Why This Agency Created an Ad-Free, Niche Cooking Magazine

July 8, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

A new magazine hit newsstands this week—a niche cooking magazine called Sous-Vide—and the team behind it might surprise you. The cover of Sous-Vide's debut issue. While the concept for the magazine came from company Cuisine Solutions, 95 percent of the content created for it was composed by creative agency HZDG's content studio. Yes, an advertising agency is behind a new glossy magazine that also happens to be ad-free. "There's a whole new sector of publishing bubbling up within the media landscape, there are a whole new stable of magazines that are focused on enthusiast audiences and hyper-niche subject matter," Sarah Schaffer, head of the HZDG Content Studio, said. "People are changing the way content is produced and consumed, so I don't think [producing an ad-free magazine] was that shocking to us." Selling for $9.99 at stores including Whole Foods, Costco and Trader Joe's, the magazine will publish twice a year for the time being. The magazine is meant to be a "cuisine solutions publication," for chefs and foodies across the country.

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Twitter Tests ‘Recommended Video’ Feature During National Shooting Coverage

July 8, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Publishers have flooded Twitter with video clips this week as they cover police shootings of civilians in Louisiana and Minnesota, and a shooting in Dallas Thursday night that killed five police officers. To help viewers stay informed, Twitter has quietly rolled out a recommended video feature that groups similar clips together, much like Facebook's suggested video feature. The videos autoplay silently in Twitter newsfeeds. When users click on a clip, the sound comes on and a landing page appears with more videos at the bottom. Here's what clicking on a clip from ABC News looked like this morning: Twitter did not immediately reply to press inquiries, but the move underscores the growing importance of social video in covering—and learning about—national tragedies. Recommended videos are only running in Twitter's iPhone app, and only appear when users click on clips directly from the newsfeed. They look similar to a feature Facebook rolled out last year called suggested video that bundles clips and ads into a stream. Similar to YouTube's revenue sharing program, Facebook gives publishers 55 percent of the revenue made from those ads. At the time of press, ads were not appearing in Twitter's recommended video player.

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How This Charity Used a Loophole on Mobile Payment App Venmo to Raise Money

July 7, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

It's no surprise that nonprofits operate on shoestring-sized budgets and are constantly working to recruit a new generation of millennial donors. But Water is Life, a charity focused on providing clean water resources, found an interesting way to hack the popular mobile payment app Venmo, which could open the floodgates to creative and stealthy digital marketing from other nonprofits. Last week, the charity teamed up with Deutsch New York to zero in on millennials who use peer-to-peer app Venmo to send each other money. But there was a problem: Venmo doesn't let brands advertise on the app—likely because seeing a flood of ads alongside credit card statements would scare off its users. So, the charity and agency Deutsch found a tiny workaround by keeping a close eye on the app's global news feed, a feature that shows real-time public transactions between Venmo users. Starting on the Fourth of July—a high-traffic time on the app when millennials are paying their friends back for things like beer and food—Deutsch began sending personalized ads disguised as payments to folks who publicized their payments. The team sent each user a 1 cent payment attached to a 2,000-character message tailored to what they recently paid for. For example, the copy sent to someone who recently charged a friend for a beer may have read, "1 cent can't pay someone back for a beer, but it can help buy someone clean water for a day." At the bottom of the message, a call-to-action prompted consumers to donate to Water Is Life by going to a website. Once the tiny payment was sent, the message appeared in the user's news feed where all of their friends could see it, too

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Visit Houston Uses VR to Help Bust the City’s ‘Tumbleweeds and Cattle’ Stereotypes

July 7, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Houston is the fourth largest city in the U.S., and one of the most diverse, yet it's still not a hugely popular tourist destination. "We still have to dispel beliefs that Houston is where the tumbleweeds and cattle are," said Mike Waterman, president of Visit Houston, the city's convention and visitors bureau. To do that, Visit Houston is launching a virtual reality experience that puts potential visitors at the center of the action. The experience, created with VR company YouVisit, will give viewers a 360-degree view of Houston's attractions such as the NASA Space Center, Minute Maid Park, the Houston Ballet and the city's museums and parks. It includes a tour guide avatar that offers brief explanations about each destination. "We're trying to provide new visitors with experiences that are memorable, and therefore marketable," Waterman said. "We sat down and thought about the 12 most interesting venues that would entice people to watch the content. The hope is that once people see the content, they'll be so excited that they'll book a ticket to Houston." People spend an average of 10 minutes watching YouVisit's VR pieces, which have also included experiences for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia and Alaska and Vietnam tourism. "In the online world, 10 minutes is an eternity," said Abi Mandelbaum, CEO of YouVisit. "For travel destinations, when you're able to put that perspective traveler in a VR set and give them a glimpse of what it would be like to be there, their desire to experience it in real life jumps dramatically." YouVisit also tracks viewer data, which will help Visit Houston inform its future marketing efforts based on how many people are watching, where they're located, and which destinations are grabbing their attention, Mandelbaum added. "It lets the data do the talking. You look at what they're spending their time on, and then continue to enhance the experience and marketing message to hone in on things they're interested in," he said. "That informs the messaging that the destination can use to continue to attract more visitors and drive better results." The VR experience should help Visit Houston reach its goal of 20 million visitors by 2018, an increase from 14.9 million in 2014 and 17.5 million in 2015, Waterman said. "When we go into a NASA buoyancy lab and capture astronauts training, or we film the Houston Ballet during the rehearsal, or the signing of the National Anthem at Minute Maid Park during an Astros game, that's content that people will want to watch. If we produce the right kind of content, people will want to consume it." Mandelbaum expects more tourism organizations to embrace virtual reality in their marketing efforts in the future. "It's an experience that you can't get from Trip Advisor or Yelp," he said. "When you can get a traveler to feel what it's like to actually be there, it changes the game and moves your destination to the top of the list because you've offered them something memorable."

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Chobani Tells Inspiring Team USA Stories in Its Multifaceted Olympics Campaign

July 7, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Olympic athletes need to put good stuff into their bodies in order to succeed. But good food alone won't win them any medals at this summer's games in Rio, according to Chobani's new multifaceted Olympics campaign in which athletes need to eliminate all the bad stuff in order to win. Stemming from the idea that Chobani helps power Olympic athletes with its all-natural products and a belief on the part of the brand's founder that "you can only be great if you're full of goodness," Chobani has launched a huge Olympics push, including TV spots, newly designed packaging, social components and more. The campaign, centered around the slogan "No Bad Stuff," stars a diverse crew of Team USA hopefuls including soccer star Alex Morgan, decathlete Ashton Eaton, boxer Marlen Esparza, paratriathlon competitor Melissa Stockwell and wrestler Jordan Burroughs, among others. The five athletes star in a larger anthem spot as well as shorter 30- and 15-second spots, created in partnership with agency Opperman Weiss, all meant to showcase how Chobani and the athletes don't allow bad things in their products, bodies or lives. "In order for these athletes to really reach their ultimate place of greatness it's not only that they can't let shitty food get into their body—they can't eat sugars and preservatives and chemicals and all that stuff—but they also can't allow negativity into their being and spirit, whether that's racism or hatred or jealousy or pride, all of those things that are blocks to greatness to athleticism," Jeff Weiss, Opperman Weiss co-founder, told Adweek. Chobani carefully selected the athletes featured in the campaign, spending roughly four months finding a diverse group of competitors that not only have the potential to win medals but have also overcome adversity to get to the level they're at today. But beyond selecting athletes with a chance to medal for Team USA in Rio, Chobani also wanted to work with athletes who love its product and consume it regularly, and also "have very strong values, beliefs and work ethics [and are] wonderful community citizens," Peter McGuinness, chief marketing and brand officer at Chobani, told Adweek. In the 30-second spots, Chobani dives deeper into individual athletes' stories, showing consumers how each one overcame adversity—Morgan's coach telling her, at the age of 13, that she would never be a great soccer player, for instance, or Esparza proving that women can kick butt in the boxing ring. Each athlete's story is, of course, inspiring. But perhaps most inspiring of the 30-second spots is Stockwell's

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Kids Talk About Their ‘First White President’ in BET News Spots

July 6, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Children under 8, who were born during the Obama administration, are about to experience a landmark moment—the first time they'll see a white person elected president of the United States. To raise awareness of election year issues, BET News launched a video with a roundtable discussion featuring kids talking about the election and what it will be like to have a white president. "Hearing from kids is always interesting, and any way we can start a conversation around social issues is good," said Nneka Norville, director of CSR at BET. The video also draws attention to BET's new campaign, "Vote Your Voice," which is aimed at increasing voter turnout among African Americans. While black voter turnout has been on the rise since 1996, only in the last two presidential elections—2008 and 2012—was African-American turnout on par with white turnout, according to BET. The "Vote Your Voice" PSA shows various influencers from the music, fashion, art and tech worlds staring into the camera in silence with the tagline, "This election, silence is not an option." "It was a risk to go silent, but we wanted to capture people's attention," Norville said. "We wanted to show that this is what it looks like if you don't vote. You're standing in silence, and it's not OK to be silent. You have to use your voice and vote. Given how noisy and dramatic this election season is, we thought that it would be ironic to go silent." A second set of ads will feature celebrities talking about issues that are important to them. The #VoteYourVoice section of BET's website includes more videos on election-related news and issues, and people also can register to vote on the website through a partnership with TurboVote. Since launching last week, the campaign has registered 800 voters. "As a network, we have so much brand equity in the African-American community," Norville said. "We're in over 90 million homes across the country, and people look to us not only to entertain them, but to educate them and inform them. This falls in line with that."

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Google Wants to Give You Better Control Over the Personalized Ads You See

July 1, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Google is changing the way it stores the information it collects while also giving users the ability to update their privacy settings. The search engine giant is introducing a feature that lets users opt in to a new way of storing info that over time could lead to ads that are more personalized for individuals. The company is already collecting massive amounts of information about each user's search activity, Gmail messages and YouTube views, but according to a source, the update will change what information is associated with a user's account instead of having data for each Google product stored separately. According to the source, the feature is rolling out in the coming weeks and will ask users if they want to opt in. If they don't, the user's privacy settings will remain the same.

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How Time Inc.’s New Video-Only Platform Hopes to Unearth the Next Big Digital Star

July 1, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As the digital video ecosystem has exploded over the past five years, it's given rise to a new kind of celebrity: Those who are able to amass large swaths of fans without having to be on a traditional media platform. Now that the industry, along with advertisers, has accepted the importance of digitally-born stars, Time Inc. saw the perfect opportunity to extend its coverage of the traditional celebrity space into YouTube, Vine and Instagram. Announced during its NewFronts presentation , Time Inc. formally took the wraps off Instant , its new mobile-first video-only brand, during last week's VidCon. Instant launched with Degree Deodorant as the exclusive sponsor for the first six months; all the advertising will be either sponsored or branded content. Instant, which is built exclusively for mobile consumption, though it can be viewed on desktops—caters to a growing fanbase that sees YouTubers like Lilly Singh in the same vein as a Jennifer Lawrence. But it's also for those older generations who may not be up to speed on the fast-growing ecosystem. "The goal with Instant is for my grandmother to be able to go onto the site and enjoy herself and get caught up," said Instant editorial director Kirstin Benson. "These digital artists ebb and flow; some of them back out of the industry and there's new ones every day." Instant will be run by Time's two celebrity and pop culture brands People and Entertainment Weekly and will also work with YouNow and Musical.ly. Launching a new media brand in today's oversaturated world is akin to asking viewers to find a needle in a very large haystack. But Benson, who has experience launching new digital platforms after heading up WhoSay, says that using the clout of People and EW gives Instant a massive leg up. "The space is so crowded," she said. "Those two outlets help give us the street cred that we would need." One way Instant will look to gain relevancy is to become the place that will unearth the next big digital star, which has become a key goal across the entire industry . Two of Instant's series, You Should Follow and The Instant Mix, are dedicated to finding untapped talent. "We are literally crawling the internet," said Benson, who adds they're focusing on international talent as well

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Pinterest Adds a Shopping Cart and Visual Search to Challenge Amazon

June 28, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Shopping is getting easier on Pinterest Pinterest Pinterest has long positioned itself as the go-to platform for social shopping, and today it announced a number of new features that will make buying from the site easier and will also separate itself from competitors Facebook and Twitter. Now people can add items to a shopping cart on Pinterest's website and mobile apps. Consumers can then buy multiple products from different merchants at once, similar to how Amazon's checkout page works. While Google also has a shopping cart, Twitter and Facebook notably do not. In addition, Pinterest is also rolling out a feature that uses visual search to let people search for similar items shown within a post. For example, someone looking for a pair of shoes featured within a pin will be able to search for similar items on Pinterest by clicking on a button in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Pinterest is also building new technology for phones—not unlike Amazon's Firefly visual search technology—that will help users find online products by snapping a photo of something in the real world.

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Infographic: From Town Halls to Targeting, Political Advertising Has Come a Long Way

June 28, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Long before the birth of Facebook Live town halls, there were town halls in real life. Before there were digital ads, there were plenty of those paper ones, minus all the creepy targeting based on what we buy, view and even eat . And then of course, before there were hashtags, there were slogans like "Who is James Polk?" Videology , a digital video ad platform that works with political campaigns on both sides of the aisle, took a look at the evolution of political advertising all the way back to before the United States of America was even a thing. "We think of advertising from a political standpoint as something that's been done since the days of Hamilton," Mark McKee, Videology's svp of North America, said in an interview. "But the reality is we've made so much progress in a short amount of time, whether it be use of data, use of internet, use of social." This year, candidates are innovating yet again with digital ad spending for programmatic and addressable television. According to a new report from eMarketer released today, overall programmatic spending on TV ads (not just for politics) is expected to grow 127.8 percent to $710 million. However, at only one percent of total TV spend, it's still just a small number. Meanwhile, eMarketer predicts programmatic digital video this year will total $5.51 billion, or about 56 percent of total digital video ad spending. That's all good news for Videology, which will likely benefit from the digital push from both parties. (After all, the company says it's bipartisan.) Campaign spending on digital ads alone in 2016 is expected to for the first time hit $1 billion —a high jump from the $160 million spent in 2012 .

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