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Welcome to The Stream: Allison+Partners’ content hub that features the latest news and trends making the biggest waves in media and marketing.

JUNE 13, 2019 //     

Twitch is emerging as a favorite new platform for publishers

Publishers have been playing more with Twitch — and even, believe it or not, making money off it.

As the Amazon-owned live video platform grows its sales team, publishers like The Washington Post, Cheddar and BuzzFeed have invested in creating specific shows catered to the platform over the last year. Publishers said Twitch is useful not only as a way to grow audience numbers but also to learn from a community that’s quite active in the comments. Publishers also can benefit from Twitch’s direct monetization options including in-stream ads and subscriptions.

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JUNE 13, 2019 //     

Empowering Women in the Workplace

Our North American President Anne Colaiacovo has always been dedicated to supporting and empowering female employees to reach their full potential. As a recent inductee to PRWeek’s Hall of Femme, she reflects on how women no longer have an expiration date on their career and describes how Allison+Partners supports their professional journey.  


JUNE 12, 2019 //     

Lime understands your scooter hatred

Credit: PRWeek

Do you ride your Lime electric scooter around town with absolutely no concern for your fellow humans? If you do, and you live in Paris, prepare to be shamed.

Rude behavior by Lime riders has led to negative media coverage in France, so the brand is trying to change the conversation with a print campaign.

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JUNE 12, 2019 //     

Store’s Bid to Shame Customers Over Plastic Bags Backfires

Credit: New York Times

A Canadian store’s attempt to help the environment and gently shame its customers into avoiding plastic bags by printing embarrassing messages on them has not gone quite as planned.

Far from spurring customers to bring their own reusables, the plastic bags — variously emblazoned with “Dr. Toews’ Wart Ointment Wholesale,” “Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium” or “The Colon Care Co-op” — have become somewhat of a surprise hit.

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JUNE 12, 2019 //     

The Stream Podcast Episode 4: The Influence It Factor

Credit: Lex and the CityBy: Owen Clark


I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve interviewed on-camera over the past decade. But between being a TV reporter, a media trainer and a video director, I’d put the number well over 1,000. Of those 1,000-plus people, I’d say 99% had the same reaction when I showed them the footage of their interview: “Ugh, I hate seeing myself on camera.”

I’m convinced the reason for this sudden self-loathing is because even in our selfie-obsessed culture, when the proverbial red light comes on and we’re forced to actually deliver on-camera we realize it’s a really hard skill to master.  

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So is taking good photos, writing interesting copy and publishing content that is relevant and engaging to your audience. Not to mention finding sponsors, balancing advertiser requests vs. audience credibility and generally doing all the things a content operation needs to do to pay the bills.

To succeed as an influencer in today’s landscape, all those duties fall on the individual. They  are host, photographer, sales rep and editorial board. They are responsible for balancing the needs of the brands that pay them and the audience who has trusted them enough to tune in, subscribe or share what they’re saying.

In this episode of The Stream Podcast, Owen and Micah dive into the world of the paid influencer with two content creators from opposite ends of the experience and audience spectrum: Alexis Holden of Lex and The City and James Hills of Mantripping. Topics include side-eyes while taking food selfies, best bucket list vacations and trying to get paid while not sounding like a walking commercial.

For more data and insight on today’s ecosystem of Influence check out Allison+Partners’ Influence 360.

The Stream Podcast can be downloaded via Google Play MusiciTunes, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

 

JUNE 11, 2019 //     

Europe publishes common drone rules, giving operators a year to prepare

Credit: TechCrunch

Europe has today published common rules for the use of drones. The European Union  Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) says the regulations, which will apply universally across the region, are intended to help drone operators of all stripes have a clear understanding of what is and is not allowed.

Having a common set of rules will also means drones can be operated across European borders without worrying about differences in regulations.

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JUNE 10, 2019 //     

‘A center of gravity’: Retailers are adding data analytics teams to loyalty programs

Credit: ModernRetail

As retailers revamp their loyalty programs to give members access to more than just discounts, they’re also looking at how to better analyze the data collected through these programs.

Before Reebok rolled out its first-ever loyalty program in March, it increased its digital staff by 30%. Of those hires, a “significant portion” were data analytics roles, according to Matt Blonder, Reebok’s global head of digital. Last March, Nike acquired Zodiac, a data analytics company to work exclusively on predicting the average lifetime value of its NikePlus customers. And last November, Ulta Beauty acquired analytics startup QM Scientific, which CEO Mary Dillon said would aid in the company’s personalization efforts, and that personalization is “the next frontier of loyalty” for the beauty retailer.

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JUNE 10, 2019 //     

Using Smartphones to Pay? That’s So Yesterday in China

Credit: QILAI SHEN/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Chinese technology giants have leapfrogged U.S. companies in popularizing mobile payments. Now, they are trying to get people to bypass their smartphones and make payments by simply looking into screens.

Ant Financial Services Group and Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY +1.50% , rivals that operate, respectively, Alipay and WeChat Pay, China’s two largest mobile-payments networks, are competing for dominance in the next stage of China’s cashless society. Each is racing to install its own branded facial-recognition screens at retail points-of-sale all over the country, marketing the screens as a way to speed up sales and improve efficiency.

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JUNE 10, 2019 //     

A Bellwether for Affordable Housing

Credit: Seattle TimesBy: Hamilton McCulloh


Progress is very good for economic development. Longtime residents of the Pacific Northwest still recall the billboard in the 1970s on I-5 that asked, “Will the last person leaving Seattle turn off the lights?” following a massive layoff at Boeing. It was primarily a one-industry town at that time.

Fast forward 40 years, and the region is home to Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, Costco, Nordstrom, Zillow, Weyerhaeuser, Expedia, REI, and many others. Tech giants like Google, Facebook and Apple are all expanding operations here. Progress is indeed good, but growth does pose significant challenges — traffic and affordable housing chief among them.

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This issue is not unique to Seattle. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the United States has a shortage of seven million rental homes affordable and available to extremely low-income renters whose household incomes are at or below the poverty guideline or at 30% of their area median income. This is true in all 50 states, although it is extreme on the West Coast in markets like San Francisco and Los Angeles, among others.

This is what it looks like when tens of thousands of people move to one City every year. The rapid rise of new Seattle: Time-lapse video shot over 3 years captures city’s massive growth

Let’s park the traffic problem for now and focus on affordable housing. Thanks to a very innovative non-profit organization, Seattle may be unique in how to respond to the challenge.

Bellwether Housing was created by business and civic leaders through the Downtown Seattle Association in 1980 to help close the gap between income and ever-increasing rent. Its goal was (and is) to build diverse communities where people of all incomes and backgrounds share in the prosperity of the region. Bellwether believes it is vital to create stable communities and access to opportunity through affordable housing, even as demand far outpaces supply. The organization steps in to develop and manage homes for people with limited incomes near job centers.

Bellwether provides affordable homes to 3,500 people every year at 32 properties. But its next challenge is even greater, and Bellwether is going to need a lot of help.

Bringing the community together to help solve the problem

Affordable housing in rapidly growing cities is not a new challenge. And the solutions are not so easy to explain. So how does one go about developing a communications strategy to engage the local decision makers?

Allison+Partners’ Real Estate Group works with a wide range of real estate organizations, helping them to communicate to stakeholders what is being done to enhance affordability and livability in their communities. We recently hosted a reception on behalf of Bellwether Housing. In attendance were 60 of the region’s top developers, investors, contractors, brokers and architects, among other business and civic leaders, to hear from Bellwether CEO Susan Boyd about their new impact-investment opportunity.

By pulling this group together, key decision makers from across the region’s business and civic communities now have a much greater understanding of how they can help make this innovative vision a reality – collectively. 

Investing in opportunity, our neighbors and co-workers

In response to the accelerating need, Bellwether’s Building Opportunity Campaign offers socially minded, accredited investors a meaningful way to address the affordable housing challenge. Invested funds come to Bellwether and go directly into a targeted housing development. The housing financed today is preserved for future generations.

Building affordable housing costs just as much as building any other property. Bellwether is working to develop 750 new units in four buildings in the Puget Sound region to respond to the area’s increasing affordability gap. Each new development is located on the Sound Transit Light Rail line for easy and affordable transit.  

Rents continue to outpace salary growth for many. Bellwether Housing has secured $257 million through a variety public grants and non-profit partners but they need to raise an additional $9 million in private funding to fully leverage the power of the money raised to date. The private funding allows them to offer homes to a wider range of incomes and develop larger homes for families. Those who invest will receive a modest but guaranteed return on their investment over five, 10 and 15 years. But really, the idea of helping people have the security of a place to call home is a great investment.  

Here is video that provides more information.

Hamilton McCulloh is a vice president in Allison+Partners’ Real Estate Group. He has more than 20 years of experience overseeing communications, community engagement and media relations in the real estate industry.

JUNE 5, 2019 //     

For Women in PR, Challenging the Status Quo Means Letting Go

By: Anne Colaiacovo


Today I have the incredible honor of being named to PRWeek’s 2019 “Hall of Femme.” In PRWeek’s words, this distinction “honors leaders in the communications industry who challenge the status quo, move the needle in business and strive to make a difference.” As I read those words, I thought about each quality and how they relate to my career.

When I first started in the PR industry, and particularly at an agency, there were many preconceived notions about how my career would play out. Some of these were mine, while others were thrust upon me.

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I would work long hard hours (OK, I can do that!).

I would be the youngest, and often the only, woman in more rooms than I could count (Bring it on!).

I would “fake it ‘til I made it” and never dream of letting down my boss, mentor, clients or team (That pressure was exhausting!).

If I worked hard, I would be rewarded. There would be no need to negotiate or lobby (This was fine, until it wasn’t.).

As a woman, my career had an expiration date. If I wanted to have children, I would likely have to pivot and change course to “have it all.” (That was BS!)

And so many more.

As I got years under my belt, I realized the “status quo” wasn’t just doing a disservice to me. More importantly, it was doing a disservice to my teams and our industry. For me, to really challenge the status quo, I had to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. I had to leave a job I was comfortable in and take one that scared that sh*t out of me.

I learned to trust my gut, surround myself with people smarter than me, take chances and completely let go of the fear of failure. I wasn’t just going to come to work every day – I was going to build something. 

The exciting thing about viewing my career as a way to build something – something that lasts long beyond me – was that it gave this business I always loved a meaning it never had before. Now everything I did had a ripple effect for the people coming after me. So, now, I really meant business.

But all the preconceived notions had to go.

I wasn’t just going to work hard. I was going to work smart. Now I’ve got two kids to get home to. Some days, that means getting up and working at 5 a.m. so I can be at the dance class at 4 p.m. Some days, that means going to the mat for an idea I know is going to work. Some days, that means saying no to a client or piece of business because they don’t really value PR and what we bring to the table.

Now, I may no longer be the youngest woman in the room, but I must make a place for all the young women coming up in the agency. And that is my greatest honor.

I’m incredibly lucky to work in a place where I feel like my value is known and acknowledged. But I also had to learn my own worth and ask for the roles and responsibilities I really wanted. It’s also up to me to create this same scenario for everyone. Whether that is through mentoring, overhauling our review process, throwing out and rewriting our parental leave policy, or simply diligently giving feedback and guidance.

Working at Allison+Partners for more than 10 years, I’ve been surrounded by the most creative, intelligent, strategic thinkers in the world. I’ve been lucky enough to be mentored by leaders whose vision has shown me public relations can do more to drive results than any other discipline – and that there are no limits to what we can achieve if we stick to our agency’s core values and put people first.

Now, I know I can be president and a mom. I’m incredibly proud to have been a part of creating an environment that is flexible to this, and to every day be an example to those who may still struggle with the misconceptions I used to have. I’m still “faking it ‘til I make it!” But I’ve learned stress and fear are not tied to success. I’ve learned when I’m able to let go of the fear, the anxiety and the worry, I free up room in my brain to think, and to be creative, strategic and happy.

Anne Colaiacovo is the president of North America at Allison+Partners. In addition to being inducted to PRWeek’s 2019 “Hall of Femme,” she was was named one of the outlet’s “40 Under 40” in 2014.

AGENCY NEWS // JUNE 3, 2019 //     

Industry News In Brief (June 3, 2019)

SAN FRANCISCO — Allison+Partners has launched a new management consultancy group, called Allison Advisory. Led out of the firm’s corporate practice, the group will operate across North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific, providing clients with counsel to business leaders across all functions as they manage corporate change, digital transformation, international expansion, risk mitigation, purpose development and challenges unique to startup and high-growth. Allison Advisory will be led by Matthew Della Croce, Allison+Partners’ global president, corporate + Europe, and David Wolf. Wolf (pictured) was previously the managing director of Allison+Partners’ global China practice which, due to the group’s expertise in market entry, will be rolled into the Allison Advisory offering. His new title will be managing director, Allison Advisory. READ MORE
JUNE 3, 2019 //     

‘Nordstrom is a unicorn’: How the department store finds success with influencer collabs

When Nordstrom rolled one of its biggest influencer collection in September 2017 — a collaboration between mega-influencer Arielle Charnas of Something Navy and Nordstrom-owned line Treasure and Bond — the capsule reportedly brought in $1 million in just one day. One year later, the company gave Charnas, who has 1.2 million followers, a standalone Something Navy Line, which crashed the Nordstrom website on launch day because demand was so high.

Over time, Nordstrom has continued to roll out exclusive lines with big influencers who boast over a million followers, and the strategy is proving to be a major success.

“We work with influencers on a regular basis outside of just product collaborations, so these partnerships tend to be an organic extension of an existing relationship. Once we identify an influencer who we know is an organic fit with our brand, we explore ways to evolve our partnership. We prioritize identifying Influencers who share in our goals of inspiring customers through relevant product across our price and style spectrums,” said Jennifer Jackson Brown, evp, president of Nordstrom Product Group at Nordstrom, Inc.

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JUNE 3, 2019 //     

Stop Thinking About Personalized Content as an Extra

Credit: Content Marketing Institute

Personalization is not a detail or an add-on when it comes to your content. It should be an integral part of your content marketing strategy so you can build the sort of audience loyalty we all dream of.

“Virtually all (96%) marketers agree that personalization advances customer relationships,” according to Evergage’s 2019 Trends in Personalization Survey Report. And 80% of the respondents say they saw a measurable lift in business from their personalization campaigns.

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JUNE 3, 2019 //     

Guns Down America To Adland: Just Say No To The NRA

Grassroots organization Guns Down America wants the ad industry to boycott the National Rifle Association now that it has severed ties with Ackerman McQueen and is presumably looking for another agency to take its place.

The group published an “open letter” late last week in which it implored the industry not to take the NRA’s “blood money.”

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JUNE 3, 2019 //     

Marketers Turn Up Podcast Advertising

PHOTO: RICHARD SHOTWELL/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Podcasters continue to find growing interest from marketers, but their growth remains constrained by factors including a lack of independent audience benchmarks.

U.S. advertisers spent $479.1 million advertising on podcasts in 2018, up 53% from about $313.9 million a year earlier, according to a new report from the industry group Interactive Advertising Bureau and accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC.

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AGENCY NEWS // MAY 31, 2019 //     

Allison+Partners Launches Advisory Services to Help Clients Navigate Today’s Business World

Allison+Partners announced the launch of Allison Advisory, a management consultancy group within Allison+Partners. Led out of the firm’s Corporate practice, the group will operate across North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific, providing clients with counsel to business leaders across all functions as they manage corporate change, digital transformation, international expansion, risk mitigation, purpose development and challenges unique to startup and high-growth.

“Our work at Allison Advisory focuses on counseling the c-suite and board of directors through transformative change,” said Matthew Della Croce, Allison+Partners’ global president, Corporate + Europe. “Statistics show that nearly 75% of all significant enterprise transformations ultimately fail to achieve the desired return on investment. A core reason for the failure is that stakeholders aren’t embracing the change. This is where Allison Advisory can help, ensuring that decisions are rooted in and be guided by stakeholder expectations and thus forming the basis of lasting advantage. It’s a very different way of looking at solving those problems and an area to which our advisors bring unique expertise.”

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AGENCY NEWS // MAY 30, 2019 //     

MDC's Allison+Partners Introduces Corporate Consultancy Group

Credit: MediaPost

Allison+Partners (A+P) is launching Allison Advisory to expand the MDC Partners PR shop's "perception-management" services into business transformations, international expansion, and risk mitigation. 

Allison Advisory will be led by Matthew Della Croce, A+P Global President, Corporate + Europe and David Wolf, Managing Director of Allison+Partners’ Global China practice whose division will be rolled into the Allison Advisory offering. Wolf's new title will become managing director, Allison Advisory.

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AGENCY NEWS // MAY 30, 2019 //     

News of Firms: Allison+Partners Opens Management Consultancy

Allison+Partners has launched Allison Advisory, a management consultancy group that will be part of the firm’s corporate practice. The group will operate across North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific, advising business leaders in such areas as corporate change, digital transformation, international expansion, risk mitigation, purpose development and challenges unique to startup and high-growth. Matthew Della Croce, Allison+Partners’ global president, Corporate + Europe, is heading up the group along with David Wolf, who was previously managing director of Allison+Partners’ Global China practice, which will be rolled into the Allison Advisory offering. His new title will be managing director, Allison Advisory. “Statistics show that nearly 75% of all significant enterprise transformations ultimately fail to achieve the desired return on investment,” Della Croce said. “A core reason for the failure is that stakeholders aren’t embracing the change. This is where Allison Advisory can help, ensuring that decisions are rooted in and guided by stakeholder expectations.”

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MAY 30, 2019 //     

Discarded Trash Bags Capture the Struggle of Foster Children in Sobering PSA

Credit: Adweek

Every day, 700 children enter America’s foster care system. From there, the path to landing a stable home situation is rocky at best, especially for older children. Though there are currently more than 400,000 children awaiting foster care, their stories are typically shrouded in silence. Among the scores of national issues that we allow to take center stage, the subject of a crowded, impersonal foster care system does not get as much of our attention as it should.

FosterMore, in partnership with mcgarrybowen, recently released a new minute-long PSA, filmed in the streets of New York City to help raise awareness of youth in foster care. Heaped along the side of the street trash bags emblazoned with a singular fact: “Foster kids get a trash bag and 10 minutes to pack up their lives” when transitioning into homes.

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AGENCY NEWS // MAY 29, 2019 //     

ALLISON+PARTNERS LAUNCHES ADVISORY SERVICES TO HELP CLIENTS NAVIGATE THE COMPLEXITY OF TODAY’S BUSINESS WORLD

SAN FRANCISCO (May 29, 2019) – Allison+Partners today announced the launch of Allison Advisory, a management consultancy group within Allison+Partners. Led out of the firm’s Corporate practice, the group will operate across North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific, providing clients with counsel to business leaders across all functions as they manage corporate change, digital transformation, international expansion, risk mitigation, purpose development and challenges unique to startup and high-growth. 

“Our work at Allison Advisory focuses on counseling the c-suite and board of directors through transformative change,” said Matthew Della Croce, Allison+Partners’ global president, Corporate + Europe. “Statistics show that nearly 75% of all significant enterprise transformations ultimately fail to achieve the desired return on investment. A core reason for the failure is that stakeholders aren’t embracing the change. This is where Allison Advisory can help, ensuring that decisions are rooted in and be guided by stakeholder expectations and thus forming the basis of lasting advantage. It's a very different way of looking at solving those problems and an area to which our advisors bring unique expertise.”

Allison Advisory will be led by Della Croce and colleague David Wolf, who have spent the last two decades helping clients navigate the unique communications and marketing challenges companies face during business transformations, expansions into new markets and globalizing business strategy. Wolf was previously the managing director of Allison+Partners’ Global China practice which, due to the group’s expertise in market entry, will be rolled into the Allison Advisory offering. His new title will be managing director, Allison Advisory.

“Traditional public relations focuses on ‘perception management,’ taking enterprise decisions already made and creating a narrative for key stakeholders,” Wolf said. “Our approach is different. An organizations’ executive team needs expertise in ‘enterprise behavior change.’ Through our approach we operate as advocates for our client’s stakeholders, providing advice and solutions to enable business decisions to achieve functional transformation and impact.  Our goal is to help executives accelerate growth by optimizing the intersection of business goals, customer needs, regulatory environments and employee experience.”

The new offering builds upon Allison+Partners’ significant track record helping guide C-suite executives and boards of directors through enterprise change and transformation. The Allison Advisory team of senior consultants bring a unique perspective and capability founded in data and analytics, employing proprietary methodologies to maximize efficiencies, minimize internal disruption and support business growth. The agency’s corporate expertise centers around corporate and financial communications, influencer relations, crisis and issues management, executive visibility campaigns, social impact and CSR, content marketing and digital strategies to help clients transform and achieve market leadership. 

“The team we have in place providing counsel through Allison Advisory are strategists who have an enterprise-level point-of-view that is informed by expertise in how stakeholders have evolved from mere ‘audiences’ to the true drivers of leading businesses,” Della Croce said. “We are able to ensure that our clients’ understand what the expectations are from their stakeholders everywhere in the world, and that they are building their businesses in ways that address or exceed those expectations." 

About Allison+Partners
Allison+Partners, an MDC Partners company, is a global marketing and communications agency driven by a collaborative approach to innovation and creativity. The firm was named The Holmes Report’s 2019 “Best Agency to Work For,” PRWeek’s 2018 “Best Place to Work” and The Holmes Report’s 2017 “Digital Agency of the Year.” Allison+Partners has 30 offices worldwide and is organized around five practices: Consumer Marketing, Corporate, Healthcare, Public Affairs and Technology. All Told, which combines research, content, creative, digital and measurement expertise into one offering, works across these practices to deliver integrated storytelling for clients. The agency also has a network and deep affiliations with firms worldwide through MDC Partners (NASDAQ: MDCA), a progressive marketing and communications network, championing the most innovative entrepreneurial talent. For more information, visit www.allisonpr.com.

MAY 29, 2019 //     

Behavioral Ad Targeting Not Paying Off for Publishers, Study Suggests

Credit: DAMIAN DOVARGANES/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Are creepy advertisements really necessary to support the free web?

A new academic study suggests they aren’t.

Behavioral advertising, which involves collecting data about readers’ online behavior and using it to serve them specially tailored ads, often through bits of code called cookies, has become the dominant force in digital advertising in recent years.

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MAY 28, 2019 //     

‘We’ve just gotten smarter’: Why ESPN is rolling out more Snapchat shows

Credit: Digiday

ESPN is betting more on Snapchat. In March, the sports publisher added a new weekly show called “ESPN MMA Show” to the platform. That series, which is part of a larger push at ESPN to cover more mixed martial arts, is in addition to ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” “ESPN Daily” and “College GameDay” on Snapchat.

ESPN’s deeper investment in Snapchat comes as other publishers like the New York Times and Bleacher Report have paused their channels. But for ESPN, producing shows on Snapchat aligns with their digital strategy of meeting sports fans in places they already are. Snapchat also has proven to be a useful way to make revenue and to direct viewers to ESPN on television and to content on ESPN+.

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MAY 28, 2019 //     

Facebook keeps Irish data regulator busy with 11 ongoing investigations

Credit: The Drum

Facebook has secured the unwanted accolade of having been subject to the most probes by Ireland’s data protection regulator.

The social media giant, along with its Instagram and WhatsApp subsidiaries, is currently subject to no less than 11 statutory investigations in Ireland out of a total workload that includes just 19 cases.

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MAY 28, 2019 //     

Nike's hijab-wearning model calls on brands to better represent Muslim women

Credit: PRWeek

Nike’s first hijab-wearing model has called on brands to better represent Muslim women.

Manal Rostom, who founded Facebook group Surviving Hijab, told the Wacl Gather conference in London yesterday (23 May) that she called out Nike in 2014 for not featuring "any women that looked like us".

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MAY 23, 2019 //     

What China's changing design aesthetic tells us

Credit: Campaign AsiaWhen I close my eyes and think of China, this is what I see Swirling dragons and sweeping calligraphy. Elegant, refined porcelain. Extravagant architecture from dynasties past. 

Fast forward to the 20th century. I'm surrounded by walls covered with propaganda posters and a see of bicycles. I walk along streets lined with imitation logos, bumping shoulders with people carrying fake LV bags.  READ MORE
MAY 23, 2019 //     

Starbucks drives further business transformation with introduction of store pre-visit order app

Credit: The Drum

Starbucks Now, a mobile order and payment service, has been released by the coffee giant across 300 stores in Beijing and Shanghai.

The feature, available through Starbucks Rewards, will allow customers to place orders in advance of their visits to a Starbucks store and will be further rolled-out across China over the coming year.

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MAY 22, 2019 //     

Indonesia restricts WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram usage following deadly riots

Credit: TechCrunch

Indonesia is the latest nation to hit the hammer on social media after the government restricted the use of WhatsApp  and Instagram following deadly riots yesterday.

Numerous Indonesia-based users are today reporting difficulties sending multimedia messages via WhatsApp, which is one of the country’s most popular chat apps, and posting content to Facebook,  while the hashtag #instagramdown is trending among the country’s Twitter users due to problems accessing the Facebook-owned photo app.

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MAY 22, 2019 //     

WANT NIKE'S LATEST JORDANS? THEY'RE ONLY ON FORTNITE

Credit: Epic Games

Nike Inc.’s newest sneaker release is entirely digital.

Nike’s Jordan Brand has partnered with Fortnite, the uber-popular video game made by Epic Games, to unveil two new characters wearing classic Jordan sneakers. They come in a few different colors including red and black, the colors of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls, as well as the Los Angeles Lakers' purple and yellow.

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MAY 21, 2019 //     

How quintessentially British brand Fortnum & Mason plans to crack China

Credit: The Drum

Fortnum & Mason is gearing up for the launch of its first fully owned and operated shop overseas as it gets ready to land in Hong Kong. However, the luxury grocer is treading international waters with care as it looks to both preserve its heritage status and learn from the mistakes made by others in entering the market.

Zoe Colegrave, head of online and marketing for the royal supplier told The Drum how the business viewed the move – which will see it take up a 7000-square-foot space in the K11 ‘art mall’ just on the island’s waterfront – as being a “door opener into the mainland China and the wider APAC area.

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MAY 17, 2019 //     

Advertisers Pack into Game of Thrones Season 8 Finale in U.K.

Credit: HELEN SLOAN/HBO

Marketers in the U.S. have watched “Game of Thrones” from the outside looking in, unable to buy commercials in the show because it runs on advertising-free HBO.

But brands in the U.K. have enjoyed the opportunity to have their ads appear during “Game of Thrones” as it runs there on pay-television channel Sky Atlantic. That includes the imminent and much-anticipated series finale, which arrives this Sunday in the U.S. and on Monday in the U.K.

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MAY 16, 2019 //     

Lime Ads Evoke a Mission Beyond Renting Out Scooters

Credit: BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS

The scooter-rental startup Lime has started a campaign meant to associate its brand with a higher purpose as its fledgling niche continues to encounter controversy.

One video in the campaign follows a woman who became a “juicer,” the company’s term for the independent contractors who roam cities recharging and repositioning its scooters, after a car accident kept her from returning to more regular work. In the video, she says becoming a juicer on the side enabled her to spend more time with her children.

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MAY 16, 2019 //     

How beer ads are changing to suit modern drinkers' tastes

Credit: Guinness, Amstel, Carlsberg and BrewDog ads

Beer ads are changing. From Carlsberg admitting it is probably not the best lager in the world after all to anti-advertising BrewDog starting to, er, advertise, something is stirring in the marketing teams of the world's big breweries.

Here The Drum takes a look at how some of the most loved, most popular and most notorious beer brands have changed their advertising approach in recent times.

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MAY 16, 2019 //     

Taco Bell Is Opening a Boutique, Branded Hotel Called The Bell

Credit: Adweek

Have you ever been in a Taco Bell and looked around wistfully, thinking, “Man, if only I could SLEEP here”?

If the answer is yes, then you might want to be the first to book a room at The Bell: a Taco Bell Hotel and Resort.

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MAY 14, 2019 //     

US journalism has become more subjective: study

Credit: CC0 Public DomainU.S.-based journalism has gradually shifted away from objective news and offers more opinion-based content that appeals to emotion and relies heavily on argumentation and advocacy, according to a new RAND Corporation report.

In a unique analysis on news discourse and presentation, researchers found that the changes occurred over a 28-year-period (1989 to 2017) as journalism expanded beyond traditional media, such as newspapers and broadcast networks, to newer media, such as 24-hour cable channels and digital outlets. Notably, these measurable changes vary in extent and nature for different news platforms.
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MAY 14, 2019 //     

Fom PSAS To Twitch, Feeding America Tries To Make Non-Profit Marketing Stand Out

Credit: Feeding America

When Catherine Davis joined the largest U.S. hunger-relief organization, Feeding America, she was struck by the reactions people had to the issue.

“I thought: OK, so everybody is going to want to help people that are hungry, and in fact, that’s not true,” says Davis, the non-profit’s chief marketing and communications officer. “People have a lot of biases.”

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MAY 13, 2019 //     

What Lies Ahead for Marketers as the Tide Turns Against Ad Targeting

Credit: Getty Images

Get the right ad in front of the right person at the right time. It’s the advertising adage, one that’s been around for decades. But in the digital age, the industry sure has taken that saying to heart, deploying tools that follow customers around the web, tracking who they are and their every move to deduce when’s the right time to drop the perfect ad in front of a potential consumer’s eyeballs.

And while marketers aren’t complaining, the concern from regulators and the public about over-reaching in targeting and tracking is growing louder. Marketers, industry experts say, need to brace not just for business changes around targeting but for a larger moral reckoning over data tracking and ad-targeting practices.

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MAY 9, 2019 //     

Singapore passes controversial ‘fake news’ law which critics fear will stifle free speech

Credit: TechCrunch

Singapore has passed a controversial bill that could equip the government with extensive powers to police online media and free speech.

The bill was first drafted last month and, as had been expected, it passed 72-9 in Singapore’s parliament, dominated by the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) party, late on Wednesday.

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AGENCY NEWS // MAY 8, 2019 //     

2019 SABRE Awards North America Winners

Credit: Holmes ReportThe 2019 North American SABRE Awards, which recognizes Superior Achievement in Branding Reputation and Engagement, were announced at the awards ceremony on May 7 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York along with the Agencies of the Year and Best Agencies to Work For. READ MORE
MAY 7, 2019 //     

Beak-careful! TfL’s Graeme and Steve are an internet sensation on traffic cameras

Credit: PRWeek

The gulls, nicknamed Graeme and Steve by TfL, made a surprise appearance on traffic cameras at a junction on the approach to the Blackwall Tunnel in Poplar, East London – no doubt warning drivers of fowl traffic ahead.

The birds’ antics, which include posing and appearing to talk to the camera, quickly earned them a place in people’s hearts and minds, as well giving TfL some of its best public engagement to date on Twitter.

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MAY 6, 2019 //     

Misplaced Coffee Cup on ‘Game of Thrones’ Brews Buzz for Starbucks

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in 'Game of Thrones.' PHOTO: HELEN SLOAN/HBO

Plenty of brands would like to find a way into an ad-free smash TV show like HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” On Sunday night, Starbucks Corp. seemed to have lucked its way there.

Observant viewers noticed that something strongly resembling a Starbucks coffee cup appeared in one scene on a table before Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke.

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AGENCY NEWS // MAY 6, 2019 //     

2019 Best Agencies to Work For EMEA

Credit: Holmes Report

Best Agency to Work For is possibly the only predictive award the Holmes Report gives out. By this, we mean there’s a direct correlation between the agencies on this list and those that take home our biggest honor (often times at some point in the future) — Agency of the Year recognition. That’s, in part, because firms that take culture seriously tend to attract and retain smart and creative talent who, in turn, produce stellar work. It’s a simple formula but one that’s easily overlooked amid the breathless pace and tremendous pressures that are a seemingly inevitable reality of agency life. But this pace is exactly why agencies shouldn’t underestimate the power its culture has on the work its employees produce.

The firms recognized on the rankings include a few holding companies firms, but mostly independents. Some have generous benefits, others prioritize professional development or interesting work that keeps talent engaged. We’re working on an in-depth feature that will more deeply explore the factors that drive employee engagement within our industry. All participating firms can also obtain their own results mapped against either the industry or its competitive set. (For more information on this, see FAQ.) 

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MAY 1, 2019 //     

MONDELEZ EXPLORES CBD-INFUSED PRODUCTS

Credit: istock

Mondelez International, the company behind Ritz Crackers and Cadbury chocolate, says it’s exploring the use of CBD in snacks—but don't expect to find it in your Oreos.

"We’ve ... been looking at what are the claimed benefits from CBD,” Mondelez CEO Dirk Van de Put said in a recent interview with CNBC. “We’re getting ready, but obviously we want to stay within what is legal and play it the right way.”

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APRIL 30, 2019 //     

‘Opportunity as a first-mover’: Mountain Dew is spending 40% of its marketing dollars targeting gamers

Credit: Digiday

Mountain Dew is setting its sight on gamers.

Taking a page out of Redbull’s playbook, the PepsiCo brand is looking to be a first-mover in a niche industry, subbing in gamers and esports for extreme sports.

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AGENCY NEWS // APRIL 29, 2019 //     

Global top 250 PR Agency Ranking 2019

Credit: Holmes ReportGlobal PR agency ranking: Revenue numbers for many agencies include subsidiaries—including research, advertising, and specialist PR firms — many of which operate under separate brands but nevertheless report into the listed PR agency. Full methodology here. For firms that submitted numbers in pounds sterling, euros or other non-USD currencies, conversions were made using exchange rates as of 12/31/2018. In some cases, where last year’s submitted numbers were used for comparison purposes, USD growth numbers may be lower because of exchange rate fluctuations than they would have been in constant currency terms. Accordingly, we also include a constant currency growth metric. Aside from well-known agencies for which we have estimated fee income, the Rankings are totally dependent on submitted fee income; many agencies, often well-known, choose not to submit their numbers. READ MORE
AGENCY NEWS // APRIL 23, 2019 //     

Nimble, fast midsize firms make their mark

Credit: PRWeek

It’s been the time of midsized firms for a while now, and this year’s data in the annual Agency Business Report does nothing to dispel that trend.

Agencies such as Prosek Partners (+21%), M Booth (+17%), Zeno Group (+14%), and Allison+Partners (+12%) far outperformed their big box rivals in global growth percentage stakes in 2018.

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AGENCY NEWS // APRIL 23, 2019 //     

Allison+Partners

Credit: PRWeekWhile Allison+Partners added high-profile brands to its client roster last year, 75% of its revenue growth was organic, with Google Ads and Google Commerce, Zenni Optical, and real estate investment firm Cortland Partners increasing their year-over-year budgets the most. Remits expanded beyond product and brand PR to the shop’s diversified service offerings and geographies outside the U.S. where Allison+Partners has doubled down on, namely Asia and Europe. 

"We had one of our best years of organic growth — nine of our 10 largest clients carried over to this year with expanded mandates," says Scott Allison, cofounder, global chairman and CEO. "It was a year of client stability." READ MORE
AGENCY NEWS // APRIL 23, 2019 //     

Rankings tables: PRWeek Agency Business Report 2019

Credit: PRWeek

Rankings Tables are set to Global Rankings as the default tab. To select from 23 other regional or practice sector data views, toggle between the different tabs.

AGENCY NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019 //     

Best Agencies to Work For

Best Agency to Work For is possibly the only predictive award the Holmes Report gives out. By this, we mean there’s a direct correlation between the agencies on this list and those that take home our biggest honor (often times at some point in the future) — Agency of the Year. That’s, in part, because firms that take culture seriously tend to attract and retain smart and creative talent who, in turn, produce stellar work. It’s a simple formula but one that’s easily overlooked amid the breathless pace and tremendous pressures that are an  inevitable reality of agency life. But this pace is exactly why agencies shouldn’t underestimate the power its culture has on the work its employees produce.


The firms recognized on the rankings include a few holding companies firms, but mostly independents. Some have generous benefits, others prioritize professional development or interesting work that keeps talent engaged. We’re working on a series of stories explore the factors that drive recruitment, retention and engagement within our industry. All participating firms can also obtain their own results mapped against either the industry or its competitive set. (For more information on this, see FAQ.) 

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APRIL 9, 2019 //     

Say So: Mobility Culture: Imagine What’s Possible

Credit: iStockBy: Marcus Gamo and Lisa Rosenberg

Allison+Partners’ latest industry report, The Birth of Mobility Culture, explores the implications for brand marketers of changing definitions of transportation. The study uncovered a shift from car culture to mobility culture, one that will be driven forward by Gen Z. Senior Vice President and Automotive Specialty Group Lead Marcus Gamo introduced the new study at a communications panel with executives from Toyota, Uber and Trōv.  In this installment of “Say So,” he and agency Chief Creative Officer Lisa Rosenberg discuss what stood out, as well as the impact mobility culture may have on the future of how we get from here to there.

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Marcus: I’m still amazed at how far we’ve come so quickly in accepting and consuming new modes of transportation. I had to laugh during one of our conversations about the thought that we were warned not too long ago about the risks of getting together with a stranger you’d meet online … or getting into a car with a stranger for a ride. Now, it’s incredibly common, accepted and rewarded for using our smartphones to Uber to a bar or restaurant to meet someone you’ve only connected with through Tinder! This really does speak to a dramatic shift in our values and behavior. What really stood out to me from the study and our panel conversation was that the birth of this new culture was sparked by our youngest group of consumers – Gen Z. These consumers are placing more emphasis on “we” values, such as shared time and experiences, rather than “me” values, which have defined other generations … especially Millennials.

Lisa:  That is so funny! I remember telling my kids when they were little never to get in cars with strangers and, now that they are teenagers (and squarely Gen Z), they think nothing about hopping into an UberPool and heading to a party hosted by someone they “know” only on social. It will be interesting to see how mobility culture evolves as this generation drives it forward. I can imagine brands outside of the mobility space looking to partner with a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft as a way to capitalize on these “we” values and offer customized, branded experiences that can be shared and enjoyed with others. Who’s to say that in a few years you won’t be able to order up a “Beauty Bar Uber” so that you and a girlfriend can have your hair and makeup done while in route to a night on the town.

Marcus: I think you’re exactly right! If we look around our current mobility world today, there’s a real desire for drivers and passengers alike to rethink how they spend time on the road. The infotainment system of the past, with those in the car passively listening to music, a podcast or even taking a call, will look much more like James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke. We heard from Gen Z that they value a connection between mobility and engagement, especially with each other. If the entertainment value of the drive or ride experience is determined by the time spent with others, we can imagine the positive benefits. No longer is that drive home from work a commute. It’s a happy hour that doesn’t focus on the total time spent in the car. This may open people to the idea of moving and traveling further out from a city center, and create new communities, jobs and economic centers.  

Lisa: I think you’re on to something, especially when you consider the behaviors and preferences of Gen Z. This is a generation that’s just now entering the workforce for the first time. From what we’ve seen, they are going to flip today’s discussion of work-life balance on its head and will expect flexibility when it comes to how, when and where they work. If a commute is no longer the dreaded drag that it is for many today, we may see a generational shift away from urban centers and a return to the great outdoors. I can see it now – 20-somethings traversing the New York tri-state in the Jetson’s-like pods from my favorite television show growing up, while enjoying breakfast with friends before parachuting down to their offices’ drop zone in time for their first morning meeting. If that’s the mobility culture we’re driving towards, sign me up – it sounds like fun!

Marcus Gamo is a Senior Vice President and the agency's Automotive Specialty Group Lead and Lisa Rosenberg is the agency's Chief Creative Officer.

AGENCY NEWS // APRIL 8, 2019 //     

2019 North America Midsize PR Agencies of the Year

Credit: Holmes Report

The 2019 North America PR Agencies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving more than 150 submissions and 50 face-to-face meetings with the best PR firms across the US and Canada.

Analysis of each of the 70 finalists across 14 categories can be accessed via the navigation menu to the right or below. Winners are unveiled at the 2019 North American SABRE Awards on May 7 at Cipriani 42nd St in New York. 

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When two great agencies come together, the results are better than chocolate.

OneChocolate is now part of Allison+Partners