Black employees walk out at Periscope, Trump books $100 million in election ads: Thursday Wake-Up Call
Welcome to Ad Age’s Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. If you're reading this online or in a forwarded email, here's the link to sign up for our Wake-Up Call newsletters.
Black employees and allies at Minneapolis-based agency Periscope walked off the job Wednesday in protest of parent company Quad/Graphics, which prevented the agency from using the phrase “Black Lives Matter” in a statement, according to Nathan Young, a group strategy director and co-founder of 600&Rising.
“He also takes issue with how the company failed to fully disclose accurate diversity data in response to ‘Commit to Change,’ the initiative that 600&Rising introduced last month in an effort to get the industry to be more transparent with staff and leadership numbers with regard to employees of color,” writes Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz.
Quad inflated the number of people of color in leadership positions, Young says, and the company’s CEO was personally responsible for cutting the reference to BLM. “He really felt that posting Black Lives Matter was the same thing as posting Defund the Police because Black Lives Matter supports that effort,” Young told Diaz. “I tried to explain to him that they are separate but related issues multiple times and he wouldn't hear it.”
Following the likes of Dentsu Aegis Network and Interpublic Group of Cos., Publicis Groupe has released diversity data for more 21,000 employees in the U.S. Just 1.9 percent of senior leadership is Black. Across all job levels, Black employees make up 5.4 percent of the company, according to a leaked memo written by CEO-Chairman Arthur Sadoun.
“Sadoun also said Publicis would be committing 45 million euros ($50 million) over three years on diversity, inclusion and social justice efforts,” writes Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse. That includes new training programs and apprenticeships, including a Marcel-based virtual apprenticeship with a goal of hiring 50 people per year. Publicis also pledged to strengthen ties with historically Black colleges and universities, establish a diversity council and institute a mandatory D&I training program for employees.
When evaluating diversity pledges and monetary commitments from agencies, brands and other organizations, it’s worth noting that the money doesn’t just materialize. It was already in the coffers, slated for something else deemed more important until the current zeitgeist shifted priorities. How much is still waiting to be freed up?
The Paycheck Protection Program will be extended for five more weeks, just a day after it closed with $130 billion still left to loan to small businesses. It’s a brief relief for companies that have been ricocheted by state reopening plans, which have themselves been derailed by a recent rise in coronavirus cases in more than half of U.S. states.
As infections among younger people spike nationwide, beaches, boardwalks and restaurants are closing back down, sending workers back into furlough or onto the unemployment rolls, which are still at historic highs. McDonald’s is pausing the reopening of its U.S. stores for three weeks.
This yo-yo effect bodes poorly for the U.S. economy. The European model, which has kept workers employed and paid even if they are not reporting for shifts, may enable a swifter recovery than the more haphazard U.S. approach. If American infections continue to climb, that outcome is almost assured.
The Trump reelection campaign is planning to spend big in swing states this fall, beginning on Labor Day and running through Election Day nearly two months later. “President Donald Trump’s campaign just dropped $99.7 million on TV advertising across Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Arizona, according to the latest Ad Age Campaign Ad Scorecard analysis,” writes Ad Age’s Simon Dumenco.
Florida alone—a notoriously swingy state hard hit by the coronavirus in recent weeks—is getting more than 37 percent of the total spend, followed by Ohio with more than 18 percent. This leapfrogs the Trump campaign’s advance buys beyond Joe Biden’s by about $50 million, though expect that to change.
Ad spend, of course, is no guarantee of success, as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s $500 million spending spree so deftly proved during the Democratic primaries, American Samoa notwithstanding.
For more campaign spending coverage subscribe to Ad Age. Individual, group and corporate subscriptions are available—including access to our Ad Age Datacenter. Find options at AdAge.com/membership.
Ad Age’s Small Agency Conference & Awards is going virtual this year, giving attendees who haven’t been able to make it in-person in years past a chance to get in on the action. Speakers include former BBDO NY Chief Creative Officer Greg Hahn, who is opening a New York office for No Fixed Address, Jeff Goodby, Cartwright founder Keith Cartwright, Red & Co.’s Mira Kaddoura and Gerry Graf.
The three-day event kicks off Aug. 3 and features workshops, keynotes, panels, firesides and the ever-popular Small Agency Awards, which recognize the best independent shops with fewer than 150 employees. Get tickets here.
Bronco's back: The Ford Bronco is coming back after a 24-year hiatus and the automaker is going big on Disney to promote it. Ford will take over Walt Disney properties in primetime to promote the SUV, writes Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi. Three, three-minute films introducing the Ford Bronco SUV will run on ABC, ESPN and National Geographic in each network’s first commercial break in the 8 p.m. hour on July 13. The films will be available on demand on Hulu the next day. The Bronco will of course forever associated with O.J. Simpson's 1994 low-speed police chase. The official reveal had been set for July 9 but was delayed as to not coincide with Simpson's birthday.
Brand superfan: General Mills is reaching out to international fans with a new deal with superfan platform Zyper. Fans of Betty Crocker and Fiber One (so, everyone?) “will be invited to join clubs in which they’ll hear about upcoming product innovations and get rewards including personalized swag, vouchers for products and access to events,” writes Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl.
Podcast of the day: Years after Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” finally faded from collective consciousness, thrifting is back in style—this time by necessity and not irony. “Customers who may not have thought of buying secondhand before, they’re home, they’re looking for options to save money and they find resale,” Anthony Marino, president of ThredUp, tells Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli on the latest episode of the “Marketer’s Brief” podcast.
The womb where it happens: Period product brand Libresse follows up its musical ode to the vulva with another fantastical depiction, this time of the uterus. “Mixing live action and animation, it weaves together several different stories that anthropomorphize different conditions and experiences: from getting your period when you've just put on your best underwear, to miscarriages, childbirth, infertility and endometriosis pain,” writes Ad Age’s Alexandra Jardine.
That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call. This newsletter won't publish tomorrow (Friday) due to the holiday weekend, but we'll be back on Monday, Jul. 6.
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.
Subscribers make the difference. Individual, group and corporate subscriptions are available—including access to our Ad Age Datacenter. Find options at AdAge.com/membership.