Sprint Brings It In House; Pharma Gears Up For Digital Spending

Here’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want it by email? Sign up here.

Edged Out

Sprint launched an in-house ad agency to handle digital creative production and ad buying. Bringing those marketing functions in-house will save time and bring efficiencies, but it perhaps most importantly will afford Sprint control over its data. "As the owners of all our data, we get to control it, interpret the information, create our algorithms and execute our media at a far more rapid pace," Chief Digital Officer Rob Ray told Business Insider. Sprint has been phasing out agency partners in recent years, and has also whittled down its total ad spend. More.

Big Pharma

Despite a complex regulatory environment, pharmaceutical advertising is big money and Facebook wants a piece of it. The platform giant held a breakfast with drugmakers last week to discuss potential strategies for targeting clinical trial participants on its platform. While pharma advertisers can’t target users based on pre-existing conditions, they can use demographic and interest-based targeting through Facebook to better recruit potential participants. Traditionally a TV and radio category (both channels where negative side effects are relatively easy to convey), pharma is making a big pivot to digital, with spending expected to hit $3.1 billion online by 2020, up from $1.9 billion last year, according to eMarketer. More at CNBC.

Retail Therapy

The brick-and-mortar grocery leaders tumbled on Friday as investors considered a brutal new landscape spanning retail and packaged-goods brands. Target slashed prices on thousands of products, which shoppers may like but which strains already thin profit margins and relationships with product brands forced to sell for less. Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the US, fell 7.5% after the company abandoned its practice of offering long-term guidance, a sign of potentially serious concerns about the business, reports Craig Giammona at Bloomberg. Costco, Walmart and Dollar General suffered blowback too, with investors expecting further margin losses across the category as companies sacrifice profit to defend market share from Amazon.

Once More Unto The Breach

Consumers have gotten used to the steady drumbeat of corporate data breaches in recent years. But the Equifax cyberattack discovered in July and announced last week is a different beast entirely, and could accelerate the drumbeat for closer regulation of consumer data use. Hackers stole personal information on up to 143 million Americans. What’s really perilous about this cyberattack is that Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies, exposed Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, W-2’s and credit-reporting histories “The keys that unlock consumers’ medical histories, bank accounts and employee accounts,” writes The New York Times. Any American who has requested a credit score has a better-than-even chance of being involved in this attack. More.  

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