Amazon Walkouts Echo History; 6 Ways Advertisers Can Fight COVID-19: Wednesday’s First Things First

Plus, learn how gaming engines are powering a new world of ads

Striker workers at Amazon and other retailers
Striking warehouse workers follow a long line of retail employees who have fought for better working conditions. Photo Illustration: Trent Joaquin; Source: Getty Images
Headshot of Jess Zafarris

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How Walkouts at Amazon Mirror Retail Strikes Through History

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, so do reports of protests among the essential workers at companies like Amazon, Whole Foods, Instacart and Target.

This moment in history is certainly unprecedented, but these strikes echo the time of the Great Depression and World War II. In 1941, workers at the department store Gimbels went on strike to demand the eight-hour workday recently adopted by the manufacturing industry, and in 1944, at the height of World War II, the Montgomery Ward strike in Chicago redefined workers’ rights to fair pay and benefits.

Read more: While it’s clear employees are up against a formidable foe, history shows their cause may not be lost if they can appeal to American consumers.

  • Related: Adweek talked with Chris Smalls—perhaps best known as the guy Amazon fired after organizing a walkout—about his experience inside Amazon’s warehouses, why he organized the walkout, and what comes next for him.

6 Ways Marketers Can Play a Vital, Appreciated Role in Fighting COVID-19

Many brands are jumping into the altruism game to help communities and customers as the pandemic rages on. But will these efforts make a lasting impact? Hillary Haley, a social psychologist at L.A. agency RPA, says brands can see the most benefit long-term “if they can play the connector role” between worthy causes and anxious consumers.

Agency Fancy put out a series of images and GIFs for the peer-to-peer platform Mask Match that enables people to send unused personal protective gear directly to medical professionals. And Lowe’s, sticking with its DIY messaging, encouraged consumers to make signs of gratitude for delivery, health-care and retail workers.

Read more: Here are strategies that can help you strike the right tone and make a difference as a marketer today.

  • Related: Spice brand McCormick has shifted its marketing and is now engaging with at-home chefs with social media Q&As, cooking tutorials, Spotify playlists and positive “It’s Gonna Be Good” messaging.

As Agencies Keep Adapting, Game Engines Emerge as an Effective Tool to Keep Work Going

Video game engines like Unity and Unreal are becoming essential tools while filming is on hold. Production company The Mill, for instance, used game engines for a Google Pixel 3 ad featuring Childish Gambino, among several other projects. The main benefit of using game engines for production is that they can render content much faster than more traditional tools—and it can be paired with AR and VR for even more opportunities.

Read more: In addition, experiential clients that usually work in more physical spaces are looking to develop virtual activations and digital experiences.

Adweek has expanded its offering of live shows, webinars and virtual events during the crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s a schedule of events and links where you can tune in.

Omnicom CEO John Wren Outlines Cost-Cutting Measures Including Furloughs and Layoffs

In an internal email to employees of Omnicom agencies, CEO John Wren outlined a series of cost-saving measures the holding company is taking in response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, including furloughs and layoffs. Wren is the first holding company CEO to reveal that he is forgoing his salary for the foreseeable future as he won’t take a salary until the end of September.

Read more: Wren said that Omnicom will participate in government subsidy programs in various offices around the world, where possible, to avoid the need for layoffs.

How Fiat’s Experience in Italy Informed Its Creative in the US Today

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is based in the two countries that were among those hit hardest by the pandemic. Fortunately, Fiat’s experience in Italy helped its sister brands for what was to come. We talked with Olivier Francois, CMO of FCA and Fiat president, about how the brand turned a cancelled exhibition into an act of solidarity with Italy—and then extended its #StayAtHome social campaign across the broader company.

Read more: The strategy has been individualized for each brand, from Jeep’s #StayOffTheRoad to Alfa Romeo’s #MorePowerfulInPark.

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@JessZafarris Jess Zafarris is an audience engagement editor at Adweek.