Black Is the Answer. Black Is the Future.

I often think about that key moment that shifted my personal trajectory. In early 2011, when a friend from high school had discovered my Tumblr blog and hit me up to say, “You’d make a great copywriter.” Maybe you couldn’t imagine my disbelief back then. I was a rebounding college flunk out starting over at…

Why Companies Should Broaden Their Cultural Perspective

As racial conflict across the world continues brewing, companies are scrambling to figure out how to center their Black employees and consumers. Two of them, Twitter and Netflix, are uncovering fresh insights and fueling their bottom line through community-centered initiatives and employee resource groups, also known as ERGs or business resource groups. I know because…

What Does Black Visibility Really Look Like?

Every once in a while, an absence of data can paint a much clearer picture of an issue than the information actually provided. Take, for instance, a recent study released by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. To gain a better understanding of how race and gender are currently represented in advertising, the…

Beyond Allyship and Appropriation: An Alternative Future for Advertising and Media

To be Black in America is to experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and to love a country that doesn’t always love you back. But it’s our highs and our lows that put the sauce on everything we touch. One does not exist without the other. This is exactly what advertising…

Intention Meets Opportunity: How Black Talent Builds Community

I’m not supposed to be here. From my time growing up in Atlanta all the way into my freshman year at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, my perspective was always rooted in Blackness. Black faces, Black ideas, Black problems, Black solutions. I thrived in that incubator for years, giving and taking from “the culture” we…

Major Tech Companies Already Have Your Data

On Aug. 6, the president of the United States signed two virtually identical executive orders (EOs) banning the use of both TikTok and WeChat. TikTok will survive due to a partnership deal with Oracle that as of this writing, the president has approved. But unless a federal judge issues a stay by the time you…

Janey Whiteside on Why Walmart Doesn’t Have Time for ‘Big, Glorious, Fancy Ad Campaigns’ Anymore

Key Insights: Customers are more conscious of money, health and digital shopping now. Walmart marketing moves much faster now and focuses on employees and customers. When the pandemic hit the U.S. earlier this year, customer behavior at Walmart evolved five years in five weeks. Chief customer officer Janey Whiteside–a 2020 Brand Genius honoree–cites this stat…

TikTok’s Katie Puris Says There’s Too Much Focus on Tactical in Digital Ads Sector

When it comes to digital advertising, there has been too much focus on the container and not enough on the content, TikTok managing director and global head of business marketing Katie Puris said during a Brandweek session Wednesday. Puris didn’t provide any details on the elephant in the room for the company (a Brandweek presenting…

How a Challenger Mindset Helps Brands Like DC and Pepsi ‘Strive for the Impossible’

Contrary to popular belief, failure is an option, even in today’s cutthroat marketing environment. And it may be inevitable, especially if you’re pushing the envelope as a risk-taking challenger brand. What matters more than the faceplant itself is how you pick yourself up and what you learn from your mistakes. “If you’re breaking the rules…

What Makes a Brand Bold? 3 CMOs Share Their Strategies

One of 2020’s most lauded campaigns is the Moldy Whopper, an ad that shows Burger King’s signature sandwich literally rotting over the span of a month. The buzzy stunt, brought to life with help from three agencies, was created to promote the Whopper’s lack of artificial ingredients and preservatives. At this year’s Brandweek, Fernando Machado,…

Under CMO Kory Marchisotto, e.l.f. Captured That Elusive ‘Lighting in a Bottle’

Since Kory Marchisotto joined beauty brand e.l.f. Cosmetics in early 2019 as CMO, the company has managed to capture that “lightning in a bottle” that many brands find elusive. Speaking at Brandweek today, Marchisotto ticked off the company’s successes during her tenure thus far, including six straight quarters of net sales growth and gaining market…

Everlane’s CEO Says Internal Culture Is Just as Important as External

DTC fashion brand Everlane rose to fame for its “radical transparency” tagline and promise to share details about its manufacturing and supply chain processes. Now, it’s applying that tagline internally, too. Michael Preysman, the founder and CEO of Everlane, took the stage at this year’s Brandweek to discuss how the company is transforming and dealing…

3 Chief Marketers on the Skills Needed to Lead Through Crisis

The past six months have brought challenges and changes that even the savviest of marketers couldn’t have foreseen and prepared for. Leadership at the top of the marketing department has proved to be more essential than ever, as people not only steer an organization’s marketing, but also their respective teams through times of turmoil and…

3 Ways Brands and Marketers Will Be Forever Changed by 2020

Key Insights Embrace the moment and learn from it for future challenges. Traits like listening and empathy are vital now. Clarity of purpose helps brands take meaningful action. We still have a little over three months to go in 2020, but the year has already become synonymous with unprecedented challenges and changes following a global…

How to Construct the Famous ‘P&G Memo’

Want to be a better strategic thinker? For most businesspeople, the time-tested P&G (Procter & Gamble) memo is a great place to start. At its core, the format of a classic P&G recommendation memo forces you to sequentially structure your thoughts, which in turn forces you to sequentially structure your communication. The clarity provided by…

How Marvel’s Marketing Machine Pivoted in a Blockbuster-less Summer

Since 2010, a summer hasn’t passed without a Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster. This year it was supposed to be Black Widow, the long-awaited back story of Scarlett Johansson’s character who has been a through line of the entire series since Iron Man 2. With Black Widow delayed until November due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the…

The NFL Returns, Giving Struggling Networks a $5 Billion Ad Revenue Lifeline

Key Insights More ad money is moving to the NFL as a result of college football postponements, which left advertisers with fewer gross ratings points options. Super Bowl talks are proceeding more slowly than last year, but have picked up in recent weeks. After most professional sports were sidelined in March by Covid-19, several leagues,…

Plant-Based Food Feud: Faux-Meat Brands Start a Public Beef Over ‘Clean’ Ingredients

Key Insights Lightlife’s open-letter ad in major papers became an opening salvo, But Planterra praised its competitors as pioneers, not evil empires. Advocates for plant-based protein fear the category infighting is ‘counterproductive.’ The battle for flexitarian consumers isn’t just happening in supermarkets and restaurants. It’s reached the national media via a full-blown public feud involving…

Free Search and Social: We Are Not the Product—We Are Underpaid Workers

An invitation to walk in the Labor Day Parade got me thinking about labor law as an alternative path to meaningful data privacy regulation. Think about this: There is a popular meme used to explain the exchange of our data for free online services. “When something online is free, you are not the customer; you…

Quirky Dr. Bronner’s Throws Its Brand (and Money) Behind Legalizing Psychedelic Drugs

Key Insights The liquid soap brand is pushing for the FDA to legalize psychedelic drugs to treat PTSD, depression, anxiety and other disorders. Dr. Bronner’s “Heal Soul!” labels are very much in keeping with its longstanding, and highly effective, branding. One of the lesser-told stories of the coronavirus pandemic is how the virus, apart from…