An Elf-Themed Hotel Suite; Can AI Fool You? Wednesday’s First Things First

Plus, the battle over sharing passwords

Wyndham created an Elf-themed suite in New York. Wyndham
Headshot of Jameson Fleming

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Eat Spaghetti With Maple Syrup at Club Wyndham’s Over-the-Top Elf Suite

First, there was the Addams Family mansion in Brooklyn, then Hotels.com launched a rentable Lisa Frank suite in a Los Angeles penthouse. Now, just in time for the holidays, there’s a hotel suite dedicated to Elf. Before you ask, of course it comes with spaghetti with maple syrup, over-the-top paper snowflakes and a full-size tree. Wyndham created the room, which Elf lovers can find at the Club Wyndham Midtown 45 property in New York.

See it: Check out images of the Elf suite and learn more about the strategy behind it.

Tombras Takes Manhattan, Opening New York Office After Winning 3 New Accounts

Yesterday, our agencies editor Doug Zanger profiled Knoxville, Tenn. as a rising creative hub in the industry. One of the key players in the state is Tombras, an agency led by Jeff Benjamin, a former top creative at JWT, CPB and Barton F. Graf. Tombras revealed that it’s opening a new office in New York to service clients Nutrisystem, FreshDirect and Harry’s.

Read more: The move marks the second expansion of the year for the agency, following Tombras opening an Atlanta office this summer.

Can You Tell Which of These Adweek Headlines Were Written by AI?

1) Facebook is Experimenting With a Drop-in Newsreader Feature in Some Countries

2) You Just Can’t Box Jeff Bezos In. His Latest Venture Is Taking on Healthcare

3) Comcast May Launch a Wireless Service in 2019, and It May Come at a Discount

Natural language programs have gotten good. Eerily good. We used an online fake news tool called Grover and took a look at how these models fare at performing our own jobs here at Adweek—or at least passably imitating our work. Scroll down beneath the “Best of the Rest” links to learn whether those headlines are real or AI-generated.

Take the Quiz: Try your hand at our quiz to determine what’s real and what’s not. The average score? 60%

Streamers Lose Billions to Password Sharing, But ‘There’s No Easy Solution’ to the Problem

Odds are you have a “self-made family plan” for streaming services (that includes me, I get Netflix from my mother-in-law), and that’s a problem for Disney+, Amazon, Hulu and friends. Streaming platforms want to stop the bleeding, which costs them as much as $9 billion each year according to one estimate, but most solutions tend to end in lose-lose situations. Fix the problem and you alienate your audience. Let it be and you lose money.

Read more: What platforms are doing to try to walk that fine line and limit password sharing.

Best of the Rest: Today’s News and Insights

1) Fake

2) Real

3) Fake

Ad of the Day: These 4 Ads for Spain’s Christmas Lottery Are Each a Masterclass in Storytelling


Each year, the Spanish Christmas lottery releases what is typically one of the year’s best ads. But not this year. For 2019, it released four of the year’s best ads. Watch them here.

What can younger employees do to become better strategic thinkers?

Mike Stevens, executive director, strategic planning, media and account services, GYK Antler

Develop into a constantly curious individual. Question others, ask why, look at what worked, what didn’t and WHY that happened. Individuals who are consistently curious will start to identify patterns over time as they look at their marketing and advertising campaigns. These patterns will improve their ability to think through problems and become stronger strategic thinkers.

Mike Donoghue, CEO and founder, The Alpha Group

Strategic thinking doesn’t start with a 50 slide power point presentation—it starts with a creative vision for what you want to accomplish. The best way to start to hone in on that vision is to get close to your customers and clients and then step back and look at the ecosystem as a whole and think “What does getting better look like?”

Rachel Williams, product marketing manager, Outbrain

If you want to be strategic you need to expand your network internally and externally. Speak to people outside of your day-to-day activities to see what they’re focused on, what makes them excited about the industry and what opportunities they see for the future. Piecing together a lot of different perspectives can give you the tools to present a thoughtful and holistic strategy that helps an entire organization. And don’t forget to READ, READ, READ!