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What people are talking about today
Droga5, the lauded indie creative agency, won’t be independent much longer. It’s being acquired by Accenture Interactive in perhaps the most striking sign yet of consultancies advancing into ad agencies’ territory. The move “could put to rest the notion that consultants pose little threat to ad agencies because they lack creativity,” Judann Pollack writes in Ad Age.
“Still, skeptics have questioned the ability of creative shops to thrive under the ownership of big consultancies.”
The 600-person agency got its start in 2006 with daring creative stunts; now it will be one piece of one branch of Accenture, a global management consultancy that employees 459,000 people. As Droga5 gives up its independence, it’s betting that Accenture’s reach and resources will give it more impact.
What Droga told Ad Age: "I'm not cashing out,” founder and Creative Chairman David Droga says. “I'm not riding off into the sunset on a kangaroo, but I do want to take it up a notch. I want to be one of the people that helps put the industry on its front foot again."
What Droga told clients: In an email to clients that was obtained by Ad Age, Droga described yesterday as a “Droga5-at-its-best” type of day. “You know, the ones that make us all exceptionally excited, and slightly nervous.” He called the companies “two vastly different juggernauts brought together by shared ambitions, complimentary skills sets and mirrored cultures. The potential is seismic. The ramifications extraordinary.” There were other superlatives in the email too, but you get the idea.
In other news
Troves of Facebook user data have turned up on publicly accessible Amazon cloud servers, yet another reminder of how Facebook no longer has control of all the data it has shared with third-party developers. Researchers at UpGuard, a cybersecurity firm, discovered the records. Bloomberg News reports that “in one instance, Mexico City-based media company Cultura Colectiva openly stored 540 million records on Facebook users, including identification numbers, comments, reactions and account names.”
Facebook says it worked with Amazon to take down the databases, a spokesperson told Bloomberg. Facebook also says it’s committed to working with developers to protect people’s data. (Curious, given how much damage control it’s always doing.)
Synthetic diamonds have become big business, and the Federal Trade Commission is worried that companies aren’t making it clear enough to consumers that their diamonds come from a lab. The FTC says it warned eight jewelers that their online ads “make it seem as though laboratory-made diamonds are actually mined gems,” the Ad Age Marketer’s Brief reports. The FTC declined to name the brands involved. But it offered some examples of ads it took issue with, including one that promoted “above-ground real diamonds.” Huh?
Radio days: iHeartMedia is “looking to return to public markets with a $100 million initial public offering, marking another step in the company’s financial turnaround after filing for bankruptcy last year,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
Backing off: Amazon has “quietly removed some of the most aggressive promotional spots for so-called private label products on its website,” CNBC reports. That might be good news for brands that spend huge amounts of money to advertise on Amazon’s platforms, only to be overshadowed by Amazon’s own private-label products.
Instagram royalty: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle set a record. “Just five hours and 45 minutes after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex unveiled their new Instagram account on Tuesday, @SussexRoyal had already amassed 1 million followers, a milestone that Guinness World Records says was reached in record time,” ET Online writes.
Meanwhile at Snapchat: “At its first Snap Partner Summit this week in Los Angeles, Snapchat is ready to discuss expanding access to its camera and augmented reality features,” Garett Sloane reports in Ad Age.
New logo alert: Staples, the office supply retailer, has a new logo. The name brand is in red, it’s lower-case and it’s preceded with an icon representing a staple. Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli writes that “Staples is keeping things literal.”
Ad of the day: Amazon Alexa is an emblem of the digital age, but a new spot tries to show you that tech doesn’t have to be impersonal and cold. It’s a storybook-like tale set in a farmhouse (where there’s a flickering fireplace and ivy on the walls), and it’s about a little boy and his pet pig. As Ad Age’s Alexandra Jardine writes, the ad “promotes a use for Alexa you won’t have thought of.” Watch it here.
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