Xylem imagines a world without football; Cannes Lions owner posts massive first half loss

New ad envisions a world without football

There’s a large group of U.K. footie fans that would probably welcome a world without Manchester City (including a certain Manchester United fan right here at The Message) but a world without all football? That seems unthinkable.

Yet that’s the nightmare scenario in a new ad for water technology company Xylem called “The End of Football.” Building on the company’s multi-year partnership with City, the sobering three-minute film by London agency Brave presents a world irrevocably altered by a lack of fresh water.

It moves back and forth between the present-day and a dystopian 2045 Britain, where water restrictions are in place, a simple bottle of water costs £20, and the lack of water has led to the closing of pubs and restaurants.

It follows a young Manchester City fan who accompanies her favourite players onto the pitch in the present, before jumping 25 years into the future—where she watches her child as he walks onto a dried-out field with the team (now managed by the team’s current 20-year-old midfielder Phil Foden) for its last-ever game.

Cannes Lions owner swings to first half loss

British events company Ascential, which counts the Cannes Lions among its properties, said that revenue for the first six months of the year fell 39% owing to the cancellation of this year’s event.

The company said that revenues for its marketing segment, which includes the Lions, plunged 74% from £100.5 million to £26.4 million. However, it said that Lions Live, a week-long online series comprised of interviews with industry leaders and other original content, attracted more than 60,000 members of the marketing community, underscoring the Lions’ appeal “as the focal point for the creative industry.”

It said that turnout for the virtual event “gives us confidence that Cannes Lions will rebound strongly when economic and pandemic conditions, ideally including a healthcare solution, permit.”

Ascential said that plans for the 2020 festival are already underway, with the “majority” of delegates and sponsors booked for 2021 rolling forward their commitments. The company said that it is taking forward more than £13 million of bookings.

Shopify crushes expectations in Q2

“In case you care about such things — Q2 went OK for Shopify,” tweeted Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke on Wednesday morning. That’s one way of putting it.

As the big advertising holding companies announce their dreadful (though not entirely unexpected) Q2 numbers, Shopify’s revenue nearly doubled during the pandemic.

The Canadian e-commerce platform was expected to grow significantly while so many retailers moved their business online, but revenue of $714.3 million (up 97% from a year ago) was much higher than the $512 million projected by analysts. Total volume of sales reached $30.1 billion compared to the expected $20.6 billion.

But while Shopify can now claim 6% of all U.S. ecommerce sales, the undisputed ecommerce titan is Amazon, which boasts a 37% share.

Emmy nominees for Best Commercial announced

A pair of Super Bowl spots, Droga5’s “Before Alexa?” and Jeep’s “Groundhog Day” from Highdive Advertising, are among the five Emmy-nominated commercials announced by the Television Academy yesterday.

The other nominees in the Outstanding Commercial category (see them all below) are P&G’s “The Look” by Saturday Morning and Apple’s “Bounce” by TBWA\Media Arts Lab. Rounding out the list is Sandy Hook Promise for its chilling “Back to School Essentials” from BBDO New York (two of the creative directors on that ad, Greg Hahn and Bianca Guimaraes, have since parted ways with the agency and now work with the New York office of No Fixed Address, Mischief @ No Fixed Address).

This year’s list features several familiar faces, with Apple, Sandy Hook Promise, P&G and Amazon having all received nominations in the past two years (last year’s Emmy went to Nike for “Dream Crazy,” while the 2018 Emmy went to P&G for “The Talk”).

Jeep’s parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, was last nominated for an Emmy in 2012.

Chris Powell