CES goes digital and Cannes Lions owner Ascential reports a huge loss: Wednesday Wake-Up Call
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CES goes digital in 2021
CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, was one of the last big industry events to happen this year before coronavirus struck. And now, its organizers have decided that the event, usually held in Las Vegas in January, will be digital only next year.
As Ad Age’s George P. Slefo reports, the Consumer Technology Association cited growing global health concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19 as the reasoning behind their move. Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CTA, said it just isn't possible to safely convene tens-of-thousands of people in Las Vegas to meet and do business in person.
CES, which last year drew more than 170,000 attendees and 4,500 exhibiting companies, is the first industry tentpole to move online for the 2021 calendar year and places other large industry events in question. SXSW, Mobile World Congress and others traditionally taking place early in the year will have to make decisions soon about their future, and with the pandemic still raging in many different parts of the world as well as in the U.S., international travel to large-scale events looks doubtful at best.
Losses for Cannes Lions owner Ascential
Meanwhile, over in Europe, the cancellation of Cannes Lions in June has had a devastating effect on Ascential, the organization that owns the Festival, reports The Times in London. The group reported a pre-tax loss of £78 million ($100 million) in the first half of the year, and warned that it was not banking on an “immediate recovery in underlying trading conditions.”
Overall revenue fell by 39 percent, but revenue at its marketing division, including Cannes Lions, fell 74 percent the first half, and the outlook for such events in the short term seems at best uncertain. Ascential said it would need to be assured that delegates and sponsors “have the appetite to travel and attend” any future large gatherings.
Ascential CEO Duncan Painter told the Times: “The fluid nature of the worldwide pandemic and its management makes it impossible to be precise about the short-term outlook. We remain ready to run our market-leading events as and when restrictions on face-to-face gatherings are lifted and the economics of running events are positive.”
Some worrying news for media agencies: Procter & Gamble is striking ad deals for the 2020-2021 TV season directly with networks, reports Ad Age’s Jeanine Poggi.
According to multiple buyers and sellers familiar with conversations, P&G is going outside of its media agencies to TV network sellers to commit ad dollars in the upfronts. As Poggi points out, this is “something not commonly seen outside of negotiations for some live sports or tentpole events including the Academy Awards.”
The move comes after Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard has been vocal about his dislike of the upfront process. Pritchard has spoken previously about the need for the TV industry to move away from the traditional upfront selling season and look to strike deals on a calendar basis, and he’s also indicated that is looking to do direct deals with networks where that makes sense.
Another factor is that many TV negotiations are still up in the air due to the pandemic, as marketers wait for the return of live sports, production on shows and for a better handle on the state of their own businesses. (This is a subscriber-only story: to subscribe to Ad Age find options at AdAge.com/membership.)
Back-to-school shopping, pandemic-style
Face masks, gloves and disinfectant wipes will top back-to-school lists this year, according to a new Ad Age-Harris poll. The survey, conducted among 339 adults—181 men and 158 women—last week, found cleaning supplies, including disinfectant spray and wipes, are just as important as pencils and paper to parents purchasing back-to-school supplies for the upcoming 2020-2021 academic year. Personal protective equipment, including face masks and gloves, is not far behind.
Despite much uncertainty over whether schools will reopen in person for the fall, back-to-school shopping is still a must for the vast majority of shoppers, or 92 percent, according to the poll. Fifty-eight percent say they plan to purchase stationery and desk supplies, 57 percent will purchase cleaning and disinfecting supplies and 52 percent will buy personal protective equipment.
Emmy nods for Amazon, Apple and ...Quibi?
Spots from Amazon, Apple, Jeep, P&G and Sandy Hook Promise have been nominated for the Outstanding Commercial category in the Emmys this year, writes Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz.
The Academy of Television Arts and Science yesterday gave the nomination nod to two of last year’s biggest statement-making spots: P&G’s unconscious bias-themed ad “The Look” and Sandy Hook Promise’s chilling “Back to School Essentials.” Other ads making the cut included Apple’s gravity-defying AirPods ad “Bounce” and Jeep’s “Groundhog Day” reprise for the Super Bowl starring Bill Murray.
Elsewhere in the Emmy nominations there was good news for Quibi, the Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman-founded mobile-only network. It scored 10 nominations in short-form categories, reports the L.A. Times, in news that comes as something of a surprise, given its plummeting popularity since its launch earlier this year.
Showdown day: Today will see the House antitrust subcommittee hear testimony from Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai and Apple’s Tim Cook as part of its yearlong inquiry into technology industry competition. Stay tuned for more….
Sign of the times: Omnicom Group yesterday reported a 24.7 percent decrease to $2.8 billion in worldwide revenue for the second quarter, compared to $3.7 billion in the same period of last year, writes Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse. Organic revenue declined 20.7 percent in the U.S. in the quarter.
Diversity chief: Nike has promoted former Tesla executive Felicia Mayo to become its new head of diversity, reports Bloomberg News. Mayo, who worked at Tesla, Juniper Networks and Oracle before joining Nike last year, will take the title of chief talent, diversity and culture officer.
It's not too late: There are five days left to secure a ticket to Ad Age's Small Agency Conference & Awards, a three-day virtual event tailored specifically to the needs of shops with under 150 employees. Check out the full agenda for the Aug. 3-5 event here.
Too late: Five months after KFC announced it would make branded Crocs, the unlikely collaboration went on sale yesterday. But if you wanted them, you’re out of luck, as they immediately sold out. KFC tweeted: “Bad news is the KFC x @Crocs are officially sold out. Good news is you can still buy a real bucket of chicken at KFC. Don’t wear them.”
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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