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Restaurant sales buoyed by pizza and wings, Trump attacks the NYT '1619 Project': Friday Wake-Up Call
The future looks bleak for independent restaurants. While the big chains have been able to weather the pandemic with takeout orders and greasy offerings that don’t need to be easy on the eye, full-service independent eateries have lost what makes them worthwhile—the joys of eating out.
“Two saviors for the industry have been—was their any doubt?—pizza and wings,” writes Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl. “Chains focused on those filling foodstuffs posted double-digit same-store sales gains in the first half of 2020 even as market leaders such as McDonald’s notched declines.”
Restaurants that survive will also be changed. No one goes to Shake Shack for the ambiance, so the burger joint is installing drive-thrus and walk-up windows. Wawa is doing the same. For people braving the indoors, staffers will get refills and condiments to minimize mixing between patrons. And expect reusable menus and the like to go disposable, recyclable or digital.
President Trump is planning to create a “patriotic education” commission to combat what he calls a “twisted web of lies” coming from the media about issues like racial injustice, according to Politico. He railed against the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning “1619 Project,” which examines American history through the lens of slavery and its legacy, calling it “toxic propaganda, ideological poison.”
The tirade comes just 46 days before the presidential election. And while Trump insists a singular entity he dubs “the media” has it out for him, Bloomberg Businessweek is portraying Facebook as in the president’s corner, with a caricature of founder Mark Zuckerberg in a red cap.
“Alfred E. Zuckerberg, let’s call him, is shown wearing a Make America Great Again hat, while a sarcastic subhead drives home the gist of the cover story: ‘How a 100% totally super-neutral social platform friended Trump,’” writes Ad Age’s Simon Dumenco.
The story includes anecdotes of a sycophantic Zuck ingratiating himself at White House and resurfaces the time he told employees the company would likely fare better under a Republican administration.
Nobody’s going anywhere these days, and travel brands want to change that. Expedia and Hotels.com are both dropping new campaigns, following a 59 percent slump in travel ad spend in the first half of the year.
But would-be vacationers stuck in their homes for months are getting restless. “During the week of July 27, 74 percent of consumers said they are more likely to avoid non-essential travel, compared with 87 percent the week of April 3,” writes Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli. “In addition, consumers clicking on paid search travel ads is also on the rise—Kantar reports that such clicks rose 800 percent from April through July as consumers shopped online.”
New spots tout cancellation policies and working-away-from-home, since remote is remote, whether in a tiny apartment or on a wide beach. And remember, liberal use of virtual backgrounds and VPNs means no one has to know where the “office” is today.
In 2020, even the hair on our heads is giving up. Usage of hair loss products is up 30 percent over last year. The coronavirus can cause hair loss, as can the stress of trying not to catch the coronavirus, as well as, well, everything else going on in the world.
“Whatever the trigger, traffic to hair-loss product sites in August reached its highest point in at least two years, according to SimilarWeb,” writes Ad Age’s Jack Neff. “Paid search traffic for the four top hair-loss supplement or treatment providers—GetRoman.com, Forhims.com, Hum Nutrition and Ritual—is up 134 percent year over year.”
Apparently, hair loss can be triggered by traumatic events like getting sick, losing too much weight, menopause or high-stress environment. So try to take some deep, calming breaths. With a mask on, of course.
Lindsey Farrar is co-founder and editor in chief of CRWN Magazine, a print publication for, and about, Black women and hair culture. She is also (as of this year) a gardener. On the latest episode of the “Ad Block” podcast, she talks about the preparation and experimentation that went into her first garden.
She and her husband planted an olive tree when their baby was born last year, and the collard greens flourished, too. The tomatoes, though, weren’t so lucky. “There are more luscious gardens, but I’ve learned a lot, and I think that’s half the battle, right?” Farrar says. “When you look and all of the plants are dead, you’re like, ‘Now what am I going to do with all of this dirt?’”
Admittedly a city slicker, she’s viewing the opportunity to grow food and return to the land in a different light, now that she has land. “I think for a lot of people, particularly of African American descent, there is this return and this understanding of whoa, I’ve been kind of conditioned out of, perhaps, my birthright.”
(Big) news: A year after joining Huge as global CEO, Pete Stein is headed to Dentsu’s Merkle, where he will be global lead for experience and commerce. This makes the second global CEO that has left the agency in as many years, after Michael Koziol left after a year in 2019. “An internal email sent to employees from Stein and Huge Chief Financial and Operating Officer Raj Singhal confirms his departure. The email also stated that Singhal will assume Stein's ‘day-to-day responsibilities’ in the interim,” writes Ad Age’s Lindsey Rittenhouse.
It takes a Village: Havas now has a majority stake in formerly independent agency Camp+King, which now joins siblings U.S. shops like Arnold and Battery under the umbrella of the French holding company. CEO Jamie King and CCO Roger Camp will continue to lead the agency. Its Chicago office will merge with the Havas “Village,” and the San Francisco office will adopt the same structural model to end up under the same P&L.
Get your butt to the polls: The get-out-the-vote campaigns are out in full force, with brands from the Gap and Levi’s to Reddit and the CW pushing the ballot box. Patagonia’s campaign flew under the, uh, radar, when the environmentally conscious brand printed tags on men’s and women’s shorts with the epigram “VOTE THE ASSHOLES OUT.” Which assholes, one might ask? The brand clarified on its website that it means politicians who don’t believe in or won’t respond to the pressing issue of climate change.
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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