TV meets its advertising challenges head-on and Publicis lays off staff: Tuesday Wake-Up Call
TV executives are starting to emerge from their network bunkers to tease advertisers with the prospects of new shows, even if they haven't fully figured out the post-COVID world.
On Monday, NBC Universal and Fox executives delivered TV updates, which would normally have been upfront presentations. This is typically the time for networks to show advertisers the quality of their programming pipeline as they try to secure sponsorship deals. Of course, this year has played out a little differently.
Fox was the first to put out a list of shows in production, reports Ad Age senior editor Jeanine Poggi. “The company released its schedule for next season, shifting some of its programming that was originally slated for the spring and summer into the fall to offset any issues with production delays due to social distancing and quarantines,” Poggi writes.
Then, Linda Yaccarino, NBCU chairman, advertising and partnerships, held a video conference to discuss the network’s plans in lieu of a proper upfront.
Writes Poggi, “NBCU didn’t release its fall schedule, but Yaccarino said from her home in Long Island, ‘Don’t worry, it’s all coming back … Once we know the details about Sunday nights, you will be the first to know.’”
Poggi will question some of these same executives on their upfront contingency plans today at an Ad Age virtual conference titled “TV Pivot.” The event promises to “bring together ad sales leaders, as well as top agency and brand executives, to discuss the state of the TV ad marketplace and how the industry is navigating the pandemic.”
Also, Ad Age “media guy” Simon Dumenco reminds readers of the magazine’s long history of upfront coverage. Dumenco dug into the archives to see how the industry coped with prior moments of upheaval. “What became clear is that the TV business—and the advertising ecosystem surrounding it—has always been something of a rollercoaster ride,” Dumenco writes in his column that explores 90 years of Ad Age.
More layoffs have been reported on Madison Avenue. This time, Publicis Groupe cut staff and salaries at a number of its agencies in the U.S., according to reporting from Ad Age's Lindsay Rittenhouse and George P. Slefo.
The layoffs affected less than one percent of Publicis staff in the U.S., Rittenhouse and Slefo report. “Epsilon, Spark Foundry, Hawkeye and Arc Worldwide were among the agencies so far affected,” they write.
Publicis now joins many other top holding companies making painful cuts during the coronavirus shutdown. WPP, Omnicom Group, Dentsu Aegis Network, Interpublic Group of Cos. and MDC Partners have all laid off workers and made other spending reductions.
Jerry Stiller, who died on Monday, had memorable roles as George Costanza’s dad in “Seinfeld” and in the sitcom “King of Queens.” But Ad Age executive editor Judann Pollack looks back at his advertising work throughout the years. “Jerry Stiller was also a prolific commercial actor, lending his signature shouty voice to spots for products including Windex, Glad Wrap, Capital One, AOL and AT&T,” Pollack writes.
Ad Age food reporter Jessica Wohl checks out dueling ads from Wendy’s and animal rights group PETA. The two are at odds over an issue that confronts many Americans—a shortage of beef. Both entities took out full-page ads in The New York Times. Wendy’s wanted to tell consumers how coronavirus quarantines have led to constraints on meat supplies, as well as hamburger shortages at some of its stores. PETA used its ad to encourage people to just say no to meat.
Twitter labels: The messaging service is trying to clean up misinformation regarding coronavirus, which has been a problem for almost every online platform. Twitter says it will now label posts that spread false information, Reuters reports.
Cannes Spam: Those who had planned to attend the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which was canceled in April, can live vicariously through the Cannes pig. In a sign of the times, a wild boar was spotted trotting down the famous Croisette promenade.
College admission?: Zion Williamson’s former marketing agent wants the NBA star to admit that he received perks to attend Duke and promote Nike and Adidas apparel. College athletes are typically barred from receiving sponsorship deals and pay incentives. The Washington Post reports on Williamson’s legal dispute with his former marketing manager.
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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