Movers & Shakers: Motel 6, LVMH, Black Friday, Kustomer, Wondery

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

Agency news

Motel 6 named Barkley as its new agency of record, after ditching longtime agency The Richards Group in light of founder Stan Richards making racist comments about its audience.

GroupM is predicting a 9% decline in U.S. ad spend for 2020, up from its June forecast of a 13% drop. Digital, which will grow 5% this year, fueled growth, while TV ad spend dipped almost 8%. 

Chicago-based Highdive is AOR for auto insurance brand The General and candy brand Airheads. Creative agency Nomads won the AOR for Hoya Vision Care. And Burlington Stores picked Lockard & Wechsler Direct as its offline media AOR.

Production agencies Interrogate and Sweetshop have joined forces in the U.S. 

madconNYC and the International Advertising Association launched a free performance marketing academy with education from platforms including Facebook, Google and TikTok.

Talent management agency United Secret launched to represent digital influencers and creatives.

Indie agency network Worldwide Partners added Flm Harvest and Elevent

On the move

LVMH chief digital officer Ian Rogers stepped down, and the luxury goods company elevated Louis Vuitton president Michael David to the new role of chief omnichannel officer. 

Private aviation company Wheels Up appointed Lee Applbaum as CMO.

Merkle appointed Ken Grove as president of its Response Management Group. 

The Integer Group named Gail Obaseki director of diversity, equality and inclusion. 

Interbrand Wolff Olins exec Taamrat Amaize joined COLLINS as head of strategy.

Baton-Rouge-based creative agency Mesh hired former Zenith exec Justin Archer as chief creative officer. 

Chapeau Studios brought on Troy Kelley as chief solutions officer and Jon Campbell as executive producer of creative content.

‘Tis the season

Black Friday was mostly a bust. From Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday 186 million people shopped in stores, three million fewer than last year, and spent 14% less on average, per National Retail Federation

Ecommerce sales hit a whopping $10.8 billion in the U.S. on Cyber Monday, up 15% from last year, according to Adobe. It was the nation's biggest online shopping day ever but still came in short of projections of $12.7 billion. 

There were more than 100 thousand deals live over Cyber Weekend, with Lego, Philips and Anker running the most promotions, according to Publicis Commerce

Tumblr and Sonos are donating ad inventory to nonprofits for Giving Tuesday this year. 

GIPHY released the most viewed GIFs of 2020

The New York Times rounded up the worst marketing buzzwords of the year

Tech download

Facebook acquired Kustomer, a customer service software provider, for $1 billion, another nod to its ambitions in the ecommerce space -- and a sign that antitrust investigations aren’t deterring the big blue app from acquisitions. 

Speaking of antitrust, Facebook and Google are facing as many as four new lawsuits in the U.S. by the end of January directly related to dominance over the internet economy in social media and search, respectively. 

Salesforce acquired Slack for $27.7 billion.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who rolled back Obama-era net neutrality laws, will step down in January when the Biden administration takes over.

Trump threatened to veto a defense-policy bill if it does not include language revoking Section 230, which lets platforms avoid liability for content. 

Reddit revealed its daily active users figure for the first time: 52 million. 

LoopMe added MediaLink’s Wenda Harris Millard and GroupM’s John Montgomery to its data advisory board.

Event marketing platform Bizzabo raised $138 million in a round led by Insight Partners to power the future of hybrid in-person and virtual events.

DoubleVerify released a suite of publisher tools to manage revenue, inventory quality, campaign delivery and yield. 

Verizon Media is out with its own unified ID solution to replace third-party cookies, and ad tech consortium Prebid partnered with Epsilon to release a universal ID.

The IAB Tech Lab released new technical guidelines for podcast measurement. 

Mediaocean launched a TV reach extension tool to capture deduplicated audiences on OTT. 

In the media

Watch out, podcast market: Amazon is in exclusive talks to buy podcast network Wondery for more than $300 million, marking a major entry into the space. 

Another shakeup at Disney: Craig Erwich, who has overseen original programming at Hulu for six years, will also oversee ABC Entertainment, as former president Karey Burke shifts to 20th Television (formerly 20th Century Fox) as president. 

Discovery is the latest network to launch a streaming service with a free tier at $4.99 and an ad-free tier at $6.99 -- and yes, it’s called Discovery+.

ViacomCBS will sell book publisher Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House for more than $2 billion in cash. 

Twitter is relaunching its verification program, accepting six primary account types: governments, companies and nonprofits, news, entertainment, sports, activists and influencers.

NBCUniversal will use FreeWheel to lead ad decisioning across its entire portfolio, and has expanded its partnership with Salesforce.

AMC Networks appointed Aisha Thomas-Petit as diversity, equity and inclusion officer.

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