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Always removes its Venus symbol and Nike CEO steps down: Wednesday Wake-Up Call
Always removes Venus symbol from packaging
Procter & Gamble’s Always sanitary pad brand is removing the "Venus" symbol, which is widely associated with the female sex, from its packaging, reports the New York Times, in a “nod to transgender and nonbinary customers.”
The brand—known in recent years for its award-winning "#Like a Girl" ad campaign—said in a statement: “For over 35 years Always has championed girls and women, and we will continue to do so. We’re also committed to diversity and inclusion and are on a continual journey to understand the needs of all of our consumers.”
The move comes after a trans activist called Ben Saunders wrote to P&G asking why the symbol appears on some of its packaging, according to HuffPost. But it has already sparked a backlash on social media from feminists who say the brand is “erasing women.” Others, however, approved the move and some said they had never even noticed the Venus symbol on the packaging.
All change at Nike and Under Armour
Sportswear giants Nike and Under Armour chose the same day to announce changes to their senior leadership. Nike’s CEO Mark Parker is to step down and hand over to former EBay Inc. head John Donahoe next year.
Parker is 65 next year so his succession was anticipated but, according to Bloomberg News, the athletic brand is now “looking to a tech veteran to maintain growth in the e-commerce era.” Nike has also suffered some embarrassment recently due to the closure of its Oregon athletics project following the banning of coach Alberto Salazar for doping violations.
Meanwhile, Under Armour’s Kevin Plank will also step aside as CEO at the end of the year, to be replaced by Patrik Frisk. Plank remains executive chairman while Frisk will develop its long-term growth plan.
Joe Alexander sues IPG for $50 million
Former Martin Agency creative chief Joe Alexander has filed a $50.4 million claim against the agency and parent company IPG and, as Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz reports, it’s “not exactly your average lawsuit.”
It opens with the words “Et tu, Martin?” and an image of “The Death of Lucretia,” the circa-1760s painting by Scottish neoclassicist Gavin Hamilton. The lawsuit personally names The Martin Agency CEO Kristen Cavallo among the defendants and alleges that the agency secretly leaked to anonymous social media account Diet Madison Avenue the terms of a confidential settlement agreement between Alexander and the agency along with confidential human resources files. Read more about it here.
Unfollowing Miller Lite, or perhaps not?
Miller Lite is running a new campaign that involves asking people to unfollow it on social media in return for free beer, reports Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz. It's tapping into the topical subject of tackling social media addiction, with the brand promoting itself as “the original social media.”
The brand also claimed to be going dark on social media for two weeks, where it has 119,000 Instagram followers alone. However, Schultz discovered last night that things aren’t quite so simple on Twitter, after having spotted parent company Miller Coors posting an image of some Miller Lite cans and the caption: “Is anyone excited for baseball tonight?” When Schultz pointed it out, the company replied: “Oh, EJ. This is our corporate account, and we’ve got an entire portfolio of brands to support. Especially while @MillerLite is at the bar, hanging with friends.” Hmmm.
Splitting up: Creative shop JohnXHannes, which won Ad Age’s Small Agency of the Year awards in July, is closing its doors, reports Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz. Partners John McKelvey and Hannes Ciatti, who say they have “different visions going forward,” are splitting up and forming two new agencies: Mirimar, led by McKelvey, and Alto, led by Ciatti.
Snap loves TikTok: Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel says the company considers rival TikTok as a “friend,” reports Ad Age’s Garett Sloane. Spiegel made the remarks in the company’s third quarter earnings call; it reported 50 percent year-over-year growth in revenue, mostly from ad sales.
Disappeared: The Trump brand name has been removed from a pair of ice rinks in Central Park, which the Trump Organization has run since the 1980s, reports The Washington Post. The name is now “relegated to the fine print.”
Snack time: In this week’s Marketer’s Brief podcast, Mondelēz International Inc. Global Chief Marketing Officer Martin Renaud talks to Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl about how he does his own research, tasting the snacks the company sells, as well as relying on data. Have a listen here.
Campaign of the Day: As Halloween approaches, Budweiser is running a responsible drinking campaign showing how people’s embarrassing, drunken Oct. 31 antics can come back to haunt them. The ads, by David Miami, recreate mugshots of people who were arrested during Halloween in the past, writes Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz, wearing their costumes. (In case you’re wondering—all those pictured agreed to be in the campaign.)
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