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By Ad Age and Creativity Staff – 30 min 9 sec ago
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This week’s marketing winners, losers and newsmakers.
Call of Duty: The newest version of the Activision game, called Modern Warfare II, posted $1 billion in global sales in its first 10 days, beating the 15-day record set by the 2012 version, Black Ops II, Activision reports. Player engagement soared to more than 200 million hours played across PlayStation, Xbox and PC platforms. “This is an extraordinary number and represents a real return to form for Call Of Duty, especially after the lackluster performance of Vanguard in 2021,” Forbes reported.
Related: Celebrities join the “ultimate team” in Call of Duty campaign
Mastodon: The 6-year-old social media app is basking in new publicity as an alternative to Twitter in the wake of the Elon Musk drama. The attention could be fleeting, however, and so far it hasn’t drawn much brand love, Ad Age reported this week. “Mastodon is an interesting emerging platform, but it’s not a like-for-like alternative to Twitter,” said Liz Cole, executive director and U.S. head of social at VMLY&R.
Read more: Why Mastodon isn’t a Twitter alternative
Skittles: The rainbow-colored candy brand had a victory this week when a lawsuit alleging its products contain toxins was dismissed. In July, a California consumer had accused Skittles parent Mars of using titanium dioxide, a known toxin, that made its candy “unfit for human consumption.”
KFC: The chicken chain came under fire this week for sending German customers an alert to “treat yourself” on Kristallnacht, a day of national observance considered to be the beginning of the Holocaust. According to reports, the alert read, “It’s memorial day for Kristallnacht! Treat yourself with more tender cheese on your crispy chicken. Now at KFCheese!” Also called the Night of Broken Glass, Kristallnacht refers to the start of the violence against Jewish people and their businesses by Nazis in November of 1938. KFC parent Yum Brands apologized for the insensitive message, noting it had been sent out by a bot. The brand has suspended its robot messaging.
Sports betting: California voters rejected two propositions that would have legalized sports gambling in the state. The failures were the result of negative ads run by the competing factions, notes the Associated Press; one measure would have benefited tribal casinos and the other one would have allowed online wagers. The upshot is that Golden State residents won’t be (legally) betting anytime soon, robbing ad sellers of the revenue windfall that typically follows legalization.
Tesla: The electric vehicle maker’s stock keeps plummeting as CEO Elon Musk remains embroiled in his controversial Twitter takeover. “Sitting on top of the peak of the mountain with Tesla in a massive position of strength, Musk has managed to do what the bears have unsuccessfully tried for years,” Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives wrote, as reported by Investor’s Business Daily. “Crush Tesla’s stock by his own doing in what we view as a purely painful dark situation.” Adding insult to injury: Telsa this week recalled more than 40,000 2017-2021 Model S and Model X vehicles due to a potential issue with their power steering assist, Reuters reports.
Related: The latest Twitter updates
80%: Share of consumers planning to shop online for the holidays, down from 85% last year, according to the NPD Group.
BREAKING: @GuyFieri has been re-elected Mayor of Flavortown.
“Overall as an industry, there’s a shift away from just relying on Meta and Google and having a broader mix. There’s now a huge drive for DTC brands to diversify their marketing mix into traditional marketing like print and TV.” —Polly Wong, president of Belardi Wong, a marketing agency with roughly 400 DTC clients.
Michelle Gass was named president of Levi Strauss & Co., effective Jan. 2. She has also been named future CEO, succeeding Chip Bergh in 2024. Gass had been CEO of Kohl’s.
Esprit hired Ana Andjelic as global chief brand officer. She had been chief brand officer of Gap Inc.-owned Banana Republic.
Impossible Foods tapped Leslie Sims as chief marketing officer, a newly created position. She was chief creative officer, U.S. at Deloitte Digital.
Big Lots hired John Alpaugh as chief marketing officer. He had been chief executive of CyberMark, a digital marketing company. The retailer also tapped Margarita Giannantonio as chief merchandising officer and executive VP. She was formerly senior VP and general merchandise manager of TJX Canada.
In this article:
Adrianne Pasquarelli is a senior reporter at Ad Age, covering marketing in retail and finance, as well as in travel and health care. She is also a host of the Marketer’s Brief podcast and spearheads special reports including 40 Under 40 and Hottest Brands. Pasquarelli joined Ad Age in 2015 after writing for Crain’s New York Business, where she also focused on the retail industry.
E.J. Schultz is the News Editor for Ad Age, overseeing breaking news and daily coverage. He also contributes reporting on the beverage, automotive and sports marketing industries. He is a former reporter for McClatchy newspapers, including the Fresno Bee, where he covered business and state government and politics.