'The Future of Creativity' week continues, and Disney probes racial bias at ABC: Tuesday Wake-Up Call
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Ad Age kicked off its Future of Creativity week on Monday with a celebration of the people, work and companies that took the honors in the 2020 Creativity Awards. Ad Age's Ann-Christine Diaz led the online awards show, naming the winners in four categories: Business, Production, People and Work. The event is available to stream here, and a you can find all the winners and the work here.
The Future of Creativity continues online today with a focus on “Craft.” At 11 a.m. EDT, the Creativity team will go behind the scenes with the creators of big ideas from Apple, Burger King, Dove and Popeyes, featuring Restaurant Brands International Chief Marketing Officer Fernando Machado and Gut founder Anselmo Ramos.
Later in the day, at 3 p.m. EDT, a panel of top directors will discuss how they made some of the year’s best work—and how the pandemic and our current social climate has influenced, and changed, their work. Plus, McCann's Sigal Abudy Weber and Adrian Botan will share the evolution of Ikea's “ThisAbles” campaign that makes the brand’s products more accessible for those with disabilities.
Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal's chairwoman of advertising and partnerships, joined calls for drastic changes in advertising in the wake of COVID-19 and racial justice protests, reports Ad Age senior editor Jeanine Poggi. Yaccarino sent a memo to clients that touched upon concerns being raised throughout the industry about the need to promote more diversity.
Yaccarino reached out just as the upfront season—when TV networks and studios meet with brands to sell their programs in the coming year—begins to heat up. But, this year, ad industry groups like the Association of National Advertisers have demanded changes to the annual sales schedule. Advertisers want more transparency and greater commitments to diversity.
Yaccarino wrote: “This is the moment to question not just when we do business, but how we do business, at every level—because transformation is more than the private sector's response to this moment, it's our long-term responsibility.”
The media industry is in a state of upheaval as more instances of alleged racial bias and discrimination surface. On Monday, Walt Disney Co. placed an ABC News executive on administrative leave following reports she used racially charged language against Robin Roberts, a Black anchor on “Good Morning America." USA Today reports that the executive, Barbara Fedida, was accused of criticizing Roberts during a contract dispute, allegedly saying, “It wasn’t as if the network was asking Roberts to 'pick cotton.'” The Huffington Post wrote about the allegation before Fedida was put on administrative leave.
Also, on Monday, former employees accused Pinterest of racial insensitivity, and criticized the company for claiming to support Black Lives Matter, while not supporting them when they worked there. Bloomberg News reports on two former Pinterest employees, both black women who worked on its public policy and social impact team. Aerica Shimizu Banks said she was subjected to derogatory remarks by a manager, and Ifeoma Ozoma said a male colleague led a bullying campaign against her. “We want to share our story so that if other Black women are experiencing this at Pinterest or other companies, they know that they’re not alone,” Shimizu Banks told Bloomberg News. “We are here to listen to them and support them.”
Ad Age caught up with Diego Scotti, chief marketing officer at Verizon, to ask him about the lessons the carrier learned from marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The country’s largest wireless provider was perhaps the first major brand to address the crisis in its advertising. “Every time you lean on the truth and what is authentic about the brand, people want to have that,” Scotti says. “People are so tired of bullshit marketing in terms of what brands want you to believe and buy or whatever. We don't want to be that brand.”
Walmart has teamed up with Shopify to bring more sellers into its third-party marketplace, according to Bloomberg News. On Monday, Walmart announced the partnership with the e-commerce platform that would deliver 1,200 new vendors on top of the tens of thousands that already take part in Walmart's program.
Shopify has been making inroads with major retailers and internet platforms to ramp up their e-commerce ambitions. Last month, Shopify and Facebook linked up, too.
“There are many Shopify sellers who were already on Walmart.com, but we have not penetrated their base to the extent possible,” said Jeff Clementz, VP of Walmart Marketplace. “There’s a tremendous opportunity.”
Agency struggles: Kai D. Wright, a partner at Ogilvy and a Columbia University lecturer, wrote an open letter, describing how he has “encountered racism at every turn and micro-aggressions every day,” reports Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse in her latest Agency Brief covering events on Madison Avenue.
Behavioral targeting: President Trump and allies could go after social media companies through a new bill that is bubbling up in Congress. The bill would limit how Facebook and Google target ads based on internet browsing data, Politico reports.
Bezos testimony: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has made overtures to the House of Representatives committee that is investigating anti-trust issues. Bezos signaled willingness to testify to Congress in its inquiry, if other tech CEOs appear, too, The New York Times reports.
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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