Adweek’s 2020 Retail Outlook; How to Fight Amazon Copycats: Monday’s First Things First

Plus, addressing advertising’s ageism problem

Among the trends to look for are click and collect, healthier menu options and fashion brand alliances. Sources: Walmart, Denny's, Bonobos
Headshot of Jess Zafarris

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2020 Retail Outlook: Here’s What’s in Store for Fashion, Restaurants and More

Retail today is a battleground, with cash-rich Amazon, Target and Walmart all fighting for market share, offering consumers ever-cheaper goods and more convenience, subsidized by their balance sheets. This puts increasing pressure on their competitors to be more creative than ever, exciting shoppers to visit both their physical and online stores. In December, Adweek outlined a number of broad trends across retail we’ll see this year, including more media networks, voice shopping, personalization, improvement in the customer experience and increased attention to consumer privacy. But there are also important trends developing within specific segments.

Read more: Learn what to expect, from apparel and fashion to grocery and restaurants.

More on retail trends and developments:

This Small Independent Chicago Agency Was Behind Two of This Year’s Best Super Bowl Ads

Aside from being among this year’s highest-rated Super Bowl ads, what do Rocket Mortgage’s “Comfortable” starring Jason Momoa and Jeep’s “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray have in common? They were created by the same small, independent agency: Chicago’s Highdive. A full-service creative shop launched in 2016 by DDB veterans Mark Gross and Chad Broude, who both serve as CCOs, Highdive is currently listed as having between 11 and 50 employees on LinkedIn. The agency faced particularly challenging circumstances in the production of the Jeep ad, but managed to pull the project together to the delight of both the brand and viewers.

Read more: Jeep and Rocket Mortgage spoke with Adweek about the process of working with this boutique agency.

How Brands Fight Back When Their Product Gets Knocked Off on Amazon

Copycat products are widely available on Amazon thanks to the proliferation of third-party sellers—1.2 million of which were added in 2019. The availability of these products on Amazon poses a real problem for brands that want to control quality, the customer experience and their reputation. And battling them can be a never-ending process. Even if a brand determines that a product is fake and succeeds in getting Amazon to take down the listing, 10 to 20 other listings pop up in the meantime, says David Barnett, CEO of consumer electronics accessories brand PopSockets. “It’s like Whac-A-Mole,” he says. “You’re almost always losing the sale to one or another counterfeiter.”

Read more: In this week’s cover story, discover what brands are doing to combat these copycat products as they pop up.

Challenging Advertising’s Ageism Problem

In advertising, 62% of workers are under 45, and the median age is 40.2 and has remained virtually the same for more than a decade. At least in part, this is the result of the “[fetishization] of youth in advertising as if it’s a magic elixir for creativity and innovation,” according to Ian Sohn, WPP’s global client lead. The other element, Sohn explains, is that challenges to earnings often result in efforts to make labor more affordable—jettisoning bigger (older) salaries in order to make way for smaller (younger) ones. “What emerges is a situation in which advertising professionals of a certain age must change how we think, work and vocally advocate for ourselves and peers,” Sohn writes.

Op-ed: Sohn offers four ways to change the narrative around getting older in the industry.

Best of the Rest:

Weedmaps Wishes ‘Happy 4:20’ to L.A. Every Day

A handful of cannabis buds have been artfully stacked and lovingly photographed for a massive outdoor ad with the tagline, “Happy 4:20 LA.” Sponsor Weedmaps plans a yearlong takeover of the space every afternoon at precisely that celebrated smoke-out moment. And this isn’t just any billboard—it’s one of the largest digital displays in the country that launched Monday in downtown Los Angeles, the top U.S. marijuana market. Weedmaps is its only cannabis advertiser.


For Black History Month, we asked marketers about the best ways for agencies to amplify Black voices.

“The best way for agencies to amplify black voices is to ensure their connection to the black community is authentic. Agencies need representation at the decision-making table, as well as creative talent and content creators.”

—Corean Canty, Chief Operating Officer, Goodway Group

“The best way to amplify Black voices is to continue developing, elevating and providing growth experiences for Black and inclusive talent within our agency, as well as when we evaluate opportunities for our clients. By having the perspective of diverse voices internally, we are empowered to look at opportunities and challenges for our clients from a variety of angles, which gives us the best chance of developing solutions that matter to people in a world where the audience base critical to growth is shifting rapidly.”

—Esther (E.T.) Franklin, EVP, Managing Director of Global Strategy & Cultural Fluency, Spark Foundry

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