Brands Brief: Wells Fargo Rehires 1,000 Former Employees After Scandal

Top Stories

  • The chief executive of Wells Fargo & Co. said roughly 1,000 employees unjustly laid off have rejoined the company as it works toward rehabilitating its reputation. (Bloomberg News)
  • As United Airlines continues to absorb the fallout from a video that surfaced Monday of a passenger being dragged off of a flight, one columnist explains why the airline’s public relations efforts, to this point, are fruitless. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Hearst Corp. is making the push toward voice assistants with its unveiling of “O to Go,” a venture between Oprah Magazine and Hearst’s Native & Emerging Technologies team for owners of Inc.’s Alexa to hear passages from her book, “What I Know For Sure.” (The Wall Street Journal)

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Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Content Marketing Conference in Boston 7 a.m.
MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 in Las Vegas 8 a.m.
Content Marketing Conference in Boston 7 a.m.
MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 in Las Vegas 9 a.m.
Midwest Digital Marketing Conference in St. Louis 9 a.m.
Content strategy and marketing conference in San Francisco 1 p.m.
4A’s Webinar on iconic campaigns 1:30 p.m.
Content Marketing Conference in Boston 7:30 a.m.
MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 in Las Vegas 8 a.m.
Midwest Digital Marketing Conference 8:30 a.m.
No events scheduled.


Advertising and Marketing

Advertising’s Biggest Threat Isn’t Digital Disruption
Stephen Wilmont, The Wall Street Journal

Silicon Valley likes to take credit for most business disruption, particularly in the media sector. But for advertising giants like WPP and Omnicom, the immediate worry isn’t Google and Facebook but the lean, acquisitive operating model pursued by consumer goods companies like Kraft Heinz.

Chipotle Leans On Comedy For Biggest Ad Campaign Yet
John Kell, Fortune

Despite a rough 2016, Chipotle has maintained its sense of humor. Its latest ad campaign, dubbed “As Real as It Gets”, features performances by four comedians in a bid to lure back diners via humor after a food-safety inspired exodus led to a prolonged sales slump.

Activist Investor Jana Partners Takes Nearly 9% Stake in Whole Foods
David Benoit and Heather Haddon, The Wall Street Journal

An activist investor has amassed a large stake in Whole Foods Market Inc. and wants it to accelerate its turnaround and explore a possible sale, increasing pressure on the upscale organic grocer to find its footing now that its rapid growth has stalled. Jana Partners LLC, which has built up an 8.8% stake in Whole Foods along with several allies, wants the chain to improve its technology and operations to better compete with larger rivals, shake up its board and find out how much a potential bidder might be willing to pay, according to a Monday regulatory filing.

Restasis’ first foray into Facebook drives big results for Allergan
Beth Snyder Bulik, FiercePharma

In Allergan’s first social media dive for dry eye treatment Restasis last fall, it went all in on a Facebook digital campaign. The result? Measurements including brand impressions, ad recall and video views that rose well above the norm.

Nike Creates Spoof Ads For Its Own Signature Shoe
Sara Roncero-Menendez, PSFK

Often times, when a company comes out with a viral marketing campaign, other companies try to get some of the momentum by creating their own spoof ads. Not to be outdone, Nike created spoofs of its own signature product on the 30th anniversary of the Air Max 1.

Media and Entertainment

Georgia’s TV and Film Industry Now Brings in $7 Billion a Year, Fueled by Smart Incentives
Jason Lynch, Adweek

Hollywood is still the center of the film and TV universe—for now—but over the past few years, Atlanta’s thriving entertainment industry has been rapidly giving it a run for its money. In the past year alone, big-ticket films like Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, The Fate of the Furious, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Hidden Figures, Marvel’s Black Panther and Pitch Perfect 3 filmed in and around Atlanta.

Hearst Brings Oprah to Amazon’s Alexa
Mike Shields, The Wall Street Journal

Oprah, meet Alexa. Hearst Corp. is one of a handful of publishers that has been experimenting with producing interactive content for both Amazon’s and Google’s voice-controlled home assistants.

YouTube TV Will Force You to Watch Ads on Many DVR’d Shows
Shalini Ramachandran, The Wall Street Journal

Beware, YouTube TV subscribers: For many popular shows you record on your DVR, you’re going to be forced to watch the commercials. YouTube TV launched in select markets last week at $35 a month, touting more than 50 live channels and an eye-catching “unlimited” digital video recorder stored in the cloud.

Procter & Gamble Says Goodbye to the People’s Choice Awards
Richard Horgan, Adweek

Created in 1975 by Bob Stivers, the People’s Choice Awards were acquired in 1982 by Procter & Gamble Co. This week, there was another passing of the populist awards show torch.

Social Media and Technology

U.S. Blinks in Clash With Twitter; Drops Order to Unmask Anti-Trump Account
Mike Isaac, The New York Times

Last month, the federal government issued a summons ordering Twitter to hand over information about an anonymous account that had posted messages critical of the Trump administration. Now, the government has blinked.

Google Expands Its Fact-Checking Feature to Search Results
Corinne Grinapol, Adweek

In October, Google introduced the fact check label for articles in Google news searches that fit its labeling recs. It was a small step in what would turn out to a protracted, multi-front battle–in advertising, education, social media–against fake news, one that still continues.

Twitter now lets brands make their own “custom hearts” for Periscope live videos
Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Those little hearts you tap to signal to a live video’s creator that you’re enjoying the content might look a little different on Twitter in the future. The company announced today a new way for brands to engage fans through live video – it will now let them create their own “custom hearts” for use in Periscope’s live video.

Why the $75 Billion Videogame Industry Is Powering Up on Temporary Workers
Lauren Weber, The Wall Street Journal

The hit videogame “Rocket League” pits jet-powered racecars against one another in an antic soccer match. The big winner is creator Psyonix Inc., which has just 81 employees yet has amassed more than 29 million players in less than two years.

Earning Power: Here’s How Much Top Influencers Can Make On Instagram And YouTube
Clare O’Connor, Forbes

Some members of Forbes’ inaugural Top Influencers list were happy to disclose their going rate for a sponsored social media post. Rachel Brathen, the most sought-after yogi on the internet, commands upwards of $25,000, for example.

PR and Communications

Wells Fargo Rehires About 1,000 Staff in Wake of Account Scandal
Laura J. Keller, Bloomberg News

Wells Fargo & Co., accused of ousting branch workers who struggled to reach untenable sales targets or objected to burgeoning misconduct, has rehired about 1,000 former employees as Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan tries to put the scandal to rest. Sloan, who took the helm in October, announced the hiring spurt on a conference call with journalists Monday as he ticked off reforms and promised managers are learning from a scathing 113-page report the board issued hours earlier on the long-running abuses.

Will United’s PR Disaster Finally Make Airlines Reconsider the Hated Practice of Overbooking?
Robert Klara, Adweek

Now that it’s gone viral, the video showing three burly airport security officers physically dragging a screaming passenger off United Airlines Flight 3411 yesterday has left the carrier with quite the public relations nightmare—along with a broader question: Will this very public, shocking incident result in broader changes to airline booking policies? In case you missed it, a passenger was forcibly removed and literally dragged from a United Airlines plane prior to takeoff at Chicago O’Hare Airport on Sunday.

How regulators can discourage a repeat of United’s overbooking fiasco
Timothy B. Lee, Vox

The flight was overbooked, and United needed to find seats for four of its crew members so they could staff later flights taking off from Louisville. The airline offered passengers up to $800 to leave, but when no one volunteered, United selected four passengers at random and ordered them off the flight.

Corporate Social Responsibility

New Study Cites Sustainability as Top Priority for Millennial Workforce
Sustainable Brands

At this stage in the game, a company’s performance in regards to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues strongly influences its value in the eyes of investors. But such matters are increasingly becoming important considerations for the millennial workforce too.

Ford is making a hybrid F-150 truck
Mike Murphy, Quartz

Ford’s future is looking greener. The automaker announced today that it plans to invest $4.5 billion over the next five years to produce 13 new vehicles that are either hybrids or electric cars.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

United finds a new way to make itself look awful, and then its CEO shows how to make things worse
Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

The adage about a picture being worth a thousand words never seemed as true as it did early Monday morning, when a video clip shot around the Internet showing a passenger being violently removed from a United Airlines plane in Chicago for refusing to be “voluntarily” bumped from the flight. United no doubt will expend thousands of words explaining or apologizing for this incident in coming hours, days and weeks.

Delta’s latest mess highlights an industry weakness
Larry Light, CBS News

The latest imbroglio at Delta Air Lines, which canceled more than 3,500 flights over the past few days, exposes a chink in the airline industry’s operations: Its vulnerability to broad disruptions, whether due to severe weather or computer crashes. Critics are wondering why the industry — the problem ranges beyond Delta — isn’t better equipped to handle adversity, especially since it’s now flying high financially.

What Note 7 fallout? Galaxy S8 preorders are huge
Chris Burns, SlashGear

This morning reports from several sources suggest that preorders for the Samsung Galaxy S8 are well and above those for the Galaxy S7. Last year’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, says Samsung, have been “outpaced” by those of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus (or S8+, if you prefer) in pre-orders here in the United States.

Is digital an effective mass market medium?
Charlotte Rogers, Marketing Week

The amount of data available to marketers using digital channels is immense. But while digital is lauded for its ability to allow brands to reach the right consumer, at the right time, in the right environment, the question remains whether it is an effective medium for mass marketing.

‘Fate of the Furious’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by TV advertising attention analytics company, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “The Fate of the Furious.” Ads placed for the eighth installment of the “Fast and Furious” franchise had an estimated media value of $7.13 million through Sunday for 1,412 national ad airings across 42 networks.