Face mask marketer breaks the rules on Snapchat, Facebook and Google and Peacock names sponsors: Tuesday Wake Up Call
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An Ad Age investigation into one digital marketer that sells a coronavirus-inspired face mask shows how easy it is to evade the detection of major internet companies like Snapchat, Facebook and Google. Despite the best efforts of the platforms, and despite strict policies against marketing personal protective equipment, bad actors still get through.
Ad Age tech reporter Garett Sloane uncovers a company called Novads OU, registered in Estonia with ties to a sprawling network of websites. The company was found promoting a face mask called OxyBreath Pro, which has raised alarms with security experts and government entities that are on the lookout for COVID-19 opportunists. Its ads were visible on Google search, Facebook and even Snapchat.
“This appears to be a network of e-commerce sites, companies and affiliate marketers peddling fake, defective or perhaps even nonexistent products to defraud unwary users,” says Jordan Herman, threat researcher at RiskIQ, which helped Ad Age analyze the company’s online practices.
The platforms say they are taking action to crack down on these types of marketers as they flood their sites with promotions that try to capitalize on COVID-19.
NBCUniversal is supporting its streaming app Peacock with a bevy of sponsors, including L’Oréal USA, Molson Coors Beverage Company, Subaru of America and Verizon. The network announced the lineup of new brand benefactors on Monday.
Peacock ad deals cost between $15 million and $25 million, according to reporting from Ad Age’s Jeanine Poggi. The network is preparing to launch Peacock on April 15, when it will be available to Comcast subscribers. The app will roll out widely in July.
NBC is relying on Peacock to give it a boost in the streaming wars, where it is competing with services like Netflix and Disney+, which don’t show ads, and rivals like Hulu that offer digital advertisers ways to reach viewers who have turned off traditional TV.
Speaking of new streaming services, Quibi CEO Meg Whitman said that the new app generated 1.7 million downloads in its first week.
Those are not Disney+ numbers, which reached 10 million sign-ups in its first day last year, but Whitman seemed content with consumer interest in Quibi, a name that stands for “quick bite”—a reference to the short shows meant to be watched during downtime and on the go. There was some fear that people would not be interested in the app while they were stuck at home in front of bigger TV screens. Quibi does not yet stream to TVs.
“It turns out people have in-between moments at home,” Whitman told CNBC on Monday. “We don’t actually think it hurt us.”
The France-based holding company Publicis Groupe issued its quarterly earnings report on Monday, 10 days ahead of schedule, in order to update markets on how the ad business is faring during coronavirus. “With the pandemic now intensifying in the U.S., there’s no doubt that the following quarters will be tough; actually, very tough, for everyone," Chairman-CEO Arthur Sadoun said in a video released with the earnings report.
Publicis is taking steps to reduce costs, including cutting executive pay and reducing dividends for investors. Maurice Lévy, chairman of the supervisory board, for instance, took a 30 percent salary cut, according to the Publicis release.
The hard times were felt at Dentsu Aegis Network on Monday, part of the wave of layoffs and cost-cutting across Madison Avenue in recent weeks. The agency had to furlough workers and slash salaries, reports Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse.
A Dentsu Aegis Network spokesperson said: "As a result of COVID-19 business impacts, we are activating a set of cost-saving measures across the company to ensure business continuity and to safeguard our people’s livelihoods around the world. We consider our people to be our greatest strength and are doing everything we can to ensure we have a healthy and sustainable business for them and our clients after this crisis passes.”
Shipping non-essentials: Amazon says it will begin allowing some third parties to deliver to its warehouses as it looks to restore more goods to home delivery, according to The Wall Street Journal. Last month, Amazon told sellers to not restock their inventory if the products were deemed non-essential during the pandemic. Now, it says it is hiring another 75,000 workers to expand the amount of deliveries it can handle.
Governor rock star: New York Governor Cuomo appears on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in May. The level-headed, straight-shooting executive has become a daily presence in Americans’ lives with his coronavirus press briefings.
Top 5 creative ideas: Ad Age’s Creativity editor Ann-Christine Diaz breaks down the past week in advertising. We look at how five brands rose to the top of their crafts, including Dove, Burger King and Audi.
That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call, thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well. For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter:@adage.
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