Why Google Is in Trouble; The 5 Ads Nominated for Emmys: Wednesday’s First Things First

Plus, Twitter smacks down Donald Trump Jr. for spreading misinformation

U.S. regulators are looking into Google, but what are they looking for? - Credit by Sources: Getty Images, Google
Headshot of Jess Zafarris

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.

How Google’s Ad Stack Works and Why Regulators Are Probing Its Dominance


The federal antitrust probe begins today (here’s our overview of why Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google are taking the stand), but it’s Google who could face the most pressure. It’s expected that the U.S. Justice Department will file suit against Alphabet by the end of 2020 over its dominance of the online advertising market. The crux of the matter is how Google bundles its many services, including its search engine, the Android operating system and YouTube, with its online ad tools that affect advertisers’ and media owners’ bottom lines—and ultimately the consumer. Today’s digital-only feature goes into great detail how Google has essentially built its own walled garden that requires companies to use its services in order to reach consumers on its platforms. Read the comprehensive explainer here.

Get complete access to Adweek’s coverage of the antitrust hearings with an Adweek Pro Subscription.

Highlights from Day 2 of NexTech: Video Convergence ATV/CTV

Over the past two years, NBCUniversal has aggressively cut ad loads. It started in 2018 with a 10% reduction in ads, but the network continued cutting in 2019, and the trend accelerated this year due to the pandemic. During Adweek’s four-day virtual summit NexTech, NBCUniversal’s Linda Yaccarino discussed how streaming newcomer Peacock’s free ad-supported tier, exemplifies that mentality with less than five minute of ads per hour of content. Read on to see where Yaccarino sees the network’s ad strategy heading.

Also during NexTech, The Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green echoed this sentiment, saying that the industry has done a poor job of explaining the “quid pro quo” of ads—that users see relevant ads in exchange for free content. The discussion focused on how the company’s second iteration of its Unified ID (which was announced yesterday), an open-source sign-on solution for the open web that removed third-party cookies from the equation, helps meet that need.

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

  • 1:05 pm: Terence Kawaja, founder and CEO at LUMA Partners
  • 1:30 pm: Anya Ware, leader, technology sales, at IBM Watson Advertising, and Ryan Detert, CEO at Influential
  • 1:55 pm: Chris Kane, founder and president of Jounce Media and Laurel Van Tassel, director, digital media at Anheuser-Busch
  • 2:20 pm: John Shankman, CEO of Hashtag Labs
  • 2:45 pm: Olabisi Boyle, vp of Connected Commerce at Visa
  • 3:10: Scott Galloway, marketing professor, author and entrepreneur

Register for NexTech here.

The 5 Ads Nominated for 2020’s Outstanding Commercial Emmy

The Television Academy has nominated five ads as the best of the best from the past year for the Outstanding Commercial category of the 2020 Emmy Awards. Past winners include Nike’s “Dream Crazy” in 2019 and Procter & Gamble’s “The Talk,” in 2018. Watch all the nominees here.

Twitter Punishes Donald Trump Jr. for Spreading Covid-19 Misinformation

Donald Trump Jr.’s Twitter account was temporarily limited—disabling his ability to tweet, retweet, like posts or follow accounts—after he posted a video that spread misinformation about the pandemic. The platform forced him to delete the video, which showed a doctor praising hydroxychloroquine as a treatment and claiming that masks do not prevent the spread of the virus.

Can’t Get Away? Ikea is Selling ‘Vacations in a Box’ to Transport You in Spirit


If you’re feeling the itch to travel the world during lockdown, Ikea in Dubai is selling “vacation in a box” kits to transport customers to destinations around the world, including Paris, Turkey, the Maldives and Tokyo. Each one comes with a selection of themed Ikea products such as pillows, tableware, candles and artwork inspired by the locations.

More of Today’s Top News and Highlights

Ad of the Day: Burger King Shrank This British Rapper So He Could Perform on a Whopper

After UK rap artist Tinie Tempah released a song titled “Whoppa,” Burger King predictably reached out on Twitter to suggest a collab. The chain printed special QR codes on Whopper packaging that generate a miniature “hyper realistic” 360-degree virtual Tinie who performs the track while dancing on top of the burger.


@JessZafarris jessica.farris@adweek.com Jess Zafarris (née Jessica Farris) is an audience engagement editor at Adweek.