Marketing Briefing: As brands and agencies pull out of Russia, ripple effects of the Ukraine invasion continue in the ad world

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Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine continues to have ripple effects in the ad world

Late last week, WPP announced that it would discontinue its operations in Russia. The holding company released a statement that continuing to run its business in Russia would be “inconsistent with [its] values” and that it stood with Ukraine. WPP isn’t alone. Other businesses have announced they will suspend services (TikTok, Netflix, Visa, Mastercard, Amex) or halt advertising (Google) in Russia. Awards shows Cannes Lions and D&AD also said it wouldn’t be accepting submissions from Russian agencies or brands.

Some in the ad world see the moves as clear-cut. “Pulling out is a no-brainer in the short term,” said Allen Adamson, brand consultant and co-founder of Metaforce, when asked about the impact on the ad world. “This is a moment in time when the amount of revenue you can make by staying open in Russia is diminished by the pressure to do the right thing.” 

Others have a more nuanced take on brands and agencies’ response to the ongoing invasion. Some agency execs and industry observers say that while they support businesses pulling out of Russia as it may send a signal to the Russian government, they also feel for people in the advertising community in Russia who don’t support the atrocities that the Russian government is committing against Ukraine. 

Some wonder about the possible precedent these businesses may be setting with this decision. 

“It’s a slippery slope for offices to be closed irrespective of business or organization,” said one media buyer who requested anonymity. “What happens when more countries behave like Russia? What happens when the war stops? Do those offices reopen? What about the humanity and dignity of innocent hard-working people at those companies whose economic livelihoods are harmed from this?” 

The impact of the ongoing invasion in Ukraine also has ripple effects for those in other countries as they watch the horrors of the attack from afar. Some say that business leaders need to be cognizant of that impact as well.

“The trauma of war and adding another pressure to what has already been a panic enduring two years with COVID,” said Duane Brown, founder of performance marketing agency Take Some Risk. “Brands need to give their people space and time to think and heal. You never know who has friends, family and loved ones based in Ukraine.”

3 Questions with Cristina Ferruggiari, evp and director of advanced and connected TV, Lockard & Wechsler Direct

As the lines between the different video mediums (linear television, OTT, CTV, etc.) become more blurred, what does that mean for marketers?

As marketers, we must think about TV/video from a holistic lens to capitalize on full audience reach potential and impact. [That means] including OTT/CTV within a total video approach, acts as a compliment to linear TV to capture migrating audiences that may not be exposed to linear TV messaging. It also presents the opportunity for our clients to take advantage of digital capabilities on the biggest screen in the home by enabling data-driven audience targeting that reduces waste and maximizes return.

Has Covid-19 impacted how LWD works with clients?

Partnership and collaboration with our clients is at the foundation of what we do and is critical to driving business growth together, but both have become even more critical throughout the pandemic. Today, our marketplace is increasingly dynamic, we continue to work hand-in-hand with our clients to navigate our evolving ecosystem with the consistent goal of driving performance on their behalf.

How so?

We analyze and adjust campaigns daily to maintain and improve performance for our clients.  Throughout COVID, we’ve had to manage campaigns in lockstep with supply chain constraints on client inventory. In addition to impacts on client business, supply chain challenges also impacted the media marketplace. Many advertisers had to pull back media spend resulting in an increased availability of premium inventory. At LWD, we are always in the market, which allows for us to negotiate many highly efficient opportunistic deals for our clients which leads to improved performance and increased ROI. — Kimeko McCoy

By the numbers

The brands have discovered the metaverse. Increasingly, brands all the way from Disney to Ralph Lauren are racing toward the virtual space to meet audiences there — that is, if they are actually there. As the metaverse gains more buzz, experts caution against working with snake oil salesmen. Meanwhile, others question if the metaverse is worth the hype. According to a new report from research and consulting firm Gartner, Inc., many consumers have never even heard of the metaverse. Find key details from the research below:

  • 35% of those surveyed have never heard of the metaverse.
  • 8% of respondents have either heard of the metaverse but do not know what it means, or think they understand the metaverse but would struggle to explain it to someone else. 
  • Only 6% of people identify as being comfortable enough in their understanding of the metaverse to explain it to others. — Kimeko McCoy

Quote of the week

“We’re relied on more to do more of what the sales operation has done in the past. And we’re expected to work right across product, sales and customer divisions to be able to deliver insight on purchasing habits and past trends and future predictions. I spend a lot of my time looking at the past to predict what the next quarter is going to look like.”

— Jennifer Smith, CMO at video player Brightcove, on how the CMO role has once again evolved.

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