Reddit, Twitch Act Against Hate and Trump; How Brands Market on a Budget: Tuesday’s First Things First

Plus, explore the history of the comparative taste test

The_Donald was one of approximately 2,000 subreddits banned today. Photo illustration: Amira Lin; Source: Reddit, Pixabay
Headshot of Jess Zafarris

Welcome to First Things First, Adweek’s daily resource for marketers. We’ll be publishing the content to First Things First on each morning (like this post), but if you prefer that it come straight to your inbox, you can sign up for the email here.

Reddit, Twitch Take Action Against Hate and Donald Trump

Reddit explicitly banned hate speech yesterday and purged approximately 2,000 subreddits including The_Donald, the culmination of a years-long debate over the limits of acceptable speech on the platform. The_Donald, the controversial subreddit devoted to Donald Trump, has long been a hotspot for racism, misogyny and other hate speech on the internet. Pressure on social platforms to take action intensified in recent weeks amid the nation’s social unrest, and earlier this month, a coalition of more than 200 subreddits demanded the platform reexamine its policies.

Meanwhile, Amazon-owned live video streaming platform Twitch temporarily suspended Trump’s account for “hateful” comments made against Hispanic people in two separate events. One was a stream from his Tulsa rally that included stereotypes of what he called “a very tough hombre,” while the other was a rebroadcast of his 2016 comments calling Mexican immigrants rapists.

Also in social platform news:

  • Speaking of bannings, the government of India said today that it will ban 59 mobile apps with ties to China, including TikTok, amid escalating military tensions between the two countries. India was the No. 1 country for mobile downloads of TikTok at 46.6 million, leaving the platform with a massive hole to fill.
  • Brands continue to pile onto a Facebook ad boycott initiated by industry insiders and civil rights groups, with today’s additions including Adidas, Clorox, Edgewell Personal Care and Conagra Brands, which includes Slim Jim, Duncan Hines and Vlasic.

Premium | How Executives Kept Their Marketing Going Amid Pandemic-Driven Budget Cuts

Retailers and restaurants forced to make pandemic-induced marketing budget cuts have had to get highly creative to continue drawing in consumers. We spoke with four marketing execs who shared their brands’ adaptation and survival strategies:

  • Carl Loredo, CMO of Wendy’s, said the company launched giveaways and Twitch promotions to keep customers coming in.
  • Authentic Brands stayed nimble by shifting its marketing dollars to social and direct email and leaning on ecommerce while also leveraging its influencer network, Winston, to develop content for its campaigns, said marketing evp Natasha Fishman.
  • ThirdLove found a surprising amount of success on LinkedIn and focused on specific products rather than brand building, said CEO and co-founder Heidi Zak. For assets, its in-house team mostly developed campaigns using preexisting video content shot before the pandemic.
  • Purple’s Burke Morley said the brand put its mattresses on the back burner and instead promoted seat cushions with a planned advertising campaign and website adjustment, resulting in a higher conversion rate and allowing the brand to bring back furloughed workers.

For Adweek Pro members: Learn more about the tactical strategies each of these brands used to achieve success.

Our team is working hard to continue bringing you the latest information to guide marketing professionals through the crisis. Support Adweek’s coverage with an Adweek Pro Subscription

What Buyers Liked—and Didn’t Like—About the Virtual NewFronts

The 2020 Digital Content NewFronts went virtual for the first time this year, and buyers found it to be a “double-edged sword,” with events easier to navigate and absorb, but engagement more challenging. Buyers approved of both the way the week was structured and themed, as well as the host, HQ Trivia alum Scott Rogowsky. But even as a virtual event, attendees thought the time commitment was impractical.

Hopes for next year: Most said they’d like to see next year’s week return to an in-person format if possible.

Related: Connected TV is on the rise, and was all the rage at NewFronts, but buying inventory is not a simple process, in part because buyers are working with multiple vendors, which makes it difficult to unify metrics.

White Castle’s Latest Marketing Move Riffs on a Time-Honored Strategy

Last week, White Castle announced the results of a survey it sent to its email subscribers: “More than 87% of the respondents said they preferred White Castle’s Chicken Rings over their amorphous chicken counterpart.” The stunt, which might seem of little consequence on its face, follows the classic, tried-and-true marketing strategy of the comparative taste test. Burger King, Pepsi, McDonald’s and more have been using this strategy—and generating drama—for decades. Not only does this strategy help gauge consumer interest in products, it’s also a vehicle for “two-way communication” and connection with core customers.

This means war: Adweek’s Robert Klara explores the contentious history and significance of the comparative taste test.

More of Today’s Top News and Highlights

Ecommerce App Klarna’s New Ads Combine Scandinavian Kitsch With Absurdist Humor

In what might be one of the most bizarre series of ads you’ll ever watch, Swedish ecommerce app Klarna goes full absurdism in its first campaign targeted at U.S. consumers. The app allows users to access the web stores of hundreds of other brands and curate lists for different interests. The ads were created using bits of old Swedish films, allowing the brand to develop a creative campaign within the pandemic’s production constraints.

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