Back To School Marketing Transcends Deals; Promote Self-Expression, Cause Marketing

Back to school can be an exciting or stressful time, especially with so much to do and buy. While plenty of brands woo budget-conscious parents and students with discounts, many others attempt to stand out by focusing on how consumers can showcase their individual tastes while doing good for others.

As long as there have been schools, children and teens have concerned themselves with how they will be perceived by their classmates. Instead of trying to look the same as everyone else, however, Gen Z consumers are highly focused on individuality that transcends brand names and gender norms.

According to a 2019 Barnes & Noble College Insights study, 86 percent of Gen Z students believe people “should have the freedom to be whoever they want.” That doesn’t mean that young consumers aren’t looking to one another for inspiration, however, especially when it comes to style.

Social Campaigns Lean On Influencers and Cross Promotions to Promote Individuality

Recently, influencer Piper Rockell modeled several Fashion Nova outfits on Instagram to her two million followers, while Hot Topic partnered with musician Yungblud to reach an edgier crowd.

For its most recent back to school campaign, teen apparel brand Hollister’s partnered with influencer Emma Chamberlain. The teen filmed a low-budget, behind the scenes video of a photo shoot for the brand in which she picked her own outfits to model. Hollister’s delivery was the same style as her popular YouTube videos, making the campaign feel like a natural extension of her own brand. The young star also partnered with Romwe for back to school fashions.

In a more polished example, Macy’s, the exclusive sponsor of the original Snapchat show The Dead Girls Detective Agency, integrated “swipe up to shop” ads, brand mentions and product placements during the show. The legacy department store also created the “All Brand New Challenge” for musical video app TikTock. Mobile users were invited to record videos and share their back to school style.

Mobile Shopping Becomes the Norm

Brands are turning to mobile for back to school campaigns, and for good reason. According to AdColony, 70 percent of online shoppers do so on a smartphone. Advertising is influential, respondents admitted. Just over half (53 percent) said they have purchased something on their mobile device directly from an ad. Seventy-five percent said they would purchase something on their mobile device directly from an ad if the product was relevant to them.

Price is the most important consideration when choosing where to shop for back to school among consumers, according to Deloitte’s 2019 Back to School Shopping report. Even so, 31 percent said they planned to donate an average of $51 in school supplies for the less fortunate.

Socially Conscious Campaigns Go Mainstream

According to MNI Targeted Media, 50 percent of Gen Z consumers state that knowing a brand is socially conscious influences purchase decisions. And brands are listening and acting. 

Zappos and Amazon partnered with basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal to launch school supply drives across the U.S. that benefit Communities in Schools (CIS), a program that provides school supplies to low-income students.

Quaker Chewy launched a cause marketing campaign with and actor Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) to help cover classroom costs that are largely assumed by teachers. The organization will donate $1 for every Chew granola bar UPC code entered on its microsite, up to $250,000.

Rice Krispies Treats partnered with the National Federation of the Blind to add Braille stickers and re-recordable audio boxes to create accessible Love Notes in the form of Braille stickers and re-recordable audio boxes. Sensory Love Notes come in a pack with four heart-shaped stickers, each with a different texture designed for autistic children who enjoy tactile experiences.

Families with K-12 students plan to spend an average of $696.70 on back-to-school shopping in 2019, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), compared to $684.79 last year. NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay noted that it’s not parents who are spending, either.

“Members of Generation Z are clearly becoming more involved with back-to-school purchasing decisions rather than leaving the choices up to mom and dad,” Shay said. “Over the years, both teens and pre-teens are spending more of their own money on back-to-school items.”

Doritos Sheds Logo In New Campaign Targeting Gen Z

Doritos is launching a campaign called, “Another Level,” that will remove its iconic triangle logo from all advertisement and social media content and will be replaced by content crowdsourced from fans who share what “Another Level” means to them. The campaign includes digital ad buys that target Gen Z including partnerships with NTRWK and Uproxx, making it Doritos’ largest digital investment for a brand equity campaign.

To launch the anti-ad campaign, Doritos created a 60-second video spot that features flashing imagery and video of possible Gen Z interpretations of the Doritos logo.

The spot debuts on August 26, the night of the MTV Video Music Awards, followed tomorrow by spots on national television. “Another Level” will extend to out-of-home (OOH) ads that feature the words, “An ad without a logo? That’s another level.” On the campaign launch day, Doritos updated its Twitter bio to:

“The account for a chip so iconic, We don’t need to name it. Taste it. Wipe the dust on your street clothes, Rhymes with ‘I need those’ Pass the _____.”

The campaign, informed by a study that Doritos conducted across generations, is part of the brand’s ongoing attempt to strengthen Gen Z appeal and its play on young snackers’ love for self expression. The brand was named one of Gen Z’s favorite brands in a Morning Consult survey.

“A couple of years ago we really started to understand that Gen Z was different and that self expression and being authentic was so much more important [to them]. That translated into this philosophy and mantra around ‘Another Level.’ We help them take what they love to the next level” by helping to promote their self expression via such venues as social media,” Rachel Ferdinando, senior vice president of core brands for Frito-Lay, told Marketing Daily.

Doritos’ anti-ad initiative follows a string of recent marketing efforts meant to attract Gen Z. Ahead of the Spider-Man: Far From Home release, the brand announced a global campaign inspired by the movie that included an online game for fans called “Spidey-Sense Challenge.” More recently, Doritos re-launched its “Spark The Beat” challenge, which encouraged vocalists and beat makers to create their version of a song from rapper Lil Baby. Winners received $100,000 and an in-studio session with the singer. 

Injustices Of Women Worldwide Spotlighted In ActionAid UK Interactive Maze

ActionAid is building an interactive maze in London to illustrate the injustices women and girls affected by violence face. The maze is in support of the brand’s “Justice for Women” campaign that seeks to support global campaigners who are fighting to fix the broken legal systems that protect abusers and will appear following Women’s Equality Day on August 26.

Visitors are encouraged to walk through the maze to engage with the realities for women when they attempt to seek justice for violence perpetrated against them. The maze will feature statistics and case studies that reflect the obstacles women face—such as unaffordable legal costs, outdated laws and misogynistic beliefs—brought to life through mirrors, doors and dead ends. The “Maze of Injustice” will pop up in front of Marble Arch on August 29 for five hours.

The purpose-driven campaign is partly based on a survey conducted by ActionAid that revealed more than two-thirds of women who have been sexually harassed did not report it to the police. The figure is followed by 50 percent who didn’t report it because they believed it “would be pointless.” Additionally, ActionAid found that 57 percent of women involved in a court proceeding that was a negative experience felt they were blamed for the incident.

“The maze of injustice may shock, but we wanted to show the very real barriers women face when accessing justice for crimes committed against them. Women around the world are so often cheated by the justice system–abusers are protected while survivors are punished,” said Jean Mclean, deputy director media, campaigns and public engagement at ActionAid UK.

ActionAid UK is one branch of ActionAid, a non-governmental justice federation whose aim is to achieve social justice, gender equality and poverty eradication worldwide. 

Reebok Launches Limited Edition Club C Sneaker Via Voice-Enabled Devices

Reebok announced that it will be releasing its “Crystal Coated” Club C sneakers via a new device Skill (voice feature) on virtual assistants Alexa and Google Home. Part of the brand’s “Sport The Unexpected” global campaign, the voice-enabled initiative will allow Alexa and Google Home owners to enter to win one of two editions of the limited-edition shoes. 

Fans can start the Reebok Club C experience with a prompt such as, “Hey Google, open Reebok Sneaker Drop.” To enter the giveaway, they must return to their Alexa or Google Home on September 7 between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Eastern Time and say, “Hey Google, ask Reebok Sneaker Drop if I won.” Then, they need to reveal the password provided by the brand: “Get my Club C’s.” Reebok is awarding the sneakers, each pair uniquely numbered, to 50 winners.

The unconventional sneaker drop follows Reebok’s recent approach to a new generation of marketing. Earlier this year, the brand kicked off its “Sport The Unexpected,” a fully integrated campaign across digital, social and traditional platforms, with a peculiar and almost comedic television spot that takes place at the scene of a street ball game. Further conveying its commitment to defying conventions, Reebok partnered with Cardi B on a short film that featured a creative concept similar to the aforementioned and inspired the recent voice-enabled sneaker drop.

“Reebok has been its most successful when we’ve been bold and provocative–when we’ve had a strong perspective on culture and embraced being daring and different. If you look at the marketing coming from our industry over the years, it looks similar. With this campaign, we’re breaking convention and offering an alternative point of view on sport and life. We want consumers to know there is an alternative in the category. We want them to be proud to sport the unexpected,” Reebok’s global head of marketing and brand management, Melanie Boulden, said about the campaign.

Brands Reveal How Nostalgia Marketing Hinges On Connection, Not Just Past References

With all the nostalgia marketing campaigns today, you’d think you woke up back in the 80s or 90s. This pull on our childhood heartstrings is frequently employed by legacy brands with a vast marketing history. Meanwhile, emerging brands create innovative ways to form an emotional bond with consumers through partnerships and creative campaigns, even if they weren’t technically a part of the “good old days.”

Regardless of how a brand approaches nostalgia marketing, success hinges on more than a reminder of the past. 

A 2019 study published in The International Journal of Research in Marketing asserts that nostalgia, “the creation of enchantment,” is achieved by “rendering the ordinary into something special.” The authors found three ways of evoking a feeling of enchantment: re-instantiation, re-enactment and re-appropriation.

Re-instantiation is a symbolic retrojection into a past, creating “throwback” experiences that remind us of pleasant memories. Last August, streaming platform VRV launched a 90’s-themed experiential marketing campaign called “Childhooding Zone” that invited guests to watch Nickelodeon programming while eating breakfast cereal.

The second method observed in the study is re-enactment—”reflexively informing the present with past-themed brands and practices.” A number of legacy CPG brands including Doritos and Coca-Cola have relaunched discontinued packaging or products that appeal to our younger selves.

One recent example is Foot Locker. In August the company launched a nostalgia-fueled digital campaign called “We Live Sneakers” that celebrates the sneakerhead culture and the evolution of Nike’s “Swoosh” logo. 

The campaign highlights significant moments in a sneakerhead’s life from waking up and deciding which shoes to wear to getting married or having a significant other who doesn’t understand their love. Each moment features a pair of sneakers from Foot Locker’s exclusive “Evolution of the Swoosh” collection as modeled by athletes, musicians and influencers.

“We Live Sneakers” was designed to demonstrate “what it really means to be a sneakerhead and what that emotional connection looks like,” Patrick Walsh, vice president of marketing at Foot Locker told AList.

“The younger members of the sneaker community might not be as familiar with the various changes the swoosh has undergone over the years, so the time was now to honor Nike’s legacy with this unique ‘Evolution of the Swoosh’ collection,” said Walsh, adding that Foot Locker is connected to many of life’s milestones, sneakerhead or not. “When consumers walk into a Foot Locker, they can’t help but think back to the pair of sneakers they bought before their first day of high school or the kicks they wore to prom. The bond they have formed with Foot Locker and their favorite sneakers create a feeling of nostalgia.”

The third “route of enchantment” noted in the study was through re-appropriation, defined as “ludic re-interpretation of the past.”

PepsiCo’s newly acquired sparkling water brand SodaStream has been around since 1903 so it has plenty to be nostalgic about. Rather than “throwback” to a product from the 90s, however, the company imagined one to coincide with the Beverly Hills 90210 reboot, BH90210.

On August 5, SodaStream partnered with Beverly Hills 90210 star Tori Spelling to release a transparent carbonation machine. The new product was designed to look like clear and neon landline phones that were popular in the 90s.

“We created the ‘90s themed Tori machines to celebrate this decade while it’s having a resurgence,” Matti Yahav, chief marketing officer at SodaStream told AList. “The machine alone encompassed the aesthetic and the vibe of the decade, but we wanted to pull in more 90’s culture to create a fuller, more nostalgic experience.”

Yahav says the machines sold out “almost instantly” and that Spelling’s involvement was two-fold.

“As an icon of the ‘90s and an advocate for hydration and the reduction of single-use plastic, Tori Spelling was the obvious choice,” Yahav said. “With our machine, we wanted to tap into the fond memories people have of the ’90 while also making a statement. Our goal is to reduce single-use plastic waste, and our message with this product was to remind consumers that not all trends should make a comeback.”

A more sweeping nostalgia for the 80s is also experiencing a surge thanks, in part, to the Netflix series Stranger Things. While the show is based in a fictional town, it stirs memories of the decade through toys, music, fashion and of course, brands. The story’s setting allows audiences to reminisce about what they were doing and which products they were using during that time. 

Eggo waffles, the character Eleven’s favorite food, experienced a bump in visibility that inspired an official brand partnership beginning with Season Two. The symbiotic relationship continued into Season Three with a series of retro ads and the release of a limited-edition 1985 Eggo box in stores.

Nostalgia marketing, like many trends, will inspire brands to follow suit but fond memories go both ways—while consumers are happy to recall the past, they can also be protective of it.

When Warner Bros. released Ready Player One movie posters that paid homage to classic films, many fans said they felt insulted instead of nostalgic. Comparing a new film to their favorites, they complained, was seen as a kind of sacrilege. Others defended the campaign and its celebration of pop culture.

As brands seek to inspire enchantment among consumers, Yahav warns that nostalgia marketing is more than “just referencing something from the past.”

“It’s gifting consumers the feeling of joy, love or fun they once had,” he said. “The product is a catalyst to remind people of that time and the wonderful experience they once had with or around the product.”

LinkedIn’s New Insights Hub Provides Deeper Details For Marketers

This week, LinkedIn publishes new people, industry and advertising insights for marketers, YouTube responds to The Federal Trade Commission and considers removing targeted ads from videos that children are likely to watch, Twitter acquires the Lightwell team to improve “Conversations” on the platform and Pew Research Center survey finds that smartphone and social media users have broader social networks.

LinkedIn updates “Success Hub

This week, the professional social media platform added a new centralized hub for actionable marketing insights. 

Why it matters: According to LinkedIn, the initiative aims to provide detailed information on specific audiences and verticals, making it easier to create and execute data-driven strategies.  

The details: LinkedIn’s “Success Hub” marketing data and insights platform now offers “People’s Insights” to help marketers better understand who their audience is, where they are from and what they engage with. 

“Industry Insights” section provides information about key insights, trends and research within the industry, and can be used to better the development of marketing strategy. 

And last, but not least, “Advertising Insights” provides a more robust understanding of the makeup/behaviors of audiences, the context of industry and the most recommendable practices for advertising on the platform.  

YouTube To End Targeted Advertisements On Kids’ Content 

This week, Bloomberg reported that the video sharing company is finalizing plans to stop targeted ads on videos for children. 

Why it matters: Considering that targeted, or “behavioral” ads are made possible from collecting information about the user, Children’s Online Privacy Act (COPPA) bars companies from serving them to children under 13 without parental permission. This means that brands advertising on YouTube will lose the opportunity to place ads on certain clips. 

The details: The Federal Trade Commission is currently investigating whether YouTube breached COPPA. The settlement between YouTube and The Federal Trade Commission has been reached, however, the terms are yet to be disclosed. 

According to Bloomberg, we don’t know how this targeting ban would be delivered with the thousands of video channels with whom YouTube splits ad sales. It’s also not clear how YouTube would distinguish which videos are “directed at children” and which aren’t.

Twitter Employs The Team Behind Lightwell To Improve “Conversations” 

Twitter has welcomed the team from Lightwell, a startup producer of developer tools to build interactive, narrative apps. 

Why it matters: Twitter is a challenge when it comes to following conversations, and that’s made it hards for brands looking to build buzz around user engagement. This is one potential way to solve the challenge.

The details: A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the employment of the team to TechCrunch saying, “We are excited to welcome Suzanne and her team to Twitter to help drive forward the important work we are doing to serve the public conversation.” 

Lightwell launched in 2012 as Hullabalu, producing original-content interactive children’s stories for smart devices.

Pew Research: “Smartphone And Social Media Users Have Broader Social Networks”

A Pew Research Center survey of adults in 11 nations across four regions around the world examined whether or not smartphones and social media platforms are impacting social interactions between users in developing economies. 

Why it matters: The survey found that smartphone owners, especially social media users, are more exposed to interacting with people who have different backgrounds. They are also more connected with their online friends, which means they can discuss and share news about their favorite products with more people from various backgrounds, age groups and interests. 

The details: Per Pew Research, “people with smartphones are much more likely to engage in activities on their phones than people with less sophisticated devices–even if the activity itself is quite simple. 

For example, people with smartphones are more likely than those with feature or basic phones to send text messages in each of the 11 countries surveyed, even though the activity is technically feasible from all mobile phones. And, although buying and selling goods may be feasible from a basic phone, people with smartphones are much more likely to have participated in these commercial activities than those with other types of devices.”

Facebook Is Testing Cryptocurrency For WhatsApp In India 

According to Bloomberg, Facebook is planning to make a cryptocurrency that will allow money transfers on WhatsApp, with the main focus on the remittances market in India.

Why it matters: The initiative makes sense, as WhatsApp is wildly popular in India, with more than 200 million users. Per World Bank, India leads the world in remittances with people sending $69 billion home to India in 2017 alone. 

The details: The company is reportedly working on a stablecoin, which is a type of digital currency pegged to the U.S. dollar–to minimize volatility. However, at this time, Facebook is not close to releasing the coin, because the strategy hasn’t been developed yet, including a plan for custody assets or regular currencies that would be held to protect the value of the stablecoin.

“Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology,” a company spokesman said in a statement for Bloomberg. “This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.”

Facebook Is On A Hunt For Journalists For Curated News Content 

Facebook again is hiring a team of journalists and editors to work on dedicated News Tab, The New York Times reports, back-pedaling on a previous shift away from a news content emphasis.

Why it matters: The company’s goal is to employ journalists who would curate the most recent, credible and relevant news stories, which are still the main driveforce for Facebook use. Thus, according to Pew Research, 45 percent of Americans identify Facebook as the main news source. 

The details: The job posting is already available on Facebook Careers page. And the job description reads, “We are building a new surface for news that will give more visibility to the journalism of news publishers. We’re looking for experienced journalists to help identify the top stories from news organizations. The ideal candidate will have sound news judgment, and a passion for breaking news. You should have the proven ability to work quickly under pressure, to make smart news decisions, and to work collaboratively with both news partners and global colleagues. 

This isn’t the first time Facebook has employed journalists. The company notably staffed journalists to curate its’ Trending section prior to shifting to an algorithm-based curation before ultimately shutting down the feature.

LinkedIn Explains How It Eliminates Fakes And Spammers

The company shared a blog post, outlining its efforts to proactively find and remove fake accounts from the platform. 

Why it matters: The effort is necessary as fake accounts on social media increase inefficiency in media spend and often jeopardise brands’ reputation. 

The details: According to the company, between January and June of this year, LinkedIn team prevented 19.5 million fake accounts from being created at registration, meaning that about 95 percent were stopped automatically. Two million fake accounts were restricted before members reported them and 67,000 were restricted after being reported. Also, 98 percent of all fake accounts we prevented or took down with the help of automated defenses, including AI and machine learning. 

TikTok Introduces Sponsored “Hashtag Challenge” For In-App Shopping 

The video sharing company introduces a new feature that allows in-app shopping for products associated with sponsored “Hashtag Challenge.”

Why it matters: The sponsored challenges, targeted mostly at Gen Z’ers, are marketing campaigns within which users are encouraged to post videos of them using a product, such as showing off their favorite clothes from Uniqlo or their moves to Guacamole Song in a challenge from Chipotle, making the experience more interactive and memorable. With the new eCommerce feature, called “Hashtag Challenge Plus,” a shoppable option is added to the hashtag and TikTok users can conveniently make in-app purchases. 

The details: Kroger was the first brand to give the new feature a try, Adweek reported. The company partnered with several TikTok influencers, including Joey Klaasen, Cosette Rinab, Mia Finney and Victoria Bachlet and asked TikTok users to share videos of their dorm makeovers using the hashtag #TransformUrDorm. The campaign resulted in around 477 million views across hundreds of videos. 

TikTok Download Rates Are High And Growing 

An app download report from Sensor Tower showed that TikTok download numbers are stable and growing. 

Why it matters: The rankings look promising, however, it is important to remember the difference between downloads and active users. The report on TikTok’s unique users, issued earlier in 2019 suggested that TikTok had around 26 million monthly active US users. 

The details: According to the July app download report, TikTok ranks second in overall downloads (losing only to Facebook) and Google downloads and leads App Store downloads ranking. 

Facebook Lets Users See And Control The Data That Apps And Websites Share With The Social Media Platform 

Facebook shared a blog post introducing “Off-Facebook Activity,” a new way to view and control off-Facebook activity. 

Why it matters: As explained by Facebook, “Many apps and websites are free because they’re supported by online advertising. And to reach people who are more likely to care about what they are selling, businesses often share data about people’s interactions on their websites with ad platforms and other services. This is how much of the internet works, but given that the average person with a smartphone has more than 80 apps and uses about 40 of them every month, it can be really difficult for people to keep track of who has information about them and what it’s used for.”

The details: With “Off-Facebook Activity,” the users will be able to see a summary of the information other apps and websites have sent Facebook through Facebook’s online business tools (Facebook Pixel or Facebook Login), choose to disconnect this information from their account and

choose to disconnect future off-Facebook activity from their account. This can be done for all of off-Facebook activity, or for specific apps and websites only.

Reddit Brings Live-Streaming To The Platform 

Reddit joins  Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Snapchat and offers live-streaming capacity to the platform, but with a twist.  

Why it matters: In the past few years live-streaming became one of the most crucial parts of social media experience, so the offering is great news for marketers creating content on Reddit because it opens more creative opportunities for video content creation. 

The details: “Starting today until 5PM PT, and from 9AM-5PM PT through Friday, redditors around the world will be able to create live broadcasts. In true Reddit fashion, voting will determine the top broadcast, and you can explore different broadcasts by swiping or clicking right or left. As you move further from the top broadcast, the broadcasts you see will be increasingly more random, so we encourage you to explore and vote,” the company said in a blog post

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, August 23rd. 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

Auto Trader Experiments With First Contactless Car Vending Machine In UK

Auto Trader, the digital marketplace for used and new cars, debuted the UK’s first contactless car vending machine in London’s Spitalfields Market. The experiment comes after 89 percent of British consumers said price haggling is embarrassing and uncomfortable in a study conducted by the brand. The bespoke car dispenser is meant to raise awareness of Auto Trader’s transparent price offering and help buyers skip the dreaded price negotiation process.

The buy-and-go installation allows purchases up to £21,000 (about $26,000) via a custom-made point of sale system, key release function and integrated payment and door release mechanic. Inside the vending machine to start is a new Renault Zoe, which, according to Auto Trader, is one of the most searched for electric cars in the UK with 463,277 searches in the past month. Auto Trader priced the car at £16,000, a figure that has already been approved by the dealer. The no-strings-attached price tag reflects 68 percent of Brits’ belief that if cars were sold online, pricing would have to be clearer and more consistent, per the brand study. It took six engineers and three months to design and build the car vending machine.

“We’re showcasing a real-life version on what can be found on Auto Trader; brand new cars at transparent pre-haggled prices that you can drive away today. The only difference is that this Renault Zoe can be purchased at the touch of a card, testing London car buyers’ appetite for electric cars as well as a more instant purchasing future,” said an Auto Trader spokesperson.

Auto Trader’s car dispenser experiment follows the brand’s multi-million-pound integrated campaign in June this year that lived across television, radio, broadcast video-on-demand (BVOD) and paid social and display ads through July. The campaign’s 30-second video spot shows a mob of parrots obnoxiously squawking to mimic the conflicting opinions buyers face from friends, family and media when searching for a car. The campaign, called “Silence The Squawk,” was estimated to be seen or heard a total of 541 million times by about 74 percent of the UK’s adult population, according to a press release.

Mercedes-Benz Creates AR-Enabled Tennis Lessons For Guests At US Open

Mercedes-Benz is launching an interactive consumer exhibition at this year’s US Open featuring a voice-activated, augmented reality (AR) tennis lesson from 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens as she competes in real life on the court. The activation was modeled after the tennis pro’s winning game.

To develop the AR experience, Mercedes-Benz recorded Stephens’ 2017 US Open Champion game in front of a green screen as an alpha-channel enabled video to create the illusion of mimicking her real-life motions. The captured footage of the tennis player’s style and play was then translated into AR features without the need for mobile device target or facial recognition.

Upon approaching the tennis court backdrop, guests can activate the game by verbally asking, “Hey Mercedes, teach me to play like Sloane.” In response, she will appear. The fully immersive court side will give visitors a personalized one-on-one tennis lesson, with an untethered racquet in hand, from Stephens.

Visitors can partake in the immersive experience at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queen, New York starting today through September 8 before it debuts at the US Open. Thereafter, the AR activation will travel to Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium during the first Atlanta Falcons home game of the season. The second phase of the activation will give guests control of the lesson with voice controls, DMX integration and 4D environmental awareness for an experience that mirrors real-life play.

Mercedes-Benz has continued developing technological advancements at full throttle for the in-car experience and beyond. In April 2018, it introduced the Mercedes cAR app which lets users configure any of the vehicle models from where they are via Apple’s ARKit and Mercedes’ Car Configurator product. Prospective buyers can use the app to customize any car, even if it’s not physically on the shop floor, then take it for a spin. The app was downloaded by more than 34,800 iOS users in the first three months following its release. 

Cinema Ad Market Is The Fastest Growing Medium After Internet

Despite the rise of over-the-top (OTT) content, cinema ad market is the fastest growing medium after internet, according to the latest WARC Global Advertising Trends report. Global cinema adspend is expected to generate $4.6 billion in advertising this year, marking a 6.8 percent increase from last year. The experiential nature of cinema and the exclusivity of box office hits ensures the threat from subscription video on demand (SVOD) services is minimal in the short term, the report notes.

WARC’s database shows that cinema ad investment has consistently outperformed other traditional media since 2014. Cinema makes up for 0.7 percent of total global adspend and the figure is expected to hold steady in 2019, making it the only medium other than internet not to lose share. This year’s forecasted growth of 6.8 percent for cinema adspend is several percentage points ahead of the 4.6 percent forecast for all media.

Even with the increase in subscriptions to online streaming services, moviegoers are showing no signs of abandoning the silver screen. About 74 percent of Americans use OTT services to watch a movie two to three times a month, and 46 percent of UK consumers said that Netflix is their top choice for movies. 

WARC’s findings revealed that US moviegoers visited the cinema an average of five times in 2018, which equates to about 263 million consumers every two months. Similarly, the UK recorded 177 million admissions—the highest ever—last year, with those ages 16-34 visiting 7.5 times in an average year. This could be the result of advertisers in Europe spending 1.5 times more on cinema per admission than in the US.

China is expected to spend $1.8 billion on cinema this year and hold a 47.3 percent share of global cinema adspend, making it the largest cinema ad market globally. The world’s second-largest cinema market, the US has a projected value of $735 million this year. 

“Cinema offers advertisers access to younger, more affluent audiences who have an affinity with the medium. This enables ads to be screened in a brand safe environment where they will be noticed, often in a location that is close to a retail outlet and, by extension, a point of purchase,” noted James McDonald, managing editor, WARC Data, and author of the research.

Nordstrom Appoints First Ever CMO

This week’s marketing moves include Teri Bariquit’s appointment as Nordstrom’s first ever chief marketing officer, a new SVP of digital marketing at RCA Records, the departures of Albertsons’ chief marketing officer Shane Sampson and Walmart CMO Barbara Messing and the hiring of ex-TikTok executive Stefan Heinrich Henriquez as Cameo’s chief marketing officer and GM of international.

Nordstrom Names Company Veteran As First CMO

This week, Nordstrom appointed Teri Bariquit to the newly created role of chief marketing officer.

Per Bariquit’s LinkedIn page, she has been with the company since 1986. Most recently, she served as EVP of merchandise, planning and inventory, supporting merchandise planning, inventory deployment, solutions and strategic capabilities across all channels.

She will report directly to co-president Pete Nordstrom. 

“”During her 33-year career with Nordstrom, Teri has demonstrated unparalleled understanding of our customer needs and has an excellent grasp on the complexities of our industry. Merchandising is in her DNA and I’ve consistently been inspired by her ability to reimagine the future,”” Nordstrom said of the appointment.

RCA Records Promotes Tarek Al-Hamdouni To SVP Of Digital Marketing

Tarek Al-Hamdouni has been promoted to the role of SVP of digital marketing at RCA Records, reports Music Business Worldwide. He previously held the position of VP and has been with RCA for a decade, based out of the company’s New York headquarters.

Al-Hamdouni will continue to oversee RCA’s digital marketing staff and lead online marketing campaigns for the label’s artists.

REI Co-Op Appoints Marketing VP And VP Of Customer And Brand Shared Services

REI Co-op announced the appointment of Vivienne Long as VP of marketing and Pardis Ghorbani as VP of customer and brand shared services, SGB Media reports.

Prior to joining REI, Long spent a decade at Starbucks in several leadership positions.

Ghorbani’s promotion to VP of customer and brand shared services comes after 14 years at REI. He previously served as interim VP of marketing and divisional VP of Brand Lab and Creative Shared Services and led the #OptOutside campaign.

Seven Bucks Productions Hires CMO

Seven Bucks, a production company owned and founded by partners Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia, has tapped Maya Lasry as chief marketing officer, Deadline reports.

Lasry will be moving over from Universal Pictures where she spent 7 years as director of creative advertising and developed marketing materials for projects such as The Mummy.

Claudia Butzky Joins Warner Records As SVP Of Brand Partnerships

Warner Records has named Claudia Butzky their new senior vice president of brand partnerships, strategic marketing and commercial sync licensing.

Butzky will join the company and serve as a replacement to former EVP Lori Feldman who departed last month. She previously held the position of SVP of global brand partnerships at RCA Records.

BevMo Names Matthew Champion SVP and CMO

Matthew Champion, an ex-P&G brand marketer and Amazon Canada’s former head marketer,  will be filling the role of chief marketing officer and senior vice president at beverage retailer BevMo!.

According to the press release announcing his new role, Champion will be responsible for “all aspects of marketing including traditional and digital marketing, in-store activation and eCommerce.”

Albertsons CMO Shane Sampson Steps Down

Supermarket retailer Albertsons is on the hunt for a new chief marketing officer and chief merchant with the departure of Shane Sampson, effective Sept. 7.

Sampson has served as chief merchandising and marketing officer since 2015 and has 35 years in grocery retail.

“He has helped our team turn-around operations in addition to building a robust merchandising and marketing function to help support our 2,200-plus locations,” said Albertsons president and CEO Vivek Sankaran in statement announcing the departure.

Walmart CMO Is Out, Replaced By Former Target CMO

Walmart is cycling out their fourth chief marketing officer in four years, AdAge reports

Walmart CMO Barbara Messing will be exiting her position, according to an internal Walmart memo, to reside with her family in the Bay Area. She will be temporarily replaced by former Target CMO and DreamWorks chief brand officer Michael Francis.

The departure has brought about a marketing operations reorganization, shifting senior marketers to a new “Retail Marketing” team.

Cameo Hires Ex-TikTok Exec As Chief Marketing Officer, General Manager

Cameo, a Chicago-based startup service that lets users purchase video messages from celebrities, has named Stefan Heinrich Henriquez as chief marketing officer and general manager of international, Variety reports.

Before joining the startup as chief marketer, Heinrich led TikTok’s rebranding from as head of global marketing. He will lead Cameo’s branding and global expansion.

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, August 23. 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 OfficerBumbleAustin, TX
Vice President, Film MarketingNew York UniversityBrooklyn, NY
Chief, Marketing And Communications OfficerSCRRA/MetrolinkLos Angeles, CA
Senior Vice President of MarketingClear Channel OutdoorNew York, NY
Vice President of Marketing, InternationalRokuSan Jose, CA
Chief Marketing OfficerFounders Brewing Co.Grand Rapids, MI

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