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Welcome to Ad Age Datacenter Weekly, our data-obsessed newsletter for marketing and media professionals. Reading this online? Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox here.

Job growth seems to be cooling

“First-time claims for unemployment benefits totaled 840,000 last week,” CNBC reports, “higher than expected in another sign that the spike in job growth over the summer has cooled heading into Election Day. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting 825,000 new claims.”

Some essential context: “U.S. layoffs still high, but so is skepticism on jobless data,” via the Associated Press.

See also: “As job losses continue, doubts are rising about unemployment data,” from Axios.

What Trump’s personal COVID-19 drama might mean for the election

This just in (this morning) from Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight:

We’ve started to get polls on what the public thinks of Trump’s diagnosis, and so far Americans, including some Republicans, say Trump didn’t take enough precautions. There are also signs that the episode may be hurting Trump’s reelection chances. Now, not every pollster has shown an uptick for Biden since we learned about Trump’s diagnosis last Friday, but Biden still got some of his best polls this week. We’ll continue to monitor polls for evidence of how Trump’s diagnosis has affected both the election and Americans’ views of the coronavirus.

Keep reading here—and be sure to check out (via that same link) FiveThirtyEight’s state-by-state predictions, and the results of its national-level meta-analysis based on running simulations of the presidential election 40,000 times.

The upside of tough times

Ad Age Datacenter’s Bradley Johnson has authored “Downtime Opportunity,” a 56-page white paper that examines marketing, product and media innovation in the worst of times from the Great Depression to the great coronavirus pandemic. Conclusion: Economic downturns reset the table for marketers and media, creating new rules, opportunities and brands. The report is available as a free download for Ad Age Insider and Ad Age Datacenter subscribers (or for purchase by everyone else) at AdAge.com/downtime2020.

Click for the quick take: How marketing can thrive in the worst of times.”

Apple Watch watch

If you watch TV, you’ve probably been noticing a lot of Apple Watch ads. We checked with iSpot.tv for some hard data, which the TV-ad tracking and analytics firm has shared exclusively with Datacenter Weekly. To wit:

• Apple Watch TV commercials went on hiatus starting mid-August, but came back in a big way starting Sept. 18.

• So far in 2020, Apple Watch commercials have racked up 1.3 billion TV ad impressions—and more than half (573.8 million) of that total came from Sept. 18 through Oct. 7. Per iSpot, 62% of Apple’s TV commercial outlay for the year so far (an estimated $25.6 million out of $41.1 million) was spent during that time frame.

• Apple has been betting big on sports fans wanting the latest Apple Watch. Some 58% of Apple Watch TV ad impressions from Sept. 18 through Oct. 7 have been delivered during sports programming (NFL, NBA, college football, MLB and NHL).

• Apple has been airing two different ads in heavy rotation (519 times from Sept. 18 through Oct. 7). The most-seen of the two, hyping the capabilities of the Series 6 Watch, is “It Already Does That.” The other ad currently in heavy rotation, “Ya lo hace,” is a Spanish-language version of the same ad.

PAC’d

ICYMI, from the most recent Ad Age Campaign Scorecard: Pro-Biden PACs have been outspending pro-Trump PACs when it comes to booking TV ads from Oct. 6 through Election Day.

Democrat/pro-Biden PACs have $112.9 million of TV/radio ads cued up to run over that period, vs. $36.4 million by Republican/pro-Trump PACs. The top-spending pro-Biden PAC, Future Forward USA, has $70.5 million booked, while the top-spending pro-Trump PAC, America First Action, has $21.1 million.

Keep reading here.

Everything you need to know about the nation’s leading advertisers

“The top 200 U.S. advertisers increased ad and marketing services spending a robust 4.6 percent in 2019 to a record $175 billion, the capstone to a decade of advertising growth,” Datacenter’s Bradley Johnson reports in a post that serves up some topline stats from Ad Age’s 65th annual Leading National Advertisers report.

That, of course, was then and this is now—but the LNA sets the essential baseline for marketers and marketing activities pre-COVID-19. And it offers the big-picture view of the brands and marketer categories that entered the coronavirus recession with the most momentum.

It’s a must-read, basically. Ad Age Datacenter subscribers, of course, get access to the full LNA report.

Just briefly

“41 states have ‘uncontrolled spread’ of COVID-19 or are trending poorly, data show,” per SFGate.

“Google is giving data to police based on search keywords, court docs show,” CNET reports.

“Just 59 Americans own more wealth than half the country, data shows,” per the New York Post.

The newsletter is brought to you by Ad Age Datacenter, the industry’s most authoritative source of competitive intel and home to the Ad Age Leading National Advertisers, the Ad Age Agency Report: World’s Biggest Agency Companies and other exclusive data-driven reports. Access or subscribe to Ad Age Datacenter at AdAge.com/Datacenter.

Ad Age Datacenter is Kevin Brown, Bradley Johnson and Catherine Wolf.

This week’s newsletter was compiled and written by Simon Dumenco.