Easter Advertising Evolves; Steak-Umm Shines as a Beacon of Truth: Friday’s First Things First

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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.

As the World Prepares for a Very Different Easter, Brands Change Creative and Brace for Impact

Cadbury U.K. yanked an Easter TV spot showing a grandfather hugging his grandchildren during an egg hunt, while Jelly Belly scrapped its “Better Shared” campaign. Facing an egg shortage thanks to panic buying, an egg dye brand is suggesting that people dye marshmallows and ping-pong balls. Peeps is touting craft projects kids can make with the marshmallow treats.

In short, brands are having to seriously rethink the way they’re advertising for Easter. As the first major U.S. shopping event of the coronavirus era, the way they—and consumers—approach the holiday will have lasting effects, especially on candy brands for whom the holiday represents a huge chunk of revenue.

Read more: People find comfort in what they know, and brands are trying to deliver that for them now, while some brands are kickstarting what could become new traditions.

Here’s how a few other brands are responding to COVID-19:

Q&A: Behind Mark Read’s Plans to Protect WPP’s People, Clients and Future

In less than two years at the helm of the world’s largest advertising holding company, Mark Read has seen WPP undergo a rapid transformation. Wunderman and J. Walter Thompson merged, as did VML and Y&R. WPP sold its majority stake in research firm Kantar. Now Read faces a pandemic that threatens to upend the agency network, putting countless jobs at risk. As of now, Read says he can’t rule out job losses, but the leadership team took a 20% paycut as the first step to protect jobs. To try to quell anxieties, WPP leadership has been doing massive virtual town halls with employees, sometimes speaking to as many as 2,000 people.

Read more: Read explains what WPP is doing to remain afloat and service clients during these turbulent times.

Amid the Pandemic, People Flock to Steak-umm for Consolation and Insight

Hard-hitting, reasonable truth bombs from a frozen meat brand? In the era of COVID-19, things have been stranger. Frozen meat brand Steak-umm’s Twitter account has published several deep, thoughtful threads reflecting the current state of affairs and the zeitgeist, beginning with Monday’s sobering, nine-part soliloquy on Twitter admonishing misinformation and advising on the importance of media literacy and reliable sources of data.

It’s all the work of Nathan Allebach, social media manager for Allebach Communications and the man behind the brand’s voice, whose real-talk isn’t exactly a new strategy.

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