IAB: Cross-Channel Efforts Top Budget Priority In 2019

Marketers, publishers, marketing service providers and technology developers plan to spend more on data this year, according to IAB’s latest report.

The Outlook for Data 2019: A Snapshot Into the Evolving Role of Audience Insight” asked digital marketing and digital practitioners where they are focusing their concerns and budgets in 2019. The survey was fielded in January 2019.

Respondents indicated a focus on harmonizing audience experiences across media. For this reason, cross-channel campaign measurement and attribution will be the top priority for 57.3 percent of those surveyed. Just over half—52.4 percent—will also prioritize cross-channel audience identification and matching.

“Cross-channel becomes more important as consumers engage with brands on different platforms and through different types of media,” Orchid Richardson, vice president and managing director of the IAB Data Center of Excellence told AList. “It’s about understanding where the consumer is in their journey, so the right message at the right time can be delivered.”

Over three-fourths (78.2 percent) of survey respondents planned an increased amount of spending on data and related services this year. Some 69.2 percent said that spending in this area increased in 2018, as well.

Last year, general audience analytics occupied most of the respondents’ time more than any other category listed. The top three time-consumers were general audience analytics (58 percent), cross-channel audience identification and matching (51.9 percent) and cross-channel measurement and attribution (42 percent).

This year, the top priority, according to 57.3 percent, will be cross-channel measurement and attribution.

With each new report, it seems that marketers invest more in data every year. Richardson said that marketers spend more because they are getting results.

“Data is making brands smarter about their consumers while helping them build direct connections with consumers too,” said Richardson.

Participating digital marketers were asked which factors they expected to be the most important in driving data-driven marketing initiatives in the year ahead. The top choice, as it has been for the last three years, was “demand/interest from our customers.”

The biggest challenge these professionals fear in 2019 is government regulation or the threat to regulate data. Beyond that “external” threat, panelists expressed a multitude of concerns about how their organizations are structured to use data. Siloed organizational structures and data as well as difficulty in proving ROI were among the top concerns shared by respondents.

Halo Top’s First TV Campaign Soothes Adulting Woes

Kids love ice cream, but adults deserve it more because of all the crap they put up with, according to Halo Top Creamery’s first integrated TV campaign, “Ice Cream for Adults.”

Four 30-second video spots debuted on Tuesday that highlight the contrast between childhood innocence and the stresses of being an adult. In each spot, children approach a Halo Top branded ice cream truck but are denied by the snarky operator, who gives them an unsolicited reality check about adult life instead.

Halo Top is using existential dread as an affirmation that it’s okay to binge eat a whole pint of ice cream if it’s only 300 calories.

“I believe everyone can relate to the need for ice cream after a rough day,” said Justin Woolverton, Halo Top CEO and founder in a statement.

“Ice Cream for Adults” will run on broadcast, print, digital and social channels beginning March 5 and on through the summer. The campaign was directed by Tim Godsall, who has created a number of tongue-in-cheek commercials including “Opulence” for DirecTV and “Stand Off” for Xbox.

Each Halo Top spot focuses on a particular adult pain point. In “Mortgage,” a man likens having a mortgage to “waterboarding, only you do it to yourself.” The Bachelor star Nick Viall makes an appearance in the “Love” spot, having earned his ice cream for experiencing public heartbreak.

“Swiping” decries the woes of online dating when you’re not photogenic and “Work” bursts a daughter’s bubble about her mother’s promotion attempts.

The US ice cream market experienced a modest 1.6 percent growth in 2018, according to Nielsen. American consumers are demanding more transparency on labels and healthy options, Nielsen observed, noting good sources of fiber and protein as well as sugar substitutes and vegan recipes as major drivers of sales growth.

Halo Top offers vegan ice cream options, less sugar and more protein, which taps into this growing market. Eighty-nine percent of last year’s growth came from ice cream products with a high source of fiber, Nielsen observed, while 18 percent of sales dollars were spent on frozen treats with a sugar substitute.

According to estimates by Mordor Intelligence, the global ice cream market value is expected to reach $89.5 billion by 2023.


KFC Launches Crowdfunding Campaign For More Bizarre Merchandise

KFC has no plans of slowing down the unusual promotion strategy and this time, it wants consumers to fund the efforts.

Five Indiegogo campaigns launched on Tuesday for the new KFC Innovations Lab, a supposed source of the restaurant’s odd, yet popular inventions. Consumers will be able to contribute to a list of KFC-themed ideas for a chance to see them made in real life.

KFC is asking for a total of $2,490,783 across all five campaigns, all of which will go into the actual production. None of the funds “will go into the Colonel’s pocket or directly to KFC,” says the brand.

Whether the quick service restaurant raises all target fund amounts remains to be seen, but a crowd-funding campaign may prove conversation worthy at the least.

“As with any of our marketing programs, our goal is to reach new audiences and build brand love, all while entertaining and engaging viewers in our uniquely KFC way,” Steve Kelly, KFC US director of media and digital marketing told AList. “Selling fried chicken is our business, but you have to be thinking about us first.”

Indiegogo campaigns include a Kentucky Fried Hot Tub, Colonel on Ice (a Colonel Sanders-themed ice show), a tie that tracks its wearer up to 100 feet, a cane that doubles as a remote control and a full-sized picnic bench set made of cardboard.

Each campaign will also receive its own promotional YouTube video.

“Are your muscles tired? Do you need to relax? Do you have a deep-seated love for corporate branding? Do you currently have any money in your bank account?” reads one campaign page. “If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should help support our campaign to bring the Kentucky Fried Hot Tub to life.

The hot tub looks like a giant KFC bucket, holds up to five people and is heated by a wood-fired thermosyphon. Three people who donate at least $13,311 will receive a hot tub for themselves.

Should KFC raise $2.2 million, audiences may soon learn the origin story of Colonel Harland Sanders by way of ice skaters. Donate $50,000 and you can be in the show, or $150 gets you a VIP ticket.

“It’s shocking how expensive and complicated a custom ice show can be,” said Kelly. “We thought it might be prudent to see if our fans are interested before investing in all that choreography.”

“Little Colonel Locator” is a black bow tie in the style of Colonel Sanders that will track its wearer up to 100 feet from a mobile device. Unlike some of the more expensive campaigns, donators can take one home for $132.

The KFC Smartcane Remote is exactly what it sounds like and will set hardcore collectors back $1,703. “Picnic with the Colonel” includes a cardboard cutout of Colonel Sanders and a full-sized picnic bench, also made of cardboard. A limited number of collectors can purchase one outright for $1,020.

All campaigns offer smaller reward tiers in $20, $50 and $60 that get you a puffy sticker set, branded shirt or branded sweat pants, respectively. KFC launched its KFC Limited merchandise store in 2017 but has since closed it so the campaign will give fans another chance to buy.

It seems like KFC comes out with another wacky idea every week. Will these types of marketing activations become saturated someday?

“We hope not because we sure have a lot of fun bringing them to life!,” said Kelly.


Neiman Marcus Curates ‘The Art Of Travel’ To Target Jetsetters

Neiman Marcus is incorporating their high-end fashion with the luxury of travel to grab the attention of younger consumers—especially with the popularity of travel influencers.  The Dallas-based retailer unveiled their latest campaign ‘The Art of Travel’ partnering with Tourism Ireland, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Audley Travel and MSC Cruise to offer sightseeing tips along with their exclusive designer collection.

Professional photographers such as Phil Poynter and Agata Pospieszynska captured original shots for Neiman Marcus’ spring book with a travel guide suggesting various cities to discover such as Bangkok. The travel diary features restaurants, lounges, street eats, hotels and favorite spots to visit like the Wat Phra Kaew temple.

Consumers can not only see ‘The Art of Travel’ online, but they’ll have hands-on participation through in-store activations that will take place in their stores at Hudson Yards in New York City, Beverly Hills and NorthPark Center in Dallas.  The stores will be transformed into travel hubs by window displays and “interior presentations with vitrines and visual towers.”

Other retailers have tapped into the travel sector. In January, fellow upscale brand Nordstrom launched a pop-up shop featuring Away suitcases. They offered four standard suitcases in Nordstrom-only colors, accessories and other handy travel items. Looking at Away’s Instagram page, you’ll see curated pictures of various cities worldwide mixed in with images of their products.

Now, Neiman Marcus is taking it a step further to venture deeper into the travel sector. The company already has a “for a getaway” occasion option for women’s clothing on their site.

“Through The Art of Travel, we are bringing the spirit of travel and the magic of fashion together for our customers in an innovative and experiential way,” said Theresa Palermo, senior vice president of brand marketing and public relations at Neiman Marcus Group in a statement.

“We are inspiring our shoppers and engaging them at every touch point, both in stores and online. The Art of Travel will be an immersive experience for our customers, offering them insider travel tips from notable fashion designers, engaging in-store events with brand partners, and an impressive collection of exclusive products.”

This campaign could be an attempt to not just get Millennial consumers, but a way to save itself. The retailer just announced it would get three more years to transform its business. The company reached an agreement with bondholders and the repayment deadline has been pushed to 2023. After two leveraged buyouts, Neiman Marcus was consumed with debt and they haven’t been able to pay off its approximately five million dollar IOU.

Vanity Fair Napkins Turns John Mayer’s Fake Oscar Party Into Marketing Opportunity

Vanity Fair Napkins created an animated commercial on musician John Mayer’s Instagram page. The last-minute team up was made possible by an agile marketing team who jumped on Mayer’s recent jokes regarding Vanity Fair—both the publication and the napkins.

Monday morning, Grammy award-winning musician John Mayer shared an animated commercial on his Instagram page. In the ad, a man asks a woman for her number. When she tries to write it on a Vanity Fair napkin, he changes his mind. The spot ends with the Vanity Fair logo and the slogan, “We can only make the napkins.”

The official Vanity Fair napkins Instagram also shared the video, calling Mayer a “NapkinInfluencer.”

Vanity Fair parent company Georgia Pacific created the spot after an unexpected plug on Oscar night.

Last weekend, Mayer hosted a fake Vanity Fair after-party at his home, down to the blue carpet backdrop and set pieces. Celebrities including comedians Bob Saget and Jeffrey Ross celebrated with Mayer, posting photos on social media that to the untrained eye, appeared to be have been taken at the real Oscar party.

Mayer broadcast the party on his weekly IGTV show Current Mood. Party guests accentuated the joke by posing with Vanity Fair paper products and pretending the brand was a sponsor. Mayer was then struck with an idea for a Vanity Fair napkins commercial and shared it with the viewers. Little did he know that Georgia Pacific’s communications manager Melissa Kinard was watching.

Kinard signed into her business account and began interacting with Mayer’s audience as the Vanity Fair brand in real-time. The next day, she and her team were developing the commercial. Kinard was traveling at the time of this writing, but Georgia Pacific was happy to share the process.

“We were able to turn it around really quickly last week,” Georgia Pacific senior director of communications Anna Umphress told AList. “We animated his commercial word for word. [Mayer]  thought it was a fun thing and shared it on his show Sunday night.”

Mayer’s post has received over 100,000 likes and 1,100 comments in the first 12 hours.


Vanity Fair redesigned its packaging in 2017 and has adopted a marketing narrative of everyday use. Umphress said the plug by Mayers offered a fun way to engage a younger audience.

“I’m really proud of the team here for first, recognizing the opportunity and then working really hard to make that real-time interaction happen so that it was still relevant for John and his followers,” said Umphress.

“We’re always looking for these opportunities, but they have to be real and authentic to the brand,” Umphress explained. “In this case, it really was an opportunity to personalize our message to consumers and this really took it to the next level.”


Five Things Marketers Need To Know About The 5G Revolution

Marketers know that relationships are built on meaningful connections, and 5G could help make them even faster. As a result, this emerging technology could very well change the way consumers expect media to be delivered, much like high-speed internet marked the (welcome) end of dial-up connections and that teeth-shattering modem sound.

You might have less time to plan than you think. Here are five facts you need to know in the meantime:

Look To Sporting Events For 5G Experiences

According to research by Ovum for Amdocs, consumers will likely experience 5G for the first time at stadiums. The Dallas Cowboy’s AT&T Stadium already uses the technology through its center-hung video board.

Over a third of network operators surveyed plan to own a sports team and invest in 5G during sporting events. In addition, around 63 percent of the world’s largest network operators intend to use augmented reality, virtual reality or a hybrid of them supported by 5G. Also, over 70 percent of operators say events such as the 2020 Olympics have a big impact on their 5G roll-out timelines. 

5G Could Push AR/VR Further Into The Mainstream

Regardless of industry or interests, the fifth generation of wireless technology and mobile connectivity or 5G will create opportunities that didn’t exist before. One such brand opportunity, GSMA pointed out in its 2018 Mobile Trends report, is AR/VR immersion. Current technology does not allow brands to embed AR/VR ads inside a mobile ad, but 5G would allow for more ambitious campaigns without fear of slowing down a site.

Get Ready For New Creative Formats

Nearly half—47 percent—of advertisers will use new or additional creative formats via 5G, according to a recent survey by Verizon Media. A third of advertisers surveyed indicated that they are already planning for 5G, predicting that mobile video and better video streaming will have the most significant impact.

Forty-nine percent of advertisers think 5G will help to better consumer experiences and 46 percent see the technology benefit advancements in real-time, location-based targeting.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is another technology that stands to benefit from faster connection speeds. Gartner estimates over 20.4B IoT units will be installed by 2020, while IoT-related spending will reach nearly $3 trillion. 

All Connected Industries Will Be Disrupted By 5G

Faster connection speeds are about more than fancy websites and ads. Analytics firm CB Insights predicts that 5G will have a massive impact on the healthcare, automotive, retail and entertainment industries, as well.

“The average autonomous car of the future could produce as much as 2 million gigabytes of data per week, and moving all of that data to the cloud or a regional server isn’t feasible today with Wi-Fi or 4G,” says CB Insights.

The healthcare industry will be able to utilize more devices such as fitness trackers, microscopic cameras and robotic surgery. Retailers will be able to use more sophisticated devices such as connected shelves, in-store analytics and allow consumers to “try on” products at a higher scale.

The Wave Of 5G Is More Like An Iceberg Than A Tsunami

If you’re not ready to launch 5G initiatives tomorrow, don’t worry. It will still probably be two or three more years before 5G becomes the norm.

As Engadget points out, it took about two to three years for 4G to reach most American cities. Even though Samsung launched the Galaxy S10 5G, the infrastructure isn’t there yet. When 5G becomes mainstream, consumers will be able to purchase reincarnations of the current devices. And your team can start having fun with the possibilities.