Hello and welcome to the Advertising and Media Insider. I’m Lucia Moses, deputy editor for the section. To get this newsletter weekly, sign up for your own here.
Digital Marketing Companies are talking — but are they walking the walk?
Corporations are doing a lot of virtue signaling these days. AT&T is offering reassurances they’re “here for us” during the pandemic, Nike is aligning itself with the Black Lives Matter movement, and Disney and others are yanking ads from Tucker Carlson’s Fox News Channel show over his comments about the protests.
Statements are nice, but companies often don’t back them up with marketing decisions, or for very long. Advertisers have a history of pulling ads from a platform or media outlet when it’s out of favor, only to creep back in later after the controversy dies down, claiming the platform has corrected its problems. After years of scandals and content controversies, Facebook and YouTube seem to be doing just fine.
Something feels different this time. An exec at holding company IPG is publicly calling on clients, which include American Express, Coca-Cola, and Johnson & Johnson, to stop advertising with Facebook after it refused to remove President Trump’s inflammatory posts about the protests.
Elijah Harris is appealing to clients’ concerns about brand safety risks — language he knows they all understand.
Digital Marketing PR’s diversity problem
Public relations, like other industries, is having a reckoning over its hiring and treatment of people of color, and some top firms are taking steps to addressing the problem. But what happens when the very association created to solve the problem can’t agree on next steps?
Patrick Coffee and Sean Czarnecki found there’s concern over the direction of the group, the Diversity Action Alliance, while member PR firms are loath to expose their low diversity numbers and commit to other concrete steps.
- The public relations industry is grappling with a lack of diversity, but a PR trade group is embroiled in disagreements over how much member firms should expose low diversity numbers and pledge to hiring people of color
- The world’s two largest PR firms, Edelman and Weber Shandwick, pledged to hire more people of color in senior positions
Digital Marketing Backlash at Digital Trends
The great media reckoning has spread to tech website Digital Trends, where Lauren Johnson and Amanda Perelli reported some staffers are alleging there’s a toxic culture. Key points:
- The company apologized and committed to seven initiatives, including publishing progress reports and requiring sensitivity and inclusion training.
- But with media executives far and wide resigning over their handling of diversity issues, the company’s gestures don’t go far enough for some staffers who are calling for nothing less than top execs to step down.
Digital Marketing Here are other great reads from media, advertising, and beyond:
- Employees at Omnicom Group-owned ad and public relations agency GMMB asked for a conversation about ‘systemic racism and inequity’ at the firm and shared a list of 34 proposed reforms
- A PR exec sued Omnicom firm Porter Novelli, alleging discrimination and breach of contract. The case could go to trial later this year.
- 15 Quibi insiders detail Jeffrey Katzenberg’s tight control of the startup’s content and intense leadership as he tries to avoid disaster after raising 1.8 billion
- A Swedish oral nicotine pouch increased US sales by 250% in the past year — and its CEO said it’s on track to take the place of Juul and vaping
- Marketers have a poor record on diversity. Here’s how Verizon, Nike and others have emphasized diversity and inclusion.
- Social media influencers are driving billions in sales in China with live-streamed commerce. An a16z partner explains why the US could be next, and the companies positioned to take advantage
- 41% of marketers in a new survey said they planned to hire influencers in the coming months but driving sales wasn’t the top priority for any of them
- 14 investors and VC firms pushing the influencer industry forward by funding innovative startups and creator-owned businesses
- Marketing-tech firm Bombora is suing a rival for allegedly collecting people’s data illegally
That’s it for this week. See you soon.
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