Instagram Tests Location-Sharing; Twitter’s Fake News Ecosystem

This week in social media news, Instagram is testing the ability to share its user’s location with Facebook and the fake news ecosystem that was alive and well during the 2016 election is still… alive and well. Also, LinkedIn aims to improve the quality of clicks on sponsored content and Instagram goes down in the wee hours of the morning

Instagram Testing Location-Sharing

Instagram is currently testing the ability to share users’ location with Facebook.

Why it matters: Facebook continues to weather the storm of a rough couple of weeks. First, the founders of IG leave then a data breach on Facebook, then Instagram goes down earlier this week and now an app researcher has found in-app code that shows Instagram is testing the ability to share users’ location with Facebook.

Details: According to code found by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, Instagram is testing an opt-in feature that would share your exact location with Facebook, even with you’re not actively using the app. Wong noted this would help Facebook serve more relevant ads, and perhaps better recommend places to users.

Fake News Ecosystem Still Active On Twitter, Study Finds

The Knight Foundation released a new study that found that the “fake news” ecosystem prevalent during the 2016 election is still active on Twitter.

Why it matters: For the last two years Facebook and Twitter have made some small but well-publicized steps in combating fake news. But, according the Knight Foundation report, “more than 80 percent of accounts that repeatedly spread misinformation during the 2016 election campaign are still active, and they continue to publish more than a million tweets on a typical day.”

Details: The Knight Foundation report is split into seven sections. Each detailing how the fake news ecosystem existed during the election and how it continues to flourish. Some of the highlights include:

  • “Twitter has claimed repeatedly that it has cracked down on automated accounts that spread fake news and engage in “spammy behavior.” Yet of the 100 accounts that were most active in spreading fake news in the months before the election—the large majority clearly engaged in “spammy behavior” that violates Twitter’s rules— more than 90 were still active as of spring 2018.”
  • “Contrary to claims that fake news is a game of “whack-a-mole,” more than 80 percent of the disinformation accounts in our election maps are still active as this report goes to press.”

LinkedIn Aims To Improve Sponsored Content Click Quality

In the months ahead LinkedIn will be testing and adding features to improve the quality of clicks for sponsored content.

Why it matters: Users may see a bit of a drop in the amount of clicks, but according to LinkedIn the quality will now improve.

Details: The one example Linkedin mentions is that the ‘show more’ linked will now unfurl rather than register as a click. We’ll have to wait and see what else the platform plans on rolling out.


Instagram experienced a worldwide outage in the early morning on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Just a week after the founders of Instagram departed the company, days after a major security breach at Facebook and shortly after Facebook named a new head of Instagram, the image-sharing app went down for the count for about an hour.Will people try to connect the dots? Probably. Are these related? Probably not.

Details: As the Instagram outage took hold in the early morning hours of Wednesday, the #instagramdown hashtag took over on Twitter. Not Instagram nor Facebook have released a statement about the outage.

Pinterest’s More Ideas Tab

Pinterest introduce the ‘More Ideas’ tab today, available for all users.

Why it matters: Pinterest launched new tools for organization a year ago, this seems very much a continuation of that. The release coincides with the beginning of October, Halloween craft-making season and Pinterest’s Halloween report.

Details: With the More Ideas tab, Pinterest suggests new ideas based no your old saved ones. Users will also see suggestions for new sections to help organize the ideas they’ve saved.

Is Brain-To-Brain The Future Of Social Media?

Rolling Stone published a new article exploring the idea of future social media networks based on brain-to-brain communication.

Why it matters: Scientists are still years out from being able to communicate brain-to-brain through electrodes, but the implications of this kind of technology are terrifying and amazing.

Details: Researchers from the University of Washington announced in late September they had created “the first multi-person non-invasive direct brain-to-brain interface for collaborative problem solving.” They call it BrainNet and it involves electrode-filled caps placed over people’s heads. Using the the interface, the group created a “tetris-like” game of falling blocks wherein five groups of three players had an overall accuracy of 81 percent—using their brains. The abstract published by the group goes a bit into the push for brain-to-brain communication but strays from speaking towards many of the implications.

Facebook Adds Tools To Combat Bullying

Facebook is adding tools across the platform to address bullying.

Why it matters: This is part of an ongoing push by Facebook to make users feel more comfortable in their experience on the platform. Facebook will also be adding more tools aimed at protecting public figures on Facebook.

Details: Facebook is rolling out multiple new tools to combat bullying. Along with being able to report multiple comments at once come the ability to delete comments on your own post as well as report comments on behalf of other users. Facebook is also testing ways to block specific words.

In terms of public figures, Facebook stated that, “In the coming weeks, we will further expand our policies to better protect public figures against harassment regardless of age. For example, severe attacks that directly engage a public figure will not be allowed under the new policy.”

Instagram Gets New CEO

Facebook has appointed Adam Mosseri as Instagram’s new CEO, this comes after Instagram’s founders left the company last week.

Why it matters: Facebook has a pretty bad time in the last seven days—with the news of Instagram’s founders leaving the company being only the second-worst headline of the week. The appointment of a new CEO was surely decided quickly after the departures, but this no doubt helps add some stability to Facebook in the eyes of the public.

Details: Adam Mosseri, a longtime executive at Facebook, has been named the CEO at Instagram. He replaces the founders of Instagram, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, in this role. This appointment comes as many speculate that Facebook will look to integrate Instagram more “tightly” into the Facebook ecosystem.

Pinterest’s Ad Revenue Forecast

Emarketer has released an ad revenue Forecast for Pinterest and the results are glowing.

Why it matters: Long thought of as “your mother’s social media platform,” Pinterest has not only exceeded expectations as they emphasize advertising and visual search, but it seems they will only be doing better in the future.

Details: Emarketer‘s ad revenue forecast for Pinterest show the expectation that the social media platform will cross the $500 million in US ad revenue by end of year. Furthermore, they expect Pinterest to pass the $1 billion revenue mark by 2020.

Monica Peart, senior forecasting director at eMarketer stated that, “audience expansion will help Pinterest reach regular monthly use in a quarter of the US population by 2020, a level reached by Snapchat and Instagram back in 2018 and 2017, respectively.”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, October 5. 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

This Week’s Exec Shifts: Shutterfly Hires New CMO; Snap’s VP Of Marketing Departs

This week’s executive moves include both ESPN and Republic Records promoting marketers to senior vice president roles, and Humm Kombucha hiring a vice president of marketing. Also, Shutterfly hires a new chief marketing officer and the VP of marketing at Snap departs.

Elsewhere, Ayzenberg adds Omnicom’s story content team and Google’s ad chief departs.

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

Shutterfly Hires New CMO

Shutterfly has announced the appointment of Mickey Mericle as the company’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. Mericle comes to Shutterfly after three years at Adobe, serving as the vice president of global marketing. Previously, she also had long stints at Walmart and Target. In the press release, CEO of Shutterfly Christopher North said, “Mickey’s unique breadth of skills and experiences make her the ideal person to lead our marketing teams through our next phase of growth, particularly as we bring Lifetouch and Shutterfly together.” Lifetouch, a school photography company, was acquired by Shutterfly this year.

Snap’s VP Of Marketing Departs

Steve LaBella, Snap’s current vice president of marketing and brand identity, is set to exit the company at the end of November according to report by Cheddar. LaBella has been with the company since 2016 and was important in marketing Snap’s spectacles. Previously, LaBella worked at Mattel, having worked his way up to SVP global marketing of Mattel: Fisher-Price.

Republic Records Promotes Marketer To SVP

Republic Records, home to artists like Ariana Grande and The Weeknd, has announced the promotion of Marleny Dominguez-Reyes to senior vice president of marketing. Dominguez-Reyes has been with the record label since 2014 and prior to joining Republic worked at Entertainment One Music, where she worked her way up to vice president.

ESPN Ups Marketer to SVP

ESPN has promoted Laura Gentile to senior vice president of marketing. Gentile has been with ESPN for 15 years—starting as a senior director of marketing then being promoted to vice president at ESPN and founding the company’s women’s vertical espnW. Before starting at ESPN, Gentile worked at Ogilvy & Mather.

Vonage Names Chief Marketing Officer

Rishi Dave has been appointed chief marketing officer at Vonage. The company sells both residential and business telecommunications services. Dave will report to Vonage CEO Alan Masarek, and comes off four years as chief marketing officer at Dun & Bradstreet, a data and analytics company based in New Jersey. Previously, Dave served as executive director, digital marketing at Dell.

Bayer Promotes CMO To President

Bayer has named Sebastian Guth as the company’s president of pharmaceuticals, Americas region. Guth has been with Bayer since 2007. In 2015 he was promoted from chief marketing officer of general medicine to EVP and chief marketing officer of Bayer Pharmaceuticals.

Humm Kombucha Appoints VP

Humm Kombucha, one of the fastest-growing kombucha companies in the U.S., has named John Peirano the company’s vice president of marketing. The Bend, Oregon-based company hired Peirano in August. Peirano’s most recent position was that of co-founder at Plant Works Nutrition, a title he retains, but prior to that he worked in marketing for the Golden State Warriors, Talking Rain Beverage Company, Red Bull and Nike.

Painting With A Twist Welcomes New CMO

Painting With A Twist, a paint and sip company, has named Katherine LeBlanc the company’s first chief marketing officer. LeBlanc’s appointment comes after the company’s recent announcement of former Smoothie King exec as CEO. LeBlanc also spent a number of years at Smoothie King as a marketing manager and then director of brand marketing. Most recently LeBlanc worked at Dickie Brennan & Co., a restaurant group based in New Orleans.

AT&T Marketer Added To Emerson Board

Emerson, a Fortune 500 energy company working on consumer, commercial and residential markets, has added Lori Lee to the company’s board of directors. Lee currently serves as AT&T’s CEO in Latin America and global marketing officer.

Savills Studley Appoints First CMO

Savills Studley, a real estate firm specializing in tenant representation, has appointed Carol McNerney as the company’s first chief marketing officer. McNerney most recent post was SVP, marketing strategy at Pitney Bowes and prior to that was global head of marketing at Bloomberg.

AMG/Parade Promotes Within For CMO

Publisher AMG/Parade has promoted Monique Kakar to SVP, chief marketing officer, digital. Kakar has been with AMG/Parade sine 2014 and previously held marketing positions at Condé Nast and Eventive Marketing. She has been with AMG/Parade for four years, starting as a marketing director before becoming VP, corporate marketing & video solutions.

MMA Adds Three CMOs To Board

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) has named three chief marketing officers to the company’s global board. These leadership appointments include Marie Gulen-Merle, CMO at Calvin Klein; Jay Jaffin, CMO at Verizon Connect and Kellyn Kenny, Global CMO at Hilton Hotels. MMA has also added several other high-level marketers to the board including Nick Drake, EVP of marketing and experience at T-Mobile and Melissa Waters, VP marketing at Lyft.

Pier 1 Adds Former AOL CMO To Board

Pier 1 has added former AOL chief marketing officer Kline to the company’s board of directors. Kline held the CMO role at AOL, and then Oath, from 2015 to this year when she transitioned into an advisory role at Oath.

Former Diageo CMO Added To Board

Peter McDonough, who held the post of chief marketing officer at Diageo from 2009 to 2015, has been named to the board of directors at Trait, a bio-tech company in the cannabis industry. McDonough worked at Diageo for nine years and before that held high-level marketing roles at Gillette and Procter & Gamble.

IndyCar CMO Departs

Hulman Motorsports, parent company of IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has announced the departure of chief marketing officer, C.J. O’Donnell, who will leave the company the end of the year. O’Donnell came to IndyCar in 2013 after a number of years at Ford Motor Company and Jaguar Land Rover, where he worked at a number of high-level marketing positions.


Ayzenberg Onboards Omnicom’s, Ant Farm, Story Content Team

After 22 years in operation, Omnicom is closing Hollywood marketing powerhouse, Ant Farm. The team headed up by ECD, Scott Cookson, reunites with Ayzenberg ECD, Matt Bretz, who Together Won Two Game Marketing Agency of the Year awards at Ant Farm. Furthermore this addition will fortify creative capabilities across the video game, consumer electronics and CPG verticals, Ayzenberg Group is injecting Cookson’s team directly into its current roster of award-winning producers, writers and editors.

Throughout his career, Cookson has demonstrated an artistic prowess that engages audiences and ignites social conversation. In 2014, Cookson and his team acted as one of the creative marketing leads for the release of Destiny (Activision), which, at the time, became gaming’s largest new entertainment launch. Additionally, Cookson and his team played an integral role in the trailer campaign for the introduction of Tom Clancy’s The Division (Ubisoft), which then broke Destiny’s previously held record.

Cookson and team bring new storytelling capabilities to Ayzenberg having worked on brand experiential content for a variety of gaming and non-gaming clients including Activision, General Motors and Amazon.

Google’s Ad Chief Departs For VC Firm

Sridhar Ramaswamy, senior vice president of advertising and commerce at Google, is departing the company after 15 years. Ramaswamy helped launch the search company into an advertising giant. He will be replaced by Prabhakar Raghavan, currently vice president of engineering at Google. Ramaswamy will be joining venture capitalist firm Greylock as a venture partner. Before joining Google, he worked at Lucent Technologies and Bell Labs.

In a statement, Ramaswamy said, “I have been extremely privileged to have spent the past 15 years at Google, where I focused on starting and scaling new businesses and platforms. I have always been drawn to earlier stage entrepreneurial projects and becoming a venture partner at Greylock is an exceptional way to explore these types of opportunities. I am excited by the prospect of working with the amazing partners at Greylock and the great entrepreneurs that they have backed.”


Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, October 5. 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.

Advertising Week: Examining And Adapting To The Changing CMO Role

We’ve seen it in reports and heard it in speaking with colleagues—the role of the chief marketing officer is changing but many of the challenges remain the same. Not only do today’s CMOs oversee marketing, but they have adopted a role of customer caretaker. During Advertising Week New York, leaders in the industry shared their views on this evolving career landscape.

During a panel called “The CMO Perspective on Trust, Quality and Brand Safety,” a common thread among professionals was the challenge of resonating with consumers during this ever-changing, and turbulent media landscape.

Univision marketing chief Jessica Rodriguez said this was especially true for the Spanish language network, which has seen a rise in competition over the past year.

“We’ve been able to take a step back as a media company,” she said, in order determine what the brand’s strengths are and what the brand stands for. Johnson added that sometimes it’s tempting as marketers to go down a rabbit hole of investing or trying new things but if you let it get out of hand, it can distract from the brand’s core values.

Young consumers tend to value experiences over objects. In response to changing consumer sentiment, Mastercard took a different approach to its “Priceless” campaign by focusing on the moments in life that money can’t buy.

“Connecting with consumers is becoming a huge issue,” said Mastercard chief marketing and communications officer Raja Rajamannar. “The information overload is humongous. [The solution is] enabling consumers to tell stories that they are going through.”

Rajamannar called it “going from storytelling to story making.”

In another panel called “The Evolution of the CMO,” the traditional role of a marketer was called into question. It has become much more common to build a close relationship with one’s CTO, for example. Chief marketing officers are embracing accountability and making decisions normally reserved for other members of the company.

“I think the CMO is evolving more toward a general manager,” said Ty Shay, CMO of Norton Consumer Business. “For CMOs embracing accountability, it’s a natural path.”

It became apparent listening to marketers speaking across a myriad of panels that today’s CMOs see themselves differently, too.

“The importance of the CMO has grown tremendously,” said Aditi Javeri Gokhale, CMO of Northwestern Mutual. “We’re the closest to the customer. I see myself as a change agent pushing the boundaries.”

Dara Treseder, CMO of GE Ventures, observed that with new responsibilities comes greater recognition.

“I think the CMO is having a higher profile because people are taking notice that we’re delivering more,” she said.

As marketers become jack-of-all-trades within their companies, the priority will always be about the consumer, if not more so.

“[The future CMO will be] someone who has empathy who understands the wants and needs of the customer,” said Stephen Freitas, chief marketing officer of Outdoor Advertising Association of America. “Maybe the new title will be chief understanding officer.”

Advertising Week: Direct-to-Consumer Reinvents Retail

Direct-to-consumer marketing leaders from Bark, Sweet Defeat and Casper came together at Advertising Week New York to talk strategy, priorities and explain why so many DTC brands are setting up physical locations.

In the panel “Direct to Consumer All-Stars,” Bark co-founder Henrik Werdelin told the story of how he bonded with his would-be business partner over a love of dogs, a spark that became the DTC brand. Bark Box delivers monthly packages of treats and toys for dogs that the company designs and manufactures itself. Filling a niche helped launch the DTC brand into superstardom with over half a million subscribers and 95 percent retention, but most of all, it was about the customer.

“For us it’s about seeing it not just as a utility, it’s understanding how to make great moments between dogs and their people. It becomes a family thing,” said Werdelin.

The co-founder used his previous experience at Viacom to design programming around the dog owner lifestyle. The brand curates content to its 7.5 million social media followers and communicates via the occasional text message as well—striking up a random conversation about a consumer’s dog.

Werdelin admitted that they took a few risks, erring on the side of authenticity. One Valentine’s Day campaign, for example, the company sent cards to its customers saying, “When I think of you I lick myself.”

Bark Box is now available in Target retail locations, but Werdelin doesn’t see this as a deviation from the brand’s core DTC strategy.

“To be a defining brand in your category, you have to be where your customers are,” he told the audience. “We are using the data and the insight from having so many conversations and relationships with our customers.”

Sweet Defeat co-founder and CEO Arianna Perry takes a similar approach to Bark in that she markets her product around a community. The brand sells mints that temporarily block one’s ability to taste sugar. She demonstrated its effect with the audience, passing out candies along with a sample to try.

Selling a product after an IRL sample is easier, but Perry’s team ultimately must accomplish this goal with online consumers. To do this Perry cultivates motivational stories around health and wellness online, leverages social media influencers, shares testimonials and communicates with every user that messages them.

“It’s hard as a product to get attention,” said Perry. “What we do [in terms of content] is talk about my story and our team. We try to humanize ourselves as a brand as part of our PR strategy.”

While Bark and Sweet Defeat identified a niche and filled it, Casper took an old business model and turned it on its head.

Jeff Brooks, CMO of Casper, said the brand saw an opportunity in a massive market that hasn’t changed in 100 years. Very few people controlled supply and distribution and thus, controlled the shopping experience.

Rather than simply offer matresses shipped to you door, Brooks and his team set out to create a lifestyle brand around sleep. They purposely talk to consumers in a whimsical way to share in the joy and rituals of bedtime.

Casper has also made the move to brick-and-mortar stores with two locations in New York. When asked about why his brand made the move to physical locations, Brooks echoed Werdelin’s sentiment about being where the customers are.

“For us, it wasn’t about the old model,” explained Brooks. “While some say it’s the death of retail, we think it’s the rebirth of retail.”

A majority of purchase behavior in the sleep category is still offline, he explained. The question was never if they would go brick and mortar, it was a matter of how.

“The big unlock for us now is to better understand how ecommerce and brick and mortar retail work together,” he said.

All three brands sell very different things, but share the same philosophies that marketers can take home—put the customer first, create a community and don’t be afraid to rethink tradition.

Advertising Week: Diversity And Inclusion In An Era Of #MeToo And #TimesUp

Advertising Week New York played host to a number of panels designed to promote equality, education and support. Here are some key takeaways from the week’s programming.

Diversity Equals Clarity

Even though women make up half the population, female consumers and professionals often find themselves under- or misrepresented in both ads and the workplace.

“[Women] drive over 70 to 80 percent of purchase decisions,” said Frances L. Webster, CEO of Walrus in a panel called “Run It Like A Girl.” “We are the most powerful consumer group on Earth. Having women well-represented in the C-suite just makes sense, but we have a long way to go.”

Webster said that her management team is 50/50 male and female by design. On the same panel, Wolfgang president and CSO Seema Miller added that her own diversity hiring isn’t just about women.

“Our goal is to bring diversity of thought,” she said. “What we need to do is hire people who don’t look like us.”

The demand for equality and representation isn’t just about being fair, said women on a panel called “The Girl Gaze,” it’s about seeing the whole picture.

“Women often have an entirely different perception . . . that it goes beyond representation and into this idea of a different point of view of the narrative,” said Colleen DeCourcy, president of Wieden+Kennedy. “When women’s voices are absent, we’re missing an entire angle of what’s going on.”

Amanda de Cadanet, founder and CEO of Girlgaze began her television hosting career in London at the age of 15. Throughout her career, she observed that the female perspective was skewed or lacking altogether. She also found it hard not to collaborate with other ladies at work.

“It’s not an honor to be the only woman,” she said.

De Cadenet asked women and those who identify as female to share their point of view on Instagram through photos. They have had over 4.5 million submissions to date using the hashtag #GirlGaze.

In addition to several panels, the annual Wrap party, featuring Alessia Cara, served not only as entertainment but as a fundraiser for #TimeUp.

“I want my daughter to have the same opportunities that I had,” said Matt Scheckner, Advertising Week CEO during the event. “I hope we can help move the needle on some of those issues.”

The Resources To Succeed

Once women are in the workplace, it’s vital to make sure they get the resources they need.

For Sandy Greenburg, co-founder and CEO of Terri and Sandy, retaining talent in the workplace should be a two-way street. If an employee does not feel like the hours are flexible enough or caters to her family life, Greenburg encourages having an honest conversation.

#TimesUp hosted a panel on Tuesday called “The Opportunity of Intersectionality in the Pursuit of Equity” that discussed the importance of representation and nurturing of talent in the workplace.

“When you’re thinking about how to retain your talent or recruit diverse talent and keep them, you need to be thinking about issues [that impact people individually] in terms of both your talent and your target audiences,” advised Gloria Lin, coordinator of diversity and inclusion at 4A’s.

Men were encouraged to help the movement through leadership and by rethinking their approach to diversity in the workplace, whether that be women, people of color or other groups.

In a panel called “What About the Men,” hosted by Time’s Up Advertising, Interpublic Group’s Heide Gardner said, “When you walk in the door to work, we should all be totally committed to setting each other up for success. You can’t do that if you don’t treat and address people as though they matter.”

Greg Stern, CEO of BSSP reminded executives that they make their own pipelines. If they don’t have enough diversity, they need to create it.

Did you attend diversity programming at Advertising Week New York? Let us know what you thought!

Amazon Is The Star Of Interbrand’s Best Global Brands Report

Interbrand has revealed its 2018 Global Brands report at Advertising Week New York, listing the most valuable companies with a theme of “Activating Brave.” Each brand was evaluated based on financial performance, its role in purchasing decisions and competitive strength, with the ability to create loyalty.

“A decade after the global financial crisis, the brands that are growing fastest are those that intuitively understand their customers and make brave iconic moves that delight and deliver in new ways,” said Charles Trevail, global chief executive officer of Interbrand in a press release.

Apple topped the list for the sixth year in a row, followed by Google and Amazon. The tech giant may need to adapt, however, if it wants to hold that spot in future years. Revealing the results before a panel audience on the last day of Advertising Week, Interbrand managing director Daniel Binns said he wondered if Apple could continue in this world that is about collaboration and sharing.

Despite being number three, Amazon was clearly the star of the Global Brands report by achieving 56 percent growth. It was the third brand to achieve a 100 billion dollar brand valuation ($100,764 million), as well as the top performer among 28 brands with double-digit percent growth.

Binns called Amazon “the world’s most consumer-centric business.” He also gave Mercedes-Benz credit for being the only European brand in the top 10.

The other top growing brands include Netflix, Gucci,, Gucci and Louis Vuitton at 45, 30, 23 and 23 percent, respectively.

This year, brands are keeping a close eye on subscription business models while luxury continues to shine. All 100 of the top brands were from one of five sectors: Automotive (16), Technology (13), Financial Services (12), Luxury (9), and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (9).

At 42 percent, Luxury is the new Top Growing Sector, replacing Retail—which continues to grow at 36 percent. Other top growing sectors include Electronics (20 percent), Sporting Goods (13 percent) and Financial Services (10 percent).

Two brands joined the top 100 for the first time in 2018—Spotify at 92 and Subaru at 100. Chanel made a come-back at number 23, making the Global Brands report for the first time since 2009. Hennessy also returned at number 98 and thanks to the popularity of its Switch console, Nintendo squeezed into the 99th spot—its first time on the list since 2014.

Advertising Week: Kraft Heinz Discusses The Benefits Of Taking Risks

Every marketing campaign comes with its own risks, from fickle consumers to misunderstood messaging, but when is it safe to just “go for it?” During Advertising Week New York, two marketing executives from Kraft Heinz shared examples of how taking risks paid off.

“Leave Room For Risk” was a panel that featured Magen Hanraha, vice president of media and marketing services at Kraft Heinz Company and Michelle St. Jacques, who serves as head of US brand and R&D.

As a legacy brand, Kraft has a lot of trust to maintain with its customers, so balancing the need for innovation with consistency can be a challenge. In 2016, for example, the company wanted to remove artificial ingredients from its Mac and Cheese, as requested many times by parents. As any parent knows, however, changing a kid’s favorite meal even a little can have dire consequences.

Kraft was so confident in its new recipe that it launched the “world’s largest blind taste test,” selling over 50 million boxes of the new, natural Mac and Cheese without anyone noticing a difference. It wasn’t until the brand launched a marketing campaign that customers knew what had happened.

St. Jacques shared three examples of how The Kraft Heinz Company treats an idea that might be risky. Each risk paid off, they discovered, by fulfilling one or more of the following components.

The first need is to earn attention through actions. This summer, Kraft heard that children were being fined for having a lemonade stand or getting shut down altogether. They responded by creating a legal team called “Country Time Legal-Ade” that reimbursed children’s fines.

The second component Kraft Heinz used in risk-taking is by hacking culture. On season six of Mad Men, fictional marketer Don Draper unsuccessfully pitched an ad campaign to Heinz. When the real Heinz saw it, they decided to make it happen. It was risky with all the legal tape and time it would take to put together, but St. Jacques said they never stopped pushing the idea because they knew it was good. After all that, it was a year before the ad could come to life but it was worth the wait. The “Pass the Heinz” campaign appeared in 2017 in print and on billboards, giving credit to the fictional Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce agency. A campaign that cost $22,000 to make hacked into pop culture to earn over $55 million in earned media.

The third way Kraft Heinz captured audience attention in a risky situation was to avoid indifference with a clear POV. For Mother’s Day last year, the brand decided to “keep it real” during a holiday reserved for putting Mom up on a pedestal. Kraft enlisted the help of author Melissa Mohr, author of Holy Sh*T: A Brief History of Swearing.Swear Like a Mother” embraces the idea that moms sometimes need to swear, and that’s okay. Mohr offered some alternative swear words moms can use around the little ones but when it’s been one of those days—specially marked boxes of Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese included a pair of earplugs.

“Swear Like a Mother” turned out to be a bit controversial, with a group of mothers boycotting the brand and complaints rolling in from concerned customers, especially husbands. Moms, however, identified with the campaign and began tagging their friends on social media. Overall, the campaign received 90 percent positive sentiment and Kraft was satisfied.

“It’s okay that not everyone liked it,” they said at the panel.

Both members of the Kraft Heinz team agreed that being nimble allowed the brand to make risky campaigns that pay off. A recent example of this was the Mayochup debate. The brand’s marketing team woke up one morning to find that outlets in the UK were debating on whether Mayochup was delicious or disgusting. The timing was right to discuss mayonnaise, as Kraft Heinz had just launched its new product. The brand responded by sharing a poll on Twitter that quickly became viral, spurring a hot debate both on and offline about the merits of such a condiment. It turns out that the brand didn’t know how they were going to make Mayochup if it got approved by the fans, but starting the conversation prevented them from missing out. Consumers in Utah, who already mixed mayonnaise and ketchup to make “fry sauce” were not impressed. Several consumers were grossed out by the very idea—but suddenly the whole world was talking about Heinz mayo.

Not everything is going to be a viral hit, and that’s okay, said Hanraha and St. Jacques, but you never know unless you take the risk.


Advertising Week: Creating an Authentic Consumer Experience

Watching panel after panel at Advertising Week New York, it soon becomes clear that customer experience (CX) is at the forefront of brand strategy. Launching a truly authentic experience takes creativity, insights and above all—the ability to listen to consumers.

During a session called “Go Big or Go Home,” Anheuser Busch vice president of consumer communications João Chueiri explained how the brand uses sponsorship opportunities to curate CX.

We live in an experience economy, he said, adding that brands are built with these experiences. Chueiri went on to say that there are more passion points that brands need to address than 10 years ago but the same old pain points remain. Anheuser Busch tries to eliminate some of these pain points with incentive-based components such as the ability to reserve food and drink while purchasing tickets for a sporting event.

Creating authentic brand experiences relies on being agile. Chueiri relayed the story of how Bud Light gave away free beer to Philly fans when the Eagles won the Super Bowl. The promise to give free beer to the city became integrated into Super Bowl engagement from the fans to the sportscasters and athletes themselves. In fact, Eagles fans made the “Dilly Dilly” slogan their own by changing it to “Philly Philly.” They were able to jump into the conversation because of an internal news team checking social media for just such an opportunity. As a result of the free beer promotion, Bud Light’s revenue jumped 30 percent in Philadelphia.

Marketing was traditionally a top-down experience in which marketers told customers what they need and want to buy. The marketplace has been turned on its head and CX cannot be delivered authentically or improved without listening to the consumer.

In another panel called “Stop, Collaborate and Listen,” Accenture Interactive revealed the findings of a newly released study on CX. Lack of collaboration was listed as the biggest obstacle to CX, marketers said, and 91 percent see third-party collaborators as a critical part of their strategies.

Subway found out first-hand that the right collaboration can make a huge improvement in CX. When chief digital officer Carissa Ganelli joined the company, she was horrified to find a mishmash of disorganized in-house and outsourced efforts. The resulting chaos wasn’t delivering the kind of CX Subway hoped for, especially with email marketing. When a vegetarian communicated that they weren’t interested in a beef and cheese sandwich, for example, Ganelli said that marketers’ attitude was to send the message anyway, saying, “. . . but maybe they have a friend.”

Collaborating with an outside firm allowed Subway to use its data more effectively. Now, email correspondences are matched with the kind of sandwich a customer usually buys, down to the type of meat—or lack thereof. Subway now sends over 222 variations to its customers via email. Simply changing the photo to match customer behavior resulted in an eight percent lift in purchases made.

MasterCard’s senior vice president of global media Ben Jankowski echoed the importance of collaboration in its business. Like Anheuser Busch, sponsorships are a key component of MasterCard’s CX strategy. To achieve the best experiences, Jankowski says that brands need to adopt a “collaboration over control” mentality because they won’t have the expertise to do everything they need.

On both the aforementioned panels, marketing leaders continually stressed the importance of data. Jankowski recommends trying small scale, agile partnerships and uses data to prove examples of success to the board. Radisson Hotel Group’s VP of digital Rémy Merckx allocates 10 percent of Raddison Hotel Group’s marketing budget to such experiments.

When designing CX for a brand, Merckx told the audience to stop putting customers in boxes. “How you act at 8:00 in the morning is different than you act at 8:00 at night,” he said. “Companies need to change from brand-centric to customer-centric.”

Advertising Week: Storytelling In A Culture Shaped By Consumers

“Storytelling” has seemingly always been a buzzword in the marketing industry, but what does that entail? During Advertising Week, five top marketers explained how they tackle storytelling without sacrificing authenticity.

During a session called “Wired Brand Storytelling,” Viacom Velocity CMO Dario Spina mentioned a study recently commissioned by his company called the Study of Cultural Proximity. The findings, that brands and consumers are acting more alike, was relevant in that storytelling shapes our culture.

“What we found is that in generations past, culture was a top-down driven process. 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.”

One of the speakers not only helps shape pop culture but is a prominent member of it.

Stephanie McMahon is the chief brand officer of WWE but as the daughter of Vince McMahon, her path to marketing started out different than most. From modeling merchandise as a child to answering the phones, McMahon worked her way up through the company to the creative writing team, where she was unexpectedly promoted after just two weeks. Today, she works behind the scenes but also in front, playing a villain during matches.

McMahon explained that WWE is driven by stories and character engagement.

Your audience or consumer will tell you what they want, you just have to listen. McMahon explained the example of #GiveDivasAChance. In 2015, female wrestlers—called Divas—were treated as secondary characters compared to male WWE superstars. The hashtag called for better storylines, more athleticism and generally more prominently featured. WWE responded by rebranding Divas to Women’s Division and calling the athletes Superstars alongside the men.

Trade Desk, an ad-tech company, recently used social engagement to begin a conversation around digital advertising. The company took out a full-page print ad in the New York Times saying, “Possibly the worst ad we’ll ever run.” The ad was designed to be provocative not only to marketers but to consumers. It worked.

“It had a lot of digital and social traction,” said Susan Vobejda, CMO for The Trade Desk, adding that print will always be a part of consumers’ lives. “There were people defending print. It was a very interesting moment.”

Overall, the message of this session was to listen to your audience and be ready to communicate—and when you’re not being a part of social conversations, start one. The beautiful thing about storytelling is that there’s no one way to do it effectively. Whether it’s through content marketing or starting a little controversy, storytelling has and continues to be a cornerstone of today’s marketing strategy.

Getty Images CMO Gene Foca: ‘It’s About The Consistency Of The Entire Customer Journey’

Marketing campaigns come and go, but the fundamentals of building a brand remain the same, says Gene Foca, CMO of Getty Images. Foca’s career spans over 20 years, providing marketing expertise to brands like TIME and Amazon. Although aside from the new array of digital channels, he told AList, not much has changed.

Please explain your job in the context of Getty Images.

I oversee the entire marketing and communications function for Getty Images globally. The goal is to be the senior expert and adviser on developing marketing strategy and tactics in a way that will represent the brand, the people who support the brand and our content creators with integrity. I also drive performance with a real return on investment. We’re very focused on ROI for our marketing dollar.

How has the nature of your work changed in the last five years?

I don’t think it has changed significantly in the last five years and here’s what I mean by that. I grew up in a discipline of performance marketing. If you go back to the 70s and 80s, there were companies in the marketing world like American Express and HBO that did direct marketing and performance better than everyone else. There was always a focus on using marketing to get a customer, retain a customer and measure lifetime value. When branding, it was always done in the context of the entire customer journey as opposed to branding for the sake of branding.

I think what has changed more dramatically over the past five years that more and more of the business world has come to look at marketing with a critical eye. They want more ROI. They want more of the focus in the marketing world to be driving performance, new customers and the retention of current customers. Building a brand is entirely about the consistency of the entire customer journey over a long period of time and making sure the components of marketing fit with that vision of what the customer journey should be without exception.

I think that if there is something that has continued to evolve, it is a clear understanding that building a brand is not about the success of a single marketing campaign. It’s about the consistency of the entire customer journey.

What is the marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?

The questions of 30 years ago were actually the same as the questions of today. Understanding the marketing mix and the attribution those dollars to sales and revenue is still the dominant overarching topic for most CMOs.

Also, the business model dictates the marketing plan, not the other way around. Whether a company owns its distribution channels or not really helps define what a typical marketing mix should be. Those questions have always been present.

How important is personalization to your work?

Personalization, depending on how you define it, is very important to our marketing channel on a number of levels. In paid search and paid social, you don’t have endless real estate to be able to target, provoke a reaction and get someone to actually do something. You’re always trying to personalize and appeal to a target audience or segment of your customer base with a message that will resonate with them by virtue of data information.

It always goes back to the same thing—understanding your value proposition as an organization but then looking across your set of benefits and toolkit, then understanding what’s important to different segments of customer base and making sure that you emphasize and appeal to those things so you fill their needs. It always starts from the customer and you work backward from there.

At Advertising Week? Gene Foca will be participating in AList’s panel, THE REBOUND: Recovering From Failure on October 2, at 10:20 am.