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Facebook And Apple Feuding Over Privacy Changes That Threaten Targeted Advertisements 

Facebook has spent its week pushing public relations efforts meant to attack Apple due to the fact that the company is planning on making iOS data privacy changes that would make it harder for advertisers to track users search history and therefore deliver extremely specific targeted ads on platforms like Facebook

Critics of Facebook were quick to point out that it’s interesting they care so much about targeted advertisements, and believe they’re just showing how integral that is to their actual core business. 

Facebook has put out advertisements in several national newspapers, such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, in which the platform slams Apple’s upcoming privacy changes. Facebook has claimed in the ads that the changes would be “devastating” to millions of smaller businesses that use Facebook to get their companies name out there more. 

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Facebook has been pushing their new small business initiative, SpeakUpForSmall, recently in which the platform encourages local businesses to “speak their mind” and share what personalized advertisements have meant to the success of their business. However, many were quick to point out that Facebook is likely more upset about these changes due to the fact that the platform makes a majority of its annual revenue from advertising on the site. 

Apple announced these changes at their Worldwide Developer Conference back in June, but they won’t be implemented until early 2021. During the event Apple discussed how users would now be shown a prompt on their devices that would ask for their permission to allow tracking from advertisers, and a bold warning that their information would be used specifically for targeted advertisements. 

Apple has defended this move multiple times by claiming that “online privacy is a fundamental human right,” a right that Facebook has definitely been criticized on throughout the past decade. Now, Facebook is attempting to position themselves as a large supporter of small businesses with these new advertisements, which claim that the platform is “standing up for small businesses everywhere.” 

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The advertisements continue: “Many in the small business community have shared concerns about Apple’s forced software updates, which will limit businesses’ ability to run personalized ads and reach their customers effectively. … These changes will be devastating to small businesses, adding to the many challenges they face right now.”

Apple released a statement this week in response to the advertisements and the small businesses throughout the nation who are actually concerned that this new policy could hinder how well they’re able to advertise: “Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not. App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 does not require Facebook to change its approach to tracking users and creating targeted advertising, it simply requires they give users a choice.”

Apple and Facebook have clashed in the past over privacy-related concerns as well. Just last week WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, criticized Apple over these privacy concerns and warnings, to which Apple replied that peoples privacies should always be top priority, and they would continue to fight for that.

Womens Empowerment

2020 Super Bowl Ads Are Just Scratching The Surface Of Gender Equality

In what’s being viewed as a major “baby step” for the NFL, individuals on the business end of all things Super Bowl have finally recognized that almost half of their audience is made up of women, so the advertisements and representation within them should acknowledge and respect that. 

In a 40-minute-long press conference, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell discussed a lot of social issues that the NFL needs to tackle, pun intended, in order to progress with society. He claimed that the league now has an estimated 187.3 million loyal fans, 47% of which are women, the most gender-balanced the Super Bowl viewer stats have ever been; so it’s about time that the commercials reflect that. 

Super Bowl advertisements cost, at the very least, $5 million just to run; that doesn’t include the actual cost it takes to make the commercial. This is because advertisers know that the commercials are almost just as crucial to the Super Bowl as the actual football players, and bring in a hefty chunk of viewership. 

With major headlines being made this year regarding Katie Sowers, the first female coach and first openly gay coach to reach the Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49er’s, a major discussion was opened up regarding the overall inequality and sexism that’s rooted in the professional sports industry.  

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“Female viewership was up 5% for the 2019 season after growing 6% in the year prior. In 2019, 38% of avid NFL fans were female, an all-time high. The league will show a two-minute pre-game ad that shows the ‘passing the torch to the next generation of fans.’ It will include 32 kids, about one-third female, representing teams in the NFL and will feature Toni Harris, the first woman to receive a full college scholarship as a position player,” Tim Ellis, NFL’s chief marketing officer, told CNBC in an interview done prior to the Super Bowl.

If you were to look at the Super Bowl ads from even five-years-ago, you’d notice a lot more commercials emphasizing the “male gaze,” which is a term that is used when certain forms of media are created by men, for men. These pieces of media often objectify women and keep them in a box that’s rooted in sexism and hetero-normative oppression.

The 2020 Super Bowl advertisements definitely showed some improvement from years prior, however, more work is still to be done. Katie Sowers herself was in an ad for Microsoft that emphasized her monumental moment for this year’s big game, and gave the audience a very “if I can do it, so can you” message. Olay also had a clever take on the classic “make space for woman” trope, along with SodaStream, who’s ad featured Alyssa Carson, the 18-year-old astro-biologist in training who’s working to be a part of the first space crew to go to Mars. 

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While all of these examples of female representation are impressive, especially when compared to ads from years prior, many understand that the NFL and advertisers are just scratching the surface of feminist values in their attempt at being more inclusive. The half-time show this year featured Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Bad Bunny, and J. Balvin, all performers of Latin decent in a performance that emphasized the beauty of Latinx, African, and Arab culture. The performance was also rooted in dozens of political symbolism; the most prominent showing children meditating in cages to represent the current crisis occuring at our borders. 

The halftime show provided the type of representation and support for women, and people of color in general, that audiences want to see. Real life successful individuals who are proud of their culture and willing to use their platform to speak up against injustices and archaic forms of inequality that are still so prominent in our culture today.

According to a study done by the Geena Davis Institute and Google, male characters in Super Bowl ads receive 2.5 times more speaking time than female characters, and they’re twice as likely to be playing some sort of position of power; the study itself mainly reviewed ads from 2015 to 2019. The study also mentioned that between 2008 and 2017, 86% of the ads televised had men playing a “principal character” compared to only 14% by women. 

The main point of all of this is that while inclusivity is important, it’s not the overarching goal. Instead of just showing the world a picture of equality, it’s important for brands to understand what audiences really want to see, real support for women of all shapes, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, etc.. Advertisements that give the same message Microsoft gave with their 2020 ad; it doesn’t matter who you are, what you are, or how you identify, dream big, because that could be you coaching a team at the Super Bowl in 10 years. 

 

Hallmark Store

Hallmark Channel Reinstates Ads Featuring Same-Sex Couples

The Hallmark Channel says they made the “wrong decision” when it came to pulling several ads featuring a same-sex couple. The commercials were for the wedding planning site, Zola, and featured two brides kissing at the altar. They originally pulled the commercials after a measly complaint from a conservative group online, which caused an even bigger backlash to occur. The original decision to pull the ads were made by Hallmark Channel’s parent company Crown Media. 

When this occurred individuals took to social media to spread the word about the unnecessary erasure of a whole community from a channel that already featured predominantly heterosexual content. Celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and William Shatner started the hashtag “#BoycottHallmarkChannel” which ended up trending. Especially for this time of year, when cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies bring major traffic to the network, the last thing Crown Media needed was a major loss in viewership. 

“The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused. Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused,” said Hallmark Cards CEO Mike Perry in a statement. 

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Zola originally had six ads submitted to the channel; four contained same-sex couples, and two contained heterosexual couples. Once Crown Media pulled the four advertisements featuring gay relationships, Zola took it upon themselves to remove the other two as well. The group “One Million Moms” posted the original complaint against the ads to the Hallmark Channel on their official website, and Crown Media quickly replied stating that the ads were submitted and aired by mistake, which is false. 

The network also announced that they will be working with LGBT+ advocacy group GLAAD on how to implement further inclusion within the Hallmark Channel. GLAAD created a petition when the advertisements were originally pulled as a means to show the channel all the public support that was for LGBT+ representation compared to one post made by a Christian conservative group of concerned mothers. Now, GLAAD has not only worked with the Hallmark Channel on the importance of inclusion of all kinds of relationships, but they worked with the media to “expose” One Million Moms and their “continued agenda” which works to dehumanize and discriminate against LGBT+ individuals/families. 

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“The Hallmark Channel’s decision to correct its mistake sends an important message to LGBTQ people and represents a major loss for fringe organizations, like One Million Moms, whose sole purpose is to hurt families like mine. LGBTQ people are, and will continue to be, a part of advertisements and family programming and that will never change. GLAAD exists to hold brands like The Hallmark Channel accountable when they make discriminatory decisions and to proactively ensure families of all kinds are represented in a fair and accurate way,” GLAAD President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, said in a statement.

This is not the first time GLAAD has worked with major corporations as a means of establishing representation. Just recently the organization worked on a partnership with Pantene. The collaboration called upon the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles to come and be in a new holiday video series for the company titled “Going Home for the Holidays.” The video series brought light to a lot of the difficulties that many LGBT+ individuals face during the holiday season. It also worked to show that not all families look the same, and often members of the LGBT+ community have to find their “chosen family” that loves and accepts them, as they have gone through the same struggles. 

GLAAD’s work continues to implement further representation on all media networks. This year the organization said that, thanks to the collaborative work from their team and the many mainstream networks/streaming services out there today, LGBT+ representation has never been higher in the entertainment world. Thanks to them the Hallmark Channel will continue to grow and show that this year for Christmas, all kinds of families are beautiful and valid in their own unique way.

Pepsi Can

Cardi B And Pepsi’s New “Culture In, Brand Out” Marketing

Cardi B has become the central figure surrounding Pepsi advertisements this past year. The rapper made her first appearance in a 2019 Pepsi Superbowl ad alongside Steve Carrell and Lil John. The commercial itself confronted the age old issue of when you order Coke at a restaurant and they ask you, “is Pepsi okay?” The ad itself is quite surprising, as it insinuates that Coke is always a customers first choice, and they only go for Pepsi when there’s no other options. However, as the ad progresses, all of the famous guest stars boast about how Pepsi is MORE than okay, it’s better. The concept of confronting an issue within your branding in an actual commercial is risky, but Todd Kaplan, Pepsi’s Vice President of Marketing says that the ad was just step one in moving towards a direction of “culture in, brand out” in terms of advertisements. 

“Rather than start with your brand objective, start with what’s happening in culture by listening to the consumer, looking at cultural truths and insights, and saying, ‘OK, there is a thing that is bubbling up here.’ Start with that and then ladder up and say, ‘what would Pepsi’s point of view be on that,’” Kaplan discussed on his podcast.  

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Looking at “cultural truths” was the root of the Superbowl ad that seemingly places Coke as a priority for most soft drink consumers. The “large cultural truth” was the fact that Pepsi is often a second choice, but instead of ignoring that truth and working around it in an attempt to change that narrative, the company tackled it head on, telling it’s audience that they know Pepsi may not be you’re number one, but it definitely is an all star number two. “Why don’t we take this truth head-on and say is Pepsi OK? Yeah, why the hell wouldn’t it be OK. Of course it’s OK,” Kaplan says. 

This sort of self-awareness actually attracts consumers more. The average customer wants major corporations to look at the issues that everyone is clearly talking about, and to embrace them in order to change them, as opposed to just ignoring them. If there’s anything the public hates, it’s being left in the dark, so when a major corporation comes out with an advertisement that says, “we see you making memes about us, and you’re not necessarily wrong” consumers are going to embrace that type of honesty. 

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Adding superstar Cardi B into the mix just makes it that much more successful. Cardi has become one of the most recognizable faces and personalities in the music industry to date. You don’t have to like or even know any of her music, but you definitely know who she is. That’s why the decision to place her in an advertisement that’s embracing the “culture in, brand out” concept is so smart. Cardi’s personality is already very marketable, and has become a major part of modern day culture. Her many catch-phrases and memorable quotes pulled from her many Instagram video rants, spread on timelines like wildfires. Putting her in an advertisement, and including those catchphrases that everyone already knows and loves, all while saying “Pepsi is more than OK” is what draws consumers in. 

“The rapper is unapologetic [and] comfortable in her own skin, which I think in a lot of ways manifests what we are trying to do with Pepsi,” says Kaplan.

Additionally, with the holiday’s finally arriving, it’s safe to say that Coke holds a pretty high stock in terms of holiday marketing. They’ve really embraced and claimed the classic Santa imaging on their cans, and even the iconic polar bear, so much so that people often always associate Santa branding with Coke right away. Another example where Coke is seen as the primary and Pepsi takes the secondary role. So, Pepsi continued to do what they’ve successfully been doing all year in terms of advertisements and brought the culture in. Cardi returned for another campaign that also mentions the Grammy’s, making Pepsi the image for the holidays, and the biggest night in music, all in one shot. By branding for the Grammys as well, Pepsi is bringing one marketing campaign from month to month, which also will smoothly transition them to the Superbowl in February, which as we all know, is one of Pepsi’s biggest nights for advertising, as they sponsor the entire halftime performance.

Real Estate Agent

How To Advertise Luxury Real Estate To Multiple Generations

Real estate agents are finding it harder and harder to reach an intended demographic with content that will engage them and make them want to buy, so they’re changing the way they do business.