Brands Brief: Facebook Launches Biggest Business-to-Business Campaign to Date

Top Stories

  • Facebook Inc. is rolling out its most ambitious business-to-business effort to date this week in an effort to pitch mobile video ads among marketers. (Adweek)
  • Volkswagen AG pleaded guilty in Detroit last week to criminal charges linked to its emissions cheating scandal, and will pay a $2.8 billion criminal fine as part of a plea agreement. (MarketWatch)
  • Starbucks Corp. said contrary to reports, the coffee chain is not being negatively impacted by efforts to boycott the company following its announcement of a 10,000 refugee-strong hiring effort in the wake of President Donald Trump’s travel ban. (Reuters)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

South by Southwest in Austin 8 a.m.
MRC Vegas 8 a.m.
The Content Council annual spring conference in New York 8:30 a.m.
MRC Vegas 7:30 a.m.
South by Southwest in Austin 8:30 a.m.
Performance Marketing Summit in Austin 10 a.m.
Adweek webinar on mobile app engagement 1 p.m.
ANA webinar on working with celebrities 1 p.m.
MRC Vegas 7:30 a.m.
South by Southwest in Austin 8:30 a.m.
ANA webinar on user-generated content 1 p.m.
MRC Vegas 7:30 a.m.
South by Southwest in Austin 9:30 a.m.
South by Southwest in Austin 9:30 a.m.
ANA webinar on customer relationships 1 p.m.


Advertising and Marketing

Facebook Will Push Mobile Video Ads With Its Biggest Business-to-Business Campaign Ever
Christopher Heine, Adweek

Facebook on March 16 will launch its biggest business-to-business advertising endeavor in the company’s 13-year history, the digital media giant revealed to Adweek at South by Southwest on Sunday. The Facebook brand campaign aims to educate and inspire marketers to invest more in mobile video ads and to generally shift industry mindsets toward clips specifically created for the platform’s smartphone users.

Global Consultancies Are Buying Up Agencies and Reshaping the Brand Marketing World
David Gianatasio, Adweek

In the waning weeks of 2015, Mike Barrett, president of San Francisco agency Heat, and his partners, John Elder and Steve Stone, faced the biggest decision of their careers as they mulled acquisition options for the shop, which, true to its name, had grown to rank among the hottest independents in the business. Should they join one of the global agency holding companies showing interest?

Amazon launched a fake radio station to promote ‘The Man in the High Castle.’ Angry Trump supporters thought it was real.
Travis M. Andrews, The Washington Post

An ad campaign for a dystopian television show has some Trump supporters seeing red. Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle,” loosely based on a Philip K. Dick novel, is ramping up for its third season.

Buick reboots brand with a shift toward SUVs
Henry Payne, The Detroit News

Buick made the list of Top 10 brands in the Consumer Reports 2017 Annual Top Picks list. It’s second only to Porsche in J.D. Power’s Vehicle Dependability Study.

A small US supermarket chain is consistently ranked up there with Google as one of the best places to work
Oliver Staley, Quartz

Fortune magazine’s list of the best companies to work in the US for is perennially dominated by sexy names. This year, it includes Google, with its abundant perks and freedom to innovate; Genentech, a biotech where employees are united around the goal of curing cancer; and the Boston Consulting group, with its high pay and challenging assignments.

Dunkin’ Donuts: National brand, but still local flavor
Anne O’Connor, Lowell Sun Online

When the family business is making doughnuts, a career in food service is a logical step. Steve Catalano went from being, “the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker” at his dad’s Mister Donut shop in Woburn to owning 39 stores, with more than 500 employees, in the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise.

Media and Entertainment

Nickelodeon Unveils Brand Refresh
Kate Stanhope, The Hollywood Reporter

Nickelodeon is hitting the refresh button. The Viacom-owned cable network is set to unveil a new on-air and online look timed to the 2017 Kids Choice Awards.

The Wall Street Journal Tackles Fake News in New Campaign
Katie Richards, Adweek

In today’s world, with constant claims of fake news, it’s a tough time to be a member of the mainstream media. In an effort to show the world what a credible source it is, The Wall Street Journal has released a new campaign called “The Face of Real News.”

NYT’s Dean Baquet on Trump at SXSW: ‘We are preparing for the story of the generation’
Ilyse Liffreing, Campaign US

President Donald Trump has publically condemned a lot of brands, but the New York Times has been an especially frequent target. The newspaper even has a running list of all the times Trump has tweeted about its “failing reputation” and “fake” coverage.

Social Media and Technology

Digital Horror Startup Crypt TV Raises $3.5 Million
Mike Shields, The Wall Street Journal

The number of digital media companies with ties to investor Kenneth Lerer is getting downright scary. Mr. Lerer, managing partner at Lerer Hippeau Ventures, is leading a $3.5 million seed funding round for Crypt TV, a two-year-old startup whose short, uber-creepy videos have built a following of over 2 million Facebook fans.

Facebook Messenger’s ‘Day’ Becomes Third Clone of Snapchat Stories
Sarah Frier, Bloomberg News

Facebook Inc. isn’t done copying Snap Inc., its younger, newly public rival. In the social media giant’s mobile chat app, Messenger, users can now post to a feature called Day to broadcast annotated photos and videos of their life that disappear in 24 hours.

Apple’s Siri learns Shanghainese as voice assistants race to cover languages
Stephen Nellis, Reuters

With the broad release of Google Assistant last week, the voice-assistant wars are in full swing, with Apple Inc, Inc, Microsoft Corp and now Alphabet Inc’s Google all offering electronic assistants to take your commands. Siri is the oldest of the bunch, and researchers including Oren Etzioni, chief executive officer of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Seattle, said Apple has squandered its lead when it comes to understanding speech and answering questions.

PR and Communications

Volkswagen pleads guilty to criminal charges
Mike Spector, MarketWatch

Volkswagen AG pleaded guilty to criminal charges for rigging diesel-powered vehicles to cheat on government emissions tests, capping the final significant U.S. legal settlement expected in a long-running deception that hammered the German auto company’s reputation and finances. In an unprecedented resolution for a criminal case involving an automotive company, Volkswagen pleaded guilty in a Detroit federal court Friday to conspiracy to defraud the U.S., commit wire fraud and violate the Clean Air Act; obstruction of justice; and import violations.

Starbucks says boycott threats over refugee hiring hasn’t hurt brand
Lisa Baertlein, Reuters

Starbucks Corp on Friday said its business has not been hurt by a social media boycott campaign started in response to the chain’s promise to hire 10,000 refugees globally over the next five years. Starbucks made its Jan. 29 refugee hiring announcement on the heels of President Donald Trump’s first executive order that temporarily banned travel from seven mostly Muslim nations.

Eric Trump Admits “Brand Is The Hottest It Has Ever Been”
Emily Jane Fox, Vanity Fair

So far, the scorecard for Donald Trump’s young presidency veers mostly in the negative. He called a mulligan on his travel-ban executive order after its first, hastily written iteration was halted by two federal courts; Mike Flynn resigned because he failed to disclose ties to Russia and two of Trump’s Cabinet secretaries have had to recuse themselves from various job functions because of their conflicting interests; he has been sued several times over his Trump Hotel property; the fate of his Obamacare replacement looks grim; and his approval ratings still hover in the 40s.

A D.C. Wine Bar is Suing The President and a Trump Hotel
Madeleine Luckel, Vanity Fair

This week, the owners of popular Washington, D.C., wine bar Cork filed a lawsuit against President Trump and the Trump International Hotel in D.C. Khalid Pitts and Diane Gross, who are also husband and wife, are claiming that the recently opened hotel and its restaurants benefit from an unfair and illegal advantage due to its association with the president, which has directly caused their business to suffer. Pitts and Gross are, of course, not the first people to raise concerns related to the president’s businesses.

Corporate Social Responsibility

These 4 Atlanta Agencies United to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in Their Hometown
Erik Oster, Adweek

Four Atlanta agencies have united to form the Advertising for Change coalition to promote diversity in their hometown. JWT Atlanta, 22squared, Fitzgerald & Co. and Moxie make up the coalition, which launched today and promotes inclusion both as a better business practice and a way to help Atlanta stand apart as a destination for advertising talent.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

Culture Eats Brand Strategy For Lunch At FedEx
Allen Adamson, Forbes

At a recent Columbia Business school BRITE conference, FedEx vice-president and CMO Rajesh Subramanian spoke candidly about his iconic company’s brand strategy, from the inside out, without a worry or concern. Why?

The Average Brand Sees Highest Engagement on Instagram, Study Says

When it comes to social media engagement, Instagram is a clear leader. That’s according to a new report by TrackMaven, a marketing software company.

Why Your Customers Deserve Personalized Responses on Social Media
Firas Kittaneh, Entrepreneur

Consumers, increasingly, are using social media to connect with companies; and this has led to a growing preference among users who would rather contact customer support representatives through social media versus over the phone. Social media, in fact, represents an important opportunity for brands to engage with their customers on a deeper level and provide an outstanding user experience by delivering personalized social responses.