Invisible Influencers: Almost Nobody Discloses Affiliate Ads On YouTube

Influencers have long been an effective tool for marketers hoping to build more authentic connections with their consumers, new research from Princeton University has cast some doubts on the transparency many had taken for granted. According to the study, the vast majority of influencers on YouTube and Pinterest who use affiliate ads may be violating American trade laws.

Affiliate ads, or affiliate links, are personalized URLs that brands, usually ecommerce sites, give to individual influencers, who earn kickbacks for clicks and converted sales from that link.

The paper, by Princeton researchers Arunesh Mathur, Arvind Narayanan and Marshini Chetty which analyzed 500,000 YouTube videos and 2.1 million pins on Pinterest, found that 90 percent of posts containing affiliate links do not disclose the fact that they are sponsored. Of those that do mention payment, less than 30 percent actually meet the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines for brand endorsements.

According to FTC guidelines, influencers must tell their audience about any partnerships that may affect their content.

“Knowing about the connection is important information for anyone evaluating the endorsement,” the FTC states on its site. “Disclosures need to be easily noticed and understood.”

Since, as Princeton’s research found, user engagement on posts that contained affiliate ads tended to be higher than those without, YouTube’s and Pinterest’s recommendation algorithms tend to display them more frequently. This may well lead to a decreased trust in and effectiveness of influencer partnerships in the future, as consumers grow wary of undisclosing product endorsements.

Despite having sent letters to prominent influencers about the requirements to clearly state the existence of any partnerships with marketers, the FTC can do little to combat this issue. According to its Endorsement Guides, the FTC itself has no authority to prosecute influencers that violate its regulations.

“The Guides themselves don’t have the force of law,” the FTC website reads. “The Guides themselves don’t have the force of law. However, practices inconsistent with the Guides may result in law enforcement actions alleging violations of the FTC Act. [emphasis added]”

Even if legal action is brought against influencers that violate the FTC Act, punishment is nonexistent: “Law enforcement actions can result in orders requiring the defendants in the case to give up money they received from their violations…there are no ‘fines’ for violations of the FTC Act.”

With the risk of being caught so low, and the penalties for being caught being essentially nonexistent, there are few reasons for influencers to take affiliate ad disclosures into their own hands, and thus many simply don’t.

Both YouTube and Instagram have recently incorporated disclosure tools into their platforms, which will automatically display “paid partnership” messages on promoted content, but this does not apply to partnerships made outside platform channels.

“Such disclosure tools are a step in the right direction, however, it is unlikely that such blanket disclosures will cover all marketing strategies,” the Princeton researchers write. “Future work could investigate what kind of affordances should be designed into social media platforms to enable affiliates to disclose clearly.”

BMW Shatters Giant ‘Like’ Statue For X2 Reveal In Milan

BMW revealed its new X2 model in Milan this weekend by bursting out of a giant “thumbs up” statue and spurring a debate about vying for social media attention.

By allowing visitors to speculate about the statue’s meaning and origin, BMW invited conversation which allowed the campaign to go viral organically.

A giant white thumbs up statue mysteriously appeared in Milan without any branding aside from an inscription that read, “L’importante nella vita è avere like,” which translates to “The only thing that matters in life is getting likes.”

BMW placed the installation a few blocks away from Milan’s controversial “L.O.V.E.” statue that depicts a hand holding up its middle finger.

News and photos of the thumbs up statue quickly spread across social media using the hashtag #LikeGigante (Giant Like), alongside debates on whether the inscribed statement was true. The hashtag became a trending topic in Italy over the weekend.

Meanwhile, a board in front of the statue allowed visitors to give the installation a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” On Sunday afternoon, the sound of sirens, music and special effects culminated in the side of the statue being destroyed. A group of people wearing welding masks stepped out of the statue and behind them stood the new BMW X2.

One of the men spray painted “BMWX2. Rompi I Tuoi Schemi” over the statue’s inscription, meaning literally “Break your conventions.”

The BMW X2 reveal followed a theme of “breaking out of conventions” by literally bursting forth from a thumbs up—the universal symbol for approval online.

BMW’s new SUV is a new model for the brand, so marketing has focused on a theme of being proudly different. In New York, BMW is promoting the X2 by sponsoring “David Bowie Is,” a personal archive of the musician’s song lyrics, consumes and memorabilia on display at the Brooklyn Museum. The partnership extends to an AR-enhanced article in the New York Times, allowing users to view Bowie’s costume collection on their smart devices.

In the UK, BMW is taking an adventure-themed approach to the X2 launch. Five urban climbing centers will host BMW X Climb, an event focused on bouldering and mountain climbing. Running March 23 to April 15, each event culminates in the BMW X Night, in which bouldering influencers perform demonstrations and tricks against a backdrop of lighting and UV projections. DJs from BMW’s Global Radio partnership also make an appearance.

These performance art-like installations created an air of mystery around BMW for the X2’s big reveal in Milan, especially when it provokes controversy.

Such was the case for “Fearless Girl” by State Street Global Advisors. For International Women’s Day last year, a bronze statue of a small girl appeared on Wall Street facing down the famous charging bull.

Unlike BMW, however, the identity of the statue’s creator didn’t become known until Cannes Lions, during which the activation won three Grand Prix, a Glass Lion and more.

Brand CMOs Closing Gender Gap, Leaving Other Gaps Still Wide

A new survey released by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) revealed significant progress in increasing CMO diversity, indicating a closing gender gap among top marketing executives.

The study, which interviewed chief marketing officers (or their equivalents) at 747 different ANA member companies, found that 45 percent of CMOs identify as female, while 55 percent identify as male.

This statistic departs significantly from a different study done by Equilar just last year, which put the percentage of high-level female marketing executives at public companies at just 19 percent in 2016.

Even with a closing gender gap among C-suite marketing roles, the industry has enormous steps to take to give equal representation to people of color.

“Despite the acknowledgment of and significant emphasis on the necessity of having more marketers of color occupying the top ranks, the data suggests a material shortfall in fulfilling diversity objectives,” the ANA added in a statement.

Only 13 percent of the survey’s respondents claimed to be non-white, with 5 percent identifying as Asian, 5 percent as Hispanic/Latinx and just 3 percent as Black.

The consumer packaged goods industry had the closest parity between male and female CMOs, with exactly a 50-50 gender split, as well as proportionately the highest number of ethnic-minority CMOs, at 24 percent.

The banking/finance industry had the worst record for minority representation, with only 6 percent of its CMOs not being white. Additionally, the food and beverage sector had the highest gender split, with more than double the number of male CMOs than female.

The marketing industry still has a ways to go in championing CMO diversity, but the shrinking gender gap is a step in the right direction. In any case, it’s not an issue that will be solved without active efforts by marketing executives themselves.

TradeStation Pop-Up Barbershop Is A Play On Brand’s Redesign

Online broker TradeStation is hosting a pop-up barbershop/salon in New York City’s Oculus designed to draw attention to its recent rebranding.

From March 27-29, visitors to transportation and entertainment center Oculus can visit TradeStation’s “Fresh New Look” activation to receive a “new look” by way of free haircuts, blowouts, blue dye jobs, blue wigs and other salon offerings. Dye jobs and wigs are colored blue to coincide with TradeCenter’s logo. Employees manning the event also dyed their hair blue.

To encourage social sharing, a “selfie wall” is available along with the hashtag #TSFreshLook.

TradeCenter’s experiential marketing campaign is designed to capture the attention of around 250,000 daily commuters and tourists visiting Oculus, which was built on the former site of the World Trade Center towers. Oculus also happens to be near NYC’s financial district.

Over the past year, TradeStation has rebranded itself with a new design, simplified pricing and updated user interface. The activation includes an iPad station where visitors can try TradeStation’s newly-redesigned desktop, mobile and web trading interface. A simulated trading competition challenges guests to make the most virtual money and win $50 Amazon gift cards. Visitors can also enter to win a $1,000 Amazon gift card.

TradeStation partnered with live financial news network Cheddar to film live coverage of the experiential marketing event. Trading social network StockTwits also made an appearance.

New York’s bustling train system makes it popular advertising real estate for brands hoping to reach millions of eyes each week.

Earlier this month, ABC transformed a NYC commuter train into the living room from Roseanne to promote the show’s upcoming TV revival.

In February, Greek yogurt brand Chobani created an experiential installation inside New York’s Grand Central Terminal.

Last fall, Behr Pain unveiled its first “color of the year” in the Grand Central Terminal with a pop-up house decorated in “In the Moment T18-15.” The activation also included VR cardboard headsets and 360-degree videos that featured Behr’s 20 newly-introduced paint colors.

British Airways Brand Head Departs; TheRealReal Expands C-Suite


Alice Comber, global head of brands and marketing for British Airways, has departed from the company after 26 years there.

“Abigail Comber decided to leave BA and goes with our thanks and much to be proud of including leading the relaunch of the brand promise ‘To fly. To serve.’; the success of BA’s Olympics campaign; as well as the delivery of customer programs such as Buy on Board and New Club World,” a BA spokesperson told Campaign.

Comber first joined British Airways in 1992, moving into the marketing department ten years later. She had been promoted to her current role in August of last year.

Jewelry reseller TheRealReal has made a pair of C-suite appointments, bringing on Jun-Sheng Li and Len Eschweiler as chief operating and revenue officers, respectively.

“As the company has grown, so has the demand for a level of management who have had instrumental roles in growing and shaping multi-billion dollar businesses,” said The RealReal CEO and founder Julie Wainwright. “Our new chief revenue officer Len Eschweiler and chief operating officer Jun-Sheng Li bring that expertise to The RealReal.”

Li most recently served as senior vice president of e-commerce supply chain at Walmart, and Eschweiler held senior sales roles at both Affirm and Amazon.

Media conglomerate Meredith Corporation has promoted Klarn DePalma to executive vice president of MNI Targeted Media, a role in which he will lead the company’s targeted digital and print advertising business.

“His leadership will expedite the integration of MNI into the Meredith Local Media Group, and provide the opportunity to expand the digital reach of our 17 local television stations,” said Patrick McCreery, Meredith Local Media Groups’ executive vice president.

DePalma has worked at WFSB-TV, a CBS-affiliate station, for a quarter century, serving as vice president and general manager for the past 12 years.

After Terry Savage, chairman of the Cannes Lions announced his retirement in December, the creativity festival has found a replacement in Philip Thomas, who will absorb the position’s duties into his current position.

“The role of creativity for growth and for change has never been so critical, and Cannes Lions exists to help people and businesses become more creative,” Thomas said to Campaign on his new role.

Thomas currently serves as events head of the Cannes Lions parent company, Ascential. According to Duncan Painter, Ascential’s CEO, Thomas was the “obvious choice.”

Musa Tariq, Ford’s vice president and chief brand officer, will be leaving his position at the company, leaving his duties to CMO Joy Falotico.

“Musa is a proven leader of brand transformation, having led similar work at some of the world’s most admired brands before coming to Ford, and he is a leader known for creativity and social media expertise,” said Jim Hackett, Ford’s president and CEO, in a statement obtained by AdWeek.

Tariq has been with the car manufacturer for just over a year, first joining the company in January of 2017.

TruTV has hired Joe Hadari as senior vice president of brand marketing and strategy, a newly created position at the network.

“It is crucial to our growth that we focus on becoming experts in data management and media attribution, and with his experience and strategic approach, Joe is the absolute perfect addition to our team,” Puja Vohra, TruTV’s executive vice president of marketing and digital, said in a statement.

Hadari joins the network from Horizon Media, where he served as its senior vice president and managing director.

After controversies over personal data breaches and disinformation, Facebook’s chief information security officer, Alex Stamos, will depart the company later this year, The New York Times reports.

“It’s true that my role did change,” Stamos stated on Twitter. “I’m currently spending more time exploring emerging security risks and working on election security.”

According to NYT, Stamos will remain in his current position until August to facilitate the transition of his responsibilities, but has not addressed what his future plans may be.

Chipotle has appointed a new chief marketing officer, Chris Brandt, who will assume the role beginning in April.

“Having worked with Chris in the past, I have seen first-hand his ability to generate sales overnight and build brands over time,” said Brian Niccol, Chipotle’s CEO. “His experience and expertise make him an ideal fit for our leadership team at Chipotle as we look to reinvigorate this exceptional brand, and build sales, transactions and profitability.”

Brandt most recently served at Bloomin’ Brands as executive vice president and chief brand officer for restaurants such as Outback Steakhouse and Bonefish Grill.

Ricky Ray Butler has risen in the ranks of Branded Entertainment Network, assuming the role of CEO.

“Ricky Ray is a great leader, operator and proven performer. He built Plaid Social, which as BEN Digital, has now evolved into the leading influencer marketing company,” said Gary Shenk, the previous CEO of BEN. “He’s an inspirational and empowering team builder, whose passion and work ethic are infectious—he’s bold!”

Before his promotion, Butler served as BEN’s Global CCO after it acquired his influencer firm Plaid Social Labs in 2015.

Charter Communications, the second largest cable operator in America, has created the position of chief mobile officer, tapping Danny Bowman to fill the role.

“Danny possesses deep mobile expertise and will be an invaluable asset to Charter and its growing team of experienced professionals dedicated to successfully designing, developing, launching and growing Spectrum Mobile,” said Rich DiGeronimo, Charter’s executive vice president of product and strategy.

Bowman joins the company after a quarter-century in the mobile communications industry, previously holding executive titles at Samsung, Sprint and Nextel. Most recently, he served as chief revenue officer at LeEco North America. is expanding its marketing leadership staff, bringing on Sachin Gadhvi as vice president of growth marketing, a new role in the organization.

“Sachin brings extensive experience in building performance marketing channels from startups to established technology companies,” said Brooke Skinner Ricketts, chief marketing officer for “We are pleased to bring his deep expertise in driving sustainable growth at two-sided tech-enabled marketplaces to our team as we continue to focus on taking our SEO optimization, customer acquisition and analytics infrastructure to the next level.”

Previously, Gadhvi was chief marketing officer for Everything But The House, an online-auctioning startup.

The Rest Of The C-Suite

(Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, March 23. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at

Supply-chain software provider Kinaxis has tapped Jay Muelhoefer for chief marketing officer.

“We are thrilled to have Jay join the executive team as we begin to accelerate our investments in expanding our business through Europe and Asia,” said John Sicard, Kinaxis CEO. “Jay’s experience in leading global marketing teams and his deep intellect in product marketing will be instrumental in generating maximum demand for our revolutionary supply chain and sales and operations planning product.”

Muelhoefer most recently served as CMO for Intralinks, and has in the past held the same position at IBM and Platform Computing as well.

Jimmy Iovine, Beats headphones co-founder and untitled Apple Music executive, will be stepping back from his current role to an advisory position, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Campbell’s president of Americas simple meals and beverages, Mark Alexanderleaving, has announced he will be the company to pursue other opportunities.

“Mark has been an influential leader, and we are grateful for his many contributions during his nearly three decades with Campbell,” said Denise Morrison, president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company. “During his career, he has had a meaningful impact on our business and culture. We wish him the best in his future endeavors and thank him for his leadership.”

Just after renewing his contract to continue on as CEO of MGM for another five years, Gary Barber has left the studio for reasons unspecified.

“Over the past eight years, MGM has successfully built a world-class company and talented team,” said Kevin Ulrich, chairman of MGM’s board of directors. “Now is the right time to enable the next generation of leadership who can help drive the creativity, collaboration and partnership needed to continue the Company’s positive trajectory.”

Barber had been with MGM for eight years.

Andy Bird, international chairman at the Walt Disney Company, will leave the corporation as part of an executive restructuring plan unveiled last week.

Bird has been with Disney for 14 years, joining the company from TBS International, where he served as president.

Publicis.Sapient, the digital business arm of Publicis Groupe, has appointed Teresa Berreira as its CMO.

“Teresa has a tremendous track record as a senior leader with large technology and consulting firms, building strong market leadership and differentiation as well as leading high-performance global teams,” said Nigel Vaz, CEO of Publicis.Sapient International.

Barreira joins Publicis from Deloitte Consulting, where she served as its own CMO.

Consumer-intent information provider V12 Data has hired Jason Webby as chief revenue officer.

“Jason is an inspiring and proven leader with a deep expertise in executing high-growth company strategies,” said Anders Ekman, CEO of V12 Data. “He has demonstrated incredible aptitude for creating and enhancing revenue streams, and we are thrilled to have him join the team as we position V12 Data for sustained growth in 2018 and beyond.”

Webby joins V12 from programmatic media firm Xaxis, where he served as senior vice president and managing director.

Job Vacancies 

Associate Director, Insight & Analytics Ayzenberg Pasadena, CA
Sr. Enterprise Account Manager Adobe Chicago, IL
Sr. Product Marketing Manager (Prime Video)  Amazon Seattle, WA
VP, Brand Marketing TOMS Los Angeles, CA
VP, Digital Marketing Channels Capital Group Los Angeles, CA
Sr. Manager, Digital – Marketing Technology & Analytics Deloitte Various Locations

Make sure to check back for updates on our jobs page.

Nike’s Acquisition Shows They’re Serious About Marketing Personalization

Nike’s acquisition of consumer data analytics firm Zodiac is another step toward the brand’s goal of creating personalized marketing campaigns. The strategic move, announced Thursday, is part of Nike’s Consumer Direct Offense initiative set into motion last year.

“The acquisition of Zodiac demonstrates our commitment to enhancing our ability to serve consumers 1:1, powered through a deep understanding of their goals and needs,” Ilana Finley, Nike’s senior director of North America communications told AListDaily.

Access to Zodiac’s analytics tools and data science talent will allow the company to “power 1:1 relationships with consumers through digital and physical consumer experiences,” the company said.

Nike has already poured significant attention and financial investment into creating these experiences.

The brand’s mobile SNKRS app uses GPS and augmented reality to create geo-located experiences and hidden “stash spots” that give surprise alerts for dedicated users to find. Users can buy the sneakers directly through the app or at their nearest Nike or wholesale store.

For the drop of the Nike SB Dunk High Pro “Momofuku,” consumers were given the opportunity to purchase by scanning an image of David Chang’s Fuku East Village menu.

After the NBA All-Star Game last month, fans attending the Jumpman afterparty got the chance to scan special Snap codes, allowing them to pre-purchase new Air Jordan shoes and have them delivered later that same night. The shoes sold out within half an hour.

Nike’s New York “By You” studio opened in September that allows guests to design a custom pair of shoes and have them manufactured in around 90 minutes.

The Consumer Direct Offense initiative was created last June to drive growth in 12 cities across 10 countries: New York, London, Shanghai, Beijing, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, Mexico City, Barcelona, Seoul and Milan. These key cities and countries are expected to represent over 80 percent of Nike’s projected growth through 2020.

Nike credited the initiative with driving double-digit international growth in the third quarter of 2018.

“We now see a significant reversal of trends in North America as momentum accelerates through the scaling of new innovation platforms and differentiated Nike consumer experiences expand across the marketplace,” Mark Parker, chairman, president and CEO of Nike said alongside the Q3 earnings.

Trevor Edwards, former president of the Nike Brand, was in charge of the Consumer Direct Offense program and led Nike’s direct-to-consumer teams. Since his resignation on March 15, Edwards’ responsibilities will be split between Elliott Hill, former President of Nike Geographies and Michael Spillane, who will continue to lead all categories, design, product and merchandising.

Brands Talk Best Practices For Approaching A Scholarship Strategy

Brands are using the time-tested tactic of company-funded scholarships to connect with young consumers.

Scholarships perpetrate a purpose-driven approach to build brand loyalty and generate positive consumer sentiment, providing marketing teams with an opportunity to leverage affiliations and supply funnels with non-traditional ads and social content. These are equally advantageous to students and brands; students are provided with support to pursue passions and develop their careers, and help brands reach a demographic that is increasingly disengaging with traditional marketing.

On Thursday, DJ Khaled, Get Schooled and Viacom announced Key To Social Change—an extension of the Major Keys campaign that will award more than $20,000 in scholarships beginning April 2. The program offers “keys” for academic achievement much as a Boy or Girl Scout earns a badge. Categories include personal finance, communication skills and goal setting, among others. Key To Social Change adds another goal for students aimed at making social change through one’s online presence. The program will teach best practices for effective digital communications, including guidance on platform selection, content development and messaging.

Taco Bell started the Live Mas Scholarship in 2015 to propel creatives and dreamers ages 16-to-24. The scholarship is available to the public as well as Taco Bell employees whose passions stand outside of athletic and traditional academic fields. It gives recipients access to mentors, professionals and even “day-in-the-life” opportunities through grants.

To date, the Taco Bell Foundation has donated $3 million, planning to double that figure to $6 million by the end of this year.

“It’s mutually beneficial because the kids are receiving fantastic experiences and we’re getting fantastic creative content with them. The brand loyalty we develop with them is huge,” Jennifer Walker, director of strategic development for Taco Bell Foundation, told AListDaily.

Aspiring filmmaker Emma DeMuth with the Doritos Locos Taco holster that she designed for Taco Bell.

“All companies have the ability to give away money—but we’re more than a bank. The scholarship has become a way for us to identify with our customers. That age demographic is truly who are customers are, and we want to set them up for success. We have big hearts and want people to feel good about our brand, too.”

Much like brands that support STEM education, a cause marketing strategy with scholarships directly reaches current and future customers and lets them know that the company is aligned with their passions and interests. The move is a valuable one—especially since Americans owe over $1.48 trillion in student loan debt. The University Network found that 83 percent of students favorably view brands that offer a scholarship.

To raise additional awareness for its cause marketing efforts and empower kids to take creative risks, Taco Bell tapped into its scholars and merged their creativity with its marketing teams for its campaigns “For The Kids, By The Kids” and “Eat A Taco, Feed A Dream.”

“We pulled kids from all walks of life and had them help us craft marketing messages,” said Brian Darney, senior manager of advertising and branded content for Taco Bell. “Not only did we give them the keys, we let them drive all aspects of the campaigns.”

The QSR chain enabled recipients by bringing them to the decision-making table and asked them to offer creative input and direction of the marketing plan. It included ideating, writing scripts, directing and starring in commercials as well as packaging assets with outside partners and Taco Bell Design, the brand’s internal advertising agency.

“The traditional advertising messages that we produce are fun, but I’d say this is even more fun because we’re doing it with them. It’s a passion project,” said Darney. “If there is ever an opportunity for a brand to get involved, they should, and that’s the approach we’ve taken. We want to prove that we’re doing what we’re saying with our cause marketing. We’re walking the walk, and talking the talk, so to speak.”

Darney said it’s not enough for brands just to be “cool” these days. “Consumers care about brands with a cause,” he said. “Being different can be challenging from a brand standpoint. You have to make an impact.”

The scholarship strategy has been a resourceful one for the restaurant chain, Darney said, because of the positive response it’s also been enjoying through social channels. Such insights have led Taco Bell to grow the program exponentially to upward of $10 million in the next few years.

Dr Pepper is also adding its own spin to a scholarship approach. The Dr Pepper Tuition Challenge has become a college football tradition at halftime and a game within a game during each of the Power 5 conference championship contests every December. The soft drink company has awarded nearly $10 in tuition since 2008 with a gamified philosophy that pits students against one another in a football-throwing face-off. The winner who nets the most balls into cans of Dr Pepper wins a tuition check. In return, the beverage giant wins much coveted earned media value as the comedic hijinks plays out on TV and spills into social media.

Natural Light took a similar approach during the Super Bowl last month with a cause marketing contest designed to pay off a total of $1 million in debt for 25 students.

Another marque trying to make an impact with its cause marketing, connect with consumers through scholarships and source content for social channels is Nikon. The camera-company marked its centennial anniversary with the Nikon Storytellers Scholarship, a $100,000 scholarship fund for emerging content creators.

In addition to making a commitment to supporting the next generation of visual artists, Nikon is using the power of photography to connect young creators to the brand on its digital platforms through user-generated content as part of the curated “Nikon100 List.” Since the start of the 100-day campaign, Nikon has featured a new photographer everyday by sharing their photos on the Nikon Instagram channel with the hashtag #Nikon100.

“The goal with the scholarship is to introduce current and new users to the brand and build relationships with consumers that can continue to grow along with their experiences and careers,” said Kosuke Kawaura, director of marketing, communications and planning for Nikon. “Through the scholarship, Nikon will be top of mind with this very important market segment.”

Kawaura said cause marketing makes sense for Nikon because brand loyalty is usually rooted early among young photographers, and that it’s incumbent upon companies to foster the talent of tomorrow in any way possible.

“By supporting scholarships, brands can connect with consumers in a relevant way and become a part of this larger narrative, helping to empower students to achieve their future dreams and aspirations,” he said.

4 Top Trends To Help Content Marketers Make Meaningful Connections

Media has become democratized: Everyone can get involved. But succeeding is something else entirely.

So what should marketers consider in order to attract customers while pushing boundaries in distribution, engagement and monetization? See the list below and join top brands at MMS NY: The Connective Power of Content on April 17 as they share what’s working and what’s not.

  • Personalization – Using data and technology to remain relevant for your customers. The smart marketer will leverage data and analytics to create personalized content experiences that drive demand.
  • Customer experience — This is increasingly the responsibility of the digital marketer. You must create integrated customer experiences across all digital channels, including websites, mobile apps, digital marketing, social and owned platforms. It’s all about the consumer, who expect seamless communication right now. How do we ensure we are there when our customers need our product and ensure that we provide them with useful content?
  • Be a brand with purpose — Today’s biggest customer base, Millennials, care about brands that have “meaning.” If you want to hire millennials and have them consume your products or services, you need to demonstrate a presence of social good. Successful brands know what they stand for, how to share it and who to share it with to create desire. Understanding the demands of a new socially conscious generation of your customers will allow you to connect with them in authentic ways.
  • Experiential marketing — Consumers gravitate toward the experiential with a desire to make unique memories—and document them all on social media. Understanding the types of experiences your audience relates to and bringing them to life by integrating your product and messages with a relevant activity or authentic moment in time is key. Experiment with new formats, platforms and emerging tech to share your story and allow customers to experience your brand in new, meaningful ways that cross the digital/physical divide.

We should reflect on Jonah Peretti’s quote: “Content is king, but distribution is queen, and she wears the pants.” It’s not just what content you’ll create, but how, where and when you deliver it, as well. Invite your distribution partners to the table so you don’t miss out on their expertise and opportunities.

MMS NY: The Connective Power of Content will be bringing together the senior brand and agency marketers that are watching these trends and shaping the future of modern marketing.  Together, speakers and audience will be discussing how to make meaningful consumer connections that span the drastically changing marketing landscapes.

AListDaily subscribers get 20% off with the code “MMS18Friend20.”

Air France Pokes Fun At Low-Cost Carriers With Faux Products

Air France has launched a new campaign poking fun at economy airlines that cost less but charge extra for amenities.

“Take a Chance or Fly Air France” kicked off Monday with a video that offers fake products: champagne gummies, scratch-n-sniff meals and a 50-foot scroll of Sudoku puzzles. The goal of this campaign, Air France said, is to highlight complimentary amenities offered on its flights that cost extra on other airlines.

“No matter which cabin you fly in, all passengers have a right to a great meal, entertainment, and—for those of age—champagne,” Stephane Ormand, US vice president & general manager USA of Air France, said in a statement.

Although passengers can’t actually order the faux products mid-flight, consumers do have a chance to win them. On March 24 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., a special vending machine will be available at The Grove in Los Angeles that contains the gummies, sticker meals and Sudoku rolls. The vending machine is free to operate but requires an Instagram account and users must be 18 and older. In addition to the aforementioned products, the vending machine will also give out a limited number of golden tickets good for two round-trip tickets on Air France.

For those who can’t attend in person, a sweepstake is running that offers anyone a chance to win a set of the three satirical products.

Low-cost carriers are eating away at the market share of major transportation companies, causing luxury services like Air France to emphasize value over cost.

“One of the greatest weapons in the traditional carrier’s arsenal is creating the perfect blend of product and service quality and price that attracts the largest customer base possible—at the highest price point,” Deloitte said in its 2018 Travel and Hospitality Outlook report.

Last year, Air France launched Joon—a brand offshoot that caters to tech-savvy young travelers. Joon offers access to in-flight entertainment that streams directly onto travelers’ smartphones, tablets and laptops. In addition, all seats will be equipped with USB ports for the charging of electronic devices.

Brands Try Their Luck With St. Patrick’s Day Marketing

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are already underway, and Americans plan to spend a record $5.9 billion to celebrate this year, according to the National Retail Foundation. Most popular among 18-24-year-olds, US adults are expected spend an average of $39.65 per person on Irish-themed festivities.

Here are a few ways brands are tapping into the luck o’ the Irish this year:

Green Goodies

Few St. Patrick’s day marketing campaigns are as widely recognized as the Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s. The mint-flavored treats are offered for only a month each year, creating a FOMO sense of urgency among customers, as well as nostalgia going back to 1970.

For 2018, quick service restaurant launched a shake finder app that helps consumers find the nearest McDonald’s serving Shamrock Shakes—although Texans found themselves left out.

In Chicago, the brand created a pop-up activation that projected a giant green rainbow in Daley Plaza alongside a stand giving away free cups of the minty confection. The activation was a partnership with artist Andrew Shoben.

Breakfast got a lot greener with several other promotions across the US. Bruegger’s continued its annual tradition of offering green bagels. Krispy Kreme did the same with green donuts at participating stores.

Dunkin’ Donuts took St. Patrick’s Day beyond green icing and offered customers a chance to win a year’s worth of free donuts for sharing their holiday plans. One winner will also visit the company’s headquarters in Massachusetts.

Spirits of Ireland

Jameson whiskey is offering fans a trip for three to Ireland, where they will visit the Jameson distillery and have their name carved into the bar. To enter, 21+ fans can head to the brand’s official website and finish the sentence, “You’ve a Jameson at the bar, mates at the ready, all you’re missing is…”

Guinness is celebrating its 200th anniversary in the US with a continuation its annual tradition of cause marketing. “Give A ‘Stache’ invites adults to share photos of themselves sporting a mustache—either drawn on, grown or provided by Guinness foam—by tagging Guiness on social media and the hashtag #StacheForCharity. For every photo shared, Guinness will donate $1 (up to $100,000) to the Guinness Gives Back Fund, which supports community-focused non-profits around the country.

If you can’t make it to Ireland, booking discount finder Travelzoo is hosting a Facebook Live stream of Dublin’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. The Facebook stream will also be shared via Tourism Ireland’s social media pages and the Facebook pages of Travelzoo in the UK and Canada. Travelzoo said last year’s St. Patrick’s Day livestream reached three million viewers.

How about St. Patrick’s Day finance? TD Bank is running an ad on Twitter that shows users how to make a healthy green shake while promoting its mortgage lending services.

Activision Blizzard is running a St. Patrick’s Day event in Call of Duty: WWII called “Operation: Shamrock and Awe,” which includes new uniforms, shamrock skins for weapons, decorations around the game’s main headquarters and a new multiplayer map.