Welcome to Ad Age’s Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. If you’re reading this online or in a forwarded email, here’s the link to sign up for our Wake-Up Call newsletters. Royal revelations hike ad prices
Last night saw the airing of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey on CBS, and this morning the world is waking up to the “bombshell” revelations, including that the Royal Family had concerns over their son’s skin color, that Meghan had suicidal thoughts during her pregnancy and that Prince Charles no longer takes Harry’s calls. (Among the other nuggets; as reported by Mail Online: Prince Harry said he was “forced” to make multi-million pound deals with Spotify and Netflix after his family cut him off financially. And yes, he has watched at least some of “The Crown.”)
With more recriminations undoubtedly to come out of this stratospheric family row, nobody emerges unscathed; but so far the undisputed winners are CBS, plus the other commercial networks showing the interview round the world, and Winfrey. The Wall Street Journal reports that “CBS was seeking roughly $325,000 for 30 seconds of commercial time during the program,” or around double the normal price for a show in that slot. CBS is estimated to have paid between $7 million and $9 million for the rights to the interview, which Winfrey’s production company, Harpo Productions, is also said to have pitched to NBC and ABC.
While viewing figures are not yet available for the interview, some reports, including in the U.K.’s Sunday Times, predicted it would be “bigger than the Super Bowl.” Meanwhile, in the U.K., where ITV will air the show tonight, “commercial slots are being offered for up to £120,000, more than double the price usually paid for a program airing at that time on ITV,” reports the Guardian. Honoring women amid a pandemic
Today is International Women’s Day, and this year, brands are finding ways to honor women while acknowledging how they have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
As Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing reports, Unilever, Pinterest, Google and Netflix are among those brands sharing inspiring films dedicated to women pioneers, but many companies are also are backing up their creative with capital-backed action. Unilever, for example, is opening its own global policy around violence and abuse to any company that wants it. The move is accompanied with a powerful 30-second film called “Unmute” that showcases women trying to speak out about domestic violence, but who are set on mute. And Netflix is giving $5 million to “programs that help identify, train and provide work placements for up-and-coming women talent around the world.”
Other brands marking the date include Hershey’s, which is honoring women pioneers like tennis champion Billie Jean King, activist Gloria Steinem and Alicia Garza, credited for co-founding the international Black Lives Matter movement, and also created a limited-edition wrapper highlighting the “she” in the Hershey’s name.Hotels.com’s ‘revenge travel’ campaign
Travel brands are hoping for a surge in “revenge travel” bookings as vaccines roll out and people start to think about vacations again. Hotels.com is capitalizing on this in a new campaign, writes Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli, but it also acknowledges that we might still feel uncertain when booking a trip.
The campaign by CPB, starring brand mascot Captain Obvious, particularly highlights the fact that Hotels.com offers a free cancelation policy. In three spots, actors create dramatic situations that appear to be one thing but are in actuality just travel bookings that become less stressful because of Hotels.com’s policy. For example, in one spot a woman demands answers from a man in a police-style interrogation about something that turns out to be a surprise beach vacation. The Expedia Group-owned brand says it aims to reassure anxious consumers that they can always rebook, if “the world changes.”
Leveling up: Esports and gaming continue to lure more brand dollars. But winning in the space is harder than it looks as cultural shifts, including the merging of esports, entertainment and influencers add a “new layer of complexity to the gaming category that can be vexing for marketers accustomed to thinking about sports and entertainment in more conventional ways,” writes Michael Applebaum. More here on four steps brands can take to win in the category.
What’s in a name? Agency Muh-Tay-Zik/Hof-Fer, known for its “alphabet soup” name, is no longer home to either of its namesakes. Less than a year after co-founder John Matejczyk left the San Francisco agency, its chief strategy officer and co-founder Matt Hofherr is departing to join independent shop BarrettSF as partner and president, writes Ad Age’s Ethan Jakob Craft. There, he will serve alongside founder and executive creative director Jamie Barrett.
The Week Ahead: Gaming platform Roblox is set to go public on Wednesday in one of the year’s most anticipated IPOs so far. Plus, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Build-A-Bear are among companies reporting financials. And (gulp) Thursday marks the the one year anniversary of the WHO declaring a pandemic. Check our calendar roundup here.
An inclusive egg hunt: Milka’s European Easter campaign this year is an inclusive tale: it shows two children coming up with a way their blind friend can participate in the traditional Easter Egg Hunt. Read more about the campaign, which was made with a 10-year-old blind boy in the central role, here, and don’t forget to to catch up with the Creativity team’s live review of the Top 5 ideas of the week.
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