TikTok And NFL To Livestream Virtual Tailgate Party

This week in social media news, TikTok and the NFL are hosting a virtual tailgate party for the 55th Super Bowl, Snapchat shares insights on users’ game-day behavior, YouTube generates $6.9 billion in ad revenue in Q4, TikTok and WPP announce an advertising partnership, Pinterest announces new social impact initiatives led by its new head of social impact and philanthropy, Facebook tests new brand safety controls and more.

TikTok And NFL Team Up For Virtual Super Bowl Pregame Event

TikTok and the NFL are livestreaming a two-hour, virtual pregame experience on Super Bowl day. Hosted by Steve Harvey and MJ Acosta, the ’TikTok Tailgate’ will treat users in the US and Canada to game day cooking tutorials, interviews with creators and NFL guests and live musical performances. TikTok has also teamed with several consumer-packaged-goods brands who are launching dance challenges to engage fans leading up to the Super Bowl.

Why it matters: In September 2019, the NFL and TikTok secured a partnership that has seen both brands launch NFL-themed hashtag challenges and campaigns aimed at attracting the platform’s millennials.

The details: TikTok’s virtual tailgate will start at 2:30 p.m. ET on February 7, featuring appearances from Rebel Wilson, Trace McSorley, the Washington Post’s Dave Jorgenson and an array of TikTok creators who will share their best game day recipes, who they think will win the Super Bowl and tips on how to have a fun touchdown party.

The event will end with a live concert from Miley Cyrus, who will be performing from Tampa in front of 7,500 “vaccinated health care heroes” that the NFL invited to attend the game.

TikTok is encouraging users to show how they’re celebrating Super Bowl from home using the hashtag #TikTokTailgate. As part of TikTok’s Super Bowl activation, users can gift free packs of M&M’s to friends and family, virtually attend a Verizon-sponsored after-party with performances from Alicia Keys, enter Mountain Dew’s ‘Major Melon’ campaign challenge to win a million dollars, and other game day-inspired dance challenges from brands including Ocean Spray, Gillette, Doritos, Cheetos, Pepsi and TurboTax.

Snapchat Shares Insights On Users’ Super Bowl Behavior

Snapchat published new research that shows how brands can engage Snapchatters during the Super Bowl, as 61 percent of them plan on turning into the show, according to Snapchat.

Why it matters: Sixty-one percent of Snapchatters will be using the app on game day, and plan on sharing the most snaps throughout the game, after a big play or a bad call, and during the halftime show. This presents a huge opportunity for brands to create opportunities for users to share their team spirit and react to buzz-worthy commercials. During last year’s game, 68 percent of Snapchatters used the app to share videos, images and reactions from the game as they were watching live.

The details: Gen Z Snapchatters are 1.4 times more likely than non-Snapchatters who use other social platforms to share their thoughts and reactions during Super Bowl’s big moments. 

In addition, 54 percent of Snapchatters report that they view the ads before the big game, and 64 percent agree that brands make game day more fun with ads that make them laugh (51 percent), highlight causes they care about (18 percent) and connect them with their families (17 percent).

Instagram Tests A Vertical Stories Feed Similar To TikTok

Instagram is testing a new feature that would let users browse Stories via a TikTok-like, vertical feed, the company confirmed to TechCrunch.

Why it matters: The news comes after Instagram’s head, Adam Mosseri, acknowledged that he’s not happy with Reels yet, and that the company may consolidate its video formats Reels and IGTV. The shift to a vertical Stories scrolling experience signals the platform’s move toward an algorithm that favors video content over static content, much like TikTok.

The details: As seen in this tweet from a mobile developer named Alessandro Paluzzi, the feature would include an interface with the text, “Now you can swipe up and down to browse stories,” atop a label, “Vertical Stories.”

Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch that the feature is being developed but not available to the public yet.

YouTube Ad Revenue Surges To Nearly $7 Billion In Q4 

According to Alphabet’s quarterly results, YouTube generated $6.9 billion in ad revenue in Q4 2020, a sign that the pandemic-induced slump is over.

Why it matters: That’s a 46 percent increase from the $4.7 billion that YouTube amassed in ad revenue during the same period in 2019.

The details: YouTube ads accounted for nearly 15 percent of Google’s $46 billion ad revenue for Q4. YouTube also more than doubled the number of active advertisers using TrueView For Action in the first six months of 2020.

Chief financial officer Ruth Porat attributed the strong performance to “Search and YouTube.” Chief executive Sundar Pichai noted that more than half a million YouTube channels had live-streamed in 2020. Pichai also said that videos in YouTube’s TikTok competitor, Shorts, are receiving 3.5 billion daily views.

TikTok And WPP Announce Advertising Partnership

TikTok and WPP announced a partnership that will give WPP clients early access to the platform’s advertising products in development and network of creators. In addition, the two will co-create a training and accreditation program for WPP agencies, giving them priority access to content tailored to media and creative disciplines.

Why it matters: With this new partnership, WPP clients will have a leg up on the countless brands looking to reach Gen Z and millennial users on TikTok, which is on track to hit 1.2 billion active users in 2021.

The details: According to TikTok’s news release, the partnership will ensure “WPP and its clients remain at the forefront of innovation as TikTok further develops its suite of products for brands.” That includes partnering on marketing API integrations and next-gen formats like augmented reality offerings.

The partnership will also give WPP deeper insights on TikTok’s creators and early access to these creators for their campaigns.

In addition to the training and accreditation program they’ll co-develop, TikTok and WPP will continue working on complete integration with third-party verification with WPP’s buying arm GroupM. The companies also have plans to conduct market research to guide brands on best TikTok practices.

Pinterest Launches New Social Impact And Philanthropy Initiatives

Pinterest is launching new social impact efforts focused on expanding emotional wellbeing and place-based giving. The company’s new head of social impact and philanthropy, Ari Simon, will lead the new initiatives.

Why it matters: Simon—who prior to Pinterest was vice president, chief program and strategy officer at The Kresge Foundation for seven years—said: “Our approach to Social Impact and Philanthropy is guided by the belief that this work doesn’t stand separate from our identity as a company, but is rather core to our brand, our identity, and our long-term vision for impact.”

The details: Pinterest’s new social impact efforts include expanding employee volunteerism to grant employees five volunteer days off to support civil and community engagement activities each year; matching funds to eligible nonprofits, dollar by dollar, up to $1,000 per employee; and expanding its philanthropy program to provide 250,000 shares of stock, currently valued at $17 million, in grants to raise awareness of emotional wellbeing.

Pinterest’s philanthropy program will also include a place-based community giving portfolio, as well as a reserve for “responsive grantmaking” to address urgent challenges like COVID-19 and support for companies fighting racial and other inequities.

Facebook Tests New Advertiser Topic Exclusion Controls

Facebook is building and testing new controls that let advertisers define how Facebook shows their ads in the News Feed, the company said in a blog post.

Why it matters: Facebook’s move to bolster its brand safety measures comes after advertisers temporarily paused their spending in a show of support for #StopHateForProfit, a boycott against the platform’s inaction toward hate speech.

The details: An example of Facebook’s new brand safety controls is a children’s toy company choosing a topic like Crime and Tragedy for the kind of content that it doesn’t want appearing next to its ads.

Facebook says the development and testing of the new feature will take much of 2021,  and will start with a small group of advertisers.

Pinterest Debuts ‘Following Streams’ To Help Increase Story Pins Engagement

After launching Story Pins in September, Pinterest has created a place called ‘following streams’ for Pinners to see new Story Pins from the creators they follow at the top of the home feed.

Why it matters: Unlike ephemeral stories on other photo-sharing apps, Pinterest’s Story Pins are permanent; they’re also saveable. For Pinners, this new stream of discoverable Story Pins means they can save more ideas, and for creators, it means a more engaged audience.

The details: Pinners can find new creators and content through this new immersive stream, as well as through Pinterest’s new “Discover creators” icon. The ‘following streams’ feature will be available on iOS and Android starting today.

Instagram Tests A Change To Reduce Feed Posts Being Shared To Stories

Instagram is testing a change with a select group of users that stops them from sharing their feed posts to their Stories, as spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra.

Why it matters: This new test could be Instagram’s way of encouraging users to create separate content for each function within the app, which includes Stories, Reels and IGTV.

The details: According to Navarra’s screenshot, Instagram is testing the change after it heard from its community that they want to see fewer feed posts in Stories.

Trends That Will Shape The Future Of Commerce

According to Future Commerce’s latest report “Vision 2021,” maximalism, influencer marketing and the convergence of online and offline worlds are among the top trends that will shape the future of commerce.

Starting with consumer trends, Future Commerce found that 51 percent of people miss going shopping as a way to socialize. With retail stripped of the opportunity to build relationships with customers on a daily basis, brands will have to leverage relational and engaging social commerce to enhance the isolating online shopping experience.

Twenty-five percent of respondents say they regularly tune into video shopping channels like QVC or HSN. As the report notes, DTC-QVC can only survive if it’s more Pinterest than it is Shopify.

“Social shopping isn’t necessarily social-media shopping. We’ve dubbed this ‘Communal Commerce’. It will happen in Roblox and Minecraft, rather than on Instagram and QVC. Brands are testing the waters here with digital goods, especially luxury digital. Think: Gucci digital fashion in Fortnite. Balenciaga released their FW21 collection in a web video game called Afterworld,” Phillip Jackson, co-founder of Future Commerce, tells AList.

While streaming video shopping is already happening among Gen Z, Jackson notes that the social nature of video games presents new opportunities for “Communal Commerce” to occur. He says that payments tech like Venmo that allows shared purchasing power will help drive this trend.

The events of 2021 have crystallized that brands cannot remain neutral, inspiring brands to engage around topics of racism and sustainability, especially at the executive level. Consumers now look to support brands that also support their causes and commit to real and lasting change. While consumers aren’t convinced that brands will always act in their best interest, 57 percent of respondents consider Facebook, Amazon and Google essential services, while 47 percent believe the internet should be totally free and unregulated.

“The constant barrage of young digital activists create pressure campaigns and force PR teams to respond, and we’re now seeing projects like the 15 Percent Pledge which are holding them accountable in perpetuity. The corporate response to the de-platforming of the Trump Campaign was proactive to meeting this emerging consumer expectation. Furthermore, corporate accountability is being tracked by a growing number of consumer labels like Climate Neutral and Good On You. This allows customers to vote with their wallets for brands that represent them more fully in their values,” says Jackson.

The turbulence of the year has spurred consumer desire for more, not less, with 52 percent saying that being with their “stuff” makes them happy. Sixty percent note that surrounding themselves with things they love makes them feel safe and in control, and 22 percent say they’re collectors. When asked to name a purchase in the past year that was extravagant or absurd, answers included: a gold toilet, a rare skin in Fortnite, a completely new smile makeover and an insane amount of Fabletics clothes.

The notion that content creators and virtual influencers are our generation’s performance artists has also emerged, highlighting the importance of influencer marketing. Forty percent say they’ve bought something promoted by someone they follow on social, but don’t know personally. On the other hand, just 37 percent are following top-ranking influencers. 

Sustainability and the rise of the circular economy will also impact the future of commerce, as many consumers increasingly care what happens to their product after it dies. Future Commerce found that 81 percent of people have actively secured a second life for their items. Brands like Patagonia, Levi’s, Ikea, and Girlfriend Collective have already implemented programs to help consumers resell, recycle or upcycle their products.

As the digital world influences traditional spaces, 62 percent feel that online and offline have converged, and that they project their whole/authentic selves at all times. In addition, one in three consumers consider themselves gamers, and one in five say they would prefer to interact with people on Fortnite rather than in-person at a coffee shop.

“The concept of place is of diminishing importance in the post-COVID world. Offices are remote, ghost kitchens offer up virtual restaurant brands. Being in a place at a time is no longer a constraint,” Jackson notes in the report.

A heightened focus on self means that digital beauty, augmented reality and artificial intelligence will evolve to meet the new demands of digital interaction. Fifty percent say they’re more aware of their appearance as a result of increased FaceTime/Zoom, and 26 percent say they upgraded their tech for increased on-screen time.

With investments becoming accessible to a broad populace, consumers can now own small pieces of anything. Fifty-three percent report investing in non-traditional securities in 2020, including wine, luxury goods and fine jewelry.

65 Percent Of Marketers Plan To Increase Marketing Spend Through 2021

Marketers are ready to tackle the new year, as evidenced by a new CMO Council report in which 65 percent of marketers say they plan to increase marketing spend through 2021. Just 10 percent will reduce their budgets, while 24 percent expect no change.

Spend will focus on key areas that help marketers embrace automation and a digital-first environment as consumers increasingly favor digital interactions. According to a recent CMO Council consumer poll, in 2019 only 10 percent of consumers said they preferred interacting with brands in a digital-only environment; in 2020, 21 percent said they no longer had a need for in-person interactions.

Marketing leaders will seek to improve their customer journey, acquisition and conversion (50 percent), digital growth strategy planning (36 percent), campaign, execution and measurement (35 percent), demand generation and pipeline (32 percent) and actioning on customer data insight (26 percent).

Sixty-nine percent of respondents will ramp up investments in marketing technology (MarTech) to fill in gaps along the customer journey. Marketers’ top three MarTech priorities are: sourcing and using analytics, insights and intelligence (53 percent), executing campaigns more effectively (36 percent) and improving operations and performance (35 percent).

Half of respondents’ top organizational priority is working more effectively with lines of business. Additionally, across company sizes, regions and industries, marketers aim to save costs through efficiencies (40 percent). Doing a better job of both globalizing and localizing marketing campaigns (36 percent) will also

Just 25 percent plan to downsize or restructure their marketing organizations in 2021, while 64 percent will not.

The report notes that while smart tech investments will help marketers reduce inefficiencies, striking a balance between digital advancements and authenticity will be key. Through artificial intelligence and chatbots, marketers should create digital experiences that let customers self-serve, but still give them the option to escalate to a live person. 

These findings are based on an audit of nearly 200 CMO Council global members.

Listen In: What Does Leadership Mean To You?

Editor’s note: Yesterday, we published this episode with the headline, “What Does Leadership Look Like Now?” We realized that in light of it being Black History Month, that the headline and focus of the episode was tone-deaf. For that, we apologize. We want to acknowledge this oversight with our readers and the unconscious bias that led to our posting it. We are taking steps to not only rectify this but to earnestly understand, across our organization, this misstep. We sincerely thank those who have pointed out our shortcomings and will always welcome and value this insight from our readers.

New year, new attitude. That’s what we’re discussing today on episode 27 of Listen In, hosted by Ayzenberg principal and ECD Matt Bretz

This week we’re featuring a conversation with not one, not two, but three Ayzenberg VPs who have a lot to say about the perennial topic of leadership growth. We explore how the nature of business is changing for ad agencies including right here at Ayzenberg, how our own personal growth impacts the cultural growth of the wider agency—and importantly, what our guests would like to be known for.

Connect with our guests:

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

Jack In The Box Taps Ryan Ostrom For Chief Marketing Officer

This week in leadership updates, Jack in the Box appoints Ryan Ostrom as CMO, eBay elevates Andrea Stairs to CMO and VP of Seller Community, North America, Everlane names Sophie Bambuck its first CMO, IBM hires Carla Piñeyro Sublett as SVP and CMO and more.

Jack In The Box Hires Ryan Ostrom As Chief Marketing Officer

Jack in the Box has announced the appointment of Ryan Ostrom to executive vice president and CMO.

Most recently, Ostrom served as chief brand officer for GNC and chairman of the company’s Live Well Foundation Board. Before that, he served as global chief digital officer for KFC.

eBay Elevates Andrea Stairs To Chief Marketing Officer, Vice President Of Seller Community, North America

Andrea Stairs has accepted a promotion for eBay’s newly combined role, CMO and VP of Seller Community for the North America marketplace.

Stairs, who’s been with eBay since 2005, was previously head of marketing for eBay North America and president of eBay Canada.

Everlane Hires Sophie Bambuck As First Chief Marketing Officer

Everlane has tapped Sophie Bambuck to be its first CMO, reports Adweek.

Bambuck joins Everlane from Nike, where she’s worked for over 10 years, most recently as vice president, global brand marketing, Nike Sportswear.

IBM Taps Carla Piñeyro Sublett As Senior Vice President And Chief Marketing Officer

Carla Piñeyro Sublett has been named IBM’s new SVP and CMO, according to a company press release.

Sublett will oversee the company’s global marketing, brand initiatives and client feedback through Net Promoter Score.

Previously, Sublett worked for two years as executive vice president, CMO and general manager of National Instruments’ Portfolio Business unit.

Arbonne Names Amy Humfleet Chief Marketing Officer

Arbonne has hired Amy Humfleet, former vice president of Beautycounter, as its new CMO.

Humfleet has about 20 years of marketing and product innovation experience, including leadership roles at Aveda, Diamond Products, Dial and Kao Brands.

FedEx Reorganizes Communications And Marketing Under Jenny Robertson

FedEx has integrated its marketing and communications functions under Jenny Robertson, who was promoted to senior vice president of the division in August.

Roberston has been with FedEx for 17 years, most recently serving as vice president of corporate communications for over two years.

Calvin Klein EVP, Marketing Operations Officer, Michael DeLellis To Exit

Michael DeLellis, executive vice president, marketing operations officer at Calvin Klein, is leaving the company after 22 years, reports WWD.

DeLellis joined Calvin Klein in 1998 as media manager and was later elevated to vice president of advertising for the Americas before a string of promotions that led him to his current role.

Earlier this month, Calvin Klein tapped Jamaal Layne as EVP, global brand and North American marketing.

iHeartMedia Promotes Yesenia Bello To First Senior Vice President, Diversity And Inclusion

iHeartMedia has elevated Yesenia Bello to the company’s first SVP of diversity and inclusion.

Bello joined iHeartMedia in October 2019 as SVP of multicultural sales. Prior to iHeartMedia, she served as US multicultural sales lead at Google.

Creativity, Humor And Happiness With JibJab’s Mauro Gatti

On this 245th episode of “Marketing Today,” I speak with Mauro Gatti, the chief creative officer at JibJab. Gatti is driven by his love for creativity and a desire to use that creativity to make the world a better place for all living beings that call this planet home.

We start our conversation by diving into Gatti’s life growing up in Northern Italy, an area full of workaholics, where he began working in his uncle’s butcher shop as a 10-year-old boy. Though he grew up in a small town, Gatti believes that “the best part of Italy is the drive between different cities because there are so many different gems” and “driving around is a great way to discover the real soul of Italy.”

Gatti then discusses his meteoric rise in the creative advertising industry that took him from creating artwork for CDs in Italy to his current position as the chief creative officer for JibJab in Los Angeles, California. “We all have a gift. Maradona had that gift, Michael Angelo had that gift,” and Gatti’s gift is being a creative person. JibJab believes that “creativity can inspire and mobilize people,” an important concept in a year that has brought the world to a halt.

Gatti also discusses The Happy Broadcast project in which he does his best to promote the good things that are happening in the world while media outlets seem only to promote the bad. “The challenge is not to erase the past; it’s just to create a new present!”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Mauro grew up in a small town out in the country in Northern Italy, a very different place than what most people think of Italy. 1:55
  • Growing up in an area where everyone was a workaholic, Mauro’s dad taught him how to make a living at only 10-years-old. 3:00
  • Alan knows first-hand that Italy looks very different depending on where you are, having proposed to his wife there. 5:52
  • Mauro believes that the most amazing part of Italy is the drive between cities because you get to see everything that is not mainstream. 7:10
  • Besides a short time when he wanted to be a doctor, Mauro has always been passionate about commercial design and creativity. 9:08
  • At the age of 15, Mauro created some illustrations for CDs, which was his first creative position. 10:30
  • When most advertising agencies in Europe were still using the same old methods, Mauro saw an opportunity to start a digital advertising agency. 11:23
  • With the creation of the first iPhone, Mauro’s digital agency became one of Italy’s first to create apps. 12:27
  • After spending his entire life in Italy, Mauro decided to move to California to lead Story Bots’ digital expansion. 13:48
  • The creators of Story Bot asked Mauro to work on JibJab before selling the company to Catapult, where he stayed on as Chief Creative Officer. 14:58
  • A variety of different projects provide Mauro with an outlet to express his creativity. 18:09
  • Though it will always be remembered for the dancing elves, JibJab tries to offer consumers a way to connect and share happiness with loved ones. 19:02
  • JibJab believes that there is nothing better than making someone you love happy. 21:20
  • Today, JibJab tries to create content that provides laughter in a year that has seemingly halted life for many people. 22:17
  • Happiness is very subjective, differing in how it shows itself or how it is defined from person to person. 26:01
  • Mauro sees happiness in his work and how it allows him to use his creativity to bring happiness to others. 26:55
  • Every company around the world has had its culture tested this year, with most not working in the office. 29:24
  • Mauro does not believe in motivation, but rather he believes in sharing a vision with his team. 30:18
  • At JibJab, creators have the freedom to do whatever they want within the rules they work under. 32:00
  • A couple of years ago, Mauro decided to start The Happy Broadcast project because of the anxiety that he was getting from the news. 34:13
  • Digging deep to find the good news in the world, Mauro creates basic illustrations to go with them and then posts. 36:40
  • The Happy Broadcast doesn’t just help other people; it helps Mauro stay positive in his world. 39:47
  • Mauro has experienced self-doubts and challenges related to learning about the market when creating children’s books. 41:08
  • Finding a way to continue after his many failures have shaped Mauro into the person that he is today. 45:48
  • Looking back, Mauro wishes he would have cared more about the journey than the result. 48:17
  • Mauro suggests that everyone follows the Human Society because of his love of animals. 55:18
  • After decades of working with marketers, Mauro believes that honesty is the best way to promote a product. 57:29

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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.