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Picks of the Week: April 17, 2017

Picks of the Week: April 17, 2017

#1

Warren Buffett Becomes the Face of Cherry Coke in China

Warren Buffett, the President, Chairman & CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and second richest person in America, will have his face featured on cans of Cherry Coke as the brand launches in China. Buffett, who is worth an estimated $74.9 billion, certainly does not need to license his likeness for profit, which is why he is providing this benefit for free. However, it appears as though Buffett himself and Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholders have a great deal to benefit from the success of the brand launching in China. Berkshire Hathaway is the largest single shareholder in the Coca-Cola Company, owning over $17 billion worth of shares. Buffett himself, is a genuine consumer, stating that he drinks approximately 5 cokes per day (regular Coke at the office, Cherry Coke at home). This strategy may seem odd as Coca-Cola (and most other brands) tend to leverage celebrity endorsements in North America that skew much more towards athletes, musicians, and actors. In the US, Coca-Cola has deals with endorsers such as Taylor Swift, LeBron James, and Kevin Hart. However, culturally, China differs in that the country is much more open to the concept of successful business-people as endorsers. Billionaires such as Warren Buffett and Jack Ma (founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba) are viewed as celebrities in China. Given Buffett’s celebrity status as well as an authentic endorser, this partnership makes for a logical fit.

#2

 Lexus Signs Music Producer, Mark Ronson as the Face of Latest Campaign

Lexus has unveiled a unique collaboration with multi-award winning music producer Mark Ronson for the launch of their new flagship coupe, the Lexus LC. The “Make Your Mark” campaign is set to run over the next six months and will give customers and fans the chance to get their hands on exciting content and experiences around the car, using music as the inspiration. The new campaign follows Lexus’ campaign “The Life RX” with Jude Law, which gave attendees at an immersive theatre event the chance to get in the driver’s seat of their own movie star lifestyle. This partnership is another example of the shift in the world of marketing from traditional storytelling to story-making – where companies are inviting customers to become active participants, as opposed to passive viewers. By associating Lexus with innovative and immersive customer experiences, and creating a program rooted in music with Ronson at the helm, Lexus has made its “Mark” with this campaign. 

#3

 IBM Brings Innovation to the Masters

In celebration of their 20th year partnering with the Masters, IBM has introduced artificial intelligence (AI) software that auto-curates individual shot highlights from the tournament’s live video streams. The purpose of the software is to simplify and accelerate the video production process, and create an autonomous curation process. The system is trained to view the broadcast in real-time much like a fan, and identify the start-and-end frames of highlights based on markers such as crowd reaction, commentary excitement, and logo recognition. In turn, each one of these markers are put together and using an algorithm are given a value to determine the shot’s “Overall Excitement Level.” The software helps Masters Tournament organizers, as well as broadcast partners, share the top and most exciting moments as quickly and effectively as possible. With a sport like golf that is spread over such as large area with so much going on, it allows organizers and broadcasters to be aware of all the action. The Masters is a tournament known for its tradition, so it is noteworthy to see it lead the way in innovation with IBM.

Intel & Serena Williams

Mountain Dew & Giannis Antetokounmpo