Brands react to ‘Blackout Tuesday’ and Jay-Z dedicates print ads to George Floyd: Wednesday Wake-Up Call
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Brands react to ‘Blackout Tuesday’
As protests against racial injustice continue across America (and overnight, in Europe) following the death of George Floyd, yesterday saw brands and marketers react to “Blackout Tuesday.” The movement started with the music industry and then appeared on Instagram, where millions of users expressed solidarity with anti-police protests by darkening their feeds with black squares. It soon spread to other social media.
As many brands and ad agencies posted their own black squares and messages, several have also decided to pause their regular advertising, Ad Age’s Garett Sloane and Jeanine Poggi report, to avoid sending the "wrong" message. Ford is among those that decided to refrain from social media advertising this week while brands including Wendy’s have halted promotional campaigns on Twitter. Another company pausing regular social media is Spotify: and as George P. Slefo writes, the streaming platform is also making a slew of temporary changes. From today users will see a black logo and headline image on more than a dozen of its flagship podcasts, including “Today’s Top Hits” and “RapCaviar.”
Meanwhile all of ViacomCBS' entertainment and youth brands and platforms went dark on Monday for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the precise amount of time Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck in Minneapolis. For more on how brands are reacting to racial injustice, check out Ad Age’s regularly updated blog.
Jay-Z dedicates print ads to George Floyd
While many celebrities were posting on social media yesterday to express their solidarity with the protests, Jay-Z stood out by taking to traditional media. The rapper bought full page print ads dedicated to the memory of George Floyd in newspapers across the U.S., writes Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing.
The ads appeared in newspapers of cities where protests have taken place, including The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Atlanta Journal Constitution. More are scheduled to appear today. They were bought by Team ROC, the philanthropic arm of Jay-Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation.
The copy quotes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s famous speech, “How Long, Not Long,” with the words “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.”
Keith Cartwright opens L.A. agency
Opening a new agency in the midst of a pandemic and civil unrest might seem like an unusual move. But Saturday Morning co-founder Keith Cartwright is doing just that, reports Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz, as he unveils new venture “Cartwright” in L.A., with the backing of no less than WPP.
The agency already counts Procter & Gamble, Facebook and LVMH as clients and has about 20 people on staff. While it will operate with its own clients and P&L, it will also have global clout via a partnership with WPP’s Grey Group global creative network.
Cartwright tells Diaz that he hopes opening in the midst of the current strife will bring a ”positive message” to the community. “We talked a lot about timing,” he says. “For our industry, for people of color, it’s emblematic of progress."
Edelman job cuts: Edelman has laid off around 390 people as a result of the pandemic. The reductions represent around 7 percent of the world's biggest PR firm's global workforce, reports Crain’s Chicago Business. They also reverse a prior management declaration to staff in March that no job losses would take place due to coronavirus.
Mills on effecting change: In the latest Ad Age Remotely broadcast, Scott Mills, president of BET Networks, spoke to Ad Age Senior Editor Jeanine Poggi yesterday about the responsibility of media brands in helping effect change following the death of George Floyd. Watch it here.
Elmo boosts HBO: Forget "Game of Thrones"—the most popular shows on AT&T’s new HBO Max platform so far have been those aimed at kids. According to measurement by Parrot Analytics, “Looney Tunes Cartoons,” a new take on Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, was the most in-demand show when the service launched on May 27, reports Bloomberg News, followed by “The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo.”
Doing it again: Nike’s new "Don't Do It" ad, which urges consumers to stand up for racial equality, has drawn solid support from viewers, although it falls short of the 2018 Colin Kaepernick ads on a couple key measures. Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli writes that a survey by Ace Metrix found that a majority of consumers aged 16-to-49 found the Wieden & Kennedy spot “empowering.”
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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