Challenger Brands 2020 Is a Wrap; Early TV Upfronts Canceled: Friday’s First Things First

Plus, a first look at activations and campaigns for Women's History Month

Shay Mitchell spoke onstage at Challenger Brands in conversation with Adweek departments editor Ko Im.
Headshot of Kathryn Lundstrom

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.

Challenger Brands 2020 Is a Wrap!

Adweek’s second annual Challenger Brands summit in New York wrapped up after two jam-packed days of panels, breakout sessions and networking centered on today’s top issues in the world of marketing—all from the perspective of up-and-coming brands. Here are a few highlights from today:

Early TV Upfront Plans Upended by Coronavirus Concerns

Two March upfront presentations—a “Nowfront” from Comcast’s FreeWheel on March 12, and a Fox News Media event on March 24—were both scrapped this week due to coronavirus concerns. The other upfront events set for March are all still a go as of now. The show went on for CNN, however, which kicked off upfront season with its CNN Experience for buyers last night. Predictably, the coronavirus epidemic was a topic of conversation. And the other two big March upfront presentations—AMC Networks’ event on March 18 and A+E Networks’ gathering on March 25—are still scheduled to go forward, for now.

Read more: Fox News canceled its event on Tuesday and FreeWheel followed suit the next day.

  • Coronavirus Tracker: Starz and WarnerMedia backed out of SXSW, pulling media activations from all of its brands like CNN and HBO. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 all tumbled by over three percentage points at the close of Thursday’s trading sessions. All three of the major U.S. stock indexes lost the almost 4% gains they made the day prior. Read more: See all the latest updates.

Fiverr Opens a Store Where People Can Hire Female Freelancers

Yesterday, gig economy platform Fiverr launched its first Women’s History Month campaign with an online storefront that highlights women freelancers. Fiverr’s campaign also includes promoting female talent through a podcast sponsorship (Wonder Media Network’s Encyclopedia Womanica) and a March 18 panel discussion with diversity and inclusion consultant Yai Vargas alongside women from Shutterstock, Etsy, Roofheads and of course, Fiverr.

Read more: Despite a gender pay gap that’s alive and well in 2020, women make more than men on Fiverr—where freelancers are able to set their own rates.

More coverage of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month:

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

Ad of the Day: You’re Going to Love the Payoff to This Fanta Ad That Puts Idiots on a Pedestal

Each spot for Fanta’s new campaign by 72andSunny perfectly invokes the serious drama of an ad for a sports brand. Epic music, a deep-voiced commentary and a look inside grueling training regimens. But rather than culminate in some cookie cutter statement about what it means to be “great” or whatever, it’s just an ode to idiots. And how much time they spend preparing for silly videos just to send to their friends or post on TikTok. Chill out, says Fanta, and just have some fun. Laugh. It’s good for you.


Confessions of the Adweek Executive Mentees

The inaugural Adweek Executive Mentor Program (which will double in size in 2020) connected 110 of the world’s top leaders with 116 executive mentees—the up-and-coming leaders of tomorrow. The mentees share their experiences with the program, as well as these key takeaways:

“Most people get asked the question, where do you see yourself in 3 years, 5 years? I like to instead think about, where do I want my career to end?”

— Jasmine Atherton, mentored by Kenny Mitchell, CMO, Snap Inc.

“Who cares what the title is! It could be anything, but if it involves doing things that are interesting and meaningful, creating higher value, then I would take whatever the job is called.”

— Tara Hagan, mentored by David Rubin, CMO, The New York Times

More of the Latest:


@klundster kathryn.lundstrom@adweek.com Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.
{"taxonomy":"","sortby":"","label":"","shouldShow":""}