Marketing News Roundup: Facebook Messenger Ads, Los Angeles Olympics and Snortable Chocolate

Marketing News Staff
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​​A weekly roundup of the marketing headlines you might have missed.​​​

July 17, 2017

Facebook Messenger Launches Ads

After being ad-free for years, Facebook Messenger will now feature ads on its home tab, per AdAge.

Facebook had been testing Messenger ads internationally, but will now bring the ads to all the app’s 1.2 billion users.

“The difficulty for Facebook is balancing the need for ad space against consumer happiness,” Garett Sloane writes on Adage. “Fortunately, Facebook has plenty of experience springing ads on users who had grown accustomed to ad freedom.

Source: AdAge

Tiffany's New CEO Tasked with Restoring Brand's Shine

Fabled jeweler Tiffany & Co. finds itself in a slump after a ousting its CEO right before launching a Super Bowl-themed campaign starring Lady Gaga. Former Chief Executive Officer Frederic Cumenal took charge after a brutal year for the traditionally upscale retailer that generated 45% of total sales from items with an average price of $530 or less. Furthermore, the company only grossed about 1% of total revenue from watch sales, which competitors earn closer to the 50% from. 


 Photo courtesy of: Men's Folio

As of Thursday, newly named CEO Alessandro Bogliolo, faces significant questions about the company's brand identity in 2017, including the brand's recent political statements regarding the U.S.'s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Olympic-sized Announcement

The Olympics are returning America, possibly after a pit stop in the City of Light (Paris). The next Summer Games will take place in Tokyo in 2020, and the International Olympic Committee met last week to determine the location of the 2028 Summer Games. The meeting ended with a break in tradition when committee voted to award two games at once, announcing that 2024 and 2028 summer games will be in Los Angeles and Paris, though which city will host what year was left undecided. 


 This Is LA. 2024 Bid


Paris is strongly believed to the frontrunner for the earlier event. It last hosted the Olympics exactly one century prior to that date, in 1924. That means the 2028 Olympics would come to Los Angeles, marking the first time the Summer Games have been hosted in the U.S. since the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Los Angeles last hosted in 1984.

That both cities have been the site of past events is no accident. Questions about the economic benefits of hosting the games abound. Both Rio de Janeiro and Greece invested significantly in the games and now provide vivid examples of post-Olympic hangovers. A centerpiece of the Paris and Los Angeles bids, meanwhile, is that both cities have 90% of the facilities required to host already in place.

Source: CNN

Cards Against Women's Marketing

Adult party game purveyor Cards Against Humanity is back with a new limited edition that mocks traditional marketing. Called Cards Against Humanity: For Her, the new set is the exact same game as before, just encased inside a pink box and sold at $5 more than the standard edition.

"We decided that ... it’s time for women to have a spot at the table, and nevertheless, she persisted. That’s why we made Cards Against Humanity: For Her. It’s trendy, stylish and easy to understand. And it’s pink,” says Cards Against Humanity community director Jenn Bane in a press release.

The company has pledged that proceeds from the sale of its For Her edition will be donated to Emily's List, a PAC that aims to boost the number of female elected officials.

The activism behind the irony is a criticism of the so-called "pink tax," which is the trend in consumer goods to charge slightly more for versions aimed at female consumers. The latest stunt comes after previous campaigns centered around selling an actual box of excrement for $6 during Black Friday, soliciting $100,000 to dig a hole in the ground for no reason and mailing more than 2,000 potatoes to a United States senator.

Source: Business Insider

Cognitively Diverse Teams Solve Problems Faster

Teams that think differently solve problems faster, according to Alison Reynolds and David Lewis in Harvard Business Review.

However, most companies tend to quash cognitively diverse teams by forcing employees to toe the company line.

“If you look for it, cognitive diversity is all around—but people like to fit in, so they are cautious about sticking their necks out,” the duo writes. “When we have a strong, homogenous culture (e.g., an engineering culture, an operational culture, or a relational culture), we stifle the natural cognitive diversity in groups through the pressure to conform. We may not even be aware that it is happening.”

To overcome these challenges, hiring managers should recruit for cognitive diversity and always look for dissenting voices on new, uncertain or complex situations from existing employees.

“There is much talk of authentic leadership, i.e., being yourself,” Reynolds and Lewis write. “Perhaps it is even more important that leaders focus on enabling others to be themselves.”

Source: Harvard Business Review

Marketers Have Faith In AI, But Many See Technology As a Barrier

Artificial intelligence is viewed as a useful tool by retail and eCommerce marketers. A recent study by conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Emarsys found that 79% think AI in marketing will shift the role of marketing to more strategic work, with 86% saying it will make marketing both more efficient and more effective.

Even so, 70% of business decision makers believe their team lacks the technical skills to leverage AI technology. The decision makers don’t understand AI themselves. Both issues are seen by decision makers as barriers to wide-scale adoption of AI as a marketing tool.

Source: NetImperative

Harnessing Change Goes Deeper Than Technology

Technology is changing marketing every day, but are the processes changing with it? Changing systems and changing processes mean balancing change with stability, according to Jennifer Frahm, author of Conversations of Change – A Guide to Implementing Workplace Change

She told Australia’s, “Stability is the strategy piece that we are sticking to. The change piece might mean changing up channels, offers, price points – all of those kinds of things – to achieve that strategy. But for a lot of marketing people, they feel like there is constant change all around them, and they don’t necessarily see their strategy as their anchor.”

With so much change happening so quickly, organizations often experience “change fatigue.” To recover from this, Frahm says companies must focus on communication as a core capability.


Twitch Hires Former Facebook and Twitter Exec

Twitch, the Amazon-owned streaming platform, named Kate Jhaveri as its senior vice president of marketing. Jhaveri previously worked at Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft.

Jhaveri most recently led Twitter’s marketing programs, channels and experiences.


“Twitch’s primary strength has been looking to its community to help shape the direction of the brand,” Jhaveri said in a statement. “This has led to a lot of compelling emerging content beyond gaming. Given this constant evolution, my goal is to ensure we shine a light on all of the incredible content that continues to redefine the Twitch experience, as well as our extensive road map of products.”

Source: Variety

Make Way for Snortable Chocolate?

Here’s one of the strangest new products we’ve seen lately: snortable chocolate.

Florida-based Legal Lean has released Coco Loko in the U.S., marketing it as a stimulant and stress reducer, according to CNN.

“The company's CEO told CNN that the product contains mostly raw cacao powder, along with common energy drink ingredients, like gingko biloba, taurine and guarana,” the CNN report says.

Sen. Charles Schumer is urging the Food and Drug Administration to launch an investigation into this product.


 What Is Snortable Chocolate?


Source: CNN

Local Marketing Poised to Reach $174 Billion by 2021

Local media is poised for a monetary explosion in the next four years, as BIA/Kelsey’s update to the 2017 Local Advertising Forecast finds that local markets will reach $174 billion by 2021, per AdWeek.

“We are on the precipice of different advertising channels taking lead positions in the local advertising marketplace,” says Mark Fratrik, chief economist for BIA/Kelsey, in a statement. “Although national and local businesses still utilize a mix of digital and traditional advertising platforms, the opportunities afforded by mobile, social and video advertising are incredibly valuable due to their measurability, adoption by consumers and enhancements by technologies such as beacons and data attribution that blend extraordinarily well with today’s mobile consumer.”

Source: AdWeek

TIME for a change?

Reports are coming out of Time Inc. that the company is mulling a major rebrand up to and including the name. "Such a move would be aimed at Time Inc.’s business and marketing partners, and would be intended to reposition the publisher as a modern media company with growing digital and video ventures," reports the Wall Street Journal.

No decisions have to made at this time, but it's said any move would not affect the name of TIME magazine, which has been in print since 1923, nor anything other magazine titles.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Pandora Boxed Out

Streaming music service Pandora was once a dominant internet radio station, or maybe it just seemed that way. Turns out the music curator has existed for 17 years, and, in all that time, never turned a profit. The company first launched in 2000 with a $2 million investment. It survived a rough patch the following year when founder Tim Westergren convinced 50 employees to work without pay for two years while he sought to right the ship.

Part of what tripped the company up was its reliance on human musicologists to pair music selections with one another, instead of relying on algorithms. This meant the site operated slower and with a much more limited catalog than its competitors.

Westergren is no longer with the company. He departed shortly after the company secured a new $480 million investment from Sirius XM, which might represent its last, best shot at achieving permanence and profitability.

Source: The Outline

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