Rental pogo sticks, ad industry ageism and NBA Finals ratings: Wednesday Wake-Up Call
Welcome to Ad Age’s Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news.
What people are talking about today
You may have groaned at an absurd-seeming news item making the rounds this week, about a startup promising the next best thing since rental scooters: rental pogo sticks. Which seems like peak San Francisco, where all things techy and twee intersect. It also seems curiously inevitable. “Ridiculous Swedish Startup Wants to Rent Us Pogo Sticks Now,” was the headline in SFist.
Fast Company looked into it and discovered that the man behind the Swedish startup in question, called Cangoroo (get it?), also has an ad agency and is no stranger to publicity stunts. Adam Mikkelsen co-founded Swedish agency The ODD Company, which was behind the Pause Pod (a tent to chill out in at the office) and the Stache Shield, designed to protect mustaches from beverages.
Mikkelsen swears the pogo sticks are for real. But he welcomes your “WTF” responses.
“Our background is in marketing, so getting this reaction was intentional,” Mikkelsen told Fast Company. “That attention is great because then when we launch people will be surprised that it is for real.”
Um, yeah. Because San Francisco seems like the world's most convenient place to ride a pogo stick. Have they seen the hills?
Cindy Gallop is out with what she describes as a “manifesto” about how the ad industry can tackle ageism in its ranks and in its portrayal of society. Gallop, the former BBH New York chairman who founded MakeLoveNotPorn and IfWeRanTheWorld, writes in Ad Age: “Evian’s long-running tagline presumes that everyone wants to #liveyoung. But there’s so much we’re not leveraging, strategically and creatively, around the idea of #liveolder.”
Since ageism in a problem in the industry, companies should find roles for older candidates—they’re the experts, after all. Agencies should cast older people in ads, and be smarter about which demographics have money to spend. Gallop writes:
“When you’re told the target is youth and millennials, ask ‘Why?’ Seriously. Ask why. Have the discussion, with client or agency.”
The whole article is thought-provoking and quotable, so read it in full here.
The cookie crumbles…
First, it was Apple’s Safari browser, now it’s Mozilla’s Firefox. “Going forward, new downloads of Firefox will automatically block trackers known as third-party cookies, which can follow users around the web and log their activity,” Bloomberg News writes. That leaves Chrome from Google as the only big browser that doesn’t bar cookies by default. These moves have been forcing the digital ad industry to adapt for quite a while. For privacy-conscious internet users, it’s a win. Here’s how Firefox cast it on Twitter: “We released these new features mostly because people deserve better than an industry that makes them the product.”
NBA Finals, minus LeBron: “As expected, the absence of superstar ratings magnet LeBron James and the virtual elimination of an entire U.S. media market has put a damper on the TV turnout for the NBA Finals,” Ad Age’s Anthony Crupi writes. So far, ratings are down nearly 25 percent from last year.
By the numbers: Ad revenues from U.S. podcasts reached an estimated $479 million in 2018, up 53 percent from the previous year, according to a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC. Read more by Ethan Jakob Craft in Ad Age.
On the books: U.K. bookmaker William Hill is expanding its U.S. presence and picked Interpublic Group of Cos.’ MullenLowe to handle lead U.S. creative duties and Dentsu Aegis Networks’ 360i for media, Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse reports.
What we’re reading: The Washington Post has a good old-fashioned tale about a classified newspaper ad that took on epic proportions in British Columbia. The ad for a hand-carved throne (yes, a throne) ran for six years straight until it became a well-known local joke. There's a happy ending: It finally sold.
Factoid of the day: “For the first time, U.S. adults this year will spend more time using their mobile devices than they’ll spend watching TV, according to eMarketer.” Read more from Bloomberg News.
Podcasts of the day: Ad Age has two new podcasts to put in your queue. Our “Ad Block” podcast hosts chatted with Tim Nudd, editor-in-chief at the Clio Awards, who seems to be living the good life (and doing a lot of fishing) in Maine. And this week’s “Marketer’s Brief” guest is Charlie Chappell, Hershey Co.’s head of media, who talks about the brand’s early moves in esports.
Ad of the day: Sephora outlets in the U.S. are closing down this morning for diversity training. As part of the LVMH-owned retailer's push for inclusivity, there’s also a new Sephora spot set to the Shirley Bassey song “This is My Life” and featuring a diverse cast, some of whom are transgender or non-binary. As Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli writes, the spot from agency Wednesday opens with text that reads: “They, She, He, Xe, We.” Check it out here.
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