Payment terms worsen for agencies and coronavirus halts Gap review: Wednesday Wake-Up Call
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The Association of National Advertisers released the results of a member survey yesterday that revealed a sobering statistic for shops: Payment terms jumped to 58 days last year, up from 46 in 2013, and agencies are increasingly losing leverage to get paid faster. “One reason is that agencies have less clout as more marketers move to project work, and move away from retainers,” writes E.J. Schultz. “There is a perspective that marketers can push harder for extended payment terms for project work, especially with new agencies, because many agencies will accept such terms to get a foot in the door.” According to the report, which surveyed 109 ANA members, only research vendors take longer to get paid—60 days—while production companies and broadcasters had average payment terms of 45 days and 41 days, respectively.
“You’ll be hard-pressed to find an agency opting out of a pitch. They’ll show up in a hazmat suit before they cancel.” That’s Leann Leahy, CEO of the VIA Agency in Portland, Maine, talking about how agencies are trying to stay on track despite the coronavirus. Agencies, under pressure on many fronts (see item above) are working a difficult balancing act in trying to keep both employees and their business healthy in a time of uncertainty. In some cases, it’s being taken out of their hands: Gap, for example, halted its media review on March 6 due to the coronavirus, writes Lindsay Rittenhouse. Read more here to learn how shops are handling issues like shoots and why one analyst thinks this disruption might not be such a bad thing in the long run.
Existing creative is even being affected, as Hershey Co. took the unusual step of temporarily pulling its ads featuring people handing out candy bars and doling out hugs and handshakes in an effort to promote responsible behavior during the outbreak. Instead it is running product-specific commercials, writes Jessica Wohl.
Google has taken the precaution of asking all of its North American employees to work from home until April 10, CNBC reports.
Now that the state department has officially warned consumers about traveling by ship amid the coronavirus outbreak, the cruise line industry is trying to find ways to mitigate cancellations. Last year, some 30 million consumers took cruises, up from 28.2 million in 2018, according to the Cruise International Association, a trade group. Adrianne Pasquarelli talked to crisis experts about possible moves major industry players might now make. “The ships are basically seen right now as floating petri dishes and that is going to frighten a lot of potential customers away,” said Gene Grabowski, a partner at crisis communications firm kglobal. More flexible cancellation policies which many lines are enacting is a start, but Grabowski believes marketers will need to heavy up on advertising.
Anthony Crupi, meanwhile, looks at the potential for coronavirus to disrupt major live sporting events such as the NBA’s March Madness. The virus prompted organizers of the BNP Paribas Open, also known as Indian Wells, to cancel its tournament which was due to run March 8 through the 21st. “How the pandemic will affect the spring sports lineup remains to be seen, as leagues and governing bodies continue to try and get their heads around the latest coronavirus news,” writes Crupi.
Last, the economic impact of the coronavirus is beginning to be felt beyond stock market gyrations. SXSW has laid off one-third of its 175 full-time employees after the event’s cancellation, according to Pitchfork. And Broadway shows, seeing audience demand fall, are slashing ticket prices. Playbill.com reports that The Book of Mormon, The Lehman Trilogy, To Kill a Mockingbird, West Side Story and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? have reduced ticket prices to $50 through the end of March.
If you’re an event planner, or work in a company that puts on anything “live,” you’re probably (understandably) freaking out right now as the coronavirus crisis escalates. But in Ad Age’s latest Q&AA, event expert Taylor McKnight, the founder of event-tool and event-community platform Emamo, tells Simon Dumenco that the live-events industry is incredibly resilient and that “the best event planners are communicating consistently and listening, even if they don’t know exactly what to do next. Your community will still be there on the other side of this, eager to reconnect.”
McKnight says that while he thinks some of the virtual conferences that are popping up could be game-changers, particularly for “events that focus on learning.” Still, long-term “there is no way virtual events will replace most in-person events. People coming together to share and bond is in our DNA. As the world gets through this crisis, we will see the need return in late summer or fall, maybe even with larger demand as we make up for the lost connections.”
IAB gets new president: David Cohen, former president of MAGNA Global, was named president of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, reports George P. Slefo. He succeeds Patrick Dolan, who the group said late last year was departing for an “entrepreneurial opportunity.”
Keeping Trebek out of Jeopardy: TV game show “Jeopardy!” will be filmed without a live audience in the near future in order to keep host Alex Trebek, who is undergoing cancer treatment, clear of potential coronavirus contamination, TMZ reports.
Golden Arches to the rescue: If you’re one of those people who like to eat your stress, McDonald’s has a solution. Today it introduces a Double Big Mac, with four—count ‘em four—burger patties. While it may keep coronavirus fears at bay, we can’t speak for your cholesterol.
Correction: Yesterday Wake-Up Call miscredited the author of the Brand Playbook entitled "How to build a media network.” The writer is Adrianne Pasquarelli.
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