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This week’s marketing winners, losers and newsmakers.
Barbie: The toy brand continued its recent push of highlighting notable women with the creation of a Barbie doll for Madam C.J. Walker, a Black pioneer and the first female self-made millionaire. Walker, who sold a line of beauty products made for Black women, was born in 1867 and died just over a century ago. Her doll will be part of Barbie’s Inspiring Women series. Walker’s company rebranded earlier this year from Madam C.J. Walker to Madam by Madam C.J. Walker. Also this week, Barbie parent company Mattel announced a partnership with Save the Children in which a portion of Barbie sales from Aug. 28 to Oct. 1 will be donated to the nonprofit’s U.S. rural education program.
 
ESPN: Serena Willams keeps winning, and so does ESPN. The tennis legend, playing in her last US Open before retiring, is a ratings hit. Her Monday opening round match drew an average of 2.7 million viewers, peaking at 3.2 million, ESPN reported. Her Wednesday upset of No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit peaked in the 9:30 p.m. ET to 9:45 p.m. ET period at 5 million viewers. Williams is drawing in casual fans—Twitter reports that 30% of users who tweeted about Serena in August had not tweeted about tennis all year.

See this week’s brand tributes to Serena Williams
Starbucks: The return of the ever-popular pumpkin spice latte on Aug. 30 resulted in a major social boost for the java brand. There were more than 21,400 tweets about Starbucks and pumpkin spice lattes on Aug. 31, an increase of nearly 300% in mentions. It resulted in over 91,900 engagements and 230 million potential impressions, according to Sprout Social, which analyzes social media data.
Read more: How brands are approaching pumpkin spice season
Think you're Pumpkin Royalty? Dust off your emoji keyboard and show us what you got. 🎃🍂🧣☕️ Play now at https://t.co/nr46cWghYU pic.twitter.com/lJBpSZ3UDM
Snap: On the heels of an announcement that the struggling social media giant would lay off 20% of staffers in an effort to save money in the tough economy came the news that Netflix had poached two top Snap executives to lead the streamer’s new ad business. Jeremi Gorman, who had been chief business officer at Snap, will be president of worldwide advertising at Netflix. Peter Naylor, a former Hulu executive who spent the last two years as VP of Americas at Snap, will be VP, advertising sales.
Read more about Snap here
Electrowarmth: The Federal Trade Commission sued the mattress pad heater company and owner Daniel W. Grindle over deceptive marketing. Citing the Textile Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act, the FTC said Ohio-based Electrowarmth claimed its pads were made in the USA when they were actually made in China. As more consumers begin to care about sustainability and supply chain, the FTC has been cracking down on origin stories. Two years ago, Williams-Sonoma agreed to pay $1 million for false “Made in USA” claims, for example.
Ford: The automaker said it is recalling 200,000 SUVs in the U.S., including Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators made in 2015 through 2017. These models have heating and cooling fan motors that are at risk of catching fire, Ford said. The news follows a July recall of 66,000 Expeditions and Navigators made in 2021.
 
People in advertising definitely believe that real women talk and think like this#badass #empowered #boss #iwd pic.twitter.com/reb2eV9wTN
“The issue is our category, it’s pretty morbid.” –Steve Naremore, owner of Houston-based TuffyPacks, which sells bulletproof backpacks and backpack inserts, about the challenges in marketing his product.

 
87%: Share of U.S. adults who say it is likely that influencers don’t use the products they advertise, according to a poll commissioned by The Desire Company, which reviews products with a community of experts.
Millennium Trust Co. hired Michelle Spellerberg as chief marketing officer. She had been VP and CMO at Alliant.
Reform Alliance, a nonprofit working to improve the probation and parole system in the U.S. that counts Jay-Z as a founder, hired Kim Spitaleri as its first CMO. She was most recently VP, global consumer marketing, e-commerce and omnichannel for Tom Ford Beauty at Estée Lauder Cos.
 
In this article:
Adrianne Pasquarelli is a senior reporter at Ad Age, covering marketing in retail and finance, as well as in travel and health care. She is also a host of the Marketer’s Brief podcast and spearheads special reports including 40 Under 40 and Hottest Brands. Pasquarelli joined Ad Age in 2015 after writing for Crain’s New York Business, where she also focused on the retail industry. 
 
E.J. Schultz is the News Editor for Ad Age, overseeing breaking news and daily coverage. He also contributes reporting on the beverage, automotive and sports marketing industries. He is a former reporter for McClatchy newspapers, including the Fresno Bee, where he covered business and state government and politics.
 

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