For Trojan, Inventive Packaging Made the Sale When Advertising Wasn’t Allowed

December 27, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The year 2016 saw a lot of talk about the state of American manufacturing—about jobs making stuff for great American brands. And while most of the discussion centered on products like General Electric light bulbs and Carrier air conditioners, it’s worth pointing out one brand that’s received very little press—even though all of its manufacturing takes place in the U.S. (in Colonial Heights, Va.); even though untold numbers of the 500 million products it turns out yearly are used every day of the week. Well, maybe more like every night of the week. The product? Trojan condoms. Condoms are big business in the land of the free. According to Zion Research, Americans are forecast to spend nearly $1.6 billion on them by 2020

Read More

More Customer Service Brands Are Getting Creative With Twitter’s New Curated Profiles

December 21, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Earlier this summer, Twitter started beta testing a new feature that gives brands more creativity and control over how their accounts appear. Now, it seems to be rolling out the feature to a wider swath of brands. The design tool—dubbed featured tweets—essentially breaks a company's page into three sections instead of having a running string of chronological tweets in Twitter's website and mobile app. In the top two sections, brands can pick around 10 tweets and a handful of photos to promote. Beneath the curated sections, all of the brand's tweets appear in a normal timeline. In theory, featured tweets are meant to highlight a marketer's best posts, much like a Facebook Page that can pull in multiple pieces of content. Twitter has also been encouraging brands to pump more video and pictures into their feeds as part of the platform's move to become a video hub over the past year or so. In July, Marketing Land reported that AT&T and Alaska Airlines were using the custom design, and now it appears that a slew of customer-service oriented brands including Starbucks, Hyatt, Citibank, Hotels.com and Airbnb have created custom profiles. "This is a continuation of the testing we kicked off earlier this year as we continue to explore ways to surface the best content from brands using Twitter," a rep said via email. For customer service-oriented businesses, featured tweets is a way to show users a few pretty pictures or a smattering of curated tweets before they scroll down to see thousands of replies to consumers' complaints. Take Hotels.com, for example. The brand cherry-picked four pictures and a handful of tweets that either contain a photo or video, including an Instagram contest and a video campaign with spokesman Captain Obvious .

Read More

Viacom’s Upheaval Continues With the Exit of Music and Entertainment Group President Doug Herzog

December 21, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Viacom finally has a new CEO and isn't merging with CBS after all, but that hasn't put a stop to the company's 2016 upheaval. Doug Herzog, president of Viacom's Music and Entertainment Group, announced today that he'll be leaving the company next month. He oversees MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, Spike and Logo. In a memo sent to staff, Herzog said he'll be leaving Viacom as of Jan. 12. "It was a helluva run, and I would wish it on anyone. I loved every minute of it," he said. Just last week, Viacom's parent company, National Amusements, which owns 80 percent of the voting shares of both Viacom and CBS, decided to pull the plug on discussions of a potential merger. That same day, the company announced that Bob Bakish, who had been serving as acting president and CEO since Nov.

Read More

With 455 Scripted Series Released This Year, ‘Peak TV’ Has Yet to Actually Peak

December 21, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The phrase "peak TV" was coined by FX Networks CEO John Landgraf last year to describe the "overwhelming" increase in scripted series, but it seems as if the glut of scripted television shows still hasn't peaked yet. An estimated 455 scripted series aired this year on broadcast, cable and streaming services, according to FX Networks Research. "This estimate reps an 8 percent increase over just last year (421 in 2015)―but an astonishing 71 percent increase over five years ago (266 in 2011) and 137 percent over a decade ago (192 in 2006)," said Julie Piepenkotter, evp, research, FX Networks, in a statement. While the number of broadcast, premium cable and basic cables shows all fell in 2016, that decline was more than surpassed by the output from streaming services. That number doubled in one year, from 46 shows last year to 93 shows in 2016. Expect that trend to continue in 2017, as Netflix plans to double its output once again. In August, Landgraf estimated that 2016's scripted series output would probably top out at 450, while 2017 could see an astounding 500 scripted shows. That's in addition to the 750-some unscripted shows that also air. The television business is "probably unsustainable" for more than 500 scripted series, Landgraf said at the time. Landgraf, who last month was named Adweek's Television Executive of the Year, told Adweek that the number of scripted series will finally start to drop off by 2019. But despite the deluge of scripted shows, his greatest challenge is the same as when he took charge of FX in 2005. "For FX to be relevant to people as a brand—for there to be a reason for people to continue to pay attention to what we do and to seek us out—we have to give them an experience they just can't get somewhere else," he said. "You have to continually replenish your brand equity." And that requires big swings like The People v. O.J. Simpson and Atlanta, both of which became commercial and critical hits this year. "You can't just be different," Landgraf said. "You have to be different and good."

Read More

ABC Will Create Original Series for Snapchat, Starting With a Bachelor-Themed Show

December 21, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Yet another big media company is teaming up with Snapchat in a bid to reach millennials. This time, it's Disney-ABC Television Group, which is partnering with Snap Inc. to produce original series for the platform. The first show out out of the gate is Watch Party: The Bachelor, which debuts Tuesday, Jan. 3, the morning after The Bachelor's 21st season premiere on ABC. Watch Party will feature a rotating group of celebs, comedians, Bachelor superfans and past Bachelor and Bachelorette personalities as they watch and joke about the most recent Bachelor episode. The weekly Snapchat series, which will debut every Tuesday morning, will consist of 10 original episodes and one Live Story. Several other shows based on DATG properties will roll out on Snapchat in the coming months

Read More

The 4 Largest Holding Companies Are Now Involved in Federal ‘Bid Rigging’ Probe

December 19, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The federal government's investigation into allegations of antitrust practices at major ad agencies has expanded to include WPP, the world's largest holding company. WPP this morning released the following statement on its website: "WPP confirms that, similarly to Interpublic, Omnicom and Publicis, three of its subsidiaries have received subpoenas from the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division concerning the Division's ongoing investigation of video production and post-production practices in the advertising industry. WPP and its subsidiaries are fully cooperating with the enquiries." That means all four of the largest holding companies by revenue have been subpoenaed by the federal government as its investigation into reports of "bid rigging" continues. Omnicom and Publicis confirmed on Friday that they had received subpoenas from the DOJ and that they planned to cooperate with the investigation. Interpublic Group made a similar statement the previous week, just days after news of the probe broke in The Wall Street Journal. A WPP spokesperson has not yet responded to requests for additional information, and the timing of the various subpoena requests is not currently clear.

Read More

Here’s How Each Major Ad Agency’s Stock Is Looking as the Industry Prepares for the Trump Era

December 19, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Before Nov. 8, the big advertising holding companies faced a straightforward, slow-growth future. The business would continue to evolve, and the agencies would continue to adapt by expanding their capabilities, especially in digital media. But the election cast a blanket of doubt on the prospects for the major players. "To be clear, there was little uncertainty during the campaign," says Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group. "Most business observers would not have believed that this outcome was possible. Now there is uncertainty." Industry watchers are grappling with the implications of Donald Trump's victory for the ad business, which had already absorbed one electoral shock with the vote in June by British citizens to leave the European Union. In their last quarterly reports before the presidential election and the first to fully reflect the U.K. balloting, the big holding companies—Omnicom, Interpublic, WPP, Publicis and Havas— offered a mixed reading on the health of the industry. At one end of the spectrum, Interpublic beat earnings expectations and boosted its outlook for the remainder of the year. At the other, account losses took a toll on Publicis, which reported weaker North American sales. For the ad industry, the big fear is that buyers will simply put their spending plans on hold while they wait and see how the new administration takes shape. If, for example, Trump follows through on his harsh campaign rhetoric regarding international trade, cross-border business could become more difficult. "We got so little insight into [Trump's] policies and plans from the campaign," notes Tim Nollen, who follows the ad industry at investment bank Macquarie

Read More

GNC Plans a Fourth-Quarter Comeback This Year With Its Super Bowl Ad Debut

December 16, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Among the many familiar faces, including Skittles and GoDaddy, one new brand will be making its Super Bowl debut this year: GNC, long known as the place one goes to buy vitamins in bulk. The retail chain's bid is part of an elaborate rebranding strategy after a year that saw its stock price fall by more than 50 percent. Bullish, a creative "accelerator agency" launched in January by veterans of Deutsch and Johannes Leonardo, is serving as creative advisor on the campaign and also working on GoDaddy's Super Bowl LI entry. The spot will air during the game's first quarter, and it represents a national buy with buybacks up to two months after the Big Game. Its purpose is to let consumers know that GNC is making some changes. On Thursday, GNC announced plans to close all stores on Dec. 28 and reopen the following day as One New GNC, offering universal prices to replace a setup that had allowed for multiple pricing structures across channels and membership levels. The chain will also introduce a new loyalty program, mobile app and point of sale terminals to streamline the purchase process across locations. "For the last two years, we have spent time, through research, listening to thousands of customers who told us that our business model could use some improvement and the One New GNC is the result," said a company spokesperson. "Customers wanted a simplified pricing structure and a better loyalty program." The company cannot yet divulge any details about the ad but did say that "a number of creative teams" are currently vying to work on the project. In addition to Bullish, GNC's roster includes Edelman on public relations, Crossmedia on media buys and Superfly on social media.

Read More

Cate Blanchett Narrates This Lovely Ad About the Different Ways People Celebrate Christmas

December 16, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Everyone celebrates Christmas a little differently. Some people like to throw ugly sweater parties; others like to blow past the season without giving it a second thought. A new campaign from retailer David Jones starring actress Cate Blanchett gives viewers a glimpse into what the holiday brings for people in Australia. You might find it's not so different from your own celebrations. The spot from TBWA in Sydney opens with Blanchett asking, "How do you Christmas?" As the spot unfolds, the viewer sees a whole host of ways people prepare for the holidays. It starts off pretty tame but quickly escalates to pretty out of control. "Whether it is finding the perfect gift for a loved one, preparing the home for a Christmas feast, curating the perfect outfit for seasonal celebrations or bringing the magic of Christmas alive with engaging activities for your children, David Jones provides endless possibilities for everyone," David Thomas, CEO of David Jones, told B&T Magazine. That sentiment is echoed nicely in the charming spot narrated by Blanchett with shots of all types of personalities around the holiday season, from those decked head to toe in ugly holiday sweaters and Christmas socks to those who, at the age of 30, are still making an annual trip to visit Santa Claus. Finally, at the end of the spot, we see Blanchett waking up in the wee hours of Christmas Day to her young daughter celebrating the fact that Christmas has finally arrived.

Read More