This is the time of the woke CMO. Marketers have typically avoided controversy, but we live in strange times.
Look no further than the situations in which JPMorgan Chase, Delta and Bank of America found themselves. JPMorgan Chase’s CMO, Kristin Lemkau, took to Twitter to denounce NBC for giving airtime to conspiracy theorist and Sandy Hook denier Alex Jones in an upcoming episode of Megyn Kelly’s new show. The bank then pulled advertising from the show. Similarly, Delta used Twitter as well to denounce The Public Theater for a “Julius Caesar” performance that alludes to Donald Trump getting the knife. Heavens. Delta also pulled its sponsorship, along with Bank of America.
Our co-executive editor Shareen Pathak is working on a piece examining the idea of the woke CMO, which runs counter to the stereotype of risk-averse CMOs, always in fear of losing their jobs. Here’s Shareen’s take:
“CMOs have always been the scared sort. Short tenures and the dispensable nature of the marketing function has meant most of them have adhered to a decades-old church-state divide. But these are strange times. CMOs are now becoming public faces of brands (just look at Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall) and are exercising their voices in a way that represents themselves, but also the company. It can be great for a personal brand when you don’t have job security. And don’t forget the research: Being ‘woke’ is good for business, as any strategist will tell you. The problem is this: Brands are the scared sort. And it’s been shown time and time again that they’ll do anything if enough public pressure is put on them. I don’t know how long this will last.”
Politics will be front and center with brands at Cannes Lions next week. One focus for me there is to speak to top marketers about how they’re navigating this tricky climate. On the one hand, there’s pressure for marketers to be outspoken regarding fake news and the coarsening of culture. There’s also more pressure than ever around brand safety. One of the key storylines of Cannes will be around this topic, admittedly pushed by many premium publishers trying to get some focus off platforms.
Digiday @ Cannes
I’m heading to Cannes with our senior reporter Sahil Patel. We will produce a daily morning email newsletter, along with a special daily edition of the Digiday Podcast. For the email, expect highlights of the day to come, what we’re hearing in private talks and at parties, and some fun at the absurdity of Cannes. (Cannes is best not taken too seriously, since it’s a carnival of the crassest of capitalism.)
I’m still lining up podcasts for the week. One confirmed guest is Jim Egan, CEO of BBC Worldwide. Jim and I plan to discuss the rise of fake news, how that changes a media entity’s role and what the media can do to regain people’s trust.
Finally, we’re trying an experiment at Cannes to bring our Confessions series to the Croisette. We’ve set up a hotline to take Cannes Confessions, either through text or voicemail. It should be interesting to see what comes through. Try it out at +1 855-LE-TRUTH (+1 855-538-7884), or just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please get in touch if you’ll be in Cannes and want to meet with us — our chief client officer Paul Borselli and Europe commercial director Thom Pickering will round out the team. We want to carve out time for an informal cocktail with Plus members on Thursday.
Why a DTC jewelry company is placing its bets on organic growth via TikTok
As TikTok continues to grow in popularity, a jewelry startup is hoping to capitalize on its organic growth.
‘Harder to dispute’: Ebiquity CEO on why advertisers are slowing spending in the Google-Facebook duopoly
It’s deja vu all over again with this sort of rhetoric. This time, though, it's not just big brands that are apprehensive about putting more dollars into Google or Facebook. It's the smaller ones -- the ones that account for the bulk of cash spent on those ads.
Why a sports betting company will brand the new train line to MetLife Stadium
As part of this effort, a variety of print and digital assets have been developed, as well as the official rebranding of all of the NJ Transit system's signage and advertising to accommodate the new rail line. A clear understanding of the financial agreement was not provided.
SponsoredHow FAST channels are redefining primetime opportunities for advertisers
Sponsored by Vevo With the competition from content providers continuing to build, the traditional primetime TV slots are no longer guaranteeing the mass audiences they once did. Television viewership is evolving, and the primetime window of 8–11 p.m. is less broadly reflective of younger audiences’ content consumption habits. In 2022, attracting TV viewers is a […]
How Squarespace is marketing more directly to the creator economy
With new features and ads, Squarespace is the latest tech company to market more directly to creators
Member ExclusiveMarketing Briefing: With pressure mounting on Q4, some marketers are planning to roll out holiday sales early
Marketers are rolling out holiday marketing and sales early as economic uncertainty persists and pressure builds for the fourth quarter.