Unilever Debuts ‘Trusted Publishers Network’ In Battle Against Ad Fraud

Unilever is marching forward on its battle against online ad fraud with the Unilever Trusted Publishers network. The new group of strictly vetted networks must meet Unilever’s standards of viewability, verification and brand value.

The Trusted Publishers network is comprised of yet-to-be-named digital platforms and publishers across global, regional and local levels. Each must meet stringent requirements according to Unilever’s “3Vs” that include viewability, verification and [brand] value.

In addition to meeting Unilever’s standards, members of the Trusted Publishers network impose strict expectations on whoever advertises with them regarding ad fraud, ad formatting, brand safety, traffic quality, data access and more, according to a press release.

Keith Weed, Unilever’s renowned chief marketing and communications officer, will retire in May 2019 but not before he issues another blow to would-be fraudsters. Weed will discuss the topic on Thursday at the WFA Global Marketer Week conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

“Online advertising credibility is still a global, industry-wide problem and as the world’s second largest advertiser, we have a responsibility to use our scale and influence to address this issue,” Weed said in a prepared statement. “The Unilever Trusted Publishers will add more rigor to how Unilever advertises online.”

According to a 2018 study by Dianomi, click fraud accounts for up to 90 percent of clicks for online campaigns. Despite this, Forrester found that only 19 percent of marketers had taken systematic action to prevent fraud as of 2017.

Last year, Unilever debuted its Digital Responsibility Framework that focuses what the consumer packaged goods (CPG) giant will and will not invest in. Unilever said that it would not invest in any platform or environment that promotes division, hate, fraud or a lack of influencer transparency. The brand also tackled gender stereotypes with its #Unstereotype Alliance and committed to partnering only with networks that create a better digital infrastructure.

Unilever did more than threaten digital ad networks, however. Instead, it formed an alliance that will, if all goes well, create a global solution committed to privacy, consumer experience (CX) and ad ecosystem innovation first. Partners for this initiative include Facebook, Twitter, Google, Nielsen and Kantar Media.

It’s not often that a company makes public demands of this nature, but Unilever is one of the top ad spenders on the planet. The giant made good on its threats, too—Nielsen reports that Unilever spent 29 percent less on ads in 2018.

Despite lower ad spend, Unilever reported a 51 percent increase in annual net profit for the fourth quarter of 2018. Driven by growth in India and other Asian markets, the company

reported a net profit of 9.8 billion euros ($11.2 billion) in 2018 compared to 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) in 2017.

 

Wayfair Takes Pop-Up Strategy To Next Level, Announces Permanent Retail Store

Home lifestyle brand Wayfair has announced that its first brick-and-mortar location will open this fall. Until then, four pop-up locations will allow consumers to interact with designers and combine the experience of physical shopping with online ordering.

Wayfair has used pop-up store activations to engage its users in the past, but the new location in the Natick Mall in Natick, Massachusetts will serve as the brand’s first permanent destination. The new store is scheduled to open in early fall 2019 and will feature “an engaging format with convenience and ease,” Wayfair stated.

Retail shoppers will be able to receive free design consultations, view products and order them for home delivery.

Four other pop-up locations will activate this summer that will offer a curated selection of seasonal home decor, decorative accents and wall decorations.

“With the opening of our new retail store, we are offering our customers a new way to enjoy Wayfair’s exceptional shopping experience as we continue to transform the way people shop for their homes,” said Niraj Shah, CEO, co-founder and co-chairman of Wayfair in a prepared statement. “We look forward to inviting our customers further into the world of Wayfair, welcoming them to step inside our newest shopping experience guided by the knowledgeable support and expertise of our in-store design team.”

The upcoming Natick location is no coincedence—Wayfair operated a pop-up shop inside Natick Mall during the 2018 holiday season, along with a second location at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. Massachusetts is also home to Wayfair headquarters.

Whether the Natick pop-up received more foot traffic or is simply closer to home was not explained. Wayfair did not immediately respond for comment.

Many direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands often open their first retail locations in their home states, observed retail real estate firm JLL Research in a 2018 study. Wayfair joins a number of direct-to-consumer brands that are combining digital and physical retail for a complete experience. The study observed that digital-native brands expressed plans to open 850 stores over the next five years.

It is very likely that Wayfair weighed its options by analyzing customer behavior, however. The brand built its own CRM from the ground up and uses that single view to create an entire picture of each customer’s journey.

In October, Wayfair announced MyWay, a subscription service that offers discounts and personalized recommendations similar to Amazon Prime. The company also uses technology to close the imagination gap when making home decor purchases. Wayfair offers a mixed reality app called Wayfair Spaces for Magic Leap One that allows users to preview items in their homes.

Burger King, Clio Integration Crowd Sources Next April Fool’s Prank

Burger King has big plans for next year’s April Fool’s Day prank and it’s inviting students to pitch ideas. The King’s Fool’s Challenge is a collaboration with the Clio Awards’ student integrated category, offering the winner a trophy and trip to Miami to develop their ultimate prank.

The Clio Awards is an annual celebration of marketing innovation that includes separate events for fashion and beauty, music, sports, health and entertainment. The 60th Anniversary Clio Awards will take place on September 25.

Each year, the Clio Awards also honor students who create outstanding marketing work related to a product or service, B2B or public service. For 2019, Burger King has taken over the Student Integrated category to involve them in a real April Fool’s Day campaign.

From March 25 to June 28, qualifying students can enter their prank ideas to the King’s Fool’s Challenge for a chance to win. Students can offer ideas around a myriad of platforms including audio, branded entertainment, branded content, design, digital/mobile, direct, experiential/events, film, innovation, out-of-home, partnerships and collaborations, print, public relations or social media.

Entries will be judged by a panel featuring Burger King chief marketing officer Fernando Machado. A shortlist of submissions will be featured in an editorial piece on the official Muse by Clio website and the winner will receive a Gold Clio award. Once recognized, the winner be flown to Miami, where they will work alongside Burger King’s creative team to further develop the prank.

Many quick-service restaurants have adopted a tongue-in-cheek approach to marketing and Burger King is a big part of the wave. The restaurant has employed a number of publicity stunts around social issues, mocking competitors or just for fun.

Just last week, Burger King Brazil launched an augmented reality (AR) campaign that burns competitors’ ads and replaces them with a free Whopper sandwich coupon. In December, the brand relaunched its mobile app with geofence integration. Anyone that opened the app within 600 feet of a McDonald’s would be offered a Whopper for one penny.

Last year for April Fool’s Day, Burger King announced a dessert sandwich called the Chocolate Whopper. In 2017, the brand introduced Whopper toothpaste.

Getting audiences directly involved in which campaigns come to light is a way for Burger King and other brands to get consumers emotionally invested in the outcome. Earlier this month, KFC launched several Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns for promotional items like a hot tub and ice show about Colonel Sanders. Unlike Burger King’s campaigns, however, KFC is testing to see how much people will spend to see these bizarre items come to life. As of this posting, the answer is “not very many.”

Beer Wars: Miller Lite Spoofs, Mocks ‘Dilly Dilly’ Ads During March Madness

Update 3/22: MillerCoors filed a lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch saying the company’s Super Bowl ads misled customers. 

The revived beer wars continue. MillerCoors clapped back against Bud Light’s public insults with a series of NCAA Tournament ads—claiming that “in the real world,” consumers prefer more taste. The spots are made to appear as though the cast and crew of Bud Light commercials drink Miller Lite in between shoots.

Two new Miller Lite commercials aired during Tuesday’s NCAA Tournament that compare Bud Light’s “Dilly Dilly” fantasy world with real-life consumer behavior.

The first spot, “Aftermath,” depicts a burning field filled with bodies including a blue knight, peasants and a cart of Bud Light beer. The scene is reminiscent of Bud Light’s Super Bowl LIII ad in which a dragon from Game of Thrones puts a fiery end to a jousting match. A director yells “Cut,” at which point the actors retreat to a hospitality tent to drink Miller Lite.

“In the real world,” the ad says, ”more taste is what matters.”

Another spot called “Snow” takes place on the set of “Ye Olde Bud Light Fantasy Land,” where a snow machine malfunctions, forcing the director to push her shoot until the next day. Once again, cast and crew rest and drink Miller Lite beer.

Bud Light already responded to the NCAA ads with a message that stands by previous jabs, challenging MillerCoors to add an ingredient label to its packaging.

The finale to the NCAA basketball season, i.e. March Madness, is traditionally MillerCoor’s largest advertising push. This year, the company is using the platform to fire back at AB InBev from multiple sides.

On March 23, select bars will be fitted with a smart Coors Light tap handle that monitors social and broadcast media for Bud Lite insults. When the tap detects this activity, it lights up, signaling a free round of Coors Light to all bar patrons of legal drinking age.

Like many online rivalries, both brands stand to benefit from the exposure. Miller Lite’s tweet about “Aftermath” has garnered 200 likes and 3,400 views on YouTube. Bud Light’s retort, however, gained 194 likes on Twitter but 26,000 views on YouTube. Bud Light even retweeted the Miller Lite ads, saying, “in case you missed it.”

The rivalry between MillerCoors and AB InBev has always been fierce, but this year it has gone even further with a debate over ingredients.

During Super Bowl LIII, AB InBev aired a “Dilly Dilly” commercial in which a barrel of corn syrup gets misdelivered, so the King and his subjects go on a quest to bring it to the rightful owner—Coors Light. On the way, however, they stop at the “Miller Light” kingdom, which also uses corn syrup during the brewing process.

The ads raised concerns by America’s corn farmers, not to mention MillerCoors itself. The brewer claims that corn syrup is an effective simple sugar that gets consumed by the yeast, converting it into alcohol and carbon dioxide. In fact, some of AB InBev’s other products use corn syrup in the same manner, MillerCoors asserts, a fact that an AB InBev representative confirmed with AList.

MillerCoors repeatedly points to data from Nielsen that suggests Bud Light’s stocks have dropped since the Super Bowl, while its own have flourished.

MGM Hires Ex-Netflix For CMO; Fox Marketing Layoffs

This week’s executive shifts include MGM hiring a chief marketing officer, Fox laying off veteran marketers in the wake of the Disney acquisition, Infiniti appointing a global marketing VP, Uinta Brewing appointing CMO to president, Atom Bank’s CMO departing, former CPG Marketing Executive joining Stryve Biltong, Nissan replacing their VP for marketing communications and media in NA, a new director of marketing at Lotus Group, Pathé UK appointing a head of marketing and Sabra and WhistlePig announcing new chief marketing officers while Japan Airlines appointed a new VP of global marketing.

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


Ex-Netflix Hired As MGM Chief Marketing Officer

According to Deadline, MGM announced the hiring of Stephen Bruno as the company’s chief marketing officer. For the last four years, Bruno was the VP, global creative marketing at Netflix and prior to that spent time as president, marketing at the Weinstein Company and director, consumer marketing at HBO.

Bruno said of the appointment,  “I am honored and thrilled to be joining the MGM team and look forward to doing my part to build an exciting future for the iconic brand around the globe. My years at Netflix have been exhilarating and I am inspired to bring what I’ve learned to one of the most legendary entertainment companies in the world, MGM.”


Three Marketing Executives Part Of Fox Layoffs

As the sale of Fox became final to Disney, the layoffs starting rolling in and executive marketers were not immune. According to Variety, three marketers, Kevin Campbell, co-president of worldwide theatrical marketing, Pam Levine, worldwide theatrical marketing president and Tony Sella, chief content officer have been let go.

Campbell has had a long career in film marketing and prior to Fox was head of marketing at Amblin Pictures and before that EVP marketing at Disney/Dreamworks Studios.

Levine was previously chief marketing officer at HBO and had another stint at Fox before that. According to Variety, Levin, “spearheaded the launch and growth of blockbuster franchises such as X-Men, Ice Age, and Night at the Museum. She jointly led marketing for over 140 movies…”

As chief content officer, Sella came back to Fox a year ago and had worked closely with Campbell and Levine. He’s been in and around Fox for over a decade, having been named the president of marketing and CCO of Twentieth Century Fox in 2002, working at Disney before that. Sella has twice been named Ad Age‘s entertainment marketer of the year.


Infiniti Motor Company Appoints Global Marketing VP

Infiniti Motor Company announced the appointment of Mike Colleran to the position of global division VP, marketing and sales operations. Colleran has been with Infiniti for seven years and was most recently VP of Infiniti Americas.

Before that, Colleran spent a year at Saab, a year at Cadillac and served in the U.S. Marine Core for seven years. His most recent appointment is effective on April 1.


Stryve Biltong Appoints Jaxie Alt As CMO

Former CPG Marketing Executive, Jaxie Alt, joins Stryve Biltong’s growing team.

Alt has extensive food, beverage and CPG marketing expertise and she previously held marketing roles at Taco Bell and Dr Pepper Snapple Group, where she served as co-chief marketing officer and was responsible for over $8 billion in retail sales.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Jaxie to the Stryve leadership team,” said Stryve Biltong co-founder, Joe Oblas, in a press release. “Her creative abilities coupled with her results-driven background and passion are exactly what we need to take Stryve Biltong to the next level.”


Uinta Brewing Promotes CMO To President

Uinta Brewing, a Salt Lake City-based brewery, is promoting the brand’s current chief marketing officer, Jeremy Ragonese, to the position of brewery president. Ragonese was in the CMO role for three years and prior to that held the position of marketing director for 10 years at Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City. Before that, Ragonese worked in accounts at various advertising and marketing agencies in the Kansas City area.


Atom Bank CMO Departs For Great Rail Journeys

Atom Bank’s chief marketing officer has departed for a position at Great Rail Journeys. Lisa Wood, who has worked as Atom Bank’s chief marketing officer for five years, took a her new role as marketing and sales and marketing director at the rail tour travel company.

Wood previously worked as head of marketing at First Direct and various marketing positions at HSBC.


Moneysupermarket Appoints Marketing Head

Lloyd Page has been named Moneysupermarket’s marketing director in the wake of the company’s chief customer officer departing. Page, who has been working as a consultant for Moneysupermarket since last September, was previously Virgin Media’s brand and brand communications director. Before that he was head of online marketing and head of marketing, brand for John Lewis—a company well-known in the UK for their annual Christmas advertisements.

In a statement, Moneysupermarket said, “…We can now announce that we have appointed Lloyd Page as marketing director, effective from 28 March. Lloyd has been working with Moneysupermarket as a consultant since last September and has already played an integral role in the brand relaunch.”


Nissan NA Replaces Marketing VP

According to a report from AdAge, Allyson Witherspoon will be replacing Jeremy Tucker as Nissan’s VP for marketing communications and media in North America. Witherspoon was formerly Nissan’s general manager for global brand engagement.

Before that, she was director of marketing communications at INFINITI and global business director at Havas Worldwide.


Lotus Picks New Director Of Marketing

The Post-Star reports that Lotus Group of Companies, USA, has named Brendan Manley director of marketing. Lotus Group provides a number of business services including auto parts and repair as well as food and beverage and childcare.


Former eOne Marketer Joins Pathé UK

Deadline reports that former eOne marketer Faith Taylor will begin her role as head of marketing at Pathé UK immediately. She will be replacing the former head of marketing who has left Pathé UK for Universal. Taylor also previously worked at Soda Pictures, where she was the communications manager.


Sabra Appoints Chief Marketing Officer

Sabra announced the appointment of Jason Levine as chief marketing officer on Monday. Levine had been with Mondelez International since 2011 and most recently held the title of chief marketing officer. Before that, Levine spent 11 years with Kraft Foods. 

“Levine joins Sabra from Mondelēz International, where he served as North America CMO, working on iconic brands including Oreo and Ritz and successful innovations like belVita and Good Thins. At Sabra, Levine will oversee global marketing and communications.”


Akira Mitsumasu Joins Japan Airlines As VP, Global Marketing

As reported by Mumbrella Asia, CMO Council Asia Pacific advisory board member Akira Mitsumasu was appointed as vice-president of global marketing at Japan Airlines.

“[Mitsumasu] will be leading the newly established global marketing department to drive growth and innovation across JAL’s international markets,” Japan Airlines said in a statement.

“Akira brings over 30 years of experience in the aviation industry and has held multiple leadership roles within the company, including his most recent role as the VP of products and services planning.”


Jason Newell Joins WhistlePig As New CMO

Whiskey maker WhistlePig hired Jason Newell as its new chief marketing officer, according to The Spirit Business. Newell was previously the director of marketing at Rossignol Group North America. 

“Newell will be responsible for building on WhistlePig’s existing marketing footprint domestically and internationally through events, media partnerships and content creation collaborations.”


The Oneida Group Names New VP, Marketing

The Oneida Group has named Sean Gibson VP of marketing and product innovation, according to HomeWorld Business.

In the statement, it was noted that Gibson “has worked to reorganize the marketing team to increase focus on category expertise within each brand to leverage The Oneida Group’s expansive product portfolio across multiple categories to drive growth and innovation.”

He joins The Oneida Group after spending 20 years at Procter & Gamble.


The Loop Pizza Grill Appoints CMO

The Jacksonville Daily Record reports that Marla Quattrone joined The Loop Pizza Grill as CMO. Quattrone was formerly the CEO and chief brand strategist at Loop Creative Continuum.


True Food Kitchen Gets First CMO

True Food Kitchen announced the appointment of Shannon Keller as their first-ever chief marketing officer.

“Keller will lead strategic and innovative marketing for True Food Kitchen throughout the country, overseeing brand strategy and communications, influencer marketing and the digital and creative teams.”

True Food Kitchen received investment from Oprah Winfrey last year. “When I first dined at True Food Kitchen, I was so impressed with the team’s passion for healthy eating and, of course, the delicious food, that I knew I wanted to be part of the company’s future,” said Winfrey.


Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, March 22. 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 

Chief Marketing Officer Stila Cosmetics New York, NY
Chief Marketing Officer Moog Music Group Asheville, NC
Vice President, Marketing Strategy  Saks Fifth Avenue New York, NY
VP, Brand Marketing Carl’s Jr. Franklin, TN
Head of Marketing Uber London, UK
VP Marketing Analytics DISNEY New York, NY

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

Facebook’s New Security Flaw; Pinterest Hires CTO

Our weekly social media news roundup helps marketers to stay on top of every social platform’s latest updates, insights, campaigns and more.

Facebook Explains Yet Another Security Issue

Facebook admitted the company had another major security issue, this time, with inadequate internal password storage.

Why it matters: Facebook’s reckless storage of sensitive information could have made millions of accounts easily accessible to hackers.

The details: The company explained: “As part of a routine security review in January, we found that some user passwords were being stored in a readable format within our internal data storage systems. This caught our attention because our login systems are designed to mask passwords using techniques that make them unreadable. We have fixed these issues and as a precaution we will be notifying everyone whose passwords we have found were stored in this way. To be clear, these passwords were never visible to anyone outside of Facebook and we have found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed them. We estimate that we will notify hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users. Facebook Lite is a version of Facebook predominantly used by people in regions with lower connectivity.”

Former Walmart CTO, Jeremy King, Joins Pinterest

Pinterest announced the hiring of former Walmart CTO, Jeremy King, as its new head of engineering.

Why it matters: Pinterest brings King on board in an effort to advance their eCommerce mainly because King was responsible for reanimating Walmart’s eCommerce platform to make it compatible with Amazon.

The details: King previously worked at Walmart Labs, LiveOps and eBay. He has experience working in ecommerce development and scaling consumer products. King will report to CEO Ben Silbermann and lead the team at Pinterest responsible for powering the visual discovery engine for home, food, style and beauty. Silbermann said about the new hire, “Not only is Jeremy a respected engineering leader, but from the moment we met him, we knew his values around putting the customer first were aligned with our own focus on Pinners. As we build products to inspire people to create a life they love, Jeremy’s technical experience and leadership are a perfect combination to build a visual discovery engine for all.”

Twitter Shares April Events Calendar For Marketers

On Thursday, Twitter published an April Calendar for marketers.

Why it matters: Twitter’s monthly event calendars are a great source for strategic marketing planning. (Twitter’s 2019 event calendar can be found and downloaded here).

The details: The calendar includes some universal events, such as April Fool’s Day, as well as happenings in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. Some other events that can be added to the list:

  • Equal Pay Day (April 2nd)
  • National Deep Dish Pizza Day (April 5th)
  • National Beer Day (April 6th)
  • National Siblings Day (April 10th)
  • National Pet Day (April 11th)
  • National Grilled Cheese Day (April 12th)

Pinterest and Airbnb Release An Official Spring/Summer Travel Guide

Pinterest and Airbnb collaboratively created a travel guide for spring and summer that includes travel hacks and trends for various types of vacations.

Why it matters: The companies to release the guide at the perfect time, as people are planning spring break and summer vacations. Pinterest and Airbnb also shared insights and data on how consumers use their platforms.

The details: Some of the insights include:

  • Nature travel is a top trend for 2019, with Pinterest searches for “nature travel” up 88 percent
  • Airbnb reports a 539 percent year-over-year increase on nature-related bookings, 367 percent on meditation and 655 percent on hiking.
  • Pinterest has also seen a 693 percent increase in searches for adventure travel, like swimming holes, abandoned amusement parks, cave diving and surprise destinations.

Facebook’s Removing Ad Targeting Options In Certain Categories To Avoid Discrimination 

Facebook announced that it will limit discriminatory ad targeting on the platform.

Why it matters: “Housing, employment and credit ads are crucial to helping people buy new homes, start great careers, and gain access to credit. They should never be used to exclude or harm people,” said Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg.

The details: The changes relate to housing, employment and credit ads and, and according to Sandberg:

  • Anyone who wants to run housing, employment or credit ads will no longer be allowed to target by age, gender or zip code.
  • Advertisers offering housing, employment and credit opportunities will have a much smaller set of targeting categories to use in their campaigns overall. Multicultural affinity targeting will continue to be unavailable for these ads. Additionally, any detailed targeting option describing or appearing to relate to protected classes will also be unavailable.
  • We’re building a tool so you can search for and view all current housing ads in the US targeted to different places across the country, regardless of whether the ads are shown to you.

Warner Bros. And Snapchat Partner To Promote ‘Shazam!’

Adweek reported on Thursday that Snapchat’s first-ever voice activated AR lens will be a Shazam! branded one.

Why it matters: This collaboration is a great example of a brand using the platform’s AR marker tech tool to amuse the customer and promote the product in an innovative way.

The details: The process is simple: once people on Snapchat open the lens and say, “Ok, Shazam!” the lens will activate and transform the users into superheroes. The lens will be available in over 20 countries, including the U.K., France and Mexico. In addition, billboards in New York’s Times Square and Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles will feature the Snapcode that unlocks the lens. The Snapcode will also appear on murals and posters.

UK Ad Buyers Remain Unconvinced About Snapchat 

Digiday reported on Wednesday, that UK ad buyers have doubts about Snapchat’s ability to bring a better return on spend for advertisers, compared to Facebook and Instagram.

Why it matters: Snapchat launched in the UK two years ago but hasn’t seen much growth since. The company user base has only grown from 11.2 million to 14.8 million, according to eMarketer. And while the majority of the platform users are young—31 percent of them were aged between 18 and 24 years old in 2018—Snapchat’s isn’t big enough for many advertisers.

The details: Although the updates to Snapchat’s self-serve tools and pixels made it easier to target and measure audiences on Snapchat, they also became more comparable to the app’s competitors, such as Facebook and Instagram. In addition, one of Snapchat’s biggest remaining issues is viewability because ads are still easily skippable which leads to low viewability rates.

WeChat Is Launching Games Platform 

A Chinese media platform and mobile payment app, WeChat, debuted its “Mini Games” program in the U.S. at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Why it matters: “Mini Games” will enable game developers to create and distribute games on WeChat’s platform, help the platform users to find new games and will expand possibilities for content creation.

The details: With over 1,082 million monthly active users, WeChat introduced new opportunities for game developers and advertisers by opening access to current API and localizing developer documentation to facilitate development and publishing.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • The Mini Games platform has grown to more than 400 million monthly active users
  • The 7-day user retention rate of some the most popular Mini Games has already rocketed to 54%

It is also important to note that WeChat had recently introduced “Creativity Incentives,” which allows a developer to increase value using creativity. Any developer with creative gameplay, art, music or story can apply to join the program and will receive a “Creativity Certified” label, on top of 20% higher revenue share compared to other Mini Games. This incentive also offers creativity protection and protection against copyright infringement.

LinkedIn Introduces Lookalike Audiences, Interest Targeting

LinkedIn announced in a blog post the launch of the three new ways to help marketers easily target the right audiences.

Why it matters: The new features: lookalike audiences, audience templates and the addition of Microsoft Bing search data are designed to increase the scale of marketing efforts and improve ROI.

The details: According to LinkedIn, the new additions will help marketers to grow business by, “reaching high-converting audiences, getting results at scale and engaging new target accounts.” 

Also, audience templates should help with finding the right audiences. They give marketers a selection of more than 20 predefined audiences at the moment, which includes audience characteristics, such as member skills, job titles, groups and other.

Instagram Launches “Checkout with Instagram” In-App Shopping Feature

Instagram launched the “Checkout” feature in the US on Tuesday, with more than 20 top brands participating already, including Adidas, Kylie Cosmetics and Warby Parker.

Why it matters: The brands will no longer have to direct customers to their website to shop their products. Also, it is possible that Instagram’s ad business will see the boost because Checkout may convince brands that the social network produces better ROI because it requires fewer steps before purchase.

The details: An Instagram spokesperson told TechCrunch “We will introduce a selling fee to help to fund programs and products that help make checkout possible, as well as offset transaction-related expenses.” But, the company isn’t sharing the amount of the selling fee, “We are testing a selling fee with businesses during the closed beta. It will not change the price of the items for consumers,” the spokesperson said.

Checkout tags will be accessible on feed posts, as well as “Stories,” and “Explore” features. Now, when the user will tap the post to reveal product tags and open one, the “Checkout with Instagram” button will be visible, instead of the “View on Website” button.

New York Restaurants Use WeChat To Boost Business In Manhattan

WeChat, a Chinese media platform and mobile payment app is becoming more popular in the US, as some restaurants are successfully using the app to promote their business.

Why it matters: The app provides an opportunity to localize and market products to specific, niche customers. Eater’s editor, Serena Dai said, Having a loyal audience of Chinese foodies means restaurants can offer more authentic Chinese food from all regions of China, not just dishes that appeal to Western tastes.”

The details: Dai said many Chinese students are opening restaurants in New York.

“They are not only running the restaurants and cooking the food. They’re also the audience for it. So, they’re also the diners and the ones running the WeChat accounts and following the WeChat accounts. So, it’s this entire network of super-influential young Chinese people who really love food and are making a huge mark on the New York City dining scene.”

According to Dai, the influencers on WeChat get paid to review a certain restaurant, however, she said this doesn’t repel the followers.

“They really just want to hear from people who understand their palate and understand where they’re coming from.”

Analyst Says IG Stories Could Generate $2B In Revenue This Year

According to The Motley Fool, an analyst at Nomura, Mark Kelley, believes Instagram Stories will outsell Snap this year, by a longshot.

Why it matters: Marketers are opting to buy media on Instagram instead of Snapchat, the analyst claims the former will grow four times faster in 2019.

The details: The Nomura analyst believes Instagram Stories will generate $2 billion compared to Snapchat’s $1.5 billion.

“While the ad products that Snap and Facebook make for their respective Stories products are very similar, Facebook has several advantages over Snap for marketers. First of all, marketers are already familiar with Facebook’s ad buying platform. Over 7 million businesses advertise across Facebook’s family of platforms. There’s no need to learn a new system or dedicate a team to buying ads on a separate platform. That reduces marketers’ overall costs, allowing them to pay more for Instagram Stories ad placements compared to Snap Ads.”

TikTok Parent Company Joins Mobile Gaming Scramble

According to Abacus News, ByteDance, the maker of TikTok, is planning to enter the gaming space.

Why it matters: No word yet on how ByteDance would incorporate gaming into their platforms, if at all, but this is an interesting move as Snap and Facebook move the chess pieces for their own gaming verticals.

The details: The article states, “ByteDance…reportedly bought a gaming company called Mokun Technology…Mokun is known for mobile games Flick Up and Fighter of the Destiny. The purchase was revealed by public records on business registration, but ByteDance still hasn’t confirmed the news, telling Abacus that it doesn’t comment on market rumors.”


Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, March 22. 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.

Goodwill Rides ‘Declutter’ Craze With Influencer-Led Donation Campaign

Goodwill launched a call-to-action campaign on the first day of Spring that uses social influencers to encourage donations, shopping and educates the public about the non-profit’s community efforts.

The month-long campaign will use the Spring cleaning tradition as a segue into four themes—donate, shop, Goodwill’s mission and sustainable living.

From March 21-27, lifestyle influencer Carmen Flores will encourage her 12,000 Instagram followers to declutter and donate unused items to Goodwill. Flores has partnered with several brands on her channel including Koia, Hello Fresh and Even Flo Baby.

The campaign shifts its focus to shopping from March 28-April 3 with fashion influencer Nicole Mazur. Mazur has partnered with Goodwill in the past for back-to-school and Halloween campaigns, highlighting the ability to create one’s own look on a budget. Mazur currently has 40,000 Instagram followers.

From April 4-10, the campaign will turn its attention to Goodwill’s mission statement. Jamé Jackson is a blogger, fashion influencer and advocate for those who are deaf or hard of hearing with nearly 7,000 followers. She will post a video in American Sign Language (ASL) that talks about how shopping at Goodwill will impact the community. Jackson will also share the message on her blog.

The last stretch of Goodwill’s campaign focuses on sustainable living. Buzzfeed Home and Décor Producer Ashley McGetrick will lead the activation from April 11–18. McGetrick, who commands an audience of 10,000, will encourage her fans to shop at Goodwill for their next DIY project.

Decluttering one’s life has become more than an annual spring tradition, creating unique opportunities for bargain stores and non-profit organizations like Goodwill. Shows like Tidying Up with Marie Kondo have inspired a 20 percent surge in donations to Goodwill, the company stated, adding that donations have tripled in Washington D.C.

During Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2018, Scott Goodson, founder and CEO of StrawberryFrog, told the audience that advertising can do more than sell products—it can start a movement.

“Movements are about experience, having a mindset, action, trying something new and having the confidence to start something new,” said Goodson. “You can apply the principles of a social movement to mobilize the masses and create confidence to create positive change.”

That positive change can be as simple as finishing a project around the house, reducing clutter or updating your wardrobe. Goodwill encourages this behavior, then takes it a step further with feel-good causes like helping the community and sustainable living.

Microinfluencers like the ones that Goodwill partnered with may reach a smaller audience than your average Kardashian, but a recent study by Markerly found that micro-influencers have better engagement.

Those with less than 1,000 followers generally received likes on their posts 8 percent of the time, Markerly observed, while users with 10 million+ followers only received likes 1.6 percent of the time.

Goodwill might have found the sweet spot when it comes to follower count. If Markerly’s assessments are correct, influencers in the 10k-100k follower range offer the best combination of engagement and broad reach.

Netflix Dissolves Global Brand Marketing Team Amid CMO Departure

Netflix dissolved its entire global brand marketing team this month for reasons yet known, insider sources told Adweek. If true, the internal shake-up comes at a pivotal time for the streaming giant, considering the announced departure of its chief marketing officer and Disney’s Fox acquisition.

In 2017, a small team was created under Netflix’s content and social department. The team was designed to help ramp up the streaming platform’s marketing efforts—coordinating both internally and with third-party agencies.

That team has now been disbanded, Adweek reported, citing internal sources who shared information on the condition of anonymity. While sources could not confidently make the connection, it’s hard to ignore the fact that CMO Kelly Bennett announced his retirement around the same time.

Aside from the loss of its CMO, Neflix’s restructuring may also be part of a plan to consolidate expenses. During a Q1 earnings call, newly appointed chief financial officer Spence Neumann told investors that the company’s move toward owned content hasput pressure on the cash flows of the business and the cash needs of the business.”

Neumann also indicated a shift from promoting 30-day free trials to encouraging paid subscriptions.

Bennett served as Netflix CMO for seven years—far longer than what is typical of other digital providers like Amazon, for which the average CMO tenure is just 29 months. During his time at the company, Netflix has invested in billboards, video games, experiential installations and even considered buying movie theaters.

During Bennett’s tenure, Netflix grew from 25.7 million paid streaming members in the third quarter of 2012 to 139 million worldwide at the end of 2018. The service even took home three Academy Awards for its original film Roma this year, winning best director, best cinematography and best foreign-language film.

The future of Netflix may lie in whoever becomes the new CMO, and the change couldn’t come at a more pivotal time for the brand. Disney just completed its acquisition of Fox and will launch its own OTT service, Disney+ later this year. Adding insult to injury, former Netflix director of original series Tehmina Jaffer is now serving as senior vice president of business affairs for Disney+.

All of Netflix’s original content will have to compete with established franchises within Disney, Marvel and Star Wars universes. Analysts at JP Morgan predict that Disney+ will eventually reach 160 million subscribers, surpassing Netflix’s 139 million.

Sipsmith’s Debuts First Brand Campaign With Stop-Motion ‘Mr. Swan’

Gin distiller Sipsmith launched its first marketing campaign on Wednesday and introduced the world to a character named Mr. Swan. The new spot, called “We Make Gin Not Compromises,” uses stop-motion animation as a metaphor for the brand’s attention to detail.

Mr. Swan, voiced by comedian Julian Barratt, takes viewers through six, meticulously detailed sets and explains what makes Sipsmith taste “so outrageously good.” The campaign doesn’t take itself too seriously, portraying Mr. Swan as a dashing but slightly awkward character.

The spot was directed by Jeff Lowe, who has created a number of humor- and celebrity-filled ads including those for Uggs, Vodaphone and Tena Men.

For “We Make Gin Not Compromises,” each puppet was hand-made down to the tiny buttons on Mr. Swan’s jacket. Some of the sets recreated locations inside the Sipsmith distillery in 1:24 scale.

“Stop motion, at a glance, is very hand-made,” said Lowe in a behind-the-scenes video. “It’s obvious that someone took a lot of time to make it and I think that’s also true about Sipsmith gin.”

Sipsmith was founded in 2009 by two best friends. Despite being acquired by Beam Suntory some years later, the distillery still makes small batches of gin by hand.

“This is our 10th year anniversary,” said Sipsmith co-founder Sam Galsworthy. “We had to think of a way to bring Sipsmith to the next level. We have opted for this extraordinary advert—no corner is cut, no compromise is made. It is all hand-crafted. It has to get down to the very smallest bit of detail [and] this film does just that.”

Mr. Swan’s big debut may be Sipsmith’s first major brand campaign, but the distillery has used other methods to gain consumer trust and awareness. In 2016, the brand offered a subscription service and this past November, Sipsmith launched a pop-up gin shop in central London—the first of its kind in over 200 years.

Thanks to a recent gin boom in the UK, Sipsmith revenue is on the rise—showing double-digit growth in the first half of 2018, according to The Spirits Business. Gin is estimated to be a £2 billion ($2.6 billion) industry with the US as its largest importer.

The US’s thirst for gin is giving rise to competitors, such as Aviation Gin, which sold a majority stake to actor Ryan Reynolds in 2017. Aviation also uses humor to market its spirits, such as a mock interview between Reynolds and his “brother,” as well as a team up with Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson.

Pabst Blue Ribbon Announces National Mural Day, Partners With Visual Artist

Pabst Blue Ribbon is launching a new internet holiday, but it’s not for beer. National Mural Day, debuting May 7 will install works nationwide and partner with artist Cey Adams to encourage communities to do the same.

Beer brand Pabst Blue Ribbon has declared May 7, 2019, to be the first National Mural Day in the U.S. To commemorate the occasion, the brand has partnered with visual artist and Def Jam founding creative director Cey Adams to reimagine its packaging. Over 150 million Pabst Blue Ribbon cans and packaging will become available in late March.

A one-minute video debuted on the brand’s YouTube channel on Tuesday in which Adams recalled his graffiti movement roots and artistic process. In mid-April, Adams will host a three-part video series that highlights emerging muralists.

National Mural Day will link artists with local wall owners and engage with mural programs around the US. Murals will be erected in New York City, Philadelphia, Detroit, Nashville, Denver, Charleston, Portland, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Austin, Seattle, Atlanta and other cities.

“Pabst Blue Ribbon is committed to making art available to everyone and inspiring America’s doers, change-makers and creatives through art,” said the brand in a press release.

“Murals are the most accessible form of art, and National Mural Day will encourage artists, landlords and civic institutions to collaborate on creating new murals in their community.”

The brand says it believes that art affects positive change, which is why it supports over 200 art events each year and has commissioned over 175 new murals in America since 2016.

“Pabst Blue Ribbon is a brand I always planned to explore in my work, and partnering to launch National Mural Day felt right,” said Cey Adams. “Murals and Street Art are an important element of my work. My hope is National Mural Day will become a platform for artists and their communities to celebrate art and its rich history.”

Murals have long been used as advertising tools but have experienced a resurgence over the past few years. These painted images can be highly detailed like the ones created in Australia for STXFilms’ Happytime Murders, or simple like Oatly’s message in London—telling passersby simply to “ditch milk.”

In an age where being selfie-worthy can impact a campaign’s success, it’s no wonder that so many brands are turning to murals as a creative outlet.

Snapchat has taken this idea even further by combining old school marketing with the new. In October, the company unveiled a Marker with Snapcode template that creates Lenses over existing images such as a poster or mural. The new template was demonstrated with “Angel Wings,” a Lens that added and tracked animated angel wings on a user when they posed in front of a Los Angeles mural.