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Welcome to Day 2 of Ad Age’s special edition Advertising Week newsletter. Whether you’re attending in-person at Hudson Yards or from the comfort of your home office, many marketers will likely be glad to see the return of Advertising Week New York. One of the biggest ad industry events has returned, at least partially in-person, after 18 months of COVID-19 cancellations, logistical nightmares and virtual-only presentations. 

With more than 100 panels over the course of this week spanning everything from NFTs to diversity, equity and inclusion, Ad Age will bring you the biggest takeaways in our special edition newsletter. Here’s our recap of day two.


We all scream for berries and cream

If you’ve been anywhere near TikTok in the past month, then this headline alone is likely enough to trigger a certain melody in your head: “Berries and cream, berries and cream, I’m a little lad who loves berries and cream!” Originally sung by the eponymous Little Lad in a 2007 Starburst commercial for a then-new Berries and Cream flavor, the vintage ad went viral on the video sharing app recently, benefiting from the hashtag #TikTokReMake that encourages users to reimagine iconic ads as TikToks. (“Berries and Cream” spoofs, remixes and lip syncs have racked up over 1.5 billion views on the platform to date.)

“I was amazed to see it come back,” said Gerry Graf, co-founder of Knickerbocker Slapglobal, which worked on the original commercial. “We used to have our Skittles ads remade on YouTube back in the day, but we didn't see a ton of them, because those Skittles commercials required a lot of special effects,” he said. Michael Italia, head of social media and the digital content studio at Mars Wrigley, suggested part of the reason for the newfound virality is that it’s seen as entertaining, not as an ad. “People remaking these ads probably weren’t around when these first came out,” he said. “This new generation is seeing it through their creators.” The Tuesday Advertising Week panel also featured an in-character guest appearance by choreographer Jack Ferver, who originally played Little Lad on TV.

—Erika Wheless


An unlikely esports player: Hot Pockets

Hot Pockets is continuing its move into gaming with a collaboration with the latest installment of the popular Halo video game franchise. This comes following the brand’s “Pockets 4 Bits” campaign, where people were rewarded for buying “Hot Pockets Twitch Bits,” a digital currency fans can use to show their support for their favorite streamers. 

Nestle’s head of influencer, gaming and esports, Bryon Waddell, said during a panel yesterday, that the campaign was part of the brand’s pivot away from its traditional marketing, formerly targeted at moms, that is now aimed at a Gen Z male audience. This came after the company realized it had “lost favor with the growing younger generations,” Waddell said. He added that the campaign was a resoundingly popular success—it blew through its budget three weeks early. Similar to the “Bits” campaign, with the new Halo collab the brand will be offering double XP (or, in layspeak, in-game experience points) to people who buy Hot Pockets.

—Brian Bonilla



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Can I interest you in a Tesla, and an ad?

Taboola CEO Adam Singolda has a bold prediction: In the future, every company will be in the advertising business, even electric carmaker Tesla. “Tesla will become an advertising company,” Singolda said, speaking to Advertising Week audiences on Tuesday. “We’ll see ads everywhere, because it’s a huge market.” Taboola is best known as the company that brings programmatic ads to websites throughout the internet, as opposed to so-called “walled gardens” like Facebook and Google. During a recent conversation with fellow ad tech executives from DoubleVerify and Magnite about the forces shaping the industry, especially recent activity around mergers and acquisitions, Singolda said their talk veered into the topic of retail marketing and e-commerce players becoming advertising businesses. Companies like Target, Walmart, Walgreens, DoorDash, Instacart and others has made meaningful strides in the space. “Everyone wants to diversify outside those walled gardens,” he said.

—Garett Sloane


DE&I progress (or lack thereof) 

There are no significant differences in pay between white and minority employees at any level of seniority in the U.S. marketing industry, but that’s just about the extent of the silver linings, according to a survey by Kantar for the World Federation of Advertisers. In an Advertising Week New York panel titled “Diversity in Adland,” data released found that people with disabilities were less likely to say they feel they belong in their organization, with 12% of Americans and 17% of Canadians with disabilities reporting that they face discrimination of some kind. Family status and age are common factors behind discrimination in both countries, according to the survey. In the U.S., 34% of respondents said discrimination on the basis of family status—such as need to be a caregiver for a family member—is an issue for their company, while 45% of women in the U.S. said family status can hinder one’s career. Similarly, more than three-in-10 people said their employer discriminates based on age, and more than four-in-10 believed age may hinder one’s career.

Lack of diversity and inclusion are significant issues driving people out of their companies and the industry, with 17% of all respondents and 28% of minority respondents saying the issues were causing them to look elsewhere. But on the positive side, Kantar and the WFA found that U.S. had the highest proportion of any country in the world of people who said their companies are actively taking action to be more diverse and inclusive (83%), with Canada (81%) running a close second.

—Jack Neff


Zoom’s democratizing power

Working from home during the pandemic has brought bosses, clients and colleagues into our homes in a way never before possible, and that has “made us all feel a little bit more human,” Laura Dames, executive VP of ad sales and marketing at WarnerMedia, said during a Tuesday morning panel. “I have always felt that showing up as my true self is the only way to survive,” she said, welcoming the authenticity and deeply personal moments—no matter how small—that have come along with a year-and-a-half of Zoom meetings. Dames added that before COVID-19, many aspects of our personal lives were considered too unprofessional to share. “You could never be on a work call and have your toddler come in screaming, or you’d be on the news!” (Who could forget when South Korean political expert Robert Kelly went viral a few years ago after his children infamously crashed a BBC News video interview?)

YouTube gets in on the holiday shopping wars

YouTube announced it will host its first “Holiday Stream and Shop,” a week-long live shopping event starting Nov. 15 that will allow viewers to see new products, receive limited-time offers and be able to ask product questions through live Q&As. The first live stream event will be hosted by YouTubers Veronica and Vanessa Merrell, better known to their 6 million subscribers as the Merrell Twins, and will feature products from Walmart, Samsung, and Verizon. But the event, more than a month before Christmas, is only one of YouTube’s recent moves in the shopping space, with the company testing live shopping with its creators since July. “When we partner with YouTube, we really think about a full-funnel strategy,” said Jill Toscano, VP and head of media at Walmart, in a pre-recorded video for the panel. Read more about YouTube’s latest live shopping venture and how the platform is working with brands and creators alike to expand its reach here.

Wondering what you should attend today?

With more than 100 sessions on deck today, Ad Age has scoured Advertising Week’s Wednesday agenda to recommend a handful of sessions you won’t want to miss:

“The Future of Mobile Addressability: What Advertisers Need to Know Today” at 11:30 a.m. This virtual discussion with leaders from The Trade Desk, Publicis Media and Twitter’s MoPub will center on how to navigate privacy and data regulations to let marketers enable efficient, ultra-targeted mobile addressable advertising.

  • “How to Win with Gen Z” at 9:30 a.m. The youngest generation of Americans represents 24% of the population and $150 billion in buying power, and this hybrid live-virtual panel featuring a trio of VaynerMedia strategists will focus on how to authentically connect with them.

  • “Harnessing the Power of NFTs to Unlock Consumer Engagement” at 1 p.m. Pizza Hut, ViacomCBS, e.l.f. Cosmetics and Coca-Cola have all recognized the potential of non-fungible tokens this year—and more brands are joining them all the time—with this hybrid in-person panel dedicated to exploring how marketers can use the digital collectibles to make in-roads with consumers.

  • “Content, Context and Cookies” at 2 p.m. With executives from L’Oréal USA, Conde Nast and the IAB weighing in, this joint live-virtual session will address the ongoing conversations around privacy and contextual targeting that many marketers have been paying close attention to.