Wieden+Kennedy elevates NY execs, and stocks plunge amid COVID concerns: Thursday Wake-Up Call
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The ascendancy of Wieden+Kennedy’s New York office continues as two of its executives join the agency’s global leadership team. Executive creative director Karl Lieberman becomes chief creative officer and managing director Neal Arthur becomes chief operating officer. Colleen DeCourcy’s role as global chief creative officer remains unchanged.
The move shifts the shop’s fulcrum, if not away from the west coast then at least somewhat eastward, toward clients like McDonald’s, Ford and Bud Light, which are run out of New York. “It is unclear how Lieberman and Arthur's new global responsibilities, while concurrently managing the New York office, will impact the supposed church-and-state separation of the New York and Portland offices,” writes Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse. “W+K maintained that separation was key when its New York office won McDonald's U.S. creative account in 2019, which would otherwise have been at odds with its Portland office's KFC client.”
Chairman Dave Luhr will also retire at the end of the year, and co-president Tom Blessington, who returned to the agency in 2018 after a stint at YouTube, replaces him. DeCourcy will continue as the sole president of the agency.
Stocks plummeted Wednesday as the economic outlook dimmed in the face of rising coronavirus infections across the country. The Dow dropped 943 points yesterday, its worst day since June, on the back of a 650-point sell-off on Monday. The S&P 500 also fell 3.5%, with losses mounting as Germany closed businesses and increased its social-distancing restrictions.
As the pandemic drags on, Senate Republicans have refused to pass an additional stimulus bill, which would likely include stimulus checks for taxpayers and small business relief. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speculated the stock slump could pressure President Trump to call for a deal ahead of the election next week. Despite record unemployment, Trump has been touting the health of the economy on the campaign trail, pointing especially to the stock market.
Spotify is coming under fire for a podcast episode on the platform: Joe Rogan’s interview with Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist who was thrown off Spotify two years ago. In an episode this week, Jones claimed vaccines cause widespread disease and repeated far-right talking points about Joe Biden.
According to BuzzFeed News, Spotify distributed talking points to internal management to handle the blowback, citing “creative expressions” and the need for “diverse voices” on the platform.
It isn’t the first time InfoWars founder Jones—who asserted for years that the parents of children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary were actually paid actors—has been on Rogan’s podcast, though it’s the first time since Rogan’s $100 million exclusivity deal with Spotify earlier this year.
Rogan has had other questionable guests over the years, including neo-fascist Gavin McInnes, founder of the hate group the Proud Boys (and Vice). The internal email from Spotify also seemed aimed at mollifying managers themselves, who may have their own reservations about content on the platform. “We appreciate that not all of you will agree with every piece of content on our platform. However, we do expect you to help your teams understand our role as a platform and the care we take in making decisions,” it said.
Foods that deliver well have fared best during lockdown, so fast food—and especially pizza—has become the cuisine of the moment. Now, fast casual chain Panera Bread is throwing its pan into the oven, too. Typically known for quick breakfasts or lunch sandwiches, and soups perfect for office workers, Panera is ramping up its dinner offerings as more people order in.
Pizzas will cost $8 or $9 and come in three flavors: chipotle chicken and bacon, margherita, and cheese—sticking to the chain's trend toward slimmer menus, if not waistlines.
Droga5 is the new global creative agency of record for Kerrygold and will develop a new comms platform for the Irish dairy company. “The premium brand positions itself with marketing that highlights the Irish farmers who raise grass-fed cows that produce the milk that goes into its products, as well as the climate in Ireland (read: lots of rain) which, it asserts, helps all that grass grow,” writes Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl.
And WPP was able to fend off Public Groupe’s bid for drugstore Walgreens Boots Alliance after a five-month review. “The new contract runs until 2022, with an extendable option dating through 2024,” writes Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli.
Jean therapy: Animated series “Rick and Morty” has been a hit with brands, even appearing in a Super Bowl ad this year, back when existential horror was something provided by fiction. The fourth season finale of the show mentioned Wrangler jeans, and now the collaboration is coming to fruition with “indestructible styles.”
Jet set: Young, remote workers are cruising the country and connecting to the office from the road. But more-established employees can now qualify for a two-year stay in the Cayman Islands, reports CNBC. Tourists aren’t allowed into the British territory yet, but workers with salaries over $100,000 ($150,000 for couples) are eligible, assuming they can pull together the proof, pay the fees and foot the bill for lodgings once they get there. But infection rates are very low. Expect a 14-day quarantine and multiple COVID tests after arrival.
Burp the seal: Tupperware was trading at $1.15 before the pandemic. Now it’s above $28 a share after a phenomenal rise fueled by millions more people eating at home (and packing away those leftovers, likely to be forgotten for months). Sales of the lidded dishes are up 42% in North America, reports Business Insider.
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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