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How marketers are coping with coronavirus and an update on the Ad Age A-List & Creativity Awards: Friday Wake-Up Call
The coronavirus has put an unprecedented strain on marketers as they grapple with the coronavirus’ impact and work to protect employees' health and their immediate businesses. Because brands are responding in so many different ways, Ad Age is compiling a continually updated log to keep everyone informed. The list will include everything from office cleanings to delayed product launches, campaigns, creative messaging changes and more. Bookmark it here.
The big TV networks have canceled their live upfront presentations, slated for May, due to the coronavirus outbreak, writes Jeanine Poggi. NBCUniversal, Fox, CBS, The CW, Discovery, WarnerMedia, Disney and Hulu will instead host digital experiences, and, in a new twist, NBCU will televise its presentation to the public. In a statement, the company said this reflects “the increasingly direct relationship between NBCuniversal, its fans and its partners. This will now allow all audiences to tune in for a sneak peek at the future of NBCUniversal's programming.” CBS will forego its presentation at Carnegie Hall for a video upfront special that will posted to digital platforms on May 13. WarnerMedia had originally planned to co-host an upfront with AT&T's Xandr on May 13 but that event will be re-cast as a "unique video experience," the company said. Fox and Discovery canceled their events at the Beacon Theatre and Lincoln Center, respectively, while The CW said it is "exploring alternative and innovative ways" of communicating its strategy. Disney, the last to cancel, said plans are underway for "two star-studded and innovative streaming events, showcasing the breadth and depth of Disney’s rich portfolio and infrastructure."
Meanwhile, the National Hockey League has followed suit with the NBA and is halting games, effective last evening. Major League Soccer and the National Lacrosse League are also putting activities on hold, reports Anthony Crupi, who writes that the NBA hiatus could push the finals back into midsummer.
The Association of National Advertisers also shelved its Media Conference that had been slated for March 25-27 in Aventura, Florida. As a reminder, you can keep up to date with our Coronavirus Industry Events Tracker.
And now some news of our own
The rapidly evolving coronavirus situation has caused Ad Age to rethink its own events schedule, and while we had hoped to bring you together for several Ad Age programs in March and April, we have made the decision to pause all upcoming Ad Age live programming and promotions for the foreseeable future. This includes our “Inside Pages” event in Los Angeles, originally scheduled for March 26, and Ad Age Next: Streaming (originally slated for April 20 in New York).
The Ad Age A-List & Creativity Awards will also be affected. Writes Ad Age Editor Brian Braiker: “We realize our original date of April 14 for the Ad Age A-List & Creativity Awards gala is not realistic given the current developments and public health concerns. Ad Age is currently exploring alternate dates in May and June, and we appreciate your patience as we work to bring you the best and safest event possible. The A-List & Creativity Awards gala is a signature event for us, a time for us to celebrate each other and our industry. But keeping our community safe is more important.”
Currently, the editorial team is working on alternative solutions for the timing of the A List & Creativity Awards winner announcements and the corresponding issue date. We will provide updates as soon as we have them. Purchased tables and tickets for the gala, meanwhile, will be honored for the new pending date. Questions can be directed to [email protected]
So you plan to move your event online. Now what? Experts tell Adrianne Pasquarelli that all future events will likely incorporate a digital aspect as the events industry seeks to widen the attendee pool and keep a contingency plan handy. For important considerations before migrating an event online and details of what goes into making it a success, including a 8-point checklist, read Adrianne Pasquarelli’s story here.
Today is the day crowds were to descend on Austin, Texas for SXSW and, despite the event’s cancellation, organizers are still hoping to carry on virtually. According to Lindsay Rittenhouse, organizers have sent an email expressing how "devastated" they are that the city forced a shutdown and notifying participants that they are "still in the process of exploring ideas for a virtual event in some form, but just haven't figured out the details of what that would look like at the moment." However, one person told Rittenhouse it seems unlikely many will sign up this late. Meanwhile, it appears there will be no refunds.
Dave Edwards, a 14-year veteran of R/GA, has quietly departed for a freelance-economy style marketing company called BeenThereDoneThat. Popularly known as “Weather Edwards” for his social media weather reports, Edwards told Lindsay Rittenhouse he began thinking about all the current challenges facing traditional agencies, such as threats from in-housing, consultancies, declining budgets and shifts to project work, and felt it was time for him to embrace a new model. BeenThereDoneThat is a company that chooses teams from freelance pools to pitch ideas to clients in as little as a week.
It’s a snap: Snapchat is bringing augmented reality to the marketing masses with a new ad-building program, Lens Web Builder, that the company says makes it easier to generate the branded Lenses or animated filters that Snapchat users overlay onto their videos.
Don’t lick your fingers: KFC has suspended a U.K. campaign that focuses on finger-licking after the Advertising Standards Authority received multiple complaints that the content was inappropriate to run during the coronavirus outbreak, writes Alexandra Jardine.
Spotted on Twitter: This from Ben Terris, political reporter for the Washington Post style section, in response to stories about people being more leery of public gyms as the virus rages: “I bet that lady is pretty psyched about having a Peloton now.”
You deserve a break (from coronavirus news) today: Have a listen to Jessica Wohl’s podcast with Mike Haracz, the former McDonald’s chef, who is promoting Wendy’s new breakfast menu in the manner of the Verizon “Can you hear me now?” guy becoming Sprint's spokesperson. In their talk, Haracz discusses topics, from his childhood cooking to the Dungeons & Dragons games he plays.
That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call, thanks for reading. For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter: @adage.
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