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Welcome to The Stream: Allison+Partners’ content hub that features the latest news and trends making the biggest waves in media and marketing.

AGENCY NEWS // DECEMBER 15, 2017 //     

Schlotzsky's breaks Guinness World Record with paint-by-numbers mural

Company: Schlotzsky’s
Campaign: Guinness World Records attempt in honor of Schlotzsky’s 46th birthday
Agency mix: Allison+Partners 
Duration: October 6 - 8, 2017
Budget: Approximately $40,000

As a nod to Schlotzsky's humble beginnings in Austin, Texas, the restaurant chain invited fans on the street to complete a paint-by-numbers mural on the wall of a Schlotzsky's in the area and break a Guinness World Record in the process.

Strategy
Schlotzsky's, alongside its PR agency partner for the campaign, Allison+Partners, began planning for the campaign in June 2017.

"The overarching strategy for the campaign is to reaffirm the brand's connection to Austin and the spirit that comes out of the city and tie that back to the brand," explained Lisa Rosenberg, chief creative officer and co-chair for consumer marketing at Allison+Partners.

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DECEMBER 14, 2017 //     

Now Anyone Can Make a Dancing Hot Dog: Snapchat Opens Lens Studio to All

Photo: Snap Inc.Snapchat is opening its augmented reality to the masses, opening a virtual studio where artists, developers and brands can create their own digital animations that users can put in their videos. READ MORE
DECEMBER 12, 2017 //     

Twitter Makes Tweetstorms Easier with 'Threads'

Credit: Twitter

Twitter has built a way for people to string tweets together in a sequence that many users would recognize as a "tweetstorm." Users writing tweets can now link messages, which Twitter for its part calls "threading," by clicking a plus sign that adds another post to the series.

"Hundreds of thousands of threads are Tweeted every day," said Sasank Reddy, product manager at Twitter, in a blog post on Tuesday. "But this method of Tweeting, while effective and popular, can be tricky for some to create and it's often tough to read or discover all the Tweets in a thread."

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DECEMBER 12, 2017 //     

Sephora Mastered In-Store Sales By Investing in Data and Cutting-Edge Technology

Photo: Getty Images

San Francisco is home to some of the world’s biggest tech names—Twitter, Salesforce and Uber to name a few—but it’s also headquarters for Sephora, a location that has seemingly served the brand well in adopting technology, ecommerce and digital advertising to compete with Amazon.

At the same time that brick-and-mortar shopping for all retailers is shrinking, Sephora continues to bet big on marrying the physical retail experience with digital twists in its more than 400 stores in the U.S. Sephora isn’t your mother’s makeup company; it’s your modern tech company.

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AGENCY NEWS // DECEMBER 11, 2017 //     

The 2018 Innovation SABRE Awards — North America Finalists

This year's Innovation SABRE Award entries spanned an impressive breadth — the work touched on cultural moments, the political climate, social movements, technological change and, in some cases, unearthed innovation in unexpected places.  

There were also a record number of entries to the competition this year, which also means it was an exceptionally competitive year. For many categories, narrowing down the shortlist was especially challenging. And while lots of excellent work is recognized, some very strong contenders ultimately couldn't make the shortlist. Olson Engage and Ketchum lead the nominations — meanwhile, MullenLowe, M Booth, Allison + Partners, Weber Shandwick, W2O Group and Golin are among those agencies whose work is recognized multiple times for innovation.  READ MORE
DECEMBER 7, 2017 //     

The Question of Net Neutrality

Photo: Stock.Adobe.comBy: Jordan Fischler


Just over a week from now, the FCC will vote on a proposal put forth by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai that would dramatically change the way the Internet is regulated and give ISP’s control over what content its users see and potentially charge more for certain content. Better known as Net Neutrality, the debate has sparked a firestorm pitting Internet companies against telecom giants. It’s heady, somewhat complicated stuff, but it will have great impact over the future of the Internet. Free speech will face off against commercial interests in some intriguing ways.

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Just like our roads, tunnels and bridges are the basic infrastructure connecting our country, the Internet, called the information superhighway for a reason, can also be considered infrastructure.

To continue this analogy, when stuck in traffic you’ll pick the route that gets you to your destination the fastest.

Now, imagine there’s a toll to take that faster lane or route. If it’s a relatively nominal fee, you’ll pay it. As the fee increases, you might consider the pros and cons of sitting in a little bit of traffic and suffering through slower speeds to avoid the charge. Likewise, we move to the fastest lane when possible on the Internet – slow dial-up was replaced by DSL and cable, T1s and so on. Each came at a cost, but the ability to access the information we looked for, no matter the source, always jumped up to the same new speed. As more information becomes available, we crave it. It’s in our nature to learn and to seek the most efficient way to gain knowledge.

That is the crux of the Net Neutrality issue. Net Neutrality is the basic principle that prohibits Internet service providers from speeding up, slowing down or blocking any content, applications or websites. It somewhat levels the playing field between startups and established companies hoping to deliver their content to you, the audience, because no matter the source, there is not an added cost – either time or money – to get to the content you want.

Pai, long a proponent of deregulation, believes “under my proposal, the Federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet.” More on his reasoning here and here.

Restricting and narrowing access or providing preferential treatment to certain types of information limits our ability to learn and adds unnecessary roadblocks for small Internet companies to get attention for their new sites. It also adds expenses for consumers and businesses and turns the information superhighway into a toll road.

Though those tolls may be nominal at first, putting the decision-making power in the hands of large corporations that ultimately control the speed means those tolls can go up at any time with minimal notice.

That’s not to say the companies building our Internet infrastructure should give it away for free. They invest company resources to create the access and deserve to profit. But is this proposed change to Net Neutrality being made to benefit the user with better infrastructure or to feed a need for an ever-increasing bottom line?

The FCC is pushing along this decision too quickly without the proper review and involvement by the officials we’ve elected to represent us on such issues. New York Attorney General Eric Schneidermann proposed recently a moratorium on the vote to allow more time for discussion of the issues. There have been many OpEds discussing the topic from both sides. Here are just a few if you’d like to go deeper:

The FCC is still accepting public comment on the issue from individuals and companies. If you’d like to contribute, there are many routes you can take. Here’s one. If you have questions about how this might impact your business let us know, we’d be glad to sit down with you and discuss.

Jordan Fischler is managing director and head of consumer technology at Allison+Partners. 

DECEMBER 6, 2017 //     

Burger King is testing dynamic outdoor ads to drive store visits

Burger King is testing how its outdoor ads can be changed on the go to have the biggest sales impact.

The fast-food restaurant is wading through analytics for 30 different ads created by Vizeum that ran on 100 billboards over the course of a week in October. Each billboard was near one of 13 Burger King restaurants across London, and the creative changed dynamically in response to time of day, proximity to a local event and the weather to push people to their nearest Burger King during quieter sales periods such as breakfast, snacking and late night.

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DECEMBER 6, 2017 //     

The 10 Most Watched Ads on YouTube in 2017

Photo: Dior

It’s time for the year-end lists, and here’s a fun one—the 2017 YouTube Ads Leaderboard, featuring the most-watched ads on the video platform this year.

You’ll recognize many of the spots, from Super Bowl commercials (Mr. Clean, Kia, Budweiser) to well-known celebrity spots (Natalie Portman for Miss Dior, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson” for Apple).

Remarkably, the No. 1 spot on the list, with more than 150 million views, comes from India. It’s a Samsung spot that we wrote about back in January, shortly after it broke and began pulling in views by the millions in just its first few days.

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DECEMBER 6, 2017 //     

FISH OUT OF WATER: VR is more than just entertainment, it's a way to impact consumers

By: Milena Stancati

Kimonos, geishas and shojis were everywhere. Living in traditional Kyoto, Japan, was exactly how I imagined it. Tokyo however, was an entirely different game. It was mostly modern and one of the busiest cities I’ve traveled to along my global journey. After two separate visits in the month, I still need another trip back to see/understand it all.

The city and its neighborhoods were unique, colorful and incredibly electric. When I stumbled upon the VR Park Tokyo, I just had to go in. I’d been to arcades when I was younger, but this place brought “arcade” to a whole new level. In just one location, I could use virtual reality (VR) to bungee jump, fly and fight every villain ever created.

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During my experience, I started thinking about how VR can truly transport a person’s mind and influence their opinions. This is why more and more brands are using this innovative technology in their marketing campaigns. Why not give the consumer a feeling when they see your product, especially if that feeling is triggered by something they can experience without any effort?

VR can engage a consumer and leave a mark that lasts longer than an ad that’s out of sight then instantly out of mind. The way you remember an epic sunset over the city from the rooftop bar or the way your grandfather laughed at Christmas dinner when your six-month-old nephew blew raspberries for the first time -- VR gives you those same “feels.”

According to Forbes, there are several best practices in using VR for marketing that have been established -- and it’s only just the beginning. The product is expensive, however. And while VR headsets haven’t reached the level of ownership that video game systems have, in-store promotions, events and online advertisements have made good use of them. Below are a few brands I think have successfully used VR to impact their consumers and show what they’ve accomplished.

Toms, a California-based nonprofit shoe company that has donated more than 45 million shoes for children in need, has a VR experience for customers who enter their flagship store. I own three pairs myself. Like most people, I’m aware of the good Tom’s does for the world. But it wasn’t until I saw this video, and experienced a virtual giving trip myself, that I could fully understand the impact my three purchases made. Charitable companies like Toms can really benefit from using VR when the purpose of their business is cause marketing and they need their consumers to advocate a specific point of view.

After completing almost four months of travel in Asia, I’ve come to know AirAsia as if it were my own car. I’ve been fortunate enough to see a large percentage of the lesser known Association of Southeast Asian Nations locations. For those not as lucky, the 50-year-old airline put out 360 degrees short VR films that offer a taste of the places you can visit. Being able to experience the destination before you go, helps consumers feel more confident about their purchase.

Delivering the VR experience to consumers has come in different forms. There are VR headsets on the market for purchase, apps like IKEA Place (an Allison+Partners client) that use VR to drive sales and video game apps like Pokémon Go. So what’s next for VR marketing? There is no doubt VR product sales will increase, but I think content marketing will be VR’s biggest marketing strength. It bridges the gap between consumers’ hesitation and conversion, and it opens doors for marketers to be more creative. VR is on the rise and content marketing needs to keep up with it.

Milena Stancati is marketing + business development manager for Allison+Partners who is currently spending one year working, traveling and living in 12 different cities throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

DECEMBER 4, 2017 //     

Infographic: How Holiday Shoppers Are Choosing Their Gifts This Year

Credit: iStock PhotoThe holiday season is upon us, and brands are scrambling to provide frazzled consumers with exactly what they need. But in a tech-savvy world filled with gift options, how can brands get ahead? To find out, Toluna surveyed over 1,000 consumers about their holiday shopping habits and gathered insights about everything from budgeting to purchasing influence to retargeted ads. READ MORE
DECEMBER 4, 2017 //     

CPG Companies Are Getting Personal to Stay Ahead of Challenger Brands

Photo: Getty ImagesIn January, L’Oréal will unveil a state-of-the-art innovation center in Paris, inviting startups to pitch their best ideas on everything from artificial intelligence to augmented reality for the chance to work with the conglomerate. Meanwhile, L’Oréal has hired nearly 1,700 digitally focused employees over the past five years and increased its digital advertising budget to make up 35 percent of its media spend, up from 30 percent in 2016. READ MORE

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