Marketing Minute — May 2024

Marketing Minute — May 2024


Much as we may like to plan, success often depends upon how communicators react. Whether to amplify, mitigate or create opportunity. Looking in the rearview, we’re highlighting a couple of strong brand responses, as well as continued shakeups, in media and AI.


Here’s the May Marketing Minute.


Bumble’s Fumble 


Bumble faced backlash over a controversial ad campaign that was developed to address users’ dating app concerns. The billboard – “You know full well a vow of celibacy is not the answer” – sparked criticism and was promptly removed. While the ad missed the mark, the brand’s crisis communications plan helped mitigate damage. Bumble reacted quickly, owned the mistake, pulled the ads and donated to organizations that support women. Mistakes are inevitable; the response is what often has the long-term impact.


Nothing Foul About This One


We love a smart, quick, effective brand response. So give the gold star this month to Topps – the trading card company that earned itself a New York Times headline with an inexpensive stunt. If you’re not aware, Liz McGuire got hit with a foul ball at a Toronto Blue Jays game. She’s fine, thankfully. But her big welt went viral. Topps jumped on it – producing 110 baseball cards with her image, as the ball was traveling 110 mph. Some of the best stunts don’t cost a lot of money – but they also can’t be manufactured on a whim.


Big Media Shakeups


May’s media shakeups took on a national, as well as local flavor. Kim Godwin, the first Black woman to lead a network news division, departed from ABC News and a tenure that, while monumental, faced internal criticism Sam Feist, CNN’s Washington bureau chief since 2011, departs the media giant to become CEO of the public affairs television network C‑SPAN – in the middle of a contentious election year. Locally, GBH cut 31 staffers from 13 departments, Pam Johnston stepped aside as GM, and Dan Lothian to the newly created role of Editor in Chief, GBH News and The World.


Tip of the (A)Iceberg


May’s big news in AI continues to be the Scarlett Johansson’s / OpenAI clash. That the actress’ team has sent multiple letters to Open AI demanding details about how it created the “Sky” voice assistant is just today’s events. Big picture: this is just the start of significant legal issues over the use of AI. In other news … At Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference, CEO Sundar Pichai, unveiled a new AI agent called “Project Astra” developed to compete with OpenAI. … OpenAI and Reddit announced a new partnership, giving OpenAI access to real-time content from Reddit’s data API. Now, OpenAI users will be able to surface discussions from the site within ChatGPT and other new products. OpenAI also made improvements to data analysis in ChatGPT, allowing users to easily merge and clean large datasets, create charts, and uncover insights. … And OpenAI says it has begun training a new model that would succeed the GPT-4 technology that currently drives ChatGPT.


Adding New Ad Servers


Netflix is challenging Amazon and Google by building its own ad server. Developing an ad server will allow Netflix to manage and distribute ads based on what ads are best suited to users on a publisher’s website or app. According to TechCrunch, with this in-house ad tech, “Netflix is poised to take full control of its advertising future. This strategic move will empower the company to create targeted and personalized ad experiences that resonate with its massive user base of 270 million subscribers.”


See you in June!

See our work.

Partner with us.

See our work.

Partner with us.