The NRA gets dropped by its agency. Plus, NBA Finals ratings predictions: Thursday Wake-Up Call
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What people are talking about today
The NRA and its longtime ad agency are splitting up after 38 years together. Ad agency Ackerman McQueen is walking away, saying “the NRA’s chaos led us to lose faith” in the gun group, as Bloomberg News reports.
The National Rifle Association and the agency have been locked in an astonishing legal feud; the NRA even accused the agency of waging an unsuccessful coup to try to topple NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre. (Ackerman McQueen is based in Oklahoma City and had revenue of $54.2 million in 2018, according to the Ad Age Datacenter Agency Report 2019.)
The NRA seems ready to move on: After Ackerman McQueen departed, an NRA spokesman said in a statement that the gun group now sees “an opportunity to elevate our brand.”
A question: What happens to the NRATV network? The NRA has been paying Ackerman McQueen for its programming, “meaning that people at the network technically work for the ad firm,” The Daily Beast reports.
NBA finals look ahead
ABC’s ratings might not be so stellar during the NBA Finals, given the Golden State Warriors’ matchup against the Toronto Raptors. It's nothing personal, Canada! But as Ad Age’s Anthony Crupi explains: “Because the Raptors are a Canadian team, they don’t have a footprint in any stateside media market—and impressions served up north of the border don’t count,” he writes. By the way, the first game is at 9 p.m. EDT tonight on ABC.
Hulu gives viewers options; there's a version with commercials for $5.99 a month, and one without commercials, with a monthly pricetag of $11.99. Now we know the breakdown of who’s signing up for what. Variety reports:
“Overall, [Hulu] has 82 million viewers (meaning there’s an average of 2.9 viewers per Hulu account). And of those, about 70%, or 58 million, are on the ad-supported plan, according to Peter Naylor, senior VP, head of advertising sales, citing comScore estimates.”
Which, from advertisers’ perspective, is interesting knowledge. Also, it raises a question: If Netflix changes course and offers an ad-supported option along with its current ad-free model (as some expect will happen), would a majority of viewers opt for a cheaper, ad-supported offering?
The ‘Friends’ apartment, Ikea-style
There are few living rooms as familiar as the one from NBC’s “Friends,” with its purple walls and cozy, cluttered vibe. Ikea just re-created the ‘90s-era TV set using its own furniture for an ad campaign in the United Arab Emirates. Somehow, Ikea’s version totally works, though the TV show’s shabby-chic coffee table has been replaced with a blah Ikea Lack table.
Publicis Spain helped Ikea re-create the famous living rooms from “Stranger Things” and “The Simpsons” too. The photos are a lot of fun. The message: Ikea has something for everyone—whether your decorating style is more Monica Geller or Bart Simpson. Read more from Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz.
Delete: Soon you’ll be able to order Amazon’s Alexa to delete your voice recordings. As Bloomberg News writes, the move comes after the company got flak for user privacy.
Paywall alert: Fortune magazine “is raising its cover price, launching a digital paywall and boosting its conference business” to decrease its reliance on print ads, The Wall Street Journal reports. Thai businessman Chatchaval Jiaravanon recently bought the publication from Meredith Corp.
Brand moves: “Diageo has named Fig as the new global agency of record for Ketel One Vodka,” E.J. Schultz writes in Ad Age. Barton F. Graf previously handled the business in the U.S. And Unilever’s home-care brand Seventh Generation will shift its creative account to indie shop Opinionated from 72andSunny, Jack Neff writes.
Getting to know you: Mia Libby, chief revenue officer at The Daily Beast, is getting back into skiing. She tells Ad Age’s Alfred Maskeroni and I-Hsien Sherwood: “I need to be able to do something that is not doing my job, that is not being a mom, that I really enjoy.” Listen to their conversation on the Ad Block podcast.
Ambush marketing move of the day: Taco Bell has an official NBA sponsorship, but during the league’s finals, Chipotle Mexican Grill is trying to elbow its way in and get some attention. “Chipotle says that each time an announcer says ‘free’ during the main TV broadcast—free throw, anyone?—it plans to disclose codes on Twitter that are good for chances to score free burritos,” Jessica Wohl reports in Ad Age. Funnily enough, Chipotle’s CEO and CMO both used to work at Taco Bell, which obviously has its own NBA Finals promotions going. Read more here.
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