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Back-to-school commercial music, Sam’s Club’s big data play, Nielsen vs. TV networks: Datacenter Weekly
U.S. ad business employment surges
“Employment in advertising, public relations and related services surged by 2,900 jobs in August, scoring the strongest gain in a year,” Ad Age’s Bradley Johnson reports.
The details: “U.S. employment in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classification of advertising, public relations and related services came in at 500,900 jobs in August based on seasonally adjusted figures,” Johnson notes.
Essential context: “That puts ad employment at its highest level since March 2001, around the time of the dot-com bubble,” Johnson adds. “The earlier date is noteworthy: It marked the peak of the business cycle and first month of a recession.”
Keep reading for Johnson’s drill-downs by BLS classifications.
The (commercial) sound of back-to-school season
Music licensing platform Songtradr is out with a new analysis of back-to-school commercials that attempts to pinpoint the potential appeal of any given ad’s soundtrack to various generations. The company deploys AI to analyze music at scale, then ranks the appeal of a given commercial’s song—based on how different age groups have already interacted with that song in the larger music marketplace—on a 0.0 to 1.0 scale.
For its back-to-school “That’s a Wrap” spot, for instance, Walmart chose the song “This Is What Love Looks Like,” which has a retro soul sound—and resonates most highly with viewers aged 35 to 65, suggesting that the retailer is targeting parents (like the loving mom shown in the spot). Other retailers tracked by Songtrader, including JCPenney and Kohl’s, took similar approaches with their primary back-to-school song selections. Notably, Target went with NOTD’s “AM:PM” for its “Back to School Anthem” spot, effectively targeting younger consumers (primarily 18-to-24 and 25-to-34) with its song choice. Macy’s also made the choice to skew young with its back-to-school soundtrack.
The retailers’ varied targeting strategies start to come into relief when you plot the generational appeal of their commercial song choices against each other, as shown below. (Hover over the sparklines to reveal retailer names and specific data points.)
TV networks battle Nielsen over using Amazon’s first-party viewership data
“TV networks and Nielsen are waging a war of words, releasing dueling letters about the measurement giant’s plan to incorporate first-party data from Amazon to measure ‘Thursday Night Football’,” Ad Age’s Jack Neff reports. “The exchange is playing out as the industry’s measurement quality arbiter, the Media Rating Council, considers whether to green-light the move, which could provide a substantial boost to Amazon’s audience and what advertisers pay.”
The details: “Video Advertising Bureau CEO Sean Cunningham sent an open letter to Nielsen Audience Measurement CEO Karthik Rao [on Tuesday] asking that Nielsen not go through with the measurement move, citing suspected bias in the data and saying networks hadn’t been given a fair chance to incorporate their own streaming data into Nielsen’s measurement,” Neff notes. “Nielsen and Rao shot back [on Wednesday], taking issue with the VAB’s interpretation of the data and saying the company had been trying to work with networks with NFL broadcast rights since February.”
Essential context: “It’s not just Cunningham making these charges,” Neff adds. “In a press call [on Tuesday], Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports, blasted Nielsen’s proposed change (without naming names) in response to a question.”
Keep reading here.
Macroeconomic news and data in a nutshell
• “US applications for jobless claims inch back down as companies hold on to their employees,” per the Associated Press
• “You’ve Heard of Quiet Quitting. Now Companies Are Quiet Cutting,” from The Wall Street Journal
• “US consumer spending accelerates; declining savings a red flag,” Reuters reports
How Sam's Club is leveraging data innovation to grow its retail media network
“Retail media is growing fast, and Sam’s Club’s Member Access Platform, just over a year old, is growing even faster,” Ad Age’s Jack Neff reports. “At least part of the reason may be innovation in sharing data and allowing third-party measurement.”
The details: “In this week's Marketer's Brief podcast, Austin Leonard, head of sales for the Sam’s Club MAP program, talks about how marketers are using insights the platform has provided about member purchases to shape their digital ad buys across not just Sam’s Club properties but also the open web. He also talks about why MAP early on embraced third-party measurement and analytics from Circana (formerly IRI).”
Essential context: “GroupM projects retail media will grow nearly 10% this year to more than $125 billion in spending,” Neff notes, “Sam’s Club is growing at three times that pace, with Walmart, its corporate parent, reporting the unit’s advertising revenue grew 33% last quarter.”
• “X Plans to Collect Biometric Data, Job and School History,” per Bloomberg News
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Ad Age Datacenter is Kevin Brown, Bradley Johnson and Joy R. Lee.