Morning Brew - ☕ Get a clue

Perhaps a contextual advertising clue?
June 02, 2023

Marketing Brew


It’s Friday. And another Twitter exec has left the building, this time it’s the head of trust and safety, making this the second time someone has left that role during Elon’s tenure. At this point, we wouldn’t be surprised if the company was being held up by one guy hyped up on Mountain Dew or something.

In today’s edition:

—Ryan Barwick, Sarah Wingo, Katie Hicks


I need more cowbell context

A chocolate chip cookie disappearing into thin air on a light purple backdrop Amelia Kinsinger

What’s old is new again. Cargo pants, low-rise jeans, bucket hats…and, uh, contextual advertising?

If the internet does indeed become a data desert—whether because of the loss of third-party cookies and other identifiers, privacy regulation, or the rise of retail media networks and other channels reliant on first-party data collection—contextual advertising could become one of few tools left in a marketer’s tool box.

“Contextual budgets are growing as advertisers are re-examining their data strategies,” according to Emily Kennedy, SVP of digital and programmatic partnerships at Dentsu, who said that clients are increasing their contextual investments anywhere from 25% to 50%.

So, what is contextual advertising? It’s exactly what it sounds like: Buying an ad based on the context of the placement, rather than targeting an individual based on their past viewing or purchasing behaviors. This kind of ad-buying is usually done with little to no user data.

Think a mayonnaise brand buying streaming ads during a Food Network cooking show, or how magazine ad buying works, e.g., a sporting goods brand buying ad space in Sports Illustrated.

That’s how Sterling Cooper and Partners would have bought ads. In other words, it’s an old form of advertising that’s finding a second wind thanks to increasing privacy concerns. “We’re coming back full circle,” Kennedy said.

Advertisers can still reach an intended target “without any of their personal data, without creepily tracking any of their browser history and following them around the internet,” Hailey Denenberg, VP of strategic initiatives at ad-tech company GumGum, said. She’s also interim head of Verity, the company’s contextual advertising platform.

Continue reading here.—RB



Do you hear it?


That’s the crisp, clean sound of growth. Most people think of audio as a top-of-funnel nice-to-have for sparking convos, but they’re missing out on audio’s true conversion-driving capabilities.

Wanna learn how high-performing brands activate audio throughout the funnel to move their needle from top to bottom? Tune in to Audacy’s State of Audio report.

Audio drives awareness at 49% (compared to social’s 40%) and conversion at a whopping 45% (compared to social media’s 38%). These are some serious #s, and they only go up from there.

With a one-two punch of massive reach + beloved personalities, audio spreads the word, drives reach, and has quickly become a multipurpose platform.

Learn how to fuel your funnel by downloading Audacy’s free State of Audio report.


Sleepless Social in Seattle

Meet Zack Peggins, social media manager with the Seattle Kraken Zack Peggins

The Seattle Kraken had a record-breaking season, making it to the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs in the team’s second year of existence.

It found success off the ice as well: Across Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, the Seattle Kraken has more than 1 million followers. Not bad for a team that’s only played for two seasons.

Its social posts are created by a team that includes Zack Peggins, who’s a social media manager with the franchise. The team has seen many of its posts go viral, which Peggins said has contributed to its growing fanbase.

Marketing Brew caught up with Peggins to discuss the Seattle Kraken’s recent rise to social media fame, how its social team navigated the playoffs, and what his day-to-day job entails.

Read our Q&A here.—SW



Goin’ for a scroll

Ariana Madix on TikTok Screenshots via @arianamadix/TikTok

Each week, Marketing Brew recaps what people are talking about on social media, the trends that took over our feeds, and how marketers are responding.

Vanderpump-ing up the dollar bills: In the wake of what’s become known as “Scandoval,” brands are finding ways to partner with the stars of Vanderpump Rules and squeeze every last drop out of this Bravo drama. A few weeks ago, Ariana Madix posted about Bic razors and “starting a whole new, unclogged chapter” in her life following her breakup with Tom Sandoval. More recently, she’s done sponsored posts with Sofi and Raising Cane’s.

Watch your organic posts: Dove posted a tweet praising Beyoncé for apparently using its deodorant, saying “it should cost a billion to smell that good.” The tweet has since been deleted, and lawyer Rob Freund tweeted that “if Dove doesn’t have an endorsement deal with Beyoncé, this is a publicity rights layup for her.” Sometimes the pursuit of #content ain’t worth it.

It’s already June, the month to celebrate Pride, which also means it’s time to watch which brands hit and which miss the mark in their rainbow-filled posts this year. Another thing we’re watching: which brands skip the rainbow altogether given recent backlash against brands like Target and The North Face, the latter of which stood by its Pride campaign featuring a drag queen in the face of calls for a boycott. Even Chick-fil-A, not exactly known for being the most inclusive, is facing harassment from an “anti-woke” mob these days.—KH



French Press

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

From the horse’s mouth: Instagram posted an explainer on ranking across each part of the platform, from the feed to Stories to Reels.

State of play: Google updated its digital marketing playbook to account for privacy changes. Read about it here.

Explain: Fast Company on TikTok’s new font.


  • Netflix shareholders voted to reject the company’s executive pay packages.
  • Meta employees must go to the office three times a week by September, according to The Information.
  • T-Pain is singing “Buy U a Frosty” as part of a Wendy’s campaign marketing the return of its strawberry Frosty.
  • Walmart’s chief merchandising officer said it’s keeping its Pride offerings in stores.


  1. Vox wrote about how Find My Friends is a social media platform of its own.
  2. The New York Times profiled Jaeki Cho, the influencer who runs Righteous Eats, which often posts NYC restaurants that may not have the resources to market themselves.
  3. The Atlantic on why “online ads are about to get even worse.”


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Written by Ryan Barwick, Sarah Wingo, and Katie Hicks

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