Ad Tech in a Post-Cookie World; Oscars Fall to Record Low Ratings: Tuesday’s First Things First

Plus, the quest to reinvent canned and frozen produce

The announcement has a lot of ad-tech companies nervous for what's to come. Fanatic Studio/Gary Waters
Headshot of Jess Zafarris

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How Ad Tech Is Bracing for Life After the Cookie

Google’s decision to become the latest browser to kill the cookie has industry trade groups scrambling to pick up the pieces. The IAB Tech Lab, the research and development arm of the IAB, wants to lead a broad coalition of interests that can come to a consensus about how to continue online advertising. The trade organization is planning an announcement at this year’s IAB Annual Leadership Meeting concerning how the industry will move ahead when it comes to targeting online ads.

One proposal currently under consideration puts forward the idea of using a recently launched common data taxonomy and publishers’ first-party data, where a user registers an ID such as an email address, to help advertisers target audience types. Advertisers can then find their desired audiences by bidding against a relevant audience ID that is created using this verified data, as opposed to a cookie, with the working theory that it can be applied across browsers.

Read more: However, the next two years are still likely to see a significant shock to the system.

Del Monte’s Quest to Change How Americans Feel About Canned Produce

In a report commissioned by the company, Del Monte Foods, maker of canned fruits and vegetables, learned that only 19% of Americans consider frozen produce healthy, and a mere 13% said the same about prepackaged goods. By contrast, the majority of people believe fresh (78%) and organic (61%) food is good for them. The view that fresh fruits and vegetables are healthy, while frozen and canned are not, has been around for a while, and it’s a problem for companies like Del Monte. But according to experts, whether fruits and vegetables are fresh, frozen, canned or dried, they’re all nutritionally equivalent.

Read More: Learn how the company’s latest campaign aims to change minds about prepackaged produce.

Oscars Fall to Record Low Ratings Following Second Hostless Year

Last year, the first hostless Academy Awards in three decades resulted in ratings that rose year-over-year for the first time since 2014.  Last year’s ceremony was the most-watched entertainment telecast of 2019. So ABC and the Academy elected to go without an emcee again this year—but instead of repeating 2019’s ratings growth, the 2020 telecast fell to the awards show’s lowest ratings ever. The 92nd Oscars drew 23.6 million total viewers and a 5.3 rating in the adults 18-49 demo, according to Nielsen’s fast national ratings. That’s a 20% decrease in total viewers and a 31% demo drop from last year’s ceremony, which was watched by 29.6 million people and had a 7.7 demo rating. The 2020 ceremony is now the lowest-rated Oscars ever, eclipsing 2018’s telecast, which had 26.5 million total viewers and a 6.8 demo rating.

Read More: See where the awards show stands compared to the Grammys and the Golden Globes, and why the ratings shortfall didn’t impact ABC’s bottom line.

Also at the Oscars:

  • The #GiveHerABreak campaign used an online portal to watch the Oscars, replacing commercial breaks with trailers for over a dozen of the buzzworthy and blockbuster films directed by women last year—to remind viewers that the Academy voters that collectively snubbed female directors.
  • For this year’s Oscars broadcast, Google created an ad that features one of its relatively little-known mapping features: the ability to pinpoint where famous movie locations can be found in the real world.

The Conners Airs Live Tonight, Reacting to New Hampshire Primary Results in Real Time
ABC’s sitcom, The Conners, will air live tonight as the New Hampshire primary results come in—and it’ll incorporate the network’s Democratic primary coverage into the storyline.

In the episode, “Live from Lanford,” Mark (played by Ames McNamara), the son of Sara Gilbert’s Darlene, must watch the primary results for a school report. The live performance is part of the ABC’s efforts to “bring some much-deserved swagger back to broadcast television,” as ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke explained last month. As part of its new network strategy, ABC will air at least one live or tentpole event every month to leverage the power of broadcast television over its streaming rivals.

Read More: Tonight’s live episode of The Conners is the second of ABC’s two big February events after the Oscars.

After Months of Turbulence, Brandless Is Shutting Down

Brandless, once a direct-to-consumer darling brand selling grocery and other essential items, is shutting down. Launched in July 2017, Brandless promised household goods at only $3 each. The company started off with food and essentials and eventually expanded into pet, baby products and CBD—at a higher price point of $9. In May 2018, Brandless also held a pop-up experience in Los Angeles and New York to further increase brand awareness. In July 2019, Brandless received $240 million in a Series C round of funding from Softbank Vision Fund—the same fund which took over control WeWork, after its IPO snafu.

Read More: Business at Brandless has been shaky for some time. Learn what happened at the company.

Best of the Rest: Today’s Top News and Insights

Ad of the Day: Postmates Takes Cravings to a Surreal New Level

Giving in to the call of the craving is at the heart of Postmates’ newest marketing campaign, which includes print, digital, out-of-home ads and a surreal TV spot that devoured some attention during Sunday’s Oscars broadcast.


@JessZafarris jessica.farris@adweek.com Jess Zafarris (née Jessica Farris) is an audience engagement editor at Adweek.