Anheuser-Busch InBev China Reinvents Smart Drinking Campaign To Appeal To Gen Z

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s APAC unit launched the 12th iteration of its “Smart Drinking Campaign,” a corporate social responsibility program meant to promote public awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving. This year, for the first time in the campaign’s history, AB InBev created a non-alcoholic beer via its Chinese brand, Harbin Beer.

Building on the success of previous smart drinking campaigns aimed at reducing the amount of alcohol-related casualties, the brewer launched this campaign to better appeal to China’s rising Gen Z population. The company chose Harbin Beer for its popularity among young consumers in China, and plans to have non-alcoholic offerings account for a minimum of 20 percent of all its sales by 2025. 

AB InBev will sell the new product, which comes in a palace-themed gift pack, via ecommerce platforms, the sales of which will go toward the Ministry of Public Security’s underage traffic education program. Together with Harbin Beer, AB InBev designed a palace-themed safety education box to help children and teenagers learn traffic safety in a fun way.

To further capture Gen Z’s attention, AB InBev co-produced an animated video spot that features a newly created virtual character and traditional Chinese cultural elements loved by Gen Z, which includes hip hop, period drama and palace themes. In 2018, virtual, or holographic, idols emerged in China’s entertainment industry, and its AB InBev’s hope that its virtual character from the campaign will play a large role in promoting the non-alcoholic beverage.

AB InBev has partnered with China Guangfa Bank to activate experiential school campus pop-ups in 100 different cities and more than 20 universities to educate young adults reaching legal drinking age, according to Jan Craps, zone president and chief executive officer of AB InBev. Additionally, AB InBev is teaming up with car-hailing app DIDA Chuxing on activations to help stop drunk driving.

On the campaign’s launch day, more than 10,000 AB InBev China employees visited restaurants to call on consumers to observe smart drinking.

Timberland Pledges To Plant 50 Million Trees In Latest Campaign Merging Marketing And Sustainability

Timberland has launched a global campaign called “Nature Needs Heroes” to further the message of its tree-planting project, “Plant The Change,” a commitment to plant 50 million trees by 2025.

As part of the campaign, the footwear and apparel company named a host of “multi-generational changemakers” as ambassadors of the “Nature Needs Heroes” campaign. Across Timberland’s site, consumers can learn more about each ambassador, who include influencers and founders who’ve made a positive difference in the world.

Timberland is also teaming up with seven partners from around the world to bring its green movement, “Plant The Change” to life. Working with TreeAid, Timberland aims to create the Great Green Wall, a line of trees across the entire width of Africa to combat climate change and famine. Additional partnerships include Smallholder Farmers Alliance, which together with Timberland, has planted 5.7 million trees in Haiti since 2010; the Japanese NGO Network which has planted over 2.6 million trees since 2001 with Timberland; and the American Forestry Association.

“We launched our creative vision a few months ago which is focused on mixing our energy of fashion and passion for nature,” Timberland’s senior marketing director for EMEA, Giorgio D’Aprile, told Marketing Week.

Purpose-driven initiatives that build upon its long-term sustainability plans have been a staple of Timberland’s marketing strategy.  In 2018, the company launched a clothing recycling program, in partnership with Community Recycling, letting US consumers recycle gently used clothing, footwear and accessories from any brand with free postage and shipping. For the last three years, Timberland has also made an effort to restore green spaces in urban areas. Last year, it created a green roof in New York, a community garden in Los Angeles and a pocket park in Chicago. Over the last few years, Timberland has created or restored over 130,000 square feet of green space and plans to extend the figure to 500,000 square feet by 2023.

Healthcare Experiential Advertising Is Not An Oxymoron

Originally published at AW360.

For too long healthcare advertising and marketing has traditionally been one of the most hidebound ecosystems in our industry. Heavily regulated, healthcare marketers have never veered too far from the old playbook. The digital technology revolution of the past decade globally has transformed consumer expectations across all marketing verticals including healthcare. The new generation of healthcare consumers are now demanding high-touch user experiences, something the often impersonal and clinical healthcare industry has not been great at.

Instead healthcare marketers must adapt to this changing paradigm in a way that will create better, more lucrative outcomes for everyone in the healthcare journey: doctors, pharmaceutical companies and, of course, patients. History has proven kinder to those who get ahead of change instead of keeping their heads in the sand. Healthcare marketers in 2019 and beyond have the opportunity to shift to a more purpose-driven, proactive, information and data-centric approach to wellness and care and in doing so create a more memorable experience to drive action.

As part of this new expansive paradigm for patient care, marketers must also be willing to experiment with unfamiliar marketing modalities like experiential advertising. Can experiential advertising truly play a more prominent role? Yes, through live, brand-sponsored experiences healthcare marketers can establish stronger relationships with customers. 

There is already evidence that experiential advertising works in a healthcare context in the B2B realm as much as it does in the B2C arena. For example, ahead of a drug launch to treat multiple sclerosis, pharmaceutical company Merck Serono created a powerful VR, AR, Mixed Reality Experience in the UK whereby healthcare professionals were given the opportunity via the technology to have a tactile, physical and psychological experience that simulated what it would be like to suffer from MS. 

Debuting at a renowned MS conference in Paris, The MS Inside Out Experience, featured multiple rooms devised to simulate the effects of MS. One area’s floors were softened and made uneven. One set-up invited participants to put their hands on a surface that emitted strength-sapping electrical pulses. Participants were also asked to make a simple breakfast with props that were slightly too big or slightly too heavy, causing them to struggle. 

The visceral nature of the experience deepened MS treatment healthcare professionals’ understanding of what their patients must go through. A post-event survey of participants revealed that nearly 80 percent said the experience improved their medical knowledge of MS while 95 percent said that it elevated their holistic understanding of the chronic illness. 

This Merck project brings into sharp relief the power of empathy, which is the secret sauce of experiential advertising. This example shows that focusing on functional, rational messaging to drive B2B brand preference is now simply table stakes. Meeting emotional needs truly drives customer choice in B2B just like it does in B2C. 

A truly new, expansive paradigm for healthcare marketing is emerging and unfamiliar marketing modalities like experiential advertising are coming to the fore. And for every progressive company like Merck, there are many more who are still relying on traditional methods. Experiential advertising is being transformed by new technologies like VR but it is also being powerfully shaped by the data-driven technology model that is driving change and growth in marketing on an omnichannel level.

NFL Partners With Reddit; Telegram Rolls Out ‘Scheduled Messages’

This week in social media news: the NFL signs a content and advertising deal with Reddit, Telegram launches “Scheduled Messages,” Twitter is testing new tabs for lists and bookmarks, as well as a new “Topics” shortcut. Meanwhile, a study finds social media users struggle to recognize ads from influencers. 

Earlier this week, YouTube launched a dedicated Fashion channel, Facebook introduced Facebook Dating and announced investments into European publishers while suffering another major database leak, and YouTube agreed to pay $170 million fine for alleged violations of children’s privacy. 

NFL Adds Reddit As A Marketing Channel 

The Wall Street Journal reports that the National Football League partnered with Reddit Inc. to host a series of “Ask Me Anything” discussions on the platform as part of a broader content and advertising deal. 

Why it matters: The league is working hard to increase its appeal among millennials and Gen Zers. Earlier this week, the NFL also announced a multi-year partnership with TikTok in a bid to open doors to this audience. 

Per The WSJ, 2018 Comscore data cited by Reddit suggests that 17 percent of Reddit users don’t use Facebook, 28 percent don’t use Twitter, 33 percent don’t use Instagram and 43 percent don’t use Snapchat. 

The details: Within a popular Reddit format abbreviated as AMAs, current and former NFL players, league executives, team personnel, famous fans and others associated with the league will take questions from Reddit users, The WSJ reports. 

As a part of the initiative, the NFL will also create digital video series featuring the guests, to be distributed on Reddit and on the NFL’s social media channels, as well as and cable TV’s NFL Network. 

Telegram Rolls Out “Schedule Messages” Feature 

Telegram announced in a blog post the addition of a new “Scheduled Messages” feature to the platform’s menu. 

Why it matters: The new feature should make it easier and more convenient for busy marketers to plan out and draft messages in advance. 

The details: Per Telegram, scheduling also works in “Saved Messages” chat and turns planned posts into reminders. Whenever a scheduled message or reminder is sent, a user gets a special notification marked with a calendar symbol.

It is important to note that the social media company also revamped “Custom Cloud” themes, “Redesigned Message” options and “Animated Emoji” bucket, and updated Privacy Settings. 

“If you set Who Can See My Phone Number to ‘Nobody,’ a new option will appear below, allowing you to control your visibility for those who already have it. Setting Who Can Find Me By My Number to ‘My Contacts’ will ensure that random users who add your number as a contact are unable to match your profile to that number. If, like the majority of our users, you rely on uploading phone contacts to identify friends and family members on the app, this setting won’t get in your way,” Telegram explained in a blog post. 

Study: Social Media Users Struggle To Identify Ads Posted By Influencers 

According to the data collected by Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), social media users have a hard time identifying ads posted by influencers, even when they are labeled accordingly. 

Why it matters: It is illegal to hide the fact that a social media post has been paid for, and the findings show that clear labeling is more crucial than ever. ASA spent 18 months reviewing public understanding around social media ads and has concluded that more clarity is needed. ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: “The research tells us that all of us can find it hard to identify when an influencer is advertising, so it’s crucial that ads are labeled clearly. Our message to influencers and brands couldn’t be clearer: be upfront with followers.”

The details: Here are the main takeaways: 

  • Consumers are likely to have difficulty in differentiating advertising content that is presented in a similar style to the editorial content in which it sits. This presents a particular challenge to influencer advertising which, by its nature, looks like the influencer’s normal posts.
  • Labels that are clearly visible and well understood do raise the likelihood of people positively identifying the material as advertising. However, a significant percentage of participants in our public opinion research were not able to identify influencer advertising posts as “definitely an ad” even where the ASA’s current position on labeling is followed. These low levels of recognition were also found in the wider academic literature.
  • The findings demonstrate that the ASA’s current approach of requiring a suitably prominent reference to #ad (or similar) is necessary as a minimum. However, the findings also present questions about what other factors might assist people in identifying content as advertising which will require further consideration.

The complete report can be accessed here

Twitter Spotted Testing New Tabs For Lists And Bookmarks And New “Topics” Shortcut

Social media expert Matt Navarra caught two new Twitter tabs in testing–one to link straight through to tweet bookmarks, and another for easier lists view. 

Why it matters: Helping new users to find more relevant tweet content on the platform has been an ongoing challenge for Twitter and the company is serious about improving content visibility within the app.

The details: Navarra discovered two new tabs added onto the end of the display. According to the social media expert, Twitter’s testing out a quick link to list creation within the Lists tab, and a new “Topics” sidebar, which if rolled out, will provide a way to connect users through to more tweet content. 

YouTube Launches A Dedicated Channel For Fashion Fans 

YouTube perfectly timed the launch of its new, dedicated channel, which it calls “a single destination for style content on YouTube” before Fashion Week New York 2019 opens on September 6.

Why it matters: YouTube is home for beauty and style video tutorials and the new channel will provide an outlet for fashion and cosmetic brands to advertise to interested audiences.

Derek Blasberg, director of YouTube Fashion and Beauty, saw the platform’s desire for more fashion and beauty with the number of Fashion and Beauty channels on YouTube growing six times the size over the past few years, generating billions of views in the last year alone.

The details: According to Blasberg, the new channel will feature “original content from the biggest names in the industry, as well as the popular content that users have come to expect from the world of YouTube.” 

On the new channel, the fashion fans can expect to find style content from their favorite YouTube creators, news about industry collaborations, livestreams of the latest collections straight from the runway and new channels from the industry professionals, publishers and brands. ‘Being Naomi,’ Naomi Campbell’s new channel that covers everything from her preflight routine to her emotional return to the Valentino runway and more is just one example of what is highlighted on the platform.

“Our goal is to make a diverse and inclusive place, filled with the latest fashion and beauty trends, content and more. We’ll be working over the coming months to bring more international voices to the page and to localize for global markets,” said Blasberg.

Facebook Rolls Out “Facebook Dating” 

Facebook introduced “Facebook Dating” in the US, offering users the ability to integrate their Instagram posts directly into their Facebook Dating profile and providing the ability to add Instagram followers to their “Secret Crush” lists, in addition to Facebook friends. 

Why it matters: Marketers need to know that at the moment, “Facebook Dating” is free and contains no ads or in-app purchases. “We didn’t want to include anything around swiping or games,” product manager, Nathan Sharp, told The Verge, “Facebook Dating is about conversations.” 

The details: From now on, Facebook users who are 18 years of age or older and have the most recent version of the app, can opt into “Facebook Dating” and create a Dating profile, which is separate from their main profile. Potential dates are suggested based on the users’ preferences, interests and other things they do on Facebook. Besides the US, “Facebook Dating” is currently available in a limited number of countries. It is slated roll out in Europe by early 2020.

Facebook Is Investing In Video Content From European Publishers

Facebook announced its video partnerships with publishers in France, Germany and Sweden, aiming to create new shows for Facebook Watch.

Why it matters: According to the social media giant, the goal is to “allow publishers to experiment with new formats, engage new audiences, and build sustainable revenue streams on our dedicated video platform.”

In a blog post announcing the collaborations, Facebook stressed again that publishers will work closely with Facebook team to understand which stories, topics and formats are liked the most by audiences, but keep full editorial control of the shows. 

The details: According to Facebook, Germany is creating eight shows for “Facebook Watch,” while France is creating three shows and Sweden is creating one. 

Facebook Suffers Another Major Database Leak 

TechCrunch reports that hundreds of millions of phone numbers linked to Facebook accounts have been recently found online. 

Why it matters: The leak exposed millions of users’ phone numbers and put them at risk of spam calls and SIM-swapping attacks. Moreover, with someone else’s phone number, the password on any internet account associated with that number could have been force-reset by an attacker.

The details: There were more than 419 million records over several databases on users across geographies on the exposed server contained, including 133 million records on U.S.-based Facebook users, 18 million records of users in the U.K., and another with more than 50 million records on users in Vietnam.

YouTube Publishes An Update On Data Protection After Being Fined For Collecting Kids’ Data

YouTube shared a new update alongside the news today that the company has agreed to pay a $170 million fine based on its collection and targeting activities of children.

Why it matters: The settlement was based on allegations by the FTC that YouTube had violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting user information from children for its behavioral advertising initiatives. This high profile settlement shows the FTC is clamping down on tech companies for misusing data from children, which is now easier to access than ever before.

For brands, this means that advertising to children on the platform will be similar to that of traditional TV.

The details: In a blog post about the settlement, the company announced that there now will be machine learning algorithms built specifically to identify children’s content on YouTube. In four months, data collected from all children’s content will be seen as though it were coming from a child viewer.

“This means that we will limit data collection and use on videos made for kids only to what is needed to support the operation of the service. We will also stop serving personalized ads on this content entirely, and some features will no longer be available on this type of content, like comments and notifications,” the company explained in a blog post

Spotify Rolls Out Instagram AR Lens To Promote A Rap Album Release 

According to Campaign, Spotify revealed its first branded AR lens on Instagram to promote a new Headie One album. This borrows from Snap’s ad playbook.

Why it matters: With the branded AR lens, Spotify is making use of a new ad format on Instagram’s platform that is a test use case for Snap-like lenses on Instagram.

The details: With the new AR lens, users can overlay artwork from the album “Music x Road” on sharable selfies. 

Per Campaign, Spotify’s AR campaign relies on Facebook’s Spark AR Studio, which the social network expanded to Instagram last month in a beta test and which enables marketers create AR camera effects for Instagram filters.

Facebook Is Rolling Out Updated Desktop Layout

Facebook is starting to roll out its new desktop experience that leans more into its Groups product. Facebook of late has been running TV spots that highlight Facebook Groups as an important feature of the platform. It is unclear at this point how Facebook is planning to monetize Groups.

Why it matters: The new layout seems to make it more convenient to navigate to the vital elements on the platform from desktop, with tabs displayed along the top of the screen in a more constricted view. 

The details: As previously explained by the social media giant, “This redesign makes it easy for people to go from public spaces to more private ones, like Groups. There are tens of millions of active groups on Facebook, and when people find the right one, it often becomes the most meaningful part of how they use Facebook. That’s why we’re introducing new tools that will make it easier for you to discover and engage with groups of people who share your interests.”

Several users are already seeing the new format and soon, it will be available to all Facebook users. 

Facebook’s New Test Is Showcasing Stories From Pages In A New, In-Feed Panel

Social media expert, Matt Navarra, spotted Facebook testing Stories from Pages.

Why it matters: It’s clear that the social media giant believes that Stories are the future of social media sharing and with this particular test, Facebook might create an opportunity for more brand exposure. 

The details: The top of feed placement of Facebook Stories already offers a lot of potential for brands, making their presence more visible to users, but a specific listing of “Page Stories” could further enhance the effect. 

NFL And TikTok Announce Multi-Year Partnership 

The National Football League (NFL) and TikTok started a multi-year partnership to bring the NFL content to TikTok’s users. 

Why it matters: The NFL is rolling out its official TikTok account, bringing NFL content, such as uniquely packaged highlights, sideline moments and behind-the-scenes footage to NFL fans globally. 

The details: The NFL and TikTok will launch a series of NFL-themed hashtag challenges, providing an opportunity for TikTok users to share their passion for favorite NFL teams and players on the platform. The NFL and TikTok will also be partnering on creative marketing opportunities for brand activations around NFL content on TikTok. 

“Partnering with TikTok is a natural extension of our media strategy. The platform reaches a fast-growing global audience of NFL fans and future fans. The NFL programming and hashtag challenges are a perfect way to kick off the NFL’s 100th season–with fun, new content that will entertain fans and invites them to celebrate and experience their NFL fandom in a way that’s authentic to the unique experience of TikTok,”  said Blake Stuchin, vice president, digital media business development for the NFL. 

Study: Instagram Might Be The Next Big News Distribution Platform 

Per a Common Sense Media survey, Instagram has a great potential of becoming an important news distribution channel for younger audiences. Among all teens surveyed, 50 percent said they get their news from YouTub, but Instagram remains the most popular social platform overall for young people, with 84 percent of US teens using the platform at least once a month. 

Why it matters: Based on the study results, news organizations have an opportunity to reach new, younger audiences by launching native content on social channels, especially Instagram.

The details: According to the study, 64 percent of teens surveyed said that “seeing pictures and video showing what happened” gives them the best understanding of major news events, while just 36 percent said they’d prefer to read or hear facts about what happened, which makes the photo and video sharing platform a perfect outlet for news discovery. 

The Caption Or First Comment? Study Finds Where Instagram Hashtags Should Go

A recent study from Social Insider of nearly 650,000 Instagram posts has finally resolved the debate of whether hashtags should be placed in the caption or the first comment. 

Why it matters: The study found that 93.8 percent of brands are more successful when placing hashtags in the caption instead of the first comment. 

The details: Also, the data from the study revealed how hashtag placement affects small and medium-size Instagram pages’ reach per post. Here are the results:  

  • Profiles with under 5,000 followers: 36.85  percent average reach rate per post with hashtags in the caption 
  • Profiles with 5,000-10,000 followers: 20.98  percent average reach rate per post with hashtags in the caption 
  • Profiles with 10,000-50,000 followers: 21.47  percent average reach rate per post with hashtags in the caption 
  • Profiles with 50,000-100,000 followers: 21.43  percent average reach rate per post with hashtags in the caption

Facebook To Hide Total Like Counts On Posts

Reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong spotted Facebook toying with hiding the total like count to posts.

Why it matters: The company is seemingly expanding its efforts to focus more on user wellbeing and quality content while shifting away from pure popularity. 

The details: As part of the test, which is similar to hiding likes on Instagram, viewers won’t see the full count of likes (the content creator will see this, however). The list of people who liked or reacted to the post will still be accessible to everyone. 

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, September 6th. 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

IKEA, Sonos Launch Immersive Theater Activation

IKEA and Sonos have created an immersive theater in London called “The Sound Affect” for a fantastical walk-through experience that shows attendees how sound affects their surroundings and emotions. The activation follows the brands’ recent release of WiFi-enabled SYMFONISK speakers, a table lamp and multipurpose bookshelf which IKEA and Sonos created together.

The theatre experience is set to take place in London at Phonica Records where guests will embark on an explorative journey in a multi-sensory narrative led by SYMFONISK speakers. Each space within “The Sound Affect” represents a specific part of the human brain, described as such:

“As interactive brainstems come to life via light and sound, a cast of surreal characters interacts with participants to heighten emotion of the space—playing on the intricacies of the mind and the psychological state elicited in each room […] On returning to the lab IKEA scientists bring you back to reality and, feeling fresh and enlightened, you can then relax and discuss the unique experience in the tranquil atmosphere of the Ikea Symfonisk lounge.”

To get a better feel for the products, guests can also drop by the IKEA Sound Lounge to demo the SYMFONISK speakers and listen to music. The activation takes place between September 27 and 30, and guests are encouraged to sign up for time slot to fully enjoy the experience.

Popeyes Has Officially Won The Chicken Wars Of 2019

This summer there was no shortage of social media banter between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A. What started out as the launch of Popeyes’ chicken brioche sandwich erupted into a debacle that Twitter users will always remember as the chicken sandwich wars. 

The nearly month-long series of events led to a serendipitous historic moment in marketing for Popeyes—and not to mention millions of engagements generated on both companies’ accounts—which we’re taking a closer look at here.

On August 19, Chick-fil-A threw a subtle jab at Popeyes in response to its new nationwide chicken sandwich, one made of the same ingredients as Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwich. Popeyes replied “…y’all good?” and the rest is history. The tweet went viral and Popeyes chains were scrambling to serve up as many sandwiches as possible. In the end, they sold out of the sandwich nationwide due to running out of the chicken breast. Popeyes was left with no choice but to stop selling the sandwich until further notice, as reported by The New York Times.

Thanks to the chicken wars, Popeyes doubled its Twitter following from 106,000 in early August to 187,000 as of today. According to international social media analytics firm Talkwalker, Popeyes received 1.1 million mentions and 6.8 million engagements from 110,000 unique authors. The conversation there was being led by 18-34-year-olds, 59 percent of which were men. Chick-fil-A’s Twitter presence grew from 1.03 million followers to 1.09 million followers, but the brand still set Twitter abuzz with 101,700 mentions and 1.4 million engagements from 14,400 unique authors. Similar to Popeyes, the demographic showing love for Chick-fil-A was led by 57 percent men.

The most viral tweet from the chicken wars, a 45-second video that received 337,200 engagements, shows a man expressing his newfound obsession with the taste of Popeyes’ chicken sandwich to his wife.

While Popeyes and Chick-fil-A were going at it, another competitor in the duel for chicken champion waited to attack—KFC. On August 26, the company announced it would be launching Beyond Meat chicken wings and nuggets for one day only at one Atlanta location. 

Talkwalker reports that since then, there have been more than 6,000 mentions of KFC that reference its new Beyond chicken, generating 127,000 engagements from 5,300 unique users, 80 percent of which are under the age of 34. 

“Overall KFC timed this announcement very well and was able to keep the virality around chicken rolling – but for themselves – which may be the biggest lesson from this story,” said Todd Grossman, CEO Americas at Talkwalker. 

GM Appoints First CMO Since 2012

This week’s executive moves include the appointment of GM’s first CMO since 2012, the departure of Marriott marketing officer Karin Timpone, the selection of two senior marketers at TIME, the hiring of Vides Hirsch as Metrolink’s chief marketing and communications officer and more.

Deborah Wahl Fills GM’s Vacant CMO Position

Adage reports that GM, who has been without a chief marketing officer since 2012, has tapped veteran marketer Deborah Wahl for the position.

Wahl, who served as Cadillac’s CMO since 2018, has also held chief marketing positions at McDonald’s USA and Chrysler. Melissa Grady is set to replace Wahl as Cadillac’s chief marketing officer, moving up from her position as director of media and performance marketing.

Wahl’s appointment comes as a number of other executive leadership positions are shifting at GM.

David Burke Joins Animation Studio Laika As CMO

Laika, the animation studio behind feature films Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings, welcomes David Burke as chief marketing officer.

Burke joins the studio from Universal Pictures, where he served as general manager for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Per The Hollywood Reporter, Burke was responsible for planning the releases of more than 380 titles, including 60 that debuted as No. 1 in both Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Andy McKeon To Lead U.S. Ski & Snowboard Marketing

Andy McKeon has been tapped as chief marketing officer for U.S. Ski & Snowboard, reports Ski Racing.

He will be replacing chief commercial officer, Dan Barnett, who is vacating the role to return to the UK.

On-Demand Delivery Service Favor Hires CMO

Favor, an on-demand delivery company, has appointed Fernando Trueba to the position of chief marketing officer, according to Grocery Dive.

Trueba’s remit as chief marketing officer is to accelerate brand growth; he previously served as CEO and co-founder of

Karin Timpone Will Vacate Marriott Global Marketing Officer Role

Karin Timpone will be stepping down from her position as global marketing officer at Marriott, according to an update from Adweek.

Timpone, who has been with Marriott since 2017, will be leaving her global marketing role at the end of 2019 to “pursue new opportunities.”

The company grew its loyalty membership to 135 million members during Timpone’s time as marketing officer and tapped into branded content lifestyle marketing with the advent of the digital magazine, Marriott Bonvoy Traveler.

Metrolink Adds Chief Marketing And Comms Officer To Leadership Team

Metrolink has hired Vides Hirsch as chief marketing and communications officer, reports Mass Transit

Hirsch joins from the Public Media Group of Southern California where she served as VP of marketing communications and brand. She held several other senior-level marketing positions prior to that, notably at Hot Topic, Inc. and the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Monica.

The hiring comes at a time when Metrolink CEO Stephanie Wiggins is making a number of key appointments to bolster executive leadership at the Southern California commuter rail system.

Fazoli’s Promotes Marketing VP To CMO

Kentucky-based Italian fast-casual chain Fazoli’s has promoted Jodie Conrad to CMO, reports Restaurant Business. Conrad has been with Fazoli’s since 2016 and has served as senior brand director and most recently, VP of marketing.

TIME Builds Upon Marketing Leadership With Two SVP Hires

TIME announced the appointment of Radhika Prakash as SVP of brand and content marketing, as well as Maya Draisin as SVP of progress marketing.

Prakash most recently served as global head of content strategy and media at BlackRock; prior to that, she served as head of brand and creative strategy at Pinterest.

Draisin joins TIME from Conde Nast, where she served as VP of marketing. Additionally, Draisin co-founded The Webby Awards.

The appointments come as TIME announces a swath of new leadership positions across their sales department.

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, Septenber 6th. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

Chief Marketing OfficerBumbleAustin, TX
Global CMOPopeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.Miami, FL
Chief Communications And Marketing OfficerUC San DiegoSan Diego, CA
Senior Vice President Of MarketingClear Channel OutdoorNew York, NY
Vice President Of Marketing, InternationalRokuSan Jose, 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.

From Airbnb To TwentyFirstCenturyBrand With Alexandra Dimiziani

During this episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Alexandra Dimiziani, co-founder and global managing partner of TwentyFirstCenturyBrand. Dimiziani’s previous career experience includes working at Airbnb as first the head of EMEA marketing, based in London, and then as the brand’s global marketing director in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dimiziani’s prior role at Coca-Cola was as global creative director for still beverages, new products and corporate social responsibility based in Atlanta and then as the marketing content director for Northwest Europe and the Nordics. Dimiziani talks about how her career has benefitted from shifting between advertising and marketing, as well as among other pursuits and interests like working in Rwanda and Burundi, getting her masters in investigative journalism and writing a novel that led to death threats.

Dimiziani discusses graduating from university at the young age of 19 with a bachelor’s in business administration and working at the ad agencies Bozell and DDB. She learned about extreme poverty while backpacking by herself through Ecuador, East Africa, India and Southeast Asia. Her trip also helped her gain global awareness and compassion for underprivileged communities, which coincided with her own feelings of being an outsider. Dimiziani shares the vast commercial marketing-meets-community responsibility insight she learned and applied while at Coca-Cola, Airbnb and most recently while launching TwentyFirstCenturyBrand.

We talk about how she is driven by personal growth and regularly tests her own limits. She also discusses the advantage gained by standing out from the crowd and being a lateral thinker because she’s had such varied real-life experiences. “I believe that the most innovation truly occurs in this sort of mash-up of insight and understanding across subject areas,” Dimiziani shares. 

Why do companies need a tight brand narrative centered around purpose? “So, the world understands why it needs the brand. It’s also how consumers know how to hold the brand accountable. So when that narrative goes out into the world and is molded, rightly so, by the community, it is still recognizable.” 

Finally, we discuss TwentyFirstCenturyBrand’s most popular offering called the ‘brand blueprint.’ This, she notes, is “what a brand aspires to stand for in the hearts and minds of its communities. And that result is a brand narrative that unites the vast and various stakeholder communities, from consumers to employees, partners and investors. It also acts as the foundational reference that helps the workforce make better, faster decisions that deliver on-brand consistently.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • When Alexandra Dimiziani isn’t advising brands, does she work as a C.I.A. agent? (01:38)
  • Alexandra introduces herself and her early work experience. (03:12)
  • What was the novel about that Alexandra wrote?  (08:50)
  • What inspired her move to Coca-Cola? (09:25)
  •  Alexandra discusses moving to London to get her degree, meeting her husband and joining Airbnb. (10:56)
  • How was Alexandra shaped by getting her degree at 19? (14:28) 
  • In what ways does Alexandra take strength from her variety of experiences? (17:55)
  • What did she learn while working for Airbnb? (21:45)
  • How did TwentyFirstCenturyBrand get started and what does it offer? (29:28) 
  • What are the values of TwentyFirstCenturyBrand? (38:32)
  • Is there an experience in Alexandra Dimiziani’s life that has defined who she is today? (43:43)
  • What advice would she give to her younger self? (46:23)
  • What fuels Alexandra to keep going in her career and life? (47:40)
  • Are there brands that she thinks we should pay attention to? (48:35)
  • Where does Alexandra see the future of marketing going? (51:07)

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.

Telegram Moves Forward With ‘Gram’; YouTube Drops Follower Count

This week wraps up with the news about Telegram moving forward with its cryptocurrency initiative, Instagram testing syndicating IGTV videos to Facebook, TikTok working on a way for advertisers to target users in other apps and YouTube announcing the elimination of exact follower count.

Telegram To Roll Out Cryptocurrency By End Of October

The New York Times reports that Telegram might launch “Gram,” its own cryptocurrency, in the next couple of months. 

Why it matters: With its own coins, Telegram will allow in-app money transactions, adding more value to the platform and its users by creating its own closed ecosystem. 

The details: According to legal documents reviewed by The New York Times, October 31 is the deadline for the launch. The coins will be stored in a Gram digital wallet, which will be offered to all 200+ million Telegram users worldwide.

TikTok Rolls Out A Native Audience Network For Advertisers 

TikTok had reportedly rolled out a native audience network for advertisers who are trying to reach the video sharing app’s nearly 260 million collective users in China and Japan. 

Why it matters: The move will provide an opportunity for advertisers to target users in other apps. 

The details: Per AdWeek, full-page video ads and video ads that appear in most free-to-play games are now available for media buyers to choose from. 

Two media buyers confirmed to AdWeek that the network’s test run in the East Asian market could be a signal of things to come in the U.S.

YouTube To Stop Displaying Exact Follower Counts In September

YouTube confirmed in a tweet that the company will change the way it displays how many people are following an account. 

Why it matters: The initiative is YouTube’s attempt to take the pressure off creators and shift the focus from popularity to quality content. 

The details: Only accounts with more than 1,000 followers will have their subscriber count abbreviated. However, the change will also apply to the YouTube Data API Service, used by platforms like Social Blade, which tracks follower counts across YouTube, Twitch, Instagram and Twitter. In the recent update YouTube explained, “While we know not everyone will agree with this update, we hope it’s a positive step for the community, both those viewing and creating content.”

Instagram Will Let Creators Syndicate IGTV Videos To Facebook

Instagram was spotted developing a feature that would allow users to post their IGTV content to both Instagram as a preview and to Facebook and Watch. Reverse engineering pro, Jane Wong, also found that the videos could be part of an ongoing, episodic series. 

Why it matters: Since IGTV hasn’t yet proved to be very popular, the move might encourage more video creators to use it by boosting their videos’ distribution to also include Facebook. 

The details: In addition, IGTV will auto-populate Instagram handles and tags on IGTV titles and descriptions, and support the ability to upload longer video from mobile. Also, IGTV increased the minimum threshold to upload on mobile to one minute and is allowing mobile uploads up to 15 minutes.

Facebook Rolls Out Messenger Lead Generation Globally

Facebook announced the global rollout of lead generation in Messenger, allowing businesses to configure an “automated question experience” with the intent of simplifying the customer acquisition flow between click-to-Messenger ads and Messenger itself.

Why it matters: Facebook’s announcement includes a key statistic relevant to marketers: 61 percent of people surveyed across the US, UK, Brazil and India agree that messaging is the easiest way to contact a business. The press release also includes cursory statistics on acquisition from RIFT Tax, a UK-based financial services company.

“RIFT Tax used lead generation in Messenger to increase its customer base of Armed Forces members—increasing qualified leads by 42 percent. By following up with leads in Messenger, [they were] able to respond in less than 10 minutes and achieved an 18 percent higher lead resolve rate versus phone.”

The details: With the option to automate initial questions with customers, businesses can follow up with leads faster and create custom questions to prioritize leads based on intent and “qualifying signals you learn in conversation,” according to Facebook’s one sheet on the new feature.

Facebook’s Hidden Messenger Screen Sharing Option

Social Media Today reports the finding of an unreleased Messenger option that effectively lets you share the screen of your mobile device instead of utilizing your device’s camera.

Why it matters: Allowing screen sharing within Messenger creates new opportunities for sharing different types of content.

But as Andrew Hutchinson notes in Social Media Today’s coverage of the newly discovered option, the potential for communal, in-screen walkthroughs and video/photo sharing extends to the potential for exploiting the feature, including the sharing of potentially pirated or sensitive material.

The details: Discovered by the “notorious” Jane Manchun Wong, who describes the unreleased feature as “like Watch together […] beyond contents available on Facebook,” the Messenger option allows users to switch to a screen share of their mobile devices, allowing in-app experiences and more.

Read Wong’s full blog entry detailing her findings here.

Facebook Rolls Out Updates To Political Ads

Facebook is getting ready for the US 2020 election by adding more updates to its policies for advertisements about social issues, elections and politics.

The updates include strengthening the authorization process for US advertisers, showing people more information about each advertiser and updating the list of social issues in the US to better reflect the public discourse on and off Facebook, the company says. 

Why it matters: As explained by Facebook, “People should know who is trying to influence their vote and advertisers shouldn’t be able to cover up who is paying for ads. That’s why over the past few years, we’ve made important changes to help ensure more transparency and authenticity in ads about social issues, elections or politics.”

The details: From now on, besides providing their US street address, phone number, business email and a business website matching the email, advertisers must also provide tax-registered organization identification number; a government website domain that matches an email ending in .gov or .mil and Federal Election Commission (FEC) identification number. 

Facebook is Testing a New Listing of Post Reactions 

Also, this week Facebook was spotted toying with a new way to highlight Reactions to posts. 

Why it matters: The ability to highlight reactions to posts on Facebook can help boost engagement and response to the posts. 

The details: With the new format, Notifications listing would display a small portion of the post, with respective reactions overlaid. 

YouTube’s CEO On Why “Controversial Or Even Offensive” Videos Still Live On The Platform 

In her quarterly letter to creators, YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki, explains why YouTube must leave up some videos that are “controversial or even offensive.” 

Why it matters: The problem of policing and eliminating the spread of troubling videos has been a long-time struggle for YouTube, so it is crucial that the company’s CEO addresses it head-on and provide a clear statement on where the company stands. 

The details: Wojcicki wrote, “Problematic content represents a fraction of one percent of the content on YouTube and we’re constantly working to reduce this even further. This very small amount has a hugely outsized impact, both in the potential harm for our users, as well as the loss of faith in the open model that has enabled the rise of your creative community. One assumption we’ve heard is that we hesitate to take action on problematic content because it benefits our business. This is simply not true—in fact, the cost of not taking sufficient action over the long term results in lack of trust from our users, advertisers, and you, our creators. We want to earn that trust.” 

Facebook Is Developing A New Messaging App For Instagram 

The Verge reported that Facebook is working on developing a new messaging app for instant, intimate sharing between users on Instagram. 

Why it matters: Considering that a lot of communication is now happening in instant messengers, the app might help marketers spark conversations about products and encourage Instagram users to share the buzz with their close friends on the platform. 

The details: The app, called “Threads,” is a companion app to Instagram. It invites users to automatically share their location, speed and battery life with friends, with an option for sharing more typical text, photo and video messages using Instagram’s creative tools. 

Per The Verge, if a user opts in to automatic sharing, Threads will regularly update that user’s status, providing a real-time view of information about the user’s location, speed and more. At the moment, however, real-time location is not yet displayed in Threads. There is also an option to manually update status, with statuses appearing in the main feed along with messages. 

YouTube Is Labeling Videos Uploaded By State 

YouTube rolled out “State-Funded” label in Hong Kong for videos uploaded by publishers that receive funding from the government or public. 

Why it matters: Per YouTube, “This information panel providing publisher context is meant to give you additional information to help you better understand the sources of news content that you watch on YouTube. Inclusion of the information panel providing publisher context is based on information about the news publisher made available by Wikipedia and other independent third-party sources. It is not a comment by YouTube on the publisher’s or video’s editorial direction, or on a government’s editorial influence.”

The details: The labels display statements about how the publisher is funded along with links to a Wikipedia entry about the publisher. 

The feature is already in use in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, India, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland and now, in Hong Kong. 

Note: the panels will not be displayed in YouTube search results, nor will they affect the video’s features or eligibility for monetization.

Twitter Is Testing A New, Larger Image Carousel Ad Format 

Twitter started testing a new carousel ad format back in March, and this week, the social media company is expanding the initiative. 

Why it matters: The initiative aims to give advertisers the capacity to add multiple, larger images to their collections.

The details: Twitter confirmed the test expansion to Social Media Today, saying, “We are constantly experimenting with new creative capabilities to deliver the best experience for people on Twitter while delivering value for marketers.” 

The new ad format launch date is yet to be revealed. 

Snapchat Rolls Out New Tools For Developers

Snapchat is reportedly launching a new tool for developers that will enable them to create filters that can change hair color and try on curated makeup in AR.  

Why it matters: The tools will make AR-filters easier for beginners and open more creative opportunities for marketers. 

The details: Starting on Tuesday, a wide range of new templates and features on Snapchat’s desktop app, Lens Studio, becomes available. 

Also, as part of the new initiative, Snap is adding new “Landmarkers,” including:

  • Arc de Triomphe – Paris, France
  • Astronomical Clock – Prague, Czech Republic
  • Brandenburg Gate – Berlin, Germany
  • El Castillo – Chichen Itza, Mexico
  • Galata Tower – Istanbul, Turkey
  • Gateway of India – Mumbai, India
  • Leaning Tower of Pisa – Pisa, Italy
  • Natural History Museum – London, UK
  • Neues Rathaus – Munich, Germany
  • Qasr Al-Farid – Mada’in Saleh, Saudi Arabia
  • Great Sphinx of Giza – Giza, Egypt
  • Statue of Liberty – New York, US 
  • Taj Mahal – Agra, India
  • Tower Bridge – London, UK

Study: Social Commerce Sees Highest Adoption Among Retail Technologies

A new study by Bizrate Insights found that social commerce was named the most popular new retail technology among U.S. internet users, leaving behind visual search, AR, VR and voice commerce. 

Why it matters: The growing popularity of social shopping can be explained by the fact that social media platforms, such as Facebook, Pinterest and Snap invest a lot of resources into boosting direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales on their platforms with digital transactions. 

The details: According to the study, 34 percent of U.S. adults said they had made a purchase through social media, which is up from 29 percent last year. Another 27 percent said they were interested in social shopping. 

Andrew Lipsman, principal analyst at eMarketer, explained, “The reality is that social commerce took a full decade to catch its stride, and new technologies like visual search, AR and VR are still very early in their adoption curve. As these visual enhancements get introduced into social media environments, they will eventually find useful applications for shopping—but will take some time before becoming mainstream.”

Facebook Wins Appeal Against Data-Collection Ban In Germany 

The Wall Street Journal reported that the social media giant won the case against Germany’s Federal Cartel Office’s order that would prohibit the company from collecting data across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp without user consent. 

Why it matters: While the successful blocking of the antitrust edict is a major win for Facebook, it’s also a major loss for data-privacy regulations in Europe. 

In a statement for TechCrunch, FCO president Andreas Mundt said: “Data and data handling are decisive factors for competition in the digital economy. The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf has today responded differently than the Bundeskartellamt to key legal issues. These legal issues are highly significant for the future state of competition in the digital economy. We are convinced that we can act in this area based on the existing antitrust law. For this reason, we are going to appeal on points of law to the Federal Court of Justice to clarify these issues.” 

The details: The FCO is given a month to appeal the decision. A spokeswoman confirmed to TechCrunch that the appeal will be filed. 

YouTube Refuses To Negotiate With YouTubers Union

According to The Verge, today YouTube announced that the company won’t cooperate with the YouTubers Union–an organization formed last year to support creators. 

Why it matters: The YouTubers Union is calling for monetization for smaller channels; the right to speak with a real person in case a channel is being suspended on the platform; more transparent moderation decisions and more transparent rules around content moderation; ending demonetization and the suspension of Google Preferred. The details: A YouTube spokesperson said in an emailed statement to The Verge: “We explained to the union in great detail what YouTube is doing in terms of transparency and support for YouTubers. But we have also made clear that we are not going to negotiate their demands.”

Facebook Rolls Out More Badges For Pages And Page Interactions 

Facebook’s group badges, launched back in November 2018, have been updated with new options. 

Why it matters: The main idea behind the initiative is to celebrate the most active Page contributors, boosting engagement in Pages through social recognition. 

The details: The complete set of badges now includes: “Admin,” “Moderator,” “Rising Star,” “New Member,” “Visual Storyteller,” “Conversation Starter” and “Founding Member.” Additionally, badges were added into Page interactions, with an option to highlight the most engaged group members. The social media giant also made it possible for users to have two badges at the same time. And the new “Anniversary Follower” and “Milestone Follower” badges allow Facebook group admins to track and celebrate certain milestones reached by a community. 

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, August 30th. 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

Disney Lays Off Two Senior Marketing Executives

This week’s marketing moves include the exit of two senior marketing executives at Disney, the promotion of Tender Greens VP Jack Oh to chief marketing officer, the selection of Viacom veteran Julia Phelps as executive vice president, chief communications and corporate marketing officer in the anticipated ViacomCBS merger, the promotion of both Chobani and Arby’s chief marketers to company presidents and finally, the appointment of GE CMO Linda Boff as president of the GE Foundation and more.

Disney Drops Two Senior Marketing Execs

Disney has laid off two senior marketing executives, including 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment marketing EVP Greg Drebin and marketing VP Jennifer Chai, The Drum reports.

The latest layoffs hit as Disney restructures roles in the wake of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. It’s anticipated that up to 4,000 staff could be let go, while 60 media distribution employees have already lost their jobs at both Disney and Fox.

Jack Oh Named Tender Greens CMO

QSR Magazine reports the promotion of Tender Greens VP Jack Oh to the position of chief marketing officer.

Before joining the modern cafeteria-style restaurant chain with a focus on locally-sourced dishes, Oh cut his teeth in a number of brand marketing roles focused on technology, entertainment and gaming at companies like Activision, Microsoft and others.

Most recently, he served as senior director of branding communications for adidas.

Julia Phelps Moves Up In Midst Of ViacomCBS Merger

Viacom and CBS jointly announced today that Julia Phelps will serve as EVP, chief communications and corporate marketing officer at ViacomCBS, pending closure of their expected merger.

Phelps has been with Viacom since April 2017 and has been operating under the title of EVP of communications, culture and marketing.

Her ambit outlined within the press release includes leading “the combined company’s corporate communications, corporate marketing, corporate responsibility, special events and internal creative teams.” She will report to Bob Bakish, president and CEO of Viacom, who is slated to become president and CEO of ViacomCBS.

NerdWallet Promotes Kelly Gillease To Newly Created CMO Position

NerdWallet’s VP of marketing is getting an upgrade, reports Campaign. Kelly Gillease is stepping into the newly created role of chief marketing officer at the finance platform. She has been with NerdWallet since August 2018.

Chobani’s CMO Promoted To President

Chobani announced a string of internal promotions today, leading with the appointment of their chief marketing officer, Peter McGuinness, to the role of president.

The announcement from Chobani, which is the second-largest overall yogurt manufacturer in the United States, lauded McGuinness’ six years of leadership at the company. 

McGuinness’ promotion comes as the brand situates itself as the only major US yogurt brand to grow in dollar sales and market share this year.

Linda Boff Named GE Foundation Board President

Linda Boff, chief marketing officer at GE, announced via LinkedIn today that she’ll be taking on an expanded role as president of the GE Foundation. She has served on the board since January 1.

The GE Foundation, a philanthropic organization with the mission statement of “transforming our communities and shaping the diverse workforce of tomorrow by leveraging the power of GE,” has created initiatives to advance STEM education in Boston Public Schools, provide improved access to healthcare across the developing world and supports disaster and humanitarian relief efforts globally.

Boff will be replacing Ann Klee who takes her leave at GE in September.

Shryne Group Hires CMO

Los Angeles-based Cannabis holding company Shryne Group has hired Elisabeth Baron as chief marketing officer.

Baron joins the company after leading marketing at Diageo and LVHM, working with brands such as Crown Royal, Johnnie Walker and Grand Marnier. Most recently, she led marketing for Stillhouse Spirits and Canndescent, a cannabis flower brand.

She will report to Brian Mitchell, CEO and co-founder of Shryne Group.

Arby’s Promotes CMO Jim Taylor To President

Arby’s CMO Jim Taylor has been promoted to president of the fast food chain, reports Biz Journals. He will replace Rob Lynch who vacated the role earlier this month to take up the position of CEO at Papa John’s.

Previous to serving as chief marketing officer, Taylor was the SVP of brand advertising and activation for Arby’s.

SVP, CMO Of Gemological Institute Of America To Retire

Kathryn Kimmel, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at the Gemological Institute of America, will retire August 30 after 29 years with the independent nonprofit.

Tom Moses, GIA’s EVP and chief laboratory and research officer, noted in the statement announcing the departure that “Kathryn’s expertise, guidance and unerring dedication to GIA’s mission helped to make our Institute what it is today.”

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, August 30th. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

Chief Marketing OfficerBumbleAustin, TX
Vice President, Film MarketingNew York UniversityBrooklyn, NY
Chief, Marketing And Communications OfficerSCRRA/MetrolinkLos Angeles, CA
Senior Vice President of MarketingClear Channel OutdoorNew York, NY
Vice President of Marketing, InternationalRokuSan Jose, CA
Chief Marketing OfficerFounders Brewing Co.Grand Rapids, MI

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