Welcome to First Things First, Adweek’s new 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.
The 25 Best Ads of 2019
Our top ads of the year inevitably come from a wide array of sources. There’s work from global titans like Nike and Apple and challenger brands like Aviation Gin and Sipsmith Gin (big year for gin advertising, apparently). JIF, Splenda and Halo Top left us in tears from laughing, while Canada’s SickKids Foundation, Sandy Hook’s Promise and March For Our Lives generated tears over emotional, gut-wrenching spots. And the Super Bowl of advertising—the actual Super Bowl—lived up to the hype: The year’s top ad came from marketing’s biggest (k)night (wink, wink).
Exclusive: How Ryan Reynolds Pulled Off Aviation Gin’s Peloton Parody, Capping His Year of Genius Ads
It all started with a text. 75 hours later, Aviation Gin revealed an ad starring Monica Ruiz, the actress at the center of Peloton’s much-ridiculed ad. The text—between actor Ryan Reynolds and his creative partner George Dewey—set in motion a whirlwind couple days. In an interview with Adweek, Reynolds said he called Ruiz three times during the filming, including after the completion of the spot, to give her a chance to back out if she didn’t feel comfortable being in the spot.
Hallmark CEO Apologizes, Company Will ‘Reinstate’ Zola’s Same-Sex Wedding Ads
During Hallmark’s most lucrative period of the year, its Countdown to Christmas marathon, the network sparked outrage after pulling a Zola ad featuring a same-sex couple. Competitors like Freeform and Netflix slammed the network for the move. Before the weekend was even over, Hallmark’s CEO apologized, reinstated the ads and vowed to make things right. Hallmark initially pulled the ads after pressure from the conservative group One Million Moms.
Nestle Pushes More Sugar Products Off Portfolio in Latest Sale
At Nestle, candy and ice cream are out. Last year, the conglomerate dumped its chocolate business, selling brands like Butterfinger and Baby Ruth—to Italian confectionery manufacturer Ferrero Group for $2.8 billion. Nestle is now in the process of offloading its ice cream portfolio, which includes Häagen-Dazs, Dreyer’s and Drumstick for $4 billion. The brand owned 15% of America’s ice cream market before the move. Why is Nestle making these moves? Sugar is falling out of favor with Americans.
Best of the Rest: Today’s Top News and Insight
- Dentsu Aegis Network Names New CEO for the Americas
- Why Tech Platforms Have a Responsibility to Reel In Political Ads
- Creative Director Suing Doner for Age Discrimination Seeks Detailed Info to Bolster Case
- Stan Richards, 87-Year-Old Founder of The Richards Group, Names Successor
- Neighborhood Goods Opens in NYC to Target a Different Type of Customer
- Advertisers Want to De-Risk Their Reliance on Google and Facebook
Agencies Reveal How to Celebrate the Holidays in a Unique Way
Michelle Miller, director of people and culture, Madwell
What are some interesting and unique things your agency does to celebrate the holidays?
For our party, we like supporting other local businesses, and this year we went with Turks Inn. The space is super kitschy, and in its first incarnation, quite popular in the 60s and 70s in Wisconsin. We wanted to honor that, and yes, we thought people would enjoy dressing up in disco. Apart from the party, we also do sweaters with fake businesses, which we started three years ago. Since its inception, we’ve done a car service, a landscaping company, and now pet movers. (We’re moving offices next year so it’s a bit of an inside joke). We weren’t planning on this becoming a recurring gift, but the sweatshirts have become a collector’s item of sorts around the agency.
Does your company do anything special to close out the year as a company?
Taking off the week between Christmas and the New Year is such a gift, I don’t know why this isn’t more common. Some people even save up their time and take off for a full two and a half, even three weeks. That time is incredibly restorative which is so valuable in an industry that trades in overwhelm and churn and burn. Everyone comes back from break excited and ready to hit the ground running.
Google’s Year in Search Video Lauds the Heroes of 2019
WWE Creates Channel on TikTok
Why Baseball Purists Are Not Happy With Nike’s Swoosh on MLB’s New Jerseys
Twitter Trust and Safety Council Eyes Expansion, Reorganization
Walmart Zooms to Texas With Fifth Autonomous Grocery Delivery Pilot