Gatorade’s Experiential Marketing At SXSW Showcases Sports Technology

For a brand like Gatorade, SXSW certainly feels like a fitting place to further test its experiential marketing strategy with dehydrated and bleary-eyed attendees and give them a health-focused reality check. Gatorade geared up at SXSW to show attendees it’s more than just a beverage company.

The company erected a G-Store pop-up at the event, featuring their products and a new line, G ESSNTL. Attendees were given a tablet and asked to scan four separate sections of the store to learn more about each item through augmented reality. After completing the course, a refrigerator filled with Gatorade opened its doors to a space that shows how the brand is using tech as part of its marketing strategy.

“G-Store is a way for us to showcase how broad the Gatorade product portfolio really is through hydration, energy, recovery, endurance products and more—but with a twist,” said Gina Hardy, head of consumer and athlete engagement, to AListDaily. “While the retail shop spotlights our innovation, the stockroom is a competitive playground that showcases how evolving technology is fueling training for athletes.”

Once attendees walked through the refrigerator, they were able to try different tech training tools. Gatorade partnered with the app Volt to create an on-demand digital trainer.

Then there was Beat the Blitz. Gatorade’s virtual reality game shows users how dehydration can impact throwing accuracy and overall performance for quarterbacks.

Gatorade’s “Handles Hero” leveraged the Lazer 900 to deliver ball-handling drills using a real basketball designed to train players to make decisions quickly and correctly, similar to a live game situation.

“SXSW is such a destination event, and there’s competition for engagement in every direction,” said Hardy. “The key to being successful—no matter where you are—is staying authentic to your brand.”

AMC Takes To SXSW To Promote Its Newest Show, ‘The Terror’

AMC is leveraging SXSW’s experiential playground to continue building up the marketing of its latest drama, The Terror, with an immersive, multi-sensory experience that takes place in a boat built in a shipping container.

The show’s premise is about the British Royal Navy’s disastrous 1845 trip into uncharted territory as the crew attempts to discover the Northwest Passage. To promote the 10-episode first season of its haunting new series, the experience is designed to spark viewership interest with a first-hand look at what it could have been like to be a crew member on the ship.

“That aspect of the show has universal appeal, and SXSW is a good place to tap into potential new viewers,” Theresa Beyer, SVP of promotions, activations and partnerships for AMC, told AListDaily. “Putting people into a similar environment reflects the action of the show and is a more engaging way to get people into the story.”

The show is a speculative fiction about how 120 crew members aboard a ship mysteriously disappeared. Guests who entered the arctic experience were greeted by characters from the show and were then thrust into bone-chilling conditions where they were subjected to hearing the gruesome sounds of men fighting for their lives.

“We could have done something simpler through VR, put this kind of experience allows people to participate and ignites their senses,” said Beyer, adding that the elements they produced allow for the experience to resonate and create better consumer recall.

The next leg of the marketing strategy for the show will take place at WonderCon later this month when AMC will bring the exact same experience to Los Angeles.

Executive produced by Ridley Scott, David Kajganich and Soo Hugh, the two-hour series premiere for The Terror is set to premiere March 26.


Bumble Brings A Mission To Promote Equality At SXSW

SXSW can serve as fertile grounds for singles who yearn for love or casual encounters on dating apps. Bumble, a four-year-old app which currently has 27 million users, is in the midst of a growing marketing mission with hopes of expanding its reach globally.

The female-first social networking app came to Austin at Fair Market for a potential match with attendees this weekend for a two-day experiential marketing activation centered around giving badge holders a crack at romance and leveraging its platform to continue discussions around female empowerment, inclusion in the workplace and how to build healthy relationships.

“Bumble Presents: Empowering Connections” gave attendees a chance to pimp their profiles at a “Bio Bar” before sending them off to make the first move on five-minute speed dates.

Bumble also brought along Bumble Bizz, which gives startups a chance pitch their business idea for a chance to win mentorship and a $5,000 grant.

Discussions around gender equality with actress and activist Gina Rodriguez, author Keke Palmer and Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd anchored the event’s programming.

Earlier this week, the app signed on as an official sponsor with the Los Angeles Clippers. The brand’s logo will now appear on the team’s jersey.

Much like their presence at SXSW, the deal launched a marketing campaign to partner with brands to advance workplace equality.

Under Armour Runs Through SXSW With Hovr House Zero Gravity Experience

Under Armour brought a “zero gravity experience” to SXSW to promote its new UA Hovr line of running shoes.

Visitors to downtown Austin, Texas, noticed a geodesic dome being erected on Wednesday, as pointed out by Twitter user HappySlice.

Dubbed Hovr House, the giant red dome arrived at SXSW after its first stops in LA and Shanghai last month. The pop-up experience filled its dome with athletes and celebrities among displays of UA Hovr running shoes and an “elevated track,” an aerial rig that lets users run up a vertical wall.

The activation follows the theme of its new lightweight shoes, “Gravity holds you down, feel how UA Hovr lifts you up.” This experiential marketing activation continues the biggest and most expensive campaign for a product the brand has ever done.

Under Armour’s experiential marketing campaign continues in Texas this weekend with pop-up running events, live UA footwear customizations by Dez Customz, an outdoor lounge and a VIP meet and greet event.

Hovr House will be open to the public beginning Saturday, March 10 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 11 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The athletic brand is throwing everything it has at its new UA Hovr line, beginning with a simultaneous world release—the first of its kind for Under Armour. Pop-up activations and influencer marketing play a significant role, going so far as to deliver shoes to online celebrities in white Rolls-Royce Phantoms. (Phantom is the name of one of Hovr’s first models.)

Digital ecommerce is ravaging retailers, and Under Armour is no exception. Last year, the company reported their first quarterly loss since going public in 2006. Under Armour shook things up by hiring a new COO and CMO in 2017 and is shifting focus to young consumers with technology like app-connected shoes and gaming.

McDonald’s Inverted Logo Stood For ‘Women,’ But Critics Demand ‘Wages’

McDonald’s flipped its golden arches to stand for the “W” in “women” on Thursday, a gesture of appreciation for its female employees. While some applauded the move, others used the opportunity to demand the quick service restaurant provide a living wage to its employees.

The McDonald’s restaurant in Lynwood, California, turned its golden arches upside down in honor of International Women’s Day. The gesture was made by franchisee Patricia Williams, who owns 18 McDonald’s restaurants alongside her two daughters.

Williams’ story and logo inversion are part of a bigger campaign around International Women’s Day. McDonald’s has flipped its logo across all digital channels, and 100 restaurants will have special packaging, crew shirts and hats and bag stuffers as part of a nationwide effort.

In a prepared statement, McDonald’s Global Chief Diversity Officer Wendy Lewis said the move was to “honor the extraordinary accomplishments of women everywhere, and especially in our restaurants.”

The restaurant brand claims that six out of 10 managers in their employ are female.

While some appreciated the gesture, many others did not, calling the restaurant’s efforts “McFeminism”—a term that refers to the hollow efforts of a corporation to appeal to women. The quick service restaurant has long been under fire for paying its employees minimum wage, a fact that many consider counter-intuitive to helping women. Workers have demanded a living wage—equal to the basic cost of living expenses plus an “acceptable” comfort level, a relative term the definition of which is often up for debate.

“This empty McFeminism has nothing to do with women’s liberation and everything to do with McDonald’s attempt to sanitize its image,” Laura Parker, national coordination for British left-wing group Momentum, said in a video response. “If they actually cared about women, they’d pay their workers a living wage and stop forcing them onto zero-hours contracts.”

Brands across the country took to social media with shoutouts to their female employees or characters from fictional heroes across TV, film and video games to real-life public figures, like video game developers and NASA’s crack team of women scientists.

In the marketing world, Creative Equals—a non-profit organization that champions diversity in creative industries—released a campaign that reimagines famous logos as women. Gender-bending iterations include Green Giant, DreamWorks, BAFTA and Bic.

Just 11.5 percent of design directors are women, and that goes for 14 percent of creative directors, Creative Equals says, explaining why so many famous brand icons are male.

International Women’s Day sparks discussion about equality and gender identity this week as hundreds of thousands of professionals head to SXSW in Austin, Texas. The holiday comes during a turbulent time of #MeToo and #TimesUp movements that empower women across film and other industries against sexual harassment and assault. As women members of the film industry flock to Austin this week for SXSW, there will plenty of panels and events to educate and empower.

For those readers in attendance, John Hardy is hosting a party to celebrate the holiday at the Four Seasons Terrace March 11.

YouTube Defends Top Social Video Spot As Young Viewers Look Away

YouTube sits comfortably as the most-used social network among those 18-24, but young consumers are now splitting their time between it and other social video destinations, posing a threat to Google’s video dominance.

Despite marketer concerns about brand safety, a new Pew Research study shows that YouTube is still a prominent destination for US consumers. Google’s video-sharing site is now used by 73 percent of US adults, compared to Facebook at 68 percent, according to Pew Research Center. YouTube is especially popular among users age 18-24, with 94 percent saying they use the site.

YouTube is attracting more users overall, but only 29 percent of US consumers visit the site multiple times a day, compared to the 51 percent returning time and time again to Facebook.

Facebook, used by 80 percent of 18-24-year-olds, hopes to lure viewers away with its own social video platform. The social media giant has been busy making deals with the music industry, capitalizing on YouTube’s strained relationship with music execs. Facebook also poured over $200 million dollars into programming for Facebook Watch and hopes to offer ad revenue-sharing to creators amid YouTube conflicts over brand safety.

Instagram is also pulling eyes away from YouTube, with 60 percent of users indicating that they check the site at least once daily and 38 percent saying they do so several times a day. A year after its launch, Instagram Stories is going strong with 300 million active users. Marketing options like carousel ads have made watching videos on Instagram a popular destination for advertisers and users alike.

Snapchat is also investing in original video programming at a pivotal time in the company’s growth. Pew found that 49 percent of US consumers check Snapchat multiple times a day, which could translate to a lot of video views, so long as users accept the controversial app redesign.

Cadillac, WWE, McDonald’s Hire CMOs; ESPN Names New President

Cadillac has a new global CMO in Deborah Wahl. Previously the CMO of McDonald’s for three years, Wahl will be tapped to lead the strategic marketing for the automobile manufacturer around the world.

“Deborah’s diverse experience, as well as her proven track record of building successful global brands, makes her a natural addition to our leadership team,” said Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen. “Cadillac has made incredible progress over the past several years in our long-term journey to regain our position as the pinnacle of premium luxury brands. Deborah’s experience and strategic vision will build on that progress and help propel Cadillac forward during our next phase of global growth.”

Wahl is a 20-year marketing veteran with several stops across the automotive industry, including roles as the VP and CMO at Chrysler, VP of Marketing at Lexus as well as multiple marketing and communications roles at Ford. Prior to her stint at McDonald’s, Wahls also served as CMO for homebuilder PulteGroup.

Brian Flinn has been promoted to chief marketing and communications officer for WWE.

In his new role, Flinn will oversee all marketing and corporate communications functions, including global consumer marketing, WWE Network marketing, creative services, special events, publicity, media relations and corporate communications.

“Brian has been an instrumental part of our company’s leadership team and I’m thrilled to announce his much-deserved promotion,” said Vince McMahon, WWE chairman and CEO. “In this new role, we are confident that he will continue to expand the opportunities for WWE, and further enhance visibility, brand reputation and audience engagement.”

Flinn will report directly to WWE co-president Michelle Wilson, who was promoted last month to her new role after previously serving as the CMO for WWE.

McDonald’s has promoted Alistair Macrow to oversee marketing strategy in nine high-growth markets, including China, Hong Kong, Italy, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and Netherlands.

“Alistair has been part of the UK business for more than a decade and during that time he has been an integral member of our team,” said Paul Pomroy, chief executive of McDonald’s UK. “As UK chief marketing and communications officer he has spearheaded bold advertising campaigns, launched numerous new menu items and has led our work in challenging the myths around our business—leading his team and our agency partners to win numerous industry awards.”

Macrow has worked for McDonald’s since 2007. Before that, he was a managing director at Blockbuster.

James Pitaro has been promoted to president of ESPN and the co-chair of Disney Media Networks. He will be tapped to lead ESPN+, the conglomerate’s push into a new direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service.

“Jimmy is a talented and dedicated leader with the right strategic vision, relentless drive and passion for sports required to lead the stellar ESPN team at this incredibly dynamic time,” said Robert Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “Jimmy forged his career at the intersection of technology, sports and media, and his vast experience and keen perspective will be invaluable in taking ESPN into the future.”

Before his new post, Pitaro served as chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media since 2016.

Discovery Communications has named TLC president Nancy Daniels as the chief brand officer for Discovery & Factual. Rich Ross, the head of the flagship Discovery Channel since 2014, will be leaving the company.

The moves were part of a larger leadership shake-up and come just as Discovery Communications nears its $11.9 billion merger with Scripps Networks Interactive.

“[The] announcement is another major milestone in combining these two fantastic companies into a new kind of media company with the most trusted portfolio of real-life entertainment brands in the world,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery.

The Rest Of The C-Suite

(Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, March 9. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.)

As it looks to scale its content operations, Facebook has announced a pair of new hires to its video team. Matthew Henick will be tapped to lead video content strategy and planning for the social network, and Mike Bidgoli will lead the Facebook Watch product team.

Henick leaves his position at BuzzFeed Studios, where he was making TV shows and films as the head of its division for the past three years. Bidgoli previously plied his craft at Pinterest as the advertising product lead for the photo-sharing service.

“Facebook is just setting out on its journey to become a new kind of video platform for the world, and the opportunity to tag along was just too good to pass up,” Henick wrote in a Facebook post.

“Facebook Watch is a challenging and ambitious attempt to solve a problem that personally and professionally captivates me,” Bidgoli wrote in a Medium post. “With more opportunities than ever for creators to distribute content, Facebook will play a huge part in unlocking this creative energy and connecting creators with their fan communities.”

Alex Coslov has been appointed VP of marketing for Republic Records.

He will be tasked with handling marketing for artists like Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Lorde and Pearl Jam, who are just some of the artists signed under the Republic Records label. Coslov most recently was the head of marketing for Ultra Music.

“As an executive, Alex brings a new energy and fresh perspective to music marketing,” said Jim Roppo, executive VP and general manager for Republic Records. “He’s a young visionary whose potential is boundless, and he’s going to prove instrumental to the expansion of Republic’s influence throughout 2018 and beyond.”

Open source AI platform has brought on Ingrid Burton as its new CMO.

Burton was previously the CMO for Hortonworks, where she led the brand’s marketing shift and created ecosystem programs that positioned the company for growth.

“Our ambitious vision to make all of software and hardware intelligent and to make AI accessible to everyone will get a shot in the arm with Ingrid’s marketing and revenue machine behind us,” said Sri Ambati, CEO at “She will propel the magic marketing behind the bustling H2O movement to the next level.”

Aventus, a London-based Blockchain ticketing platform, has hired Rob Edwards as COO. The ticketing-industry veteran has previously worked for software suppliers, ticketing companies and live entertainment organizations.

“Blockchain technology and ticketing are a perfect fit and the incredible team behind Aventus who are building a bridge to the blockchain for the ticketing supply-chain through the delivery of tools and blockchain API connectivity make this one of the most exciting opportunities of my career,” said Edwards.

Last week Aventus also named Andrew Ford as CMO.

J.C. Penney is shaking up its leadership team by eliminating 360 jobs, including 130 at corporate headquarters. The cuts, which also include 230 positions from within stores, are designed to save the company $25 million a year. The announcements were made just as the retailer reported earnings that missed expectations from analysts.

“As the company continues to make progress on its strategic framework and implement new processes and organizational efficiencies, it is imperative that we maintain a thoughtful approach to managing expenses, while effectively supporting the needs of the business,” said J.C. Penney CEO Marvin Ellison.

Pac-12 Networks has announced the hires of a pair of veteran sports media executives to lead its digital teams. The first wholly-owned collegiate conference media company named Larry Meyers as EVP of content and Sam Silverstein to VP of editorial.

“Larry Meyers brings a wealth of media company management and creative multi-platform content experience, along with a track record of success in driving audience engagement and growth to Pac-12 Networks,” said Mark Shuken, president of Pac-12 Networks. “As we continue to leverage our ownership model to innovate on behalf of our fans and drive value for our members, the addition of Larry and promotion of Sam will enable us to continue to grow and showcase the very best of the Pac-12 to our fans across the country and around the world.”


Job Vacancies 

Manager – Brand Strategy United Airlines Chicago, IL
Senior Creative Content Manager (China) Riot Games Los Angeles, CA
Sr. Manager, Global Strategic Marketing Johnson & Johnson Several Locations
Global Brand Marketing Manager Hasbro Burbank, CA
VP, Communications and Marketing Warner Music Group Burbank, CA
Sr. Manager, CMO Strategy Electronic Arts Redwood City, CA

Make sure to check back for updates on our Jobs Page.

Microsoft Appoints Cortana Head; Discovery Channel President Departs


Javier Soltero has been promoted to corporate vice president overseeing Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant, Axios reports.

“If I was to leave Microsoft and start another company I would be doing something related to voice,” Soltero said. “It’s exciting. It’s challenging.”

Before heading the Cortana team, Soltero was in charge of Microsoft’s mobile versions of its Outlook software.

Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks Interactive have merged, leading to a slew of executive shakeups. Rich Ross, group president of the Discovery Channel and Science Channel, will depart the newly merged companies. Additionally, Kathleen Finch, formerly chief programming, content and brand officer for Scripps Networks, will assume the position of chief lifestyle brands officer for the new conglomerate.

Consumer packaged goods giant Del Monte Foods has appointed Bibie Wu as its newest CMO.

“Bibie’s wealth of knowledge will bring a fresh perspective in helping us unlock growth for our great brands,” said Greg Longstreet, CEO of Del Monte Foods. “By organizing R&D under her direction along with marketing and innovation, we will create improved synergies in bringing our products to market.”

Wu most recently served as vice president of marketing and head of laundry conditioners and home care at Henkel, leading omnichannel marketing efforts for Snuggle, Renuzit and Soft Scrub.

Calvin Klein has finally filled its empty CMO seat, tapping Marie Gulin-Merle for the role. The previous holder of the title, Melisa Goldie, resigned in 2016, and at the time the company reported it would not be seeking a replacement.

Gulin-Merle joins the clothing line from L’Oreal USA, where she has served as CMO for the past four years.

Karl-Heinz Maurath, chief revenue officer at Under Armour, has announced his upcoming retirement in March.

“Under [Karl-Heinz’s] direction, we have grown from an American company selling product in other countries to a successful international business of more than $1 billion in revenue,” said Patrik Frisk, Under Armour president and COO. “With an incredibly strong foundation, we look forward to building on his great work as this team continues to grow our global footprint, delivering the Under Armour experience to athletes around the world.”

Maurath has been with Under Armour since 2012, reaching the position of CRO in 2015.

Google has poached Ashwin Ram, former senior manager and lead for Alexa AI, from Amazon. His new title will be technical director of AI for Google Cloud.

“Google arguably has the best AI on the planet; my role will be to help make that AI even better and broadly available to everyone,” Ram wrote in a post on LinkedIn. “I’ve had an awesome couple of years at Amazon Alexa working with some of the smartest people I know. Delighted to have had the opportunity to create and lead Alexa Prize and to experience this legendary Day 1 company from the inside.”

Pinterest has brought on its first-ever chief operating officer—Francoise Brougher will manage and grow the social network’s worldwide sales, marketing and corporate operations.

“We are really excited that Francoise is joining Pinterest as our first Chief Operating Officer,” said Ben Silbermann, CEO and co-founder of Pinterest. “She is a world-class manager and a sharp strategic thinker. Francoise’s experience is going to be an incredible asset for our company and our mission of helping people discover and do what they love.”

Most recently, Brougher served at Square as its business lead and before that was vice president of SMB global sales and operations at Google.

David Flynn has joined Paramount Television as executive vice president of international strategy, where he will track and acquire intellectual property for Paramount’s library.

“David has a keen eye for identifying ambitious content from premier content creators worldwide,” said Amy Powell, president of Paramount TV, to Deadline. “He will be a tremendous asset to our team as we work to disrupt the global content creation model, bringing the unique voices and storytelling of local creators to television audiences worldwide.”

Flynn joins Paramount from UTA, where he worked as a literary agent for over 10 years.

Accenture has hired a new managing director for its cybersecurity practice in Canada, Ahmed Etman.

“In today’s marketplace, cybersecurity is critical to any business, and I am excited for the opportunity to help our clients create and run leading-edge security strategies aligned specifically to their industry and unique business goals,” Etman said. “Now, more than ever, organizations must be proactive in addressing cyber risks, and I look forward to helping our clients tackle these challenges putting in place strategies and technologies that result in effective security capabilities.”

Etman joins Accenture from Cisco, where he led the company’s business in emerging markets.

Engagement marketing software provider Marketo has tapped Arun Anantharaman for the role of chief product officer, filling a gap created by the promotion of Manoj Goyal to chief technology officer.

“Arun has a customer-obsessed mindset, which is one of our core values. That, combined with his decades of experience in building high-scale enterprise marketing solutions, will drive profound benefit for our customers,” said Steve Lucas, Marketo’s CEO. “Arun’s vision for the future of MarTech will further establish Marketo as the de facto platform for marketers.”

Anantharaman joins the company from Adobe, where he spent 17 years, most recently as senior vice president of products and operations for its Experience Cloud product.

The Rest Of The C-Suite

(Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, March 2. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.)

Michael Minter has joined DC Shoes as it global head of marketing, where he will attempt to broaden the skateboarding apparel brand’s appeal to general audiences.

“We are excited to have Michael join the DC family in this capacity,” said Mike Jensen, DC Shoes global general manager. “He is passionate, forward thinking and strategic with a proven track record in invigorating brands and aligning organizations for growth.”

Minter previously served as vice president of creative at KEEN, another footwear company.

Hertz has hired Paul Stone as executive vice president and chief retail operations officer for the North America region.

“Paul is a proven leader with experience from arguably the top retailer (Walmart) and has success driving process excellence, developing top talent and building high-performing teams,” said Kathryn V. Marinello, president and chief executive officer of Hertz. “His sincere passion for people and his depth of operations expertise will be a tremendous asset to our already strong bench of talent.”

Stone worked with Walmart for almost 30 years before joining Hertz, reaching the level of Western US divisional senior vice president.

Jonathan Adashek has been promoted to global vice president of communications at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.

Adashek has been with the company since 2015, when served as chief communications officer for Nissan alone.

Aventus, a blockchain-based ticketing startup, has appointed Andrew Ford as its CMO.

“Hiring a world-class leader in technology marketing like Andrew represents a milestone for our initiative,” said Annika Monari, cofounder of Aventus. “Andrew is the perfect person to lead the effort of shaping and bringing our brand and blockchain protocol to market.”

Before joining Aventus, Ford held the same title at Red Box Software, and before that was vice president of marketing and communication for Pitney Bowes.

L’Oréal has appointed Jean-Claude Le Grand as executive vice president of human resources, succeeding Jérôme Tixier, who is stepping aside.

“He has excelled in his missions of detection, recruitment and development of L’Oréal’s talents in all countries and across all functions,” the company said in a statement to WWD.

Le Grand first joined L’Oréal in 1996, becoming human resources director for the company’s active cosmetics division six years later.

Geoffrey Covert, CEO of 99 Cents Only Stores, has announced his retirement, appointing Jack Sinclair as his replacement.

“I am privileged to serve with a team that has laid a solid foundation for success and that delivers unparalleled value and a unique customer experience.=, Sinclair said. “We look forward to continued growth, welcoming new customers to our existing stores and introducing our stores to new communities. We have ambitious goals and our growth trajectory is just beginning.”

Sinclair has been with the company since 2015, when he joined as its chief merchandising and marketing officer.

Job Vacancies 

Product Manager – APIs Ayzenberg Pasadena, CA
Chief Communications Officer Columbia University New York, NY
SVP, Cobrand Partner Chief Decision Management Officer Citi Elk Grove Village, IL
VP, Marketing Strategy, Planning & Analytics Pandora Oakland, CA
Director, Global Creative Marketing (Global Series) Netflix Los Angeles, CA
VP, Sales & Marketing The Washington Times Washington, DC

Make sure to check back for updates on our Jobs Page.

Oreo Joins Brands Using Augmented Reality With Scavenger Hunt

Oreo is launching its first social game for mobile devices—an augmented reality scavenger hunt called “The Great Oreo Cookie Quest.” Oreo joins a growing list of brands using AR scavenger hunts to actively engage consumers as the technology becomes more accessible.

The Great Oreo Cookie Quest” offers daily clues such as “What puts hands on your wrist?” The app uses object-recognition technology to determine whether users are pointing their cameras at the correct object—in this case, a wristwatch. Pointing the app at the correct object will reveal an AR Oreo cookie and earn points depending on how difficult the clue is.

Cookies are saved in a gallery and points are displayed on a leaderboard that can be compared to friends on Facebook and Twitter. Scanning a real Oreo cookie enters the user into a sweepstake to win prizes such as Pixel phone or an Oreo-branded Bluetooth speaker. Users can also win travel prizes such as a trip to Africa or Google headquarters in California.

Oreo’s AR scavenger hunt is a continuation of the brand’s ongoing partnership with Google, which began last year (Android’s new 8.0 operating system is called Oreo). The partnership is embodied in a superhero character unveiled during the solar eclipse.

Google also partnered with the cookie brand for its Oreo Dunk Challenge campaign last February. Fans were invited to scan an Oreo with their mobile device. The app converted the cookie into a digital version, where it was launched into the stratosphere by Google Earth before landing in a glass of milk somewhere in the world.

Brands have taken advantage of AR scavenger hunts for several years, especially on Snapchat. As AR technology continues to advance and becomes less expensive to develop, this trend is likely to continue.

Niantic’s Pokemon GO set the bar high for user engagement in 2016 for AR mobile gaming. Just as millions got outside to collect virtual Pokemon, branded AR scavenger hunts invite fans to actively participate in a marketing campaign.

In honor of Force Friday II—Disney’s massive unveiling of Star Wars merchandise ahead of the 2017 holidays—a long list of brands threw a global augmented reality event at 20,000 participating retail locations. Through the official Star Wars app, AR characters and creatures could be seen and photographed around stores, with new characters unlocked each day of the weekend.

Before The Mummy hit theaters, Universal Studios partnered with Cinemark Theaters to create an AR scavenger hunt to win prizes.

Digi-Capital forecasts that AR (mobile AR, smartglasses) could approach three and a half billion installed base and $85 billion to $90 billion revenue within five years. Consumers spent $3.4 billion last year on augmented, mixed and virtual reality in 2017, according to SuperData Research.

Snapchat, Nike Team Up To Direct-Sell Air Jordans

After splitting its social and media features last year, Snap is shifting again to help retailers become direct brands. For the first time in Snapchat’s history, users could purchase products, namely the Nike’s Air Jordan III “Tinker,” without ever leaving the app.

After the NBA All-Star Game last night—the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan’s famous performance at the All-Star Slam Dunk Championship in 1988—fans attending the Jumpman afterparty got the chance to scan special Snap codes, allowing them to pre-purchase the shoes and have them delivered later that same night. Assisting in the collaboration between Snapchat and Nike were Darkstore, an “invisible retailer” startup and Shopify, an e-commerce payment platform.

“This is the Holy Grail of the experience [Nike is] trying to intend, which is direct to consumer—to the actual consumer, versus a bot—and same-day delivery,” Darkstore CEO Lee Hnetinka told TechCrunch. “The Snap code introduces a new paradigm for commerce.”

The new Air Jordans, which will not officially be released until late March, sold out within half an hour.

This Snapchat–Nike e-commerce partnership comes just a few weeks after Snap began selling its own merchandise through its app, and the success of this promotion may convince other brands of the possibilities of in-app storefronts. Even if Snapchat takes a cut of the sales, brands may see higher conversion rates simply from cutting the amount of time and redirects between consumers and the products they want.

“Snapchat had an existing partnership with Shopify to create the frictionless commerce experience, so we felt that would make sense,” Dan Harbison, Jordan Brand’s senior director of global digital, said in a statement. “We had also talked to Darkstore and liked their same-day delivery solution and learned they had partnered with Shopify in the past, so that became an easy decision.”

Despite some unrest over the direction Snapchat is going from its established users, adoption of the photo-sharing app is growing. The company is working to ingratiate itself with marketers, and providing a platform for direct sales and reach to an existing audience is one more step in standing out from the social media crowd.