Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 Live Web Series Has Found a Global Audience

Johnson & Johnson, the New Jersey-based health-care manufacturer behind Tylenol, Motrin and Zyrtec, has a new hit on its hands that’s not available for sale over the counter.

In April, J&J debuted The Road to a Vaccine, a live web series hosted by journalist Lisa Ling that documents the company’s search for a coronavirus vaccine and features interviews with health experts and J&J scientists. So far, Season 1’s eight episodes, which originally aired between mid-April to early June, have attracted 90 million views from more than 100 countries, according to the company. In addition, Season 1 garnered more than 424,000 engagements across J&J’s social channels.

This level of interest has encouraged J&J to expand its educational series with more content and a different mix of formats, such as roundtables and shorter news segments, until at least December. Season 2, which covers topics such as racial disparity and how Covid-19 impacts children, began in early July with an episode involving actor and HIV advocate Laverne Cox.

“We continue to be amazed by the curiosity we’ve seen, and desire for real-time updates from this series on a global scale,” said Michael Sneed, J&J’s chief communication officer, who noted the series’ second season is consistently receiving large audiences from major international cities such as Sao Paulo, Mumbai and Madrid.

Part of the show’s success is driven by “the increased demand for factual information in today’s crowded digital environment,” added Sneed. “This live format of the show allows the scientific experts to really connect with the audience in an authentic, unedited way, which we feel is more important than ever.”

Lisa Ling, host of CNN’s documentary series This Is Life with Lisa Ling, said working on the series has been unique due to J&J’s vast access to leading doctors, scientists, experts and frontline health workers, whom she interacts with alongside a live global audience.

“The digital nature of the series is different from previous projects I’ve worked on, as I can instantly see questions flood in from viewers around the world,” said Ling.

As for J&J’s progress on developing a vaccine, the company expects to start Phase 3 clinical trials in September.

The Road to a Vaccine, produced by content marketing studio Vimby, airs on Tuesdays at noon ET on J&J’s various social media channels, as well as its website.

With fewer people having elective surgery or buying beauty products during the pandemic, Johnson & Johnson’s total sales have suffered. During the second quarter of 2020, the company reported that revenue had decreased 10.8% compared to the same period last year.

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Dunkin’ and Harpoon Just Brewed Up a Fresh Batch of Doughnut-Flavored Beers

For those with the taste for it, the flavor of doughnuts can be found in a variety of products that aren’t actually doughnuts.

There are Jelly Donut Oreos and donut flavored Cap’n Crunch cereal. The Wisconsin-based Kwik Trip convenience chain loosed a limited-edition coffee-flavored potato chip on the world last year called Urge Glazer. And the 360 spirts brand even cooked up a donut vodka.

But donut beer? It was only a matter of time.

Earlier today, Harpoon Brewery announced a collaboration with Dunkin’ to roll out a trio of donut beers: Boston cream stout, jelly donut India pale ale and pumpkin spiced latte ale, which is technically a coffee and donut-infused brew.

For those who might well ask the question, “Why on earth?” Dunkin’ thoughtfully provided the backstory on its blog this morning.

“We know that many of our guests start their busy days with a cup of Dunkin’ coffee and end it by kicking back with one of Harpoon’s famous craft beers,” said Dunkin’. “In talking with our friends over at Harpoon, we also learned that Dunkin’ coffee has played an essential role in getting the brewery up and running each morning. So, it only made sense to bring the brands together for another cool collaboration featuring the two favorite brews.”

This isn’t the first time that the two brands have collaborated. In 2018, they introduced Harpoon Dunkin’ coffee porter, a 6% alcohol “malty-tasting brew that has a smooth mouthfeel with aromas of espresso and dark chocolate,” as Dunkin’ put it.

a six pack of beer that says harpoon dunkin' pumpkin on the left and a twelve pack on the right that says harpoon dunkin' dozen

The beers introduced today will be sold in six-packs and also on draft. There’s even a 12-pack sampler pack that includes three cans of each new flavor and the 2018 coffee porter.

Seasonal brews of both beer and coffee are nothing new, of course, and fall marks the approach of pumpkin spice latte flavor for both Starbucks and Dunkin’ and pumpkin beer season for beer brands. For Harpoon, however, the Dunkin’ collaboration isn’t just a fall offering. It’s another opportunity to affirm its regional roots with an audience that already appreciates the brewery’s Boston heritage.

Talking to Adweek last month as Harpoon debuted its new packaging, CMO of Mass Bay Brewing Company, which includes Harpoon among others, Jon London explained that it’s become critical to remind beer drinkers that Harpoon is a dyed-in-the-wool New England brand that’s still brewed there and has not become part of some massive conglomerate. When Harpoon surveyed customers and asked them what mattered most about the brand, “we heard [that] it’s all about our history, our authenticity, our sense of community,” London said. “People talked about how meaningful those things were.”

So while donut-flavored beer might not be to everyone’s taste, a collaboration with Dunkin’—which started in 1950 when William Rosenberg opened his first shop in Quincy, Mass.—does at least reinforce the brand’s local pride.

For the record, Harpoon not only holds the very first brewing permit issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but it also brought IPAs to Beantown (and the rest of America) in 1993. It’s a good bet that nobody thought of infusing IPAs with jelly donuts back then, though.

Join the foremost brand marketers, such as Marc Pritchard of P&G, Brad Hiranaga of General Mills, Kory Marchisotto of e.l.f. and more, for Brandweek Masters Live on Sept. 14-17Secure your pass today. Early-bird rates expire 9/1.

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Cox Automotive Sends $126 Million US Media Account to Hearts & Science

Cox Automotive has appointed Omnicom Media Group’s Hearts & Science as U.S. media agency of record, tasking the agency with handling all media buying and planning for its Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book brands.

The appointment follows a review launched last December that included incumbents MDC’s Assembly and Dentsu Aegis Network’s 360i, according to a Cox Automotive representative, who said the review was handled internally and included around a dozen agencies. Assembly had previously handled media responsibilities for brand marketing for Cox Automotive, while 360i handled performance marketing.

“In today’s shifting and complex market, it became increasingly evident we needed a unified approach with a focus on data to reach all audiences, and the best agency to provide that is Hearts & Science,” Greta Crowley, vp, marketing for Autotrader & Kelley Blue Book said in a statement. “After considering some extremely talented agencies, bringing in Hearts & Science gives us the best combination of talent to help us as we continue to evolve our marketing and advertising programs.”

Cox Automotive spent nearly $126 million across its brands last year and around $34 million in the first five months of 2020, down approximately $20 million over that period in 2019, according to Kantar Media.

The appointment comes on the heels of another recent win for Hearts & Science. This week, Reckitt Benckiser awarded its nutrition division to Hearts & Science, which includes leading infant formula brand Enfamil, following a review that mostly saw Publicis Groupe Zenith retain the Reckitt Benckiser media account. Last month also saw Omnicom Media Group appointed as global media agency of record for software giant SAP via a dedicated North Star unit comprising resources across multiple media agencies within Omnicom Media Group.

Autotrader tapped 72andSunny New York to handle creative last year, and its first work for Autotrader debuted last September, taking a humorous approach to showcasing its user-friendly platform.

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Montblanc Recruits Spike Lee and Other Celebrities for Aspirational Global Campaign

Montblanc has enlisted a trio of celebrities in a new aspirational global campaign by Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam titled “What Moves You, Makes You.”

The campaign comprises three 60-second brand films featuring “exceptional individuals”: Academy Award winning filmmaker Spike Lee; Welsh Golden Globe-winning actor Taron Egerton; and Chinese singer, writer and actor Chen Kun, who tell the stories of their passions and success.

In the Lee ad, the viewer is taken back to his childhood and shown what inspired his ultimate success as a Hollywood auteur.

In the second spot, Egerton, who starred in the Elton John biopic Rocketman, is seen in the back of a cab in New York city thinking about where to take his career next.

The third spot features Kun, with actors and dancers performing as he speaks about the first time he ever stepped on stage.

The luxury brand, famed for its pens and watches, hopes to “inspire people to express their full potential on their own terms, and celebrate those who have found their own original path,” it said in a statement about the campaign.

It also aims to communicate the brand’s vision that “everyone can leave a mark.”

“With this new campaign, we are engaging with a new global generation of leaders and professionals, inspiring them to achieve their full potential as they journey through a life led by passion,” said Vincent Montalescot, Montblanc executive vice president of marketing.

The digital, print and outdoor campaign rolled out in China and Korea in April and will launch in the U.S., France, Germany and the U.K on Aug. 26.


Client: Montblanc – CEO Nicolas Baretzki; executive vice president marketing Vincent Montalescot; director brand communications Jonah Dolan; head of brand communications Fabian Kredig; manager, brand communications Yiding Lin and Phillipp Husing; global Director brand relations Stephanie Radl; international brand relations manager Alessia Ascolese
Agency: Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam
Managing director: Blake Harrop
Executive creative director: Eric Quennoy, Mark Bernath
Creative director: Joe Burrin, Bernard Hunter
Art director: Zeynep Orbay
Copywriter: Macie Soler-Sala, Jake Barnes
Head of broadcast production: Joe Togneri
Broadcast producer: Endy Hedman
Assistant broadcast producer: Hayley Vair
Group account director: David Newsome
Account director: Hannah Heidar, Ramiro Del-Cid, Louise Rahman
Account manager: Wenwen Zhao
Head of planning: Martin Wiegal
Planning director: Thom Dinsdale
Head of comms & digital strategy: Danielle Pak
Comms strategist: Anna Chan
Digital strategist: Anna Chan
Executive producer: Maud Klarenbeek
Digital producer: Soey Lim
Digital producer: Iva Pentcheva
Editor: Hiro Ikematsu
Head of design: Joe Burrin
Studio director: Lizzie Murray
Studio manager: Loes Poot
Lead designer: Dean Pauley
Studio artist: Liliya Dru
Studio artist: Cindy Kouwenoord
Motion designer: Alex Raybould
Motion designer: Laura Calvo
Project manager: Lauren Cardoe
Business affairs: Michael Graves
PR director: Claire Beesley
PR manager: Alice Miskin
Film production: SMUGGLER
Director: Jaron Albertin
Director of photography: Mattias Rudh
Managing director: Fergus Brown
Executive producer: Sara Wallace
Producer: Nick Fewtrell
Editing: Trim Editing
Editor: Dominic Leung
Edit assistant: Joey Henshaw
Audio: Wave Studios Amsterdam
Sound designer/mixer: Alex Nicholls-Lee, Randall W. Macdonald, Juan Pablo Thummler
Music Company: Chen Kun – The Collective Studio
Composer: Chen Kun – Jonny Nash
Music company: Spike Lee  – Mr. Pape
Composer: Spike Lee – Jordan Crisp
Music company: Taron Egerton – Barney Quinton
Composer: Taron Egerton – Barney Quinton
Post production: Glassworks, Amsterdam
Lead 2D artist: Kyle Obley
2D artists: Alexis da Camara, Nils Crompton
Colorist: Scott Harris
Color assist: Luke Osborne
MCR: Andy Kidd, Leonardo Grassi
EP: Chris Kiser
Producers: Mike Pullan, Belen Palos
Jnr producer: Jamie McCubbin
Additional artwork: Patrick Martinez represented by Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles; Bed-Stuy T-shirt © 1988-2020 Na Sha
Flame Artists: Michael Aveling Ricky Weisman Mark Stannard Stef Peral
Colorists:  Phil Hambi Duncan Russell
Producers: Dave Moore
Photographer: Geordie Wood
Photography agency: Webberrepresents
Photographers:  Agent Elle Korhaliller
Production company: Rosco Productions LA
Executive producer: Holly Gore
Director of photography: Mike van Buren
Producer: Davin Singh
Retouching: Hempstead May.

Attend Breaking the Mold: Creating Long-Term Success for Independent Agencies, a live virtual event on Sept. 1, to hear how independent agencies are innovating to create value for clients and differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace. Register.

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A Huge Covid-19 Natural Experiment Is Underway—in Classrooms

For parents and teachers, the reopening of schools has been a chaotic mess. Guidelines and procedures seem to change daily. Classroom policies or even whether in-person learning occurs at all depends on where you live and often the politics of who sits in the governor’s mansion. But for epidemiologists, this fall is proving to be a scientific bonanza of sorts. “The opening of schools is a tremendous opportunity for natural experiments to understand transmission,” says Tina Hartert, a pediatric epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

sanitation workers cleaning stairs

Everything You Need to Know About the Coronavirus

Here’s all the WIRED coverage in one place, from how to keep your children entertained to how this outbreak is affecting the economy. 

Researchers like Hartert want to know how effectively this coronavirus spreads, how much of a risk children and teenagers pose for transmitting the virus, and whether any of the measures that schools are taking right now—from staggered schedules to new ventilation systems to chemically disinfecting the desks—make a difference.

While existing studies have examined these questions, most were conducted last spring when schools were closed and children were at home. Those that did look at schools that had reopened, in Germany and Israel for example, had small sample sizes, Hastert says. “We are not confident looking at the whole body of literature in making claims of children’s role in transmission as compared with adults,” says Hartert, who is also coordinating a nationwide National Institutes of Health-funded study examining novel coronavirus spread among households.

The study, known as Human Epidemiology and Response to SARS-CoV-2 (Heros), also will help determine what percentage of children infected with the virus develop symptoms of the disease, and compare the infection rates among children who have asthma or allergic conditions with those of kids who do not. More than 1,900 households in 12 US cities have been enrolled in the study, and Hartert hopes to have some preliminary data in early 2021.

Hartert is specifically examining how the virus travels throughout families. She says she wants to see a similar study of how the virus might spread through a school. “It’s not as simple as only studying the school,” Hartert says. “The school building is only one network that students interface with when they leave class, get on buses, and go home.”

Data experts say that designing studies about school transmission or about mitigation measures isn’t so easy. For one thing, in school districts where most parents are unable to work from home or lack access to a computer and the internet, administrators may have an incentive to keep their schools open despite the risk from the virus, says Zoe McLaren, professor of health policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

“In communities where the students are relatively disadvantaged, they are likely to go back to school, because the students will likely fall further behind,” McClaren says. “If there are outbreaks, they are more poorly resourced. If they had money for better ventilation systems and to have smaller class sizes, they would have been able to do it safely.”

Even if researchers can take into account the economic disparities among school districts, any school study will have to conduct a lot of Covid-19 diagnostic tests among the students, teachers, and staff over a long period of time to track the progress of the virus. They will also have to run a detailed accounting of each person that an infected student or teacher meets, a strategy known as contact tracing, which is both labor-intensive and expensive to do.

In tracking respiratory diseases like the coronavirus, “you can’t tell as easily what has happened after the fact,” says Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. “That’s why you need to be testing children, so you know that they came to school without Covid, that five kids now have Covid-19, and then also contact-trace with their families. You have to have the infrastructure in place, otherwise it becomes very difficult or even impossible to trace.”

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Nathan Young, Former President of 600 & Rising, Has Left Periscope

Nathan Young, the co-founder and former president of Black advocacy group 600 & Rising, has left his role as group strategy director at Minneapolis-based agency Periscope.

Earlier this month, Young resigned as president of 600 & Rising, the organization he and Bennett D. Bennett co-founded following the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

His resignation came shortly after Young was criticized on Twitter for describing Adcolor as “an awards ceremony completely divorced from reality that sells the story that progress is being made on diversity in advertising and buys cover for holding companies.” A number of fellow diversity advocates took issue with his comments.

Young told Adweek via email that he’s “made no decisions” about what his next move will be. He said he’s currently focused on doing what’s best for his family.

“Periscope has been incredibly supportive of me through all of this, and I consider the folks I worked with family,” he wrote. “Periscope’s emphasis on empathy comes through in the work, and it comes through in how they treat their employees, myself included.”

As president of 600 & Rising, Young helped spark change and discussions within the advertising industry. An open letter he and Bennett wrote, which outlined 12 steps that agencies should take to address systemic racism, quickly garnered 600 signatures.

After its formation, 600 & Rising debuted #CommitToChange, an initiative that encourages agencies to publicly share their internal diversity data. Dozens of agencies including 72andSunny, R/GA and Wieden+Kennedy have taken part. 600 & Rising also secured a partnership with the 4A’s and named a board of directors this summer.

In the email Young sent to Adweek, he said the “mental toll of pushing for change in an industry that desperately needs it is incredibly taxing.” He said doing both jobs became unsustainable for him.

“While it was a difficult decision to make, I had to do the right thing for my family and for myself,” he said. “I love this industry, flaws and all. I love that I played a small role in making it better. But whether you’re pushing for change or you’re working the job, the amount of energy it requires to be successful is incredible.”

He added that he wants to focus his energy “on healing this country,” but isn’t certain that “advertising provides the best avenue to do that.”

As for 600 & Rising, its board of directors said in an email sent to members on Aug. 7 that it’s currently “dissolving the current structure of the organization and taking the next 30 days to reassess.” Moving forward, it plans to focus on becoming an “advocacy community” led by Black talent and non-Black allies.

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How to Undo Gender Stereotypes in Math—With Math!

Being a woman means many things.

Many of those things really have nothing at all to do with being a woman—they are contrived, invented, imposed, conditioned, unnecessary, obstructive, damaging, and the effects are felt by everyone, not just women.

How can mathematical thinking help?

As I am a woman in the male-dominated field of mathematics, I am often asked about issues of gender: what it’s like being so outnumbered, what I think of supposed gender differences in ability, what I think we should do about gender imbalances, how we can find more role models.

Courtesy of Basic Books

Excerpt adapted from x + y: A Mathematician’s Manifesto for Rethinking Gender, by Eugenia Cheng. Buy on Amazon.

However, for a long time I wasn’t interested in these questions. While I was making my way up through the academic hierarchy, what interested me was ways of thinking and ways of interacting.

When I finally did start thinking about being a woman, the aspect that struck me was: Why had I not felt any need to think about it before? And how can we get to a place where nobody else needs to think about it either? I dream of a time when we can all think about character instead of gender, have role models based on character instead of gender, and think about the character types in different fields and walks of life instead of the gender balance.

This is rooted in my personal experience as a mathematician, but it extends beyond that to all of my experiences, in the workplace beyond mathematics, in general social interactions, and in the world itself, which is still dominated by men, not in sheer number as in the mathematical world, but in concentration of power.

I worked hard to be successful, but that “success” was one that was defined by society. It was about grades, prestigious universities, tenure. I tried to be successful according to existing structures and a blueprint handed down to me by previous generations of academics.

I was, in a sense, successful: I looked successful. I was, in another sense, not successful: I didn’t feel successful. I realized that the values marking my apparent “success” as defined by others were not really my values. So I shifted to finding a way to achieve the things I wanted to achieve according to my values of helping others and contributing to society, rather than according to externally imposed markers of excellence.

In the process I learned things about being a woman, and things about being a human, that I had steadfastly ignored before. Things about how we humans are holding ourselves back, individually, interpersonally, structurally, systemically, in the way we think about gender issues.

And the question that always taxes me is: What can I, as a mathematician, contribute? What can I contribute, not just from my experience of life as a mathematician, but from mathematics itself?

Most writing about gender is from the point of view of sociology, anthropology, biology, psychology or just outright feminist theory (or anti-feminism). Statistics are often involved, for better or for worse: statistics of gender ratios in different situations, statistics of supposed gender differences (or a lack thereof) in randomized tests, statistics of different levels of achievement in different cultures.

Where does pure mathematics come into these discussions?

Mathematics is not just about numbers and equations. Mathematics does start with numbers and equations, both historically and in most education systems. But it expands to encompass much more than that, including the study of shapes, patterns, structures, interactions, relationships.

At the heart of all that, pumping the lifeblood of mathematics, is the part of the subject that is a framework for making arguments. This is what holds it all up.

That framework consists of the dual disciplines of abstraction and logic. Abstraction is the process of seeing past surface details in a situation to find its core. Abstraction is a starting point for building logical arguments, as those must work at the level of the core rather than at the level of surface details.

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Reddit Sets Slate of Voting in America Ask Me Anything Sessions

Reddit is following up on its Up the Vote voter-registration initiative with Voting in America, a series of Ask Me Anything sessions leading up to Election Day in the U.S.

Voting in America is aimed at giving Redditors access to information from experts on voting laws and voter rights, as well as clarity on the process of voting for the first time and voting absentee or by mail.

The list of participants, thus far, includes:

  • Ari Berman, former senior contributing writer for The Nation and fellow at The Nation Institute, as well as author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, TBD.
  • Benjamin Hovland, commissioner, U.S. Election Assistance Commission, an independent, bipartisan commission charged with developing guidance to meet Help America Vote Act of 2002 requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration, Tuesday, Sept. 1, in r/politics.
  • League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues and influences public policy through education and advocacy, TBD.
  • Justin Levitt, scholar of constitutional law and the law of democracy and former deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, Thursday, Sept. 15, 1 p.m. ET, r/politics.
  • National Task Force on Election Crises, which aims to ensure a free and fair 2020 presidential election by recommending responses to a range of election crises, TBD.
  • National Voter Registration Day, which was first observed in 2012 and has seen almost 3 million people register to vote on the specific day each year, Sept. 22 (National Voter Registration Day 2020) in r/politics.
  • Steve Simon, secretary of state, Minnesota, and Kim Wyman, secretary of state, Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. ET in r/politics.
  • VoteAmerica, a nonprofit organization founded by a small team of elections and technology experts (including the founders of and who have come together to drive voter turnout, TBD.

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