Chicken wing prices soar and Starbucks' holiday coffee cups arrive: Trending
In an election full of blurry results and slow-moving vote counts, one thing quickly swept to victory: Weed. Voters in New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Arizona approved recreational pot legalization—which will amount to an injection of $2.5 billion in cannabis sales by 2024, according to Marijuana Business Daily.
Plenty of brands shut down social media marketing during the election, and Gap probably wishes it would have gone mute. The retailer tweeted an image of a red-and-white hoodie as a bipartisan unifier, but deleted it after intense backlash.
The voting is over, even if the counting isn’t—but Ad Age readers still can’t get enough of campaign ads: A story on the Biden campaign’s ballot bubbles spot was our most popular post this week. Also ranking high were posts on a couple of brand gaffes: Gap’s aforementioned Twitter blunder, and this story on MeUndies’ new Harry Potter line, which drew backlash because it comes in the wake of “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling’s heavily critiqued tweets about trans people. As Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing writes, “It’s a public case study in what not to do when trying to appeal to a millennial and Gen-Z consumer base that cares deeply about societal issues and will choose to support a brand depending on their stance.”
‘Thigh of the Tiger’
That’s the subject line of the week, from a Wingstop research note written by Cowen analyst Andrew Charles. Wingstop, a hit during the pandemic, is testing sales of bone-in chicken thighs as it faces higher prices for wings. “We've said for a long time that it is our desire to use more parts of the bird in strategic ways to help mitigate the impact of bone-in wing price inflation, which we believe these have the potential to do,” Chairman and CEO Charlie Morrison said on a conference call. “Aside from the fact that they're just really, really good.” Last year, it offered a different take on standard wings: whole wings
Quote of the week
“Enjoy the DIS stock price and your NFL football”—former longtime ESPN personality Bob Ley ripping the network after word leaked that it plans 300 layoffs.
Tweet of the week
Number of the week
$20 million-$30 million: The amount of media investment Anheuser-Busch InBev will put into its new Michelob Ultra Organic Hard Seltzer next year, including a Super Bowl ad, according to a report from Beer Marketer’s Insights. A spokeswoman for the brewer told Ad Age that “no Super Bowl decisions have been made” and “our 2021 budgets haven’t been set.”
Butterball and Jennie-O’s turkey help hotlines have been running for years (Butterball is in its 39th year)—but they will be needed more than ever this year. As social distancing leads to smaller gatherings, plenty of first-time turkey chefs may need help. "We’re expecting more calls than ever this year,” says Rebecca Welch, senior brand manager, seasonal at Butterball. Its 50 experts are working from home this year due to the pandemic. Here’s a pro tip from Welch: move your frozen turkey to the fridge on Thaw Day, Nov. 19.
Winter is coming (for your coffee)
Few holiday retail activations are watched as closely as Starbucks’ holiday cup designs. It sounds silly, but people really do care about this: In 2015 the coffee giant dealt with backlash amid accusations it was waging a war on Christmas when it left ornaments, Christmas trees and other displays of holiday cheer off of the cups. Ornaments made the cut this year, as well as designs that include imagery such as ribbons and polka dots. They will be supported with 15-second ads, full-page inserts in weekly magazines, display banners, custom content and integrations, and social posts. Meanwhile, Dunkin’ proclaimed the new word of the season is “Cheersin’”—adorning its cups and appearing in a video featuring some TikTokers.
On the Move
Longtime Toyota Motor North America executive Ed Laukes stepped down from his role as VP of Toyota Division marketing. The automaker said it will name a replacement next month. Automotive News has more.
Contributing: Jessica Wohl