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.
The DOJ Filed an Antitrust Case Against Google. Here’s What You Need to Know About It
After a months-long probe into Google, the Department of Justice hit the tech giant with an antitrust lawsuit that called it “the gatekeeper to the internet.” However, the lawsuit doesn’t focus as heavily on the company’s ads business as many experts had anticipated, instead targeting Google’s search dominance, which has allowed Google to build an anticompetitive search advertising empire. Attorney General William Barr, one of the major players in the investigation, said that it “strikes at the heart of Google’s grip over the internet for millions of American consumers, advertisers, small businesses and entrepreneurs beholden to an unlawful monopolist.”
What’s the solution? The DOJ doesn’t specify next steps for Google, but suggests “structural relief,” such as a breakup or divestiture.
All of Big Tech under scrutiny: This lawsuit follows an extensive report by the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee that explores how Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon are all “gatekeepers” and have engaged in monopolistic behavior.
The Richards Group Incident Is Advertising’s Diversity Déjà Vu
Diversity, equity and inclusion have been foremost in the minds of brands and consumers this year. In light of Motel 6 and other clients firing The Richards Group over the agency founder’s racist comment, professor Christopher Boulton points out the times that such a movement has happened before—without yielding actual increases in diversity at major brands and agencies. And although he calls their efforts “laudable,” he says that diversity nonprofits aren’t enough “to meet the overwhelming quantitative scale of the disease.” So what will? Boulton argues that it will require a class action race discrimination lawsuit like the one Coca-Cola faced in the early 2000s, one of the rare times when quantifiable change was made.
A history of discrimination: Explore how 2020s corporate BLM movement has happened before—and brand promises proved to be hollow.
Catch up on the latest updates surrounding The Richards Group situation:
- Home Depot, H-E-B, Keurig Dr Pepper and the Salvation Army all followed suit and dropped the agency after Stan Richards called a Motel 6 ad concept “too Black.” Here’s what’s next for these brands.
- “What’s happened at The Richards Group sends a message to all agency executives,” says Cindy Gallop. Adweek talked to her and two other DEI advocates about the core of that message and what it means for the industry.
- A few years ago, Campbell Ewald had a similar crisis to what The Richards Group is going through now: A white staffer sent an email inviting colleagues to participate in a “Ghetto Day.” This experience, and response, has lessons for agencies navigating similar moments.
THURSDAY: Life Interrupted | Time Disrupted: The Long-term Implications of this Defining Moment for Generation Z
Join ENGINE, Snap, Ernst & Young, Made By Us and Adweek on Thursday, October 22, as ENGINE shares recent findings from their Cassandra Report®, which has examined the new cultural trends that are emerging among today’s youth, which values are being amplified and what behavioral changes are likely to be sustained long-term.
With A Wink, Agency Claims ‘Credit’ Pence Viral Fly Moment
In a clever behind-the-scenes-style parody video, marketing stunt agency WhoIsTheBaldGuy claims that it’s responsible for the fly that landed on Mike Pence’s hair during the vice presidential debate earlier this month. In addition, the video claims credit for other instances of flies landing on politicians—to strategically “distract the viewer from what the candidate is saying”—and provides some commentary about the triviality of viral phenomena.