U.S. raises tobacco-buying age in vaping crackdown and Allstate kills Esurance: Friday Wake-Up Call
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U.S. raises tobacco buying age
The U.S. is raising the minimum age of buying tobacco and vaping products to 21 nationwide as part of an attempt to crack down on teen vaping.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, the plan is part of the spending bill passed by the senate on Thursday, and if signed into law will be effective by September 2020. According to the WSJ, the two biggest U.S. cigarette manufacturers, Altria and Reynolds American, both supported the age restriction, as did Juul Labs, the vaping brand popular with teens. President Trump also supported it.
The legislation comes in a week that has seen both regulators and social media clamp down on vaping globally following health concerns. Instagram said Wednesday that influencers would no longer be allowed to promote tobacco or vaping products and the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority banned British American Tobacco from using any public Instagram account to promote e-cigarettes in the U.K.
Allstate scraps Esurance
Allstate is to kill its Esurance brand and going forward will offer car and home insurance online under the Allstate brand.
Crain’s Chicago Business and Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli report that, since Allstate acquired Esurance in 2011 for $1 billion, the brand “struggled to achieve profitability and never grew enough to be much of a threat to Geico.”
The company plans to allocate the Esurance advertising budget to the Allstate brand, it confirmed. Its most recent campaign, through agency Leo Burnett, starred actor Dennis Quaid. An agency spokeswoman said we "do wish them well and support their decisions." However, the move comes as Leo Burnett also faces pressure on the main Allstate brand, which has been building up its own internal agency and bringing more work in-house.
Sadoun’s smartphone holiday wishes
Publicis Groupe’s “Holiday Wishes” videos have been a regular feature of the season since 2010, and we’ve seen some memorable ones over the decade, including former CEO Maurice Lévy offering the chance to “skip Maurice” and listing his office on Airbnb.
This year’s, which broke last night, sees Lévy’s successor, Arthur Sadoun, poking fun at influencer content, in a video shot on a phone featuring some very shaky camerawork. Sadoun explains that everyone in the network is so exhausted he's not going to ask for any help with the budget video: "It's just me, a smartphone and my assistant."
The sound fades and thumbs get in the way as Sadoun attempts to explain what a great year Publicis had (Epsilon acquisition, pitches won etc.) despite a "challenging environment." But you’ll have to keep watching through to the end to see who is actually wielding the camera—and it’s worth the wait. Watch it here.
Kraft Heinz creative duties: Kraft Heinz has expanded its relationships with creative agencies Gut and Johannes Leonardo, report Ad Age’s Linsday Rittenhouse and Jessica Wohl. Gut will lead creative on Philadelphia Cream Cheese while Johannes Leonardo will handle Ore-Ida frozen potatoes, Velveeta Cheese and Shells & Cheese, Bagel Bites pizza snacks and Classico Pasta Sauce.
NFL rate hike: In-game unit costs in October NFL broadcasts jumped 15 percent compared to the year-ago period, writes Ad Age’s Anthony Crupi. Advertisers spent over an average rate of $419,045 for 30 seconds of airtime.
Nike boost: Nike sales rose by 10 percent in the last quarter, reports the Wall Street Journal. Revenues were up five percent in North America, driven by footwear, while sales in China increased by 20 percent.
Podcast of the day: Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz examines the success of Seedlip, billed as the “world’s first non-alcoholic distilled spirits brand” in this week’s Marketer’s Brief podcast. Not only is it a favorite in abstemious January, but Laura Lashley, Seedlip’s national education manager, says it’s also popular among a younger generation embracing moderation and wellness who want to “hang out and have fun but not embarrass themselves.” Listen here.
Campaign of the Day: With President Trump's impeachment coinciding with the holidays, a group of enterprising creatives have come up with the perfect way to combine the two. Their Trump out-of-office email generator lets you create personalized auto-replies that say you’re out of office, and that the president should be too. It was designed by creatives including Zack Roif and Chloe Saintilan, who also worked on R/GA's witty "Hellvetica" typeface for Halloween. A sample message reads: “I’m currently out of office and will be returning soon. Trump should be out of office, but might be returning for another term as president. Or king. Please help me vote him out for good in 2020 so we can avoid both.” Read more over at Creativity Online.
Also, if you're a fan of British holiday ads, check out Ad Age’s Top 10 U.K. Christmas ads of the decade here, compiled by yours truly.
Happy holidays! Ad Age Wake-Up Call will return in 2020. But keep reading AdAge.com for our end of year and end of decade roundups.