As we prepare to enter 2014, here's one last look at the biggest events to shape our industry in the year just wrapping up.
Publicis-Omnicom merger alters the landscapeAt this time last year we said Maurice Levy might try for a megamerger in 2013. But when the news broke in late July, most were surprised to learn that he was teaming up with John Wren and Omnicom, which is bigger than Publicis. The merger, which will reshape adland, likely won't be completed until the second quarter of 2014 at the earliest.
Twitter might not have any profit or a clear business model, but it does have fans on Wall Street. Whereas Facebook's 2012 stock debut bordered on disastrous, Twitter's went off without a hitch. In recent weeks its stock has been outperforming Facebook's.
No fail-whale for Twitter IPO
Americans used to watch seven hours of TV a week. Now, with streaming offerings and on-demand video, more are cramming it all into one session. How this will affect broadcast remains to be seen, but it's proved a boon to Netflix and Amazon as they place bigger bets on original-content plays.
Despite Washington's best efforts to derail the recovery with government shutdowns and other lapses in judgment, the economy of 2013 was remarkably strong on the fundamentals that can fuel sustained growth: rebounding housing market, surging auto sales, record stock prices, pretty good consumer confidence, decent private-sector jobs growth.
The resilient economy
After a more than 40-year TV ban, tobacco companies returned to the airwaves to promote e-cigarettes -- the sales of which are projected to reach $1.7 billion in 2013. Depending on how the FDA rules on e-cigs, TV ads could become as common as beer ads or the marketing equivalent of "Brigadoon."
Tobacco returns to TV
They'll gladly pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today -- or 120 days out for an ad campaign. While the majority of marketers are paying vendors within 30 days, an Association of National Advertisers study showed more than 40% have extended payment terms. Procter & Gamble this year went to 75 days, Mondelez to 125.
Marketers pull a Wimpy
It's hard to know what to believe at this point. We do know that the National Security Agency is collecting reams and reams of data (or metadata) on people. And they're using companies like Google and Verizon to do it, though those companies denied they voluntarily participated. The NSA was also using a favorite tool of marketers -- the cookie. Marketers are waiting to see how much blowback the Prism program will create against their data-fueled efforts.
NSA Prism scandal