Good morning, could Amazon usher in a new era of wearables?

Amazon introduced a host of new Echo and Alexa-powered devices, including Alexa-powered earbuds, a smart ring, smart glasses and more. Greg Sterling took at look at what a new era in wearables might suggest for the future of advertising and marketing. Transactions, not advertising, reports Greg, are better positioned to become the monetization engine for virtual assistant-powered devices without screens. As a result, “marketers need to think more broadly about delivering value to consumers/customers and how to align that with their brands and marketing objectives.” 

Google Glass may not have taken off, but we’re likely to see more screenless assistant-powered devices come to market. Brands need to start thinking now about how they can add value and connect with their customers when adoption grows.

App Annie has acquired Libring, a mobile advertising analytics firm, in a move aimed at helping mobile publishers and brands get a side-by-side view of their market and advertising data. The company says its clients will be able to better understand customer acquisition costs, lifetime value and return on ad spend on mobile. 

Keep reading for a Soapbox take on socially irresponsible brands and more. 

Ginny Marvin


Should we make socially irresponsible brands appealing again?

As designers, we dream about the brand challenges we’d love to work on with the criteria often cited as “fame, fortune and fun.” But there’s another consideration that increasingly occupies our thoughts that is more to do with what we’re contributing or detracting from society. We now talk about the “purpose” of brands to underpin strategy and design. If this falls short, we’re suddenly at a loss as to how to start building positive relationships with the consumer. In today’s ever-evolving market, there’s an increasing number of brands whose purpose has become out-dated, irrelevant or in some cases just socially irresponsible. We have to ask hard questions of ourselves before accepting the challenge of making it appealing again.

I struggle to want to apply company skills on Philip Morris brands because we can’t condone the harm that smokers (inadvertently) do to other people and, despite a long career designing single-use plastic bottles, I’d rather be helping Evian find a sustainable alternative. Barbie, your days as role-model to a new generation of girls are surely numbered, whatever you do is undermined by your body proportions and out-of-touch version of female empowerment. Wrigley’s gum remains unaccountable (and unapologetic) for covering every city pavement the world over with spat-out litter. And Spam remains a totally processed meat substance with a provenance still firmly rooted in post-war rationing. As for Hummer, does the world really need a road-going, military-grade tank right now?

Should brands such as these simply fade away and join the ranks of other extinct products which failed to keep pace with social change and consumer attitudes? Or should they genuinely redefine their purpose and behave responsibly? Of course, by doing so, it would ensure that all designers would want to work with them again.

– David Bicknell, founding partner and creative director of Brownb&co


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Social Shorts

Politicians get a pass on YouTube and Facebook, plus Twitter’s latest fight against bad actors

YouTube’s exceptions for political content. During her speech at The Atlantic Festival last week, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said the platform would not take down content by politicians even if it violated YouTube’s content policies, according to Politico

“When you have a political officer that is making information that is really important for their constituents to see, or for other global leaders to see, that is content that we would leave up because we think it’s important for other people to see,” said Wojcicki during her presentation. 

But, a later story by The Verge said that Wojcicki’s comments had been misinterpreted. A YouTube spokesperson told The Verge that content in violation of company standards will be removed, but there are exceptions for politicians based on whether or not the content has intrinsic educational, news, scientific or artistic value.

Politicians also get more leeway on Facebook. Facebook’s VP of Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg also gave a speech at The Atlantic Festival, overviewing Facebook’s rules for fact-checking and removing content posted by politicians. While Facebook uses third-party fact-checkers to monitor the spread of misinformation, content shared by politicians is exempt from the platform’s third-party fact-checking program. 

“I want to be really clear today – we do not submit speech by politicians to our independent fact-checkers, and we generally allow it on the platform even when it would otherwise breach our normal content rules,” said Nick Clegg during his speech at The Atlantic Festival, “Of course, there are exceptions. Broadly speaking, they are two-fold: where speech endangers people; and where we take money, which is why we have more stringent rules on advertising than we do for ordinary speech and rhetoric.”

The VP said Facebook does not believe it should “referee political debate” or keep a politician’s speech from reaching their intended audience. Going forward, it will treat speech from politicians as newsworthy content, “That should, as a general rule, be seen and heard.” 

Twitter suspends accounts for nearly 6,000 global bad actors. Earlier this month, Twitter announced it had permanently suspended thousands of accounts for manipulating its platform. The bad actors originated in five separate jurisdictions, including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Ecuador and China. 

Saudi Arabia was responsible for the fewest number of malicious accounts — six that were linked to the country’s state-run media apparatus and one separate account belonging to an individual. Twitter identified 1,019 accounts tied to Ecuador’s PAIS Alliance political party that were removed for malicious behavior and 4,301 fake accounts originating in China. The suspended accounts in China were connected to a much larger organized effort to sow discord around the Hong Kong protests which resulted in more than 200,000 accounts suspended in August. 

What we're reading

We've curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader

Is (Near) Real-Time Customer Experience Within Reach? – CMS Wire

Best Practices For Retail Brands To Engage With Millennials And Gen-Z – Forbes

Inside The Black Box Business Of Influencer Marketing – AdExchanger

Vimeo Slapped With Lawsuit For Collecting Biometric Data Without User Consent – Gizmodo

General Mills CMO predicts ‘amorphous’ agencies in the future – Marketing Dive

Amazon’s continued quest to put Alexa everywhere – VentureBeat

YouTube Music App now preinstalled on Android 10 devices – YouTube Official Blog