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Advertising Age - Latest News
Advertising Age - Latest News
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China Clamps Down on Webcasting by Weibo and Other Media Firms

China's broadcasting regulator ordered Weibo Corp. and two other internet media firms to halt video and audio webcasting, accusing them of operating without a license and disseminating opinions potentially harmful to social stability.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said services operated by companies including Weibo -- often called China's Twitter -- had been broadcasting negative commentary in violation of government regulations. The regulator didn't say what action had been taken, and Weibo declined to comment while it studies the order.

The regulatory ban could disrupt a revival for Weibo that's getting underway. The messaging service controlled by Sina Corp. has turned to video streaming over the past year to rejuvenate growth. The company has since reignited user interest, pushing its typical monthly audience to 340 million people -- surpassing Twitter's -- and its stock market value above $16 billion. Chairman Charles Chao is now focused on expanding Weibo into areas including news aggregation and live video streaming. Weibo's advertising and marketing revenue increased 42% in 2016, reaching $571 million.

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Cannes Daily Blog Day Five: Are You There Arthur? It's Me, Marcel

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Police Raid Havas Headquarters Amid a Probe Into Party at CES

French police raided Havas' headquarters this week as investigators probe how it was awarded a contract to organize a party promoting French tech startups during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last year, news reports said.

A government agency that promotes French companies overseas tapped Havas to put on the January 2016 party. About 500 people reportedly attended the event, which took place on the sidelines of CES, including then-Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron. Macron was elected president this May.

Le Monde and other French newspapers reported that authorities are looking into whether the government agency, called Business France, selected Havas without asking for bids from other companies, as is required by law for contracts of that size. The party cost around $425,600, according to Le Canard Enchan, a satirical French newspaper also known for its investigations.

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Video Rant of the Week: Shut the Cannes Up

So you got to go to Cannes, did you? Well, we know your brain is fuzzy from ros, but don't forget that a lot of us aren't there. So quit rubbing our noses in it with all those Instagrams and Facebook posts. We get it. There's a lot of sun, fun and celebrity.

We really don't need to hear your ramblings about how exhausted you are. Your funny little tweets about "If this is Tuesday it must be R/GA" or "Who do I have to kill to get into the MediaLink party?" aren't so amusant to us. And if you've seen one Solange video, you've seen them all.

Next week you're back at work with us. So shut the Cannes up.

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Watch the Newest Ads on TV From PlayStation, E-Trade, Beautyrest 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 and conversion 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, PlayStation presents a claymation world where traditional cable TV services are two-headed "cable monsters" terrorizing a city with long-term contracts, pricey sports packages and "atomic fire breath" until PlayStation Vue (a modern, shiny superhero) arrives to save the day with its live TV streaming service. E-Trade offers one reason why your broker is unavailable -- he's in a board meeting ... a wakeboard meeting -- and suggests investing online instead. And in a black-and-white spot that moves from moody to comic, Beautyrest shows you don't need to be an athlete -- forget running, swimming, "moving a bunch of heavy stuff" and "doing whatever this is" (a battle ropes workout) -- to achieve a healthy lifestyle, as "sleep performance is the new performance."

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Publicis Groupe CEO Tries to Calm Alarm Over His Cannes Ban

Two days after stunning the ad industry by pledging that Publicis Groupe will sit out next year's Cannes International Festival of Creativity, President-CEO Arthur Sadoun spent Thursday trying to ease fears inside his holding company that the move would backfire.

In a closed-door meeting at the luxurious Majestic hotel, Sadoun assembled 200 of his top creative leaders and singled out what he described as a symbol of the agency world's woes: The Snapchat-branded ferris wheel that towers near the entrance of the nearby Palais.

"This is making me even angrier," he said as he showed a picture of the wheel to his troops, he recalled in an interview with Ad Age after the meeting. To him the carnival-like wheel -- and the fact that it rests on valuable festival real estate -- "symbolizes the fact that our companies, the holding companies, have lost their thought leadership in Cannes."

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Digital Celebrities Rely on New Trade Group to Set Ad Disclosure Rules

Andrew Fitzpatrick, online-famous for his humorous beat-boxing videos under the pseudonym 80Fitz, makes money from work for brands as an influencer, incorporating their products into his videos. The problem? There aren't clear rules for how to say he's been paid.

"I've done 25 to 30 campaigns for Fortune 500 companies and I think over the years the disclosure practices have literally never been consistent," he said. "Sometimes they want a hashtag, sometimes they don't require any disclosure at all." The hashtags vary, too, from the clear #ad label to the more vague #partner.

The Federal Trade Commission requires these sponsored influencer posts on social media such as Instagram and Twitter to disclose that they're ads. The agency sent several dozen warning letters to brands and online celebrities earlier this year to remind them to do so. Still, the practice isn't consistent. Now Fitzpatrick is pinning his hopes on a new trade group to clear things up.

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Saatchi & Saatchi's New Directors Showcase Shines Light on Gender Inequality

The hot topic of gender inequity in the industry played out today at Saatchi & Saatchi's annual New Directors Showcase, which opened with a film that invited the audience to see things from two different perspectives.

The poetic, visually stunning "Open Your Eyes," directed by Jake Dypka and Hollie McNish, depicts two different stories simultaneously. One showed the "male" experience of gender stereotyping while the other illustrated the "female" point of view. The audience could choose which to watch by switching off between a pink or blue set of polarized glasses they received at the event.

Saatchi also made it a point to bring diversity into the process of selecting this year's films. Judging happened in two parts, with two different juries, one comprising people from within the agency, another from outside. The outside group included Kai-Lu Hsing, managing director at RSA, and directors such as Sara Dunlop and Alma Har'el, who started the Free the Bid initiative and also served on this year's Glass Lions Jury.

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News Corp. in Advanced Talks With Facebook on Subscriptions

News Corp., publisher of the Wall Street Journal and the Times of London, is holding "very advanced" discussions with Facebook about subscriptions to its content online, CEO Officer Robert Thomson said.

"I've been talking with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, exchanging thoughts, on how important it is that the value of content should be recognized," Thomson said in an interview at a media industry conference on Wednesday in Turin, Italy. "We are in the middle of negotiations with Facebook on a subscription mechanic."

Earlier at the conference, Thomson attacked the digital walled gardens used by technology companies such as Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Facebook. "They are made to keep people in, this is not free movement of people," he said in the interview. "Particularly Google is a problem."

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Why CMOs Shouldn't Hate Agencies That Are Lion-Obsessed

In John Immesoete's recent Ad Age op-ed, "Here's Why CMOs Hate Agencies That Are Lion-Obsessed," he describes a chief marketing officer who came to his agency and told him what he thinks about agencies that win awards. It's not pretty:

"I'm a CMO of a company that is losing sales, bleeding to death slowly. I need solutions for growth. You know why? Because we have an accountability to our investors, shareholders and board to grow. I need people who can help me achieve this, not win Cannes Lions. And this is why we hate you."

Some may read this as a rally cry to get back to more response-oriented advertising. I read this as a classic example of a misguided client.

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How to Accessorize Your Lions, and Other Advertising Tips From David

Not taking yourself too seriously is one of the hallmarks of David and its work for Burger King. That's why the agency came to Cannes prepared to accessorize its Lion trophies with little crowns and medallions, evoking the King. Except the agency only brought about 20 crowns, and by Thursday the WPP shop had won 26 Lions, including two Grand Prix for Burger King, and Heinz' first two gold Lions ever at the festival.

Anselmo Ramos and Gaston Bigio, along with Fernando Musa, started David as a parttime job five years ago while they were creative directors at Ogilvy in Latin America. Now David has offices in Miami, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo, and is soon to open in London, where it recently started working for Burger King, and a second U.S. location that will likely be New York or Los Angeles. Ramos and Bigio sat down at the Majestic Hotel to talk about making winning work and client relationships. (Just don't call them "relationships.") Some takeaways:

Compatible cultures are key. "We do well with 3G [the Brazilian owner of Burger King and Heinz] because we understand their culture. Lean, fast, disruptive," Ramos said. "They're executing. We're like that, too."

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Campbell Soup Hires VP To Helm Digital Acceleration Push

Campbell Soup is upping its digital game with the hire of a VP to run a nascent digital team within its U.S. retail marketing organization with the aim of expanding its digital efforts throughout the company.

Matt Pritchard has joined Campbell in the new role of VP-digital acceleration group. He had been global head of digital at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Health and previously worked on Kellogg Co.'s European digital strategy and operations. Pritchard reports to Chief Commercial & Marketing Officer Greg Shewchuk.

Campbell is trying to move "from digital mass to digital personalization," said Shewchuk, noting that when joined Campbell in early 2016, the company was more focused on a traditional approach to digital marketing.

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How to Build Relationships That Grow (It's Not Through Marketing)

"I really believe that marketing won't help you grow your business," says Jon Ferrara.

A dangerous lead given the audience of this column. But suspend your disbelief just for a moment. As the founder of Nimble, a relationship management app for those of us with thousands of contacts and no time to nurture them, Ferrara gathered 100,000 Nimble users and converted 15% of them to paid subscribers -- with no marketing budget at all.

How? By building value-adding relationships -- not with customers, but with the individuals that your customers trust. In other words, a more sophisticated take on influencer marketing. "Relationships drive everything on this planet, and if you can identify people that matter, reach out and build relevant and authentic pay-it-forward relationships, you can change the world," says Ferrara, who calls this "social selling."

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The Death of Creative Excellence

In the dim and distant past, a friend of mine worked as a psychologist at a notoriously tough jail in Scotland.

In an attempt to lighten the grim atmosphere of the lifers' wing, the warden decided to hang prints of classic paintings in the common areas there.

This action had no particular effect other than inspiring some of the inmates to take up painting.

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In This Dystopian Sci-Fi Film from Budweiser, Beer Can Set You Free

In the U.S., Budweiser has been plugging its Made-in-America message with U.S.A.-themed ads and labels. In China, obviously, it has a different tactic. Budweiser's new summer campaign there involves electronic dance music and a sci-fi film set in a dystopian future where a bottle of Bud can set you free.

The four-and-a-half-minute ad, by CAA Marketing, features pop superstar Eason Chan as a bartender who helps actress Fish Liew escape from a gray, monotonous world, finding refuge in a dance club where she can let loose and be herself.

AB InBev's Budweiser markets itself as a premium beer brand in China, where its market share has grown from 1.4% to 3.6% in the five years leading up to 2016, according to Euromonitor International. (Budweiser is the No. 5 player; the category leader is inexpensive local beer Snow, with over 23% of the market last year.)

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'Hairspray' Director John Waters Joins Saville, Believe Signs Tellander

Saville Productions has signed "Hairspray" director John Waters for commercial and branded entertainment representation. The writer/director/actor has helmed cult films including "Hairspray," "Pecker" and "Pink Flamingos," which was the first in a series of low-budget films made with his Dreamland repertory company and featuring the actor known as Divine. Waters said in a statement: "I love the idea of directing commercials because it is the opposite of 'auteur' work. My name's not even on the finished product but if I do a good job, the viewer will still suspect I had something to do with it."

Swedish director Filip Tellander has joined Believe Media for representation in the U.S. and U.K. Tellander has been directing commercials internationally for more than 10 years. Known for his automotive work, he has also helmed spots for such clients as Nike and H&M, as well as music videos and short films. His most recent project took him to Cuba, where he directed the new H&M Spring line for kids. He continues to be represented by Indio in Sweden and Quad in France.

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Nice Work If You Can Get It: As May C3 Ratings Fall 14%, Network Ad Revenue Rises

The final month of the 2016-17 broadcast season was something of a disaster from a ratings perspective, although in keeping with the dynamics of the TV marketplace, the exodus of viewers didn't precipitate a drop in ad spending.

According to new research from Standard Media Index, broadcast ad revenue in May ticked up 1% over the month a year earlier, as the networks booked some $1.36 billion in commercial time. Broadcasters registered the slight increase despite having to gut out a 13% drop in primetime C3 ratings during the month, and a 14% drop in total-day deliveries.

In aggregate, the networks in May averaged a 4.1 C3 rating in primetime, which works out to 5.23 million adults 18 to 49. In the year-ago period, the broadcasters averaged a 4.7 rating in the C3 currency, which translates to a hair under 6 million viewers in the demographic most desirable to advertisers.

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See All the Cannes Lions Grand Prix Winners (So Far)

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Watch the Newest Ads on TV From Samsung, Apple, Audible 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 and conversion 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, Samsung shows how a wannabe astronaut -- a little girl in full space suit -- can live out her dreams of exploration, fueled by blue "rocketsicles," thanks to the help of the household Family Hub refrigerator. Apple brings us two spots, with the first for its iPhone: a touching tale of an archivist carefully curating a family's memories (cue baby laughing) using old-school techniques to create a modern piece of technology -- an iPhone Memories video. (Creativity has the backstory on the spot.) The second, for Apple Music, spotlights 19-year-old R&B artist Khalid and his song "Location" as part of Apple's monthly Up Next program introducing new artists.

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Men's Health Publisher Rodale Puts Itself Up for Sale

Rodale, the publishing company responsible for Men's Health, Women's Health and other wellness brands, has opened itself up for a possible sale.

The company is exploring "strategic alternatives" to its current business plan that could include selling Rodale as a whole or in part, it said on Wednesday. The company employs roughly 700 employees in New York City, its Emmaus, Penn., headquarters and other satellite locations.

"We are excited to explore opportunities for potential buyers of our business who can build on the strong foundation of our commitment to inspiring health, healing, happiness and love by enhancing core capabilities and resources for our brands," CEO Maria Rodale said in a statement.

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An Odd Soccer Field and Public Pay Phones Win Design Prizes

Two emerging marketsThailand and Colombiawon their first Grand Prix awards at the main Cannes Lions festival, the first for an unusually-shaped soccer field and the second for repurposing old-fashioned public telephones to bring financial services to the poorest Colombians.

WHAT IT IS: Property development company AP Thailand won the Design Grand Prix by finding a creative use for vacant space to benefit the local community with the insight that a soccer field doesn't have to be the traditional rectangle shape. Instead, an oddly-shaped soccer pitch was dropped into the middle of a city between tall buildings, giving kids a place to play and stay out of trouble.

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Jet.com and R/GA Win Cannes' Media Grand Prix for 'Innovating Saving'

Jet.com and R/GA's New York office won the Grand Prix for Media for the e-commerce startup's audacious "Innovating Saving" campaign.

WHAT IT IS: One highlight of the campaign was hijacking the Super Bowl, without paying Super Bowl TV ad prices, by doing an online commercial for Jet.com's own "super bowls". Key words and tagging made that spot more relevant than real Super Bowl ads. Other ads showed cost-saving ideas that didn't work, like having a robot wrap things. And Jet.com, which was bought by Walmart last year for $3.3 billion, even told people to rethink what they shell out for the holidays, suggesting that they peg spending on friends and family to the social-media "likes" they gave. Jet.com has more than seven million registered users.

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Adidas Bests Nike for Entertainment Lions Music Grand Prix

WHAT IT IS: The Adidas Originals "Original Is Never Finished" campaign, which featured a re-mixed, modernized version of the Frank Sinatra classic "My Way," earned the Entertainment for Music Grand Prix. Created out of Johannes Leonardo and directed by RSA's Terence Neale, the anthem spot illustrated the idea of originality as a work in progress. It juxtaposed creative and cultural legends with up-and-comers: it paired skateboard legend Gonz with French pro-skater Lucas Puig, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with young Lakers pro Brandon Ingram. The effort also features artist Petra Collins' spin on Boticelli's "Birth of Venus" and Snoop Dogg's reinvention of his classic "Doggystyle" album cover. The wild "My Way" remix helps to dramatize and unify the dazzling array of imagery. The campaign also included three music videos that debuted online alongside the spot's appearance during the Grammys, as well as social media takeovers.

Music company Human created the remix, with sound design via Q Department and sound mix from Sonic Union.

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The Entertainment Lions Grand Prix Goes to ... a Bank

WHAT IT IS: A branded content campaign, "Beyond Money" from Santander Bank and created out of MRM/McCann Spain, earned the Entertainment Lions Grand Prix. The centerpiece of the effort is a sci-fi short film, "Cuanto, Mas All Del Dinero" ("How Much, Beyond Money"), directed by Kike Maillo. It tells the story of a woman named Lucia, played by Adriana Ugarte, who sells her most precious experiences. The film debuted in Spain with a Hollywood-style premier and sparked national conversation about the true value of money. The campaign targeted millennials and promoted the bank's new offering to that generation. It led to Santander's fastest sign-up rate in 160 years, and helped the company achieve 35% of its annual business goals in two weeks.

WHY IT WON: In a young category that's going through rapid evolution, "The work that got picked as the Grand Prix is the most perfect example of a how a brand could make a statement about itself but also earn the precious time consumers are going to invest in it," said Jury President P.J. Pereira, co-founder and chief creative officer of Pereira & O'Dell.

"What led us to 'Beyond Money' is that it was a great piece of film that integrated the brand in a truly seamless and meaningful way, but it didn't just move the positioning of the brand forward. It actually moved the whole category of financial services forward by taking a brave step in getting people to really start questioning whether or not money was more important than experiences," said juror Jason Xenopoulos, CEO & chief creative officer VML South Africa. "We felt It was an incredibly well-dramatized not just brand idea, but philosophical idea."

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Marketer's Brief: Happy First Day of Summer! Now Go Back to School

Moves

ICYMI, General Mills named former Coca-Cola marketer Ivan Pollard as its global chief marketing officer. He spoke with Ad Age by phone about the new role.

Contributing: Jessica Wohl, Adrianne Pasquarelli, Jack Neff, Bradley Johnson

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Q&A: Why Ivan Pollard Is Joining General Mills

Ivan Pollard is joining General Mills after more than a year of change in the marketing and media organization. The maker of Cheerios and Yoplait selected a new U.S. media agency, WPP's Mindshare, in the fall of 2015. In 2016, it picked MDC Partners' 72andSunny and Redscout as its primary U.S. creative agency, with Joan Creative, Erich & Kallman and The Community working on projects across its portfolio.

Chief Marketing Officer Ann Simonds and Chief Creative Officer Michael Fanuele left in recent months. But the marketing organization isn't the only part of the company seeing major changes. General Mills elevated Jeff Harmening to the CEO role as of June 1, months after overhauling its global structure and cutting hundreds of positions. And later this month, the company will report fiscal 2017 results. It previously said it expected sales to drop 4% in the year, which ended in late May.

Pollard, who hails from England, holds a bachelor of science in physics from the University of Nottingham, and was an Ad Age Media Maven in 2013, officially joins General Mills as global chief marketing officer on July 10. He already lives in the Minneapolis area and had been traveling for work during his tenure at Coca-Cola.

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Intel Will Sponsor the Olympics to Showcase Virtual Reality Tech

Intel plans to sponsor the Olympics through 2024 in the company's latest bid to show off its technology through high-profile sports events.

The chipmaker said it will partner with the International Olympic Committee to bring Intel's technology, such as virtual reality, 360-degree video, artificial intelligence and drones, to enhance the Olympic Games.

Intel is signing on at a time when global interest in the Olympics is waning. TV ratings have fallen and cities have dropped out of the running to host the games as costs spiral. Yet for Intel, the sponsorship is part of a broad push into sports after it launched a group to explore such deals last fall, seeking to highlight initiatives other than its main computer processor business. The Santa Clara, California-based company has been harnessing VR and other technology to heighten the fan experience during baseball, basketball and football games.

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The Cannes Daily Diaries, All in One Place

Our team at Cannes this year kept a running diary so they could reconstruct events if, well, they wound up at Gutter Bar. (They mostly didn't.) Here now, in one place, their adventures:

Cannes Daily Blog Day One: Live from the Riviera

Meet the managers of the Carlton Terrace, a central meeting place during Cannes, and encounter "a force of creative destruction" like no other: cannabis. But really, things are just getting started.

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Cannes Clash: Publicis Groupe's Pull-Out Shocks Marketers and Agencies

Written from reports by Ad Age's correspondents in Cannes: Brian Braiker, Lindsay Stein, Ann-Christine Diaz, Laurel Wentz, Jack Neff and E.J. Schultz.

It's only three weeks since Arthur Sadoun took over as president-CEO of Publicis Groupe, but he's already made an impact -- to the solar plexus of the Cannes International Festival of Creativity. From his table at the Majestic, Sadoun said that the holding company would sit out the industry's biggest creative event next year, as well as other awards programs and SXSW and CES for good measure. It was a statement that shook many in Cannes, including many Publicis staffers who had not been informed, or had just learned the news while at Cannes.

"Arthur likes to make things explode," said one high-level Publicis executive who said he was shocked. After learning about the edict, he said he left his dinner table to make calls to his home country to break the news.

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Virgin Mobile Throws in With Apple, Offers a Year's Service for $1. iPhones Only.

In an attempt to dramatically upset the established order of cellphone carriers in the United States, Virgin Mobile has struck a deal with Apple to make consumers an offer that seems too good to be true: one year of unlimited talk, text and data for $1.

Virgin Mobile is using other Virgin brands, such as its hotel chain and airline, to further lure customers into giving its prepaid service a chance. People who sign up with Virgin Mobile will also be added into the "Virgin Inner Circle," which includes perks like a free one-night stay at a Virgin hotel or a "companion ticket" for flights to the U.K.

Angela Rittgers, chief marketing officer at Virgin Mobile, told Ad Age that its "biggest struggle is how to make sure consumers understand there is no gimmick behind this."

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