Morning Brew - ☕️ Stars, they’re just like us

Why do celebs keep starting ad agencies?
Morning Brew June 08, 2022

Marketing Brew


Bon mercredi. We’d like to introduce you to the bussin Don Draper meme. We’re so sorry.

In today’s edition:

—Katie Hicks, Minda Smiley


From The Oscars to Oscar Mayer

Clockwise: Photos of Ryan Reynolds, a skyline, Shaq, Kristen Bell, and Dax Shepard Photos: Maximum Effort, Majority Agency, 305 Worldwide, Dunshire Production Company

We’ve all heard about actors who started doing commercials so they could work in entertainment. Brad Pitt once shilled for Pringles and now has two Oscars.

But what about the stars who dream of working not just for, but in the ad industry? Spike Lee, Michael B. Jordan, Ryan Reynolds, Shaquille O’Neal, Armando Pérez (AKA Pitbull), and Kristen Bell are among the celebrities who have tied their names to advertising agencies and studios.

  • “I’m not shocked by it, and I expect to see a lot more of it,” Asmirh Davis, founding partner and CSO at marketing agency Majority, which Shaq helped start last year, told Marketing Brew. “I think we’ll probably see more agencies that are having celebrities involved behind the scenes, even more so than them being the face of the agency.”

The reason, it seems, is that it’s often a win-win for both the celebrity and the agency.

The agency appeal

Davis said Majority founder Omid Farhang and Shaq bonded over their experiences on campaign shoots. “They were the only people who looked [like] anything other than a white man oftentimes, and it was like, ‘Wait a minute, we’re supposed to be creating ads and spots that are supposed to be targeted to the world. That’s not how the world looks.”

A star agency is born: Majority was created with the idea of flipping the norms in the predominantly-white marketing industry with a majority-minority agency, Shaq told the Wall Street Journal. Davis said Shaq’s “signing on was really the rocket fuel that made us take off into a new stratosphere,” noting that she’s not sure the paper would have covered the agency last year without him.

  • Jeff Jenkins, EVP of global marketing at Carter’s, which owns OshKosh B’gosh, said reading about Shaq’s new agency was the hook to working together on the brand’s “Today is Someday” campaign, but not the only reason for pursuing it.
  • “The Shaquille O’Neal piece is interesting, and probably got [Majority] on my radar because of the articles that were written about them,” he said. “But ultimately, we wouldn’t have chosen them if their work and the quality of people wasn’t amazing.”

Keep reading here to find out why celebrities are breaking into the ad (agency) game.—KH



BECA, one year later

four Black people in a black and white photo BECA

It’s been a little over a year since Jerri DeVard founded the Black Executive CMO Alliance (BECA) with the goal of shrinking the corporate diversity gap.

What started as a group of 26 top Black marketing executives from Fortune 500 companies like Adidas, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Studios, and PetSmart has now grown to 33. DeVard said the group has “paused” the executive count to make sure it stayed “tight on what [its] culture was” as expansion continues.

  • “We’re doing really great,” DeVard told Marketing Brew. “I’d like to say more than I expected, but my dreams are so big they’re living up to it.”

Then: Last year, DeVard, who’s held top marketing roles at companies like Office Depot and ADT—and now serves on the boards of companies including Under Armour and—told us she intended to help train the next generation of leaders through BECA’s four “ships”: internship, mentorship, sponsorship, and scholarship.

And now: The organization is making progress on some of those promises through the development of programs like the BECA Playbook and its first Cannes appearance.

By the (play)book

In the last year, DeVard and the BECA team created Playbook, a two-year, 60-hour program for what it calls “future leaders” who are partnered with an executive. “The beauty of having 33 members is that you have 33 different ways [to show] there’s no one way to be successful,” DeVard said.

Details: The 25 future leaders meet bimonthly with their executive coaches and hear from others during the program on topics like being Black in the corporate world, developing leadership styles, and using data in marketing. “We felt that if we were going to pay it forward at scale, we had to do it in a way where people could walk out of there with some real tried-and-true tested skills,” DeVard said.

Continue reading here.—KH



Make your moolah move


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Go global and make the most of your marketing money here.


a television Francis Scialabba

The upfronts have come and gone, meaning you’ll have to wait another year until celebs like Miley Cyrus and Lizzo come into our little corner of the world to help networks woo media buyers.

In the meantime, though, you can check out our upfronts and NewFronts coverage from this year:

Shoppable ads keep coming—but do viewers want them?

As shoppable offerings become more widespread, adopted by the likes of Roku and Condé Nast, some industry leaders seem skeptical that TV can live up to the social media standard—and warn advertisers to tread carefully.

With no third-party accredited measurement, this year’s upfront season is a testing bonanza

For the first time in recent memory, networks, platforms, and ad buyers are heading into negotiations with no audience-measurement option that is officially accredited by a third party.

As streaming continues to grow, marketers say concerns over measurement and transparency persist

Even as streaming grows, measurement and transparency are still lagging, media buyers told Marketing Brew. In conversations ahead of this year’s NewFronts, four media buyers raised concerns about measurement.

The upfronts nearly forgot about TV’s biggest, oldest audience

In a week chock-full of glitzy presentations and performances centered on streamers like Disney+, HBO Max, and Paramount+, Warner Bros. Discovery made a move that hinted at TV’s dirty little secret: Plenty of viewers are still watching old-fashioned linear TV—and many of them aren’t exactly spring chickens.

Buyers are earmarking ad spend for new ad-supported tiers

With Disney+’s ad-supported tier arriving in the second half of 2022 and Netflix racing to get its own ad-supported tier by the end of the year, buyers are setting aside some of their clients’ 2022 advertising dollars for those platforms.

Upfront presentations are all fun and games—but they rarely change media buyers’ minds

Each year, ad buyers spend a week in May shuffling into New York City event spaces to watch network presentations chock-full of show trailers and musical performances (Stevie Wonder at the CW, anyone?). And while they’re fun, flashy, and nice for networking, these dog-and-pony shows rarely change ad buyers’ minds.

Read all the stories in one place here.—MS


  • The Walton-Penner family, led by Walmart heir Rob Walton, has agreed to buy the Denver Broncos for a reported $4.65 billion, but the deal is still pending league approval.
  • LIV Golf, a Saudi-backed competitor to the PGA, is “finally teeing off.”
  • allegedly lied to investors about how much organic traffic it received, per a lawsuit brought against the company by a former senior exec.
  • Matthew McConaughey called for gun reform in a speech at the White House.
  • State Farm has the exclusive naming rights to an arena created in partnership with iHeartMedia in Roblox. Makes sense?


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French press Francis Scialabba

Big Tech: eMarketer breaks down how the largest tech companies are responding to a “shaky economy.”

Fresh data: Snapchat just dropped research on how AR and camera ads can help campaign performance.

PM: A defense of product managers, from someone who was recently dragged for explaining the gig from a pool.

Influencer marketing: Want your boss to invest more in influencer marketing? Pass along this guide from Mavrck—it’s full of tips on overcoming obstacles around budget and making influencer marketing a priority. Get it here.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.


Your next amazing role is waiting for you at the Marketing Brew Job Board, featuring 300+ new roles!

Today’s featured openings:

See more jobs or post your job opportunities here.


Stat: The carbon footprint of ”unwanted” tracking advertisement-services data in Europe is estimated to be comparable to the CO2 emissions of the Portuguese city of Lisbon, according to the environmental consultancy CE Delft.

Quote: “This year I was just pretty disappointed. And I noticed a lot of other moms were as well. It’s not that the baby that they have picked is a problem. She’s a gorgeous little girl.”—A mom expressing her frustration about this year’s Gerber Photo Search to the New York Times

Read: “One year after promising to double AI ethics team, Google is light on details.” (Emerging Tech Brew)


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Written by Katie Hicks and Minda Smiley

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