Dentsu revenue drops and Trump threatens to shut down social platforms: Thursday Wake-Up Call
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Dentsu Aegis Network posted its delayed first-quarter results: a 2.6 percent drop in revenue, and a 3.3 percent drop in organic revenue. “The larger Dentsu Group, which posted a total revenue slip of 0.4 percent and an organic revenue decline of 0.8 percent for the first quarter, also pulled its 2020 earnings forecast ‘due to the level of uncertainty related to the impact from COVID-19,’” writes Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse.
The holding company blamed “weakness” in the Asia-Pacific region, where Dentsu is based, due to the pandemic-fueled economic downturn, which began earlier in that part of the world than in Europe or the United States.
President and CEO Toshihiro Yamamoto expects a bigger drop in revenue in 2020. “Dentsu said it has ‘taken a number of cost actions in the first quarter to mitigate the impact of the expected revenue decline’ and is ‘targeting a 7 percent cost reduction’ across the company,” Rittenhouse writes. The network already folded Mcgarrybowen and Dentsu agencies into a single entity, Dentsumcgarrybowen, earlier this month.
President Donald Trump threatened to “strongly regulate, or close” social media platforms, accusing them of bias against conservative opinions. It seems to be a threat with few teeth, given how much Trump and his campaign depend on platforms like Twitter and Facebook to reach his followers.
“Twitter is still figuring out how to handle instances of misinformation, and Trump was criticized for tweeting about potentially misleading voter information regarding mail-in ballots,” writes Ad Age’s Garett Sloane, who spoke with Matt Derella, global VP of revenue and content partnerships at Twitter, for Ad Age’s Remotely video series.
The platform has pivoted from highlighting live events, which have dried up, to “occasions,” its term for events that don’t rely on physical gatherings. The strategy appears to be working, since Twitter has 32 million more daily active users than it did a year ago.
Women and people of color have been disproportionately impacted by layoffs, furloughs and salary cuts, both in the economy at large and at agencies and brands. Time’s Up has released new guidelines for companies still looking to prioritize diversity and inclusion efforts during the pandemic (and that should be all of them).
The guidelines include advice for examining workforce demographics before making layoff decisions; implementing fair work-from-home policies that take into account employees’ different home situations; and establishing firm policies on harassment—which can continue or even escalate in the digital workplace.
Positive representations of LGBTQ people in ads can help non-LGBTQ viewers become more comfortable with and more supportive of equal rights, according to a new survey from GLAAD. Viewers are also more likely to purchase brands that use that positive messaging.
“Procter & Gamble Co. has released several high-profile ads in recent years portraying LGBTQ people for Pantene, Tide, Gillette and Vicks. But a dive into its ad archives for a new branded documentary from CNN’s Great Big Story brought a surprise discovery of several Ivory ads from the 1880s with seemingly homoerotic imagery,” writes Ad Age’s Jack Neff.
A new ad for P&G’s House of Radon, Stockholm also features transgender models speaking about the role hair care plays in their lives.
It’s obvious that the pandemic presents challenges, but what about opportunities? Anush Prabhu, chief strategy officer at Mediacom, examines the possibilities on the latest episode of the “Ad Lib” podcast.
“This refresh will give the industry a bit of a reset in how to connect with consumers and brands. It will be imperative for us to find deeper ways for us to connect,” he tells Ad Age’s Judann Pollack. For example, Prabhu hopes the pandemic will make Americans rethink how much they spend versus how much they save, despite being in the business of selling.
Sweet ride: Are you daydreaming about long, socially distanced Sunday drives and about to give in and buy a car? There might soon be plenty of former rental cars on the market for cheap now that Hertz has declared bankruptcy. They won’t have the low mileage and dusty bonnet of your roommate’s grandparents’ 2011 Ford Taurus that you’ve had your eye on for half a decade, but the rental cars will be late-model and have had maintenance in the last year.
Foot in the door: FCB Creatives stuck at home and looking for work can now join a three-month program at FCB that will get them set up to work on projects for the agency. The program is open to “anyone who has the equipment and passion to create visual work from home,” even if they don’t have previous advertising or agency experience.
No gain, no Pain: The U.S. arm of Belgian bakery and café Le Pain Quotidien has filed for bankruptcy. It’s hoping to sell itself to Melt Shop owner Aurify Brands for $3 million in a deal that would keep 35 of its stores open. The fast casual chain is known for communal tables, a rustic aesthetic and a customer base comprised mostly of frustrated writers and suits huddled over never-ending meetings. Baker's Lunch 4 Lyfe. Adieu.
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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