Brunch Forum: Walmart Rifles, Free Chick-fil-A, Monetizing Snapchat, Middle-Finger Emoji, McWhopper, Copywriting Tips, and More

by James Thompson

Enjoy what’s left of your morning with AdForum’s daily round-up of the latest news, trends, and notable work in the advertising industry.

Walmart Will Stop Selling Assault Rifles, For Business Reasons

A much-underappreciated aspect to advertising success is timing. Regardless of the reasons, Walmart has done its brand a favor by no longer selling assault rifles. Though this makes good business sense, it also corresponds with a shift in culture as people – also known as consumers – are reluctantly, but steadily, growing weary of the increasing body counts of innocent people at the hands of gun-wielding sociopaths.

“Walmart will no longer stock AR-15 rifles and other semi-automatic weapons, saying the decision is because of less demand from customers and not continued political pressure in the wake of several mass shootings in the US. ‘There wasn’t a whole lot of demand for those products so we replaced them with products we have seen customers coming into purchase it,’ Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg told Fortune on Wednesday. Read more at The Guardian

Chick-fil-A's Genius Advertising Strategy: Free Stuff


What’s that new smell in Manhattan? Oh, it’s the 6,500 sandwiches Chick-fil-A just handed out for free. “Over the last two years, the chicken sandwich chain Chick-fil-A has started expanding beyond its usual suburban environs to urban markets, and on Oct. 3, it will open the doors to its largest restaurant yet in the country’s largest city, New York. It will be Chick-fil-A’s first location in Manhattan (outside of the NYU cafeteria), which means that even in this city of roughly 8.5 million people, there are plenty yet who have no clue what Chick-fil-A is, despite the fact that the Atlanta-based chain is arguably one of the most successful companies in fast food at the moment.” More at BuzzFeed

Land Rover Test Drives Branded Content with Time Inc.

“Many publishers have jumped on the sponsored content bandwagon, but few have attempted to take on a creative agency role for brands. But that’s what Time Inc. is doing with Land Rover around its launch of the Discovery Sport SUV. Time Inc. differentiates between 'native content' – written in the voice of a Time Inc. publication – and 'branded content,' which is written in the voice of the brand.” For more information, visit AdExchanger.

Yes, the Middle-Finger Emoji Is For Real


"WhatsApp's Android users got a few new emoji to play around with. WhatsApp is treating its Android users to several new features including new emoji, custom notifications and a new "low data" mode for phone calls." More at Mashable

Oh the Humanity! Happy 60th Birthday Guinness World Records!

Advertising is about storytelling, and GWR has the best story of all. “The Guinness World Records book, which published its first edition on Aug. 27, 1955, has been the standard for the quirkily unprecedented for 60 years now. Since the idea was first sparked at the Guinness Brewery over an argument about the fastest game bird in Europe, 134 million copies of the book have been sold in more than 100 countries. In honor of its 60th anniversary, here is a mind-blowing record that has been broken every year since its founding, in reverse order:” More at USA Today

MillerCoors Opens Review for Blue Moon


“In a year of shifting agencies for big beer brands, MillerCoors announced yet another one, launching a creative review for Blue Moon just as one closes for its other faux-craft brand, Leinenkugel’s. According to a memo signed by Scott Whitley, president and CEO of the brewer’s Tenth and Blake division (which handles ‘craft’ and import brands), sent to distributors and obtained by AdAge, the brand ‘selected a small group of agencies to compete for the Blue Moon above-the-line work and expect to award this business by the end of September.’ Incumbent agency Integer Group, meanwhile, ‘will refocus on retail marketing for Blue Moon.’ According to Kantar Media, MillerCoors spent $23.4 million in measured media on the brand last year.” Read more at AgencySpy

Burger King and McDonald’s Peace War: Adweek Totally Went There 


As Burger King and McDonald’s bask in the greasy glow of an effective advertising stunt cleverly launched in the context of a good cause – Peace Day – industry professionals and the general public have been left to ponder what, exactly, a “McWhopper” would look like. Now we know. Adweek totally went there, creating the hybrid fast-food monstrosity worthy of its own movie franchise on the Syfy channel. For the full gory details, visit Adweek

Copywriters: Harvard Linguist Reveals 10 Myths about Grammar

"Harvard cognitive scientist and linguist Steven Pinker explores some of the most common myths and the mistakes they produce in his book 'The Sense of Style,' which is like a modern version of Strunk and White's classic 'The Elements of Style,' based on linguistics and updated for the 21st century." For the full scoop on grammar myths head to BusinessInsider

More for Copywriters: Oxford Dictionaries Add 22 New Words, Including “Manspreading”

So, you’ve read The Professor and the Madman, but were you prepared for this? “For something new to make the cut, Oxford Dictionaries must have evidence that the word is being widely used in the English language. Included in the new entries is Mx, which can be used by people who don't want to specify a gender. All of these words have been added to the web version of the dictionary. It remains to be seen if they'll ultimately make the Oxford English Dictionary — a historical document that's been collecting words for more than 1,000 years.” Read the full story at Mashable.

Snapchat Sees Future as a Monetized Content Discovery Platform


“While Snapchat’s core business remains disposable pictures sent by friends to each other, the company faces one big problem: Goofy party pictures don’t generate much revenue, and users get annoyed by advertising showing up near their goofy party pictures. Becoming a content discovery platform for media brands could be much more profitable, especially since the company is aiming high: Re/codereported in July that Snapchat wants to earn $50 million in revenue this year.” Read more at Fast Company. 

Agency of the Week


Critical Mass: Critical Mass is a global experience design agency with a relentless focus on the customer. We’ve been doing digital for nearly two decades, but we still meet every challenge head on, with the same tenacity as we have since day one. Today we’re 750 people in 10 offices on 3 continents. We’re thinkers. Tinkerers. Makers. Do’ers. We speak a dozen different languages and are inspired by a million different things. But no matter our discipline or where we are in the world, we’re united by a common excitement for digital that’s absolute and contagious.

Because it’s Thursday and you’re not on vacation like everyone you know, watch this ad of kids tasting dark chocolate for the first time:

(Bloody Mary photo courtesy of Anthony. Thank you! It looks delicious!)