‘Brands Should Want To Give Back To Communities They Serve’ Laverne Cox On How Marketers Can Be Inclusive

We sat down with Emmy-Nominated actor Laverne Cox to talk about her work with Smirnoff and how she is helping to make brands truly inclusive. Our conversation not only touched on Laverne’s recent advocacy but also Smirnoff’s recent campaign work and her advice for brands on how to be allies for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Can brands actually change the world? Smirnoff certainly thinks so. The world’s largest vodka brand has a purpose that is nothing if not ambitious. Since 2015, the company’s “We’re Open” campaign has spent more than $5 million to drive real, worldwide societal change by making global LGBTQIA+ communities more visible.  

Smirnoff invested in programs that challenge the perception of LGBT people, from educating British lads with a partnership with LADBible, to choosing to ally with high-profile members of the non-binary community as its brand ambassadors.

Nothing illustrates this more than Smirnoff’s work with Laverne Cox, an Emmy-nominated actor and one of the most vocal activists for the American trans community. Beginning their relationship with 2018 “Welcome to the Fun%” campaign, the Orange Is the New Black star, has worked closely with the brand ever since. The most recent iteration of this partnership is “Welcome Home,” an old-school house track that reuses the words from Cox’s ad campaign and has gone on to become an unlikely club hit.

Last week Cox joined Diageo CMO Jay Sethi for a Fireside Chat at Advertising Week NY, where the pair talked about how brands can truly be inclusive, including a five-step program to be more inclusive. They urge brands to:

  • Be persistent in marketing support throughout the year 
  • Represent the FULL community 
  • Invest meaningfully with significant financial support 
  • Defend policy with advocacy 
  • Empower people through a commitment to hire

AList sat down with Cox after the panel to discuss her work as a brand ambassador for Smirnoff, how brands can work with communities to ensure authenticity and how the marketing industry can follow through on a commitment for greater visibility when it comes to representing marginalised communities and groups.

Smirnoff has long been a supporter of the LGBTIA+ community, did that attract you to working with them?

Yeah. What’s great is that even before [working with] me, Smirnoff has a history when it comes to supporting the LGBTQ community. Before I was involved with them, I can remember the Love Wins bottles, where every bottle sold came with a commitment to donate to HRC. I think they ended up raising $1.5 million and they’re only halfway there–and HRC is such a vital organisation that does a lot of work to advocate for the LGBTQ community, not only in helping push forward new legislation but across the board. 

That is the kind of commitment I think all brands should aspire to—they should want to give back to communities that they serve.

What does authenticity mean to you? 

Authenticity has become a bit of a buzzword—I completely understand that. For me, it means making sure that you have real values and making sure what you do align with those values. It’s about acting like a real person. It’s stating “I have a value system, and my behavior corresponds to that.” Brands should be doing the same. 

Your relationship with Smirnoff feels like a very two-way collaboration. How can other brands make sure that they are good allies to the non-binary communities? 

Whenever I tire of these conversations on authenticity, I like to allude back to Renee Brown’s work on the subject. She says that authenticity is about “letting go of who you think you should be and being true to who you really are.” 

When companies are targeting specific audiences, they must find ambassadors who embody their values. I feel blessed that I get to show up as the real Laverne and do what I do. With Smirnoff, I don’t have to be a different person at the Emmy Awards than I am when I’m advertising a product. I get to show up as me, and I don’t have to check my behavior because I’m representing this brand. 

It’s vital that I work with brands that are OK with me being who I am. I have moments when I’m like “Oh no, I’m saying this, they’re going to be sad,” but Smirnoff knows who their getting. I’m political. I’m going to be talking about what’s going on at the supreme court, I’m going to talk about issues–always with love and empathy, but also asking questions about how to push forward.

What are some practical things marketers should be mindful of when portraying the LGBTIA+ community?

I think it comes down to more jobs and more opportunity. With campaigns that ran over PRIDE month, we all see beautiful LGBT people in front of the camera fronting campaigns, but we need that year-round.  We also need to think outside of PRIDE. I am not just a trans woman–I do so many different things in the world, and I think marketers need to acknowledge that and reflect that in the campaigns they create and the depictions that they use. 

We also need to ask the question “what do we need to do behind the scenes?” If we don’t have diverse people in decision making roles, how are going to change perceptions in front of the camera?  We need to make sure we hire diversely, extend training and intern programs to people from minority backgrounds and ensure that we’re giving this new generation of marketers opportunities. We need to think carefully about how we train the new generation.

How do we ensure brands commit to message all year round, rather than just wheeling out inclusive messaging during PRIDE week?

I think it comes down to what marketers do year-round. I’m proud that my relationship with Smirnoff, for example, didn’t start with PRIDE. It was the fall of 2018 with their Welcome to the Fun% campaign, where I worked with Mr Ted Danson, who is just delightful. I love that Smirnoff is trailblazing this conversation that can happen year long and not only one month of the year.

Brands need to ensure that they do more than the bare minimum. It’s not enough to support the community for one month and then also be giving money to political candidates that are working against my interests. We should be mindful about what our advocacy looks like, because the truth is, these brands are massively influential. Millions of people can enjoy a product, and you should ensure that a product is working for and not against them. It goes beyond ad campaigns; brands need both consistency and authenticity.

Lastly, how should brands be committing to this message in a way that genuinely helps the LGBTQIA+ Community?

Put simply, by continuing to do great work. I believe that when other marketers see how great brands like Smirnoff are doing great work by working with people like me, they’ll get on board. It’s tricky to touch the zeitgeist, but these communities are full of smart, creative people and brands need to tap into that.

Brands need to think outside the box and think more inclusively. Everyone needs to be listening, and I need to be listening as much as possible. We can never stop listening to the consumer–I think where we can do that, particularly in the US, I don’t think we can go wrong.

WhatsApp Tests Self-Destructing Feature; Facebook Expands Keyword Alerts For Groups

This week, WhatsApp started testing a feature that would allow users to redact texts and images, Facebook expands on its test of keyword alerts for groups and consumers express their distrust over Facebook news stories.

WhatsApp Is Testing A Feature That Would Enable Texts, Images To Disappear After Self-Determined Time Period

The Economic Times says the feature will come on the back of a similar feature that’s launching on Facebook Messenger.

Why it matters: The option to redact messages after a fixed time frame has lapsed could put WhatsApp on the same playing field as rival Telegram, which has a “secret chat” feature that deletes sensitive information. 

The details: WhatsApp will support the self-destructing messages feature in group chats. Some third-party apps once had the option of sending self-destructing messages, but they were soon outlawed after WhatsApp cracked down on apps that undermined the privacy of users.

Over Half Consume News Via Facebook But Most Don’t Trust It

A survey from the Pew Research Center shows just how poor Facebook users’ perception is of the platform’s news stories, per TechCrunch.

Why it matters: Facebook is getting ready to launch a “news tab” this month full of stories that complement the headlines appearing in people’s social feeds.

The details: About 52 percent of participants in Pew’s survey revealed they get their news from Facebook, followed by 28 percent from YouTube and 17 percent from Twitter. More than 88 percent believe that social media controls what news stories people see and 62 percent believe that social platforms have too much control.

Facebook Improves Testing Of Keyword Alerts For Groups

Facebook is refining a feature that would give Facebook group admins the ability to stay on top of relevant discussions.

Why it matters: Business who want to use groups to stay connected with potential customers could benefit from the feature. Its true purpose, however, is to catch content that violates group rules.

The details: The improvements include a new format and easier ways to stay notified. Group admins can add all relevant discussion words that they want to monitor within their group and receive notifications when those words are mentioned. Members who use keywords won’t know the admin has been alerted. Then the admin has the option to immediately react by either deleting the mention or allowing it to go through.

Facebook Can Be Ordered To Remove Posts, Europe’s Top Court Rules

According to The New York Times, a former leader of Austria’s Green Party sought to have Facebook remove scathing remarks about her from a user’s personal page.

Why it matters: Big internet platforms like Facebook may be tasked with more responsibility to patrol their sites for content ruled illegal.
The details: The court said today that an individual country can make Facebook remove posts, photographs and videos and restrict global access to such material. Facebook criticized the ruling, saying that, “the judgement raises critical questions about freedom of expression and the role that internet companies should play in monitoring, interpreting and removing speech.”

Instagram Creates “Creators” Account To Help Foster More User Activity

The app launched a new tool today called @creators, which will provide video content tips to people who want to become more active on Instagram.

Why it matters: The tactic could encourage YouTube creators who not seeing ROI on their platform to move their efforts to Instagram.

The details: Instagram posted a series of FAQ to the @creators’ story with testimonials from actual creators using the platform. Creators can use the account to gain helpful insight into what works well. For example, tips on how to get verified, and other useful info, like the fact that 60 percent of people listen to stories on the platform with the sound on, to help them create content that resonates with viewers. 

Facebook Enables Messenger In Stories Ads

According to Marketing Land, businesses with messenger templates set up in their Facebook ads accounts can now drive Facebook, Instagram and messenger stories ad traffic to start conversations via messenger.

Why it matters: The integration is appealing for businesses with longer conversion cycles who want to increase engagement.

The details: Users can now swipe up on stories ads via the “Send Message” call-to-action to start a conversation with the brand without leaving the app they’re in.

Twitter Rolls Out Spam, Abuse Filter For Direct Messages

Twitter has launched a feature that filters direct messages deemed offensive, available on Twitter’s iOS, Android and web apps.

Why it matters: Unsolicited messages and content on Twitter are commonplace, leading to criticism that the platform is an unsafe place that lacks tools to protect its users. The latest spam and abuse filter may reduce these qualms.

The details: The filter adds a new section to the “additional messages” inbox, where DMs from users you don’t follow go. When you click on it, messages containing potentially offensive content have their previews hidden. Users can also delete the messages without opening them first.

Instagram Makes Anti-Bullying Tool Available To Everyone

After testing the feature, Instagram finally launched a tool called “Restrict” that lets users block individuals and make all future comments from them invisible to the public.

Why it matters: “Restrict” mode comes after the app announced it was testing an artificial intelligence (AI) feature that warns people against leaving negative comments. The latest move, which will give users more control over their experience, is part of Instagram’s National Bullying Prevention Month efforts which will happen all through October.

The details: Should a user decides to restrict someone, the tool will make comments invisible to third-party Instagrammers, but the bully will still be able to see their own comments. 

LinkedIn Is Most Trusted Social Platform For The Third Year Running

The third annual Digital Trust Report 2019 from Business Insider Intelligence revealed that early adopters trust LinkedIn the most for the third straight year, followed by Pinterest and Instagram.

Why it matters: Earning digital trust is critical for brands because it impacts the way customers engage with ads on social media. Respondents said elements such as frequency of fake news, a sense of community, data privacy and relevant ads have a moderate to very high impact on whether they engage with social media ads.

The details: The survey asked participants to rank seven major networks—YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest—on six pillars of digital trust including security, legitimacy, community, user experience, shareability and relevance. LinkedIn came in first on three of six pillars, and second place in the remaining three—user experience, relevance and shareability. Pinterest took the top spot for user experience while Instagram did on relevance. Interestingly, this marks the first year Pinterest was included in the survey, and it outranked every social platform except LinkedIn. Instagram improved on shareability and relevance from last year, however, respondents admitted to being more annoyed by ads on the platform than they were last year. Facebook ranked last again, and performed the lowest across all pillars year-over-year. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they’re “not at all” confident that Facebook is protecting their data and privacy.

Instagram Is Testing Alerts That Notify Users About New Product Launches

Given the adoption of unconventional shopping strategies such as creator collaborations and limited releases, Instagram wants to make it easier for users to discover and shop product launches via product launch stickers on Stories and launch tags in the feed.

Why it matters: The product launch notifiers will allow consumers to stay up to date on the most recent fashion, beauty and luxury brand drops, hoping to provide users yet another reason to stay on the app, browse and shop, benefiting brands and Instagram alike.

The details: The in-feed product launch tag lets people set reminders for the launch date, preview product details and buy as soon as the product launches. The feature will be available to 21 brands in the US over the coming weeks, including Adidas, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Soul Cycle, Chinatown Market, H&M and Warby Parker.

Instagram Expands Branded Content Tags To IGTV

While not available to all users, Instagram’s branded content tags will be available for longer-form branded content, per Social Media Today.

Why it matters: Brands will not only increase the visibility of influencer marketing practices, but influencers will have more opportunity to monetize their efforts and remain relevant for longer.

The details: To use the branded content tag on IGTV, users must be on a business or creator account. When applied, the tag adds “Paid Partnership with . . .” in the video post’s header.

Facebook Begins Hiding Total Likes On Australia Posts

TechCrunch reported that Facebook’s new test to hide likes will begin with Australian users this week.

Why it matters: Facebook user perception and trust of the platform is at an all-time low, and hiding likes could help users feel more comfortable sharing on the platform and expressing themselves.

The details: A spokesperson told TechCrunch that the limited test, conducted by the News Feed team, will make likes, reactions and video view counts private. The team will then analyze feedback to understand if the change improves people’s experiences.

Twitch Launches First Brand Campaign At TwitchCon2019

According to Mobile Marketer, Twitch released its first brand campaign, introduced a new slogan and updated its “Glitch” mascot at TwitchCon2019 in San Diego.

Why it matters: Twitch’s highly engaged user base is difficult to reach through other media platforms so it only makes sense that it would launch its first campaign to broaden its appeal.

The details: As part of the campaign, Twitch released its new slogan “You’re already one of us.” The campaign also includes a series of teaser videos featuring comedian Eric Andrew that demonstrate the updates its users can expect. At the same time, Twitch’s parent company, Amazon, announced that Twitch has a deal with the National Football League to stream “Thursday Night Football” for the third straight year.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, October 4. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.

Ad Investment Shifting To Digital In Most Sectors While Television Remains Top Choice For Soft Drinks

Television continues to attract 70 percent of the ad investment from the soft drinks sector and about two-thirds in the food category, according to WARC Data’s “Global Ad Trends Report: Benchmarking Ad Investment By Product Category.” The report notes these sectors are more immune than other sectors to ecommerce, reducing the need to spend big on digital ads. However, most other sectors, especially financial services, are transitioning to online media.

Among the 19 product categories analyzed, WARC found that total global ad spend within the soft drink category reached $15.1 billion in 2018—just over a one percent increase year-over-year—$10.5 billion of which was spent on television and $1.9 billion on internet. Soft drinks $1.9 billion investment in internet has eroded television’s share of the sector spend by 4.4 percentage points over the five years to 2018.

Total global ad spend in the food category in 2018 reached $25.3 billion, $16.5 billion of which was spent on television, $3.7 billion on internet and $2.8 billion on print. While television spend in the sector rose one percent YOY, it has dipped by 3.7 percent each year since 2013 on a compound basis.

Additionally, the total global ad spend in retail in 2018 was flat at $62.3 billion. Internet spend in this sector increased 9.1 percent YOY, which was offset by a decline in spend for all other media, except out of home (up by 12.7 percent) and cinema (up by 4.9 percent).

As for financial services, total global ad spend in 2018 amounted to $43.2 billion, $19.7 billion of which was spent on internet and $12.9 billion on television. The findings suggest a dramatic shift to digital over the last five years, generally at the expense of print media. The shift in spend is most apparent within financial services and retail, sectors that have heavily developed digital platforms to deliver highly personalized and seamless experiences to customers in recent years.

Conversely, magazines still play a role in advertising toiletries and cosmetics as they invested $2.9 billion in the medium last year. The category’s total global ad spend was $25.7 billion, with television accounting for $14.9 billion and internet for $5.6 billion.

According to WARC Data’s managing editor, James McDonald, the most effective media mix requires a number of channels working in synergy. And he notes that the right data is critical to find that mix and maximize ROI.

Findings are based on a new measure of net ad investment data across 19 categories that WARC created with Nielsen. WARC worked from the macro level to calculate new gross totals across major categories. Thereafter, the totals were balanced using the net ad revenue data they received from the industry.

Merging Art And Science With Dara Treseder Of Carbon

During this episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Dara Treseder, chief marketing officer at Carbon. Before Carbon, Treseder was the CMO at GE Ventures, which is GE’s corporate venture capital arm and GE’s business innovations, focused on new business creation and new marketing development and technology licensing. Before GE, Treseder led various marketing efforts at Apple and Goldman Sachs. Treseder talks about her current role at Carbon, her Nigerian roots, insightful lessons and mentors she’s had along the way. She later discusses marketing and product development.  

Dara explains how Carbon, the world’s leading digital manufacturing platform, is helping companies accelerate product innovation. She talks about the three key things that were critical during her entrance into Carbon. They include elevating Carbon as a brand, having people understand who Carbon is and what they do and driving growth by setting up the marketing and communications program for success. She also shares how Carbon uses technology and innovation to protect football players and how they marketed this idea during a Super Bowl. 

What made Treseder such an excellent fit for Carbon? She says, “at the core of who I am, I am an analytical thinker. But I am also a true creative. I love marrying art and science, and I think, for the future of marketing, that is what it’s all about.”

Treseder discusses how Carbon is impacting the marketplace, noting, “it is all about how can you use data and technology to reach people and how can you communicate and connect with people in a way that truly resonates with them.” What does it take to be as innovative as Carbon has consistently? “The only way you can really create breakthrough products is innovation across those three elements: the software used to create designs, the hardware  used to make it and the material from which the product is made.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • What does Dara miss the most about Nigeria and what is her favorite food? (01:40)
  • Where did Dara start her career? (04:06)
  • What was her charter as she was coming into Carbon? (06:50)
  • What exactly is Carbon and when was it founded? (07:35) 
  • Dara talks about her past start-up and what a ‘fat start-up’ is?  (08:37)
  • What drew Dara to Carbon? (10:40)
  • How are partnerships driving Carbon’s business? (12:33)
  • How did Dara turn around a Super Bowl in early February so quickly after just joining in December? (15:10)
  • Is there an experience in Dara’s life that has defined who she is today? (22:39)
  • What advice would she give to her younger self? (27:00)
  • What fuels Dara Treseder to keep going in his career and life? (27:43)
  • Are there brands that she thinks we should pay attention to? (29:11)
  • Where does Dara see the future of marketing going? (30:32)

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

4 Reasons To Measure Visitor Behavior At Live Experiences

Originally published at AW360.

There’s no denying the popularity of experiential marketing, with brands increasingly allocating budget to activating at live sports events, festivals, shopping malls and various other public spaces. Immersing themselves in these environments enables brands to build human connections with consumers, in ways simply not possible through other marketing channels.

Yet many brands and agencies are still relying on archaic methods such as manual clickers to prove the success of their live experiences.

Fortunately, spatial analytics technology can now deliver a richer insight into visitor engagement.

Here’s four reasons you should consider measuring visitor behaviour at your live events and experiences.

Demonstrate value and ROI 

Impressions or eyeballs are not a true definition of experiential success. Using time and proximity, spatial analytics technology can add depth to any experience’s measurement strategy.

With instant access to accurate, reliable, granular data for decision-making, brands and agencies alike can justify spend and act on validated insight:

  • What percentage of passers-by stopped and engaged with the activation?
  • How long did they spend with the brand?
  • How many times did they return?
  • When were the peak hours?
  • Which zone held the greatest appeal?
  • How many people seen at the activation showed up at the retail store?
  • How long did it take them to visit?

Enable comparisons over time

Engagement metrics help brands understand how much of an impact their presence is having on their ability to attract and convert potential customers.

Comparing performance across different sites, experiences and locations can help with event scheduling and budget allocation, whilst providing benchmarks for different environments.

Optimization of experiences

Spatial analytics delivers deep insight into how visitors are behaving, enabling the optimization of live experiences. Through data and insight, experiential marketers can now adjust their space, staffing and schedule to encourage better results.

Remove subjectivity

Discreet, easy to deploy footfall sensors can be used to remove human bias and inconsistencies around performance reporting. Measuring live experiences and spaces in this way provides a simple, coherent indication of effectiveness, conversion rates and engagement patterns.

If you’d like to learn more about spatial analytics, Jake Pryszlak, Meshh’s Research & Insight Manager will be hosting a panel session at Advertising Week New York with clients Justin Logerfo, Director of Analytics & Data Science at Momentum Worldwide and Nielsen’s VP of Entertainment Research, Kathy Lubner.

The workshop will deliver insight into how Nielsen and Momentum are using spatial analytics for real-world brand initiatives and how the data is translated into actionable insights.

You can buy a pass and find out more about the session at Advertising Week New York.

Or if you’d like to explore measuring your own live experiences, just get in touch and we can arrange a time to demo the technology.

Brands Bake Up National Pizza Month Activations

October marks National Pizza Month and brands like DiGiorno, California Pizza Kitchen and Pieology are baking up mobile and social activations to give Americans what they want—free pizza. 

Frozen pizza brand DiGiorno is breaking the ice by delivering free pizzas to five cities across the US, making a limited number of deliveries to one city each week of the month. Starting at midnight on October 1, DiGiornio is asking fans to help crowdsource two additional delivery locations by tweeting the name of their city using the hashtag #DeliverDiGiorno. The two cities that get the most mentions on Twitter will receive free oven-ready pizza delivered. To further celebrate its free deliveries, DiGiorno’s Twitter will feature a new customized tagline and logo throughout National Pizza Month.

California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) and Grubhub are keeping the pizza party going with a partnership that’ll give away up to 10,000 free CPK take and bake pizzas, which the brand launched at CPK locations nationwide in July. CPK is also offering free delivery and one free take and bake pizza on all $15 minimum purchases via Grubhub. Underpinning CPK’s National Pizza Month activation is its third annual national pizza survey which found that Americans would choose pizza if they could only eat one food for the rest of their lives.

Conducted online via The Harris Poll, from August 26-28, the survey revealed that 40 percent of Americans would be willing to give up dating for a year in order to enjoy free pizza whenever they want. Similarly, 61 percent of millennials said they’d give up social media for an entire year just to have access to free pizza at all times. Respondents included 2,014 Americans ages 18 and older among whom 632 are 23-38 years old. 

Pieology is also sharing a slice of its pie with a month-long national sweepstake, “Scan, Score & More.” One grand prize winner will win free pizza for a year per restaurant at each of the brand’s domestic locations across the US, including Hawaii and Guam. Fifty runner-up winners will win prizes including tickets to Six Flags theme parks and movie tickets. For a chance to win prizes, fans must check-in at their local Pieology via the “Pie Life Rewards” app. Pieology has over 100 locations in the US.

Over Half Of Online Consumers Are Members Of Subscription Box Services

Over half (54 percent) of online shoppers are members of subscription box services, according to a report from Clutch. From services that replenish products to ones that offer exciting experiences to consumers, subscription box services deliver a personalized shopping experience straight to consumers’ doors. 

Respondents were asked to rank their favorite subscription box services, which fell into two of the top three categories—curated services, replenishment services and access services. The findings show that 29 percent of respondents receive packages from Dollar Shave Club, followed by Ipsy (21 percent), Blue Apron (17 percent), BarkBox (17 percent) and HelloFresh (16 percent). Dollar Shave Club uses humor and viral videos to promote its personal grooming products, Ipsy and BarkBox curate personalized products for makeup lovers and dog owners, respectively and Blue Apron gives customers new recipes to try in cost-effective quantities.

According to Clutch, subscription box services rose in demand due to three major trends: the popularity of ecommerc, social media’s prevalence and consumers’ growing comfort with paying for value over time. Within the last few years, consumers’ increasing comfort with buying items online has blurred the line between ecommerce companies and subscription service-only companies. Now it’s simply all direct-to-consumer ecommerce. Additionally, social media has allowed niche communities to develop that subscription box services can profit from. 

The report also points out that Netflix has potentially helped consumers feel okay with receiving ongoing value from a transaction that’s a long-term investment. Subscription box services, then, challenge the notion that items need to be a specific price. “A lot of times, [companies are] paying 2-4 months’ worth of revenue upfront to acquire a customer, and they need that 5th, 6th, 7th month of renewals to actually make any profit on that customer,” co-founder of Cratejoy, Amir Elaguizy told Clutch.

Clutch’s survey included 528 US respondents ranging from 18-64 years old who ordered an item online within the past six months. Among the respondents, 285 subscribe to a subscription box service. Sixty-six percent of respondents are female, and 34 percent are male.

Sierra Nevada Names Its First VP Of Marketing

This week in marketing moves, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. finds its first VP of marketing, Disney appoints former LendingTree CMO as executive VP; Tony Thomas leaves NOVA Entertainment after nine years and Juul Labs’ marketing team is undergoing major restructuring as the e-cigarette giant stops all its advertising in the US.

Noelle Haley Becomes Sierra Nevada’s First VP Of Marketing 

This week, the craft brewery hired Noelle Haley as its first VP of marketing. 

Most recently, Haley served as vice president of marketing and growth at Equator Coffees & Teas and at Sierra Nevada, she will be responsible for setting the vision, strategy and leadership for the brewery’s marketing, advertising, creative, communications, product marketing and product development. 

She will report to chief commercial officer Joe Whitney, who said about the new hire: “Noelle joins Sierra Nevada with invaluable experience as an accomplished marketing leader. Her extensive background, paired with our shared values and her passion for creating compelling customer experiences, will be instrumental in leading our marketing team.”

Disney Appoints A VP Performance Marketing For Its DTC Streaming Platforms

This week, Walt Disney Company taps Brad Wilson as executive VP, performance marketing for Disney’s direct-to-consumer streaming platforms.

In his new role, Wilson will oversee performance marketing for ESPN+ and Disney+ streaming services, as well as supervise data-driven and digital market strategies.

Wilson’s most recently served as CMO at LendingTree and had previously worked for Travelocity, Blockbuster Online and Match.com.

Tony Thomas Leaves CMO Post At NOVA Entertainment

Tony Thomas has resigned from his post as a CMO at Australian entertainment company NOVA Entertainment. 

Thomas has been with NOVA for over nine years, overseeing the growth and diversification of the company. Previously, he worked for Coles Group, ninemsn, Diego and PepsiCo.

‘There are so many highlights of my time at NOVA Entertainment such as launching the hugely successful smoothfm radio brand, the invention of Nova’s Red Room, leading the GOAT.com.au launch and importantly, building a team of marketing professionals who are the best in the media business,” Thomas said in a statement

Juul Labs Stops All Advertising In The US, Replaces CEO 

The chief executive officer of Juul Labs, Kevin Burns, stepped down today to be replaced by K.C. Crosthwaite, chief growth officer from Altria, The New York Times reports, as the e-cigarette company finds itself under extreme investigation over its marketing practices

“I have long believed in a future where adult smokers overwhelmingly choose alternative products like JUUL. That has been this company’s mission since it was founded, and it has taken great strides in that direction. Unfortunately, today that future is at risk due to unacceptable levels of youth usage and eroding public confidence in our industry. Against that backdrop, we must strive to work with regulators, policymakers and other stakeholders, and earn the trust of the societies in which we operate,” Crosthwaite, said in a statement.

Ancestry.com Welcomes Farmers Insurance’s Former CMO As Chief Revenue Officer 

Mike Linton has left Farmers Insurance, where he served as enterprise CMO for over eight years, to join Ancestry.com as the company’s chief revenue officer, Forbes reports

At Ancestry.com, Linton will oversee the company’s growth, marketing and product, as Ancestry.com is looking to shift from its genealogy roots to its genetic DNA offerings.

“I’m really excited about what the company is doing and where it’s going. I think it’s on the forefront of a lot of things. Surely, it’s the world leader in genealogy as well as DNA. I like the principles the company has. I like the technology. I think both the database and the way the company is committed to its customers are exciting. And it’s on the forefront of a bunch of innovations that are going to matter today and tomorrow,” Linton said about his new role.

Ellie Doty Appointed As CMO And SVP At Chili’s

Ellie Doty, who served as VP of marketing and culinary at Chili’s since 2017, has been promoted to SVP and CMO at the restaurant chain.

As a VP at Chili’s, she was responsible for the development of several of the brand’s value-focused initiatives. According to Restaurant Business, Doty’s promotion was due to her success in boosting traffic and sales.

Former Sysomos CMO Joins GSTV As First CMO 

GSTV hired Mark Young as the media company’s first CMO, Campaign reports

Young previously served as the chief marketing officer at Sysomos and most recently consulted GSTV on its go-to-market strategy. He also held senior marketing positions at Microsoft Advertising and ClearChannel.

Per Campaign, Young will supervise GSTV’s marketing, communications and brand creative initiatives.

Check out our careers section for executive job openings and to post your own staffing needs.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, September 27. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.

Job Vacancies 

Global CMOPopeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. Miami, FL
Vice President, Film MarketingNew York UniversityBrooklyn, NY
Chief Communications And Marketing OfficerUC San DiegoSan Diego, CA
Senior Vice President Of MarketingClear Channel OutdoorNew York, NY
SVP–Creative MarketingWalt Disney TelevisionBurbank, CA
Vice President, Marketing Int’l International Distribution And ProductionsSony Pictures Entertainment Inc.Culver City, CA

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

What Is DTC? DTC Brands Disagree On Definitions

At Advertising Week New York, panelists sought to find a common definition of DTC. While there was some overlap between the definitions provided, there were also points of disagreement around what constitutes a direct-to-consumer brand.

Moderator Jeff Fagel, SVP and head of marketing at Epsilon and Conversant, began Wednesday’s ‘Breaking Down DTC’ panel with a level-setting quote from Henry McNamara at Great Oaks Venture Capital:

“The term “‘direct-to-consumer’ is outdated. The opportunity isn’t about being strictly direct, but having a way to engage and interact with customers, knowing what customers want and meeting the customers where they already are.”

Heather Steiger, senior marketing manager at Freshly, disagreed. The concept of direct-to-consumer is basic, she said. “I am basically cutting out all intermediaries, I’m going straight to the consumer and selling my wares.”

Chris Moore, head of strategic partnerships at Publishers Clearing House, agreed. “There’s a level of engagement directly between the brand or company and the consumer.”

While most panelists were aligned that there is some direct relationship between so-called DTC brands and their customers, some approached the problem of defining DTC tangentially, focusing on the relationship consumers have with DTC products rather than the relationships they have with the brands behind them.

Steiger reasoned along these lines. 

“DTC all came about because they were trying to solve a problem. If you hate grocery shopping, a DTC brand will pop-up to say “this is how we’ll solve that problem,” she said. “It all (came) about to think about a different way to do all the traditional things we used to do.”

“Do you consider Freshly DTC even though there’s still a level closer to the consumer, you can go to a farm stand, or somewhere before that?” asked PCH’s Chris Moore.

“If you want to just eat an apple, yeah. But if you want risotto and you don’t want to have to cook it you can go to Freshly.” Steiger said.

Tracey Kambies, Deloitte’s US retail and consumer products sector and global analytics ecosystems and alliances lead, also defined DTC on a product-basis. 

‘Direct-to-consumer has to focus really hard on having a quality product and reaching the consumer directly, like we talked about, that ‘faux purpose’ of DTC, but if your product isn’t good […] then you will automatically lose. We’ve seen a lot of brands that enter the market, have an interesting concept or product that may fit a need or was ethically inclined to the values of (consumers), but it did not actually deliver. It didn’t meet my expectations of what I was paying for to have that direct experience.”

Not all panelists agreed with this approach, however.

“Hasn’t this just always been true?” counterposed Dan Levi, chief marketing officer at ClearChannel. 

“What’s different here is not the importance of a good product—it’s the velocity that that happens. In the traditional retail model, you’re manufacturing and distributing that product at a much slower pace, I think the beauty of DTC is that constant direct customer relationship and the feedback and engagement gives you the ability to optimize that product,” Levi said.

At ‘The Changing Face Of DTC Brands,’ moderator Anna Hensel of Modern Retail began her panel in a similar search for the core of DTC. She noted that earlier in the week someone had described DTC as a mindset, which she did not fully agree with, but noted, “not all of the brands that say they’re direct-to-consumer are selling just direct-to-consumer.”

Alternately, Fluide co-founder Laura Kraber suggested that perhaps DTC is a mindset, noting that most brands don’t believe they can be exclusively DTC at this stage. “We want to have a direct relationship with our consumers and sell online. DTC is a mindset in the sense that you’re building a community online and are focused on that direct relationship.”

At the same panel, Shopify’s CMO, Jeff Weiser, put DTC into an historical context: 

“One of the things we always like to remind people of is that direct-to-consumer is really the natural state of commerce. You don’t really have, until the 1800’s with the rise of the department store as a shopping experience, (something that’s) gone beyond exchanging goods, or with any intermediation in commerce at all.”

Debates about definition aside, 80 percent of consumer brands believe DTC brands are impacting how they think about marketing.

Brands Enter Uncluttered TikTok Market As Influencer Marketing Gains Traction

Originally published on ION.

(Editor’s note: AList is published by a.network. To get up to speed on the rapid changes affecting the influencer marketing landscape, click here.)

Five years ago, popular lip-syncing app Musical.ly was formed. About two years ago, Beijing-based ByteDance acquired Musical.ly and renamed it TikTok, thereafter launching in Europe. Since then, the short-form video platform beloved by Gen Z is quickly gaining traction for its user-friendly experience and the rise of the platform’s unfiltered influencer. 

TikTok is now available in 75 different languages across 150 global markets. Since debuting, the app has been downloaded 950 million times. The app allows users to create videos that range from 15 seconds to one minute long with the option to add music as well as branded hashtag challenges. Sony Pictures, American Eagle Outfitters and Gymshark are among the first brands to dip their toes into the relatively uncluttered market—and for good reason, as Forrester predicts short video ad spending will reach $6.5 billion in 2020, up from $2.1 billion in 2018.

Short-form videos as an effective format to lower the barrier for creation are part of TikTok’s grand plan. Unlike YouTube, for which brands and influencers pour considerable thought into, TikTok features creators as their raw selves, in mostly unedited videos doing quirky things like lip-syncing and dancing like no one’s watching (think: watermelon dress challenges and animal emoji karaoke). Part of TikTok’s appeal is that the platform is planned around specific challenges that include hashtags and memes, then it presents content to users based on their watch habits.

In addition to branded hashtag challenges, TikTok’s features include branded augmented reality (AR) lens, limited-time brand takeover ads and more recently, it started testing in-feed video ads. The platform has become so popular that it created its own “Best TikTok Compilations” YouTube channel, which has accumulated 1.4 million subscribers. 

TikTok is where users go to engage rather to connect with friends and family, and because its ad platform is still being developed, influencers are the best place to play right now on TikTok. If influencers aren’t a big part of your TikTok strategy, it’s hard to rely on just their ad tools. If you have the right audience, however, it’s worth trying.

Despite TikTok’s nascence, some influencers on the platform are able to make a living via brand partnerships. Take popular TikToker Holly H, for example. The 22-year-old West Sussex native has 14.7 million fans on TikTok where, according to Vice, her posts have been liked over 285 million times. Holly admitted she doesn’t plan her videos, but rather, makes content that comes to mind. In one sponsored video, Holly is shown lip-syncing a scene from Nickelodeon’s Victorious to Gen Z singer Billie Eilish’s song “Bad Guy.” Recently, Holly worked on an ad for the movie How to Train Your Dragon 3.

Then there’s Leanne Bailey, a baker who named her TikTok channel @thebaileybakery after her real-life Kentucky-based business. Since starting on TikTok, Bailey has amassed 4.4 million fans and posts a sponsored video once weekly. Music labels often pay Bailey to use a particular song, the influencer told BuzzFeed News. 

At the start of 2019, UK-based online gym wear retailer, Gymshark, announced a “66 Days Change Your Life” personal goal challenge, calling on users to upload an initial photo on January 1 then uploading both the initial photo and an updated photo 66 days later, on March 8. In return, winners would receive a year’s supply of Gymshark goods. Gymshark not only helped users improve themselves but the brand also naturally created a connection with fans. To raise awareness of the 66 days challenge, Gymshark tapped six influencers in categories across health, lifestyle, fitness and dance.

For its second 2019 TikTok challenge, Chipotle asked fans to come up with a dance with the hashtag #GuacDance. To raise awareness about the dance-off, the brand tapped Youtubers Loren Gray and Brent Rivera. The activation garnered 532,388,592 views and 24,714 posts that incorporated Dr. Jean’s “The Guacamole Song.” In addition to engaging TikTok’s Gen Z users, Chipotle was able to promote orders online and on its mobile app given that entry required ordering from either.

Sony Pictures has also experienced success with TikTok. In its effort to promote a song from the US band, AJR Brothers, the company tapped TikTok influencer duo Max and Harvey. The duo created a challenge using AJR Brothers’ “100 Bad Days” and a hashtag to accompany it for a chance to meet them and the AJR Brothers at their London concert. The lighthearted video received 230,000 views and 40,000 likes.

Guess encouraged TikTok users to create and share videos using the #InMyDenim and Bebe Rexha song “I’m A Mess.” The six-day campaign was part of the apparel company’s strategy to promote its autumn season denim collection. Over 5,000 entries were submitted and Guess’s newly created account got 12,000 followers and 10.5 million views on its videos.

This month, American Eagle Outfitters used TikTok’s latest ad unit, the in-feed video, for a back-to-school campaign that includes a fall collection made in collaboration with rapper Lil Wayne. The challenge called for users to post videos of themselves in pieces from the collection with the rapper’s “Uproar” song.

The content the resonates well on TikTok is younger by nature. If you’re on there as a brand and your typical demographic is older, the content and audience aren’t going to feel right since those go hand in hand. That being said, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who doesn’t have a natural Gen Z audience. 

It’s also worth noting that while Gen Z dominates TikTok’s current demographic, a study from GlobalWebIndex found that the global user base might be expanding from just teens. Data shows that the number of TikTok users from age 26-34 is higher compared to the number of 16-to-24-year-olds in countries such as Malaysia, China, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.