Uber buys Postmates and ad employment is growing again: Monday Wake-Up Call
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Big news in the food delivery sector this morning; Uber has agreed to acquire rival Postmates in a $2.65 billion takeover. As reported by Bloomberg News, the deal is expected to be announced as soon as this morning and would see Uber Eats head Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty running Uber’s combined delivery business, while Postmates CEO Bastian Lehmann would stay on to manage Postmates as a separate service.
The acquisition gives Uber more leverage in the burgeoning and fiercely competitive food delivery sector, particularly against its biggest rival DoorDash. The deal comes after Uber's failed bid for GrubHub, which was bought by Europe’s JustEat.
Postmates’ largest customer base lies in Los Angeles and the American Southwest, both of which could be valuable to Uber Eats. The company, which worked with Mother L.A. on an ad campaign last year, was one of the first to let customers in the U.S. order meal delivery using a mobile app.
Good news on the jobs front: Ad employment is growing again. U.S. advertising, public relations and related services employment rose by 5,000 jobs in June, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s the first increase since employment began falling in March amid the COVID-19 pandemic, says Ad Age Datacenter’s Bradley Johnson.
U.S. employment in advertising, public relations and related services—ad agencies, PR agencies and related services such as media buying, media reps, outdoor advertising, direct mail advertising and other services—stands at 454,400 jobs. That’s still a loss of 36,700 jobs vs. before the pandemic. Johnson says U.S. ad agencies staffing is showing signs of stabilizing. There’s a one-month lag in data for ad agency employment, but Bureau of Labor Statistics figures reveal that ad agencies cut 1,800 jobs in May—vs. a loss of 9,700 jobs in April. Johnson’s prediction based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data: A month from now, we will learn that ad agencies staffing in June increased for the first time since February. Check out all the latest figures here (Ad Age Datacenter subscription required; to subscribe to Ad Age, find options at AdAge.com/membership.)
As brands continue to join the Facebook boycott (just before the Fourth of July holiday weekend kicked off, companies including Bayer, Beiersdorf and Walgreens joined the list of those pausing their advertising), spare a thought for some perhaps unintended victims of the social media blackout—influencers.
Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing reports that even if brands boycotting Facebook for a month don’t ultimately harm its bottom line, they are “certainly taking money away from the platform’s lifeblood—the creators and the agencies that work it.” As Elijah Schneider, CEO of San Diego-based Modifly, which works on influencer social campaigns, says: “The boycott was meant to hurt Facebook, but not paying Facebook hurts influencers.”
Liffreing spoke to influencers like parenting lifestyle blogger Heather Castillo of The Super Mom Life, who said that 80 percent of her sponsored content runs on Facebook and Instagram. “Facebook will survive a 30-day boycott, but for influencers, that could cause hardship for them and their family, which they aren’t prepared for,” she points out.
Twitter went wild this weekend over a Saturday night post by the rapper Kanye West, in which he suggested he’s running for U.S. President. West tweeted: “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States #2020VISION.”
The tweet “instantly went viral,” reports Bloomberg News, with more than 100,000 retweets within the first hour. “Kanye” quickly became the No. 1 trending term on Twitter in the U.S.
It’s still not clear if West is serious, but if he is he “faces major obstacles,” writes the New York Times, including hiring staff or volunteers before registration deadlines close. Plus, points out the Times, he has previously announced plans to run for president without actually doing so.
Still, it's great publicity for West, whose commercial interests are growing; he announced a partnership with Gap to launch a clothing line just a week ago and also congratulated his wife Kim Kardashian West on becoming a billionaire after Coty acquired a stake in her beauty business.
Camp Walmart: Summer camp might be canceled this year, but Walmart is aiming to help America adapt to its summer of social distance by launching virtual summer camps and turning parking lots at 160 of its stores into drive-in movie theaters, writes Ad Age’s Jack Neff. Celebrity “camp counselors” leading virtual activities include LeBron James, Neil Patrick Harris and Drew Barrymore.
Escaping to the pub: In the U.K., pubs reopened again this weekend following three months of lockdown, and beer brand Carlsberg took the opportunity to “own” the moment with a multi-platform campaign by agency Fold7. It includes a feelgood TV spot set to the theme tune from “The Great Escape,” in which a group of friends finally flee from the mindless boredom of being at home and head to the pub—with a nod to social distancing as they jump out of the path of a jogger, looking terrified. Take a look over at Creativity.
Podcast of the day: One of the industry’s best-known Hispanic creatives, Sergio Alcocer, joins Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz to discuss diversity and multicultural marketing on the latest edition of the Ad Lib podcast. Alcocer, the former chief creative officer of LatinWorks who now runs Austin-based agency Rest of the World, talks about mixing marketing with social impact to create real change for minority communities, rather than simply “targeting” their consumers. Listen here.
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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