Election hangs on a knife edge, markets see-saw as businesses prepare for unrest: Wednesday Wake-Up Call
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Good morning and welcome to a very uncertain November 4 Wakeup Call, as the U.S. election result hangs on a knife edge. With President Trump prematurely indicating victory and at the same time vowing to go to the Supreme Court in a speech after 2 a.m., and Biden's camp calling Trump's statement "outrageous," it’s still all to play for with major swing states yet to declare. The closer-than-expected results have markets see-sawing, reports the New York Times, in preparation for “an extended nail-biter.”
Yesterday saw businesses preparing themselves for a turbulent few days. In New York City, retailers including Macy’s, the Apple Store and Target boarded up their stores, reports the Wall Street Journal, in anticipation of potential vandalism.
Advertisers, meanwhile, continued to urge people to vote yesterday. Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz reports on Johnnie Walker dropping a spot via Anomaly featuring Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes performing a remake of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and Ilyse Liffreing writes of Nando’s serving diners “undemocratic meals” such as brownies on a bed of rice to make a point about not voting. Meanwhile, as anxious Americans watched into the night, one Twitter user spotted a spot-on brand placement: sponsorship and ads for meditation app Calm on CNN's election coverage.
For those readers still needing to calm their own nerves, here's a completely different story, one featuring Harry Potter and underwear.
Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing reports that direct-to-consumer underwear brand MeUndies has been forced to apologize to customers for launching a “Harry Potter” line of underwear and loungewear in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
Time was that anything Harry Potter branded would have been a certain winner, but MeUndies saw “swift backlash,” writes Liffreing, in the light of “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling’s heavily critiqued tweets about trans people earlier this year.
MeUndies posted an apology to Instagram over the weekend, addressing customer questions about the decision to go forth with a “Harry Potter” line at this time, explaining why the brand cannot take the line down and relaying that it has set up an internal diversity and equity board to vet future partners. The brand also states that it “strongly” disagrees with Rowling’s comments.
Lysol is a brand that’s been cleaning up (if you pardon the pun) in the pandemic, and that also includes expanding its b-to-b marketing. Ad Age’s Jack Neff writes that Reckitt Benckiser brand “has reached deals in recent months with businesses that include Major League Baseball, Delta Air Lines, Amtrak, Avis Budget Group, Hilton Hotels and Airbnb to supply disinfecting products and consultation on cleaning protocols.”
The move comes as consumers become more concerned with cleanliness when they’re out and about. “Consumers told us 'One thing that gives me the assurance that I’m seeking when I’m going out of home is that that place is using a trusted brand,'” Rahul Kadyan, executive VP of global business solutions for RB, tells Neff.
For example: Airbnb is getting “disinfecting advice” for hosts, and Lysol will work with MLB to “focus on high-touch germ hotspots” in ballparks.
It may only be early November, but the first of the U.K. "Christmas Bowl" ads are out, with the pandemic definitely influencing creative this year. Amazon's spot, by Lucky Generals (which will also run in the U.S. from this weekend), centers on a ballet dancer whose dreams of performance are thwarted due to lockdown until her community steps in, while TK Maxx's quirky effort by Wieden & Kennedy London features a designer-clad dancing goat who's had a "terrible year." Nostalgia is also a theme: Aldi's Kevin the Carrot stars in a Top Gun parody and two little girls put on a magic show for their family in a fantastical spot from retailer Argos that harks back to its print catalog.
Kolb Remotely: McCann Worldgroup CEO Bill Kolb will discuss taking over in the midst of the pandemic in a live episode of Ad Age Remotely at 11 AM EST. As McCann goes through a shift in leadership, Kolb will delve into what the changes means for the agency, and his prediction for the agency model post-pandemic. Tune in here.
NBA to Mediahub: The National Basketball Association confirmed that it has tapped Interpublic Group of Cos.' Mediahub to handle its media planning and buying business following a review, writes Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse. The agency takes the business from incumbent Spark Foundry, which declined to participate in the review to defend it.
Gig worker ruling: Uber, DoorDash and Lyft have won a “pivotal” vote in California that exempts them from having to reclassify their drivers as employees, reports the Wall Street Journal. It’s a blow for the state government in favor of the companies, whose business models are predicated on “gig workers.”
Hairless Colonel: KFC decided to do its bit for ”Movember” in France, where it gave Colonel Sanders a temporary clean-shaven look. The Colonel's hairless mug appeared this weekend on packaging and on a store front in Republique, Paris in a campaign by Sid Lee Paris that ran on social media for the day. Take a look over at Creativity.
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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