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A grim milestone

“The United States saw its deadliest week since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,”the New York Post reports, “with a 44 percent rise in fatalities compared to the week prior. ... A total of 15,966 Americans died from the virus in the seven-day period between Dec. 3 and Dec. 9, according to data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project, which has been releasing a weekly analysis since March 12.” Keep reading here.

Amazonian

“Ad Age World’s Largest Advertisers has a new leader: Amazon, whose advertising and promotion spending soared 34% to $11 billion in 2019 as net sales surged 20% to $281 billion,” Ad Age’s Bradley Johnson writes, summarizing key findings from the 34th annual global marketers report. “Amazon vaulted over former No. 1 Procter & Gamble Co., which spent an estimated $10.7 billion on advertising and other marketing costs in the fiscal year ended June 2020, according to Ad Age Datacenter.” Keep reading here.

Trending TV

Netflix is giving Hallmark and Lifetime a run for their money in the holiday-movie wars, new data from Diesel Labs suggests. The Boston-based media analytics firm tells Ad Age that the streaming giant has been generating a critical mass of social media conversation around its slate of yuletide programming. Since Netflix doesn’t release ratings (consistently, anyway), its relative ability to capture social mindshare is a useful indicator of how its content is being received in the pop-cultural marketplace. Some key details, per Diesel Labs:

• Netflix is releasing 23 holiday-themed movies/shows this year (up from 10 in 2019), vs. 40 movies from Hallmark and another 40 from Lifetime. (It’s worth noting that Hallmark and Lifetime each distribute their holiday movies across multiple TV networks, whereas Netflix movies just stream on Netflix, of course.)

• Among Hallmark holiday movie “engagers” (as Diesel Labs calls people who generate and participate in conversations across social media) this season, 57% of them have also engaged with original non-holiday content from Netflix, while only 7% of them have engaged with original holiday content from Netflix (roughly 30% of it was for “Holidate”).

• Among Netflix holiday-movie engagers this season, only 4% of them have also engaged with Hallmark holiday movie content.

• Netflix holiday-movie engagers skew much younger than Hallmark holiday-movie engagers, with 39% between 18-24 vs. Hallmark’s 22%.

• Despite Hallmark being the incumbent leader of holiday-movie overkill, Netflix is currently winning in terms of engagement, snagging 51% of all holiday-movie social conversation, vs. 41% for Hallmark and 8% for Lifetime.

Zooming to the top

“Zoom is the not-so-surprising big winner among 2020’s fastest-growing brands in a new Morning Consult study,” Ad Age’s Jack Neff reports. “But there are plenty of surprises down the list, led by Bayer’s widely criticized herbicide Roundup as the 11th fastest-growing brand, and Condé Nast’s venerable magazine brand The New Yorker as the 14th fastest-growing brand among Gen Z.” Keep reading here.

$4,350

That’s what a pair of jeans—specifically, a limited-edition creation from L.A.-based denim brand Chrome Hearts—recently went for on Grailed, the platform/app for collectible fashion. Those jeans, though, were only the fourth-priciest item sold on Grailed in November. To see the entire top 10, click here.

853,000

That’s how many people applied for new jobless benefits last week, according to The Washington Post.

Disaster recovery

You’re going to want to get your hands on “Marketing in the time of COVID-19,” Ad Age’s new (free) white paper offering a deep data dive into what’s happened to marketers, media and brands during the coronavirus pandemic. Ad Age Datacenter produced the report based on data and analysis from Kantar. Get facts and stats on how the pandemic has affected ad spending, social media, consumer behavior, sports marketing, retailing and advertising creative. Download it here

Just briefly

“Apple and Google to Stop X-Mode From Collecting Location Data From Users’ Phones,” per The Wall Street Journal.

“A State Scientist Questioned Florida’s Virus Data. Now Her Home’s Been Raided,” The New York Times reports.

“Undocumented Immigrants Are Half as Likely to Be Arrested for Violent Crimes as U.S.-Born Citizens,” per Scientific American, summarizing research out of the University of Wisconsin—Madison.

“How To Remove Your Data From Twitter,” per Forbes.

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.