In brief: Indiana looks to polish image, smartphones launch 3D ads

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In other news: Online banking comes to China ... Time Warner, Viacom back away from Nielsen guarantees ... Sexy subway ads cause friction ... Exploring South Africa with Oculus Rift

From the Campaign family:

Indiana hires Porter Novelli to fix its image. (PRWeek) The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has hired Porter Novelli for PR support after fallout from the state's controversial "religious freedom" bill. Porter will be responsible for helping Indiana improve its global reputation as a welcoming place to live, visit and do business, the IEDC said in a statement.

China's Internet giants get green light for online banking. (Campaign Asia-Pacific) Chinese Internet companies have secured approvals from authorities to set up privately owned banks, ushering a new era in the traditionally tightly regulated banking sector. Tencent and its partners Baiyeyuan Investment and Liye Group have already launched the country’s first online-only bank, called WeBank. Following suit, Alibaba and its affiliate Fosun International are due to introduce the Ant Bank this year.

South African Tourism turns to VR. (Marketing) South African Tourism has condensed an action-packed holiday, including abseiling down Cape Town's Table Mountain and cage-diving with sharks, into a five-minute virtual reality experience. Using Oculus Rift tech and experiential activity, the tourism board and agencies UM London, Visualise, Somethin’ Else and Tribe have launched a campaign targeting bars in London and Manchester, where consumers can don a VR headset and experience South Africa in HD and binaural sound.

Around the Web:

Time Warner, Viacom back away from Nielsen guarantees for ads. (Variety) Madison Avenue has long paid for TV commercials in a way that made sense when everyone watched TV the same way. With digital technology giving rise to multiple kinds of couch-potato behavior, however, advertisers are pushing for something new. In moves that could have seismic effects on the media industry, Time Warner and Viacom are in talks with select advertisers that would have the sponsors pay for video ads based on measures very different from the industry’s current standard, Nielsen ratings. The deals would center not on an average of how many people actually saw the commercials — as is the current practice — but rather on how the ads affect consumer behavior or how often consumers interact with the pitches.

Smartphones: Square One for 3D ads. (Adweek) As brands look to pump more mojo into mobile ads, marketers are trying out new eye-popping ads in 3D. While there has been plenty of talk of multidimension technology for some time now, this is no gimmick. Observers say these flashy promos offer a first glimpse at what virtual reality marketing will come to look like.

How far can brands go with sexy subway ads? (New York Times) Outfront Media, the company that sells subway ads, recently drew the line on a picture of a pantsless woman with her legs wrapped around a shirtless man. Dumbo Moving and Storage, the moving company behind the proposed ad, promoted its efforts to protect personal property with the tagline, "Always have protection." The state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority's ad space has long created friction. The governor’s office complained last year about a breast enhancement ad and asked the agency to review its standards. Among the authority’s list of banned items: violent images that could scare children, material that could "incite or provoke violence," and ads for escort services and tobacco products. Then there is the provision about depicting sexual activities in an offensive manner, which leaves room for interpretation.

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