Moving on from Covid Messaging; KFC Salutes DIY Fails: Tuesday’s First Things First

Plus, antitrust regulators prep for a Google crackdown

A photo of a chicken sandwich with ketchup on it
KFC has opened up for delivery across some U.K. cities, hopefully bringing an end to some people's attempts to recreate its fried chicken. KFC U.K.
Headshot of Jess Zafarris

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French Grocer’s New Spot Offers Helpful Tip for US Marketers: It’s Time to Move On

The grocery chain Intermarché released a new ad via agency Romance. Its artful 60 seconds reflect an approach that American brands might want to consider as they continue to tweak their Covid-era messaging: Keep it simple and start looking ahead. The ad spotlights the fact that consumers’ relationship to the pandemic is shifting. According to Ipsos, 64% of Americans say that reopening the country right now is “not worth it,” while a Pew survey found that 71% of Americans are switching off the news because they didn’t want to hear about the pandemic anymore.

Watch it: The ad emphasizes that everyone’s looking forward to the day when we can open our front doors to guests again.

US Antitrust Regulators Are Poised for Google Crackdown

The Justice Department and multiple state attorneys general are probing Google, which has become the dominant player in the near-$130 billion online advertising industry, bringing in 37.2% of total online U.S. ad spend in 2019. The DOJ is expected to file suit this summer at the federal level while states, including Texas, are set to do so in the fall.

Investigators are interested in how Google’s complex ad stack is intertwined with its ad exchange, and whether the algorithms underpinning it contain inherent bias. Regulators are also reportedly interested in how Google’s ad-tech products impact premium publishers.

Analysis: Some question if this will lead to Google voluntarily divesting its ad-tech assets, while others suggest that any government intervention will require it to better firewall its various components.

KFC Pokes Some Fun at How UK Fans Took the DIY Approach While Locations Were Closed

British KFC locations have been closed since March 23 as a result of the pandemic. In the meantime, fans attempted to create their own fried chicken, often with less-than-exceptional results, sharing their creations with the hashtag #RateMyKFC. Now, the chain is reopening many of its locations for drive-thru and delivery and celebrating by honoring these DIY fails in a new ad.

Watch it: The tongue-in-cheek TV ad is set to Celine Dion’s “All By Myself.”

Day 1 of 2-Day ViacomCBS’s Virtual Upfront Stresses Portfolio Power

The TV ad sales picture is “not pretty” right now, but ViacomCBS’s Jo Ann Ross is optimistic about the summer and fall. Last night the company kicked off a two-day virtual upfront event called ViacomCBS Upfront @Home, replacing its planned Viacom-centric agency dinners and CBS-focused Carnegie Hall soiree.

The first day’s event was less of a hard numbers sell and more of a highlight reel of the talent, brands and audience that the television network has in its portfolio. The briskly paced pitch was jam-packed with dozens of remote appearances from Viacom brands like BET, Comedy Central and MTV, though several CBS stars popped up as well.

Ross’s ad sales team will conduct roundtables with clients and agency partners in the coming weeks, providing a deeper dive into the company’s capabilities, reach, scale and advanced advertising offering.

Read more: This year’s negotiations are critical as networks will jockey for significantly less money from advertisers as brands plan to spend a third less during the upfront.

Experienced in Crisis Messaging, GSTV Guides Brands Through Covid-19

Broadcasting on screens at the pumps of 24,000 gas station and convenience store locations, GSTV expects to be even more crucial for advertisers as summer travelers get on the road. As the coronavirus spread, GSTV guided its partners through a shift to public service announcements from the likes of the CDC, Red Cross and Feeding America. And no wonder—it reaches one-third of American adults each month, and inquiries about the platform from brands including  Verizon and Live Nation are increasing as these advertisers figure out their playbooks.

Read more: GSTV has learned from its experience with disasters and can move quickly if messaging needs to return to more information-based ads.

More of Today’s Top News & Highlights

Ad of the Day: Apartment Therapy Transformed a Live Design Pop-Up Into a Digital, Shoppable Experience

Apartment Therapy expected to draw some 10,000 people to Industry City in Brooklyn for its first-ever Small/Cool Experience in April, but the brand reimagined the event as a global online experience instead. The event, which benefited Habitat for Humanity New York, ran May 15-17 and featured the designers’ 20 shoppable showcases, incorporating the creatives into three days of programming on Instagram, which also offered interactive design games for its audience.

How the ‘New Normal’ Will Be Different When Employees Return to Work

Lucienne Glaser, Director of Business Development, Unconquered

“I believe the need for nimble processes and teams will only increase.… I believe there’s going to be a shift to reduce the number of ‘cooks in the kitchen.’ I think there’s been a healthy dose of clarity applied to decision-making and how we prioritize our resources and time.”

Erica Golden, Chief People Officer, Amobee

“While direct and in-person communication have always played a critical role in the advertising industry, we anticipate more companies will begin taking advantage of conferencing and productivity tools even after we’re able to return to work and business travel.”

Karine Aubry, Chief People Officer, Dailymotion 

“We might consider a more extensive use of remote even after the pandemic. Environmentally speaking, this aligns with our efforts to be more ecologically conscious by reducing unnecessary flights.”

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