Snapchat Led the Way With Vertical Video. Will Virool Make It the New Standard?

May 2, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Not so long ago, it was taboo to turn horizontal video on its head, as marketers grappled with doing more for mobile than merely refitting TV spots for smaller screens. But today, vertical video, once seen as a Snapchat anomaly, is gaining traction and providing publishers and advertisers with perhaps another way to win over the ever-growing mobile audience—with some 163.7 million Americans owning smartphones by the end of this year, per eMarketer. Virool, a programmatic video distribution company, is planning a vertical video ad unit called Vertical Reveal. Using a portion of the $12 million in venture capital it recently raised, the San Francisco-based firm is betting on a format that, as Virool CEO Alex Debelov and many others have noted, best matches up with how we hold our mobile devices day-to-day. "We're excited because in the last 18 months, Snapchat has been a lone wolf in this fight, but we now have the opportunity to really make this the new standard," he said. "So our vision is that over the next year, this will become something you will see everywhere, and that will provide a much better advertiser and user experience." One of the first brands to sign on with Virool is DJI, a Chinese drone manufacturer that also recently started making handheld cameras. It will start running ads in the next few weeks, as Virool ramps up its vertical debut for the second quarter. Meanwhile, a European rollout is planned to coincide with the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June. "We need to be in front of [users] in some way that's not intrusive—it isn't a banner, it isn't boring," said Gabe Chan, global director of digital brands at DJI. "So vertical video seems like a very logical choice to us and to any advertiser in digital marketing now." Rubicon Project will be the exclusive programmatic platform for Virool's new unit. "From everything that I'm seeing, we believe that there will be a lot of momentum behind this unit because of the way everyone is consuming and how marketers really want to capture that experience," said John Peragine, head of video at Rubicon Project

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Editor’s Note: Video Is the Latest Battlefront in the Struggle for Consumers’ Attention

May 2, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

In pulling together our annual Video Issue this year, which we publish on the first day of the fifth annual Digital Content NewFronts , I had to gut check our coverage plan several times as news hit during the weeks just before deadline that altered and elevated digital video's place in the media and marketing landscape. Facebook, for example, continues to shape the future. Video is definitely a priority for the social giant, and Facebook Live video content is being created by a wide array of publishers, including Adweek, and viewed there at growing pace and volume. And at its F8 conference earlier this month, Facebook dropped a considerable amount of new innovation into the marketplace that will have a material effect on video and pretty much every modern media form. I'm still noodling over the mashup of Messenger, brands and chatbots. Is it AI-powered marketing at scale?

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Home Depot’s CMO Trish Mueller Resigns After 5 Years in the Top Marketing Role

April 29, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Trish Mueller has stepped down as chief marketing officer at Home Depot after nearly seven years with the Atlanta-based company. Director of corporate communications Stephen Holmes confirmed to Adweek today that Mueller announced her resignation approximately two weeks ago and that she has been replaced by president of online operations Kevin Hofmann, who will hold both titles. In a statement, Mueller said, "It was an honor and a privilege to work at The Home Depot as CMO for the past 5 years!" She added, "For now, I have decided to take some time off to consider what's next, but I will always 'bleed orange' and be grateful for working for, in my opinion, the best retailer in America." Mueller became vice president of advertising at Home Depot in 2009 after serving as svp of marketing and advertising at Sports Authority. She was promoted to CMO in 2011. Earlier in her career, she held similar positions at retailers including Montgomery Ward, ShopNBC and American Signature-Value City. She has also been an independent director on the board of Dave & Buster's since 2015. Hofmann joined the chain in 2006 as a vice president leading its technology teams with a focus on ecommerce, supply-chain transformation and international operations. He was later promoted to vp of Home Depot's installation division before being promoted again to lead all aspects of its online business in 2013. He previously spent a decade at GE in various leadership positions handling technology, social networking, business intelligence, renewable energy and other corporate functions after working for eight years in research, manufacturing and technology with Dow Chemical.

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Target and Lancome Produce Snapchat’s First Ecommerce Ads

April 29, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

After slowly testing more interactive ads in recent months, Snapchat is open for ecommerce. Lancome and Target started running shoppable ads today within Cosmopolitan's Discover channel—the hub of the app where media brands publish daily stories. Like Discover's other ads, Lancome and Target's promos appear between Cosmo's articles and videos, each with a 10-second call-to-action instructing viewers to "swipe up" for more. Copy on Target's ad reads, "New products every week." Swiping down on the screen pulls up a loading page with Target's mobile site where people can shop the products featured in the ad—like plant stands and water bottles. Lancome's ad promotes a lip product called Juicy Shaker. Similar to Target's ad, people can shop the beauty company's site without leaving Snapchat. While creative on Snapchat is still relatively limited—ads, just like content, are capped at 10 seconds—Snapchat has experimented over the past few months with similar ads that ask consumers to 'swipe up" for more content. In November, Activision tested the first longer-length video on the platform, and a number of advertisers— particularly entertainment brands —have run similar campaigns since then. Then in February, mobile game Cookie Jam became the first advertiser to run app-install ads . Shortly afterward, shopping app Spring and ticketing company Gametime ran app-based campaigns, indicating that ecommerce ads may be coming soon. Last month, AT&T tested another type of swipeable ad with an article attached that's akin to a piece of branded content. It's been a busy week for Snapchat. On Thursday, the app announced users watch 10 billion videos every day, and 60 percent of its daily active users create content every day. The messaging app also inked a deal with NBC to broadcast clips from the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio

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How ‘The Americans’ Chooses Its ‘80s Ads, Like Brooke Shields’ Iconic Calvin Klein Spot

April 28, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

After spending four seasons making one of TV's best shows, The Americans showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields are pretty confident in their ability to determine what's best for the series. But that all goes out the window when it comes to incorporating period-specific ads and other pop culture references into the FX drama about two Russian spies (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) undercover as a suburban D.C. family in the early '80s. "We work from a place of fear, and in general, we work very hard not to work from a place of fear," said Weisberg. "But we're very worried about hitting things too much on the nose. It's so easy with pop cultural references to be screaming, 'Here we are in 1983! Here we are with the thing that everyone remembers and knows signifies the time period!' We're really careful not to do that and be so judicious when we hit the big ones." They saved one of "the big ones" for Wednesday's episode, the seventh of Season 4, called "Travel Agents." During one scene, two teenage boys bond while watching one of Brooke Shields' iconic Calvin Klein ads, which featured her whistling "Oh My Darling Clementine" and then saying, "You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing." Adweek responsive video player used on /video

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This Week’s Must-Haves: a Stylish Smart Bracelet That Helps Keep Women Safe

April 26, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

This week, the Adweek staff is highlighting a stylish wearable that does more than your typical fitness tracker, a tennis tote from Tory Sport and a USB-rechargable gel mani kit. Take a look!

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Twitter Grows Users and Ad Revenue in First Quarter, but Wall Street Shrugs

April 26, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Twitter gained 5 million monthly active users in the first three months of 2016, breaking the social media giant's user-growth slump of the past two quarters during which it failed to gain—or actually lost—users. According to the company's first-quarter earnings statement, Twitter reported 310 million MAUs, up from the 305 million it had reported during the second half of 2015. Revenue totaled $595 million for the quarter, a 36 percent increase over the first quarter of 2015. Twitter reported $531 million in advertising revenue in the first three months of the year. That's up 39 percent from the same period in 2015. In the U.S., revenue totaled $390 million, while international revenue accounted for another $204 million. However, the company still fell short of earnings expectations, causing its stock to tumble nearly 10 percent in after-hours trading

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YouTube Builds ‘Little Haikus of Video’ With New 6-Second Mobile Ads

April 26, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As more video consumption moves to mobile, YouTube has a new ad format for brands designed specifically for quick snippets of content. Today it's launching Bumper ads—six-second, unskippable video ads—that run before videos, similar to YouTube's skippable TrueView ads. Unlike TrueView—which lets advertisers create an ad of any length—Bumper caps promos at six seconds, which could force marketers to build campaigns with mobile in mind, since smartphone users have shorter attention spans. YouTube describes the new ad format as "little haikus of video ads" and will start rolling them out to advertisers this month. Media buyers can buy them through Google AdWords. Bumper ads are geared towards advertisers interested in testing the difference between TrueView and shorter video clips. For example, Audi Germany has been testing the ads, and chose to run a 45-second TV spot as TrueView ads. But with the six-second format, the brand focused on two shots—one of a soccer player and one of car spinning in a circle. Atlantic Records has also used the new format to slice up clips from a campaign that launched a new album for English band Rudimental. According to YouTube, early tests with bumper ads are particularly effective when, surprise, paired with TrueView and Google Preferred ads—its premium ads that run alongside the platform's most popular content from creators. "Bumper ads are ideal for driving incremental reach and frequency, especially on mobile, where 'snackable videos' perform well," Zach Lupei, product manger of video ads at Google, said in a blog post. "In early tests, Bumpers drove strong lift in upper funnel metrics like recall, awareness and consideration—complementing TrueView's strength in driving middle and lower funnel metrics like favorability and purchase intent."

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Check Out Gayle King’s Colorful, Down-to-Earth Home Away From Home at CBS

April 25, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Since CBS This Morning debuted in 2012, it's enjoyed steady gains for the network in the daypart. It's the fastest-growing network morning show, in fact, averaging 1 million more viewers than when it launched. That success has much to do with the warm and cheerful presence of co-host Gayle King, who, in addition to her CBS digs, keeps an office up New York's 57th Street in the Hearst Tower, where she serves as editor at large of BFF Oprah Winfrey's O, The Oprah Magazine. She has filled her CBS workspace (pictured here) with her favorite things: a painting she got in Telluride, Colo., photos of her children, a signed copy of the play Hamilton. Mostly, though, the domain, just like King herself, is traditional and down to earth. "I'm not a contemporary, modern girl—chrome, silver, glass," she said.

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Watch MC Hammer Help This Brand Stop Hammer Time—Literally

April 25, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Rapper MC Hammer is donning his shiny hammer pants again in a new campaign for 3M's Command strips. The campaign, "Do. No Harm," from Grey New York, fully maximizes the pun potential of the "U Can't Touch This" and "Too Legit to Quit" artist's name and catchphrases. In the first of three TV ads, debuting today, Hammer, fully decked out in his '90s regalia, pops out of an apparently magical toolbox to the surprise of a woman who's hammering nails into her wall to hang artwork. He tells her to "Stop hammer time," and use Command picture hanging strips instead, because, "This hammer hates nails." When she marvels at the unblemished wall, courtesy of Command strips, he says (what else?), "Hammer don't hurt 'em." The campaign is a shift away from the Command's previous TV ads, which were more instructional and explained how the strips worked, to a more playful creative. "We still have relatively low brand awareness, so our goal is to accelerate that, and to change the way that consumers think about hanging things," Joe Paul, global business unit manager for Command Brand, told Adweek.

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