Inside Marketing - October 23rd, 2019

Inside Marketing (Oct 23rd, 2019)

Ghost Whopper / Devumni Fined / Influencer Skepticism

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1. Rob Goldman, Facebook's VP of Advertising, is leaving the company. On Tuesday, Goldman tweeted that that day would be his last at Facebook, where he's been since 2012. This isn't the first tweet of Goldman's to make headlines, as in 2017 he took to the platform to take on accusations that Facebook "listens in" on device microphones to better target ads. Goldman again courted Twitter controversy in 2018 when he sounded off with a series of tweets that appeared critical of Robert Mueller's investigation into Facebook. Via statement, Facebook refused to comment on the departure, except to say “we wish him all the best.” - CNBC

2. Twitch has hired Zynga's former CMO. The Amazon-owned company has been CMO-less since July, when Kate Jhaveri decamped for the CMO gig at the NBA. The new hire, Doug Scott, has also worked at Electronic Arts and mobile game publisher DeNA, and was once the CMO of music startup BandPage. According to the job posting for the role, Scott will be responsible for “positioning, messaging, branding, segmentation, strategy and creative direction focused on continuing Twitch’s evolution in the ‘multiplayer entertainment' space." - MOBILE MARKETER

3. A holiday-themed campaign from Burger King features a sandwich that's been vetted by a medium. The burger is called the "Ghost Whopper,"  so named because it's made with "spectral-white buns." As part of its limited-edition launch (this is a Halloween-themed push, of course) the company held a seance at LA's Alexandria Hotel, during which trance medium Riz Mirza - who claims to be the real deal - invited spirits to inhabit his body to taste-test the burger. Can "American Horror Story: Fast Food" (brought to you by Burger King) be far behind? - MARKETING DIVE

4. Devumni is facing the FTC's ire. In a complaint filed against the social media marketing company, the FTC says that Devumni's alleged sales of false likes, retweets, and followers (a matter reported by the NYT in early 2018) is against the law, as it offers "fake indicators of social media influence." The FTC has imposed a $2.5 million fine against owner and CEO German Calas, Jr., but given his supposed financial situation (Devumi shut down last year following the NYT's revelations), has agreed to accept $250,000, with the balance deferred unless it's determined that Calas has misrepresented his assets. - CNET

5. Cision has been acquired in a $2.74 billion deal. Arguably the predominant provider of marketing and PR software, Cision not only offers media monitoring services, but since 2016 has owned marketing distribution outlet PR Newswire. It was purchased by private equity firm Platinum Equity in an arrangement that's expected to close in the first quarter of 2020. After that, the public company will go private, it announced, sending stocks skyrocketing by as much as 19.6 percent Tuesday. - PR WEEK

6. Trendera's CEO is scheduled to be sentenced today for her role in the college admissions scandal. Jane Buckingham, the founder and CEO of boutique marketing firm Trendera, is slated to appear in court in Boston Wednesday to hear a judge's decision on the time she will serve. In May, Buckingham pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and conspiracy as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors, admitting that she paid a test proctor $50,000 to take the ACT exam for her son. Her lawyers are requesting that she receive a year of probation, a fine and community service, while prosecutors are recommending a six month prison sentence. - ASSOCIATED PRESS

7. Marketers are starting to wonder if influencers are really all that. The lack of transparency or methodology in measuring impact has led to a lack of trust between marketers and influencers, but even as the gap between the groups grows, the money paid to influencers keeps climbing, with an uptick of about 50 percent per year since 2017. - WALL STREET JOURNAL

8. Media monitoring company Signal AI has just raised $25 million to expand its business. The platform has been widely adopted by marketers eager to gain data on the conversation around companies, and in recent years has rebranded to reflect a focus on real-time information (as opposed to just mentions in the press). The new cash should allow it to apply its AI "to spot themes, risks and opportunities" as well as to enter new markets. - TECHCRUNCH

9. Johns Hopkins University is on the hunt for an Assistant Dean of Marketing and Communications. The job is based at the school's Baltimore, Maryland, campus and requires a candidate with at least seven years "of progressive leadership experience in the marketing, public relations and/or communications fields." In the position, you'd "direct and oversee marketing and communications activities for the Whiting School of Engineering, with a focus on developing, implementing, and maintaining a strategic marketing and communications program to maximize the visibility of the school's education, research, and translational activities." - INTERFOLIO

10. Black Voters Matter is looking for a communications director. In the Atlanta, Georgia-based position, you'd be responsible for the organization's design and implementation of its "strategic communications and narrative-shift objectives." Qualified candidates must have the ability to travel for about 30 percent of the time, and a "commitment to progressive causes." - BVM

Eve Batey is a writer, editor, and consultant based in San Francisco. She also owns a store and writes about the business of true crime. You can find her on Instagram at @evelb or via email at

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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