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.

Guide To Coachella 2019 Brand Activations

While influencers from all around the world are polishing their smartphone cameras in anticipation to document their experiences and choosing outfits to dance the desert nights away, marketers and brands get busy organizing activations to impress the opinion shapers who will ensure thousands of likes for their products on social media.

Here are the branded activations and experiences happening in the desert that we think you should know about.

YSL Gas Station Beauty Pop-Up

To promote their new line of lipsticks, Yves Saint Laurent will build its first pop-up shop, a gas station, which will allow the festival-goers to peruse cosmetic products instead of snacks and car air fresheners.

The YSL pop-up will feature a tour bus, giant lipstick sign, heart-shaped balloons, convertible cars and neon pink gas pumps. Plus, a makeup vending machine, virtual makeup stations and instant beauty experts’ tips.

When: April 12-14

Where: Along Route 111, near Cathedral City

Lucky Brand’s Desert Jam

Lucky Brand comes back to Coachella this year with a pool party, presented by Rolling Stone Live, in the center of Palm Springs. The guests can expect performances by X Ambassadors, Jax Jones, Drax Project and Palm Springsteen. There will be free gear and open bar, as well as shoulder-rubbing with celebrities and Lucky Brand ambassadors.

When: April 13, 12:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.

Where: Arrive Hotel, 1551 N Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262.

NYX Professional Makeup Glitter Trip

NYX “Glitter Goals” activation invites all the Coachella “kids” to the ultimate glitter playground: beauty bar and touch-up area fully equipped with glitter makeup, a glitter fountain, a massive lip and tongue slide.

Additionally, makeup artist, Nam Vo, partnered with the brand to create makeup tutorials that will be available onsite.

When: April 12-14 and April 19-21 

Where: Empire Polo Club 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201

Marriott Bonvoy’s Glamping

Marriott Bonvoy brings total glamping experiences to Coachella 2019. This year, Marriott Bonvoy members can bid for a fully-furnished W Yurt, Aloft Hotels Safari Tent, which includes all of the amenities and decor of a Aloft hotel room, concierge service, air conditioning and golf cart services. And most impresively, the brand-new Marriott Bonvoy Bungalow with room for four with private butler service, an on-demand glam squad and masseuse.

When: April 18-22

Where: Empire Polo Club 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201

Newly Designed Heineken House At Coachella

This year’s Heineken house will not only feature musical talent but also a beer garden to give consumers a chance to cool down with Heineken or Heineken 0.0 while catching the music in and outside of Heineken House. Cheers.

When: April 18-22

Where: Empire Polo Club 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201

AmEx Card Member Lounge And Platinum House

The Amex Card Member Lounge comes back to the festival to provide much-needed comfort and rest space with special services, such as nail touch-ups with celebrity nail artist, Britney Tokyo, and sneaker cleaning service by Jason Mark.

When: April 18-22

Where: Empire Polo Club 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201

AmEx Platinum House also returns to Coachella this year. It will be available to Platinum Card Members exclusively and will offer such luxurious experiences as custom signature cocktails by mixologist Jim Meehan, bites from chef Michael Solomonov, as well as unique Instagram, Spa and beauty experiences from Amex partners.

When: April 13-14, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Where: Avalon Palm Springs, 415 S Belardo Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Peet’s Coffee Recharge And Refresh Zones

There probably can’t be Coachella without cold java and Peet’s Cold Brew will again provide coffee for the guests across the Festival and Camping Center.

The festival-goers can expect the return of Interactive Vintage Bus and Peet’s Cold Brew Trike Happy Hour. But one of the brand new experiences this year is a Tap Room, which will deliver a unique draft experience associated with beer with Peet’s Baridi Blend Cold Brew and Nitro Cold Brew near the Gobi Stage.

When: April 18-22

Where: Empire Polo Club 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201Peet’s Coffee

McDonald’s And Pac Sun Pool Party

Free swag, open bar, interactive photo-booths, exclusive festival gear from PacSun and a pop-up McDonald’s restaurant.

When:  April 13, 2:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.

Where: The Bootsy Bellows Estate, Rancho Mirage

Cash App Dome

The Coachella event hosted by Cash App this year is super-secretive, but we do know there will be surprise live performances, celebrity appearances and games.

When: April 13, 11:00 p.m.

Where: Undisclosed location in Indio, CA

Adidas’ ‘You Had To Be There”

Adidas goes old-school, opening the doors to their party where nobody has their phones out and everyone is living in the moment.

When: April 13, 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Where: Undisclosed location in Indio, CA

Moschino ‘The Sims’

A private party for Jeremy Scott and his Hollywood friends promises to be just as fun and fabulous as the brand’s trademark design. Last year’s attendees included Cardi B, Gigi Hadid, Katy Perry and Paris Jackson, and considering Moschino’s recent announcement about a collaboration with Madonna, it is quite possible that she will be among the guests this year.

When: April 13th, 10:00 p.m.

Where: Undisclosed location in Indio. 

T-Mobile Pandora Indio Invasion

T-Mobile also invites the festival-goers to splash in a pool at one of the nicest estates in the Coachella Valley. Free gear from sponsors and a DJ set by Chromeo guaranteed.

When:  April 13, 2019. 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.

Where: Private Estate in Cathedral City (near Palm Springs).

Revolve Festival

REVOLVE partners with Top Dawg Ent. to bring the world-renowned artists like SZA, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Reason and Zacari with a special performance by 2 Chainz. REVOLVE and TDE are also offering exclusive REVOLVE x TDE merchandise, which will become available on revolve.com, starting April 15.

When and Where: 

  • Revolve Hotel: Thursday, April 11, V Palm Springs Hotel
  • TAO x REVOLVE Desert Nights: Friday, April 12 12 a.m., Undisclosed location in Indio, CA
  • #REVOLVEfestival: Saturday, April 13 – Sunday, April 14 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. daily. Private estate in La Quinta
  • Superdown Night Party: Saturday, April 13 12:00 a.m, Undisclosed location in Indio, CA

Prism Boutique’s Desert House

Prism Boutique is bringing their shop to Coachella along with brand partners Matisse Footwear, L*Space, Novella Royalle, Daydreamer, Jurate Brown and Le Specs. The activation will include free drinks, light bites, music and a photo booth backdrop. Also, complimentary mini-makeovers and gifts from Pixi Beauty and festival hair styling with Salt Strands from 12-4 p.m. on select days.

When: April 11th – 13th, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Where: Prism Boutique Desert House, 421 South Cahuilla Road Palm Springs, CA

Dolls Kill Quickie Mart

To promote their new limited “Quickie Mart” collection, fashion brand Dolls Kill occupies an abandoned gas station off Highway 111 to give it a loud make-over and turn into “Quickie Mart,” where the shoppers will be able to pick-up last-minute festival outfits.

When: April 11-21, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.

Where: 83186 Highway 111 Indio, CA 92201

BMW ‘Road To Coachella’ Pop-Up

BMW partners with rapper Khalid to celebrate the BMW ‘i’ and invites the festival-goers to their dealership in Palm Springs. There will be Instagram experiences inspired by Khalid’s new album, food trucks, merch, a claw machine and of course, custom cars.

When: Apr 11-14, 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Where: BMW Of Palm Springs, 3737 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264

‘Game Of Thrones’ Brand Partnerships Align Household Names #ForTheThrone

HBO’s #ForTheThrone campaign heralded Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season with enough brand partnerships to fill an entire kingdom.

For seven seasons, Game of Thrones fans watched characters put their reputations and lives on the line for the good of their kingdoms. HBO turned that theme into a question for audiences—how far would you go for the throne? Brands, as it turned out, would go pretty far.

Secret Menu For Valyrian Speakers

The road to The Throne is covered in lies and secrets, but Shake Shack fans don’t have to kill anyone to access a secret menu. Visitors to the Madison Square Park Shake Shack in NYC can order two secret items—a spicy Dracarys Burger or a Dragon Glass shake. The only catch is that you have to order in Valyrian, a fictional language spoken by the dragon-loving race from Game of Thrones.

The secret menu will be available for a limited time—April 21 for the burger and May 21 for the shake, while supplies last. If your Valyrian is a bit rusty, don’t worry, as Shake Shack released a pronunciation guide.

Winter Is Coming To “West-Oreos”

Oreo released a limited edition pack of Game of Thrones-themed cookies, embossed to represent the four Great Houses still in the running, as well as the dreaded White Walkers.

The iconic Game of Thrones opening sequence was recreated with Oreo cookies and was used to unveil the partnership.

Makeup Fit For A Queen

Urban Decay is launching a collection of licensed beauty products inspired by Game of Thrones including an eyeshadow set with a pop-up iron throne. The color palettes feature names like “Lannister Red,” “Winter is Here” and “White Walker.” A highlight palette called “Queen of Dragons” has been embossed with the shape of dragon eggs.

Other items in the collection include themed lip/cheek stain, eyeliner, lipstick and make-up brushes made to look like Jon Snow’s Longclaw sword and Arya Stark’s Needle sword.

A Can With No Name

Inspired by Arya Stark training with a guild of assassins called the Faceless Men of Braavos, Mountain Dew sacrificed its own label “for the Throne.”

On the show, the Faceless Men are required to become “no one,” relinquishing their former identities. Mountain Dew’s campaign, “The Can With No Name,” features a blank, white can.

When chilled, the can reveals Arya’s kill list, including those who have already been crossed off—gearing fans up for who she will target in season eight.

Fans could only get a can by entering a Twitter giveaway or by finding a “Master of Coin” in Los Angeles or NYC. Finding one of these characters and whispering the password (found on Mountain Dew’s social channels) granted a coin, which could be inserted into a Game of Thrones vending machine to dispense a “nameless” can.

Mountain Dew’s sponsored athletes appeared in a separate video, singing along to the Game of Thrones with the word “Do” i.e. “Dew.”

Bleed For The Throne

HBO partnered with the American Red Cross to host an experiential cause marketing campaign at SXSW. Guests were invited into a large, decorated space, where they experienced recreations of the key moments from the show. The activation used audio, visual and physical interaction to put guests into the POV of characters Arya Stark, Cersei Lannister, Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister as they endured betrayal, humiliation and life and death challenges.

Inside, guests could offer their blood literally, as a donation to the American Red Cross. Outside the enclosed area, guests could explore an interactive war camp filled with over 80 costumed performers and 100 pages of scripted characters. Snapchat filters encouraged social sharing with augmented reality banners.

Time To Drink And Know Things

Bob Cabral Wine created official special Game of Thrones-inspired wines to commemorate the show’s final season. Thirsty fans can order the special bottles in a red wine blend or Chardonnay. Each comes with an elaborately decorated label and an optional free Game of Thrones corkscrew.

“A fan of Game of Thrones, Bob was challenged to craft wines to match the strength the characters and the terrain of their kingdoms,” says the Bob Cabral website. “Bob’s meticulousness and patience have yielded a wine that [embodies] the spirit of the HBO series.”

Diageo released a number of Game of Thrones spirits ahead of the final season. Johnnie Walker launched a “White Walker” run of Scotch whisky featuring a label that glows when put in the freezer—a nod to the glowing white walker eyes.

Single malts, each based on a Great House of Westeros, were also released by Diageo brands Lagavulin, Dalwhinnie and the Cardhu Distillery.

Ommegang Brewery launched a series of limited-edition beers, each inspired by a character on Game of Thrones—Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, Mother of Dragons, Hand of the Queen and the latest, King of the North.

During the Super Bowl, an ad for Bud Light took a turn for the foreboding when one of the jousting contestants turns out to be The Mountain.

A Tale Of Fire And Fancy Water

Visitors to Las Vegas this week may be surprised to find the Bellagio Fountains have been set on fire. A limited-run event in partnership with MGM Resorts uses projection, pyrotechnics and nearly 800 fountains to create Game of Thrones imagery, all set to a custom score by composer Ramin Djawadi.

The show runs nightly through April 13, creating images like an undead dragon, The Wall crashing down, falling snow and more.

White Walkers In AR

HBO and Magic Leap created an augmented reality encounter with a White Walker inside select AT&T flagship stores.

“The Dead Must Die: A Magic Leap Encounter” will place users in a confrontation with wights (the undead) and a standoff with a White Walker. The encounter is available through June 10 at select locations in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas.

Baseball Game Of Thrones

Major League Baseball (MLB) teamed up with HBO to host Game of Thrones nights during the 2019 season. Visitors will receive a limited-edition tee-shirt and sit in specially-branded Game of Thrones sections.

Limited-edition bobbleheads have also gone on sale, offering mash-ups of MLB teams and Game of Thrones imagery. Each team has three bobbleheads—the team mascot sitting on the Iron Throne, an ice dragon bearing the team’s logo and the Night King holding a team’s baseball bat.

The continuing partnership was revealed through a trailer that likens pro ball players’ struggles with that of characters on the hit show, using the “chaos is a ladder” quote from Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish. The MLB video intercuts between show’s wall and the outfield wall on a baseball field.

Slaying In Style

Fashion house John Varvatos launched a Game of Thrones capsule collection that includes 11 pieces of hand-dyed leather outerwear, cross-over Henley,  pants, messenger bag and three shirts—House Lannister, House Stark and the Three-Eyed Raven.

This collaboration is the only luxury fashion collaboration for Game of Thrones’ final season and marks the first time John Varvatos has partnered with a TV series.

John Varvatos invited fans to take their best Game of Thrones-esque selfie inside the designer’s boutiques for a chance to win a trip to Belfast, Ireland.

Handbag and accessory company Danielle Nicole released an 18-piece collection of accessories inspired by the show’s costumes and great warring houses. Backpacks, crossbody bags, pouches, wristlets and coin purses were created with materials like faux fur and fringe that display famous phrases like “Winter is Coming” and “Fire and Blood.”

You Can’t Run From Winter

Adidas Running partnered to create six limited-edition Ultraboost shoes inspired by warring factions on the show. Each shoe features “subtle references” to the kingdom it represents including a sigil on the tongue and motto on the heel tag.

The unisex designs include White Walker, House Stark, Night’s Watch, Lannister and two styles of Targaryen, the latter of which have already sold out.

The Iron Throne, To Go

For some fans, watching the action and betrayal isn’t enough, so HBO teamed up with different game studios to bring Westeros to them.

Game of Thrones: Conquest is a free-to-play MMO strategy game from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment that was developed by Turbine, Inc. Players become a lord or lady in Westeros who must develop their own strategy for conquering the Seven Kingdoms and claiming the Iron Throne. After creating their own house and sigil, players can battle over 120 iconic seats of power from the franchise.

In August, Devolver Digital released a version of Reigns based on Game of Thrones. Like its original game based on conquest, the new version features characters from HBO’s hit show like Jon Snow, Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen.

Have a Seat, Your Majesty

Sky UK partnered with Volvo to bring to the good people “7 Kingdoms Tour.”

The activation will be held in seven cities in the UK and Ireland and the event-goers will have the chance to take Insta-worthy pictures and videos in the majestic Game Of Thrones throne and leave with a dragon egg in hand.

There will also be on-air activations on “Thronecast–” the GoT talk show after the tour.

Night’s Watchmen Against The British Army

In this activation by Sky Atlantic to celebrate the final season of the show, the Night’s Watchmen deliver a dramatic sword performance, while the British Army’s Coldstream Guards perform a rendition of the Game of Thrones theme in London.

Wielding The Needle 

A division of pan-European telecommunications, Now TV, is offering free tattoos to all the fans in a studio in Soho, London on April 16th and 17th.

The “skin engravings” will be performed by artist Lauren Winzer and some of the designs include the iconic throne, lion, wolf, dragon and phrases, “Winter Is Coming,” “At The Game Of Thrones You Win Or You Die” and “I Am The Sword In The Darkness.”

Hostess Hires CMO; Ad Council Appointments

This week’s executive shifts include CMOs for Hostess, Vasa Fitness, Oscar Health, Hearst Autos, XFL, The Webster, Regis, Conde Nast Italia and Yolt, as well as senior marketing appointments at Epic Records and Organigram.

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

Ex-Ferrera Candy Marketer Joins Hostess As CMO

Hostess hired Chad Lusk as the company’s chief marketing officer. Lusk was previously CMO of the Chamberlain Group, and prior to that spent three years in the same position at the Ferrera Candy Company.

“I am thrilled for the opportunity to work with the Hostess leadership team, associates, agency partners and customers to continue to elevate an already iconic brand that enjoys a special emotional connection with consumers,” said Lusk in a statement. “As Hostess celebrates its 100th birthday and looks ahead to its next century, we see tremendous potential to further invest in and leverage consumer insights, robust innovation capabilities and targeted marketing to build on the momentum and drive our next exciting phase of growth.”

Ad Council Appoints New Members

The Ad Council has appointed new members to its board of directors and leadership council. Some notable names added to the board of directors include, NFL chief marketing officer Tim Ellis, Target chief marketing officer Rick Gomez, Citi chief brand officer Carla Hassan.

Those added to the Ad Council Leadership Council include Minjae Ormes, chief marketing officer at Visible, (who we just interviewed here).

See the full list of appointments here.

Condé Nast Italia Appoints Chief Marketing Officer

Condé Nast Italia promoted Francesca Airoldi to the position of chief marketing officer. She was most recently Condé Nast Italia’s general manager of sales & marketing.

Vasa Fitness Appoints Chief Marketing Officer

Vasa Fitness appointed Mindi Bridges as the company’s chief marketing officer. Bridges previously held senior marketing roles at In-Shape Health Clubs, Treasury Wine Estates and Abercrombie & Fitch.

“Joining VASA is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Bridges said in a statement. “VASA has such a great story and the idea of bringing that story to life in a way that current and future members can connect to is important to me. I’m excited to work for a brand with such a positive focus – to make fitness accessible and give everyone an opportunity to be part of a supportive and uplifting fitness community.”

Hearst Autos Hires Chief Marketing Officer

Hearst Autos, the publisher of Car and Driver and Road & Track, hired Michelle Panzer for the chief marketing officer position. Panzer comes to Hearst Autos after spending the last five years at Say Media as SVP strategic marketing communications, head of digital publishing.

Prior to that, Panzer was executive director of communications, brand marketing at Condé Nast. Panzer also “held several executive roles in the marketing of feature films and award campaigns for Hollywood studios” according to a statement from Hearst.

NFL’s San Francisco 49ers Name Chief Marketing Officer

NFL franchise the San Francisco 49ers named Alex Chang to the position of chief marketing officer. Chang was head of partnership marketing and head of sports marketing over the course of three years at Samsung Electronics America.

Before Samsung, Chang was a VP at agencies Wasserman and IMG, and spent 12 years at American Express working his way up to vice president of sports and entertainment marketing.

“Our leadership team was strengthened today with the addition of Alex Chang,” said 49ers president Al Guido in a statement. “His combined experience and track record for successfully growing global brands, sparking innovation, and driving business development make him uniquely qualified to serve as our chief marketing officer as we continue to elevate and evolve our franchise. We look forward to Alex’s leadership and insight as we continue to uncover new and exciting ways to engage and grow the Faithful fanbase.”

Oscar Health Hires Chief Marketing Officer

Oscar Health hired Ivan Wicksteed as the company’s chief marketing officer. Wicksteed was most recently a founding partner at FNDR and Proven Skin Care.

Prior to that, he spent years at chief marketing officer at Cole Haan and then Old Navy.

“We are thrilled to welcome Ivan to Oscar. Ivan’s ability to leverage two key components of successful marketing — creative and analytics — will make him an important contributor to Oscar’s growth. Ivan will be a critical leader at Oscar as we work to build a brand that our consumers can trust as their health care partner,” said Mario Schlosser, Oscar CEO and co-founder in a statement.

Regis Hires CMO From 72andSunny

Regis named James Townsend as the company’s chief marketing officer. Townsend spent the last nine years at marketing agency 72andSunny, most recently the position of chief development officer and also an agency partner.

According a press release from Regis, Townsend “oversaw transformational campaigns and marketing strategies for clients such as Samsung, Smirnoff, Cheerios.”

Hugh Sawyer, Regis’ president and CEO, said in a statement, “A key element of our multi-year transformational strategy is to elevate the visibility of our franchise and company-owned salons as we continue to differentiate our core brands. James has been a leader in designing and implementing disruptive, successful marketing campaigns on behalf of his clients around the globe. I am confident that he will bring an intense focus on the customer while leveraging our new business technologies and the capabilities of our franchise partners to accelerate the growth of our business.”

Yolt Names New Chief Marketing Officer

Yolt hired Cristel Lee Leeds as the company chief marketing officer. She leaves the same position at Nutmeg, and also held the CMO role at WWF Australia and OneDome.

According to a press release, Leeds will be responsible for “leading the brand’s growth in key global consumer markets by overseeing the strategic planning, development and execution of Yolt’s marketing and customer initiatives for all its B2C and B2B activities. “

Epic Records Hires VP Brand Marketing

Epic Records hired John Kirkpatrick as the company’s vice president of brand marketing. Kirkpatrick is a veteran marketer who was most recently chief marketing officer at VR entertainment company The Void—and previously held the same role at both PTTOW! and Hot Topic.

Epic Records president Sylvia Rhone told Billboard“John is a true marketing visionary. He has been responsible for countless game-changing partnerships that not only amplify the influence of talent, but also set the pace for culture. He will be a cornerstone of Epic Records’ continued cultural expansion and no doubt accelerate our efforts as a lifestyle leader. It’s an honor to welcome him.”

XFL Names Chief Marketing Officer

The second coming of Vince MacMahon’s XFL hired Jordan Schlachter as the company’s chief marketing and commercial officer. Schlachter was previously the president of THINK450 and chief marketing officer of the NBA Players Association.

Schlachter was also a previously a marketing VP at iHeartMedia, MTV Networks and the New York Knicks basketball franchise.

Millennial Esports Promotes Chief Marketing Officer

Millennial Esports announced the company’s chief marketing officer, Darren Cox, was promoted to president and will join the corporation’s board of directors. Cox has been with the company since 2017 and was previously the head of brand at Nissan.

“We are confident that, with his unmatched database, decades of motorsport experience, and well-earned reputation as The Godfather of Esports Racing, Darren is the perfect fit to take this company forward,” said Millennial Esports’ CEO Steve Shoemaker in a statement.

The Webster Hires Former Stella McCartney CMO

The Webster, a luxury fashion brand, hired Stephane Jaspar as the company’s chief brand officer. Jaspar was previously chief marketing officer at Stella McCartney for over 15 years. He stepped down from that position in early March.

“I am very excited to join [founder] Laure [Heriard] and [CEO] Laurent [Malecase] as well as rest of the incredible team at The Webster,” said Jaspar in a statement. “I am looking forward to helping drive and communicate the brand’s vision and collaborate with all the amazing brands and talent curated by The Webster, to inspire and welcome new consumers into our community in the US and abroad.”

Cannabis Retailer Promotes For SVP Marketing

Organigram named Ray Gracewood as the company’s senior vice president of marketing and communications. Gracewood has been with the company since 2016, serving as chief commercial officer. Previously he spent over a decade as director of marketing, maritimes at Moosehead Breweries.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, April 12. 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.

Facebook’s Brand Safety Controls; Pinterest’s New Conversion Features

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

Facebook Updates Brand Safety Controls 

Facebook announced this week the launch of new safety controls and ad tools updates to protect advertisers. 

Why it matters: These measures are taken to prevent ads from appearing in undesired areas and within unwanted contexts. 

The details: The three new options will now be available to advertisers, including “Limited Inventory” (which offers maximum protection, like the opt-in category exclusions available today); “Standard Inventory” (which provides moderate protection and is the default choice when placing ads); and “Full Inventory” (which selects minimal protection and ads may be delivered to all eligible content). 

And the updated controls offered by Facebook will include comprehensive transparency controls, which allow to see where ads may appear before and after running a campaign; block lists to prevent ads from delivering on specific publishers; and brand safety certification for third-party partners which will help advertisers manage preferences at scale. 

Pinterest Adds New Conversion Features, Expands Video Offering

On Thursday, Pinterest introduced two new advertising option: “Conversion Optimization” and “Promoted Video for Conversions.”

Why it matters: Pinterest is providing a way for advertisers to reach their marketing goals with better optimization of their ad reach.

The details: According to the company’s press release, conversion optimization improves Promoted Pins for specific consumer actions, rather than just clicks. And advertisers can now choose conversions as a campaign objective to encourage a call to action (online checkouts, increased signups or stronger leads). 

A few brands have already tried using conversion optimization. “Gravity Blankets,” for example, reportedly achieved a 2x increase in sales and a 58 percent lower cost per acquisition. “Flaviar” saw 409 percent more traffic and an 8x increase in leads from October 2018 compared to the month before when testing conversion optimization. 

Facebook To Replace Publishing Tools With Creator Studio

On Thursday Facebook was spotted working on some important changes in its Publishing Tools features. 

Why it matters: Publishing tools is a helpful instrument for marketers and the changes made within it should improve the process of advertising on Facebook.

The details: According to security researcher, Jane Munchun Wong, Facebook will soon “deprecate the Post section in Publishing Tools and replace it with Creator Studio.”

LinkedIn Bursts With Fake Profiles 

Digiday reported this week that LinkedIn has a significant fake-profile problem. 

Why it matters: Managing numerous requests from fake profiles takes away from LinkedIn’s value to the users.

The details: Digiday spoke with several executives, who confirmed that although LinkedIn is a valuable tool for their professions, the amount of spam they receive regularly is frustrating. 

The networking site for the professional community, with 575 million registered members in August 2018, unfortunately, is bursting with profiles that are missing photos or have fake profile photos, and people with confusing job titles working at non-existing companies. And even though LinkedIn has worked on the improvements, such as introducing video and more sophisticated ad tools, the site still lacks authenticity and at the moment, we don’t know how many profiles on the platform are fake. 

Paul Rockwell, LinkedIn’s head of trust and safety, told Digiday in an email, “Fake accounts are a violation of our terms of service and we take action against them. When we identify bad actors, we take appropriate action, which often includes a permanent restriction from LinkedIn. We use a variety of automated techniques, coupled with human reviewers and member reporting, to keep our members safe from all types of bad actors and abuse. If members encounter something that makes them uncomfortable, suspect someone might not be representing themselves honestly or see inappropriate behavior like harassment or inaccurate content, we ask that they report it to us immediately and know that they can always block another member or remove a connection.”

YouTube To Introduce Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Programs

Bloomberg reported that YouTube is exploring the development of “choose-your-own-adventure” shows.

Why it matters: The storytelling format used most recently by Netflix, famously with Bandersnatch, draws more engagement and can potentially increase viewership and ad sales for the platform.

The details: Racing in the competition with Netflix, which already creates interactive shows for kids and adults and has the technology that remembers the choices users make over the course of a story, YouTube is trying to move in the same direction. 

“We now have amazing new tools and opportunities to create and tell multilayered and interactive stories,” Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s head of original programming, said in a statement for Bloomberg. “Ben [Relles, who oversees unscripted programs] has an intuitive and experienced understanding of how the platform can enhance content, making him the perfect choice to develop this exciting new division.”

US Retailers Are Testing Shoppable Ads On TikTok 

Social media platform TikTok is experimenting with ad offerings in the US, Adweek reported.

Why it matters: TikTok provides a perfect opportunity for marketers to get a better understanding of how Gen Z shops. 

The details: TikTok offers two types of ads at the moment: in-feed video ads and full-page ads. In-feed ads appear between user-generated content and full-page ads appear when the users first open the app.

Hollister is currently running in-feed video ads on TikTok. The brand encourages users to shop while discovering the content on the platform. When the users tap on the “shop now” button, they are being taken to a microsite to browse and shop without leaving the app.

“TikTok has been on our radar for a little while, and this opportunity opened up a couple of weeks ago to try it,” said Michael Scheiner, senior vice president of marketing at Hollister. “At this point, it’s really more about that test and learn. But so far, we’re pretty excited about the results that we’re seeing.”

Pinterest User Base Is Growing Healthy Ahead Of IPO 

This week, Pinterest released some updated data on platform usage, which confirmed its healthy growth.  

Why it matters: Going public doesn’t seem to affect the platform’s user base and it still remains a desirable place for brands to reach consumers.

The details: Pinterest is still behind Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in terms of user base, but it now has 265 million monthly active users, up from the 250 million that it reported back in September. According to the report, “Pinterest is ahead of Snapchat, but behind Twitter, Instagram and of course Facebook. As opposed to Twitter and Snapchat however, Pinterest’s user base is still growing at a decent pace. In the past year alone, the company added 51 million monthly active users, mainly thanks to strong international growth.”

Conde Nast Has 28 Shows On Snapchat And This Number Will Grow 

Accordingto Digiday, even though Condé Nast had previously pulled some channels from Snapchat, the media giant remains on the platform and has plans to add more series to the app in the future. 

Why it matters: “Our audience is primarily a younger consumer. We have a shelf life of our reader, so we’re always after the younger audience. Snapchat probably more so than any other brand in the building makes sense for us,” said Carrie Marks, associate director of audience development and social media at Teen Vogue.

The details: In December 2018, Condé Nast reached more than 39 million unique viewers across the 23 shows it had live. Teen Vogue and Self were the two channels maintained on Snapchat by Condé Nast. Currently, Teen Vogue publishes two editions per week. The content is pulled from the site, for the most part, but is specifically repackaged for the app. 

“Our relationship with [Snap] has progressed, shifted and adapted over time, and I think it’s adapted in a positive away for us and them. We had taken some original channels down and are making an effort of taking existing IP and optimizing for the Snap platform. While we do have 28 shows that run on Snap, we didn’t haphazardly select them,” said Oren Katzeff, president of Condé Nast Entertainment.

Pew: U.S. Adults Still Using Social Media Despite Safety Concerns

Pew Research surveypublished on Wednesday shows that despite the news about abusive data practices and misinformation on social media, a share of  U.S. adults on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest remains mostly unchanged since last year. 

Why it matters: The numbers show that the users are willing to give up privacy and the ‘iron core” information for the ability to be a part of the social media community.

The details: The survey found that the share of U.S. adults on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest hasn’t changed significantly since 2016. Around 69 percent of U.S. adults say they still use Facebook, 28 percent visit Pinterest and 22 percent use Twitter. Instagram is the only platform that saw some gains in that time period, growing from 32 percent to 37 percent.

KFC Virtual Influencer Colonel Is Stealing Influencers’ Thunder 

KFC’s new social media campaign employs computer-generated character, Colonel, to promote their famous fried chicken. 

Why it matters: KFC is doing an impressive job using AI in their marketing campaign to engage with Gen Z audiences and makes us wonder if computer-generated characters pose a threat to real-life influencers in the long run.

The details: This fake/real Instagram persona possesses all the attributes of a successful influencer and deals with brands like Dr Pepper, Old Spice and TurboTax. He also has an inspirational tattoo on his abdomen that says “Secret Recipe For Success” to encourage his followers to live their lives to the fullest and aesthetically beautiful photos featuring him “connecting to nature.”

The campaign will run through April 22 and will see the Colonel traveling the world on his private jet via the KFC Instagram account. His exploits can be found through the #SecretRecipeForSuccess hashtag.

British Cosmetic Brand Lush Turns Away From Social Media 

Lush Cosmetics announced this week that the company will be closing several of their UK social media accounts. 

Why it matters: This incident once again proves that brands and marketers are “tired of fighting with algorithms” and refuse to “pay to appear” in the social media users’ feeds, as Lush said in their Twitter post. 

The details:The account name will close on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, including Lush Kitchen, Lush Times, Lush Life, Soapbox and Gorilla. The company asked the customers to contact them by email, phone, or via its website.

“We don’t want to limit ourselves to holding conversations in one place, we want social to be placed back in the hands of our communities – from our founders to our friends,” Lush said in a statement for BBC. 

Social channels for Lush North America, however, will remain active.

Study Finds Instagram Ads Presented As Friends’ Post Still Gain More Trust Than Targeted Ads

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications study discovered that although deceptive, ads that imitate friends’ posts are more tolerated among Instagram users than traditional ads. 

Why it matters: This means that companies have better chances of selling their product if they create more authentic advertising. 

The details: The study, which will be published in May in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, included 482 Instagram users from the Netherlands. The participants were exposed to three types of posts: posts from friends, ads that looked like posts from friends and traditional ads. Posts from friends evoked the best reaction, followed by the ads that imitated posts from friends.

 “These posts were viewed more positively because they are seen as more credible (than traditional ads), and people are more likely to make comparisons between themselves and the person in the post,” said Benjamin Johnson, an assistant professor of advertising in the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications who led the study.”

Gen Z  Says Snapchat Is Their Favorite, But Not The Most Used App 

A semi-annual survey of 8,000 teens, conducted by Piper Jaffray, gathered data on Gen Z’s favorite and most utilized social media platforms.

Why it matters: The survey showed that Gen Z (still) loves Snapchat the most, but barely.

The details: Among 13- to 24-year-olds in the US, UK, France, Canada, and Australia, Snapchat (41 percent) is still leading, but only a few percentage points ahead of Instagram (35 percent).

YouGov Poll Shows Americans In Favor Of Social Media Regulation

According to the latest Economist/YouGov poll, 33 percent of Americans want the government to regulate social media companies’ use of personal data.

Why it matters:The misuse of social media users’ personal data seems to be so out of control that many believe it should become a matter of government concern. 

The details: The poll showed that majorities of both, Democrats and Republicans, want to see more regulations of personal data use by social media companies. Thirty-three percent of the respondents said that the government should regulate political ads on social media and 48 percent said social media companies will be biased in applying rules around political advertising.

The UK Government Will Hold Social Media Companies Liable For Harmful Content

On Monday, the UK government announced it will hold social media companies personally liable for harmful content present on their platforms.

Why it matters: The proposed policies aim to restore trust and safe environment on social media platforms, and the companies risk to face serious punishments if they do not comply. 

“Online companies must start taking responsibility for their platforms, and help restore public trust in this technology,” Prime Minister Theresa May said.

The details: The Online Harms White Paper published by the government, outlined the violations. They included the spread of violent content, suicide encouragement, disinformation, cyber-bullying, terrorist content, child sexual exploitation and abusive content. These will apply to social media platforms, file hosting sites, chat forums, messaging services and search engines. There was also a call for an independent regulator to be chosen to enforce the rules.

Marketers Are Satisfied With Twitter’s Attempts To Stop Hate On The Platform

According to a report by Digiday, Twitter ranks eighth out of 13 platforms when being rated on brand safety.

Why it matters: Marketers say that even as Twitter still faces regular brand-safety issues, they see progress in the company’s attempts to remove hateful content and make the platform safe, especially for more risk-averse brands. 

The details: Twitter allows brands access to working with a curated list of more than 200 publishers to buy pre-roll ads or other sponsorships. This is especially important for companies that are more vulnerable to hateful content. For brands that are more risk-averse, Twitter allows blacklisting accounts that left harmful comments about the brand, which removes them from the targeting group for an ad. Twitter also is testing a comment moderation on organic posts feature.

Reddit COO Jen Wong Talks About Brand Safety 

Digiday also spoke with Reddit’s COO Jen Wong about brand safety, monetization strategies and the platform’s relationships with publishers. 

Why it matters: Wong talks in-depth about many pain-points of marketers, such as brand safety measurements in relation to user-generated content–as well as Reddit’s move toward ad monetization.

The details: When asked about brand safety, Wong said that Reddit has all the mechanisms for brands, including white-listing, black-listing and targeting. Recently, the company has been busy improving its advertising platform with cost-per-click bidding, video advertising and app installation ads to compete for marketers’ attention that’s been focused on Google and Facebook. However, the main goal of Reddit, according to Wong, is to stand out from the pack of social media giants.

“Ultimately, we want to make something that’s very differentiated. We’re very clear on where that opportunity is, but where we are is mid-flight. For the past year, we’ve focused on parity and getting those basic aspects of the marketplace down,” Wong said.

Influencers Escape Big Social Media 

Fast Company reported on Monday that over 350 influencers with a collective following of 3.5 billion are turning away from popular social media sites in favor of a platform called Escapex, which provides them with their own personal apps.

Why it matters: This seems to be part of a bigger trend of the users seeking smaller, more private groups to communicate online.

The details: There are a few reasons why the influencers escape social media giants. They are looking to free their audiences from specific social media algorithms and diversifying their monetization efforts away from sponsored content and ad posts.

And when it comes to their followers, they no longer want feeds, they want more intimate communication in messaging, small groups and even separate apps, such as those Escapex provides for a small monthly fee. They also want fewer privacy violations and more transparency.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, April 12. 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.

Visible CMO Minjae Ormes: “One Thing That We Don’t Talk About Enough Is That You Need To Feel Safe To Fail Fast”

Minaje Ormes is the chief marketing officer at phone service disruptor Visible. The company uses Verizon’s network and an all-digital platform, plus low-prices, and emphasizes transparency. Ormes came to the company after almost seven years at YouTube, and throughout her time there was the company’s head of global media and later global head of partner marketing.

We sat down with Ormes to talk about starting a brand marketing plan from scratch and how she handles the visibility that comes with the chief marketing officer role.

Can you talk about taking a fully digital product into a physical space?

I think about this kind of like building a relationship with people, whether it’s new friends you make or new colleagues. Increasingly, how we connect and how we communicate with each other are through digital and social channels, but at the end of the day, there is a person behind it, which is why we wanted to experiment with showing up in someone’s life in the physical, tangible way. 

What’s the hardest part of marketing a brand from scratch?

To build momentum from 0 to a 100—on top of the value proposition and the product itself that we’re selling—which is the $40/month, unlimited everything on Verizon’s network, the product offering itself is so strong that it completely stands on its own—when we are introducing a new brand with it, we have to think about, how do you show up in a way that is unexpected, intriguing and getting somebody to notice you, frankly, because there is so much going on now out there. For us to ask someone’s permission to notice us, check us out, maybe even try us out as a member, we know it’s not an easy task. We wanted to make sure that we make that introduction as easy and as simple as possible.

As a leader and a boss, how do you take your hands off the wheel and allow your team to do what they need to do?

I’m self-aware enough to recognize that I’m good at what I do because I can see the big picture, but I care about the details, because, it’s all in the details. I started to realize in the past few years—my years at YouTube and now, here at Visible—for me to be the best I can be and be there for my team to empower and enable them to do what they need to do every day, we need first to set some parameters.

Especially in this business, where we are training to be a disruptor brand, we are trying to learn the rules so that we can break them. [We find] clear alignment around the goals and objectives, and we are trying to do—leaving that communication channel open not just to pass information back and forth but be honest with each other about what can we do better. Therefore, the way I think about team building is that every single person on my team is a better expert at what they are doing than I am. Because then they get to do their part and contribute to a bigger picture. It doesn’t make sense for me to try to do every single thing. My job is to set the vision and the parameters and let people do what they are here to do.

And, finding what works often involves making mistakes.

Yes. Because we are all so conditioned, especially in corporate culture, to be perfect and never make mistakes. To never own up to it because it’s a sign of weakness. Whereas in high-growth and innovation culture, it’s the exact opposite of what you need to do. You need to try a bunch of stuff out, fail fast and learn. But, one thing that we don’t talk about enough is that you need to feel safe to fail fast, so creating the culture in the environment from the very beginning, and not losing sight of it as you grow, is incredibly important.

Do you primarily do most of your marketing in-house, or do you also have an agency that you work with?

It takes a village, so I have a team in-house who manages our brand voice, the social and how we think about staying closer to the product and the customer service element of it. But, we also work with creative and media agencies and think about how we’d want to show up out there, how can we leverage their creative but also, the buying power of the media agency to holistically think about where and how we show up. I believe that it’s not just about creating cool TV spots, but it’s about where you buy your media that speaks as a brand.

How important is social in marketing Visible?

For us, the premise of the business pushes us to be 100 percent social and digitally-focused all the time. Even coming from environments like YouTube—some brands were using YouTube better than YouTube was.

Because our entire member journey from finding out about us to signing up for service and handling relationships with us is all digital—we have to double-down on [social] and for people to feel like there is somebody human behind that.

Can you talk about the importance of visibility in a CMO? Do you find that difficult or is it something you settled into?

Yes, it’s going to be a constant work in progress, frankly. I’m 39, I’m turning 40 this year, and I feel like this is the first time in my life that I’ve felt so “me,” which is cool. It took a long time because growing up in Korea; there were very singular expectations about what success looked like. And even here in the States, there was more flexibility and cultural acceptance; still, the definition of success and leadership seemed pretty singular.

I had to think about, well, “I want to succeed here, but I’m not like this other person that they’re showing as a model; how do I find my voice, but still be perceived as a successful person.” That took a lot of work, but I feel like I walked away with the gift that nobody can take from me. It is a gift to be able to be “me” and being in a professional environment, where [Visible’s] values are very closely aligned with mine, and I have no doubts about why I’m here and what I’m here to do and how I am showing up every single day.

Does the visibility thing come easily? No. But once I figured out what my passion points are—to be able to talk about how I got here and my career journey and what challenges I ran into, how I got through it, maybe, someday, that’ll help somebody else—it all became much easier.

I ask that question because I’m always interested in a marketer’s journey, coming from different sectors like business, technology, PR, marketing and so on.

If you told me 20 years ago that I’d be in marketing, I’d be like, “Ah, you’re joking,” because I don’t like talking about myself, I don’t like being in the limelight, and I can’t possibly sell something I don’t believe in. A lot of times in your career you’ve got to do that and you learn something about yourself. The way that I ended up in marketing is the storytelling aspect of it.

I went to film school. I wanted to be a producer and find people’s stories and one of the projects I worked on at Tribeca film festival was funding underserved voices, like women, people of color, and that stuck with me because it also spoke to my personal experience of having been an immigrant [moving here] in my teens. In retrospect, all of this makes sense, but from there, looking forward, I couldn’t have told you [I would end up in marketing].

Can you talk about the accountability of a head marketer to justify budgets.

Marketing departments exist to help the business grow. I take that responsibility very seriously, in terms of everything that we do, that’s a part of setting the right goals and north star so that we all know that we are serving that goal of business growth. But I also know that I can’t do this alone. For a business like this to grow, growth doesn’t mean go out and buy more advertising; growth means you have to build that experience and put equity back into the product, and the customer service experience.

What I’m selling out here has to match up in the delivery of that experience of what we have. I take my role in two parts, it’s about standing up a brand and how we talk and show up in the world, but it’s also about how you infuse that spirit of the brand into our product and the customer service experience. Our agents are the brand; our product experience is the brand, so that’s incredibly important to me to be able to influence the whole business.

You had a ‘transparent’ music box at SXSW, in which attendees could record their own song. What was the core message of that activation?

It’s a transparent box and as you can see in our ad copy to our products, the offering is pretty straight-forward, and that’s what we want it to be. That speaks to the kind of relationship we want to have with customers. The second thing is of course [goes] back to the fundamentals of our product offering, because switching your phone service isn’t actually a light decision—you’ve got to think about it, you’ve had something for a long time, or maybe you’re a part of a family plan, or tied to somebody else’s account, you’ve got to pay your phone off—there are a lot of things that are in the way.

We want you to notice us and be intrigued enough and have the shared experience with something you already care about, which in this case in the background of SXSW. It’s the music that you walk away with [creating] a bit of a different emotional experience. It’s not just a transactional element of, “We are trying to sell you something, and it’s all about the dollar sign.” It’s a great package and we want to be something more.

Spotify Ad Studio Launches New Conversion Metrics For Artists, Labels

Spotify Ad Studio unveiled a new set of streaming conversion metrics that reveal how listeners responded after listening to an ad. The addition was made in response to labels and artist teams who requested more insights into how a campaign impacted consumers.

New metrics available inside Spotify Ad Studio include how many listeners listened to the artist after hearing the ad, whether the ad performed better with existing listeners or new ones, songs saved to playlists and more.

Labels and artists can already see who is listening to their music through Spotify for Artists, but the additional metrics in Spotify Ad Studio allow more insight into campaigns. Following an activation, users can see how audiences reacted.

“You’ll learn how audiences engaged with your ad, and you can use that information to inform your future promotional strategies,” said Spotify in a blog post.

“Given their importance to artist teams, we intend to offer these types of conversion metrics for future advertising products.”

Spotify says that “hundreds” of artist teams, labels and music marketers have used Spotify Ad Studio as part of their promotional plans since its launch in 2017. The allure is discoverability, the company says, as Spotify users are already listening and in the mood to discover new music.

To prove this point, Spotify pointed to a campaign by music marketing agency Wavo ran for Rich the Kid and Interscope. An ad featured a sample of Rich the Kid’s new song, along with an introduction from the artist. Of those who heard the ad, 38 percent went on to listen to his music. Almost 20 percent of those listeners streamed Rich the Kid music for the first time that month.

“With Spotify’s new advertising capabilities, we’re getting insight into not just how our campaign is resulting in streams, but deeper actions for an artist like how those listeners are turning into fans and adding a song to their playlist or hearting a song,” said Conor Clarke, CEO and co-founder of Wavo alongside Spotify’s statistics. “Those are the holy grail of metrics for an artist to know.”

Spotify had over 200 million monthly active users as of February 2019. Premium subscribers reached 96 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, an increase of 36 percent year over year (YoY). The company reported that both Audio and Video format ads grew more than 40 percent in the fourth quarter and audio ads remain the largest contributor to total revenue.

The company made changes to its data policies in the second quarter of 2018 that were designed to improve performance measurement. These metrics, Spotify told investors, continued to drive revenue growth of 77 percent YoY in third-party measurement tools.

ANA, IAB Form ‘Privacy for America’ Coalition, Propose National Data Laws

Privacy for America is a new coalition founded by trade organizations 4A’s, ANA, IAB and NAI intended to create strict privacy protections for US consumers. The coalition seeks national law that protects consumers, creates a new division of the FTC and strictly punishes companies that breach or misuse personal data.

In the coming weeks, the coalition will meet with members of Congress, the FTC, Department of Commerce, the White House and others to present a national law based on Privacy for America’s paradigm.

If Privacy for America has its way, a new national law would make personal data less vulnerable to breach or misuse. Should it approved through government channels, the coalition’s paradigm would set forth clear, enforceable and nationwide consumer privacy protections for the first time in the US.

“Americans must not be forced to choose between protecting their privacy and enjoying the many benefits they have all come to expect from the advertising-supported Internet, mobile and other media,” said Bob Liodice, CEO of ANA in a statement.

“And they deserve to expect and have the same tough privacy protections no matter where they live in the US.”

The proposed paradigm would impose significant restrictions on data use for advertising. For example, it would ban certain types of data from being collected and used for advertising, limit the purposes for which advertising data may be used and allowing consumers to identify their preferences regarding what advertising they do or do not wish to receive.

Strong data security protection would be required and enforced to guard against data breaches. Privacy for America wants to create a new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Data Protection Bureau that would strengthen the FTC’s ability to oversee consumer privacy and enforcement.

“Companies should adhere to well-defined policies that distinguish between legal data practices that benefit consumers, and illegal ones that make their personal information vulnerable,” said Randall Rothenberg, CEO of IAB.

“Companies that don’t follow the protections should be held accountable with strict penalties. Supply chain safety should be as mandatory in the digital media and advertising industry as it is in the auto or food industry.”

The paradigm also includes the prohibition of specific data practices including discrimination and sharing with third parties without enforceable contracts.

“The Privacy for America coalition’s approach will ensure responsible data practices and accountability, particularly throughout the advertising industry, which will restore consumer trust in the ecosystem,” said Leigh Freund, president and CEO of NAI.

Privacy for America is being advised by data privacy experts including Stuart Ingis, co-Chair of Venable LLP’s eCommerce, Privacy, and Cybersecurity Group and Jessica Rich, former director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

In a poll commissioned by Privacy for America, 92 percent of registered voters said it was important for Congress to pass new legislation to protect consumer data and 65 percent of voters said that new legislation is very important. When asked how such privacy laws should be passed, 63 percent believed the most effective route would be through the federal government, compared to 17 percent that said individual states would pass their own.

Branded AR/VR Success Greatly Hindered By Discoverability

Immersive augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) content can deepen consumers’ connections with brands but discoverability, ease of use and successful execution remain a challenge, says Magid.

According to Magid’s new “Immersive Tech Ancillary Content Study,” not all AR/VR experiences are treated the same. Consumers turn to VR for emotional experiences, for example, while AR is better suited to everyday integration.

Magid conducted six, two-hour focus groups—three in NYC and three in LA. Participants consisted of a mix of men and women between the ages of 18-45, and half of each group owned a VR device. All participants had downloaded or used an AR app on their phone in the previous six months and were open to future experiences.

Each of the groups was shown a number of branded VR and AR content that was considered ancillary—that is, designed to enhance one’s view of an existing product. Experiences included

Oxygen’s Forensic Detective: Inside the Crime Scene AR, Coco VR, the Jurassic World Alive AR game, Rampage: AR Unleashed, The Walking Dead: Our World and more.

Magid found that even AR/VR tech-savvy consumers were often confused as to how they should interact with an experience. In addition, discovery remains a problem for brands—many consumers, including existing fans, were unaware of that such experiences were available. That being said, those who are less familiar with the source material are less likely to be made aware of the content at all.

An exception to this, Magid pointed out, is ancillary content that generates organic buzz such as the Resident Evil 7 demo. Unless a brand’s AR/VR content is similarly buzz-worthy, the technology is less than ideal as a gateway—especially since consumers have to be intrigued enough to download an app or put on a headset.

Debby Ruth, vice president of global media and entertainment at Magid told AList that the success of a branded AR/VR experience depends on how well it aligns with a marketer’s goal.

“Early on, I think I lot of brands [used AR/VR] because it was very new and innovative and they got a lot a press coverage,” said Ruth. “Now that the shine has worn off, you have to be very deliberate, just like any other marketing tactic. Some of the best [AR/VR] executions are integrated into experiential marketing. You’re there where people are. There are a lot of alcohol brands that want to send a mood and take you to Scotland or show you why their brand is more special.”

The study found that consumers tend to have an emotional connection with VR, since it serves as an escape from the world around them. Disney/Pixar’s Coco VR was praised by Magid for its ability to draw users into the film’s unique world while offering a unique perspective.

When asked to associate emotions/descriptive words with VR content, respondents chose “immersive,” “exciting,” “realistic,” “curious,” “relaxing,” “escape” and “fantasy.”

AR content, on the other hand, overlays an experience over a user’s real environment and therefore does not offer an escape. For this reason, the medium was viewed as less of an entertainment tool by respondents. Descriptive words chosen to describe AR content were noticeably less emotional. They included “practical,” “interactive,” “analytical,” “curious,” “excited,” “frustrating” and “lifelike.”

To avoid frustrating consumers, Magid said an AR experience should allow consumers to interact with or enhance their reality in new ways and feel rewarded and/or benefited in some way.

Ruth advises brands to consider what a consumer will get out of an AR/VR experience.

“If it’s something that’s just clever and cute, then consumers [won’t be interested],” she said. “If it’s something that’s either fun or engaging by nature or useful, then that is something completely different.”

Oxygen’s Forensic Detective: Inside the Crime Scene AR experience was an example of this principle. The app puts users in the role of a crime scene investigator, who must move around his/her environment in search of clues. Consumers are motivated to complete the task by finding the criminal.

When Oxygen’s AR experience was launched, it was during a significant time of rebranding for the network, Ruth observed.

“That experience did a good job of meeting that goal of making Oxygen aligned with true crime.”

As AR content becomes more commonplace, Magid warns against a half-baked integration.

“If the source material is especially rich, the ancillary idea can be great,” said Magid, “but the execution can bring down the perception of the brand.”

In conclusion, AR/VR has the ability to engage existing fans and become a gateway for new ones. However, immersive tech requires you to “market the marketing.”

Snap’s Partner Summit Aftermath; Twitter’s New Labels

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

Everything You Need To Know From Snap’s Partner Summit

On Thursday, Snapchat held its first Partner Summit in Los Angeles, announcing a myriad of new tools, features and additions to the app.

Why it matters: The new additions will provide an opportunity for the developers to use Snap’s technology with more convenience, collaborate, create more engaging content and advertise more effectively.

The details: Here are the main announcements:

  1. Snap Games

Snap Games can be now launched right from the Chat bar, allowing the users to instantly play together. Snap Games six new titles include Bitmoji Party, Tiny Royale, Snake Squad, C.A.T.S. Drift Race, Zombie Rescue Squad, Alphabear Hustle.

  1. New Snaps Originals

The new Snap’s Originals genres include span docuseries and scripted, comedies and teen dramas. Here are the titles of a few: Two Sides, Can’t Talk Now, Sneakerheads, Commanders, Denton’s Death Date, While Black, BuzzFeed’s daily afternoon show, Dead of Night, Compton Dreams and Stranded with Sam and Colby.

  1. The Future Of Lenses

Lens Studio update includes more templates for augmented reality creators, such as Landmarkers, which enables creators to develop Lenses that transform the world’s landmarks in real-time.

  1. Plug In To Snap Kit

The new Snap Kit experiences will include App Stories, Creative Kit, Bitmoji kit and most importantly, Ad Kit, which allows developers to access Snap’s Audience Network and use Snap ads.

Twitter Tries Out New Labels To Make Tweet Responses More Clear

Twitter shared in a tweet this week a new update to tweet labels to clarify who’s tweeting at whom.

Why it matters: This new addition will allow Twitter users to better distinguish responses and therefore, make the communication on the app easier and more engaging.

The details: “We want it to be easy to follow and join conversations on Twitter. We’re testing out labels on replies: author mentioned and following. If you see them, let us know what you think!” the tweet said.

Online Predators Is A Continuous Problem On TikTok

According to BBC, hundreds of sexually explicit comments have been found on TikTok videos posted by children (as young as nine years old), but the app is so far failing to suspend the predators’ accounts.

Why it matters: Hostile environment might ruin the app’s reputation and make both users and brands turn away from the app.

The details: The company is working hard on deleting the sexual messages directed at children, however, most users who posted these messages were able to remain on the platform. TikTok says that child protection is an “industry wide-challenge” and that promoting a “safe and positive app environment” remains the company’s top priority.

England’s Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield told BBC that she will be requesting a meeting with TikTok to discuss the findings of the BBC’s investigation.

“I want children to be able to enjoy everything that the app can offer, but we need to make sure that those responsibilities are taken seriously,” she said.

Snap Introduces ‘Audience Network’ To Bring Snap Ads To Third-Party Apps

On Thursday, at their Partner Summit, Snap announced a new offering, which will integrate ads within third-party apps.

Why it matters: Audience Network will enable developers to run vertical video ads directly from Snapchat within their apps.

The details: Audience Network will launch later in 2019 in the US, first on Apple devices. And Snap is currently accepting applications to join the network. Snap will take a portion of the ad revenue as third-parties pull ads as they need.

Snapchat To Discuss Gaming Platform, Stories At The First Partner Summit

According to AdAge, Snapchat will discuss expanding access to its camera and AI features at its first Snap Partner Summit in Los Angeles.

Why it matters: This move should provide an opportunity for more app developers to get a better understanding of Snap’s proprietary technology and open more ways for further collaboration. (In 2018, Snap worked with a number of developers, including Tinder, Twitch, Giphy, Postmates and Pandora. At the moment, Tinder is working to integrate Snapchat Stories into its app, AdAge reported.)

The details: Snapchat CEO, Evan Spiegel, and co-founder, Bobby Murphy, will take the stage on Thursday and outline the company’s priorities for the year. Some of the features and updates to be discussed at the summit on Thursday are camera improvements, games, livestreaming video and Snap’s Spectacles.

Marketers Are Boosting Influencer Budgets In 2019

Linqia recently published a new report which aids the belief that influencer content outperforms brand-created content.

Why it matters: The report reinstates the importance of the value of using influencer marketing.

The details: According to the report, which focused primarily on how agencies are planning to employ influencer marketing this year, 57 percent said that the content created by influencers outperforms brand-created content when repurposed in other marketing channels. In fact, 18 percent of the respondents said they believe that it “greatly outperforms” brand-created content.

Twitter Allows Violation Appeals Within The App

On Wednesday, Twitter announced the release of a new feature, which will allow the app users to directly appeal the tweets that violate Twitter’s rules.

Why it matters: The new feature will speed up the process of recovering accounts, for good and bad, we predict.

“We move quickly to enforce our rules, but sometimes we don’t have the full context and can make mistakes. To fix that, we added a way for people to appeal our decision in the app and have been able to get back to people 60% faster than before,” the company’s tweet said.

The details: Until now, Twitter users would have to fill out an online form to appeal Twitter’s decision, but now they can appeal within the app.

Research Shows Correlation Between Ads And Live-Tweeting

ScienceDaily reported that a report titled “Social TV, Advertising, and Sales: Are Social Shows Good for Advertisers?” conducted by researchers from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and Emory University revealed that advertisers can see a boost in online shopping when television viewers multitask and engage in social media activity while watching certain programs.

Why it matters: “We found that this pattern varied with the mood of the advertisement, with funny and emotional advertisements seeing the largest increases in online shopping activity,” said Beth Fossen of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. “Our results shed light on how advertisers can encourage online shopping activity on their websites in the age of multiscreen consumers.”

The details: The research examined data from more than 1,600 ad instances for five retailers that advertised on 83 programs during the fall 2013 television season. The researchers, Beth Fossen and David Schweidel, took into account online traffic and sales on retailers’ websites, primetime television advertising for the retailers, social media chatter mentioning the TV program, the advertising and program characteristics.

Apple Promoted Apple+ On Twitter Only

On Wednesday, the competitive intelligence platform for social media marketers, BrandTotal, released data about Apple’s advertising strategy for its new Apple TV+ service.

Why it matters: According to the data from the BrandTotal report, titled “Social Marketing Snapshot: How Apple Launched Apple TV+,” Twitter was the only social media platform that Apple bought ads from to promote Apple TV+. No campaigns were run by the company on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram.

The details: BrandTotal co-founder and CEO Alon Leibovich said in a press release, “Twitter has always been Apple’s go-to social marketing platform. They’ve used it to successfully promote their hardware business for years. Now, they’re continuing that strategy and embracing it for content services. This is great for Twitter. The more products Apple launches, the more they benefit. It’s also notable that Apple remains off of both Facebook and Google ad networks when it comes to paid campaigns.”

How BBC News Is Using LinkedIn

According to Digiday, BBC News has been working hard on its LinkedIn content strategy over the last 18 months, figuring out the types of content audiences respond to the best.

Why it matters: In the last 12 months, BBC News added over 1 million users.  According to BBC News, in the second half of 2018, referral traffic from LinkedIn to the company’s site more than doubled to 175,000 visitors YoY.

The details: According to Digiday‘s report, BBC News’ strategy included releasing three to five posts a day, which consisted of motivational and inspirational content, topics relating to identity, psychology and relationships and even housing.

“The audience on there is precious about what they believe to be on the platform,” said Dhruti Shah, journalist and manager of the BBC News LinkedIn account. “They are water-cooler moments: People are at work, but they take a break; this guided me with the strategy.”

Snapchat Spotted Testing Map Tools and Mention Stickers

Jane Manchun Wong caught Snapchat working on new tools to help encourage real-life meet-ups and location tracking.

Why it matters: The new interactive tool would enable the users to see what another user is doing at any time. A Bitmoji character which represents what the user is doing can be chosen and a description of where the user is at the time can be added. Sounds pretty similar to a Facebook update.

The details: Snap’s also building a new UI for the Map, which will enable the users to check-into locations with a chosen Bitmoji character. The status option will display what the user is up to on the map and will be active for four hours.

Instagram Might Sell Ads In Instagram IGTV

According to AdAge, Instagram is talking with advertisers about selling ads on IGTV.

Why it matters: Just like Instagram Feed and Stories, IGTV has good chances of becoming a new source of profits for both content creators and brands.

The details: “While ads are not currently a part of IGTV, we are exploring ways to help creators monetize,” an Instagram spokeswoman wrote in an email statement. “Just like our thoughtful approach to introducing ads in Feed and Stories, we are taking our time to evaluate different monetization strategies in order to ensure we roll out features that are best for businesses and our community.”

IGTV is also considering ad breaks, similar to facebook’s Watch. It is important to note that along with YouTube, Watch offers publishers and creators a split on ad revenue from commercials, and Facebook gives the partners 55 percent, AdAge reported.

Facebook Will Now Explain Why The Users See Each Post In The News Feed

Facebook introduces “Why am I seeing this post?” to provide more information about the ads and content users see in their feeds.

Why it matters: The feature is being added to help the users better understand and easily control the posts they see from friends, Pages, Groups and advertisers.

The details: From now on, the users will be able to know why they’re seeing a certain post in their News Feed, as well as what information generally has the largest influence over the order of posts. Facebook is also updated “Why am I seeing this ad?” in particular, “Businesses can reach their customers by uploading information they already have, such as emails or phone numbers. We then try to match the ad to the most relevant audience without revealing any identifiable information back to the business. “Why am I seeing this ad?” will now provide details such as when the advertiser uploaded the information or if the advertiser worked with another marketing partner to run the ad.”

Mark Zuckerberg Might Be Willing To Pay For High-Quality News

Mark Zuckerberg said in a conversation with Mathias Döpfner, CEO of publisher Axel Springer, that he wants to create a section of his social network that would be devoted to “high-quality news,” and may pay publishers that share on the platform.

Why it matters: After announcing Facebook would feature less news over a year ago, the company is now considering building stronger relationships with publishers, making their content more accessible and maybe even paying them licensing fees.

The details: “That’s definitely something that I think we should be thinking about here, because the relationship between us and publishers is different in a surface where we’re showing the content on the basis of us believing that it’s high-quality, trustworthy content,” Zuckerberg told Döpfner.

Ad Buyers Are Still Recovering From Facebook Outage

Digiday reported on Monday that since the Facebook outage two weeks ago, ad buying as fluctuated across Facebook and Instagram.

Why it matters: Six ad buyers told Digiday that the price of ads across Facebook and Instagram surged immediately following the outage, while the ads manager tool used to buy and optimize campaigns slowed down.

The details: For one agency the cost-per-thousand of impressions bought sat between $41 (£31.38) and $46 (£35) after the outage; the cost was previously $7 (£5) and $11 (£8). The cost-per-acquisition on ads was four to six times more compared to the price before the glitch, said the agency. For the affected advertisers, which tend to spend no more than $50,000 (£38,272) a month across the social networks, no strategies used by the agency have been able to wrangle the wayward auctions.

“We understand the frustration the March 13th Ads Manager outage may have caused,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “Our team is working hard to investigate the impact on advertisers, including reviewing any refundable cases.”

Fake Accounts Slow Down Influencer Marketing In India 

According to Quartz, even as influencer marketing is rapidly growing around the world, in some countries like India, it is losing its trust factor due to fakery.

Why it matters: Companies spend a lot of money on influencer marketing campaigns and in many cases don’t get the desired results due to the ease of influencers inflating their number of followers, likes and comments.

The details: “There is a huge challenge for brands to weed out elements that are gaming the system by inflating the number of followers they have. They do it through bots sitting in several click farms dotted globally,” independent brand strategist Ambi Parameswaran, said. It is important to mention that the concerns with influencer marketing are not limited to India. Recently, Unilever’s chief marketing officer, Keith Weed, made a public call for a change, announcing that the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant will no longer work with influencers who buy followers.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, April 5. 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.