Speed and ease make “great” online experience

According to a new study from Cloud IQ, published by Marketing Charts, 47% of online shoppers in the US, UK and Australia deemed speed “critical” to a great online experience, with another 47% saying it’s “important.” Close behind 45% said it’s “critical” that the experience be seamless and easy, and 47% saying that it is “important”.

Other research from SUMO Heavy showed that US adults said the most important aspect of a great e-commerce website is its usability and functionality. Separately, research from the CMO Council said that for consumers, the most important attribute of a great customer experience was a fast response time to the customer’s needs and issues. And, in previous research from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), fast response times and a simple purchasing process emerged as by far the leading elements of an ideal customer experience.

Read more at Media Post.

Data chart courtesy of Media Post.

Contributers To A Great Online Experience (Online Shoppers)
Online Experience

Critical

Important

Speed (can find and buy what I need quickly)

47%

47%

Seamless/Easy (Smooth, continuous and effortless experience across different channels)

45

47

Sense of Control (can search for answers, ask for help, updated, sense of being in control

39

51

Individualized (Treated as an individual and offered products, discounts, communications, based on specific preferences and needs)

27

55

Interactive, Engaging (Interesting, fun to use)

24

55

Proactive (Anticipated needs, provides timely offers, alerts and reminders)

21

52

Source: Published on Marketing Charts 11/17; Data Source Cloud IQ

It’s surprisingly easy for anyone to buy ads that track location and app usage, study says

app usageResearchers at the University of Washington have found a way to track a person’s location and app use through serving ads on mobile apps. The result opens the door for significant privacy invasions through the app-based advertising system.

The researchers obtained the information by purchasing a series of ads targeted to specific locations and apps, then checking which mobile subscribers fit the targeting. In experiments conducted on Android devices, the team was able to pinpoint a person’s location within eight meters through a targeted ad. They tested ads on 10 different apps, including Grindr, Imgur, Words with Friends, and Talkatone, all using widely available ad networks.

By serving ad content to a user’s apps, the ad buyers could learn what apps the user has installed. That information could be sensitive, revealing a user’s sexual orientation or religious affiliation. For instance, ads served on Grindr will tell the ad buyer that the user has Grindr installed.

Read more at The Verge.

Image courtesy of The Verge.

Oprah’s head, Ann-Margaret’s body: A brief history of pre-Photoshop fakery

Aug1989-OprahIn 1989, TV Guide put television’s celebrity-du-jour, Oprah Winfrey, on its cover, perching her upon a pile of money. The picture was exactly the kind of thing that tends to sell magazines on newsstands and in supermarket check-out lines: It was friendly, it was saucy, it was sparkly. The only problem was that it wasn’t, actually, Oprah. TV Guide had taken a picture of the talk show host’s face … and grafted it onto the body of ’60s star Ann-Margaret. The magazine had asked the permission of neither woman before it published its odd bit of Frankensteinery.

Photoshop was invented in 1987 and widely distributed, for the first time, in 1990; the TV Guide debacle would mark one of the last times that art editors had to physically splice images to create new manipulations. But a lack of Photoshop, while the software ushered in our present age of doctored photography, did nothing to stop would-be fakers from their, er, fauxtography.

Read more at The Atlantic.

Image courtesy of The Atlantic.

Is Peppa Pig a bigger threat than ISIS video? Brand-safety crisis exposes a relevance problem

Isis videos may be in the rearview mirror for some advertisers, but what about Peppa Pig?

Brand safety worries have subsided for marketers who’ve moved back to YouTube despite the lack of ironclad guarantees that their ads will never again appear with terrorist or hate videos. But the controversy has exposed a relevance problem that might be even harder to address — with ads showing up on children’s videos, for example, when kids aren’t brands’ target.

A spring of discontent
Big advertisers that have come back to Google’s YouTube after boycotting over horrible ad adjacencies include Johnson & Johnson and Nestle. Executives of some returning companies said they were more worried about getting tarred by the surrounding news coverage, which has subsided, than consumers seeing the unwelcome placements on their own.

Other major players including Walmart and Procter & Gamble continue to avoid YouTube, meanwhile, pending stronger promises that their ads won’t appear with questionable content. (Walmart confirmed that it was still out; P&G declined to comment.)

Read more at Ad Age.

Image courtesy of Ad Age.

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Roombas have been busy mapping our homes, and now that data could be up for sale

roombaOver the past couple of years, Roombas haven’t just been picking up dust and chauffeuring cats around, they’ve also been mapping the layout of your home. Now, Colin Angle, the chief executive of Roomba maker iRobot, has said he wants to sell the data from these maps in order to improve the future of smart home technology.

In 2015, iRobot introduced the Roomba 980, its first Wi-Fi-connected model. This meant that while a Roomba was quietly whirring around your floors, it was also collecting spatial data using visual localization, sensors, and more. This data helps the Roomba figure out how your home is laid out and adjust cleaning patterns on-the-fly to deal with things like moved furniture. But Angle thinks it could be put to use by more devices.

“There’s an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared,” Angle told Reuters. Angle says that this data won’t be sold without permission, but Reuters says he thinks “most would give their consent in order to access the smart home functions.”

Read more at The Verge.

Image courtesy of The Verge.

Amazon isn’t the only retailer celebrating Amazon Prime Day

Call it a glorified ad campaign. Call it a quasi-holiday. Call it whatever you want, but Amazon’s third annual Prime Day is here.

And this year, Amazon isn’t the only one celebrating.

Amazon introduced its first Prime Day in 2015 as a super sale exclusive to Prime members. Last year’s installment increased global sales more than 60% compared with the first year. Unlike past iterations, which ran 24 hours, this year promises an extra six hours of savings, stretching from 6 p.m. Pacific Time Monday until the end of the day Tuesday.

Thanks to the success of previous Prime Days, and Amazon’s growing dominance in the retail market, competitors — including Target, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney — are hoping to cash in on deal-seeking shoppers by holding their own concurrent sales.

Read more in the LA Times.

Image courtesy of the LA Times.

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How battling brands online has gained urgency, and impact

Until last week, Travis Kalanick, a founder of Uber and its chief executive, ruled his company absolutely. That was the Silicon Valley way; ever since Steve Jobs was ousted from Apple in the 1980s, tech founders have demanded, and been awarded, enormous deference by investors and corporate boards. So even as successive waves of scandal have hit Uber, Mr. Kalanick’s position looked safe.

Then, all of a sudden, it wasn’t. Amid many reforms, Mr. Kalanick announced a leave of absence last week and late Tuesday said he was resigning as Uber C.E.O.

It is the swiftness of the fall that’s interesting here. In another time, Mr. Kalanick might have been able to hang on. But we live in an era dominated by the unyielding influence of social feeds. Every new Uber revelation ignited a massive campaign against the company on Twitter and Facebook. A swirl of negative branding took on a life of its own — and ultimately could not be ignored.

The story is bigger than Uber.

Read more at The New York Times.

Image courtesy of The New York Times.

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The Ken doll reboot: Beefy, cornrowed, and pan-racial

Meet Ken: He is a beefy Asian man with 20/40 vision who frequently works out of doors.

And, meet Ken: He is a young record executive who expresses himself through bold sneaker attire while simultaneously being an African-American man of average build.

And, meet Ken: Against the better angels of his nature, he has bleached his hair peroxide blond, and now is determined to travel on an airplane in comfort and style.
And, meet Ken: He has a man bun, and that’s his whole thing.
In a condition of affairs at worst disastrous, at best depraved, Ken, Ken, Ken, and Ken are all dating the same woman.

Her name is Barbie.

One way to make Ken more of a real-live man, Mattel decided, is to put him through a dramatic physical transformation. And so, on the pink stiletto heels of last year’s announcement that Barbie would henceforth be available in taller, shorter, and, most sensationally, curvier versions, the company is adding two new Ken shapes to its roster and manufacturing them in a larger array of skin shades and hairstyles. There will be an “original”-size Ken with cornrows. A “slim” Ken with a fade. A mixed-race Ken with a man bun. Asian Kens. Latino Kens. A pale white Ken and a tan white Ken. A Ken who is wearing a watch. A Ken who is…“broad.”

Read more in GQ.

Image courtesy of GQ.

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Facebook names the ad campaigns that best used Facebook

If an agency wants to win Facebook’s own ad awards, it doesn’t hurt to use the platform’s latest formats and technology. Aside from celebrating innovation, after all, the company is trying to showcase what marketers can achieve on Facebook and its Instagram unit.

The Facebook Awards winners revealed Thursday included campaigns that adopted innovations like vertical videos in Instagram Stories and live 360 video. One winning campaign featured a chatbot built to talk with Brazilian teens about alcoholism on Facebook Messenger. Bacardi USA created a DJ experience using Instagram Stories controls.

“We’ve seen those creative spaces come alive this past year,” said Andrew Keller, global creative director at Facebook Creative Shop. “Advertisers are experimenting with telling stories in different ways.”

Read more at Ad Age.

Image courtesy of Ad Age.

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CCFC shares great new tools from to stop marketers from targeting kids in schools

Starting next school year, under U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations, local education agencies or school districts must have in place a “local school wellness policy” to create a school environment that promotes students’ health, well-being, and ability to learn. Under the baseline policy, all foods and beverages sold to students must meet USDA nutrition standards, and products that don’t meet those standards can’t be marketed in schools. This is a great start, but leaves a lot of wiggle room for food companies to take advantage of kids.

Corporations are anxious to market in schools—when kids are captive, young, and impressionable—to create brand loyalty for life. Kids in school can’t “change the channel,” and anything advertised in a school comes with the powerful endorsement of the school or faculty. No products should be marketed in these spaces.

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) shares with us some great new tools from ChangeLab Solutions to stop marketers from targeting kids in schools.

The ChangeLab tools include:

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) supports parents’ efforts to raise healthy families by limiting commercial access to children and ending the exploitive practice of child-targeted marketing. In working for the rights of children to grow up—and the freedom for parents to raise them—without being undermined by corporate interests, CCFC promotes a more democratic and sustainable world. Learn more at www.commercialfreechildhood.org.

Interesting articles about alcohol consumption and fiber labeling

Several articles recently came to our attention regarding alcohol consumption among teens and new regulations regarding fiber ingredient labels.

The first piece, entitled “How are underage drinkers influenced by alcohol ads?” explains how targeted marketing impacts the drinking habits and potential purchasing power of teenagers.

Alcohol is the most used substance by adolescents in the U.S. People who are between 12 and 20 years old drink 11 percent of all alcoholic beverages consumed in the country, and a new study found that these underage drinkers are heavily influenced by marketing and advertising.

Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, decided to conduct the study because marketing has been known to potentially contribute to the underage drinking trend, but no other studies have examined the relationship between brand-specific advertising and consumption of alcohol.

Read more at Drug Addiction Now.

The second, “Snacks with added fiber a part of Nutrition Facts delay,” explains how a new labeling rule could change how much fiber is listed for some snack bars and cereals.

Continue reading

Advertisers, afraid to offend, weigh in on Shakespeare and Megyn Kelly

Delta Air Lines and Bank of America drew headlines this week for pulling their support from New York’s Public Theater in response to criticism about its production of “Julius Caesar,” in which the titular character — made up to look like Mr. Trump — is assassinated. Then, on Monday, JPMorgan Chase temporarily halted its ads on NBC News because of Megyn Kelly’s coming interview with Alex Jones, who operates the far-right site Infowars and has become more prominent because of his relationship with Mr. Trump. In both cases, the advertisers’ decisions were cheered by some and deplored as censorship by others.

“A lot of sponsorships that wouldn’t have garnered a lot of attention a year ago are now coming under greater scrutiny because people are wondering what that says about a business’s political stance,” said Kara Alaimo, who teaches public relations at Hofstra University. “Brands are going to be asking a lot more questions moving forward about the content of theatrical productions and potentially even of news outlets, which is sort of the more frightening prospect to me.”

Read more at The New York Times.

A football game turns into an awesomely awkward disco party in this Nike ad

In the faceoff betwen the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers shown in this new Nike ad out of W+K Portland, one player — Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson — has a secret weapon: the Nike Alpha Menace Elite football cleat. Wilson’s got a powerful grip on the gridiron while his opponents are pathetically slipping and sliding around like they’re on roller skates or something.

Actually, make that literally on roller skates. To the strains of Vaughan Mason & Crew’s “Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll,” the game suddenly transforms into an awesomely awkward roller disco party, with assorted 49ers haplessly tumbling past the triumphant Wilson.

The spot was directed by Hiro Murai of Doomsday Entertainment. Wilson gets a “Lead Footwear Designer” credit on the cleat itself.

Crossposted from Creativity Online.

Evian babies swim in adult-size clothes in latest ‘Live Young’ outing

Evian’s latest outing for its “Live Young” babies puts the adorable tots into oversized adult clothes.

The new campaign, by BETC, shows the babies swamped by the grown-up outfits. This time there’s no TV ad; instead the images are running as print, outdoor and on social media including Snapchat and Instagram. Video clips feature Evian sport spokespeople Madison Keys, Stan Wawrinka, Lucas Pouille, Lydia Ko and Maria Sharapova, who drink Evian and then turn into baby versions of themselves.

The campaign, running in the U.S., U.K., France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany, will include a limited edition Snapchat lens filter. Launching on June 10, it’ll be available for 48 hours to all Snapchat users around the world and will then be available for three months through a Snapcode on Evian bottles.

Read more at Creativity.

Image courtesy of Creativity.

Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Bottles’ come in all shapes and sizes, embodying the brand message

In an inspired packaging stunt, Ogilvy London has created a limited-edition set of Dove Body Wash bottles that come in various shapes and sizes, communication the brand’s longtime celebration of body-diverse beauty.

“Every woman’s version of beauty is different, and if you ask us, these differences are there to be celebrated,” Dove said in a statement. “That’s what real beauty is all about—the unique things that set us apart from each other and make us one of a kind. We’ve championed this version of beauty for the past 60 years, and celebrated diverse women in our groundbreaking real beauty campaigns. But we wanted to bring this to life through our products, too.”

Read more at Ad Week.

Image courtesy of Ad Week.

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Auto advertisers steer back into O’Reilly’s former slot

After a sexual harassment scandal and subsequent advertiser boycott effectively put the top-rated cable news show out to pasture a week ago, sponsors have begun drifting back to the time slot “The O’Reilly Factor” occupied for more than two decades.

While the volume of advertisers in the first 8 p.m. edition of Fox News Channel‘s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” was relatively light — with 17 brands accounting for nine minutes of airtime, the commercial load was at half-strength compared to the hour’s standard array — Monday night’s opener was graced by a number of sponsors that had pulled out of “The O’Reilly Factor” in the midst of a three-week freeze-out.

Read more at Ad Age.

Image courtesy of Ad Age.

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With O’Reilly out, Fox News advertisers wait in the wings

Bill O’Reilly’s name was effectively wiped from Fox News on Wednesday night, with the show he anchored for two decades, “The O’Reilly Factor,” renamed simply “The Factor.” While the cable news behemoth has taken steps to distance itself from O’Reilly, however, advertisers that fled the show this month after The New York Times reported on sexual harrassment allegations against him are so far remaining quiet about whether things will return to business as usual now that his exit is official.

Wednesday’s episode of the show, anchored by Dana Perino, had the lightest ad load to date since the April 1 Times report, excluding a shortened episode on April 6 when the show was interrupted by breaking news of the U.S. missile strike against Syria, according to iSpot.

Read more at Ad Age.

Image courtesy of Ad Age.

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Marketing technology explained: Everything you need know

Let’s say you’ve recently been in a conversation about marketing technology where at least somebody didn’t exactly know what martech is. They got through by saying things like “consumer journey,” “Lumascape” and “Marketing tech is going to be the hottest trend this year, no doubt.”

We’re not saying that person was you. But to help end the confusion one sometimes encounters over marketing technology, here’s an easy explainer.

What is martech, anyway?
“Every piece of technology a marketer uses to reach a potential customer is martech,” said John Koetsier, mobile economist at Tune, a mobile analytics and performance marketing company, and a former journalist who covered the subject for years at publications including VentureBeat. “Everything from an email marketing system like MailChimp to social media marketing platform like HootSuite.”

Read more at Ad Age.

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With O’Reilly gone, all eyes on advertisers

It’s the spring of brand safety, and Fox News just gave advertisers some reassurance, cutting ties with its most prominent anchor Bill O’Reilly amid allegations of sexual harassment.

“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations,” the No. 1 cable news network said in a statement on Wednesday, “the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” will take over the 8 p.m. timeslot starting next week. “The Five” will move into the 9 p.m. timeslot Carlson previously occupied, having been brought in to fill the role vacated by Megyn Kelly in January.

Read more at Ad Age.

Image courtesy of Associated Press.

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Burger King’s Whopper gets prank Wikipedia edits in ad gag

Burger King’s latest ad stunt is resulting in some less-than-flattering descriptions of its Whopper sandwich.

The hamburger chain unveiled a 15-second ad Wednesday designed to trigger Google Home devices into reciting the definition of a Whopper, pulled from the website Wikipedia. But the website can be edited by users, and the definition had been changed to insert “cyanide” as an ingredient in one version. Another user later changed the definition to say the Whopper is “the worst hamburger product” sold by the chain.

Read more in The Seattle Times.

View the original ad and read additional commentary from Ad Age here.

Image courtesy of Ad Age.

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After the rise of ‘femvertising,’ is ‘oldvertising’ the next big thing?

Reebok’s new brand ambassador in China isn’t a taut young athlete, a muscular sports star or a dewy-cheeked model. It’s Wang Deshun, an 80-year-old grandfather who became an instant star after baring his super-ripped torso on the runway at Beijing Fashion Week in 2015.

Reebok’s official WeChat called Mr. Wang “the coolest grandpa” and noted that he had always reached for new experiences in life, such as learning English at age 44, starting fitness at 50 and showing off his abdominal muscles on a fashion runway at age 79. In a news release, the brand said his “example has helped reshape China’s views on aging and shown you’re never too old to pursue your goals.”

What’s more, Mr. Wang is not the first octogenarian to front a major sports brand’s campaign. Last year Nike centered an ad that ran during the Olympics on 86-year-old nun Sister Madonna Buder, who competes in Ironman races.

These are just two examples from a string of recent ads from all over the world in which the seniors have taken the spotlight. Meanwhile, the way brands target this age group is also changing.

Read more at Ad Age Creativity.

Video courtesy of Ad Age Creativity.

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Students taking on new skills, challenging authority

Here are two pieces from local and national papers highlighting students using media literacy tools to impact their communities.

This piece from the Kitsap Sun features elementary school students here in Washington tackling a popular advertising campaign.

Students in Heather Wilson’s library class frowned as they watched the time-lapse video of an ordinary woman transformed into a super-model. Bad enough the layering on of make-up, the teasing of hair. A few of the kids made gross-out faces, as the video showed the woman’s neck in a photo digitally lengthened before her image was slapped on a billboard.

The video, part of Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, has been around for a decade, but it was new to these fourth-graders, and it had the desired effect. The students learned — or had reinforced — the fact that images on the Internet can be digitally altered. Wilson asked them to think about an advertiser’s purpose in taking such liberties.

Read more at the Kitsap Sun.

Meanwhile these Kansas high school students began looking into their new principal’s past and discovered several discrepancies, causing her to resign. Their story of investigative journalism has since gone viral.

Connor Balthazor, 17, was in the middle of study hall when he was called into a meeting with his high school newspaper adviser.

A group of reporters and editors from the student newspaper, the Booster Redux at Pittsburg High School in southeastern Kansas, had gathered to talk about Amy Robertson, who was hired as the high school’s head principal on March 6.

The student journalists had begun researching Robertson, and quickly found some discrepancies in her education credentials.

Read more at The Washington Post.

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Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad was so awful it did the impossible: It united the internet

In case you’ve just awakened from a brief coma, Pepsi is taking a lot of heat for its latest ad. The broad strokes: Its official title is the word salad “Live for Now Moments Anthem”; it features reality star/model Kendall Jenner (if your coma was not-so-brief, that’s a whole other thing, which we don’t have time to get into right now); its gist is that we should all unite and “join the conversation.” In that way, the soft drink ad succeeded. It did indeed provoke conversation—about Pepsi’s tone-deafness.

In the 2-minute-39-second “short film,” Jenner throws off the chains of the modeling industry by taking off her wig, then leaving a photoshoot to join a protest. After sharing some knowing nods and #woke-ass fist bumps with her fellow protestors, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star manages to bring everyone together by … handing a cop a Pepsi. The message is clear: All those Women’s Marches, Black Lives Matter protests, and demonstrations outside Trump Tower would be much more effervescent—and effective!—if someone had just brought some soda.

Read more at Wired.

A Brooklyn ice cream brand increased sales by 50% after it redesigned its packaging

A curious thing happened when high-end ice cream brand Van Leeuwen redesigned their packaging: People began snapping pictures of supermarket freezers.

“Didn’t even crave for ice cream but just because of the cute packaging,” wrote a customer who shelled out almost $20 for a pink pint of strawberry and an amber-colored container of salted caramel. Such transactions driven by eye-candy, coupled with a new distribution and merchandising scheme, saw the nine-year old Brooklyn business boost sales by 50% since last fall.

Redesigning packaging so it “looks good on social media,” is a deliberate strategy. Van Leeuwen co-founder Laura O’Neill and partners Pete and Ben Van Leeuwen worked closely with storied design firm Pentagram to make their pints and trucks “very Instagrammable,” says O’Neill.

Read more at Quartz.

Image courtesy of Quartz.