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The Best Marketing Stories of the Week, Nov. 18-22

Marketing News Staff

weekly roundup image, orange background

In this week’s roundup, we’re reading about an odd new anti-drug campaign, fast food chains having a (toy) meltdown of sorts and the possible automation of podcast ads

Meth. South Dakota Is On It.

South Dakota paid Minneapolis ad agency Broadhead $449,000 for its new anti-drug campaign, which includes the slogan, “Meth. We’re On It.” The campaign features photos of people alongside the motto, and Gov. Kristi L. Noem’s effort includes a request of more than $1 million to support meth treatment services and a website promising to connect residents to preventive and treatment resources. The Washington Post spoke with Bill Pearce, assistant dean at the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, who said the Noem’s sincerity was lost by the “poor strategy and poor execution” of the ad campaign. “I can’t imagine this is what they intended to do; any good marketer would look at this and say: ‘Yeah, let’s not do that,’ ” Pearce told The Post. “I’m sure South Dakota residents don’t like being laughed at. That’s what’s happening right now.”

Read more: The Washington Post

Google to Restrict Political Ads

Starting in 2020, Google plans to restrict the way political groups can target its users. Political advertisers will only be able to target people based on their age, gender and postal code location. Advertisers will still be able to use “contextual targeting,” or targeting based on the types of stories people view. Previously, Google offered “basic political targeting capabilities” to verified advertisers that allowed them to show ads based on public voter records and general political affiliations. “This will align our approach to election ads with long-established practices in media such as TV, radio, and print, and result in election ads being more wildly seen and available for public discussion,” Scott Spencer, Google’s vice president of product management for Google Ads, wrote in a blog.

Read more: Gizmodo

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ANA Focusing on Gen Z in New Recruiting Effort

The Association of National Advertisers, in partnership with McCann, launched a new campaign to lure Gen Z to the marketing profession. Research from the two organizations found most members of the generation view marketing as “simply ads and selling.” The resulting campaign offers a look at the tasks that could fall under a marketer’s purview—particularly the more fun jobs, such as “naming new cereal flavors” and “analyzing trends in nail polish.” A dedicated landing page for the campaign includes job openings at Sephora, IBM, Mastercard, Verizon, R/GA and more.

Read more: AdWeek

Fast Food Chains Will Cease to Provide Toys with Kids’ Meals

Children of the ’90s clamored for McDonald’s Happy Meals to secure toys with their food, particularly when fast food chains partnered with brands like Disney, Nintendo and Barbie. But due to concerns over environmental impact, Burger King will cease to provide plastic toys with its kids’ meals in Britain and has vowed to melt leftover stock, and toys collected from bins placed within chains, and convert the plastic into playground equipment and tables for trays. McDonald’s is currently reevaluating the kinds of prizes they give away in Happy Meals and plans to keep a closer eye on its environmental footprint. This shift opens the door to explore digital giveaways and other inventive ways to cross-brand.

Read more: The New York Times

Warby Parker Reframes Its Offerings to Include Direct-to-Consumer Contact Lenses

Warby Parker served as an industry disruptor when it launched in 2010, cutting costs by offering lenses directly to consumers without the use of a middleman distributor. Now they’re planning to do the same with contact lenses. They will be priced slightly below current market rate and sold online or at one of the company’s “eye exam suites”–add-ons to retail stores. The company faces a serious marketing challenge in that while a good pair of glasses serves as a marketing tool in and of itself–potential customers see those glasses worn on others’ faces–contact lenses are basically invisible. Not surprisingly, there are no fashion trends in contact lenses to follow. Yet the company is hoping its lenses will make an impact by virtue of necessity.

Read more: Bloomberg

Podcasts Explore Advertising Models

Podcasters might soon sell ads in much the same way they’re currently being sold on the internet: through automated purchasing and “dynamic ad insertion,” or targeted ads aimed at particular listeners. These changes arrive as podcasts are becoming essential to marketing and branding campaigns as a way to directly engage and build relationships with listeners. This marks a departure from current ad strategy in which the hosts read the ads on the recording or they’re edited into the file afterward. Automated processes better allow podcasters to reap monetary benefits from their back catalog, but many worry that once it becomes easier to insert ads, episodes will become inundated with advertisers and could turn off listeners. One success story is that of Vox Media, which earns eight figures in revenue by leveraging dynamic ad insertion.

Read more: Wall Street Journal