This Week’s Marketing Winners and Losers

Scabby the union rat survives and skateboarders enjoy branding surge—that and more in our week in review

By E.J. Schultz | Ad Age | July 23, 2021

This weeks winners, losers and newsmakers.


Skateboarders: With the sport making its debut as an Olympic competition, skateboarding stars are gaining new notice from brands. That includes skateboarding OG Tony Hawk, who stars in Uber’s Olympics campaign. “We are a movement company. Skateboarding is such a beautiful expression of movement and I love the story behind the journey of skateboarders, a group of people who zigged when everyone zagged and was ridiculed at first,” Uber Global Executive Creative Director Danielle Hawley told Ad Age.

Scabby the union rat: The inflatable rat that labor unions have for years used at picket sites got a new lease on life after the National Labor Relations Board ruled this week that unions could continue using the symbol, which halted a movement started under the Trump administration to exterminate the rat.

Hanna and Haley Cavinder: The basketball-playing twins at Fresno State are on a list of the most marketable NCAA athletes in the new NIL era published this week by Santa Monica-based influencer and social video agency Reach. The twins, who have 3.4 million TikTok followers, already have deals with Boost Mobile, Six Star Pro Nutrition and Go Puff.


Activision Blizzard: The gaming giant is dealing with bad PR related to a sexual harassment complaint filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The ugly details, according to Bloomberg Law’s reporting on the complaint, include allegations that female employees are subject to “pervasive frat boy workplace culture, including cube crawls, in which male employees drink copious amounts of alcohol as they crawl their way through various cubicles in the office and often engage in inappropriate behavior toward female employees.”

OMD: The Omnicom media agency is on the losing end of the National Football League’s decision to move a chunk of its ad-buying in-house, according to a report this week from Business Insider.

The Big 12: The college athletic conference could soon take a major branding hit if Oklahoma and Texas join the Southeastern Athletic Conference. Rumors of the departures began circulating this week via multiple published reports. “The additions of Texas and Oklahoma would make the SEC the first 16-team superconference while simultaneously adding massive brand power to a league already seen as the best in college sports,” CBS Sports reported today.


“They are not claiming to be the world’s most refreshing vodka, as I recall, just the world’s most refreshing beer”—ex-MillerCoors marketer Andy England on why he is not afraid of his old company coming after him about the new tagline for Cubist Vodka, a brand he now oversees as CEO of Phillips Distilling that is designed to be stored in the freezer. (One of Coors Light’s classic taglines is “The World’s Most Refreshing Beer.”)


56%: Share of NBA fans who say the league should update its logo to feature a silhouette of a Black player, according to a new Harris Poll.


Veteran marketer Carla Hassan was appointed chief marketing officer at JPMorgan Chase after nearly one year as CMO at rival bank Citi. A spokeswoman from Citi said the company is conducting a search for her replacement.

Read the full story at Ad Age.