This Week In Branded Content (September 1)

“There’s always a huge struggle. It’s been going on for decades and decades between brands and retailers. I mean, to some extent retailers are trying to increase their own brands, that’s why they have private labels. When you get particularly strong retailers – A Walmart, a Costco, and now an Amazon – and they keep getting strong, their position improves. Packaged goods have had more trouble building follows through advertising in recent years.”

– Warren Buffet – OG






Watch The 2017 Burning Man Live Stream

Traditionally, Burning Man is meant to be left off the internet and to be experienced solely in person, but let’s face it – the modern day version of the event is fully visible on social media and elsewhere online. Now, you can watch it through an official live stream. The stream pans around the widespread, dusty grounds of Burning Man at Black Rock City in Nevada. It’s easy to spot attendees biking around and congregating under and around massive art pieces on the site.


BY Valerie Lee



Netflix Offers Special Marijuana Strains For Its Top Shows To Debut ‘Disjointed’ Series

Netflix took its promotional might to the next level this weekend by offering a special set of cannabis strains with names inspired by some of its most popular shows. And yes, the strains are actually available (if you’re in California, where the special strains are being offered at a local marijuana dispensary).


BY Adario Strange




Airbnb Waives Houston Fees After Hurricane Harvey But ‘Floating World’ Marketing Email Touches A Nerve

Airbnb is up a creek without a paddle after an email marketing campaign promoting a “Floating World” accomodation came across as insensitive in light of Hurricane Harvey’s onslaught of Texas. As much of Houston and the surrounding area remains submerged by unprecedented rainfall, the natural disaster has resulted in nine confirmed deaths at the time of publication.


BY John McCarthy



Roger Federer Surprises Public By Holding Practice At Central Park

Star-watching isn’t anything new in the Big Apple, but some sports fans might have done a double take Wednesday in Central Park. Roger Federer, one of the biggest sports stars on the planet, decided to drop in on one of the park’s public tennis courts for a little practice ahead of his second-round US Open match against Mikhail Youzhny on Thursday.






The best Restaurant In America Paints A Dessert On Your Table — Here’s What It’s Like

Alinea is a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Chicago that serves up unique dishes to diners. For dessert, they offer items like edible helium balloons and an edible work of art that the chefs paint on your table. Here’s a look at what you can expect from the “Paint” dessert at the best restaurant in America.


BY Chris Synder



The VMAs Are No Longer Required Viewing

The superstar A-list has finally, definitively abandoned the MTV Video Music Awards. Good for them. Bad for you. As you hopefully don’t recall, the VMAs stunk last year, but at least you got Beyoncé and Rihanna performing at great length, Kanye West pontificating at even greater length, Britney Spears adding to the most hallowed and harrowing tradition in pop music, and Drake humiliating himself for the grand finale. This year, all those people—most of them with little to promote, but none apt to shun a bright and steady spotlight—stayed far, far away. Here, for example, is how Frank Ocean spent his evening:


BY Rob Harvilla




Volvo’s Remarkable New Films About Human Achievement Don’t Look Much Like Ads at All

Volvo journeys to the bottom of the sea and explores the remarkably resilient recesses of the human mind in these evocative, intense and ultimately uplifting brand films from London agency Valenstein & Fatt. Keeping the cars themselves mostly in the background, directors Edward Lovelace and James Hall (aka, D.A.R.Y.L.) tie the automaker’s quest for innovation to personal achievement and the qualities of the human spirit that can help us beat daunting odds and overcome adversity.


BY David Gianatasio



Volvo’s Remarkable New Films About Human Achievement Don’t Look Much Like Ads at All

Taylor Swift made sparks fly last week when she announced a new approach to selling concert tickets. Instead of “first come, first served” — which invites predation by bots — Swift’s upcoming tour will sell tickets first to the people who engage the most with Swift’s website. Swift is using Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan program. Users register and then undertake “boost activities” like buying Swift’s new album, sharing links on social media and watching videos.


BY Scott Duke Kominers




Apple Should Give Away Their New TV Programming For Free. Here’s Why.

When Apple announced that they would be launching ten original series this year, the biggest question was where? Given their multiple options, what would the distribution platform be? They could do the obvious and launch them on Apple Music, but unless they’re also looking at a major interface overhaul, a couple of TV series isn’t going to save that struggling site, which lags behind Spotify 47% to 19% with the millennial audience. They could launch it on iTunes, but those one-off transactions don’t give them any recurring revenue. Or they could launch a brand new TV app, but does anyone want yet another subscription app, especially one with only 10 series?


BY Alan Wolk



The End of Net Neutrality: Should Marketers Be Worried?

With companies like Google and Netflix shouting the loudest about the threat of ending net neutrality, it’s easy to assume that the issue at hand is one that primarily affects large companies. While those companies would surely be affected by the regulations, it’s a grave misunderstanding to assume that Internet neutrality is a big-business problem. In truth, it’s an issue that affects all Internet users in the United States. And for all of the threat faced by multinational corporations, it’s actually small- and mid-sized organizations that could find themselves suffering the worst.


BY Jonathan Crowl






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