Can Quibi Be Saved?; Amazon Nixes Redskins Merch: Friday’s First Things First

Plus, learn how three bike brands adjusted their marketing strategies to meet a pandemic-induced boom in sales

illustration from the POV of someone riding a bike with others on bikes in front
Covid-19 presented an unexpected opportunity for bike brands as more people want to bike for exercise and to avoid public transit. Photo Illustration: Trent Joaquin; Source: Unsplash
Headshot of Jess Zafarris

Welcome to First Things First, Adweek’s daily resource for marketers. We’ll be publishing the content to First Things First on Adweek.com each morning (like this post), but if you prefer that it come straight to your inbox, you can sign up for the email here.

3 Months In, Can Short-Form Streamer Quibi Be Saved?

Quibi has reached the end of the 90-day free trial period for its earliest adopters, and its ability to convert paid subscriptions is deeply underwhelming: Only 72,000 of users who installed the app from April 6 to 8 converted to paid subscribers on July 5, despite the fact that the app has been downloaded approximately 4.5 million times, according to data analytics firm Sensor Tower.

Analyst Dan Rayburn says it’s a matter of the platform trying “to be everything for everybody” with content that’s “all over the place.” The platform tried to compete with TikTok and YouTube rather than with traditional streamers, and in its advertising, it touted the overall platform rather than the specific programming that could have given users more reasons to watch.

Next steps: Now Quibi has to turn things around—and part of that means making good with its current, disappointed advertisers while bringing in new ones.

Premium | After Yearlong Search, WarnerMedia Expects to Hire a New Ad Sales Chief Soon

Ad sales chief Donna Speciale abruptly left WarnerMedia a year ago, and the position still hasn’t been filled. Now, a hire may finally be on the horizon, after CRO Gerhard Zeiler told staff he decided “to change the leadership structure” in order to help the ad sales business “stay at the top and lead the industry.” In the meantime, Zeiler has been filling in on an interim basis with a three-person operational team for backup. A search began, but it was sidelined when AT&T consolidated and moved Xandr, its ad-tech unit, into WarnerMedia under Zeiler.

A redefined role: Following the integration, the new hire will likely oversee both the WarnerMedia and the Xandr ad sales teams, which work separately but closely.

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These Brands Adjusted Their Marketing to Capitalize on the Bike Boom

The pandemic has turned many people into cycling enthusiasts, with manufacturer sales of bikes to U.S. retailers up 103% and the number of bikes sold up almost 50% year over year—and bike manufacturers have risen to meet the demand with new marketing tactics.

Giant has focused on supporting retailers, along with financing programs, home delivery incentives, promotions and educational content for consumers. Brompton’s “Go the Social Distance” campaign encouraged people to bike more as a means of staying active and commuting safely, and Specialized provided bikes for essential workers who wanted to avoid public transit.

A quick pivot: Trek had planned to tout environmental benefits of biking, but instead launched a highly successful social media campaign to get cyclists sharing photos and build a sense of community.

Black Advocacy Nonprofit 600 & Rising Names Inaugural Board of Directors

600 & Rising, the nonprofit founded by Bennett D. Bennett and Nathan Young after they initiated an open letter to agency leadership signed by over 600 Black employees, has named a board of directors and formed an advisory council. The nonprofit already represents more than 2,800 Black members and non-Black allies and has secured a partnership with the 4A’s. Dozens of agencies and several holding companies including Wieden + Kennedy, 72andSunny, R/GA, Dentsu Aegis Network and Publicis Groupe have committed to participate in the nonprofit’s #CommitToChange initiative, which asks for public sharing of internal diversity data. Meet the board of directors and the advisory council here.

Amazon Tells Sellers to Remove Washington Redskins Merchandise

Walmart, Target and now Amazon have all discontinued sales of Washington Redskins merchandise as the movement to change the team’s racist name gains more momentum. On July 8, third-party sellers were notified and given 48 hours to remove flagged products. These moves follow FedEx and PepsiCo discussing the name with the team, as well as Nike pulling Redskins merchandise from its online store, which led the franchise to begin a formal review of its name.

Ongoing shifts: More brands and institutions are responding to the BLM movement and calls for racial justice across the country.

More of Today’s Top News and Highlights

Here’s What 500 Black Americans Have to Say About Black Representation in Advertising

Quote from the Burns Group survey

A poll by Burns Group’s BrandInformers asked self-identified Black and African American respondents just one question: “How are you represented in advertising (if at all)?” A majority of the 500 anonymous responses were placed on a stark webpage with the intent of quickly reaching as much of the advertising industry as possible—and demonstrating that advertising still has a long way to go.

Responses range from celebratory to heartbreaking: “We are portrayed to be dirty, animals and heartless when we are nothing of the such,” said a 13-year-old girl in New Jersey.

More of the Latest


@JessZafarris jessica.zafarris@adweek.com Jess Zafarris is an audience engagement editor at Adweek.
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