Brands Brief: Vanity Fair Editor to Step Down After 25-Year Tenure

Top Stories

  • Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, will leave his post in December after a 25-year run at the magazine. During his tenure, Carter’s influence expanded beyond the media industry and spilled over to the worlds of finance, literature and politics. (The New York Times)
  • Sprint Corp. plans to create an in-house digital agency in an effort to cut production costs. A spokesperson said the move will not affect Sprint’s relationship with Droga5, which Sprint named as its agency of record in November 2016. (Adweek)
  • Equifax Inc., one of the three big credit reporting companies in the United States, said hackers accessed the personal information of up to 143 million consumers in one of the biggest data breaches of recent years. Equifax CEO Richard Smith apologized to consumers, saying that the hack “strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do.”  (Reuters)

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Sprint Takes More of Its Advertising In-House With New Digital Agency
Erik Oster, Adweek

It’s become a familiar refrain in recent years: Sprint is increasing its in-house capabilities. The brand is launching an as-yet-unnamed in-house digital agency, following the creation of its own production studio, YellowFan Studios, last year in a move designed—at least in part—to cut production costs.

Ad Firms Enlist OpenSlate to Make Sure Ads Run With ‘Safe’ YouTube Videos
Suzanne Vranica, The Wall Street Journal

Ad-buying giants like Omnicom Media Group OMC and Publicis Media are signing on to use an auditing service from video analytics firm OpenSlate, as agencies try to reassure marketers that their ads on YouTube are appearing alongside content that’s safe for their brands.

KFC reveals a new Colonel Sanders as sales soar
Kate Taylor, Business Insider

KFC has a new Colonel Sanders — again. On Thursday, KFC announced that the chain’s newest colonel would be played by Ray Liotta, an actor best known for his roles in movies such as “Goodfellas” and “Field of Dreams.”

FTC warns Instagram influencers to disclose business ties
Khari Johnson, VentureBeat

The Federal Trade Commission today sent warning letters to 21 influential Instagram users to tell them to disclose their business interests when sharing paid posts about brands or advertisers. Letters sent today cite specific posts by Instagram influencers the FTC believes may violate its Endorsement Guides.

Chamber targets GOP lawmakers in new ads for tax reform
Naomi Jagoda, The Hill

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Thursday launched a seven-figure advertising campaign to promote tax reform, as President Trump turns his focus to the issue. The Chamber is partnering with The Business Council of New York State on ads that target several GOP House members from the state who could be vulnerable in the midterm elections.

Media and Entertainment

Graydon Carter to End 25-Year Run as Vanity Fair’s Editor
Michael M. Grynbaum, The New York Times

Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, plans to step down from the magazine in December after a 25-year tenure, leaving the role that established him as a ringmaster of the Hollywood, Washington and Manhattan power elite. Mr. Carter’s influence stretched from the magazine and entertainment worlds into finance, literature and politics, where President Trump, a target of Mr. Carter’s poison pen for decades, still bristles at the mention of his name.

‘Star Wars,’ Marvel Films Moving From Netflix to Disney Streaming Service
Ricardo Lopez, Variety

Disney CEO Bob Iger on Thursday delivered a blow to Netflix, saying the company had decided to move Marvel and “Star Wars” films to its forthcoming streaming service, set to launch in 2019. The announcement ends speculation about what would happen to the Marvel and Lucasfilm titles currently being streamed on Netflix.

Vox Media Sells Its First Original Show: SB Nation’s True-Crime Sports Docu-Series for Go90
Todd Spangler, Variety

NBCUniversal-backed digital-media player Vox Media has sold its first original TV show to Verizon’s Go90: SB Nation’s “Foul Play,” a 10-episode true-crime docu-series about the shadowy underbelly of sports, will debut exclusively later this year on the mobile-centric Go90 video service.

‘Nylon’ Goes Digital-only, Folds Print Publication
Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke, WWD

Nylon magazine will shutter its print edition and become digital-only, WWD has learned. The magazine’s October issue will be its last in print. As a result of the closure, the print edition’s 12-person staff will be let go.

Hulk Hogan’s lawyer sets sights on new target: Jezebel
Julia Marsh and Lia Eustachewich, New York Post

The lawyer who brought down Gawker with Hulk Hogan is now taking aim at its sister blog, Jezebel. Hogan’s attorney Charles J. Harder filed a defamation suit Thursday against the women’s website for labeling a bizarre therapy group called Superstar Machine a “cult” — and claiming its leader, Gregory “International” Scherick, “preyed on insecure women and controlled their lives.”

Stacey Snider of Fox Film disses Netflix movies
David Ng, Los Angeles Times

In a rare moment of executive candor, the head of 20th Century Fox Film delivered a verbal beating to Netflix, saying that the streaming giant offers no advantages to filmmakers or movie-lovers, and that its days as a dominant force in Hollywood are numbered.

Social Media and Technology

Spotify Teams Up With Hulu for $5 Subscription Bundle for Students
Chris Welch, The Verge

Spotify and Hulu are teaming up to combine both of their streaming services into a single education bundle for only $4.99 per month. That’s a pretty remarkable deal for students.

Facebook’s Russian Ads Disclosure Is Putting The Company Under Intense New Scrutiny
Craig Silverman, BuzzFeed News

Facebook is facing a new push to reveal how its vast power is being used after it disclosed that roughly $100,000 worth of political ads were purchased on its platform by fake accounts and pages connected to a Russian troll operation. Open government advocates and researchers who study political ads told BuzzFeed News that Facebook’s massive reach and lack of transparency about ads on its platform represent a risk to the democratic process.

Experts: Facebook’s Russia disclosure unlikely to hurt its brand
Ilyse Liffreing, Digiday

This week, Facebook faced questions over whether it was overstating its audience reach and admitted it ran election ads from fake Russian accounts aimed at influencing the U.S. presidential election. Yet, even with all this negativity, branding experts say Facebook’s brand is intact.

Twitter Expected to Talk With U.S. Lawmakers About Russian Ad Buys During the 2016 Campaign
Marty Swant, Adweek

A top-ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee says he wants Twitter to brief members of Congress on whether accounts originating in Russia might have played a role in the U.S. presidential election.

Atlassian launches Stride, its Slack competitor
Frederic Lardinois, TechCrunch

Atlassian, the company behind popular tools like Jira, Trello and Bitbucket, has also long offered a team communications service in the form of HipChat. Over the last few years, Slack has had an outsize influence on this space, though, and the Atlassian team decided to go back to the drawing board and see what its take on a Slack-like team workplace communication service would look like.

Amazon Music Focusing on Alexa, Echo to Stand Out Amid Streaming Competition
Andrew Wallenstein, Variety

Amazon Music faces a crowded competitive field, but it’s looking to lean into its parent company’s voice-controlled devices to differentiate itself. That was the message from Alex Luke, global head of programming and content strategy at the streaming service, in his keynote Q&A at Variety’s Entertainment & Technology Summit on Thursday.

Snapchat’s Influencers Are Fleeing to Instagram for Money
Sarah Frier, Bloomberg

The disappearing-message service kept it tough for users to measure their audience. Facebook’s service swooped in.

PR and Marketing

Equifax reveals hack that likely exposed data of 143 million customers
Yashaswini Swamynathan, Reuters

Equifax Inc., a provider of consumer credit scores, said on Thursday that personal details of as many as 143 million U.S. consumers were accessed by hackers between mid-May and July, in what could be one of the largest data breaches in the United States.

Bell Pottinger staff told firm likely to go into administration
David Bond and Emma Dunkley, Financial Times

Staff at Bell Pottinger have been told that the scandal-hit PR firm is likely to go into administration as early as next Monday after attempts to find a buyer failed. The news was delivered to Bell Pottinger’s employees at its London headquarters on Thursday by chairman Mark Smith and a representative from accountants BDO, according to people briefed on the meeting.

Macy’s, Target Unleash New Fashion Campaigns
Sarah Mahoney, MediaPost

While fall fashion campaigns are an inevitable part of many retailers’ playbooks, new campaigns from both Macy’s and Target are playing with much higher stakes this year. Macy’s needs to snap its long-running sales slump, and Target is out to prove that new private-label lines are recapturing its old magic.

Rag & Bone Ditches The New York Fashion Week Runway For Selfies
KC Ifeanyi, Fast Company

Rag & Bone CEO and creative director Marcus Wainwright caused some ripples in the fashion community earlier this year when he announced that his fashion brand would nix future runway shows, including one of the industry’s crown jewels, New York Fashion Week.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2017
Elisa Shearer and Jeffrey Gottfried, Pew Research Center

As of August 2017, two-thirds (67%) of Americans report that they get at least some of their news on social media – with two-in-ten doing so often, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center. This is a modest increase since early 2016, when (during the height of the presidential primaries) 62% of U.S. adults reported getting news from social media.

Brands Should Talk to Hispanics, Not Just About Them
Matt Salisbury, Morning Consult

It’s noteworthy that corporate leaders are taking a vocal stance on President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but it’s more important that the “Dreamers,” and all U.S. Hispanics, not be viewed by brands as a homogenous third party.

Everything Is Changing; So Should Antitrust
Ben Thompson, Stratechery

Late last month WPP, the largest advertising group in the world, announced results and forecasts that were sharply down. Those results, though, were not what I found striking about CEO Martin Sorrell’s remarks on the group’s earnings call; after all, I argued last summer that such a decline was inevitable.

Why Marketers Need to Pay Attention to Cryptocurrency — Now
Aj Agrawal, Entrepreneur

Although the technology is relatively new, cryptocurrency is already making waves in multiple industries. In fact, there are some who argue that it will change the face of finance and marketing forever.

For Marketers, Big Data Is Not Always Better Data
Ravi Iyer, MediaPost

For all the information that Google has about you — and it’s a lot — there is one data point that earns the company more revenue than any other: namely, your searches.