IBM takes on Salesforce and others, Apple News Plus changes, and Chipotle stops apologizing


FILE PHOTO: A man stands near an IBM logo at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 25, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Perez


Welcome to the Advertising and Media Insider newsletter, our weekly roundup of all the big stories we’ve been covering. It’s looking to be a quiet holiday week, so it’s a good time to get caught up on everything you might’ve missed.

First, IBM’s spinoff of its marketing cloud business had people talking. There’s been action in this area lately because there’s a lot of demand for marketing tech. The spinoff business wants to go hard against Salesforce, Adobe, and Oracle, with its artificial intelligence expertise. 

I’m curious to know what people think. Will the spinoff really give them a run for their money, or is the separation just a way to get acquired at a high multiple? Email me at or securely on Signal (917-209-8549).

Here are other stories we’ve been reporting. (You can read most of the articles here by subscribing to BI Prime; use promo code AD2PRIME2018 for a free month.)

Lauren Johnson was all over Facebook advertising news last week.

  • First, she had a scoop on longtime exec David Fischer’s promotion to CRO. It accompanies other ad-side promotions Facebook’s made and shows how the social network’s trying to bring its apps together under a single umbrella for advertisers.
  • Lauren also reported Instagram’s expanding ads to its Explore feed, which could be of particular interest to performance-based marketers, but also carries some risk, given, for one thing, that Explore has a lot of user-generated content that many brands want to avoid being around.

We also broke some news around the platforms’ evolving relationships with news publishers.

  • Facebook is building a dedicated news tab that could include paying publishers to participate — here’s everything we know. I know, we’ve seen this movie before. Facebook launches a program to support quality news, only to change its strategy and move on to the next thing, leaving publishers hanging. This time, even usually skeptical publishers I talked to seem to think Facebook is really committed to its latest scheme, though, so we’ll see — it’s supposed to launch by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Apple News is going back to the drawing board with Apple News Plus, its 3-month-old subscription bundle. 

  • Apple’s new subscription bundle, Apple News Plus, is key to its revenue growth, but it’s off to a slow start, publishing execs say. The data point that grabbed me was that one publishing exec said Apple projected publishers would get 10 times the revenue they made from Texture at the end of Apple News Plus’ first year, but have only gotten one twentieth of that. It’s too early to call the initiative a failure, but among publishers who have met with Apple News team members about it, there’s a lot of talk about how surprisingly unprepared Apple seemed for the launch compared to the approach it takes with its hardware.

In conversation

Tanya Dua sat down with the CMO of Chipotle, who talked about why consulting companies aren’t taking over the world and why it will stop apologizing for its past mistakes.

  • ‘Deloitte would not be my first pick for coming up with a new TV campaign’: Chipotle’s CMO outlines the shortcomings of consulting firms competing with ad agencies

Tanya also talked to Anheuser-Busch’s CMO, who is cutting down the number of agencies it uses.

  • Anheuser-Busch’s US marketing chief makes the case for diversifying its portfolio and says it will trim its use of agencies as it prioritizes performance

And a fun thing: Ashley Rodriguez looked at the original pitch of the creators of “Stranger Things” that explains how they ultimately hooked Netflix on their eerie coming-of-age story. 

  • The original 23-page pitch for ‘Stranger Things’ shows how the creators hooked Netflix. There are plenty of juicy details (the series’ original title was “Montauk,” an homage to Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws,” for one), but most interesting to me was how it shows the power of Netflix to fuel a cultural phenomenon — the show was rejected at least 15 times before Netflix picked it up in 2015.

Here are other stories from media, tech, and advertising you should check out:

Netflix could drastically cut its cash burn with a Spotify-like model that includes an ad-supported free tier

The inside story of how Robinhood, a $6 billion investing app for millennials, blew a huge launch so badly that Congress got involved

A new Discovery TV show drops an ‘Undercover Billionaire’ off in Erie, Pennsylvania, with $100 to try and create a million-dollar business in 90 days

Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ partnership with Baskin-Robbins started with a cold reach-out on LinkedIn that one exec thought was a joke

Google created a marketing tool aimed at being a ‘one-stop shop’ for small businesses but faces tough competition in Facebook and Amazon

Join the conversation about this story »

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