TikTok Is “Setting The Record Straight”

This week in social media news, TikTok released a statement “to address rumors” about the app.

TikTok Launches Information Hub To Counter Misinformation

TikTok released a statement “to address rumors” about the app while launching an information hub and Twitter account to share company news. The release also points to internal efforts toward building a culture of transparency and improving security.

Why it matters: TikTok needs to redefine public perception around its security concerns, especially now as it has the attention of marketers. The first step is officially clarifying “misperceptions” about the app.

What We’re Reading—Week Of August 10th

We’re rounding up the latest marketing news from this week.

How Six Companies Are Using Technology And Data To Transform Themselves

McKinsey & Company

Before the pandemic hit, 92 percent of company leaders surveyed by McKinsey believed their business model wouldn’t remain viable at the rates of digitization at that time.

Why it matters: Businesses who are winning the rapid pivot to digital reallocate talent and capital four times more quickly than their peers.

‘You Get 2 seconds To Engage Consumers Online’: Mars Neuroscientist Shares Key Findings

The Drum

Marketers now have only about two seconds to get consumers’ attention via digital content, extensive neuroscience studies conducted by Mars show.

Why it matters: Because it’s difficult to elicit emotions in short form—the key to encoding your products into the consumer’s brain—brands should teach consumers about something and then show them the product.

Why Do Boards Have So Few Black Directors?

Harvard Business Review

The results of a survey HBR fielded between 2015-2016 to a small sample show that one barrier to the boardroom is the recruiting system for directors, which are ingrained on boards that lack directors who are racial/ethnic minorities.

Why it matters: In 2019, 37 percent of S&P 500 firms had no black board members, and in that same year, black directors comprised only 4.1 percent of Russell 3000 board members.

What COVID-19 Did To Customer Loyalty

Retail Dive

Consumers became more loyal to the brands they buy, a Yotpo survey in November 2019 found.

Why it matters: COVID-19 has altered this behavior, causing 75 percent of consumers to try new brands, places to shop or methods of shopping, according to a McKinsey report.

Out-Of-Home Ad Bosses Share Their Pandemic Recovery Plans

The Drum

According to Nielsen, out-of-home (OOH) spend fell 85 percent in Q2 due to COVID-19.

Why it matters: Digital OOH, which was hurt slightly less, enables for more risky ads that, unlike billboards, can be adjusted with the press of a button and feature audio.

Sour Patch Kids Picks NYC For First Retail Store

Marketing Dive

Mondelēz International’s Sour Patch Kids opened a retail store in New York City offering a range of limited-edition merchandise, candy and a dessert bar.

Why it matters: The store comes at a time when the brand’s sales have been under pressure and retail traffic remains slow even as restrictions are gradually lifted.

A Look At Which Real Estate Trends Will Outlive COVID-19

Ad Age

JLL launched a campaign designed to promote safety in the workforce and instill confidence in employees about returning to work, while also advising clients on the best way to re-open.

Why it matters: As mall traffic remains sluggish, JLL has rolled out signage and marketing around curbside pickup services in the more than 1,000 shopping centers it manages. 

4 Conversations Leaders In The #MeToo Era Should Be Ready For

Harvard Business Review

Following the #MeToo movement, leaders must be prepared to navigate difficult conversations that help prevent sexual harassment in the first place.

Why it matters: When leaders wait until an incident happens to discuss sexual harassment with their staff, they often come across sounding opaque or defensive.

As Ad Spending Falls, Savvy Marketers Turn Focus To Optimizing Cross-Platform Reach


Linear television ad buying and consumer behavior have been trending in opposite directions for years because marketers want to avoid committing spend to a single medium with no way to adjust across multiple platforms.

Why it matters: As a result, television buying and selling is shifting to outcome-based key performance indicators that align with digital

What Is FOFO And Do You Have It?


Due to a sense of increased responsibility and an unclear path forward, marketers have been suffering from Fear Of Finding Out, or FOFO, for years.

Why it matters: The solution to addressing FOFO is to hold marketing accountable, have a process where all stakeholders can share their views and map a clear path for action within a broader strategy.

3 Lessons From Google About Building A Culture Of Innovation In A Time Of COVID-19


Longtime Google executive Ryan Olohan says to thrive in a time of pandemic, you should think 10 times as much as you’re thinking 10 percent, pay even more attention to the data and use this time to innovate.

Why it matters: As searches for restaurants and stores “near me” surged, Google doubled down on its efforts to ensure every one of those searches helped users find the information they’re looking for, in addition to investing in new tools for brands to share real-time information with customers.

You’re Selling Running Shoes – Don’t Pretend You’re Saving The World

The Drum

After seeing one too many marketers mistake preaching for purpose, The Hero Trap author Thomas Kolster says purpose has become meaningless advertising lingo.

Why it matters: To bring about true change, Kolster suggests brands trust and nurture fellow citizens, human beings, colleagues, mothers and fathers.

Microsoft’s TikTok Acquisition Presents Both Political And Technical Challenges


TikTok’s parent company ByteDance started working on its technological separation from China several months ago in response to national scrutiny, a source familiar with the process told Reuters.

Why it matters: The clean break Trump and lawmakers desire, however, could take a year or longer as TikTok’s server code is still partially shared across other ByteDance products. To ensure uninterrupted TikTok service, whichever company buys TikTok would likely need to rely on ByteDance’s code until it can move to a new back-end infrastructure.

What’s Your Leadership Origin Story?

Harvard Business Review

HBR conducted in-depth interviews with 92 men and women to discover how they tell the story of their leadership origins and how those stories align with their current realities.

Why it matters: Origin stories converged around one of four dominant themes, which HBR labels as being, engaging, performing and accepting. Similar numbers of women and men relied on the “being” lens (I was always a leader) and the “accepting theme” (I’m a leader if and when others see me as one).

11 Takeaways From the Latest Media Organization Earnings


Gannett saw a 30 percent increase of digital subscribers compared to last year, reaching 925,000 of them in Q2.

Why it matters: In the next few months, Gannett is poised to exceed one million digital-only subscribers.

Nielsen: Remote Workers Are Streaming More And Buying Locally

Nearly half of consumers feel more connected to their community and are making more local purchases, according to a special work-from-home edition of Nielsen’s Total Audience Report revealing what marketers should know about how lockdown life is impacting consumers’ media habits, purchasing behavior and productivity.

The results of Nielsen’s Remote Workers Consumer survey of 1,000 adults who worked remotely prior to and during the pandemic show that two-thirds of respondents are new to working from home full-time as a result of COVID-19. Fifty-three percent of the same group cited the convenience of working from home as the top reason they worked from home at least occasionally prior to the outbreak.

Consumers’ perceived productivity rates have remained steady, with 72 percent of new work-from-homers reporting they have maintained or increased their productivity during lockdowns.

Despite 47 percent of respondents saying they’re less productive at home due to the amount of distractions, consumers aren’t ready to go back into the office anytime soon. Nielsen found that 80 percent of respondents would prefer to work for a company that lets them work from anywhere of their choice. In addition, 57 percent of workers have found it easier to manage a healthier work-life balance since the pandemic started.

The report shows that marketers have an opportunity to reach remote workers, who are listening to the radio, watching more digital content and scrolling social media platforms on a daily basis.

For example, from February to April, new work-from-homers spent the most time watching digital content, at 57 percent.

It’s interesting to note that despite the demise of the daily work commute, consumers’ radio habits haven’t faltered. In fact, 40 percent of respondents say they listen to the radio or streaming services everyday while working, while 35 percent do so at least once a week.

Thirty-three percent of people watch television or steam content during a work break everyday, mostly news (47 percent), comedy (40 percent) and movies (36 percent).

As of Q2, Nielsen’s Streaming Meter revealed that streaming now comprises one-fourth of all television minutes viewed. Netflix is the largest contributor to streaming time at 34 percent, followed by YouTube at 20 percent. Disney+ accounts for four percent of total streaming share.

Like streaming minutes, the number of services consumers are subscribing has also increased as 25 percent have added a service in the past three months, while just two percent are reducing their number of paid subscription services.

Over half, 64 percent, of respondents say they watch local news while teleworking to remain informed, which reflects the increase in local spending Nielsen has identified.

As for social, 31 percent spend time on social apps everyday, while 33 percent use social media at least once a week.

Other lifestyle changes teleworking has induced include consumers rising later (54 percent), staying up later (49 percent) and buying locally (40 percent), providing marketers an opportunity to reach consumers who are remaining close to home.

Television findings are from Nielsen’s TV Panel, which is based on a sample of over 40,000 homes; digital data is based on Nielsen’s Total Media Fusion, which is reflective of both panel and census measurement; and radio estimates are based on RADAR and the National Regional Database.

Forever 21 And 7-Eleven Launch Capsule Collection With AR Slurpee Hologram And TikTok Dance Challenge

Forever 21 and 7-Eleven just launched a 16-piece capsule collection featuring graphic hoodies and tie-dye shirts emblazoned with the 7-Eleven, Big Gulp and Slurpee logos. The merchandise is available to shop for a limited time on Forever 21’s website and app.

To promote the #F21X7ELEVEN collection, Forever 21 created an augmented reality-powered Slurpee hologram lens users can access on the Forever 21 app. Upon scanning the floor with their mobile phone then tapping the screen, a hologram of hip hop dancer Natalie Bebko dancing while drinking a Slurpee will appear. Fans can snap a picture with her then share it on social media.

In addition, the brand created a TikTok dance challenge urging users to show off their “best Big Gulp moves” in videos tagged with #F21X7ELEVENCHALLENGE.

F21 is giving consumers a chance to win $100 worth of apparel from the collection. To enter, they have to guess the difference between two similar photos of the collection in a carousel post on Forever 21’s Instagram, comment what the difference is, tag two friends and include the hashtag #f21sweepstakes. One winner will be announced on August 17.

The brand chose dance influencers to model the merchandise across TikTok and Instagram, including Bebko, or @nat_bat_, who has over half a million Instagram followers, and micro-influencers @itslilct and @alainiwalker.

In a 20-second video posted to Forever 21’s TikTok, where it has just over 7,000 followers, the influencers are shown wearing pieces from the collection while dancing in a 7-Eleven store, zooming around in a golf cart and enjoying Slurpees.

From hoodies to tees (both short and long-sleeve), the athleisure-inspired collection includes vintage renditions of 7-Eleven’s most popular logos against backgrounds of tie-dyed pastels, reds and whites. Prices range from $15 to $35.

The online-only collection comes as one of Forever 21’s parent companies, Simon Property Group, reported a decline in earnings and sales after its retail properties were closed for nearly 10,500 shopping days due to the pandemic.

Compared to last year’s income of $495.3 million, this year Simon Property Group reported profits of $254.2 million. Its revenues also took a hit in Q2, reaching $1.06 billion by the end of June, versus $1.4 billion in Q2 2019.

Warner Records Promotes Mark Flaherty To Executive Vice President Of Marketing

This week in leadership updates, Mark Flaherty accepts a promotion as EVP of marketing for Warner Records, Buffalo Wild Wings hires Rita Patel as CMO, Twitch appoints Sandeep Suvarna as head of marketing for APAC, PBS names Tonya Harley as VP of marketing, Terminix hires Alex Ho as CMO, PayPal’s chief creative officer Steve Simpson steps down and more.

Warner Records Promotes Mark Flaherty To Executive Vice President Of Marketing

Mark Flaherty has accepted a promotion as EVP of marketing for Warner Records.

Flaherty has overseen the brand’s marketing strategy for its pop, rock and alternative artist roster since joining in 2017 as senior vice president of marketing.

Prior to Warner Records, Flaherty held the same role at Interscope Records for five years.

Buffalo Wild Wings Hires Rita Patel As Chief Marketing Officer

Rita Patel has joined Buffalo Wild Wings as the chain’s CMO, effective September 14, according to Restaurant Business.

Patel replaces Seth Freeman, who left in late spring.

Prior to Buffalo Wild Wings, Patel was vice president of marketing for Target after working in marketing roles at MillerCoors, Beam Suntory and Wrigley.

Twitch Appoints Sandeep Suvarna As Head Of Marketing For Asia-Pacific

Twitch is bringing on Sandeep Suvarna to head its APAC marketing as part of a wave of new Twitch hires in Singapore.

Suvarna joins Twitch from FOX Networks Group, where he served as VP, marketing  APAC of digital streaming services. Prior to FOX, he held marketing roles at LinkedIn and Yahoo, respectively.

PBS Names Tonya Harley As Vice President Of Marketing

PBS has hired Tonya Harley as VP of marketing. 

Harley will focus on the brand’s direct-to-consumer subscription businesses, including PBS Masterpiece, PBS Kids, PBS Living and PBS Documentaries.

Prior to PBS, Harley was director of strategic marketing for BCD Travel.

Terminix Hires Alex Ho As Chief Marketing Officer

Terminix has named Alex Ho as CMO to oversee all aspects of the marketing function.

Ho joins Terminix after eight years with American Greetings, where he most recently served as CMO.

PayPal Chief Creative Officer Steve Simpson Steps Down

According to Business Insider, PayPal’s chief creative officer Steve Simpson has resigned after about a year.

The move follows a shift in PayPal’s marketing strategy from less emphasis on brand to more focus on small businesses, and the departure of CMO Allison Johnson in May.

Prior to joining PayPal, Simpson worked for 10 years at Ogilvy as North American chief creative officer.

The Vitamin Shoppe Hires Muriel Gonzalez As EVP, Chief Merchandising And Marketing Officer

The Vitamin Shoppe has appointed Muriel Gonzalez executive vice president, chief merchandising and marketing officer.

Prior to joining The Vitamin Shoppe, Gonzalez held various senior merchandising roles at Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Estée Lauder, Saks Fifth Avenue and Ann Taylor.

Deloitte Australia Appoints Rochelle Tognetti As First Woman Chief Marketing Officer

Deloitte Australia has hired Rochelle Tognetti as the company’s first woman CMO. Tognetti replaces outgoing CMO for Australia and Asia-Pacific Matt McGrath, who Deloitte just named global CMO.

Tognetti has been with Deloitte Australia over a decade in key leadership roles such as senior digital marketing manager, marketing director and chief operating officer for marketing.

ReelzChannel Sues Facebook Over Instagram Reels Trademark Infringement

This week in social media news, ReelzChannel is suing Facebook’s Instagram Reels for trademark infringement, TikTok rival Likee garners 150 million MAUs in Q2, LinkedIn adds new features to its Sales Navigator platform, Snapchat partners with TikTok creators to launch body movement-tracking lenses, The Weeknd’s virtual TikTok concert drew in over 2 million views and more.

Reelz Networks Is Suing Facebook’s Instagram Reels For Trademark Infringement

ReelzChannel is suing Facebook for trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition over the launch of Instagram Reels, Billboard reports.

Why it matters: The suit comes as Instagram Reels faces criticism from users who say the feature lacks originality and includes tools that rival TikTok popularized first.

The details: Having launched over a decade ago, ReelzChannel claims Instagram Reels will confuse the consumers it reaches in over 50 million homes in the US.

As per the complaint:

“Unless stopped, Facebook’s and Instagram’s pervasive use of ‘Reels’ will completely swamp the distinctive brand identity that Plaintiffs have built up for their own, pre-existing REELZ® media services.

Plaintiffs’ REELZ® network is one of the last truly independent television networks remaining in today’s media landscape, dominated by corporate giants, and has gained a reputation as an independent voice, picking up and exhibiting content that more mainstream networks felt was ‘too hot to touch.”

Likee Garners 150 Million MAUs In Q2 As TikTok’s Fate Gets Decided

One of TikTok’s rivals, Likee, reported 150.3 million monthly active users (MAUs) in Q2, up from 80.7 million MAUs from the previous year, an earnings report from its Chinese owner Joyy shows.

Why it matters: If an American company doesn’t swoop in to buy TikTok, Likee could, in addition to other TikTok rivals like Triller and Dubsmash, be the next popular short-form video app.

The details: Though Likee was among the few dozen Chinese-owned apps India banned, its shift to the US market paid off, for from early July to early August, the app saw 7.5 million installs—more than Dubsmash, Triller and Byte. 

In addition, Likee’s parent company Joyy reached 457 million mobile MAUs in June, 91 percent of which came from non-China markets. 

LinkedIn Adds New Features To Sales Navigator Platform

LinkedIn has added two new artificial intelligence-driven alerts, plus a lead management tool to its Sales Navigator platform.

Why it matters: The updates will help sales teams maintain leads, enhance the buyer experience and stay up to date on past correspondence.

The details: The first new alert, “Buyer Interest Alerts,” signals when employees or leadership on a saved account have engaged with your company’s site and provides insights to help you decide the optimal time to respond. LinkedIn’s second alert uses AI to help surface the most pressing alerts.

LinkedIn also added an “Outreach” listing to its Lead Lists where users can see an overview of their LinkedIn activity, including InMail messages, connection requests and more.

Snapchat Debuts Body Lenses Made For TikTok Dance Challenges

Snapchat is partnering with four mega TikTok creators to launch body lenses that track, and change in response to, people’s body movements, according to The Verge.

Why it matters: Snapchat is capitalizing on TikTok’s weak state, spurred by ongoing national scrutiny, and the viral nature of dance challenges on TikTok, which can amass millions of views.

The details: Snapchat is partnering with TikTok creators known for making viral dance videos, like Jalaiah Harmon and Dixie D’Amelio, on lenses that track 18 joints across the body. Starting today, anyone can make a body lens on Snap’s Lens Studio. 

The Weeknd’s Virtual TikTok Concert Drew In Over 2 Million Viewers

Created with Wave and presented by XO/Republic Records, The Weeknd’s live TikTok concert racked up over 2 million total unique viewers, and videos with the hashtag #TheWeekndEXP garnered more than 1.3 billion views.

Why it matters: The Weeknd’s concert served as the perfect distraction for TikTok users who are in a frenzy over its potential ban in the US. 

The concert is part of TikTok’s larger strategy to provide immersive experiences. In mid-April, the platform partnered with LiveXLive to launch “Music Lives,” a 48-hour music festival featuring over 35 artists. 

The details: On August 7, TikTok users could see The Weeknd in digital avatar form perform songs from his After Hours album, which topped the Billboard 200 for four consecutive weeks. Doja Cat made an appearance in the virtual concert, which raised $350,000 for the Equal Justice Initiative through sales of The Weeknd’s new TikTok capsule collection of merchandise.

Twitter Launches Revamped API For The First Time Since 2012

Twitter is launching a new API called API v2 that will deliver new features faster and simplify how third-party developers build on the platform.

Why it matters: Twitter’s revamped API is the first new rebuild since 2012, when Twitter came under fire for restricting how third-party developers can create on its product.

The details: With API v2, third-party developers can access features like the ability to specify which fields get returned, conversation threading, poll results in tweets, spam filtering and more.

Twitter plans to debut distinct product tracks to provide different developer groups with the proper support for their needs. Product tracks will include Standard, Academic Research and Business.

All new API features Twitter’s initially launching will be available in its free Basic access level.

TikTok Announces The First Recipients Of Its $200 Million Creator Fund

TikTok has announced the 19 first creators who will receive compensation for their content from the app’s new $200 million creator fund, which it says will grow to $1 billion in the US over the next three years and more than double that globally.

Why it matters: TikTok launched its creator fund shortly after President Trump said he was looking to ban the app, prompting many major TikTok creators to either delete the app or migrate to rival app Triller. Meanwhile, Facebook is said to be trying to lure TikTok creators away from the app to use Instagram Reels, which it recently launched in over 50 countries.

The details: According to TikTok, the creator fund will “reach hundreds of thousands of creators.” To start, TikTok has compensated 19 creators an unspecified amount for their

content. Among the first recipients include Alex Stemplewski, who’s known for holding impromptu public photoshoots with strangers on @alex.stemp; Avani Gregg, a beauty and makeup enthusiast with nearly 24 million followers on her profile @avani; and Dr. Fayez, a healthcare professional who uses TikTok videos to debunk common healthcare misconceptions on @lifeofadoctor.

Pinterest Expands AR Lipstick Try-On, Adds More Skin Tone Ranges To Beauty Search Feature

Pinterest’s skin tone ranges technology has been updated so that it’s three times as likely to detect multiple skin tone ranges, the company announced. In addition, the platform is adding more skin tone ranges and new brands to its augmented reality-enabled lipstick try-on feature.

Why it matters: Pinterest says since its AR try-on feature launched in January, Pinners try on an average of six lipstick shades and are five times more likely to show purchase intent on try on-enabled pins than standard pins.

The details: Pinterest has expanded its skin tone ranges feature from the US to the UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. As per Pinterest, “The number of beauty and fashion Pins where a skin tone can be identified has quadrupled.”

Pinterest’s try-on experience includes over 10,000 shoppable lipstick shades discoverable across 48 million beauty pins. Newly added brands include NARS, Cle de Peau and Thrive Causemetics.

New Vimeo Integration On Pinterest Helps Brands Create Video Ads

Brands on Pinterest now have access to Vimeo Create, a tool Vimeo launched in February featuring customizable templates designed for video newbies, to maximize pin discoverability.

Why it matters: The integration comes after Pinterest exceeded 400 million users who have contributed to a surge in engagement during lockdowns.

The details: Brands who use Vimeo Create can publish their video content directly to Pinterest. Vimeo Create offers new users access to all templates and feature levels free for 30 days when you sign up for either of two packages—Vimeo Pro, which is $24 a month thereafter, and Business, $55 a month after the trial expires.

Facebook Expands Brand Partnership Posts To Public Groups

Facebook is launching a new sponsored post tool for public groups that will enable admins to publish posts in partnership with or on behalf of brands, as spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra.

Why it matters: The paid partnership option adds to existing monetization tools available to Facebook groups including a paid subscription option for some groups and ads in the groups feed. The new feature will provide brands a new way to reach focused audiences and see how posts in those groups perform.

The details: As per Facebook:

“We’re excited to launch a set of tools that will enable communities, specifically, for the first time, to meaningfully monetize their engaged group audience by partnering with brands to create ‘branded’ posts.”

When a group admin tags a post as branded content, a “Paid Partnership” label appears atop the post.

Triller Surpasses TikTok In The App Store

As TikTok’s future in the US gets decided, TikTok rival Triller has leaped to the number one spot on the “Top Free Apps” list of the app store, beating TikTok, which came in third.

Why it matters: After saying he’d allow an American company to purchase TikTok, President Trump issued an executive order that will ban TikTok from making financial transactions with US businesses in 45 days if the app’s parent company ByteDance doesn’t sell TikTok.

The details: According to Sensor Tower data, Triller jumped to the top spot in the app store across 85 countries. The app’s upward trajectory kicked off when TikTok got banned in India, after which Triller reached number one in India’s photos and videos list of the app store in early July.

Twitter And TikTok Said To Be In Talks About Potential Combination

According to The Wall Street Journal, Twitter has had preliminary discussions with TikTok about a possible combination as the drama surrounding TikTok getting banned or bought continues.

Why it matters: Though Twitter is the latest possible suitor for TikTok, people familiar with the matter told WSJ that Microsoft, which said on August 2 it was pursuing a deal, is the “front-runner” for any possible deal.

The details: WSJ notes, “Because it is much smaller, Twitter has reasoned that it would be unlikely to face the same level of antitrust scrutiny as Microsoft or other potential bidders, said people familiar with the discussions.”

Social Media User Satisfaction Drops Over Data Privacy Practices

New data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index revealed user satisfaction for social media slipped 2.8 percent this year to a score of 70 out of 100. 

Why it matters: At the root of the declines are consumer perceptions about social media platforms’ data privacy practices, for which the satisfaction score dropped to a record low of 69.

The details: Platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube saw drops ranging from one percent to four perfect, while Snapchat and Tumblr increased by one to three percent. The survey, which ended on June 8, also reflects consumers’ desires for more reliable video performance, freshness of content relevancy and less advertising.

TikTok Gives Advertisers An Out In The Event App Gets Banned

One C-level executive at a top ad agency says TikTok is giving brands a ripcord to pull should the app get banned, according to Ad Age.

Why it matters: Since Trump announced a potential ban on TikTok, major creators have migrated to its competitor Triller, while some brands have paused campaigns amid uncertainty over its future.

The details: As per Ad Age, TikTok is also outlining that it’s not responsible for undelivered media so that brands can’t sue the app if it’s unable to fill advertising orders.

Planters Debuts New Peanut Jr. Mascot For A Contest It’s Running And Twitter Isn’t Thrilled

Planters has debuted yet another mascot named Peanut Jr., the grown-up version of Baby Nut—who originally appeared as a reincarnation of Mr. Peanut after the brand killed off Mr. Peanut in its 2020 Super Bowl ad—to launch a contest called #MakeMyBirthdayNuts. Now through August 24, Planters is giving people who celebrated or will celebrate their birthday in quarantine a chance to win $2,100 in cash.

In a 19-second video posted to his Twitter account, Peanut Jr. is shown handing his driver’s license to a bartender who confusedly asks:

“Wait, so you’re telling me you fell off a cliff, came back to life as a baby and now you’re 21?”

“Yeah, yeah, it’s been a weird year,” Peanut Jr. responds.

Planters is giving three fans each $2,100 for sharing their dream birthday gift in 10 words or less on Twitter with the hashtags #MakeMyBirthdayNuts and #Sweepstakes and the @MrPeanut handle tagged. Planters is also giving away 200 prize packages that include branded merchandise.

The video, which has received 2.8 million views and 11,000 retweets in just a day, drew mixed reactions from Twitter. Users were quick to criticize Peanut Jr.’s birthday announcement for happening too soon after Baby Nut’s debut. One user said:

Another called Planters’ move “legitimately way too weird of a campaign.”

Others questioned Peanut Jr.’s decision to go to a bar in the middle of a pandemic.

In February, Planters ran a controversial Super Bowl ad showing its original mascot, the 104-year-old Mr. Peanut, sacrifice his life to save his commercial co-stars Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh. To date, the spot has over 7 million views on YouTube. Then, on Super Bowl day, the brand unveiled a new mascot: Baby Nut.

Peanut Jr.’s arrival comes on the heels of a strong Q2 for Planters’ parent company Kraft Heinz, which reported a 3.8 percent increase year-on-year in net sales to $6.6 billion. However, the company reported a net loss of $1.65 billion due to impairment charges, according to Kraft Heinz’s earnings report.

The company says 75 percent of new buyers since the pandemic started are buying products from its brands, including Planters, Kraft Mac & Cheese, Philadelphia, Ore-Ida and Capri Sun.

Lancôme Is Launching A 3D Virtual Store In Singapore

On August 28, Lancôme is launching a virtual flagship store in Singapore called #LiveYourStrength to promote its Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Serum. Live until September 20, the store will offer a 3D shopping experience through artificial intelligence-powered skin consultations, machines that deliver customizable products and chatbots for enhanced customer experience.

The virtual store is an extension of the Lancôme’s recent #LiveYourStrength campaign for which global brands ambassadors Lupita Nyong’o, Zendaya, Kate Winslet, Amanda Seyfried and Penelope Cruz shared stories of how they discovered their inner strength.

Through five different zones—Discover, Explore, Inspire, Live and Shop—the virtual store aims to educate beauty enthusiasts on the serum, 35 million bottles of which have been sold worldwide since its 2009 launch.

The Discover zone will include a “strength-finder personality test” which helps shoppers find their strength type and tips for living by that strength.

The Explore zone will enable visitors to take a virtual skin consultation through Lancôme’s first AI-driven mobile skin diagnosis tool, namely the E-youth finder.

The Inspire zone will feature videos of the 100 women from Lancôme’s Find Your Strength campaign sharing personal stories of self discovery.

Live stream sessions will run in the Live zone, with appearances from regional and local celebrities discussing personal stories on the #LiveYourStrength topic.

Modeled after Lancôme’s physical store, the last zone, Shop, is where fans can browse and shop products customizable via a machine.

Lancôme’s efforts to fuse the physical and digital shopping experience comes amid a rebound in the Chinese beauty market, as its parent company L’Oréal grew by 30 percent in China during Q2. In addition, during the first half of the year, L’Oréal saw a 64.6 percent increase in e-commerce, according to the company’s H2 earnings.

The Shift To Creative With Bynder’s CMO Andrew Hally

During this 220th episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Andrew Hally, the chief marketing officer at Bynder.

On the show today, we talk about personalization and whether it’s the right move for marketers at this time, whether investing in personalization technology is the right thing to be doing, and what consumers really care about. Hally provides lots of valuable advice to other marketers and CMOs.

Hally talks about how we need to bring more balance to the trend of marketing personalization. He predicts that in a few years, “Marketing attention may be beginning to return to our roots in creative and storytelling and the more emotive side of the game.” We discuss the limits and disadvantages of personalization and the potential drawbacks of investing in more personalization capabilities. We come back to the importance of empathizing with your customer and building a long-term relationship. Hally says, “At the end of the day, brands win because of the stories they tell and the way consumers identify with them,” and “Even in this digital day and age, the story probably matters more than anything.” This discussion is about finding balance in our marketing strategies and weighing technological tools with traditional creative approaches.

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • How a Georgia boy ended up in Boston. 01:14
  • Andrew’s path to Bynder. 02:20
  • All about Bynder. 03:08
  • The trend to deliver more personalization. 03:50
  • Disadvantages of personalized marketing. 05:15
  • Investing in personalization capabilities. 08:05
  • How Andrew thinks about the impact of personalization on consumers. 09:39
  • Advice for marketers on rebalancing. 12:32
  • The role of technology in supporting creative. 14:48
  • Advice for other CMOs. 17:12
  • Andrew shares a defining experience. 18:45
  • Andrew reflects on advice he would give to his younger self. 20:20
  • Andrew shares about an impactful purchase he made in the last 6-12 months. 21:54
  • Are there any brands, companies, or causes that Andrew follows that he thinks other people should take notice of? 23:25
  • Andrew’s take on the top threat facing marketers today. 25:47

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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.

What A Potential TikTok Ban Means For Brands

As national security concerns over TikTok’s US presence escalate, some users are migrating away from the app, while marketers are adding escape clauses into their contracts over uncertainty about its future.

Last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump said the government was considering banning TikTok over its data privacy and content moderation practices. Then lawmakers voted to prohibit the app from all government-issued devices. The clamor over the issue culminated on Friday, July 31st when Trump said he was prepared to immediately ban the app.

These events sent mega TikTok creators into a frenzy, leading some to delete their accounts and direct fans to follow them on other platforms. Shortly thereafter, TikTok launched a $200 million creator fund to encourage them to stay.

Brands, on the other hand, are pausing TikTok campaigns, and others are amending contracts so they can shift spend to another platform if needed.

For advertisers, brand safety is top of mind.

“The moderation issues have led to a bit of hate speech, bullying and sexually explicit content getting in front of younger audiences. Many of our blue chip clients prefer brand safe environments. Edgier brands are a little more open to pushing the boundaries, however privacy concerns have made them stay away. So while TikTok has seen the benefits of higher engagement during this COVID era, its issues have been an opt-out for many advertisers,” says Ayzenberg media vice president Heather Cohen.

Erik Schmitt, Ayzenberg creative director, says that although TikTok’s algorithm gives brands an equal chance of being seen by their target audience and discovered by new audiences, unlike Facebook, they should still proceed with caution.

“One alternative brands should consider is Instagram Reels – which is very intentionally set up to be a competitor to TikTok,” says Schmitt.

Today Facebook officially debuted its TikTok clone Instagram Reels, a feature that enables users to record and customize snackable clips, in the US and several key international markets.

Ignoring TikTok’s potentially intrusive user tracking comes with a high price tag for brands, says Ayzenberg vice president of product and technology Chris Strawser.

“TikTok has the potential to be really dangerous because the demographic is young, and that demographic doesn’t necessarily guard their data as intensely as older demographics. In a year, if we find out TikTok has been nefariously using consumer data, brands aren’t going to be free from the responsibility of putting their consumers at risk. There’s going to be a reckoning,” Strawser says.

Still, coupled with the app’s addictive nature and eerily perceptive algorithm, TikTok’s massive appeal among Gen Z is hard to ignore. 

“For me, the true indicator of TikTok success is how Gen Z is using the platform today in so many different and nuanced ways. On top of almost solely driving the music industry (as seen on any top 50 chart), there are also subsections of TikTok driving real political and societal change,” says vice president of talent and content strategy at ION Steven Lai.

TikTok recently announced updates to its policies to expand fact-checking, flag election misinformation and ban deep fakes.

Since then, President Trump issued an executive order that would ban TikTok and WeChat in the US in 45 days if their Chinese-owned parent companies, ByteDance and Tencent, respectively, don’t sell them.

In a company statement, a “shocked” TikTok criticized the President’s move, saying it has sought for over a year to work with Washington to create a solution to national security concerns. The app asserted it “will be here for many years to come,” and urged users to express their opinion on the potential ban to their elected representatives.

Despite getting banned in India, and its US future being imperiled, TikTok was the top-grossing non-gaming app worldwide in July, Sensor Tower data show. The app saw over $102.5 million in user spending, with 89 percent of revenue from China and six percent from the US.

Timeline of TikTok vs. Trump: