TikTok And WPP Ink Early Access Deal; Advertisers Worry About Tokyo Olympics Cancellation

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Brand Value

TikTok has inked a partnership with media holding company WPP that will give its media clients early access to the social platform’s emerging services. With 1 billion monthly active users – the app has been downloaded more than 2.6 billion times worldwide as of December. According to MediaPost, there’s no word on how the partnership will affect or influence the pending deal between Oracle and TikTok, but the partnership with TikTok gives WPP's advertisers early access to the social media's ad products in development. That includes a partnership on marketing API integrations and formats such as augmented reality. Subvrsive, a WPP company, was one of the first TikTok Effects Partners. “Our clients want new and innovative ways to reach consumers,” stated Mark Read, CEO of WPP. “TikTok has quickly demonstrated the power of mobile video and the many opportunities that exist for brands to engage in meaningful and creative ways on its platform.” TikTok also plans to build a diverse creative community to partner with WPP and facilitate exclusive opportunities for collaboration with select advertisers. With this partnership, WPP becomes the Lead Agency Development Partner to new creator-focused APIs, which will also build in its methods on brand safety and data signals. New solutions are intended to enable brands to gain deeper insights on creators, connect with diverse voices and have early access to these creators for their campaigns.

Contingency Plans

Because COVID is still very real, marketers and agencies are making alternate plans just in case the Tokyo Olympics gets canned. According to Business Insider, advertisers are asking for greater flexibility, including getting their cash back versus rolling it into other programming, even though Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympics Committee, has insisted that the games will go ahead and that the organization has a playbook for multiple outcomes. But advertisers are skittish, they've been planning for other COVID-related sports shutdowns for the past year and they'd rather have the option not to have to rebook yet again. At risk is a huge Olympics ad business for NBCUniversal. “The Olympics are a unique event, so there is no obvious, clear alternative. We are obviously working on contingency plans for our advertisers who are in the Olympics and will continue to, just like we did for NFL and NCAA,” said David Campanelli, chief investment officer at Horizon Media. Read on

Fresh Direct

Publishers know Americans are going to be hunkered down at home for another few months of coronavirus-created isolation, so some of them are... leaning into direct mail. Yep, the pandemic is causing folks to go old school. Per Digiday, over the past few months, The Los Angeles Times has been pitching direct mail and custom publishing campaigns to media agencies focused on DTC brands. In January, Texas Monthly relaunched its custom publishing division, offering direct mail and custom publishing as part of an expanded array of services it’s hoping will attract more national advertisers. And even Group Nine Media has been focused on finding more ways to drive incremental revenue and value through product sampling and branded boxes, delivered via its service Box’d and a new food delivery business in New York City. While many publishers have spent years trying to reduce costs and reliance on legacy print businesses, the pandemic has opened a narrow window for publishers to capitalize on them again. “I think our legacy divisions have potential for a ton of upside,” said Joshua Brandau, the chief revenue officer of the Los Angeles Times. “Through corona we’ve had this opportunity to use the direct mail business because we’ve been able to reach people where they actually are.”

But Wait, There’s More!

Consumer goods that were marketed as sustainable generated nearly 55% of the industry’s growth from 2015 through 2019. [Adweek]

UK programmatic digital display ad spending increased in 2020, despite the incredibly challenging conditions. [eMarketer]

Data analysis and AI companies Databricks has raised a $1 billion funding round at an eye-popping $28 billion valuation. [VentureBeat]

Uber Eats and online food delivery rival DoorDash will both run Super Bowl ads for the first time. [WSJ]

PlaceIQ has acquired Skyhook’s Geospatial Insights business line [release] less than a year after buying location data and measurement company Freckle IoT. [AdExchanger]

Video: A fresh legal battle is brewing against Google over claims the tech giant is turning a blind eye to click fraud. [Sky News Australia]

You’re Hired!

IBM has brought on Carla Piñeyro Sublett as its new SVP and CMO. [release]

Omnicom Health Group has named Epsilon Vet Tom Edwards as its chief digital officer. [release]

SPIN, which recently celebrated its 35th birthday, has appointed Mark Stroman as CMO. [Ad Age]

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