By Mark Penn 

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Quick, tell me when your state’s primary was. Odds are, most Americans can’t.

Seems like democracy is much threatened these days, and yet no one seems to care much about voting in the most important elections in the country – the primary elections. While turnout has surged in general elections, up to 67% in the last presidential race, it has gone nowhere in primary elections, with most getting between 20% and 40% of voters to the polls. But there are simple reforms that could go a long way toward fixing the primary problem.

As more and more of the country is one-party territory, these primary elections really determine who governs in America and sets the ideological makeup of our leaders. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most outspoken members of Congress and a leader of the “squad,” was elected with fewer than 17,000 votes in a Congressional district that has nearly 700,000 people. She was able to win by mobilizing a small number of activists while the average voter was sleeping. Turnout among eligible Democrats in that key race was 13%, similar to many primaries across the country. Even in this year’s hotly contested primary for squad member Ilhan Omar, only 27% of the voters turned out.

Not only are primaries scattered over 20-odd dates from March to September, but the big money flows to partisan efforts that operate under the guise of being nonpartisan. Many nonprofit civic groups today are just taxpayer-funded partisan efforts to register voters in favorable areas or redistrict for the benefit of one party. Former Democrat Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Redistricting Foundation uses litigation to challenge gerrymandering, but seemingly only where it hurts Democrats. Youth registration–focused Rock the Vote claims to be nonpartisan, but its president released a statement explicitly lamenting Trump’s 2016 victory. Donors simply care more about who wins rather than about making the process more open, fair, and democratic, letting the chips fall where they may.

In a slew of swing-state Senate primaries in May 2022 for elections that will likely determine control of Congress, well under half of eligible voters participated. While an estimated 60% of eligible Georgians voted in the January 2021 runoffs that won the Democrats the Senate, just 27% participated in the May 2022 primary for one of those seats. Herschel Walker won the Republican nomination by receiving 800,000 votes in a state of 7 million active voters. In Ohio, only 20% of eligible voters participated in the Senate primary in which J.D. Vance cleared the Republican field. In both Georgia and Ohio, voters can participate in any party’s primary.

Things were only slightly better in Pennsylvania’s Senate primary, where 32% of eligible Democrats and 39% of eligible Republicans chose progressive John Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz, respectively, over more moderate alternatives in a state that is divided quite evenly.

And these are the turnout numbers in high profile races. An abysmal 13% came out to the New York Democratic primary for governor, where Andrew Cuomo’s replacement Kathy Hochul ran for her first full term.

Low primary turnout facilitates the rise of more extreme candidates who could not otherwise be elected by a full constituency. Those who vote in primaries, especially on the right, are more strongly partisan and ideological than other Americans, according to the Brookings Institute’s 2018 Primaries Project.

Less well-known but still powerful positions like district attorney are especially vulnerable to activist candidates in a low-turnout environment. For years, left-wing billionaire George Soros has quietly given millions to “reform-minded” DA candidates, including new Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Now in charge of the criminal justice system of the nation’s largest city, Bragg won his office last year in an eight-way Democratic primary that attracted just 250,000 voters, or 29% of the eligible population.

Nonpartisan primaries in which all candidates run on the same ballot may encourage moderation, but they have not solved the turnout problem so far. In Alaska, Senator Lisa Murkowski, the only Republican who voted to convict Trump of impeachment and is facing reelection this year, has survived a Trump-backed challenger so far only because the open primary allowed them both to advance to the general election. Yet just 26% of eligible Alaskans participated. Similarly, the only two Republican representatives who voted to impeach Trump and have survived their 2022 GOP primaries both did so in top-two systems, where the ballot includes all candidates regardless of party. Yet turnout was still low – 19% in California Congressman David Valadao’s district and 37% in Washington Congressman Dan Newhouse’s.

So with all of the hullabaloo over every single placement of a drop box, there is no outcry about how American democracy has been undermined with confusing, little-known primary schedules that favor activists on both sides.

To fix these problems we need to take some urgent steps. First, we need to shine light on this low participation and information as a problem. Second, we should deny tax deductibility status to nonprofits that are carrying out one-party agendas and encourage the growth of nonprofits that want high voter participation in all elections by all voters. Third, we need to set three or four regional primary days in which groups of states all hold their primaries at the same time to cut down on all the confusion of 20 or more possible dates. Further complicating this are Democratic campaigns to meddle with the primary process by deliberately providing tens of millions of dollars to extreme candidates they oppose and hope will be easier to defeat in the general election. Though unlikely to be banned outright, this practice further undermines the primary process, and hopefully the parties will agree to end it in the name of a fair democracy.

More extreme candidates are increasingly winning political office across every level of the country well before Election Day, with the input of just a fraction of eligible voters. If calls for higher turnout are really about strengthening democracy, primaries deserve a lot more focus. The current trend of Americans flocking to general election polls but not primary ones suggests that those calls for turnout are more about partisanship than participation.

Mark J. Penn is the chairman and CEO of Stagwell Inc., the NASDAQ-listed challenger network built to transform marketing, and co-chair of the Harvard-CAPS Harris Poll. His career spans 40 years in market research, advertising, public relations, polling, and consulting. A globally recognized strategist, Penn has advised top world leaders, including presidents, led companies, and written two bestselling books.

 

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Natalie Oganesyan
Yahoo! Entertainment

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Nearly half of current Netflix subscribers (46%) would consider a shift to the platform’s ad-supported model once it’s available, according to a survey of 1,300 current users conducted by Samba TV and Harris X. The data collected also showcases that those willing to make the move tend to skew older and make less per capita, with Gen Z respondents being the least interested (at 38%) in making the switch.

As previously reported this month, the embattled streamer has plans to launch its ad-supported pricing tier in November, ahead of competitor Disney+’s own ad-supported model debut in December. Additional details on pricing have not yet been announced, but TechCrunch estimates that the cost could fall between $7 to $9. (Currently, basic Netflix plans are $9.99 a month, with standard and premium pricing at $15.99 and $19.99, respectively.) Despite mixed opinions on the matter, the data gathered by Samba TV and Harris X indicate that the tier will not present a risk to the company.

Roughly half of Netflix users (45%) said they would consider switching to a tier discounted by half of what they currently pay as long as ads totaled five minutes or less per hour. More than half (51%) would deliberate the shift should the service be free (an unlikely scenario).

A further breakdown by age and income illuminated that a majority of Boomers (52%) and almost half of Millennials (48%) would be interesting in shifting to the ad tier, whereas Gen Z, who have more or less grown up on ad-free streaming, are less inclined to do so. Additionally, a majority of those making under $75,000 expressed an interest in moving to the tier as opposed to less than half (42%) of those making over that amount.

The ad tier also opens up the avenue for Netflix to bring in more subscribers; nine out of 10 non-users already report watching ad-supported streaming content, with 1 out of 3 of them being under 35, according to a survey of 1,200 non-subscribers.

“The exciting value proposition from Netflix’s upcoming ad model lies in the possibility it offers to bring in net new or lapsed subscribers,” Samba TV CEO and co-founder Ashwin Navin said in a statement. “9 out of 10 adults who do not currently have a Netflix subscription watch other ad-supported content today, indicating these audiences have no aversion to watching ads in exchange for free or reduced price content and are prime candidates to turn to Netflix’s new ad-supporter tier.”

In all, Samba TV’s survey with the Harris polling firm collected data from over 2,500 U.S. adults from Aug. 29 through Sept. 1. The sampling margin of error of the poll is plus or minus 2.0 percentage points. The results reflect a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults, with results weighted for age by gender, region, race/ethnicity and income where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.

 

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Assembly on August 2, 2022

 

Originally released on

Assembly Global

Assembly’s in-house political strategy team is currently projecting a total cycle spend of $9 billion.

We’re here again, another political cycle. Is anyone else getting déjá vu?

If you’re a consumer, you might be feeling the urge to turn off your news updates and go into a political hibernation until it’s all over. But marketers get no such liberty. Why? Advertising spend is at an all-time high in the political sphere, political messaging is rampant, and your media dollars, and even, strategy are going to be impacted…we can guarantee it. Don’t believe us? The numbers speak for themselves…

Assembly’s in-house political strategy team is currently projecting a total cycle spend of $9 billion. And up to $3.3 billion of that will be spent in just a 5-week timespan. Yep, you read that right.  

Luckily for our clients (and anyone looking for expertise at the intersection of media, data, and politics), Assembly has a secret weapon: our political team and our proprietary Political Insights Dashboard, which tracks the who, what, when, where, & why of political advertising at the speed of politics itself.  

We sat down with one of our lead political strategists, Tyler Goldberg, to get an inside view of exactly what to expect this election season, plus some critical Rules of the Game in the political advertising landscape.  

But first…

Let’s set the stage for our political team, in case you’re wondering how we got here. Three years ago, Assembly placed the largest single media buy in history during the Mike Bloomberg for President Campaign. After dipping our toes – or rather – diving feet first into the political arena, we now pride ourselves on being a full-service political media agency, thanks to our in-house team of experts.  

Hear more from Tyler:

 

 

Now, let’s dig in some more…

Q: Political ad spending is pretty unprecedented, in the sense that, in such a short time span, there are more dollars in the market than perhaps ever. This happens with virtually no other verticals. Can you talk about what this means for the overall advertising landscape?

A: We’re projecting that close to $3.3 billion in political ad spending will occur between October 1, 2022, and November 8, 2022. To put this in perspective, if we combined the total media spend of any advertiser outside of political within that same 5-week timeframe, the numbers likely wouldn’t even come close. Given this, our job is to prepare advertisers for limited inventory, rising costs in certain markets, and setting them up to be nimbler and ready to respond to the changing landscape.  

Through the first half of the year, political spending is up 200% ($1.3 billion) over the 2018 election cycle and close to 20% ($433 million) over the 2020 presidential election.  

The fact that we’re already outpacing the most recent presidential election this season is astounding. From here, it’s estimated that spending will only continue to rise cycle over cycle. 

 

 

Another Rule of the Game you might not be aware of when it comes to ad inventory? TV advertisers, listen up: Within a 45-day window for a primary election and 60-day window for a general election, candidates must be offered the lowest unit rate (LUR). On the flip side, issues-based advertisers often pay premiums upwards of 50-200% higher than an average advertiser will during an election cycle, meaning, you may be facing inventory shortages.  

Q: What are some hot markets we should be watching this season, and why?

Georgia, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Boston are the hottest markets on the list.  

A: You may be raising an eyebrow at LA, but our team has the ability to dive deep into the data, and we’ve determined that California has a number of very well-funded ballot initiatives that will boast tens of millions of dollars a week as we get to the final stretch of the season. Not to mention, Los Angeles also has a mayor’s race, along with five competitive congressional races within the market that will be receiving a ton of ad spend.  

Our political practice at Assembly has something that no other partner has. In addition to the scale and niche expertise in the political space, our talent + technology approach ensures we can dig into the data and surface nuances that can deliver game-changing strategic advice for both political and commercial advertisers.

Q: We know all this political messaging out in the world is impacting consumer sentiment and behavior, but how do you help advertisers really get a grasp on that? What should advertisers in other verticals be paying attention to, when it comes to potential shifts in their strategy?

Our first goal is to help our clients be aware of the areas where rates will be rising or where there may be low inventory geographically. Our second goal pertains to strategy. Our team analyzes issues that are put before voters, so we can help both our political and commercial clients understand how messaging is being received and what matters most to consumers – in real time – so they can pivot strategically when needed, ensuring their advertising breaks through in an appropriate and relevant way.  

Based on trends that we’re seeing in the market like high gas prices, for example, we’re able to work with clients in creative ways to tailor their media strategy and break through the noise.  

Q: It’s been said that every brand is political today – you simply cannot be an a-political brand. What do you make of this statement?

A: Trying to be a-political and trying to avoid taking a stance can be seen as…taking a stance. Companies and advertisers are being encouraged to take a stance from two sides; customers and employees. There is, of course, risk that follows taking a political stance, like we saw from Disney’s situation in Florida, but at the end of the day, it’s important. It’s becoming more and more a part of their being as a company.  

Don’t get caught with your head in the sand this political season. Sign up for the Assembly Dispatch[er] to get a regular pulse on the political media environment, plus strategic insight from our team.

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Originally Released On

PR Newswire

CONTACT:

Sarah Arvizo
Stagwell
pr@stagwellglobal.com 

NEW YORK, Sept. 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW), the challenger network built to transform marketing, announced its second-annual sponsorship of Advertising Week New York, the world’s largest annual gathering of marketing, media, and technology leaders. Stagwell will host two panels on the Advertising Week New York stage, sharing insider insights into the implications for brands of the explosion of political media spending and fresh insights from a new global survey on brand fandom. 

The panels will feature experts from Stagwell’s flagship omnichannel media agency Assembly and leading technology, content, and culture insights firm National Research Group (NRG):  

  • Buzz & Devotion: The Fan Economy That Makes the Niche Mainstream in Today’s Culture – Monday 10/17 @ 1:15p: Fan culture has a powerful impact on a brand’s ascension into relevance, power and popularity. Informed by new, original research, we will bring brand experts from McDonald’s together with NRG to explore the pathways for brands to successfully build and activate a fan community. Insights from NRG’s latest thought leadership research will combine with lessons learned from the birthplace of fandom — sports and entertainment — to unlock powerful insights that help brands connect and grow their most devout and influential customers. 
  • Talk Politics to Me: Why Every Brand Today Needs a Dose of Political Know-How– Thursday 10/20 @ 1:15p:  Political is THE media story of Q4 2022, and it’s never been a more critical time for all advertisers to know the rules of the game.  Join Assembly, a global omnichannel media agency – with an only-of-its-kind full-service political strategy and media practice – and experts from Lyft and SambaTV for a discussion on the path forward for brands in a politically charged media environment and the convergence of political, advocacy, and commercial advertising.  

Also at Advertising Week New York:  

In addition to staged programming, Stagwell is proud to partner with Brand Innovators to deliver access to intimate thought leadership with leading CMOs and agency experts. Sign up to follow along with insights and other content from Advertising Week New York.  

About Stagwell 

Stagwell is the challenger network built to transform marketing. We deliver scaled creative performance for the world’s most ambitious brands, connecting culture-moving creativity with leading-edge technology to harmonize the art and science of marketing.  Led by entrepreneurs, our 13,000+ specialists in 34+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Join us at www.stagwellglobal.com. 

 

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Artwork By:

JP Lopez
Creative Director,
MMI Agency

This Hispanic Heritage Month, Stagwell is working with creatives across the group to share artwork or content that reflects their cultural heritage. Our series continues this week with a contribution from MMI Agency Creative Director JP Lopez. JP has been with the modern brand lab for seven years. Prior to that, he worked as a freelance Creative Director for restart graphics, providing branding solutions for start-ups and established brands alike. JP contributed a self-portrait for this month’s gallery. He shares his inspiration below:

 “As a first-generation Mexican American with roots in northern Mexico and western Texas dating back a couple of centuries. I feel a strong sense of pride in my heritage because we are warm, inviting, and enduring. These virtues are what influence my work ethic and personal life. I began drawing digitally a few years ago to challenge myself to go more analog and get away from perfect vector designs, and to embrace the imperfections in my own art. This portrait is inspired by my many travels to Mexico where I have reconnected with the land, the people, and my culture.”

Connect with JP Lopez on LinkedIn

Interested in submitting art for this series? Reach out to Brandon Dixon.

Next: Enter Peruvian Wakanda with Observatory’s Christian Silva

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Artwork By:

Christian Silva,
Assoc. Creative Director,
Observatory

This Hispanic Heritage Month, Stagwell is giving a platform to creatives across the group to share artwork or content that reflects their cultural heritage. Kicking off this month’s virtual gallery is a window into what Christian Silva, Assoc. Creative Director at Observatory, calls “Peruvian Wakanda.”

Christian began his career 13 years ago in Lima, Peru. During that time, he’s worked with brands such as Marvel, Taco Bell, DC, Hyundai, DirecTV, Toyota, and Coca-Cola. His work has been recognized in major festivals like Cannes Lions, Clio, One Show, and NY Festivals, among others.

Christian shares the inspiration for his art:

“I’ve been exploring and learning with Midjourney’s AI for a bit and I wasn’t only blown away by the results, but also extremely excited to see what we all could achieve as creators.

I also knew that, with my first experiment, I wanted the tool to help me create something that reflects my Hispanic heritage.

When I first tried different approaches, I immediately imagined a futuristic world where the Peruvian Inca Empire grew together with advanced technology and science. The results really amazed me to the point that my friends even called it the “Peruvian Wakanda”.”

Connect with Christian on LinkedIn.

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By

Jason Nottee
AdWeek

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A Ted Lasso star and a sports journalist showcase athletes without a brand mention in sight

A brand doesn’t need an ad or sponsorship to prove its worth. Sometimes, it just needs a story.

 

In 2019, Nike and Observatory partnered to ask themselves a question: Why not build an entertainment studio focused on sports and culture? Instead of trying to wedge diverse, relevant stories into 30-second ads selling products, why not make feature films, documentaries, TV series and podcasts devoid of pitches, gear and the Swoosh? Nike’s Waffle Iron Entertainment sprouted from that discussion.

Named for the kitchen gadget that University of Oregon track and field coach Bill Bowerman used to makes Nike’s first running shoes, Waffle Iron Entertainment sought to tell sports stories through the lens of larger cultural events. One of its earliest efforts, the Crackle series Promiseland, followed Memphis Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant as he navigated the National Basketball Association, Covid-19 and the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. It next project, HBO’s The Day Sports Stood Still, followed basketball star Chris Paul during the NBA’s reaction to the pandemic and social justice protests in 2020.

In June, Waffle Iron and Observatory teamed with AudioUp Media, Range Media Partners and iHeartMedia to create the documentary podcast Hustle Rule. Based on the book Under the Lights and in the Dark: Untold Stories of Women’s Soccer by journalist and award-winning filmmaker Gwendolyn Oxenham, Hustle Rule tells the stories behind professional soccer players’ rise to their sport’s upper echelons.

 

Hustle Rule trailer

It launched on June 23, the 50th anniversary of the Education Department’s Title IX rule prohibiting schools from discriminating based on sex, and concluded on July 28 just before the Women’s Euro 2022 final.

“There was never a sense that this was an advertisement for Nike or anything like that,” Oxenham said. “What blew my mind was that Waffle Iron, from the beginning, was just interested in telling these stories because they thought they were meaningful.

“These are stories that no one had ever heard of, and that didn’t deter Waffle Iron for a second.”

From professional soccer to hockey, from football to boxing and mixed martial arts, storytelling across multiple mediums is now critical to sports marketing. Fans want to hear their favorite athletes’ stories in the own words on familiar platforms without being asked to buy a product.

To get there, sports brands must be willing to forego sales in the short term to create fans and athletes who’ll come back with more expendable income later.

“You can only say so much in a 30-second commercial or a 60-second commercial, but the true storytelling can come through in a podcast series, in a television series, in a film,” said Brendan Shields-Shimizu, Observatory’s CEO. “If you can get consumers saying, ‘Wow, I want to go watch this content because it’s actually interesting and doesn’t feel like an advertisement, but I’ve learned something from it or I felt happy from it,’ that’s where I think brands are going to be playing in the future.”

 

Finding a reliable narrator

Waffle Iron, AudioUp, Range Media Partners and Observatory sought a tone that would resonate with fans. They gave the series its own anthem—”Won’t Stop” by producer and songwriter A1 Le Flare—and searched for a voice to connect the stories while contributing a narrative all its own. They landed on Hannah Waddingham, the veteran actor best known to American fans, at least, as AFC Richmond owner Rebecca Welton from the AppleTV+ series Ted Lasso.

Samuel Brennan, Observatory’s brand supervisor, noted that Waddingham’s experience on screen as well as in West End and Broadway productions gave her command of the podcast’s audience. At points throughout the series, she intersperses stories about her stage career, her Ted Lasso-influenced love of soccer (and the Euro 2022 champion English women’s national team) and her daughter’s love of the game.

“All our eyes lit up, and we all jumped when her name came up, said Observatory’s Chief Creative Officer Linda Knight. “That’s when you know you’ve got the right person, when everyone’s like, ‘Yes, she would be perfect for this.’”

 

 

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Jack Neff
AdAge

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Rebranding effort is first work by 72andSunny for Zoom, with VaynerMedia handling global media push

Zoom is launching a new visual identity with help from a new agency, Stagwell Group’s 72andSunny, as the brand looks to go from ubiquitous video app to full-fledged business communications and collaboration platform.

The campaign, which launched Sept. 12, is the first for the brand from 72andSunny, which is working on a project basis. It will be running across digital, out-of-home (including Times Square), social media and streaming services in North America and globally. VaynerMedia is handling the media buy.

It backs Zoom’s new visual identity and push for broader business communications relevance—including Zoom Chat, now officially re-dubbed Zoom Team Chat.

Certainly Zoom doesn’t have an awareness problem since it became woven into the cultural fabric of work during the pandemic starting more than two years ago. Just one more reminder of its status as an “essential business tool” came Thursday when a service outage hit tens of thousands of users who were suddenly deprived of their video workplace tether.  Zoom quickly restored the service.

But the new identity and creative are meant to show that Zoom is more than the video grid of co-workers that’s become an everyday virtual workspace for millions, even as more people spend more time in the office.

“Partnering with Zoom at this time of evolution is the kind of challenge we love, with the kind of partner we love,” said Carlo Cavallone, global chief creative officer of 72andSunny in a statement. “We had a very collaborative process to get to the design concept at the core of the platform. We’re excited because it’s a clear, powerful creative idea that opens a lot of new possibilities for the brand.”

The ads pile extra o’s into the Zoom name to point out that the company is also about phone, Team Chat, rooms, events, team whiteboards, contact centers and other services.

“What started as a video meeting app quickly moved into broadcast webinars, connected conference rooms, and more, and it continues to evolve and expand,” Zoom Chief Marketing Officer Janine Pelosi said in a blog post.

A big part of the new branding is to focus on the Zoom Team Chat collaboration and messaging hub as the company looks to broaden its involvement in a work tool space where Slack, Microsoft Teams and Miro, among others, compete.

“We’ve already made significant investments in Zoom Team Chat’s capabilities, and we’ll unveil even more enhancements later this month,” Pelosi said.

 

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Rafael Canton
Adweek

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Looking to highlight what separates itself from competitors, Vivid Seats is going all in on its rewards program.

The ticket marketplace is debuting the first brand campaign for its Vivid Seats Rewards Program, which offers fans a free reward credit for every 10 tickets purchased. To promote the loyalty plan, Vivid Seats, with the help of agencies 72andSunny LA and Assembly, engineered an innovative media plan that gives one of SportsCenter’s most iconic features a new look.

“We’re not just coasting off of our laurels and performance marketing,” Vivid Seats chief marketing officer Tyra Neal told Adweek. “It is something we’ve always been great at, but building the brand side and getting people to come back and want to use Vivid Seats again has been some of the focus of my time here.”

Developed with creative agency 72andSunny LA, the ad features a librarian imagining the endless possibilities of what her free 11th ticket will be. She then transports from the relaxed stylings of a library to the raucous experience of live events such as a music concert or a sporting event.

 

Why it’s pushing loyalty

Customer loyalty has been front and center in Vivid Seats’ marketing plan since it underwent a rebrand last summer and changed its logo. Vivid Seats’ brand messaging has focused on its rewards program, which is one of its differentiators from its competitors. SeatGeek does not have a rewards program while Vivid’s other competitor, StubHub, has an auto-enrollment program that offers perks such as early VIP access or discounts to customers who have spent $10,000 or more on ticket purchases within a 12-month period. TicketMaster’s loyalty program—Audience Rewards—focuses on just Broadway and the performing arts.

The focus on building connections with consumers has seen some returns. Neal shared that Vivid Seats saw upward of a 10% increase in repeat rates for NBA and NHL ticket sales and is seeing similarly fast repeat rates in MLB.

Vivid Seats’ loyalty program allows fans enrolled in the rewards program to earn a stamp for every ticket they purchase. Once a fan has 10 stamps, they gain a reward credit amounting to the average value of the 10 stamps they’ve collected. Vivid Seats also has a tiered system with three levels titled Rising Star, Super Fan and Icon. Through these levels fans can receive ticket upgrades, exclusive access to industry events and other VIP perks.

The power of 11

The spot will air starting tonight, with its debut taking place during ESPN’s Monday Night Football game. It will run throughout the season according to Neal.

As a tie-in to the number 11, Vivid Seats will also sponsor a bonus 11th play on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top Ten, making it the first brand to add an 11th play to the segment.

The media campaign was done in collaboration with omnichannel agency Assembly.

Vivid Seats is also taking over the homepages of publications and official ticketing partners Rolling Stone, Bleacher Report and ESPN on Nov. 11 or 11/11. Additionally, it is partnering with global influencer marketing and technology agency Viral Nation to feature 11 different influencers for its “Real Rewards for Real Fans” social campaign.

Picks and tix

Toward the end of last year, Vivid Seats purchased sports betting app Betcha Sports for $25 million. It rebranded the app as “Vivid Picks” and integrated it into Vivid Seats as one app this summer. The brand is also debuting a separate ad for Vivid Picks in the fall.

“We’re offering fans something that other secondary ticket providers cannot which is not just a ticket, but an experience, especially on the sports side,” Neal said, explaining customers can double down on their favorite teams by seeing them in person and making picks inside of Vivid Picks.

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By

Robert Sawatzky,
Editor, Campaign Asia
Read this piece in Campaign Asia. 

 

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Challenger holding company Stagwell is doubling down on its global affiliate strategy, adding 11 new partner companies to its worldwide network. All but two of the additions are based in Asia where Stagwell has now also opened a second office in Malaysia.   The partners span China, India, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Italy, and the UK, extending and expanding the network’s media, scaled content and commerce capabilities. Together, some 1,400 marketing practitioners have now been added to Stagwell’s “functional global footprint.”  

Some of the new affiliates, such as China’s SparkX and 99IE, bring specialty expertise in ecommerce and gaming respectively, while India’s Event Capital and Laqshya Live Experiences bring event and experiential chops.  

If you separate the nine subsidiary partners within India’s Laqshya Media Group, the number of new affiliates grows to 19. Media was a key strategic focus, with BushAd also joining from Korea, digital media specialists SuperDrive and SearchGuru joining from Japan and Malaysia respectively, along with three Chinese media companies, including MarketIn and GIMC.   

Not all these affiliate deals make Stagwell their exclusive partner. One of China’s oldest and largest local advertising groups, GIMC, has a track record of partnering with other groups, including joint ventures with Havas and Hakuhodo. Another new content affiliate, Malaysia’s Kingdom Digital, sold a majority stake to Hakuhodo last month.   The two new affiliates added from Europe, Italy’s Caffeina and Digital Mill out of the UK, are both digital content specialists.  

Stagwell’s chief affiliate officer Anas Ghazi and APAC managing director Randy Duax tell Campaign the new affiliations are the result of a mix of inbound interest, strategic planning around capabilities and geographies, but were mostly driven by tangible activations on behalf of clients.  

The global programme

In total, Stagwell now is nearing 80 global partners in more than 60 different markets in less than two years since launching the affiliate programme. Under these deals, there is no immediate monetary investment – both sides merely agree to cooperate on client work. 

For the affiliates, it expands their scope of opportunity beyond their local market without being forced to work for global clients and projects that they don’t want to. For Stagwell it’s a way to expand its global reach and capabilities without needing to raise capital for acquisitions.  For both sides, affiliation is a trial period to feel each other out, which can be a precursor to eventual acquisition as it was with Brand New Galaxy (BNG), a European-based ecommmerce network that was one of Stagwell’s earliest affiliates before the two consummated their relationship through acquisition earlier this year.  

But the programme is not without risk either. It’s hard enough for holding companies, with all their global connective tissues, to deliver the seamlessly integrated global service they’ve been pitching to clients for years, nevermind asking independent agencies with different cultures and objectives to interpret quality, standards, processes the same and deliver what the client wants on terms financially beneficial to all.  But Ghazi already sees proof in acquisitions like BNG and in the number of new business wins emanating from affiliates, referencing a pipeline of yet-to-be-announced deals.  

“With our affiliate partners worldwide, we’ve been able to punch up to win new business and land account expansions across Stagwell—from Hydraltye in Australia and Mashreq Bank in the UAE to our major Lenovo win across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and North America,” Stagwell chairman and CEO Mark Penn added in a statement. “With our model, we’re not just placing random dots on a map, we’re able to provide clients with global execution rooted in local understanding.”  

“It really is working,” Duax says, who explains that not a day goes by without an opportunity from clients pitching a need to expand to another market, or an affiliate referring a piece of business to be expanded out. 

A second footprint in Asia

If many of the new affiliations are the product of client business, so too is Stagwell’s latest landing pad in Kuala Lumpur. A couple of global client wins together with new work for Ink (with Malaysian Airlines) and Assembly will see the latter hire a dozen new people in Malaysia and accelerated the set-up of an office there.  These announcements follow Stagwell’s stated objective last November to expand aggressively in Asia Pacific, relocating Duax to Singapore where he soon after added Coconuts Media as a content affiliate in January.  

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