Posts tagged with "YouTube"

Parallel universes: Dems raising $75 million to go head-to-head with GOP on social media

November 5, 2019

Two can play that game: A progressive organization called Acronym is plunging into the presidential campaign—revealing plans to spend $75 million on digital advertising that will be used to counterbalance and neutralize President Donald Trump’s early spending advantage in key 2020 battleground states, The New York Times reported on November 4.

And such a rampart may well be needed: Trump has spent more than $26 million so far nationally just on Facebook and Google, the news outlet says. That’s more than the four top-polling Democrats—Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg—have spent in total on those platforms.

Since its creation as a nonprofit group dedicated to building power and digital infrastructure for the progressive movement in March 2017, Acronym claims to have “run dozens of targeted media programs to educate, inspire, register, and mobilize voters,” as well as to have “worked with dozens of partners to accelerate their advocacy programs and investments.”

In the 2018 cycle, Acronym developed new digital tools and strategies to encourage voters to register to vote and show up at the polls on Election Day. Through these programs, Acronym and its affiliated political action committee, Pacronym, claim to have helped elect 65 progressive candidates across the country.

Photo source: AcronymAnd in January 2019, the group launched Shadow, a technology company focused on building accessible, user-centered products to enable progressive organizers to run smarter campaigns

Political organizers and pundits agree that such an effort is necessary. “The gun on this general election does not start when we have a nominee; it started months ago,” said David Plouffe, who managed Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and was a key adviser to him in 2012, and who recently joined Acronym’s board. ”If the things that need to happen don’t happen in these battleground states between now and May or June, our nominee will never have time to catch up.“

In an interview with the Times, Plouffe and Tara McGowan, the founder and chief executive of Acronym, said their digital campaign would kick off immediately, with a heavy focus on shaping how the public views Trump and the Democratic Party during the primary season, well before a nominee emerges.

“Our nominee is going to be broke, tired, have to pull together the party; and turn around on a dime and run a completely different race for a completely different audience,” Plouffe said.

“There is an enormous amount of danger between now and then,” he added. “If the hole is too steep to dig out of, they’re not going to win.”

The campaign, which the organization is calling “Four is Enough,” will focus initially on key swing states: Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. One state that is historically a battleground was notably missing from the initial list: Florida.

The effort will feature advertisements across multiple digital platforms, including Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Hulu, and Pandora. There will be original content, such as videos and animations, as well as boosting local news coverage that portrays Trump, his administration,and his agenda in a harsh light.

McGowan told the news outlet that for months her group had been raising the alarm about the president’s early online spending advantage.

“It started to feel as though we were really screaming into the abyss,” she said. So

McGowan told the Times that the group had already raised approximately 40% of the planned $75 million budget. She noted that Plouffe has joined as both a political adviser and to help raise funds. The spending will be made across two groups, Acronym, which is a nonprofit that does not disclose its donors, and Pacronym, a political action committee, which does. (The group’s winking moniker is a poke at the frequent practice of settling on a meaningful series of words to form an acronym for a nonprofit; they have skipped that alphabet-soup step entirely.)

“We’re absolutely, as a party, not doing enough and I don’t know that $75 million is enough,” McGowan said. “We can’t afford to not do this work right now.” Of the fact that some of her group’s donors would remain undisclosed, she said, “We have to play on the field that exists,” noting that Trump is aided by such funds, as well.

Research contact: @nytimes

Cheap thrills: Dollar General’s new $5 beauty brand is going viral

September 10, 2019

Fashionistas, take note: There’s a new brand in the beauty business—and it’s not sold at swanky cosmetics counters for big bucks, or at drugstores, either.

Launched last spring, Dollar General’s humble, $5-and-under Believe Beauty cosmetics line is available at the chain’s 15,000 locations nationwide—and it has gone viral, thanks to the raves of social media beauty bloggers.

According to a report by CNN, Dollar General partnered with a beauty manufacturer on the private-label line of lipsticks, eye shadows, foundations, nail polishes, and skin care essentials; and is giving it prime real estate at stores: It’s displaying the 150-product collection in dedicated sections at the end of store aisles, making it easy for customers to find.

The aspirational brand is “an important part of our strategy,” CEO Todd Vasos told the network news outlet.

Dollar General executives say they developed the brand to bolster the company’s hold on existing customers and improve its thin profit margins. Dollar General also hopes to draw Millennials with the brand. Millennials probably won’t post online about snacks or a new mop they bought at Dollar General, but they love showing off their new makeup online, CNN notes.

Dozens of Believe reviews on by beauty vloggers on YouTube already have racked up hundreds of thousands of page views. One 16-minute YouTube review from a beauty vlogger has 125,000 views. Instagram is flooded with more than 3,000 posts using “#believebeauty.”

All that social media attention means free advertising for Dollar General. It boosts the company’s image with younger shoppers and is helping lift the dollar-store empire.

“People like those kind of videos because it’s something different,” Taylor Horn, a blogger who reviewed Believe on her YouTube channel, told CNN Business. Her channel has more than 750,000 followers.

“It’s cool when lines like Believe Beauty launch, where it’s accessible,” she said. “I think it’s more achievable and the things that your everyday consumer can afford.”

Dollar General is following a similar strategy to Walgreens, Target, Zara, Forever 21 and even 7-Eleven, CNN points out. These companies have all added their own in-house cosmetics lines in recent years.

Research contact: @CNN

Could acne treatments be causing acne?

July 26, 2019

There’s a reason why Dr. Pimple Popper of TLC and YouTube fame gets almost 5 million views per video or show.

As Dr. Amy Wechsler, a New York physician who is board-certified in both dermatology and psychiatry, recently told the TODAY Show audience, “There are so many people out there who like to pop their own pimples—they’re usually smaller than the ones that are on these videos—and they get satisfaction out of seeing something come out from the body that they feel like doesn’t belong.”

In fact, a recent story in Medium’s health section, Elemental, reports that acne appears to be “more prevalent than ever”—among both teens and adults.

The Elemental story also cites a statistic from the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology: Roughly one-third of adult women have acne, while only one in five men do.

Could that be attributed to the fact that many women have more complicated skin care routines—involving the application of multiple over-the-counter and prescription acne medications?

The dermatologists with whom author Markham Heid spoke for the article suggested that some of the most common and popular acne medications, such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, might in fact be affecting the skin microbiome in such a way that acne bacteria is then encouraged to flourish.

Harsh cleansers might do the same thing, they said, as might certain antibiotics and foods. “What we put on our skin can improve or disrupt the survival of these [skin] microorganisms,” said one dermatologist.

“This is something we didn’t know before, but we’re paying attention to now.”

So maybe your next skincare routine should be … just water?

Research contact: @Medium

What’s your poison? It could be coconut oil.

August 23, 2018

We are what we eat—which is why the conflicting news we receive on a regular basis about nutrition is making it increasingly difficult to decide which foodstuffs are beneficial and which are just plain bad.

 Now, coconuts—and specifically, coconut oil—which once were recommended as a “superfood’ and a remedy for everything from gum disease to Alzheimer’s, are being reviled. Both the American Heart Association and a professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health are saying that the oil is high-fat and high-risk.

Indeed, Karin Michels, the director of the Institute for Prevention and Tumor Epidemiology at the University of Freiburg in Germany and a professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has caused a bit of a stir online. In a lecture posted on YouTube that has gotten nearly one million hits, Michels calls coconut oil “pure poison” and identifies it as “one of the worst foods you can eat,” Business Insider reported on August 20.

Her 50-minute German-language lecture, entitled Coconut Oil and other Nutritional Errors, has become a viral hit .

There’s no study showing significant health benefits to coconut-oil consumption. And, according to Michels, coconut oil is more dangerous than lard because it almost exclusively contains saturated fatty acids—ones that can clog the coronary arteries, Business Insider reported.

Based on the fact that they contain a lot of unsaturated fatty acids, experts recommend olive or rapeseed oil as an alternative, and while it can’t be used for cooking, flaxseed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is just as good for the body.

While Michels doesn’t describe other superfoods like acai, chia seeds, or matcha as harmful, at most she considers them ineffective because, in most cases, the nutrients they’re touted for are available just as readily in other foods that are more easily accessible such as carrots, cherries, and apricots.

“We are well and sufficiently supplied,” she said.

According to Statista, Americans consumers 443 tons of coconut oil during 2017. The global production volume of coconut oil was 376 million tons.

Research contact: k.michels@ucla.edu

YouTube may pay billions in FTC fines for profiting from kids’ data

April 12, 2018

This week, YouTube became the latest social media company to face public criticism for data collection—this time involving children. A coalition of 23 child advocacy and consumer privacy groups filed a complaint on April 10 with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission claiming that the video-sharing platform and its parent company, Google, violated child privacy laws by collecting personal data on kids under age 13.

Research by the boutique marketing firm,Trendera, has found that 45% of kids between the ages of eight and 12 have a YouTube account. What’s more, 24% of teens between ages 13 and 21 not only have an account; they also have a vlog or YouTube channel.

According to the coalition, led by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy, Google infringed on the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, a federal law passed in January 2013, requiring companies to secure parents’ consent before collecting data on children younger than 13.

The complainants are asking the FTC to investigate Google, and also are seeking a fine of up to “tens of billions” of dollars from Google for allegedly profiting off young users.

According to YouTube’s terms of service, the main site and app are for viewers 13 and older. Younger children are directed to the separate YouTube Kids app, which contains filtered videos from the main site. However, anyone can watch YouTube videos, either without an account or by logging in.

“It’s illegal collection has been going on for many years and involves tens of millions of US children,” reads the coalition’s complaint. “Many children watch YouTube on mobile devices, decreasing the likelihood that they are co-viewing with their parents.”

The advocacy groups’ call for an “enforcement action against Google” is another hit against a tech industry that still is staggering under the effects of Facebook’s massive data-breach scandal. As The Harris Poll recently found through its annual Reputation Quotient survey, the Google’s reputation dropped more than 10 points—from number eight in 2017 to number 28 this year.

Research contact: Hellonyc@harrisinsights.com