In Twitter pissing match, Vita Coco responds to a critic with urine photo


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Vita Coco is apparently so desperate for attention that it is linking its product to urine. Really.

The coconut water brand today launched a campaign called “Impossible to Hate” that touts a new variety positioned as tasting more like coconuts than other brands. The push, as documented earlier today in Ad Age’s Marketer’s Brief column, involves videos featuring regular people known for giving negative reviews of products on sites like Yelp, Amazon and TripAdvisor. In the campaign, created by the agency Interesting Development, the people give understated endorsements of the new variety, called Pressed Coconut Water. Then things got weird. Tony Posnanski, a self-identified “amateur MMA fighter” with a verified Twitter account, tweeted a negative review of the product.

Vita Coco tweeted back at him, encouraging him to try its variety. He responded that “I would rather drink your social media persons piss than coconut water.” [sic]

The brand, amazingly, Continue reading "In Twitter pissing match, Vita Coco responds to a critic with urine photo"

An executive recruiter on the evolution of the chief marketing officer role: Marketer’s Brief Podcast


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If you think corporate boards have a dearth of chief marketing officers, you’re right. A new study from executive search firm Spencer Stuart found only 26 seats among the Fortune 1000 companies are occupied by CMOs.

On the latest edition of Ad Age's Marketer's Brief podcast, Richard Sanderson, a consultant in Spencer Stuart’s consumer and marketing officer practices, discusses this lack of representation, what CMOs could do to help pave the way to boardrooms, and more. “Despite the fact that CMOs are bringing more insight around digital, around data analytics, around brand stewardship, around customer experience, customer journeys—topics that are increasingly being discussed at the board—there hasn’t been any greater representation,” says Sanderson. The question, he says, is "how can they better brand or market themselves and their skills and capabilities?" (Board seats, by the way, often come later in a career. The average age of directors on the board’s of S&P Continue reading "An executive recruiter on the evolution of the chief marketing officer role: Marketer’s Brief Podcast"

OMD eliminates regional president roles in streamlining move


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Omnicom Group media agency OMD USA is cutting five senior executive positions, including its regional presidents and chief marketing officer role, in a streamlining move.

In a statement to Ad Age confirming the cuts, the agency said the regional roles date back to OMD’s creation in 2002 when the agency was formed by fusing the media departments of Omnicom agencies in New York (BBDO), Chicago (DDB) and Los Angeles (TBWA), with senior executives from each of those shops taking on a president title. “It was a model that made sense when the regional offices were more dependent on their origin agencies and local geographies for business. However this added layer is no longer consistent with how clients expect agencies to operate today–borderless, frictionless, and fluid,” the agency stated. “Moving forward, the regional teams will seamlessly connect into the client leadership team under the direction of Scott Downs.” The jobs Continue reading "OMD eliminates regional president roles in streamlining move"

Hispanic agency LatinWorks changes name to up general market appeal


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LatinWorks, one of the nation’s largest Hispanic ad agencies, is changing its name to Third Ear in a move to lure more English-language business. The rebranding, which follows a similar move by The Community a few years ago, signals a newly competitive landscape as general market shops and Hispanic agencies battle for the same accounts.

Austin, Texas-based LatinWorks, which is 49 percent-owned by Omnicom Group, has gained more general market work in recent years. The 78-person shop currently handles English and Spanish-language advertising for the Texas Lottery, for instance. But its name, which was once a strength, became a liability as it tried to grow beyond is Spanish advertising roots. “We have Latin in our name,” so clients “assume that we just speak Spanish and we are a Spanish-speaking agency,” says Manny Flores, the shop’s CEO and managing partner. The name was “creating a subconscious block in terms of giving Continue reading "Hispanic agency LatinWorks changes name to up general market appeal"

How Biofreeze is trying to become the Gatorade of pain relief: Marketer’s Brief Podcast


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The marketing for topical pain relief brand Biofreeze was once pretty basic, to put it mildly.

“Literally the brand assets we were using were Arial font with a clip art icon,” says Michael McGoohan, chief marketing officer at parent company Performance Health. But it really didn’t matter. That’s because the product–which is applied directly to skin to ease muscle pain–was exclusively distributed by physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, athletic trainers and other health clinicians. But in search of more growth, Biofreeze in 2016 opted to become a consumer brand, adding distribution at Walmart, Target, CVS and other big retailers. That immediately put more pressure on Biofreeze to amp up its branding to make the retail investment pay off. On the latest edition of Ad Age's Marketer's Brief podcast, McGoohan describes how the company built its consumer marketing from scratch. That included signing big-name athlete endorsers like NBA star Damian Lillard Continue reading "How Biofreeze is trying to become the Gatorade of pain relief: Marketer’s Brief Podcast"

Budweiser and craft brew Schlafly both launch moon-landing beers


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The moon brewskies have landed: Budweiser and craft beer Schlafly are both coming out with limited-edition brews inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, which occurred on July 20, 1969.

Bud’s version is called Discovery Reserve American Red Lager. Anheuser-Busch InBev says the brew is inspired by a specialty beer recipe from Bud’s archives that date back to the Apollo moon missions of the 1960s and 1970s. The 2019 version is made from medium roast “Voyager” barley malt. Schlafly’s moon brews come in a sampler pack called Lunar Lager that contains four varieties: Lift-Off Lager, Apollo’s Orbit Black Lager, Moon Walk Dunkel and The Eagle Has Landed American Lager.

Schlafly touts itself as the largest locally-owned craft brewery in St. Louis, which is, of course, the hometown of Budweiser. Schlafly announced the beers on Monday, one day before Bud made its plans public. A spokeswoman for Continue reading "Budweiser and craft brew Schlafly both launch moon-landing beers"

Ad Age 2019 A-List No. 7: FCB


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FCB posted impressive numbers in 2018: Domestic revenue surged nearly 16 percent and globally the agency grew 10 percent. On the new-business front, FCB won more than 130 pitches, including about 100 from its thriving health-care network. But inside FCB, the figures that mean the most are 4, 5 and 6. Those are the highest scores that creative work can receive under an internal creative scoring system Global Chief Creative Officer Susan Credle installed after she arrived three years ago from Leo Burnett. Under the system, work that scores a 4 is considered proactive, 5 means it
creates behavior and 6 translates to a “never finished idea”—meaning it establishes a platform that can be built on. FCB leaders gather twice a year to grade work submitted from across the agency network. “It’s actually influencing the way people feel about the company,” Credle says. It helps employees “understand the vision of Continue reading "Ad Age 2019 A-List No. 7: FCB"

See how Nike celebrated Tiger Woods’ big Masters win


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Nike, which has stuck by Tiger Woods through is his playing highs and lows and off-course scandals, celebrated his big Masters win Sunday with a video that plays into the brand’s ongoing “Crazy Dreams” campaign.

The video by Wieden & Kennedy, called “Tiger Woods: Same Dream,” was shared on social media just moments after Woods won his first major championship since 2008. It included glimpses of the 43-year-old’s on-course ups and downs, and ended with old footage from Woods’ childhood, when he predicted that “I’m going to beat Jack Nicklaus.” That is seemingly a reference to Woods now being within three major tournament wins of Nicklaus’ all-time record of 18 major titles.
 

The Masters win, which marks Woods’ 15h major championship and fifth Masters win, could not come at a better time for Woods, Nike and the golf industry in general. With the 2019 season just kicking into Continue reading "See how Nike celebrated Tiger Woods’ big Masters win"

Coke to sell droid-like bottles at new Star Wars theme parks


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Coca-Cola, forever linked with its Spencerian script brand logo, is about to speak a little Aurebesh, which is the language of Star Wars.

The cola giant has created customized orb-shaped bottles that will be sold exclusively inside Disney’s new “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” theme parks. The first one will open at Disneyland in California on May 31 and the second one will debut at Orlando’s Disney World on Aug. 29.

Creating co-branded packaging with entertainment properties is a common tactic in the beverage industry. But Coke’s Star Wars collaboration is notable because it goes far beyond simply slapping a graphic or two on normal bottles. Disney put a big emphasis on having everything inside the park fit the Star Wars motif and Coca-Cola’s packaging is no different. Bottles for Coke, Diet Coke and Sprite feature droid-like resealable caps and labels printed in Aurebesh that appear scuffed and rusted. Special bottles Continue reading "Coke to sell droid-like bottles at new Star Wars theme parks"

A cannabis CMO on why big agencies won’t work with him: Marketer’s Brief Podcast


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Kevin George runs marketing for Harvest Health and Recreation, one of the largest vertically integrated cannabis companies in the U.S. With brands like Cru and Evolab, the Arizona-based company is poised to get a major chunk of the more than $20 billion that U.S. consumers are expected to spend on legal cannabis within three years.

But George, who took the chief marketing job in January, has a hard time getting big agencies to work for him. “No holding company will buy media for me because they won’t work with cannabis companies because it’s federally illegal,” he says. “They would love to work with us. The challenge is their lawyers and their CFOs won’t allow it.” On the latest edition of Ad Age's Marketer's Brief podcast, George talks about how Harvest is navigating these agency challenges and other barriers still present in the marijuana industry as it continues Continue reading "A cannabis CMO on why big agencies won’t work with him: Marketer’s Brief Podcast"

A cannabis CMO on why big agencies won’t work with him: Marketer’s Brief Podcast


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Kevin George runs marketing for Harvest Health and Recreation, one of the largest vertically integrated cannabis companies in the U.S. With brands like Cru and Evolab, the Arizona-based company is poised to get a major chunk of the more than $20 billion that U.S. consumers are expected to spend on legal cannabis within three years.

But George, who took the chief marketing job in January, has a hard time getting big agencies to work for him. “No holding company will buy media for me because they won’t work with cannabis companies because it’s federally illegal,” he says. “They would love to work with us. The challenge is their lawyers and their CFOs won’t allow it.” On the latest edition of Ad Age's Marketer's Brief podcast, George talks about how Harvest is navigating these agency challenges and other barriers still present in the marijuana industry as it Continue reading "A cannabis CMO on why big agencies won’t work with him: Marketer’s Brief Podcast"

Audi’s new campaign tries to debunk electric vehicle misperceptions


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Audi is pouring more marketing dollars into its ambitious electric vehicle plans. A new campaign from the automaker attempts to debunk perceptions about EVs that have kept them from breaking into the mainstream, including fears about range, charging infrastructure and performance. The effort, which includes a new TV ad, comes in advance of the May launch of Audi’s new “e-tron” SUV, the first of three battery electric vehicles the luxury brand will introduce over three years.

 

The ad, called “Not For You” by Venables Bell & Partners, begins by showing a man in his bathrobe who skeptically gazes at his neighbor’s Audi e-tron parked in a garage. Then he is transported into several scenes meant to tackle his skepticism head-on. One shot shows the vehicle zooming through a desert landscape, which is an attempt to debunk the so-called “range anxiety” fears that are considered a major barrier to Continue reading "Audi’s new campaign tries to debunk electric vehicle misperceptions"

Bud Light’s knight comes back to life, Jon Snow-style


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Bud Light’s knight, who was viciously slain in the brand's “Game of Thrones”-themed Super Bowl ad, has been resurrected.

A new ad shows the knight coming back to life after a wizard casts a few spells. It turns out he is merely chanting varieties of pasta. The spot is a follow-up to the Super Bowl ad, which showed the knight being brutally killed in a jousting duel with The Mountain character from "Game of Thrones." That ad was co-branded with HBO as part of the network’s  #ForTheThrone campaign hyping the final season of the hit show, which begins April 14. It was handled by HBO’s agency, Droga5, and Wieden & Kennedy, which handles Bud Light. The Super Bowl spot was notable for its gore, considering that Bud Light ads, and beer ads in general, tend to be lighthearted. The ad also raised eyebrows because the brand killed off a Continue reading "Bud Light’s knight comes back to life, Jon Snow-style"

Ads or not? DJ Khaled faces scrutiny over social media posts plugging booze brands


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A collection of watchdog groups has done the impossible: They slowed down DJ Khaled's brand plugs on social media, at least for alcohol. The hip hop star and so-called "King of Snapchat" has dialed back posts mentioning liquor brands after scrutiny from watchdog groups alleging that his boozey social media musings reached minors and were not properly labeled as ads. Their complaint was led by Truthinadvertising.org, which advocates against deceptive marketing, and included groups such as Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Public Citizen and The Center for Digital Democracy. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Google-Backed Video Puts Viewer in a Self-Driving Car


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Waymo, the self-driving car division of Google-parent company Alphabet, is bolstering its education campaign, and its timing is pretty good: A new poll shows that a majority of Americans are still afraid to give up the wheel. Waymo's new 360-degree video released today puts viewers in the back seat of one of its self-piloted cars. The film, by its in-house Google Creative Lab, begins by explaining how Waymo's cars use millions of laser beams per second, plus radar and high-resolution cameras to detect surroundings. Then viewers are put in the backseat of a car as it cruises along a house-lined divided highway. "The ride feels a lot like being driven in a regular car," a female voiceover smoothly intones. A Gallup poll recently released, however, shows that plenty of Americans are still freaked out by the concept. Fifty-four percent of the U.S. respondents say they're unlikely to use self-driving Continue reading "Google-Backed Video Puts Viewer in a Self-Driving Car"

The Liquor Store Comes to the Internet


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Mot Hennessy doesn't want to use the web to merely offer its luxury champagne, wine and liquor online. It wants to provide the mixologist, bar and glasswareand maybe a trip to Scotland to boot. The marketer of Dom Prignon, Veuve Clicquot and Belvedere vodka is trying to infuse its online sales with luxury experiences via a new site called Clos19, part of a broader effort among alcohol marketers to get more aggressive about e-commerce after years of trailing other categories. While 20 percent of U.S. shoppers bought groceries online last year, just 8 percent of buyers bought alcohol online, according to Nielsen data cited by e-commerce analytics firm Profitero. Alcohol has lagged because of a complicated patchwork of post-Prohibition state laws that govern its sale and distribution. Generally, a so-called three-tier system requires most sales to flow from supplier to wholesaler to retailer. That means a beer brand, for Continue reading "The Liquor Store Comes to the Internet"

Alcohol Comes to the Internet


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In a departure from industry trends, however, the marketer is running the lifestyle site directly rather than relying on a third-party service where its brands go side by side with competitors. The site is technically operated by a vendor called Thirstie, which has been running a third-party alcohol delivery site like Drizly but is now focusing on selling its technology directly to marketers. Thirstie uses an established network of local retailers in an arrangement that it says keeps the three-tier system intact. The marketer is plugging the lifestyle site with an artsy video made by Droga5 that blends vibrant images such as lush floral arrangements shots of people that are connected in some way. Droga5 seized on consumer trends such as young people's increasing tendencies to stay in on nights and weekends. "Consumers can still fire up their phones and have products at their doorsteps, while the brand controls the Continue reading "Alcohol Comes to the Internet"

AB InBev Buys Stakes in Craft Beer Sites, Provoking a Backlash


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Anheuser-Busch InBev has quietly moved into the digital publishing business with a series of investments in websites that cover beer culture and the rising craft beer industry. But the slow move by the nation's largest brewer into the editorial business is raising conflict-of-interest questions and causing blowback in the boisterous craft beer community. The complaints began coming last week when it was disclosed that AB InBev took a minority stake in RateBeer, a site that publishes consumer-driven beer ratings and stories on beer culture. The investment, by the brewer's incubator and venture capital unit ZX Ventures, took place in October but only drew notice last week after after it was discovered by another craft beer beer news site, Good Beer Hunting. ZX Ventures also funds a beer culture magazine called October that was introduced in January by Pitchfork, the music site owned by Conde Nast. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Inside Esports Star Franchise Optic Gaming


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Optic runs teams for games including "Call of Duty," "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive," "Halo" and "Gears of War." But the franchise emphasizes content creation as much as competitive excellence. Team members record themselves playing games, creating slickly edited videos that draw eyeballs and ad dollars. Optic also provides looks at players' lives that often have nothing to do with gaming. One example: A YouTube video of star "Call of Duty" player Ian "Crimsix" Porter taking a hike last summer drew more than 80,000 views. The always-on approach is the brainchild of Optic CEO Hector Rodriguez, 37, who along with esports agency RevXP has leveraged the franchise's celebrity status in the gaming world to lure sponsors such as PepsiCo's Brisk and Turtle Wax. The car-care brand just signed up for a second year with Optic for a program that will include Optic-produced video content including Mr. Porter upgrading and detailing his Continue reading "Inside Esports Star Franchise Optic Gaming"