Perspectives

The Blue Jean Committee – Marketplace Pulse: August 13

The Blue Jean Committee

By design, this newsletter is positive. With so much uncertainty and challenging circumstances, I think it’s important to focus on the good out there. And while there is plenty of it, there is a limit to my positivity. And its video conferencing. It is an energy vampire. I don’t care if you Zoom or BlueJeans or use Teams (ain’t no one using Hangouts) – it’s draining in a way that face-to-face interactions are not. It’s a bright disco squid that feeds on the collective energy of a group. By the time it’s over, it is hard to remember what you lost. You are left aimlessly circling the square footage of your home looking for your phone while it’s in your hand the whole time. It can take the interesting and complex and rob it of any excitement. It happens slowly. Your energy drips out by the drop and fatigue settles in. It is so insidious it took me three months to figure it out. It’s like Netflix coming in all pixelated only to find out it’s because your neighbor has been stealing your wifi.

I recognize it’s amazing we get to work through a global pandemic. It is. Video conferencing makes it possible, so I am thankful for it. However, we must acknowledge the cost. In this case, it is the light in my eyes and the warmth in my heart. It is a troubling yet dialectical relationship.

Most of all, Zoom just reminds me how much I miss all of my colleagues and friends. I’m not sure when I will be able to see everyone again, but it certainly feels more of a “when” not “if” type of question.

Hope you are Staying Safe, Healthy, and Happy. 

Will Doherty
EVP, Global Marketplace Development
Index Exchange

Q3 Power Rankings

These power rankings are so good, people are saying they’re the finest idea since a combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

We looked at the time frame of Aug 1 ~ 7 vs. July 1 ~ 7.

Image of a category ranking chart of ad spend by industry for Q3 power ranking (August 2020 data)

Image of a category ranking chart of ad spend by industry for Q3 power ranking (August 2020 data)

Image of ranking chart of Ad Spend by sub-categories of the Travel industry - August 2020

Image of ranking chart of Ad Spend by sub-categories of the Entertainment industry - August 2020

Image of ranking chart of Ad Spend by sub-categories of the Business industry - August 2020

Image of ranking chart of Ad Spend by sub-categories of the Non-Profit industry - August 2020
*A couple of notes: This is comparing change in Ad Spend over a period of time. It is not a stack ranking of largest to smallest. For example, the Dating category is up but is one of the smaller categories on the Exchange.

TLDR 

  • Auto is still having a nice rebound from the doldrums of the pandemic. However, I want to note, it’s still not back to full strength. It has the most upward momentum over the allotted time frame.
  • Travel is another category that is recovering but is not yet recovered. A sub-category ranking is showing that destinations, resorts, and lodging are the prime spenders.
  • Airlines are not really a part of the story yet. They seem to be spending just enough to remind everyone they still exist.
  • Political spend is picking up and will continue its upward trajectory until the U.S. election in November.
  • Energy and Utility spending is up, but presumably not in the U.S. Northeast where many folks lost power for the week.
  • When COVID hit, we saw spending on Entertainment from bars and restaurants evaporate. It’s nice to see this coming back since many were run by small business owners. It has also been nice to see the responsible outdoor dining movement pick up in urban areas. At the end of the day, people are quite adaptable.

Office Space

Remember when everyone said that working from home would be the future? We would all leave our offices forever and turn the nation’s obsession with tiny homes to tiny offices? Welp, I got news for ya. We didn’t even make it six months, lol.

Article: "Companies Start to Think Remote Work Isn't So Great After All", The Wall Street Journal, Chip Cutter (Reporter)
Source: The Wall Street Journal, Chip Cutter (Reporter)

Listen: there is no doubt in my mind that the workplace impacts will be felt for years to come, but just because we can work like this doesn’t mean we should. I do not think you can replace human interaction entirely. We are hardwired for it.

Article: "Facebook Bets Big on Future of N.Y.C, and Offices, With New Lease", The New York Times, Matthew Haag (Reporter)
Source: The New York Times, Matthew Haag (Reporter)

And the titans know this as well as anyone.

Startup.dot.com

Silicon Valley has proven to be the Keith Richards of the business world, and venture capitalists are the Mr. Meseeks of the industry. After the dot-com bust in 2000, the venture ecosystem became some super resistant form of money bacteria. It’s impervious to our disdain. Startups raised $34.6 billion during the pandemic. That’s a ton of e-scooters. Years and years from now, we will all be buried in our fleece vests and sustainably-sourced merino wool shoes. Bleak? Perhaps, but these are trying times.However, it is heartening to see our sector light up a few rounds amidst all this uncertainty. Ad Tech hasn’t been an attractive venue for investors the last couple of years, but it’s no surprise privacy has been the wedge into wallets.

Article: "Start-Ups Braced for the Worst. The Worst Never Came" The New York Times, Erin Griffith (Correspondent)
Source: The New York Times, Erin Griffith (Correspondent) /span>
Article: "'A Significant uptick in deal flow': Why Europe is becoming a hotbed of ad tech innovation", Digiday, Lara O'Reilly (Senior Correspondent)
Source: Digiday, Lara O’Reilly (Senior Correspondent)

However, it is heartening to see our sector light up a few rounds amidst all this uncertainty. Ad Tech hasn’t been an attractive venue for investors the last couple of years, but it’s no surprise privacy has been the wedge into wallets.

Conclusion

We still have a whole bunch of Summer left before we don’t go back to our offices. Take advantage of the long days while they are still here.

Watch This

I feel like this series has been overlooked despite all the streaming we have been doing. Easily one of the best things you will watch this year. Cate Blanchett does something remarkable in portraying a very problematic character. She gives her depth whilst keeping her accountable.

See here for all of Q3’s insights and trends.

Video: "Mrs. America", Hulu
Video: “Mrs. America”, Hulu