Amazon teams up with Lyft, Publicis accelerates Marcel rollout: Monday Wake-Up Call
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Amazon teams up with Lyft
Good morning, and welcome to another roller coaster week, during which we’ll keep you up-to-date with the fast-moving developments in the coronavirus pandemic. Among this weekend’s stories: Amazon is teaming up with Lyft on recruiting the ride-hailing company’s drivers to deliver packages and groceries as lockdowns keep people indoors.
As reported by Bloomberg News, in an email to drivers on Friday, Lyft referred them to work opportunities at Amazon as grocery shoppers, warehouse workers or delivery people “as a way to earn additional income right now.” It said more than 100,000 drivers had already signed up.
While the partnership could be a way of helping gig economy workers who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, there are also issues at Amazon. It emerged this weekend that about 100 Amazon employees at a New York City fulfillment center plan to go on strike at noon today. Employees are concerned about the spread of coronavirus at the facility and are demanding that the Staten Island site be closed for at least two weeks and sanitized.
Publicis rolls out Marcel to U.S.
Publicis Groupe is to roll out its A.I. platform, Marcel, worldwide by the end of April, starting this week with 30,000 employees in the U.S. The move has been accelerated due to the coronavirus, said CEO Arthur Sadoun in his weekly video message to employees on Sunday night.
Sadoun revealed that engagement in the U.K. on Marcel, where it’s been available for eight months, had gone up “significantly” since the crisis. “It won’t be perfect,” he admitted, saying there would be “bugs,” but that it would “keep evolving.” Employees will be able to use Marcel to access company and industry information and training modules, as well as updates on COVID-19. Sadoun added that every job offer within the organization would be listed on Marcel and be available “exclusively” for employees within Publicis.
Coronavirus boosts TV
Now that millions of Americans are confined to their homes, it was inevitable that they would watch more TV. However, just how much are they watching, and which shows are popular? Ad Age’s Anthony Crupi has taken an in-depth look at the data so far, and finds that “many Americans are turning to TV as a news destination and an outlet for virtual comfort food.” Doing particularly well are ABC and NBC news broadcasts, while local news is also drawing more viewers.
ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” also improved its share of advertiser-coveted viewers by 21 percent on March 19, while NBC’s “The Voice” experienced a two-season high in viewers on March 16. For more analysis, including detailed charts on U.S. TV usage, keep reading here.
Behind Bud's coronavirus PSA
In the latest edition of Ad Age Remotely, E.J. Schultz talks to Monica Rustgi, VP of marketing for Budweiser, about its “One Team” spot created in response to the coronavirus. Rustgi explains how the brand and agency David produced the spot—which promotes its move to redirect $5 million of its entertainment and marketing spend to the American Red Cross—in less than a week. Her story reveals just how quickly work can be made at a time of emergency. "It was very quick to mobilize everybody," she says. "We got on the phones with the teams and the commissioners and said, 'Are you in?'"
Canceled: D&AD has canceled its 2020 festival in London, which had previously been postponed from May 19-21 to an undetermined date, writes Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse in this week’s Agency Brief. D&AD says it is still "reviewing when and how [its] winners will be announced" but has extended its deadline for submission for the awards to April 3. Judging will now be handled online from May 12 through June 5.
Facebook steps in: Facebook is building new features to help users and small businesses affected by the global lockdown, according to Fidji Simo, the head of Facebook’s main social network, in a Bloomberg News report. The company has also announced a handful of updates to Facebook Live, including a way for users to watch streams without a Facebook account.
HQ Trivia is back: Here's some rare good news for our times: HQ Trivia is back. The Wall Street Journal reports that an anonymous donor has stepped in to provide funding for the mobile quiz app, which abruptly shut down in February. Host Matt Richards reportedly told the Journal in a message: “I just hope I can make people smile cause things have been pretty sucky lately!”
Coronavirus creativity of the day: In the U.K., the BBC pulled memorable comedic scenes from its classic shows like “Miranda,” “The Thick of It” and “Alan Partridge” to create lighthearted PSAs reminding people of the importance of social distancing. The scenes perfectly encapsulate some of the situations in which many people now find themselves during lockdown: Comedian Miranda Hart, for example, conducting music to an "audience" of wooden spoons, boiled eggs, vegetables and a teapot, while claiming that "living on my own can be genuine fun." The campaign is one of our Top 5 Creativity picks from the past week—all of which are responses to the pandemic.
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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