Amazon Gets 238 Proposals Across North America for ‘HQ2’

Amazon’s second headquarters, dubbed HQ2, has lured 238 proposals extending across 54 states, provinces, districts and territories in North America, the company said Monday. Only seven U.S. states refrained from bidding: Arkansas, Hawaii, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Vermont, according to a map Amazon published on its website.

Cities are battling for Amazon’s investment of $5 billion in construction and 50,000 high-paying jobs spread over the next two decades: New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered landmarks around the city lit up in “Amazon orange” before the bids were due last week. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau penned a personal letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos advocating for HQ2. Newark, New Jersey, has offered $7 billion in potential tax credits.

Amazon’s preferences for HQ2 include a metropolitan location with a population of more than 1 million, mass transit, proximity to an international flight hub and the potential to retain and attract technical talent. The new home will be a full equal to the Seattle headquarters, said the tech giant. In addition to direct hiring and investment from Amazon, HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs and tens of billions of dollars in investment in the surrounding community.

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Creating A Racebets Experience at Fontwell Park Racecourse

This month, RaceBets and PrettyGreen delved into the world of horses to deliver an on–course experience at Fontwell Park Racecourse in West Sussex. RaceBets, the world-leading horse racing bookmaker, sponsored the race meet and wanted to encourage sign-ups on the day and give some of the most competitive odds, bonuses and special on-day promotions for new recruits.


So, using the Bavarian theme of Oktoberfest (capitalising on its popularity across the country) we hit the race course and invited guests to don their best Lederhosen and dirndls and get them psyched up for a big day at the races, with the best odds and a few steins of beer and a schnitzel in tow.


Roaming around the Paddock area, our RaceBets cockney ‘tipster’ actors enticed our guests in for a quick de-brief, giving out secret tips and sharing information on the odds Racebets offered that day.  Suited and booted like any traditional tipster they were hard to miss and it’s safe to say the entertainment was rife. Games including ‘Best Turned Out’ and ‘RaceBets Jock Mastermind’ saw lucky guests win some irresistible prizes.


For a real taster (and see if you have the skills of our racecourse whizzes) let’s see if you can answer some of our jockey mastermind questions… (If you beat 3 in 90 seconds, you would have won our RaceBets engraved trophy and bottle of champers!..)


Challenge accepted? Start the timer..

  1. What is the name of a type of German Sausage being served up here today?
  2. What does Lederhosen mean?
  3. What is the name of the traditional female dress worn at Oktoberfest?
  4. Where does the original Oktoberfest take place?
  5. How many times did Red Rum win the Grand National?
  6. How many people watch the Grand National on TV? 20 million / 100 million/ 600 million
  7. What colour is the flag used by the starter to bring the horses into line for a race?
  8. Name the first female jockey to ride in the Grand National in 1977?



8. Charlotte Brew, 7. White, 6. 600 million, 5. 3 times , 4. Munich, Germany, 3. A Dirndl, 2. Leather Breaches 1. Bratwurst


The day was in full swing, last minute scramblings to place bets, gamblers checking their winnings and the cry of delight or despair filtered throughout the racecourse and punters who left the course either ‘up’ or ‘down’, would still look forward to the upcoming racing season.


To place your bets, go to

Virtual Reality’s Biggest Misconceptions

For more than 25 years Virtual Reality has often been viewed as an expensive gimmick to make dinosaurs come to life or make video games more immersive. Despite the fact the VR can be a powerful tool, preconceptions about VR are still holding people back from taking full advantage of it. So let’s bust some of the misconceptions about Virtual Reality, right here, right now:  


  1. It’s too expensive – For years now, VR has been way too expensive for general use. However, headsets are actually getting cheaper – the Daydream is only around £70 and Samsung Gear VR just over £100. Also major tech companies WANT NGO’s and charities to make VR content. Facebook has founded ‘VR for good’ encouraging charitable projects involving VR  and the ‘Lighthouse Programme’ by Google offers funding, use of halo cameras and stitching services.


  1. No one can watch it –  Many think that VR has a high barrier to entry but even distribution is improving thanks to the continued progress of Facebook and Youtube’s 360 platforms and the popularity of Google Cardboard.


  1. Motion Sickness – There’s been reported issues of motion sickness due to time lag and movement. However, in our film for Rotary we used a teddy bear as a device to mitigate against issues of movement and motion sickness.


  1. Complex Production –  Capturing 360 degrees around you is more like theatre than film in terms of how you capture and choreograph it, but this can be overcome by planning. There’s also the opportunity to shoot a traditional film at the same time in order to maximise on assets and use one to promote the other.


  1. What’s the point? – Virtual reality gives us a unique opportunity to build empathy, deepen emotional narratives and really put viewers into someone else’s shoes. We proved this with our VR experience for NAS.


VR is no longer just a fad, it’s a powerful piece of technology that has unfortunately been overlooked and misused, never reaching its full potential. We are now in a position of understanding of being able work at the forefront of VR, keep narrative at the heart of experiences and really make a difference.

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What #MeToo Is Teaching AI

Artifical intelligence is getting smarter every day. Google’s AutoML project has learned to replicate itselfearly steps on the path to superintelligence. Just down the hall at Google parent Alphabet, DeepMind’s AlphaGoZero trained itself to beat the human-trained AlphaGo 100 games to zip! As we move closer to a world where machines train themselvesbut think for uscomplicated questions about fairness and biases arise.


In response to the Harvey Weinstein allegations, the hashtag #MeToo began to surface on social media. The Twitter and Facebook posts were heart-wrenching and, in some cases, gut-wrenching. Not surprisingly, many of the personal stories included words, phrases, and concepts not usually associated with the profiles, the previous behaviors, or even the genders of the authors.

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We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #373

Facebook rolls out the Explore Feed
If you like reading awkward sex advice columns as much as I do, you’ll be happy to hear that you should now be able to find them all in one place – Facebook’s brand new Explore Feed, an ad-free area exclusively held for publishers and their content. The down side of this is that is that it looks like Facebook is almost completely killing organic reach for pages. So you’re either A) a publisher and in the Explore Feed or B) a brand/business and you have to pay to get into people’s regular feed, along with all the out-of-focus selfies done by my mum where 90% of participants are not looking at the camera #nailedit!

Facebook enters into Pinterest power struggle with new Sets feature

Not very surprising: Facebook has brought out a new way to group content together in order to take on the Pinterest style of posting. I know what you’re thinking: “Facebook eats platforms like Pinterest for breakfast!” and you may be right. ‘Sets’ lets users group photos, status updates and videos together based on interests, so maybe it’s food, or I don’t know, cos-play (it’s where adults dress up as their favourite characters – look it up Karen!).

Facebook tests the disappearing status
Remember the days when all Facebook statuses started with ‘is’ e.g. Laura is eating a sausage roll (pack of sausage rolls) etc.? Well, Facebook wants to bring those glory days back! And to do this, it is testing disappearing statuses, to encourage people to post (in 101 characters of text max) what they’re doing or feeling ‘in the moment’.

Facebook lets 10 publishes introduce a paywall
Ugh, is there anything more joyless than the concept of the paywall? When you’re well and truly clickbait hooked and you forge head first into one? Anyway, I digress, Facebook is allowing a chosen 10 publishers to have them on the platform after users have read 10 articles in a month and they’re not even taking a cut of the profits. How very magnanimous of them, I do hope they manage to make rent this month.

You can now PayPal using Messenger (if you’re in the U.S.)

PayPal users in the U.S will now be able to select PayPal as a payment option on Facebook Messenger to send person to person payments. If you get stuck while doing it you also have a friendly bot who can talk you through it all. Just don’t expect it to spot you the week before payday.

Facebook acquires teen compliment app tbh

Facebook has announced that it’s bought tbh, the app that’s taking the teen world by storm, which polls your peers and feeds back the results as a lovely compliment – aahhh. The app is going to be able to work independently, so will keep its own branding and leadership team.

Twitter introduces a new video ad format

Slightly less sexy but ultimately important news from Twitter HQ. They’re launching a new video ad format which pushes people to visit a website in the moment. How it works is that a video will auto play, ideally a tempting and eye-catching video. Alongside the video a preview of the website will be displayed, harnessing the power of video to drive action.

Brands of all sizes can now run Search Ads on Pinterest
Pinterest has announced that anyone can now run a Search Ad on its platform using its ads manager. The site receives two billion searches every month and any brand can now capitalise on this by searching for keywords, broad matches, phrases and exact matches to run their ads against.

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What You Need to Know About the New $32M Bill O’Reilly Scandal

It’s not often that the words “gay pornography” appear in The New York Times, let alone on its front page. (A quick search reveals that the phrase last appeared on Oct. 23, 2016today’s the one-year anniversary!in a “What’s on TV” story that briefly mentioned “a low-budget, all-male variation of sorts on ‘Boogie Nights'” starring Christian Slater and James Franco.) Anyway, per Steel and Schmidt,

In response to questions about why he sent sexually explicit material to Ms. Wiehl, Mr. O’Reilly said that during his time at the network, he had been sent threatening messages almost every day, including some that had obscene material. To deal with this problem, Mr. O’Reilly said, he set up a system in which the material would be forwarded to his lawyers so they could evaluate whether he needed to take any legal action. Mr. O’Reilly said Ms. Wiehl was among those lawyers.

Um, OK. Now back up to Fox News. What does this mean for the network?

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How CPG Brands Can Win with Retailers



By Courtney Steeves, Vice President – Data Solutions, Epsilon

While overall retail spending continues to grow, retail bankruptcies and the closure of physical stores are happening at a record pace. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods and Metro’s acquisition of Jean Coutu are creating newflavoursof retail.

On the other side of the aisle, consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers are contending with the rise of small, nimble, direct-to-consumer startups like Harry’s, Birchbox and Warby Parker. Consider the fact that P&G lost 12 percent of the men’s razor and blade industry last year, as startup Dollar Shave Club claimed 5 percent of the market. While consolidation is the name of the game for retail, fragmentation is causing disruption within CPG.

At the root of all this change is the simple yet complicated truth that consumers today shop differently than they used to. Eighty percent of Canadians shopped online in the past year, and nearly 40% spent half (or more) of their total purchases online vs. in-store.

Preference for online is growing, and it’s no longer intuitive where people shop for particular items. For some, grocery shopping means going to the store; for others, it’s clicking-and-collecting from Loblaws, buying organic produce from Amazon or doing home meal delivery through Goodfood. The options for consumers have proliferated, and retailers and CPG manufacturers alike need to ensure that they stay top of mind.

A retailer can easily determine who is buying their products by analyzing their customer data. It’s much trickier to get at why and how people shop, but those are the important questions that when answered can influence shopping behaviour.

This is a gap for many retailers yet key for them to navigate through the disruption. If CPG brands can tell retailers what they don’t know when it comes to why and how people shop, they’ll make themselves indispensable.

Understand Your Shopper

Shopper research is the key to answering those tough questions. Here are some strategies CPG brands can implement to maximize the impact of their shopper marketing research:

  1. Qualify respondents based on their shopping behaviour. Respondents must have shopped at the particular retailer for your brand, but also consider if your study would benefit from including those who bought in category but not your brand.
  2. Research by retailer. Create the most impact with your retailer and build the most credibility for your results by conducting research by retailer. Having results for your brand’s shoppers at a particular retailer will pique that retailer’s interest. In addition, be sure to include the largest retailer partners for your brand. You may be able to aggregate smaller retailers into a group (e.g. independents) and don’t forget the emerging retailers where your brand is starting to gain ground.
  3. Uncover unique motivators. What do your brand’s shoppers like about the store they buy your brand at most often? This might be slightly different from what the retailer “knows” for most of their shoppers. If you can uncover some strong and/or unique likes and motivations for your shoppers, you have a platform for developing a unique and powerful promotion. Also, by correlating spend against motivator for a trip, you can identify what has the highest positive correlations with high spending to answer the ‘why’.
  4. Solicit feedback on the customer experience. Does your brand’s shopper tend to interact with store personnel? If so, what makes it a positive (or negative) experience? Did the shopper interact with any in-store promotions or displays on their most recent visit? These are insights that help uncover what your brand’s shoppers are seeking from an in-store experience. For a special boost, show some point of sale material or a flyer from the retailer to respondents to gain offer specific feedback.
  5. Show the importance of your shoppers to the retailer. Does buying your brand build frequency? Is your brand an add-on that builds transaction dollar value or is it the main driver of the purchase visit? Is it part of a stock-up or a quick fill-in trip? Is it planned or impulse? You need to convey your brand’s role in shopper missions and why it’s essential.

Turn Insights into Action

Research is a competitive advantage, but you need to be able to bring the findings to life. What are the next steps after conducting retailer-specific custom research?

Once you understand your shopper, use an acquisition source like the Shopper’s Voice® database to find your high-value shoppers and communicate with them immediately. Develop a messaging strategy for each shopper segment that speaks to their unique purchase motivators and focus spend on your most valuable consumers.

Once you’ve found your target audience, deliver 1:1 touches across channels for multichannel impact. Even if your audience doesn’t act right away, continued promotions still work in your favour to keep your brand relevant and top-of-mind. One example is to send a targeted email communication to your most valuable consumers, perhaps directing them to a promotion at a specific retailer. For those who do not open the email, send them a direct mail piece with similar messaging. This tactic increases frequency cost-effectively by reserving the more expensive channel of direct mail for those consumers who did not respond to the initial communication.

As a case in point, Epsilon® and our digital media arm Conversant® developed a cross-channel program using email and digital display for a leading CPG brand. Households that were exposed to both channels (vs. only one channel) contributed to the greatest impact on sales, driving nearly 40% of the incremental lift.

Measure the Impact

Finally, measure the impact. Remember that impact is more than purchase. Offer recall and satisfaction, purchase intent, likelihood to recommend and brand engagement are all important metrics. Optimization is a continuous process.

While consumers shop differently today, the formula for CPG brands to see success is still rooted in gaining actionable consumer insights through data-driven approaches like shopper marketing research. By optimizing your efforts to understand what motivates consumers to buy (or not buy) you will make yourself an indispensable partner in the shopping aisle.

Epsilon’s shopper marketing solutions can help you win with retailers. To learn more, reach out to Courtney Steeves, Vice President – Data Solutions, Epsilon. 


Performics Elevates Scott Shamberg to U.S. Chief Executive Officer; Names Amy Krauss to U.S. Chief Operating Officer

Performics Veterans Shamberg and Krauss Focus on Continuing Momentum at Performics U.S.

CHICAGO (October 23, 2017)—Performics, the performance marketing agency of Publicis Media, has promoted Scott Shamberg, formerly U.S. President, to U.S. Chief Executive Officer and Amy Krauss, formerly EVP, Agency Solutions, to U.S. Chief Operating Officer.

Scott Shamberg has served as Performics U.S. President since January 2015, driving 20+% growth in the Performics U.S. business in each of the last three years, and growing U.S. staff from 300 to 600+ employees.

In his new role as U.S. CEO, Shamberg will report to David Gould, Performics Global Brand President, and will oversee the entire U.S. Performics business inclusive of the Performance Practice teams embedded across Publicis Media agencies.

David Gould said, “I’m thrilled to announce that Scott will be taking on the U.S. CEO role.  Under Scott’s leadership, we’ve integrated our performance media, content, analytics and planning solutions to solve business issues for Performics and Publicis clients.  Scott has been instrumental in launching our Commerce Direct (Amazon/marketplaces) product and the Performance Suite of analytics tools, helping to drive results for clients.  I know he’ll accelerate this growth as U.S. CEO.”

Amy Krauss, a Performics veteran since 2007, most recently led business operations and resource management as EVP, Agency Solutions. Prior to this role, Krauss headed the Performics Client Solutions team, delivering strategy, audience insights and optimization of clients’ performance marketing programs.

In her new role as U.S. COO, Krauss will oversee the delivery of capabilities across the Performics U.S. network.  She will continue to report to Shamberg and serve as a member of the U.S. Executive Committee.

Shamberg commented, “In her time at Performics, Amy has touched every aspect of our business, from fueling internal culture to building deep client relationships and empowering teams to more efficiently and effectively drive business outcomes for clients.  As our capabilities continue to expand beyond search marketing—to content, analytics, social, display, commerce—there’s no one better suited than Amy to unlock the potential of these capabilities for clients.”

About Performics

As the original performance marketing agency, Performics is the premier revenue growth driver for many of the world’s most admired brands. Across an expansive global network operating in 57 countries, Performics leverages data, technology and talent to create and convert consumer demand wherever it is expressed—search, social, display, commerce and offline channels. Performics is built for the relentless pursuit of results.  Headquartered in Chicago, Performics is a Publicis Media company. To learn more, visit


Dan Malachowski
Marketing Director
1675 Broadway, New York, New York 10019

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How to conquer in-store product sampling

Product sampling is an amazing way of enhancing your brand and growing your sales, because it’s a marketing strategy that cultivates loyalty and excitement. Think about the last time you received something for free – it makes you feel good, right?

And executing a product sampling campaign inside of a store is great, because you’re leveraging the power and reach of the shop in question. So instead of having to worry about footfall in a shopping centre or the logistics of creating a plan to carry out on the high street, you’re able to relax a little.

After all, you know that you’re going to get people in front of you and what’s more, they’ll be an engaged audience. Perhaps the only aspect of in-store product sampling that’s not ideal is the fact that you’re going to have to get the store’s decision makers to agree to hosting your campaign.

Still keen on giving it a go? Then we have some top tips to ensure that you get the most out of your strategy.

Firstly, choose a store with a good location. It might sound obvious, but some shops are poorly located, which might impact your ability to attract a lot of attention.

Create some nice marketing collateral, too. Product sampling is not just about the product you’re giving away. You’ll also want your brand to be visually attractive. Product sampling is just like any other form of marketing – successful campaigns are memorable.

Also, have clear signs and thorough information. Just like you would if you were advertising something online, you need to give people direction, whether that’s via a coupon, store information or whatever.

Remember that appearances are vital. Not only should your product look nice, but so too should the packaging. If possible, strive to make your offers appear interesting too, because you want to get people’s attention.

Don’t forget that, as much as we love freebies, we all lead busy lives. As such, there will be plenty of people who will want to walk right by your stall and it’s your job to wow them, either by an amazing offer, a fantastic product or via an entertaining marketing concept.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on

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