Brands Brief: Instagram Stories Beats Snapchat, Hits 200 Million Active Users

Top Stories

  • Facebook Inc.’s Instagram Stories, released less than a year ago, surpassed Snap Inc.’s original Snapchat Stories feature when it hit 200 million daily active users, compared to Snapchat’s 161 million. Snap’s share price dropped slightly as a result. (TechCrunch)
  • The lawyer for the man who was dragged off a United Airlines flight said the airline will likely see a lawsuit from his client. The incident has been a PR disaster for the company. (Reuters)
  • Fox News acting CEO Rupert Murdoch lauded Fox News’ ratings and ongoing performance, despite the issues surrounding Bill O’Reilly and the uncertain status of his show. (Variety)

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Advertising and Marketing

Ogilvy Continues Its Major Restructuring Efforts, Promoting 3 Key Members on Its U.S. Team
Katie Richards, Adweek

Ogilvy USA promoted three key members of its team this week. The news follows an announcement at the beginning of the year by Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide chairman and CEO John Seifert regarding a major restructuring plan within the Ogilvy network.

Agency exec on scarcity of LGBT people in ads: ‘People fear the bigoted minority’
Grace Caffyn, Digiday

As Kendall Jenner’s ad catastrophe at Pepsi illustrates, those who hitch their wagon to socio-political causes (however vague) can, and do, get burned. Agencies’ fear of this, according to chief strategy officer at Karmarama and PrideAM founder Mark Runacus, is what’s holding the industry back from better representing its audiences, including those lumped together in the LGBT umbrella: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and other variations of sexual and gender identity.

Media and Entertainment

Rupert Murdoch Spotlights Fox News Performance Amid Bill O’Reilly Controversy
Brian Steinberg, Variety

The executive who leads Fox News Channel and who guides the direction of its parent corporation told staffers Thursday that he was pleased with performance at both the cable-news outlet and its sister operation, Fox Business Network, even as a controversy continues to rage around one of the company’s most recognizable anchors, Bill O’Reilly. “As we enter this new spring season, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish those celebrating, a wonderful Passover and Easter holiday. The first few months of this year have already given us much to be thankful for,” said Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox and chairman of Fox News, said in a memo distributed Thursday.

How ATTN: Is Attracting Companies Who Want to Produce Socially-Minded Branded Content
Sami Main, Adweek

With the ability to reach tens of millions of people with a single video, issues-based media company ATTN: has caught the attention of production companies looking to effectively reach a wide audience. Founded in 2014, ATTN:’s coverage can range from the daily struggles that Syrians face to how everyday people talk about the “friend zone.”

Do Web Publishers Need Their Own Marketing Cloud?
Mike Shields, The Wall Street Journal

Meredith Corp., the owner of local TV stations and publisher of magazines like Parents and Better Homes & Gardens, had a problem. The more partners the media company plugged into for ad technology, measurement and data, the harder it was to find out basic information about Meredith’s digital ad sales operations, according to Matt Minoff, senior vice president and chief digital officer for Meredith.

Social Media and Technology

Instagram Stories hits 200M users, surpassing Snapchat as it copies its AR stickers
Josh Constine, TechCrunch

“Move last and take things” seems to be Facebook’s new motto. Now the parent company’s top Snapchat clone Instagram Stories has hit 200 million daily active users, surpassing the last count of 161 million that Snapchat announced alongside its IPO.

Instagram Finds Focus Under ‘Efficiency Guru’
Deepa Seetharaman, The Wall Street Journal

Soon after joining Instagram as chief operating officer two years ago, Marne Levine asked to see its annual budget at a team meeting. The room was quiet until another executive piped up: “What do you mean ‘the budget’?”

Apple May Be Coming to Toshiba’s Rescue
Takako Taniguchi 
and Pavel Alpeyev, Bloomberg News

Apple Inc. may be coming to Toshiba Corp.’s rescue. The iPhone maker is actively looking at options for helping the troubled Japanese company by investing in its semiconductor unit, which has been put up for sale, according to people familiar with the matter.

Google Home Can Now Track Flight Prices
Leena Rao, Fortune

Google Home, the search giant’s rival to Amazon Echo, can now track drops in flight prices for you. Similar to Echo, owners can ask Google Home to search for information.

PR and Communications

Passenger dragged from United Airlines plane likely to sue, his lawyer says
Timothy Mclaughlin and Karen Pierog, Reuters

The passenger dragged from a United Airlines plane in Chicago in an incident that sparked international outrage and turned into a public relations nightmare for the carrier, will likely sue the company, his attorney said on Thursday. “For a long time airlines, United in particular, have bullied us,” Thomas Demetrio told a news conference in Chicago.

United to Reimburse All Passengers on Flight That Caused Uproar
Michael Sasso 
and Mary Schlangenstein, Bloomberg News

United Continental Holdings Inc. is reimbursing all passengers on the flight in which a man was forcibly removed by security officers, attempting to make peace in a public-relations mess that refuses to die. The refund follows an extraordinary several days for the airline after video posted to social media showed the customer being pulled from his seat and dragged down the aisle of a plane after refusing to give up his spot.

Uber reportedly used secret software called ‘Hell’ to track rival Lyft drivers
Arjun Kharpal, CNBC

Uber used a secret piece of software called “Hell” to spy on drivers for its rival Lyft, according to a report by The Information, as pressure continues to mount on the ride-hailing app after swathes of bad press. The app was used between 2014 and 2016 to try and steal drivers from Lyft.

Elon Musk to Tesla’s disgruntled shareholders: Buy Ford
New York Post Staff, New York Post

Elon Musk has some advice for investors who say they’re fed up with his iron grip over Tesla’s board: buy Ford shares instead. The trash-talking tech billionaire took to Twitter late Wednesday after five major investment groups urged Tesla to add two new independent directors to its board and allow all of the electric car maker’s directors to be re-elected annually.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Mattel Is Working With Young Influencers and Their Families to Inspire Kids to Be Superheroes
Sami Main, Adweek

When Mattel asked influencers to do some good in the world to help celebrate its first annual DC Kids Super Hero Month, the McKnights and other social influencer-filled families leapt into action. Brooklyn and Bailey, twin teenaged sisters who have 4 million subscribers on their YouTube channel, helped create content to support the campaign, as did their mother, Mindy McKnight, a mother of six who started the CuteGirlsHairstyles channel, which has over 5 million subscribers.

Honda’s Silicon Valley Lab becomes Honda Innovations
Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

Honda has turned its Silicon Valley Lab into a new company officially called Honda R&D Innovations, Inc., but known colloquially as Honda Innovations. The company will pursue research and product development beyond just cars, and will also look to partner with startups and other companies on future projects, Honda says.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

Wells Fargo Earnings Show The Scandal-Plagued Bank Still Has A Long Way To Go
Maggie McGrath, Forbes

Wells Fargo is doing everything it can to put the phony account scandal — wherein a pressure-cooker sales environment led to the creation of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts — in its rear view mirror. But according to the company’s first quarter fiscal 2017 earnings results, out Thursday morning, it still has a bit of a way to go until the episode is completely in the past.

United Ties $500,000 CEO Bonus to Customer Satisfaction Results
Anders Melin, Bloomberg News

Angry United Airlines customers can now vent their fury at a juicy target: the chief executive’s pocketbook. United ties about $500,000 of CEO Oscar Munoz’s annual bonus to customer satisfaction questionnaires.

New CMO At Kohl’s Can Build Stronger Customer Engagement
Jim Tierney, Loyalty360

Greg Revelle, who made quite a name or himself at Best Buy, is now the new CMO at Kohl’s. Kohl’s endured a disappointing fiscal fourth quarter, in which comparable sales fell 2.2 percent and net income sank 15 percent, to $252 million.