NFL Passes Ball To New COO; Nike Steps Up To Harassment Claims


Maryann Turcke has been promoted to NFL’s first female chief operating officer following the departure of Tod Leiweke.

NFL’s marketing chief Dawn Hudson has announced her departure in pursuit of non-marketing endeavors.

“Dawn provided refreshing insights and perspectives on how to portray our game, players and the special bond fans have with the NFL,” said an NFL spokesman told The Wall Street Journal. “The league’s multi-platform campaigns have further deepened the connection with fans throughout the year, culminating with exciting and engaging Super Bowl messages. We wish her well in her future endeavors.”

After 25 years with the company, Nike brand president Trevor Edwards has resigned from his position and retire in August. The staff change was announced Thursday by Nike president and CEO Mark Parker amid a string of employee complaints that “disturbed and saddened” him. While Edwards was not named in the memo, the timing of Edwards’ resignation, alongside the termination of VP and global manager of global categories Jayme Martin followed probes into harassment within the company.

Parker provided employees with a confidential email and phone number to use if they felt harassed and said Nike would be reviewing the company’s protocol for dealing with internal complaints.

Nike president of geographies and integrated marketplace Elliot Hill will be promoted to the role of president of consumer and marketplace. In his new position, Hill will handle all marketing, geographies, Nike Direct, global sales and all things Jordan Brand. Michael Spillane will continue as president of product and merchandising, leading the company’s categories, design, product and merchandising.

The Rest Of The C-Suite

(Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, March 16. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at

Chipotle has hired Brian Niccol as its new CEO. Niccol joins the company after three years as CEO for Taco Bell. Chipotle founder Steve Ells will stay on as executive chairman. In the announcement, Ells credited Niccol for his role in boosting Taco Bell’s popularity in recent years, something Chipotle has struggled with following food safety concerns.

“Under his leadership, he successfully repositioned Taco Bell as a lifestyle brand and successfully launched numerous product initiatives, including the new breakfast daypart, the fastest growing daypart in the industry,” the company said.

Mark Crumpacker stepped down as Chipotle CMO effective March 15 after nine years with the company. A replacement has not yet been announced.

Nick Stringer joins Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) as vice president of global member engagement and operations. Stringer will head up TAG’s new European office in London to “help accelerate the organization’s global expansion.” Stringer comes to TAG after serving as director of regulatory affairs at the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB UK) and chair of the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA).

“I am delighted to join TAG at this pivotal time to help extend the TAG vision, and we look forward to working with key European stakeholders to build a global approach in addressing criminal activity in digital advertising,” said Stringer in a prepared statement made available to AListDaily.

After 20 years with the company, A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubac has departed in favor of a new position as CEO of Vice Media. Vice co-founder Shane Smith will remain on board in an executive role, but called the new team a “modern day Bonnie and Clyde” who will “take all your money.”

Dubac expressed gratitude for her time with A+E Networks but looks forward to the new position.

“Anyone who knows me well, knows I am an entrepreneur, creator, rebel and disruptor at heart,” Dubac said in a statement. “I have a famous neon sign in my office that blares ‘Who dares wins.’ After 20 years at A+E the hardest thing will be to leave the people and company I love. But, as a creative executive and leader, and to stay true to my personal mantra, I need my next dare and my next challenge.”

Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc., the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, announced the promotion of three executives to vice president roles. Brian Gilbert is now vice president of retail business development, Frank Barone is vice president of financial management and business analytics and Mathias Piercy has been promoted to regional vice president of South Central.

With their passion for results, deep understanding of our business, and leadership capabilities, I am confident they will help us continue to capitalize on the growth potential of both the Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins brands,” said Dave Hoffmann, President of Dunkin’ Donuts US in a statement.

Condé Nast has promoted Karthic Bala from head of data strategy to become the company’s first chief data officer. In his new role, Bala will work to increase ad-supported and consumer revenue streams as well as build new data-driven businesses.

Activision Blizzard is hiring to win in the competitive world of esports. The video game publisher hired Daniel Cherry III as chief marketing officer of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. A sports industry veteran, Cherry brings over 20 years of marketing experience, having served as chief marketing and innovation officer for the New Jersey Devils and the Prudential Center.

Marc Kolin has been tapped as vice president of finance, formerly of NBC Universal.

Brandon Snow will be the new chief revenue officer and brings his knowledge of business development in the world of competitive sports, having worked for the NFL and NBA.

French actor Augustin Legrand will no longer be Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man In the World.” The Heineken-owned brand is changing focus after a drop in sales year-over-year. Dos Equis replaced the original “Most Interesting” spokesman, Jonathan Goldsmith in 2016 with a younger version, but the campaign turned out to be less popular. Now, the brand says, it is focusing less on the spokesman and more on the beer itself.

Kevin Mayer has been promoted from Disney’s chief strategy officer to chairman of the company’s new Direct-to-Consumer and International business segment. Mayer is credited with some of Disney’s biggest purchases including Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and BamTech, a streaming-focused company.

“Kevin is a proven leader who has played a critical role in bringing together the collection of creative and technological assets that will allow Disney to offer unparalleled entertainment experiences in a direct-to-consumer future,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger in a statement.

As part of the media giant’s shake-up, Disney gives additional responsibility to Bob Chapek, head of Disney Parks and Resorts, who will oversee consumer products now as Jimmy Pitaro moves to ESPN.

Unilever is dividing its marketing efforts into three separate divisions: beauty and personal care, home care and food and refreshments. In addition to marketing and advertising, these divisions will take over responsibility for innovation, strategy, research and product development.

“This is the logical next step in the transformation of Unilever,” CFO Graeme Pitkethly told investors March 15. “It will drive long-term shareholder value and provide increased flexibility, strengthen corporate governance and enable our divisions to better serve consumers by balancing scale and agility.”

Job Vacancies 

Product Manager – APIs Ayzenberg Pasadena, CA
Chief Communications Officer Columbia University New York, NY
SVP, Cobrand Partner Chief Decision Management Officer Citi Elk Grove Village, IL
VP, Marketing Strategy, Planning & Analytics Pandora Oakland, CA
Director, Global Creative Marketing (Global Series) Netflix Los Angeles, CA
VP, Sales & Marketing The Washington Times Washington, D.C.

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

Google Details Plans To Protect The Ad Ecosystem

Google said it blocked more than 100 bad ads per second last year, releasing a blog post on Wednesday to assure marketers of its efforts to protect the ad ecosystem from ad fraud, malware and content scammers.

“Digital advertising plays an important role in making the web what it is today,” wrote Scott Spencer, Google’s director of sustainable ads. “In order for this ad-supported, free web to work, it needs to be a safe and effective place to learn, create and advertise.”

In his blog post, Spencer stressed the importance of user experience when policing Google ads, maintaining a balance between monetization and honesty. News sites and those posing as news sites were the biggest offenders last year.

Google has cracked down on those who use AdWords to promote clickbait, suspending more than 7,000 accounts last year. The company also blocked over 12,000 websites for “scraping,” the act of duplicating and copying content from other sites.

In 2017, Google removed 320,000 publishers from its ad network for violating publisher policies, the company said, adding that it blacklisted nearly 90,000 websites and 700,000 mobile apps. Ads were removed from 8,700 web pages that violated Google’s terms regarding discrimination and intolerance, as well.

Google is also working to combat trends like gambling, cryptocurrency and scam artists posing as rehabilitation centers online.

“We’re constantly updating our policies as we see new threats emerge,” wrote Spencer.

Earning $27.7 billion in ad revenue for the fourth quarter of 2017 alone, Google has a lot to lose over brand safety concerns and fake news. Along with Twitter and Facebook, Google testified before US Congress in November about possible abuses by Russian agents on their platforms to interfere with State elections.

Google denied any knowledge of such abuses on its platform, but the advertising giant has other, more local problems to deal with. During the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call, chief executive Sundar Pichai assured investors they were working to stop the monetization of offending content on YouTube to include extremist groups and hate speech.

Countries Host SXSW Activations To Market Diplomacy, Tech And Tourism

SXSW—more specifically, the SXSW Interactive Festival—has turned into a boomtown for diplomacy.

Different countries emit their presence among Austin venues turned into sponsored activations. At Casa Peru, there’s a photo booth with stuffed llamas and a full pisco sour bar. At the British Music Embassy, overseas indie and electronic acts are booked for days straight. On the convention floor, representatives from Brazil’s trade mission are telling passersby about the country’s booming economic sector.

There are many attractive reasons for foreign countries to set up shop at SXSW. Countries may want to host private dinners for tech investors and journalists to introduce them to local startups; flying over a popular local band, inviting social media tastemakers, and setting up Instagram-ready samples of foreign specialties can boost tourism dollars; and because of SXSW’s sheer numbers—there were just over 70,000 total attendees in 2016 from 95 countries, and even more attendees at unofficial events around town—the conference is becoming increasingly attractive to diplomatic and trade missions.

While there are conferences which are more comprehensive for individual industries, such as the Mobile World Congress and NRF Big Show, SXSW offers some of the best bang-for-the-buck for marketing and advertising. And Austin provides a nexus for promoting to a mostly well-off audience who will amplify their message on social media.

A notable diplomatic presence, the European Union hosted three days of events to promote tech-related EU initiatives, while countries like the Netherlands and Germany offered installations designed to lure investors and promote their countries as tourism destinations. Individual cities provided their own activations promoting regional tech and cultural activities as well.

This year, the German city of Hamburg rented out a hamburger stand directly across from the Austin Convention Center for a multi-day activation. The city uses its SXSW presence to promote local startups and its Reeperbahn Festival, a large music and digital event whose audience overlaps with SXSW considerably.

Michael Otremba, CEO of Hamburg Marketing, said over 105 companies attended SXSW from Hamburg last year, with more than 150 people representing.

For Startup Buenos Aires, an organization building connections for that city’s startup scene, the goal is to introduce Buenos Aires entrepreneurs to Austin and market the city as an attractive destination for entering the North American market (it’s cheaper than living in San Francisco).

“Argentinians typically think of Miami [for business] because it is the gateway to the Americas, or New York, or Silicon Valley,” said Lisa Besserman, who works for Startup Buenos Aires and is a recent transplant to Austin. “We want to promote Austin as a great place to potentially scale startups who are thinking about entering the United States.”

Representing the Netherlands, the New Dutch Wave activation conveys overlapping tech and music programming. The event is supported by the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry and Creative Holland, a government-supported entrepreneurial organization, and is typical of the mix among many of the national activations at SXSW: Sober talks on marketing, design and startup launches are accompanied by performances by Dutch musicians in the evening and installations by Dutch artists.

Yorick Michelbrink of the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry notes the audience at SXSW is a bit different from typical Dutch trade outreach, citing agriculture and water management events as examples of places where you’d typically see an official Dutch presence.

“For us, what we do here in Austin is the blurring of the lines between corporate, startups, creatives and artists,” said Danny Freitman of Enterprise Summits, a Dutch events firm that founded the event alongside Wink, an Amsterdam-based marketing company.

While many of these activations from around the globe bear official sponsorship from their country of origin, some operate without formal government involvement. Nigerian events firm Temple Management and the U.S. African Development Corporation, an American federal government agency, cosponsored Africa House, a two-day activation. The event included talks by entrepreneurs and artists from across the continent, a breakfast spotlighting Nigeria’s tech community and music in the evening.

Meanwhile, China skipped the fancy public activations in favor of focusing on panels and private events, including a party with Chinese musical arts, representatives from Alibaba and other firms, diplomatic representatives and local politicians.

Facebook Opens Instant Games, Marketing Tools To Developers

Facebook made its Instant Games and Ads API available to all developers beginning Wednesday, making it possible to develop, launch and promote HTML5 games across Facebook Messenger and News Feeds.

The timing of this announcement was planned around the Game Developers Conference (GDC), which begins next week. Facebook will host its annual Developers Day March 19 at the conference in an attempt to attract more developers—and by extension, ad revenue—to Instant Games now that it’s open to the public.

The Instant Games platform supports turn-based gameplay, monetization and livestreaming capabilities. Facebook recently rolled out ads-based monetization to all beta-partner developers, and it will be open to everyone starting on Wednesday in addition to the Ads API.

Developers can now cross-promote new games or game updates to its existing player base across the Instant Games platform. Developers can also create deep links to directly send players to their game outside of Facebook and Messenger channels.

Ad campaigns will become available “soon,” according to Facebook, making units that take players directly from clicking on an ad to playing the game.

In-app purchases were announced in October and will continue to be tested, according to the company.

Instant Games launched in closed beta in 2016 with 17 games and now hosts almost 200, including a Messenger version of Tetris. Other retro games were developed for the platform, including Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Galaga, using nostalgia to engage players.

Basketball FRVR, one of the early titles on Instant Games, has been played more than 500 million times.

Between esports partnerships and the addition of livestreaming, Facebook is on a quest to become the top gaming platform. The company reported that across web and mobile, an average of 800 million people play Facebook-connected games every month.

Emergen-C Pedals Into SXSW With A Mobile Revitalization Station

Vitamin supplement brand Emergen-C kickstarted an experiential campaign at SXSW to promote its newest products—and a moment for consumers to rest and recharge—with a mobile revitalization station.

The experience took 15 people at a time on 10-minute rides around town on a self-propelled contraption designed to endorse Probiotics+, the latest line in the brand’s portfolio.

Akosua Asamoah, senior brand manager of Emergen-C, told AListDaily that the timing of the activation was a great fit for the Pfizer-owned brand to make its experiential debut in Austin because it also coincided with the Wellness Expo and targeted a core user group they were actively trying to reach.

“Consumers are increasingly more interested in their overall health and wellness,” said Asamoah. “It’s important for Emergen-C to show up in places like SXSW in order to inform people of the range of wellness benefits available that can be incorporated into daily routines.”

Emergen-C was one of several brands that ventured to SXSW this year to promote marketing messages around health and fitness, which is seemingly a popular trend to reach bleary-eyed attendees who’ve made body-damaging decisions at the endless events and parties.

Others brands that brought experiential marketing messaging underscoring the importance of proper health and nutrition at SXSW included Gatorade, Land O’Lakes, Herbalife and Califia Farms.

Twitch Offering ‘Free Games With Prime’ Subscription Service

Beginning Thursday, Twitch Prime subscribers will have access to five free video games per month through Free Games With Prime, a new program that offers Twitch Prime members access to free games, in addition to regular perks such as ad-free viewing and in-game exclusives. The service is positioned to compete with Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus.

According to Twitch, Free Games With Prime is a response to community support for the Twitch Prime Indie Amplifier program that kicked off last month. The community event is an attempt to support indie titles on Twitch’s popular streaming platform, which is usually dominated by AAA games like League of Legends and Hearthstone.

Twitch Prime members were invited to vote for one of eight independent titles through March 11. The winning game will be announced on March 15, and will then be given to Prime members for free. Twitch has now extended that gift to all eight titles over the next few months.

Twitch has just over 15 million daily active users, so it has a ways to go before outshining Xbox Live’s 59 million active users or PlayStation Plus’ roughly 27 million subscribers. Twitch declined to share its Prime membership figures with AListDaily, but Twitch Prime memberships are automatically granted to Amazon’s 90 million US Prime members, which includes one free subscription to any Twitch channel each month and discounts on new release box games on Amazon during the pre-order period or first two weeks following launch.

Despite its late start to the monthly game subscription industry, Twitch taps directly into the in-demand industry of game video content—worth an estimated $3.2 billion in 2017.

Free Games With Prime titles for March include Superhot, Shadow Tactics, Tales from Candlekeep, Oxenfree and Mr. Shifty.


Fox Sports Kickstarts World Cup Marketing Strategy at SXSW

As SXSW coincided with the 100-day countdown to the 2018 World Cup, Fox Sports saw an opportunity to kick off an experiential marketing strategy. The network built a studio activation designed to further test its content strategy before leaving for the games in Moscow this summer.

The network’s marketing goal for the World Cup is to better reach general sports fans through its programming—especially since the United States did not qualify for the competition this year. The network attempted this by raising awareness and creating excitement among fans with the Fox Sports House, a four-day activation that celebrated the lifestyle elements of soccer through livestreamed shows, film debuts, panel discussions and art.

“Having TV rights to the World Cup is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so we had to do justice by properly marketing it, and SXSW was a great place to do that,” Lee Blevins, brand director of consumer marketing for Fox Sports, told AListDaily. “We have tremendous reach across all of our platforms and screens to promote the event, but we wanted to have a physical manifestation that created a lifestyle to market a cosmopolitan consumer group.”

Fox Sports’ content strategy for the World Cup consists of going beyond just linear TV by modifying unique opportunities on social platforms. So earlier this year, the network partnered with Twitter and Snapchat with a deal designed to amplify its live-event programming among digital natives.

At SXSW, the network produced four 30-minute livestream shows on Twitter so that it could further test and refine seamless viewing experiences and better learn what kind of content is resonating on each channel. The live Twitter shows and video clips included advertising packages that were also available for sponsors.

“It’s critical to have distribution partners to make our content accessible and for us to better reach our marketing goals,” said Blevins. “We want to tell stories the right way, but we also need reach different audiences.”

Express Teases New Retail Concept With One-Day SXSW Pop-Up

While SXSW brand activations tend to take place for anywhere between two and 10 days, fashion retailer Express opted for a different approach this year.

Tapping into an element of festival “FOMO,” the clothing company built a one-day pop-up shop in downtown Austin billed as “The Express Bungalow,” offering a glimpse of its first-to-retail work concept shop opening in New York City later this month. The space was designed to be a reflection of the curated assortment that will be available at its new store.

“SXSW brings together individuals with world-changing ideas, and we wanted to meet them there to inspire and equip them to get to what’s next in their lives,” Jim Hilt, CMO for Express, told AListDaily.

The brand leveraged a 14-hour window with programming that aimed to offer educational and career-minded content and paired it with musical performances at night—all while promoting its latest lines of clothing.

The company also coordinated discussions concurrently serving its content marketing mix with live, career-centric podcasts featuring senior leadership from Facebook and Pandora. The conversations promoted a new survey that Express conducted with the The Levo Institute around the changing definition of work.

Express paired its SXSW activation with its “Game Changers” campaign, which focuses on athletes who harness passion, fashion and technology to achieve career goals.

Hilt said the festival was a natural place to continue scaling their marketing strategy, as the brand is looking for “inspiring individuals” to collaborate with through its partnerships and marketing programs.

Land O’Lakes Cultivates Younger Users With SXSW Event

Land O’Lakes wants younger consumers to know that it’s more than just a butter brand.

The company—a farmer-owned agricultural cooperative—made its SXSW debut in Austin this year with “The Food Effect,” an activation that dives into a dialogue of how people grow their food.

Since Land O’Lakes skews more toward older consumers with its different lines of businesses and sub-brands, the company wanted to set the stage at SXSW to speak directly to a younger audience with its experiences, said Kim Olson, chief communications officer at Land O’Lakes. She noted that they doubled the amount of attendees they were originally expecting.

The four-day experience took place during Interactive and featured a variety of exhibits illustrating challenges and innovations related with food production. The goal of the marketing activation was to engage a new group of consumers by addressing issues around food security and ultimately identifying solutions.

“We’re interested in an open and honest conversation about agriculture and technology, and we understand that our brand can have a role in the space,” Olson told AListDaily. “We want to make fewer yet bigger marketing efforts, and SXSW is a great place to start those conversations. It was the right time for us.”

Attendees entering the expansive space in downtown Austin were greeted with “Insecure Lines,” an experience that invites people to pick up a phone and listen to the voices of those who are struggling with hunger. Each time a story was heard, a meal was donated. By Monday afternoon, a digital overhead counter displayed that over 5,000 people had gone through the experience.

The space also offered a virtual reality experience that took place inside of a lettuce head suspended in the air, demonstrating innovative farming techniques, a station with a DNA strand that illustrated the potential of science to feed more people and an art demonstration that mapped farm fields with satellite imagery.

The company also partnered with National Geographic for panel discussions to bring different viewpoints to its dialogue and marketing agenda.

According to Olson, the brand effectively reached the younger demographic of consumers it was marketing to both in the space at SXSW and on different online channels, with 18 percent engagement across all of their used social media platforms.

“It’s our first foray into experiential marketing at SXSW, and the initial results have been great,” she said.

The Minneapolis-based company also had an experiential marketing activation during the Super Bowl in Minnesota last month with the Farm Bowl, a farm-themed competition course designed to inspire the next generation of consumers about agriculture.

Facebook Tests Marker-Based AR Experiences For Facebook Camera

Facebook is testing marker-based AR experiences, beginning with films Ready Player One and A Wrinkle In Time. The feature will be added to Facebook’s AR studio and made available to all developers next month.

As reported by TechCrunch, these two films serve as a closed beta for the new marker-based AR feature coming to Facebook Camera. Facebook Camera users can point their phones at movie posters, either in the real world or on a computer screen, to trigger an AR experience based on either Ready Player One or A Wrinkle In Time.

Pointing Facebook Camera at a poster for Ready Player One overlays a window that peers into the OASIS—a VR world central to the movie’s plot. Ready Player One premiered at SXSW on Monday and will open in theaters March 29.

For A Wrinkle In Time, the effect creates flowers that float into the user’s world and creates a ripple effect around the user when taking selfies. The Facebook Camera effect was announced on March 9 through the film’s official account.

Facebook launched its Camera Effects Studio beta less than a year ago and to all developers in December. The addition of marker-based AR will allow marketers to integrate Facebook Camera effects into their print or digital campaigns. Unlike marker-less AR filters that can misinterpret the world around a user, marker-based AR is more accurate and invites users to interact with real-world objects or images.

Some retailers, like Ikea and American Girl, already use marker-based AR together with print catalogs to provide additional information or preview an item in a 3D environment. Disney released an AR experience for Pete’s Dragon that would make the dragon appear when pointed at objects as instructed, such as a couch.

AR books are also becoming more popular, and the music industry has adopted the technology, as well. Last year, Sony Music Entertainment and Michael Jackson’s estate partnered with Shazam to create an AR experience for Scream. Pointing the Shazam app at the album’s insert would cause the artwork to animate in AR.

IDC predicts that global AR/VR spending will rise 95 percent in 2018 to $17.8 billion. Consumer spending is expected to exceed $20 billion by the year 2021.