Brands Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Week in Review

Gun control

  • Dick’s Sporting Goods said it will immediately end sales of assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines in its stores and that it won’t sell guns to anyone under the age of 21, regardless of local laws. Walmart, which does not sell “modern sporting rifles” such as the kind that was used by the Florida shooter, also announced it will sell guns and ammunition only to people age 21 or older.
  • In response to boycott threats, FedEx, however, said it would continue to offer a discount of up to 26 percent to NRA members but emphasized that the company does not align itself with the NRA’s positions on gun policy.

Technology firms

  • Inc. agreed to buy video doorbell maker Ring. The deal is worth more than $1 billion, according to a source familiar with the matter, making it one of Amazon’s most expensive takeovers after its $13.7 billion deal last year for Whole Foods Market.
  • On Snap Inc.’s one-year anniversary as a publicly traded company, its future remains largely uncertain as investors look for revenue and user growth, even as some experts say Snapchat’s exclusiveness is where its value lies — and that a move toward growing its audience to incorporate older users comes with the risk of losing popularity among its younger users.
  • Some of YouTube’s new moderators mistakenly removed several videos and some entire channels from right-wing, pro-gun video producers in the wake of the Parkland shooting.
  • Facebook Inc. said it would end an experiment called Explore that in six countries separated news sites’ posts from other material on the social network and, according to some publishers in the countries, led to a rise in misinformation.


  • Personal-care products giant Kimberly-Clark, whose brands include Kleenex and Huggies and has long worked with several WPP agencies, launched a global creative agency review. The news comes after the company’s competitors such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble Co. have announced hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts from their digital marketing budgets and after WPP reported a disappointing financial performance in 2017.

What’s Ahead

  • The 90th Academy Awards will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel this evening. The 2018 awards season has so far been dominated by discussions about gender inequality and the Time’s Up campaign to combat sexual harassment in the workplace, but producers for the Oscars say the awards show will focus more on movies rather than cultural movements.
  • The annual film, media and music festival South by Southwest begins March 9 in Austin, Texas. The conference is known for massive marketing opportunities, but some brands are are pulling back this year, with smaller budgets and squabbles over prices from previous years.
  • After filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public, music-streaming service Spotify, which has been valued as highly as $23 billion in private trading, could begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “SPOT” as soon as the week of March 26.

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

LeadsCon Las Vegas 7 a.m.
AdMonsters Publisher Forum 8 a.m.
BRITE Conference 8:45 a.m.
CMO Digital Insight Summit 2 p.m.
LeadsCon Las Vegas 7 a.m.
CMO Digital Insight Summit 7 a.m.
AdMonsters Publisher Forum 8 a.m.
BRITE Conference 8:20 a.m.
ANA Machine Learning Marketing webinar 1 p.m.
LeadsCon Las Vegas 7:30 a.m.
CMO Digital Insight Summit 8 a.m.
AdMonsters Publisher Forum 8 a.m.
C3 2018 8 a.m.
Speechwriters and Executive Communicators Conference 9 a.m.
ANA Television & Video Landscape webinar 1 p.m.
ANA Marketing & Sales webinar 3 p.m.
Data & Programmatic Insider Summit 6:30 p.m.
Engage Conference 7:30 a.m.
AMA Content Marketing Training 8 a.m.
Data & Programmatic Insider Summit 8 a.m.
C3 2018 9 a.m.
Speechwriters and Executive Communicators Conference 9 a.m.
PRSA business and social purpose discussion 6:30 p.m.
AMA Content Marketing Training 8 a.m.
Data & Programmatic Insider Summit 8 a.m.
Speechwriters and Executive Communicators Conference 9 a.m.
SEO and Content Trends webinar 1 p.m.

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Morning Consult Brands Top Reads

1) Companies See Negative Responses to Cutting Business Ties With NRA
Ryan Rainey, Morning Consult

2) MoviePass Intrigues Consumers, But Company Faces Marketplace Challenges
Anna Gronewold, Morning Consult

3) A List of the Companies Cutting Ties With the N.R.A.
Jacey Fortin, The New York Times

4) Walmart and Dick’s Raise Minimum Age for Gun Buyers to 21
Julie Creswell and Michael Corkery, The New York Times

5) Wooing Millennials With Exotic Experiences That Aren’t Too Costly
Janet Morrissey, The New York Times

6) How Adding Users Could Backfire for Snapchat
Anna Gronewold and Joanna Piacenza, Morning Consult

7) Netflix Spends More on Content Than Anyone Else on the Internet — and Many TV Networks, too
Rani Molla, Recode

8) Ad Industry’s Digital Upheaval Rocks WPP; Shares Tumble
Nick Kostov and Stacy Meichtry, The Wall Street Journal

9) What really gets people to buy subscriptions
Sara Fischer, Axios

10) Young Harvey Weinstein: The Making of a Monster
Scott Johnson and Stephen Galloway, The Hollywood Reporter