Movers & Shakers: Droga5, m/SIX, Disney+, Google, Reddit, Adidas, American Standard

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

The Trump Administration is rolling out a $250 million vaccine education campaign, ad spend in the Georgia runoff election hit $440 million, and the IAB’s 2021 marketplace outlook shows buyers are optimistic for 2021 — but concerned about the loss of third-party cookies. 

Agency news

Droga5 lost Dos Equis’ U.S. creative account to Sid Lee, but picked up Molson Coors

Plante Moran picked VMLY&R as its creative, media strategy and digital transformation AOR. 

Digital agency iCrossing will fold into the magazine division of parent company Hearst.

Giant Spoon launched a multicultural marketing practice led by film producer Kenny Mac

TSY Enterprises, which owns The Shipyard, acquired indie creative agency Mering.

EFK Group and Ogilvy are partnering under the SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protégé Program, which allows small businesses to learn from government contractors. 

Jellyfish integrated with e-commerce specialist Seelk, also owned by Fimalac.

Kantar sold its global health division to Cerner in an all-cash transaction for $375 million.

Content licenser Artlist acquired digital asset platform Motion Array for $65 million.

On the move

m/SIX named former EA marketer Belinda Smith as CEO in the Americas. 

20-year Martin Agency vet Michael Chapman was named CMO of CarLotz, and Victoria’s Secret brought on Martha Pease as CMO.

Omnicom hired Emily Graham as chief equity and impact officer and SVP of diversity and inclusion communications. DDB brought on Nikki Lamba as its first global DE&I chief.

Ogilvy appointed Jag Dhanji global chief people officer and Stacey Ryan-Cornelius chief financial officer. 

Crispin Porter + Bogusky hired Jorge Calleja as CCO and Jacqueline Redmond to lead account management; John Trinanes joined Stadiumred Group as CCO; VMLY&R promoted Allison Pierce to global chief creative officer of Intel and Mel Routhier to chief creative officer of the WPP Walgreens Team.

Havas NY tapped former JOAN CCO Dan Lucey as CCO, and JOAN named Lauren Costa ECD.

Meredith Digital appointed Alysia Borsa president and Amanda Dameron chief content officer.

Infosum named former Xandr and GroupM CEO Brian Lesser CEO.

In the Media

Disney+ revealed 86.6 million subscribers and said it could hit 260 million by 2024. eMarketer predicts Disney+ will surpass $4 billion in U.S. subscription revenues by 2022.

Peacock will start exclusively streaming The Office in Jan. 2021. Premium subscribers can stream all seven seasons, and free users can access the first two.

Sony acquired anime streaming service Crunchyroll from AT&T for $1.175 billion.

Google will allow users to limit their exposure to alcohol and gambling ads.

LinkedIn is testing ads in Stories with limited advertisers in the U.S. and Canada.

Twitter users on iOS can now add tweets directly to snaps in Snapchat. Twitter is also testing the ability to share tweets as stickers in Instagram.

Group Nine Media may start acquiring digital competitors via a special-purpose acquisition company; Vox Media Studios is projecting $100 million in 2021 revenue, and plans to produce twice as many shows as 2020.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have signed a multi-year deal with Spotify through their new production company, Archewell Audio, to host and produce podcasts.

Down in D.C.

Ten State AGs accused Google of abusing monopoly power in the online advertising market.

The FTC asked Amazon, Facebook, WhatsApp, Reddit, Snap, Twitter, YouTube, Discord and ByteDance to turn over information on user tracking and data collection as part of a broad investigation of business practices. 

Across the pond, the EU unveiled the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act. The former will give big tech companies more responsibility for content on their platforms, while the latter targets “gatekeepers” like Amazon, which disadvantages independent merchants on its online marketplace. 

Google was also hit by fresh privacy complaints from six EU countries against the use of real time bidding in its online ad marketplace. Google and Amazon were both fined $163 million by French regulators for dropping cookies on people without consent.

Apple implemented privacy “nutrition labels” that detail how apps collect user data. The privacy spat between Facebook and Apple heated up this week, as the former released a blog post detailing how the latter's privacy-focused changes will hurt small businesses. 

Both Facebook and Google lifted political ad bans in Georgia three weeks before the Senate runoff election.

Alibaba and Tencent were fined by the Chinese government on anti-monopoly laws for failing to disclose prior acquisitions. 

Tech download

Reddit acquired TikTok challenger DubSmash for undisclosed terms.

Pinterest settled a gender discrimination lawsuit with its former COO for $22.5 million.

Facebook released a copycat version of the popular app Cameo, which lets fans pay to video chat with celebrities.

Google said employees can work from home until September 2021 and is considering a flexible work week with three days in the office and two at home.

Instagram launched a shopping feature in Reels. LinkedIn launched product pages. 

Marketing analytics platform CallRail raised $56 million, privacy compliance platform Sourcepoint raised $17 million and factoring firm OAREX secured a $50 million credit line.

Samsung Ads released a measurement tool that shows the combined impact of linear and streaming campaigns.

Adara released a privacy compliant token for ad targeting, and Neustar released a cookieless unified ID called Fabrick ID.  

Brand Buzz

Adidas is considering selling Reebok 14 years after acquiring the brand.

Headspace will create three original series for Netflix in 2021, focused on wellness, sleep and meditation.

Walmart wants to help its employees become influencers that offer a behind-the-scenes look at the retailer.

Heinz By Nature, Kraft Heinz’s baby food brand, launched a free, limited-edition line of swag for “lockdown love babies” born on December 18 in Canada. (You do the math).

Burger King is featuring independent restaurants on its Instagram account in France.

To promote Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Netflix launched a custom station on Pandora featuring music by Rainey and artists she influenced, like Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith.

‘Tis the season

American Standard gave away 450 rolls of toilet paper to flush away the worst moments of the year, from canceled vacations to murder hornets. 

Smirnoff Ice and Cremsiffino created a limited-edition line of festive puzzles with hidden Smirnoff ICE bottles to “ice” friends and family over the holidays.

Home security company SimpliSafe is giving away holiday sweaters with built-in alarms and flashing LED lights in exchange for a charity donation to promote social distancing. 

Heineken is releasing a Dry January Pack with mini cans of alcohol-free Heineken 0.0 for every day of the month.


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