Brands Brief: Several Companies Suspend Ads on InfoWars’ YouTube Channels

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  • Several brands such as Nike, Paramount and Acer have suspended their ads on InfoWars’ YouTube channels after they were informed their ads had appeared there, saying they had been under the impression that filters for sensitive content should have prevented that from happening. Last week, YouTube reprimanded the site and its director, Alex Jones, for violating community guidelines after a video posted to the channel claimed student anti-gun activists were actors. (CNN)
  • The 90th Academy Awards concluded with many expected wins and minimal drama amid an awards season marked by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct scandals and following last year’s dramatic best-picture envelope mix-up. Jordan Peele won best original screenplay for “Get Out”; Frances McDormand took best actress for her role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” and Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” earned best picture and best director. (The Washington Post)
  • Delta Air Lines’ travel discount for National Rifle Association members was only used by 13 people, according to the airline, but it ultimately cost Delta just over $3 million per passenger when the company stopped offering the deal. Delta announced it would end the travel discount Feb. 24 amid public pressure after a Feb. 14 high school shooting, and in response, Republican lawmakers in Georgia repealed a budget provision that included an airline fuel tax exemption that would have saved Delta an estimated $40 million. (USA Today)

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The Most Polarizing Brands in America

From the NFL to CNN, here are the brands that divide Democrats and Republicans the most.


Facebook pitches brand-safe video ad buys for $750,000, but lack of control irks buyers
Tim Peterson, Digiday

With advertisers clamoring for uncontroversial environments, Facebook is pitching a brand-safe program to advertisers, but the black-box nature of the proposal has some ad buyers balking. Facebook is offering the chance to buy ads against what it considers its most brand-safe videos, according to four agency executives that have been briefed on the pitch.

Honda shifts its media buying to pay only for in-store visits
Seb Joseph, Digiday

Honda is paying for mobile ads that drive people into showrooms rather than impressions or clicks. The car manufacturer has been targeting mobile ads in the U.K. to boost showroom visits for some time, but those ads have always been bought on impressions or click-throughs.

Coors Light Makes Marketing Shift After Ads Got Too Serious
E.J. Schultz, Advertising Age

Coors Light will talk more about its beer and less about human achievement as it seeks to reverse a sales slump. The ad shift—which includes more emphasis on its classic “World’s Most Refreshing Beer” tagline— is another sign of a burgeoning backlash against highbrow ads that have very little to do with the products marketers are trying to sell.

Media and Entertainment

Oscars 2018: 15 things to know, from the awkward red carpet to the ‘Lady Bird’ snub
Emily Yahr, The Washington Post

For the second year in a row, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway arrived on the Oscars stage to present best picture. This time, the results were a little less exciting.

The Little Movie Studio That Could
Brooks Barnes, The New York Times

At the Sundance Film Festival here in January, executives at A24, the upstart movie and television studio, stood in the back of a makeshift theater looking as if they were about to be physically ill. A24’s latest offering, “Eighth Grade,” an intimate coming-of-age dramedy set for release in theaters on July 13, was minutes away from its festival premiere.

A journalistic fix for fake news? A new venture seeks to take on the epidemic.
Paul Farhi, The Washington Post

Media entrepreneur Steven Brill thinks there’s something missing from all the efforts to separate fake news from the real kind: Some smart and discerning humans.

Social Media and Technology

Advertisers flee InfoWars founder Alex Jones’ YouTube channel
Paul P. Murphy and Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN

Last week, YouTube reprimanded the conspiracy theory site and Jones for violating its community guidelines after a video posted to The Alex Jones Channel, InfoWars’ biggest YouTube account, claimed student anti-gun activists were actors. Now YouTube and Jones’ channel on it are in the spotlight again.

Twitter makes Oscars ad debut with female empowerment tribute
Sara Fischer, Axios

Twitter debuted its first-ever television commercial during the Oscars Sunday, prominently featuring the hashtag #HereWeAre to spark a conversation about female empowerment. The ad and hashtag were lauded on Twitter by Hollywood and media executives alike Sunday night.

Facebook’s branded content program loses its luster
Tim Peterson, Digiday

Three years ago, Facebook rolled out its Anthology program, an attempt to pair brands and publishers to produce branded content to distribute on its social network. But brands have increasingly bypassed Facebook to do their own matchmaking, as the value of Facebook’s program has faded and its relationship with publishers has gone south.

Snap to Release New Spectacles This Year
Alex Heath, Cheddar

Snap Inc. plans to launch a second version of its Spectacles glasses this year followed by a more ambitious third version equipped with two cameras in 2019, Cheddar has learned. The second version of Spectacles is currently being manufactured with the goal of shipping by this fall, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why Snapchat won’t listen to user complaints about its redesign
Ilyse Liffreing, Digiday

Snapchat began rolling out its redesigned app in February, only to face a barrage of backlash. People voiced their discontent on other social platforms, complaining that Snapchat’s new layout makes it harder to find friends and messages, and 1.2 million people have signed a petition to get rid of the redesign. Even Maybelline asked followers via Twitter whether it should delete its Snapchat account.

PR and Marketing

The number of Delta Air Lines passengers who bought tickets with NRA discount: 13
Bart Jansen, USA Today

How many airline passengers does it take to kill a $40 million tax break for Delta Air Lines? Only 13.

Marriott Employee Roy Jones Hit ‘Like.’ Then China Got Mad
Wayne Ma, The Wall Street Journal

Roy Jones, 49, never thought a $14-an-hour job running social-media accounts for Marriott International Inc. MAR 1.48% would require him to know global politics. That was before he used an official company account to like a post on Twitter Inc.

Smith & Wesson gunmaker cuts jobs as sales plunge
Nathan Bomey, USA Today

Gun sales plunged for the Smith & Wesson firearm maker in its most recent quarter, and the company slashed manufacturing jobs amid signs of a downturn. But the company, American Outdoor Brands Corp., also signaled that it’s not concerned about big-box chains such as Dick’s Sporting Goods taking action to limit gun sales following the Parkland, Fla. school shooting.

Have a Drink on Us. And Tell Your Friends.
Jane L. Levere, The New York Times

During Prohibition, tourists arriving at the Havana airport were often greeted by Rafael Valiente, a popular bartender in Cuba and the first brand ambassador for Bacardi rum. Mr. Valiente, known as Pappy, would frequently take them to Bacardi’s private bar in its Havana office building and treat them to a rum cocktail.

Why More and More Brands Are Catering to Country Music Fans
Kristina Monllos, Adweek

Reba McEntire had to get used to the feel of a mustache on her face to play Colonel Sanders. The first woman and first musician to embody Colonel Sanders, as part of Wieden + Kennedy’s ongoing celebrity colonel campaign, McEntire put on the spokescharacter’s famous white suit, mustache and goatee this past December to film a 60-second spot and sing a honky-tonk song to promote a new BBQ chicken dish.

Sustainable, plant-based Legos are coming. They’ll still hurt when you step on them
Brett Molina, USA Today

They’ll still hurt when you step on them, but botanical elements featured in future Lego sets will be sustainable starting this year. The Lego Group announced pieces such as leaves, bushes and trees will be made of a plant-based plastic using sugarcane.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

Publicly slighting millions of NRA members isn’t good for business – or America
Megan McArdle, Bloomberg

Remember when companies tried to stay out of politics? I’d imagine Delta Air Lines is recalling those days very fondly.

Oscar’s more woke — but winners still so white
Gene Seymour, CNN

There were politics, of course. But it was, for the most part, an Academy Awards ceremony that seemed determined to be as cozy, bland and free of surprises as a stay at a suburban chain hotel (which host Jimmy Kimmel offered — along with a JetSki — to winners who kept their acceptance speeches short).

Your Location Data Is Being Sold—Often Without Your Knowledge
Christopher Mims, The Wall Street Journal

As location-aware advertising goes mainstream—like that Jack in the Box ad that appears whenever you get near one, in whichever app you have open at the time—and as popular apps harvest your lucrative location data, the potential for leaking or exploiting this data has never been higher. It’s true that your smartphone’s location-tracking capabilities can be helpful, whether it’s alerting you to traffic or inclement weather.

A New Business Takes On Fake News
L. Gordon Crovitz, The Wall Street Journal

The internet broke down barriers by enabling everyone to become a publisher. The unintended consequence was the fake-news epidemic. Teenagers in Macedonia discovered they could make a small fortune from online advertising by concocting outlandish clickbait stories.

We Got Rid of Some Bad Men. Now Let’s Get Rid of Bad Movies.
Lindy West, The New York Times

The Oscars are here: the first Oscars since powerful men started falling to #MeToo, a Trump-era Oscars, a #TimesUp Oscars, an Oscars in the shadow of “Black Panther.” Some big chairs will be empty.

Take Your Daughter to the Movies, Not to Weight Watchers
Jennifer Weiner, The New York Times

Confession: I am suffering from fury fatigue. I’m exhausted by the daily scandals of the current administration, ground down by the school shootings, by the government’s inaction and by pictures of our empathy-free commander in chief grinning during his visits to the wounded, thumbs lifted, as if he had just cut the ribbon on a used-car sales lot.

A Brand Safety Analysis of Top YouTube Influencer Channels
Staff, Delmondo

Last month, Unilever CMO Keith Weed addressed the IAB Annual leadership conference and urged brands to work with digital platforms to ensure messaging happens in a “brand-suitable” environment. And with 2017 was the first time that digital ad spending collectively surpassed TV, according to Recode, brands need innovative solutions to surface safe spaces to align their messaging in a changing digital video ecosystem.