Facebook boycott comes to a close. Or does it?: Friday Wake-Up Call
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Today marks the last day of the landmark Facebook boycott. Theoretically.
The “Stop Hate for Profit” advertiser boycott led by the NAACP, Anti-Defamation League, Sleeping Giants and Color of Change to halt spending on the social media platform during July to protest hate speech on its site was supported by hundreds of brands. Now the question is whether they will return.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, in an interview with Garett Sloane, called the boycott “an unambiguous win.” But the first major advertiser to opt in, The North Face, is coming back, while Coca-Cola Co., Chipotle and Eddie Bauer say they will remain off Facebook and Instagram beyond July.
Facebook, meanwhile, doesn't seem to be suffering much: The company posted ad revenue that beat Wall Street analyst expectations in its second-quarter earnings. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg got feisty in a call yesterday with investors, crowing that its advertiser number is growing, and now stands at 9 million—boycott or no boycott. “Some also seem to wrongly assume that our business is dependent on a few large advertisers,” Zuckerberg said. “While we value every single one of the businesses that use our platforms, the biggest part of our business is serving small businesses.”
Stay tuned for updates.
Coca-Cola is getting back into the booze business in the U.S. for the first time in three decades with the upcoming launch of a new hard seltzer under the Topo Chico brand, writes E.J. Schultz. Why it’s an opportunity:
• Hard seltzer sales rocketed more than 300 percent; the category is now worth about $2.1 billion in annual retail sales, according to Beverage Digest.
• Drinkers see hard seltzers as “healthier” and are attracted by their “gender-neutral branding and sessionability,” says Sanford S. Bernstein.
The cola war veteran is going up against major competitors in the category, including White Claw and Truly, owned respectively by Mike’s Hard Lemonade-maker Mark Anthony Brands and Sam Adams marketer Boston Beer Co. Anheuser-Busch InBev and Molson Coors are going hard at hard seltzer; the latter is breaking a new campaign for Vizzy, touted as “the first hard seltzer with antioxidant vitamin C.”
That’s one way to get your vitamins.
“We preserved our marketing firepower for a time when we expect it would have the most impact. Bars and restaurants are coming back, admittedly in fits and starts, and we expect to increase investment.” That’s Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley on yesterday’s earnings call, talking about how the brewer plans to once again turn on its spending taps. But there’s a catch, writes E.J. Schultz: The spending spree partially depends on live sports programming, whose staying power remains uncertain as pro leagues and college sports conferences navigate COVID-19 complications.
Results at a glance:
• Molson Coors’ second quarter U.S. sales to retailers fell by 5.2 percent—although that was a much better performance than the 10 percent drop forecast by Evercore ISI.
• Rival Anheuser-Busch also reported a good quarter as homebound people drink more beer, particularly well-known brands like Budweiser. June volumes ticked up 0.7 percent, a big reversal after plunging 21.4 percent in May and 32.4 percent in April.
“Bud and Bud Light are big brands around the world [and] they increased their share within beer during COVID just because consumers are going everywhere for big trusted brands, big packs and cans,” AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito said on the earnings call.
We can vouch for that (at least the last part).
WPP Group internally announced its diversity makeup data for the U.S. yesterday. While CEO Mark Read said the data is not definitive given varying methods of collection over the years, “we have a huge amount of work to do.”
The topline stats show that only 2.2 percent of the holding company’s U.S. senior and executive-level managers are Black or African American. Some 5.7 percent of U.S. senior and executive-level managers are Asian. Hispanic or Latinx employees comprise 5.8 percent of WPP’s U.S. senior or executive level managers. In stark contrast, WPP says 85 percent of its U.S. senior and executive level managers are white.
For the full statistics, check out Lindsay Rittenhouse’s story.
Interpublic Group of Cos. posted a net revenue decrease of 12.8 percent to $1.85 billion and an organic sales decline of 9.9 percent "due to impact of global economic contraction in the quarter," Rittenhouse reports.
This doesn’t suck: Doubters who thought plant-based burgers would never really enter the mainstream might be surprised to learn that Impossible Burgers meatless products have reached distribution in nearly half of all Walmart stores in the U.S. Walmart is the largest meat seller in the U.S. and the brand’s maker Impossible Foods has a goal to get as many people as possible to try its product. As CEO Pat Brown said in a press briefing yesterday: “Before they try it, they think it’s just going to suck.”
This is not a mask: Vistaprint, known for its printing services on products including business cards, mugs and postcards, is doing a brisk business in face masks. The masks are supported by an ad campaign called “This is not a mask,” positioning them as confidence builders that allow socializing. “No one wants to see the world in masks forever,” says Chief Marketing Officer Ricky Engelberg. “But in this timeframe, it’s so important that people are comfortable with the masks they have and excited for them and still able to be themselves.” You can see Engelberg (without a mask) at the virtual Ad Age Small Agency Conference Aug. 3-5. Tickets are still available here.
Google this: Google reported its first-ever quarterly decline Thursday, set back due to sharp declines in travel and overall ad spend from Madison Avenue. Ad sales fell 8 percent to $29 billion in the second quarter and revenue slipped 2 percent to $38 billion.
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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