Equinox CMO Vimla Gupta Explains The Importance Of Delivering On Brand Promise

Personalization and keeping up with trends are vital to marketing in the beauty and wellness industry. Over the past two decades, Vimla Black Gupta has helped shape the marketing efforts for industry giants like Procter and Gamble and Estée Lauder.

Gupta joined AList to explain the importance of personalization and being adaptable to survive as a marketer in today’s industry.

Please explain your job in the context of Equinox.

Our motto is “it’s not fitness, it’s life,” and I’m in charge of making sure that we deliver on that promise in whatever we do. Fitness also reaches into food and travel and grooming and music and entertainment, emotional well being… all these things that contribute to the greatest life. We’re in charge from a marketing standpoint to drive those connections and lead the conversations in a highly curatorial way.

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

The trends are very similar. Wellness is beauty and beauty is wellness. The trends on both sides are really dictated by the consumer. Beauty and wellness are the two things that every consumer male and female want globally. The other similarity is that they’re both fueled by digital. I know every category is, but these categories are in particular are because digital allows you to become your own expert.

Beauty is very product-oriented whereas in wellness brands, there are so many tentacles. Yes, there are gyms, but that’s just one piece of the greater experience that we’re giving the consumer. That’s the biggest difference from being in the beauty industry.

Where do you find inspiration?

This is the stuff that I literally think about even if I wasn’t working here. I am just naturally curious about every single one of those categories from fashion to health, so I seek inspiration from the interesting people that are leading the conversation. To me, it’s about the most interesting and not necessarily the most elite or expensive. That’s so well suited for Equinox because we really do love to be very choosy about what we expose our members to. We think we have a unique point of view and distinct sensibility so it’s my great privilege to be able to guide us in those directions that are going to add the most value to our consumer who are super discerning.

How important is personalization to your work?

For us, personalization is incredibly important. Our members are individuals first and foremost. They come into our gyms and our ecosystem for a myriad of reasons. Those reasons can change in a day or over time. We as a company are not a one size fits all brand. We have the luxury of getting to know our members quite intimately. We have a good sense of their patterns to the extent that they opt into our technology. Our creative opportunity is serving our member, which we do.

What do you believe are important qualities of the modern day marketer?

Be flexible. This job is changing on a dime every single day. 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.

You can always argue that marketing has always been about delivering an experience, but our member is relentless in the pursuit of the ultimate experience. Ensuring that you can deliver that day in and day out, that you’re surprising and delighting and creating immersive situations for them. It’s a privilege to be able to do that, but it’s also a challenge to make sure you’re staying ahead of it and that you’re doing it in a distinctive way for your brand.

Going to Advertising Week? Vimla Gupta will be participating in AList’s panel, THE REBOUND: Recovering From Failure on October 2, at 10:20 am. 

Stella Artois Makes IGTV Debut With ‘Art of Living’ Series

Stella Artois continues the largest marketing campaign in its 92-year-old brand career, Joie de Biere, with the introduction of “The Art of Living.” This five-part series of branded videos follow the stories of artisans from the worlds of film, art and food, each sharing their own definition of a life well-lived.

In the first episode, Oscar Award-winning producer Cathy Shulman shares her personal experiences in the film industry and the way she views her responsibilities as a storyteller. Being a Hollywood exec and president emerita of Women in Film isn’t all red carpets and success as Shulman relays obstacles she has had to overcome along the way. From handling discrimination and pay disputes, it is how she looks at and solves problems, Shulman says, that brings her joy.

Chef Jonah Reider is the subject of the second installment—sharing his lifelong passion for cooking and bringing people together. He tells the audience about a nightly supper club he runs out of his Brooklyn home, bridging the divide between a cook and restaurant patrons.

For the third episode, photographer Paul Octavious talks about the drive to follow his heart. When he comes up with a “crazy idea,” he says, the next step is to ask “why not?” and figure out how to make it happen.

The fourth episode features Catherine Eaton, a film director, writer and actress who shares the story of how a one-woman play became her directorial film debut. Using the film “Jaws” as an example, Eaton explains the impact that stories can have and why she loves exposing people to new ideas through her art.

Joey Elenterio is the youngest Michelin star chef, who took a step away from the kitchen to enjoy life’s moments. In the fifth episode of “The Art of Living,” Elentario tells the story of how he worked hard to achieve his goals but ultimately became a consultant instead so he could slow down and appreciate the journey rather than obsess over the destination.

The branded content episodes will debut this month in a social campaign that includes Facebook, Instagram Stories and Stella Artois’ first use of IGTV. The legacy beer brand will use expanded targeting to reach users that are interested in specific interests such as art, food and film as they relate to each episode.

TV Audiences Turn To Social Media; YouTube VR Coming To Oculus Go

This week in social media news, TV audiences are distracted by mobile, Oculus makes friends with YouTube VR and Facebook tests music posts in the News Feed.

Also, LinkedIn helps recruiters track down talent, streaming ads get more targeted on Facebook, Snapchat ads get shoppable and YouTube Music caters to audiophiles. Ads come to Facebook Stories, professors use Twitter to track the spread of new words and Snapchat adds tools to help users vote. Snapchat and Amazon team up for camera searches, LinkedIn integrates Office 365, Twitter fights dehumanizing speech, Facebook encourages young girls to learn coding and more regions get access to Facebook video ads. Meanwhile, more consumers can “shop the look” on Pinterest and Facebook offers a college certificate.

Facebook Breach Impacts 50 Million Accounts

An attack has exposed the data of more than 50 million Facebook accounts, the company admitted Friday.

Why it matters: Facebook is already struggling to regain consumer trust after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and a breech of this size will not help consumer sentiment.

Details: Facebook revealed that unknown hackers took advantage of a vulnerability in the site’s code to access user data. More than 90 million Facebook accounts were forced to log out as a precaution. The investigation is ongoing as of this writing, the perpetrators have not been identified.

“We’re taking it really seriously,” Mark Zuckerberg said in a conference call with reporters. “We have a major security effort at the company that hardens all of our surfaces.” He added: “I’m glad we found this. But it definitely is an issue that this happened in the first place.”

Facebook Study Reveals Mobile/TV Viewing Habits

A commissioned eye-tracking study found that consumers often view social media and other mobile content while watching TV, especially during commercials.

Why it matters: When participants diverted their attention from TV to look at their smartphones, the top two app categories were social and messaging apps, giving advertisers an idea of how to engage during this time. Facebook says that 55 percent of smartphone time was spent in Facebook-owned apps.

Details: Facebook IQ commissioned an eye-tracking study in Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The study gave participants special glasses and asked them to watch TV as normal. They found that during TV shows, TV viewers paid attention to mobile 28 percent of the time, and during TV ads, they paid attention to mobile more than half the time. Younger participants are more likely to check their phones during a TV show, regardless of whether ads are playing.

YouTube VR App Headed To Oculus Go

Facebook plans to bring over 80,000 VR videos to its Oculus Go headset.

Why it matters: VR adoption has been slow for a variety of reasons from price point to a lack of content. Adding the YouTube VR app to Oculus Go allows users access to thousands of free videos in 360-degree.

Details: During its Oculus Connect 5 Keynote, the company announced that the YouTube VR app was going to be available on its entry-level $199 headset. Users will also be able to cast their experience to another screen, beginning with mobile devices and TV at a later date.

Facebook Testing Music Posts Outside Of Stories

Facebook users may soon be able to add music to their photo and video posts—a feature previously announced for Stories.

Why it matters: Facebook is establishing a relationship with the music industry, which is feeling pressure in a digital age. Deals with music industry execs will allow Facebook to attract more engagement from users that would have previously had posts removed for copyright infringement.

Details: Lip Sync Live began testing in June, allowing users to add music to Facebook Stories. That test is now expanding to other posts such as videos and photos posted in the regular News Feed.

LinkedIn ‘Talent Insights’ Offer Hiring Strategies

Talent Insights is a new tool that helps recruiters locate and understand talent, including those working for competitors.

Why it matters: LinkedIn has access to a massive amount of employment data, which puts the company at a unique position to sell access. For employers, this information will offer a better knowledge of the kind of talent they are looking for.

“By using Linkedin Talent Insights, I was able to better communicate to our leadership team why we were facing specific challenges in certain talent markets and justify a budget reallocation to reach our hiring goals,” said Devin Rogozinksi, head of talent marketing at Atlassian.

Details: Companies on LinkedIn now have access to a premium AI service called Talent Insights. The tool creates reports that help staffing departments better understand trends related to the talent they are looking for such as location, skills and current employer. The service was announced last year and launched on Tuesday after 12 months of testing.

Facebook Adds More Streaming Video Ad Solutions

Advertisers that want to be seen during a Facebook livestream now have two new tools—In-stream Reserve and ThruPlay.

Why it matters: The new options offer fixed impression cost (CPM) and the ability to buy ads on a Nielsen verified Target Rating Point (TRP) basis.

Details: In response to advertiser requests, Facebook has added the ability to purchase streaming ads in advance and have them delivered to in-target audiences verified by Nielsen. Brands can choose between categories such as sports or beauty for even more personalized delivery.

Snapchat Rolls Out Additional Ecommerce Tools

Shoppable ads will soon come out of testing, just in time to be used in tandem with other ecommerce tools.

Why it matters: Snapchat is finding new ways for brands to reach its coveted teen audience. According to early testing, brands experienced higher engagement rates using Collection Ads.

Details: Shoppable Ads, now called Collection Ads, have come out of testing will be available to all marketers in October. In the meantime, brands can upload catalogs of products and turn them into a variety of ads. Lastly, Pixel gives more insights about user behavior such as what kind of websites they visit. Early testers include Wish, eBay and Guess.

YouTube Music Gets Additional Streaming Controls

Google has rolled out new audio streaming and download quality controls for YouTube Music on Android.

Why it matters: YouTube is determined to build strong relationships with the music industry, which has looked down on the site’s monetization model. Additional controls will appeal to music lovers. The more people use YouTube Music, the easier it will be for Google to negotiate licensing deals.

Details: YouTube Music video streaming quality controls now include low, normal, high and always high. Controls have also been expanded to include audio quality and download options. Users can choose to download and save audio only, for example.

Facebook Ads Now Available As Stories

Brands can now include Facebook Stories as an additional placement to News Feed or Instagram Stories ad campaigns.

Why it matters: Facebook says that more than 300 million people use Facebook Stories and Messenger Stories every day. In testing, Tentree and Skout both found that adding Facebook Stories to their Instagram Stories ad campaigns resulted in more customer actions at a lower cost.

Details: Following the success of Instagram Stories and widespread adoption of ads in the format, brands can now create similar campaigns on Facebook.

“Facebook Stories ads support every objective that’s currently available for Instagram Stories ads, including reach, brand awareness, video views, app install, conversion, traffic and lead generation,” said the announcement. “Facebook’s full suite of targeting and measurement capabilities is also available for stories ads across platforms.”

Study Tracks Origins Of Vocabulary Born, Spread On Twitter

Researchers in England tracked the origin of 54 emerging words in American English by analyzing nearly a billion tweets between 2012-2013.

Why it matters: Social media can spread an idea like wildfire, for better or for worse. Linguists can now use geocoded tweets to track the spread of vocabulary from the introduction to widespread adoption.

Details: The team at the Centre for Corpus Research at the University of Birmingham found that development of new words in Modern American English centered on regions: The West Coast, the Northeast, the Mid Atlantic, the Deep South and the Gulf Coast. For example, “baeless,” meaning single, originated in the Deep South while “mutuals,” meaning mutual friends, started on the West Coast.

Snapchat Users Can Register To Vote Inside The App

Users 18 and over in the US can now access resources inside the Snapchat app like registering to vote and encouraging others to do the same.

Why it matters: Social media has gained a bad reputation for outside political interference and all the drama both for and against the Trump Administration may have young consumers feeling complacent. Snapchat, among a myriad of brands, is providing consumers with tools to take control by voting.

Details: Snapchat users over the age of 18 can register to vote inside their user Profile page. A video message from “Team Snapchat” encourages users to vote and new tools have been added like nationwide Filters they can use to encourage friends to register.

Snapchat Launches Test Of Amazon Photo Search Tool

As discovered inside Snapchat’s code this summer, a new feature allows users to take a picture of a product and discover it on Amazon for purchase.

Why it matters: Discovery is a major driver of purchasing intent and Snapchat joins a growing number of brands offering a camera identification product.

Details: Snapchat has begun testing a feature that would allow users to take a picture of products or barcodes in order to search for them on Amazon. The feature hints at a larger partnership with Amazon—the only other place where consumers can buy Spectacles.

Facebook Introduces Computer Programming Courses For Children

Sphero and Facebook are launching CodeFWD, a program for elementary schools to offer computer programming.

Why it matters: Facebook hopes to attract more female computer programmers through the class. By making CodeFWD free to schools, they better the chances of participation.

Details: CodeFWD by Facebook, launching in the US and designed for both English and Spanish speakers, is a three-step program where educators and organizations introduce computer programming to 4th through 8th-grade students.

“At Facebook, we’re creating the programs, tools, and products to build diverse education communities that bring the world closer together,” Lauryn Ogbechie, Facebook’s education partnerships director wrote in a blog post.

LinkedIn Adds Personalized Collaboration Through Office 365

A new integration with Microsoft Office 365 allows LinkedIn users to collaborate with connections on documents and get professional insights when scheduling meetings through Outlook.

Why it matters: Since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016, it was only a matter of time before an integration like this took place. Both brands can work together seamlessly in a professional setting and encourage brands to purchase Office 365.

Details: LinkedIn announced a new integration of Microsoft 365 that displays professional insights on contact information and allows connections to collaborate on a Microsoft Office document such as PowerPoint. LinkedIn integration in the Office web apps will gradually start rolling out in the coming months for Office 365 users and to people who have begun using the early version of the new Outlook on the web.

Twitter Asks Users To Vote For Anti-Dehumanization Policy

Twitter is asking the community to provide feedback on a proposed new rule that would prohibit dehumanizing someone based on their affiliation with an identifiable group.

Why it matters: As political tensions rise, Twitter is trying to curb hate speech on its platform. Dehumanizing language is dangerous and can incite violence by making someone appear less than human. Opening the policy up for community discussion allows Twitter to address any concerns or exceptions before the policy becomes official.

Details: survey will be available until October 9 that allows Twitter users to provide feedback on a new policy. Questions ask whether the policy is clear, any exceptions to the rule they should consider and any other feedback.

Facebook Ad Breaks Available In 21 New Countries

Pre- and mid-roll video ads are now available to more regions, along with support for five additional languages.

Why it matters: Facebook is placing more emphasis on video monetization with its Watch channel and other locations. Expanding to other regions and languages allow the company to generate even more ad revenue.

Details: Facebook Ad Breaks are now available in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru and Thailand. As part of this expansion, Facebook is adding support for five new languages, namely French, German, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai.

Pinterest’s ‘Shop The Look’ Expanded To More Businesses

Small-to-medium-sized businesses can now offer ecommerce on Pinterest with Shop the Look Pins.

Why it matters: These Pins were previously available only to larger businesses who purchased them through third-party marketing partners. Integrating Shop the Look Pins into a self-serve tool will allow more brands to offer ecommerce on the platform.

Details: As reported by Search Engine Journal, Shop the Look Pins are now available as a free, self-serve option to brands on Pinterest. The ecommerce integration is free to use and redirects users to a website for purchases.

Facebook Offers Digital Marketing Certificate Through ACC

During its Community Boost tour, Facebook announced that it has partnered with Austin Community College (ACC) to offer certificates in digital marketing.

Why it matters: This is the 10th college to partner with Facebook for the Digital Marketing Certificate, offering skills in marketing and social media strategy. Facebook is investing in future marketers to drive income on the platform.

Details: Austin Community College is now offering a certificate in digital marketing to enrolled students. According to the announcement, 82 percent of small and medium-sized businesses on Facebook in Texas say an individual’s digital and social media skills are important when hiring new employees.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, September 28. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.

This Week’s Exec Shifts: Sugar23 Hires Former PepsiCo CMO; Under Armour Appoints Marketing Chief

This week’s executive moves include Sugar23’s hiring of a former PepsiCo CMO, Under Armour and Petco choosing new chief marketing officers; Zalora, Public Radio Exchange and L’Oreal Malaysia appointing CMOs. Also, a former Bolthouse Farm CMO joins Bumble Bee Foods.

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

Sugar23 Hires Former PepsiCo CMO

Film and television production company Sugar23 has hired former PepsiCo Global Beverage Brands chief marketing officer Kristin Patrick to head its investment and brand incubation division. Sugar 23 most recently produced Netflix’s Maniac. Patrick previously held the chief marketing officer role at both Playboy Enterprises and Liz Claiborne/Lucky Brands.

Under Armour Hires Chief Marketer

Under Armour’s CMO position has been vacant for almost a year, but the company appointed it’s head marketer today with the hiring of Alessandro de Pestel. De Pestel had been with Tommy Hilfiger for over a decade in various marketing positions, but most recently as EVP global marketing, communications and consumer insights. Prior to Hilfiger, del Pestel worked at Calvin Klein and Christian Dior.

Petco Picks CMO

Petco has appointed Tariq Hassan as the company’s chief marketing officer. In recent years Hassan has primarily worked as a marketing advisor and board member of several businesses including Viral Nation and Bravvura Ventures. Prior to that, he had stints at Bank of America, HP and Omnicom Group.

Tyde.com Adds Marketing Head

Tyde.com, an online Australian medical records provider, has hired Gemma Croxen has its head of marketing. Croxen comes to the company from Bupa Australia & New Zealand, where she was the marketing business partner.

Digital Head Becomes Zalora CMO

Elias Pour, former Red Bull head of digital and audience growth, has taken the chief marketing officer position at Asian online retailer Zalora. Pour was with Red Bull for two years and prior to that was head of digital at Kindred Group.

CEO of Global Fashion Group—the company that owns Zalora—Patrick Schmidt, said “I am confident that under his leadership, ZALORA will continue to provide fashion consumers in Asia, the best online and mobile shopping experience possible and achieve its full potential as the region’s fashion retail powerhouse.”


Public Radio Exchange (PRX) has named Donna Hardwick its chief marketing officer. Hardwick comes to the company from Independent Television Service, where she served as senior director of communications and distribution.

L’Oreal Malaysia Promotes Director to CMO

Lee Lim Meng has been promoted from L’Oreal Malaysia’s marketing director to chief marketing officer. Lee previously worked in marketing at PepsiCo Malaysia and Kraft Foods China.

Northwestern Hires Audi Exec

Northwestern University has hired Jeri Ward to be the school’s vice president for global marketing and communications. Ward spent over a decade at Audi, starting in marketing and working her way up to SVP, chief communications officer. Prior to Audi, Ward worked at Ford and General Moters.


IBM has named Deepali Naair as its chief marketing officer for South East Asia and India. Prior to IBM, Naair held the same position at IIFL Wealth Management and Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India.

Former Bolthouse CMO Joins Bumble Bee

Todd Putman, formerly the chief marketing officer of Bolthouse Farms, has been appointed executive vice-president and chief growth officer for Bumble Bee Foods. Putman joins Bumbe Bee from Campbell Soup Co. where he was the general manager of Campbell Fresh, but he held previous roles in marketing at Pinkberry, Westfield and Walt Disney.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, September 28. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.

Job Vacancies 

VP, Marketing & Communications Boingo El Segundo, CA
Director of Brand Sponsorships & Experiential Marketing Capital One McLean, Virginia
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.

Old Spice’s Barbershop Quartet Answers Twitter’s Beard Questions

Old Spice took a musical approach to spread awareness of its Beard Kit for Men. On Tuesday, the brand hosted a Twitter Q&A about beard care with a twist—all the answers were sung by a barbershop quartet.

For the September 25 promotion, Old Spice enlisted Signature, an award-winning barbershop quartet from Florida. The musicians assumed the name of the “Bearded Quartet” for this activation, using humor and harmony that fit well with the Old Spice brand persona.

A live Twitter session began at 10 a.m. PST with a pre-recorded invitation by the Old Spice Bearded Quartet to participate. Dozens of questions poured in from Twitter users that ranged from serious beard-tending questions like how to stop itchiness and growth tips to whether or not Old Spice can make someone’s beard smell like cinnamon rolls. The solution? Hide a biscuit in your facial hair, the quartet recommended.

The Bearded Quartet put in a full day at the Old Spice studio, answering around 30 questions from the audience, then singing a farewell. The video ended with a list of “honorable mentions,” naming Twitter users who submitted questions but did not get an answer during the event. Each video was uploaded on YouTube as well, garnering a minimum of 1,000 views on each.

Engagement was modest, with the most “likes” on a single Twitter post numbering just over 500. However, Twitter audiences responded positively to the beard-themed concert through GIFs, jokes and asking where to buy Old Spice beard products.

Old Spice is selling its beard products exclusively on Amazon and promoting it through its usual brand of humor. In one ad, a man watching football with his wife/girlfriend finds beard products attached to the nachos. In a Twitter post, Old Spice features pro football players Travis and Jason Kelce, admiring their beards in the locker room.


Voting And Registration Becomes Cause Marketing’s Latest Trend

Brands use cause marketing to align themselves with a variety of social issues but in the US, recently the most pressing—and popular—way has become encouraging consumers to vote.

National Voting Day was on September 25, drawing brands from across industries to spread awareness.

Snapchat turned to its young consumer base to encourage voting through a partnership with TurboVote. US users 18 and over were given links through their profile pages that help register to vote and encourage their friends to do the same. In addition, Snapchat will host mid-term election content through its Discover for Stories channel.

The Civic Culture Coalition is a non-partisan group “powered by pop culture” made up of more than a dozen brands. Participants include Ad Council, AMC Theatres, Anonymous Content, ATTN:, AwesomenessTV, Bad Robot, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), DoSomething.org, Entertainment Industry Foundation, iHeartMedia, Lyft, SB Projects, TOMS, Tumblr, Univision Communications, VICE Media and more.

The Civic Culture Coalition’s first campaign is called “I am a voter,” offering tools and resources like registration portals and reminders. Celebrity partners wore pins and t-shirts to events to help raise awareness and direct audiences to a website and text message platform.

HBO partnered with Rock the Vote to issue a public service announcement starring actors from the network’s programming. One by one, actors like Tony Hale, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kumail Nanjiani and more look at the camera and appear to want to say something. When all of them remain silent, the video reads, “There’s only one voice that needs to be heard. Yours. Register to Vote.”

Johnnie Walker partnered with Vote.org to support increased voter participation with a campaign that encouraged giving employees time off. The initiative is part of Johnnie Walker’s ongoing “Keep Walking America” campaign that debuted in 2016. The company has committed to giving its own employees two hours paid time off so they can make it to the polls on November 6. In addition, the spirits brand will relaunch its “Keep Walking America” TV spot, featuring re-imagined version of “This Land is Your Land” as performed by Chicano Batman.

MTV has long been active in encouraging young consumers to get to the polls. This year, a campaign called “+1thevote” asks citizens to connect with a friend who isn’t yet registered to vote. The dedicated website suggests throwing a #VoteTogether party to increase participation. Those who share their party plans with MTV could win up to $1,000.

A number of studies have shown that today’s young consumers are becoming far more active in social issues, which is reflected by their purchasing behavior. A recent study by Fuse found that 67 percent of teens were more likely to purchase from a company that supported a cause than one that doesn’t.

While encouraging others to vote may not be choosing sides on a particular issue, it shows that the brand cares and values the consumer’s voice—which is becoming increasingly important to consumers.

Virgin Atlantic, Aviation Gin Partner For Events And Humor

Virgin Atlantic has teamed up with Aviation American Gin as the exclusive UK airline partner. The two brands, as well as their celebrity owners, will promote their new relationship through cocktail-themed activations and branded content.

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and actor/producer Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) announced their partnership through a comedic YouTube video in which Reynolds assumes their companies will merge. As Reynolds tries desperately to sound like a businessman—throwing out random words like “KPI,” “shareholder value” and “ROI”—Branson loses his patience and walks off set.

“We look forward to serving Virgin Atlantic guests for years to come and, on a personal note, Sir Richard has promised to teach me the difference between revenue and profit, so I am beyond excited,” Reynolds says in the press release.

Branson and Reynolds will return in a series of co-branded digital content this Fall. In the meantime, Virgin Atlantic is treating select September 30 flights with a mixology experience. The cocktail-fueled activation will be hosted by bartenders from famous locations like The Dead Rabbit in New York and Smugglers Cove in San Francisco.

The two brands will participate in this year’s London Cocktail Week from October 3-7, hosting activations and serving exclusive Aviation Gin cocktails at the Old Truman Brewery.

Virgin often uses experiential marketing to form positive memories of the brand. Virgin Holidays installed a giant ball pit in London and offers virtual reality in its retail locations.

Reynolds bought a stake in craft distiller Aviation Gin earlier this year and ever since, has promoted it with his trademark sense of humor. To announce his involvement with the brand, Reynolds produced a video in which he interviews—and insults—himself.

The Canadian actor joins a long list of celebrities who have aligned themselves with alcohol brands over the past few years. In 2016, Matthew McConaughey signed on as creative director for Wild Turkey bourbon and last year, Channing Tatum teamed up with Grand Teton Distillery to develop his own line of vodka.

Busch, National Forest Foundation Partner To Send Beer Drinkers Into Woods

Busch has teamed up the National Forest Foundation for a beer giveaway that encourages consumers to explore—and conserve—nature. The social media campaign taps into Busch’s long-standing brand message of drinking beer in the forest with cause marketing to preserve wildlife.

“We at Busch know America would be a very different place without our national forests, so we’re doing our part to ensure these lands stay healthy and vibrant for generations to come,” the company says on its website.

Twitter users can receive a clue every hour on Tuesday from the official Busch and National Forest Foundation accounts, then head into a national forest to find one of six trees marked with a medallion. Taking a photo of one of the trees prompts a video with instructions on how to enter. Winners will receive free beer for a year.

The first clue prompts users to zoom in to find GPS coordinates. While the clue wasn’t difficult to find, it will be up to eagle-eyed and quick-acting participants to get to the tree before anyone else. Just to make things more interesting, only one of the trees will be a winner.

Busch has also introduced a limited edition can and will share proceeds with the National Forest Foundation. A portion of each specially-marked Outdoors pack of beer purchased through December 31 will go toward planting trees, with a goal of donating $175,000.

An ad has been placed on YouTube about the partnership and encourages users not to skip it. If they watch the entire 30-second ad, Anheuser-Busch will donate $1 to the National Forest Foundation.

Nature has always been a part of Busch marketing since in 1970s. In each of the ads, a flannel-wearing mountain man pulls cans of Busch beer out of a cold stream and opens one, releasing a long “Buschhhhhhh” sound that echoes throughout the wilderness. Anheuser-Busch reimagined its classic mountain man ad and aired it during Super Bowl 51 along with another fan favorite, Spuds Mackenzie.


Forbes Introduces ‘CMO Next’ List, Honors 50 Marketers To Watch

The first Forbes CMO Next has been revealed—a list of the top 50 CMOs who are “redefining the marketing role and driving its evolution.” Unlike its annual World’s Most Influential CMOs list or 30 Under 30, Forbes’ CMO Next focuses on up-and-comers of all ages who haven’t necessarily become a household name yet.

Those on the list are chief marketing officers, chief brand officers, chief growth officers and chief commercial officers—illustrating a wide range of marketing responsibilities today. They also hail from a variety of business models from young, direct-to-consumer start-ups like Blue Apron, Birchbos and Casper to legacy brands like Fender, NHL and Levi Strauss.

Education varies too, bringing different perspectives to the role. Forbes noted that half of these list makers have earned an MBA and hail from an eclectic list of degrees and areas of study outside of marketing.

While some of those honored have logged years in their respective roles, others are brand new. Regardless of their educational or professional backgrounds, each of the CMO Next list makers has demonstrated a commitment to bridging the gap between brand and consumer.

“Indeed, the 50 CMOs on this list have a near-obsessive focus on their customers, talking about engaging with them in a fully omnichannel world and with a unique respect and allegiance—as if truly, the brand definition, relevance and utility was completely in their hands,” said Forbes.

Among the list makers are

  • Ed Macri, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Wayfair

  • Melina Engel, CMO, SimpliSafe

  • Jackson Jeyanayagam, CMO, Boxed

  • Jennifer Sey, CMO Global Brands, Levi Strauss & Co.

  • Herbie Calves, CMO, Link AKC

  • Leela Srinivasan, CMO, SurveyMonkey

  • Jill Cress, CMO, National Geographic Partners

  • Jay Livingston, CMO, Bark

  • Jeff Brooks, CMO, Casper

  • Kellyn Smith Kenny, CMO, Hilton

  • Dara Treseder, CMO, GE Ventures and GE Business Innovations

  • Kinjil Mathur, CMO, Squarespace

The entire Forbes CMO Next list can be viewed here.

Spotify Playlists Let Users ‘Listen’ To Their AncestryDNA Results

AncestryDNA has partnered with Spotify to generate custom music playlists based on a user’s genetic heritage. The collaboration has yielded more than 10,000 sign-ups for a custom playlist within the few days.

Those who purchase a DNA profile from Ancestry can now connect their accounts to Spotify to receive a custom playlist. Spotify will then generate a range of tracks that reflect these cultures.

Spotify has also created a series of playlists for different regions including the Middle East, England, Germany, Sweden, Korea and Eastern Africa. Ancestry has also sponsored a feature that lets Spotify users look into the “DNA” of the music they listen to. For example, the feature tracks punk bands back to England, U2 to Ireland and other artists back to their native countries to create a kind of musical heritage for yourself.

AncestryDNA has entered into a number of brand partnerships recently to help consumers feel a personal connection with their ancestry. For the release of Disney/Pixar’s Coco, Ancestry shared DNA results with two of the filmmakers and offered special discounts to those who wanted to connect with their own family history.

Meanwhile, Spotify’s brand partnerships continue to tell consumer stories by analyzing what they listen to.

“People have such a personal relationship to music,” Danielle Lee, global head of partner solutions at Spotify told AList in a previous interview. “The biggest insight is that [users] learn a lot about themselves based on how they stream.”

Spotify uses data and brand partners to help users understand their own habits. A recent campaign with Snickers triggered a pop-up, for example when users deviated outside of their usual listening habits.

The sheer amount of data that Spotify has to work with makes it a popular destination for marketers. The music streaming brand extended its partnership with Nielsen to offer Nielsen Brand Effect and Nielsen Ad Ratings to marketers. The deal grants Spotify marketers tools that measure the effectiveness of a campaign by tracking exposure to audio, video and display formats heard or seen across desktop, mobile and connected devices.