Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks Banking On Esports To Reach New Fans

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks

Entrepreneur, investor and Shark Tank TV show personality Mark Cuban is gearing up his NBA team, the Dallas Mavericks, for marketing to the millennial and Gen Z audiences that esports attracts.

The team has partnered with the Kingston Technology’s HyperX gaming division, which is sponsoring its NBA 2K esports team by being the official headset brand. The two companies kicked off their new partnership by celebrating Star Wars Night together on Dec. 2 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas while promoting the gaming brand’s headsets.

“Great products are great products,” Cuban told AListDaily. “I used them in a tournament and now my son and I use them at home. As Mavs fans are exposed to the brand and see our gamers and players use them, it will without question translate to sales.”

Next year, the NBA and Take Two Interactive will launch the NBA 2K League, which will allow amateur gamers to compete virtually as part of each participating NBA team’s esports roster. Basketball video game NBA 2K18 will be the centerpiece, with open tryouts for that new league scheduled for spring 2018.

“Make it fun; make it engaging,” Cuban said. “We can have a lot of fun with the HyperX brand both on court and with our 2K players, so fans can see our influencers using the headphones. We will be creating videos using our 2K players and Mavs.”

Cuban sees the NBA 2K League as an opportunity to attract a new millennial and Gen Z audiences to the real sport of basketball in addition to the NBA and Mavericks brands.

“How kids are introduced to sports is changing,” Cuban explained. “In the past, families gathered in front of the TV to watch their teams. That led to affinity for the home team or a team someone in your family loved. These days, if the family gathers, the kids have a device in their hand and their heads down.”

Cuban said the Mavs are pushing pricing lower and lower for tickets to make it family affordable. Such a move is easier make, as the Mavericks are in the midst of rebuilding the roster.

“Getting kids and families to a game are the best way to make them love the Mavs,” Cuban said. “Next on the list is getting them to play 2K. Kids who play know every player on the roster grow attachments to the players. Listen to kids talk 2K and they talk about who they play as. That’s why it’s important.”

While a growing number of traditional sports owners and ownership groups, including NBA teams like the Sixers, Heat, Kings, Cavaliers, Warriors and Rockets, are getting involved with popular esports games such as Overwatch, CS:GO and League of Legends, Cuban has strategically steered clear of these opportunities. He is still watching to see how the Overwatch League and the franchising of League of Legends in North America plays out next year.

“I chose not to get involved in those leagues,” Cuban said. “They are more global, but still trying to find their way and define their structure here in the US. With 2K, if we can figure out how to make matches exciting to watch in person and streamed, and build personalities that players and fans follow closely, we have a shot to be the dominant esport in the US.”

Having invested in companies such as esports betting start-up Unikrn, esports data company Sportradar and virtual reality accessory maker Virtuix, Cuban is strategically betting on the growth of competitive gaming. Last year, Cuban and company also mashed up the Mavericks fan experience with Minecraft, letting fans experience a scale model of the American Airlines Center

“Building the pipes, picks and shovels—products like HyperX, Unikrn, Sportradar, Virtuix and others—has [a] huge upside regardless of which esport is dominant,” Cuban said. “If the 2K league can become big enough with large enough prizes, the rewards will make competitions around the world more compelling, which will drive new fans.”

Cuban added that HyperX brings an abundance of experience to the gaming community, which will help the company serve as a valuable partner both on and off the court during esports tournaments and events.



Dustin Illingworth, HyperX influencer marketing manager, told AlistDaily that the partnership with the Mavericks gives the technology company “highly visible branding opportunities,” including a 30-second commercial at every home game, as well as table and stanchion signage, six activation nights on the concourse, and six giveaway nights wherein every person seated in a lucky row gets a Cloud Alpha.

“We have to speak to a different kind of gamer with NBA 2K League,” Illingworth said. “The language and expectations of a casual gamer couldn’t be more different than the hardcore League or CS:GO player. We have to find ways to create compelling messaging for the casual player, and continue to be evangelists for incredible sound and comfort even if the play sessions are shorter and less intense.”

The NBA 2K League will focus on establishing new esports stars by using the game’s MyPlayer feature, which opens up an aspirational element for the competitive league by allowing gamers to try out for clubs and then establish their own esports personalities alongside their teammates.

“It creates a really compelling narrative angle for us in that we’ll be able to speak to the casual gamer, while also celebrating the world of esports that we live and breathe every day at HyperX,” Illingworth said. “It’s the best of both worlds, and ideally we’ll be able to craft messaging, content and activations that appeal to both groups.”

‘Doom VFR’ Honors Franchise History Of Trendsetting

Like its very first incarnation in 1993, Doom VFR is exploring new gameplay controls that may define future standards in the medium. After a successful launch of the Doom reboot last year, fans are able to step into the bloody shooter for the first time in virtual reality, but with a new adventure built from the ground up.

Doom VFR has users battling their way through a demon-infested space station—a concept near and dear to the heart of the 24-year-old franchise. One thing hasn’t changed in the franchise, and that’s its brutality. This game’s title is a piece of marketing on its own. Hint: the “F” doesn’t stand for “fudge-ing.”

SuperData Research predicts digital sales of Doom VFR to reach 500,000 by the end of the year. Over 100,000 digital copies alone were pre-orders. While the game may not have a huge impact on VR adoption this year, it helps “legimitize VR for those who aren’t sure if it’s a viable medium,” SuperData VP of research and strategy Stephanie Llamas told AListDaily.

It’s a big year for the infamous demon-slaying franchise, with a release of last year’s Doom on the Nintendo Switch and Doom VFR for PlayStation VR (PSVR) and HTC Vive. It seems rather fitting that Doom takes its place in the VR future of video games, considering the fact that it shaped so much of what the industry is today.

Dawn of Doom

Doom developer id Software may not have invented the first-person shooter, but Wolfenstein gave birth to a genre that took—and continues to take—the world by storm. When Doom was released in 1993, it improved on Wolfenstein‘s use of graphics and level design. The use of realistic 3D graphics was so new that many referred to it as VR.

“Back then, VR was trying to happen,” Doom designer John Romero wrote on Twitter. “[Wolfenstein 3D] was also called virtual reality when it came out.”

Id Software’s run-and-gun demon shooter became an obsession for computer users everywhere. As other developers tried to capture the same enthusiasm from consumers, “Doom clones” became what we now recognize as first-person shooters—the same way that Playerunkown’s Battlegrounds has inspired a surge of battle royale titles.

Doom was groundbreaking in helping define the first-person shooter (FPS) genre, as well as opening the door to more aesthetic freedom in games,” said Llamas. “Not only does its legacy persist in the camera perspectives, movements and mechanics of today’s FPS games, it made it OK for players and developers alike to enjoy gore and violence in video games. Its influence remains so far-reaching that last year, after being on the market less than seven months, it earned over $130M in digital revenue across console and PC.”

In Doom VFR, 13 classic levels can be unlocked—with the new gameplay controls—for old time’s sake.

Summoning Doom VFR

“When you make a game like Doom, you spend so much time playing it, and I know a lot of fans have spent a lot of time playing it,” Doom game director Marty Stratton explained at Bethesda’s 2017 E3 event, BE3. “To be able to step into the world is the most exciting part VR.”

In Doom, constant movement is the key to survival—but dashing about in VR may result in spraying more player vomit than demon blood. The solution comes baked into the premise of Doom VFR—as Doctor Peters, a recently deceased scientist, players are able to transfer their consciousness into an artificial brain matrix. Players can now strategically teleport wherever they need to go.

Unlike the unnamed protagonist of the franchise—lovingly referred to by fans as “Doom Marine,” “Doom Slayer” or “Doomguy”—in Doom VFR, Doctor Peters can hack computers, pick locks and transfer his consciousness to the body of a cybernetic soldier.

Players can still run and gun, but also take advantage of the interactive elements that VR has to offer. Teleportation allows swift movement without inducing motion sickness.

“We’re really architecting the gameplay to take advantage of VR,” said chief technology officer Robert Duffy at BE3. “It’s every bit as fast. It’s just a different type of movement.”

Bethesda, which also publishes Skyrim VR and Fallout 4 VR, has slowly built the hype for its virtual roster of franchise favorites beginning with E3. In addition to Doom VFR‘s announcement, fans were treated to a Doom-themed section of Bethesdaland—a theme park set up outside the LA Convention Center.

At QuakeCon in August, fans could don a headset and try Doom VFR for themselves. Since then, PlayStation Underground and Bethesda have hosted livestreams to show viewers the game while offering giveaways and behind the scenes information.

Marketing for Doom VFR has been rather light compared to its 2016 predecessor, as most campaigns have focused on Doom‘s release for Nintendo Switch. PlayStation, however, is betting on the game’s success so much that it has unveiled a new PSVR bundle and “Feel Them All” spot that includes the game.

First Look, Rodan + Fields, Edible Arrangements, Transamerica Change Up Marketing C-Suite

Elisabeth Charles has joined Rodan + Fields as its latest chief marketing officer.

“Elisabeth’s strong track record as a marketer and strategic business leader make her a terrific addition to our leadership team,” says Diane Dietz, CEO of Rodan + Fields. “Her breadth of experience building successful global brands will propel Rodan + Fields forward during our next phase of growth as we strive to be the number one skincare brand in each market we serve.”

Prior to signing on with the skincare company, Charles worked as senior vice president and general manager at Old Navy, and has additionally been CMO at Athleta.

Edible Arrangements has announced a new CMO as well. Kaitlin Reiss has been promoted to the position, up until now serving as vice president of marketing and e-commerce.

“There are not many people that know Edible better than Kaitlin,” said Tariq Farid, Edible Arrangements’ CEO. “She has lived it every day for over a decade and her deep understanding of the brand, as well as her ability to anticipate and respond to emerging industry trends, make her the perfect person for this critical position as we prepare to enter a new phase of growth.”

Transamerica has appointed Frank Sottosanti to the position of chief marketing officer.

“Frank brings a wealth of knowledge and an impressive track record to this role,” said Dave Paulsen, executive vice president and chief distribution officer for Transamerica. “We are looking forward to him providing strategic leadership as CMO by further executing on the innovative and transformational brand and digital platform initiatives that we have in development to enhance our customer, advisor and employer experiences.”

Sottosanti has held senior marketing positions in a variety of industries over the last two decades, including service as CMO at Protective Life since 2012. Previously, he worked at Bank of America, the Coca-Cola Company and Wachovia Bank.

First Look Media has hired Stacey Politi to join the production network as senior vice president of marketing.

“We are at the exact right time to bring in a marketing specialist and Stacey is the exact right person for the role,” Michael Bloom, president of First Look Media told Deadline. “We’re making films, documentaries, TV and digital content with the best creative voices and partners, we’ve launched new consumer brands, and we’re making a big impact with our journalism and non-profit work, which is our hallmark.”

Prior to First Look Media, Politi worked at vice president of marketing at Crackle.

Tim Kendall, president of Pinterest, will be departing the company by the end of the year. Jon Alferness, currently senior vice president of ads and commerce, will take over the role once Kendall steps down.

“Tim has made important contributions to Pinterest and we are pleased that he will continue to serve as an advisor to the company,” a spokesperson wrote as part of a statement provided to Recode.

Blue Apron has appointed Brad Dickerson to the role of CEO, replacing Matt Salzberg, the company’s co-founder, who is stepping down.

“The board and I are confident that Brad is the right person to build on this momentum,” said Salzberg. “He is a seasoned leader with significant experience working with the public markets, operating efficiently at scale, and delivering value to shareholders.”

Dickerson has worked at Blue Apron since early 2016 as chief financial officer, and before that spent 11 years at Under Armour, culminating as CFO.

The New York Times Company has brought on Amber Guild as president for its T Brand marketing solutions division, where she will oversee the Fake Love internal agency as well.

“We’ve been speaking publicly for quite some time about T Brand Studio’s work evolving to be more agency-like and felt it was the right time to bring on an executive with the vision and experience to bring us to the next level,” said Sebastian Tomich, head of The Times Company’s advertising and marketing solutions group.

Before joining The Times Company, Guild served as New York managing director for The Martin Agency, and prior to that was president of the brand consultant agency Collins.

Kevin Roe has joined Fullscreen Media as senior vice president of client services for the company’s branded-content group, a newly created role.

“We’re thrilled to have Kevin as the newest member of our team as our clients recognize the need to reorient priorities from analog to digital, from one-way channels to social platforms and from interruptive advertising to authentic, entertaining content,” Tim Perlstein, Fullscreen’s senior vice president of strategy and insights, told Variety.

Prior to signing on with the Fullscreen team, Roe has worked at Razorfish, Edelman and New Media Strategies.

Fox News Channel has promoted ad sales executives Dominick Rossi, Frank Sorace and Sam Moser. Rossi will become senior vice president of eastern sales, Sorace senior vice president of sales planning and operations and Moser senior vice president of national sales.

“Their innovative insights and strategic partnerships have delivered record revenues for both networks and I am confident their leadership will help maximize our position in the marketplace and enhance our cross-portfolio capabilities,” said Marianne Gambelli, president of ad sales at Fox News Channel.

Rossi has been with Fox for the past decade and Moser for twelve years. Sorace has managed ad sales at Fox News Channel since its inception in 1996.

PetSmart has appointed a new executive vice president of marketing and customer experience in Joshua Kanter.

“Joshua is a highly experienced executive with a proven track record of building successful consumer-facing brands,” said Raymond Svider, executive chairman at PetSmart. “We continue to position the business for success as the leading brick-and-mortar and online company in pet specialty retail, and we are confident Joshua is the right leader to support our unique mission and brand.”

Kanter most recently served at Viking Cruises as senior vice president of marketing strategy, and before that was senior vice president of marketing at Caesars Entertainment.

Chipotle’s founder and CEO Steve Ells has announced plans to step down from the position once the company finds his replacement.

“While we are continuing to make progress, it is clear that we need to move faster to make improvements,” said Ells. “Simply put, we need to execute better to ensure our future success.”

Once the position is filled, Ells will assume the role of executive chairman.

Jeff Wachtel, current chief content officer at NBCUniversal, will leave his post to assume the title of president of NBCUniversal International Studios in London.

“The ability to produce for a local and a global audience is key to the future success of any major production company,” said Kevin MacLellan, chairman of global distrubtion at NBCUniversal. “Jeff is one of the few creative executives in the business who has proven time and again that he can deliver shows that work on both planes.”

Wachtel has been with NBCU for 16 years, first joining as an executive vice president of series and longform programming at USA Network in 2001. No replacement chief content officer has been announced yet.

Groupon has hired Colin Bodell as its chief technology officer.

“As Groupon’s marketplace continues to grow, we’re excited to bring on an engineering leader in Colin who can evolve our platform and help capture the immense opportunity in local,” said Groupon CEO Rich Williams. “Colin’s experience leading global engineering teams, building world-class software and deserved reputation as a strong advocate for diversity in engineering make him a tremendous fit to help lead Groupon’s continued success.”

Bodell has served as chief technology officer at both American Eagle Outfitters and Time, and has also worked as a senior engineer at Amazon.

Molly DeWold Swenson, RYOT co-founder and head of brand, will be departing the company by the end of the year.

“My departure comes at a time when RYOT’s impact and its future have never been more certain,” she told Variety.

Bob Reif has joined Millennial Esports Corp. as president, where he will attempt to forge ties between the esports company and traditional sports brands.

“I see many parallels between the growth of the traditional sports sector and the potential for growth in the emerging esports sector, with Millennial Esports leading the charge,” said Reif. “I’m confident my experience in the sports arena, particularly in the area of racing, will serve Millennial Esports well, and I’m excited to get started.”

Before Millennial, Reif served as executive vice president for the Indiana Motor Speedway and as CMO of the Indy Race League. Additionally, he was CMO of the St. Louis Rams.

Topgolf Entertainment Group has brought on new president Troy Warfield to replace Neil Allen, who is stepping down.

“Whether it’s through one of our venues or a driving range powered by Toptracer Range technology, Troy will advance Topgolf’s vision of being a global sports and entertainment community creating great times for all,” said Topgolf CEO Erik Anderson.

Prior to joining Topgolf, Warfield worked at British Airways as executive director of its management committee and director of customer experience, where he led more than 16,000 employees.

Tumblr CEO David Karp announced his retirement from the company after founding the website almost 11 years ago. Taking his place will be Jeff D’Onofrio, the company’s chief operations officer.

“I beg you to understand that my decision comes after months of reflection on my personal ambitions, and at no cost to my hopefulness for Tumblr’s future or the impact I know it can have,” Karp wrote in an email to Tumblr employees. “The internet is at a crossroads of which this team can play a fundamental role in shaping. You are in the driver seat, and I am so excited to see where you go!”

Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, announced that she will be stepping down from her position. Taking her place will be HPE’s current president, Antonio Neri.

“We have a much smaller, much nimbler, much more focused company,” Whitman said during a call with investors. “I think it is absolutely the right time for Antonio and a new generation of leaders to take the reins.”

Whitman has been with the company for six years, overseeing its bifurcation between its server and printer and PC businesses.

Unilever CEO Paul Polman will be retiring soon, and the company has announced a search for a replacement. Polman has led Unilever since 2009 and said that he does not expect to leave before the end of 2018.

The Golden State Warriors have hired Hunter Leigh as its head of esports, an entirely new role for the NBA franchise. So far, the team owns two esports teams, one for League of Legends and one for NBA 2K.

“I’m eager to hit the ground running as it relates to player acquisitions and building competitive teams for both League of Legends and the NBA 2K League,” Leigh said. “The Warriors have a proven model for championship success, and I am looking to bring their player development and analytical approach to the esports space.”

Before joining the Warriors, Leigh was head of esports operations at Yahoo, and prior to that worked at Riot Games as the North American League of Legends Championship Series product lead.

Mozilla is pushing to expand web-based social virtual reality, announcing a new VR and mixed reality platform team. The team will focus on producing hardware-agnostic tools for social VR.

“Unlike traditional online communication tools like text, voice and video, the promise of mixed reality is that you can be present with other people, much like real life, and engage with them in a more interactive way,” wrote Greg Fodor, Mozilla’s social mixed reality engineering manager. “You can make eye contact, nod your head, high five, dance and even play catch with anyone around the world, regardless of where you are.”

Yum! Brands has announced the appointment of Tanya Domier to its board of directors.

“Tanya’s extensive sales and marketing background, along with her leadership experience successfully running a customer-driven business, make her an excellent addition to the Yum! Brands Board,” said Robert Walter, non-executive chairman of Yum! Brands. “We’re thrilled to have Tanya join us during this exciting and transformative time for our company as we continue to evolve as the restaurant industry’s leading global franchisor.”

Currently, Domier has worked at Advantage Solutions since 2010 and as its CEO since 2013.

John Lasseter, senior creative executive at Pixar Animation, has announced taking a six-month leave of absence from both the studio and Walt Disney Animation.

“I especially want to apologize to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape, or form,” he wrote in an email reported on by The Wall Street Journal.

Helene Xu, SkySea’s vice president of marketing, has been promoted to senior vice president of sales and marketing, where she will be responsible for promoting the cruise line’s business in mainland China and the Asia Pacific region.

“Helene has rich experience in the cruise industry and is one of the earliest cruise management talents in China who has led the market to tremendous growth over the years,” said Ken Muskat, SkySea CEO. “Her promotion further supports SkySea’s commitment to the multi-homeport strategy in 2018 and our goal to further align SkySea’s shoreside sales and marketing teams to execute this strategy with success in the coming year.”

Prior to signing on with SkySea, Xu worked at Wyndham Hotel Group as vice president of marketing for the greater China region, and held the role of marketing director for Costa Cruises prior to that.

Peter Ruppe, Under Armour’s senior vice president of footwear, is departing the company after two years in the position and unchecked slowing of shoe sales. Ryan Drew, general manager for the sportswear company’s basketball division, is slated to serve as Ruppe’s successor.

Before joining Under Armour, Ruppe spent 20 years at Nike.

(Editor’s Note: This post will be updated daily until Friday, December 1. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at

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GDPR Consent Compliance Tools For Marketers Revealed By IAB

In light of the swiftly approaching general data protection regulation (GDPR) compliance deadline on May 25, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has announced new tools to ease the transition and standardize consent forms for data collectors.

The GDPR Consent Mechanism is a new “technical standard” that seeks to aid websites and advertisers in complying with the “affirmative consent” aspect of the new data privacy law in the EU. For those not in the know, the GDPR requires that companies processing European personal information simplify their terms and conditions when collecting user data and state exactly what they plan on using said data for.

Key features include:

  • Works on mobile devices and desktop devices alike
  • Enables dynamic disclosure by first parties of third-party advertising partners and the purposes for which they collect and process data
  • Allows obtaining “global” or “service-specific” affirmative consent, as well as updating consent choices and withdrawing consent
  • Enables the transmission of user consent choices to third-party advertising partners
  • Increases accountability in the advertising ecosystem by enabling the creation of consent records and an audit trail
  • Can be deployed before the date of application of the GDPR

“Advertising is a critical revenue stream for online services of all shapes and sizes, be they news publishers, mobile apps and other online media,” said Townsend Feehan, CEO of IAB Europe. “It is an important step that affected players have come together to develop a robust response to the new legislation.”

The IAB hopes that this new technology will become the industry standard, making obtaining and maintaining user consent records simpler and safer for everyone involved.

Though no information is available on when the technology will be officially released, the organization’s “Advertising Consent” website includes a mailing list for future updates.

Forrester recently predicted four out of every five firms affected by the GDPR will not comply by the time it goes into effect in May, but the IAB’s latest efforts are making the process easier for the companies affected by it.

“Companies relying on the future mechanism will have to adhere to principles and criteria that will be developed in consultation with brands, agencies, websites, publishers and tech companies,” the IAB’s press release reads. “These principles will contribute to greater mutual reassurance and trust between all ecosystem participants.”

Executives Tell Us Which Holiday Marketing Trends To Watch

From our most recent holiday marketing poll, we’ve found that for executive marketers, holiday season is all about capitalizing on gift-giving consumers. Here’s what else they had to say:

We saw an increase from 37 to 51 billion-dollar days last holiday season over a 60-day period in the US. One trend is that mobile is not going away. We’ve historically seen individual days eclipse traffic on mobile over desktop. We’ll see that happen on a regular basis, day-over-day, week-over-week, where desktop traffic will be less than all of mobile traffic—and not just on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Optimizing the mobile space is going to be extremely important. If you don’t have a good mobile strategy, you’re going to have a really hard holiday season.

Another trend we’re seeing in advertising is an increase in visits coming from paid search versus natural. While social is a minority of the traffic, it’s actually the lowest-referred traffic. Over the last two years, there’s been a 100-percent increase in that traffic. It’s growing faster than any other channel. Social is something to keep an eye on. There’s an interesting play going on between paid, natural and display. Display advertising, along with paid search, is seeing a bit of an uptick, and we see some very good performance in the fourth quarter around leveraging retargeting programs. Retargeting and the ability to retarget during the holidays will be very important.

Michael Klein, director of industry strategy for retail, travel and consumer packaged goods at Adobe

As a marketer, the holidays are always a very busy and cluttered time to be focused on. From my perspective, anytime I’ve done anything focused on the holiday season, I rely on being able to go back to the communication that I already started with consumers earlier on in the year. People are obviously much more in the purchasing headspace around the holidays.

It’s always a time for showcasing key product stories, and tell stories around new products coming out—but in a way that remains consistent with the communication and messaging that consumers have become accustomed to seeing. Consistency and ongoing communication are really important, especially if you don’t have the ability to outspend some of the heavy hitters in that  time.

Sarah Bishop, vice president of marketing for Asics

I’m looking forward to seeing the influence of social impact and social good at the end of the year for holiday marketing. I want to see more cause marketing integrated into the mix.

Nathan Tan, associate director of brand partnerships and experiences for Cadillac

We’re predicting a 4-to-5 percent lift in sales for most retailers this holiday season. I think the market is doing quite well. From an overall economic perspective, consumers have money to spend. As the middle class starts to move in different directions, we’re seeing what we call the ‘great bifurcation.’ US retail consumers are sitting right in the middle class—right where most retail brands are. But if you start thinking about where the growth is happening, it’s happening in the lower end. Look at retailers that are serving lower-end and high-end customers. We’re seeing that shift start to happen, and I think that’s going to continue to happen this holiday season.

Retailers will continue to build marketing strategies to attract consumers both to a higher and lower end. Bargain shoppers and the middle class are going to continue to feel the squeeze this holiday season. From a marketing perspective, I think social commerce is going continue to play a big role. Social commerce hasn’t experienced much of a take-off in the past, but it should see a little bit of a lift this year. The regular forms we’re seeing with media is being more integrated with retail. It’s going to see a lot more of a pick-up this holiday season.

Lokesh Ohri, principal at Deloitte emphasizing in omnichannel retail, digital and supply chain strategy

There’s such a focus on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but now that has really expanded. The digital indexes and data that we were looking at previously around those parameters have expanded and become a larger phenomenon. Also, there are a lot of companies that do ‘purchase online, pick up in store.’ It has a big influence at the end of the season, especially for e-commerce sales. Brands sometimes have issues with delivering on that, so there can’t be a misstep over the holiday season.

Drew Burns, principal product marketing manager at Adobe

As a marketer for a premium brand, I actually hate Black Friday and the shopping holiday week after it. It’s slowly melting into one long season. We have a feeling that the hype and wait being created for these magic days for aggressive discounting will start easing off. In the next five years, there will be a generational shift with younger consumers and their buying habits.

Stefanie Reichert, Sennheiser’s director of American trade marketing

You’ll be seeing a big paid push from the premium segments, and we’ll be there touting that message, too. For premium and luxury car manufactures, Q4 is by far the best-selling season, and the year-end holiday marketing and messaging reflects that.

Katie Inderelst, head of Alfa Romeo marketing and communications

Since 1999, we’ve resonated with consumers with our ‘December to Remember’ campaign. The name, the bows, the jingle—it’s all been iconic. We started our marketing the earliest we’ve ever have before this year on Nov. 2—we normally had started mid-November. We finally decided to try it and started at a low-level. We’re going with a big paid push.

But holiday marketing will not begin before Halloween. November and December are huge sales months, so you have to be a part of the conversation. There’s a slight twist on how we represent ourselves during the holidays that I hope feels more appropriate for the season. When the US was coming out of the recession, we changed our messaging, and since, a Lexus vehicle is no longer given as a gift, but it’s celebrated as a family purchase.

Brian Bolain, corporate manager for Lexus product marketing and marketing communications

[Snap is looking at] all of the ways that a user can express themselves, and ways that marketers can join in that ability. Is it AR? Is it filters? Is it content? With all of those things combined, I think this holiday you’re going to see more brands take more chances with their creative and content to have more fun.

Marni Schapiro, director of sales at Snap

Floyd Mayweather Brings Name, Marketing Muscle To Mobile Game ‘Wild Poker’

Daniel Kashmir, Playtrex CEO

Floyd “Money” Mayweather has made nearly $1 billion in career earnings as a pugilist and is fresh off of a decisive beatdown last summer of UFC star Conor McGregor that netted upward of nine figures. But the recently retired 40-year-old boxer is not simply resting on his laurels.

Mayweather is now taking his fame to expand to other business opportunities, specifically as a mobile game personality in the social casino game Wild Poker, the debut mobile title from developer Playtrex.

Mayweather, who has over 40 million followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter alone, will use his social platforms to promote the game—in between sessions of flaunting his lavish lifestyle. Additionally, Mayweather is featured in the game’s promotional videos and has lent his likeness as a playable character in the game.

“For most brands, a single post to Floyd’s Instagram channel or Twitter profile is worth a lot of money because it provides such tremendous exposure, so that is one of the main ways we plan to spread awareness [of the game],” Playtrex CEO Daniel Kashmir told AListDaily.

Kashmir said that Playtrex will continue to leverage Mayweather’s personality and popularity in future marketing campaigns as the company expands past promotion with traditional advertising and marketing channels.

The ex-boxer may have a vested interest in seeing the Hero Digital Entertainment published mobile game succeed. Mayweather will make around six figures and will receive additional cash on the back end based on how well the game does, according to a TMZ report.

Mayweather has a reputation for not being quick to put his name behind any brand. He previously told Fortune during his boxing heyday that his $1 million asking price to simply begin playing ball with brands was deemed too high for most marketers.

The amount of exposure Mayweather brings to the table may be worth the asking price for Kashmir and company, who said Mayweather is involved because he loved Wild Poker after seeing it for the first time.

“Floyd loves gaming [and gambling] in general and he especially loves poker,” said Kashmir. “But there are hundreds if not thousands of poker games for mobile devices, so he wasn’t going to put his name on just any poker game.”

Kashmir said Mayweather was drawn to Wild Poker specifically because it wasn’t a straightforward poker game. In it, Mayweather plays Texas Hold’em alongside animal characters like chimpanzees, giraffes, sharks and dogs and uses special abilities like doubling his winnings—emphasizing Mayweather’s “money” mantra for an additional layer of strategy.

It’s this kind of quirkiness, combined with celebrity endorsements, that helps games like Wild Poker gain awareness in the crowded mobile-gaming market. Playtrex is aiming to make a name for itself by evolving the social casino game scene using varied gameplay.

“The key to standing out in today’s crowded mobile market is to be truly unique and deliver an outstanding product,” said Kashmir. “I know that sounds obvious, but it’s true. To be a hit today, a game has to offer something that no other game offers, and that’s exactly what we’re doing with Wild Poker.”