From ad misplacement and fraud to sexism in commercials and alleged harassment in Hollywood, it was quite a year for the marketing and media industries. CNBC takes a look at the past 12 months.
January — The world's largest advertiser slams 'crappy advertising'
January 2017 saw Procter & Gamble's Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard calling on the media buying and selling industry to become transparent in the face of "crappy advertising accompanied by even crappier viewing experiences." He gave agencies a year to get to "a transparent, clean and productive media supply chain," or risk losing its business. This set the tone for the rest of the year with ad fraud being reported as a widespread problem.
February — PwC is the Oscars biggest loser
And the loser is … accounting firm PwC for the envelope mix-up at this year's awards that saw Faye Dunaway mistakenly announce "La La Land" as the winner of the best picture Oscar, rather than the actual winner, "Moonlight." It will continue to work for the Oscars, but with no cellphones allowed backstage.
March — YouTube apologizes for ad misplacement problem
Brands including HSBC, U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer and L'Oreal pulled advertising from YouTube in March, after their ads appeared next to extremist content. "We've got a comprehensive review under way — we have for some time — looking at how can we improve here and we are accelerating that review," Google's EMEA president of business and operations told journalists at a briefing at Advertising Week Europe in London. It then hired "significant" numbers of people to tackle such content.
April —Tencent is set to become a more valuable brand than Facebook
China continued its rise as a technology powerhouse, with Tencent becoming the first Chinese brand to top the $100 billion mark, according to the BrandZ ranking of the most valuable brands in the country. When BrandZ's global ranking was published in June 2016, Facebook's brand value was $102.6 billion, so Tencent's value of $106.2 billion suggests that it is now competing on a global scale.
May — Facebook and Google are declared the world's largest media owners
Google and Facebook together took 20 percent of the world's advertising budget across all media in 2016, according to media agency Zenith's Top 30 Global Media Owners report. It listed Google's parent company Alphabet at number one, making $79.4 billion in ad revenue, followed by Facebook, which earned $26.9 billion.
June — Marketers tackle sexist ads
The chief marketers of some of the world's largest brands got together to tackle sexism and poor representations of diversity in advertising at the Cannes Lions ad festival. Companies including Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, AT&T and Facebook announced the "Unstereotype Alliance," with the United Nations' female empowerment arm UN Women, and will do research every two years to understand the impact of changes made.
July — The BBC reveals an embarrassing pay gap
Britain's publicly-funded TV broadcaster the BBC revealed the salaries of its top paid stars for the first time, in a move to become more transparent with license fee payers. The salaries of female presenters were largely dwarfed by their male counterparts: Overall, 25 men on the talent list received more than £250,000 ($335,023) per year, compared to just nine women, including Claudia Winkleman.
August — Alibaba launches 'smile to pay' tech at KFC in China
In August, KFC redefined the term "happy meal," as fast food fanatics in China could just flash a smile to earn their dinner. Alibaba's Ant Financial teamed up with KFC in the city of Hangzhou to debut its new "smile to pay" service, which allowed customers to process their payment simply by smiling after placing their order at one of the fast food restaurant's self-serve screens. A 3-D camera then scanned the customer's face to verify their identity.
September — Instagram reaches 800 million users
October — The Harvey Weinstein scandal breaks
The New York Times broke the story that Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein had allegedly been sexually harassing women for nearly three decades. The piece led to a string of high-profile men across industries being publicly taken down and started the #metoo movement on Twitter, where women declared their experiences of harassment. Weinstein denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.
November — Chief marketing officers are told to 'grow or go'
When Coca-Cola consolidated marketing into a new "chief growth officer" (CGO) role in March, it followed previous Fortune 100 companies in doing so — Hershey's announced Mary Beth West had joined as CGO earlier that month, while Kellogg gave the same job title to Clive Sirkin in 2015. According to consultancy Forrester, this is a trend that will continue next year. "In 2018, we expect CMOs to fall under even more pressure to drive growth — or step aside while someone else takes the reins," its "Predictions 2018" report stated.
December — Disney is to buy 21st Century Fox's film, TV and international businesses for $52.4 billion
The deal is worth $52.4 billion in stock and will give Disney a wide range of properties including Fox's movie studios, Nat Geo, Asian pay-TV operator Star TV, stakes in Sky and Hulu, and regional sports networks. Twenty-First Century Fox CEO James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch, will help Disney with the transition of the Fox assets that Disney agreed to buy, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger said.