Morning Brew - ☕ What should I watch?

Taking recs from Roku.
Morning Brew September 22, 2022

Marketing Brew


Happy Thursday. This morning, Drizly, the alcohol delivery service, debuted a retail media network. It’s a great day to be a media buyer for olives, pearl onions, and those fancy maraschino cherries.

In today’s edition:

—Kelsey Sutton, Andrew Adam Newman, Minda Smiley


Watch party

the hosts of 'Roku Recommends' Roku

If the entertainment biz knows one thing, it’s that people sometimes have a hard time figuring out what to watch next. It takes an average of seven minutes for a user to decide to watch on a streaming platform, according to Nielsen, and one-fifth of would-be streamers throw up their hands and don’t watch anything at all.

Zoom in: Roku, which sells streaming devices and has a smart TV operating system, is renewing an effort to solve that conundrum for its viewers while also offering places for brands to get in front of Roku users.

Roku’s brand studio, which debuted in March last year and is a part of the streaming platform’s increasingly robust advertising operation, is intensifying its courtship of ad dollars this fall with the return of its weekly series, Roku Recommends.

  • The series, hosted by Maria Menounos and Andrew Hawkins and produced by Funny or Die, highlights five new shows and movies across various streaming services like HBO Max, Disney+, and Netflix.
  • Peppered in between the countdown are brand-sponsored segments, like a superhero movie roundup sponsored by Metro by T-Mobile and a “misery loves company” movie roundup sponsored by Geico.
  • The series’ 35-episode first season landed among the top 10 video-on-demand programs on The Roku Channel, according to the company. Now, the second season, which premiered this month, has increased its ambitions.

“We’re kind of going bigger and better,” said Chris Bruss, head of the Roku Brand Studio and a veteran of Funny or Die. “We want to have more talent in the studio with our hosts. We want to do more field pieces. We want to be able to send correspondents to the red carpet, do set visits, to go do interviews.”

Looking ahead: As the streaming wars have intensified, Roku’s brand studio is also aiming to work more closely with the media and entertainment brands eager to get their shows, movies, and apps in front of audiences.

Read the full story here.—KS



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Razor-thick margins

A photo illustration of a safety razor Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photo: Italian Barber

Retail Brew’s Andrew Adam Newman recently looked at why men’s disposable razors could be going out of style. Read part of his story below, or click here for the full read.

In the last decade, traditional safety razors have become popular again, as men rediscover the pleasures of shaving like their great-grandfathers did, which also often includes a shaving brush and a puck of traditional shaving soap or shaving cream. Many of these razors are luxury items, with some going for as much as $499. But here’s the paradox: Many consumers end up in the luxury-razor category because of the long-term expense of name-brand disposables in drugstore aisles.
“A majority of our customers come to us because they read about wet shaving on social media or because they want to save costs,” Joseph Abbatangelo, co-founder of The Italian Barber, a 12-year-old Toronto online retailer that specializes in razors and shaving products, told us. “A lot of people will find a safety razor because they’re sick of spending $3 or $4 for a replacement cartridge from Gillette.”


Reader poll: What’s hiring like right now?

Joe Keery on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon saying 'I got the job' in a gif The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/NBC via Giphy

Earlier this week, we noted that agencies aren’t exactly having an easy time finding and retaining employees right now.

We asked you if you’re feeling the pain from the industry’s “talent wars” or if you think they’ve been overhyped. Answers were pretty much split down the middle among the nearly 800 Marketing Brew readers that responded:

  • 54% said that you are struggling in the talent department
  • 46% said things really aren’t that bad

Big picture: It’s not just our industry that’s dealing with a talent crunch.

  • Last month, the US economy added 315,000 jobs, marking a slowdown compared to the previous month. But the labor market is still tight.
  • “Yes, employer demand is cooling,” AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at Indeed, told the New York Times earlier this month. “In some areas, it’s cooling a little bit faster. But it’s still strong. It’s still robust.”

Sticking around: Earlier this year, we wrote about how several agencies were introducing new policies and perks—like bonuses, learning opportunities, and flexible working schedules—to try to prevent staffers from walking out the door.

We’re curious: What types of roles have been easy to fill, and which ones have been difficult to find candidates for? Reply to this email to let us know.


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French press Francis Scialabba

There are a lot of bad marketing tips out there. These aren’t those.

PoliTok: TikTok has updated policies for political accounts.

Hear me out: Learn the basics of voice search optimization here.

Stylish: Why your brand needs a social media style guide and how to make your own.

Snag a seat with Gen Z’s cool kids using Snapchat’s branding tools. The app reaches 90% of Gen Zers, an audience that’s hard to capture elsewhere. Take a W among the bucket-hat-wearing brethren with Snap.

*This is sponsored advertising content.


Have you been wondering how HBO is crushing the modern marketing game (any House of the Dragon stans)? Or how Duolingo’s Duo the owl became a storytelling sensation on TikTok? And really, how the heck has Vans managed to transcend the generations and stay part of the cool crowd, even as our beloved skinny jeans get dunked on day after day?

Well, you’ll find the answer to all these questions and more (yes, much more) at the biggest Marketing Brew event yet: The Brief on Nov. 15. This jam-packed day of panels, presentations, and networking will give you strategies to implement immediately, plus the chance to interact personally with some of the best in the industry (not to mention your fellow marketing rock stars). Quick: We have advanced pricing for only a limited time, so grab your ticket here before the cost goes up!


  • Meta is reportedly seeking to cut costs by at least 10% and plans to do so partially by reducing its workforce.
  • The FDA put out a warning about the “NyQuil chicken challenge,” though as NBC pointed out, “it is unclear whether many people ever tried to cook chicken in NyQuil.”
  • Warner Music Group hired Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer, to serve as its CEO starting Jan. 1.
  • Dunkin’ promoted Jill McVicar Nelson to CMO.
  • Walmart will accept holiday returns for longer than it ever has in the past, and will also roll out curbside returns ahead of the holiday shopping season.


Morning Consult recently took a look at “what sustainability means to consumers” in a new report with that title, based on a survey of 2,210 US adults. Here are a couple of main takeaways for brands.

Familiarity ≠ understanding: While most consumers were generally familiar with sustainability terms like climate change, energy conservation, and carbon footprint, fewer were able to “demonstrate knowledge” of these terms on a deeper level, according to Morning Consult.

  • Eight in 10 Americans said they were familiar with the term “renewable resources,” but only 58% were actually able to correctly identify a renewable resource from a list.
  • 86% of respondents said they were not sure what “ESG” stood for.
  • 78% said the same of the term “greenwashing.”

Industry divides: Consumers said the tech industry has done the most good when it comes to the climate crisis, while the auto industry has done the most harm, per the report.

  • Food and beverage companies came in second place when it comes to positive impact on the climate crisis, and they also “have the most to gain” by prioritizing sustainability, the report’s authors wrote.
  • 69% of consumers said they were either “somewhat” or “very” likely to consider purchasing or using a product from a food and beverage company if the brand prioritizes sustainability, a higher share than for products in any other category.


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Written by Kelsey Sutton, Minda Smiley, Andrew Adam Newman, and Alyssa Meyers

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