Wendy’s Partners With GasBuddy For Geotargeting Campaign

Wendy’s is the first brand to partner with GasBuddy and employ the company’s new “Badges” feature. Similar to Waze, the geotargeting feature shows the nearest Wendy’s when deciding where to stop for gas.

The use of GPS-based, first-party data, the partnership will allow Wendy’s to promote deals to GasBuddy’s 60 million users, and drive in-store traffic.

“Consumers have more choice than ever as to where to get a meal. GasBuddy provides us a unique way to reach millions of drivers during the planning portion of their trips to keep Wendy’s top-of-mind in a seamless and relevant way” said Jimmy Bennett, senior director of media and social at Wendy’s.  

“The new Badges feature provides our partners with an effective way to position their brand to drivers with high intent to stop and purchase. Our research found we’re all craving convenience,” said Jordan Grossman, EVP of advertising sales at GasBuddy.

Wendy’s geotargeting campaign comes at a time when mobile devices have become ubiquitous for QSR customers. According to App Annie’s The State of Mobile In 2019, US consumers sourced food and drinks through apps 140 percent more often in 2018 than 2016. Similarly, head of industry at Facebook, Marinn Jackson, noted for QSR Magazine, “60 percent of people trying to decide where to eat use only their mobile device to help with their decision.”

Marketers who utilize real-time location data can maximize the benefits of mobile advertising, namely spreading brand awareness and bridging the gap between the digital and physical store. As Zenithreported, mobile ad spend grew 35 percent in 2017, with expected growth at an average rate of 21 percent a year to 2020. Still, potential customers are 53 percent as likely to recall television ads as existing customers versus a lesser 41 percent for mobile ads.

Convenience store chain, 76, recently partnered with Waze to promote its TANK5 campaign to drivers by logo-marking fuel locations on the map, prompting billboard-style messages that offered a limited-time, one in five chance to win money at its gas stations.

Report: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Ending Could Prompt Subscribers To Cancel HBO Now

A new survey conducted by Mintel shows HBO Now subscribers are more likely cancel their service if a specific program ended compared to all other OTTs—20 percent compared to 10 percent, respectively. This could spell bad news in light of HBO’s Game of Thrones concluding soon.

In an interview with Buddy Lo, Mintel’s senior technology and consumer electronics analyst, he tells us that the problem could come down to a combination of price and number of OTTs subscribed per household.

“It isn’t until the consumers get that fourth subscription service that we really see a spike in HBO Now participation. That’s why we think that HBO Now could be potentially vulnerable.”

Can you explain an overview of the research?

The consumer data that we published in the press release is based on 2000 US consumers. The researchers fielded the survey last month [in] April 2019. The [full] report is going to publish next month and it is about digital video.

We were able to isolate HBO Now subscribers [based on questioning] and after that we also used a series of behavioral statements, like “I would cancel a service if a specific show was canceled or specific show or program was canceled or ended.” We found that consumers who use HBO Now are almost twice as likely to agree with that statement than all of the general streaming OTT streaming service users.

We’ve seen viewers slowly over the past two years add one or two more OTT services. Does the data demonstrate that consumers have hit a wall?

We also asked consumers about the optimal price point that they would pay for their ideal streaming service. We asked [them to] imagine [their] ideal streaming service with all of the shows, movies, sport and other entertainment that [they would] want. Then we asked a series of four questions, like, to imagine their ideal streaming service and at what price is that service so cheap that [they] would question the quality; at what price do [they] think it’s a good deal. We performed a price sensitivity analysis and we found that the optimal price point is 20 dollars, so it’s pretty low.

When we think about how much HBO costs, which is $14.99, Netflix can range from I believe $8.99 upwards to $13.99, depending on the tier that you get. Hulu is a bit more affordable at $5.99.

Our data shows that consumers only have a limited type of budget and that three-quarters of streamers use two [OTTs] or more. We see that for HBO [subscribers], participation doesn’t really kick in until consumers have four or more subscriptions services. [The data] tells us that consumers’ first option is usually Netflix and the second or third option is Amazon or Hulu.

But, it isn’t until the consumers get the fourth subscription service that we really see a spike in HBO Now participation. That’s why we think that HBO Now could be potentially vulnerable. I want to specify that this is about streaming services only, it’s not necessarily related to cable or satellite subscriptions because those can tend to be stickier. They can have cancellation fees so consumer behavior is a little less fluid within those segments.

Is chord cutting affecting this loss at all? 

I think, if anything, cord-cutting would shift more consumers to using the HBO Now platform rather than bundling everything with a cable or satellite provider. Cord-cutting gives consumers more flexibility in terms of how they choose their entertainment package. If [a consumer] wanted to go with Netflix all [they] need when [they] cut the cord is an internet connection. From there [they] can choose whether or not I want Hulu, Amazon, HBO Now, Starz, YouTube TV, etc…

What OTTs could stand to capitalize?

I think a big one would definitely be the upcoming services like Disney+ or Apple TV+. They might be able to take advantage of this void in entertainment before HBO can ramp up their spin-offs and create buzz around other content. It’s a good opportunity for any of the smaller brands to come in at a lower price point and exciting new content.

Clif Bar’s Quirky ‘Make It Good’ Campaign Brings ‘Climber’ Logo To Life

Clif Bar launched “Make It Good,” this week, the biggest campaign in the company’s 27-year history. The whimsical, hyperbole-sprinkled video spot personifies, literally, the brand’s iconic “climber” logo.

The video is narrated by the climber character who cycles through a series of playful vignettes, each representing one of Clif’s core values. This is reflected by the “Make It Good” slogan: “Whether it’s our food, our planet, or our relationship with our people – we’re on a mission to do one thing only – make it good.”

Clif’s half-minute and 90-second ads will debut during the NBA playoffs and be featured at live events, cinemas and across major media outlets through June 2019.

The new spots are in stark contrast to one of Clif Bar’s more recent campaigns. For the “Clif Bar Adventure Campaign,” the company created an interactive choose-your-own-adventure that lived on YouTube. The new spots still aim at Clif Bar’s active, outdoorsy audience and also emphasize the company’s environmentally-conscious attitude; it also finds the 30-year old company loosening its belt.

“The CLIF logo character speaks for the first time while cycling through a series of playful vignettes from organic farms to a magical, sustainable bakery with real people making good, organic food,” said Dan Hickle, vice president of Clif brand marketing, in a press release. “The intent of these ads is to inspire people to ‘Make it Good’ one positive action at a time.”

These new spots could also be Clif Bar’s pitch to a younger audience. RetailMeNot’s “2019 Retail Marketing Playbook” published by eMarketer shows that 66 percent of internet users 18 and up believe brands should take a stand on important social issues.

“To us, values don’t just live on a conference room wall – they drive every decision we make. We hope that this campaign gets people talking and acting on how their food choices can make a positive impact in the world,” said CEO Kit Crawford.

In March, Clif challenged KIND to use all-organic ingredients. KIND fought back by launching a campaign to expose hidden sweeteners in rival bars Clif and RxBar. KIND commissioned a survey through Morning Consult that revealed 78 percent of respondents couldn’t identify the main difference between sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners.

The winner of the dust-up could come down to being honest with consumers. According to findings from a Sprout Social report, 86 percent of consumers said that brand transparency is “very important,” and 73 percent said they would be willing to pay more for products that “guarantee total transparency.”

Coty’s New Chief Marketing Officer; Keith Weed’s New Investment

This week’s executive shifts include Keith Weed investing in an influencer marketplace, Focus Brands hiring a global chief marketing officer, a new CMO for Equinox, the president of marketing at Hearst retiring, Sunwest Bank hiring a CMO, Coty Inc. and Chuze Fitness appointing CMOs and TruTv’s marketing and digital executive vice president departing.

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

Fiona Hughes To Join Coty As Consumer Beauty CMO 

Coty Inc. announced the upcoming hiring of Fiona Hughes as the company’s consumer beauty CMO.

Hughes joins Coty from Jacobs Douwe Egberts where she served as a chief marketing officer and executive committee member, and prior to that, held several global marketing roles at MARS Global Petcare.

Hughes will start in her new role on June 12thand will be reporting to Coty CEO and consumer beauty president, Pierre Laubies. 

“Fiona is an exceptional marketing leader with a deep well of experience in leading brand and portfolio transformation, including successfully shaping global brand vision, strategy and innovation maps. As improving the performance of Consumer Beauty is a top priority, I am confident that Fiona will be a strong addition to our Executive Committee and that her strategic thinking, strong leadership skills and fresh perspective will make an immediate impact on our efforts in this area,” Laubies said. 

Chuze Fitness Welcomes A New CMO 

Chuze Fitness club appointed Billy Grenham as its new CMO, Yahoo Finance reported. Grenham will be responsible for leading all marketing initiatives.

Grenham spent five years at Taco Bell, serving as global and senior global marketing manager and most recently as global director of marketing and communications. He also worked at PepsiCo, as a digital marketing analyst.

“…My goal is to grow the brand with authenticity and intention, and continue to offer our signature customer experience and amazing amenities at an affordable price. We act small and build community first, and we’ll maintain this approach as we continue to open clubs across the country,” Grenham said. 

TruTV Marketing Exec Exits The Company

Variety reported this week that WarnerMedia owned TruTV’s marketing and digital executive vice president Puja Vohra is no longer with the company due to corporate restructuring.

Vohra had been promoted to executive vice president in 2016 and during her time with TruTV, worked on the following shows At Home with Amy Sedaris, Andrea Savage’s I’m Sorry, Impractical Jokers and Tacoma FD.

Vohra spent over five years at WarnerMedia as SVP of marketing and digital and EVP of marketing and digital. She also spent some time in leading marketing roles at Oxygen media and NBCUniversal Media.

Julie Liegl Becomes Slack’s New Chief Marketing Officer

Slack announced in a blog post the appointment of Julie Liegl as the company’s new chief marketing officer.

Liegl joins Slack from Salesforce, where she spent 13 years holding various marketing roles, most recently the role of executive vice president of global marketing. Prior to that she worked at the Clorox Company.

She will start as Slack CMO at the end of May and will be responsible for managing its global marketing team and leading all marketing initiatives, including product marketing, customer acquisition, demand generation, brand, brand design, events and content marketing. 

David Beckham Brand Hires Chief Marketing Officer

David Beckham’s new brand hired Isabel May to be the company’s chief marketing officer. May is a former Burberry director of communications (EMEIA). Prior to that, she was an associate director at Freuds.

At David Beckham, May will oversee all aspects of brand and commercial partner marketing and communications, PR, social and digital platforms, special projects and partnerships.

Tiqets Lands A New CMO 

European event platform, Tiquets, announced that Dan Burdett joined the company as chief marketing officer.

In the past, Burnett has over 20 years of experience in FMCG and ecommerce and worked as a chief marketing officer Europe for eBay and a chief brand officer for Snickers at Mars. And as a CMO at Tiquets, he will mainly be responsible for growing of the platform’s global revenue base

Luuc Elzinga, CEO at Tiqets, told Travel Daily News, “We are thrilled and honored to add such well-seasoned marketing expert into our management team. He will help us elevate the Tiqets’ brand, scale our marketing efforts and expand our global footprint.”

Focus Brand Hires First Global Chief Marketing Officer

Focus Brands—parent company of Schlotzky’s, Jamba Juice and Cinnabon—hired Dan Gertsacov to be the company’s global chief marketing officer, a newly created position. Gertsacov was most recently the chief marketing and digital officer at Arcos Dorados, known as McDonald’s Latin American franchise.

Prior to that, Gertsacov spent almost five years working for Google in Latina America as head of new markets. He was also previously vice president of business development at Univision.

Equinox Hires Chief Marketing Officer

According to an article on AdAge, Equinox hired Seth Solomons as the company’s new chief marketing officer. With no official press release from Equinox, we’re not exactly sure what has happened to Vimla Gupta, Equinox’s previous chief marketing officer. Gupta was appointed only a year-and-a-half ago.

Solomons comes to Equinox after a lengthy career at various agencies. According to his LinkeIn, he started in the ’90s with Wunderman before becoming global CMO at Digitas, where he spent 11 years. Since 2015, Solomons has been the global CEO at Wunderman.

Keith Weed Lands At Influencer Marketplace Tribe

Keith Weed, fresh off semi-retirement from Unilever, has landed as an investor of Australian influencer company Tribe. Last June, Weed famously lambasted the current influencer marketing system, calling for companies to stop working with influencers who bought fake followers. He also said Unilever would be doing it’s part.

Hearst’s Longtime CMO Michael Clinton Retires

Michael Clinton, currently Hearst’s president of marketing and publishing director, will retire on July 1 according to an internal memo.

Clinton has been with Hearst for over 21 years. In 1997, he was named chief marketing officer and was appointed to his current role in 2010. Clinton joined Hearst from Condé Nast where he led sales and marketing. Prior to that, Clinton spent ten years at GQ, starting as advertising manager and working his way up to publisher.

Veteran Marketer Joins Sunwest Bank As CMO

Sunwest Bank announced today that Dwight Flenniken III will join the company as chief marketing officer.

Flenniken III previously held the same title at Americor and Goldco LLC. Prior to that, he had notable stops at Exacta Media and QuinStreet.

Carson Lappetito, President of Sunwest Bank, said about the new hire, “Dwight’s experience building and leading teams of marketing professionals, and his expertise in the financial technology space were key assets we wanted in our new CMO. We are excited to have him join our team, and believe he is the right individual to help us navigate the ever-changing marketing landscape in our industry.”

Aimee Infante Becomes Muscle Maker Grill’s CMO

Aimee Infante, who joined the company in 2014 and most recently served as Muscle Maker Grill’s vice president was promoted to CMO.

Infante has years of experience in digital strategy, brand loyalty, creative development and traditional advertising under her belt and in her new role, she will oversee the marketing vision as well as marketing strategy for company-owned and franchised restaurants.

Michael Roper, chief executive officer of Muscle Maker Grill said about Infante’s career shift, “I am thrilled to appoint Aimee as the Chief Marketing Officer during this pivotal stage of our company’s growth. Her understanding of the full spectrum of marketing paired with her execution strategy are exactly what we needed to take this brand to the next level.”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, May 10. 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 

VP, CIMD, PWM, Trust ServicesGoldman SachsNew York, NY
Vice President, Film MarketingWarner Bros.Burbank, CA
Chief Marketing Officer Houlihan LokeyLos Angeles, CA
VP, Investment MarketingPrudentialShelton, CT
Vice President of Marketingsbe Entertainment GroupLos Angeles, CA
Chief Marketing OfficerNew York UniversityNew York, NY

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

Pinterest’s Q1 Results/New Initiatives; IG Updates ‘Explore’

This week was rich in social media news and events, including the Hughes-Zuckerberg argument over breaking up Facebook. Twitter started reopening accounts after a year-long lockout, Instagram announced plans to kill Direct app and updated “Explore” and Pinterest announced more investment in tech to rehabilitate after disappointing Q1 results.

Pinterest Is Investing In Tech To Make Up For Disappointing Q1 Earnings 

On Thursday, Pinterest made its Q1 earnings public and made an announcement about the company investing in a visual search feature. 

Why it matters: According to Ben Silbermann, Pinterest’s co-founder and CEO, who shared the news during the company’s Q1 2019 earnings call, the new feature will allow users to “zoom in on a portion of an image and actually search within that image for items that are similar.”

The details: Pinterest lost $41.4 million, or $0.33 per share, in the first three months of this year, down from a loss of $52.7 million, or $0.42 per share in 2018. To rebound, the company is continuing to focus on relevance-improving technology.

“A lot of our most cutting-edge technology really goes to the problem of relevance. We have billions and billions of pins; we have users that have a limited amount of time. How do we make sure we’re showing the right pin to the right person at the right time? In just this quarter, from work that was started last year, we improved our machine learning systems and really meaningfully improved relevance in all the ways that we measure it. So, relevance is obviously a really important area that we look at,” Silbermann said during the call with investors.

The complete transcript of the call can be found here.

Study: Social Media Vs. Mobile Gaming

Mobile Marketer reported the results of the study by mobile ad firm, Tapjoy, which revealed that 69 percent of U.S. consumers would rather give up social media apps than lose their favorite mobile games.

Why it matters: In-game advertising seems to be more compelling to U.S. consumers than ads in other media, as 41 percent of the respondents said they are likely to pay attention to ads in mobile games, compared to only 17 percent on the internet, 15 percent in magazines and 15 percent on billboards. 

The details:Here are some other important takeaways: 

  • 77 percent of respondents said they have been playing mobile games for more than two years
  • 72 percent said they like interacting with ads in exchange for in-app currency or premium content
  • The portion of consumers who identify themselves as “gamers” doubled from 27 percent three years ago to 60 percent

Instagram Updated “Explore” Tab

This week, Instagram rolled out updates to its “Explore” feature, developed to expose trends, point the users to IGTV and provide more shopping options.

Why it matters: According to Instagram, “IGTV” and “Shop” shortcuts are now pinned to the front of the bar, making it easier to find products and videos from brands and creators.

The details: The new “Explore” navigation bar features shortcuts to IGTV and Shopping followed by topic channels tailored to users interests, such as Food, Art and Travel. Additionally, by tapping on ‘IGTV,’ the users will have access to the updated home for IGTV, where they will be able to see recommended videos from their favorite creators. And by tapping on “Shop,” they will access filters in the navigation bar, which allows the users to browse specific types of products such as  Beauty, Clothing, Home Decor and others.

Instagram Will Terminate Direct App 

Instagram is said to be shutting down its Direct app and confirmed as much to TechCrunch this week

Why it matters: Direct was introduced in 2017 as a test in Uruguay, Chile, Turkey, Italy, Portugal and Israel, but never gained much affection from the users.

The details: Instagram spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch, “We’re rolling back the test of the standalone Direct app. We’re focused on continuing to make Instagram Direct the best place for fun conversations with your friends.”

Snapchat’s New Ad Frequency Report

Snapchat published a new report focusing on the importance of frequency in driving ad breakthrough.

Why it matters: The data presented aims to help advertisers better distinguish between reach and frequency to plan better their ad buying.

The details: According to the report, the frequency of exposure is related to the lift in ad breakthrough, with the most pronounced increases at a frequency of around two per week. For longer campaigns (5-12 weeks), a frequency of one per week drove 75 percent of the estimated total campaign impact in ad breakthrough. For shorter campaigns (1-4 weeks), a frequency of two ads per week was most optimal.

‘Advergames’ Could Be Effective Strategy For Social

As a part of PopSocket’s campaign “Swappable PopGrips” the company introduced a new game on Facebook. It was highly successful according to a report from Forbes.

Why it matters: “Advergames” allow marketers to achieve high engagement while reaching younger audiences. Most importantly, the gamer’s full attention is on the ad.

The details: PopSocket’s gamified ad was developed by Undertone and with Facebook Playable Ads allowed the users to engage with the creative in an innovative and exciting way. Jon Mottel, Undertone’s Director of Social Strategy, told Forbes that together with PopSockets the company concentrated on two key target audiences: 25 -49 tech-savvy males (“Regional roadies”) and Millennial moms. The campaign resulted in “overall estimated ad recall lift from the campaign 56 percent above Undertone’s benchmark, an average of 5.3 interactions per unique user with the playable ad,  and an average of 4:29 engaged in the ad experience, 8 times higher than average.”

Twitter Is Unlocking Some Accounts After A Year

Twitter started giving people their accounts back after they’ve been locked for a year.

Why it matters: Banning is the most extreme measure from Twitter. It’s interesting they are changing their minds on some of the banned Twitter accounts.

The details: A year ago, Twitter blocked a number of accounts it suspected had underaged owners, however, many accounts of the users claiming to be old enough to be using the platform (13 and older) were also locked. Twitter explained in a tweet that the process was more complicated than the company anticipated and took longer than expected. The company announced today in another tweet that it will start to reach out to the eligible users.

According to TechCrunch, however, the accounts are not immediately unlocked after the required steps were taken, but Twitter promises to notify them when the process is finalized.

WhatsApp Admits To A Major Cybersecurity Breach

Earlier this week, the Financial Times broke the story of a major cybersecurity breach (presumably from Israel’s NSO Group) that installed targeted spyware on iPhones and Androids through voice calls.

Why it matters: WhatsApp has become a standard communications platform for government and security officials in many countries around the world and therefore, this cyber attack poses a grievous threat internationally.

The details: “The attack has all the hallmarks of a private company known to work with governments to deliver spyware that reportedly takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems. We have briefed a number of human rights organizations to share the information we can, and to work with them to notify civil society,” WhatsApp told the Financial Times

Facebook Prepares Advertisers for ‘Clear History’

On Tuesday, Facebook shared a blog post, explaining what businesses should know about the upcoming “clear history” tool.

Why it matters: Facebook’s power up until now has relied on tracking users when they are away from Facebook and serving them ads based on browsing behavior. The new tool will allow users to see and clear their off-Facebook activity.

The details: The tool was first announced in 2018 and will be rolled out in the coming months. According to the blog post, the new tool promises to provide more transparency and control for businesses by informing people about how their information is being used.

The feature will impact targeting, but measurement will not be affected. “We never share anyone’s personal information, such as names or phone numbers, in our measurement and reporting tools. And we don’t anticipate changes to measurement once this feature is live,” the blog post reads.

YouTube Tests 6-Second Ad Generator

YouTube is in the process of developing “Bumper Machine” a new feature that will allow for the creation of shorter versions of the videos.

Why it matters: Automatically pulling out a six-second version from a longer ad frees the advertisers from actually creating new clips.

The details: Bumper Machine is currently being alpha tested. Once developed, it will allow advertisers to create a Bumper by scanning a longer ad for some “key elements,” such as a voice-over, logos or products.

Debbie Weinstein, Google’s vice president of YouTube and video global solutions told TechCrunch, “We learned over time that creatives love constraints. They’ve historically been constrained to 30 seconds, and then 15 seconds, and constrained by whatever dimensions of a particular media format.”

Instagram Is Fighting Following And Like Bot Farms

Spotted by researcher Jane Manchun Wong, Instagram is looking to go after accounts that use third-party tools to gain followers.

Why it matters: Following and ‘like’ bot farms disrupt authenticity on the platform.

The details: From Wong’s screenshot we can see that the social media platform is planning to send the following messages to the users who resort to the help of third-party tools to grow their user base:

  • “You may have shared your username and password with an app offering likes or followers. Using these apps goes against our %s, and continuing to do so may result in your account being further impacted.”
  • “Change your password to stop these apps accessing your account.”
  • “Using Apps to Gain Followers Isn’t Allowed”

It is still unclear when the messages will be implemented.

Zuckerberg’s Response To Hughes

In response to co-founder Chris Hughes’ opinion piece for The New York Times, Facebook CMO Mark Zuckerberg told Fraceinfo that breaking up Facebook “isn’t going to help.”

Why it matters: While Hughes’ main argument was that Facebook has too much power and violates democracy, Zuckerberg’s counter-argument is that breaking up the company won’t solve its privacy, safety, misinformation and free speech issues, and will actually slow down the initiative of protecting the social networks.

The details: Before his meeting with the president of France,  Emmanuel Macron, Zuckerberg told Franceinfo, “When I read what he wrote, my main reaction was that what he’s proposing that we do isn’t going to do anything to help solve those issues. So I think that if what you care about is democracy and elections, then you want a company like us to be able to invest billions of dollars per year like we are in building up really advanced tools to fight election interference.”

Survey Shows Social Media Makes Millennials Overspend

Schwab’s 2019 Modern Wealth survey questioned 1,000 US respondents to get a better understadning about how social media impacts spending habits.

Why it matters: The survey revealed that half of the millennials spend money they don’t have under the influence of social media. But what is interesting is that they blame social media platforms for their overspending and not people.

The details: According to the survey, 49 percent of millennials (ages 23 to 38) say social media influenced them to spend money on experiences (compared to 44 percent Gen Z).

Terri Kallsen, executive vice president and head of Schwab Investor Services, said, “The burden to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ has been part of our culture for decades, but it appears that social media and the fear of missing out (FOMO) have increased the pressure to spend. Spending is not the enemy, but when we allow social pressure or other forces to lure us into spending beyond our means, it can impact long-term financial stability and become a larger problem.”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, April 19. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.(

Taco Bell Hotel Aims For The Ultimate Brand Experience

In August Taco Bell will open the doors of “The Bell,” a branded hotel and resort in Palm Springs. Patrons can experience new exclusive menu times and the brand plans to brand everything from pool floaties to guest rooms to an on-site gift shop and salon for the ultimate pop-up. Reservations for which open in June.

The landing page describes the experience: “Get ready for “Bell”hops and Baja Blasts, Fire Sauce and Sauce Packet floaties, because The Bell: A Taco Bell Hotel and Resort is opening for a limited time in Palm Springs this August, meant for 18+ superfans. Complete with exclusive Taco Bell menu items and plenty of surprises, The Bell is sure to be the spicy twist of your summer. So pack your swimsuit, mark your calendars and start the countdown, because The Bell is about to make all of your taco dreams come true.”

“The Bell stands to be the biggest expression of the Taco Bell lifestyle to date. It will be fun, colorful, flavorful and filled with more than what our fans might expect,” said Taco Bell’s chief global brand officer Marisa Thalberg.

Since Thalberg joined the team in 2016, the brand’s marketing endeavors continue to expand with ads and campaigns geared towards Gen Z and Millennials. In an interview, Thalberg told Fortune, “In some ways, we’re the fast fashion of food.”

Taco Bell’s creation of a physical location like The Bell would fall in line with its recent history of aiming to attract a younger crowd. According to report from Atlantic Re:Think earlier this year a “brand’s physical stores encouraged 41 percent of participants [to purchase goods], while only 10 percent were influenced by a brand’s ecommerce site, which shows that real-life experiences still matter to Gen Z. For brands like GAP, Abercrombie & Fitch and others that provide beautiful in-store shopping experiences this could be a boon.”

In 2017 Taco Bell partnered with Lyft to offer passengers a food run with “Taco Mode,” an in-app option to add a Taco Bell stop to their ride. Last year, the company created a holiday promotion around its Triple Double Crunchwrap that offered CrunchWrapping Paper.

This summer, Taco Bell will be the first company to sponsor Bleacher Report’s House of Highlights, Instagram Stories with an NBA-focus that the publication features on a weekly basis.

Report: D2C Brands See Greater ROI From Referrals Versus Digital Ads

Ecommerce sales, new customers, and conversion rates ranked as the top KPIs for direct-to-consumer brands, according to a new report by Yotpo and Magento. The findings suggest that brands are prioritizing their digital store and user-generated content as key marketing channels of their strategy.

The State of D2C Marketing 2019 examines how brands around the world are investing in external marketing channels and unique ecommerce experiences to cultivate consumer loyalty.

Respondents included 512 ecommerce and marketing decision-makers, 41 percent of them brand founders, who represent brands across all industries and use a variety of platforms. The surveys were conducted over a period of one month between March-April, 2019.

According to the report, D2C brands acquire the majority of their customers through social media (61 percent), followed by organic search (51 percent) and direct traffic (50 percent). While marketers are increasing their investment in Facebook, Instagram and Google ads, 63 percent of brands surveyed see equal or greater ROI from referrals than they do from digital ads.

As more brands increase their spend on social ads, competition for visibility intensifies and customer acquisition costs rise.

“Brands might consider investing in collecting content from customers and producing a variety of ad creative to constantly test and ensure maximum return on ad spend,” advises the report.

About 73 percent of D2C brands have already implemented on-site customer reviews, and 36 percent have utilized customer photos, giving them an edge over the influx of startups and established brands in establishing purchase confidence.

Reviews generate as much as a 161 percent uplift in conversions, extending benefits to social media and significantly impacting SEO, which ranks second highest as an acquisition channel in the report.

Only 15 percent of brands currently feature customer-created videos, but more than a third plan to invest in them as the next primary visual marketing tool for creating authentic connections.

Despite the limitations of a physical store in brands reaching a wider audience, the report also found that brick-and-mortars as an acquisition channel perform moderately better than paid ads and influencers.

Ecommerce in the US has tripled in the past decade across all sectors, with current totals surpassing $517 billion annually (Statista). It’s predicted that ecommerce will continue to grow 30 percent more within the next five years.

‘X-Men Day’ Campaign Uses Nostalgia, AR Filter In Push For Advance Tickets Sales

Twentieth Century Fox released an emotive video spot in honor of X-Men Day showing notable castmembers reflecting on the X-Men legacy amid scenes from the franchise’s highly anticipated film Dark Phoenix. The studio launched several social media activations in a push to pre-order tickets to the film, coming out June 7.

The campaign aims for people’s hearts (and wallets) with 20 years of nostalgia. It was backed on social media by star Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) who played Jean Grey in past few X-Men films and the title character in the upcoming Dark Phoenix film.

Snapchat debuted an exclusive AR filter that, once scanned, transforms the users’ eyes and complexion to that of the Dark Phoenix. The filter also gives users the ability to experience Jean’s supernatural transformation into Dark Phoenix as it prompts you to “Raise your hand to reveal your dark side.”

The sponsored lens on Snapchat, though extremely expensive, has become a popular way to give consumers an interactive experience with a film before it premieres, building valuable hype that yields user-generated content and brand awareness.

As a result of the X-Men Day campaign, #DarkPhoenix began trending on Twitter and has garnered attention from fans and the film’s cast alike across social media. In addition to the Snapchat filter, the Twitter hashtag Dark Phoenix is accompanied by a unique emoji. The X-Men franchise also released 10 exclusive Dark Phoenix posters.

Dark Phoenix will be the twelfth movie released in the X-Men film series, the seventh highest-grossing film series, having grossed over $5.7 billion worldwide. The X-Men franchise will conclude its current storyline with Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants in 2020. But, with Disney’s recent acquisition of 20th Century Fox, a reboot is expected at some point in the future.

WeTransfer Makes Ads Less Disruptive With First Major Global Campaign

WeTransfer launched its first major global brand campaign, “Please Leave,” the company announced in a press release this week. The campaign reinforces WeTransfer’s role in facilitating creativity and helping drive results more effectively by valuing the most important entity of any company: its people and their well-being.

With the aim of encouraging viewers to give screen time a break and get out in the real world, the campaign wants to remind creatives the most valuable fuel for inspiration comes away from the computer.

The file-sharing platform unveiled its new campaign in the form of a video spot, narrated by poet and author Roxane Gay. The video highlights the fact that in today’s digital climate where creatives are glued to their seats, novel ideas come more easily and frequently while engaged in human experiences and interactions.

WeTransfer’s campaign isn’t simply telling people to leave their laptop, they’re introducing new initiatives that will actually help free up more time for them such as paying brands to show less or shorter ads and experimental audio ad formats.

As part of the campaign, WeTransfer will run ad-free listening/watching on Pandora and connected TVs. Similarly, the company collaborated with independent media agency Noble People and WIRED on an initiative new to the market which removes paywall barriers to premium content.

Damian Bradfield, CMO and president of WeTransfer noted, “The more time people spend in a tech ecosystem, the less time they spend out in the world, getting inspiration and building things. The underlying poem behind our campaign says it well: ‘when you’re here, you’re not there’—and that comes at the price of creativity, relationships and real meaning. Get out of your tech and make things happen. We’re a team of creative thinkers. We see you. We hear you. We believe great things happen when things just flow.”

WeTransfer’s endeavor to inspire new forms of inspiration in consumers follows telling results from a 2018 poll the company conducted with 11,000 WeTransfer users in 143 countries. An overwhelming majority of creatives said they were more likely to get ideas from “real-life experiences like talking with friends, travel, nature, books, magazines and going to galleries.”

WeTransfer’s new campaign isn’t the first time it’s displayed a commitment to maintaining the efficiency and growth of the creative process. Last year, the company acquired slideshow presentation-making app Paste and virtual canvas app Paper from FiftyThree.

In light of Mozilla’s new Firefox Send—a free file-sharing tool that’s fully encrypted and doesn’t require users to share an email address or any other personal information—WeTransfer must think outside the box if they’re to keep their 45 million monthly users. Firefox Send allows users to send one gigabyte of data without logging in, and 2.5 gigabytes with a Firefox login while receivers of the data don’t require an account.

Facebook’s Push For Groups Creates Brand Opportunities

Groups and events have become prioritized in Facebook’s new redesign, impacting the ways brands connect with users. While attention is drawn away from ads in the news feed, Groups could potentially encourage more organic, measurable brand engagement.

During its annual F8 conference, Facebook announced that it has redesigned the layout of its app to put Groups and Events front and center. The desktop site will also get an update in the coming months to match.

There are currently “tens of millions” of active groups on Facebook, the company said, adding that more than 400 million people on Facebook belong to a group that they find “meaningful.”

Drawing attention away from the news feed means that brands will need to rethink their strategies.

“Facebook groups create a great opportunity for brands to dive into specific audiences and really see what they’re talking about, what are they interested in and how to curate a community they want to be a part of,” Jeanette Ornelas, senior digital marketing analyst at Mintel Comperemedia told AList.

She added that Facebook’s announcement came as no surprise based on previous research at Mintel. Specifically, when speaking to older Gen Z consumers about their Facebook usage, respondents usually cited groups and events as motivation.

Considering Facebook’s struggle to retain younger users, the pivot to prioritize features they commonly use makes sense. Not only does the move cater to user preferences, but a focus on groups will force brands to interact with users in a more organic way.

“There are so many platforms out there that are more like public forums whether that be your Twitter, Instagram or the Facebook news feed,” Ornelas explained. “But with [Facebook] groups, [the interaction] is a lot more curated and niche, aligning with specific interests.

“It gives you a better way to reach people and really understand their specific interests which ideally would set you up to be more relevant and offer more value. That’s the main shift Facebook is hoping for,” she said.

Brands don’t necessarily have to own the group, either, Ornelas suggests, using Refinery29’s Money Diaries group as an example. The media brand partners with financial partners that offer money management tools, but they are not administrators on the group.

“In financial services in particular where trust is a critical factor, how open someone would be with a brand versus a community that is not branded can come into play,” added Ornelas. “Brands should consider when it makes sense to own the conversation as opposed to partnering with an established group that would benefit from its services.”

As eyes move away from the news feed, Ornelas said she wouldn’t be surprised if brands turned to influencers for help. However, brands will need to identify an audience that aligns with their goals and offer value outside of a “purely promotional play.” After all, she added, the influencer marketing industry is already saturated which makes ROI tracking a challenge.