This Week’s Exec Shifts: Barnes & Noble CEO Departs

This week, book retailer Barnes & Noble announced the immediate departure of its CEO.

Barnes & Noble CEO Departs

Retailer Barnes & Noble announced that its chief executive, Demos Parneros, is leaving without severance due to unspecified violations of company policy. However, the statement makes clear that his departure has nothing to do with “any disagreement with the company regarding its financial reporting, policies or practices or any potential fraud relating thereto.” A leadership group has been appointed with shared responsibilities of the office until a new CEO is named, and they include: chief financial officer Allen Lindstrom, chief merchandising officer Tim Mantel and VP of stores Carl Hauch. Leonard Riggio will remain as executive chairman of the company and will continue to be involved in its management.

Parneros served as the company’s CEO for just over a year. In that time, he brought on a number of new executives and headed several initiatives, including the Barnes & Noble Book Club, to boost revenues despite declining foot traffic to retail stores.

Coty Ups Three Marketing Officers In Executive Restructure 

Coty Inc. announced that it is restructuring the leadership of its consumer beauty division with the simultaneous promotions of three chief marketing officers who will oversee different segments of the business. Mike Bryce, Mark Cooper and Ukonwa Ojo will lead color cosmetics, retail hair and body care; lifestyle scenting; and Cover Girl and Sally Hansen replacing the former (single) marketing chief Friedemann Schmid, who leaves in September. The consumer beauty division’s restructuring was designed to increase attention toward brands such as Cover Girl, Sally Hansen, Rimmel, Clairol and Max Factor, which are in various stages of relaunching.

“I’m confident that these moves will enable us to realize our vision and deliver on our mission at Coty to become a clear challenger in beauty,” Laurent Kleitman, Coty’s president of consumer beauty, said in a statement.

Video Advertising Bureau Promotes VP

Jason Wiese has been promoted to senior vice president and director of strategic insights of the Video Advertising Bureau. He was previously vice president of strategic insights, and will “provide marketers with industry-defining data, actionable thought leadership and custom reports to navigate and optimize the ever-expanding world of premium multiscreen video content,” in his new role according to a statement by the VAB. Wiese joined the company in 2013 and has authored many of its signature reports.

Travelstart Hires New CMO

Jerome Touze has been named as Travelstart’s new chief marketing officer, based in Cape Town. Touze co-founded the social networking site and served as its COO before joining Travelstart.

GE CMO Joins Ad Council Board Chair

Linda Boff, the chief marketing officer for GE, has been named chair of the Ad Council’s Board of Directors. Boff will serve one year in this role, working closely with the executive committee, the governing body of the Ad Council’s Board, and Ad Council leadership to help raise awareness and inspire action on behalf of national social issues. She is also tasked with managing and advising business affairs and policy initiatives, in addition to chairing the Ad Council’s 2018 Annual Public Service Award Dinner on December 5, 2018 at the New York Hilton.

In a statement, Ad Council President and CEO Lisa Sherman said, “We’re thrilled to announce Linda’s leadership role as Chair of the Board … Linda is one of the most forward-thinking leaders in our industry, with an unparalleled passion for innovation and social good. Her leadership will be an invaluable asset to our Board and many of the most critical social issues facing our country.”

Walmart Hires New CMO; Creates Chief Customer Officer Position

Retail giant Walmart announced the hiring of Barbara Messing as its new chief marketing officer, replacing Tony Rogers (who is moving to Sam’s Club) in August. She will report to Janey Whiteside, who was hired at the same time to the newly created role of chief customer officer, which focuses on attracting shoppers and offering improved customer service during a time when retail stores are having increased difficulty retaining shoppers. Whiteside will be responsible for both Walmart’s physical stores and its ecommerce offerings when she joins in August.

Wharf Hotels Welcomes Marketing VP

Wharf Hotels has appointed Sandy Russell to vice president of sales and marketing. In this role, she will oversee the hospitality management company’s sales and marketing while spearheading revenue optimization and distribution initiatives alongside global sales and marketing. Prior to joining Wharf Hotels, Russell was the Asia-Pacific VP of commercial operations at Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, based in Singapore.

“We are delighted to have Sandy lead our team and look forward to the next phase in our growth and development with her global marketing expertise,” said Wharf Hotels president Jennifer Cronin.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, July 6. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

Head of Global Marketing Services Prudential Newark, NJ
VP, Communications & Brand Marketing  Pandora Oakland, CA
Head of Product Marketing Twitch San Francisco, CA
VP of Marketing SmartBooks Manchester, NH
Head of Brand Strategy, Brand Studio Google Mountain View, CA
VP, Consumer Insights & Analytics Under Armour Baltimore, MD

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

Pepsi’s Film Risk Pays Off; ‘Uncle Drew’ Holds Its Own At The Box Office

Uncle Drew debuted at number four in the domestic box office, bringing in an estimated $15.5 million. This niche basketball comedy fared surprisingly well for a new franchise, earning nearly twice that of Warner Bros.’ star-studded Oceans 8 for the week.

There are a lot of firsts about Uncle Drew that made it a financial risk for studios to produce. For one, the character, portrayed by NBA Kyrie Irving was born out of an ad campaign for Pepsi Max in 2012. While many of Pepsi’s spots have gone viral, there is never a guarantee that enthusiasm will translate into movie tickets.

Secondly, most of the main characters in Uncle Drew are basketball stars—not movie stars—with the exception of Shaquille O’Neal who at the very least, has some on-set experience. Lastly, the upbeat comedy is a first for PepsiCo’s Creators League Studios.

“There’s no precedent,” Karie Bible, box office analyst and film historian at Exhibitor Relations, told AListDaily. “We can’t compare it to Pepsi’s last movie or the last Uncle Drew movie or the last film from Kyrie Irving.”

Marketing for the film was targeted to its core audience—basketball fans—and while campaigns were limited to NBA playoff games, trailers and a Snapchat filter, Bible felt it was more than appropriate for a film of this size.

“They really marketed it well,” she commented. “A lot of time marketing is blamed for whenever a movie doesn’t succeed. They did a good job marketing it digitally to sports fans. It obviously wasn’t a huge blockbuster but Uncle Drew‘s box office is decent for sure.”

Lionsgate and Pepsi have two other things on their side—the Fourth of July holiday and an “A” rating on Cinema Score.

“It should carry on and make money over the Fourth of July weekend,” said Bible. “Good for [Lionsgate] for taking a risk. You’ve gotta pin a medal on a studio for that these days. It doesn’t happen too often.”

Drake’s ‘Scorpion’ Album Massive Success Despite Complaints About Its Promotion

Drake has long been crowned as the king of streaming music, with his newly released album Scorpion continuing his legacy of breaking global streaming records on major music services. The 25-track album had 170 million streams within 24 hours of launching on Apple Music, while Spotify proclaimed that the album being listened to 10 million times per hour at one point with 132 million streams occurring globally. Billboard reported that Scorpion totaled 435 million streams during its launch weekend, unseating Post Malone as the one-week streaming record holder with 431 million in three days.

But Drake didn’t rise to the top of the streaming charts based on his musical talents alone. The album launch was accompanied by a massive promotional blitz that was clearly successful but left some listeners crying “enough.”

The Canadian artist signed an exclusive deal with Apple Music in 2015, which gave Drake regular endorsements and promotions. In promoting the new album, Apple updated Siri with a long list of Drake’s nicknames, which are provided randomly to encourage users to ask the voice assistant about it multiple times. Additionally, Apple Music also released the “Make Your Drake” web app, which let users make their own personalized album art based on Scorpion’s cover.

On Friday, Spotify proclaimed on Twitter that Drake was the answer for every occasion, which was the lead-in for “ScorpionSZN,” the music streaming service’s first-ever global dedicated artist takeover. With this intensive promotional campaign, Spotify partnered with labels Republic, Cash Money and Young Money to feature the artist’s picture on its homepage and across dozens of playlists on the same day—even ones that don’t have any of Drake’s songs on them. Additionally, playlist headers had slogans such as “Have a happy FriDrake” and “Thank God it’s FriDrake.”

The heavy promotion almost undoubtedly helped push Scorpion rise to the top, and the RIAA has officially named Drake as its highest certified digital singles artist with 142 million singles to date. However, this kind of heavy push didn’t come with some consequences. Users who didn’t appreciate the takeover voiced their frustration and mocked the campaign on social media—drawing comparisons to when Apple angered users by placing a copy of U2’s Songs of Innocence in everyone’s library without permission.

Some premium Spotify users who paid for an ad-free experience saw the takeover as advertising and demanded refunds. Potential damage to Spotify’s reputation as a service that personalizes music according to individual tastes remains to be seen, as the campaign can be seen as pushing music that its users might not like, but the success of the promotion seems to outweigh any apparent outrage. Spotify’s Twitter account currently has several Drake-related posts with none issuing an apology.

Wendy’s Explains Idea Behind Summer Drink Romance Fiction

On Tuesday, Wendy’s debuted Fruit Tea Temptation, a romantic short story on Wattpad centered around its summer beverages. Storytelling is a common theme in marketing today, but it’s not often a brand takes this concept quite so literally.

“Courtney knew what she was doing was wrong, but she couldn’t stop,” reads the first story about desire and Berry Cherry Fruit Tea. “She was entranced, acting on primal instinct, her body overtaken by desire. Courtney bit her lip. She wanted to take the Fruit Tea and run away, run from all the troubles of the world, leaving behind her old life to start anew.”

Wattpad is a community of writers and story enthusiasts that boasts 65 million MAU. A number of brands like Hulu and Netflix have launched story-themed campaigns on the platform, but Wendy’s decided to take a different approach—just create an account and start writing.

“Literally telling stories is such an area of opportunity,” Jimmy Bennett, senior director of media and social for Wendy’s told AListDaily. “This is clearly an area where Wattpad has resonated with an audience . . . what we love is that there are so many ways to tell stories. We submitted a mix tape a few months back [for example]. We’re just hungry to find different ways to continue this dialogue.”

The campaign was a way for Wendy’s team to have a bit of fun and engage with Wattpad users without a paid advertisement.

“We’re approaching it just as any other creator would,” said Bennett. “This is an entirely organic experience. We’ve worked with Wattpad just to get a better understanding of the community and how it works, but everything that we’re pushing out is based creatively on stories that we’re looking to tell and the fun that we’re looking to inject into this fan base.”

Wendy’s will publish another steamy beverage tale each week for six weeks. The stories are written by the same team that runs Wendy’s infamously sassy Twitter and other social personas, so users can expect a familiar voice. In fact, Bennett said that they are approaching Wattpad content as they would any other platform.

“We talk a little differently across different social platforms i.e. Twitter vs. Facebook but for the most part, we maintain that essence of what Wendy’s is all about—it’s a little bit sassy, it’s making sure we have fun, giving value to the conversation,” said Bennett. “We’re not in a position where we have to dramatically change how we’re talking [across platforms], it’s just a different conversation.”

It’s that conversation that drew Bennett and his team to Wattpad in the first place. Users post stories and other users respond.

“That dialogue happening around the [Wattpad] content mimics how we want to participate. We love that conversation and talking about things that we enjoy and fans enjoy. It’s where those conversations happen that we can get the most out of our experience.”

Since Wendy’s stories are being posted organically, the brand will have to measure success in ways others than traditional ROI. Luckily for Wendy’s, the brand is no stranger to earned media value. When Burger King invited Wendy’s to prom, for example, analysts estimated that both brands earned about $260,000 in earned media.

“We love stuff like that,” Bennett chuckled, remembering the famous “promposal.” “Our response was tailor-made for pick-up. It was a little unexpected but hey, if someone wants to have fun, we’ll jump in and have fun with them.”

Wendy’s has learned to “go with the flow” when it comes to earned media opportunities. Doing so earned the brand over $7 million dollars in earned media for the #NuggsForCarter incident alone.

“There’s definitely value in earned media,” said Bennett. “I think if you’re chasing it all the time, though, you’re probably not going to be able to get it. The true focus for us is staying fun, on point and relevant with our audience. We’ve been able to reap the benefits of that approach but I don’t know that we necessarily go out there expecting that things are going to be picked up in a [certain] way. We’re really happy when it does, but our true focus is just, again, making sure we’re having fun and engaging in this conversation with our consumers.”

The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Presents D.I.C.E. Cannes 2018

The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences’ D.I.C.E. Cannes 2018 (#DICECANNES) will take place September 9-11 in France. Leading video game executives and creators will gather to take part in the industry’s premier networking event. Key speakers will address the conference theme―Trailblazers―and tackle some of the industry’s biggest ideas and trends.


The conference moves to a new location at the Hotel Barrière Le Majestic Cannes resides at the heart of the French Riviera on La Croisette in Cannes. Hotel Barrière is a legendary Art Deco palace and displays contemporary style without departing from its natural elegance. The hotel also offers breathtaking Mediterranean views and sits a few meters from the Palais des Festivals―where stars climb the red-carpeted steps each year.


Available to all D.I.C.E. Cannes attendees are main stage presentations, solo presentations and fireside chats. Utilizing the Trailblazers theme speakers will discuss how they test creative and technological boundaries while defining the evolving culture of interactive entertainment. Game makers will share insights into the principals and tools that drive and empower them, their team and the community at large to create better worlds in which to play and live.


D.I.C.E. Cannes will have roundtables composed groups of approximately 10 to a table, perfect for networking and idea-sharing. A roundtable leader will present a compelling topic which will be explored from the varied perspectives of table participants. There will be three different roundtable rooms with each focused on a theme, to include: Business Leadership, Creative Development and Media Topics.


Unparalleled networking opportunities are a hallmark of the D.I.C.E. Summit experience. This year’s networking events include Saint-Honorat island wine tasting, the opening party; and breakfasts, lunches and drinks each evening.

Don’t miss out on the D.I.C.E. Cannes 2018 event. AList readers receive a 10 percent discount to the conference and event. Please reach out to to get your code for registration.

Majority Of Teens Stand Behind Cause Marketing, According To Study

A new study conducted by Fuse reveals why more brands should embrace cause marketing as a means of reaching teenage audiences. The study, which surveyed 2,000 teens in the US between the ages of 14-17, found that 67 percent were more likely to purchase from a company that supported a cause than one that doesn’t.

Although “the environment” wasn’t a major concern in its 2016 study, it has grown to become one over the past year, knocking “global financial crisis” off the list. But even so, it still ranks relatively low compared to topics such as “education,” which remains at the No. 1 spot.

The top five issues that teens care the most about are:

  1. Education
  2. Jobs and Unemployment
  3. Prejudice and Racism
  4. The Environment
  5. Terrorism

Fuse’s study also found an increase in teen activism since 2016, with more than a quarter of those surveyed stating that they’ve “attended protests or rallies” or “boycotted a company” in the last year. Additionally, 60 percent of teens report that recycle regularly, 42 percent have educated others about a cause, 33 percent volunteered for a cause and 22 percent donated money to a cause.

One of the biggest takeaways from the study is that 68 percent of teens say that corporations also have an obligation to help solve some of the nation’s social issues, which closely matches the expectations they have of themselves, as 67 percent said that they themselves have that responsibility. However, teens also appear to have a low opinion of how companies are doing, with 28 percent stating that they think companies are doing enough to support the causes they care about. Only about 10 percent said that neither teens nor corporations had an obligation to help solve today’s social issues.

Cause marketing has the potential to sway a large portion of the teen demographic. Fuse found that 69 percent of teens trusted a company more after learning it supported a social cause. Additionally, 62 percent were more likely to purchase the company’s products and 66 percent said they would pay more attention to the company’s marketing and advertising.

But teens are also a tough crowd to please, and they’re highly skeptical of companies and their support for causes. Only half of the surveyed teens believe that a company’s cause marketing is genuine if it makes a financial donation or if its employees work on the issue, and 44 percent believe in the company’s authenticity if its efforts are communicated in their marketing and/or advertising—and these are the three areas that generate the most trust among teens.

“Teens are saying that they don’t trust corporations in general, and they’re quite skeptical of even a brand’s cause marketing,” Bill Carter, a partner at Fuse, told AListDaily.

Unfortunately, there’s no single way to prove authenticity to teens, but brands may go a long way toward impressing them if they take takes one or more of those three steps.

According to Fuse’s study, the top three brands with cause marketing efforts that resonate the most with Generation Z are:

They join Ben and Jerry’s, Chili’s, and the NFL, which were the brands that got the most attention from teens in the 2016 study, and it’s no surprise that two out of the three newcomers support education-related causes.

But Carter said that there is a deeper takeaway, in that there’s very little connection between what the top-ranked companies do as businesses and the causes they support.

“Teens want brands to be rather selfless,” he explained. “They don’t want the tie [with causes] to be too intertwined with the company’s standard day-to-day business because then they’ll become even more skeptical of the cause marketing. They want to believe that the brand is doing something that is genuine by taking on a cause and solving some kind of social problem, but not as a direct benefit to the brand.”