Early iPhone Marketing Executive Returns To Apple As VP

This week in marketing moves, Bob Borchers returns to the technology giant as vice president of product marketing; JUUL Labs’ CMO Craig Brommers leaves the company; Jennifer Herskind becomes new chief executive of FASTSIGNS; Matt Repicky joins Jos. A. Bank as chief marketing officer and Destination XL Group, Inc. hires new CMO.

Apple Names New VP Of Marketing 

Bob Borchers returns to Apple as vice president of marketing. 

Most recently, Borchers served as VP marketing at Google. He was also a chief marketing officer at Dolby Laboratories Inc. 

In the early years of the iPhone, he was an important spokesman for the device, appearing in Apple videos explaining how to use the product, Bloomberg reports. And now, Borchers will be in charge of iOS, iCloud and privacy-related marketing initiatives. He will report to Greg Joswiak, Apple’s VP of product marketing. 

Jennifer Herskind Named CMO Of FASTSIGNS International

FASTSIGNS International, Inc. welcomes Jennifer Herskind as the company’s new CMO. 

Herskind joins the custom sign and graphics products maker from Smoothie King, where she was chief marketing officer for almost two years. She also had senior marketing positions at brands including Gold’s Gym, Dave & Buster’s, Nestle Waters North America and Pizza Hut.

Catherine Monson, CEO at FASTSIGNS International, Inc. said about Herskind’s appointment: “We are thrilled to welcome Jennifer Herskind as our new chief marketing officer. She has a strong background working with various franchisors making her the perfect addition to support our franchisees. We look forward to expanding the FASTSIGNS brand with her expertise as we continue to scale for growth.”

JUUL Labs’ Marketing Chief Departs 

Craig Brommers, the chief marketing officer of JUUL Labs is leaving the company. His departure is part of JUUL’s broad restructuring plan, which, according to the company’s CEO K.C. Crosthwaite, “will help JUUL Labs focus on reducing underage use, investing in scientific research and creating new technologies, while earning a license to operate in the U.S. and around the world.”

Brommers spent seven months with JUUL. Previously he was a CMO at GAP and served as senior vice president at Abercrombie & Fitch. 

Erica W. Thompson To Join Destination XL Group, Inc. As Chief Marketing Officer

To improve the company’s digital and customer relationship marketing and ecommerce, the omnichannel specialty retailer of men’s Big + Tall clothing and shoes hired Erica W. Thompson as chief marketing officer. 

Thompson has over 20 years of experience as a marketing executive. She previously held senior marketing roles at HSN, New York & Company and PetSmart. At DLX, she will be in charge of marketing strategy, brand, creative, media, CRM and ecommerce. 

Harvey Kanter, President and CEO at DXL said: “Erica’s appointment underscores our ongoing commitment to building out a digitally-driven marketing organization. Our organizational pursuits support the heightened strategic focus on customer engagement through data-driven personalization, loyalty and digital marketing; our #1 priority area for DXL for 2020.” 

Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Announces The Appointment Of New CMO 

Yahoo Finance reports that Andy Judd will join Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt as chief marketing officer.

Judd joins the fro-yo company from ONE Brands, where he served as CMO. Previously, he was VP of marketing for the Boulder Brands business unit of Pinnacle Foods.

Jos. A. Bank Appoints Chief Marketing Officer

Matt Repicky is appointed CMO at Jos. A. Bank. 

Repicky has over 20 years of experience building and transforming leading consumer, fashion and ecommerce brands under his belt. He previously oversaw the Barbie brand at Mattel, MyHabit at Amazon and several brands at The Jones Group. Most recently, he was the chief marketing officer at Genexa. 

“Matt is a proven marketing leader who has shifted consumer perceptions around brand purpose and championed strategic changes in advertising to generate greater awareness, drive revenue and increase customer acquisition. His experience and expertise will positively impact the speed and quality with which we are able to execute against our mission of being the preferred menswear destination that helps men feel their best so they can do their best work,” said Jos. A. Bank Brand President Mary Beth Blake. 

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, November 1. 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 

Chief Marketing Officer ThirdLoveSan Francisco, CA
Vice President, Film MarketingNew York UniversityBrooklyn, NY
Chief Communications And Marketing OfficerUC San DiegoSan Diego, CA
Senior Vice President Of MarketingClear Channel OutdoorNew York, NY
SVP–Creative MarketingWalt Disney TelevisionBurbank, CA
Vice President, MarketingNew Arena at Seattle CenterSeattle, WA

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

NBCUniversal Expands Adtech Team; Ford Appoints North American President


NBCUniversal is expanding its slate of advertising technology and measurement experts, bringing on Ed Kozek as its first senior vice president of ad tech, Pankaj Kumar as senior vice president of measurement and innovation. Additionally, the company is hiring Brian Norris as senior vice president of sales for its Audience Studio.

“More accurate and precise measurement is critical to the health of the ecosystem in so many ways, [whether that’s] properly measuring cross-platform consumption through initiatives like Total Audience Delivery [or] advanced targeting of custom audiences through Audience Studio,” Mike Rosen, NBCU’s executive vice president of advanced advertising and platform sales, said to AdExchanger.

Previously, Kozek worked at The Weather Company as senior vice president of ad product and engineering, where he worked on the company’s proprietary audience and data platform. Kumar most recently served as head of media sciences for Comcast Cable, and Norris as vice president of media sales for Dish.

Ford Motor Company, after ousting previous North America president Raj Nair over inappropriate conduct allegations, has appointed Kumar Galhotra as his successor.

“Kumar is an incredibly talented executive with a special feel for product and brand. He is also a seasoned leader who knows how to drive a business transformation,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets. “Kumar is the right person to lead our North American business to new levels of operational fitness, product and brand excellence, and profitability.”

Galhotra has been with Ford for close to 30 years, and has been Lincoln Motor Company’s chief marketing officer since last year.

Glassdoor has hired James S. Cox as chief financial officer, along two further executive promotions to strengthen the recruiting site’s global growth efforts. Christian Sutherland-Wong has been promoted to chief operating officer and Samantha Zupan as vice president of global corporate communications.

“[James’] leadership, vision and rich expertise in both public and private financial matters will prove invaluable, particularly as Glassdoor continues to experience significant business expansion,”  said Robert Hohman, Glassdoor CEO.  “Under Christian and Samantha’s leadership, Glassdoor will continue to scale as a global business to deliver on our mission of helping people everywhere find jobs and companies they love.”

Cox has served in executive finance roles for over 20 years, most recently serving as CFO at Lithium Technologies, and before that at Advent Software.

Workfront, an enterprise software provider, has appointed Heidi Melin as CMO, seeking to strengthen the company’s existing customer relationships and expand brand awareness.

“We need a person who is a modern, revenue-centric marketer, who has the knowledge and experience to help Workfront become known globally as the Operational System of Record for managing modern work, and someone with experience in the complexities of marketing to large, global companies.  Heidi is that person,” said Alex Shootman, Workfront’s CEO. “She also happens to be one of the most experienced B2B marketers on the planet.  Her leadership will be a driving force in the ongoing success of our marketing efforts and will play an integral role in creating demand for Workfront and our products.”

Prior to joining Workfront, Melin served as CMO of Plex Systems, Eloqua, Polycom and Taleo in the past.

Jeff Kirwan, president and CEO of the Gap clothing brand, has announced his departure from the company, citing a failure to meet the company’s growth expectations.

“While I am pleased with our progress in brand health and product quality, we have not achieved the operational excellence and accelerated profit growth that we know is possible at Gap brand,” said Art Peck, Gap Inc’s CEO. “As we move into the brand’s next phase of development, Jeff and I agreed it was an appropriate time for a change in leadership.”

Brent Hyder, currently Gap’s executive vice president of global talent and sustainability, will serve as interim chief executive while the company begins searching for a replacement.

Nestlé USA has promoted Steve Presley to the position of market head and CEO. The company’s current CEO, Paul Grimwood, will be leaving the company in 2019, and will transition to serve as a non-executive chairman until then.

“[Steve’s] powerful combination of deep commercial and financial expertise provides continuity and makes him ideally suited to lead Nestlé USA in the changing consumer marketplace,” said Laurent Freixe, Nestlé’s executive vice president and head of Zone Americas. “Steve’s experience will prove invaluable in continuing to pursue new internal and external models to increase the speed of innovation, capitalize on M&A to seed our innovation machine, and create new income streams and capabilities.”

Presley has been with Nestlé for over two decades, most recently as chief finance and strategic transformation officer for Nestlé USA.

20th Century Fox Distribution has named Greg Drebin executive vice president of worldwide marketing—a promotion from his previous senior role as senior vice president of worldwide marketing. With the new title comes expanded responsibilities: Drebin will now oversee Fox’s TCFTVD and Fox Networks Group Content Distribution’s research divisions.

“Greg has been instrumental in showcasing our content around the world,” said Mark Kaner, President of Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, to Deadline. “He has not only elevated our creative and strategic marketing, but he has developed new processes and structure to make us the preeminent global marketing partner for our clients.”

Prior to signing joining Fox in 2014, Drebin served at Warner Brothers as senior vice president of marketing for international television.

The Rest Of The C-Suite

(Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, February 23. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.)

Amber Kirby has joined Virgin Holidays as its marketing and customer experience director.

“I’m really excited about continuing to grow a much-loved British brand with an award-winning in-house team, whilst simultaneously tackling other business priorities such as a loyalty initiative and improving the digital experience,” Kirby said.

Kirby previously worked at Boots as global brand director of its skincare division.

Adtech vendor Codewise has appointed John Malatesta as chief revenue officer.

“John’s world-class experience in building, managing and scaling ROI-efficient marketing, sales and operations engines at such companies as IBM, Sun Microsystems, Accenture, Oracle, Kaspersky Lab, and Socialbakers, will help us reach and win more customers and revenue and, most importantly, help us deliver an even better experience to our current and future customers,” said Codewise CEO Robert Gryn.

A doctor in economics, Maladesta previously served as CMO for Socialbakers.

Dedren Bailey has joined Live! Casino and Hotel as vice president of marketing.

A 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Bailey most recently worked at Harlow’s Casino Resort and Hotel as director of marketing.

Otter Media has made a number of additions to its executive team, bringing on Andy Forssell as COO, Sean Kisker as chief strategy officer, Jennifer Cho as CFO and Alan Beard as chief brand officer.

“Andy, Sean, Jennifer, and Alan are skilled executives with great instincts. They each bring a strong point of view, knowledge and vast experience,” said Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media. “This exceptional team will lay a solid foundation for us to continue to build and evolve Otter’s leadership in the digital media space.”

J. Crew, signalling a focused transition toward digital, has hired Adam Brotman as its first-ever chief experience officer.

Before joining the fashion retailed, Brotman spent almost a decade at Starbucks, most recently as executive vice president of global retail operations and partner digital engagement.

Michael Roytman has been added to Forbes’ invite-only Technology Council, a platform for thought leaders in the business technology field.

“I’m honored to be a part of the Forbes Technology Council and recognized among this community of leaders and pioneers in technology,” said Roytman. “A data science-driven approach to cyber security can benefit organizations of all sizes, across all industries, and I look forward to sharing my perspective on that approach through the Forbes media channels.”

Roytman is currently chief data scientist for Kenna Security, responsible for building the company’s core analytics functionality. He has also been named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30.

Startup investor Bain Capital Ventures has appointed a new partner, Adam Levin, to expand its Boston-area investment team.

Adam brings a unique blend of capabilities, having served as a venture stage investor, growth stage investor and operator in a fast-growing startup,” said Mike Krupka, Bain Capital Ventures managing director. “His experience across enterprise and SaaS markets will help us deepen our founder relationships in one of BCV’s strongest investment areas.”

Most recently, Levin served as vice president for Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, where he specialized in software and enterprise companies.

Business-growth software provider Epicor has appointed Colleen Langevin as CMO, completing the company’s round of executive appointments targeted toward global growth.

“Colleen brings extensive marketing leadership experience coupled with a customer and growth-oriented mindset, and a recognized track record of raising brand profiles,” said Epicor CEO Steve Murphy.

“”From artificial intelligence (AI), big data and blockchain, to Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT)—business leaders are striving to identify the digital transformations they can make that will have the biggest impact on enhancing employee and customer experiences and drive growth,” Langevin added.

Before joining Epicor, Langevin held the same position at CLEAResult, another business management software provider.

Job Vacancies 

Product Manager – APIs Ayzenberg Pasadena, CA
VP, Sales & Marketing The Washington Times Washington, DC
VP of Marketing, Card Services Chase Wilmington, DE
VP, Worldwide Marketing Partnerships Paramount Pictures Hollywood, CA
Director, Global Creative Marketing (Global Series) Netflix Los Angeles, CA
VP, Brand Strategy MGM Resorts Intl. Las Vegas, NV

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

Universal Takes Action On Conduct Allegations Against Marketing Executives


Universal’s marketing department is undergoing major changes, after both Seth Byers and Scott Abraham, the company’s executive vice president of creative strategy and research and senior vice president of creative advertising, respectively, have been let go by the studio due to reports of inappropriate conduct. Furthermore, Josh Goldstine, president of marketing, has been placed on indefinite administrative leave.

According to an internal memo obtained by Variety, Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley claims that the allegations, which she did not specify, were “credible and indicative of an unacceptable climate.”

“We commend the people who have had the courage to come forward,” Langley continues. “We have no tolerance for harassment or other disrespectful behavior, and we will be taking any necessary steps to ensure that actions that violate our core values are dealt with swiftly and decisively.”

Scott Abraham had been terminated in November, Variety’s sources claim, but the information had not been made public—Abraham’s LinkedIn still lists him as a current employee.

All executives involved are longtime Universal veterans, Byers being the most recent hire in 2013. Abraham had served since 2007, and Goldstine since 2011.

“Our highest priority is to provide a working environment where every employee feels heard, seen and safe,” Langley wrote.

After six years at Foursquare, president Steven Rosenblatt is transitioning to an advisory position as he prepares to launch his own company.

“I’ve had an insatiable itch to start a company that emblemizes my passion for working with early-stage companies,” Rosenblatt said in a statement. “I’m excited for this new endeavor that will allow me to work alongside investors and startups at pivotal moments of growth. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.”

Rosenblatt first joined Foursquare in 2012 as its chief revenue officer, leading the company through rough seas it faced in 2014 before it split into two separate apps.

EBay is expanding its artificial intelligence efforts, bringing on Jan Pedersen as vice president and chief AI scientist.

“Jan is a true pioneer in the industry, with over thirty years developing search, deep learning, machine learning and AI technologies at scale,” said Devin Wenig, president and CEO of eBay. “He joins us at a pivotal moment when AI sciences including computer vision and deep learning are now capable of transforming personalized, immersive shopping experiences.”

Previously, Pedersen served at Twitter as vice president of data science, where he led the company’s research into machine learning and data analytics.

Brian Niccol, CEO of Taco Bell, has announced his immediate departure for Chipotle, where he will serve as chief executive.

“Brian is a proven world-class executive, who will bring fresh energy and leadership to drive excellence across every aspect of our business,” said Chipotle founder Steve Ells. “His expertise in digital technologies, restaurant operations and branding make him a perfect fit for Chipotle as we seek to enhance our customer experience, drive sales growth and make our brand more relevant.”

Niccol had led Taco Bell since 2011 and leaves the company in the hands of Julie Felss Masino and Liz Williams, presidents of Taco Bell’s North America and international businesses, respectively.

fter going three years without a global CMO, Bacardi is choosing to bring back the role, appointing John Burke to improve accountability and foster more responsive marketing.

“We see ourselves as a small company with big brands which means when you work on one of our brands you can make a massive impact as soon as you get your hands on them,” Burke told Marketing Week. “This is because there is no corporate machine in the background that you have to get dozens of approvals from.”

Burke has been with Bacardi for more than 20 years, most recently as president of incubation brands, building equity for the company’s newest liquor brands.

WWE has made a pair of executive promotions, elevating both George Barrios and Michelle Wilson to the position of co-presidents. The pair will continue their efforts to expand the WWE’s presence beyond just linear television.

“The successful transformation of our business model has put us in a position to capitalize on all that the changing global media landscape has to offer,” said WWE CEO Vince McMahon. “I am confident that our executive management team, led by Michelle and George, will achieve continued success across key strategic initiatives and ensure our long-term growth.”

Before their promotions, Wilson and Barrios held the titles of chief revenue and chief marketing officer, respectively.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau has elected Scott Schiller to the position of chairman of its board of directors, making official the position that Schiller had been serving in an interim capacity since October of last year.

“The IAB has been central in guiding the industry through the ever-shifting media and marketing landscapes, allowing the ecosystem to meet new challenges and take advantage of emerging opportunities,” said Schiller. “I look forward to continuing to work with the various members of the organization, as well as brands and agencies, in order forge a robust future for all stakeholders—in addition to the consumers we are all trying to reach.”

Schiller is currently the executive vice president and general manager of marketing, advertising sales and client partnerships for NBCUniversal.

Tony Goncalves, former CEO of AT&T Digital Brands, has joined digital network Otter Media as its chief executive.

“Tony has been our partner on Otter Media for almost four years, and during that time, it was evident that he is a thoughtful, strategic executive who is hugely passionate about furthering the growth of one of the premier digital media companies,” said Peter Chernin, chairman of Otter Media.

As CEO of AT&T’s digital network, Goncalves worked closely with Otter Media, leading the company’s entry into OTT with DirecTV Now. Prior to that, he held a variety of leadership positions at DirecTV.

The Rest Of The C-Suite

(Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, February 16. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.)

H&M has appointed Anna Attemark as head of its new-business division, overseeing recently created brands such as Cos, Weekday, H&M Home and several others.

Attemark joins the fashion retailer after 11 years as CEO of Odd Molly, a Swedish clothing brand. She has worked at H&M in the past, most recently as development director and COO for design.

After four years in business, Slack has appointed Allen Shim as its first-ever chief financial officer.

“Allen is a trusted advisor to the executive leadership team and our Board, having helped build Slack from a small-but-ambitious startup to the high-growth global enterprise software company it is today,” said Slack founder Stewart Butterfield. “Introducing the role of CFO is a natural evolution that levels up our capabilities and positions us for scalable, long-term success.”

Shim has worked at Slack since its founding, originally holding the title of senior vice president of finance and operations.

Jennifer Salke has joined Amazon Studios as its head, filling a void in leadership the company had suffered since Roy Price resigned amid misconduct allegations.

“What stood out about Jen was the deep relationships she has nurtured with creators and talent over her career, spanning NBCU, 20th Century Fox, and Aaron Spelling Productions,” said Jeff Blackburn, Amazon’s senior vice president of business development, to Variety. “She’s built an impeccable reputation as a big leader who emphasizes creativity, collaboration, and teamwork.”

Before joining Amazon, Salke led NBC Entertainment as its president for the past six years, contributing to the network’s recent ratings turnaround.

Job Vacancies 

Product Manager – APIs Ayzenberg Pasadena, CA
VP, Sales & Marketing The Washington Times Washington, DC
VP of Marketing, Card Services Chase Wilmington, DE
VP, Worldwide Marketing Partnerships Paramount Pictures Hollywood, CA
Director, Global Creative Marketing (Global Series) Netflix Los Angeles, CA
VP, Brand Strategy MGM Resorts Intl. Las Vegas, NV

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

Netflix Shakes Up TV Ad Space, Creates $6B In Missed Ad Revenue

Netflix costs TV networks between $3 billion and $6 billion per year by luring viewers away from ad-supported programming, according to new estimates.

OTT multiscreen media analysis company nScreenMedia calculates that the average US Netflix subscriber misses out on seeing 35 ads per day. With over 125 million hours of Netflix programming viewed per day, that ads up to nearly two billion ads that otherwise could have been watched on network television.

Primetime—typically between 8:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. in the US—is when networks are losing the most ad revenue. Assuming each ad is 30 seconds in length, the average Netflix viewer in the US misses 5,753 TV ads during primetime and 7,032 in non-primetime viewing, nScreenMedia alleges.

Based on recent ad CPMs, nScreenMedia suggests the value of these missed ad views is $139 per year per subscriber or $7.6 billion for all subscribers. Granted, this assumes every viewer would have watched every ad in its entirety and wouldn’t have been watching premium networks like HBO instead.

Taking into account the possibility of ad skipping and premium networks, lost revenue drops to about $6 billion per year.

NscreenMedia’s estimates may not be far off. In 2017, TV ad sales fell 7.8 percent—roughly $5 billion—to $61.8 billion according to Magna Global. Ad sales at cable networks also declined for the first time in nearly a decade.

It’s not just the idea of cord cutting that has networks understandably worried, but the age group that is leaving. Viewership of all four broadcast networks slipped by more than 10 percent last year among people age 18-49.

OTT exclusives like Stranger Things and A Handmaid’s Tale offer subscribers “must-see TV” away from network and cable TV, as well.

One way to address this would be to offer addressable advertising, according to Turner CEO John Martin. Addressability allows homes to see different, targeted ads while watching the same TV channel at the same time.

“It’s about the consumer experience,” Martin said, speaking on a panel at CES 2018. “We have to drive the value of the advertising that is done in the midst of all of our content video.”

Martin said that network TV isn’t moving fast enough to offer addressable advertising, however, which is holding the entire industry back.

“My fear, and what makes me wake up with the sweats, is like when the industry finally figures out how to get full addressability, everybody’s going to be watching video on Hulu and Netflix,” said Martin.

Premium TV networks like HBO and ESPN now (or will soon) offer OTT services to meet rising demands and recover lost ad revenue.

HBO Now was launched in 2014 when broadband internet was not as widespread. It was a gamble that paid off. HBO Now has an estimated 3.5 million subscribers as of 2016.

“We put the lie to the idea that the pie couldn’t get bigger,” HBO’s CEO Richard Plepler said at a September event. “People felt that people would drop HBO . . . but we have had less than one percent cannibalization of our core business.”

Pandora Premium’s Web App Launch Ups Ante Against Spotify

Pandora Premium is now available on the web for the first time, creating additional competition for Spotify, Pandora’s closest competitor, which is planning its IPO this year.

After a year of offering Pandora Premium on Android and iOS devices, Google Chromecast and select vehicles, streaming music service Pandora quietly launched access via the web. The Pandora Premium web app allows its subscribers to search for songs, albums, stations or playlists on demand as well as create playlists for offline listening.

This move is a timely one for Pandora in its efforts to attract more paid subscriptions. Spotify currently has 70 million paying subscribers, dwarfing Pandora’s 1 million as of the third quarter.

What Pandora lacks in paid subscribers, it makes up for in active listeners. A recent survey by Fluent found that US respondents between the ages of 18-24 and 25-34 choose Pandora as their preferred music streaming service, second only to YouTube. Spotify was further down the list behind iHeartRadio and Google Play Music.

In the company’s fourth quarter call to investors, Pandora CEO Roger Lynch said that US consumers spend more time on the app than any other digital platform in the country.

However, Pandora’s user base declined over the quarter and the company expressed disappointment in ad revenue. The company outlined plans to invest in its free, ad-supported tier with features such as “sponsored listening” to compete with services like YouTube and Vevo.

The music streaming market is on the rise, accounting for more than half of the US music industry’s revenue in 2017. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), revenue from paid subscriptions to services like Pandora and Spotify grew 61 percent in the first half of 2017.

While ad-supported music streams earned $273 million, paid subscribers brought in $2.4 billion—making the benefit of promoting paid subscription plans an obvious one.

‘Uncle Drew’ Is A Movie, An Ad And Pop Culture

Uncle Drew is a comedy basketball film based on a series of ads for Pepsi Max—the latest example of advertising that goes on to influence pop culture. Lionsgate released a teaser trailer on Thursday ahead of the movie’s June 29 release, gaining extra traction on social media thanks to its all-star cast.

Although it remains to be seen how much Pepsi will be featured in the film, Uncle Drew was filmed in partnership with PepsiCo’s Creators League Studios.

NBA star Kyrie Irving wrote, directed and starred in the first “Uncle Drew” advertisement in 2012. Based on the Pepsi Max slogan, “zero calorie cola in disguise,” Irving dressed as an old man and hustled some local basketball players at a pick-up game. He showed up with a camera crew under the guise of filming a documentary. After pretending to struggle, Irving as Uncle Drew surprises everyone with his professional-level basketball skills.

While there is some debate as to whether the reactions are real—one girl just happens to be drinking a Pepsi 2.5 minutes in—the video went viral and has over 51.1 million views to date. Pepsi went on to create three more chapters, followed by 11 spots timed around NBA All-Star Games, NBA Finals and the NBA Playoffs. Irving’s fans often yell “Uncle Drew” at his games.

Uncle Drew‘s big picture debut has Kyrie Irving in the title role, joined by real-life basketball pros Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Nate Robinson, Reggie Miller and Lisa Leslie.

Uncle Drew is a perfect example of how marketing can entertain just as much as it can inspire a purchase, and Pepsi has intentionally created a new pop culture reference for fans to remember.

Advertising has often shaped pop culture, especially in beverage marketing. Coca-Cola’s “Mean” Joe Greene spot from 1979 is continuously parodied on TV shows and was re-imagined for FIFA 18.

Your Brain on Drugs,” an anti-narcotics campaign launched in 1987 by Partnership for a Drug Free America, has also seen its fair share of parodies, as has its 90’s follow-up.

Budweiser lays claim to some of the most iconic pop culture moments. Anyone alive in the 80’s could tell you that Spuds McKenzie was the ultimate Bud Light party animal. His public recognition is so great that the dog’s ghost returned for a Super Bowl spot last year.

In the 90’s, calling your friends just to say “Wazuuuuuuuup,” became all the rage, as was imitating the Budweiser frogs.

These days, you might hear “Dilly Dilly” exclaimed among drinking buddies, as Bud Light rides its latest wave of pop culture adoption.

GameStop Finds Replacement CEO; Paramount, Fox Appoint Senior Execs


Video game retailer GameStop has named Michael Mauler as new CEO, ending a three-month search for a replacement after previous chief executive J. Paul Raines departed the company for medical reasons.

“Mike has been part of the GameStop senior leadership team for many years, where he has played an integral role in creating and driving the blueprint of our diversification strategy, successfully managing our international operations and growing our core business segments,” said Dan DeMatteo, GameStop’s executive chairman.

Mauler has been with GameStop for over 16 years, most recently in the role of executive vice president and president of its international business.

Paramount Pictures is bringing on Liz West as executive vice president of marketing communications for international theatrical marketing and worldwide home entertainment, Variety reports.

“As our slate expands and our business grows we are looking to make sure we have a strategic, lifecycle approach to our movies and integrated consumer-facing communications across these areas,” said Mary Daily, Paramount’s president of international marketing. “Liz, who is a known strategist with the invaluable combination of both international theatrical and home entertainment experience, is the perfect executive to help lead these efforts.”

Before achieving her mouthful of a title, West most recently served as vice president of global publicity for the Walt Disney Company.

Jeff Hughes has joined Fox Networks Group as president of its digital consumer group, where he will oversee digital strategy and operations for all of the company’s brands.

“Jeff has a unique combination of technology expertise and senior management experience, which, along with his insight into the needs of consumers, makes him the perfect executive to lead our digital team,” said Brian Sullivan, president and COO of Fox Networks Group, to Variety.

Hughes spent five years as CEO of Omnifone, a UK-based music streaming platform, before joining Fox in 2016.

CEO Laurent Potdevin has resigned from his position at Lululemon Athletica, citing failure to adhere to the company’s standards of conduct.

“While this was a difficult and considered decision, the Board thanks Laurent for his work in strengthening the company and positioning it for the future,” said Glenn Murphy, executive chairman of the board. “Culture is at the core of Lululemon, and it is the responsibility of leaders to set the right tone in our organization. Protecting the organization’s culture is one of the Board’s most important duties.”

Celeste BurgoyneStuart Haselden and Sun Chloe will assume Potdevin’s responsibilities in addition to their current positions as the company searches for a replacement.

British telecommunications company Sky has hired Debbie Klein as its first-ever chief marketing and corporate affairs officer, where she will expand the company’s Bigger Picture social good program.

“We are delighted to welcome Debbie to Sky,” said Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s CEO. “She is an outstanding leader, who has an excellent track record and I know that she will be a great addition to our leadership team.”

Klein previously worked at Engine Group’s Europe and Asia Pacific offices as their CEO.

Hudson’s Bay Company has tapped Helena Foulkes as its next CEO, filling a position left vacant since October of last year.

“The world is changing very rapidly,” said Richard Baker, Hudson’s Bay’s chairman, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “We were looking for a transformational leader.”

Most recently, Foulkes was president at CVS, a company she has worked for since 1992.

Weight Watchers has tapped Gail Tifford for the role of chief brand officer, hoping to expand its global brand presence without diminishing its heritage.

“Drawing on 20 years of proven brand-building experience, Gail will build on that heritage to develop the next evolution of the Weight Watchers brand that will inspire healthy habits that fit into everyday life,” said Weight Watchers CEO Mindy Grossman. “Her global mindset and successful track record with rolling out disruptive technologies in support of a greater brand purpose are tremendous assets as we look toward the future.”

Tifford most recently worked at Unilever as its vice president of media for North America as well as vice president of global media innovation. While at Unilever, Tifford created the company’s first digital disruption roadmap.

Tammy Golihew has joined Amazon Studios as its director of publicity, Deadline reports. In the role, Golihew will oversee promotion of Amazon’s slate of original programming, such as the upcoming Jack Ryan show.

Golihew joins Amazon from Warner Brothers TV, where she served for twelve years, rising to the rank of executive vice president of scripted marketing and communications.

Turner Media has made a pair of executive promotionsMarie Hughes and Michael Tatum as senior vice presidents of strategic media planning and Turner brand experience, respectively.

“As Turner continues to evolve to meet the needs of an ever-changing media landscape, it is important for our organization and its leadership to evolve simultaneously so we’re in the best position to support and market our brands, and protect and enhance our company’s reputation,” said Molly Battin, Turner’s global chief communications and corporate marketing officer. “Marie and Michael are best-in-class brand strategists and marketers, and I’m delighted to congratulate them on their well-deserved promotions.”

Tatum has been with Turner since 1996, while Hughes first joined in 2014 from Horizon Media.

The Rest Of The C-Suite

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

Twitter’s director of augmented and virtual reality, Alessandro Sabatelli, has announced his departure from the company (characteristically, in a Tweet).

“It’s been an incredible ride and I’ve had the great pleasure to work alongside some amazing people! Together we managed to ship product while having fun,” he wrote.

Before joining Twitter, Sabatelli was CEO of IXOMOXI, an entertainment technology startup.

After 18 months as CMO at A&E Networks, Amanda Hill will depart the company, the New York Post reports. In May, Hill will transition to Harrods, where she will  serve as CMO and chief customer experience officer.

Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts, has resigned from his post, citing “an avalanche of negative publicity” after accusations of sexual misconduct came to light.

“The Wynn Resorts team and I have built houses of brick,” Wynn said.  “Which is to say, the institution we created—a collection of the finest designers and architects ever assembled, as well as an operating philosophy now ingrained in the minds and hearts of our entire team—will remain standing for the long term.”

Three Sony Pictures executives are stepping down as the company undergoes corporate restructuring, the Los Angeles Times reports. Home entertainment president Man Jit Singh, worldwide networkds head Andy Kaplan and TV marketing president Sheraton Kalouria have all departed Sony Pictures.

“Our decision to rethink the way we operate these units was driven by our goals to streamline Sony Pictures’ business operations, making them nimbler and better aligned with a rapidly-evolving industry,” said Sony Pictures CEO Tony Vinciquerra in an internal memo.

Phivida, cannabinoid-infused product manufacturer, has hired Michael Cornwell as its CMO.

“Michael’s depth of experience is evidenced by his proven success in building exceptional lifestyle consumer brands at Red Bull, Samsung and Microsoft,” said Phivida CEO John Belfontaine. “Phivida will seek to continue adding world class senior executives to its management team in an effort to capture a leadership share of the global CBD industry.”

Previously, Cornwell has served as CMO for both Samsung and Microsoft, and marketing director at Red Bull Canada.

Brian Kirkland has joined Choice Hotels as its chief technology officer.

“The introduction of the choiceEDGE platform showcases that Choice is at the forefront of innovation and built to effectively handle the volume on digital channels for the future,” said John Bonds, Choice senior vice president of enterprise operations and technology. “Brian’s expert leadership and extensive technology experience was crucial to the overall success of the initiative.”

Prior to signing with Choice, Kirkland held senior roles at companies such as GoDaddy and Media Temple.

Consumer healthcare provider Performance Health has appointed Jeff George CEO.

Jeff George is a highly skilled and effective leader who will augment and inspire our strong executive team as we continue on a path to sustainable growth through improved operations and customer service,” said Tim Sullivan, Performance Health board member.

George previously served on the Novartis Group executive committee from 2008 to 2016 as divisional CEO of Alcon.

Andrew Jordan has signed on with Interstate Hotels and Resorts as its chief marketing officer.

“During a time of unprecedented growth at Interstate, I am excited to add someone of Andrew’s caliber to lead our revenue departments,” said Michael Deitemeyer, Interstate’s CEO. “Andrew has successfully grown revenues and market share for hospitality and retail companies requiring speed, competitiveness and creativity.”

Jordan was most recently CMO at Adeptus Health, and before that held the same position at Wyndham International.

Euro Media Group has restructured its C-suite, bringing on François-Charles Bideaux as co-CEO. Current interim Patrick van der Berg will resume his responsibilities as chief financial officer as well as continue on as co-CEO.

“One of my focus areas will be to lead the group towards the mutation of our business, such as UHD, IP production, remote production, light or simplified production and different new digital services,” Bideaux said. “Key will also be to accompany our teams towards these technological evolutions and the new needs in our market in general.”

Bideaux previously held the role of head of sports production for Canal+.

Nick Fry, former CEO of the Mercedes AMG Formula One team, has joined Fnatic in an advisory capacity as head of commercial strategy.

“Having someone of Nick’s experience and stature is of significant value for FNATIC and esports as a whole,” said Wouter Sleijffers, CEO of Fnatic. “Now is the time to build on the momentum we’ve created—Nick has experience that will aid us in doing exactly that.”

Fry has held executive management positions for Formula One racing teams for 11 years.

Canon Solutions America has made a trio of executive promotions, elevating Toyo Kuwamura to chairman and CEO, Peter Kowalczuk to executive vice president and general manager and Francis McMahon to executive vice president of print solutions.

“It is with great pride and a great deal of respect that I can share the well-deserved promotions of some of our leading Canon Solutions America team members,” said Kuwamura. “These individuals are truly representative of the Canon culture, our company vision and shared values.”

Additionally, Malkon Baboyian and James Sharp, executive vice presidents of production print solutions and professional services, respectively, have retired.

Job Vacancies 

Product Manager – APIs Ayzenberg Pasadena, CA
VP, Sales & Marketing The Washington Times Washington, DC
VP of Marketing, Card Services Chase Wilmington, DE
VP, Worldwide Marketing Partnerships Paramount Pictures Hollywood, CA
Director, Global Creative Marketing (Global Series) Netflix Los Angeles, CA
VP, Brand Strategy MGM Resorts Intl. Las Vegas, NV

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

Bud Light Unveils ‘The Bud Knight’ For Super Bowl LII

Despite declining year-over-year ratings for regular season football games, NBC still expects to earn over $500 million in revenue from brands placing Super Bowl ads with the network. With prices for 30-second spots ranging as high as $5 million, brands have been breaking out their A-game to get their money’s worth.

Bud Light Gives Us The Hero This City Deserves

Bud Light will conclude its “Dilly Dilly” ad trilogy at the Super Bowl, at long last revealing the Bud Knight it teased in ads that aired at the AFC and NFC championship games leading up to the big game.

“Humor and friendship is at the core of what Bud Light and beer drinking is all about – and that’s why ‘Dilly Dilly’ has been such a great success. Bringing ‘Dilly Dilly’ to the Super Bowl – one of the biggest nights for friends and family – was a no-brainer,” said Andy Goeler, vice president of marketing for Bud Light.

Though the 60-second spot marks the end of the beer brand’s official trilogy, Bud Light promises further entries to the Dilly Dilly cinematic universe in 2018.

Toyota Promises Three Super Bowl Spots

Going for a broad approach, Toyota has announced that it will air video ads from two different campaigns during Super Bowl LII, including two spots from its first-ever global campaign, “Start Your Impossible.”

The new campaign will highlight Toyota’s efforts to reposition itself as a “mobility company,” pointing to the company’s programs to support diversity and the disabled.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity for our team at Toyota to share messages of unity, friendship, diversity and perseverance,” saids Ed Laukes, group vice president of marketing for Toyota Motor North America. “With the Super Bowl and the Olympics just days apart on NBC, we’re excited to join fans’ enthusiasm for these two world-class events and connect with them by sharing meaningful and inspiring TV spots.”

Budweiser Celebrates Its Charitable Causes

To highlight its employees’ participation in its three-decade-old disaster relief program, Anheuser-Busch’s Super Bowl ad will tell the story of its factories that have pivoted to produce canned water for communities in need.

“Anheuser-Busch has a long history of giving back and not only are we continuing to support in the short-term but we also want to use our upcoming 30th anniversary of the emergency water program to announce our long-term commitment for natural disaster relief,” said Bill Bradley, vice president of community affairs at Anheuser-Busch.

In addition to celebrating its existing efforts, the company announced that it will add a second brewery to the program this year, doubling the company’s production of canned water in emergencies.

E*Trade Wants You To Retire Already

Financial services provider E*Trade is tangentially weighing in on the prevalence of precarious labor, encouraging people to start saving for retirement as early as possible.

“The campaign aims to shine a light on the growing financial challenge future retirees may face, while encouraging investors to start saving for retirement,” said Lea Stendahl, for E*Trade CMO. “We’re leveraging E*Trade’s irreverence and humor to show in a more relatable way that at E*Trade, consumers have access to the resources and tools they need to help get on track.”

In addition to cracking jokes about the elderly in the workforce, E*Trade’s spot hopes to educate football watchers on several statistics, such as that one in three Americans hasn’t saved for retirement at all, and that nine out of ten people who have worry that they haven’t saved enough.

Avocamojis From Mexico (Starring Chris Elliot)

(Update: 1/31/18): Avocados From Mexico has released its Super Bowl ad, telling the story of a Utopian guacamole-based society almost undone by the lack of chips. The company has also launched a 360-degree digital experience site, Guacworld.com.

Every millennial’s favorite fruit is appearing at the Super Bowl for the fourth year running, and Avocados From Mexico has released a 30-second teaser for its big game ad, starring Chris Elliot, “Big Time Hollywood Actor,” urging the depressed and downtrodden to spread avocados on everything.

This year it’s going beyond just a 30-second spot, however. Promising to highlight the versatility of the humble avocado, Avocados From Mexico is partnering with Inmoji to create clickable avocado emojis that opens to a branded, sharable selfie filter.

“This year, we are excited to further build on that momentum with another integrated campaign that reminds consumers that avocados are a highly versatile and great tasting fruit, perfect both inside and outside the bowl – from sandwiches to burritos to wraps and salads,” said Alvaro Luque, president of Avocados From Mexico.

The interactive avocado emojis will tie into a larger “GuacWorld” digital campaign, which Avocados From Mexico promises will launch in the coming weeks.

Amazon Teases An Alexa Crisis, Starring Jeff Bezos (And Gordon Ramsey And Cardi B And Anthony Hopkins And…)

(Update: 1/31/18): The full Super Bowl spot is now available, featuring a group of celebrities providing temporary voice support during Alexa’s voicelessness. At the end, Alexa thanks them for their service, meaning that the ad probably isn’t announcing anything besides the fact that Amazon has an obscene amount of money to spend on a 90-second video.

Amazon has released a teaser for its Super Bowl ad, which establishes an international crisis of Alexa, the voice of the Echo, losing her voice. No details are yet available on what the ad itself will contain, but the teaser ends with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos assenting to an emergency replacement, hinting at a celebrity appearance and possibly even a tie-in for their existing smart speakers.

Universal Parks Hires Peyton Manning As Vacation Coach

Promoting its Orlando and Hollywood resorts, Universal Parks is bringing on a celebrity voice that football fans will recognize: Peyton Manning.

Kraft Recognizes The Pressure On Parents To Be Perfect

(Update: 1/31/18): Kraft is now taking submissions for families to star in its “Family Greatly” spot, giving families the chance to see themselves on TV during the game.

In continuation of its Family Greatly campaign, which depicts the struggles of parenting as well as its successes, Kraft has announced that its Super Bowl ad will address the same issues. The company has never bought any Super Bowl ads before this year, and says that its Family Greatly message is one that more parents need to hear.

“The majority of parents today say they feel pressure to be perfect. But what if there was something better than being perfect?” the brand said in a statement. “Kraft believes there’s no perfect way to family and wants parents to take comfort in knowing that as long as you’re doing it with love and conviction, you ‘family greatly.’”

Lexus, Hyundai Promise Big-Budget Surprises

(Update: 1/30/18): Hyundai has revealed further details on its big game campaign, sharing that the millions it promised to surprise will be the professionals working to treat and cure pediatric cancer.

“Last year we honored military heroes who help make events like the Super Bowl possible. This year we’ll celebrate heroes who help in finding a cure for pediatric cancer,” said Dean Evans, CMO, Hyundai Motor America.

Though both car companies have remained tight-lipped about the specific details of their Super Bowl LII campaigns, Lexus and Hyundai have shared the general themes of their spots.

Lexus plans to tie in the fifth generation of its LS sedan in with Marvel’s February blockbuster Black Panther in its Super Bowl spot, a continuation of its ongoing strategy to better reach millennials.

Hyundai will likewise continue an existing theme for its big game spot, teasing its Super Bowl campaign as a higher-stakes version of its ad last year, which virtually reunited three soldiers with their family members at the game. However, where that activation only surprised three families, Hyundai promises to “surprise millions.”

Jack In The Box Beefs With Martha Stewart Over Chicken

Jack in the Box has released its Super Bowl ad, revealing its new food-truck inspired series of sandwiches and declaring a Twitter war against the food personality to see who can produce a better bánh mì sandwich.

Michelob Ultra Humanizes Chris Pratt’s Abs

In Chris Pratt’s first-ever ad appearance, the actor will point out that some beer, specifically Michelob Ultra, isn’t incompatible with staying in shape.

“The Super Bowl is a huge stage, and we are really excited to partner with Chris Pratt, whose dynamic personality and passion for fitness embody the spirit of our brand so perfectly,” said Azania Andrews, vice president for Michelob Ultra. ” “When it comes down to working out or enjoying a beer with friends, Michelob ULTRA wants people to know that you don’t have to choose between one or the other.”

The star is a somewhat ironic choice for the ad, since his character on the long-running show Parks And Recreation credited the actor’s sudden weight loss for his role in Guardians of the Galaxy on cutting beer out of his diet.

Stella Artois Pairs Nicely With Water.org

As part of the Anheuser-Busch brand family, Stella Artois enjoys a category monopoly for Super Bowl ads, allowing the beer import to experiment with the sort of cause marketing messages that worked so well for Audi last year.

Stella Artois has decided to partner with Water.org and Matt Damon to provide water for those lacking access to it in the developing world for every beer purchased by consumers in 2018.

“We’re excited to bring this global issue to a stage as big as the Super Bowl this year,” said Harry Lewis, vice president if Stella Artois. “I feel very privileged to work on a campaign that will help build a better world for millions of people; doing well by doing good is an incredible feeling, which is why I’m so passionate about our partnership with Water.org.”

Groupon Angles For Small Businesses

Coupon-purchasing app Groupon has elected to focus its big game on the social benefits of using their platform. Girls Trip star and Groupon user Tiffany Haddish leads the ad, which asks the question: “what kind of person wouldn’t want to support local businesses?” and establishes Groupon as the main way to do so.

“We have a very funny concept that combines Tiffany’s trademark sense of humor along with her authentic enthusiasm for Groupon,” said Groupon’s CMO, Vinayak Hegde. “She was a natural at conveying our passion for building amazing communities through successful small businesses, and she’s a great fit for the big stage that is the Super Bowl.”

Visit Australia For Its Scenic Movie Hoaxes

After a pair of teasers for a sequel to Crocodile Dundee starring Danny McBride and Chris Hemsworth were surfaced by People magazine, leaving publications to speculate how a feature film starring such big names managed to slip under the radar.

As it turns out, it’s because the feature film never existed. Reporting by Brisbane Times revealed that the movie is actually a hoax perpetrated by Tourism Australia as a lead-up to the organization’s first-ever Super Bowl spot.

Ally Financial: Enemy Of First-Screen Ads

Rather than buy TV advertising space, Ally Financial is electing to steal attention from other advertisers. With The Ally Big Save augmented-reality game, football viewers can collect virtual dollar bills on their phones during commercial breaks. High-scoring players will win a cash prize “to help them reach their identified savings goal.”

“On a day and stage where America is being flooded with messaging to spend big, Ally wants to inspire consumers to focus on saving for something bigger,” said Andrea Brimmer, Ally’s chief marketing and public relations officer.

Febreze Creates A Superhero

Febreze has pre-released its Super Bowl spot, telling the 30-second story of “the only man in the world whose bleep don’t stink.”

Natural Light Offers (Some) Student Loan Forgiveness

Tapping into its primary consumer base, budget beer brand Natural Light is hosting a contest, offering up to 25 current and former college students $40,000 apiece to pay down their student loan debts.

Contest entrants must post a video on social media about what inspired them to go to college including a special green beer tab, essentially outsourcing social engagement with a crippling-debt-relief lottery.

Pizza Hut Promises Record-Breaking Pizza

In lieu of a broadcast ad, Pizza Hut has announced a partnership with former All-Pro player Devin Hester to drive up memberships for its loyalty program. If either team scores a touchdown within the first 14 seconds of the game, Pizza Hut will grant everyone who registers for its rewards program before kickoff a coupon for a free pizza, which can be redeemed February 8 and 11.

“Like I said in my retirement announcement, I owe it all to my speed,” said Hester. “I’m teaming up with Pizza Hut to challenge players in this year’s Big Game to score a touchdown faster than I did in 2007.”

M&Ms Teases Their Super Bowl Ad (Again)

After promising candy fans rewards for creative touchdown dances, the Mars subsidiary is likewise guaranteeing critical support for its Super Bowl activation. M&Ms placed the ad at the Critics’ Choice Awards on January 11, featuring several film critics lavishing praise on an off-camera screening of the brand’s Super Bowl spot.

The candy company has released a second teaser for its ad, which will star Danny Devito.

“When M&M’S approached me about starring in their Super Bowl commercial, I quickly jumped on the opportunity to partner with such an iconic brand,” said DeVito. “Plus, who can resist seeing me in a giant pool of chocolate?!”


Red Bull, Cargo Go Super Bowl-Adjacent

Taking advantage of the inevitable influx of intoxicated partygoers on the night of the big game, Red Bull has partnered with Cargo, a startup that sells snacks to ride-share passengers en route. On February 4, ride-share customers in Minneapolis will get complimentary cans of Red Bull from drivers participating in Cargo’s commission-based sales model.

Skittles, Tostitos Ditch The Game For The Fan(s)

Rather than shell out the $5 million for a broadcast ad that might get talked over during a hectic Super Bowl party—after all, the NRF reports that 50 percent of big-game watchers do so at parties—Tostitos elected to hand the distribution reigns over to party hosts. By going to the Tostitos website, fans can input some information and nostalgic celebrity icon Alfonso Ribeiro will host a personalized Super Bowl “ad” invite for their party.

“Tostitos has always been about getting people together for the Super Bowl,” said Pat O’Toole, senior director of marketing for Frito-Lay North America. “The Super Bowl is about so much more than the game itself. People love watching the ads, so this year we wanted to give people the opportunity to create personalized ads for their Super Bowl parties.”

The campaign promises completely individualized ads, which reports show increases campaign effectiveness by as much as 57 percent.

Skittles, on the other hand, plans to go all-out on its ad personalization, producing an ad targeted at exactly one person, Marcos Menendez of Canoga Park, California. The brand will livestream his reaction to the hyper-targeted spot on its Facebook page, but no one besides Menendez will ever see the ad, which Skittles promises will be on par with its previous Super Bowl activations.

Doritos, Mountain Dew And Squarespace Lean On Celebrity Talent

Keeping up its five-year Super Bowl tradition, Squarespace is again bringing in a celebrity heavy-hitter to star in its big game ad, this time opting for Keanu Reeves, who is an actual Squarespace customer.

“We strive to make our advertising as genuine as possible, so we always keep an eye out for the most interesting people on our platform to see what brave new ventures they are launching out into the world,” David Lee, Squarespace’s chief creative officer, said to Adweek. “In addition to being a customer, we felt Keanu’s persona was a perfect fit for this creative—he’s a bit mysterious, but also regarded widely as a good person.”

The upcoming ad will break with tradition in one respect, however—this year, Squarespace is producing the spot in-house, rather than relying on an existing agency.

PepsiCo is opting for efficiency with its Super Bowl spot, too. Rather than produce two separate spots for its Doritos and Mountain Dew products, the company is pitting them against each other head to head, each one represented by a different celebrity: Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman, respectively.

“This is a great example of the power of PepsiCo’s food and beverage portfolio coming to life for consumers on one of the world’s largest stages,” said Al Carey, CEO of PepsiCo North America. “Doritos and Mountain Dew go perfectly together, and both brands have passionate fan bases.”

Verizon Brings Experiential To The Big Game

Partnering with Minnesota’s Super Bowl Host Committee, Verizon has announced a sponsorship of the city’s Super Bowl LIVE festival, a free 10-day experiential activation in downtown Minneapolis.

The festival promises to feature activities sponsored by several other Super Bowl advertisers, including a Hyundai skating rink and a Doritos-branded lounge. Overall, the event promises almost two dozen unique attractions, sponsored by a hodgepodge of local and national brands.


Pepsi Banks On Its Legacy

Pepsi has announced that it will unveil a year-long campaign during Super Bowl LII, entitled “Pepsi Generations,” to celebrate the brand’s 120-year history. The soda brand will kick off the campaign with a remake of its famous 1992 ad starring Cindy Crawford.

“To this day, people come up to me to talk about how much they loved my original Pepsi spot from ’92,” said Crawford in a statement. “The commercial was a big moment for me and has spanned generations.”

Pepsi will also release several series of retro can and bottle designs, the first going out in late January, and sponsor the big game’s halftime show for the sixth year running—headlining Justin Timberlake.

Super Bowl Newbs: Intuit, Pringles 

While TurboTax will re-appeared at this Super Bowl for its fifth year in a row, parent company Intuit will launch its first-ever corporate branding campaign at Super Bowl LII in the form of a 15-second spot.

While 46 million people use Intuit products, Intuit chief marketing and sales officer Lucas Watson asserts that not everyone identifies the brand. “The Big Game is during a time when finances are top of mind for consumers and those who work for themselves,” he said in a statement.

The company promises to introduce two characters who will feature prominently in the brand’s overarching corporate advertising efforts throughout the year.

Pringles will also appear in a Super Bowl ad for the very first time this year, hoping to introduce US consumers to the concept of “flavor stacking”—stacking two different flavors of Pringles on top of each other.

“‘Flavor Stacking’ Pringles is one of those things that seems so stupidly obvious in hindsight. But relatively few people have thought to do it,” said Brian Platt, Group Creative Director of Grey Group New York.

The chip brand claims that the Super Bowl ad is just the beginning, promising further activations in the flavor-stacking theme throughout 2018.

Coca-Cola Promises New Creative

After recycling old Super Bowl ads last year, including a 60-second spot that first ran in 2014 and a Sprite ad featuring a basketball star, Coca-Cola has promised fresh new creative for 2018, though has not given details about length, content or theme.


Executive Departures At Sony, Airbnb; Bloomberg Hires First-Ever CPO


Sony CEO Kaz Hirai is stepping down from his position, electing to take an advisory position. Replacing him will be Kenichiro Yoshida, current director, deputy president and chief financial officer.

“Ever since my appointment as president and CEO in April 2012, I have stated that my mission is to ensure Sony continues to be a company that provides customers with kando – to move them emotionally – and inspires and fulfills their curiosity,” Hirai said in a statement. “As the company approaches a crucial juncture, when we will embark on a new mid-range plan, I consider this to be the ideal time to pass the baton of leadership to new management, for the future of Sony and also for myself to embark on a new chapter in my life.”

Laurence Tosi departing and Belinda Johnson becoming as chief operating officer.

“As our COO, Belinda will be responsible for the systems and teams that enable our businesses to function, as well as our legal, policy and communications teams,” said Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky. “I want to thank Laurence for his tireless work on behalf of Airbnb and our community. He helped Airbnb establish a rigorous financial discipline, aided our expansion into new businesses including into luxury rentals, which is now one of our core businesses.”

Tosi had been with the hospitality app for two and a half years.

Bloomberg Media has hired its first-ever chief product officer, bringing on HuffPost head of product Julia Beizer.

“In this newly created position, Julia will be responsible for accelerating innovation across our digital product portfolio,” said Bloomberg’s global head of digital, M. Scott Havens. “Working with key stakeholders across the newsroom, media distribution, engineering, and our commercial organization, Julia will lead our ambitious product vision and strategy across our owned and operated platforms and our media distribution partners.”

Most recently, Beizer served as vice president of product for Oath’s media division, and has also held management roles at The Washington Post as well.

Applebee’s has tapped Joel Yashinsky for the position of chief marketing officer, taking over the company’s Franchise Marketing Committee to improve in-store sales as well as overall brand value.

“What I value most about Joel, other than his restaurant marketing experience, is his strategic capability and belief in franchisee collaboration,” said John Cywinski, president of Applebee’s. “Joel is a smart, creative, mature and highly-regarded executive with a deep operational orientation. He has also successfully navigated two turnarounds within his McDonald’s tenure, which will serve him well.”

Before his executive appointment at Applebee’s, Yashinsky worked at McDonald’s in a variety of positions, reaching the position of marketing vice president for its US division.

Staples has appointed Sandy Douglas CEO, effective in early April, succeeding departing CEO Shira Goodman.

“The North American Delivery business has a significant opportunity to accelerate long-term growth, and we are pleased to have Sandy join the leadership team at this important time,” said Joh Lederer, Staples executive chairman. “Sandy has extensive experience across multiple function areas including sales, marketing, merchandising and operations. This well-rounded experience makes him an ideal leader for Staples.”

Douglas previously worked at The Coca-Cola Company for over three decades, most recently as president of its North America business. He has also held the title of global chief customer officer during his tenure there.

Oath has announced two major executive appointments, expanding its global sales organization. Karen Schmidt has joined the company as vice president and head of B2B field marketing, and Kathryn Friedrich as chief business officer for RYOT Studio, Oath’s content marketing agency.

“We have aggressive goals for growth in 2018 and beyond, which Kathryn and Karen will help us realize,” said John DeVine, Oath’s chief revenue officer.

Before signing on with Oath, Friedrich was chief marketing and revenue officer at  Thrive Global, an anti-stress organization founded by Ariana Huffington. For her part, Schmidt worked in leadership positions at American Express for ten years, most recently as global head of sales enablement.

Jack in the Box is undergoing c-suite shakeups in the coming weeks, as its brand president Frances Allen has announced her intention to retire in early February. Additionally, the fast-food chain has appointed Marcus Tom vice president and chief operating officer.

“As I mentioned at the recent ICR Conference, I will take the opportunity to flatten our organizational structure following the expected sale of our Qdoba brand,” said Jack in the Box chairman and CEO Lenny Comma. “Frances graciously suggested the elimination of her position so that we could more quickly begin restructuring the brand’s leadership. Frances was instrumental in refining the brand’s strategy and positioning, with an emphasis on improving the quality of the food and transforming the business model to be more asset-light through refranchising.”

Tom joins Jack in the Box from JAB Beech Inc, where he was senior vice president of operations for Caribou Coffee.

“Marcus is an agile leader with a proven record of achieving high levels of operational excellence across large retail systems, like Starbucks,” Comma said. “Adding a seasoned restaurant-industry veteran like him, with his unique skillset and proficiencies in operations, is a key piece of our re-focused Jack in the Box leadership team.”

McDonald’s has expanded its executive marketing team, bringing on Kenny Mitchell and Lizette Williams as vice president of brand content and head of cultural engagement, respectively.

“We are excited about the fresh, innovative thinking and experience Kenny and Lizette bring to our team,” Morgan Flatley, McDonald’s USA CMO, said in a statement to AdWeek. “They are both highly-respected, talented leaders, and with their respective teams, will play a critical role in bringing our marketing strategy to life as we continue to raise the bar for our customers.”

Mitchell most recently worked at Gatorade, where he led the brand’s integrated marketing efforts, and Williams oversaw multicultural marketing for Kimberly-Clark North America.

The Rest Of The C-Suite

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

Carnival Cruise Line has appointed Adolfo Perez senior vice president of sales and trade marketing, just three years after he was promoted to vice president of sales and trade marketing in 2015.

“Adolfo has been critical to driving growth in our travel agent business, both domestically and internationally, and we want to recognize the success of his leadership and the efforts of his team and the results they have delivered,” said Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy.

Perez has been with Carnival since 1982, when he joined as an embarkation agent.

Pandora is undergoing organizational shifts, eliminating as much as 5 percent of its workforce, citing a shift in focus toward ad-tech and audience development.

“As I shared last quarter, we know where and how to invest in order to grow,” said Pandora CEO Roger Lynch. “We have an aggressive plan in place that includes strategic investments in our priorities: ad-tech, product, content, partnerships and marketing. I am confident these changes will enable us to drive revenue and listener growth.”

The company has also announced plans to expand its presence and workforce in Atlanta.

In an earnings call, Google has announced that it will expand or open offices across America this year, hiring thousands to staff them.

“Last year in the US we grew faster outside the Bay Area than in the Bay Area,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai. “To support this growth, we will be making significant investments in offices across nine states, including Colorado and Michigan.”

HubKonnect, a cognitive AI marketing platform, has appointed Kevin Newell to its board of directors.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Kevin join our team,” HubKonnect CEO Michael Koch said. “His understanding of the QSR industry is unparalleled, and his experience in building a global brand will aid in the accelerated growth of HubKonnect.”

Newell joins the company from McDonald’s where he previously served as president of its West Zone, and once held the position of global chief brand officer.

Christopher Ensey has joined Riot Blockchain, a blockchain support and consulting firm, as its chief operating officer.

“Chris brings a strong wealth of corporate experience in cyber security and a passion for blockchain technology to Riot,” commented John O’Rourke, CEO of Riot Blockchain. “He has long-standing enterprise relationships from his experience at IBM and Dunbar and a technical depth in blockchain technology from his active involvement in the space over the past five years.”

Ensey previously worked at Dunbar Security Solutions as its chief operating officer.

Digital publishing group Future has hired Luke Edson as its US chief revenue officer, after a 41 percent growth in US revenue last year.

“I’m really excited to welcome Luke on board. His proficiency in commercial operations will help shape our strategy and business development in the US,” said Zillah Byng-Thorne, Future’s CEO. “There’s a wealth of opportunity for us in the U.S. and I have every faith Luke will be able to capitalize on that.”

Edson most recently worked at Yellow Pages, where he held the position of senior vice president of national markets.

Dana Strong has joined Comcast as president of consumer services, where she will be responsible for the company’s go-to-market strategy for its cable services.

“Dana has an impressive career and great track record driving growth, digital transformation and improving the customer experience for some of the fastest growing companies in the industry,” said Dave Watson, Comcast Cable president and CEO. “I’m thrilled to welcome her to Comcast and can’t imagine a better leader to partner with me and our talented team as we continue to create the most innovative products available on the market, while driving growth and transforming the customer experience.”

Before Comcast, Strong worked at Virgin Media, where she served as president and chief operating officer.

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With ‘Spheres’ Purchase, Hollywood Could Become Driver For VR Adoption

Virtual reality (VR) reached a major milestone at the Sundance Film Festival when Spheres, a three-part scientific space-themed narrative series, was picked up by CityLights for a seven-figure sum. The VR experience, which is narrated by Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), executive produced by Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures, and supported by Oculus and Intel, is the first major VR acquisition to come out of Sundance in the six years since the New Frontier section began featuring the medium. A few days later, Zikr: A Sufi Revival became the first VR documentary to be purchased at Sundance when UK company Dogwoof acquired it.

These sales represent a big shift for a medium that has never sold at the film festival before, and the backing of traditional distributors could provide VR with the clout it needs to become mainstream. While CityLights is relatively new, Dogwoof has been documentary distributor for 14 years, and it acquired Zikr through its newly formed VR company, Other Set.

“I’m hopeful that the [Spheres] sale means that the entertainment community at large will start taking VR seriously as a viable medium,” said Loren Hammonds, programmer for film and immersive at the Tribeca Film Festival, speaking with AListDaily. “It’s exciting to see a deal at this level happen so relatively early in the history of VR festival exhibition.”

“One of the biggest things VR has had going against it is how quickly public opinion fluctuates,” added SuperData Research’s VP of research and strategy, Stephanie Llamas. “But a deal of this caliber means mainstream audiences can see the value the entertainment industry—an industry they trust to let them know where media is going next—is placing on VR.”

Llamas said that it’s big studios and celebrities that bring awareness, and the sale of Spheres “brings VR one step closer to widespread interest.” She explains that even though some of the biggest names in entertainment have become involved in VR, they’ve often treated the medium as a side project.

“This sale shows it is becoming more than a side project and that there is faith VR will bring in millions of consumer dollars soon,” said Llamas.

However, Hammonds doesn’t necessarily agree that the sales mean that Hollywood will be paying more attention to VR productions. He explained that people who have been traditionally involved with Hollywood productions, like directors Kathryn Bigelow and Alejandro González Iñárritu, haven’t “moved the needle” of public opinion, even after becoming deeply involved in the creation of popular VR projects.

“What will help Hollywood to truly shift its attention is if these projects get some form of distribution that allows them to reach wide audiences and permeate the popular culture,” said Hammonds.

CityLights will bring Spheres to the Oculus Rift later this year with distribution on other platforms to follow. The first episode, Songs of Spacetime, premiered at Sundance. Meanwhile, Zikr is expected to become available on home VR devices in addition to location-based entertainment venues such as VR arcades, museums or possibly other film festivals.

Hammonds hopes that one day, VR experiences will be featured alongside traditional films at festivals and other events that serve as marketplaces.

“I look at VR as the most exciting storytelling medium to arrive since the invention of cinema,” he said. “I do think that it’s a natural fit for VR to be featured prominently at festivals, as it has been in recent years, but I also see a future where VR will warrant or demand its own large-scale festival platform.”

But VR still has a lot of growing to do before it gets to that point, and that will require strong distribution and monetization to make more deals like the Spheres and Zikr purchases happen.

“Until we have a decent number of marquee pieces that reach wide audiences through an easily accessible platform and fully adopted hardware, the growth will stay measured,” Hammonds said. But he also explained that he’s comfortable with VR’s current pace of growth, so long as creators and developers continue to build on the medium and advance the technology.

“Slow growth is exponentially better than no growth,” he concluded. But as important as the Spheres sale is, festivals may not be the main driver for VR adoption.

“VR’s presence at festivals like Sundance and Tribeca has been a huge help, but while these festivals help make VR interesting, the average consumer isn’t trying it there,” said Llamas. “I think location-based VR is going to be the stepping stone folks need to actually see what VR is all about—which is what needs to happen to get the excitement going.”