Ryan Reynolds’ Sweater; 2019’s Best Brand Social Campaigns: Friday’s First Things First

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Welcome to First Things First, Adweek’s new daily resource for marketers. We’ll be publishing the content to First Things First on Adweek.com each morning (like this post), but if you prefer that it come straight to your inbox, you can sign up for the email here.

Ryan Reynolds’s Ugly Sweater Brings Holiday Fundraising Joy to Hospitalized Children

To close out what some in the ad world have dubbed “the year of Ryan Reynolds,” the marketing genius helped raise more than $300,000 for The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto by turning last year’s infamous festive meme into something completely different: a playful symbol of hope for kids with serious illnesses. An animated short shows the sweater’s humble beginnings, enduring endless price cuts as shoppers pass it by, laughing at its ugliness. The shopkeeper then gifts it to a man looking for fun attire to wear to a party, but the sweater just endures more laughs at said party. That’s when Reynolds truly throws his lot in with the sweater, it seems, because photos of him wearing the sweater, caressing the sweater and generally appreciating the sweater lead us to the moral of this garment’s journey: “Every holiday story deserves a magical ending.” Cue the image of a bunch of adorable kids and a few hospital staff in that same ridiculous sweater. The link at the end of the video leads to a page pledging $100,000 in matching funds from Reynolds, which they met twice over.

Read more: Reynolds has been supporting SickKids for several years.

The Most Captivating Brand Campaigns We Saw on Social Media in 2019

Social media analytics company Unmetric looked at brand posts to determine which campaigns garnered the best results throughout 2019—and one of the top prizes went to the dogs. Literally. In addition to data that showed video and strong narrative make for winning social media campaigns, the company also found that anything to do with dogs (and other animals) also plays extremely well with social media audiences. Other themes identified by Unmetric that resonated with audiences were things like social responsibility, satire, music industry partnerships and holiday themes.

Read more: Shoutout to SparkNotes, which tweeted a mashup of Shakespeare and Britney Spears for a high rating from Unmetric.

The UK Is Investing in Influencer Marketing—and Learning From US Successes

Adweek’s Diana Pearl spoke with three content creators working in the UK about the opportunities and challenges of the influencer market across the pond. While US bloggers and content producers have been partnering with brands for years, the industry in the UK is younger—providing a different set of complications, especially when working with brands who are new to influencer marketing and hesitant to pay rates comparable to those earned by US influencers. But easier access to Europe can be especially useful for many content creators who focus on fashion or travel.

Read more: As in any business, influencers working in the both US and the UK stress the importance of diversifying revenue streams.

The TV Shows That Will Air Their Final Episodes in 2020

Some pretty big names in TV took their farewell tours in 2019 (Game of Thrones, The Big Bang Theory, and Veep, to name a few), and more fan favorites will be sending their last installments into the world in 2020. Netflix’s Bojack Horseman, the animated adult comedy about an alcoholic, washed up horse actor will drop it the final episodes of its sixth and last season at the end of the month. Fox’s Empire, which tells the story of a hip hop mogul family, finishes up in the Spring. And The Good Place, NBC’s forking fantastic afterlife comedy starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson wraps on Jan. 30.

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