- Thanks again for joining us

for this totally
re-imagined CES 2021.

For the first time in this
show's 54-year history,

we're all digital.

And we're not the only
ones that are changing

how we communicate,
engage, and inform.

Our phones, tablets,
and TVs are portals

to the best in entertainment,

and we're leaning into online
gaming like never before.

We're connecting by video chat

for celebrations and
holiday gatherings,

and we're working out alongside

thousands across the country.

Our living rooms are
the new sports arena

as we cheer for our
favorite teams from home.

And thanks to a revolution
in streaming technology

and a commitment to
finding ways to be social

in a time of social distance,

marketers and agencies
and content creators

have had to pivot to
this new reality fast.

And at the same time,
they've had to be willing

to look ahead at what
consumers will want

as we move past this pandemic.

Joining us in just a
moment is Ann Sarnoff,

chair and CEO of Warner Media
Studios and Network Groups.

Ann is responsible for Warner
Media's content-focused teams,

including Warner Brothers
Pictures Group, HBO,

and HBO Max.

She brings more than
30 years of business

and media experience
to this post

as she leads Warner
Media in its mission

to engage and delight
global audiences.

Ann will be interviewed by

MediaLink chairman and
CEO Michael E. Kassan,

power broker and trusted advisor

to Fortune 100 CMOs, media
moguls, and tech pioneers alike,

and a longtime partner of CTA

and the host of the
C Space Keynote.

This is Ann's first
major keynote address

since assuming this role of
chair and CEO in August, 2020.

And later, Michael
will be joined

by a group of innovative CMOs
and entertainment executives

who are re-imagining the
future of entertainment.

Please join me in
welcoming Ann Sarnoff,

chair and CEO of Warner Media
Studios and Networks Group,

and Michael Kassan, chairman
and CEO of MediaLink, to CES.

- I'm Michael Kassan,
chairman and CEO of MediaLink,

and I'm delighted to spend
the next hour speaking

with some of today's smartest

and most influential executives

about the current and future
state of entertainment.

2020 had a massive impact

on the way people
live, work, and play.

But very few industries
have been impacted

as profoundly as entertainment.

New platforms and shifting
consumer behaviors

have dramatically altered
the entertainment landscape,

requiring innovation
and fresh thinking

from every player
in the ecosystem.

I'm thrilled this morning
to welcome Ann Sarnoff,

the chair and CEO of Warner
Media Studios and Networks,

to join me in exploring how

this brave new world for
entertainment will impact us.

Following our conversation,
I'll sit down

with executives from
General Motors, Nike,

and the SpringHill Company
to unpack what this means

for content creators
and marketers alike.

But first, please welcome
Ann Sarnoff to your screen.

Thanks so much joining us today.

- Hi, Michael. It's great
to be here, thank you.

- Ann, let me start with
your industry background.

When you were named to the
current role at Warner Brothers,

people said, "Gee, Ann's from

outside the entertainment
industry."

Well, that's not
true, obviously.

You've spent most of your career

in all things entertainment.

You were outside of the,
quote, film industry, I guess,

but especially in
times like this

when playbooks have
had to be rewritten,

maybe that fresh perspective

was exactly what the
entertainment industry needed.

But again, you began
your career at Viacom,

you've worked across
Nickelodeon and Noggin.

You spent time at the Wall
Street Journal and Dow Jones

running live events
and conferences,

and most recently the
BBC role that you had.

But I can't leave out the fact

that the other area
that's been so impacted

by the current
situation, sports,

your stint as the chief
operating officer of the WNBA.

You could've been
part of the bubble.

There you go.

But what I'd love to
hear from you, Ann,

is how that prepared
you for this role

and for, as I said,
kind of being very much,

with pencil in hand,
rewriting the script.

- Oh, thanks, Michael.

Well, yeah, it does sound
like a lot of different

industries and jobs when you
put it all together like that.

And I do think it's the
collection of all of them

that helped prepare
me for this position

first at Warner Brothers

and now at Warner Media
Studios and Networks.

And one of the things that
all of those positions

had in common is working with

incredible franchises
and IP and content.

And I'm a huge fan
of amazing brands

and brands that can be
built into franchises.

So as you said, starting
at Nickelodeon,

I was able to build
out the businesses

around the core
television network

and working very
closely with them

and with the movie division

and built out a
franchise business

and kind of a 360 branding
business, if you will.

And that has served me
very well to this day

in terms of having
that experience base

under my belt and
being able to know

how to work closely with
creators, how to recognize IP

that can be built and extended
into different businesses,

and super serving our fans
as we did back in the day

at Nickelodeon with kids at the
center of everything we did.

So that's very much
what I'm bringing

to the position today in
terms of our incredible IP

with the DC universe, Harry
Potter and Wizarding World,

Game of Thrones and a lot of
the amazing content on on HBO

and now a lot of that
coming on to HBO Max,

and super serving fans
in a different way

and kind of a future-facing
streaming service.

So that's a bit of a
summary of how I got here

but we can go into more
detail if you'd like.

- Well, I think that's
a great drum roll

to say exactly that,
which is how you got here.

And I would characterize you
as the Wonder Woman of 2021.

But I will tell you that
I did spend Christmas Day

watching "Wonder Woman 1984,"

and my guess is
millions of others

joined me in that quest.

Talking about franchises and
the importance of franchises,

I think the treatment
of "Wonder Woman"

in the unusual circumstance

that we found
ourselves in in 2020

and continue to find
ourselves in in 2021,

really you rose to the occasion.

And I think did that which
was the right thing to do,

but that which was
what the consumer

and the fans really wanted
was that thirst for content.

Could you talk a bit about
FanDome and how that played out

and the kind of
results that you got?

- We started thinking
about what we could do

for our DC fans this
year, this past year,

and the marketing teams
and our DC franchise team

came up with this idea of having

a 24-hour kind of a
super event for fans

and very much connected to our
talent and creators as well.

I think we had over 500 talent
appear throughout DC FanDome.

So it was really about
engaging them in a way

that respected everything
that they love about DC

and brought it to life in
a new and different way,

and didn't let the pandemic
get in the way of that.

We were able to
connect virtually

and celebrate the amazing
movies we have had

and those coming up
like "The Batman"

as you probably saw clips from,

"The Suicide Squad," "Wonder
Woman 84," et cetera,

as well as our great shows on
the CW and consumer products.

We had Venus Williams
design a whole line

around "Wonder Woman 84,"

so products were selling
off the shelves,

off the virtual shelves,
during FanDome.

We talked about new
interactive games

that would be coming out.

So it really was a
tribute to the things

that the fans love about DC
and bringing it all together

in one place and
one point in time

and in creating events
and events of it,

which we're very, very proud of.

We had over 22 million
fan interactions

at DC FanDome in August.

- Crazy.

Well, my house was full of
a lot of fan interactions

in most of that 24-hour period.

Ann, let's talk about content,

obviously at the
center of what you do.

Warner Media, Warner Brothers,

the various divisions within
the the Warner Media Company,

historically, like many large
entertainment companies,

tended to be siloed
and tended to be

HBO over here and
Turner over here

and Warner brothers over here.

And within that context,
one of the things

your purview has done is kind
of brought it all together.

How has that working
out in terms

of bringing all of that
collective energy together

to tap into that creativity

and have that unique
Warner Media point of view?

- Thank you for that question,

'cause it is something
I'm most excited about

and most proud of in
terms of the progress

we've made in the last year.

And when I was talking
to John Stankey,

who hired me a year plus
ago, year and a half ago,

about the position, he
talked about breaking silos.

And I knew that the
the old time Warner

was a siloed company, it
was much written about.

And what I didn't realize is
how siloed Warner Brothers,

as you mentioned, was
in and of itself.

So I think my background
that you pointed to earlier,

kind of creating and
building franchises

and really building bridges.

My job at the BBC, I was the
only executive at BBC Studios

who wasn't sitting around
the table in London,

so I had to be a collaborator

and somebody who knew how
to work across the aisle

if you were, in this
case, across the ocean.

Oceans.

So I think John saw
that in my background

and I'm proud of the work
we've done in the last year,

DC FanDome being a good example

'cause we had movies,
we had games,

products, television, streaming,

everything was
represented there.

So since I joined
in August of 2019,

we have had weekly meetings
on our big franchises,

talking about how we can
collaborate together,

how we make the whole
more than the parts,

how we bring the amazing
characters and stories

to life in a new
and different way.

And one of the things I
said to them early on was,

"Look you don't want your
fans to see your org chart,

and boy can they
see it right now.

They can see that the movie

has nothing to do with
the TV series, et cetera."

And so now-
- So well said.

- Yeah, everything's
connected now

and we're building
a DC Universe plan

that is much more
centrally connected

but individually executed.

I think it's really
upstream in the planning

that it all needs
to come together

so people can still feel a pride

of their individual efforts.

So I'm really excited
about the plans ahead.

- Ann, we're living in
a world where everyone

has to be focused on so
many different things.

One thing that is at the
forefront for everybody

that we deal with in our
respective businesses,

sort of at that intersection.

You've heard me describe
MediaLink historically

as living at the intersection
of marketing, media,

advertising, entertainment,
and technology.

Well, so are you.

You are living at
that intersection.

But we're also living
at an intersection

where diversity and inclusion

are so high on everybody's list.

You broke a pretty
thick glass ceiling

to be the first
woman to be running

the Warner brothers Studio,

one of the vaunted
studios in history.

And again, that was important.

And back to what
we started with,

your skillset was very diverse

coming into the role you're in.

Again, you hadn't grown
up in the film business.

You grew up in the
business of entertainment

and marketing and
content, but not film.

So that diversity
works as well there.

If you could riff a little as
I just did on that question,

riff a little on how
important that is to all of us

but to you particularly,
being a trailblazer.

- Look, it's a
huge issue for me.

I've tried to, as you said,
blaze trails my whole career.

I don't know if I had a
particular goal in mind,

but I certainly in every job
I had tried to do my best

and to break whatever
glass ceilings I could.

I mean, I actually started

in strategy consulting
back in the day.

I had to pay down a lot
of educational loans,

so I had to make a lot
of money early on.

And then after I did,
I got into media.

But in that firm, it
was all male partners.

But in terms of being a
woman in this industry,

it hasn't been easy.

And earlier on, and
in most industries,

you had to conform to
more of the male culture.

And as I would say about
diversity and inclusion,

oftentimes you feel
like you gotta check

some of your bags at the
door when you walk in.

You can't bring your
full self to work.

You have to hide parts of
yourself the, whatever,

quote, unquote more
female characteristics.

And at Nickelodeon,
honestly, it's the first time

where I felt I could
bring my full self in.

And part of it was
because it was being run

by Gerry Laybourne,
who was a woman,

and the staff was 60% female.

And so I did a 180

from a male dominated
and led consulting firm

to a much more forward kind
of facing organization.

And so I saw that
as an example of

get a seat at the table
and then make a difference.

Gerry was running that company
and she made a difference

and she made sure that over
50% of the staff was women.

And as you said, there was
a diversity of thought.

We weren't kids,
and so we couldn't

just think in our own bubbles,

we had to be very research,
very consumer focused

and kid focused and have
the teams be diverse

so we could be the most
creative version of ourselves.

And oftentimes I
think what you find

in very homogenous
corporate cultures

is that people are kind of

finishing each
other's sentences.

And that to me is the
worst thing possible.

Like if you have a team that's
only finishing your sentence

and not shaking it up and
not being provocative,

you're not gonna grow,

you're gonna be beaten
by the competition.

So my general journey was
to get a seat at the table

and then to make a difference,

and that's what I'm
trying to do here today.

And I think if you look
at some of the changes

on our exec team recently,

you'll see much more diversity

than there was previously and
more to come on that front.

- I wanna go back to
another part of your career

and talk about changes.

So your stint as
COO of the WNBA,

there were not, as I
said at the opening,

two industries that
were more upset

than sports and
pure entertainment

in the movie business.

In the one case we saw
basketball played in a bubble

and the panel that's gonna
join me after this conversation

with Maverick Carter
and Adrienne Lofton

along with Deb Wahl.

But from a Nike perspective

and Maverick from a pure sports
and basketball perspective,

we saw what the bubble
did and how it worked.

And you've had your
own kind of bubble

with distribution of films.

I mean, we've all been
sitting around in 2020

waiting for that
next shoe to drop

as to when will I be able
to go back to the movies.

And I guess that bears the
most important question,

which is what's
your view on that?

There is a clear
statement right now

that you're gonna make
the content available

for this period of time
where the fans can enjoy it

in a broader base on HBO Max,

but I know you've said, and
I've heard your leadership say,

you're not calling this the
death of the theater industry.

Can we talk about that a bit?

- Well first, we
were able to release

some movies in the
pandemic which you saw.

Our release of "Tenet"

at the end of August,
early September,

which we were very,
very happy to do

and happy with the results.

We have grossed over
360 million globally.

But I have to say that
as a pretty good result

for what we did with "Tenet."

And we said it was gonna
be a marathon not a sprint.

It is really hard to
spend the marketing

you need to spend in launch

when certain cities are opening,
certain cities are closing,

and you're booking
your marketing,

as you know, Michael,
eight weeks in advance.

So you're kind of
shooting a moving target

of how much of the market
is gonna be open or not.

So we just decided to be
in it for the long game

and open the movie.

There were more
international markets open

in the summer, towards
the end of the summer,

and we knew that "Tenet"
would play well overseas,

so we took a bet and I think
the bet really paid off for us.

And then in terms
of our strategy

with the day and date
on HBO Max, as you said,

we're pivoting to
be able to adjust

to the environment we live in.

Do I wish the
pandemic were over?

Of course I do, but I
have some amazing movies

that I would like the
fans to be able to see.

And because so much
of the market,

especially in the
US and now Europe

is closed down with
I think 60+ percent

of theaters are
closed right now.

So again, you can't do it
just by launching in theaters.

We needed an alternative
platform, if you will,

and decided to have fans be
able to watch "Wonder Woman 84"

and now our entire 2021
slate on HBO max for 31 days

while these movies are
playing in theater.

But remember, this is a
global theatrical release

and HBO max is US
only, that 31 days.

So we're making what we
think is the best decision.

- Let me ask another question.

- Okay, yep.

- Let me ask another question.

I grew up in this
town called LA.

You know the mantra
in Los Angeles,

instant gratification
isn't quick enough,

how do I get it faster?

One of the things that
we've all lived our life

and kind of live and die by
that opening weekend box office.

And that metric doesn't
seem to make sense

in the current moment as a gauge

of the success or
lack of success.

And Netflix as an example
is notoriously tight-lipped

about viewership
and what have you.

Do you see any move in the
industry, in cross-industry,

in terms of transparency
on numbers?

And is there a need, I guess,

are the amount of
eyeballs necessary

unless you're trying to
sell advertising against it,

are the amount of
eyeballs necessary,

other than the
economics of them,

to determine the
success or failure?

Do you think there's
a need for it,

or is that ship already sailed

on what the quote opening
weekend, my air quotes aside,

opening weekend box office was?

- I think it's a good
question, Michael.

And I think what opening
weekend is, and was,

was a proxy for the
success of a movie,

because there were
formulas you could apply

to then project your ultimates

of what the movie
was likely to do.

And sometimes those
formulas worked

and sometimes they didn't,

but on average I think
most people felt

it was a good proxy for
the success of something.

You have other
examples like "Joker,"

which opened to 60 million

and went on to do over
a billion, right?

So nobody called that one early.

So again, it's a shorthand
way of ascertaining

whether something's
successful or not.

In the streaming world,

and having launched
the service Britbox,

I've had a few years
experience with this.

It is a completely different
set of criteria, as you said.

Unless you're serving ads,

the eyeballs in that
kind of day and day world

are less relevant to the overall
engagement of the service,

the amount it costs you
to acquire a subscriber,

the churn level every month,

how many people
leave the service,

what you can do to
reduce the churn,

reduce your cost of acquisition.

It's a completely
different set of metrics

that the industry is
not geared to measure.

So the long-winded answer
to your question is yes,

I do think that will
change over time.

When more of the world
is looking at streaming

and looking for
proxies of success,

my guess is there will be things

that we will learn
sooner on in the equation

and, including Netflix,
people will just,

because the talent will want it,

the talent will wanna
know how they're doing.

Everybody wants a
barometer, right?

Everybody wants to know how
am I doing coach, right?

And so I do think things
will kind of shift over time.

- And Ann, I can't avoid
asking you the question

from the my day job,
which is looking more

at that intersection that
I alluded to earlier,

but looking at the marketing
side more directly,

one of the things that
we've experienced

in working together with
many folks on your team,

this need for a more
performance-driven

subscriber acquisition
marketing mentality

versus the the more
one-off transactional view

of can I put those
butts in seats on Friday

when I open the movie?

Now we have to look at, as I
say, the subscriber acquisition

and the lack of
churn and the like,

what are you seeing
in terms of that

from how we market
and how you market?

- Well, I think it's
all a work in progress.

I think, especially given
this hybrid strategy,

we're working very closely
with Andy Forssell,

'cause I'm on the
content side of things,

he's on the product,

and we kind of share the
marketing of the entire service

from a content and from
a service perspective.

So we have to work
closely together

to understand which
audiences we're targeting,

which kind of subscribers
we're targeting,

and what messages are we
sending out there, right?

'Cause he's got an agenda
of the entire service

and on the 2021 slate,
we have certain things

we're trying to
convey in terms of

this is a special
circumstance given COVID.

So there's marketing
messaging that needs to go out

that's kind of a unique
message to our fans

that they're not used to.

So some of it has to
break through the clutter

in saying like, "Oh, you
mean I get to watch that

on HBO Max or in theaters?"

And obviously many
theaters are closed.

So for certain fans, it's only,

"I get to watch
that on HBO Max,"

and for others, they'll
have a choice.

So that's a lot of heavy lifting

that the marketing
messaging has to do.

And yes, for sure, it's
definitely evolving

to more performance-based

and that's gonna be
shifting as well,

'cause the more
streamers come on,

like Discovery Plus
launched yesterday,

the more the competition shifts

to a different type
of competitive set,

and more people
start going after

the audiences that
you're going after.

And then of course
that raises the bar

and that makes you
think more creatively

as to how you can
go find your fans.

- Yeah. On that note,
I wanna say thank you.

And I wanna tell you
I'm a happy subscriber,

multiple accounts for HBO Max.

And I look forward to
a lot of good content.

I know that library is full up

and I know the slate is
gonna make this a great year

for Warner Media and
for you, Ann Sarnoff,

so thank you very much.

It's now my pleasure to welcome

Deb Wahl, CMO of General Motors,

Maverick Carter, founder and
CEO of the SpringHill Company,

and Adrienne Lofton,
the vice president

for North American
marketing for Nike.

What I'd love to do is
dig in with all of you

to what this means
for your brands,

your fans, and your communities.

I'd love to start with
a general question

and one that's kind of utilizing

one of the most
overused words of 2020,

and that word is pivot.

Maverick, I'm gonna
start with you.

You've had to make pivots
this year, God knows,

across so many aspects
of our business

and our personal lives.

Is there one particular pivot

or one particular kind
of change of perspective

that you've had to really
kind of double down on?

And is that something that
you could light up for us?

- The main thing that
we had to figure out

is how to, if you can't
touch and be around people

and seeing people and
hearing from them,

then how do you truly
continue to be creative

and then continue
to empower people?

And I think obviously with
everything that happened

for black and brown
people in the US

going back to George
Floyd and up till now,

that idea is now seems
like finally hitting home

with many individuals
and big companies.

But for us, the big pivot
for us was figuring out

how do we actually
continue to be creative

through Zoom meetings and
Microsoft Team meetings

and all of these meetings
through a screen,

which has not been easy.

But what we discovered is that

you still can bring
people together,

you still can be social,

and you still need to have
some layer of connectivity.

And what we learned is literally

we would start starting
meetings with,

instead of just jumping
right into the meeting,

which you would do in an office,

like I can see Deb's background
and I see where she's at,

and I see Adrienne, I
see yours, Michael,

literally making each other
talk about where we're at,

what we're going
through that day,

because we were
trying to make sure

we have some level
of connectivity,

because staring at each
other on screens every day,

you lose all sense
of connectivity

and connective tissue.

And the only way to bring
that back is to talk

about what you're dealing
with personally.

And we would make
each other talk about

one or two things literally
in our background.

Sometimes it'd be people's kids.

Sometimes it would
be their cars.

Sometimes it'd be their wife
or their husband or whatever.

And we found that to
be very, very helpful

and people actually got
to know each other better

- It's so true.

I have a couple of case
studies of relationships

that started during the pandemic

and have blossomed
into true friendships,

and as you say, without
that physical contact.

Deb, from your perspective
as a marketer,

when was the pivot,
going back to that word,

from purpose-driven,
particular to the pandemic,

back to traditional marketing,

which is buy this on sale
now, come in and get it?

And A, did that get
back to where it was?

And B, have we moved
beyond the need

to say we care, we're here.

Obviously we still care
and we're still here

but do we need to be saying that

in every commercial message
and every marketing message?

- Well, I think the whole
point in that, Michael,

was that it brought everyone
to a whole different focus

on what are we messaging
and who are we talking to?

And much more, like
Maverick was talking about,

our concern with each other
and how we're working together,

I think that whole
concern expanded.

So it brought everyone
to the fact of,

let's get much closer
to our consumer.

And then the other key
point that has come in,

which I think is going
to continue with us,

it got everyone laser focused

on our purpose and
what we were doing.

And we're right in the middle
of launching a campaign

called Everybody In about
our collective future

and where we go and how
we all work together

to make something big
happen for the world.

Turning to an all-electric
future is really important

for all of us as we
all deal together.

So I think what's been
really interesting

is that first push where
we did the Chevy Cares

and each brand really
focused on its customers,

that led us to a real
laser focus on purpose,

which for us is we started
doing building ventilators.

The whole company sort
of changed its mode

and its focus of operation.

And you're gonna see
that going forward.

- Adrienne, Nike has always
had, in my recollection,

a purpose-driven message,

and social purpose really rose

to the top of that
this year for sure.

How do you continue to
manage that which is core,

I think, in most
consumers' minds

to what Nike stands for
beyond "Just Do It,"

which it still means that to me,

but in a year where purpose
and social justice and things

have become so relevant
and so hyper-focused

there's a balance you
need to have, right?

That's not your
primary business,

but it is core to your business.

And I know that's kind
of a compound question

but have your way with it.

I'll allow you to
riff on your answer

just as much as I
riffed on my question

- Did you riff?

I mean, there's a couple
things that I'd say

and Mav and Deb said
it quite beautifully.

The first thing is
when we thought about

as we moved into from
spring to summer,

a couple of things
became true, right?

So COVID hit, we were
confined to our homes,

not just in working
to the point Mav made

on how do we move 100% to
digital in how we're working

but also how we're
connecting to our consumers?

And so Nike is a brand that
believes in the experience.

We always talk about experience

and relationships
over transactions.

So it's never about selling
the shirt or the shoe.

It's about the experience
we bring to the consumer.

And so that was enough, right?

Thinking about how to go from

experiential to
digital overnight.

And then if you compound
racial injustice

and the deaths that
we experienced

inside of our company

and outside of our
company with our families,

it was compound on
compound on compound.

And so the first thing I'd say,

and I want to just kind
of echo what we heard,

making sure that we
celebrated our team

through the lens of kind of
imperfection and progress

over sort of progress
over the perfection idea

is really important.

And so you actually can't
get to being purpose-driven

unless you're comfortable
being uncomfortable

and potentially making mistakes.

And Nike has never been
afraid of leaning in

and potentially making a mistake
if it's what we believe in.

And so when you go back
to our core values,

one of the values of the company

has always been do
the right thing.

And it is something
that we say in meetings

and frank sentences when
we don't even know it.

And so when we found ourselves

in the middle of
racial injustice

and this idea that we needed
to redefine the conversation,

the first thing we
knew is we believe

sport has the power
to change the world.

And our brand is a leader
in the space of sport.

And so if we began
the conversation

we knew our competitors
would follow

and we hoped that that would
pull every industry forward

into the right conversation,

which was change and change now.

And so that was
really the beginning

of how we thought about our
purpose-driven point of view.

We built something
called a Purpose Playbook

for North America, and that
was really talking through

how we speak to
social injustice,

how we think about
civil equality,

and it helped us
lean into spaces

like registration to vote.

I remember calling Mav,
Mav used to work at Nike

way back when, I'm sure
you guys both know this.

And so he's also been
kind of my personal

board of director to say,

"Hey, I'm thinking about
this. What do you think?"

So we talked about
registration to vote.

Nike's not been in
that space before

but now was the time more
than any to stand in the gap

to have the right conversations

to move our consumers forward.

- Oh, that's so well
said and I think spot on.

Guys, as you heard in
my conversation with Ann

where the very concept
of entertainment,

and we talked about
entertainment transformed,

the very concept
of entertainment

has changed for
us all this year.

What kind of expected
or unexpected things

do you think the
consumers have turned to

for that entertainment
or that diversion?

And has it become
less important?

- I can take it up.

I would say first off,

I totally agree that I
still love watching sports.

I try to watch the news in the
morning, but it's difficult.

I've flipped between all of them

and it's all hard to watch,

so I look forward to
the evening with sports.

But I would say, and the
idea of entertainment

has always been obviously
for all of us as humans

at the top of the list
of what we're looking for

on a day in and day out basis.

I think how we get entertained

and what are the
distribution pipes

that brings it into our
homes or into our lives

is what's changing the most.

But I think as always, I always
say this because obviously

there's lots of
conversation about

all the big streaming companies,

Netflix, Apple, Amazon,
Disney's in it now,

all of them coming into
the market, lots of stuff.

But the truth is,
as we all know,

quality content is always
gonna rise to the top,

real quality content that
has very relatable stories,

like I'm sure we've
all seen "Soul."

It has a very relatable story

about characters that
we can all relate to

and stories that
we all relate to.

And I think the idea of
how and who entertains

is what's gonna change, right?

So Adrienne and Deb run
gigantic organizations

for gigantic brands, and
they now have to figure out

how to connect with consumers

in ways that weren't thought
about 10 or 15 years ago.

I think as you talk
about what have we seen

that's changed that
is entertaining,

I think the job of the
advertiser in Deb

and the marketer in
Deb and Adrienne,

obviously fantastic marketers,

is gonna change from kind of
selling things to consumers

to more engaging them
and entertaining them

and keeping the consumer
connected to their brand.

Now how they do that
is they're gonna

have to create amazing content,

not just ads and commercials
that are 30 seconds.

They're going to have
to tell amazing stories.

Both their brands
and both of them

are very versed at doing this,

but it's going to have to be
more frequent, more of them.

And then the second thing
that they have to figure out

is the distribution
of that content.

So it's one thing
to make it amazing,

and then how do you
distribute it?

I could very well see, I think
we all see it going that way,

and I think the pandemic
has sped it up tremendously.

If you follow Nike's
quarterly earnings,

their CEO and CFO talk
about it all the time,

the digital sales, but
really what it is

is how do you really
connect and engage consumers

and ultimately entertain them

to keep them connected
to your brain?

And also the last
thing I would say

that content also has to
say who you are as a brand.

It really has to do that.

- Hey can I, just to
add to (indistinct).

- Go ahead, go ahead Adrienne.

- Sorry, I'm just gonna add

to what Mav said
'cause it's spot on,

the couple of things
that we've learned.

And again, none of this is new.

No one is saying that we are
breaking rocket science here.

But at the end of the day

the consumer wants content
on demand as they want it.

And we have to be the
brands that understand

from a CI perspective, so
understanding real-time data,

to know where they
are in the journey

and serve up the right
body of content

that is as interactive
as it is informative.

And so Mav said it beautifully,

it's a combination of
real-time content for us.

It could be live workouts,

which we launched for the
first time during COVID.

It could be free NTC
workouts in our apps

that we launched during COVID.

It could be using our
influencers like a LeBron,

like a Megan Rapinoe,
like a Travis Scott

to actually sit down
and tell a consumer

what they're thinking on
a random Tuesday at seven

'cause they're stuck
inside as well.

And so it's how do we inform
and inspire with this content

instead of being passive
in the conversation

the way that brands may
have been in the past?

- It's interesting you
say that Adrienne.

And Deb, look, I know
you've got a distinct POV

on entertainment and and
how it kind of relates

to corporate transformation,

and you are certainly
in the middle

of a corporate transformation
as you move and create

that environment around
electric vehicles.

But can you chat a bit
about how you see that

relative to the utilization
of influencers and others

in the content that
you're looking at

to help, as I say,
really be part of

a massive transformation
of General Motors?

- Yeah, and I think
to further the point,

we've all seen it's a
completely different way

of engaging with the consumer,

almost much more
direct than we did,

but also completely different.

So we used to do
reveals of vehicles

that were in presentation style,

we'd have all of our
corporate people come in

and explain the technology.

And when we launched
the Hummer this year,

we did it in a completely
different way.

We partnered with
Maverick and LeBron,

we did some things and
actually between us,

I'm thinking Adrienne and Mav

that we could come up
with our next version

of incredible entertainment

as we look at all of this
as it comes together.

And I really think this
year is the age of companies

doing that and really
having to fill that void

that we see out there right
now in terms of entertainment.

And then the exciting part
we had the most people

attended the GMC
Hummer EV reveal

than one in history and
that we'd ever seen before.

And I think that was because

it was done in an
entertaining way,

and it's also almost
classed in a different way

because we talked about the
technology and EV technology

and batteries and what they
can power and what they can do

in a way that people
engaged incredibly.

And we had our own people
at different levels,

not just the most senior people,

but all the people who were
actually doing the work

and creating this
amazing technologies

and what they're doing,

they're coming forth and
engaging with everyone too.

So I'm excited about
it as we, I just think,

open up our whole purview
of not what marketing was,

but marketing can be,
where it is entertainment,

how we engage in a
completely different way.

And we're pursuing that.

And the response is amazing.

We've gone from probably
exponential engagement

just as a result of that

from what we saw
even two years ago

when I thought I was
doing great work, (laughs)

and now I'm looking
at it going like,

"Wow, that wasn't good at all,

but now we're really learning."

And when we had all
the racial injustice,

we called Maverick and
Robot and just said,

"Hey, how do we do
this differently?

How do we have totally
different conversations

about this from what we can do?"

Because I do believe
that companies

should own up to their role
as having a lot of influence.

And Adrienne, what Nike's done

has always been motivational
for all of our teams.

And I think we need to
own that responsibility

and deliver these conversations
in a really different way.

We engaged with
Carlos Watson to say

let's have real
talk, real change.

How do we get people
really discussing

and engaging on these issues

that are super
important to all of us

so that we can all
have better lives

and our kids can
have better lives

and that we're making the world

actually a better place
honestly, seriously?

That what all of our goal is
as we have all this influence

and we've gotta really put
that forth in that way.

- So I've got two
questions to kind of wrap.

First is Maverick.

SpringHill is kind of, the
way I would describe it,

an unapologetic media company.

You've gone after
giving voice in my view

to those who have not
had voice before

at the center of
some of the content,

whether it's the creators,
the consumers, et cetera.

If you could talk about
that for a moment.

- Yeah, I would say
what we try to do

and what we strive to be,

and we wake up every
day with this,

all of us who work at
the SpringHill Company,

is with the idea of
that we are a company

with a mission and a
vision and we have values

and we strive to build a
community around that mission.

And at the heart of our
mission is empowering greatness

in every individual
that comes in contact

with anything that we do.

And we worked to
build a community

around this idea of empowerment,

truly build a community
who care about empowerment.

So if you look at some of our
taglines for our sports brand,

Uninterrupted, More
Than An Athlete.

So athletes, it's not
for every athlete,

but it's for athletes
who really care

and want to be seen as
and do more for the world

and do more for their team

and their people
in their community

more than just being an athlete.

So we really built a
community around this idea.

And then we built content,
we sell consumer products,

we do brand collaborations, but
we built the community first

and engaged that
community through content.

And we built it by
first and foremost

empowering the people who
work at our company first,

because if we don't
empower them,

how can we empower
creators and consumers?

- Guys, back to that
last question to wrap up.

Is there that one moment,

again, it doesn't have to
be a marketing campaign,

I gave away the last dance,

but the serendipity of
that, the timing of that,

it could be anything you've seen

in marketing or entertainment

that just jumps off
the page at you

that kind of was a game
changer in our marketplace?

- The thing that jumped
off the page to me

was a cross of marketing,
discipline, commitment,

and just execution, which was,

and obviously it's kind of
obvious that I'm saying this,

but it really is when you
think about the NBA bubble

and all the things that had

to come together for
that to happen,

how good it was for
us at home to have

that sport back when
they took that break.

So if you think about
they were in the middle

of their season up until
March, so they only had,

maybe they had a quarter
of their season left,

to stop it for three months,
collaborate with Disney,

all the players had
to be on board,

all the players had to
be willing to go down

to stay in a bubble, I
mean, with the league.

I just think that was, of 2020,

of all the things that went on,

that's the one that kind
of jumps off the page

and I'll forever
remember my whole life.

- I agree with you. Go ahead.

- I'd say on our end
it really was sport.

And I don't wanna
be this person,

but I keep coming back
to the various moments

that we had as a brand that
released into the world.

"The Last Dance" is one of them.

I mean, that was,

you realized over the
course of several months

there were moments
where the world

seemed to stop and rejoice
through the lens of sport,

the bubble, the Wubble,

another one through
the lens of sport.

And so I think it
was our reminder

that sport is bigger than sports

and when the world needs
to be reinvigorated

and find a reason for
being and keeping going

into that next day,
sport is the reason.

And so the moment
that I remember most

is our team launching
a simple social post

that said, "Play Inside
and Play for the World."

Black and white,
very simple copy.

And it was our
highest engaged post

in too many years to mention.

And it was so simple, but
the insight was right.

- Deb, you get to
bat clean up here.

- All right, and I'm gonna
come at it at a different way.

I think all those examples show

when a group or a
collective got focused

on what was most meaningful
and most important,

all of a sudden all these
incredible things happened.

And at GM as a company,
we went through

this incredible transformation.

We have a vision
of zero crashes,

zero emissions, and
zero congestion.

And this was the
year that despite

all of these
challenges going on,

everyone inside
the company said,

"We are going to build to
actually realize that vision.

And no matter what, we're
not gonna get distracted."

Even as dollars were crazy
and everything came out,

everyone refocused and we said,

"We're going to build
an all-electric future,

and this company is going
to transform to do that."

And we did that and we
completely reassessed

how we launched the Hummer EV
and how we engage with people.

That's what 2021's
gonna be about.

Everybody's in and
we're going to make

really significant changes.

- Taking that as a lead,
Deb, I wanna thank you,

Adrienne, and
Maverick for being in

and being here to open this
year with our virtual CES.

You guys are not virtual
friends, you're great friends,

and I'm honored and
appreciative of you

giving your time today.

And I'm certain those
listening will learn a lot.

So thank you and again,

 


 

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