Accenture Interactive's CEO on advising companies in a pandemic, and Google asks for ID: Friday Wake-Up Call
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Put at least one fear to rest. Accenture Interactive CEO Brian Whipple doesn’t envision snapping up agencies struggling with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. “That’s not our style. Our strategy is always the same: to add a new capability that is rendering good experiences for our clients or to scale existing capabilities,” Whipple told Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse. “I think you will see us being active in the inorganic space over the next 12 months but it’s not going to be as active as a year or two years ago.”
Whipple, Ad Age’s 2020 Agency Executive of the Year, also spoke candidly about the ways Accenture is advising clients in this new climate. “We're finding all businesses need a health angle, in ways businesses didn't really think about before,” he said. “For example, car manufacturers are now going to make significant investments in having much higher quality air filtrations. They didn’t think about that before.”
No surprise, but another 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment in the last week, bringing the 5-week total to a staggering 26 million, eclipsing the 19 million jobs created since the end of the Great Recession.
But the pain has not been distributed equally, falling more heavily on more vulnerable populations—61 percent of U.S. Hispanics say they or someone in their household has lost a job or income due to the pandemic, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center. Compare that to 44 percent of African Americans and 38 percent of whites.
According to the survey, 52 percent of households making less than $37,500 a year have been similarly impacted. That drops to 42 percent of families making less than $112,600 and to 32 percent for families making even more.
It looks like Congress has finally hashed out an agreement to add more stimulus funding for coronavirus relief. A bill that President Donald Trump is expected to sign soon provides $484 billion, on top of the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill passed last month.
The small business loan program, which ran out of money last week, gets another $310 billion, while hospitals and healthcare get $75 billion and an emergency small business loan program gets $60 billion. There’s also $25 billion for coronavirus testing.
But actual small businesses are having a tough time accessing the funds. The biggest beneficiary so far has been a Dallas hotelier who runs a company of 7,000 employees. And burger chain Shake Shack gave back $10 million it received from the fund after it faced a backlash over accepting the money.
Google will begin requiring all ad buyers on its network to complete a verification process. “Under the new protocol, advertisers must submit personal identification, such as business incorporation documents, to prove who they are and where they operate in order to complete the process,” writes Ad Age’s George Slefo. Advertisiers who don’t comply “will have their accounts suspended and won’t be allowed to buy ads through Google's platform or through the publishers it works with.”
The news comes a day after Facebook announced that high-reach posts on the platform, as well as on Instagram, would begin listing the location of the page owner, in an effort to increase transparency.
L.A-based sports marketing and talent management company Wassmerman, which owns agencies including Laundry Service, Cycle and The Collective, has furloughed 5 percent of its workforce and laid off an additional 3 percent.
And adtech firm GumGum laid off 25 percent of its staff, according to Business Insider. “I did consider alternatives to layoffs, like furloughs and additional compensation reductions across the organization. The reason we did not elect those options was that, as CEO, I have a fundamental duty to ensure that GumGum continues to deliver exceptional products, services, and support to our customers well into the future,” CEO Phil Schraeder wrote in a blog post this week. “As such, the decision was not about money in the bank, but rather about reconciling revenue impact with the cost of operating the organization.”
Hollaback throwback: Budweiser brings back its signature “Whassup” wail in a pandemic-themed social distancing spot. While the original criers were tied to the couch by sloth, it’s the coronavirus keeping everyone apart this time around. “While the old ad set the standard for silliness, the new version weaves in a serious message,” writes Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz. “Wade and Union are shown asking if their friends are “staying safe.” The spot ends by plugging a new emotional and spiritual care hotline, established by the Salvation Army, aimed at providing a reassuring voice for people who are feeling lonely or fearful during the pandemic.” Bet you really miss the ‘90s now.
Maybe try astral projection? Advertisers hoping to find Facebook viewers interested in “pseudoscience” will have to find some other way to get in touch. The platform has removed the category as a targettable demographic. The move comes as waves of fake coronavirus cures and conspiracy theories about its causes have been spreading online.
I dip, you dip, we dip: A new campaign for E-Trade is speaking to people where they are—in the middle of an economic downturn—with a silly spin on “buying the dips” from MullenLowe NY. “After March Madness was canceled, E-Trade reevaluated its options and took the time to test its messaging with thousands of consumers,” writes Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli. “Unlike some other ads that are currently airing that take a more serious tone, E-Trade opted to stay true to the humorous roots of its ‘Don’t Get Mad’ campaign because it tested well with customers.”
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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