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The Week In Branded Content (September 21st)

The Week In Branded Content (September 21st)

“We launched with a pretty mediocre product, we quickly realized there was a need for a better-for-you deodorant and customers were willing to pay a higher price for it, but we also realized we didn’t have that product, so the first year of business was just us trying to figure out how to make a better product. In May 2016, we launched a better formula and we quintupled revenue between May and December because we had a better formula.”

– Native Deodorant / CEO/Founder – Moiz Ali






RIMOWA | Never Still Ft. Roger Federer

Twenty-time grand slam winning athlete Roger Federer is the first of five cultural icons featured in RIMOWA’s global campaign. Shot in Lucerne, Switzerland, the film reflects on a conversation Federer had with his father at age 14 as he began to venture out into the world to pursue his dreams – reminding us of what it means to take the first step.

BY RIMOWA Official




It sure seems like Arby’s is covertly coming after Subway. Not just because its new ad campaign — featuring an Arby’s hotline with the voice of comedian H. Jon Benjamin — is focused explicitly on sandwiches. But because it appears to be working hard to change what you think of when you hear the phrase “sandwich artist.” (That’s a Subway trademark.)”






Land Rover celebrates 70th anniversary with Grizzly Torque

“An around-the-world road trip undertaken by two prominent Canadians is at the centre of a new campaign celebrating Land Rover’s 70th anniversary.

The campaign’s three-minute short film chronicles the 14-month journey of artist and naturalist Robert Bateman and ecologist Bristol Foster across 19 countries in 1957. Bateman later became a well-known naturalist painter and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, while Foster later headed up the Royal B.C. Museum.


BY Justin Dallaire




The four bronze lions that surround Nelson’s Column in London’s Trafalgar Square are pretty passive-looking creatures. They sit on all fours and gaze blankly ahead, more sphinx than lion. Legend has it that their sculptor originally planned for the animals to be posed in more active stances, stood up on their hind legs and roaring at the square. But Queen Victoria reportedly vetoed the decision as too shocking. Now, 151 years after they were originally unveiled, the lions have a new colleague, and he is definitely turning heads.


By James Vincent




A Decade Of Defiance

A look back at the 10 year history of Beats By Dre


BY Complex



People are leaving one-star reviews for Salt Bae’s restaurant after he served steak to Venezuela’s president

People are leaving one-star reviews on TripAdvisor and Google of restaurants run by the viral chef known as “Salt Bae” after he served an expensive steak dinner to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro this week.

Salt Bae, whose real name is Nusret Gokce, received widespread criticism after footage of him flamboyantly serving Maduro at an Istanbul branch of his Nusr-Et restaurant chain went viral.


BY Bill Bostock




Deezer’s AI can classify songs by mood and intensity

Human ears have no trouble sussing out the sentiment of songs — say, the melancholia in Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven,” or the passion in Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” Machines do, however. In an attempt to get the latter to perform a bit more like the former, researchers at Deezer developed an artificially intelligent system that can associate certain tracks with moods.





Building A Great Brand With The Stroke Of A Pen

Picture a CEO of an innovative startup that has won countless awards for its products, developed a legion of devoted fans, and is poised to redefine the industry in which it operates. What should the CEO’s next step be?

In the case of Gunner Winston, CEO of dosist, the leading disposable vaporizer maker, he changed the company name and slowed down the aggressive expansion plans his staff had planned.


BY Marissa Peretz




Tuft & Needle, Native CEO | Full Interview | 2018 Code Commerce

Tuft & Needle co-founder and Chief Visionary JT Marino and Native founder and CEO Moiz Ali spoke onstage with Recode Executive Editor Peter Kafka at the Code Commerce conference on Sept. 18, 2018.


BY Recode







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The Week In Branded Content (September 14th)

The Week In Branded Content (September 14th)

“A lot of Democrats, for years, have been supporting and voting for candidates who didn’t always say exactly what they believed, didn’t always show their authentic, true selves. To look around, not just at Trump, but at who’s been winning elections, a lot of us have started to think: ‘Why don’t we say what we mean’?”

– Hans Goff – American Association of Political Consultants






Scoring The Drive

THE VISCERAL FEELING OF DRIVING a Range Rover on the winding roads of Angeles Crest Highway, high in the San Gabriel Mountains, is an inspiring experience. We invited award-winning composer Hans Zimmer to embark on this very journey with the goal of creating a score inspired by and unique to this unparalleled drive. Zimmer has scored more than 150 films in a career that’s been recognized by Hollywood’s most prestigious awards. For this project, the creative process was unlike any he’d practiced in his 30-year career.

BY Hans Zimmer



Watch Usain Bolt Race Some Guys In Zero Gravity

Olympic sprinting legend Usain Bolt often looked as if he was running on air.

But in a video circulating Wednesday, he did it for real.

Bolt raced some guys in a near-zero-gravity environment aboard a special plane flying above France, For the Win reported Wednesday. The stunt was for a Mumm Champagne promotion that showed off the company’s no-spill cocktail bottle for astronauts,

Bolt endured several parabola dives, calling the experience “mindblowing.”


BY Ron Dicker




Olivier Rousteing on Balmain’s Latest Sonic-Driven Video Project (Exclusive)

“People are sometimes scared to do something new,” says the French label’s creative director of the visual campaign that premieres today, “but the reality is that it’s only interesting when you go someplace where no one has gone before.”
Chances are when you walk down the street, your ears encounter the sounds all around you — a car door slamming, heels clicking on a sidewalk, the rev of a motorcycle engine — as merely noise, the cacophony of city living.


BY Laurie Brookins



Tone Vays vs Roger Ver – BTC/BCH Debate from Blockchain Cruise

Evangelists for Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash battle it out during this week’s Bitcoin Cruise.


By Tone Vays




Netflix Research

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve launched a new website at that provides an overview of the research that we do here at Netflix. We have many amazing researchers working on a variety of hard problems and are happy to share some of our work with the world.


BY Netflix



This Animation Shows The Sad Reality Of Our “Modern” Society

Steve Cutts is an illustrator and animator based in London, England.[1] His artwork satirizes the excesses of modern society.[1][2] His style is inspired by 1930s and 40s cartoons, as well as modern comic books and graphic novels.


BY Steve Cutts




Patagonia’s latest doc joins the fight for Europe’s last wild rivers

A group of women from the small Bosnian village of Kruščica have stood guard on a bridge to the town for 24 hours a day, for more than 300 days. They’re a human blockade, denying access to construction crews set to begin building a major hydropower dam project on the Kruščica river. In the film, the women explain that it’s just them because local police are less likely to arrest them, while male protestors would have been beaten, arrested, and dragged away long ago.





No One Wants Your 9/11 Branded Content

Every year since Sept. 11, 2001, Americans have come together to remember the lives lost in the devastating terror attacks. Also every year, with perverse punctuality, brands have used the tragedy to try to sell their products.

New Jersey restaurant Acai Ya Later, for instance, really hopes you can take some time to honor this solemn anniversary. And why not do that with a nice acai bowl? Yum!


BY Sebastian Murdock




Why we buy the things we buy

A food trend arrived two summers ago in the neighborhood of Toronto where I live that continues to beguile me for its endurance. In an area with several fantastic ice cream options, the longest and most consistent lineups are for a place specializing in charcoal-infused ice cream. It tasted no better than your average soft-serve, it looked like poop and stained your teeth black, and it required a half-hour wait just to get a cone.


BY David Sax







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The Week In Branded Content (September 7th)

The Week In Branded Content (September 7th)

“As president and CEO of a values-driven company that’s known the world over as a pioneer of the American West and one of the great symbols of American freedom, I take the responsibility of speaking up on the important issues of our day very seriously. We can’t take on every issue. But as business leaders with power in the public and political arenas, we simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to the issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities.”

– Chip Burgh / CEO Levis Strauss






Watch: How Eminem’s ‘Fall’ Music Video is A Solid Example of Branded Content

This time, he’s most definitely ‘not afraid.’
Released unannounced and unexpectedly, Eminem’s latest album, Kamikaze, dropped late last Thursday evening to kick-off the long Labor Day weekend. His 10th raucous studio album, the work took a recently “in vogue” approach to mass distribution: release with as little fanfare as possible; who needs a hit single for promotion when the artist’s mere existence is the promotion?

And now, just a few short days later, the first single and accompanying music video for Kamikaze—the angrily catchy rebuttal, Fall—has sprouted upward.

BY Erik Luers



A 5-star boutique hotel in Switzerland with a world-famous infinity pool no longer has to pay for advertising, thanks to Instagram

A five-star hotel in the Swiss countryside has become so Instagram-famous that it doesn’t even need to pay for advertising anymore.

Thanks to the popularity of its infinity pool on Instagram, Villa Honegg hasn’t paid for advertising since 2011, according to Forbes.

“Social media is our advertising,” general manager Sebastian Klink told Forbes. “We haven’t had paid media since our renovation in 2011.”

According to Klink, the hotel first blew up on social media when a Brazilian blogger posted a video on YouTube of the pool at night — and it went viral.


BY Katie Warren




Samsung found a new smart home evangelist in ‘Family Guy’

Samsung gives me smart home fatigue. Enough about Smart Things, enough about how a thousands-of-dollars TV can connect to a new thousand-dollar fridge or washing machine. Enough beautiful families showcasing features in beautiful houses that I can only dream of living in. Samsung’s leaning on augmented reality and some Family Guy branding to show the kind of tasks that can be accomplished with connected home assistance — and make it a little more, well, friendly.


BY Mat Smith



The surprising reason why this yogurt drink is flying off store shelves

A recent boom in sales for a Japanese yogurt drink that’s been around for decades is proving, once again, that being featured in a popular Netflix program can be a boon for business.

After a Yakult-like product, a probiotic dairy drink, made an appearance in the recently released Netflix original romantic comedy, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” it’s been flying off supermarket shelves.


By Erica Chayes Wida




‘You can’t just treat it as a retail platform’: Inside Lego’s Amazon voice strategy

Lego is spending more money on Amazon, using everything from video advertising to voice to augmented reality.

Lego has already launched two Alexa Skills within the last eight months. The second debuted in May as an interactive storytelling service for children aged 2 to 5. While it’s too soon to share feedback, the toymaker is already thinking about how similar services might look as podcasts or audiobooks on Alexa and beyond. Lego’s approach is less about buying search adverts — for now — and more about producing content.


BY Seb Joseph



Here’s 23,000 Ways That Branded Content Is a S**t Show (Guest Column)

My company, Studio71, received a request for proposal not too long ago from a major Hollywood studio looking to hire an influencer to promote one of its upcoming projects. We were one of four shops competing for the work and we felt confident, given that we worked with the perfect talent for the project, that we could win the business.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out … for any of us.

Just days after submitting our proposal, I received a call informing me that every shop had pitched the same talent — our talent — for the project. The exec on the phone said that she had never seen anything like it.






Levi Strauss CEO: Why Business Leaders Need to Take a Stand on Gun Violence

In November 2016, I wrote an open letter requesting that gun owners not bring firearms into our stores, offices, or facilities, even in states where it’s permitted by law. This was following an incident in one of our stores in which a customer accidentally shot and injured himself while trying on a pair of jeans. While that was bad, it could have been worse: The bullet could have killed him, another customer, or one of our employees.

In the days after I published that letter, I received threats to our stores, our business, and even on my life.





Global social media regulation is coming – Alex Jones is just the start

Despite all his rage, is Alex Jones still just a rat in a cage?

In August, Facebook removed four pages run by Jones, a vile conspiracy theorist, and his company, Infowars. YouTube closed his account. So did Pinterest. Apple banned several audio streams. Spotify cut a major podcast. Twitter suspended Jones’ account for one week.


BY Samuel Scott




Is Colin Kaepernick’s Nike deal activism – or just capitalism?

Gil Scott-Heron famously noted that the revolution would not be right back after a message, would not go better with Coke, and certainly would not be televised. It now appears, if Nike’s current advertising campaign is to be believed, that the revolution comes embossed with a Swoosh.

On Monday the famously underemployed NFL player Colin Kaepernick tweeted a black and white image of his face, his eyes staring at us, with the words “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” etched over the top. Below sits Nike’s Swoosh.


BY Ben Carrington







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The Week In Branded Content (July 27th)

The Week In Branded Content (July 27th)

“Everybody just wants to be an influencer now. Nobody wants to get a job. Everybody’s just like, ‘Wait. I could go out and like hold those like hair enhancement gummies’ or ‘I can go out and like hold a product, and I can make money. I just think people need to learn how to actually build things from the ground up. … That will take you farther than the internet.”

– Josh Ostrovsky “The Fat Jew” / Influencer / Citi






Drunk History Highlights Colonel Sanders’ Odd Jobs in KFC Spot

If you wish you could learn about the history of Colonel Sanders’ odd jobs as explained by a drunk person, fear not. Comedy Central and KFC have partnered to give you an explainer that will air during tonight’s season finale of Drunk History.

The branded content, along with outtakes and bloopers, will appear across social media platforms, Drunk History and Comedy Central.

BY Sara Jerde



Coding gets a real-life magic wand with Kano’s Harry Potter kit

Kano has been an undeniable success story. The company, which began life as a Kickstarter project, had shipped north of 200,000 of its Raspberry Pi coding kits by the end of last year. 2017 also saw the company raise a $28 million round and get backing from Sesame Street’s Sesame Ventures.

Today, the company is announcing another key licensing deal that brings one of kids’ lit’s most beloved characters to the hardware ecosystem. And unlike the Sesame Street announcement, this one is launching with a hardware product in tow. The Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit is more than just a branded version of the standard kit, however.


BY Brian Heater




Swedish student’s plane protest stops Afghan man’s deportation ‘to hell’

A lone student activist on board a plane at Gothenburg airport has prevented the deportation of an Afghan asylum seeker from Sweden by refusing to sit down until the man was removed from the flight.

Her successful protest, footage of which spread rapidly across the internet, shines a spotlight on domestic opposition to Sweden’s tough asylum regime, at a time when immigration and asylum are topping the agenda of a general election campaign in which the far right is polling strongly.
BY David Crouch


BY Jay Moye



Marvel Provided Grief Counseling Sessions at Comic-Con for People Still Devastated by ‘Infinity War’ Ending

Marvel fans attending San Diego Comic-Con 2018 didn’t get the chance to see any footage from “Captain Marvel” or the upcoming fourth “Avengers” movie, but they did get a chance to grieve together over the “Infinity War” ending that left Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Star Lord, Black Panther, and more superheroes dead. As reported by io9’s Germain Lussier, Marvel set up a booth near Petco Park in San Diego that offered grief counseling sessions for upset fans.


By Zack Sharf




‘You can’t just treat it as a retail platform’: Inside Lego’s Amazon voice strategy

Lego is spending more money on Amazon, using everything from video advertising to voice to augmented reality.

Lego has already launched two Alexa Skills within the last eight months. The second debuted in May as an interactive storytelling service for children aged 2 to 5. While it’s too soon to share feedback, the toymaker is already thinking about how similar services might look as podcasts or audiobooks on Alexa and beyond. Lego’s approach is less about buying search adverts — for now — and more about producing content.


BY Seb Joseph



How SXSW, Comic-Con Fueled the Rise of Activation Culture

HBO re-created ‘Westworld’ during SXSW and Hulu is bringing ‘Castle Rock’ to Comic-Con as entertainment companies look for new ways “to be the thing everyone is talking about” at overstuffed entertainment festivals.
Fans of Stephen King have been reading about Castle Rock for decades. Now they can visit it.

Hulu has re-created the fictional town just steps away from Comic-Con’s bustling hub at the San Diego Convention Center. There’s the Castle Rock B&B, where the more daring visitors can check in for a chilling experience. Nearby is the forest, which hides a few secrets among its trees.


BY Natalie Jarvey




Fake Interview With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Was Satire, Not Hoax, Conservative Pundit Says

CONSERVATIVE REVIEW TV, a digital network that streams conservative punditry guaranteed to be “100% free of anti-American propaganda,” spent part of Tuesday arguing that a fake interview it created with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — in which the congressional candidate appeared to be stumped by questions she was not, in fact, asked — was a satire, rather than a hoax.

The CRTV network, which has verified accounts on Facebook and Twitter, had initially given viewers no way of knowing that they were not watching an embarrassing interview with the Democratic Socialist running to represent New York’s 14th Congressional District.


BY Robert Mackey



The death of Don Draper

The advertising industry is currently enthralled by a prophet of its imminent demise. Scott Galloway is a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, and founder of a marketing consultancy. In a much-shared YouTube video, he delivers a talk entitled “The Death of the Advertising-Industrial Complex” to an audience of young marketers. In it, he argues that businesses can no longer rely on advertising to compensate for mediocre products.

Until the 1990s, says Galloway, the path to success lay in taking “an average beer, average car, or average suit” and wrapping it in appealing associations – this one makes you feel more elegant, this one makes you feel younger.






Targeted messaging is only one piece of the advertising puzzle

Facebook has started running advertisements recently in conventional, analogue media. Amazon is busily buying and opening physical shops. Perhaps it’s time the advertising industry awoke to a similar counter-revolution.

This is what I suggested in a keynote speech at Unbound London recently. As a 53-year-old Conservative fat man, I always enjoy giving slightly controversial talks, since the maniacally politically correct have turned platform speaking into a high-adrenaline extreme sport, like cave-diving or BASE-jumping: from the moment you clip on your lapel-microphone, you have the thrill of knowing you are only one misjudged pronoun away from career suicide.


BY Rory Sutherland







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