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Original articles from Digiday.
 
Overstock is Launching a Self-Serve Ad Platform
Furniture retailer Overstock.com is planning to open up self-service ad options to furniture brands to bid on ad placements its site.

Amazon is Readying a Blitz on the Ad Industry
Its latest move: a new office in Manhattan that it says will bring 2,000 jobs, mostly in advertising, to the city — and closer to Madison Avenue.

Facebook’s 'Watch' Videos are Being Viewed an Average of 23 Seconds
Early data suggests that Facebook’s Watch is getting viewers to spend more time watching videos. But Facebook still has a long way to go.

P&G Slashed The Number Of Sites It Advertises On
Traffic-measurement firm Hitwise noticed that fewer publishers are sending traffic to P&G websites, an indication that the CPG company is running ads in fewer places.

Meet Bkr, the $185 Water Bottle
We’ve reached peak wellness. Green juices cost $15, spin classes cost $45, and a brand of water bottles can get away with selling a version of its glass-and-silicone vessels for $185.

Domino's Sees Traction From Alexa Ordering
One in five customers who can order with the pizza chain’s Easy Orders option has asked Amazon Alexa instead, two months after making the feature available.

Advertising Week Briefing: Day 2

Unilever: Startups Can Replace Some Agency Tasks
Unilever is briefing startups on tasks previously handled by the agencies it has axed in recent months.

Amazon Reviews Have a Bot Problem
Bot reviews continue to be a growing concern for retailers and brands selling on Amazon.

How Home Depot Has Remained ‘Amazon-Proof’
For Home Depot, Amazon doesn’t seem to be as big of a threat as it is for fashion retailers and department stores.

Inside Chipotle's In-App Ordering Strategy
Chipotle is working to revamp its reputation after battling food-safety concerns. In the fall, Chipotle will introduce a redesigned app for iOS and Android.

Inside Away’s Instagram Strategy
One of the most engaging posts that Away, the direct-to-consumer luggage maker, has had on Instagram features a yellow suitcase appears in front of a wall of tiles on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. “There’s yellow. Then there’s Amalfi lemon yellow,” the post reads. But the post wasn’t created by Away’s social team but by a travel buff who happens to be a fan of the brand.

Facebook Moves Closer to YouTube and TV With New Shows, Watch Platform
Facebook wants people to spend more time watching videos on its platform, as they already do on YouTube. Starting Aug. 10, it’s introducing a new video destination called “Watch,” which aims to do exactly that. Watch is essentially a remake of Facebook’s video tab, available online...

Behind Amazon’s Push Into Sports Broadcasting
Sports broadcasting is the latest industry to catch Amazon’s eye, but its interest will only turn into intent once it knows whether the likes of tennis and American football can give its video service an edge in its tussle with Netflix. It’s why the e-commerce giant has pursued sports streaming rights in recent months, particularly those with international appeal such as rugby, golf and tennis.

Brands Bristle at Third-Party Sellers on Amazon, But Have Little Recourse
Whether a retailer wants its products to be sold on Amazon or not, the brand will most likely end up being listed on the platform by third-party sellers. Those independent vendors — which are typically unauthorized by brands — are becoming a headache for many retailers.

How Moat Mastered the Art of the Ad Tech Pivot
Fresh off an $850 million acquisition by Yahoo, Right Media CEO Michael Walrath and board members Noah and Jonah Goodhart thought their next big ad tech venture was a crowdsourced marketplace meant to connect ad creators with brands. Despite their respect in the ad industry and connections to the largest investors in Silicon Valley and some of media’s biggest...

How Wannabe Instagram Influencers Use Bots to Appear Popular
Jason Wong founded a clothing store called Fifthtee this year that pledges a fifth of its proceeds to nonprofit Best Friends Animal Society. Wong used a bot service for his business account @fifthtee to automatically like and comment 24/7 on posts that included dog-related hashtags. While the provider didn’t get @fifthtee — which has a little over 6,000 followers — as many followers as expected, it helped the account generate more than 100 likes per post than usual, according to Wong.

The New York Times’ ‘Game of Thrones’ Newsletter Already has Over 60,000 Subscribers
In just three weeks, a pop-up newsletter The New York Times launched around “Game of Thrones” has already garnered over 61,000 subscribers, the company said. The newsletter, produced by staffers at the New York Times’ Watching, is also being forwarded and read so much that its open rates have exceeded...

Conde Nast is Using Instagram and Facebook to Sell Mugs and Beach Towels
For its new digital storefront, Condé Nast has thrown out its old marketing playbook. The legacy magazine publisher, which launched a new digital store offering hundreds of products this month, is moving past the direct mail and email newsletters it sent to its print subscribers in favor of targeting subscribers...

Twitter Plans to Shut Down SnappyTV in Favor of New TV-Clipping Tool
The sun is setting on SnappyTV, Twitter’s video-editing tool that allows TV networks and other publishers to cut and share TV clips on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms. In its place, Twitter will offer a new video-editing software inside its growing Twitter Media Studio product for media companies...

Marketers Find a New Video Platform: Amazon Echo Show
When Amazon’s Echo Show officially launched on June 28, publishers rapidly announced video-optimized skills for the device, while Amazon only partnered with a handful of brands to do the same. Reviewers swiftly critiqued the device for not having enough visual skills. But it seems the fever is building...

How Smashbox is Using Eye-Tracking Technology to Increase Sales
Eye-tracking technology is finally making its way to the beauty space, thanks to a new partnership between Smashbox and the industry’s favorite augmented reality provider, ModiFace. As an exclusive partner of ModiFace’s popular iOS and Android app MakeUp (which allows customers to virtually try on…)

Amazon Cozies Up to Video Publishers with Marketing and Tech Support — and Cash
Amazon wants video publishers and creators to distribute their work on its streaming platform. And it’s providing free marketing and technical support — and in some cases, financial incentives — to make that happen. Video publishers and creators have two primary ways to self-distribute on Amazon Prime: the Amazon Video Direct program...

Get Your Fake Yeezys: Counterfeit Ads Are All Over Instagram
Long gone are the days when Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom vetted every ad on the platform. Now, ads for fake shoes, clothes, electronics and even real estate are proliferating on Instagram. What makes these ads even more egregious is that some of them, like one claiming to sell Adidas’ Yeezy sneakers for $109, feature doctored brand logos...

Brands Use Workarounds to be Found on Snapchat
For its new “101 Days of Because Summer” campaign, Malibu is, to use an old phrase, “killing two birds with one stone.” The Pernod Ricard-owned rum brand is not only promoting its Snapchat channel on Snapchat but also on Facebook and Instagram. The ad — featured in Instagram Stories and as a sponsored post on Tasty’s Facebook page — features a Snapchat code and encourages...

‘Views Can Happen By Accident’: Publishers are Thinking More About Watch Time — and YouTube
On Wednesday, June 21, the day before the eighth annual VidCon festival in Southern California, YouTube gathered roughly 30 video publishers to discuss the latest milestones and initiatives for the video platform. One of the biggest topics of discussion during this publisher summit, which included companies ranging from BuzzFeed to The Atlantic...

How Publishers are Capitalizing on Prime Day
Prime Day is quickly becoming one of the most wonderful times of the year for shoppers, and commerce-focused publishers have made their biggest effort yet to get a piece of those sales. The one-day sales event, which Amazon launched in 2015 as a kind of birthday celebration, offers Amazon Prime members...

War on Words: Emoji Search is Spreading
Ever since the poop emoji went viral, brands have experimented with ways to use the expressive icons to connect with consumers. But custom keyboards and hashtags aren’t enough. One way that is becoming more popular is emoji search. Instead of typing keywords into a search bar (boring!), a user can simply insert an emoji to find what they are looking for.

Inside Halo Top’s Instagram Strategy
Ice cream brand Halo Top’s Instagram account features image after image of its carton pints swimming in melted swirls of vibrant oranges, purples and browns. It’s such organic social posts that have helped launch the 5-year-old brand in stores nationwide without spending a penny on advertising.

How Nike is Using Digital Channels to Drive Sales
Nike is trying to seize control of its customer data to stay ahead of its rivals. The company gave observers a close-up of its plans in its latest quarterly results. Here are the takeaways for marketers. App sales. App-based commerce is surging for Nike, with online...

‘Life is Not Fair’: How Salon Regrouped After Facebook Decimated its Traffic
Many publishers have wrung their hands over being at the mercy of Facebook’s algorithm changes. Rarely are the details made public, though. As a public company, Salon Media Group has to report its financial results. In its most recent full-year fiscal results, published on June 23, it disclosed its revenue fell 34 percent...

Girls’ Lounge at Cannes: Real Empowerment or Lip Service?
Last week, an invite landed in email inboxes promoting a place for women to mingle, learn styling tips, reserve hair and makeup appointments and get confidence coaching. No, the email wasn’t promoting a fashion magazine festival.

How YouTube Handled its Brand-Safety Crisis
In mid-March, a series of reports revealed that ads from reputable brands had been cropping up on videos from the likes of white nationalists and hate preachers. Almost overnight, hundreds of companies ranging from L’Oréal to Verizon suspended their YouTube buys. And just last week, The Times of London reported that recent U.K. election ads had appeared on videos...

Why Images are the Next Frontier for Ad Targeting
Digital media is in the midst of a transition from a primarily text-based medium to a visual-led one. That means advertising needs to catch up, not just in its form but also its targeting. The text internet is comparably easy for targeting, either keyword-based or semantic. But with the visual web, there’s often a dearth of such data for handy targeting. But a number of brands have started using images to both segment and target their audiences. Coca-Cola, Nike, Jaguar, Sea World and dairy-substitute brand...

Conde Nast Sees Commerce Opportunities in Branded Subscription Boxes
Condé Nast U.S. wants to use its brands as taste-makers. This June, GQ will launch a grooming box filled with products GQ and Allure editors have selected. GQ will be the fourth Condé title to get its own box in the past year, joining Brides, Condé Nast Traveler and Teen Vogue, which have all launched limited-edition boxes, either in partnership with Allure or with third parties.

Genius Makes a Play for Fashion With Its Debut of a Namesake Clothing Line
Genius, the media company known for its website hosting the world’s largest collection of music lyrics — complete with reader and artist-sourced footnotes regarding song meanings and creation — is taking an unexpected turn toward fashion with today’s launch of its 1997 Collection.

How Bloomberg is Tackling Apple TV
Bloomberg Media doesn’t want users to look away from the TV screen when streaming video through its TV app. The publisher has redesigned its Apple TV app with a focus on bringing relevant data to the video feed. For instance, if users are watching the live TV feed and Elon Musk appears on the screen, information about the tech CEO and his businesses will surface there as well. A similar capability is also available within on-demand videos and shows on the Apple TV app.

How Vice Plans to Prove to Advertisers Its Branded Content Works
Vice Media is the media empire largely built off being an ad agency. For years, the Brooklyn media company has worked closely with brands to make them cool, or at least make their brands part of cool content. Now, Vice wants to prove to advertisers that this kind of branded content is effective while giving them...

PopSugar Pushes Further into Commerce with New Shopping Posts
Publishers may all be moving toward commerce, but PopSugar plunged into it. Last week, the fashion-focused publisher rolled out an article format called PopSugar Shop. When someone lands on one of these posts, like “The Biggest Designer Shoes of 2017,” a circle pops up in the lower-left corner of the browser...

How HelloFresh, Blue Apron and Martha & Marley Spoon Try to Stand Out in a Crowded Market
Today it may not be a surprise to see your inbox, Google search and Facebook News Feed filled with ads from meal-kit services with messages like, “Don’t miss out on next week’s recipes” or “Get up to 50 percent off of your first box.” The concept of offering customers a box of fresh ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes has been a hit.

The New York Times Will Bring a Brand-Safety Message to the NewFronts
The NewFronts aren’t just about video anymore. At this year’s NewFronts, The New York Times will use the stage to trot out a live podcast, forthcoming films, service journalism — and a brand-safety message. Fake news on Facebook and objectionable video content on Google’s YouTube have spooked big brands. For publishers of high-quality content, it’s an opportunity to promote their sites as safe, if smaller-scale environments. The NewFronts is as good a stage as any for that.

Inside Activision’s ‘Call of Duty’ Marketing Playbook
Video game franchise “Call of Duty” is a moneymaker that has brought in at least $15 billion in revenue for its parent company Activision Blizzard since 2003. It is also a marketing machine that has featured celebrities like Kevin Spacey...

Brands are Testing Shoppable Videos on Instagram Stories and Snap Ads
Brands posting ephemeral content on Snapchat and Instagram Stories can now expect to not just drive engagement but also sales. Brands including Birchbox, Dr. Brandt Skincare, GoPro, Beautyblender and SheaMoisture are testing a new shoppable video layer offered by video company MikMak that lets users purchase branded products on Instagram Stories and Snap Ads with a single URL.

#TheHustler: How Gary Vee Became the Ad Industry’s Lightning Rod
GE bigwigs Beth Comstock and Linda Boff had just finished a two-hour breakfast with Gary Vaynerchuk at SXSW in 2012 when they saw Vaynerchuk tweet about a party he was throwing. When they showed up, people were already lined up around the block. There was a DJ, and people were dancing while Vaynerchuk held court, pouring wine for guests.

Scale Matters: Advertisers are Opting for Instagram over Snapchat
Instagram is mimicking Snapchat, and Snapchat is feeling the pain. Eight months since Instagram rolled out its Stories feature and just over a month since it launched ads on it widely, it has already surpassed Snapchat. The feature not only has more people using it daily (200 million versus Snapchat’s last reported 158 million) but is also increasingly attracting more ad dollars. Agencies tend to drift where the action is, and, right or wrong, the general feeling is Instagram is on the upswing while the early buzz over Snapchat...

Branded Stickers are the New Branded Emoji Keyboards
Prepare yourself: Brands may have reached peak emoji, but they’re just about getting started on stickers. FOMO-infected marketers see audiences ballooning on messaging apps like WhatsApp, WeChat, Line and others. The initial focus on infiltrating these communication channels fell to emoji keyboards, which naturally...

UK Ad Agencies Rethink the University Degree as a Job Requirement
Advertising might have its roots with the working class, but the university degree has long been a requirement. Now, with rising education costs and a lack of diversity, several U.K. agencies are reassessing their reliance on graduate schemes that take in groups of recent university grads. In January, Dentsu Aegis Network, JWT and CHI & Partners all welcomed their first non-degree candidates.

How Mars Prods Diversity in its Advertising, Agencies
As Pepsi has discovered this week, wading into social causes is a risky business. But with risk comes reward. Mars is one brand who has succeeded in connecting with its audience on diversity issues. Its three lauded 2016 Maltesers campaigns — which featured actors with disabilities — increased sales by 10 percent, its biggest boost in eight years.

In Case You Missed It: Advertisers Aren’t Pulling Out of YouTube Just Yet
You’ve reached the end of another week, and so have we. So sit back (maybe with a can of Pepsi? OK, maybe not…), and catch up on the important stories you may have missed. Or just scroll to the bottom for your full list of weekend reads. Advertisers aren’t pulling out of YouTube. At least not yet.

Agencies Turn to ‘Returnships’ to Narrow the Gender Gap
Robin Sodaro was a marketing art director at UBS when she left in 2008, taking eight years off from her job to raise her kids. In 2016, when she returned to her career, she found herself at media agency Maxus, starting as a part-time freelancer before being hired full-time in August. It was a hard transition, and she struggled to catch up with everything from technology and changes in workflow...

YouTube Goes Live with $35 Internet TV Service
After years of boasting that it’s bigger than TV, YouTube has joined the TV business. The Google-owned video giant has launched YouTube TV, a live TV service that seeks to compete with other internet-based TV services such as Dish Network’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now and Hulu’s upcoming service...

TV Feels the Heat from Google and Facebook
About a year ago, Bryson Gordon was emptying a box of his mom’s old things when he uncovered a document from a bygone era in advertising: an ad sales research report from 1963, written by his mother when she worked at BBDO in San Francisco. Written for an orange-soda client, the report summarized the impact...

Snapchat’s Pitch to Small Brands and Businesses: Self-Serve Sponsored Geofilters
Initially focused on courting advertising bigwigs like Gatorade and Taco Bell for sponsored lenses and video ads, newly public Snap has now turned its attention to smaller brands and businesses. Snapchat’s parent company has been actively pitching on-demand geofilters to brands, as first reported by Mashable and confirmed...

#eatclean: How Instagram is Fueling the Healthy-Living Brand Boom
Planning to try that hot new aqua-yoga class or eyeing a subscription to that organic food delivery service? Chances are you first discovered it on Instagram, just like Melody Lowe, an Austin-based copywriter, who learned about the Whole30 diet on the platform. “One of the hardest things is planning your meals,” said Lowe.

Opportunism Knocks: Marketers and Media Take on Google
It’s open season on the duopoly. In the past week, a flood of brands from AT&T to Verizon to Johnson & Johnson have pulled ad campaigns from Google-owned YouTube because they don’t want their ads appearing next to objectionable videos. Alongside the Google brouhaha, there’s been growing pressure on fellow platform giant Facebook; both have been targets of derision for permitting the distribution of fake news and walling off access to their data. It’s unlikely that brands are only now waking up to the dark corners...

Despite Calls for Quality, Publishers Can’t Escape the Scale Trap
Condé Nast exec and Interactive Advertising Bureau chairman Jim Norton got a hero’s reception at the IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting in January when he called on brands to make sure their ads only appear next to quality editorial content in the face of clickbait and fake news. Quality may be the rallying cry of 2017, but scale is far from dead in digital media.

BuzzFeed Bets Big on Original Shows for Platforms
Last Sunday, BuzzFeed launched the second season of its food-centric web series “Worth It” on Facebook and YouTube. The show features a trio of hosts testing out food at three different price points — affordable, middle-tier and luxury — and grading which of the items was most worth its price.

How The Atlantic is Scrambling to Keep Readers on Its Own Site
The Atlantic has spread its articles across platforms, from Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn. It was one of the first publishers to launch on Facebook Instant Articles, and embraced Google’s counterpart, Accelerated Mobile Pages. It credits moves like that with a 30 percent increase in its digital audience and 20 percent increase in revenue last year. Now, it’s doubling down on its efforts to make direct connections with readers. It has made a series of moves to make more regular readers out of people and ultimately, get more people to subscribe.

How Instagram Fueled the Whole30 Diet Craze
When Rachael Genson’s friend first told her about the Whole30 program in January, she quickly shrugged it off. After all, the Austin-based PR manager had been against fad diets her entire life. But barely six months later, she was scrolling through her Instagram feed when she decided to give it a go. “My biggest impetus was their highly engaged Instagram community,” she said. “I realized that it was less a typical diet and more an educational program on how to have a better relationship with food.”

How Tumblr is Quietly Supporting Fashion Creatives
Valentine Uhovski is a former fashion journalist who has been quietly helping brands and young creatives make the most of Tumblr since he joined the company in 2012 as “fashion evangelist” (yes, his real title at the time). “Back [then], it was a different landscape — not as many brands were using Tumblr or other social platforms, so we tried to help them creatively,” he said. Obviously, times have changed. Since its launch in 2007, newer applications like Instagram and Snapchat have overshadowed...

How Do I Get Paid for My Brilliance?: What’s on the Minds of Top Agencies Today?
More than 200 agency executives from shops of all stripes are in Nashville this week for the Digiday Agency Summit to discuss the biggest issues facing them in the space. We asked them to tell us what was on their minds so we could, quite literally, map it out. For some, this isn’t anything new: Agencies, said one agency executive, have been “transforming” for their entire histories.

Fashion Advertising is Out of Ideas
Fashion ads tend to be idealess. Labels are selling an image, not the clothing. Image advertising can still be conceptual, but most fashion ads and campaigns are created by fashion photographers. And most fashion photographers don’t have a clue what an ad “concept” is. To them, a concept is different weird poses...

The Mystery of Ad-Buyer Blacklists
The rise of Breitbart and focused attention on hard-right, fraudulent and fake-news sites have created renewed interest in blacklisting among brand clients, who look to it as a way to make sure their ads aren’t appearing on sites that will embarrass the brand. It’s a tactic not without its issues. Buyers generally have a list of sites...

The Future of AI in Fashion
Like many one-note fashion brands before it, luxury lingerie brand Cosabella wants to become a lifestyle brand. Choosing to branch out into a lifestyle brand is not a new strategy. The more products you offer customers, the more potential sales are on the table. But as Cosabella moves into categories like swimwear, sleepwear, ready-to-wear apparel and athletic apparel, it’s looking past mood boards and runways for inspiration. Cosabella is using artificial intelligence and machine learning to track customer behavior...

How Spotify, Amazon, and Zappos Built Successful Digital Marketplaces
Global marketplaces are hardly a new phenomenon. By circumventing the Silk Road, the long overland trade road that once connected China to the West, European seafarers like Bartolomeu Dias and Vasco da Gama paved a more direct trade route to Asia and its goods.

How Banks and Startups are Reaching the Poorest Americans
For those who earn the least, managing one’s finances can be prohibitively expensive. The lowest income Americans — those who earn less than $31,000 a year — make up 20 percent of the U.S. population. Yet, for many, access to financial services is a luxury. Recent research has shown that many Americans...

The Fraud Fighter: How White Ops Helped Put Ad Waste (and Itself) on the Map
Ad fraud is no longer the media industry’s dirty little secret. December’s report from a little-known web security startup called White Ops of a Russian fraud operation even made cable TV news. “My mom asked me about it,” groaned Scott Knoll, CEO of Integral Ad Science, one of the leading ad fraud detection firms. “That’s when you know it’s jumped the shark.”

5 Reasons Why Taking Programmatic ‘In-house’ Remains a Headache
Netflix has done it. L’Oreal is doing it. And many more are talking about it. As navigating the convoluted online ad ecosystem can be ever treacherous, the number of advertisers taking control of their programmatic buying is growing. A recent survey from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) revealed that 21 percent of members are now buying programmatic in-house...

Inside the Officeless Media Agency Where 75 Percent of the Staff is Female
Throughout his marketing career, Jay Friedman has rarely spent a single day in the office, either at agency Young & Rubicam or his current gig as COO at Goodway Group, a programmatic media planning and buying partner to regional agencies. That may sound strange to people who were brought up in an agency culture that prizes face time and physically being in the office. But Friedman is only one of Goodway’s over 400 employees who work from home across around 40 states outside of its Pennsylvania headquarters.

'There's a Bit of Fatigue': Why Some Brands Are Staying Away From Super Bowl This Year
Super Bowl ads seem to have been a tougher sell this year than usual. Brands including Butterfinger, Toyota, Frito Lay and Taco Bell are sitting the Super Bowl out after years of advertising during the big game. Only 90 percent of Fox’s ad slots for the event were sold out as of early December — a benchmark usually hit in September or October.

Despite the Hype, More Than 30 Percent of Brand Accounts are Dormant on Snapchat
While many big ad spenders have jumped onto the Snapchat, there is much inertia in content creation from brands on this much-hyped platform. Among the 427 brands across nine industry verticals surveyed by research firm L2 in its 2017 report, 64 percent of them set up a presence on Snapchat between January...

Calligraphy, Culture and Humor: The Recipe to Pentel Pens' Instagram Success
A photo-heavy platform like Instagram may seem like an odd place for a pen company to shine, but Pentel of America has cracked the code. While Pentel didn’t see much traction on the platform at first when in joined in 2014, things took a turn last year, during which time the brand witnessing a 328 percent growth on Instagram over the year. Its follower count shot up to over 40,000 followers from 11,000, and it amassed over 51,000 post likes in the process. “Until 2015, we had a very traditional approach, in which we..."

JCPenney Looks to Recreate Success of Sephora Shops with Nike
To power through a period of disappointing sales, JCPenney is hoping another smart store-within-a-store play will boost the department store. The company announced Tuesday that it would open Nike brand shops inside 600 JCPenney locations, which will house an expanded collection of apparel, shoes and accessories.

How Brands are Using 'Featured' Tweets, Twitter's Most Recent Customer Service Tool
From dealing with pesky trolls to legitimate complaints and everything in between, socially savvy brands have leaned on Twitter as a customer service tool for years. In no mood to lose its lead in the area, the platform is extending features it began testing out last summer to a broader range of brands.

As Live Streaming Booms, More Brands Seek Camera-Ready Staff
Brands have enthusiastically embraced live streaming — but not every brand comes camera-ready. Those looking to get started find themselves needing to beg, borrow or hire on-screen talent first. While some companies have tapped TV personalities and agencies to host their broadcasts, others are asking their employees to do it themselves — even those who have never been in front of a camera before. Benefit Cosmetics sent its entire U.K. social team on a one-day media training course...

Advertisers are Cooling on Snapchat Live Stories
With viewership for Snapchat’s Live Stories stagnating, the feature is not a priority for media buyers. In addition to Discover, Live Stories is one of two media-driven features inside the Snapchat app. Available alongside Discover on the Stories and Discover pages, Live Stories provides content curated around different events and topics — everything from a big NBA game to the ongoing conflict in Mosul.

Ad Agencies' New Office Hack: Sit Wherever You Want
When Brian McPartland started interning at IPG Mediabrands’ mobile agency Ansible this summer, he wasn’t hidden away in some corner of the office with the rest of the interns. Instead, he sat in a different seat everyday and regularly rubbed shoulders with the agency’s managing director, Mark Power — ultimately landing a full-time gig.

How Royal Caribbean Cruises Got Its Social Customer Response Time Down to 11 Minutes
Before Royal Caribbean brought social customer care in-house, its agency would flag inquiries from the brand’s social channels, screenshot them, attach them in emails and then wait for up to two hours to get the right approvals to respond. Today, the cruise company answers most of its social customer inquiries...

Pepsi CMO: Marketing Today Involves 'A Veritable Jungle' of Tech
As consumer tastes evolve, they expect more — or different — things from their preferred brands. Few people are more aware of changes in customer demand than PepsiCo North America Beverages CMO Seth Kaufman, who leads the brand’s beverage portfolio of soft drinks, waters, teas and energy drinks in the U.S. Pepsi is responding to these changes by transforming not just its marketing but also its product portfolio.

Four Main Obstacles Brands Have to Adopting VR
Virtual reality is hot right now, at least to hear production and media companies talk about it. The New York Times and DigitasLBi hosted an event on Wednesday, where the Times and four VR studios talked up VR and shared examples of their work. The word “amazing” got thrown around a lot.

100 Million Images: A Day in the Life of Shutterstock’s In-house Curator
Robyn Lange has the job of every curator’s dream. The problem with dreams, though, is that they sometimes risk entering nightmare territory. At Shutterstock and sister site Offset, she’s the person charged with keeping the homepage fresh, filling 30 new image collections each month.

McDonald’s Will Start Auditing its Media Contracts
McDonald’s is hiring auditors to take a thorough look at its nearly $1 billion advertising business, probing into troubling media practices like rebates revealed in the Association of National Advertising’s transparency report. “We are reviewing and auditing everything,” Deborah Wahl, CMO for McDonald’s, told Digiday...

Starting Out: Goodby Silverstein's Rich Silverstein on Acting Like a Pitbull
Rich Silverstein is an ad industry legend. But legends are made, not born. The co-creator of the “Got Milk?” campaign never intended to go into the agency world. Silverstein began his career in graphic design and ended up falling into advertising by chance. Here, the Goodby Silverstein & Partners co-chairman and creative director tells us in his own words how he got into the business...

'They Have the Advantage': What Snapchat's New Deal Means for Media
Snapchat wants to be like TV, and publishers need to adapt. That’s the message from the news that Snapchat no longer wants to share ad revenue with its Discover media partners, according to a report from Recode. Instead, the company will pay licensing fees for the content and keep all the ad revenue — the approach TV networks take.

Apple News is Sending Publishers Traffic, but Not Revenue
A number of publishers say Apple News is sending them a significant traffic boost in the past month, but it’s doing little to help them monetize it. Publishers say traffic has boomed since the mobile news aggregation app was refreshed as part of an iOS 10 update in mid-September. As part of that update, the app was designed to be bolder and include breaking news notifications...

Growing Pains: How Agencies See Snapchat's Ad-sales Approach
As Snapchat’s parent company — recently rechristened Snap Inc. — gets closer to a public offering, ad buyers and brands are questioning whether it can continue to provide a high level of service without becoming inflexible in its sales approach. It’s a familiar narrative. Before Snap, Google and Facebook started ...

'School of Guac': Chipotle Courts Millennials with a Snapchat Show
Struggling to regain its footing after a series of food contamination crises in recent months, Chipotle Mexican Grill has been playing offense on social to try to win scared consumers back. The restaurant chain has settled on Snapchat as a way to get millennials back in their seats. Chipotle is rolling out a weekly show on Snapchat called “School of Guac” to target 13-24-year-old college students. The show, which is basically a slickly produced Snapchat post, is shown at 3 p.m. on Tuesdays.

What Brands Can Learn from McDonald's YouTube Fail
McDonald’s launched its spin-off YouTube channel, Channel Us, last July. But just one year on, it pulled the plug. Fronted by YouTube personalities Oli White and Hazel Hayes, the channel had featured career-centric videos on topics from becoming a vlogger to creating a fashion show. Its aim had been to target, you guessed it, the 16- to-24-year-old demographic. But the young audience faded.

Day in the Life of a Disney Social Content Creator
In a recent viral video, Dug, the talking dog from the Pixar movie “Up,” was brought into the real world. For “Dug in Real Life,” Disney sent a retriever equipped with a talking collar into a park to interact with unsuspecting couples and families. The video was created by Disney’s consumer products and interactive media division, or DCPI, the unit that’s tasked with turning Disney films into mobile-first content for its 200 digital properties, like Disney.com and all social channels, from Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat.

The 5 Most God-Awful Taglines in America
The Great American Tagline is dead — has been for years. The few remaining good American taglines are being hunted down and killed by digital agencies and marketers daily. Even the American Tagline That At Least Makes A Modicum Of Sense is dying. Do you know what is still selling more shoes for Nike...

Internet Mysteries: Why Don't Retargeting Ads Stop After I've Bought the Product?
It’s no secret that ad retargeting is a fairly blunt, if very effective, approach to customer conversion. Many internet users have wondered: Why in the world am I still chased around Facebook and the internet with ads for a pair of sneakers I purchased weeks ago? It would seem all sides lose in that all-too-familiar scenario.

Confessions of an Influencer Agency Exec on Micro-influencers: 'It's All Going to Implode'
Micro-influencers are having a moment in the spotlight, as focus shifts from big-name (and big-cost) social media influencers. A recent survey of 2,500 micro-influencers by Bloglovin’ found 84 percent of small-scale influencers charge under $250 for a branded post on Instagram. By contrast, the same post would set...

How KLM Uses Artificial Intelligence in Customer Service
For better or worse, airlines have treated social media as a critical customer service tool, catering to cranky travelers who tweet their gripes. That willingness has led to a deluge of issues for customer service to address — and created the need to automate it. Take Dutch airline KLM. In a typical week, KLM has to respond to 15,000 social conversations in a dozen different languages.

What Marriott Learned From its Facebook Messenger Missteps
Marriott’s first foray into Facebook Messenger in March 2016 was a complete disaster. Retargeting customers with ads in Messenger rather than their news feeds immediately misfired, with these ads sliding into customers Facebook inboxes to make unsolicited suggestions.

Advertisers Seek Leverage Versus Facebook in Metrics Screw-up
Facebook’s accidental inflation of average video watch time will be used by advertisers as a bargaining chip to pressure Facebook into opening its platform to more third-party measurement providers. In fact, it has already begun. Last Friday, the Association of National Advertisers’ CEO, Bob Liodice, published a blog post calling on Facebook to have its metrics audited and accredited...

Data Ownership Remains an Unsolved Problem Between Agencies and Clients
Data ownership has been contentious since the start of the Web. Everyone — publishers, ad networks, agencies — thinks the other is ripping them off. Data ownership should be bringing our industry together instead of dividing it. There is no question that in many...

MasterCard: 'It’s Hard For Us to Pay Agencies When They're Making Money on the Side'
In the wake of the Association of National Advertisers much-publicized report about agency media-buying practices in the U.S. this summer, marketers seem to finally be waking up to the issue of transparency. Several brands — including J.P. Morgan Chase, General Electric and Sears — are reportedly halting media budgets and conducting outside audits, as reported by Business Insider and the Wall Street Journal. MasterCard is being a little more coy...

What Ad Agencies Will Look Like in 2025
Are you an aspiring 12-year-old copywriter, art director or account executive? First, nice career choices, clueless stupid-heads. Second, you should know that in 10 years, ad agencies are going to look and function a lot differently than they do now. Just a few years ago, there was just one kind of ad agency.

How Creatives Can Learn to Stop Worrying and Love Data
Despite the industry’s move to data-driven marketing, the D word still rankles in some circles. Yet the enlightened know that, if done well, programmatic creative can showcase advertising at its cleverest. More than that, it’s crucial to future-proofing your playbook. “Real” creatives tend to cringe at the idea of using data in their ad campaigns. But this aversion might have more to do with a need for a new definition for data and a new understanding of its role in their creative process than with zealous artistic purity.

Marriott Looks for Social Buzz with Upside-Down Hotel Room
Marriott is turning its hotel room upside down. This week in New York, the hotel chain unveiled the #MGravityRoom, an inverted room designed to showcase its modern new decor. The idea of the experiential marketing ploy is to highlight Marriott’s new room decor by turning one of its rooms upside down.

When Agencies Focus on 'Culture,' They Get Exclusion Instead
When a copywriter applied to a big agency on the West Coast, he was surprised to hear a pretty unusual question asked in an interview: What’s your favorite television show? He answered: “’Scandal.’ Or any Shonda Rhimes show.” The creative director...

‘We Have a Very Dry Sense of Humor’: Inside the TSA’s Instagram Strategy
One collage on the Transportation Security Administration’s Instagram account features a decomposing corpse being passed through screening at the Atlanta International Airport. “This crusty ol’chap is actually a prop from the #TexasChainsawMassacre movie,” reads the caption. “He was screened and sent on his jolly way.”

Tina Fey Congratulates Millennials for Grown-up Firsts in AmEx's Latest Campaign
Did you recently throw your first-ever dinner party? Don’t be surprised if Tina Fey congratulates you on Facebook or Instagram for the achievement. The actress and comedian is the face of American Express’ humorous new social campaign “Everyday Congrats,” aimed at older millennials facing important life milestones, like getting a promotion...

Inside the Murky World of Social Media Influencer Talent Representation
Scott Fisher, who runs an agency that represents social media influencers, recently received an email from a brand client with some disconcerting news: One of the bigger social media influencers on his roster is listed by three different influencer technology platforms in their pitch deck. “We found lots of instances that influencer technology platforms are pitching..."

4 Fashion Brands That Are Getting Creative with Shoppable Video
Shoppable video has been around in various guises since the early 2010s. Its appeal for brands is pretty obvious: closing the gap between moments of inspiration and actually clicking “buy.” More recently, brands have been stepping up their shoppable content as the technology has become more sophisticated and the companies behind it more moneyed.

Here Are Some Recent Ads That Don't Suck
Summer’s over; it’s time to reflect. This has been the absolute worst year in advertising creativity I’ve ever seen. Yes, I said the same thing last year and the year before that and so on. It’s the continuing deepening devolution of creative advertising. The June Cannes winners were solidly mediocre lion crap; scam entries were up, originality was way down.

Influencers Weigh In on YouTube's 'Censorship' Controversy
With a change in YouTube’s content moderation system, a tussle has broken out between the platform and a faction of its creators. Controversy erupted last Wednesday, when YouTube creator Philip DeFranco — with 4.5 million subscribers on his channel — uploaded a video titled “YouTube Is Shutting Down My Channel and I’m Not Sure What To Do” in which he claimed flagged about 40...

The Art of FOMO: Inside Rimmel London's Snapchat Strategy
FOMO, the fear of missing out, is rife on social media. It’s also one of the secret ingredients powering Rimmel London’s success on Snapchat. In the six months since the beauty brand joined the platform, it has been experimenting with live, exclusive content. Elodie Levy, global digital director at Rimmel’s parent company Coty Inc., said the team wanted to find a way for its big announcements to make waves outside of the U.K.

Day in the Life: How Match Group North America CEO Uses Data to Make Connections
In Match Group North America’s Dallas, Texas-based headquarters, the names of the meeting rooms are enough to signal it’s not your average office: Love Shack, One Night Stand, First Base. There are also walls adorned with wedding invitations and baby announcements from grateful former users.

Candy Brands Mourn Gene Wilder with Tweets
News of actor Gene Wilder’s death hit the Internet yesterday. Since then, tributes to the “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” star have been pouring in from colleagues, fans and — inevitably — confectionary brands. During his long career, Wilder was known for many films including the Oscar-nominated “Young Frankenstein”...

Gatorade is Running a Serena Williams Snapchat Video Game Ad
Gatorade is pushing the boundaries of Snapchat with a video game ad tied to the U.S. Open. The old-school tennis game features 22 levels with each representing one of Serena Williams’ Grand Slam wins. Level 23 will unlock on September 10, the day of the Women’s Finals, should Williams win.

As Whatsapp Starts Sharing Data with Facebook, Some Brands See Dollar Signs
In an about-face that rankled many of its core users this week, mobile messaging service WhatsApp announced it would relax its strident privacy restrictions. The company will soon begin sharing some of its users’ information — such as their phone numbers — with Facebook, which bought WhatsApp in 2014. The announcement was viewed as a betrayal by users who...

'Yass Queen': Honest Tea Uses Influencers and BuzzFeed to Reach Young Moms
When Dan went on his first date with Krystal, he was on crutches. And she was dressed like a clown. While that may not sound like an auspicious start to a relationship, the two lovebirds ended up staying up all night. They, along with two other couples, share their first-date experiences in a BuzzFeed ad for Honest Tea called “Couples Get Refreshingly Honest About How They Met.”

Inside the Agency: Grey London's Ideas Factory
Leo Rayman’s copy of “Creativity Inc,” the book by Pixar president Ed Catmull, is covered in marginalia. Like a student jotting down notes around the edges of his text, the newly appointed CEO of Grey London wants to master the formula of good ideas. According to him, they are as much about the process as the end product. “It’s really important to spend as much time talking about..."

Inside the Making of an Olympics Meme That Was Viewed 45 Million Times
If there was a meme Olympics, this might get the gold medal. Media network Cycle’s clip showing U.S. gymnast Simone Biles starting a tumbling routine that takes her “all the way up” into outer space is one of the breakout memes of the Olympics. The original tweet got over 5,500 likes and retweets — and that doesn’t count the people it reached in the farthest corners of the internet on other platforms...

Two Months In, Twitter's Emoji Targeting Hasn't Taken Off...Yet
When you tweet any of these summer emojis — 😎 👙 ☀️ 🍻 🌊 🌴 — you will get customized GIF animations from @coronaextrausa featuring your emojis and a branded Corona Extra bottle emoji, ending with the hashtag #RaiseSummer. This is the beer brand’s first emoji-targeting campaign that is rolling out this week. “Emoji targeting on Twitter helps us catch the summer spirit in a fun way. When we learned this new feature, we told Corona that let’s be the first one to do this because of the novelty,” said Rodrigo Butori...

How You, Too, Can Start #winning at Social Media
Congrats! You’re a brand on social media. You’re mingling with the public, listening to them and talking to them. They treat you — a product owned by a company owned by a corporation owned by an even bigger corporation — like a living human being. You’re their friend. Bang the gong. Ah, but how do you stay friends? It’s a never-ending 24/7 commitment to the proactive ideation of authentic content. Easier said than done. What you need, brand, is a plan. And here’s a tried and tested four-step scheme...

Posting a GIF Gets Agency Exec a Smackdown by Olympics Brand Police
As the world hurdles into week two of the Olympics, it pays to remain mindful of ongoing Rule 40 crackdowns by the International Olympic Committee. Ian Schafer, CEO of digital agency Deep Focus, learned this the hard way when he became a target of the IOC’s ire this morning. The Olympic governing body disabled a tweet it claimed violated Rule 40 code...

Performance Pricing Fails to Catch on in Influencer Marketing
Cost-per-engagement is seen by many agencies and influencer networks as a more transparent pricing model. Agency RPA recently tested CPE for a big consumer product client for the first time, where it collaborated with more than 40 Instagram creators — whose followers range from 2,500 to over 165,000 — on two campaigns. This experiment over-delivered on the campaign...

There is Now a Conference for Emojis
Simple smile. Slightly smiling face. Cat heart eyes. See no evil. Emoji conference 2016. 🎟 Emoji your heart ❤️ out at Emojicon, the first-ever “conference” for emoji aficionados, taking place in San Francisco 🌉 in November.✈️ Because you can never have enough emojis, the conference is a multi-day celebration hosted by the California College of the Arts and features speakers...

Demand Media Tries to Remake Its Content Farm Image For a Social Era
Demand Media has become a cautionary tale for early internet companies that soared, only to come crashing down to earth once the rest of the web caught up. With its low-cost content-farm strategy, it became the 17th biggest web property in the U.S. in 2010, with 105 million unique visitors until changes in Google’s algorithm dinged it and caused its value to crash. Demand has gone through a number of failed editorial pivots, but it has kept trying. Under CEO Sean Moriarty, who joined 18 months ago...

How Fast-food Chain Jack in the Box Responds to 25,000 Social Mentions a Month
Responding to complaints about soggy fries or wrong burger orders may seem like a job from hell, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be painful when done the right way. That’s what fast-food restaurant Jack in the Box realized when it shut down all its customer care call centers, bringing customer service entirely online a year ago. “Customer service has been a focus throughout, but a..."

Lollapalooza Filters and Live Stories: Inside Toyota’s Snapchat Strategy
Snapchat’s a natural for some brands, not so much for others. The struggle for Toyota is finding the right message. As Snapchat’s ad push gets increasingly aggressive, it’s getting harder for individual brands to cut through the noise. Last week, the brand ran the platform’s first geofilter that doubled as a ticket.

With 8.6 Million Followers, Nike's Jordan Brand is a Slam Dunk on Instagram
Last week, the Michigan Wolverines became the first college football team to be outfitted by Nike’s Jordan Brand. The decision to unveil the new uniforms last Tuesday coincided with the launch of Instagram Stories, a feature that lets users post photos and videos that disappear 24 hours later — just like Snapchat.

Rainbow Bagels and Pizza Rat: Inside Play-Doh's Branded-Content Strategy
In a time when kids learn to swipe before they can walk, you’d be forgiven for thinking squishing Play-Doh is no longer a rite of passage. But the Hasbro brand has found a way to make itself relevant to both kids and their parents through an array of creative branded content. One way the brand has done this is by capitalizing on current events.

The Programmatic-Creative Divide Persists
If programmatic is from Mars, creative is from Venus. Despite the rise of programmatic advertising as a major way ads are bought and optimized, advertisers, agency execs and tech vendors grumble that little headway has been made in merging creative and programmatic, something that’s been talked about for years.

The Worst Ads from the Biggest Brands in the Last Three Months Alone
Ya’d think in 2016 that the supposedly smartest CMOs in the world would be able help produce, if not great ads, at least not complete garbage, wouldn’t ya? If so, ya’d be wrong. I have never seen so many bad big-brand ads within such a short span (about three months). I’m seriously advising you to not watch any of these, not even for five seconds.

How 6 Small Agencies are Getting Creative With Team Building This Summer
Ah, summer. It’s the season of office shorts, lax Fridays and … trust falls. The agency retreat is an opportunity for teams to regroup and strengthen bonds before clients come calling. And they’re not just for the big guys: The smaller agencies are disrupting summer, too. From hackathons to group runs, agencies of all sizes are getting increasingly innovative with ideas intended...

Silence Isn't Golden: The Case for Office Music at Agencies
Agencies don’t just show what they represent through their awesome office spaces but through what they listen too as well. When digital agency Poke left its East London office 18 months ago to join other Publicis Groupe agencies on Baker Street, much of its defining culture was tied up in a building that couldn’t move with it, with the exception of its radio system.

Why Snapchat Bought Bitmoji, and What Brands Should Know
Rumors around Snapchat’s acquisition of the popular app Bitmoji had been swirling for months. But yesterday, the photo sharing platform made it public. Bitmoji has gained a word-of-mouth following since its launch in January 2015. Back then, it ranked under 1,000 on the iOS downloads in the U.S. It has since climbed steadily to yesterday’s position of sixth in the App Store, helped along the way by celebs like Victoria Beckham and Seth Rogan.

Jaguar Shifts Into High Gear in Virtual Reality
For some, virtual reality is a PR gimmick. For Jaguar, it’s a technology that is driving results. At this year’s Wimbledon tournament, the brand created its first VR campaign, #FeelWimbledon, which let users experience hitting a winning shot as champion (and Jaguar ambassador) Andy Murray himself. According to Robert Herd, head of communications...

Timeline Gold: How 5 Brands Are Using Social Data Creatively
In the age of ad blocking, brands are racing to create content that will get users opting in rather than out. Personalization is a crucial part of this. And brands are mining users’ social feeds — be it Twitter, Facebook or Instagram — to create more meaningful, and tailored, campaigns.

The Agency View on Business Cards: ‘They've Just Become Obsolete’
Agencies like making their business cards as creative as their pitch decks. But individual ad executives found that those rectangle cards — that specify their name, title, contact information (perhaps with a cool design) — have no place in their networking efforts. Sung Chang, evp and chief creative officer for agency...

Denny’s Fluffs Up Digital to Sell Its New Pancakes
The breakfast wars just got a whole lot fluffier. Fifty percent fluffier, to be exact. Denny’s is rolling out 50 percent fluffier pancakes across its over 1,700 locations this week, and announcing the move — made with a nod to the growing demand for fresher ingredients...

The Pokemon Go Effect: Agencies Pile on the Craze
Turns out, nobody is immune. Pokémon Go is the hottest augmented reality mobile game in the world. Players catch and train special creatures called Pokémon. It has become nothing less than a cultural sensation in the blink of an eye. Agencies are no exception. Ad agencies are using emerging channels like Slack to manage the game frenzy, while some already started integrating...

As Pokémania Rages, the Nintendo Brand Soars
For those not yet wandering around the neighborhood glued to your phone screen, Pokémon Go is an augmented reality mobile game unveiled last Thursday that allows players to collect virtual Pokémon in real-world environments, trade with other players and even battle it out in the streets.

3 Ways Amazon Will Up Its Prime Day Strategy This Year
Last year, Amazon shoppers tweeted their disappointment over the much-hyped deals for Prime Day, the retailer’s first self-made shopping holiday. Amazon’s day of discounts, meant to rival Black Friday and Cyber Monday, was called a “mish mosh of crap,” a “garage sale” and “trash.” Still, Amazon Prime Day is back, with more deals, on July 12. “Amazon is notoriously tight-lipped, but they’re also extraordinarily disciplined..."

'The Hacker Mentality': The New Sets of Skills Agency Execs Seek Today
With the rapid advancements in marketing and technology in recent years, the skills and traits necessary to excel in an agency setting look different from what they were even just five years ago. We asked agency execs across account, design, strategy...

Why Stella Artois is Going Big on Mobile Video
When Stella Artois vp Harry Lewis is reviewing a creative, he doesn’t want surround sound or 4K video. Instead, he’ll watch it on his smartphone. That’s because it’s precisely how most people are going to end up experiencing the creative: As TV viewership stagnates, mobile video is on the up.

Agencies are Afflicted with the Busyness Disease
If you work at an agency, you’re pretty much 100 percent guaranteed to experience a variation of the following conversation in the next few months: “How’s it going?” “Busy.” “Well, a good problem to have.” What you’re experiencing is a symptom of an affliction that plagues agencies across the boards: a “busy trap” mentality that prizes busywork over real productivity.

Why Publishers' Engagement Metrics are All Over the Map
Publishers are increasingly relying on engagement measurements to show their ability to reach audiences on Facebook. But it’s getting harder to tell what engagement really means: measurement is all over the map because analytics firms used by publishers vary in their approach. One firm, Crowdtangle, measures interactions on all content types...

Ultralight Theft: Forever 21 Slammed for Copying Kanye West's Life of Pablo Shirts
Forever 21’s brand of imitating pricey fashion trends and reproducing them at scale is coming back to bite it. The fast fashion brand has apparently sensed an opportunity in — or suffered a major bout of FOMO from — Kanye West’s popular Life of Pablo clothing line, which reportedly pulled in nearly a million dollars in just two days at its New York pop-up back in March. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Forever 21 is coming off as incredibly sincere with a West-inspired t-shirt, complete with Olde English-script.

When Brands and Influencers Screw Up
Influencer marketing continues to heat up on Instagram thanks to the platform’snew algorithm that rewards brands’ relationships with social media stars. But brands and the influencers themselves often run into problems in the still-nascent area thanks to miscommunication, inexperience and conflicting objectives. There are even instances in which influencers simply copy...

Day in the Life: SoulCycle's Brand Chief Takes Us 'Sweatworking'
While it’s not a requirement for SoulCycle employees to ride every day, it’s basically a necessity for Gabby Etrog Cohen. “Being connected to the brand is very important,” Cohen told Digiday of her habit riding five days a week. And if there’s anyone that should...

Intel Becomes the First Brand to Publish on Facebook's Instant Articles
The distinction between marketers and publishers is getting increasingly blurred. Facebook, which created Instant Articles a year ago to make publishers’ articles load faster, is now giving that tool to brands. Intel is the first to take advantage, posting content from its digital tech-focused publication, iQ...

Brands are Counseling the Young and the Traumatized Through Their #QuarterlifeCrisis
You got your first gray hair even as you still live paycheck-to-paycheck. Congratulations, you’ve got the quarterlife-crisis blues. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The term has gained currency in recent years, as young adults enter that awkward phase of no longer being children while not yet being fully functioning, self-sustaining members of society.

Confessions of a Publisher: Rebates 'Drive a Lot of Buying Decisions'
Last week, the ANA dropped its much-anticipated report on the practice of rebates, or kickbacks, that media sellers pay agencies for steering clients’ dollars their way — without fully disclosing it to the clients. While the report focused largely on non-transparent practices by the agencies, for this Digiday Confessions...

Subway Plans to Spend Big in Digital with 150-Person Team
Subway is the latest fast-food chain that wants to become more like a tech company. The company is assembling a digital team of 150 full-time employees over the next two years, with some coming from consulting company Accenture. The sandwich chain will still use agencies to produce content, while the 150-person team will...

No 'Fish Handshakes,' Please: How Not to Mess Up Your Next Ad Agency Interview
Want to land that agency gig? You think you may have done your homework but, with one inadvertent error, you may end up completely blowing your chances. We asked top agency execs to share their ad agency interivew tips — and some not-so-pleasant memories interviewing prospective employees, both for starting level and senior positions. Tl;dr: Have confident body language...

'A Calculated Risk': Why Agencies are Making Social-Justice Documentaries
Alfred Lomas was once among the most notoriously dangerous men in L.A. But in “License to Operate,” the former gang leader tells the story of how he linked up with fellow gang veterans to break the cycle of violence. The documentary is gritty, searing and intense. But it’s not currently in any theaters — nor is it an investigative Netflix original. “License to Operate” was made by an advertising agency. The documentary is the brainchild of Mike Wallen, chief content officer of the L.A.-based agency Omelet. Wallen was working on short pro-bono video for the organization A Better Los Angeles, but he and the short film’s other producers soon realized that it was far too compelling a story. “It was a calculated risk and a hefty investment for us but also a passion project,” said Wallen.

The New Video from Band of Horses is Also Branded Content for Sonos
The phrase "dad rock" as an epithet for music made by/for square dudes who were probably hip in their twenties has, mercifully, gone out of style in the two years since it was minted. But it's not really a put-down to describe the new Band Of Horses track, "Whatever, Wherever" with the phrase—it's just accurate. The song is built around the group's signature harmonies, light melodies...

Why Starbucks' Secret 'Pink Drink' is Becoming an Instagram Sensation
Starbucks’ marketing has the ability to drive people crazy (see: last year’s red cup backlash and awkward barista conversations around race). But the latest viral phenomenon to come from the java slinger arose organically online, among tea-hacking fans. It’s called a “Pink Drink,” an off-the-menu beverage hack concocted by the internet, which swaps out water with coconut milk in a Strawberry Acai Refresher tea. That sounds nasty, but apparently it’s not, given the internet’s obsession with it.

Game, Set, Match: Wimbledon Inks a Three-Year Deal with Snapchat
Wimbledon has a long, proud history as the home of British tennis. It is also, to be fair, a bit stuffy. Enter Snapchat, naturally. The tournament, which kicks off June 27, has inked a three-year deal with the hot messaging platform to have a temporary home in in Snapchat Live section for the U.K., starting this month. The Live Story will compile snaps from people attending the qualifiers...

This Hack Brings 'Screenshot Commerce' to Snapchat
Snapchat is not an easy app to crack for brands and publishers looking to incorporate it into their digital sales strategies. It’s not as beautifully curated as Instagram, as easy to attract followers as Twitter, or as seamlessly shareable as Facebook. But there’s always a hack.

What Cadbury Learned Spending Half of One Brand's Digital Budget on Snapchat
Some teens weren’t even alive when Cadbury aired its last TV ad for brand Crunchie back in 2000. But recently, the chocolate bar has been all over its spiritual home, Snapchat. The marketing push is part of Cadbury’s long-term “Obey Your Mouth” campaign, which launched on May 11. Sales of chocolate snacks have been...

Facebook's Using Its Muscle to Remake the Ad Tech World
Ad tech ate the world, but Facebook is eating ad tech, at least from the perspective of the industry that was born before the social network began dominating internet advertising. Last week alone, Facebook shut down its last pure programmatic ad exchange FBX, put the final nail in the LiveRail platform, and expanded...

SoFi’s Joanne Bradford: ‘Money is the Last Taboo Subject’
Joanne Bradford has a long history in digital media, with top jobs on the sales side at Microsoft, Yahoo and, most recently, Pinterest. Following her departure from Pinterest last June, she opted out of the sell side of media and instead entered the hot space of “fintech,” where technology businesses are trying to barge into the stodgy and lucrative world of financial services.

While the #PostItWars Rage, the Post-it Brand Soars
These days, the best advertising often isn’t even advertising at all. What started off as friendly banter involving Post-it notes and a handful of agencies on New York City’s Canal Street has become a viral global phenomenon, reaching as far as Manchester and Tokyo. But through all the displays of multicolored artwork, the biggest winner in the “Post-it war” has been the Post-it brand.

Why So Many Brands are Making Documentaries
Atlanta based hip-hop artist Stic Ibomu reformed his eating ways when he turned vegan. His story is one of five that food brand MorningStar Farms chronicles in its new docu-series “The Veg Effect,” which is trying to get people to eat more vegetables. The Kellogg’s brand is not alone. With the ascent of on-demand video...

'Useless Artifacts': Why Brands Keep Making Emoji Keyboards
In recent months, more and more brands have been hoping that during a casual conversation with friends, people will forego hearts and smiley faces in favor of a Burger King chicken-fries emoji or maybe one of a curly-haired woman using Dove’s shampoo. Turns out, that might not really be how regular people speak. In the past year, 250-plus brands have made their own emoji keyboards.

How to Sell Insurance to Young People on Snapchat
There are certain youth-focused brands that no one is surprised to see on Snapchat, whether it’s behind the scenes footage from Marc Jacobs, or sponsored lenses from Taco Bell. What you don’t expect to see, though, are snaps from insurance companies. Snapchat is sexy, insurance isn’t. But Danish insurance company Alka has had success on the platform, having just finished a three-month campaign posting weekly Live Stories...

Kiss and Make Up: Why Marketers Have a Love-Hate Relationship with Influencers
Brands and agencies have a love-hate relationship with social influencers. They love influencers because those content creators can help change the way companies communicate with their audience. But when marketers hand the keys of a brand over to influencers, they sometimes learn the hard way...

How Taco Bell Made That Terrifying Taco Snapchat Lens for Cinco de Mayo
Taco Bell is letting everyone live out their secret Cinco de Mayo wishes by becoming a taco. To celebrate the holiday, Taco Bell purchased its first selfie lens that transforms people’s heads into giant crunchy tacos with a dollop of the chain’s Diablo spicy sauce dribbled on top. The filter — all crunchy head-shell and bulging eyes — is terrifying sane people...

BuzzFeed is Building a Video Empire on Food Porn
BuzzFeed’s Tasty video channel hasn’t just become a model for other food publishers (not to mention parodies), but for BuzzFeed itself. Less than a year after it launched with an experimental recipe video, Tasty has become the driver of video views at the company, with 53.6 million likes (its rapid ascent made it look like...)

Carrot and Stick: How Ars Technica Cut Its Ad-Block Rate from 40% to 25%
For Condé Nast-owned tech site Ars Technica ad blocking isn’t new: It has been dealing with the issue for more than a decade. The digital media brand was in a position where ad-blocking rates had reached as high as 40 percent around five years ago. Now it has beaten that figure down to 20-25 percent by deploying what’s increasingly become the standard mix of approaches...

Twitter Now Bills Itself a News App, Not a Social Network
Eagle-eyed Twitter users have noticed that it’s now categorizing itself very differently in the Apple App Store. In an update yesterday, Twitter now sits in the News category rather than Social Networking. The move shifts it away from its competitors like Facebook, Snapchat and Kik.

The Rise of 'Micro-Influencers' on Instagram
There’s such a thing as being too popular. It turns out that once a social media influencer reaches a critical mass of followers, audience engagement actually begins to decrease. A survey of 2 million social media influencers by influencer marketing platform Markerly showed that for unpaid posts...

Winners and Losers of Facebook's Latest Algorithm Changes
Facebook’s latest clickbait purge is going to have ripple effects for publishers. The social giant is putting an emphasis on articles that are important to people and recognizing that clicks, shares and comments aren’t necessarily the best indicators of that. “The core change in the Facebook paradigm is that engagement..."

Digital Agency Fuel Turns its Portfolio into a Gamified Treasure Hunt on Instagram
Digital agency Fuel has gamed Instagram — literally — by turning its portfolio into a gamified treasure hunt on the platform. Fuel’s Instagram page looks and feels like a pinball machine, with 15 different images stitched together into one big picture. Six of these 15 image tabs are visual easter eggs, that users can click through to see the agency’s work and projects. To create the portfolio, Fuel hacked Instagram’s tagging feature, creating a series of linked pictures that lead to six of its projects, each of which have their own accounts. Users can click through to explore the agency’s work on behalf of clients like Disney, Hasbro, Microsoft and Star Wars and even find mini-videos describing them. When you click on the square image with the Mickey Mouse ears, for example...

'Things Don't Go Viral By Themselves': Inside the Social Media Manager Cabal
It turns out that spontaneous-seeming conversations between brands on social media are often anything but. When Savannah Peterson, director of innovation strategy for product development and design firm Speck Design, creates a piece of content for her company, she often sends a “Check it out” message to her friends — who are social media managers at other brands and agencies.

With Sales on the Rocks, Absolut Turns to Mobile and Social
While whiskeys are booming — sales were up 8 percent last year, according to Distilled Spirits Council — vodka sales were flat. Absolut, in particular, saw a 5 percent sales decline in its biggest market, the U.S., its 2014-2015 annual report shows. Now, Absolut is boosting marketing to combat this spend...

Take Off Your Headphones: Agency Offices Go Eerily Quiet
The strangest thing about walking into an agency these days is that you can hear a pin drop. The confluence of open-floor plans, rampant headphone use, and a generation of phone-averse millennials has created a workplace where silence, not noise, is the new normal. Ironically, the library-like environments can be traced, in no small part, to agencies latching onto trendy ideas...

Engaging Content: A Bespoke Examination of the Linguistic Assault on 'Advertising'
(You’re about to see way more “scare quotes” than you’ve ever seen in your life. If you’re already feeling queasy, please, close tab.) We all know by now that advertising is no longer “advertising.” It’s “content.” But it’s not just “content.” It’s “organic” content. Or “authentic” content. Or “holistic” content — which is apparently different than “integrated” content. Or “optimized” content. Or “bespoke” content. (You think I’m making that up?)

'People's BS Detectors are High': Brands Have Given Consumers Cause Fatigue
In the run-up to Earth Day last year, Megan Marshall and her team at Olson Chicago sat facing executives from one of the biggest consumer brands and held an intervention: The brand wanted to tie an Earth Day event into its veteran’s charity. Marshall balked. Customers had reached peak cause fatigue. “A lot of brands think, ‘let’s tie in with a day like Earth Day, do an event..."

How Color IQ, Sephora's Shade-Matching Skin Care Tool, Boosts Brand Loyalty
At Sephora, employees are equipped with a handheld device that, when held to the face, scans the surface, capturing a person’s exact skin tone and matching it with a combination of numbers and letters from an existing “shade library.” The resulting four-digit code is a Sephora customer’s Color IQ. The program was created in 2012 in collaboration with the Pantone Color Institute...

Inside Ralph Lauren's Connected Fitting Rooms
Ralph Lauren’s Fifth Avenue flagship store in Manhattan is home to connected fitting rooms that merge digital technology with in-store retail, meant to both remove friction from the customer experience and help the retailer make smarter merchandising decisions. Since the new smart-mirror fitting rooms were installed in November by retail technology platform Oak Labs...

ModCloth Wants to Shake Up the Bridal Gown Industry
Consumers craving immediate satisfaction aren’t only looking to buy what they see on the runway as soon as it debuts. They’re also causing change within the traditional bridal-wear industry. “The notion of buying a gown in the store and then waiting several months for it to be complete is becoming less appealing today,” said Nicole Haase, vp and general merchandising manager at ModCloth. “People in this day and age want to buy something and have it delivered quickly. They want convenience, speed and to still feel amazing about their wedding dress. The shopping pattern has shifted.” In March, ModCloth, the online retailer for indie brands and vintage-inspired clothing, launched its bridal line for brides-to-be. The focus is on trend-driven, original dresses at a more affordable price than what’s offered in traditional bridal chains and boutiques.

Here's How Pinterest is Pitching Advertisers
Pinterest’s pitch to brands is getting more sophisticated, with targeting tools, fancier ads, and more robust e-commerce tie-ins. A pitch deck obtained by Digiday shows that the social media site, where people digitally scrapbook their IRL aspirations, is going after big-money brands with a full suite of ad offerings.

Michigan Woman Relinquishes Dr. Pepper Twitter Handle in Exchange for Water Donation
Rather than shaking down a brand for tons of money for a social media account, a Michigan woman is going the altruistic route. Diana Hussein has been squatting on the @DietDrPepper Twitter handle since 2009, telling the Detroit Free Press she chose it during the platform’s early days because the soda was the nearest thing on her desk and she was not expecting that Twitter would become a marketing tool. Fast forward seven years and seemingly every brand in the world has a personified Twitter account. Hussein said she’s been trying to offload the account...

'The Right Amount of Craic': Inside Jameson's Social Strategy
Irish Whiskey has attracted legions of American drinkers in recent years, who prefer its light-bodied sweetness to scotch’s smokiness and the rounder contours of bourbon. Riding that wave is Jameson, the blended Irish whiskey produced by Pernod Ricard. The brand has received shoutouts from Lady Gaga and Rihanna...

From Coca-Cola to Barbie: The Fierce Rise of Gender-Neutral Advertising
When Mattel’s highly anticipated limited-edition Moschino Barbie hit the shelves last November, the collection sold out in less than an hour. But far more groundbreaking than the sales was the video that promoted the collaboration between Barbie and the Italian fashion house. For the first time in 56 years...

Brands Aren't Using Facebook Canvas, but Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz Are
Brands have been relatively slow to pick up on Canvas, Facebook’s mobile ad format that’s been called “Instant Articles for brands.” But there are two other surprising fans of the format. Presidential hopefuls Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz have both made a full-court advertising push using Canvas...

The Go-To Ad Joke Is -- Still -- the White Male Moron
The objectification of women in advertising has been drastically reduced in the last 10 years, replaced by a wave of empowering “Femvertising.” And more and more brands are featuring gay and interracial couples in their ads. It’s a beautiful thing.

Rent the Runway's Bringing Access-over-Ownership to High-end Fashion
The “sharing economy” — it’s really about access over ownership — has moved from cab rides and vacation homes to luxury fashion. Rent the Runway’s Unlimited service, which lets customers rent three items at one time for the cost of $139 a month, officially launched Wednesday after two years in beta.

How Mack Weldon Doubled Underwear Sales Through Podcast Advertising
Men don’t feel comfortable talking about their underwear because it’s personal. But men like hearing underwear jokes in podcasts because they are relatable. That’s an observation from Collin Willardson, marketing manager for Mack Weldon. The New York-based men’s underwear brand has been experimenting...

As Social Stars Gain Influence, the Brand Mascot Becomes an Endangered Species
Kevin Jonas, the eldest brother in former Disney star boy band the Jonas Brother, posted a Snapchat video where he challenged Burger King’s fiery chicken fries. He then reposted a screenshot featuring his twisted face to Instagram. “I thought I could handle the heat, I was wrong!” he wrote in the caption.

How Maple Built An Insanely Efficient, Chipotle-Crushing Food Delivery Machine
Maple, a David Chang-backed restaurant in New York City, doesn’t have any tables, cash registers, or waiters. Instead, its customers order meals through its website or mobile app, and a fleet of bike couriers deliver them. By eliminating the dining room and bringing meals to you, Maple is betting that it can sell more meals...

Where Twitter Stands with the Ad World on Its 10th Birthday
Twitter is a decade old today. And like many 10-year-olds, the platform is deep in the throes of growing pains. Twitter’s business prospects are still a source of concern for investors, and some sectors of the ad world have pulled back spending. While Twitter’s core proposition of conversations around real-time...

Confessions of a Media Buyer: 'Nobody Wants to Rock the Boat'
Media buyers may be the most frustrated people in digital advertising right now. In our latest confessions, in which we trade anonymity for honesty, we spoke to a senior media buyer at a major agency about why client education is such an uphill battle. Q: What about advertising frustrates you most right now?

Gatorade Expands into Digital Fitness with Smart-cap Bottle Design
The global market for wearable fitness technology is estimated to reach $12.44 billion by 2022, a trend that isn’t missed by brands that target athletes, from Adidas to Under Armour — and now Gatorade. As athletes are increasingly using wearable devices to track diet, measure heart rate and time training...

Octopuses Are In, Cats Are Out: How Viral Editors Find the Internet's Next Big Obsession
What works now on the Internet probably won’t resonate in a year or two. That’s life in the fast lane of viral publishing. To survive and thrive, a new class of viral editors has emerged, steeped in data and easily at home in the dingy corners of 4chan, ready to package together viral videos or come up with catchy headline conventions some would consider clickbait.

How Agencies are Wooing Ex-Staffers to Return
Danny Cashin began his agency career as an intern at Atlanta-based Brown Bag Marketing in 2009, joining the agency full-time as a project manager the following year. After three years at the agency, he took off for a client-side gig, followed by a role...

The Lost Art of the Billboard
These days, billboards are viewed as, mostly, for local businesses only. Bull. Brands, if you took just a small part of your worthless social media budget and put up one billboard in a high-visibility spot, you’d see some big-ass ROI in awareness and sales. But here’s the catch: It has to be a great billboard that also sells...

Facebook Will Soon Let You Disable Seeing All Notifications for Live Videos
Relief is on the way. If you’ve noticed an influx of Facebook notifications from brands or publishers every time they kick off a live video stream, you’re not alone. The alerts, pushing people to watch broadcasts from the new live streaming capability Facebook Live, have been happening with such frequency that it’s been driving people crazy. Now, Facebook has revealed to Digiday that it’s working on a new setting that lets users disable all notifications for live video, to be rolled out in the next few weeks. While brands and publishers experimenting with the new video tool may not love the news, Facebook says it will prevent live videos from fading completely away from the News Feed after the fact.

Poised for Growth: Reddit Swears It's Not Too Scary for Brands
There is no less-predictable playground than Reddit. Try to manipulate public opinion there, and you’re bound to be called out. Throw caution to the crowd, and you might get mobbed. Reddit, after all, is the place that recently tore down Comedy Central host Larry Wilmore because users there didn’t like how his show treated science guy Bill Nye — months before. Equal parts circus and minefield, Reddit never forgets.

Think Digital Ads Don't Work? You're Bad at Math
Like a perennial weed, a prickly advertising grump has once again sprung up, claiming the flower of all digital advertising — the banner ad! — doesn’t work. This week an anonymous media CEO, whom for narrative purposes we’ll call “Deep Throat,” told Digiday that marketers are squandering millions on online ad formats...

Brands Are Using Emojis More Than Ever, Research Confirms
You’re not just imagining things: Brands are using emojis in tweets and Facebook posts more than ever. Six in 10 of the 500 most followed brands online used emojis in its tweets in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to social media analytics firm SocialBakers. That’s up from the same period in 2014...

Girl Scouts' Mention in the Oscars was Worth $5.5 Million in Free Advertising
And the award for best random brand exposure goes to … the Girl Scouts. During last night’s Oscars ceremony, the three-and-a-half-hour program was filled to the brim with commercials from Samsung, Android and Cadillac, but it was a non-profit organization that didn’t spend a penny advertising that raked in millions in free exposure. “I want you to reach into your millionaire pockets..."

IPG’s Golin Buys Creative Agency The Brooklyn Brothers
Interpublic Group’s Golin has snapped up creative agency The Brooklyn Brothers in an attempt to bolster its PR expertise with marketing skillsets steeped in how paid and earned media work together. The sum of the deal has not been disclosed, though it does span the creative outfit’s offices in the UK, US and Brazil that will see its 130 staff and its Hollywood writing team joint venture...

Agencies Shouldn’t Try to Be VCs or Compete With Google
The rise of programmatic advertising and giant platforms like Google and Facebook has caused many in the agency world to worry about its future. Jonathan Nelson, CEO of Omnicom Digital, takes the optimistic view. Ultimately, platforms can be used for clients’ (and their agencies’) benefits. “I don’t think really great insights and creative go out of style,” he said on this week’s...

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