Originally Released On

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Stagwell
pr@stagwellglobal.com 

Former CCO of the Virgin Group brings decades of communications experience and expertise to lead Stagwell’s Risk & Reputation practice; joins Sloane as Senior Managing Director

 NEW YORK – Feb. 3, 2023 – Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW), the challenger network built to transform marketing, and Sloane & Company (“Sloane”), a Stagwell company and an industry leader at the forefront of corporate and financial communications, have appointed Nick Fox as Stagwell’s new head of the company’s recently launched Risk and Reputation Unit. In his combined role at both companies, Fox will serve as senior managing director for Sloane.

Fox assumes his new role after a 14-year tenure at The Virgin Group, where he served as the company’s director of external relations, and, later, chief communications officer—overseeing the growth and protection of Virgin’s brand around the world. In addition to advising CEOs across Virgin’s partnerships in mobile, travel, health, space, and other sectors, Fox also managed the rollout of Virgin Galactic’s initial public offering in 2019 and that of Virgin Orbit in 2021. Following his departure from Virgin in December 2021, Fox has continued to provide strategic communications counsel for a range of clientele, with a primary focus on brand building, risk management and corporate reputation.

“Nick is an incredible addition to the Stagwell team,” said Stagwell Chairman and CEO Mark Penn. “He brings a wealth of global communications knowledge – working at the senior-most levels of international business. Our Risk and Reputation business unit has already curated an impressive slate of experts to tackle the most sensitive issues facing business leaders today. I am confident that with Nick at the helm, this practice will continue to drive immense value and top-notch guidance for our clients and their stakeholders.”

As head of the Risk and Reputation Unit, Nick will advise clients on how to manage some of the most complex business issues facing companies now, from increasing geopolitical tensions to financial system pressure to political and social polarization. 

“Fox’s extensive communications background in both the U.K. and European markets poises both Stagwell and Sloane to broaden their international reach to attract new business—while also bringing a fresh perspective to existing client work,” added Sloane & Company CEOs Darren Brandt and Whit Clay. “As more companies seek trusted communications partners that will get into the weeds with them and help them navigate the travails of the U.S. market—or perhaps gain access to it for the first time—we are confident that Nick’s unique skillset will position us for impressive growth and client success, both now and in the long-run.”

“The expert roundtable that Stagwell and Sloane are building represents a deep knowledge base that you don’t find in a traditional communications firm,” said Nick Fox. “The opportunity to engage with and draw from the corporate, financial, and political arenas will provide an extremely valuable service for global leaders and companies facing increasingly complex challenges today. I am looking forward to working with such an entrepreneurially minded group.”

Fox began his new position in February, splitting his time between New York City and Washington, D.C.

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By: Ray Day

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Ray Day
ray.day@stagwellglobal.com 

We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from Stagwell. Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking (fielded Jan. 27-29):

ECONOMIC WORRIES MIXED:

Today, 87% of Americans are concerned about the economy and inflation – up 1 point from last week and up from 82% in December.

  • 82% worry about a potential U.S. recession (down 1 point)
  • 81% about U.S. crime rates (up 1 point)
  • 75% about political divisiveness (up 4 points)
  • 69% about the War on Ukraine (up 1 point)
  • 66% about affording their living expenses (down 5 points)
  • 58% about a new COVID-19 variant (down 2 points)
  • 42% about losing their jobs (down 7 points)
PARENTS WANT CHILDCARE SUPPORT AT WORK:

Parents increasingly feel unsupported in the workplace and expect more childcare support from employers and the government, based on our new Parent Confidence Report with KinderCare.

  • 61% of working parents say there is a disconnect between the level of support they need and the benefits their employer provides.
  • Childcare benefits are the second most important reason for parents staying at their current job – with 18% ranking them as the most crucial benefit – behind health insurance.
  • More than half of working parents would stay at their current job if their employer provided childcare benefits, such as pre-tax benefits, emergency/backup childcare and on-site childcare.
  • 70% of parents say childcare is at a crisis point in terms of accessibility and affordability.
  • 66% believe the government should offer universal childcare to all children, from birth to kindergarten.
1 IN 10 LOOKING FOR NEW HOME, BUT WITH UNREALISTIC PRICE EXPECTATIONS:

For the fifth year in a row, most Americans (83%) say buying a home is a priority. Yet, in our latest survey with NerdWallet, high mortgage rates and a seller-friendly housing market prove to be obstacles – along with unrealistic home price expectations.

  • 11% of Americans say they plan to buy a home in the next year.
  • Prospective buyers hope to spend $269,200 on average. This is significantly lower than the typical home price of $379,100.
  • 32% of Americans feel worse about their ability to purchase a home in 2023 than in 2022 (a 7-point increase from last year).
  • The top reasons for the more negative outlook include a worsening economy (58%), higher mortgage rates (57%) and higher home prices (57%).
  • 67% of Americans say a housing market crash is imminent in the next three years.
INVESTORS RETHINK RETIREMENT PLANS:

Turbulent market conditions and rampant inflation have forced investors to consider working after retirement, based on our survey with Nationwide.

  • 69% of non-retired investors say post-retirement employment could lie ahead.
  • 44% of these investors inclined to keep working say they’ll have to supplement their retirement savings or income out of necessity.
  • 40% of non-retired investors plan to move to a different city or region after retiring, with the most common reasonings being lower cost of living (43%) and lower taxes (34%) – far ahead of being closer to family (22%).
  • 49% of non-retired investors with a financial advisor are “very nervous” about spending down their retirement savings in today’s current market environment.
LACK OF TRUST OVERSHADOWS NEW AI TOOLS:

Businesses might need to slow their roll when it comes to adopting AI tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E2, according to our latest study with AdAge.

  • 52% don’t trust AI tech.
  • 54% are familiar with generative AI tools, and nearly a fifth have used one.
  • 67% of Americans are concerned about the safety of generative AI technology.
  • Only 29% said they have not used generative AI nor are they interested in doing so.
  • Less than half (44%) say that it is easy to tell the difference between something created by AI and something created by a human.
  • 58% think things created by generative AI tools are less impressive than things created by people.
ICYMI:

In case you missed it, check out some of the thought-leadership and happenings around Stagwell making news:

 

As always, if helpful, we would be happy to provide more info on any of these data or insights. Please do not hesitate to reach out.

 

Thank you.

 

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Originally Published on AdAge:

By: Brian Bonilla 

Photography by Tim Soter

Published on January 24th, 2023

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When agency holding company CEOs are discussed, you will inevitably hear the names of Publicis Groupe’s Arthur Sadoun, WPP’s Mark Read, Omnicom’s John Wren and Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Philippe Krakowsky. The one that doesn’t come up is Mark Penn.

The chairman-CEO of Stagwell has built the world’s 13th-largest agency company by prevailing in a contested merger with MDC Partners. In less than two years since the merger, he has reined in runaway costs there and found a way to make the holding company’s once-fiercely independent agencies collaborate.

Still, one thing eludes him: ad industry recognition.

“He’s always been in the shadows of these really interesting political people.”

Julia Hammond, President, Stagwell Global Solutions

Maybe it’s his appearance—the slightly rumpled, 69-year-old Penn does not easily fall into step with other holding company CEOs. Perhaps it’s his personality—he lacks Sadoun’s suavity or S4 Capital CEO Martin Sorrell’s pugnacity. It could be Stagwell’s size—$2.22 billion in pro forma revenue for 2021, compared to revenue of about $17.6 billion for WPP and $14.3 billion at Omnicom.

Most likely, it’s Penn’s political background that makes him a relative outsider. He began his career as a pollster and gained notice working on political campaigns—particularly the successful 1996 presidential run for Bill Clinton and the failed 2008 run for Hillary. He is a regular guest on political news shows and a Fox News favorite. Yet, several executives at top-level holding companies claim to have no knowledge of Penn.

Penn with President Bill Clinton before a 1996 debate with Senator Bob Dole in San Diego. Credit: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

“Advertising industry leaders are so caught up in advertising that they don’t see or they don’t want to see the relevance” of Penn’s background, says an agency consultant.

“He’s always been in the shadows of these really interesting political people,” says Julia Hammond, president of Stagwell Global Solutions. “It’s interesting seeing him in this position where he’s public and he is the guy on quarterly earnings calls,” she says. “That’s probably what feeds the awkwardness, that vibe, because he’s used to being the guy on the side, and now he’s in the spotlight.”

“Mark has a brilliant mind; he’s a thoughtful, dogmatic thinker,” says an executive who has worked with him. “He just doesn’t fit the central-casting role of big-agency CEO. He’s a cultural misfit.”

 

The Stagwell Vision

Penn believes his political background brings a much-needed perspective to marketing. His philosophy is that in today’s real-time, data-focused world, brands must have a constant finger on the pulse of the American consumer.

Stagwell, which bills itself as “the art and science of creativity,” melds ventures including Code and Theory, Targeted Victory, The Harris Poll, Observatory, SKDK and Assembly with MDC’s creative agencies including Anomaly, CPB, Forsman & Bodenfors, Doner and 72andSunny.

One executive familiar with Stagwell called its agency collection a mismatched “bunch of cats and dogs.” Penn sees it differently.

“MDC was the other half of the coin,” says Penn. He’s in Miami, where he lives, far from the major ad capitals. “It had the creative agencies we didn’t have. And so, to be able to put those together is what the modern marketer needs. The modern marketer doesn’t want some really boring standard ad that’s perfectly targeted. They want some exciting, interesting experience that’s perfectly targeted.”

“Numbers have never been a substitute for creativity,” says Penn. “My complaint was always that when advertising agencies were off the mark, it’s because they weren’t paying attention to the strategy and data.”

He gives a light karate chop on his desk for emphasis. “They were taking ideas that they thought were really cool and waited till they found a client that was willing to adopt it.”

“My thesis I think has been proven out since the merger,” says Penn. “We’ve had five quarters of double-digit growth.”

Since the merger, Stagwell’s stock doubled to $11.04 in late 2021 and now trades in the $6 to $7 range.

Stagwell’s stock

The share price of Stagwell Inc., formerly MDC Partners, is down from a multi-year intraday high of $11.04 reached in late 2021, but its recent price is more than triple the level where it stood when Mark Penn took over as CEO in 2019.
  • March 18, 2019: $2.09
    Stagwell Group founder Mark Penn joins MDC Partners as CEO.
  • June 25, 2020: $1.15
    Stagwell proposes combination with MDC.
  • Aug. 2, 2021: $5.42
    MDC changes its name to Stagwell Inc. after merger with Stagwell Marketing Group.

 

A Young Pollster

Polling interested Penn early in life as a quick and easy way to understand people. Born of Lithuanian parents, he and his two brothers were raised in Riverdale, New York. His dad, who partially owned a poultry factory, passed away when Penn was 10. His mother, forced to provide for the family, went back to being a substitute teacher.

Penn created his first poll when he was a 13-year-old student at Horace Mann School in Riverdale, inspired by one he saw on CBS. He then started conducting polls for the high school paper, one of which was centered on how many students were having sex and taking drugs. “I’m the only person that almost got thrown out of school for a poll,” he chuckles.

Penn as a member of the Horace Mann School debating society.
Penn as a member of the Horace Mann School debating society.
Credit: Horace Mann School

 

After Harvard—a school that rejected him before he demanded to speak with the admissions officer and was subsequently let in—Penn attended grad school at Columbia University. He left early to focus on a research firm he began while at Harvard with his high school friend, Doug Schoen. Together they worked on polls for Ed Koch’s New York City mayoral run in 1977.

In the ‘80s the firm also began taking on corporate clients including AT&T, McDonald’s and Microsoft and a decade later was named Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates. In 2001, Penn, Schoen & Berland was acquired by WPP and eventually became part of PR firm Burson-Marsteller, of which Penn was named global CEO.

A client perspective

But Penn seems to be most proud of his tenure at Microsoft—he has a habit of slipping in conversational references to “when I was at Microsoft” often enough that it could become a drinking game. He began as a strategic advisor to Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates in the mid-1990s, eventually becoming executive VP for advertising and strategy and later chief strategy officer. It was ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer who bankrolled most of the initial $250 million to launch Stagwell Group.

Mark Penn conceived the famous “3 AM” Hillary Clinton campaign ad that was spoofed by “The Simpsons.”

“I was a client with a $2 billion budget,” says Penn in an earlier interview, held at the company’s One World Trade Center headquarters. It’s the day before the November midterm elections.

“Clients have all sorts of other business considerations, what their KPIs are, how much control or not they have over the organization,” he adds, gripping an ever-present Diet Peach Snapple. “I found out what it was like to be on the other side.”

Penn rankles at the notion that he is not creative.

“It’s fair that advertising people sometimes hear polling and they go ‘Oh my God, that’s data and we’re over here and we just do creativity.’ And yet I think that I’ve shown that I have a huge appreciation for creativity,” says Penn, noting that unlike many big-agency CEOs, he has created advertising. “Most of the time I didn’t get authorship of the scores of ads that I’ve written even though [people recognize] the ones I’ve done. Many were quite famous.”

Among them: The famed “3 AM” ad featured during Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign that made Time’s top 10 list of political ads of all time and was parodied by “The Simpsons.” Penn also says he collaborated on Microsoft’s “Empowering Us All” 2014 Super Bowl ad, says he wrote ads for Gillette in 2017 and helped author Microsoft’s attack ads against Google called “Scroogled” in 2012.

“I don’t think there are any other holding company leaders that come out of politics—they come out of banking or they come out of more traditional advertising,” says the agency consultant regarding Penn. “He knows enough about advertising to lead and develop communications programs when he was the pollster for the Clintons—and that was constant advertising.”

In a big pitch—Penn participates in about three or four each quarter—“he likes to bring research into the forefront,” Stagwell’s Hammond says. “The first thing he does is identify who’s your core, who’s the swing voter and who’s the reach voter.”

Tech Nerd

In Miami, Penn pilots his Lucid luxury EV to an interview for “The Business Traveler Show,” where he is being quizzed on travel trends for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. He replaced one of his Teslas with the vehicle because he wanted to try it out. He unlocks the car with his phone and navigates the GPS through a tablet perched on the driver’s side, streaming music through Pandora: Kenny Rogers, Toby Beau and Chris de Burgh.

This is Penn the tech nerd, who is most animated when discussing Stagwell Marketing Cloud, which creates digital IP. Penn says he’s “chiefly responsible” for creating this division, and is serious enough to bet up to $1 million on it, the amount paid to a Stagwell staffer to develop an approved IP idea selected in a “Shark Tank”-like contest.

This process yielded an augmented reality stadium platform called ARound, which has been used by the Los Angeles Rams and the Minnesota Twins. It was Penn’s idea to add a new QR code feature, introduced at CES this year, that would allow marketers to place ads within restaurant menus. The idea is that diners, when scanning the QR code on a menu, could be served ads for a branded cocktail or related items.

While he doesn’t say it directly, it seems to chafe Penn that Stagwell isn’t considered in the same camp when it comes to digital tech as S4 Capital. “We’re a lot bigger than a lot of the companies that people talk about,” he says.

S4’s Media.Monks is billed as a new-age digital anti-holding company launched in 2021 by Sorrell, who was once Penn’s boss at WPP. S4 posted about $1 billion in pro forma revenue for 2021—significantly less than Stagwell’s tally—yet media-savvy Sorrell attracts significantly more headlines. When asked about this, Penn takes a second to think before saying the comparison doesn’t bother him.

“We could have been an S4 if we had just stuck with a digital strategy and didn’t go the direction of incorporating MDC. I made the strategic decision that we would cover the entire market and be able to satisfy the largest clients across all services. And S4 really made the decision of cherry-picking certain services,” says Penn.

That said, he couldn’t resist a jab at his old boss: “Martin’s a lot older than I am, so he may not have the patience that it takes to build this up.”

Sorrell declined to comment.

MDC’s Progress

Stagwell is “relatively under the radar from a lot of other holding companies as a real player,” according to Greg Paull, founder of global marketing consultancy R3. “It’s come a long way in the last couple years. It’s got something like 25% growth over the last two years.”

With MDC, Penn took on a wild beast. The holding company reported net debt of $959 million at year-end 2018, shortly before Penn signed on as CEO.

Its agencies were known for being competitive and uncollaborative and their principals lavishly paid. Penn set to work slashing real estate costs by moving most of Stagwell’s New York shops under a single roof at One World Trade Center. Gone was MDC’s swank corporate office in the Bergdorf Goodman building blocks from Central Park, where a grand piano played in the lobby. (Stagwell’s Miami office is located in a five-story building steps away from the Lincoln Road Mall, where Penn often lunches.)

In a 2019 memo announcing the real estate changes, Penn claimed that the company’s real estate bills “defied logic,” totaling $85 million at the time.

This marked a 360-degree turn for MDC’s agency chiefs, accustomed to the holding company’s freewheeling ex-CEO Miles Nadal, who allowed them to call their own shots.

That independence was all well and good, says Anomaly Co-founder Carl Johnson, until finances became “a distraction.”

“You found yourself trying to sign a contract with a procurement of a new client and they would ask questions [like] ‘Is your holding company solvent?’” Johnson says. “We have none of that anymore.”

And although Stagwell insiders still talk about Penn firing an agency chief who refused to collaborate with other shops in the network, he is open to discussion. Johnson, for example, argued successfully not to move to One World Trade Center.

“I pointed out to [Penn] that I understood that move, but it was not right for Anomaly,” Johnson says. “He understood that even though he really didn’t like where I came from.”

A focus on collaboration

Penn’s direct and analytical manner can take some getting used to—one Stagwell executive calls him “an acquired taste.” And privately, some Stagwell executives say Penn has a tendency to get in their way. But Jay Pattisall, VP, principal analyst at Forrester, says his management style has been effective.

“Some of the efficiency mindset inside of Stagwell has benefited MDC Partners as an organization,” he says. “Mark has given the creative agencies inside MDC Partners the freedom to maintain their own sense of identity and their own brand. So, I would disagree with that perspective that Mark Penn is a creative agency outsider at this stage.”

Penn fostered collaboration by paring back salaries and adding layers of compensation through company shares as well as a referral bonus if one agency recommends another to help out with a client. “What he was doing was pulling options back in exchange for bigger rewards down the road,” says an executive with knowledge of the process.

“We can pay employees by including stock. We can bonus people in stock. We ourselves get our compensation in a combination of cash and stock,” says Doner CEO David DeMuth. “Some of our bonuses are a percentage of which is in stock. So, there are multiple levels where anybody at any level can be a shareholder.”

“Mark has given the creative agencies inside MDC Partners the freedom to maintain their own sense of identity and their own brand.”

Jay Pattisall, VP, Principal Analyst, Forrester 

Penn also accelerated earn-outs, according to DeMuth. One example of this is digital agency Instrument. Stagwell, which had owned 51% of the agency, agreed to buy the remainder of the company in January 2022 for $160 million spread over a three-year period. The digital agency’s previous payment structure included a seven-year uncapped earn-out period. The new deal is structured with incentives tied to the holding company’s stock price, as opposed to the agency’s individual performance.

Stagwell’s shops have also been playing nicer with one another. Johnson says his agency recently brought on a PR shop from within Stagwell to help out a client, and he was invited by 72andSunny to sit in on a pitch that didn’t involve Anomaly.

“I started off as ice and I’ve gradually melted,” Johnson says. “The collaboration is really powerful when you choose who you’re collaborating with.”

Despite this collaboration, Penn’s Stagwell has yet to score a big-holding company pitch, such as WPP’s win of the $2 billion Coca-Cola account. Stagwell has won a few accounts like Atlantic Broadband’s creative and media duties, and creative for Blue Bunny owner Wells Enterprises. But neither are big spenders.

Next Move for Stagwell

On the global front last year, Stagwell did pick up global agency-of-record duties alongside Dentsu for Lenovo. This was possible due to Stagwell’s affiliate program, which allows the company to partner with agencies globally without owning them. Currently, 85% of Stagwell’s Lenovo account is handled by its agencies and 15% is handled in conjunction with affiliates.

R3’s Paull says Stagwell is still “underweight” globally compared to the “Big 5” holding companies but says winning tech marketer Lenovo “certainly shows that they’ve got the capability to bat with the rest and compete.”

Mark Penn

Mark Penn. Credit: Tim Soter

 

But while Stagwell counts among its holdings a number of strong data-focused companies, it lacks the firepower of IPG’s Acxiom or Publicis’ Epsilon. Paull says Stagwell’s challenge will be to create a data offering unique from those huge and expensive acquisitions.

“They’ve got to work on their data chops,” Paull says. “No one’s looking for a smaller version of [the other major holding company offerings], they’re looking for something completely different. “

Several executives suggested to Ad Age that Stagwell could increase its global footprint by merging with a company like Vivendi’s Havas.

A Stagwell spokeswoman wouldn’t confirm acquisition plans but suggested its next move may not be expected: “If you look at the acquisitions Stagwell has made, they have not been the ones that everybody else was thinking about.”

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By: Mark Penn 

Originally Published on: Barron’s

About the author: Mark Penn is chairman and CEO of Stagwell, a technology-based global marketing services firm.

Technology’s Wild West era is coming to an end. For decades, American policy has been hands-off technology to let it grow and innovate. On the eve of the dawn of artificial intelligence and the metaverse, the bad taste consumers have of social media and its divisiveness suggests that more aggressive regulation is just around the corner.

The recent round of layoffs won’t do much to staunch consumers’ fears that technology is enabling the possibility of a surveillance state. Their concerns will accelerate movement on tech privacy, censorship, anticompetitiveness, and national security legislation in the U.S. and abroad in 2023.

Half of consumers in America fear that technology will undermine their personal freedoms over the next decade, and 70% worry that tech will give more power to big corporations. The younger generations are particularly suspicious of Big Tech. Elon Musk gave some journalists access to Twitter’s records after he bought the social company. The reports they produced, known as the Twitter Files, were a damning revelation that government officials were pulling the strings behind the curtain and that the tech companies were willingly obedient much of the time.

In a recent Harvard-Harris Poll, 70% of voters now support a national law to prevent corporate censorship. The saving grace for the tech industry may be that many Democrats believe that they have been benefiting from the censorship and will oppose such a law, not understanding that what goes around comes around. They will regret blocking this legislation when they believe that they are the ones being censored. I expect this to be a significant issue in the 2024 campaign.

If Big Brother colluding with Big Tech keeps consumers up at night, the thought of TikTok being a Trojan horse for Chinese influence and spying is catnip for Congress seeking to look tough on China. Before the close of the year, leaders let loose a rash of state-based restrictions on the use of the platform by government officials. The House banned its members and staff from downloading the app. TikTok has dozens of trends working against it: Democrats and Republicans are largely aligned on the need to curb China’s influence, the Biden administration’s negotiations with TikTok have stalled, and difficult news continues to leak that employees at TikTok have misused the app, most recently to spy on journalists. The company has said it doesn’t share data with Beijing, and it fired staff members that it said were involved in the spying incident.

Voters might be less invested in the diplomatic implications of a TikTok ban than your senator, but rest assured that if the government enacts an outright ban, consumers will be up in arms. TikTok is the fastest-growing social-media platform in the U.S. and has been taking ad-market share from its legacy competitors. Expect a compromise that allows TikTok to operate but puts restrictions on how it can use and distribute information.

Beyond the U.S., data-privacy regulations will mature in 2023, meaning that global businesses will face more severe restrictions as they do business across borders. Countries have moved to enact data-privacy regulations since the implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation in 2018, and now more than 100 have rules in place, according to Forrester. By 2024, an estimated 75% of the world’s population will be covered under modern privacy regulations.

The good news is that businesses have tracked the “will they, won’t they” drama around Google’s plan to phase out user-tracking “cookies” long enough that they’ve found solutions to replace the tool—and have adjusted data-privacy standards. But a more bullish Federal Trade Commission, with a renewed focus on “harmful commercial surveillance and lax data security,” will mean that it isn’t time to rest on laurels. It’s unlikely that the U.S. will get a national standard like the proposed American Data Privacy Protection Act. But expect the FTC to oppose virtually any merger-and-acquisition activities in tech, even if the government loses its cases.

The impulse isn’t uniquely American. The EU is also taking anticompetitive action against tech giants with the adoption of the Digital Markets Act, which aims to curb the market power of dominant digital companies. We have yet to see alignment on comparable federal efforts in the U.S. but the FTC’s recent intervention into Microsoft’s Activision deal hints at more to come. The FTC will take on Google, too, for alleged anticompetitive practices, in September.

Big Tech remains a critical engine of economic opportunity and innovation. But once it began carrying news and political speech, the industry crossed a line that put it in politicians’ crosshairs. This eroded their traditionally loyal Republican free-market supporters as the Democrats were moving further to the left, taking on a more anti–big business flavor. The combination of these trends just may result in the first major year of regulation of the industry.

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By: Ray Day

CONTACT:

Ray Day
ray.day@stagwellglobal.com 

We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from The Harris Poll, a Stagwell agency.

ECONOMIC WORRIES MIXED:

Today, 86% of Americans are concerned about the economy and inflation – down 2 points from last week and up from 82% in December.

  • 83% worry about a potential U.S. recession (up 1 point)
  • 80% about U.S. crime rates (no change)
  • 71% about political divisiveness (down 1 point)
  • 71% about affording their living expenses (down 3 points)
  • 68% about the War on Ukraine (up 3 points)
  • 60% about a new COVID-19 variant (up 1 point)
HALF OF GEN Z SEARCH THE WEB VERSUS CALLING A DOCTOR:

More Americans know their astrology sign (66%) and credit score (58%) than their blood type (51%) or cholesterol level (20%), according to our survey with Quest Diagnostics.

  • Even fewer younger Americans know their blood type (Gen Z: 32%, Millennials: 47%).
  • Younger Americans also are relying on the internet for health information. While the majority of Americans (63%) receive health advice from healthcare professionals, only 44% of Gen Z do the same. Instead, more than half of Gen Z (52%) utilize internet searches.
  • Additionally, more than one in five Americans (22%) receive health advice from social media influencers, especially Gen Z (40%) and Millennials (39%) versus Gen X (18%) and Boomers (3%).
FREE FOOD, SUBSIDIZED COMMUTING COULD BRING WORKERS BACK TO OFFICE:

What will entice employees back to the office? It seems that free meals (63%), free beverages and snacks (58%), and subsidized commuting (46%) – especially for workers outside the U.S. – will go a long way. That said, remote working isn’t a novelty anymore. Flexibility has become a baseline expectation for many employees, according to Stagwell’s National Research Group’s new “2023: Understanding the new world of work report.”

  • We surveyed more than 4,000 people in the United States, UK, Germany and Japan to explore how workers around the world have been navigating and adapting – and what that means for businesses that want to make a flexible world work for them, their users and their staff.
  • Only 11% of respondents said they prefer working in an office full-time.
  • Yet 60% have experienced issues staying engaged while working from home, and 50% have experienced a home technical issue – with tech issues growing since the start of COVID.
  • Employees are hungry for new at-home tech, including hands-free screens (69%), interactive learning/skills development (66%), virtual assistants (59%), and 3D object identification and training (52%).
AMERICANS LOOK LOCALLY TO SOLVE HOMELESSNESS:

Americans believe it’s up to local governments to fix homelessness, based on our survey with Grid.

  • 42% believe local governments should lead in addressing homelessness, followed by state government (26%), federal (14%), private sector (11%) and individuals (7%).
  • Yet, when asked how they expected homelessness to evolve in their area in the next five years, only 17% said it would get better, 41% said it would stay about the same – with rural Americans (34% say things will get worse) having the bleakest outlook.
ICYMI:

In case you missed it, check out some of the thought-leadership and happenings around Stagwell making news:

As always, if helpful, we would be happy to provide more info on any of these data or insights. Please do not hesitate to reach out.

 

Thank you.

 

 

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Technology is reshaping sports and sports marketing just as much as the players — from loyalty NFT plays to stadium-sized augmented reality experiences. We met with brand leaders on the ground at CES 2023 from the Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Twins, and Samsung among others to talk about the emerging tech driving innovation and sponsorship opportunities across their properties. Catch their insights below and visit YouTube to see all of our CES 2023 Content Studio interviews with top brand and business leaders on the innovation agenda for the year ahead. 

 Alexis Williams, Chief Brand Officer, NA and Fotoulla Damaskos, EVP, Strategy and Innovation, National Research Group

LA Rams on Stadium-Sized Augmented Reality Experimentation

Los Angeles Rams Chief Commercial Officer Jennifer Prince

The Rams made history this Christmas with the world’s largest augmented reality snowball fight, presented in SoFi Stadium during the Rams-Raiders game. For the Rams, it’s all about innovation on an off the field – and how brand and technology partners can reinforce their exploration of new consumer experiences. Hear from Rams Chief Commercial Officer Jennifer Prince about how the team fuels its larger-than-life fan experiences. 

Minnesota Twins on Moving Baseball into the 21st Century 

Minnesota Twins Sr. Director, Brand Experience and Innovation, Chris Iles 

A baseball team with an innovation accelerator? Yep. The Minnesota Twins want to bring always-on experimentation to the stadium, to help bring baseball into the 21st century. Hear from Chris Iles on the Twins’ mission to be the most innovative team in sport – and their experiments in AR, embodied audio, and spatial computing. 

Samsung On Powering Big-Screen Excitement for Sports Fans 

Samsung SVP and GM Harry Patz 

The Infinity Screen in SoFi Stadium is a behemoth 70,000 sq. foot digital display powered by Samsung – and just one of an array of dazzling digital out-of-home experiences Samsung helps support across sporting properties. Hear from Samsung’s Harry Patz about how advancements in screens are re-shaping in-stadium entertainment. 

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By: Ray Day

CONTACT:

Ray Day
ray.day@stagwellglobal.com 

We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from The Harris Poll, a Stagwell agency.

Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking (fielded Jan. 13-15):

ECONOMIC WORRIES EDGE BACK UP:

Today, 88% of Americans are concerned about the economy and inflation – up 4 points from last week and the same level as two weeks ago.

  • 82% worry about a potential U.S. recession (up 1 point)
  • 80% about U.S. crime rates (no change)
  • 74% about affording their living expenses (up 2 points)
  • 72% about political divisiveness (down 5 points)
  • 65% about the War on Ukraine (down 7 points)
  • 59% about a new COVID-19 variant (down 1 point)
  • 48% about losing their jobs (down 2 points)
THE OPPOSITE OF QUIET QUITTING:

What’s the opposite of quiet quitting? Seems that “quietly up-working” is the new thing. Our poll with Yoh signals a willingness among some employees to prove their worth and ensure job security in the face of economic and workplace downturns.

  • Today, 48% of Americans are worried about losing their jobs.
  • 29% say they are more likely to go above and beyond by taking on a new project, learning new skills or undergoing additional training to position themselves as an asset to their employer.
  • 22% are willing to work more hours than are required of them without receiving additional compensation.
  • At the same time, 23% are just as likely to consider working for a new company as staying at their current organization.
  • 29% are more likely to seek work outside their current to supplement their current income.
DO IN-OFFICE EMPLOYEES HAVE THE EDGE?:

Do in-office employees have an advantage over their working-remotely counterparts? Most Americans think they do, according to our survey with the American Staffing Association.

  • 56% believe employees who work exclusively in-office have a competitive advantage over their fully remote counterparts when it comes to raises, bonuses and promotions.
  • Despite this, less than half (48%) of workers report they are working completely in-person, 28% are working on a hybrid schedule, and 24% are fully remote.
  • 51% of women employees said they work fully on-site, compared with 44% of men.
  • Employed parents (33%) of children under the age of 18 were more likely to work a hybrid schedule, while the majority of those without minor children work on site full-time (51% versus 43% remote).
  • 46% feel pressured to work during their time off.
  • 44% would be willing to take a pay cut if it meant they had greater freedom to work remotely.
  • 40% are worried about layoffs at their company during the next six months.
KITCHEN NOW MOST LOVED ROOM IN THE HOUSE:

COVID transformed kitchens into workspaces, study halls and entertainment centers for cooped-up families – and made them the most popular room in the house, according to our survey with Bertazzoni.

  • Three out of four homeowners (75%) say they use the kitchen more than any other room in their home.
  • What are homeowners looking for in a new kitchen? 84% want sustainable products.
  • Some also want bling – with “prep kitchens” becoming one of the hottest new premium kitchen trends. Overall, 42% of homeowners saying they would want a second kitchen in their home if money were no object.
  • That jumps to 61% among those aged 18 to 44.
ICYMI:

In case you missed it, check out some of the thought-leadership and happenings around Stagwell making news:

As always, if helpful, we would be happy to provide more info on any of these data or insights. Please do not hesitate to reach out.

 

Thank you.

 

 

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Originally Released On

PR Newswire

CONTACT:

Sarah Arvizo
Stagwell
pr@stagwellglobal.com 

Bringing Together Brands, Platforms and Athletes at the Intersection of Culture and Fandom

 NEW YORK and CANNaES, France – Jan. 19, 2023 – Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW), the challenger network built to transform marketing, is creating a unique and powerful experience and activation for brands at the  Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2023 (Cannes Lions): Sport Beach.

Sport Beach is a different kind of beach. Built for brands, platforms and athletes to tap into the cultural zeitgeist of sport and explore the power of fandom, it will also provide opportunity to participate in sport and playfully recharge from the typical Cannes Lions experience. Ideally located on one of the largest of Cannes’ beaches, La Mandala, Sport Beach will be a marquee venue all week, with Stagwell’s 72andSunny, Anomaly, Allison+Partners, Assembly, Code and Theory, Doner, Forsman & Bodenfors, GALE, Instrument and National Research Group helping to drive the conversation. Learn more at www.SportBeach2023.com.  

“At Sport Beach, we’re building an experience that showcases the unifying power of sport and the ability of fandom to drive loyalty, affinity, and advocacy around the world,” said Stagwell Chairman and CEO Mark Penn. “There’s a reason sport is so magnetic: it is entertainment, culture, art, technology and so much more. Sport is all about fandom and we believe that fandom is the future of business transformation.”

Sport Beach will bring together the world’s most inspirational creatives, brands, marketers, athletes, coaches and leagues to play sport, discuss the future of sport and fandom, and celebrate the impact sport has on shaping global culture. From sporting events for players of all abilities to programming that highlights the power of sport to connect and engage fans emotionally, Sport Beach attendees will walk away with a memorable, meaningful and differentiated experience.

Let’s Play Some Ball!

One centerpiece of the Sport Beach activation will be sport tournaments offering brands, media and attendees the ability to play, observe, and enjoy some of the fastest-growing and most popular sports in an idyllic beach setting – pickleball, soccer, volleyball, flag football – with teams playing to raise money for their favorite charities. A leaderboard on the Croisette will show the standings throughout the week, encouraging people to play, win, and support.

What Happens at Sport Beach:

  • Participation: Actual sport and competitions for all levels of athlete and fan
  • Inspiration: Live sessions with athletes, marketers, creatives and leagues
  • Innovation: Celebrations of how technology can change and advance sport
  • Conversation: Video and audio content created from the beach and syndicated across freely accessible channels

How Brands Can Benefit:

  • Content Generation Stage, delivered via earned, owned and paid channels to target audiences
  • Custom Storytelling Platform, to showcase a brand’s story, goals, executives and partners
  • Creative Branding Opportunities, with unique integrations before, during and after Cannes Lions to bring a brand’s story to life

Stagwell invites brands, sports leagues/teams, media platforms, journalists, and other interested parties who would like to partner on the ground to reach out to cannescomms@stagwellglobal.com for more information.

Sport Beach will be produced by TEAM Enterprises in partnership with Cheerful Twentyfirst.

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By: Ray Day

CONTACT:

Ray Day
ray.day@stagwellglobal.com 

We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from The Harris Poll, a Stagwell agency.

Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking (fielded Jan. 6-8):

ECONOMIC WORRIES MODERATE:

Today, 84% of Americans are concerned about the economy and inflation – down 4 points from last week.

  • 81% worry about a potential U.S. recession (down 3 points)
  • 80% about U.S. crime rates (down 4 points)
  • 77% about political divisiveness (no change)
  • 72% about affording their living expenses (down 3 points)
  • 72% about the War on Ukraine (down 1 point)
  • 60% about a new COVID-19 variant (down 1 point)
  • 50% about losing their jobs (down 4 points)
IN-PERSON SHOPPERS RETURN:

Nearly half of Americans are looking for a bargain – and more are planning to shop in person this year versus last. Those are among the insights in our survey with DailyPay and Dollar Tree.

  • 44% are more likely to prioritize shopping for bargains in store compared to last year.
  • Overall, 67% of Americans plan to spend either the same or more in 2023 as they did in 2022 on retail purchases.
  • 73% plan to shop the same or more in person this year.
  • When it comes to Americans’ preferences regarding purchasing items in-store versus online: 81% prefer in-store for furniture, 69% in-store for home goods, 65% in-store for apparel, 65% in-store for sporting goods and 59% in-store for electronics.
NOT YOUR PARENTS’ RETIREMENT:

To most Americans, retirement is not their parents’ retirement. Rather than a destination, it’s become a new journey, based on our survey with Edward Jones and Age Wave.

  • 55% of pre-retirees and retirees ages 45 and older say that retirement today is best described as “a new chapter in life” versus the 27% who view it as “a time for relaxation.”
  • When asked how today’s retirees view their parents’ retirement, 42% said it was “a time for relaxation” and only 22% described it as “a new chapter in life.”
  • Half of retirees say they are “reinviting themselves in their retirement,” particularly women (53% versus men at 47%).
  • 72% say they are now “able to realize their hopes and dreams.”
  • At the same time, retirement isn’t without worries: Pre-retirees and retirees ages 45+ are worried about their physical health (49%), healthcare costs (34%), unexpected expenses (32%) and economic conditions (32%).
DRY JANUARY GROWS:

Dry January continues to grow in popularity – with better health and weight loss the prime motivators, according to our survey with Go Brewing.

  • 79% of Americans who consume alcohol said they considered participating in Dry January this year.
  • The top motivators include a desire to be healthier (52%), lose weight (35%) and the ability to focus better on personal or work goals (33%).

 

AIR TRAVEL TURBULENCE:

Southwest Airlines has some work to do to repair its reputation after cancelling flights during the busy holiday travel season, our survey with AdAge

  • 45% of Americans have a worse opinion of the airline since before the meltdown.
  • That dissatisfaction rises to 52% among people who have recently traveled with Southwest.
  • 41% of respondents say they are less likely to travel with Southwest now compared to before the mass cancellations
ICYMI:

In case you missed it, check out some of the thought-leadership and happenings around Stagwell making news:

 

As always, if helpful, we would be happy to provide more info on any of these data or insights. Please do not hesitate to reach out.

 

Thank you.

 

 

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Originally Released On

PR Newswire

CONTACT:

Sarah Arvizo
Stagwell
pr@stagwellglobal.com 

Content Will Be Freely Accessible Via Online Channels

NEW YORK and LAS VEGAS – Dec. 21, 2022 – Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW), is bringing its Content Studio to CES 2023, building on its successful debut at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in June 2022. The Content Studio will be housed at the Stagwell booth in the Grand Lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), 60488.

As thousands descend on Las Vegas for CES, Stagwell is democratizing access to some of the senior-most business leaders across marketing, electronics, food and drink, luxury goods, media, sports, tourism and more. Through the course of these candid conversations, executives will share perspectives on topics including:

  • What are you doing to transform your business in the year ahead?
  • What does impact mean to you?
  • What technology do you think will spark the greatest transformation of your business in the next five years?

 Over 15 leaders will join executives from across the Stagwell network in special conversation. Brands include:

  • AB InBev
  • Christie’s
  • Fandom
  • Group Black
  • Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Lyft
  • Magic Leap
  • Minnesota Twins
  • Qualcomm
  • Reddit
  • Sirius XM Media
  • Warner Bros. Discovery Inc.
  • Wells Enterprises (Blue Bunny, Bomb Pop, Halo Top)
  • Zappos 

For Access to Content

In line with its mission to democratize content at exclusive events, Stagwell will make the interviews available to anyone, anywhere, via online channels including YouTube, LinkedIn, and the website. To join the conversation, use #StagwellatCES across all platforms.

“I worked with Bill Gates on his CES keynote 20 years ago when he told the world that all entertainment would be delivered digitally, and here we are: there’s nothing you can successfully accomplish in business today without understanding technology’s role in how consumers view and interact with the world around them,” said Stagwell Chairman and CEO Mark Penn. “Virtually every consumer action and interaction is now online, and we’re excited to host these leaders who are leveraging data and technology to know these consumers well and meet them where they are.”

To Connect

Brand executives interested in participating in a Content Studio interview, and/or news organizations interested in obtaining this content for redistribution should contact ces2023@stagwellglobal.com to coordinate.

Journalists interested in participating in Content Studio interviews, or connecting with Stagwell Chairman and CEO Mark Penn, and/or leaders from the Stagwell Marketing Cloud or Stagwell network agencies, please contact pr@stagwellglobal.com.

About Stagwell

Stagwell is the challenger network built to transform marketing. We deliver scaled creative performance for the world’s most ambitious brands, connecting culture-moving creativity with leading-edge technology to harmonize the art and science of marketing. Led by entrepreneurs, our 13,000+ specialists in 34+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Join us at www.stagwellglobal.com.

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