TIME apps

Ads Are Coming to Snapchat for the First Time

Viewing the ads will be optional

Snapchat users will see ads on the messaging app starting this weekend, the social media company announced Friday.

“Understandably, a lot of folks want to know why we’re introducing advertisements to our service. The answer is probably unsurprising—we need to make money,” the company said in a blog post. “Advertising allows us to support our service while delivering neat content to Snapchatters.”

The company promised the ads wouldn’t display in people’s messages. “That would be totally rude,” Snapchat said. Instead, users will be able to choose whether to view the ads.

TIME health

Watch These Amazing Kids Talk About Their Real-Life Superheroes

"She flies in the clouds, and she gives us water."

Real heroes don’t necessarily wear tights. But they do have superpowers.

Here’s how kids in some of the toughest places on earth describe their heroes, the aid workers who bring relief from hunger, disease and illiteracy:

“She flies in the clouds, and she gives us water.” “He came and destroyed the mosquitos.” “They did something magical, and the maize grew from the ground.”

For “Superheroes: Eyewitness Reports,” Save the Children sent a documentary film crew to three continents to ask children about the heroes who swoop into their lives. The kids respond joyfully in their own languages making this PSA a sharp departure from more traditional international aid organization spots that feature silent children with big eyes and swollen bellies.

TIME Advertising

Here’s How Women Respond to All Those ‘Female Empowerment’ Ads

SheKnows

52% of those surveyed said they'd buy a product based on the company's portrayal of women

Dove’s Real Beauty campaign paved what is now a very well traveled road of female empowerment-focused advertising. It’s a special genre of content (slogans and short doc-style videos) in which the messaging (you are more beautiful than you think you are! stop using gendered double-standards in the workplace!) takes center stage while the company name appears as an afterthought; products sold often go unmentioned.

But does this kind of advertising actual increase brand recognition and sales? According to lifestyle site SheKnows, it does. After surveying 628 women about the “fem-vertising” phenomenon, 52% of respondents said that they had bought a product specifically because they liked the way the company portrayed women in the ads, and 56% of those respondents were in the key millennial demographic. Adweek reports that 46% of those polled then followed a brand on social media because of that messaging. (Yes, people do follow advertisers by choice.)

While some critics oppose using half-hearted tales of “empowerment” or pseudo-feminism to get women to buy more soap and beauty products, SheKnows found that most women it surveyed praised the strategy. But other than Dove, what brands do women remember as being “pro-female?” (92% were aware of at least one pro-female ad campaign.) When SheKnows asked what brands women think are “doing it right,” the top ten included: Nike, Hanes, Olay, Dove, Always, Pantene, Playtex, Covergirl, Underarmour, and Sears.

Here are full results from the survey, which SheKnows noted prompted comments from three-fourths of those polled — a higher than average figure:

SheKnows
TIME celebrity

Comedian Billy Eichner Is Accusing Burger King’s Latest Ad of Ripping Off His Act

Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow have weighed in

One of Burger King’s latest ads (above) features a slightly unhinged, brown-haired man yelling at innocent passersby on the street. But according to comedian Billy Eichner, host of Billy on the Street on Fuse, there’s only room for one slightly unhinged, yelling street interviewer.

Eichner, who has even gotten David Letterman to exchange a few screams, took to Twitter Sunday night to accuse Burger King of ripping off his signature schtick — in an overall unfunny rip off:

Eichner fans — including celebrities — have tweeted out their displeasure:

Burger King and Horizon Media, the ad agency credited with making the spot, did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

This isn’t the first time a big company has been accused of ripping off an artist’s act. In September, the band OKGo alleged that Apple copied the visual effects used in its VMA-winning music video The Writing’s on the Wall in a recent ad.

TIME Internet

A Marketing Firm Could Be Looking at Your Selfies

Big brand advertisers want to find their logos in your pictures

That picture you posted on Instagram from the beach last week might have more useful data in it than you think.

Where are you? What do you have in your hand? Do you look happy or sad? What are you wearing? These are all questions that can help advertisers target their marketing to consumers, so a crop of new digital marketing companies has begun analyzing photos posted on Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest and other photo-sharing sites to look for these trends and insights.

Ditto Labs Inc. uses photo-scanning software to locate logos in these personal photos (is the subject wearing a North Face jacket? Or holding a can of Coca-Cola?) and look at the context in which these brands are being used.

For example, according to the Wall Street Journal, Kraft Food Groups Inc. pays Ditto Labs to find their logos on Instagram and Tumblr. Ditto Labs then analyzes trends like what people drink when they’re eating Kraft products and how happy they appear to be. They are then placed into categories like “foodie” and “sports fan” based on how they’re eating their Kraft food.

Digital marketing firms use personal photos in other ways, too; Piquora Inc. stores massive amounts of these images over a few months to look at trends over time.

This new brand of marketing research serves as a fresh reminder that the photos we put online are public, and once we click ‘post’ we lose control over who sees them and what they’re used for. “This is an area that could be ripe for commercial exploitation and predatory marketing,” Joni Lupovitz, vice president at children’s privacy advocacy group Common Sense Media, told the Journal. “Just because you happen to be in a certain place or captured an image, you might not understand that could be used to build a profile of you online.”

MONEY Charity

The Surprising Reason People Are Mobbing Church Pews

This Jan. 12, 2014 photo shows people gathered for mass inside Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Buffalo, N.Y., during a “Mass Mob.”
A "Mass Mob" in January packed the pews of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Buffalo, N.Y. Carolyn Thompson—AP

So-called "Mass Mobs" are flooding beautiful old Catholic churches in Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo, and other cities to raise money and boost enthusiasm among the faithful.

The term “flash mob” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2004, defined as a group of people meeting in a public place to perform an “unusual or seemingly random act,” before heading off again on their merry way, in also random fashion. While the original inventor of the flash mob came up with the idea as a way to mock hipster conformity, the concept was nonetheless broadly adopted (of course!) by the trend-following masses. Within weeks of the first flash mob, there were copycat events all over the world.

Mobs have since popped up everywhere from Target stores to Manhattan’s Katz’s Deli (the latter for a group re-creation of the fake orgasm scene in “When Harry Met Sally”). The movement has also been coopted by Russian political operatives, who reportedly paid people to form a flash mob in support of Vladimir Putin; by corporate brands like Oscar Mayer, BMW, Arby’s, and IKEA, which are known to hire “random” flash mobs for marketing events; and even by hoodlums who conduct “flash robs,” in which a group of young people floods a store and grabs as much stuff as possible before running off without paying.

In the next evolution of the flash mob, the masses have turned their attention to, well, mass. Credit for the rise of the Mass Mob goes to a group in Buffalo, which organized its first event at Saint Adalbert Basilica last November and followed that up with a handful of flash mass (in both senses of the word) attendances at other churches in the city. At a Mass Mob in January, for instance, Buffalo’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church received a helping hand in the form of 300 parishioners, when a typical Sunday mass sees fewer than 100 churchgoers.

“Maybe it will inspire people to come a few times a year,” Christopher Byrd, one of Buffalo’s Mass Mob organizers, said of the group’s efforts. “And it gives the church a little one-day boost, attendance-wise and in the collection basket.”

The idea has proven inspirational in another way, with similar Mass Mob groups and events popping up in cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh. A recent Mass Mob at Detroit’s St. Florian church, for instance, resulted in a crowd of 2,000 people for a mass that’s usually attended by about 200, and the collection basket topped $19,000, also roughly 10 times the norm.

TIME apps

Oh Snap! Ads Are Coming to Snapchat

Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit - Day 1
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel speaks onstage during "Disrupting Information and Communication" at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit on Oct. 8, 2014 in San Francisco. Michael Kovac—Getty Images

The ads will be an "opt-in" feature in Snapchat Stories

Advertisements will be integrated into the mobile app Snapchat for the first time, co-founder and chief executive Evan Spiegel said Wednesday, marking a potentially big revenue source for the startup valued at $10 billion.

No date for the ads to begin appearing has been set, Spiegel said at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit, the Wall Street Journal reports. But, he added, “we think they’re pretty cool” and users should expect them “soon” in Snapchat’s Stories feature. Snapchat is famous for its photos and messages that self-destruct in 10 seconds or less, but Stories allows users to feature a longer series of videos and pictures in slideshow form that stays up for 24 hours.

Spiegel, 24, said the ads will not be targeted and users will have the option to either opt-in and watch the ad or skip over it. Prior to paid ads, companies like Taco Bell have used Snapchat for marketing purposes.

[WSJ]

MONEY Advertising

Thanks for Ruining the Red Bull Settlement, Internet

Redbull Energy Drink Cans
Kevin Britland—Alamy

Yesterday, nearly every site on the web reported on a Red Bull settlement that essentially gave away free money. And that's exactly the problem.

Yesterday, the world received some truly wonderful news: A group of Red Bull customers took the company’s “It Gives You Wings” slogan a little too literally, sued the drink maker for false advertising, and forced Red Bull to give us all money. And the best part? Anyone who bought a Red Bull since 2002 was eligible to request a piece of the settlement—either $10 cash or $15 dollars in Red Bull products—with no proof of purchase required. Isn’t America great?

Well, apparently it’s not as great as I thought because the Internet ruined everything.

Here’s why: In the settlement, Red Bull didn’t actually promise to give everyone who applied $10 to $15. Instead, they capped the handouts at $13 million. As Buzzfeed reported, if too many people make claims, the settlement will be diluted so it can be split evenly. Some quick back of the envelope math, and we can figure out that if everyone requested the cash award, each claimant’s return would start shrinking after 1.3 million people applied.

And how many claims did Red Bull actually receive? We don’t know for sure, yet, but Buzzfeed’s post alone has already been viewed more than 4.6 million times, and the settlement website was slammed with so much traffic yesterday that it crashed. Even if we assume that only people who read that specific article asked for a piece of the pie, and ignore the legions of other outlets who reported the news, we’re still down to a new settlement value of slightly under $3 a person — or about the retail price of a 12-ounce can of the stuff.

So thanks a lot, everybody. As someone who may have personally contributed to at least half of Red Bull’s sales over the past 12 years, I felt I was due for a little kickback. Now I’m going to have to use my own money to buy more energy drinks…. which, honestly, is probably what I was going to do anyway.

TIME Advertising

Get Ready to Cry at Another Cheerios Ad About Family

This one features two dads and their adopted daughter

The newest Cheerios ad is a serious tearjerker — but in a good way. This Canadian spot tells the story of two dads, Jonathan and Andre, and their adopted daughter, Raphaelle.

At first, Jonathan and Andre talk about how they fell in love, but Andre notes “I thought that it would never be possible to have a child, given that I’m gay.” After they got together, they describe when they first decided to adopt. “We couldn’t keep all this luck and love for ourselves,” he said. “We needed to share.”

Cheerios seems enamored with the idea of fatherhood recently, after its fast-paced #HowToDad ad aired in July:

This one seems to be a more socially conscious take on that theme, more in the vein of the heart-warming ad featuring an interracial family that aired during the Superbowl (to both widespread acclaim and racist comments.)

 

 

TIME Companies

Meet the Woman Heading Facebook’s Huge International Growth

Key Speakers At The Dublin Web Summit
Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president for EMEA at Facebook Inc., gestures as she addresses delegates during the Dublin Web Summit in Dublin on Oct. 30, 2013. Aidan Crawley—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Like many of the U.S. tech giants, Facebook is increasingly betting its financial future overseas. The company, whose social network has already achieved widespread adoption in North America and Western Europe, is focusing more of its resources on fast-developing markets like Africa, the Middle East and India. In April Facebook announced that it had 100 million users in India, and it reached the same milestone in Africa in September.

The company is trying to get more people in these regions online through its Internet.org initiative, which aims to beam Internet connectivity to remote areas. At the same time Facebook is courting marketers by offering up region-specific advertising units that are tailored to the different ways people communicate around the world.

During New York’s Advertising Week, TIME sat down with Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s Vice President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, to discuss the growth of Facebook’s business abroad, how privacy concerns differ across cultures and whether Yo isn’t such a crazy app idea after all.

TIME: Obviously Facebook’s mobile transition has been a big story the past couple of years. But here when people think about it, they think of smartphones. Was Facebook’s feature phone business one that happened after smartphones or was it happening concurrently?

Mendelsohn: Two thirds of the world are accessing Facebook through feature phones, so it’s a hugely important part of how people access the platform. What we’re trying to do is make the world more open and connected so people can share more. Mobile means many different things depending on where on the planet you are and how you access Facebook and the Internet.

We’ve made a change in how we go to market in terms of our advertising products. It used to be that we had exactly the same advertising product all around the world. We’ve now started to place more and more resources in the developing markets, like Africa, like India, like Indonesia, to really understand how people are using Facebook, how they’re using mobile and come up with different products that work better there.

One is an insight borne out of what we saw in India. Data is expensive, and for a lot of people it can be prohibitive in terms of how they access Facebook or the Internet. What we saw was a whole “missed calls” phenomenon that was going on. Between us we’d create our own language—one missed call means go pick the kids up, two means let’s meet for a drink, three means I’ll meet you for lunch or whatever it is. We set up the missed call product so that advertisers could have the opportunity to tap into this meme and deliver information to people, some of whom are coming onto the Internet and to Facebook for the very first time and who are actually really excited to get messaging from advertisers. That’s the first place that we’ve done this, and the results are such that we’re going to look to do this in South Africa as well.

TIME: You just mentioned that a lot of people in these markets might be excited about seeing advertising because they haven’t been exposed to the Internet as much. Is the appetite for ads there higher than in America, where people are exposed to ads all the time?

Mendelsohn: People like advertising if it’s relevant and entertaining and useful to them. What we see in some of the high-growth markets is that brands are talking to them for the very first time, and there is an excitement about that because it’s new and it has not happened before. We see behaviors where people actually share the adverts that they see with other people because it’s of interest and it’s new information.

TIME: Out of that 100 million users in Africa, which are the countries you are most focused on?

A: That’s Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa.

TIME: Do you expect, going forward, that the feature phone market is going to increase, or do you see with Android One and these cheaper smartphones that people are going to transition to those devices really quickly?

I think there will be an acceleration of these cheaper smartphones, driven in particular by the price. But I think they’re not going to have all the same features that the ones we have in the U.S. and the U.K. have. There will still be challenges on things like data costs. Actually the challenge becomes greater when you have the smartphone because it has access to so many more bells, gadgets, widgets. If you want to connect the planet, data and cost is something that is prohibitive to that. It’s one of the reasons that Mark Zuckerberg launched Internet.org.

TIME: Facebook’s average revenue generated per user is much lower in these emerging markets than it is in the U.S. What is Facebook’s plan to boost that number in the future?

What is the primary concern in this part of the world is how we connect everyone to the Internet. That’s the primary focus. In terms of the ARPU, that will emerge in different ways.

TIME: You’re dealing with a lot of different types of cultures across a vast number of countries. Do you see different privacy concerns in different areas? How do you deal with that on an individual basis?

For us, privacy is the most important issue and making sure that people know and are in control of the data they share and who they share it with. I think that’s important for people wherever you are the world. One of the nuanced differences that we see in some of these countries is the fact that people like to be friends with lots more people than perhaps they might in mainland Europe. We see people want to have lots of friends, including people that they’ve never never before, and share information with those people. That is a difference that might sit uncomfortably with other people in different parts of the world.

TIME: Are you familiar with the app Yo?

No, I’m not. Tell me about Yo.

TIME: All it does is send the word Yo to other people. It was actually pretty heavily mocked when it came out over the summer. But it sounds like from what you’re saying that’s a logical use case that actually exists, where people would want to send a single word that can provide context about what they’re doing.

I can’t talk to [Yo], but I think people communicate in different ways. The uptake in stickers—people sending emoticons just to express their feelings—is a different way of showing how people communicate. Not necessarily in Africa but in some of the more developed markets. People are becoming much more visual.

We’ve always seen with any new technology that’s come on since the printing press, that it causes people to think about how they communicate in different ways. One of the things that’s been surprising about this technology revolution is that it’s shortened some of the ways that we communicate with each other rather than increasing it. If the printing press meant that we could write canon of books, the mobile phone means I can write “LOL” and we both understand what that means.

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