Mobile App Fraud Increases YoY As Marketers Pour Ad Dollars Into The Platform

Mobile app fraud continues to rise as advertisers pour billions of ad spend into the platform. Marketing measurement provider DoubleVerify found that from 2017 to 2018, fraud has been rampant in the form of sophisticated invalid traffic impressions and applications.

DoubleVerify identifies and screens common types of mobile app fraud that includes background ad activity, hidden ads, app misrepresentation aka spoofing and measurement manipulation.

All those scans revealed that fraudsters have kept themselves incredibly busy over the last few years. DoubleVerify’s Fraud Lab found that the total number of fraudulent apps has increased by 159 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to figures made available to AList.

Mobile app sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT) impressions have doubled year-on-year since 2017, DoubleVerify added.

Just over half—57 percent—of fraudulent mobile apps are categorized as “Games” and “Tools & Utilities,” the company found, adding that its fraud tool detected 1.6x more fraudulent apps in 2018 than in the previous year.

“With ad spend increasingly concentrated in mobile – and particularly mobile app, fraudsters are redoubling their efforts to take advantage,” said Roy Rosenfeld, head of DoubleVerify’s Fraud Lab in a prepared statement. “It’s critical that brands understand these risks, in order to allocate spend accordingly and install appropriate safeguards for their digital investments.”

BuzzfeedNews released the findings of a similar mobile app fraud investigation on Thursday, in which several popular Android apps use invasive permissions and dubious code to commit ad fraud. Apps that ranged from children’s reading programs to flashlights and remote controls were found to commit ad fraud while collecting huge amounts of user data.

According to a 2017 report by Singular, 63 percent of marketers don’t use any mobile fraud prevention techniques at all, becoming easy prey for even the most easily preventable attacks.

US marketers will spend an estimated $87 billion on mobile advertising in 2019, according to eMarker, which will account for more than two-thirds of overall US digital ad spend. Outpacing TV for the first time in 2018, mobile ad spend is expected to reach $201 billion in spend globally by 2021.

That being said, it’s no wonder that marketers and fraudsters alike have honed in on mobile. A recent report by Scalarr suggests that marketers will lose nearly $13 billion to mobile app install fraud in 2019. This estimated loss is a significant increase from $7.3 billion in 2018.

In November, the IAB Technology Laboratory released app-ads.txt, a mobile extension of its fraud prevention tool, for beta testing and commentary. Earlier in 2018, 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.

G-Star RAW, Ulta And Hitachi Appoint Chief Marketing Officers

This week’s executive shifts include a promotion for Ulta Beauty’s chief marketing officer and CMO appointments for G-Star Raw, Hitachi, John Hopkins Medicine and Dutch Brothers.

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


G-Star RAW Names New Chief Marketing Officer

G-Star RAW appointed Gwenda van Vliet as the company’s newest chief marketing officer. Van Vliet comes to the company after spending the last two years as CMO of Wolford. Before that, she spent the better part of a decade at VF Corporation (Northface, Jansport), most recently as global marketing director.

According to G-Star RAW, van Vliet “will serve as the global brand and marketing architect responsible for defining, amplifying and expanding our brand voice to position the business for long term growth.”

‘I’ve always admired G-Star’s unconventional ethos, including the culture, creativity and innovative spirit of the brand. These core values are what makes G-Star unique and I am thrilled to work with the team on the important task to deliver a bold, new and exciting point of view to our consumers around the world,” van Vliet said in a statement.


El Pollo Loco Appoints Digital Marketing VP

El Pollo Loco appointed Brian Wallunas as the company’s vice president of digital marketing. Wallunas joins the company from Coca-Cola, where he was the director, digital technology, national foodservice. Wallunas also had positions at Arby’s and Dominos, where he as the director of digital experience.

“Brian is a critical team addition as we seek to increase brand loyalty and digitize our business,” said El Pollo Logo CMO Hector Muñoz said in a statement. “His proven digital abilities will be key in bringing frictionless convenience for our customers as the brand continues to pursue sustainable growth through our transformation agenda.”


Former Disney President Of Marketing Joins Warner Bros. Pictures

Jim Gallagher joins Warner Bros. Pictures as EVP of marketing, animation and family. Gallagher is a film marketing veteran who has worked for Dreamworks, Disney and MGM Studios.

“Jim is a highly regarded animation and family marketing executive who’s incredibly creative and has an enviable track record,” said president of worldwide marketing at Warner Bros. Pictures Blair Rich. “As we expand our activities in this space, we’ll look to his experience and recognized expertise to help us reach the broadest audiences for these films with strategic, globally relevant marketing campaigns. I’m excited for Jim to join us, and I know he will be an incredible addition to our Warner Bros. team.”


Dominos UK Marketing Director Leaves To Join Dreams

Tony Holdway, Dominoes UK marketing and sales director, will leave the company in June according to Campaign. Holdway will join furniture company Dreams as chief marketing officer.


Ford Executive, Lincoln Head Marketer Retires

Robert Parker—global director, Lincoln marketing, sales and service—will retire from the company in June, he told Marketing Daily.

Parker has been with Ford since 1989. According to MediaPost, Parker “has been responsible for expanding and solidifying the brand’s identity in the global market.”


Paramount Pictures Hires Two Marketers From 20th Century Fox

According to THR, two former 20th Century Fox marketers will join the theatrical marketing team at Paramount Pictures. Danielle Kupchak will become EVP, global creative content and Len Iannelli will take the position of senior VP special projects and events.


Sony Pictures TV Studios Hires EVP, Brand Marketing Head

Maurizio Vitale has been named Sony Pictures TV Studios executive vice president, brand marketing and strategy. Vitale was recently Sony Pictures’ SVP marketing worldwide networks.

According to Deadline, “he will oversee marketing and promotion for all original SPT Studios series across broadcast, cable and digital distribution platforms, reporting to SPT Studios President Jeff Frost who just made the announcement in an internal memo.”

Vitale was previously SVP marketing at Oprah’s TV network OWN and before that spent a number of years at MTV Networks and Discovery Communications.


Dutch Brothers Appoints Ex-Under Amour Marketer As CMO

Dutch Brothers, a Portland-based coffeehouse franchise, appointed Rick Anguilla as the company chief marketing officer. Anguilla most recently acted as a consultant through his firm Guidance Counsel and continues in an advisory role for the University of Oregon Sports Product Management MBA program.

Prior to that, Anguilla spent three years with Under Amour, most recently as a strategic advisor to the CEO. He was also a VP at Nike from 1994 to 2004.

“Rick is a valuable addition to the Dutch Bros team and has hit the ground running,” said Dutch Brothers CEO Travis Boersma in a statement. “His expertise in brand strategy combined with his deep admiration for our culture makes it clear that Dutch Bros will be in good hands as we serve our existing communities and enter new markets.”


Four Seasons Consolidates Sales And Marketing With Promotion

Four Seasons promoted Ben Trodd to senior vice president, sales and hotel marketing. Trodd has been with Four Seasons since 2011, starting as a regional vice president and general manager.

“Ben is a seasoned hotel operator with a strong background in sales and marketing, and I am confident that his unique experiences and thorough understanding of our business will position him for success in this new role,” said Four Seasons EVP and CMO Peter Nowlan in a statement. “With a strong commitment to Four Seasons culture and values, and a strategic approach to leadership, Ben’s contributions to our sales and marketing teams worldwide will be of great value to our organisation, our partners, and ultimately our guests.”


Hitachi Hires Chief Marketing Officer

Last week, Hitachi announced the hiring of Jonathan Martin as the chief marketing officer of Hitachi Vantara.

He was previously chief marketing officer for Dell EMC, HP Software, Pure Storage and PortWise.

“As CMO, Martin will lead Hitachi Vantara’s worldwide marketing strategy, demand generation, digital and customer experience, brand and corporate communications, competitive and market intelligence, marketing operations and global learning teams,” Hitachi said in a statement.


Johns Hopkins Medicine Names Chief Marketing Officer, SVP

Johns Hopkins Medicine named Suzanne Sawyer as the company’s chief marketing officer and senior vice president. Sawyer was previously chief marketing officer at Penn Medicine and vice president, portfolio marketing at IBM Watson Health. She is also a lecturer at Wharton School in strategic brand management.

“I am very excited to be coming to Johns Hopkins,” Sawyer said in a statement. “I am passionate about spreading the word about cutting-edge education, science and health care. And for more than a century, Johns Hopkins has led the way, nationally and internationally, in all three of these areas. I can’t wait to get started on this new challenge.”


Ex-Subway CMO Appointed To Newman’s Own Board

Joe Tripodi, Subway’s former chief marketing officer who retired last year, has been appointed to Newman’s Own board of directors.

Tripodi had a long career in marketing, including high ranking positions at Mastercard, Coca-Cola, Allstate, Bank of New York and Seagram’s.

“It is a tremendous honor to join the Newman’s Own Board of Directors and assist, in some small way, in advancing the mission of Paul Newman to engage in ‘shameless exploitation in pursuit of the common good,'” said Mr. Tripodi in a statement. “I look forward to supporting the management team in their quest to drive incremental sales and new partnerships to continue to ‘feed’ Newman’s Own Foundation so they can expand their charitable contributions worldwide.”


Ulta Promotes Chief Merchandising And Marketing Officer

Dave Kimbell has been appointed the president and chief merchandising and marketing officer at Ulta Beauty. Kimbell was hired as CMO in 2014 and added merchandising to his responsibilities a year later.

Previously, Kimbell was CMO at Seventh Generation and U.S. Cellular. He also had stops in marketing at Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo.

“This increased responsibility recognizes Dave’s value to the company, his reputation in the industry and his track record of delivering outstanding performance,” said Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillon in a statement. “Dave plays a critical role in driving our business results and leading the organization as a member of the Executive Team. This expansion of Dave’s scope more closely aligns corporate strategy with the merchandising and marketing functions to identify future growth opportunities, strengthen execution, and extend our competitive advantage.”


Deschutes Appoints VP

Deschutes Brewery added beer marketing veteran Neal Stewart to their team. Stewart was appointed to the position of vice president of marketing and comes to Deschutes after spending five years at Dogfish Head. Stewart also spent three years in marketing at Flying Dog and five years with Pabst.


iAnthus Hires Chief Marketing Officer

Cannabis company iAnthus hired Neil Calvesbert as chief marketing officer. Calvesbert comes to the company after spending the last three years at Nicpure Labs as CMO.

Calvesbert was also previously vice president of global marketing at Monster Energy.


Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, April 19. 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 

Chief Marketing OfficerStila CosmeticsNew York, NY
Chief Marketing OfficerMoog Music GroupAsheville, NC
Vice President, Marketing Strategy Saks Fifth AvenueNew York, NY
VP, Brand MarketingCarl’s Jr.Franklin, TN
Head of MarketingUberLondon, UK
VP Marketing AnalyticsDISNEYNew York, NY

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

YouTube’s New Gifting Feature; Ad Council And Snapchat’s Partnership

Our weekly social media news roundup helps marketers to stay on top of every social platform’s latest updates, insights, campaigns and more.

YouTube Will Give Premium Subscribers Money To Spend On Super Charts 

Android Police reported this week that YouTube Premium is testing a feature that might soon allow the users to spend two dollars to “spoil” their favorite creators.

Why it matters: Super Chat is a feature popular among creators because it provides a way for them to find sources of monetization away from traditional advertising, which means they are always encouraged to produce content and attract more viewers.

The details: The gifting feature description says, “YouTube Premium is giving you one free, two-dollar value Super Chat every calendar month until May 31, 2019. When you send a Super Chat, your message will stand out and the creator will earn a share. Your free Super Chat will refresh on the first day of every calendar month, but it won’t accumulate. This is a limited time offer in the United States that can change at any time.”

Ad Council Partners With Snapchat To Stop Bullying

Ad Council and Snapchat teamed up to prevent bullying with the new Lens challenge.

Why it matters: Bullying is a relatable problem to many of the young users on Snapchat and combined with the interactive lens experience, should bring a lot of engagement to the platform.

The details: This is Snapchat’s first-ever social impact Lens Challenge. It encourages Snapchat users to share a time when someone had a positive impact on their lives. The lens challenge was given a name, ‘Because of You’ and it aims to inspire the users to be more expressive and kind to others, which also reflects Snap’s core values of being kind, smart and creative.

LinkedIn’s Editor-At-Large Explains News On LinkedIn

LinkedIn editor-at-large, Jessi Hempel, appeared on the Recode Media with Peter Kafka podcast this week and discussed why LinkedIn chooses to produce original news.

Why it matters: Being one of the leading social media platforms for professionals, LinkedIn regularly delivers quality content, which adds value and makes the users come back.

The details: Hempel, who joined LinkedIn in 2019, bringing years of journalism experience from Businessweek, Fortune, and WIRED. “News has the ability to make professionals smarter and, more important, to get them talking to each other across boundaries and borders around who you know and who you don’t, around things that matter to them in their professional lives,” said Hempel. “My work hopefully helps the people on LinkedIn get smarter about their work.”

Snapchat’s Ad Products After Partner Summit 

On Friday, Digiday shared some insights into Snapchat’s new pitch deck. 

Why it matters: This information helps marketers to get a better idea about how to use their ad dollars on Snapchat.

The details: Digiday recently accessed a pitch deck from a U.S. ad agency. The deck provides some audience insights, such as Snap’s claiming to have 92 million in “monthly addressable reach” in the U.S. — as in users who actually see ads every month, and 34 percent of those users being in the 18 and 24 age group.

No Longer A Rumor: Facebook Is Working On An AI Voice Assistant For Portal And Oculus 

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Reuters on Wednesday that the social media company is in the process of developing a voice assistant. 

Why it matters: This effort proves that Facebook is willing to continue working on its experimental technology. It doesn’t seem, however, that the company’s goal is to compete with Alexa and other voice assistants, but rather have it as a feature for its devices.

The details: “We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus and future products,” a spokesperson said. 

Swarovski’s New Influencer Campaign 

The global jewelry company announced on Thursday the rollout of its annual #FollowTheLight influencer campaign, focused on female empowerment.

Why it matters: The campaign celebrates inspirational women, including several female football stars, empowering one another, which is a great way to add value and emotional component to the marketing initiative.

The details: #FollowTheLight 2019 campaign launched in January and will feature both new ambassadors and ambassadors that have previously participated.

“Great British Bake Off” winner, Nadiya Hussain, will appear again as Swarovski #FollowTheLight ambassador. She will be joined by Giovanna Fletcher, a mother of three and a YouTube and Instagram influencer, who is a pioneer for celebrating female strength. Another two ambassadors participating are England football players Leah Williamson and Fran Kirby will promote team spirit and the importance of women supporting each other. 

Reddit Updates Its NSFW Advertising Policy 

This week, Reddit updated its ad policy and announced that adult-oriented product ads and services will no longer be permissible on Reddit. NSFW subreddits will also no longer be eligible for ads or targeting.

Why it matters: While the new policy is preventing certain companies from advertising their products, it creates a safer environment for younger users on the platform.

The details: Reddit will now reject and no longer run NSFW ads. NSFW subreddits will be removed from campaigns that may have been targeting them and these campaigns will stop tracking clicks or impressions on those subreddits. However, ads will continue to run on Safe for Work subreddits, if applicable.

However, “ads pertaining to products for the prevention of pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections, and erectile dysfunction are permissible, if they do not target minors and only focus on the clinical aspects of the product,” the company stated.

Study: An Impact Of Influencers And Video On Consumer Behavior 

Olapic, a service that searches social media on behalf of brands for photos featuring their product, worked on a report on consumer behavior towards influencers and video.

Why it matters: Influencer campaigns and video on social media are two of the most successful trends in social media marketing, so it is important to know how they affect consumers’ decision making.

The details: The report hasn’t been publically disclosed yet, but per SocialMediaToday, here is what to take away: 

  • 64 percent of 16-22 year-olds follow influencers on social media 
  • 51 percent believe the content posted by other consumers is more authentic 
  • 37 percent of consumers trust images created by other consumers more than brand created images 
  • 48 percent of respondents have purchased a product after watching a brand video 
  • 52 percent of social media users have mentioned a brand in their feeds 
  • 34 percent have discovered a new brand based on a post published by an influencer 
  • 29 percent have purchased an item after seeing it on an influencer’s post 

Pinterest Doesn’t Want To Be Compared To Social Media, But It Probably Should

According to Bloomberg, while Pinterest doesn’t want the investors to think about the platform as social media, rather a “visual discovery” platform,” it might benefit from being compared to other social platforms.

Why it matters: Pinterest is a one humongous “inspiration board” for interior design, vacations, fashion, special occasions and other ideas, giving it access to millions of people looking to buy stuff.

The details: Pinterest avoids the social media title, probably, because it sees itself as empowering creatives rather than a churn of conversation like Twitter and Facebook. “Social media at its best makes you feel socially validated, while Pinterest at best makes you feel creative and empowered to act,” Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann said.

But, comparisons to Facebook and Twitter could inevitably prove invaluable to Pinterest, as it highlights the platform’s direct line to shoppers.

LinkedIn “Job Search” App Will Be Deactivated

LinkedIn’s Job search app will be integrated into the main LinkedIn app in May.

Why it matters: A spokesperson told CNET in an email statement, “We’ve built a robust job seeking experience within the main LinkedIn app that we’re excited for our members to take advantage of.”

The details: A pop-up message on the app states, “This app will retire in May. Get all Jobs & Premium features in the LinkedIn app.” And according to the LinkedIn spokesperson, the users will now have access to even more insights and features than the Job Search app offered.

Twitter Shares Its “Healthier Twitter” Progress

In a blog post, published on Tuesday, Twitter shared its progress in shaping a healthier conversation on the platform.

Why it matters: Healthy environment on a social media platform brings more user engagement. 

The details: According to Twitter’s progress report, the team reviews 38 percent of abusive content, instead of relying on reports from the users; the platform saw 16 percent fewer abuse reports after an interaction from an account the reporter doesn’t follow; during January-March 2019 period, 100,000 accounts were suspended for creating new accounts after a previous suspension; new in-app appeal process allows for 60 percent faster response to appeal requests; 3 times more abusive accounts were suspended within 24 hours after a report, compared to the same time in 2018; and finally, 2.5 times more private information was removed from the platform. 

Twitter Tests Mute Button

Also, on Tuesday, Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey announced during a TED talk his plans to test mute button.

Why it matters: Mute button feature gives the users more control over the content they are exposed to on Twitter. 

The details: If the feature is implemented, a person who initiates a conversation, as the original tweet’s author, will be able to hide any unwanted comments replying to the original tweet. Readers, on the other hand, will need to tap on the hidden tweet to reveal it.

Emarketer’s New Forecast On Native Ad Market 

Emarketer predicts that native ads, driven by social feed ads, will account for almost two-thirds of display ad spend in 2019.

Why it matters: “Native formats have made significant inroads in channels like mobile apps, but there are still a lot of traditional display units being traded programmatically, especially on desktop and the mobile web,” said eMarketer principal analyst, Nicole Perrin. “Taking into account the fact that in-stream video is by definition nonnative, we don’t expect native to completely take over display. And if social platforms are successful in attracting dollars to newer pre-roll and mid-roll formats, that could make their revenue mix less native as well.”

The details: According to eMarketer, this year, native advertising will account for 62.7 percent of total US display ad spending, compared to 54.2 percent in 2017. The lion share of native ad spend will go to social network platforms, and Facebook will get most of it. In 2019, native advertising will account for 95.6 percent of social digital display ad spend. Per the forecast, US advertisers will spend $43.90 billion this year on native display ads, which is $8.66 billion more than was spent last year.

An Influencer Campaign Boosts US Polo Brand Recall

According to a case study by HelloSociety US Polo company was able to increase brand recall by 95 percent with its new influencer campaign.

Why it matters: HelloSociety’s survey on the campaign revealed that 88 percent of respondents felt more connected to the brand, when they saw influencer partnerships with US Polo.

The details: Tommy DiDario, Elly Brown, Brittany Fullwood and Saul Rasco participated in the campaign, the goal of which was to raise brand awareness and bring people into the Polo stores.

The survey found that 71 percent of participants intended to take one or more actions, after seeing an influencer partnership; 35 percent intended to visit the brand’s website; 35 percent wanted to make an immediate purchase and 56 percent wanted to buy in the future.​

Snapchat Publishes A Report On The Evolution Of Video 

On Monday, Snapchat shared a new study from The National Research Group (commissioned by Snap Inc.), focused on the evolution of video and mobile content trends.

Why it matters: According to the report, video will reach another tipping point in 2019. It predicts that mobile will surpass traditional TV entirely as the medium attracting the most entertainment minutes in the US. Which once again proves that marketers’ focus should be on mobile video. 

The details: Here are some other important takeaways: 

  • Live TV viewership is diminishing, especially among younger viewers (ages 18-24)
  • TV season length is on the decline with 41 percent drop in season length since 2003
  • 6 of the 11 hours spent with media are devoted to video on any device 
  • US adults spend an average of 3.5 hours daily on mobile in 2018 
  • Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Gen Z and Millennials say they have increased 
  • the amount of mobile video they watch over the 
  • past year 
  • 92 percent of Millennials and Gen Zs said that watching mobile video via an app is a welcome distraction for them; 89 percent said it helps them discover new interests; 88 percent said it leaves them feeling positive and uplifted; 83 percent said that it keeps them “in the know.”

Twttr Proves To Be Even More Popular Than Its “Father,” Twitter 

Accordingto Sarah Haider, Twitter’s director of product management, the users who tried Twttr, prefer it to the Twitter app. 

Why it matters: Twttr might never be able to suppress Twitter, but it has chances to become the next big thing in the social media world.

The details: Twttr was launched recently with an intent to test new features that may or may not eventually transfer to the main app. What’s interesting, though, is that so far, beta testers seem to like Twttr more than Twitter. 

Survey Reveals Consumers’ Behavior In Relation To Ads On Social

A digital marketing agency, Blue Fountain Media, conducted a survey to determine consumer behavior and opinions on paid social media ads. 

Why it matters: The survey focused on consumers’ perceptions of brand authenticity in relation to paid social, and what role organic social plays in that perception; the role that paid social plays in their purchasing cycle; as well as overall consumer awareness of what’s paid versus organic content.

The details: According to the survey, the most paid ads are clicked on on Facebook (38 percent), followed by Instagram (37 percent), YouTube (14 percent), Twitter (5 percent), Pinterest (4 percent) and LinkedIn (2 percent).

Some of the other findings included 31 percent of respondents stating they enjoy video ads the most. Also, 69 percent want to visit a company’s website before buying a product they saw on social feed; 51 percent will purchase from a celebrity or influencer endorsed brand; 35 percent are suspect when a #Ad or #Sponsored Content tag appears in a post and view it as a fake endorsement; 75 percent say ads have taken over their feeds and 25 percent say their feeds are well balanced; and use of audio in an ad was reported the biggest turn off for 27 percent of the respondents.

TikTok Aggressively Recruits From Snap 

Digiday reported on Monday that Bytedance, the owner of TikTok, has hired dozens of people from digital agencies and other social apps, most notably from Snap, to build  TikTok’s sales and partnerships team.

Why it matters: This tactic makes sense, as TikTok and Snapchat are very similar: both specialize in the short-form vertical video content and both have younger audiences. Their ad products are also similar, with vertical video and augmented reality ads.

The details: TikTok and Snap are based in Los Angeles, approximately five miles away from each other, so they have access to pretty much the same pool of potential employees. According to LinkedIn, TikTok has already hired at least 14 people from Snap. And the former Snap employees told Digiday that several of their former colleagues who still work for the app had been approached.

Facebook To Ad Swipeable Hybrid Carousel 

In its attempt to shift to Stories, Facebook might soon turn its News Feed into Story Feed. 

Why it matters:  The fact that users don’t scroll down the “million-mile long” newsfeed anymore, affects Facebook’s ad business. 

The details: Stories have proven to be more effective for ads because the swipeable carousel makes the users more prone to swipe through, and therefore brings more engagement for content or ad. Advertisers might benefit from the full-screen Stories ad format on Facebook, if the feature is introduced.

Gigi Hadid Is A New McDonald’s Influencer

According to Harper’s Bazaar, supermodel Gigi Hadid announced at Coachella last weekend that she is a McDonald’s influencer now.

Why it matters: Hadid is already successfully collaborating with such brands as Maybelline, Tommy Hilfiger, Fendi and Moschino. She’s also a regular at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, so it is natural that McDonald’s wants to join the party and work with Hadid, who has 47 million followers on Instagram alone.

The details: On Sunday, Hadid shared a photo on her Instagram, McDonald’s fries in hand, saying, “pre festival with @mcdonalds yesterday❣️fed & hydrated, thanks friends ! 🌞🍟✨”


Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, April 19. 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.

Vitaminwater Launches Fire, Ice Flavors With ‘Xtreme Urban Farming’ And ‘Ex Museum’

Coca-Cola launched two new low-calorie flavors of Glacéau Vitaminwater—Fire and Ice—with comedic social activations, a fictional museum, experiential marketing and a trip to Iceland.

Glacéau Vitaminwater debuted a tongue-in-cheek campaign to promote its Fire (spicy watermelon lime) and Ice (cool blueberry lavender) flavors. The brand began teasing the flavors on its social channels March 11 before launching a series of shows and attractions, not all of which were real.

“The new flavors are the latest examples of The Coca-Cola Company listening to consumers and quickly innovating to offer beverage choices that satisfy a variety of changing tastes and lifestyles,” wrote Jay Moye, editor-in-chief of Coca-Cola’s Journey blog. The new flavors hit stores nationwide In March, with distribution to Amazon.com and Walmart.com scheduled for late-April.

In the meantime, a “Fire and Ice Sweepstakes” invites consumers to choose which flavor they prefer, post a photo of it on Instagram and enter to win several prizes each week ranging from bluetooth speakers to branded tumblers. Entrants must use the hashtag #vitaminwatersweepstakes, along with an emoji or either fire or snow. The grand prize is a VIP trip to Iceland for the Secret Solstice Music Festival June 21-23.

Fire: Attitude And Not-Actual-Reality TV

A microsite has been dedicated to a fictional reality series called “Xtreme Urban Farming.” The show follows Todd Hades, a tough-as-nails farmer who, together with this horticulture renegades, developed the peppermelon—a watermelon/hot pepper hybrid supposedly used to make Vitaminwater Fire.

The real product and fake fruit have gone on tour with a food truck offering drink samples. The Xtreme Urban Farming truck made its debut at SXSW Austin and is scheduled to appear at food truck festivals and farmers markets in Los Angeles, NYC and Boston on various dates until May 20.

Ice: Cold As Your Ex

Glacéau Vitaminwater likened its new Ice flavor to the melancholia of a breakup and partnered with a fake artist named Tommy Lavender to curate an equally fake “Ex Museum.”

The Ex Museum features six “ex-hibits” that capture relationships lost, “frozen in time.” One surreal example, “Iced Out,” is a statue of someone staring longingly at a mobile phone.

“There is no colder feeling than searching your ex’s name on social media, seeing nothing, continuing to search in vain, until coming to that realization that you’ve been blocked from all communication with your ex,” reads the description. “The Iced Out ex-hibit allows you to relive that cold feeling over and over until you feel nothing at all.”

Since consumers can’t actually visit the museum, Vitaminwater took to Twitter and offered to replace ex-lovers in photos with a bottle of Vitaminwater Ice. Several users accepted the offer, dubbing the Photoshop work an “ice upgrade.”

Coca-Cola has used a number of comedic tactics to promote new Vitaminwater flavors recently. Last July, the brand launched a series of guerilla marketing tactics for Glacéau Vitaminwater that were spotted online and in the real world. These promotions highlight fictional products, groups and characters, each associated with a different Vitaminwater flavor.

Water, enhanced water and sports drinks grew three percent in 2018, the Coca-Cola Company reported, saying, “We’re constantly transforming our portfolio, from reducing sugar in our drinks to bringing innovative new products to market.”

The Coca-Cola Company has not responded for comment.

Breaker Seeks Artists, Audiences To Partake In Blockchain Entertainment

Blockchain entertainment company Breaker has spent the last several years building a platform “by artists for artists” and is ready to seek an audience. Formerly SingularDTV, the company rebranded in January and is currently in beta with a library of 210 films, 46 music albums and new content being uploaded on a daily basis.

Attracting talent and distributors hasn’t posed a problem thanks to the platform’s transparency and real-time payments. Traditionally, artists would upload their works on a platform and wait patiently for their royalties. On Breaker, artists are paid immediately each time a purchase is made, using blockchain.

The marketing team helped gain exposure for Breaker by attending tentpole events like Cannes Film Festival and hosting blockchain entertainment panels at SXSW. In addition, the company has taken festival marketing a step further by creating one of their own.

The inaugural Screenbreaker festival, held in partnership with Screen International, will commence in NYC April 26-27, followed by Los Angeles and Hong Kong later this year.

Thus far, Breaker has penned deals with independent film distributors FilmRise (My Friend Dahmer), Oscilloscope Laboratories (Combat Obscura), Dread via Epic Pictures Releasing (Book of Monsters), Vertical Entertainment (Gotti) and Comedy Dynamics (Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape). The company is also in the process of negotiating deals with A24 (Hereditary) and others.

“Since our launch on Jan 31, we have had over 6,000 downloads which we consider a win given that we are in beta [and] only have a desktop app,” Breaker’s senior vice president of marketing Kerry Fitzmaurice told AList, adding that a decentralized app will launch by year’s end.

As Breaker comes out of beta, the marketing team will continue to identify its audience beyond the creators and distributors themselves.

“As a brand, we’re designed to actually appeal to both [creators and consumers],” Fitzmaurice commented. “Since we are in beta, our approach to consumer engagement is to test and learn.”

Fitzmaurice places a high emphasis on transparency and Breaker promises never to sell data to third parties. That being said, the marketing team doesn’t have the luxury of boycotting data-hungry sites like Facebook just yet.

“Since we are a new brand in an overcrowded space we need to tell our story where there are people to listen,” said Fitzmaurice. “So, we are leveraging the ad units and suite of tools offered by Facebook and Google so that we can find and reach our people. We are also looking into expanding our relationship with more like-minded brands like [open source browser] Brave.

“Obviously, we will move the bulk of our media spend to mobile and increase spend,” added Fitzmaurice. “While we are in beta, we are being thoughtful about our spend because we want to test and learn what is work, what messages are resonating, who our audience is and what they want.”

Blockchain entertainment may become the way of the future, but that doesn’t make marketing Breaker any easier. Innovative or not, Breaker found that consumers are more interested in the content itself.

“Through market research, we know that entertainment consumers don’t necessarily care about the ability to use crypto [currency] or that our backend is built on blockchain,” said Fitzmaurice, noting that 40 percent of users have paid using cryptocurrency. “We hope our secondary message of championing artists with transparent real-time accounting, sharing key data and protecting IP resonates with artists—but our number one message is that we have rich independent content on the platform that you won’t necessarily find easily anywhere else.”

That’s not to say that consumers aren’t being entertained by the idea of blockchain. Breaker released a documentary called Trust Machine: the Story of Blockchain that is designed to educate and inspire. The film was directed by documentary filmmaker Alex Web (Downloaded, Deep Web) and narrated by actress and activist Rosario Dawson (Daredevil).

“I think that our documentary is resonating because people are curious about blockchain and this film helps our audience understand why our proposition matters,” Fitzmaurice observed. “The entertainment industry was not designed with the artist in mind. Trust Machine is our tool to educate people across film, entertainment and even test how we go to market. The film has been extremely well received, which tells us there is a tremendous thirst for information on blockchain technology.”

The global blockchain technology market is expected to reach $7.59 billion by 2024, according to Grand View Research, Inc. The technology is being explored for a myriad of uses from non-profit organizations and banking to fighting programmatic advertising fraud.

Hoegaarden Paying Spring Breakers To ‘Slow Down’ And Visit Belgium

Belgian beer band Hoegaarden is asking consumers to relax this Spring Break, drawing a parallel between a slower pace of life and the brand’s double fermentation process. As motivation, the brewery will send four consumers to its home town and pay them to enjoy the sights.

Between April 17-22, consumers who are at least 25 years old and available to travel between May 11-15 can enter via a microsite. The “Slowed Down Spring Break Package” will give two winners and their guests travel and accommodations to Hoegaarden, Belgium, along with $1,445 to spend.

The number “1145” is significant because it is the year in which Hoegaarden was founded. Unlike its fellow Anheiser-Busch brand, Bud Light, Hoegaarden really was brewed and consumed in Medieval times.

Hoegaarden’s Slowed Down Spring Break Package is in line with how much some Americans are willing to spend. According to a 2019 survey by Nerdwallet, one in three Americans will pay for a Spring Break trip with a credit card this year and plan to charge, on average, $1,308.30.

Hoegaarden cites a 2018 study by Offers.com that indicates half of the respondents (aged 18-34) plan on taking Spring Break, but 65 percent of them did not plan on slowing down and relaxing.

The brewer likens the idea of slowing down to its brewing process in which the beer “rests” for two weeks after the traditional brewing process is finished.

“In our quaint village in Belgium, you’ll find an overflow of green spaces, charming cafes, and of course, our famous wheat beer,” says the brand on its microsite. “Here, life moves a little slower, beer is brewed a little longer, and we prioritize conversation over WiFi connection.”

AB InBev reported revenue growth of 4.8 percent in 2018. The company is releasing low and non-alcoholic options for Budweiser and Hoegaarden, especially in India where alcohol has been banned near highways and taxed heavily.

Despite being the largest brewer in the world, AB InBev is not immune to a downturn in sales. According to Nielsen, 2018 in-store dollar sales for beer were down 0.1 percent YoY. This is, in part, to changing tastes among young consumers, who are growing fond of craft beers and hard alcohol.

Stillwell Partners’ Matt Scheckner: “Africa, In Many Ways, Is A Vital Engine For The Future”

Stillwell Partner’s managing partner Matt Scheckner spoke with AList about the upcoming Africa expansion to Advertising Week. Scheckner, an Advertising Week co-founder, spoke about how he approaches a new expansion and what attendees can expect to see in Johannesburg later this year.

Advertising Week Africa will take place from October 28 to 31 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Confirmed speakers include Enver Groenewald CMO of Unilever Africa, Andrea Quaye, CMO of ABInBev Africa and Mzamo Masito, CMO of Google Africa.


Can you take me through the process of developing the idea to bring Advertising Week to Africa?

We started in New York in 2004. The world was completely different then: Facebook was only on the Harvard campus, we were a couple of years away from the iPhone, years away from YouTube. As Advertising Week has grown over the years; we’re now our seventh year in London, we launched in Tokyo four years ago, we just finished our second year in Mexico City, and are heading into our second year in Sydney. What’ve we found is that the challenges in areas of opportunity all around the world are quite similar.

Everybody is wrestling with technologically driven disruption; everybody is wrestling with the evolution of how consumers consume media—which affects everything else in our industry. Africa, in many ways, is a vital engine for the future. It’s the only continent that’s still growing. We started this conversation about three years ago. Advertising Week has grown organically, so there is no big machine behind this thing.

Very often, things begin with the conversation, “Hey, would you ever think about this? Would you ever think about that?” I’m like, “I don’t know, maybe.”

I got an email from some folks from Africa at Republicom, about three years ago. They came to see us in New York in 2016, and we started talking. I was intrigued by the idea of going to Africa. The first cut of our analysis was where we should go within Africa? Do we go to Lagos, Nigeria (our team is mostly Nigerian) and then we got to South Africa. Within South Africa, we thought about Cape Town or Johannesburg. We looked at all of them. Cape Town is a beautiful city and possibly would have been the easiest. But, Johannesburg is the center of the business for the African continent. Our industry has a big presence there, and that’s creative media, technology, marketing, the whole continuum across the entire eco-system. [Advertising Week’s] processes are very slow and very deliberate. We started the conversations in 2016. There is nothing like Advertising Week on the continent, anywhere. Critically, our platform is the only one in the world that has this heft that is built for young people. That’s a big part of the equation overall and will be for Africa.

How is Advertising Week looking to affect the industry in South Africa?

We are looking to make an impact not only on the continent but also by leveraging the Advertising Week platform to tell the story about what’s going on there, like female entrepreneurs in Kenya. There are incredible stories of innovation that are going on there. We are going to be able to help to move the needle and change perception on what the continent is, what South Africa is, what Johannesburg is. We are going to do our event at the center of the city in Johannesburg.

What have you learned from previous expansions that helped to navigate the planning this time around?

For the trees to grow, you have to plant seeds locally. It has to feel like it came from the earth over there. Early on we created an advisory council for Africa that is comprised of leaders across all the sectors. The head of Unilever for the African continent, Dawn [Rowlands] from Dentsu Aegis Sub Sahara, so we’ve got a good group. We have the local knowledge. I think the environment that we are choosing is a part of that; that we are building real connections to the community right from the beginning. We are going to feature the best of the continent and [bring people from the US] not unlike what we did when we went to Australia the first year. I’m really excited. Because it really has a genuine higher purpose.

Can you talk about some of the themes that Advertising Week Africa will explore?

Very purposefully, we look across the whole thought leadership program in Advertising Week, all of it, and there is never a singular theme. That’s purposeful. We hand-curate a program every time.

[Advertising Week Africa’s program] will be reflective of two things: one is called the “timely,” and those would be largely technology-driven areas like AI, blockchain, data, it might be an issue where the definition has changed over the years. Trust used to mean “Can you trust your advertiser?” The new definition of trust is all around data and privacy, and it’s a much more complex issue. Let’s call that all the stuff that’s “timely,” and then there is all the stuff that’s “timeless” like [creative] challenges and storytelling. We have a lot of content at Advertising Week around broader issues like social impact, mental health, wellness and pay equity.

I like that as Advertising Week as it’s grown, has become a place that all those types of conversations can take place, and you’ll see much focus on the talent around the African startup and technology community and giving them a global platform. I think it’ll start with young people and talent, in this case, and you’ll also see a lot around broader social impact issues.

We’re going to be working with the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Our commitment to areas of social impact and what the Nelson Mandela Foundation is all about dovetail nicely. We met with them when we were there in December and those discussions are going to bare a lot of fruit. We are excited to work with them, not just in Africa, but globally.

Brands Are Winning Over Younger Audiences At Coachella With Memorable Moments

With one Coachella weekend down and one to go, AList looks at how the companies celebrated the opening of this year’s festival with brand activations both inside the festival grounds and out. This year proved to be less about being instagrammable and more about creating emotional ‘moments’ full of music and experiences.

Brands like Heineken have had a symbiotic relationship with the music festival for almost 20 years. The beer brand has been an official sponsor for 18 years and, for their own part, have witnessed changes to the festival over the course of their tenure. In recent years, Heineken has emphasized diversity and inclusion at their Heineken House.

“There are no doors on the [Heineken] House. It’s for everybody, it’s completely open, it’s something that can be experienced by people who are inside, outside; something that is just for everybody,” Christine Karimi, Heineken’s manager of partnerships and consumer experience, told AList.

This year, Heineken is also changing its approach to influencer marketing around the activation.

“We are using our influencer dollars more on the [music] talent that comes into the house,” Karimi said. “We are asking them to post [on social media] because they are having a moment here and they are sharing out to their followers. And that, to us, is the most authentic thing because it’s the talent, the music. They are here, and they are like, “Come check [us] out!” versus just a person holding a product.”

An economy of brand-created mini-festivals has popped up in over the years, providing drinks, food, music, merch and experiences to those outside the festival grounds. Many people head to the desert just to attend these satellite events.

Lucky Brand, for example, partnered with The Rolling Stone for its annual Desert Jam at the Arriv Hotel in Palm Springs.

“Our first-time that we showed up at Coachella, a lot of articles out there were saying that ‘Lucky was back.’ So it’s just a natural fit for us,” said Timothy Mack, Lucky Brand’s SVP of strategic brand marketing and ecommerce.

Mack said that one of the strategic initiatives of the denim brand is to stay relevant to millenials. The company is achieving that with offering sweepstakes prior to the event, cool merchandise and most importantly, memorable moments at the mini-fest (RSVP to which was closed after 48 hours since the announcement), where the guests can see free music and relax. In the past, Harry Hudson and Charlie XCX performed at Desert Jam, and this year, Lucky Brand brought in X Ambassadors.

“We built KPIs around how we are going to amplify [our marketing efforts], how we are going to get as many people to hear about this, as possible. In order for this to be a successful event, we need to reach a certain impression, pre-events and post-events,” Mack said.

Another way brands are showing their personality and connecting with their consumer is the “moment in need.” Peet’s coffee is promoting their Cold Brew at the campground of the festival, using experiences that provide both chances for creating memories with friends and soothing comfort inside Peet’s Coffee Bus and with Cold Brew.

“[The festival-goers] have been sleeping outside, and at night it’s cooler, but it’s still hot. They wake up because they are overheating, tired, maybe a little hung-over, and [Peet’s Cold Brew] gets [them] going. This is good because it’s a moment in need, but for us, this also means that they are trying it and getting into it. It’s a good combination,” said Peet’s Coffee spokesperson, Gretchen Koch.

For those who still crave the exclusive, luxurious moments to cherish after their time at Coachella, there is the American Express Platinum House. Accessible only to card members and their guests, the house offers unique art pieces, hangouts by the pool, lounge-y tunes, hors d’oeuvres and artisan cocktails.

The event-goers told AList that at Platinum House they “found a perfect place to relax, mingle with cool people and drink a ‘Watermelon Crush.'”

Puma AR App Hypes LQD Cell Sneakers With Camera Effects, Games

Puma is promoting its new LQD Cell Open Air sneaker in augmented reality (AR) with a mobile app that scans the shoe and unlocks games as well as photo and video effects.

Limited-edition LQD Cell (pronounced “liquid cell”) sneakers launched April 4 with a silhouette covered in QR codes.

Consumers can download a special mobile app and scan the shoe inside a Puma store to unlock AR effects, such as one that makes the shoe appear to be on fire or see a 3D exploded model to see what’s inside.

Contrary to what one would expect of a shoe covered in QR codes, the AR app recognizes the shoe through machine learning instead of scanning the codes themselves.

Users can also scan the silhouette to unlock “LQDASH,” an augmented reality running game. The game challenges a user’s agility for the chance to win a pair of LQD Cell shoes. Owning the shoes is not required to play.

Additional AR filters will be released this year, such as turning the shoes invisible, or a camera filter made to look like a surveillance feed will arrive alongside future shoe releases.

Puma’s AR app does not host an ecommerce feature, requiring consumers to seek out the real shoes elsewhere.

The global athletic footwear market size is expected to reach $95.14 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research. Limited-edition kicks tap into consumer’s fear of missing out (FOMO) but also make it more difficult to experience them before it’s too late.

Marketers are making this process easier by using mobile augmented reality apps and other emerging tech to reach consumers who thrive on sneaker culture.

“The sneaker aficionado space right now is interesting and exciting,” Allison Giorgio, Puma’s vice president of brand marketing told AList in a 2018 interview. “We’re trying to figure out how do we move at the speed of culture that signals trends, innovate faster and release products quicker. Our mission is to be the fastest sport’s brand in the world, and we take that to heart from a development and marketing side.”

Puma is using a mix of emerging technology and influencer marketing to capture a young, digitally-savvy demographic. The brand’s partnership with singer and actress Selena Gomez resulted in more than 7.5 million interaction, helping Puma become one of the top-mentioned brands on Instagram in 2018.

In December, Adidas launched a Snapchat lens that allowed users to virtually try on its Ultraboost 19 running shoe before its release date.

Through its SNKRS Stash app, Nike uses exclusive geo-located experiences to offer digital “shock drops” where users can purchase the shoes in Berlin, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Nike used the app to allow virtual try-ons of its Momofuku sneakers before they dropped in 2017.

Disney+ Finds Leverage In Price, Exclusivity

After months of speculation, The Walt Disney Company revealed details of its SVOD service to investors on Thursday. Completely ad-free, Disney+ will focus on low subscription fees, bundles and exclusive content.

Disney’s new SVOD platform will launch on November 12, the media giant revealed, with a price point of $6.99 per month. Unlike Hulu, 60 percent which Disney acquired along with 21st Century Fox, Disney+ will be ad-free and obtain all revenue from subscriptions. The service will be available exclusively in the US at launch, but Disney plans to roll out the new service globally over the next two years.

The service will be available on mobile and connected devices, with an “unprecedented amount” of content available to download for offline viewing. Disney+ will adjust the content’s resolution based on available bandwidth and support up to 4K HDR video playback.

When Kevin Mayer, Disney’s chairman of direct-to-consumer and international, announced the service’s price point, there were “gasps in the room,” according to Variety reporter Cynthia Littleton.

The low price point makes Disney+ less than half of the cost of a premium Netflix subscription, which was recently bumped to $16 per month.

Mayer told the audience that the company is “actively evaluating international rollout strategies” for Hulu, as well as bundling options with Disney+ and ESPN+.

The Mouse House isn’t known for its lack of ambition. Case in point, Disney told investors that it expects the service to grow to between 60 million and 90 million subscribers globally by fiscal 2024.

A working prototype of the service was shown with a similar layout to Netflix, displaying categories like “Recommended for You” and “Continue Watching.” Dedicated pages will be available for Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. Subscribers will have the ability to create custom profiles linked to a recommendation engine.

“We’re extremely excited about our growing portfolio of direct-to-consumer offerings. As we demonstrated today, with Disney+ we will deliver extraordinary entertainment in innovative ways to audiences around the world,” said Mayer. “We’ll continue to enhance the user experience with a constant pipeline of high-quality programming, making the service even more appealing to consumers.”

In a 2017 study, Magid found that original content drove OTT subscription behavior in the US. In addition to its existing library of movies and shows, Disney+ will launch with 25 original series and 10 original films, documentaries and specials. Disney+ will also become the exclusive streaming home of The Simpsons.

“The price point [for Disney+] seems well-suited, realistic and appealing,” Debby Ruth, Magid’s vice president of global media and entertainment told AList following Disney’s announcement. “As technology evolves, the proliferation of SVOD services and any direct-to-consumer (DTC) offering is going to be essential for content providers.”

Disney shares jumped 11.5 percent on Friday following the announcement, while Netflix stock fell over three percent, MarketWatch reported.