Creative Agencies Support Local Biz; Retailers Look to China for Answers: Thursday’s First Things First

Plus, Natty Light is looking for a summer intern to craft its newest flavor—and the gig pays $40 per hour

a t-shirt for a local market
R/GA's Merch Aid program creates merchandise for shops that traditionally wouldn't make any. Merch Aid
Headshot of Jess Zafarris

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7 Creative Ways Agencies Are Supporting Local Businesses

Several ad agencies—always on the lookout for ways to prove their creative chops—have come up with some lighthearted and, dare we say, fun ways to drum up money and support for the communities they work in during the crisis.

For example, a group of creatives at R/GA recently came up with Merch Aid, a nonprofit that creates merchandise like T-shirts and tote bags for small companies that are in desperate need of cash. And to support bars, global agency The Community has been inviting local bartenders to join happy hours via Zoom, encouraging employees to send them a tip via Venmo each time a fresh drink is poured.

Read more: Find inspiration and examples from more agencies that are giving back.

As Stores Reopen in China, U.S. Retailers Look to the Country for Answers

The pattern of Chinese consumers’ purchasing habits in response to Covid-19 is now being mirrored in other countries as the contagion spreads. Like SARS did for China, the coronavirus may expose gaps in the U.S.’s digital and technological capabilities, while altering consumer behavior and spurring necessary infrastructural improvements, said Iris Chan, a partner at digital marketing agency Digital Luxury Group.

And just as livestreaming became an important tool for Chinese businesses to sell their goods while physical destinations shuttered, the same may be true of the U.S., with 5G, augmented and virtual reality offerings and contactless payment proving essential in the post-pandemic retail landscape.

Read more: On the other hand, China’s experience may not be a perfect blueprint for what the U.S. is set to experience in the coming months.

Natural Light Is Hiring a Fully Remote Intern to Develop Its Next Flavor

Natural Light is looking for a summer intern to craft its newest flavor—and the gig pays $40 per hour. While many companies have canceled their internship programs this year, everyone’s favorite college beer brand is hiring an intern for its “flavor innovation role” this summer (following its introduction last year), making the position fully remote due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: It’s the latest in a series of initiatives that Natty Light has rolled out to support college students and recent graduates.

Food, Home Focus Give Discovery a Ratings and Revenue Edge During Pandemic

Discovery Inc. is at an advantage over many other media companies given that it doesn’t air sports in the U.S., and it has multiple networks devoted to cooking and home improvement. The company is leaning in with quarantined-themed new series, including a version of HGTV’s House Hunters called House Hunters LOL, in which comedians poke fun at past episodes, as well as the Food Network series Amy Schumer Learns to Cook, which co-stars her husband and was shot by her nanny.

Read more: With audiences flocking to these shows and networks, the company is also seeing advertiser demand in scatter from related sectors.

More of Today’s Top News and Highlights

Doctors Subtly Become Superheroes in This Inspired Poster Campaign

Woman doctor shown with marks on her face from PPE

McCann Belgrade has reimagined doctors and nurses as superheroes in a new outdoor campaign that uses a simple and subtle visual to thank healthcare professionals for their efforts during the coronavirus crisis.

Companies Share the Positives They’ve Noticed from a Remote Work Environment

Lorne Brown, CEO, Operative Media

“We saw some positives almost immediately with an increase in productivity and quicker decision-making because there is more clarity in what matters to our customers and our strategic objectives. The remote flexibility has allowed for more voices to be heard and the intimacy of working from home has brought co-workers closer together.”

Carla Serrano, CEO, Publicis NY and CSO, Publicis Groupe

“Getting a sneak-peak into everyone’s personal lives and homes brings a new depth of intimate connection and shared humanity. We’re embracing change and working together in new, creative ways. We’ve discovered a new, powerful, in-this-together resiliency.”

Kathy Delaney, Chief Creative Officer, Saatchi Wellness

“There is a new intimacy that’s arisen as a result of seeing co-workers in their home settings. Same goes for remote pitching of new business. On both our end and on the client’s end, barking dogs, tech fails, and kids busting in the room are all serving to making us feel maybe a tad less polished, but more human and vulnerable as well. It’s almost as if a layer of artifice has been removed.”

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