The Lowdown is Ad Age's weekly look at news nuggets from across the world of marketing, including trends, campaign tidbits, executive comings and goings and more.
If sharing is caring, then people care more than ever about Super Bowl ads. Online video research firm Unruly (which was just acquired by News Corp) finds in a new report that people have shared this year's crop of Super Bowl ads 9 million times, a 73% increase from the prior year's lineup at the same time. That also reverses a slide in Super Bowl ad sharing. Sharing is helping make online viewing a much bigger factor for Super Bowl ads: Unruly's survey research also finds that on average half of viewers recalled seeing Super Bowl ads online rather than on TV -- though the numbers were all over the board depending on the ad. Keep in mind that online views aren't really free, and may end up costing more than Super Bowl views on a reach basis, although the increase in shares is increasing the mileage marketers get from the ads.
Speaking of sharing, Coke on Thursday will debut its latest "Share a Coke" stunt. The soda brand will begin using Twitter's "hashflag" program that converts hashtags to emojis. Anytime a user tweets "#ShareaCoke" it will produce an image of two Coke bottles clinking. The goal is to create the "world's largest cheers." While hashflags have been around for a while, a Coke spokeswoman said this is the "first time Twitter is building a custom brand emoji for a global advertising partner -- and for ongoing use across campaigns." Previously, hashflags have been used to promote events, like New York Fashion Week. Coke plans to roll out new hashflags periodically --one is already on deck for the holidays.
Meanwhile, PepsiCo's Mtn Dew says it is "one of the first brands" to use Snapchat's new Lenses feature. Unless you're a teenager, you might not know that Lenses allows users to animate their faces on screen with filters when taking a selfie. So what did Mtn Dew do, exactly? It sent out a video on its Snapchat channel using the new feature. Here it is:
Back in the adult world, Procter & Gamble continues to tease its new-and-improved Pantene with plenty of hype. Speaking at the Barclay's Back to School Conference Sept. 10, Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller said the company will "soon be bringing to market the most significant innovation in the hair-care category since we introduced two-in-one technology on Pantene in 1991." The heavily patented new Pro-V shampoo and conditioner "melts into the core of each hair to provide unparalleled hair health you can see and feel," he said. People literally can't wait. Some of P&G's test subjects of have been bugging the research firm for more of the stuff, Mr. Moeller said.
In other P&G news, Martin Riant, 56, group president of Baby, Feminine and Family Care, will retire June 30 and step down from his current post for a special assignment next month. His businesses produced some of P&G's most acclaimed advertising, such as the recent Emmy-winning Always #LikeAGirl ad. Mr. Riant had been the chief remaining rival for David Taylor, who in June was tapped to become CEO on Nov. 1. But P&G spokesman Damon Jones said Mr. Riant, who left Cincinnati headquarters to lead the global diaper business from Singapore in 2012, wanted to return to the U.S. to be with family. Mr. Riant's duties will be added to those of Group President Giovani Ciserani, Geneva-based overseer of global fabric and home care. Mr. Riant led the expansion of Pampers globally into a $10 billion brand and a turnaround in the U.S., but he also saw P&G lose ground to rival Kimberly-Clark Corp.'s Huggies in such key markets as China and Russia as it was slow to enter premium segments.
Speaking of diapers, they are among the household items that are part of Target's new on-demand delivery service available through an InstaCart relationship in Minneapolis. The new system debuted on Tuesday and is the latest move by the big-box chain to build out its grocery department, which is expanding to include more natural and organic foods. It also adds to the retailer's omnichannel offerings like buy-online-pickup-in-store and ship-to-store services. The new effort will make groceries and select household, health, beauty, pet and baby products available for home delivery, sometimes in as little as an hour.
Boosting ecommerce is also a goal of Nescafé's move to shift all its international and local websites to Yahoo's Tumblr platform. In addition to "building stronger relationships with younger consumers" the Nestle-owned brand says the move will allow Nescafé to "further develop consumer-led communications and its ecommerce offering in formats optimised for mobiles and tablets."
Esurance -- which specializes in insurance ecommerce -- is hoping to gain more attention via its Major League Baseball sponsorship. A new program called the 2015 Esurance MLB Awards allows fans to vote online for their picks in unconventional baseball categories including best social media personality, best video-board moment and best call, as well as more common fields like best rookie and best breakout player. The winners will be announced during a televised awards show on November 20 on the MLB Network, and a few will be revealed separately on MLB's website, app and social profiles. The awards sponsorship is part of a multi-year deal that made Esurance the exclusive auto insurance sponsor of MLB.
Elsewhere in the sports world, Reese's has found a new way to activate its sponsorship of ESPN's "College Gameday" show: Host Rece Davis is "changing the spelling of his name from Rece to Reese before we head to his alma mater Alabama for Gameday on Saturday," said a Hershey spokeswoman. Here is the video:
For those who prefer politics as a sport, the National Press Club has come up with special list of drinks for its GOP debate watch party tonight. Viewers can order "The Trump," which is just a Corona (and no doubt a play on Donald Trump's hard-line position on Mexican immigration). The way the club sees it, Jeb Bush is a Bud man, because viewers who order the "Jeb!" get a Budweiser. Other drinks include "The Rand," a bourbon and branch water; "The Rubio," a Cuba Libre; and "The Carly', a Cosmopolitan.
Finally, Old Navy is beefing up its marketing leadership by naming Erin Riley as VP-brand engagement. Ms. Riley joins Old Navy from CMO Ivan Wicksteed's alma mater, Cole Haan, where she served as VP-global marketing. Ms. Riley will oversee the brand's marketing mix, advertising and communications, and is charged with crafting the brand's strategic vision and omnichannel voice. Before joining Cole Haan, Ms. Riley spent nearly a decade at the global communications firm Bartle Bogle Hegarty.
Contributing: Jack Neff, Ashley Rodriguez, E.J. Schultz