The Retail Industry Spent $1.8 Billion On Advertising In January And February

According to MediaRadar’s latest analysis, the retail industry spent $1.8 billion on advertising during January and February 2021, a 24 percent decline from the same period last year.

Between 2017 and 2020, ad spend decreased an average of 34 percent each year, a post-holiday phenomenon that marketers have come to expect. MediaRadar forecasts Q1 2021 retail ad spend will reach $2.73 billion, which represents a 33 percent dip in ad spend between Q4 2020 and Q1 2021.

With rising vaccine availability and declining COVID-19 rates in some parts of the world, the economy is slowly opening back up. This has prompted big-box stores like Target, Macy’s and Kohl’s to increase their spend month-over-month. In February, their spend comprised 70 percent of general retail and department store ad spend, reports MediaRadar.

The increased spend aligns with encouraging consumer sentiment about the future of in-person shopping. An Ad Age-Harris Poll found that 62 percent of consumers plan to shop in stores this spring at least once a week.

Retail and department stores overall are still recovering from the pandemic, as spend is down 26 percent year-over-ear (YoY), which marks the same level of recovery observed in Q4 of 2020.

Building on their positive momentum from the end of 2020, quick-service restaurants (QSRs) invested $500 million in ads in January and February. That’s a 33 percent decline YoY, but a marked improvement from 2020 when their spend was down as much as 65 percent, according to MediaRadar.

McDonald’s and Subway ran spots during the GRAMMY Awards show, while Jimmy John’s and Chipotle bought ad space in Super Bowl LVI.

Marketers are eager to recoup lost sales. The CMO Council’s latest survey revealed that 65 percent of global marketers plan to increase their ad spend. The BIA Advisory Services predicts that local retail advertising will grow YoY by 5.3 percent this year. Lastly, The National Retail Foundation expects retail sales to grow between 6.5 percent and 8.2 percent in 2021 to more than $4.33 trillion, the highest projected YoY growth in 17 years.

What We’re Reading—Week Of March 8th

Our survey of the marketing and advertising articles you should be reading this week.

Sex Sells: Lessons In Depicting Real Women In Advertising

The Drum

In 2018, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) passed a rule banning harmful gender stereotypes, yet sexism in ads persists and research shows that 90 percent of women don’t consider ads relevant to them.

Why it matters: To ensure that women feel seen in today’s advertising, Cindy Gallop, founder of the IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn, says brands must mandate that agencies have gender-equal leadership.

Why Planning For The Next Crisis Is The Real New Normal

Ad Age

As a result of the pandemic, Feeding America now expects 42 million people could experience food insecurity in 2021, including 13 million children. Chief marketing officer Catherine Davis says its strong relationships with media outlets and support from purpose-driven brands helped amplify awareness of the growing issue.

Why it matters: Davis says that marketers can more effectively face the next set of unpredictable challenges by planning for what they know, building in time for reactive work and investing in resources that enable them to stay on top of consumer sentiment.

How The Pandemic Challenges Companies That Use Predictive Models


Dan Simion, vice president of artificial intelligence for Capgemini North America, says that companies are struggling to retrain machine learning to keep up with changing consumer behavior, adding that the challenges are acute in commerce.

Why it matters: As an example, Simion mentions how one of Capgemini’s customers—a multibillion-dollar global consumer packaged goods brand in the frozen food sector—had to adjust to trends based on the different pandemic restrictions of specific regions and states.

Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol Shares His Playbook For Leading The Chain To $2.8 Billion In Digital Sales In Just Three Years

Business Insider

Since Brian Niccol took the reins at Chipotle, the business’s loyalty program tied to its mobile app grew to 20 million members since launching in March 2019 while its digital sales grew 174.1 percent to $2.8 billion, accounting for 46.2 percent of sales in 2020.

Why it matters: Under Niccol’s leadership, nothing at Chipotle gets introduced until it’s rigorously tested, its second food line for assembling off-premise orders has been revamped and the brand’s headquarters were moved from Denver to Newport Beach, California.

10 Truths About Marketing After The Pandemic

Harvard Business Review

According to Janet Balis, a principal with Ernst & Young LLP, where she works as a global advisory leader for media and entertainment, says that a new pandemic-induced marketing truth to embrace is not competing with your competitors, but rather competing with the last best experience your customer had.

Why it matters: To ensure their experiences meet their customers’ rising expectations, companies should make brand scores a primary key performance indicator and align individual and collective goals across the journey so that disconnects between functional silos are invisible to the end customer.

Entertainment Brands Ran The Most Ads During The 2021 GRAMMY Awards

A new MediaRadar analysis found that during this year’s GRAMMY Awards show, entertainment brands accounted for most ads (20 percent), followed by technology brands (14 percent) and automotive brands (13 percent).

That’s in comparison to the 2020 GRAMMY Awards, when technology brands led the way at 23 percent of ads, followed by pharmaceutical brands (15 percent) and entertainment brands (15 percent).

The rise in entertainment ads mirrors the boost that streaming services have seen lately with more people staying in. It’s also worth noting that ads from tech companies declined by nine percent year-over-year.

Overall, 87 advertisers ran 103 ads during the 2021 awards show, with top marketers including Remy Martin, Facebook, Geico, McDonald’s and Atlice Mobile. Together these brands comprised 15 percent of the commercial space, according to MediaRadar’s findings.

Leaders in the entertainment category include Facebook, which ran two 60-second spots, and LinkedIn and Dreamworks. HBO Max ran four commercials, partnering with Olay and Café Bustelo to promote their new show In The Heights. Other streamers that ran commercials include Paramount+, as well as Disney+ which highlighted the forthcoming release of its Cruella live-action adaptation.

Together, Google, Apple and Amazon accounted for 33 percent of all tech advertising during the GRAMMY Awards. The auto industry saw appearances from brands like Ford, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda and Toyota. Lincoln was the most prominent of the group, running five spots ranging from 25-60 seconds each.

TikTok’s New Policy Prohibits Users From Blocking Personalized Ads

This week in social media news, TikTok’s new policy will make some forms of personalized ads mandatory and adds an automated message response to business profiles, Twitter launches a tournament for the best tweeting brands, Clubhouse launches an accelerator program for creators and more.

TikTok To Serve Ads Based On Users’ In-App Actions

According to Vox, beginning April 15, TikTok will update its ads policy so that users can’t opt out of receiving personalized ads based on their behavior on the app.

Why it matters: Currently, TikTok users can opt-out of seeing personalized ads, which are based on the videos they watch and search on the app, but it appears the personalization may become mandatory.

The details: As seen in this screenshot shared by Vox, TikTok’s ad change prompt reads:

“To help TikTok stay free, we partner with advertisers to show you ads. Based on your settings, you currently see general ads that aren’t based on what you do on or off TikTok. Starting April 15, your settings will change and the ads you’ll see may start to be based on what you do on TikTok.

TikTok users will still get to control whether they receive ads based on data that TikTok gets from its advertising partners.

Twitter Kicks Off Best Tweeting Brand Tournament

Twitter Marketing has launched a tournament called “Best Of Tweets Brand Bracket” that lets users vote for the best brand on Twitter. The virtual vote-off will see 16 brands, selected by Twitter, go head-to-head, including Pizza Hut and Wendy’s, Spotify and Xbox, Airbnb and Doritos and more.  

Why it matters: The tournament, which is akin to Twitter’s super bowl-inspired “Brand Bowl Promotion,” provides brands a unique way to promote themselves on the app while giving other smaller brands an idea of the quality of tweets they need to achieve to grow their Twitter audience.

The details: Twitter is asking users to vote for their favorite brands across four different categories: food, people’s choice, sports and entertainment. 

So far Wendy’s beat Pizza Hut, Skittles took Oreo and Amazon Alexa beat Uber Eats. Skittles vs. Oreos saw north of 28,000 votes, with Skittles taking the lead. Nearly 5,000 users chimed in for Pizza Hut vs. Wendy’s, with Wendy’s coming out on top. Twitter will announce the final “Brand Bracket” winners on April 2.

LinkedIn Launches New Template For Campaign Planning

LinkedIn has published a new 38-page campaign planning template that includes materials to help marketers easily build around core marketing objectives, engage at all stages of the buyer’s journey and maximize return on LinkedIn campaigns.

Why it matters: As noted during Microsoft’s Q2 update in February, LinkedIn has seen a surge in engagement, with sessions growing 30 percent in the last three months of 2020 and total revenue increasing 23 percent in the period.

The details: LinkedIn’s new planning guide includes templates for optimizing single image ads, carousel ads, video ads, conversation ads, message ads and more. Marketers can add their own variables into the templates, plus access ad specs and best practices for each type of ad along the way.

Clubhouse Launches ‘Creator First’ Program

Clubhouse has announced a new accelerator program called “Clubhouse Creators First” that aims to initially help 20 creators with content creation and promotion through a stipend and brand sponsors.

Why it matters: Though Clubhouse doesn’t report user numbers, App Annie data found that during the first two weeks of February, Clubhouse jumped from over 3.5 million global downloads to 8.1 million, likely the result of big guest appearances from Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. Though its creator program opens the door for more influencer marketing opportunities, brand safety might be a consideration given the app’s poor moderation policy, which some critics say allows harassment to run rampant.

The details: As per Clubhouse, the goal of its program is to equip emerging creators with the resources they need to jumpstart their shows with filming equipment, as well as help with creative development and recruiting guests and talent. 

Clubhouse also promises to provide creators with a monthly stipend and match them with brands to monetize their content. Creators have from now until March 31 to apply for “Creator First.”

YouTube Debuts Short-Form Video Experience ‘Shorts’ Beta In US

After announcing its short-form video format, Shorts, last September, and launching a beta in India, YouTube is expanding its Shorts beta to the US over the next several weeks.

Why it matters: YouTube is tapping into the rising popularity of short video content. Since launching an initial Shorts beta in India, the number of Indian channels using YouTube’s creation tools has more than tripled since the beginning of December alone. Additionally, the YouTube Shorts player has amassed over 6.5 billion daily views worldwide.

The details: With its US roll out of Shorts beta, YouTube is looking to build on the features that were part of its Indian Shorts beta–a TikTok-style feature that lets creators string multiple video clips together and the ability to remix other Shorts into your own creation.

YouTube says it will launch the ability to use audio from videos across YouTube, with the option to opt out of having your video remixed. It’s also enhancing the music selection for Shorts creators, noting that the US beta will include music catalogs from over 250 labels and publishers like Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Publishing, Warner Music Group and more.

TikTok Adds Automated Message Feature For Business Profiles

TikTok has launched a new feature for business accounts that lets brands create automated message responses, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: The auto-reply function, which will simplify how brands respond to customer queries, is part of TikTok’s larger efforts to help brands scale their business on the app.

The details: As seen in this screenshot from social media expert Matt Navarra, businesses can create a welcome greeting for when customers message their business or a custom message based on keywords.

TikTok Debuts A Library Of Top-Performing Auction Ads

TikTok has created a library of top auction ads on the platform that marketers can browse by various filters including type of industry, region and time period.  

Why it matters: TikTok is looking to attract more brands to the platform and its new library of ads will give marketers insight into the kind videos that are resonating best with app’s younger users.

The details: Using TikTok’s new ad library, Marketers can search through top auction ads according to region and industries including telecommunications, traditional finance, travel, education and training, clothing and accessories and more. They can also search through the best auction ads from the past seven days or 30 days, as well as sort by click-through rate, impression or 6s video view rate.

Facebook Introduces More Monetization Tools For Creators

Facebook has announced that it’s giving creators three new ways to monetize their content on the platform, including earning money from videos as short as one minute long, expanding access to its in-stream ads and simplifying how they earn via fan ‘Stars.’ It also says it’s testing a feature that enables creators to monetize their Facebook Stories with ads that appear as stickers.

Why it matters: Facebook is looking to tap into the surge of new creators who’ve started to use the platform to earn a living or diversify their revenue stream. Facebook says that from 2019 to 2020, the number of content creators earning the equivalent of $10,000 per month grew 88 percent. During that same period, the amount of content creators earning $1,000 per month grew 94 percent.

The details: Facebook is focused on short-form video monetization, which is why it’s now letting creators earn money on videos as short as 60 seconds long with an ad running at 30 seconds. Additionally, creators can earn on videos that are three minutes or longer, with an ad shown 45 seconds in. Previously, only videos three minutes or longer were eligible for monetization with in-stream ads.

Facebook notes that it’s experimenting with in-stream ad formats that boost engagement through rewards or product interaction.

Next, Facebook has updated its video monetization eligibility criteria so that pages that have 600,000 total minutes viewed in the last 60 days and those that have five or more active video uploads or previously live videos can monetize their content with in-stream ads. Previously, Facebook only considered on-demand videos that were at least three minutes long. Creators still must publish from a page, not a profile, have at least 10,000 followers, be 18 years old and be located in a supported country.

Additionally, Facebook is now letting creators monetize their live videos with in-stream ads, a program that was previously invite-only. To qualify for the program, creators must have 60,000 live minutes viewed in the last 60 days and meet the video-on-demand program requirements.

Lastly, Facebook is encouraging creators to utilize Stars as a way to monetize livestreams, noting that over the past six months, fans sent video and gaming creators an average of 1 billion Stars per month—the equivalent of $10 million per month.

YouTube’s Fastest Growing Experience Is On Television

As part of YouTube’s “Innovation series,” chief product officer Neal Mohan has shared some insight on the trends driving digital video, including the rise of streaming YouTube on TV, as well as the platform’s plan to beta test a new integrated shopping experience that enables viewers to tap into influencers’ knowledge to make purchases directly on the platform.

Why it matters: Mohan notes that last December, over 120 million people in the US streamed YouTube or YouTube TV on their TV screens, and that 41 percent of all ad-supported streaming view time in the US occurs on YouTube. The rise of connected television (CTV) gives advertisers a greater opportunity to reach people who have switched to streaming platforms, with new solutions to measure impact already underway. For example, for the first time ever this upfront season, US advertisers will be able to measure their YouTube CTV campaigns with Nielsen.

The details: Mohan’s first spotlights the rise of streaming platforms and CTV, noting that in December, over a quarter of logged-in YouTube CTV viewers in the US watched content almost exclusively on the TV screen.

Pointing to the surge in online shopping, Mohan says that YouTube creators are at the forefront of delivering authentic brand and product recommendations, which ultimately increase purchase intent. YouTube’s study conducted in partnership with Talkshoppe in 2020 found that 70 percent of YouTube viewers bought a brand as a result of seeing it on YouTube.

Plus, the growth of short-form content is here to stay. To keep up with this trend, Mohan says YouTube is developing its own short-form mobile experience called “Shorts,” the US beta for which it’ll expand in the next few weeks. YouTube first started beta testing Shorts in India last year. Since the beginning of December, the number of Indian channels using Shorts creation tools has more than tripled.

Twitter Survey Users On Business Account Profile Features

In the next phase of developing its forthcoming business accounts, Twitter is asking users to rank the value of potential tools for its business profiles, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: Twitter hasn’t set a launch date for business profiles, but the platform did drop hints confirming that something is in the works during its Analyst Day overview last month. New business profile features will prove vital for brands looking to increase reach and answer customer queries.

The details: As per a screenshot from social media pro Matt Navarra, shared by Social Media Today, Twitter’s business profiles could include elements such as verification by default, a business category, a new panel for business details and a new business profile badge to signify the brand’s officiality.

As part of a survey, Twitter is asking a group of users what kinds of features they’d find most valuable for business profiles, including a product showcase panel, content showcase, link to direct contact option, app store links, image gallery, a showcase of pinned tweets and customer reviews.

Headspace Appoints Val Kaplan Zapata Chief Marketing Officer

This week in leadership updates, Headspace hires Val Kaplan Zapata as chief marketing officer; Connected Cannabis names Craig Lyon vice president, head of marketing; the Network of Executive Women elects three new board members; Lionsgate chief marketing officer Damon Wolf steps down; Sesame Workshop appoints Wanda Witherspoon first chief diversity officer; Petco announces three new board members; Wayfair’s chief product and marketing officer Ed Macri will retire and more.

Headspace Names Val Kaplan Zapata Chief Marketing Officer

Val Kaplan Zapata will be joining Headspace as the company’s new CMO starting in April.

Zapata joins Headspace from Hulu, where she spent nearly four years, most recently as vice president of growth marketing.

Connected Cannabis Hires Craig Lyon As Vice President, Head Of Marketing

Connected Cannabis has named Craig Lyon VP, head of marketing.

Lyon previously spent a decade at Nike, most recently as senior director of brand for the Central US and Canadian marketplace.

Network Of Executive Women Adds Three New Board Members

The Network of Executive Women (NEW) has elected three new members to its board of directors.

The latest members include Valerie Jabbar, group VP of Kroger, Mike Theilmann, EVP, chief human resources officer, Albertsons Cos.; and Jennifer Wilson, SVP brand marketing, Lowe’s.

Lionsgate Head Of Global Marketing Damon Wolf To Exit

Damon Wolf, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group’s chief marketing officer, is stepping down, according to Deadline.

Wolf first joined Lionsgate in June 2018 after serving as co-head of marketing at TriStar Pictures and Screen Gems for Sony.

Sesame Workshop Appoints Wanda Witherspoon As Chief Diversity Officer

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street, has elevated veteran employee Wanda Witherspoon to the newly created role of chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer.

According to a company press release, Witherspoon will be responsible for ensuring the organization is committed to equity at every level of its global business practices, including vendor selection, employee recruitment, staff training and more.

Witherspoon has been with Sesame Workshop since 1997 as vice president of public affairs and special events, for which responsibilities which she will retain.

Wayfair Chief Product And Marketing Officer Ed Macri To Retire

Wayfair’s chief product and marketing officer, Ed Macri, will retire this year after being with the company for 14 years.

Bob Sherwin, Wayfair’s VP of marketing, will take over Macri’s position, which will be renamed.

Petco Adds Three New Members To Board Of Directors

Petco has announced the addition of three new board members. They include Sabrina Simmons, former EVP and chief financial officer of Gap, Mike Mohan, president and chief executive of Best Buy and Mary Sullivan, senior managing director and chief talent officer at Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

McLaren Automotive Taps Gareth Dunsmore For Chief Marketing Officer

McLaren Automotive has hired Gareth Dunsmore to lead the company’s global marketing efforts as CMO.

Dunsmore joins McLaren after an 18-year run at Nissan Motor Corporation, where he most recently served as VP of brand and customer experience for Africa, the Middle East, India, Europe and Oceania.

Marriott International Elects Two New Board Members

Marriott International has elected two new board members—David Marriott, president of Marriott’s US hotel divisions, and Horacio Rozanski, president and CEO of Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.

The additions bring Marriott’s board membership to 13.

Listen In: Growing DEI Through A ‘Community Garden’ Approach

Ayzenberg Sr. Project Manager Royce Matthews leads this episode’s candid conversation with Say Space co-founders Bianca Wilson and Emily Race. Wilson and Race discuss the intricacies of collectively creating a space for honest and continuing discussions around DEI.

The duo first collaborated as self-elected agency ‘change agents’ before forming Say Space, connecting over a common understanding of how to help businesses undertake a deep and public analysis of their diversity deficits. Bianca and Emily then discuss how the concept of change agents became instrumental to their core mission and a realignment was undertaken to put ‘the individual’ at the center.

This discussion also touches on how individual identities of company employees form an overall corporate vision, including why a mandate for self-criticism is crucial before sustainably promoting DEI initiatives. “We’re here to support the liberation of the individuals within a company and in doing so hopefully that creates a shift in the company, but it’s a relationship,” says Bianca, adding: “those people will be liberated and leave [if they feel unsupported].” Other questions answered include: What are the tools that people need to be effective change agents without getting too burnt out on the toll of emotional labor? How does your personal vision and not obligation help define your boundaries and engagement with DEI initiatives?

About Say Space: “Through workshops, coaching & consulting, we create an intentional space for transformative conversations around the blind spots within your organization. Out of these conversations, we uncover new opportunities for powerful leadership, unparalleled communication and dynamically inclusive cultures that are a catalyst for the next level of your organization’s success.”

About Listen In: Each week on Listen In, Ayzenberg VP and ECD Matt Bretz and a rotating cast of hosts from Ayzenberg will interview experts in the field of marketing and advertising to explore uncharted territory together. The goal is to provide the audience with actionable insights, enabling them to excel in their field.

The Importance Of Details In Customer Relationships And ABM With Sendoso’s Dan Frohnen

On this 251st episode of Marketing Today, I talk to Dan Frohnen, the CMO of Sendoso. This leading sending platform helps companies stand out by giving them new ways to engage with customers through the buyer’s journey.

In this episode, we talk about what marketers should be thinking about to help companies deliver a better experience for their customers and their employees.

The conversation starts with Frohnen’s transition from the music industry to the tech industry and finally to his role as CMO at Sendoso. Throughout his career, he learned the importance of customer connectivity. For him, the details matter. It’s more than just “spraying them with digital” to get them to act — and more about doing the research and understanding what they’re looking for before offering a solution.

Through the rest of the interview, Frohnen talks about the current state of ABM and how the virtual world has made it even more necessary to be intentional about your outreach.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What connection means for marketers in a virtual world
  • Why the details matter in customer relationships
  • Why you should research your customer’s intent when they arrive through ABM

Key Highlights:

  • [01:26] Dan’s transition from music to tech
  • [02:21] What Sendoso is, and Dan’s role as CMO
  • [05:07] The definition of a super sender
  • [06:56] How Sendoso connects people in a virtual world
  • [10:30] Dan’s view of the current state of ABM
  • [12:25] Where Dan has seen ABM work well
  • [14:09] The trends Paul sees for 2021
  • [17:32] An experience that defines Dan, made him who he is today
  • [18:55] Dan’s advice for his younger self
  • [19:50] A recent impactful purchase Dan made
  • [20:48] The brands, companies, and causes Dan follows
  • [22:11] What Dan says is the biggest opportunity for marketers today

Resources Mentioned:

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Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

Disney+ Ad Spend Jumps 158 Percent YoY From January To February

According to MediaRadar’s latest analysis, Disney+ ad spend surged 158 percent year-over-year (YoY) from January to February.

With vaccine rollouts and more parts of the world opening up, Disney has shifted ad spend slightly. The company moved 13 percent of its digital spend to national television, which now represents 96 percent of its ad spend from January to February.

From December 2019 to February 2020, Disney+ spent an average of $6.2 million per month on national television and digital formats.

As MediaRadar notes, the creative for Disney’s digital ads included a banner inviting viewers to start their free trial until May 2020, but thereafter changed the call-to-action to “Sign up now.”

“There was some concern that the original Verizon subscribers who received Disney+ as a free sign-on would have low renewal rates. That may yet come to pass for some minority of subscribers, but the big picture is that Disney+ is performing much stronger than the company, or analysts, had ever predicted,” said Todd Krizelman, chief executive of MediaRadar.

Earlier this month, Disney+ surpassed 100 million global subscribers—a milestone that took Netflix a decade to achieve. Richard Broughton, an analyst at Ampere Analysis, told The Guardian that taking into account Disney’s ESPN+ and Hulu subscribers—12.1 million and 39.4 million, respectively—Disney is expected to overtake Netflix and Amazon Prime Video as the world’s largest video streaming provider by 2024 or 2025.  

In October 2020, Disney announced plans to accelerate its direct-to-consumer strategy by centralizing its media business into a single organization that would oversee content distribution, ad sales and Disney+.

The company’s fiscal first-quarter 2021 results show that DTC revenues increased 73 percent to $3.5 billion, and that paid subscribers for Disney+ jumped from 26.5 million in December 2019 to 95 million in January 2021.

Gary Goodman’s Creative Picks: Changemakers

We’re living in strange times with an unprecedented sense of isolation and dislocation from our families, communities and teams. I don’t want to speak for everyone but because of this, I think we’re all looking for a way to connect and feel that we’re part of something larger.

In a sense, we are trying to give our world meaning. So for this month’s article, I thought I’d celebrate a few exemplary examples of the pro-bono cause-marketing work that I’ve come across. For most agencies, these are important opportunities to rally their people to bring their unique storytelling and communication skills to something personal and meaningful that can truly change the world for the better.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – “Rise and Shine”

Last week was Fat Tuesday or for us fellow Louisianans, better known as Mardi Gras Day. In New Orleans and even in my hometown of Shreveport, it’s usually the culmination and climax from a week-long celebration of community, history, culture, music, food, parades, and of course…beads—lots and lots of beads! Last year, Mardi Gras was really the last big national festival before the world shut down. With an unprecedented 12 months now behind us, we are seeing the results of a really tough year, especially for the musicians that are the lifeblood of one of the most musical cities in the world.

Why it matters:  This is a beautiful film and clocking in at nearly 4 minutes, goes deep to tell a big story in a very personal way. Led by one of the most celebrated musicians in New Orleans’ vibrant jazz culture, Trombone Shorty kicks off the film standing atop a roof as the day is breaking while belting out haunting and lonely notes from his trombone. Simultaneously we follow a truck through various neighborhoods as a local radio announcer sets up how hard the musical community has been hit by the pandemic. What transpires from there is like a feel-good New Orleans-style Christmas story that can’t help but put a smile on your face. The truck is delivering instruments to doorsteps throughout the neighborhood that will slowly be discovered by its inhabitants. Trombone Shorty’s horn is the call to action for everyone to join in and feel connected in a way that only music can do. The piece wraps up with the poignant call to action, “If you’ve ever been saved by music, here’s your chance to return the favor.” So personal and powerful.

The details: As with most pro bono efforts, this film was generously made possible by a 75-person nationwide team. The director Ben Sonntag said, “When there’s a cause attached to art, the vision is easily shared, dialed in, and everyone puts their heart into it. Every person involved wanted to make the best film possible for the foundation and was open to how we got there. There was no ego, just a truly unified effort. Everyone was all in.”  

According to Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, “It’s been a rough time for our city’s musicians – many are hurting. Being a part of that community, I know that we have to be there for one another. We’ve always banded together to help each other – it’s more important now than ever. Music lovers, join us to help keep NOLA music alive.” 

The good news is that the Music Relief Fund was established in March 2020 and to date has distributed more than $1M to musicians across the state. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get back to New Orleans and get sucked back into their rich musical culture. It’s truly priceless.

Ad Council/WB/CDC – “Mask Up America”

Next up is from our good friends at Ad Council, which has been fighting the good fight since 1949 to bring “creativity and causes” together.

Why it matters: Over the years, we’ve done some of our favorite and most meaningful work with Ad Council to promote campaigns like “She Can Stem” and “Love Has No Labels.” This time around, Ad Council partnered directly with Warner Bros and the CDC to help remind us all how important it is to mask up and prevent the spread of COVID. According to a recent Axios survey, only about ¾ of Americans wear masks outside their home on a consistent basis, and if we could get that number up to ninety-five percent it could save nearly 22,000 lives by May 20. So come on people! Well, don’t just listen to me; in this video, you get to see it put in action by some of the most iconic characters in movie history. Taking footage from Wonder Woman, The Matrix, Casablanca, Mad Max, Lord of the Rings, The Joker, Creed and Harry Potter to name a few, the WB team assembled famous IP to get the message across.

The details: My hat goes off to the team at Warner’s in-house creative studio 10th Street Productions who were responsible for bringing this endeavor to the finish line. Knowing what I know about the approvals and logistics involving the multitude of very high-level stakeholders, I can only imagine what the workstreams and approval processes must have looked like. That said, the final result is beautifully done and Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman look stunning all masked up from 1942.

Google/Ad Council – “Get the Facts – COVID-19 Vaccine”

To wrap it up, I thought I’d double-dip on supporting the Ad Council in this multifaceted campaign that just dropped this week entitled, “It’s Up To You.” 

Why it matters: Multiple brands and agencies participated in the “It’s Up To You” campaign, but the one that caught my eye was this clever visual and social-forward animation approach from Google. Kicking off with a syncopated percussion track and using a flexing arm emoticon, this 25-second spot delivers its message in a very straightforward manner: no matter who you are, now is the time to get your vaccine! By cycling through a diverse range of arm pigmentation and the corresponding bandaids, this spot does an excellent job of speaking to everyone. The flexing arm underscores the need for people to feel empowered to take charge and do their part to end this pandemic. So simple and effective.

The details: This is apparently one of the largest public-education campaigns in U.S. history with more than 300 brands participating, and is backed by $500M in donated media and talent. The primary target is the 40% of Americans who are undecided about getting the vaccine. According to Dr. Fauci, at least 75% of the population must develop immunity before we can get back to a “normal life.” I don’t know about you, but I’m just waiting for my turn—it can’t come fast enough!

Just 36 Percent Of CMOs Have A Revenue Attribution Strategy

For chief marketing officers, revenue attribution confirms their contributions to their company’s growth and revenue. Although 95 percent of marketing leaders believe that attribution is critical to strategic success, just 36 percent report having an active and measurable strategy to prove marketing return on investment (ROI). That’s according to DemandLab’s latest report, “The CMO’s Challenge: Revenue Attribution From a Leadership Perspective,” which builds on a survey that DemandLab published in December 2020.

The results show that for 59 percent of marketing leaders, the top benefit of an attribution strategy is having the ability to make better decisions for their organizations. Successful attribution also alleviates friction between the marketing and sales teams, according to 65 percent of respondents. And as DemandLab notes, according to Forrester analyst Tina Moffet, revenue attribution is associated with a revenue lift of between 15 percent and 18 percent for those companies that implement it.

Nevertheless, marketing attribution is some distant, vague goal for CMOs. Just 15 percent are in the process of launching a revenue attribution strategy, 25 percent are planning to roll one out at a later time and another 24 percent have no plans for a strategy. For the last group, DemandLabs suggests weaving attribution into existing marketing initiatives as the first step.

A successful attribution strategy requires resources like technologies, data and trained personnel, many of which marketing leaders lack. Some of the major barriers marketers face in claiming ownership of generated revenue include data quality (53 percent), budgetary constraints (35 percent) and analyzing marketing’s impact on different stages of the buyer journey (34 percent).

The top three digital channels that CMOs find most difficult to analyze when attributing results to sales revenue include social media marketing for 44 percent, content marketing for 39 percent and display advertising for 38 percent.

Additionally, 68 percent agree that the process of aggregating high-quality data across multiple channels, departments and platforms to optimize their attribution requires outsourced expertise.

Looking at the year ahead, 43 percent of marketers plan to increase their dedicated attribution budget moderately or significantly while another 14 percent plan to decrease it.