Kantar Media Newsroom: How about some coffee with a side of guilt

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.

Your Morning Joe

Philly Starbucks in hot water

Another day, another boycott hashtag trending on Twitter. This time, #BoycottStarbucks refers to the allegedly race-related arrest of two black men inside a Philadelphia Starbucks. Starbucks employees accused the two of loitering after they weren’t purchasing anything but asked to use the restroom. All I know is, plenty of people “loiter” in Starbucks, mooching free WiFi for hours on end. The interaction between the subjects and members of the police was filmed, and after a conversation, they were arrested and brought out of the store in handcuffs. The backlash response was immediate – with a viral video and statements from witnesses flooding social media. Protests are going on now at the store in question and the hashtag has grown legs in the days following the arrests. Starbucks own CEO has been brought into the loop, saying, “It was completely inappropriate to engage the police.” The fact that the CEO is coming out against the actions of his own employees is partly a product of the age we live in – leaders are almost required to make a statement, making transparency a priority.

Even if you’re not drinking Starbucks, there’s still a problem

Well, only if you’re in California anyway. State legislators have ruled it necessary for coffee companies to put a cancer warning label on their brews – thanks to a naturally-occurring byproduct called acrylamide – which is also known to cause cancer. The roasting process is what brings this chemical out, not the brewing, which is why these labels will be found on anything with roasted beans, whole or ground. Critics claim California “over labels” and the label may confuse or detract from the other health benefits of drinking roasted coffee. Beyond the issue of coffee being a health food or a harm, the over-abundance of warning labels can actually cause warning fatigue. “Research shows that it's possible for ubiquitous labeling to backfire if it hasn't been designed and targeted in ways that will drive home a message to an intended audience.” Furthermore, “People can become desensitized after repeated exposures, false alarms, incorrect warnings, when warnings are disproportionately extreme or don't show immediate harm, the researchers found, citing examples such as reversed warnings on the level of unhealthy cholesterol in eggs and the danger of consuming certain preservatives or artificial sweeteners.” So, grab a hot cup, fill it with some half and half and Splenda and drink up!

Pop News

Coachella, music festival, brand warrior?

If you’re in your twenties (or think you’re in your twenties) and love large crowds wearing glow-in-the-dark flower headbands, then you’re probably just getting out of your Coachella stupor from the weekend. If you’re a brand, entity or celeb who wants to use “Coachella” as a way to boost your own image – you’re completely out of luck. The backer of the Coachella music festival (named after the valley in which it is held), Goldenvoice, has stopped anyone from Whole Food to Sean Combs (aka P Diddy, aka Puff Daddy) from attaching Coachella or just “chella” to event names. Talk about dedication! “It all has to do with the festival's success, says intellectual property attorney Allen Grodsky. When an event or brand embeds itself into the fabric of culture as Coachella has, it accrues what in intellectual property terms is called "secondary meaning.’ ‘When you say the word 'Coachella' to people, they don't really think of that area of the country,’ Grodsky explained. ‘They think of the festival, so it's acquired secondary meaning. As a result, you can get a trademark in it.’”

#SaveNecco the most-loved unpopular candy ever

The New England Candy Company, which makes one of my personal favorite candies, Necco wafers, is warning that if there isn’t a buyer for their company by early May, they will have to close up shop and layoff their workforce of 500 employees. Of course, to most people Neccos are a nonstarter – nostalgic candy for a time gone by – but for some reason, people like the quarter-sized colorful wafers, me included. And no, I’m not 86 years old either! Now that the public is aware of this candy’s potential demise, pandemonium has ensued – with people hoarding purchases of their beloved Neccos – I’m sure they’ll last on the shelf for centuries to come. Candy websites are selling out, Ebay has listings up to $300 for product, #SaveNecco was a trending hastag. Of course it’s not just Neccos either, as the company also produces Clark Bars, Sky Bars, Candy Buttons, Squirrel Nut Zippers and Sweethearts. What would this world come to if Necco wafers and their 171 years of history was just wiped away?! As of now, there is no news of any buyers. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted.

American Country Music Awards and #FansFirst

The ACM Awards show was on Sunday night, filling the airwaves with twang, southern accents and a glam red carpet. It also came on after a last minute attempt to push the hashtag #FansFirst in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting tragedy that happened six months ago. Several of country music’s finest took to social media to express their love and support, but critics of the show felt the ACMs missed the mark with their apparent lack of dedication. “The Academy's desire to not transform its award show into what could have easily become a somber night was well-founded and correct, but it often felt stiflingly unwilling to confront any difficult emotion head-on, something a simple performance could have remedied. While wisely avoiding the type of intense backlash faced by their rival CMA Awards last November that arose when the CMA issued a set of media guidelines advising reporters not to discuss the Vegas shooting, the ACM Awards nonetheless remained equally avoidant, going so far as to create a distracting retrospective theme that focused, inexplicably, on the 25th anniversary of three hits from 1993.” Talk about a touchy subject – how do brands and organizations know when they’ve done enough and where is the line?

One More Thing

Antidote to fake news? Advertising!

Media consumers, both active and latent, read and watch the news with a whole new level of distrust and cynicism nowadays. They are so keenly aware of the slant on a particular channel or a particular agenda a website or publication may have, that the words they read and hear are often met with a “yeah right!” How can the media win? Well, I don’t know the answer to that one. Instead, it looks like the world is changing in favor of advertising (never thought I’d say that!) in which consumers are already conditioned to accept advertising with a healthy level of critical thought, allowing brands to get through to consumers as long as they stay in their lane. “In a world of fake news, vitriol, finger pointing and social media flame throwing, the fact a brand wants to sell me something suddenly seems quaint. Time was, we saw advertising as ‘all lies’ and ‘just trying to sell you stuff.’ Now it feels like fresh air. While advertising is, in fact, trying to sell us stuff, it's not an evil hidden agenda. A brand with an agenda of creating preference for its golf ball or its cup of coffee or its winter coat does not carry with it an automatic disbelief in what the brand talks about.’”


Who's on Top? April 2 - 8, 2018

Technology rules at the 2018 Masters Tournament

The Masters drove an estimated $21 million of new national TV ad revenue, with new advertising accounting for 97 percent of all commercials aired. As the event's Global sponsors, AT&T, IBM and Mercedes Benz each placed more than 90 percent of their new national TV ad budgets for the week during the Masters.

According to our 2017 TGI study, golf enthusiasts in the U.S. are tech-savvy consumers. Indeed, they are 26 percent more likely than average to use the internet for research, shopping, managing money and other day-to-day activities. 
AT&T and IBM each tried their hand at reaching this audience this week, promoting their high-tech capabilities during the tournament. 



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