Facebook relies on snail mail to counter fake election ads
Looks like social media giant Facebook has learnt its lesson post the 2016 US election fiasco. The platform has now announced that it will start using US Postal Service’s postcards later this year to verify the identities and locations of individuals planning to buy the election-related advertising on its site. The postcard verification will begin before the 2018 mid-term elections. The aim is to check election meddling. Recently, US special counsel Robert Mueller published his indictment of 13 Russian operatives that included a bot farm, fake social media accounts, groups and stolen identities that were instrumental in influencing the previous election outcome. Katie Harbath, global director of policy programme at FB said that the cards will be sent to people who want to purchase ads that mention candidates running for federal offices, but not issue-based political ads. Ads that use a candidate’s name would be verified by a code shared through post that buyers need to enter to verify that they are in the US. Facebook will also double the number of people working on security from 10,000 to 20,000 later this year. In October, 2017, Rob Goldman, VP — ads, had written on the FB blog that once these advertisers are verified, “they will have to include a disclosure in their election-related ads, which reads: ‘paid for by’. When you click on the disclosure, you will be able to see details about the advertiser. Like other ads on Facebook, you will also be able to see an explanation of why you saw that particular ad.” Social media companies have been criticised since the 2016 elections for not doing enough to prevent false advertising. Goldman had also said that transparency would help everyone, especially political watchdog groups and reporters, keeping advertisers accountable for who they say they are and what they say to different groups. The verification process was announced at the same time as FB said it would begin testing a view ads feature in Canada, which enables its users to see ads which a page is running on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.
More marketing monies for PepsiCo’s flagship brands
After focussing on healthier products in 2017, PepsiCo is set to put a big marketing push behind its flagship brands — Pepsi, Gatorade and Dew. This would include the launch of its Pepsi Generations campaign, launch of Mountain Dew Ice, new sparkling water drink (Bubly) and packaging innovation. The company will also focus on in-store marketing for a better push at the retail front and media spends. “As we invest more behind advertising and marketing behind the big brands of Pepsi,Gatorade and Dew, I think you will see improved performance from us,” Hugh Johnston, chief financial officer, PepsiCo was quoted as saying. However, he added that like most advertising campaigns, it might take several quarters to fully realise the impact. Recently, PepsiCo reported its Q4 earnings and revenue (revenue: $19.53 billion) that topped analysts’ expectations despite the pressure its core beverage business is facing. PepsiCo’s chairwoman and CEO Indra Nooyi said in a statement, “We met or exceeded most of the financial goals we set out at the beginning of the year.” However, this does not take away the fact that its net revenue of $19.53 billion was flat when compared with the year-ago period but the growth in revenue did make up for continued weakness in its largest business, North American beverages. “I expect as we go into 2018 we are going to have have a terrific year on innovation because of Dew Ice, Doritos blaze and Bubly,” Johnston said. The company is clear on not offering lower pricing as part of its strategy to gain more market share.
Federer to continue endorsing Mercedes-Benz
Roger Federer, who first partnered with Mercedes-Benz in 2008, has signed a multi-year extension of his deal with the German car giant worth an annual $5 million. The professional tennis player had recently renewed a multi-year partnership with Lindt as well. On associating yet again with Mercedes-Benz, Federer said, “I am proud to cooperate with Mercedes-Benz over such a long period of time. Mercedes-Benz is one of the most iconic global brands in the world and I am so excited to continue this incredible partnership and be part of the Mercedes-Benz family for many years to come.”
“Roger Federer is an outstanding athlete who has shaped tennis for decades and stands for top performance. As a successful top athlete, he ideally represents our brand as we are united by the demand for perfection and the will to succeed,” Jens Thiemer, VP — marketing for Mercedes-Benz said in an official statement. The top-ranked ATP 36 year-old star had first partnered with Mercedes a decade ago in a three-year deal exclusively for the Chinese market. The agreement was then extended in 2011 as a global deal, with the automobile maker using Federer in its marketing around the world, which was further extended for another three years at the end of 2014. Apart from Mercedes-Benz and Lindt, Federer’s current brand partnerships include Nike, Rolex, Credit Suisse, Jura and Wilson. He has been endorsing these brands for about a decade now. Thanks to these deals, the athlete had ranked fourth in the Forbes’ list of the highest-paid athletes ($64 million, including prize money and appearance fees) last year. Meanwhile, the brand Mercedes-Benz has been banking on tennis as one of its marketing pillars for more than two decades. Currently, it is a primary sponsor of the US Open and the annual Shanghai ATP Tour stop. It also sponsored the inaugural Laver Cup in Prague last year.
Can’t LE(t)GO of Harry Potter?
It is not easy to shake off the Harry Potter fever. LEGO Systems in partnership with Warner Bros Consumer Product will be bringing to life the Wizarding World in the second half of 2018. It will feature a cast of Muggles and magical creatures in LEGO form — from Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger to Newt Scamander and more. Priced at $99.99, the sneak peek of the LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall building set will be unveiled during the annual Toy Fair in New York. Jill Wilfert, VP — licensing and entertainment for the LEGO Group said, “When it first launched in 2001, LEGO Harry Potter was a global sellout due to its broad appeal and ability to spark imaginative play, so we are thrilled to go deeper into the Wizarding World to bring even more magic and excitement to Lego play. The Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts stories are perfectly suited to construction play and our designers cannot wait for fans to see how the films are reimagined in our new collection of building sets and collectibles.” Meanwhile, Niantic, the developer behind Pokémon Go is set to turn the world of Harry Potter into an AR game.
Chanel’s digital vision is not so ‘farfetched’
Chanel has taken a minority stake in London-based online retailer Farfetch to develop digital services such as chats and a branded app for a personalised in-store experience as well as to better target millennial consumers. The tie-up between the French couture house and Farfetch is not a commercial deal. Chanel also said that it has no plans to sell its core products — ready-to- wear and handbags — online even as its eyewear, fragrance and beauty products are available online. Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s president of fashion said, “We are not starting to sell Chanel on the Farfetch marketplace. We want to connect our customers with our product and our boutiques are the best way to do so. We are very consistent in our strategy, but we are using Farfetch’s know-how to accelerate this.” Farfetch founder and CEO José Neves said that the company plans to revolutionise the physical store experience with its augmented retail experience.The initial fruits of the partnership will be unveiled at one of Chanel’s boutiques in France later this year. The arrangement will help solidify Farfetch’s reputation as a partner to luxury brands, which also recently signed a deal with Burberry.
— Compiled by Ananya Saha