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Your Thursday Wake-Up Call: Time Inc.'s Future Might Involve the Koch Brothers. Plus, P&G's Surprise

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 06:00:00 -0500

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Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. You can now get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Click here, or search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app.

What people are talking about today: The Koch brothers -- the billionaire industrialists and champions of conservative causes are reportedly offering financial support to Meredith Corp.'s bid for Time Inc. The New York Times, citing unnamed people involved in the talks, says Charles and David Koch "have tentatively agreed to back Meredith's offer with an equity injection of more than $500 million." Meredith, whose titles include Better Homes and Gardens as well as Family Circle, has tried before to take over Time Inc., which publishes Time, People, Fortune and Sports Illustrated. But this time Meredith is reportedly back with big money.

The Times notes that the Kochs spent $720 million ahead of last year's election to support conservative policies and candidates, adding that it's not clear how much influence (if any) the brothers would have on the publications if the deal happens. But if it does go forward, every word from the legacy publishing empire will be scrutinized for potential signs of the Kochs pressuring coverage. Incidentally, here's a Bloomberg News headline about the Kochs' influence, from a few hours before the Times published its scoop: "Koch-Funded Group Prods Trump's EPA to Say Climate Change Not a Risk." These are interesting times.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Tencent Sales Jump 61%, Defying Law of Large Numbers

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 10:00:00 -0500


Tencent Holdings is defying the law of large numbers, posting accelerating revenue growth and topping the most optimistic of analyst estimates.

The owner of WeChat, the social network that is nearly ubiquitous in China, reported a 61 percent rise in third-quarter sales. Fueled by advertising and hit game "Honour of Kings," the growth was the fastest since 2010, when revenue was a mere one-fourteenth of its current level.

By getting WeChat onto almost a billion smartphones in China, Tencent has leveraged the instant message service into an entertainment and gaming platform that is driving advertising sales. Although the Shenzhen-based company remains largely absent overseas, it's built a 12 percent stake in Snapchat-owner Snap Inc. and is exploring new sources of growth in the cloud, financial services, movies and music.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Tuesday Wake-Up Call: Cannes Gets an Overhaul. Plus, Brands Have a Hannity Predicament

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 06:00:00 -0500

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Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. What people are talking about today: The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity heard the industry's complaints. The event has gotten too big and too pricey, and it's scaling back. Ad Age's Lindsay Stein reports that Cannes is "trimming the event's length, cutting back prices and streamlining awards." The event in June will last five days instead of eight. It's getting rid of the Cyber, Integrated and Promo & Activation Lions. The price of a full-access "Complete Pass" is being trimmed by about $1,045 (but then again, the event is shorter, too.)

All the soul-searching came after Publicis Groupe said it wouldn't participate next year, and WPP CEO Martin Sorrell called it "too expensive." Despite the changes, it's still going to be pricey: A ride to Cannes from the Nice Airport will set you back $93.

Smashing coffee machines

Continue reading at AdAge.com




How Alibaba's Annual Shopping Event Raked in $25B

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 12:13:00 -0500

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Every year on Nov. 11, Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group hosts the world's biggest shopping event, called Singles Day. Chinese consumers fill their online shopping carts beforehand and stay up until the clock strikes midnight to click the "buy" button, trying to catch the best deals before they sell out.

Alibaba's event on Saturdayonce an unofficial Chinese celebration for the unmarried until Alibaba rebranded it as a Chinese take on Black Fridaybrought in $25.3 billion in transactions in 24 hours, up 39 percent from last year, which bodes well for Chinese consumer sentiment. Alibaba says 90 percent of sales during the event were on mobile devices.

The number is even bigger if you take into account other Chinese retailers and e-commerce companies who have joined in. Alibaba's main rival, JD.com, hosted 11 days of sales culminating in Singles Day, with over $19 billion in total transactions. The are plenty of things marketers and media execs outside China can learn from the event. Here, the highlights:

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Wednesday Wake-Up Call: Facebook's Surprising Plan Against Revenge Porn. Plus, Snapchat's Self-Doubt

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 06:00:00 -0500

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President Donald Trump tried it out; he was not among the test group that has had it for weeks. We can't help but wonder: Without a 140-character limit, would Trump have created the catchphrase "sad!"?

The Twittersphere provided surprisingly few clever or creative uses of the new 280 limit. Although we did enjoy this one:

Sued

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Monday Wake-Up Call: Sneaky Amazon Discounts. Plus, the Demise of the Sprint-T-Mobile Merger

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 06:00:00 -0500

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Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. What people are talking about today: It's not Thanksgiving yet, but Amazon is playing Santa. It's quietly giving consumers discounts of up to 9 percent on some items in third-party shops on its platform, The Wall Street Journal reports. Amazon is paying to make up for those discounts itself. It's apparently part of a surprising tactic to compete with Walmart and others in the runup to the holidays. But as the Journal says, "The unusual move, while good for consumers, could further strain Amazon's complicated relationship with big-name brands, manufacturers and its merchants." Many brands are already worried about how Amazon is affecting their pricing strategy. Just a little reminder: Amazon sales are expected to make up 44 percent of every dollar spent on e-commerce in the U.S. this year, up from 38 percent last year, according to eMarketer. Anyway, happy shopping.

Power Players

Ad Age's Power Players issue is out today, with Procter & Gamble's chief brand officer Marc Pritchard on the cover. Ad Age's Jack Neff profiles Pritchard, and there are plenty of surprises about the man overseeing the world's biggest ad budget. "We always referred to him as the original CoverBoy," one ad exec says, referring to the straight-laced marketer's unexpected embrace of the cosmetics category in the '90s. Other Power Players come from Apple, JPMorgan, Verizon and beyond one of them is an investment fund co-founder who's driving the trend of zero-based budgeting. Also check out Jessica Wohl's profile of McDonald's USA Chief Marketing Officer Morgan Flatley, who settled into the job with stints at a drive-in window.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Friday Wake-Up Call: Trump Vanishes From Twitter. Plus, It's iPhone X Day

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 05:49:31 -0400

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Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. What people are talking about today: For 11 minutes on Thursday, President Donald Trump's Twitter account mysteriously disappeared. "@realDonaldTrump does not exist," was the message some people saw.

Twitter at first spoke of "human error," then later blamed the episode on an employee whose last day of work was Thursday.

We hate to jump to conclusions, but we will anyway: It sounds like someone went rogue. The unnamed employee, whoever it is, quickly became a folk hero to people who think @realDonaldTrump has violated Twitter's terms of service (for example, by threatening to annihilate North Korea.)

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Wednesday Wake-Up Call: Facebook in the Hot Seat. Plus, a Really Bad Day for Under Armour

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 05:57:48 -0400

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Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. What people are talking about today: The suspect accused of killing eight people in a truck attack in Manhattan on Tuesday was an Uber driver, reports say. Uber told The New York Times that Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in what authorities are calling a terror attack, had passed a background check. The ride-hailing company also says it has offered to help the FBI. Uber, in constant crisis this year, has faced questions before about the effectiveness of its background checks; will this revive them? Headline writers have seized on the suspect's Uber connection: "From Truck Driver to Uber Driver to Terror Attack Suspect," was the Times' headline.

Uncomfortable questions

Facebook, Google and Twitter go back to Congress today to get grilled for a second day about how Russia hijacked their platforms to spread divisive messages during the U.S. presidential election last year. A day earlier, the tech giants admitted they don't yet have the ability to stop a similar scenario in the future, as Bloomberg News reports.

Continue reading at AdAge.com







Mother Enters Asia in Deal With Shanghai Shop

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 05:00:00 -0400

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Mother is launching in Asia through a deal with The Secret Little Agency, a ten-year-old independent shop with offices in Shanghai and Singapore.

As part of the deal, Mother Holdings will become the majority owner of TSLA's Shanghai agency, which will be renamed Mother Shanghai. Mother will also make a smaller, minority investment in TSLA's original Singapore office.

TSLA and Mother have already worked together, most notably on a successful global pitch for Nokia, and are consulting jointly on another piece of business.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Monday Wake-Up Call: Kevin Spacey Apologizes. Plus, Google, Facebook & Twitter Face a Reckoning (Or Not)

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 06:00:00 -0400

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Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. What people are talking about today: Actor Anthony Rapp ("Star Trek: Discovery") says "House of Cards" star Kevin Spacey made a sexual advance on him decades ago, when Rapp was 14 years old, BuzzFeed reports. On Twitter, Spacey said he didn't remember the episode, but if it did happen, he owes Rapp "the sincerest apology." In the same message, Spacey then came out as gay.

Spacey's response was promptly and widely slammed.

Spacey has been the star of political drama "House of Cards" for five seasons; shooting for the sixth season reportedly was due to begin this month. Where do Netflix and "House of Cards" go from here?

Continue reading at AdAge.com




How Do You Build a Brand Like Maria?

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 01:00:00 -0400

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Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Friday Wake-Up Call: Twitter Bans Ads From Kremlin-Backed Media. And an Ikea Ad Annoys Single Women

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 06:20:00 -0400

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Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. What people are talking about today: CNN's "This is an apple" ad has entered the zeitgeist you can tell by all the trolling and parodies it's inspired. Ad Age's Simon Dumenco has compiled the spoofs here. (It's Friday, come on, you've got time to watch.) The original CNN ad reminds everyone that an apple is not a banana, even if someone shouts "banana, banana, banana." Because that's something that apparently needs to be said in these unusual times.

Ad ban

Twitter is banning ads from two Kremlin-backed news outlets, RT and Sputnik, because U.S. intelligence officials believe they tried to meddle in the 2016 U.S. election. RT has spent about $1.9 million in advertising on the platform since 2011, and Twitter has decided it doesn't want the money: It says it will donate the same sum to outside researchers studying Twitter's impact on elections, as Ad Age's Garett Sloane reports. RT shot back that Twitter in fact tried to convince it to spend big on advertising around last year's election. As proof, it offered up what it said was Twitter's pitch deck.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Tuesday Wake-Up Call: Amazon Feels the Love. And Facebook Just Gave Publishers the Jitters

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 06:10:10 -0400

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$10 million

California billionaire Tom Steyer is waging a $10 million campaign to convince lawmakers to impeach President Trump. His video ad is to-the-point: He calls Trump "a clear and present danger who is mentally unstable and armed with nuclear weapons." Money says his commercials have run on New York and California broadcast stations, and on cable stations nationally. The ad, posted Thursday on YouTube, has nearly 730,000 views. But what is he really advertising? An opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times has asked if Steyer might have his eye on a Senate seat, adding: "What Steyer has launched is more of a $10-million advertising campaign touting both his cause and himself." Hustler magazine's Larry Flynt is also pledging $10 million to the same cause, but with a different approach: He wants to give the money away to anybody with dirt that takes the president down.

Just briefly:

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Monday Wake-Up Call: Timberlake Returns to Super Bowl. Plus, World Series Ad Spending

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 06:20:00 -0400

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Meanwhile, here's Pepsi's very official-looking, very branded announcement:

O'No

The New York Times reported this weekend that former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly is said to have settled a harassment case for $32 million. To put that number in perspective, it's more than enough to buy Jackie Kennedy Onassis's former estate in the Hamptons. Or a swanky 5-bedroom yacht.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Publicis Groupe Reports Quarterly Results Below Expectations

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 11:15:00 -0400

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Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun's talk of "radical transformation" to analysts Thursday did little to dilute the impact of the real news in its third-quarter report: Worse-than-expected results. The company showed year-over-year organic sales growth of 1.2 percent to $2.67 billion, as opposed to the 1.8 percent analysts had wanted to see.

Sadoun noted a steady improvement in organic revenue, from a 1.2 percent decline in the first quarter to 0.8 percent uptick in the second quarter to the 1.2 increase now. But but didn't give much insight into the rest of the year, as the agency-holding company heads often do.

The brightest spot for Publicis was North America, which accounts for 50 percent of the group's business. Its year-over-year organic growth was 3 percent, an improvement over a flat second quarter.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Thursday Wake-Up Call: Senators Push for 'Honest Ads.' Plus, Shocking Commercials for Skin Lighteners

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 06:30:00 -0400

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Skin-lightening products are a big market in many countries, but sometimes the way they're advertised sparks an outcry. Another recent spot from Malaysia for a product called SlimmeWhite shows a man abusing his wife and throwing her out of the house. After she uses the product -- becoming slimmer and paler -- he begs her to come back. Ad Age reached out to the production house, but it hasn't yet responded; it reportedly has said the message of the ad is to "appreciate your spouse." Watch it below.

Just briefly:

Trolls: In the runup to the vote, Trump staffers retweeted content from a Russian troll farm that was masquerading as content from Tennessee Republicans, The Daily Beast says. Trump's then-campaign manager Kellyanne Conway retweeted Russian propaganda, as did Donald Trump Jr., the report says.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Wednesday Wake-Up Call: Twitter Cracks Down on Harassment, Again. Plus, News on Netflix, the NFL

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 06:00:00 -0400

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Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. What people are talking about today: Twitter is cracking down on unwanted sexual advances, harassment, hate symbols and tweets that glorify violence. For example, there's a new approach to posting nude photos without consent people who post original shots will have their accounts suspended "immediately and permanently," Twitter says. Right now, offenders are temporarily locked out and required to delete the tweet, but they get another chance. Twitter sent an email with the updates to its Trust & Safety Council members; Wired has the full email.

As TechCrunch says, "Twitter, a platform infested with trolls, hate and abuse, can be one of the worst places on the internet." The platform has cracked down on harassment before. Will this new move be enough, and will it bring back users at a time when Twitter is losing fans in its most important market? Twitter shed 2 million monthly active users in the U.S. in the second quarter, and U.S. ad revenue dropped 14 percent year-on-year.

True or false?

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Ikea Picks Anomaly Amsterdam For Global Sustainability Work

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 16:00:00 -0400

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Ikea is hiring Anomaly Amsterdam after a pitch to lead a global advertising push, thought to be the first in the Swedish retailer's history.

Anomaly has a three-year contract to work closely with global and regional Ikea marketers and potentially with some local agencies in a bid to drive a new sustainability agenda for the brand.

Ikea began talking to agencies in February as it searched for a partner to develop a global positioning campaign for both corporate and consumer communications. Local agency relationships will remain unaffected.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




U.K. Industry Fights to Keep Borders Open Post Brexit

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:51:00 -0400

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The Advertising Association and London agency Adam & Eve DDB are campaigning to prevent the British government from cutting off access to international talent with tighter immigration rules post-Brexit.

A giant billboard at London's biggest airport Heathrow has the words "We're a great advert for Britain" over the images of ten senior industry figures, all of whom are foreign-born but live and work in the U.K. Below is the line: "British advertising thrives on foreign talent." Other executions will appear online and in print using space donated by media owners.

"It will be catastrophic to the long-term success of the sector if we can't access the right talent quickly and easily," says James Murphy, group CEO of Adam & Eve DDB and chairman of the Advertising Association, in a statement. "Global brands want to work with the best talent and the U.K. has it. As an industry that delivers $160 billion of GDP per year for the country, anything that knocks advertising will dent the economy."

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Tuesday Wake-Up Call: Netflix's Hideous Christmas Sweaters. Plus, a Goof by Google Maps

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 06:00:00 -0400

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But as Buzzfeed reports, people "haaaated it," and Google Maps is ending the test after "strong user feedback." Some people said they felt judged.

Just briefly:

Adman/prankster: A well-known email prankster also happens to be a former designer at TBWA Manchester, The Daily Mail reports. His emails have tricked famous people into responding; successful targets include Eric Trump, Anthony 'The Mooch' Scaramucci and Harvey Weinstein, the report says. He is now reportedly out of work, and his Twitter account says you can support him on Paypal.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Tin Can Rally: Behind Conagra's Grand Plan to Update its Brands

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 01:00:00 -0400

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Continue reading at AdAge.com




Amazon Studios Head Suspended After Sexual Harassment Allegation

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 22:15:00 -0400

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Amazon.com Inc. put Roy Price, the head of its film and TV unit, on a leave of absence after a producer told The Hollywood Reporter he sexually harassed her.

Isa Hackett, who worked on the Amazon Prime Video show "The Man in the High Castle," told the publication that Price made inappropriate advances to her at an event two years ago. Price couldn't be reached for comment.

The allegation against Price engulfed Amazon in the uproar over mistreatment of women in Hollywood, though only the details of Hackett's claim were new. The Information had reported in August that Price had been investigated over a claim of unwanted sexual remarks to Hackett. The company had said earlier that it looked into the matter and addressed it.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Wednesday Wake-Up Call: The 'Radioactive' Weinstein Brand Name. Plus, Fox's World Cup Mess

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 06:00:00 -0400

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Plus: ICYM, The New Yorker's investigation on Weinstein is a must-read.

Apple + Spielberg

Apple wants to get serious about original video content, and now it has a heavy-hitting partner: Steven Spielberg. The tech company signed a deal with Spielberg's Amblin Television and Universal Television, The Wall Street Journal reports. In keeping with the retro revival TV trend, they'll bring back "Amazing Stories," a 1980s science fiction series that was reminiscent of "The Twilight Zone." Spielberg will likely executive produce. The Verge says each episode has a $5 million budget, so hopefully this will be better than "Planet of the Apps."

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Tuesday Wake-Up Call: Facebook's Cringeworthy Puerto Rico Promo. Plus, Google's Russian Ads Problem

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 06:00:00 -0400

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Chelsea Clinton had this to say about the video:

Soon after "touring" Puerto Rico, Zuckerberg and Franklin did another video. They teleported into outer space.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Monday Wake-Up Call: A Dove Ad Fails, Big-Time. And a McDonald's Sauce Shortage Provokes a Frenzy

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 06:00:00 -0400

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Harvey Weinstein got fired

Hollywood super-producer Harvey Weinstein has been fired from the company he co-founded, The Weinstein Co., following a report he paid off women who accused him of sexual harassment, The New York Times reports. Mr. Weinstein and his brother own 42 percent of the company. Much of Hollywood has been silent about Weinstein, who has worked on hits from "Pulp Fiction" to "The King's Speech," and who is also a longtime Democratic donor and fundraiser. Saturday Night Live for some reason abstained from mocking him during its show this weekend, an omission that got attention. The New York Times says Saturday Night Live wrote jokes about Weinstein but didn't use them.

Mobs at McDonald's

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Suicide at Dentsu Ends in $4,000 Fine for Excessive Employee Overtime

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 09:58:00 -0400

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A court in Tokyo has ordered advertising giant Dentsu Inc., to pay a small fine for failing to stop employees in Japan from logging excessive overtime, Japanese news reports said.

The Tokyo Summary Court on Friday said Dentsu must pay a fine of 500,000 yen, or about $4,440, The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported. Dentsu, the world's fifth-biggest agency company by revenue, has faced intense scrutiny over its working conditions in Japan after a young staffer named Matsuri Takahashi jumped to her death from a corporate dormitory nearly two years ago. The 24-year-old was one of four employees cited in the case.

Prosecutors in Tokyo sent the case against Dentsu to court after the suicide and it has drawn international attention to difficult labor conditions common at companies in Japan, and to the term karoshia word that means "death by overwork" in Japanese. Labor authorities had ruled Takahashi's death a case of karoshi. The company's former CEO resigned amid the case.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Friday Wake-Up Call: Harvey Weinstein Apologizes (Bizarrely). Cam Newton Says Sorry Too

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 06:00:00 -0400

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Another apology

Cam Newton, quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, lost a sponsorship deal with Dannon after a sexist slight against a woman reporter who asked a question about route-running, as Ad Age's Jessica Wohl reports. ("It's funny to hear a female talk about routes like -- it's funny," he said.) Newton made a videotaped apology and put it on Twitter. "Don't be like me. Be better than me," he says. The apology runs at nearly two minutes, with Newton apologizing to a large swathe of humanity -- "to the reporters, to the journalists, to the moms, supermoms, to the daughters, sisters and the women all around the world."

Brand safe?

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Thursday Wake-Up Call: Airbnb CMO Checks Out, Google's Multilingual Ear Buds and More

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 06:39:00 -0400

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Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital related news. What people are talking about today: Jonathan Mildenhall, Airbnb's high-profile CMO, is leaving the company on Oct. 20 to start his own consultancy called 21st Century Brand. Just weeks ago he appointed Wieden & Kennedy as Airbnb's new global agency of record, reports Ad Age's Lindsay Stein. Mildenhall says Airbnb's "Belong Anywhere" campaign is meaningful for the brand's community worldwide, inspiring him to "take what I've learned and work with other founders to get people to care deeply about their brands."

Media migration

Time Inc.'s Entertainment Weekly is leaving New York and heading for Hollywood, reports Matthew Flamm at Crain's New York Business, where it will move into offices that hold People magazine's West Coast operations. Some 45 of the publication's 66 New York staffers are expected to move with it. Time Inc. has been cutting costs as the company tries to transition into a digitally-focused operation. The move struck veterans of the magazine world, Flamm reports, "as another sign of a changing media landscape, in which New York is less and less the center of the universe."

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Tuesday Wake-Up Call: NRA Delays Political Ad Buys; WPP Gets Ready to Wrangle

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 06:55:00 -0400

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Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. What people are talking about today: As news continues to unfold about the Las Vegas massacre, both Google and Facebook have been caught actively promoting fake news stories on the tragedy. Forbes writes that this "underscores the ongoing failure of the internet's largest news platforms to manage misinformation," and reveals, "Facebook's 'Trending Topic' page for the shooting directed users toward more false reports, including stories by Russian propaganda site Sputnik."

The Guardian adds that Facebook's "Safety Check" page, which is supposed to help people connect with loved ones during the crisis, ended up "briefly promoting a story that said the shooter had 'Trump-hating' views, along with links to a number of other hoaxes and scams." At the same time, Google users who searched Geary Danley (falsely named as the shooter) were at one point directed to the 4chan thread filled with false claims." Facebook said it is "working to fix the issue."

Sayonara, Sorrell

Continue reading at AdAge.com