February 19, 2023 BY Jacey Edwards in Newsletter
Tech woes and cameos: NL #130
Super Bowl ad roundup
While there were some bright spots, the general consensus in the ad world around this year’s Super Bowl commercials was a resounding “Meh.”
Even though we didn’t get hit with a slew of crypto ads like last year, there was a predictable barrage of celeb cameos, pop culture throwbacks, and plenty of one-note one-liners that didn’t quite live up to the pregame hype.
What can I say, I still managed to enjoy a few little slivers of ad-joy along with my chips and queso. Here’s a round up of winners and losers, courtesy of the Tegan team:
Dogs. (All the dogs). Farmer’s Dog and Amazon pulled on all our heartstrings with their tender odes to life-long canine companions. (Is it getting dusty in here?)
Electric cars: Ram’s cheeky double entendres and Will Ferrell’s EV-sponsored journey across Netflix classics kept us all chuckling while plotting our next binge.
Dunkin’ on Ben Affleck: BA is putting all that sad boy energy to work at the Dunkin’ Drive Thru—for better or worse. J-Lo, as usual, is left asking Ben what we’ve all been wondering after his recent meme-worthy Grammys appearance: “What are you doing here?”
M&Ms spokescandies’ half-baked comeback: After weeks of controversy, the much-hyped spot starring Maya Rudolph was supposed to be a homecoming for America’s favorite candies. Instead it was a bit of a head scratcher whose meaning was totally lost on folks who haven’t kept up with the drama.
Hellman’s weird celebrity sandwich: The awkward refrigerator meet cute featuring Jon Hamm and Brie Larson (we get it, the classic ham and cheese combo) is made even cringier by . . . Pete Davidson? You’re gonna want to hold the mayo this time.
Doritos’ love triangle: Too hip to be square? That’s up for debate. The celebrity studded spot felt odd, uninspired, and too cheesy for its own good. Forget the triangle. More cowbell, please.
Bradley Cooper’s mom. Leave it to family to keep you humble.
Even as most brands struggled to fill those $7 million+ ad dollar shoes, the lessons from this year’s fumbles are clear: Celebrities with no obvious connection to your brand aren’t doing you any favors. (Looking at you John Travolta). The ads that land are the ones that are relatable, connective, and feature pet cameos.
Just saying. The Dogs of Tegan are ready for hire.
Tech layoffs continue
Well, it looks like we’re headed for more cuts to the tech workforce.
Although Meta just layed off 13% of its global workforce in November (the highest in the company’s history), rumor has it that they’re already prepping for another purge of middle management positions.
Considering Meta’s fairly strict hiring freeze and the recent departure of the company’s long-time chief business officer, CEO Mark Zuckerburg’s promised “year of efficiency” sure seems to be living up to its name.
But Meta is just one of many tech giants that have been getting leaner and meaner. Over the past year, Amazon gutted 18,000 positions and Coinbase dropped over 1,000. Other big names like Google and Microsoft have had similar struggles. The massive growth we saw in the industry during the pandemic years has taken a sharp downturn. Economic changes and frequent dips in the stock market haven’t made things any easier. In this year alone, 78,000 tech industry jobs have been sidelined.
The good news? Applications for start-ups are at an all-time high as talent branches out beyond the allure of big names. LinkedIn has become the hottest social network. And, actually, most people with tech occupations don’t even work in the tech industry. So there’s still plenty of demand for these workers beyond the borders of Silicon Valley.
Like, say, Dallas?
Google botches launch of ChatGTP counterpart
The chatbot wars are upon us.
After the meteoric rise of Open AI’s ChatGPT at the end of last year, tech behemoths like Google and Microsoft have been sprinting to produce a rival.
But instead of delivering a worthy competitor, Google’s release of Bard proved anything but poetic. A promotional demonstration of the bot showed it giving an inaccurate answer to a question about the James Webb Telescope (facepalm), and just like that, Alphabet stock shares dropped more than 9%.
Even Google’s staff didn’t mince words about the failed release, sharing a meme that dubbed the move “comically short sighted and un-Googlely.” Alphabet chairman, John Hennesy even conceded that Bard “wasn’t really ready” to be productized. I’ll say, John.
Google’s lackluster release came only one day before Microsoft rolled out its AI-powered Bing search. Coincidence? It’s anyone’s guess.
Hopefully after such a public blunder Bard can work out the kinks and actually live up to its literary name. Epic is great. Epically correct—even better.
Best of the Week
For some great insights on the importance of creating workplace rituals in a post-COVID climate, check out this podcast ep from McKinsey & Co.
Follow the trends:
Need a productivity boost? Experiment with these cool ChatGPT chrome extensions to get a leg up.
Sites to see:
Here’s a fresh rec straight from the Tegan Design Team: “We are loving this new site for Mode made by Gretel. The bright color palette paired with the shifting modular shapes create a unique and playful web experience.”
The best of the best, just for you. Tune in to Tegan’s top 100 playlist for all the hits, b-sides, and teary ballads you’ll ever need.
More News from the Week
- Watch out, folks. Apple just received a patent for an Apple Watch with a camera.
- We heard from a little bird that 50%+ of Twitter’s top 1k advertisers stopped spending in January, including Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, and Jeep. Ouch.
- Augustus Gloop-ed. OSHA fined Mars Wrigley $14.5k+ over an incident that landed two Pennsylvania workers in a vat of chocolate.
- Cord-cutters rejoice. Sling TV just launched a totally free network with 210 channels.
- Eat more (not) chicken. Chick-fil-A is jumping on the plant-based bandwagon. Not even my years of experience as CFA’s social media cow could have prepared me for this mad(cow)ness.