Editor’s Letter: The Show Will Go On

For many years, more than I really care to admit, I’ve covered the ebb and flow of marketing and media, watching the industry successfully navigate emergencies of epic proportions, from 9/11 to the 2003 Northeast blackout and hurricanes. Each time, advancements in technology enabled us to better communicate and serve our customers. Each time, the show went on.

Now we’re facing our latest challenge, the COVID-19 virus. While events like SXSW, the NAB Show, video game trade expo E3, and a slew of NewFronts and Upfronts presentations are being canceled as we speak, platforms like Google Hangout, Slack, Skype and Zoom are presenting new opportunities for businesses and clients alike.

One way or another, the show will go on.

Here too, at Adweek, we’ve had to adjust our schedule. Earlier this month, more than 700 marketing execs joined us at our second annual Challenger Brands Summit in New York. Since then, like other companies, we’ve had to put a pin in a couple of live events. Instead, we’ll be offering our partners gearing up for NewFronts and Upfronts a virtual conference capability that we’re calling Adweek Spotlight. It’s a customized, streamed event in HD that will amplify network presentations in conjunction with editorial thought leadership.

The Adweek editorial team remains committed to helping our community do their jobs better, and that means providing the insight and foresight on the virus’ business implications in print and online, which includes a regularly updated events tracker and breaking-news email alerts.

In addition to our ongoing COVID-19 coverage, we remain steadfast in our efforts to showcase and celebrate innovations in media and marketing.

For our cover, Adweek TV editor Jason Lynch talks with Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, who will soon begin production on his interpretation of Battlestar Galactica for NBCU’s Peacock streaming service. Interestingly, technology was always part of Esmail’s life. In the early aughts, he was an internet entrepreneur (though his startup was tied to the fate of AOL, so …). Esmail speaks to Lynch about his upcoming BSG project and why he finds technology both fascinating and “horrifying.”

In this issue, Adweek also presents the winners of this year’s CMO Vanguard Awards, honoring 30 data-driven, customer- and culture-focused marketing execs like Deborah Wahl, global CMO of General Motors, who partnered with Amazon to integrate Alexa into the Buick brand’s driving experience, and San Francisco 49ers CMO Alex Chang, who partnered with SAP’s Silicon Valley office to enhance the fan experience by tracking the journey from tickets to concessions sales. It’s no surprise Tim Mapes, svp, chief marketing and communications officer of Delta Air Lines, also made the list. Already, Delta has been an excellent case study in crisis management, with last week’s reassuring letter to customers from CEO Ed Bastian on how the airline has prepared for what’s ahead.

Given the last-minute strategy changes happening now because of the virus, I’m quite certain next year’s CMO Vanguard Award honorees will have some mind-blowing customer strategies and hacks to share. But let’s hope we get back to business as usual very soon. Until then, here’s to rising to the occasion.

This story first appeared in the March 16, 2020, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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