Snapchat Shows Opened To Influencers; Twitter Tackles Online Safety

This week in social media news, Snapchat partners with influencers for new shows, Facebook Messenger Kids launches outside the US and Twitter acquires Smyte. In other news, Snap Maps get animated, Facebook tests paid subscriptions, Pinterest offers a subscription box, Instagram launches long-form video, Facebook adds trivia to its videos and Snapchat greenlights a docuseries. In addition, Facebook tests autoplay video ads in Messenger, Pinterest adds marketing partners, YouTube Premium and Music expand across the world and Unilever takes a stand against “cheating” influencers.

Influencers Partner For New Snapchat Shows

Snapchat has long been criticized for ignoring its most popular and influential creators and has taken steps recently to make amends. During Vidcon on Thursday, Snapchat announced that Snaphat Shows—shortform shows produced by publishing partners—will now extend to online creators.

The first of such shows will feature makeup artist Patrick Starrr, creator and star of an E!-branded makeover Show, “Face Forward.” The partnership kicked off with a Snapchat filter that gave user Bitmojis a makeover.

Twitter Announces Plans To Acquire Smyte

Amid privacy, spam and abuse concerns that impact every social network, Twitter has agreed to acquire Smyte, a San Francisco-based technology company that specializes in safety, spam, and security issues. On its website, Smyte announced that it is closing it business as a result of the deal.

“Smyte’s products will help us address challenges in safety, spam and security more quickly and effectively. Their review tools and processes will be powerful additions to our own tools and technology that help us keep Twitter safe. We’ll integrate this technology to strengthen our systems and operations in the coming months.”

Snapchat Introduces Animated Map Effects

Snapchat users viewing themselves or friends on the Snap Map will now see animated effects to reflect the weather, holidays or someone’s birthday. The effects tie into local weather forecasts and add visuals like sunshine, snow or rain. On someone’s birthday, the map will show confetti. Around holidays, the map may change appearance or show fireworks for the Fourth of July.

While the new feature is limited to just a few visuals at launch, it opens possibilities for Snapchat’s advertisers to “take over” Snap Chat effects in the future. The map could be transformed to match a franchise, for example, with items to collect or characters to interact with.

Faceboook Messenger Kids Expands Outside US

Messenger Kids launched in Canada and Peru on Friday, along with Spanish and French versions where the app is available. Alongside the announcement, Facebook revealed three new features: the Messenger Kids Pledge, Kindness Stickers and Appreciation Mission.

The Messenger Kids Pledge encourages conversation between parents and their kids about using the app and encourages responsible use. Kindness Stickers can be shared between users with messages like “Well Done” and “Great Helper.” Appreciation Mission will be an interactive guide within the app designed to “encourage kids to discover and express appreciation for their friends and family.”

Facebook Tests Subscriptions For Group Membership

Being the administrator for any online group is hard work, so Facebook has begun testing a way to compensate them for their time. Subscription Groups allow an admin to charge anywhere between $4.99 and $29.99 per month for access to an exclusive Facebook group and its features. Members are able to able to sign-up and manage their subscription through the Facebook app for iOS and Android and admins are provided with tools to help manage content.

At this time, the program is available only to a few groups like Organize My Home, Grown and Flown Parents: College Admissions and Affordability and Meal Planning Central Premium. Once Facebook receives feedback from admins about the program and sees how members react to a paid service, they will determine whether to roll out Subscription Groups to the public.

Pinterest 100 Box Will Highlight Current Trends

Pinterest has partnered with FabFitFun to create the first-ever Pinterest 100 Box, a quarterly subscription filled with products based on the social network’s annual top 100 trends list.

Products in the first box will include a Pier 1 Imports Sage Vase, Tarte lifted sweat-proof mascara, Kopari Coconut Multitasking Kit, R+Co ACID WASH ACV Cleansing Rinse, The Jetset Diaries Passport Case + Luggage Tag Duo, Talking Tables Dipstick Charades, K POP Foods Crispy Seaweed Snacks, and then a product of choice from two options.

The move will separate Pinterest from other social media sites as one that directly interacts with and influences users outside of the internet, allowing users to explore trends online then try them in real life.

Instagram Launches IGTV For Long-Form Video

On Wednesday, Instagram introduced a standalone surface for viewing long-form video called IGTV. When users open the app, videos based on who they follow on Instagram will begin to play automatically. The videos are played in vertical, full-screen format and can be swiped through, just as one would while browsing Stories.

“We believe this is the future of video. People continue to spend more time with entertainment on their mobile devices, and we’re making it easier for them to get closer to the creators and original content they love,” said Instagram.

Facebook Woos Teens With Trivia

Teenagers are spending less time on Facebook and to fix this, the site will do what it does best—copy another app. Facebook has introduced trivia similar to HQ. Gamification for Live will also allow its partners to add interactive features like polls, quiz questions and challenges to its Facebook videos. Polling will come to both Live and on-demand video which includes a few question formats, like “either/or” or “two truths and a lie.”

Snapchat Ventures Into Soft-Scripted Shows

Endless Summer, a coming-of-age series, is currently in production and slated to debut on the app in September. The show will be soft-scripted, meaning that it stars real-life people as themselves in scripted situations. Endless Summer follows the life of 19-year-old Summer Mckeen, a beauty and fashion vlogger popular on YouTube with her own jewelry line. As reported by Variety, the show will follow Summer as she experiences living on her own for the first time in Laguna Beach next door to her boyfriend Dylan Jordan.

Facebook Tests Video Ads In Messenger

Facebook Messenger has rolled out autoplay video ads this week to see how users react.

“Top priority for us is user experience,” Stefanos Loukakos, Facebook’s head of Messenger told Recode on Tuesday. “So we don’t know yet [if these will work]. However, signs until now, when we tested basic ads, didn’t show any changes with how people used the platform or how many messages they send.”

It may be the world’s second-largest seller of advertising, but with that accolade comes the problem of real estate—in order to remain competitive, Facebook is searching for new places to show advertisements to its users. For now, its new Watch video section creates new space to host ad revenue, as are recent shopping tags added to Instagram Stories.

Pinterest Reveals Creative Marketing Partners

Pinterest is courting marketers by offering services through what it calls Creative Pinterest Marketing Partners (PMP). Brands that want to create interactive Pins on the site can now work with Popular Pays, QuickFrame, Shutterstock Custom, Social Native, Vidmob, Vidsy and The Online Studio using the Pinterest API.

“Since Pinterest is visual and personal, creating good Pins requires a special touch,” the company said in a blog post. “With our new PMPs, marketers get access to teams already trained by the Pinterest Creative Strategy team on our best practices. These teams have created thousands upon thousands of Pins to date and are now ready to help businesses make more.”

YouTube Music And Premium Make Their Global Debuts

Starting Monday, YouTube Music is available to everyone in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea in addition to 12 new countries including Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

In addition, YouTube Premium rolled out to 17 countries worldwide. The subscription service will automatically become available to current YouTube Red and Google Play Music members (including family plans) in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico.

Unilever Vows Not To Work With Influencers Who Buy Followers

Marketing powerhouse Unilever continues to stress the importance of online transparency. In an emailed statement, Unilever chief marketing officer Keith Weed told CNBC that “The key to improving the situation is three-fold: cleaning up the influencer ecosystem by removing misleading engagement; making brands and influencers more aware of the use of dishonest practices; and improving transparency from social platforms to help brands measure impact.”

Weed said that Unilever will never buy followers or work with social media influencers who do so, while also prioritizing social media channels that work to increase transparency.

“We need to take urgent action now to rebuild trust before it’s gone forever,” he said.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, June 22. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at

Cannes Lions 2018: Grand Prix Award Winners List

Each year, the Cannes Lions are awarded to marketing campaigns that master the art of communication, execution and creativity in each respective field, with the very best receiving the coveted Grand Prix. Here are this year’s Cannes Lions Grand Prix winners

Editor’s Note: This list will be updated daily throughout the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity until Friday, June 22


Health and Wellness
  • CorazóGive Your Heart—John x Hannes New York for Montefiore
Lions Health Grand Prix For Good
  • Blink to Speak—TBWA\India for Asha EK Hope Foundation


  • Trash Isles—AMVBBDO London for LADbible
  • Corruption Detector—Grey Brazil Sao Paulo for Reclame Aqui
  • Follow the Arches: Next Exit—Cosette Toronto for McDonald’s
  • Follow the Arches: Just Missed UsCosette Toronto for McDonald’s
  • Follow the Arches: On your LeftCosette Toronto for McDonald’s
  • Follow the Arches: On your RightCosette Toronto for McDonald’s
  • The Daily Show Presents: The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library—Comedy Central New York for Comedy Central
Print And Publishing
  • Tagwords—Africa Sao Paulo for AB InBev
Radio And Audio
  • Soccer Song for Change—Ogilvy Cape Town for AB InBev


Digital Craft
  • Aeronaut VR—Isobar New York for William Patrick Corgan
Film Craft
  • Hope—Blur Films Madrid for National Committee of the Red Cross
Industry Craft


Brand Experience and Activation

Read our interview with Jury President Rob Reilly here.

Creative eCommerce


  • Evert_45—N=5 Amsterdam for KPN
Entertainment Lion For Music

Read our interview with Jury President Lori Feldman here.

  • JAY-Z “Smile”—Smuggler New York for Rocnation
  • Welcome Home—TBWA\Media Arts Lab Los Angeles for Apple


  • My Line—Mullenlowe SSP3 Bogota for Ministry of Communications and Information
Product Design
  • Kingo—Ogilvy Columbia Bogota for Kingo


Creative Data

Read our interview with Jury President Marc Maleh here.

  • JFK Unsilenced—Accenture Interactive Dublin for The Times/News UK and Ireland
  • Palau Pledge—Host/Havas Sydney for Palau Legacy Project
  • Tesco’s Food Love Stories—Mediacom London for Tesco
  • Trash Isles—AMVBBDO London for Plastic Oceans/LADbible
Social and Influencer
  • Nothing Beats a Londoner—Weiden + Kennedy London for Nike


Glass: The Lion For Change

Read our interview with Jury President Madonna Badger here.

  • Blood Normal—AMVBBDO London for Essity
Grand Prix For Good
  • Project Revoice—BWM Densu/Haystac for ALS Association and MND Australia
Sustainable Development Goals
  • Palau Pledge—Host/Havas Sydney for Palau Legacy Project

This Week’s Exec Shifts: Northwestern Mutual CMO Aditi Gokhale Promoted To SVP

This week, the first CMO for Northwestern Mutual can add SVP to her title.

Northwestern Mutual Promotes CMO To SVP

Financial security company Northwestern Mutual announced several executive appointments, including the promotion of Aditi Gokhale to senior vice president, who will also continue her role as the company’s chief marketing officer. Gokhale joined the Milwaukee-based insurance and investments giant in 2017 as the first-ever CMO for Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiary LearnVest. Since then, she has been working to revamp the company’s marketing strategy with campaigns such as “Spend Your Life Living,” which launched earlier this year.

Andrew Clarke Moves From Mars CMO To Global President Of Confectonary

Mars Inc., makers of M&Ms and other candies, promoted its chief marketing and customer officer Andrew Clarke to global president of Mars Wrigley Confectionery. He replaces Martin Radvan, who announced his retirement after a 32-year career with the company. Clark joined Mars in the UK in 2000 and has served as its CMO since 2015. Clarke will be based out of the company’s global headquarters in Chicago when he takes up his new position in September.

“Andrew is the right person to lead Mars Wrigley Confectionery into its next chapter. His track record for driving ambitious change while delivering results is the fuel our business needs to thrive in an ever-changing consumer and retail landscape,” said Mars CEO Grant Reid in a statement. “Andrew brings great global perspective, combined with a principled approach to leadership and passion for engaging and inspiring teams.”

Jurlique CMO Departs

Jurlique Skin Care’s chief marketing and global brand officer Andrea Martens announced her departure after two years with the Australian-based company. Prior to joining Jurlique, Martens was a marketer and products manager at Unilever. Martens stated that she will be taking some time off and will do some ad hoc consulting work before planning her next professional move.

Mama Fu’s Picks Up CMO And Digital Marketing Manager

Jamie Cohen has joined Mama Fu’s Asian House as its first CMO and Erika Lingonblad was named as the food brand’s digital marketing manager. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Mama Fu’s has 28 locations, with two in the United Arab Emirates.

AIA Insurance Group Appoints New CMO And CEO

Pan-Asian life insurance group AIA has appointed its deputy general manager of finance and actuarial Heng Zee Wang as CMO. According to a statement, Heng will oversee the development and implementation of an integrated marketing strategy for AIA, particularly its AIA Vitality brand, to encourage people to live healthier lives. At the same time, Eric Chang is taking the role of CEO Designate at AIA General, a new AIA subsidiary.

Save The Children Appoints Jennifer Roberti CMO

Jennifer Roberti has been named the very first chief marketing officer for Save the Children. Roberti joins the charity with over 20 years of experience, having served as senior vice president for marketing and communications at Unicef US as well as executive of group marketing for Nigeria’s MTN. In her new role, Roberti will help reshape global marketing, communications, fundraising and sponsorship activities.

“With a proven record of driving revenue, digital engagement and brand awareness, she is uniquely qualified to grow and engage our supporter base more deeply in our mission to reach every last child,” said Save the Children president and chief executive Carolyn Miles.

Walmart CMO Departs For Sam’s Club

Tony Rogers announced that he is leaving Walmart as its US chief marketing officer to take on the newly created role of chief member officer at Sam’s Club. The move won’t occur until late July, which gives Walmart time to find a replacement. Rogers has been a Walmart CMO for over two years, and his accomplishments include consolidating the retail giant’s physical store and ecommerce marketing teams into a single unit across three cities. The move from running marketing for the world’s biggest retail chain to a membership-based club store may come as a surprise to many, but Rogers said that after working 20 years in packaged goods, tech, retail and customer marketing, he was interested in working with a membership database for the first time. He also added that he looks forward to increasing the membership club’s relatively small ecommerce business while being the underdog in a competition against Costco.

Hiyacar Car-Sharing Rental Service Appoints CMO

Peer-to-peer car rental service Hiyacar has appointed Sarah Kilmartin as its chief marketing officer. Kilmartin, who was the head of broadcast marketing for the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain for seven years, will be responsible for driving sign-ups to the platform while growing the Airbnb-like peer-to-peer lending movement in London.

“I’m really passionate about community and believe the sharing economy has a huge role to play in building smarter communities, where people don’t need to own things they don’t use daily—they can hire from neighbours. It just makes sense,” said Kilmartin.

20th Century Fox Film Expands Marketing Team

Former Sony Pictures marketing SVP Mary Goss Robino has joined 20th Century Fox Film in the newly created role of EVP of global marketing partnerships, effective July 9. In this position, she will oversee the studio’s marketing promotions in addition to working with third-party marketing partners around the world. Robino has more than 25 years of experience in entertainment and brand marketing, and she has been behind marketing partnerships for major global franchises such as James Bond, Spider-Man, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and others.

At the same time, Zac Eller, Fox’s EVP of domestic promotions and partnerships, announced that he is departing the company to pursue new opportunities.

Senior Execs Depart As Time Warner Is Renamed To WarnerMedia 

AT&T is moving ahead with its plans for its newly acquired Time Warner unit by announcing a new executive structure in addition to rebranding the unit to WarnerMedia. The unveiling was accompanied by an announcement that John Martin, who has served as Turner’s CEO for over four years, is departing. Before the sale, Martin was seen as a potential successor to Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, who is also expected to retire after the transition period. Several other senior level executives will also be departing as part of the restructuring effort.

Turner has been the company’s main revenue driver, bringing in more than $4.5 billion in 2017, which more than what HBO and Warner Bros. brought in combined at $2.2 billion and $1.76 billion respectively. Although AT&T executive John Stankey, who is charged with running the Time Warner properties, said that there will be little change to day-to-day operations, but “because we are now a subsidiary of AT&T Inc., many of the redundant corporate support functions between our companies at the HQ/holding company level will be eliminated in the coming months.” 

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, June 22. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

Senior Brand Manager Kellogg’s Battle Creek, MI
Head of Integrated Marketing Amazon Seattle, WA
Chief Marketing Officer Facebook Menlo Park, CA
Head of Product Marketing Walmart San Bruno, CA
SVP & Chief Marketing Officer Jacksonville Jaguars Jacksonville, FL
VP, Marketing & Innovation  Tillys Irvine, CA

Make sure to check back for updates on our jobs page.

“State Of Decay 2” Tops May Game Sales, Bringing Down “God Of War”

The NPD Group has released its monthly report for new physical video game sales, as well as a subset of full-game digital downloads from participating publishers in NPD’s digital panel. Although not intended to cover total market/total consumer spend, the figures give us an idea of industry-wide trends.

Spending across hardware, software, accessories and game cards grew by 13 percent to $685 million in May compared to one year ago. Overall growth has occurred across all categories with year-to-date spending up 15 percent to $4.9 billion compared to last year.

Although software saw a slight decline in sales, it was offset by growth in other categories. Dollar sales of console, portable and PC games reached a combined $274 million in May 2018, which is a 4 percent decrease from last year. NPD analyst Mat Piscatella attributes this decline to the slate of games, with 2017’s release of Injustice 2 proving to be a tough act to follow. But year-to-date software spending has increased by 7 percent to $2.2 billion, led by titles that include Far Cry 5, God of War and Monster Hunter: World.

State Of Decay 2 And Detroit: Become Human Debut To Top Spots

May’s bestselling game was State of Decay 2, with launch sales that nearly doubled that of the previous game. It knocked God of War down to the second-place spot, followed by Detroit: Become Human and Far Cry 5.

Sony was May’s top performing publisher, driven by sales of God of War and Detroit: Become Human. Detroit: Become Human may be in third place, but it still represents a success for its developer Quantic Dream.

“Launch month sales of Detroit: Become Human represent a record high for developer Quantic Dream, with sales growth of over 20 percent when compared to its previous launch month bestseller, Heavy Rain,” said Piscatella.

Ubisoft remains the top revenue-generating publisher this year to date, with Far Cry 5 still reigning as the year’s bestselling game with God of War behind it. Meanwhile, Activision Blizzard is in the lead for top revenues over the 12-month period ending in May.

Software sales for the Nintendo Switch console rose by 90 percent compared to last year, “delivering the highest software revenues for any Nintendo platform in May since the Nintendo Wii in May 2011.” However, The NPD Group does not currently track digital sales for the platform.

Console Sales Strong, Accessories Hit All-Time High

The NPD Group reports that hardware spending increased by 26 percent to $186 million in May compared to last year, with sales of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 driving overall growth. Year-to-date hardware spending is up 15 percent to $1.3 billion, driven by Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and “Plug-N-Play” devices such as the SNES Classic.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 was the bestselling platform, and it remains the top-selling console this year to date. However, all consoles, including the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, achieved all-time unit sales in May. In fact, May 2018’s hardware sales totals were the highest of any May since 2011, while May 2018 dollar sales reached the highest total since May 2014.

Headset and gamepad also had a good month, with year-to-date sales of both accessories reaching all-time record highs at more than double what they were last year. Spending on headsets alone increased by 83 percent since the start of the year, while gamepad spending grew by 22 percent.


Cannes Lions Sessions: Engaging A Billion Users Through Technology And Culture

Gaining over a billion users is no small feat, but a brand’s job doesn’t end there—at Cannes Lions, Tencent shared the four methods it uses for creating experiences that engage and care for its users in a meaningful way.

Tencent has been the top public gaming company in the world five years running and WeChat recently crossed the one billion user threshold—an impressive feat considering that China’s population is approximately 1.4 billion.

Seng Lee Lau, Tencent’s chairman of group marketing and global branding as well as executive vice president and chairman of Tencent Advertising, took the stage at Cannes to say that the brand’s success can be boiled down to four core values.

Lau described the first company value as “The Founder’s Spirit”—recognizing, honoring and embodying the company’s original values as set forth by its creators. The second value, he said, is an open platform mindset. A company needs to recognize its own limitations and coexist with partners to create and nurture an ecosystem for the industry.

A “Digital Level,” Lau said, means helping others within the industry. He used the Internet Plus initiative as an example. Tencent participates in a nationwide effort between the Chinese government and businesses to create faster and more affordable internet access designed to drive a “new industrial revolution.”

The fourth and most important value Tencent embodies is craftsmanship.

“From the days of our inception, user experience has been the fundamental core value of our company,” said Lau. “As we evolve and we realize that the devotion to excellent user experience could only be created by an unwavering commitment to craftsmanship.”

Lau said that marketers embody craftsmanship to win a Cannes Lion award, but it is in danger of becoming a lost art.

“In order to produce an exceptional user experience, that craftsmanship has to be inculcated as a way of life, culture to produce Cannes-ready user experience almost every day,” he said, adding that loyalty is the ultimate test for a brand.

Lau explained that a “good” experience satisfies individual demand while an “exceptional” experience resonates with human nature. Humans want to share experiences to feel like they belong but they want to be independent and an individual at the same time.

Tencent’s popular photo editing and sharing app, Tiantian P-Tu (天天P) offers filters and themes that resonate with Chinese residents in an individual way such as celebrating holidays, heroes of the past or each person’s childhood.

The app uses AI and facial recognition to use common themes while allowing each user to feel independent. Tiantian P-Tu went viral in recent months and is currently seeking recognition from the Guinness Book of World Records.

While technology is buzzworthy, it can always be replicated. That’s why Lau says that brands need to create an “interplay of technology and culture” that leads to an exceptional experience. This extends to making the world a better place.

“In today’s world, it’s not enough to confine ourselves in the business of providing good products,” said Lau. “Instead, companies must play a broader and more constructive role in a society over the long term.”

What Instagram’s IGTV Means For Brands

Instagram has officially reached 1 billion users since its launch in 2010, and the Facebook-owned social platform marked the occasion on Wednesday by launching its IGTV platform at a San Francisco event. IGTV takes on online media giants like YouTube by supporting up to one hour of vertical video content as opposed to the one-minute limit standard posts have. Content featuring online creators such as LaurDIY, King Bach and Ninja can be viewed from both a standalone IGTV app or from within the main Instagram app.

Instagram’s business blog describes IGTV as an evolution for mobile video to match with the times, citing how audiences are watching less television and more digital video, with mobile video expected to make up 78 percent of total mobile traffic by 2021. The blog also states that, according to a 2016 study by BCG, younger audiences prefer to spend time with amateur content creators instead of professionals. That explains the emphasis on online influencers, but celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West, Selena Gomez, Lele Pons and Kevin Hart have already begun to post videos on IGTV.

Brands may benefit from the platform by both partnering with influencers and creating long-form stories that serve their communities. IGTV content will play as soon as users open the app, and each creator is a channel that followers can quickly tune in to. Users won’t have to search to find content from channels that they’re already following, and swiping upward will bring up related content for them to discover.

“On Instagram, people are watching 60 percent more video than they did just last year,” said Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom at the event. “An entirely new category of video now exists, and it’s being made by creators. Teens may be watching less TV, but they’re watching more creators online.”

Systrom also said that the combined reach of Instagram’s creators is in the hundreds of thousands, giving the photo and video sharing platform “one of the largest and most engaged audiences anywhere in the world.”

Any Instagram user outside of new accounts can upload hour-long videos, but the feature will eventually expand to include everyone, and these videos support links in their descriptions that may drive traffic to external sites. Although Systrom said that the platform doesn’t support ads yet, they are “obvious” and “very reasonable” additions for the future.

Instagram won’t pay creators for content the way Facebook did to launch its Watch platform, but it is exploring ways to make IGTV sustainable by offering creators a way to monetize their content, and ad revenue shares could be among those methods. According to eMarketer, Instagram is expected to pull in $5.48 billion in ad revenues this year, and brands may be eager to address this still-growing audience as they shift spending away from television and Facebook’s rising ad costs.

With IGTV, Instagram is heating up the competition with both YouTube and Snapchat, and although the latter platform has vertical TV shows that attract 20 to 30 million viewers per month, they tend to be either short—around three to five minutes—or comprised of multiple Snaps.

Cannes Lions: Activism, Inclusion And Diversity Come Into View

What a difference a year makes. In the 12 months between Cannes Lions 2017 and Cannes Lions 2018, it seems like the advertising world has finally woken up to the fact that, for an industry that prides itself on innovation and advancement, its structures are run by and work for those predominantly male and white, and have been for a very long time.

However, in the face of pressure coming from both outside and within via the wake of the #MeToo movement and the consequences of the Sorrell scandal, it appears that the creative industries have finally started to address the problems with gender and racial equality. Debates and panel talks have made up a large portion of this edition of Cannes Lions, and the general vibe here is that the industry is coming to terms with its issues and is starting to put its house in order.

“It’s not about shutting it down, it’s more like ‘Let’s go in. Let’s storm the castle!” proclaimed Bozoma St. John, the former chief branding officer at Uber, who vocalized the more upfront, no-BS activism that has been shaking up the ad world. “Women are still usually receiving offers rather than asking for what our work is worth, and when you look at black women, it’s even worse. When I look at a role, I always research what a white guy is earning in the same job and ask to get what they’re getting.

Thanks to voices like St. John, more and more brands are responding to this activism by launching initiatives that are tackling these subjects head-on.

Unilever, for example, used this year’s festival to double down on their Unstereotype Alliance; a coming together of powerful consumer brands who, in their own words, “seek to eradicate harmful gender-based stereotypes.” In two far-reaching moves the company is partnering with Cartoon Network to create content that promotes less traditional views of gender and is also using its little-known entertainment arm U-entertainment to launch a perception-challenging pop group. Formed in close collaboration with pop mogul Simon Fuller, Now United will bring together 14 young artists from around the world to help champion messages of equality and tolerance.

The thing is, this new sense of brand purpose is not only shaping perceptions, it also makes sound business sense. “Our research has revealed that progressive ads are 16 percent more relevant, 21 percent more credible and can drive purchase intent by as much as 18 percent,” explained Aline Santos, Unilever’s global executive VP of marketing and head of diversity and inclusion, in speaking with AList after the launch event. “We’ve shown that progressive ads can create impact.”

Even though initiatives like this are causing advertising to reassess its relationship with color and gender, unfortunately, for many, there is still a feeling that the industry has a long way to go.

“Most men don’t want to be jerks, but we need more of them to be allies to women. We need them to stand up when there is sexism in the workplace,” pointed out Riveter founder Amy Nelson to a panel on Monday that spoke about changing the role of masculinity in the creative sector. “I’d like to get to a point where we can move past the ideas of masculinity and femininity and talk about how we can be good humans.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Danielle Lee, Spotify’s global head of partner solutions when we met her at her company’s beach-side activation. “The best thing that men can do is stand up for equality,” she told us. “If they don’t see different races and genders represented on panels or at events they are attending, then they should refuse to do them.”

As Cannes’ focus on activism and diversity shows, change is coming and marketers ignore it at their peril. As sociologist and author Michael Kimmey told the hall on Monday, “[…] equality is not a zero-sum game, and we have enough data to show that companies who practice gender equality are more productive and have better returns on their investments. There is a very strong business case for a diverse workforce.”

What’s even clearer though, is that there will be no going back this time. Speaking to people from all cultures and backgrounds at the festival, there seems to be a collective willingness to make sure that advertising finally opens its doors. Certainly, there will be stumbles and it will be vital to track the progress in the years to come, but its inclusion in this year’s Cannes Lions sends a powerful message and shows the creative industries doing what they do best—breaking down barriers and changing the world.

US Ad Spending To Grow 6 Percent In 2018, Driven Mostly By Facebook And Google

A new report released by Morgan Stanley indicates that overall ad spending in the US will grow by six percent in 2018, which is slightly revised from an earlier 5.9 percent growth forecast. However, the report also states that the areas of decline outnumber the areas of growth.

The report states that Facebook and Google are driving 95 percent of online ad growth, growing the market share year-over-year through their massive scale. The research team at Morgan Stanley, headed by analyst Benjamin Swinburne, also mentions that cyclical events such as the World Cup, the mid-term elections and the Winter Olympics helped to lift the forecast.

TV upfront 2018-19 pricing is expected to grow nine to 10 percent, but double-digit declines in ratings may leave upfronts at a loss. According to the report, TV ratings are down 30 to 40 percent compared to the last five years.

Swinburne writes that having broadcast networks, particularly NBC, reduce their advertising inventory could drive additional scarcity, leading to higher upfront units sold compared to the previous year. In contrast to primetime television, Swinburne points out that sports, most notably the NFL, has an increase in supply so that pricing is “less robust.”

With all this in mind, Morgan Stanley states that the viability of TV depends on its ability to monetize OTT and implement addressable ads.

“The modest declines seen in underlying TV advertising are a testament to TV’s audience reach and pricing power,” wrote Swinburne. “Historically, the growth in OTT consumption was led predominantly by adoption of ad-free platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, but appetite for ad-supported premium TV content is evidenced by Hulu (over $1B in advertising annually) and Roku (more than doubling its ad sales off a small base to $160M in 2017).”

However, there is plenty of room for growth in OTT, even as platforms like Netflix continue to grow. Morgan Stanley’s eighth annual Streaming Video Survey, released in June, confirmed that subscription-based VOD platforms such as Netflix are fueled by massive investments in original content. Netflix subscriptions added 7.4 million new members by the end of its 2018 first quarter, 2 million from the US alone, totaling 7.4 million subscribers worldwide. The company plans to spend $8 billion on programming this year to possibly grow even further.

But the survey also points out that users tend to subscribe to multiple services, with about 46 percent of Netflix users stating that they also watch Prime Video, while 58 percent of Prime members subscribe to Netflix. Additionally, viewers that use either platform are far more likely to subscribe to other over-the-top services, with 16 percent of Netflix users also subscribing to Hulu, which could be good news for media companies such as Disney and Warner Bros., which are both in the process of developing their own OTT platforms.

Cannes Lions Sessions: #SheIsEqual Calls On Marketing To Set An Example

Marketing industry leaders are calling on their peers to become leaders in creating a world where women are treated equally and represented accurately.

“The people who are working in advertising and marketing have a responsibility,” Cannes Lions CEO Philip Thomas said in a panel on Wednesday. “Advertising and marketing are the most powerful culture-creating force in the world.”

Tapping into this power for good, Procter & Gamble has partnered with Global Citizen to introduce a new initiative called #SheIsEqual. This includes the first #SheIsEqual Summit on September 28 during UN General Assembly Week in New York.

The event will bring together governments and members of the advertising, media and entertainment industries to share perspectives and solutions in regard to gender equality, women’s economic empowerment, girls’ education and advocacy.

Representation of women in marketing and entertainment has a profound impact on how society perceives them, so #SheIsEqual will highlight campaigns that positively portray them in an equal light.

Madonna Badger, Glass Lion Jury President and See It Be It Chair will curate a “Creative Showcase” of these campaigns in partnership with Philip Thomas. The showcase will celebrate the best work from the 2018 Glass Lions and new SDG Lions competitions that show an equal world in action.

Queen Latifa and Katie Couric both announced projects during the keynote that will be sponsored by P&G. Designed to bolster the number of female directors and storytellers, The Queen Collective will work alongside brands and agencies to fund and find distribution for female-focused projects.

Couric unveiled a series called Getting There that profiles successful woman at the top of their fields, including Issa Rae (Insecure), Barefoot Contessa’s Ina Garten and Instagram’s Eva Chen.

“I’m thrilled to see so many brands and companies not just selling soap or shampoo but care about changing the world, to wield so much influence,” said Couric. “I thought, ‘why stop at advertising and why not extend into content?’ We’re going to be partnering with brands that share my value and that want to make the world a better place.”

Procter & Gamble, which spent over $2.75 billion on advertising last year, has been vocal about demanding changes to the advertising supply chain and the impact that marketing has on the world. To illustrate its concerns about fraud and brand safety, the manufacturing giant pulled ads from YouTube for a year and slashed its budget.

Cannes Lions’ China Day: The Next Big Player In Marketing And Advertising

Despite being situated in the Côte d’Azur, each year that goes by at Cannes Lions feels a little bit less French. This year has seen a foreign horde descending on the picturesque seaside town. They stomp around the narrow streets, pulling their suitcases, happily plowing through plates of cheeses they can barely pronounce and drain the surrounding region of a year’s worth of rosé.

Over the history of the festival, the demographic make-up of these invaders has subtly changed. The first wave was a gang of perpetually hungover advertising workers of London, who arrived cocky and hopeful, looking to bag a Lion, and only to end up stumbling from the Irish bar to the Gutter Bar looking for a free drink. Slowly, this has given way to a larger US crowd, brashly projecting their sporting achievements onto the side of the arena and loudly proclaiming to anyone who will listen that tech is changing the world.

This year, however a new group has started to emerge. Quieter and more polite than the other groups, they sit captivated in every panel discussion and seem ever-eager to Hoover up any culture they come across.

China has arrived.

It’s pointless to say that China is no longer an up-and-coming market. In terms of internet users, it’s already the largest in the world and internet use is still motoring ahead.

Its leading search-engine-turned-omni-corporation Alibaba is as big as—and even outperforms—Amazon in some areas. What’s more, the country leads the world in e-commerce, with the number of daily transactions beating the United States and EU combined and is speedily growing.

China is also at the forefront of the mobile revolution, with WeChat becoming the ubiquitous one-stop portal for the mobile web in a way that other apps can only dream of.

“In terms of sheer scalability, no one even comes close to China,” proclaimed Stephen Chang, corporate vice president of Tencent, in opening Cannes Lions’ China Day, a whole nine hours dedicated to showing off the People’s Republic’s growing technological chops.

“We’re a huge digital society with a market that is unafraid of new innovations. From QR codes to augmented reality and artificial intelligence, Chinese consumers are either actively using or are among the first adopters. China is knocking, are you ready to answer the opportunity?”

Sweeping statements and hyperbole aside, there is now clear evidence that Chinese companies are able to go toe-to-toe and, in some cases, have even begun to surpass their western counterparts.

“Today the younger generation is keeping very close contact with the world through innovation,” said Alibaba’s CMO Chris Tung as he spoke about his company’s rapid rise. “We have to be brave to build innovation. We have to encourage our workforce.”

Even in areas where they have traditionally been weak, like creative marketing and branding, China’s companies are making great strides.

“The idea that the Chinese aren’t creative is clearly ludicrous,” said Joy Tan, Huawei’s president of global media and communications to a packed forum yesterday.

“We invented gunpowder, the printing press and compass. In the modern world it is true that most innovations are American, but we lead the world when it comes to taking these inventions and applying them.”

“China is as tough as any other market these days,” explained Matt Che, VP of marketing for international beverage brand AB InBev. Speaking about his company’s strategy for cracking the country’s increasingly sophisticated consumer behavior. “We found that the beer industry had declined by 4 percent after our customers ditched karaoke bars for home parties. We found that the only way to reach them was a cross-channel campaign that combined influencer marketing and large activations to make sure that we followed the consumer across many screens.”

“Across all waves, disruption always seems to be most visible in China,” agreed Asmita Dubey, chief digital officer at L’Oréal. Offering an insight on how her company is attempting to corner the lucrative Asian market, the trick for western organizations seems to be move fast and be prepared for anything. “Broadly speaking, the strategy remains the same,” she continued. “It’s just that the scale and the speed and is much faster.”

It’s not only in technology and digital that Chinese companies are showing the world new ways of working. From corporate governance to office culture and ownership, companies like Tencent and BYD are pioneering what the corporate structure of a company could look like to drive massive success.

Mobile giant Huawei, for example, is leading the way in collaborative working, thanks to a unique corporate structure: 99 percent of the company is owned by its own workforce, with its founder laying claim to just 1 percent. Additionally, the company rotates chairmen on a six-month cycle, with the company claiming that this encourages adaptation and innovation.

In contrast to the cooperative nature of Huawei, BYD is similarly innovative. The vehicle and travel provider’s fearless spirit of adventure comes from the top and is actively encouraged by their maverick owner Wang Chuanfu, a self-made billionaire with a background in chemical engineering.

“Chairman Wang pushes us to the point that we make little failures,” says vice president Michael Austin, also an engineer by trade. “The trick is to not bet the farm on a mistake.”

As Cannes Lions shows, if you could say one thing about China, it’s that in almost every field, the preconceptions around the country’s business climate are changing.

The idea that the words “Made in China” means a product is a low quality knockoff couldn’t be further than the truth.

“When people find out the nationality of the brand, they are usually surprised,” Huawei’s European CMO told an audience during a lunchtime presentation. “There’s a perception that Chinese brands can’t be innovators, but it’s changing. We’re finally moving away from the idea that Chinese brands are mere copycats.”

All of this isn’t to say that China doesn’t still have a long way to go. After all, the country is new to the marketing and branding game, and as Cannes showed, while the Chinese can definitely walk the walk when it comes to innovation and technology, its marketing and advertising industry has yet to match the polished, groundbreaking campaigns of their western contemporaries.

However, one thing is for certain: China is now on the path to meeting and potentially surpassing the campaigns currently being lauded with Lions. With a veritable army of tech-savvy and culturally astute Chinese delegates in attendance, it won’t be long.