Bud Light Unveils ‘The Bud Knight’ For Super Bowl LII

Despite declining year-over-year ratings for regular season football games, NBC still expects to earn over $500 million in revenue from brands placing Super Bowl ads with the network. With prices for 30-second spots ranging as high as $5 million, brands have been breaking out their A-game to get their money’s worth.

Bud Light Gives Us The Hero This City Deserves

Bud Light will conclude its “Dilly Dilly” ad trilogy at the Super Bowl, at long last revealing the Bud Knight it teased in ads that aired at the AFC and NFC championship games leading up to the big game.

“Humor and friendship is at the core of what Bud Light and beer drinking is all about – and that’s why ‘Dilly Dilly’ has been such a great success. Bringing ‘Dilly Dilly’ to the Super Bowl – one of the biggest nights for friends and family – was a no-brainer,” said Andy Goeler, vice president of marketing for Bud Light.

Though the 60-second spot marks the end of the beer brand’s official trilogy, Bud Light promises further entries to the Dilly Dilly cinematic universe in 2018.

Toyota Promises Three Super Bowl Spots

Going for a broad approach, Toyota has announced that it will air video ads from two different campaigns during Super Bowl LII, including two spots from its first-ever global campaign, “Start Your Impossible.”

The new campaign will highlight Toyota’s efforts to reposition itself as a “mobility company,” pointing to the company’s programs to support diversity and the disabled.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity for our team at Toyota to share messages of unity, friendship, diversity and perseverance,” saids Ed Laukes, group vice president of marketing for Toyota Motor North America. “With the Super Bowl and the Olympics just days apart on NBC, we’re excited to join fans’ enthusiasm for these two world-class events and connect with them by sharing meaningful and inspiring TV spots.”

Budweiser Celebrates Its Charitable Causes

To highlight its employees’ participation in its three-decade-old disaster relief program, Anheuser-Busch’s Super Bowl ad will tell the story of its factories that have pivoted to produce canned water for communities in need.

“Anheuser-Busch has a long history of giving back and not only are we continuing to support in the short-term but we also want to use our upcoming 30th anniversary of the emergency water program to announce our long-term commitment for natural disaster relief,” said Bill Bradley, vice president of community affairs at Anheuser-Busch.

In addition to celebrating its existing efforts, the company announced that it will add a second brewery to the program this year, doubling the company’s production of canned water in emergencies.

E*Trade Wants You To Retire Already

Financial services provider E*Trade is tangentially weighing in on the prevalence of precarious labor, encouraging people to start saving for retirement as early as possible.

“The campaign aims to shine a light on the growing financial challenge future retirees may face, while encouraging investors to start saving for retirement,” said Lea Stendahl, for E*Trade CMO. “We’re leveraging E*Trade’s irreverence and humor to show in a more relatable way that at E*Trade, consumers have access to the resources and tools they need to help get on track.”

In addition to cracking jokes about the elderly in the workforce, E*Trade’s spot hopes to educate football watchers on several statistics, such as that one in three Americans hasn’t saved for retirement at all, and that nine out of ten people who have worry that they haven’t saved enough.

Avocamojis From Mexico (Starring Chris Elliot)

(Update: 1/31/18): Avocados From Mexico has released its Super Bowl ad, telling the story of a Utopian guacamole-based society almost undone by the lack of chips. The company has also launched a 360-degree digital experience site, Guacworld.com.

Every millennial’s favorite fruit is appearing at the Super Bowl for the fourth year running, and Avocados From Mexico has released a 30-second teaser for its big game ad, starring Chris Elliot, “Big Time Hollywood Actor,” urging the depressed and downtrodden to spread avocados on everything.

This year it’s going beyond just a 30-second spot, however. Promising to highlight the versatility of the humble avocado, Avocados From Mexico is partnering with Inmoji to create clickable avocado emojis that opens to a branded, sharable selfie filter.

“This year, we are excited to further build on that momentum with another integrated campaign that reminds consumers that avocados are a highly versatile and great tasting fruit, perfect both inside and outside the bowl – from sandwiches to burritos to wraps and salads,” said Alvaro Luque, president of Avocados From Mexico.

The interactive avocado emojis will tie into a larger “GuacWorld” digital campaign, which Avocados From Mexico promises will launch in the coming weeks.

Amazon Teases An Alexa Crisis, Starring Jeff Bezos (And Gordon Ramsey And Cardi B And Anthony Hopkins And…)

(Update: 1/31/18): The full Super Bowl spot is now available, featuring a group of celebrities providing temporary voice support during Alexa’s voicelessness. At the end, Alexa thanks them for their service, meaning that the ad probably isn’t announcing anything besides the fact that Amazon has an obscene amount of money to spend on a 90-second video.

Amazon has released a teaser for its Super Bowl ad, which establishes an international crisis of Alexa, the voice of the Echo, losing her voice. No details are yet available on what the ad itself will contain, but the teaser ends with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos assenting to an emergency replacement, hinting at a celebrity appearance and possibly even a tie-in for their existing smart speakers.

Universal Parks Hires Peyton Manning As Vacation Coach

Promoting its Orlando and Hollywood resorts, Universal Parks is bringing on a celebrity voice that football fans will recognize: Peyton Manning.

Kraft Recognizes The Pressure On Parents To Be Perfect

(Update: 1/31/18): Kraft is now taking submissions for families to star in its “Family Greatly” spot, giving families the chance to see themselves on TV during the game.

In continuation of its Family Greatly campaign, which depicts the struggles of parenting as well as its successes, Kraft has announced that its Super Bowl ad will address the same issues. The company has never bought any Super Bowl ads before this year, and says that its Family Greatly message is one that more parents need to hear.

“The majority of parents today say they feel pressure to be perfect. But what if there was something better than being perfect?” the brand said in a statement. “Kraft believes there’s no perfect way to family and wants parents to take comfort in knowing that as long as you’re doing it with love and conviction, you ‘family greatly.’”

Lexus, Hyundai Promise Big-Budget Surprises

(Update: 1/30/18): Hyundai has revealed further details on its big game campaign, sharing that the millions it promised to surprise will be the professionals working to treat and cure pediatric cancer.

“Last year we honored military heroes who help make events like the Super Bowl possible. This year we’ll celebrate heroes who help in finding a cure for pediatric cancer,” said Dean Evans, CMO, Hyundai Motor America.

Though both car companies have remained tight-lipped about the specific details of their Super Bowl LII campaigns, Lexus and Hyundai have shared the general themes of their spots.

Lexus plans to tie in the fifth generation of its LS sedan in with Marvel’s February blockbuster Black Panther in its Super Bowl spot, a continuation of its ongoing strategy to better reach millennials.

Hyundai will likewise continue an existing theme for its big game spot, teasing its Super Bowl campaign as a higher-stakes version of its ad last year, which virtually reunited three soldiers with their family members at the game. However, where that activation only surprised three families, Hyundai promises to “surprise millions.”

Jack In The Box Beefs With Martha Stewart Over Chicken

Jack in the Box has released its Super Bowl ad, revealing its new food-truck inspired series of sandwiches and declaring a Twitter war against the food personality to see who can produce a better bánh mì sandwich.

Michelob Ultra Humanizes Chris Pratt’s Abs

In Chris Pratt’s first-ever ad appearance, the actor will point out that some beer, specifically Michelob Ultra, isn’t incompatible with staying in shape.

“The Super Bowl is a huge stage, and we are really excited to partner with Chris Pratt, whose dynamic personality and passion for fitness embody the spirit of our brand so perfectly,” said Azania Andrews, vice president for Michelob Ultra. ” “When it comes down to working out or enjoying a beer with friends, Michelob ULTRA wants people to know that you don’t have to choose between one or the other.”

The star is a somewhat ironic choice for the ad, since his character on the long-running show Parks And Recreation credited the actor’s sudden weight loss for his role in Guardians of the Galaxy on cutting beer out of his diet.

Stella Artois Pairs Nicely With Water.org

As part of the Anheuser-Busch brand family, Stella Artois enjoys a category monopoly for Super Bowl ads, allowing the beer import to experiment with the sort of cause marketing messages that worked so well for Audi last year.

Stella Artois has decided to partner with Water.org and Matt Damon to provide water for those lacking access to it in the developing world for every beer purchased by consumers in 2018.

“We’re excited to bring this global issue to a stage as big as the Super Bowl this year,” said Harry Lewis, vice president if Stella Artois. “I feel very privileged to work on a campaign that will help build a better world for millions of people; doing well by doing good is an incredible feeling, which is why I’m so passionate about our partnership with Water.org.”

Groupon Angles For Small Businesses

Coupon-purchasing app Groupon has elected to focus its big game on the social benefits of using their platform. Girls Trip star and Groupon user Tiffany Haddish leads the ad, which asks the question: “what kind of person wouldn’t want to support local businesses?” and establishes Groupon as the main way to do so.

“We have a very funny concept that combines Tiffany’s trademark sense of humor along with her authentic enthusiasm for Groupon,” said Groupon’s CMO, Vinayak Hegde. “She was a natural at conveying our passion for building amazing communities through successful small businesses, and she’s a great fit for the big stage that is the Super Bowl.”

Visit Australia For Its Scenic Movie Hoaxes

After a pair of teasers for a sequel to Crocodile Dundee starring Danny McBride and Chris Hemsworth were surfaced by People magazine, leaving publications to speculate how a feature film starring such big names managed to slip under the radar.

As it turns out, it’s because the feature film never existed. Reporting by Brisbane Times revealed that the movie is actually a hoax perpetrated by Tourism Australia as a lead-up to the organization’s first-ever Super Bowl spot.

Ally Financial: Enemy Of First-Screen Ads

Rather than buy TV advertising space, Ally Financial is electing to steal attention from other advertisers. With The Ally Big Save augmented-reality game, football viewers can collect virtual dollar bills on their phones during commercial breaks. High-scoring players will win a cash prize “to help them reach their identified savings goal.”

“On a day and stage where America is being flooded with messaging to spend big, Ally wants to inspire consumers to focus on saving for something bigger,” said Andrea Brimmer, Ally’s chief marketing and public relations officer.

Febreze Creates A Superhero

Febreze has pre-released its Super Bowl spot, telling the 30-second story of “the only man in the world whose bleep don’t stink.”

Natural Light Offers (Some) Student Loan Forgiveness

Tapping into its primary consumer base, budget beer brand Natural Light is hosting a contest, offering up to 25 current and former college students $40,000 apiece to pay down their student loan debts.

Contest entrants must post a video on social media about what inspired them to go to college including a special green beer tab, essentially outsourcing social engagement with a crippling-debt-relief lottery.

Pizza Hut Promises Record-Breaking Pizza

In lieu of a broadcast ad, Pizza Hut has announced a partnership with former All-Pro player Devin Hester to drive up memberships for its loyalty program. If either team scores a touchdown within the first 14 seconds of the game, Pizza Hut will grant everyone who registers for its rewards program before kickoff a coupon for a free pizza, which can be redeemed February 8 and 11.

“Like I said in my retirement announcement, I owe it all to my speed,” said Hester. “I’m teaming up with Pizza Hut to challenge players in this year’s Big Game to score a touchdown faster than I did in 2007.”

M&Ms Teases Their Super Bowl Ad (Again)

After promising candy fans rewards for creative touchdown dances, the Mars subsidiary is likewise guaranteeing critical support for its Super Bowl activation. M&Ms placed the ad at the Critics’ Choice Awards on January 11, featuring several film critics lavishing praise on an off-camera screening of the brand’s Super Bowl spot.

The candy company has released a second teaser for its ad, which will star Danny Devito.

“When M&M’S approached me about starring in their Super Bowl commercial, I quickly jumped on the opportunity to partner with such an iconic brand,” said DeVito. “Plus, who can resist seeing me in a giant pool of chocolate?!”


Red Bull, Cargo Go Super Bowl-Adjacent

Taking advantage of the inevitable influx of intoxicated partygoers on the night of the big game, Red Bull has partnered with Cargo, a startup that sells snacks to ride-share passengers en route. On February 4, ride-share customers in Minneapolis will get complimentary cans of Red Bull from drivers participating in Cargo’s commission-based sales model.

Skittles, Tostitos Ditch The Game For The Fan(s)

Rather than shell out the $5 million for a broadcast ad that might get talked over during a hectic Super Bowl party—after all, the NRF reports that 50 percent of big-game watchers do so at parties—Tostitos elected to hand the distribution reigns over to party hosts. By going to the Tostitos website, fans can input some information and nostalgic celebrity icon Alfonso Ribeiro will host a personalized Super Bowl “ad” invite for their party.

“Tostitos has always been about getting people together for the Super Bowl,” said Pat O’Toole, senior director of marketing for Frito-Lay North America. “The Super Bowl is about so much more than the game itself. People love watching the ads, so this year we wanted to give people the opportunity to create personalized ads for their Super Bowl parties.”

The campaign promises completely individualized ads, which reports show increases campaign effectiveness by as much as 57 percent.

Skittles, on the other hand, plans to go all-out on its ad personalization, producing an ad targeted at exactly one person, Marcos Menendez of Canoga Park, California. The brand will livestream his reaction to the hyper-targeted spot on its Facebook page, but no one besides Menendez will ever see the ad, which Skittles promises will be on par with its previous Super Bowl activations.

Doritos, Mountain Dew And Squarespace Lean On Celebrity Talent

Keeping up its five-year Super Bowl tradition, Squarespace is again bringing in a celebrity heavy-hitter to star in its big game ad, this time opting for Keanu Reeves, who is an actual Squarespace customer.

“We strive to make our advertising as genuine as possible, so we always keep an eye out for the most interesting people on our platform to see what brave new ventures they are launching out into the world,” David Lee, Squarespace’s chief creative officer, said to Adweek. “In addition to being a customer, we felt Keanu’s persona was a perfect fit for this creative—he’s a bit mysterious, but also regarded widely as a good person.”

The upcoming ad will break with tradition in one respect, however—this year, Squarespace is producing the spot in-house, rather than relying on an existing agency.

PepsiCo is opting for efficiency with its Super Bowl spot, too. Rather than produce two separate spots for its Doritos and Mountain Dew products, the company is pitting them against each other head to head, each one represented by a different celebrity: Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman, respectively.

“This is a great example of the power of PepsiCo’s food and beverage portfolio coming to life for consumers on one of the world’s largest stages,” said Al Carey, CEO of PepsiCo North America. “Doritos and Mountain Dew go perfectly together, and both brands have passionate fan bases.”

Verizon Brings Experiential To The Big Game

Partnering with Minnesota’s Super Bowl Host Committee, Verizon has announced a sponsorship of the city’s Super Bowl LIVE festival, a free 10-day experiential activation in downtown Minneapolis.

The festival promises to feature activities sponsored by several other Super Bowl advertisers, including a Hyundai skating rink and a Doritos-branded lounge. Overall, the event promises almost two dozen unique attractions, sponsored by a hodgepodge of local and national brands.


Pepsi Banks On Its Legacy

Pepsi has announced that it will unveil a year-long campaign during Super Bowl LII, entitled “Pepsi Generations,” to celebrate the brand’s 120-year history. The soda brand will kick off the campaign with a remake of its famous 1992 ad starring Cindy Crawford.

“To this day, people come up to me to talk about how much they loved my original Pepsi spot from ’92,” said Crawford in a statement. “The commercial was a big moment for me and has spanned generations.”

Pepsi will also release several series of retro can and bottle designs, the first going out in late January, and sponsor the big game’s halftime show for the sixth year running—headlining Justin Timberlake.

Super Bowl Newbs: Intuit, Pringles 

While TurboTax will re-appeared at this Super Bowl for its fifth year in a row, parent company Intuit will launch its first-ever corporate branding campaign at Super Bowl LII in the form of a 15-second spot.

While 46 million people use Intuit products, Intuit chief marketing and sales officer Lucas Watson asserts that not everyone identifies the brand. “The Big Game is during a time when finances are top of mind for consumers and those who work for themselves,” he said in a statement.

The company promises to introduce two characters who will feature prominently in the brand’s overarching corporate advertising efforts throughout the year.

Pringles will also appear in a Super Bowl ad for the very first time this year, hoping to introduce US consumers to the concept of “flavor stacking”—stacking two different flavors of Pringles on top of each other.

“‘Flavor Stacking’ Pringles is one of those things that seems so stupidly obvious in hindsight. But relatively few people have thought to do it,” said Brian Platt, Group Creative Director of Grey Group New York.

The chip brand claims that the Super Bowl ad is just the beginning, promising further activations in the flavor-stacking theme throughout 2018.

Coca-Cola Promises New Creative

After recycling old Super Bowl ads last year, including a 60-second spot that first ran in 2014 and a Sprite ad featuring a basketball star, Coca-Cola has promised fresh new creative for 2018, though has not given details about length, content or theme.


Executive Departures At Sony, Airbnb; Bloomberg Hires First-Ever CPO


Sony CEO Kaz Hirai is stepping down from his position, electing to take an advisory position. Replacing him will be Kenichiro Yoshida, current director, deputy president and chief financial officer.

“Ever since my appointment as president and CEO in April 2012, I have stated that my mission is to ensure Sony continues to be a company that provides customers with kando – to move them emotionally – and inspires and fulfills their curiosity,” Hirai said in a statement. “As the company approaches a crucial juncture, when we will embark on a new mid-range plan, I consider this to be the ideal time to pass the baton of leadership to new management, for the future of Sony and also for myself to embark on a new chapter in my life.”

Laurence Tosi departing and Belinda Johnson becoming as chief operating officer.

“As our COO, Belinda will be responsible for the systems and teams that enable our businesses to function, as well as our legal, policy and communications teams,” said Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky. “I want to thank Laurence for his tireless work on behalf of Airbnb and our community. He helped Airbnb establish a rigorous financial discipline, aided our expansion into new businesses including into luxury rentals, which is now one of our core businesses.”

Tosi had been with the hospitality app for two and a half years.

Bloomberg Media has hired its first-ever chief product officer, bringing on HuffPost head of product Julia Beizer.

“In this newly created position, Julia will be responsible for accelerating innovation across our digital product portfolio,” said Bloomberg’s global head of digital, M. Scott Havens. “Working with key stakeholders across the newsroom, media distribution, engineering, and our commercial organization, Julia will lead our ambitious product vision and strategy across our owned and operated platforms and our media distribution partners.”

Most recently, Beizer served as vice president of product for Oath’s media division, and has also held management roles at The Washington Post as well.

Applebee’s has tapped Joel Yashinsky for the position of chief marketing officer, taking over the company’s Franchise Marketing Committee to improve in-store sales as well as overall brand value.

“What I value most about Joel, other than his restaurant marketing experience, is his strategic capability and belief in franchisee collaboration,” said John Cywinski, president of Applebee’s. “Joel is a smart, creative, mature and highly-regarded executive with a deep operational orientation. He has also successfully navigated two turnarounds within his McDonald’s tenure, which will serve him well.”

Before his executive appointment at Applebee’s, Yashinsky worked at McDonald’s in a variety of positions, reaching the position of marketing vice president for its US division.

Staples has appointed Sandy Douglas CEO, effective in early April, succeeding departing CEO Shira Goodman.

“The North American Delivery business has a significant opportunity to accelerate long-term growth, and we are pleased to have Sandy join the leadership team at this important time,” said Joh Lederer, Staples executive chairman. “Sandy has extensive experience across multiple function areas including sales, marketing, merchandising and operations. This well-rounded experience makes him an ideal leader for Staples.”

Douglas previously worked at The Coca-Cola Company for over three decades, most recently as president of its North America business. He has also held the title of global chief customer officer during his tenure there.

Oath has announced two major executive appointments, expanding its global sales organization. Karen Schmidt has joined the company as vice president and head of B2B field marketing, and Kathryn Friedrich as chief business officer for RYOT Studio, Oath’s content marketing agency.

“We have aggressive goals for growth in 2018 and beyond, which Kathryn and Karen will help us realize,” said John DeVine, Oath’s chief revenue officer.

Before signing on with Oath, Friedrich was chief marketing and revenue officer at  Thrive Global, an anti-stress organization founded by Ariana Huffington. For her part, Schmidt worked in leadership positions at American Express for ten years, most recently as global head of sales enablement.

Jack in the Box is undergoing c-suite shakeups in the coming weeks, as its brand president Frances Allen has announced her intention to retire in early February. Additionally, the fast-food chain has appointed Marcus Tom vice president and chief operating officer.

“As I mentioned at the recent ICR Conference, I will take the opportunity to flatten our organizational structure following the expected sale of our Qdoba brand,” said Jack in the Box chairman and CEO Lenny Comma. “Frances graciously suggested the elimination of her position so that we could more quickly begin restructuring the brand’s leadership. Frances was instrumental in refining the brand’s strategy and positioning, with an emphasis on improving the quality of the food and transforming the business model to be more asset-light through refranchising.”

Tom joins Jack in the Box from JAB Beech Inc, where he was senior vice president of operations for Caribou Coffee.

“Marcus is an agile leader with a proven record of achieving high levels of operational excellence across large retail systems, like Starbucks,” Comma said. “Adding a seasoned restaurant-industry veteran like him, with his unique skillset and proficiencies in operations, is a key piece of our re-focused Jack in the Box leadership team.”

McDonald’s has expanded its executive marketing team, bringing on Kenny Mitchell and Lizette Williams as vice president of brand content and head of cultural engagement, respectively.

“We are excited about the fresh, innovative thinking and experience Kenny and Lizette bring to our team,” Morgan Flatley, McDonald’s USA CMO, said in a statement to AdWeek. “They are both highly-respected, talented leaders, and with their respective teams, will play a critical role in bringing our marketing strategy to life as we continue to raise the bar for our customers.”

Mitchell most recently worked at Gatorade, where he led the brand’s integrated marketing efforts, and Williams oversaw multicultural marketing for Kimberly-Clark North America.

The Rest Of The C-Suite

(Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, February 2. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.)

Carnival Cruise Line has appointed Adolfo Perez senior vice president of sales and trade marketing, just three years after he was promoted to vice president of sales and trade marketing in 2015.

“Adolfo has been critical to driving growth in our travel agent business, both domestically and internationally, and we want to recognize the success of his leadership and the efforts of his team and the results they have delivered,” said Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy.

Perez has been with Carnival since 1982, when he joined as an embarkation agent.

Pandora is undergoing organizational shifts, eliminating as much as 5 percent of its workforce, citing a shift in focus toward ad-tech and audience development.

“As I shared last quarter, we know where and how to invest in order to grow,” said Pandora CEO Roger Lynch. “We have an aggressive plan in place that includes strategic investments in our priorities: ad-tech, product, content, partnerships and marketing. I am confident these changes will enable us to drive revenue and listener growth.”

The company has also announced plans to expand its presence and workforce in Atlanta.

In an earnings call, Google has announced that it will expand or open offices across America this year, hiring thousands to staff them.

“Last year in the US we grew faster outside the Bay Area than in the Bay Area,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai. “To support this growth, we will be making significant investments in offices across nine states, including Colorado and Michigan.”

HubKonnect, a cognitive AI marketing platform, has appointed Kevin Newell to its board of directors.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Kevin join our team,” HubKonnect CEO Michael Koch said. “His understanding of the QSR industry is unparalleled, and his experience in building a global brand will aid in the accelerated growth of HubKonnect.”

Newell joins the company from McDonald’s where he previously served as president of its West Zone, and once held the position of global chief brand officer.

Christopher Ensey has joined Riot Blockchain, a blockchain support and consulting firm, as its chief operating officer.

“Chris brings a strong wealth of corporate experience in cyber security and a passion for blockchain technology to Riot,” commented John O’Rourke, CEO of Riot Blockchain. “He has long-standing enterprise relationships from his experience at IBM and Dunbar and a technical depth in blockchain technology from his active involvement in the space over the past five years.”

Ensey previously worked at Dunbar Security Solutions as its chief operating officer.

Digital publishing group Future has hired Luke Edson as its US chief revenue officer, after a 41 percent growth in US revenue last year.

“I’m really excited to welcome Luke on board. His proficiency in commercial operations will help shape our strategy and business development in the US,” said Zillah Byng-Thorne, Future’s CEO. “There’s a wealth of opportunity for us in the U.S. and I have every faith Luke will be able to capitalize on that.”

Edson most recently worked at Yellow Pages, where he held the position of senior vice president of national markets.

Dana Strong has joined Comcast as president of consumer services, where she will be responsible for the company’s go-to-market strategy for its cable services.

“Dana has an impressive career and great track record driving growth, digital transformation and improving the customer experience for some of the fastest growing companies in the industry,” said Dave Watson, Comcast Cable president and CEO. “I’m thrilled to welcome her to Comcast and can’t imagine a better leader to partner with me and our talented team as we continue to create the most innovative products available on the market, while driving growth and transforming the customer experience.”

Before Comcast, Strong worked at Virgin Media, where she served as president and chief operating officer.

Job Vacancies 

Product Manager – APIs Ayzenberg Pasadena, CA
Sr. Brand Marketing Manager Nordstrom Los Angeles, CA
Sr. Partner Marketing Manager Microsoft Redmond, WA
Sr. Partner Marketing Manager, Adobe XD Adobe San Francisco, CA
Vice President of Marketing AutoZone San Diego, CA
SVP, Marketing Partnerships Paramount Pictures Hollywood, CA

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

Alphabet’s Ad Revenue Still Unhindered By YouTube Backlash

Google and YouTube parent company Alphabet reported $27.7 billion in ad revenue for the fourth quarter of 2017, despite rising concerns about brand safety. In fact, roughly 85 percent of Alphabet’s earnings for the last quarter came from advertising.

Over the last year, advertisers on YouTube have lashed out against the company for displaying their brands next to extreme or offensive content. YouTube responded by removing certain videos and enacting stricter guidelines for what type of content can be monetized by creators.

During the company’s fourth quarter earnings call, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai assured investors it was working to stop abuse on the platform, and that a few weeks prior it had “announced changes to advertising on YouTube.” Pichai was referring to a new task force of 10,000 employees that will moderate and review videos that could be in violation of YouTube policy. Working alongside machine learning software, the new team will enforce stricter criteria on the channels earning money from ads. YouTube’s newly-enacted changes also restrict monetization to those with at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time in the past 12 months.

Amid struggles to balance the needs of advertisers with users and content creators, Alphabet revenue climbed to an all-time high of $32 billion from $26 billion last year and exceeding analyst predictions. Google’s cost per click (CPC) declined 14 percent during the fourth quarter, which the company attributed to the rising number of searches made on mobile devices.

YouTube isn’t Alphabet’s only brand safety concern—in August, Google issued partial refunds to hundreds of marketers who fell victim to ad fraud. The company dominates the search engine market, but has traditionally been a walled garden, leaving advertisers to hand over their budgets and hope for the best.

In response to growing demands for transparency and fraud protection, Google became TAG Certified Against Fraud last year and is reportedly developing a tool to provide more transparency in the future. Google also joined the “Ads.txt” project developed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau in 2017, which provides a mechanism to enable content owners to declare who is authorized to sell their inventory.

Alphabet remains the largest seller of online advertisements in the world, followed by Facebook. According to eMarketer, Google will account for 42 percent of US market share for digital ads this year.

Five Strategies To Bring Marketing And Engineering Teams Together

There’s a known gulf between marketing and engineering / IT teams. But despite differing work attitudes, educational backgrounds and departmental priorities, many organizations go out of their way to create strong working relationships between these groups—and their CMOs and CTOs.

Here are five approaches major companies have found effective for maximizing their tech-marketing partnerships:

Have The CMO And CTO Sit Next To Each Other

At adtech firm SteelHouse, CMO David Simon’s team works frequently with chief product officer Marwan Soghaier’s department, covering everything from the best way to design new products right down to the wording of FAQs. Simon says one way to ensure collaboration between marketing and tech honchos is to have them sit next to each other.

“[It] sounds insignificant but is incredibly significant,” he says. “We can hear what is going on in each other’s world all day.”

Tech and product need to “Stay in close cooperation with the CMO and the marketing team,” Soghaier says, “so they can both adequately and accurately communicate what has been designed to the outside world . . . and provide that visibility to internal development teams.” SteelHouse recently developed major feature releases for their products, working with their marketing department to ensure large brands using their product knew about the “value and the benefit” of the updates.

Build A Roadmap

Rahul Kashyap, CTO of cybersecurity firm Cylance, says marketing can’t exist on its own: Companies—especially companies planning to scale—need a roadmap that sets opportunities and strategies for engineering and marketing to improve the organization’s bottom line, and building that roadmap needs to be a priority.

“It’s important to know your capabilities and have a built-out process so that marketing comes out at [the] right time,” he says, “and there’s proper handoff of info on both sides for how capabilities are marketed, and to ensure marketing has the info they need for messaging. This is something to jump onto early in a company’s life.”

Shaun Walsh, Cylance’s senior vice president of marketing, believes putting engineers in front of customers is the most important thing you can do. “They hear customer problems, and have such an intimate understanding of the problems that their conclusions always startle marketing people,” he says.

Collaborate On Data

Groupon CTO Colin Bodell feels that data is a place where there’s especially strong room for collaboration between engineering and marketing, especially as much of today’s marketing is data-driven.

“That doesn’t mean being a slave to the data and doing exactly what the data says, but data in its consolidated and recorded form is almost an invitation to discussion and creativity,” he says. “I find the best relationships between CTOs and marketers is one where we can look at the data, compare the data, ask questions, and then have a meaningful discussion about the approach we want to take to engage with customers.”

This approach helps Bodell in his role. “That dialogue,” he says, “allows me as an engineering leader to put the right technology in place.”

Make Time To Talk Despite Long Distances

The CMO and CTO of influencer marketing team Experticity face a dilemma when it comes to meeting face-to-face. The company is spread out between offices in Utah, the Bay Area and Washington state. CMO Kevin Knight is based in Experticity’s Oakland offices, while CTO Greg Cox is based in their offices outside of Seattle.

Knight and Cox say that one of the keys to collaborations between their teams is to meet in person frequently. When either is visiting the other’s office, they make sure to have dinner together in order to catch up beyond the usual video chats and conference calls.

Their respective teams also make sure to leverage each other’s strengths for large-scale projects. When the company ran a series of Facebook ads linking to an immersive quiz, Experticity’s engineering team worked closely with marketing to design one that met the company’s needs.

“Kevin is our CMO but has a great product sensibility, having worked at Facebook and Pinterest,” Cox says. “People in product organization, like project managers, work closely with him to get input on the products we build so we can get his insights. We work in a very unsiloed way, with a lot of cross-pollination between marketing, engineering and product.”

Have All Teams Embrace The Same Workflow

Mozilla’s marketing, engineering and product teams worked feverishly behind the scenes to prep for the public launch of the Firefox Quantum Browser, the not-for-profit’s highest-profile product launch in years. Mozilla CMO Jascha Kaykas-Wolff explains that the marketing team’s workflow has evolved to become more like an engineering or product team.

“We have approximately 100 people in a full agile lead model, just like our engineering team,” he says. “The language and terms we use is just like an engineering team. If you’re a CMO trying to identify how to work better with [an] engineer team, don’t translate into a language you don’t understand—instead, work on an equal playing field as peers.”

Kaykas-Wolff believes the teams don’t have to use different processes. “There’s a farce that exists, and it’s the idea that you have to fight for resources in an organization,” he says. “When you work in a similar fashion, things get along.”

Facebook Ad CPMs Rose 40 Percent In Q4, Focusing On ‘Quality’ Engagement

Stock prices for Facebook reached record heights on Thursday, after the company announced significant growth in company revenue and drastically increasing Facebook ad CPMs and declining user activity.

Speaking on a call with investment analysts, Mark Zuckerberg boasted that in Q4, Facebook ad prices rose by 43 percent over the same period in 2016. By comparison, the number of impressions served by these more expensive ads increased by only 4 percent.

This price-impression disparity can be explained by Facebook’s recent algorithm updates, which devalued and publisher content in an effort to drive “quality” over “quantity” interactions.

“When you care about something, you’re willing to see ads to experience it,” Zuckerberg said in the call. “But if you just come across a viral video, then you’re more likely to skip over it if you see an ad.”

As Facebook tries to reduce toxicity and promote authentic engagement, its audience is spending less time on the platform than before. According to the company’s estimates, its users spent 5 percent less time on its platforms, resulting in 50 million fewer hours on Facebook per day. Additionally, the number of daily active users in the United States and Canada dropped for the first time in the company’s history.

“I want to be clear, the most important driver of our business has never been time spent by itself,” Zuckerberg added. “It’s the quality of the conversations and connection. And that’s why I believe this focus on meaningful social interactions is the right one.”

Facebook’s premium video service, Watch, is growing in popularity in the US, allowing the company to pivot toward higher-CPM video ads over News Feed posts.

After the call ended, Facebook’s stock prices jumped 3 percent to $194.18 per share, the highest in the company’s history.

Forbes 30 Under 30 Honorees Reveal Their Consumer Habits

While Forbes began its 30 Under 30 list in 2011, it has only been surveying respondents on their personal consumption habits since 2016, offering valuable insight for marketers. Here’s what we’ve garnered on their purchasing power priorities.

Each year, Forbes releases its 30 Under 30 list that recognizes 600 young professionals across 20 industries for their leadership and innovation. In January, the company surveyed 521 listmakers to learn more about what shapes their world from purchase decisions to social media.

Educated Renters

Listmakers and nominees interviewed for the survey skewed female at 63 percent and between the ages of 26-29 (65 percent). These future leaders are educated, with 51 percent holding a bachelor’s degree, 26 percent a master’s degree and an impressive 12 percent having earned a Ph.D.

Nearly a quarter of respondents own their own homes, while 66 percent rent and seven percent live at home with their parents.

Financially Healthy

Twenty-eight percent of Forbes‘ interviewees earn between $100,000 and $199,999 per year and 39 percent have alternate sources of income. Nearly a quarter of their companies earn between $1 million and $9 million per year.

The survey found that 58 percent don’t have any personal debt, but nine percent owe more than $80,000. Unsurprisingly, then, 10 percent named “paying off my debt,” as their number one financial priority, compared to 32 percent who named “funding an entrepreneurial venture.”

This statistic aligns with their number one financial concern—20 percent are worried that they won’t have enough money to run their business. Student loans weren’t as much of a concern, however, with only four percent worried they won’t be able to pay them off.

When it comes to managing money, 94 percent of these young go-getters prefer to bank with apps or websites.

Always On The Go

These entrepreneurs may be young, but they’re busy—46 percent are employed full-time while 44 percent said they are building their company. Seven percent are multitaskers, employed full time while working on a side project. Forbes learned that 79 percent of respondents started their company in the last five years and 65 percent hold the title of founder or co-founder.

Stereotypes be damned, these young leaders don’t spend much time on Snapchat. Only 14 percent claimed to use Snapchat compared to Facebook (70 percent), Instagram (62 percent), LinkedIn (56 percent) and Twitter (41 percent). Looking at it another way, 30 percent of some of the most promising young professionals in the world don’t use Facebook at all, and half don’t bother networking on LinkedIn.

Similarly, five percent claimed not to make phone calls or send texts during the day—but that’s certainly not the norm. Half of the respondents said they send over 25 texts a day and make at least five phone calls.

The most popular content consumed on their phones is news at 29 percent, followed by short articles at 25 percent and music at 15 percent. Four percent invest the time to read long articles on their phone, but memes are more popular at nine percent.

Overall, 74 percent consume news updates and 71 percent read short articles. Social media is where 59 percent get their news, followed by websites at 47 percent. A majority still trust mainstream media outlets at 67 percent.

Ready To Save And Travel The World

Money is great, but these 30 Under 30 honorees define success in other ways, too. According to 60 percent of respondents, the greatest success metric for a brand is social impact, followed by brand recognition at 53 percent. These entrepreneurs don’t follow their dreams for recognition, at least most of them don’t—only 24 percent of respondents named media coverage as the greatest success metric for a brand.

The top three challenges facing the world today, according to these professionals, are global warming at 64 percent, followed by income inequality and fake news at 56 and 40 percent, respectively.

Thirty-eight percent say they travel frequently for work and leisure and 28 percent do so “a few times” a year. While three percent book private accommodations, 61 percent fly economy class and 36 percent in business class. When traveling for leisure, these respondents prefer to experience new cultures and experiences at 71 percent. Forbes learned that 91 percent plan on taking a vacation in the next six months.

Discerning Shoppers

When it comes to spending their hard-earned money, these honorees trust their peers for guidance, with 73 percent relying on reviews and 61 percent on recommendations. Price comparison isn’t as important at 40 percent, and neither is marketing at 17 percent. At eight percent, press coverage makes the lowest impact on purchasing decisions.

“[Forbes’ 30 Under 30 recipients] have different buying motivations,” Forbes CMO Tom Davis told AlistDaily. “For example, when it comes to tech—only two percent care about price, three percent care about hardware or security and four percent care about brand name. We would have assumed those three were major factors in decision-making, but it turns out, millennials really care the most about design and innovation when it comes to technology. New technology has the ability to disrupt the market, even if the name attached to them is unknown or if they’re pricey.”

The most important brand attribute by respondents is “high quality” at 86 percent, followed by value at 58 percent. Celebrity endorsements don’t impress these shoppers, with only one percent naming it as the most important brand attribute. Social responsibility, on the other hand, is deemed most important by 40 percent.

Regardless of quality, nearly half—49 percent—only buy tech when they need it, while the other half are trendsetters. A quarter of respondents say they are the first among their friends to have new tech and 22 percent buy when they first hear about the product. In the next year, 59 percent say they plan on buying tech, followed by apparel at 42 percent.

Unlike previous generations, these 30 under 30 honorees aren’t as concerned about owning property and cars. Only 25 percent said they plan on purchasing a car over the next year, and 19 percent said they plan on purchasing a home.

When asked to define the American Dream, personal happiness trumps financial stability—54 percent named a “happy, healthy family,” while 30 percent said it was to retire and live comfortably. Surprisingly based on who these respondents are, only 24 percent said that the American Dream is to own your own company.

“[For these respondents] the American Dream may not be the same dream of old,” said Davis, “but Forbes Under 30’s are focused on positive change in business and culture.”

This piece was updated to include an interview with Forbes.

With ‘Spheres’ Purchase, Hollywood Could Become Driver For VR Adoption

Virtual reality (VR) reached a major milestone at the Sundance Film Festival when Spheres, a three-part scientific space-themed narrative series, was picked up by CityLights for a seven-figure sum. The VR experience, which is narrated by Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), executive produced by Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures, and supported by Oculus and Intel, is the first major VR acquisition to come out of Sundance in the six years since the New Frontier section began featuring the medium. A few days later, Zikr: A Sufi Revival became the first VR documentary to be purchased at Sundance when UK company Dogwoof acquired it.

These sales represent a big shift for a medium that has never sold at the film festival before, and the backing of traditional distributors could provide VR with the clout it needs to become mainstream. While CityLights is relatively new, Dogwoof has been documentary distributor for 14 years, and it acquired Zikr through its newly formed VR company, Other Set.

“I’m hopeful that the [Spheres] sale means that the entertainment community at large will start taking VR seriously as a viable medium,” said Loren Hammonds, programmer for film and immersive at the Tribeca Film Festival, speaking with AListDaily. “It’s exciting to see a deal at this level happen so relatively early in the history of VR festival exhibition.”

“One of the biggest things VR has had going against it is how quickly public opinion fluctuates,” added SuperData Research’s VP of research and strategy, Stephanie Llamas. “But a deal of this caliber means mainstream audiences can see the value the entertainment industry—an industry they trust to let them know where media is going next—is placing on VR.”

Llamas said that it’s big studios and celebrities that bring awareness, and the sale of Spheres “brings VR one step closer to widespread interest.” She explains that even though some of the biggest names in entertainment have become involved in VR, they’ve often treated the medium as a side project.

“This sale shows it is becoming more than a side project and that there is faith VR will bring in millions of consumer dollars soon,” said Llamas.

However, Hammonds doesn’t necessarily agree that the sales mean that Hollywood will be paying more attention to VR productions. He explained that people who have been traditionally involved with Hollywood productions, like directors Kathryn Bigelow and Alejandro González Iñárritu, haven’t “moved the needle” of public opinion, even after becoming deeply involved in the creation of popular VR projects.

“What will help Hollywood to truly shift its attention is if these projects get some form of distribution that allows them to reach wide audiences and permeate the popular culture,” said Hammonds.

CityLights will bring Spheres to the Oculus Rift later this year with distribution on other platforms to follow. The first episode, Songs of Spacetime, premiered at Sundance. Meanwhile, Zikr is expected to become available on home VR devices in addition to location-based entertainment venues such as VR arcades, museums or possibly other film festivals.

Hammonds hopes that one day, VR experiences will be featured alongside traditional films at festivals and other events that serve as marketplaces.

“I look at VR as the most exciting storytelling medium to arrive since the invention of cinema,” he said. “I do think that it’s a natural fit for VR to be featured prominently at festivals, as it has been in recent years, but I also see a future where VR will warrant or demand its own large-scale festival platform.”

But VR still has a lot of growing to do before it gets to that point, and that will require strong distribution and monetization to make more deals like the Spheres and Zikr purchases happen.

“Until we have a decent number of marquee pieces that reach wide audiences through an easily accessible platform and fully adopted hardware, the growth will stay measured,” Hammonds said. But he also explained that he’s comfortable with VR’s current pace of growth, so long as creators and developers continue to build on the medium and advance the technology.

“Slow growth is exponentially better than no growth,” he concluded. But as important as the Spheres sale is, festivals may not be the main driver for VR adoption.

“VR’s presence at festivals like Sundance and Tribeca has been a huge help, but while these festivals help make VR interesting, the average consumer isn’t trying it there,” said Llamas. “I think location-based VR is going to be the stepping stone folks need to actually see what VR is all about—which is what needs to happen to get the excitement going.”

PlayStation’s ‘Opera’ Campaign Conjures Emotion For PS4 Pro Graphics

Launching Thursday, PlayStation’s “Opera” campaign describes the experience of playing video games on PS4 Pro through the use of opera, lending itself to a TV spot as well as other activations.

Since 4K graphics have to be seen first-hand to understand the difference—and not everyone who sees the ad will have a 4K TV—PlayStation decided to have some fun describing the experience instead.

The spot opens on a man playing video games on his PS4 Pro. As his face reflects the wonder in what he’s experiencing, we hear opera singer Adelmo Guidarelli‘s bass-baritone voice describe it to the tune of “Largo al factotum,” more commonly known as “Figaro.”

“PS4 Pro, dynamic 4K,” Guidarelli sings over footage of God of War, Far Cry 5, Monster Hunter: World, and MLB The Show 18. “So beautiful, can’t look away.” As the song reaches its crescendo, the gamer is surprised to realize that the opera singer is singing in the player’s living room.

“We thought that the contrast between opera singing, which is typically quite serious, and gaming, which is creative and fun, made for a hilarious moment where the gamer and the singer meet in a normal living room,” Mary Yee, VP of marketing for PlayStation told AListDaily. “We also liked the contrast of the big theatrical vibe of the opera singing and the everyday hero who is our gamer [and] we thought the irreverent script was a fun way to tell an otherwise rather technical story about PS4 Pro screen resolution.”

“Opera” is considered part of PlayStation’s ongoing “Greatness Awaits” campaign—highlighting the emotions associated with gaming rather than focusing on gameplay alone. Yee says PlayStation’s marketing strategy is rooted in that emotional connection, as it taps into how passionate gamers can be.

“We try to tell compelling and relatable human stories in all that we do,” said Yee. “As marketers, we strive to make content and stories in service of our audience and fans.”

Though PlayStation’s marketing team thought the “Opera” campaign would be fun, the entertainment brand doesn’t choose its campaign strategies lightly.

“We are constantly testing and measuring our marketing campaigns,” Yee said. “We use gamer feedback as a key input. That said, we also hold ourselves accountable to our brand belief and core tenets of the PlayStation brand.”

Yee describes that brand belief as “Great play can inspire us to be our most creative, ambitious and extraordinary selves.”

PlayStation often employs visuals to simulate emotional experiences while playing video games. The brand’s recent PSVR campaign called “Feel Them All,” for example, employs imagery like a beating heart, goosebumps and a dilating iris to illustrate “feeling” a video game rather than just playing it.