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Zag Ep. 62 - It’s a Barbie world, How the Call of Duty team launched the biggest game in history, Yonder vs AMEX is the hot ticket, and Google’s ad fraud.

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🧐This Week

📈It’s a busy week for marketing leaders - In this week’s ZAG:

  • Yonder absolutely smashing aces with marketing activations at Wimbledon
  • Barbie doing a real-life takeover of pretty much everything
  • Google potentially getting sued for billions for ad fraud has us all checking our receipts
  • B2B players are starting to build real media businesses (don’t say we told you so 👀)...
  • And how the Call of Duty team launched the biggest game in history

🥰Brand we love this week

💸 Yonder, the fintech which is challenging American Express, made waves earlier this year when they raised their £62.5m Series A round from some of the best VCs in Europe. Like any promising Fintech on a journey to land grab consumers, they’ve been making some incredible marketing moves…

🧐What do they do?

  • Provide a fairer credit card (you can apply without a UK credit score) for young professionals and ex-pats.
  • They provide rewards points for dining experiences in London which you will actually use.

❤️Why do we love them this week?

  • Yonder has found a real stride with their out-of-home campaigns (You may have seen some of their punchy ads across the TFL network in the past 2 months)
Screenshot 2023-07-03 at 14.24.07

Source: Yonder

👀 But their latest activation in the Wimbledon Queue is what really caught our eye. 👇

Screenshot 2023-07-03 at 14.25.39

😎Why does it work and what can you learn?

  • Overlooked moments: Learning from other challenger brands, they look for the non-obvious & missed moments where they can show up for their community. Much like how NOBULL started supporting the NFL combine instead of the NFL itself. (P.s You can check out the full NOBULL brand breakdown here)

  • Positioning: By coming out and supporting the “normal” fan who hasn’t sold a kidney to get a ticket for Centre court, they position themselves as a credit card for the masses and something that everyone can enjoy, not just the select few.

  • Execution: Building on Thursday Dating’s idea of holding billboards up in high traffic areas and the popular Instagram account, “dude with sign” this is a perfect inflection of creative, copy, design and activation all coming together seamlessly to highlight the brand position and why it’s different to other reward points.


🎧 Yonder undoubtedly will come up again in our brand breakdowns with their challenger marketing and we’re actively trying to get their CMO on our podcast, Scratch, so watch this space…

🎀You’re in a Barbie World

💖 Marketers across the western hemisphere have been astounded by the thunderclap that Barbie's marketing team has created in advance of the premiere this month.

Ultising a portion of the movie’s $ 100 million budget, the marketing team have created a variety of timely and well-executed activations, collaborations, and experiences for fans and marketers alike.

Here’s a full list of the activations in case you need to reference it quickly:

🏡  Dreamhouse in Malibu with AirBnB

👠 High heels with Aldo

🎮 Barbie-themed Xbox

👗 Barbie-themed homeware with Ruggable

🍧 Barbie froyo with Pinkbery (this one was obvious)

🛍️ Forever 21 & Claire’s with Barbie-themed items

💄OPI & NYX cosmetics

🛳️ Barbie Cruise


This is all well and good but like our friend Amanda Natividad said on this week’s Punchy episode, it’s great to do this when you have a huge budget but what can we as marketers with shrinking budgets actually learn from this?

Check out the full show and commentary here: https://youtu.be/fn3HZvjI7tE

🤯 Google and Ad Fraud

😳 Last week our Rival AMP whatsapp community for senior marketing leaders was ablaze with talk about Google‘s multi-billion dollar ad scam. Whilst we won’t divulge exactly what was said, this is the TL;DR version of what you need to know about the story as a marketing leader.

If you want a full deep dive check out our friends at Check My Ads.

🤨 What happened?

  • YouTube's TrueView skippable in-stream ad product states that advertisers won't pay if viewers skip their ads.
  • A report by Adalytics reveals that Google has been running most of the ads (50-90%) on a network of third-party websites and mobile apps called "Google Video Partners" (GVP), where it’s virtually impossible to skip the ad.
  • The GVP sites where the ads are placed often violate Google's inventory standards, including hosting hate sites, clickbait, and Russian state media.

💪 Why does that matter?

  • The ads you’re paying for placement on YouTube, are actually being run on a myriad of unfavourable inventory, where the ad is either layered with another ad on top, played on mute, or in a tiny box in the corner of the screen. All making it virtually impossible to skip for the viewer.
  • So you’re paying for a placement that viewers may actually never see.

🤷‍♀️ What next?

  • Looks like the EU will launch a full investigation and seek a refund from Google and the US Government will follow suit.

Just for the record, Jenna one of our Co-Founders, called this a while back - you can follow her on Linkedin or Tune in to Punchy where you can hear her takes on this case as it evolves.

📌 Modern Media Businesses

🚀 We’ve been talking about modern media businesses for a while now and we love to see other challengers also following suit.

HubSpot recently launched its YouTube Creator network in an effort to connect more deeply with its audience through authentic content and specifically, video content.

This is the latest move to double down on YouTube for the software business as they also launched the channel for their newsletter, The Hustle, a few months ago.

Kipp Bodnar, HubSpot’s Chief Marketing Officer had this to say: “Because video is the most popular method for content consumption today, the launch of the HubSpot YouTube Network will allow us to meet our audience where they are. We’re excited to deepen our investment in the creator economy and spearhead this new content ecosystem, with the goal of educating and inspiring business leaders around the world.”

If you’re a CMO and thinking about how to launch a modern media business around your brand, drop us a line!

💬 CMO Chatter  

🕹️ Unless you live under a rock, you would know Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 launched earlier this year, and it became the biggest-ever opening weekend for a game generating over $800m worldwide in sales. So how do you launch one of the biggest games in the world?

You can hear it all in the newest episode of Scratch, with Matthew Webster, VP of Global Marketing for Activision & Call of Duty.

📺 Watch

🎧 Listen

SCRATCH-054-THUMBNAIL

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