Brands Brief: Tronc Acquires New York Daily News

Top Stories

  • The New York Daily News has a new owner: Tronc, parent company of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. The $1 deal, which includes the assumption of operational and pension liabilities, that closed Sunday includes the paper and some of its additional assets. (Chicago Tribune)
  • The international public relations agency Bell Pottinger was expelled from the Public Relations and Communications Association in Britain for at least five years. The ban came after the trade association investigated a complaint from South Africa’s main opposition party that a Bell Pottinger-led campaign sought to inflame racial tensions in South Africa. (The Guardian)
  • Verizon Communications Inc.’s new rewards program, Verizon Up, is its latest effort to compete with Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google in digital advertising. The program offers customers incentives in exchange for their data, which Verizon wants to use to tailor ads. (The Wall Street Journal)

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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.


Verizon Wants to Build an Advertising Juggernaut. It Needs Your Data First
Ryan Knutson, The Wall Street Journal

A new Verizon Communications Inc. rewards program, Verizon Up, provides credits that wireless subscribers can use for concert tickets, movie premieres and phone upgrades. But it comes with a catch: Customers must give the carrier access to their web-browsing history, app usage and location data, which Verizon says it uses to personalize the rewards and deliver targeted advertising as its customers browse the web.

Digital Advertising Is Facing Its Ultimate Moment of Truth, and Billions of Dollars Are at Stake
Lauren Johnson, Adweek

What would you do with a $2.4 billion marketing budget? You could buy 1.2 trillion online ads.

Trump Admin Makes Big Cuts In Ad Spending For Obamacare
Wayne Friedman, MediaPost

The Trump Administration will dramatically cut the government’s ad budget supporting Obamacare. The cuts represent a 90 percent spending reduction for the upcoming enrollment period. This year, during a shortened sign-up period from November 1 through December 15, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers Obamacare, said on Thursday it would spend just $10 million in advertising — almost completely slashing the $100 million spent a year ago.

Albuquerque stakes a claim in advertising world
Taylor Hood, Albuquerque Journal

When people think of the advertising world, they might often think of the smoky rooms, crisp suits, heavy drinking and high rises of the show “Mad Men.” But advertising today is very different.

Media and Entertainment

Tronc acquires New York Daily News
Rick Kogan and Robert Channick, Chicago Tribune

In a stunning and bold bet on the future of newspapers, Tronc, the parent company of the Chicago Tribune, has acquired the venerable New York Daily News. This deal for the tabloid, which includes the Daily News’ website and other assets, has been in the works for some months and was finalized Sunday.

Box Office: ‘Hitman’s Bodyguard’ Leads Slowest Labor Day Weekend in About Two Decades
Seth Kelley, Variety

A disastrous domestic summer box office is ending on a low note. Without any fresh competition in wide release, “Hitman’s Bodyguard” appears the be the holiday weekend’s movie of choice.

EuropaCorp Deputy CEO Ousted After ‘Valerian’ Failure
Rhonda Richford, The Hollywood Reporter

The epic box office failure of Valerian claimed its highest profile casualty as EuropaCorp deputy CEO Edouard de Vesinne was ousted by the board of directors, effective immediately. In a statement released late Monday night, the company said de Vesinne had been “terminated” by the board, citing his activities with his independent production company Incognita.

Social Media and Technology

Poll: Smart Assistants Used More for Music, Weather Than Shopping
Laura Nichols, Morning Consult

Tech’s biggest companies are betting on a slate of new partnerships to put more voice-assisted devices in U.S. households, especially for online purchases, but so far Americans are more likely to use them for playing music or checking the weather. Thirty-three percent of people who own a voice-activated device such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home said they use it for ordering products and shopping online, according to a Morning Consult poll conducted Aug. 24 through Aug. 26.

Virgin Mobile brand officially launches in the UAE
Aarti Nagraj, Gulf Business

UAE telecom operator Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC) has officially launched the Virgin Mobile brand in the country. EITC, the parent company behind du, announced plans to introduce the Virgin brand in the UAE earlier this year.

PR and Marketing

Bell Pottinger expelled from PR trade body after South Africa racism row
Mark Sweney, The Guardian

Bell Pottinger, one of the City’s leading public relations agencies, has been expelled from the industry’s trade association after an investigation found its secret campaign to stir up racial tensions in South Africa to be the worst breach of ethics in its history. The Public Relations and Communications Association said Bell Pottinger was unethical and unprofessional, had brought the industry into disrepute and has banned the firm from its membership for at least five years.

Lego to Slash 1,400 Jobs as It Posts First Sales Drop in Over a Decade
Saabira Chaudhuri, The Wall Street Journal

Lego A/S will slash 1,400 jobs as it adjusts to an era of slower growth, the Danish toy maker said Tuesday, as it posted its first drop in sales in 13 years. Net profit for the six months to June 30 slipped to 3.4 billion Danish kroner ($544 million) from 3.5 billion kroner a year earlier.

To Save Retail, Let It Die
Doug Stephens, BoF

In 2011, in what has now become retail folklore, Ron Johnson, one of the brains behind the Apple Store, was hired to resuscitate the American department store chain JCPenney. At the time, I was asked to write an article for Advertising Age on whether Johnson would succeed or fail at this herculean task.

What Retail Slump? Lululemon Lifts Off With New Marketing
Sarah Mahoney, MediaPost

Powered by new products, investments in its website and its first global marketing campaign, Lululemon surprised the mopey retail world with strong sales results, with second-quarter revenue rising 13 percent. The company says comparable-store sales climbed 7 percent, based on a 2 percent improvement in physical stores and a 30 percent jump in e-commerce.

Under Armour debuts ‘We Will’ marketing campaign
Jonathan Munshaw, Baltimore Business Journal

Under Armour Inc.’s newest advertising campaign boldly claims that “sports will change the world.” Launched during Thursday night’s college football kickoff game between Ohio State and Indiana, the Baltimore sportswear maker’s new marketing push called “#WEWILL,” follows up on its traditional “I Will” ads launched in 2013.

As Versace Denies Virgil Abloh Rumours, What Should Donatella Do Next?
Christopher Morency, BoF

Another day, another Versace rumour. On Thursday, a report in the trade publication Glossy posited that Off-White founder Virgil Abloh was in talks to be the next creative director of Versace, succeeding Donatella Versace, sister of the house’s late founding designer, Gianni Versace.

DigitasLBi North America CEO Jumps to Dunkin Donuts as Marketing Chief
Lindsay Stein, Advertising Age

For Tony Weisman, it’s time to make the donuts. Dunkin’ Donuts has appointed the North American CEO of Publicis Groupe’s DigitasLBi as its new U.S. chief marketing officer.

Silicon Valley Courts Brand-Name Teachers, Raising Ethics Issues
Natasha Singer, The New York Times

One of the tech-savviest teachers in the United States teaches third grade here at Mapleton Elementary, a public school with about 100 students in the sparsely populated plains west of Fargo. Her name is Kayla Delzer.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

The storytelling behind automotive brand partnerships
James Myers, The Drum

There are few industries facing as much disruption as the auto industry. With the rise of connected cars, a shift towards shared mobility and advancements in autonomous and electrified vehicles, most car industry leaders believe the sector is poised for more change in the next few years than it has seen in the last 50.

Think Tank: Brand Growth and Protection in the Digital Age
Matthew Bassiur, WWD

I have spent the better part of the last two years speaking with brands, big and small, around the world. They break roughly into two camps: those who see that the future of commerce is digital and are embracing it, and those who fear it.

Americans are buying beer and a beach vacation at the same time
Jason Notte, MarketWatch

The beer industry has a phrase for beers that have become inextricably tied to images of sun, blue ocean and relaxation: lifestyle beers. On its own, Corona Extra is a yellow lager produced in Mexico and packaged in a clear flint bottle.