A few months ago, Shaun McBride, a prolific and popular Snapchat user, went to Bangkok courtesy of Marriott. He let his fans dictate his agenda, sending collages of visual messages, or snaps, at each tourist stop. "At the end of the day," he said, "I'd give a shout-out to Marriott for hooking me up with the hotels."

That kind of brand marketing thrives on the platform, explained the 27-year old, who was commissioned for similar work by Disney and has worked for AT&T and Samsung. To demonstrate what he won't do on Snapchat, he adopts a salesman patois: "Ten dollars off at your next stay!"

Brands must be hands-off, giving social-media savants like him one brief: "be true to yourself."

This was the overarching message from Mr. McBride and a trio of even younger players gathered on Wednesday by 360i, the Dentsu Aegis digital agency, for a panel on "Gen Z Influencers." The agency roughly defines the generation as those born between 1997 and 2002, and while the influencers in question might not be in the generation, they're definitely reaching them.

And marketers want to reach them, too, which is why they are increasingly turning to content creators with fame on mobile platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and Vine. And they're shelling hefty fees to do so -- sometimes as high as five figures per snap, photo or video. The market's potential became clearer two weeks ago, when Twitter agreed to buy Niche, a digital talent agency for social influencers.

Shaun McBride on Snapchat, for Disney.

Shaun McBride on Snapchat, for Disney.

It makes sense. The influencers, like the YouTube stars before them, understand the platforms. And they can often execute two of the most desirable, difficult tasks for advertisers targeting younger audiences: mobile and native.

With his off-kilter images, Mr. McBride, who tucks his stringy, long hair in a backwards cap and cultivates a surfer dude image, has amassed a huge following of over 350,000 Snapchat "friends" known as "Shonduras." His most-engaged fans, he says, are often "14-year old girls."

Joining him on stage was another Snapchat celebrity, Christine Mi, 21, whose repertoire is blithe depictions of herself as historical figures or paintings. She has worked with ABC Family, 20th Century Fox and AT&T using Snapchat's Stories feature, when she is not studying at Yale. "I want the brand to become an enabler," she said, noting that those she has worked with gave her flexibility on the platform.

Amanda Jas on Instagram, for Adidas

Amanda Jas on Instagram, for Adidas

Amanda Jas, a 22-year old fashion photographer (over 78,000 followers on Instagram), has worked with Adidas and <adage_no_lookbook_links>Refinery 29. Another Instagram star, Ryan Parrilla (83,500 followers), a shy 16-year old, just began taking brand work. He has an agent.

Working with young talent is not without its frustrations. Parents, of course, must be involved. And corralling the creative can be difficult -- they have a football game or they sleep in on Saturdays. And there's always the risk they have a mishap that could damage the brand.

Still, agency partners involved deem it worthwhile. "We're seeing crazy engagement rates," said Rebecca McCuiston, senior VP-influencer marketing, 360i, the host of Wednesday's panel.

Vikrant Batra, VP-worldwide marketing for Hewlett-Packard, a brand that has embraced influencer marketing, agrees. The company's strategy has been to cede creative control to its collaborators. He said: "Here's our brief: You guys have 6 million followers, because of the work you do, not because of the work I tell you to do."

Ryan Parrilla on Instagram, for Nike.

Since May, HP has worked with its agency, 180LA, and Niche to find influencers, largely around its "bend the rules" campaign. Twitter has said little about how it will integrate Niche. (The company declined to comment, citing the infancy of the acquisition.) One agency executive said Twitter is sending pairs to meet with marketers, one of its own staffers and one from Niche, to shape content and paid media plans.

For Mr. Batra, Niche's strength is its software, a sizable database of thousands of social media eminences. "The dashboard for us, on a 24/7 basis, is incredibly helpful," he said. "That is the foundation of everything."

Niche works with influencers across multiple platforms. Yet Vine, its central tool -- and the one Twitter, its owner, hopes will net ad dollars -- was not mentioned on Wednesday night.

Perhaps it is getting too pricey. Some influencers charge around $2,000 per video; colossal creators, such as Logan Paul, the Adam Sandler of the six-second loop, can rake in as much as six figures, according to one agency executive. Or passe, like some other social-media platforms. The young celebs had little regard for Facebook. Yahoo's Tumblr did not fare well either. "I posted a picture on there once," McBride quipped.

But the Snapchat star was aware of a central marketing hurdle for his preferred platform, whose lightning-fast content offers little of the analytics now crystallized with social media marketing. So aware, in fact, that he serves almost as a spokesman for the company, now valued at an astronomical $19 billion. Snapchat "is more about the experience," he said -- a medium that can generate buzz and brand equity in ways beyond immediate engagement and sales numbers.

"Brands that get it are going to crush it," he added. "Brands that are stuck on analytics are going to keep tweeting over and over again."

[By 

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Controversy sells in the world of high fashion, but has Claudio Cutugno gone too far?

The 22-year-old Italian designer unveiled his new line at Milan Fashion Week on Tuesday, and to the surprise of many in attendance, his runway models' faces were covered in thick, sparkly black makeup. Although the choice in skin tone may have aligned with the collection's all-black attire, many found it offensive.

"Was there no one backstage who thought, 'Hey, you know what else this kind of looks like?'" noted Refinery29's Maria Del Russo. "Putting glitter on top of black paint does not even remotely take away the insulting nature of this practice."

Bustle's May Sofi was more blunt in her critique: "This is literally blackface, which is, you know, racist," the fashion columnist wrote in her review. "While this may not have been the designer’s intention when he dreamed up this artsy makeup look, it seriously blurs the line between creative expression and just straight up discrimination. You simply can’t paint a model’s face black and ignore any racial connotations."

Cutugno earned the opportunity to present his collection after being named winner of the Live Next Generation contest.

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YouTube celebrities have the power to influence what teenage girls buy, according to a new survey.

YouTube celebrities have the power to influence what teenage girls buy, according to a new survey.

It’s no secret that today’s teenage girls are privy to spending a lot of time online, but a new survey shows they spend around 30 minutes shopping on the internet every day and popular YouTube stars influence what they purchase.

The survey by easyFairs revealed that a recommendation from YouTubers like Zoella, Beauty Crush, Fashion Influx, She Wears Fashion and Pretty Sickly are more likely to influence a teenage girl to buy a product than good old fashioned TV and radio advertising. Even celebrity endorsements didn’t have an impact on the participants’ shopping habits.

Teenage girls are 65% more likely to buy online than they are in store, and are most influenced by price, brand and what their friends say. The participants surprisingly voted high-end brands Nars, Mac and Pandora as their favourites, snubbing cheaper options on the high street.

Today’s young ladies are pretty savvy with their (or mum and dad’s) hard-earned cash. They will shop around for the best deal and take advantage of limited edition packs and special deals. They’ll also shop online up to three times a week and will browse four to five websites at a time to find the best offer.

The full breakdown of the Easyfairs survey is below:

(Artexis-easyFairs Group)
(Artexis-easyFairs Group)
[From SNAP.PA] [Read More]
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Blogger Crush: Betty Autier of Le Blog de Betty
(Source: Le Blog de Betty)

Who: Betty Autier of Le Blog de Betty

Where: Paris, France

Why We Love Her: Fusing classic, enviable French style (down to her perfectly messy-chic hair) with a forward-thinking fashion sense may seem like an oxymoron but somehow Betty Autier manages it. Her particular brand of style alchemy is a happy mixture of trends she loves (currently it's anything '80s) and classic French staples. We love that she takes major risks with her look and looks fabulous doing it.

Don't Miss: The star of Autier's blog is her photography. The images she presents are gorgeous and inspiring. We love the outfits she pulls together and the way she mixes high-street brands such as ASOS and Topshop with investment pieces.

If Autier's clothes are dreamy, her travel posts are the icing on the cake. With destinations that include Spain, Japan and Tulum, her photos will have you packing your bags in no time. 

Another bonus to the global status of Autier's blog is that you can read it in four languages—lest any fashion lover be left out of the loop.

Blogger Crush: Betty Autier of Le Blog de Blogger
(Source: leblogdebetty.com)
Blogger Crush: Betty Autier of Le Blog de Blogger
(Source: leblogdebetty.com)
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PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE BLONDE SALAD

When it comes to building a career as a fashion blogger, there’s no better business role model than Chiara Ferragni. Since launching The Blonde Salad as a personal style blog back in 2009, the 27-year-old has expanded her team to 16 people, inked partnerships with luxury brands like Burberry and Dior, and become one of the highest-paid bloggers ever, bringing in approximately 7 million euros a year (or nearly $8 million). Because of the blogger's business-savvy practices, Harvard brought Ferragni and The Blonde Salad co-founder Riccardo Pozzoli to participate in the Ivy League university’s very first fashion blogger case study earlier this month.

Published today, this 25-page report charts just how The Blonde Salad turns so much profit — and how others can learn from Ferragni's success. Check out our major takeaways below — for more tips, you can buy a copy of the study for $14 from the Harvard Business Review.

She turned down lucrative jobs in the beginning to maintain her brand integrity. As Pozzoli remembers of the early months of The Blonde Salad, "We were young students and it was not easy for us to say 'no' to such proposals with high financial reward. But, we decided to stay away because we knew that if we wanted to work in fashion, we could not sell Chiara as a showgirl." Instead, the duo waited for the buzz to build organically, and eventually high-end brands, like Dior, began to notice the blog's influence. 

She paid for her first international Fashion Week travel herself. These days, brands sponsor Ferragni (and often, her team) to attend fashion shows and store openings all over the world. But, the first season Ferragni received invitations to international shows, she and Pozzoli paid for their travel out of pocket. "We were actively seeking invitations to the fashion weeks of New York, Paris, London, Stockholm, and we were paying for all the expenses ourselves," Pozzoli explains. In this case, you really do have to spend money to make money. 

She invented unique ways to turn a profit. By the time The Blonde Salad was up and running in 2010, luxury companies were just beginning to dip into the e-commerce game and they turned to influencers like Ferragni for help. She began using RewardStyle (a platform that coordinates commission for products sold through bloggers' sites), and also pioneered the now-common practice of blogger product placement. As Pozzoli puts it, "Chiara would tell a story about wearing a certain garment, having a trip, driving a car — just having a particular experience that she was living with the company — and would include a couple of companies’ website links in the text." 

She carefully dipped her toes into design. Starting with a capsule collection for the Italian brand Yamamay in 2012, Ferragni gradually branched out from blogging into design. She pursued design collabs with labels like Superga and Steve Madden, experience she now puts to use in her own brand, Chiara Ferragni collection. According to Pozzoli, the brand's future sales are estimated to reach reach 7 million euros in 2015 and 10 million euros in 2016. 

She hosts events for between $30,000 and $50,000 — and brands are willing to pay up. According to Pozzoli, "Chiara is the most popular blogger globally in terms of her daily followers, and no other blogger in the world has the same geographic spread of audience. In the first quarter of 2015, Chiara will be on a cover of international issues of four or five top magazines." Add that to her massive Instagram following (3.3 million and counting), and brands consider Ferragni's broad reach worth her price tag. 

She's shaping The Blonde Salad to be not just about her, but a lifestyle brand. Following the strategy of other bloggers-turned-brands like Man Repeller, The Blonde Salad site has shifted into lifestyle categories unrelated to its founder. Pozzoli sums up, “We are investing more in contents that are not related to Chiara [and] hoping that, in one or two years, The Blonde Salad will be recognized as an independent magazine with Chiara either as its editor-in-chief, or the art director, or maybe neither.”

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Business of Fashion reports that Condé Nast has shut down NowManifest, the blog network that hosted high profile names including BryanBoy, Anna Dello Russo, and Susie Lau's Style Bubble. The bloggers were given notice about the shutdown in November. AStyle.com spokesperson told BoF that the decision was made in order to zero in on Style.com. "We are redoubling our focus on expanding our industry-leading site, Style.com," the spokesperson said. "We thank the Now Manifest bloggers for their contributions to the portal."

The blogs will continue to run as independent entities. The only major change after being dropped by NowManifest is that bloggers are now on their own to find and manage advertising accounts, but they don't seem too worried about it. Susie Lau told BoF that she was happy to run the advertising on her site and Anna Dello Russo said that she, too, was happy to continue running her blog on her own.

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Wim Wenders Takes Franco Into 3D for New Film Read More

Tumblr Debuts Sponsored Content from Fashion Week Bloggers Read More

Keek Partners with NYLON for Social Video App Program Read More

#20beautifulwomen: A Social Media Trend Worth Celebrating  Read More

Why Lauren Marron Was Chosen as a New York Fashion Week Correspondent Read More

Blogging 101: How Long Should Your Blog Post Be? Read More

Farfetched's Faceless Ad Campaign Read More

Frank Kobola's Attempt at Fashion Week Read More

How to Join Neiman Marcus' Instagram Spring Fashion Trends Competition Read More

The Changing Face of Fashion Week Read More

How Pinterest Is Changing the Game for Style Bloggers Read More

An Exclusive Interview with Natalie Joos Read More

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Wim Wenders Takes Franco Into 3D for New Film

Director Wim Wenders embraces 3D with his latest film, ''Every Thing Will Be Fine,'' starring James Franco. Bob Mezan reports.

Wim Wenders showed his latest film 'Every Thing Will Be Fine' at the Berlin film festival on Tuesday (February 10), just three days after finishing the edit. The director, who recently won an Oscar-nomination for his documentary 'Salt of the Earth,' enlisted James Franco to star in the film, which was shot in 3D. The movie centers on writer Tomas, played by Franco, who accidentally kills a child and must deal with the consequences. Franco was wooed into the role when Wenders visited him while he was teaching film studies in New York. The actor explained at the news conference what else attracted him to the role.

SOUNDBITE: James Franco saying (English): "I had a feeling that this was going to be a movie about a person's interior state which is one of the reasons Wim was using 3D in the way that he was using it to reveal as we said during filming the soul of the character in a new way and to engage the audience with the character or all of the characters in a much closer way that we're used to in non-3D films." 'Every Thing Will Be Fine' is showing out of competition at the film festival, but Wenders is set to receive an honorary Golden Bear award in the next few days.

[From Reuters.com] [Read More]

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Social media website Tumblr has tapped seven photographers, illustrators and fashion bloggers to cover New York Fashion Week for the fall 2015 season, including Joel Castillo, Remington Guest, Kat Irlin, Mario Kroes, Romain Laurent, Meagan Morrison and Ryan Plett.

The team is a part of Tumblr's Creatrs Network initiative — an advertising program that the company piloted all of last year and officially launched in January — and will help the site begin producing more profitable content. With the support of its New York Fashion Week Class of Fall '15, the social media platform will publish sponsored content for the first time this season.

The site's Creatrs program helps bloggers get paid for their work, Tumblr's Head of Creative Strategy, David Hayes, told Fashionista. Through the program, brands are able to buy a media package from the site and then Tumblr pays the artists their personal rates. The social media platform doesn't prevent the brand and the creator from talking, it just communicates between the two to make sure that everything is going well.

"We've had some situations where everyone could have done a better job helping the artist understand what the objectives were," Hayes told Fashionista about Creatr's pilot campaigns. "The beauty of being in pilot is that you can fix a lot of mistakes."

The average post will take about 1.5 rounds of back and forth between the advertiser and the creative, he added. According to Hayes, brands haven't given much feedback on the artists' work so far. Tumblr has provided the seven fashion week artists with a workspace at Milk Studios and access to shows. It's a great launch pad for young talent, Tumblr's Fashion Evangelist Valentine Uhovski told Fashionista, and the opportunity can later lead to commissioned work for brands.

In related news, Condé Nast, the magazine publisher that owns Vogue and Vanity Fair, launched a new department last month. "23 Stories" works with a Condé Nast editor and an outside brand to produce sponsored articles and video. The content is expected to appear like a regular article or video from the publisher.

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Mobile video social network Keek, Inc. (TSX VENTURE: KEK) (OTCQX: KEEKF) partnered with NYLON to host a Keek Konfessional video sharing booth at the E! and NYLON Fashion Week Kick-Off Party last night in celebration of 50 Shades of Grey. The party took place in New York at the Dream Hotel and was attended by Fashion Week hosts Brad Goreski, Kathy Griffin and Zanna Roberts Rassi. Thirty-six second sneak peeks of celebrity red carpet moments captured on video by the Keek-bot (Keek robot) and in the Keek Konfessional can be seen on the Keek App and on the newly re-launched Keek.com. More in-depth coverage of the evening's festivities will also appear on NYLON.com.

NYLON, the leading pop culture, fashion and digital media company, launched its Keek channel last night, with exclusive content from the party. NYLON's social influencer ambassadors also attended the event, interviewing celebrities on the red carpet and sharing them with fans on the influencers' own Keek channels as well as the official NYLON Keek channel -- http://www.keek.com/nylonmag.

Last night's event was a celebration of the start of Fashion Week, taking place in New York from February 12-19, 2015. The partnership between Keek and NYLON will also include complete Fashion Week coverage, with multiple NYLON influencers creating on-the-ground Keek videos throughout the week's activities, including fashion shows, backstage interviews and the hottest events and parties.

"NYLON is one of the most iconic publications in fashion and pop culture. Keek is excited to partner with the media brand to bring our 73 million members worldwide exclusive content from Fashion Week," said Lin Dai, CMO of Keek. "Keek sits at the intersection of mobile, social and video, and innovative media companies are embracing the platform. Our members spend an average of 8 minutes per mobile session interacting with 36-second short videos on the platform. Working with world-class content partners and brands, such as NYLON, is a major part of our long-term strategic vision." 

"Let's be honest, most other social platforms don't let you say what you want. Keek breaks the boundaries of other networks by giving you enough time to speak your mind," said Daniel Saynt, EVP Digital, NYLON Media. "The NYLON girl is completely unfiltered and Keek speaks to her desire to break boundaries."

Here are a few top videos captured from last night's event:

Singer Cody Simpson: https://www.keek.com/keek/YrTqeab
Dancer Derek Hough: https://www.keek.com/keek/ruTqeab
E! Fashion Police's Brad Goreski: https://www.keek.com/keek/GqTqeab
TV Journalist Louise Roe: https://www.keek.com/keek/frTqeab
E! News' Alicia Quarles/Reality Star EJ Johnson: https://www.keek.com/keek/UsTqeab

About Keek:
Keek is a leading mobile video social network with 73 million members worldwide. Keek is easy to use, fast and personal. With Keek, members around the world create and interact with videos up to 36 seconds in length and 111 characters of accompanying text, in either public or private views. Keek makes it simple for anyone to instantly create, distribute, discover and react to content in real‐time across mobile devices and the web. The Keek app is available in over 190 countries across 6 global regions, and in 36 languages.

[BY MARKETWIRED] [Read More

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