How Instagram made Reels to stick it to TikTok, and Ad Age Small Agency winners announced: Thursday Wake-Up Call
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On Wednesday, Facebook’s new product Reels appeared to Instagram’s U.S. users. Instagram gave celebs like Will Smith and Selena Gomez early entry into Reels so they would have videos ready to go at launch.
Reels is basically a TikTok knock-off, following in the footsteps of other popular product features that Facebook has borrowed from rivals. Facebook famously took Stories and augmented reality filters from Snapchat. Now, as TikTok, the Chinese-owned social video app, has seen wild success among U.S. teens, Facebook is hoping to capture some of that action.
Instagram users can create fast-paced videos in 15-second clips that have much the same energy as a TikTok production. It was a good time for Facebook to launch the rival feature. TikTok is being hounded by President Donald Trump, who wants to shut it down on national security grounds. Here’s how media covered Reels:
•Facebook was characterized as taking “inspiration from competitors,” in The Wall Street Journal.
•Newsweek was bullish about it, claiming Reels could “kill TikTok before the government does.”
•Refinery 29 saw the similarities, but still called Reels, “a uniquely Instagram experience.”
•This was not the first time Facebook has tried to copy TikTok, though. Remember, Lasso, CNBC does.
Small agencies win big
Highdive took the top prize at Ad Age’s 11th annual Small Agency Awards, which were announced Wednesday evening. The Chicago-based shop was recognized for work that included its Jeep “Groundhog Day” Super Bowl ad, which placed No. 1 in USA Today’s Ad Meter, and a big game spot for Quicken Loans’ Rocket Mortgage featuring “Aquaman” star Jason Momoa. “The fact that Highdive did it with a full-time staff of just 30 people speaks to the power of the shop’s unrelenting focus on putting client needs above all else," writes Ad Age’s assistant managing editor E.J. Schultz.
San Francisco-based Camp + King, won the Silver Small Agency of the Year award for work with clients like Papa John’s and RE/MAX. The agency teamed up with talent like basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal to restore some credibility to the tarnished Papa John’s brand. “The agency’s M.O. has been to combine strategic thinking with breakthrough creative to make work that ‘people talk about,’” Ad Age Creativity editor Ann-Christine Diaz writes.
The awards followed three days of the Small Agency Conference, which was held online this year but still featured dozens of leaders from the ad world. At the conference, attendees discussed the challenges ahead, including how to promote racial justice and inclusion in advertising.
Cookies have long been a point of contention in digital advertising. On one hand, they are sweet data sources to help target ads on the open web, but they also are seen as privacy risks. These internet trackers have been around since basically the first websites popped up in the 1990s, but in today’s privacy-minded climate they are in danger.
Ad Age’s George P. Slefo reports on how the World Wide Web Consortium is right now collaborating on alternatives to the cookie. Online publishers are worried that privacy fears could kill their ability to serve targeted ads, and industry groups like the web consortium are working on it. Slefo writes that those talks are fraught with concerns that they are being dominated by large players like Google.
Meanwhile, Wired reports that cookies are not all their cracked up to be, anyway. The magazine looked at claims that tossing cookies from the digital ad equation didn’t have as big an effect as some might think. Wired profiled one Dutch public media company that generated just as much money from visitors who prevented cookie tracking.
Cheetos has entered the battle for bored taste buds with a new macaroni and cheese mash-up. On Wednesday, PepsiCo unveiled its new lineup of Cheeto-flavored mac and cheese, including a “flaming hot” variety, reports Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl. This follows Kraft’s move this week to redefine macaroni and cheese as a breakfast food.
These days, anything goes. Earlier this month, PepsiCo released a new flavor of Smartfood popcorn mixed with Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries. Brands seem to be going stir crazy along with the rest of consumers living under new quarantine rules.
“This one-of-a-kind innovation leverages the strength of our brands to hack into a household staple and take it to the next level with unique flavor experiences only Cheetos can provide,” Kristin Kroepfl, VP and Chief Marketing Officer at Quaker Foods North America, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Madison Avenue has not escaped the debilitating effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and now some major brands are extending financial courtesy to, at least, smaller ad agencies, reports Ad Age’s Jack Neff. During the pandemic, it hasn’t been unheard of for brands to withhold prompt payment from their ad agencies and media partners, waiting 90 to 120 days to pay up.
However, some brands are willing to be a little more timely with smaller at-risk shops, it seems. Neff writes: “Consultants identify Unilever, Mars and Clorox Co. as companies that, since March, have notified marketing-services shops, either formally or informally, that they will cap payment terms at 60 days for small and medium-size agencies and other suppliers. Procter & Gamble Co. has said it will consider expedited payments on a case-by-case basis. All of the marketers have previously shifted payment terms more broadly to as long as 90 to 120 days.”
Facebook hate: The pressure on the social network is still growing, as 20 states petitioned the company on Wednesday to do more to combat hate speech, which has been an ongoing concern for groups watching the social network, The New York Times reports.
Whisky on demand: Bloomberg News reviews the Spirits Network, a shoppable streaming service that promotes alcoholic beverages. The channel has been around since last year, but perusing booze at home has new appeal in these troubled times.
40 Under 40 still open: Ad Age extended the deadline for its 40 Under 40 honors, keeping the submissions open until Aug. 13. Nominations for “talented individuals” can enter, here.
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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