Beyoncé gets on a Peloton, and what’s up with the TikTok ban?: Wednesday Wake-Up Call
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Peloton, whose sales have been soaring in the pandemic, has pedaled into a massive marketing deal, tapping superstar Beyoncé for a multiyear collaboration. As Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli writes, the Grammy award-winning singer is a huge coup for the fitness brand: Beyoncé boasts 156 million Instagram followers and she's also apparently the most-requested artist by Peloton members. Luckily for Peloton, she's also been a user of the brand for several years.
The deal also underlines a social justice commitment from Peloton. It includes themed workout experiences and special free memberships for students at historically Black colleges and universities in the U.S. That’s important for Peloton, which isn’t known for its affordability, and comes after executives have spoken out about expanding membership with new offerings.
Pasquarelli also points out that by partnering with Beyoncé in an official capacity, Peloton “is also distancing itself from a lawsuit filed last year by several members of the National Music Publishers Association alleging theft of music from the likes of Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Lady Gaga.”
With all the excitement-slash-controversy over the election, has the Trump administration forgotten about the TikTok ban?
TikTok parent company ByteDance filed a petition late Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, calling for a review of actions by the Trump administration’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The committee originally set a deadline of Nov.12 (tomorrow) for TikTok to sell its U.S. operations but, as The Verge reports, TikTok says it “hasn’t heard from the committee in weeks."
While President Trump gave preliminary approval to its deal with Oracle and Walmart back in September, discussions over the technicalities are still ongoing. TikTok applied for a 30-day extension to the Nov. 12 deadline but hasn’t had a response. It told The Verge it had "no choice" but to file the petition "to defend our rights and those of our more than 1,500 employees in the U.S."
While news of a coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer has restored some confidence to markets and the economy, for some businesses it has come too late. WarnerMedia yesterday announced it is laying off about 1,200 employees as it struggles with steep drops in revenue, reports Crain’s New York Business.
AT&T-owned WarnerMedia’s revenue fell by $800 million in the third quarter, to $7.5 billion, while operating income declined to $1.8 billion from $2.8 billion. The company, which owns HBO, CNN, TNT, TBS and other cable networks, employs approximately 25,000 people across the U.S. While it isn’t clear exactly where the cuts will come, Chief Executive Jason Kilar said in a memo to staff that WarnerMedia is “simplifying how we are organized … and leaning into world class product and technology.”
King Arthur Baking Company VP of Marketing Bill Tine gives Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl some insights into the pandemic baking craze in the latest edition of the Marketer’s Brief podcast.
Flour sales spiked 154% in March and April versus the same period last year, and with people manically making their sourdough starters and banana bread at home, it wasn't just panic stockpiling. “Baking seems to be taking the country by storm,” says Tine, and King Arthur’s research shows “baking has the power to bring people together.” The company's marketing has included a spot showing bakers kneading dough to a song with the lyrics “We will rise again.” Listen up here.
Streaming takeaways: Leaders some of the industry’s most popular streaming services spoke at Ad Age's virtual streaming event yesterday. The full day’s sessions are available for viewing here. Some key takeaways: People like ads if they’re done well, it’s imperative to be in tune with your viewers and some “live linear” events also work well on streaming services (for example: last week’s election coverage.)
Home Depot moves forward: The Home Depot has issued a request for information to potential agency partners as it moves forward with its creative review, reports Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse. The review is being managed by consultant Roth Ryan Hayes and comes after The Home Depot fired The Richards Group last month after racist remarks by founder Stan Richards.
On the platform: Yet another new independent agency has been born in the pandemic. PLTFRMR is an independent consultancy from Chris Garbutt, former global chief creative officer at TBWA Worldwide, and Colin Mitchell, the former McDonald’s senior VP-global marketing. In case you’re wondering what the mouthful of letters is about, it’s pronounced “platformer,” as the business is aimed at helping companies create and develop their brand platforms.
Singin’ in the ... ice? Burberry puts a “spectacular modern twist” on “Singin’ in the Rain” in its holiday film this year, Creativity editor Ann-Christine Diaz writes. In the fashion brand’s version, a quartet of dancers attired in Burberry outerwear sweep through the streets as rain—or rather, huge chunks of ice—plummet down on them from above. That’s a metaphor for 2020, according to directors Megaforce: “This year has been tough for us all, so we wanted to push the metaphor and transformed the rain to ice blocks.” Watch it here.
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