Marketing News Roundup: Marketers Take Control of Spending and Applebee's Gives Up on Millennials

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​​​A weekly roundup of the marketing news you might have missed.

Aug 21, 2017

Marketers Taking More Control of Spending

A recent study from the World Federation of Advertisers found that marketers are taking more control over spending and digital advertising, per MarketingDive. “Some of the findings include: 38% of respondents added clauses to agency contracts that define how much ownership they have over data and control over the technologies agencies use on their behalf; 41% said they plan on taking more control over programmatic spending, and 53% added “audit right” clauses to contracts over the past year with 53% also adding clauses related to media rebates,” MarketingDive says.

Source: MarketingDive

Once Upon Time There Was A Song on Boat, And It Played in Through a Spot in the Sky

In anticipation of next week's awesome solar eclipse, Royal Caribbean's Total Eclipse Cruise has announced a rendition of the No. 6 song of 1983, "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Welsh chanteuse Bonnie Tyler. The cruise is set to depart from Orlando for the Carribean, where it will be positioned in the path of totality during the eclipse. Tyler will be backed by the Joe Jonas-fronted DNCE.

Source: TIME

Target Back on Target

Retail giant Target recently announced several points of good news. Over the past 12 months, the company has seen same-store sales grow by 1.3%, a 2.1% increase in store traffic, and 32% growth in digital sales. The last two metrics are especially positive for the retailer as Target execs have been working to drive up the number of shoppers who visit stores while also establishing an e-commerce presence, which still only accounts for 4.3% of sales. 

Source: Bloomberg

Prince Honored With Own Shade of Purple

Late music icon Prince may have been a chameleon during life, but will forever be associated with color purple. In honor of that legacy, leading color provider Pantone has christened a shade of violet after the entertainer. The hue will officially be known as Love Symbol #2, the name Prince himself developed for a copyrighted symbol he toured under for a period in the 1990s. A Pantone press release notes the specific shade was inspired by Prince's custom-made Yamaha purple piano. A statement released by Pantone suggested the color has been approved for future use by his estate, reading "While the spectrum of the color purple will still be used in respect to the “Purple One,” Love Symbol #2, will be the official color across the brand he left behind."

Source: Pantone

Applebee's: Officially Over Millennials

Casual dining chain Applebee's has officially had it with millennials, pronouncing its effort to woo young adults into its booths and barstools a misstep. The chain has spent the last few years trying to reinvent itself as a cool destination for the young and affluent, but it was all for naught. Turns out the move failed to lure sizeable numbers of the new target demo, while at the same time alienating its most loyal customers. 

Applebee's president John Cywinski said the company will now return to its roots in an effort to win back traditional diners. This includes menu and decor changes, and re-emphasizing some signature food prep techniques. Applebee's parent company Dine Equity also announced it would close up to 135 locations in a bid to shore up chain profitability. 

Source: Chicago Tribune​

Blue Apron Cuts Marketing Nearly in Half

Blue Apron, a mail-order ingredient and recipe company, is accustomed to slicing and dicing. Recently, its marketing team felt the brunt of its knife, per The Motley Fool. Blue Apron’s marketing fell from $60.6 million in the first quarter of this year to $34.5 million in the second quarter. The company said it would be spending more in line with the seasonality of its business.

“However, there is a more troubling reason,” Adam Levy writes on The Motley Fool. “The company revealed during its second-quarter earnings call that it is facing a logistical nightmare getting its Linden, New Jersey, fulfillment center up and running. The problems caused a decrease of on-time, in-full deliveries—that is, customers received packages late or with the wrong items—and increased the cost of sales for Blue Apron's meal kits. Due to these issues, the lifetime value of new customers fell as retention and net profit fell considerably. It doesn't make much sense to market to new customers if they're just going to cancel when you mess up their order and you can't make a profit.” 

From the first quarter to the second quarter—the period when marketing spend was reduced—Blue Apron’s customer base fell from 1.036 million to 943,000.

Source: The Motley Fool 

Macy’s Hopes for Success Rest on Marketing, New Loyalty Program

Macy’s is looking to “re-engineer its entire marketing machine,” according to CEO Jeff Gennette. Crain’s Chicago Business reports that the company reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings, but is hoping that a new marketing campaign will create more growth. Gennette says part of the new strategy will rest on a new loyalty program, expected to roll out in October. The program has already tested well with customers, he says. 

“The company is also simplifying its promotions in an effort to make sales more targeted and compelling,” Adrianne Pasquarelli writes on Crain’s. “And its new approach to ads calls for a focus on regional, 15-second TV buys rather than national, 30-second spots—the brainchild of Chief Marketing Officer Richard Lennox, who joined last year from Toys R Us.” 




Can marketing revive Macy’s? Only time will tell. The company faces a long battle, as it posted its 10th consecutive quarterly sales loss this week—down 2.8% in same-store sales. 

Source: Crain’s Chicago Business

ANA Joins Digital Content Next’s TrustX

The Association of National Advertisers has joined TrustX, a curated, automated, ad-buying marketplace by Digital Content Next. TrustX was created to offer advertisers “a more consistent, brand-safe way to purchase ad innovatory,” per NiemanLab. It already features publishers like Conde Nast, Hearst and Vox Media.

It’s too early to say how much advertisers will end up spending through TrustX, but the TrustX effort could go a long way toward addressing at least some of the issues plaguing digital advertising, including advertising fraud (wherein advertisers pay for ads loaded by armies of bots or for ads loaded on spoofed websites) and what the industry calls the “ad tech tax,” a byproduct of the complexity of digital ad buying where the many middlemen in the advertising supply chain add their own costs and hurt advertisers’ return on investment,” according to Ricardo Bilton’s post on NiemanLab.

Source: NiemanLab

Make Way for Advertising Poets

Droga5 is launching D5in10 Academy, which according to AdAge is a “crash course into the creative side of advertising aimed at drawing in people who may not have otherwise landed in the industry.” The academy is looking for music or poetry creatives who don’t know how to get their foot in the door for advertising or never considered it as an option. Droga5 Executive Creative Director Kevin Brady says many creatives today come out of the same programs and may end up a “homogenous group of talent.”

"For a lot of people, you're kind of left out of that process if you don't have all that money to take two more years after college," Brady said. "As a result, we end up having a diversity of thought that is not quite as broad as it could be. We were thinking, 'Is there a way we can help address that?'"

Source: AdAge

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