What in the World—Week of October 16

Experian’s partnership with Kelce is a touchdown

Like a perfect route in football, the timing of the partnership between data broker and credit reporting company Experian and NFL superstar Travis Kelce couldn’t be any better.

Experian’s campaign featuring the Kansas City Chiefs’ star tight end debuted on Oct. 1, just one day before his relationship with Taylor Swift became public when the pop superstar attended a Chiefs game at Arrowhead Stadium.

While the campaign had been in the works for “quite some time,” Experian’s CMO of consumer services Dacy Yee told Marketing Brew that the timing worked out perfectly for the brand.

The first ad in the campaign, “Stats,” features Kelce meeting with a fan after a game. The fan lists his football achievements, while Kelce raves about their payment history and zero debt. The ad has more than 5.3 million views on YouTube alone.

The company made no creative changes to its advertising as a result of Kelce’s sudden increase in fame, but Yee did say that the company is “excited to see his star rise.”

According to Yee, Kelce was a great fit for the campaign not only because of his professional success—including two Super Bowl victories—but also because of his comedic chops, which were on display when he hosted Saturday Night Live earlier this year.

Gun maker partnered with video game company

Rifle maker Remington signed an undisclosed deal with video game company Activision to put one of its guns in the popular Call of Duty franchise as part of a marketing push to reach younger consumers.

According to exclusive reporting by The Wall Street Journal, the deal was revealed in documents obtained by a lawyer representing parents of children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, by a shooter who used a Remington-made AR-15.

Remington—part of a firearms conglomerate called Freedom Group—settled with the parents for $73 million last year.

Dating to the 2000s and early 2010s, the documents show that officials from Remington and Freedom Group pushed to have their guns included in the military video games because they were fearful their customer base was aging.

A Freedom Group memo entitled “Gaming Strategy” said, “With increasing urbanization and access to shooting/hunting areas in decline, a primary means for young potential shooters to come into contact with firearms and ammunition is through virtual gaming scenarios.”

Remington signed a 2009 deal with Activision Blizzard to put its new Adaptive Combat Rifle in 2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. According to the WSJ, its executives were “thrilled” when the game sold more than 22 million units, and senior leaders believed the deals would “help create brand preference among the next generation.”

Australia fines X for failing to provide info on child sexual abuse

Australia’s internet safety commission has fined X (formerly Twitter) A$610,500 for failing to provide information on how it is tackling child sexual abuse content on its platform.

In a statement Monday, eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant singled out both X and Google for inadequately answering “key questions” centred around crimes against children.

Google, she said, provided “generic or aggregated information” across multiple services where information regarding specific services was required, earning a formal warning to deter it from future non-compliance.

X’s response to the notices, she said, was more serious. “For some questions, Twitter/X failed to provide any response leaving some boxes entirely blank,” she said. “In other instances, [X] provided a response that was otherwise incomplete or inaccurate.”

Inman Grant’s statement cited recent data from the US National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, in which it said it received 32 million reports of child sexual exploitation and abuse in 2022, including 49.4 million images and 37.7 million videos from tech companies.

“When it comes to the protection of children online, the Australian community expects all tech companies to do more and do better,” said Inman Grant. “The cost of continued inaction is simply too high.”

Spotify introduces Merch Hub

Spotify has launched a new Merch Hub that feeds users recommendations for shirts, hats, totes, etc. based on their listening habits.

The music streaming service has previously made merchandise available through individual artist profiles, the Now Playing view, and release pages. It claims the new Merch Hub makes it easier than ever to access all artist merchandise in one place.

The company said that it saw the highest-grossing merch sales week in its history after last year’s “Wrapped” results of users’ most-listened to songs and artists, and said there will be “plenty more” merch moments for this year’s edition of Wrapped.

Spotify has conducted extensive research into merchandise sales on the service, and found that more than half of all merchandise sales come within 24 days of a new music release. In addition, it found that two-thirds of all merch clicks come from fans who follow artists, like their songs or add them to playlist.

New fans, meanwhile, are 7.8 times more likely to click on an artist’s merch on the very first day they listen to them, with the first day representing more merch clicks on average than the next 40 combined.

YouTube launches AI-powered ad package

YouTube is introducing a new advertising package called “Spotlight Moments,” which is using its Google AI capabilities to identify the most popular videos related to a specific cultural moment or event, such as Halloween, the Super Bowl, or the Oscars.

Advertisers are then able to deliver ads across videos related to those events on a YouTube channel that has been branded with their logo. According to a Google blog post, GroupM has become the first media buying network to offer clients access to Spotlight Moments.

“This solution optimizes advertisers’ business outcomes and reinforces the dynamic content and cultural tent poles that are at the forefront of their minds,” said Susan Schiekofer, chief digital investment officer with GroupM US.

Spotlight Moments is the latest in a series of AI-powered advertising solutions introduced by Google, alongside Video Reach Campaigns to drive awareness, and Video View Campaigns to drive brand consideration.

Google’s testing found that advertisers who adopted Video Reach Campaigns with in-stream, in-feed and Shorts saw the campaigns deliver 54% more reach at a 42% lower CPM compared to in-stream only. Video View campaigns saw similar results, delivering 40% more views and a 30% lower cost-per-view than in-stream only.

Chris Powell