Brands Brief: Fox, Sponsors Dealt Blow as U.S. Team Fails to Make World Cup

Top Stories

  • The U.S. men’s soccer team was eliminated from the World Cup qualifiers in a loss to Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday night, potentially costing sponsors and media partners millions of dollars. Fox Sports, which is paying more than $400 million for the domestic English-language rights to the next two World Cups, is likely to see a decrease in U.S. viewership now that the American team won’t be part of the global tournament next year. (Bloomberg)
  • As more women come forward to accuse the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, three women alleged that he sexually assaulted them. A spokesperson for Weinstein said the producer “unequivocally” denies allegations of non-consensual sex. (New Yorker)
  • Snapchat has updated its app to allow users to discover a place, see hours of operation, book a reservation, and even hail a ride. The new features make Snapchat similar to WeChat, immensely popular in China. (Mashable)

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Shocking End for U.S. World Cup Bid Deals Blow to Fox, Sponsors
Eben Noby-Williams, Bloomberg

The U.S. men’s soccer team was eliminated from World Cup qualifiers Tuesday, a shocking result that could leave sponsors and media partners in the lurch for millions of dollars. The U.S. fell 2-1 on the road to Trinidad & Tobago.

Reese Witherspoon Plays the Perfect Holiday Hostess for Crate & Barrel
T.L. Stanley, Adweek

Reese Witherspoon, 41, and her home-and-hearth prowess star in a new Crate & Barrel campaign, launching Tuesday on digital and social media with TV spots following at the end of the month. With the tagline, “Make this season merry and just right,” the ads will run through the holidays and kick off a larger deal between the retailer and the Oscar winner.

McDonald’s Made Ridiculously Groovy Posters for its Chicken Tenders Dipping Sauces
Gabriel Beltrone, Adweek

The sauces that come with McDonald’s new Buttermilk Crispy Tenders aren’t just seasonings for your chicken fingers. They’re full-blown identities. A new campaign uses a set of elaborate posters and accompanying descriptions to promote the nine dipping options that come with the limited-edition menu item.

Hyundai Tries to Modernize Car Buying in the Amazon Era
E.J. Schultz, AdAge

As Hyundai looks to overcome a sales slump, it is offering several new pledges to U.S. buyers aimed at responding to today’s consumer demands, like transparency and convenience, that have accelerated in the Amazon era.

Media and Entertainment

For Time Inc.’s Magazines, Fewer Copies Is the Way Forward
Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, The Wall Street Journal

When it comes to the beleaguered print magazine business, Time Inc. is betting that less is more. The publisher is cutting back on the circulation and frequency of some of its biggest titles, part of a far-reaching cost-reduction and restructuring program meant to ensure the profitability of its core brands.

Apple is Partnering with Steven Spielberg on its New TV strategy. (What is Apple’s New TV Strategy?)
Peter Kafka, Recode

Apple is getting into business with Steven Spielberg, by reviving his old “Amazing Stories” show that ran on NBC in the ’80s, via a deal with NBCUniversal.

Medium Opens Subscription Program to All Writers
Benjamin Mullin, The Wall Street Journal

When Medium founder Ev Williams laid off a third of his workforce earlier this year, he declared digital advertising’s business model broken and said his company would seek an alternative. Now, Medium is unveiling the latest step in its new strategy: Get readers—not advertisers—to pay for content.

Commercial Break? Many Just Reach for Another Device
Rimma Kats, eMarketer

Many people use another device, primarily a smartphone, while simultaneously watching TV. And for the most part, they do so during commercial breaks, according to a June 2017 study from Adobe Digital Insights (ADI).

Social Media and Technology

Snapchat’s Context Cards Update Brings it Closer to a WeChat Competitor
Kerry Flynn, Mashable

On Tuesday, Snapchat took its first big step in that direction with an update that features a variety of integrations with other companies. Snapchat users will now be able to discover a place and then see hours of operation, book a reservation, and hail a ride to that location—all while staying in Snapchat.

Uber Pushed the Limits of the Law. Now Comes the Reckoning
Eric Newcomer, Bloomberg

Shortly after taking over Uber Technologies Inc. in September, Dara Khosrowshahi told employees to brace for a painful six months. U.S. officials are looking into possible bribes, illicit software, questionable pricing schemes and theft of a competitor’s intellectual property.

Get Ready to See a Lot More Game Updates on Twitter
Karissa Bell, Mashable

Twitter is adding a new feature to help users figure out what’s “happening now.” The company introduced a new feature today that will highlight sports games, breaking news, and other topics at the top of its users’ timelines.

PR and Marketing

From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories
Ronan Farrow, The New Yorker

In the course of a ten-month investigation, the New Yorker spoke to thirteen women that, between the nineteen-nineties and 2015, said Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them, allegations that corroborate and overlap with the Times’ revelations, and also include far more serious claims, including rape.

P&G Says Shareholders Reject Peltz’s Bid For Board Seat by Slim Margin, Activist Says Vote a Dead Heat
Lauren Hirsch, CNBC

Procter & Gamble declared victory Tuesday over activist investor Nelson Peltz, saying initial figures show it won the biggest proxy battle in history. But the narrow win puts pressure on the owner of Bounty and Tide to move faster in its turnaround and regain the support of investors.

Sheryl Sandberg is Headed to D.C. to do Damage Control on Facebook’s Russian Ad Problem
Tony Romm, Recode

Facebook is dispatching Sheryl Sandberg, its powerful chief operating officer, to Washington, D.C., this week, as the company attempts to contain the political fallout from revelations that Russian agents spread disinformation on the social network.

Wal-Mart Plans Further Cost Cuts as Competition With Amazon Intensifies
Sarah Nassauer and Austen Hufford, The Wall Street Journal

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it would deepen its cost-cutting and introduce zero-based budgeting in some units, efforts to free up funds for new e-commerce and store improvements in an increasingly competitive retail environment.

NFL Owners to Mull Anthem Rules as Trump Ups Protest Criticism
Staff, Reuters

NFL team owners will consider requiring football players to stand for the U.S. national anthem after President Donald Trump on Tuesday suggested using tax laws to penalize the league for players who kneel in protest of racial injustice.

TNT, American Express Forge New NBA Sponsorship Deal
Anthony Crupi, AdAge

With just a week to go before the 2017-18 NBA season tips off with a blockbuster doubleheader on TNT, Turner Sports has locked in a new multi-year, multi-million-dollar marketing deal with American Express.

IKEA Now Makes Furniture for Your Pets
Grace Donnelly, Fortune

If you’ve ever wished you and your dog could have matching fold-out couches, IKEA has you covered. And not in pet hair. The much-loved Swedish furniture company announced a line of pet products this month, designed specifically for the four-legged members of the family.

Shake Shack Claims Automation Won’t Hurt Its Famed Hospitality
Kate Krader, Bloomberg

Beloved burger chain Shake Shack recently announced plans to use automated kiosks in lieu of employees to take orders at its new Astor Place location. The news rather awkwardly coincided with the announcement that founder Danny Meyer has raised $200 million in private equity to invest in companies with a strong focus on employees and communities.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

The Frightful Five Want to Rule Entertainment. They Are Hitting Limits.
Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times

The tech giants are too big. Other than Donald J. Trump, that’s the defining story of 2017, the meta-narrative lurking beneath every other headline. The companies I call the Frightful Five — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet, Google’s parent company — have experienced astounding growth over the last few years, making them the world’s five most valuable public companies.

Why the Fall of Harvey Weinstein Signals the End of Fashion’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Practices
BOF Team, Business of Fashion

Like fashion, finance or any other industry driven — at least in part — by the quest for status and power, entertainment has its fair share of secret deals and unsavoury behaviour. For nearly three decades, film producer and studio executive Harvey Weinstein’s inappropriate advances towards women were widely known but never publicly reported as no news outlets were able — or perhaps willing — to amass hard evidence.