Dunkin’ CMO Weisman To Leave; Foursquare CEO Calls For Regulation

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Dunkin’ CMO Tony Weisman will step down in December after a busy two years at the company. Weisman oversaw a major rebrand (from “Dunkin’ Donuts” to its more general coffee and food focus today), as well as the first overhaul of the company’s agencies in two decades, Adweek reports. Weisman’s transition is the latest in a recent string of high-profile CMO departures, following brands like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Kraft Heinz and Johnson & Johnson. In many cases, bellwether brands are retiring the CMO role entirely. The global CMO is a relic of the days of television, when marketers could use their centralized budget to wring better ad rates. In a fragmented, data-driven market, the name of the game is flexibility and niche or regional expertise. Counterintuitively, the decline of the CMO is a positive sign for marketers, who are taking on more important jobs with executive spending authority, instead of constantly pleading for higher spend in the face of zero-based budgeting. More.

Locating The Problem

Will location data get the regulatory treatment and oversight the industry needs? Some of the key players in the category hope so. “We could all take a Hippocratic oath for data science (as in medicine: “First do no harm”), and hope that living by such an oath would curb abuses,” writes Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck in a New York Times column. But nobody is naive enough to imagine a pledge would discourage bad actors or privacy abuses in the mar tech ecosystem. Location data has cleaned up quite a bit from the early data flows that came from Android or iOS and from mobile developers that tracked users without consent. But there’s still too much location data being collected and used without consent. “There are no formal rules for what is ethical – or even legal – in the location data business,” Glueck writes. “It’s time for Congress to regulate the industry.” More.

The Subscription Trap

BuzzFeed profiles Ads Inc., an ecommerce company that scammed millions of people by buying Facebook ads that trapped them into hard-to-cancel subscriptions for low quality products backed by fake celebrity endorsements. Ads Inc. CEO Asher Burke convinced thousands of people to rent their personal Facebook profiles to the company, which it used to place deceptive Facebook ads for free trial offers that led to fake news articles about a product. Since 2016, Ads Inc. has spent $50 million placing Facebook ads through these accounts and recruited a network of people in the Philippines and stay at home moms in the United States to convince other people to give over their accounts for a small monthly fee. At one point, it was renting accounts to marketers for $800 per login, making the scam the largest of its kind to run on Facebook, as well as one of the most extensive subscription traps in the United States. Facebook let the scheme run until it was alerted to BuzzFeed’s story. “The market power of Facebook enables this scam because its scale prevents it from effectively monitoring it,” said David Carroll, associate professor of media design at Parsons. More.

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