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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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