Here ye, here ye

April 4, 2019

Today, HomeTalk raises some tickle, and the advertising industry remains fickle, but first…
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Refusing to pay the Insta tax, a Philippine hostel declares independence from influencers

A Philippine surf hostel called the White Banana Beach Club recently declared independence from influencers who demand free stuff, proclaiming: “White Banana is not interested to ‘collaborate’ with self-proclaimed ‘influencers.’” 

It was a Facebook rant par excellence — but it also shows that long-simmering tensions between travel influencers and hotels are reaching a boiling point.

The Banana Beach Tea party

It’s clear why the Banana became popular among the influent-sia: The open-air surf hostel — which offers beachside “luxury dorms,” signature cocktails, and vegan dining options — is a ’Grammer’s unfiltered dream.

But co-owner Gianlucca Casaccia felt so exploited by demands for free lodging and food in exchange for hot content that he told influencers to find “another way to eat, drink, or sleep for free. Or try to actually work.”

Casaccia claims he only wanted to dissuade fake-fluencers, but the post racked up thousands of shares and considerable media coverage.

Then the debate began…

In a vigorous Facebook comment clash that calls to mind the 2nd Continental Congress, the world’s foremost experts on influencer etiquette debated which party was at fault.

One side argued that influencers work hard, provide value, and don’t deserve public shaming. The other side insisted influencers are exploitative freeloaders, and applauded the Banana for its clever call-out.

At one point, the Banana itself interrupted the cacophony of spicy memes and fire emojis with an opinion that could have come from Ben Franklin himself: “Our workers need money on their salaries, not selfies.”

No relaxation without paying for vacation!

The White Banana is not the first hotel to declare war against influencers: Last year, a hotel in Dublin issued a harshly worded rebuke against a 22-year-old YouTuber who wanted a free stay and later banned all bloggers.

But the real problem isn’t influencers, it’s bad influencers: Small businesses are often targeted by amateurs, but large companies often seek out professional influencers, who can be 11x more valuable than traditional digital ads. 

As the influencer marketing biz continues to rise from $81B in 2016 to a projected $101B by 2020, brands will pick sides. For companies like Marriott, that means formal influencer applications; for the White Banana, it may mean more pitchfork posts — and, potentially, more publicity.

   @ Me Anything
Conor Grant, News Writer at The Hustle

This surf hostel’s call for influencer independence may have kicked off the 2nd Continental Congress of FB comment clashes, but the debaters on both sides missed the point — the Banana out-influenced all the influencers.
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Fight the fake-fluencers!
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Hometalk raised $15m to prove that DIY is back in sty

Hometalk, the NYC-based startup that helps you DIY your dream home, raised $15m to expand its online community, TechCrunch reports

The Hometalk platform is basically a dream(board)y meeting of Pinterest plus Houzz, with a bit of UpWork and a dash of those online health forums where doctors respond to questions.  

Do it yourself… but with friends

Founded in 2011, “the world’s leading DIY Home & Garden knowledge hub” now brags 140k tutorials, 17m members (who are NOT referred to as “homies” but def should be), and 2.5B vid views last year. 

Hometalk’s community-driven, visually pleasing platform facilitates collab-ing and resource-sharing among DIYers and design pros to help members pull off all kinds of adorbs home and garden projects (Easter’s comin’ up, yall — hippity hop to it). 

The tutorials, guides and advice are contributed by both regular users and experienced designers — who then get to reap the promo benefits of the site’s inherent social-sharing nature.  

In this age, personalization is the name of the game 

Which means DIY has a growing place in the market (and our closets). 

The DIY trend is particularly popular thanks to boundless access to new resources and ease of community engagement (if you don’t share photos then literally, why even?). As Hometalk puts it, “Doing it yourself doesn’t mean doing it alone.”

According to TechCrunch, Hometalk’s $15m boost will allow the company, which has depended mainly on programmatic ads, to build itself new revenue streams such as subscriptions and branded content.

» Pays to be handy

Oh the humanity: The island of Komodo is closing because crooks keep stealin’ dragons

Tempo, a Philippine newspaper, first reported that the Indonesian government will “temporarily” close Komodo island — home of Komodo dragons (the largest living liz in exiz) — for a year starting January 2020. 

The decision came after the arrests of 9 men who allegedly stole 41 dragons (which can be sold abroad for $35k each), as well as other endangered birds and wild cats, to be used in traditional medicines.

Animal smuggling is an attractive business

Each year hundreds of millions of animals are illegally poached from the wild to be sold as food, clothing, medicine — and even souvenirs.

But one environmental ministry official said that this is the first time he had heard of Komodo dragons — which have existed only in Indonesia for centuries — being trafficked for those purposes. 

The long lifespan of the oversized serpent with feet is partly attributed to its fatally venomous bite — and because their blood is so rich with peptides that they’re actually immune to their own death chomp.

Keyword: OWN

While some scientists believe it’s possible to turn these peptides into human antibiotics, Bryan Fry, associate biology professor for the University of Queensland, told Wapo the process isn’t exactly as easy as 1,2,3.

According to Fry, it could only work if the compounds within the blood were purified, and even then would still have high odds of a “violent allergic reaction.”

“If this is in fact what is fueling the trade, it is in the same destructive fantasy land as the Asian appetite for rhino horns as aphrodisiacs.”

» Everyone shame the animal poacher

Accenture buys the highly regarded independent ad agency Droga5

Historically, ad consultancy firms have been data wranglers that businesses hire to suggest advertising improvements based on trends and target markets — and then their clients have gone off and hired creative agencies like Droga5 to execute. 

Recently, consultancy firms have tried to cut out the middleman and get creative as well, but now they’re just acquiring them. Pending official review, the ad industry’s largest consultancy firm, Accenture Interactive, will soon buy Droga5 — one of the top independent ad agencies in the biz.

According to Fast Company, this is the industry’s highest profile deal in recent memory (in 2017, the 2 companies brought in around $8B in collective revenue).

It’s not just about advertising anymore

In the past few years, ad agencies have been on the hunt for the most lucrative way to answer the ever-expanding requests of a volatile landscape, where marketers want bigger, better, faster, and smarter.

It used to be about coming up with 2-dimensional attention-grabbing ads — “make 7-Up yours!” Now, it’s about injecting a person with a broader consumer experience: from VR to wearable-connected avatars for Carnival Cruise LinesFuture stuff.

A match made in heaven (brought to you by Capri Sun)

As Accenture wields a fat market share to push more ambitious consumer experience projects, the company knows it needs Droga5’s creative touch.

David Droga, the founder of Droga5 who once said he would never sell, acknowledges the symmetry of expertise between the two giants is going to be crucial for all brands down the road: “This isn’t a nice-to-have… This is future-proofing.”

   @ Me Anything
Wes Schlagenhauf, News Writer at The Hustle

Last night I had a dream where I was having a political argument with my Grandma outside of a Ruth’s Chris Steak House… Coincidence? Or “interactive” advertising?
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» The best I ever ad

You are not Steven Spielberg

And screaming “CUT!” at your local community theater production of Bye, Bye, Birdie won’t change that.  

What you are is a quota-crushing selling machine. 

And, like the silver-tongued profesh you are, any tool that can help turn a “maybe next quarter” into a “where do I sign?” is a must-have. 

In 2019 that tool is video.

Create videos that get results from the comfort of your own desktop

And it’s never been easier than today. 

HubSpot is giving sales experts like you the step-by-step guidance needed to create videos that close more deals quickly and easily. 

Just scoot on over to HubSpot and hear from industry-leading sales gurus about the tactical ways they use video to get it done. 

Spoiler: Anybody (director or not) can create great looking, effective video. HubSpot will show you how. 

Lights, Camera, Grow → things you should…

KNOCK: Out with Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds, $249.95

These wireless ‘buds come preloaded with soothing sounds, helping you fall asleep and stay asleep. That’s good news for those of us whose neighbors have a nightly habit of blasting Death Metal so loud the whole house shakes… lookin’ at you, Jim.

PEEP: The new trailer for “Joker.” Watch now

This was hot in the office Slack channel yesterday, and still is today. If you haven’t seen it, well, what are you waiting for? Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker looks like a match made in movie heaven (Jared Leto, not so much).

SCORE: Hustle gear with our refreshed Ambassadors program, Free

In case you missed it, we’ve been busy over at HQ. That includes revamping our Ambassadors program with new rewards and other goodies. See where you stand today, toss some friends and invite, and grab some stickers, hats, or sweatshirts for your troubles.


HOOK: Your friends — or yourself — up with Ship, Download now

Been on one too many awkward, algorithm-optimized dates? Yeah, same. Ship is out to change that… and it all starts with your friends. You create a dating profile, then invite your inner circle to join a “crew” that finds the best matches for you. Because who else knows you better?


SWITCH: To Mack Weldon’s AIRKNITx and leave sweat in the past, $26

Mack Weldon’s AIRKNITx underwear features a microfiber blend, four-way stretch, and sweat-wicking material. Feeling stylish? Good, because they come in 10 different colors. Hundreds of five-star reviews don’t lie — It’s the total package for your, uhh, total package.

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Tumastin, Mdou Moctar. You’re welcome.
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Conor Grant
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