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Media and Marketing News Headlines Update on November 03, 2020

Making sticky content

There’s a lot of content being created these days and if we’re completely honest, the majority of it largely passes us by unnoticed. This is a shame considering how much work and budget goes into content creation. So, what actually makes content sticky? Why do some stories catch on and grab attention? Unfortunately, there’s no single answer.

Sticky is just part of the marketing mix

Essentially you want your content to support your brand so it stays top of mind amongst your customers. In today’s digital world, this is increasingly difficult as there are simply too many messages. As well as sticky content, you need your brand to be accessible, newsworthy (so people talk about it) and have unique digital offers.

Who’s doing it well?

During the first UK lockdown, KFC drove a brand awareness campaign that eventually reached 4 million people organically. While its stores were closed, the fast food giant targeted social media, specifically Instagram Live and hosted weekly cook offs between celebrity influencers. Customers couldn’t physically visit stores but remained engaged with a relevant brand thanks to sticky content that was accessible to all.

20 years of Google ads

With so much happening in the world, not many noticed Google Ads has been with us for 20 years! The service has made it easier for brands to advertise online via targeting, automation and campaigns over a multitude of platforms including search, maps, YouTube and more. There’s been plenty of controversies though, especially the perceived advertising monopoly.

The monopoly isn’t the real problem

With Google controlling 90% of internet searches, the accusations of an uncompetitive monopoly over digital advertising is hardly surprising. According to small businesses, the real problem with Google Ads is cost. The product may help them reach more customers but the costs involved in getting the top search spot are rising. Small operators are simply being outbid by the bigger players.

No control over big tech

It’s not just Google. Lawmakers have been unable to rein in similar practices from the likes of Facebook, Amazon and Apple. As the US heads to the polls, Congress still hasn’t passed any legislation related to big tech in the last four years even after it became clear these platforms were used to spread disinformation in the 2016 election. While tech has enhanced marketing in the last 20 years, they’ve also created issues surrounding online privacy, non-competitive practices and misleading news.

Collaborative audio/video editing and transcription tool, Descript, introduces its product functions with a colourful comedy explainer.

Singaporean authors Amanda Lee Koe, Balli Kaur Jaswal and Sharlene Teo write about the perfect cup of tea for TWG Tea in iconic fashion masthead Vogue.

With working from home here to stay, Oculus shows us how VR can really work as a virtual office and collaboration tool — we’ll never leave the house again. earn more about the Oculus for Business ISV program.

Lamborghini gets into the Halloween spirit with a classic horror inspired forest chase. If you think about it, the really scary thing about Lamborghinis is the price. #Lamborghini #AventadorS #Halloween #HappyHalloween

The ability to record professional videos on your smartphone is now a standard feature. Samsung enlists South Korean director Lee Chung Hyun to create the striking short, Heart Attack. #GalaxyS20 #HeartAttack #LeeChungHyun #LeeSungKyung

Google launched Journalist Studio, a set of tools that could help you do your job a little faster. In particular, check out Pinpoint. It’ll go through hundreds of thousands of documents — even handwritten notes — and pull out frequently mentioned people, organizations, and locations.

Snapchat now allows creators to publicly show how many subscribers they have. All part of its plans to be more “brand friendly”.

Zoom finally added encryption to its free calls — with conditions. No more cloud recording, or live transcription, or meeting reactions. Participants won’t be able to join the call by phone either.

BBC told its staff to stop “virtue signalling” or posting “controversial” opinions online as part of its new internal rules on the use of social media. Liking posts, following certain accounts, or simply posting emojis can now get employees in trouble.

Live streaming is big money in China. But that’s if you got in early and clinched deals with marketers. Now live streamers are up against movie stars in hawking goods.

If you have young kids, there’s a good chance they’re bugging you every day for Roblox time. I feel ya. But there’s something interesting going on here. You now have a generation of tech consumers who “get” the logic of how to connect and integrate tools… to create new tools. It’s a mindset that’s shaping a new generation of computing.

Brian Morrissey left Digiday, where he was the editor-in-chief. He started a Substack newsletter about building sustainable businesses. This one has a lot of advice about subscription revenue models, especially around handling churn. “Habit is everything in the media. If you can get people in the habit of reading you every day or every week, you are far less likely to lose them.”

Yet another top journo has left his big newsroom to start a newsletter on Substack. Ex-Bloomberger Eric Newcomer’s newsletter is all about startups and VCs. “I’m not going to hide my opinions in neutral-sounding prose. I’m going to tell you what I think and make arguments while ensuring you have the facts to make up your own mind.” Another one worthy for your inbox.

James Murdoch resigned from the board of News Corp last month. He told the NYT why. “I think at great news organizations, the mission really should be to introduce fact to disperse doubt — not to sow doubt, to obscure fact.”

Product Thinking

A group of delightful upstarts has decided they want to create a dangerous product culture in your newsroom. This group is called the News Product Alliance, and they want to get you to focus on your reader. One of their amazing gang leaders says that “no decision will be made without first having user data”, which means you would stop doing stories simply because you felt like it, regardless of how useful or relevant, it is to the people who consume it. They even want to infiltrate your newsroom with their kind: another group leader says you should “identify who is the professional with product management functions in the organization – they probably already exist but under another name.” It’s nothing but trouble — you might end up doing user research, putting out less content that has more engagement, helping more people be entertained or educated or informed or make better decisions. You may even end up discovering that you have revenue sources from your audiences because you built a product that was valuable enough to pay for. Either way, the News Product Alliance is coming for you. There is no escape. You might as well welcome them with open arms — your reader will thank you for it.

What’s a spectacular media product? Room Rater. This Twitter account rates “Skype rooms and Zoom rooms, too.” They’re zeitgeisty in that some of us have been trapped in our MeetTeamZoomSkype squares all year, and it doesn’t look like we’re escaping them any time soon — so we might as well rate them. It’s caught on — it has over three hundred and twenty-six thousand followers at the time of writing. But Room Rater is a not-so-sneaky front for Mad Dog PAC, an anti-Trump political action group. They started rating the on-camera rooms of political figures, and it went crazy from there. Here’s the TL;DR of the founders’ origin story: “I was talking with my girlfriend, and we just started doing it together. It was really just meant to be lighthearted quarantine content. These Skype rooms or Zoom rooms are, for the most part, different talking heads’ dining rooms, living rooms, and kitchens. It’s an unexpected intimacy. I think many people were mentally doing what Room Rater was doing — we just started tweeting about it. I think it’s one of those things that if it hadn’t been invented by us, somebody would’ve had to do it.”


Stark, a design software plugin that will help you create more inclusive products raised 1.5 million dollars in funding. Currently, if you use the plugin on Figma, Sketch, or Adobe XD, you can check contrast, get colour suggestions, and run colour blindness simulations so that visually impaired people can use your content better. “No software product should exclude a disadvantaged minority of their users. It’s bad for business and bad for society.” They have 300,000 users, and their current customers are designers, engineers, and product people from places like Microsoft, Instagram, Pfizer, Dropbox, and others.

Photoshop has gone a little bit crazy with the AI. I just played with my recently updated desktop app, and let’s just say the facial age setting is freaking me out a little bit. It’s part of an insane new ‘neural filters’ set called Smart Portrait, and features a slider that can age — or de-age — a face with “generative adversarial networks — or GANs — a type of machine learning technique that’s proved particularly adept at generating visual imagery.” The GAN is also messing with the happiness and surprise filters: it turns my neutral closed-mouth stare into one of those creepy grinning NPCs (non-player characters) in video games. Or maybe it’s just me. But it’s way more impressive to me that the science of this predictive imagery comes hardcoded with an ethical heart: to minimise racial bias. Adobe has an AI ethics committee in place, and it’s trained its algorithms on “its catalog of stock photography — a huge array of images that span different ages, races, [and] genders.” There’s a lot more than face-tweakage, thankfully. Some features like Smart Portrait, Makeup Transfer, Depth-Aware Haze, Colorize, Super Zoom, JPEG Artifacts Removal are already in there, and others (which you can browse and ask for with an ‘I’m interested’ button) are fairly self-explanatory things like Photo Restoration, Dust and Scratches, Noise Reduction, Face Cleanup, Photo to Sketch, Sketch to Portrait, Pencil Artwork, and Face to Caricature. What a world we live in — we’ve gone from using the machine to being the data that teaches the machine.

Membership Funding

Do you find yourself saying the M word a lot these days? If membership has been on your mind lately and you’re thinking about getting a program in place for your newsroom, help is available if you move REALLY QUICKLY. You could get a grant of up to $40,000. Apply for the Membership in News Fund, put together by the Membership Puzzle Project and MDIF. The deadline is this Friday.


Hundreds of newspaper titles categorised into 18 types in one thread makes for real media branding geekery.

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