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Mike Bloomberg broadcasts coronavirus ad and Twitter pulls out of SXSW: Monday Wake-Up Call
Bloomberg airs coronavirus commercial
As U.S. concerns increase over the coronavirus outbreak with the second U.S. death and the first case in New York, Mike Bloomberg aired a three-minute TV commercial Sunday night implicitly criticizing President Trump’s response to the outbreak and highlighting his own experience in handling crises.
Titled “Leadership in Crisis,” the ad (seen on YouTube) aired on CBS and NBC and the broadcasts could have cost between $1.5 million and $2 million each, according to an estimate from Advertising Analytics cited by Bloomberg News.
In it, Bloomberg says that at times of crisis, “the public wants to know that their leader is trained, informed and respected. When a problem arises, they want someone in charge who can marshal facts and expertise to confront the problem.” He also refers to his time as New York mayor and his experience in handling major crises including 9/11, Hurricane Sandy, the blackout and swine flu.
Airing just ahead of Super Tuesday, the style is deliberately presidential; as the New York Post points out, “The taped clip is deliberately produced to look like a presidential address—the 78-year-old standing in front of an American flag in a room that is strikingly similar to the Oval Office.”
Twitter’s Dorsey pulls out of SXSW
Twitter has become the latest company to suspend non-essential business travel in response to coronavirus, with CEO Jack Dorsey pulling out of a keynote speech at SXSW. The company announced the decision on Sunday in a blog post, saying: “Our goal is to reduce the risk that anyone at Twitter might contract or inadvertently spread the virus. It is important that we take these proactive steps to protect ourselves and others and minimize the spread of COVID-19.”
Twitter joins other major firms including Amazon and Google in limiting non-essential travel, and its move comes as calls have increased for SXSW to be canceled, despite organizers insisting last week that the show would go on. Nearly 10,000 people have now signed a Change.org petition calling for the event to be called off. On the site, Shalya Lee, who launched the petition, writes: “I believe that having an event like this is irresponsible amid an outbreak.”
So far, other upcoming major industry trade shows including Advertising Week Europe and Cannes Lions have said they will go ahead. However, property trade show MIPIM, which takes place in Cannes and is the real estate industry’s equivalent of Cannes Lions, has announced it will "reschedule" from March 13 to June 2, as reported by Deezen.
Corona hits back
Among all the many industries being impacted by coronavirus, one brand in particular has been having a PR nightmare in relation to the disease: Corona beer. And now the brand is fighting back.
As E.J Schultz reports, on Friday Corona parent company Constellation Brands today took aim at a survey put out by PR agency 5W Public Relations that said people were cutting back on the beer because it shares the same name as the coronavirus. It claimed that “38% of beer-drinking Americans would not buy Corona under any circumstances now.” By Friday morning, “38% of Americans,” was trending on Twitter (although, as Schultz points out, “much of the social media reaction was more directed at the intellect of anyone who would confuse the virus and the beer.”)
Constellation CEO and president Bill Newlands said in a statement: “These claims simply do not reflect our business performance and consumer sentiment, which includes feedback from our distributor and retailer partners across the country.” The company also produced figures from IRI retail sales trends showing that sales of Corona Extra increased by 5 percent in the four-week period ending Feb. 16.
So maybe things aren't so bad for Corona—and that’s a vote of confidence for American intellect.
Unplugged: YouTube TV announced it has pulled the plug on streaming the Fox-branded regional sports networks now owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, writes Ad Age’s Anthony Crupi. It said on Twitter it “will no longer offer Fox regional sports networks, including YES Network, beginning February 29th.”
Gatorade taps rookie: Rookie NBA player Zion Williamson is making his first appearance in a Gatorade ad since signing an endorsement deal late last year, writes Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz. The spot, by TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles, mixes footage of stars past and present, including Michael Jordan, Serena Williams and Lionel Messi.
Hired: Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners has hired Tracey Pattani, most recently at Digitas San Francisco, as its new CEO, writes Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse. Pattani is the creative shop's first female CEO and replaces David Eastman.
Podcast of the Week: Mark Bernath, executive creative director at Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam, is the latest guest on the Ad Block podcast, where he tells I-Hsien Sherwood and Alfred Maskeroni about his passion for music—including his side hustle as a musician who records psychedelic rock under the name Necessary Explosion. Have a listen here.
Campaign of the (Leap) Day: Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin shows once again how nimble it is at creating topical content, with a Leap Day-themed spot. As Ann-Christine Diaz writes, the ad revolved around Leap Year baby Arlene Manko, who was born on February 29, 1936, by presenting her with her “first-ever legal drink” on her “21st birthday.” Plus, the brand gave away free Aviation to other 21-year-old seniors too. The campaign is one of Creativity’s Top 5 from last week, including Nike’s farewell to Kobe and U.K. retailer Tesco’s creation of a range bandages for diverse skin tones, in response to an emotional consumer tweet. Check them out here.
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