Consumers Rank Amazon, Disney And Apple Highest On Brand Intimacy

Consumers ranked Amazon, Disney, Apple, Ford and Jeep as the top five brands they have a strong emotional connection with, according to the 10th annual MBLM Brand Intimacy 2020 Study. MBLM surveyed 6,200 consumers in the US, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates in November 2019 about their experiences with nearly 400 brands across 15 industries.

This year’s report features a new top brand, Amazon, with a narrow lead over Disney. Last year’s brand intimacy report included four media and entertainment brands in the top 10; this year, the report includes three.

Thirty-three percent of Amazon users said they can’t live without the brand. Amazon is the only brand to make the top five list across generations.

In terms of retail brands, Walmart comes closest to Amazon, earning the ninth spot on the brand intimacy list. Whereas 21 percent of consumers are willing to pay 20 percent more for Amazon, 14 percent of consumers are willing to do the same for Walmart products.

In second place is Disney; 27 percent of its consumers say they can’t live without the brand. Still, users of Netflix, which ranked sixth on the brand intimacy list, are more likely to pay 20 percent more for Netflix services than Disney consumers are likely to pay for Disney goods and services.

Apple ranked third on the list. Consumers are almost just as likely to pay 20 percent more for Apple products as they are for Samsung products (22 percent for Apple vs. 20 percent for Samsung).

The auto industry has improved its brand intimacy standing, with four auto brands landing the top 10 list, including Ford in fourth place. Jeep came in fifth; 18 percent of consumers are willing to pay 20 percent more for Jeep, whereas 15 percent of Ford consumers are willing to do the same for Ford cars.

The remaining brands in the top 10 list include Netflix in sixth, followed by BMW, Chevrolet, Walmart and PlayStation.

Gen Z respondents ranked Xbox and Spotify as the top two brands they feel a connection with. While Gen Zers agree that both brands have become ingrained in their daily life, more Xbox users (60 percent) felt an immediate connection with the brand compared to Spotify (50 percent).

There were no shared brands among income groups. Both groups ($35,000-$50,000 and $75,000-$100,000) selected retail brands as top performers (Amazon and Target), though the former favors media and entertainment brands more than the latter, which named various industries in its top five (Apple, North Face and Whole Foods).

In terms of consumer goods, people report feeling a close bond with Hershey’s; those with incomes both over and under $100,000 ranked Hershey’s as their favorite, ranking it the highest for inducing nostalgia. Hershey’s was also the top consumer goods brand among women and consumers over 35 years old.

Kellogg’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Nestle and Campbell’s comprise the remainder of the top five consumer goods brands.

Building on its brand intimacy findings in November 2019, MBLM analyzed the top five ranked consumer goods brands in early May to understand how their messaging has changed during the pandemic.

Hershey’s, though its new messaging doesn’t explicitly address the pandemic, has pulled spots of people socializing and has shifted to product advertising. The brand recently partnered with DC Comics to launch limited-time superhero-themed chocolate bars that were distributed to healthcare and emergency workers before being launched in stores.

Kellogg’s messaging focuses on its gratitude for its employees and other essential workers, while Ben & Jerry’s highlights racial and economic justice during the crisis.

MBLM research shows that intimate brands generate millions more dollars in revenue and profit annually and over the long run than the S&P 500 and Fortune 500 top brands. From 2009-2018, brands with a high intimacy ranking saw a 6.47 percent growth in revenue, compared with a 5.08 percent growth in revenue for Fortune 500 brands.

Brands with a high intimacy ranking also have double the number of consumers willing to pay 20 percent more for their goods and services.

Skincare Industry Ad Spend Spikes 38% Month-Over-Month

The skincare industry’s ad spend grew 38 percent month-over-month and hair removal product ad spend skyrocketed from $3.7 million to $10.6 million, according to the latest MediaRadar study.

By spend, the biggest advertisers in Q1 2020 were Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and L’Oréal, who collectively increased their ad spend on their skincare lines by over $10 million in March.

The anti-aging category saw a particularly strong increase in ad spend at the end of Q1 2020, jumping from $3.5 million in the first week of January to $6.8 million in the last week of March. Neutrogena, Olay and Plexaderm Skincare were the top spenders in this category, with Plexaderm accounting for one-fourth of all ad spots.

Spend on men’s skincare also saw a lift, with average weekly spend on the category up 22 percent in March, when compared to January and February. The biggest men’s skincare advertisers, by spend, include Dove Men+Care, Jack Black and direct-to-consumer brands, Hims and Geologie.

MediaRadar’s analysis also shows that hair removal products more than doubled ad spend by the end of Q1. Hair removal brands Finishing Touch Flawless, Gillette Razors, Trimmers & Blades, MicroTouch Solo, Gillette Venus and Bell + Howell Tac Shaver accounted for a jump in spend, from $3.7 million in January to $10.6 million in March.

The hair care category’s ad spend increased too, surging from $5 million in January to $16.7 million in the first week of February. As stay-at-home orders remain in place, however, hair product advertising tailed off as consumers spent less time on their hair.

Additionally, oral hygiene companies such as Colgate, Sensodyne and Parodontax spent the most on ads in Q1. By the start of Q2, Crest, Listerine and Colgate showed consistent spend on linear television ads.

White Castle To Host Virtual Dance Party To Raise Money For Restaurant Workers

White Castle is sponsoring a live dance party called “Slider Jam,” hosted by Dude Skywalker and streamed on the DJ duo’s Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitch. In celebration of White Castle’s National Slider Day, on May 15, the virtual event will help raise money for the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, which provides grants to restaurant workers affected by the pandemic. Viewers can make donations through donation links on the platforms where the dance party will take place, on May 15 at 8 p.m. EST. White Castle’s goal is to raise $10,000 from the party.

In addition to the virtual event, White Castle is giving out free sliders at all participating White Castles, no purchase necessary. Fans can redeem the drive-thru offer via a digital coupon posted to the company’s site.

Between May 15 through June 15, White Castle is also giving EMTs, healthcare workers and grocery store and food retail employees 20 percent off all orders placed in its restaurants.

White Castle’s National Slider Day campaign has two social media components. On Friday, it will release video meeting backgrounds “featuring the creative scenes you’ve had a hankering for” on its social media channels with a link to download them.

In an attempt to spread uplifting news, White Castle is encouraging users to post about acts of altruism running as part of a social campaign with the hashtag #CraveTheGood.

The virtual dance party builds upon White Castle’s recent COVID efforts. In early April, it announced that it would give out free meals to healthcare workers and EMTs, from April 7 to April 30 via drive-thru; all they had to do was show their work ID. White Castle also delivered free sliders to hospitals and other healthcare facilities in regions where there are White Castle restaurants.

“Just a week ago, we were seeing little effect (on business from the coronavirus), but then toward the end of last week, as more guidance came out, we did see some declines in restaurant business. But our brand is unique in that we offer consumer packaged goods too … and that business has been really, really strong … though the rest of business … was down significantly as more people weren’t going out,” White Castle vice president Jamie Richardson said in an interview with QSRWeb in mid-March.

Hendrick’s Gin’s “Pour it Forward” Campaign Provides Financial Support To Bartenders

Hendrick’s Gin is asking bartenders to record themselves making a cocktail using Hendrick’s while telling a story about a bartender friend, as part of a new initiative called “Pour it Forward” meant to support the bartending community amid COVID-19. Hendrick’s Gin parent company, William Grant & Sons, will give each bartender who makes a video, including friends that the videos are dedicated to, $200 from its Fast Fund.

Three national Hendrick’s Gin brand ambassadors kicked off the cause-related campaign with videos featuring mixology demonstrations and a toast to a bartender friend. The goal is for bartenders to nominate friends to “pour it forward” and create their own video.

To fund the campaign, Hendrick’s Gin launched an ecommerce gift shop selling branded novelty items including teacups, glass sets, a penguin pourer and a punch bowl. All proceeds from the sales will support “Pour it Forward.”

Hendrick’s will pay up to 150 bartenders to participate in the campaign, with hopes that sales from the “tiny shop” will enable it to support additional bartenders. As of now, 12 bartenders have agreed to participate.

In early April, Hendrick’s Gin announced that, with the help of distilleries in Scotland, Ireland and New York, its parent company would supply 5 million liters of ethanol for the production of hand sanitizer to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Hendrick’s said the profits from the sale of the ethanol will be reinvested into future coronavirus relief efforts.

As a result of extended stay-at-home orders in some states, restaurants and bars remain closed, leaving members of the hospitality industry out of work. Many spirit brands have stepped in to provide financial relief. Grey Goose recently announced it was hiring bartenders for a new social media video series called “House Pour.” Each video will show a bartender from around the world demonstrating how to mix up their favorite cocktail. Through a swipe-up link on the videos, viewers can donate to the US Bartender Guild, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation or Another Round Another Rally.

Other brands have donated directly to bartender organizations. Parent company of Jonnie Walker, Diageo donated $100,000 to the US Bartender Guild, Molson Coors donated $1 million to the same group and Guinness donated $500,000 to the Guinness Gives Back fund.

Facebook Announces First 20 Members Of New Oversight Board

This week in leadership updates, Facebook announces the first 20 members of its Oversight Board, Backcountry hires Sarah Crockett as chief marketing officer and Fox Bet brings on Andrew Schneider as chief marketing officer.

Facebook Names Co-Chairs And Members Of Its Oversight Board

Today Facebook introduced the first members of its Oversight Board, an independent body that will decide what should and shouldn’t be allowed on Facebook’s platforms. Facebook chose four co-chairs, who have selected 16 members, announced today. The board will hire an additional 20 members, for a total of 40 members on the board

According to the New York Post, board co-chairs include former US federal Circuit Judge Michael McConnell, constitutional law expert Jamal Greene, Colombian attorney Catalina Botero-Marino and former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

Members include former European Court of Human Rights judge András Sajó, Yemeni activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman and former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger.

Backcountry Names Sarah Crockett As Chief Marketing Officer

Burton CMO Sarah Crockett is leaving the company after two years to become Backcountry’s CMO, according to Shop Eat Surf

In her new role, Crockett will oversee Backcountry and its portfolio of brands including Competitive Cyclist, and Cheap & Steep.

Crockett held previous roles at REI, Vans and Lucky Brand.

Fox Bet Hires Andrew Schneider As CMO

Fox Bet, the online sports betting product from Stars Group and Fox Corp, has named Andrew Schneider as chief marketing officer, according to Variety. Schneider was previously senior VP, marketing, for Disney Streaming Services, where he contributed to the launches of Disney+ and ESPN+. In his new role, Schneider will report to Fox Bet chief executive officer Robin Chhabra.

Global Citizen Turned Its Broadcast And Digital Musical Special Into A Movement During COVID-19

On April 18, Global Citizen pulled off what seemed like the impossible amid coronavirus: It broadcasted an eight-hour cross-platform musical special in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Lady Gaga across 60 networks and nine digital platforms worldwide in support of healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19.

One World: Together at Home” kicked off with a six-hour digital stream followed by a two-hour broadcast special, both starring a mighty lineup of entertainers. Over 270 million people from 175 countries tuned in to the special, which produced $127 million in donations toward WHO’s work around the world. In the days following the special, Universal Music Group and Global Citizen released a 79-song album featuring performances from the event, available across streaming services Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify and TIDAL.

We spoke with Global Citizen chief growth officer Danielle Maged to understand how a lean international advocacy organization such as Global Citizen turned a virtual music event into a movement and how brands can pivot from physical to virtual experiences during and after the crisis.

What was the biggest challenge Global Citizen faced in navigating partnerships for the “One World: Together at Home” broadcast event?

There was a digital component and a broadcast component, which formed an eight-hour event in total. When we were thinking about partnerships with this effort, we originally approached it coming off of the digital series “Together at Home” that we had launched about a week prior. At the end of March, we realized we wanted to do something big. We were aware that many people were losing their jobs and we just didn’t want it to be a direct-to-consumer fundraising effort. So we took a step back and we said, okay, how can we be successful in our endeavor? When looking at partners to make that successful on the fundraising side, we needed to have the corporate sector, foundations and philanthropists. These three partners were key stakeholders.

On actually distributing the event, we needed there to be broadcasters. This is where we approached ABC, CBS, NBC, iHeartMedia and Bell Media networks at the end of March over the weekend. All of them pretty much immediately came on board. We also utilized various digital streaming platforms which were also extremely important including Amazon Prime Video, Facebook and YouTube.

Then there’s the music industry and Universal Music Group with which Lady Gaga curated the event. We also had about 12 corporate partners that were a hugely important sector because not only were they donating to the World Health Organization (WHO) and regional response, but they were also helping us on execution. We were so lean as a non-profit that we really needed the amplification from a lot of the partners to help us market across linear and digital. These partners came in over a span of about a week and included Cisco, Citi, the Coca-Cola Company, Analog Devices, GlaxoSmithKline, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, State Farm, Target, Teneo, Verizon, Vodafone and WW International, Inc. 

Our first press release went out Monday, March 30 announcing the event with WHO. From on-boarding to planning to execution, “One World: Together at Home” happened within a 19-day period. The web of stakeholders and partners was by far the most complex I’ve ever managed in a very long career. As complex as it was, it was pretty seamless. We were all focused on the end result, which was raising the funds, standing in solidarity and telling the stories of the healthcare workers. The reaction was so strong in the planning that originally the digital component was supposed to only be two hours but we ended up expanding it to six.

What platforms did Global Citizen utilize for the marketing and distribution of the special?

On the marketing side, we leveraged YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook related to promoting tune-ins. We did very little paid on the preponderance of organic posting. I have a team internally that runs social and content so we did a lot of organic. What was really instrumental was the support we had on both linear and digital from big partners like Pepsi, Verizon and Procter & Gamble, who did paid media plans on linear against it. They created their own promos. Procter & Gamble, for example, promoted in China. Pepsi was very active in the US and actually ran a spot in the Modern Family finale. Our partners were instrumental in helping us amplify it on TV. On the distribution side, Amazon was extremely supportive; on the day of it was on the homepage of Amazon Prime. The additional platforms also played a really important role in our success——Alibaba, Apple, Facebook, Instagram, LiveXLive, Tencent, Tencent Music Entertainment Group, TIDAL, TuneIn, Twitch, Twitter, Yahoo and YouTube.

What did the day of broadcast look like for your team?

It was a massive effort day-of. We had a war room of sorts for social listening, which we brought in a company to help with. We were keeping a really close eye on what was happening on social via a WhatsApp group. I was corresponding to my team who were still promoting the event. Additionally, we were dealing with the last-minute press and promotion of the program internationally as it was set to air in Europe the next day on the BBC and in China later in the week.

How did this year’s event compare to the 2019 Global Citizen Festival?

It’s like comparing apples and oranges. First off, Global Citizen had never launched an effort this large in scale so quickly—in less than four weeks. Last year’s Global Citizen Festival was a physical event that took place in Central Park, and in South Africa the year before that. There was a six-month lead up to these events and they were very focused on a combination of pop and policy. Whereas there was an urgency to this year’s effort due to the global nature that didn’t exist before.

In short, they’re very different vehicles. We use the same assets in our website, our direct-to-consumer outreach of all of our own audience, our own digital army, social media and the influence of earned media. But the global nature of this year’s event was unparalleled from any past event that the organization has done.

How did this year’s marketing efforts differ from last year’s?

For Global Citizen, social media always plays a really big role. The reality is the organization is a non-profit advocacy platform; it’s not a commercial organization, which is the world that I come from where there are marketing budgets. Just like in the past, we had to think about how to be really lean and effective at the same time. So we used our social channels, our editorial channels and our partners. Unlike in the past, we didn’t have linear promotion running other than on the broadcasting channel itself with MSNBC for Global Citizen Festival. But “One World: Together at Home” was promoted on many networks which was different from the past, made possible by the media buys that our partners were doing. I’d say linear promotion through our partners probably played a more important role this year than in the past.

What advice would you offer to brands/agencies on pivoting from experiential activations to virtual and digital activations during the pandemic and after?

If you’re going to create immersive vehicles that are not based in physical, the brand you partner with has to be a really authentic fit. We were really lucky in that we had a bunch of brands that were a good fit. Virtual engagement is definitely a viable and sustainable tactic that brands can rally around. The reality is we’re not going to be in physical large spaces for a pretty long time so we have to figure out as marketers how to keep our brands top of mind. 

Global Citizen is an incredible partner to brands because we have the authenticity, the experience, the relationships in the music industry and the sports industry, plus our content is really unique. When brands are looking to partner during the pandemic, there is an ability for them to create unique content while doing good at the same time and making sure the tone is right. We focused most of “One World: Together at Home” on tone. All programming vehicles had different tones; some were more locally focused. Ours was really global in nature, as was the tone of some of our brand partners. So as long as brands remain authentic and understand what they’re trying to achieve with the people they’re partnering with and what they’re trying to say to their viewers, there’s a huge opportunity right now to create compelling virtual experiences.

Popeyes Launches Recruiting Campaign To Help Struggling Musicians

The pandemic has shuttered bars and concert venues, leaving musicians without an audience or income. To provide some financial relief, Popeyes has launched a recruiting campaign called #LoveThatJingle in its hometown of New Orleans to pay musicians to record an adaptation of its “Love That Chicken” jingle to be used in Popeyes ads.

New Orleans-based musicians can apply between May 1-May 18 by posting a video demo adaptation of the Popeyes jingle with the hashtag #LoveThatJingle.

On the #LoveThatJingle microsite Popeyes posted the “Love That Chicken” original sheet music, plus a list of home recording tips for musicians interested in applying, asking that they film themselves horizontally and avoid wearing any recognizable branded elements.

A Popeyes rep will notify select musicians on or before May 25 via direct message on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or email. Popeyes will feature the winning demos in its television and radio commercials.

In addition to publicizing the campaign to New Orleans natives through social media, Popeyes ran a full-page ad in The Times-Picayune featuring its jingle’s original sheet music.

Starting today Popeyes is extending the #LoveThatJingle opportunity to musicians nationwide. Musicians can submit their recordings on social media using the hashtag and in turn, Popeyes will compensate selected musicians as well as use the video content in its social media posts.

Various music and streaming companies have rallied behind struggling musicians during coronavirus. On Friday, March 20, Bandcamp waived its revenue shares for 24 hours to direct all revenue to artists, resulting in the company’s biggest sales day ever, with the purchase of about 800,000 items resulting in $4.3 million—more than 15 times Bandcamp’s normal Friday.

In late April, Spotify launched the “Artist Fundraising Pick” feature which enables artists to raise money for themselves, their group members or one of the certified music relief organizations in Spotify’s COVID-19 Music Relief project. Through its Music Relief project, Spotify is making a donation to organizations that are offering financial relief to creators worldwide. Spotify said it will match donations made on the relief’s microsite up to $10 million.

Ad Council Names New Board Of Directors Members

This week in leadership updates, Ad Council names Verizon CMO Diego Scotti as Board vice chair among other major appointments to its board of directors, and JPMorgan Chase promotes Tracy-Ann Lim to chief media officer.

Yum Brands Vet Joins Taco John’s As CMO

Restaurant Business announced the appointment of Yum Brands veteran Barry Westrum as CMO for Taco John’s. Most recently, Westrum was chief marketing officer for Del Taco.

Westrum’s previous posts include serving as senior director of brand marketing for Taco Bell, CMO for KFC, A&W and Long John Silver’s. He also served as EVP of marketing for International Dairy Queen.

JPMorgan Chase Hires Tracy-Ann Lim As Chief Media Officer

According to The Drum, JPMorgan Chase has promoted Tracy-Ann Lim from executive director, head of media, to chief media officer. Lim fills the roll which was left open after Andrew Knott departed in 2019.

Lim joined JPMorgan Chase in April 2019 and has streamlined the bank’s performance marketing landscape. As chief media officer she will report into CMO Leslie Gillin.

Ad Council Appoints Diego Scotti, Stephanie McMahon And Others To Board

Ad Council announced newly elected members to its Board of Directors, including the appointment of Verizon CMO Diego Scotti to vice chairperson. WWE chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon was also included in the new roster of leadership appointments.

See the full press release, including all newly elected members here.

(Editor’s Note: This post will be updated daily until Friday, May 1. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at

Miller High Life Launches “Wedding At Your Doorstep” Contest

Miller High Life is offering three engaged couples whose weddings were affected by coronavirus a chance to win a “Wedding at Your Doorstep.” Winners of the contest will receive a prize that includes an officiant, a photographer, beer and $10,000. Miller High Life announced the promotion on its Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages.

To enter, couples must submit a 150-word description about how their 2020 wedding plans have changed and how they plan to celebrate with Miller High Life, as well as an image, their state and age and email to Miller High Life will rate submissions based on creativity (50 percent), detail (25 percent) and originality (25 percent). The contest is running from April 23 to May 1.

Winning couples will receive a “front porch wedding” that comes with a licensed officiant, a professional photographer and digital photo package, for a total prize value of $15,000.

Americans spent $54 billion on more than 2 million weddings in 2019 but those numbers are dropping significantly as social distancing orders remain in effect. At a time when people are forced to cancel special occasions due to the pandemic, Miller High Life’s activation could help boost brand loyalty. And, as brands reduce marketing budgets and tiptoe around coronavirus marketing sensitivities, the promotion provides the brand a simple way to collect emails for future targeted campaigns.

Miller High Life competitor Busch Beer is running a similar social media contest that will award 250 couples who had to cancel or postpone their wedding free beer for a year. Entrants are required to post a picture of themselves on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #BuschWeddingGift and #Sweepstakes, now through May 1.

Denny’s Aims To Reach Gamers Amid Coronavirus

In an effort to boost its digital presence amid coronavirus, Denny’s created an account under the username Dennys247 on three major game platforms—Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Xbox and Sony PS4—to offer players discounts on food. After announcing its entry into the gaming world on social media, on April 8, the brand experienced a major lift in engagement on Instagram and Twitter. On Instagram, Denny’s saw a 26 percent engagement rate and over 81,000 impressions on about 20,00 engagements. The tweet announcing Dennys247 saw a 15 percent engagement rate with nearly 154,000 impressions and 23,000 total engagements.

Within its first 20 hours on Nintendo Switch, Dennys247 reached the limit on the number of friends. Denny’s plays around six to seven games during each two-hour gaming session, giving players the chance to earn discount codes for its Denny’s on Demand ordering platforms, a website and a mobile app for iOS and Android.

On March 16, Denny’s announced the closure of its dine-in facilities, expanding its Denny’s on Demand platforms to include new “Dine-Thru” and curbside services to cater to consumers during lockdown.  With the “Dine-Thru” service, customers can place their order with a Denny’s employee from their car then wait for the order to be prepared while waiting in a designated parking spot. Those ordering on the Denny’s website can select “curbside” at checkout, entering the make and color of their car so that a staff member can identify customers and “run your order out to you.”

Before the pandemic led to restaurant closures, on January 30, Denny’s launched its Beyond Burger at 1,700 locations accompanied by a dine-in promotion for a free burger with the purchase of a drink. A regulatory filing shows that Denny’s domestic same-store sales dropped 19 percent in March from 2019. Now, at a time when restaurants are closed until further notice, Denny’s must leverage new channels to reach customers—joining multiplayer game platforms allows it to tap into a pool of 164 million US adult gamers.