Kantar Media Newsroom: Have you bought your Super Bowl ad yet?

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It’s a Busy January for Consumerism

All eyes on CES, even the artificial ones

Artificial Intelligence (“AI” as it’s referred to, in case you’ve been stuck under a rock for the past few years), was all the rage at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show – the world’s largest yearly exposition of this type. AI of the personal-assistant variety is dominated by Google and Amazon, with their Home and Alexa assistants, respectively, competing for coveted market share. “Both companies see the competition in existential terms. Getting shut out of voice devices could imperil Google's lucrative digital-advertising business, the source of its financial strength. Amazon, meanwhile, wants to ensure that its customers can directly access its ‘everything store’ in contrast to now, when they mostly shop via devices and software systems controlled by Amazon's rivals.” In the meantime, you can be sure of near-constant updates to the platforms as more and more homes are becoming equipped with these “everpresent computers.”

All the tech in the world can’t distract Americans from the good ol’ pickup truck

As with every January, CES is followed on its heels by the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS, and no, you’re not expected to know that abbreviation, but bonus points if you did!) – Detroit’s party and pat-ourselves-on-the-back show. It started on the 15th with media reveals and loud press conferences touting sales figures and projections for the future. Thinking of CES and the technology-driven nature of today’s society, the flavor of NAIAS should have probably tasted like electric, self-driving mini cars. But, as this is America, the three big reveals were all pickups. Steel, towing capacity and room to spare. “The emphasis on new trucks at the show is a reminder that bread-and-butter models like pickups still rule the industry, generating the profits that enable companies to invest in far-off technologies like self-driving cars.”

Are you ready for some football…commercials?

The NFL isn’t a stranger to controversy, especially in the recent past with domestic abuse amongst players, drug charges, concussions and now the National Anthem protests to name a few. Big brands spend even bigger dollars on commercials during the biggest game of the year, the Super Bowl. History has shown ad time slots sell out in the fall, for a game in February. NBCU (the game is airing on NBC this year) announced less than ten 30-second spots remain with roughly 3 weeks to go until kickoff. “With big TV events come big prices for commercials at a time when advertisers have a growing array of digital video that is often cheaper to support, albeit not often as effective and attention-grabbing. That tension has affected recent Super Bowl ad-sales efforts … Ad buyers say a new plethora of football events – ranging from Thursday-night football games on CBS and NBC, streaming video of those games on Amazon, to the occasional YouTube broadcast – have slowed momentum behind the gridiron classic.”

Newsfeeds, Fake News and News-News

The FB wants you to connect with your friends and family for once

All those auto-play videos wrapping something else in bacon, promoted posts from that Indie shop you’d never buy something from, and (Heaven forbid) fake news stories might be a thing of the past. With a Facebook exec’s post this past week vowing to change how Facebook’s newsfeed operates, we may be forced to see yet another post of your cousin’s kid winning 5th place in that interpretative dance competition. The ones who are most upset about this are those content creators, publishers, brands and companies that rely on constant exposure to build awareness, exposure, impressions. “On the network, the degree to which businesses and publishers suffer is expected to vary, depending on the type of content they produce and how users interact with it. Speaking to Facebook’s bottom line, analysts suggest the changes will likely have a negative impact in the short term, but a positive impact in the long term.” Backlash will ensue, but if one thing’s for sure, Facebook will always change, innovate and mess up the view just as its users get used to the old version.

France wants to outlaw fake news

I mean, who doesn’t, right? But can a democratic society actually enforce a law against fake news? France is looking to do the seemingly impossible. It, like the US and several other nations, has been a victim of Russian-backed efforts to alter political conversation. “A congressional report by U.S. Democrats released Thursday detailed apparent Russian efforts to undermine politics in 19 European countries since 2016, using cyberattacks, disinformation, clandestine social media operations, financing of fringe political groups and, in extreme cases, assassination attempts. Macron's own campaign suffered a big hacking attack last year, though the government later said it found no proof of Russian involvement.” This development is sure to see loads of action – but what a law can actually do, will remain to be seen.

2018 will be a pivotal year for news brands

The digital takeover has been in the works for a decade now – but both print and digital are seeing a shrink – with print revenue projected to be down over 11% this year and digital only increasing by just over 2% - the margin of profitability is just not there. Brands are finding it increasingly difficult to wage the war on fake news, all while being casted in a negative view due to the abhorrent nature of news stories these days – terror, violence, and political strife. “We are all now well versed on the dire threat that the new world order poses to the future of journalism and the free press. In an era in which fake news is increasingly prevalent and difficult to identify, it is in our collective interests to act.” Look for more mergers and consolidations, big data and increased use of subscription plans for ultra-premium content.

One More Thing…

CVS warns brands to stop airbrushing

Unachievable perfection, illustrated in half of the aisles in your local drug store – from hair color to bronzed cheeks and everything in between – is going to be a thing of the past at CVS. The chain has already bucked the trend by ceasing the sale of tobacco products (it’s a healthcare company, after all), and now it’s taking a page from the recent narrative of fighting gender inequity by asking brands to stop airbrushing its imagery or risk getting a label slapped on its packaging alerting consumers of its modified state. Basically, CVS doesn’t want to, “be complicit in sending a message to shoppers about not being good enough by showing them photographs of women they should aspire to be, know that such aspiration is actually impossible because even the women in the photos don’t look like they do in the photos.”

Who’s On Top? – January 1-7, 2017

Tax season's around the corner – and people are scared

TV ad spending got off to a strong start for the first week of 2018, bringing in $249 million for new ad placements on national TV. And while tax day isn't until April 17, new ads for tax prep services are already rolling in. This week, Intuit launched a new campaign for TurboTax centered on the tagline “There’s nothing to be afraid of.” So when you find a ghost in the attic, know that it's really nothing to be scared of – just like doing your taxes.

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