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Watch the Newest Ads on TV From Amazon Fire TV, Sunglass Hut, Payless and More

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:30:00 -0500

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Every weekday, we bring you the Ad Age/iSpot Hot Spots, new TV commercials tracked by iSpot.tv, the real-time TV ad measurement company with attention and conversion analytics from more than seven million smart TVs. The ads here ran on national TV for the first time yesterday.

A few highlights: In an ad for Amazon Fire TV, a dad uses voice control to skip past the awkward (sexy) part of an episode of "Empire" he's watching with his daughter. Sunglass Hut wants you to "give the gift of style" this Christmas. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration serves up a harrowing PSA about the dangers of drunk driving.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




The FCC Just Killed Net Neutrality. Let the Lawsuits Begin

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:45:00 -0500

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The U.S. Federal Communications Commission today swept aside rules barring broadband providers from favoring the internet traffic of websites willing to pay for speedier service, sending the future of net neutrality on to a likely court challenge.

The Republican-led commission voted 3-to-2 on Thursday to remove Obama-era prohibitions on blocking web traffic, slowing it or demanding payment for faster passage via their networks. Over objections from its Democrats, the FCC gave up most authority over broadband providers such as AT&T and Comcast and handed enforcement to other agencies. The changes won't take place for at least two months.

"It is time for us to restore internet freedom," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who was chosen by President Donald Trump to lead the agency, and who dissented when the FCC adopted the rules under Democratic leadership in 2015. "We are restoring the light-touch framework that has governed the internet for most of its existence."

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Facebook Details Its Plan to Test Pre-Roll Video Ads and More Changes

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 12:35:09 -0500

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Facebook will start testing ads before videos in January, the company said on Thursday.

The ads, known as pre-roll ads because they run before the desired content, will only appear on videos in Facebook's Watch hub, according to Facebook. Watch is where Facebook, media companies and other video creators create channels for shows and video series, and is meant to be a different experience than the traditional News Feed, where pre-roll ads have long been off limits.

"In a discovery environment like News Feed, pre-roll isn't right because people aren't committed to seeing content," says Fidji Simo, director of product at Facebook. "In an intentional viewing experience, where people decide to proactively look for this content, pre-roll could be a good experience."

Continue reading at AdAge.com




One Sulzberger Is Exiting The New York Times Publisher Post, Another Is Taking Over

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 11:31:34 -0500

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The New York Times is making its own headlines this morning. Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., the 66-year-old business chief of the paper since 1992, is passing the baton to his son, Deputy Publisher Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, 37, effective Jan. 1. The New York Times Company issued a statement saying that its board approved the move in a meeting on Thursday. The senior Sulzberger will remain chairman of the board, a position he's held since 1997.

Sydney Ember, in the the paper's coverage of its own leadership shift, notes that A.G. Sulzberger is "best known for heading the team that produced The Times's 'innovation report' in 2014." That document was intended to serve as a guide for the transformation of the inky icon to a digital-first journalistic institution. When it was released to the newsroom and then leaked to the public in May of that year, Joshua Benton, director of Harvard's Nieman Journalism Lab, wrote,

While it was a group effort ... the leader of this committee was Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, the publisher's son and a potential heir to the throne, either when his father retires in a few years or sometime thereafter. His involvement in this report shows that he understands the issues facing the institution. That speaks well for the Times' future.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Now Anyone Can Make a Dancing Hot Dog: Snapchat Opens Lens Studio to All

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:59:57 -0500

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Snapchat is opening its augmented reality to the masses, opening a virtual studio where artists, developers and brands can create their own digital animations that users can put in their videos.

The Snapchat Lens Studio makes it easier for brands to participate in augmented reality on Snapchat, which many advertisers had complained was too cumbersome under the old process. Lenses are the augmented reality filters that go on top of images in Snapchat, transforming people's videos and selfies. Some of the more popular ones morph people into pixies and animals and add playful characters to the scenery, like Snapchat's now-famous dancing hot dog.

"With the release of Lens Studio, developers, creators, agencies, and brands willfor the first timehave the tools to create and distribute their own Snapchat augmented reality experiences," Snapchat said in a blog post on Thursday.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Blink Signs Krejci, Laubscher Joins Company Films, Amon Moves to Bullitt

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:58:56 -0500

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Blink has signed Martin Krejci to its roster for representation in the U.K. Krejci moves from Stink and returns to commercials following work on his soon-to-be-released debut feature film, "The True Adventures of Wolfboy," starring John Turturro. His previous work includes spots for Lurpak, Heineken, Carlsberg, Ikea and Nike, as well as a series of ads for Germany's Hornbach.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Put AI to Work for Your Brand Right Now

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:15:22 -0500

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Last week, Google's DeepMind team published a paper describing AlphaZero, a new generic reinforcement learning algorithm that has done some remarkable things. First, in about eight hours, it taught itself to beat AlphaGo, a human-trained AI system that beat the best human Go players in the world. It also taught itself chess and Shogi (known as Japanese chess) in about four hours and beat the best human-trained AI systems at those games.

How did AlphaZero teach itself? The rules of the games were programmed into the system. Then, AlphaZero started to play itself. The more it played itself, the better it became. Over a few hours, it learned to play the games better than the games had ever been played.

Perfect information

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Pandora Turns Its 'Value Exchange' Upside Down As It Faces Pressure From Rivals

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:00:00 -0500

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Credit: Pandora

Pandora is making a significant shift in how it delivers music -- and in the process, how it captures ad revenue.

Pandora will now let its users listen to music on demand without a subscription. In exchange, the listener will have to watch a 15-second video ad. The move signals a departure from what made Pandora so popular when it first launched on the web in 2005. Back then, music was mainly streamed from the desktop and the company itself had few, if any, rivals.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Disney Buys Fox Assets in $52 Billion Split of Murdoch Realm

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 09:10:27 -0500

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Walt Disney Co. agreed to a $52.4 billion deal to acquire much of the global empire that media baron Rupert Murdoch assembled over three decades, from a fabled Hollywood studio to Europe's largest satellite-TV provider to one of India's most-watched channels.

Holders of Murdoch's 21st Century Fox Inc. will get 0.2745 Disney share for each Fox share, for assets including the movie and TV production house, a 39 percent stake in Sky Plc, Star India, and a lineup of pay-TV channels that include FX and National Geographic, the companies said in statements Thursday. The price amounts to about $29.54 a share, based on Disney's closing price Wednesday. Both companies' stocks slipped in early trading.

Via a spinoff, the mogul will continue to run Fox News Channel, the FS1 sports network and the Fox broadcast network in the U.S. Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger will remain in his role through 2021, the companies said. Fox plans to complete its planned acquisition of the 61 percent of European broadcaster Sky that it doesn't already own, which will wind up in Disney's hands.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




AI: Unlocking a Sixth Sense for Brands

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 08:20:00 -0500

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A home improvement retailer maintained its position as a leading seller of Christmas trees, plus encouraged consumers to purchase holiday gift items.

A national coffee brand got customers to go beyond their regular coffee drink order and try something new.

A leading soup brand brought to life its mission to make real food that matters for "life's moments" such as everyday events like family dinners, gatherings of friends, or tailgate parties, rather than just holidays and special occasions.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Accenture's Latest Creative Buy: Irish Agency Rothco

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 06:58:00 -0500

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Accenture's march into the creative space continues with the acquisition of full-service Irish agency, Rothco.

The Dublin-based agency will become part of the Accenture Interactive network, which recently boosted its creative standing by winning the global Maserati account.

Rothco is one of Ireland's best-known agencies, with clients including Britain's biggest supermarket, Tesco, Allied Irish Banks and the Irish Defense Forces. It was founded in 1995 and its staff of 150 works on strategy, creative, tech, design and production.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Thursday Wake-Up Call: BuzzFeed's Swipe at Google and Facebook. Plus, Disney-Fox Updates

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 05:56:56 -0500

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How low can they go?

There's more bad news for broadcast TV: Nielsen says C3 ratings last month dropped 16 percent versus the same period last year. As Ad Age's Anthony Crupi asks, "Has the bottom fallen out of the broadcast TV ratings?" He writes:

"The latest batch of broadcast TV's currency data has been crunched, and while a handful of shows are doing their bit in the war against audience erosion, the Big Four networks' share of sellable ratings points continues to shrink at an alarming clip."

Continue reading at AdAge.com




South Korea-based Innocean Buys U.S. Independent Shop David & Goliath

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 05:30:00 -0500

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Seoul-based agency group Innocean Worldwide said Thursday that it has bought independent U.S. creative shop David & Goliath, a deal that unites two companies known for their work with South Korean automakers. Innocean valued the deal at up to $71.7 million.

Hyundai Motor Co.-backed Innocean got its start in 2005 as an in-house agency doing media buying for Hyundai and its sister company, Kia Motors Corp. Meanwhile, Los Angeles-based David & Goliath has been creative agency of record for Kia Motors America for 18 years; its other clients include Universal Studios, HBO, Jack in the Box and California Lottery.

Innocean said it bought 100 percent of the shares of David & Goliath, which was founded in 1999 and has about 200 people on staff. Innocean added that it plans to "aggressively expand business in the U.S."

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Why CMOs Must Retake Media Planning

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 05:00:00 -0500

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Insidious change over two decades reached an inflection point in the past two years. Major marketers now conduct media agency reviews with regularity. Marketers of all sizes were impacted by the ANA's "K2 Intelligence" report and the follow-up "Ebiquity: Media Transparency" report.

While kickbacks, non-transparency and fraud grab the headlines, the biggest pain point is strategy. Strategic media planning is a best practice that faded away by mistake. Now, CMO's need to bring it back as an in-house capability.

The need is self-evident. Without media planning, the once sophisticated balance between direct response ROI and brand equity KPIs tipped way too far towards DR. Without unbiased media strategists involved, advertisers were seduced by agencies into accepting a "crappy supply chain" because they did not want to fall behind in pursuit of the "programmatic" holy grail.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




How Fake-Tree Brand Balsam Hill Gets More Marketing Bang for Its Buck

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 04:00:00 -0500

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In the Hallmark Channel's "Switched for Christmas," Candace Cameron Bure stars as twin sisters who swap country and city lives for the holidays. The heartwarming tale is full of life lessons about greener grass, the true meaning of Christmas... and artificial trees from Balsam Hill, the 11-year-old ecommerce company.

"It was a wonderful opportunity for us to have a lot of product in the movie," says Kristen Gasior, chief marketing officer at Redwood City, California-based Balsam Hill, citing the chance to play in both country-themed and modern aesthetics in the movie. "We're big on authenticitywe want to make sure any partnership we have is truly authentic."

It may seem at odds for a fake tree company to strive for authenticity, but such partnershipsBalsam Hill provided products for four Hallmark movies this yearare helping the brand grow beyond its seasonal roots.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




The Age of Mad Women

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 04:00:00 -0500

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Joe Alexander was my boss. He was chief creative officer of The Martin Agency until this month, when he left after sexual harassment allegations.

I've sat quietly for more than a week watching The Martin Agency struggle under the wake of one man's terrible decisions. And while some may view this situation as unfortunate, it's actually incredibly fortunate. Fortunate for the women of The Martin Agency who are now coming forward with stories of harassment, fortunate for giving the industry the launching pad to take a stand on creating a safer work place and fortunate for The Martin Agency to take the lead in an industry-changing event.

For years, as senior VP and group creative director, I was the highest-ranking woman in the creative department reporting directly to Joe. I am not here to defend him. Nor am I here to pile onto the accusations.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Hyundai Returns to the Super Bowl Proper

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 18:38:19 -0500

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Hyundai, which ran a post-game Super Bowl spot last season, has secured in-game ad time for the 2018 bowl. The automaker declined to reveal specifics, including the number of ads it plans to run. Innocean will handle the creative.

"We welcome the creative challenge and the opportunity to test and hone our Super Bowl formula, which has found success the past several years," Dean Evans, Hyundai Motor America's chief marketing officer, said in a statement. "Being an NFL sponsor gives us the ability to truly integrate our program across TV, digital, social and on the ground in Minnesota, and immerse Super Bowl fans in the latest vehicles and technologies Hyundai has to offer."

Plans include bringing 275 vehicles to the Super Bowl site in Minneapolis to help transport teams, staff, volunteers and other groups.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




2018 Is The Year Autoplay Video With Sound Dies

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:37:00 -0500

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Mark it on your calendar: Come early 2018, autoplay video with sound will be killed off by browsers like Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. Although the news is likely to be celebrated by consumers, many publishers will mourn the ad format's death.

Autoplay-with-sound's execution comes at the hands of Google, Facebook, the Washington Post, GroupM and Procter & Gamble among many other large industry players. They're all part of what's known as the Coalition for Better Ads, which surveyed some 25,000 people in the U.S. and abroad to find out exactly what ad types are the most annoying.

Its findings were hardly surprising: people disliked autoplay video with sound, ads that quickly flash and change colors, and ads that consume an entire screen before you get to your content (think Forbes).

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Marketer's Brief: Cheerios Menorah Tweet Misses Mark

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:30:00 -0500

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Target tackles same-day delivery

Target is making a new play in its retail battle with Amazon and Walmart. The Minneapolis-based chain is paying $550 million to buy two-year-old delivery company Shipt, in one of Target's largest acquisitions to date, the brand said in a blog post Wednesday. Birmingham, Alabama-based Shipt offers same-day delivery, a service Target expects to roll out early next year to half of its 1,800 store fleet.

Would You Buy This?

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Has the Bottom Fallen Out of the Broadcast TV Ratings?

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 15:16:00 -0500

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The latest batch of broadcast TV's currency data has been crunched, and while a handful of shows are doing their bit in the war against audience erosion, the Big Four networks's share of sellable ratings points continues to shrink at an alarming clip.

According to Nielsen, C3 ratings last month dropped 16 percent versus the year-ago period, as ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox combined for an average primetime draw of just 2.07 million adults age 18-49, down from the 2.47 million members of the demo that watched the ads in November 2016. And while the nets faced some tough year-to-year comps -- Fox was coming off a record-setting World Series, and results were somewhat overshadowed by last November's election -- this also marked the seventh month in which C3 ratings fell by double-digit percentages.

Developed as a compromise measure back in 2007, C3 blends a very rough estimate of average commercial ratings with three days of time-shifted viewing; as such, it offers networks, buyers and advertisers the best approximation of actual ad deliveries. Networks began negotiating against C7 deliveries five years after the original currency was adopted.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Watch the Newest Ads on TV From Alfa Romeo, Old Navy, Verizon and More

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 15:15:00 -0500

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Every weekday, we bring you the Ad Age/iSpot Hot Spots, new TV commercials tracked by iSpot.tv, the real-time TV ad measurement company with attention and conversion analytics from more than seven million smart TVs. The ads here ran on national TV for the first time yesterday.

A few highlights: Two Alfa Romeos engage in an oddly sexy "dance" on ice, in their process showing off their advanced all-wheel drive technology. Buffalo Wild Wings says that it's "the home of the fan." And a bunch of neighborsall of them unusually good-looking and with unusually good singing voicesemerge from their homes to deliver an impromptu medley of Christmas songs and pop standards for Old Navy.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Amazon Pushes Deeper Into Sports With NBA's G League on Twitch

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:37:00 -0500

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Twitch Interactive, a video-streaming platform owned by Amazon.com, will show games from the National Basketball Association's G League, pushing the online retailer deeper into live sports content.

Twitch, which attracts 15 million average daily viewers globally, will show about six games each week from the G League. The basketball league has 26 minor-league teams affiliated with NBA franchises such as the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks. Twitch, mostly used to stream video games, adds interactive features such as chat rooms to the sports-watching experience.

Amazon purchased rights to stream Thursday night National Football League games this season to enhance its live content. The Twitch NBA deal could lead to e-commerce functions, such as ordering a jersey from Amazon while watching a game.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Under New CMO, Office Depot's Accounts Are Up for Grabs

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:01:00 -0500

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Taking care of business has never been more difficult for Office Depot. Roughly 10 months into its rekindled relationship with Zimmerman Advertising, the office supplies company is again shopping its agency accounts as Amazon continues to pummel its business.

The Boca Raton, Florida-based Office Depot, which also owns OfficeMax, recently issued a request for information to agencies to describe capabilities in three areas: Relaunching and driving the strategic direction leading to a rebrand; launching a new brand through all channels including creative and media buying and planning; and building out digital platforms including website and app development.

"As we are in the midst of a transformation, we have made the decision to evaluate all of our agency partners," confirmed an Office Depot spokesman.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Renault Strikes Magazine Deal to Entertain Robo-Car Riders

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:12:00 -0500

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Renault SA is buying a stake in a media company as Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn plans to stretch the carmaker's suite of products to entertaining passengers in future driverless vehicles.

The French automaker will purchase a 40 percent stake in Challenges Group, that publisher of the namesake weekly economic magazine as well as four monthly science and history journals, it said in a statement Wednesday. Renault and French media group will work on new content specially designed for autonomous vehicles.

"After smartphones, which opened new channels via digital kiosks, the automotive sector also becomes a tool to share news, with new types of content," Challenges Chief Executive Officer Claude Perdriel wrote in an editorial published on its website.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




7 Must-See Media Takes on Doug Jones' Alabama Victory

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:56:00 -0500

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1. In a Politico post headlined, "Trump suffers 'big black eye' in Alabama," Eliana Johnson writes,

Doug Jones didn't just defeat Roy Moore in Alabama's Senate race on Tuesday nighthe administered the most crushing and embarrassing political blow of President Donald Trump's young presidency. Jones' win meant that Trump, who had endorsed Luther Strange in the Republican primary before backing Moore in the general election, threw his weight behind the losing candidate not once, but twice, in the Alabama race.

2. "Twitter thanks #BlackWomen for voting for Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama Senate election," per USA Today. Mary Bowerman writes,

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Advertiser Survey Shows Upheaval in Industry

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:49:00 -0500

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Hey, Martin Sorrell: Here's the good news. A new survey of hundreds of marketing executives by Advertiser Perceptions ranks WPP the best agency holding company.

Now for the bad news. Accenture, Deloitte and IBM all made the top two quartiles in the digital portion of the survey and Ken Pearl, CEO of Advertiser Perceptions, says one in three respondents are considering kicking business to consulting firms' digital units. Additionally, 27 percent of marketers surveyed say the use Facebook and Google for services that were once the domain of their traditional agencies. And 30 percent are likely to bring media planning and buying in-house.

The report, dubbed "Choosing the Right Ad Agency," shows just how rapidly the ad industry is changing and covers nearly 100 agencies rated by more than 600 U.S. marketing executives across some of the country's largest advertisers, Pearl says. While Pearl declined to disclose specific marketers that participated in the survey, he says they included most of Ad Age's 200 Leading National Advertisers. All marketers in the survey have advertising budgets of more than $5 million, with 80 percent having budgets of more than $10 million, 58 percent having budgets larger than $25 million, 34 percent have budgets larger than $50 million and 16 percent have more than $100 million to spend.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




The Biggest Food Stories of 2017

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:34:00 -0500

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Here's the agency's full top 10 of 2017:

1. Amazon Acquires Whole Foods Market

2. Another Food Safety Scare at Chipotle

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Google Heads to Far East In China-AI Push

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:59:01 -0500

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Google is deepening its push into China as it seeks an edge in one of technology's most competitive fields: artificial intelligence.

The Alphabet unit will announce the opening of a new Beijing research facility on Wednesday during its second annual developers conference in Shanghai, the company says. The Google AI China Center will have a small group of researchers supported by several hundred China-based engineers.

Google has been re-building its presence in China, where it defied the government in 2010 by refusing to self-censor search content and later had most of its services blocked. The U.S. giant has been ramping up hiring and promotion of its TensorFlow AI tools, features that Sundar Pichai, CEO at Google, highlighted when he visited the country earlier this month.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Wednesday Wake-Up Call: The Ad Battle in Alabama's Election. Plus, Harassment Claims Hit NFL Network

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 05:51:42 -0500

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Feminism Part 2: On that note, check out Grey London's campaign that rewrote Christmas carols to give them a feminist slant. As Ad Age's Alexandra Jardine writes, they're no longer Christmas "hymns," they're "hyrrs." And "Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly" becomes "Kick the Balls (of Patriarchy)" Read more here, and have a listen.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Life After the Click-Through

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 05:00:00 -0500

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In a recent op-ed, I explored how marketing's dependence on click-through has impaired the success of the banner. The feedback was encouraging -- a lot of smart people recognize that the banner's future, and advertising in general, can't be built upon an action that's wildly unpopular with consumers. At the same time, it's also evident that there isn't a clear path to move past the click. How do advertisers separate from something so embedded in our industry's thinking and practices? How do we ditch the click?

The greatest incentive for change may come from understanding the advantages of eliminating the click dependency. If it is truly meaningless, then we should be able to extract it without great pains, and hopefully, with great benefit. Let's take a look at what marketing would look like in post-CTR world.

Clarifying goals

Continue reading at AdAge.com