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VSA Partners Promotes William Rosen to Chief Executive Officer

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 20:27:31 +0000

Chicago-based VSA Partners named partner and former marketing practice lead William Rosen as its new chief executive officer. The independent agency, which opened more than three decades ago, has begun to pivot toward creating traditional campaigns for clients like Kleenex, McDonald's and Beam Suntory after initially focusing on designing logos and other branded visual identifiers. Rosen's promotion is part of that shift, which includes several other leadership changes: Former CEO Dana Arnett now holds the vice chairman, founding partner title, while 26-year agency veteran Curt Schreiber is VSA's president and first chief design officer. "I came from the big agency world, got a first-hand glimpse of what worked and didn't in that model and came to VSA explicitly to design an organization that delivers bespoke solutions combining branding, design and technology with the highest degree of craftsmanship," said Rosen. Before joining VSA in 2011, he served as North American president and CCO at Arc Worldwide, a digital and direct marketing-focused division of Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett. Over the past year-plus, that mission has led to such disparate work as a tear-jerking Facebook video for Kleenex that starred Chance the wheelchair-bound dog, a unique print campaign for 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey, and a project that called on VSA to help "brand" a Caribbean port city that won't exist for another 20 years. Regarding this month's changes, Rosen said, "The organization felt like it was time to reset for our next 35 years of growth. It's an evolution, not a transition: The reason VSA stayed so successful is that it has been constantly evolving to service the most sophisticated clients in the world as our industry changes." VSA has done this, in part, by doubling down on numbers and hiring former Obama for America analytics executive Charles Hammerslough to serve as associate partner and director of data science in 2012. "When properly applied, [data] can give creative talent insight to do more effective work, enabling them to tailor that work to the parties they're addressing and the place in the journey where they interact," the new chief told Adweek. Rosen, who recently co-authored a book about activation, also thinks the ad industry needs to focus more on its own effectiveness, arguing that observers tend to apply that principle only when discussing performance-based marketing. "It's about designing the most effective brand possible and allowing the organization to live that brand," he said. Regarding his plans for the future of VSA Partners, Rosen said, "We are rejecting the dichotomy that you can be either data-based or creative. I think that's crucial, and we got a bit of a head start on it." [...]


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NFL and AwesomenessTV Want to Win Over Young Fans With a New Video Series

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:22:02 +0000

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Even though football is the most-watched sport in America, the NFL is always looking for new ways to engage younger audiences with unique and fresh content. For its latest effort, the league is partnering with AwesomenessTV to take a behind-the-scenes look at the NFL and the women who run it.

The multi-part video series, "In the NFL," lifts the curtain on how the league functions.

"A 17-year-old girl doesn't want to watch the same content as her mom or her dad. The NFL wanted to create content for this audience that wasn't the highlight reels of football games," said Paul Kelly, chief partnerships officer at AwesomenessTV. "There's a lot of cool narratives that exist within the organization, so we went to work uncovering those stories that happen off the field."

Videos include a behind-the-scenes tour of the Buffalo Bills' stadium with the team's co-owner Kim Pegula, one of the few female owners in the NFL. Pegula meets with team staffers, offers career tips for young women and talks about engaging the next generation of fans.

In another video, YouTube stars the Merrell Twins take a tour of the Kansas City Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium, interviewing the woman who rides the horse mascot during Chiefs games and the guy who dresses as the team's mascot, K.C. Wolf.

"The younger generation is a growing part of our fan base, and we wanted to continue to give them valuable and enriching experiences, and reach them where they are," said Johanna Faries, vp of marketing and fan strategy at the NFL.

NFL viewership among women dropped between 7 percent and 9 percent from 2013 to 2015, according to Nielsen. Overall NFL ratings at the end of 2016 were down, but there was an uptick in ratings during this month's playoffs. Faries said that the videos aren't a reaction to these statistics.

"It's about how to continue to inspire youth," Faries said. "This gives them a behind-the-scenes look into the NFL that they otherwise wouldn't have."

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Snapchat Is Now Pitching Brands on Sequential Video Ads

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:15:08 +0000

Snapchat is encouraging brands to run longer video by buying bigger packages of ads. According to sources, Snap has started pitching brands on a new type of ad package called sequenced messaging, a type of sequential advertising, in recent weeks. The new ad pricing bundles video ads together so brands can run back-to-back video ads with different creative within Discover—the app's hub of daily content from publishers including Cosmopolitan, CNN and The Daily Mail—to tell one story. For example, one media buyer described how marketers can cut up a 30-second spot into three 10-second ads that run consecutively. "Think about taking a 30-second asset and getting it cropped up into three 10-second spots. I'm going to buy three back-to-back ads, and I'm going to tell this sequential story," said a digital ad buyer who was recently briefed on Snapchat's ad packages and spoke with Adweek on condition of anonymity. "I think it becomes unique in regard to storytelling. These guys are trying to get away with this idea of, 'Maybe if you watched three seconds of the first video, five seconds [of the second video] and then 10 seconds to finish the story, that's good as long as you get the point of the narrative.'" Sequential advertising is a sophisticated targeting tactic used by digital marketers. It zeros in on people who have previously seen or engaged with an ad and then follows up with a series of messages. The practice is commonly used with Facebook and Twitter. However, Snap's pitch has a twist. Instead of relying on complex tagging, tracking or pools of audiences, sequenced messaging ads are bought as a takeover of a Discover channel with contextual targeting. "What's interesting here is that this becomes part of the DNA of a buy," explained another digital exec briefed on Snapchat's plans. "You're starting to think through a linear story or a progression that can be told in a couple of steps, which is quite a bit different than your typical execution that you'd see elsewhere in social." The source added that the new ad buys are only sold directly through Snapchat (as opposed to being sold through the company's API) at premium prices that require "early commitments for a full-service execution." A Snapchat rep confirmed that sequenced messaging is open to all advertisers but added that the app's audience buys—which include look-alike, interest and email list targeting—are the most popular types of ad packages. Ilana Nolte, president of WPP-owned m/Six, said her shop has been working with fashion retailer David Yurman to run targeted ads within Discover. With the addition of sequenced messaging, "we have the ability to split our ad up into three different segments and serve them one segment and then retarget those individuals with another segment to continue the story," she said. "It allows us to create a better engagement with that consumer." Entertainment brands are typically some of the first advertisers to test Snapchat ads, and Sony Pictures and Universal Pictures have both used Snapchat's sequenced messaging tools. Universal Studios is currently running a campaign for the horror movie Split within Cosmopolitan's Discover channel that breaks up a 30-second teaser for the film into three ads. And Sony Pictures is running a similar campaign for Resident Evil: The Final Chapter that breaks up the movie's content into shorter bits within the IGN Discover channel. Sequential advertising could also help Snapchat overcome some of the persistent creative challenges in getting brands to create short, vertically oriented video. In theory, a big brand marketer could cut up a 30-second TV spot for Snapchat, but agencies are also interested in creating longer-form custom content for the app. "I would want to see brands that were thinking more about creating three 10-second vignettes tie[...]


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Hyundai's Ambitious Plan Is to Film Its Super Bowl Ad During the Actual Game

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 18:51:51 +0000

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After a successful Super Bowl 50, Hyundai has announced some pretty lofty plans for Super Bowl LI.

This year, it will run a 90-second spot in the post-gun slot, the first ad to run after the game ends. But there's a catch: Hyundai will film the ad, which it is describing as a documentary, during the Super Bowl itself.

Peter Berg, known for his work on Deepwater Horizon and Lone Survivor, will direct the spot with assistance from Film 45 and Pony Show Entertainment, while Hyundai's agency of record, Innocean Worldwide, will handle creative.

"Super Bowl is the biggest day in advertising, and following our incredibly successful 2016, we wanted to push the creativity and storytelling even further," said Hyundai Motor America CMO Dean Evans in a statement. "Our brand commitment is to make things 'better,' and we are going to give some deserving fans an experience they will never forget," 

According to a statement from the brand, the 90-second documentary will "capture some of the best off-the-field Super Bowl moments." While there's still little information on what those moments might look like, Hyundai will release two short teasers on the weekend of the AFC and NFC Championship games. The teasers will star Joe Montana and Mike Singletary and will "begin to hint at Hyundai's program."

Last year, Hyundai had a total of four ads running on game day, including a popular ad, "First Date" starring Kevin Hart, that ran in the pre-kickoff slot. Other spots featured two talking bears and a town called Ryanville filled with Ryan Reynolds. Innocean Worldwide handled creative for those spots as well.

This year marks Hyundai's ninth time running a game-day ad in the past 10 Super Bowls and the brand's second year as an official sponsor of the NFL.

For more Super Bowl LI news, check out Adweek's Super Bowl Ad Tracker, an up-to-date list of the brands running Super Bowl spots and the agencies involved in creating them. 


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Melissa McCarthy Will Star in Kia's 60-Second Super Bowl Ad for the Niro Hybrid

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 18:13:39 +0000

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After putting Christopher Walken in a Super Bowl commercial for the Optima sedan last year, Kia is turning to another celebrity, Melissa McCarthy, to hype its Niro hybrid crossover on this year's game.

The actress and comedian, 46, provides the voiceover for two 15-second spots breaking this week, titled "Many Names" and "Need/Want." She will appear on camera in the :60 on Super Bowl LI, which is happening Feb. 5.

The tagline is, "A smarter kind of crossover." 

The Niro, which is Kia's latest hybrid, offers the "no-compromise combination of driving enjoyment, eye-catching design, functional utility and hybrid efficiency," according to the automaker.

See the two :15s here:

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The Nero recently set a Guinness World Record for lowest fuel consumption while driving across the U.S. from coast to coast.

"The Niro blends great looks, real-world utility and outstanding fuel economy together in a way that consumers haven't seen before, and these initial marketing elements focus on the fact that there's now 'a smarter kind of crossover' out there for consumers to discover," Michael Sprague, COO of Kia Motors America, said in a statement.

"We've got a fantastic story to tell about the Niro's uniquely alluring yet practical package, and the incredibly talented Melissa McCarthy is the perfect partner to help us do it."

The :60 on Super Bowl LI will be Kia's eighth consecutive appearance on the game. 

For more Super Bowl LI news, check out Adweek's Super Bowl Ad Tracker, an up-to-date list of the brands running Super Bowl spots and the agencies involved in creating them.


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Will & Grace Is Returning to NBC Next Season for a 10-Episode Run

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 18:12:45 +0000

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Fox isn't the only broadcast network that's bringing back its biggest recent hits.

NBC is reviving its hit sitcom Will & Grace for a 10-episode limited run next season. NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke made the announcement at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif.

All four of the show's stars—Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally—will return, along with show creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan and director James Burrows, who directed every episode of the sitcom's run.

NBC has been pursuing a revival ever since the stars and creators reunited last fall for a hilarious pitch to get out the vote for Hillary Clinton.

"We're thrilled to have the show back. We've been quietly talking to Max and David since the reunion episode went viral in September to see if it was possible to align everyone's schedules to do these episodes," Salke told reporters. "And we're so happy it all worked out. We've got the cast, producers, Jimmy Burrows, everyone's on board and excited to get back in production."

The show aired from 1998 to 2006, and was the highest-rated sitcom in the 18-49 demo from 2001 to 2005. Its series finale drew an audience of 18 million.

"We're thrilled that one of the smartest, funniest, and most defining comedies in NBC history is coming back," said NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt in a statement. "This groundbreaking series for everything from gay rights to social and political commentary—all disguised as a high-speed train of witty pop culture—is coming back where it belongs."

Fox had great success last season bringing back The X-Files for a limited run, and the network hopes to replicate that with Prison Break, which returns on April 4 as a limited series.

NBC attempted to revive the ABC Craig T. Nelson sitcom Coach in 2015, giving it a straight-to-series order, but the network pulled the plug after seeing the first episode.

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Doner Promotes New Chief Creative Officer in L.A. After Global Chairman Leaves Ad Industry

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 18:02:02 +0000

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Doner has named Jason Gaboriau as chief creative officer in its Los Angeles office, a newly created position.

Gaboriau and former RAPP chief marketing officer Zihla Salinas came aboard to lead the L.A. office in early 2015 as evp, executive creative director and evp, managing director, respectively.

"From the day Zihla and I were hired, our vision has been to combine the muscle of Doner's Detroit roots with the hustle of a startup, which gave us license to really push ourselves creatively," said the new CCO in a statement. "What's most exciting is that we're just getting out of the gate with an incredible group of clients, and there's a lot more to come from Doner LA in 2017."

The MDC Partners network credits Gaboriau with helping its West Coast division "punch above its weight to win numerous lead agency assignments" in 2015 and 2016. Those new business wins include Nestlé's Nescafé, Taster's Choice, California Pizza Kitchen and DiGiorno, for which the agency recently produced a campaign that centered on a rap about pizza.

The announcement follows the July 2016 hiring of global chief creative officer Eric Weisberg and the subsequent departure of global creative chairman Rob Strasberg, who formerly held that title.

In December, Strasberg left the ad industry after more than 20 years to become co-CEO of Humble Design Fueled by U-Haul, a nonprofit that provides furnishing and design services to American veterans and families emerging from homelessness. Strasberg's wife, Treger, founded the Detroit-based company in 2009.

According to a source close to the matter, Strasberg left in part because he and Doner global president, co-CEO David DeMuth had different ideas about agency leadership.

Before joining Doner, Gaboriau was vp, executive creative director at Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Los Angeles. He previously served as founding partner and ecd at New York's Amalgamated Advertising, which later became Silver & Partners and closed after owner Eric Silver went to McCann New York in 2015.


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VML Names 2 Co-Chief Creative Directors, Strengthening U.S. Team

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 17:00:47 +0000

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VML has promoted two creative leads for its North American network and hired a new director of creative recruiting to serve the same area.

The WPP network's global CCO Debbi Vandeven announced today that John Godsey and Mike Wente will serve as co-chief creative officers, while new hire Craig Badynee will oversee creative recruiting. All three are new positions.

Godsey and Wente, who were formerly executive creative director and managing director at VML's Kansas City and New York offices, played critical roles in the agency's 2016 new business wins, particularly its successful pitches for Electrolux and New Balance.

Badynee previously worked in creative recruitment for such agencies as JWT, FCB and DigitasLBi.

"John excels at creating brand ideas that change perceptions and blur the lines between advertising and entertainment," Vandeven said in a statement, citing his leadership of VML's work for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Gatorade's branded content series "Everything to Prove," which won a Silver Cannes Lion in 2012.

Wente took charge of VML's Manhattan office in 2012 after serving as group creative director. According to the release, he has since helped that location double in size while also helping to drive the agency's work for clients like Legoland, New Balance, Chevron and the International Olympic Committee.

"Known for his creative insight and passion for ideas, Mike has moved comfortably between all disciplines of marketing for a wide range of clients," Vandeven said of Wente. "Possessing strong leadership skills and a never say quit attitude, he believes great ideas are meant not to just sell things but to create an obsession for the brand."

Badynee will focus on talent acquisition and retention for VML's U.S. network while working out of its Chicago office. 

All three executives will report to Vandeven, who remains one of the ad industry's few female global chief creative officers. According to an agency spokesperson, these new hires were made, at least in part, to allow Vandeven more leeway to work on strengthening the VML network globally and focusing on both new and existing clients.


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Why Brands Should Include Social Video in Their Super Bowl Ad Spend

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 16:33:05 +0000

With brands shelling out north of $5 million for 30-second spots during the Super Bowl, this must be the year that they invest their time and energy into social media videos. For one thing, they can reach a massive audience, one even bigger than the live game viewership. People watch more than 100 million hours of video on Facebook every day. And Snapchat, which reaches nearly half of 18- to 34-year-olds (compared to 6 percent by the top 15 TV networks), garners 10 billion daily video views. Secondly, social video is getter better and better as the distribution platforms roll out offerings like livestreaming and ad products that drive business results. Finally, research by Simulmedia and Facebook reveals that a TV ad shown in proximity to a Facebook ad from the same brand can lift conversion by nearly 500 percent. Stacey Weller However, being successful on social platforms around the Super Bowl takes some planning. For example, developing in advance reactionary content based on the many different in-game events that are likely to occur. A well-timed post about something like a missed field goal or interception will go over well with engaged fans. Oreo's timely tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl power outage was one of the most memorable events of the game, racking up over 16,000 retweets, because it was fun and relevant to what was happening in that moment. Imagine possible scenarios and be ready to piggyback off of them. But also plan your social posts in advance for the expected as well. You already know that every Super Bowl follows the same schedule: singing of the national anthem, coin toss, halftime show and so on. Having posts queued up for these moments will help your brand stay on top of the action. Many brands and agencies even set up 'War Rooms' during the game, with teams (we do it at Adaptly) available to promote on-the-fly messaging that may arise. This should be the year of social video since all the platforms have refined their ability to serve better video experiences to their audiences. Twitter's Amplify products let advertisers run pre-roll video ads against premium content based on specified content categories. By selecting categories and demographics that are relevant to the conversation you want to join around the Super Bowl, your brand's ads will be tied to the most appropriate videos within the Amplify space. In 2016, the Super Bowl attracted big audiences on Facebook and Instagram—60 million people on Facebook and 38 million on Instagram generated posts, likes and comments about the Big Game. Go for high-impact video ads on these platforms focusing on mobile placements (where 89 percent of user posts are uploaded), keeping users in-feed, and limit clickable items to avoid distracting people. Run content a few days before the Super Bowl, then during game time for optimal relevance and engagement.  Snapchat's Snap Ads are an extremely powerful ad experience that enable brands to take up 100 percent of the screen. They give you the chance to get your brand in front of an audience of 150 million daily active users, including a highly engaged millennial audience. Use this opportunity to capture attention with short, concise video (about three to seven seconds) that showcases your brand story. All videos on Snapchat, including Snap Ads, play vertically with the sound automatically on. This adds another layer of storytelling for brands to take advantage of, so make sure your audio is just as engaging as your visuals. Snap Ad attachments like long-form video and web views add another dimension to your brand's story and capture attention. By including a long-form video that users can swipe up on to view extended content, you can share up to 10 minutes of video. Web views let users swipe up into a pre-loaded mobil[...]


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Publicis, Dentsu and WPP Agencies Are Getting Reams of New LinkedIn Ads Data

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 16:28:34 +0000

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Marketing software company DataSift is partnering with LinkedIn to offer more LinkedIn ads insights as well as additional audience segments when it comes to the professional networking platform's 467 million users. San Francisco-based DataSift's clients already using the program—called LinkedIn Engagement Insights—include Publicis Media, WPP-owned Mindshare and Dentsu Aegis Network's insights platform Motley, as they'll look to leverage the data to help business-to-business clients drive sales. 

Tim Barker, DataSift CEO, said the system will be used for media planning, content marketing and a lot of native advertising. "As native advertising grows," he said, "the ads have become in-feed content. The goal is to provide insights that will help marketers identify both what audiences to target [through LinkedIn ads, and what kind of content resonates."

Sudeep Cherian, group manager, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, said the deal represents his company's "most comprehensive data licensing partnership to date. Our goal is to enable marketers to execute more effective marketing campaigns in a way that respects user privacy."

Here is a breakdown of LinkedIn Engagement Insights' capabilities, per DataSift, which now has around 20 data partnerships for its platform:

  • It will let marketers research the behavior of Linkedin's often higher-income audiences.
  • The system will allow brands to analyze segments by job titles, locations and skills.
  • Audience segments can be identified based on their engagement with content that overlaps with a marketer's existing target demos.
  • It is designed to let brands not only target ads but content as well.
  • There's also competitive analysis, letting marketers see how LinkedIn users engage with brand rivals. 

Barker added that "our goal is to enable a broad ecosystem" with the new data. 


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