Walmart+ to Compete With Amazon; Coronavirus Impacts Olympics, Facebook: Friday’s First Things First

Plus, WPP stock dives following anticipated revenue decline

Woman wearing mask taking photos in front of city skyline
Japan has $12 billion at stake this summer as it hosts the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Getty Images
Headshot of Jess Zafarris

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Walmart Is Creating an Amazon Prime-Like Membership Program

Walmart is developing an Amazon Prime-like membership program called Walmart+. The service could launch as early as March and will supplant Walmart’s preexisting grocery delivery service service, which served 200 metro areas as of late 2019. Walmart hopes to attract Prime members with lower grocery prices. Walmart is also considering features and perks including text-to-order options (Walmart just canned its previous text-to-shop option, Jetblack) and discounts on prescriptions or gas.

Read more: This is the latest in Walmart’s Amazon-like moves, despite some dissonance with the retailer’s no-fee messaging.

WPP Stock Stumbles Following Anticipated Q4 Revenue Decline

WPP stock took a dive on Thursday morning after the holding company reported a decline in Q4 revenue. WPP CEO Mark Read said that such losses had been anticipated and were in line with the holding company’s guidance for the year, while admitting that WPP “should have been more forceful in reiterating” those expectations in Q4. Restructuring, new management and other factors made 2019 a year of transitions for the company.

Read more: Nonetheless, Read was optimistic and said WPP anticipated flat growth for 2020.

Privacy Changes Are Making Mobile Advertising More Complicated

The in-app mobile advertising economy–ads not served across the mobile web, but within apps–is forecast to be worth $226 billion across the globe by 2025. But with regulations increasingly focusing on privacy in the industry, the path forward will require new measures to ensure consumer security. Although Apple and Google have killed the third-party cookie, no comparable measures currently exists for in-app advertising—but they may be on the horizon.

Read more: While this is potentially detrimental for in-app advertising, some expect a lifeline will be thrown.

Coronavirus Updates: Brands and Events Respond to the Outbreak—or, in Some Cases, Forge Ahead

While many brands and event planners across the world are responding to the coronavirus outbreak, some are simply monitoring the situation, while still others forge ahead with their plans for the coming months. Citing the coronavirus outbreak Facebook announced it has canceled F8, the social network’s annual developer conference. Facebook said it is planning alternative ways of getting together, including locally hosted events, videos and livestreamed content.

The International Olympic Committee is playing the waiting game as it looks ahead to the potential impacts of the outbreak on the 2020 Games in Tokyo. With more than 800 cases of the virus reported in Japan, the IOC is looking at countermeasures and keeping in touch with its global partners, including Coca-Cola, P&G, Intel and other major brands that are poised to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the Olympics.

Also in Japan, Dentsu Aegis Network has updated travel guidance for employees across the network and closed Dentsu Japan headquarters after two employees were found to have tested positive for coronavirus.

In contrast, Richard Branson’s upcoming millennial-focused cruise line, Virgin Voyages, is set to begin sailing this March with its first ship despite coronavirus fears. The virus began to spread during peak summer booking season, and just as the cruise industry was expecting to break industry records.

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

How BET Made Black History Month ‘Queer As F**K!’

Each day in February, BET has been posting a photo of a different black LGBTQ creator on Instagram as part of its month-long #29DaysOfQueerExcellence social campaign. The beautifully shot portraits feature a wide range of black queer writers, filmmakers, activists, performers and more. Historically, BET has not had a strong reputation as an LGBTQ-inclusive brand, so highlighting black LGBTQ creators is an innovative approach to Black History Month.

8 portraits of black queer creators who were featured on BET's Instagram by the Queer As F**K franchise

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:

“Challenge the status quo to drive action-ability at a pace that makes us win.” — Shivanku Misra (mentored by Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer, Walmart) 

“Creativity has the power to bend logic. Fernando really challenged me to bridge the gap, to lean into creative, design criteria and managing agencies.”Jeanne Fu (mentored by Fernando Machado, global CMO, Burger King)  

“I realized every time I truly swung for the fences, I either got fired or promoted. To make it in this industry, you have to take those swings. The key difference is you have to bet on yourself.” — Jeremy Schumann (mentored by Kristin Patrick, CBO, Sugar23, formerly CMO, PepsiCo Brand) 

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