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3 Waves of Cyberattacks Brought Down Twitter, Spotify, Pinterest, NYT and Other Sites

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:50:17 +0000


UPDATE: There were three waves of cyberattacks today, but as of 7 p.m., they appear to have been resolved. 

It all started Friday morning, when a slew of digital publishers and other ecommerce players were hit by a cyberattack, causing their sites in some parts of the U.S. to go out in a problem that lingered into the early evening. According to DownDetector—check out its map above—the East Coast and Southern California were hit hardest while Western Europe also saw outages. 

Twitter was inaccessible to many users for hours, while Spotify, Pinterest, Shopify and SoundCloud also had major outages. Additionally, Etsy, Reddit, Airbnb, The New York Times and The Boston Globe were down due to the ongoing outages, per TechCrunch.

Hacker News is running an updated list of which sites are currently crashing. At different points throughout the day, such websites were fully live again, but then some of them—most notably, Twitter—went dark once more. 

The development seemed particularly bad for publishers that rely on ad impressions for revenue—Twitter, Pinterest, NYT—but the damage was even worse for internet retailers Shopify and Etsy, which likely lost sales. It will be interesting to see whether industry analysts weigh in on what financial damage was done to the affected players. 

The outages were apparently being caused by a distributed denial-of-service—or DDoS—attack on web-domain provider Dyn. Late Friday morning, the Ottawa-based company posted information related to the attacks, including this message: "Our engineers continue to investigate and mitigate several attacks aimed against the Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure."

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Instagram's New Tools Allow Users to Report Others Considering Self-Harm

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 16:13:49 +0000

Instagram has developed tools to help people considering self-harm, and as part of the new initiative, Seventeen magazine and Instagram are welcoming everyone with open arms with a new hashtag. "We listen to mental health experts when they tell us that outreach from a loved one can make a real difference for those who may be in distress," Instagram said in a release. "At the same time, we understand friends and family often want to offer support but don't know how best to reach out." These tools, which can be used for a variety of mental health-related issues, such as eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and countless others, are available around the world.  Instagram users can report posts they consider to exhibit dangerous behavior. The next time the user uses the app, resources will appear within Instagram, which the social platform designed with the help of over 40 organizations around the world. In addition to the new tools, Seventeen, Instagram and Hearst Magazine Digital Media teamed up to create the #PerfectlyMe campaign. It encourages Instagram users to celebrate their bodies and continue to redefine body standards in our culture. "The most amazing thing about social media," said Seventeen's editorial director, Michele Promaulayko, "is that it has the power to spread a message exponentially. And surprisingly, positive messages go farther, faster than negative ones." "One of Seventeen's ongoing missions is to encourage girls to feel confident in the skin they're in," she said. "That's why we were so excited to team up with Instagram on #PerfectlyMe, an initiative that encourages girls to broadcast body love." Influencers including Ashley Graham and Lauren Giraldo and current Seventeen cover girl, Ariel Winter, have joined in the hashtag. Non-celebrities (y'know, like, real people!) have contributed as well. The #PerfectlyMe initiative wants to collect these like-minded folks under one happy roof. "Seventeen has an audience of young girls who are vulnerable to these negative messages, but who are banding together to support each other and shift the conversation," said Promaulayko. "These are girls who are starting body-positivity clubs at their schools and who follow celebs, such as Ashley Graham, who display body confidence." "Body-bullying is not just a teen issue—it impacts everyone, guys included," she said. And even though Seventeen declared Oct. 17 to be Body Confidence Day, "It isn't just a one-day thing, it's a movement." To join in the body confidence movement, use #PerfectlyMe and post yourself just as you are. "Seventeen regularly features body-image role models, as we are passionate about empowering our readers and promoting self-acceptance," said Promaulayko. [...]

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Jeff Bezos Isn't Convinced That the Washington Post Can Survive on Payment Services

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 19:58:27 +0000

Jeff Bezos, Amazon chief and owner of the Washington Post, isn't sure that services like paywalls and tiered subscriptions can work for publishers. During a wide-ranging panel at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit, Bezos talked about how he works with the Washington Post staff, as well as the tech giant's recent move into artificial intelligence and his thoughts on the presidential election. One of the most interesting nuggets in the conversation came out when Bezos talked about how the Washington Post plans to make money in the future. Despite running arguably the world's biggest ecommerce company, asking consumers to pay for content isn't a model that he's totally sold on. "These things can change, but I don't see evidence yet that consumers are amenable to those kinds of micro-payments," Bezos told a packed room. "In the early days of music subscription services, consumers were not amenable to music subscriptions—they didn't want that, they wanted to buy it a la carte. Habits and behaviors and patterns of consumers do change slowly over time—maybe one day they will pay." Bezos also said that he wants to move the Post from "making a relatively large amount of money per reader, having a relatively small number of readers—that was the traditional Post model for decades, [a] very successful model by the way," to, "a model where we make a very small amount of money per reader on a much, much larger number of readers." Whether Bezos' vision means reducing the paper's ad load or changing new ad formats isn't clear, but he said that he thinks it will include a mixture of both ads and subscriptions. Over the past year, the Washington Post has experimented with a number of new ad products that seemingly fit the bill for Bezos' mandate. In May, the paper rolled out ads that have faster load times, for example. And last month, it started rolling out a mobile website that promises to load pages in less than a second. In terms of his surprising move to get into the media business three years ago when he acquired the Washington Post, "I did zero due diligence," Bezos said. "I did not negotiate, I accepted the asking price. It couldn't have happened that way except for the person that I was dealing with was Don Graham, who I've known for 15 years and was the most honorable person." According to Bezos, Graham—the then-owner of the paper—laid out every single problem as well as every great quality when making the deal. "I've owned the paper for a couple of years now and if anything, the warts are not as bad as he made them out to be and the things that are great about the Post are stronger than he made them out to be," he said. He also compared the culture of the Post as, "swashbuckling, but they're like professional swashbucklers." That said, Bezos is purposely hands-off with the paper's team. "This is a highly professionalized activity [and] we have people who have decades of experience doing it. I try to help at a much higher level than, 'should we cover this story or that story.'" Artificial learning Bezos talked a bit about Echo's artificial intelligence technology that uses deep learning to learn more about users' speech patterns, music preferences and more. "The fact that it's always on, the fact that you can talk to it in an actual way removes a lot of barriers, a lot of friction—it's easier than taking your phone out of your pocket," Bezos said. In one example of how AI is affecting bigger industries—like the food and grocery space—Bezos said that Amazon is using technology to grade the quality of strawberries for consumers who buy groceries through its Amazon Fresh program. Lastly, Bezos briefly spoke about the presidential election, slamming Republican candidate Donald Trump, particularly for how he has [...]

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How Jeff Bezos Is Turning the Washington Post Into a Digitally Driven Publisher

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 23:48:50 +0000

SAN FRANCISCO—When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos took over the Washington Post in 2013, many wondered what a tech exec's leadership would look like at a 140-year-old newspaper. But with a growing digital business and new practices in the newsroom, the Washington Post's executive editor, Martin Baron, talked about how the paper approaches its deep reporting—like having 20 reporters cover this year's presidential election—during a panel at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit. "Jeff came in not only with financial power, but he came in with intellectual power and I think forced us to think more profoundly about how the internet changed the way that we deliver information to people," Barron said during an interview with Vanity Fair's special correspondent Sarah Ellison. Baron said the paper talks to Bezos once every two weeks for about an hour, and one of the first things he did after buying the paper was getting the newsroom to think differently about aggregation and curation. "One of the first things he talked to us about is, 'Look, you do these big, narrative stories. You do these deep investigations, and then some other media outlet in 15 minutes [has] rewritten your story, and they've grabbed your traffic. How are you going to think about that?' That's a hard question to answer," Baron said. That conversation left Baron with the impression that Bezos' ownership "will not allow us to do the deep, narrative stories—but that's not what happened." Instead, the paper started aggregating itself with staff members looking for parts of stories they could pick out and compile into one story. The publisher has also started aggregating from other news outlets. "People are doing it to us, and we have to do it to them," Baron said. Still, Baron acknowledged he did get a little pushback from editorial staff. At first, the Washington Post created an overnight team to handle news aggregation. "It's proved to be quite a success—there were a lot of stories that we were missing that people were talking about," Baron said. "We can't just sit there and complain about it. We actually have to do something about it." At the same time, Bezos has encouraged Post staffers to pursue bigger projects, which has perhaps been most apparent during the coverage of this year's presidential election. "He is very committed to this notion of shining a light in dark corners," Baron said. In terms of coverage of Republican nominee Donald Trump, the Washington Post only gained access to Trump's campaign over the last couple of months after being kicked out during the primaries. Baron recalled when Trump picked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, and a Washington Post reporter was kicked out of the event. "It was pretty bad," Baron said of the paper's relationship with Trump at the time. "It was a tense relationship, but that's the way it works." Then, of course, it was the Washington Post that published the tape of a lewd conversation between Trump and TV personality Billy Bush from 2005.  Baron also spoke about some of the lessons the paper and other major media outlets have learned in covering the election. "If there's a failure on our part, it was that we did not detect the depth of grievance in certain parts of the country that led to Donald Trump in the first place—that was a failure on the part of most news outlets, including our own," Baron said. "That is not just focusing on those who are poor, not just focusing on the rich, not just focusing on the professional class, but focusing on, for lack of a better word, the working class." [...]

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With 500 Million Monthly Users, Activision Blizzard CEO Claims His Company Is 5 Times Bigger Than Netflix

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 20:00:44 +0000

SAN FRANCISCO—Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick thinks the size of mobile gaming is on par with video-streaming behemoth Netflix. Speaking at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit this morning, Kotick boasted about the video gaming company's massive reach, particularly when it comes to areas like esports. "If you think about our players, if you take Call of Duty, we have 40 million monthly active users—these people are spending hours of their day playing a game, an organized competition—that's the same size as the preseason NFL," Kotick told attendees. "These leagues like Call of Duty or Overwatch have the potential to be the next NFL or NBA." Additionally, the Activision exec said that 125 million players watch gaming. All told, his company has 500 million monthly active users in 196 countries, he said, claiming that his network of players is five times bigger than Netflix. The comment was part of a discussion with Les Moonves, chairman and CEO of CBS Corp. and moderated by Andrew Ross Sorkin, financial columnist for The New York Times and co-anchor of CNBC's Squawk Box. On Tuesday, CBS and Activision announced that the broadcaster is turning the massively popular mobile game Candy Crush into a TV game show. So, will Activision eventually negotiate with CBS over sports-licensing fees for people to watch Activision games? "Absolutely," Kotick said. "The real question though is the way they're watching today is over-the-top, so we have our own channel MLG, which is our broadcast channel for professional esports. What we view our opportunity set as if Leslie or ESPN wants to pay for the rights, a greater amount, that we can monetize on our own channel, we'll take that." When Moonves was asked what he thinks about consumers playing video games while watching his network's shows and second-screen viewing, Moonves compared the trend to CBS reality show Big Brother, which has kept people glued to their televisions watching other people's lives for 18 seasons. "We have 100,000 people that watch Big Brother 24/7—that means at 3 in the morning, they're watching people eat cereal," Moonves said. "The fact that they're watching an action game like that, it always seemed odd to me, but it makes sense." Moonves also spoke briefly about the push to re-merge CBS and Viacom. In late September, the Redstone family, which hold a majority stake in both media companies, asked the CBS and Viacom boards to explore a deal. "I haven't talked about this with anybody," Moonves said. "We're just starting the process to explore possibilities—that's all we're doing. There's committees, there's bankers, there's lawyers, and that's all I'm going to say about it." [...]

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Facetime: Adweek’s L.A. Issue Party and More

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 23:16:37 +0000


Adweek celebrated its annual L.A. Issue at Dollar Shave Club’s headquarters in Los Angeles; in New York, Happy Socks threw a bash at the Gramercy Hotel celebrating its partnership with fashion icon and interior designer Iris Apfel; and in D.C., Glamour magazine celebrated the International Day of the Girl. Check out more below.

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Food & Wine Is Taking Over Barclays Center for a Weekend-Long Culinary Festival

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 16:12:59 +0000

Since 1982, the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen has been one of the culinary world's must-attend events. But with its pricey (and often sold-out) tickets and destination setting, it's not exactly convenient for most casual food lovers. So this winter, Food & Wine is giving readers the chance to experience the brand in its own backyard with the launch of its new Brooklyn Food & Wine Festival. The three-day event, produced in partnership with Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, will take place at the Barclays Center on Feb. 17 and 18. Around 150 restaurants, chefs, vintners and various local artisans will be present, including big names like Mario Batali, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and Carla Hall. On Sunday, Feb. 19, the festival will expand to local eateries for a series of brunch events. Tickets start at $175 for a day-long pass (by comparison, a weekend pass to the Aspen festival will run you more than $1,000) and attendees will have the option to add extras like a Saturday night dinner hosted by Brooklynites Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli, wine tastings, cooking demos and more. While Food & Wine sponsors numerous food events across the U.S., the Brooklyn festival marks only the second event (after Aspen) that was conceived and built entirely by the brand, which the magazine's svp, managing director Christina Grdovic hopes will be a major draw for advertisers. "Almost all of our advertisers have been to the Classic, so for us, the elevator pitch is that we're bringing the Classic to Brooklyn in the winter," she explained. The location will also open up new sponsorship opportunities. "At the Classic, we're literally in a field, so there are limitations … [but] at Barclays there are things you can do on the floor, suite takeovers, concession stands, so this gives us an opportunity to be even more creative." The Brooklyn locale will also be an important factor in the festival's programming, according to Food & Wine editor Nilou Motamed, who, like Grdovic, is a Brooklyn resident. "There are so many amazing culinary destinations in the borough and there's so much diversity in terms of the food that's available there, and I feel like it's a no-brainer for us to be tapping into that and celebrating it," she said. "Barclays is an institution now, and for us to be able to take it over and showcase what Brooklyn is all about is a great opportunity for Food & Wine, which is such a New York proud brand." Motamed and her team at Food & Wine will be ramping up their own coverage of Brooklyn in the coming months, and are already strategizing about how to help readers experience the festival. "I think there's a really dynamic way to cover it in real-time in digital and social, because I think that's where we can really be nimble," she said. "The challenge for us as editors is how do we curate everything. There's a lot of eating to do in just a couple of days!" [...]

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Esquire's New Print Campaign Pairs Macallan Whisky With Augmented Reality

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 12:00:00 +0000

Call it two worlds, one technology: Esquire, a magazine founded in 1933, is charging full steam into the 21st century with the help of The Macallan, a whisky brand founded in the 1800s. The November issue of Esquire, featuring Matthew McConaughey on the cover, contains a fun bonus: Readers can watch a Macallan whisky ad in 3-D augmented reality through the free Aurasma app. (Check out the ad below to see Esky, Esquire's mascot, come to life and pour a glass of The Macallan's new scotch blend, Double Cask 12 Years Old.)  This could be a huge step for advertisements in the digital age, especially for print magazines trying to reach people beyond its pages. allowfullscreen="" height="366.75" mozallowfullscreen="" src="//" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="652"> "Inspired by an 83-year legacy, Esquire always looks to the future, rewriting the rules for a men's brand," said Jack Essig, svp and publisher of Esquire. "The Esquire audience is a fine-spirits connoisseur," said Essig. "He is the Macallan drinker, and the Macallan drinker is the Esquire reader. The brands' points of passion weave together quite seamlessly, making this a natural pairing." The Macallan, likewise, is rewriting the rules. "The Macallan is taking a risk with Double Cask 12 Years Old by expanding beyond the traditional 12-year sherry oak to attract new drinkers while maintaining our loyal fans," said Sam Leotta, the senior brand manager with The Macallan. "The AR execution is also a risk because we are testing a new technology and trusting that Esquires readers will take that step with us." But AR is also a fun way to experience something new, and it brings another level of interaction to the medium of print "without losing out on the physicality of the magazine," said David Walker, the CG/VFX supervisor from Nexus, the company that animated this experience. "Havas Media, on behalf of The Macallan, approached Esquire looking for an innovative way to launch our new scotch blend," said Leotta. "We couldn't imagine a better way to make an impact than with augmented reality." The brand message of "Two Worlds, One Macallan" paired well with editor-in-chief Jay Fielden's updated vision of Esquire, said Essig. "Bringing the storied Esky to life through modern technology seemed a natural way to bridge worlds and decades." "It's exciting to partner with such an iconic brand, and to be able to enter this new territory together is thrilling," said Leotta. "As a brand we are always trying to find a way to break through, and when you find a way to fully integrate in a custom way, that goes a long way with our fans." In addition to the print component, The Macallan will take over Esquire's logo during two weeklong takeovers in a never-been-done execution on A series of custom content collaborations will also be integrated into the site. "The future is this and more, and we're excited to see what is next," said Essig. [...]

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Best Life Magazine Finds a Second Life as a Digital Brand

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 16:07:57 +0000

From Metropolitan Home to Newsweek, we've seen a number of shuttered magazine titles revived (at least in some form) over the past couple of years. Now Best Life, the luxury men's service magazine, is getting a second life online—and with its original launch editor at the helm, no less. Best Life made its original debut back in 2004, a higher-end extension of Rodale's Men's Health, which was led by the company's star editor Dave Zinczenko. In 2009, however, the magazine stopped regular publication in the wake of the previous year's financial crisis, and in 2012, Zinczenko left Rodale. But Zinczenko went on to launch his own company, Galvanized, and has spent the past several years overseeing a relaunch of AMI's Men's Fitness and rebuilding his popular Eat This, Not That franchise (which he had acquired from Rodale), felt that there was still an audience for Best Life. "I was always talking it up and lamenting with others when it went on hiatus," he recalled. "It was built to serve a giant void that existed in the men's market, and now, more than a decade later, that void is even more evident." After hearing that another company had purchased the dormant Best Life brand from Rodale, Zinczenko reached out to the new owners and voiced his interest in helping to revive it. Eventually, he ended up acquiring the title, and built an editorial team to relaunch it as a digital brand, Of course, men's lifestyle sites are a dime a dozen, but according to Zinczenko, it's Best Life's target audience that sets it apart. "Best Life is targeting a more mature audience—really my generation, which is Generation X—which has been completely ignored, but are entering the prime of their lives in terms of career and family," he said. "This is about service over entertainment." The new Best Life covers topics like charity, careers, fatherhood, marriage, style and finance, mostly in list form (think "40 Things You Should Do in Your 40s," "6 Great Personal Finance Apps for 2016," "15 Flashworthy New Wallets"), although as the site matures, Zinczenko plans to lessen the focus on lists and expand into areas like investigative journalism and fiction. By next spring, Best Life could start rolling out products like ebooks, apps and digital subscriptions—and, eventually, maybe even a print magazine. On the advertiser side, Zinczenko hopes that Best Life's focus on more mature, career-minded readers will help attract the kinds of luxury brands that were a mainstay in the original magazine's heyday. The site has signed Tiffany & Co. as its exclusive launch partner, and will be running display ads as well as native articles and branded videos from the jewelry company through the end of this year. [...]

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Facetime: Adweek’s Young Influentials and TV Premieres

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 23:19:02 +0000


Adweek’s annual Young Influentials party sponsored by Popsugar in New York honored a fresh batch of under-40 talent from companies like ABC, IBM and Annalect. Elsewhere, Hulu and HBO celebrated premieres, while Conde Nast celebrated its latest office opening in Austin, Tex. 

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