A rogue fly is the biggest buzz at the VP debate, plus fallout from the stimulus freeze: Thursday Wake-Up Call
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Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris faced off for the first and only time in last night’s vice presidential debate. Pence struggled to defend Trump’s record on the coronavirus and the subsequent damage to the economy while trying to tie Harris to policies he said would damage the economy.
But the star of the debate wasn’t Pence, Harris, and certainly not Susan Page, the relatively passive moderator. Rather, it was the fly that landed on Pence’s head, cast in sharp contrast to his white hair. It hung around for only a couple of minutes, but the entire country noticed. Journalists and comedians weighed in, and a parody account, opened in the fly’s name, racked up tens of thousands of followers by the end of the debate.
For his part, former Vice President Joe Biden has suggested that Trump shouldn’t show up for the next presidential debate, scheduled for next week, if he is still suffering from the coronavirus.
President Trump’s cancellation of stimulus talks with Democrats has businesses and workers scrambling to stay afloat now that the chances of monetary relief before the election seem dead in the water. While some fast food chains are seeing sales rise amid demand for cheap and easily deliverable food, franchisees of Pizza Hut and Subway locations are shuttering. As many as 36,000 of them may not last even a few more months without stimulus payments, according to the International Franchise Association.
“We cannot re-employ people if we go out of business,” Shake Shack founder and restaurateur Danny Meyer told CNBC. Stocks have been ambivalent, dropping after Trump’s announcement on Tuesday and rebounding a bit when he appeared to change course. The administration’s position certainly isn’t set in stone, and Democrats are in talks with the Treasury Department over an airline relief bill.
Trump also indicated that he supports a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks, but that one-time cash infusion would still leave millions of out-of-work people worse off, since additional unemployment benefits expired in July. And even a grand total of $2,400 in pandemic relief comes to only about $11 a day since lockdowns began.
Far from a pandemic slump, Frito-Lay’s in-house agency has been churning out even more content this year, at a time when a bag of chips doesn’t seem like that bad an idea for dinner. Or breakfast.
“This year some things have changed, such as working from home rather than the headquarters where Frito-Lay built a high-tech studio,” writes Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl, talking with Chris Bellinger, VP of creative and digital at Frito-Lay North America on the latest episode of the “Marketer’s Brief” podcast. “The in-house team has become ‘at-home content creators’ who also get to go on location when needed, with new protocols in place.”
Bellinger also talks about transitioning from the agency side, where he remembers having to convince colleagues that marketing tortilla chips to video gamers would be a good idea.
Women have fared worse than men during the pandemic. They have lost more of the jobs and been saddled with more of the unpaid domestic labor. In September, more than 865,000 of them left the workforce, according to National Women's Law Center. Only a quarter as many men did the same.
But on top of the pressures of the pandemic, the typical advice for succeeding in business doesn’t work for most women, according to entrepreneur and philanthropist Elizabeth Elting. It’s tough to build a network of like-minded allies when women are being forced to choose between affordable childcare and their careers.
Earlier this week, Ad Age's Jack Neff reported on a new campaign for Procter & Gamble’s Secret, called “Raise It Up,” highlighting how women are forced to bear the brunt of the COVID burden.
Hearts 'n' crafts: Etsy is the latest social media platform to crack down on conspiracy theories, reports Insider. The craft site has banned QAnon merchandise like shirts, bumper stickers and, yes, jewelry that promotes false beliefs. The move comes just a day after Facebook also banned accounts linked to QAnon misinformation.
New threads: Slack wants to be your everything. Not only will the productivity platform add support for video snippets and push-to-talk messaging (because DMs are too formal?), but a new sneaker collaboration with Cole Haan is dropping—in an age when even slippers are more footwear than many can bear. The lightweight kicks are available in all four technicolor shades of the Slack logo, reports GQ.
Funny bones: Halloween is around the corner, and Home Depot has a hit on its metacarpals with a 12-foot-tall skeleton decoration that’s been showing up on brand social feeds. Budweiser, Slim Jim, Natty Light and Impossible Foods snapped up the $300 behemoth, reports Ad Age's Ilyse Liffreing. So did 1-800-Contacts, which seems like a strange choice, except that these skeletons have glowing eyes instead of empty sockets. They’re sold out, though, and going for as much as $1,600 on eBay, so either cough up the cash or wait until the first week of November to grab them and some stale candy for 50% off.
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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