Hypes Experience Feature With Halloween Sleepover

Beginning October 24, will offer an exclusive one-night stay for two inside The San Francisco Dungeon. This spooky jaunt will include a room made to look like a cell inside the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. The holiday promotion calls attention to Booking Experiences, the travel site’s new mobile product.

The San Francisco Dungeon is an underground attraction located in the city’s famous Fisherman’s Wharf. Visitors will learn about San Francisco’s history through 360-degree sets, live performers, an underground boat ride and a watery drop ride called “Escape Alcatraz.”

Visitors will also be given VIP access to the last show of the evening, then taken to their “cells” where they will be issued dungeon-themed pajamas, snacks and a “spooky” welcome cocktail. Actors will perform bedtime ghost stories and a medium will lead visitors in a “witching hour” séance. In the morning, guests will be treated to breakfast in bed, along with a swag bag. launched its Booking Experiences portal in the US last month, initially offering exclusive meet-and-greet experiences with DJ Khaled. The mobile tool offers experiences to users once they have booked accommodations, such as local tourist attractions or shows, all through a personalized QR code. To accommodate changing plans, consumers can book experiences and only pay once the QR code has been scanned on-site.

Experiences are offering the travel industry a new stream of income, tapping into young consumers’ desire for memories and the “travel brag.” Travel activities, which includes tours, activities and events, is the third-largest segment in travel, according to Deloitte, accounting for 10 percent of global travel revenue. Revenue generated by travel experiences is expected to reach $183 billion by 2020.

Historical and heritage experiences are particularly popular, according to TripAdvisor, which experienced a 98 percent increase in bookings last year.

Consumers have largely shifted their expenditures from goods to experiences in recent years, especially among the millennial generation. This trend, observes McKinsey and Company, is driven by the fear of missing out (FOMO) and social media likes.

Combining this pursuit of experiences with Halloween—one of America’s top spending holidays—is a good start for’s new Booking Experiences portal. According to the National Retail Foundation, nearly a quarter of Americans plan to visit a haunted house this Halloween, so sleeping in one will make for a unique travel brag, indeed.

Gartner Releases Report On CMO Skills And Agile Marketing

According to the research firm, a balance of hard and soft skills are key to leading an agile marketing organization. Gartner outlines these seven skills in a white paper called “CMO Perspective: 7 Key Practices to Successfully Lead Today’s Agile Marketing Organization” and a webinar scheduled for Thursday.

“The agile approach is still new for even the most seasoned CMOs,” states Elizabeth Shaw, Gartner’s research director in a new report.

Foremost, Gartner mentions marketers must develop trust—it will break down barriers and encourage collaborative problem-solving. This is an ongoing effort that should be nurtured and maintained, with the CMO taking personal responsibility for developing trust.

“I give feedback regularly and speak openly about opportunities,” Alicia Tillman, CMO of SAP told Forbes in a recent interview. “I think this is really important. What creates trust between a leader and the team members is transparency. This matters not only to me and my success but equally to that person and their development.”

Driving change within the organization, the next skill mentioned in the report, is made possible by crafting and sharing an authentic and clear vision. Collaboration with peers, executives and partners will help identify all opportunities and threats, Gartner said but warned that employees’ roles and goals should be clearly defined.

A recent study by the CMO Council and Deloitte found that the success of a campaign often relies on allies within the organization. While 31 percent of respondents claim their organizational allies to be locked on and supportive of marketing strategies and goals, 26 percent said that allies within the company are too busy focusing on their own strategies. Three percent said that alignment with marketing strategies are good, but fall apart at the point of execution.

Soft skills like empathy, creativity and compassion represent the third skill in the report. “The ability to explain a person’s point of view and motivation is key to eliminating biases, making better decisions and motivating team members,” said Gartner.

This skill set especially applies in the marketing industry, which has called for greater diversity among its team members.

“Managing a diverse team in not as simple as hiring and putting together the right people,” wrote Peter Bryant, managing partner at Clareo and senior fellow at the Kellogg Innovation Network and Nicky Friedman, Director of the CMO Forum. “Diverse teams are successful because they often avoid groupthink and uninspired outcomes.”

Being a leader means also being a student and sharing leadership authority. The best leaders, Gartner pointed out, are also students—constantly open, eager and without preconceptions when exploring something new.

Being an agile marketer also requires the CMO to be engaged and aware at all times, constantly evaluating the big picture and the details. This equals constant calibration—adopting disciplined and defined work styles, realistic goal orientation and capability-based contribution.

Ensuring that all voices are heard and considered, says Gartner, helps to build a culture of collaboration. Collaboration is more than just “working together, and CMOs must stimulate and coach each person individually, as well as the collective team.

Lastly, Gartner reminds marketers to reward individual and team outcomes, saying that great leaders make sure they customize the type of recognition they provide to each member of their team.

The growing list of CMO responsibilities may seem daunting but in an ever-changing landscape, it is vital that CMOs be flexible, Equinox CMO Vimla Gupta told AList.

“This job is changing on a dime every single day,” she said. “It is becoming increasingly technical. Understanding how the technology can help you and how to use it, how to invest in it, recruit the right people or partner with the right agency is critical. Many of us are learning on the job because the industry is moving so quickly.”

Surprising No One, Brands Continue To Build In-House Agencies

Members of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) are using more in-house agencies and nearly half of them were established in the last five years, a new study reveals. Marketers indicate an overall satisfaction with in-house agencies, citing a variety of benefits—but a majority still work with outside experts.

Released on Monday, “The Continued Rise of the In-House Agency” asked 412 ANA members about whether or not they use in-house agencies, as well as services provided and general sentiment.

The study revealed a 36 percent jump for in-house agency use over the last decade—78 percent in 2018 compared to 58 percent in 2013 and 42 percent in 2008. Many of these in-house agencies are new, ANA found, with 44 percent established within the past five years.

Moving agency services in-house offers a number of benefits, ANA members said, with cost efficiency at the top of the list. Other primary benefits listed include better knowledge of brands, speed and nimbleness, and institutional knowledge.

While previous in-house work might have been confined to “low-hanging fruit” like promotional materials and internal videos, the study found that today’s agencies offer a much broader range of services. Respondents indicated that over the last five years, services that experienced the most growth include creative strategy, media strategy, social media (both creative and media), and programmatic media buying.

Brands are putting these agencies to use, respondents said, with 90 percent of respondents saying the workload of their in-house agency has increased in the last year. More than half—65 percent—said the workload has increased “a lot.”

“Traditional agencies are becoming increasingly challenged as marketers move more work in-house while encouraging their external agencies to provide differentiated services and increased value,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice alongside the findings. “We expect the current trends to continue, with accelerated client movement to in-house agencies.”

While it’s true that many brands continue to bring services in-house, the practice of using outside agencies isn’t necessarily on the decline. A full 90 percent of respondents admitted to still using outside agencies. In fact, 42 percent of work is conducted with these agencies, marketers revealed.

The ANA study reflects similar results of an August study by Forrester and the In-House Agency Forum. Surveying 325 companies, 64 percent indicated that they had an in-house agency, a 20 percent increase over the last decade.

Mercedes-Benz Fills Millennial Bucket Lists To Promote New Campaign

Mercedes-Benz launched a social media campaign for its new A-Class vehicle on Monday that offers to make consumer dreams come true. Aimed at millennial users, the “Bucket List” campaign includes video content from online influencers and highlights the new car’s voice command features.

From October 15 to November 9, Instagram users can share their personal bucket lists using a template found on Mercedes’ story highlights and the hashtag #AClassBucketListEntry. Users are encouraged to dream big or small, from finding the perfect slice of pizza to seeing the Northern Lights or climbing a rock face.

The “Bucket List” campaign will be supported with video content from tennis player Sloane Stephens and singer/songwriter Charli XCX, who will share and accomplish items from their own bucket lists on social media.

“As a mass-reach effort, we’re excited for this campaign to hit a large group of people that love sharing their experiences on Instagram and have enjoyed seeing influencers travel to the world’s most iconic or hidden places,” Mark Aikman, general manager of marketing services for Mercedes-Benz USA told AList.We have never seen a campaign of this scale activated using Instagram Stories and are thrilled to be leaders in the space.”

Mercedes-Benz plans to highlight the voice technology and lower price point of its 2019 A-Class to attract a young demographic. The A-Class will be the first car to debut a Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) interface, responding to a driver’s voice commands and learning their preferences. MBUX touts natural voice recognition such as “I’m cold” to turn up the heat.

The legacy car brand hopes that its modern technology and Instagram presence will resonate with millennial drivers, who value features over body style.

According to a 2017 study by Autotrader, consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 are willing to pay more for the technology they want. In fact, 55 percent of millennial drivers expect to spend an additional $2,600 to get desired tech feature

Despite what rideshare companies may want you to believe, young consumers are, in fact, buying vehicles. By 2020, millennials will represent roughly 40 percent of new-car purchases, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

Mercedes-Benz is an early adopter of new technology and media platforms and has shown that it is not afraid to get cozy with its target audiences. In August, the brand produced its first spot for IGTV—a short film called Bertha Benz: The First Driver.

This Week’s Exec Shifts: Square Enix Picks Up CMO From Blizzard; Godiva Hires New CMO

This week’s executive moves include Square Enix picking up a CMO from Blizzard Entertainment, Godiva adding a new chief marketing officer, Lyft appointing an ex-Sonos marketer as the company’s CMO and VW picking up a former Audi CMO to be the company’s head in America. Also, Goodyear promotes their CMO, Charming Charlie appoints a head marketer and Peugot hires a UK marketing director.

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

Square Enix Hires Blizzard Vet For CMO

John Heinecke has been hired by Square Enix to be the company’s new chief marketing officer. Heinecke comes to Square Enix from Blizzard Entertainment, where he was the vice president of global publishing. At Blizzard, Heinecke had a large part in marketing Overwatch, Diablo III, and many Warcraft and Starcraft expansions. Before Blizzard, Heinecke was at ad agency Ignited, and worked on many Activision titles.

In a statement, CEO of Square Enix America Phil Roger said, “We are tremendously excited to welcome John Heinecke to the Square Enix family. John’s experience and knowledge will be instrumental in leading our marketing efforts.”

Godiva Hires Veteran Marketer

Godiva, the one-hundred year old Belgian chocolatier, has named John Galloway as the company’s chief marketing and innovation officer, effective October 22. Galloway leaves his position as CEO at Beautiful Day, but previously held the post of chief marketing officer at Hard Rock International. Before that Galloway worked for a number of years at PepsiCo, making his name turning around the Gatorade brand as VP of marketing.

Former Audi CMO Tapped For VW America

Scott Keogh, currently the president of Audi of America, has been named the CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. Keogh served six years as chief marketing officer of Audi of American before taking the step up to president. Under his leadership, Audi saw sales double between 2010 and 2015.

Dr. Herbert Diess CEO of Volkswagen said of the appointment, “After the successful comeback of the Volkswagen brand, Scott Keogh, who led Audi to excellence in the U.S., will build upon the momentum and implement the next stage in the growth strategy as we continue to develop Volkswagen into a more relevant player in North America.“

Lyft Picks Former Sonos CMO 

Lyft has hired former Sonos chief marketing officer Joy Howard as the company’s new chief marketing officer. Lyft has been gaining ground on Uber’s ride-sharing market share and the appointment of CMO veteran Howard shows just how invested the company is in marketing. Howard comes to Lyft after having been the chief marketing officer at Sonos for three years—leaving the company in August. Prior to that Howard spent a number of years as a marketing VP at Patagonia and Nike.

Charming Charlie Adds Chief Marketer

Charming Charlie, a jewelry and clothing maker based in Houston, has appointed Joy Garcia as the company’s chief marketing officer. Garcia comes on after a five year tenure at Stage Stores as vice president of brand marketing. Prior to that Garcia had stints at Dell and Travelocity.

Peugot Appoints Marketing Head

Peugot has appointed Martin Moll as the company’s UK marketing director. Moll held previous posts as European marketing director for Nissan and Honda, respectively.

Distillery Adds Director

International Beverage has added Cara Chambers as the company’s marketing director. Before taking the position at the Edinburgh-based distillery, Chambers worked in marketing at Sainsbury’s Bank and Baxter Food Group.

Goodyear Promotes CMO

Goodyear has promoted chief marketing officer Mike Dwyer to chief customer officer. Dwyer has worked for Goodyear since 2014 in various marketing positions and was appointed the chief marketing officer only a year ago. Prior to Goodyear, Dwyer worked for Unilever, moving up the ranks over a period of seven years. Goodyear also promoted Andy Traicoff to vice president, customer experience.

Diamond Resorts Names Chief Marketing Officer

Diamond Resorts, a global hospitality and vacation company, has named Jeffrey Solomon as the company’s chief marketing officer. Most recently Solomon as SVP and CEO and of Affinity Gaming.

National Association Of Realtors Appoints CMO

Victoria Gillespie has been named chief marketing and communications officer at the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Gillespie is a licensed realtor on top of having her own consulting firm, and most recently served as senior vice president of enterprise marketing & communications at Northwest Federal Credit Union.

Burlington Adds Former Univision CMO To Board

Burlington Stores has added Univision’s Jessica Rodriguez to the company’s board of directors. Rodriguez serves as Univision’s chief marketing officer, and in January of this year took on the additional roles of president and chief operator officer. Rodriguez has worked at Univision since 2002.

Tom Kingsbury, CEO of Burlington, said of the appointment, “We are delighted to welcome Jessica to our board. She is a dynamic operational leader and has a proven track record in branding and marketing. Jessica brings a deep understanding of the needs of consumers, and I believe that her insights and expertise will add value as we move forward and continue to execute our growth strategy.”

Monro Inc. Promote SVP to Chief Marketing Officer

Monro Inc., an auto service and tire center company, has promoted Deborah Brundage, currently the company’s senior vice president of marketing and merchandising, to be its next chief marketing officer. Brundage came to Monro in March after spending 13 years in marketing at Procter & Gamble.

Central Insurance Nabs CMO

Central Insurance has announced the company’s new chief marketing officer as Evan Purmort. Purmort has been with the company since 2003 working his way up the ranks from underwriter into executive positions.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, October 12. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

Global Head of Brand Marketing Uber Eats San Francisco, CA
VP, Marketing & Communications Boingo El Segundo, CA
VP, Originals Marketing Starz Los Angeles, CA
VP, Marketing, Brand & Customer Strategy Banana Republic San Francisco, CA
Head of Marketing, Stephen Curry Under Armour Baltimore, MD
VP, Marketing Strategy Operations Paramount Pictures Hollywood, CA

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

Facebook Testing ‘Unsend’ Messages; Instagram Tries ‘Tap To Advance’

This week in social media news, Facebook adds 3D photos, stays busy deleting accounts, lets users delete embarrassing messages and creates massive Group sessions while Instagram tests a tap-to-advance feature.

Also, Twitter’s character count stops being biased with emojis and Moments will be retired from the mobile app. Snapchat debuts a slate of original shows, Facebook checks in on your co-workers during an emergency, LinkedIn helps diverse hiring and the music industry isn’t happy with YouTube. Instagram sicks AI on bullies, Facebook controls a majority of US social video ad spend, LinkedIn just bought an employee survey company and Snapchat struggles to keep up with Instagram before it’s too late. Facebook unveils its Portal calling devices, Google Plus gives up after a data breach, Twitter tightens its rules ahead of US elections, YouTube TV adds more DVR access and Facebook trains its AI to turn food photos into recipes.

Facebook Messenger Tests ‘Unsend Message’ For Those ‘Why Did I Say That’ Moments

Evidence of an “unsend message” option has been spotted on Facebook Messenger, offering temporary relief for impulsive chat messages you regret.

Why it matters: Saying something you don’t mean, chatting when you’re drunk or sending a message to the wrong person may be a thing of the past if Facebook implements a feature that deletes unwanted messages. The feature may help ease tension in conversations and among users, since no one is perfect.

Details: Developer Jane Manchun Wong spotted a new feature in Facebook Messenger on Friday, posting a screenshot to illustrate a typical use case—messages that sound desperate. According to Wong, Facebook Messenger users will only be allowed to unsend their messages after a certain amount of times.

Instagram Tests Ability To Tap Instead Of Scroll Through Posts

Scrolling through Instagram Stories may become a thing of the past, allowing users to tap through messages and give their thumbs a break.

Why it matters: Tap to advance started, unsurprisingly, on Snapchat so the new feature would be yet another one “borrowed” by Instagram if it becomes official. At the moment, Instagram users have to scroll and maneuver posts in the Explore tab. Reducing the motion needed to advance may encourage faster a high volume of views.

Details: As spotted on Twitter and confirmed by TechCrunch, Instagram is testing the ability to tap through posts in Explore, thus saving time. The spokesperson denied any official plans to make tapping permanent, however.

Facebook Adds 3D Photos For Mobile Viewing

Photos that respond to smartphone movement have rolled out for Facebook and VR, along with tips for creating 3D images yourself.

Why it matters: Duel-lens smartphones have become popular for their Portrait mode—blurring the background while keeping an object or person in focus. Facebook is creating a new use for technology that many of its users already own. The hope is that interactive photos will help Facebook users “feel even closer to the people, places and things you share on Facebook and relive your memories in a way that feels more real.”

Details: Facebook has begun rolling out 3D images that can be viewed in News Feed or through a web browser on Oculus Go or Oculus Rift. The ability to view these images is available to all users and the ability to create them will roll out in the coming weeks.

Facebook Groups Sub-chats Now Support Up To 250 Members

Group moderators on Facebook can now engage more users at the same time—up to 250 in chat and 50 via audio or video.

Why it matters: Facebook claims to have over 1.4 billion active users in Groups, so allowing them to gather en mass for online discussions would keep them coming back.

Details: Facebook Group admins can engage up to 250 members at a time through specific sub-chats. Users can opt in to receive notifications (or not) and choose to receive them only if they are mentioned specifically. In addition, audio and video calls can now support up to 50 members at a time.

Facebook Removes More Accounts Linked To ‘Inauthentic’ Behavior

Over 700 Pages and Accounts have been removed from Facebook that were linked to coordinated behavior associated with spam or misinformation, the company revealed.

Why it matters: Facebook continues to fight an uphill battle against bad actors, especially in light of the latest data breach and looming US elections. Informing the public about any progress they make will help reassure users that the company cares.

Details: In a blog post on Thursday, Facebook announced the removal of 559 Pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior. Specifically, many of these offenders were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names to post massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages, driving traffic to websites. This behavior, Facebook explained, isn’t always politically motivated but can also fuel ad farms—websites designed specifically to generate income.

Twitter Fixes Character Count Issue With Emojis

Until now, certain emojis on Twitter counted as more than one character but the issue has been corrected.

Why it matters: Twitter will now count all emojis equally, including those that can be adjusted for skin color and gender.

Details: Due to the way emojis are encoded, certain images were counted higher against Twitter’s 280 character limit. Developers within the company have now fixed this problem. “This update marks significant progress for our service, and everyone can now benefit from the additional room to express themselves with more characters (or more emojis 😉),” wrote Andy Piper, Twitter’s global lead developer advocate on the company’s developer forums.

Twitter Moments Will Be Removed From Mobile App

Citing a lack of use, mobile Twitter users will no longer be able to create Moments after October 23.

Why it matters: Moments allow users to save a series of tweets related to a topic or use them to tell a story. The fact that users aren’t interested in using the feature on mobile means that the platform may be better suited to quick interactions. Nonetheless, Twitter is removing the feature so it can focus on other features users will use.

Details: Effective October 23, Twitter is retiring the ability to create Moments out of tweets on iOS and Android devices. While many users agreed with the decision, others argued that Moments allowed artists to curate their posts into one location to share. Moments will still be available through desktop.

Snap Originals Debuts With New Slate Of Programming

Snapchat users can now watch exclusive shows through the app’s Discovery tab, with new episodes released daily. 

Why it matters: Snapchat is struggling as a public company and needs to make itself competitive not only with its young users but with advertisers as well. Offering exclusive video content could help the app compete with Instagram’s new IGTV.

Details: Snap Originals debuted on Wednesday with a slate of exclusive programming that includes Co-Ed, a new comedy from the Duplass Brothers, Class of Lies, a mystery thriller from one of the minds behind Riverdale, and Endless Summer, a docuseries following rising stars in Laguna Beach. Each show comes with a Show Portal, allowing users to swipe up to “step inside” a scene. Snap Originals will also come with Lenses and Filters so users can talk about the shows through their own feed.

Facebook Adds ‘Safety Check’ To Workplace

An enterprise version of Safety Check has been added to Facebook Workplace, designed to allow co-workers to check in during times of emergency.

Why it matters: Facebook said there are 30,000 companies currently using Workplace including Vodafone, GSK, Telefonica, and Chevron who announced joining on Wednesday. During times of disaster, designated safety officers would be able to send push notifications to team members that have been potentially impacted. The tool may prove useful to identify team members who are missing or in need of assistance.

Details: After a successful beta test and internal use at Facebook, a specially designed version of Safety Check has been added to Workplace. Potentially affected employees are located, then notified via a Workplace Chat, push notifications and email. The process continues until all employees have been contacted and accounted for.

LinkedIn Uses AI To Encourage Gender Diverse Hiring Practices

Recruiters will now be shown an equal view of diverse job candidates through LinkedIn’s Talent Insight product.

Why it matters: Diversity in the workplace has been a hot topic, especially in the marketing industry. This new tool would allow recruiters to view an equal view of qualified male and female candidates so they don’t miss out on potential talent.

Details: LinkedIn is making an effort to encourage diverse hires through its recruiting tools, the company announced on Wednesday.

“Say I search for an accountant, and there are 100,000 accountants in the city I’m looking at,” said John Jersin, VP of Product Management for LinkedIn Talent Solutions. “If the gender breakdown is 40-60, then what Representative Results will do is that no matter what happens in our AI, the top few pages will have that same 40-60 gender breakdown.”

In addition to displaying a more even breakdown of male vs. female candidates, LinkedIn will track and report how listings are performing in terms of gender.

YouTube’s Expansive Music Library Has The Industry Concerned

An annual study by The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) found that 35 percent of respondents don’t subscribe to a paid music service because they can find what they want for free on YouTube.

Why it matters: As the music industry adapts to a digital age, YouTube has not been IFPI’s favorite company because of its low royalties paid each year. Nearly half of all time spent listening to on-demand music is on YouTube, the study found. While YouTube’s global head of music, Lyor Cohen tries to repair the company’s relationship with the music industry, Facebook has made several licensing deals that add music elements to user posts.

Details: According to IFPI’s Music Consumer Insight Report 2018 watching music videos on YouTube accounts for almost half of all on-demand music streaming. While this gives YouTube bragging rights, the company has made it less attractive for its own users to pay for a subscription. Thirty-eight percent of consumers admitted to pirating music through “stream ripping,” the act of downloading music from a video online.

Instagram Releases AI, Positive Filters To Combat Bullying

Newly appointed head of Instagram Adam Mosseri expressed his commitment to keeping Instagram a safe place with the launch of a bully-detecting AI and a camera effect to spread positivity. The initiative is part of National Bullying Prevention Month but will continue as part of the site’s everyday practices.

Why it matters: Instagram has proven to be a very wise investment for Facebook, to say the least. It continues to capture young users, even as Facebook loses ground with Gen Z. Keeping the site safe and happy will help Instagram continue to foster its growing community, and therefore attract valuable ad dollars. Pew Research recently reported that 59 percent of US teens have experienced some form of bullying online. Mosseri said that most users who experience bullying don’t report it, so Instagram’s AI will do the work for them.

Details: Instagram is now using an AI to detect bullying in photos and video, Mosseri announced on Tuesday. The company will use machine learning to help identify captions, photos and videos that violate anti-bullying policies, then direct them to a human team for review. In addition, a new Kindness Filter has been added to Instagram’s camera effects, in partnership with user Maddie Ziegler. The effect adds hearts to a selfie or kind messages to a rear camera image, then encourages users to tag friends that they support.

Facebook Captures Majority Of Social Video Ad Spend In The US, Quarter Of All Video

New forecasts by eMarketer place Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram at number one for video ad spend on social networks in the US.

Why it matters: With its new Watch video platform, Facebook continues to push ad sales and dominate the market for video ad dollars. While Twitter and Snapchat also pivot to video, Facebook and Instagram have a strong lead that will be hard to surpass in the coming years.

Details: Facebook, including Instagram, controls nearly 87 percent of social video ad spend in the US, according to eMarketer data released on Tuesday. Facebook will capture nearly one-quarter (24.5 percent) of all video ad spending in the US this year, at $6.81 billion (including Instagram). Both Twitter and Snapchat attribute a little more than half of their ad revenues to video but have a long way to go before they surpass Facebook in terms of revenue.

LinkedIn Acquires Glint, An Employee Survey Company

LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft, announced its intent to purchase Glint for an undisclosed sum on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The purchase of Glint would grant LinkedIn access to employment statistics that it could use to design tools and products. “Our insights into people success, along with LinkedIn’s insights into the broader workforce, will be a powerful combination that can help customers attract, develop, and retain the best talent,” wrote Glint CEO and founder Jim Barnett.

Details: LinkedIn has acquired Glint, a company that specializes in employee surveys designed to inform companies about topics like pay, culture and morale. Glint’s clients include Waymo, Dish Network and United Airlines. Although no official statement was made about the purchase price, insiders told CNBC that the deal could have been upwards of $500 million.

Snapchat Hopes To Be Profitable By 2019, Analysts Not So Sure

While Instagram brags about its growing numbers, Snapchat is having a much harder time of it now that the company went public. CEO Evan Spiegel told his employees that he wants the company to be profitable in 2019, but the clock is ticking.

Why it matters: Snap, Inc. went public riding high on its big ambitions but the company has increasingly been dwarfed by Instagram’s user base and usage. In an effort to compete, Snap rushed an app redesign that caused a major backlash, resulting in a drop in users. Will Snap be around long enough for the company to turn a profit?

Details: In an internal memo to employees, Snap, Inc. Spiegel criticized the “rushed” app redesign and said that in the company’s excitement to innovate, they lost the core of what made Snapchat’s communication so fast. Despite Snap’s hopes to become profitable in 2019, analyst Michael Nathanson warned investors that the company is running out of money, leading to a drop in stock prices on Tuesday.

Facebook Launches Video Calling Device, But Will Users Trust It?

Portal, Facebook’s AI-powered video and voice calling device was officially announced, along with a carefully worded statement about privacy and security.

Why it matters: Facebook Portal is being launched as consumer privacy concerns hit an all-time high. The company faces multiple lawsuits and just admitted that 50 million accounts have been compromised. Although Portal comes with a long list of promises about user safety, it may not be enough to convince consumers to shell out $100 for another potential mishap.

Details: Facebook Portal and Portal+ are video chat devices that use Alexa voice commands. The zero UI devices feature a camera that follows users around so they can walk around the room while speaking with the option of AR effects to make video chats more interactive. Both devices come with a camera cover and Facebook promises not to track everything that users do, claiming that all calls are encrypted.

Google+ To Shut Down In Light Of Security Concerns

Google will sunset its social network for consumers, the company announced Monday, not long after The Wall Street Journal reported a massive data breach. Citing low usage and API security concerns, Google+ will exist only for businesses starting next year.

Why it matters: Google says that 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds and that the APIs are challenging to control and maintain. Rather than improve its security measures or redesign the site, Google has decided to let it go. You would think that a tech giant like Google would find API development no less challenging than anything else they work on, but with such low engagement, there isn’t much point in salvaging the platform.

Details: On Monday morning, The Wall Street Journal published a piece stating that Google exposed half a million users’ private data this spring and deliberately withheld the information for fear of bad press. Not long after the story broke, Google announced that it will wind down Google+ for consumers over the next 10 months. In the meantime, users can will be given information on how to migrate and access their data. The business version of Google+ will remain.

Twitter Clarifies Policies To Discourage Bad Actors Ahead Of US Mid-Term Elections

Twitter rules have been updated to provide clearer guidance on violations such as fake accounts, attributed activity and distribution of hacked materials. This comes quickly after last week’s report on Twitter’s fake news ecosystem.

Why it matters: Twitter doesn’t want to be party to the spread of misinformation or abuse, as it was during the 2016 US Presidential election. While clarifying rules won’t stop bad actors, it will help the company explain why certain accounts will be suspended or punished for violating the rules. Twitter has kept itself busy fighting misinformation on its platform, especially when it comes to outside political interference. The company says it removed approximately 50 accounts misrepresenting themselves as members of various state Republican parties.

Details: In a blog post, Twitter announced that it has updated three critical areas of its election integrity efforts—policies, enforcement and product features. The site is partnering closely with the RNC, DNC and state election institutions to improve how it handles misinformation and abuse. Twitter has already removed hundreds of accounts found to intentionally mislead its users.

YouTube TV Offers Instant DVR Access Through Network Partnerships

A new deal with AMC, Disney, FOX, NBC and Turner will grant YouTube TV subscribers instant access to episodes on demand, making the service more attractive to cord-cutters.

Why it matters: YouTube TV users have, until now, been unable to access DVR content on-demand, which defeats the purpose of offering an unlimited cloud-backed DVR. These new partnerships will help make the service more competitive, especially as AMC viewers gear up to watch Andrew Lincoln’s last episodes on The Walking Dead that began this weekend.

Details: YouTube TV is trying to compete by offering live TV and original content. However, one complaint has been the VOD function, in that not everything can be viewed while it’s still new. These new partnerships will allow users to stay up-to-date with Fall Premieres.

Facebook Teaches AI To Convert Photos Into Recipes

Researchers at Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) group have developed a piece of AI software that can analyze a photo of food and generate a recipe for it.

Why it matters: Considering how many people take pictures of food these days—especially on Instagram—developing a use for all those photos makes sense. Facebook says it isn’t planning a public recipe-generating AI tool at the moment, but the experiment was designed to teach machines how to understand the world.

Details: As reported by Forbes, researchers at Facebook’s Montreal lab have taught AI to generate a recipe based on a picture of food such as banana bread.

“Everyone is always taking pictures of their meals these days,” said Joelle Pineau, head of FAIR’s Montreal lab, in an interview.  “Sometimes there are ingredients you can see but there’s also ingredients you can’t always see, like sugar and salt and things like that. So they train it [the AI] with pairs of images and recipes. But then when they test it they just give the image and it generates a recipe.”

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McDonald’s Takes Another Stab At Meme Marketing With ‘Bad Luck Brian’ Ad

McDonald’s debuted its new giveaway campaign, Trick. Treat. Win!, and with it a “Bad Luck Brian” revival—the famous Internet meme of an awkward high school teen that came into our virtual lives in 2012. Launched on October 5th, players have a one-in-four our chances to win and even unlucky people can score a prize according to the ad.

Kyle Craven, “Bad Luck Brian’s” real name, stars in the new commercial for the chain’s seasonal game. In the 30-second spot, Craven sits in an apartment with a McDonald’s bag, fries, drink and burger box and next to him the high school photo that made him famous.

“A while back my yearbook photo went viral and not in a good way,” said Craven in the ad, as he gestures towards his picture. He peels off a game piece and instantly wins a Big Mac.  The voiceover concludes it with the campaign’s tagline, “McDonald’s Trick. Treat. Win! game, with one in four odds of instantly winning, you won’t need luck.”

In another spot, Craven recreates the meme and abruptly stands up to get out of it.

The ads are featured on all social media outlets, but have gotten the most reaction on Reddit—where the “Bad Luck Brian” meme was first posted.

Most comments are either supportive of Craven capitalizing on his meme or criticizing McDonald’s attempt a meme advertising. One Redditor wrote, “10 years ago this ad would’ve been good.” Reactions on Facebook are a bit more receptive.

This is not McDonald’s first meme rodeo. The fast-food giant received a lot of backlash in 2012 for its #Shamrocking which was tied to the Shamrock Shake. Lovers of the mint-flavored treat could post pictures of themselves on Twitter posing in an Irish jig-like stance while holding the drink.

Critics pointed out how the word “shamrocking” already had an offensive definition and felt it was unoriginal, comparing it to the Captain Morgan pose.

However, is this style of marketing a total fail? Meme marketing can be very successful. Memes are usually funny, entertaining and easy to consume. They are also easier to share than a blog. Companies must know what’s trending to use an existing meme and understand the meme because its context can shift over time.

During an Advertising Week session last week, Joe Federer, Reddit’s head of brand strategy, and Maria Vorovich, strategy director at Grey, offered meme marketing pointers. You can use existing memes, learn the meme (understand what its saying and how it got there), and surprise people with a unique approach.

The meme marketing campaign seems to indicate a larger shift in McDonald’s marketing perspective. McDonald’s ‘Trick. Treat. Win’ giveaway continues until after Halloween.

It’s Not About Brand Storytelling: Companies Look To Consumers To Shape Narrative

During Advertising Week New York 2018, storytelling was a common thread among marketing leaders. Yes the idea that marketers are storytellers is not a new one, it’s been universally accepted for a long time, and more recently marketers have taken on other roles, that of educator, inspirational speaker and advocate. But, lately, marketers have been handing over the wheel, in terms storytelling, to the consumer.

This attitude toward brand storytelling has inspired brands to view campaigns more like a producer sees a film. It has become more common, therefore, to tell a brand’s story through more traditional, roundabout means—focusing not on labels but ideals. Heineken recently produced a documentary on NatGeo about a new kind of yeast, for example, focusing on the spirit of discovery to promote its new H41 Wild Lager.

For the entertainment industry, where competition to attract user attention is at its highest, some interesting examples of immersive branded content have emerged. The Blue Ray release of Sony’s Hotel Transylvania 3 will include a 360-degree VR experience that puts viewers inside a virtual vacation with the film’s characters and Snap Stories, a new series of exclusive content on Snapchat, will feature AR moments that allow viewers to explore scenes in augmented reality.

Given all these options, the top-down approach to marketing has shifted. Depending on the campaign, consumers are able to dictate much of the story and brands are finding that collaborating with those consumers can foster strong relationships through storytelling.

“In generations past, culture was a top-down driven process,” said Viacom Velocity CMO Dario Spina. “Big companies, news organizations, sports entities were spewing content down to the masses and it was hard for us regular people to take part in the conversation. Now we see with the advent of the internet and social media that us regular folks actually have a hand in shaping culture.”

Mastercard is shifting its iconic “Priceless” campaign to tell customer stories through an initiative called “Start Something Priceless.” The movement encourages customers to pursue what drives them. Speaking on a panel about the shifting role of CMOs, Mastercard marketing chief Raja Rajamannar called it a shift from storytelling to story-making.

In a recent study by the CMO Council, marketers named “Storytelling in a Digital World” as one of the top skills mandatory to shape a company’s growth agenda.

“Any good story starts with knowing your audience,” L’Oreal USA vice president of marketing Sivonne Davis explained in one panel. “For me, it’s also about talking to consumers whether it’s before, during or after you develop that story.”

From an advertising point of view, this slight change of perspective has opened a door for campaigns that think outside of the box.

“I feel like everyone is saying that advertising is dying, but I actually think it’s the most interesting time to be an advertiser because we’re doing things that used to not be called advertising. It was called entertainment. Based on consumption habits, you’re able to tell stories in more robust ways,” said Ari Weiss, chief creative officer for North America at DDB.

Digital Brands Plan 850 Physical Stores Over Next Five Years

Digital-native brands are adding physical retail to the business model, with plans to open 850 stores over the next five years, according to commercial retail real estate firm JLL Research. Last year saw the greatest number of these “clicks-to-bricks” locations including those from Everlane, Allbirds, Away and MM.LaFleur.

Compiling the expansion plans of over 100 digital retailers, JLL identifies New York City as the top location for both pop-up activations and permanent brick-and-mortar stores. Pop-ups are especially common in SoHo, where 48 percent of them were observed. Wool sneaker company Allbirds recently opened a 4,800-square-foot New York flagship in the neighborhood, with plans for more stores in four cities in the next year.

Los Angeles and Toronto were the second and third most popular pop-up locations. Other popular choices included Detroit, Chicago, Washington D.C. And San Francisco.

These pop-ups may be used as a sort of test case, as many direct-to-consumer brands erect permanent stores in the same city as their first pop-up. The most popular locations for permanent stores were New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, JLL found.

Nearly 75 percent of digital-first retailer locations sell apparel and accessories, followed by furniture and home furnishings. Half of these retailers have high price points, and 32 percent are considered mid-priced.

While ecommerce offers convenience to digital natives, physical locations offer in-person help and aid in visualization.

Casper alone will open 200 stores within the next three years. During Advertising Week New York, Casper CMO Jeff Brooks said that the move to brick-and-mortar was always part of the plan. Retail is experiencing a “rebirth,” he said, through better customer service and the marriage of ecommerce and physical locations.

Showrooms are quite popular, especially among apparel and accessory retailers. A small number of them—15.1 percent—don’t actually carry any inventory and serve as more of an art gallery or experience for curious consumers. A majority do carry goods for sale, however, comprised mostly of apparel, accessories, furniture and home furnishings.

Wayfair Explains Advantages Of Homemade CRM

Rather than mix and match a technology stack, Wayfair’s marketing team built a CRM from the ground up. During Advertising Week New York, Wayfair’s director of marketing Jessica Jacobs explained how doing so has eliminated silos while offering the brand a holistic view of the customer journey.

Jacobs explains that with a lot of companies, marketers spend an extraordinary amount of time and budget building and rebuilding a tech stack with technologies that don’t always mesh together in the end. This was the onus for Wayfair to build a technology that not only gained customers, but worked to keep the customers who had already bought a products from the company.

In fact, Jacobs has called Wayfair “a technology company that happens to sell furniture.” By not having to worry about things like replacing a part of the tech stack, they can be more mindful of strategy and build tools they need.

“Wayfair, from the beginning, has always had a ‘build it versus buy it’ mentality,” said Jacobs. “At the heart of the technology that we built is a single view of the customer that enables us to think about how we communicate in the most compelling way.”

Through its CRM, Wayfair enjoys a single view across touch points that bring adtech and martech together. This allows Jacobs and her team to custom-tailor a marketing strategy to each customer, wherever they are on their buying journey.

“We want to reach our customer wherever she is so we take a very broad approach to the marketing and media that we use,” Jacobs explained.

Having quick access to all touchpoints allows Wayfair to adjust its personalized marketing strategy on the fly. For example, if a customer is in the process of returning an item, Wayfair will turn down the frequency of its ads to that individual why they go through “high tension” moments.

Wayfair also uses traditional methods to reach consumers like TV, direct mail and email in addition to inspirational posts on Pinterest or Facebook. Post-purchase communication is incredibly important, Jacobs said, down to wanting to have the delivery drivers with knowledge of the products and consumers’ past purchases.

About 60-65 percent of Wayfair’s sales come from existing customers, so the brand uses this information on its quest for acquisition.

“I’d say that retention and thinking about customer lifetime value informs our acquisition strategy,” said Jacobs. “We use our existing customer data as a way to understand who the best people are, [as well as] the best combination of platforms and messages that we want to deploy in order to grow the highest quality customer base that we can.”

Wayfair doesn’t do everything on their own, however, leaning on platforms that allow them to use their own audience segments. For this reason, transparency is vital, letting Jacobs and her team get even more targeted about marketing investments.

The company has attributed much of their success to investing in technology in-house. Wayfair’s Q3 earnings will be released on November 1, but for Q2 they reported net revenue of $5.7 billion YoY.