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The ad industry’s recovery continues
Ad Age’s Bradley Johnson reports that employment in advertising, public relations and related services rose by 1,900 jobs in April.
Essential context: “The job gains came as U.S. employers in April added a disappointing 266,000 jobs,” Johnson notes, “a significant pullback from the hiring seen during the previous month, according to the monthly employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
Keep reading for Johnson’s drill-down by BLS classifications—including internet media, which has “continued to be the ad industry’s bright spot.”
ISPs’ brazen astroturfing campaign exposed
We’re all used to the idea that things on the internet may not be what they appear to be—but a new revelation about an ISP-funded astroturfing campaign seems especially brazen and cynical, even in the age of Russian bot disinformation. As Ars Technica’s Jon Brodkin reports,
The largest internet providers in the U.S. funded a campaign that generated “8.5 million fake comments” to the Federal Communications Commission as part of the ISPs’ fight against net neutrality rules during the Trump administration, according to a report issued [Thursday] by New York State Attorney General Letitia James. Nearly 18 million out of 22 million comments were fabricated, including both pro- and anti-net neutrality submissions, the report said.
Keep reading here.
Essential context: “The Federal Communications Commission’s contentious 2017 repeal undid Obama-era rules that barred internet service providers from slowing or blocking websites and apps or charging companies more for faster speeds to consumers,” the AP’s Tali Arbel notes (via the Chicago Tribune).
New in Datacenter: Ad Age Agency Report 2021
U.S. agency revenue tumbled 6.8% in 2020 as fallout from the pandemic pushed the economy and agencies into a deep downturn, according to Ad Age’s annual Agency Report. That was the second-sharpest drop since we began producing Agency Report in 1945. But the agency business is coming back amid a resurgent economy.
Read Bradley Johnson’s executive summary: “For agencies, it’s morning again in America ... maybe: Ad Age Agency Report 2021.”
Also new in Datacenter
Ad Age Datacenter queried 12 leaders from across agency disciplines to see what’s changed and where the business is headed following a cataclysmic year. Here is what they had to say.
Impossible is ... something
An Adidas “Impossible is Nothing” commercial focused on Beyoncé (watch it here) has gotten a lot of play since it debuted during the 2021 Oscars telecast on April 25. Since then, Adidas has run the ad more than 300 times, according to iSpot.tv, racking up more than 77 million national TV ad impressions (broadcast and cable) as of this writing. Now we’ve got some intel on what consumers think of the spot.
According to data shared exclusively with Datacenter Weekly by iSpot’s Ace Metrix—which conducts in-depth consumer opinion surveys surrounding most major ad campaigns that get national TV exposure—the 30-second “Impossible Is Nothing: Beyoncé” spot rates 4% above the 90-day norm for “attention” among comparable TV commercials, and 7% above the “likeability” 90-day norm. (“Comparable TV commercials” in this case are ads in Ace’s “corporate branding” bucket—meaning ads that don’t hype a specific product, but are meant to create a general aura around a brand.) That performance has earned “Impossible Is Nothing: Beyoncé” an Ace “Breakthrough” ad designation, meaning it broke through the clutter for survey respondents.
Among the verbatim responses submitted by those surveyed:
• “Love that [it] used Beyoncé’s story of working her way to the top.” —a female in the 36-49 age group
• “I love the ad but don’t necessarily feel like it fits with the brand.” —a female 21-35
• “I think it’s awesome to include Beyoncé because I like Beyoncé and I also like Adidas and I thought this was great at telling a story.” —a male 21-35
• “It’s very inspirational!” —a female 21-35
• “I love Beyoncé lots, so I really loved this ad.” —a male 50+
• “I think the ad had a wonderful, terrific message, but I wasn’t a fan of the celebrity in the ad.” —a male 50+
What’s next for TV
As the TV industry cautiously looks to a post-COVID world, how will the 2021 ad haggle reflect the calls for change that have been building for the past year? Join ad sales leaders, marketers and media buyers to discuss the state of the upfront marketplace at Ad Age In-Depth: TV Pivot on May 24 and 25. RSVP at adage.com/tvpivot.
• Tell-all: “Google will make Android apps tell users about data collection,” per Bloomberg News (via Ad Age).
• Invested: “Exclusive: IPG Mediabrands commits to invest at least 5% in Black-owned media by 2023,” per Ad Age.
• The demographic big picture: “U.S. birth rate falls to lowest point in more than a century,” NBC News reports.
• Your data can and will be used against you: “Putting a price on privacy: Ending police data purchases,” from The Hill.
• And finally ... a hard truth: “Data is not neutral,” from Computer Weekly.
The newsletter is brought to you by Ad Age Datacenter, the industry’s most authoritative source of competitive intel and home to the Ad Age Leading National Advertisers, the Ad Age Agency Report: World’s Biggest Agency Companies and other exclusive data-driven reports. Access or subscribe to Ad Age Datacenter at AdAge.com/Datacenter.
Ad Age Datacenter is Kevin Brown, Bradley Johnson and Catherine Wolf.
This week’s newsletter was compiled and written by Simon Dumenco.