What you need to know in advertising today

It’s a good bet that Brian Lesser, who oversaw billions in ad spending at the media buying giant GroupM, didn’t leave his previous agency CEO gig to take on a small role at AT&T. After all, he’s reporting directly to chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson.

Still, it’s not exactly clear what Lesser’s new gig — announced last week — actually entails. AT&T said Lesser will be CEO of a yet-to-be-named division: an “advertising and analytics business using the company’s unique customer data and growing content assets.”

To read more about what Lesser’s new role may entail and how AT&T may be plotting to revolutionise TV advertising, click here.

In other news:

P.F. Chang’s ditched traditional ads and now the casual dining chain is outperforming its competitors. Since a marketing overhaul two years ago, the chain has been on an upswing, outperforming competitors in the casual dining space by 75.6% in sales, and 81.7% in foot traffic.

Facebook has been secretly testing a photo app in China called ‘Colourful Balloons.’ Paul Mozur of The New York Times recently unearthed the app Colourful Balloons in Apple’s Chinese App Store and noticed how similar it looked to Facebook’s existing photo sharing app, Moments.

It has also bought a small German startup that can add and remove objects in videos. A Facebook representative confirmed the acquisition of Fayteq when contacted by Business Insider on Friday.

European regulators are about to kill the digital media industry. Members of the European Parliament recently recommended amendments to the European Union’s latest privacy proposal that would strip European publishers of the right to monetise their content through advertising.

Holograms are taking over advertising. Popular brands like Samsung and Intel are beginning to use holographic advertising for their products.

Snapchat has 173 million users but it’s struggling to grow outside North America. Snapchat’s growth in the rest of the world continues to lag, perhaps owing to the longrunning challenges it has had with the version of its app for Android — the more popular smartphone operating system outside the US.

Speaking of Snap, the company has also confirmed that it paid $US213 million to buy Zenly and $US135 million for Placed. The company still has plenty of available cash to continue its shopping spree with roughly $US3 billion in available assets as of June 30.

Someone is plastering anti-Google ads outside Google’s office criticising CEO Sundar Pichai. We don’t know who is behind these ads yet, or whether they’re connected to fired Google engineer Damore, but we know they’re not official ads placed by Outfront, which handles the legitimate ads shown in those locations.

Backyard torchmaker Tiki Brand unwittingly found itself in the spotlight after white supremacists chose to wield its products in a deadly protest rally in Charlottesville over the weekend. But the brand was praised on social media for its statement disassociating itself from the events, reports AdAge.

After spending 15 years at Disney and ABC, Shonda Rhimes, of “Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” has signed a multiyear deal with Netflix, the Wall Street Journal reports. The news comes on the heels of Disney announcing that it won’t be renewing its deal with Netflix and that it plans to launch its own streaming service.

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