Why Brand Collaboration Will Always Be In Fashion

Originally published at AW360 by Brady Sadler

Collaboration marketing is on the rise. Take a look at the fashion industry and you’ll quickly understand why.

The new media landscape that marketers are facing is extremely complex. As a result, brands have been forced to think creatively in order to stand out. Today, it takes more than just a good product to succeed—marketers need to leverage the advantages of digital and social media and use these platforms to genuinely connect with consumers in order to build narrative around their brand’s values. This has been a guiding principle for years, yet many companies have done relatively little to change their approach to brand development. Fearful of risk, they make do with the same approach that they’ve employed for years – and in turn, they see profits dwindle.

On the other hand, those who embrace new media and are not afraid to take a few risks will ultimately see the most success. Engagement and customer experience need to be prioritized, and must be catered to in a way that feels authentic. Collaboration is an ideal solution: a smart marketer’s Swiss Army Knife, brand collaborations both engage and excite consumers, and when executed well, will generate long-term loyalty.

Look around and I’m sure you’ll begin to notice examples of collaboration in your daily life. Perhaps you have a bag of Doritos by Taco Bell chips in your cabinet. A Disney x Dooney and Bourke handbag in your closet? Or perhaps the Beats by Dre wireless headphones (now owned by Apple) and a SoulCycle x lululemon tee in your gym bag? These are just a few mainstream examples, but brand collaborations can also be more nuanced, situational or contextual as our world becomes increasingly connected by technology. With this in mind, companies across all stages of development, from startup to corporate, can utilize a collaborative strategy to grow an audience and enhance their position within their specific niche of the market.

But not just any collaboration will do – brands that partner with one another must also fit.

When there’s fit (shared values, goals and target audiences), brand collaborations not only shape perception, expand awareness and excite existing believers – they give everyone something to talk about. And in today’s media world, if you’re not being talked about, you’re irrelevant. Put another way, brand collaborations provide a simple heuristic link to an overwhelmed consumer: I have an affinity for X, so Y must be worth checking out too. While subtle, this sort of link has incredible filtering power.

In fact, co-branding and collaboration are no longer optional for a brand’s success: they’re a strategic imperative. When executed thoughtfully, with a clear line of communication and well-established mutual goal between both parties involved, these partnerships have enormous impact on a brand’s long-term outlook and profitability.

We can learn quite a bit about collaboration by looking at the fashion industry, a pioneer in new marketing strategy for decades. Leaders in this space understand the power that lies in creatively connecting the dots between various brands, including products, services, individuals, media and technology. Apparel is something tangible and lasting; buying clothing or shoes is an emotional decision and, when worn, becomes an extension of a consumer’s personal brand. Thus, a thoughtfully-executed collaboration of two or more brands, styles or designs can greatly enhance brand recognition and build an audience of like-minded individuals who become loyal to both labels involved.

Brand ‘collabos’ that are produced in limited quantities can be even more powerful. Take for example the much-talked-about Off-White x Nike sneakers. Virgil Abloh’s influence brought the classic Air Jordan style to new heights, and the limited-edition styles have flown off Nike’s shelves. When only small quantities are produced, these collaborative products are seen as ‘iconic’ and rapidly increase in value, even turning into collector’s items.

Kanye West’s partnership with Adidas is another good example in footwear. The “Yeezy Effect” brought in $2 billion more in sales for Adidas in 2015 than the company had averaged prior to the partnership, and has boosted the brand with a halo effect that is likely to stick around for at least a few more years. In April 2018, Kanye took to Twitter announcing that the Yeezy brand on its own will hit $1 billion this year.

Here in my backyard of Boston, MA, I’ve watched a number of leaders masterfully apply the collaboration playbook, including Mark Bollman, founder of sportswear brand Ball and Buck. Mark and his team have embraced collaboration as a core strategy when it comes to building authenticity and maintaining cultural relevance. The company is still growing and evolving, and Bollman credits collaboration as a key ingredient to his success—both that with other brands, and that which has taken place directly with the customer as a sort of co-creation process (yet another form of brand collaboration).

Ball and Buck’s very first product was a simple t-shirt that buyers could customize by selecting their own fabric, pattern, or color for the breast pocket. By allowing purchasers to influence the look of the product and take part in the design process, Bollman established an emotional connection and began building up the narrative of values behind his product: Specifically, that all Ball and Buck items are constructed thoughtfully, made by hand, and produced in the USA.

Co-creation with customers rooted the concept of collaboration deep into the company’s values, and eventually led to partnerships with other brands. One of Ball and Buck’s best-known products was a sneaker produced in collaboration with New Balance. The sneaker was a variation on the well-known 585 model, incorporating the New Balance silhouette with a Ball and Buck signature plaid, a design representative of the traditional New England hunting estate heritage. This resonated with the local audience and beyond, and the shoe (again, offered in limited quantities) sold out within hours of its launch.

Whether you’re developing a collaborative product or service, a unique experience, or a piece of content, you can significantly increase the likelihood of success by ensuring two things are in place:

  1. Your partnership is based on clear fit
  2. You’re developing something – whether product, service, experience, or content – that delivers value for your collective target audience

Off-White x Nike, Kanye x Adidas and New Balance x Ball and Buck collaborations all adopted this approach. As Mark Bollman explained in a recent interview, “We should only collaborate on a product if the result of the collaboration is better than the product we could have made independently. […] We don’t make shoes, we’re not good at making them and we don’t plan to make them. There’s a technical expertise that we’re not set up to do, and if we tried it wouldn’t be as good as what is currently on the market. Instead, we offer shoes through collaborations with those who do it really well like Danner Boots, New Balance, and PF Flyers.” Like any art form, brand collaborations don’t have to be complicated, but they do have to make sense.

Now it’s your turn. And if you need inspiration, just think about your favorite fashion collaboration and try to reverse engineer the fit and value proposition. I bet you’ll find these two elements clearly on display.

‘Spider-Man’ Brand Partners Swing Into Action To The Tune Of $115M

Brand partnership revenue for Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse is poised to become one of the largest for Sony Animation as names like Nike, Tencent and McDonald’s join the holiday marketing blitz.

The film will receive $115 million from global brands ahead of its December 14 release, Deadline Hollywood reports, outpacing the $80 million brand partnerships for The Grinch. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is expected to earn upwards of $30M at the domestic box office.

“The message of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is that anyone can wear the mask—it’s who you are that makes you a hero. That’s a message that resonates with these incredible global brands and sets a tone that this film will go beyond the box office to become a true worldwide event,” said Sony president of worldwide marketing and distribution Josh Greenstein.

That same tone will be integrated into each brand campaign as brands bridge the gap between product placement and real-world application.

One of the first brands that fans noticed in the Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse is Nike. The film’s main protagonist, a boy named Miles Morales, is seen wearing classic Nike Jordans. Nike is collaborating with Marvel and Sony to release the hero’s shoes into the real world for purchase.

Tencent QQ is launching a campaign to reach its 800 million users in China that will include augmented reality, digital stickers and traditional display advertising for Into the Spider-Verse. The app will also make an appearance in the film.

Synchrony Bank is hosting an experiential pop-up in Brooklyn that recreates locations from the movie and will adapt its “Save Like a Hero” campaign to include Spider-man themes.

Holiday travelers may catch a glimpse of Spider-man and his friends from the movie, as well. Genting Cruise Lines is hosting a Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse experience that include interactive activities and themed meals.

Of course, no superhero film would be complete with a toy line in time for holiday gift-giving. Special toys can be found inside McDonald’s Happy Meals and in stores with a series from Hasbro. There’s no toy inside, but General Mills Cereal launched a campaign for the film and printed Spider-Verse characters on 12 million boxes of breakfast cereal.

Other brand partnerships include Vodafone, Garmin, Wacom, Adobe and The Ad Council, which will launch an anti-bullying campaign starring the film’s characters.

IAB Opens Beta Testing For Mobile Version Of Ads.txt Anti-Fraud Tool

The IAB Technology Laboratory has released app-ads.txt, a mobile extension of its fraud prevention tool, for beta testing and commentary.

App-ads.txt applies the original ads.txt functionality to mobile and OTT video apps. The tool works in a similar fashion, in that an app developer adds the app-ads.txt file to their website, creating a centralized online resource that lists companies authorized to sell on their behalf. This allows marketers to verify that the app developer is a trusted seller. In addition, marketers will be able to purchase advertising with the confidence that they are not being scammed by impersonators.

IAB says that the app-ads.txt beta can be implemented now and then app stores can adopt a standardized way of making the information available. Minimal changes are expected, the company added. The tool will be available for public beta testing and comments through February 4.

It is estimated that marketers lose around $7.2 billion per year to ad fraud, piracy and malware. Ads.txt was created by the Interactive Advertising Bureau Tech Lab’s combat inventory sales fraud. Earlier this year, The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) added a requirement that all publishers implement the ads.txt standard if they want to become TAG Certified Against Ad Fraud.

The new mobile version would extend the tool to the mobile economy, which would help solve multiple problems, according to Google.

“Expanding ads.txt to mobile app inventory is a great move forward for the industry,” said Per Bjorke, senior product manager of Google Ad Traffic Quality in a statement. “It promises to increase transparency in the apps ecosystem, adds a new layer of protection for advertisers, and helps ad dollars flow to the right developers.”

Some IAB members are already implementing the tool and planning internal policies around it. Ad seller Centro, for example, will begin enforcing the app-ads.txt specification in the first quarter of 2019. Centro’s director of RTB platform operations said their platform will bid only on supply paths authorized by participating publishers, calling app-ads.txt an “essential step in eliminating the scourge of fraud from the advertising industry.”

Rakuten Marketing called the app-ads.txt “another step in the right direction to reduce counterfeit app inventory and the reach of bad actors.”

The new tool will also support other supply chain safety initiatives, such as ads.cert. Beta testing is open to anyone interested and access can be requested by emailing openmedia@iabtechlab.com.

YouTube Adds Stories; Snapchat Launches Indian Discover Channels

This week in social media news, YouTube adds a Stories feature, Facebook agrees not to label news as political ads and tests local alerts, LinkedIn rolls out new share options and Instagram uses technology to help the visually impaired.

Also, YouTube offers student discounts and scales back on original content while Snapchat launches Discover in India. Facebook requests Watch shows for older audiences, YouTube rolls out free movies, Snap keeps an eye on the folding screen trend, a new report says retailers can expect a whole lot more social engagement this holiday, LinkedIn gets in trouble for data practices and consumers are spending a lot of money for that perfect Instagram photo.

YouTube Introduces Stories Feature

YouTube’s Snapchat-like feature is now available to users with 10,000 subscribers or more.

Why it matters: The disappearing Stories feature has taken off across multiple social networks with Facebook, Instagram and even LinkedIn getting in on the action. By allowing (slightly) smaller creator channels to access the feature, YouTube has created an opportunity for more engagement.

Details: YouTube Stories allow creators to share a temporary post that appears at the top of a subscriber’s feed. The post disappears after a week but before then, users can respond with videos or photos of their own.

Publishers Now Exempt From Facebook Political Ad Disclosure Rules

News outlets won’t be included in Facebook’s ad transparency archive alongside political advertisements, although they will still need to prove their identities.

Why it matters: Facebook revealed its transparency archive this summer in an attempt to keep readers informed and aware of where such content comes from. News outlets that promoted articles related to political or hot-button topics were also included in the initiative, raising concerns that propaganda would be lumped together with the news.

Details: Following a letter of protest from the News Media Alliance, Facebook is exempting members of the press from its political labeling rule. The change begins in the UK and will roll out to the US next year. The reason for the wait is so that Facebook can verify the identity and reputation of these news outlets prior to individual approval.

Instagram Uses Object Recognition To Aid Visually Impaired

Instagram is using AI and upload options that better describe images for those with visual impairments.

Why it matters: As an image sharing platform, Instagram wants to reach the world’s 285 million people who are visually impaired.

Details: When you upload an image to Instagram, you now have the option to add alternative text descriptions. This allows the system to better explain images to those who cannot see them clearly or at all. In addition, the site is using image recognition technology to automatically add descriptions whenever possible.

LinkedIn Adds New Sharing Options

Users on LinkedIn can have better control over who sees their posts, thanks to a share box rolling out this week.

Why it matters: The new sharing options are similar to that of Facebook in that users can share to multiple groups, followers and/or social media. The option is part of an ongoing effort by LinkedIn to encourage more professional connections.

Details: LinkedIn is rolling out a new sharing dialogue box that makes it easier to select who sees your posts. For example, if you are hiring, you might want to share to a specific group only. Likewise, sharing an interesting article may be appropriate for public viewing and social media.

Facebook Tests Local News/Alert Section

Facebook’s “Today In” section has been expanded and the company is testing other local alerts for emergencies as well as time-sensitive information relative to the community.

Why it matters: After launching its Today In section earlier this year, Facebook ran a test to see how it was being used. They found that half of its users wanted more local news on the platform. With so many people spending time on Facebook each day, it can be difficult to reach them on traditional channels like the radio or TV. Should the test be successful, users will also be alerted by local governments, first responders and community officials when necessary.

Details: Today In has been expanded to more areas and users can check availability with an interactive map. Facebook is also running a test with over 100 local government and first responder Pages to help them communicate time-sensitive and need-to-know information to users.

YouTube Shifts Focus From Originals To Ad-Supported Video

YouTube plans to scale back its scripted output beginning in 2020, a source told The Hollywood Reporter, focusing instead on ad-supported efforts.

Why it matters: YouTube launched its premium subscription tier just a few years ago, but since then, Facebook launched Watch and Instagram introduced IGTV. Original content is expensive, and the Google-owned site hasn’t been able to compete with Amazon or Netflix financially.

Details: Sources say that for budgetary reasons, YouTube will scale back on its scripted content and make all Originals free beginning in 2020.

YouTube Offers Student Discounts For Music, Premium Services

Social media users headed back to school can take advantage of discounts on YouTube Music and YouTube Premium.

Why it matters: Since YouTube Music and YouTube Premium are both ad-free, this offer removes that coveted young demographic from marketers. This also indicates a move from Google to keep those students’ income to themselves, but will a discounted rate justify any lost ad revenue?

Details: YouTube introduced student plans for its paid subscription services on Wednesday, just in time for the winter semester. YouTube Music Premium subscriptions can be purchased for $4.99/mo. and YouTube Premium for $6.99/mo. Students who sign up by January 31 can lock in YouTube Premium at a special rate of $5.99/mo.

Snapchat Launches Discover In India

Indian Snapchatters can now view 10 local Discover channels for the first time.

Why it matters: This is the first time Snapchat will offer local publisher content in India, which creates opportunities for both local and international advertisers.

Details: Snapchat has introduced a Discover channel in India with 10 publishing partners: Brut. India, HuffPost India, The Logical Indian, The Quint, and VICE India, featuring signature editions from each; social video and entertainment from content creators such as Pocket Aces, TVF and QYOU (The Q India).

Facebook Watch Courts Older Viewers

Facebook is encouraging publishers to create video content that appeals to audiences aged 30 and above, as teenagers are losing interest in the social network.

Why it matters: Facebook has invested over $1 billion in its new Watch section, but the site is losing teenage viewers. According to eMarketer, users 55+  will become the second-biggest demographic on Facebook this year and only 36 percent of teens used the network at least once a month this fall, per Piper Jaffrey.

Details: Hip, young influencers just aren’t enough to attract Facebook’s audience which has begun to skew older. As CNBC reports, Facebook is pitching publishers on content that is aimed either at older audiences or that could appeal to them with adult themes. The company is also seeking more formats that may be similar to traditional TV such as talk shows and reality genres.

YouTube Adds Free Movie Section

Ad-supported “Free to Watch” movies are now available on YouTube’s desktop and mobile applications.

Why it matters: Full-length films allow YouTube to reach a cord-cutting audience that may not want to subscribe to a paid service but don’t mind seeing the occasional ad. At the same time, advertisers have the opportunity to reach these same audiences through the usual static, pre- and mid-roll ads options.

Details: YouTube has introduced a selection of free movies that include The Terminator and Rocky. The movies are full-length with a few advertising introductions but could prove less intrusive than what you might find on other free VOD services. Adding these films to YouTube also directly combats copyright-infringing uploads by providing a free alternative.

Snapchat On Foldable Phones: “We’re Watching The Space Very Closely”

Snapchat isn’t opposed to hosting content on a horizontal format and is keeping an eye on foldable mobile screens.

Why it matters: Snap is known for popularizing the vertical video format, so it’s interesting to know that horizontal isn’t out of the question. The company offers tools and tutorials for brands to create vertical ads. While Samsung’s $2,500 foldable phone is unlikely to change the industry overnight, Snap is keeping a watchful eye for future developments.

Details: While in Dubai, Rami Saad, head of international content partnerships at Snap said that they are very interested in the future state of phones, particularly those that fold. “We are watching the space very closely,” he said. “We are really excited about how vertical format is taking off. This is our core business, regardless of what the device is.”

Report: Retailers Can Expect More Social Messages This Holiday

Sprout Social predicts that retailers will receive an average 32 percent more social messages per day this holiday season than they did in 2017.

Why it matters: Based on the message volume last year and what has been observed so far in 2018, Sprout Social found that all retailers with an online presence could find themselves fielding more requests on social media. While Facebook is expected to lead in terms of volume, Instagram is growing significantly in terms of consumer engagement.

Details: Sprout Social analyzed more than 2.9 billion messages across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to find out how retailers fared in previous holiday shopping seasons and what brands can expect for 2018. Based on social media behavior compared to last year, retailers will see 75 percent more messages per day this November and December than what they’ve seen so far in January through October 2018.

LinkedIn Found In Violation Of Ireland Data Protection Rules

Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner reported the findings of an investigation. LinkedIn was found to have used 18 million email addresses in a way that was not transparent.

Why it matters: Facebook isn’t the only one getting flack for its questionable data practices. Even Microsoft’s LinkedIn is being held accountable in Europe for its use of non-member email addresses. Although LinkedIn has since ended the practice, Europe is keeping the social giants in check to make sure data collection is above board.

Details: LinkedIn used 18 million email addresses of non-members to target them on Facebook. These addresses were most likely collected when members granted access to their email contact lists. While this is a helpful practice for building a network online, the owners of these email addresses did not grant permission.

Consumers Are Spending More For The Perfect Instagram Shot

Instagram users are a bit obsessed over getting that perfect photo, impacting the entire economy from travel to retail.

Why it matters: Social media has been found to cause, or at the very least, attribute to, depression as users compare themselves to one another. This has resulted in a phenomenon called “Snapchat dysmorphia,” in which consumers seek plastic surgery to achieve the look they see online. The “travel brag” is another trend that has positively impacted the hospitality and travel industries. For this reason, brands like Royal Caribbean have launched apps designed for social sharing.

Details: According to a recent Chase Slate survey, 77 percent of millennials made purchases that they would then Instagram, including food, vacations and clothing, and were willing to spend $137 to achieve the perfect post, compared to $70 spent by the general population.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Wednesday, November 30. 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 editorial@alistdaily.com.

This Week’s Exec Shifts: Loewe Appoints Marketing Chief; WaPo Names CMO

This week’s executive moves include a new CMO for Loewe, a chief marketing officer for Booster Fuel, Telltale’s marketing director joins Sumo Digital and Petco welcomes a Facebook veteran to the Board of Directors.

Also, The Washington Post promotes from within for CMO, Disney Channels promotes for a chief marketing officer, Intel welcomes a familiar face back to its marketing team, Eaton Vance Distributors appoints a CMO, the NBA’s CMO announces her retirement and Don Smallgoods hires a new marketing and innovation officer.

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

Loewe Taps R/GA Group Manager For CMO Position

Fashion house Loewe, which includes Louis Vuitton, Moët & Chandon and Sephora, has named Charlie Smith as its new chief marketing officer. Smith joins the team from R/GA, where he served as an account manager where he led accounts for Google, Nike and Hyundai.

As CMO, Smith Smith will lead marketing activity across the brand, spanning all global markets.

Former Microsoft CMO Joins Cryptopia

Raj Wadhera has joined Cryptopia as director of sales and marketing. Prior to this appointment, Wadhera served in a variety of marketing director roles and most notably served three years as chief marketing officer for Microsoft.

Warner Music Group Appoints SVP, Global Digital Marketing

Jess Keeley-Carter has been named senior vice president of global digital marketing for recorded music at Warner Music Group. Keeley-Carter brings a decade of experience to the new role and joins WMG from Facebook, where she handled music label partnerships for the EMEA region. Prior to that, she spent eight years in a number of strategic roles at Universal Music.

Gumtree Appoints Marketing Head

Australian community marketplace Gumtree has named Amanda Behre as head of marketing. Behre most recently served as director of brand marketing and communications at Expedia Australia.

In her new role, Behre will oversee growth efforts and engagement as well as manage all of Gumtree’s communications channels including brand, PR, digital, performance marketing, CRM and trade marketing.

Booster Fuels Names Chief Marketing Officer

Bennett Porter has joined Booster Fuels as the company’s CMO. Porter brings over 20 years of experience to the role, including six years at SurveyMonkey, where she served as senior vice president of marketing communications. Prior to joining SurveyMonkey, Porter spent 12 years at Yahoo! in a variety of marketing leadership roles including VP of marketing, emerging markets.

As Booster’s new CMO, Porter will focus on marketing and brand strategies as Booster continues to expand its customer base and marketing channels and explores both regional and global opportunities.

Sumo Digital Appoints Marketing Director

Video games developer Sumo Digitial has named Richard Iggo to the role of marketing director. Iggo most recently worked for Telltale Games as senior director of marketing before the developer closed its doors. Prior to that, Iggo held marketing roles at SouthPeak Interactive, Gamecock Media Group (now Devolver Digital) and NCSoft.

“It’s been a milestone year for Sumo,” said the studio’s co-founder and COO Paul Porter, “Reaching our 15th anniversary and adding two new studios—and with plans to continue growing, we’re delighted to have Richard and his expertise on board.”

The Washington Post Promotes For Chief Marketing Officer

Miki King has been appointed chief marketing officer of The Washington Post, the publication announced Tuesday. King has been with the company for over two years and most recently served as vice president of marketing. Prior to her time at The Washington Post, King spent five years at POLITICO in a number of senior and executive roles.

Retired Facebook CMO Joins Petco Board of Directors

Gary Briggs, former chief marketing officer at Facebook, has been added to the Petco Board of Directors. Briggs recently retired as Facebook CMO after six years. Prior to his time at the social network, Briggs held various marketing leadership roles at Google, eBay, PayPal, Pepsi and IBM.

Former Church’s Chicken CMO Joins El Pollo Loco

Hector A. Muñoz has joined El Pollo Loco as its newly appointed chief marketing officer. Muñoz brings over 25 years of experience to the role, having served as CMO for Church’s Chicken and Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen. Prior to those positions, Muñoz spent 11 year at Burger King and worked his way up to a senior marketing position.

“It is a great pleasure to announce the appointment of Hector Muñoz, a talented marketing executive with a proven track record of driving brands and an inspirational role model and leader within the field,” said Bernard Acoca, president and chief executive officer at El Pollo Loco.

Eaton Vance Distributors Appoints Marketing Chief

Elaine Sullivan has been named Chief Marketing Officer of Eaton Vance Distributors, Inc. (EVD). She has been promoted from the role of director of retail marketing.

As CMO, Sullivan will be responsible for global marketing of investment products and services across EVD’s retail and institutional businesses. She will also oversee brand marketing, editorial services and marketing integration.

NBA CMO To Depart At The End Of 2018

Pam El, EVP and CMO of the NBA, has announced her retirement after 35 years. El will continue to serve as an advisor on marketing and branding matters, according to the brand.

Disney Channels Names VP, Engagement Marketing

Disney Channels’ executive director of brand development and integrated planning Kristin Corrigan has been promoted to VP of engagement marketing. In her new role, Corrigan will focus on paid media, social media, events and promotional partnerships, overseeing the teams responsible for campaigns for Disney Channel, Disney Jr. and Disney XD.

Intel Hires Marketing VP

Jon Carvill has been appointed vice president of marketing and technology leadership at Intel. Carvill returns to the brand after approximately five years. He previously held the role of corporate communications director until 2013. While away, he served as director of technology communications at Facebook, SVP of communications for Vevo and senior director of communications for Qualcomm. Carvill also founded his own consultancy firm in San Francisco.

Shiseido Appoints CMO

Shiseido is bolstering its growth in the China region with several hires this week, including a chief marketing officer. Julie Chiang was appointed as CMO of cosmetics brands and personal care brands of China Region. Most recently, Chiang was CEO of Sunnyhills Company. Her experience also includes nearly a decade at L’Oreal Asia.

Ballard Brands Names CMO

Ballard Brands has appointed Leslie Monson as its new executive vice president and chief marketing officer. Monson’s career spans over 17 years and most recently served as the senior marketing manager for New Orleans’ Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots.

In this new role, Monson will be responsible for assisting with overall company profitability, brand strategy and brand equity across all Ballard Brands companies.

TMX Group Appoints Chief Marketing Officer

TMX Group announced that Sanjay Kulkarni has been appointed CMO and head of digital solutions. Kulkarni most recently served as SVP of West digital communications at West Corporation. His career spans more than 18 years in product development, product marketing and commercial strategy

Dairy Farmers Of Wisconsin Promotes For SVP/CMO

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin has promoted Suzanne Fanning to Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Wisconsin Cheese. Fanning is credited with the brand’s first commercial and the creation of the Cheeslandia Ambassador Program.

In her role, Fanning will continue to lead Wisconsin Cheese marketing efforts during a pivotal time of rebranding.

CEO Chad Vincent commented: “Wisconsin’s $45 billion dairy industry is vital to the state and to our Dairy Farmers, and we are fortunate to have Suzanne’s talent, energy, and leadership at the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.”

Brazi Bites Co-Founder Becomes CMO

With the hire of its new CEO, Brazi Bites co-founder Junea Rocha has assumed the role of chief marketing officer. Rocha founded the company in 2010 with her husband Cameron MacMullin. Since then, Brazi Bites was ranked Number 81 on the Inc. 5000 annual list of “America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies.”

Don Smallgoods Appoints Marketing, Innovation Director

George Weston Foods-owned Don Smallgoods has named Nick Hickford as marketing and innovation director. He joins the brand from Bulla Dairy Foods, where he served as general manager of marketing and innovation for four years.

In his new role, Hickford will help usher the once-iconic Australian brand back into the consumer consciousness while driving innovation.

Condé Nast CEOs Depart Amid Brand Restructure

Bob Sauerberg will be stepping down from his role as CEO of Condé Nast US once the brand finds a replacement, according to an internal memo acquired by The Wrap. This change comes as the publisher combines its national and international operations under one flag. He joined the company in 2005 as executive vice president.

“Bob Sauerberg has helped steer Condé Nast through a time of enormous transformation in his distinguished 18-year career at the company,” the memo explained. “We are truly grateful to Bob for all his significant accomplishments, and for his willingness to lead the company through the transition.”

Jonathan Newhouse, CEO of Condé Nast International, will also be exiting his current role but will remain on as chairman for the company.

Blue Nile Taps Former Starbucks Exec As CMO

Alexandra Wheeler has joined Blue Nile as chief marketing officer. Wheeler brings over 20 years of brand building experience to the online jewelry retailer, half of which being spent in various marketing leadership roles at Starbucks. Most recently, she was the vice president of global digital marketing and Starbucks Rewards marketing.

Saucony Appoints Chief Marketing Officer

Don Lane has been named chief marketing officer of running shoe brand Saucony. a division of Wolverine. Lane brings over two decades of experience to Saucony and most recently served as SVP of brand and creative for DraftKings. He served in a variety of management roles at global creative agency Arnold Worldwide, where he is credited with building brands like Volkswagen and was a key leader for the “Drivers Wanted” campaign. He also worked with ESPN, Volvo and New Balance.

In his new role as CMO, Lane will be responsible for providing strategic development and execution of Saucony’s global branding initiatives, including brand positioning, direct-to-consumer, advertising, and digital strategies.

“Don is a passionate, seasoned visionary who drives brand growth and excitement through relentless consumer focus and compelling brand storytelling,” said Saucony president Anne Cavassa.

LendingCrowd Names Chief Marketing Officer

Edinburgh p2p lender LendingCrowd has appointed Darren Cairns to the position of CMO. Cairns brings over 20 years of digital and mobile technology marketing experience and most recently served as CMO for Neyber. Throughout his career, Cairns has held a number of senior positions at brands including PlayStation and Yahoo!.

LendingCrowd founder and CEO Stuart Lunn said of the hire: “We are delighted to welcome Darren to our growing team. His experience and expertise will be a valuable asset…”

DIRECTV Marketer Named Warner Media Exec 

Brad Bentley, former executive vice president of marketing at DIRECTV and chief marketing officer of AT&T Entertainment Group, has been appointed as general manager and executive vice president of WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer (DTC) development.

Bentley brings a wealth of experience to the role, having experience in market strategy, brand development, marketing science, subscription customer lifecycle management and DTC product development. During his time at AT&T, Bentley helped launch DIRECTV Now.

In this new role, Bentley will be responsible for overall product coordination and for delivering the WarnerMedia streaming service to market.

Sonoma County Tourism Appoints Marketing VP

Todd O’Leary has joined Sonoma County Tourism as vice president of marketing and communications. O’Leary was the former vice president of global partnerships and strategic alliances for San Francisco Travel.

In his new role, O’Leary will oversee the organization’s goals of growing Sonoma County’s hospitality economy and raising the profile of the organization among the Sonoma County community.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Wednesday, November 30. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.

Job Vacancies 

Executive Director, Chief Marketing Officer Lenovo Chicago, IL
Global Head (CMO) of Print Marketing HP Palo Alto, CA
VP, Digital Marketing Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. Union, NJ
VP, Brand Marketing Aéropostale Lyndhurst, NJ
Head of Integrated Marketing, Fire TV Amazon Seattle, WA
Head of Performance Marketing Strategy Uber San Francisco, CA

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

Rockstar Partners With Clothier To Manufacture Threads From ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’

Rockstar Games and apparel company Barking Irons have partnered for a limited-edition collection of clothing and accessories inspired by Red Dead Redemption 2.

Inspired by 1890s American West fashion, the Barking Irons Red Dead Redemption 2 collection was modeled after clothing worn by the game’s protagonist, Arthur Morgan. Video game fashionistas can even purchase a waxed canvas and leather “gunslinger jacket” with the character’s name printed inside the collar.

Other items for sale include a denim chore shirt, “everyday” shirt, railroad shirt and Union Henley as worn by Morgan. Three bags are also included in the limited-edition collection, including a saddle bag, RDR2-branded tote and riding duffle bag.

At launch, the clothing range from $92-$250 and $75-$325 for the bags. For those not willing to dish out hundreds of dollars for a shirt, Rockstar offers official merchandise on its website, as well. Items include Red Red Redemption shirts, an iPad case, a Zippo lighter and even candles.

The brand partnership occurs at an important stage for Red Dead Redemption 2, which sold over 15 million copies in its first two days. Nielsen’s SuperData Research expects the game to have the strongest ever quarter of digital console sales.

Rockstar Games has a reputation for keeping its fans interested. Its 2013 hit Grand Theft Auto V (GTAV) only recently dropped from the top 10 for digital game revenue. Grand Theft Online offers a fairly-continuous stream of new content for players to enjoy, employing the games-as-a-service business model that many publishers have now adopted.

The Red Dead Redemption 2 counterpart, Red Dead Online just launched in beta and there’s no doubt that Rockstar will try to conjure a repeat performance.

Barking Irons says it has forged a long history “built on peculiar American stories told through premium clothing and accessories.” Previous collaborations have typically been with musicians such as Bob Dylan and Billy Joel.

Other video game brands have entered the fashion world to market their titles, as well. Bandai Namco created elaborate Tekken 7 bomber jackets and Nike collaborated with EA to create FIFA 17 cleats. For its 2016 Spring-Summer collection, Louis Vuitton launched a campaign with Lighting—a character from Final Fantasy—as its model.

White Castle Continues Collab Trend With Designer Mugs By TELFAR

White Castle continues its partnership with fashion designer Telfar Clemens by offering specially-designed holiday mugs. The celebrity partnership is just one of many by White Castle as the legacy quick-service chain maintains relevance in a competitive market.

Each year, White Castle releases a special holiday mug for collectors. Telfar Clemens, the founder of the TELFAR fashion line, designed the limited-edition mugs. Consumers can pick them up for $5.99 and the net proceeds will benefit Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights bail fund for school-age youth on Rikers Island.

Clemens first partnered with White Castle last year when he created designer uniforms for the chain’s stores. He and his creative partner, Babak Radboy, were inducted into the White Castle’s ‘Cravers Hall of Fame’ soon after. Clemens is designing the third line of employee uniforms that will be released in 2019.

Founded in 1921, the White Castle brand is still privately-owned. While this allows complete control over how the restaurant is presented to consumers, it also means that you won’t see a White Castle restaurant on every street corner. It may be credited as the first fast food burger chain, but it was far from the last—so remaining in the public conscious remains a challenge White Castle’s CMO, Kim Bartley.

“We’ve been able to weather a lot of changes in the economy and how people eat simply because we’re flexible,” Bartley told Brand Channel in a 2017 interview. “We just have to figure out a way to continually keep our brand top of mind.”

Bartley led a company-wide rebrand effort last year with “Bold Move.” Appealing to young consumers’ desire for individuality, the campaign encourages them to try White Castle for the first time or in a new way.

One such method was appealing to the health and animal-conscious consumer. White Castle added meat-free Impossible Burgers to the menu and a vegan bun. Promoting the new menu item included a video series called “Wu-Tang in Space.” RZA, GZA, and Ghostface Killah star in four episodes as they bestow knowledge upon Earthlings everywhere.

Dunkin’ Strikes Up Partnership With New York Giant Saquon Barkley

Dunkin’ has partnered with New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley to spread awareness for the brand’s modernization efforts and new espresso drinks.

Barkley will appear in a variety of Dunkin’ advertising, social media and live events beginning during the current NFL season. The partnership comes at a pivotal time for both the brand and the star rookie as Dunkin’ changes its logo while Barkley is on his way to becoming the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year.

In the first Barkley spot, “Huge,” the running back compares the future of Dunkin’ espressos to the hugeness of his legs, which continue to grow before the viewer’s eyes.

In “Smooth,” Barkley calmly slides into a touchdown while holding an espresso, before trying in vain to sip it through his helmet. “Work Hard” promotes Dunkin’ lattes through mind control, but the pro footballer can’t seem to find his way back out.

Each of the spots is delivered in a deadpan style that fits Dunkin’s brand of marketing humor. The one-year partnership with Barkley will have him promoting a number of items on the menu such as coffee, baked goods and limited-time breakfast sandwiches.

Dunkin’s partnership with Barkley will include ads and promotions throughout the New York Metro Area, taking advantage of the athlete’s local popularity.

In addition to new menu items like espressos, Dunkin’ is removing the “Donuts” from its name and remodeling its stores. Never one to shy away from change, the brand has been an early adopter of voice assistant integration, mobile ordering and even introduced a limited edition craft beer.

These modernization efforts attributed to 4.69 percent growth in the second quarter for Dunkin’ Brands and play a key role in the company’s blueprint for growth.

“I want to make it very clear that this is part of a unique chapter in our brand’s history,” Dunkin’ CEO David Hoffman said during the Q2 call with investors. “One of significant change and transformation to ensure relevance for generations to come.”


NASA’s Mars Landing Shows Brands’ Continued Interest In Cultural Conversation

After a 205-day journey, NASA’s Insight landed successfully on Mars. When Insight sent back its first photo, brands took advantage of the social buzz and had a bit of fun. All jokes aside, these brand reactions display a trend of remaining agile in an ever-changing consumer landscape—recognizing opportunities on the fly and executing them in style.

We live in an age where topics and ideas move fast across the internet, so fast that often brands are left by the wayside as they tried to jump into the convesation. Trending topics and current events create opportunities for brands—especially on the social media team—to join the conversation.

In the case of NASA’s Insight Mars landing, brands knew that the world would be watching. Timing the perfect reaction allowed several of them to share the spotlight. Among them was Bethesda, the game publisher behind Doom—a horror series set on Mars. Two words, “good luck” garnered nearly 80,000 likes and 18,000 comments, garnering valuable earned media just months after a new game was revealed.

Other brands imagined themselves or their franchises on the Red Planet. Popular video game World of Warcraft posted a screenshot that resembled Mars, joking that it was new footage. Fans responded with jokes and acknowledged the planet’s resemblance to that of Azeroth, the game’s homeworld. Blizzard, the game’s publisher, enjoyed a bit of extra attention by posting the timely message on the heels of a new expansion.

German soccer club Borussia Dortmund inserted a player into a photo either of Mars or made to resemble the planet’s surface, calling it “raw footage.” The brand took advantage of the timing between Insight’s landing and the Champions League game on Wednesday.

Oddly enough, the most obvious brand we’d expect to react—Mars Incorporated—didn’t acknowledge the landing at all.

Reacting to events has become a challenging strategy. Substantially more brands posted social media reactions to the 2017 eclipse, for example. When Hostess decreed that its cupcakes were the official snack of the eclipse, MoonPie earned half a million likes by responding, “lol ok.” The attention garnered consumer and media attention alike, just in time for the brand to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ad tapped into the athlete’s personal and professional struggles and caused a 31 percent jump in sales.  According to Apex Marketing Group, the divisive Nike campaign generated over $43 million in media exposure within its first 19 hours.

This summer, Kraft responded to a news report that children were being fined for having a lemonade stand or getting shut down altogether. They created a legal team called “Country Time Legal-Ade” that reimbursed children’s fines. The activation was quickly picked up the media and Kraft found itself in the spotlight —all because the team reacted quickly to the news and saw an opportunity.

In a 2016 piece in Fast Company aptly titled, “Moving At The Speed Of Culture Is The New Brand Imperative,” strategist Guy Gouldavis observed that brands, as consumers, have a FOMO—that is, the fear of missing out.

“The cult of the moment unites people as a group in a different way than communities typically bond,” he said. “Understanding these dynamics is the first step to being able to tap and convert its potential.”

Stella Artois Launches Robot Bartender For Holiday Entertaining

Stella Artois has introduced a robot bartender named B.A.R.T. that serves drinks and cleans up while his owners entertain. The robot vacuum attachment can be purchased or 3D printed at home in a bid to make consumers’ lives “a little easier” this holiday season.

B.A.R.T. stands for Bartending Automated Robotic Technology. The device consists of a stand that holds drinks and snacks and attaches to any home vacuum robot such as a Roomba. Naturally, B.A.R.T. was designed specifically to hold Stella Artois bottles and Chalices—up to four each.

The alcohol brand is offering a limited number of B.A.R.T. units for $19.99 each. Those with a 3D printer can assemble their own by downloading the blueprints for free.

In a promotional video, Stella Artois tells the story of a man named Harold who is so busy trying to serve drinks at his holiday party that he doesn’t have time to enjoy one himself. Just then, his cat rides the Roomba away and Harold gets stuck with an idea. Working tirelessly, he invents B.A.R.T. and is finally able to make a toast himself—although he can’t think of the words. While the robot gives you more free time, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll be articulate.

Stella Artois has gone all out in terms of marketing this year. The Anheuser Busch brand continued its Joie de Biere campaign with “The Art of Living,” a five-part series that encouraged viewers to live their best life. The branded content series launched on IGTV and featured artisans from the worlds of film, art and food.

B.A.R.T. isn’t the first time Stella Artois has tried to help consumers relax. In August, the company released a 20-minute audio guide called Stellaspace. Detailing the “art of beer sipping,” the activation was narrated by actor Luke Evans and made available through Inscape’s meditation app.

“We know that life tends to get in the way of enjoying these simple pleasures and our mission is to help bring more enjoyment to the limited time people do have,” Stella Artois vice president Harry Lewis told AList in a previous interview.