Morning Brew - ☕ Double or nothing

Why GroupM is doubling its clients’ investment in women’s sports.
March 28, 2024

Marketing Brew


Happy Thursday. In honor of National Gelato Day, Talenti created the Talentini, a “vanilla bean dirty martini sundae” that, for some reason, includes gelato, olives, blue cheese, honey, and lemon zest. We gotta wonder whether these people have ever even had a dirty martini.

In today’s edition:

—Alyssa Meyers, Ryan Barwick


Twice as nice

Iowa v. Northwestern Michael Reaves/Getty Images

GroupM is planning to double its annual advertising spend on women’s sports starting with this year’s upfront, the WPP media investment agency announced.

To achieve the goal, GroupM is putting together a “dedicated marketplace” that will allow its clients to get more involved with women’s sports, according to Martin Blich, the agency’s executive director of sports and live investment. The marketplace will include opportunities like broadcast sponsorships, league-level partnerships, and deals with athlete-owned media companies.

“When you look at the sports marketplace, it’s really large, and the women’s sports marketplace is only a small portion of that, so there’s a lot of space there,” Blich told Marketing Brew.

Planting the seed: The idea for the initiative took root at the end of last year, when GroupM was talking with some of its clients that were already leaning into women’s sports, Blich said. Those conversations heated up in the past three or four months, he said, leading up to the agency’s commitment to double its 2023 spend on women’s sports on behalf of its clients this year.

  • Some brands that work with GroupM, like Ally Financial and Google, already have established track records of deep investment in women’s sports. Ally CMO Andrea Brimmer was one of the execs who started “imploring the agency to establish an advertising marketplace for women’s sports,” last year, according to a GroupM press release.

Teaming up: Several brands have already signed on, according to GroupM, including Ally, Google, Adidas, Coinbase, Mars, Nationwide, Unilever, Universal Pictures, and Discover. The marketplace is also open to clients affiliated with the GroupM agencies Mindshare, Wavemaker, and EssenceMediacom.

Continue reading more.—AM



Creative mode = activated


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Waiting for her pitch

Catie Griggs Seattle Mariners

This story is the sixth in a series on women leaders in sports and sports marketing. Read the rest of the profiles here.

When she was a girl growing up in North Carolina, Catie Griggs used to run around Durham Athletic Park, the former home of minor league baseball team the Durham Bulls (and the setting of the 1988 sports rom-com Bull Durham). While she was “a complete junkie” for all things sports, she said, she never thought she’d make a career of it.

“When I thought about the world of sports, I thought about it from an athlete perspective,” said Griggs, now the president of business operations for the Seattle Mariners and one of the highest-ranking women executives in Major League Baseball. “What you actually see on the field of play during games, that was my association with sports. [I was] not really thinking about what went into the whole ecosystem behind it.”

But through a combination of patience, hundreds of interviews, and learning to wait for just the right pitch, Griggs eventually worked her way through sports agencies and media companies to the team side. As the Mariners and MLB kick off the 2024 season, we spoke to Griggs about how she’s focused on positioning the team for the next generation of fans.

Know your (media) rights: During her first year of grad school at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, Griggs said she participated in more than 100 informational interviews to learn about getting a job in sports business. She had hopes of working for a team or a league, but after she graduated, she was hired as senior manager of strategy and business development at Turner Sports in 2010, where she worked on media rights negotiations and cross-platform content.

“It wasn’t, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is the dream job that I wanted,’ though it was amazing,” Griggs said. “I wanted to get my foot in the door in the industry, and based on the background and experience that I had, that was the most logical place for me to start, learn, see what I liked, and see where I wanted to go from there.”

Continue reading here.—AM



Down and out

X and Twitter logos Joel Saget/Getty Images

Ad prices continue to fall on X, and ad engagement is also waning, according to a February report from data intelligence platform Tracer.

The Elon Musk-owned app saw its cost per impressions (CPMs) fall 38% year over year compared to last February, the report found. The click-through rate (CTR) fell 54% over the same period. That dynamic is likely an indication that demand has fallen, Kevin Synnott, a data intelligence lead at Tracer, explained.

Tracer’s data, which is sourced from analyses the platform conducts for clients like Papa Johns, Headspace, and VaynerMedia, provides a snapshot into the inner pricing of ad platforms. While X saw its CTR drop, Pinterest’s CTR skyrocketed 426%, which Synnott said was likely because of new advertising inventory the platform has rolled out.

CPMs on Google’s Performance Max tool were up 261% in the past year. That may be because advertisers are “doubling down” on its new AI-powered tech, Synnott said, which was taken out of beta tests in late 2021.

Here’s how other platforms are doing:

  • Instagram’s CPMs increased 19% and CTR jumped 219%.
  • TikTok’s CPMs rose 19%, while CTR rose 13%.
  • YouTube’s CPMs remained the same, but CTR jumped 208%.

Read more here.—RB




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a pillar with a few pieces of paper and a green pencil on top of it Morning Brew

Stories we’re jealous of.

  • The Verge looked at Disney’s integration of Hulu into Disney+ and what it reflects about the company’s approach to unifying both its streaming services and its streaming data.
  • The New York Times covered the former-child-star-to-podcaster pipeline.
  • Vanity Fair spoke to the authors of a forthcoming book on Formula 1 about the fast-growing sports brand.


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