardizing brand safety on its platform, YouTube is making sweeping changes to its content-review team.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced Monday that they will enlist 10,000 employees to moderate and review policy-violating content on YouTube, ensuring that that video platform will have stricter criteria on the channels that can earn from ads. It marks a shift from a mostly automated system that was previously in place.

“We are planning to apply stricter criteria and conduct more manual curation, while also significantly ramping up our team of ad reviewers to ensure ads are only running where they should,” Wojcicki said. “We want to give creators confidence that their revenue won’t be harmed by bad actors while giving advertisers assurances that their ads are running alongside content that reflects their brand’s values.”

Wojcicki announced plans to also expand the network of academics, experts and industry groups YouTube consults in making its policy decisions, but did not give any further details.

YouTube has been on the hot seat for its monetization and advertising practices for months now, doing its best to balance corporate concerns about brand safety with creator concerns about revenue stability. Up until now, however, the video platform heavily favored the former, leading to confusing and seemingly arbitrary demonetization of innocuous content by gung-ho bots.

Despite the expansion of Google’s human team to hunt bad actors, Wojcicki affirmed the company’s commitment to relying on machine learning to handle the bulk of its content reviewing. According to YouTube’s internal metrics, its algorithms have flagged and removed 98 percent of violent extremism videos, 70 percent of which were flagged and removed within eight hours of being uploaded. In the future, the company will expand its algorithmic flagging to other areas, including child safety and hate speech.

“As challenges to our platform evolve and change, our enforcement methods must and will evolve to respond to them,” Wojcicki said.

Since YouTube is the top-rated platform for video ad viewability and Alphabet is the world’s largest advertiser, brands and marketers have little choice other than to wait and see when Wojcicki’s words will begin to hold serious weight.

Patrón’s Voice Marketing Strategy Is To Cohabitate With Consumers

Patrón became the first spirits brand to take a shot at voice marketing last year by debuting a Cocktail Lab on the Amazon Alexa platform.

For the tequila maker, the innovation wasn’t necessarily made to feed the bottom line, but to be a marketing vehicle to better cohabitate with consumers—all while digitally serving over 150 cocktail recipes.

In an interview with AListDaily, Lee Applbaum, Patrón’s global chief marketing officer, said the Cocktail Lab activation isn’t an above-the-line, traditional play but more of an obligation to invest in tech no matter the ROI it generates because that’s how consumers are increasingly interacting with brands today.

It’s all part of the technology-and-tequila-infused, long-marketing game Applbaum and the brand he oversees is playing. In the past, Patrón has used virtual reality to take users to their private distillery in Jalisco, Mexico, experimented with augmented reality by releasing an ARKit app for the iPhone and iPad, debuted a chatbot-tender on Twitter as well as partnered with director Guillermo del Toro for video shorts.

After Patrón’s first pour in the space, alcohol brands like Johnnie Walker and Jim Beam have dedicated budgets to voice marketing and jumped into the AI-driven conversation, somewhat hinting at a paradigm shift across the core foursome of voice-controlled digital assistants in Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa (with Echo devices now sold at Whole Foods).

Adoption for voice-enabled smart speakers—and by default, it serving as a gateway to tech-enhanced shopping—is seemingly around the corner. According to Edison Research, 40 percent of smart-speaker owners reported that the device had a major impact on their lives and 42 percent claimed to have purchased multiple. Juniper Research reports that by 2022, 55 percent of American households will have smart devices.

AListDaily caught up with Applbaum to see how voice fits into Patrón’s overall marketing strategy and why it completes the lifecycle for the stories they’re trying to tell as a brand.

How did you design your voice marketing strategy? What’s Patrón’s end game in the space?

The Cocktail Lab wasn’t done for marketing’s sake. It wasn’t done to generate earned media or to be clever. Like all of our investments in technology and innovation, voice activation and control through Cocktail Lab was done as a means to an end, rather than an end in and of itself. By that, I mean technology isn’t necessarily a part of a tequila distillery’s arena. We’re not a Silicon Valley player. We don’t have the need to showcase tech in the same way that other brands do. The decision to leverage Amazon Echo and Alexa was really driven by consumer trends and consumer need.

We talk a lot about cohabitating with our consumers. The way that we better serve them as a brand [by ensuring we’re] as conveniently accessible as possible. Whether it’s at a bar, restaurant or spirits store, that access directly comes through the purchase of the product. Either before they make that purchase decision, or after the purchase decision, we’re thinking a lot about how can consumers engage with our brand.

In the case of Cocktail Lab, we want to leverage a cocktail-selection, recipe-development tool in a way that brings balance to their lives. We don’t expect them to change the trajectory of their life because of Patrón. Whether it’s Siri, Amazon Echo or Cortana, that is how consumers are increasingly engaging with content and getting information. It’s sort of a requirement for us to cohabitate with consumers and make accessibility of content done in a way that is balanced.

How have you been measuring the effectiveness and success of your voice activation?

The beauty of the digital ecosystem is the ability to track hard metrics. You can look at engagements and usage—whether or not those engagements generate a direct positive ROI is very difficult to measure, to be candid with you. But as with everything with Patrón, we’re always playing the long game. When you think about this platform investment, it’s not some ephemeral marketing ploy that you expect to hit and move on.

For Patrón, Echo, Siri and the like are at the forefront. It’s not going to be a flash in the pan. It’s going to be the way that we engage with technology. We’re a little less predictable on the platform than others. ROI may ultimately be important because we still need to sell tequila, but the fact is that we have an obligation to invest in these technologies no matter the ROI it generates because that’s how our consumers increasingly interact with brands.

That’s not a way of talking around saying, “it’s lackluster.” The fact of the matter is that in over the last year, it exceeded our expectations in every way and dimension. That would include hard engagement numbers, which we obviously don’t share the specifics of. We’re not naïve in terms of the value that we also get from the incredible PR and support Amazon offered us. To have a high-profile brand like Patrón with voice-activated marketing, it’s as much a win for us as it is for Amazon. They’ve done a really nice job of showcasing us. I am confident that in the near term we achieved our goals and objectives, and in the long term, this isn’t something we’re just going to do and then move on. As voice itself evolves, along with the technology platform evolution, we will evolve with it because this isn’t just a nifty gimmick. The thought of interacting with voice is something that will become part of our everyday lives.

What are the KPIs you’re attaching to voice-based marketing and Patron Alexa Cocktail Lab?

It’s very difficult to track all the way back to sales. We have partners like Reserve Bar, who do online spirits sales, where you can track it back, but at the scale of which we operate, trying to derive a legitimate ROI at the bottle or drink sales level is virtually impossible. What we look at is consumer engagements—how many consumers are actually using the Alexa tool, the cocktails they’re searching for, how much time they’re spending searching for them.

When you think about the “r” in ROI, “return” has to ultimately be a financial one, which is a bit trickier to get at. But there are a lot of returns in terms rich data that is exciting and insightful. There are nice little earned-media outcomes from conversations that reflect on the spirit of innovation for our company.

We’re monitoring trends like: are consumers asking for spicy, sweet, sour or classic cocktails? What time of day are they engaging with the platform? Are they doing it at 5 o’clock? Or are they interacting in the morning—not when they’re drinking, necessarily, but when they’re thinking about the kinds of ingredients that they may need to purchase later in the day. The richness of the data is invaluable and it’s real-time data, which better informs the way we can market to consumers outside of the voice ecosystem. We can then think about how this might affect other digital assets and the content with which we communicate with consumers.

Do you strongly believe there is a future in voice marketing?

The nuances and frustrations with voice that we have today are almost laughable. There are people a lot smarter than me working on this sort of stuff to become much more natural, obviously supplanting all of this with AI. Clearly, it’s still nascent. There’s no question in my mind that when done right, voice makes everything easier. I think it’s unquestionable that it’s here to stay. It’s going to get exponentially better and faster. The fat fingers will go away, and we can have a natural conversation with whatever platform it is.

I think in the case of culinary mixology, there’s also a practical purpose. If I’m dealing with limes and salt and cutting and cooking things, it makes things easier. It’s something that every household will have in their hands. We’re a ubiquitous brand, and this is a ubiquitous technology. Even if it is a bit nascent, we need to be in it. We don’t want to be last to the game. We want to use this time, along with our technology partners, to figure it out.

How are you handling data and security concerns?

I’m not perhaps as alarmed about it as maybe others are. We do everything possible to protect our user data, and one would argue that knowing that you like a spicy jalapeno margarita is probably a little less risky than, say, knowing your pin code, your social security number or your blood type. We count on our technology partners to invest in the systems that protect user data. We don’t sell it, we don’t share it, we don’t syndicate it—ever. We’re not taking it lightly that you’re sharing your preferences with us. We’re going to be very, very careful about protecting that privacy.

The truth is that real, rich data resides with Apple and Amazon. I don’t think we naively trust them, but we do partner with those who have established networks of trust. Nothing is foolproof, and any time that you make a decision to be an innovator, you risk yourself to some potential degree of exposure.

Why is tech innovation for your tequila brand important?

To be quite candid, in general, the spirits industry isn’t generally the most innovative with technology. It’s why I’m so proud of the work that my team does because we really are leaders in that regard. We’re all constrained for time and are finding ways to effectively multitask. Innovation just opens another window for us to get something done a little bit easier.

There are brands who innovate as gimmicks and marketing ploys, and there’s nothing wrong with that—I’m not against a clever marketing play. But you really have to go back to the ethos of your brand. Ours is about cohabitating with our consumer and making Patrón spirits as accessible as possible, and voice brings that accessibility one step closer.

Fingerprint Connects Kids And Parents With ‘Edutainment’ Content

Nancy Macintyre, co-founder and CEO of Fingerprint

With millions of apps available, the mobile market has become an extremely crowded space, making discovery for new apps a major problem. This issue may be even more challenging for child-oriented apps geared towards education or entertainment because they have to reach two audiences: the children who play the apps and the parents who oftentimes approve and download them.

One way to get around over-saturated app stores is by taking content to secondary means such as Fingerprint, which is a subscription service focused on distributing games, books and videos to kids through its mobile platform and gives brands an opportunity to reach new audiences outside the app-store environment.

“There comes a moment of truth during the trial period of a subscription product where a parent asks, ‘are you still playing with it?’, ‘do you like it?’ or ‘what are you learning?’” Fingerprint co-founder and CEO Nancy Macintyre told AListDaily. “If the child answers positively, the parent subscribes; and as long as we pass that monthly moment of truth, the customer stays a customer. As marketers, we need to distinguish our value proposition to the parent, but then keep the child happily engaged to earn a subscriber.”

Fingerprint has content-licensing partnerships with over 300 brands, including Lionsgate, Mattel, Sesame Street and DreamWorks Studios, offering curated content to children ages three-through-eight. By being shown on a subscription service, education and entertainment apps have a better chance of reaching young audiences and apps aren’t competing with thousands of other applications to get to the audience.

Macintyre said that by having a curated library, content becomes more easily discoverable by children, stating that its users download over 20 apps per month, play over 90 minutes each day and spend about 75 percent of that time playing apps and the rest watching videos.

“An educational app needs to be just as entertaining as any game or book,” said Macintyre. “The play needs to keep the child excited about playing it over and over again.”

Macintyre said that Fingerprint appeals to parents by emphasizing safety and privacy. That means children can’t access content their parents may deem inappropriate, and apps on the platform don’t have ads or in-app purchases. They promote that value to parents—in particular to moms—distinguishing between the player and the payer.

For parents, they also market with messaging that indicates Fingerprint saves time by finding content through a curated service instead of browsing an app store. Once Fingerprint determines that an app meets its standards—both from a learning and educational perspective—the service then focuses on merchandising the app so that kids discover it, and play it.

Fingerprint also helps brands evaluate their apps to ensure kids find them engaging. According to Macintyre, that means analyzing the play data to recommending changes to the user experience and amping up the fun factor.

Although Macintyre admits that most children discover new content on YouTube before looking for related apps, she remains hopeful that more mobile apps will find ways to build massive audiences, the way Rovio did with Angry Birds. In the meantime, as fewer families are discovering content through television, learning apps must rely heavily on social media to gain awareness.

“Facebook in particular is the most powerful marketing channel for learning apps,” said Macintyre. “The ability to carefully target the consumer and share a range of high-value video or carousel ad units that truly explain the product features works well. Word-of-mouth from parent-to-parent is super important.”

When it comes to subscription services, Macintyre affirms that content is still king. Parents and children are always on the lookout for brands that they trust. Almost all of the partnered brands have their apps available for free outside of the service, but Macintyre said that their odds for discovery increase when they’re shown alongside other content on a curated service because of what she describes as the “Netflix effect.”

“Proximity to well-known apps and premium brands tends to lift exposure for all titles,” said Macintyre.

The family decision to subscribe to a service ultimately comes down to the parents and their goals for their children’s education. Engaging apps that inspire a love of learning helps inform that decision, and parents tend to take their cues from their kids.

Safety In Focus As Facebook Unveils Messenger For Kids App

After releasing a tepid set of advertising principles and announcing a $50 million donation fund, Facebook continues to build public trust in the face of its growing crisis of confidence.

Latest up is Facebook Messenger Kids, an all-new product that the social media platform claims will help parents keep children under the age of 13 safe online—and not just another way to garner more early adopters.

Loren Cheng, Facebook’s product management director, said Messenger Kids is a standalone app “that makes it easier for kids to safely video chat and message with family and friends when they can’t be together in person.” The app will work the same way as Facebook Messenger and is currently only available in the United States and on iOS. It will be released on Amazon and Google devices in the coming months.

“Today, parents are increasingly allowing their children to use tablets and smartphones, but often have questions and concerns about how their kids use them and which apps are appropriate,” Cheng said in the announcement made Monday. “Messenger Kids opens up a new world of online communication to families.”

Messenger Kids needs to be linked to an existing Facebook account, presumably one belonging to the parents, and the administrating account has to approve any added contact before the Messenger Kids user can speak to them. Messenger Kids does not include any ads or in-app purchases, meaning that parents needn’t worry about mysterious credit card bills and marketers needn’t worry about accusations about targeting messages to children. The app is also Children’s Online and Protection Act compliant, which is less of a feature as it is a legal requirement.

Despite the lack of in-app advertising or monetization options, Messenger Kids is still a powerful marketing tool. Facebook is selling itself, offering, in essence, a demo of the real deal to children that its terms and conditions bars it from interacting with. If popularly used, Messenger Kids will build a stable of early adopters for Messenger itself, stealing market share from the more-popular-among-youths Snapchat before it even has the chance, legally, to reach out to them.