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This Week in TV News: a Parks and Rec Reunion and the NFL Draft

This week, we’re talking about new posters from McCann Belgrade depicting medical workers in a new light; ratings from the recent NFL draft; and a beloved NBC show coming back for a reunion to raise money for COVID-19 relief. 

Doctors and nurses are the heroes. New creative from McCann Belgrade shows a familiar sight from the past few months, medical workers with marks on their faces from wearing masks, but with a twist – the marks look like they’re from Spider-Man, Iron Man and Batman masks. The ads are part of an outdoor campaign shown in cities across Europe. (Adweek)

The NFL draft scored big ratings. The 2020 NFL Draft’s first night drew a record 15.6 million viewers across ESPN, ABC, NFL Network and ESPN Deportes, a 37% increase over last year. More than 55 million total viewers tuned in to watch the NFL draft. Microsoft Teams served as the primary line of communication between the NFL and its franchises. (CNBC)

TV viewing time will grow by 19 minutes this year. Viewership will be up across demographics this year, with the biggest jump among adults 65 and older, which will grow by almost 5%. (Forbes)

Parks and Recreation is back for COVID-19 relief. The comedy is coming back for a reunion. How did they make it happen with social distancing rules? Each cast member recorded themselves with equipment sent via FedEx, acting as their own sound and camera people.  (LA Times)

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Seven Lessons in Leadership from Ally Financial’s Andrea Brimmer & Cadent’s Jamie Power

Jamie Power, COO of Advanced TV, Cadent
Andrea Brimmer, Chief Marketing and PR Officer, Ally

Two leaders in data-driven marketing, Andrea Brimmer, Chief Marketing and PR Officer, Ally Financial, and Jamie Power, COO of Advanced TV, Cadent, took part in a chat for Brand Innovators’ Women in Marketing livecast  recently. The executives shared their takeaways on leading during challenging times, what CMOs should focus on now and how brand marketers can learn from the COVID-19 crisis.

Read seven insights from their fireside chat below, including why there are some crises you can’t fully prepare for and why humanity should always be at the center of marketing.

The following has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity. 

1. Provide levity to customers at the right moments. 

Ally’s tag phrase is “Do It Right,” driving the brand to do what’s right for their customers. With that in mind, Jamie said, how is Ally engaging with consumers differently, and how is the brand practicing being “customer obsessed?”

Andrea replied that the brand has increased its frequency of customer communications, emailing customers at least once a week with relevant information. Additionally, the brand has increased its velocity in social, and generally, Ally is taking advantage of new opportunities popping up. For instance, the brand is sponsoring Jimmie Johnson, a NASCAR driver, and as NASCAR pivots to virtual racing, Ally outfitted Jimmie’s entire iRig with Ally branding, including a hat and backdrop.  

“We’re having some fun with it, where we actually are surprising and delighting some of our customers,” Andrea said. The brand has also partnered with Katie Couric on a series called “The Bright Side,” focusing on stories of “the heroes, the helpers, and the people who are finding joy” under these unprecedented circumstances. 

2. With the right tone, brand-customer communications can be a salve.

Jamie asked Andrea how Ally is being brave with its marketing in light of the pandemic. “In a lot of ways,” Andrea said, “brands are like a warm chocolate chip cookie right now,” reminding people that everything will be ok.

Andrea said for Ally, being brave at this time means focusing less on short-term business implications, and thinking more in terms of being human beings and good corporate citizens as a brand. The brand has implemented a comprehensive relief package for its customers including suppressing all auto payments to customers for 120 days, suppressing all mortgage payments for 120 days and waiving all fees. Ally is also focusing on providing helpful information like what customers can do with their stimulus checks, how to think about FDIC insurance and the importance of it right now. 

3. TV’s reach is as powerful as ever. 

As the COO of Advanced TV at Cadent, Jamie said she’s a believer in the power of data to communicate at the household-level. So is now the right time to get more targeted or more broad with TV messaging?

Andrea responded, “I think people that draw a line in the sand and say it’s ‘either/or’ are really not looking at the full picture, and not giving themselves an opportunity to reach the number of people that they need to reach,” adding that in many regards, there’s still no better medium than television to gain mass appeal.

4. CMOs should dig into the details with their data right now. 

Andrea generally is a big proponent of keeping an active learning agenda as a CMO, aiming to allocate a third of her time to learning. 

Under the current circumstances, she said, CMOs should “ferociously read every piece of information that they can get their hands on right now,” adding that they need to be more involved than ever in the social listening process, and actually listening to what customers are saying, and how they’re feeling.” Andrea said recently, she’s closer to the creative process than ever before, meeting more frequently with Ally’s various agency teams in order to stay fluid and adjust on a weekly basis. 

She added that CMOs shouldn’t be afraid to get into the details of customer feedback right now: “The people that pay attention to the details, are the ones that are going to make sure that they don’t do any harm to their brand, and they actually thrive coming out of this.”

5. Show your humanity. 

Andrea said her team is finding ways to connect remotely, from virtual happy hours and fitness bootcamps to a game of Marco Polo, adding, “I’ve literally sent a Marco Polo video message to all 120 individually, and I’m keeping in touch with anybody that’s responding on a really regular basis.”

Jamie said right now is an important time to support Cadent’s brand and agency clients: “As a technology partner, we’re looking for ways to be supportive to our agency and brand clients in any way we can. We’re not necessarily selling right now; we’re looking for solutions.” To stay connected to her team, Jamie said she learned how to use TikTok to regularly share silly videos.

6. Lean into your brand, in the good and bad times.

During the last recession, the brands that went dark took nine times longer to recover, Andrea said, adding, “We also know that a large portion of brands that go completely dark, will lose at least 1X their brand measures, and we’ve worked too hard, particularly over the course of the last two years, to have dramatic brand acceleration.” Ally has accelerated its brand valuation, doubling it in each of the last two years, Andrea said. 

7. Learn from times of crisis.

Jamie asked about Ally’s history of handling national crises; the brand launched during the financial crisis in 2007. Did her team take learnings from the previous crisis into this one? Andrea said that while there’s no playbook for a crisis like this, and no one would have imagined they’d have to live through a pandemic, Ally was born out of customer pain points. Now, as people flock to digital brands that help them adjust to the new normal, like Netflix and Zoom, customers are also flocking to Ally, a digital-only bank. 

“We will use the lessons that we learned of solving for customer pain points and providing great digital utility to carry us through this,” Andrea said. 

Read more about Cadent’s mission to restore simplicity to TV and serve as trusted partners to brands, agencies and the broader TV ecosystem.

This Week in TV News: Baby Nut Is Back and State Farm Premieres Deepfake Creative

This week, we’re talking about a “deepfake” ad from State Farm that’s getting buzz on social media, Budweiser brought back a creative favorite from 1999, and brands get creative to produce ads when in-person production isn’t possible.

Baby Nut is back. Mr. Peanut perished earlier this year, and Baby Nut was premiered to the world during a Super Bowl spot shortly after. Baby Nut has been on hiatus for a while, but the infant spokesnut is back and active on the @MrPeanut Twitter handle, recently tweeting: “I’ve got a lot to learn, but I look forward to growing back into the peanut you know and love. It’s what I was born to do. Twice, apparently. #BecomingMrPeanut.” (Adweek)

The future of ad creative when in-person isn’t possible. With on-set creative production on hiatus, brands have had to get resourceful with their marketing campaigns. State Farm in particular is getting buzz for its innovative spot that ran during ESPN’s Michael Jordan docuseries “The Last Dance.” In the ad, veteran SportsCenter anchor Kenny Mayne says, “This is the kind of stuff that ESPN will eventually make a documentary about. They’ll call it something like ‘The Last Dance.’ They’ll make it a 10-part series and release it in the year 2020.” The ad, combining present-day Mayne’s mouth and voice and footage from 1998, was developed by ESPN CreativeWorks, Optimum Sports and Translation. Viewers were somewhat confused and mostly entertained, with someone tweeting, “That future/retro State Farm commercial was ingenious.”(The New York Times)

Budweiser asks “Whassup” once again. The beer brand brought back the beloved campaign that originally ran from 1999-2002, this time with Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union, Candace Parker, Chris Bosh and DJ D-Nice. The new ads remind viewers to check in with each other during the COVID-19 quarantine, with this message from the brand on Twitter: “Whasssuppppppppppp? That’s all it takes to check in. Staying connected matters now more than ever.” (USA Today)

Netflix adds 16M subscribers. The streaming service has a total of about 183 million global subscribers, bolstered in the past quarter. Two of the streamer’s series, “Tiger King” and “Money Heist,” are expected to garner more than 60 million member views respectively. (The Hollywood Reporter)

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This Week in TV News: New Brand Creative from Potbelly, Busch and Burger King

This week, we’re talking about more brands using TV advertising to communicate to their audiences; the best brand creative that’s coming out of the quarantine; and a Busch sweepstakes aimed at couples who had to cancel their wedding plans this year.

Brands embracing creativity during quarantine. In-person production might not be possible right now, but that isn’t stopping brands from producing impactful creative. From Burger King’s “Stay Home of the Whopper” to Jeep’s “Same Day,” this period of time is anything but unproductive for brand marketing. Sandwich chain Potbelly posted a video showing their marketing team on a Zoom call, with a creative director “tossing” sandwiches to his colleagues on the call. (Adweek)

About 26% more brands are using TV than a year ago. In fact, 1,247 more brand marketers are advertising on TV this year, according to data company iSpot.tv. Data used in the study looked at 6,126 different brands using national TV advertising between March 14- April 12. (Ad Age)

Sports viewers go elsewhere for content. What are sports fans watching with all the major sporting events cancelled or postponed? Nielsen data found they’re watching more movies, news and SVOD content. Heavy sports viewers are watching a lot of movies, growing from about 12.5% of total time spent watching TV in early March to 17% in the following weekends. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Busch offers sweepstakes to couples with cancelled weddings. The beer brand launched its #BuschWeddingGift sweepstakes with a video from its spokesperson, Busch Guy, who says that despite a grim-looking wedding season, “As someone with unlimited access to unlimited beer, there might be one way I can try to help.” Two-hundred and fifty winners will get $300 prepaid debit cards to buy Busch beer for up to one year. Friends and family of couples are encouraged to participate in the social campaign as well. (Adweek)

Read the most recent TV news

This Week in TV News: SNL Is Back and DTC Brands Give Back

This week, we’re talking about SNL coming back with a remotely taped show; Netflix’s huge hit “Tiger King”; and the list of DTC brands simultaneously offering customers discounts and giving to charities during the pandemic.

SNL is back, remotely. SNL is going the way of other live show tapings (Conan, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Jon Oliver) with a remotely produced episode. The show will air during its normal time this Saturday. On Twitter, a screenshot of the cast on a Zoom call was shared. (Vulture)

DTC brands come together to offer COVID-19 relief. The Brands x Better initiative is raising money during the pandemic with a commitment of giving “a minimum of 2% of sales or 10% of proceeds to nonprofits helping support COVID-19 efforts.” Brands include Rhone, Knot Standard, M. Gemi and Faherty. (Adweek)

“Tiger King” continues to dominate streaming. The Netflix series is a runaway hit, with about 34 million unique viewers streaming it in its first ten days being released, according to Nielsen. In total views, the show comes in behind “Stranger Things” season three, which took in 36 million US viewers in its first 10 days, also according to Nielsen. (CNN Business)

Movies that’ll make you feel like you’re outside. Just what you needed during quarantine: a list of 16 movies that’ll give you a dose of the outdoors, from the Austrian alps in The Sound of Music to misty mountainsides in Arrival. Get inspiration for your weekend movie pick and enjoy stills from the films chosen on Vanity Fair.

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This Week in TV News: Video Fitness Classes and the Best Creative of the Moment

This week, we’re talking about your favorite sitcom characters’ reactions to the pandemic; the best PSAs and brand creative of the moment and how people are hitting the gym online.

Video is the future of fitness. With unable to get to the gym during the pandemic, the $94 billion industry is changing its reliance on physical, in-person programs. Among those making changes Classpass – more than 500 studios have added live classes to the platform, with proceeds going directly to the studios. (CNN)

Surf your coach; visit your houseplant. Adweek featured social distancing posters from NASA designer Jennifer Baer, who styled the message like bright, colorful vintage travel posters. “Take a trip to your own bathroom” reads one. (Adweek)

If your favorite sitcoms had coronavirus episodes. What would Liz Lemon do during the pandemic? Would Leslie Knope have a binder full of ideas to unify her community? Vulture asked Tina Fey, Mike Schur, and 35 other TV writers to come up with scenes and synopses showing how famous characters would react during the pandemic. For “Curb Your Enthusiasm” fans, there’s no surprise how the TV show version of Larry David would react to a social distancing advisory: “Isolated in his house, Larry doesn’t feel imprisoned. He feels relief.” (Vulture)

The best brand creative of the moment. From the BBC’s social distancing PSAs with clips from “I’m Alan Partridge” and “The Mighty Boosh” to Budweiser and David Miami’s campaign featuring doctors, nurses, teachers and others fighting the pandemic, Ad Age rounded up who is coming up with the most creative ads right now. (Ad Age)

Read the most recent TV news