What you need to know in advertising today

Publicis Groupe and Omnicom group Inc. both kicked off earnings season for ad-holding companies on Thursday, with both firms exhibiting organic growth.

Publicis’ organic growth was up by 0.8%, versus estimates of a 0.5% decline in the second quarter, with revenue amounting to €2.52 billion ($US2.9 billion). On the other hand, Omnicom said it posted organic growth of 3.5% in its second quarter. Overall revenue totalled $US3.79 billion, which was down 2.4% compared to the same period last year.

But while Publicis credited its second quarter results to improved performance in North America, the opposite was true for Omnicom. To read more about how North America was a boon for Publicis, but a bane for Omnicom, click here.

In other news:

Beauty brands are now paying dogs and cats to tout their products on Instagram. Urban Decay, The Body Shop and Too Faced, among others, have recently chosen to hire pets to tout their products and headline some of their biggest digital campaigns.

Arby’s sent sandwiches and a puppy to its biggest troll, and it shows why its transformation has been so successful. Playfully sparring with haters can sometimes be good for brands.

The FBI just took down AlphaBay, an online black market for drugs that was 10 times bigger than Silk Road. AlphaBay connected vendors with people seeking drugs like fentanyl and heroin, authorities said.

Marissa Mayer wants to be a CEO again, but she says she isn’t in talks with Uber. While Mayer definitely wants another CEO role, she does not want to become a full-time investor, she told Business Insider.

An Austrian activist wants Facebook to pay 25,000 users about $US600 each for tracking them online. Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems’ lawsuit concerns alleged violations of privacy by Facebook through its use of personal data and tracking of users on external pages, among other things.

Amazon is luring publishers to its new social network by paying them to post, the Wall Street Journal reports. Spark, Amazon’s commerce-oriented social network launched on Tuesday.