Toyota Pulls Olympic TV Ads In Japan; Tinuiti Buys Bliss Point Media

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Toyota Juggles Five Rings

Toyota pulled its television advertising in Japan to avoid blowback, because the Olympic Games are widely opposed in the host country, especially after a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. It’s a bitter pill for Toyota, which is one of a few top-tier global Olympics sponsors that have the right to display the Olympic rings in ad campaigns. Though Toyota can’t shield its brand much during the Games (not that it wants to in other markets). For one thing, Toyota vehicles will shepherd athletes about the Games. Vehicles used during competitions like cycling and even the carts for track and field will be Toyota. And the Tokyo taxi fleet was overhauled with new Toyota models featuring the Olympic rings, The New York Times reports. Toyota won’t drop digital advertising, either. Halting digital campaigns would be a blow to many athletes, since Toyota is one of the biggest supporters via its endorsements and influencer-type campaigns. 

Buying Bliss

The ecommerce marketing company Tinuiti acquired Bliss Point Media, a 7-year-old startup that specializes in streaming and connected TV campaigns. “We still believe consumer attention is massively focused on search, social and marketplaces or retail media, but the biggest place that consumer attention has gone is obviously OTT and connected television,” Tinuiti CEO Zach Morrison told The Wall Street Journal. Tinuiti is best-known for its ecommerce search, social and retail media platform, so it’s no surprise Morrison likes those. But shopper marketers – once confined to digital coupons and last-touch channels like affiliate links, retargeting and sponsored product pages – are pushing into CTV. Although, that’s largely on the back of Amazon, where search and shopper marketers can easily plug into Fire TV, the Amazon-owned streaming service, as well as Amazon’s ad-supported streamer IMDb TV and the Amazon DSP’s video supply. Bliss Point is expected to generate $50 million this year, doubling its revenue from last year, according to Morrison; Tinuiti alone is on track to bring in $200 million this year. 

Going Into Overtime

The sports content and streaming company Overtime is leaning into third-party validation as a way to attract – and keep – advertisers. The company produces more than 40 series and short-form video content on YouTube, Snapchat, IGTV, Instagram and TikTok. But marketers want assurances from publishers that they’re reaching a young audience, and Overtime CRO Rich Calacci told Digiday that third-party measurement and verification is critical, despite the supposed end of third-party data. “If you succumb to the temptation of grading your own homework, as that has happened in the past, and you don’t offer third-party validation to your brand, you miss a huge growth opportunity,” he said. “[Marketers] need to see the data that says this dollar is going to get this audience. You need third-party validation to be able to attract and retain new brands.”

But Wait, There’s More!  

Private equity firm Carlyle is reportedly planning to acquire LiveU for more than $400 million. [TechCrunch]

CNN’s stand-alone streaming service CNN Plus is set to launch in Q1 2022. [Deadline]

Political ad spend during the midterm elections cycle will reach $9 billion, doubling from 2018. [WSJ]

Visiqua acquired form building and automation management platform FlipForms. [release]

Integral Ad Science research shows an increase in post-pandemic consumer spending. [release]

President Biden slammed Facebook for allowing the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines [NYT]. Meanwhile, media strategist Eric Seufert said that reporting about disinformation on the platform is now moot, because the “discourse hasn’t evolved into a solutions phase.” [Twitter]

You’re Hired

Selling Simplified Group hired Thomas Koletas as chief growth officer. [release]

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