Unilever Announces Q2 Earnings; Purpose Is Becoming More Important

Unilever shared its second-quarter earnings with investors on Thursday, with year-over-year growth of 1.9 percent, below analysts media expectations of 2.2 percent. Unilever highlighted a trucking strike in Latin America—which accounts for 15 percent of Unilever sales—as the primary reason for the sluggish results. In the positive, sales grew four percent in emerging markets, including China.

The earnings call, led by chief executive officer Paul Polman and chief financial officer Graeme Pitkethly, notably opened the investor presentation with an image of Ben & Jerry’s employees participating in Pride Month. Ben & Jerry’s, owned by Unilever, has vocally supported marriage equality for over 35 years.

Unilever’s portfolio spans across food, home and healthcare industries including Dove, Dollar Shave Club and Lipton. As one of the world’s largest advertisers, the global brand isn’t shy about its $9.3 billion annual marketing budget and has publicly taken a stand against ad sellers—especially social media giants—for failing to provide a safe environment for brands.

During the Interactive Advertising Bureau conference, Keith Weed challenged social media giants to “collectively rebuild trust back into our systems and our society.” 2018, he said, would be the year when social media must win Unilever’s trust back.

Unilever reiterated its embrace of digital in the call, outlining the importance of using data and AI to guide the company’s marketing—also mentioning the company’s use of chatbots and virtual assistants to interact with customers. Polman said the company has grown ecommerce to between 60 percent to 70 percent, “well ever the 30 percent to 40 percent rate that the trend is growing.”  Earlier in the week, Unilever joined a pilot program for Blis, a blockchain service designed to add transparency for marketers and data providers.

Sometimes if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Unilever took more of its ad work in-house last year, saving about 30 percent on agency fees and reducing the cost of its external agencies. However, in Q2 2018 the presentation noted that “brand and marketing investment was up 20 basis points [or .2 percent]. Compared to the prior year, we stepped up the absolute level of brand and marketing investment, focused on media investment while continuing to drive efficiencies in advertising production.”

In addition to the Ben & Jerry’s Pride Month imagery, the global brand used this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity to ramp up inclusion efforts through the Unstereotype Alliance. The initiative is coming together of powerful consumer brands who, in their own words, “seek to eradicate harmful gender-based stereotypes.” Unilever has been a large proponent of diverse and inclusive work environments and continues to highlight those causes in much of its product’s marketing as well.

“In all our launches, purpose is becoming more important,” said Polman. “If you look at plastics, consumers led that. You would be stupid to not be a forerunner.”

Hyundai Launches First-Ever Digital Showroom On Amazon

Hyundai announced on Wednesday that it would be the first car brand to open a digital showroom on Amazon Vehicles. Using it, shoppers can browse, compare prices, look at reviews, book test drives and check inventories at local dealerships without having to interact much with salespeople.

The S. Korea-based automaker is the first to offer this service, but it almost certainly won’t be the last. The digital showroom also seeks to educate consumers about Hyundai’s service benefits, including Shopper Assurance, which provides upfront pricing and three-day exchange guarantees for its vehicles. It also allows for flexible test drive scheduling from locations such as homes.

The aim of the digital showroom is to take prospective car buyers on a journey, starting with a “brand experience,” highlighting the automaker’s technologies. Then they are presented with details for vehicles that best fit their personal preferences and buying habits, with the option to purchase directly on HyundaiUSA.com.

Other collaborative features found on the showroom include a video showing how owners can operate the Blue Link app using Alexa, using it to remote start and set the temperature remotely using voice commands in addition to smartphones and smartwatches.

In a statement, Hyundai Motor America senior group manager for digital marketing Tim Maxwell said, “This collaboration with Amazon provides customers with the ability to learn about Hyundai vehicles in a way that matches their expectations for nearly every other type of purchase. Hyundai and its dealers are modernizing the car buying process, so it made sense for us to be the first car company with its own digital showroom.”

This isn’t the first time Hyundai has partnered with Amazon, having teamed up with the retail giant in 2016 for the “Prime Now, Drive Now” campaign. It too was the first of its kind collaboration which offered on-demand 2017 Hyundai Elantra test drives to prospective car shoppers in the Los Angeles/Orange County area through the Prime Now service, which is usually used for local store and supermarket deliveries.

Brands Banning Single-Use Plastic Straws Are Looking To Future

Brands are waging a war on plastic straws and other single-use items, each launching their own cause marketing campaigns to showcase their efforts.

On Wednesday, Bacardi announced a partnership with Lonely Whale, a collaborative non-profit focused on ocean conservation. The campaign, dubbed #TheFutureDoesntSuck, includes a goal to eliminate one billion single-use straws from its global supply chain by the year 2020.

Plastic straws are one of the most common kinds of waste found on beaches, according to Ocean Conservancy, whose volunteers have cleaned up nearly 10 million of them so far. About 500 million plastic straws are discarded each day in the US, according to Bacardi. The rum brand led a similar campaign called #NoStraws back in 2016, vowing not to use straws in its cocktails.

Bacardi’s announcement comes right on the heels of news that Starbucks will eliminate its plastic straws by 2020. The company unveiled new lids that will be used on cold drinks and offer straws made from alternative materials such as paper or compostable plastic.

Earlier this year, Nestle announced plans to make all of its packaging recyclable or reusable by the year 2025. McDonald’s did the same, vowing that by the same year, 100 percent of its packaging will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources.

For 49 percent of consumers between the ages of 18 and 35, climate change and the destruction of nature are their number one concerns, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Shaper Survey. The annual study asked over 31,000 millennials from 186 countries and territories about issues from technology to social issues.

But, talk is cheap, which is why so many brands are working to stop pollution at the source. While 91 percent of respondents blamed humans for climate change, only 78 percent said they would be willing to change their lifestyle to protect the environment. However, expect this trend to continue as more brands jump on with plans to outlaw single-use plastics and straws.

On July 18, Marriott International adopted a plan to remove disposable plastic straws and plastic stirrers from its more than 6,500 properties across 30 brands around the world. This initiative, which begins in July of 2019, is part of a plan enacted last year to reduce landfill waste by 45 percent and responsibly sourcing its top 10 product purchase categories by 2025. The hospitality brand has already eliminated plastic straws from five of its location and received positive feedback from guests, Marriott said.

Amazon Announces Biggest Prime Day Results In Its History

Prime Day took place from July 16 through 17, but Amazon stirred up tremendous interest hosting a series of “Unboxing Prime Day” promotions and activations over the five days leading up to the big sale to convince people to sign up for or renew Prime memberships, and perhaps join other services such as Amazon Music. That promotional blitz appears to have paid off well, with Amazon reporting that sales surpassed that of other major events including Cyber Monday, Black Friday and last year’s Prime Day.

Subscribers are especially important to Amazon, and CEO Jeff Bezos famously confessed that there is a direct connection between media content and shopping by stating, “When we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes.” Prime members buy more from the online retailer than non-members do, mainly because they’re looking for ways to maximize their paid subscriptions after signing up to watch a movie or TV series.

Record Numbers Join Prime

The Prime Day promotional blitz seems to have paid off, making this year’s sale one of the most successful yet, despite some technical difficulties. Amazon reported that it reached a record number of Prime subscriptions across 17 countries. Australia, Singapore, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were first-time participants, and more members joined on July 16 than on any other day in the company’s history.

Live Events Lead To Shopping

Prime members around the world attended Unboxing events or watched them livestreamed. The final Unboxing event took place in London with attendees entering through a giant cardboard box tunnel lined with bubble wrap, and it was comprised of three experiences promoting the Prime Reading, Prime Video and Prime Music services. They included a special screening of Paddington 2, with a special appearance from Paddington himself; author Ant Middleton reading from his bestselling book First Man In: Leading from the Front and answering questions; and lastly, Amazon hosted a concert headlined by British band, Take That.

Prime members flocked to Whole Foods for its first-ever cross-promotion with Amazon, where they received millions in Prime Day discounts. The most popular item was organic strawberries.

Biggest Prime Day Brand: Amazon

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Amazon’s own brand turned out to be the biggest winner from the sales event, with the company reporting that the Fire TV Stick and Alexa Voice Remote were the bestselling products from any manufacturer in any category on Amazon globally. Other Amazon brands that sold well across various categories during Prime Day include AmazonBasics, Stone & Beam furniture, Daily Ritual womenswear and Presto! home supplies.

Additionally, Amazon reported that third-party small and medium-sized businesses on its platform exceeded $1 billion in sales during Prime Day. Simply Gum is quoted as saying that its sales rose by over 400 percent over any typical day. But they’re not the only ones who benefited from the big sale.

Rivals including Target, which ran a “no membership required” online sale on Tuesday, announced that it had the “highest single day of traffic and sales of 2018” on its website. The most popular one-day sale items were small appliances, beauty and personal care, baby gear, home and tech items.

“No Membership Required” Rivals Hit Back 

A Yahoo Finance poll shows that 55 percent of respondents plan to shop on Prime Day while 36 percent were unsure. Meanwhile, competing retailers are taking aim at Prime Day by hosting sales of their own.

Online outlet eBay launched its “Fill Your Cart With Color” campaign on Monday with two 15-second spots, and it is offering over 100 deals priced at $119—the cost of a Prime subscription. Additionally, Target.com will host a one-day sale on June 17, featuring discounts on dozens of products. Both retailers are emphasizing that there’s “no membership required” to take part in these sales.

Big Deliveries

Amazon began its massive global campaign in early July by delivering branded 25-foot cardboard boxes to New York, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo and Milan with special “surprises” inside of them. In reality, they’re lead-ins to Unboxing events that are revealed days ahead of time, each designed to promote some of the different services Amazon has to offer.

The first Unboxing event was a live concert in New York City featuring musical artists to promote the Amazon Music service. This two-hour performance was livestreamed on its main website and Twitch—which is also owned by Amazon—along with a few related Alexa commands. Another concert will take place in Milan, Italy on Friday.

Twitch is also a major partner for another Unboxing Prime Day event. The Twitch Prime service is giving away free games and add-ons every day between July 2 and 18, but the highlight of the promotion is the Los Angeles-based livestreaming event featuring popular online broadcasters. They and others will compete in Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds while musician and self-described gamer deadmau5 performs. Additional event sponsors include PC tech companies Ballistic, Crucial, Cooler Master, Nvidia and others.

Speaking with AList, Twitch’s EVP of commerce, developers and Twitch Prime Ethan Evans describes the event as a “thank you” to Prime members. He explained, “Unboxing Prime Day events are all about surprising and delighting our customers with unique experiences that go beyond the great deals that come with Prime Day.”

A Shimajiro-themed event is set to take place in Tokyo over the weekend, where the mascot of the Prime Video series will dance with Prime members and their children. The final event takes place in London to promote multiple Prime subscription services.

Taking Prime Day Offline

Although the main focus of Prime Day is on online purchasing, the sales event is also being promoted at physical stores. In addition to sales at Amazon Book Stores, Amazon is also promoting Prime Day through Whole Foods Market for the first time. The food store chain was purchased by Amazon last year, and it is offering $10 of credit to spend on Amazon during Prime Day with a single purchase of $10 or more. The deal coincides with AmazonFresh Grocery Delivery promotions.

The retail giant also has treasure trucks packed with discounted goods driving around 25 select cities across the United States. They carry various products including food, fashion, appliances and gadgets, and consumers are encouraged to track the trucks via mobile app and take advantage of buying opportunities for fear of missing out.

Prime Day VR Kiosks in India

In India, Amazon is promoting Prime Day using virtual reality kiosks located in 10 shopping malls across Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. Using Oculus Rift headsets and Touch controllers, shoppers are able to take a hot air balloon ride through a virtual city full of Prime Day products. Additionally, they can browse through virtual room furnished with Prime products, see how clothes look on them, check out Prime Video and more. Shoppers are also able to examine virtual products such as toys and appliances while pop-up windows provide details about each item.

The Power Anticipation And Social Engagement

“The mystique of Prime Day may add some allure, but the lack of definition certainly curtails some of the opportunity for consumers to have planned purchases. The anticipation effect can do more for sales than the mystique of when it is,” wrote NPD chief industry advisor Marshal Cohen in a blog post.

NPD analysts predict that Prime Day will continue to grow in size, which might mean greater spectacle to go with it to promote consumer engagement. These events and sales drive users to post on social media, which may, in turn, lead to more sales and brand promotions.

“Word of mouth, or in this case ‘word of online’ communication plays a huge role in Prime Day successes—when consumers say, ‘look what I got’, their social networks respond,” Cohen explained.

Pepsi Takes World Cup Marketing Victory Over Coke; Facebook Boasts Interactions

This year’s FIFA World Cup yielded many surprises not just for fans and players but for brands and analysts as well. Facebook and Instagram saw massive spikes in interaction during the game and Pepsi finally got an ad victory over its arch-rival, Coca-Cola. Meanwhile, Nike and Apple proved that you don’t have to be an official sponsor to be the most popular, fans turned away from the TV and onto devices to watch the action and Chinese brands threw their very expensive hat into the advertising ring. Meanwhile, England consumers weren’t thrilled about a “bombardment” of gambling ads.

Americans Prefer Advertising From The “Other” Football

The World Cup (and soccer in general) may be loved the world over, but data compiled by Ace Metrix shows limited appeal in the US, at least in terms of advertising. Overall ad effectiveness, attention and likeability represented by the Ace Score, for this year’s World Cup ads trailed significantly behind both Olympics and Super Bowl creatives, the company said.

The most popular ad in terms of attention score was Pepsi’s #LoveItLiveIt ad, in which famous soccer players kick a ball filled with blue paint. This campaign had the strongest unaided brand recall, according to Ace Metrix.

The second most popular ad that aired during the World Cup was Powerade’s “Unstoppable” ad, followed by Coca-Cola’s “Get Ready for the #FIFA World Cup.” Pepsi’s small victory over its rival should make its team happy, as the company ramped up marketing spend this year to better compete in North America.


Facebook Shares World Cup Hype On Its Platforms

The FIFA World Cup only happens every four years, building tremendous hype before exploding as countries face off in international competition. Between June 14 and July 15, 383 million people interacted on Facebook and 272 million interacted on Instagram with soccer/football content, Facebook reported on Monday. On Instagram, there were 11 million stories produced relating to the football tournament and over three billion World Cup-related interactions.

Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi was the most-talked-about player on both Facebook and Instagram and his new profile picture became the most popular tournament-related Facebook post. The most-loved post on Facebook came from Mexico’s Raúl Jiménez when he shared a photo of his team after it upset Germany in the group stage.


OTT Streaming For The Win

The 2018 World Cup broke records for online TV streaming habits, with more than 23.3 million hours viewed during the quarterfinals, according to analytics company Conviva. Among those not watching the final on traditional television, Conviva observed a worldwide average of 64.6 minutes viewing time streamed per unique viewer.

“We also saw a trend of in-app dominating browser plays (with 67 percent of successful plays in-app versus 33 percent in-browser),” Conviva told CNBC.


Nike ‘Believes’ It Walked Away A World Cup Winner

Despite not being an official partner of the FIFA World Cup—unlike its arch-rival, Adidas—Nike walked away with its first “all-Nike final,” the company said in a statement. Ten of the 32 teams in Russia wore Nike kits as well as three of the four teams in the semifinals and two of its sponsored teams made the finals. A total of 100 goals were scored by players wearing Nike boots, the company said.

When France won this year’s World Cup, fans rushed the Nike store in Paris to get their hands on the new France shirt that features two stars, representing two World Cup wins. Riot police had to break up the crowd before it was eventually announced the coveted shirt would go on sale Tuesday.

Throughout the World Cup, Nike aired a series of motivational spots called “Believe” that featured Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr. and others. Nike says the spots earned over 100 million views and 50 million engagements.


Players Unofficially Model Apple Accessories, Piquing Interest

Apple was another brand that gained a lot of recognition during the World Cup despite not being an official sponsor. Several pro soccer players were spotted wearing Apple AirPods, headphones or Beats headphones during commutes and before matches. In accordance with FIFA’s strict rules against “ambush marketing,” players covered any logos with tape—but the products’ unique designs made them hard to mistake for any other brand.


China Joins The Game

This year’s World Cup saw a dramatic increase in advertising from Chinese brands. In fact, Chinese companies spent $835 million on advertising and promoting their brands during the international sporting event, accounting for 35 percent of total sponsorship. This year’s top-tier sponsor was Chinese brand Wanda, which joined six other sponsorship partners from the country.

“Similar to our passion for soccer and the World Cup, which brings out the competitiveness in all of us, Chinese brands are also becoming more competitive in the global market,” said the China Internet Information Center in a statement.


ITV Faces Scrutiny Over Gambling Ads

British television network ITV is being criticized for favoring gambling ads over any other category during the World Cup.  According to an analysis by The Guardian, one in eight commercials during the first 30 games on ITV were centered around gambling totaling almost 90 minutes. The sheer volume of these advertisements resulted in 115 complaints made to The Advertising Standards Authority, expressing concerns about showing these messages to children watching sports.

The Labour party says it would impose a mandatory levy on the industry to fund increased research, education and treatment of gambling addiction and the effects of advertising, adding that an estimated 25,000 children under 16 addicted to gambling.

Build-A-Bear Promotion Proves Too Enticing, Backfires With Angry Mobs

Can a marketing campaign be too effective? For Build-A-Bear, finding out just how passionate its fans are turned out to be a painful learning experience on Thursday. A promotion meant to drive sales ended up driving employees to tears and law enforcement was called to quell angry crowds.

Build-A-Bear Workshop stores offer make-your-own stuffed animals for upwards of $50-$75 before add-ons. When the brand announced a one-day promotion to “pay your age” for as little as $1, shopping malls in the US, UK and Canada filled with lines—some extending outside and down the street.

In some locations, customers reported pushing, shoving and general chaos before law enforcement was called in. Guests in other time zones were turned away before the stores were scheduled to open once the company realized what was happening.

Build-A-Bear handed out $15 vouchers for those unable to take part in the promotion and issued a formal apology. The company’s CEO even went on The Today Show to ease consumer stress.

“We are doing our very best and we are staying very focused on making sure that we do the best we can to make it right for people,” Build-A-Bear CEO Price John said. “I am sorry that we were not able to provide the service that we wanted.”

Earlier this year, Nutella found itself in similar hot water when French supermarket chain Intermarché offered a steep discount that resulted in chaos.

“They were like animals. A woman had her hair pulled, an elderly lady took a box on her head, another had a bloody hand. It was horrible,” one Intermarché customer told French newspaper Le Progres.

The mob-inducing promotion was not offered by Nutella parent company Ferrero itself, but they were forced to issue a statement nonetheless.

McDonald’s also found itself facing a mob last year when it offered a limited quantity of Szechuan nugget dipping sauce. Inspired by an episode of Rick and Morty, the restaurant brought the sauce back for one day. Fans were angered when quantities quickly ran out.

Subaru And REI Partner For Summer Marketing Campaign

Subaru and outdoors brand REI are partnering to get people outside and in search of adventure. In an expansive campaign, the automaker will trek to multiple REI Outessa experiential events across the United States including festivals and campouts.

Outessa events are primarily designed to grow and strengthen the community of women who love the outdoors and is part of REI’s “Force of Nature” campaign. Subaru will have a presence at all Outessa three-day retreats this summer, with locations in Waterville Valley Resort, New Hampshire and Squaw Valley Resort, California.

The carmaker will also be present at Outessafest, which is comprised of two day-long outdoors-themed music festivals in Maryland and North Carolina. In addition to having prominent female speakers and performers, attendees may join activities such as yoga, rock climbing, paddling and running led by REI Outdoor School instructors. Subaru-sponsored activities include aura photography, keychain making using branded key tags and trivia-style scavenger hunts inside 2019 Ascent SUVs. Subaru owners also receive VIP parking at these events.

Additionally, Subaru will be at curated REI campout locations across the country, where it will offer guests food and beverages, activities, car camping tips and evening entertainment. The carmaker is also planning a cross-country road trip to 12 REI retail stores, where customers can explore the Ascent and other vehicles first-hand and receive camping-themed giveaways. Current Subaru owners may receive a “special” gift, according to the announcement. Those who visit the select campout sites and participating REI stores on scheduled days may enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win an Ascent, loaded up with REI gear.

The Outessa campaign is the latest in an ongoing partnership between the two companies, with the automaker having previously joined REI’s ongoing #OptOutside campaign. With it, the outdoors company closes its stores and pays its employees to take the day off on Black Friday to go outside, inviting potential shoppers to do the same.

“At Subaru, we are constantly inspired by our drivers’ appetite for exploration and honored to be part of the adventure,” Alan Bethke, Subaru of America’s SVP of marketing said in a statement. “We are proud to continue our relationship with REI to help encourage people from all walks of life to bond with fellow outdoor enthusiasts and create lasting memories in the great outdoors.”

Twitter Rolls Out Video Docking Tool For Android Multitasking

This week in social media news, Twitter introduces a video dock feature, Facebook trains AI to interpret locations on the go, Twitter tests ads for the Explore tab, Instagram users “down under” can now apply for the coveted blue check mark and YouTube doesn’t take kindly to Twitch videos.

In other news, Twitter cracks down on inactive accounts, Facebook News programs prepare for launch, Pinterest Groups get collaborative and YouTube fights copycats posters. Facebook tests ads you can try on and warns of fake news, Snapchat showcases user-generated AR and partners with Amazon, Instagram users ask more questions, YouTube lets some users browse in private and the company invests a whole lot of money in digital literacy. Also, Whatsapp warns users of suspicious links and Instagram continues its “Time Well Spent” mission statement with new features.

Twitter Rolls Out Video Docking Tool For Android

Android Twitter users can now dock a video anywhere on their screen while they scroll through a feed, the company announced this week. The feature is similar to Facebook and many news sites that automatically move the video to the side when a user scrolls down the page. Twitter’s tool allows the user to move and place the video instead of doing it automatically. A tool for iOS will be released sometime in the near future.

Facebook Project Trains AI To Work Together

Anyone who has learned a language knows that memorizing vocabulary words does little to prepare you for visiting an actual city covered in signage. It can be overwhelming for anyone trying to navigate a new place. The same is true for machine learning, so Facebook created a project called “Talk the Walk” to train AI in such an environment.

Facebook’s research team created an AI “tourist” and gave it access to 360-degree pictures of locations around New York. An AI “guide” had access to an overhead 2D map with generic descriptions such as “restaurant” and “hotel.” Neither bot could share its view with the other.

The tourist bot described its location to the guide bot, which predicted the tourist bot’s location on its map. The result was 87.08 percent accuracy on a full navigation task, compared to 76.7 percent accuracy from human annotators.

“To be truly effective at interacting with humans, future AI systems will understand text that’s embedded in messy visual environments and language that doesn’t line up with a limited, predetermined list of phrases,” Facebook wrote alongside its findings.


Twitter Tests ‘Promoted Trend Spotlight’ Ads

Marketers may soon be able to place ads above Twitter’s trending topics section, TechCrunch reported. The ads would consist of large banners equipped with an animated GIF or image displayed at the top of the Explore Tab. The ads would appear for the first two times a user visits the tab that day, then resume with the normal layout. Promoted Trend Spotlight ads will be purchased as an add-on to the existing Promoted Trends and are currently being tested with Walt Disney’s Christopher Robin.


Australian Instagram Users Can Now Apply To Get Verified

The coveted “blue checkmark” on social media labels an influential person’s account so that it can be differentiated from impersonators. It’s usually reserved for celebrities, but some Instagram users in Australia are now able to apply for one. As spotted by InfluencerUpdate.biz, Australians with the iOS version of Instagram are currently the only ones in the world who can apply to be verified after supplying proof of identity.


YouTube Cracks Down On Videos Directing Viewers Elsewhere

Creators on YouTube have reported temporary channel deletions for promoting their Twitch streams, Engadget reports. YouTube policies forbid users from publishing content designed purely to direct viewers away from the site and Twitch partners have similar restrictions. However, YouTube creators like Surny and Linus Tech Tips have reported sudden unprompted enforcement that includes channel deletion instead of a warning. The purpose of the offending videos, these creators admitted, was to tell subscribers that they had begun streaming live on Twitch.

The move comes as competition heats up between social media video sites and YouTube is taking steps to prevent any loss of viewership it can. Creators claim that the rule against redirecting traffic through video posts has been in place for a long time, but until recently was not enforced.


Twitter Removes Locked Accounts From Follower Count

Follower counts may decrease this week, Twitter warns, as locked accounts will be systematically removed from the profile statistic. Follower counts will no longer count profiles which have been locked and untouched for more than a month in an attempt to increase transparency and prevent inaccurate data. Removing locked accounts from followers doesn’t impact MAU or DAU, Twitter said but it could have the potential to impact publicly reported metrics.

Although Twitter did not specify a reason for this sudden action, it is most likely a direct response to statements made by Unilever’s Keith Weed during Cannes Lions. Unilever—which spends $7 billion in advertising—will no longer invest in influencers that buy followers, Weed said. In addition, the company will prioritize partners who increase their transparency and work to eradicate nefarious practices throughout the digital ecosystem.

If Twitter was trying to get Weed’s attention, it succeeded.


Facebook’s Funded News Shows Will Debut July 16

The first round of funded news programming is slated to go live on Facebook Watch next week and includes shows from ABC News, Advance Local, ATTN:, CNN, Fox News, Mic, Quartz, and Univision. Users will be offered custom recommendations based on who they watch and what their friends are viewing. Programs can also be accessed directly from the publisher’s page.

News programs on Facebook will allow users to interact with broadcasters in real-time. Anderson Cooper’s first show for Facebook Watch on July 16, for example, stream live from Helsinki for the US-Russia summit. The show will include live polls and Cooper will personally respond to questions posted in the comments.


Pinterest Adds Collaboration Tools To Group Boards

Activity feeds have been added to Group Boards on Pinterest, the company announced on Wednesday. Group members can now like, comment and be notified when someone joins the group, adds a new Pin, adds a new section etc. Pinterest says the feature is in response to requests from its users that collaborate with family and friends to plan events or projects.

Pinterest has become a popular hub for searches related to holidays and yearly traditions such as back-to-school. Pinterest says that 47 million people search for back-to-school ideas on its network last year.


YouTube ‘Copyright Match’ Tool Fights Re-Uploads

There are few things more frustrating on YouTube than having one’s hard work copied and uploaded to someone else’s account. For the past year, YouTube has been testing a new tool called Copyright Match that will automatically detect these offenses and allow creators to have them removed. When a user uploads a video, YouTube will verify it as the first iteration. Any subsequent videos posted that are detected as very similar will be flagged and the original creator will be notified. From there, the creator can reach out to the other YouTube user, do nothing or request that YouTube remove the video.

Copyright Match tools are scheduled to launch next week for creators with over 100,000 followers.


Facebook AR Ads Let Users Try On Products

During a special event in New York on Tuesday, Facebook revealed new marketing options being tested for the News Feed. Ty Ahmad-Taylor, vice president of product marketing for Facebook’s global marketing solutions demonstrated AR ads that let users try on products such as sunglasses and makeup. As reported by TechCrunch, the ads will appear as normal images with a “tap to try it on” that opens the AR camera. The first brand to test the new feature is Michael Kors with other brands planning their own tests in the near future, including Sephora, NYX Professional Makeup, Bobbi Brown, Pottery Barn, Wayfair and King.

Ads will not be limited to makeup and accessories. For example, a demonstration for King superimposed Ahmad-Taylor’s face into Candy Crush gameplay.


Snapchat Lens Explorer Showcases User-Generated AR

Speaking of AR, Snapchat unveiled Lens Explorer on Tuesday—a carousel that allows users to browse and unlock thousands of Lenses, as well as Stories that have featured them. The feature is available for iOS devices only at launch. No sponsored Lenses are included for the time being.

The company says that since Lens Studio was launched, over 100,000 unique Lenses which have been viewed by Snapchatters over 2.5 billion times.


Instagram Adds Question Sticker To Stories

As spotted last week, Instagram has officially launched its “question sticker.” The feature allows users to ask an open-ended question or invite others to do the same. The answers can be answered by anyone that views the Story but can be viewed only by the one that posted the question sticker. Story posters can, however, share the replies which appear with a username.


YouTube Rolls Out ‘Incognito Mode’ To Android Users

Want to watch those tiny cooking shows without your wife knowing? Well, Android users can do so in (kind of) secret with incognito mode, now available on Android devices. Much like its desktop counterpart, the mode does not log browser histories onto the device itself but comes with a disclaimer about not being completely invisible from networks or service providers.


Snapchat Code Reveals Amazon Visual Search Feature

An eagle-eyed app researcher has discovered a hidden feature in Snapchat’s Android code, aptly codenamed “Eagle.” The feature, reported by TechCrunch, is called Visual Search and directs users to “Press and hold to identify an object, song, barcode, and more! This works by sending data to Amazon, Shazam, and other partners.” Once an object or barcode has been scanned, users will be able to see all the results on Amazon.

A partnership with Amazon isn’t a surprising one, as it is the only other place where users can purchase Snapchat’s recording Spectacles.


WhatsApp Tests Suspicious Link Detection; Labels Forwarded Messages

According to WABetaInfo, a new feature called Suspicious Link Detection has been added to beta version 2.18.204 that analyzes and labels outgoing links that may redirect to a fake or website other than what is represented.

WhatsApp has been under pressure from Indian authorities lately for a slew of killings that allegedly originated from hoax messages sent on the app. Much like the “Pizzagate” incident in 2016, Indian residents reacted violently to claims that people in their area were abducting children or harvesting organs. This week, Facebook has taken out full-page advertisements in several Indian newspapers that offer 10 tips for spotting fake news.

Facebook’s encrypted messaging app is favored worldwide for its privacy, but that same feature makes it difficult to police the spread of misinformation. Last week, Facebook announced that researchers could earn $50,000 for proposals related to “detection of problematic behavior within encrypted systems,” among other topics.

Beginning on Tuesday, any messages forwarded and not generated by the sender will be labeled, the company announced, saying, “WhatsApp cares deeply about your safety. We encourage you to think before sharing messages that were forwarded.”


YouTube Invests $25M For Journalism Content; Digital Literacy

In a blog post on Monday, YouTube said it is building a “working group” with news organizations and experts from around the world to help develop new product features and improve the news experience on its platform. Early partners in the program include Vox Media, Jovem Plan and India Today. YouTube will accept applications from news organizations from approximately 20 global markets. Those selected will receive funding from YouTube to build sustainable video operations.

YouTube will also begin sharing snippets of text articles in the event of a breaking news story so users can get news as it develops (and while videos are being produced). The site has also begun testing features that surface local news in the YouTube app for TV screens across 25 media markets around the US.

Fake news and propaganda spread with the help of “digital illiteracy,” that is, the inability to tell the difference between what is real vs. fake and biassed vs. not. YouTube has partnered with the Poynter Institute, Stanford University, Local Media Association and the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) to support MediaWise, a US-based initiative designed to equip 1 million teens with digital literacy skills. The program will feature six YouTube Creators to help educate teens online.


Instagram Encourages Taking A Break

Endless scrolling down Instagram’s news feed to see if you missed anything may become a thing of the past. Instagram has added a notification called “You’re All Caught Up” that lets users know if they’ve seen everything posted within the last 48 hours.

In addition, Instagram is also testing a “Do Not Disturb” feature that lets users shut off notifications from Instagram and WhatsApp for 30 minutes, one hour, two hours, eight hours, one day or until they’re turned back on manually. The yet-to-be-formally-announced feature was spotted by social media consultant Matt Nevarro and reported by TechCrunch.


Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, July 13. 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: Campbell Soup, Ace Hardware Hire CMOs; Papa John’s Founder Departs

This week has several executive shifts, Campbell Soup hires Diego Palmieri as CMO, Ace Hardware appoints Kim Lefko CMO VP and the managing director for Cannes Lions leaves parent company Ascential.

Campbell Appoints CMO Of US Meals And Beverages

The Campbell Soup Company announced Diego Palmieri as vice president and chief marketing officer of US meals and beverages, effective July 18, 2018. In this role, he will be responsible for all aspects of US marketing and consumer connection across the division’s portfolio of brands, including Campbell’s, Chunky, Well Yes!, Slow Kettle, Swanson, V8, Plum, Pace and Prego. Palmieri joins from SC Johnson, where performed various roles—almost half of them in marketing—for two decades.

“Diego has spent his career marketing and selling consumer products in the United States and abroad,” Campbell meals a beverages president Roberto Leopardi. “He is an accomplished marketer and experienced business leader with a track record of growing businesses through a deep understanding of brand value and success in building ecommerce into the marketing and sales mix.”

New CMO Finds Place At Ace Hardware

Kim Lefko has been appointed as senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Ace Hardware. Lefko is tasked with leading the brand’s global marketing, advertising efforts and digital initiatives. Before joining Ace, Lefko served as chief marketing officer at Weber Stephen Products, maker of Weber grills.

In a statement, Ace Hardware president and CEO said: “We are excited to welcome Kim to Ace as our new SVP/chief marketing officer. In concert with her new team, Kim’s 20 years of results developing and advancing beloved consumer brands will further our local owners’ passion to fulfill Ace’s brand promise as the helpful place. I believe Kim will be a great addition to our leadership team.”

Cannes Lions Managing Director Exits

Jose Papa, who has been the managing director of Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity since 2016, is departing from the role due to the festival’s parent company Ascential making the position redundant. It is believed that Ascential will retire the position of managing director entirely as Ascential CEO Phil Thomas, who was managing director before Papa took the post, takes over responsibilities.

Papa John’s Pizza Founder Resigns

John Schnatter, founder of the Papa John’s pizzeria, has stepped down as chairman of the board amid allegations that he used a racial slur during a conference call—an incident that led the MLB to suspend its promotional partnership with the restaurant chain. Papa John’s has accepted Schnatter’s resignation and will appoint a new chair.

Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group CEO Departs

John Amato, CEO of the New York-based Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group has resigned from his post. The announcement comes amid a period of restructuring from the company’s new owners Valence Media. Amato has served as co-president of the media company since 2014 and became CEO in 2017. The group owns music-oriented sites such as Spin, Vibe and Stereogum in addition to The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard.

Supermarket Group Chooses Marketing SVP

Retailer-owned cooperative Wakefern Food Corp. has appointed Erik Keptner to serve as its senior vice president of marketing. In this role, he will develop marketing and merchandizing strategies that build upon the company’s legacy of retail brands, which include ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer and Dearborn Market. Keptner previously worked as SVP of sales, merchandising and marketing for the Giant Food Stores division of Ahold Delhaize, and will officially move into his new position on July 9.

Effie Worldwide Announces New Board Members

Effie Worldwide has announced the elected positions of its 2019 Board of Directors, who will be tasked with overseeing and contributing to the nonprofit organization’s mission to lead, inspire and champion the practice and practitioners of marketing effectiveness. Appointees include UM global CEO Daryl Lee, who will enter the second half of his two-year term as Board Chair, while Ancestry EVP and CMO Vineet Mehra has been appointed chair-elect. Other appointments include Oath’s SVP of global partnerships Jack Bamberger and Red Fuse EVP Ellen Hyde Pace.

New members include Sam’s Club chief member officer Tony Rogers, IBM Greater China Group CMO Gill Zhou and Henry R. Byers Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School professor Bharat Anand.

Former CEO Becomes BigCommerce CMO

Austin-based cloud ecommerce platform BigCommerce named Lisa Pearson as chief marketing officer. She will lead the company’s global marketing organization by overseeing all aspects of brand and communications, product marketing, demand generation, customer acquisition and partner marketing. Most recently, Pearson served as CEO for data management platform Umbel.

“Lisa’s combination of CEO-level experience, deep ecommerce domain expertise and impeccable track record leading world-class marketing organizations made her uniquely qualified for this position,” said BigCommerce CEO Brent Bellm. “Her unrelenting, customer-first mentality directly reflects our values as a company, and I have the utmost confidence that Lisa’s approach to marketing will benefit our business, customers, employees and partners.”

Sony Pictures Changes Up International Marketing Leadership

Sony Pictures Entertainment has promoted Paul Noble to co-president of international marketing. He has led Sony’s international creative advertising since 2015 and most recently served as executive vice president.

Noble replaces Michael Horn, who announced that he is stepping down as president of international marketing after four years in the role. Horn has been involved with international campaigns for Blade Runner 2049, Spider-Man: Homecoming and  Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Most recently, he was involved with the promotion of Hotel Transylvania 3, which releases on July 13.

Viacom Promotes Bellator Marketing SVP

Viacom’s Bellator sports franchise has promoted David Schwarz to the newly created role of senior vice president of marketing and communications. Schwarz has been with Viacom for over 19 years, serving most recently as SVP of communications for the Paramount Network. In his new role, he will oversee the critical areas of Bellator’s development, which include consumer marketing, communications, social media, ticket sales and digital.

“David has a wealth of experience as a brand builder and will play a vital role in Bellator’s continued upward trajectory as a thriving global franchise,” said Bellator CEO and president Scott Coker.

Aviron Pictures Expands Executive Team

Aviron Pictures announced four executive appointments, including Jeff Elefterion as executive VP of creative marketing. Elefterion previously oversaw domestic marketing at New Regency, Miramax and the Weinstein Company for movies such as Birdman, The Revenant and Gone Girl. In his new role, he will execute domestic theatrical and home entertainment marketing campaigns.

Pernod Ricard Makes Executive Shifts

Darryn Hakof has been named global marketing director for Pernod Ricard Winemakers. Hakof has been with the Pernod Ricard Group for almost 20 years, and he will remain a member of the Pernod Ricard Winemakers Management Committee and a Better Balance ambassador, which promotes diversity and inclusiveness within the business. He replaces Anne Tremsal, who was appointed as marketing director of Ricard & Pernod based in Marseille.

Xplorie Names New Marketing VP

Vacation rental booking service Xplorie announced the expansion of its executive team with the appointment of Debi Steigerwald as vice president of marketing. Steigerwald previously served as the director of marketing operations for Vacasa, and she joins as Xplorie also grows its sales team.

CMO Joins Ebb Therapeutics

Medical device startup Ebb Therapeutics has appointed Elise Wilfinger as its chief marketing officer. In this position, Wilfinger will oversee brand strategy, positioning and narrative development, consumer demand generation, experience and adoption and all surround-sound marketing in addition to having strategic oversight for the company’s industry profile and reputation.

Tentsile Grows North American Market With Executive Appointments

Tentsile, the maker of portable treehouses, announced several appointments to its executive team as it continues to grow in the North American market. Among them is Kirstie Grego, who was promoted to global marketing director.

“As we grow, we need to ensure we have the right teams in place,” Alex Shirley-Smith, CEO and founder of Tentsile, said in a statement. “We are putting the right people in roles specific to their strengths to respond to consumer interest while at the same time fully supporting our retail partners in North America and beyond.”

Oprah Winfrey Joins Restaurant Business

Celebrity and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey announced that she has made an equity investment in the Phoenix, Arizona-based health food restaurant True Food Kitchen. The investment puts her on the brand’s board of directors, and she will act as a consultant. The move is in line with Winfrey’s personal health-conscious brand, and she currently owns about eight percent of the Weight Watchers franchise. True Food Kitchen is expected to double its business over the next three years thanks to Winfrey’s investment.

“I love bringing people together over a good meal,” Winfrey said in a statement. “When I first dined at True Food Kitchen, I was so impressed with the team’s passion for healthy eating and, of course, the delicious food, that I knew I wanted to be part of the company’s future.”

MillerCoors Marketing Officer Exits

David Kroll, who has served as MillerCoors’ chief marketing officer since 2015, is leaving to pursue “independent business interests” on July 27. Kroll joined the brewer in 2012, and as CMO, oversaw several campaigns during his time with the company, such as revitalizing Miller Lite’s Branding to take aim at competitor Bud Light.

“We will miss David’s passion for our brands, but I see this as an opportunity to get a fresh perspective across our portfolio,” CEO Gaven Hattersley wrote in the memo announcing Kroll’s departure.

Dolby Laboratories Appoints Lead Marketer

Audio and imaging technology company Dolby Laboratories announced the appointment of Todd Pendleton to the role of senior vice president and chief marketing officer. Before joining Dolby, Pendleton spent 15 years in marketing for Nike and is the former CMO of Samsung North America. Most recently, he was the head of his own marketing firm Defi/9.

“Todd’s experience, passion for Dolby and visionary leadership make him the ideal choice for our CMO role,” said Dolby President and CEO Kevin Yeaman in a statement. “I am excited about Todd’s passion and ability to accelerate our success as we continue to bring spectacular experiences to more people around the world.”

Automobili Pininfarina Names Board Appointees To Launch Luxury Car Portfolio

Munich-based startup car brand Automobili Pininfarina has assembled its Board of Directors, with Dan Connell taking the role of chief brand officer. Prior to joining Automobili Pininfarina, Connell was responsible for global marketing communications and PR strategy for Jaguar Land Rover. He has also handled public relations at Volkswagen, Mini and McLaren Automotive. The senior management team announcement comes as the company prepares to present its line of high-performance luxury electric cars.

“We have attracted some of the best automotive industry talent from all corners of the globe. Now this team is completely focused on delivering ground-breaking, highly desirable vehicles through a business strategy which will see Automobili Pininfarina become the most sustainable luxury automotive business in the world,” CEO Michael Perschke said in a statement.

Borden Dairy Expands Executive Team

Borden Dairy Company expanded its executive team with the appointment of Joe DePetrillo as chief marketing officer. DePetrillo has over 25 years of experience in sales and marketing, with his most recent role being VP of sales at Earthbound Farms. As Borden’s CMO, he will be responsible for creating and implementing a marketing strategy for the company. Borden also appointed Nick Suffredin as VP of research and development, and Brent Fowler as VP of operations.

“We are excited to welcome Joe, Nick, and Brent to Borden,” said CEO Tony Sarsam in a statement. “They are all fantastic additions to our growing leadership team. Together we will bring innovation back to Borden and create a new bright future for the company, the brand, and all our wonderful employees, as well as our amazing customers.”

Vivid Seats Appoints CMO To Elevate Fan Experiences

Online ticket marketplace Vivid Seats announced the appointment of Rich Lesperance as its new chief marketing officer. Lesperance will operate from the company’s Chicago headquarters to oversee the company’s brand and consumer engagement strategy, “leveraging data analytics to drive a diverse customer acquisition platform.”

“Rich brings a rare combination of experience driving significant growth for both household-name brands and fast-growing startups,” said Vivid Seats co-founder Jerry Bednyak. “Vivid Seats has grown substantially in recent years, and Rich’s talent and proven track record of accomplishments is precisely what we need to continue to deliver, and further elevate, the exceptional fan experiences that have fueled our success to date.”

Century 21 Stores Grow With Marketing Executive

The Century 21 off-price department store chain has hired Michael Kustermann as its newest chief marketing officer. Before joining Century 21 Stores, Kustermann helped to innovate customer experiences at Starbucks and Nespresso. His most recent position was as chief digital experience officer for Bose. In his new role, Kustermann is tasked with leading all marketing, creative and digital efforts, including ecommerce at Century 21 Stores.

B.GOOD Brings In New CMO To Promote Brand Message

Boston-based fast food restaurant chain B.GOOD has hired Brent Feldman as its chief marketing officer. Feldman worked in advertising for the foodservice segment prior to joining the company. At B.GOOD, a brand that emphasizes locally sourced food, he is charged with developing the chain’s brand image and awareness using fast and consistent marketing methods to increase its sales. That includes enhancing customers’ in-store experiences and spotlighting its supplier-partners in the communities where it operates.

B.GOOD CEO Chris Fuqua said, “We have big plans to expand the B.GOOD brand in the months and years ahead. This plan includes driving brand awareness by telling the B.GOOD story, really understanding our customers, innovating through menu and technology and building a culture that makes B.GOOD a fantastic place to work.”


Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, July 13. 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 Oakley New York, NY
Head of Lifecycle Marketing Dropbox San Francisco, CA
VP, Marketing Shippo San Francisco, CA
Brand Manager Innovation Colgate-Palmolive New York, NY
VP, Product Marketing Clover Sunnyvale, CA
Head of Marketing Computershare Jersey City, NJ

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

Cheetos Invites Consumers To Win What They See

Cheetos, PepsiCo Frito-Lay brand, wants snack lovers to look long and hard at their orange dust covered food before munching it down because having active imaginations might score big prizes. From now until September 2, the snack brand is offering snackers a chance to win what they see.

To qualify, fans can submit a photo unique Cheetos snack shape accompanied by a description, and they might win something related to what they imagine. For example, if the snacker thinks that their Cheetos looks like a guitar, they might win a real guitar or concert tickets. An orange palm tree might lead to a tropical vacation. It’s anyone’s guess as to what the prize will be if someone finds another unicorn in their Cheetos bag.

In a press release, Cheetos said that $100,000 worth of experiences and prizes will be awarded over the 10-week period.

Each winner can expect to receive prizes valued up to $11,000, with “unexpected” prizes awarded to especially unique shape submissions.

This isn’t the first Cheetos campaign inspired by its fans’ imaginations. Last summer, it opened a real-life Cheetos Museum in New York’s Times Square based on the growing Instagram trend of people posting about what their Cheeto happened to look like. Similar to the current contest, users were invited to submit a photo and story about a particular Cheetos shape for a chance to win a permanent spot in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium collection, an entry in the Ripley’s book and a $50,000 grand prize. Over 100,000 shapes were submitted.

The Cheetos Museum is making a comeback this year in a separate contest featuring a $25,000 grand prize. Voting for the four finalists and the grand prize winner will begin on July 16.

“Cheetos believes you should never stop having fun with your food—and our fans agree. Over the past two years, and over 200,000 submissions later, Cheetos Museum proved how exceptionally creative our fans are,” Brandi Ray, senior marketing director, Frito-Lay North America, said in a statement. “We are excited to offer a new way to celebrate that creativity with the opportunity to win unforgettable experiences and prizes for the interesting shapes you see in your Cheetos snacks.”