Key themes from CES included privacy, 5G and ‘scare tech’: Friday Wake-Up Call
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If you’re finding it all a bit overwhelming, Ad Age’s Jack Neff and E.J. Schultz have compiled a helpful roundup of the key takeaways from Las Vegas. Among the key concerns at the show was privacy, they write, pointing out that “brands and platforms must confront some cold, hard realities: How will they unleash all this wizardry without violating consumers' privacy?” Apple, in particular, got a good grilling on the topic. Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble Chief Privacy Officer Susan Shook called for marketers and platforms to join in creating a “nutrition label” for privacy.
Meanwhile, the show was filled with “plenty of technology designed to capitalize on people’s fears of just about everything,” which was dubbed “scare tech” by Pete Blackshaw, CEO of Cincinnati startup champion Cintrifuse. 5G was also everywhere, with brands now touting how they will take advantage of the technological leap. And some brands brought up the prospect of a “social recession": the idea that "marketers might get sick of shoveling ever larger piles of money into social media.” We’re fascinated to see if that happens.
Mark Penn criticizes Democratic campaigns
Among the events on Thursday at CES was a panel on the interaction of brands and politics, at which former political strategist and current CEO of MDC Partners Mark Penn said he was unimpressed with the presidential campaigns run by Democrats so far in the 2020 race. As Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz reports, he described them as “kind of fuzzy-wuzzy” and added, “There are no slogans anyone can remember, nobody’s really talking about them.”
According to Penn, winning campaigns check five boxes: a memorable slogan, a biographical story, a clear target, a set of issues and what he described as an “edge against the competition.” Trump’s “Make America Great Again” ticked all five, he said, and was “so indelible that any grade schooler could recall it.”
New York Post’s ‘Megxit’ cover
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step back as senior members of the royal family has been generating headlines the world over since they made the shock announcement on Wednesday evening. In the U.S., writes Ad Age’s Simon Dumenco, the best front page came from the “sassy” New York Post, “with its 'Megxit' illustration by Peter LaVigna of the couple enjoying a “commoner” lifestyle at home.” It depictsed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex slumped in front of the TV, with Meghan in curlers smoking a cigarette while Harry chugs a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon in his underpants.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reports that Harry and Meghan could work towards their goal of being "financially independent" by earning big bucks on the public-speaking circuit. “The pair could each get more than $100,000 per appearance, estimates Jeff Jacobson, cofounder of the Talent Bureau speaking agency. And Harry, 35, should be able to command nearly as much as former U.S. President Barack Obama, who can get about $500,000 a pop, he said.”
Building Billie: After Procter & Gamble announced on Wednesday it had acquired young women’s razor company Billie, Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli has the lowdown on what the move might mean for the direct-to-consumer landscape. Read more here.
NSFW: Subaru unveiled a new car model at an auto show in Singapore yesterday and, as the New York Post reports, its initials are somewhat NSFW. The edition is called the Forester Ultimate Customized Kit Special Edition, or F***s, for short. But, says the Post, “Subaru has not addressed whether the acronym was an intentional market ploy—or if the initials were accidental.”
Zuckerberg looks to specs: In his annual New Year’s message, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg predicted a breakthrough in augmented reality glasses in the 2020s, reports Ad Age’s Garett Sloane. “Even though some of the early devices seem clunky, I think these will be the most human and social technology platforms anyone has built yet,” Zuckerberg said.
One trillion: U.S. music streams rose 30 percent last year to top one trillion for the first time, according to Nielsen Music’s annual report, writes the Wall Street Journal. Streaming services now account for a whopping 82 percent of music consumption in the U.S.
Campaign of the Day: Farmers Insurance’s famous “jingle” has long followed scenes of disaster from real life insurance claims. But in the brand's latest ads from RPA, as Ad Age’s I-Hsien Sherwood writes, it’s being used playfully as a harbinger of doom as “Farmers customers get an early tip off that something is about to go wrong when the telltale earworm pops up.” For example: a florist suddenly hears it while driving, and hangs up on her mom on the phone saying “I think I’m in a Farmers commercial”—just before she gets attacked by bees and crashes her van. Watch the spots here.