Morning Consult Brands: Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Director Fired Over Past Holocaust Joke
 

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July 22, 2021
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  • The Tokyo Olympics’ opening ceremony director, Kentaro Kobayashi, was fired the day before the event after reports of a joke he made about the Holocaust in a 1990s comedy act resurfaced in local media. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga described the director’s joke as “outrageous and unacceptable” but said the opening ceremony would continue as planned. (Reuters)
  • ESPN announced it has parted ways with studio host and reporter Maria Taylor, but two sources familiar with the negotiations say she is close to signing a deal with NBC. Taylor’s exit follows a highly publicized controversy behind the scenes at ESPN involving Taylor, who is Black, and Rachel Nichols, a white studio host who criticized the company for choosing Taylor for an NBA hosting gig last year due to “feeling pressure” about diversity. (The New York Times)
  • Publicis Groupe recovered the revenue it lost in 2020, said Chairman and Chief Executive Arthur Sadoun, as the holding company reported 17.1 percent organic growth for its second quarter. The company credited U.S. growth in particular to strong performances from its data and technology companies, including Epsilon and Publicis Sapient, which saw organic growth of roughly 31 percent and 27 percent, respectively. (Ad Age)
  • The Video Advertising Bureau, a trade organization that represents The Walt Disney Co., ViacomCBS and other major media companies, sent a letter asking the Media Rating Council to strip Nielsen of its accreditation due to criticisms over the measurement company’s ability to accurately count viewership amid the pandemic. MRC Chief Executive George Ivie said the group is considering its next steps, while Nielsen said in a statement that it is “fully committed to returning to pre-COVID operations.” (Variety)
 

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What Else You Need to Know

Advertising
 

Skipping the Olympics Is ‘Not an Option’ for Many Advertisers

Tiffany Hsu, The New York Times

Companies have spent more than $1 billion on ads timed to the Tokyo Games, which will take place in empty arenas as the pandemic lingers.

 

Peloton’s Latest Ad Recognizes the Far-Reaching Community That Powers the Brand

Sara Century, Adweek

The pandemic and lockdown changed how a lot of people work out, leading some consumers to reassess their home exercise options. For Peloton, the fitness app’s virtual community, which has grown tremendously since the start of quarantine, takes the spotlight in a new, celebratory campaign.

 

How Brands Are Living up to BIPOC Media Commitments in the Upfronts

Ethan Jakob Craft and Jeanine Poggi, Ad Age

Minority-owned and targeted media companies are playing a larger role in this year’s upfront dealmaking, as brands and agencies alike look to uphold commitments to shift more marketing dollars into Black, Latino and other diverse media channels.

 

Clorox Keeps Busy With a New Product, Partnership and Ad Campaign

Paul Hiebert, Adweek

Few brands have been as in demand during the pandemic as Clorox. Despite making around a million canisters of disinfecting wipes each day, the company still struggled to provide shoppers with enough.

 

Mattress Firm & Liev Schreiber urge Americans to put ‘junk sleep’ to bed

Kendra Clark, The Drum

The classic mattress retailer has enlisted Ray Donovan actor Liev Schreiber and Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas in a new national ad campaign urging Americans to ditch their poor sleeping habits.

 
Media and Entertainment
 

Going Mobile: Netflix Wants to Be the Everything App

Alex Weprin and J. Clara Chan, The Hollywood Reporter

Despite its reputation as the king of subscription streaming video, Netflix understands it has never had the dominance on mobile devices that it has on TV screens.

 

Verizon Media, Ahead of Spin-Off, Sees Q2 Revenue Bounce Back Over Pre-Pandemic Levels

Todd Spangler, Variety

Verizon Media is getting ready to fly out of the Verizon nest as a private company — and CEO Guru Gowrappan says the digital-media group that encompasses Yahoo and AOL businesses has strengthened its wings for journey.

 

HBO Max and HBO Add 2.8M U.S. Subscribers in Second Quarter, AT&T Boosts 2021 Global Sub Target

Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter

HBO and HBO Max reached 47.0 million U.S. subscribers as of the end of the second quarter, up 2.8 million from 44.2 million as of the end of the first quarter, “driven by HBO Max retail subscriber growth,” WarnerMedia parent and telecom giant AT&T said Thursday morning.

 

TheSkimm Renames Business Podcast, 9 to 5ish, as Women Return to the Office

Mark Stenberg, Adweek

As professional women across the country return to the office, theSkimm wants to help them prepare for the new normal.

 

Malika Andrews shined through the Maria Taylor-Rachel Nichols ESPN drama

Jenna Lemoncelli, New York Post

It’s hard to believe last night was Malika Andrews’ first time covering the NBA Finals as a sideline reporter.

 

‘Call Her Daddy’ Host Alex Cooper Wants to Have the Biggest Podcast in the World

Lane Florsheim, The Wall Street Journal

Cooper has built a brand on the link between raunchy talk and female empowerment—to Spotify, it’s worth $20 million a year.

 

WarnerMedia Hasn’t Focused on Replacing Jeff Zucker, Opening Chance for Executive to Stay

Brian Steinberg, Variety

If WarnerMedia is really looking to replace Jeff Zucker, the company isn’t telling a lot of people about it.

 

Campbell Brown Details How Facebook Is Investing $1 Billion-Plus in Journalism

Antoinette Siu, Wrap Pro

When Facebook tapped former TV journalist Campbell Brown as VP of global news partnerships to help it build a bridge into the news industry in 2017, the social network company was facing many controversies and challenges.

 
Social Media and Technology
 

How TikTok’s Algorithm Figures Out Your Deepest Desires

The Wall Street Journal

A Wall Street Journal investigation found that TikTok only needs one important piece of information to figure out what you want: the amount of time you linger over a piece of content. Every second you hesitate or rewatch, the app is tracking you.

 

Twitter, Facebook Take First Step to Give Marketers an Audit of Brand Safety

Garett Sloane, Ad Age

Twitter has agreed to open its books to a “pre-assessment” audit of brand safety on the platform, which is one of the commitments it made following the abuses of social media during the tumultuous 2020 election and civil rights movement. 

 

Simone Biles Gets Custom GOAT Twitter Emoji, Becomes First Olympian to Be Honored with One

Lindsay Kimble, People

With just a few days to go before the Olympic gymnasts start competition in Tokyo, Simone Biles’ dominance is getting some social media recognition.

 

Clubhouse Ditches Invites, Opens the App Up to Everyone

Sean Burch, The Wrap

Clubhouse is opening up to everyone, with the buzzy live audio app announcing on Wednesday that it’s ditching its invite and waitlist system for users.

 
PR and Marketing
 

Parents who claim toddler was severely injured by Peloton treadmill call it a ‘death trap’

Kelly McCarthy et al., ABC News

A family is sharing a stark new warning for others about the alleged dangers of the Peloton Tread+ treadmill after they say their son was sucked under the belt and severely injured.

 

With employee wellness top of mind, more companies push fitness programs as the hybrid return to the office begins

Tony Case, Digiday

With the return to the office at hand, more companies are making the wellness of their people a priority — and that includes physical fitness. 

 

Charli D’Amelio’s Newest Dunkin’ Pitch Involves Recruiting Employees

Moyo Adeolu, Ad Age

Dunkin’—which has used Charli D’Amelio to boost sales—is now calling on the social media star to help boost its employee recruitment. 

 

Ford, Argo AI to deploy autonomous vehicles on Lyft network

The Associated Press

Ford Motor Co. and a self-driving vehicle company it partly owns will join with the Lyft ride-hailing service to offer autonomous rides on the Lyft network.

 

Another casualty of the COVID Olympics … Japanese whisky

Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports

In 1964, the last time Japan hosted the Olympics, the Suntory distillery, the nation’s oldest, moved a batch of then 4-year-old whisky from a mizunara oak cask to a white oak cask.

 

Bed Bath & Beyond’s stores have always been chaotic. Now it’s decluttering Marie Kondo-style

Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN 

For years, shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond has meant dealing with chaos. You could lose hours sifting through a hodgepodge of items on cluttered shelves and walk out with nothing.

 

Top Japanese CEO says economic losses from no-fan Tokyo Olympics will be ‘enormous’

Michelle Toh and Selina Wang, CNN 

One of Japan’s most prominent business leaders says the Olympics are losing their commercial value.

 

United Air Sees Profit on Horizon Despite Renewed Virus Fear

Justin Bachman, Bloomberg

United Airlines Holdings Inc. expects to end a year and a half of losses this quarter despite rising investor anxiety about whether Covid-19 infections will upend a travel resurgence.

 

Coca-Cola Boosts Outlook as Sales Rebound

Omar Abdel-Baqui, The Wall Street Journal

Coca-Cola Co. raised its outlook for the year, as rising Covid-19 vaccination rates and the reopening of restaurants, stadiums and movie theaters boost sales of soft drinks around the globe.

 

Kosher grocery stores drop Ben & Jerry’s after its decision to stop selling ice cream in Palestinian territories

Lauren Hakimi, CNN 

Several kosher grocery stores around the United States have decided to pull Ben & Jerry’s from their shelves after the company’s announcement this week that it would stop doing business with a licensee in Israel that sells ice cream in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

 

Summer Travel Seasons Don’t Get Weirder Than This One

Scott McCartney, The Wall Street Journal

Travelers are encountering new headaches to go with classic delays, and suddenly Charlotte, N.C., is handling more flights than LAX.

 

Kodak Deletes Post by Photographer Who Called Xinjiang an ‘Orwellian Dystopia’

Mike Ives, The New York Times

The American company Eastman Kodak has deleted an Instagram post featuring images of Xinjiang, a western Chinese region where the government is accused of grave human rights violations, after an online backlash from Beijing’s supporters.

 
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