Inside Unilever’s Boycott Decision; How White Is Brand Leadership?: Tuesday’s First Things First

Plus, Dr. Fauci gets his own baseball card

dr fauci pitches a baseball on opening day
Dr. Fauci's attempted fastball wasn't a keeper, but it made for a highly collectible trading card. Topps Trading Cards

Welcome to First Things First, Adweek’s daily resource for marketers. We’ll be publishing the content to First Things First on Adweek.com each morning (like this post), but if you prefer that it come straight to your inbox, you can sign up for the email here.

Why Freedom of Speech Does Not Equal Freedom to Monetize

Unilever has been a leader in driving the brand safety conversation forward. Back in 2018, former CMO Keith Weed wanted to pressure tech companies into increasing their resources on cleaning up the platforms, using Unilever’s $9 billion ad budget as incentive to clean things up. In 2020, Unilever threw its weight around again: It took the Facebook ad boycott to a new level by pulling out of the platform—and Twitter—for the rest of this year.

On the first day of Adweek’s virtual NexTech conference, Jennifer Gardner, Unilever’s senior director of media, North America, explained that decision. “Advertisers need to have more visibility on the content that you’re allowing on your platform and why you’re allowing it.” You can read more about Unilever’s decision here.

Today’s NexTech lineup (all times E.T.):

  • 1:05 pm: Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal chairman of advertising and partnerships
  • 1:30 pm: Jeff Green, Trade Desk CEO
  • 1:55 pm: Diana Pessin, svp, digital media and growth marketing at HBO.
  • 2:20 pm: Sona Pehlivanian, vp, addressable campaign management and operations at New York Interconnect
  • 2:45 pm: John Nitti, svp, chief media officer at Verizon.

Register for NexTech here.

How White Is Brand Leadership? These Logo Tweaks Tell the Story

Many brands have embraced the Black Lives Matter movement wholeheartedly, but when many look into the mirror, they see executive teams that are largely white. In a side project, two Goodby Silverstein & Partners creatives have made that contrast abundantly clear. The pair whited-out logos by the percentage of the brand’s executive team that is white. The results are eye-opening.

Coffee Brands Are Adapting as Consumers Opt to Brew at Home

I bet half of you are drinking a cup of coffee as you read this newsletter. Now think about where that coffee came from. Now think about where your coffee used to come from pre-March 15. Odds are your routine is drastically different. As a result, Starbucks, Dunkin’ and Panera—read more about Panera’s pursuit to become the Netflix of coffee here—have heavily invested in digital experiences to keep their brews in your cups even if you aren’t leaving home. Learn more about their strategies in this week’s issue of Adweek magazine.

Elsewhere in this week’s edition of Adweek:

Dr. Fauci’s Disastrous Opening Day Pitch Just Became a Home Run Trading Card for Topps

We’ll cut Dr. Anthony Fauci a break. He’s obviously been too busy with, ahem, other things to practice his pitching skills for Washington’s Opening Day ceremonial toss last week. Lucky for him, his pitch, which missed its target not by inches or feet, but by yards, turned into a golden opportunity to be immortalized by Topps. The baseball card brand instantly created a collectible card out of the moment. The sales for Fauci’s card doubled any previous Topps Now card. See the commemorative card here.


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