Movers & Shakers: Amazon, Uber, Microsoft, Walgreens and more

This week’s agency news, people on the move, tech and media must-reads.

Agency news

Dentsu predicts global ad spend won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2022, and is expected to grow 5.8% through 2021.

Scotts Miracle-Gro named VaynerMedia as its agency of record for both creative and media, and Safelite AutoGlass named FCB Chicago as its creative agency of record.

JM Smucker Co. expanded its relationship with Publicis Groupe, appointing the holding company as its omnichannel marketing agency of record.

The One Club for Creativity launched the Fusion Awards to celebrate agencies elevating diversity and talent in underrepresented communities. 

McCann Worldgroup’s MRM partnered with startup studio accelerator Founders Factory.

On the move 

Walgreens tapped former Starbucks operating chief Roz Brewer as its CEO, making her the only Black women running a fortune 500 company.

VMLY&R Commerce promoted Debbie Ellison to a new role: global chief digital officer.

VaynerX named Marc Yudkin as its first global COO.

Wavemaker named Dennis Potgraven as its first U.S. chief strategy officer in over two years.

Arnold and Havas Media named Curiosity Lab Founder Michael Tennant as entrepreneur in residence to promote empathy throughout the agency’s work and culture. 

W2O tapped healthcare industry vets Jo Ann Saitta as global chief digital officer, Marcos Mendell as EVP of health platform innovation and Larry Mickelberg as group president, technology and engagement.

FCB Health’s Jacqueline Lovelock will lead a new healthcare practice R/GA as managing director. R/GA Portland also tapped Kim Laama VP, ECD to head up its creative department.

Curiosity has three new co-owners: president and chief client officer Trey Harness, chief creative officer Jeff Warman and chief development officer Ashley Walters.

UM hired Christine Villanueva as U.S. chief strategy officer, reporting to U.S. CEO, Lynn Lewis.

Merkle named Liz Rutgersoon as chief media officer of Merkle Americas, a new role focused on performance media.

Celeste Hubbard and Amaris Singer have joined Mother as “Head of Mothering” (whatever that means) and head of strategy, respectively.

co:collective tapped Derek Newberry as lead strategist in its organization and culture design practice. Jamie Hall will lead client engagement and Amanda Ginzburg will oversee business development and growth.

Digital marketing agency Croud appointed Andrew Sandoval as VP of biddable media.

Ntooitive Digital made three hires: Tony Dawson is general manager of technology, Don McCoole is VP of sales engineering, Jon Denton is VP of sales and Phil Turner is senior director of small and midsize business.

VCCP New York tapped Ray Del Savio as ECD. 

Privacy pulse

Google reached agreements with French newspapers to pay them for showing their content in online searches.

Speaking of Google, the tech giant claims ad-targeting technology FloC, which analyzes users’ browsing histories and puts them in groups based on browsing habits, are 95% as effective as cookies.

Facebook punted the decision of whether former President Donald Trump’s account can be restored to its new oversight board.

A federal judge ruled against a plea to reinstate Parler after Amazon removed the social media app from its web-hosting services.

The Trade Desk submitted its open source network Unified ID 2.0 for approval by the industry body Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media (PRAM).

Countdown to the Big Game

Miley Cyrus is headlining the first NFL TikTok Tailgate at Super Bowl LV.

Volvo will give away $2 million worth of cars if either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Kansas City Chiefs score a safety on Super Bowl Sunday. 

Fans can buy a photo cardboard cutout of themselves to sit in the stands at the Super Bowl, thanks to the NFL.

Brand Buzz

Amazon has offered to help the Biden Administration with COVID-19 vaccination efforts. And Google will donate more than $150 million to vaccine education and distribution, as well as opening its locations as vaccination sites.

Some brands benefited from the pandemic’s blow. Microsoft’s revenue jumped 17% year-over-year to $43.1 billion demand for its cloud services, PCs and Xbox surged. Perhaps more surprisingly, LVMH, which owns luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Dior, surged 18% in fourth quarter sales.

Uber laid off more than 180 Postmates employees two months after acquiring the food delivery service for $2.6 billion in November.

PepsiCo has teamed up with Beyond Meat to make a new line of plant-based snacks and drinks.

Coca-Cola replaced its label with positive messages for people to share with loved ones in a packaging campaign in Europe from 72andSunny Amsterdam.

Kraft Mac & Cheese is launching a pink mac & cheese dish that tastes like candy for Valentine’s Day.

And Outback Steakhouse released a limited-edition athleisure line featuring its signature steak and Bloomin’ Onions.

DTC razor brand Harry’s launched its latest expansion: Headquarters, a new women’s scalp care brand.

Firefly launched the industry’s first ad campaign atop Teslas featuring luxury brands Swarovski and David Yurman.

For good

Citibank is keeping its sponsorship with Justin Thomas after the golfer used a homophobic slur on the course, pledging to work with Thomas, who has agreed to donate a “meaningful portion” of his earnings to LGBTQ charities. 

Mazda Foundation will donate $450,000 in grants to Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, Food Bank of North Alabama, FUSE Studio and AVID Center.

Vans is relaunching its “Foot the Bill,” which supports small businesses by allowing them to create custom footwear and apparel and receive the proceeds.

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