What Marketers Get Paid; Should We Save Ghost Ads: Thursday’s First Things First

Plus, Ryan Reynolds creates advertising's version of Inception

This ghost sign in Pittsburgh is a relic of a bygone era. Nikki Villagomez
Headshot of Jameson Fleming

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.

A Google Spreadsheet of Agency Salaries Is Making the Rounds

Earlier this month, journalists shared their salaries anonymously in a Google doc. The show of solidarity inspired the agency community to do the same. As of late last night, nearly 2,000 members of the ad industry shared their salaries, as well as demographic info and years of experience. While it comes with the disclaimer that none of the salaries are verified, it’s an interesting snapshot into the industry.

Read more: Compare alleged salaries across the industry. For instance, a white, female art director in Cleveland with five years of experience, for example, entered a salary of $41,000 while another in Los Angeles, with exactly the same tenure, allegedly makes $105,000.

Ghost Signs, Bygone Ads Painted on Buildings, Are Fading Away—Should We Let Them?

If you’ve ever worked in an older city, odds are you’ve noticed those old painted ads on building. They’re slowly disappearing, fading into history or crumbling to the ground as new buildings replace the aging structures. While some brands like Coca-Cola are acting to restore these relics of a different era of advertising, there’s a movement to let them be—let them serve their purpose as reminders of a different time, but let them eventually fade away.

Read more: Learn more about the history of ghost ads.

Ryan Reynolds Sneaks an Aviation Gin Ad Into a Movie Ad Inside a Samsung Ad

When I spoke with Ryan Reynolds earlier this summer for Adweek’s Creative 100 list, Reynolds made it very clear: He loves being the creative force behind Aviation Gin. He’s embraced the ad industry to the fullest, which he makes abundantly clear in his new Samsung ad. I mean movie ad. I mean Aviation Gin ad. He bought “mid-roll ad placement”—as he calls it—to squish together three ads into one.

Watch it: See the hilarious spot that our creativity editor David Griner called the “turducken of TV advertising.

What the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Can Teach Us About Going Viral and Connecting With Communities

Brands dream of a moment like the one that came for the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich this summer. At our Brandweek summit earlier this month, Fernando Machado, the global CMO for Burger King and Popeyes; Angela Brown, social strategist at GSD&M; and God-is Rivera, the global director of culture and community at Twitter, walked through a fascinating analysis of how the brand nailed the execution.

Read more: The trio explained a number of key insights from Popeyes’ eye-popping success.

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

Ad of the Day: Anna Kendrick Is a Snack-tastic Triple Threat in Frito Lay’s Fun First Holiday Ad


Anna Kendrick turns “My Favorite Things” into a holiday chip-themed classic with a music video dedicated to Lays, Cheetos, Doritos and more.

How can younger employees advocate for themselves/celebrate their accomplishments without being perceived as a braggart?

Andrew Tracy, co-founder, One Thousand Birds

I see it as the responsibility for everyone else at the company to make new employees feel welcome and confident. Taking a moment to informally announce that someone did a great job opens everyone up. It’s not only a chance to congratulate a new hire, but it’s a chance to say ‘why is this good and what can we all take away from this?’ We also use specific slack channels to encourage this kind of communication and supportive culture. There are little victories every day and it’s great to celebrate even the smallest thing, because it keeps that dialogue open and keeps everyone thinking positively about what they’re doing.

Kamron Hack, director of people and culture, Firewood

Younger employees can get comfortable asking for feedback from their peers and leaders to begin the process of advocating for themselves. Asking for feedback shows a desire to learn and grow. It also exhibits humility, which is one of our core values. We believe that each one of us has something to learn and something to teach, regardless of age. Companies can design programs to help employees as well. One example is a peer-to-peer recognition program. We call ours “On Fire.” We encourage employees to keep an eye out for their coworkers’ accomplishments and exceptional work, then nominate them for an On Fire award. The award includes a financial component and recognition in our employee newsletter so everyone can celebrate.