Taco Bell & Lyft Announce “Taco Mode”

Our friends at Taco Bell and Lyft announced a fun partnership yesterday: “Taco Mode.”

From the Lyft announcement, “Taco Mode is an in-app option for Lyft passengers seeking the ultimate Taco Bell experience — including a free Doritos Locos Taco when you ride-thru Taco Bell on the way to their next destination. Drivers are also not required to participate, but can choose to opt-in if interested.”

If the driver has opted-in, Taco Mode will allow Lyft passengers to request rides that incorporate a stop at a Taco Bell drive-through between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.

The new mode will be tested in Orange County, California, July 27-30 and August 3-6, 2017.


Matt Hofherr Offers Some Advice: “Get on the Phone”

In a recent installment of an ongoing series from Crain’s where they ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy, our Co-Founder, Matt Hofherr, shared some advice from his own career.

The mistake Matt says he made: he sent an email when I should have used the phone.

The experience came 15 years ago when Matt was President of another agency.

The lesson he discovered was an important one in communication: “Email can be evil. If there’s any tone or emotion, you have to pick up the phone.”

Check out the full piece from Crain’s here.

Nielsen Ratings Now Include Hulu & YouTube TV


Nielsen took a step in modernizing its ratings yesterday with the addition of Hulu and YouTube TV to its live ratings.

“This is the first time the biggest digital-first, TV streaming companies have come into the fold in terms of being included in TV ratings,” Nielsen’s President of Product Leadership Megan Clarken said.

The update in a small way reflects shifts in viewership over the last few years. It also comes just a few months after Hulu and YouTube launched their live TV services.

As AdAge notes, “the immediate lift to the commercial ratings in the three and seven days after a program airs, the measures known as C3 and C7, will likely be minimal. That’s because ads in shows seen on Hulu and YouTube will only count if they’re exactly the same as on live TV.”

The change is a positive step towards accurately measuring how viewers consume content in the ever-changing modern landscape. It’s still a long way to go in getting the full picture.

Facebook Hits 2 Billion Monthly Users


Thirteen years after launching and less than five years after hitting 1 billion monthly users, Facebook now has 2 billion monthly active users.

“We’re getting to a size where it’s worth really taking a careful look at what are all the things that we can do to make social media the most positive force for good possible,” Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox told TechCrunch.

To put Facebook’s enormous user base in perspective, the world’s population is currently 7.5 billion and about 3.5 billion people were estimated to have internet access at last count in 2015. I’ve never been great at math, but that’s like, a lot of people.

News Orgs Join To Collectively Negotiate with Google & Facebook


News organizations like The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post are teaming up to collectively bargain against Google & Facebook.

The News Media Alliance, a U.S. newspaper trade body, is asking for a limited antitrust exemption from Congress for newspapers to be able to band together to negotiate collectively and attempt to alter the pair’s dominance of the digital advertising industry, the New York Times reports.

Google & Facebook are gaining increasing control over news distribution.

Newspapers that once controlled their relationship with their readers/customers, now have to rely on these big online platforms to get their articles in front of people.

Mark Thompson, the chief executive of The New York Times Company, said: “the temperature is rising in terms of concern and in some cases anger, about what seems like a very asymmetric, disadvantageous relationship between the publishers and the very big digital platforms.”

See the full New York Times article here.

Amazon Wreaks Havoc on Multiple Sectors’ Stocks


Wreaking havoc on competitive industries and their stocks is nothing new for Amazon, but they’ve had a particularly big month.

As Amazon keeps innovating, other companies are losing.

Best Buy stock took a $1 billion tumble last week when Amazon announced a Geek Squad competitor that will help consumers set up their home gadgets.

Supermarket stocks like Costco, Kroger, Walmart, and Target were all down big in wake of the news that Amazon planned to acquire Whole Foods. Costco, in particular, was down close to 16%.

And apparel stocks like Foot Locker and Under Armour were down while Nike’s stock was way up following Amazon & Nike partnership news.

And don’t expect Amazon to slow down.

In other news, tomorrow is Amazon Prime Day. 30 hours of deals starting at 9 PM ET.




MH Sounds: June 2017


1 – Run The Jewels Also known by the initialism RTJ, is an American hip-hop supergroup formed in 2013 by rapper/producer El-P and rapper Killer Mike

2 – Kendrick Lamar “It’s a great, great experience to finally get the reception that you know you rightfully deserve.” – Kendrick

3 – Drake You’ll always be our Champagne Papi.

4 – Radiohead Maybe they’ll name a new album, “Okay, Google.”

5 – Father John Misty Fun fact: Josh Tillman (Fr. Misty’s real name) was the original drummer for Christian metal band, Demon Hunter.

Snap Map: Innovative or Creepy?


Snap launched a location sharing feature last week in an effort to get people to meet up face to face instead of watching each other’s lives via phone screen.

To see the new feature, open Snap camera and pinch the screen. There you’ll see your friends who have opted in along with a heat map of any hotbed locations for snap activity. You can choose to show your location to no one (Ghost Mode), friends, or just select friends.

This is loosely related to Instagram Stories’ recent feature, adding stories to locations. If you tap on the location in an Instagram post, you can see user-posted stories from the location in the last 24 hours.

Snap needs to find innovative ways to keep users. Instagram’s Stories is less than a year old and is rapidly outpacing Snap with daily user numbers.

Facebook Pursuing Scripted TV Programming

Facebook is reportedly in talks with Hollywood studios and talent agencies about producing TV-quality shows and original programming. Sources say the new programming could launch late summer.

In meetings with major talent agencies including Creative Artists Agency, United Talent Agency, William Morris Endeavor and ICM Partners, Facebook has indicated it is willing to commit to production budgets as high as $3 million per episode, putting them in the same production class as high-end cable-TV shows.

Facebook is also pursuing lower budget episodic content with a mission of trying to own as much of the content as possible. This is part of Facebook’s ongoing effort to target the billions spent on television every year.

Vice President of Media Partnerships Nick Grudin said, “We’re supporting a small group of partners and creators as they experiment with the kinds of shows you can build a community around—from sports to comedy to reality to gaming. We’re focused on episodic shows and helping all our partners understand what works across different verticals and topics.”

Facebook is a little late to this crowded game. However, all it takes is one big show to shoot to the top. Last year there were more than 455 scripted shows on TV.

AMC Launches Commercial-Free Upgrade via Comcast


As broadcast ratings for episodic TV fall, AMC is experimenting with a new upgrade for Comcast subscribers called AMC Premiere.

For $4.99-a-month, viewers will be about to watch AMC shows like “The Walking Dead” or “Better Call Saul” without any commercial interruption.

AMC Premiere will have other features to attract subscribers, including bonus scenes and interviews with casts and writers. It will not, however, have past seasons of many of AMC’s shows.

AMC’s president, Charlie Collier, thinks the new service will attract fans of the network’s biggest shows.

“This is not a stand-alone service,” he said, referring to the ever-growing range of products like HBO Now or its counterpart from Showtime. “This is an option, a choice or an upgrade to fans who love the product.”

Going through Comcast is a way for AMC to fight against cord-cutting and encourage cable subscribers to not defect to an ad-free online video service.

AMC parent company AMC Networks Inc. saw its revenue fall 6.2% in Q1 2017.