Aunt Jemima gets a new name, Super Bowl disappoints on diversity and ratings; Wednesday Wake-Up Call
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Months after PepsiCo announced plans to retire the “Aunt Jemima" name in the wake of racial justice protests, the Quaker Oats pancake mix and syrup brand has a new name. As Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl reports, it’s rebranding as Pearl Milling Company, a name that goes back to the brand’s roots: in 1889, the owners of Pearl Milling Company, Chris Rutt and Charles Underwood, came up with the first ready-made pancake mix in St. Joseph, Missouri. As part of the announcement, PepsiCo also said it’s distributing in $1 million in grants to non-profit organizations that work on empowering Black girls and women.
New packaging will begin to hit shelves in June, and a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, dated Feb. 1, shows the new look: an image of a building and the phrase “Since 1899” above the words Pearl Milling Company, with red, yellow and white hues echoing the look that the Aunt Jemima's packaging used.
Meanwhile, in another rebranding move: Ad Age’s Jack Neff writes that the Washington Football Team has appointed Stagwell Group’s Code and Theory to select a permanent team name, identity and brand, replacing its temporary moniker after it dropped the “Redskins” name and logo last July.
Now that the Super Bowl is done and we’ve digested all the ads, the numbers are starting to roll in; and they paint an interesting picture of our changing media landscape. As Ethan Jackob Craft reports for Ad Age, Super Bowl ratings took a hit this year, marking the lowest viewership for the game since 2007.
Just 96.4 million total viewers tuned in to CBS’s Sunday night broadcast across linear TV, online streaming and out-of-home, versus 102 million on Fox last year. However, despite the drop in viewership, there’s a silver lining that may signal the future of the game’s broadcast: the record-setting number of viewers who streamed the game. According to Nielsen, the Buccaneers-Chiefs game was the first in history to crack 1 billion total streaming minutes and netted a minute average of 5.7 million viewers.
The ratings weren’t the only thing to disappoint; Super Bowl LV advertising also fell short when it came to diversity and inclusion. Ad Age's Jessica Wohl writes that 45% of the ads had casts that represented diverse and inclusive audiences, according to the ANA’s diversity arm, the Alliance for Inclusive & Multicultural Marketing (AIMM). That’s nearly identical to last year's score, and the ads also got particularly bad scores when it comes to 'cultural relevance,' especially from Hispanic audiences.
Advertisers also disappointed on diversity when it came to the directors behind the camera. Creativity editor Ann-Christine Diaz reports that “there were only three women, and at most five people of color, in the director’s chair, accounting for only 9.2% of the 87 ads that ran nationally and during the game.”
Worryingly, Alma Har’el, founder of Free the Bid, tells Diaz: “With COVID keeping people off sets, we see that agencies and brands revert to their old ‘white-men-we-can-trust’ tactics.“
Valentine’s Day is approaching and this year, it’s going to be all about “experiences” (maybe couples have seen enough of each other a deux during quarantine?) As Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli reports, “brands are scrambling to be as creative as possible and offer memorable experiences, even though social distance guidelines and travel restrictions remain in place.” Examples include Dunkin’, which is using its drive-through as a wedding venue, Stonyfield Organic, which is offering animal-loving fans a “Date With a Cow,” and Lowe’s, which is inviting 50 couples across the country to enjoy a special dinner and painting activity at its stores.
Bird up: Twitter reported fourth-quarter revenue up 28%, topping analysts’ estimates, reports Bloomberg News, though the social network added fewer new users than projected and warned that audience gains in 2021 will slow compared with last year’s pandemic-fueled surge.
Stellar move: Anheuser-Busch is rolling out manufacturing in the U.S. for its Stella Artois brand in a $1 billion investment; it means the beer will lose its "import" status. The move is aimed at stimulating the U.S. economy as well as increasing the brand's distribution.
ICYMI 1: Had enough of Super Bowl ads now? “Saturday Night Live” had some great ad parodies this weekend. Guest host Dan Levy starred in a particularly hilarious fake ad for Zillow, in which he gets excited by property porn. Read Simon Dumenco’s review and watch it here.
ICYMI 2: If you haven’t yet seen the viral video of the Texas attorney who appeared as a kitten during a hearing thanks to a Zoom filter, you’re welcome. He’s an overnight internet star (Super Bowl 2022 anyone?).
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. From CMO Strategy to the Ad Age Datacenter Weekly, we’ve got newsletters galore. See them all here.
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