Morning Brew - ☕ Straight to the source

Marketing around the Olympics without sponsoring the Olympics.
June 06, 2024

Marketing Brew


It’s Thursday. We have good news for people who want to have their cake and clean with it, too: Dunkin’ and Scrub Daddy teamed up to make donut-shaped sponges.

In today’s edition:

—Alyssa Meyers, Jasmine Sheena, Ryan Barwick


No rings

Fred Richard for Celsius Celsius

For brands that want to get involved with the Olympics and Paralympics, there tend to be a lot of hoops—or, shall we say, rings—to jump through.

The International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Partner Programme includes only a “select group” of brands, according to the organization, and official sponsorships can cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Brands can also sponsor Team USA or other national teams, but that cost, plus the cost of partnering with individual athletes, as many sponsor brands do, isn’t exactly cheap, either.

So some brands, like the energy-drink company Celsius, are going straight to the competitors themselves, prioritizing individual athlete sponsorships alone to help boost brand awareness and credibility without an official sponsorship.

“Obviously, there’s a much larger barrier to entry to even get into that [official partner] space,” Celsius CMO Kyle Watson told Marketing Brew. “If you’re really thinking about how to more authentically tie your brand into this space, it is through these athletes, because that’s what the entire thing is all about. We’re not looking to get our logo plastered all over things.”

Here’s a look inside Celsius’s playbook for Paris as a nonsponsor brand.

Keep reading here.—AM



Simplify to amplify


The secret to successful marketing in 2024? Cutting complexity.

See how the best marketers simplify and streamline in Eliminating Complexity for a Frictionless Marketing Experience, a research report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, sponsored by Quad.

This research report is based on a survey of 527 marketing execs—and the stats are pretty revealing, with numbers like:

  • Only 30% of marketers rate their organization’s marketing as “very effective.”
  • More than half (53%) of marketing teams feel overwhelmed by the amount of channels they need to manage within the media mix.
  • 59% of respondents say the need to have specialists who know about each new marketing channel creates complexity for their team.

Learn why marketers are struggling to produce effective marketing—and what top marketers are doing right—in this free report.


Maxed out

Olivia Cooke in 'House of the Dragon' season 2 Ollie Upton/HBO

Tired of shelling out more and more moolah on streaming platforms? Well, have we got bad news for you.

Ad-free viewers of Warner Bros. Discovery-owned streamer Max will soon be paying more, marking the first price increase for the streamer since January 2023. The price increase, which became effective June 4 for new subscribers, means the monthly ad-free plan now costs $16.99 a month, a $1 increase, while the yearly ad-free plan is $20 pricier, at $169.99 a year.

The streamer’s monthly Ultimate Ad-Free plan jumped $1 to $20.99 a month, while the yearly version now costs $209.99, a $10 increase. Max’s ad-supported tier, meanwhile, will continue to cost subscribers $9.99 a month, or $99.99 a year.

The price hikes, which arrived ahead of Max’s highly anticipated release of season two of its Game of Thrones spinoff series House of the Dragon, is the latest example of streamers opting to make ad-free viewing more expensive, and it comes as the industry adjusts to maturation and looks for paths to profitability.

Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) in particular has ambitious goals for Max, and hiking subscription prices could help. The company aims to make $1 billion in streaming profits in 2025, Andrew Georgiou, president and managing director of WBD UK & Ireland and WBD Sports Europe, said at a London conference this week. Max is also targeting a 125 million global subscriber base in that same time period; it’s currently hovering around 100 million subscribers.

Other streamers have leaned into strategically timed price hikes, too. Next month, Peacock is set to raise prices for the second time in two years ahead of the Paris Olympics. And last October, Netflix upped its prices ahead of the release of its Squid Game reality competition show and its live sporting event, The Netflix Cup.

Continue reading here.—JS



Roll the tape

a colorful IG Reel logo Dianna “Mick” McDougall

If you’re on Facebook or Instagram, chances are you’re watching a video.

Last year, adult users of Facebook spent more than half their time on the platform watching videos, marking the first time ever that video use exceeded other kinds of activity on the platform, according to a new report from eMarketer. Adult users of Instagram, meanwhile, are expected to spend about 60% of their time on the platform watching video this year.

On average, adult users will spend about 17 minutes a day watching video on Facebook in 2024, and 21 minutes watching video on Instagram. In total, they’ll spend an average of 32 minutes on Facebook and 35 minutes on Instagram every day this year, eMarketer found.

The figures represent just how Meta’s aggressive push into social video, and its emphasis on Reels, has affected how its user base interacts with its apps. Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, will account for more than 40% of US adults’ time spent watching social video this year, eMarketer found. Reels is driving that growth: eMarketer forecast that time spent on Reels will grow 9.4% this year.

The company is clawing back the market share it lost to TikTok, having fallen from 51.8% in 2019 to 37.4% in 2022. Still, Meta falls well short of TikTok in terms of time spent. US adults will spend 54 minutes a day on average on TikTok this year, according to the report.

In total, social video will account for more than a tenth of all US time spent with digital media in 2024, eMarketer found.—RB




Here’s a little-known fact: 78% of US adults wish more people would ask for their opinion. So go ahead and dare to ask the questions you have. Because success isn’t about having all the answers, it’s about caring enough—and being daring enough—to ask the right questions.


Glow up with Jolie

Morning Brew Event Promo

Get ready to elevate your marketing IQ with insights from Arjan Singh, co-founder of Jolie, at our half-day event on June 25 in NYC! Arjan, a trailblazer in influencer marketing, will share his expertise in navigating the ever-changing landscape and crafting strategies. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn from one of the best and connect with key players shaping the future of influencer marketing. Grab your ticket now and join us for an inspiring day!


French Press Morning Brew

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

Right place, right time: Tips on making an Instagram Reel the right length.

Big picture: Research on the kinds of search queries that can trigger Google’s AI Overviews to appear at the top of the page.

YouTube as social media? Details on an expansion of text-based Community Posts coming to YouTube.

Complexity crisis: See how 527 marketing execs deal with (and overcome) complexity in this research report. Learn what top marketers are doing right + get insights into the future of marketing.*

*A message from our sponsor.


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

Stories we’re jealous of.

  • The Cut wrote about the WNBA’s “growth-spurt season” and what it might mean for the league’s future.
  • CNN wrote about how the “YOLO economy” is waning as some consumers cut back on spending.
  • The New York Times wrote about the revival of calligraphy and handwriting as a skill and design choice.


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