Kantar Media Newsroom: Chuck E. Cheese’s Farewell Tour

Welcome to this week’s Kantar Media Newsroom, your weekly summary of the news that matters in the media and marketing industries. To learn more about how we can help you monitor both paid and earned media and make informed decisions, please contact us at info-us@kantarmedia.com.

Social Media and Politics Collide

Understanding the impact of brand boycotts and activism

In the wake of the Florida high school shooting and subsequent social media activism on the part of high school students across the country, “old people” are finding it increasingly difficult to underestimate these “young people.” Frankly, these kids grew up with social media and understand its power much more effectively than the older generations who currently hold the power. Enter Fox News’ Laura Ingraham and school shooting survivor David Hogg. A battle brewed last week, when host Ingraham took to Twitter to “bully” Hogg who was rejected from a handful of universities to which he applied for school. Instead of Hogg stooping to her level, he also took to Twitter, calling out her shows’ top advertisers and getting his tens of thousands of followers to contact and/or boycott said advertisers. Guess what?! Advertisers fled, Ingraham apologized and suddenly went on a weeklong vacation. Essentially, a “kid” took down a top television host by hitting where it hurts – the pocketbook. Does this spell a larger trend emerging? “The lesson here is for all of us, and it amounts to a clear look at how capable these kids are. Hogg responded to the Ingraham blow-up with a rapid call to action. He looked at the situation, recognized the bully for who she was, and asked the world: Should someone who behaves like this really have a platform? He then provided a plan for turning any frustration with Ingraham's behavior into tangible action.”

Is Hogg’s call to boycott a violation of conservatives’ free speech?

Nope. Not according to the Constitution or Forbes, which explained, “the First Amendment of the US Constitution explicitly protects someone’s right to boycott, or as written, ‘the right of the people peaceably to assemble.’ This holds doubly for political matters. To view it backwards, Ingraham could boycott all things Hogg and no one would reasonably claim she was violating his right to free speech. He also doesn't have a constitutional right to be on her show. If the police arrested both Hogg and Ingraham for things they said or boycotts they engaged in, that would be a violation of their First Amendment rights.” Basically, the confusion is in the entity that is in violation – if it’s a private company taking action and not the government prosecuting, it isn’t a Freedom of Speech issue. And then there’s the use of “bully” in that Hogg was bullying Ingraham by calling for a boycott. “Who could reasonably be labeled the bully here? The person exercising their First Amendment rights to boycott or the advertisers that don’t want to damage their brands by being associated with a personality that mocks teenagers? Or is it Fox News? It is neither -- the last two are purely business decisions. There’s also the case to be made that any successful advertising boycott is by its very nature an example of the capitalist system working as intended.”

Connecting with “the children” will bring Dems back for midterms

The Democratic Party has seen better days. In the years it has done well in midterm elections, there was a common thread – young people. In winning election years, the electorate was comprised of 19% aged 29 and under. Recently, that number dropped to 13%, leading to more Republican wins. Just knowing the stats and having the goal of winning over young voters are two different things – the latter being much harder to accomplish. “Increasing turnout of voters under 29 and expanding our win margins with them is easier said than done. It's going to take candidates these young people believe in. That doesn't mean candidates have to be defined as liberal or moderate, progressive or conservative. They just have to be honest and, above all, authentic and ready to fix things. These voters have a more finely tuned BS detector than any in history. What's more, it's going to require candidates to be more thoughtful about how and where they're communicating. Traditional broadcast television campaign ads during the nightly news should remain a big part of the strategy, but they can't be the only part.” Utilizing social media to illustrate authenticity is imperative to win over these voters.

April Fools!

A smartshoephone and Chuck E. Cheese’s farewell tour

The media seems to be lacking a degree of humor lately – with depressing top stories and “fake news” ruining ratings, none are too keen on being duped. Now enter April 1 – AKA – April Fool’s Day. It seems brands have taken their efforts to a new level of transparency, not exactly “fooling” the media but most making it easier to discern truth from farce. T-Mobile’s effort to fool the public came with the looks of an actual product, as it announced the first smarshoephone – the T-Mobile Sidekicks. Because, who wouldn’t want to answer the phone with gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe?! The company who might have had the most fun with an April Fool’s prank was none other than Chuck E. Cheese (you know, that extra loud restaurant filled with screaming kids, buzzing games and singing animatronic characters?) after a “fake news” spot claiming the restaurant was getting rid of their famed mascot and its bandmates. Even though it wasn’t true, they ran with it, “to poke fun at the ‘fake news’ the brand is announcing Munch’s Make Believe Band’s Farewell Tour by distributing concert posters nationwide as well as seeding it to media and influencers. The theme restaurant also shared Farewell Tour content on social teasing the opportunity to see the cherished, childhood-favorite band for one last time.” Ahh, fun.

BEWARE the Easter basket!

Having Easter and April Fool’s Day coincide proves that the universe still has a sense of humor. Kids everywhere had to open their baskets a little more carefully and watch out for real “Easter eggs” (read: an intentional inside joke, hidden message or image, or secret feature of a work) as parents chose to make the most of the holiday mashup by disguising fruit and Brussel sprouts as chocolate, and giving gag gifts instead of real ones. Posts shared on social media allowed all to commiserate and share the unique ways to really mess with the kids when all they really wanted were jelly beans and chocolate bunnies. Poor kids.

In Other News

Ready for a trade war?

We’re in correction territory. What does that mean? April stocks are in the tank, dropping 10% on average from the year highs – thanks to Trump tweets, tech companies under fire and trade issues with China. Yes, trade issues with China. “China’s government said on Sunday that it would immediately impose tariffs on 128 U.S. commodities it imports in retaliation for President Trump’s levies on steel and aluminum. The tax on U.S. goods could span pork, soybeans and fruit as well as aircraft.” Fun times ahead, I’m sure. Tech companies are to blame as well, with Facebook under fire for a massive privacy breach and subsequent squabbling between CEO Zuckerberg and Apple’s CEO Cook. “Facebook also finds itself in a tiff with rival giant Apple. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg over the weekend responded to Apple chief executive Tim Cook’s criticism of the social-media company’s data crisis.”

Free “Pizza! Pizza!”

Gotta love promotional giveaways. In the unlikely event of something happening (most often sports-related) a big brand has to give something away. Taco Bell has given away several free tacos during the MLB World Series and NBA Championship series, and now it’s Little Caesar’s turn with the crazy-bread of a NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament season. “The restaurant chain said it would give customers free lunch combos if a #16 seeded team defeated a #1 seeded team in the 2018 men’s college basketball tournament, which occurred when the #16 seeded University of Maryland, Baltimore County beat the #1 seeded Virginia Cavaliers 74-54 on March 16. Now, basketball fans and pizza lovers can have lunch on Little Caesars’ dime. The promotion includes a four-slice deep dish pepperoni pizza and a 20-ounce drink from the Pepsi family on April 2.” Hungry for pizza? Hurry in – they’re serving until 1pm today!


Who's on Top? March 19-25, 2018

March Madness scores big with advertisers

March Madness games are continuing to light up the scoreboard for advertisers. During the week ending March 19, the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 rounds of the tournament accounted for 24 percent of total ad spending for national TV, higher than any other program

As the official hamburger of the NCAA, Wendy’s released a series of ads targeting fans of the March Madness tournament. The cheeky ads poked fun at the competition while encouraging viewers to download the Wendy’s mobile app for a free Dave’s Single with any purchase.


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