What's ailing Publicis, and NBC's ad plans for streaming service Peacock: Friday Wake-Up Call
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The string of executive departures at Publicis Groupe over the past eight months has prompted much industry head-scratching about what is going on at the holding company, especially as rumors abound that a radical restructuring might be on the way. Lindsay Rittenhouse has dug into the issue with an investigation that includes interviews at least eight former and two current Publicis execs who fault widespread internal confusion about the company’s direction. They claim that there has been discussion about closing Saatchi & Saatchi or merging it with another agency, or folding Publicis Media into Publicis Communications—both scenarios that were roundly denied by the holding company. The lack of communication, they say, has caused uncertainty and unrest among employees. Those interviewed also claim that Publicis’ Power of One model is creating rifts within its shops, prompting creatives to exit. “Employees see constant turmoil, but no one puts it into perspective,” one former Publicis Media executive said, referring to senior management reporting to Chairman-CEO Arthur Sadoun. “Arthur surrounds himself with people who support his agenda,” a former Leo Burnett executive told Rittenhouse. Read the full story here (subscribers only).
During its investor day yesterday, NBC took the wraps of its ad plans for its Peacock streaming service, which will launch with State Farm, Target, Unilever, Eli Lilly and Apartments.com as partners. Jeanine Poggi reports that Peacock, which is free to consumers and starts up in April, will have five minutes or less of commercial time per hour. Along with frequency caps that ensure viewers will not see the ad more than once in a half hour, there will be “pause ads, which deliver a brand message when a viewer takes a break from viewing,” writes Poggi. “During a pause, there’s also the opportunity to deliver contextually relevant content that relates to what the viewer is watching, with an option to take an action, like receiving a coupon to their phone. And, there are also binge ads, where viewers who watch three episodes of a show in a row will will receive an ad-free episode from a sponsor.”
PepsiCo appears to be checking into the Overlook Hotel for its Super Bowl commercial, which references one of the more chilling scenes in “The Shining.” But instead of the words “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy,” the typist in Mtn Dew’s teaser continually repeats the phrase “New Mtn Dew Zero Sugar. As good as the original. Maybe even better.” The 30-second ad is from TBWA/Chiat/Day New York, writes E.J. Schultz. Pepsi isn’t saying whether Jack Nicholson, who played the menacing Jack Torrance in the 1980 film, will appear in the final spot. (Though personally, we’d rather see author Stephen King behind the keyboard.) This also might be a good time for some “Shining” trivia: According to The Independent, director Stanley Kubrick adapted the typewritten line for foreign releases, using “The morning has gold in its mouth” in Italian; “No matter how early you get up, you can’t make the sun rise any sooner” in Spanish; and “What you have is worth much more than what you will have” in French. Pepsi says it will release more details over the next few weeks, but the wait might be redrum. Yes, we went there.
The Big Game has always been a magnet for snack advertisers and this year is no exception. Both Cheetos and Pop Tarts have released their teasers and both go for the funnybone. Pop-Tarts, which is introducing a new pretzel variety, has enlisted “Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness, who freaks out over the “so dry, so dull, so crusty” pretzels and cries out that “someone needs to fix this.” The spot is from MRY. Cheetos, meanwhile, “shows MC Hammer sitting at a piano, humming some musical bars, and clutching a bag of crunchy Cheetos,” writes Jessica Wohl. "As he prepares to touch the keys, however, there’s an issue: His fingertips are covered in the orange-red dust that comes from eating Cheetos, which the brand calls Cheetle. ‘Wait, I can’t touch this,’ he says.” As it happens, this is the 30th anniversary of Hammer’s hit “U Can’t Touch This.”
The Association of National Advertisers and the 4A’s have sent an open letter protesting the decision of Alphabet’s Google to remove third-party trackers from Chrome by 2022, charging it could inhibit digital business and tech innovation. According to George P. Slefo, the letter says in part: “It would threaten to substantially disrupt much of the infrastructure of today’s internet without providing any viable alternative, and it may choke off economic oxygen from advertising that startups and emerging companies need to survive.” One curiously lacking signatory: The Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Hey, New Yorkers: If that conductor on the subway sounds familiar, she is. Reports Ilyse Liffreing: “For eight days starting Thursday, actress Awkwafina—rather, her prerecorded voice—is taking over conductor announcements for each of the 7 train’s 22 stops, Awkwafina-style, including: ‘This is 69th Street, which is definitely, definitely not funny in any way' and 'This is 74 Street/Broadway. Please remember to use headphones when listening to music, even when your playlist is straight fire.’” It’s all a promotion for Comedy Central’s “Nora From Queens,” which stars the rapper and actress, whose given name is Nora Luma and who actually hails from Queens.
This week in what took them so long: An ice cream specifically made for Netflix 'n' chill nights. Ben & Jerry's, says Fast Company, is out with Netflix & Chilll'd (not a typo, there are three l’s in the name). The peanut-butter ice cream, with swirls of sweet and salty pretzels and fudge brownie, comes in dairy and non-dairy versions. What's next, Disney Plus sorbet with Mickey Mouse-shaped gummies?
It’s good to be queen: Ahead of the debut of her Ivy Park athleisure collection with Adidas, Beyoncé gifted celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and Ellen DeGeneres merch from the new line. But some felt left out. “Breaking News: Beyoncé sends already rich fans an whole collection of Ivy Park,” wrote one disgruntled fan on Twitter. The collection comes out Jan. 18.
Last, but not least: Keep up with all the latest Super Bowl news on our Marketer’s Brief Super Bowl podcast. Subscribe to it on Apple Podcasts, check it out on Spotify and hear it on Stitcher. This is our RSS feed. Tell a friend!
We lied. This is last: Wake-Up Call will be on hiatus for Martin Luther King Day Monday January 20 and return on Tuesday January 21. See you then!
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