Trump Impersonator Drops In on ‘Failing’ New York Times in Homepage Ad for Comedy Central


Comedy Central is taking over The New York Times, Washington Post and other sites with ads that blare slogans like “failing” and “fake news” in the middle of articles.

The spokesperson in the digital ads is an uncanny Donald Trump impersonator, Anthony Atamanuik, who is getting his own parody show on the network.

On Thursday, “The President Show” premieres with Atamanuik donning the orange comb over and oversized red tie. To herald the debut, The New York Times’ homepage will feature a takeover ad with the presidential doppelganger dropping down in a banner ad and pointing at the website while mocking it with one of President Trump’s signature insults: “Failing.”

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Opening Keynote: Starting from scratch

As an author and leader in the field of strategic foresight, Alexander Manu surveys a marketplace in which online behaviour is transforming the ecosystem into a behaviour economy, changing the relationship between companies and customers.

To survive, brands need to understand that the new economy is not about change, but about transformation. As new technology (from artificial intelligence to deep machine learning and more) changes the structure of our lives, it changes the frameworks on which our experiences are built. To be providers of meaning in this new framework, brands must redefine their role within the story of each user.

Future tech in the present tense

Concepts like artificial intelligence, virtual reality and the Internet of Things are no longer just futuristic technologies – many brands have been there, done that and found value in adding them to their marketing arsenal. Experts share the latest and greatest examples of formerly futuristic tech in real life, and what’s coming next.

FCC Chief Sets Up Clash With Call to Repeal Net Neutrality


The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission has proposed rolling back the Obama-era net-neutrality rule as the regulation’s defenders vowed a “tsunami” of resistance.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he would ask the agency next month to begin considering removing the strong legal authority that underpins the rules, and to take suggestions for replacement regulations.

“When we are saddled with FCC rules that will deny many Americans high-speed internet access and jobs, doing nothing is nothing doing,” Pai said in a speech Wednesday in Washington. “Instead, we need rules that focus on growth and infrastructure investment, rules that expand high-speed internet access everywhere. Rules that give Americans more online choice, faster speeds, and more innovation.”

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Watch the Newest Ads on TV From Arla, Bank of America, Castrol and More


Every weekday, we bring you the Ad Age/iSpot Hot Spots, new and trending TV commercials tracked by iSpot.tv, the real-time TV ad measurement company with attention analytics from 10 million smart TVs. The New Releases here ran on TV for the first time yesterday. The Most Engaging ads are ranked by digital activity (including online views and social shares) over the past week.

Among the new releases, NFL star Vince Wilfork reads from a book titled “Words of Strength” to make a point about how Castrol EDGE is “three times stronger against viscosity breakdown that the other leading motor oils.” Arla serves up another one of its adorable animated ads in which it asks little kids to define terms such as rBST; Leah, age 7, thinks rBST is a scary monster “with razor-sharp horns” — but, per the announcer, it’s actually an artificial growth hormone “given to some cows, but not the cows that make Arla cheese.” And Bank of America also goes with animation, using a story titled “The Elephant Guide to Aging” to make a point about money management.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Brand Safety: How Marketers Can Navigate Digital Placements

Over the past month, some advertisers have been pulling their ads from popular platforms, such as Google, YouTube and Facebook, amid the growing concern that their advertisements are appearing alongside offensive content, negatively affecting perception of brands. AT&T, for example, recently paused all media on Google-owned YouTube due to their ads being placed adjacent to inappropriate videos featuring terrorism and hate content. The brand explained their decision in a statement: “until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.”

To combat the growing backlash, platforms have started to implement updated moderation guardrails, including automated methods, AI-based systems and placement opt-outs to ensure that marketers are at low risk of negative exposure in association with morally questionable content. These steps, while improvements, shouldn’t be treated as a final, fool-proof protection for brands and advertising. Instead, it’s crucial for marketers to understand the role of these features, how to manage and take responsibility of their advertisements, and lastly, how to work with brands to confidently market and place their content on the right platforms.

 

The Current Role of Automated Moderation

Automated methods of content policing have significant appeal because they reduce the need for costly and inefficient manual monitoring for potential violations. Done properly, these types of systems can solve issues with inappropriate content, both visual and text-based, without needing to rely on individuals to review, flag, or verify offensive content. Some automated systems, such as the Hashing System which creates a computer-readable representation of child-abuse images published by the Internet Watch Foundation, can provide some protection for brands and relief for individuals who would have to manually view and review potentially objectionable content. However, solutions like these use only known images, meaning social networks can only protect brands from content that has already been identified as abusive.

How Artificial Intelligence Systems Could Help

AI-based systems show promise for identifying potentially objectionable content. Using sophisticated models, publishers could identify content similar to objectionable images and text to protect advertisers before ads are placed against the piece of content. Ultimately though, a balance must be struck between the openness of a platform for content creators and brand safety for advertisers. There will likely be intermittent pains as the aggressiveness of any algorithm is fine-tuned and stories of either overly-aggressive policing or lax policing occur.

Even with the best algorithms, these systems require accurate tagged information or similar content to cross-reference and match against in order to flag a particular piece of content. While machine-learning models are getting better at some elements of recognition, it has been demonstrated by University of Washington researchers that video recognition systems such as the public API provided by Google are subverted fairly easily. Intentional subversion and trolling of content to fool brand-safety filters are examples of potential counter-measures that can or have been deployed. Malicious misrepresentation of locations of advertisements can also be a way to fool automated systems where objectionable content or sites may be hidden or labeled as other content and re-sold across multiple networks.

The Human Touch: Leveraging Multiple Tools & Taking Responsibility

Automated methods and AI-based systems are not enough to protect brands against the wider variety of modern internet security threats. A single solution will not protect against all placement concerns. In fact, many of the offensive placements can occur as a result of marketer oversight and error for incorrectly selecting ad placement preferences. To take effective measures against unwanted ad placements, advertisers need to take responsibility and thoroughly review and fully utilize the ad-safety tools at their disposal. Something as simple as content or keyword exclusion targeting can go a long way when setting up campaigns.

Brands should also look to their agencies to take additional measures. 360i and Dentsu, for example, support TAG (the Trustworthy Accountability Group) to promote a safer space for all clients. It’s in both the platforms’ and advertisers’ best interest to take full advantage of planning, booking and executing campaign and consider all available tools. This way, platforms can regain their credibility and retain revenue, while marketers are able to accurately showcase their brand messaging in a safe space.

 

What Marketers Can Do Next

In an increasingly complex digital marketplace, it is critical that brands and their agencies have tough conversations to understand the ad-fraud and brand-safety players, the risks of going without guardrails, and the best measures for providing additional safeguards for the broad mix of digital initiatives.

There are three primary approaches to take based on the individual brand’s comfort level:

  1. Willing to risk: know the associated risks for brand and fraud implications and be willing to take them.
  2. Want to be safe, but don’t want to short the opportunity: use the full spectrum of Media Rating Council (MRC) accredited safety tools with both pre-bid and post-bid measures to ensure buys are as safe as possible but still have broad campaign delivery.
  3. Zero tolerance: in this instance the brand has no tolerance for any delivery in fraudulent or unsafe content. This approach requires whitelisting site by site as well as use of an MRC accredited safety tool.

Unless advertisers understand where the brand stands, it is impossible to make the wisest choices with them. The best defense against these threats against the confidence of advertising markets is for clients to work closely with agencies and publishers to monitor, validate, and review the effectiveness of protections.

The post Brand Safety: How Marketers Can Navigate Digital Placements appeared first on 360i Digital Agency Blog.

Lowdown: Analysts Don’t Seem to Care at All About Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner Ad


The Lowdown is Ad Age’s weekly look at news nuggets from across the world of marketing, including trends, campaign tidbits, executive comings and goings and more.

Gary Vaynerchuk, speaking at the Association of National Advertisers annual meeting last year, made plain his ambition to buy an orphan packaged-goods brand with great equity he can make greater. Now he’s got his chance. Unilever wants to sell its margarine business (I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, etc.) and RB (Reckitt Benckiser) is “exploring strategic options” on French’s Mustard and Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. So is Vaynerchuk interested? Not really. While he was reportedly close on another unnamed brand recently, he said he sees such a deal coming “more in 24 to 48 months, not 24 to 48 weeks.” He’s interested in businesses with $50 million to $200 million in revenue. Categories he’s most intrigued by are toothpaste and bubblegum. But he remains focused on running VaynerMedia, and doing such a deal may be based on having “a proper CEO in place to run VaynerMedia” though he may try to do both initially. He confirmed recent reports of layoffs — “17 to 18 out of 750,” net of new hires and promotions. Vaynerchuk said the layoffs reflected a shift toward creative services and away from production, and similar moves could come in the future as he shifts focus toward such areas as small business and consulting.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Is a Havas-Vivendi Tie-Up a Step Closer?


The possibility of a merger between Havas and Vivendi looks a little closer after Havas CEO Yannick Bollor’s comments at the group’s first quarter results presentation today.

The two French companies have one important factor in common: Vivendi Chairman Vincent Bollor Yannick’s father is also the biggest shareholder in Havas.

Yesterday, Reuters reported that Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine said a merger with Havas could “make sense.”

Continue reading at AdAge.com

ESPN Cuts 100 Household Names as Rights Fees, Viewer Habits Eat Into Profits


Just hours before it will begin televising its comprehensive 2017 NFL Draft coverage, ESPN this morning has begun laying off more than 100 on-air personalities, beat reporters and radio hosts, as well as a number of people who work behind the scenes at the sports colossus.

The staff reductions come as ESPN president John Skipper looks to offset a shrinking subscriber base and a concurrent spike in rights fees. Calls to those who will bear the brunt of the layoffs began earlier this morning, shortly after Skipper issued a memo to employees alerting them of the impending cuts.

“A necessary component of managing change involves constantly evaluating how we best utilize all of our resources, and that sometimes involves difficult decisions,” Skipper wrote, adding that the shift in ESPN’s content strategy (which is particularly evident in the evolution of its “SportsCenter” franchise) demands a reevaluation of its talent roster.

Continue reading at AdAge.com