Amazon’s Ad Aspirations Are Coming To Fruition

While still far away from the likes of Facebook and Google in terms of ad revenue, Amazon is making continued progress on its ad business.

Buried within Amazon’s Q3 earnings report yesterday evening in the “Other” category, is a 122 percent year-over-year increase in sales, totaling $2.5 billion, which can largely be attributed to Amazon’s ad growth.

A new report from Third Door Media which surveyed 700 digital marketers showed that of those currently advertising on Amazon, 80 percent plan to increase their ad spend on the platform in 2019.

Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said that their additional budget allocation to Amazon will be incremental, but respondents from smaller businesses will likely be shifting their budgets from channels like Facebook and Google to double-down on their Amazon investment. For marketers, Amazon offers a more direct pathway to consumers who are primed to buy.

“They have people who are in a shopping mind-set, so that’s valuable for Verizon to be seen as a resource within that mind-set,” said John Nitti, the chief media officer at Verizon to The New York Times in September.

In September 2017, eMarketer projected that Amazon would garner $3.19 billion in ad revenue by 2019. These new numbers show that Amazon is currently on-track to become a major player.

A Survata study in 2017 found that 49 percent of consumers’ first product search takes place on Amazon, with only 15 percent saying they would directly interact with their preferred retailer. Twenty-eight percent cited that this is due to Amazon’s user experience, 27 percent said the primary reason was the variety of products and selection, and 25 percent cited competitive pricing as the key reason.

Despite these gains in ad sales, Amazon shares saw the largest decline in over four years, at -10 percent due to an a small deceleration in growth in Amazon’s retail focuses. In spite of this, the retail/technology/advertising giant’s revenue is up 29 percent year-over-year.

Facebook Launches Video Tool For Politicians; YouTube TV Runs AR Ads

This week in social media news, Facebook gives politicians their very own video tool and YouTube TV debuts AR during the World Series.

Also, Facebook adds music features to Stories and profiles while building a Musically competitor, Twitter suggests conversation starters and encourages digital literacy while YouTube Music lets you search by emoji. Other social media updates include the launch of Facebook Messenger 4, Facebook turns technology against child predators, Instagram continues its musical pursuits and YouTube makes Premieres available to all users. YouTube puts its money where the learning videos are and casts YouTube Kids to smart displays, another Oculus co-founder exits Facebook, Snapchat boasts its holiday trends and Facebook battles Brazilian marketers. Instagram gains favor with teens, YouTube adds shortcuts to video embeds that will help gain subscribers and Facebook shops for cybersecurity.

Facebook Introduces ‘Candidate Info’ Video Tool

Politicians can state their case to Facebook users with a new tool called Candidate Info.

Why it matters: Candidates now have a way to directly “audition” with Facebook users by introducing themselves in their own words. Facebook says that over 25 million people in the US now follow at least one of their elected officials on the platform and over 4 million people in the US commented on, reacted to, or shared a post by one of their elected officials in the last month.

Details: Facebook users already connect with candidates and elected officials, but Candidate Info videos will serve as a more personal introduction. Granted, politicians will most likely read a prepared statement, but there’s something more impactful about watching a person deliver a message through words and body language instead of a typed page.

YouTube TV Simulates Experience Through AR Ads

Virtual billboards were placed over a live broadcast of the World Series on Tuesday, simulating a YouTube TV viewing experience.

Why it matters: YouTube found a creative way to simulate watching TV on its platform by adding a virtual billboard and YouTube’s iconic controls over a live TV broadcast. YouTube announced that it would renew its partnership with MLB earlier this year, at which time Angela Courtin, global head of YouTube TV and Original marketing said: “From live programming morphing into a YouTube TV spot to prominent in-stadium placements, our innovative partnership allowed us to build awareness for YouTube TV and have a voice during one of the biggest live sporting events of the year.”

Details: Baseball fans got a taste of YouTube TV during the World Series this week when virtual ads appeared over a live broadcast. The ads showed a large video player behind the Green Monster Seats at Fenway Park as if it were a physical installation. After touting a few baseball-themed calls to action, YouTube video controls appeared over the broadcast to simulate watching the game over the internet.

Facebook Adds Music To Stories; Develops Video Music App

Facebook is expanding Instagram music features to its flagship app and building one of its own in a move to regain favor with teens.

Why it matters: MySpace had an ingenious way of integrating music. Each profile was unique, embedded with full music playlists, blog posts and videos. While it still technically exists, the glory days of MySpace are ancient history. Facebook profiles all look the same, but new changes could help users feel more unique on the platform.

Details: Facebook is rolling out new music features that include song stickers for Facebook Stories, lyrics for Lip Sync Live and coming soon, the ability to add music samples to a profile. When someone clicks on the music, they can view the artist and track information, as well as add it to their own profiles.

A new music video app is also in development, TechCrunch reports. Called Lasso, the app is designed as a direct competitor to Musically, through which teenagers film themselves singing or dancing to popular songs.

YouTube Music Lets You Search With Emojis

The dedicated YouTube Music app has added a fun new way to search for songs—with an emoji.

Why it matters: Typing an emoji may not be all that much faster for searches, but it can be a unique way for artists or brands to promote on the YouTube Music app.

Details: Users feeling creative can add emoji to their search in the YouTube Music app, such as a firework emoji to bring up Katy Perry’s song of the same name. The emoji search feature only works on the dedicated YouTube Music app at this time.

Twitter Tests Conversation Starters

If a Twitter user has a hard time coming up with something to say, they might be able to choose from a series of open-ended questions.

Why it matters: As with anywhere on the internet, Twitter is subject to trolls, cyberbullying and posts that make you question the future of mankind. The brand has been working on ways to make Twitter more positive, with CEO Jack Dorsey going so far as to rethink the core of how his site works.

Details: During the Fast Company Innovation Festival, Twitter explained how it has experimented with conversation starters. If implemented, users could choose from open-ended questions like, “Who inspires you and why.”

“We want the best conversation for you coming to you as quickly as possible,” said Mike Kruzeniski, senior director of product design. “Can you tell us what you’re interested in? And [can] we quickly get you to that conversation?

Twitter, UNESCO Launch Global Media and Information Literacy Week

Twitter is fighting misinformation not just through policy enforcement but education with a new initiative running through October 30.

Why it matters: Global Media and Information Literacy Week will offer resources, partnerships and initiatives both inside the app/website and in the community at large. Elections happening around the world mean that misinformation is going to be a big problem. Twitter hopes to teach users to be more savvy when determining whether something is real or not before sharing.

Details: A hashtag called #ThinkBeforeSharing will remind Twitter users to examine stories or statements for their legitimacy. A guide called “Teaching and Learning With Twitter” will offer guidance on how to use the site as a learning tool. Twitter is distributing 10 Ads for Good grants in UNESCO’s media and literacy network, to help raise awareness of their work. The site is also partnering with the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) to support Media Literacy Week in the United States using the hashtag #MediaLitWk. US Media Literacy week will be held from November 5 until 9.

Facebook Rolls Out Messenger 4

The latest version of Facebook Messenger is rolling out to mobile devices, designed to be simplified and offer more personalization.

Why it matters: Citing a recent Messenger study, Facebook says that 71 percent of people consider simplicity to be the top priority for them in a messaging app. Taking that to heart, Facebook has made Messenger 4 easier to navigate with three tabs instead of the previous nine. The Discover Tab takes a, shall we say nod to Snapchat, where users can connect with brands, follow news and make purchases. When Facebook simplifies something for its users, that means it’s also (or primarily) designed to be a better sales funnel for advertisers.

Details: Messenger 4 features a slimmer interface and personalization options like adding color gradients to a chat bubble. A “handful” of new features will be announced soon, Facebook said.

Instagram Adds Soundcloud Integration

Soundcloud users can now add a link to their favorite tunes inside an Instagram Story.

Why it matters: Integrating with other apps allows Facebook’s Instagram to build solid business relationships, especially with the music industry. Back in June, Instagram added the ability to place background music into a post and in August, Snapchat made a deal with Pandora—increasing competition in the space. Adding Soundcloud links rather than background music allows Instagram to benefit from the association without having to pay artist royalties.

Details: Now when Instagram users create Stories, they have the option to add a sticker linking to the desired song on Soundcloud. While the songs don’t automatically play in the background, the integration allows users to share tunes with copyright infringement.

YouTube Premieres Roll Out To Everyone

YouTube Premieres—an event that channels can host to create fanfare around a new video—is now available to all users.

Why it matters: Previously available only to the top creators, YouTube is giving other channels the chance to build hype through Premieres. The company tends to favor its top earners instead of smaller channels, so the move may or may not garner YouTube favor with growing creators.

Details: YouTube announced that its Premieres feature is available to everyone beginning this week. Creators can notify followers of an upcoming video, then host a live viewing party at the desired time. Users can participate in live chat during the event, allowing creators to connect with their communities as the video is first viewed rather than after the fact.

Facebook Fights Child Exploitation With New Tech

Photo-matching, AI and machine learning are among Facebook’s recent efforts to battle child exploitation on its platforms.

Why it matters: Facebook allows users as young as 13 to join and we’ve all seen parents that create pages for their young children or share countless images of their offspring in the news feed. Predators will use any means necessary to share materials, resources and groom or lure children into dangerous situations. Facebook is using its considerable resources and partnerships to stay ahead of these criminals and bring them to justice.

Details: In a blog post, Facebook shared its recent strides in fighting child exploitation.

“In addition to photo-matching technology, we’re using artificial intelligence and machine learning to proactively detect child nudity and previously unknown child exploitative content when it’s uploaded,” wrote Antigone Davis, Facebook head of safety. “We’re using this and other technology to more quickly identify this content and report it to NCMEC, and also to find accounts that engage in potentially inappropriate interactions with children on Facebook so that we can remove them and prevent additional harm.”

YouTube Invests $20M In Educational Content

YouTube is now funding creators that make educational content, partnering with brands and institutions to create their own content and has expanded support for “Edu Tubers” in more countries.

Why it matters: YouTube is recognizing its strengths and nurturing them, as evidenced by the company’s recent partnership with EventBrite to sell concert tickets. People turn to the website and app to learn everything from how to change a tire to absorbing the lore behind a video game. YouTube recognizes this fact as an area of strength to build upon, and thus, will continue to invest funds and resources to help it grow.

Details: YouTube has announced new initiatives to encourage learning on its platform. This summer, the company launched YouTube Learning and in a blog post to creators, CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that they will invest $20 million into the program. YouTube says it has already completed the first round of investments that include channels TED-Ed or Hank, John Green’s Crash Course.

Oculus Co-Founder Brendan Iribe Exits Facebook

Another Oculus Rift co-founder has left Facebook. Brendan Iribe announced his departure on Monday.

Why it matters: Facebook has expanded its social media and technology empire through acquisitions like WhatsApp and Instagram, so when the founders leave, it signals a shift in company culture. WhatsApp founder described himself as a “sellout” when he left Facebook last year and in September, Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger left reportedly over disagreements with the company’s new direction.

Details: Just a month after Instagram’s co-founders left Facebook, Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe has exited the company as well. As Facebook continues to fight for public trust, a mass exodus of company founders may not help matters.

Snapchat Urges Ad Spend To Reach Holiday Shoppers

Boasting high engagement, Snapchat offered guidance to brands wanting to reach holiday shoppers on the platform this year.

Why it matters: Halloween isn’t even here yet, but Snapchat says the time is now to reach its users for holiday spending. Citing a 2017 research study by Murphy, Snapchat claims that 66 percent of Snapchatters began their holiday shopping on or before Black Friday, with 18 percent of those users starting in September or before.

Details: Snapchat insists that its users are heavier shoppers than the average non-user, especially on mobile devices. The company suggests that to reach this audience, brands need to drive action, take advantage of creative insights and optimize campaigns.

YouTube Kids Now Streams On Smart Displays, Google Home And TV

Just in time for Google Home Hub, YouTube Kids is now available for casting on additional devices.

Why it matters: YouTube has timed the streaming capability with the launch of Digital Wellbeing on Google Home and Smart Displays, which allows family members to restrict child streaming to YouTube Kids only, as well as designated downtime.

Details: Google Assistant users can now choose to stream YouTube Kids to a Smart Display, Google Home or cast-enabled TV using voice controls. The service is already available on Android TV and LG, Samsung, and Sony Smart TVs.

Facebook Removes Spam From Brazilian Marketers

Facebook removed 68 Pages and 43 accounts associated with a Brazilian marketing group, Raposo Fernandes Associados (RFA), for violating misrepresentation and spam policies.

Why it matters: Facebook is taking special care to keep its users updated on any and all enforcement, especially as the US elections draw near and the social network continues to draw criticism.

Details: Brazilian marketing group RFA created a number of Pages and fake accounts, then used them to post massive amounts of clickbait that directs users to ad farms. The content repeatedly offered fraudulent products and services, as well as sensational political content.

Snapchat Favorite Among Teens, But They Use Instagram More

Piper Jaffray’s 36th semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens survey found that over the past two years, more teenagers are using Instagram and consider it their favorite social network. While Snapchat is still (barely) the top favorite, Facebook and Twitter have lost considerable favor with the demographic.

Why it matters: Snapchat’s appeal to teenagers is the network’s major selling point to advertisers and investors. As competition heats up with Instagram, the company will need to not only maintain but grow that favor if it hopes to become profitable.

Details: A survey of 8,600 US teenagers, with an average age of 16, found that Snapchat is still a favorite, with sentiment growing since the Spring of 2016. Unfortunately for Snapchat, that favor is also growing with Instagram. As of Fall 2018, 46 percent of respondents named Snapchat their favorite social platform, compared to Instagram at 32 percent. When asked about usage frequency, however, Instagram was used at least once per month by 85 percent compared to Snapchat at 84 percent. While rivals Snapchat and Instagram may be neck and neck, other platforms are falling behind. Facebook usage has dropped 24 percent since Spring of 2016 and 10 percent fewer consider it to be their favorite platform.

YouTube Redesigns Video Embeds With Handy Shortcuts

Embedded videos from YouTube now come with shortcuts built in that include the ability to subscribe.

Why it matters: Previously, viewers would have to click through an embedded video to its home on YouTube in order to subscribe to a channel. Eliminating even one step of a process can go a long way to achieve results. Adding the subscription button to an embed saves viewers time and therefore allows creators to amass more followers.

Details: With the new design, hovering over a channel icon in the top left corner of an embedded video will unfold a card with full channel name, a total number of subscribers and an option to subscribe and/or turn on upload notifications. Other options include the choice to watch later, share the video or view additional information about the upload.

Facebook Reportedly Shopping For Cybersecurity Firm

Inside sources claim that Facebook has approached multiple cybersecurity firms with offers to purchase and the deal could close by the end of 2018.

Why it matters: If you advertise on Facebook, you might be wondering what the heck is going on over there between the Cambridge Analytica scandal and a breach of 30 million accounts. Having a cybersecurity firm included in Facebook’s parent company would grant access to valuable tools and resources to stop the data breach bleeding, as it were, and put minds at ease.

Details: Two anonymous sources told The Information that Facebook is in the market to purchase a cybersecurity firm, although it wasn’t clear what type of security Facebook was looking for in particular.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, October 26. 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

This Week’s Exec Shifts: Warner Bros. Shuffles Marketing Roles; Pandora Appoints Marketing EVP

This week’s executive moves include Columbia Records promoting in-house for its marketing SVP position, marketing shakeups at Warner Bros. Pictures and a new brand marketing VP for Pandora. KP Snacks gets a new marketing director, Neutrik USA promotes for its first marketing director position, Houlihan’s shakes up the C-Suite, Celsius lands a beverage industry veteran to lead its marketing efforts and BetterUp finds a new CMO.

In addition, this week saw new responsibilities for Hulu’s marketing team, the exit of Jaguar Land Rover’s marketing head, a promotion inside Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Universal Music Group appoints a new EVP of consumer marketing. Milani chooses a CMO, Ducati creates a new marketing division, DHI finds a new chief marketing officer, Lendi appoints a CMO and Leverate places hope in its new marketing head. Also, Mercedes-Benz promotes a new marketing head and Forbidden Technologies shaking things up including its marketing department.

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

Columbia Records Promotes For Digital Marketing SVP

Manos Xanthogeorgis, vice president of international digital for Columbia Records, has been promoted to senior vice president of digital marketing and media. In his new role, Xanthogeorgis will be responsible for developing and executing Columbia’s overall digital strategy including consumer engagement, social media, influencer and streaming marketing, as well as advertising on behalf of the label’s artists.

Speaking on the promotion, Columbia Records’ international executive vice president Jenifer Mallory said, “Manos has executed countless creative and impactful global digital campaigns for Sony Music signature artists around the world over the last few years. His strategic insight and acute understanding of the global digital and streaming landscape will be a tremendous asset to Columbia’s and label partners.”

Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Names Board of Directors

During its annual conference, ANA revealed a list of top marketing executives that have joined the association’s board of directors. Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer of Procter and Gamble, will remain chairman until the end of 2019. The new board members are:

  • Norman de Greve, SVP and chief marketing officer, CVS Health
  • John W. Dillon, SVP and chief marketing officer, Denny’s Corporation
  • Pam El, EVP and chief marketing officer, NBA
  • Rick Gomez, EVP and chief marketing officer, Target Corporation
  • Keira Krausz, EVP and chief marketing officer, NutriSystem, Inc.
  • Wes Laird, chief marketing officer, USAA
  • Marcel Marcondes, US chief marketing officer, Anheuser-Busch InBev
  • Michelle Peluso, SVP and chief marketing officer, IBM Corporation
  • Elizabeth Rutledge, chief marketing officer, American Express Company
  • Lilian Tomovich, chief experience and marketing Officer, MGM Resorts
  • Matt VanDyke, director of US Marketing, Ford Motor Company
  • Jocelyn Wong, chief marketing officer, Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

Warner Bros. Promotes For Marketing SVP

As part of a planned business restructure, Jack Walker has been promoted to senior vice president of media and digital marketing for Warner Bros.’ home entertainment division. Walker has been with the company since 2007 where he has developed marketing strategies across the studio’s online film and home releases.

Lynne Frank, president, international marketing and worldwide planning and operations for Warner Bros. Pictures, will be leaving the studio at the end of the year to pursue new professional opportunities.

Pandora Taps New Brand Marketing VP

Pandora has tapped financial industry veteran Brad Minor as its new vice president of brand marketing and communications. Minor most recently worked as managing director of brand, advertising and media at JP Morgan Chase, where he and his team launched the Chase Sapphire Card travel campaigns. Prior to that, he held several marketing executive roles for American Express.

In his new role, Minor will responsible for defining Pandora’s brand positioning to listeners and the industry together in addition to brand marketing, communications, experiential and managing social media teams.

Speaking on the new hire, Pandora CMO Aimée Lapic said: “Over the past decade, working with some of the most successful and well-known brands in the world, Brad has proven his ability to meaningfully engage multiple audiences through powerful storytelling that connects brand marketing, public relations, live events, and social media. By bringing all of these teams under Brad’s direction, we will ensure a clear and consistent voice across all of our brand touch points — maintaining and extending Pandora’s leadership position in our industry.”

Jaguar Landrover Loses Marketing Head Amid Restructure

As part of an internal restructuring that began in May, Jaguar Land Rover‘s global head of advertising, Ian Armstrong, has left the company. On LinkedIn, Armstrong has posted that work is an activity and not a destination and that at this time is he is “independently contemplating, advising & investing, you should try it.” Before working at Jaguar Land Rover, Armstrong held high-level marketing positions at Honda Motor Europe.

Universal Music Group Nabs NFL Exec For New SVP Consumer Marketing

Jaime Weston has been appointed to executive vice president of consumer marketing for Universal Music Group. Prior to her new role, Weston served as senior vice president of marketing for the National Football League (NFL), where she led the strategic direction and management of the NFL brand and league marketing efforts, including the NFL’s creative department, fan strategy, advertising, entertainment initiatives and brand management.

As SVP of consumer marketing for Universal Music Group, Weston will develop targeted marketing strategies to grow the global audience for the publisher’s artists across platforms, products and initiatives. In addition, Weston will develop a consumer engagement platform to drive insights and guide consumer marketing initiatives as well as provide UMG’s labels, business units and territories with invaluable consumer insights.

Speaking on the appointment, Dave Rocco, executive vice president of creative said: “With Jaime’s expertise and experience, there is enormous potential to build a stronger relationship with consumers, market directly to audiences around the world and position our artists for even greater success.”

Amer Sports Promotes For Digital Marketing Director

Arc’teryx, Salomon and Wilson Sporting Goods parent Amer Sports has promoted Megan Porteous to the position of digital marketing director, Americas effective November 1. Porteous joined the company in 2016 as digital marketing director. Prior to Amer Sports, she held various digital and sports marketing leadership positions with brands like Oakley and Designer Protein.

In her new position, Porteous will oversee the company’s portfolio-wide transformation as an omnichannel marketing organization in the Americas region.

Armin Boehm, VP commercial and marketing for the Americas commented: “Megan has a strong track record in designing strategic roadmaps and delivering outstanding results. She is well known in Amer Sports globally for being one of the trailblazers taking our organization to new levels of professionalism. She is also well known for her excellent collaboration skills and passion for our brands and consumers.”

Houlihan’s Restaurants Shakes Up Executive Suite

Restaurant brand Houlihans Restaurants, Inc. (HRI) has appointed new executive roles, including Bill Leibengood as chief marketing officer. Leibengood most recently was vice president of marketing for Wingstop Inc. and previously headed brand management at Applebee’s.

“Bill brings to us the expertise and track record of a successful CMO, along with the hands-on business experience of a seasoned marketing executive,” said Mike Archer, Houlihan’s Restaurant Inc.’s CEO, in a statement. “This strong combination of skills and experience will be an important addition to the HRI executive team and will support his success as CMO.”

Other appointments include Terry Harryman as chief financial officer and Chad Devorak as senior vice president of operations for the Houlihan’s brand.

Celsius Nabs Beverage Industry Veteran For Marketing EVP

Matt Kahn has been named executive vice president of marketing for energy drink brand Celsius. Kahn brings over 20 years of marketing experience to the new role, holding a variety of roles within the beverage industry including The Coca-Cola Co., Glacéau Vitaminwater, smartwater, Powerade and Heineken USA. He is credited for the successful launch of Powerade Zero.

Kahn was honored as a Top 40 Under 40 executive by Advertising Age and Johnnie Walker’s 35 Under 35 marketers.

BetterUp Appoints Chief Marketing Officer

Mobile coaching brand has named Deborah Wolf its new chief marketing officer. Wolf previously served as CMO for Lookout and held several marketing positions across the last 30 years.

Regarding the hire, Alexi Robichaux, co-founder and CEO of BetterUp said: “The increasing market demand for personalized coaching continues to fuel our growth and Deb’s expertise in molding startups into superstars will be instrumental as we rise to the next level. She is a strong leader who shares our passion for human wellness and fulfillment at work, and we are excited to welcome her unique skill set to our growing team of technologist, scientists, and coaches.”

Hulu Restructures Marketing Team

Hulu’s PR head Barrie Gruner has been given a new title and responsibilities. As vice president of originals marketing and publicity, Gruner will continue to oversee awards, talent relations and publicity in addition to marketing original programming for Hulu. Before joining Hulu, Gruner worked at Turner Broadcasting and Netflix.

In addition, vice president of content marketing Ryan Crosby will expand his responsibilities to include oversight of originals marketing, publicity content strategy, licensed and live marketing and on-channel marketing.

KP Snacks Hires Marketing Director

Kevin McNair has been appointed marketing director of KP Snacks, the parent company of McCoys, Hula Hoops, Tyrelles and others. He joins the team effective October 29.  He previously served as marketing director for Britvic, handling brands like J20 and the launch of R Whites. McNair’s career includes a number of marketing roles including those for Unilever and Whitbread.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group Names New CMO

Michael Hobson, chief marketing officer for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group will retire effective December 31. Jill Kluge, currently serving as group director of brand communications, will step into the CMO role upon his departure.

Prior to joining Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Kluge held a number of sales and marketing positions at international hotel brands in the UK and Asia.

“Jill has been instrumental in driving Mandarin Oriental’s strong brand recognition over the past 25 years,” said James Riley, group chief executive on the change. “I congratulate her on this well-deserved promotion, and wish her every success.”

Neutrik USA Promotes For First Marketing Director

Audio component brand Neutrik USA has appointed Janet Tufo as its first marketing director. Tufo has been with the company since 2013 in several roles including marketing and communications manager. In her elevated role, Tufo will interact with Neutrik’s headquarters in Liechtenstein, supporting the global corporate identity while maintaining a watchful eye over market perceptions of the Neutrik brand.

Milani Cosmetics Appoints CMO

Milani has hired Evelyn Wang as its new chief marketing officer, where she will begin on Tuesday. She previously served as senior vice president of marketing at Wet ‘n Wild at Markwins.

Ducati Restructures Sales And Marketing Teams

Ducati Motor Holding has created two new management divisions following the departure of global sales and marketing director Andrea Buzzoni. Two divisions have been set up within the Board of Management—Global Sales and After Sales and Marketing and Community. Board president Claudio Domenicali has been named interim Director for the Marketing and Community division.

DHI Group Names Chief Marketing Officer

Michelle Marian has joined DHI Group as its new chief marketing officer. Based in Denver, Ms. Marian will lead DHI’s global marketing organization, with responsibility for the company’s digital marketing strategy, demand generation and branding for its three services—Dice, eFinancialCareers and ClearanceJobs. Ms. Marian will focus on marketing efforts to grow customer acquisition and to increase digital channel performance including SEO, email, affiliate and ecommerce.

Marian joins DHI after holding a number of marketing executive roles. Her experience includes global digital marketing at Crocs and executive roles at, Webroot and Safeway.

Lendi Appoints New CMO

Australian online home loan platform, Lendi, has appointed Zara Cobb as its new chief marketing officer. Cobb brings 12 years of global media and marketing experience to Lendi, having served as head of strategy at Blue 499 and a number of senior roles in media agencies.

In her new role, Cobb, will drive growth in customer acquisition, find optimizations in the customer journey and spread brand awareness.

Leverate Promotes For Head Of Marketing

Brokerage technology provider Leverate has promoted Maya Kenner-Fitoussi to the position of head of marketing. Kenner-Fitoussi joined the company in October of last year as head of professional services, where she managed Leverate’s Marketing Automation and Business Intelligence tool. This is her first promotion at the company.

Mercedes-Benz Promotes For Marketing Head

Auto manufacturer Mercedes-Benz has promoted Bettina Fetzer to head of marketing effective November 1. Fetzer currently oversees PR for brands and global products and has held several positions within the company since 2004. In her new role, Fetzer will be instrumental to the creation and promotion for the Mercedes-Benz brand through both internal and external communications.

Britta Seeger, member of the board of management for Mercedes-Benz Cars marketing and sales said of the promotion: “I am delighted to have gained Bettina Fetzer, a proven communications expert and outstanding executive as Head of Mercedes-Benz Marketing. Under her leadership, we will further develop the successful brand work of recent years as well as the digitization of our customer contacts.”

Forbidden Technologies Chooses Head Of Marketing

Forbidden Technologies, developer and seller of cloud workstation Blackbird, has announced several corporate changes, including the appointment of a new marketing head. Adrien Lambert joins the team as department head, having served as marketing director for a number of companies including EDM Ltd and Global Eagle Entertainment.

Everest Insurance Adds Marketing Director

Everest Insurance, a division of global reinsurer Everest Re Group, has appointed Bill Pollert as a director in its New York-based marketing and distribution team. Pollert joins the company after serving 14 years at Marsh USA, where he held a variety of positions—most recently as senior vice president and portfolio Manager within the Private Equity and Mergers & Acquisitions (PEMA) team in New York.

Dane Lopes, head of sales, marketing and distribution management at Everest Insurance said of the appointment: “Bill is a key addition to the US East Distribution team. His background in the private equity space aligns closely with our “One Everest” value proposition within our PE vertical. Bill will utilize his cross-product experience to service the unique needs of private equity firms, and at the same time his global risk management experience positions him well to understand the needs of Everest’s valued trading partners in this space.”

Kuflink Appoints Head Of Digital Marketing

Manchester peer-to-peer lending institution Kuflink has chosen Tom Lindridge as its new head of digital marketing. Lindridge brings a decade of experience to the growing company, having served as digital marketing director for Shawbrook Bank among others.

Commenting on Tom’s appointment, Ed Hounsell, chief marketing officer at Kuflink, said: “Our recent digital campaigns have brought a whole new generation of investors to our growing community, and we’re excited to develop and refine this approach under Tom’s expertise. His years of experience and success within the financial services sector make us a perfect match to ensure we build on momentum and continue to grow quickly within this space.”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, October 26. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

Global Head of Brand Marketing Uber Eats San Francisco, CA
VP, Marketing & Communications Boingo El Segundo, CA
VP, Originals Marketing Starz Los Angeles, CA
VP, Marketing, Brand & Customer Strategy Banana Republic San Francisco, CA
Head of Marketing, Stephen Curry Under Armour Baltimore, MD
VP, Marketing Strategy Operations Paramount Pictures Hollywood, CA

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

PlayStation Discusses PS4 Pro ‘Details’ Campaign, Authenticity Strategy

PlayStation recently launched a new campaign called “Details” that uses humor to draw attention to 4K graphics on the PS4 Pro. As with previous ads for the console, PlayStation wanted to elicit an emotional response and target a very specific gaming demographic.

“Details” consists of three spots, each tied into PlayStation’s ongoing “Greatness Awaits” campaign. In each live-action scenario, characters stop what they’re doing to appreciate details in the world around them.

The newest spot, “Vampire Hunter,” is a humorous take on battling monsters. In the middle of a fierce life and death battle, one vampire interrupts his own attack to admire his victim’s watch. His blood-sucking colleague is not amused.

For PlayStation VP of marketing Mary Yee and her team, this campaign was a challenge to resonate with gamers on a personal level but in a humorous way—almost like an inside joke.

“We’ve heard from gamers that they get so excited about the blades of grass they see or the reflection of the background in someone’s eyeball,” Yee told AList. “We brought that insight into [‘Details’].”

In the first “Details” spot entitled “Armor,” two knights are waging battle when one of them strikes up a conversation about the detailed armor his opponent is wearing. The third and final spot, “Foxhole,” will show a group of soldiers who get distracted by the beauty of their commanding officer’s eyes.

Yee explained that when she and her team are developing a campaign, they always try to identify the “gamer truth.” In other words, they identify something very particular that gamers can relate to—in this case, it was the appreciation for tiny details in a game.

“When we find [the gamer truth] and it’s right, it always feel authentic and simple. We find that that’s the most motivating for the team,” said Yee. “I work with a team of really passionate marketers and gamers so when they see it and it’s a truth that they love, they will also go into the details to make sure everything looks right in the commercial. They’re doing it for the fans and they’re doing it for themselves, too.”

Entry-level gamers aren’t discouraged from purchasing a PS4 Pro by any means, but they aren’t the target demographic for “Details.” Instead, PlayStation wanted to appeal to existing gamers that immerse themselves into video game worlds.

“The challenge with [PS4] Pro is that we have to really think about what this [target] gamer wants,” explained Yee. “[The Pro demographic] is someone that is already very engaged and [we have to figure out] what they care about in order for us to demonstrate what the power of the Pro does and get them to buy. Then, we think about the content. What’s the content that really showcases [what the gamer cares about] and how do we wrap that into the campaign?”

“Details” showcases gameplay from three upcoming PlayStation exclusive games: Marvel’s Spider-Man, Days Gone and Ghost of Tsushima. The overall tone of the campaign was designed to match PlayStation’s “Opera” series of spots released last year for PS4Pro.

“When an ad is funny, we know that this target can relate to it, so it’s authentic to them,” said Yee. “It’s also authentic to the brand. We hope it elicits excitement about the games they can play and [inspire a Pro purchase].”

Editor’s Note: This article was updated to include additional details for the “Vampire Hunter” spot.

Brands Use Sales, ‘Staches To Support Movember Partnership

Movember enters its 11th year in 2018, partnering with brands and inviting the public to grow a mustache in the name of men’s health. Brands participate through donations, fundraisers, events and some even change their logos so brand icons can sport a sweet ‘stache.

This annual tradition of growing a mustache raises awareness and funds for men’s health issues like cancer and mental health. Each year, a select group of brands partners with Movember by launching a cause marketing campaign.

Corporate brand partners fit naturally with Movember when they already cater to men or promote a healthy lifestyle. Here’s how brands are participating in Movember 2018:

Green Giant

Throughout the month of November, the iconic Jolly Green Giant logo will sport a mustache both online and “in person.” The brand’s 55-foot tall Jolly Green Giant statue in Blue Earth, Minnesota will debut a mustache on November 1. Green Giant estimates that the 15 lb., 4-foot-long mustache would take an average man eight years to grow.

Every day in November, the official Green Giant social media accounts will debut a new version of its logo with a different style of facial hair.

“Partnering with the Movember Foundation to leverage the Green Giant’s likeness to support young men feels like a natural fit,” said Jordan Greenberg, vice president and general manager of Green Giant. “We hope that the Green Giant’s new mustache inspires awareness around The Movember Foundation’s mission and men’s health issues.”

Schick Hydro

Schick Hydro’s partnership with Movember is part of a new, larger campaign called “The Man I Am.” To kick things off, the shaving brand launched a new web series about what positive masculinity means today—and that includes taking care of yourself.

“Locker Room Talk” stars NBA player and mental health advocate Kevin Love. In three episodes, Love will interview athletes Michael Phelps, Paul Pierce and Channing Frye.

Schick Hydro is also hosting an Omaze campaign through early December. Those who donate at least $10 will be entered for a chance to win VIP tickets to hang out with Love before a game and then watch him play.

Joseph A. Bank

In addition to a donation of $100,000 to The Movember Foundation, Joseph A. Bank will reward anyone who signs up at with 50 percent off any regular price suit, sportcoat or dress shirt purchase, including custom.

“By partnering with The Movember Foundation, we want to raise awareness and encourage men to live healthier longer lives,” said the company in a statement.


Fossil has created an exclusive watch called the Fossil Commuter Hybrid. The hybrid smartwatch features a 42mm stainless steel case with a mustache-printed dial, mustache embossed strap, doesn’t need to be charged and has smart capabilities like activity tracking, filtered notifications, music control and water resistance up to 50m. The hybrid smartwatch retails for $175 with 20 percent of the watch’s retail price donated to the Movember Foundation.

Existing Fossil customers can also change their touchscreen watch dials to a special Movember version. The dial grows a mustache a little more each day until it reaches a full crumb catcher by the end of the month.

Dutch Bros Coffee

Beginning November 1, all Dutch Bros locations will sell a limited run of branded reusable straws for $1 and committing a minimum donation of $100,000 to the Movember Foundation.

Men’s Wearhouse

The clothing retailer is donating $100,000 to the Movember Foundation. In addition, Men’s Wearhouse has ‘Try On A New Mo‘ in which user can upload their picture and try out different mustachioed looks.

“Our custom offer is a perfect complement to Movember’s goals,” said Men’s Wearhouse. “While creating a custom suit, a man gets to know himself better—how he expresses himself, how he wants the world to see him, and, most importantly, how he feels. The way a man feels is a cornerstone of both the Movember Foundation and Men’s Wearhouse.”

Bluestone Lane

Australian-inspired coffee shop chain Bluestone Lane is offering participants free coffee every day throughout the month of November. Proceeds from coffee sales on November 9 and November 30 will be donated to the cause, as well.

Sunset Tomatoes

The vegetable (or is it a fruit?) brand has partnered with Movember for the fourth year in a row with limited edition packages of Kumato tomatoes. Each 1 lb. package contains a special mustache label. Customers are encouraged to support the cause by taking a selfie with the label and posting it on social media with the hashtag #Mokumato. Participants can also share the photo of a man that inspires you throughout the month of November. Everyone that shares a photo will qualify to win one of five prize packs valued at over $200.

Consumers Take Unsafe Brand Content Personally, Study Finds

Not only do consumers think less of a brand when ads appear next to unsafe content, but they also take it personally, a new study found. Respondents were more likely to view a negative association as intentional, coloring their overall view of the brands in question.

The Brand Safety Effect” is a joint study by CHEQ, IPG Mediabrands, BMW and Hulu. More than 2,000 consumers were shown ads next to content deemed negative and surveyed about their reactions. Sample ads were shown across three types of content deemed “negative”—generally unsafe content like a school shooting, brand-averse content such as a BMW ad next to an article about a BMW collision and vertical-averse content, i.e a soda ad in front of content about diabetes.

Consumers showed an overwhelmingly negative response to the ad placements, with many viewing them as an intentional endorsement by brands. When consumers assume ad placement is intentional, they are nearly three times less willing to associate with that brand, the study found. Open-ended feedback from respondents even accused the brands of being manipulative and exploitative.

Even when an ad doesn’t appear to be intentionally placed but is directly adverse to the brand, it makes them look bad. After viewing content that clashes with a brand, consumer opinion dropped significantly—22 percent lower for trustworthiness and 19 percent each for quality and reputation.

Interestingly, a brand- or vertical-averse ad makes consumers feel like the brand doesn’t care about its customers by allowing the association to occur. The opinion that brands cared about their customers dropped 18 percent and a willingness to associate with them dropped 21 percent. Purchase intent dropped by half.

At best, allowing one’s ads to run next to unsafe content makes a brand look out of touch. At worst, consumers see brands as manipulative or like they are trying to profit off of a disaster.

“Brands need to be aware that blindly following a customer or chasing media price efficiency can have devastating effects on the long-term health of their brands,” said Joshua Lowcock, global brand safety officer at UM Worldwide, part of IPG Mediabrands in a statement.

Marketers are more concerned about brand safety than they have been in recent years, resulting in brands like Cisco, Sonos and Unilever pulling ads and bringing ad operations in-house. A recently study by Oath found that 58 percent of advertisers are more worried about brand safety this year than they were last year.

Brand safety is an issue that impacts the entire industry, inspiring open discussion at events like Cannes Lions and Advertising Week. Initiatives have also been formed recently like The Brand Safety Institute to address the problem head-on.

Marketers Lack Confidence, Technology For Personalized Advertising

Marketers are willing to meet the personalization needs of today’s consumer, but many lack the confidence or technology to do so. According to a new Forrester study, less than five percent of marketing heads have all the digital advertising capabilities they want, and more than half struggle to keep up with customer demand.

The Personalized Advertising Gap was commissioned by RevJet to explore the link between data access and confidence among marketers. Forrester surveyed 109 decision-makers at companies with at least $1 billion in annual revenue who are involved in their company’s marketing strategy.

Respondents were asked to rate how confident they were in their organization’s ability to create and deliver advertising creative that is personalized and meaningful at scale. On a scale of 1-5, with 1 meaning not at all confident, only 35 percent answered with a 4 or 5 for creating personalized advertising and 32 percent for delivering said content.

“This personalization confidence gap means that too many firms run the risk of getting too heavily reliant on advertising technology’s hyper targeting capabilities and so not exploring the power of personalized creative to connect with consumers through delivering valuable, relevant ads,” said Forrester in the study.

A lack of access to the right technology may be to blame for this lack of confidence, with only four percent saying they had all the digital advertising capabilities they want today. When asked about barriers to creating and delivering personalized ad content, 31 percent said they lack the technology and 24 percent said their organization doesn’t consider it a priority.

Machine learning and AI topped the wish list for everyone else, followed by real-time ad assembly, real-time visioning and multivariate A/B testing of creative. Technology needs to work together and be easy to use, they said.

The study certainly had department heads dreaming of the possibilities. Nearly half—49 percent—have either experienced or would expect to see a more efficient marketing process as a result of having a holistic management of personalized ads. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself—58 percent said that if they were given more or direct control over the process, it would be more efficient, as well.

REI Expands #OptOutside Black Friday Initiative With Research Partnership

REI has announced that it will continue its award-winning #OptOutside campaign in 2018, closing its doors on Black Friday and urging others to spend the day outside. This year, the brand is expanding the cause marketing campaign with a sizable donation and a new initiative called Nature for Health.

#OptOutside is an initiative that began in 2015 when REI announced it would not participate in the biggest shopping day of the year. Instead, the brand paid its employees to take Black Friday off and launched a campaign that started a movement. A meme generator launched alongside the campaign allowing consumers to share their outdoor experiences on social media.

For a retailer, skipping Black Friday was virtually unheard of, but the message resonated with consumers and businesses alike. REI took home two awards from Cannes Lions in 2016—the Promo and Activation Grand Prix and the Titanium Lion Grand Prix for #OptOutside.

In the past three years, 15 million people and 700 organizations have made it a tradition to enjoy the great outdoors instead of battling crowds. Jerry Stritzke, REI’s CEO, said that the campaign is a choice to put people ahead of profits.

“We thank you all for your help building the movement, but our work’s not done,” said Stritzke.

This year, REI will keep the tradition alive but is taking its message even further with an initiative called Nature for Health. The company has donated $1 million to the University of Washington’s Earth Lab to study any connections between a person’s health and their time spent outdoors.

Obviously, REI benefits tremendously when people take up outdoor activities, but the reason this campaign works is that the idea isn’t limited to mountain climbers and extreme sports. Anyone can go to the park or just sit on their porch instead of getting trampled over a discounted toaster.

Despite the campaign’s previous success, skipping Black Friday is still a risk—the National Retail Foundation predicts record spending this holiday season, reaching as high as $721 billion.

Regardless, REI is sticking to a brand message of putting consumer health first. Announcing the Nature for Health initiative, Stritzke cited a study from the Outdoor Industry Association that found less than half of Americans participated in a single outdoor activity in the past year. REI’s website offers suggestions for those who want to get outside but don’t know what to do.

As the world becomes connected digitally, convenience and technology raise concerns about public health and detachment with nature. Earlier this year, Velux launched a viral campaign called “The Indoor Generation.” The dark video warned consumers of the adverse effects of depriving one’s body of natural light.

Microsoft Takes Top Spot In New Marketing Engagement Index

The most successful brands in the world also know how to talk with their customers, but according to a new report it’s not always the case that the largest companies are those with the best engagement.

Lewis, a global communications company, developed a Marketing Engagement Tracker (MET) that scores a brand based on 10 factors: tracking, user experience, security, content, mobile, marketing, sales funnel, personalization, response time and social media. Lewis dubs these elements Quantified Engagement.

To test out its new MET, Lewis analyzed the top 300 brands on Forbes’ Global 2000 list and published the findings in the first Marketing Engagement Index. What researchers discovered was a significant disconnect between brands with the highest engagement (MET) and those with the largest companies (Forbes Global 2000).

A brand’s region has a lot to do with marketing styles, the report observes. For example, engagement tactics are used more in the US while the world’s largest brands—State-run banks in China—have no use for traditional marketing. One exception is Apple, while number eight on Forbes’ list, ranked much lower on Lewis’ scale as it relies more on brand recognition and customer loyalty to drive revenue.

The top seven companies in the Lewis Global Marketing Engagement Index are all based in the United States, with the other three from Europe. No APAC brands made the top 10.

Microsoft scored the highest on Lewis’ global index with a score of 97.8—a feat that Lewis credits to leadership under CEO Satya Nadella. Bank of America, Intel, PNC and Allstate round out the top five, followed by Aetna, Unilever, Danone and Accenture.

The report gives credit—no pun intended—to financial brands who had to rebuild customer loyalty after the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Changing customer views are quickly proving which brands are agile and which are not, especially when it comes to sugar and plastic usage.

Applying its Marketing Engagement Tracker to Forbes’ Global 2000 rulers, Lewis found that some of the world’s largest brands are also the most engaging. For example, Bank of America is number two on both Forbes’ and Lewis’ lists. Wells Fargo, number seven on the Global 2000, scored number 12 on the MET.

Others did not fare as well, largely because of the different needs of state-run institutions. Forbes’ largest two brands—ICBC and China Construction Bank—scored nearly dead last in terms of engagement.

“Great companies don’t last forever unless they truly engage and evolve with their customers,” said Lewis. “What we have identified is that the majority of companies are not joined up and are inefficient in their approach to marketing.”

With #SeeHer, Meredith Corp. Looks To Data For Equality And Accountability

The integration and utilization of data is a key discussion throughout the marketing community, mainly with the aim of resonating with consumers. But that data can also be used to affect social change at scale.

With the aims of using that data and technology for good, The Association of National Advertiser’s #SeeHer initiative has created the Gender Equality Measure, or GEM, that will call-out unconscious bias in ads and media.

While 75 companies representing $50 billion in marketing spend have signed on to support #SeeHer, the Meredith Corporation is having their brands reviewed by the methodology to become GEM certified and plans to “put its vast resources and brand power behind the #SeeHer movement” and will “promote the partnership across all platforms.”

Meredith Corporation expects this partnership to kick off in December and to expand in scope in 2019. For a media company whose reach extends to 100 million consumers, this will put pressure on the media industry at large to follow suit in being more conscious of representation.

“Women influence or make 85 percent of all purchase decisions. As a company that connects and engages with 110 million American women, coming alongside #SeeHer is the right thing to do socially and for the bottom line,” said Alysia Borsa, chief marketing and data officer, Meredith Corporation in a press release.

#SeeHer launched in 2016 with the goal of improving representation of women throughout media by 2020.

This is not the first time data is being utilized to understand gender representation in media and advertising. Actor Geena Davis, who is a member of the advisory board for #SeeHer, has long championed the cause under her organization The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

Last year, research compiled from the Institute’s Inclusion Quotient tool had revealed that twice as many men as women appeared in TV ads, enjoyed four times as much screen time, and had three times as much dialogue—a significant gap in gender representation.