Twitter Is Helping Brands Drive Conversations With ‘Instant Unlock Cards’

August 4, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Twitter is hoping the allure of exclusive content might help brands better engage with consumers and drive conversation. The company is unveiling an "Instant Unlock Card" that encourages people to tweet about a brand in order to earn rewards such as a movie trailer or an exclusive Q&A. The cards, which roll out globally today, utilize the social media network's conversational ads. The product, which debuted in January, contain images or videos with call-to-action buttons and a customizable hashtag. And Twitter says it works—during a beta test, brands saw an average earned media rate of 34 percent. (In other words, for every 100 paid impressions, the cards gained the advertiser 34 non-paid impressions.) Twitter is also launching advanced analytics to help track and measure the conversational units. The measurement tools, available through the Twitter Ads dashboard, show engagement and earned media metrics from each campaign. "Even more campaign insights are available to all global marketers through Brand Hub's Watchlist feature," according to a Twitter blog post. "See how many people are tweeting your campaign hashtag, how many impressions your campaign earned, and check out the most influential tweets. (Select US advertisers can also track the impact conversational ads have on their TrueVoice score, a metric to help track share of brand conversation in real time.)" To illustrate their effect, Twitter pointed out use cases by AMC, Coca-Cola and Marvel, which each ran campaigns on the platform using the conversational formats. For example, Coca-Cola used the conversational ads for its #TasteTheFeeling campaign and gained 180,000 mentions of Coca-Cola or the hashtag. The conversation drove the brand to become one of the top organic trends of the day.

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Marriott Is Sponsoring One Guy’s Quest to Catch All the Pokemon

August 3, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Nick Johnson was greeted by life-size Pokemon at Marriott hotels on his trip. Photo Illustration: Yuliya Kim, Dianna McDougall; Sources: Pokemon GO, Marriott Brands in seemingly every category are finding fun ways to capitalize on the Pokemon Go craze . The latest is Marriott Rewards, which is sponsoring one man's quest to "catch 'em all" around the world. Nick Johnson, a 28-year-old Pokemon Go master who works at Applico, an app design and development firm in New York, is just one Pokemon away from being the first person to catch all of the Pokemon in the world. After he captured the 142 U.S.-based Pokemon in just two weeks, Marriott contacted Johnson through Reddit about sponsoring his journey to catch Mr. Mime, Farfetch'd and Kangaskhan, the three rare Pokemon that "live" in Paris, Hong Kong and Sydney, respectively. Marriott footed the bill for his hotel stays in each city. "Partnering with Nick was such a natural fit for Marriott Rewards because it's all about giving members the chance to pursue what they love through travel," said Karin Timpone, global marketing officer at Marriott International. "We're so excited to help Nick live out his dream as he travels from country to country and shares his story." Marriott Rewards and Johnson have recorded the experience on Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram. Johnson posted photos from Marriott's Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Hotel, the Renaissance Hong Kong and Pier One Sydney Harbour Autograph Collection Hotel throughout the journey.

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Snapchat Influencers Start Labeling Social Endorsements as Paid Ads

August 3, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

For months, brands have leaned heavily on Snapchat's biggest celebrities to run under-the-radar campaigns that subtly promote their products in the form of sponsored posts that are seen by influencers' millions of followers. Now those creators are beginning to mark branded content with disclaimers that adhere to the Federal Trade Commission's guidelines. Unlike other platforms like Instagram and Twitter where social celebs typically have to clearly label their content as paid endorsements, sponsored content on Snapchat has been murky for marketers until recently. Snapchat doesn't have any strict rules for content creators to abide by, and it can be difficult to find misleading content since posts automatically disappear within 24 hours. But this week, a handful of the platform's biggest stars— Shaun McBride , Josh Peck and the Eh Bee Family—have posted copy that is marked with hashtags such as #paid, #ad and #sponsored to indicate that their posts are paid for by brands. "With more influencers creating content on Snapchat, you're seeing everyone follow along [with FTC guidelines,]" said Nick Cicero, CEO of Delmondo, a startup that pairs up influencers with brands. "The widely accepted industry best practice is still using #ad and you see more influencer campaigns being executed on Snapchat—it's a universal understanding." Yesterday, McBride—the Snapchat artist more commonly known as Shonduras—posted a Snapchat story from a Samsung event in New York that unveiled its new Note 7 smartphone. Before the event, McBride posted a picture with the hashtag #collab to disclose to his fans that he was being paid to post on his Snapchat account. "I usually comply with whatever the brand feels is the right decision," McBride said in an email. McBride's Snapchat story Meanwhile, YouTube and Vine family the Eh Bee Family teased a branded YouTube video created for Nintendo's Mario Kart Battle game on Snapchat yesterday with a single post marked as #paid that was uploaded using the app's recently launched Memories feature. "We just want to be transparent with our fans, and we're glad that we can upload from our camera roll as it allows us to better position FTC disclaimers without ruining the overall experience," the Eh Bee Family said in an emailed statement. Indeed, the number of celebrities disclosing their posts as paid has seemingly grown overnight. Josh Peck and David Lopez are among a handful of celebs promoting a sponsored lens from Amazon today, and Mondelez-owned Sour Patch Kids chose to have music app Musical.ly star Baby Ariel take over the brand's Snapchat account to create a story during Sunday's Teen Choice Awards that she labeled with the hashtag #ad. Social celeb Josh Peck promoted Amazon's Echo. Advertisers and creators have long struggled with labeling so-called native advertising so that it's legally disclosed but doesn't annoy an influencer's millions of followers. When Lord & Taylor failed to acknowledge that it paid 50 bloggers to photograph themselves wearing the same dress, the FTC cracked down on the retailer in March . For its part, Facebook recently loosened its grip on branded content so that publishers and creators can create custom content on the platform that is marked with sponsored tags, similar to YouTube's policies. Snapchat's ephemeral posts and lack of rules on paid content can be particularly tricky for advertisers. Alexa Mehraban, who runs the popular EatingNYC account on Instagram, recently told Adweek that branded content on Snapchat is "still a pretty gray area" compared to Instagram and other social platforms.

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Kevin Roberts Will Resign as Saatchi Chairman After Backlash Over Gender Comments

August 3, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Less than a week after making dismissive comments about gender bias in the ad industry, Saatchi & Saatchi chairman Kevin Roberts has opted to resign, effective Sept. 1. Roberts was placed on a leave of absence shortly after backlash erupted over a July 29 article in Business Insider highlighted his opinion that gender balance has already been achieved in advertising, colorfully noting "the fucking debate is all over." He further infuriated diversity advocates by saying the lack of women in executive roles could be because women don't have the "vertical ambition" of men. He also attacked the industry's gender-balance advocate Cindy Gallop, saying: "I think she's got problems that are of her own making. I think she's making up a lot of the stuff to create a profile, and to take applause." Today, Saatchi parent company Publicis Groupe sent the following statement to news outlets: "Publicis Groupe announced today the resignation of Kevin Roberts, Head Coach de Publicis Groupe, Executive Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi/Fallon, Member of the Management Board. The Supervisory Board and the Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe took note of Kevin Robert's decision to step down with effect from September 1st 2016, prior to his retirement date due in May 2017." In a statement to news outlets including The New York Times and U.K. advertising magazine Campaign, Roberts tried to explain his decision to leave the company: "'Fail Fast, Fix Fast, Learn Fast' is a leadership maxim I advocate. When discussing with Business Insider evolving career priorities and new ways of work/life integration, I failed exceptionally fast. My miscommunication on a number of points has caused upset and offense, and for this I am sorry. "I have inadvertently embarrassed Saatchi & Saatchi and Publicis Groupe, two companies I love and have been devoted to for almost 20 years." Roberts notably stops short of recanting his comments, though. His statement instead simply acknowledges that there are many vocal opinions on the issues of gender balance and empowering female employees as leaders: "There is a lot of learning to reflect on," Roberts wrote in the statement, "and within the thousands of tweets, comments and articles there are many powerful and passionate contributions on the changing nature of the workplace, the work we do, what success really looks like, and what companies must do to provide women and men the optimal frameworks in which to flourish."

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Despite Rio Risks, Summer Olympics Ratings Could Be Highest Ever

August 2, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Three days before the Rio Olympics are set to kick off, NBC execs are keeping their fingers crossed that their coverage will be focused more on the athletes and competition, and not on all the other issues plaguing Rio in the run-up to the Games. NBCUniversal is offering 6,755 hours of Rio Olympic programming overall, including 2,084 hours of coverage across 11 linear networks. NBC alone will broadcast 260.5 hours of coverage. The result is "one of the biggest endeavors in media history," said NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell, who spoke via satellite from Rio to reporters at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour in L.A. And given that Rio is just one hour ahead of the East Coast, much of NBC's primetime coverage will air live (though the opening ceremony will be on a one-hour delay ). After months of "political pie fights" and other sad national and international news, "I think America is ready … to get some relief from all of that," said NBC Olympics correspondent Mary Carillo. But will that actually happen? While all Olympic host cities risk major issues going into the Games, "Rio probably has the biggest array of problems or potential problems," said Bob Costas, who will once again host NBC's primetime coverage. That includes environmental, economic and safety issues in Rio de Janeiro, including a police crisis, questions about infrastructure, the polluted Guanabara Bay and the Zika virus. Those pre-Games concerns usually end up fading into the background as the Olympics get under way, and "we hope it will be the same [in Rio], because there are so many great stories of the athletes," said Costas. "We're here to cover the Olympics

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How Droga5 London Will, and Won’t, Be Like the Mothership

August 2, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

BALI, Indonesia—David Kolbusz has a "No assholes" rule when it comes to judging ad awards, and it's worked out pretty well for him lately. The creative chief at Droga5 London has been judging Branded Content & Branded Entertainment for the Clio Awards here in Bali this week. And it's been an altogether pleasant experience, as the jury—which included U.S.-based judges PJ Pereira of Pereira & O'Dell, Jim Elliott of Arnold and Justine Armour of Wieden + Kennedy—has been top notch, debating the work with insight, humor and great taste. It's the second straight positive judging experience for the Canadian-born Kolbusz, who was also on the Titanium & Integrated jury, led by his old boss, Sir John Hegarty, at Cannes earlier this summer. "Awards are brilliant when you've got a good jury, and they're terrible when you've got a terrible jury," he tells Adweek over beachside beers here at the Ritz-Carlton, shortly after finishing judging by helping to choose a Grand Clio for the category. "When it's good, it's great. When it's bad, it's wretched and hurts the industry.

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Ad of the Day: Marco Polo Struggles With His Own Pool Game in Geico’s New Campaign

August 1, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

One of the last places you'd expect to see 13th century Venetian explorer Marco Polo would be in a pool with a bunch of kids during a round of the modern-day water game Marco Polo. But that's exactly where he appears in Geico's latest goofy commercial from The Martin Agency, which juxtaposing the surprise of the off-kilter visual gag with the obviousness of what the the insurer emphasizes as its competitive edge—lower rates for consumers. The theme of the new mini-campaign is, "It's not surprising." In the spot, the famous traveler stands, in full period garb, chest deep in a backyard pool, completely baffled while a handful of children swim around him yelling "Marco" and "Polo." His ineffectual attempts to bridge the gap are entertaining enough. "Excuse me," he says in Italian, "I am Marco Polo." Alas, it's to no avail. But the ad's true highlight is its llama—apparently Polo's ride to the party (which is in itself a bit of a surprise—it made it to South America sometime in the past 700 years, too). It stands outside the pool, peering over the edge at the commotion, face permanently fixed in a state of bored indignation. That's a more subtle role than many of Geico's animal figures, who often stand front and center in its ads—earlier this year, an obnoxious talking alligator showed viewers how to properly dodge a lunch check, building on a long, amusing history of using animals to help sell its policies. This aloof, understated approach works well, and in the end, even the hapless Polo catches on to the rules and joins the fun, making for a charming little last shot. Of course, perhaps most surprising of all is how calm parents and Geico customers Amanda and Keith are about the oddly dressed old man with the pack animal crashing their family afternoon. Then again, maybe saving $645 on car insurance when they have three kids to raise—the new campaign also notably shows actual Geico customers and their actual savings—might well have the same effect on them as popping a couple of Valium

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Turner Will Continue Reduced Ad Loads on TNT Next Year, and Could Expand to TBS in 2018

August 1, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Turner's experiment with reduced ad loads of up to 50 percent on TNT's new drama Animal Kingdom this summer has been so successful that the company is already planning on expanding its scope over the next two years. TNT will offer 50 percent reduced ad loads on all its new original dramas in 2017, and could also expand that offering to TBS' original series in 2018, TNT and TBS president Kevin Reilly told reporters today at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour in Los Angeles. "We're seeing very, very good results for that," said Reilly, who is also chief creative officer for Turner Entertainment, of Animal Kingdom's ad load reduction, which has added 10 minutes or more of content per episode. "Not only is the commercial rating higher, but we're also seeing a nice ratings lift." Reilly said Turner is still waiting on more data, but "we've seen indications there will be a higher brand recall." Focus groups have noted that "you really see the difference," he added. There was a "robust" response to TNT's reduced ad loads in this year's upfront, where Turner secured double-digit CPM gains . Turner ad sales chief Donna Speciale and her team sold reduced ad loads for new TNT dramas during the upfront, but "I want to do it across the board," said Reilly, who said the approach "has been embraced by the advertising community. That said, "we can not go it alone," he said, and if other networks don't follow suit with similar ad load reductions, "we're going to have to go back." For now, his shows have shorter breaks, instead of fewer breaks, but "we're still playing with that," said Reilly. Beyond the reduced ad loads, Reilly said "some of our native advertising efforts have really been great." He cited Maya Rudolph's "vajingle" spot for Seventh Generation tampons on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, which went viral after it aired last month. "I heard from women, 'that's finally the way those things should be sold,'" said Reilly.

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10 Iconic Presidential Campaign Ads That Changed Political Advertising

July 31, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Presidential campaigns have a history of producing memorable television ads that have helped sway public opinion and win elections. But many of the old rules of campaigning have been broken in 2016's decidedly unusual election season—most often by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who's so far eschewed the idea of producing influential political ads and leaned on free media instead. Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, has dominated ad spending so far, swamping the GOP's candidate by a 15-to-1 margin. According to SMG Delta, Clinton and groups supporting her have bought $45 million in ads for the general election, compared with $3 million spent in support of Trump—none of which came from the Trump campaign itself. While Trump may not be convinced, Clinton is a firm believer in the power of political advertising on TV, which dates to the medium's earliest days. The most memorable spots (think Reagan’s “Morning in America”) have tended to come from winning campaigns—but not always. From inspiring and positive to brutally negative and even, perhaps, unfair, here are 10 of the most iconic presidential spots, from Eisenhower to Obama.

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Why You Likely Won’t See Too Much Political Advertising During the Olympics

July 29, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

With the torch about to be lit at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, all eyes are on NBC. And with the TV-friendly time zone—Rio is only an hour ahead of the East Coast—NBC is looking to set records for viewership and advertising dollars. But even as NBC is looking at a bigger haul for ad revenue than it had in 2012—in March, the network surpassed $1 billion in national broadcast, cable and digital sales, four months earlier than it did four years ago—don't expect an onslaught of campaign ads from Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Unless, that is, you happen to live in one of the 10 to 14 swing states that will likely determine which party wins the White House this year. It would seem that the massive audience the Olympics provides—NBC drew more than 217 million viewers over the 17 days of the 2012 London Games, including an average of 31 million per night in prime time—would be an ideal chance for candidates to get their messages out. But with only so many political dollars to go around—Borrell Associates projected north of $11 billion in political advertising for the 2016 cycle—campaigns value efficiency over audience size, especially with all the ways available to reach voters, many of which didn't exist just four years ago. "[Voter groups] can be found and targeted in way more efficient ways," said Lenny Stern, co-founder and CEO of SS+K, the agency behind youth vote campaigns for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Thanks largely to technology, marketers today have better ways to directly target specific audience segments rather than casting a wide, pricey net. The average cost for a 30-second spot for Rio is $100,000, Kantar Media estimates, which would be a slight increase over the previous two Summer Olympics. But for prime time, that price could be as high as $1 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. "Finding voters in Virginia, Ohio, Florida or Wisconsin in the most efficient way is much more important than some scaled, amazing platform that grabs a lot of eyeballs," Stern argued. The 2016 presidential election is anything but typical; you would have to be living under a rock, that was living under another rock, to not be familiar with the two candidates. After all, one is a former first lady, and the other is a reality TV star. "You're not introducing [voters] to new people," Stern said. "Here, you're really trying to target … people who are your supporters, or who are persuadable." Campaign money swings into battleground states Election ad dollars may not flow heavily on a national level—political advertising accounted for just 1 percent of all commercial inventory during the London Games—because for many campaigns, that spending occurs at the local station level. "You also bring into play on the Senate, House and local races," said Jon Swallen, CRO at Kantar Media. "There is a bigger pool of political advertising." Kantar found that in 2012, the spending was much higher in key battleground markets than in non-battleground states. Political ads only accounted for 1.5 percent of all local station inventory during the games. For example, political ads took up 38 percent of Reno, Nev., NBC affiliate KRNV's inventory.

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