Hi and welcome to this weekly edition of Insider Advertising, where we track the big stories in media and advertising.
Remember you can sign up to get this newsletter daily here.
What we’re following this week:
Reopening talks are heating up. Only about one in 10 companies expects all their employees to go back to the office, a recent report found. But it’s the exceptions that make the news.
Bloomberg LP recently made clear it expects staff to come back once they’re vaccinated. And employees at Zimmerman Advertising, part of the holding company giant Omnicom, say they’re feeling pressured by execs to return, shot or no shot, Lindsay Rittenhouse reported.
There are bound to be more such clashes as companies wrestle with the need for in-person work with providing a safe office environment.
From Lindsay’s piece:
Sources said Zimmerman HR and at least in one case, president Ronnie Haligman, started calling them individually last week, first asking how they felt working remotely. The employees said they responded that they were happy working from home.
But while there was no explicit mandate to return, the employees said the execs told them they needed to come back, explaining that the company was having financial troubles due to employees being less productive while remote, and citing the loss of business to remote work.
One employee said an HR executive told them last week that there would be layoffs if employees didn’t return and that while it wouldn’t be mandated, it would be “highly recommended for me to go back to the office on Monday.” “They are bullies,” this person said. “I am so disappointed.”
Read the full story: Employees at Omnicom-owned Zimmerman Advertising say the agency is pressuring them to return to the office
- Mike Bloomberg said in a memo he expects staffers to return to the office once vaccinated – but some were hoping for more flexibility
- Inside L’Oreal’s fight to reopen its offices, as employees and executives face off over the company’s in-person work philosophy
Walkout at Fortune
Steven Perlberg reports on another flareup between journalists and their bosses over productivity demands. At Fortune, staffers walked off to protest traffic quotas. Steven reports:
Like many publishers, Fortune’s lucrative live events business has come to a halt. Fortune launched a paywall in early 2020 shortly before the pandemic took hold, but staffers said it has more recently focused on chasing web traffic.
With that strategy came byline counts and traffic goals beginning last year that have faced internal resistance. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune’s union secretary and a healthcare reporter, said he is responsible for producing 250 stories and 4.1 million pageviews this year.
Mukherjee said those targets are unrealistic and not tied to good journalism. “It almost feels like you have to put a down payment in order to do your actual job,” he said.
At The New Yorker, unionized staff walked out over pay issues. With a recent uptick in newsrooms unionizing, there’s probably more friction like this to come.
Read more: Fortune staffers are walking off the job for a day to push for diversity and to protest new traffic quotas
Apple’s China problem
Apple is about to make big privacy changes requiring app developers, like Facebook, to ask users for permission to track them around the web to zap them with targeted ads.
But in China, some of the tech giants are testing a workaround, presenting a big test for Apple, Lara O’Reilly reports.
Apple maintained it will boot any apps that violate its policy. But all eyes will be on Apple to see if it holds firm to its view that privacy is a “fundamental human right” or make an exception for China, a crucial market for the company.
Read more: Apple faces a major test of how it enforces its policies in a key market as China’s tech giants explore a way to skirt its privacy changes
Other stories we’re reading:
- “They reached a whole new audience”: Bombshell Oprah tell-all may give a jolt to Harry and Meghan’s budding media empire (Vanity Fair)
- Influencers are rushing to make money on NFTs while the market is hot (Insider)
- This startup just raised $15 million to build out 15-minute grocery delivery as the ‘ultra-fast’ delivery space heats up (Insider)
- Netflix’s original series dominate the streaming TV landscape, but its ‘demand share’ shrank in 2020 as rivals emerged (Insider)
- Scoop: Facebook explores paid deals for new publishing platform (Axios)
Thanks for reading, and see you next week!