‘Deadpool Core’ Promotes Sequel With Coloring Activities

The Deadpool Core mailing list, released this week and designed to engage fans ahead of Deadpool 2‘s theatrical release on May 18, is beginning to see social traction.

The promotion includes projects for fans to do at home and keeps in the spirit of the Deadpool franchise, which is famous for its parodies. In addition to periodic emails, the microsite allows visitors to download assets—like a movie poster that parodies Flash Dance. To commemorate National Crayon Day on March 31, the site offered a coloring book page that fans can print out at home and share online with the hashtag #DeadpoolCore.

To measure user engagement with the campaign thus far, we calculated the earned media value from posts about Deadpool Core from March 31 to April 3.

“Earned media” is the value of engagements a brand receives across channels as a result of their marketing efforts. To help quantify what the value of those engagements is worth, Ayzenberg Group established the Ayzenberg Earned Media Value Index (AEMVI) and assigned a quantifiable dollar amount for marketing gains a brand receives from a campaign or individual engagement that includes social media networks and similar digital properties.

The official Deadpool account posted identical status updates on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook March 31. “Red” earned the most “green” on Instagram, where the post earned over 91,000 likes and 242 comments. On Twitter, the original #DeadpoolCore announcement post was liked over 6,000 times and shared by 1,145 users. Facebook users liked the post a little over 3,000 times. Based on the latest EMV values, 20th Century Fox earned just shy of $14,500 in the four days spanning March 31 to April 3.

The campaign’s dedicated microsite parodies the original Mickey Mouse Club with photos of the film’s characters in white turtlenecks with their names on them. Those who sign up for Deadpool Core are also referred to as “Mercateers.”

“You will be locked, cocked, and loaded with everything a true ‘core fan’ needs to prepare for the theatrical release of everyone’s favorite ‘Merc with a Mouth’ all over the world,” reads the site’s F.U.Q. Frequently Unanswered Questions section. “Mostly, it means you will receive emails with exclusive content and F-ing awesome digital goodies.”

Soon after the campaign’s announcement, fans began to post their coloring pages online, along with screenshots of their first Deadpool Core membership email. Like good Mercateers, fans followed Deadpool’s instructions to include the hashtag #DeadpoolCore, as well.

(Editor’s note: AListDaily is the publishing arm of [a]network and a sister site to Ayzenberg. To read the updated AEMVI report reflecting the rapid changes in social, click here.)

Werther’s Creates Life-Sized ‘Candy Land’ Game Board For #CaramelDay

Werther’s is bringing a life-sized Candy Land game board to the Santa Monica Pier for National Caramel Day.

Candy Land: The Werther’s Caramel Edition Game is a pop-up experiential marketing campaign organized in partnership with Hasbro. The one-day event is designed to spread brand awareness for Werther’s candies on National Caramel Day—an internet holiday that occurs each year on April 5. The game is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, and a digital version of the game will also be posted on CaramelDay.com.

Mario Lopez, who not-so-coincidentally hosts the Candy Crush game show, will be on-site with his family.

Visitors are invited to follow the game board through four “kingdoms” with photo opportunities, facts about the company and candy throughout. The areas are called Caramel Popcorn Mountains, Werther’s Woods, Caramel Creme Lagoon and Werther’s Caramel Castle. A digital version will be available online for 30 days following the event that includes a 360-degree video of the pop-up.

The experiential pop-up taps into nostalgia around the classic Candy Land Board board game, which was first published in 1949, as well as the fear of missing out (FOMO) for fans with a sweet tooth.

Werther’s has partnered with a number of brands over the years—including Walt Disney World, where it has a dedicated shop. In 2017, the brand promoted its new caramel popcorn through an official sponsorship of the People’s Choice Awards.

As far as last year’s National Caramel Day, Werther’s commissioned a study to determine how consumers in the US pronounce the word “caramel.” A study of 1,000 US consumers found that 57 percent pronounce the treat “ker-uh-muhl.” The confectioner released its survey findings along with a celebration in Carmel, IN where they changed the name to Caramel, IN for the day and provided games, prizes and candy at a special event.

Werther’s Original was the second top-selling hard candy in the US last year, earning $86.1 million. Sales of the caramel treat were second only to Jolly Rancher.

IAB Proposes New OTT Advertising Guidelines For Marketers

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has proposed a set of guidelines for advertising within over-the-top (OTT) environments.

The Guidelines for Identifier for Advertising (IFA) on OTT platforms” proposes three requirements for ad requests sent by devices and apps. These guidelines are centered around giving privacy choices to the consumer.

The first guideline proposal is an identifier for advertising (IFA). IAB says that an IFA must be a unique value that is completely disconnected from a hardware ID, MAC address, IMEI, or IP address. This identifier would be mandatory for ad requests unless the user has opted in to limit ad tracking (see below). Users must be able to reset the IFA and a new, unrelated IFA must be generated whenever a reset occurs.

Under the next guideline, an associated IFA type should identify the source of the IFA, whether device-generated, publisher-provided, or temporary.

Finally, IAB recommends offering limit ad tracking (LAT) as an opt-out mechanism to respect the user’s privacy choices.

Under these proposed OTT advertising guidelines, consumer electronics manufacturers and app stores must provide an API or SDK for app publishers to read the IFA. Having a single area within a platform for users to manage advertising identifiers is also recommended. IAB recommends that access to the privacy policy and terms of use should be located near the IFA reset and LAT settings for convenience.

“The traditional semi-persistent cookie we are accustomed to using as an identifier on browsers isn’t at play across OTT systems, so we need to deploy other types of identifiers to ensure that ad experiences are optimal for consumers,” Dennis Buchheim, senior vice president and general manager of IAB Tech Lab wrote in a statement. “These guidelines will direct stakeholders down the path of best practices to allow OTT to grow and evolve as a significant advertising platform.”

“The Guidelines for Identifier for Advertising on OTT platforms” are open for a 30-day public comment period from April 3 to May 3. Questions and comments regarding these guidelines can be sent to video@iabtechlab.com.

Three Tips For Marketers Ready To Approach OTT 

With the ubiquity of smart TVs and streaming devices and the rise of cord-cutters, advertisers are changing their approach to reach younger viewers, embracing Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms like Hulu and YouTube as the best way to reach this demographic.

For those just catching up: OTT is a term for services which deliver online video without requiring you to watch a television channel. Though these platforms and streaming players like Roku and Google’s Chromecast line have been on the market—and taking up market share—for years, advertising on OTT platforms is still a relative novelty. And some OTT services, like Netflix and HBO Go, currently don’t air advertisements.

While advertising through dongles or boxes like Roku is similar to doing so through smart TVs, both differ significantly from advertising to viewers watching streaming content on their desktops or mobile devices. Luckily, it isn’t complicated.

Good To Know

A few points before we dive into OTT best practices: Advertising on traditional broadcast and cable television is relatively restricted. With few exceptions, ads are in a traditional 30-second format and targeting is pre-algorithmic: Ads correspond to shows’ perceived audiences, rather than being targeted at individual viewers.

OTT advertisements, in comparison, are anarchy. YouTube advertisements are highly targeted and range across a variety of formats from quick, five-second pre-roll to long, 10-minute quasi-infomercials. Although Hulu skews to the traditional format, the company is increasingly improving their ad targeting capabilities. There are even newer emerging advertising venues, such as in-dashboard/in-home screen advertisements on Roku and Xbox Live.

Many advertisers make the mistake of assuming that watching OTT ads is a similar experience whether users are viewing the same content on their laptop or on their television. However, viewing experiences vary wildly. An advertisement that entrances viewers on a computer screen can fail when ported to a home television screen, and vice versa.

Three OTT Points To Remember

1. Understand Your Platform

There are plenty of resources out there for advertisers placing YouTube ads. However, it’s easy to make the mistake of assuming the same content is interchangeable on different viewing platforms. Advertisements steering viewers to websites or mobile apps, for instance, are largely a waste of time if viewers are watching on their television. Similarly, longer seven-to-12-minute infomercials can work great on more intimate platforms like smartphones but are less effective on televisions.

Analytics also differ across platforms. Keith Johnson, COO of Made in Network, tells AListDaily by email that “Tracking performance on ads viewed on settop boxes (including Roku, smart tvs, Chromecast and game consoles) can be frustrating because AdWords does not provide information on them as a separate device. Instead, all ads are categorized as mobile phone, computer, or tablet views. Still, by monitoring traffic sources within YouTube analytics, it’s clear that ads are regularly run on settop boxes.”

2. Don’t Treat Hulu Like Conventional Television

In 2017, Hulu made more than $1 billion in advertising revenue for the first time. Although things are changing, especially with Disney becoming Hulu’s majority shareholder, Hulu is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for big brands.

While YouTube is still welcoming to advertisers of all shapes and sizes, Hulu is mainly attracting the big fish. Unlike conventional television, Hulu offers a range of video formats—including seven-second ads, ad selectors, extended pre-roll videos viewers can watch instead of 30-second commercials, and a number of other formats. They even offer bespoke assistance for advertisers that essentially creates ads for them.

3. Embrace The Weird

Unlike conventional television ads, OTT ads for streaming players can include interactive aspects, target niche interests or both. Marketers can find good results by targeting high-quality advertisements to small interest-based or demographic audiences, and by creating advertisements which offer experiences you can’t find through your cable box or laptop screen.

Mark Williams, senior director of media operations at Fullscreen, added that “People say television is dying. That’s not [the] case; it’s just shifting a bit. We’re seeing some reallocation, but it won’t go away for the foreseeable future.” However, the rise of OTT advertising does offer advertisers and marketers new opportunities. For instance, Williams notes that advertisers can target ads to television viewers based on their individual or household interests—something that traditionally has been the province of desktop and mobile streaming video.

New Advertising Formats Mean New Opportunities

While these platforms are still relatively new, reaching viewers through streaming boxes, dongles and smart televisions is accomplished with a hybrid of both new and old tactics.

Advertisers and talent still deal with Google Adsense even when YouTube ads are viewed on big screen televisions, while advertisers can microtarget ads to individual households watching big-budget television shows on Hulu.

“Most of our advertisers today are looking to capture audiences that they’re not able to reach through a traditional television buy,” noted Seth Walters, vice president of demand partnerships at Roku. “They’re looking to leverage perhaps their own first party or third party data to reach a more qualified audience that’s more traffic for them and manage the sequencing of messaging against that audience.” In other words: Web-style ad targeting, but for television.

Video Game Publishers Navigate Legalities With Influencers

Influencers marketing is still a relatively new means of engaging with audiences, but it has grown to become a critical part of video game marketing campaigns—and it’s not just the games themselves that are benefitting from endorsements, as non-gaming brands have taken notice too. But not all publishers and influencers are following FTC disclosure guidelines, even though it was a video game that helped spark their creation.

A recent paper written by Princeton researcher Arunesh Mathur analyzing YouTube videos and Pinterest pins found that 90 percent of posts containing affiliate links did not disclose that they were sponsored, indicating problems with the entire influencer marketing space. Mathur’s paper points out that with gaming specifically, 21 out of 152 affiliates disclosed themselves on YouTube, so it’s not surprising that the is gaining more attention in the legal community.

“The most common mistake I hear about is companies and influencers assuming that it’s someone else’s job to figure out the proper disclosure,” Will Bucher, a lawyer at Debevoise & Plimpton, explained to AListDaily. “A large company hires an external agency assuming the agency will know the disclosure requirements; an agency assumes that an influencer remembers the guidance the agency provided during a previous engagement a year ago; or the influencers assumes if they had a disclosure requirement, someone in a suit would have told them. The truth is that when no one takes responsibility, everyone gets in trouble.”

With more video games being treated as a service, companies are becoming heavily invested in influencer and community marketing. Sources told AListDaily that they consider livestreaming a top priority channel, placing it among traditional marketing activities such as advertising. It’s a medium where broadcasters can talk directly with their audiences in an authentic way, showing games as they are, without hiding behind stylized or heavily produced marketing materials.

Bucher defines influencers as “non-traditional marketing,” meaning that they are campaigns based on personal recommendations and endorsements, both explicit and implicit. So, an ad that plays at the beginning of a Twitch stream is considered traditional marketing, while a streamer talking about a game he or she is playing is non-traditional. Predominantly wearing a certain brand of headphones during broadcasts also counts as non-traditional marketing.

“Most social media platforms facilitate traditional marketing, but increasingly it’s the recommendations and endorsements of the influencers themselves that are moving products,” said Bucher. “For this reason, non-traditional marketing through social media influencers has attracted much attention from both marketing teams and the Federal Trade Commission.”

There are companies that host multiple live broadcast events every week, and some have partner programs where streamers become official ambassadors for their games and brands. These partners may have direct access to the development team for information and are usually provided with giveaway items in addition to access to new content to encourage viewership and showcase a game’s newest features. Those looking to emulate this kind of focus on community-based marketing should also take steps to avoid disclosure issues while doing so.

“If you are paying influencers or giving them free products to promote a brand or company, you should also be providing those influencers with clear guidance on when and how they should disclose,” said Bucher, stating that lawyers should write the guidance well enough for fourth graders to understand it. “If you don’t currently have guidance that you provide the influencers you work with, now would be a good time to implement those policies. A procedure for monitoring compliance across all sponsored content is important too.”

According Bucher, disclosure is required when there is a connection between an endorser and the marketer that consumers would not expect, but affects how those consumers evaluate the endorsement or recommendation. This usually occurs when a company pays an individual for an endorsement or provides someone with a free product.

Disclosure can be as simple as including “#ad” or “#sponsored” in a tweet. If it is not provided, both the influencer and the sponsoring company are taking a risk.

“If the Federal Trade Commission or a state agency takes notice, the result could be a legal settlement. The class action bar is starting to take notice too,” said Bucher.

Bucher recommends that if a company realizes that an influencer forgot to provide disclosure that it should either take the post down or add a complaint disclosure to it.

“Remedying mistakes is important,” Bucher continued. “The Federal Trade Commission has made it clear that when companies have robust monitoring programs to make sure influencers are compliant and a system for taking swift action to correct noncompliant content, they can avoid legal repercussions for those mistakes.”

A possible workaround to avoid potential compliance issues is to partner with the streaming platform itself. For example, Twitch has a program called Drops, where in-game items are given to live viewers when a streamer hits certain achievements during a broadcast. The program has worked well for both publishers and livestreamers, and sources said that longtime broadcasters who once had a peak viewership of around 100 people suddenly had audiences numbering in the thousands, with those viewers converting to players when they redeem their rewards. Unless companies are coordinating with specific streamers to use Drops or similar features, there wouldn’t be anything to disclose.

Still, Bucher said it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to disclosure.

“We wouldn’t fault any company for misstepping, since this is all new and the rules of the road are just emerging,” said Bucher. “Having said that, there have been cases where companies made no disclosure at all, and it’s clear by now that some disclosure is always better than none.”

Palace Resorts Uses Eye Tracking To Recommend Vacations

Palace Resorts is using eye tracking to recommend Latin American vacation destinations.

Never Lift A Finger” accesses a user’s webcam or smartphone camera as they take an online quiz. The site then gauges interest through eye movements and gaze duration to recommend a Palace Resort vacation package.

Alternatively, users can choose to manually select videos or tilt their phones to make decisions through the mobile site.

Eye tracking offers marketers a way to measure genuine interest based on where a user looks and for how long. This allows them to then customize outreach methods accordingly. For example, a recent eye-tracking study found that video ads embedded in premium content were found to drive purchase intent 27 percent higher than skippable pre-roll ads or video ads found on social feeds.

For this campaign, users are shown a pair of videos that feature different elements of Palace Resorts, such as family-friendly dining or adults-only relaxation. An on-screen beacon shows users where they are looking on the screen. Once they have looked at the same video for a few seconds, the software confirms the selection and moves on to the next pair of parallel videos.

After five videos have been selected, the microsite recommends one of Palace Resorts’ 10 locations, along with more information and a booking portal.

“Never Lift A Finger” was created by Expedia Group Media Solutions, the advertising arm of Expedia. The company has created a number of interactive travel experiences over the years, including a 360-degree ad for San Antonio Texas and a facial recognition campaign for Hawaii called “Discover Your Aloha,” which they released in 2016. The latter used facial recognition to gauge a viewer’s reaction to a video featuring different vacation ideas from swimming to hiking or just relaxing. As with “Never Lift A Finger,” the microsite would then recommend vacation packages based on what the user interacted with the most.

The company’s current eye-tracking campaign is running across Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire and Travelocity in the US, Canada, Mexico, Latin America and the UK.


Jeep Debuts 360 Video Experience With World Surf League

Jeep and the World Surfing League (WSL) have partnered to release a 360-degree video choose-your-own-adventure experience.

“Jeep Sessions: A Surfing Journey in 360” literally places users in the passenger seat with pro surfer Jordy Smith in his 2018 Jeep Wrangler or Malia Manual in her Jeep Renegade as they drive around Oahu, Hawaii.

Consumers can view the experiences on YouTube or by downloading the official app for iOS, Android or Oculus Gear. Developed by Rapid VR, the app version of “A Surfing Journey in 360” offers choices and interactive elements that users can activate by focusing on certain objects.

The 360-degree activation continues Jeep’s ongoing partnership with WSL that highlights both vehicles and pro surfers to the public. For those attending in person, the VR experience will be available at WSL events throughout the year.

Rapid VR has experience filming 360-degree videos of surfing, having developed “Get Barreled In Tahiti” with Samsung in 2015.

For brands, 360-degree video has become a popular way to showcase products and ideas without the need for expensive VR rigs. Allowing users to make choices throughout the experience encourages repeat viewing to see all the outcomes.

A few major activations have popped up: last year, an Expedia created a 360-degree experience for San Antonio, TX that allowed users to choose locations to explore on a virtual vacation. And in 2016, Liberty Mutual Insurance launched a campaign on Facebook that offered choices after a user’s virtual car broke down in the woods.

Google recently found that 360-degree video ads outperformed standard videos in terms of click-through rates and engagement. A 360 ad for Columbia Sportswear drove 41 percent more earned actions than the standard ad and drove more engagement with Columbia’s YouTube channel.

North Face Launches Female-Focused ‘Move Mountains’ Initiative

The North Face has launched its “Move Mountains” initiative—the brand’s first global campaign devoted to women and young girls.

Move Mountains includes a series of videos that highlight females who are leading in their respective fields. The spots, which will air online and across social channels, feature rock climbers Ashima Shiraishi and Margo Hayes, endurance runner Fernanda Maciel, mountain climber Hilaree Nelson and aerospace engineer Tiera Fletcher.

The North Face will take over the National Geographic Instagram account this week to highlight female explorers, and Fletcher’s work to send rockets to Mars represents a different side to that idea.

Tom Herbst, global vice president of marketing for The North Face,  told AlistDaily that given the current cultural context, it was a good time for a campaign devoted to women explorers. “Part of this campaign is to tell their stories and open opportunity for all women to set lofty goals and meet them and challenge themselves,” said Herbst. “It’s not always just [about] physical element of exploration, but also the mental emotional and cultural aspect as well.”

The North Face has partnered with Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) to create a new set of curriculum that includes 12 new outdoor adventure badges ranging from mountaineering to trail running. While The North Face has partnered with GSUSA in the past, this is a “much larger” program.

“We feel like we have both a responsibility and an opportunity to introduce as many people as possible to a life lived outdoors and a life of exploration,” said Herbst.

Two new stores will open this year, each catered to the female demographic. The North Face location in Edina, MN will focus on running and training apparel, while a store in San Francisco will feature all women’s product lines from outdoor to urban products.

The brand will also ship its first-ever women-focused catalog to around 70,000 consumers.

The North Face is also looking inward, Herbst explained, focusing on employee development through a partnership with Paradigm for Parity Coalition.

“As we stepped back and looked at our brand, we know we’ve been doing a lot of the right things over the years in terms of supporting women in our organization but we feel like we could do even more,” said Herbst.

Nature is the great equalizer, he explained, and The North Face wants to reflect that philosophy in its brand message.

“We feel like there’s an opportunity to be much more inclusive within the outdoor industry. The outdoors treats everyone the same regardless of your background or what you look like.”

Marketers Use Adblockers More Than Average Internet User

Ironically, marketers and media professionals are just as tired of seeing ads as consumers, despite spending more on digital ads this year.

Recent estimates by eMarketer claim that adblock technology will be used by 30.1 percent of internet users in 2018. However, internal tracking shows that 76 percent of AListDaily readers—comprised chiefly of executives in the media and marketing space—actively use adblockers.

AListDaily tracked ad block usage from users over a period of 30 days in March using Google Analytics. Considering that our readers are marketing professionals—70 percent of which are VPs and C-level executives—it came as a surprise to find that 76 percent of our total audience uses adblockers themselves.

Meanwhile, US advertisers will spend nearly $48 billion on digital display ads in 2018, eMarketer predicts. This is an increase from nearly $42 billion spent last year.

As a marketing professional, do you use adblockers? If so, how does that decision impact your view on advertising?

Super 8 Debuts Concept Car Inspired By Newly-Designed Rooms

Super 8 continues its “Road Trip” marketing theme with a concept car designed to match the hotel’s new guestroom decor.

At the New York International Auto Show on Friday, Super 8 debuted a concept car called ROADM8. Created from a 2017 Jeep Wrangler, ROADM8 is painted red and yellow to match the Super 8 signage and features a number of designs that match the hotel chain’s newly-remodeled rooms.

Under the hood, for example, is a black and white mountain landscape photo of South Dakota—a nod to wall-sized photography prints that double as headboards in the chain’s hotel rooms. The seats have been upholstered to match the bedspreads and the coffee maker has been installed in the console, along with a mini-fridge.

Super 8 invested more than $100 million in renovations in its North American locations last year. This year marks the hotel chain’s 45th anniversary and the brand wants to spread awareness around its recent facelift.

“While some might be surprised to see us at the New York International Auto Show, for us, we think it’s the ideal spot to show off the new look and feel of Super 8,” Mike Mueller, Super 8 brand senior vice president said in the official press release.

Creating a hotel concept car ties nicely into Super 8’s ongoing “Road Trip” campaign. Last year, the brand released a series of video ads that made light of road trips gone wrong with the tagline, “At least tonight can be Super.”

The activation is being received well on Instagram, without visible negative feedback; ROADM8 posts prompted several comments about wanting to own the car. A 360-degree tour of the car is also available on Super 8’s Facebook page, where it has also received positive feedback.

Deloitte predicts that the hotel industry will experience strong five-to-six percent growth in 2018, reaching a record-breaking $170 billion in gross bookings.

“Throughout the year, hoteliers will be looking for an opportunity in strategic places, including a revisit of the midscale experience, traveler-facing tech, health and wellness and loyalty,” said Deloitte.