Fake followers are hard to shake, according to new report


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Unilever's effort to rid itself of influencers with fake followers hasn't made much difference, at least for its Dove brand, according to a new report. And despite the industry's concern about fakes, the report, from analytics firm Points North Group, says spending on influencers continues to snowball. Unilever Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Keith Weed said in June that the company would stop working with influencers who buy fake followers. But despite that, Points North estimates that 25 percent of the followers for Instagram influencers working with Dove last year were fake, ahead of the industry average of 14 percent. Dove's fake ratio fell only slightlyto 23 percent by the fourth quarter. Weed declined to comment on the analysis, saying he hadn't had a chance yet to review it. But he says Unilever will take another look at Dove's influencers and their followers. He also says he believes both the Continue reading "Fake followers are hard to shake, according to new report"

Alleged ‘sex-fueled’ parties on L’Oreal business trips result in suit


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A former vice president of digital marketing has sued L'Oral USA for race, sex and disability discrimination in a 40-page complaint describing "sex-fueled" parties on European business trips and a boss watching porn on his phone. L'Oral denies the allegations, which it says it investigated but were uncorroborated by other employees, adding that she was fired for unprofessional conduct. Amanda Johnson, an African-American executive, worked for two years on the Matrix and Biolage brands, got promoted quickly and was showcased as an example of diversity by L'Oral globally, according to her complaint in U.S. District Court in New York. She's seeking reinstatement, back pay, legal costs and punitive damages. Besides the parties and porn, Johnson also alleges she felt physically threatened by a colleague and suffered anxiety and depression from stress, which the complaint cites as her disability. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Former marketer accuses L’Oreal of race, sex discrimination


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A former vice president of digital marketing has sued L'Oreal USA for race, sex and disability discrimination in a 40-page complaint describing "sex-fueled" parties on European business trips and a boss watching porn on his phone. L'Oreal denies the allegations, which it says it investigated but were uncorroborated by other employees, adding that she was fired for unprofessional conduct. Amanda Johnson, an African-American executive, worked for two years on the Matrix and Biolage brands, got promoted quickly and was showcased as an example of diversity by L'Oreal globally, according to her complaint in U.S. District Court in New York. She's seeking reinstatement, back pay, legal costs and punitive damages. Besides the parties and porn, Johnson also alleges she felt physically threatened by a colleague and suffered anxiety and depression from stress, which the complaint cites as her disability. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Dollar Shave Club branches into fine fragrance and vending machines


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Dollar Shave Club has enlisted famed fragrance developer Ann Gottlieb for a seemingly unlikely bet -- that an online subscription business built around cheap razors can sell prestige men's fragrance. DSC's new BluePrint brand, launching officially today, is one of a few ways the 7-year-old business is shaking things up in its third year since being acquired by packaged-goods giant Unilever and amid signs growth has slowed. This week Dollar Shave Club will also begin testing vending machines at malls and transit hubs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Minneapolis. And DSC is fundamentally changing how it brings new customers into the fold, moving beyond its core of men getting monthly boxes of razor blades in favor of less frequent shipments of its broad range of shave prep, haircare, skincare and oral-care products. Overall, DSC now has more than three dozen products in six categories. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Five reasons why GSK picked Publicis for its media account


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GSK consolidating its estimated $1.7 billion global media buying assignment with Publicis Groupe effective next year certainly looks like one of those every-three-year, procurement-driven exercises popular among marketers based in Europe. But there's far more to it than that, says Marc Speichert, global chief digital officer for the U.K.-based marketer of such brands as Aquafresh, Theraflu and Nicorette. Here are five things to know about the decision. Publicis Groupe wasn't the low bidder Continue reading at AdAge.com

Scott Galloway: Amazon is ‘beating up’ on Google, Facebook and Apple


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Scott Galloway's book "The Four" is about tech giants Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon and how they pose a threat to just about every other business on the planet. But he's mulling a sequel, because he now thinks the first three need to fear the fourth. "Amazon is beating up on the other three wherever it intersects," said Galloway in a provocative speech to the Brandemonium conference in Cincinnati on Wednesday. Galloway, a New York University professor who is the founder of digital consultancy L2 (now part of Gartner) says Amazon is out-innovating Apple on hardware, has become the fastest-growing digital media player and outspends TV networks on original content. "Amazon has more job openings in their voice group than Google has in the entire company right now," he said. Amazon "can go into the media business and overnight be the second largest spender on original content. They will spend Continue reading "Scott Galloway: Amazon is ‘beating up’ on Google, Facebook and Apple"

Clean Break: Why J&J is enlisting teens with modest followings as influencers


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Dillon Eisman, 18, runs a nonprofit in Southern California that restores damaged apparel for homeless teens. That work earned him publicity as a People magazine "Hometown Hero" last year, but Eisman still never thought of himself as an "influencer." So Eisman was surprised when a casting director reached out to him to make an audition video promoting a skincare brand. "At first I thought it was a scam," says Eisman. "It was just so random." Now, Eisman is among the teens who star in videos for Johnson & Johnson's Clean & Clearhis video alone has received more than 3.2 million YouTube views since June. Together they have helped boost Clean & Clear sales 19 percent since February, according to the company. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Google still isn’t where brands want it on verification, but it takes (and gets) credit for trying


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Twenty months after Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard called on digital players to get accredited third-party measurement of whether ads are seen by real people in brand-safe environmentsand nine months past the deadline he setGoogle still isn't quite there. But in a blog post today, the industry heavyweight outlines its progress and touts new measures reflecting the reality that marketers and agencies are all over the place on the viewership measures they want to pay for. Is that good enough? P&G returned to YouTube earlier this year, and has kept advertising on other digital platforms, citing progress in keeping brands away from unwelcome content. News reports about ads running on YouTube videos that promoted violence, bigotry and terrorism had earlier driven many major marketers away, at least temporarily. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Revlon joins Refinery29 in unusual product collaboration


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Big marketers have been collaborating with influencers to develop products for years. Now one is working with a digital media player. Revlon, in an unusual step, is collaborating with woman-focused Refinery29 to develop and launch a new line of lipstick, Make Your Mark, rolling out Wednesday. The co-development deal appears unprecedented, says Don Pettit, principal of consultancy Bingo Brand Solutions and former CEO of Mally Beauty. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Revlon joins Refinery29 in unusual product collaboration


This post is by Jack Neff from Advertising Age - Digital


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Big marketers have been collaborating with influencers to develop products for years. Now one is working with a digital media player. Revlon, in an unusual step, is collaborating with woman-focused Refinery29 to develop and launch a new line of lipstick, Make Your Mark, rolling out Wednesday. The co-development deal appears unprecedented, says Don Pettit, principal of consultancy Bingo Brand Solutions and former CEO of Mally Beauty. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Nestle digital chief Blackshaw will head Cincinnati startup hub


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Nestle's top global digital executive, Pete Blackshaw, is leaving to become CEO of Cintrifuse, a startup hub based in Cincinnati. The aim is to make his old hometown a bigger tech hub and possibly a center for more startups geared toward improving consumer trust. The move, effective in November, is a return for Blackshaw, a longtime Procter & Gamble Co. marketing executive who in 2000 led Cincinnati startup Planetfeedback. That ultimately became part of Nielsen, where Blackshaw was a Cincinnati-based executive until he joined Nestle in 2011. Based in Vevey, Switzerland, he was Nestle's VP for digital innovation and service models. Among other things, Blackshaw led Nestle's Digital Acceleration Team and established a Silicon Valley Innovation Outpost and Henri@Nestle open-innovation platform. Cintrifuse is part startup accelerator and part venture capital fund of funds, using investments in other venture funds in efforts to get them involved with Cincinnati's startups. It also Continue reading "Nestle digital chief Blackshaw will head Cincinnati startup hub"

Google disables most outside ROI tracking, will likely ace its own tests


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Understanding what ad spending achives just got harder, at least for brands whose media buys include Google and anything other than TV. Thank GDPR, and Google's response to it. Google last month restricted access to consumer data all over the world, saying the move was necessary to comply with Europe's new General Data Protection Regulation. In the process, it cut off most companies in the business of evaluating brands' returns on investment for digital and some non-digital ads. Now, only seven companies are approved to integrate their data with Google's Ads Data Hub, the repository of its audience data. Thousands of agencies and others could previously use various tags to get and integrate Google user data. And only one of the seven, C3 Metrics, is a so-called "multi-touch attribution" provider that calculates sales return on ad spending across Google and non-Google platforms, including traditional media. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Down with viewability: MRC chief says it’s time to move past ‘marketplace fixation’


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Enough is enough, marketers: Media Rating Council CEO George Ivie has heard your complaints about viewability, and he thinks you're missing the point. It's taken longer to nail down "viewability" than the MRC wanted, Ivie says, but the whole digital ad viewability idea was only meant to be a relatively quick fix en route to a bigger thing, which is now set to arrive by 2019. That would be cross-platform media measurement standards across all forms of TV and digital video delivery around demographics or any other audience data that marketers want. The digital video piece of that standard came out in December, and many marketers are already trading on it using tools from Nielsen and ComScore, Ivie notes. The broader cross-platform guidelines that should emerge in draft form by late this year could include something else many advertisers long have clamored for: more precise ratings of TV commercials. Continue Continue reading "Down with viewability: MRC chief says it’s time to move past ‘marketplace fixation’"

Ad research association wants new privacy rules after Cambridge Analytica


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The ad industry's chief research group wants new guidelines to protect consumer privacy following the allegations that Cambridge Analytica misused Facebook data on 50 million people. Advertising Research Foundation CEO Scott McDonald plans to call for the new guidelines on data privacy and protection at the group's ConsumerXScience event Wednesday morning in New York. The group is also looking into rescinding a top honor it gave the data firm last year for the very work in question. Cambridge Analytica won the Gold Award in the big data category in last year's David Ogilvy Awards for its "Make America Number One" campaign. Continue reading at AdAge.com

New Viewability Standards May Give Extra Credit to Ads That Play Longer


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The ad industry's standards body wants help as it considers toughening the requirements to call digital ads "viewable" so they're more comparable with TV and other media. The Media Rating Council on Tuesday issued a call for research to help gauge what would happen, for example, if it required "viewable" ads to appear on screen in full instead of the current standard of halfway. It also wants to look at "duration weighting," or varying standards above its current 1 second for display ads and 2 seconds for video. Viewability became a big issue in digital advertising several years ago as marketers realized they were often paying for ads that appeared on screens only fleetingly, partially or not at all. The MRC responded with standards that it described as a "first step." Continue reading at AdAge.com

L’Oreal Buys ModiFace to Get Edge in Beauty Augmented Reality and AI


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L'Oreal has purchased leading beauty tech firm ModiFace for an undisclosed sum to bolster its digital-technology effort, giving it an apparent edge over rivals in augmented reality and arttificial intelligence for beauty. Terms were not disclosed. The 11-year-old Toronto-based company has been providing services for L'Oreal at least since 2014, when Garnier used ModiFace technology to deliver customized digital ads featuring the customer as the model. More recently, L'Oreal Professional and ModiFace introduced an app called Style My Hair, which provides augmented-reality hair color tryouts. Now ModiFace will become part of L'Oreal's newly formed Digital Services Factory, a network that designs and develops new digital services for the company's brands. Continue reading at AdAge.com

P&G Sees Better Attitude Among Big Digital Players But Still Cuts Spending


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Big digital players have done much since he issued a challenge for them to get third-party audience verification, eliminate fraud and ensure brand safety a year ago, but Procter & Gamble Co. still has cut spending on them by 20 to 50 percent, Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard said in a speech to the Association of National Advertisers Media Conference in Orlando on Thursday. Pritchard also outlined how his company will bring more media agency work in house and reunite creative and media sides of agencies. The biggest change with digital players may be attitude. Pritchard recounted a recent meeting with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki on what her platform is doing to shape up on accountability issues. "She shared her realization that YouTube had outgrown its infrastructure, similar to when a small city grows into a big metropolis," Pritchard said. "She realized the impact YouTube has on popular culture, leading Continue reading "P&G Sees Better Attitude Among Big Digital Players But Still Cuts Spending"

Weed Treats Social Media Like Palm Oil: You Must Shape Up Eventually


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Unilever Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Keith Weed has gotten tougher on big digital platforms but he's not ready to go cold turkey on the Google-Facebook duopoly just yet. His threat to stop doing business with media that "breed division in society or fail to protect children" in yesterday's speech to the IAB leadership meeting isn't an ultimatum with a firm deadline, he says in an interview with Ad Age. But he isn't giving social media forever to make things right, either. Think of it this way: Weed is also in charge of Unilever's sustainability program. When Greenpeace sent folks in gorilla suits to scale the company's London headquarters in 2008 over it using palm oil that led to deforestation, Unilever didn't go cold turkey on producers who clear-cut rainforests overnight. Its goal is to use 100-percent third-party-verified sustainable palm oil by 2019, while steadily weaning itself off questionable ingredients Continue reading "Weed Treats Social Media Like Palm Oil: You Must Shape Up Eventually"

Unilever Will Pull Funds from Social Media That ‘Breed Division’


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Unilever will stop spending on digital platforms that "breed division in society or fail to protect children," Chief Marketing Officer Keith Weed plans to announce in a speech to the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting in Palm Desert, Calif., on Monday. The move takes the industry's brand-safety debate a step beyond trying to police what appears directly next to ads and toward a broader effort by a big marketer to reshape social media. It also represents a shift in tone for Weed, who in the past year largely has played the good cop to rival Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard's bad cop on digital accountability issues. Pritchard, little more than a year ago at the same IAB forum, threatened to cut off spending by the world's biggest advertiser on digital platforms that didn't ensure brand safety or provide accredited third-party audience verification. Citing industry progress, Pritchard says Continue reading "Unilever Will Pull Funds from Social Media That ‘Breed Division’"

P&G Sees Enough Progress on Digital Demands to Avoid Pulling Spending — Mostly


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A year after he challenged digital media players to deliver accountability and transparency or lose Procter & Gamble Co.'s considerable spending, Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard sees little reason to make good on his threatfor the most part. P&G's comprehensive review of its agency contracts, announced in the same speech to the IAB Leadership Meeting last year, has produced one significant change. "We found we needed to build in some stronger contract language on rebates at the holding-company level," Pritchard says. "But the agencies have been great at working with us." P&G still isn't back on YouTube after pulling the plug last March over brand-safety concerns and despite what Pritchard sees as strong efforts by Google to fix problems. "Stay tuned," he says. Continue reading at AdAge.com