Movers & Shakers: Apple, Coca-Cola, Google, Spotify and more

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

Agency news

Omnicom and Home Depot shareholders are investigating the companies’ ad buying policies on social platforms. Both filed resolutions asking the companies to provide third-party reports that prove they don’t contribute to “violations of civil or human rights."

Team One awarded its 2020 Legacy Lab Foundation Scholarship to Gianna White, a sustainable urban environments undergraduate at New York University.

On the move

Publicis Groupe’s chief diversity officer Ronnie Dickerson Stewart left the agency after less than a year. He will be replaced by chief inclusion experience officer, Renetta McCann. 

Walmart’s e-commerce chief and founder Marc Lore is leaving the retail giant at the end of January. 

Snap promoted VP of partnerships Ben Schwerin to the new role of SVP of content and partnerships. Chief strategy officer Jared Grusd, who previously oversaw content, will become a strategic adviser to CEO Evan Spiegel.

The Trade Desk named its EVP of global data and strategy, Michelle Hulst, COO.

MRM named Harsh Kapadia EVP, chief creative officer for MRM New York and Princeton, and Stewart Krull as ECD, MRM Princeton.

Lippincott tapped WeWork’s former SVP Mick McConnell and Prophet associate partner Brian Rosenberg as partners in New York.

Birdie appointed former SharkNinja global marketing VP Fernando Wey as its CMO. And SPIN Magazine appointed Mark Stroman as CMO chief marketing officer. 

Hunt Adkins tapped Shanna Apitz as its new president and CCO.

Publicis Sapient consulting executive Jaspreet Singh joined Bounteous in a new role: chief strategy and insights officer.

David & Goliath appointed Blake Winfree as chief of social impact and promoted D&G veteran Ben Purcell to CCO.

Jellyfish hired Omnicom vet Tom Roach as VP of brand planning.

180 opened offices in  New York, Dubai and Doha, led by global CEO Sander Volten and global chairman and CCO Al Moseley.

Former mitú creative lead Annie Leal joined H Code as head of content.

Global creative collective Thinkingbox hired Helen Androlia as strategy director. 

Centro appointed Clayton Kossl as CFO chief financial officer and Christian Hendricks to the board of directors. 

Acast hired Elli Dimitroulakos to expand programmatic podcast advertising in the Americas.

Criteo appointed Jon Kaiser as global VP of agency business development and partnerships, Rory Mitchell as executive managing director, Americas, Joe Stevens as chief information security officer and Ingmar Zach as SVP of product.

In the Media

Despite surging overall in 2020, time spent with ad-supported media hit an all-time low, according to PQ Media.

Spotify stock dropped more than 6.5% in response to criticism by Citi analysts over its podcasting strategy, which they believe hasn’t shown “any material benefit” after hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investment. Apple, the de facto podcast giant, is also exploring a paid audio subscription service. 

Nielsen can now measure  theatrical video on-demand viewing in response to movie theatres shutting down amid the pandemic. That’s probably going to be necessary, as films slated for releases in March and April, including “Cinderella” and “No Time To Die,” have been postponed yet again. 

StitcherAds was named an official Pinterest partner.

Forbes is leaning into the newsletter craze with a new platform for journalists to launch their own newsletters and split revenue with the publication, Axios scooped. Speaking of newsletters, Substack writers are starting to incorporate ads into theirs. 

Privacy pulse

Fertility app Flo Health settled with the FTC over allegations of data privacy violations. The app must now  inform users when their information is shared for advertising purposes, and undergo an independent review of its privacy practices. 

Amazon is facing a new lawsuit over a book deal between five publishers that allegedly drive up  e-book prices.

SpotX joined The Trade Desk’s Unified ID 2.0 consortium, an open source initiative that protects consumer privacy and transparency without third-party cookies.

Parler is back online with the help of . Russian-owned tech firm DDoS-Guard, which provided Parler with a new internet protocol address with  a message promising to return soon.

Martech download

Google announced that it closed its $2.1 billion acquisition of FitBit after an antitrust investigation, but the DOJ still hasn’t formally approved the merger. 

Speaking of Google, its data clean room Ads Data Hub was  accredited by the Media Rating Council. YouTube will officially phase out third-party pixels and require brands to use Ads Data Hub for measurement..

iSpot acquired analytics company Ace Metrix to track brand impact of TV and video advertising.

Viant filed its S-1 with the US SEC, formalizing plans to go public. .

Mobile ad tech company Pocketmath shut down after facing allegations over unpaid bills, per Business Insider.

Adthena acquired Kantar's paid search intelligence business, formerly AdGooroo. acquired Advantage Software Company, which helps agencies streamline their workflows using automation, and Cannabis marketing startup Fyllo bought DataOwl, expanding its ad marketplace for highly regulated industries. 

Killi, a global leader in data and consumer privacy, partnered with Retargetly to distribute verified data for more comprehensive user profiles.

Brand Buzz

Coca-Cola sold its Zico Coconut Water brand to PowerPlant Ventures months after revealing plans to discontinue.

Potatoes are back at Taco Bell with two discontinued menu items: Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes and the Spicy Potato Soft Taco.

Washington State enlisted the help of big companies like Costco, Starbucks and Microsoft for help with the state’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout. 

LeBron James is signing an endorsement deal with Pepsi after an 18-year run with Coca-Cola.

Chipotle introduced the Shawn Mendes Bowl to its menu for a two-week run in the United States and Canada. $1 from each bowl sold will go to the singer's charity supporting young changemakers.

On D&I

Apple launched a new $100 million initiative to promote racial equality for people of color with a focus on “education, economic equality, and criminal justice reform.”

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