Trend Set: Spooky Season, Social NFTs And Coke’s ‘Real Magic’

Ayzenberg junior strategist Ashley Otah surfaces the latest trends at play in the world of culture and entertainment.


In the first new platform since 2016, Coke’s ‘Real Magic’ global campaign kicked off with a new ad titled “One Coke Away from Each Other.” Centering around Gen Z and gamers, the video showcases the dichotomies between the virtual landscape and unity in the digital age. Although a split camp has arisen regarding its reception, many note that it aligns with previous themes from the brand.


TikTok and Twitter take on NFTs. While Twitter is solidifying a new process for NFT authentication, TikTok has decided to partner with select celebrities, creators and more to release a collection. Expect to see similar integrations and rollouts from platforms soon.


Clubhouse now lets users record streams, share and download clips, and more. The new features titled ‘replays‘ and ‘clips‘ aim to align with the similar offerings of Twitter Spaces and Spotify Greenroom. As the space becomes more competitive, interactiveness and personalization are becoming increasingly imperative.

“Spooky Season”

Have no fear, fall is finally here. Although people can’t quite pin the person who coined the term, a deep dive into the world wide web showcases the rise of “Spooky Season.” Dubbing things “Spooky Spice Lattes,” “Spooky Baskets,” and more, brands are catching up and cashing in on people’s love for “Spooky Season.”


Tapping into TikTok. Square partners with the platform to let its TikTok for Business users promote and sell on the video app. Social commerce is booming and does not look to be slowing down as more want fast, easy, and integrated shopping experiences.

The Washington Post Taps Perrin Lawrence As Head Of Brand Marketing

This week in leadership updates, The Washington Post hires Perrin Lawrence as head of brand marketing, Zip Co names Jinal Shah chief marketing officer, Sesame Workshop elevates chief marketing officer Samantha Maltin to executive vice president and more.

The Washington Post’ Names Perrin Lawrence Head Of Brand Marketing

Perrin Lawrence has joined The Washington Post as head of its newly formed brand marketing division.

Lawrence joins from AI.Reverie where she was head of marketing and communications.

Previously, Lawrence spent five years at The New York Times, most recently as senior manager of international marketing. For a time, she also served as director of audience development for the NBA.

Zip Co Hires Jinal Shah As US Chief Marketing Officer

Zip Co has appointed Jinal Shah chief marketing officer for its US market.

Shah joins Zip from Feather, where she led marketing for nearly two years.

Prior to Feather, Shah was vice president of marketing and ecommerce at S’well.

Sesame Workshop Promotes Samantha Maltin To Executive Vice President And Chief Marketing Officer

Sesame Workshop’s chief marketing officer Samantha Maltin has added executive vice president to her purview. Maltin has been chief marketing officer for the company since 2019 and will now expand her scope to include strategic communications, events and archives.

Before joining Sesame Workshop, Maltin was a partner at Known. She also previously spent four years with A+E Networks as a senior vice president and head of marketing for the HISTORY Channel and H2, as well as 15 years at Viacom/Nickelodeon in senior domestic and international roles.

Focus Brands Elevates Mike Freeman To Chief Brand Officer Of McAlister’s Deli

Focus Brands-owned McAlister’s Deli has promoted Mike Freeman to chief brand officer.

Freeman has been with McAlister’s Deli for 13 years and was most recently vice president of operations.

Halloween Spending Expected To Reach All-Time High Of $10.14 Billion This Year

After a Halloween-less past year, Americans plan to spend more than ever on Halloween-related items with consumer spending around the holiday projected to reach an all-time high of $10.14 billion. That’s up from $8.05 billion in 2020 according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

With retailers bringing in Halloween merchandise earlier than normal this year, consumers are getting a headstart on their Halloween shopping. Forty-five percent plan to shop in September or earlier and another 39 percent during the first two weeks of October. This gives marketers an opportunity to start their Halloween campaigns early and get a leg up on competitors.

On average, US consumers celebrating Halloween this year plan to spend $102.74 on costumes, candy, decorations and greeting cards—$10 more than they planned to spend in 2020.

Households with kids are estimated to spend more than twice the amount than households without children ($149.69 compared with $73.57) on Halloween items. Spending on Halloween decorations continues to climb and is expected to reach $3.17 billion, up from last year’s $2.59 billion.

At $3.32 billion, the NRF says total spending on Halloween costumes is the highest it’s ever been since 2017. Over 1.8 million children plan to dress as Spiderman, more than 1.6 million as their favorite princess, more than 1.2 million as Batman and more than 1.2 million as their other favorite superheroes.

As for adults, about 69 percent already have their costumes planned. More than 4.6 million will dress like a witch. Other top costume choices for adults this year include a vampire, a ghost, a cat and a pirate.

One in five plan to dress their pet up for the holiday this year—28 percent of those aged 18-24 and 30 percent of those aged 25-34. The most popular costumes for furry friends this year include a pumpkin, hotdog, superhero and bumblebee.

Halloween celebration plans are also on the up and up, with an estimated 65 percent of Americans intending to celebrate Halloween or participate in Halloween activities—not too far off from the 68 percent in 2019 before the pandemic and slightly higher than the 58 percent in 2020.

The top Halloween activities consumers plan to engage in include handing out candy (66 percent), decorating their home or yard (52 percent), dressing in costumes (46 percent) and carving a pumpkin (44 percent). Just a quarter of Americans plan to host or attend a Halloween party this year.

The NRF’s findings are based on responses from 8,061 consumers during a survey conducted from September 1 to 8.

Trend Set: Emily Zugay’s Brand Redesigns, Fortnite x Balenciaga

Ayzenberg junior strategist Ashley Otah surfaces the latest trends at play in the world of culture and entertainment.


Tipping on Twitter just took a turn. Twitter has announced a new feature for its platform which allows Bitcoin payments through Strike, a crypto wallet app. This cements the company as the first mainstream social platform to roll out crypto features for its users. Most recently, China declares bitcoin illegal.

Merch Madness

Colossal collaborations and drops are happening left and right. From Balenciaga x Fortnite, Swedish House Mafia x IKEA, and A&W’s Cheddar Weather, brands are cashing in on limited capsule drops that keep the people coming back for more.


The race to the top streaming spot. Amazon has launched Prime Video Channels in India as they look to expand in the market. While Netflix rolls out free plans in Kenya on Android smartphones, Disney+ brings back a limited capacity of its seven-day free trial.


TikToker Emily Zugay is teaching brands design 101. After uploading a now-viral video showcasing her rebranding skills, Adobe, Detroit Lions, Nascar and more are knocking at her door. While the people love it, they want brands to step up and pay for the promo.


Money matters. MagnifyMoney found that nearly six in ten investors aged 40 or younger are members of investment communities and forums, and nearly half turned to social platforms for research. Social media is becoming a sounding board for the next generation of investors in this modern trading world.

Progressive Insurance Appoints Remi Kent Chief Marketing Officer

This week in leadership updates, Progressive names Remi Kent chief marketing officer, Samba TV appoints Meredith Brace chief marketing officer, Xerox elevates Deena LaMarque Piquion to chief marketing officer, Barclays US Consumer Bank taps Lili Tomovich as chief marketing officer and more.

Progressive Insurance Hires Remi Kent As Chief Marketing Officer

Progressive Insurance has named Remi Kent chief marketing officer. Kent joins from 3M, where she spent the past eight years, most recently as senior vice president, global chief marketing officer.

Prior to 3M, Kent spent 13 years at Procter & Gamble where she led marketing for businesses across North America, Asia and Western Europe.

Xerox Promotes Deena LaMarque Piquion To Chief Marketing Officer

Xerox has elevated Deena LaMarque Piquion, senior vice president and general manager of Xerox’s Latin America operations, to chief marketing officer.

Prior to Xerox, Piquion spent nearly 20 years at Tech Data, most recently as vice president and general manager of the company’s Latin America and Caribbean operations.

Barclays US Consumer Bank Appoints Lili Tomovich Chief Marketing Officer

Barclays US Consumer Bank has named Lili Tomovich chief marketing officer.

Tomovich joins Barclays from Grove Collaborative, where she served as chief marketing officer. Previously, Tomovich was the chief experience and marketing officer for MGM Resorts International.

Bank Of America Plans To Ditch Its Chief Marketing Officer Role

Following the retirement of its chief marketing officer Meredith Verdone later this year, Bank of America will axe its chief marketing officer role

According to Business Insider, Bank of America’s head of digital David Tyrie will oversee marketing operations when the shift occurs. With this shift, Bank of America’s 1,400-person marketing team will also be integrated into Tyrie’s digital team.

As Tryie told Insider Intelligence, “Digital has become the centerpiece of the relationship with our customers.”

SiriusXM Announces New Senior Marketing Executives

SiriusXM has added new executives to its marketing team. First up, Jasmin Chanana has been named senior vice president, digital and customer experience. Chanana joins from EY, where he served as managing director, digital.

In addition, Kimberly Wilson has been appointed senior vice president, brand and advertising. Wilson previously served as vice president, multiplatform marketing for Disney.

Samba TV Taps Meredith Brace As Chief Marketing Officer

Samba TV has hired Meredith Brace as its first chief marketing officer in 21 months.

Brace joins Samba TV from Fox, where she most recently served as executive vice president, brand marketing and category sales.

Samba’s chief marketing officer role has been vacant since Randi Barshack exited in December 2019. Since then, head of marketing Jim Tarr assumed the role.

Facebook And Ray-Ban Take Their Shot At Smart Glasses

Amid a push to defend its image and in light of company documents showing awareness that Instagram is harmful to teen girls, Facebook has debuted Ray-Ban Stories, its first generation of smart glasses and the first launch from its multi-year partnership with EssilorLuxottica, which was inked in September 2020.

Paired with the Facebook View app, the wearable tech has built-in open-ear audio speakers and a three-microphone audio array to enable voice calls and music listening akin to an experience you’d expect from dedicated headphones, plus two integrated 5MP cameras that let wearers capture, save and share photos and up to 30-second videos to social media apps on their phone.

Ray-Ban Stories—which start at $299 and are available in 20 style combinations and five colors in select retail stores in the US and abroad—mark Facebook’s next step to developing augmented reality (AR) glasses, which the company confirmed in 2018 it’s building.

The internet’s reaction to Ray-Ban Stories has so far has been mixed. Some users believe the glasses have ushered in the next era of AR and virtual reality (VR), while others believe they’re wrong in every way, expressing concerns around privacy and personal data. And given the deluge of privacy hiccups Facebook has run into, there’s a lot to unpack here.

Facebook says it “baked privacy directly into Ray-Ban’s design and functionality,” adding that the glasses include a hardwired capture LED in the camera that shines a white light as a means to notify people nearby while snapping photos or videos.

European regulators deem the light an inadequate mechanism, with Facebook’s lead EU data protection regulator calling on the tech giant to “confirm and demonstrate that the LED indicator light is effective for its purpose and to run an information campaign to alert the public as to how this new consumer product may give rise to less obvious recording of their images,” according to TechCrunch.

Facebook published a set of guidelines for wearing the smart glasses responsibly, such as powering off the glasses in public bathrooms and not tampering with the LED light, but some are concerned they still pose a big opportunity for them to be used nefariously. One Twitter user responded to Facebook’s announcement by tweeting:

“Can these record other people without them knowing and their consent? Seems a massive invasion of privacy disaster waiting to happen. But then again, it’s @Facebook. Since when do they care about privacy”

Other privacy-centric features include the ability to determine personal preferences for importing photos and videos and when and where you share content with the glasses. Facebook says photos and videos are encrypted on the Ray-Ban Stories, which can only be paired with one Facebook account at a time. That means if you lose your glasses and someone tries pairing them with a new phone and account, any data and media left on the glasses would be automatically deleted.

There still remain qualms about personal data breaches, with one Twitter user saying

“Is there a conversation going on about the threat these cameras pose to passwords? I can’t help but think about how easy a casual glance at the person next to you on the train’s phone as they look at their bank account gives you record of their most sensitive information…”

Facebook says that Ray-Ban Stories only collect data needed to make the glasses work and function, like the battery status, your email address and password for your Facebook login to verify it’s really you when you log into the Facebook View app, as well as your WiFi connectivity. Users can opt-in to share additional data — including things like the number of images you captured or how long you spend taking videos — with Facebook for product development, improvement and personalization. In addition, the use of Facebook Assistant for voice command-powered capture is optional via Settings.

It’s too early to tell if Ray-Ban Stories will be viewed as an ahead-of-its-time product, but it’s undeniable that people aren’t fully comfortable with camera glasses. Case in point: Earlier predecessors have already tried and failed with wearable tech—users expressed privacy concerns over Google Glass’ built-in camera and just 0.08 percent of Snapchat’s users bought its camera sunglasses Spectacles.  

On that note, one Twitter user pointed out the lack of Facebook’s innovation, saying: “@Snapchat already did this no one needs this. Okay you added speakers…”

As of now, Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses and the Facebook View app are ad-free, but given advertising revenue continues to be the bulk of the company’s income—ad revenue surged 56 percent to $28.6 billion in Q2—it would come as no surprise if that changed down the road. Until then, the smart glasses will provide brands a transformative approach to the way they capture content, specifically the ability to put viewers in the driver’s seat via an immersive, first-person experience.

As Facebook notes:

“We designed media capture to stand up to a lot of movement—from your head swiveling to take in a scene to the speed of capture from your skateboard. Optimizations from our computational photography work include HDR and Low Light Fusion, Video Stabilization, and Denoising. We also applied machine learning-enhanced tone rendering to enhance photos and videos, so they feel as authentic as the moment itself.”

Ray-Ban Stories are just the start. Facebook says there’s more in store for the future and that wearers can expect regular software updates meant to improve the experience.

Trend Set: Week Of September 13th, 2021

Ayzenberg junior strategist Ashley Otah surfaces the latest trends at play in the world of culture and entertainment.


AR meets IRL in this partnership activation at a Houston Texans game. The “hot wheels” inspired promotion presented by Kroger is part of The Famous Group’s in-stadium fan experiences.


What are the most important things for a brand to do in order to be influential within youth culture? Participants say being transparent, taking a stance on social issues, and hiring and involving more diverse employees at all levels.

(They also dubbed Travis Scott, Lebron James and Kanye West as the most influential people in youth culture). Read Complex’s Future of Influence report here.


Simple, sleek and extremely unique. Heinz and Wieden+Kennedy NY launch the packet roller to ensure no drop of condiment gets wasted.

Lil Nas X

The marketer of the moment is none other than Lil Nas X. He gave birth to his debut project ‘Montero” with a whirlwind of a rollout. From visuals, social impact, and a nostalgic feeling many have been missing, Lil Nas didn’t skip a beat.

Pay Transparency

The people want their pay. Long past pay discrimination, new laws in states like Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, and Rhode Island, are requiring “pay transparency” from employers.

Jollibee Has Entered The Chicken Sandwich Wars With New Campaign

With 52 stores in the United States, Philippines-based fast-food chicken chain Jollibee is launching a campaign to promote their chicken sandwich by lampooning daytime TV lawyer ads.

Amid the chicken sandwich war between Popeyes, KFC, Chick-fil-A and other regional chains, Jollibee hopes to stake a claim with its Chickenwich.

Do lackluster chicken sandwiches kill your (chicken) joy? Time to call Jollibee’s Chris P. Poultry, chicken sandwich attorney-at-law.

“Has your chicken sandwich been too dry, too bland or just plain joyless? Then you need a powerful chicken sandwich lawyer. Call me, Chris P. Poultry, chicken sandwich attorney-at-law. I’ll fight to make sure you get the chicken sandwich you deserve,” says Chris P. Poultry in the new spot. The spot looks straight out of the ’80s with an almost vaseline-like soft focus.

Alongside the ads, Jollibee also launched a microsite to give away free Jollibee Chickenwiches in exchange for consumer’s contact info. Chris P. Poultry even has a Twitter account to fight against chicken sandwich injustice.

Earlier in the year, Jollibee brought on David & Goliath as their agency of record with an announcement alongside a musical spot. The spot had clearly set the tone for Jollibee’s marketing messaging going forward, and Chris P. Poultry is only a step further into the absurd for the chicken chain. 


Kim Freer Named CMO Of Wetzel’s Pretzels, Bank Of America Cuts CMO Role

This week in marketing leadership updates, QSR marketing veteran Kim Freer heads to Wetzel’s Pretzels as the legacy pretzel company remakes its image and Bank of America plans to merge its marketing team with digital.

Kim Freer Appointed As CMO Of Wetzel’s Pretzels

Coming from past posts at Subway, Blaze Pizza and most recently, Yoshinoya, Wetzel’s Pretzels is getting a new CMO. Kim Freer is taking her QSR marketing experience to the brand as it continues its expansion efforts beyond the iconic mall stalls it is most known for into well-treaded tourist areas.

Bank Of America Is Getting Rid Of Its CMO Role

Current CMO for Bank of America, Meredith Verdone announced via Twitter that she will be leaving Bank of America this year. The company is making no plans to rehire for the position and is instead planning to merge Verdone’s 1,400-person marketing team with Chief Digital Officer David Tyrie’s team.

MetLife Brings Aboard Michael Roberts As CMO

Coming from The Vanguard Group where he served as CMO, Roberts takes on a new post at MetLife where he’ll be leveraging his direct-to-consumer experience for the legacy insurance brand.

SEMrush Brings In Veteran B2B CMO

On the heels of SEMrush’s IPO earlier this year, the SaaS company is bringing in B2B veteran Andrew Warden as CMO. 

“Semrush has built a strong brand and following, and I am eager to continue this path at a company with a vibrant culture, product, and with first-class marketers,” said Warden in the press release.

McDonald’s Names Tariq Hassan Chief Marketing Officer

This week in leadership updates, McDonald’s names Tariq Hassan chief marketing and digital customer experience for US operations, Petco replaces Hassan with Katie Nauman as chief marketing officer, Dollar Shave Club appoints Kerry Sullivan chief marketing officer, Buick-GMC marketing veteran Phil Brook retires and more.

McDonald’s Taps Tariq Hassan As Chief Marketing Officer

Following a three-year stint as Petco’s chief marketing officer, Tariq Hassan has been named McDonald’s chief marketing and digital customer experience officer for US operations.

Prior to Petco, Hassan held leadership roles at Bank of America and HP, respectively.

Petco Elevates Katie Nauman To Chief Marketing Officer

After Tariq Hassan’s departure from his post as Petco’s chief marketing officer, the company has promoted Katie Nauman, vice president of integrated marketing, to fill his shoes.

Nauman, who’s been with Petco since last spring, joined from HP, where she more recently served as head of global marketing, Z by HP.

National CineMedia Taps Amy Tunick As First-Ever Chief Marketing Officer

National CineMedia has appointed Amy Tunick the newly created role of senior vice president, chief marketing officer.

Tunick joins National CineMedia from WWE, where she was senior vice president of the company’s talent management division, which she helped build.

Dollar Shave Club Names Kerry Sullivan Chief Marketing Officer

Dollar Shave Club has tapped Johnson & Johnson-owned Neutrogena veteran Kerry Sullivan as chief marketing officer, reports Adweek.

Sullivan succeeds Kristin Harrer, who served as Dollar Shave Club’s chief marketing officer for about two years before becoming global chief marketing officer of Vans.

Nickelodeon Appoints Sabrina Caluori Senior Vice President, Brand And Content Strategy

Nickelodeon has named HBO veteran Sabrina Caluori senior vice president, brand and content marketing.

Previously, Caluori spent over a decade leading digital media and marketing at HBO.

Weight Watchers Chief Brand Officer Gail Tifford To Exit

Weight Watchers chief brand officer Gail Tifford is stepping down to focus on a serious family health matter, according to a press release.

Tifford’s role won’t be replaced but the company’s senior vice president of global brand marketing, Cindy Gustafson, has been named chief marketing officer.

Buick-GMC Marketing Veteran Phil Brook Retires

Phil Brook, vice president of marketing at Buick and GMC, has retired after 17 years with the company.

Brook is credited with helping expand the Denali sub-brand and launch the AT4-sub-brand, in addition to overhauling the company’s marketing department to attract female buyers.

General Motors has named Brook’s replacement—Molly Peck, who most recently served as head of marketing for SAIC-GM in China.

Wella Hires Hugh Dineen As Chief Marketing Officer, Global Brand President

Wella has named Hugh Dineen as global chief marketing officer and president of global brands, according to Campaign.

Dineen joins Wella from MetLife, where he served as chief marketing officer. Previously, he’s held leadership roles at Avon and Johnson & Johnson.