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The Week In Branded Content (Dec 8th)

The Week In Branded Content (Dec 8th)

We feel that we have to pull out all the stops at this point. This is not a time to sit back and let any tool available to us go unused. If this stands, and we certainly are going to be challenging it in whatever way we can, but if it stands we could see similar attacks on national monuments.”

– Hans Cole / Patagonia’s Director Of Environmental Activism






Incredible 360 Degree Video Shows Fake Love launches ‘Burnt Dream’ VR video for Gucci

Experiential agency Fake Love has released its latest project under the New York Times’s T Brand Studio, a virtual reality video for Gucci called Burnt Dream. The branded content, part of a collaboration between Gucci and artist Ignasi Monreal, gives a 360-degree view of Monreal’s London darkened, neon-lit apartment. Depicting imagery and inspirations that influence his collection with the luxury brand, viewers are redirected to a standalone Gucci site, where they can browse gift ideas by category.

BY Bennett Bennett



‘Wolverine: The Long Night’ Is Marvel’s First Scripted Podcast

Having conquered just about every other form of media, Marvel’s getting into the scripted podcasting game. Launching in Spring of next year, ’Wolverine: The Long Night’ marks the comics-turned-multimedia company’s first foray into the space. The series kicks off with a 10-episode season, premiering on Stitcher’s premium service, where it will be an exclusive until it makes its way to other platforms in the fall.


BY Brian Heater




CryptoKitties Becomes Largest Ethereum-Based Decentralized Application





A 7-Year-Old’s Hilarious (and Heartbreaking) Review of ‘Empire Strikes Back’


By Josh K. Elliott




Wendy’s Twitter Account Is Secretly The Best Movie And TV Expert


BY Julia Alexander




It was the $8 bottle of rosé that captured the internet’s fickle heart.

The vino in question was Aldi’s Exquisite Collection Cotes de Provence Rosé 2016, winner of the “ Great Value Rosé under £8” at the 2017 International Wine Challenge, the “Oscars” of wine. It quickly became a viral sensation, selling out almost immediately and becoming the darling of wine publications. Celine Dion tried to order bottles in bulk for her yacht, but supplies had already run dry.


BY Laura Feinstein




Canadian Campaign Combats Driving-While-High With Designer Marijuana Strains


BY Matt Vitone

Patagonia Is Suing the Trump Administration





I Made My Shed the Top Rated Restaurant On TripAdvisor








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The Week In Branded Content (Dec 1st)

“People are running away from ads in droves, how do we stop that? I’m in the business of making shows. We need to find ways to make those interruptions a lot more powerful, a lot more entertaining and a lot more emotional.”

– Robert Greenblatt – Head Of Programming / NBC Network






Incredible 360 Degree Video Shows The United Arab Emirates’s Vision For A Mars Colony

>Stunning VR footage that could be taken straight from the latest video game has revealed the United Arab Emirates’ vision for its planned Martian colony where robots live alongside humans.
An immersive 360° experience of the futuristic city was released by the Gulf state’s government, giving the most detailed view yet of its city.
The release is part of Dubai’s Mars 2117 Strategy, which seeks to build the first settlement on Mars in the next 100 years.

BY Dino-Ray Ramos



Pokemon Go Led To Hundreds Of Traffic Deaths, Study Suggests

We know that technology can have unintended consequences, like the obesity epidemic or robots stealing our jobs. A recent study by researchers from Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management measures one more way technology has wreaked havoc in our lives. We’re used to associating in-car GPS, infotainment systems and general cellular phone usage with distracted driving and increased traffic fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 1988, traffic fatalities numbered 42,130, then steadily declined to 29,867 through 2011. Then the trend reversed, hitting 37,461 traffic deaths for 2016. Professors Mara Faccio and John J. McConnell decided to investigate the distraction factor — using Pokémon as inspiration!






‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Inspires 3 Ice Cream Flavors From Ample Hills

Between pop-up bars and punch tie-ins, fans of the ever-expanding Star Wars franchise have a handful of ways to keep themselves and their taste buds busy in the lead up to the December 15 release of The Last Jedi. Ample Hills Creamery is joining this intergalactic food and drink celebration with three new and limited-time flavors—First Order, Resistance, and The Force—all inspired by the heroes, villains, and messages of the latest installment.





KSwiss Presents CEOs Wear Sneakers

CEOs Wear Sneakers In this new podcast, the K-Swiss team talk to the young entrepreneurs who inspire us, and who we can learn from as we find out what they do and how they did it. At K-Swiss we believe these entrepreneurs are the new heroes of culture, as more and more people aspire to build their own business and create their own futures. This has inspired our new brand mission; To inspire and outfit the next generation of entrepreneurs. The CEOs Wear Sneakers podcast is produced and broadcast from K-Swiss global Headquarters in the heart of Downtown LA, and is hosted by K-Swiss President Barney Waters and Global Marketing Director Patrick Buchanan.


By Josh K. Elliott




Art From Guantanamo

Detainees at the United States military prison camp known as Guantánamo Bay have made art from the time they arrived. The exhibit will display some of these evocative works, made by men held without trial, some for nearly 15 years, who paint the sea again and again although they cannot reach it.


BY Center for Constitutional Rights



A Clever Tesla Owner Is Using His Model S To Mine Cryptocurrency For Free

Building a cryptocurrency miner that doubles as a heater is cool, but one inventor has taken the concept of mining to a whole new level. A creative Tesla owner managed to fit a legitimate mining rig inside the trunk of his shiny Model S.

But here is the best part: all the electricity needed to keep the mining rig running is coming from Tesla’s free Superchargers – or so the inventor says. The quirky setup went viral after the inventor took to Facebook group Tesla Owners Worldwide to share images of the Model S-fitted miner.


BY HardFork




How Snapchat Is Separating Social From Media

The personalized newsfeed revolutionized the way people share and consume content. But let’s be honest: this came at a huge cost to facts, our minds and the entire media industry.

This is a challenging problem to solve because the obvious benefits that have driven the growth of social media – more friends! more likes! more free content! – are also the things that will undermine it in the long run.


BY Evan Spiegel



For The Next Six Hours You Can Guide A Robot Through A Web Of Miniature Reddit-Themed Escape Rooms

Something weird is about to happen on Reddit. Starting at 10 a.m. PT on Tuesday, an AI-powered robot the size of a computer mouse will star in a live event that’s part reality show, part interactive puzzle and all an homage to the internet’s premier repository of dank memes. The, uh, thing (event? live stream? brand activation?) is known as “Cozmo Lost in Reddit” and it’s a collaboration between consumer robotics company Anki and legendary ad agency Wieden+Kennedy to promote Anki’s popular tiny, mighty consumer robot.


BY Taylor Hatmaker




NBCU Gathering of Ad, Media Elite Raises Questions About Industry’s Future

“We have a problem. I know it; you know it; we all know it.”

That’s how NBCUniversal’s ad sales chief, Linda Yaccarino, opened an event Tuesday morning that she organized for some of the biggest names in the advertising and media businesses to try to tackle the many issues plaguing the industry.

The “State of the Industry Forum” touched on everything from how to better reach consumers to overcoming measurement hurdles across platforms from television to digital.

“We’re committed to making television smarter,” said Ms. Yaccarino. “That means improving the consumer experience, making marketing more effective and most importantly it means weaning ourselves off a single currency metric and become more committed and focused on addressing real business objectives.”


BY Alexandra Bruell



25 Predictions For What Marketing Will Look Like In 2020

Just as technology and consumer behavior will evolve in unpredictable ways between now and 2020, the ways marketers react to–or perhaps influence?–these new developments will also change in ways we can’t fully imagine now. But if anyone can offer a credible forecast for the near-future trends that will change the way brands connect with people, and the way creative companies will work in the next few years, it’s the people who are most influencing the ad and marketing world right now.








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This Week In Branded Content (November 24)

“We spent six years making the movie, but we spent four years of that, if not more, reiterating and refining the story. We started off in a very different place, at the very beginning of our journey. The very first story that we tried to put up was a story that we realized we were telling from an outside perspective. We were telling a story that was about grief, in some ways, and letting go, and we realized that that, thematically, was completely antithetical to what Día de los Muertos is all about. It’s about the obligation that we have to never let go, to always remember, to remember joyfully, and to pass along the stories of those we loved. That was a big change that we made, early on, where we scraped down to the studs and started over again.”

– Lee Unkrich / Director of Pixar’s Coco






Packers’ Brett Hundley Spends His off Day Testing His Bow and Arrow Skills

Bretty Hundley’s time is precious. We spent time with Packers’ QB on his off day. Hundley took us bow hunting around Wisconsin. Check out the QB testing his accuracy off the field.

BY Bleacher Report / Yeti Coolers



Ikea, With Help From YouTube Stars Offers 100 Holiday Tips

Ikea‘s latest piece of branded content gives YouTube stars a chance to share their holiday habits. The Swedish retailer has teamed up with digital media company Fullscreen and media agency Wavemaker for a live stream that offers 100 tips to viewers who plan on hosting guests during the festive season. The stream, which aired on Ikea’s Facebook page, went live at 7 PM EST on November 16. During its 100-minute runtime, guests from the YouTube community joined the furniture outlet’s hosts to dish out 100 relevant tips for the holiday season. The list of YouTube stars who shared their own Yuletide secrets includes The Ballinger Family, Skyy John of Tipsy Bartender (pictured above), Sam Tsui, and Ann Le.


BY Sam Gutelle




This ‘Anti-Victoria’s Secret’ Runway Show Highlights A Huge Problem That Gets Overlooked In The Fashion World

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is an annual celebration of gorgeous lingerie and an iconic brand — but not all women relate to the televised event. After noticing a lack of diversity in the runway lineup, sisters Alyse and Lexi Scaffidi took matters into their own hands. They held a body-inclusive “Anti-Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” to show that there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all image of beauty.”


BY Iryna Shostak



Internet Of Elephants Uses AR To Get Up Close To Endangered Species, Turns Their Migrations Into A Game

Wildlife conservation groups have made a lot of strides in raising awareness of animals whose populations or natural habitats are endangered, and what we can do to help. Now a startup out of Kenya is tapping into advances made in augmented reality, mapping and app-based games to further the cause.


By Ingrid Lunden




The McLaren Formula 1 Team Just Hired The World’s Fastest Gamer

After an exhausting week of fitness tests, engineering debriefs—plus plenty of racing games—the McLaren F1 team has crowned Rudy Van Buren from Leystad, Netherlands as the World’s Fastest Gamer. More than just a fancy title and bragging rights, that has earned him a year’s contract with the team as its new simulator driver. It’s the culmination of a search that kicked off in May of this year, as the F1 team conferred the most legitimacy yet on this corner of the eSports world.


BY Johnathan M. Gitlin



The Year in Protest Music 2017

After an exhausting week of fitness tests, engineering debriefs—plus plenty of racing games—the McLaren F1 team has crowned Rudy Van Buren from Leystad, Netherlands as the World’s Fastest Gamer. More than just a fancy title and bragging rights, that has earned him a year’s contract with the team as its new simulator driver. It’s the culmination of a search that kicked off in May of this year, as the F1 team conferred the most legitimacy yet on this corner of the eSports world.


BY Stacey Anderson




How Much Does It Cost To Stage Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

Ever wonder how much it costs Macy’s to pull off its Thanksgiving Day parade? Close to 3.5 million people gathered in New York City last year to watch the parade’s giant balloons and floats, while 50 million others across the country tuned in to view it on TV. Macy’s estimates the turnout will be similar this year. According to a study overseen by online shopping site, the parade’s cost in 2016 was about $10.4 million to $12.3 million.


BY Veronika Bondarenko



3 Less Is More: The Value of Micro-Influencers for Brands

I’ve said it before and it’s held true: 2017 is the year of the influencer. Brands have increased influencer marketing strategies for the past few years. But a recent boom has brought with it data, and the numbers don’t lie. In the third annual Launchmetrics State of Influencer Marketing Report, 88 percent of industry professionals stated that influencer marketing tactics effectively raised brand and product awareness. Many brands are left wondering how much of their budget should be dedicated to influencers and if they can bank on those with fewer followers. In my experience, the battle between macro and micro all comes down to strategy.


BY Kelly Ehlers




Why Is New York Full of Empty Stores?

In his classic 1949 essay “Here Is New York,” E. B. White described the city as “a composite of tens of thousands of tiny neighborhood units,” each “virtually self-sufficient” with shops that met most residents’ basic needs, from groceries to shoes, from newspapers to haircuts. Every neighborhood was so complete, White wrote, “that many a New Yorker spends a lifetime within the confines of an area smaller than a country village.”


BY Andrew Burton



Why Big Brands Need Sponsored Video Not Christmas TV Ads

In Great Britain, major brands in the retail space have created the relatively recent tradition of launching an official Christmas ad or advert in early November. Why? Well, the Brits don’t celebrate Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving, like the Yanks do. So, they can get a head start on driving shoppers into stores weeks before their American cousins try pushing consumers to shop ‘til they drop on Black Friday or Small Business Saturday. But, this may be the last year that we see an official Christmas ad or advert from John Lewis, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, and a host of other retailers in the UK.


BY Greg Jarboe






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This Week In Branded Content (November 16)

“The system is failing. The way ad revenue works with clickbait is not fulfilling the goal of helping humanity promote truth and democracy. So I am concerned. We have these dark ads that target and manipulate me and then vanish because I can’t bookmark them. This is not democracy – this is putting who gets selected into the hands of the most manipulative companies out there.”

– Tim Berners-Lee






Ryan Reynolds “Is Taking Performance Art to Another Level” With ‘Deadpool 2’

Comic book creator Rob Liefeld and actor Stefan Kapicic take a look at the new teaser. Perhaps no one is more excited for the Wednesday’s first footage of Deadpool 2 than the person who started it all. Comic book creator Rob Liefeld tells Heat Vision he’s already watched it “millions of times.” Ryan Reynolds plays Deadpool impersonating late painter Bob Ross, wearing a wig to mimic his trademark afro. It’s a fascinating balancing act, with the actor playing comics’ dirtiest and most hyper hero playing perhaps the public television’s most calm artist of all time.

BY Aaron Couch



Popular Shorts May Lead To ‘Overwatch’ Animated Feature

Blizzard Entertainment is open to the idea of a feature-length project inspired by its hit sci-fi MOFPS Overwatch, thanks to enthusiastic fan response to its online animated shorts. Tim Kilpin, who heads Blizzard’s Consumer Product Group, told MCV in a recent interview that: “We would like that very much.” (Um, so would we!) The company is currently setting up a movie based on its M-rated Call of Duty franchise through Activision Blizzard Studios. Officially launched in 2016, Overwatch is a futuristic combat game which pits two teams of six players each against each other, offering players a selection of colorful and distinct hero character avatars.


BY Mercedes Milligan




Sean Hannity Decides Enough Keurigs Have Been Destroyed In His Honor

Keurig, the economy-class airfare ticket of coffee makers, found itself at the center of a conservative protest over the weekend after it pulled its ads from Sean Hannity’s Fox News show. The company’s decision came after Hannity interviewed Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate from Alabama, on his radio show, allowing him to defend himself against accusations that he pursued romantic relationships with teenage girls when he was in his thirties. After dealing Moore a series of softball questions, Hannity cast doubts on the accounts of the then-four alleged victims, arguing that viewers should give Moore the benefit of the doubt.


BY Maya Kosoff



EA Answer To ‘Star Wars’ Hate Becomes Reddit’s Most-Downvoted In History

Reddit’s video game community has the lightsabers out for the developer of “Star Wars: Battlefront II,” as a response to complaints about the game set a new record for the most-disliked post on the site. Electronic Arts has been feeling dark side-level rage from “Star Wars” fans all week, ever since it was discovered that the company was withholding popular characters Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader behind a paywall in their new “Battlefront” game. The characters could only be unlocked by paying money, or logging 40 hours of playtime. “Seriously? I paid $80 to have Vader locked?” one user wrote on Reddit Sunday.


By Josh K. Elliott




Watch Mohegan Sun’s New Branded Entertainment Series Back Of House

Go behind the scenes with a group of fun employees at one of the largest casino resort destinations in the world. See the organized chaos that is transformed into fun for every guest.


BY Mohegan Sun



Alibaba’s ‘Singles Day’ Requires An Event Bigger Than The Super Bowl

Alibaba Group’s Singles’ Day” is a bonanza of billions of dollars. But to get the money flowing, the company knows it needs to put on a show. Actress Nicole Kidman and musician Pharrell were among the participants in a four-hour live spectacular that enlisted the talents of 789 different performers and a crew of 2,900 and is streamed to millions of Chinese consumers eager to use the e-commerce giant’s sites to scoop up everything from appliances to shellfish. Analysts have estimated that last year’s event resulted in the sale of $17.7 billion worth of goods and products.


BY Brian Steinberg




Facebook Live Is The New QVC

It’s not Tracie Reeves’s thick Tennessee twang that hooks viewers into the two-hour-long shows she broadcasts via Facebook Live, six times a week. “I don’t know how they listen to my voice,” Reeves confides. “I’ve tried to watch the videos back. Can’t do it. I’m absolutely one of the most annoying people that I’ve ever heard.” Beejoli Shah is a freelance journalist and a contributing editor for Pacific Standard. ——— Sign up to get Backchannel’s weekly newsletter, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Yet 25,000 Facebook fans tune in to watch Reeves—a bubbly, relatable young mother of four, with a habit of dropping F-bombs—do what she does surprisingly well: sell oysters over the internet.


BY Beejoli Shah



For The Next Six Hours You Can Guide A Robot Through A Web Of Miniature Reddit-Themed Escape Rooms

Something weird is about to happen on Reddit. Starting at 10 a.m. PT on Tuesday, an AI-powered robot the size of a computer mouse will star in a live event that’s part reality show, part interactive puzzle and all an homage to the internet’s premier repository of dank memes. The, uh, thing (event? live stream? brand activation?) is known as “Cozmo Lost in Reddit” and it’s a collaboration between consumer robotics company Anki and legendary ad agency Wieden+Kennedy to promote Anki’s popular tiny, mighty consumer robot.


BY Taylor Hatmaker






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This Week In Branded Content (November 9)

“Twitter’s destroyed its USP. The whole point, for me, was how inventive people could be within that concise framework. #Twitter280characters”

– J.K. Rowling






Adidas Launches Smart Shopping App Which Tailors Suggestions Based On Consumers’ Personal Style

Adidas has launched its own AI shopping app, which has been specially designed to offer a personalised experience for every customer based on their style and behaviour. The move marks the first time the German sports giant has made forays into selling products in-app. As well as offering easy access to the brand’s online store, the app serves up customised product recommendations and inspiration via a tailored feed of articles, blog posts and videos. It also gives users real-time updates about the sports, athletes and products they care about.

BY Rebecca Stewart



Nicki Minaj, Jesse Williams Star In H&M’s New Holiday Film

Nicki Minaj is getting ready for the holidays with H&M. The rapper stars in the Swedish fast-fashion retailer’s new holiday film, which focuses on a little girl tracking down the evil brother of Santa Claus in order to save the holidays, according to H&M. Minaj, who teased her campaign with H&M last month, doubles as both the mom of the girl and a fairy named Wisest Thingy. Minaj is joined by Grey’s Anatomy’s Jesse Williams as the father and the supernatural Fastest Fairy; The Big Lebowski’s John Turturro stars as both Santa Claus and his evil brother.


BY Stephanie Chan




Amazon Taps Into UK Soccer Market With Manchester City Series

Amazon will produce a behind-the-scenes multi-part exclusive series following the four-time top flight championship winning soccer team, Manchester City, through the current 2017/18 season. It’s set to launch exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in 2018. The series will follow the team’s legendary coach, Pep Guardiola and the weekly stories that unfold within the lives of the players. It chronicles Manchester City’s 2017/18 season from the world-leading training facilities at the City Football Academy, to interviews with the manager and executive meetings.


BY Denise Petski



Can Brands Be The Moral Guardians Of The Internet?

It’s always made me chuckle that the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity takes place every summer on the French Riviera after the Palme d’Or and the, perhaps less-well-known, Hot d’Or, which offers gongs for such creative achievements as Best Double Penetration. This, you might think, puts advertising at the bottom of a sliding scale of morality. It’s not without reason that commentators since the beginnings of capitalism have asked questions of us image-makers who seek to manipulate purchase decisions by gaming the wiring of the hunter-gatherer brain.


By Chris Clarke




Why Marketing Through Mixed Reality Works

Mixed reality experiences began playing an important role in marketing a few years ago. Jason Yim, the CEO of Trigger, “The Mixed Reality Agency™,” explained what makes it so effective. “On the marketing side, there are two big things that mixed reality can do that others can’t,” says Yim. “One is product visualization and the second is the sharing of user-generated social content.” With respect to content, that which is generated by “friends and family,” tends to capture more attention than content that is “obviously pushed by a brand,” he says. With AR, users can easily shoot a video or snap a “selfie with a character” from a movie, and then instantly share it—something Snapchat has monopolized on quite well.


BY Ariella Brown



‘King Kong’ Musical To Bow On Broadway In Fall 2018

Jack Thorne, the Olivier-winning playwright of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,’ is penning the book of the long-gestating stage show. Broadway is readying for a monster of a musical. The long-gestating stage adaptation of King Kong will roar in the Broadway Theatre in fall 2018, producers Global Creatures and Roy Furman have announced. It will officially open on Nov. 8, 2018, after previewing from Oct. 5. The titular ape is manifested through a combination of animatronics and puppetry developed by creature designer Sonny Tilders, as similarly executed in producing company Global Creatures’ Walking With Dinosaurs and How to Train Your Dragon arena shows.


BY Ashley Lee




Brands are using influencers on to reach teens, a lip-syncing app that has more than 200 million mostly teen users, is focused on user growth, but brands like Beiersdorf, Disney and Kit Kat are using influencers to crack the audience there. The lip-syncing feature makes an easy fit for movie studios and record labels, said agency executives. Some advertisers do their own influencer outreach on and pay those individuals per post, while’s investor Cheetah Mobile started pitching agencies and brands with influencer ad packages. “ is not enthusiastic about advertising right now, but as an investor, we started testing monetization there over the past 10 months,” said Arthur Wu, head of global branding sales for Cheetah Mobile.


BY Yuyu Chen



Cambridge Analytica CEO Talks To TechCrunch About Trump, Hillary And The Future

A few weeks ago I met with, and interviewed, Alexander Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica. His company has been credited with helping Donald Trump win the U.S. presidency. It’s also been associated with many other controversial political campaigns globally and accused by some of aiding the U.K.’s exit from the EU. He addresses all of these subjects in detail.


BY Mike Butcher




Lin-Manuel Miranda To Return To ‘Hamilton’ Role In Puerto Rico

Two hundred and forty-five years ago, a young Alexander Hamilton made his way from the Caribbean to New York to start a new life. Now “Hamilton,” the hit musical about that life, is making its way to the Caribbean. The production announced Wednesday that Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and original star of the musical, would return to the title role for a three-week run in Puerto Rico in January 2019. Mr. Miranda, whose parents moved to New York from Puerto Rico, is now visiting the island to support hurricane relief efforts.


BY Michael Paulson



Twenty-Seven Ways Marketers Can Use Blockchain

Before anyone has had a chance to figure out their artificial intelligence strategy or augmented reality plan this year, along comes the blockchain to suck all the buzzword-filled air out of the room. But blockchain may have a bigger impact than anything marketers have encountered since the advent of the internet. Defining “blockchain” in 2017 is akin to defining the internet in the early 1990s. Most people still can’t clearly describe what the internet is, but they know it is the backbone of the Web, email, streaming video, and mobile apps. Blockchain technically describes blocks of data strung together as a distributed ledger running over a peer-to-peer network that authenticates and protects the data..


BY David Berkowitz






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This Week In Branded Content (October 27)

“I don’t think anyone imagined, six years ago, that a show with dragons in it would be the biggest show in the world. When I was reading the Game of Thronesbooks in college, I couldn’t get anyone else to read them cos they looked so nerdy. It had a puffy sword on the cover, you know what I mean?”

– Duffer Bros / Stranger Things






‘Stranger Things’ And Lyft To Terrify With Paranormal Rides & Eggos For Halloween

The popular rideshare service Lyft is getting in the spirit of the release of the second season of Stranger Things (premiering October 27) and Halloween with a different — and terrifying — kind of car ride. Lyft has teamed with Netflix’s Emmy-winning horror/sci-fi series for a special Halloween experience where passengers can be part of a “Paranormal Ride” into the Upside Down.

BY Dino-Ray Ramos



‘Rick and Morty’ Character Dies In Old Spice Promo

Rick and Morty is known in part for creating a whole league of zany side characters that the titular pair meet on their intergalactic/interdimensional adventures, and from the way that fans embrace them, those side characters sometimes become as prominent as the members of the Smith family are (see: Mr. Poopy Butthole). Well Rick and Morty fans may be feeling the sting of loss and tragedy right now, as one side character from the series’ early days has just met his end in recent Old Spice promo set in the Rick and Morty universe!


BY Kofi Outlaw




Baz Luhrmann Directs A Characteristically Lavish New Ad For H&M-Erdem Collection

Academy Award-nominated director Baz Lurhmann created an opulent ad for H&M’s new collection with London-based fashion label Erdem, out Nov. 2. Dubbed The Secret Life of Flowers, the short film is set in a grand old country mansion home to folks enjoying an eternal spring. Throw in a love triangle and you’ve got The Great Gatsby in a high-end florist, set to a new track called “Hypnotised” by British trio Years & Years. “It’s a very modern love story, set in a country house that is full of its own secrets and it’s like a metaphor for our times — it’s harsh out there in the world, but in here, the things that really matter keep growing in an eternal spring,” said Luhrmann in a press statement.


BY Shannon Connellan



Live Auctions Created For Fans At Sporting Events

Watching live sporting games is definitely an exhilarating experience. But what if, to add to the excitement on the field, the stadium’s scoreboard showed you a live 60-second auction where you could bid for items? Dropit is New Zealand-based interactive app where users can simply bid for an item at ridiculously low prices at live games..


By Azalea Pena




Austin Powers Masks A Hot Halloween Item, Thanks To ‘Baby Driver’

One of the funniest moments in Baby Driver seems to have become a popular Halloween costume. In the Edgar Wright summer blockbuster, a mix-up among a trio of robbers results in Austin Powers masks being used for a heist rather than masks of the Halloween antagonist Michael Myers (the joke being that the fictitious killer and actor have the same name). Apparently, the idea of going to parties as one of confused robbers is a hot ticket item as the Austin Powers masks have sold out on costume sites and are not available on Amazon or eBay.


BY Ryan Parker



I’m A Guy Who Makes Branded Content. We Can Make It Better.

There’s a problem with branded content. If that notion sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because I was inspired by something Ezra Klein — the co-founder and current editor-at-large of Vox Media’s news brand Vox— said about journalism when he launched He lamented that too often journalists ignored the “vegetables” of the story. Those, he explained, are the crucial basics, beyond the day’s fleeting headlines, that give audiences an actual understanding of the world. According to Ezra, that failure to provide veggies — and not just make them passable, but palatable — is ultimately a failure of the creator. And what’s astounding to me as both fan and Ezra wannabe is how precisely Vox achieved the vision he laid out then.


BY Graham.Nelson




The Advertising Industry Has Been Living A Lie

Did you catch that bombshell story posted by BuzzFeed the other day about the super sophisticated online advertising fraud operation? I noticed right away that it was remarkably similar to a piece I’d written for Adweek in 2013. It’s not that BuzzFeed plagiarized anything. In fact, their reporting was terrific. It’s just that the scam allegedly pulled off in this case – creating a bunch of fake websites, selling lots of ads on them via programmatic channels, and then using bots to simulate human visitors – was almost identical to the one I described in my 2013 story.


BY Frank Maguire



3 Unlikely Reasons Why Native Video Advertising Is Taking Off

Video has attracted the interest of advertisers, which means that it has become a point of emphasis for publishers as well. This has brought on increased competition for traditional pre-roll inventory, forcing both advertisers and publishers alike to explore new units that can deliver video experiences. One area that has grown immensely in popularity is native video, with publishers like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Hearst, Forbes, The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed all exploring native models. Native’s growth isn’t simply due to the fact that it’s available and fulfilling the market demand for more inventory.


BY Frank Maguire




LinkedIn CEO Says They’re ‘Open To The Idea’ Of Original Video Content

Netflix. Hulu. Amazon Video. LinkedIn? The Microsoft-owned business social network, best known for displaying the career histories of tens of millions of people, may create or buy its own original video content shows, according to a report in The Information. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner made the remarks Friday at The Information’s Subscriber Summit in San Francisco, noting that shows such as reality TV hit “Shark Tank” is the style of programming that could resonate with LinkedIn users. And while Weiner admitted to being “late” to video, the move could boost engagement on the social network, and possibly allow the company to grow its subscription revenue.


BY John Cook



Murder On The Orient Express: Has The All-Star Gravy Train Run Out Of Steam?

The names flash past in the trailer for the new Murder on the Orient Express like carriages on a bullet train: Kenneth Branagh (who also directs), Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Dench, Depp, Gad, Jacobi, Pfeiffer, Ridley. The whole approach screams: “Never mind the story; look at those names!” The all-star movie dates back to the 1930s and Grand Hotel, but it approached saturation levels in the 1970s, mainly via mediocre disaster movies and war films cobbling together a melange of A-listers and celebrities. Peak all-star was probably 1974, when the year’s top earners included The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, Airport 1975 and … Murder on the Orient Express.


BY Steve Rose






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This Week In Branded Content (October 19)

“Red Bull is not in the world of music to make money off music, we are entering this with no need to make everything work financially – we can focus on presenting things that are interesting and use that freedom.”

– Many Ameri (Red Bull Music Academy)






Upstairs Amy: Walmart Canada Explores Branded Entertainment

Walmart Canada is getting into the branded content business. Next month, along with debit system Interac, it’s launching Upstairs Amy, a scripted web series about millennial parents that also features brands a wry Canadian sense of humour (with a U). A press release describes Upstairs Amy—which will run on the Walmart Canada and Interac YouTube channels—as “a modern comedy about millennial parents and the gap between who they are and who they want to be.”


BY Abe Sauer



Sonos’s Secret Weapon In The Smart Speaker Wars: Becoming A Platform

Barely two hours after the stage lights dimmed at Sonos’s product launch event in New York last week, the speaker company’s products had yet another new competitor. The Google Home Max, a high-quality speaker and just one of several smart gadgets announced later that day, may be Google’s voice-powered answer to Apple’s HomePod and Amazon’s new higher-quality Echo, but it also takes aim the wireless home audio turf long dominated by Sonos. It’s not the first time the 15-year-old wireless home audio company has felt tech giants inch closer to its territory.


BY John Paul Titlow




No Alternative: How Brands Bought Out Underground Music

Is it possible, in 2017, to sell out? Not so long ago, cosying up to big business was considered the gravest sin an underground artist could commit – but these days new and leftfield musicians seem to spend their days hoovering up cash provided by brands while fans barely bat an eyelid. It’s not simply a case of moral bankruptcy, but rather literal bankruptcy: new and independent artists have had their potential income slashed by streaming and have been forced to mine money from an alternative source. But what’s in it for the brands – why have massive companies like Budweiser, Versace and Adidas invaded the alternative music scene?.


BY Rachel Aroesti



The CoD: WWII Live Action Trailer Is Out

In approximately three weeks, Call of Duty is taking the franchise back to WWII, with some good old-fashioned boots-on-the-ground gameplay. It’s no Destiny 2 live action trailer, but it has its own charm. Instead of dressing actors up in WWII garb and trying to depict actual gameplay, the CoD: WWII live action trailer shows would-be players running around town to find the other members of their squad.


By Jordan Crook




The War To Sell You A Mattress Is An Internet Nightmare

One day in the spring of 2016 I mentioned to a friend that I needed a new mattress. Mine was a sunken hand-me-down that had become about as comfortable as concrete. “I know a guy who can give you a free mattress,” my friend said. This sounded too good to be believed, but my friend protested it was true: “This guy Kenny, he reviews mattresses online, and companies just send them to him. He can’t get rid of them fast enough.” Not long after came the email introduction: “David, meet Kenny.”


BY David Zax



Russia Wants Bulgarians to Stop Painting Soviet Monuments To Look Like American Superheroes

Russia is demanding that Bulgaria try harder to prevent vandalism of Soviet monuments, after yet another monument to Soviet troops in Sofia was spray-painted, ITAR-Tass reported. The Russian Embassy in Bulgaria has issued a note demanding that its former Soviet-era ally clean up the monument in Sofia’s Lozenets district, identify and punish those responsible, and take “exhaustive measures” to prevent similar attacks in the future, the news agency reported Monday.


BY Jen Markham




These 6 Short Films, All Shot on LG’s V30 Phone, Premiered at the New York Film Festival

In Hollywood, when something’s a hit, there’s usually a sequel. Cue LG, which has been following a similar script to showcase the cinematic video features of its new V30 smartphones. Fade in: A few weeks back, LG tapped Game of Thrones cinematographer David Franco to shoot a short movie using only the V30. The resulting clip, “A Day in the Life,” showed off the device’s filmmaking functionality through a montage of people, places and things, elevating the ordinary into a vibrant visual palette.


BY David Gianatasio



‘Walking Dead’ Claws Deeper Into VR in AMC’s New Virtual-Reality App

Now you can experience the full terror of turning into a zombie from “The Walking Dead” in AMC’s new virtual-reality app — if you’re into that sort of thing. The free AMC VR app, published Wednesday, is stocked with 360-degree immersive content created for “The Walking Dead” and martial-arts series “Into the Badlands,” with more coming for the cabler’s other original series. It also includes AMC trailers and behind-the-scenes video in the the app’s “screening room.” For now, the AMC VR app — like lots of projects in the VR space — is strictly promotional, designed to stoke fan excitement for the network’s shows.


BY Todd Spangler




Facebook Renews Several Original Shows as Programming Strategy Takes Shape

The social networking giant has handed out second-season orders to several originals, including ‘Ball in the Family’ and Nicole Byer’s ‘Loosely Exactly Nicole.’ Which shows are working on Facebook’s one-month-old Watch video platform? A batch of early renewals is helping bring the social network’s original programming strategy into focus. The tech giant is handing out second seasons to Mike Rowe’s unscripted series Returning the Favor, Bunim/Murray-produced reality series Ball in the Family and scripted comedy Strangers.


BY Natalie Jarvey



Harvey Weinstein’s Fall Opens The Floodgates In Hollywood

Harvey Weinstein is certainly not the first powerful man publicly and credibly accused of sexually harassing or abusing women in recent years. Since 2015, the Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, the Fox News prime-time host Bill O’Reilly and the comedian and actor Bill Cosby have suffered professional, financial or reputational setbacks after numerous women told stories of their sexual misconduct. Those stories dominated news cycles, to be sure, but the outcry accompanying Mr. Weinstein’s downfall seems louder and more impassioned — perhaps because Mr. Weinstein’s accusers include stars like Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow.


BY Jim Rutenberg, Rachel Abrams and Melena Ryzik






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