At odds
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Unpacking a controversial bill geared toward Big Tech.
September 22, 2023

Marketing Brew

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

It’s Friday. And with Lachlan Murdoch stepping in to succeed his father Rupert at Fox and News Corp., we have to wonder: Was his case that he’s the eldest boy?

In today’s edition:

—Ryan Barwick, Alyssa Meyers, Katie Hicks


Congress considers Big Tech’s child safety problem

Child looking at phone with censored screen Francis Scialabba

In the fall of 2021, the Wall Street Journal reported on internal Facebook research leaked by whistleblower Frances Haugen detailing that the company knew Instagram was harmful to teenagers, but did little about it. Around that same time, Instagram acknowledged that it had recommended accounts promoting extreme dieting to accounts registered to teens, even though that goes against its policies.

Now, a controversial bill called the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) is aiming to create restrictions for online platforms that will—in theory—protect kids from potentially harmful content.

The bill would require companies like Instagram, TikTok, and Snap to “take reasonable measures…to prevent and mitigate” potential harms to users under the age of 17 (defined as minors in the bill), pointing specifically to anxiety, depression, eating disorders, bullying, and sexual exploitation. Specifically, companies would be required to design their platforms in ways that would not promote this kind of content to minors in the first place. However, the bill would not cover content that a minor “deliberately and independently” searches.

KOSA—which would be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general—would also require that platforms give kids the ability to opt out of “personalized recommendation systems,” aka algorithms, as well as include labels alongside ads shown to minors that explicitly explain why they were served that ad.

Opponents have raised concerns about the bill, ranging from it potentially silencing LGBTQ+ content to censorship and impinging on freedom of speech. But, with President Biden’s support, Congress could vote on the bill this fall.

Read the full story here.—RB



To AI or not to AI

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Artificial intelligence is all the rage lately (for the record, this was written by humans). All this buzz leaves companies wondering whether to give in to the AI FOMO…or stay far, far away.

Luckily for marketers, Salesforce brought industry pros together to share insights and knowledge about today’s top trends and challenges. They surveyed 6k marketers from around the globe to bring you their latest State of Marketing Report.

Inside the report, you’ll find deets on how marketing leaders are:

Don’t tackle these vexing challenges on your own. Get your guide.


Energizer buddy

Jake Paul and David Dobrik promoting Celsius on TikTok Screenshots via @celsiusofficial/TikTok

Celsius, the Florida-based energy-drink brand, seems to be in every corner store these days.

The brand repositioned itself from a weight-loss drink to a “fitness lifestyle drink” in 2012, EVP of Marketing Kyle Watson told Marketing Brew, but it didn’t really “surge in popularity” until around 2020, when the pandemic hit.

She declined to comment on marketing spend, but said the brand remains “adamant” about connecting to consumers via micro- to macro-influencers.

This year, Celsius inked an endorsement deal with social media personality turned pro boxer Jake Paul and hosted a pickleball tournament at David Dobrik’s house as it seeks to continue building awareness of its brand.

Keep reading here.—AM



Goin’ for a scroll

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis in apology video Screenshot via @aplusk/Instagram

Each week, Marketing Brew recaps what people are talking about on social media, the trends that took over our feeds, and how marketers are responding.

The public is not relationing: It seems the celebrity PR machine is not operating the way it used to. In recent weeks, we’ve seen:

  • Botched apology videos from stars including Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis and Drew Barrymore where, in addition to criticizing the messaging, people have called out stars for using “humble” backgrounds in these videos as a way to appear more relatable.
  • Oprah and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson face criticism for encouraging people to donate to a Maui relief fund they set up, prompting people to wonder why the two wealthy celebs didn’t fund it entirely on their own.
  • A video of actor Jonathan Majors breaking up a fight between two teenage girls—an incident that some suspect was staged and one person called the “worst PR stunt of the century”—on the eve of his trial for domestic assault.
  • Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, who has proposed raising the voting age to 25, getting bodied in TikTok comments after joining the platform in an effort to appeal to younger voters.

One person who seems to be hitting the mark? Sophie Turner, who was recently seen out with Taylor Swift after people on social media said appearing with the singer, who also dated Turner’s ex Joe Jonas, would be “the funniest thing possible.”

Shock value? On TikTok, people are talking about dating app The League’s NYC subway ads, which include taglines like, “Date someone with a five-year plan that makes you want to ovulate.” People posted the ads with trending shocked sounds, while one TikToker said the campaign gave her the ick. Another (jokingly) called for more decorum from advertisers.

Checking in on the influencers:

  • Sofia Richie is working with Peloton, and based on the number of TikTok likes, people seem into it.
  • Creator Sarah Klait made a sponsored video with Bloom Nutrition that pokes fun at unrelatable “day in my life” influencer videos that’s racked up more than half a million likes.
  • Queen of Fall, Caitlin Covington, announced that she’ll be conducting her annual fall photo shoot in October. Happy Christian Girl Autumn.—KH


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Score some social stats. Take a peek into how consumers feel and where marketers can make the most impact with the Sprout Social Index™. See why 76% of consumers value how quickly a brand can respond to their needs on social media and more with Sprout’s data. Get the full report.


French press Morning Brew

There are a lot of bad marketing tips out there. These aren’t those.

Put a pin in it: Takeaways from Pinterest’s 2023 Investor Day, including how to use its evolving personalization recommendations.

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Prove it: A guide to showing social media ROI, including tools that can help.

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a pillar with a few pieces of paper and a green pencil on top of it Morning Brew
  1. The Atlantic wrote about how Airbnb’s recent woes may have to do with its desire to frame itself as both a challenger and a legacy brand.
  2. The Cut spoke with teenagers about their experience growing up with social media and which platforms they prefer these days. One teen called LinkedIn her “new Instagram.”
  3. The Wall Street Journal looked into the phenomenon of people watching movies via short clips on TikTok.


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Written by Ryan Barwick, Alyssa Meyers, and Katie Hicks

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