Taco Bell’s Branded CrunchWrapping Paper Turns Gift-Giving Into Promotion

Taco Bell Canada promoted its Triple Double Crunchwrap this holiday by offering CrunchWrapping Paper—five sheets of wrapping paper made to look like the meal’s components. Much like its fellow Yum! Brand KFC, Taco Bell leverages its own sense of humor to appeal to consumers amid a competitive quick-service market.

CrunchWrapping Paper launched on Amazon Canada beginning on Cyber Monday (November 26) and quickly sold out. Shoppers received five macro photo sheets, each depicting a different layer of the Crunchwrap.

“Each CrunchWrapping paper set comes with five macro photo sheets of the Crunchwrap’s tasty layers. This includes seasoned beef, nacho cheese sauce, crunchy tostada, the tortilla, and of course the veggies: lettuce, tomato and sour cream,” the press release states.

By the time it sold out, CrunchWrapping Paper reached #16 on the list of Amazon Canada’s Best Sellers. At just $4.00 CAD, Taco Bell wasn’t out to get rich, but to get customers talking.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a social influencer or just an average fan, we want to become the next-level word of mouth,” Jacquie Kostuk, lead social strategist for Taco Bell Canada’s agency Grip Limited told PSFK. “What really matters to us is what they’re saying person to person.”

For its holiday campaign, Taco Bell embraced its silly side, tapping into young consumers’ love of memes and outlandish collectibles.

Last year, the franchise partnered with Forever 21 to launch a menu-inspired line of clothing, including a shirt that looks like a hot sauce packet. While the wacky promotions don’t roll out nearly as often as KFC, Taco Bell has released a steady stream of campaigns from a fake movie trailer to wedding ceremonies.

Snapchat users were able to transform themselves into a Taco person for Cinco de Mayo 2016, bringing in 224 million views in one day and setting a new record for the platform.

Founded in California, Taco Bell has set its sights on world domination. The brand has over 400 brands outside the US and plans to add approximately 2,350 new restaurants worldwide by 2022. At least 100 of those restaurants is planned for Canada.

McDonald’s Organizes Rave in Downtown L.A. To Promote New Breakfast Item

McDonald’s is throwing a Los Angeles rave dance party in the early hours of December 13 in an effort to promote the QSR’s new breakfast item. The free event­–called Rise N’ Rave–is open to anyone over 18 and it starts at 6 AM in Downtown Los Angeles.

No official announcement has come from McDonald’s, but the company’s branding is all over the event’s poster. A number of EDM and dance music sites are only outlets covering the rave. There is also a Facebook event, created by Manila Killa, the party’s official DJ, interested party-goers can only RSVP there.

The event’s description implores attendees to, “try the Triple Breakfast Stacks prior to the event and show your receipt at the entrance for priority entry and unlimited access to the VIP lounges, which might include some cool swag* 😉 So make sure to try the new sandwiches today at participating restaurants for a limited time! We will also have Triple Breakfast Stacks for you to try throughout the morning as well as McDonald’s beverages to keep you hydrated.”

The breakfast sandwich launched in November, and claims to have “made breakfast history again.” The stacks come with slices of American cheese between two hot sausage patties topped with bacon and an egg. The sandwich was inspired by the “Secret Menu,” items created by customers’ inventions and customizations.

Vice President of Menu Innovation Linda VanGosen said in the press release, “Our customers have also told us they have been craving a bigger, more filling sandwich option in the mornings. Triple Breakfast Stacks are the latest customer-led menu innovation, and we are proud to share them nationally for a limited time as part of our continued journey to build a better McDonald’s.”

The dance party comes shortly after last week’s smashing #WhopperDetour promotion from Burger King, offing a one-cent whopper deal geofenced within 600 feet of a McDonald’s restaurant. Burger King announced the deal in a tweet saying, “brb going to McDonald’s.” The tweet gained 63,000 likes and 20,000 retweets on Twitter.

It’s been hard for McDonald’s to win over millennials and Gen Z—only two years ago—just one in five has tried the Big Mac. They’ve revamped their menu with healthier options and “Signature Crafted Recipes,”  and one of the burgers even taps into the demographic’s love for Sriracha.

Although a rave seems like a strange way to attract younger consumers to a breakfast sandwich, McDonald’s seems to be heading in the right direction. Gen Z are 20 percent more likely to go to fast-food restaurants compared to older generations, according to a study by Foursquare and Carat. The demographic visited restaurants like In-n-Out Burger and Shake Shack much more frequently than older generations. They’re projected to have more than $143 billion in spending power by 2020.


PUBG Taps Hollywood Filmmakers For Live-Action PS4 Campaign

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has landed on PlayStation 4 alongside a live-action trailer called “Pan-demonium.” Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kong: Skull Island), the action-packed short film illustrates the chaos PUBG is known for, as well as Hollywood’s intimate ties to the video game industry.

The campaign includes :60, :30 and :15 versions of the film, which will air on television around the world. A longer version will also play on the official PUBG website.

“Pan-demonium” stars Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton) as a PUBG player that has been dropped into a hostile environment. He must act fast, select a weapon and survive because everyone is gunning for him—literally. In a comedic twist, the man chooses a frying pan and does surprisingly well with it. Alliances are soon formed and the man is ultimately saved by a friend (Jurassic World‘s Nick Robinson) who fights from a safe distance.

For the uninitiated, PUBG started a battle royale craze in the same way that DOOM spawned first-person shooters. Players are dropped onto a shrinking playing field where they must use cover, scrounge weapons and fight one another for dominance. In short, the last one standing wins.

“When approaching this campaign, I wanted to capture and translate the individual moments of emotion the gameplay elicits from a player when experiencing PUBG,” Vogt-Roberts said. “I wanted gamers and fans of the title to watch this piece and feel that the filmmaker and team behind this spot understood the authentic fun that has made PUBG a piece of the zeitgeist.”

Vogt-Roberts directed a live-action spot for Destiny 2 and is currently directing the film adaption of Metal Gear Solid, so it’s pretty safe to say that he understands gaming. Regardless, he doesn’t assume all viewers will be familiar with PUBG.

“I wanted to find a way to bottle that magic and the excitement, kinetic rush, and idiosyncrasies of PUBG for its fans, while also making it accessible to new viewers, whether they’ve played PUBG before or not,” he added.

Live-action video game trailers have been around for decades, but have become much more sophisticated in recent years. They also feature A-list Hollywood talent both in front of and behind the camera.

“Pan-demonium,” for example, features the cinematography by Chung-Hoon Chung (IT) and the stunt direction of Robert Alonzo (Deadpool). The campaign was produced by RSA Films—Sir Ridley Scott’s creative group behind campaigns like The Macallan’s Make the Call and Blade Runner 2049: Nexus Dawn, a prequel to the 2017 film.

Dara Treseder On Her New Role As Carbon’s CMO

Dara Treseder knows a thing or two about marketing technology. The former CMO of GE Ventures and Business Innovations has spent her career promoting and exploring the scientific world and was named one of Forbes’ top 50 CMOs to watch. Last week, Treseder joined 3D printing brand Carbon as chief marketing officer and is ready to apply what she’s learned to this emerging market.

Treseder sat down with AList to talk about her career move from GE, the changing CMO landscape and why its critical for the marketing team to spread passion throughout an entire company.

How are you applying B2C knowledge to your new role?

I really think about human-to-human. B2B and B2C are definitely different approaches. I love to bring a purpose-driven, customer-first approach. Mission and purpose first.

We’re taking an ingredient brand approach—building our own brand so people know who we are and what our products stand for so that when they see one of our partners manufacturing with Carbon, they understand what that means. They [would] understand our commitment to a sustainable future and choose our partners’ products because they know they were made with the environment in mind. One of our commitments is to reduce plastic pollution. We enable parts to be designed and manufactured with dramatically less material.

There will definitely be joint marketing efforts that we do with our partners to ensure that their customers are aware of what we’re able to offer.

Now that you are promoting 3D printing partnerships, how does personalization tie into your strategy at Carbon?

We are able to use data to create better products, which puts us in a powerful position. It allows [Carbon] to surprise and delight their customers in a way that they wouldn’t be able to do if they weren’t embarking on this journey of mass customization. I think it’s amazing because it’s not just a marketing gimmick. Our technology enables customization at a level that hitherto has not been possible.

Dara used the example of Adidas, whose Futurecraft 4D running shoes won a Gold Lion for Innovation at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity this year.

This is a big move for you and CMOs tend to change companies rather frequently. Why do you think that is?

We’re kind of in a new era. Business needs are changing. People talk a lot about the moves CMOs are making but that’s representative of the fast pace of today’s consumers. Things are moving really fast. The role of the CMO is constantly evolving and some of these transitions are good—good for the company and good for the CMO because it allows for the development of an innovative perspective.

I’m really passionate about the technology and I love the people, so when I was given this opportunity, it seemed like a good next step for me.

On that note, how important is it to be passionate about the brand you’re marketing?

It’s critical [to love the brand you’re marketing]. I couldn’t work for a company if I wasn’t deeply passionate and in love with its purpose and its mission. Without that, it’s hard to craft the message or share that enthusiasm. It’s important not just for CMOs, but all the marketers on their team. It’s also important that the marketing function works to spread that love and passion to every part of the organization. Companies that are made up of employees that are deeply connected to its mission and purpose are the best ones to work for.

Dara participated in our Advertising Week Panel, THE REBOUND: Recovering From Failure, which you can watch here.

AM/FM Still Important To Marketers But Be Quick About It, Says Pandora

The car radio is still a major source of audio consumption, but it is not immune to a growing intolerance for commercials—in fact, AM/FM is more vulnerable. According to a new study by Pandora, Edison Research and Omni Media Group, marketers will need to be creative and keep messages brief if they want to engage commuters.

The Commuter Code” examines the habits of 1,100 consumers that spend at least 20 minutes in each direction of their commutes. In addition to survey questions, GoPro cameras were installed in 109 cars to observe these habits first-hand.

A majority of AM/FM listeners switch channels as soon as they hear an ad, according to the findings. In fact, the GoPro camera observed that commuters switched three-times as often while listening to AM/FM than any other source of audio in the car.

The study attributes this to a number of factors. For one, radio presets simply make it easy to switch channels away from a commercial or undesired song. Secondly, radio music is impersonal and ads are played back-to-back.

Pandora recommends that marketers consider pod placement whenever possible and consider this fast-switching environment when developing creative for car listeners. “Shorter-length, quick-engagement ads are keys to getting heard,” they advise.

Of course, Pandora stands to benefit quite a bit from traditional AM/FM advertisers switching to digital options. According to a Statista study in March, Pandora has the third most users for a music streaming service, at 36.8 million.

Nearly a third (29 percent) of all audio is consumed in the car, Pandora asserts, but sources have evolved toward digital—connecting one’s phone or cars with built-in connectivity. In fact, 71 percent of commuters say it is “important” for their next vehicle to have an in-dash system that can receive information and entertainment over the internet. Just over half (56 percent) have connected their phones to the car to listen.

Despite the drawbacks, AM/FM remains a draw for 68 percent of commuters that agreed to have a GoPro in their vehicle for this study. The camera observed that 38 percent of the in-car time was spent listening was to speech-based content and 26 percent to streaming audio or podcasts.

As with any study, commuter listening habits tend to differ with age and gender. Women, commuters between the ages of 18-34 and those with longer commutes tend to switch audio sources more frequently. Men, those at least 55 years old and those with the shortest commutes tend to stick with one source on the drive.

Regardless of where they listen, AM/FM radio isn’t going off the air just yet. According to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report 2017, Gen Z spent over 35 hours per month listening to AM/FM radio and 88 percent of Gen Zers do each week. In fact, the report finds that AM/FM radio reaches 88 percent of Generation Z in the US each week and 93 percent of millennials.

Our Favorite Stories Of 2018

So far, 2018 has been a whirlwind of a year for us covering marketing innovation. The merging of creativity and technology has never been more exciting than it has this year.

Applications of augmented reality, geofencing, artificial intelligence and more are not just being used as novelties, but are driving tangible results as ways to connect with consumers.

Moreover, this year we connected with some amazing, forward-thinking marketers for our On Brand series and look forward to another year of discussions about evolving challenges and strategies.

Our team has curated some of our favorite selections from the past year’s reporting to bring you a must-read list before you (hopefully) get some well-deserved rest during the holidays.

Lauren Arevalo-Downes, Executive Director

On Brand: Paramount Network’s Niels Schuurmans Discusses Strategy

In our On Brand series this year, we caught up with Paramount CMO Niels Schuurmans at Cannes to the latest campaign for Yellowstone and how he leads his team to push the envelope of the 105-year-old brand.

“The best way to think about it is [that] we’re taking this amazing classic brand and expanding it,” he said.

The State Of Advertising In 12 Charts

This was a comprehensive look at various stats and indicators of overall trends and growth of the global advertising market. This was also one of the first pieces Jacqueline Fernandez— a new addition to our team—wrote for us.

Amazon’s Ad Aspirations Are Coming To Fruition

One of the few pieces I got to pen myself this year, Amazon has been posing an increasing concern to the duopoly that is Google and Facebook, and it’s easy to see why.

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

E. Ryan Ellis, Deputy Editor-in-Chief

Was Bethesda’s “Stream Of Nothing” Trolling Or Marketing?

I think it’s a bit of a misnomer to say that marketing is becoming more intense as time goes on, with consumer attention so divided between a few brands and so precious. A better description is that marketing is entering a sort of “cubist” phase—deconstructed only to be put back together. A perfect example is our coverage of Bethesda’s 24-hour wherein the gaming publisher set up a camera and did practically nothing, in terms of entertainment, for the viewers on the other end. It was a wild success.

The Key To Creating Engaging AR And VR Experiences

The onset of VR and AR haven’t been as staggering as marketers or consumers expected. What’s great about this piece is the author not only talks about how brands are entering the space, but who the middlemen are and how they are ushering brands into the technology.

Dunnhumby And The Future Of Supermarket Data 

The loyalty card is really the grandfather of modern consumer data sharing—the consumer feels the benefit of using the card and the brand uses the data to make the consumer experience better. This piece outlines where one of the brand pioneers of that technology is headed, modernizing itself in the process.

Matthew Downes, Associate Director, Audience Development 

Consumers Find Personalized Ads ‘Creepy,’ But Still Want Meaningful Interactions

There’s a fine line between helpful, hyper-targeted ads and outright creepy brand intrusions. A must-read for any marketers navigating messaging personalization and responsible (read: not creepy) consumer data-use.

Exclusive: Migos Talks About Their Partnership With Finish Line

As anyone familiar with Migos knows, interviewing the rap trio can quickly go off the rails. AList was definitely not left off ‘Bad and Boujee’ on this one.

AList’s 10 Under 10

Forbes may have a corner on “30 Under 30,” but AList’s 2018 April Fool’s post celebrated the true up-and-coming micro-marketers. Because the children are the future.

Networks, Consumers Benefit From Roku’s First-Ever Stream-a-thon

Roku announced the company is launching its first-ever ‘Stream-a-thon’ from December 26 to January 1, allowing users to stream a collection of shows and movies for free. Roku will give the gift of complete seasons and movies from networks such as HGTV, Food Network and Discovery within the “Featured Free” section.

“The holidays are the perfect time for new and avid streamers alike to discover, enjoy and share in full seasons of top shows for free,” said Roku chief marketing officer, Matthew Anderson.

“…As the leading platform for streaming free content, the Stream-a-thon is a great way to thank our customers. We’re delighted with the quality of shows and to be working in partnership with some of the biggest and best providers across television,” added Anderson.

Roku has always been focused on selling advertising, from the branded direct buttons on the controller to banner ads on the homepage. But in recent years the company has gone full force into programmatic and direct advertising. Earlier this year, the company announced for the first time advertising, as opposed to devices sales, made the bulk of their revenue YoY.

In June, Roku created an audience marketplace for buyers and sellers, and can be used programmatically or traditional methods of direct selling. It more effectively targets audiences by leveraging Roku’s first-party data and proprietary ad technology. Roku has extensive insights into its millions of OTT streamers and can precisely target specific segments at a household level.

Advertisers can take advantage of it through programmatic or traditional direct selling methods. Viacom, AT&T’s WarnerMedia and 21st Century Fox are a few of the initial networks that signed on to sell TV ad inventory in the audience marketplace.

Roku’s ‘Featured Free’ navigation section came along in August in order to provide customers with an easy way to find free streaming entertainment. Stream-a-thon is seemingly an extension of that service.

Both provide advertising and help’s Roku push users to download different network apps and possibly drive a conversion for that network, creating a new subscriber. Viewers will also be served with ads along the way. Stream-a-thon is another step in the tenets Roku is building its future on, and one wherein consumers reap the benefits.

“Data-driven selling [and] programmatic-based techniques are, in our opinion, a central component of the future of the way TV advertising is going to be traded,” CFO Steve Louden said in August, during the company’s Q2 earnings call with investors.

“From the very beginning, our goal with advertising at Roku has been to elevate [and] evolve the state of advertising—to make TV advertising natively targetable, interactive [and] much more highly measured like any digital media that a modern marketer expects.”

AList reached out to Roku for comment but have not heard back at time of publishing.

‘Progressive Shopper’ Furthers Trend Of Socially-Conscious Consumption

Progressive Shopper is a new Chrome extension that identifies which political groups a brand has donated to. The platform informs consumers who also like to vote with their wallets.

Installing the Progressive Shopper Chrome extension labels a retailer’s website with one of three flags based on which political parties they primarily donate to. Blue indicates Democrats, Republicans are red and bipartisan donations are marked in purple. Clicking on the flag will provide more information that includes overall contribution and a breakdown of giving by political action committee and employees.

The extension then makes a recommendation based on the retailer’s donations reported to Federal Election Commission. According to the app’s ‘How it works’ section on their website, “the data on the site covers the 2016 election cycle and the 2018 election cycle up through September 18, 2018.” If the user runs into a company that is misaligned with their own political views, Progressive Shopper will provide alternatives.

The widening schism between US citizens has given birth to a new kind of brand relationship. Where consumers once scrutinized a product or service based on price or customer service, brands are increasingly expected to take sides.

According to a recent study by Accenture Strategy, 37 percent of consumers are attracted to a brand that takes a political stand on issues dear to their heart and half appreciate it when a company stands up for societal and cultural issues.

“Companies are under the spotlight like never before as they struggle for competitive advantage in the context of this reality. Their customers aren’t just making decisions based on the stalwarts of product selection or price. They’re now assessing what a brand says. What it does. What it stands for,” the study says.

The donation data Progressive Shopper taps into and compiles is public record, but it is stored in large databases that may not be easy to access for consumers.

“Americans only have an opportunity to have their voice heard at the ballot box once every two years,” said Progressive Shopper co-founder Mark Hanis in a statement. “But by shopping with brands that support what you support, and not giving your money to those that don’t, you can make your voice heard every single day and hold the private sector accountable.”

Users can also browse the Progressive Shopper website by retailer, brand or product to see if any political donation reports have been compiled.

YouTube Announces 2018’s Top TrueView For Action Ads

Grammarly, Monday.com and League of Legends made YouTube’s top 10 True View for Action ads in 2018. The leaderboard showcases the ads with the best performance determined by an algorithm factoring total reach, clicks and engagements. The top ten videos range from a proofreading app to a mattress company. All the ads have one thing in common, they break down and explain their product clearly.

TrueView is YouTube’s opt-in ads—allowing users to continue watching if they wish, and brands will only pay per opted-in view. Viewers can click on elements to take direct action in TrueView ads and there is a link on the bottom left-hand corner inside the video and another link in the right column outside the ad.

Grammarly’s “Enhance your writing” video shows different people talking about how much Grammarly helps their daily life. In the first few seconds a woman says, “if you write anything on your computer, you need to get Grammarly.” Viewers can download it for free, the text “download for free” remains on the screen the entire video.

In project management tool Monday.com’s ad, the compaby explains “What using monday.com feels like.”

League of Legends’ad “What is League of Legends? Told by Nevercake” shows main character Nevercake explaining the game with a quirky, unique humor. “If you had friends they would already be playing” the character says.

Top 10 TrueView for Action leaderboard:

  1. Grammarly “Enhance your writing” – 301,742,418 views
  2. Monday.com “What using Monday.com feels like” – 50,192,818 views
  3. League of Legends “What is League of Legends? Told by Nevercake” – 23,367,136 views
  4. Nectar Sleep “Make America sleep again” – 11,943,412 views
  5. World of Warships “Why haven’t played World of Warships yet?”- 44,615,138 views
  6. Honey “Never search for a coupon code again – 25,454,890 views
  7. Wix “Create a professional portfolio website, Jay Pharoah” – 69,354,686 views
  8. Netflix “The Kissing Booth” – 4,560,290 views
  9. GlassesUSA “You Need New Glasses” – 35,432,509 views
  10. Udemy “Learn drawing on Udemy” – 79,216,770 views

In October, the YouTube announced the changing criteria for the ads. They now count an engagement whenever a user clicks or watches 10 seconds of a TrueView for Action ad.  A conversion is counted by default when a user takes action with an ad within 3 days of an engagement.

Lyft Launches L-Less OOH Campaign; Aims To Help New Yorkers During L Train Closure

Lyft is jumping in to help out Brooklyn train riders. In April, the L Train is shutting down for 15 months. The MTA will suspend service between Bedford Avenue and 14th Street/Eight Avenue. The shutdown will cause a major disruption for many NYC residents—about 400,000 of them.

Lyft launched an OOH campaign called “Something’s Missing,”  that drops the letter L from its copy and logo in solidarity with those affected. Examples like “ong ive Brook yn” have already started to pop-up around New York. The big pink billboards and transit wraps direct locals to yftpan.com to explain all the travel remedies the company has created.

Lyft will match shared ride passengers heading in the same direction for a low fare letting drivers use the carpool lane, there will be at least 3 passengers. There will also be more fixed pickup spots in congested areas for more efficient pickups.

Cars won’t be the only method of transportation. The ride-sharing company partnered with New York City to acquire Citi Bike earlier this year. It will triple the size of its bikeshare service to 40,000 during the shutdown. 

Out-of-home has seen a bit of a resurgence with similar messaging from other brands. Last year, Spotify launched “2018 Goals”for the holidays. It used its data (listener habits from 2017 combined with current events) to conceive some funny sayings such as “Eat vegan brisket with the person who made a playlist called ‘Leftist Elitist Snowflake BBQ.’”

For the Lyft campaign, the brand is also cutting the price of its all-access plan to $169—to get 30 rides for 30 days. A big discount from its usual price of $299.

New Yorkers are currently getting a taste of the closure, there’s been a few weekend shutdowns this year.  Lyft encourages users to share their commuting solutions through the site or social media with the hashtag #RideOnBrooklyn.

This campaign launched before another big announcement.

On Thursday, Lyft beat rival Uber in filing for an IPO giving the company a “first-mover advantage.” It was valued at $15 billion in a private fundraising round.

The filing is expected to become publicly available in early 2019. It will be an assessment on how much investors want tech companies and the ridesharing business.