The Sunnier Side of the Office – March 7, 2016

6aaa0863-efdd-4c5c-b190-337a32f84224Buzzfeed Took Over 30 Minutes of NBC Ad Time With Sponsored Content
Last week, Buzzfeed announced they would be increasing the amount of sponsored content they were producing. It took only a few days to see what they meant, when they took over 30 minutes of ad time during NBC’s primetime lineup. Effectively, that’s all of the ads over a 2 hour block of programming.

The content was created as part of a partnership with American Express and is likely the first of many more to come. Particularly because NBC Universal invested $200 million dollars into the digital publisher last August. The stunt could be a signal of things to come, as many networks are doing everything they can to bridge the gap between traditional and digital media. 

Indeed, NBC is not the only network to be testing out this form of advertising. Viceland, the brand new cable network from Vice, will be airing native ads that appear more editorial. Vice has long prided itself on understanding younger generations who are more averse to advertising, so it’s only fitting that they would be shaking up traditional television advertising with Viceland.  

f1027964-08c7-49a3-95fe-29fac8792736Marketers Are Increasingly Turning Their Eyes Towards AI, Skeptics Take Notice
Artificial Intelligence has become a crucial part of the changing tech world. First IBM’s Watson embarrassed a group of mortals on Jeopardy, then Mark Zuckerberg announced that he was building himself a Tony-Stark-esque assistant for his home and work, and Apple and Google both invested millions in AI programs of their own. AI is growing in the advertising world, particularly in the world of programmatic advertising, where ad placements are chosen and optimized based on language analysis and other elements of artificial intelligence. 

Many see the next frontier of AI as facial and emotional recognition software. Such software could be a huge boon to market researchers who have often struggled to get real insight into their targets, because it’s difficult for people to tell you how they really feel. Some advertisers have already used facial recognition technology in their campaigns, like this one from Bahai Coffee in London, where billboards changed based on passing people’s facial expressions.

Many are excited by the kind of deep insights and opportunity such technology provides, but not everyone is so enthusiastic. The fear of companies tracking and storing our data is already somewhat prevalent (ever wonder why ad and third party blockers are so popular?), so one could imagine how many would feel about having their face and emotions stored and studied by corporations. Last week, Stephen Colbert addressed the issue on The Late Show. The creators of South Park also took on the evolution of advertising, supposing that they would eventually learn how to read emotions and react just like humans, until they became indistinguishable from us. 

cbe5daf8-4292-4651-a93d-2b0be51e9465LinkedIn to Allow Targeting of Specific Companies
LinkedIn announced that they would begin allowing the ad targeting by place of employment, last week. Traditionally, it had allowed advertisers to use job titles, skills, and seniority, among other things, to target users. But the change will hopefully allow marketers to get more specific and bring in their own data. The change has already seen positive results.

5fcafe7c-92ad-40fd-a22c-8f4088b160ceMedia Partner of the Week: Viceland 

Viceland is the TV channel from the increasingly popular Vice. Viceland was created in partnership with A+E Networks and H2 and will be taking over what was H2 on TV. Early ratings show Viceland will reach 71MM rated homes via broadcast while also available on OTT platforms such as Roku, AppleTV and Playstation Vue among others. 

Viceland is releasing a compelling slate of edgy content, which it has become known for. There will be youth focused documentary series like Gaycation hosted by Ellen Page, topic driven journalism like Motherboard & Vice Sports, character centered pieces like F*CK That’s Delicious with Action Bronson and unique comedy-centered formats like Flop House.

Viceland will match consumer preference as it relates to ads with less ad time and more content. There will be co-created content between brands and Vice Labs in addition to traditional spots at a reduced load.

c24b8a9a-5b42-45f3-bd8d-c658bb17bed9This Week in Social: The Future Of Social Is Fleeting (Major Key)

There’s been a lot of talk about Snapchat in the media, where most people reporting on it have already aged out of its (key emoji) demographic.

Facing nearly saturated markets on what have become the other channels, SnapChat’s highly-guarded business secrets, bizarre practices (rainbow-vomit selfie filter), and viral spokespeople (DJ KHALED) leaves marketers and social platform developers over 25 years old scratching their heads and wondering how to reach new users. 

With real-time integration, a rapidly growing user base and the potential for major ad revenue, Snapchat is no longer the space for sexting and selfies. Snapchat is getting the red carpet roll out from the Oscars to the MLB dugout.