Ad Age’s Agency Report reveals weak agency growth and Avengers breaks the box office: Monday Wake-Up Call
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Ad Age’s 75th Annual Agency Report is out this morning, and it’s not all good news for U.S. agencies. U.S. agency revenue rose by just 1.7 percent in 2018, the weakest growth since the ad market emerged from recession. Ad agency revenue grew just 0.4 percent and media agency revenue fell 2.1 percent.
However, as Ad Age’s Bradley Johnson writes in our summary report, there are some positive takeaways, in particular for digital agencies where revenue increased by 7.2 percent. And the market for digital is healthy: Ad Age Datacenter estimates that digital work captured 53.6 percent of 2018 U.S. revenue for agencies from all disciplines in this Agency Report. That’s double the percentage from 2009.
Also, there’s good news on jobs: employment at U.S. ad agencies and PR agencies last year reached record highs. Another positive indicator: Omnicom Group’s stock this month scored a multiyear high, a bet by investors that the big agency company will keep growing.
'Avengers: Endgame' busts the box-office
It was predicted to be huge and the early indications were right: Marvel’s blockbuster "Avengers: Endgame" broke box-office records to take $1.2 billion worldwide over the weekend, becoming the No. 1 movie in 54 countries. As the New York Times reports, “Almost every multiplex on the planet was gridlocked over the weekend”--and in an era of streaming and Netflix, that’s quite an achievement.
As Ad Age reported last week, many brands have cashed in on the movie with promotional tie-ups. And now, with AMC Theaters, the largest multiplex operator in North America, having added 5,000 last-minute showtimes, according to the Times, movie theater advertisers are sure to reap the benefits.
Those U.S. viewers, by the way, don’t get an intermission in the three-hour epic. The Times’ arts section reports that while "filmmakers shot the idea down" of a midway break and American theater chains weighed in with a no break policy, in many other countries theaters are indeed hitting pause so people can stretch their legs.
Cartoon apology: The New York Times has apologized after it ran a cartoon that has been accused of being anti-Semitic. The cartoon, which appeared last Thursday, portrayed a blind President Trump wearing a skullcap being led by Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel drawn as a dog on a leash with a Star of David collar. "The image was offensive and it was an error of judgement to publish it" says the Times in an apology on Twitter.
'Adult supervision': In the new issue of Ad Age, Jeannine Poggi profiles Nancy Dubuc, the CEO of Vice Media. Brought in last year to take the reins of the "unwieldy" organization and distance it from the bad-boy image on which it was built after a #MeToo scandal, Dubuc's tenure has so far been hailed as successful, reports Poggi. But she still faces obstacles, such as stabilizing its financial positioning and the health of its flailing cable network, Viceland. Read the full interview here.
Fashion shuns plastic: The Wall Street Journal reports that fashion houses are hurrying to ditch plastic with cardboard hangers and eco-friendly packaging, in response to consumer concerns over sustainability. Brands ranging from H&M to Hermes are trying to cut down on plastic or eliminate it altogether.
Save the Veggies: "Hardee's is taking a cue from the non-profit world to promote the return of its roast beef sandwich" reports Ad Age's Jessica Wohl. In a campaign via Arnold, says Wohl, ads telling viewers to "save the veggies" by buying the vegetable-free sandwich bring to mind fundraising ads on animal cruelty such as those starring Sarah Mclachlan.
Ad of the Day: KFC's Mother's Day offering is quite a sight to behold. It features Colonel Sanders as one of 10 "Chickendale" (geddit?) dancers clad in tearaway pants and bow ties. Viewers can personalize the videos to thank their own mom by name for all her hard work. Read more about the Wieden & Kennedy campaign from Creativity's I-Hsien Sherwood here. Plus, check out Creativity's Top 5 ideas from last week, including a Purina campaign from McCann Paris that encourages dogs to pee on billboards and then checks their urine for health problems here.