Agency of the Year; Countdown to Christmas: Monday’s First Things First

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Welcome to First Things First, Adweek’s new daily resource for marketers. We’ll be publishing the content to First Things First on each morning (like this post), but if you prefer that it come straight to your inbox, you can sign up for the email here.

Wieden + Kennedy Named Adweek’s Agency of the Year

Well this is exciting. Wieden + Kennedy has been named Adweek’s 2019 U.S. Agency of the Year. This is the first time in 12 years that an agency has won Adweek’s U.S. Agency of the Year title twice in a row. It’s a title well-earned seeing as Wieden + Kennedy impacted culture so heavily in 2019. While the agency’s Portland mothership has historically overshadowed other offices, the New York branch came into its own in 2019, and is talked about with the same reverence as Portland. Another factor in W+K’s victory? Winning perhaps the most coveted account up for grabs: McDonald’s.

Read more: Wieden + Kennedy makes magic by leaning into core strengths.

Related: The rest of our Agency of the Year winners.

Oh, It’s the Most Lucrative Time of the Year

If we told you Hallmark’s ’round the clock holiday content wasn’t always what it is today, would you believe us? Well the proof is in the (Christmas) pudding. As Countdown to Christmas celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, the franchise has certainly grown. Adweek’s TV/Media editor Jason Lynch gives you an inside look at how.

Read more: How Countdown to Christmas went from big risk to big hit.

ET Reunites With Elliott

E.T. and Elliott have finally reunited 37 years later. But sorry 80s babies, the reunion wasn’t for a sequel, but for an Xfinity spot about how technology brings people together. In the spot, E.T. returns to earth 37 years later to reunite with Elliott, who now has his own family, with kids who are the same age as he and his siblings were during the movie.

Watch it: ET reunites with Elliott, but for an Xfinity ad, not a movie sequel.

The Biggest Black Friday Ever Saw $7.4B in Online Sales

What did you buy for Black Friday? Did you buy it on your phone? After the longest possible wait, consumers were ready to shop when Black Friday 2019 finally arrived. Top products came from Frozen 2, Nerf and Paw Patrol. Top electronics included Air Fryers, AirPods and Samsung TVs.

Read more: Key insights into 2019 Black Friday.

Best of the Rest: Today’s Top News and Insights

Ad of the Day: Walmart’s New Ad Wants to Make You Cry

When Adweek spoke to Walmart’s executive vice president and chief customer officer earlier this year, Janey Whiteside said she wanted to forge emotional connections with customers and focus on more purpose-driven elements.

Now, the retail giant has an ad that marks a move in that direction.

How does your company help younger or new employees effectively convey ideas and feel like their voice is welcomed in the room?

Jordan Parisi, senior talent acquisition partner, Havas Media Chicago

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