Friday Roundup: Week Ending May 19, 2017

Friday Roundup: Week Ending May 19, 2017

Natalie Munio, Advertising Week

There’s a reason your Shazam can’t remember that song title, Axe changes its masculine tune, Watson could send copywriters running, Google Home gets a makeover, and Shonda Rhimes teams up with Dove.

Here are this week’s top stories in advertising and marketing.

Shazam Forgets

To highlight a little known fact about one of the most prominent health issues in the world, advertisers turned to artificial intelligence. Alzheimer’s Research UK, alongside agency Innocean Worldwide UK, created “The Day Shazam Forgot,” a campaign in which the music discovery software had trouble remembering the songs consumers asked it to identify. When Shazam finally recalled the song title, it delivered a call to action to users about Alzheimer’s Disease and the option to make a donation. The takeaway? The disease concerns more than just our grandparents; it can affect people as young as 40 years old. Watch the spot here.

Axe’s Toxic Masculinity

Axe body spray has long been recognized for its bizarre, hyper-sexualized advertising that celebrates male stereotypes. But the Unilever brand has recently changed its tune. In a new campaign, “Is It OK for Guys?” men are shown privately struggling with their masculinity to demonstrate how men today feel pressured to adhere to societal norms. The spot references actual Google searches, such as “Is it ok for guys to be sensitive?” or “Is it ok for guys to like yoga?” to represent the reality of what’s not frequently discussed in a public forum. According to Axe, about 72 percent of guys have been told how a real man should behave, 59 percent believe they should “act strong even if they feel scared,” and nearly half think they shouldn’t ask for help with their problems. Watch the spot here.

Watson the Copywriter

It’s no secret IBM’s Watson is a super-computer that has the potential to give humans a run for their money. But in a recent campaign for Toyota, Saatchi LA sought to see how IBM Watson could keep up in the creative advertising space. The answer? Pretty darn well. In an effort to target tech and science enthusiasts for Toyota’s new “Mirai,” a vehicle which runs entirely on hydrogen fuel cells, Saatchi LA enlisted the help of Watson to create thousands of ads crafted with specific messaging based on the target audience’s interests. The agency had to first teach Watson using 50 scripts based on “location, behavioral insights and occupation data that explained the cars features” so it could structure a campaign. After months of training sessions, Watson finally pushed out usable phrases, which Saatchi copywriters vetted and finessed. Learn more about the complex campaign here.

Okay, Google. What Can You Really Do?

The already-useful Google home has been taken to an entirely new level. Google this week announced new updates to Google Home and its Assistant software that will allow the voice control device to do a lot more than its competitors. New Google Home features include more entertainment choices, like access to Spotify and Soundcloud, as well as a more “proactive Assistant,” which allows the software to push out notifications without the user activating them (think notifications for flight delays or heavy traffic). Most notably, however, Google will soon enable hands-free calling by turning every Google Home into a “free speakerphone” for Wi-Fi calls. All calls to the US and Canada will be free, and calls made from the Home will appear as “private” until customized with a phone number. Learn more about the all-new features here.

Dove Teams Up with #TGIT

In what couldn’t be a more perfect pairing, Shonda Rhimes, the mastermind behind ABC’s #TGIT lineup, and Dove recently announced a partnership, and the first work for the Shondaland #RealBeauty campaign has finally arrived. This week, “Meet Cathleen,” a new short film, was posted online, and in an effort to drive viewers to watch, ABC aired a 30-second spot during the season finale’s of Rhimes’ most popular shows, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. (It should also be noted that the spot was created entirely by an all-female crew.) While the 30-second spot and the short film “play different roles,” each seek to communicate efforts to change the definition of beauty and to more accurately depict how women are seen on screen. Watch the short film and the TV spot here.

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