AOL To Lay Off 5 Percent Of Its Staff; Omnicom Launches Dedicated McDonald’s Agency

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Out With The Old

AOL will lay of 5% of its staff, or 500 employees, while doubling down on mobile, video and data. Most of the cuts will come on the corporate side and the company plans to rehire based on new expertise, CEO Tim Armstrong told Recode’s Kara Swisher. “The best way for us to grow is to move in front of change rather than be moved by change,” he wrote in a memo to employees. AOL added roughly 1,500 employees through its ad deal with Microsoft this year. That, along with its purchase of Millennial Media in 2015, led to some bloat. More.

Quick-Serve Agency

Three months after snagging McDonald’s account from Publicis Groupe, Omnicom launched its promised dedicated agency under the name We Are Unlimited. BBDO senior director Brian NienHaus will be CEO. Forty percent of Unlimited’s staff of 200 won’t hail from Omnicom, but rather from the likes of Facebook, Google, T Brand Studio, Twitter and Adobe. Unlimited will be paid on performance, with compensation linked to sales and guest counts. Real-time customer data will be collected via social and digital retail channels, using a strategy dubbed “The Cortex.” The agency will be based in Chicago and will get to work in 2017. More at Ad Age.

Apple Intelligence

A new Apple patent demonstrates Siri’s unique opportunity in the AI-based assistant and search market. For instance, Siri could figure out a time for lunch or a meeting for everyone in a group chat by comparing their calendars and then tell how close everyone is to arriving by checking their locations. The patent also details peer-to-peer payment processing authorized by the Touch ID on iPhones and iPads. More at 9to5Mac. A short hop and a jump away: “recommended” venues and related paid media opportunities. Advertising isn’t historically in Apple’s wheelhouse, but slowing iPhone sales could change that.

It’s Just Business

People who pretend to know how a Trump administration will handle regulatory affairs are lying, and that’s thrown a wrench into the AT&T-Time Warner acquisition. Trump strongly opposed the deal when it was announced last month, but now he’s on the business end of AT&T’s $16 million-per-year lobbying operation. Under Obama, the FCC has expanded its regulatory purview, which many expect to reverse now. That’s good news for telcos, but AT&T is in untested waters. Will Trump’s AG and antitrust chief punish the company for CNN’s unfavorable coverage? Will he maintain GOP positions on lax regulation despite his vitriol? Your guess is as good as Jeff Bewkes’. More.

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