November, 2016

You Can Now Watch Netflix Offline, Just in Time for Holiday Travel

Here's some news from Netflix to make your travel and holiday plans a little easier.

As announced earlier this morning, Netflix is bringing offline downloads to your phone or tablet. Available on iOS or Android devices, users can select shows or movies to download now and watch at their convenience, even if they're offline.

At first glance, hour-long episodes of shows appear to take up about 200-250mb of space on your mobile device, so plan accordingly.



 Business Insider pointed out that most of the available programs seem to be Netflix original series, though the newly released Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life is not included. Other Netflix original series, such as Stranger Things, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and the newly added program about Queen Elizabeth II, The Crown, are ready to download.

Though not every series is available, much like shows on Amazon Prime's video platform, production studios may decide to alter their agreements with Netflix to become available for this new service.

There's a page within the updated Netflix app that will list what shows are available, but you'll also notice the download button as you browse to applicable content.

Get ready for your upcoming road trips, or cross-country flights, as this will definitely help bored or young travelers pass the time.

Source: Advertising

Ad of the Day: A Volvo Truck Tows a Paraglider in Brand's Latest Daring 'Live Test' Stunt

Volvo Trucks is spewing a bunch of technical information about its new transmission, including its "unique powertrain," D13 engine, I-Shift Dual Clutch and low-fuel consumption. But mainly what you'll remember about its latest video is a dude paragliding behind a massive rig while it speeds up to a narrow passageway under a low-lying bridge.

Is the guy about to be decapitated?

Of course the brand wouldn't let that happen (if it could help it). Volvo Trucks, home to advertising hits "Epic Split" and "Look Who's Driving," among other stunt videos, put pro paraglider Guillaume Galvani through some high-flying (and jogging-along-the-pavement, Looney Tunes-style) paces.

He ends the two-minute ad, dubbed "The Flying Passenger," seemingly intact. His shoes are probably shot, though.

The video, filmed in a mountain pass in the Croatian Alps, aims to show off updated features of the Volvo FH truck. To keep the paraglider aloft, the truck had to keep up its speed even on the ups and downs of the road. 

The bridge obstacle, in particular, called for "high-precision driving at a constant cruising speed without any room for error," says Volvo's news release.

Galvani does his best to create tension, shouting at truck driver Louise Marriott to "Pull me up!" and "Don't slow down!" But didn't we know it would all work out, no matter the gears, revs or torque? It's a "live" test, after all.

"The Flying Passenger," from Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors, is a scenic addition to Volvo's growing canon of adventure videos, now 100 million-plus views strong. Is it as memorable as Jean-Claude Van Damme straddling two semis? Maybe that's just not a fair comparison.

Client: Volvo Trucks
Product: Volvo FH, Longhaul truck
Title: Volvo Trucks – Flying Passenger (Live Test)
Advertiser Supervisor: Ingela Nordenhav, Global Marketing & Communications Director
Advertiser Content Manager: Ida Mattsson
Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors
Senior Account Director: Olle Victorin
Account Director: Cilla Pegelow
Account Manager: Anneli Kjellander
Art Director: Sophia Lindholm, Kim Cramer, Anders Eklind
Copywriter: Björn Engström
Designer: Jerry Wass
Planner: Tobias Nordström
Agency Producer, Film: Jens Odelbring
Agency Producer, Digital: Peter Gaudiano
Production company: Academy
Producer: Cathy Green
Executive Producer: Simon Cooper
Postproduction: ETC London
Stills Photographer: Robin Aron Olsson
Media Partner: Be On
Director: Nabil Elderkin
Music: Daniel Heath
Music Supervisor: Jenny Ring
Editor: Damion Clayton
Postproduction Sweden: Chimney
Post Producer: Louise Ahrén
Sound: Frippe Jonsäter

Source: Advertising

After Buying Penthouse Founder's Archives, Jerrick Media Launches a Blogging Platform

Rick Schwartz believes you should be paid for your time and effort, and he realizes that's a novel idea in this start-up, free-content world.

Jerrick Media, the company he founded with Jeremy Frommer, today will announce the launch of six blogging verticals that combine completely vetted, user-submitted content with Jerrick's SEO and monetization powers under the name "Vocal."

Jerrick's owners joined forces in 2013 to purchase Penthouse founder Bob Guccione's vast print and photo collection. The media company made a name for itself by reviving some of Guccione's vintage content for today's digital space, on topics like sci-fi and the theories behind extending your life expectancy.

Fans started submitting content based on their own niche interests. Now, enter Vocal.

Vocal will be a content distribution platform designed to act "as a hub for in-depth yet digestible stories," the company said. Additionally, creators will actually get paid for what they produce, unlike other blogging platforms.

Users can submit posts under six verticals: OMNI is the science, technology and sci-fi vertical that draws inspiration from the vintage magazine; Geeks is all things pop and gaming culture; Longevity will focus on health and wellness; Journal covers everything about your work life; Filthy is for people interested in discussing sex and sexuality; and Potent will center on cannabis culture.

For now.

"This can scale quickly," said Schwartz. "Vocal is a place for voices who want to be heard. If we needed to, we could create a new vertical within a day to fill that need."

Vocal says its page and image load time is quick and mobile-focused. Vocal

After submitting a post, paid moderators will assess the piece for relevance and quality. If the post is accepted, it'll be tracked for performance.

Page views will determine how much content creators are paid for their work, more or less.

Based on a set of fancy algorithms, Vocal and Jerrick will judge how a post is performing based on time spent on the post and how users are scrolling, clicking and interacting on the page.

The content managment system was custom-created for Vocal by Thinkmill and includes a way to embed your personal products for sale (say, an e-book or album you've released) in addition to an easy-to-use interface.

Vocal will be supported by branded content and partnerships for now and will expand into Facebook-style ads once users are comfortable with using Vocal, according to Justin Maury, the head of product, creative and design for Jerrick.

Vocal is also developing a self-serve native platform to be released next year that will "allow brands to create advertisements via Vocal in the vein of Reddit and Facebook," said Schwartz.

"This new [ad] platform will allow brands to target our engaged communities by interest and to track their campaign's success via our reporting dashboard," he said.

One of Vocal's brand partners—for the Potent vertical—is Willie Nelson's cannabis-centric company, Willie's Reserve.

"When we work with brands to create branded content, we want to make sure we're talking about things in the right way," said Maury. "Not just listicles."

With so many cannabis brands out there, making it potentially one of the fastest "growing" industries, Vocal doesn't want to bombard its readers and users with just any kind of content.

"Vocal combines the ease of Facebook, scope of Reddit and commerce of Amazon, all into one rich ecosystem, optimized for content and commerce," said Schwartz in a statement.

Maury explained that the moderators of Vocal will send notes on ways to improve your content if your piece is rejected.

"It's been fun to see our beta testers and writers improve and learn as they go," he said.

You can track how much money you earn in real-time before cashing out with a secure Stripe connection. Vocal

 "We already have a very targeted and niche audience," said Maury. "An ad that runs on Vice, for example, might not perform as well if it hits a lot of demos that might not be as interested. We have an engaged community, based on the nature of the platform."

Schwartz pointed out that the SEO tools Vocal teaches its bloggers, by sending notes and feedback when posts are rejected, could help bloggers get paid for years down the line.

"This could be invaluable to your personal brand and business," he said.

Source: Advertising

Programmatic Ad-Buying Is Now Available for Social Influencers

The trends, they are a-changin'. No longer will advertisers, brands or social influencers have to struggle for the greater good of sponsored content.

ROI Influencer Media, in partnership with multiple programmatic platforms, like Rubicon Project, PubMatic, OpenX and Google's DoubleClick Ad Exchange, is making that process a lot more simple.

"The social influencer market is basically in the Wild West stage," said Seth Kean, the CEO of ROI Influencer Media, to Adweek. "It reminds me of before video, digital or mobile advertising became standardized. This is the beginning of influencer marketing becoming standardized."

What does that mean for digital ad buyers?

Ease, for starters.

Now when buying programmatic advertising packages, bundles of influencers who have signed with ROI will appear as options for buyers.

"For the first time, premium brand and advertising agency partners on our platform can access native social content across all major social media platforms programmatically," said Jay Sampson, Rubicon Project's head of strategic partnerships.

This will create a balance between customizing and standardizing this new media landscape, said Kean. By giving access to ROI's 10,000 influencers (including Lauren Bushnell, Keegan Allen and Mike Conley), brands can include a much more direct version of programmatic ads into their media mix. And the influencers have just as much say in the deals as before; if it's not a perfect fit for their personal brand, they can absolutely negotiate the deal or outright turn it down.

Programmatic ads will follow a CPM model, ensuring brands are purchasing only guaranteed viewable impressions.

"Our partnership with ROI Influencer Media is a perfect example of how publishers are leveraging programmatic solutions across new inventory channels such as social media influencers' sites and walls," said PubMatic's vp of publisher development, Michael Adair.

According to Kean, ad-spending forecasts show more buyers leaning toward programmatic-direct over the next 36 months.

"Our premium inventory allows agencies to see everything in an organized way and allows influencers to still control their feeds," said Kean.

For example, Mike Rowe, whom you might know from Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs, reaches more than 5 million people between his podcast and social media presence. And he doesn't take that lightly.

"I know my audience extremely well, and there's never an upside to speaking to them in a way that's not authentic and completely transparent," said Rowe. "Digital has allowed me, in a way that broadcast has not, to reinvigorate short-form storytelling."

"I look for advertisers who appreciate the format," said Rowe. "Then, with great respect, I ask them to trust me."

Source: Advertising

How Ashley Madison Became So Attractive to Subscribers Again

These days, Ashley Madison doesn't have to cheat to get ahead.

So says Rob Segal, who has worked hard to refocus the site's image and rescue its reputation since April, when he left WorldGaming to join Ashley Madison's parent company, Ruby Corp. (formerly Avid Life Media), as CEO.

Launched 15 years ago, Ashley Madison became famous (some would say infamous) as the go-to online resource for users (mostly men) seeking partners (mainly women) for affairs. Disaster struck in July 2015, when a breach of its database exposed the identities and information of some 32 millions users, tarnishing the brand's "good" name. Plus, Ashley Madison itself had been cheating: many of the "women" on the service were in fact bots deployed by its sales force to deceive men.

Some doubted Ashley Madison would survive, but ownership banished the bots and shored up security to thwart future data hacks. (The site implemented more discrete credit card processing and stricter monitoring procedures.) And the board hired Segal, 49, a marketer by trade, who launched a big push to reposition the service as a lifestyle brand and social network for folks open to exploring aspects of human sexuality, from swinging and group sex to BDSM.

Despite ongoing challenges, including an FTC investigation and a major class-action lawsuit, Ashley Madison is gaining users, and Segal believes the future looks bright.

Adweek: What was your initial reaction when you were contacted for the CEO job?
Rob Segal: I would be lying if I didn't say I had trepidation on this. I did think that if it could be pulled off, it would be one of the great turnarounds of all time, and I wanted to be part of something that big. I like building companies, I like resetting cultures, and I love advertising, and I was also intrigued by the idea of being a client for the first time in my life. By that I mean having my own company, my own product and my own budget to market it. I had to get comfortable with it, and I had to make sure it was cool with my wife and with my family.

In Ashley Madison's July ad campaign, you dropped the "Life is short. Have an affair" tagline in favor of "Find your moment."
We were trying to reposition away from a very shock-and-awe approach, a misogynistic approach that was, really, just focused on infidelity and cheating. I thought that it was narrow, and that the ads had to really speak to the user base, and address how the customers were actually using the site. Many of the customers were single (45 percent), and the ones that were in relationships were looking for others (often in couples, who were open to sexual experimentation). So, I guess you can say it was moving away from an affair boutique to a department store of open-mindedness.

How's that working out?
We gained 7 million members since July, taking our total over 49 million. But also, one of the things that we think is really positive is that our female sign-ups are up 20 percent.

Can you describe the typical user?
With 49 million, you span a wide range. But if you look at our core users, they would be in that mid-30s and older range, and they would be higher educated and higher income.

How do you monetize that base?
We get roughly 20,000-plus sign-ups a day. As we continue to improve the messaging and the user experience, you can expect more and more of those to turn into paying customers. It's free initially, but as you want to use more of the service, you purchase tokens (which start at $49), and you become a paying customer. (They spend an average of $200 a year on the site.)

That's an attractive base for marketers. Can you envision selling ads on the site? Big data's a very untapped opportunity for us—but we have to be very, very careful with how we do that. We would never share any data about a customer. That would be counterintuitive for us at this stage. What we do have is traffic, and we have a lot of people who aren't customers that are intrigued and take a look. In the coming year, we will explore that data—and, obviously, keep it quite secure and private—to understand the demographic, and the usage, and the behavior, and then potentially work with other people. In a year or two we might be there, but not right now.

Can you talk a bit about Ashley Madison's sibling brands?
Cougar Life is a site for women who want to explore their desires and fantasies, and generally it's with younger men. Established Men is more along the lines of a site for older gentlemen that want to meet younger women, not necessarily to launch a relationship, but if they have a hard time dating.

Are you doing ad campaigns for those properties?
We've got really cool Cougar Life stuff coming up in the next few weeks. Cougar will likely have television, but our focus is digital—search and social. So, Cougar will be our second biggest behind Ashley Madison. Established will likely be grassroots, digital, experiential—you'll see that work in 2017.

Where do you see your brands in the next few years—what's the path to growth?
We need to continue to build up trust, to firmly entrench ourselves as the leader in open-minded dating. We'll position the sites as nonjudgmental platforms, with the customer base to help you find whatever it is that you are looking for in a discreet and secure fashion.

This story first appeared in the November 28, 2016 issue of Adweek magazine.
Click here to subscribe.

Source: Advertising

Here's How an Agency Can Make Its Staff Performance Reviews Less Arbitrary

Two years ago, we weren't able to give everyone at The Media Kitchen a meaningful year-end bonus, which was always our tradition. I had to decide if I wanted to give a few people a good bonus or everyone a token. I decided to give a few people a good bonus, and I decided that the people who contributed most to revenue would be the beneficiaries. Those individuals were not surprisingly the most senior staffers and included the three highest-ranking job titles: group director, associate director and senior strategist. The lowest two levels, strategist and associate strategist, would not get bonuses.

Barry Lowenthal

While this thinking is fairly typical when prioritizing staff and often reflects the way bonuses are awarded in most companies, I took it one step further and managed to put my foot in my mouth, which we'll discuss in a second. But that experience led us to become incredibly transparent in how we award bonuses and salaries, review staffers, and even provide feedback.

We went from a process that was fairly opaque to one that provides staff with data on their overall performance around 10 criteria that everyone is evaluated against. Now every staffer is fully aware how they measure up and why.

But let's rewind a bit to when I decided to only give bonuses to the top three levels. At the time, I decided it was important to gather the bottom two levels together and explain my reasoning. I figured they'd eventually learn they weren't going to get a bonus, so I might as well tell them my rationale directly. It's incredible how quickly word spreads in an agency, and it's remarkable how easily millennials talk about how much they're earning. I'm a Gen Xer, and we never told anyone our salaries.

So, in this meeting, I explained that I didn't have enough money to go around, and I decided to give a bonus to those people who were most closely connected to driving revenue, the most important people in the agency and the most important people to me, the agency president. Since the bottom two levels were not as close to revenue, they were less important to me and therefore were not going to get a bonus. It's easy to look back on that statement and see where I made a mistake. No one likes being told they are less important than someone else even if they know they earn less than their colleagues and are less senior.

I went on to explain that not everyone contributes equally in an organization, and those people who contribute the most are being awarded. Again, while this may all be true, in the absence of clear performance criteria, which we didn't have, people felt like they didn't know what they needed to do to become one of the individuals who are "most closely connected to revenue."

The junior staffers wanted to know what they could do, apart from aging, to earn a bonus.

I thought I was being an enlightened leader by bringing people together to have a hard conversation about priorities and money, and I thought I was brave to address conflict head-on. Instead, I made people feel like they weren't important.

This experience encouraged five brave junior staffers to sit me down and ask me what it takes to get ahead at The Media Kitchen. They wanted to know how raises were decided and how star performers are rewarded.

First, I described the process we go through for determining raises. I explained that at the start of every year, we figure out how much money the agency has to generate to deliver its growth targets. The difference between our current revenue and our revenue goal is called our "blue sky," which is achieved either through winning new business or growing existing business (i.e., increasing the fees we're paid by clients).

The revenue goal includes expenses and profits. Salaries are the biggest expense for an agency, so the more we pay our staff, the more revenue we have to generate. Given that we operate in a very competitive business climate, there is always pressure to give out smaller raises. Our finance team initially recommends a raise pool, which I can allocate as I see fit—it's my P&L to manage. Typically, I review everyone who is up for a raise in a given year and award raises based on how much it would cost to replace each individual, their reputation and the individual's past performance.

Past performance is described in an annual written qualitative performance assessment prepared by managers with input from the entire team. Inevitably, the raise pool handed down from finance and my raise wish list are very different, and I work with finance to find a middle ground that doesn't put too much pressure on our overall revenue targets and still satisfies the staff.

However, after sitting down with these five staffers, I decided to change our approach. I realized how arbitrary our raise process was, and it should not be at my discretion. We were very good at giving annual performance reviews and providing ongoing feedback, but it was clear our approach to awarding raises was far too arbitrary and relied too much on my opinion and feelings. Once we decided we had to change our approach, we investigated quite a few methodologies, none of which felt right—none would provide actionable and frequent performance feedback and reflect the agency's values—so we decided to create our own.

The first step was to decide on the criteria we wanted to use to evaluate our staffers. Our staff is a mix of people with no prior job experience—they're entry level—and people who have 25-plus years of experience. While people often work above and below their job titles, every title has its own set of responsibilities, and it's assumed that if you're at a certain level, you know how to perform certain tasks.

We started mapping out each level's responsibilities, but we wound up with a long list that made evaluating each responsibility hard to manage. The process was starting to become very complicated and overwhelming. After a lot of discussion, I kept going back to the idea that some people in an organization contribute more than others to revenue growth, and everyone should aspire to help an organization grow revenue. We then started to unpack that thought even more.

I spent a lot time thinking about what makes an individual more important than another, and we came up with 10 simple criteria everyone can be evaluated against, including myself. Not every criterion is weighed equally; some are more important than others, and some ladder up into others (e.g., you can't build a great client relationship if you can't be trusted to develop great work).

We also realized that while it's important to solicit feedback from everyone, not everyone is equally qualified to judge a person's performance. For instance junior people do not have enough experience to fully evaluate whether someone is developing effective media plans, which is one of the criteria. As a result, we decided to use the following weights when scoring:

  • My score as president and the group director's score would count for 50 percent.
  • Associate directors would account for 20 percent.
  • Senior strategists would be 15 percent.
  • Strategists were 10 percent.
  • Associate strategists accounted for 5 percent.

We decided that everyone in the company, including myself, would be scored on the same criteria. We wanted everyone to have the same marching orders, and I wanted everyone to understand what I thought was important to running a successful media agency. However, we did not expect everyone to be able to score a 10—each criterion was scored from one to 10, with 10 being the best. But since everyone was ranked against his or her own level, junior people were not penalized for getting less than a 10 on their weighted score.

The 10 criteria and their weightings were as follows:

  • Will this individual's departure put revenue at risk? 20 percent
  • Ability to grow revenue, 20 percent
  • Ability to build strong client relationships, 20 percent
  • Develops smart, effective, creative, sellable media recommendations, 5 percent
  • Enhances TMK's reputation to the ad sales community, the press and to the industry, 5 percent
  • Great and nice, 5 percent
  • Collaborates easily, 5 percent
  • Individual is always looking for innovative media solutions and ideas, 5 percent
  • Volunteers for new projects and offers to lead projects, 5 percent
  • Individual exhibits an ambitious work ethic, 10 percent

At this point, it was clear we'd made a lot of assumptions that needed testing. We assumed that a group director should account for 50 percent of an individual's grade, and we assumed that these criteria and weights would help us identify star performers. In order to test our hypothesis, we decided to put our review approach into action, and we conducted test reviews in the fourth quarter of 2015. We called this our benchmarking period. We used Google Forms to create a questionnaire and gathered the data. Following Eric Reis' model for Lean Startups, we wanted to test the process in the simplest and least costly way. While not the most grandiose or beautiful, the Google Apps platform was perfect for this.

Everyone spent a couple of hours reviewing their teams, and we immediately had data we could analyze. When we started to review the data and get feedback on the process, we became convinced our weightings were correct and that we were asking the right questions—the star performers were getting high scores. But people needed more explanations and guidance when they were reviewing their teammates. We had explained each criterion in a paragraph, and we had several 90-minute agencywide meetings to describe the process and what we meant by each criterion.

But it wasn't enough.

This was an important lesson learned: If our process was going to be useful and believable, we had to ensure consistency, and we had to give people boundaries so everyone was giving the same behaviors and responsibilities the same grades. We repeated the exercise in the first quarter of this year and decided to expand the criteria and provide more guardrails by unpacking each criterion.

We also heard that people wanted even more context and color around what others thought of their performance, so we included a box to capture open-ended comments on the Google Form. This has proved really helpful because it gives people a chance to provide anonymous feedback to their teammates that isn't included in the scores.

At the end of every review period, our staffers get a lot of data around their performance, and the performance of their peers. All of this feedback is provided by their group directors, the people that manage each team. I give feedback to the group directors because they report to me. Each of them can see how their teammates are scoring their peers, but they can't see how their teammates score them. Only I have that view.

In order to provide people a safe place to provide feedback, we do not capture the names of the people who score me, only their job titles.

But we still had one more thing to do, and that was connecting it to raises. At the beginning of the year, we worked with finance on a number of scenarios. We had the data to do scenario planning using the benchmark data. After reviewing a number of models, we decided that we would divide the average weighted scores into quartiles and that raises would be determined based on the quartile you fell into.

Given our revenue goals, we felt we could afford to award individuals in the top quartile a 15 percent annual raise. People that fell into the middle two quartiles would get 62.5 percent of the 15 percent raise, and people who fell in the bottom quartile would receive 25 percent. If someone received a promotion, we would give him or her their annual raise plus an additional bump, which was discretionary.

At first, our staff was excited about getting feedback four times a year. But when they realized how we were going to tie raises to performance, they became apprehensive. We were giving them a lot of responsibility. But when we removed ambiguity from the process and gave everyone very simple and clear guidelines, we noticed how serious they took their new responsibility. We also noticed a few things about people's behaviors, which we've seen change and improve.

Our newest staffers typically fell to the bottom quartile, but as they learned what matters to the agency, many of them moved up the rankings. Since we only give raises once a year (in the quarter of a person's anniversary at the company), all new staffers had time to learn our values before it impacted their raises. We also noticed that people who are newly promoted usually fall to the bottom quartile of their new level and over time creep up the rankings. As people get more senior, we expect more from them, and it usually takes time for people to settle into their new responsibilities.

Currently, we have four quarters of data, including one quarter for benchmarking, and we've used this data to award quite a few raises and bonuses. While not everyone received 100 percent of their raise, most people received 62.5 percent of their 15 percent raise potential, and surprisingly, there were few grudges. When we awarded raises in the past, most people asked for more. But as a result of us sharing how raises are budgeted, how much money is available for raises and what everyone has to do to earn a raise, people ultimately felt like they were being treated fairly.

It's funny that when we removed ambiguity and injected transparency into the system, we earned the trust and respect of the staff and eliminated much of the hallway chatter that always accompanied raises, bonuses and promotions. Instead of hiding conversations about money, we talked about them loudly and clearly, and everyone now understands what's important to running a successful media agency. 

Barry Lowenthal (@barrylowenthal) is president of The Media Kitchen.

Source: Advertising

Patagonia Rang Up $10 Million in Sales on Black Friday for the Environment

Patagonia made $10 million in sales on Black Friday and all of those funds will go to grassroots organizations that are working to protect the environment. 

The company announced its plan to work with One Percent for the Planet on a "fundraiser for the earth" last week, noting that it would donate all of its retail and online sales to organizations that are dedicated to clean water, air and soil. 

"We're humbled to report the response was beyond expectations: With your help, Patagonia reached a record-breaking $10 million in sales," explained Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario in a post she wrote about the results of the company's effort.

She continued: "We expected to reach $2 million in sales—we beat that expectation five times over. The enormous love our customers showed to the planet on Black Friday enables us to give every penny to hundreds of grassroots environmental organizations working around the world." 

Taking a stand for the environment is nothing new for the company. It already donates one percent of its sales to the environment which, so far, has totaled $74 million. And earlier this month Patagonia closed its doors on election day to encourage its employees and customers to consider the environment when voting. To follow up that effort an internal team came up with the Black Friday donation idea. 

"The science is telling us loud and clear: We have a problem," noted Marcario. "By getting active in communities, we can raise our voices to defend policies and regulations that will protect wild places and wildlife, reduce carbon emissions, build a modern energy economy based on investment in renewables, and, most crucially, ensure the United States remains fully committed to the vital goals set forth in the Paris Agreement on climate change." 

Source: Advertising

Why This Agency Helped Design a Restaurant That Aims to Improve Brain Health

Health food stores and juice bars pop up all over the place these days, especially in bustling cities like New York. The newest spot, Honeybrains, may seem like your average healthy restaurant, but the story behind it probably isn't what you'd expect.


Founded by three brothers, Galit, Tomer and Alon Seifan, Honeybrains was designed with the hope of creating healthy, tasty products that contribute to overall brain function. One of the brothers (Alon) is a neurologist who has spent many years studying how nutrition affects the brain and wanted to use that information to help create the store's products.

The brothers tapped Van's General Store, an agency based in downtown Manhattan, to come up with everything from branding and label design to the interior design of the restaurant, located at 372 Lafayette St. The agency took an interest in the project as soon as co-founder Scott Carlson met the brothers. A year before meeting them Carlson's mother passed away from Alzheimer's. When Carlson met the Seifans, they talked a lot about the disease, how the brain decays and how this venture would help improve brain health.

"This was really topical in my mind," Carlson said. "I really thought they came to us for a reason. There was some reason I was supposed to meet these guys."

Van's General Store spent a good deal of time thinking about the logo, a head with a hive drawn inside, and all the other components of the store, making sure "there was thought behind everything we did," Carlson said.

A lot of the colors used on the products and bottles were inspired by food, especially the amber color, which is inspired by honey. Not only is honey used in a lot of the products, but education around the benefits of honey is another major goal of the company. Inside the restaurant the agency put a handful of fun facts (that will change every so often) about the brain benefits for different ingredients used in the products, which include soy soba bowls, kale crunch toast and a Mediterranean mind salad. 

Carlson noted that the brand will also work closely with customers that come into the restaurant often and, with their permission, work with them to gather data around how consuming these products affects their overall well-being. This data will be used to help the brothers conduct further research around the benefits of certain products and ingredients. Van's General Store is also in the process of creating an app for the brand.    


Source: Advertising

Margaret Johnson Reveals Her 3 Favorite Ads, and Who Inspires Her Creatively Today



The latest installment of our "Best Ads Ever" video series features Margaret Johnson, the chief creative officer at Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco.

Asked to pick her favorite ads ever, Johnson chose three very different pieces, from a traditional spot to a long-form mini-doc to a daring, otherworldly stunt. What ties them together? Perhaps a sense of wonder and authenticity—and just plain fun. 

She also reveals the person who's been most inspiring to her creatively lately, and you might not be too surprised about who it is. (She's a pop star who's come up before in other videos we've done lately.)

For more from Johnson, check out this interview we did with her in Cannes back in June. And also check out Jeff Goodby's Best Ads Ever video here.

Source: Advertising

Here's What the IAB Wants Ad Buyers to Know About Digital Audio

When was the last time you listened to an internet radio station or a podcast?

If you said "recently," then chances are you're an 18- to 34-year-old smartphone streamer, at least according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau's new Digital Audio Buyer's Guide, which was released today.

In a blog post, Jennifer Lane, the IAB's industry initiatives lead for audio, cited an Edison report from earlier in the year that said about 57 percent of Americans listen to online radio, and 21 percent listen to podcasts.

Audio provides direct access to an already trusting and engaged listener, and about two-thirds of podcast listeners took action as a result of ads in podcasts, according to the IAB.

In September during Advertising Week, Gimlet Media co-founder Matt Lieber pointed out that about 5 percent of podcast audiences skip the ads, a "small minority based on the whole audience," he noted.

It might not be the sexiest medium, but audio isn't going anywhere anytime soon, the IAB report concludes. Between digital audio's "targeting capabilities, innovative creative options, sophisticated buying and reporting tools, and relevant, effective reach with today's connected consumer," it's an important part of anyone's media mix, the report says.

In fact, "pure, terrestrial radio" still reaches around 93 percent of the world's population, Scott Liss, iHeartMedia's vp of connections, told Adweek, and that's in addition to podcasts and other digital audio. Radio had that same reach in 1972.

"If it was Snapchat who saw this kind of reach, every client would be in secret, clandestine meetings and strategy sessions," Liss said, adding, "Reach is a huge thing. But what we also focus on, as an industry, is the ROI. With radio, we see more than $6 spent for every $1 spent in advertising."

Source: Advertising