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Through VR, Häagen-Dazs Will Let You Fly (and Sympathize) With Imperiled Honey Bees

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 23:24:01 +0000


Through a blend of entertainment, education and immersive technology, Häagen-Dazs is hoping to teach new audiences about the plight of the honey bee.

The brand, which has used its marketing to champion the beleaguered bees since 2008, debuted a trailer for its new virtual reality experience during the second day of the Brand Storytelling conference in snowy Park City, Utah.

As part of the "Exploring Storytelling in VR and Immersive Advertising" panel hosted by Adweek Editorial Director Jim Cooper, the Nestlé brand gave marketers a taste of what its first virtual reality project will look like. 

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"We're here at the Sundance Film Festival really learning to tell stories even better," said Alex Placzek, director of marketing for Häagen-Dazs in the U.S. "At the core brands are basically a story so if you don't tell a compelling and engaging story you're basically a commodity. What we're excited about is learning how to tell stories in a much more impactful way." 

He added: "This project, Häagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees, is something we've been working on for the last eight years. ... The capacity to use virtual reality to shrink the viewer down to the size of the honey bee so they can fly around and see what's actually going on for bees and ultimately learn what they can do to make a difference in the plight of the honey bee is really exciting to us." 

To create the VR experience, which will ultimately be between three and five minutes, Häagen-Dazs tapped digital content strategy shop Reach Agency. Rollout plans for the effort are still in the works, but it will be released some time in the summer. Häagen-Dazs may look for media partners to help launch it. 

"With Brand Storytelling here we thought this was a great platform to showcase the innovation that Nestlé is doing around this," said Gabe Gordon, managing partner of Reach Agency. "And it fit in with the whole film thematic of being at the Sundance Film Festival." 

Orchid Bertelsen, a digital marketing strategist at Nestlé USA, explained: "For us, Nestlé is exploring new technologies, and I think Häagen-Dazs was absolutely the brand we wanted to test this out with just because we had a compelling story to tell. With VR, we weren't going to pursue it for tech's sake; it was really about what the technology was able to enable from a storytelling perspective." 

Brand Storytelling will conclude today with Adweek's inaugural Arc Award ceremony at the Silver Lake Lodge in Park City. 

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Google Is Developing a Cloud-Based Measurement Service for Advertisers

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 22:53:41 +0000


Google has begun developing a cloud-based measurement tool that it says could help advertisers gain more insights while protecting privacy across devices.

In a blog post published today, Google said it's working to develop new measurement services for marketers that helps them better understand cross-screen campaigns and identify high-value customers. With the updates, Google said, a car manufacturer could gain insights about how YouTube ads influence various audiences across devices.

According to Google, more than 50 percent of YouTube views now come from mobile, prompting the company to develop new ways for advertisers to measure across more devices.

"As more viewership on YouTube shifts to mobile, we're making it easier for advertisers to deliver more relevant, useful ads across screens," YouTube product management director Diya Jolly wrote. "Now, information from activity associated with users' Google accounts (such as demographic information and past searches) may be used to influence the ads those users see on YouTube."

With the updates, YouTube is expanding how advertisers can use customer data through Customer Match to reach those that have expressed interest in a store. (Customer Match was announced during Advertising Week in 2015.) 

While Google expands how advertisers can gain and use customer data, the company is also updating how users can control their own data across devices. The updates to My Account, which debuted in July, let users have more options for personalizing ads based on what's relevant or not relevant.

Google's also placing more focus on user IDs and moving away from cookies and pixels. That seems to be in line with what Google CEO Sundar Pichai mentioned last year, when he said the company is seeing a growing percentage of users signed into Google. On an earnings call in April, Pichai said all mobile users are signed in, with more than 50 percent of all Google users coming from mobile devices.

"While technologies like pixels and cookies still have a role in the broader ecosystem, most were built for a single screen—neither pixels nor anonymous cookies were designed for the ways in which users increasingly watch content on YouTube, like on the mobile app or in the living room," Jolly wrote in the blog post. "This can lead to inconsistent measurement and less relevant ads across screens, making it harder for people to control the ads they see or the data used to show them.

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James Harden's Beard Has a Big Role in Trolli's 'Beardsketball' Game for Snapchat Spectacles

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 21:05:49 +0000


Last year, Trolli, the sour gummy brand owned by Ferrara Candy, used James Harden's beard as the model for a new candy and featured it prominently in quirky TV spots. Now, the brand is turning the NBA star's "beardly awesome" facial hair into a basketball net.

Minneapolis-based ad agency Periscope has created "Beardsketball," a Trolli- and Harden-branded basketball activation that lets fans shoot hoops into a net that looks strikingly like that famous bushy beard. Beardsketball, which debuts tonight as Harden and the Houston Rockets take on the Golden State Warriors, is equipped with a 80-inch digital backboard programmed with Harden's head trash-talking and congratulationing each person trying to make shots.

"It's not even close to being a normal basketball net," said Periscope creative officer Peter Nicholson. "We spent a lot of time to match the natural fiber look of his beard so it's really consistent. I didn't think it was going to work, but when you see the 4K monitor, it looks exactly the same. If you didn't know, it looks like real, real hair."

Beardsketball players will also wear a pair of Snapchat Spectacles linked to Trolli's Snapchat account, with content pushing out throughout the game. Harden will also be wearing a pair of Spectacles during tonight's shootaround, which will give anyone following Trolli's account a chance to see his shots up close. (Trolli, which has used Snapchat since 2015, wouldn't disclose its audience size on the platform but reported 1,000 percent growth over the past year.)

"I'm really excited about the launch of Trolli Beardsketball because it allows me to interact with my fans in a very unique way," Harden said. "Beardsketball is like a video game that people can actually walk right into and shoot some hoops with me. In the game, I encourage, challenge and celebrate every player in a unique and different way each time."

The same smack-talking content featured in the backboard will also be on a microsite, which lets those who can't be at the game pick various quotes from Harden to send to their friends across social channels.


After the game, the Beardsketball setup will begin a yearlong tour of the U.S., said Jill Manchester, svp of marketing and brand strategy for Ferrara. That will include some Harden appearances, such as his basketball camp in Houston for underprivileged kids and the NBA All-Star Game. However, his net beard will also go where his real beard doesn't, including the Coachella music festival and other events that fit the Trolli brand.

"Each experience will feel unique because it's loaded with content that comes up randomly," said Rob Peichel, Periscope's group creative director. 

Last year, Ferrara did a survey of fans of Trolli and Harden, which revealed two wishes: They wanted to meet him and also maybe play hoops with him. In a way, Beardsketball sort of helped make both come true.

"Our brand promise is to be weirdly awesome," Manchester said. "And when you think about James, I think he's awesome in the weirdest way possible. Both of us are leaders, we call ourselves innovators. We like to celebrate the abnormal."


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President Trump Now Has a Snapchat Account as Part of His Social Media Switch Up

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 18:32:45 +0000


After being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States today, Donald J. Trump's social team is already at work setting up his social profiles and accounts.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has taken a number of steps to preserve the White House's past eight years of social activity, including a Twitter bot and archives. After Trump was sworn in today, Obama's POTUS account changed from @POTUS to @POTUS44.

Here are five changes made to Trump's social accounts today, with more likely to come.

1. Presidential snaps
Trump may be known primarily for his Twitter account, but now he's on Snapchat, too.

Similar to his Instagram account name, Trump's Snapchat account is under "realdonaldtrump" and was used to take a couple of videos and photos this morning before the inauguration.

During the campaign, his team also bought a national geofilter ad on the mobile app for Election Day.

2. Multiple Twitter accounts
Within a few hours of being set up, Trump's @POTUS account accumulated 7.2 million followers, but he's also still using his personal account.

The first post sent from @POTUS was an image with a link to the full transcript of his inauguration speech that was posted to Facebook.

6. Digital on the rise
GetResponse, an online marketing platform, surveyed 200 U.S.-based small-to-medium-sized decision-makers, finding, among other things, that 70 percent said they plan to increase digital marketing budgets this year. 

7. Social pros
Public relations firm MWW and sports influencer network Opendorse looked at the NFL players on Twitter who had at least 100,000 followers and 100 tweets during this past regular football season. Here are the top social influencers, based on rate of Twitter engagement, from the professional sport:

  • Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Eziekiel Elliot at 1.17 percent
  • New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. at 0.48 percent
  • And, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown at 0.32 percent


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Time Inc. Is Looking for a Brand to Help Launch Its Mount Everest VR Film

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 18:16:37 +0000


Time Inc. has the rights to Capturing Everest, a new virtual reality film from Endemol Shine Beyond USA, and it has big plans for the release of the film, but the company is still looking for a brand partner to make it happen, according to Mia Tramz, managing editor, LIFE VR, Time Inc. 

During the Capturing Everest Fireside Chat at the Brand Storytelling conference in Park City, Utah, on Thursday, Tramz explained that the film will "come out in 2017. We're still working on the exact dates. We'd like it to align with this year's climbing season."

Tramz continued: "We're also still looking for a sponsor to come in as a true partner and really give this a larger platform and a voice so a few things are coming together but in 2017." 

Time is looking to roll the film out with its Sports Illustrated title, with a possible cover as well as on the brand's VR platform, noted Bonnie Pan, president of Endemol Shine Beyond USA. 

Climbers Lisa Thompson, Jeff Glasbrenner and Brent Bishop were present and told Brand Storytelling attendees what it was like to try and film while climbing Mount Everest.

"Being able to film VR, which takes the experience to a whole other level, is exciting because it's going to motivate people to get out and [climb]," said Bishop. "[But] working with nascent VR technology isn't easy," said Bishop.

Glasbrenner added: "I have a special needs daughter. The biggest reason I wanted to be a part of this is she'll never be able to climb Everest but she'll be able to put on that headset and she'll be able to experience it. She'll be able to take every step that dad took to get to the top of the mountain."

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4 Key Takeaways About the Future of Content From the Brand Storytelling Conference

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 18:16:08 +0000

Nestled atop one of the many snow-capped mountains north of Salt Lake City, the Stein Eriksen Lodge played host Thursday to a gathering of branded content experts from agencies, brands and media outfits. They're attending and sharing their knowledge at the second Brand Storytelling conference, which is taking place in and around Park City, Utah, at the same time the Sundance Film Festival is starting up. A few key learnings jumped out from among the many presentations that took place across three small stages dotting the hall. Don't make the brand the story Alan Beard, CMO of youth media company Fullscreen Media, reminded the audience that though it might be tempting to put a brand in the middle of a story, it rarely works. Telling good stories about a brand is less valuable than having a brand support a good story. "Like a boomerang, if you throw the story away from you, it will come back," said Beard. In other words, if you make it about your brand, there's less likelihood it will resonate. Beard used as an example a series Fullscreen made following U.S. women's soccer goalie Hope Solo to the Summer Olympics—including her termination from the team after she criticized the Swedish team the U.S. lost to. Gen Z Is a hot, fascinating mess that may just save the world Arguably the most interesting presentation of the day wasn't about branded content—it was research about Gen Z generated by Astronauts Wanted, a Gen Z-targeted content startup helmed by ex-MTV chief Judy McGrath and backed by Sony Music Entertainment. Christine Murphy, svp and head of branded entertainment, and Jonny Blitstein, vp of business development, branded entertainment, together delivered a snapshot of Gen Z—replete with video interviews of several teenagers. Among the findings: They're actually "anti teens," little grownups who are skipping past adolescence due in part to their access to so much more information in the internet age. They feel subjected to three types of pressure: societal, existential, and financial—largely the result of growing up in an era of fiscal uncertainty, environmental issues and the constant threat of terrorism and violence. One disconnect among the teen set: 87 percent of the kids Astronauts Wanted surveyed said they would like to go back to a predigital era. And yet, they all agreed they can't live without their phones. Producing for the Snapchat age Mobile startup WeBuyGold (part of Naritiv), as embodied by executive producer Sara DeCou and senior producer Sydney Hass, is out to conquer the Snapchat universe by making all of its content  (shooting, editing and producing) on mobile devices. Inspired by the launch of MTV, which DeCou and Hass pointed out was completely original and didn't emulate existing television channels at the time, WeBuyGold is creating three lines of short-form programming: serialized content, documentary-style content and celebrity features. Each has a twist. For example, the docu-style content strives to pique viewers' interests about a given topic but doesn't attempt to be exhaustive. DeCou and Hass cited gigantic stats as evidence of their being in the future sweet spot of content: 10 billion videos are viewed daily on Snapchat.  Human attention is the world's most valuable resource Such staggering numbers don't really impress Joe Marchese, president of advanced ad product for Fox Networks Group, whose central thesis was that just because people are watching so many videos doesn't mean they're paying attention or spending time. Marchese was definitely the contrarian of the day, his thesis being that TV advertising still delivers a powerful punch. "People have never liked ad interruptions, but they like the deal" that advertising pays for the programming they want to see, said Marchese. He then pointed out that wh[...]

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