The Future of Ad Schools; 3 Industries Awakening from Lockdown: Tuesday’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.

What Is the Future of Ad Schools?

Students graduating from portfolio programs amid a deeply troubled job market are leaving asking whether it’s worth the investment. It’s exacerbated by the pandemic, of course, but it’s hardly a new debate, and it has already spurred the creation of alternatives to pricey multi-year programs like Denver Ad School, which opened last year and bills itself as a cheaper, quicker path. Students themselves have also created alternatives, including Carriage House, a student-founded and run creative co-op that provides creative services to local businesses and nonprofits—and providing students formal experience in lieu of traditional internships.

Choosing the right path: The value of ad school depends on what students make of it, and agencies are beginning to accept that the degree itself may not be the best indicator of performance.

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Opinion | Advertising Has a Crisis of Apathy and Otherness

In a new Voice piece, VMLY&R global chief strategy officer Yusuf Chuku addresses the structural issues behind the persistent lack of Black representation at agencies, especially in positions of leadership. The solution can’t just be words and charitable gestures, Chuku says. “It’s going to involve some uncomfortable conversations, the learning of some hard truths and getting used to some new faces in the C-suite,” he writes.

Rethinking the problem: “The relearning of American history needs to be focused on why ‘we the people’ has never really included all the people.”

  • Related: This year’s 13 Marcus Graham Project fellows, who represent many multicultural communities, have launched Afternoon agency, a 10-week popup that will work with several notable brands to craft social media strategy, web design and more.

How 3 Industries Are Adapting as Pandemic Lockdowns Lift

Travel: The U.S. gained 2.5 million jobs in May, almost half of which were in the leisure and hospitality industry. Overall employment rates in the industry are still historically low, but the lift reflects hotel brands and airlines seeing summer occupancy and flights increasing more quickly than expected. And although Booking.com has seen steep decreases in new room bookings, it’s responding to an uptick in activity from “dreamers,” or people scoping out vacations but not committing to booking a room yet, with promotions to keep users looking.

Restaurants: Eateries face a challenging future in the post-lockdown world, and many are shifting their architectural design to attract customers and make them feel safe. For social distancing measures, that means incorporating more flexible dining rooms and expanded patios. Meanwhile, chains like Torchy’s Tacos and Barcelona Wine Bar are customizing locations to align with the cultural identity of their locations, making them feel more like local spots.

Sports: The TV ad sales marketplace has been reeling, but the return of live sports is on the horizon, and advertisers and viewers are eager to get back in the game. While the outlook (and ad sales) for college football and other sports leagues is still uncertain, the NFL has created flexible schedule options, allowing for the entire season to be moved back or for some early weeks to be scrapped, and advertisers and rights holders are confident that all or most of the season will be played.

Reddit Users to CEO: Root Out Racism on the Platform Once and For All

More than 200 communities representing an alleged 200 million users on Reddit signed an open letter to CEO Steve Huffman making it clear that they oppose racism on the platform and pushing for a series of reforms to address racist behavior. Currently, it’s mostly up to volunteer moderators to set standards for individual subreddits, but the letter asks for sitewide policies against racism, including banning hateful communities and users and hiring more women and minorities.



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