Movers & Shakers: The Richards Group, Kantar, The Beastie Boys, P&G, Google, Quibi

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

Agency news

The Richards Group saga, cont.: Stan Richards stepped down from the agency he founded after making racist comments that lost the agency a string of clients over the past week, including Motel 6, Home Depot, Keurig, Dr Pepper and The Salvation Army.

TikTok named independent agency PMG as its global lead for social media strategy.

Dentsu’s Merkle launched an eRetail media solutions group to help brands navigate emerging retail media networks.

Iceland’s tourism board Promote Iceland picked Havas Media Group as its global media agency of record.

Portland-based digital agency Thesis acquired another Portland-based agency, Bonfire Marketing Assets, which specializes in account-based marketing for tech clients.

On the move

Alexis Nasard, formerly global CMO of Heineken, was named CEO of Kantar.

Xaxis tapped former Essence exec Gila Wilensky as president of its U.S. business, a new role at the agency.

Namesake founders of West Coast creative agency Copacino Fujikado will retire after 22 years. Scott Foreman will take over as CEO, Mike Hayward will be ECD and Tim O’Mara will be partner and director of strategy and insights.

Warner Bros. named former ABC Entertainment president and Netflix exec Channing Dungey as chairman, succeeding longtime chairman Peter Roth.

Truist Financial appointed former H&R Block CMO Vinoo Vijay as its CMO.

Election runup

The Beastie Boys licensed a song for a Joe Biden campaign ad, a rare move for the band.

Political ad spend has hit a record $6.7 billion this year ahead of election day, according to Advertising Analytics.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez drew in 439,000 viewers, one of the largest-ever livestream audiences on Twitch, as she played the popular game “Among Us” to drum up excitement for the vote

Another satire from MullenLowe US and Mediahub promotes a fictional toilet paper company called Gone2Shit, which makes toilet paper out of rejected mail-in ballots, in an infomercial-style ad.

Black Queer Town Hall and Vice-owned agency Virtue released an educational music video targeting voters in Pennsylvania and featuring stars from RuPaul’s Drag Race, as well as the agency’s own head of creative in the Americas.

A book called America First, written by Gabriel Sehringer and illustrated by Clarice Cho, highlights areas where America is actually first, such as climate change, defense spending and debt, and will donate the sale proceeds to Every Last Vote.

Brand news

Procter & Gamble reported its largest quarterly sales increase in 15 years, which prompted a $100 million increase in marketing spend in the quarter. Lysol-maker Reckitt Benckiser also had a strong quarter, with almost 20% growth in sales of its hygiene products.

Budweiser will release a limited edition tallboy can with rapper Nelly to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his breakout album “Country Grammar.” The collab follows a similar partnership with rapper Big Sean this year.

Avocados from Mexico will sit out the Super Bowl in 2021 for the first time since 2015.

Stella Artois is teaming up with former NFL wide receiver Victor Cruz and chef Daniela Soto-Innes to deliver high-quality spins on stadium bites and a six pack of Stella to viewers of the New York Giants game on Thursday, Oct. 22.

Tech download

The DOJ filed its antitrust lawsuit against Google, targeting its dominance in the search business. Ad tech and media companies are disappointed that the probe doesn’t address Google’s stranglehold on the digital ads business.

Snap Sounds, the platform’s attempt to compete with TikTok, rolled out globally with an exclusive preview of a new song from Justin Bieber. Snap also reported a stellar quarter with revenue up 52% to $678.7 million and daily active users approaching 250 million.

YouTube will remove misinformation about COVID-19 and a related vaccine. And Nielsen can now measure streaming TV viewing on YouTube in its Digital Ad Ratings and Total Ad Ratings products.

Facebook Audience Network will move to a bidding-only model in response to tracking changes on Apple’s iOS 14.

Google rolled out AR-powered visual search tools through Lens, including overlays for auto brands and the ability to tap on products for more info in Google shopping.

Neustar launched a second-party data marketplace powered by Fabrick.

NBCU’s Peacock tapped Innovid to power a new ad serving standard for the streaming platform that will guarantee advertisers a 95% creative acceptance rate.

Cameo partnered with Sendoso to allow businesses to send celebrity video messages to B2B prospects.

In the media

Well, that was a quick bite. Seven months and $1.75 billion later, Quibi will shut down after underdelivering on audience growth and advertiser commitments.

ViacomCBS promoted Pluto TV CEO Tom Ryan to CEO of ViacomCBS Streaming in another streaming-induced reorg.

Morning Brew is in talks to sell to Business Insider for a reported $75 million.

Amazon Prime will stream an NFL Playoff game this season as live sports slowly shifts over the top.

TikTok partnered with OpenSlate on brand safety.

Pinterest joined the Global Alliance for Responsible Media.

Group Nine’s The Dodo is getting into pet insurance with a minority stake in Petplan.

Apple has combined Apple Music and Apple TV with the launch of a U.S. music video streaming channel.

Esports network VENN raised $26 million in a series A round, and subscription podcast company Quake launched with $2.5 million in seed funding.

On D&I

Citi became the first bank to adopt Mastercard’s True Name initiative, which allows trans and nonbinary people to choose the name that appears on their credit card.

Starbucks has committed to filling 30% of corporate roles and 40% of retail and manufacturing roles by BIPOC employees by 2025.

Canadian nonprofit Egale launched an out-of-home campaign with agency Cosette that boldly featured three people coming out publicly for National Coming Out Day.

A new spot from Adobe, When I See Black, celebrates Black creators.Social enterprise organization Genesys Works and agency Burns Group launched a spot encouraging corporate America to fight systemic racism.

For good

Seventeen Chicago agencies pledged to donate 1% of staff hours to the By Chicago. For Chicago campaign, an effort to make life in the city better across 77 neighborhoods.

Diet Coke is launching a sweepstakes for National Bosses Day to reward great bosses with a year’s worth of the fizzy brown cola.

Guinness is selling a limited edition Guinness Gives Back pack with a pledge to donate up to $750,000 to charitable U.S. organizations.

T-Mobile will increase its donations to the Little League Call Up Grant Program and give away 5G-enabled phones during the 5th inning of MLB playoff and World Series games.

Volunteer coalition Green The Bid launched to help the advertising industry shift to more sustainable practices.

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