ICYMI: The best ads, the worst publisher tactic and the ugly brand pander du jour

Welcome to the long weekend. You’ve earned this brief respite. If, on your rush to get out the door and hit the beach, you missed the best Digiday stories this week, this ICYMI roundup has your back. So lay out a dad-bod towel and enjoy.


What’s more enjoyable than a well executed ad? (Don’t answer that.) The difficult-to-please Copyranter went positive for a change — well, for him, anyway — and picked his favorite ads of the year so far.

“I committed myself to doing this post after rounding up the worst ads of 2016 last week,” he wrote. “But collecting terrible ads is ridiculously easy: I chose the five worst out of about 1,000 horrendous ads. This week, it wasn’t so easy. I chose five pretty good ads/campaigns out of zero great ones.”

The best of the lot is an ad for Rekorderlig Cider, out of Sweden. “Silver Skaters” is equal parts weird and cool, and it nicely positions the product and thus makes this a winner:


Three condensed questions from a longer anonymous Q&A with a depressed newspaper publishing exec:

Has digital publishing today become too focused on scale?
The digital media industry has completely screwed up by pursuing scale for the sake of scale.

What are the repercussions?
The natural result is that the same value is applied to a person who clicks one of your links on Twitter or wherever, as to a person who returns regularly to the site and regards themselves as a reader.

But advertisers like scale.
Consumers aren’t engaging with the ads, and now they’re blocking them. What’s the end game? Just keep scaling and hope that some of these things start working? I don’t think that’s going to happen.


GroupM’s strict definition of viewability is a touchy subject for publishers. It is so strict, in fact, that of the six publishers Digiday spoke to for this story, not a single executive was willing to go on the record. “It’s upfront season, man,” one told senior spooked-horse correspondent Sahil Patel.

The problem, of course, is that GroupM controls roughly a third of global ad spend, which means their demand for 100 percent viewability has become the industry standard — even though it’s double MRC demands.

“GroupM is big enough where you have to consider them as a second standard,” said another revenue chief at a print and digital publisher. “That shouldn’t exist. There should be one standard that all of the agencies can agree to, otherwise everything becomes incredibly more difficult.”


File under: Thirsty brand move du jour.

“In an effort to sound like your younger, cooler cousin, brands are #adulting,” reports Shareen Pathak. Indeed, brands from Reese’s to Starbucks have glommed on to the somewhat sad hashtag in an attempt to connect with a demographic that — we are told, anyway — loves authenticity.

For the olds, #adulting is the preferred term for young people acting like grown-ups. To the stats: Brandwatch found that the phrase — which is simultaneously self-congratulatory while self-deprecating — has been mentioned 642,000 times online in the last year, with usages peaking last month with more than 87,000 mentions. So far this month, there have already been 82,000 mentions of “adulting” across social media.

But in a sure sign that #adulting may no longer be #onfleek, brands dealing in finance (Credit Karma, TD Ameritrade), retail (Target, Amazon) and food (Fruity Pebbles cereal) have all deployed the term. “#Adulting may be trending in a certain millennial group but not everything, so tapping it just so you can reach this huge bucket of people won’t work,” said Shannon Truax, head of social media at iCrossing.


Vice’s Shane Smith pulls a Game of Thrones move. Holding court late last week , Vice Media CEO Shane Smith predicted a mainstream media “bloodbath” in the coming year:

“We’re the largest new media company, and we’re going to become the fourth-largest or fifth-largest, or maybe the third-largest [mainstream media company]. I don’t think it’s any secret that you’re going to see a bloodbath in the next 12 months of digital, mobile and terrestrial.”

Turns out he was partially right: Days later Vice itself laid off 15 staffers. 


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