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The march of the holiday ads and HBO Max makes friends with Amazon: Tuesday Wake-Up Call
Good morning! Get the lights ready and cookies made. We’re still more than a week away from Thanksgiving, yet the onslaught of Christmas and holiday ads is already in full swing. This year, many brands that normally have cheery holiday spots are choosing to address the coronavirus pandemic and acknowledge what a terrible year it has been. Of course, they’re injecting plenty of humor in doing so.
U.K. retailer Tesco is canceling Santa’s naughty list in an ad set to Britney Spears’ “Oops!…I Did It Again.” In a new global holiday ad, Heineken says our families continue to be lovingly annoying even after such an unusual year. And Jose Cuervo is sending cardboard cutouts of fans to their families, so they don’t have to brave the pandemic to be included in that family photo—the one where everyone is wearing matching pajamas.
Of course, some spots don't reference COVID-19 at all. A humorous ad playing in the U.K. for paper towel brand Plenty plays on all our holiday mishaps—wine is spilled, a turkey is dropped and a grandma pulls tinsel out of a cat’s butt. Yep.
Stocks closed at record highs after Moderna said its COVID-19 vaccine was 94.5% effective at protecting people from the virus, reported The Wall Street Journal. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 470 points to close at 29,950, close to the 30,000 milestone which has never been hit. Shares of Moderna surged by 9.6%. Even companies that have struggled with people staying at home during the pandemic saw their stock values rise. Cruise line Carnival rose by 9.5%, United Airlines by 5.2% and ExxonMobil by 5.8%.
Independent agencies might just be benefiting from the pandemic more than their holding company rivals. There are a lot of examples of brands moving from holding company agencies to smaller shops during the pandemic, with the most recent being Domino’s Pizza choosing to break with MDC Partners’ CPB for independent WorkInProgress. Indie shops claim that they are faster, nimbler, cheaper and supply more access to senior leadership.
“Whether the recent momentum is sustainable or merely a blip in time remains to be seen,” writes Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse.
For users tired of being trolled by targeted ads, Instagram is introducing a new option for them to opt out of personalized ads. The setting, called “Data from Partners,” will roll out globally this week. It comes after Facebook introduced a similar setting for users to control “Off-Facebook activity” earlier this year.
The new setting could change how advertisers approach the platform. “If that attribution loop for whatever reason no longer is readable or viable, if you’re not getting good metrics or analytics, if the lack of cookies and changes in privacy law make that closed loop no longer work, then Instagram and Facebook are facing a massive reckoning,” Harry Kargman, Founder and CEO of digital advertising platform and exchange Kargo, tells Ad Age’s Mike Juang.
Getting friendlier: Starting today, HBO Max app is available on Amazon Fire TV streaming devices, smart TVs and tablets. The deal ends a month-long feud between the WarnerMedia app and Amazon over who controls user data and will help the streaming app scale beyond the 8.6 million active users it already has.
Ad Age Next: CMO: Join Ad Age on December 8 for our Ad Age Next: CMO event. Speakers include brand marketers and consultants including Lowe’s CMO Marisa Thalberg, McDonald’s U.S. CMO Morgan Flatley, NBA marketing chief Kate Jhaveri and others who will weigh in on the outlook for 2021 as the pandemic cases continue to spike across the country. Ad Age Next: CMO is a subscriber-exclusive event; sign up here.
Oreo goes gluten-free: Hitting shelves in January 2021 is a new treat for those living a gluten-free lifestyle: gluten-free Oreos, both the classic and Double Stuf versions. “Milk’s favorite cookie” tweeted out the news on Monday, less than a week after it introduced its customizable Oreos.
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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