Brands Brief: Glenn Beck Cuts Jobs at The Blaze

Top Stories

  • The conservative commentator Glenn Beck laid off more than 20 percent of the combined workforce at his news and video website The Blaze and his production company, Mercury Radio Arts, citing advertising and funding challenges. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimated that as of Thursday afternoon, companies have promised to donate a total of $113 million to help the victims of Tropical Storm Harvey, with 52 companies pledging at least $1 million. (CNN)
  • Spotify Ltd.’s head of original video and podcasts, Tom Calderone, is leaving the music streaming company after the early programs didn’t find traction with audiences. Spotify said its video efforts will focus on Rap Caviar, the service’s most popular playlist, and other features. (Bloomberg)

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This Is the Future of Brand Reputation Tracking

See how Morning Consult Brand Intelligence is changing the way media, marketing and communications executives are managing brand reputation.


What YouTube’s upcoming swipe-next gesture may mean for advertisers
Tim Peterson, Marketing Land

What if YouTube were able to swipe left on its brand-safety problem? Sometime “in the coming months,” YouTube will let people swipe from one video to the next, the Google-owned video service announced on Tuesday.

How Ogilvy Plans to Become the First Ad Agency in Outer Space
Patrick Coffee, Adweek

“Most companies are outer space companies. They just don’t know it yet.”

Cheerios’ Failed Case for Yellow Shows Why It’s So Hard for Brands to Trademark Colors
Robert Klara, Adweek

It’s bad enough for General Mills that Americans have been losing interest in breakfast cereal for the past decade or more, but the brand got more bad news last week when the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board rejected its application to trademark the use of yellow on Cheerios boxes. The problem for the packaged-foods giant wasn’t so much that consumers didn’t recognize Cheerios’ famous yellow box; it was that too many other cereals were already using yellow on their boxes.

USTA Launched an Inspiring Campaign to Get More Kids From All Backgrounds Involved in Tennis
Katie Richards, Adweek

The 2017 U.S. Open is underway, and there’s a lot for the United States Tennis Association to celebrate. The USTA, the sport’s governing body, launched Net Generation this year, a youth tennis brand and initiative that aims to get more kids from around the country involved in tennis. The USTA worked with its agency of record, Wunderman New York, and production company Rumur on the project.

musicFirst Targets YouTube, iHeart, Sirius Over Fair Pay In New Ad Campaign
Dan Rys, Billboard

Music industry coalition musicFIRST, the trade body that includes the RIAA, the Recording Academy, A2IM, SoundExchange and the American Federation of Musicians among its founding members, launched a national digital ad campaign today that takes aim at radio, streaming and the U.S. Copyright Act with the goal of advancing its fair play, fair pay initiative. The campaign’s main targets (along with musicFIRST’s tongue-in-cheek code names for them): iHeart (“No Heart Radio”); SiriusXM (“SiriusLY?”); the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 (“That ’70s Law”); and YouTube (“YouLose”).

Cadillac Launches ‘Let Go’ Ads Showing ‘Super Cruise’ Hands-Free Driving
Eric Brandt, The Drive

Cadillac is feeling very confident about its Super Cruise semi-autonomous highway driving system. So confident that they just launched a pair of new 30-second “Let Go” (Ed. note: Get it?) ads during the VMAs.

Inside Amazon’s pitch to agencies
Seb Joseph, Digiday

As Amazon’s advertising business gathers momentum, agencies are realizing what it takes to run campaigns on the world’s largest online retailer. Unlike Facebook and Google, the e-commerce giant is in the business of selling products to shoppers, not selling inventory to brands — a subtle, yet important difference. Advertising executives are talking to Amazon’s reps about supply chains and inventory as much as ad copy or keyword strategies, which Jason Hartley, 360i’s national head of search and paid social, admitted “is very different and challenging, but absolutely necessary.”

Media and Entertainment

Glenn Beck Cuts Jobs at His Conservative News Site, The Blaze
Imani Moise, The Wall Street Journal

Glenn Beck is cutting jobs at his conservative news and video site The Blaze, citing pressures on advertising and funding in an increasingly crowded field of digital media outlets that cater to right-leaning audiences. The layoffs affected more than 20 percent of the combined workforce of The Blaze and his production company, Mercury Radio Arts, though were primarily focused on The Blaze, Mr. Beck said in a post on Thursday.

Elaine Welteroth, Teen Vogue’s Refashionista
Jazmine Hughes, The New York Times

The editor in chief has taken on a seemingly impossible task: reinventing the glossy magazine for a hyperempathetic generation.

NFL Has Lower Ratings, But Pricier TV Spots
Wayne Friedman, MediaPost

With a week to go before the start of the new NFL season, perception problems remain for the league — but probably not with national TV advertising dollars. YouGov BrandIndex says that in comparison to Major League Baseball, the NFL continues to get low “buzz” numbers.

‘MasterChef’ Ratings Rise, ‘Marlon’ Up In Week 3 As NBC & Fox Tie For Demo Win
Dominic Patten, Deadline

It was more of the same but with a little bit more where it counted for several originals on the Big 4 last night as NBC and Fox finished in a dead heat in the key demo. With a 1.2/5 each among adults 18-49, the both nets saw a pretty good Wednesday amid the last days of summer.

Political Podcasts Are Having a Moment (And Making Real Money)
Jeremy Barr, The Hollywood Reporter

At a time when national politics is dividing the U.S. and revealing deep fissures in society, there are few media platforms bringing people together more than political podcasts. These podcasts aren’t just vanity projects — they’re also sustainable, high-value businesses.

Vice Debuts a Snapchat Dating Show Sponsored by Match, Featuring Fun Commentary From Action Bronson
Sami Main, Adweek

Fans of food and dating now have a new short-form show to tune into on Snapchat. Vice, with launch partner, has created a weekly, 8-episode show featuring couples going on dates that were designed by Action Bronson himself.

Social Media and Technology

Spotify Says Head of Video and Podcasting Operations Is Out
Lucas Shaw, Bloomberg

Spotify Ltd. is parting ways with Tom Calderone, the head of original video and podcasts, after the music-streaming company’s initial round of programs failed to catch on with audiences. The online pioneer confirmed Calderone’s departure in an email Thursday. Spotify will focus its video efforts around Rap Caviar, the service’s most popular playlist, Rock This and other features, a spokesman said.

Yahoo and AOL boss Tim Armstrong’s plan to take on Google and Facebook: Go around them
Eric Johnson, Recode

As an early sales exec at Google, Tim Armstrong was well paid, but itchy for a bigger challenge, so he left to run AOL. Now, as the chief of both AOL and Yahoo under Verizon, he has the challenge of a lifetime: Making an ad business work when Google and Facebook are taking all the ad dollars.

BBH​ ​NY’s​ ​#EmojiMeals​ ​campaign​ ​tackles​ ​child​ ​hunger​ ​with​ ​Instagram​ ​Stories
Zoë Beery, Campaign US

Millenials, if trend pieces are to be believed, have been on a murder spree ever since their generation started to come of age. They’re “killing” napkins, golf, the NFL, focus groups, wine corks, the American Dream—the list seems to grow longer by the month.

PR and Marketing

Businesses donate over $113 million to Harvey relief efforts
Kaya Yurieff, CNN

Corporate giants are making big contributions to disaster relief organizations to help victims of Tropical Storm Harvey. The storm is expected to leave behind billions of dollars in damages.

Volkswagen brand chief vows to boost SUVs sales, U.S. market share
David Shepardson, Reuters

A top executive of German automaker Volkswagen AG said Thursday the company expects to boost its sport-utility vehicle sales sharply by 2020 and will move to add electric vehicle offerings in the wake of its diesel emissions cheating scandal. Herbert Diess, who heads the mass market Volkswagen brand, said the world’s largest carmaker by sales expects SUVs to account for 40 percent of its global sales, up from less than 15 percent today.

As Sun Comes Out in Houston, the Search for Basics Begins
Ben Kesling et al., The Wall Street Journal

The sun came out over this drenched city early Wednesday, which brought out throngs of people clamoring for groceries, gasoline and other supplies, and jamming streets with traffic even as continued flooding shut down roads and kept rescue teams busy. Many people spent the day in a fruitless search in parts of the city, as stores remained closed due to flooding or power outages, but some bigger stores, like Wal-Mart, were starting to get back to business.

Big Food Faces Pressure From Retailers Demanding Discounts
Annie Gasparro et al., The Wall Street Journal

America’s packaged-food companies are coming under pressure from retailers who are pushing big brands to lower their prices. On Thursday, Campbell Soup Co. said its sales would suffer this winter because it failed to reach an agreement with a major retailer over promotional pricing and shelf space for its canned soup, its most important product.

How to Get Ripped Off While Trying to Book Your Favorite Rapper
Andy Cush, SPIN

Ian Smith had been working for several weeks to book Rae Sremmurd at the famed Austin nightclub and BBQ joint Stubb’s when he received a strange document in his inbox. It was the supposed contract rider for the white-hot Mississippi rap duo, whose “Black Beatles” was the most popular single in the country at the time, in late 2016.

Former Facebook brand marketing head is new Oculus CMO
Lucas Matney, TechCrunch

A long-time Facebook brand marketing exec has been tapped to lead marketing efforts at Oculus. Rebecca Van Dyck will be joining the virtual reality team as CMO.

This Harlem-Based, Beyoncé-Approved Jewelry Brand Is About To Be Your New Fave
Imani Randolph, The Fader

Kristin and Kofi Essel are a power couple and the two design creatives behind Third Crown, a jewelry brand that has found fans in Beyoncé, Solange, and Cardi B. Third Crown is known for its bold, geometric pieces, crafted exclusively from gold, silver, and gunmetal.

Behind a $13 shirt, a $6-an-hour worker
Natali Kitroeff and Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times

Before dawn six days a week, Norma Ulloa left the two-bedroom apartment she shared with four family members and boarded a bus that took her to a stifling factory on the outskirts of downtown Los Angeles. She spent 11 hours a day there, pinning Forever 21 tags on trendy little shirts and snipping away their loose threads in the one-room workshop. On a good day, the 44-year-old could get through 700 shirts.

Star Wars ‘Force Friday II’ kicks off ‘Last Jedi’ marketing push
Thomas Barrabi, Fox Business

Disney is kicking off the marketing blitz for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” this week with the second edition of “Force Friday,” which marks the global release of the film franchise’s newest toys and memorabilia. Dubbed “Force Friday II,” this year’s event features a massive augmented reality (AR) “treasure hunt” that will allow fans to use the Star Wars app to search for new and old characters at more than 20,000 store locations around the world.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

The Truth About Teens and Their Social Media Habits
Tiffany Zhong, MediaPost

Like most adults, marketers do their best to understand teens, but it’s not easy to follow their changing digital habits and preferences. Twenty-year-old Tiffany Zhong recently left the University of California, Berkeley, and founded Zebra Intelligence to do just that—help marketers keep up with this cohort.