Connected Home Video Series: Do Smarter Devices Mean Smarter Marketing?

The key aspect of the connected home is the unmolested collection of authentic human behavior and the deep insights that result. This is the data that marketers dream about: authentic behavioral insights collected over long stretches of time without manipulation and free of fear of an observer effect. But what is the smartest use of that unadulterated data? Here's a hint: It has nothing to do with targeting audiences on a big scale. Continue reading at

Samsung Seeks to Lure Back Buyers With Sleek S8 Smartphone

Samsung knows it needs to get its new flagship smartphone right. So apart from making sure the gadget it revealed at an event on Wednesday won't cause bodily harm, the company packed it with a plethora of new features: taller height, a curved screen, encrypted facial recognition, deeper display colors, system-wide voice control and the ability to turn into a desktop computer. The Galaxy S8 comes in two sizes, a standard 5.8-inch display model and a Plus version with a 6.2-inch screen. Both are larger than the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the lineup's main competition -- until Apple rolls out its 10th-anniversary iPhone later this year. The marketing deluge around all these models should make 2017 a year to remember in smartphone advertising. In line with smartphone trends, Samsung's new devices feature slimmer bezels alongside the display and are curved on all four corners. Pre-orders will Continue reading "Samsung Seeks to Lure Back Buyers With Sleek S8 Smartphone"

How Can Brands Meet the Challenges of a Changing America?

Before the year even began, marketers knew the values, ideas and messages that seemed on-target in 2016 were unlikely to measure up in 2017. As the industry grapples with a world that's rapidly changing technologically, socially and politically, fickle consumers expect brands to keep evolving to meet their latest needs and interests. So what's a brand to do? Do you champion diversity? Sustainability? Do you also avoid controversy? How much time and resources do you devote to experimenting with new tools and platforms? And when do you decide your strategy needs a refresh? Following popular Brand Summits in Chicago and Los Angeles last year, Ad Age is bringing together brand and agency leaders for its first Brand Summit in Detroit to better understand and surface the ways marketers are facing these challenges. Continue reading at

Pinterest Sets Focus on Small Businesses to ‘Propel’ Revenue Growth

Pinterest has started pursing a segment of advertisers that may one day contribute a quarter of its revenue: small and medium-sized businesses. The company unveiled a new program Wednesday, called Pinterest Propel, that provides special services for new advertisers unfamiliar with the way its site works. By committing to spend up to $100 a day on Pinterest ads, companies get extra support and education, and Pinterest will design some of their ads for them. The startup is also offering it to marketing agencies, which get customized tips from Pinterest ad specialists for up to three clients. Pinterest is recruiting smaller advertisers in part because people come to the company's site to get inspired by unique ideas. On Pinterest, people post and search for pictures they can use to plan vacations, weddings, home furnishing and cooking, for example -- and the ads look similar to posts from any other user. Bespoke Continue reading "Pinterest Sets Focus on Small Businesses to ‘Propel’ Revenue Growth"

Castrol Crashes Onto Viral Video Chart in Branded Partnership With ‘The Fate of the Furious’

The Viral Video Chart for the week through Monday sees Castrol crashing onto the list at No. 7 in a branded partnership with "The Fate of the Furious," the latest installment in "The Fast and the Furious" franchise, in theaters next month. Billed as Castro Edge Presents "Titanium Ice," the clip, notching 7 million views in its first week, opens with badass stunt driver Debbie Evans receiving VR-simulated instructions from "Furious" star Michelle Rodriguez that will "push her to the limit." The special effects that have made "Furious" one of the biggest box office franchises of all time also make an appearance, because what's a "Furious" tie-in without explosions and souped-up aerodynamics? Continue reading at

Discovery CEO Warns of Cable `Street Fight’ as Viewers Go Online

Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc. may have to sell their TV services nationwide to fend off online rivals, creating "mayhem" in a cable industry without head-to-head competition, Discovery Communications Inc.'s chief executive said. Online-only video services from Sony's PlayStation Vue and AT&T's DirecTV Now, which include Discovery networks like TLC and Animal Planet, will eventually pressure cable operators to compete beyond their regional footprints, David Zaslav told reporters Tuesday. Vue, which debuted two years ago, and DirecTV Now, which went live last fall, each have more than 400,000 subscribers, he said. For big cable operators like Comcast and Charter, selling a bundle of channels to any consumer in the U.S. would upend a long-held tradition of not competing with each other in the same market. While Comcast sells cable service in cities like Chicago and Philadelphia, it doesn't compete with Charter in New York or Los Angeles, Continue reading "Discovery CEO Warns of Cable `Street Fight’ as Viewers Go Online"

Facebook Adds Disappearing `Stories’ to Main App, Copying Snapchat Yet Again

Facebook is making a dramatic change to the social network's mobile application, letting people post pictures and videos that disappear after 24 hours. Dramatic, but unsurprising: It's the fourth time the company has added such a feature to its apps. And it's a tool that was invented by its smaller, newly public competitor: Snap Inc., whose Snapchat lets users annotate photos and videos by adding text, drawings, masks and filters and then post them to their "story" or send them to friends. Facebook added the same capability in recent months to its Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger mobile apps, seeking to capitalize on the popularity of the format to keep people on its properties rather than toggling over to Snap's network. Yet Facebook doesn't shy away from the comparison -- and is calling the new version on its main application "Stories," too -- just like Snapchat's version. Continue reading at