CNN Buys Casey Neistat for $25M, Hubspot Confirms Video Trumps Blogging, and Ad Execs Admit There Is No Worse Time To Be A Brand Than Right Now

It’s only February and the year is off to a turbulent start. If this year doesn’t throw brands for the ultimate loop on abilities to message at scale, I don’t know what will…

It’s so much more than consumers ever flippant user behaviors, it’s the dramatic steps required of brands to assure they capture their consumer’s attention spans.  As James Wood, Executive Creative Directory, at Publicis’ MRY puts his New Year’s Resolution for work:

Is that harsh or what?

Publicis MRY has managed accounts as large as VISA. The thing is, I share the same viewpoint – marketing has nothing to do with the fact that you deliver your product flawlessly. It’s about so much more – reaching above and beyond. Taking a stance on issues that may not even be relevant to your products, but focusing on the MOST important issues of your consumers.

“Only 6% of consumers believe a company should just “be profitable.”

Three of Faith Popcorn’s 17 Trends for 2017 + Beyond point it out clear as day – we are not distributing marketing messaging in the same context as before.  We are

Marketing Against the Backdrop of a Trump Era and Smarter Consumers

So there is him with all of his shenanigans and…




Consumers are SO frustrated with everything that they feel helpless!

The brands that step up to the plate and help them champion a battle that they are personally fighting are most likely to win. Even major marketing dollars doesn’t mean it’s possible to succeed when we are inside of an ad apocalypse – complete deviation from all things standard are required to assure you don’t lose your consumers completely.

Havas recently surveyed 1,500 global brands, more than 300,000 people, 33 countries and 15 different industry sectors and they found all of the following:

  • People wouldn’t care if 74% of the brands they use just disappeared.
  • 75% of consumers expect brands to make more of a contribution to our wellbeing and quality of life, yet only 40% believe brands are doing so.
  • Content delivered by brands is underperforming to such an extent that it’s having little impact on business results or people’s lives. 84% of people expect brands to produce content. Yet 60% of all content created by brands is poor, irrelevant or fails to deliver.

The most important statistic that you need to know is:

Meaningful Brands have outperformed the stock market by 206% over the last 10 years

The reason that I am pointing all of this out is that I have experience with “meaningful brands” who have seen immense success by doing far more than “make a profit.” Check out our work with American Family Insurance’s Dreambank.

The campaign? 

American Family Insurance, a Fortune 500 company that has been in business for the better part of a century, wanted to build a showcase for the American Family Insurance brand that demonstrates their belief that a consumer’s pursuit of their dreams is a part of what makes life rich and meaningful.

Located on downtown Madison’s Capitol Square, the new DreamBank embodies their “Dreams Protected” positioning and brings it to life by providing an opportunity for customers to experience the brand in new ways. The store features interactive displays designed to assist visitors in discovering and imagining their dreams.

A Dream Curator welcomes visitors and explains the journey ahead. The Discovery Dream Den has a large touch-screen monitor, allowing visitors a fun way to explore different topics to help them develop their dreams. An authentic bank vault that remains in the historic building has been transformed into a Dream Vault. Visitors are encouraged to deposit their written dream in the vault and to access interactive, step-by-step instructions on how to achieve their dream. For more photos and case-study details go here!


Take blogging, as we speak, it is starting to lose steam. Why is that? Well, it’s all thanks to consumers becoming more and more immersed in their preferred communication channels.

A study by Hootesuite and Edelman reveals that when it comes to product research: Half of millennials are ditching the entire website experience for a social search.

I call this the two-prong test approach. Consumers know companies pay people to write amazing things about them via content. They still want to know:

A. Are you on social media, putting your brand on the chopping block? Because if you are not, you are probably hiding something. Trust decrease immediately.

B. Is the content that you are publishing relevant and useful, because if it’s not – then consumers can easily NOT waste their time reading the content that is NOT proven to be socially credible by a brand who’s content is trending. Meaning, if the content itself isn’t proven to socially engage, it’s probably garbage anyway. Consumers are aware of how brands are content marketing and don’t want to be wasting their time on content that isn’t verified by their peers.


Here are two slides that help paint the big picture…


This means that today brands have absolutely zero choice as to which rabbit hole(social media channel) they are willing + able to chase their customers down.

It’s hectic. It’s impractical. I for one….I freaking LOVE it, but that’s because I’ve only been saying this is what is going to happen for the last 5 years. I call this “The Interdimensional Experience” – in which each social media channel becomes a mini-Google.

Brands like GE are mastering all the chaos with marketing departments split into three departments.

CMO of GE, Linda Boff,  doesn’t have a 25 person marketing department. She has a disruption lab.

This is a team that is divided into three ‘labs’ – disruption, creative and performance – with the aim of putting experimentation at the heart of the business, creative and performance – with the aim of putting experimentation at the heart of the business.

  1. The disruption lab is focused on future technology, platforms, and entrepreneurs.
  2. The creative lab covers media, advertising, content, sponsorship and experience.
  3. The performance lab is designed to drive results.

This agile structure is aided by an open office design, which has the marketing, communications and business innovation teams sitting together. More on

GE’s CMO, Linda Boff, Turns Her B2B Marketing Depot into a Millennial Marketers Paradise

It’s not just how brands are harnessing social media, it’s how media is trying to hold on for dear life and adapt.

Let’s just hop on over to the traditional media world where just a month ago: “CNN BOUGHT CASEY NIESTAT’S BEME APP, BRINGING YOUTUBER IN-HOUSE FOR $25M”

Why is CNN so keen on Casey?  Well, Casey’s videos attract anywhere between 10M-40M viewers. He films everyone alone. He’s a one-man band making CNN look like a ridiculously overdone production cost-wise.

He’s where CNN’s advertisers are going to for advertising. Example? Oh, the time Casey Niestat was paid $120,000 (Someone fact check) to film himself on Emirates $21,000 First Class flight to Dubai.  Watch his video on why he wears sunglasses for some mind-blowing insights into mastering self-publishing on YouTube and then see just how entertaining he is with Emirates promotion. You might just leave my blog to follow him further, he is THAT entertaining. I’m willing to loose you to make my point, which goes well beyond what YouTubers can earn…see below

Don’t forget that Casey not only made $120K to take a FREE flight, he also made the cash off 31M+ views. Just in case you don’t understand how advertising revenue works on YouTube:

  • YouTube monetizes approximately 60% of your total views.
  • For every 1,000 views, YouTube pays $1-$2.
  • Example 1: 1,000,000 views – *40% or 400,000 = 600,000 views / 1,000 *$1 or $2 =  $600 – $1200.
  • Example 2: 30,000,000 views – 12M = 18,000,000 /1,000*$1 or $2 = $18,000 – $36,000

So, right now, not only is media trying to become YouTube with CNN hot on Casey Niestat’s tactics by purchasing him, but it’s also that brands want to start making the content they ARE producing create a supplemental revenue stream for the company.

It’s so crazy. At this very moment, not only are CEO’s down their marketing departments backs to make marketing reign in ROI. At this point, it’s also about how a brand’s content can itself serve the company as a form of revenue.

This ties back into how I say: “All brands must become media.” Here we are, I said it, now it’s happening.

It’s not that YouTube has harnessed a way to make advertising pay for itself… To most people’s dismay, the people who are considered the kings of “blogging for sales” OVER at HubSpot have recently changed their tune as well. Of course, this is after they made a killing off of selling their software that helped brands leverage search with blogging. By the way Hubspot is valued at $2B right now.

Yeah, those RICH guys – they just released an infographic telling us to stop doing what they were saying we should be doing the past 5 years.

Well, not stop, but…

The infographic was a suave way to pay a huge pat on the back from the company to their clients. It insists that brands were doing a great job on writing optimized titles and SEO rich content. BRAVO! But now, unfortunately even  Hubspot says there is so much content flying around and very little to distinguish one amazing blog post from the other —- that it’s now time to get nifty with that visual part.

In my opinion, whether blogging is a dead end is NOT A SIMPLE discussion. Do not just jump blindly on the video bandwagon. Whether you should ditch the website blog experience depends on SO many factors such as who your competitors are, where your audience consumes information. Don’t be stupid and just go crazy with video.

Let’s dissect this video phenomenon. Is it that blogging is dead or that it’s simply more that publishing has moved it’s location. I never thought it was a viable option to spend time building my website optimization and SEO by publishing across my website to then only have them leave to social media. I always knew that consumers do not like leaving their preferred communication channels. And so, I’ve been publishing directly on the world’s largest B2B network and allowing for the popularity of the content prove itself with social proof of comments, likes and shares to help a consumer determine whether we know what we are talking about. What kind of content marketing agency doesn’t publish amazing content themselves?

Even if we swore up and down on our website that we were the best at what we do, it would still need to be proven by reality on social media. Even though email marketing is a benefit of bringing the user to your website, you can simply place a form into your LI and Medium posts now – so there is literally no excuse not to be publishing directly to the mediums that your customers don’t want to leave anyways.

I mean, right now I’m trending on LinkedIn for my article “Snapchat Reveals All With S-1: 4 Big Takeaways” with 5,052 views, 484 likes, 22 comments, 62 shares. So, to me, this blogging is over thing is not exactly true.

Aside from Hubspot making these largely contradictory statements and embracing that their previousLY CHAMPIONED tactic has hit a BIT OF A CURVEBALL SLASH saturation point, it doesn’t help that Facebook automatically gives more credence to Facebook Live videos or that Instagram stories are so popular.

Or, that video is the most effective agent in delivering the ONE control that we can forever count on: consumer laziness.

Visual marketing is and always has been a staple in marketing effectiveness …

“Humans can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.”

Source: 3M.

Faster means easier – means lazy people like it. Means your stuff will do better, because most people are lazy.

It’s not that our words are not worth the effort to put together, but consumers are now gravitating toward visuals more incessantly than ever. Between the ubiquity of camera phones and the surging popularity of photo-centric social platforms, imagery has become central to digital engagement.

Facebook may have reached 100 million users in four years, but it took Instagram only 10 days to attract 10 million users.

Science has proven that humans assess and store perceptions quickest through visual cues. We not only respond more quickly to images, but we also have a more emotive connection to visuals. Images convey more than the written word could ever express. The right imagery can entice feeling and emotion, bypass our filters and communicate deep meaning in an instantly understandable way.

…an intense relationship between consumer and brand can be created through the art of storytelling through branded content…

Image-centric engagement demands not only smarter brand visuals in social spaces but also creates a need for a strong visual story. The big idea and a high production campaign might affect brand perception, but it’s the thoughtful, sincere and consistent visual story dispersed socially that builds a relationship.

Nevertheless, no matter the format don’t forget that at this point in time a recent survey…

“60% of content produced by brands is declared as poor, irrelevant or failing to deliver.”

– Havas

So, take your stab at it, but don’t forget to focus on the way bigger picture which has a whole lot to do with Faith Popcorn’s predictions. It’s not good enough to deliver your product flawlessly, you must be meaningful. Now, go figure out what that means for your company!



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