What you need to know in advertising today

AWNY2017/REX/ShutterstockSnap Inc. Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan.

Last year, when McDonald’s was looking for a fun way to support a promotion for $US1 cold beverages, it decided to test augmented reality ads on Snapchat designed to drive people to its restaurants.

The campaign resulted in a surge in revenue that was more than 10-times higher than what it spent on the AR ads, according to a Nielsen poll. Plus people who saw the lens on Snapchat were 6% more likely to end up in a McDonald’s restaurant, based on an attribution study by Placed.

McDonald’s is hardly alone. Hundreds of big name brands have dabbled in augmented reality, and seen promising results over the past few years.

Yet the majority of them continue to regard AR only as an experiment, and not an intrinsic part of their marketing mix, according to a recent report by consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Snapchat is on a mission to change that with a slew of AR-powered ad products as a well a full-on charm offensive aimed at brands and ad agencies.

To read more about how Snapchat is courting advertisers to get on board with AR, click here.

In other news:

One of Google’s most important behind-the-scenes jobs is vacant – and it affects everything from YouTube to Google News. One of Silicon Valley’s best known copyright attorneys has left his job at Google after seven years.

A soft spot in Amazon’s core business will surprise investors in Q1, but Wall Street will have a bigger reason to celebrate. Amazon’s retail sales in the first quarter likely fell short of Wall Street’s expectations, Piper Jaffray’s Michael Olson said in a report Thursday.

Reddit just snagged a former AOL and Time Inc executive to revamp its digital advertising business. Former Time Inc. executive Jen Wong is going to be Reddit’s chief operating officer.

KFC is making an unprecedented move to take on Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s. For the first time, the chicken chain is bringing back a retired Colonel Sanders to reprise his role – George Hamilton, playing the Extra Crispy Colonel.

Facebook has quietly moved 1.5 billion users out of reach of sweeping new privacy laws. It implies that Facebook is striving to reduce its exposure to GDPR.

YouTube ran ads from hundreds of brands on extremist channels. CNN found ads from companies including Adidas, Amazon, and Facebook on channels promoting white nationalists, Nazis, pedophilia, conspiracy theories, and North Korean propaganda.

Recently appointed WPP co-CEO Mark Read sent a memo to staff, reassuring them that WPP doesn’t think that the company would be broken up, the Wall Street Journal reports. But analysts at Liberum responded with a note Friday saying that while a break-up has been ruled out, “we do not think the [memo] precludes asset sales.”

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