Why we need Cinnamon Toast Crunch and 'Law & Order SVU': Thursday Wake-Up Call
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In a conference call yesterday, General Mills said it plans to keep spending levels up during the fourth quarter amid the coronavirus outbreak and offered some insight into how the pandemic affected its business in other markets so far. In China, as expected, sales of its Wanchai Ferry frozen dumplings were up, for example, while visits to Haagen-Daz ice cream shops dropped 90 percent. “As people look for things they know in times like these, our brands tend to do fairly well because it offers comfort,” said Chairman and CEO Jeff Harmening. “I think it also can connote a sense of normalcy for people as their lives are anything but normal in many parts of the world. And so, for us, we think we have a responsibility to do that, whether it’s delivering our products or whether it’s advertising, you know, Cinnamon Toast Crunch.” Read Jessica Wohl’s story here.
What’s one of the big winners of the sports drought on TV brought about by the coronavirus? “Law & Order SVU.” According to Jason Damata, founder of Fabric Media and data analyst for iSpotTV, “the big reach last weekend went to the cable shows that delivered lots of airings and ads. Procedurals such as ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ and ‘NCIS,’ when taken all together, delivered over a billion ad impressions—across over 18 hours of advertising over the weekend.” Food shows such as “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” had over 300 minutes of ads and delivered almost 465 million TV ad impressions, he writes. For a fuller look at how sports-free TV is affecting viewing, check out the story here.
The latest edition of the Ad Age Datacenter Weekly newsletter—which you can read here in post form—provides much-needed perspective on our twin ongoing global crises: the coronavirus pandemic and the economic meltdown.
First, Simon Dumenco and Bradley Johnson direct your attention to what they call an “urgent and essential” data visualization created by Harry Stevens, a Washington Post graphics journalist. Stevens, with the help of some bouncing balls, shows how infectious diseases spread based on a theoretical model for an illness he dubs simulitis, and in the process shows why “social distancing” works.
Then Datacenter Weekly delivers some big-picture perspective on modern-day recessions: when they’ve started (from July 1953 onward), and the schedule on which the National Bureau of Economic Research, the independent private arbiter of U.S. business cycle dates, actually declares them. Keep reading here.
With what seems like the whole world working from home, agencies are working to engage the remote workforce with everything from dance breaks, exercise workouts, videogames and streamed mindfulness sessions, according to Digiday. “My biggest concern is making sure the team’s mental health is good,” Chloe Grutchfield, co-founder of U.K. data tech consultancy RedBud, says in the story. “Some people are OK dealing with isolation and not seeing their colleagues every day, but some of us need some more interaction and need a way to structure their day.” Read the full story here.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate the news, and Ad Age is tracking how the marketing industry is responding on an hourly basis, which you can find in this blog. But for this week’s edition of Marketer’s Brief, we’ve declared a coronavirus-free zone. Because, believe it or not, there is still some non-pandemic-related marketing news out there—not much of it, but it exists. So take a breath, enjoy the break and read on. As the name suggests, it’s pretty brief.
And even more briefly
Moving on: Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, chief marketing officer at Firefox, is leaving his position after more than four years to join Lytics as its first president. Lytics—a customer data platform used to organize and store first-party data for brands—is part of a growing category among marketers, following the removal of third-party cookies by major browsers such as Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Brave and Google Chrome, writes George P. Slefo.
Not so itsy bitsy: Online publisher Some Spider Studios has acquired paternal competitor Fatherly in a move that is said to make the newly merged entity the largest parent-focused digital media brand on the internet. In 2019, Some Spider and Fatherly—then operated separately—saw a combined $35 million in revenue, with the new merged group aiming to see profits of $50 million by the end of this year, writes Ethan Jakob Craft.
Dog-day afternoons: One of the perks of agency life in many shops has been bringing your dog to work. But now that home is the new workplace for many, canines are getting out a lot less. The New York Times has a nice primer for helping your pooch through a quarantine and reminds that your pet can suffer stress and depression along with you.
That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call; thanks for reading. For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter: @adage.
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