Comcast Beat P&G As Top Ad Spender; WPP, And Others, Hit With Cyberattack

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Hey, Big Spender

Comcast beat out Procter & Gamble as the top ad spender in 2016, according to Ad Age’s Leading National Advertisers report. P&G, which has ranked No. 1 on the list 42 out of the rankings’ 62 years, has been on a mission to cut its ad spend and agency roster during a slow economic growth period for CPGs. But Comcast’s win also reflects a change in the report’s methodology to measure broader advertising, marketing and promotional spend, Ad Age said. Overall, advertisers are spending more: Total US ad spend increased 3.6% to a record $152 billion, and two-thirds of the leading 200 advertisers increased ad spend last year. Amazon increased ad spend the most, by $602 million to $2.6 billion in the US. That number will jump again when it finalizes its acquisition of Whole Foods, which spent $96 million on ads last year.

Agency Disruption

WPP was among a group of global firms hit by a paralyzing cyberattack on Tuesday. The attack disabled employee computers and demanded a bitcoin ransom in exchange for reaccess, The New York Times reports. WPP was forced to suspend all work on desktops and PCs and its website was still down by end of day. According to Ad Age, creative agency Y&R sent a memo saying: “As a precaution, WPP is mandating that everyone immediately shut down all computers, both Macs and PCs. This applies to you whether you are in the office or elsewhere. Working on an office computer remotely is not an option. Please leave your computers turned off until you hear from us again.” More.

Network To Get Work

Verizon has approached other wireless providers, including T-Mobile, Sprint, Vodafone and Telefónica, about potentially pooling consumer data for ad targeting purposes, reports Business Insider. Verizon has rich data on its 150 million mobile subscribers, especially layered in with AOL and Yahoo assets, but “that’s still rather paltry compared to Facebook and Google’s massive audiences.” This initiative will attract intense scrutiny if it moves forward, but telcos are seizing a friendly US regulatory moment to take their shot at the duopoly’s position in data-driven advertising. Sprint, for instance, just entered exclusive talks with Charter and Comcast on a potential deal. More on that at The Wall Street Journal.

Back To Basics

Scale isn’t everything, and user experience trumps revenue. That’s the strategy behind Atlantic Media’s niche urbanization site CityLab. To bolster the user experience, CityLab will forgo programmatic advertising in favor of custom native placements that speak to its core audience groups, like urban planners or bike enthusiasts. “It focuses on a very specific audience and companies that have an interest in reaching those audiences,” general manager Rob Bole tells Digiday. “So the ability to refocus the editorial strategy and tie that to a business strategy was really appealing. The era for scale for pure scale was starting to falter.” More.

Snow In Summer

Don’t let the heat wave fool you, it’s time to start thinking about the holidays. “It’s never, never early enough to start preparing for the most important shopping season of the year,” said Martin Barthel, Facebook’s head of global retail and ecommerce strategy. Facebook, of course, is looking to swoop in with ad products to capture holiday spend, rolling out two new tools. Household audience targeting will allow brands to advertise to everyone who lives in the same household with reporting at the household level – a clear grab for TV dollars, according to Marketing Land. And Facebook’s retargeting product will get dynamic video and price overlays.

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