Here’s a look at what we’re sharing internally this week.

Uncle Ben’s Becomes Ben’s Original In ‘Brand Evolution’

Food Dive

Uncle Ben’s is renaming its brand to Ben’s Original, a move that’s part of its larger efforts to increase diversity and inclusion. In addition, through a partnership with National Urban League, Ben’s Original is launching a community outreach program to provide underserved communities with nutritious meals and help culinary entrepreneurs of all colors gain exposure.

Why it matters: The move comes three months after Uncle Ben’s came under fire for perpetuating systemic racism through its brand identity, along with brands like Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth’s.

Instagram Extends Maximum Length Of Reels To 30 Seconds


Instagram is doubling the maximum length of Reels videos from 15 to 30 seconds and rolling out editing features that let users trim and delete any clip.

Why it matters: The CMT Awards will become the first major US awards show to use Reels to exclusively announce this year’s nominees.

That Was A B2B Ad? How The Pandemic Forced Business Marketers To Pivot Forever

The Drum

Business-to-business marketing has shifted from methodical and boring to emotional and engaging, a trend triggered by two key factors—the syncing of our personal and professional lives and the accelerated adoption of digital among B2B marketers.

Why it matters: Research from LinkedIn’s B2B Institute shows that establishing a strong emotional connection in an ad is paramount, and even more so during turbulent times. In addition, ads with humor or established brand characters scored even higher in 2020 than they did in years past, while 75 percent of B2B ads tested this year achieved only one star out of five in ad effectiveness scoring tests.

Remembering PepsiCo CEO Donald Kendall, Who Aggressively Grew The Brand


Donald Kendall, who served as PepsiCo’s chief executive officer for 23 years from 1963 to 1986, has passed away at the age of 99. When Kendall took the reins from his predecessor, Herbert Barnet, Pepsi’s share of the soft drinks market was stuck at 30 percent.

Why it matters: During Kendall’s tenure as CEO, PepsiCo’s revenues increased almost 40-fold, from $200 million to $7.6 billion, according to a company-written obituary.

Brands: Don’t Underestimate Your Narrative Power To Create Change

Ad Age

According to head of basketball, sports marketing at PepsiCo, Charece Williams Gee, in order to eradicate the prejudices and perceptions entrenched in society, “It is important that people believe in both the mission and the messenger. It helps when the marketers are leaning in and bringing their personal passion and sizzle to each project.”

Why it matters: Brands have a responsibility to amplify marginalized voices. A path forward requires a complete understanding of the past, and the only way to fully understand the past is to tell the full story.

Why HBO Max’s Branding Guru Built His Own ‘Anti-Racist’ Agency: Uncomfortable Conversations

Ad Age

Larry Adams, CEO and founder of LVA, a media agency centered around anti-racism, is attempting to transform the way marketing campaigns focus on and target black Americans.

Why it matters: Despite the plethora of new data on black audiences, some large marketing and advertising agencies continue to target them by relying on outdated studies and sometimes, on the “trendier parts” of black culture.

Microsoft Just Spent $7.5 Billion To Give Gamers A Major Reason To Buy A Next-Gen Xbox Instead Of A PlayStation 5

Business Insider

Microsoft has acquired ZeniMax Media and its games publisher Bethesda Softworks in order to incorporate some of the world’s largest video game development studios–and their game franchises–into Microsoft’s Xbox Studios, a move that will likely result in Sony’s loss of popular games like Doom, Fallout and The Elder Scrolls.

Why it matters: Instead of continuing to struggle in its competition with Sony’s gaming platform Playstation, Microsoft’s acquisition will strengthen the viability and success of Xbox Game Pass, a “Netflix-like library of games” that boasts 15 million paid users as of this month.

How Important Is An Influencer Marketing Data Platform?

The Drum

An influencer marketing data platform gives brands that are running large influencer campaigns access to unique insights based on historical data from previous creator partnerships, the ability to compare creators and specific insights on audience actions.

Why it matters: According to psychometric impact studies, influencer ads are 277 percent more emotionally intense and 87 percent more memorable than television ads.

US Navy Taps YouTube Creators For Sailor VS Recruitment Campaign


The US Navy has launched a campaign called “Sailor VS” to highlight the diversity of jobs available throughout the Navy, tapping YouTube influencers to aid its recruitment efforts.

Why it matters: As per YouTube, the Navy has found it increasingly difficult to reach young adults via traditional media such as television ads.

Walmart Launches Fashion Essentials Brand Free Assembly


Walmart is launching a 60-piece fashion brand named Free Assembly that will be available at some 250 Walmart locations and online for around $9 to $45 per piece.

Why it matters: Denise Incandela, senior vice president of Walmart Women’s Group, said the company has been working to bolster its ecommerce efforts to establish Walmart as a fashion destination as it’s taken over 1,000 brands online.