Top Stories

  • Though WPP PLC Chief Executive Mark Read previously said he would do everything he could to avoid furloughs and layoffs, WPP agency Grey will furlough about 3.5 percent of its staff, a move that sources close to the matter expect to last for about three months. Grey also instituted hiring and salary freezes and temporary salary cuts for senior employees who voluntarily agree, the sources said. (Ad Age)
  • Ad rates on YouTube have dropped more than 20 percent from the highs seen earlier this year, according to two publishers, who are expecting the decline to get worse this year. News publishers on the platform are seeing increased views, according to data from social video analytics company Tubular Labs, but advertising fill rates on coronavirus-related content remain low, said a source at a third publisher. (Digiday)
  • Land O’Lakes Inc. Chief Executive Beth Ford said that the company would repackage its products ahead of its 100th anniversary, replacing the American Indian maiden featured on its logo for almost a century with images of farm owners who help produce the dairy products. The company did not specify whether the image of the maiden will disappear completely, but the lake-and-woods design remains the same, and the term “farmer-owned” is now more prominent. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

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Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Insights Studio Series – Brand Purpose: An Effective Advertising Response in a Crisis 12:00 pm
Rebalancing Ad Spend During COVID-19: Finding Your Audience on Connected TV 2:00 pm
Amazon Strategies Virtual Forum
Elevate AI: Live Virtual Event 3:00 pm
Discover MarTech: A Virtual Event For Strategies & Solutions
Amazon Strategies Virtual Forum
Weathering the Storm: Brand Management in the COVID-19 Era 12:30 pm
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Special Report – Weathering the Storm: Brand Management in the COVID-19 Era

The coronavirus pandemic is the most complex and multifaceted threat that brand and business leaders have faced in the 21st century. Our new special report, Weathering the Storm: Brand Management in the COVID-19 Era, is the quintessential resource for communications, marketing and insights executives navigating their brands through this difficult time.


Fear, Then Calm Were Top-Performing Emotions in Social Ads for First Stretch of Lockdown
Patrick Kulp, Adweek

Entertainment and gaming ads centered around fear saw a 161 percent lift in view-through rates compared to the average of other emotional tags from mid-February to mid-March, according to a report from creative analytics platform VidMob.

Meredith Offers Extended Ad Guarantee Due to COVID-19
Sara Jerde, Adweek

Meredith Corp. is offering to work with advertisers who buy at least five ads in two of its publications running from May through December to guarantee readers take action after seeing the ads.

NextRoll Lays Off 30%, Institutes 20% Paycuts
Sarah Sluis, AdExchanger

Retargeting company NextRoll, formerly known as AdRoll, laid off 30 percent of its staff of 700 and cut the pay of remaining employees.

Etsy Pivots Ad Campaign To Support Sellers As Mask Sales Continue To Rise
Adrianne Pasquarelli, Ad Age

Etsy planned for a campaign highlighting items that are typically popular this time of year — such as jewelry and wedding products — but instead created a TV spot highlighting sellers.

You Can’t Go Anywhere, but Ads Still Promise Retreats
Maria Cramer, The New York Times

Some property owners are still encouraging people to travel in ads on Craigslist and Airbnb.

Media and Entertainment

86% Of News Pubs Faced Canceled Ad Campaigns, According To IAB
Sarah Sluis, AdExchanger

A survey of 200 publishers from the Interactive Advertising Bureau found that 70 percent of all publishers said they received requests to pause campaigns, compared to 86 percent of news publishers.

All Quibi Advertisers Are Taking Advantage of ‘Turnstyle’ Format
Kelsey Sutton, Adweek

Advertisers are designing their Quibi campaigns to fit with both portrait and landscape mode, as the app allows for viewing in both.

Hulu and Roku are getting a popularity boost from the pandemic but may not be able to fully capitalize on it
Lauren Johnson, Business Insider Prime

Ad buyers said spikes in viewership don’t necessarily mean more ad dollars for streaming services, as advertisers are still tied up in TV network deals.  

Evening News Audiences Surge Amid Coronavirus. Can The Networks Keep Them?
Brian Steinberg, Variety

Views for broadcast networks like ABC and NBC have spiked since this period last year, and some anchors and producers believe the viewers will stick around after the pandemic.

Social Media and Technology

TikTok and The Trade Desk Look to Take Their Partnership Global
Ronan Shields, Adweek

TikTok inventory was made available via The Trade Desk earlier this year for the first time in the Asia-Pacific region, and sources say the partnership could become a global deal.

TikTok Adds a Voiceover Feature
David Cohen, Adweek

The feature allows creators to record a video, then add their own voice while editing.

PR and Marketing

Apparel Companies Estimated To Lose As Much As $1 Trillion In Brand Value Due To COVID-19
Hani Mau, Fashionista

Apparel companies could be among the hardest-hit industries in the world and could sustain a 20 loss in brand value, which translates to $1 trillion, according to brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance.

McDonald’s relationship with US franchisees is fraying over coronavirus relief
Amelia Lucas, CNBC

McDonald’s Corp. is urging franchise owners to provide more support to employees, but The National Franchisee Leadership Alliance, which officially negotiates with the company on behalf of franchisees, said owners are losing faith in leadership.

In leaked letter, Hobby Lobby CEO says stores ‘will likely reopen gradually’ and urged furloughed workers struggling to collect unemployment to remain ‘vigilant and strong’
Bethany Biron, Business Insider

Chief Executive David Green said the company is looking at reopening, but after it defied state lockdown orders for nonessential businesses, employees said they’ve lost respect for the company.

Reese Witherspoon’s Fashion Line Offered Free Dresses to Teachers. They Didn’t Mean Every Teacher.
Vanessa Friedman, The New York Times

Draper James marketed a promotion to donate dresses to millions of teachers, but only allocated 250 dresses to its cause.

Busch Looks to Ease the Pain of Coronavirus-Delayed Weddings
David Cohen, Adweek

Couples who planned to get married in 2020 who share on social media how they still plan to celebrate could win $300 in prepaid debit cards to purchase Busch beer for up to a year.

Have A Workout, Then Pop A Michelob Ultra, Virtually — Then Leave A Tip
P.J. Bednarski, MediaPost

Michelob Ultra is partnering with trainers and gym owners whose business have been impacted by the coronavirus crisis for a social media workout series, followed by Q&A happy hours.

Grocery delivery was supposed to be the ultimate pandemic lifeline. But it’s falling short.
Abha Bhattarai, The Washington Post

Brands like Instacart Inc., Shipt Inc., Peapod Inc. and Inc.’s Prime Now have customers reporting wait times of weeks-long, and workers are frustrated by lack of protection and low pay.

Why independent restaurant owners are fighting third-party delivery platforms like Grubhub and Uber Eats
Irene Jiang, Business Insider

Grubhub Inc., DoorDash Inc., Postmates Inc. and Uber Eats are at odds with restaurants, but one marketing entrepreneur said the companies should instead be looking to show they’re partners with the food industry.

Former Netflix Exec Christian Davin Hired as Amazon Studios’ Global Head of Movies Marketing
Beatrice Verhoeven, The Wrap

Davin served as vice president of global creative marketing for films at Netflix, where he oversaw the marketing of pictures including “Roma,” “Bird Box,” “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” “Murder Mystery” and “The Irishman.”

Carnival Executives Knew They Had a Virus Problem, But Kept the Party Going
Austin Carr et al., Bloomberg

Even after news reached the Grand Princess ship that the United States Centers for Disease Control was “investigating a small cluster” of COVID-19 cases that might have been linked to the ship, life went on as usual.

March’s record-breaking collapse in retail sales, explained
Matthew Yglesias, Vox

Retail sales dropped 8.7 percent in March, the worst decline on record, but some sectors saw rises in sales.

Forget Toilet Paper—the Really Distressing Shortage Is Frozen Pizza
Robert Klara, Adweek

Frozen pizza sales at Newman’s Own, for instance, are up 190 percent since the start of the coronavirus crisis, and analytics firm IRI found that Americans bought $275 million worth of frozen pizza during the four weeks ending April 5.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

CBS Marketing Chief George Schweitzer Looks Back on His 48-Year Run at Network as He Prepares to Step Down
Michael Schneider, Variety
Schweitzer took over marketing for the company in the early 1990s amid the rise of cable, which forced networks to change the way they promoted their content.

4A’s CEO on the role of brands in pandemic: ‘It’s about action, not selling’
John McCarthy, The Drum

Marla Kaplowitz, chief executive of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, said brands should build favorability by showing utility instead of focusing on sales.

10 Creative Trends In The Time Of The Coronavirus
Alexandra Jardine, Ad Age

User-generated content had become popular in campaigns, as has spacing out logos to reflect social distancing.

How JPMorgan is adapting its ad messaging (and continuing to spend on advertising)
Lara O’Reilly, Digiday

The company turned around its latest ad, which features employees in its wealth management division working from home, in 10 days and is now running it on more than a dozen TV networks.

Morning Consult