Sunnier Side of the Office – February 25, 2019

Every time somebody’s driving somebody, I lose.” 

- Spike Lee, backstage, on losing out at the Oscars to Green Book this year – and Driving Miss Daisy back in 1990

By: Wells Wallace

Meet TikTok, the short-form video app that has Vine lovers feeling very nostalgic.

Often described as a lip-syncing app, TikTok is best known for its act-out memes backed by music and other sound clips (think #InMyFeelings challenge). The app has skyrocketed in popularity and was the #1 most-downloaded app on The App Store in 2018. In December alone it gained 75 million new users. What makes it stand out from Instagram and Snapchat? In terms of features, it has an impressive suite of video-editing tools. But more than than that, the tone of the app feels different than that of other social platforms. As TechCrunch put it:

Users today are engaged in the culture wars on Twitter (ban the Nazis! protect free speech!), while YouTubers are gaming the algorithm with hateful, exploitive, dangerous and otherwise questionable content that freaks out advertisers. And Facebook is, well, contributing to war crimes and the toppling of democracy. Meanwhile, TikTok often presents an alternative version of online sharing. Simple, goofy, irreverent — and frankly, it’s a much needed reset.

While Gen Z is the overwhelming majority currently, the audience is quickly expanding beyond that. After using the app himself, this past November Jimmy Fallon incorporated a TikTok “challenge” into his late night show. TikTok challenges make up the bulk of the app’s content and are essentially a video format for users to iterate on.

While there are no ad units currently, brands are increasingly tapping influencers to advertise on the platform. Universal Pictures as well as the NFL are recent examples. However just last week, Digiday published an article saying that there are four TikTok ad products in the works: a brand takeover, an in-feed native video ad, a hashtag challenge and a Snapchat-style 2D lens filter for photos.

Spotify Acquires Gimlet Media and Anchor
By: Arthi Veeraragavan

Over the past few weeks, Spotify has acquired two podcast networks, Gimlet Media and Anchor. With this move, the decade old music streaming provider is shifting from being the go-to destination for music fans, to a provider of online audio. 

Gimlet Media, the network behind popular podcasts “Reply All” and “Crimetown," will add significantly to Spotify’s podcast line-up, while Anchor will help build the foundation for new content through its tools for recording and distribution. 

With a robust selection of content, Spotify will enhance the podcast listening experience by bringing a tailored approach to content and advertising. As Brian Benedik, VP and Global Head of Advertising Sales at Spotify, told TechCrunch, “The more understanding you have around the music you stream, the more we can personalize the ad experience. Now we can take that to podcasts.” 
What (Brands Think) People Want
By: Luke Yun

Authenticity is to brands what location is to real estate. Ninety percent of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands to like and support - up from 86% in 2017 - but are brands delivering?

Stackla recently ran a survey with 1,590 consumers and 150 B2C marketers from the U.S, UK and Australia that shows a big discrepancy in what actually drives trust. While marketers strongly believe their content resonates authentically, a majority of consumers disagree. The numbers speak for themselves:

When it comes to driving trust, user-generated content remains king: 58% of consumers say that UGC is the most authentic form of content. Yet marketers think otherwise: 

Layer in purchase intent and UGC still comes out on top. Above professional brand images and celebrity/influencer content. 

TL;DR - Brands and marketers pressure themselves into creating high-quality content at a high volume when they really should be leaning more into user-generated content to foster relationships and build trust. 

Apple's Instagram presence, bolstering the #ShotoniPhone campaign, is a great north star for how even the most aesthetically driven brands can lead with a UGC approach. 
Nike debuted their new spot, "Dream Crazier" during last night's Oscars, where a 30-second ad cost $2.6 million (50% less than the Super Bowl).
Copyright © 2019 M/H VCCP, All rights reserved.

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