Brands Brief: Epcot Is Getting a Makeover

Top Stories

  • The Walt Disney Co. is giving its Epcot theme park a new look that will include more character stories, the company announced at an expo in Anaheim, Calif., over the weekend. The park gets fewer visitors than the Magic Kingdom, despite being twice the size, and executives are banking on the idea that adding more film-related attractions will prove lucrative. (USA Today)
  • Delta Air Lines Inc. responded to right-wing personality Ann Coulter after her seat was reassigned to a different seat on a flight between New York and West Palm Beach, Florida. Delta tweeted that Coulter will get a $30 refund, equal to what she paid to book her preferred seat, and called her comments about other passengers and Delta staff “unacceptable and unnecessary.” (CNBC)
  • Toys “R” Us Inc. is the picture of a retailer lagging behind in its efforts to keep up with competition: The company has $5 billion in debt and has spent $100 million and several years trying to boost online sales. It is revamping its website this summer in an attempt to compete with retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (The Wall Street Journal)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Digital Publishing Innovation Summit in New York 7:30 a.m.
MozCon Seattle 8 a.m.
Milestone Engage 2017 digital marketing conference in Chicago 1 p.m.
Digital Publishing Innovation Summit in New York 7:30 a.m.
Milestone Engage 2017 digital marketing conference in Chicago 7:30 a.m.
MozCon Seattle 8 a.m.
Innovation Congress in New York 12 p.m.
Advertising Age’s Small Agency Conference and Awards in Nashville 6 p.m.
Advertising Age’s Small Agency Conference and Awards in Nashville 8 a.m.
Innovation Congress in New York 8 a.m.
OMMA Los Angeles 8 a.m.
MozCon Seattle 9 a.m.
ANA webinar on building customer relationships 1 p.m.
GrowCommerce 2017 in New York 8 a.m.
PRNews’ Facebook Boot Camp in New York 8:30 a.m.
PR Now & Next Conference Chicago 8:30 a.m.
Adweek webinar with Office Depot on people-based marketing 1 p.m.
PR Now & Next Conference Chicago 9 a.m.


Disney plans Epcot makeover with character attractions
Roger Yu, USA Today

The big golf ball stays, but Epcot will be getting a “Disneyfied” makeover. A roller coaster and a Ratatouille-themed ride are among the new attractions that will be added, part of Walt Disney Co.’s efforts to infuse the 35-year old future-and-culture theme park with more of its character brands.

5 Billion Reasons Toys ‘R’ Us Struggles as Amazon Soars
Miriam Gottfried, The Wall Street Journal

Toys “R” Us Inc. will get a new website this summer as it struggles to compete online with its cash-rich rivals. The toy retailer, laden with $5 billion in debt, has spent $100 million over the past several years to help boost its online sales.

Maker of Hit Toy Hatchimals Hatches a Plan to Win Christmas
Adrianne Pasquarelli, Advertising Age

Something is hatching this October. Spin Master, the Toronto-based company behind Hatchimals, the “it” toy of 2016, is preparing for the second iteration of its popular hatching egg toy.

Everything, Including the Kitchen Sink: Inside Kohler’s In-House Agency
Jessica Wohl, Advertising Age

It’s a bright, modern space with the trappings of an agency: glass-walled conference rooms, shelves lined with art, and design publications and past work on display. There’s a social media listening room, the requisite video and photo editing bays.

Burberry records big WeChat win in China, as luxe brand boosts sales thanks to high-end advertising rethink
The Associated Press

In a bid to reinvigorate sales in the massive Chinese market, British luxury fashion brand Burberry has, this year, ramped up advertising on China’s popular social media app WeChat. It’s a strategy that’s paid off handsomely for Burberry, which saw a 4 per cent rise in overall sales in the second quarter.

Welcome to Manhood, Gillette Told the 50-Year-Old Woman
Sapna Maheshwari, The New York Times

A 50-year-old professor and mother in Tuscaloosa, Ala. A 19-year-old woman in Toledo, Iowa. A 48-year-old man who lives in Seattle.

Here’s What It Would Look Like If Kids Planned The Family Vacations
Taylor Pittman, HuffPost

In a recent ad, JetBlue imagined a world where kids plan the family vacations ― and not a single one mentioned Disney World. Acknowledging their parents’ hard work, the little vacation planners really went out of their way to plan a trip their parents would actually enjoy.

Chipotle shows signs of recovery with new menu items in testing, but is it enough?
Erin Douglas, The Denver Post

Almost two years after Chipotle’s E. Coli crisis, the Denver-based company appears to be tiptoeing forward. After literally giving away its food with free burrito coupons and launching its biggest marketing campaign ever in April, the company’s most recent move was to start testing new menu items in New York – most notably queso.

Media and Entertainment

After Stumbling in Online Video, Publishers Embrace Facebook, TV Licensing
Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, The Wall Street Journal

When Condé Nast launched its video hub, the Scene, in July 2014, it envisioned a sophisticated website that would showcase content from such titles as Vogue, Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, with media partners that included ABC News. But the site offered so much choice that users found it more overwhelming than entertaining, and traffic eventually sank.

Endemol Shine Names Sky Executive Nicola Bamford CEO, International Operations
Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter

Endemol Shine Group said Monday that it has named former Sky top executive Nicola Bamford CEO, international operations. Reporting to Endemol Shine Group CEO Sophie Turner Laing, Bamford begins the role in October and will be based in Amsterdam and London.

‘Game of Thrones’ Premiere Prompts Digital Snafus for HBO
Andrew Wallenstein, Variety

Another year, another “Game of Thrones” premiere presents problems for HBO on digital platforms. Twitter saw elevated levels of grousing from fans all over the globe, who logged on to the HBO  website Sunday night only to find it had been knocked offline, but resurrected later in the evening.

Comey’s Writing a Book, and Publishers Are Eager to Pay Big Money for It
Alexandra Alter, The New York Times

James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director who was fired in May by President Trump, is writing a book about his experience in public service, including his tumultuous and brief tenure in the Trump administration. Mr. Comey has been meeting with editors and publishers in New York in recent days, and is being represented by Keith Urbahn and Matt Latimer, partners at the literary agency Javelin.

Viacom Signs Tyler Perry, a Blow to Oprah Winfrey’s Network
Sophie Haigney, The New York Times

Tyler Perry, the writer, director, producer, playwright and actor, has signed a long-term deal with Viacom that could help the fortunes of that embattled media conglomerate. Mr. Perry, best known for his “Madea” movie series, has agreed to produce 90 episodes annually of original drama and comedy series for BET and other Viacom networks.

MediaCom Leads In New Biz Gains Through First Half
Steve McClellan, MediaPost

Among media agencies in the global and regional pitch department, MediaCom, part of WPP’s GroupM, is off to the best start this year, according marketing and communications research firm COMvergence. Through the first half of 2017 the firm won $1.2 billion in net new business, which was driven by its victory in the $800 million PSA Group (Peugeot-Citroen) review and the $600 Walgreens Boots Alliance review, both global in scope.

Social Media and Technology

How Apple vs. Samsung Became a Smartphone Beauty Contest
Timothy W. Martin and Tripp Mickle, The Wall Street Journal

Samsung Electronics Co.’s newest flagship smartphone owes a lot to scuba diving. Samsung design chief M.H. Lee wanted to give consumers the weightless sensation of being underwater when they held the Galaxy S8, which hit shelves in April and is the South Korean tech giant’s first premium device after last year’s costly Galaxy Note 7 recall.

The smartphone is eventually going to die, and Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are racing to kill it
Matt Weinberger, Business Insider

These are the quiet times. From April to June, tech’s biggest companies all held their annual mega-events, laying out their grand visions for the next 12 months or so.

YouTube Seen Outpacing Music Rivals Alongside Rising Consumer Favorability
Jessie Jiang, Morning Consult

YouTube’s music service is gaining momentum, bolstered in part by a video-based platform and streaming’s dominance in U.S. music consumption that’s accompanied by increased consumer favorability for the company, polling shows. Last month, YouTube LLC said it reached 1.5 billion logged-in monthly viewers, which could translate into an audience of 1.2 billion listeners since 82 percent of the site’s users listen to music on the platform, according to research conducted by Ipsos.

If you think Snap’s post-IPO stock slide is bad, remember that Facebook’s was worse
Rani Molla and Kurt Wagner, Recode

Snap’s stock price has declined about 35 percent since its first day as a public company in early March. Closing yesterday at $15.69, that means most Snap investors — including the big banks that hyped the stock and took the company public — are under water.

Behind the Velvet Ropes of Facebook’s Private Groups
Kevin Roose, The New York Times

In recent days, I’ve gotten to know beekeepers in Rhode Island, dental hygienists in New Jersey and Wiccans in Tennessee. I’ve seen gardeners swapping fertilizer advice, flight attendants complaining about annoying passengers and fishermen arguing about which lures are best for catching muskies.

While Some Cry ‘Fake,’ Spotify Sees No Need to Apologize
Ben Sisario, The New York Times

A year ago, Apple stirred controversy by striking special deals with some of pop music’s biggest stars. Now Spotify is under fire for dealings with artists who, in a sense, do not exist at all.

AT&T Could Dominate Video Distribution After Merger, Groups Warn
Wendy Davis, MediaPost

AT&T’s proposed $85 billion merger with Time Warner could enable the company to “utterly dominate” the video distribution market, a coalition of advocacy groups warns in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “AT&T has the reach to serve as the internet access provider and video distributor for nearly every person in the United States,” Public Knowledge, Free Press, Consumer Federation of America and 11 other organizations write in a letter sent to the DOJ on Wednesday.

PR and Marketing

Delta fires back at Ann Coulter after she rages about seat reassignment
Saheli Roy Choudhury, CNBC

Conservative author Ann Coulter had a bone to pick with Delta Air Lines on Saturday, after she said the airline moved her from a pre-booked, “extra room” seat. She railed against the company on Twitter, calling Delta the “worst airline in America,” and complained that it had given her seat to someone who was neither old, a child, sick, nor an “air marshall (sic) or tall person.”

Trian to Launch Proxy Fight Against Procter &Gamble
David Benoit, The Wall Street Journal

Investor Nelson Peltz plans to launch a fight for a board seat at Procter & Gamble Co., in an effort to jolt the consumer-products giant whose sales and profit growth stalled, according to people familiar with the matter. The move would make P&G ,with a market value of $222 billion, the largest company ever to face a proxy fight.

Millions of pounds of hot dogs recalled in U.S. after bone pieces found
Frank McGurty, Reuters

A New York meat processor is recalling more than 7 million pounds of hot dogs and sausages mostly under the Sabrett brand name after consumers complained about finding small pieces of bone in some of the products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Saturday. In one case, someone who ate one of the hot dogs suffered a “minor oral injury,” the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said in a statement.

The Latest: Nike declines comment on ex-player’s lawsuit
The Associated Press

Nike Inc. is declining to comment on an antitrust lawsuit brought by an ex-Ohio State football player. Linebacker Chris Spielman filed the class-action lawsuit Friday on behalf of current and former Ohio State University football players.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

Genius or hubris? Why turning down Facebook may be Snapchat’s big mistake
Olivia Solon, The Guardian

For years Snapchat was seen as David to Facebook’s Goliath, but it looks as though the underdog has lost its swagger. Shares in the messaging app’s parent company Snap fell sharply this week after one of the investment banks that helped to take the company public downgraded its stock.

Since its IPO, Snap Inc. did exactly what it said it would, so why is its stock struggling?
Paresh Dave, Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles tech company behind Snapchat offers a simple sales pitch to investors: We’ll release features niftier than anything our competitors can produce. In its first four months as a publicly traded company, Snap Inc. has kept its part of the bargain.

Ivanka Trump’s Clothing Brand Grows But Its Ethics Are Egregiously Lagging Behind
Kyle Munzenrieder, W Magazine

While Donald Trump was running a campaign promising to put America first, his daughter Ivanka Trump was running a bustling apparel line that relied on overseas labor. That dissonance has been duly noted, but coupled with the controversial nature of the Trump name at the moment, it hasn’t slowed down sales.

The Arby’s CEO leading a hugely successful turnaround of the brand shares his 3 favorite management books
Richard Feloni, Business Insider

When Paul Brown joined Arby’s as its CEO in May 2013, he was faced with the challenge of revitalizing a 50-year-old brand. It had begun to recover from operating at a loss of $350 million when it was split off from the Wendy’s/Arby’s group in 2011, but its new majority owner, the private equity firm Roark Capital Group, felt it had untapped potential.

Ask The CMO: A Conversation With Keds CMO Emily Culp On Digital Transformation And Brand Purpose
Billee Howard, Forbes

There are many forces driving seismic paradigm shifts inside the marketing departments at leading organizations across the world. We are in a period of significant business change, catalyzed by the digital transformation that is upon us, which is requiring leading brands to deliver winning cross-channel experiences to consumers, where they live, work and play.