By .

But according to our data findings, not for the reasons you think.

What do men want when it comes to grooming products? What everyone else wants — products that speak to them and their needs in an authentic, reputable way. “Most guys, really what I found is that they’re looking for a brand that speaks to them,” said Patrick Boateng II, founder of Ceylon, a skincare brand created for men of colour. “They’re looking for themselves in the brand.”

The secret is there is no secret: men and women are largely drawn to beauty products for the same reasons. A recent survey conducted by HYPEBEAST found that 58 percent of men count self-care as a motivation to purchase grooming products, with 56 percent of men surveyed counting improving their appearance. Similarly, 57 percent of women respondents marked self-care and 56 percent improving their appearance as motivations to purchase grooming products. And yet, taboos for men to participate in rituals of beauty or skincare remain pervasive.

“Most guys, really what I found is that they’re looking for a brand that speaks to them. They’re looking for themselves in the brand.”

The quarantine measures implemented as a result of the global coronavirus crisis haven’t upended those taboos, even while they may have irrevocably altered many other aspects of daily life. But what this new way of life has offered are more chances for brands to speak to their consumers — or potential consumers — than ever before. More consumers are online (where else are they going these days?) than ever, giving brands more chances to get their products under the eyes of the elusive male beauty consumer. They should be cautious in how they approach those chances though — the more online consumers are, the more savvy they are as well.

As such, brands that dive into marketing their grooming products to the male consumer without further interrogation of who that consumer is aren’t likely to find a willing audience. Men, as a group, are not a monolith after all. And treating them as such often leads to a bland product targeted to a default, heteronormative, white male consumer devoid of discerning taste.

Looking into the black mirror day in and day out hasn’t altered how men see themselves (not yet anyway). But it has opened up a rare opportunity for beauty brands to talk to them, provided they can do so authentically.

Let me be your motivation

As our survey found, self-care is the overwhelming motivator for all respondents to purchase product, with 53 percent of respondents indicating it as a motivating factor in purchasing grooming products — just slightly ekking out improving one’s appearance (51 percent), and far outweighing brand loyalty (11 percent) and influencer endorsements (6 percent).

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But those first two motivations aren’t entirely separate. According to Umar ElBably and Fenton Jagdeo, they can work in tandem, particularly for male consumers first entering into the beauty sphere. The two launched the men’s beauty brand Faculty this month with a nail polish, inspired by ElBably’s own journey with using manicures to curb his nail-biting addiction. “It kind of started with self care, as I was saying, and turned into more of like, an element of expression for me and aesthetic,” he explained. Men who experiment with beauty might find that they not only like how it makes them feel but how it looks too, or even experiment with wider practices of self-care.

“It’s this entry point to wellness. I think this idea of like this practice, right?” Boateng said. “I think for skincare, once you’ve gotten it down, it becomes this thing where you’re like, ‘Okay this is just me, this is what I do.’”

But while men and women are largely motivated by similar factors, there is one point where they differ: brand loyalty. When broken down by gender, 17 percent of women respondents marked brand loyalty as a motivator to buy grooming products, compared to just 11 percent of men.

There is room then for beauty brands to bridge that gap to speak to men, but strategies on how to do so vary. EVENPRIME founder Koh Kim pivoted her own brand from speaking to men specifically to a gaming community more broadly after seeing that her consumers under 25 didn’t particularly respond to gendered products. “I noticed that there wasn’t a lot of gender association involved. Like they weren’t actually looking for products that were for men, just looking for good products,” she said. “Strategically, it was better to focus in on this group, because they’re talking about ingredients and how they’re evaluating products, just like any other sophisticated consumer in the skincare space was doing. But no one was recognizing that.”

By speaking to a gaming or otaku audience directly — the kind who appreciates a Fortnite or Cowboy Bebop reference with their skincare — EVENPRIME can talk about beauty in a way that finds commonalities with gaming culture. “There’s actually a culture of what I call multiple personalities. I mean synonymous identity, so people creating a gamer tag or an ID, they create a persona right?” she said. “A core gaming consumer, someone who’s really engaged, it’s not surprising that they’re willing to explore different ways to express themselves, because they’re already doing that online to begin with.”

EVENPRIME started with a two-part skincare set as a base and has since added on new products, the way a gaming title might offer in-game purchases as players level up in the game. “It’s kind of like a game too, like you have that base experience and then you leave it up to the player, and in our case our community member customer, to customize the experience that they want,” Koh explained. Merging gaming strategies with beauty speaks to the changing demographics of the contemporary gaming community, which as Koh notes is about evenly split between men and women and made up of players who are on average in their early thirties.

“It’s not surprising that they’re willing to explore different ways to express themselves, because they’re already doing that online to begin with.”

Faculty takes a different approach — their products can be used by anyone of any gender of course, but they want to address masculinity more directly in order to speak to that (likely straight, cisgendered) consumer who still needs permission to experiment. Doing so does not mean flattening the differences between men and their different modes of gender expression but in fact embracing and acknowledging them. “That’s where we actually enter a world where masculinity is authentic,” ElBably said.

“They take these very like conservative looks and brand identities, and if we think about it, there’s like a hypothesis that okay, maybe that’s going to help us get the most number of customers,” ElBably said of certain previous brand attempts to launch a men’s makeup line. “But the problem there, it’s actually the same issue that they run into if you were to launch like a gender agnostic line. It’s basically when you do that, you actually make the problem even worse because you’re providing guys this product, but it doesn’t really get them outside of their comfort zone.”

Ceylon built their brand on the intersection of two demographics often ignored in the beauty industry: men and people of colour. “I remember shopping being like, okay, I have to look out for the words, ‘whitening,’ you know, or ‘lightning,’ and make sure I don’t buy that,” Boateng said of his own shopping experience with many skincare brands. “There’s so many guys who could become customers — who literally have been like, ‘Oh, I didn’t use anything because I was convinced that everything was going to bleach my skin.’”

Whatever strategy a brand takes, they need to be specific in reaching their consumer base, lest they fall into the pitfall Faculty mentions. In doing so, one may as well create the male beauty equivalent of Bic pens for her — an unnecessary product filling a void no one was inhabiting to begin with.

How men are logging on

Since the onset of stay-at-home measures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, one thing has been clear: people are on their screens, for better or for worse.

According to our survey, 45 percent of respondents are spending their video time on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, a far greater percentage than those spending time on virtual work meetings (27 percent) or virtual social hangouts (27 percent) or gaming platforms like Twitch (14 percent). Social media usage is largely similar for both men and women, but the gap widens for work meetings (with 31 percent of male respondents, compared to 24 percent of female respondents) and gaming (14 percent for men, and just 10 percent of women).

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And those who are online are also potentially more engaged than ever. “In terms of engagement, what’s interesting is that there was a lot more content consumption. This is just for Pinterest specifically, but we’ve seen similar numbers across the board, the amount of content the EP consumer engaged with increased like 10X the week that the U.S. shutdown is in March,” Koh Kim said. “And then what was interesting is we haven’t really seen it levelled off or go back to pre-COVID. It’s just more people came online, right? There’s a whole new set of people who were online shopping that have never shopped online before,” Kim said.

“Quarantine and COVID actually was a boon for us in some weird way,” she said. “Because, we’re just so rooted in that kind of gaming culture itself, because we use that for a lot of our marketing, visual branding.”

But even while more consumers are potentially online, Boateng is hesitant to expand to platforms his brand isn’t on already. “There’s a desire for every company out there to go and try to be on every new social media, new place, new audience, new channel, that pops up,” he said. “We have to learn what is the way to for us to present ourselves authentically that gives people something meaningful to this platform,” he said.

“There’s a whole new set of people who were online shopping that have never shopped online before.”

Faculty also recognizes that now is a sensitive time to launch a brand and connect with a new consumer base. “Personally, I don’t want to be known as the company that basically capitalized on a pandemic. Like I want my first 10,000 customers to be the people who buy our products because they love Faculty,” ElBably said.

And brands’ online presence may be more scrutinized than ever, as a result of the recent resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. If they weren’t already ahead of the game on progressive issues, or are pretending to have been, customers will notice. “I think, especially with a lot of the social and political issues going on behind Black Lives Matters and Pride Month, because they have the time, they get to see if a brand who says that they’re inclusive, is actually showing the actions to begin with.”

Brands who weren’t engaging with customers online prior to the pandemic might be at a disadvantage in trying to reach new customers now — but that doesn’t mean they can’t attempt to engage, rather that they need to come armed with reliable information.

Talk is cheap

Spread across a wide array of demographics and platforms, the online beauty community is both highly profitable and highly contentious. But above all, it’s knowledgeable. Perhaps no platform better encapsulates the breadth and depth of the online beauty knowledge base better than r/SkincareAddiction, the subreddit forum dedicated to all things skincare.

“We were noticing a lot of men were going to Reddit for skincare advice, and I think the biggest thing is like, Reddit already kind of attached itself as a culture of no BS,” says Kim.

A quick perusal through the platform will reveal users discussing new launches like Fenty Skincare, in-depth discussions on ingredients like Vitamin C and retinol and personal chats on skincare as a source of personal transformation amid worldwide chaos. And those users are well ahead of the curve in terms of gender inclusivity in beauty, with threads dedicated to welcoming male users and acknowledging the diversity in gender across the platform.

“Expert-driven formulation or more reviews are definitely becoming I think much more higher converting than the usual, look at this cool influencer clout, right? I think people are definitely seeking more expert-driven advice,” Kim says.

quarantine covid 19 coronavirus stay home orders lockdown zoom meetings online beauty grooming men male women makeup skincare reddit tiktok instagram faculty evenprime ceylon black lives matter pride


Looking at products from a scientific perspective also reveals holes in the market. “The medical field, like the science of dermatology, is built on white men,” says Boateng. “People of colour are overdiagnosed with eczema, hyperpigmentation. They are more often represented in the sort of patients who have scarring.”

Boateng wanted formula to be at the forefront at his brand, and consequently developed Ceylon with Dr. Lynn McKinley-Grant, president of the Skin of Colour Society and professor of dermatology at Howard. “I think that there’s this idea that ingredients are the most important. And ingredients are super important, but if I tell you that something has this particular ingredient that doesn’t actually tell me whether or not it’s going to be effective, but we’ve somehow been convinced that it’s going to be,” he said. “It’s about formulation structure. It’s about molecule sizes. It’s about the way in which different ingredients are actually put together to help work with one another to achieve certain things.”

With such an emphasis on scientific expertise, it’s not surprising that influencer endorsements rank so low in terms of motivation to purchase product, with just 3 percent of male respondents selecting it as a potential motivation (women slightly preferred it, with 5 percent of female respondents, but the percentage goes up to 36 percent for non-binary and gendequeer respondents). “The best brands out there, they don’t need influencers,” Boateng said.

“The best brands out there, they don’t need influencers.”

Kim notes that the gaming-centric community her brand caters to approaches buying many products in the same way they buy their game — with ample research. “They’re already savvy online shoppers to begin with, because that’s how they grew up.”

Quarantine measures can offer a chance for men to experiment, but also, thanks to such a bevy of resources, educate themselves. As such, brands must be equally knowledgeable.

What’s left on the table

Increased time alone may have given many more chances to experiment with new hobbies or activities. But has it pushed men outside of their comfort zone? Not particularly. According to our survey, only 4 percent of men purchased cosmetic products like concealer or eyebrow pencil for the first time since quarantine measures began, and 53 percent said they haven’t experimented with products in the skincare, fragrance, nail polish or cosmetics categories for the first time in the past few months. That said, 37 percent did indicate they had experimented with skincare products for the first time.

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And men aren’t applying makeup to appear on video, even if they may be spending more time on screen. Only 2 percent of male respondents said they applied makeup to improve their appearance for a video interaction, compared to 40 percent of women and 54 percent of non-binary or genderqueer respondents. And it’s not as though men don’t do anything to improve their appearance to appear on screen; 54 percent of men reported that they change their clothing, 37 percent style their hair and 30 percent adjust their background.

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Koh, whose EVENPRIME brand relies on a community-driven beta testing program to develop new products, notes as well that her audience isn’t asking for other products associated with the coronavirus crisis. “Surprisingly, we haven’t seen as high of an interest I think in the personal hygiene categories, I would say, like hand sanitizer, or hand cream. Most of the focus has definitely been on just more advanced products.”

The Faculty co-founders did initially want to launch their brand with a concealer, which may have appealed to that narrow slice of male consumers who are dabbling in makeup for their Zoom chats. “Our first product was supposed to be a concealer, which would have made a lot of sense for like Zoom. What we keep continually hearing is guys are actually buying concealer now because they’re looking at their faces all day,” ElBably said.

But concealer is a capital-heavy product to develop they say, as it requires formulating a wide variety of shades to launch. The financial impact of the coronavirus crisis meant they had to switch gears and decided instead to debut their brand with a nail polish.

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Faculty/Some Days

“We’re looking at the people who we believe pushed menswear online. Whether it’s Luka Sabbat, or Virgil Abloh, or even figures like Post MaloneA$AP Rocky, all these individuals are all wearing nail polish,” ElBably said. “And we were sitting there thinking, you know if anyone’s going to learn how to know how to use nail polish, now is probably a better time than ever, because you have so much time to sit at home.”

To appeal to their target audience the duo are following the streetwear playbook: the limited-edition, shorty supply drop model, starting with Drop: 01, Moss, which will be followed by further exclusive nail varnish colors released in small quantities in coming months. “Like, who has ever thought of dropping an exclusive nail polish?” ElBably asked. “It would just wouldn’t be as cool if we just had like a bunch of different colors, and you could get as many as you want.”

Their use of such a model isn’t totally unheard of in makeup, however. When Pat McGrath launched her brand in 2015, she did so with a single product: Gold 001, which sold out in mere minutes. MAC, which has long since released limited-edition, quick selling collections, is also wading into the drop model to a select loyalty group.

“If anyone’s going to learn how to know how to use nail polish, now is probably a better time than ever, because you have so much time to sit at home.”

Going with a nail polish first is something of a risk; only 4 percent of respondents to our survey reported they had experimented with nail polish for the first time in recent months.

But perhaps that’s what makes it the perfect category to experiment with. Whether men aren’t dipping their toenail into the word of nail polish because they just aren’t interested, or because there isn’t a product that speaks to them remains to be seen. Gold pigment wasn’t exactly the most needed product when Pat McGrath launched her line either, but it set the groundwork for a $1 billion USD brand.

Feature Image Credit: Christina Hong/Hypebeast

Image Credit: Ceylon, Evenprime, Faculty

Sourced from HYPEBEAST





By Maryam Farooqui.

While buying followers and likes is not new in India, Badshah’s involvement in this social media scam is leading to questioning of all high-profile accounts.

Many found it hard to believe that Indian rapper Badshah’s song ‘Paagal’ last year recorded 75 million views in a day and surpassed the mark set by Korean band BTS for their video ‘Biy with Luv’ that had hit 74.6 million views in 24 hours in April last year.

Even YouTube had rejected the claim of the Indian rapper.

In the Indian music space, there were murmurs of Badshah benefitting from fake followers and fake views.

In July 2020, when Mumbai Police started investigating the issue of fake profiles following the complaint of Bollywood singer Bhoomi Trivedi about a fake Instagram profile posing as her official account, it brought to light the social media scam in India.

In fact, Mumbai Police so far have investigated 20 high-profile celebrities including actors, directors, models, sports personalities, among others. Reportedly, Mumbai Police have found over 200 celebrities involved in buying fake or ghost followers.

A 2019 report by the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) revealed that actresses such as Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra are among the top Bollywood celebrities in India who have bought fake followers.

Now, the first question that comes to mind is why the need to buy followers? Aren’t these celebrities famous enough?

For a song to be declared a hit, it needs at least two million views on YouTube in 24 hours; you are considered an influencer if you have millions of followers, and if you wish to be a mega influencer you need to have over five million followers but the number varies from platform to platform.

A lot of views and many followers mean more popularity and stronger influence on social media. For influencers, then be it a social media star or a film star, these metrics result in more brands showing interest in their profile which in turn results in higher value for their posts.

For example, the ICMP report pointed out that while Deepika Padukone charges over Rs 1 crore for a social media post, Priyanka Chopra charges double of Padukone at Rs 2 crore.

But who are these fake followers?

It’s a mix of man and machine. So, there is botting which is automated fake accounts or bots. On Twitter, there are three types of bots. A scheduled bot keeps posting at regular intervals like every hour in a day. A watcher bot posts messages depending on new posts on Twitter. And amplification bot follows, tweets and retweets.

Along with bots, there are real people but with a fake identity who do all that a bot does for their clients. So, companies selling fake followers get people on board to make fake profiles with fake names and random profile pictures. There are companies across the globe that are offering fake followers.

What is the cost of buying fake followers? And who are selling fake followers?

Buying fake followers doesn’t seem to be an expensive affair. A Delhi-based firm Social King offers 100 followers for Rs 250 and 20,000 followers are available for Rs 17,500. The rates seem affordable when compared to the kind of money influencers make from brands for their social media posts.

Along with fake followers, one can buy likes as well, which come at a cost of Rs 12,000 for 10,000 likes on Facebook and Rs 34,000 for 200,000 likes on Instagram. And if someone is looking to get 10,000 video views then that would cost around Rs 1,361.

There are variations in rates depending on the kind of fake followers a client expects. So, for a steady base of followers which means that these followers won’t unfollow later, the cost could start at Rs 150 for 100 followers.

When it comes to bots, low-quality followers can be bought at Rs 2,500 for 10,000 followers; the same number of mid-quality and high-quality followers come at the price of Rs 3,500 and Rs 4,500 respectively.

Like Social King, there are many companies including followerskart.com that are selling fake followers in India. In fact, Mumbai Police have identified 100 websites in India that are selling ghost followers.

How does the issue of ghost followers affect brands?

Brands associate with followers for engagement. But what engagement with consumers can brands expect when most of the followers an influencer has on the profile are fake? This has led many brands to wonder if spending on influencer marketing is beneficial at all.

When brands consider metrics like trending and views for the success of a campaign, it becomes difficult to gauge how effective the campaign was as we know how these metrics can be easily bought.

Hence, such metrics do not give the right impact to the brand as brands are engaging with a limited number of people. And this also means that while brands are paying huge sums to influencers for large engagements thanks to their huge follower base, brands may not be getting the right returns.

Why fake followers or fake views is a big issue for influencer marketing?

In times of COVID-19, influencer marketing has picked up pace as spends on other mediums like print and outdoor have gone down drastically. Even on TV, advertisers are cautious due to the tough times. Plus, people are online now more than ever which is giving brands to advertise a stronger reason to take the help of influencers to market their products. But the issue of fake views or followers can be a big blow to influencer marketing space which saw a 20-30 percent increase in spends during the lockdown. While connecting with an influencer, most brands look for quantity and the social media scam of buying followers tells us that a huge number of followers not necessarily mean more engagement for brands.

How to recognise fake accounts?

According to Sandeep Goyal, Chief Mentor of the Indian Institute of Human Brands (IIHB), the fake element in the follower data for politicians, television stars and TikTokers would be as high as 90 percent and 80 percent for Bollywood and cricketers.

But there are ways one can spot a fake account or a fake follower.

So watch out for—-

Sudden spike in followers: A large follower base is achieved not overnight but over a period. A TikTok influencer had said in an interview to Moneycontrol that she managed to get 40,000 followers after working hard for over a year.

Check profile of followers: Recent accounts engaging with only influencers could be fake followers. Plus, their bio would also be basic.

Look out for likes and follower ratio. So, if an account has more followers and less likes, they have bought followers. Similarly, if an account has more likes and less followers, the likes were bought.

Can those buying fake likes and followers be punished?

While there is no specific law, Goyal points out that the option is to take recourse to Section 468 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with committing forgery of a document or electronic record for the purposes of cheating.

By Maryam Farooqui

Sourced from money control


The Coca-Cola Company is looking to cushion the Covid-19-led decline of its bars and restaurants business by reducing marketing costs globally, and, in some markets, coming “off-air” entirely in Q2 2020.

The company reported global volumes were down by 25% in the first quarter of 2020. This was driven primarily by a substantial decline in its away-from-home business, which comprises trade orders from bars, restaurants, movie theaters, sports stadiums and on-the-go retail such as convenience stores.

James Quincey, Coca-Cola’s chairman and chief executive, noted this was partially offset in the US by a rise in drive-thru and carryout orders, as well as e-commerce and grocery stockpiling in some developed markets.

However, with lockdown halting out-of-home events and minimizing grocery trips for the foreseeable future, the company now predicts its second quarter to be “the most severely impacted” of the financial year.

Coca-Cola has thus cut brand marketing – partially to reduce costs and partially because it is skeptical of return on marketing investment at this time.

“We’re being … mindful about the right level of brand marketing and new product launches given the consumer mindset across market,” Quincey told investors yesterday (21 April). “We’ve developed and determined that in this initial phase there is limited effectiveness to broad-based brand marketing.

“With this in mind, we’ve reduced our direct consumer communication we’ll pause sizable marketing campaigns through the early stages of the crisis and reengage when the timing is right. These plans will vary from market to market with our earliest reengagement focusing on the recovery in China.”

He added: “Staying close to our consumers in a relevant way is a key guiding principle, and staying disciplined to demand an appropriate ROI is a close second.”

John Murphy, the company’s chief financial officer, confirmed that in its quest to “really stay close to the consumer in a relevant way”, Coca-Cola had made the decision come “off-air” in “many markets”.

He explained the brand is implementing this Q2 shutdown in order to give its various markets more flexibility with marketing strategies and budgets later in the year, dependent on when and how each country reopens for business and events.

“We have had a number of communications announcing that we will take a pause for now while we focus our efforts on our communities and on other priorities and that we’ll be back later in the year,” he said, alluding to the “millions of dollars of planned marketing spend” that Coca-Cola says it has donated to pay for the personal protective equipment (PPE) and beverages for healthcare workers.

Despite the company’s skepticism over brand marketing during coronavirus, it is making a concerted effort to enhance its presence on the shelf. The company has “redeployed” its ground sales reps and trained them in merchandising.

Coca-Cola hopes this will result in “increased share of displays of stock on the floor”, aided by a “ruthless” prioritization of core products and key brands to “help customers simplify their supply chains.

“We’re also taking this opportunity to reshape our innovation pipeline to eliminate a longer tail of smaller projects and allocate resources to fewer, larger, more scalable and more relevant solutions for this environment,” added Quincey.

The company’s decision to halt brand marketing is in stark contrast to the strategy of Procter & Gamble, one of the world’s largest advertisers. The CPG business is planning to increase spending on advertising during the coronavirus lockdown period in order to “maintain mental … availability to the greatest extent possible”.

Feature Image Credit: Coke’s Super Bowl 2020 spot was a celebrity-heavy affair


Sourced from The Drum


Secret Cinema’s plans for 2020 involved a much-anticipated show for Dirty Dancing, breaking the American market and bringing its first slate of Disney films to life following a mega tie-up with the movie giant. But amid Covid-19, the year ahead looks very different.

“It’s like winter has arrived, there’s a slowing down for three months, six months… I’m not sure,” says chief executive Max Alexander, who was facing a different kind of pressure just a few months ago when he revealed his ambitious plans to expand the experiential company.

After receiving private equity backing from Active Partners’ $131m fund and attracting industry heavyweights like Alexander, IMG veteran Alex Ward and The Mill and Copa90 exec Damien Macaulay, it inked tie-ups with Netflix and Disney to act as a pseudo ‘experiential creative agency’ to plan events around their most popular titles.

A stroke of luck meant that it had wrapped up its successful showing of Stranger Things just weeks before the coronavirus outbreak in London. Meanwhile, as the situation improves in China, Alexander is hopeful that the Casino Royale show in Shanghai will re-open. The plan to bring Dirty Dancing to life this summer has not been cancelled, though he is anticipating that dates will change.

“But in America the brakes were pulled hard,” he continues. “We were so ready to go and now it’s hard to get people to return calls about property we can’t possibly visit in LA and Las Vegas.”

The partnerships with Netflix and Disney are still holding strong, but events are likely to take place deep into next year, even if circumstances on both sides of the Atlantic improve.

Perhaps surprisingly for an experimental company that can’t put on any experiences, Secret Cinema has not been forced to make redundancies to its team of over 40. And that’s largely thanks to a quick pivot to bring “congregational storytelling” into the digital world.

Last week, it held its first Zoom party. 80s themed, hosted by actor Jackson and two DJs, it sold over 1,000 tickets at £5 a pop to raise money for the Trussell Trust, a nationwide poverty charity and food bank network.

“It was wonderful. We had 600 browsers open at any one-time. People were playing games, we had a dance-off and we encouraged people to dress up. It was amazing.”

Since then, it’s forged a deal with ice-cream giant Häagen-Dazs for an eight-week run of virtual screening experiences. Dubbed ‘Secret Sofa’, it will take place at 7.30pm every Friday and feature bespoke content, character narratives and interactive elements inspired by the evening’s film.

The first screening will be for Wes Anderson opus The Grand Budapest Hotel. Much like its live-action experience, Secret Cinema will issue those that have signed up with an email containing instructions on what kind of costume to wear, the sing-a-long and music playlists to rehearse, dance routines and prop making advice.

Recipients of the newsletter will also be given a code that allows them to order the chosen Häagen-Dazs flavour of the week online via a collaboration with Amazon Prime Now.

Finally, a Secret Sofa Facebook group will host audience discussions about the film and encourage people to share their pictures from the night.

“What we’re trying to do is, firstly, not to overstate our own importance in people’s lives,” says Alexander. “What we’re doing is kind of silly right? It’s not serious, but it is important to add some kind of structure and appointment to people’s lives; come, dress up and have a dance. We’ll get better at it, embellish it and add more as we get up and running. But right now, it’s put a hat on, grab an ice-cream and watch a movie.”

Though born from necessity amid the coronavirus chaos, Alexander has every intention of keeping the format when life inevitably returns to normal. Having a digital extension of the brand was always on its agenda, it just hadn’t figured out exactly how to execute it.

“It’s the kind of thing we’ve wanted to do this over the past few years and have never had the time to get our act together because we’re always on the treadmill of the next show. But we have a loyal base and we’ve wanted to offer more than just a couple of shows a year,” he says.

“We’ll keep going after. Why wouldn’t we? If this does appeal to people, it’s not a huge overhead for us to deliver and for people to consume.”

Feature Image Credit: Secret Cinema


Sourced from The Drum

The coronavirus pandemic could slash as much as $3 billion from advertising and marketing budgets in 2020, according to a new report.

“This is a global human disaster that impacts every company,” said Jack Myers, who authored the report and who has been tracking the ad spend market since the 1980s.

On Monday, Myers released a new forecast on the ad spending impact of the COVID-19 outbreak — tripling his previous forecast of a $1 billion blow. Given how quickly the virus has been spreading — resulting in entire industries like Broadway shutting down — a decline of $3 billion is more likely, he said.

“What I saw a week ago as the worst-case scenario, I now see as the most likely scenario,” Myers told Media Ink.

Before the coronavirus forced retailers, restaurants and entertainment venues to close their doors, Myers was predicting $227 billion would be spent on advertising and marketing in the US this year— a 6.2 percent increase from 2019.

The $3 billion decline — to $224 billion — represents a 1 percent drop from the earlier forecast, meaning ad and marketing spending could still be up 4.8 percent from a year ago.

Because even as legacy media sees advertising grow 1 percent year over year, social media from platforms Facebook and Snap could see a 12 percent surge in ad spending to $30.8 billion, Myers said.

And as the coronavirus forces people to spend more time at home, streaming video platforms like Hulu, Pluto, Roku and Direct TV could see ad spending grow 42 percent, to $2.6 billion — up from his pre-coronavirus forecast for growth of 38 percent.

Broadcast TV may actually see a rise in ad spend due to increased demand for political ads leading up to the November presidential election — and the Olympics. Myers sees network TV ad sales up by 4 percent, or $100 million.

Of course, the Summer Olympics could also be canceled, Myers acknowledged, and sporting events have been put on hold.

Cable could see a decline in ad spending if it’s forced to halt production of popular dramas and resort to reruns.

Myers was already forecasting a 3.3 percent drop for cable before the coronavirus hit, but he now predicts a 6 percent decline of nearly $800 million to $27 billion.

Myers sees a 3 percent decline for digital news site advertising, but says the coronavirus may actually help newspaper ad spending, which he now predicts will be flat.

Feature Image Credit: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

Sourced from New York Post

By (ANA) African News Agency

With South African’s spending a lot more time in isolation, the way in which we behave and consume information is about to change.

As more South Africans join the global trend of isolation amidst a deadly coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic, media agency Meta Media predicts considerable usage of social media and online entertainment.

“As self-isolation increases, people will turn to social media channels to keep in touch, which will mean an increase in traffic across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Online entertainment will also be in high demand which will benefit video content providers such as YouTube and  Viu,” media agency Meta Media said in a statement.

Search advertising to benefit

With thousands of people staying home, the agency forecasts an increase in the uptake of online shopping for fresh goods.

“Online search advertising may well benefit as more people turn to the web to find out where to buy their goods online, giving a great opportunity for advertisers to target relevant keywords to ensure visibility in this virtual shop window. Some researchers predict that companies who adapt to online trading will be the least impacted by a potential recession,” it said.

“Whilst we are all home-bound for the foreseeable future, we do believe that we are going to see some interesting shifts in the way people consume media in the short to medium term. It is going to be interesting to see how advertisers navigate this crisis and how we emerge from it on the other side, and whether we see any long-term changes to consumer media behaviour.”

‘Television best placed for Covid-19 information’

Meta Media said it believed with more people staying at home and self-isolating, television was probably one of the platforms best placed to benefit from the effects of Covid-19. The agency said viewers may not only be glued to their television sets during prime time, but “shoulder time” may also become a more attractive proposition for advertisers as home-bound audiences start to tune in earlier in the day, boosting audiences in what is already a cost-effective time channel.

“The broadcaster we do worry most about however is DSTV. It is a well-known fact that sport is a primary driver of DSTV subscriptions. However, what the coronavirus has done is effectively shut down all sports worldwide. In the last week alone, we have seen the outright cancellation of Super Rugby, the Two Oceans Marathon, the Cape Epic, the Over-50 Cricket World Cup, the Protea’s tour of India, the IPL, and the Masters Golf in the USA,” said the Meta Media statement.

“We have also seen the postponement of the SA PSL, the English Premier League, EUFA, and Formula 1. And of course, the fate of the Olympic Games still hangs heavily in the balance. With effectively no sport to broadcast, how are DSTV going to encourage subscribers not to cancel their subscriptions and move across to the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime?”

Many South Africans, fearful of the growing number of those infected by Covid-19, resorted to panic buying this week, despite numerous discouragements from government.

Feature Image Credit: MTN have slashed data prices, following on from Vodacom after they reached an agreement with the Competition Commission. Photo: Adobe Stock

By (ANA) African News Agency

Sourced from The South African