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Fiji marketing boss on how the Golden Globes ‘Water Girl’ accidentally stole the show



She’s aired her own acceptance speech, been slammed by Jamie Lee Curtis, sparked a debate about plastic bottles and hijacked The Late Late Show – what a week it's been for the ‘Fiji Water Girl’, who has helped the brand generate more than a billion impressions across the likes of Twitter and Facebook.

Wearing a dress in the advertiser's distinct ocean blue hues, Toronto-based model Kelleth Cuthbert (AKA #FijiWaterGirl) became the viral breakout star of the Golden Globes on Sunday (6 January).

As ubiquitous as she was bold on the red carpet ahead of the prestigious annual awards ceremony, she could be seen in many of the glitzy pre-show shots, smiling into the camera and clasping a tray of Fiji water. The Bodyguard’s Richard Madden, Idris Elba, Kiki Lane and Curtis herself fell victim to her photoboming as she became both a source of mystery and a meme on social media, and grabbed the attention of the world press.

A throwback to Ellen's more meticulously planned Samsung Oscar selfie of 2014, the reaction showed the power of striking while the iron is hot and what can happen when advertisers weave themselves into pop culture moments.

But just what is the brand value in online virailty?

Responding to questions from The Drum about how the brazen brand hijack came about, Clarence Chia, Fiji Water’s vice-president of marketing and e-commerce, gave a simple, on-brand explanation.

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For more than a decade, Chia said, Fiji has “proudly maintained” a presence at high-profile A-list events such as the Globes, styling itself as the ‘official water’ of Hollywood's elite.

Just last month the advertiser sent two models to stand on the red carpet at Billboard’s Women in Music Event. It has been sponsoring backstage lounges at the likes of New York Fashion Week as far back as 2012,

At last year’s Golden Globes, the brand even partnered with the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women. Each time a celebrity posed on the red carpet with one of its signature bottles it donated $1,000 to the cause with the aim of raising $100,000.

Alluding to the Fiji's tagline Chia explained: “When we’re on the red carpet, our goal is to hydrate celebrities with ‘Earth’s Finest Water’ and garner as much exposure as possible.”

The strategy behind placing Cuthbert on the red carpet on Sunday wasn’t really any different, said the marketer: “At this year’s Golden Globes, our objective was the same, but with such compelling photos, the social media world took notice and ran with it.”

'We did have our own photographer'

It wasn't just a stroke of luck though: Fiji did hire a professional photographer to snap the images that wound up spawning the thousands of Water Girl memes. A closer look at the pictures being circulated will reveal most are credited to ‘Getty Images for Fiji Water’ or similar.

“Fiji Water does have our own photographer, but we don’t specifically tell our brand ambassadors to look at the camera, we just tell them to be themselves,” admitted Chia, adding: “[Cuthbert] is such a natural in front of the camera, the photos took off.”

While she said it was “too soon to tell exactly” whether the promotion has resulted in any immediate sales or commercial uptick for Fiji, she did reveal it has already helped the brand surpass 1bn social media impressions.

Chia said her team was “thrilled” when Fiji Water Girl became a viral sensation: “This certainly exceeded our expectations"

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Even Cuthbert, a model who has previously featured in commercials, PSAs and short films, didn’t quite realise the lofty heights of Internet stardom she’d reached until she took a break from the red carpet to read the “hundreds” of messages and DMs on her phone.

"I called my mom on my break, and she was already laughing when she picked up the phone. My parents are not very hip to things going on, so the fact that they had already received this information says a lot about how viral it already went,” she told Glamour.

Like Chia, Cuthbert has denied a report from The Cut claiming she said the stunt was calculated, explaining to Glamour “I never said that. I just stand where I’m told.”

“Everyone has their work or event persona," she explains. "You try to look at least somewhat pleasant and not have too much resting bitch face. You have to look somewhat friendly and happy to be engaging with people."

Like Chia, she claimed the photobombing element was unintentional, putting it down to the many angles and different cameras present on the red carpet.

She clarified: “I feel like I was looking away, but sometimes I was looking so I could move out of the way.”

Not everyone was a fan

While social media might have crowned her the real winner of the evening (sorry Olivia Colman and Sandra Oh), some big hitters weren’t as enamoured by her branded presence. Halloween actress Jamie Lee Curtis was among those who failed to see the funny side.



“I specifically moved away from the blatant promotions by Fiji and Moet [sic] where young women with their trays filled with their wares stood near a designated camera,” she wrote on Instagram underneath a photo of her featuring [Cuthbert] in the background.

“I knew why there was a photographer poised there and I moved away as I said out loud that I didn’t want to be doing advertising for either. Clearly this angle shows that I moved from her being behind me and yet from the side it still happens. The sponsors of events need to get permission from people when they get them to take their picture next to products.”

Whatever you think of Water Girl, you can't deny that she solidified her place in the 2019 meme hall of fame less than one week into the new year and helped Fiji stoke some brand love in the process.

Cuthbert's favourite meme of them all? The one that proclaims "dress for the job you want, not the job you have", indicating that we've not quite seen the last of Water Girl yet.

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10 questions with… Anna Watkins, UK managing director of Verizon Media



In an attempt to showcase the personalities of the people behind the media and marketing sector, The Drum speaks to individuals who are bringing something a little different to the industry and talks to them about what insights and life experience they can offer the rest of us. This week's 10 Questions are put to Verizon Media's UK managing director Anna Watkins.

What was your first ever job?
It would have been washing my dad's car to earn my £1 pocket money each week. Smart man.

Which industry buzzword annoys you most?

Who do you find most interesting to follow on social media?
@POTUS is truly mind-boggling.

what is the highlight of your career (so far?)
Working with such a creative, inspiring and intelligent bunch of people every step of the way.

What piece of tech can you not live without?
It's baffling that I was born in London yet still seem to use Citymapper every day.

Who or what did you have posters of on your bedroom wall as a teenager?
Adam Ant and Count Dracula (aged 7). I'm not quite sure what that says about me.

In advertising, what needs to change soon?
We need a truly diverse workforce.

If you could change anything about a social media platform you use, which one and what would you choose to do?
It’s more a question of changing myself – I need to flex my creative muscles if I’m ever to make more than one friend on Tumblr…

What is (in your opinion) the greatest film/album/book of your life?
Scarface / Sign of the Times / War and Peace – delusions of grandeur, mine and theirs.

Which industry event can you not afford to miss each year and why?
The big awards bashes – it's like going to a series of weddings where you know half the guests.

The Drum's 10 Questions With… runs each week with previous entries available to view here.

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Mobile carriers end data sharing with location aggregators; should marketers worry?



The collection and use of real-time mobile-location data has emerged as a critical piece of the larger data-privacy debate. A recent run of negative stories have conveyed the impression that location data usage by marketers is tantamount to spying on consumers.

We’re also starting to see lawsuits, like one recently filed by the Los Angeles City Attorney against the Weather Company, for allegedly misleading consumers about how their location data would be used. More suits will likely follow.

Carriers cut off data sharing. The negative coverage and exposure of some high-profile abuses have motivated major U.S. mobile carriers to cut off location data sharing with third party “location aggregators.” The latest to do so is AT&T, following a story by Motherboard that indicated carrier data was getting into the hands of unauthorized third parties — bounty hunters, in this case — and being used for legally dubious purposes.

As a practical matter, these moves are unlikely to significantly impact use of location data by advertisers on major platforms or in the programmatic ecosystem. AT&T owns AppNexus; Verizon owns Verizon Media Group (the rebranded Oath). Location data will probably still be available to advertisers on these platforms — they’re not “third parties.” (We’ve asked Verizon for clarification on this point and will update the story if they respond.)

Calls for more regulation or legislation. Location data are so valuable and widely available that abuses are inevitable. Some of these increasingly frequent reports are adding momentum to calls for federal data privacy legislation. The carriers’ decision to cut off location aggregators is at least partly an effort to preempt investigations and potentially forestall regulation.

Some location data companies embrace the proposition of clear regulatory or legislative guidelines, however.

For example, PlaceIQ CEO Duncan McCall recently told me in email: “I think that the California Consumer Privacy Act and hopefully a similar federal law (as a state-by-state patchwork of different laws would be good for no one) will not only give consumers protection and confidence, but will finally give the digital data and location data ecosystem a well-thought out set of rules and guidelines to adhere to. This will bring stability and predictability to the industry, and help weed out some of the “wild west” players that have had no interest in investing for the long term good of the ecosystem.”

Most location-data companies also say they adhere to ethical data-collection practices and are scrupulous about being “good actors” in the ecosystem. Some are vocal about the responsible and/or socially beneficial use of location technology. And some organizations (e.g., NAI) are seeking to enforce transparent and ethical data collection standards. Foursquare told me in email that their apps and partners seek opt-in consent for use of location data.

Why you should care. Location data is available from a wide range of sources in the market, including app developers and the programmatic bid stream. The loss of carrier location is not a significant blow to the ecosystem.

However it is reflective of a trend toward the tightening of access to location information more generally. While it remains to be seen whether federal privacy legislation passes in 2019 (multiple bills have been proposed), California’s Consumer Privacy Act will go into effect January 1, 2020. Other states may enact similar or more strict laws, which would lend further impetus to comprehensive federal legislation.

The post Mobile carriers end data sharing with location aggregators; should marketers worry? appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Catalina adds first attribution tracking service



Best known as a provider of retail marketing intelligence based around loyalty cards and in-store printed coupons, Catalina this week released its first attribution service.

Called Catalina Multi-touch AttributR, it traces a path from digital advertising — in various channels on various devices — to a purchase made in a store with a loyalty card. The company is able to track purchases down to the UPC bar code level.

At the level of the Diet Coke flavor. Coca-Cola, for instance, can now track how a web site ad shown on a computer affects the purchase of a Diet Coke, as well as whether the flavor chosen is Twisted Mango versus Ginger Lime. Additionally, the attribution service can report if it’s the first time this consumer bought Twisted Mango.

Previously, Catalina measured how its printed in-store coupons affected buyer behavior, but it didn’t track the impact of ads. The new attribution solution is the company’s first effort to link digital ads to buyer behavior, and it plans to add addressable TV ads to the system.

Catalina tags the digital ad with its own attribution pixel, which is called when the ad is shown and provides data on the specific campaign deployments.

But the connection between the ads shown, the various devices used by a single individual, and the in-store purchases are actually made by consumer data firm Experian on Catalina’s behalf, through such persistent identifiers as phone numbers or email addresses.

“Not in the business of knowing who you are.” In the new attribution service, the retailer sends the loyalty card ID to Experian, which matches it with the digital cross-device profile of a given individual and with the ads shown to the user on those devices. Experiam then returns a report to Catalina that uses an anonymized ID.

Catalina CMO Marta Cyhan told me the company deals only with anonymized IDs because “we’re not in the business of knowing who you are,” although Experian does have PII.

The data is updated daily to a self-service dashboard for brands (see below) and, since Experian tracks profiles, the attribution can also include the effect of ads on repeat purchases, new buyers of a product category and other consumer behaviors.

Difference from NCS. Catalina, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month, is also known as a partner in Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS), which employs data from the in-store coupons and loyalty cards. But, Cyhan said, Catalina’s new attribution measures individuals across multiple channels deterministically, since the actual people are known through the Experian matching, while NCS is focused on measuring single channels through probabilistic modeled data.

Additionally, she said, Catalina’s new solution is updated daily, includes buyer behavior changes and provides granularity down to the UPC level, while NCS provides post-campaign reports on overall sales lifts.

Why you should care. Catalina’s shopper data is used widely by marketers, and this first attribution service will help brands determine the impact of their paid media spend.

Additionally, Catalina is providing a very fine level of granularity, down to the individual product bar code, with a very high level of certainty. This approach could provide the kind of accurate, return-on-spending results that major consumer brands have clamored for.

The post Catalina adds first attribution tracking service appeared first on Marketing Land.

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