Investment in US holiday advertising by the 10 largest-spending brands has dipped by 2% this year compared with 2017, hitting $986 million so far, according to Kantar Media. Facebook ad spend has fallen 34%, and when it comes to TV ad investment, Walmart's budget has dropped by 22%, Target's by 15% and Kohl's by 10%.
Manchester City soccer player Raheem Sterling is the latest face in Nike's "Just Do It" campaign after speaking out about how the racism faced by young black players in his league can be fueled by racist media coverage. The ad from Wieden+Kennedy simply shows Sterling's face along with the copy, "Speaking up doesn't always make life easier. But easy never changed anything."
Leo Burnett Chicago's humorous holiday campaign for Esurance, "Surprisingly Painless Gifting," stars Dennis Quaid introducing the brand's direct line of gift packaging that carries messaging like "Before you open this, I'd like to remind you that you're very hard to buy for." The line also includes wrapping paper adorned with Quaid's face, and consumers can purchase items via a dedicated site.
Agencies are celebrating the holiday season in various quirky ways, such as Crispin Porter + Bogusky's "Wrestling with the Holidays" livestream that featured co-founder Alex Bogusky battling "The Chairman" Chuck Porter for the right to name the agency. Planet Propaganda teamed with Nutkrack to create candied pecan called the Krampus Kibble, while Madwell's seasonal card features designs from creatives that offer a fresh perspective on the Yule log.
Terri & Sandy has brought humor to the hearing aid market with a campaign, "Love at First Sound," for Phonak's Marvel product, which follows the lives of two friends as their lives are enhanced by the brand's multifunctional technology. The series of spots are running across social, digital and in the offices of hearing care professionals across the US.
US TV advertising spend during the week of Dec. 3 fell 8% compared with the previous week, hitting $1.2 billion, and investment in new ads dropped 26%, per Kantar Media. Pfizer was the biggest-spending brand, followed by Target, Facebook, Google and Samsung.
Retailers can lower returns this holiday season by using customer data to help consumers make more satisfying purchases, writes Jason Ankeny of Signal. Stitch Fix and other companies use online questionnaires, virtual ways of trying on clothes, shopper data and other methods to try to help online consumers through personalized recommendations that are less likely to be returned.
Agency leaders share the unique stories of some of advertising's most iconic campaigns, including McCann WorldGroup's Chris Macdonald who talks about creating a school bus that incorporated virtual reality experiences for Lockheed Martin. VaynerMedia's Nick Miaritis discusses the making of "It's a Tide Ad" when he was at Saatchi & Saatchi and how the Super Bowl sensation came together against all the odds.
WPP's new strategy involves merging agencies to provide a more integrated offering to brands and shifting focus to e-commerce and apps, while Martin Sorrell's S4 Capital is also taking an integrated approach with its own technology-focused strategy that includes the recent acquisition of MightyHive. Stephen Wilmot explores the potential of both companies, concluding that "S4 could prove the smarter bet on the future of advertising."
The Ad Council and the Television Bureau of Advertising are rolling out the 15th annual campaign of "Project Roadblock" to urge drivers not to drink and drive, for which local broadcast TV stations donate airtime. A spot, "Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving," was created pro bono by OMD.
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