9 of This Week’s Most Telling Marketing Stats, From TV Ad Declines to Mother’s Day Spending

Plus, The New York Times' subscription siver lining

Aviation Gin is donating 30% of proceeds to online sales. - Credit by Getty Images, Aviation Gin
Headshot of Mónica Marie Zorrilla

This first full week of May was marked by heaps of creative crisis campaigns to keep us inspired as the country continues tackling the coronavirusfrom their couches or on the frontlines.

We saw a chickpea cereal startup’s co-founder set up a drive-thru sampling experience in his own driveway, Amazon Alexa-enabled devices pay our rent in the form of MoonPies, LEGO’s sardonic plastic Caped Crusader star in a PSA, a veteran hip-hop magazine get a brand refresh, Daniel Radcliffe become Harry Potter again and a barcode scanner that doubles as a disinfectant.

Through the exciting stir of launches and promotions, Adweek kept its eyes peeled for exciting data points.

Here are the nine stats from the world of brands, marketing and advertising that grabbed our attention.

Entering the energy drink space

Back in January, Coca-Cola, which owns a stake in Monster Energy, debuted Coca-Cola Energy, and at the end of April, carbonated rival PepsiCo revealed its plans to launch Bang Energy. Why the rush to give consumers a rush? The energy drink category is booming, even during Covid-19. According to in-store U.S. figures from Nielsen, in the six-week period ending April 11, energy drink sales climbed to $450 million, representing a 9% year-over-year increase.

Goodbye for now, $300 t-shirts

Luxury retailer—and rumored purveyor of a $250 chocolate chip cookie recipe—Neiman Marcus filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to remove some $4.3 billion in debt. Though Geoffroy van Raemdonck, the department store chain’s CEO, said in a statement that prior to Covid-19, Neiman Marcus Group was “making solid progress to long-term profitable and sustainable growth” and had expanded its “unrivaled luxury customer base” and achieved “higher omnichannel penetration,” the Covid-19 pandemic placed “inexorable pressure” on the company.

It ain’t pretty

According to ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish, TV ad sales during the Covid-19 pandemic are “not pretty.” That ugliness was clear in Q1 earnings numbers at the media conglomerate: its television entertainment segment suffered a loss of $586 million, a 30% year-over-year decline, due to the nonexistence of live sports at this time and advertiser departures. ViacomCBS is not alone. Fox Corp is expecting a 50% decline in local ad revenues, ESPN’s ad revenues took an 8% hit, AT&T’s ad revenues fell by 12.9% and Discovery’s international ad revenue plummeted 40% in April.

Making money moves

Create & Cultivate, an online career advice platform and business event series for women entrepreneurs, entered a yearlong partnership with Mastercard for 2020. Amid the cancellation of nearly every in-person gathering and conference, the two brands worked to develop Money Moves, a ticketed digital summit in financial conversations. Create & Cultivate’s first attempt at hosting a virtual event was a success: the event drew nearly 7,000 ticket holders. The platform chatted with Adweek to share the eight tactics it used to produce Money Moves.

Mommy dearest

Not even the worst economic recession since the 1930s could make us forget to cherish Mom. We’re planning on spoiling our strung-out and exhausted moms for Mother’s Day more this year according to data from the National Retail Federation. 84% of Americans last year purchased a Mother’s Day gift, collectively spending about $24.6 billion. In 2020? 86% of Americans so far have purchased a gift, collectively spending about $26.7 billion (a spike of 8.5%). Data indicates that consumers will be spending an average of $205 on a per capita basis for their mom, an increase of $8 over 2019.

Roku’s quest to dominate the advertising ecosystem

Digital media player manufacturer and streaming service Roku has rolled out Dataxu into One View,  a new ad stack, after acquiring the DSP for $150 million last October. The company says it will let advertisers enhance targeting and measure campaigns across devices in 80% of U.S. homes (including in non-Roku households).

Ryan Reynolds says it’s OK to drink at home

Owner of Aviation Gin and actor Ryan Reynolds wants you to recklessly revel under quarantine for a cause. The brand’s newest ad, narrated by Reynolds, celebrates the era of indulgent nightlife pre-Covid-19 and encourages us to continue to keep the spirit of pleasure-seeking and abandonment alive by ordering drinks online to swill (or chug) from home. All of this cheering on for debauchery is for a good cause: 30% of proceeds from online sales will be donated by the distiller to the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild.

Stocking up on (rolling) paper

Cannabis brands have reason to stay hopeful amid these dark times: virtual events were huge successes on stoner holiday 4/20, marijuana sales have surged since March and analytics firm BSDA with Brightfield Group found that 57% of cannabis consumers have already stocked up, or plan to do so as they continue to hunker down. Adweek spoke with major players in the industry to share lessons on what they’ve learned so far throughout the Covid-19 crisis.

Subscribing to The New York Times in unprecedented times

Though Covid-19 affected the newspaper of record’s print advertising revenue in Q1 (down by 20.9%) and advertising in Q2 is projected to fall between 50 and 55% compared to last year, The New York Times did have a silver lining to tout in its earnings report: record-setting subscription growth. The Times’ dogged coverage of the pandemic resulted in 587,000 net new digital subscriptions, bringing the total to over 4 million subscriptions for digital-only news, over 5 million subscriptions for digital-only specialty products and over 6 million subscriptions for digital and print news.


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@monicroqueta monica.zorrilla@adweek.com Mónica is a breaking news reporter at Adweek.