Brands Brief: Harvey Weinstein to Take Leave of Absence After Harassment Allegations

Top Stories

  • An investigation has found previously undisclosed allegations of sexual harassment against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein that span over nearly three decades. In a statement, Weinstein, the co-founder of Weinstein Co., apologized for behaving in a way that “has caused a lot of pain,” saying that he will take a leave of absence to “deal with this issue head on,” while a lawyer advising Weinstein said that “he denies many of the accusations as patently false.” (The New York Times)
  • The yogurt company Dannon is dropping the Carolina Panthers football player Cam Newton as a spokesman, saying that his comments to a female reporter at a news conference were “sexist and disparaging.” In response to the reporter’s question about Newton’s on-the-field strategy, he said it was “funny to hear a female talk about routes.” (AdWeek)
  • State Street Corp., the financial services firm behind the “Fearless Girl” statue on Wall Street, will pay $5 million to settle federal allegations of gender and racial pay discrimination. State Street did not admit wrongdoing in the agreement but said it had decided “to bring this six-year-old matter to resolution and move forward.” (The Washington Post)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

ANA Masters of Marketing conference 7 a.m.

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.


Dannon Drops NFL Quarterback Cam Newton Over ‘Sexist and Disparaging’ Remarks
Katie Richards, AdWeek

Yogurt brand Dannon is cutting ties with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton over sexist comments he made in a press conference on Wednesday. Newton joined the Dannon team in January 2015, taking over the Oikos brand from former spokesperson John Stamos.

JPMorgan’s Marketing Chief says Amazon is a Real Challenger to Facebook and Google in Digital Advertising
Tanya Dua, Business Insider

With product and search ads on, and its data on shoppers being used to run display ads all over the web, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant is increasingly becoming top of mind for advertisers. In fact, its ad business is already worth over $2 billion.

An Old Beer Learns New Tricks, and Risks an Identity Crisis
Brian Kevin, The New York Times

Leinenkugel’s and its parent company, MillerCoors, would like to make the brand more than just a cult or local favorite. And they have largely succeeded with Summer Shandy, a breakout hit released in 2007 that has inspired a whole line of flavor-enhanced brews — watermelon, pomegranate, cocoa-raspberry — and, for the first time, brought the country’s seventh-oldest brewery to taps and store shelves nationwide.

P&G, Ford and Other Top Brands Keep Ads Flowing to Rt’s Site
Garett Sloane, AdAge

While Marc Pritchard is at the annual advertising festival known as the ANAs and continues to question the digital ad ecosystem, Procter & Gamble ads are still at risk of running on questionable websites. In recent weeks, Gillette ads have run on, a site that was accused of misleading coverage following last weekend’s Las Vegas shooting and seeking influence during the 2016 presidential election.

Levi’s Unveils 50 Collaborations to Boost Comeback
Chantal Fernandez, The Business of Fashion

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Type III trucker jacket, Levi’s enlisted 50 influencers from around the world and asked them to customise or design their own versions of the trucker jacket, which will be revealed Thursday night at a splashy event before a crowd of about 400 influencers and members of the media at the Levi’s Haus, a showroom-cum-performance space.

The World’s Largest Advertiser Slashed Spending on ‘Crappy’ Digital Ads by Over $100 Million — and Still Saw Sales Increase
Tanya Dua, Business Insider

Procter & Gamble, consumer products giant that is the world’s biggest advertiser, has aggressively pushed to clean up the murky digital advertising landscape — including by slashing its own spending on online ads.

Keurig Taps James Corden to Spark Sales of its Newest Brewer
E.J. Schultz, AdAge

Keurig is banking on the celebrity power of James Corden to jolt to its single-serve coffee sales amid a cooldown in the once-hot K-cup category.

Let’s Make a Deal: CBS Offers Some of TV’s Best Bargains 
Anthony Crupi, AdAge

At this juncture in the new broadcast season, CBS appears to be the smart buy for advertisers looking to get their messaging in front of as many viewers as possible without busting their budgets.

Droga5, CP+B Vets Join Periscope in Senior Production Roles
Erik Oster, AgencySpy

Minneapolis agency Periscope welcomed Bill Berg as executive producer and Steve Sutherland as vice president, director of integrated production.

Media and Entertainment

Netflix is Raising its Prices
Jason Abbruzzese, Mashable

Get ready to pay just a bit more for your Netflix subscription. The streaming video service will be raising prices on its middle and top tier plans in the U.S. starting in November. Subscribers who currently pay for the standard $9.99 service will be charged $10.99. The price of the premium tier will rise from $11.99 to $13.99.

Spotify Has Added Nike Exec Heidi O’Neill to its Board
Peter Kafka, Recode

Spotify has added a new board member as it prepares to go public: Nike executive Heidi O’Neill. O’Neill runs Nike’s “direct” business, which means she’s in charge of its $9 billion retail, digital and e-commerce units. She’s been at the company for seven years, and previously ran marketing for Levi Strauss.

Where Amazon Is Failing to Dominate: Hollywood
Ben Fritz et al., The Wall Street Journal

On the Monday morning after Inc. failed to win a single prize at the Primetime Emmy Awards, one of its senior television executives gathered his dejected staff at their Los Angeles-area office for a pep talk.

Alibaba Buys Broadcast Rights to Slate of Pac-12 College Sports
Scott Soshnick, Bloomberg

The Pac-12, the college sports conference that includes UCLA, USC, Stanford and Oregon, is about to get a lot more airtime in China. Alibaba Group has acquired the rights to broadcast Pac-12 sports across China through 2024, part of a growing effort by the schools to market their teams — and their academic programs — to potential Chinese students and their parents.

DirecTV Now Launches 13 More Network Affiliates, Now Has Locals in 75% of Country
Daniel Frankel, FierceCable

Looking for any edge it can find in the ultracompetitive race for vMVPD supremacy, AT&T announced the launch of 13 more broadcast network affiliates on DirecTV Now. The stations include Boston Fox affiliate WFXT-TV. DirecTV Now viewers in Beantown now have local access to all the Big Four networks.

Social Media and Technology

YouTube Tweaks Search Results as Las Vegas Conspiracy Theories Rise to Top
Jack Nicas, The Wall Street Journal

YouTube this week surfaced videos peddling misinformation, hateful messages and conspiracy theories to users tracking major news events—prompting the site to change its search results to promote more authoritative sources.

Facebook Quietly Launches Mac and PC Workplace Chat Apps with Screen Share
Josh Constine, TechCrunch

TechCrunch has discovered that Facebook has stealthily launched official desktop PC and Mac chat apps with screen sharing — two features users have been begging for. Right now, they’re only available for Workplace, Facebook’s enterprise collaboration software that competes with Slack and other business apps. But users would surely enjoy if the consumer Messenger app got its own desktop app and screen sharing options one day.

Google Released its Two New Smart Speakers Into an Already Crowded Market
Caroline Cakebread, Business Insider

Google released two new smart speakers at its big hardware event on Wednesday, causing the already full space to get a bit more crowded. Tech heavyweights have more or less been playing catch-up with each other since Amazon first released the Echo in 2014.

PR and Marketing

Decades of Sexual Harassment Accusations Against Harvey Weinstein
Jodi Kantor et al., The New York Times

An investigation by The New York Times found previously undisclosed allegations against Mr. Weinstein stretching over nearly three decades, documented through interviews with current and former employees and film industry workers, as well as legal records, emails and internal documents from the businesses he has run, Miramax and the Weinstein Company.

The Firm that Brought Us ‘Fearless Girl’ was Underpaying Women, U.S. Government Says
Mary Hui, The Washington Post

The financial services firms that introduced the world to “Fearless Girl” will pay $5 million to settle federal allegations that female executives were paid less than men in the same positions.

How Las Vegas Is Helping the City Heal With Two Perfect Lines of Copy
Tim Nudd, AdWeek

The ads are all over town, from digital billboards at the airport to the famous marquee displays outside the major hotels and casinos. Two lines of white copy on a black background: “We’ve been there for you during the good times. Thank you for being there for us now.”

Costco, With an Eye on Amazon, Expands Home Delivery Service
Sarah Nassauer, The Wall Street Journal

This week Costco started offering two-day delivery on shelf-stable food from its own website and expanded a fresh-food delivery partnership with Instacart, a startup that delivers groceries from retailers in one day. Both services let Costco members buy food online at lower prices than available under previous options, said Richard Galanti, the company’s chief financial officer.

Mattel Pulls Aristotle Children’s Device Over Privacy Concerns
Rachel Rabkin Peachman, The New York Times

Mattel announced on Wednesday that it was canceling plans to bring to market a smart device called Aristotle, which was aimed at children from infancy to adolescence and was set to hit stores in 2018. The decision came after child advocacy groups, lawmakers and parents raised concerns about the impact the artificial intelligence device could have had on children’s privacy, development and well-being.

Pritchard’s Progress: P&G Marketing Chief on the Impact of His Digital Ultimatums
Zach Rodgers, Ad Exchanger

Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard is pleased overall with the response to his tough talk of the past year. And he’s optimistic that Facebook, Google and others will meet P&G’s deadline to align on third-party measurement standards and have their methods audited by the Media Ratings Council by the end of this year.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

The Future of Consumer Marketing? The CMO of Unilever Says it’s ‘Consumer Segments Of One’
Keith Weed, Think With Google

Think with Google’s Guest Editor, Unilever’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Keith Weed, shares his perspective on the shift from mass marketing to mass customization and how brands will adapt.

The Threat of Big Tech Is Real
Isaac Chotiner, Slate

An interview with Franklin Foer who seeks to call attention to the ways technology is changing human beings and human interactions. He couples this critique with another, related one: Big technology companies not only control more and more market share; with their data, they also hold increasing power over our lives.

Time’s Latest Cover, in the Wake of the Vegas Massacre, is Depressingly Spot-on
Simon Dumenco, AdAge

How, in a (theoretically) civilized society, should the media report about mass shootings? Specifically, what kind of images are acceptable to publish, particularly on newspaper front pages and magazine covers that might be seen by children?