Kantar Media Newsroom: Trade Wars – The Empire Strikes First

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.

The Body Politic

Trade Wars Episode 1 – The Empire Strikes First

Administration followed through on its threat to enact stiff tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, prompting the Chinese to respond in kind with an equal amount of tariffs on U.S. goods (which analysts believe were targeted to hurt industries in states that voted for Trump in 2016). Similarly, the European Union, Mexico and Canada have imposed their own retaliatory tariffs on imported U.S. goods in response to President Trump’s tariffs on their exports. Given the robust economy, many experts do not believe the trade war, at its current level at least, will hurt overall U.S. economic growth. However, certain industries have already been negatively affected—soybean prices have plummeted, for instance, while GM, Toyota and auto trade groups have warned that a trade war will cost U.S. auto industry jobs. Considering auto manufacturers are among the top spenders on advertising in the U.S., it makes one wonder if some of those lost jobs will end up being in the ad industry…

Judge Dread

A conservative advocacy group, Judicial Crisis Network, is launching a $1.4 million cable TV and digital ad campaign to promote President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. “Why?”, you say, “The American people don’t get to vote on a new Supreme Court Justice, and if we did, it would probably be Judge Judy.”

Apparently the ads are targeted at voters in four states, Alabama, North Dakota, Indiana and West Virginia, and are meant to put pressure on seemingly vulnerable red state Democratic Senators to vote to confirm the president’s nominee or face losing their seat in November.

Of course, the Supreme Court has profound and far-reaching influence on American society and business and the next justice could likely be on the court for decades to come, making this nomination an especially momentous/contentious one, especially in our country’s divided political atmosphere.

Toy Killer Robots

Toys "R" Amazon

In the same week Toys ‘R’ Us shut its doors for good, Bloomberg reported that Amazon is taking a page from its felled competitor and planning to publish a printed toy catalog this holiday season, which it will mail to customers and hand out at Whole Foods locations. Bloomberg also noted that Amazon was considering buying up old Toys ‘R’ Us stores earlier this spring, not necessarily to sell toys but to more quickly expand its physical presence. It would not take Alanis Morissette to see the irony in Amazon adopting traditional brick-and-mortar strategies after vanquishing venerable brick-and-mortar brands with its popular online model of low prices and fast shipping. Then again, consumers want to shop and buy at their convenience, whether that’s on a computer or their mobile phone or in a physical store, so perhaps it’s not that surprising to see Amazon moving in the omnichannel direction. (It still feels weird they bought Whole Foods though.)

Have You Ever Questioned the Nature of Your Reality?

This winter it was reported that federal and state authorities were investigating fake followers on Twitter, which are being used en masse to artificially increase the profiles of celebrities and politicians as well as boost news stories, all in an attempt to unduly influence an unsuspecting public. (Hey, that’s advertising’s job!) Twitter is now taking serious action against the rash of fake accounts plaguing its system, using a new automated system to detect and purge millions of bots. However, you can’t please everyone—the company’s stock price dropped amid unfounded fears the purges would hurt its user numbers.

Diversions

My Cup Runneth Under

GDPR and the absence of a U.S. team have been giving World Cup advertising a swift penalty kick this year according to a story published in Ad Exchanger last week. In particular, Europe’s recently enacted GDPR consumer privacy law has been hampering the implementation of digital marketing campaigns targeted to EU citizens (if not World Cup ad spend itself, which was committed to months to a year in advance). Likewise, having no U.S. team in the competition for the first time in 30 years means less consumer interest and less opportunity for brands to reach a broad audience here in the States, according to the article. (For more on the World Cup, see Who’s On Top below.)

Bio Break – Why Did the Spider Cross the Sea?

Let’s depart from our usual business- and politics-themed stories to marvel at one of nature’s wonders. Scientists at the University of Bristol have finally solved the centuries-old mystery of how spiders are able to “fly”, traveling up to 2 ½ miles up in the sky and a thousand miles out to sea. Turns out our eight-legged friends can detect the naturally occurring electrical fields in the atmosphere and use these fields to launch themselves into the air. Now scientists just need to figure out why they do it.

Who's on Top? June 25 - July 1, 2018

Soccer Torte

Despite concerns about lower ad spending, the World Cup nonetheless drove $138 million in U.S. TV ad spend in the last week of June, including $16 million devoted to new ads. Overall, advertisers spent a total of $1 billion on national TV for the week, an increase of 11% from the week prior. 

One target audience not hampered by a lack of a U.S. team in the tournament is Hispanic soccer fans. Accordingly, 13% of new spend for the week was placed with Spanish Language Network TV, compared with less than 5% during a typical week. Also, two of the top advertisers for the week spent big on Spanish language soccer-themed commercials to reach this consumer segment: Sprint used 99% of its new ad dollars on three Spanish language commercials, while Geico spent 52% of its budget on a single Spanish language ad. 

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