Netflix Taps Jackie Lee-Joe To Fill Vacant CMO Position

This week’s marketing moves include Netflix filling their chief marketing officer position, Kate Jhaveri leaving Twitch for a CMO role at the NBA, Showtime acquiring a new chief marketer, Brinks Home Security appointing a new CMO, executive-level departures at Reebok and QBE Insurance Group, Kim Hurwitz joining FITE TV and Sainsbury promoting Mark Given to CMO. 

Ex-BBC Marketer Fills Netflix CMO Role

Jackie Lee-Joe is relocating from London to Los Angeles to serve as Netflix’s new CMO, the streaming service announced today

Before her departure, she was CMO at BBC Studios since 2015. The role at Netflix was previously vacated by Kelly Bennett who left in March after 7 years with the company.

“I’m excited to work with her in promoting our brand and original programming in new and creative ways to our members all around the world,” said Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos in a press release announcing Lee-Joe’s new role.

Lee-Joe will be in charge of overseeing Netflix’s marketing budget of $2 billion.

NBA Hires Twitch CMO Kate Jhaveri

The National Basketball Association has hired Kate Jhaveri as chief marketing officer, reports Bloomberg. She’s leaving Twitch after serving two years as CMO for the streaming platform.

Jhaveri will lead global marketing for the NBA while growing its development and esports leagues and enhancing consumer insights. She brings a wealth of digital experience to the role as a veteran of Silicon Valley.

Sainsbury’s Shuffles Marketing Roles With Integration

In the process of integrating the functions of Sainsbury’s supermarket with Sainsbury’s Argos, which was acquired in 2016, Mark Given has been promoted to CMO replacing Sainsbury’s former marketing director Gary Kibble.

Given joined Sainsbury’s as head of brand communications in 2013; Kibble has been with the non-grocery aspect of the business, Sainsbury’s Argos, for the past two years.
In a statement published to Campaign, a spokesperson commented on the integration: “Bringing together the two marketing functions is the natural next step as we bring the businesses and brands closer together.”

Kim Hurwitz Joins FITE TV

Digital streaming platform FITE TV announced the appointment of Kim Hurwitz to the position of CMO today. She is set to lead all marketing and branding for the combat sports streaming service.

Hurwitz recently occupied the position of chief marketing officer at Karate Combat. Prior to that, she served as an entertainment executive for DIRECTV and others.

Showtime Networks Appoints New CMO

Showtime announced today that Michael Engleman joins the company as chief marketing officer.

Formerly serving as CMO for TBS and TNT, Engleman will oversee Showtime’s marketing, advertising and digital media divisions. He succeeds Don Buckley who formerly occupied the role for eight years.

According to a statement from David Nevins, CCO at CBS and chairman, CEO at Showtime, Engleman’s “ability to thrive within the sensory overload of modern-day media on all platforms sets him apart, making him the ideal choice to articulate the next generation of Showtime Networks to all audiences.”

Brinks Home Security Taps New CMO

Chris X. Moloney brings his more than 20 years’ experience in executive marketing positions to his new role as CMO and SVP of e-commerce at Brinks Home Security.

Moloney joins the home security and alarm monitoring company after serving as CMO for Experian, Wells Fargo Advisors, TaxSlayer and Scottrade. His new position will have him focus on supporting the brand’s Authorized Dealers network while growing its e-commerce platform, according to the press release announcing his appointment.

“Brinks Home Security represents one of the top brands in the industry, with a great tradition of excellence and innovation, and is perfectly positioned to be the hub of the connected home and IoT revolution,” said Maloney.

Reebok’s Global Head Marketer Exits To Coca Cola

Reebok’s global head of marketing and brand management, Melanie Boulden, is vacating her role and joining Coca Cola’s Venturing and Emerging Brands (VEB) division as president and GM.

Boulden joined Reebok in April 2018 and served as SVP of global marketing at Crayola prior to that.

Matt Blonder, former Global Head of Digital, will take up her duties by filling the new title of VP, marketing & digital brand commerce.

First CMO Departs QBE

Australia’s largest global insurer QBE Insurance Group is seeking a replacement for departing chief marketing officer Bettina Pidcock, CMO reports. Pidcock joined QBE in 2016 and filled the newly created CMO role in 2017.

According to CMO’s reporting, Sarah Foale will act as CMO while a permanent replacement is sought.

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

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, July 12th. 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 OfficerSharkNinjaNeedham, MA
Vice President, Film MarketingNew York UniversityBrooklyn, NY
Chief, Marketing And Communications OfficerSCRRA/MetrolinkLos Angeles, CA
Senior Vice President of Marketing

Clear Channel OutdoorNew York, NY
Vice President of Marketing, International
RokuSan Jose, CA
Chief Marketing Officer
Founders Brewing Co.Grand Rapids, MI

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

CMO Average Time In Position Falls To 43 Months

Average CMO length in the office is dropping, according to the recent CMO Tenure report by leadership consulting firm Spencer Stuart. The data revealed that a CMO “reign” in 2018 dropped to 43 months from 44 months in the previous year. To compare, an average CMO tenure in 2014 was the highest–48 months, and in 2006, it was as low as 23.2. 

The researchers looked at a total of 94 CMOs, 18 of which were new and found that the overall tenure average is stable. However, they do notice certain important shifts in 2018. 

Per the report, a very low 10 percent of chief marketing officers are minorities, which indicates a decline from 11 in 2017. They also found a decline in minority representation among new CMOs. In fact, none of the 18 new CMOs studied are minorities, compared with 6 of the 21 (29 percent) new CMOs in 2017. At the same time, 36 percent of all CMOs are women, which is a significant increase from 28 percent in 2017. 

More companies appear to be creating C-level marketing positions, as 16 of the 18 new CMOs, or 89 percent are the first at the company to hold the position. That contrasts with 12 of 21—57 percent — in 2017. And the number of chief marketing execs promoted internally is on its rise too, from 10 in 2017 to 13 in 2018. 

A consultant in the Spencer Stuart Marketing Officer Practice, Greg Welch, said on the matter, “There are encouraging signs in this year’s tenure study, particularly the increase in the number of women in this year’s freshman class, but considerably more needs to be done to bring more minority representation into the CMO ranks. The increase in first-time and internally promoted CMOs demonstrate that organizations are investing in developing the next generation of marketing leaders, presenting an opportunity to increase the pipeline of minorities in marketing leadership roles.”

‘Stranger Things Three’ Brand Activations, Like Totally, Bank On ’80s Nostalgia

Stranger Things season three, released on July 4th, broke the Netflix record for most-viewed series in the first four days (40.7 million household accounts watched the new season since its global launch). The streaming giant is also hopeful that fans do more than just sit back and passively watch.

It’s estimated consumers spend $122 billion a year on entertainment-linked merchandise, and Netflix and partner brands want to ride the profitable wave of brightly-colored, questionably-styled-hair, nostalgic fun. 

In fact, Netflix shook on deals with over 75 brands, putting the participating companies, fans and itself in a win-win-win situation, as the streaming service hopes to drive more subscriptions and greater fan excitement through the partnerships. 

The focus of the brand activations is mostly the trendy, bitchin ’80s nostalgia, so let’s look at the most honorable mentions. 

Eggo Waffles 

Eggo waffles producer Kellogg’s has had an ongoing partnership with Netflix and this time around, offered the fans a major ‘80s throwback with their retro ads, promoting the show’s character, Eleven’s, favorite food, which is certainly also a favorite treat from many viewers’ childhood. Maybe we’ll all start bickering with our siblings again to “leggo my Eggo.”

Hasbro Gaming

Hasbro Gaming invited the show fans to put their cell phones down and gather around a table to play retro-inspired games “Dungeons & Dragons” (which the characters play in the first episode of the sci-fi series) and “Trivial Pursuit Back to The 80’s Edition.” The latter incorporates Stranger Things-themed questions in addition to topics like pop culture, music, technology, trends and more.


Schwinn released another limited edition Stranger Things bike, inspired by the “iron horse” of Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin). The retro-bike was sold out almost immediately, we assume to escape the Upside Down. 


Those who missed out on the outrageous footwear designs of the 80’s have the chance to go back in time. “Nike x Stranger Things Air Tailwind 79 OG” collection of  flashy sneakers looks like it’s been pulled from the ’80s time capsule. The sports brand and Netflix collaborated on a special Stranger Things Three sneaker edition so the fans can be “stranger” head to toe.

Funko Pops

The vinyl figurines maker offers to purchase the entire Stranger Things crew, including Jim Hopper dressed to impress for a date, Lucas wearing casual attire, Max ready to go to the mall, Dustin wearing camp clothes, Will the Wise dressed for a Dungeons & Dragons session, Erica looking ready for action, Steve wearing an adorable Ahoy hat and carrying an ice cream cone, Eleven dressed for the mall and Eleven ready for battle. In addition, avid fans can pick up Stranger Things-branded  notebooks, socks, lunch boxes and mugs. 


To celebrate the new season of the show, Lego released a lego set and a retro-poster, which imitates one of the original Stranger Things season one posters, showing Mike, Dustin and Lucas finding Will’s (all drawn as Lego characters, of course). 


Levi’s Fall/Winter 2019 capsule collection pieces are replete with graphics from the Netflix series, including “One summer can change everything” (a central theme for season three) and “Camp Know Where.” Completely casual but so “psych.”

Major League Baseball 

MLB is no stranger to Stranger Things, and during Major Leagues, the show made 13 appearances at ballparks across the country, offering Stranger Things MLB gear and merchandise, as well as an immersive experience of visiting the Upside Down–the extra-dimensional spot where nothing is as it seems. 

Baskin Robbins 

Baskin-Robbins turned its ice-cream shop in Burbank, California into “Scoops Ahoy,” exactly mimicking the shop from Netflix show’s third season. The fans can grab a scoop or two at the store from  July 2 to July 14.


Target’s “You ready to party like it’s 1985?” campaign offers to “go retro with [its] totally rad collections” of “Splashtown, USA,” “Grillin’ & Chillin,'”, “Style to the Max” and “Cool at School” merch. And by the way, Target is another location where “Scoops, Ahoy” ice-cream is available for purchase.


H&M launched a global capsule collection with Stranger Things, complete with retro logo T-shirts and swimwear. What can we say, “one summer can change everything.”


Instant before Instagram filmmaker, Polaroid was certainly in luck with the show, as it presented a perfect opportunity for the brand to play on the1980s nostalgia and re-introduce its retro products and a limited-edition instant camera inspired by Stranger Things, with unique filters and frames that feel totally “stranger.”


Shutterstock also didn’t miss out on a chance to remind us of its library of “strange stock,” as a part of the brand’s “It’s Shutterstock” campaign. The video was designed as a preview for Stranger Things season three, and, of course, made 100 percent of Shutterstock assets. See for yourself. 


Coca-Cola made a bold move with bringing back a once failed new Coke recipe and is on a mission to sell 500,000 limited-edition cans of “New Coke,” as well as a New Coke Throwback Collection of limited-edition apparel.

Burger King

Actually, nothing strange about this one. The Upside Down Whopper is well, what it sounds like it is. It’s  the original Whopper, stuffed with the same ingredients, served upside down in exclusive packaging.


And finally, one of the latest partnerships between Netflix and Microsoft gave birth to Windows 1.0-inspired app that lets users experience the graphical user interface they first publicly released in November 1985. 

Southwest Brings Shark Week To Passengers Via Augmented Reality And In-Flight Experiences

Those who want to “swim with sharks” can do so with an augmented reality experience on Southwest’s social channels and in airports across the country. Accessible via a special page on Southwest’s website, users can download the filter on mobile and choose any of the five most-popular sharks featured in Shark Week programming, and have the sharks swim across their screens. Southwest is urging followers to document and post on their social channels with the hashtag, #SharksTakeFlight.

Inflight Shark Week tie-ins with Southwest include a library of episodes fliers can watch on the airlines’ custom Shark Week television series channel, as well as a never-before-seen episode available for viewing onboard 30 days before its network release.

Guests can enjoy Shark Week experiences while traveling through terminals, too. Beginning July 8, employees in 40 Southwest airports will display branded materials at the gate to interact with, and host mobile and gate games. The company is also launching a Dare to Dive sweepstakes between July 1-July 31 that gives entrants the chance to win a roundtrip trip to Nassau, Bahamas for themselves and three guests, a $3,000 gift card to The Island House, a boutique hotel, and a $375 gift card to Stuart Cove’s for a diving excursion.

This will be Southwest’s sixth consecutive partnership with Shark Week. In 2018, the company designed a Shark Week fleet consisting of five aircraft to be flown in its network of 99 destinations and 4,000 daily flights. Each plane featured custom artwork around a species of shark seen in the show.

Americans’ popular discount airline its marketing strategy has consistently injected its marketing with both popular culture and purpose-driven campaigns that keep its customers returning, as evidenced by its comeback after an accident killed one of its passengers in April 2018. According to British marketing research agency YouGov, just before the accident, 41 percent of customers surveyed said they’d consider flying with Southwest. That number fell to 31 percent one month after the accident, but seven months after the fact, the number was back up to 44 percent. 

Supercuts Chooses Bald Spokesperson In Fresh Approach To Customer Marketing

Supercuts created a cross-channel campaign called, “Take It To Supercuts,” that includes a series of 13 television spots starring actor Michael Kelly (House of Cards) to humorously convey the importance of maintaining your hair from the perspective of a bald person. The spots, ranging from seven to 60 seconds, are part of the value-haircut brand’s larger shift to invest in new marketing approaches and technology to meet its consumers’ needs.

In one of the 30-second spots, Kelly is shown admiring men with hair in different real-life situations. As classical music plays in the background, he narrates: 

“Look at you, laughing and flipping, brushing your days away. Unaware of how lucky you are. Hair, such an under-appreciated gift. Show-offs. Look at all the terrible things you do to it. Disrespect it, sacrifice it, cut it yourself, you leave it unattended, you wear it up. Despite everything you’ve done, there’s still one place that cares more about your hair than you’ll ever know.” After his spiel, he walks by a Supercuts salon and looks through the glass, all while envisioning himself in the salon chair with a full head of hair. The spot concludes with the words, “Don’t take your hair for granted, take it to Supercuts.”

In an added effort to spread brand awareness, Supercuts announced a multi-year partnership with the Major Baseball League (MLB) that included experiential activations at the MLB All-Star game. Outside the Progressive Field on the Gateway Plaza in Cleveland, Ohio, the brand set up Supercuts pop-up salons to give attendees clean-ups, team logo hair painting, limited edition All-Star combs, and five-dollar-off coupons they could use every time a walk-off home run was hit.

The brand also extended its new marketing message to an All-Star-themed social giveaway. Between July 7-July 9, users can enter by posting a photo taken in front of the team logo wall and baseball glove chair at the Progressive Field pop-ups, tagged with #TakeItToSupercuts on Instagram or Twitter. Twenty-one winners are to be selected, with each receiving one autographed item from either Daniel Johnson, Oscar Mercado, or Sean Casey, a total prize value of $100.

Regis Corporation, Supercuts’ parent company, is also finding ways to enhance customers’ digital experience with the introduction of new technology. Customers can now book salon services through Google Search and Google Maps via desktop or mobile.

“Supercuts has always challenged the notion that quality haircuts do not have to come at a high price. While other brands in the category lean on gimmicks or price tactics, we’re laser-focused on delivering the highest quality haircuts, from stylists who benefit from our amazing training and support ecosystem. We’re introducing an awesome new voice for the brand . . .,” said CMO of Regis, James Townsend, who Supercuts recently appointed.

Microsoft Reimagines 1985 Tech With Stranger Things-Inspired PC App

Microsoft delivers a 1985 throwback experience for Stranger Things fans across the country. Created with Netflix, the tech company launched a Windows 1.0-inspired app that lets users experience the graphical user interface they first publicly released in November 1985. Though this version is a much rosier interpretation of the past PC, without the dreaded blue screen of death so common in the ’80s.

The free special edition personal computer (PC) app comes after the show’s third season premiered earlier this month. Inspired by the plot’s “Upside Down,” an alternate dimension that led to the Hawkins town invasion, the app is available on the Windows Store and includes puzzles and retro games that evoke ‘80s nostalgia. 

In addition to the app, Windows is giving users the chance to totally transform their desktops with PC wallpapers that feature themes of the show’s cast and graphics. 

Microsoft is rounding out the Stranger Things partnership with another experiential element—workshop pop-ups at Microsoft Stores called “Camp Know Where.” Here, fans can learn to make a Stranger Things mini-movies featuring mixed reality and 3D with Microsoft technology, or code a game with MakeCode Arcade. Users can also enter to win an Xbox One X Console when they play new “Stranger Things 3: The Game” at local Microsoft stores. 

The partnership with Microsoft highlights Netflix’s vast marketing strategy to promote Stranger Things 3 and is one of many activations that incorporates the show’s throwback theme. Noteworthy tie-ins include Burger King and Coca-Cola’s creation of the Upside Down WHOPPER and Baskin-Robbins’ transformation of its Burbank store into the show’s ice cream shop, Scoops Ahoy. The Chicago Cubs launched a Snapchat augmented-reality (AR) filter that turns Wrigley Stadium into the Upside Down. Nike even got in on ‘80s fever, launching a collection of apparel that pays homage to the show. 

British Cycling Brand Le Col Uses Digital Out Of Home Ads To Launch Tour De France Challenge

Ahead of the 115th Tour de France race, British cycling brand Le Col launched an interactive digital out-of-home (DOOH) campaign called, “Le Col Tour Strava Challenge” to encourage people to get out on their bikes. 

A DOOH screen placed in several UK counties ranks local cyclists based on the rides they log via workout app Strava. Over the course of three weeks, rankings are broken down by location with the DOOH ad showing data in real-time to see which regions ride the most. 

Just two days after the multichannel campaign launched, over a million rides have been logged consisting of more than 500,000 kilometers.

Le Col announced the challenge on their website and social media, encouraging riders to add the hashtag #LeColChallenge to their Instagram posts with plans to announce one winner on each platform every day. Additionally, between July 6-July 28, contestants who cover over 115 kilometers will earn a £50 ($65 USD) Le Col reward, and cyclists who complete one full 115-kilometer ride are entered to win £2,000 ($2,500 USD) worth a premium Le Col kit.

“Cycling brings out the competitive nature in people, whether it’s going faster or further than the riders you meet on the road. That’s why we wanted to give people a new way to interact with the stats from their ride. Over the past year, over 1.2 million cyclists have signed up to our Strava Challenges, so the Tour Challenge, along with our live billboards, will prove once and for all who the best and most active cyclists in the country are,” said Le Col founder and former professional cyclist Yanto Barker.

The brand is known for hosting challenges in partnership with Strava, displayed by the #LeColChallenge hashtag. To date, 3,629 photos on Instagram have been posted using the hashtag. Earlier this year, the brand gave riders similar prize incentives with a 100-kilometer and 200-kilometer international challenge that ultimately attracted 138,252 participants comprised of a whopping 44,875,325 kilometers traveled.

As Connected Television Viewership Surges, Marketers Urged To Create Personalized, Measurable Ads

Impressions served on connected television (CTV) platforms increased from 17 percent in 2017 to 28 percent, according to a report from Campaign Insight and Innovid, “2018 Global Video Benchmarks.”

The study provides video key performance indicators (KPIs) to explore the future of television and video advertising as consumers shift their viewing habits to CTV. The insights are based on a sample representing about one-third of all US video impressions, namely every campaign that ran with Innovid from January 1-December 31 2018, across over 340 top global companies.

To date, over 55 percent of the US population owns a CTV device, and the figure is expected to reach 60.1 percent by 2022. The data suggests that CTV is experiencing ongoing growth with broadcasters at the helm, and digital marketing dollars are following. In 2018, 68 percent of all campaigns contained CTV, and 63 percent of broadcaster impressions were served on CTV. Similarly, broadcasters comprised 83 percent of all CTV campaigns, indicating that consumers are watching traditional television content on connected devices. 

The data gives advertisers good reason to realign budget and strategy to engage with consumers on CTV. As customers’ desires for highly personalized content and experiences rise, marketers are utilizing data-driven dynamic videos that are 10 seconds in length—which the report found jumped from five percent in 2017 to 11 percent in 2018 across social and programmatic channels via mobile.

“As CTV/OTT becomes more commonplace, so do consumer expectations around the relevancy and personalization of advertising. Marketers would be well-served to seize the opportunities available in this still nascent market to deliver video advertising that is more engaging, more personalized and more measurable,” said Alan Wolk, co-founder and lead analyst, TV[R]EV.

Online Ad Spend To Exceed Half Of Global Ad Expenditure By 2021, Fueled By Small Business

Online advertising is expected to reach 52 percent of global ad spend in 2021, according to Zenith’s June 2019 Advertising Expenditure Forecast which covers 84 markets. That growth, up 47 percent this year and 44 percent in 2018, is reported to be largely the result of small, local business utilizing Google and Facebook self-serve ad tools to implement highly targeted campaigns that manage themselves. Larger brands are investing heavily in online advertising, yet the majority continue to commit their budgets to traditional media.

Despite the prediction that internet advertising will exceed half of the global ad expenditure, Zenith notes that the growth rate is falling quickly as the internet ad market matures. Online ad spend is only expected to see 12 percent growth for 2019 as a whole, compared to 17 percent growth in 2018. As internet ad markets begin to converge with the growth rate of the market as a whole, internet growth spend will likely fall to nine percent YoY by 2021, the data suggests.

Fueling the growth in internet ad spend is online video and social media, which are expected to grow at 18 percent and 17 percent, respectively, in 2021. Zenith attributes these channels’ success to ongoing technological advancements in ad targeting and delivery, and smartphone technology. 

A TVSquared study found that direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are seeing an uplift in television ad response, however, Zenith reports that traditional television ad revenues will shrink every year from now until 2021, declining from $184 billion in 2018 to $180 billion in 2021.

“TV still remains an indispensable part of most advertisers plans and campaigns. We expect advertisers to continue spending higher portions of their budget in digital as time goes on. As traditional TV’s reach is falling, you can’t get the same effects,” said Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at Zenith.

Comparatively, other forms of traditional media are growing at more steady rates. Out-of-home advertisers are increasing their digital display networks thereby contributing to four percent annual growth in their revenues. Meanwhile, radio is increasing its ad revenue by one percent annually while cinema is growing at 12 percent a year. 

“Honestly, Insights Can Only Get You So Far” Boiler Room’s Stephen Mai On Building The Netflix Of The Underground

A sleepy, Victorian warehouse isn’t the first place you’d associate with one of the most exciting brands in streaming, but it’s in this little corner of Hackney, East London that Boiler Room calls home.

Emerging in 2010, Boiler Room’s unique take on music broadcasting has fuelled rapid growth. Starting life as a live stream recorded from a webcam duct-taped to the wall of a disused boiler room, the company is now a global phenomenon. Today, Boiler Room hosts shows and performances from over 100 cities worldwide; from Stockholm to Shanghai, its regular programming reaching over 157 million people a month.

In recent years, the company has begun to diversify its offering and search out new audiences outside of music. This culminated last year with the launch of 4:3; Boiler Room’s new platform for underground film and documentary, which is already hailed as the “Netflix for the underground.”

I spoke with Stephen Mai, the company’s chief content officer and CMO, about Boiler Room’s rapidly developing audience, the role of insights in streaming and how his company is taking the niche mainstream.

Can you give us a quick history of Boiler Room?

Boiler Room started off as just a webcam where we recorded people DJing in a literal boiler room. At the time, our founder Blaise [Bellville] never anticipated that people would even be into watching that kind of thing.

Over time, by throwing more parties, working with different acts and creating a cultural style through our broadcasts, we’ve been able to build the brand. Because we tapped into a subculture and the underground, we can explore a whole range of different subjects and topics. After all, if you think about it, music has been the bedrock to a lot of youth culture; [but it can also] be fashion, activism or other [cultural] touchpoints.

How did you become involved with Boiler Room?

I’ve built a career on transforming media brands and using emerging content and marketing in a way that is impactful and effective. Before Boiler Room, I worked with LadBible–where the challenge was to realign the brand into one that was more commercially viable. I made it my mission to transform the brand into one that championed social change. In the two years I was there, I managed a few massive campaigns that changed the perception of the brand. The fact that we went from a brand that made most media agencies say “hmm I don’t know” into one that won eight Cannes Lions is absurd when you think about it.

Boiler Room was a very different challenge. It already had a very established brand and audience before I came over. The challenge here is how we can use our brand to drive counter-narratives around new verticals and bridge the gap between reality and digital. Boiler Room can influence culture and that really excites me.

Boiler Room is one of the more unique players in the streaming market. In your opinion, what is the thing that makes you stand out? 

A lot of people describe us as a new MTV, but we see ourselves as more of a cultural institution like an art gallery or a museum. The music we cover is essentially “the art,” but it also allows us to explore the surrounding narratives and culture. As a brand, we’ve got the freedom to follow our own path when it comes to what we can and can’t do.

How would you describe the relationship between Boiler Room and its audience right now?

In terms of our audience, it’s my ambition to build a cultural space that exists wherever they are. Rather than trying to convert them into website clicks, we’re more interested in trying to exist in their world and in their culture. In many ways, we see ourselves more like a public service broadcaster. We want to understand what captures the interests of young people and create a space where that kind of stuff happens [more organically].

You’ve mentioned that having a profound understanding of your audience underpins a lot of what Boiler Room does. As a marketer, how do you go about getting those insights?

I’m quite privileged in the sense that as a marketing team we’re able to interact with our audience in a number of different ways. We throw over 400 events a year; so, we’re probably one of the few brands out there who get to see our audience in real life on a regular basis. We have thousands of kids who RSVP to our parties every year. We can literally see trends in music, fashion and culture as they unfold in all these different cities. It’s great to be able to use that as inspiration and as a catalyst for our programming.

Beyond this, we have also come up with a sophisticated way of using the insights we derive from our social channels and website data. We put a lot of effort into understanding our audience’s behavior online and their interests. It allows us to diversify our offering, which is becoming more and more important as we move into the world of original content. As we’ve expanded away from electronic music, we’ve started to see specific tribes develop within our audience. The next step is using digital analytics to track their behavior, discover what they’re into and service them better.

How important are analytics in informing and shaping the creative side of Boiler Room?

Honestly, insights can only take you so far. It helps that you have insights for inspiration, but it’s much more important to have some of the best music creators in the world sitting in the office. Our curators are in touch with what’s happening in the music world. They all put on nights, manage artists on the side and are firmly into the idea of creating and pushing the next big thing.

The launch of our 4:3 channel is an interesting example of how we’ve learned from our audience and combined it with a curator who knows their stuff. We’ve created a platform that’s driven by the idea of hyper-curating content that is super leftfield. A lot of people would ask if young people are really into the idea of high art and long-form cultural documentaries, but our insights told us that they are very culturally curious. 

These were the people going to art galleries. We knew that if we could do something with a tone of voice that has a genuine love for the subject, then our audience would respond. In month one, we managed to gain 10 million views alone and have since managed to achieve a scale that most people would think is unbelievable. It goes to show, even if something might not seem the right fit on the surface, there’s usually an audience out there somewhere. You’ve just got to look hard enough.

There’s an obvious hazard here, though. If you’re committed to only covering niche topics, aren’t you in danger of running out of an audience?

I’m not sure actually. Both the mainstream and the underground can exist simultaneously on the same channel. A lot of people would describe our output as “niche,” but we’ve just hit 5 million followers on our social channels. Our ecosystem allows both groups to co-exist. We still have that cultural elite; the creators who we work with quite closely, but we can also accommodate a much wider audience. It’s like electronic music in a way; what was once a niche scene has become mainstream and globally recognized.

The evolution of content distribution has led us to a place where you’ve got things that were once considered niche reaching massive worldwide audiences. Take Game of Thrones for example. A few years back, a show like that would’ve struggled to find an audience because executives would’ve deemed the topic as having no chance of permeating the mainstream. Now though, these new channels exist, allowing us to tell really strong stories and become part of mainstream culture. It’s this philosophy that has allowed a brand like us to scale very, very quickly.

So, do you think insights are better used to inform a strategy rather than shaping executions?

Yes. One of the things I often tell marketers is that while a certain subject might seem like it’s not relatable, it’s our job to search out that hook that connects a piece of content with the people who love it.

Our Facebook strategy is a great example. We have 2.8 million followers, and as you can imagine, it would be impossible to come up with one piece of content that would please everyone. We try to pull out an aspect of the story that feels as relatable as possible. We’ve found that if you approach content distribution like this, then it doesn’t matter if the subject is niche. If the story is interesting then it will no doubt feel relevant to someone, and that’s the crux of what “mainstream” is.