Election Updates for Marketers: Thursday’s First Things First


Welcome to First Things First, nitronet’s daily resource for marketers. We’ll be publishing the content to First Things First on nitronet.com each morning (like this post), but if you prefer that it come straight to your inbox, you can sign up for the email here.

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California’s Prop. 22, formally known as the App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative, exempts employers from having to apply employee minimum wage and benefits requirements to gig workers. It passed easily Wednesday, a win for the likes of Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Postmates and Instacart’s owner Maplebear, which united in a $224 million marketing push in favor of Prop. 22. One of the most significant benefits for the sector is that Prop. 22 makes it easier to start and run an app-based business.

Analysis: Naturally, there are additional implications for brands and contract workers—but not all of them are good.

Related: California voters approved Proposition 24, which shores up the state’s precedent-setting California Consumer Privacy Act. Here’s our guide to what media companies need to know now that the rule is getting tougher.

No matter how the final election results play out, the outcome—and the road that got us here—could have a lasting impact on advertising, media, marketing and tech in the coming year. We talked to experts from every corner of our industry about how a Biden presidency would differ from a Trump presidency:

  • If Trump were reelected, the debate about social media platforms’ role in policing misinformation would intensify. But even a Biden presidency could see media companies held more accountable.
  • Brands will need to reevaluate their tone and strategies depending on the winner. That said, uncertainty and pivots are nothing new in the Covid era.

Additional considerations: Learn how TV news, agencies and ad tech will be impacted.

One of the more memorable moments of election night arose when Twitter users noticed that meditation app Calm sponsored CNN’s coverage. It was a thematic juxtaposition to an extremely tense night, but the reaction was positive, generating a great deal of buzz and approving nods from marketers, who praised the customer-centric move to plug a needed resource.

Calm in the storm: Calm’s senior director of growth marketing takes you inside the election strategy.

Less successful was Gap’s attempt to promote unity by posting a short video of a half-red, half-blue election-themed hoodie in a tweet that stated “together, we can move forward.” It… didn’t go over well. Derisive replies immediately poured in, with critics saying the promo was deeply tone deaf given the tense cultural moment, and Gap quickly deleted the tweet. It shaped up to be a sharp lesson for brands deciding if and how to weigh in on the situation.

“Too soon”: Read what the brand told nitronet about the incident.

The final election results may not be in yet, but the Nielsen numbers are. A total of 50.1 million total viewers watched election coverage across nine networks: Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, Fox Business Network and CNBC. For the second time in as many years, Fox News drew the most viewers with 13.6 million viewers in prime time. CNN followed, beating rival MSNBC.

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