Personalization and keeping up with trends are vital to marketing in the beauty and wellness industry. Over the past two decades, Vimla Black Gupta has helped shape the marketing efforts for industry giants like Procter and Gamble and Estée Lauder.
Gupta joined AList to explain the importance of personalization and being adaptable to survive as a marketer in today’s industry.
Please explain your job in the context of Equinox.
Our motto is “it’s not fitness, it’s life,” and I’m in charge of making sure that we deliver on that promise in whatever we do. Fitness also reaches into food and travel and grooming and music and entertainment, emotional well being… all these things that contribute to the greatest life. We’re in charge from a marketing standpoint to drive those connections and lead the conversations in a highly curatorial way.
How has the nature of your work changed in the last five years?
The trends are very similar. Wellness is beauty and beauty is wellness. The trends on both sides are really dictated by the consumer. Beauty and wellness are the two things that every consumer male and female want globally. The other similarity is that they’re both fueled by digital. I know every category is, but these categories are in particular are because digital allows you to become your own expert.
Beauty is very product-oriented whereas in wellness brands, there are so many tentacles. Yes, there are gyms, but that’s just one piece of the greater experience that we’re giving the consumer. That’s the biggest difference from being in the beauty industry.
Where do you find inspiration?
This is the stuff that I literally think about even if I wasn’t working here. I am just naturally curious about every single one of those categories from fashion to health, so I seek inspiration from the interesting people that are leading the conversation. To me, it’s about the most interesting and not necessarily the most elite or expensive. That’s so well suited for Equinox because we really do love to be very choosy about what we expose our members to. We think we have a unique point of view and distinct sensibility so it’s my great privilege to be able to guide us in those directions that are going to add the most value to our consumer who are super discerning.
How important is personalization to your work?
For us, personalization is incredibly important. Our members are individuals first and foremost. They come into our gyms and our ecosystem for a myriad of reasons. Those reasons can change in a day or over time. We as a company are not a one size fits all brand. We have the luxury of getting to know our members quite intimately. We have a good sense of their patterns to the extent that they opt into our technology. Our creative opportunity is serving our member, which we do.
What do you believe are important qualities of the modern day marketer?
Be flexible. This job is changing on a dime every single day. It is becoming increasingly technical. Understanding how the technology can help you and how to use it, how to invest in it, recruit the right people or partner with the right agency is critical. Many of us are learning on the job because the industry is moving so quickly.
You can always argue that marketing has always been about delivering an experience, but our member is relentless in the pursuit of the ultimate experience. Ensuring that you can deliver that day in and day out, that you’re surprising and delighting and creating immersive situations for them. It’s a privilege to be able to do that, but it’s also a challenge to make sure you’re staying ahead of it and that you’re doing it in a distinctive way for your brand.
Stella Artois continues the largest marketing campaign in its 92-year-old brand career, Joie de Biere, with the introduction of “The Art of Living.” This five-part series of branded videos follow the stories of artisans from the worlds of film, art and food, each sharing their own definition of a life well-lived.
In the first episode, Oscar Award-winning producer Cathy Shulman shares her personal experiences in the film industry and the way she views her responsibilities as a storyteller. Being a Hollywood exec and president emerita of Women in Film isn’t all red carpets and success as Shulman relays obstacles she has had to overcome along the way. From handling discrimination and pay disputes, it is how she looks at and solves problems, Shulman says, that brings her joy.
Chef Jonah Reider is the subject of the second installment—sharing his lifelong passion for cooking and bringing people together. He tells the audience about a nightly supper club he runs out of his Brooklyn home, bridging the divide between a cook and restaurant patrons.
For the third episode, photographer Paul Octavious talks about the drive to follow his heart. When he comes up with a “crazy idea,” he says, the next step is to ask “why not?” and figure out how to make it happen.
The fourth episode features Catherine Eaton, a film director, writer and actress who shares the story of how a one-woman play became her directorial film debut. Using the film “Jaws” as an example, Eaton explains the impact that stories can have and why she loves exposing people to new ideas through her art.
Joey Elenterio is the youngest Michelin star chef, who took a step away from the kitchen to enjoy life’s moments. In the fifth episode of “The Art of Living,” Elentario tells the story of how he worked hard to achieve his goals but ultimately became a consultant instead so he could slow down and appreciate the journey rather than obsess over the destination.
The branded content episodes will debut this month in a social campaign that includes Facebook, Instagram Stories and Stella Artois’ first use of IGTV. The legacy beer brand will use expanded targeting to reach users that are interested in specific interests such as art, food and film as they relate to each episode.
This week in social media news, TV audiences are distracted by mobile, Oculus makes friends with YouTube VR and Facebook tests music posts in the News Feed.
Also, LinkedIn helps recruiters track down talent, streaming ads get more targeted on Facebook, Snapchat ads get shoppable and YouTube Music caters to audiophiles. Ads come to Facebook Stories, professors use Twitter to track the spread of new words and Snapchat adds tools to help users vote. Snapchat and Amazon team up for camera searches, LinkedIn integrates Office 365, Twitter fights dehumanizing speech, Facebook encourages young girls to learn coding and more regions get access to Facebook video ads. Meanwhile, more consumers can “shop the look” on Pinterest and Facebook offers a college certificate.
Facebook Breach Impacts 50 Million Accounts
An attack has exposed the data of more than 50 million Facebook accounts, the company admitted Friday.
Why it matters: Facebook is already struggling to regain consumer trust after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and a breech of this size will not help consumer sentiment.
Details: Facebook revealed that unknown hackers took advantage of a vulnerability in the site’s code to access user data. More than 90 million Facebook accounts were forced to log out as a precaution. The investigation is ongoing as of this writing, the perpetrators have not been identified.
“We’re taking it really seriously,” Mark Zuckerberg said in a conference call with reporters. “We have a major security effort at the company that hardens all of our surfaces.” He added: “I’m glad we found this. But it definitely is an issue that this happened in the first place.”
Facebook Study Reveals Mobile/TV Viewing Habits
A commissioned eye-tracking study found that consumers often view social media and other mobile content while watching TV, especially during commercials.
Why it matters: When participants diverted their attention from TV to look at their smartphones, the top two app categories were social and messaging apps, giving advertisers an idea of how to engage during this time. Facebook says that 55 percent of smartphone time was spent in Facebook-owned apps.
Details: Facebook IQ commissioned an eye-tracking study in Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The study gave participants special glasses and asked them to watch TV as normal. They found that during TV shows, TV viewers paid attention to mobile 28 percent of the time, and during TV ads, they paid attention to mobile more than half the time. Younger participants are more likely to check their phones during a TV show, regardless of whether ads are playing.
YouTube VR App Headed To Oculus Go
Facebook plans to bring over 80,000 VR videos to its Oculus Go headset.
Why it matters: VR adoption has been slow for a variety of reasons from price point to a lack of content. Adding the YouTube VR app to Oculus Go allows users access to thousands of free videos in 360-degree.
Details: During its Oculus Connect 5 Keynote, the company announced that the YouTube VR app was going to be available on its entry-level $199 headset. Users will also be able to cast their experience to another screen, beginning with mobile devices and TV at a later date.
Facebook Testing Music Posts Outside Of Stories
Facebook users may soon be able to add music to their photo and video posts—a feature previously announced for Stories.
Why it matters: Facebook is establishing a relationship with the music industry, which is feeling pressure in a digital age. Deals with music industry execs will allow Facebook to attract more engagement from users that would have previously had posts removed for copyright infringement.
Details: Lip Sync Live began testing in June, allowing users to add music to Facebook Stories. That test is now expanding to other posts such as videos and photos posted in the regular News Feed.
Talent Insights is a new tool that helps recruiters locate and understand talent, including those working for competitors.
Why it matters: LinkedIn has access to a massive amount of employment data, which puts the company at a unique position to sell access. For employers, this information will offer a better knowledge of the kind of talent they are looking for.
“By using Linkedin Talent Insights, I was able to better communicate to our leadership team why we were facing specific challenges in certain talent markets and justify a budget reallocation to reach our hiring goals,” said Devin Rogozinksi, head of talent marketing at Atlassian.
Details: Companies on LinkedIn now have access to a premium AI service called Talent Insights. The tool creates reports that help staffing departments better understand trends related to the talent they are looking for such as location, skills and current employer. The service was announced last year and launched on Tuesday after 12 months of testing.
Facebook Adds More Streaming Video Ad Solutions
Advertisers that want to be seen during a Facebook livestream now have two new tools—In-stream Reserve and ThruPlay.
Why it matters: The new options offer fixed impression cost (CPM) and the ability to buy ads on a Nielsen verified Target Rating Point (TRP) basis.
Details: In response to advertiser requests, Facebook has added the ability to purchase streaming ads in advance and have them delivered to in-target audiences verified by Nielsen. Brands can choose between categories such as sports or beauty for even more personalized delivery.
Snapchat Rolls Out Additional Ecommerce Tools
Shoppable ads will soon come out of testing, just in time to be used in tandem with other ecommerce tools.
Why it matters: Snapchat is finding new ways for brands to reach its coveted teen audience. According to early testing, brands experienced higher engagement rates using Collection Ads.
Details: Shoppable Ads, now called Collection Ads, have come out of testing will be available to all marketers in October. In the meantime, brands can upload catalogs of products and turn them into a variety of ads. Lastly, Pixel gives more insights about user behavior such as what kind of websites they visit.Early testers include Wish, eBay and Guess.
YouTube Music Gets Additional Streaming Controls
Google has rolled out new audio streaming and download quality controls for YouTube Music on Android.
Why it matters: YouTube is determined to build strong relationships with the music industry, which has looked down on the site’s monetization model. Additional controls will appeal to music lovers. The more people use YouTube Music, the easier it will be for Google to negotiate licensing deals.
Details: YouTube Music video streaming quality controls now include low, normal, high and always high. Controls have also been expanded to include audio quality and download options. Users can choose to download and save audio only, for example.
Facebook Ads Now Available As Stories
Brands can now include Facebook Stories as an additional placement to News Feed or Instagram Stories ad campaigns.
Why it matters: Facebook says that more than 300 million people use Facebook Stories and Messenger Stories every day. In testing, Tentree and Skout both found that adding Facebook Stories to their Instagram Stories ad campaigns resulted in more customer actions at a lower cost.
Details: Following the success of Instagram Stories and widespread adoption of ads in the format, brands can now create similar campaigns on Facebook.
“Facebook Stories ads support every objective that’s currently available for Instagram Stories ads, including reach, brand awareness, video views, app install, conversion, traffic and lead generation,” said the announcement. “Facebook’s full suite of targeting and measurement capabilities is also available for stories ads across platforms.”
Study Tracks Origins Of Vocabulary Born, Spread On Twitter
Researchers in England tracked the origin of 54 emerging words in American English by analyzing nearly a billion tweets between 2012-2013.
Why it matters: Social media can spread an idea like wildfire, for better or for worse. Linguists can now use geocoded tweets to track the spread of vocabulary from the introduction to widespread adoption.
Details: The team at the Centre for Corpus Research at the University of Birmingham found that development of new words in Modern American English centered on regions: The West Coast, the Northeast, the Mid Atlantic, the Deep South and the Gulf Coast. For example, “baeless,” meaning single, originated in the Deep South while “mutuals,” meaning mutual friends, started on the West Coast.
Snapchat Users Can Register To Vote Inside The App
Users 18 and over in the US can now access resources inside the Snapchat app like registering to vote and encouraging others to do the same.
Why itmatters: Social media has gained a bad reputation for outside political interference and all the drama both for and against the Trump Administration may have young consumers feeling complacent. Snapchat, among a myriad of brands, is providing consumers with tools to take control by voting.
Details: Snapchat users over the age of 18 can register to vote inside their user Profile page. A video message from “Team Snapchat” encourages users to vote and new tools have been added like nationwide Filters they can use to encourage friends to register.
Snapchat Launches Test Of Amazon Photo Search Tool
As discovered inside Snapchat’s code this summer, a new feature allows users to take a picture of a product and discover it on Amazon for purchase.
Why it matters: Discovery is a major driver of purchasing intent and Snapchat joins a growing number of brands offering a camera identification product.
Details: Snapchat has begun testing a feature that would allow users to take a picture of products or barcodes in order to search for them on Amazon. The feature hints at a larger partnership with Amazon—the only other place where consumers can buy Spectacles.
Facebook Introduces Computer Programming Courses For Children
Sphero and Facebook are launching CodeFWD, a program for elementary schools to offer computer programming.
Why it matters: Facebook hopes to attract more female computer programmers through the class. By making CodeFWD free to schools, they better the chances of participation.
Details: CodeFWD by Facebook, launching in the US and designed for both English and Spanish speakers, is a three-step program where educators and organizations introduce computer programming to 4th through 8th-grade students.
“At Facebook, we’re creating the programs, tools, and products to build diverse education communities that bring the world closer together,” Lauryn Ogbechie, Facebook’s education partnerships director wrote in a blog post.
LinkedIn Adds Personalized Collaboration Through Office 365
A new integration with Microsoft Office 365 allows LinkedIn users to collaborate with connections on documents and get professional insights when scheduling meetings through Outlook.
Why it matters: Since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016, it was only a matter of time before an integration like this took place. Both brands can work together seamlessly in a professional setting and encourage brands to purchase Office 365.
Details: LinkedIn announced a new integration of Microsoft 365 that displays professional insights on contact information and allows connections to collaborate on a Microsoft Office document such as PowerPoint. LinkedIn integration in the Office web apps will gradually start rolling out in the coming months for Office 365 users and to people who have begun using the early version of the new Outlook on the web.
Twitter Asks Users To Vote For Anti-Dehumanization Policy
Twitter is asking the community to provide feedback on a proposed new rule that would prohibit dehumanizing someone based on their affiliation with an identifiable group.
Why it matters: As political tensions rise, Twitter is trying to curb hate speech on its platform. Dehumanizing language is dangerous and can incite violence by making someone appear less than human. Opening the policy up for community discussion allows Twitter to address any concerns or exceptions before the policy becomes official.
Details: A survey will be available until October 9 that allows Twitter users to provide feedback on a new policy. Questions ask whether the policy is clear, any exceptions to the rule they should consider and any other feedback.
Facebook Ad Breaks Available In 21 New Countries
Pre- and mid-roll video ads are now available to more regions, along with support for five additional languages.
Why it matters: Facebook is placing more emphasis on video monetization with its Watch channel and other locations. Expanding to other regions and languages allow the company to generate even more ad revenue.
Details: Facebook Ad Breaks are now available in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru and Thailand. As part of this expansion, Facebook is adding support for five new languages, namely French, German, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai.
Pinterest’s ‘Shop The Look’ Expanded To More Businesses
Small-to-medium-sized businesses can now offer ecommerce on Pinterest with Shop the Look Pins.
Why it matters: These Pins were previously available only to larger businesses who purchased them through third-party marketing partners. Integrating Shop the Look Pins into a self-serve tool will allow more brands to offer ecommerce on the platform.
Details: As reported by Search Engine Journal, Shop the Look Pins are now available as a free, self-serve option to brands on Pinterest. The ecommerce integration is free to use and redirects users to a website for purchases.
Facebook Offers Digital Marketing Certificate Through ACC
During its Community Boost tour, Facebook announced that it has partnered with Austin Community College (ACC) to offer certificates in digital marketing.
Why it matters: This is the 10th college to partner with Facebook for the Digital Marketing Certificate, offering skills in marketing and social media strategy. Facebook is investing in future marketers to drive income on the platform.
Details: Austin Community College is now offering a certificate in digital marketing to enrolled students. According to the announcement, 82 percent of small and medium-sized businesses on Facebook in Texas say an individual’s digital and social media skills are important when hiring new employees.
Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, September 28. 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 email@example.com.
Nielsen has released its quarterly MediaTech Trender survey that tracks consumer perceptions of emerging devices and services. Among the findings, Nielsen reveals a close relationship between smart speakers and smartphones, as well as common motivations for streaming content.
The survey included Q1 responses from 2,000 US consumers aged 13 and above. Participants were asked about their relationship with technology in terms of preferences, motivations and habits.
Nielsen delivered some good news for social networks like Facebook and Twitter that have invested heavily in video. Over half of adult smartphone users said they viewed video from inside a social network site or app at least once a day, while just under half of tablet users said the same. These numbers jumped among younger adults between the ages of 18-34—72 percent said they watched video in this way on a smartphone and 57 percent on a tablet.
Streaming content is more readily viewed by all age groups if it hosts existing shows they’ve watched or listened to before. This is especially true among consumers between the ages of 18-34 (64 percent) and 35-49 (62 percent). Among persons aged 50-64, this behavior was only slightly less common at 59 percent.
That’s not to say that adults aren’t willing to explore new content. Just under half of all adults said they subscribing to video streaming services to gain access to video content they like and 42 percent said that they sign up for a specific program.
When it comes to smart speakers, non-white consumers are leading the way. Compared to the national average of 43 percent, Asian American, Black and Hispanic consumers have displayed more interest in using or subscribing to a streaming service at 55, 52 and 45 percent, respectively.
Consumers aren’t just buying one smart speaker, either. In fact, four out of 10 respondents own more than one, with the living room being the most popular location. These devices get put to work, with 90 percent of users saying they use smart speakers to listen to music at least once a week.
Just over half of consumers sync their smart speakers to a smartphone, with audio streaming and shopping apps being the most popular.
“Consumers are not only incredibly tech savvy—they’re voraciously plugged in,” says Peter Katsingris, SVP of audience insights at Nielsen. “With so many choices of media to consume and innovative products being introduced into the marketplace, gauging consumer sentiment towards them is crucial in understanding not only what’s ‘now’ but also what’s ‘next.’”
Engagement Labs has released its TotalSocial ranking of consumer electronics brands for 2018, revealing that PlayStation climbed to the number one spot for positive consumer conversations. Parent company Sony also made the top ten, rising five spots over last year.
Social conversations about a brand are vital for awareness and gauging sentiment. Engagement Labs found that nearly 30 percent of electronics purchases are explained by consumer conversations, and more than half of the impact comes from face-to-face and voice-to-voice conversation.
“It’s counter-intuitive but also true that offline conversation is extremely important to technology brands,” said Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs.
In addition to a number of exclusive video game titles, PlayStation has benefited from conversations both online and off about Fortnite. Further buzz was generated by a PS4/Fortnite bundle kit released in August.
“In consumer electronics, social performance sometimes is driven by having the hottest or newest toy, as we are seeing with Playstation’s Fortnite game,” observed Keller. “But it also helps to have widespread adoption and use, which are key to the social success of Kindle, Samsung, and Bose.”
Kindle rose one spot from last year to take second place, followed by Samsung, which also rose one position. Bose rose five spots in the last six months and is now sitting pretty at number five, just under Apple. Following the release of its new noise-canceling headphones, Bose experienced a rise in both online and offline sentiment, along with online brand sharing on social media.
Apple tumbled out of the top spot to land at number four. Engagement Labs admits, however, that the company’s brands collectively dominate consumer conversation.
“If all of Apple’s brands were combined into a single score, the parent brand—which recently became the first publicly traded company to reach $1 trillion in value—would easily dominate the number one position,” says the report.
Nintendo didn’t fare as well in the last six months, dropping three spots to number 10 on the TotalSocial ranking. Engagement Labs attributed this to a lackluster E3 performance that took its toll on online and offline influence.
The biggest drop was experienced by Asus, however, plummeting 17 spots to number 22.
The top 10 TotalSocial Consumer Electronic Brands Are:
This week’s executive moves include Sugar23’s hiring of a former PepsiCo CMO, Under Armour and Petco choosing new chief marketing officers; Zalora, Public Radio Exchange and L’Oreal Malaysia appointing CMOs. Also, a former Bolthouse Farm CMO joins Bumble Bee Foods.
Film and television production company Sugar23 has hired former PepsiCo Global Beverage Brands chief marketing officer Kristin Patrick to head its investment and brand incubation division. Sugar 23 most recently produced Netflix’s Maniac. Patrick previously held the chief marketing officer role at both Playboy Enterprises and Liz Claiborne/Lucky Brands.
Under Armour Hires Chief Marketer
Under Armour’s CMO position has been vacant for almost a year, but the company appointed it’s head marketer today with the hiring of Alessandro de Pestel. De Pestel had been with Tommy Hilfiger for over a decade in various marketing positions, but most recently as EVP global marketing, communications and consumer insights. Prior to Hilfiger, del Pestel worked at Calvin Klein and Christian Dior.
Petco Picks CMO
Petco has appointed Tariq Hassan as the company’s chief marketing officer. In recent years Hassan has primarily worked as a marketing advisor and board member of several businesses including Viral Nation and Bravvura Ventures. Prior to that, he had stints at Bank of America, HP and Omnicom Group.
Tyde.com Adds Marketing Head
Tyde.com, an online Australian medical records provider, has hired Gemma Croxen has its head of marketing. Croxen comes to the company from Bupa Australia & New Zealand, where she was the marketing business partner.
Digital Head Becomes Zalora CMO
Elias Pour, former Red Bull head of digital and audience growth, has taken the chief marketing officer position at Asian online retailer Zalora. Pour was with Red Bull for two years and prior to that was head of digital at Kindred Group.
CEO of Global Fashion Group—the company that owns Zalora—Patrick Schmidt, said “I am confident that under his leadership, ZALORA will continue to provide fashion consumers in Asia, the best online and mobile shopping experience possible and achieve its full potential as the region’s fashion retail powerhouse.”
PRX Names CMO
Public Radio Exchange (PRX) has named Donna Hardwick its chief marketing officer. Hardwick comes to the company from Independent Television Service, where she served as senior director of communications and distribution.
L’Oreal Malaysia Promotes Director to CMO
Lee Lim Meng has been promoted from L’Oreal Malaysia’s marketing director to chief marketing officer. Lee previously worked in marketing at PepsiCo Malaysia and Kraft Foods China.
Northwestern Hires Audi Exec
Northwestern University has hired Jeri Ward to be the school’s vice president for global marketing and communications. Ward spent over a decade at Audi, starting in marketing and working her way up to SVP, chief communications officer. Prior to Audi, Ward worked at Ford and General Moters.
IBM Appoints APAC CMO
IBM has named Deepali Naair as its chief marketing officer for South East Asia and India. Prior to IBM, Naair held the same position at IIFL Wealth Management and Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India.
Former Bolthouse CMO Joins Bumble Bee
Todd Putman, formerly the chief marketing officer of Bolthouse Farms, has been appointed executive vice-president and chief growth officer for Bumble Bee Foods. Putman joins Bumbe Bee from Campbell Soup Co. where he was the general manager of Campbell Fresh, but he held previous roles in marketing at Pinkberry, Westfield and Walt Disney.
Editor’s Note:Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, September 28. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Old Spice took a musical approach to spread awareness of its Beard Kit for Men. On Tuesday, the brand hosted a Twitter Q&A about beard care with a twist—all the answers were sung by a barbershop quartet.
For the September 25 promotion, Old Spice enlisted Signature, an award-winning barbershop quartet from Florida. The musicians assumed the name of the “Bearded Quartet” for this activation, using humor and harmony that fit well with the Old Spice brand persona.
A live Twitter session began at 10 a.m. PST with a pre-recorded invitation by the Old Spice Bearded Quartet to participate. Dozens of questions poured in from Twitter users that ranged from serious beard-tending questions like how to stop itchiness and growth tips to whether or not Old Spice can make someone’s beard smell like cinnamon rolls. The solution? Hide a biscuit in your facial hair, the quartet recommended.
The Bearded Quartet put in a full day at the Old Spice studio, answering around 30 questions from the audience, then singing a farewell. The video ended with a list of “honorable mentions,” naming Twitter users who submitted questions but did not get an answer during the event. Each video was uploaded on YouTube as well, garnering a minimum of 1,000 views on each.
Engagement was modest, with the most “likes” on a single Twitter post numbering just over 500. However, Twitter audiences responded positively to the beard-themed concert through GIFs, jokes and asking where to buy Old Spice beard products.
Old Spice is selling its beard products exclusively on Amazon and promoting it through its usual brand of humor. In one ad, a man watching football with his wife/girlfriend finds beard products attached to the nachos. In a Twitter post, Old Spice features pro football players Travis and Jason Kelce, admiring their beards in the locker room.
Brands use cause marketing to align themselves with a variety of social issues but in the US, recently the most pressing—and popular—way has become encouraging consumers to vote.
National Voting Day was on September 25, drawing brands from across industries to spread awareness.
Snapchat turned to its young consumer base to encourage voting through a partnership with TurboVote. US users 18 and over were given links through their profile pages that help register to vote and encourage their friends to do the same. In addition, Snapchat will host mid-term election content through its Discover for Stories channel.
The Civic Culture Coalition is a non-partisan group “powered by pop culture” made up of more than a dozen brands. Participants include Ad Council, AMC Theatres, Anonymous Content, ATTN:, AwesomenessTV, Bad Robot, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), DoSomething.org, Entertainment Industry Foundation, iHeartMedia, Lyft, SB Projects, TOMS, Tumblr, Univision Communications, VICE Media and more.
The Civic Culture Coalition’s first campaign is called “I am a voter,” offering tools and resources like registration portals and reminders. Celebrity partners wore pins and t-shirts to events to help raise awareness and direct audiences to a website and text message platform.
HBO partnered with Rock the Vote to issue a public service announcement starring actors from the network’s programming. One by one, actors like Tony Hale, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kumail Nanjiani and more look at the camera and appear to want to say something. When all of them remain silent, the video reads, “There’s only one voice that needs to be heard. Yours. Register to Vote.”
Johnnie Walker partnered with Vote.org to support increased voter participation with a campaign that encouraged giving employees time off. The initiative is part of Johnnie Walker’s ongoing “Keep Walking America” campaign that debuted in 2016. The company has committed to giving its own employees two hours paid time off so they can make it to the polls on November 6. In addition, the spirits brand will relaunch its “Keep Walking America” TV spot, featuring re-imagined version of “This Land is Your Land” as performed by Chicano Batman.
MTV has long been active in encouraging young consumers to get to the polls. This year, a campaign called “+1thevote” asks citizens to connect with a friend who isn’t yet registered to vote. The dedicated website suggests throwing a #VoteTogether party to increase participation. Those who share their party plans with MTV could win up to $1,000.
A number of studies have shown that today’s young consumers are becoming far more active in social issues, which is reflected by their purchasing behavior. A recent study by Fuse found that 67 percent of teens were more likely to purchase from a company that supported a cause than one that doesn’t.
While encouraging others to vote may not be choosing sides on a particular issue, it shows that the brand cares and values the consumer’s voice—which is becoming increasingly important to consumers.
Advertising Week New York celebrates 15 years in 2018 and CEO Matt Scheckner has been there since the beginning. The Manhattan-based event spans over four days and always counts among its attendees and speakers many of marketing’s heavy hitters. Since 2004 Advertising Week, which is managed by Stillwell Partners, has expanded across the globe and now includes events in Latin America, Asia and Europe. Scheckner co-founded both Advertising Week and Stillwell Partners and remains heavily involved in the production of the global event platform. AList, in partnership with our friends at AW360, spoke with Scheckner about the humble beginnings of Advertising Week and where it’s headed.
How did Advertising Week begin?
A random phone call in July of 2002. Abby Hirschhorn, DDB Worldwide CMO, was looking for a big idea in support of an effort led by 4A’s Chairman Ken Kaess and CEO O. Burtch Drake to attract young talent, boost the image and morale of the industry, and reaffirm New York as a global advertising hub.
The first-ever meeting about Advertising Week offered a preview of the future. A thought leadership foundation, environment and experience were all established as key anchors of the game plan. And so, it was an October afternoon in 2002 in the Roxy Suite at Radio City Music Hall where it all began. Planning began in earnest in May of 2003 after it was agreed that the first-ever Advertising Week would take place in September of 2004. With long-time business partner Lance Pillersdorf and a small team, Advertising Week opened its doors for the first time with such venues as NASDAQ, the Museum of Television & Radio and a memorable first Opening Gala at Gracie Mansion hosted by Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
What did you do before Advertising Week?
At 23 I was the founding Executive Director of the New York Sports Commission. After time spent interning, I pitched Mayor Koch that New York City needed to recognize sport for what it was: a gateway to further economic development. Over 8 years we re-established New York as a center for big-time Olympic level competition and drafted winning bids for the 1993 Olympic Congress, and the 1998 Goodwill Games. The latter seems crazy when you look back. I spent the summer of ’94 in St Petersburg with luminaries like Ted Turner, Boris Yeltsin and Governor Mario Cuomo.
Since 2004, how much have you seen the industry change?
In the years since The Week began, the smartphone has marched forth and become the standard. Anyone with access to a laptop and Internet connection is able to understand, reach and engage potential consumers. Brands can have real-time conversations with their customers whilst they interact with websites, mobile apps and platforms. Today’s advertising and marketing skill set looks nothing like 2004’s.
On September 27, 2004 when Advertising Week kicked off, Mark Zuckerberg was still on the Harvard campus. The iPhone was two years away and YouTube was three years away. Without exception, none of the tech-driven innovations which have re-shaped consumer behaviour and our industry were on the radar, or existed in any form, in 2004.
In many ways, I consider the timing of Advertising Week incredibly lucky. As it has evolved in New York City and everywhere else, Advertising Week has become a mirror of our industry and of the broader arena of business and popular culture. It has also become the place where the agenda is set for the year and where the most difficult and challenging issues facing our business – and often broader society – are tackled head on. Navigating change really sums it all up, and so much has changed from September of 2004.
Who are some of the musical acts you’ve had at events over the years?
In no order whatsoever: Jon Stewart and Curb Your Enthusiasm star, Susie Essman, at Jazz at Lincoln Center and Gnarls Barkley at the old Nokia Theater in 2006. Bruno Mars, Outkast, LCD Soundsystem, Alessia Cara, Pharrell Williams, Dua Lipa, Mark Ronson, Wyclef Jean, Ziggy Marley, Rita Ora, Sting, Nas, John Legend, The Roots, Snoop Dogg, Amy Schumer, Jimmy Fallon, Lewis Black, J. B. Smoove, Pete Holmes, Trevor Noah, Jeff Ross, and so many more. All have graced Advertising Week stages.
What do the next 15 years look like?
Well, let’s start with 2018. New players have emerged as kings and queens, others have disappeared, and the flow of ad dollars has rapidly shifted from traditional to emerging platforms. But what has not changed is the power of big ideas, good old-fashioned creativity, the influence of disruptors and innovators and our fundamental need as people to be inspired.
Looking ahead, no one can say how the future will play out, but as it unfolds, Advertising Week will be there every step of the way. And with our learning platform just around the corner, AWLearn will provide year-round engagement. It’s never been a more exciting time.
Virgin Atlantic has teamed up with Aviation American Gin as the exclusive UK airline partner. The two brands, as well as their celebrity owners, will promote their new relationship through cocktail-themed activations and branded content.
Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and actor/producer Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) announced their partnership through a comedic YouTube video in which Reynolds assumes their companies will merge. As Reynolds tries desperately to sound like a businessman—throwing out random words like “KPI,” “shareholder value” and “ROI”—Branson loses his patience and walks off set.
“We look forward to serving Virgin Atlantic guests for years to come and, on a personal note, Sir Richard has promised to teach me the difference between revenue and profit, so I am beyond excited,” Reynolds says in the press release.
Branson and Reynolds will return in a series of co-branded digital content this Fall. In the meantime, Virgin Atlantic is treating select September 30 flights with a mixology experience. The cocktail-fueled activation will be hosted by bartenders from famous locations like The Dead Rabbit in New York and Smugglers Cove in San Francisco.
The two brands will participate in this year’s London Cocktail Week from October 3-7, hosting activations and serving exclusive Aviation Gin cocktails at the Old Truman Brewery.
Virgin often uses experiential marketing to form positive memories of the brand. Virgin Holidays installed a giant ball pit in London and offers virtual reality in its retail locations.
Reynolds bought a stake in craft distiller Aviation Gin earlier this year and ever since, has promoted it with his trademark sense of humor. To announce his involvement with the brand, Reynolds produced a video in which he interviews—and insults—himself.
The Canadian actor joins a long list of celebrities who have aligned themselves with alcohol brands over the past few years. In 2016, Matthew McConaughey signed on as creative director for Wild Turkey bourbon and last year, Channing Tatum teamed up with Grand Teton Distillery to develop his own line of vodka.
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-The AList Team
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