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The age of the employee social ambassador is here.
May 23, 2024

Marketing Brew


Today is Thursday. And, in something of an homage to Pepsi’s disastrous ’90s aircraft giveaway, canned-beverage brand Liquid Death is giving away a fighter jet worth $400k. Sure. This will definitely end well.

In today’s edition:

—Katie Hicks, Joshua Needelman, Ryan Barwick


Staffer, creator

Mobile phone with Instagram and bullhorn Amelia Kinsinger

The content is coming from inside the house—and not every company likes it.

In April, TikTok creator and Chick-fil-A employee Miriam Webb, who built a following of tens of thousands of people by reviewing Chick-fil-A menu items, said in a post on the platform that she had been notified by the company that her videos violated a rule in its employee handbook and she would no longer be posting them—much to the disappointment of her comments section, which included influencer James Charles, who called it a “huge missed opportunity for them.” Chick-fil-A did not respond to Marketing Brew’s request for comment.

“I really was hoping that we could collab or that we could turn this into something, because I felt like I was a great candidate for it and I had the numbers to show it and prove it,” Webb said in the video. “But I respect their decision, and all I can do now is adapt.”

And adapt she did. Less than a week later (and on a Sunday, no less), Webb posted the first of a two-video paid deal with Shake Shack, where she reviewed the chain’s Chicken Shack chicken sandwich. Other brands have made appearances on her account, too, including El Pollo Loco, Duck Donuts, and Claire’s.

As day-in-the-life and behind-the-scenes content continues to proliferate on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, brands have taken different approaches to addressing employee-created content. “Different things are right for different brands,” Mike McGarry, VP of brand marketing at Shake Shack, acknowledged, but at Shake Shack, the chain has opted to embrace team members as representatives of the brand, in addition to external creators like Webb, through content like “day in the life” and “favorite order” videos.

“Our team members are the heartbeat of our organization,” McGarry said. “They are our ambassadors day in and day out, and so it kind of makes sense for them to also be our ambassadors in social and help be a part of that story.”

Continue reading here.—KH



Cut complexity outta your marketing


Feeling stagnant, stuck, and subpar? Sounds like a marketing rut! And it’s pretty common in this complex market. According to a new report, only 30% of marketers rate their org’s marketing as “very effective.”

See how successful marketers are beating the odds with Eliminating Complexity for a Frictionless Marketing Experience, a research report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and sponsored by Quad.

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Chew on this

WWE star LA Knights holds a Slim Jim during a commercial for the jerky Screenshot via Slim Jim/YouTube

Last month, WWE star LA Knight made a pit stop before his WrestleMania 40 match against AJ Styles.

As he strutted to the ring, he embraced a woman sitting in the front row who had won a Slim Jim sweepstakes for tickets to the event. The camera then panned to a section of fans dressed in Slim Jim gear, dubbed the “Long Boi Gang,” a reference to the jerky company’s fan base.

It was the latest on-screen stunt in the relationship between WWE and Slim Jim, which dates back to the 1990s, when the late WWE star “Macho Man” Randy Savage served as the jerky company’s spokesperson and famously urged people to “Snap into a Slim Jim!” in a series of commercials that ran throughout the decade.

After a decades-long hiatus, though, the brands reconnected last summer, announcing a multi-year sponsorship deal that includes content with WWE performers, in-store events, and online sweepstakes.

“It was to bridge the history of our brand, which is pretty remarkable with Randy Savage and those iconic ads, with the present day, and WWE is such an iconic property and has so much relevancy now,” Lanie Friedman, senior director of content and communications for Conagra Brands, which sells and manufactures Slim Jim, said. “We’ve always seen that our community, even in the social space, references wrestling.”

Keep reading here.—JN



Here, there, everywhere

Magnifying glasses examining a computer with the Google logo Morning Brew

Advertisers will get a front-row seat to Google’s generative AI search features.

AI Overviews will have ads above, below, and within AI-generated search results, Rachel Melgaard, Google’s director of global search, said on Tuesday at a press roundtable ahead of the company’s Marketing Live event.

The additional updates to generative-AI powered search results stand to bolster Google’s already massive search advertisement business, which is under pressure from AI-powered competitors and a major antitrust case. Last quarter, Google’s search business brought in more than $46 billion in revenue last quarter, beating expectations.

“We’ve been testing this for a while now, and we’ve actually found that people find these ads really helpful and advertisers can find these ads effective,” Melgaard said.

Google’s AI search tool was always going to have ads. The company said as much last year. What’s new, however, is the inclusion of sponsored answers within the text box. The search ads can be bought through shoppable and search campaigns, as well as campaigns running through Google’s Performance Max tool.

In an example shared at the press event, a Google search of “how do I get wrinkles out of clothes” returned a few different answers, including “hang your clothes in the shower….use a damp towel,” atop a sponsored catalog-style ad for Downy fabric spray. The company also teased a feature that showed someone uploading a photo, like an image of their couch, and then searching and shopping for the right storage unit that could fit said couch.

Read more here.—RB




Q’s on AI. Everyone agrees that AI’s here to stay, but we’re less sure of how it’ll alter the marketing landscape. To get some clarity, we hosted a panel on Demystifying AI at Attentive’s Thread event. We went in on all things marketing + artificial intelligence. Get the inside scoop.


An image of a french press for making coffee in front of a blue background Morning Brew

There are a lot of bad marketing tips out there. These aren’t those.

Up to par? A look at some influencer marketing benchmarks to help assess campaign performance.

Like and (pay to) subscribe: Understanding Instagram subscriptions—and why creators may be using them.

Search update: How can updates to Google Search impact SEO? Let Search Engine Journal explain.

How it’s done: Snag this new research report sponsored by Quad and learn how to eliminate complexity for smoother, more streamlined marketing. See what successful marketers are doing right.*

*A message from our sponsor.


a pillar with a few pieces of paper and a green pencil on top of it Morning Brew

Stories we’re jealous of.

  • The Atlantic listened to the ads running on right-wing personality Charlie Kirk’s podcast and wrote about what it says about audience segmentation.
  • Vox wrote about the many TikTok therapists who are expanding their earnings through brand deals and subscriptions.
  • The New York Times wrote about a recent pop-up for the designer Gustaf Westman, whose creations have captivated internet “it” girls like Matilda Djerf and Emma Chamberlain.


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