Cannabis is the big election winner, and the pandemic axes Black Friday: Friday Wake-Up Call
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Votes are still being counted in the presidential race, but the clear winner at the polls this year was cannabis. Four states—Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota—legalized recreational marijuana use. Over the next four years, $2.5 billion in cannabis sales are predicted in those markets.
“Recreational use is now legal in 15 states, and New Jersey’s adoption is considered a major milestone,” writes Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz. “The Garden State’s approval lays the groundwork for New York to legalize pot—'and the city of New York is the largest single cannabis market in the world,’ says Jason DeLand, a partner at ad agency Anomaly and co-founder of Dosist, which specializes in dose-controlled cannabis products.”
Oregon also legalized psychedelic mushrooms, and Washington, D.C. decriminalized them. Expect pot shortages in the short term as demand ramps up. But with Republicans likely to maintain control of the Senate, federal legalization still looks a long way off. Even after a glaucoma treatment.
Brands got shy this week, opting to dial back digital campaigns while much of the country’s attention turned to more serious matters.
“Target spent about $27,000 a day on average on Twitter in the past three months, then this week its average daily spend on Twitter dropped to about $500,” writes Ad Age’s Garett Sloane. “On Twitter, Walgreens went from $12,000 a day to zero. Netflix went from $6,000 on average daily to $400.” Spending also dropped on Facebook.
But no matter how long the vote counting takes, marketing campaigns will be back soon. The holiday season is on the horizon, and ads are already beginning to drop as brands try to squeeze everything they can out of the tail end of a terrible year.
In San Francisco, voters approved a tax on companies whose executives earn more than 100 times the average salary of their workers. For each multiple of 100, the company will be on the hook for an additional 0.1% in taxes, up to a maximum of 0.6%.
Businesses based in the city, as well as companies that do business there, are subject to the tax. If that seems harsh, it’s actually pretty generous, given the numbers. American CEOs make 320 times as much as the average worker, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the largest discrepancy in the world.
That’s up 14% over last year. CEO pay has grown 940% since 1978, while wages have grown just 12%.
Media organizations have been careful not to give any credence to President Trump's claims of voter fraud or stolen elections. When he declared himself the victor late on election night, anchors were quick to call him out for undermining the democratic process.
That practice has continued as Republicans and the president himself continue to make unfounded accusations and file lawsuits to stop vote counting in multiple states. On Thursday, ABC, NBC and CBS all cut away from the president's first press conference since the election after he repeated those assertions again. USA Today went as far as to remove the video of the press conference from its site.
"Our job is to spread truth—not unfounded conspiracies," said Nicole Carroll, the paper's editor-in-chief.
The truth on early Friday morning is that Biden took a small lead im Georgia, a state that has not gone blue since 1992.
The latest pandemic casualty is Black Friday. Already losing popularity due to online shopping, the exercise in rabid consumerism is faring poorly against the economic downturn and shoppers looking to avoid crowds—and stampedes.
“Several retailers have stepped away from Black Friday promotions this year as they strive to limit in-person crowds during the pandemic and make better use of e-commerce and new fulfillment services including curbside pickup,” writes Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli. “Lowe’s, Gap and Home Depot have publicized longer-lasting deals that exclude single Black Friday discounts. Gap began its holiday campaign in mid-October, weeks earlier than previous years, and is pushing consumers online rather than to stores.”
Black Friday has also been the target of protests against consumerism and campaigns like REI’s “Opt Outside” that undermine its value. Cyber Monday has also gained in importance, and shoppers are flocking to events like Amazon’s Prime Day, which aren’t anchored to any specific date on the calendar.
Fact check: Facebook removed the “Stop the Steal” group from its platform, just a day after it began spreading baseless claims about voter fraud. It became one of the fastest growing groups in Facebook history as more than 320,000 people shared debunked viral videos, and it has already been replaced by other groups spreading the same views. Facebook has had a difficult time clamping down on misinformation, and the platform was criticized in August for not removing a group calling for violent action in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Traditional medicine: Kolonya, a old-fashioned Turkish cologne often relegated to holiday gifts, is making a comeback. Its 80% ethanol content makes it a good hand sanitizer, so even young people who have long eschewed it for more modern fragrances are splashing it on.
Driving losses: After a good day on Wednesday, Uber shares fell after the company reported poor third quarter earnings. Despite its victory in having drivers in California classified as independent contractors, bookings are down due to the pandemic, though its delivery service is doing better. The company lost more than $1 billion in Q3.
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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