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.

Burberry To Live Stream Spring/Summer 2021 Runway Show On Twitch

Making the best of a canceled in-person fashion month, Burberry has announced it will debut its spring/summer 2021 collection via a Twitch live stream, making Burberry the first fashion house to partner with Twitch for a virtual fashion show.

On Burberry’s Twitch account, the brand posted a 23-second trailer teasing the show, which will be streamed live on September 17, the first day of London Fashion Week, at 12:30 p.m. BST, or British Summer Time. The teaser marks the first video from the fashion house, whose Twitch account has 480 followers.

“Burberry has always been a brand of firsts and partnering with Twitch continues this legacy,” Burberry chief marketing officer Rod Manley said.

Manley’s words aren’t merely press release fluff. In 2010, Burberry became the first luxury brand to livestream its runway show—in 3D to five global cities and streamed to the rest of Burberry fans through 73 websites including Vogue, CNN and Grazia. During a 72 hour-window right after the event, people could buy the shearling jackets from the show.  

Burberry’s virtual Twitch event comes just two months after the brand teamed up with WeChat’s parent company, Tencent, to open a tech-enabled social retail store in Shenzhen, China. Digital touchpoints including a WeChat mini program and a digital animal avatar enable shoppers to earn in-store rewards and unlock exclusive content.

The immersive store concept is gaining traction among luxury brands. In August, Lancôme opened a virtual flagship store in Singapore that offers skincare enthusiasts artificial intelligence-powered skin consultations and customizable products via a machine.

Pepsi To Host Virtual Experiences For Football Fans In Celebration Of SoFi Stadium Debut

Timed to the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers season openers, Pepsi is gearing up to launch a virtual pregame concert and tailgate, an augmented reality (AR) filter that lets fans show their pride and a contest to award 1,000 people with Pizza Hut digital gift cards. The at-home game day experiences aim to celebrate the debut of the football teams’ new home, SoFi Stadium, a $5.5 billion stadium and entertainment complex for which Pepsi is the official soft drink.

To drum up hype for the Rams season opener on September 13, Pepsi is hosting a virtual pregame show featuring rapper Jay Rock that will live on Pepsi’s YouTube channel for 24 hours.

Pepsi is also launching an AR filter that will virtually paint team colors onto Rams fans’ selfies, which can then be shared across social media channels.

Chargers fans can get in the football season spirit from home too, as Pepsi is hosting a virtual tailgate featuring fan filters, merchandise and game day eats to celebrate the Chargers season opener on September 20. During the tailgate, Pepsi will give 1,000 fans $20 Pizza Hut digital gift cards that let them redeem a free pizza and two-liter Pepsi.

In addition, Pepsi has partnered with the Chargers’ popular defensive line, known as the Jackboyz, and Los Angeles-based artist Francisco Reyes Jr. to design a limited-edition t-shirt that 100 fans can win through a giveaway on Instagram and Twitter.

The aforementioned activations are part of Pepsi’s larger 2020 football campaign, “Made for Football Watching,” which includes a new digital hub featuring content, recipes and consumer sweeps. One such sweepstakes will give three fans the chance to receive a visit from a branded Buffalo Bills tailgate truck and veteran running back Thurman Thomas. The truck, dubbed Pepsi x Bills Tailgate Truck, features a stocked fridge, tailgating games and a branded table. To enter, participants must submit their email, location, phone number and date of birth.

Amazon Appoints Ukonwa Ojo As CMO Of Prime Video, Amazon Studios

This week in leadership updates, Amazon hires Ukonwa Ojo as chief marketing officer of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, American Eagle adds chief creative officer to Aerie global brand president Jennifer Foyle’s title, Pinterest names Tyi McCray global head of inclusion and diversity, Shutterfly appoints Craig Rowley as vice president and chief marketing officer and more.


Amazon Hires Ukonwa Ojo As Chief Marketing Officer Of Prime Video, Amazon Studios

Ukonwa Ojo has joined Amazon as CMO for Prime Video and Amazon Studios, according to Deadline.

In her new role, Ojo will lead global brand and originals marketing while reporting to Mike Hopkins, SVP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios.

Prior to Amazon, Ojo was CMO at MAC Cosmetics and Coty, respectively.


American Eagle Adds Chief Creative Officer To Aerie Global Brand President Jennifer Foyle’s Title

Jennifer Foyle has accepted a promotion as American Eagle’s chief creative officer, a title she adds to her existing role of global brand president for Aerie. 

Last year, Foyle led to nearly $800 million in revenue.


Pinterest Names Tyi McCray As Global Head Of Inclusion And Diversity

Pinterest has appointed Tyi McCray as its new global head of inclusion and diversity. McCray will report directly to Pinterest co-founder and chief executive officer Ben Silbermann. 

Prior to Pinterest, McCray worked as the co-founder and chief executive officer of Equipt, a web and mobile game app that teaches people to interact and build relationships with people of all identities.


Shutterfly Hires Craig Rowley As Senior Vice President And Chief Marketing Officer

Shutterfly has hired Craig Rowley as SVP and CMO. In his new role, Rowley will lead all marketing strategies across Shutterfly’s portfolio of brands, including the Shutterfly namesake, Snapfish, Lifetouch and more.

Most recently, Rowley was global CMO at Groupon. Prior to that, he served as VP of marketing for REI.


Teespring Appoints Les Green As Vice President Of Marketing

Les Green is joining Teespring as the company’s new VP of marketing, WWD reports.

Prior to joining Teespring, Green worked for a decade at Nike in various marketing roles, including marketing director of Nike Africa and global brand director for Nike Sportswear.

As Teespring’s VP of marketing, Green will be tasked with growing the company’s roster of creators and platform partners, which include TikTok, YouTube, Instagram and Twitch.


Citi Promotes Carla Hassan To Chief Marketing Officer

Carla Hassan has accepted a promotion as Citi’s new CMO, according to Adweek. Hassan is replacing Jennifer Breithaupt, who held the role of Citi global consumer CMO.

Prior to being promoted, Hassan served as the bank’s chief brand officer since 2018.


Gannett Announces The Addition Of Mayur Gupta As Chief Marketing And Strategy Officer

Gannett has named Mayur Gupta as the company’s chief marketing and strategy officer, effective today. Gupta replaces Andy Yost, who left the CMO role in January 2020 after nearly 5 years. Gupta will effectively move from acting as a board member for the company to leading marketing.

Gupta previously held the CMO position at Freshly and served as VP of growth and marketing at Spotify. Gannett’s Chairman and CEO, Michael Reed, was quoted in the wire as saying that Gupta’s experience “as a growth and content marketer at big CPGs like Kimberly Clark as well as disruptive start-ups like Spotify and Freshly that have re-shaped their categories” will position him to “transform [Gannett’s] business model and drive purpose-driven growth”

T-Mobile Launches $10.7 Billion Initiative To Give Free Internet Access To 10 Million Student Households

T-Mobile has launched a $10.7 billion initiative called Project 10Million to make internet connectivity more accessible to underserved student households navigating remote online learning. The company has partnered with school districts across the nation to offer free mobile hotspots, 100GB of free high-speed data for five years, plus access to at-cost laptops and tablets—valued at about $500 per student household. Unlimited data options for school districts to pass on to eligible students at no cost are also available as part of the program’s expansion.

In a 10-minute video posted to the company’s YouTube account, T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert explained how Project 10Million started, noting that even before the pandemic, more than 9 million of America’s 56 million school-age kids lacked access to internet connectivity. As a result, students are unable to complete after-school assignments and receive lower grades. Researchers predict students with poor or no connectivity can lose up to 14 months of learning over time compared to their peers with internet access, also known as the “COVID Slide” effect.

“Just in New York alone, T-Mobile is helping more than 350,000 students with iPads and data as they start their virtual classes. We’ve also partnered with the California Department of Education and Apple to connect another million students as they go back to school and start virtual learning,” Mike Katz, executive vice president of T-Mobile for business, said in the video.

At the start of the pandemic, T-Mobile observed virtual learners were using about 33GB of data per month. Since then, the company has connected 1.6 million students across 3,100 school districts with free or highly subsidized services, according to Sievert.

T-mobile first announced Project 10Million in November 2019 in anticipation of its merger with Sprint. The initiative marks the third and final element of T-Mobile’s 1.0 5G for Good commitments that the company announced before the merger was approved. In March, the company launched T-Mobile Connect, which offers half-off of its lowest-priced plan. A few months later came ‘Connecting Heroes,’ a program that gives first responders free 5G access for a full decade.

Red Wing Shoe Company Launches #LaborDayOn Movement

This Labor Day, Red Wing Shoe Company is forgoing sales to help millions of Americans unemployed due to COVID-19 find jobs through an initiative called #LaborDayOn. The brand will transform its 525 Red Wing Shoe stores into job centers and turn its customer service line into a job search hotline.

Red Wing is calling on brands to do the same and post job openings with the hashtag #LaborDayOn. So far, over 50 brands have pledged to use their own marketing channels to promote openings, including Burger King, General Mills, Johnsonville, Land O’ Lakes, New Balance, Polaris, Sleep Number and more. On the campaign’s microsite, a toolkit that includes job listing and social media templates is available to download.

In addition to promoting #LaborDayOn via its social channels, Red Wing has created a video featuring clickable, open positions at Red Wing and affiliated trade partners.

Job seekers can gain free guidance and learn about job listings when they call the 800-RED-WING line on Labor Day.

“For 25 million unemployed Americans, this Labor Day won’t be a day off. So, we’re not taking one either,” reads the brand’s social media posts.

In March 2019, Red Wing opened its first-ever permanent flagship store in New York City, a 3,300-square-foot space featuring a boot repair and care bar, experts to help with fit, an interactive wall that pays tribute to tough jobs done while wearing Red Wing boots and an immersive boot construction display.

A few months later, in May, the brand launched a new work boot made from start to finish in its US facility for the first time in two decades after an arduous road to bring production home.

Recently, Red Wing has launched new boot styles to target women and younger generations.  

Barefoot Teams With Black Eyed Peas To Launch Charitable AR Music Experience

Barefoot has teamed up with the Black Eyed Peas to launch an augmented reality (AR) music experience called “Band Together” on the Barefoot Wine app that gives back to two non-profit organizations.

Barefoot is also collecting emails as part of a giveaway consumers can enter for a chance to win a virtual meet and greet with the Black Eyed Peas.

Starting today, when consumers scan the quick response (QR) code on “Band Together” store displays or the foot logo on select Barefoot products using the Barefoot app, they can enjoy a virtual AR performance by the Black Eyed Peas. 

In a 30-second video spot posted across Barefoot’s social channels, the group is shown as avatars performing an exclusive version of their newest single, “VIDA LOCA,” which they debuted at the 2020 MTV VMAs finale.

With each additional Barefoot product scanned, new parts of the “VIDA LOCA” song will be added until the full song is heard. Custom animated visuals of Black Eyed Peas will appear with each label scan.

For every label scan from now until the end of the “Band Together” campaign on December 31, Barefoot will donate $1 to the American Cancer Society and Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE), a non-profit that supports food and beverage service employees with kids— up to $100,000 total.

Products featuring the scannable AR music experience include the Barefoot Still Wines and Seltzers.

To enter for a chance to virtually meet the Black Eyed Peas, fans can either enter their email and zip code on the campaign website or follow @barefootwine and share their AR “Band Together” experience on Instagram or Twitter with the tags @barefootwine and #BFTxVidaLocaSweeps.

Barefoot’s parent company E. & J. Gallo Winery has seen a surge in sales since the pandemic as consumers host virtual celebrations and look for new ways to spend their time at home.

“The rise of virtual observances – happy hours, baby showers, birthdays and even weddings – means consumers are using technology in new ways while enjoying wine and spirits as a part of their connections. Several of our wineries are now engaging consumers through weekly virtual happy hours with winemakers and cooking demonstrations with chefs,” said Stephanie Gallo, Chief Marketing Officer, E. & J. Gallo.

Capitalizing on the increase in at-home cooking during lockdowns, E. & J. Gallo Winery launched a weekly cooking demo on Instagram Live called “Supper Series” hosted by the executive chefs of two separate California wineries.

From February 23 through May 2, when stay-at-home orders took effect, wine total dollar sales increased by 38 percent, with unit sales up by 32 percent, according to Catalina. In addition, 46 percent of wine buyers made a repeat purchase versus 36 percent a year ago.

US Consumer Confidence Reaches Six-Year Low As COVID-19 Worries Remount

As worries over COVID-19 remount, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index plunged to a reading of 84.8 in August, the lowest since May 2014. In July, the reading was 91.7.

The decline, which marks the second consecutive monthly decrease in consumer confidence reported by the Conference Board, is based on consumers’ assessment of the current labor market and incomes.

Consumer perception of the job market plummeted to a score of -3.7 in August, down from 2.2 in July—figures that reflect recent unemployment rates reported by the US Department of Labor.

From August 16 to August 22 alone, just over a million people applied for unemployment insurance. In total, about 27 million people are receiving some form of unemployment.

The grim outlook is in part due to the federal government canceling $600 weekly unemployment checks at the end of July.

Consumers also have doubts about their incomes, as the number of respondents anticipating an increase in pay dropped to 12.7 percent in August, down from 14.8 percent in July. Those who expect a decline in their income increased from 15.8 percent in July to 16.6 percent in August.

“This reinforces our view that a V-shaped recovery will not happen, the U.S. economy is unlikely to recover all of its lost output until mid-2022,” James Knightley, chief international economist at ING in New York, told Reuters.

The Conference Board’s data reinforce the findings of a consumer survey conducted by Dunnhumby, whose “Worry Index” reached 29 percent in August, up six percent from June and just below the 30% it reached at the pandemic’s start.

In addition, Dunnhumby’s survey revealed people’s concerns about the cost of food, with 42 percent saying they’ve noticed an increase in food prices since the beginning of the pandemic.

Despite a surge in online grocery shopping, in-store grocery trips account for 65 percent of all food trips, according to Dunnhumby. Still, 27 percent worry they could become exposed to COVID-19 while at the grocery store.

Listen In: What Can Hispanic Market Advertising Teach Us About Our Craft?

(Originally aired September 1st on LinkedIn Live.)

On the show today, we’re featuring a conversation between Ayzenberg’s Matt Bretz and VP of strategy and planning at Acento, Angelica Garcia.


Cross-cultural sensitivity is nothing new to Angelica Garcia. She shares highlights from her thirty-plus year career in the ad business and the ins-and-outs of Hispanic market advertising.

Her takeaway for marketers is that the often complicated task of reaching multi-generational and ethnically, linguistically, culturally diverse Hispanic audiences with the right message, is one we can learn from as it relates to our own craft.


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 a.network audience with actionable insights, enabling them to excel in their field.

Master P Launches Packaged Foods Line With A Purpose

Master P has launched a line of packaged foods with a purpose called Uncle P’s Louisiana Seasoned as an alternative to brands like Uncle Ben’s and Aunt Jemima, who recently came under fire for their racist brand identities.

In March, the rapper and his partner, James Lindsey, created PJ Foods Company to encourage other black-owned companies to change the narrative and launch their own products.

Uncle P’s Louisiana Seasoned products include flavored rices, beans, syrup, oatmeal, grits and pancake mix.

A portion of profits from the Uncle P’s brand will go toward educating inner-city kids, helping elderly people in black communities and developing real estate in black neighborhoods, he told CNN. In addition, the brand has plans to create more job opportunities with upward mobility for black employees.

“When you look at Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben, a lot of those products are mockeries of African-American people and couldn’t even feed our communities. With Uncle P, the more we make, the more we give. And the only way to give is by owning these products,” said Master P.

Black Lives Matter protests induced corporate America’s racial reckoning, which led brands like Uncle Ben’s, Aunt Jemima, Cream of Wheat and Mrs. Butterworth’s to update their brand packaging after many pointed out that their mascots and imagery have racist origins.


Major retailers and social media platforms alike have launched initiatives to promote black-owned brands as searches for black-owned companies have surged. For example, Sephora announced it will dedicate 15 percent of shelf space for black-owned brands. Pinterest debuted a Pinterest Shop collection featuring over 600 products from 20 black-owned beauty and fashion brands, while Facebook is making it easier to discover black-owned businesses by enabling page admins to self-identify and appear in the “Black-owned Businesses” subsection in the “Business Nearby” tab.