Smirnoff Ice Will Pay You To Extend Fourth Of July Celebrations

Independence Day is often celebrated with fireworks, barbecues and parties with friends and family, but this year, July 4th falls on Wednesday—right in the middle of the work week. Calling the poor timing of this national holiday “Un-American,” Smirnoff Ice is offering to pay for 100 people to take a few extra days off in a contest that marks both 242 years of independence and the limited-time return of its “patriotic” Red, White & Berry flavor.

Using the tagline, “Dear America, Tell Your Boss You’re Taking A 4th Of July 5 Day Weekend,” Smirnoff Ice will pay for people to take July 5th and 6th off, which comes out to $500 per person, regardless of what their daily income is and whether or not they actually go on vacation. All contestants have to do is comment on the related posts on the @SmirnoffUS Facebook and Instagram pages, describing how they’d celebrate a five-day weekend, to be entered into a random drawing.

Part of the joke is that Smirnoff brand was founded in Moscow and owned by UK beverage giant Diageo, but its US products are all made locally. Smirnoff has poked fun at this fact before, and given how the contest has drawn over 2,500 comments on Facebook and more than 10,000 views on Instagram, consumers appear to accept Smirnoff Ice as an American-made beverage.

“Smirnoff Ice is a brand that encourages people to have fun, so when we heard that the Fourth of July was on a Wednesday this year, we knew that is so not fun and may prevent many hard-working Americans from celebrating. We had to do something about it,” Smirnoff Ice brand director Krista Kiisk told AListDaily. “That’s why we’re giving 100 Americans the chance to extend their holiday to a five-day weekend by paying them to take July 5th and 6th off and celebrate with friends and family.”

To get the word out, Kiisk said that Smirnoff Ice took out a full-page print ad in Sunday’s New York Times in addition to its social campaigns and running homepage takeovers of the New York Times mobile and People.com this week. The beverage brand is also working with influencers to spread the word about the contest.

“Our goal is to ensure as many people as possible know about this opportunity and enter for the chance to be paid by Smirnoff Ice to take July 5th and 6th off to celebrate all things [America] the way she was meant to be celebrated,” said Kiisk,

Kiisk goes on to describe the extended vacation contest as a “perfect fit” for the brand’s emphasis on having fun and being made in America. “After all, what holiday is more fun and American than the [Fourth] of July?” she concludes.

The contest ends on July 1 when the company picks 100 winners. Smirnoff’s parent company Diageo also owns alcoholic beverage brands Johnnie Walker, Captain Morgan, Guinness and others.

Cannes Lions Sessions: Confidence Can Change The World

In every turbulent time throughout history, positive change has been borne out of confidence, and that driving force can be applied to everything, from personal goals to marketing campaigns.

During Cannes Lions on Friday, in a session called “The Strange Power of Confidence,” three delegates shared personal and professional experiences that produced more confidence in the world around them.

Susan Somersille Johnson, chief marketing officer of SunTrust, began her career as an engineer before she became a marketer. Johnson said that math and science build confidence because they are based on facts, but marketing was intimidating because her work would be judged on human perception and opinion.

Johnson was moved, however, in SunTrust’s commitment to helping US citizens achieve “financial confidence.” The bank researched how citizens felt about money, and after interviewing 195,000 people learned that a majority of Americans worry about their financial situations.

SunTrust found three principles that can lead to financial confidence that can be applied to other situations as well. The first step to confidence is to know what matters most in your life.

“When your priorities are clear, your confidence doesn’t waver,” said Johnson.

The second step is to get educated—using the tools available and learning from those who have experienced and conquered the same problem. The third principle, Johnson explained, is the importance of leaning on a friend.

SunTrust launched an initiative called “onUp” that debuted during the Super Bowl. The program now has over 3.4 million participants.

OnUp was produced by Scott Goodson, founder and CEO of StrawberryFrog. His marketing experience has taught him 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.

StrawberryFrog worked with Jim Beam, a legacy spirits brand that was in need of a brand facelift. Bourbon had long been associated with older men sitting around smoking cigars, but that didn’t match the current audience. In response, Goodson and his team wanted to change the way consumers looked at Jim Beam and bourbon in general, so they created a movement called “Make History” with a young female spokesperson (Mila Kunis). And it worked.

“The movement was about change, which was really necessary because [Jim Beam] is a 223-year-old brand that had gotten a lot of dust on it.”

A brand’s leader may have a vision for the product but a mere advertising campaign may not be enough to inspire passion down to the ground-level of a company. A mandate from the top of an organization can demand change, but people can choose not to engage or just work somewhere else, Goodson explained, while a movement can inspire trust, creativity, passion and confidence among employees.

“You can apply the principles of a social movement to mobilize the masses and create confidence to create positive change.”

David Oyelowo is an actor and producer that portrayed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which required a lot of confidence. Oyelowo joined Johnson and Goodson on stage to share how confidence plays a major part in any life pursuit, especially acting.

Oyelowo shared how he learned confidence by learning, preparing and working with seasoned professionals. like Daniel Day-Lewis and Tom Cruise.

“I don’t think confidence is something that is innate for us as human beings,” said Oyelowo. “When we are born, we come into this world anxious. It’s something that is learned. That, as far as I’m concerned, is to do with preparation. As an actor, the success of that role is entirely dictated by the level of preparation I apply to it.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he said, was a prime example of someone who gained confidence in the face of adversity by drawing on what was important to him alongside intense preparation.

The Age Of Personalization And The Return Of The Brand

Marketing and advertising are standing on the precipice of a great new era—the age of personalization. For many, this coming together of technology and creativity will open new doors, allowing them to have closer and more rewarding relationships with their customers, but for the unwary or the careless, this age will strip you of trust and equity at an alarming speed.

Personalization was everywhere at Cannes this year. From artificial intelligence to help designers work more intuitively to augmented reality powering customer service in China, more and more the connection between people and their devices is becoming wider and profoundly deeper.

You didn’t need to look much further than the festival’s concierge service. Built and powered by LivePerson in partnership with Apple, this simple yet highly effective tool could be easily downloaded by scanning the QR code with your iPhone’s camera. From there, users can ask the AI anything they want to know about Lions, from what room the next talks were taking place to where they could grab a soda.

“The most remarkable thing is that even though we are handling thousands of queries a day, the whole operation is run by three people sitting right below our feet,” LivePerson’s CMO and EVP of Enterprise, Manlio Carrelli, told us when we visited the company’s nerve centre on a yacht moored up next to the Pavilion. “It’s an incredibly powerful tool and will change the way brands can talk and interact with their customers.”

However, while new technology might be making these exchanges more commonplace, the age of personalization is as much about changes in customer behaviour as it is about ever more insightful bots and algorithms.

More and more, the line between digital and IRL is becoming blurred. As the great communication revolutions of the last ten years become more widely accessible, it’s getting harder and harder to tell where people’s online and offline lives meet. Our relationship with the media, our families and the way we live our lives is beginning to change at a fundamental level, and thanks mainly to smartphone technology, the distance between brands, celebrities and even governments and their followers, fans and citizens is becoming tighter.

Increasingly, rather than being the passive, rational actor described in most economic textbooks, the consumer is becoming a smart, well-informed agent, who, thanks to the wealth of information given to them via the online world, knows a lot more than marketers usually expect they do.

COPA90, a UK-based media network that creates content for soccer fans, is a great example of this. Growing from a YouTube channel to one of the main authorities on world football in the space of a few short years, the company has succeeded in closing the gap between the superstars and their fans by concentrating on a editorial policy of inclusion, diversity and understanding.

Speaking on the CNN beach, just before France was due to kick off against Peru in a vital World Cup Game, James Kirkham, the company’s head honcho told the small invite-only audience that the key to success was understanding your audience to a profound degree.

“The modern football fan is very switched on, and if you respect them, then they usually respect you,” he said. “I can remember when we ran one of our first partnerships with Hyundai. On the first video, there was a comment from a fan saying, ‘why the f— is COPA working with Hyundai’ and literally 30 seconds later another fan commented ‘because, that way they can get the money to give you all this other great content.’ We didn’t get any other bad comments after that.”

If there is one thing Cannes has shown us over the last five days, it’s that the modern audience is becoming an impressively savvy beast, and you disrespect it at your peril. We now have a generation of people who have grown up with social networks and have a instinctive grasp of how the internet and communication works. In some ways, the advertising industry’s education of the consumer has come full circle and people these days can spot algorithms, point out bots and if you don’t speak with a genuine and entertaining voice, they’ll find you out pretty quickly too. The days of just phoning it in are over.

Bizarrely, and slightly counter-intuitively, what all this innovation is leading to is the return of the “brand” to its prominent position at the top of the marketing tree. Big data might be able to let organizations know more about your audience than ever before, but the rise in personalization means that this is becoming a two-way street. As much as a company might know about their consumers, you can bet that the consumer knows as much as the company in return. Just having a logo and a cartoon character increasingly won’t cut it any more, and those brands that have rich identities, strong values and are unafraid to talk to their customers like peers rather than mere users are the ones that are going to win in the next ten years.

All this is why Cannes Lions has become more vital than ever, as it celebrates and takes stock of the roles that advertisers and creativity play in our society.

If there has been one takeaway from this year, it’s that, as the barriers between customer and brands fall away, the specializations and silo-mentality of the marketing industry must also start to come down. It’s not okay for organizations to talk down to their customers, and the closed-off mindset has to got to go. Companies need to become more aware of the image they are presenting both internally and externally, and this includes everything from producing socially-relevant ad campaigns to the diversity and inclusion of their own workforce and office culture.

Because, if the way things have been going recently are any indication of things to come, the idea of internal and external communications won’t exist for much longer. Thanks to technology, the places to hide dirty laundry are becoming fewer and fewer by the hour. What the advertising and marketing industry needs is its own version of Glasnost. The age of personalization needs to be followed by the age of openness.

Snapchat Shows Opened To Influencers; Twitter Tackles Online Safety

This week in social media news, Snapchat partners with influencers for new shows, Facebook Messenger Kids launches outside the US and Twitter acquires Smyte. In other news, Snap Maps get animated, Facebook tests paid subscriptions, Pinterest offers a subscription box, Instagram launches long-form video, Facebook adds trivia to its videos and Snapchat greenlights a docuseries. In addition, Facebook tests autoplay video ads in Messenger, Pinterest adds marketing partners, YouTube Premium and Music expand across the world and Unilever takes a stand against “cheating” influencers.

Influencers Partner For New Snapchat Shows

Snapchat has long been criticized for ignoring its most popular and influential creators and has taken steps recently to make amends. During Vidcon on Thursday, Snapchat announced that Snaphat Shows—shortform shows produced by publishing partners—will now extend to online creators.

The first of such shows will feature makeup artist Patrick Starrr, creator and star of an E!-branded makeover Show, “Face Forward.” The partnership kicked off with a Snapchat filter that gave user Bitmojis a makeover.


Twitter Announces Plans To Acquire Smyte

Amid privacy, spam and abuse concerns that impact every social network, Twitter has agreed to acquire Smyte, a San Francisco-based technology company that specializes in safety, spam, and security issues. On its website, Smyte announced that it is closing it business as a result of the deal.

“Smyte’s products will help us address challenges in safety, spam and security more quickly and effectively. Their review tools and processes will be powerful additions to our own tools and technology that help us keep Twitter safe. We’ll integrate this technology to strengthen our systems and operations in the coming months.”


Snapchat Introduces Animated Map Effects

Snapchat users viewing themselves or friends on the Snap Map will now see animated effects to reflect the weather, holidays or someone’s birthday. The effects tie into local weather forecasts and add visuals like sunshine, snow or rain. On someone’s birthday, the map will show confetti. Around holidays, the map may change appearance or show fireworks for the Fourth of July.

While the new feature is limited to just a few visuals at launch, it opens possibilities for Snapchat’s advertisers to “take over” Snap Chat effects in the future. The map could be transformed to match a franchise, for example, with items to collect or characters to interact with.


Faceboook Messenger Kids Expands Outside US

Messenger Kids launched in Canada and Peru on Friday, along with Spanish and French versions where the app is available. Alongside the announcement, Facebook revealed three new features: the Messenger Kids Pledge, Kindness Stickers and Appreciation Mission.

The Messenger Kids Pledge encourages conversation between parents and their kids about using the app and encourages responsible use. Kindness Stickers can be shared between users with messages like “Well Done” and “Great Helper.” Appreciation Mission will be an interactive guide within the app designed to “encourage kids to discover and express appreciation for their friends and family.”


Facebook Tests Subscriptions For Group Membership

Being the administrator for any online group is hard work, so Facebook has begun testing a way to compensate them for their time. Subscription Groups allow an admin to charge anywhere between $4.99 and $29.99 per month for access to an exclusive Facebook group and its features. Members are able to able to sign-up and manage their subscription through the Facebook app for iOS and Android and admins are provided with tools to help manage content.

At this time, the program is available only to a few groups like Organize My Home, Grown and Flown Parents: College Admissions and Affordability and Meal Planning Central Premium. Once Facebook receives feedback from admins about the program and sees how members react to a paid service, they will determine whether to roll out Subscription Groups to the public.


Pinterest 100 Box Will Highlight Current Trends

Pinterest has partnered with FabFitFun to create the first-ever Pinterest 100 Box, a quarterly subscription filled with products based on the social network’s annual top 100 trends list.

Products in the first box will include a Pier 1 Imports Sage Vase, Tarte lifted sweat-proof mascara, Kopari Coconut Multitasking Kit, R+Co ACID WASH ACV Cleansing Rinse, The Jetset Diaries Passport Case + Luggage Tag Duo, Talking Tables Dipstick Charades, K POP Foods Crispy Seaweed Snacks, and then a product of choice from two options.

The move will separate Pinterest from other social media sites as one that directly interacts with and influences users outside of the internet, allowing users to explore trends online then try them in real life.


Instagram Launches IGTV For Long-Form Video

On Wednesday, Instagram introduced a standalone surface for viewing long-form video called IGTV. When users open the app, videos based on who they follow on Instagram will begin to play automatically. The videos are played in vertical, full-screen format and can be swiped through, just as one would while browsing Stories.

“We believe this is the future of video. People continue to spend more time with entertainment on their mobile devices, and we’re making it easier for them to get closer to the creators and original content they love,” said Instagram.


Facebook Woos Teens With Trivia

Teenagers are spending less time on Facebook and to fix this, the site will do what it does best—copy another app. Facebook has introduced trivia similar to HQ. Gamification for Live will also allow its partners to add interactive features like polls, quiz questions and challenges to its Facebook videos. Polling will come to both Live and on-demand video which includes a few question formats, like “either/or” or “two truths and a lie.”


Snapchat Ventures Into Soft-Scripted Shows

Endless Summer, a coming-of-age series, is currently in production and slated to debut on the app in September. The show will be soft-scripted, meaning that it stars real-life people as themselves in scripted situations. Endless Summer follows the life of 19-year-old Summer Mckeen, a beauty and fashion vlogger popular on YouTube with her own jewelry line. As reported by Variety, the show will follow Summer as she experiences living on her own for the first time in Laguna Beach next door to her boyfriend Dylan Jordan.


Facebook Tests Video Ads In Messenger

Facebook Messenger has rolled out autoplay video ads this week to see how users react.

“Top priority for us is user experience,” Stefanos Loukakos, Facebook’s head of Messenger told Recode on Tuesday. “So we don’t know yet [if these will work]. However, signs until now, when we tested basic ads, didn’t show any changes with how people used the platform or how many messages they send.”

It may be the world’s second-largest seller of advertising, but with that accolade comes the problem of real estate—in order to remain competitive, Facebook is searching for new places to show advertisements to its users. For now, its new Watch video section creates new space to host ad revenue, as are recent shopping tags added to Instagram Stories.


Pinterest Reveals Creative Marketing Partners

Pinterest is courting marketers by offering services through what it calls Creative Pinterest Marketing Partners (PMP). Brands that want to create interactive Pins on the site can now work with Popular Pays, QuickFrame, Shutterstock Custom, Social Native, Vidmob, Vidsy and The Online Studio using the Pinterest API.

“Since Pinterest is visual and personal, creating good Pins requires a special touch,” the company said in a blog post. “With our new PMPs, marketers get access to teams already trained by the Pinterest Creative Strategy team on our best practices. These teams have created thousands upon thousands of Pins to date and are now ready to help businesses make more.”


YouTube Music And Premium Make Their Global Debuts

Starting Monday, YouTube Music is available to everyone in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea in addition to 12 new countries including Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

In addition, YouTube Premium rolled out to 17 countries worldwide. The subscription service will automatically become available to current YouTube Red and Google Play Music members (including family plans) in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico.


Unilever Vows Not To Work With Influencers Who Buy Followers

Marketing powerhouse Unilever continues to stress the importance of online transparency. In an emailed statement, Unilever chief marketing officer Keith Weed told CNBC that “The key to improving the situation is three-fold: cleaning up the influencer ecosystem by removing misleading engagement; making brands and influencers more aware of the use of dishonest practices; and improving transparency from social platforms to help brands measure impact.”

Weed said that Unilever will never buy followers or work with social media influencers who do so, while also prioritizing social media channels that work to increase transparency.

“We need to take urgent action now to rebuild trust before it’s gone forever,” he said.


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

This Week’s Exec Shifts: Northwestern Mutual CMO Aditi Gokhale Promoted To SVP

This week, the first CMO for Northwestern Mutual can add SVP to her title.

Northwestern Mutual Promotes CMO To SVP

Financial security company Northwestern Mutual announced several executive appointments, including the promotion of Aditi Gokhale to senior vice president, who will also continue her role as the company’s chief marketing officer. Gokhale joined the Milwaukee-based insurance and investments giant in 2017 as the first-ever CMO for Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiary LearnVest. Since then, she has been working to revamp the company’s marketing strategy with campaigns such as “Spend Your Life Living,” which launched earlier this year.


Andrew Clarke Moves From Mars CMO To Global President Of Confectonary

Mars Inc., makers of M&Ms and other candies, promoted its chief marketing and customer officer Andrew Clarke to global president of Mars Wrigley Confectionery. He replaces Martin Radvan, who announced his retirement after a 32-year career with the company. Clark joined Mars in the UK in 2000 and has served as its CMO since 2015. Clarke will be based out of the company’s global headquarters in Chicago when he takes up his new position in September.

“Andrew is the right person to lead Mars Wrigley Confectionery into its next chapter. His track record for driving ambitious change while delivering results is the fuel our business needs to thrive in an ever-changing consumer and retail landscape,” said Mars CEO Grant Reid in a statement. “Andrew brings great global perspective, combined with a principled approach to leadership and passion for engaging and inspiring teams.”


Jurlique CMO Departs

Jurlique Skin Care’s chief marketing and global brand officer Andrea Martens announced her departure after two years with the Australian-based company. Prior to joining Jurlique, Martens was a marketer and products manager at Unilever. Martens stated that she will be taking some time off and will do some ad hoc consulting work before planning her next professional move.


Mama Fu’s Picks Up CMO And Digital Marketing Manager

Jamie Cohen has joined Mama Fu’s Asian House as its first CMO and Erika Lingonblad was named as the food brand’s digital marketing manager. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Mama Fu’s has 28 locations, with two in the United Arab Emirates.


AIA Insurance Group Appoints New CMO And CEO

Pan-Asian life insurance group AIA has appointed its deputy general manager of finance and actuarial Heng Zee Wang as CMO. According to a statement, Heng will oversee the development and implementation of an integrated marketing strategy for AIA, particularly its AIA Vitality brand, to encourage people to live healthier lives. At the same time, Eric Chang is taking the role of CEO Designate at AIA General, a new AIA subsidiary.


Save The Children Appoints Jennifer Roberti CMO

Jennifer Roberti has been named the very first chief marketing officer for Save the Children. Roberti joins the charity with over 20 years of experience, having served as senior vice president for marketing and communications at Unicef US as well as executive of group marketing for Nigeria’s MTN. In her new role, Roberti will help reshape global marketing, communications, fundraising and sponsorship activities.

“With a proven record of driving revenue, digital engagement and brand awareness, she is uniquely qualified to grow and engage our supporter base more deeply in our mission to reach every last child,” said Save the Children president and chief executive Carolyn Miles.


Walmart CMO Departs For Sam’s Club

Tony Rogers announced that he is leaving Walmart as its US chief marketing officer to take on the newly created role of chief member officer at Sam’s Club. The move won’t occur until late July, which gives Walmart time to find a replacement. Rogers has been a Walmart CMO for over two years, and his accomplishments include consolidating the retail giant’s physical store and ecommerce marketing teams into a single unit across three cities. The move from running marketing for the world’s biggest retail chain to a membership-based club store may come as a surprise to many, but Rogers said that after working 20 years in packaged goods, tech, retail and customer marketing, he was interested in working with a membership database for the first time. He also added that he looks forward to increasing the membership club’s relatively small ecommerce business while being the underdog in a competition against Costco.


Hiyacar Car-Sharing Rental Service Appoints CMO

Peer-to-peer car rental service Hiyacar has appointed Sarah Kilmartin as its chief marketing officer. Kilmartin, who was the head of broadcast marketing for the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain for seven years, will be responsible for driving sign-ups to the platform while growing the Airbnb-like peer-to-peer lending movement in London.

“I’m really passionate about community and believe the sharing economy has a huge role to play in building smarter communities, where people don’t need to own things they don’t use daily—they can hire from neighbours. It just makes sense,” said Kilmartin.


20th Century Fox Film Expands Marketing Team

Former Sony Pictures marketing SVP Mary Goss Robino has joined 20th Century Fox Film in the newly created role of EVP of global marketing partnerships, effective July 9. In this position, she will oversee the studio’s marketing promotions in addition to working with third-party marketing partners around the world. Robino has more than 25 years of experience in entertainment and brand marketing, and she has been behind marketing partnerships for major global franchises such as James Bond, Spider-Man, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and others.

At the same time, Zac Eller, Fox’s EVP of domestic promotions and partnerships, announced that he is departing the company to pursue new opportunities.


Senior Execs Depart As Time Warner Is Renamed To WarnerMedia 

AT&T is moving ahead with its plans for its newly acquired Time Warner unit by announcing a new executive structure in addition to rebranding the unit to WarnerMedia. The unveiling was accompanied by an announcement that John Martin, who has served as Turner’s CEO for over four years, is departing. Before the sale, Martin was seen as a potential successor to Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, who is also expected to retire after the transition period. Several other senior level executives will also be departing as part of the restructuring effort.

Turner has been the company’s main revenue driver, bringing in more than $4.5 billion in 2017, which more than what HBO and Warner Bros. brought in combined at $2.2 billion and $1.76 billion respectively. Although AT&T executive John Stankey, who is charged with running the Time Warner properties, said that there will be little change to day-to-day operations, but “because we are now a subsidiary of AT&T Inc., many of the redundant corporate support functions between our companies at the HQ/holding company level will be eliminated in the coming months.” 


Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, June 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 

Senior Brand Manager Kellogg’s Battle Creek, MI
Head of Integrated Marketing Amazon Seattle, WA
Chief Marketing Officer Facebook Menlo Park, CA
Head of Product Marketing Walmart San Bruno, CA
SVP & Chief Marketing Officer Jacksonville Jaguars Jacksonville, FL
VP, Marketing & Innovation  Tillys Irvine, CA

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

Cannes Lions: Activism, Inclusion And Diversity Come Into View

What a difference a year makes. In the 12 months between Cannes Lions 2017 and Cannes Lions 2018, it seems like the advertising world has finally woken up to the fact that, for an industry that prides itself on innovation and advancement, its structures are run by and work for those predominantly male and white, and have been for a very long time.

However, in the face of pressure coming from both outside and within via the wake of the #MeToo movement and the consequences of the Sorrell scandal, it appears that the creative industries have finally started to address the problems with gender and racial equality. Debates and panel talks have made up a large portion of this edition of Cannes Lions, and the general vibe here is that the industry is coming to terms with its issues and is starting to put its house in order.

“It’s not about shutting it down, it’s more like ‘Let’s go in. Let’s storm the castle!” proclaimed Bozoma St. John, the former chief branding officer at Uber, who vocalized the more upfront, no-BS activism that has been shaking up the ad world. “Women are still usually receiving offers rather than asking for what our work is worth, and when you look at black women, it’s even worse. When I look at a role, I always research what a white guy is earning in the same job and ask to get what they’re getting.

Thanks to voices like St. John, more and more brands are responding to this activism by launching initiatives that are tackling these subjects head-on.

Unilever, for example, used this year’s festival to double down on their Unstereotype Alliance; a coming together of powerful consumer brands who, in their own words, “seek to eradicate harmful gender-based stereotypes.” In two far-reaching moves the company is partnering with Cartoon Network to create content that promotes less traditional views of gender and is also using its little-known entertainment arm U-entertainment to launch a perception-challenging pop group. Formed in close collaboration with pop mogul Simon Fuller, Now United will bring together 14 young artists from around the world to help champion messages of equality and tolerance.

The thing is, this new sense of brand purpose is not only shaping perceptions, it also makes sound business sense. “Our research has revealed that progressive ads are 16 percent more relevant, 21 percent more credible and can drive purchase intent by as much as 18 percent,” explained Aline Santos, Unilever’s global executive VP of marketing and head of diversity and inclusion, in speaking with AList after the launch event. “We’ve shown that progressive ads can create impact.”

Even though initiatives like this are causing advertising to reassess its relationship with color and gender, unfortunately, for many, there is still a feeling that the industry has a long way to go.

“Most men don’t want to be jerks, but we need more of them to be allies to women. We need them to stand up when there is sexism in the workplace,” pointed out Riveter founder Amy Nelson to a panel on Monday that spoke about changing the role of masculinity in the creative sector. “I’d like to get to a point where we can move past the ideas of masculinity and femininity and talk about how we can be good humans.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Danielle Lee, Spotify’s global head of partner solutions when we met her at her company’s beach-side activation. “The best thing that men can do is stand up for equality,” she told us. “If they don’t see different races and genders represented on panels or at events they are attending, then they should refuse to do them.”

As Cannes’ focus on activism and diversity shows, change is coming and marketers ignore it at their peril. As sociologist and author Michael Kimmey told the hall on Monday, “[…] equality is not a zero-sum game, and we have enough data to show that companies who practice gender equality are more productive and have better returns on their investments. There is a very strong business case for a diverse workforce.”

What’s even clearer though, is that there will be no going back this time. Speaking to people from all cultures and backgrounds at the festival, there seems to be a collective willingness to make sure that advertising finally opens its doors. Certainly, there will be stumbles and it will be vital to track the progress in the years to come, but its inclusion in this year’s Cannes Lions sends a powerful message and shows the creative industries doing what they do best—breaking down barriers and changing the world.

Cannes Lions Sessions: #SheIsEqual Calls On Marketing To Set An Example

Marketing industry leaders are calling on their peers to become leaders in creating a world where women are treated equally and represented accurately.

“The people who are working in advertising and marketing have a responsibility,” Cannes Lions CEO Philip Thomas said in a panel on Wednesday. “Advertising and marketing are the most powerful culture-creating force in the world.”

Tapping into this power for good, Procter & Gamble has partnered with Global Citizen to introduce a new initiative called #SheIsEqual. This includes the first #SheIsEqual Summit on September 28 during UN General Assembly Week in New York.

The event will bring together governments and members of the advertising, media and entertainment industries to share perspectives and solutions in regard to gender equality, women’s economic empowerment, girls’ education and advocacy.

Representation of women in marketing and entertainment has a profound impact on how society perceives them, so #SheIsEqual will highlight campaigns that positively portray them in an equal light.

Madonna Badger, Glass Lion Jury President and See It Be It Chair will curate a “Creative Showcase” of these campaigns in partnership with Philip Thomas. The showcase will celebrate the best work from the 2018 Glass Lions and new SDG Lions competitions that show an equal world in action.

Queen Latifa and Katie Couric both announced projects during the keynote that will be sponsored by P&G. Designed to bolster the number of female directors and storytellers, The Queen Collective will work alongside brands and agencies to fund and find distribution for female-focused projects.

Couric unveiled a series called Getting There that profiles successful woman at the top of their fields, including Issa Rae (Insecure), Barefoot Contessa’s Ina Garten and Instagram’s Eva Chen.

“I’m thrilled to see so many brands and companies not just selling soap or shampoo but care about changing the world, to wield so much influence,” said Couric. “I thought, ‘why stop at advertising and why not extend into content?’ We’re going to be partnering with brands that share my value and that want to make the world a better place.”

Procter & Gamble, which spent over $2.75 billion on advertising last year, has been vocal about demanding changes to the advertising supply chain and the impact that marketing has on the world. To illustrate its concerns about fraud and brand safety, the manufacturing giant pulled ads from YouTube for a year and slashed its budget.

Cannes Lions’ China Day: The Next Big Player In Marketing And Advertising

Despite being situated in the Côte d’Azur, each year that goes by at Cannes Lions feels a little bit less French. This year has seen a foreign horde descending on the picturesque seaside town. They stomp around the narrow streets, pulling their suitcases, happily plowing through plates of cheeses they can barely pronounce and drain the surrounding region of a year’s worth of rosé.

Over the history of the festival, the demographic make-up of these invaders has subtly changed. The first wave was a gang of perpetually hungover advertising workers of London, who arrived cocky and hopeful, looking to bag a Lion, and only to end up stumbling from the Irish bar to the Gutter Bar looking for a free drink. Slowly, this has given way to a larger US crowd, brashly projecting their sporting achievements onto the side of the arena and loudly proclaiming to anyone who will listen that tech is changing the world.

This year, however a new group has started to emerge. Quieter and more polite than the other groups, they sit captivated in every panel discussion and seem ever-eager to Hoover up any culture they come across.

China has arrived.

It’s pointless to say that China is no longer an up-and-coming market. In terms of internet users, it’s already the largest in the world and internet use is still motoring ahead.

Its leading search-engine-turned-omni-corporation Alibaba is as big as—and even outperforms—Amazon in some areas. What’s more, the country leads the world in e-commerce, with the number of daily transactions beating the United States and EU combined and is speedily growing.

China is also at the forefront of the mobile revolution, with WeChat becoming the ubiquitous one-stop portal for the mobile web in a way that other apps can only dream of.

“In terms of sheer scalability, no one even comes close to China,” proclaimed Stephen Chang, corporate vice president of Tencent, in opening Cannes Lions’ China Day, a whole nine hours dedicated to showing off the People’s Republic’s growing technological chops.

“We’re a huge digital society with a market that is unafraid of new innovations. From QR codes to augmented reality and artificial intelligence, Chinese consumers are either actively using or are among the first adopters. China is knocking, are you ready to answer the opportunity?”

Sweeping statements and hyperbole aside, there is now clear evidence that Chinese companies are able to go toe-to-toe and, in some cases, have even begun to surpass their western counterparts.

“Today the younger generation is keeping very close contact with the world through innovation,” said Alibaba’s CMO Chris Tung as he spoke about his company’s rapid rise. “We have to be brave to build innovation. We have to encourage our workforce.”

Even in areas where they have traditionally been weak, like creative marketing and branding, China’s companies are making great strides.

“The idea that the Chinese aren’t creative is clearly ludicrous,” said Joy Tan, Huawei’s president of global media and communications to a packed forum yesterday.

“We invented gunpowder, the printing press and compass. In the modern world it is true that most innovations are American, but we lead the world when it comes to taking these inventions and applying them.”

“China is as tough as any other market these days,” explained Matt Che, VP of marketing for international beverage brand AB InBev. Speaking about his company’s strategy for cracking the country’s increasingly sophisticated consumer behavior. “We found that the beer industry had declined by 4 percent after our customers ditched karaoke bars for home parties. We found that the only way to reach them was a cross-channel campaign that combined influencer marketing and large activations to make sure that we followed the consumer across many screens.”

“Across all waves, disruption always seems to be most visible in China,” agreed Asmita Dubey, chief digital officer at L’Oréal. Offering an insight on how her company is attempting to corner the lucrative Asian market, the trick for western organizations seems to be move fast and be prepared for anything. “Broadly speaking, the strategy remains the same,” she continued. “It’s just that the scale and the speed and is much faster.”

It’s not only in technology and digital that Chinese companies are showing the world new ways of working. From corporate governance to office culture and ownership, companies like Tencent and BYD are pioneering what the corporate structure of a company could look like to drive massive success.

Mobile giant Huawei, for example, is leading the way in collaborative working, thanks to a unique corporate structure: 99 percent of the company is owned by its own workforce, with its founder laying claim to just 1 percent. Additionally, the company rotates chairmen on a six-month cycle, with the company claiming that this encourages adaptation and innovation.

In contrast to the cooperative nature of Huawei, BYD is similarly innovative. The vehicle and travel provider’s fearless spirit of adventure comes from the top and is actively encouraged by their maverick owner Wang Chuanfu, a self-made billionaire with a background in chemical engineering.

“Chairman Wang pushes us to the point that we make little failures,” says vice president Michael Austin, also an engineer by trade. “The trick is to not bet the farm on a mistake.”

As Cannes Lions shows, if you could say one thing about China, it’s that in almost every field, the preconceptions around the country’s business climate are changing.

The idea that the words “Made in China” means a product is a low quality knockoff couldn’t be further than the truth.

“When people find out the nationality of the brand, they are usually surprised,” Huawei’s European CMO told an audience during a lunchtime presentation. “There’s a perception that Chinese brands can’t be innovators, but it’s changing. We’re finally moving away from the idea that Chinese brands are mere copycats.”

All of this isn’t to say that China doesn’t still have a long way to go. After all, the country is new to the marketing and branding game, and as Cannes showed, while the Chinese can definitely walk the walk when it comes to innovation and technology, its marketing and advertising industry has yet to match the polished, groundbreaking campaigns of their western contemporaries.

However, one thing is for certain: China is now on the path to meeting and potentially surpassing the campaigns currently being lauded with Lions. With a veritable army of tech-savvy and culturally astute Chinese delegates in attendance, it won’t be long.

Brands Celebrated Father’s Day With Food, Humor And Gratitude

Father’s Day marketing for 2018 followed the tradition of heartfelt gratitude mixed with humor, but also reflected current views of what it means to be a dad. From heartfelt thank yous to silly jokes and favorite foods, these brands paid tribute to dads everywhere.

According to the National Retail Foundation, 77 percent of Americans planned on celebrating Father’s Day this year and to spend an average of $133 per person. The biggest spenders this year were between the ages of 25–34, who planned on spending an average of $188 per person.

With all the talk about gender equality and representation in marketing, it’s important not to forget dads. The portrayal of men as bumbling buffoons or lazy fathers will no longer fly. In fact, some brands are personally advocating to change marketing perceptions, as seen in this year’s holiday campaigns.

Dove Men + Care launched a campaign called “Dear Future Dads” that offers advice to parents-to-be while championing paternal leave in the US so both parents can bond with a new child.

Dads can give some great advice, so American Greetings put together a list of tips they received from their users. The spot illustrates each life tip with props and craft supplies, similar to the brand’s tribute to Mother’s Day.

Michelob Ultra celebrated not just fathers, but all father figures, whether they be a mentor, coach or step-dad. An emotional ad presented three father figures with letters of thanks from people whose lives they’ve touched.

Speaking of influencing children, Lagavulin partnered with “manly man” comedian Nick Offerman for an episode of “My Tales of Whiskey.” The Father’s Day spot shows both Offerman and his father going about their daily routine in much the same way, down to little gestures and facial expressions.

Modern dads are more emotionally involved and interactive than in previous generations, which allows them to make little moments special. Musician John Legend made up a silly song for when he changes diapers called “Stinky Booty,” which became the theme of a Father’s Day campaign for Pampers.

Fathers have a reputation for having fun with their kids by telling purposely bad jokes. The practice is so common and beloved that this type of humor has been dubbed a “dad joke.” WWE asked kids to share their favorite dad jokes for Father’s Day.

Dad’s can be cheesy, so Kraft took the idea quite literally. The brand offered a limited number of custom-made cheese sculptures of dear old dad, auctioning them off to the highest bidder. Proceeds of the auction went to Feeding America and Kraft matched the proceeds dollar-for-dollar.

Kraft’s A1 brand also offered a wacky alternative to ties and cologne this year with meat-scented candles. The exclusive gift is available in Original Meat, Backyard BBQ and Classic Burger.

Cannes Lions Sessions: A Look At The Factors That Drive Brand Value

Brands with creativity, disruption and great advertising at the heart of their businesses generate the most average brand value, Kantar Millward Brown revealed at Cannes Lions on Monday.

Kantar Millward Brown analyzed BrandZ’s 3.6 million consumer interviews comparing perceptions of 122,000 brands in 51 markets over the last 12 years to discover the role that consumer perception of creativity, disruption and advertising plays in building brand value.

Brands that consumers perceive as creative but not disruptive have grown their brand value by an average of 69 percent over that period, while brands that consumers perceive as “shaking things up,” i.e. disruptive, boosted brand value by 123 percent over the same period.

Those that display both creativity and disruption generated an average brand value growth of 154 percent.

The biggest jumps in brand value happened when consumers perceived a brand to combine creativity and disruption with great advertising. These brands experienced a boost in brand value of 265 percent.

BrandZ global head Doreen Wang was joined onstage by Deliveroo head of marketing for UK and Ireland Emily Kraftman, BYD general manager of global brand and PR Sherry Li and Ancestry.com CMO Vineet Mehra.

Hosted by Kantar Millward Brown’s BrandZ equity platform, “Disruptive Creativity: The New Model for Marketers” explored the balance between creativity and disruption while building a successful brand in consumers’ minds.

“If you are both disruptive and creative, you are hitting the sweet spot,” said Wang.

Wang added that the number one driver for brand growth is perceived innovation, which itself is driven by disruptive creativity.

“Having disruptive creativity at the heart of a business is about more than product and R&D, and being creative is not just about communications,” said Wang. “The best way for brands to influence consumer perception is through effective communications, by experimenting with new formats and, most importantly, by delivering a great brand experience.”