Lyft CMO Departs; New CMOs For JCPenney, Sundance

This week’s executive shifts include Sundance Institute’s new chief marketing officer, Sachin Gadhvi joins Sittercity from, Yamaha naming its new brand director, OVO Mobile hires a CMO, Rhode Island Commerce appointing a CMO, Zaius hiring a chief marketing officer, Shawn Gensch joins JCPenney as executive vice president and chief customer officer, Fritz’s Adventure hires a new CMO, West Marine’s CMO appointment, Indigo promoting Samantha Taylor to chief marketing officer and Lyft’s CMO exiting the company.

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

Lyft’s CMO Leaves The Company

According to The Drum, Lyft’s CMO Joy Howard left the company.

Howard joined Lyft in October 2018 and now left the company for a position promoting digital rights.

Her previous experience includes the CMO role at Sonos, VP of marketing at Patagonia and Nike.

Per The Drum, Lyft will drop the CMO role and split the job between a vice president of marketing operations and a vice president of brand.

Indigo Taps Samantha Taylor As CMO 

Canadian bookstore chain, Indigo, announced the appointment of Samantha Taylor to the role of CMO. 

Taylor will start immediately and will mainly oversee the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation. 

Taylor joined the company in 2014 as VP of marketing and most recently served as a senior VP of marketing, leading Indigo’s brand communication, traditional and digital marketing, national events and the Indigo loyalty program “Plum Rewards.”

Indigo President, Kirsten Chapman, said about the new hire: “I am thrilled to announce the appointment of Sam to her new role. During her five years with the company, Sam has made an indelible mark on Indigo—her passion for the business is undeniable and she has an outstanding ability to connect with customers. We look forward to Sam’s ongoing leadership as we continue in Indigo’s mission to enrich the lives of our customers.”

West Marine Welcomes A New Chief Marketing Officer 

Aaron Carpenter will join West Marine as chief marketing officer.

Carpenter was vice president of global marketing at The North Face and was head of design and implementation of the brand’s first CRM/Loyalty system. He also is a co-founder of TideSmart West, a San Francisco-based digital and experiential marketing agency that supports lifestyle brands like Starbucks, The North Face and Clif Bar.

“We are excited to welcome Aaron to the West Marine team. Aaron understands the boating enthusiast lifestyle and will help us develop and execute marketing strategies to ensure the West Marine brand is strong and that our mission to outfit, educate and inspire boaters comes to life for our customers,” said CEO of West Marine, Ken Seipel.

Sundance Institute Picks Up New CMO From Atlantic Re:think

Sundance Institute hired Michael Monroe to be the company’s new chief marketing officer. Monroe comes to the company after three years at Atlantic Re:think, Atlantic‘s creative marketing group—he served as vice president of marketing and head of Re:think.

Prior to that, Monroe had two stints at Forbes, first in business development and marketing, and then later as vice president of integrated marketing. He also worked at Conde Nast as the integrated marketing director.

“I am honored to join the Institute’s long-standing commitment to championing artists and connecting audiences around the world with their work.” Monroe said in a statement. “I look forward to finding new ways to create and cultivate that connection, and to tell the Institute’s nearly 40-year story.”

Monroe will report to Sundance Institute’s CEO Keri Putnam.

Roc Nation Records Fires Several Executives

Roc Nation Records has fired several executives from the company’s team. Included was executive VP marketing Gita Williams. Other executives departing include senior VP promotion Azim Rashid, senior VP A&R Orlando McGhee and senior director publicity Fairley McCaskill.

JCPenney Names Shawn Gensch Chief Customer Officer 

Shawn Gensch will be joining JCPenney as executive vice president, chief customer officer effective June 3.

Previously, Gensch served as a chief customer officer at Sprouts Farmers Market, director board of directors at OnenTen and a member of the board of directors at Anser Innovation. He also served as senior vice president of marketing at Target for 10 years.

At JCPenney, Gensch will lead customer-centric strategies to boost traffic, engagement and customer retention, be responsible for marketing initiatives across all channels and work on increasing customer loyalty. He will report to Jill Soltau, the company’s chief executive officer.

“I am delighted to welcome Shawn to JCPenney. His appointment fills a vital component of our executive leadership team, and we are eager to leverage his cross-functional expertise to inspire an engaging and rewarding shopping experience for our customers. Shawn will be instrumental in developing a compelling brand identity that builds meaningful connections with new shoppers, and strengthens relationships with our most loyal customers,” Soltau said.  

Fritz’s Adventure Hires CMO 

Fritz’s Adventure announced the appointment of John Vaughn as the company’s new chief marketing officer. 

Vaughn joins Fritz’s Adventure from Huddle, Inc., where he served as a senior vice president of marketing for six years.

In his role as a CMO at Fritz’s, Vaughn will oversee the development and implementation of an overall marketing and sales strategy and manage sales teams. 

“We are very excited to welcome John to the Fritz’s Adventure family. Not only will he bring a proven record of measurable marketing and sales results, but he’ll also be a great role model for our employees and vendors who come into contact with him,” said Fritz’s Adventure CEO, Matt Engram.

Rhode Island Commerce Appoints CMO

Heather Evans was named the new chief marketing officer at the Rhode Island Commerce.

Previously, Evans was chief marketing officer at ITG and J.P. Morgan. She was also global head of client analytics and head of client strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch from 2006 to 2009.

“There are many reasons that make Rhode Island a great place to visit, live, and do business—from the beauty of Narragansett Bay to the charm of its historic architecture; from the active music and culinary scenes to the vibrant design and entrepreneurial communities,” Evans told GoLocalProv. “I can’t wait to begin working with the team at Commerce, the tourism regions, and the small businesses that make up our tourism industry so that we can continue telling Rhode Island’s story.”

Zaius Hires Chief Marketing Officer

Kyle Flaherty joined Zaius’ marketing executive team as a CMO.

He comes to Zaius from SaaS powerhouse Rapid7, where he held a VP, market strategy and communications position, previously served as a senior director of marketing at Ixia and CMO at 21CT.

According to his LinkedIn Flaherty will be “bridging the divide between marketer and customer through personalized experiences driven by data, delivered with creativity, and measured through impact. The marketing team at Zaiusis dedicated to championing an analytics-driven go-to-market approach that not only drives company growth, but a community of like-minded marketers looking to make a difference in the lives of their customers.”

Sittercity Welcomes A New CMO

Sittercity announced the hiring of Sachin Gadhvi as the company’s head of marketing.

Gadhvi previously served as vice president of marketing at and Ticketmaster, and a CMO of Everything But The House.

“I am incredibly excited to join Sittercity,” Gadhvi said in a statement. “We have an amazing opportunity to make it easier than ever for families and sitters to connect, with new tools like search-by-availability and request-to-interview, especially as Millennials are becoming the first generation of digital native parents.”

Yamaha Names Greg Macias Its Brand Director

Yamaha Corporation of America announced the appointment of Greg Macias as the company’s new brand director.

Macias was most recently chief marketing officer at Magnivation. Prior ot that he was the director of marketing at ASICS America and a VP of marketing at Quiksilver.

At Yamaha, Macias will report to Matt Searfus, corporate vice president of integrated marketing.

Searfus said of Macias, “Greg has succeeded in key marketing roles on industry-leading brands and knows how to create strong connections between brands and consumers. He possesses an exceptional mind for strategy and analysis; we are gratified to have him help tell the Yamaha story.”

OVO’s CMO Leaves As The Company Drops The CMO Role

Mumbrella reported that OVO Mobile’s chief marketing officer, Nicole McInnes, will depart due to the company’s decision to eliminate the CMO position.

McInnes’ previously marketing roles include stops at Adshel, Pandora, Eharmony and Woolworths.

“Of course I’m disappointed but startups are as much a great creative experience as a rollercoaster ride, and I thank the founders for the opportunity to experience the breadth that Ovo as a hybrid telco-broadcaster, had to offer,” she said in a statement for Mumbrella. “As a shareholder, I support the business restructure as it’s what the business needs right now, and I’m looking forward to my next marketing adventure.”

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

Job Vacancies 

Chief Marketing OfficerStila CosmeticsNew York, NY
Vice President, Film MarketingWarner Bros.Burbank, CA
Chief Marketing OfficerThirdLoveSan Francisco, CA
VP, Investment MarketingPrudentialShelton, CT
Vice President of Marketingsbe Entertainment GroupLos Angeles, CA
Vice President of MarketingBelkinPlaya Vista, CA

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

Instagram Launches Landscape Videos; Snapchat Makes Music Deals

What’s brewing in the social media pot this week? Find out in our daily round-up.

Stories include: Instagram rolling out landscape video format on IGTV, Facebook updating the community standards and Snapchat negotiating deals with music companies to support music within posts.

Instagram Rolls Out Landscape IGTV Videos 

Instagram announced rolling out support for landscape videos in addition to vertical videos already on the platform.

Why it matters: Ever since the release last year, IGTV has struggled to take a prominent place among the other, much more popular Instagram features. Adding landscape format for the videos seems like a desperate move to compete with YouTube and TikTok. Ashley Carman from The Verge tweeted on the matter, Vertical video was IGTV’s thing, and this is basically saying that they realize everyone wants to just port their YouTube videos over to Insta and not make exclusive Insta content.”

The details: According to the company, landscape videos on IGTV will benefit both viewers, as they will be able to “watch even more content from the creators they love – and do it straight from their phone” and creators, who now will have more freedom for expression.

“Landscape also has its strengths, especially when it comes to formats like dance and sports which are high motion and often feature a handful of people in frame,” the blog post said. 

Snapchat Will Allow Users To Post With “Soundtracks”

Wall Street Journal reported that Snapchat will soon allow its users to add music to posts. 

Why it matters: Adding music to posts provides more ways for creative expression and delivery of engaging content on Snapchat.

The details: The company has reportedly been negotiating to license song catalogs for the Snapchat app with music companies, including Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. In fact, Snapchat already has a deal with SiriusXM’s Pandora, as Pandora Premium subscribers can share their favorite songs, albums, stations and playlists on Snapchat. Also, Snapchat users can identify a song by pressing and holding on the camera screen thanks to Snapchat’s pact with Apple-owned Shazam.

Facebook Publishes An Update On How The Company Is Enforcing Community Standards 

In a blog post, Facebook provided more detail on how it spots and removes fake accounts and shed the light on how many fake profiles are currently on the platform, percentage-wise.

Why it matters: Facebook is currently removing more fake accounts than ever and it is important to know the exact criteria it’s using. 

The details: The two new updates revolve around data on appeals and content restored and data on regulated goods.

“In total, we are now including metrics across nine policies within our Community Standards: adult nudity and sexual activity, bullying and harassment, child nudity and sexual exploitation of children, fake accounts, hate speech, regulated goods, spam, global terrorist propaganda and violence and graphic content.”

Per Facebook estimations:

  • For every 10,000 times people viewed content on Facebook, 11 to 14 views contained content that violated our adult nudity and sexual activity policy.
  • For every 10,000 times people viewed content on Facebook, 25 views contained content that violated our violence and graphic content policy.
  • For fake accounts, it is estimated that 5 percent of monthly active accounts are fake.

TikTok’s Owner Aims To Challenge Apple Music And Spotify 

The owner of a popular video app, TikTok, reportedly expects to introduce a new paid music service app this fall in developing countries. The app might be a rival to Apple Music and Spotify.

Why it matters: According to Bloomberg, ByteDance is focusing the app toward developing countries, where paid music services will be gaining more popularity.

The details: An anonymous source told Bloomberg that although the new app will aim to challenge Spotify and Apple Music and will have a catalog of songs and video available on-demand, it is not going be a direct competitor.

ByteDance has already secured rights from T-Series and Times Music, which are two of India’s largest labels and it will also try ease into the process by converting some of TikTok’s audience into paying customers soon.

Facebook Schools You On How To Run Stories Ads With Any Asset

Facebook shared a blog post, explaining how to create effective Facebook Stories. 

Why it matters: Brands of all caliber have been successfully using Facebook and Instagram stories in their social media strategy. Adidas, Overstock, Ford and many others saw some impressive results. Lacoste, for example, saw a 61 percent higher click-through rate, a 32 percent lower cost per link click and two-times higher online return on ad spend, compared to another digital ad format)

The details: The tutorial encourages using automatic full-screen support, which regardless of whether or not the user has full-screen vertical assets, automatically transforms it into a native-looking full-screen story.

Another useful tool, Facebook’s Video Creation Kit, helps to crop assets or use turnkey templates and make light edits, such as zooming in, cropping or stacking assets to 9:16. Marketers can also optimize existing assets for the full screen with “Stories Creative,” which allows them to play with speed, use faster scene cuts and enhance a story with sound.

There is also an option to create bespoke assets for stories. “If you have the creative support to build assets specifically for stories, leverage the vertical screen to its highest potential or play with interactivity to get the most out of this unique format,” the blog post says. 

WhatsApp Is More Popular Among Hispanic Users Than Instagram And Twitter 

According to the estimations by eMarketer, more than half of the Hispanic population in the US will use WhatsApp at least monthly in 2019. 

Why it matters: “The platform’s US Hispanic user base of 32 million is growing because of its data cost savings, messaging encryption capabilities and popularity in Latin American countries,” the report states.

The details: WhatsApp beats Instagram and Twitter among US Hispanics as those platforms are seeing 34.3 percent and 21 percent user penetration, respectively. This means that there are 10 million more US Hispanics on WhatsApp than Instagram and almost triple the audience on Twitter.

The reason for this is the fact that older many US Hispanics communicate with friends and families in other countries via the app. The younger population uses the platform to stay in touch with relatives in the US and Latin America because of the easy-to-use interface.

“WhatsApp might not be as popular overall as other social apps, but it has been able to differentiate itself as a user-friendly app,” said eMarketer junior forecasting analyst Nazmul Islam. “Should Facebook maintain its core design, we expect WhatsApp to keep a firm grasp of the Hispanic market.”

WhatsApp Ads To Appear In 2020

Several new WhatsApp features and forms of advertising were spotted by social media industry commentator and consultant, Matt Navarra. 

Why it matters: WhatsApp is a popular messenger and with new features, marketers will have more opportunities for creating effective ads.

The details: As we can see from the tweet below, now, there are ads that lead to the corresponding WhatsApp account with just one tap. Just like Instagram, WhatsApp will allow companies to package advertising into stories in the future, but not in 2019.

Snapchat Bans Adult Entertainment Lens 

Snapchat refused to feature X-rated augmented reality lenses from adult entertainment company Naughty America and deleted them. 

Why it matters: Snapchat has a certain reputation but this is where the company is willing to draw the line, despite the profits. 

The details: The lenses were holographic images of porn stars who’ve worked with Naughty America over photos of rooms. And the reason for the ban, according to Snapchat, was the violation of its terms of service, which prohibit “obscene language or imagery, depictions of nudity, sex acts or profanity.”

Snapchat Rolls Out Three New Games

Snapchat introduced three new games to improve engagement on the platform. 

Why it matters: Games have proven to be extremely effective for high engagement because it retains the player’s full attention.

The details: The three new games are: a blockade-like “Snake Squad,” a two-dimensional shooter “Zombie Rescue Squad” and a mini-game in Bitmoji Party. The users can enjoy the entertainment solo or while chatting through voice or text in every game or tapping “Friends” icon to invite other players. 

LinkedIn Introduces Transparent Advertising

LinkedIn announced in a blog post the introduction of a new Ads tab on LinkedIn Pages.

Why it matters: The platforms is trying to improve transparency and the users’ understanding of why they are seeing in certain ads. 

The details: “The new Ads tab builds on similar tools we’ve recently introduced to help members understand and control their ads experience, including new ad settings that each member can access from their LinkedIn account. The Ads tab is the first of many updates to come as we continue to provide our members with useful information about the ads they see on LinkedIn,” the blog post explained. 

YouTube Is Changing Subscribers Counts Display 

YouTube gave users an “early heads up” about the company’s intentions to standardize the way real-time subscribers are shown on the platform in a blog post

Why it matters:This move might prevent analytics sites from displaying whether creators are gaining or losing subscribers. 

The details: According to the company, the initiative aims to create more consistency on the social media platform. Starting in August 2019, YouTube will begin showing the abbreviated subscriber counts. Creators, however, will still be able to see the exact subscriber number. For channels with 1,000 subscribers or less, the exact (non-abbreviated) subscriber count will still be shown. But when the channel exceeds 1,000 subscriber milestone, the public subscriber numbers will be abbreviated on a sliding scale.

Here are some examples that YouTube offers: 

  • If a channel has 4,227 subscribers, the public subscriber count will read “4.2k” until the channel reaches 4,300.
  • If a channel has 133,017 subscribers, the public subscriber count will read “133K” until the channel reaches 134,000. 
  • If a channel has 51,389,232, the public subscriber count will read “51M” until the channel reaches 52,000,000.

Klear Research Shows How Much Influencers Charge

Research by Klear revealed tiered influencer rates to help marketers approach pricing with more in-depth understanding.

Why it matters: Marketers often don’t know what to pay influencers, or what to base the pay on. The more the relationship between marketers and influencers becomes standardized, the more trust develops between both parties and both can benefit fairly.

The details: According to the report:
Nano influencers (500-5K followers) charge $100 per Instagram post, $114 per Instagram video, $43 per Instagram Story, $315 per YouTube video and $31 per Facebook post.

Micro influencers (5-30K followers) charge $172 per Instagram post, $219 per Instagram video, $73 per Instagram Story, $908 per YouTube video and $318 per Facebook post.

Power influencers (30-500K followers) charge $507 per Instagram post, $775 per Instagram video, $210 per Instagram Story, $782 per YouTube video and $243 per Facebook post.

Celebrity influencers (500K and over influencers) charge $2,085 per Instagram post, $3,138 per Instagram video, $721 per Instagram Story, $3,857 per YouTube video and $2,400 per Facebook post.

Instagram Updates IGTV Look 

To better compete with TikTok and Snapchat, Instagram gave IGTV a fresh makeover.

Why it matters: The social media platform is working hard to improve engagement with IGTV and help the feature to better serve consumption trends.

The details: IGTV no longer has its category-based navigation system’s tabs, such as “For You,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching.” And instead, now has one central feed of recommended videos, similar to TikTok. IGTV’s horizontal scrolling design that always kept a clip playing in the top half of the screen has also been removed. Now the users can just scroll vertically through the grid of suggested videos.

Instagram IGTV new layout

Social Media Advertising Is Not So Transparent

An annual report by UK’s Advertising Standards Authority for 2018 suggests that social media platforms should be more open about their systems for handling and monitoring irresponsible and inappropriate ads.

Why it matters: The report is focused on eliminating misleading content and inappropriate targeting.

The details: According to the report, 14,257 online ads attracted 16,059 complaints to the ASA, which indicates a 41 percent increase from 2017. In terms of trends, social media advertising saw a 31 percent increase in health and beauty complaints; a 20 percent increase in holidays and travel complaint cases and 40 percent increase in retail complaints.

ASA chairman, David Currie, said, “We need to find a way of working closer with the online platforms on this issue. We’ve had conversations with them. We’ve got to work closely with them. They have their own systems of taking down or blocking inappropriate ads. It’s not as transparent as we’d like. We’d like to understand it much better. I think probably they could be a bit more open about how they do it. I think, given all the concerns that parents and others have, they recognise that they need to take action.”

Macy’s New Summer Social Media Strategy

Mobile Marketer reported that Macy’s is rolling out an experiential social media campaign that encourages consumers to share their experiences at summer gathering places around the country,

Why it matters: The retailer recently shared its Q1 2019 results showing that the company’s revenue dropped from $5.54 billion to $5.5 billion YoY. However, Macy’s also reported double-digit growth in ecommerce and mobile, which according to the company, continues to be its fastest-growing channel. Macy’s has also invested heavily in martech in recent years.

The details: Macy’s pop-up stations will be located in summer gathering places, such as Central Park, The Brooklyn Heights Promenade and the Santa Monica Pier. They will feature Pinterest Pincodes that consumers can scan and to see shoppable outfits curated for that specific location.

Macy’s is also rolling out YouTube videos with fashion tutorials and beauty and style tips from Macy’s Style Crew members and vendor partners.

Twitter Spotted Testing Carousel Ads Again

Twitter is testing carousel ads with the ability to add multiple images.

Why it matters: Carousel ads are a popular ad tool on other social media platforms.

The details: Twitter previously made attempts with carousel ads but was unsuccessful. This trial, however, seems different: it looks simpler and less busy, with stronger visual presence. It also appears more convenient to use when it comes to Stories.

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

Mercedes-Benz Challenges Gender Stereotypes With Mattel Partnership

Mercedes-Benz used a poignant video spot, “No Limits” to announce a cause marketing-driven partnership with Mattel to create and sell a toy car that aims to inspire young girls and challenge gender stereotypes. The spot comes after the company’s release of a short film in celebration of Women’s International History Month released this year.

The video shows little girls who can choose to play with any toy in front of them. When asked why she shunned the toy car in favor of dolls and unicorns, one girl says, “I think this is a boy’s toy because boys love cars and girls like girl stuff.” The producers then show them a video of Ewy Rosqvist, the first woman to win one of the world’s most difficult races—the Argentinian Touring Car Grand Prix—and the campaign’s source of inspiration. The female hero’s historic win shifts the girls’ perspective and arouses feelings of pride as one girl asserts, “Girls can be racers too.”

Mercedes-Benz and Matchbox will make a toy replica of Rosqvist’s car, which will be gifted to thousands of girls in first grade through a non-profit partner, and sold in stores nationwide beginning 2020. Proceeds from the sales will go towards the making and distribution of additional cars.

“Through Ewy’s story, we saw an opportunity to inspire young girls to ‘play outside the box’ and imagine all the different opportunities open to them without the restrictions of traditional stereotypes,” explained Mark Aikman, general manager of marketing services for MBUSA, adding that, “We realized that these pioneering women from our past could serve as valuable role models for young girls today and have a positive impact on how they see their future. This led us to collaborate with Matchbox to create a tangible reminder for girls that there are no restrictions on their tomorrow.”

To further the conversation about the early impact that gender associations have on girls, Mercedes-Benz will include with each toy a teaching toolkit to encourage parents and mentors to create valuable lessons about female role models, as a reminder to girls that they have no limits.

Mercedes’ previous “Impact” campaign video spot is another stellar example of its use of cause-marketing. The company understands that purpose can turn to profit. Nevertheless, it doesn’t lose sight of a millennial-focused strategy. To promote the Mercedes A-Class, aimed at a younger demo, the company featured a commercial during Super Bowl 52 starring rapper Ludacris in conjunction with an Instagram “Bucket List” campaign.

In most cases, cause marketing that spotlights a stand or message about a social issue is a surefire way to enforce a stronger bond between consumer and product. According to the 2018 IEG Sponsorship Report, cause sponsorship is predicted to reach $2.23 billion in 2019. Additionally, 64 percent of consumers who agreed it’s ‘extremely important’ for a company to take a stand on a social issue said they were ‘very likely’ to purchase a product based on that commitment, as reported by Shelton Group.

Gen Z Has Spoken: They Love Google, Netflix And Chick-fil-A

Gen Z has spoken: among their favorite brands are Netflix, YouTube, Chick-fil-A and Bath & Body Works, according to a Morning Consult survey that revealed the consumers’ penchant for tech, entertainment and food brands.

In first place came Google, followed by Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Oreo, PlayStation, Walmart, Target, Doritos and Nintendo.

Google was voted most-loved among black Gen Z and Gen Z women whereas Netflix was ranked first among urban and conservative Gen Z.

Google was voted most-loved among black Gen Z and Gen Z women whereas Netflix was ranked first among urban and conservative Gen Z.

20 Most Influential Brands Among Gen Zers

The findings were determined using online surveys with adults aged 18-21 during January 1 to February 28, 2019 and January 1 to April 30, 2019, respectively. Between 425 and 1,435 respondents from Gen Z rated every brand included in the top 25, and between 169 and 1,220 Gen Z’ers rated each of the brands included within a certain demographic group. The maximum margin of error for a given brand was plus or minus 5 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

The survey accounted for company evaluations, demographics and political tracking before asking America’s youngest adults to score brands on favorability, trust, community impact and purchasing intent. The index score each brand was given revealed these scores added together.

Also on the list were Chick-fil-A at number 11, Nike, Marvel Studios, Spotify and Instagram. Contenders on the lower end of the totem pole include Pizza Hut, Sprite, Dunkin’ Donuts, Dollar Tree, Skittles, Subway, Microsoft, Dove, Walt Disney and IHOP.

Brands should consider focusing a large part of their marketing strategies around Gen Z tastes as they’re expected to become 40 percent of the US population by 2020. VisionCritical reports that Gen Z’s $44 billion purchasing power will quadruple in the next two years. In 2016 alone, Gen Z spent $78 billion at restaurants excluding alcohol.

Gen Z take tech and social seriously in deciding what to purchase. 80 percent of their purchases are influenced by a retailer’s Instagram presence, which also reflects their tech habits. A UK study of Gen Z found that they spend about 10 ours online each day. They’re looking for brands who offer convenience, engage user-generated content, value transparency and an effort to craft an aesthetic that speaks to their lifestyle.

Utilizing cause marketing can also attract Gen Z. According to a Fuse Marketing study 85 percent believe companies have an obligation to help solve social problems. 57 percent of Gen Z versus 25 percent of millennials said that it’s more important that a company personally cares about the cause.

Walmart Is Coming For Amazon’s Biggest Advertisers

Walmart has organized a meeting with hundreds of high-profile companies and top marketing and advertising firms to pitch its media business, Reuters reported. The news follows Walmart’s concerted efforts to diversify and market their business, namely debuting original content for its new streaming platform, Vudu, at IAB’s Digital Content NewFronts, and shifting to free next-day delivery that doesn’t require a membership.

To grow its media strategies and help brands engage with customers subscribed to over-the-top (OTT) content, Walmart will encourage event attendees, which it declined to name, to shift spending away from rivals like Amazon and Google to sponsored shift and display ads on Walmart. With Vudu, the company already rolled out shoppable in-stream ads as well as films and series that market Middle America. “It’s about making Vudu part of the daily routine for Walmart families,” said head of AVOD at Vudu Julian Franco.

Walmart’s first-party data fortifies its attempt to match Amazon’s efforts. Stefanie Jay, vice president and general manager of Walmart Media Group, told Reuters, “The company’s core differentiator is that its ad offerings are informed not just by online purchase behavior and intent but also by data on what people are buying in stores before and after they see an ad, something its online rivals are unable to see.”

According to eMarketer, Amazon’s global digital ad revenue is expected to rise by more than 52 percent in 2019 to reach $14.03 billion. Still, Walmart’s quiet but steady approach to ramping up ad offerings, indicated by the elusive pitch meeting, could prove successful as Walmart was crowned the champion of trusted mass-merchandiser retailers, according to Reader’s Digest 2018 annual Trusted Brands survey.

Though slow to integrate video ads, Walmart draws in more shoppers than Amazon, Google and Facebook, according to research firms. As Marketing Drive reported, Jeremy Verba, VP and GM of Vudu, said at NewFronts, “Walmart’s data and scale make us the sleeping giant of the entertainment space.”

An eMarketer report showed that Amazon’s US ad business will grow more than 50 percent this year, and its share of the US digital market to 8.8 percent. But where there’s a Walmart, there’s a way as Walmart will be able to capitalize on another rival’s shortcomings—Google’s market share is expected to dip to 71 percent by 2020, as research firm eMarketer reported. In the US, total digital ad spending will grow 19 percent to $129.34 billion this year—54.2 percent of estimated total US ad spending.

Coca-Cola Brings Back New Coke With Help From Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’

In collaboration with Netflix’s popular series Stranger Things, Coca-Cola used a nostalgia marketing-driven video spot to restore New Coke, a sweeter version of the beverage launched in 1985 that was pulled when met with customer backlash. As part of the branded partnership, New Coke will make cameos throughout various episodes of Stranger Things, premiering July 3.

The video spot, “Coca-Cola First Love,” set in 1985 in Hawkins, Indiana (where the Netflix show takes place), stars actors from the show experiencing milestones like a first kiss or date, and a trip to the movies where an electricity outage spooks the audience.

“In a world of shifting media consumption, we continue to challenge ourselves to find creative and meaningful ways to participate in non-advertising platforms like Netflix to engage with the millions of fans who subscribe to streaming content services,” said Geoff Cottrill, senior vice president of strategic marketing, Coca-Cola North America.

Coca-Cola’s move to combine nostalgia marketing and popular culture reflects a larger trend of brands pulling on consumers’ heartstrings to encourage brand loyalty. Good memories and vintage products make new products feel comfortable. Coca-Cola also uses its old campaigns as part of its nostalgia-driven strategy. In the company’s Super Bowl 52 ad, “The Wonder of Us,” it celebrated diversity via an emotional narrative and appeared to be a remake of the successful “Hilltop” ad the company ran in 1971, which was also featured in the final scene of Mad Men.

A study by Nielsen in which ads were grouped into three categories according to score from a metric based on people’s electroencephalogram activity (EEG1) found that ads with the best emotional intelligence response generated a 23 percent lift in sales volume.

Stuart Kronauge, president of Coca-Cola North America’s business unit noted, “When we heard that Season 3 would be set in the summer of 1985 and they wanted to integrate New Coke, we knew we had an opportunity to revisit that time period in a fun and unexpected way that would also allow us to be part of one of this year’s most anticipated pop culture moments.”

Coca-Cola is sprinkling the campaign with a touch of experiential marketing. Starting May 23, fans can visit upside-down Stranger Things-inspired vending machines that will pop up in select cities and dispense free cans of New Coke for a limited time. A limited number of New Coke cans will be shoppable online as part of a bundle featuring a limited-edition, Stranger Things glass bottle.

Coca-Cola is one among many major brands known for strengthening campaign messages with nostalgia. In 2018, Google used Home Alone footage and characters in a campaign that introduced its virtual assistant. ABC romanticized the past for a Roseanne-inspired subway car. Coca-Cola’s rival Pepsi also rolled out a similar approach to nostalgia marketing in 2016 when it resurrected a discontinued drink from the ’90s, Crystal Pepsi.

AWAsia To Highlight Purpose, Innovation In A Rapidly-Changing Landscape

In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore famously predicted that computer processing power would double every year, an insight known as “Moore’s Law.”

Once a governing principle of progress, today we experience such unfathomably fast-paced change that Moore’s Law becomes less applicable every year. Think of technology as an automobile, with no speed limit. We might get to our destination a lot faster, but the chances of accidents along the way increase many times over.

In contemporary society, the “accidents” are relatively simple to identify but hard to stop. Bad actors continue to hack consumer data, shine unwanted light on horrific acts and influence political campaigns with real impact. One need only look at the discord in the United States and the United Kingdom which is tearing at the fabric of Democracy. Without question, trust, transparency and privacy have emerged as one of the highest mountains to climb for our industry and indeed, broader society. 

Thirty years after Moore, Harvard Professor Clay Christensen crystallized what would evolve into the biggest influence in the 21st century under the headline of “Disruptive Innovation.” Christensen defined disruptive innovation as an innovation that creates a new market and value displacing established market-leading firms, products and alliances. Tech-driven disruptive innovations have dramatically improved our lives and created incredibly powerful platforms to share and tell stories worth being told.

Advertising Week is proud to have been there since 2004 enabling leading academics, creatives, innovators and inspirational figures to enlighten us on where we have been and, more importantly, where we are going. It’s hard to imagine that when we staged the very first Advertising Week in New York City, there was no Facebook, no YouTube, no iPhone, no Android, no Snap and none of the topics or content companies that dominate today existed . . . It is a startling amount of change in just 15 years, well beyond what Moore or Christensen imagined.

Today, driven by the 24-hour news cycle, it is very easy to fall into a trap of doom and gloom.

But let’s look at the world through the eyes of the brilliant Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton, who wrote “Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.” Never have we been in a better position to improve not only our own lives, but the lives of those around us. 

Paul Polman, the former CEO of Unilever, has led by example to this end embracing sustainability as a vital ingredient in Unilever’s strategy. Polman has proven that doing good for the world is good for business. The concerto of purpose + profit is incredibly compelling, and we are committed to leveraging our platform to showcase these real-world impact success stories. It’s this real-world impact that is at the heart of our next new destination, Advertising Week Africa, launching this October in Johannesburg.

But as we enter our fourth year in the magnificent city of Tokyo, we look forward to uncovering the latest insights and innovations from the region leading in global growth.

The AWAsia stage will play host to conversations diving into issues of purpose, from work-life balance to women’s empowerment, all the way to discussing cultural opportunities like the Olympics and Rugby World Cup. We very much hope to see you there.

Applebee’s Campaign Claims Cure For Low “Sizzletonin,” Twitter Fires Back

Applebee’s introduced Loaded Fajitas to its restaurants nationwide with a pharmaceutical-style video spot, coined “sizzletonin” and described as
“a condition caused when your fajita lacks bacon and queso.” The campaign was met with derision on social media and the company quickly deleted all campaign assets.

In a press release, the company said that its new menu item is bound to brighten anyone’s day, joking that it was “coming to the aid of American affected by low sizzletonin, characterized by symptoms of cold hands, lack of fullness and sudden bouts of sarcasm. Many social media users felt it trivialized mental illness.

The flop could worsen the already struggling Applebee’s. Applebee’s spent millions of dollars on modernizing its restaurants with fire grills and redesigns as part of its “comprehensive business transformation.” Likely in an attempt to win over millennial diners.

Applebee’s erased every trace of the Sizzletonin campaign across its social platforms since its release (you can still view the commercial here). But the negative reactions remain, particularly on Twitter.

One user demanded to know if the campaign planned to donate a percentage of Loaded Fajitas purchases to organizations that help those afflicted with “legitimate” mental health disorders.

”Over the past few years, the brand’s set out to reposition or reinvent Applebee’s as a modern bar and grill in overt pursuit of a more youthful and affluent demographic with a more independent or even sophisticated dining mindset, including a clear pendulum swing towards millennials,” John Cywinski, Applebee’s brand president, said in a recent call with investors, according to Business Insider.

In 2017, Applebee’s closed over 100 locations and another 80 the following year. What’s worse, over 160 locations across 15 states were hit with a point of sale (POS) breach in 2018. Additionally, 60 women filed sexual harassmentcomplaints against Applebee’s and IHOP restaurants, as reported by Vox.

This month, Burger King also received backlash for playing on mental health in its campaign to launch “Real Meals,” limited edition boxes featuring its WHOPPER in various moods like “Pissed Meal” and “Blue Meal.” But, Burger King did partner with Mental Health America for the campaign and donated an undisclosed amount to the organization.

Pepsi’s Massive AR Filter-Promoted Summer Campaign Targets Millennial Tastes

Pepsi, working in partnership with Instagram, launched its #Summergram campaign to introduce hundreds of AR filters tied to clever summer puns and six-story-tall inflatable icons. The campaign further is complemented by launch events in four major cities and a complete makeover of 230 million bottles and fountain cups.

Pepsi bottles will feature summer-themed moments with QR codes that allow users to unlock Pepsi Instagram lenses throughout summer, making for ultimate shareable user-generated content (UGC) that reaches a wider audience, namely followers of Pepsi’s followers.

Pepsi’s social media-friendly #Summergram initiative will also extend to OOH ads across buses, billboards and retail displays. Known for using the power of celebrity, Pepsi teamed up with social media icon Chrissy Teigen and music producer DJ Khaled who will together host the first event to kick off #Summergram in New York. Three free public events will follow in Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami.

“We are so excited to work with Instagram and bring some of their newest technology directly to our most loyal consumers. We know our fans love sharing their favorite moments on social media, and the summertime lends itself to so many post-worthy moments and occasions. The breadth of our Pepsi #Summergram statements and custom AR filters will ensure that there is something for everyone – no matter what you’re doing this summer – to help people unapologetically enjoy their best summer moments.” said Todd Kaplan, Pepsi’s VP of marketing.

#Summergram creates even more opportunities for UGC as Pepsi drinkers can access hundreds of additional #Summergram digital stickers in Instagram Story’s GIPHY library.

Multi-sensory experiential marketing and social media marketing is a winning formula for igniting a conversation among a brand’s target market, creating brand loyalty and producing UGC—all of which currently drive millennial decisions.

Video content, which Pepsi regularly shares across social media, is another key marketing tool brands should utilize for attracting millennials. Brightcove’s “2018 Video Marketing Survey” showed that 85 percent of millennials have purchased products after viewing a video and 66 percent engaged with a brand after watching a video on social media.

Additionally, according to a study by Splash where 785 millennial across the world were surveyed, 67 percent of millennials reported that they followed a brand on social media because of an event.

Postmates Taps Martha Stewart For “Postmate It” TV Campaign

Postmates partnered with Martha Stewart for a series of funny commercials on the tail of the company’s new “Postmates It” campaign.

The 15- and 30-second video spots start with Martha instructing an audience on how to prepare one of her favorite recipes. The camera turns to someone in the real world watching who either can’t keep up or is missing one of the ingredients. When Martha realizes things are falling apart for the viewer, she encourages them to simply “Postmate it” instead.

The spots represent the next phase of Postmates brand campaign and will appear throughout the summer. Postmates also plans to integrate bespoke OOH ads, social and radio spots in its US markets.

The commercials are appropriate companions to the “Postmate It” OOH billboards, bus shelters and wall murals that the company rolled out over the past month. The aim of the campaign is to make the company name a verb, with headlines like, “Your sweatpants are calling and they want a burger. Postmate it.”

“This campaign is meant to show how Postmates fits into our customers’ everyday lives, in a humorous and memorable way. I think we’ve captured the magic of Postmates to show how we’re more than just a delivery service — Postmates is a lifestyle,” said Eric Edge, Postmates’ senior vice president of marketing and communications.

Postmates continues to empower local businesses, giving mom-and-pop stores an edge in the competitive digital economy while also freeing up time for its customers to do literally anything else. According to the company’s Economic Impact Report 2018, merchants using Postmates generated $1.2 billion in revenue through the platform as of Q1 2017.

According to research from App Annie, consumers ordered meals on mobile 130 percent more in 2018 than in 2016 globally. QSRs quickly acted on these insights and in 2017, McDonald’s announced a partnership with the Uber Eats to offer delivery, and Chipotle also followed suit by teaming with DoorDash to add a delivery option.