Prague Tourism Launches ‘Censored’ Ad Campaign In New York

The Czech capital of Prague launched a new advertising campaign “No spoilers. See it Live,” on the streets of New York City to attract U.S. tourists. The photos highlight popular landmarks in Prague—but they’re blurred out—to inspire Americans to see it in person. It’s a collaboration by Prague Airport, CzechTourism, Prague City Tourism and the tourism hub for Central Bohemia.

The OHH ads will be displayed in 1,000 locations across the New York City subway stations. There will also be 80 advertising spaces in Manhattan’s 5th Avenue/53rd Street station.

The official tourism website of the City of Prague displays a pixelated picture of Church of Our Lady Týn before fully revealing itself. Big bold letters state “You need to experience it,” welcome you to the site and right under it a description of all of the “magical” moments you can have in the city.

“Seeing the Prague skyline for the first time, watching the sunset disappear behind the silhouette of the Prague Castle, walking across the 600-year-old Charles Bridge… these are experiences you will remember for the rest of your life. To avoid ruining that first magical moment, we won‘t show you everything just yet – No spoilers!” the page states.

According to the Prague Airport’s board of directors chair Václav Řehoř, the number of passengers on direct flights to North America has increased by about 67 percent.

“Next year, we are expecting further increases thanks to a new line to Newark. This confirms the high potential of the US for increasing the number of connections to Prague,” Řehoř stated in a press release.

There has been a rise in tourism in the Czech Republic. In 2017, the Czech Statistical Office reported there was a record number of 20 million tourists and about 850-thousand of those were foreign. The Czech capital also made MasterCard‘s Global Destination Cities Index of the world’s most visited cities in 2016 and 2017.

This isn’t the first advertising campaign to play with the concept of “censored,” “blurred” or “pixelated” images. In The Raw sweetener famously published Craigslist personal ads with blurred dessert plates back in 2012. In 2015, Finnish beer brand Karhu—in response to restrictive legislation on alcoholic beverage advertising—pixelated the company’s beverage in a campaign poking fun at the tightening laws.



Pinterest Partnerships Head Posts Marketing Predictions; Facebook Announces Q4 Results Date

This week in social media news, Pinterest shares insights on how to succeed in marketing this year, Facebook will release its 2018 full year and Q4 results, the social media giant is also is trying hard to be the main voice-activated device in your home and Mark Zuckerberg explains how Facebook is getting safer and Pinterest may go public early this year.

Pinterest Reveals How Marketing Will Change In 2019

Jon Kaplan, Pinterest’s Global Head of Partnerships, published a blog post with marketing predictions for 2019.

Why it matters: This time of year, many marketers and thought leaders publish predictions. It’s pretty ubiquitous. Kaplan’s are particularly interesting because Pinterest is currently so ascendant. The company is expected to go public early this year and should surpass $1 billion in ad sales in 2019.

Details: Kaplan published a blog post titled, “Three ways marketing will change in 2019.” Kaplan suggests marketers should pay attention to their consumer needs and branch out to meet them. He pointed out how REI has excelled in “bond building” by aiding people to go outside and by closing their doors on Black Friday they back up their claim they care. Kaplan also suggests brands focus on spreading positivity, especially in the midst of difficult times. One way is to move ad dollars to create context that brings joy.

Facebook Announces Date For Q4 Results

In the midst of a stock meltdown, Facebook announced the date the company will release their Q4 results.

Why it matters: It’s no secret Facebook had a bad year, will that continue into 2019?

Details: Facebook will release the company’s Q4 results on January 30. The conference call will start at 2 p.m. PT/ 5 p.m. ET. The public can check out a live webcast of the call through their Investor Relations site. If you miss it, the call will be replayed on the same site and a telephonic record will be available a week after January 30.

Facebook Is Trying To Dominate Voice-Activated Devices

According to a report from Business Insider, during the fourth quarter of 2018, Facebook spent more ad dollars than Amazon and Google in an effort to lead the voice-activated device industry.

Why it matters: Amazon and Google are still kings of voice-activated devices, and despite Facebook’s attempts, the Echo Dot was the best selling device during the holidays. However, experts believe Facebook will continue to aggressively ad spend this year, but it could be a battle for them to keep it up.

Details: Last year, Amazon spent $206 million on TV ads promoting Alexa and Echo—more than Google or Facebook. Amazon ran more than 25,450 airings using 56 spots according to data from iSpot. The data also showed Google spent $90 million for all of 2018 on TV ads promoting voice-activated devices. Facebook spent a whopping $131 million in TV ads boosting Portal—its video conferencing device—just in the fourth quarter.

Zuckerberg’s New Year Message

Mark Zuckerberg wrote an end of the year message about his continued focus on safety and despite the setbacks, he is proud of the improvements Facebook made last year.

Why it matters: It’s been a rough road for Facebook and Zuckerberg had to acknowledge the white elephant in the room. Some even claimed 2018 was the company’s worst year.  In his statement, Zuckerberg admits even though he’s proud of the improvements they’ve made he admits some problems may never be solved.

Details: Zuckerberg explained some of the upgrades Facebook did like tackling election interference by improving their systems for identifying the fake accounts and coordinated information campaigns. In order to confront terrorism and hate speech, he said they built AI systems to automatically identify and remove any sort of content related to it. He concluded his message by pointing out the many accomplishments the company made in 2018.

Pinterest Prepares To Go Public This Year

Pinterest might complete an initial public offering as soon as April.

Why it matters: Pinterest reached 250 million active users last September and is expected to generate ad revenue of over $700 million this year. The company is currently valued over at $10 billion. As far as tech companies go, Pinterest would be following in the footsteps of the recent IPOS from Uber, Lyft and Spotify–all of these were private for many years before going public.

Details: According to a Wall Street Journal report, Pinterest may launch an IPO in April. The WSJ article also states, “Pinterest has told bankers it could choose its slate of underwriters to run the initial-public-offering process as soon as January.”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, January 4. 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

CarGurus Reboots ‘The Detective’ Campaign With New Ads

CarGurus—the online car shopping service—is continuing their hit spot “The Detective” with a new campaign the “Detective: The Story Continues.” The campaign will resume the hilarious tale of the car shopper, so obsessed with finding the right car, his house turns into a would-be fictional detective’s office.

“Since launching its brand marketing initiative in early 2017, CarGurus have seen both aided and unaided brand awareness double, with the majority of in-market car shoppers in the U.S. now aware of CarGurus when prompted. Additionally, the branding campaigns have helped CarGurus become the largest car shopping site in the U.S. by unique monthly visitors and grow its U.S. average monthly sessions 49 percent year-over-year in Q3 2018,” CarGurus said in the press release.

The purpose of “The Detective” was to show how easy it is to use the CarGurus app. In the spot, the wife of the grizzled husband offers to help and finds a relevant car in a matter of seconds. The 30-second spot accumulated five million views on YouTube.

The ads that will reboot the campaign “Parents” and “Obvious,” reintroduce the original “Detective” characters and continue the aim of the first commercial–which is to emphasize the tools within the CarGurus app. The new 30-second spots will air in both broadcast and cable television networks and YouTube.

“We’re excited to share more of their story as they complete their car shopping journey and to see them both turn into evangelists for CarGurus,” Sarah Welch, SVP of consumer marketing at CarGurus, said in a statement.

With “Parents,” and “Obvious,” CarGurus is going back to worked well for them, in character and humor, after spending the last year using testimonial-style ads, or spots like “Hood” or “Emma.”

“Despite testing several other approaches to telling the CarGurus story, the ongoing strong performance of ‘The Detective’ spoke for itself and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to check back in on our couple,” said Welch.

CarGurus was founded in 2006 by TripAdvisor’s co-founder Langley Steinert and it went public in October 2017. In late December, according to AppAnnie, CarGurus’ app ranked 62 in the “Shopping” category and 976 overall in Apple’s app store.

Sephora Updates Beauty Insider Program With More Personalized Perks

Sephora announced it updated its Beauty Insider program giving members even more perks, especially for their birthdays. The updates allow customers to make the program more personalized. It’s one of the many ways Sephora has taken risks in order to improve the CX for its approximately 20 million customers.

Sephora’s loyalty program has three tiers, Insider, VIB and Rouge. Insider is the free membership prior to any purchase; VIB membership kicks in after a customer spends $350 in a calendar year and Rouge after a customer spends $1000.

In 2019, every member may choose a free gift during their birthday month and those rewards include items from Drunk Elephant and Kat Von D. Each tier of the beauty insider program (Insider, VIB or Rouge) receives this benefit.

Sephora also created a new online birthday boutique, where ‘VIB’ and ‘Rouge’ tier members can get three choices during their birthday month.

“Since its launch in 2007, Beauty Insider has provided members with countless opportunities to receive more value and engage with their favorite brands and products in a way that only Sephora can offer,” said vice president of loyalty for Sephora Allegra Stanley said in the press release.

“Our aim is to continuously adapt and grow our Beauty Insider program as clients’ needs and wants evolve. We are on a multi-year journey focused on raising the bar on client excitement and engagement in a prestige beauty loyalty program.”

The beauty company is finding new ways to make its customers feel special, often using tech to satisfy those needs. In October, Sephora hosted its own beauty convention. “Sephoria: House of Beauty” was an immersive two-day event in Los Angeles and featured interactive rooms and “personalized products.” Attendees could create their own eyeshadow palette, lipstick color or find their perfect foundation shade.

Sephora’s app is also aimed at intimate personalization. It has a “store companion” geofencing feature which gets alerted when you walk into their store—customers’ past purchases, product recommendations, offers and even store events are all available easily via phone.

Sephora has long experimented with their marketing, the company’s first foray into experiential concepts was its Beauty TIP workshops in 2015.