H&R Block’s CMO on Jon Hamm and Why He’s the Perfect Tax-Season Spokesperson

January 10, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Taxes often are a dull affair, but this year, H&R Block is shaking things up with a new ad campaign starring the dapper Jon Hamm. The set of three ads from agency Fallon, the first of which debuted just after Christmas, uses the tagline "Get your taxes won" as a way of positioning the brand against competitors like TurboTax. With 12 TV spots airing in the run-up up to tax season, it's the largest campaign in the brand's history. The second set of ads, launching this week, features Hamm on a movie set, humorously explaining the features of H&R Block's tax promos and their advantages over TurboTax. Adweek met with H&R Block's CMO, Kathy Collins, to discuss the brand's marketing efforts as tax day approaches. Adweek: How is H&R Block positioning itself against its competitors, which often offer cheaper services, this tax season? Kathy Collins: We had a rough tax season last year, and we knew we had to do something bold. We had never called out any competitor by name [before now]. TurboTax had a great season; we did not. Sixty percent of people want help with their taxes, so we're emphasizing our expertise. TurboTax and others say, "This is easy. You don't need expertise," but our point is, you do because you might be leaving money behind. We can help you navigate through the tax code, which is 75,000 pages long. When we started the business in 1955, the tax code was 500 pages long. People who do their taxes on their own make a mistake about half the time, so highlighting our expertise is the right way to position the brand. Why did you choose Jon Hamm as a spokesperson? Because he has range.

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David Lynch Finally Talks—Very Enigmatically—About Reviving Twin Peaks

January 10, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Hours after Showtime finally revealed the premiere date for Showtime's Twin Peaks revival —Sunday, May 21—reporters at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour were given another big Twin Peaks scoop: a surprise appearance by David Lynch, who talked about the series for the first time. But in true David Lynch fashion, he answered almost all of the reporters' questions in his typical enigmatic style—i.e. not really at all, peppered with Lynch-isms like, "always we're filled with doubts." A sampling of his responses: On how he and writer Mark Frost work together on Twin Peaks: "We work together on Skype." On how his directing approach has changed since making Twin Peaks in 1990: "It was just the same as all the others. I see it as a film, and a film in parts is what people will experience." On Showtime Networks CEO and president David Nevins' earlier comments that the episodes are "the pure heroin version of David Lynch" : "I hear heroin is a very popular drug these days." On what caused him to briefly leave the revival in 2015 : "I would rather not discuss that. [But] I loved working with [Showtime's execs] very, very much. We've got a great working relationship. I'm very happy being at Showtime." On what it was like to shoot Twin Peaks in the Pacific Northwest again: "Both the same and different." On making Twin Peaks the first time: "I didn't really know about television. We just were telling the story." On why Twin Peaks only lasted two seasons: "Who killed Laura Palmer was a question that we never really wanted to answer. [It was like] the goose that laid those golden eggs. We were told we had to wrap that story up. It never really got going after that." On whether the 1992 Twin Peaks film Fire Walk With Me factors into the events of the revival: "I could say the story of Laura Palmer's last seven days, very much important for this" On whether he's aware of the hype around Twin Peaks: "I'm too in the middle and I don't go out much." On whether he remembers the catalyst for what made him become a storyteller: "No, I don't.

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Tinder Is Reminding CES Attendees That Real-Life Love Beats Virtual Reality

January 6, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

While Consumer Electronics Show attendees scope out the hottest virtual reality at the Las Vegas Convention Center this week, Tinder is promoting another kind of VR—very real. In a video released on Thursday, it seemed for a second like maybe the dating app was launching some sort of virtual reality experience. (After all, VR has been touted time and time again as an empathy machine , and what romance-seeker couldn't use a little more of that?) "We're always looking for new ways to bring people together," the narrator says quietly, as more and more of the product is revealed. "Not in feeds or comment sections. Real together. Shared experience.

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Ad of the Day: Facebook Creative Shop Built Chevrolet’s New Year’s Ads Around 360 Video

January 4, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

It's Jan. 4. Are you already on the verge of scrapping your New Year's resolutions? Well, Chevrolet just launched a campaign on Facebook designed to keep you on track—and in a broader sense, portray the General Motors nameplate as a valued partner on the road of life. "A new year offers all of us the clean slate we need to tackle the personal challenges in our lives that are so often pushed to the side as family and work priorities consume our time and energy," Tim Mahoney, chief marketing officer, Global Chevrolet, tells Adweek.

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Stay-at-Home Moms Watch One More Hour of Media Per Day Than Working Mothers

January 3, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Stay-at-home mothers don't have as many devices in their homes as their working counterparts, but they make the most of those that they do have: they spend around seven and a half more hours each week watching TV and TV-connected devices than working mothers do. In Nielsen's Q3 2016 Total Audience Report, released this morning, the company focused on the media habits of mothers: working and those who stay at home. (Previous reports spotlighted millennials and the extent to which consumers are using all options available to them .) According to Nielsen's national TV panel, there are 25.1 million females in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 49 who have one or more children under the age of 12. Nearly three-quarters of those women are working, and the older a woman is, the more likely she is to be in the workforce: Seventy-one percent of mothers between 18 and 34 are working, but that jumps to 77 percent of those between 35 and 49. While working mothers are more affluent and more likely to live in high-tech homes with several devices, stay-at-home moms spend an average of 36:26 (in hours: minutes) each week on live TV viewing and connected TV devices, which include DVR, DVD/Blu-ray, game consoles and other devices like Roku and Apple TV. That's seven and a half hours more than working mothers, who spend an average of 28:49 each week. Live TV viewing accounts for the biggest discrepancy between the two groups, with stay-at-home moms watching more than five hours of live TV each week (25:37, versus 20:08 for working mothers). While working mothers spend less time consuming media, they have access to more devices than their stay-at-home counterparts. Seventy-four percent of working moms subscribe to SVOD services like Netflix and Hulu, while just 65 percent of stay-at-home moms do. Eighty percent of working moms have tablets, compared to 72 percent of stay-at-home mothers. However, both groups have an almost identical access to smartphones: Ninety-eight percent of working moms, 96 percent of stay-at-home moms. On the social media front, stay-at-home mothers gravitate toward PCs and smartphones, while working moms use tablets. Across all devices, radio reaches the greatest number of working moms, who average 13:45 per week (stay-at-home mothers listen for an average of 12:07 each week). But stay-at-home moms spend more time with all other devices, led by smartphones: stay-at-home mothers average 22:43 per week of smartphone time, versus 20:41 for working moms. Live TV drop-off In overall viewing numbers, U.S. adults spent an average of 4:06 (in hours: minutes) tuning into live TV each day in Q3 2016, which is one minute less than the previous year

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Adweek Unveils 3 Departments Featuring Insights, Data and Future-Forward Businesses

January 3, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

In this age of inexorable disruption the embrace of rapid change has moved well beyond table stakes to become the basis for any chance of survival. Adweek feels this pressure in our digital products on an almost daily basis. But we also have the privilege of producing a weekly magazine and that too must change in order to remain as competitive, relevant and profitable as possible. It's a car we have to fine-tune even as it speeds ever faster through the twisting roads of the brand-marketing ecosystem. So with that in mind, in this issue, our first of 2017, Adweek editor Lisa Granatstein is introducing three new departments—Whiteboard, Dashboard and Talent Pool—that truly reflect topics of crucial importance for our audience: role modeling success, data, insights, and talent acquisition and deployment.

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How to Revitalize Beloved Pop Culture Brands Like Star Trek, Hannibal and American Gods

December 28, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

These days, one of the safest bets for attracting TV or movie audiences is to rely on existing brand or franchise and try to revitalize it. When it's successful—like the recent Star Wars films or Fox's X-Files revival—it brings in both diehard fans and a fresh audience. Two of the best writers involved in resuscitating beloved pop culture properties are Bryan Fuller (who breathed new life into the stale Hannibal Lecter franchise by turning Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon into an audacious NBC series) and Michael Green (who worked on Smallville, putting a new spin on the Superman story). Now those two are teaming up for a new, high-profile adaptation, turning Neil Gaiman's acclaimed novel American Gods into a series for Starz, debuting this spring. But American Gods is just one of several major brand refreshes that Fuller or Green are overseeing in 2017. Fuller also co-created the first Star Trek series in 12 years, Star Trek: Discovery, for CBS All Access (though he has since departed the show) and is developing an updated version of the '80s anthology series Amazing Stories for NBC. Meanwhile, Green co-wrote three major franchise films: Logan (a darker, grittier spin on the Wolverine franchise), Alien: Covenant (the follow-up to Prometheus, which more directly ties into Alien) and Blade Runner 2049, which brings back Harrison Ford and whose first trailer generated enthusiastic buzz last week: As they prepare to launch American Gods in the spring, Fuller and Green sat down with Adweek to talk about their approach to breathing new life in beloved pop culture brands, and what they've learned about trying to make fans happy—or not: Adweek: What has to stand out for you when you're looking at an existing brand or a franchise, and trying to make it your own? Bryan Fuller: It has to be about something more than just its own plot, to start with. And you have to be able to isolate your own memory of what it is you loved about it. Because if you take something as broad as a superhero character, everyone came at it at a different time and a different incarnation and a different run of a different artist, and so there are different aspects of the character that are in the soul of it for you. That's the core of adaptation, is you have to be able to dive into those things and celebrate that particular aspect of it. It's about taking those core values of what the piece is and making sure that you can now re-present those things to other people, and hopefully they'll appreciate it in the same way that you did

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How Waterford Keeps the Final 10 Seconds of Each Year Fresh With the New Year’s Eve Ball

December 28, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Pop quiz: What media event guarantees the most eyeballs for a brand? The Super Bowl, right? Not a bad guess. Each year, some 114 million Americans (give or take) tune in to watch the football game and, of course, commercials for the brands that buy up the pricey ad time. But there's one event that beats those numbers. And it, too, is about a ball. But this one isn't a pigskin that gets tossed around; it's a 6-ton sphere that's 12 feet in diameter. And the furthest this ball travels is to the top of a flagpole. Follow us on Instagram We speak, of course, of the New Year's Eve Ball atop 1 Times Square in New York. When the famous illuminated ball drops during the final 10 seconds of the year, an estimated 175 million Americans—1 billion people around the world—are watching on TV or the web. As Times Square Alliance president Tim Tompkins put it, "There's no other time I can think of where [that many] Americans are doing the same thing." And while the Super Bowl sells commercial slots for some 67 brands, the New Year's ball drop highlights only one: Waterford. Since 2000, the Irish brand of lead crystal has manufactured the 2,688 glass triangles that, once screwed into place, complete the famous Times Square ball (actually a geodesic sphere.) That coveted job arguably makes Waterford—makers of fine stemware since 1783—the most visible brand on planet earth, at least for the last few moments of every year, when all eyes are trained on that big ball. "We love what we do," said Tom Brennan, master artisan for Waterford. "And we love the fact that a billion people around the world are watching." Brennan was speaking with reporters on the 21st floor of One Times Square on Tuesday morning, a few minutes before Waterford debuted its latest ball, which was waiting up on the roof. As it turns out, sponsoring the New Year's ball isn't just a coveted marketing opportunity, it's also a challenging one. After all, Waterford's name appears nowhere on the ball itself, and no viewers (either on TV or 470 feet below in Times Square) will get close enough to admire the detail on the glass, either.

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Russell Athletic Pays Tribute to Emotional Bond Between High School Football Players and Coaches

December 27, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

High school athletes put their all into their football careers—but for most of these athletes, their senior year marks the last time they'll put on a jersey. Russell Athletic is showing how amateur football can impart valuable life lessons in its latest ads from agency Barkley. Two new videos, "Dear Seniors" and "Dear Coach" highlight the emotional bond between players and coaches. In the first video, New Palestine, Ind., high school football coach Kyle Ralph explains how his players have learned to deal with adversity and how football builds character. In the second video, one of his players responds, speaking about how Ralph taught the team lessons that would make them better people.

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For Trojan, Inventive Packaging Made the Sale When Advertising Wasn’t Allowed

December 27, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The year 2016 saw a lot of talk about the state of American manufacturing—about jobs making stuff for great American brands. And while most of the discussion centered on products like General Electric light bulbs and Carrier air conditioners, it’s worth pointing out one brand that’s received very little press—even though all of its manufacturing takes place in the U.S. (in Colonial Heights, Va.); even though untold numbers of the 500 million products it turns out yearly are used every day of the week. Well, maybe more like every night of the week. The product? Trojan condoms. Condoms are big business in the land of the free

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