Match Names Ayni Raimondi VP Of Brand

This week in leadership updates, Match names Ayni Raimondi as VP of brand, WarnerMedia CMO Chris Spadaccini steps down and Genius Brands appoints Marc Rosenberg as president of global brands and CMO.

Match Appoints Ayni Raimondi As Vice President Of Brand

Ayni Raimondi has joined Match as its new VP of brand, Adweek reports. The move comes as the dating service celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Prior to Match, Raimondi held senior marketing roles at Airbnb over the course of six years.

WarnerMedia Chief Marketing Officer Chris Spadaccini Exits

Chris Spadaccini, WarnerMedia Entertainment’s CMO since 2019, is stepping down, according to Deadline.

Prior to becoming WarnerMedia CMO, Spadaccini spent two decades at HBO. His departure comes as WarnerMedia continues to restructure the company.

Genius Brands Appoints Marc Rosenberg Chief Marketing Officer

Marc Rosenberg is joining Genius Brands International, Inc. as the company’s president of global brands and CMO.

Rosenberg joins from Zizzle, where he recently served as CMO.

Prior to Zizzle, he held various marketing leadership roles in the children’s space, including head of marketing at Hasbro Toys and Tiger Electronics.

What We’re Reading—Week Of September 21st

Here’s a look at what we’re sharing internally this week.

Uncle Ben’s Becomes Ben’s Original In ‘Brand Evolution’

Food Dive

Uncle Ben’s is renaming its brand to Ben’s Original, a move that’s part of its larger efforts to increase diversity and inclusion. In addition, through a partnership with National Urban League, Ben’s Original is launching a community outreach program to provide underserved communities with nutritious meals and help culinary entrepreneurs of all colors gain exposure.

Why it matters: The move comes three months after Uncle Ben’s came under fire for perpetuating systemic racism through its brand identity, along with brands like Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth’s.

Instagram Extends Maximum Length Of Reels To 30 Seconds


Instagram is doubling the maximum length of Reels videos from 15 to 30 seconds and rolling out editing features that let users trim and delete any clip.

Why it matters: The CMT Awards will become the first major US awards show to use Reels to exclusively announce this year’s nominees.

That Was A B2B Ad? How The Pandemic Forced Business Marketers To Pivot Forever

The Drum

Business-to-business marketing has shifted from methodical and boring to emotional and engaging, a trend triggered by two key factors—the syncing of our personal and professional lives and the accelerated adoption of digital among B2B marketers.

Why it matters: Research from LinkedIn’s B2B Institute shows that establishing a strong emotional connection in an ad is paramount, and even more so during turbulent times. In addition, ads with humor or established brand characters scored even higher in 2020 than they did in years past, while 75 percent of B2B ads tested this year achieved only one star out of five in ad effectiveness scoring tests.

Remembering PepsiCo CEO Donald Kendall, Who Aggressively Grew The Brand


Donald Kendall, who served as PepsiCo’s chief executive officer for 23 years from 1963 to 1986, has passed away at the age of 99. When Kendall took the reins from his predecessor, Herbert Barnet, Pepsi’s share of the soft drinks market was stuck at 30 percent.

Why it matters: During Kendall’s tenure as CEO, PepsiCo’s revenues increased almost 40-fold, from $200 million to $7.6 billion, according to a company-written obituary.

Brands: Don’t Underestimate Your Narrative Power To Create Change

Ad Age

According to head of basketball, sports marketing at PepsiCo, Charece Williams Gee, in order to eradicate the prejudices and perceptions entrenched in society, “It is important that people believe in both the mission and the messenger. It helps when the marketers are leaning in and bringing their personal passion and sizzle to each project.”

Why it matters: Brands have a responsibility to amplify marginalized voices. A path forward requires a complete understanding of the past, and the only way to fully understand the past is to tell the full story.

Why HBO Max’s Branding Guru Built His Own ‘Anti-Racist’ Agency: Uncomfortable Conversations

Ad Age

Larry Adams, CEO and founder of LVA, a media agency centered around anti-racism, is attempting to transform the way marketing campaigns focus on and target black Americans.

Why it matters: Despite the plethora of new data on black audiences, some large marketing and advertising agencies continue to target them by relying on outdated studies and sometimes, on the “trendier parts” of black culture.

Microsoft Just Spent $7.5 Billion To Give Gamers A Major Reason To Buy A Next-Gen Xbox Instead Of A PlayStation 5

Business Insider

Microsoft has acquired ZeniMax Media and its games publisher Bethesda Softworks in order to incorporate some of the world’s largest video game development studios–and their game franchises–into Microsoft’s Xbox Studios, a move that will likely result in Sony’s loss of popular games like Doom, Fallout and The Elder Scrolls.

Why it matters: Instead of continuing to struggle in its competition with Sony’s gaming platform Playstation, Microsoft’s acquisition will strengthen the viability and success of Xbox Game Pass, a “Netflix-like library of games” that boasts 15 million paid users as of this month.

How Important Is An Influencer Marketing Data Platform?

The Drum

An influencer marketing data platform gives brands that are running large influencer campaigns access to unique insights based on historical data from previous creator partnerships, the ability to compare creators and specific insights on audience actions.

Why it matters: According to psychometric impact studies, influencer ads are 277 percent more emotionally intense and 87 percent more memorable than television ads.

US Navy Taps YouTube Creators For Sailor VS Recruitment Campaign


The US Navy has launched a campaign called “Sailor VS” to highlight the diversity of jobs available throughout the Navy, tapping YouTube influencers to aid its recruitment efforts.

Why it matters: As per YouTube, the Navy has found it increasingly difficult to reach young adults via traditional media such as television ads.

Walmart Launches Fashion Essentials Brand Free Assembly


Walmart is launching a 60-piece fashion brand named Free Assembly that will be available at some 250 Walmart locations and online for around $9 to $45 per piece.

Why it matters: Denise Incandela, senior vice president of Walmart Women’s Group, said the company has been working to bolster its ecommerce efforts to establish Walmart as a fashion destination as it’s taken over 1,000 brands online.

Why Focusing Exclusively On Short Term Metrics Can Cause Long Term Catastrophe For Mobile Games Marketers

I’ve been in the video game industry for over 23 years, working on the marketing and publishing side. I got my start way back in the industry at Microsoft on the original Xbox, and went on to work with Sega, Ayzenberg, ArenaNet, Amazon Game Studios, Blizzard and most recently, FoxNext. I’m also the founder of AListDaily and who Eric Ayzenberg affectionately calls “the architect.”

Over the course of my career, I’ve become fascinated with KPI measurement. Running mobile game publishing for the last four years has exposed me to a corporate focus and unequaled value of “short-term” metrics—the almighty return on advertising spend (ROAS), with user acquisition (UA) being completely judged on one simple metric: ROI. Did this ad spend against this cohort result in profit? If so, spend more. If not, discontinue spend.

Growing up professionally in the early days of video game marketing, my roots are in brand marketing. Other than sales, “long term metrics were really all we had. Impressions, share of voice, brand affinity and price elasticity were all highly valued back then by my bosses.

I recently read a study conducted by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) that helped ground me in how to balance the long and short of marketing.

I’m going to share why marketers need to fight for long term metric acceptance and value from management as it’s the only way games-as-a-service and free to play games have a chance to last years and deliver on the expectations of long-term live support.

The State Of KPI Measurement In Mobile Games Publishing

I’ve noticed a trend of gaming companies being enamored with purely attributable marketing spend. By that, I mean spend a dollar and see exactly how much revenue that dollar generates to your company.

This is a very common practice in the mobile games industry, where, as of right now, you can do this in your UA paid media spending on mobile. You do that through technology, which is basically code that goes into your ads that uses the unique identifier of the person viewing the mobile IDFA to connect all the way through the funnel of that person seeing your ad, clicking it, going to your app store, installing your app, playing your app and eventually, hopefully spending money in your app.

There is a data breadcrumb trail that will go all the way back up. And that is empowering to UA teams because they can then do cohort analysis, namely splice that data in many different ways. For example, they can look at people they brought in at a particular time, people that they brought in under a specific piece of creative, people that come in from Facebook versus Google and people that are on iOS versus Android. And they can make very calculated decisions on how much they are willing to spend to get other people like those different groups.

What this has done to senior level folks running game companies in the mobile gaming industry is put them in the mindset that all marketing should be measured this way. That is extremely challenging because the attribution technology and the data sources break when you get into other forms of marketing.

A very easy example of that would be if you run a television ad, there is no way to know somebody watched the television ad and then installed and played your game and then whether or not that is a valuable player or not a valuable player. It’s disconnected.

Where Short Term ROI Focus Falls Short

We need to be better as marketers to provide evidence where possible to encourage management that not all marketing should be completely short term ROI focused, and that there is value in things like brand spending.

If we only focus on purely attributable ROI measured marketing spend, you basically will never do anything for the long term value of the game. As a result,  branding gets shoved to the side and is ignored. That is a short term win with potential for a long term catastrophe.

A lot of video games nowadays have extremely long lives, like World of Warcraft is now in its 17th year. If World of Warcraft was launched on iOS 17 years ago on Apple, and Blizzard decided that they were only going to look at ROAS in their UA media spends, I would challenge the notion that it would have ever lasted 17 years because it was not building the brand. It was only looking for new players at the top of the funnel that had some evidence that they could spend.

Short Term Marketing’s Impact On Brand Perception And Price Sensitivity

What will end up happening is if you’re only looking at ROI on a particular media UA spend, it will force your UA team and the team responsible for building the creative to make decisions that are not based on long term value.

So let’s say we’re running the marketing for a mobile game and the mobile game is a new IP, it’s not a license and nobody’s really heard of it. It’s also in a genre that’s really hot right now. Let’s say when Candy Crush came out, you think you have a spin on the match-three category and so you create a game that’s called Gem Crush instead of Candy Crush. So what you’re doing is capitalizing on someone else who has built momentum without trying to build any resonance or affiliation with your own version of that. You will probably see early indications of great success. You can make advertisements that look similar to Candy Crush advertisements. And you will probably get a great deal of people who will be interested, click and download the game, plus maybe spend a little bit of money early on.

And maybe that’s successful. But what will happen over time is that genre will lose some of its steam. People have seen it. There have been lots of competitors that enter the market. You’re not the only Candy Crush, type match-three game. And there will be somebody who maybe puts on the license that people have heard of. So now, instead of just Candy Crush and Gem Crush, which is your game, there is a Frozen-themed match-three game from Disney.

Guess what? That game has brand equity. It has awareness and the downstream effect of brand equity and awareness, while not attributable, would be realized by the marketing team marketing this match-three Frozen game. They will be able to come out of the gate and have greatly reduced cost per installation and cost per impression (CPM) that will allow them to go at a larger scale than you and probably will bring in more loyal customers because there’s a fondness and affiliation, a familiarity with the Frozen franchise. You will have missed your ability to build a long term business because you don’t have that same affiliation and brand affection. The switching costs between the game you’re marketing, Gem Crush, is very low. Players have not built an emotional connection to your brand. They tried it because it was the new hot thing and they’re just as easily swayed by going back to the originator, either Candy Crush or something more familiar, which is the Disney brand.

That’s the long term effect, which is also related to price sensitivity. One of the best case studies of price sensitivity is the mobile device business. There are two big players— Apple with the iPhone and Samsung with the Galaxy. Why is it that Apple is able to charge 50 percent more for a device that may not be quite as powerful as the similar model from Samsung? It’s only one thing: the brand building, brand affiliation and brand equity that they’ve created for that over time.

You may be able to build a profitable short term business if you’re just looking at ROI in the short term window. You may not be able to right the ship if you just use that exclusively as your only means of marketing.

How To Balance The Short And Long Of Marketing

To balance the short and long of marketing, you must be more evidence-driven in the non-attributable marketing spending that you’re doing.

What I think is lazy is when marketers go in front of their boss and say, “But what about brand spend? It’s important for the long term business health of our game.” And the boss turns to them and says, well, can you prove that? And you throw your hands up and you say, well, I can’t show a directly attributable ROI on brand spend, that’s impossible.

That’s lazy. Classically trained packaged goods marketers that never have been forced into this new world of data driven marketing need to adapt and try to put the breadcrumbs together.

While it’s really difficult to run a television spot and then immediately go measure how many new games you sold from that television spot, it isn’t impossible to run the television spot and then look at the cause or correlation into another metric that isn’t completely all the way down the funnel that is more attributable.

Isolate one variable that has highly correlated effect and then go the next step down, another variable that is proven by that prior one in a highly correlated effect, and then further and further getting you to some amount of certainty that there is evidence to whatever the most important metric that you’re trying to drive—whether that’s profitable installs or if that’s retention in your game.

Those metrics are measuring different things, but that’s what needs to happen to justify brand spending, rather than just giving up and saying, “well, I think it worked, our revenues are up.” This bread crumb process can then be used as evidence and justification for further brand spends down the line. If you build this case you can then start a proposed spend pitch with, “we have evidence that our TV brand spend on average reduce cost per install by 20%”

Don’t ignore what data can provide, embrace it and try to come up with as much evidence as possible to get close to attribution. It isn’t going to be perfect because there is not the same sort of attribution available for outdoor billboards, for your public relations efforts or running a cool sizzle trailer on YouTube. But there are data points that can be measured.

Ad Council And She Can STEM Host Virtual Concert In Minecraft

As part of their new experiential Dare to STEM campaign, She Can STEM and the Ad Council hosted a virtual concert within Minecraft featuring singer-songwriter Ruth B. to help bridge the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

Virtual doors to the 43-minute concert opened on September 19 when fans could see Ruth B. perform 10 songs within Minecraft or watch the show live on She Can STEM’s YouTube channel. The concert has since amassed 4,750 views on YouTube.

During the week leading up to the event, Minecraft Java Edition players could try five different STEM challenges to build elements of the virtual world for a chance to win a ticket to the concert. Some of the resulting user-generated content was then featured throughout Ruth B.’s performance.

Twitch influencers like Shubble, FalseSymmetry, GamingMermaid and Strawburry17 posted video tutorials to their social channels sharing how they used their STEM skills to create fireworks displays, light shows, monuments celebrating women in their lives, music and aquariums for the event.

The Minecraft activation is part of She Can STEM’s “Dare to STEM” campaign which includes digital, social and broadcast public service announcements that will run nationwide. Part of the all female-produced creative is a 60-second video spot that encourages girls to “dare to fail” and “program something internet-breaking.”

“STEM has a reputation for being intimidating and reserved for those who ‘have a knack for it,’ but the reality is that STEM is for everyone brave enough to roll up their sleeves and dive in. Through the latest iteration of our She Can STEM campaign, we’re celebrating the spirit of experimentation and inspiring girls to dare to STEM – and what better way to do that than by hosting a virtual concert in Minecraft? Ultimately, this event was intended to make STEM feel cool, culturally relevant and accessible to girls, no matter where they are in their STEM journeys,” said Rowena Patrick, senior vice president, group campaign director at the Ad Council.

Since the pandemic, in-game concerts have provided a way forward for the live music industry. In April, Travis Scott held a concert within Fortnite that drew in 12.3 million concurrent players. Thereafter, in August, The Weeknd performed tracks from his latest album during a virtual concert on TikTok that drew more than 2 million total viewers.

Filmmaking Magic With Breakwater Studios Founder Ben Proudfoot

On this 226th episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Ben Proudfoot, founder of Breakwater Studios.

In today’s episode, Proudfoot talks all about how brand films can thrive and closing the gap between the brands and the filmmakers. We also discuss how he has been able to produce a multitude of films during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Proudfoot’s career as an entrepreneur and filmmaking began after his success as a junior magician in Canada, becoming an international champion at a very young age. We discuss how that success led him to the University of Southern California. Proudfoot shares how his films bring “sometimes ordinary, sometimes extraordinary people’s stories to life.”

Proudfoot then discusses how today’s younger generations won’t trust brands who are not clear about who they are or solely focused on making money. We discuss how the recent deaths of his father and other people in his life have taught him that “our life is so fragile and so short and could be over at any moment…and it’s intensely motivating to me.” This discussion teaches many lessons on brand-filmmaking today.

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Becoming a championship magician as a teen. 1:37
  • Magic became a career in filmmaking. 3:58
  • Changing his mind from a career in magic to one in film. 5:25
  • A short viral documentary launched Ben’s career. 7:08
  • Establishing a relationship with The New York Times. 8:38
  • There are a plethora of layers to all of Ben’s stories. 11:30
  • Sometimes there is no more elegant way to tell a story. 12:50
  • Ben can be compared to the anti-Ken Burns. 13:48
  • Why Ben chose to do branded films. 15:30
  • It is incredibly difficult to make content that serves the brand. 17:57
  • How marketers can work directly with filmmakers. 19:10
  • The problem is that marketing and advertising get all the money. 22:00
  • Bridging the long-term and short-term schools of marketing. 23:20
  • Staying neutral will cause your audience to distrust you. 24:45
  • Young people don’t trust companies that exist to make money. 26:10
  • Clarity in brand identity leads to success and options. 28:00
  • The pandemic has led to innovation in the film industry. 29:20
  • A series of death-related experiences have shaped Ben’s driven mindset. 32:15
  • Advice that Ben would give to his younger self. 34:30
  • An impactful purchase that has cost under $100. 35:53
  • Brands and causes that people should be taking note of. 37:05
  • The biggest opportunity in today’s industry. 38:59
  • The biggest threat to filmmakers/brands right now. 39:52

Resources Mentioned:

Subscribe to the podcast:

Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:

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.

Magna: Ad Sales Declined By 7.2 Percent In The First Half Of 2020

Advertising revenues dropped 17 percent year-over-year (YoY) to $46 billion in the second quarter of 2020, according to Magna Global’s latest US advertising forecast.

Linear media took a hit as ad sales plummeted 38 percent in Q2, the result of declines in national and local media formats. National television ad sales saw their worst quarter ever, decreasing by 30 percent as a result of the absence of live sports events. Search declined by three percent, its first decline ever in the second quarter.

On the other hand, digital media in Q2 was flat YoY, reflecting a resilience driven by the surge in digital media consumption during lockdowns. Google posted a 6 percent decline in US ad sales, at $14 billion. Facebook and Amazon both reported growth, the former by 14 percent YoY to $8.3 billion, the latter by 43 percent to $2.5 billion.

In the first half of 2020, ad revenues dipped by 7.2 percent YoY. Linear ad sales saw a 23.1 percent decline while digital ad sales increased by 5.7 percent. National and local television both posted decreases of 19 percent.

Suffering the largest declines in the first half were print and radio, each down 33 percent; out-of-home, down 22 percent; and on-screen movie advertising, down a whopping 63.6 percent.

The latest macroeconomic data shows the US economy will decrease by 5.2 percent in 2020 after falling by 10 percent YoY in Q2. Taking this data into account, Magna has adjusted its full-year growth forecast to show that in 2020, net ad revenues will fall by 4.6 percent to $213 billion, linear ad sales will decline by 16 percent to $81 billion and digital ad revenues will grow by 4.2 percent to $133 billion.

Magna anticipates ad spending will rebound in 2021 by a 4 percent increase due to economic recovery and the Tokyo Olympic Games. Verticals that will increase their linear ad spending in 2021 include entertainment (12 percent), restaurants (8 percent) and technology, personal care and pharmaceuticals (all at 5 percent). For travel marketers, the outlook is less rosy, as Magna expects travel ad spend will decline an additional 15 percent in 2021.

G4 Is Back…Wait, Who Am I Again?

(Originally aired September 22nd on LinkedIn Live.)

On the show today, we’re featuring a conversation between Ayzenberg’s Matt Bretz and VP of Content Partnerships and Brand Development at Comcast Spectacor, Blair Herter.

Blair and Matt discuss the new WFH paradigm and how conditions from COVID-19 may actually be changing us… for the better? Blair gives us insight into managing life while balancing the relaunch of G4 and offers advice we can all take on navigating our many competing roles now that work and home life are intermingled.

About Listen In: Each week on Listen In, Bretz and a rotating cast of hosts from Ayzenberg interview experts in the field of marketing and advertising to explore uncharted territory together. The goal is to provide the audience with actionable insights, enabling them to excel in their field.

Gary Goodman’s Creative Picks: Reimagining Sports

David Rielly, (GCD at, an independent agency within the, shares his thoughts on the state of the world, creative and sports as Gary Goodman’s guest columnist this week. 

Thank you to Gary and AList for inviting me aboard. Long-time reader, first-time columnist. 😉

As easy as it would be for me to stay inside my wheelhouse and riff on tech, or toys or gaming, what my eyeballs have been drawn to lately is the wide and reimagined world of sports.

In the grand scheme of things this particular insight doesn’t measure up to the cultural reckoning of BLM or the far-reaching ravages of COVID-19, but I suspect I’m not alone in seeing my relationship to sports in a new light.

The sports dominoes fell swiftly in March, from the suspension of the NBA regular season, to the NCAA’s cancellation of March Madness to MLB pulling the plug halfway through Spring Training.

And while there was no shortage of shows and movies to stream to steer ourselves away from the nightmare of the news, millions of sports fans began to feel an unscratchable itch without a single new game to watch.

The record-breaking ratings of ESPN’s The Last Dance showed I was not alone. Even though sports fans of a certain age knew how it ended, the dramatic twists, turns and revelations of Michael Jordan’s final season with the Bulls was as close as we could get to “new.” 

After a four-month absence, we started to see MLB, the NBA, pro tennis and more come back. And despite having no fans in the stands, watching these games has restored a rhythm to daily life that was sorely missed. 

Like many people, the only time I watch ads on TV is for live programming like sports, so I’ve definitely over-indexed here lately. So with that in mind, here are three campaigns that have made an impression on me as a viewer, but also as a marketer.

NBA: “Whole New Game”

It’s no secret that purpose-driven brands tend to break through and resonate with audiences in ways that create long-lasting affinity. But what happens when that purpose is one of the most polarizing movements of our time?

From a marketing perspective, the NBA’s “Whole New Game” campaign for the seeding games and playoffs held in the “The Bubble” (aka the ESPN Wide World of  Sports Complex at the Disney World resort in Orlando) referred to the dramatic changes required to keep the season going. But no fans also meant new access to the games themselves, as camera rigs were free to roam the sidelines without fear of obstructing the view.

Why it matters: From the player perspective, though, that new view was also a platform for the league and the players to support Black Lives Matters. Not only was the court itself emblazoned with BLM, but players were allowed to choose from a series of messages such as Vote, Say Their Names, I Can’t Breathe and more as a way to use their platform to send social justice messages to viewers.

Anecdotally speaking, the seeding games leading up to the beginning of the playoffs were marked by incredible intensity on and off the court. And as the playoffs began, and new stars were minted in the glare of the spotlight, the in-game interstitials on TNT and ESPN began to combine the ferocity of the competitive spirit with the urgency of the BLM messaging.

The details: The result was the overwhelming sense that the NBA playoffs were being marketed as a cultural event more than a sporting event. I won’t go into parsing the ratings, which can be viewed through different lenses as a success or a let-down, but they did draw the attention of President Trump which further stoked the flames. The shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI, escalated the on-court drama even further, as the Milwaukee Bucks collectively decided that they could and would not play their first-round game against Orlando, which quickly cascaded into an NBA-wide walkout.

A Whole New Game indeed.

Bud Light: “Beer Vendor”

Let’s shift gears into something a bit more light-hearted, but also indicative of how the sports and advertising landscape has changed.

As a bit of a beer snob, I wouldn’t knowingly drink a Bud Light, but there was something striking about the sight of a stadium beer vendor walking alone through a suburban street hawking his wares. With a series of vignettes centered around a surprisingly relatable character, Bud Light created a fresh take on the spokesman while striking a chord in all of us who remember what our jobs used to feel like… and how much they’ve changed so much in such a short time. And in doing so, they’ve earned a newfound affinity for a brand that’s tended towards the zany and sophomoric.

Why it matters: Getting the tone “right” has been an evolving situation in the pandemic. As heartfelt and important as the early-days trend of “let’s stop the spread” and “we’re in this together”, there was a limit to how much plaintive piano we could take. Humor was inevitable, but it had to be a nuanced take.

Hearing “Even-though-you-can’t-go-to-the-game-doesn’t-mean-the-game-can’t-be-brought-to- you” delivered in the fast-talking high-register shout of a beer vendor acknowledges the pandemic, while slyly offering you a solution to your thirst that may not have been top of mind.

The details: The spot’s CTA asks you to go to, which takes you to a landing page that makes it easy to have Bud Light shipped to you with Amazon PrimeNow… because 2020.

The production solution is also a great fit for the current challenges facing live-action shoots. There is only one on-camera talent, and you can bet they collected enough material on their shoot day for a nice suite of vignettes and social content. As a tertiary read, it feels like a savvy way to normalize the new product Bud Light Seltzer as something that of course beer drinking sports fans would be sipping as they watch the game.

I’m betting we’ll be seeing plenty more spots with the high-level conceit of nostalgia for the way we were cold-filtered through the challenges of the time we’re in.

TikTok “It Starts on TikTok”

As a tennis fan watching as much of the US Open as possible, I considered diving into the hypothesis that sponsoring brands for this sport had not yet found a way to tap into the current zeitgeist.

But as I watched Serena’s quest for Slam #24 fall tantalizingly short once again, I was surprised to see a :60 for TikTok. Those who follow the sport may find this ad-buy surprising as well, as tennis audiences are usually perceived as older fuddy-duddies, with most commercial breaks peddling IBM’s Watson and various high-end retirement solutions.

Why it matters: But when I saw the “It Starts on TikTok” spot, I felt a breath of fresh air blow through the telecast. Diversity is so critical to everything we do as marketers, but as a sometimes-cynic, I feel that I can spot where it is forced and where it is authentic.

This spot blew me away with its authenticity, its energy, and its positivity. Embedded in its message is a nod to the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity, and the simple joys of self-expression and stepping outside your comfort zone. Not to mention the user-friendly mechanics of getting views and likes.

The details: As Gary and I have discussed many times in our decade-plus as collaborators and co-conspirators in the, you can’t overestimate the power of a good music track to create a receptive mood.

“Sing to Me,” a sweet and twinkling duet between Walter Martin and Karen O, underscores the warm and fuzzy collective of talent arrayed across the widest and most inclusive spectrum of humanity a :60 could possibly hold. 

I also appreciated that the mix of TikTokers featured was a blend of famous, influential and everyday users. It’s hard to think of an app with as much chatter around it as Tik Tok, and it’s very savvy of them to present their mission of limitless self-expression as a way to control the narrative.

Coming full circle to the sports analogy, this spot encapsulates what I continue to be drawn to. The unscripted, the unpredictable, the magic and drama of real life, all captured, interpreted and curated to forge a new style of connection. 

It’s hard to think of a year that’s gone off-script more than 2020 has. When advertising content captures unscripted presence and expression in a moment, our guard is lowered and the key marketing messages become much harder to ignore.

TikTok Clarifies How Creator Fund Payments Are Calculated

This week in social media news, TikTok addresses how it calculates Creator Fund payments, YouTube introduces new ad tools, Twitch is testing mid-roll ads that streamers can’t control, Facebook adds an organic post test option in the Creator Studio app, Instagram will launch automated closed captioning for IGTV uploads, ByteDance chooses Oracle to take over its TikTok US user data and more.

TikTok Explains How It Calculates Creator Fund Payments

After launching a $1 billion Creator Fund in August to compensate creators for their videos, TikTok is sharing details about how funds are calculated and the forthcoming Creator Fund wallet in an effort to address theories about how the fund operates.

Why it matters: TikTok’s transparency about payments comes after several inaugural recipients of TikTok’s Creator Fund have criticized the app, saying they’re earning just a few dollars a day for their videos that have hundreds of thousands of views.

The details: TikTok will soon launch the Creator Fund wallet, enabling creators to transfer funds from the Creator Fund to their linked payment method. Though they’ll have to wait until the end of the month to withdraw their funds.

TikTok says several factors affect how it calculates funds, including video views, video engagement, authenticity of a view, region in which the video is viewed, total participants in a program and adherence to the app’s community guidelines and terms of service.

TikTok says that being part of the Creator Fund doesn’t directly impact the ‘For You’ feed recommendation system, which doesn’t know whether or not a creator is part of the fund.

YouTube Introduces New Ad Tools After Watch Time Amid Pandemic Soars

YouTube has introduced new ad tools like advanced data insights and new category targeting to help marketers drive reach during the pandemic.

Why it matters: The platform says watch time on YouTube and YouTube TV on television screens surged 80 percent year-over-year during the pandemic.

The details: First, YouTube is adding dynamic lineups, which use YouTube’s machine learning systems to segment videos based on their content, providing marketers with better access to customers with unique interests and needs.

Next, YouTube is expanding its evaluation of Nielsen’s Total Ad Ratings to advertisers in the UK and Italy after discovering how the ratings have helped brands maximize their campaigns. For example, Pepsi’s “Gift it Forward” holiday YouTube campaign drove a 24 percent increase in target reach beyond television.

Lastly, YouTube is enabling reach capabilities in Display & Video 360 campaigns, including YouTube, auction and programmatic deals.

Twitch Tests Mid-Roll Ads 

Twitch is experimenting with mid-roll ads that streamers can’t control. The ads will run across affiliate and partner channels, with creators earning their share of revenues.

Why it matters: Though it provides an opportunity to boost ad revenues, Twitch’s “experiment” will likely be met with backlash as mid-roll ads have historically been controlled by streamers.

The details: As per Twitch, “Creators will be paid for every one of these ads that run, just like they’re paid for pre-rolls and ad breaks that they run. And, we’ve enabled Picture-by-Picture in all channel categories, so viewers can enjoy an uninterrupted ad-viewing experience.” Picture-by-picture is the default ad experience for all Twitch ad breaks. When a streamer runs an ad break, the stream gets muted and shows up above the chat.

Facebook Rolls Out Organic Post Test Option In Creator Studio App

Facebook has added an organic video post testing tool to the Creator Studio app to help some users A/B test aspects of their video content, as spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra.

Why it matters: Primarily focused on video posts, this new functionality will help creators maximize the reach of their top-performing videos.

The details: The ‘Create Post Tests’ option lets you create up to four variations of a video post, which are tested with a portion of your audience. Facebook then distributes the winning post beyond its initial test audience based on the parameters you set.

Instagram Adds Auto Closed Captions For IGTV Videos

Instagram has debuted new automatic closed captions for IGTV uploads, powered by advances in Facebook’s artificial intelligence-enabled automated speech recognition (ASR).

Why it matters: The addition is part of Facebook’s larger efforts to expand its accessibility options as there are 466 million people who have disabling hearing loss, with the number projected to increase to over 900 million by 2050.

The details: Facebook, which has given users the option of auto-captions on video uploads since 2017, says auto closed captioning on IGTV videos will be available in 16 languages at launch.

ByteDance Proposal For TikTok US Includes Oracle As “Trusted Technology Provider”

After searching for the right US company to save its TikTok US operations, ByteDance has chosen Oracle as part of a deal structured as a partnership rather than an outright sale, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: The deal comes a little over a month after President Trump first ordered ByteDance to sell TikTok US, which led to Microsoft confirming it was in talks with ByteDance about a potential deal. China threw ByteDance for a loop when it updated its export control regulations, which gave it a say over the transfer of TikTok’s algorithm to a foreign buyer.

The details: As per Reuters, ByteDance submitted a proposal to the US Treasury Department over the weekend showing that Oracle would serve as TikTok’s “trusted technology provider” and assume management of TikTok’s US user data. As part of the proposal, ByteDance has also committed to creating a US headquarters with 20,000 new jobs. The news caused Oracle shares to surge 6.3 percent.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that the administration would review ByteDance’s proposal this week.

Facebook Debuts ‘Watch Together’ Experience For Messenger

Facebook has launched a free co-watching feature called ‘Watch Together’ that lets users watch Facebook Watch videos in real-time with up to eight people over Messenger video calls and up to 50 people in Messenger Rooms.

Why it matters: Facebook says there are more than 150 million video calls on Messenger and over 200 million videos sent via Messenger everyday.

The details: To use Watch Together, users must start a Messenger video call or create a Messenger Room then swipe up to choose Watch Together from the menu. Facebook will show suggested videos, or users can choose from a category, including ‘TV & Movies,’ ‘Watched,’ or ‘Uploaded.’

Facebook is rolling out Watch Together globally this week on iOS and Android.

Amazon Starts Selling Programmatic Advertising On Twitch

Amazon has rolled out new capabilities for Twitch and Amazon advertisers globally that lets marketers target Twitch audiences through Twitch video and display ads.

Why it matters: Programmatic advertising on Twitch eliminates the need for marketers to manually buy ads on Twitch, which was the case before Amazon announced the change.

The details: As per Amazon, “Advertising on Twitch will now have the added benefit of Amazon Advertising’s unique audience insights and measurement for their campaigns.”

Prudential Appoints Susan Somersille Johnson As CMO

This week in leadership updates, Prudential hires Susan Somersille Johnson as CMO, Discord appoints Tesa Aragones CMO, Mazda North American Operations makes interim CMO Brad Audet’s title permanent and Massage Envy names Julie Cary as chief marketing and innovation officer.

Prudential Hires Susan Somersille Johnson As Chief Marketing Officer

Prudential has announced that Susan Somersille Johnson will join the company as CMO, effective October 5. In her new role, Johnson will report to head of US businesses, Andy Sullivan, and head of international businesses, Scott Sleyster.

Prior to Prudential, Johnson served as corporate executive vice president and CMO at Truist Financial.

Discord Names Tesa Aragones As Chief Marketing Officer

Tesa Aragones is joining Discord as CMO after a $100 million funding round in late June, according to Adweek.

Aragones brings over 25 years of experience from various marketing roles she’s held at Nike, Volkswagen and David&Goliath.

Mazda North American Operations Appoints Brad Audet Chief Marketing Officer

Mazda North American Operations has appointed its interim CMO, Brad Audet, permanent CMO.

For the past seven years, Audet served as executive vice president of Garage Team Mazda, WPP’s integrated marketing agency for Mazda. Prior to Garage Team Mazda, he was EVP of Team Detroit.

Massage Envy Hires Julie Cary As Chief Marketing Officer

Massage Envy has named Julie Cary as chief marketing and innovation officer.

Before joining Massage Envy, Cary served as CMO for La Quinta Inns and Suites for 12 years.