This Week’s Exec Shifts: Under Armour And Telstra CMOs Exit; Pret A Manger, Duolingo, NFL Media Hire Marketing Heads

This week, Under Armour’s CMO leaves, Telstra removes the role altogether, while Pret A Manger, Duolingo, Nestlé Waters North America, The Vitamin Shoppe, NFL Media and others hire marketing heads.

Check out our careers section for executive job openings and to post your own staffing needs.

Under Armour Brand VP Departs

Adrienne Lofton, who was appointed to senior vice president of global brand management at Under Armour in 2015, is leaving the Baltimore-based sportswear brand to “pursue other interests,” according to a statement. Although there is no official confirmation yet, Lofton reportedly accepted a position at rival company Nike. Under Armour’s head of global brand management Attica Jaques, who joined the company in 2016, will take over Lofton’s duties.

Pret A Manger Creates New Marketing Role

Former Just Eat chief marketing officer Barnaby Dawe has joined organic food shop Pret A Manger in the newly created role of chief customer officer. Dawe will be responsible for all of the company’s global marketing and communications in addition to leading its e-commerce platform when it officially steps into the role on October 1.

New Marketing Head Joins Winegrower Group

The Thornhill Companies, the umbrella brand for several California winegrower families, announced the appointment of Philip Pryce as its director of marketing. He is tasked with helping to oversee the company’s growth plan in the coming years.

Nicholas Miller, vice president of sales and marketing at The Thornhill Companies, said in a statement, “Phil is a leading industry executive with a proven track record of success. His level of experience and passion for the wine business are essential elements in our overall growth plan and he will no doubt be a key player in the future success of The Thornhill Companies.”

Consultant Joins Vitamin Shoppe As SVP And Marketing Head

Specialty retailer Vitamin Shoppe announced that David Mock, who has been serving as a consultant since January, has joined the company as executive vice president and chief merchandising and marketing officer. Mock’s role went into effect on July 30, and the news follows the appointment of Sharon M. Leite as the Vitamin Shoppe’s new chief executive officer in July.

“We are delighted to have Dave join the Vitamin Shoppe leadership team,” said Vitamin Shoppe chairman Alex Smith in a statement. “He is a talented and experienced retail executive with significant experience in retail transformation and a proven track record of successfully implementing strategies and rapidly turning around retailers driving top line growth and improved profitability.  We look forward to working with Dave as we continue building on the transformational work that is underway.”

Language Learning App Names CMO

Popular language learning service Duolingo announced the appointment of Cammie Dunaway as its first-ever chief marketing officer. Dunaway is the former president and CMO at KidZania, and was CMO at Yahoo prior to that. She is tasked with growing Duolingo, which currently has over 300 million users worldwide, as a subscription service. In an interview, she said that Duolingo plans on using brand marketing alongside traditional performance marketing to not only acquire more users, but also convert current ones into paying customers.

Former Airbnb Exec To Lead Marketing For Sendle

Australian courier service Sendle announced that Eva Ross, a former Airbnb business, marketing and operations executive, has been named as chief marketing officer. She replaces co-founder and CMO Craig Davis, who is stepping away from the role and day-to-day operations.

NFL Media Picks New VP

Greg Polcsa has been appointed to the newly created role of vice president of NFL franchise and network marketing at NFL Media. In this position, he will oversee the marketing efforts for Thursday Night Football and NFL Network shows, which include Good Morning Football, NFL Total Access, the entire Sunday NFL GameDay lineup and more. Other responsibilities include leading the NFL Network’s preseason, combine, draft and postseason marketing efforts.

In a statement, NFL Media senior vice president of marketing Julie Haddon said, “Greg is a fantastic addition to our marketing team. I’m thrilled to have someone with his deep brand, digital media and storytelling experience on our bench as we think about new ways to attract, engage and retain our NFL fans.”

Marketing VP Joins Nestlé Waters North America

Nestlé Waters North America has announced Yumi Clevenger-Lee as vice president and chief marketing officer. The marketing veteran, who most recently served as the Latin America region marketing director for Cereal Partners Worldwide, begins her role on August 1. She replaces Antonio Sciuto, who left the position to pursue other interests, and is tasked with overseeing the company’s US marketing operations.

“I am delighted that Yumi will be joining the NWNA team,” said Nestlé Waters North America president and CEO Fernando Mercé in a statement. “I am confident that her passion for consumers and proven track record of putting them at the heart of new product and campaign development will help us to further our leadership position in the bottled water industry.”

Pernod Ricard Appoints Global Marketing Director

Global distilled spirits brand company Pernod Ricard has appointed Darryn Hakof as global marketing director for Pernod Ricard Winemakers amid an ongoing reorganization of its senior management team. Hakof first joined the company since 1999 and has served in multiple management, business development and brand development positions. Most recently, he served as Pernod Ricard’s director of strategy and new business.

ADT Names Chief Marketer

Home and business security company ADT announced that Jochen Koedijk has joined the company as chief marketing officer. In this role, Koedijk will lead digital and brand marketing strategies and initiates for the company. Prior to the appointment, he served as vice president of marketing at Jamie Haenggi, who previously oversaw marketing, is now the company’s chief customer officer.

“Customer retention and lead-generation is significantly driven by digital engagement, and Jochen’s leadership experience with world-class organizations such as Amazon, Chewy, and Electronic Arts is an immediate asset to our organization,” said ADT President Jim DeVries in a statement. “Jochen is a marketing innovator, and we’re excited for him to build upon the ADT brand for our next generation of customers.”

Live Nation Makes Two Appointments

Entertainment events company Live Nation announced Anna Plumley as senior director of marketing. Before joining Live Nation in June, Plumley served as the tour marketing director at AEG Presents and has 14 years of experience with live entertainment promotion. Her appointment coincides with Steve Ackles being named as senior director of touring

In a statement, Live Nation President of US Concerts Bob Roux said, “With the expansion of our touring team, Live Nation is able to service an even wider breadth of artists and help them cultivate the best live experience for their fans. Steve and Anna have already hit the ground running and we’re thrilled to have them on our team.”

Panasonic Aviation Hires New Global Marketing Head

Gaston Sandoval, who most recently served as senior vice president for global marketing at the fintech company OpenLink Financial, has joined Panasonic Aviation as global head of marketing and product management. In this role, Sandoval will oversee the Panasonic Aviation’s product and marketing strategy as it transitions into a digital platform and services company. His responsibilities include the company’s branding, product marketing, performance marketing and content marketing in addition to managing communications and products.

Marketing Chief Joins Audi Australia

Audi Australia has named Nikki Warburton as chief marketing officer. She takes over the luxury car company’s marketing duties from former marketing and communications director Anna Burgdorf, who exited Audi Australia in early July. Warburton previously served as group director at media company Austar United Communications until it was sold to Foxtel in 2012.

Temporary Mayo Clinic Marketing Chief

Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee CEO Maureen Bausch has agreed to step in as the Mayo Clinic’s interim chief marketing officer while the organization makes changes to its marketing leadership. Bausch has been serving in the position since May and joins as Mayo Clinic’s CEO Dr. John Noseworthy is retiring. A search for Dr. Noseworthy’s replacement is currently underway.

Telstra Removes CMO Role

Australia’s largest telecommunications company Telstra, amid a major restructuring effort among its senior executive team, announced significant changes to its leadership. Chief among them is the removal of the chief marketing officer position—the role will be integrated into other teams. That means Joe Pollard, who has been with the company since 2014 and most recently served as chief marketing officer and group executive media, will be leaving.

IBM Marketing Chief Makes Move To Japan

Lisa Gilbert, who served as IBM’s chief marketing officer in the UK and Ireland, will is transferring to the role of chief marketing officer in Japan. She has worked at the tech company’s London office for two years and was the vice president for marketing transformation operating from New York City before that. Gilbert has been with IBM since 1996.

Honestbee Picks New Marketing VP

Singapore-based online grocery and food delivery chain Honestbee named Christina Lim as its new vice president of marketing. Lim previously served as managing director for Dentsu Singapore and as a marketer for online grocery chain NTUC FairPrice. In her new role, she will lead the Honestbee marketing team as it continues to drive brand loyalty and awareness across different channels.

Airbnb Marketing Chief Leaves For Shangri-La

Ben Hallam, the global marketing chief for Airbnb, announced that he is departing from the role to become the head of customer engagement at Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts in Hong Kong. Hallam has been with the short-term lodging company since 2016 and was promoted to global marketing lead in January. In his new role, he will oversee the hotel chain’s strategic partnerships in addition to the end-to-end customer journey.

Marketing VP Joins Native Advertising Platform

Erin McCallion has been named as Outbrain’s new vice president for US marketing. In this role, her responsibilities will include US marketing, global communications and public relations initiatives. Prior to joining Outbrain, McCallion oversaw marketing and public relations initiatives as vice president of global marketing at Mediaocean.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, August 3. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

Chief Marketing Officer Facebook Menlo Park, CA
VP, Marketing, The Walt Disney Studios Disney Burbank, CA
VP, Brand Marketing Aéropostale New York, NY
Head of Lifecycle Marketing Dropbox San Francisco, CA
Head of Performance Marketing Strategy Uber San Francisco, CA
Head of Integrated Marketing, Fire TV Amazon Seattle, WA

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

Twitter Cut Off From Facebook Updates; YouTube Quietly Launches Stories

This week in social media news, Twitter users can no longer fill Facebook feeds simultaneously and YouTube gets in on the Stories craze.

In other news, WhatsApp is ready to make money, YouTube Music pledges regular updates and game developers get more options on Facebook. Snapchat’s new Lenses like the sound of your voice, Facebook protects your data, Instagram cares about your mental health and YouTube is testing a quick navigation feature. In addition, Japan is a place of strength for Twitter and Facebook removes a large ring of manipulators. Twitter cracks down on video trolls, Instagram tests a way to promote IGTV, YouTube goes dark and Snapchat renews its sports partnerships.

Twitter Among Apps Cut Off From Automatic Facebook Posts

Facebook has depreciated its Publish actions permissions from its API, a feature that allowed other apps to automatically publish posts to Facebook as the logged-in user.

Why it matters: Facebook is still encouraging users to share content from other apps through its Share dialogues. The move was designed to protect unsavory apps from accessing Facebook user information but also forces more interaction directly with the platform. Marketers that relied on the automated Publish feature will now have an extra step in their social media strategy.

Details: Facebook’s Publish actions permissions depreciation is expected to impact roughly 60,000 apps, the company announced. Twitter users quickly learned that they were among those affected. Facebook posts will have to be updated manually, although Twitter reminded users that they can also share tweets via SMS, direct message or email.

YouTube Introduces Its Own Stories Feature

Certain YouTube channels are now able to produce Stories in the style of Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook.

Why it matters: Instagram boasts 400 million daily active users on its Stories feature, compared to Snapchat’s 191 million. YouTube stands to gain from this popular format, especially since its users are, by nature, more experienced in video production and entertainment. If the feature proves successful, Google will undoubtedly begin selling ad space.

Details: YouTube has begun the rollout of Stories that appear at the top of its app. At the moment, it is limited to certain channels only, such as electronics enthusiast Avdan. Channel logos are given a red ring to indicate that a Story has been posted, just like on Instagram.

WhatsApp Launches Business API

WhatsApp is now offering paid interactions between businesses and consumers, as well as access to ads on Facebook.

Why it matters: In its Q2 earnings call, Sheryl Sandberg said they were “very focused” on WhatsApp, adding that 3 million people were testing business solutions. It’s not entirely surprising that Facebook would release its business API only a week after this statement was made. Facebook may be the number two ad seller in the world, but it’s running out of real estate. Adding monetization to WhatsApp will allow the company to pursue revenue growth while connecting solutions with other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

Details: Facebook released its WhatsApp Business API on Wednesday, offering solutions to brands that include calls to action and custom notifications. The API will allow businesses to send customized, non-promotional notifications such as shipping confirmations and appointment reminders, which will be charged at a fixed rate once the message has been delivered. Businesses can respond to questions and comments for free within 24 hours, encouraging quick turnaround and better customer service.

YouTube Music Will Be Updated Every Two Weeks

Google has updated YouTube Music and will continue to do so about every two weeks, adding features or tweaks to keep the service competitive.

Why it matters: YouTube Music launched in May, but lacked many of the same basic features users can find on competing services like sorting in alphabetical order. Regular updates will allow the service to be fluid, adding or improving features while the service is still in its infancy.

Details: YouTube Music has begun rolling out updates, including the ability for Android users to download songs to an SD card. Elias Roman, a product manager for YouTube Music told Engadget that the company plans to continue these regular updates every two weeks. The app recently removed its “Shared History” feature that combines YouTube and YouTube music, for example. In an update scheduled sometime in the next few weeks, YouTube Music will allow users to specify whether they want to stream or download songs in low, medium or high quality settings.

Facebook Gaming Extends Ad Solutions

Three new ad solutions—playable ads, retention optimization and a minimum return on ad spend (ROAS) bidding have been added to Facebook Gaming effective August 2.

Why it matters: The three new ad solutions allow developers to optimize campaigns to reach paying users or increase retention by allowing them to try a game before installing. In a saturated game marketplace, targeting the most valuable users upfront will offer higher return on investment.

Details: Mobile game developers can now access three new tools on Facebook designed to reach the most valuable players. Playable ads give Facebook users a way to test the game directly from their News Feeds and can download the app if they like it, offering better intent. Retention optimization allows developers to target users more likely to re-engage based on previous behaviors. Lastly, a minimum benchmark has been added to ROAS bidding to ensure that advertisers meet specific requirements.

New Snapchat Lenses Respond To Voice Commands

Snapchat has introduced new augmented reality Lenses that animate based on what the user says.

Why it matters: Snapchat has to keep finding new ways to remain competitive, especially as Instagram finds success with augmented reality. While the voice-activated Lenses are still in their early stages, the new feature is a sign that Snapchat continues to invest in the same technology that made it famous.

Details: New Lenses have been spotted on Snapchat that the prompt the user to say words like “ok” and “cool.” Saying the right word will cause the Lens to animate, such as a cat’s paw giving a thumbs up or adding jazz music in response to the word “love.”

Facebook Cuts Off API For Thousands Of Apps

Making good on its August 1 deadline, Facebook cut off API for any apps that were not submitted for detailed review and verification.

Why it matters: Back in May, Facebook told developers that it will scrutinize which business gain access to its API by introducing a more detailed verification process. Withholding its API from those who did not comply shows that the company is serious about rethinking its previous methods in favor of protecting user information.

Details: Facebook announced that it has revoked API access to “thousands” of apps that did not submit a new application, pursuant to the new requirement effective August 1. This new procedure includes verification of business identity, supplemental contracts and agreement that restricts the use of data for the sole purpose of servicing the individual customer.

Time Management Tools Added To Facebook And Instagram

Facebook and Instagram have simultaneously added tools that allow users to track and manage their time spent on social media.

Why it matters: In December, Facebook addressed concerns—and studies—that too much social media use can damage one’s mental health. While Facebook acknowledged “passive” use as potentially hazardous, the company insisted that actively participating can be “beneficial.” These tools will not only allow users to be more aware of their time on the platforms but give Facebook plausible deniability if a user chooses to scroll their mental health away regardless of warnings.

Details: On Wednesday, Facebook and Instagram announced new time management tools available in Settings that include an activity dashboard, a daily reminder and a new way to limit notifications. The company said it developed these tools based on “collaboration and inspiration from leading mental health experts and organizations,” as well as academics, internal extensive research and feedback from the Facebook/Instagram community.

“We want the time people spend on Instagram and Facebook to be intentional, positive and inspiring,” Ameet Ranadive, product management director at Instagram and David Ginsberg, director of research at Facebook said in a blog post. “Our hope is that these tools give people more control over the time they spend on our platforms and also foster conversations between parents and teens about the online habits that are right for them.”

YouTube Tests Swipe Feature On Android Devices

YouTube appears to be testing swipe video navigation that would allow users to swipe back and forth between content.

Why it matters: Swiping through content is a common feature on social media apps, which makes it a viable option for YouTube. The site considers a video view to be anything 30 seconds or longer, so quickly skipping content wouldn’t impact viewership metrics. Also, it may give YouTube a way to insert ads much like Instagram does while viewing Stories.

Details: Google+ user Joe Kelly discovered the ability to swipe through videos on the YouTube app home screen and posted a video of the feature to see if anyone else had seen it. The swipe navigation feature appears to be available only on certain devices, indicating a test.

Nearly 64 Percent Of Japan Uses Twitter

EMarketer has increased its estimates of Twitter penetration in Japan, naming it one of the social network’s strongest demographics.

Why it matters: Twitter resonated with Japanese users following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami as an alternative method of communication when telephones were not available. In addition, the Japanese language includes many one-symbol words, allowing users to create longer messages, even before the 280-character expansion.

Details: EMarketer now estimates that 63.3 percent of Japanese citizens use Twitter at least once per month from any device, compared to Facebook and Instagram at 39.9 percent and 38.1 percent, respectively. The research firm expects Instagram to surpass Facebook by the end of 2019, with nearly 42 percent of social network users in Japan using the platform at least once a month.

Facebook Discovers Fake Accounts Coordinating Washington Protests

Facebook announced the removal of 32 Pages and accounts from Facebook and Instagram once it was discovered they were involved in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” designed to instigate US protests.

Why it matters: Facebook wants the public to know that it is successful in detecting and putting a stop to coordinated efforts, as well as the hurdles they face in doing so. The company said it is investing heavily in “more people and better technology” to prevent bad actors misusing Facebook, as well as working much more closely with law enforcement and other tech companies. While the company hasn’t determined who is behind the scheme, the masterminds went to much greater lengths to obscure their true identities than the Russian-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) has in the past.

Details: A coordinated effort by unknown parties created at least 32 accounts on Facebook and Instagram as well as Facebook Pages and spent $11,000 on advertising to promote them. The groups organized 30 events going back to May 2017 and were behind protests planned in Washington next week. Some of the activity is consistent with patterns observed from Russian groups during the 2016 election, but with enough differences that Facebook is unsure of the culprits. Law enforcement and Congress have been informed of Facebook’s discovery.

Twitter Will Punish Repeat Offenders On Live Video Chat

Beginning August 10, Twitter will review and suspend accounts for repeatedly sending video chat messages that violate site guidelines.

Why it matters: Twitter has long been criticized for allowing abusive behavior on its platform in the name of free speech. Taking a more aggressive stance against offenders may help ease concerns from users, investors and most of all, advertisers as the company continues to push video as a revenue source.

Details: In a blog post on Friday, Twitter said it will continue its commitment to fostering safe conversation on its platform by “launching more aggressive enforcement of the guidelines” related to chats sent during live broadcasts. Periscope and Twitter users can already report and vote on video chat messages to determine if they are spam, abusive or otherwise unwelcome. According to existing Periscope guidelines for video chat, repeat offenders may be suspended from the broadcast or even on future videos for bad behavior. Twitter did not outline any new procedures, which indicates that the company “went easy” on some offenders in the past.

Instagram Tests IGTV Carousel Inside Flagship App

A new IGTV video carousel has been spotted by a few Instagram users, displaying select long-form videos directly in the news feed.

Why it matters: IGTV launched a month ago with its own dedicated app. To encourage widespread viewership and attract creators, Instagram is tapping into its existing user base to garner attention.

Details: Instagram is testing a video carousel inside its news feed, the company confirmed last week. “We’re always testing new and different ways to surface interesting content for people on Instagram,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch. The feature displays videos underneath Stories, encouraging users to browse IGTV videos. Another user noted the ability to add IGTV videos to Stories.

YouTube ‘Dark Mode’ Rolls Out On Android Devices

Google has begun a rollout of a YouTube “dark mode” for Android devices, several months after the feature went live for iOS users.

Why it matters: Dark mode changes the appearance of an app’s interface to black, reducing eye strain and saving battery life. The feature may allow Android users to browse the app longer, especially at night.

Details: Dark mode became available to iOS users in March and the feature has begun a rollout to Android devices, although it’s not clear when it will be available to all users. The feature is also available for web browsers.

Snapchat Ramps Up Sports Content With New Partnerships

Snapchat has extended a partnership with the NFL and penned a new one with NBC Sports Group.

Why it matters: Snapchat is placing faith in its Discover partners to draw users to the platform and keep them there. The disappearing-message app faces tremendous pressure to compete against Instagram which continues to outperform Snapchat despite copying its features. The NFL claims that its content earned 52 million unique views during the 2017-18 season.

Details: The NFL has renewed its partnership with Snapchat, Deadline Hollywood reported Monday. Snapchat will continue to produce “Our Stories,” which combine NFL-produced segments with media captured by the fans. During football season, a Publisher Story will be released every day the move to once per week during off-season.

NBC Sports Group has also partnered with Snapchat for a new weekly original Show called Premier League: Extra Time. The show will debut exclusively on Snapchat’s Discover page at the start of the 2018-19 Premier League season.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, August 3. 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

North Face Launches Lofty Experiential Pop-Up With ‘The Pinnacle Project’

The North Face hid a pop-up activation on top of a mountain for its new “Pinnacle Archives” campaign. Accessible only on foot by those willing to hike for hours, the reward is being able to view, seek inspiration from and bid on gear worn by The North Face’s accomplished athlete partners.

The Pinnacle Project’s appeals to the outdoor gear brand’s core audience through inspiration, challenges and cause marketing.

A small red tent bearing The North Face logo was placed in Val San Nicolò in the Italian Alps last weekend—the first of many such marketing activations planned by the outdoor gear brand. The Pinnacle Project pop-up will remain for eight days on the mountain, where hikers can view collector’s items that once belonged to adventurers such as Alex Honnold, Conrad Anker, Simone Moro and Caroline Ciavaldine.

The items have been restored and labeled with an inspirational message from each athlete. Proceeds from the auction will go “back to the mountain,” The North Face says on its website.

Consumers are provided only with GPS coordinates and a countdown to the next event, which will occur in Berlin followed by Manchester this fall. The Pinnacle Project’s themes are in step with The North Face’s “Never Stop Exploring” slogan and appeals to its most motivated audience members with a fear of missing out (FOMO)—not to mention “travel bragging” photo opportunities for Instagram.

The North Face has embraced cause marketing as part of its overall brand message, launching its “Move Mountains” initiative in April. The initiative includes a series of videos that highlight females who are leading in their respective fields, female-focused catalogs, retail locations and partnerships with brands like The Girl Scouts of America and National Geographic.

Cause marketing is on the rise thanks to evolving consumer sentiment. An April study by Kantar Consulting found that businesses with a high sense of purpose have experienced a brand valuation increase of 175 percent over the past 12 years. A July study by Fuse found that 67 percent of teenagers were more likely to purchase from a company that supported a cause than one that doesn’t.

Naturally, outdoor brands are campaigning to protect the environment, promoting sustainability and conservation efforts. Pinnacle went so far as to sue the Trump Administration in defense of two Utah monuments.

Jell-O Launches Branded Animated Show On YouTube And Amazon Prime

Jell-O, a Kraft Heinz brand, has remained an iconic food for both kids and adults alike for decades. Now the gelatinous dessert brand is reaching families in an all-new way, through an animated digital television show called The JELL-O Wobz, created in partnership with DreamWorksTV.

The six-episode series is the latest project produced by Springboard, a Kraft Heinz platform that is “dedicated to nurturing, scaling and accelerating” the growth of disruptive food and beverage brands in the US. Springboard officially launched in March with a focus on natural and organic, specialty and craft, health and performance and experiential food categories.

New JELL-O Wobz episodes will premiere each week on DreamWorksTV’s YouTube Channel and on Amazon Prime Video, the latter of which requires a Prime membership to watch. That kind of dual-platform release is a rarity these days, but it could be that the length of the episodes, only about four minutes each, played into the fact that Prime didn’t require exclusive streaming rights. DreamworksTV also has a dedicated subscription channel on the platform, which made Amazon Prime a natural addition for distribution.

To spread awareness of the show, the company will focus on targeted media channels including cinema, print, social media and online videos, where parents and kids go to discover content.

The Wobz are wobbly Jell-O characters shaped like different household kitchen objects, and they adventure through a fantasy kitchen world. The show tackles relevant parenting and developmental issues such as coping with imperfection, accepting physical appearances and embracing free play, which are themes that resonate strongly with today’s parents.

The animated show’s debut coincides with the recent launch of JELL-O Play, a gelatin toy brand comprised of differently shaped molds and edible stickers designed to engage families by promoting free play and creativity. The toys also happen to be available for purchase on Amazon.

“Jell-O has a legacy as a family brand,” Springboard marketing and sales lead Katy Marshall told AList. “The JELL-O Wobz and JELL-O Play are opportunities to bond and connect as a family, as parents and kids have become increasingly over-scheduled and free play time has been on the decline.”

Marshall added that parents are searching for easy and convenient solutions for creative play, and Jell-O seemed to fit the mold, so to speak. That led to putting the dessert at the core of its toy products while the show complements it by dealing with relevant topics in a humorous and playful way.

“Today’s parents and kids feel more pressure than ever before, and yet families spend less time talking about important issues like self-acceptance,” Marshall said in a statement. “As a brand whose values center on family bonding and free play, we wanted to create a show to foster this important dialogue.”

Tencent Video Leads The Pack In China With iQiyi, Youku Close Behind

Originally published at VideoInk.

In China, citizens aren’t streaming content on Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu. Instead, the country’s ‘Big 3’ streaming services are Tencent Video, Youku, and iQiyi. And also unlike the streaming market in the US, the competition emerging out of China’s streaming market is much tighter.

According to a report released by eMarketer, by the end of 2018 24 percent of digital video viewers in China will subscribe to Tencent Video, 22.9 percent to iQiyi, and 22 percent to Youku. Though Tencent leads the pack and is expected to continue to do so, controlling an estimated 29 percent of shares by 2020, the competition is much closer between these streaming giants than those in the United States, where Netflix is the clear winner.

In 2018, eMarketer estimates that close to 229 million people in China will watch video via a subscription streaming service that bypasses traditional distribution. By 2022, more than a quarter of the population will use an OTT service.

Much of the attraction to SVOD services, aside from more affordable price points, is the growing production of original content. Investing in content has been a key theme for all of the platforms owned by the so-called BAT companies (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent). Alibaba-owned Youku is expected to post the highest increase in content spending in 2018 and has also secured rights to stream this year’s FIFA World Cup. As a result, eMarketer expects Youku’s subscriber base will grow by 55 percent this year and overtake iQiyi for second place in terms of digital viewer share by the end of 2019.

“As the race to gain a larger slice of viewer screen time heats up, all three major streaming players in China have invested billions to develop their own original programs and secure rights to exclusive content,” eMarketer forecasting director Shelleen Shum said. “Competition in China’s growing OTT market, fueled by growing internet connectivity and a broader shift toward internet entertainment, is cutthroat. As subscriber churn rates are high, content remains a critical part to improve user stickiness.”

Zynga Q2 Earnings Tied To Mobile Advertising Revenue Growth

Zynga delivered second quarter revenues ahead of guidance driven by strength in its mobile live services in addition to network optimizations across the company’s advertising portfolio. The game company’s revenues came to $217.0 million, which is up 4 percent year-over-year while bookings were $233.9 million, up 12 percent year-over-year, with the strongest growth coming from its mobile titles.

On the earnings call, Zynga CEO Frank Gibeau highlighted how growth across user pay and advertising drove mobile revenues up 7 percent to $192.7 million and mobile bookings up 17 percent to $211.6 million. Feature enhancements and bold beats increased player engagement with “forever franchise” games, particularly Words With Friends, CSR 2 and Zynga Poker. These three games delivered higher than expected monetization and collectively brought double-digit year-over-year mobile revenue and bookings growth.

Feature enhancements led to higher player engagement, which in turn led to strong advertising performance in addition to the continued adoption of user monetization within the games. Specifically, Words With Friends delivered a 30 percent increase in mobile revenue and mobile bookings were up 49 percent year-over-year. The company intends to further advance this growth trend by creating more value for players through additional feature enhancements in the coming quarters.

Meanwhile, racing game CSR 2 benefited from a licensing agreement with Universal Brand Development for a Fast & Furious in-game event, which Gibeau said was the strongest performing release from the partnership to date. Although its mobile revenue was down four percent year-over-year because of the timing at which the company recognizes bookings into revenue, the game delivered its best quarterly bookings in its history with a 21 percent year-over-year increase.

Gibeau also noted that a key component of CSR 2’s success is its partnerships with carmakers, which gives players a chance to check out high-end vehicles. Recent examples include the in-game launch of the BMW M2 Competition, which gave players a chance to virtually preview the high-performance car before the real-world vehicle officially debuted.

“For the remainder of 2018, CSR 2 has more bold beats planned, including a series of events featuring some of Porsche’s most iconic cars, collectors and drivers in the celebration of Porsche’s 75th anniversary,” he announced.

Lastly, Zynga Poker revenues rose by 19 percent and mobile bookings were up 13 percent year-over-year, with growth in performance was supported by feature updates.

Looking ahead, the company plans to leverage games produced by Turkish game studio Gram Games, which Zynga acquired in May for $250 million. Gibeau said that its most recent title Merge Dragons has the potential to become one of the company’s next forever franchises.

Meanwhile, Zynga’s four-point growth strategy includes:

  • Delivering growth in live services
  • Building new games with the goal of creating forever franchises
  • Investing in mobile technologies
  • Exploring merger and acquisition opportunities that will enhance growth potential

Zynga said that it is taking its time with new game development while it focuses on its forever franchises, which form the core element of its mobile business. The reason for this is because the company wants to give new titles a strong chance of rising to become forever franchises. A “machine gun approach” of releasing a long list of games in a short time would require extra marketing and talent resources.

Woolrich Partners With Lauryn Hill For ‘American Soul’ Collection, Campaign

Woolrich is partnering with musicians for a new campaign called “American Soul Since 1830” designed to embody the brand’s 187-year US heritage. Partnering for the Fall 2018 collection is singer Lauryn Hill in her first fashion campaign.

“American Soul Since 1830” is being launched just in time to take advantage of Hill’s tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. In addition to becoming the brand’s first spokesperson, Hill customized several designs that will debut at Woolrich stores and retailers throughout North America and Europe.

“The opportunity to work with Ms. Hill was the perfect start to our ongoing ‘American Soul’ project, highlighting Woolrich’s American heritage,” Andrea Canè, creative director of Woolrich said in a press release. “We wanted Ms. Hill to bring her unique artistic eye to the product and DNA of the brand so we invited her to put her own spin on these classic Woolrich styles, reflecting her interpretation of ‘American Soul.’ ”

In a video spot for the campaign, Hill is filmed in New York City wearing Woolrich outerwear such as an Arctic Parka that she customized with appliqués and screen printing. A quote from Hill scrolls over the video, playing a slow, spare version of her 1998 track “Ex-Factor.” It’s no coincidence that they filmed in Harlem, where Hill shot the video for her 1998 single Doo Wop.

Woolrich has a long history interwoven into American history, from making wool blankets for Civil War soldiers and inventing the “Pennsylvania Tuxedo.” In the last few decades, the brand has expanded to other countries, but the “American Soul” campaign will remain in the US.

The brand’s “American Soul Since 1830” campaign uses Hill’s description of soul music as an example of how tradition and survival are an integral part of US history—what it means to have “American Soul.”

“American soul music, to me, is a continuum, a tremendous legacy of tradition if you will that communicates love’s survival—through hardship, suppression and other challenges,” reads the campaign video.

The Lauryn Hill collaboration, in tandem with the five ambitious Woolrich flagship stores being opened around the world, suggests a slight rebrand for the company; one focused on the worn-in, almost-200 year history of the fashion label.

MoviePass Shows Marketing Potential; Ability To Sway Subscribers

MoviePass parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics is flipping the script for the struggling movie ticket subscription program. Following an earlier announcement made this week that outlined changes to the service’s pricing plans and limited access to theaters, Helios released a series of performance metrics to help position MoviePass as a kind of marketing platform.

The press release reads, “MoviePass continues to prove that it is a strong partner to movie studios and distributors in their strategy to reach and influence audiences to select their films over others,” making the case that its subscribers see more movies than non-subscribers.

It then cites a study conducted by the National Research Group in March, which shows that not only are subscribers are twice as likely to see a movie on its opening weekend, but they’re more open to taking and making recommendations for what to see next.

Making the case for how valuable MoviePass subscribers are to studios and distributors, the study indicates that almost half of subscribers attend movies that they wouldn’t otherwise see in theaters, and 70 percent said that they were still likely to see a film despite a low score on Rotten Tomatoes.

This outcome is attributed to a “combination of experiential, field, e-mail and social media marketing, and/or its in-app marketing and placements impact the specific films subscribers are more likely to see, which drives meaningful incremental revenue to both distribution and exhibition.”

As evidence, the service credits its marketing activities for driving ticket sales to films such as Blindspotting and Beast. Movies such as Tag were promoted in-app, and the announcement states that MoviePass purchases made up 13 percent of its opening weekend domestic box office ticket sales. Meanwhile, MoviePass engages with its users on social media by posting trailers, quiz questions and highlighting movie release dates. The company stated that the integration of, which it acquired in April, in the service will lead to more revenue generated from studios and brands.

Although the biggest impact is on independent films and documentaries such as Three Identical Strangers and RGB, with MoviePass comprising about 12 percent of the latter film’s ticket sales, the service claims to have an impact on major films and moviegoing as a whole.

In support of this statement, Helios showed how 30.8 percent of its subscribers went to see Ocean’s 8 compared to 4.9 percent of the general population in the US. Game Night also saw high numbers, with 25.4 percent of subscribers going to theaters to see it compared to 2.7 percent of Americans.

“Through our one short year of incredible growth, we’ve learned a few key points about the film Industry,” said MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe in a statement. “We are able to create immense value with our film partners by driving traffic to their films and effectively increasing the valuation of their films on the back-end deals they create. Not only do we want to provide an amazing deal for our subscribers but we also want to be a positive force in Hollywood.”

The MoviePass announcement comes on the same day AMC announced its record-breaking earnings, which was supported by the success of its competing movie subscription program AMC Stubs A-List.

New On AList: The Job Board For Marketing Executives; Industry Events Calendar

Earlier this month, I wrote about the utilities we are developing at AList to become the go-to resource for your day-to-day. I am pleased to announce that today we are launching a jobs board dedicated exclusively to senior marketing roles as well as an update to our industry events page, which will allow for our community to post new positions and events.

With the increasing difficulty of finding and hiring qualified talent in the industry, we want to make it easier to reach an educated and senior base of talent across our readership.

If you are staffing your team, you can now tap into our global community of marketing leaders and up-and-coming talent to meet your needs.

Post A New Position

If you are looking for a new opportunity, this job board is dedicated to hosting and curating positions with brands who are seeking experienced marketing know-how.

View Companies Who Are Hiring

Finding it difficult to navigate the noise with “must-attend” events seemingly happening every day? Feel like you’re missing the boat? Check out our industry events calendar to see what’s on our radar.

If you’re producing an event for the marketing audience, host your event on our site by purchasing post credits here.

ComScore Steps Up Competition With Nielsen, Tests Multi-Platform Measurement

ComScore is launching a new beta program called Campaign Ratings this September that will measure unduplicated audiences across both linear TV and digital platforms. The move will allow comScore to better compete with Nielsen, which has dominated the TV measurement space for over 60 years, and some of the industry’s biggest players are onboard.

Several networks will participate in comScore’s beta program including ABC, CBS, CNN, Disney, Fox, Freeform, GroupM, NBCUniversal, The CW Network, Turner and Viacom. In addition, Hulu will provide streaming measurement of ad campaigns across its platform. Beta partners will help shape the product for future advertisers based on their experiences.

Campaign Ratings is part of a broader company initiative to provide measurement across platforms and content types. Minimizing duplicated reach—that is, when one person is exposed to the same campaign more than once—has proven to be a challenge in maximizing return on investment.

“This is a critical effort, not for the future of television, but for its present,” Bryson Gordon, executive vice president of advanced advertising at Viacom said in a statement. “Closing the cross-platform measurement gap, that once intractable market challenge, with innovation across the industry… will help to propel the industry’s transformation towards new currencies, products and consumer experiences.”

In February, comScore added OTT and console gaming to its available metrics. In its June “State of OTT” report, the company found that two-thirds of OTT audiences are also watching linear TV. Comscore’s growing list of offerings will give it a competitive edge against Nielsen, something that industry players have apparently craved.

Last year, Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest owner of TV stations in the US, announced that it would move exclusively to comScore for its measurement needs. The company didn’t keep this sentiment long, however, signing a multi-year contract with Nielsen in February while maintaining an agreement with comScore.

As cord-cutting picks up steam, Cable TV networks are teaming up with OTT providers to retain customers. Both Comcast and Charter Communications—two of the largest cable providers in the US—have integrated services such as Netflix and Hulu into its set-top box offerings.

EMarketer predicts that about 186.7 million adults in the US will watch cable television in 2018, which is 3.8 percent less than last year. Of the major cable operators, satellite providers will suffer the biggest decline due to cord-cutting, according to estimates.

“Industry adoption of new measurement methodologies will be key in keeping up with the changes in consumption of our content,” said Kavita Vazirani, executive vice president of insights and measurement at NBCUniversal in a statement accompanying the comScore news.