Oct 26, 2019

Axios AM

Happy Saturday!

  • Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,052 words ... 4 minutes to read.
1 big thing: Advertisers flood World Series in search of D.C. swat
Expand chart
Data: Advertising Analytics. Graphic: Naema Ahmed/Axios 

Ads for defense contractors and enterprise software have pushed out snacks and beer for World Series viewers in the Washington area, as advertisers flock to the Nats-Astros showdown to reach government and opinion leaders.

  • Axios' Sara Fischer reports that more advocacy and corporate social responsibility ads aired during the first two games of the World Series on WTTG Channel 5, D.C.'s Fox affiliate, than any other type of ad, according to Advertising Analytics, a strategy firm specializing in political and issues ads.

Why it matters: Consumer package goods and retail ads typically dominate commercial time during sports championships.

  • This is a rare opportunity to reach Washington decision-makers in a casual environment.
  • It's not like you can count on the Redskins (1-7) being in the Super Bowl (<1% chance of even making the playoffs, according to a team-by-team N.Y. Times simulator/calculator).

In the D.C. market, the first two games of the World Series attracted mostly defense, enterprise technology and health-care ads:

  • Airbus and CACI, which specialize in aerospace and defense, respectively, both ran ads during Game 1.
  • 3M (everything from Post-it Notes to petrochemical refining technologies) ran dozens of ads between both games.
  • Amazon, Microsoft, HP, Dell and IBM messaged about topics like conservation and bettering the economy.
  • D.C.-targeted health-care ads were mostly about drug prices.

The bottom line: Advocacy ads are a growing category, as corporations plunge into issues they avoided in the past.

🇺🇸 Go deeper ... Front page, above the fold in today's WashPost, "At Nationals Park, a divided D.C. unites":

  • "Washington's first World Series game since 1933 gives politicos, pundits and lobbyists a respite from strife."
2. 📦 Pentagon snubs Amazon with $10 billion deal

Microsoft won the Pentagon's hotly contested JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) cloud computing contract — valued at as much as $10 billion over a decade — snubbing Amazon, which had been the front-runner, per Bloomberg.

  • "The decision ... may be challenged by Amazon, ... because President Donald Trump weighed in on the bidding process."
  • The contract was also hotly sought by Oracle.

Why it matters, from Jonathan Swan: As soon as Trump found out Bezos was in line for this payday, this seemed inevitable.

  • One of the most effective outside attack campaigns I’ve ever seen.
3. Three thoughts that are worthy of your time
Photo: Julio Cortez/AP

My three favorite passages from yesterday's memorial service for House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings, 68 — all of them practical for us:

  • Speaker Pelosi: "As the master of the House, he was also the mentor of the House. Was anybody in here being mentored by Elijah Cummings? I think so.[Applause] ... [It] was no surprise that when we won the Congress, Elijah said: 'Send me as many freshmen as you can, because I want to help them to be oriented for them to reach their fullest potential in the House of Representatives.'"
  • President Clinton: "When the Lord asked, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for me?,' Isaiah said, 'Here am I, Lord. Send me.' Elijah Cummings spent a whole life saying, 'Send me.' An entire lifetime. ... [T]he people of Baltimore sent him to Annapolis, and then you sent him to Washington. On behalf of the rest of the nation, I would like to thank you."
  • President Obama: "I remember I had the pleasure of meeting Elijah's mother, Ruth, and she told me she prayed for me every day, and I knew it was true, and I felt better for it. Sometimes people say they are praying for you, and you don’t know. They might be praying about you, but you don’t know if they are praying for you. But I knew Miss Ruth was telling the truth."
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings speaks during the service for her husband. Photo/Julio Cortez/AP

Justin Green's memorable headline in Axios PM: "Son of sharecropper eulogized by presidents."

4. Pic du jour
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump speaks to the press on the South Lawn yesterday, accompanied by aides (left to right) Kellyanne Conway, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley and press secretary and communications director Stephanie Grisham.

💡 "Trump's genius: Training us not to be shocked ... He makes us believe we already knew about every new exposé," Elizabeth Spiers, a progressive media strategist, writes on the cover of tomorrow's WashPost Outlook section:

In my day job, we create messaging for political candidates and conduct polls. Over and over, messages about Trump’s corruption land with a thud. The reality is that voters have a hard time buying the idea that such misconduct affects them in any way at all.
They might think it’s unfair, but they also overwhelmingly think everything that happens in Washington is corrupt, and that all elites in politics and business are corrupted on some level. They view Trump as a data point on a continuum of corruption, not as an outlier.
5. Widening deficits not seen since the 1980s
Image via Washington Post Twitter; full story

"The United States federal budget deficit jumped 26 percent in the 2019 fiscal year to $984 billion, reaching its highest level in seven years as the government was forced to borrow more money to pay for President Trump’s tax and spending policies," the N.Y. Times reports.

  • "The deficit has now swelled nearly 50 percent since Mr. Trump took office and it is projected to top $1 trillion in 2020."
  • Why it matters: "The grim fiscal scorecard shows how far the Republican Party, under Mr. Trump, has strayed from conservative orthodoxy."

The bottom line: Huge deficits eventually could crowd out borrowing by consumers and businesses, raise interest rates and ignite a recession.

  • But that apocalypse never seems to come, and the government keeps on spending. (AP)
6. 1 rap thing
via BuzzFeed News

Secret Service agents interviewed Eminem about lyrics "threatening" President Trump, according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed News' Jason Leopold:

In August 2018, Eminem announced the surprise release of his new album, "Kamikaze" ... [The "Kamikaze"] lead track, "The Ringer," immediately attracted attention on social media due to lyrics in which Eminem, a fierce critic of President Donald Trump, claimed he was visited by the Secret Service:
"'Cause Agent Orange just sent the Secret Service / To meet in person to see if I really think of hurtin' him / Or ask if I'm linked to terrorists / I said, 'Only when it comes to ink and lyricists.'" ...
This week, the agency turned over 40 pages of documents that prove they did in fact interview the rapper. It turns out their interest in speaking with him was based on "threatening lyrics" from his rap "Framed" that appeared on "Revival." The Secret Service characterized Eminem as "exhibiting inappropriate behavior" and [said] he, via the rap, "threatens protectee."

Keep reading.

📬 Thanks for reading! Please tell a friend about AM/PM.