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Media and Marketing News Headlines Update on January 20, 2021

Burger King’s new branding is truly juicy. Everything that their agency Jones Knowles Ritchie did for them is ridiculously well-considered. The typography is an exclusive new typeface called Flame Sans. The colour palette is unabashedly retro and brings back Cold War-era shades of brown and red that make us go all fuzzy inside (like that shitty old hand-me-down Adidas tracksuit) and feel things we haven’t felt for a while. The illustrations are in a familiar style but also feel whimsical and new. Everything is happy — and refreshingly free of glibness or irony. Here’s the case study — it’s as delicious as the brand it documents.

Burger King’s new branding is truly juicy.

Burger King’s new branding is truly juicy.

Facebook tweaked its algorithm. News articles that do not contain new original reporting or analysis will now receive less distribution in the News Feed. In other words, if you have more “original reporting”, you’ll get better results. They’re defining original reporting as containing “exclusive source materials, significant analysis, new interviews, or the creation of original visuals.” Not sure if it’s humans or the machines figuring this out, but watch out for more publishers using the “exclusive!” keyword across their articles. Might also incentivize fake reporting. And where do commentators fit in?

WhatsApp is trying to explain the changes to its privacy policy, which stirred up a lot of concerns. Facebook wants you to know that the update doesn’t change the privacy of your messages with friends and family, but relates to messaging businesses. Anyway, Telegram is the winner of all this mess. It now has 500 million monthly active users.

Google started removing local news content in Australia. It’s calling it a test (1% bucket) to measure the impact on news businesses. Google and Facebook are in the middle of a battle over the Australian government’s plans to force these companies to pay news pubs for the content they surface.

TikTok rolled out new changes to protect underage users. Accounts of users aged 13-15 will be set to “private” by default. The “everyone” option for commenting will be removed. You’ll be able to either turn off commenting altogether or open it only to Friends.

Amazon Prime Video India and Bharti Airtel are launching a mobile-only plan in India. Airtel’s customers will get this free for 30 days and are then charged $1.21 a month after.

SPACs may just be the new hot trend for media companies this year. These special purpose acquisition companies are basically cashed-up public companies with a desire to buy something tangible. The benefit is that these SPACs are able to move quicker in getting companies to the public market without the hassles and costs of roadshows. That’s why BuzzFeed and Bustle are now considering this route.

Substack newsletters are finally launching themes to help your newsletter stand out in a crowded inbox.

Brian Kelly, the guy behind The Points Guy, created a media empire with tips on maximizing credit card rewards and airline miles. Good lessons here about utility and serving users.

New Naratif has a new editor in chief. Jacob Goldberg was a freelance reporter with bylines in the Guardian and Al Jazeera, and he ran Coconuts in Yangon.

Google News Initiative is allocating $3 million to news organizations to combat misinformation around COVID-19 vaccines. These would be projects that demonstrate “clear ways to measure success” and aim to reach groups “disproportionately affected by misinformation” will be prioritized.

CUNY in New York is accepting applications for a fully remote, 100-day program for journalism entrepreneurs. “Participants, whether independent or employed at media companies, will learn to identify and build audiences. They will also craft business models by analysing market needs and revenue opportunities.” Deadline January 24.

Thomson Reuters Foundation is organizing a workshop on reporting on climate change and energy transition. It’ll give you the skills to report on these issues. You’ll also be able to apply for a 2-month mentorship program to pursue a story. The best part: You could get a US$340 grant to work on that story.

Just a couple of weeks to the deadline of the Sigma Awards. The organizers want to celebrate the best data journalism from around the world. They’ve received 46 projects from more than 30 countries. Get your entry in by Feb 1.

BBC staff have to wear electronic buzzers to remind them to socially distance themselves. “Anyone coming into those offices will be asked to wear the devices, which will alert wearers when they’re less than two metres apart from someone else.”

A marketplace for pre-owned tech subscriptions. Unloved lists annual subscriptions for internet services that people no longer use and are selling at a discount.

Content localisation

When it comes to content, there’s really no such thing as “one size fits all”. A message in one country won’t necessarily work the same way in another country. It’s not a matter of language differences, but cultural differences too. With many businesses operating in multiple markets, localising content is an effective way to repurpose your existing assets.

Why you need to get localisation right

The last thing a brand wants to be accused of is cultural appropriation. Localisation means making your message relevant and engaging to the local market, not misrepresenting the product to appeal to your local audience. It’s a lesson Dallas-based company, The Mahjong Line, learnt the hard way with its attempted refresh of the centuries-old Chinese game of mahjong for an American market.

Successful localisation

There are tools emerging to help businesses better operate in foreign countries. Google has developed one that helps computer systems understand 16 different languages, to help solve complex translations and the speaker’s sentiment. When developing its European campaign, Shutterstock was able to utilise seasonality data from Google Analytics to create bespoke display ads without losing the brand’s personality.

Digital misinformation

Last week’s US Capitol riots weren’t a spontaneous uprising (even if many participants looked shocked they made it past the barricades). Pro-Trump groups on social and messaging platforms like Facebook, Telegram, Instagram and Parler “publicly floated some of the exact tactics used to storm the Capitol“. Despite pushback from the likes of Twitter and Facebook, these platforms are largely unregulated and misinformation abounds.

Does advertising fund misinformation?

It’s not just social media, misinformation and conspiracy theories exist on video-sharing platforms like YouTube and stand alone websites. When these sites attract traffic, they also attract advertising. While Facebook and Twitter can remove accounts and Parler can be removed from app stores, are advertisers aware of all the places their ads appear? Could they be unknowingly funding misinformation and hate speech via display ads?

The platforms work both ways

Fortunately, when it comes to taking action against far-right groups pushing violence, social platforms do work both ways. While riots can be organised, rioters can also be identified. The FBI is using social media to identify rioters and has received upwards of 40,000 tips. While the focus is on tech platforms should businesses using programmatic advertising better understand the ecosystem serving its ads?

Australian lamb ads have become an unofficial part of Australia Day celebrations. This year’s video took a dig at the country’s ongoing border restrictions.

Square shows how mobile and digitalisation have helped the traditional coffee shop adapt to better serve customers in a changing marketplace.

DBS has helped Ento Industries develop an army of hungry larvae to tackle Singapore’s growing food waste problem. Read more about the Grantees.

GitHub shows how global software collaboration happens through its platform and the different walks of life who can be helped.

Aged care provider Montefiore used 116 hand-painted images to create 15-seconds of warm and unique animation.