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Here's everything you need to know about the last 24 hours in advertising, in case you blinked.

Buzzing on Adweek:

Carnival will run its first Super Bowl ad
Carnival Cruise Lines announced it would run a Super Bowl ad and will ask viewers to select one of four rough cuts created by BBDO. (Adweek)

Dumb Ways to Die promotes holiday safety
Metro Trains Melbourne and McCann Melbourne advocate for holiday safety in this most recent Dumb Ways to Die PSA, starring animated characters carolling a tune set to "Deck the Halls." (Adweek)

Behind the scenes of Apple's heartwarming holiday spot
Apple shares an inside look at its most recent ad, The Song, and introduces viewers to the two women behind the beautiful voices in the ad. (Adweek)

A new CEO and new image for American Apparel
Now that the company's controversial former CEO Dov Charney was fired and a new leader Paula Schneider was named, American Apparel has a chance to improve its image in the new year. (Adweek)


Around the Web:

Several brands pull ads from VH1's Sorority Sisters
Advertisers including Honda and Domino's pulled spots from the VH1 show Sorority Sisters as viewers pointed out how offensive the show is to the historically black sororities it portrays. (The Wall Street Journal)

Amazon promises speedy delivery in New York
The service promises to deliver to Prime Now subscribers who live in Manhattan a selection of "daily essentials" within a one-hour time slot. (Venture Beat)

Internet ad revenue jumps
According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Internet ad revenue within the U.S. grew in 2014, hitting a high of $12.4 billion. (The Drum)

Kraft's CEO steps down
Tony Vernon, former Kraft Foods Group CEO, announced he would be stepping down and will be replaced by former chairman John Cahill. (Businessweek)

GE partners with Vevo
On Christmas Eve, General Electric and Vevo will air a series of music-themed videos and documentaries, but the music will only be available to listeners through connected TV devices such as Apple TV and Roku. (Digiday)

Aer Lingus rejects British Airways
Air giant British Airways reportedly approached the small Irish airline, looking to overtake Aer Lingus but was declined. (The New York Times)

Behind the branding for Serial
Not only has the podcast Serial become hugely popular, but now even the striking black and red "S" logo has caught people's attention. (Wired)

The evolution of Old Spice
Fast Company looks back at the history of Old Spice and how it began as a women's product and eventually transformed into the brand it is today. (Fast Company)


Industry Shake-Ups:

Johnnie Walker picks a new agency
After 15 years with Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Diageo named Anomaly as the new lead creative agency for Johnnie Walker. (Adweek)

L'Oréal shifts its communications planning
Media agency MEC will take over communications planning in the U.S. for a number of high-end L'Oréal brands. (Adweek)








Science recently confirmed what we previously had only suspected-that alcohol, in the right amount, does tend to produce the most creative thinking. Professor Jennifer Wiley and her team at the University of Illinois at Chicago pegged the ideal blood alcohol content for creativity at 0.075 percent. That level is known as the creative peak, and may well be the ideal state for problem solving, inventing and general "out of the box" thinking.

Using that data, Crispin Porter + Bogusky's Copenhagen office has come up with the perfect beer for creatives-an IPA called The Problem Solver.

There's nothing too special about the beer itself. Instead, it's the label that will help you reach the magical 0.075 percent mark-it shows you how of the much of the bottle you need to drink to get there, based on your weight (see below).

It's a fun idea-though absurd to think creatives will stop drinking after half a bottle.

CP+B says The Problem Solver is currently served during after-hours workshops at the agency, at a local Copenhagen beer store and at a new initiative called "The Problem Solvers," in which community and charity groups are invited to the agency to brainstorm ideas over a beer.







Periods can be confusing, and not just for those of us who only paid attention to the sex-talk part of 9th grade health class. Sketch comedy troupe Hammerkatz highlights that confusion hilariously with this parody tampon commercial.

While typical feminine hygiene ads shirk from much descriptive (or accurate) language, and generally rely on blue liquid on a maxipad to do the talking, a few brands have made strides over the years-like the charming and funny Hello Flo work.

This parody, by contrast, "brought to you by the all-male advertising team at Tampax," is retrograde in the extreme-frank and mostly wrong, but sometimes funny. And also kind of gross. See for yourself!







Scotts Miracle-Gro is looking for a new media agency, with requests for proposal due back to the lawn and garden products company on January 9, sources said.

WPP's MEC network, which started working on the business in 2003, is the incumbent along with independent barter shop Active International, which handles national broadcast.

Pile + Co is managing the search for the marketer who spent nearly $100 million in measured media last year. Final meetings in the review are scheduled on March 10 and 11.

Reps at Scotts Miracle-Gro could not be reached while those at MEC declined comment. Execs at Pile and Active International did not return calls.

Scotts last reviewed its media business in the fall of 2011, opting to stay with MEC in early 2012. The company's chief marketing officer, Jim Lyski, who instigated that earlier review, resigned from Scotts Miracle-Gro last January.

Sources at Miracle-Gro's digital agency 360i said their business was not up for review.



Shutterstock has scoured its library of footage and music to compile a truly impressive tribute video to some of today's most visually iconic directors.

Tracking shots, wide shots, old-school technology? Yep, that's Wes Anderson. Low-light, blue-filtered, almost voyeuristic images of shadowy chambers? Totally David Fincher. Quentin Tarantino and arthouse favorite Terrence Malick also get their due.

Representing Alfonso Cuarón with random spacewalk footage a la Gravity seems a bit reductive, but otherwise, the video does a surprisingly effective job of capturing each director's aesthetic.

If you've got an idea for more directors Shutterstock should show tribute to, you can leave a comment on the company's blog or try making your own with its in-browser editing tool, Sequence.

Via Design Taxi







This week's best ads certainly were an emotional bunch.

Ikea and Apple both offered profound meditations on love for the holidays, and Samsung's entry was dreamlike as well-though wrapped in fascinating technology. And the sole celebrity entry this week featured actual weeping.

See all five spots below, and vote for your favorite.







Izzy Bradley, a 2-year-old Minnesota girl with Down syndrome, made headlines this week for appearing in a Target print campaign. Rocking a frilly pink-and-purple dress, Izzy poses next to an activity cube on sale for $49.

"I really appreciate Target's policy of including them in their ads," says Heather Bradley, Izzy's mom, who heads the local chapter of the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network. "I'm really surprised at how much excitement has come from it. I've had people share it so many times. On Facebook … it's got up to half a million likes."

Models with Down syndrome have been making inroads of late. In 2012, a boy named Ryan appeared in circulars and catalogs for Target and Nordstrom, while Valentina Guerrero, a 10-month-old from Miami, made a splash fronting a campaign for Spanish swimwear designer Dolores Cortés. Last year, teenager Karrie Brown appeared in a photoshoot for clothing line Wet Seal.

"I really just hope that if a new mom, or an expectant mom, were to see a little girl [with Down's] in an ad, that they would just have that sense of hope for their child," says Heather Bradley, "and that they would know there's a great future for them."

What's more, such appearances help shatter stereotypes as we strive for a more inclusive society where different is the new normal, not something to be feared or shunned.







Even if you aren't one of Pornhub's 50 million monthly visitors, you've probably heard the site's name this year in a surprisingly safe-for-work context.

Maybe you read about its non-pornographic ad design contest, Times Square billboard, Arbor Day tree planting initiative or any of the other mainstream, unsleazy marketing pushes that the brand (and it most certainly is a brand) has used to expose itself to a wider audience.

"As our data shows, people all over the world watch porn-so why be ashamed of it?" said Corey Price, vp of Pornhub. "We want to push the conversation into the general public as something that's acceptable to talk about, while letting people know that watching porn shouldn't be an underground activity that's to be seen as shameful. Everyone does it, why not just bring that out in the open? The reason it causes a stir is due to an already accepted set of social norms."

In terms of the site's broadening appeal and cultural relevance, the Pornhub team sees their site as "just another brand," according to Price. But because it's a site closely tied to the adult industry and all the stigmas that come with it, Pornhub has to be creative and mindful in how it positions itself.

"I don't think any other adult site has taken the steps that we've taken as far as exposure and openness," said Price. "I think that in itself separates us from most brands right off the bat."

You can see that transparency in the Pornhub team's honest and informative Reddit AMA, its brilliant data analysis of how the Super Bowl affects porn viewership, its map of which countries "finish fastest," or its rapid-fire response to a news station that accidentally tweeted a Pornhub link.

In other words, Pornhub is doing modern branding as well as or better than the biggest brands out there.

They've even got cross-promotional deals and Hollywood product placements. The company struck a deal with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt to feature a few of its 3.5 million video clips in his porn-filled romantic comedy Don Jon. That's part of the reason Don Jon-as well as another Joseph Gordon Levitt vehicle, Sin City 2-was one of the recent mainstream advertisers that the brand has attracted to the site. Adult-themed movies haven't been the only ones interested in using the brand's platform; California-based food delivery service Eat24 made headlines advertising on the site.

"Yes, it's still taboo [to advertise on X-rated sites like Pornhub], but we've had several clients take advantage of our huge user base and competitive ad rates and see a huge gain from it," Price said. "The overall mission of advertising is to get eyes on a product; we offer the ability to expose any brand to 50 million visitors."

But a socially savvy marketing approach can only go so far. Much of the content featured on Pornhub, as on most adult sites, is overwhelmingly focused on male viewers, and sexual objectification of women is a frequent theme. Is Pornhub actually a different kind of porn site, or is it just the usual porn site but with a new style of packaging?

When asked about this issue, Pornhub points to its adoption of an amateur-uploaded content platform and a section of content aimed specifically at women, though many competing sites offer the same.

Ultimately the brand is a platform that, according to Price, offers many different types of content to appeal to many different types of users. "We make due with the tools we have to make sure we don't discount any one group, gender or set of preferences," Price said.

"Anything that takes most forms of sexual expression away from being perceived as dirty, or things like that, is something I support," said Jennifer Baumgardner, activist and executive director of the Feminist Press.

But while it's promising to see a brand that wants to "create more space for us to not feel ashamed about sexuality and sexual expressions," Baumgardner said, it's not yet clear whether a site like Pornhub can move the adult industry forward without retaining "all that's wrong with the way we're currently doing things."







text Can Cross-Screen Identity Work at Scale?
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 16:20:21 PST

It was a big "first" that would change things forever. The year was 1994, the purchase was a "compact audio disk" by Sting and the place was the Internet.

Online shopping was revolutionary and complex, and it came with extraordinary challenges. It was also done from a single screen. Oh, how times have changed.

The average household in 2014 owns 5.7 connected devices, and users switch between those devices up to 27 times per hour. Marketers understand this phenomenon to such a degree that the phrase "mobile consumer" is already antiquated. And marketers know it's vital to speak to millions of users in a holistic way across their screens in a privacy-safe way.

Many cross-screen solutions exist, but when the companies behind those solutions try to describe what they do, the conversation typically turns into a complex consideration of data sets, scale and algorithms. Yes, the primacy of the science and technology is indisputable. But this isn't usually what motivates a marketer to take action. Rather, that comes from two things: One is proof, pure and simple. And two is the ability to work outside of a particular walled garden.

At long last, in the world of cross-screen identity solutions, marketers can get both proof and an open ecosystem and these stack up alongside the three pillars that matter most:

1. Efficacy
Only two companies so far have third party validation. Nielsen recently confirmed the accuracy of Tapad- the company that became the first to crack the code on cross-screen in 2010-and reported that Tapad's approach to cross-screen identification (a combination of deterministic and probabilistic) was spot-on 91.2 percent of the time. AOL recently received comScore validation as well.

2. Scale
Being first-to-market gives Tapad algorithms a marked evolutionary advantage. Its massive third-party data set and its first-party truth set ensure scale that is not reliant upon any singular ecosystem-and it does so while remaining privacy safe. Additionally, the scale of the closed ecosystems of Facebook and Google are well-known.

3. Privacy
By now, the companies that lead on privacy are evident, and the logos from validating third parties like the NAI, Ghostery, DAA pepper their corporate websites. This kind of concrete proof moves the cross-screen identity industry beyond the promise of a dream and into reality. For publishers, brands and marketers, this represents a major step toward a human-centric approach over a device-centric one. And that's a reality that benefits everyone.

Checklist: Not all "cross-screen" tech is created equal
Here are our questions every decision maker should ask a data solution provider before signing on the dotted line:

• Is your cross-screen identity solution third-party verified?

• Are you able to connect with customers across screens, in a unified way, or just to multiple channels? (Watch for use of the term "cross-screen" when the company really means "multi-screen.")

• Does your solution allow you to reach the same person (not a lookalike, not a pinpointed approximation) across screens?

• Does your solution allow you to reach the same person outside the home or away from the first point of association between screens?

• Does your solution only use identifiers that are available for consumer opt-out? Do you allow opt-out in-app?

• Is your solution multi-directional? For example, can you retarget desktop users on mobile and retarget mobile users on desktop?

• Can your solution be used for optimization (e.g., frequency capping or message sequencing) in addition to targeting?

• Can your data be decoupled from media?

• Does your technology power other tech partners-DSP's, DMP's, etc.?

• How many devices do you have in your solution? Of the devices, how many are connected to other devices? What is the average connectivity of your devices?

• Can you enable first party DMP data from Blue Kai, Aggregate Knowledge, Adobe and others?

• Can you third-party-audience target on mobile/tablet in a 1:1 match from desktop?

• Do you offer consumer purchase path and cross-device attribution down to the unique user?

• Has your accuracy been audited by a 3rd party?







It's tough to make babies the star of car commercials, seeing as they're a long way from driving age. Not that advertisers haven't tried. Now, Hyundai jumps in with perhaps the oddest baby-themed car ad yet-and certainly the most high-tech.

Meet Exobaby, the nameplate's new, clearly-intended-to-be-viral hero.

Thanks to a fancy robotic exoskeleton, this technological toddler has "amazing abilities that ordinary babies can never perform," Hyundai says. He's a minor Lee Majors, zipping around his home like a $6 million baby-part human, part cyborg, all impervious to danger. He probably drinks Evian. Some of his skills, like Blind Spot Detection, seem car related. Others, like Bath Evade, don't. But when he parallel parks into his bed, the message is clear.

"Oh, let's be honest," says the movie-trailer-style voiceover. "The baby in the suit is you in a new Hyundai!"



Oh, let's be honest. The ad is weird. But knowing how people feel about babies-and how cartoonishly overproduced this thing is, seeking the broadest possible appeal-it may well reach millions. (If it does, it would be the second straight hit for the brand from The Viral Factory, whose June film "The Empty Car Convoy" has topped 11 million YouTube views.)

Just wait until Honda's Asimo sees this kid. He'll crush him like a bug.



CREDITS
Client: Hyundai
Agency: The Viral Factory







American Apparel has long been defined by its founder and former CEO, Dov Charney, a man who became infamous for the brand's marketing and the scandals he was embroiled in. With his ouster, the retailer has a chance to redefine what it is and will be.

The company this week named its first female CEO, Paula Schneider, a former Warnaco executive with the right pedigree and possibly the right public persona-which is to say, she doesn't really have one.

"They need to figure out how to revitalize, re-energize and [determine] what the next chapter for the brand is," said Allen Adamson, North American chairman at brand consulting firm Landor Associates. "That's a difficult thing for even the most experienced brand builder. [Schneider will need to] find that balance between polarizing, edgy and attention grabbing."

Incoming American Apparel CEO Paula Schneider

So far, Schneider's only public statement has been understandably noncommittal: "American Apparel has a unique and incredible story, and it's exciting to become part of such an iconic brand. My goal is to make American Apparel a better company, while staying true to its core values of quality and creativity and preserving its sweatshop-free, Made in USA manufacturing philosophy."

But what about its marketing? Its (often-salacious) social media tone? Its ability to connect with young people and innovate as a brand? We won't know the answers to those questions until she takes the reins in January, and for now observers are left to guess about the brand's future based largely on Schneider's low-profile past.

According to industry executives, Schneider is known to be a fair leader, personable and intelligent. And she knows the retail industry, having run her own brand consulting firm following her years at Warnaco and having held positions at Liz Claiborne before that.

"People will absolutely view the hiring of Schneider, who is highly qualified, as a strategic move away from Charney's reputation as the Terry Richardson of the garment industry," said Adam Padilla, founder of Brandfire. "The departure of Charney will only improve the brand's image, provided that Schneider doesn't turn the edgy catalog shoots into Old Navy commercials. Lest we forget: before American Apparel, there was nothing sexy about blank tri-blend T-shirts, or dot net domain names for that matter. Sex sells, especially under-produced 'reality' sex, and Dov knew that better than anyone."

Beyond stabilizing a brand that's been on shaky ground, Schneider is tasked with defining what the brand stands for and what its place as an iconic American brand should be going forward.

Charney found success with American Apparel because he presented an image and idea that transcended the product, and some brand experts doubt that Schneider is the right fit to keep the clothing line edgy and relevant.

"What Dov was very good at doing was presenting an image of a lifestyle and a point of view about being young in America," said Ben Parker, U.S. head of strategy for Naked Communications. "What they need to do is find, probably a person or another idea that can supplant that. ... I'm not sure that [Schneider] has the profile or charisma to be particularly meaningful to the brand's core audience of millennials."

American Apparel's board likely considered what the right CEO profile would be to slot in, explained Jason Hanold, managing partner of Hanold Associates. "Part of that is the proven, seasoned retail CEO who has done this many times over," said Hanold. "Some of the optics [for Schneider] will be quite positive but I don't anticipate an incredibly enthusiastic market reaction nor a negative market reaction. It's probably more of a question mark because Schneider isn't as well known as, say, a Diane Neal. You just won't have that reaction with her and that's okay but that means a lot of eyes will be focused on American Apparel and their board and results and response to her leadership."







It hasn't been a great week for Publicis Groupe's media networks. On the heels of Mars moving its global planning business out of the French company's Starcom agency, another marketer, L'Oréal, is shifting U.S. communications planning for significant brands out of Publicis' Optimedia to media agency MEC.

MEC, like Mars winner MediaCom, is owned by WPP Group. The other finalist in the review was WPP's Maxus media network.

Reps at Optimedia and L'Oréal did not return calls.

MEC's communications planning business includes Lancôme Paris and L'Oréal's USA fragrance brands like Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent and Viktor & Rolf. All of the business is part of L'Oréal's Luxury Brand portfolio.



For the most talented designers, creating a palette of complementary colors comes easy. For the rest of us, not so much.

Enter Material Palette, a site launched this week by European coder Matt Aussaguel to help Android app designers find the right color options within Google's new Material Design language. What's especially nice is that the clean, user-friendly resource is actually helpful for anyone who ever finds themselves in need of a quick array of colors for a digital design (or a kitchen remodel, in my case).

There are lots of color palette creators out there, but most involve sliders and rainbow wheels and all manner of intricacy I'd rather not deal with. With Material Palette, you click two colors you want to use, and boom-you get eight colors that work and play well together. (See example below.) The colors use traditional hex codes, too, so you can use them just about anywhere, from Photoshop to your site's CSS.

Try it for yourself here.

Hat tip to Google Design's Twitter feed for spotting and sharing this one.







Apple is back to take you behind the scenes of its sweet holiday ad about a musical recording that spans generations.

Singer-songwriter Dana Williams, who stars as the granddaughter in the commercial, recaps its premise-she finds a vinyl copy of the Gershwin standard "Love Is Here to Stay" that her grandmother cut for her grandfather in the early 1950s, before he went to war in Korea. Then, Williams overdubs new guitar parts and harmonies using Apple's GarageBand software, to make a nifty holiday present for her grandmother.

Musician Rhiannon Giddens, who is best known as the lead singer of folk band Carolina Chocolate Drops but is now promoting her upcoming T-Bone Burnett-produced solo debut, plays the part of the grandmother in her younger days. (The old photo in the ad is actually of Giddens.) The Voice-O-Graph booth she used to create the faux-vintage record is the one at Jack White's Third Man Records in Nashville-in the video, a parade of execs from the label discuss the device's significance as a novelty in the '40s and '50s. (Not to mention the present-Neil Young just recorded an album in it, and you can too, if you go down to Third Man's digs in Music City, as White reminded Jimmy Fallon's audience this year.)



Williams, meanwhile, also explains that she uses Garage Band to record almost all of her music (don't mind the fancy mixer, monitors and racks full of outboard processing gear in the background while she talks about how simple the software is) before the video proceeds to wax philosophical on old technology and new technology.

While that juxtaposition-and the point that the tools play second fiddle to the message regardless-are spelled out well enough here, that idea was pretty clearly illustrated in the spot itself. But name-checking everyone there would've probably ruined the vibe.







Carnival Corp. wants the public to select its first Super Bowl spot from among rough cuts of four commercials produced by new agency BBDO in Atlanta.

The spots are "Getaway," which is about a woman fleeing life's stresses; "Cruise Virgin," in which people recall their first cruises through lots of innuendo; "Message in a Bottle," featuring memorable crusing moments; and "Mystery Spot," which reminds people just how "special" the sea can be.

Consumers can watch the ads and vote for their favorite at carnivalmarketingchallenge.

BBDO worked with cinematographer Wally Pfister, whose résumé include films like Transcendence, the Dark Knight trilogy and Inception (for which he won an Oscar).

The selected spot, which will air on the game Feb. 1, is a major part of the cruise company's first corporate multi-brand initiative covering its nine global brands, which represent an estimated half of the industry's business. Its cruise lines include Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Costa Cruises and Seabourn.

Consumers who vote for their favorite creative concept also have a chance to win a grand prize of a yearly cruise for life.



Diageo has awarded Johnnie Walker, its global marquee creative account, to Anomaly after a pitch that included 15-year incumbent Bartle Bogle Hegarty as well as BBDO, Ogilvy & Mather and Wieden + Kennedy.

Agencies met this week with the client in Amsterdam for final meetings on the Scotch brand, which spent $40 million in measured media in 2013.

The review initially came as a surprise to some industry observers who saw BBH's "Keep Walking" strategy as one of the best in spirits marketing. When the campaign broke in 2000, brand sales represented 13 percent of the global market; at the end of 2013, that figure exceeded 20 percent, according to IWSR.

The decision follows the launch of Johnnie Walker's new BBH spot, "The Next Step," using a year-end scenario that looks forward, rather than back, with a man walking through a dreamlike vision of 2015.

Nonetheless, the brand decided it was time to move on and determined the best way forward was with Anomaly.

"We were hugely impressed by the far-reaching creative vision which Anomaly proposed for our brand and with the strategic thinking that lies behind its development," Guy Escolme, Johnnie Walker global brand director said in a statement.







If you were on the Internet this week, you probably saw the video of Aaron Draplin building a logo from scratch. If not, go watch it-we'll wait.

OK, are we all on the same page? Great. Now, as a new fan of his work, you can go watch his other videos in chronological order-ish.

Below, Draplin stars in a couple of videos from Vans' "Living Off the Wall" series, as well as clips of other talks he's given, including a TED presentation in Portland, Ore., and a speech titled "The DDC 50 Point Plan to Ruin Yer Career."

His story is a good one, especially if you're a creative trying to wrap your mind around the landscape of the artistic process, or pounding your head on the desk trying to knock ideas loose. Draplin talks more about his methodologies and his "side hustles," including rummaging through junk to find inspiration, his logo tattoo and the story behind his Field Notes mini-empire.

Just watching him experience design is a treat. Dude has a physical reaction (he shivers like he's just seen a sexy ghost) to good design and old logos. Take a look.

Via Design Taxi.








Here's everything you need to know about the last 24 hours in advertising, in case you blinked.

Buzzing on Adweek:

Samsung creates a delightful holiday ad
This animated spot tells the story of a young girl's dream, but the best part is that it's told across 74 screens. (Adweek)

20 sponsored gifs that took off on Tumblr
Tumblr put together a list of the Top 20 sponsored gifs that blew up in 2014 with movies and TV shows, including American Horror Story: Freak Show and Orange is the New Black, making the list. (Adweek)

People really want brands to stay out of Cuba
When President Obama announced the U.S. and Cuba would reexamine their fragile relationship, tons of people hopped on Twitter expressing a desire to visit Cuba before brands invade. (Adweek)

Funny or Die satirizies Serial's big finale
Just in time for the final episode of the hit podcast Serial to air, Funny or Die released this video parody showing how the last episode may, or may not, play out. (Adweek)


Around the Web:

21st Century Fox acquires True[X]
In a deal worth $200 million, 21st Century Fox announced it would acquire True[X] Media, a digital advertising company. (The Wall Street Journal)

ASA strikes down on The Walking Dead
The U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority deemed an ad for the upcoming season of The Walking Dead, showing dead and decomposing zombies, to be too graphic and violent for children. (Media Week)

A look at YouTube rival Vessel
Jason Kilar, the former CEO of Hulu, shared some thoughts on his latest project Vessel, a video platform that looks to rival YouTube by using some of the sites biggest stars. (Re/code)

Snapchat wants to promote musicians
Another bit of information to come out of the Sony hack revealed the company's CEO Evan Spiegel was in talks with Sony to use Snapchat as a platform for promoting musicians. (The Drum)

IAB says 100 percent viewability isn't possible just yet
According to a recent report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, marketers and advertisers should strive for 70 percent viewability for online ads in 2015. (Ad Exchanger)

Netflix comes to set-top boxes
With Dish Network's new video recording product, Hopper, subscribers will have access to Netflix through their set-top boxes. (Mashable)

$42.5 billion spent so far this holiday season
New data from comScore shows U.S. shoppers have already spent $42.5 billion this holiday season from desktop computers. (Media Post)

Bacardi hopes to return to Cuba
The brand, which was founded in Cuba and exiled from the country in 1960, announced its support for improving relations between the U.S. and Cuba. (Time)


Industry Shake-Ups:

Golden Corral selects its lead agency
Restaurant chain Golden Corral named The Via Agency as its new lead creative team, according to sources. (Adweek)

Droga5 wins Johnsonville account
Johnsonville Sausage selected Droga5 to handle creative work for the brand, which spends roughly $30 million on media each year. (Adweek)

WPP picks a new chairman
Roberto Quarta will join WPP's board effective Jan. 1, 2015 and will help find a replacement for Sir Martin Sorrell. (The Guardian)







Holiday safety is the theme of the latest "Dumb Ways to Die" video from Metro Trains and McCann in Melbourne, Australia.

Tangerine Kitty, which sang on the iconic original PSA from 2012, performs a version of "Deck the Halls" here. The lyrics warn against overloading electrical sockets to power festive lights or nibbling on toxic mistletoe. ("Christmas is a time to cherish/Don't be dumb or you will perish!") The song is available to buy on iTunes, with proceeds benefiting the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal.

This is just the latest extension of a campaign originally designed to promote rail safety. Other permutations include a Halloween safety video, a game for iPhone and iPad, and (unrelated) ads for a life insurance company.



Most of these iterations have proven popular to varying degrees. Still, I wonder if the inspiration has begun to wane-"Deck the Halls" treads familiar ground-and if these incautious cartoon cuties might be wearing out their welcome.

Overkill … now that's a dumb way to die.

CREDITS
Client: Metro Trains
Agency: McCann, Melbourne
Production: Airbag Productions; Electric Dreams
Recording Artists: Tangerine Kitty with members of the Salvation Army Choir







Earlier this year, a certain lifestyle magazine hooked up with a certain dark-haired celebrity and set out to #BreakTheInternet with a bottle of champagne, baby oil and a camera.

For the most part, the resulting photos worked. Paper Magazine boasted more than 16 million pageviews, and the winking hashtag trended number one on both Twitter and Facebook. But no internets were broken that day despite these massive boost in traffic.

So, while this level of virality may not ever be capable of truly "breaking" the Internet, it could certainly be capable of sinking a brand or publisher caught unprepared. The traffic, media attention and pure pandemonium these moments bring can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned among us.

So how can your brand withstand its own #BreakTheInternet the next time some content goes viral? Here are our five tips for coming out on the other side standing:

1. Quality control above all else
Purposeful viral content like #BreakTheInternet is one thing, but there are just as many throwaway tweets, Instagram photos and blog posts that blow up for all the wrong reasons. As a content creator, you have to assume that anything can go viral at any time-and once it does, there's no going back. Before you publish content, make sure you're comfortable standing behind it, even if millions read it. That means establishing a strategy to determine if content is on brand, on message and on strategy, as well as copyediting everything and running quality checks.

2. Have a PR plan in place
An unintended consequence of #BreakTheInternet was a conversation about racial undertones in American pop culture. It might not have been what the magazine was after, but this can happen when content is scrutinized by millions of people. Smart brands understand this and have a plan in place to deal with potential backlash. On the other hand, even positive attention needs the expertise of a PR team in order to turn into a tangible gain for your brand. No matter the reaction to your content, make sure you have a rock solid PR strategy in place before you publish.

3. Website downtime is deadly
For smaller brands or publishers accustomed to limited traffic, website downtime can be the deadly side effect of viral content. All it takes is one link from a major site to drive hundreds of thousands, or even millions of visits. Services like Amazon Web Services Storage Gateway provide the necessary server capacity during viral surges. Website activity monitors like SiteUpTime or Up Time Robot also notify everyone in the case of a crash. Luckily for its administrators, Paper Magazine runs its content on the Topics server, which meant it was well equipped to handle the more than six million hits in a single day.

4. Capture the attention
As quickly as the viral spotlight can appear, it can disappear even faster. The last thing you want are thousands of potential new customers visiting your site, but no way to convert them into loyal fans. Optimize your website so that it's easy for users to find out who you are, what you have to offer and how they can be a part of it. Create landing pages that orient users quickly and drive them to action. Add compelling calls to action to your content that encourage users to explore more content, browse your products or contact you for more information.

5. Keep the Content Rolling
The biggest pieces of viral content tend to spawn reaction content such as a parody videos or blog posts. The conversation continues to evolve, and the content creators should strive to stay involved. It's important to keep creating new content, and not cling to the viral hit for too long after it peaks. If the success helped to grow an audience, don't keep them waiting for more.

Focus on creating amazing content that people want to share, and always be prepared for it to hit big. Just try not to break the Internet in the process.