Audi Wins Three Graphis Awards

Good news for our friends at Audi! We worked with Audi and photographers Reuben Wu and RJ Muna to create stunning photos for Audi’s Instagram feed.

Not content with the same old automotive photography, we traveled everywhere — from the Ice Castles in New Hampshire to Transylvania to the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah — to create magazine-editorial worthy photographs for Instagram.

We’re delighted Audi’s trip to Transylvania won Gold and Silver in the Automotive category. The visit to the Mars Desert Research Station series (above) took home a Silver, also in the Automotive category.

Congrats to all!

Sunnier Side of the Office

Google’s Chrome Ad Blocker is Here

Google rolled out its built-in Chrome ad blocker last week, a move that is expected to make a big impact on the web. Its goal is to block annoying ads, such as auto-play ads with sound and pop-up ads, with a particular emphasis on mobile ads. It will also blacklist sites that violate specific guidelines, and then filter all ads on those sites (though so far the number of sites in violation is very small).

“The company notified sites in advance that they would be subject to the filtering, and 42 percent made preemptive changes, the spokesperson says, including Forbes, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and In Touch Weekly,” said Wired.

Google’s evaluation of ads is based on the Coalition For Better Ads standards. The Coalition is a group of major digital advertising players, including Google, Facebook, GroupM, Crieto and many more. The Wall Street Journal reported that “several coalition members said Google conceived of the coalition and conducted the bulk of the research it used to determine which ads should be blocked.”

More than 59% of internet users use Chrome, so it does pretty much force ad-reliant publishers to comply with the standards. Many publishers are welcoming the changes, though some are reportedly somewhat uncomfortable with the company’s power.

Google’s AMP Project Releases New Story Format

By Katharine Painter

In 2015, Google launched the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Project to accelerate load time of content on mobile devices. In basic terms, the AMP Project is a set of guidelines that a website developer follows when creating mobile web pages to allow nearly instantaneous page loading and smooth scrolling. Today, there are nearly 31 million AMP domains.

Last week, Google announced the launch of the AMP story format, similar to stories on Snapchat and Instagram. The story format is now available for anyone to use; however, CNN, Mashable, and Conde Nast are some of the first adopters. Stories appear within Google search, allowing publishers to connect with consumers as they’re actively seeking information.

As consumers are spending more time on their mobile devices, it’s important for publishers to tell an intriguing story, while also fulfilling expectations of a quick loading, smooth user experience.

While ads aren’t currently available in this format, a Google spokesperson mentioned that details around advertising will be released in the upcoming weeks. Since stories will be created from scratch, it’ll be interesting to see if publishers use resources to develop new posts. If they do, brands will have new ways to incorporate themselves within this content.

Audi Wins Three Graphis Awards

Good news for our friends at Audi! We worked with Audi and photographers Reuben Wu and RJ Muna to create stunning photos for Audi’s Instagram feed. Not content with the same old automotive photography, we traveled everywhere — from the Ice Castles in New Hampshire to Transylvania to the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah — to create magazine-editorial worthy photographs for Instagram.

We’re delighted Audi’s trip to Transylvania won Gold and Silver in the Automotive category. The visit to the Mars Desert Research Station series (above) took home a Silver, also in the Automotive category.

Congrats to all!

How Facebook’s Vision for Democracy Crumbled

By Jessica Gaylord

Wired released an in-depth report last week detailing how Facebook’s defensive, confused behavior led the platform to “disaster.” Around two years ago, Facebook wanted to be the platform for breaking news. However, it’s clear that Facebook did not carefully consider the implications of becoming a dominant force in the news industry. Mark Zuckerberg saw Facebook as an open, neutral platform. He had to, or else Facebook would be responsible for the content its users put out into the world based on Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

To maintain this image, as well as avoid regulation, Facebook started presenting every piece of information to its users regardless of its veracity. Sensational headlines and fake news became favored in the algorithm, which Russian operatives took advantage of for the 2016 presidential election. But Facebook didn’t catch this until it was too late—leading it to only now take steps to rectify the damage. The article is worth reading, even if you don’t personally use Facebook.

Sunnier Side of the Office

Twitter Soars After Ad Spend, Video Content Increases

Twitter’s earnings report last week surely made investors happy. The company posted its first revenue growth in four quarters, driven by improvements to its app and added video content that are persuading advertisers to boost spending on the social network, according to Bloomberg. It also reported profit for the first time, after aggressively slashing spending.

From Bloomberg: “The report adds to positive momentum in recent months for Twitter, which spent the second half of 2017 explaining how Russian-linked accounts — including automated bots — influenced content on its platform around the 2016 U.S. presidential election. [CEO Jack] Dorsey has been working to broaden Twitter from a microblogging site into a destination for users to see ‘what’s happening now’ by striking live-streaming partnerships with news outlets and sports leagues.”

Some observers have questioned whether Facebook’s pain is Twitter’s gain. With Facebook’s recent news that it’s de-prioritizing brands and publishers’ organic posts, you could argue that marketers may find Twitter more attractive. It’s possible that’s true to some degree because brands and publishers still have a shot at organic reach on Twitter. But then again, it’s not necessarily a zero-sum game wherein one platform’s changes equal a total win for another.

After all, many marketers are probably spending on both platforms. And with Facebook’s tweak, the fact that brands’ organic posts will be seen less may prompt marketers to spend even more on Facebook in the form of paid posts.

Who Is Poppy?

YouTube stars have come into the spotlight recently, and not always for good reasons. A few weeks back, we wrote about YouTuber Logan Paul, who faced backlash after he posted a video of a dead body — complete with callous commentary — during a recent trip to Japan.

But there are far more interesting YouTubers who pull in hundreds of millions (or even billions) of views and sometimes millions in ad dollars. New York magazine’s The Cut last week profiled one such luminary: Poppy, a mysterious YouTuber whose persona leads some to wonder whether she is a robot and whether she’s satirizing YouTube fame or if she’s earnestly pursuing it. (Who knows!)

“Is she a robot, a troll, a high-concept art project, a postmodern cultural critique, a cult leader, a clever satirist?” asks The Cut. “Do I get the joke? Is there a joke? What is reality, even? But somehow, Poppy has confused people into paying attention to her.”

In reality, she’s an actual human, probably inspired by the likes of Andy Warhol, Banksy and Matthew Barney. She and her “collaborator-slash-Svengali-figure” Titanic Sinclair, are keenly aware how to use an identity shrouded in vagueness to their video-view (and ad dollar) advantage. She’s even becoming a pop star now, touring to promote her album. Her mystique has prompted countless YouTube conspiracy-theory videos (of course) that declare she’s a robot and/or a member of the illuminati. Again, she is a human being.

For a fascinating look at Poppy and YouTube fame, read the whole story here.

Amazon’s Echo Look Joins Forces With Vogue and GQ 

By Zuli Mohammad

Amazon is continuing to exhibit ways in which their line of Echos can work towards supporting e-commerce. Most recently, their “Echo Look” line, which includes a camera and companion app, announced its first ever publisher collaboration with Vogue and GQ that will debut on Feb. 19.

This collaboration will allow these publications to insert everything from fashion recommendations to celebrity content, some of it being shoppable, within the Echo Look’s companion app. The most exciting part of this collaboration will be how it will serve in increasing sales for certain brands. Additionally, the publisher will be receiving a cut of the sales made.

Currently, the Echo Look is only used by a small percentage of the 31 million people that use Alexa-powered devices. It is also important to note that purchasing the Echo Look can only be done after requesting an invitation (and Amazon has yet to disclose how many it has sent out), so it is unclear how many people this test will reach.

M/H is eager to see how these tests with GQ and Vogue rollout, as the results (positive or negative) will help to establish further ways in which brands can integrate into AI and help drive sales on an emerging platform.

This Week in Social: Platform User Growth Is A Long Way From Stable

Social-media platform growth is big news these days as media dollars shift from traditional channels to social. Instagram is the front-runner for platform growth, but there are deeper levels to those numbers and they paint a clearer picture of what ages are contributing to new user growth. They also can reveal where people under 25 are consuming media.

While Instagram has seen steady growth and the news is full of headlines about how Instagram released their Stories feature and essentially killed Snap — Snap isn’t done yet. According to Ad Age via eMarketer, “… Snapchat might be the new destination of choice among youth, according to eMarketer. Snapchat already has more 12- to 24-year-old users than Instagram, and is still adding more users in that age range than Instagram.”

The two more fragile platforms, Twitter and Snap, both reported positive revenue results to shareholders last week while Facebook reported the first daily user decline for the first time in recent memory. What are marketers to make of this rapidly changing landscape and how can they avoid whiplash from all the chaos? Partner with social-savvy media teams and agencies with nimble teams who are fully immersed in this constantly changing landscape.


Sunnier Side of the Office

Super Bowl Mania

Much of the past week’s coverage has been dedicated to Super Bowl stories. In case you haven’t had a chance to comb over the Super Bowl advertising coverage, here are a couple links:

Ad Age’s ad review. Among their favorites are Amazon’s Alexa ad, Tide, Sprint and Febreze.

Amazon’s Alexa ad wasn’t just a favorite at Ad Age — it won the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter
Adweek’s top 5 ads of the Big Game.

Facebook To Prioritize Local News While Still De-prioritizing News Overall

A few weeks ago, Facebook announced sweeping changes to its newsfeed algorithm that would favor individual users over publishers and brands. In the weeks since that announcement, the company said it would, in fact, prioritize some types of news, including news from “trusted” publishers.

Last week, Facebook said it would also prioritize news articles from local publishers. And it’s testing a new section on its social network to serve as a dedicated home for local news and events.

“We identify local publishers as those whose links are clicked on by readers in a tight geographic area. If a story is from a publisher in your area, and you either follow the publisher’s Page or your friend shares a story from that outlet, it might show up higher in News Feed,” Facebook’s head of news product Alex Hardiman and head of news partnerships Campbell Brown wrote in a company blog post.

How to Achieve Social Analytics Success

By Coltin Chapman

Social media has become the chosen medium of the current generation to express their opinions, and most importantly, share pictures of the food they’ve eaten. There are millions of conversations taking place at any given moment on social media, and brands are becoming more involved in these discussions. The top 10 brands of any industry drive 70% of the total volume of conversation across that industry’s social networks.

Adweek’s “7 Social Analytics Best Practices” dives deep into key social tactics that, when practiced, help positively expand a brand’s social presence, improve a brands reputation and drive stronger campaign performance. More importantly, the data insights gained from these practices help give brands a competitive advantage. Social trend data helps identify a customer’s intent and allows marketers to deliver a more personalized and segmented experience. This is why the webinar’s best practices are rooted in how to engage consumers with social media.

M/H adheres to all of these identified best practices to deliver a premium experience for our brands and their customers. Check out the webinar to learn more how to create (and operate within) a data-driven social strategy to make your overall marketing resume stand out among other marketers.

This Week in Social: Morality Super Bowl Spot? RIP, Your Mentions

by Melissa Santiago

Brands making morality statements in Super Bowl ads is not new, but social media backlash is a growing trend brands have to prepare themselves to receive. Ahead of the Big Game, news came out that Hyundai would be moving away from their women’s empowerment spot and toward a post about fighting childhood cancer. They cited the backlash other advertisers received last year as a reason to change direction. Meanwhile, Ram went ahead with a post containing audio from MLK and it was received with a healthy dose of backlash.

Before social media was a key platform for opinions and bandwagon criticism of brands, the ad trades and mainstream media would dominate the conversation about an ad’s success. Today, brands get swift and immediate feedback. Social rallying cries to boycott or support brands can explode on Twitter and other platforms mere seconds after the spot airs.

It’s still important for brands to conduct offline qualitative research to determine how messages resonate with their user or customer base. The online conversation should not be ignored, but it also might not be a comprehensive enough basis that affects a company’s bottom line.

Sunnier Side of the Office

The Follower Factory

A large following on social media has always been an easy (albeit lazy) way to decipher how influential a person is. Savvy marketers and internet users know that’s not necessarily true, but the convention has never stopped celebrities, athletes, politicians and even some marketing consultants from buying followers to boost their audiences.

One of the problems with buying followers is that buyers are often purchasing bots and profiles that amount to social media identity theft, the latter of which are created to mimic unwitting real profiles. You’re not actually buying real engagement when you’re buying these followers, even if the bots do retweet your posts.

And although buying followers is against the terms of service for companies like Twitter, people still do get away with it and platforms are struggling to respond. And Influencer agencies have dealt with this by putting checks in place to ensure that the influencers in their networks do not buy fake followers.

This issue has been around for some time, but for an in-depth and interactive look at how fake followers are bought and the companies behind these operations, check out this New York Times story.

Amazon is targeting Google Search Budgets

Much has been said in the last couple years about Google and Facebook, better known as the marketing duopoly, whose advertising functions swallow up nearly all the growth in digital advertising and account for close to two-thirds of digital advertising revenue. Part of this narrative is identifying the next potential powerhouse to rival these giants.

Enter Amazon, which has been quietly building an advertising operation over the years. While the company may not come close to Facebook and Google just yet, Digiday reports that Amazon is going after search budgets as Amazon Marketing Services, its search marketing platform, grows rapidly.

For a look inside this burgeoning property within Amazon and its strategy, see this Digiday story.

The Impact of Digital Video on TV Viewership

By Arthi Veeraragavan

ComScore, an industry leader in ad measurement, recently conducted a research study measuring the impact of YouTube ad exposure on live TV viewership.

Results showed those exposed to content on YouTube related to an upcoming TV premiere were 17% more likely to tune into the premiere than those who were not exposed digitally.

Lift in likelihood for tune-in was even higher when exposure came in immediate proximity to the premiere date as well as high frequency:

  • 24% lift amongst those that were exposed the day of the TV premiere

  • 49% lift amongst those exposed 3+ times

  • 133% lift amongst those exposed 5+ times

So what does this mean for brands? By providing support for online video’s ability to deliver increased ratings for TV, the study sheds some light on the power of online video to “reach, inform, and engage consumers” in an efficient and scalable manner, ultimately driving impactful business results.

How to turn 50 Cent Into $7 Million

By Jessica Gaylord

Get rich or die trying. Luckily, rapper 50 Cent successfully achieved the former by becoming a Bitcoin millionaire—albeit by accident.  In 2014, the rapper let fans buy his album Animal Ambition with Bitcoin, pulling in around 700 bitcoins for a total of $400,000 at the time. Like many early cryptocurrency investors, however, his account lay dormant for years. But as the value of the cryptocurrency skyrocketed, his Bitcoin earnings are now currently worth somewhere between $7 to $8.5 million.

Upon TMZ breaking the story, 50 Cent admitted he had completely forgotten about his Bitcoin earnings but said on social media he was proud of his unexpected financial windfall. Considering he not long ago declared bankruptcy, it seems like a more than reasonable humblebrag. Good thing he was able to access his login information, or he’d have to keep chasing paper like everyone else.


Sunnier Side of the Office

Facebook To Rank News Outlets on Trustworthiness

Last week we wrote about Facebook’s algorithm overhaul in which the company announced it would prioritize posts by people’s friends rather than publishers’ and companies’ posts. Then late FridayFacebook said it would rank news outlets based on how “trustworthy” they determine them to be.

“There’s too much sensationalism, misinformation, and polarization in the world today,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a post announcing the news. “Social media enables people to spread information faster than ever before, and if we don’t specifically tackle these problems, then we end up amplifying them.” He said expects a 20% drop in the number of news people see.

To do this, Facebook will poll select users to help determine what outlets are considered trustworthy.

The move will likely have far-reaching implications. From Ad Age: “The changes Facebook is making will impact the makeup of content that everyone sees every day, Facebook has more than 2 billion monthly users when they go to their News Feeds. Publishers who rely on Facebook to reach their online audiences have been concerned by the impact the new priorities could have on their businesses.”

Spotify Adds Visual Podcasts to its Programming

By Katie McKinley

Spotify announced last Thursday that it is expanding its podcasting initiative with visually-enhanced audio programming about news, entertainment, sports, and politics. The new format, called Spotlight, includes text, video, and photos as a way to supplement its audio experiences. According to Spotify’s blog, “Spotlight gives fans a deeper insight to their favorite artists, playlists, books, publishers and more by offering contextual visual elements.”

Spotlight will provide content in a playlist format with visual elements available through the Spotify app. Spotify’s head of Studio and Video, Courtney William Holt, explains that the new playlist format “merges great storytelling, news, information and opinion” and “play[s] an important role in the daily lives of [Spotify] users bringing them closer to the creators they love”.

 Spotify is launching with content from its current partners, including BuzzFeed News, Cheddar, Crooked Media, Lenny Letter, Gimlet Media, Uninterrupted, Refinery29 a, d Genius, as well as with content from Spotify’s original series, RISE, Secret Genius, Spotify Singles, and Viva Latino. The feature is currently only available in the U.S. and will eventually expand to other countries.

 As the world’s biggest streaming music service, the new initiative is an effort for Spotify to differentiate itself from its competitors including Apple Music and Pandora, as well as to further compete with YouTube. The implications for advertisers in still to be determined, but M/H will monitor as updates are released.

Twitter Notifies Almost 700,000 Users About Russian Tweets

By now we’ve all heard about the Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, some of it through an elaborate social media scheme by Kremlin-connected Internet Research Agency. Details are still trickling out. Last week, Twitter said it found more than 1,000 Twitter accounts linked to the IRA and that the company will notify nearly 700,000 users who followed or otherwise interacted with the accounts (which have since been suspended).

“After the 2016 election, we launched our Information Quality initiative to further develop strategies to detect and prevent bad actors from abusing our platform,” said the company in a post. “We have since made significant improvements while recognizing that we have more to do as these patterns of activity develop and shift over time.”

Read more at Ad Age.

This Week In Social: Mainstream Memes

By Melissa Santiago

Memes are a growing segment of online culture and are a bit of shorthand for die-hard internet culture junkies. Memes rarely leave social platforms, but Tide Pods are blazing a new trail. Tide Pods have always been an ill-advised forbidden treat appealing to children under 5 since their market release, forcing P&G to tweak their packaging multiple times; however, around 2015 memes about the adult fascination with ingesting the pods started to circulate on message boards and in satirical publications like The Onion.

The meme resurfaced in late 2017, but this time the conversation has bubbled up beyond the typical social reach of memes. Major media outlets are covering the phenomenon either seriously or satirically including The New Yorker and SNL. While the idea of ingesting a laundry pod is comical because it’s so absurd, YouTube has had to remove videos of people actually eating Tide Pods, media outlets are warning people not to eat them, and Time reports that Poison Control calls for teens “misusing” laundry pods in January alone is higher than all incidents reported in all of 2016.

Tide also relied on celebrity, influencer endorsement to tell people not to eat their product via a social video—a use-case for influencers that even the savviest social media professional could not have predicted.

Sunnier Side of the Office

Facebook Overhauls Newsfeed Again, Affecting Brands and Publishers

The biggest news last week in media circles was Facebook’s plan to make big changes to its news feed. The move is set to affect both brands and publishers, as the company plans to prioritize posts by people’s friends rather than publishers’ and companies’ posts, including video. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post announcing the change Thursday: “We’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content—posts from businesses, brands and media—is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.” Zuckerberg noted that engagement and time spent on Facebook will likely go down, but he expects that time spent on the platform will be “more valuable.”

This all comes, of course, after Facebook was scrutinized post-election for the distribution of fake news articles, which were often fabricated or extremely hyperpartisan stories.

Publishers are bracing for an impact on their traffic. For the last few years, Facebook has been deprioritizing clickbait headlines, but the New York Times called this update “the most significant overhaul in years,” noting that over the next few weeks, Facebook users will see less viral videos and articles shared by media companies.

Digiday reported that Facebook told publishers “it will favor content that’s shared by users or otherwise actively engaged with. The thinking goes, according to those briefed, that Facebook believes prioritizing content that’s acted on will reduce the occurrence of fake and offensive content in the news feed.” Publishers worry, though, that legitimate articles may not surface on the news feed if people don’t comment on them enough.

For brands, it will likely impact engagement as users see fewer organic posts from brands — though again, organic reach has been in decline for years. It could prompt marketers to invest more in paid posts on Facebook, and the Wall Street Journal noted media buyers are already expecting ad prices to increase in light of this change.

“It’s simple mathematics for a display business: Less time on Facebook and fewer ads can only mean that the ads that do show are more expensive,” Paul Mead, chairman of London-based media agency VCCP Media, part of our parent agency VCCP, told WSJ.

Google To Vet Premium YouTube Videos Amid More Content Concerns

Google is planning to better vet top-tier YouTube videos that it bundles for Advertisers, Bloomberg reported. The move will better filter YouTube videos that are part of Google Preferred, its platform of YouTube videos that Google sells to marketers are higher prices, as concerns over inappropriate content running alongside brand ads continue.

Since last year, advertisers and observers have complained about inappropriate and sometimes exploitive videos involving children, as well as popular YouTube stars like Logan Paul, whose debacle in Japan we wrote about last week.

According to Bloomberg, “Google told partners that it plans to use both human moderators — the company recently announced it will have 10,000 employees focused on the task — as well as artificial intelligence software to flag videos deemed inappropriate for ads.”

5 Takeaways on AR and VR from CES 2018

By Ben Shapiro

With CES 2018 in the books, marketers are buzzing about the tech trends for the coming year. One of those trends is the growth of augmented and virtual reality. Ad Age outlined 5 things they learned in Las Vegas about the current state of these immersive formats. While VR has been a staple at CES for a few years now, it appears AR is primed for a big boost.

  1. Because of the technology currently available to everyday users, there are higher barriers to entry for VR. AR, on the other hand, already presents a tangible value to consumers, whether it’s Pokémon Go or Wayfair’s home décor preview tool.

  2. Because immersive video is unlike any format to come before it, the direction it will take is difficult to project.

  3. The growth of immersive video will be driven by advancing mobile computing power. Though developing rapidly, contemporary technology is not built to maximize the potential of AR and VR. Soon enough, the average user will have access to a device that supports seamless integration of and more powerful uses for immersive formats.

  4. Though tech represents a pivotal factor in AR/VR development, quality content will also be key to mainstream adoption.

  5. As AR/VR is a new video format, advertising norms have yet to be set. First movers in the virtual space will have the advantage of helping to set these standards.

This Week In Social: Snapchat User Data Leaked

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

By Jessica Gaylord

Snapchat has always held its cards close regarding internal operations and data, giving only overarching statistics on daily active users since going public in March 2017. New reporting from The Daily Beast, however, reveals possible reasons why CEO Evan Spiegel has kept so quiet.

The report combs through months of confidential daily active user (DAU) metrics for every feature of the app, ultimately revealing that Snapchat is more of a chat app than a nascent social media platform. The data also reveals that many of its once-hyped features, like Snap Maps and Discover, saw a sharp decline in daily active users post-launch.

These numbers could help explain why Snapchat is planning on a major app redesign—the most significant since the app’s launch in 2011.

The report also paints a dim picture of the company’s culture, which is shrouded in secrecy and leaves many non-engineering teams in the dark on most aspects of Snapchat’s latest features.




Sunnier Side of the Office

Amazon Expected to Grow Advertising Through Alexa in 2018

 By Katharine Painter 

It’s no secret that Amazon has been dominating the ecommerce space for a while now. Because of that dominance, it’s somewhat surprising that the company’s digital advertising revenue ranks 5th among all U.S. companies. In late December, CNBC reported that Amazon has plans to increase digital ad revenue in 2018 by 42%. One of the ways they’re expected to grow ad revenue is through their Alexa-enabled devices.

Currently, the only advertisements on the Amazon Echo are within the skills that a user downloads. Amazon is currently exploring alternative advertising options on the Echo including:

  • Promoted search

  • Targeting consumers based on previous purchases

  • Tapping into additional Alexa skills

In the previous Sunnier Side of the Office, we named the rise of AI and AI-based products as a trend that will shape marketing in 2018. With Amazon being the largest player in the space (the Echo makes up 70% of the voice-enabled speaker market according to eMarketer), it makes sense that this would be a large development in increasing ad revenue. The exponential growth of these devices poses a great opportunity for brands to reach qualified consumers in their own homes and as new ad formats become available, many brands will be quick to hop on board.

ESPN’s New Pitch to Advertisers: ‘We Reach Women’

ESPN and other sports properties have long been used by advertisers to reach men. But ESPN, now that it’s got new data about its viewers, is more aggressively selling its female audience, starting with the College Football Playoff.

From WSJ: “ESPN’s sales pitch is an extension of its new marketing strategy to broaden its audience, with the aim of giving a boost to ratings and subscribers. The effort comes as ESPN grapples with a shift from traditional TV viewing to online consumption, leading to cord-cutting and subscriber losses. The network also recently announced that John Skipper resigned as its president, citing substance-abuse issues.”

Era of Peak TV Continues With 487 Scripted Shows in 2017

Do you find yourself having a hard time keeping up with all the new shows coming out? There’s a reason for that: The total number of scripted shows in 2017 hit 487, according to FX Networks, surpassing the previous record of 455 in 2016. Since 2012, the number of scripted shows has jumped 69% from 288 programs.

According to WSJ, “Original shows on streaming services accounted for 117 of the 487 programs last year. But the number of scripted shows also grew on broadcast television and pay-cable channels such as HBO and Showtime—up 4.8% to 153 shows and 17% to 42 shows, respectively.”

WSJ didn’t get into the exact number of how many of these shows are ad-supported. And while the number of scripted shows on broadcast has grown, the number of scripted shows available on platforms that aren’t ad-supported, like Netflix and HBO Now, is also growing.


Who Is Logan Paul?

By Melissa Santiago

If you haven’t heard the name Logan Paul in the last week, you likely haven’t spent much time on social media. His name has been inescapable and plagued with controversy. Logan Paul is a 22-year-old YouTube vlogger. He got his start on the social media platform Vine by making 6-second videos often involving physical humor or pranks. He later went on to star in and subsequently be fired from a Disney Channel show.

He is no stranger to negative press, but his antics last week could have long-lasting repercussions. He released a video on his YouTube channel making light of a suicide victim, going so far as to show the body on camera. Many fellow YouTube Creators, influencers, and celebrities spoke out against his actions.

He later Tweeted an apology that also received a negative response. The negative press about this specific video comes alongside many other problematic behaviors and accusations that have followed Logan over time. One of the biggest issues his critics have with his content, in general, is most of his devoted fans are ages 8-15 and highly impressionable. This also all comes on the heels of YouTube facing intense scrutiny for showing questionable material to young audiences and has opened a massive debate about whether social platforms are responsible for the content users upload.

M/H Sounds: November 2017


1 – Van Morrison is what everyone’s dad listens to.

2 – Alabama Shakes is a blues rock band from U-S-A.

3 – Beach House is an American dream pop band from Baltimore, Maryland.

4 – Alex Cameron is an Australian musician, singer, and songwriter.

5 – Gorillaz is an English virtual band created by musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett.

5 Trends That Will Shape Marketing in 2018

If you’re like us, you probably think 2017 has been a whirlwind of a year. Brand safety, Snapchat’s growing pains, and VR were all hot topics among marketers. As the year winds down, the team at M/H took a look at 5 big marketing trends that are expected to make a splash in 2018.

Artificial Intelligence

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine learning programs have grown, so has the rise of voice recognition. AI-based products (Amazon Echo/Alexa and Apple Home) are growing rapidly, and are increasingly becoming household names. In 2017, 20% of online searches were conducted through voice search and that number is set to increase to 50% by 2020. With more users relying on just their voice to search, marketers will have to adjust how they are currently building out their SEO strategies in 2018. Moving beyond voice recognition, AI has also led to the rise of chatbots, which will also continue to focus on a more personalized experience for consumers.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is a hot-ticket item as Facebook and Snapchat grow (much of AR’s growth can be attributed to the rise of Snapchat Lenses and Facebook Stories). A recent eMarketer study found that, “AR development has plodded along in the shadows of VR. But AR has assets that VR doesn’t: It is practical, it can run on mobile devices people already own and there is little downside to trying it”. eMarketer also projects that by the end of 2019 AR users will top 54.4 million, accounting for 16.4% of the US population, or nearly one in five internet users. From extending live experiences to offering compelling interactions brands can attract consumers by developing apps that let them see products in their very own life.

Video Live-Streaming

Live-streaming has grown as an emerging trend as brands are focusing more on personalization and transparency. From live interviews to special announcements, viewers watch live-stream videos 3 times longer than pre-recorded videos. Facebook has also found that one in five of its videos viewed is live-stream. Live-streaming continues to add a layer of authenticity and allows for consumers to feel connected to the brand. As more platforms begin to explore this trend, it is set to become more defined and clear in 2018.

Programmatic OTT & CTV

Over-the-top (OTT) video and Connected TV (CTV) are both changing the way viewers consume video and television. OTT/CTV is expected to see over 193 million US users by the end of 2017 and by 2021, it’s viewer penetration will approach ¾ of all internet users. stated that “In 2018 significantly more OTT and CTV inventory will be bought and monetized programmatically. Mobile will continue to be the go-to place for advertising and consumer engagement, but growth in OTT and CTV inventory means localized advertisers will have new opportunities with highly targeted video advertising in 2018.” As OTT and CTV ramp up in 2018, it will be important for advertisers to be there, too.

Third-Party Data Verification

As important as third-party data verification is, its modeling often does not include 100% accurate information. Digiday has stated that, “Data partners are paid based on their number of transactions, and not upon their accuracy. While advertising’s tech capabilities may have gotten much more sophisticated in recent years, priorities haven’t changed as quickly.” As marketers, we are constantly on the hunt for scale, but we need to take a step back and remind our partners why this data is so important in developing our brands. We rely so heavily on this data to advance our strategies, creative messaging, and building our overall audiences, that as Haidee Hanna, VP of Marketing at Resonate stated, “we should begin to demand more out of our data partners” this coming year.

Trends come and go, but 2018 marketing strategies will come out stronger by implementing one, a few, or even all of these trends.