Brands Will Cut $50 Billion In Global Ad Spend This Year

As a result of the pandemic, brands will cut $50 billion in ad spend this year, an 8.1 percent decrease, according to WARC’s latest global ad trends report exploring the impact of COVID-19. The estimate represents a $96.4 billion downgrade compared to WARC’s previous global forecast of 7.1 percent growth, made before the pandemic.

Ad spend is set to plummet across all of the 19 product sectors WARC examined, with the steepest decline recorded in the travel and tourism sector, down 31.2 percent, or a $7.2 billion reduction in spend compared to 2019.

Leisure and entertainment brands will also make severe cuts, with ad spend down 28.7 percent, or $6.6 billion; followed by financial services, down 18.2 percent, or $8.7 billion; retail, down 15.2 percent, or $10.2 billion; and automotive, down 11.4 percent, or $7.4 billion.

“We note three distinct phases to the current downturn: firstly, an immediate demand-side induced paralysis for sectors such as travel, leisure and retail, combined with supply-side constraints for CPG brands. Second, the recessionary tailwind will exert extreme pressure on the financial services sector as well as the consumer, whose disposable income is now heavily diminished, says James McDonald, head of data content, WARC, and author of the research.

The pandemic will hit traditional media the hardest, with ad investment set to fall $51.4 billion and additional declines across cinema (-31.6 percent), out of home (-21.7 percent), magazines (-21.5 percent), newspapers (-19.5 percent), radio (-16.2 percent) and television (-13.8 percent).

Online media will fare better than traditional media but is not immune from the downturn. At a global level, internet advertising will see modest growth this year, a 0.6 percent increase.

The strongest performer in 2020, social media will increase by 9.8 percent to $96 billion. Followed by online video, which will increase by five percent and online search, which will increase by 0.9 percent. Still, all represent far lower rates than WARC previously projected.

Alphabet, which accounts for nearly one in four dollars spent on advertising worldwide, will see its ad revenue rise by just 1.6 percent to $137.1 billion in 2020. This represents a downgrade of $12.9 billion from WARC’s pre-COVID forecast.

At $77.6 billion, ad spend across Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram is expected to rise by 11.5 percent from 2019, marking a downgrade of $5.3 billion from WARC’s pre-COVID estimate. This means Facebook holds a 13.8 percent share of global ad investment. Together, Alphabet and Facebook account for one in three dollars spent on advertising globally.

The pullback in Latin America will be acute, with ad spend set to decrease by 20.7 percent. Whereas in Africa, ad spend will fall 19.5 percent; in the Middle East, 15.1 percent; in Europe, 12.2 percent; in Asia-Pacific, 7.7 percent; and in North America, 3.7 percent.

Brands will have to ride COVID-19 out until 2021, when WARC predicts there will be a recovery, at a 4.9 percent increase. McDonald notes that during the recovery phase, “there will be an added emphasis on healthcare and wellbeing credentials among brands not normally associated with the field.”

On the flip side, this year’s downturn will be softer than in 2009, when ad investment dropped by 12.7 percent, or $60.5 billion.

WARC’s new projections are based on data from 96 markets worldwide.

Where The Next Wave Of Creativity And Innovation For Mobile Games Will Come From

Coming on the heels of the pandemic, mobile games are leading the growth of digital game consumption. According to App Annie, 2020 will be a blockbuster year for mobile games; spending is on track to extend its lead to more than 2.8 times over PC gaming and 3.1 times more than home game consoles. For last week’s LA Games Conference, a panel of industry leaders discussed where the next wave of creativity and innovation for mobile games will come from and how they see the industry evolving post-pandemic and beyond.

Here we share some highlights from the panel, which was moderated by Ayzenberg president Chris Younger and featured Lisa Anderson, SVP, Studio Operations, Jam City; Andrew Paradise, CEO, Skillz; Chris Petrovic, SVP and head of corporate strategy, M&A & business development, Zynga; Soojeong Song, gaming vertical lead, Google; and Mark van Ryswyk, executive VP, Glu Mobile. 

On Seizing The Moment

“To your point about this aggregate increase in play time, when we look across our portfolio, we’re seeing a marked movement in terms of the amount of play time across casual and core products. It’s particularly pronounced in the casual space. One of the reasons for that is there are a lot of consumers looking for forms of entertainment right now. These are non-traditional gamers discovering games for the first time. Shelter in place has allowed us to access this new audience, which is demonstrating the same behaviors of our existing player base.”

Mark van Ryswyk, executive VP, Glu Mobile

On Cultivating Community Through A Cause

“Late last year, we launched an initiative called Gaming for Good and we’ve raised over $500,000 to date, with half the funds in Q1. Our bigger partnership in April was with Extra Life, to partner to raise funds for children’s hospitals to combat COVID. It’s a double-win because it’s helping causes around the world engage with younger audiences in a new and important way. At the same time, it’s driving higher retention and engagement for our consumers—they’re happier to be able to play for a cause.

—Andrew Paradise, CEO, Skillz Inc.

On Conversions After COVID-19

“One bigger long-term trend I see is conversions will be a key opportunity. We’ve already seen a rise of super-casual games. Moving forward, to capture a wider audience, I see the blurring of lines as games borrow from each other to combine the best of both worlds. We’re seeing a shift in business models as well. In April, we saw that casual games, which are classically ad-funded, saw an in-app purchase increase in revenue. Whereas social casino games saw an increase in ad revenue. Games have begun to blend their monetization strategies while players shift behavior as well. Studios will continue to converge this hybrid model to appeal to a broader audience coming to mobile.”

Soojeong Song, gaming vertical lead, Google

On Finding Other Revenue Streams

“A fascinating thing that’s happening for Skillz and the businesses on our network is that during the pandemic we’ve seen a huge acceleration, particularly with offline brands, in areas like sports or retails where they’re looking to build a more meaningful digital presence and engage with video game content. I think you can expect us to be announcing a number of meaningful partnerships with brands and deeper brand integration into the games on the network over the next few months.”

—Andrew Paradise, CEO, Skillz Inc.

On Enhancing The Channel Mix

“When we think about the playbook moving forward, we’re looking at growing social channels like TikTok and Snapchat, as they continue to improve their ad serving capabilities, as an area we want to continue to test as well as traditional avenues like television. We’ve been running some spots for [Disney] Emoji Blitz and so far we’re seeing some really encouraging results there. It’s really a mix of looking at new opportunities from a channel mix standpoint as well as some of the more traditional things.”

—Lisa Anderson, SVP, Studio Operations, Jam City

On Meeting Consumers Where They Are

“I think it behooves all of us to be able to support the notion of making our games available to wherever consumers want them. That model has proven itself time and again in other parts of the world, specifically Asia. The world is increasingly recognizing that games are such a connecting force and that it’s helpful for platforms to have games as an offering because of the unique interactivity and social density that they offer. We’re excited as game makers to be able to bring that to whoever.”

Chris Petrovic, SVP and head of corporate strategy, M&A & business development, Zynga

On The Discovery Journey

“Re-engaging players has been really important, so reminding them why they enjoy our games with initiatives like Play Apart Together. Jam City did its own version of that with our Care-A-Thon which is designed to give back to our players. When shelter in place went into effect, we reached out to our players letting them know we’re here for them and that we’re listening to their feedback. We were surprised to see how much it resonated with them.”

—Lisa Anderson, SVP, Studio Operations, Jam City

LG Names New Head Of Marketing For North America

This week in leadership updates, LG Electronics NA names a new head of marketing, Visa appoints Chris Newkirk as chief strategy officer, the University of Massachusetts Amherst names Claudia Donald as interim CMO, PayPal’s Allison Johnson steps down, New York Public Radio hires Ayesha Ahmad as CMO and Panera brings on Eduardo Luz as chief brand and concept officer.

LG Electronics North America Has A New Head Of Marketing

Peggy Ang will be replacing the retiring David VanderWaal as LG Electronics North America’s head of marketing. VanderWaal spent the last 13 years with LG and most recently served as SVP of marketing, a position he took in 2018.

Ang spent the past two years as division VP of brand marketing for mobile communications, LG Electronics USA. She joined LG back in 2016 as head of brand marketing for home appliances. Prior to her time at LG she held senior brand and marketing positions at Samsung and Sony Electronics, among others.

Visa Hires Chris Newkirk As Chief Strategy Officer

Effective June 15, Chris Newkirk will join Visa in the newly created role of chief strategy officer to drive strategy planning for the company overall.

Newkirk has held various leadership roles at Capital One since 2008. Most recently, he served as the president of Small Business, International & Walmart Partnership.

Prior to Capital One, Newkirk held leadership roles at IndyMac Bank and McKinsey & Company.

University Of Massachusetts Amherst Names Claudia Donald As Interim Chief Marketing Officer

UMass Amherst has named Claudia Donald as interim CMO. Since 2014, Donald has served as the university’s executive director of digital marketing and online communications.

In her new role, Donald will oversee the Marcom Group, which provides a suite of services including branding, advertising, web services and analytics.

PayPal Chief Marketing Officer Allison Johnson Steps Down

PayPal CMO Allison Johnson is stepping down due to the company’s current restructuring and streamlining of its marketing department under one cohesive function, as reported by Adweek.

Johnson joined PayPal in January 2019 after founding a marketing and venture capital studio called West. Johnson served as president of worldwide marketing communications for Apple from 2005 to 2011.

New York Public Radio Hires Ayesha Ahmad As Chief Marketing Officer

New York Public Radio, the parent company of radio stations WNYC, WQXR, WNYC Studios, the Gothamist and The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, has named Ayesha Ahmad as CMO.

Ahmad joins NY Public Radio from Chilewich, where she was chief digital officer and general manager of ecommerce.

Panera Bread Names Eduardo Luz As Chief Brand And Concept Officer

Panera has appointed Eduardo Luz as its new chief brand and concept officer. Luz joins Panera less than a year after becoming CEO of 8Greens and after six years as US CMO and global brand officer of Kraft Heinz.

Pearson Appoints Alexa Christon To CMO Position

Global learning company Pearson has promoted Alexa Christon to the role of chief marketing officer, effective immediately. Christon, who can be heard hosting the ADLANDIA podcast, served as SVP of brand for the past year.

Pearson’s press release announcing Christon’s new role notes her involvement in previous companies, including serving as “head of media innovation at GE, and guiding clients including Yahoo, Pepsi-Cola, and Time-Warner Cable while on the agency side.”

TikTok Is The Top Grossing Non-Game App Worldwide For April

This week in social media news, TikTok is the top grossing non-game app worldwide for April and announces an educational initiative called #LearnOnTikTok, Facebook rolls Instagram introduces new creator monetization tools including Live badges and IGTV ads; Facebook launches two new apps, Collab and CatchUp; WhatsApp tests QR codes; and Twitter adds fact check notifications to two misleading tweets about the mail-in ballot process from President Trump.

TikTok Sees 10-Fold Spike In User Spending To $78 Million In April

TikTok was the top-grossing non-game app worldwide in April, with more than $78 million in user spending, a 10-fold growth from April 2019, according to Sensor Tower.

Why it matters: TikTok’s strong in-app spending comes after it surpassed 2 billion downloads at the end of April and the hiring of Kevin Mayer as its new CEO.

The details: Sensor Tower found that 86.6 percent of TikTok’s revenue was from China, followed by 8.2 percent from the US. YouTube was the second highest earning non-game app worldwide, with about $76 million in gross revenue, a 57 percent year over year growth from April 2019. A little over half (56.4 percent) of YouTube’s revenue was from the US, followed by nearly 11 percent from Japan. The next top grossing apps were Tinder, followed by Disney+ and Tencent Video.

Facebook Rolls Out New Augmented Reality Tools For Creators

Facebook has introduced new augmented reality tools to its Spark AR Studio including Instagram effects that respond, move and play in sync with music plus a TikTok-like green screen feature called Gallery Picker.

Why it matters: At a time when Stories engagement is surging right now, Facebook’s new AR capabilities for Instagram could attract new users.

The details: In addition to new Instagram effects that respond to music, the Spark AR Studio is enabling creators to build AR effects which make content captured via the Instagram camera, or within their camera roll, more immersive.

As per Facebook, its new Gallery Picker tool, “lets creators publish AR effects to Instagram that people can then personalize with their own images, enabling green screen-style effects. With this new capability, people can transport themselves into any environment and place they want.”

Additionally, Facebook rolled out new templates for 2D and 3D stickers to help creators build AR effects more easily.

TikTok Launches #LearnOnTikTok With Over 800 Partners

TikTok announced that it’s partnering with over 800 public figures, media publishers, educational institutions and professional experts to launch a program called #LearnOnTikTok.

Why it matters: Last month, TikTok announced a $50 million Creative Learning Fund, which supports creators with the production of educational content, provides resources for students and introduces emerging teachers on TikTok.

The details: #LearnOnTikTok experts like Bill Nye, José Andrés, Lilly Singh, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Tyra Banks. Organizations like the Aquarium of the Pacific and media publishers like WWD and SELF have also created educational content that offers instructional tips and takeaways. 

TikTok says it’s also building a creator learning portal that will, “provide insights, tools, and best practices on how to create quality content on TikTok.”

President Trump To Sign Order That Mandates Review Of Law Protecting Social Media Platforms

President Trump is set to sign an executive order that mandates a review of the Communications Decency Act, which protects social media platforms from lawsuits over what users share.

Why it matters: The move follows Trump’s run-in with Twitter last week, when for the first time, the platform added a fact-check marker to two of the president’s tweets about the mail-in ballot process.

The details: Trump’s request would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to determine whether social media companies like Twitter and Facebook should lose the Section 230 protections they enjoy under the Communications Decency Act, and whether any social media company uses deceptive content moderation policies.

Instagram Introduces New Tools To Help Influencers Make Money

Instagram has rolled out two new tools to help creators monetize their content including badges on Instagram Live and ads on IGTV.

Why it matters: Instagram is likely looking to help influencers whose livelihoods, due to canceled brand deals, have been affected by COVID. From February to March, Instagram reports a 70 percent increase in views on Live, indicating influencers and brands alike have ramped up efforts there.

The details: The first new tool includes badges that followers can purchase during a live video; the badge will appear next to the user’s name through the live video. The purchaser will then be placed on a creator’s list of badge holders, with access to a “special heart.” A select group of creators can test badges next month.

The second part of Instagram’s announcement includes sharing ad revenue with influencers by way of IGTV ads. Built for mobile and up to 15 seconds long, the ads will appear when users click to watch IGTV videos from previews in their feed. Instagram has plans to test various versions of IGTV ads including skippable ones. Instagram says it will test the ads with a small group of influencers and advertisers in the US.

Facebook Expands Post Creation Tools To Creator Studio Mobile App

Facebook is adding more capabilities to its mobile Creator Studio app, allowing creators to manage content on the go.

Why it matters: Facebook could be bracing for increased mobile usage as some parts of the US slowly reopen amid the pandemic.

The details: Up until now, creators could track content insights, edit video titles and descriptions, respond to messages and manage multiple pages from the same app and session. Now, users of the Creator Studio mobile app have access to more features for video posts, like uploading a thumbnail from their mobile phone and filling in video metadata fields plus the ability to publish and schedule Facebook posts within the app.

Facebook Rolls Out New Video Features For Work Groups And Workplace

Facebook is introducing new video features to its Workplace platform and Work Groups, a type of Facebook Group that helps users connect with their coworkers. In addition, it’s releasing Oculus for Business to “meet early demand for VR-powered training and collaboration.”

Why it matters: Facebook’s Workplace has 5 million paid users and Work Groups has over 20 million monthly active users just after six months, Facebook reports.

The details: With Workplace Rooms, workers can meet with unlimited time and invite up to 50 people even if others aren’t in their company or don’t have a Workplace account. The rooms can be locked or kept open, and hosts can remove participants. For security, a new link is generated each time someone creates a room.

In addition to new ways to hold virtual meetings, Facebook has introduced Live Producer, a new way to go live on Workplace via desktop with features such as automatic captions in various languages, which Workplace will translate.

Additionally, Facebook is bringing Portal’s artificial intelligence-powered Smart Camera and Smart Sound to Workplace Live to enhance broadcasting. Starting next month, Workplace users can also use Portal TV for Workplace calls and videos.

To make it easier for companies to improve business results via virtual reality, Facebook is widely releasing Oculus for Business, which is built on Workplace.

Facebook Launches Collaborative Music Video App Called “Collab”

Facebook’s internal New Product Experimentation (NPE) team has created a new app called Collab which enables people to either record music videos or swipe to discover videos that they can mix and match to build a “collab.”

Why it matters: Facebook says it’s been working on Collab for months but launched early in light of the pandemic, as its motto suggests: “Make music together, while we’re apart.” 

The details: Unlike TikTok and Triller, Collab is intended for creating original music videos. Collabs are capped at 15 seconds and can be published for others to watch in the app’s feed or to use in future collabs. Collabs can also be published to other social media platforms like Facebook Stories and Instagram. Facebook has released Collab as an invite-only beta.

Facebook Launches A New App Called CatchUp

Facebook’s NPE team launched a new app called CatchUp, which shows users who are available to connect via one-on-one or group audio chat.

Why it matters: CatchUp marks the sixth app from Facebook’s experiential NPE team. The only difference between CatchUp and Messenger is that CatchUp shows when users are available for audio chat, a functionality that could be useful in areas where connectivity is limited.

The details: Facebook is testing CatchUp in the US on iOS and Android.

WhatsApp Tests QR Codes 

WhatsApp announced that it’s testing QR codes to streamline new connections between users.

Why it matters: WhatsApp has seen a spike in usage during COVID, perhaps giving Facebook an incentive to introduce QR codes, something it launched for Facebook pages in 2018.

The details: Users can either share their QR code or scan others’ QR codes. Sharing your QR code means sharing your WhatsApp contact info, and if you accidentally share your QR code with the wrong person, you can revoke it immediately.

Twitter Adds Fact Check Notifications To President Trump’s Tweets

For the first time, Twitter added fact-check notifications beneath two tweets from President Trump regarding the mail-in ballot process.

Why it matters: Twitter’s move against misinformation comes after Trump perpetuated conspiracy theories about the death of Joe Scarborough’s intern. In response, Twitter said it was working on expanding existing product features to address misinformation.

The details: The fact-check notifications under Trump’s tweets about mail-in ballots state, “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” next to an exclamation mark icon. Upon clicking the notification, users are directed to a Twitter Moment which outlines accurate information about mail-in ballots. In response, President Trump tweeted: “Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!”

Coca-Cola Partners With BeApp To Launch 60-Day Live-Streamed Concert Series

Coca-Cola has partnered with a new live music streaming platform called BeApp to launch Coke Studio Sessions, bringing fans 60 consecutive days of intimate live-streamed concerts.

Through BeApp, available for free on iOS and Android, fans can access immersive performances daily, at 7 p.m. ET, from 100 artists worldwide, including Katy Perry, Bebe Rexha, Miguel, Steve Aoki and the cast of Hamilton. 

BeApp’s first weekend of live streaming kicked off on May 14 with performances from Diplo and DJ Khaled, among others. Reruns of concerts will be archived on BeApp or Coca-Cola’s YouTube channel within 24 hours after they’ve streamed.

BeApp offers a gamified experience that enables fans to invite friends and family to join live streams, gain currency points through interacting and sharing through the app and redeem points for prizes like artist shout outs, BeApp merchandise and “front row seats.” For example, when fans win seat upgrades, their photo and name will be visible to live-stream viewers.

Throughout the 60-day Coke Studio Sessions, fans can also donate to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to support relief efforts. Coca-Cola will match up to $3 million in donations made through the activation.

Coca-Cola says it was in talks with BeApp about the Coke Studio Sessions well before the pandemic but accelerated the launch as stay-at-home orders remained in effect.

Verizon launched a similar series called Pay It Forward Live, which aims to keep live music alive while supporting small businesses impacted by the pandemic. Every Tuesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, artists perform live from their living rooms. Fans can watch via Verizon’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as Yahoo, Fios channel 501 and 604, among others. For every use of the hashtag #PayItForwardLIVE, Verizon pledges $10 toward small businesses for up to $2.5 million. 

As for how organizers of major musical events have responded to limitations: On April 18, Global Citizen broadcasted an eight-hour cross-platform musical special in partnership with the World Health Organization in support of healthcare workers. Coca-Cola was one of 12 corporate partners behind the digital event. 

Music festivals have pivoted virtually at a time when venues are closed and consumers turn to live-streamed events for respite from the current state of affairs. According to the tenth wave of The Harris Poll’s COVID-19 survey, conducted between May 1-3 among 2,039 US adults, 56 percent of Americans say they’re listening to music to cope with stress and anxiety, including 67 percent of 18-34 year-olds.

The Harris Poll also found that 35 percent of Americans accessed a free trial or activated a new subscription for music, news, fitness, or online learning service during March and April.

Mark van Ryswyk On Why The Pandemic Is A Unique Moment To Reach New Consumers

By the end of Q1, Glu Mobile’s revenue increased 12 percent year over year to $107.3 million and bookings saw a 15 percent increase year over year to $106.5 million. Design Home, the Glu franchise that lets players live the life of an interior decorator, hit a new all-time record—11 percent year over year growth at $46.8 million. Glu’s other female-focused franchise, Covet Fashion, also thrived with record quarterly bookings.

With the pandemic becoming a source of competitive advantage for mobile game companies, we spoke with Mark van Ryswyk, executive vice president of Studios at Glu Mobile, where he oversees Glu’s casual products, leading the Crowdstar and GluPlay Studios. The portfolio includes the successful “DASH franchise” as well as Crowdstar’s Design Home and Covet Fashion. Van Ryswyk shares why he believes the pandemic is a unique moment to reach new players, how the cancelation of fashion shows this year will impact mobile games and how the pandemic is shaping the creative experiences Glu delivers across its games.

What do you predict will be the changes that will affect creativity and innovation in the mobile games market during and post-COVID-19?

This is a unique time in the mobile games space, and the most important thing is to have awareness and empathy for our audience. When we listen to our players, anxiety is running high, and games provide a safe refuge, which we need to deliver on. Over the next year, we will continue to seek out how we can understand evolving consumer needs and discover how games can deliver meaningful play and value.

As consumer appetite for online entertainment has grown, shelter in place creates a unique moment to reach new consumers, who don’t consider themselves to be gamers or are seeking out mobile games, sometimes for the first time.

This is a new opportunity to rethink how the gaming industry can introduce and familiarize concepts, such as gaming economies and participating in a social space. 

How much of Covet Fashion and Design Home’s audience comprises female players and how does Glu cater to their creative experiences?

Glu takes player privacy very seriously. We don’t collect demographic information from our players in our games. Based on user research, surveys and community interaction – we serve a wide demographic across both games from ages 28-45-years-old. Our mission for both games is to enrich people’s lives through creative play. Players are drawn to the idea of styling digital clothing, furnishing beautiful homes and remain captivated (sometimes for years) by our games stunning artwork, a sense of autonomy and creative expression.

Covet Fashion saw its strongest Q1 ever this year and Design Home had record quarterly bookings. How will the pandemic change the role that its gamers play in the growth of mobile games?

In the casual games space, players typically do not consider themselves gamers, yet they enjoy playing games such as Design Home, Covet Fashion or Candy Crush. Shelter-in-place has created a new opportunity to reach this audience and introduce them to the casual games space. I believe this audience will continue to drive growth of the mobile market as they seek new and entertaining experiences that are more relevant to their interests and passions. The continuous growth of lifestyle games, such as Covet and Design Home, reflects this belief, as they provide a creative outlet and opportunities for players to learn and connect with others. 

During shelter in place, Design Home players have shared sentiments that are thinking about their home surroundings more than ever, and compared to remodeling and refurnishing a real home, Design Home offers a playful means of entertainment and creative expression. 

Over the last few weeks, Covet Fashion has also seen a rise in engagement as players have shared heartfelt sentiments that the game provides a relaxing comfort and creative escape into the world of fashion and styling. The Covet Fashion team rose to the occasion to make it easy for players to give thanks and celebrate the essential workers by participating in game challenges to style delivery workers, grocery store managers, hospital workers and nurses. 

With fashion month likely to be canceled for the rest of 2020, how do you think the digitization of fashion shows will impact mobile games?

With fashion shows and in-person events canceled, consumers will refocus their attention to new creative channels. Fashion games like Covet Fashion will continue to evolve beyond an entertaining and creative gaming platform to a disruptive, influential and innovative force in the fashion world. Brands will seek new channels to reach consumers, such as partnering with fashion games and apps. Already, Covet Fashion fosters deep integrations with over 150 brands, including Badgley Mischka, French Connection and Calvin Klein, driving passionate consumers to deeply engage with brands by discovering the latest fashion trends, exploring their brand identity and building long-term familiarity with their products through competitive styling.

Glu has plans to extend Design Home to the PC web browser by this summer. How has cross-platform play contributed to Glu’s success?

Design Home is always exploring new ways for players to live the life of an interior designer. We have heard from players they are interested in expressing their creativity across a larger canvas, beyond the existing experiences on iPhone, iPad and Android devices. We are currently planning testing of an early version of Design Home as a web browser experience and will have more details to share at a later date when the final experience is available.

What We’re Reading–Week Of May 25th

We’re searching for the most pressing marketing insights this week. Updated daily.

Campaign Planning: Rolling With The Punches


Programmatic associate director at Croud, Connie Del Bono, says while planning privacy-compliant campaigns, it’s important for brands to work closely with all partners to ensure they collect a minimal amount of personally identifiable data, adapt personalization approaches based on segmentation of users who may be more receptive to personalization, implement frequency management and leverage contextual targeting, which can lead to more interested potential prospects. 

Why it matters: COVID has added another array of challenges to campaign planning, requiring marketers to take a fluid and agile approach to creating a robust campaign.

Instant Messaging Will Reach 4.3B Users In 2020

Mobile Marketer

The number of people who use instant messaging will increase nine percent to 4.3 billion in 2020, according to a new forecast from Juniper Research. Additionally, the number of smartphones equipped with rich communication services (RCS) technology will rise 45 percent to more than 740 million in 2020.

Why it matters: Juniper advises marketers not to wait for RCS to hit the mainstream and to develop strategies specific to instant messaging, which will require efforts in enhancing digital payment options.

Some Brands Have Been Caught Off Guard


COVID-19 has hit travel, retail and hospitality hard while food delivery, alcohol and porn are thriving. For some companies that operate within the same industry, that isn’t the case—Chipotle remains unscathed and Tesla is worth the same as it was pre-pandemic. 

Why it matters: Community, heritage, design and beliefs work when you’re selling alcohol, luxury goods, cars and clothing given these purchases are social in nature. In addition, some CEOs tend to overestimate how unique they are. Whether customers care if your company lives or dies after the pandemic depends on how much they value you.

The Top 5 Creative Brand Ideas You Need To Know About Right Now: May 27, 2020

Ad Age

A group of creatives launched a community-driven advertising school taught by industry execs for aspiring creatives over the course of 12 weeks. Reddit users can access the lessons and assignments once the course wraps.

Among other top creative brand ideas, Walmart turned a poem written by one of its employees into a mixed-media sport that honors its team members; Burger King released a campaign around its Whopper stuffed with extra onions to encourage social distancing; WorkinProgress tapped teachers around the country to contribute to mini virtual lessons that are being displayed on digital signs around the US and Ajinomoto tackled anti-Asian racism with a video campaign featuring celebrities calling out racist acts driven by COVID.

Why it matters: Brands continue crafting ads around COVID sensitivities despite recent studies that reveal consumers are ready to hear from brands about non-COVID related topics.

Brand Safety Best Practices During An Evolving News Cycle: Experts Share Insights On Brand Safety Measures Amid Covid-19 Crisis

The Drum

Misconceptions about content blocking are making it hard for brands to monetize this type of content and in turn, engage audiences during COVID.

Why it matters: Brands and agencies are working much closer to address complacency about brand safety, which as a result of the pandemic has required more sophisticated controls that enable brands to balance protection and reach.

Brand, Measurement, And Insights With NerdWallet CMO Kelly Gillease

During this 209th episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Kelly Gillease, chief marketing officer at NerdWallet.

Today, we talk a lot about Gillease’s experience, which spans about twenty years in startups, travel, EdTech, and search, as well as supporting some of the acquisitions of those startups. We also talk about NerdWallet’s venture into using big mass media advertising like TV and brand-building efforts and how she did that. We also highlight Gillease’s background and some of the unique things that she’s done in her life and her dual degree in both English and economics from UC Berkeley.

Gillease discusses how addressing the public’s lack of trust in personal finance companies is a big challenge for Fintech. Providing the best financial advice to establish that trust is how NerdWallet approached mass marketing. Gillease notes the drawbacks of performance marketing when she says, “performance marketing is really limited by demand for the category.” As Gillease shares what her team learned from the research that went into the “Money Questions” campaign, she reflects, “Everybody at different income levels, whether you’re well off or just barely making it, gets upset about money.” Understanding that emotional connection is essential to the NerdWallet brand, which emphasizes optimism. This interview highlights Gillease’s commitment to positive, impactful marketing that helps people address their everyday problems.

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • The American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. 01:21
  • Kelly’s double degree in English and Economics. 04:37
  • The initial challenges of her job when she joined NerdWallet. 07:07
  • Kelly’s experience with mass media advertising. 10:11
  • How Kelly’s team approached mass marketing. 13:39
  • The impact brand efforts had on their business. 15:34
  • The “Turn to the Nerds” campaign. 19:39
  • The learning plan around the “Money Questions” campaign. 22:40
  • The research behind the “Money Questions” campaign. 26:32
  • NerdWallet’s response to coronavirus. 28:29
  • Is there an experience in her past that defines who she is today? 31:51
  • What is the advice Kelly would give to her younger self? 33:26
  • The most impactful purchase she has made in the last 6-12 months of $100 or less. 36:53
  • Are there any brands, companies, or causes that Kelly follows that she thinks other people should take notice of? 38:29
  • Kelly’s take on the top opportunities or threats facing marketers today. 41:15

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Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

Social Distancing Campaign Picks: Week Of May 18

I was reading an article the other day that put forward this idea that really stuck with me: that we are all currently trapped in our own “infinite present.” Though not quite The Twilight Zone, we are in a strange reality where everyday is like the last and the future, for as far as the eye can see, seems like more of the same.

Without vacations and concerts and feasting at your favorite restaurants with friends, the promise of tomorrow looks very much like today and the days before it and that can create a bit of a numbing effect. 

So what to do?  Can’t say I have any grand ideas about that, but to me, the best approach is to find those little things that inspire us, make us laugh and remind us that it’s all going to be OK.  You are not alone in this Bizarro World, so we might as well drink from the half-full glass and keep the scales tipped towards the positive. 

Also helps if that glass is half-filled with your favorite Bourbon.

Google – “Thank You, Teachers”

Kicking off this week’s selections is for those of us who are parents and have had to deal with the ups and downs of teaching from home. Speaking from experience, it’s challenging and chaotic, but can also be very rewarding. We rarely get to step into someone else’s professional shoes and empathize with their day-to-day.  

 Why it matters:  Google tapped into something every parent is going through right now and made us all feel a part of a collective moment. Yeah, it can be really messy and it’s the celebration of that insight that makes this spot feel so authentic. It’s also a love letter to all the teachers out there to tell them how much we appreciate what they bring to our lives. No hard sell, just a quick acknowledgment at the very end that Google is supporting teachers and parent-teachers at home. Tastefully done and from a brand love standpoint, very impactful!

The details: Aside from the great footage, the Stealers Wheel track really ties it all together and tells you that it’s ok to have a laugh at yourself and everyone else experiencing the same challenges. Although Tarrantino left an indelible mark on this song, it’s that extra level of subtext that gives this spot a cool-factor that only the ‘right’ song can do. My guess is the creative thinking behind this started with that lyric and built from there.

Farmers Insurance –  Crowd Control

When it comes to golf, silence is key and the crowds are constantly being hushed as a player sets up for their next shot. So on one hand this should be a blessing in disguise, but as you can see in this spot, sinking a hole-winning putt just isn’t the same without the visceral roar of the crowd.

Why it matters: As society starts to slowly reopen, professional sports is having to reinvent itself a bit by playing without fans. My family likes watching Bundesliga soccer, and this past weekend was the league’s first set of matches since the pandemic took hold in mid-March. It was great to see our favorite teams and players, but pretty surreal without all the fans in the stadium. On the positive side, for the first time you could hear every noise on the fieldfrom the player chatter to the physical contactand it almost made you forget that we’re still living in a very restrictive time. That is, until the camera panned around the empty stands. Regardless of that, it’s a positive step in the right direction and a boon to sports fans everywhere. 

The details: What’s amazing about this spot is that Rickie and his wife, Allison Stokke Fowler, shot it themselves practicing safe social distancing from their backyard in Jupiter, Florida. In addition, they also created a PSA with Rickie talking about Farmers’ $1 million pledge to Off Their Plate, a fundraising initiative through World Central Kitchen that helps frontline COVID-19 healthcare workers and impacted restaurant shift employees. Great job Rickie and Allison!

Old Navy –  Together

And lastly to tug on those feel-good emotions, Old Navy is focusing on the power and creativity of a singular artist to help celebrate and support families in need during this challenging time.

Why it matters: Noah Scalin is a visual artist who is best known for taking common, everyday objects and recontextualizing them. In this instance, we get to watch him create a large-scale mural in timelapse using Old Navy clothing as his medium. I love how beautifully interconnected this simple idea is and that the brand is leveraging their core identity to give back to the community.

The details: At a time when most retailers are struggling, I think it’s rewarding to see a message filled with love and hope from one. Old Navy is donating $30 million worth of clothing to families across America as well as 50,000 non-medical-grade reusable masks to longtime partner Boys & Girls Clubs of America. That’s certainly worthy of celebration and gives them an A+ in my book for positive brand building.

Michelob ULTRA Launches Integrated Campaign In Promotion Of Live Golf Charity

Michelob ULTRA has launched an integrated campaign as part of its sponsorship of Capital One’s live golf event, “The Match: Champions For Charity,” featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Set to air on May 24, the match will mark the second televised golf event since the onset of the pandemic. Michelob is promoting golf’s return through branded digital content, new television spots, an in-game giveaway and a social media giveaway.

Ahead of the event, Michelob ULTRA is releasing digital content produced in partnership with the film Caddyshack. The deepfake technology-enabled videos will feature Peyton Manning’s face and voice in two popular scenes from the film, and live on Michelob’s social media channels. In addition, Michelob will donate $150,000 to the American Red Cross, Manning’s charity of choice.

During the event, Michelob will also run two new television spots, which feature a golf beer cart that viewers can enter for a chance to win, in addition to Caddyshack-themed merchandise. Fans can enter by following Michelob ULTRA on Twitter and using the hashtag #ULTRAPrizeScramble #Sweepstakes.

And, if any of the four players hits a hole-in-one during the match, Michelob will give away a free six-pack to everyone aged 21 and over in the US.

The pandemic hit the sports industry hard, forcing professional sports leagues to cancel the rest of the season and marketers to engage fandom via digital and social activations. Over the weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series Real Heroes 400 race and the TaylorMade Driving Relief golf event, respectively, aired, offering some semblance of normalcy.

According to Nielsen data, the Real Heroes 400 race brought in an average television viewership of 6.3 million people, about 239 percent more than the 1.9 million viewers of the 2019 Bojangles Southern 500.

In addition, Nielsen reports that about 41 percent of viewers of the first day of the 2020 Players Championship, the last major PGA event since the pandemic hit, tuned in to TaylorMade Driving Relief event. Plus, of the 2.3 million viewers that watched the TaylorMade event across NBC platforms, over a quarter comprised people aged 18-49.

In the eighth wave of The Harris Poll’s COVID survey, conducted between April 18-20 among 2,029 US adults, nearly half say they miss watching sports on television (45 percent) and attending sporting events in person (49 percent).

Though fans may long for the return of live sports events, COVID will undoubtedly impact the physical experience. In the 11th wave of The Harris Poll’s COVID survey, conducted from May 8-10 among 2,030 adults, nearly three quarters (73 percent) of respondents said they’re more likely to live stream sports at home vs. attending live sports events in person (27 percent).

Before they head back to the stadium, Americans want to see sanitation upgrades implemented, such as cleaning services guaranteeing hygienic wiping down of seats (43 percent); hand sanitizer at every seat (40 percent); mandatory masks for food vendors (39 percent); stadium seating configured for social distancing (35 percent) and maximum capacity limits to ensure six feet between patrons and staff (35 percent).