Coke Inks Endorsement Deal With Fictional ‘Virtual Athlete’ From FIFA Video Game

With its newest athletic endorsement deal, Coke doesn’t have to worry about its star getting into legal trouble, posting embarrassing tweets or demanding more money. That’s because the person only exists in a video game.

His name is Alex Hunter, a creation of Electronic Arts for its popular FIFA soccer game. Hunter first burst onto the virtual scene last year in “FIFA 17” via a feature called the “The Journey.” The cinematic mode allows game players to experience and influence how the fictional star navigates the competitive soccer circuit, like earning a contract with an English Premier League team. EA brought Hunter back for “FIFA 18” with a storyline about a comeback in Major League Soccer’s L.A. Galaxy after falling on hard times in the English Premier League.

Coke enters the narrative when he signs an endorsement deal with the brand. Players of the video game go behind the scenes for the filming of the spot, which is based on Coke’s iconic “Mean Joe Greene” ad, with some modern twists. (Instead of tossing the kid a jersey, Hunter takes a selfie with him.)

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Sheryl Sandberg: Racist Ad Targeting a Total Fail

Sheryl Sandberg says she’s personally offended by the anti-Semitic ads that were created on Facebook last week, and outlined new policies to prevent it from happening again, including more people-powered monitoring and the possibility of a reporting system for users.

“Hate has no place on Facebookand as a Jew, as a mother, and as a human being, I know the damage that can come from hate,” Sandberg said in a Facebook post that went up Wednesday afternoon. “The fact that hateful terms were even offered as options was totally inappropriate and a fail on our part.”

Last week, Facebook was the subject of a ProPublica expos that found ads could be targeted based on characteristics that included terms such as “Jew hater” and “how to burn Jews.” The terms likely got into the ad targeting system by Facebook users who put them into their own profiles.

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Mexico City earthquake: 6 ways to help victims, from Airbnb to GoFundMe

The earthquake in Mexico yesterday claimed the lives of more than 200 people, all while the country is still reeling from an 8.1-magnitude earthquake that killed at least 90 people less than two weeks ago. As is usually the case, the most useful aid those based outside of Mexico can offer is money. If you’re looking to …

The earthquake in Mexico yesterday claimed the lives of more than 200 people, all while the country is still reeling from an 8.1-magnitude earthquake that killed at least 90 people less than two weeks ago. As is usually the case, the most useful aid those based outside of Mexico can offer is money. If you’re looking to donate or help locally, here are a few places to start:

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Protected: BRAND BUILDING: Creative naming lead Jason Hall, on keeping names alive after the final presentation

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You Can Now Sign Your Emails By Encouraging People To Donate To Charity

Every email sent with a banner add generated by Aidbox will funnel a small donation toward a cause of the sender’s choice.

There’s very little that’s inspirational about sending an email these days, unless you’re the sort of person that likes to add a little flare by tossing in a quote, song lyric, or even a Bible verse below your signature. Aidbox, a Swedish digital marketing company, is now competing for the space with a bigger way to uplift folks: The company has launched a banner ad service that allows email senders to add a clickable message about the charity of their choice at the bottom of each missive, which will appear alongside a corporate sponsor.

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What Cannes Learned from This Year’s Festival and What to Expect in 2018

Duncan Painter, CEO of Ascential, the parent company of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, has been on a listening tour since the festival ended in June, gathering feedback from the industry about what can be improved going forward.

Ad Age talked with Painter about some of the industry’s gripes about Cannes, such as affordability and relevance, as well as Publicis Groupe’s decision to pullback from the festival for a year. He also discussed a new award category being introduced in 2018.

This interview has been lightly edited for flow and readability.

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Being Yourself Is Not Optional

Should you have to be serious to be taken seriously? Should you be afraid to speak about your failures? Should you always try to fit in? I believe the answer is “no.” So, how can we break free of our corporate personas and dare to let our personalities shine through a bit more?

We’re all brands, whether we like it or not. If you are using any online services that require private information, your persona is already created (and if you’re one of the few holding back from using them, that also says something about you). Truth is, that if we are not defining our personal brand, others will.

Our personal brands are the expression of everything we stand for and I, personally, find it such a bummer to see so many amazing people shying away from just being themselves – offline-and-on. I get it; we are all born with a crazy desire to be liked by everyone. That’s just normal but, if you truly believe in yourself, your personality is perfect just the way it is – inside-and-out of the office. People buy into who you are, not what others want you to be. Simply put, staying true to yourself allows you to focus your energy on other pursuits rather than trying to be that “impossibly perfect” version of yourself that you’re sure everyone would just love.

How can aspiring leaders and fellow communicators take this notion and put it into practice? The easiest way is to learn from those around you that exhibit these qualities; the perfectly imperfect. Below are two of my favorite badass women, who are unapologetically beating to their own drum and elevating their personal brand every single day:

Sarah Robb O’Hagan – If an obsession can be healthy, I might be the healthiest person on the planet when it comes to Sarah. I had the pleasure of working out with her during SXSW a few years ago and I kid you not, the energy, passion and motivation I felt then is exactly how I feel reading her social media posts. If you’ve never dared to explore outside your comfort zone, I promise you Sarah will inspire you to, “Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat.” She utilizes multiple platforms effortlessly to show her full flavor on a daily basis, rather than just focusing on one platform. Family, career, writing books, mentoring and working out – not sure how she does it all, but I do know she’s doing everything wholeheartedly while being the truest version of herself.

Bozoma Saint John – She won my heart with, “I am a force of nature in fierce stilettos.” and puts a huge inspired smile on my face with every. single. post. If you follow Bozoma, you will get an unapologetic mix of work and life posts because, to quote her, “You should bring your whole self to work all of the time, even when your whole self is the captain of team too much.” Oh, my heart fills with joy and determination when she pops up on my feed!

I respectfully bow to both of these amazing ladies. Not only are they are able to achieve remarkable things professionally, but they are confident and stay true to themselves and their personal lives.

So, the next time when someone tells you that you’re “too bubbly to be taken seriously,” ignore them and just be yourself. The more authentic and outstanding you are, the more lasting of an impression you’ll leave.

I recently called my parents to apologize for all the times they told me to be myself and I just rolled my eyes – you might want to do the same. And if you want more insights about building your personal brand, connect with me here or just leave your questions, wishes and dreams in the comments section below.

P.S. – If you will be in San Francisco on Monday, September 25th, I would love for you to join my colleague, Lisa Sullivan (one of our own fearless and empowered female leaders), and I for a workshop about personal branding. For more information, feel free to email me.

What brands can learn from Fashion Week’s ‘see now, buy now’ model

Traditionally, the patient public would have to wait months for glossy mags to show them the latest looks to buy from Fashion Week but things have changed. Just as the catwalk went live, straight to its audience, so now have the clothes, as fashion houses roll out a ‘see now, buy now” model that lets customers shops straight from the runway.

At last year’s SS17 London Fashion Week, Burberry kicked off this new shopping trend with an approach that exquisitely integrated social and digital into its live show, whilst the likes of Alice Temperley partnered smartly with technology brands to create a seamless catwalk shopping experience.

More than half (56%) of consumers who follow brands on social media sites say they do so to view products, so fashion brands are certainly not the only ones who can take advantage of a need-it-now buyer behaviour. So how can brands, from any category, emulate Fashion Week’s ‘see now, buy now’ approach?

A launch event is no longer something shiny to show off exclusively to the press, it can be a brand’s sales event of the year.

In fashion, the shift in the catwalk’s purpose from showcase to shopping event has meant a change in the way that clothing is unveiled to the audience. It’s important to remember that the audience is no longer just those sat in the first few rows but is now a global online community, with wallets in hand, ready to spend.

Rihanna followed in fashion’s footsteps recently with launch of her Fenty Beauty range where the products went live at midnight as she partied with a host of fans in beauty store Sephora in New York’s Times Square. If she had taken this further and made the products available around the world, the event could have created a global sensation.

Seize the opportunity
Is it crucial to recognise the opportunities a brand has to join the conversation around big industry events. Previously during Fashion Week, the cost of running a show often renders brands out of the game or unable to create the kind of spectacle that the audience wants. Not everyone has the disposable income of Burberry or Apple.

Last year, menswear designer Oliver Spencer partnered with online retail partner Vero to hold a men’s and women’s show where the audience could shop live via the Vero app.

Partnering with a platform that can facilitate the shopping experience can enable a brand to reap the rewards of a new trend, and benefit from a calendar moment, without the extensive costs of a live show.

Function over fashion
There is no point in trying to sell straight from the catwalk, or any event, if the technology isn’t in place to make the buyer’s journey effortless or the website is littered with flaws.The drop-off from show to shop is dangerous territory and one that can cost a brand dearly, if the consumer doesn’t receive the seamless experience they’ve come to expect.

When Burberry launched its first ‘see now, buy now’ collection last year, its website and every other digital outlet was branded and marketed to the same level of perfection as the catwalk. Every detail of the brand’s new clothing was available to view, giving the at-home customer the same glorious experience they would have in-store.

Tommy Hilfiger has taken that one step further this year by allowing customers to make wish lists on their e-store, ready to shop when the collection goes live during the show at London Fashion Week.

This couldn’t be more applicable than with the case of influencer partnerships. Myriad lifestyle and homeware brands partner with influencers to curate selections or products but all too often the link though to store does not retain the same glossy interface. Ensuring that the branding you pay for rings true from influencer to checkout may be the difference between a bounce and a purchase.

As shopping behaviour becomes more impatient and consumers increasingly look to buy and own products instantly, the innovation offered by social and digital platforms will become more important channels to serve them. Be inspired by the pioneering example set by Fashion Week and fashion brands, continuingly leading the way in bringing together the show experience and the shopping experience. If brands want to truly capture the attention of the ready-to-buy audience, then they need to be ready when the consumers are.


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Why Design Matters: The Psychology of Design

We make daily decisions on what brands we choose to engage with, what brands have earned our trust, and what brands compel us to spend money. How do we make those decisions? Psychology studies have shown that our feelings and instincts cause us to behave. It is said that emotions drive 80% of the choice […]

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