Sony Turns Experiential Pop-Up Into Social Content With Weekly Show

Sony continues its “Lost in Music” campaign with a pop-up experience in SoHo. The temporary installation invites guests to create music out of their own heartbeat, view weekly online shows, attend private concerts and try Sony products. The experience culminates in two nights of live performances at Sony Hall, which will take place on February 7 and 10.

“Lost in Music” will debut an interactive song creation experience that yields different results for each visitor. As guests explore the installation and interact with technology, it observes their body language and translates it into a musical track. The song is then matched to the rhythm of the guest’s heartbeat to create a personalized track for download.

Intimate concerts will be hosted each week that feature artists from Sony Music. The first artist to be announced is rapper A$AP Ferg, who played Sony’s Lost in Music event at SXSW 2017.

The branded pop-up space will also host weekly “Lost in Music” shows which will be streamed on the campaign’s website. Weekly shows will include artist interviews and concerts with Sony Music artists, as well as news around music and technology.

Sony hopes to engage wider global audiences with its weekly shows, delivering a message that “technology and music, when combined, can deliver the unique experience.”

Consumers can visit the installation at 201 Mulberry St. in NYC from November 15 to February 10. It will be free and open to the public from Thursday to Sunday, 12:00-10:00 p.m.

“Lost in Music” was designed to create deep consumer connections with music through the use of technology, according to Midori Tomita, Sony Corporation’s vice president in charge of brand communication. The campaign debuted in January 2017 with a virtual reality music video by The Chainsmokers, Vanic and Lost Kings. The VR experience debuted at SXSW and later became available on PSVR. For the second “Lost in Music” installment in January 2018, Sony teamed up with Khalid for another VR music video and SXSW experience. The SoHo pop-up and weekly series take this campaign in a different direction, allowing Sony to engage consumers in person but also online with evergreen content.

This brand message echoes that of The Sony Music Experience this spring—a marketing mission statement the brand calls kando. This Japanese term refers to emotional involvement that explains Sony’s recent push for experiential.

Sony was not immediately available for comment.

Aldi Spoofs Coca-Cola Ad With #SaveKevin Holiday Campaign

Supermarket chain Aldi launched a new holiday campaign in the UK that parodies a famous Coca-Cola ad. The spot stars Kevin the Carrott, a well-known character that features in Aldi’s irreverent holiday advertising campaigns.

When Kevin the Carrot’s jaunt through town goes horribly wrong, Aldi leaves its mascot hanging in a precarious spot with a hashtag to invite conversation.

The holiday spot begins like Coca-Cola’s classic “Holidays are Coming” ads—a semi truck, covered in lights, enters a darkened town before revealing that Kevin the Carrot, Aldi’s mascot, is driving. He waves at a curious little girl, then steers the truck onto a dangerous turn.

A small avalanche causes Kevin to swerve, causing the trailer to hang precariously over a cliff. As his cargo slides dangerously toward the edge, the teaser ends in a literal ‘cliffhanger’ with the hashtag #SaveKevin.

The spot has garnered quite a bit of engagement on social media, with nearly half a million views, over 11,000 shares and over 4,500 comments on Facebook alone.

Kevin starred in Aldi’s 2017 campaign, finding love among a holiday feast. The 12-part campaign ended with a picture of Kevin with his new wife, Katie, and three unnamed carrot children. Give last year’s lengthy campaign, and the early start for this year’s ad, viewers can expect this story to extend well into the season.

Some consumers have quickly become invested in Kevin’s fate, calling for his salvation on behalf of the family.

Kevin’s animated, child-like appearance has regulators concerned about his activity, too. One of Aldi’s 2017 holiday ads was pulled by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for concerns about promoting alcohol to children.

Other users expressed disappointment that Aldi’s 2018 Coca-Cola spoof wasn’t the real thing.

Coca-Cola’s original ad has become so iconic that it was used in another recent parody. Green Peace launched a campaign during the 2017 holidays that depicts a bedazzled truck delivering holiday joy and along with it, a whole lot of plastic waste.

Either the ad worked or the company was already aware of its shortcomings, because Coca-Cola announced a plastic recycling initiative in January.

Bethesda Shares ‘Fallout 76’ Lore With Retro-Inspired Audio Series

Bethesda released a series of monster-themed audio dramas on Wednesday that immerses players into the world of Fallout 76. Creatures that hail from West Virginia lore are included, of course, like the Mothman and Flatwoods Monster.

“Tales from the West Virginia Hills” is presented in the style of a 1950s radio serial. Each of the five episodes tells the story of dangerous encounters with monsters in the area, as told by a dramatic narrator. The stories are even “sponsored” by fictional brands from Fallout lore such as “Sugar Bombs—the breakfast cereal with explosive great taste and 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of sugar!”

Five episodes were released on Halloween, using the game’s monsters as a way to engage players already in the mood for a fright. According to Bethesda, all of these monsters can be found in Fallout 76, but “Tales from the West Virginia Hills” was created as a stand-alone bonus for fans.

“The world of Fallout 76 is steeped in mystery,” said Bethesda, “but when you’re not trying to discover what happened to everyone after the bombs dropped, you might find yourself asking a different question: ‘What’s that figure, lurking in the dark?’ The answer probably isn’t as friendly as you might like. The ‘Tales from the West Virginia Hills’ holotape series is here to give you an idea of what to look out for if you hope to survive.”

For the uninitiated, holotapes aka holodisks are small cartridges found throughout the Fallout video game franchise. These collectible items reveal information about the game world or even interactive games. Tales from the West Virginia Hills is therefore presented as something you might find while exploring the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout 76.

The six episodes include Curse of the Wendigo, Sideshow Snallygaster, The Mothman Cometh!, The Beast of Grafton and The Strange Encounter in Flatwoods.

Anticipation for Fallout 76 has steadily mounted since its announcement in May. Fans were so excited that one tweet from Bethesda garnered $210,000 in earned media.

Other marketing for the game has included a team-up with the West Virginia Department of Tourism to encourage pre-nuclear war exploration. In addition to seeing locations that were recreated inside Fallout 76, fans can travel around the state in search of Vault Boy—the Fallout mascot—and take a picture with him on social media to win prizes.

PlayStation Discusses PS4 Pro ‘Details’ Campaign, Authenticity Strategy

PlayStation recently launched a new campaign called “Details” that uses humor to draw attention to 4K graphics on the PS4 Pro. As with previous ads for the console, PlayStation wanted to elicit an emotional response and target a very specific gaming demographic.

“Details” consists of three spots, each tied into PlayStation’s ongoing “Greatness Awaits” campaign. In each live-action scenario, characters stop what they’re doing to appreciate details in the world around them.

The newest spot, “Vampire Hunter,” is a humorous take on battling monsters. In the middle of a fierce life and death battle, one vampire interrupts his own attack to admire his victim’s watch. His blood-sucking colleague is not amused.

For PlayStation VP of marketing Mary Yee and her team, this campaign was a challenge to resonate with gamers on a personal level but in a humorous way—almost like an inside joke.

“We’ve heard from gamers that they get so excited about the blades of grass they see or the reflection of the background in someone’s eyeball,” Yee told AList. “We brought that insight into [‘Details’].”

In the first “Details” spot entitled “Armor,” two knights are waging battle when one of them strikes up a conversation about the detailed armor his opponent is wearing. The third and final spot, “Foxhole,” will show a group of soldiers who get distracted by the beauty of their commanding officer’s eyes.

Yee explained that when she and her team are developing a campaign, they always try to identify the “gamer truth.” In other words, they identify something very particular that gamers can relate to—in this case, it was the appreciation for tiny details in a game.

“When we find [the gamer truth] and it’s right, it always feel authentic and simple. We find that that’s the most motivating for the team,” said Yee. “I work with a team of really passionate marketers and gamers so when they see it and it’s a truth that they love, they will also go into the details to make sure everything looks right in the commercial. They’re doing it for the fans and they’re doing it for themselves, too.”

Entry-level gamers aren’t discouraged from purchasing a PS4 Pro by any means, but they aren’t the target demographic for “Details.” Instead, PlayStation wanted to appeal to existing gamers that immerse themselves into video game worlds.

“The challenge with [PS4] Pro is that we have to really think about what this [target] gamer wants,” explained Yee. “[The Pro demographic] is someone that is already very engaged and [we have to figure out] what they care about in order for us to demonstrate what the power of the Pro does and get them to buy. Then, we think about the content. What’s the content that really showcases [what the gamer cares about] and how do we wrap that into the campaign?”

“Details” showcases gameplay from three upcoming PlayStation exclusive games: Marvel’s Spider-Man, Days Gone and Ghost of Tsushima. The overall tone of the campaign was designed to match PlayStation’s “Opera” series of spots released last year for PS4Pro.

“When an ad is funny, we know that this target can relate to it, so it’s authentic to them,” said Yee. “It’s also authentic to the brand. We hope it elicits excitement about the games they can play and [inspire a Pro purchase].”

Editor’s Note: This article was updated to include additional details for the “Vampire Hunter” spot.

Collaboration Propels Land Rover’s Recent Marketing Campaigns

Jaguar Land Rover has entered into a number of unique partnerships recently, showing the brand’s interest in collaboration, and ranging from a James Bond experiential event in Austria to a line of menswear and finally a Hans Zimmer-scored short film.

In April the car brand announced partnership with 007 Elements, an immersive event taking visitors into the world of James Bond at a Alpine mountaintop location. Visitors were also shown Jaguar cars from many of the Bond films and the newest Jaguar Land Rover technology.

More recently, Land Rover entered into a five-year partnership with Clarks to offer “terrain appropriate” shoes, marking the first time that Land Rover has partnered with a shoe or clothing line.

Dubbed “Life. Limitless,” the Clarks/Land Rover collaboration includes three designs to start—CLR.51N for city wear, CLR53.N for rugged terrains and the CLR52.N, designed for versatility across a variety of landscapes. Ten shoe collections will be released in total, debuted as Spring and Fall Collections over the next five years.

While the museum highlights Jaguar Land Rover’s film heritage and shoes reflects the brand’s image of ruggedness, another recent campaign taps into the idea of creating emotional memories while driving the car itself.

To evoke the feeling of inspiration and adventure, Land Rover sent film composer Hans Zimmer on a drive through the California mountains and had him score the experience.

“Scoring the Drive” highlights the full-sized 2019 Land Rover in a series of spots, Zimmer—who has scored films like Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean and Inception—talks about how he gets inspiration for his music. He drives along the Angeles Crest Highway, a scenic mountain road in Southern California, taking photos and video footage as he goes.

“Everything I do, I always have music in my head,” says Zimmer in a voiceover. “So, I score everything—the curves, the landscape, the smell . . . I order my world into some sense of harmony.”

Viewers are then transported to Zimmer’s studio, where he writes music to accompany his driving experience. The ad’s music swells into a crescendo of strings, piano and percussion akin to the epic soundtrack of a feature film. Zimmer’s score is intercut with images of the scenic drive, along with not-so-coincidental shots between the composer’s fine-tuned equipment and the Land Rover’s interior controls.

“Music should signal to you that you are allowed to have emotion,” says Zimmer, a statement that perfectly sums up the message behind Land Rover’s campaign.

Unilad, LADbible’s Popularity Defy Facebook Push For Hard-Hitting News

Unilad and LADbible are the most popular English-language publishers on Facebook, proving that users still prefer shareable, light-hearted or sensational content on the platform over hard-hitting news.

According to data from NewsWhip, the top publishers on Facebook aren’t traditional news outlets but rather British, male-focused entertainment sites. Content that promotes discussion and emotional engagement performs best on Facebook, the data shows, capitalizing on gossip and heartwarming stories.

Facebook has tried extremely hard to rebrand itself as an outlet for respectable news, investing in “trustworthy” sources for both the News Feed and its video platform, Watch. For brands facing an uphill battle against the social media giant’s ever-changing algorithm, there are lessons to be learned from which publications garner the most engagement.

One need only look at the most popular articles for the month of September to get an idea of content that Facebook users share most. LADbible’s piece about a woman whose nail chewing led to an amputation garnered the highest CMT at 75.3 percent. Other top-performing pieces were centered around video games, food, sex and controversy.

Unilad was the top publisher for the month of September with 32.5 million engagements that include likes, shares and comments. LADbible, which recently purchased Unilad, followed in second place with over 28.9 million engagements. Gossip outlets TMZ and Daily Mail also made the top 25 with news about celebrity deaths.

Traditional news outlets may have figured out this “one trick,” to quote oh so many click-bait articles on Facebook. The most engaging content from The New York Times in September, for example, were focused around the Kavanaugh scandals, Nike’s endorsement of Colin Kaepernick and an opinion piece about resistance inside the Trump Administration. The Times was one of many traditional news outlets that ran a disproportionate amount of “cautionary” pieces, NewsWhip observed, such as a story about predators using Fortnite to lure kids.

Overall, traditional news outlets are increasing their presence and engagement on Facebook, with or without sensational content. With Fox News and CNN in the lead, New York Times, BBC News and Daily Mail are catching up and holding their own.

In January, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged to make time spent on his platform more “worthwhile” by favoring high-quality news in the feed. If the data shows anything, however, it is that users are far more interested in debates and uplifting content than the latest news.

Amazon Prime Ads Turn Binge-Watching Into Self-Improvement

Amazon Prime UK has released a series of new ads called “Great Shows Stay With You,” each depicting a scenario in which binge-watching inspired positive change in a viewer.

Each of the four video spots highlights a particular show, beginning with Jack Ryan, which inspires a father to become the best man he can be—working out, gaining fast reflexes and finishing projects around the house.

Lucifer inspires a closed-off young man into exploring his darker, more charismatic side, while Outlander rekindles the romance for a married couple going through the motions. For one timid woman, binge-watching Vikings gives her the strength to stand up for herself in the workplace, going so far as to begin yelling like a warrior when someone uses her coffee mug. Each viewer reaches their potential by the season finale.

Interestingly, the campaign focuses not only on Amazon Original content but programs that originated on other networks such as History (Vikings), FOX (Lucifer) and STARZ (Outlander).

During a time when cord-cutting continues to rise, original and exclusive content have become key to attracting new subscribers. OTT services like Amazon are churning out awards contenders to attract new subscribers and Netflix has considered owning its own movie theater.

“Consumers increasingly choose services on the strength of the programming they offer, and the platforms are stepping up with billions in spending on premium shows,” eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Christopher Bendtsen said in a recent report.

Amazon may have to step up its game if it wants to rely on awards, however. The company took home eight Emmys last month for shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, compared to Netlix and HBO, each taking home 23.

Even with fewer awards and a recent price hike, Amazon Prime offers something its competitors don’t—additional perks like streaming music, free shipping, grocery delivery and exclusives on Twitch, which appear to serve the company just fine. Amazon added more Prime members in 2017 than in any previous year and in a letter to shareholders, CEO Jeff Bezos said that 100 million people pay for the service as of April. For the second quarter of 2018, Amazon experienced 57 percent growth YoY for subscription services, including Prime.

OTT Viewers Support, Often Prefer Ad-Supported Video, IAB Finds

New data from IAB shows that ad-supported video over-the-top (ASV OTT) viewers in the US tend to be younger, male and earn a higher income. Cost savings is a major driver for cord-cutting or shaving off existing services, the study found, and reaching this audience through traditional channels may prove difficult.

IAB conducted a joint study with MARU/Matchbox that examines consumer behavior in the US as it relates to watching ad-supported streaming content. Around 250,000 US consumers over the age of 18 were surveyed between August and September of this year.

Ad Receptivity and the Ad-Supported OTT Video Viewer” found that a majority (73 percent) of video-streaming respondents watch ad-supported OTT video and 45 percent said most of those videos are ad-supported. This group was found to be more receptive to advertising, saying that ads on ASV OTT services are better than TV commercials—more engaging, relevant and unique.

More than half of ASV OTT viewers said that they pay more attention to ads when they see fewer of them, and nearly half said they remember the ad even if it was skipped. Just over half—57 percent—said they like when brands support the content they watch, compared to 39 percent of SVOD viewers.

Of those who watched AVS OTT the most, 60 percent were male and 44 percent were between the ages of 18-34. About half of this demographic was married with children and 34 percent earned more than $75,000 per year.

Higher income doesn’t mean they want to spend all that money on cable, however. Just over half of ASV OTT viewers have cut back or eliminated cable, satellite and/or telco services, with “cost” being the top reason across the board. After saving money, the top reasons were convenience and flexibility at 42 percent, while 38 percent claimed better content on their streaming services.

IAB found the majority of regular ASV OTT viewers to watch less cable than SVOD viewers—10.4 hours per week compared to 11.6. Also, these users are watching more on OTT than they were a year ago. ASV OTT viewers are also more likely to follow social media influencers and spend more on subscription services like meal kits.

Sundance Institute CMO Monica Halpert: “People Are The New Brand”

There has been a noticeable shift in the relationship between audiences and marketers in recent years and brands have had to reassess their top-down approach. Resonating with young, savvy consumers requires a healthy dose of authentic storytelling—luckily for Sundance Institute CMO Monica Halpert, that’s what she helps artists do every day.

Please explain your job in the context of Sundance Institute.

I’m the chief marketing officer I sit on the leadership team which is comprised of the key stakeholders in the work that we do. I oversee all of marketing, communications, branding, [as well as] the cultural articulation of both the internal and external voice of the institute.

Sundance has a lot of enterprises, but we are the non-profit institution whose commitment is to support independent storytellers and artists in all stages of their career through a variety of year-round programming including the Sundance Film Festival.

As the head of marketing and communications, I’m the storyteller about the storytellers.

How has the nature of your work changed in the last five years?

Audiences have changed, where they are has changed. Our industry has changed in terms of content. I believe we’re in this golden age of television and there’s good stuff everywhere but it’s so ubiquitous that it’s kind of hard to find. I think it’s very tricky as a marketer now.

I have said for the last three years that brands are dead. I don’t even like the word “brand” now. The audience—the people—are brands now. It’s a very different kind of relationship that marketers need to have with audiences. We as marketers are audiences and audiences are marketers.

Another big shift is how we work. Marketers aren’t just specialists. I’m a marketer but I know how to run a business. It’s no longer about silos… to me, it’s a completely different world. You have to kind of fly the plane as you build it.

What Is Your View On The Prevalence Of Cause Marketing?

There have definitely been corporate responsibility and cause-related marketing efforts within the organizations that I’ve worked for, but this is my first foray into a decidedly non-profit world. I have to say, I can’t really imagine doing it any other way going forward. The fusion of entertainment and mission work feels like the most contemporary and modern way to work.

I’ve sat in many meetings [at previous companies] where it’s been like, “okay, what’s our cause?” They felt like doing good makes people feel good like it was a requisite for organizations to prove to their consumers that they care.

If purpose isn’t linked to craft and motivations, the audience is just too savvy [and will see right through it]. You need to understand who’s growing up in the world right now. Transparency is key—they are much more likely to attach to an organization that doing something that is meaningful and has impact. If it’s not in your wheelhouse, you can’t fake it.

What is the marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?

It’s all about being relevant and resonant. Innovation comes from access, intimacy and trust. I’m fascinated with this reciprocal nature of marketing and how to bring audiences into your process in a way that feels seamless.

For us at Sundance, artists are our property. The tricky part is, at what point are artists the product and Sundance the voice of the brand? We’ve done a lot of things lately where it’s not clear who the marketer and who the audience is. How do you look at all those variables and flex those muscles accordingly so you can meet your goals but also shapeshift in the process? Because it’s all about your audience and how they respond to you, being able to pivot in real time. To me, it’s always about constantly making it relevant.

Advertising Week: CMOs Discuss How To Recover From Failure

On Tuesday, AList presented our panel ‘THE REBOUND: Recovering From Failure’ at Advertising Week New York. The notion of failure conjures of up feelings of fear and dread but stumbling is an inevitable part of life. We gathered chief marketing officers from GE Ventures and Business Innovations, Equinox, Sundance Institute and Getty Images to share insights into how they maintain a healthy attitude around failure and how to react when it happens.

We often look at the concept of failure as somewhere you end up if you don’t achieve perfection.

“Failure is not a destination, it’s just a point along the way,” said Vimla Black Gupta, chief marketing officer of Equinox. “As I’ve gone throughout my career, every failure has been a gift because it informed a future success.”

Gupta said that when she began her career, failure was not an option. Now, she fails mindfully.

It’s one thing to accept that failure happens, but we asked our panelists how they try to prevent it from happening in the first place. Getty Images CMO Gene Foca told us that he borrowed a preparation technique from his days at Amazon. Every document and every idea from his junior staff must be carefully explained in detail along with supporting data so that they take ownership.

“Rather than plan for the eventuality of failure, you prepare to minimize failure,” explained Foca. “Failure is an inevitable part of what we do as business leaders, decision-makers and marketers. In our world at Getty Images, failure can range from daily testing all the way to a much bigger event that might entail promoting a book for one of our photojournalists.”

At the Sundance Institute, CMO Monica Halpert and her team have changed the way they prepare for the unexpected. They adopted two mindsets that she says have been pivotal to this preparation—”safe to try” and “progress over perfection.” After reviewing all the angles, Halpert and her team will move forward with an idea if they believe it to be “safe to try.” That way, she said, if they fail they do so while living their best life. Halpert admitted to losing sleep over details like fonts and colors, a behavior that got in the way of progress. Now, she encourages her team to keep moving forward, even if the result hasn’t exceeded their wildest dreams.

For young marketers especially, speaking up about a problem can be just as scary as failing altogether. Once you realize something isn’t going as planned, everyone on the panel agreed that it’s better to express your concerns than keep it in and watch everything go up in smoke.

“Make sure you own your seat at the table,” advised Dara Treseder, CMO of GE Ventures. “I think finding and using your voice is so critical. Give yourself permission to speak up.”

Another piece of advice for audiences at Advertising Week’s NewGen Stage was to listen to your gut. Halpert recalled a time when she failed by taking the wrong job. Even though she convinced herself and the company that it was perfect for her, she knew it wasn’t right. If you don’t feel like something is right on the job, be sure you can clearly articulate it so courses can be corrected.

“At the end of the day, we’re all consumers—we’re all people.  I [tell my team], ‘if you feel it, find a way to articulate it. Even when the answer is not readily available or apparent and ist time’s it’s not, it’s really about having a discussion and scenario of planning of what we do next. I feel like that moment of honesty is so important.”

If you’d like to watch a replay of THE REBOUND: Recovering From Failure, click here.