Funny TV ads are on the rise, and how brands are (or aren’t) prepping for the coming data lockdown: Datacenter Weekly
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The $69.3 million JPG
“After a flurry of more than 180 bids in the final hour, a JPG file made by Mike Winkelmann, the digital artist known as Beeple, was sold on Thursday by Christie’s in an online auction for $69.3 million with fees,” The New York Times’ Scott Reyburn reports. “The price was a new high for an artwork that exists only digitally, beating auction records for physical paintings by museum-valorized greats like J.M.W. Turner, Georges Seurat and Francisco Goya.” The JPG, part of a class of digital assets known as non-fungible tokens, had a starting price of a mere $100. Keep reading here.
Essential context: “What are non-fungible tokens (NFTs)—and why are they selling for millions?” per The Week (UK).
A $10 billion loss?
“Brands are ill-prepared for privacy changes that will lock down data in digital marketing,” Ad Age’s Garett Sloane reports, “and publishers stand to lose billions of dollars under new restrictions coming from Apple and Google.” That’s according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which issued a data-focused report on Thursday.
“The IAB’s report said that as Apple and Google restrict consumer data on web browsers and devices, brands will need to find new digital marketing tactics,” Sloane adds. “Meanwhile, publishers stand to lose $10 billion in revenue as personalization becomes harder online thanks to the deprecation of third-party cookies.”
Keep reading here.
Additional context: “How Facebook and Snapchat are preparing brands for the data lockdowns,” also from Ad Age’s Sloane.
Funny TV ads are back in force
Remember when, during the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed like every other ad you saw on TV was of the sad, earnest, “in these challenging times” variety? New data from iSpot’s Ace Metrix suggests that grim is out and funny is back in.
Ace conducts nonstop viewer surveys surrounding most major TV ad campaigns. Right before the pandemic started to hit hard in the United States in March 2020, roughly one in five TV ads were flagged as being “funny” by survey respondents, as seen in the chart below. That percentage then cratered, lingering in the low- to mid-teens for months, before starting to recover by the fall of 2020. And lately the “funny” ad trend—spurred on, in part, by a critical mass of Super Bowl ads designed to tickle our funny bones—has been really surging.
A ‘sequential recovery’ quantified
Ad Age’s Judann Pollack has your executive summary on WPP’s earnings, which were released Thursday:
In a presentation to analysts, CEO Mark Read described the company’s performance... as “resilient,” saying that there has been “sequential recovery” since lockdown. Specifically, he said that the company’s net sales went from a 15.1% drop in the second quarter of 2020 to a 7.6% fall in the third quarter and 6.5% in the fourth. Categories including tech, consumer packaged goods and pharma, which together comprise 57% of its business, were strong, as well as digital commerce services which jumped 43%. WPP also cited $4.4 billion in net new business from clients including Alibaba, HSBC, Intel, JP Morgan and Unilever.
Keep reading here.
The future of data privacy
“Confidential computing, quantum safe cryptography and fully homomorphic encryption are set to change the future of data privacy,” writes ZDNet’s Charlie Osborne, “as they make their way from a hypothesis to viable commercial applications.” Osborne (virtually) attended an IBM symposium on Thursday that covered each of those technologies, and now she’s got the rundown on “how they could impact how we securely manage, encrypt, store and transfer information—with each solving a different challenge posed by future data privacy concerns.”
Keep reading here.
“Employment in advertising, public relations and related services rose by 3,500 jobs in February, a positive sign for agencies following a sharp drop in January,” Ad Age Datacenter’s Bradley Johnson reports. “The job gains came as U.S. employers last month added a stronger-than-expected 379,000 jobs, according to the monthly employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
Johnson has specific industry employment data across three BLS classifications: advertising, PR and related services; ad agencies; and internet media. Keep reading here for those breakdowns.
Additional context: “U.S. Jobless Claims Ease as Hiring Picks Up,” per The Wall Street Journal, citing data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.
• More great vax stats: “Novavax vaccine 96% effective against original coronavirus, 86% vs. British variant in UK trial,” Reuters reports.
• Peak streaming: “AT&T now expects up to 150 million HBO Max subscribers,” per Bloomberg News (via Ad Age).
• Driven away: “Uber, Lyft To Share Data on Deactivated Drivers in Safety Push,” per Bloomberg News.
• ICYMI: “Small Agency Awards entries are now open,” from Ad Age.
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.