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We kick off this week with the celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th! Let’s join the world in recognizing women’s achievements and increasing the visibility of the talents, skills and impact women have on the success of our society. Along with this important observance, we’re also keeping an eye on how major brands are cutting ties with Russia, how consumers really feel about the metaverse and the anticipated Apple’s ‘Peek Performance’ event.
Major U.S. and European brands are pulling out of Russia in response to the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Not only are these companies taking a stance for the people of Ukraine, but their moves are sending Russia into an economic down spiral. First, Ikea has announced that it is closing all 17 stores in Russia while stopping production and shipments to and from the country. Spotify indefinitely closed its office in Russia, and H&M paused all sales in Russia to stand with the innocent people who are suffering. Disney announced it will pause all theatrical releases in Russia, and Warner Bros. followed suit. Other major companies like Mastercard, American Express, Netflix, Harley-Davidson, PayPal, and Adidas have all cut ties with Russia. Also, in response to President Vladimir Putin’s new censorship law, companies like TikTok, BBC and CNN were forced to suspend broadcasts in Russia.
When it comes to creativity, every minute counts. TikTok has confirmed that the platform’s maximum time for videos has increased to 10 minutes. After months of testing, the update is rolling out globally over the next few weeks. It’s hard to even remember the old days when TikTok videos were limited to 15 seconds. The first video length increase was a bump to 60 seconds, and then another increase to three minutes rolled out last July. Now, creators will have 10 long minutes to reach their audiences and engage users. With this longer video version of the short-form video platform giant, the possibilities seem endless, and we look forward to watching how brands, creators and influencers use the extra time to entertain TikTok users across the globe.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is quickly hitting the ad tech world. As tech companies begin taking a stance by cutting off services to the country, Google announced that it will block internet ads from running in Russia. Google’s move is in compliance with Russia’s request, as the government claims they were spreading disinformation via YouTube campaigns, a division of Google. “In light of the extraordinary circumstances, we’re pausing Google ads in Russia,” a Google spokesperson told CNBC. With this halt, search, display and video ads by Google will not appear on the internet in Russia.
Opinions are starting to get real when it comes to the metaverse. A report from The Harris Poll found that half of U.S. adults fear the metaverse will cause them to neglect reality. The majority of respondents say they prefer augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) that tie in with real world components. In fact, 80% of survey respondents ages 18 to 54 said they are interested in AR/VR technology, which trumps the 57% that said they were interested in NFTs and the 51% that reported interest in cryptocurrency. Even with the large percentage of those interested in AR/VR, they expressed using the technology for physical shopping rather than purchasing virtual wearables that can only be used within the metaverse.
The ‘Peek Performance’ Apple event is this week on Tuesday, March 8th at 10 a.m. PT. via live stream. This is the company’s first media event of the year, and it’s said that a new iPhone SE, iPad Air and at least one new Mac will be unveiled. Apple users are waiting to learn more about the next generation of more ‘affordable’ iPhones, the iPhone SE 3 with 5G along with other new Apple products, features and services. Catch the full event live at Apple Events Website. With the movement of major brands out of Russia, TikTok’s longer videos, consumer data on the metaverse and Apple’s exciting product unveilings, we’re on high alert for evolving trending topics this week. Don’t forget to show support and appreciation for the many contributions of the women in your life on International Women’s Day, and we’ll meet you back here next Monday to cover more topics.