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Advertising Age - Latest News
Advertising Age - Latest News
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IAB Chief 'Can't Deal With This Shit,' Demands Members Join TAG

The digital ad business has made another move to regain the high ground, when the Interactive Advertising Bureau ordered all of its members to register with the anti-fraud Trustworthy Accountability Group.

TAG was conceived in 2015 by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers and the Interactive Advertising Bureau to act as a stamp of approval for ad sellers.

While about 100 of the 450 publishers, ad tech firms and ad exchanges in the IAB have already registered with TAG, industry fears about ad fraud continue to plague the business.

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Unpacking United's Fail: Turning Adversity into Opportunity

Dr. David Dao's deboarding from United Express Flight 3411 caught the world's attention. The incident, an extreme outcome of the common practice of overbooking, has highlighted the declining customer experience of air travel. As airlines consolidate and race to the bottom on prices, air travel will increasingly be judged by its lows, rather than its highs.

Industry economics mean overbooking isn't going away, but the field is open for improvement and innovation. The current best practice of offering vouchers in return for giving up a seat is due for an overhaul. Creative airline brands can turn these moments of friction into opportunities -- and create true loyalty.

Here are three ways airlines can start rebuilding their relationships with flyers, starting from one of the lowest points of the passenger experience: Oversold flights.

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Watch the Newest Ads on TV From Samsung, Wingstop, T-Mobile and More

Every weekday, we bring you the Ad Age/iSpot Hot Spots, new and trending TV commercials tracked by iSpot.tv, the real-time TV ad measurement company with attention analytics from 10 million smart TVs. The New Releases here ran on TV for the first time yesterday. The Most Engaging ads are ranked by digital activity (including online views and social shares) over the past week.

Among the new releases, an ostrich accidentally immerses itself in a highflying VR experience in a beautifully filmed Samsung ad that Alexandra Jardine previewed on Creativity. T-Mobile stocks its latest signature black-and-white-and-pink commercial with attractive millennials who are super excited that T-Mobile has a plan that includes taxes and fees in the quoted rate ($100 for two lines of unlimited data per month). And Wingstop goes totally trippy in a stunt ad created to air on 4/20 (yesterday) specifically to appeal to the peckish stoners who apparently watch Adult Swim, Viceland and Fuse -- the three networks it aired on. On Fuse, by the way, it ran during a showing of ... wait for it ... "Reefer Madness."

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A Dog Brings Out the Best in George Washington in Pedigree's Moving Film

Mars Petcare brand Pedigree's "Feed the Good" campaign is now digging into history to show how dogs bring out the best in people. A moving film from BBDO New York and directed by Biscuit Filmworks' Noam Murro recreates an obscure U.S. war story from 1777 when General George Washington and his troops were in the throes of the Revolutionary War against British Forces Commander-in-Chief William Howe and his soldiers. Amid the fighting, a terrier made its way into Washington's camp, and the dog's collar identified it as belonging to General Howe. Although Washington's soldiers had plenty of their own ideas on what to do with the pup, Washington, a dog lover himself, graciously returned it to his enemy.

The new ad "directly reflects the core of our Feed the Good campaign, which is that universal truth that dogs bring out the good in us, and that our job at Pedigree is to bring out the good in them," said Craig Neely, VP-marketing for Mars Petcare. "This has been such a great platform for us to bring a variety of diverse creative to life. The story shows that the universal truth that I mentioned is just as true today as it was more than 200 years ago during the Revolutionary War."

According to Neely, the media plan is still being finalized, but it now focuses on digital with a broader roll out this summer.

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The Brutal, Scary Lessons of Yahoo's Demise

Ad Age "Media Guy" columnist Simon Dumenco's media roundup for the morning of Friday, April 21:

So today I've got good news (see Nos. 1 and 3, below), possibly good news (Nos. 2 and 7) and bad news (Nos. 4 and 5) -- and, uh, news that I just don't know what to do with (No. 6). Anyway, let's get started ...

1. Entertainment Weekly is soooo excited! "The X-Files returns! Fox orders 10-episode event series."

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IPG's Michael Roth Is Not Concerned About New Entrants Into Advertising

During the company's first-quarter earnings call Friday, Interpublic Group CEO Michael Roth said "increased competition" from adjacent industries is "not as evident to us as the headlines would have you believe."

Traditional consultancies, like Accenture and Deloitte, as well as tech companies like IBM and Facebook, have been increasingly pushing into the advertising business. Roth said the holding company is "not seeing them in a big way," but when it does face them in digital pitches, IPG agencies "do pretty well against them."

"Our integrated offering and creative firepower is something at this point that gives us a strong advantage over those system integrators," he said. "Innovative thinking, our ability to reach across all agencies at IPG and strong creative talent coupled with our media side of the business is something that other providers don't have."

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KFC Plans to Launch Sandwich -- Into Orbit -- With New Colonel

KFC has stratospheric aspirations for its Zinger fried chicken sandwich.

After 33 years of selling the spicy sandwich in other countries, the Zinger makes its U.S. debut on April 24. And KFC plans to send a Zinger into space this summer. It has the marketing campaign to prove it.

"The brief we gave Wieden & Kennedy, our advertising agency, is we want the most talked about launch in fast food this year," said Kevin Hochman, who became KFC's U.S. president and chief concept officer last month after three years as its chief marketing officer.

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Ogilvy & Mather Chief Creative Officer: Six Things I Learned About Advertising Working as a Waiter

They say every second waiter in L.A. is a wannabe screenwriter. I think the same was true in London years ago when I was at film school and working part time in a hotel. Maybe we didn't all want to be screenwriters, but we all had grand creative dreams.

I had heard about this business called advertising, where they paid you to dream up ideas and shoot commercials. It sounded great, but waiting tables seemed about as far removed from advertising as it was possible to get. But I was wrong. The two are not poles apart at all. They are both fundamentally service industries. I didn't know it at the time, but that job was certainly not a dead end; it was a way station.

1. People who work in the service industry are human beings.

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As Post Buys Weetabix, We Look Back at Some of the Iconic British Brand's Ads

Weetabix, a staple of the U.K. breakfast table, entered American hands this week with its acquisition by Post Holdings, maker of Honey Bunches of Oats and Raisin Bran, for $1.76 billion.

Weetabix has been majority-owned by China's Bright Food since 2012, and prior to that by U.K.-based private equity firm Lion Capital, after passing out of family ownership in 2004. (Although thought of as quintessentially British, Weetabix was in fact invented in Australia but has been made in the U.K. since 1932.)

Despite changing hands several times, Weetabix has remained one of the U.K.'s most famous brands, portrayed through memorable ad campaigns by a succession of top London creative shops.

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Why Best Buy Is Reorganizing Its Marketing Team

Best Buy is reconfiguring its marketing team into a more streamlined division that costs less. The Richfield, Minn.-based retailer has parted ways with three top marketing executivesall hired within the last three yearsand is folding marketing responsibilities into merchandising.

Best Buy's former Chief Marketing Officer Greg Revelle and Mary Lou Kelley, president of e-commerce, have both left the companyRevelle was appointed CMO of department store chain Kohl's last week. Tom Nowak, the former head of agency Peterson Milla Hooks, who was hired by Best Buy less than two years ago as the electronic brand's first-ever chief creative officer, has also left. News of the departures of Revelle and Kelley was first reported by the Star Tribune.

The new department is headed by Mike Mohan, Best Buy's chief merchandising officer, who also now handles marketing. Senior marketing executive Whit Alexander was promoted to the CMO role, but he reports to Mohan.

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Publishers Voice Cautious Optimism On Google's Ad-Blocking Browser

Google may indeed be working on a browser with ad-blocking capabilities built in, as the Wall Street Journal reported today. In a series of interviews, publishers reported being cautiously optimistic about the idea. However they issued a warning: If Google oversteps, it could lead them to rethink buying its ad technology. Beyond that, they said, the move could raise antitrust concerns.

The search giant is working on an ad filter that would be built into its Chrome web browser, people familiar with the plans confirmed. The browser would have an option for users to stop ads from loading on sites that Google blacklists for having poor ad experiences, such as videos that play automatically with the sound on and other annoying formats, according to multiple people familiar with the plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Google has discussed its ad-block browser option for months with publishers. It has also been floating other components of the strategy: Helping publishers collect payments from people who employ ad blockers when visiting their sites -- a program being called "Funding Choices," according to one person familiar with the initiative.

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Why Sports Will Play a Greater Role in Fox's Upfront Pitch

If you're casting around for a metaphor to convey the out-sized reach and sheer strength of the sports TV marketplace, you could do worse than Cris Carter's otherworldly meat hooks. Having hauled in 1,101 receptions over the course of his 16 seasons in the NFL, the Hall of Famer's hands are, as he puts it, "not normal in terms of size and flexibility," which he then demonstrates by clasping them in front of him before bending his fingers back 90 degrees.

Carter's manipulation of his digits is at once mesmerizing and not just a little bit gross, and the GroupM buyers and Fox Sports suits seated closest to the broadcaster in this third-floor conference room are quietly "ooh-ing" (or is it "eww-ing"?) and "aah-ing" as he goes through his routine.

"Over the course of my life playing football, wide receiver coaches taught me that flexibility and dexterity in my hands were very, very important," Carter says, as he seemingly unhinges his thumb from its socket like a python loosening its jaw before swallowing a baby hippo. "My thumb is down here because it got in the way of catching the football. I had to stretch all these ligaments and tendons out so that I could do something special. Because there's nothing worse than a big ol' guy with big ol' hands for no reason."

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With O'Reilly Out, Fox News Advertisers Wait in the Wings

Bill O'Reilly's name was effectively wiped from Fox News on Wednesday night, with the show he anchored for two decades, "The O'Reilly Factor," renamed simply "The Factor." While the cable news behemoth has taken steps to distance itself from O'Reilly, however, advertisers that fled the show this month after The New York Times reported on sexual harrassment allegations against him are so far remaining quiet about whether things will return to business as usual now that his exit is official.

Wednesday's episode of the show, anchored by Dana Perino, had the lightest ad load to date since the April 1 Times report, excluding a shortened episode on April 6 when the show was interrupted by breaking news of the U.S. missile strike against Syria, according to iSpot. Wednesday's broadcast had nine sponsors and eight and a half minutes of commercial time. It was mostly filled with direct response advertisers like My Pillow and Turbo Scrub, along with gold company Rosland Capital, which has stuck by the show amid the allegations against O'Reilly. Life insurance companies FastLife and Coventry Direct and 15-second spots for Sandals Resorts and Gravely lawn mowers also appeared.

Prior to the New York Times report, which revealed that Mr. O'Reilly and Fox News paid $13 million to five women to settle sexual harassment allegations, "The O'Reilly Factor" had anywhere from 40 to 50 advertisers airing commercials on any given night, according to iSpot.

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Watch the Newest Ads on TV From BodyArmor, Arla, JC Penney and More

Every weekday, we bring you the Ad Age/iSpot Hot Spots, new and trending TV commercials tracked by iSpot.tv, the real-time TV ad measurement company with attention analytics from 10 million smart TVs. The New Releases here ran on TV for the first time yesterday. The Most Engaging ads are ranked by digital activity (including online views and social shares) over the past week.

Among the new releases, a BodyArmor sports drink commercial -- narrated by campaign creative director Kobe Bryant and featuring cameo appearances by nine pro athletes, including James Harden -- obsesses about the power of obsession. (Ad Age's EJ Schultz previewed the spot and interviewed Bryant about BodyArmor's big new push in a post published Tuesday.) Arla serves up a rather adorable ad centered around an elaborate animation of a kid's idea of what xantham is (it's actually a common artificial ingredient Arla refuses to put in its cream cheese). And JC Penney, which, as Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli reported last month, returned to profitability in 2016 amidst a challenging environment for department stores, goes for aggressive discounting, plugging the $5 towels and $9 women's tops and shorts that will be on offer during this weekend's sale.

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Ad Industry Powers Consider Adopting Ad Blocking on a Wide Scale

The biggest players in advertising and tech are mapping out a strategy to kill off the digital ads that have been deemed as the absolute worst by consumers.

The most likely approach is the adoption of a "technology" -- the term "ad blocker" has baggage among many of the participants in talks on the subject -- that would prevent browsers such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge from displaying autoplaying video ads with sound, pop-up ads and ads that quickly flash or change colors.

The discussions are taking place among members of the industry's Coalition for Better Ads, including Google, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, WPP's ad-buying giant GroupM, Facebook, Thomson Reuters, The Washington Post, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Association of National Advertisers, according to Stu Ingis, counsel to the coalition and attorney at Venable LLP.

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The CEO of WPP China Is Stepping Down to Run Her Own Startup Incubator

Bessie Lee, the CEO of WPP China, is resigning to focus full-time on a company she founded, a startup incubator and early-stage venture fund investing in areas like mobile advertising, big data, analytics and social media.

Lee founded China-based Withinlink in 2015 and has been splitting her time 60-40 between WPP and her entrepreneurial project. Withinlink recently closed an inaugural fund of 55 million yuan (about $8 million), with investors including media executives, wealthy individuals and government bodies.

WPP said Patrick Xu, the current CEO of GroupM China and a former marketer with Mondelez, P&G and Danone China, will add the WPP CEO job to his role starting May 2, after Lee's departure.

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Deadline Nears for Small Agency Awards

Each year, the Ad Age Small Agency Awards uncover and honor small, independent agencies that are producing innovative and exciting work. These teams strategize and execute groundbreaking ideas to compete with work done by some of advertising's oldest, largest, and most sought-after partners.

The competition is stiff. Each year more and more work comes in to be judged and the caliber of entries gets even more impressive. The reward is big. Past winners include Bailey Lauerman; Baldwin&, Via, Rockfish, O'Keefe, Reinhard & Paul and Zulu Alpha Kilo.

The submision site can be found here. A list of last year's honorees can be found here.

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Watch Stephen Colbert's 'Stephen Colbert' Say Farewell to Bill O'Reilly

Ad Age "Media Guy" columnist Simon Dumenco's media roundup for the morning of Thursday, April 20:

In today's media scan, a real late-night talk show host invites a former fake late-night talk show host (with an eerie resemblance) to eulogize the career of the real prime-time talk show host who inspired the real late-night talk show host to create the fake late-night talk show host in the first place. And, oh, a real news organization says it figured out which Russian political organization masterminded the creation of fake news to help tilt the U.S. presidential election toward Donald Trump -- but a fake Russian news organization says this latest real news about the fake news is ... fake news. Got all that? Anyway, let's get started ...

1. Hey, nice headline, Quartz! "Here are the 35 million reasons Bill O'Reilly was fired."

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Lvy Would Rather Shine Shoes Than Retire From Publicis Groupe

Maurice Lvy, the outgoing chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, is so keen to stay involved in the company that he has offered to shine the shoes of the management board.

"I'm not totally retiring," he told analysts at his final earnings presentation in Paris this morning. "I'm not even semi-retiring."

On June 1, Lvy will hand over the chairman and CEO roles at the agency holding giant to Arthur Sadoun, currently CEO of Publicis Communications, and take on a new role as chairman of Publicis Groupe's supervisory board.

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When Platforms Can Identify Brands Inside Images and Videos

Facebook's F8 developer conference this week provided the most fanciful view yet of where augmented reality is headed. The event also gave marketers -- Facebook is, after all, one of the world's largest ad-supported busineses -- a glimpse of AR's commercial potential.

While Facebook previewed its creative toolset, what wasn't as clear is what kinds of AR-related data will be available for marketers.

"We're making the camera the first augmented reality platform," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at F8, referring to the camera on a phone. The comment was a jab at Snap, which went public after rebranding itself as "a camera company." To demonstrate the platform, Zuckerberg showed images of people taking selfies with the Nike Run Club app, with the app adding automatically-sized digital headbands and an overlay of runners' stats.

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The Martech That Helped Neutrogena Sell 'Scary'

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MediaLink's European Invasion Starts in London Under Wenda Harris Millard

MediaLink's recent sale to Cannes Lions parent company Ascential is quickly paying off for the media consultancy. MediaLink plans to open its first U.K. office in London next month under the leadership of Vice Chair Wenda Harris Millard.

Millard, who will retain her current title, will relocate from New York to London to oversee MediaLink's budding European operation. The new office will open mid-May and Caitlin Kelly, MediaLink's corporate communications VP, will join Millard in London as her chief of staff.

"We have so many different opportunities to help major brands, publishers, including heritage brands and emerging content companies, and ad tech, martech and sheer technology companies," said Millard. "Now we just need to identify them [in London]."

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Accenture Taps UM as Global Media AOR

Accenture has named UM as its new global media agency of record, replacing incumbent MEC.

UM, part of IPG Mediabrands, will take on media buying and planning for the global professional services company. Roxanne Taylor, Accenture's chief marketing and communications officer, said the company works with a team of different agencies, including TBWA Worldwide, DigitasLBi, Landor and Interbrand. She said UM fit well into that integrated team.

"I really like the fact that they're able to help us hyper-customize and personalize and target content to engage our different key audiences," she said. She said those audiences include clients, employees and potential recruits.

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On the First 4/20 of the Trump Administration, Cannabis Marketing Faces New Disapproval

April 20, or 4/20 -- the unofficial cannabis culture holiday -- is here, meaning that plenty of pot jokes will surely fill social media. But weed wisecracks aside, it's becoming clear that cannabis industry marketing is finally growing up.

As it navigates state-specific regulations and varying degrees of state market maturity, not only is much of the industry dedicated to raising the bar for branding, it is recognizing the need to educate consumers, and cater to demographic groups such as baby boomers or seniors interested in cannabis as a sleep aid, or yoga enthusiasts looking for a mental enhancement to their physical practice.

When Washington's Mirth Provisions licensed its Drift product -- which delivers cannabanoids directly into the bloodstream via an under-the-tongue spray -- in Arizona, the distributor there began throwing parties to promote the brand. Mirth and its agency, Sockeye, were less than thrilled. The party vibe was not how they wanted the brand positioned. Mirth is not alone in its efforts to hoist the legal cannabis industry out of its "let's get wasted" illegal past.

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Boost Mobile and 180LA Win Campaign of the Year in Ad Age's First Creativity Awards

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With O'Reilly Gone, All Eyes on Advertisers

It's the spring of brand safety, and Fox News just gave advertisers some reassurance, cutting ties with its most prominent anchor Bill O'Reilly amid allegations of sexual harassment.

"After a thorough and careful review of the allegations," the No. 1 cable news network said in a statement on Wednesday, "the company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Bill O'Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel."

"Tucker Carlson Tonight" will take over the 8 p.m. timeslot starting next week. "The Five" will move into the 9 p.m. timeslot Carlson previously occupied, having been brought in to fill the role vacated by Megyn Kelly in January.

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Watch the Newest Ads on TV From Intel, Tecate, Audi and More

Every weekday, we bring you the Ad Age/iSpot Hot Spots, new and trending TV commercials tracked by iSpot.tv, the real-time TV ad measurement company with attention analytics from 10 million smart TVs. The New Releases here ran on TV for the first time yesterday. The Most Engaging ads are ranked by digital activity (including online views and social shares) over the past week.

Among the new releases, Jim "Big Bang Theory" Parsons and a character named "The Future" (not to be confused with Future, the rapper) try to reassure us that Intel is on top of Artificial Intelligence ("We know the future -- because we're building it," an announcer says in voice-over at the end). Sylvester Stallone and Mexican professional boxer Canelo lvarez team up to convince us that drinking Tecate beer will help us "Be bold," per the ad's tagline. And Audi imagines a tech start-up that offers ridiculously great perks -- including a "functional and pragmatic" Audi Q5 for every lucky employee.

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Four Things to Expect From Maurice Levy's Last Earnings Call on Thursday

After 30 years as chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, Maurice Lvy will announce his last set of earnings on Thursday at the French holding company's presentation of first-quarter 2017 results in Paris. Here's what to expect:

1. It's Lvy's swan song, and it may be a long one. The voluble Frenchman, who hands over to successor Arthur Sadoun at the annual general meeting in Paris on May 31, is well-known for his lengthy exchanges with analysts. Earnings calls routinely go on for a couple of hours.

2. Don't expect great numbers. With fairly weak results predicted, he may not be going out on a business high. At least the numbers won't come as a surprise: Lvy warned in February that the first quarter of this year would not offer much improvement on the fourth quarter of 2016, when revenues were down 2.5%.

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Lowdown: These Brands Slipped Through YouTube's Safety Check

The Lowdown is Ad Age's weekly look at news nuggets from across the world of marketing, including trends, campaign tidbits, executive comings and goings and more.

YouTube's brand-safety crisis has scared off many advertisers, but some seem relatively unconcerned. Hello's new "An Inconvenient Tooth" video from 72andSunny played Monday just after a YouTube post of Steve Stephens' Facebook Live rant about plans to kill people in Cleveland. (Stephens also posted a video of a live murder on Easter, and was found dead Tuesday, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot, in Pennsylvania.) A spokeswoman for Hello said the brand knew going in such placements were possible, but added: "Google has been a great partner in helping address it." Then there's a Cincinnati-based household name, not Procter & Gamble Co., but Roto-Rooter, whose ad from Curiosity Advertising showing a home drain-cleaning remedy has appeared in recent weeks with several questionable videos cited by brand-safety watchdog Eric Feinberg of Gipec (including the aforementioned Stephens video).

A spokesman for Roto-Rooter said the company was under the impression that it had discontinued its YouTube Trueview Discovery advertising as of March 29 for brand-safety reasons, based on the advice of its digital agency, Dentsu's 360i. So he couldn't explain how one of its ads continued to show up on YouTube earlier this week, though he believed it could be a result of retargeting maintaining the ad in the system somehow. A Google spokesman didn't immediately respond to an e-mail request for comment. Overall, Feinberg has fewer examples of questionable placements to share lately, which suggests either Google's safeguards are working or the advertiser exodus creates fewer opportunities.

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Financial Times Says Paid Posts Up 400% Following Acquisition of Alpha Grid

For the first time in its 129-year history, the Financial Times said digital advertising and services revenue have surpassed print. The company credits a chunk of its success to content marketing studio Alpha Grid, which it acquired a controlling stake in last June.

The Alpha Grid acquisition was part of a larger trend among premium publishers last year, as many looked to bolster their bottom line by acquiring digital agencies who specialize in areas like branded content, targeting or creative.

Gannett, for example, purchased ReachLocal for $158 million and the New York Times paid $21 million for HelloSociety and another $11 million for Fake Love, according to global marketing consultancy R3. Time Inc. and Vice also made similar acquisitions totaling $50 million.

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