Morning Brew - ☕ Divide and conquer

How Ithaca Hummus’s fractional CMO gets it done.
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March 13, 2024

Marketing Brew


It’s Wednesday. Remember when we told you last week about Cerveza Cristal, the beer that was edited into Chilean airings of Star Wars? What we neglected to mention is that the campaign actually won a Cannes Lion in 2004. So maybe this industry does get some things right.

In today’s edition:

—Jasmine Sheena, Alyssa Meyers


Halfway there

on the left, an image of Ithata Hummus containers in front of a Whole Foots Market; on the right, a black-and-white image of Ithaca Hummus's fractional CMO, Alyssa Bonanno Screenshot via @ithacahummus/Instagram, Alyssa Bonanno

Who knew a food run could lead to a new job?

Slammed with calls one day, Alyssa Bonanno ran to her local grocery store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood to grab something to snack on. She chose hummus and carrots, and was so impressed by the taste of the hummus that she messaged the company’s founder on LinkedIn to ask if she could help market the brand to elevate its status.

That LinkedIn message helped her land a job as the fractional CMO of Ithaca Hummus.

Bonanno, who started her role in January, joins a host of fractional marketing execs who have been hired by brands like SoulCycle and canned-seafood brand Scout as expectations and duties for CMOs continue to change industrywide. In recent years, the chief marketing officer has become an “all-encompassing, almost impossible title,” Bonanno said, pointing to creative, brand, and growth duties as examples of responsibilities that can fall to a company’s head marketer.

“Due to [high] turnover and due to that inherent distrust,” she said, “this has become a popular alternative, because people feel like, ‘Well, if it’s a bad fit, it’s not forever.’”

From Bonanno’s point of view, fractional CMOs generally best serve “smedium-sized startups” temporarily as they scale and figure out their marketing needs—not larger companies that she has seen “utilizing fractional CMOs as an attempt to be noncommittal,” she told Marketing Brew. “I think that’s a loss.”

Continue reading here.—JS



Dare to stream


Dreaming of refining your marketing strategy? Start by getting inside the streamer’s mindset and learning what streamers are actually watching. Tubi’s The Stream 2024: Streaming Insights for Marketers can help.

Tubi partnered with The Harris Poll to figure out what engages today’s streaming audiences…and what doesn’t. The Stream digs into insights about the types of content audiences enjoy streaming and how it creates a social connection with your audiences—all by the numbers.

Here’s a sneak peek:

  • 71% of viewers watch content with members of their household as a form of quality time.
  • Over half of Gen Z watchers prefer streaming with people outside of their household.
  • A majority of Gen Zers and millennials choose to watch original content over franchises + remakes.
  • All streamers are making choices based on $$$.

Stop dreaming + start streaming.


Time of the season

Coke Zero Sugar March Madness ad Aliyah Boston Coke Zero Sugar

We’re less than a week out from Selection Sunday, which officially marks the start of March Madness, and some brands are already mad for the NCAA college basketball tournaments.

After last year’s women’s final between the University of Iowa and Louisiana State University broke viewership records and Iowa’s star player, Caitlin Clark, continued her rise to mainstream recognition this season, the women’s game seems to have caught the attention of advertisers. Brands are also activating around the biggest event in college hoops through NIL deals.

Let’s hear it for the girls: Based on early looks at this year’s March Madness campaigns, advertisers are putting equal emphasis on the men’s and women’s tournaments—at least in terms of their talent.

  • Powerade’s national TV spot, which is set to start airing during Selection Sunday on CBS, features two star NCAA guards: Isaiah Collier from the University of Southern California’s men’s team and Flau’jae Johnson from LSU’s women’s team.
  • Ritz, an official sponsor of March Madness, is using 16 college athletes for its campaign: Eight men and eight women, including Jada Williams and Caleb Love of the University of Arizona, Cameron Brink of Stanford University, and JuJu Watkins of the University of Southern California.

Read more here.—AM



Getting better all the time

Omnicom Sopa Images/Getty Images

No doubt about it: Generative AI exploded in 2023. Agencies have been scrambling to figure out how to use it, and, more importantly, how to use it safely. Omnicom is no exception.

Since the agency debuted Omni Assist, a generative AI–enabled virtual assistant, as part of its technology platform Omni last summer, Omnicom has been working to build applications assisted by generative AI that are inclusive in both their makeup and implementation.

Clarissa Season, chief experience officer at Omnicom’s data and analytics shop, Annalect, said that part of her team’s work, which builds technology for other Omnicom agencies, is to make sure the data itself is inclusive, so that any apps built on top of the data are, too.

“We are creating data sets at the base, underneath all of our generative AI capabilities, that are representative of people and races and different sexual orientations or gender orientations,” Season told Marketing Brew.

Houston, we (do not) have a problem: The first step in making Omnicom’s generative AI applications is making sure the audience data the apps are built on is inclusive of different demographics, she said.

  • For example, the Hispanic population, as well as some Asian populations, are often underrepresented in US data sets, Season said. For Hispanic folks specifically, to be truly inclusive, according to Season, the data should represent both those whose primary language is English and those whose it isn’t; the latter, she said, is a category that is sometimes overlooked.

Continue reading here.—JS




Zoom out and get the whole picture. Understanding what makes video production successful is huge for any biz. Wistia’s Head of Production lays out the entire video life cycle, from planning and pre-production to post-production and distribution. Connect effectively with your audience and achieve your strategy goals with this guide.


French Press Morning Brew

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

Testing, testing: Apple’s is testing an AI-fueled ad product in the App Store.

Regulation: The FTC’s definition of sensitive data “should be a major wake-up call for ad tech,” according to AdExchanger.

Research: Social engagement doesn’t translate to readers or site visitors, according to a new report from Memo, which asserts that “social media is undoubtedly offering diminishing returns.”

Now playing: Streaming audiences choose which platforms + content to watch with their wallets. Learn how audiences interact with streaming services—and how to advertise to them—in Tubi’s The Stream 2024: Streaming Insights for Marketers. Get it here.*

*A message from our sponsor.


Stat: $2,628. That’s the effective CPM Comcast reportedly paid to reach one consumer, according to a new Adalytics report.

Quote: “It begs to be painted like a hamburger.”—Chris Hannotte, a retired resident of Hamburg, New York, is leading a charge to paint a local water tower to look like, well, you guessed it

Pretty sweet: Did you know about Little Debbie Park and playground in Tennessee? We didn’t either, but luckily, The Takeout reported on it last summer.

Read: “The influencers getting paid to promote designer knockoffs from China” (Wired)


Are you an exec looking to make your next career move or join a board of directors? We’ve partnered with ExecThread, where you can find thousands of confidential job opportunities and board roles that aren’t listed anywhere else. Join ExecThread for free.


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