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Uber launches a rewards program, and Lyft announces one too

32 minutes ago

Uber is rolling out a new rewards program starting Wednesday, offering its most loyal users cash back on rides, priority airport pickups and free phone support.

The new program, called Uber Rewards, aims to keep passengers in Uber's ecosystem, offering perks to customers for ordering food, taking more car rides and, eventually, for riding on electric bikes. The strategy to get existing customers to use more services may help Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi achieve his vision of Uber as a multifaceted transportation provider, doing business well beyond ride-hailing.

On Monday, U.S. competitor Lyft also announced a similar loyalty program, which the company said it hoped to roll out by the end of the year. Uber has already released a rewards program for drivers that it's currently piloting in eight cities. The new program for riders is launching in nine locations Wednesday: Miami and Tampa in Florida, all of New Jersey, Denver, New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Diego and Washington. The company said it will expand the program to the rest of the U.S. over the next few months.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Watch the newest ads on TV from Groupon, Fitbit, Walmart and more

52 minutes ago

Every weekday we bring you the Ad Age/iSpot Hot Spots, new TV commercials tracked by iSpot.tv, the real-time TV ad measurement company with attention and conversion analytics from more than eight million smart TVs. The ads here ran on national TV for the first time yesterday.

A few highlights: When it comes to Black Friday, Walmart wants you to "light it up" in a spot that makes the metaphor literal with a little help from a glow-in-the-dark dance troupe. Groupon also hypes Black Friday along with Cyber Monday in an ad that encourages you to use the Groupon app to find "the best gifts of the season." And Fitbit serves up another one of its commercials with the tagline "Gift Fit"; this one specifically plugs the Fitbit Versa.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Ford's self-driving cars will whisk Walmart deliveries to doorsteps

2 hours ago

Ford Motor Co. is pairing up with Walmart, the world's largest retailer, to begin laying the groundwork for a driverless grocery delivery service.

The two companies will test out the concept as part of an existing grocery-delivery partnership between Postmates and Walmart. Ford vehicles will eventually be mocked up to appear autonomous and simulate the process of consumers retrieving their groceries without the help of a human driver.

As self-driving cars come closer to reality, automakers and tech giants are increasingly viewing driverless deliveries as even more lucrative than the robo-taxis that will initially hit the streets to transport commuters. Automating the arrival of goods to consumers' front porches would slash shipping costs roughly in half, experts say. Consultant McKinsey & Co. predicts that in less than a decade, 80 percent of all items will be delivered autonomously.

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Marketer's Brief: No, Tide is not getting into the wine business

2 hours ago

Welcome to the latest edition of Marketer's Brief, a quick take on marketing news, moves and trends from Ad Age's reporters and editors. Send tips/suggestions to eschultz@adage.com.

Bodyarmor, the upstart sports drink brand that is going after Gatorade, just inked a major sports sponsorship deal. Find out more about that below, along with how Smirnoff is injecting some buzz into Christmas decorating. But first, Tide is in the news again, and it has nothing to do with cleaning.

Not Franzia

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B2B CMO Spotlight: Raising a unicorn in the give-to-get economy

3 hours ago

Walking into the nondescript and unattended lobby of MongoDB on a quiet block in Palo Alto, you might not suspect that this was the home of what many are predicting to be Silicon Valley's next billion-dollar "unicorn." But after a few minutes chatting with the CMO of the open-source document database company, Meagen Eisenberg, who has both an engineering degree and an MBA, you come to understand what a juggernaut actually looks like in the "give-to-get economy."

The "give" in this case is an open source database that is downloaded 40,000 times a day. The "get" is literally millions of eyeballs and email addresses a month that MongoDB then tries to convert into leads and customers while deploying 28 different marketing technologies. How Eisenberg and her team make the most of their lead volume and robust MarTech stack is the subject of our interview below.

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The holiday engagement strategies you need to be using

3 hours ago

It's no surprise the holiday shopping season is a critical retail tent pole. In fact, Foursquare data shows that consumers visit retailers 30 percent more frequently from Black Friday to Christmas, as compared with the rest of the year. But more crowds usually means more noiseand reaching today's consumers in a sea of marketing "jingle bells" has become all the more challenging.

While we know that over 90 percent of shopping still takes place in the real, physical world, it's important for brands to contemplate the power that location technology can have to not only measure retail foot traffic but drive it. Our unique understanding of how people move in the real world gives us the ability to analyze foot traffic patterns and shopping trends from our nationally representative group of U.S. consumers who make up our always-on foot traffic panel.

Today, we're taking a look at last year's most prescriptive shopping behaviors to deliver the top strategies your business can apply to stay ahead of the holiday competition. Let's unwrap a few from our latest report.

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Dentsu Aegis Network chief Jerry Buhlmann steps down

5 hours ago

Dentsu Aegis Network CEO Jerry Buhlmann is stepping down from his role at the end of the year marking yet another high-profile agency company leadership departure in a year that also saw WPP CEO Martin Sorrell leave his role and MDC Partners announce the forthcoming departure of its CEO Scott Kauffman from that position.

Tim Andree, Dentsu Aegis Network executive chairman and exec VP of Dentsu Inc., will combine the CEO role with his current duties.

Buhlmann joined Aegis Group in 1999 before becoming its CEO in 2010. When Dentsu Inc. acquired Aegis Group in 2013, Buhlmann became CEO of DAN. He will formally step down at the end of December, but will continue to work as a special advisor to Dentsu Inc. in 2019.

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Ad Age Next is on: Learn all about the future (tickets still available for Day 2!)

6 hours ago

The online trust crisis. The rise of conversational AI. How blockchain is changing marketing. The exploding market for cannabis and CBD. The transformation of online experiential shopping. The end of cash registers. The rise of esports. What you need to know about adtech right now...

Those are just some of the topics we're taking on at Ad Age Next, our biggest annual conference. If you want to stay on top of the future of marketing and technology, there's good news: There are still tickets available for the event, which runs through today in New York City. It's jam-packed with panels and presentations that will help you gain top-line insights on exactly where marketing practices are heading. (You and your team will also have plenty of time to reconnect with industry peers and make new connections across networking meals, breaks and tonight's opening-night reception.) See the full agenda here.

Among the industry leaders taking our stage: Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit and Initialized Capital; Bozoma Saint John, CMO at Endeavor; Drew Bradstock, senior VP of product at Index Exchange; Dara Treseder, CMO at GE Ventures; Sharmeen Browarek, senior director of viewer engagement at Twitch; Jess Carbino, sociologist at Bumble; Pras Michl, founder and CEO of Blacture; Amy Emmerich, chief content officer atRefinery29; Joanna O'Connell, VP and principal analyst at Forrester; Kass Dawson, global head of marketing communications at Softbank Robotics; Rachel Shechtman, founder and CEO of Story; Meiling Tan, head of marketing at Alphabet's Waymo; Alanna Gombert, CEO of the Digital Asset Trade Association; and Jason DeLand, founding partner and joint global CEO at Anomaly. See the full list of speakers here.

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4 ways your brand can get love on Reddit -- and win karma

19 hours ago

Any brand marketer looking to leverage Reddit's notoriously passionate community knows that the waters can be treacherous.

Still, there are ways to strike a meaningful chord.

Jen Wong, Reddit's chief operating officer, shared a few of them today at Ad Age's Next conference in New Yrok.

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Four rules for brands to be loved on Reddit and win karma

19 hours ago

Reddit's chief operating officer Jen Wong stopped by AdAge's Next conference on Tuesday to reveal what she tells brands about how they need to talk to users on the online discussion forum.

Appearing on stage with AdAge editor Brian Braiker at the New York City event, Wong discussed the challenge of building trust with consumers at a time when integrity on the internet is in short supply. Reddit is a community made up of "subreddits" devoted to every niche imaginable, and the site is moderated by the users who create the subreddits and vote on its posts, so that the most popular submissions rise to the top. There's a passionate fanbase on the site, but it can also frighten brands, who worry about being overrun by negative comments from people not interested in hearing a message from a sponsor.

For advertisers who are just starting to feel their way around Reddit, here were Wong's key tips.

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NBA players link up with app to promote stars' esports play

19 hours ago

The National Basketball Players Association signed a deal with ReadyUp, linking up with an app that helps esports fans track and watch their favorite online gamers.

Under the deal announced Tuesday at Esports Rising, a Los Angeles conference put on by Sports Business Journal, the league's stars will have an opportunity to profit from the online video-game leagues they take part in, according to Payne Brown, president of the group's marketing arm.

"We're trying to give on our players a new way to engage with their fans through behavior they're already enjoying," Brown said.

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Heineken taps Canvas Worldwide as media agency of record for U.S.

19 hours ago

Heineken USA has brought on Canvas Worldwide as its media agency of record in the U.S., marking a major win for the three-year-old agency.

The new appointment part of a "strategic approach to strengthen the brand's marketing and media planning efforts will be effective Jan. 1, 2019, Heineken confirmed to Ad Age in a statement.

In 2012, Heineken consolidated global media planning and buying with what was then Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest. Starcom has been handling the account in the U.S.

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Watch Out Goldman, Capitol Hill: Amazon is here for your talent

20 hours ago

Amazon's decision to split its second headquarters was a calculated move to poach the best and brightest from two of the biggest talent pools in America: New York City and Washington D.C.

When the tech giant starts recruiting tens of thousands of workers in the cities next year, Wall Street and Capitol Hill will feel the burn.

On Tuesday, Amazon picked Long Island City in New York and Arlington, Virginia, for its next big office locations, bringing $5 billion in investment and 50,000 high-paying jobs to those areas.

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Facebook stopped 141 suspected Russian accounts on FBI tip

20 hours ago

Facebook took down some accounts ahead of last week's U.S. midterms that federal authorities told them might possibly be from the Russian Internet Research Agency -- the same group that tried to influence the 2016 election.

The company on Monday gave details of the effort, saying it removed 36 Facebook accounts, 6 Facebook pages and 99 Instagram accounts that weren't run by real people, and were coordinating to spread political messages ahead of the election. While many of the accounts just wrote about celebrities, some also discussed social issues like women's rights and gay rights. A total of about 1.25 million people followed at least one of the Instagram accounts, with 600,000 of those people in the U.S.

Facebook isn't ready to say definitively that they're from Russia.

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In China, Kim Kardashian West is late to the influencer party

20 hours ago

Americans who have heard of influencer marketing usually associate the term with Kim Kardashian West. For better or worse, her name is synonymous with the paying of Instagram celebrities to post content about products.

Kardashian West recently strode into the Chinese influencer market by joining a local social media platform called Xiaohongshu, or Little Red Book. The app is used by more than 100 million Chinese beauty fans to discover international cosmetic brands and purchase their products. Analysts suspect she joined because she plans to sell her KKW Beauty line direct to Chinese consumers using the app's native e-commerce functionality.

Kardashian West may have been an early mover in the influencer space in the U.S., but we highly doubt her success there will translate to sales in China. Here's why:

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CNN sues Trump over White House ban of its correspondent

23 hours ago

A long-simmering battle between President Donald Trump and CNN escalated Tuesday with the cable news network suing Trump and his top aides over the revocation of press credentials of its correspondent Jim Acosta.

The unusual step taken by CNN seeks the immediate return of Acosta's pass, which was revoked after a tussle between the correspondent and a White House aide. The aide tried to take a microphone away from Acosta as he persisted in asking questions of Trump at a press conference last week. Trump has called the AT&T Inc. unit "fake news" and frequently disparaged Acosta.

"This is just more grandstanding from CNN," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said. She added that Acosta had "physically refused to surrender the White House microphone" and that "this was not the first time this reporter has inappropriately refused to yield to other reporters."

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Watch the newest ads on TV from Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and more

37 minutes ago

Every weekday we bring you the Ad Age/iSpot Hot Spots, new TV commercials tracked by iSpot.tv, the real-time TV ad measurement company with attention and conversion analytics from more than eight million smart TVs. The ads here ran on national TV for the first time yesterday.

A few highlights: A multitasking weightlifter-sprinter wins medals in both of his sports in a Geico spot with the tagline "It's a win-win." Fitbit wants you to "Gift Fit" this holiday season. And the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up" serves as the soundtrack for, yes, a Walmart Black Friday ad.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Four top holding companies say they are cleared in DOJ production probe

55 minutes ago

Four top holding companies subjected to a Department of Justice probe into ad industry production practices say the investigations into their respective subsidiaries have been closed without any action being taken.

MDC Partners, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe and IPG have confirmed the investigations into their subsidiaries have been closed without any action taken. WPP declined to comment.

In 2016, the Department of Justice launched the probe into whether ad agencies were unfairly directing production business to their in-house departments over independent shops. Advertising agencies, which have been increasingly producing work for clients in-house, were being investigated for allegedly fixing the bidding process by encouraging production houses to increase their prices so the contract is given to the agency's in-house team.

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IAB says digital ad revenue on pace for $100 billion this year, but headwinds loom

50 minutes ago

Digital ad spending revenue surged 23 percent to $49.5 billion for the first half of 2018, putting it on pace to see its first-ever $100 billion year, the Interactive Advertising Bureau said Tuesday in its twice-yearly report prepared by PwC.

Mobile continues to capture the most ad spending with 73 percent, and the IAB says the rise of direct-to-consumer brands are helping fuel the growth. But although the industry saw yet another record-breaking first half, potential headwinds loom.

Here are several takeaways from the IAB's report.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Waymo will launch first commercial robotaxi service in U.S. next month

2 hours ago

Waymo is planning to launch the world's first commercial robotaxi service in early December, a person familiar with the plans told Bloomberg.

The service will operate under an entirely new brand and compete directly with Uber and Lyft.

Waymo, a subsidiary of Google's parent company, Alphabet, is keeping the new name a closely guarded secret until the formal announcement, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the plans haven't been made public.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

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