PayPal's chief creative officer Steve Simpson, its top advertising executive, left the company earlier this month after CMO Allison Johnson left in May. Both "decided to leave PayPal" as the company streamlines its global marketing functions, according to a PayPal spokeswoman. Their departures came after PayPal shifted its marketing strategy during the coronavirus pandemic, placing less emphasis on the brand and more on catering to small businesses, said a source with direct knowledge of the marketing operation. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
PayPal's highest-ranking ad executive Steve Simpson left earlier this month as part of a restructuring of its global marketing business, following CMO Allison Johnson's departure in May. Simpson, who was chief creative officer, was hired about a year ago to make high-minded ad campaigns to help PayPal stand out from competitors like Square, Stripe, and Apple Pay. But this strategy changed abruptly following the pandemic outbreak and the April promotion of VP of growth marketing Leanne Sheraton, said someone with direct knowledge of the matter who is known to Business Insider but requested anonymity. PayPal began to place less emphasis on that sort of brand marketing and tried to be more like a bank catering to small businesses. In March it promoted its decision to waive fees for some merchants in the pandemic. Simpson, like Johnson, "decided to leave PayPal" as the company streamlines its global marketing functions, according to a PayPal spokeswoman. Simpson did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Simpson spent decades in the agency world before joining PayPal Prior to joining PayPal, Simpson spent 10 years at WPP ad agency Ogilvy as North American chief creative officer and nearly two decades at Omnicom's Goodby Silverstein and Partners in San Francisco, where he was a partner. He has created ad campaigns for brands such as IBM, American Express, HP, and The Gap. Got more information about this story or another ad industry tip? Contact Patrick Coffee on Signal at (347) 563-7289, email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter DM @PatrickCoffee. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.SEE ALSO: Top ad industry salaries, revealed: How much the biggest holding companies including WPP, Publicis, and Omnicom pay employees, from junior account directors to global creative leads Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why Pikes Peak is the most dangerous racetrack in America
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QR codes are everywhere, and are also making a comeback in advertising with marketers like Burger King and L'Oréal
Summary List Placement At the peak of the pandemic in April, Burger King launched a marketing...Summary List Placement At the peak of the pandemic in April, Burger King launched a marketing stunt offering people free Whoppers through its app. Instead of using augmented reality or geotargeting as it's done in the past, it deployed the humble QR code to get people to snap a photo of a black and white square on their TV screens to win a burger. QR codes — quickly heralded by marketers in the early 2010s, only to be dismissed as gimmicky — are making a comeback in the pandemic era. The boxy, geometric codes have been adopted by bars and restaurants and are also showing up in marketing, retail, technology and payments. For instance: Instagram recently incorporated QR codes in its app, while PayPal has bet on QR codes with shoppers. CVS has integrated PayPal and Venmo QR codes at its checkouts, while Starbucks is using them for contact-tracing in the UK. And L'Oréal, 1-800-Flowers, and Walmart have used QR codes in their marketing in recent months. "People have been reticent and skeptical of them in the past, but it feels like QR codes are going through a renaissance," said Simon Gill, chief creative officer at Isobar UK and chief experience officer at Dentsu Aegis Network EMEA. QR codes have waxed and waned in popularity over the years QR codes, short for quick response, have been around since the 1990s, when they were invented by Masahiro Hara to track automobile parts in Japan. With their ease in scanning objects in the real world and smartphones, they seemed poised to take off. But that never happened. Adoption was limited, with only 6.2% of mobile users in the US having scanned a QR code, according to a 2011 comScore report. Marketers ended up trying to force them into campaigns without providing much value to consumers or leading to embarrassing gaffes like Heinz ketchup bottles leading people to porn sites. The likes of ad executive Gary Vaynerchuk and publications like Forbes criticized them for being used in lazy and spammy ways. But in recent years, tech platforms including Snapchat and Pinterest have pushed adoption by rolling out their own versions. IOS and Android have enabled people to scan QR codes without having to download an app. Plus, Chinese apps like Tencent and Alibaba have been using QR codes to enable monetary transactions for years. These developments, coupled with the coronavirus pandemic, have helped QR codes go from being experimental add-ons for advertisers to something ubiquitous in daily life, said Jason Goldberg, chief commerce strategy officer at Publicis. "The pandemic has dramatically accelerated trends that we were already seeing at a time when adoption is also peaking," he said. "QR codes allow you to put a digital experience on a physical surface, and become pretty important tools in a world where more consumers are going digital and contactless." The pandemic has been a tipping point for the adoption of QR codes As brands and retailers reopen, many are adapting their marketing and retail experiences for a no-touch world. QR codes, driven by the rise of contactless payments and e-commerce in general, are regarded as more sanitary and safe. "We do see this as an inflection point, a moment in time where perhaps real change can be driven," PayPal's CFO John Rainey told Business Insider recently. L'Oréal replaced physical testers of its products with QR codes at retail outposts like Sephora, letting people virtually try on products using their smartphones, said Camille Kroely, global head of digital services and open innovation at L'Oréal. "We realized that when people come back to stores, there's no way they'd want to touch the products anymore," she said. "So we needed to make sure that we offered them an omnichannel 'phygital' experience, which merged the physical and digital worlds together." Companies are seeing other uses for QR codes beyond pandemic-driven ones. A retailer like Walmart could use them to provide product information in stores, while a chain like Starbucks could use them to enable transactions through its app, said Goldberg. A fast-food chain could use them to promote app downloads or coupons, and a CPG brand could use them to promote content like recipes. 1-800-Flowers, for example, used QR codes to promote a bouquet collaboration with fashion designer Jason Wu. Each bouquet had QR-coded tags that when scanned, showed behind-the-scenes footage of the designer's runway show at New York Fashion Week and sent digital thank-you notes to senders. Being connected to smartphones makes QR code campaigns easy for brands to measure. 1-800-Flowers president Amit Shah said that the brand's recent QR campaign had positive engagement from consumers, while L'Oréal's Kroely said that the makeup company was extending the QR code try-on functionality to retailers in other countries. Chick-Fil-A said it boosted its app downloads 14% using QR codes. Jason Vincent, CEO at Aeguana, a company that produces QR code-operated vending machines for retailers, said he expected QR adoption to grow because of all the data and marketing possibilities they bring. "With digital campaigns, they know how to track you and remarket to you when you're going to different websites. But when you go into the store, it's a blind spot," he said. "As soon as you get them to scan one of these QR codes, you're bringing them back into that online ecosystem." Demand is catching on, but will it last? To be sure, QR codes aren't the only options out there. Some retailers are going with near-field communication (NFC) technology for their contactless initiatives, which allows electronic devices to communicate over short distances. Kroger, for example, recently announced a pilot program where people will be able to use NFC to pay using Apple Pay, Google Pay and mobile banking apps. And outside of enabling payments, QR codes' other marketing uses may be limited because people's increased sensitivity around touching things will fade, said Zach Goldstein, CEO of Thanx, a customer engagement company that's been helping restaurants digitize their menus using QR codes. But for now, demand seems to be catching on. A recent study by B2B publisher Paymnts.com found that one-third of consumers that shop using digital payments said that they would not even consider making purchases in a physical store without them. And Seek, a company that makes QR code technology, said that it has seen a 600% increase in demand since March for its augmented reality and QR code solutions, according to Modern Retail. "Compared to historical data, there's certainly a huge uptick," said Aeguana's Vincent. "The behavior that's being instilled in people to be able to just turn the camera on and scan something, I reckon there'll be a lot of really interesting use cases for that to come out of this."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How the suicide hotline saved my life
Samsung cancelled a review of its $845 million US advertising business due to the pandemic. Here's what we know.
Summary List Placement Samsung cancelled a competitive review of its US digital ad and media-buying business...Summary List Placement Samsung cancelled a competitive review of its US digital ad and media-buying business due to economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, several people with direct knowledge of the matter said. A person close to the business said Samsung wanted to focus on its core business of selling smartphones and other personal electronics during the second half of 2020 instead of spending time and money to review its advertising. They suggested the review, which started over the summer, may resume when the pandemic's impact eases. Publicis Groupe, which has held the account since 2007, was facing off against fellow holding company giants WPP, IPG, and Dentsu in the pitch. The exception was Omnicom, which has a conflict with longtime client Apple. The development is the latest big change to the marketing industry wrought by the pandemic's economic effects. Samsung is one of the largest advertisers to cancel or postpone a review due to the pandemic. In March, The Gap paused a review of its own global media-buying business just as lockdowns began in the US. Samsung launched new versions of its popular Galaxy Note 20 phones in August, the same month it cancelled the review. The previous month's earnings call saw operating profit rise 23% year-over-year despite fewer smartphone sales due to an increasing demand for memory chips as more people use computers to work from home. At the time, analysts predicted Samsung would also cut its global advertising budget due to travel restrictions. Research firm Comvergence said Samsung spent around $845 million on marketing in the US last year and $2.3 billion globally. Spokespeople for Samsung, Publicis, IPG, and Dentsu did not immediately respond to requests for comment. WPP's media division GroupM and R3, the consulting firm overseeing the review, declined to comment. Got more information about this story or another ad industry tip? Contact Patrick Coffee on Signal at (347) 563-7289, email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter DM @PatrickCoffee. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.SEE ALSO: Red Bull names its first Black CMO and shakes up its marketing team after internal Black Lives Matter controversy Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How NASA strategically paints its vehicles for space
Red Bull names its first Black CMO and shakes up its marketing team after internal Black Lives Matter controversy
Summary List Placement Red Bull has named a new CMO and laid off more than 50...Summary List Placement Red Bull has named a new CMO and laid off more than 50 people around the world, mostly in its culture marketing department, following internal controversy over the company's response to Black Lives Matter and the leak of a racially offensive presentation slide. The culture marketing department is known for organizing and sponsoring concerts, festivals and other events with a big focus on hip-hop music and breakdancing. Multiple employees said leadership credited this work with helping Red Bull perform well during the pandemic, and a June presentation from North America CEO Stefan Kozak and CMO Amy Taylor showed that the company had outperformed its chief rival, Monster. But then Kozak and Taylor were fired in July. It was widely believed they were fired because Red Bull corporate leaders in Austria blamed them for leaks and the internal tensions behind them. The month before, 300 employees had signed a letter to them that was leaked to Business Insider and that urged the company to more explicitly support BLM. Kozak and Taylor subsequently announced plans for diversity efforts. Also in June, an offensive slide that was shown at a company meeting was leaked to Business Insider. Along with Kozak and Taylor, the company also fired the marketing exec, Florian Klaass, whose team was responsible for the slide, according to multiple people. Multiple people said several of the employees involved in organizing the Black Lives Matter letter were among the roughly 50 who were let go. The most recent round of layoffs hit the US on September 1. On Sept. 30, Red Bull promoted its brand marketing head Ken Turner to North American EVP and CMO, making him Red Bull's highest-ranking Black executive. His promotion followed another key change. Erin Woody, VP of culture marketing who reported to Taylor and led many of Red Bull's most visible projects, resigned a few weeks ago after 10 years at the company. Woody did not respond to requests for comment. Asked for comment on the recent changes, a spokeswoman for parent company Red Bull GmbH said the company restructured its culture marketing team to focus on programs that have the most impact. She said some of Red Bull's dance competitions and local efforts, like a Detroit-based artist residency program, would continue. Got more information about this story or another ad industry tip? Contact Patrick Coffee on Signal at (347) 563-7289, email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter DM @PatrickCoffee. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.SEE ALSO: Bain Capital-owned Kantar is cutting 10% of staff as the research firm takes a hit in the pandemic Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What makes 'Parasite' so shocking is the twist that happens in a 10-minute sequence