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Here’s the Story Behind Deadpool’s Incredible Blu-ray Takeover at Walmart

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When a display of Blu-rays, with each covered photobombed by Deadpool, popped up this week at Walmarts across the country, we had more questions that we had answers.

Who had created this amazing in-store activation, and how did such a sweeping takeover—entailing new, customized cover sleeves for The Terminator, Predator, Office Space, Fight Club and many more—come about?

Well, now we know. The short answer is that it was a collaboration between the in-house teams at Fox Home Entertainment and Los Angeles creative agency Neuron Syndicate, which designed the covers.

For more on the in-store stunt’s origin story, check out our interview below with Julia Howe, EVP and co-head of worldwide marketing for Fox Home Entertainment:

Adweek: What was the origin of this packaging stunt? Were there concerns it might be a bit too ambitious to pull off?
Julia Howe, Fox Home Entertainment: We asked ourselves, if Deadpool wanted to self-promote himself at retail, how would he do it? The character is a treasure trove of pop culture references, so it just seemed like the logical solution. In terms of ambition, since Deadpool’s initial release, the marketing bar has constantly been raised. In essence, concern really doesn’t factor in because we don’t have a choice.

How did you select which movies to give the Deadpool treatment to? Were there some that just didn’t work due to subject matter or cover art style?
Selection is a pretty organic process that included commercial viability, current placement in-store, tone and what seemed clever and made us laugh. Those films also needed to be iconic to a degree and have recognizable art. You kind of have to ask yourself, “Is this a film that the Deadpool character would egotistically see himself as the star?”

Who designed the covers? Was there an agency behind all this, or was it in-house teams?
It all starts with our in-house creative, brand and retail marketing teams to come up with the opportunity, and then we pull in our experienced and trusted partners to pull off the execution, and in this case that was L.A.-based Neuron Syndicate.

What was the approval process like for something like this? Did anyone involved in the older movies need to be involved, or is it solely at Fox Home Entertainment’s discretion?

The real difficulty in this really lies with coming up with the right set of titles and honing the creative—once we got that right, it was an easy concept to sell in.

How have sales been on these Deadpool-wrapped Blu-rays? Based on reactions we’ve seen, it seems like they’d be hot collector’s items.
They’ve just set this week in Walmart’s across the country, so it’s early to tell, but we’ve never had a Blu-ray or DVD package trend on Reddit, so we’re certainly hopeful!

Any future plans or thoughts on building off this idea? Or is the lesson something broader, like keeping your in-store displays in mind when doing creative planning?
Retail is a fantastic place to be in front of tens of millions of consumers every week, and we’re incredibly passionate about making sure our movies stand out on the shelf.

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Author: David Griner

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Top Starbucks Exec Joins JPMorgan Chase as Chief Brand Officer

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Leanne Fremar, the senior vice president and executive creative director at Starbucks, is joining the financial firm JPMorgan Chase as chief brand officer, the company announced Thursday.

Fremar will lead brand strategy for JPMorgan Chase and the firm’s subsidiaries, Chase and J.P. Morgan. She will lead global brand initiatives and creative campaigns across the brands.

“This is an extraordinary brand, an extraordinary team and an extraordinary leadership team, and it’s an honor to be joining,” Fremar told Adweek.

Fremar will report to Kristin Lemkau, JPMorgan Chase’s chief marketing officer, and she will work with business marketers companywide on various campaigns and brand initiatives.

“It’s a big job, and we really needed somebody who was special,” Lemkau told Adweek. “It’s hard to find someone who is a true creative and somebody who deeply understands creative and who is also a deeply commercial thinker; because the work we create should be beautiful, but it should also drive real business outcomes.”

Fremar will be the first chief brand officer at the company responsible for JPMorgan Chase and the two subsidiary brands. Previous brand officers oversaw individual brands at the firm.

Part of Fremar’s role will be to manage JPMorgan Chase’s internal agency, Inner Circle, and relationships with outside agencies. Inner Circle, which JPMorgan Chase created in 2015, has saved the company $20 million in marketing costs, Lemkau said, and the firm plans to use it even more. The goal of bringing more creative in-house was a major reason Fremar, who headed Starbucks’ in-house creative studio, was the right fit, Lemkau said.

Fremar’s first day at JPMorgan Chase is Sept. 24.

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Author: Kelsey Sutton

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Why This Beverage Brand Is Opening a Cashierless Store in New York

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No cash? No problem.

As cashierless technology ramps up with Amazon soon bringing its third Amazon Go store to New York, more companies are testing the waters. The newest one: Dirty Lemon, a beverage brand that only sells its products via text, is opening up what it calls its “Drug Store” in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood.

Unlike Amazon Go, where customers need to use an Amazon Go app to enter the store, anyone can walk into the store, pick up a beverage, and walk right out. Customers then text Dirty Lemon which beverage they grabbed and in five minutes, a 24-hour customer representative charges their credit card (new customers are prompted to open up an account). A few safety precautions include cameras monitoring the space, a heat map tracker to see how many people are visiting the store and a RFID tracker to see what products are taken out of the refrigerator (which holds 1,000 bottles).

“We think this is a really great controlled way of ultimately providing a really valuable experience to our customers,” said Zak Normandin, founder and CEO, DirtyLemon. “It’s a relatively low risk for us to be able to do something innovative and unique for the brand and with our customers.”

To bring people into this new space, Dirty Lemon is reaching out to its 25,000-member customer database, inviting them in and offering up the first bottle for free. The company’s VIP members—customers who order a Dirty Lemon case at least once a month—will get an extra perk: a 1,300 square foot cocktail bar, where the brand plans on hosting events and screenings and use the area as a lab to try new flavors, according to Normandin. (The company’s previous pop-up in Nolita last summer tested out two flavors, +Matcha and +Rose, that became best sellers and were eventually bottled.)

“It’s going to be a SoHo house type of programming schedule,” Normandin said. “We want this to be a place where people can come, have a drink after work, or take friends on the weekend.”

Normandin is betting on getting more out of the storefront than just sales. He thinks of the brand as more of a technology company than a beverage company, and he plans on proving that concept with the store. With Dirty Lemon’s recent acquisition of Poncho, a former weather chatbot service, Normandin said Dirty Lemon has “incorporated” all of Poncho’s technology around a conversational bot experience into its own platform. The new technology is less automated than Poncho, but it’s allowed Dirty Lemon to automatically process different types of orders, like a two cases of one flavor for one day and another flavor for another day. Before, Normandin said, it had to be done manually.

The storefront is also Dirty Lemon’s next bet to attract new customers, as the price to serve ads to a consumer continues to climb and is “too expensive” for the company to acquire a consumer at a certain price. Normandin explained that it’s not just beverage companies who are going after their customer (a millennial femal that’s “educated and has a high discretionary income”), but all types of companies.

“We believe in the power of experience and building community, and this achieves that in a big way,” Normandin said. “By creating a physical experience and community around a location, I think we’re able to build much more longevity with consumers.”

The company, which has more than 150,000 customers across the United States, plans on taking its “Drug Store” concept to three more locations in 2019: another in New York, Chicago, and Miami.

“Shifting our advertising spend from digital acquisition to these physical experiences is, we think, a much more effective way of connecting with consumers,” Normandin said.

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Author: Ann-Marie Alcántara

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Snapchat, Seeking Ad Revenue, Launches Partnerships With 25 Media Companies

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Today Snapchat parent company Snap, Inc. announced new partnerships with 25 media companies to create daily content for its Our Stories product.

These partners, which range from traditional media outlets and longtime Snap partners like CNN and NBC to digital publishers like Refinery29 and LADbible, influencer platform Whalar and sports media upstart Wave, will release daily editorial units that mix their own original material with user-generated content drawn from Snapchat’s millions of active users around the world.

Perhaps most importantly, these new content streams will provide Snapchat with another opportunity to serve programmatic ads to those users. Each media partner will also take an undisclosed portion of the resulting revenue.

“If publishers use content submitted by Snap users from all over the world to create stories, the byproduct will be better viewership and engagement.”
—Brian Verne, CEO, Wave

It’s going to be a different experience than the traditional kind of publisher experience that exists on Snapchat today,” said Brian Verne, CEO of Wave, which currently claims to be the fourth-largest sports publisher by total audience. “Their Our Stories portal will be opened up to exclusive publishing partners, one of which is us. If publishers use content submitted by Snap users from all over the world to create stories, the byproduct will be better viewership and engagement. As a value proposition for advertisers, that would seemingly be a more premium product. That’s why we were so excited.”

The idea is to make it easier for these publishers to monetize the content they curate for Snapchat while giving them more creative freedom on the platform.

“It’s a revenue agreement between publishers and Snap, but they are handling all the inventory,” said Allison Bodack, manager of communications for ad sales, data strategy and analytics at CNN parent company Turner. “There will be ads inserted into the stories.”

Bodack noted that these stories will have no universal format or length, predicting that they will change day-to-day.

“When this proposition came forward, a few things made it a natural fit. I have a social discovery team whose job is to identify and curate UGC content,” she continued. The new arrangement includes a dashboard tool enabling them to more easily facilitate these narratives.

“I still think it’s a platform that a younger audience is actively using and engaged on. It also doesn’t hurt that there are ad units available.”
—Allison Bodack, manager of communications for ad sales, data strategy and analytics, Turner

A party with direct knowledge of the new arrangement also said that, for the first time, Snap’s media partners will have access to the Our Stories API portal that had been exclusively available to the company’s own in-house team. In other words, CNN and others can stitch together the material created by journalists around the world who are already active on Snapchat with publicly submitted UGC content from the estimated 3 billion snaps created every day while adding custom graphics, text or other elements.

Additionally, each piece of content will have a unique, shareable URL via the Stories Everywhere feature so the partners can simultaneously publish on other platforms.

The news comes amid reports that Snapchat is losing users to Instagram, which essentially copied its primary feature for Instagram Stories just over two years ago. (Unlike Snapchat, Instagram does not have a built-in platform for publishers to monetize their content.)

Shares also fell on the news that chief strategy officer Imran Khan would be leaving the company, yet CNN and Wave both remain bullish on Snap.

“As an emerging media brand, you need to be everywhere,” said Verne, who told Adweek that his company shares Snap’s conviction that the future of media is a “decentralized model” that’s more reliant on content created by its own audience. “I think the results speak for themselves in terms of viewership.”

Bodack said, “I still think it’s a platform that a younger audience is actively using and engaged on. So how we contribute and distribute [our] exceptional journalism and narratives is still valuable.”

“It also doesn’t hurt that there are ad units available,” she added.

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Author: Patrick Coffee

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