American Express Targets With Taxi Cabs

American Express plans to run ads on top of 125 taxis in New York City that will change messaging depending on the location of the cabs.

Whenever a cab passes the location of an American Express merchant in the city, the technology will tap into the cab’s GPS system and serve the correct ad for that company on top of the cab. This provides another line of revenue for American Express, which can charge these AmEx-accepting stores for these highly targeted ads. American Express is currently starting up negotiations with selected partners so there are no examples of companies onboard yet, said Joe Bihlmier, vp of global media at American Express. The ads are meant to send the message that American Express is connected with those businesses, he added. American Express doesn’t break down how many partners it has in New York, but the company has 18 million worldwide.

Geotargeting allows American Express to reach its target consumers where they are and serve an ad that is relevant in the moment. If there is no business partner nearby, the cab will show an ad that relates to the neighborhood the taxi cab is driving through. For instance, if a cab is passing through Columbus Circle, the ad would read: “Don’t Columbus Circle without it,” alongside the American Express logo.

Bihlmier said American Express is still learning from and testing this kind of location targeting. While Bihlmier said American Express does not intend on tracking whether consumers’ foot traffic to its merchants increases, it plans on measuring whether use of American Express cards increased in the taxis.

The effort is part of a wider campaign, created by McGarryBowen, and new positioning for American Express that aims to connect with what Bihlmier calls the “hybrid consumer,” people who blend their personal lives with work. American Express commissioned research firm Morning Consult to conduct a survey of 2,000 people to see how many people were living hybrid lives, finding that half of the people surveyed were doing so.

That’s why the cab ads, other out-of-home digital ads and TV spots for the new campaign feature business products alongside consumer products with the messages: “Don’t Live Life Without It” or “Don’t Do Business Without It.” The ads feature people multitasking as well. The company is also serving ads in digital channels that connect life and business like WeTransfer, across mobile, in 20 different podcasts and on Hulu.

Bihlmier said the campaign will be the company’s widest use of geographical targeting to date. American Express has previously used the technology around large-scale events such as Coachella, the U.S. Open golf tournament and the U.S. Open tennis event, mostly through Snapchat geofilters to target Generation Z and millennial attendees with relevant offers.

Overall, out-of-home advertising is becoming a larger piece of American Express’ ad spend, according to Bihlmier, although he wouldn’t reveal specific numbers. This recent push comes as out-of-home advertising, especially digital, has returned to the forefront of the media-buying conversation, thanks to the news last week that Netflix is verging on acquiring Regency Outdoor Advertising for $300 million. The acquisition would guarantee the streaming service premium real estate on billboards in the Los Angeles and Orange County area.

Bihlmier believes digital out-of-home ads that change their messages, like the American Express cab ads, will help the company stand out to the affluent, cosmopolitan audience that the majority of marketers are trying to reach, said Bihlmier.

“We have a complex challenge of trying to reach these very busy and well-targeted people,” said Bihlmier. “So anything we can do to be contextual to the moment will help us break through.”

Source: Digiday
Why it’s hot: Out-of-home advertising is not known to be as efficient as its digital counterpart. Companies taking steps to bring traditional advertising to the digital age are pushing the concept of normal and showing that out-of-home can be successful.

This Is How You Use Facebook Live To Get Men To Understand Gender Inequality


CMI International Women’s Day Blackout

International Women’s Day was a lot of carefully planned images and status updates but the Chartered Management Institute went a step further and hammered home the gender pay gap among managers using an innovative video strategy.

Facebook Live was used to amplify a panel that discussed gender inequality in the workplace but with a surprise for male viewers (thanks to Facebook’s gender targetting). 22 minutes into the livestream, male viewers were shown a pixelated stream for the remainder of the panel event highlighting the gender pay gap among managers based on data from the CMI’s ‘Mind the Gender Gap’ report. The report puts the pay gap at manager level between male and female salary currently standing at 26.8%. Male viewers were further frustrated by not being able to ask questions or register votes for polls (although they were not told about this until later). Altogether a smart and subtle execution – the full video can be seen at the bottom of post.

CMI International Women’s Day Blackout

CMI International Women’s Day Blackout

Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy & External Affairs for CMI, said: “By disrupting the male viewers’ Facebook livestream, men could experience how frustrating a small thing like a slightly obscured screen can be, which feels particularly unfair when it’s applied simply on the basis of gender. This way we made the point that small, discriminatory and often incidental behaviour, despite seeming minor, all contribute to allowing gender inequality to flourish in the workplace. We believe this is the first time this Facebook hack around gender-based livestreaming has been used in this way so it’s a truly novel way for people to experience gender inequality first-hand rather than just reading about the latest stats. We’re now going to continue using Facebook to tackle this issue with the creation of the CMI Women group. This will become a forum for men and women to crowdsource solutions.”

International Women’s Day was even more poignant this year as strong women across the globe remain in the spotlight thanks to the #metoo movement, President’s Club fiasco, the recent gun tragedy in Florida, the political landscape and strong female leaders. Every year, women come together to show solidarity but also, sadly, to show how much more work there is still to do. Digital can help level playing fields in this struggle and smart strategies like this one can really affect behavioural change if the comments on the livestream are anything to by.

Source: Forbes

Why it’s hot: Gender equality was all the rage this International Women’s Day as brands looked to unique opportunities to honor the female gender and show their support. CMI found a way to celebrate International Women’s Day while teaching a lesson to those who don’t understand the severity of the gender wage gap.

Was The “Tide Pod Challenge” The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Tide?

In 2016 a lesser known YouTube user shared a video of himself eating a Tide Pod. After that The Onion and College Humor posted satirical content about Tide Pods and their new ‘delicious’ flavors. Then in December of 2017 meme accounts suddenly had a new topic to obsess about which resulted in the Tide Pod Challenge going viral.

Suddenly the YouTube challenge culture saw eating Tide Pods as the next opportunity to get more views with the hopes of being seen as funny, not seriously encouraging others to do the same. Unfortunately, after this videos gained some traction many teenagers and children began making their own Tide Pod Challenge videos that eventually were picked up by news outlets. After news stories began breaking, all eyes were on Tide and their concentrated pod product as a safety hazard.

Because of this Tide was in the spotlight and not for good reason. The brand was challenged with protecting their reputation while maintaining their dominance in the category. What marketing tactics could they deploy to distract from a story this big?

Two words: Super Bowl

Tide isn’t new to the world of Super Bowl commercials, however, they knew that it would take extreme creativity to stand out in the crowd of advertisements. Their plan was simple, hijack all of the “Big Game” commercials in order to make every ad a #TideAd.

Throughout the game Tide purchased 4 ad slots to air in each quarter to insert the brand in the conversation in unique ways. This concept was extended into the digital space by having celebrities, such as Betty White, post their own #TideAds to their social platforms.

These ads were among those being praised by viewers and publications in the advertising industry for being the most successful and most entertaining.

Why it’s hot: Tide successfully redirected the conversation around their brand through an iconic advertising strategy. Less than 6% of the 164,000+ mentions of the brand during the game was about Tide Pods. Since these commercials aired on Sunday evening, the general brand conversation is finally outnumbering the Tide Pod Challenge chatter.

By now, you’ve probably already seen the City of Los Angeles’ stunning social media call for a graphic designer. Rarely have we seen a need so eloquently illustrated.

Government bodies can be among the worst graphic design offenders (consider the FBI’s “fun and games” page). The people most equipped to help often waste little time pointing it out. Remember that one time the freaky NSA report leaked and, amid the loss of our privacy, etc., all we could focus on was how ugly it was?

But it’s also possible we suffer from a dearth of good bureaucratic design because nobody’s applying to those gigs, which makes L.A.’s horrific offense to the senses a veritable stroke of genius. On Twitter, it’s generated nearly 30,000 retweets and over 73,000 likes since it was posted Friday, not to mention a passel of responses, including these fridge-worthy treasures:

Given how many people were just flabbergasted that the city would dare to post an ad so lacking in professionalism (because that’s our biggest problem right now), it’s cool to see that L.A. gives as good as it gets.

Seriously, though: There’s not enough trolling in job placement.

The complete job posting—which is far more boring, if just as illegible (for different reasons)—can be found here. The role includes creating posters, covers, pamphlets, signs and exhibits, and translating statistical data across all departments. Two years of full-time experience and a bachelor’s degree in art, graphic design or computer graphics are required.

The payscale ranges from $46,708 to a whopping $103,230, probably contingent on whether you completed kindergarten with full stickers. You can apply through Jan. 25.

Before and after the ad was posted on Twitter, the City of Los Angeles also shared ads for a carpenter and an auditor. While topic-relevant in their own unique ways, they do signal the presence of an actual designer, hidden somewhere in the bowels of the building.

Sadly, though, they lack the rigorous effort put into generating a hair-trigger response that resulted in the graphic design ad.

Points for puns, though. God knows we don’t have enough of those.

Why it’s hot: Effective marketing can take all shapes and forms, even a Microsoft Paint drawing. This proves that thinking outside of the box can work to your advantage in even the most “boring” situation.

“I’ll Be” The Greatest Grand Slam of your Life – Denny’s

If you were wondering what Edwin McCain, the singer-songwriter behind the soaring 1998 hit “I’ll Be,” is up to these days, here’s your answer. He’s right here, on your electronic device, singing a gag music video about chain diner Denny’s online delivery service.

In the 3:30 video, the soft-rock crooner strums a guitar, emotes and rolls around on giant blowups of tweets from the restaurant’s fans begging it to bring its food to their doorsteps. All the while, cheeky subtitles make it extra clear that the service, launched last May, is only available in select areas—because, you know, the U.S. is kind of big.

Highlights include the moment where McCain sits on a set of stairs, with a giant framed photo of his younger self in the background. He’s still much the same guy, though, managing to sound simultaneously heartbroken and euphoric … just this time about the fact that you can have pancakes and nachos at your place.

Part of a broader campaign celebrating 800,000 orders on the app, the video comes with its own site,, that offers to reward the Twitter users quoted therein with a Denny’s gift card. Any new users who sign up for a delivery or takeout account at the website or in-app will also get a free dish—a promotion supported by a :15 TV spot from EP+Co as well.

The McCain video is not, though, the first Twitter-inspired fast-food ’90s schmaltz act revival parody. In 2014, Wendy’s tapped Boys II Men to make sonic love to its Pretzel Bun. Presumably, that was enough of a success that Denny’s though it a blueprint worth following. (Wendy’s, for its part, has graduated to Twitter rap battles with Wingstop. And in slightly less related news about musical next-acts and comestibles, there’s always that 2015 Biz Markie dittyabout marshmallows-only Lucky Charms.)

Find the full McCain lyrics for Denny’s below, for your amusement, or horror—and for posterity, so nobody can ever pretend this didn’t actually happen.

For ten years, you’ve been dreaming
Tweeting us and scheming
Facebook post your friends all laughed at you

You all said the same thing
United in desire
You’ve inspired us to make your dreams come true

Denny’s delivers, Denny’s delivers
Denny’s delivers to you
Shout out all to your friends
With your mouth all full of food
Denny’s delivers to you

So tweet your dreams don’t be surprised
When they become true
Denny’s knows there’s nothing more than
sharing 800 pancakes with you

When the sun begins to set
Don’t give into your sorrows
Call the friend that’s always open
and join this guy for nachos

Denny’s delivers, Denny’s delivers
Denny’s delivers to you
Shout out all to your friends
With your mouth all full of food
Denny’s delivers to you

We’re going to bring the feast to your place
You just have to tell us where
You’ve been asking for delivery since I had my long hair

The world is new everything’s changed
You can order with a touch
You tweeted it and we agreed
Delivery is so clutch

Denny’s delivers, Denny’s delivers
Denny’s delivers to you
Shout out all to your friends
With your mouth all full of food
Denny’s delivers to you

With posts from every place
Even got a message on MySpace
Denny’s delivers to you

Source: AdWeek

Why it’s hot:

  • In the social space, Denny’s has made a name for themselves by being the quirky or “out there” personality that goes where no other brand dares to go (except Moon Pie). By choosing to promote their delivery service through a one-hit-wonder of the 1990’s is something so far-fetched that it shows unique ways to reach social audiences and create buzz still exist.

OkCupid Redefines ‘DTF’

OkCupid is DTF, but not like that.

The dating site rethinks that blunt old acronym, originally meaning “down to fuck,” by making it the centerpiece of a new campaign from Wieden + Kennedy New York—with the F word replaced by dozens of enlightened alternatives, leading to phrases like “down to feel fabulous,” “down to forget our baggage” and “down to fight about the president.”

The point being: Dating can and should be about more than hookups. The tagline is, “Dating deserves better.”

The headlines are matched with fun, brightly colored photographs. Several of the ads also have a political message, adding to the already provocative use of “DTF” as a theme. It’s a highly artistic campaign, too—W+K worked with artist Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari, the creators of Toilet Paper magazine, on the ads.

The campaign marks the latest attack on dating culture, which has come to seem dehumanized in the binary, swipe-left-or-right age of Tinder. (Other dating apps, including Hinge, have also based recent ads around fostering deeper connections between users.)

OkCupid CMO Melissa Hobley tells AdFreak that the new campaign signals the brand’s commitment to being focused on substance and depth, while also reflecting the issues and passions that people care about.

“In the current political and social climate, we felt a responsibility and saw an opportunity to play a part in changing the conversation about dating culture and empowering each individual to reclaim the meaning of DTF and make it theirs,” she says.

OkCupid aims to achieve substance and depth through the app’s features. It asks users more than a dozen questions while setting up a profile and recently launched OkCupid Discovery, which lets users search by passions and interests. It aims to achieve relevance through the brand voice, having found traction by leaning into politics over the past year—including adding a “Trump Filter” to its list of questions.

“The response to this blew us away, and most importantly, signaled how important it was for people to be able to talk politics in dating,” Hobley says. “We do this better than anyone, and regularly add political questions into the OkCupid experience.”

Source: Adweek

Why it’s hot: 

  • In a world of political correctness, choosing to push the limits with a risque campaign is a risk for a brand looking to win over more users. However, in a sea of competitors like Tinder that are pushing they envelope it is a risk worth taking in order to stand out.

Snapchat and Coach Debuted Snapcodes Embedded Into Holiday Pins

Forget about camera-equipped sunglasses—Snapchat and Coach are hoping to make Snapcodes en vogue.

Today, the companies announced they’ve partnered to create a limited-edition set of Coach pins equipped with Snapcodes. The pins mark the first time a brand has created a product with the technology embedded in it.

The pins, which will be available online and at 20 Coach locations across the U.S. throughout the holiday season, feature Coach’s holiday mascots—a unicorn, a dinosaur and a shark—inside an outline of Snapchat’s iconic ghost. To win a pin, Coach customers just have to take a free online or in-store quiz about their favorite mascot. According to Snap, users can scan the pins to play an arcade game based on Coach’s holiday video campaign.

“The pins are all about creativity and individuality,” Marni Schapiro, Snap’s director of retail, said in a statement. “They’re fun, playful and allow our community a way to Snap the virtual onto reality.”

The quiz will also be featured in some Snap ads from Coach running throughout the season and can unlock campaign-themed Snapchat filters.

While it’s the first time Snapchat has created a customized accessory with Snapcodes, Snap has experimented with fashion products before. Last year, the company unveiled Spectacles, and while they garnered a lot of hype, they failed to catch on with everyday consumers. While the company reported $5.4 million in “other” revenue (primarily from Spectacles), it also reported a $40 million write-down in the third quarter from unsold specs.

However, the pins could help Coach in another area that Snap’s been touting lately—in-store visits. According to a Nielsen Buyer Insights study commissioned by Snap, Snapchatting households spend 39 percent more at retail stores than the national average. The results, which analyzed a year of debit and credit transactions with retailers, found that Snapchat users are more likely than others to try new products. The study also reported that more than two in five remember using the app before, during or after shopping, and a quarter of users said they’ve looked for Snapchat filters while shopping.

Luxury brands have traditionally been slower to adopt emerging technologies than other industries; Coach has been gradually experimenting. For 2016’s New York Fashion Week, the brand offered up its runway show in VR. Earlier this year, the company partnered with IMG, Simon Malls and Facebook to create a virtual reality experience at 20 Coach locations within Simon Malls.

Why it’s hot: Taking something so digital as a Snapcode into the physical world of retail is a risk on all accounts. However, this campaign will allow the digital persona and the real-life experience to meet and sing together in perfect harmony. I believe this is only the beginning of brands utilizing Snapcodes in the real world (as long as Snapchat continues to stay strong in its user base).

Facebook is using AI to spot users with suicidal thoughts and send them help

Facebook is using artificial intelligence to scan users’ posts for signs they’re having suicidal thoughts. When it finds someone that could be in danger, the company flags the post to human moderators who respond by sending the user resources on mental health, or, in more urgent cases, contacting first-responders who can try to find the individual.

The social network has been testing the tool for months in the US, but is now rolling out the program to other countries. The tool won’t be active in any European Union nations, where data protection laws prevent companies from profiling users in this way.

In a Facebook post, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he hoped the tool would remind people that AI is “helping save peoples’ lives today.” He added that in the last month alone, the software had helped Facebook flag cases to first responders more than 100 times. “If we can use AI to help people be there for their family and friends, that’s an important and positive step forward,” wrote Zuckerberg.

Despite this emphasis on the power of AI, Facebook isn’t providing many details on how the tool actually judges who is in danger. The company says the program has been trained on posts and messages flagged by human users in the past, and looks for telltale signs, like comments asking users “are you ok?” or “can I help?” The technology also examines live streams, identifying parts of a video that have more than the usual number of comments, reactions, or user reports. It’s the human moderators that will do the crucial work of assessing each case the AI flags and responding.

Although this human element should not be overlooked, research suggests AI can be a useful tool in identifying mental health problems. One recent study used machine learning to predict whether or not individuals would attempt suicide within the next two years with an 80 to 90 percent accuracy. However, the research only examined data from people who had been admitted to a hospital after self-harming, and wide-scale studies on individuals more representative of the general population are yet to be published.

Some may also be worried about the privacy implications of Facebook — a company that has previously worked with surveillance agencies like the NSA — examining user data to make such sensitive judgements. The company’s chief security officer Alex Stamos addressed these concerns on Twitter, saying that the “creepy/scary/malicious use of AI will be a risk forever,” which was why it was important to weigh “data use versus utility.”

However, TechCrunch writer Josh Constine noted that he’d asked Facebook how the company would prevent the misuse of this AI system and was given no response. We’ve reached out to the company to find out more information.

Source: The Verge

Why it’s hot:

  • Artificial Intelligence in marketing is gaining popularity across many brands, however Facebook is utilizing this technology to help people in need.
  • Facebook is notorious for keeping user’s data under lock and key, however, they are taking a look into their user’s life by analyzing their posts and actions.

Chrome Extension Turns Abusive Facebook and Twitter Comments Positive

Lionsgate’s movie Wonder (which premieres on Friday) tells the story of August Pullman, a boy who was born with facial differences and looks different from his classmates. Classmates bully him as he enters fifth grade at his first mainstream school. T0 make that message relatable online, the film studio created a clever way to filter content and show how much better the world would be without hurtful comments.

Working with Alphabet’s tech incubator Jigsaw, which focuses on creating “tools to make the world safer,” and MediaMonks, Lionsgate built the desktop Choose Kindness Chrome extension,  which scrapes toxic comments and replaces them with messages of kindness. The tool was created with Jigsaw’s Perspective technology that uses machine learning to suss out questionable content. The extension plugs into Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and works on copy within posts and comments.

The extension has three levels of moderation: Kind, kinder and kindest. When it finds an abusive word, the extension automatically places a banner with copy like “Kindness is contagious” over the content. Users who mouse over the content have the option to either reveal the text or keep it hidden.

Here’s an example of how the extension targets Facebook comments.

The Chrome extension is part of a bigger campaign Lionsgate is launching today for World Kindness Day, which also includes Snapchat ads and social components.

“Wonder is such a contagiously happy film,” said Evan Fisk, vp of digital marketing at Lionsgate. “We wanted to bring some of that positivity and kindness to the social feeds we scroll through all day.”

Source: AdWeek

Why it’s hot:

  • Advertising via commercials, billboards or simple social media posts won’t cut it any more for big brands. The need to innovate marketing efforts while still relating to the product or service at hand is a constant struggle for us all. Lionsgate is showing yet another way that brands can extend their message beyond traditional media avenues and make a bigger impact.

Facebook says its ad transparency features will go live next month

In response to concerns that Russia used Facebook ads in an attempt to influence last year’s presidential election, the social network has said it will increase transparency by allowing anyone to see any ad run by any organization.

Now it’s releasing a few more details about its plans, like the fact that the new transparency features are expected to go live next month. Once they do, when you’re looking at a Facebook Page, you should be able to click “View Ads” and bring up all the ads that Page is currently running. (You can see an example of a View Ads page at the end of this post.)

Facebook says it’s starting out with a test in Canada. When the feature expands to the United States, it’s also supposed to include an archive of ads related to federal elections, covering “a rolling four-year period” that starts at the launch of the archive. And it will include additional information like the total and average amounts spent on ads, the number of impressions an ad received and the demographics that were targeted.

The company also says political advertisers will have to verify their identity, their location and the fact that their ad is election-related. The ads will come with a “paid for by” message that you can click on for more information. And Facebook says it’s building machine learning tools so that it can find the political advertisers who don’t identify themselves.

 Facebook View Ads

Will most Facebook users take advantage of these capabilities? Maybe not, but vice president of Ads Rob Goldman writes, “Transparency helps everyone, especially political watchdog groups and reporters, keep advertisers accountable for who they say they are and what they say to different groups.”

This news comes as Congress considers a bipartisan bill proposing new regulations for online ads, and shortly after Twitter announced some similar transparency measures.

Source: TechCrunch

Why it’s hot:

  • Facebook closely guards its data on Facebook users and pages on the platform. This would allow us to closely monitor what ads competitors are running on the platform and have insight into their strategies that were previously hidden.
  • Although any user will have access to this information, it is unlikely that the every day Facebook user will take the steps to view this tab on business’ Facebook page.

Netflix’s Latest Stranger Things Treat

Hawkins Power and Light plays a pivotal role Netflix’s Stranger Things, and in anticipation of the release of the show’s second season this week, the streaming platform unveiled a sneaky new ad campaign for the fictional company.

Billboards and other out-of-home work from creative shop Doner L.A. touting Hawkins Power and Light have popped up in Los Angeles and New York. The tagline, “Flipping the Switch for a Brighter Tomorrow,” is perfect for the bland yet sinister corporation.

The campaign features a working 1-800 number that functions much like a regular corporate 1-800 number—soothing on-hold music, menu directions to follow, automated responses—until there’s a crackling sound similar to something you might hear in Stranger Things.

Fans who are excited for the new season found the campaign and posted about it on Twitter and Reddit. One fan,  recorded the 1-800 number and uploaded the recording to Soundcloud (see below).

Further information about the campaign was not immediately available, as representatives for Netflix did not respond to a request for comment. Doner L.A. declined to comment.

 Source: AdWeek
Why It’s Hot: Netflix has been pushing the envelope with unique advertising methods, specifically for their Stranger Things show. This advertisement will only be noticed by true fans of the series and will serve as a fun easter egg for the target audience.

Bud Light Wants Millenials To “Drink With Their Face”

What if a real-life commercial looked, sounded and felt like an SNL skit? It’s happened before, both purposely and accidentally, and it’s happening now in the U.K. with a new Bud Light ad.

The AB InBev brand, which launched there earlier this year, parodies a bunch of hipster, millennial-targeted ad tropes with a musical number that features sun-drenched beaches (in England?) and beautiful “friends” enjoying their bohemian lives. Even a pet rabbit, inexplicably used as a prop, is “an 8 out of 10” on the looks scale, the commercial says.

It’s bull’s-eye self-aware marketing.

The ongoing campaign, dubbed “Keep it Bud Light,” recently teased a line of branded “leisurewear” consisting of tube socks, shower shoes, scarves and cross-body bags. AB, whose execs say the apparel and accessories are not a joke, calls the “fashionable” product a lighthearted take on streetwear.

Its bright-blue logo-heavy kimonos make an appearance in the new 30-second spot, from Wieden + Kennedy London, that sings about its “super-cool girl with aspirational friends, lifestyle ad with Bud Light at the end.” There’s an identifiable dash of Lonely Planet throughout, especially when the song says: “Follow your heart, those pants are quite tight/Drink with your face, and keep it Bud Light.”

As part of the brand’s across-the-pond push, the ad will air on TV and in cinemas, with digital versions planned that will star the cast of the hero spot. AB plans a “significant” spend on digital via Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube through the end of the year.

The ad aims to give Bud Light “a distinctive voice in the U.K. beer world,” Ray Shaughnessy, the agency’s creative director, said in a statement. “We’ve tried to make it clear that this is a co-ed beer brand having a laugh because—wait for it—turns out both men and women enjoy beer as well as a chuckle.”

Why it’s hot:

  • An upcoming trend in advertising is this satirical style of commercial that pokes fun of the industry while managing to break through. Bud Light succeeded in making a commercial worthy of going viral that still featured their product and branding prominently.
  • Bud Light released their athlesiure line in the UK a few weeks ago, however it seemed off-brand and like they didn’t quite understand their market. Turns out this clothing line directly relates to this series of commercials that features the brand breaking through the fourth wall so to speak. If Bud Light reversed the order of these activations it easily could have had a higher impact and better relevance with the audience.

Upgrade Your Flight with VR

Flying isn’t what it used to be, so more people opt for budget airlines. They will (usually) get where you need to go, but you also know not to expect a pleasant experience. Will your luggage be small enough for the cabin, or will you have to pay an exorbitant rate to check it?

And forget food. If you get that, you got lucky.

With this in mind, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, part of the Air France-KLM family, launched the KLM Flight Upgrader, a virtual reality experience that (almost) enables you to escape your budget flight … without paying the brand-name airline cost.

Distributed at no cost to people waiting to board budget flights for JFK New York, the KLM Flight Upgrader makes a compelling promise: From your paper-thin seat, spend hours holding the app to your face and enjoying everything a KLM flight would have offered you—entertainment, newspapers and the enjoyment of watching a “caring crew” issue a proper meal you can only hope to taste. (Toss a peanut into your mouth. Salt is salt, right?)

“Just pop this thing on your head and you can use virtual reality to escape the real reality of your flight,” a narrator brightly tells us.

Passengers can spend as much time aboard the virtual flight as they wish, and can watch either the full episode of a show, or 10 minutes of a blockbuster movie. Better yet, peer down to scope the leg room. Don’t kick, though.

This last illustrates the masochism of the concept, which in some ways eclipses its cleverness. KLM never addresses why people take budget flights in the first place: Flights are expensive, even as the perks begin to vanish; a budget airline at least assures you get somewhere without having to skip a mortgage payment. On a recent trip, I took a budget international flight that cost around $500. KLM’s sister brand Air France proposed upwards of $3,000.

Faced with this dissonance, it’s too easy to pretend people opt to suffer through budget flights because they simply don’t know how much better an established brand experience will be. Distribution of the Flight Upgrader was relatively small, so user impact is probably the least relevant part of this story, but we’re not convinced it did much more than rub salt in the wound.

Not that that matters. KLM isn’t stupid; this is a promotional play, and it’s hedging bets in the budget arena. Air France recently shared news of its own budget offering: Joon, targeted to younger users and blessed with the improbable tagline, “Also an airline.”

In any event, users looking to escape some future airborne reality (or simply watch a free TV show) can download the KLM Flight Upgrader app from Google Play and the App Store, then use their own VR headset to make the magic happen. A limited quantity of KLM cardboard headsets—not so subtly labeled “Do not disturb—pretending to fly KLM”—are still available and can be requested free of charge on the website.

Why it’s hot:

  • VR continues to grow in popularity, but it still is not the norm for advertising especially in the transportation space. KLM does a great job at targeting their competitors and showing exactly how they are a better choice for travelers.

Burger King is Loving “It”

Burger King and McDonald’s are fighting again.

It’s not just the usual competition between two fast-food chains, because this time, Stephen King and his favorite evil clown are involved.

It, a reboot of King’s 1986 novel about a deadly jester, has been breaking box office records around the world thanks to its certified classic status and some brilliant guerrilla marketing involving super-creepy balloons tied to grates.

Burger King Russia even filed an official complaint demanding the government pull the movie from theaters because—get this—its villain Pennywise looks too much like one Ronald McDonald.

Hamburg, Germany-based agency Grabarz & Partner saw this as an opportunity, turning an area preview of the film into “the longest advertisement Burger King ever had.”

That was quite amusing, and the viewers in Hamburg seemed to be very much in on the joke. The fact that none of them were budding 10-year-old horror fans terrified by the very mention of Pennywise probably had something to do with it.

We’re still puzzled by the idea that the film’s popularity would somehow give McDonald’s an unfair advantage over its chief rival in Russia, but there you go.

Source: AdWeek

Why it’s hot: “It” has broken multiple records as a horror movie and the fact that Burger King found a way to leverage this, while still staying relevant to their brand, is the epitome of thinking outside the box.

Crunchwraps + Forever 21 = A Collab You Never Saw Coming

Taco Bell has been known to inspire devotion in fans, from senior photo shoots to themed birthday parties. But what if you’re looking for a more everyday way to show off your allegiance to living mas? The brand’s latest collaboration with Forever 21 might just be your answer.
Today, the two companies have announced the release of Forever 21 x Taco Bell, the first for the restaurant. The line will include clothes for men and women that feature everything from eye-popping graphics to subtle patches that alert those around you to your taco fandom.
According to the press release, the line was designed to capture what fans expect from Taco Bell: “accessible, affordable, creative, and fun.” The full collection will feature tops, cropped hoodies, body suits, as well as sweatshirts and an anorak jacket. All of the looks will debut on October 10 in an event for fans in downtown L.A. and will be available for purchase on October 11 only in select U.S. stores and online.
A sneak peek at the collection features Taco Bell super fans Brittany Creech and Andrew McBurnie — who became internet famous for shooing their senior portraits at Taco Bell — as models. McBurnie wears the men’s sweater in millennial pink, embellished with a patch featuring some of our favorite Taco Bell items: tacos, burrito, drink, and a packet of hot sauce. Creech wears one of the body suits, a look inspired by a fire sauce packet.
While we only have the slightest hint at what this could mean for the rest of the collection, we’re hoping for something that pays homage to the beloved Crunchwrap, and (dare we say it?) maybe even a nod to the Doritos Locos taco. Does the world really need this fast food x fast fashion mashup? Of course not. But when something is cheap and good, we always find it hard to say no.
Source: Refinery 29
Why it’s hot:
  • What makes this partnership unique is that food brands don’t typically create apparel for purchase, it’s typically made for giveaways or to help promote a new campaign.
  • Taco Bell and Forever 21 pair together to show us how a brand can create apparel that speaks to their audience in the right way, in comparison to Bud Light who missed the mark last week (see here).

How ABC Tapped Facebook’s Camera Effects to Back The Good Doctor, TGIT


ABC is using Facebook’s Camera Effects to help promote new fall series The Good Doctor and its TGIT Thursday-night lineup of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder.

For The Good Doctor, users can map three systems in their bodies and see them the way lead character Shaun Murphy does. Murphy is a surgeon with autism.

And the gamified TGIT Facebook Camera Effect allows users to catch popcorn in their mouths. Also, when users raise their eyebrows, it triggers the hashtag to change from TGIT and cycles through the three shows.

Why it’s hot:

  • AR is the next big thing and as Snapchat develops their technology the other social networks have to strive to compete
  • Facebook is showing off the underutilized features of their camera with major TV networks in order to expand awareness

How Coca-Cola targeted ads based on people’s Facebook, Instagram photos

When Coca-Cola wanted to push iced-tea drinkers to consider its Gold Peak brand this summer, it didn’t target people like most brands do by using their search history. Instead, it combed through consumers’ photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and served them ads based on images they shared on those platforms.

Gold Peak tapped into an image recognition engine that identified people who posted images that featured glasses or jugs of iced tea, displayed emotions such as happiness and excitement as well as contained cans or bottles of its competitors, including Snapple, Honest Tea, Lipton and others. Those people were then served Gold Peak ads on 40 mobile sites and apps after leaving Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

For example, if you posted a picnic table spread with a jug of iced tea somewhere in the mix on Instagram, Gold Peak could have targeted you with ads while you read an article on Business Insider or checked the weather on the AccuWeather app in the past month, thanks to your photo.

“We’ve been using social listening for targeting for years, but people hardly use these social platforms to share text anymore,” said Benjamin Bring, vp of media at IPG’s Ansible. “Unlike text-based targeting, which can often be ambiguous, pictures provide more nuanced and subtle context.”

While image recognition itself isn’t new, Karan Walia, Cluep CEO and co-founder, said Cluep was a step ahead of the platforms themselves. While platforms like Facebook have their own image recognition engines in place, they are not leveraging the technology to allow brands to target based on pictures consumers post. Furthermore, Cluep uses its own ad server and real-time bidder to serve ads outside the social media platforms and in premium mobile apps and mobile websites through its partnerships with SSPs. Cluep has partnerships that give it access to all public data on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well as partnerships with SSPs that can then result in automated ads for its clients.

“We have bridged the gap between image recognition and advertising at scale,” said Walia. “No ad tech platform is doing image-based targeting like we are.”

What’s more, people don’t seem to be creeped out. Brands that have run beta tests are seeing conversions and click-through rates of five to 10 times the industry benchmark on premium publishers, according to Walia. Coca-Cola itself has seen a click-through rate of over 2 percent, which is three to four times its usual benchmark for the Gold Peak creative.

‘Everyday Influencers’ Increase Sales of a L’Oreal Product by 51%

During Wednesday’s Snap earnings call, chief strategy officer Imran Khan name-dropped L’Oreal as a brand that was reaping the benefits of his company’s vertical video ads and sponsored lenses. His company, which owns Snapchat, has long espoused that the app is not really an influencer-focused platform because it doesn’t want to differentiate celebrity from regular users.

L’Oreal’s Paris U.K. division wouldn’t necessarily disagree, though it’s evidently found an ad-free, influencer-heavy formula on Snapchat to complement its paid campaigns. Working with BzzAgent, a network of so-called everyday influencers owned by shopper data company dunnhumby, the cosmetics giant deployed 2,000 U.K.-based women who were 20 to 55 years old for an endeavor that ran across Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube.

“They are regular people who are socially savvy,” said Brian Covali, global head of marketing at BzzAgent. “[Their] campaign activities emphasized Snapchat, which is where most of the activity occurred.” 

In a case study that was first disclosed in the U.S. today, L’Oreal’s effort ran from August through October last year, as its army of influencers pushed the company’s new skincare brand Pure Clay Mask. Encouraged to “clay the day away” with the detox cream, they posted photos, reviews and videos to Snapchat and the other social media platforms. More than 500 stories were posted to Snapchat.

Across all six social channels, 741,000 consumers were reached with 5,800 pieces of content as social conversations jumped 53 percent, according to BzzAgent and L’Oreal. A match-market test orchestrated by measurement firm IRI, they said, showed a 51 percent sales lift for Pure Clay Mask.

Why it’s hot: The conversation surrounding social ROI is constant in our day-to-day jobs when trying to prove the value to clients. Utilizing these “mico-influencers” as an alternative way to reach the masses is an area for potential growth and a market that is largely untapped (right now).

Domino’s Just Made Pizza Ordering 1,000 Times Geekier With Its Coolest Innovation to Date

We’ve said before that Domino’s won’t stop until you can order a pizza just by thinking about it. Until that day comes, the pizza chain—which is as much of a tech company as a food maker these days—continues to innovate the ordering process. And now, it’s getting your whole Internet of things involved.

The brand, with help from agency CP+B, on Monday announced a partnership with IFTTT, a free online service that allows users to create connections among digital devices and have certain events in one device trigger other events in another device—using what’s called applets.

The partnership allows IFTTT users to hook into the Domino’s Tracker, which follows the progress of your pizza order, and have events in the Tracker trigger events in other devices. For example, when your pizza goes into the oven at Domino’s, you could have Nelly’s “Hot In Herre” automatically play on your musical device at home. Or, when your pizza order is out for delivery, you could turn off your sprinkler system and turn on your porch lights to make things easier for the delivery person. The options are endless.

These are the four triggers in the Domino’s Tracker:

• Order being prepped
• Order in the oven
• Order out for delivery
• Order ready for pickup

Whenever your order hits one of those events, you can use IFTTT applets to trigger almost anything in your connected world—from posting to social media, to sending an email or text, to turning on the lights in your dining room.

Domino’s says it’s the first restaurant brand to join the IFTTT platform. And it’s getting users started by creating a few applets itself, including one that turns on your Samsung POWERbot when the order is being prepared, which is “perfect for when the house needs a good vacuuming before the gang stops by for a pizza party,” Domino’s says.

Why It’s Hot: Domino’s continues to be at the forefront of partnering with new technology companies and continues to be looking ahead of the curve. As marketers, can learn a lot from their forward thinking and ability to see beyond what’s hot right now.

Fashion Fans Can Watch the Met Gala Thanks to Vogue’s 360-Degree Livestream on Facebook

When Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and dozens of A-list celebrities walk down the red carpet during Monday’s annual Met Gala in New York, Vogue will be livestreaming the event in 360 degrees from Facebook—with ads from champagne brand Moët & Chandon sprinkled throughout the broadcast.

The Met Gala is working with Facebook Creative Shop to set up the livestream, which will be the Met Gala’s first 360-degree broadcast. It’s also one of the Creative Shop’s first branded 360 live videos. During the broadcast, Moët-branded bubbles will appear periodically as interstitial ads between footage. Facebook is working with visual effects company Digital Domain to set up the video’s multi-camera perspective.

“The Met Gala is one of the biggest nights in fashion and the interest it garners is phenomenal—audiences are determined to be part of the action,” said Anna-Lisa Yabsley, digital director of Vogue. “Our partnership with Facebook and Moët offers our audience direct, front row access to experience all the action of the red carpet. This will be the only official way to watch the red carpet live, and we’re thrilled to share this experience with the world.”

From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, viewers can watch Met Gala attendees arrive on the red carpet on Vogue’s Facebook page. Vogue’s account will also post comments that share facts about attendees as they arrive on the red carpet. The theme for this year’s exhibit is “Art of the In Between” and features Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo. Megan Summers, global head of production at Facebook Creative Shop said the theme is reflected in the use of 360-degree video.


Why it’s hot: Vogue is using a social-first strategy this year to promote the Met Gala and is showing the power of promoting events via social channels. Also, by incorporating ads more seamlessly throughout the videos it may unveil a new, less intrusive way to do ads within live content.

There’s No Mention of McDonald’s in Its Latest Campaign

McDonald’s is nowhere in its latest campaign, which banks on the social cred of Mindy Kaling, the power of Google, as well as its own reputation as the best place to consume something other than burgers and fries — Coca-Cola.

A new effort out of We Are Unlimited stars the comedian and actress (wearing a yellow dress and standing in front of a red backdrop) talking about the “place where Coke tastes soooo good,” and then urging viewers to go ahead, Google it.

Turns out, she’s slyly directing viewers to the Golden Arches. It so happens there’s a whole pop culture mythology around Coca-Cola tasting extra delicious at McDonald’s, and the fast feeder is using it for its latest beverage promotion — where Cokes (and any other soft drinks) will be $1, and small McCafe drinks are going for $2.

The film lives on a YouTube channel, “That place where Coke tastes SO good,” which also includes other funny ads that riff on the theme. On April 13, Mindy Kaling, a self-proclaimed (and quite righteous) McDonald’s fan, tweeted, “I partnered with a brand w/o being able to say the name of the brand. Is that normal? If so, can I be paid in fries?” It accompanied one ad featuring Kaling and an unnamed beverage technician, both of whom get bleeped every time they presumably say the restaurant’s name.

Why It’s Hot: This campaign shows that established brands don’t necessarily need to mark their commercials and ads excessively with brand names or logos. Physically Sliced Off 21% of Its Products on Facebook Live to Highlight the Wage Gap

Image result for equality day

When you cut off 21 percent of a microwave or tube of toothpaste, it doesn’t work the same way—or at all. Similarly, that’s the story for companies that pay women an average of 21 percent less than men, a point that is driving home in honor of Equal Pay Day by literally cutting up the products it sells on its site.

Earlier today, the online retailer hosted a Facebook Live, where a water laser-cutting machine physically shaved off 21 percent of various products, from flat screen TVs to dryer sheets, to show that nothing works when it’s not at parity to others. Viewers could vote on which product to cut, and throughout the broadcast the hosts discussed facts on the pay gap such as the United States ranks 74th among 145 countries in terms of wage equality for similar work. also is covering 21 percent of its homepage today with the message “79 percent is not enough. Women deserve more,” with a link to a letter from its president, Liza Landsman, explaining the gender pay gap and how customers can get involved.

“It’s incredible, not in a good way, that the pay gap is still a thing, and that people don’t know about it,” Landsman said. “This is an easy way for people to visualize it. It’s a simple way to do our part to bring attention to this issue.”


Why It’s Hot: Gender equality, although evolved over time, is not where it should be across the board especially when it comes to pay. To see a large company like Jet advocate on this issue on Facebook Live shows how brands can stand up for causes and involved themselves into a hot topic of conversation.

Facebook Adds Disappearing `Stories’ to Main App, Copying Snapchat Yet Again

Facebook Announces Launch of Snapchat-Like Stories in their Main App | Social Media Today

Facebook is making a dramatic change to the social network’s mobile application, letting people post pictures and videos that disappear after 24 hours.
Dramatic, but unsurprising: It’s the fourth time the company has added such a feature to its apps. And it’s a tool that was invented by its smaller, newly public competitor: Snap Inc., whose Snapchat lets users annotate photos and videos by adding text, drawings, masks and filters and then post them to their “story” or send them to friends.

Facebook added the same capability in recent months to its Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger mobile apps, seeking to capitalize on the popularity of the format to keep people on its properties rather than toggling over to Snap’s network. Yet Facebook doesn’t shy away from the comparison — and is calling the new version on its main application “Stories,” too — just like Snapchat’s version.

“This is something that Snapchat has really pioneered,” said Conor Hayes, a product manager at Facebook. “Stories has become a format for people to share and consume immersive video and photo across all social apps, and it really differs for them based on the network they have or the way that they use a certain app.”

Why It’s Hot: Now that Facebook has joined the “Stories” party, it’s no longer an option to jump on the bandwagon, it’s a necessity. Marketers knew for months that this feature was in the works, however, now audiences across all social platforms will have the ability to tell their own immersive stories and it will challenge marketers to blend seamlessly into the ever-changing environment.

Push-Button Beer Ordering? Miller Lite Gives It a Try

Miller Lite On-Demand

MillerCoors is giving lazy beer drinkers another excuse to stay put: The option to order beer with the touch of a button or a simple voice command.

The brewer and IPG Mediabrands today announced a new suite of connected home services called “Miller Lite On-Demand” that will allow consumers to stock their fridge using a voice-activated Amazon Alexa command, or by using a programmable button known as AWS IoT that is based on the Amazon Dash Button hardware. The delivery requests will be fulfilled within one hour by Drizly, an online alcohol ordering platform, according to the agency and brewer, which have partnered on an incubator program aimed at testing such technologies.

Drizly currently serves more than 40 cities, according to MillerCoors.

The Miller Lite beer button is only available to a preselected group of 500 Drizly customers, according to the announcement. Ordering via Alexa is open to owners of Alexa devices including the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Tap. Device owners can enable the option by searching for “Miller Time” in the Alexa skills store. The ordering voice command is “start Miller Time.”


Why it’s hot: Miller Lite has utilized an emerging technology, Amazon Echo, to creatively market their products. Instead of looking to find new buyers, they turned to their loyalists who would consider purchasing a higher volume of Miller Lite if it was delivered to their door. It is also sure to create buzz around the brand in conversations online.