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Essential marketing and PR news & intel to start your day.
January 14, 2022
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How to Make Returns More Painless
We all get them: unwanted gifts from the holiday season. But while the majority of consumers who have made returns in the last month said they brought the items back to a store, new Morning Consult data shows a higher share of respondents were “very satisfied” making returns via a third-party drop-off point than those who said the same about making returns at a store or through the mail, according to Morning Consult retail and e-commerce analyst Claire Tassin. Return Drop-Off Points Are a Win-Win for Retailers and Consumers

 

Morning Consult Brands will be off Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The weekday newsletter will resume Tuesday.

 

Top Stories

  • Anheuser-Busch InBev SA debuted a new modernized logo, which combines barley leaves and clinking glasses and also doubles as a globe, all to reflect the new tagline, “To a Future With More Cheers.” The new logo, created by consultancy group Prophet, is designed to get consumers to “think about a future with more innovation, a future with more sustainability, and, ultimately, a future with more happiness,” said Richard Oppy, AB InBev’s global vice president of global brands. (Campaign US
  • The Richards Group is changing its name and logo to TRG, as the advertising firm further distances itself from founder Stan Richards, who left the agency in 2020 after he made racist comments during a client meeting. A spokeswoman said there is “no final timetable” as to when the rebranding would be complete. (Ad Age)
  • In a major blow to the Biden administration’s efforts to increase the COVID-19 vaccination rate, the Supreme Court blocked the administration’s vaccine and testing requirement for large businesses, though the court allowed a national vaccine mandate for certain health care workers to go into effect. In response to the decision, President Joe Biden said it’s now up to states and employers “to determine whether to make their workplaces as safe as possible for employees.” (CNN)
 

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What Else You Need to Know

Advertising
 

How PepsiCo Is Using the Mannings to Spur Soda and Snack Sales Before Super Bowl

Jon Springer, Ad Age

A rickety school bus, fueled with the energy of the “Manningcast” and whose passengers have 10 Super Bowl rings between them, rolls its way toward the Super Bowl in a new multi-brand campaign from PepsiCo.

 

Expedia Says Its Super Bowl Ads Are ‘Vote of Confidence’ in Travel Sector

Megan Graham, The Wall Street Journal

Expedia Group Inc. is advertising in the Super Bowl as the travel industry hopes for a more robust rebound and the company seeks to breathe new life into its brands.

 

Google is hiring for more than 1,200 advertising positions. Here’s how much it pays for sales, engineering, and business roles.

Lauren Johnson and Alex Nicoll, Insider Premium

Insider pulled salary data from 2020 and 2021 H1-B visas to see how much these jobs pay.

 

11 advertising companies that are top M&A targets in 2022 as marketers pour money into TikTok and the metaverse

Patrick Coffee, Insider Premium

Buyers are circling data, healthcare marketing, and metaverse companies.

 
Media and Entertainment
 

‘60 Minutes’ Streaming Spinoff Canceled at Paramount Plus

Brian Steinberg, Variety

The clock has stopped ticking for “60 Minutes Plus,” the streaming spinoff of the venerable CBS News mainstay that was once envisioned as a means of introducing the next generation of viewers to the popular Sunday newsmagazine that has been broadcasting for more than half a century.

 

‘Home Work’ to Return to Magnolia Network After Probe of Renovation Complaints

Jennifer Maas, Variety

Magnolia Network has decided to return “Home Work” to its lineup after initially pulling the show due to complaints made by homeowners about the quality of work done by the contractors who host the unscripted series.

 

Will Zynga Sale Set Off Wave of Video Game Deals?

Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter

Take-Two Interactive reached an agreement to acquire the mobile game juggernaut for $12.7 billion, but there could be other bids amid the 45-day “go-shop” time frame, analysts suggest.

 

Despite Omicron, Film Studios Make a Risky Bet on Theaters

Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg

Potential blockbusters such as sequels Avatar 2 and Top Gun: Maverick will show whether Americans are ready to go out to the movies again.

 

News Publisher Grid Aims to Differentiate Itself Through Its Interconnected Approach

Mark Stenberg, Adweek

The company will put its signature collaborative style to use for brand partners

 

Streaming platforms and service providers are teaming up to woo subscribers

Kelsey Sutton, Marketing Brew

Streaming services are really taking the adage “the more, the merrier” to heart—and not just when it comes to subscriber counts.

 

Netflix Needs New Subscribers. Its Korean Playbook Is Its Secret Weapon.

Shirley Zhao and Lucas Shaw, Bloomberg

In the race to global streaming domination, Netflix’s success with ‘Squid Game’ and ‘Kingdom’ gives it a map to winning over the rest of Asia. 

 

Progressive Signs Naming Rights Deal With Immortals Esports Team

Joe Scalzo, Ad Age

Progressive Corp. is about to be immortalized in the esports world. The Mayfield Village, Ohio-based insurance giant has reached an exclusive, multi-year entitlement agreement with Immortals, a Michigan-based gaming and esports organization that is focused on the Great Lakes region.

 
Social Media and Technology
 

The Highest-Paid YouTube Stars: MrBeast, Jake Paul And Markiplier Score Massive Paydays

Abram Brown and Abigail Freeman, Forbes

MrBeast is the new No. 1 with record earnings, and Jake Paul ranks second despite past scandals. Here’s how much these celebs raked in.

 

How Access to TikTok’s API Is Crucial for Influencer Marketing Agencies

Emmy Liederman, Adweek

Influencer.com and CreatorIQ are the latest shops to become official TikTok marketing partners

 

Snap Poaches Twitter, Instagram Execs

David Cohen, Adweek

Snap Inc. filled two roles in its executive ranks by tapping Twitter and Instagram for talent. New senior director of business marketing, North America Win Sakdinan had been with Twitter for nearly six years, most recently as director of North America business marketing. 

 

Pinterest Sees Big Plans, Big Spending From Men in 2022

David Cohen, Adweek

Pinterest sees 2022 as a big year for spending—by men. In a recent study the platform commissioned from Talkshoppe, Pinterest found that men were setting big goals for the new year, and actively planning to invest the time and money to reach those goals.

 

Musk says Tesla to accept dogecoin for merchandise

Reuters

Tesla Inc will accept meme-based cryptocurrency dogecoin as payment for its merchandise such as the “Giga Texas” belt buckle and mini models of electric vehicles, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said in a tweet on Friday.

 
PR and Marketing
 

Amazon Paying U.S. Workers $40 to Get Vaccine Booster

Mark Di Stefano, The Information

Faced with the Omicron wave of infections, Amazon will pay its U.S. warehouse workers $40 to get the vaccine booster shot. One of the country’s biggest employers, Amazon is continuing to use financial incentives to ensure that low-paid hourly workers are fully vaccinated.

 

Monster Beverage to buy craft-beer maker in alcohol market drive

Reuters

Energy drinks maker Monster Beverage Corp is entering the alcoholic drinks market through a $330 million deal for craft beer and hard seltzer producer CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective LLC.

 

Microsoft to review harassment policies, including Gates allegations

Ina Fried, Axios

Microsoft said on Thursday that it is launching a review of its policies and practices regarding sexual harassment and gender discrimination, with plans to issue a public report expected this spring.

 

Instacart’s Prepared-Food Delivery Takes on DoorDash

Ad Age

Instacart Inc. is launching a service offering prepared foods from supermarkets in a bid to capture more customers and better compete in the hot market for meal delivery.  

 

Veganuary’s Popularity in the US Spikes With 200 Brands, 95,000 American Participants

T.L. Stanley, Adweek

Veganuary, which encourages people to skip dairy and meat this month, continues to gain traction in the U.S. with 95,000 Americans taking the pledge so far, a double-digit increase from 2021’s participation.

 

Desk Salads Hit by Worst Inflation in U.S. With Romaine Prices Up 61%

Elizabeth Elkin and Leslie Patton, Bloomberg

Retail prices for lettuce are soaring more than any other food item tracked by the U.S. government, including meat. It all points to more expensive salads and higher costs for restaurants like Sweetgreen Inc. and Mexican restaurant chain Chuy’s Holdings Inc.

 

After Getting Omicron, People Live It Up a Little. ‘It Was Like “We Can Do This Now.” ’

Julia Carpenter and Alex Janin, The Wall Street Journal

Many of those who recovered are confident they have emerged with greater protection, judging from what they hear from some medical professionals. And they have emerged with a newfound desire to live it up.

 

For Remote Workers, the Sick Day Is Over

Ray A. Smith and Kathryn Dill, The Wall Street Journal

For those already working from home, the omicron variant’s milder symptoms and changing standards about what severity of illness merits a sick day mean that many Covid-infected workers are powering through, muting themselves on Zoom to cough, sneeze or blow their noses as they muddle through the day.

 

Omicron Hastens U.S. Restaurants’ Sales Drop, Bankruptcy Threat

Alicia Diaz, Bloomberg

Sales decreased at 98% of restaurants across the country in December, according to a poll of 1,169 restaurants conducted by the Independent Restaurant Coalition. Sales dropped by at least half at 58% of those surveyed, while 80% of restaurant owners said omicron impacted their operating hours. 

 

Lacoste Snaps Back at M&S in Lawsuit Over Crocodile Trademark Spat

Ellen Milligan, Bloomberg

First caterpillars, now crocodiles — Marks & Spencer Group Plc is embroiled in another trademark battle over the shape of a creature.

 

Unionizing Starbucks, Inspired by Bernie Sanders

Noam Scheiber, The New York Times

The liberal workers the company has long attracted are expanding a union campaign to other cities after a landmark victory in Buffalo.

 

Ailing Amazon workers struggle to find Covid tests themselves

Louise Matsakis, NBC News

Some spend as long as nine hours trying to notify human resources that they’re sick.

 
Morning Consult