10/06/20: Cynopsis: Live From Advertising Week



Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read

Cynopsis: Live From Advertising Week

Cathy Applefeld Olson

#BLM showed up in 348 million tweets in early June; Fox shifts its AIM; and agencies and brands innovate around fragmentation. It’s Tuesday, October 6, 2020 and this is your daily Cynopsis dispatch from Advertising Week 2020.


The #BLM hashtag was used in more than 348 million tweets during three weeks in June, “sparking a conversation about the place for brands and corporations around an identity-based movement,” said God-is Rivera, global director of culture and community at Twitter. “It’s important to address the how brands are having these conversations,” said Jason Rosario, chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer at BBDO Worldwide. “It is no longer enough to make a statement. You need as a brand to ask, How is the back of the house shaped? Show me your transparency of how you’re paying Black folks. Show me your Board. Show me your executives. We have a huge responsibility now to make sure the ways we show up in our communities are responsible, and that we push our clients. What are we wiling to risk as an agency, and our industry more broadly, to do the right thing.”

Uber Experience: Uber found opportunity amid the pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement to loudly proclaim its values—beginning with a campaign thanking people for not taking Uber and seguing to a “no mask, no ride” message. “This is the right thing for human beings; it came from the top down and happened really fast,” said Travis Freeman, global head of media. The BLM message remains, “All human beings have the right to move freely and safely,” he said. “That’s the core of who we are… For those who say, ‘I’ll never ride Uber again, we are a company that stands for something specific. If you’re allowing yourself not to be behind these movements about fundamentally protecting human beings, we aren’t the right company for you.” On standing behind a belief vs. delivering on the bottom line, Freeman said: “A lot of the work we’ve done in the past has been decided on the short term. Only in the past few years have we made the shift to brand marketing in general. We’re still measuring everything like we normally would, but right now… we’re thinking three years out vs. 14 days in. We have to trust our gut and use our platform for good. Especially for Gen Z, it’s not just expected, it’s mandated.”


Get ready for a rebrand of Fox’s Audience Insight Manager. “The goal of the expanded AIM portfolio is to expand across Fox corporate, inclusive of Tubi and sports, and agnostic of device or platform,” said Dan Callahan, SVP, data strategy & sales innovation. Fox will now bring together all its ad-supported channels and services, coupling content with greater data and tech advancements. Its Absolute A offering already is popping particularly well in binge-worthy programming, “especially in the lower funnel, like recommendations, that are harder to drive,” said Audrey Steele, EVP, sales research insight & strategy. Double-digit lifts were doubled again for people who watched multiple eps across short window, she said. New product Future Now, which launched in freshman series Filthy Rich, enables digital viewers to watch the next three episodes in a series after its linear premiere. Linear ad product Fast Break, a short pod that typically airs in first break in an hourlong show, has seen double-digit lift across brand metrics, Steele said.

Meaningful data equals a meaningful viewer experience. This was the topline of a panel featuring Linda Yaccarino, NBCU chairman of advertising and partnerships, and Kirk McDonald, CEO, North America, at GroupM. “Data sophistication continues, and the need for it on the legacy television side is urgent and acute,” said Yaccarino. “Consumer consumption habits have changed. No matter what business sector you’re in, all are driven by the sophistication and maturation of technology. Therefore data becomes so important.” For brands, “The data conversation has gotten so confused,” noted McDonald. “We realize data itself is a mostly unmanageable thing. It’s really the parsing of the data that’s valuable.” On the same panel, IBM announced three new product extensions in its suite of AI solutions for brand and publishers: IBM Watson Advertising Accelerator, IBM Watson Advertising Attribution, and IBM Watson Advertising Predictive Audiences.


In our fragmented multiscreen ecosystem, how do agencies and advertisers begin to make a media plan? “We take digital-first approach and layer in linear TV at this point for most clients,” said Cara Lewis, EVP, video Investment at Dentsu. At Merlke, “We start by thinking about the audience. If you don’t have a common audience across all the tactics you’re trying to push through, it’s already all over,” said Andy Fisher, head of M1 advertising. Ari Turner, SVP, sales operations at Ampersand, concurred about audience-first across platforms and adds a cautionary note: “When it comes to the tech side, I always go to the mantra where we can’t let perfection be the enemy of good. Right now in the linear space we don’t have some of the ability to do real time calculation, but we shouldn’t let the technology stop us from delivering and trying to understand audiences.” Still tricky for all: true cross-platform measurement in the face of walled gardens.

A full 91 percent of consumers 13-54 would give up their music streaming service, favorite food and favorite brand to keep their video streaming service. This group also relies more on their emotional compass when selecting what to watch. These among findings shared by Julie De Traglia, VP/head of research and insights at Hulu. Among other toplines from the company’s Generation Stream and Mood Tube studies of this demo:
* 90 percent are streaming through one or more streaming services
* For 37 percent, streaming is their only mode of watching video
* 47 percent stream most of the time
* 16 percent default to more traditional TV but augment with streaming.
When it comes to attention paid to ads:
* Viewers pay 33 percent more attention to ads in on-demand environment vs. live
* Attention to ads is less dependent on time of day in on-demand environment
* Longer viewing sessions lead to higher attention to ads
* Attention is driven by anticipation and social currency


Agility was key when the onset of the pandemic changed the needs, habits and behaviors of consumers overnight. New York Interconnect CEO Ed Renicker led a conversation about the trajectory of messaging amid the crisis. “The pandemic was clearly a game changer, but the New York market reacted quickly, pivoted and has made great strides over the last few months,” he said. “We redirected media and created content that normally would take months to do with the first TV commercial concepted, edited and trafficked in five days,” said Ramon Soto, SVP/chief marketing & communications officer at Northwell Health, whose campaigns include Thank You Heroes, Northwell Safe and the upcoming Information Is Healthy. To get its messaging out, Northwell threw out the playbook. It aggressively went after paid media, doubling its budget and putting out digital content including a virtual Covid destination. “We also flooded the zone with earned media,” Soto said. “Competitive health systems got very shy talking to the media, and we did a counter strategy. We built a speakers bureau overnight and they became brand ambassadors. Awareness levels skyrocketed.”

PepsiCo Pivot: Agility and empathy have risen to the fore in the last six months, said Todd Kaplan, VP, marketing, PepsiCo. When the pandemic hit, the company was about to launch its “That’s What I Like” campaign, featuring people dancing in a subway, stadium and airport—“probably the three worst places you could be in a Covid environment,” he said. PepsiCo pivoted and within four weeks had connected with Lady Gaga to sponsor the Global Citizen: One World Together livestream fundraiser. Messaging now is more about being empathetic, Kaplan said. “Culture is a bit of a fat word. It’s different for everybody’s situation. It starts with trying to put yourself in other people’s shoes, continuing to listen, and also being a student of culture as the world is turning.”


Need an Rx to cure multitasking? “Immersive helps solve the biggest challenge in media today—the attention problem,” said Marinn Jackson, head of premium sales & strategy at Verizon Media. New Verizon research turned up a still-lingering stat: 74 percent of consumers say they actively avoid advertising. To boot, consumers said they don’t want to interact with low-quality ads, and they notice the visual of the ad before they notice the brand. “Brands have underestimated the degree of consumer desire to be part of the conversation with their communities,” said Rachel Weiss, VP of strategy and growth at L’Oreal. “Brands have to figure out how to insert themselves in the conversation in a meaningful way.” Ryan Johnson, SVP/group director, branded content at RPA, which runs platforms including Reddit, says it’s important to understand what it is you’re measuring. “What works on Facebook is not the same measurement on TikTok. It’s about, Are we moving people closer to the brand, say for us, Honda, La-Z-Boy and Apartments.com. We are moving more into the brand metric space.”


“If you can only quote MLK, you’re not showing up in the right way… Stay ready to continue to learn.” – Charlene Carruthers, political strategist, cultural worker and PhD student

“ ’Together’ seems to be an overused word right now… We’ve finished extracting value from it and it will be time to pivot.” – Ramon Soto, chief marketing & communications officer, Northwell Health

“I would go to World Series game 7. I hope the cardinals will be playing against the Yankees, and the Cardinals win.” – Ryan Johnson, SVP/group director, branded content at RPA, on his dream VR experience during Covid.

“Gen X is a forgotten middle child nobody thinks about. We find because we’re so focused on Gen X, we get Gen Z by default. Because a lot of Gen Xers are raising Gen Z. That’s the dirty little secret of Rock the Bells.” – LL Cool J on his multimedia platform

“As an industry we’ve done a great job of qualifying audiences but not a great job of qualifying content.” – Andy Fisher, Merkle

AMC hosted a special edition of “Bottomless Brunch at Colman’s” on Monday featuring conversation with Colman Domingo (Fear the Walking Dead); Kim Kelleher, president, commercial revenue & partnerships; and Sue Jones, Diageo’s VP media & productivity—and a tasty bourbon and blood orange cocktail.

AWNY is virtual this year with 750 speakers, 400 sessions and 100-plus hours of content. Cynopsis will be forecasting, executing and measuring throughout the week. If you have news or insights to share, hit me up at [email protected] or on Twitter @Cathy_A_Olson.

Cathy Applefeld Olson

Cynopsis Team

Lynn Leahey
Editorial Director
Kerry Smith
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Roberta Caploe

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