Movers & Shakers: Sanofi, 22squared, WarnerMedia, Coca-Cola

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

Agency news

Omnicom Media Group won the global media account for pharma giant Sanofi, while Havas retained the brand’s $600 million account in North America. 

WPP is shedding 700,000 square feet — one-third of its office space in New York City — as it cuts real estate expenses by up to 20% by 2025. 

The Martin Agency and McCann made it to the next round in an ongoing Home Depot creative review.

Uber named R/GA its global social AOR.

Indie agency Barkley was named AOR for Post Cereal Consumer Brands and Mischief @ No Fixed Address won the AOR for liquid hand soap startup Gelo. Bakery was appointed lead creative agency for Shiner Beers after the brand ditched The Richards Group earlier this year.

Influencer and talent agency Shine Talent Group acquired Toronto-based influencer management agency Fourth Floor Management.

22squared hired former Arnold exec Zamile Vilakazi as executive producer and promoted Janis Middleton to SVP, executive director of multicultural and inclusion strategy and Mindy Adams to SVP, ECD and head of the Tampa office. 

In the Media

WarnerMedia has lost at least 35 execs since Jason Kilar became CEO in May as part of a massive restructuring focused on streaming. Some people were dismissed as part of company layoffs, while others elected to leave or retire, like Warner Bros.’ television operations chairman Peter Roth

Roku now offers HBO Max to its 46 million active users after finally reaching a distribution deal with WarnerMedia. The agreement came after WarnerMedia’s bombshell announcement that its 2021 film slate will release concurrently in theaters and on HBO Max at no extra charge.

Amazon Fire TV devices reached 50 million monthly active users in November, surpassing Roku’s 46 million active users.

B2B publisher Industry Dive has acquired media brand CFO.com and plans to launch Payments Dive, a new vertical focused on money and finance, in early 2021.

Vice’s food vertical, Munchies, launched an account on the creator platform OnlyFans, the first time a verified media publisher has joined the subscription site. 

Taboola is repaying publishers $16 million in revenue guarantees that were postponed due to the pandemic.

IAC plans to spin off Vimeo, which will make the video hosting and software company an independent publicly traded company after the deal closes in 2021.

Sykes Enterprises acquired the Penny Hoarder, a finance publication based in St. Petersburg, Florida, through its digital marketing subsidiary Clearlink

Newsletter innovation platform WhereBy.Us raises $5.5 million in a seed round.

MGM Holdings began a formal sale process with investment banks Morgan Stanley and LionTree LLC. The company has an estimated market value of $5.5 billion based on privately traded shares, and including debt.

Down in D.C.

A bombshell accusation by 10 Republican State AGs, led by Texas, revealed that Facebook and Google struck a deal in 2018 that gave Facebook preferential pricing and treatment for not competing with Google’s ad tech tools. The deal also included an agreement for the companies to help each other if they ever faced antitrust lawsuits. 

TikTok came under scrutiny again for data security concerns, this time for covertly routing international job applicant data through servers in China.

The Washington Post has adopted Unified ID 2.0, the privacy-safe cookie replacement from The Trade Desk, across its site. 

Ad spending for the Georgia runoff election on Jan. 5 is nearing $500 million, per AdAge.

Tech download

FreeWheel, the video ad tech company owned by Comcast, acquired Beeswax, a bidder- as-a-service technology for media buying. 

Reddit tapped Moat by Oracle Data Cloud as its first third-party verification vendor. 

Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking acquired ad fraud detection startup White Ops as digital fraud continues to grow. 

The MRC announced a new executive committee for next year and the following, and launched a new Data Quality Subcommittee.

Kantar is now offering audiences and insights on Amazon’s AWS Data Exchange

TikTok banned ads promoting pyramid schemes and multilevel marketing. 

Creative AI platform startup Runway raised $8.5 million.  

Content recommendation company Taboola is considering a $3 billion IPO after an aborted merger with rival Outbrain.  

Brand Buzz

Coca-Cola will cut about 2,200 jobs globally, including 1,200 in the U.S., as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates its restructuring plan. 

Nike’s e-commerce revenue increased 84% in Q3, boosted by its mobile app and strong demand from China.

The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) asked Verizon to discontinue advertising claiming Verizon Fios provides the “fastest internet available” unless the internet company provides data supporting the claim. 

Mountain Dew will make its second straight appearance at the Super Bowl following the PepsiCo brand’s The Shining Super Bowl ad in 2020.

Moderna launched its first-ever consumer ad campaign in partnership with TBWA/Chiat/LA in an effort to boost confidence in its COVID-19 vaccine.

DoorDash’s Art for Foodies initiative offered customers the opportunity to win art by internationally-known Latin artists by ordering the most of a selected item from Latin restaurants in Miami through the app. 

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