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Nestle Debuts a New Type of Chocolate in KitKat-Crazed Japan, and It's Pink

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 08:30:00 -0500

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Nestl will sweeten Japan's Valentine's Day with ruby-chocolate KitKats, choosing one of the world's most candy-obsessed markets for the debut of the first new type of natural chocolate in more than 80 years.

Nestl struck a deal with Zurich-based Barry Callebaut, the developer of ruby chocolate, giving it exclusive rights for six months to the breakthrough product with a pinkish hue and a natural berry flavor that's sour yet sweet. The ruby chocolates go on sale at KitKat boutiques in Japan and South Korea as well as online beginning Thursday, ensuring chocolate lovers will have access to the treat before the Feb. 14 holiday.

While Japan has seen many colors and flavors for KitKats before -- its penchant for eccentric flavors such as wasabi or Hokkaido melon has attracted both locals and tourists -- this is the first time ruby chocolate is going on sale since Barry Callebaut announced the innovation in September.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Wednesday Wake-Up Call: New Fallout From H&M's Really Bad Ad. Plus, YouTube Changes

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 06:00:00 -0500

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About the boy in H&M's 'monkey hoodie' ad

Swedish retailer H&M has faced an uproar since it put a black 5-year-old model, Liam Mango, in a hoodie that read "coolest monkey in the jungle." The ad appeared in the UK, but the backlash over its racial insensitivity spread as far as South Africa, where protesters trashed several stores and the brand shuttered its shops. H&M has apologized for what it called "a poorly judged product and image." Now the child model's mother, Terry Mango, has told the BBC that the family had moved out of their home in Stockholm because of security concerns. She didn't give specifics on the concerns, but she mentioned the South Africa demonstrations as a factor. Terry Mango has faced criticism for saying she didn't see the hoodie as racist. "I respect other people's opinion on the issue," Mango was quoted as telling the BBC. "I know racism exists, but does the shirt to me speak racism? No it doesn't." How does much does her son know about the uproar over the ad? Nothing, she says: "I just want him to have innocence."

Just briefly:

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Thursday Wake-Up Call: Twitter Pledged Ad Transparency, But We're Still Waiting. Plus, Super Bowl Spending

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 05:30:00 -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 get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app. Also, a reminder: The deadline for our Creativity Awards is today at 5 p.m. EST.

What people are talking about today: Diet Coke has a new millennial-friendly look, and it's adding new flavors including "twisted mango" and "feisty cherry." Ad Age's E.J. Schultz has the story, including the flavors that didn't make the cut, such as mojito, chili lime and watermelon jaleneno. Plus, he's got video of the first Diet Coke ad from 1982, so you can also marvel about how much advertising has changed since then. The retro ad featured the Radio City Music Hall's Rockettes and celebs including the late Bob Hope. Hope was nearly 80 years old at the time, so apparently brands were less obsessed back then about seeming sexy to 20-somethings.

Get smart

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Tuesday Wake-Up Call: The End of a Facebook Experiment. Plus, a Google Glitch

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 05:30:00 -0500

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Golden Globes: According to Nielsen fast official ratings, the Golden Globes averaged 19 million viewers, down slightly from last year's 20 million viewers, Ad Age's Anthony Crupi reports.

Next up: Glamour's new editor is Samantha Barry, executive producer for social and emerging media at CNN Worldwide, as Ad Age's Simon Dumenco writes.

Backlash: James Damore, a former Google engineer famous for a memo that got him fired, has filed a class action lawsuit alleging that "Google unfairly discriminates against white men whose political views are unpopular with its executives," TechCrunch says.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Monday Wake-Up Call: Oprah for President? Plus, Apple Investors Worry About Kids' iPhone Addictions

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 05:30:00 -0500

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Backstage after the show, Bloomberg News asked Winfrey if she planned to run: "I don't I don't," the media mogul told Bloomberg, repeating something she's said before. Her longtime partner had a different take. ""It's up to the people," Stedman Graham was quoted as telling The Los Angeles Times. "She would absolutely do it."

Meanwhile, black was the red carpet wardrobe color of choice as stars protested sexual harassment and misconduct. Natalie Portman delivered the zinger of the night while presenting the award for best director: ""And here are the all-male nominees."

Also: Check out two commercials that aired during the show. The New York Times, whose reporting about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein helped spark the #MeToo movement, added a new installment of the paper's "The Truth Is Hard" campaign from Droga5 New York. Read more on that by Ad Age's Ann-Christine Diaz. Also, Winona Ryder (or to be more precise, her fabulous hair) starred in a L'Oreal Paris ad, as Ad Age's Jack Neff reports. It's about how damaged tresses can make a comeback, like Ryder did herself. The New York Post has a rather snarky headline about the ad: "Shampoo ad equates Winona Ryder's career to bad hair."

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Friday Wake-Up Call: Apple Affected by Chip Security Flaws. Plus, More Store Closings for Macy's, Sears

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 05:30:00 -0500

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Related: The owners of conservative website Breitbart News are debating whether to remove Steve Bannon from his role at the publication, The Wall Street Journal reports. Wolff quoted Bannon, the former White House strategist, at length in the book. His quotes apparently infuriated the president, who said Bannon has "lost his mind." Trump also called Bannon "Sloppy Steve," a catchphrase that hit No. 1 on Twitter.

Crisis for Intel + Apple = more ad blocking?

Since Intel acknowledged that many of its chips are vulnerable to hackers, Bloomberg News says the company faces a "PR nightmare." Apple confirmed that all of its Mac and iOS devices have been affected by chip flaws affecting Intel and its competitors, flaws that it says "affect nearly all computing devices and operating systems."

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Thursday Wake-Up Call: The Real Reason Trump Loves McDonald's? Plus, Essence Magazine Gets Sold

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 05:30:00 -0500

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What do you think are you able to laugh at the joke?

Also: A group calling itself Resistance SF protested Twitter's decision to allow Trump to keep using the platform, The Verge reports. Activists projected the message "@jack is #complicit" onto Twitter's headquarters, accusing CEO Jack Dorsey of endangering the world by letting Trump continue to tweet.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Wednesday Wake-Up Call: The Future of Ads on Amazon's Alexa. Plus, Diageo Suspends Snapchat Ads

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 05:45:00 -0500

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Vice: Vice Media suspended President Andrew Creighton and Chief Digital Officer Mike Germano as it probes harassment complaints about them, Bloomberg News reports.

Out: Patrick Scissons is out as KBS' global chief creative officer, after a year marked by high-profile departures from the agency, Ad Age's Lindsay Stein reports.

Spotify lawsuit: The streaming music service is facing a $1.6 billion lawsuit from the publisher of Tom Petty, Neil Young and Stevie Nicks among others, Variety reports. The suit reportedly says Spotify doesn't have the correct licenses to play thousands of tracks.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Tuesday Wake-Up Call: Playboy Might Ax Its Magazine. Plus, the Success of Bud Light's 'Dilly Dilly'

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 05:00:00 -0500

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Dilly dilly

The New York Times delves into Bud Light's "Game of Thrones"-inspired campaign and its nonsensical medieval-sounding catchphrase, "dilly dilly." Bud Light's VP of marketing told The Times he considers "dilly dilly" more popular than past Budweiser campaigns that influenced the zeitgeist the croaking frogs of 1995, and the "Whassup?" campaign that debuted in 1999. The Times says Wieden & Kennedy's Alex Ledford, a senior copywriter, and N. J. Placentra, a senior art director "were trying several nonsense phrases when one uttered 'dilly dilly,' and it made them laugh." The Times never quite explains what made the catchphrase take off. But here's a theory: Maybe, in these strange and complicated times, people just need something silly and medieval to laugh about. ICYM, read more about the campaign (including its Super Bowl plans) from Ad Age's E.J. Schultz.

Just briefly:

Continue reading at AdAge.com




This Holiday Shopping Season May Be the Best in More Than a Decade

Tue, 26 Dec 2017 16:30:00 -0500

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Americans displayed their buying bona fides in the final run-up to Christmas, turning out in force to produce what may be the best holiday shopping season in years.

And why not? A nation that loves to spend has plenty to feel good about, with low unemployment and a robust stock market. The season's tally should reach $671 billion, a "stellar" 5.5 percent increase from last year, according to Craig Johnson, head of research firm Customer Growth Partners. That would be the most since 2005, according to his calculations.

The timing of Christmas didn't hurt, either, with a full weekend for procrastinators to redeem themselves. But signs of success were present all along, including rising demand for home goods and electronics. Johnson boosted his holiday forecast earlier this month, and he notes that retailers didn't have to resort to last-minute markdowns to draw shoppers. They were already coming in via the digital or brick-and-mortar doors.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Bye to All That: Ad Age's 2017 Year in Review

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 14:43:09 -0500

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Ad Age's Most Read (But Not Necessarily Best) Stories of 2017

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 13:16:50 -0500

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It's tempting, now that the year's about to end, to tout our best stories of 2017. But the problem with naming our "best" stories is that it's a subjective exerciseand not a little self-congratulatory. (Plus, one runs the risk of alienating reporters who don't get mentioned.)

Still, let's start with this: We rebranded in our biggest redesign in nearly 90 years of publishing. With that new look came a new tone, new energy and, hopefully, some new digital-first boldness.

There are a few individual stories we'd highlight as the year's "best," sure. Our strongest, most differentiated reportingshoe-leather stuff with the potential to make a real impactoften unfolds through a series of articles. For that, check out our coverage of Procter & Gamble's yearlong tango with digital advertising (and a certain activist investor); our up-to-the-minute tick tock on Pepsi's Kendall Jenner snafu and resultant fallout; our pre-Weinstein assessment of endemic harassment and inequality in advertising; and our post-Weinstein news breaks.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Friday Wake-Up Call: What's Next For Papa John's After Its CEO Steps Down? Plus, Apple's PR Blunder

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 05:00:00 -0500

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Facebook defends itself

When companies place job ads on Facebook and target them to younger users, is that ageist? Non-profit news organization ProPublica and The New York Times just raised concerns about the issue, adding that Amazon, Verizon, Goldman Sachs and Facebook itself use that practice; ProPublica quotes an employment expert who says doing so is "blatantly unlawful." As Ad Age's Garett Sloane writes, Facebook says it's doing nothing wrong here. "These individual ads are part of broader-based recruitment efforts designed to reach all ages," Rob Goldman, VP of ads at Facebook, said in a post. He compares that to how it's "OK to run employment ads in magazines and on TV shows targeted at younger or older people." He says that some companies may be actively looking for retirees, for example.

Perhaps one reason that the New York Times-ProPublica report is getting traction is because it taps into the anxieties so many older workers feel. Silicon Valley, and quite a few industries, are youth-obsessed. Remember when Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg said in 2007 that "young people are just smarter"? The median age of a Facebook employee, according to data from Statista, is 28.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Papa John's Founder John Schnatter Is Stepping Down As CEO

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 00:49:04 -0500

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The controversial "papa" from Papa John's International Inc. is stepping down as chief executive officer.

Company founder John Schnatter will hand the reins to Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie as of Jan. 1. The 43-year-old Ritchie, who began as a Papa John's customer-service rep making $6 an hour in 1996, has been overseeing operations for the past three years.

The move comes less than two months after Schnatter inflamed an outcry over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. The CEO, whose company is a top sponsor of the league, said that the player protests were mishandled by NFL leadership and hurt the pizza chain's sales. Papa John's later apologized for the "divisive" comments.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Thursday Wake-Up Call: Uber's New COO Plans Marketing Cuts, Rolling Stone Is Sold

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 07:00:27 -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: Uber looks set to slash its marketing budget, thanks to brand new Chief Operating Officer Barney Harford. He tells the Financial Times he will "bring a dose of financial discipline" to the unprofitable company and points to "marketing costs and ride efficiency" as potential areas for improvement.

Also: This year Uber will reach 4 billion rides, surpassing the number of passenger airline trips taken globally for the first time.

Rolling Stone has a new owner

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Wednesday Wake-Up Call: Facebook's Facial Recognition, Twitter's Change of Heart and Other News

Wed, 20 Dec 2017 05:30:00 -0500

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Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. Also, a friendly reminder: Applications for Ad Age's Agency A-List are due today.

What people are talking about today

Facebook is now using its face recognition technology to let you know if someone else posted a photo of you, even if you're not tagged. The company frames this as empowering for users, a way to make sure you can control your online identity and prevent impersonation. You can also look at this as a creepy reminder of exactly how much Facebook knows about you. (Creeped-out users can opt out of this new tool.) The company's official post doesn't get into this, but Facebook obviously benefits too by sending users alerts whenever their photo pops up somewhere. As Wired writes:

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Tuesday Wake-Up Call: Nike's Fun Homage to Kobe Bryant. Plus, Disney World's Trump Robot

Tue, 19 Dec 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. Also, a friendly reminder: Applications for Ad Age's Agency A-List are due Wednesday. In other words, tomorrow. Here's how to enter.

What people are talking about today

The Lakers just retired Kobe Bryant's No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys. To mark the occasion, Nike revived its beloved campaign starring puppet versions of Bryant and LeBron James. In one of three spots, the puppets are lounging on a beach at sunset, sipping coconut juice, and Bryant taunts James about the honor he just got. "LeBron, I'm saving you an incredible burden," he says. "You should be grateful that you're not retiring two jerseys like myself. Imagine the weight of having two jerseys that inspired the nation, Le Bron. No the world." (Watch it above.)

Continue reading at AdAge.com




The 2017 Ad Age Creativity 50

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 00:01:00 -0500

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Friday Wake-Up Call: Watch the FCC chairman's Bizarre Harlem Shake Video. Plus, Retailers Dump Mario Batali

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 05:30:00 -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 get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app.

What people are talking about today

The Federal Communications Commission just voted to repeal Obama-era rules on net neutrality, which required that internet providers treat all online traffic equally. Before the vote, its chairman, Ajit Pai, felt the need to make a video while dressed up in a Santa suit, doing the Harlem Shake and playing with a fidget spinner and a lightsaber. The costumes and props are apparently meant to be ironic and millennial-pleasing; Pai's underlying message is that internet is going to be fine, so everybody should stop criticizing him. Or as Vanity Fair writes, maybe President Trump's FCC chairman wants to tell us that "destroying net neutrality is actually fun and cool." The video was made by a conservative website, The Daily Caller.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Thursday Wake-Up Call: BuzzFeed's Swipe at Google and Facebook. Plus, Disney-Fox Updates

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 05:56:56 -0500

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How low can they go?

There's more bad news for broadcast TV: Nielsen says C3 ratings last month dropped 16 percent versus the same period last year. As Ad Age's Anthony Crupi asks, "Has the bottom fallen out of the broadcast TV ratings?" He writes:

"The latest batch of broadcast TV's currency data has been crunched, and while a handful of shows are doing their bit in the war against audience erosion, the Big Four networks' share of sellable ratings points continues to shrink at an alarming clip."

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Wednesday Wake-Up Call: The Ad Battle in Alabama's Election. Plus, Harassment Claims Hit NFL Network

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 05:51:42 -0500

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Feminism Part 2: On that note, check out Grey London's campaign that rewrote Christmas carols to give them a feminist slant. As Ad Age's Alexandra Jardine writes, they're no longer Christmas "hymns," they're "hyrrs." And "Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly" becomes "Kick the Balls (of Patriarchy)" Read more here, and have a listen.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Friday Wake-Up Call: Terry Savage to Leave Cannes Lions. Plus, Wendy's Latest Twitter Antics

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 06:00:00 -0500

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Two thumbs up

The Wendy's Twitter account has suddenly, inexplicably started doing film criticism, and the fast-food burger chain sounds unexpectedly high-brow. Wendy's appreciates the coming-of-age themes in "Lady Bird," and it thinks "Blade Runner 2049" was "visually stunning." What's going on? For some reason, Eric Kohn of IndieWire tweeted at Wendy's to ask the chain's opinion on the best films of 2017. And Wendy's actually answered.

As Slate writes, in between the chatter about cinema, the "Wendy's account is continuing to respond to customer feedback about its food. Multitasking!"

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Thursday Wake-Up Call: NY Times Sues The Weinstein Co. for Unpaid Ads. Plus, Walmart's New Name

Thu, 07 Dec 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 get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app.

What people are talking about today

"The departure of Martin Agency veteran Joe Alexander last week followed an internal investigation into an allegation of sexual harassment" against him, Ad Age's Lindsay Stein reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter. Alexander, chief creative officer, had joined the agency in 1991; the agency's best-known campaigns include its work for Geico. "The Martin Agency is my family," Alexander told Ad Age by email. "Rather than a drawn-out, hurtful investigation, resigning was the proper thing to do to protect my family and all the people I've worked so closely together with in my 26 wonderful years." Read more of Stein's article here.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Bain Capital Acquires Japan's Third-Biggest Agency, Asatsu-DK

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 05:00:00 -0500

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Bain Capital has acquired 87 percent of Japan's third-largest ad agency, Asatsu-DK, through a tender offer, successfully wrapping up a takeover effort that initially had opposition from WPP, a longtime shareholder in the Japanese agency.

Shareholders agreed to sell 87.05 percent of ADK to Bain Capital Private Equity, Bain and ADK said in a joint statement. Bain wants to take the company private and delist it from the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and it will work with ADK to invest in the expansion of the agency's businesses in digital, data and content. ADK's content business includes animation, including work on a popular cartoon character called Doraemon -- a robot cat who time-travels.

Chris Beaumont, managing partner of Results International for North Asia, says Bain has had success at creating new value in its Japanese investments. And he adds that "anime is becoming more international, and there is an obvious upside in making the robotic cat, Doraemon, more popular." He sees that move as a "sensible evolution beyond traditional advertising, for ADK, to create new value. For themselves and their clients."

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Wednesday Wake-Up Call: Agencies Boost Ad Spending With Amazon. Plus, the Google Vs. Amazon Feud

Wed, 06 Dec 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 get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app.

What people are talking about today

The Walt Disney Co. is reportedly getting closer to a potential deal to buy big pieces of 21st Century Fox, the Murdochs' empire. Though the Murdochs have also been talking to Comcast, they are said to prefer Disney, Bloomberg News says. Sources told Bloomberg that the assets to change hands "would include the 20th Century Fox film and TV studio and Fox's stake in the U.K. pay-TV provider Sky," though they don't include Fox News, the Fox broadcast network or the Fox Sports 1 channel.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Wednesday Wake-Up Call: Future Royal Meghan Markle Has a Surprising Tale About P&G

Wed, 29 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 get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app.

What people are talking about today

We're as excited as anybody about the upcoming royal wedding, and we've been hoping for an advertising-related pretext to write about it. Here goes: Meghan Markle, the "Suits" actress who is engaged to Prince Harry, once took a stand against a Procter & Gamble ad. She was 11 years old. News outlets including Mashable dug up footage of Markle at a 2015 U.N. Women's Summit, talking about how she embarked on a letter-writing campaign as a kid to complain about a sexist slogan on dishwashing soap.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Tuesday Wake-Up Call: YouTube Tries to Clean Up. Plus, Cyber Monday Isn't What It Used to Be

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 06:00:00 -0500

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Monday blues

If you waited until yesterday's Cyber Monday promotions to buy toys like Hatchimals online, you were out of luck they were already sold out, as Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli writes. A lot of the online shopping had happened already over the weekend. Cyber Monday looks poised to set new sales records (Adobe Insights is predicting $6.6 billion, up 16.5 percent from last year). But it's lost some of its meaning and spirit, now that people are on the internet shopping throughout Thanksgiving weekend. Maybe the whole Cyber Monday concept is getting a bit pass and the word "cyber" itself is so 2005.

Just briefly:

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Monday Wake-Up Call: Black Friday Numbers Come in Strong. Plus, New YouTube Trouble

Mon, 27 Nov 2017 06:00:00 -0500

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Paint it Black

Black Friday meant big business online. Sales on the internet on Thanksgiving and Black Friday in the U.S. were up 17.9 percent from last year, hitting $7.9 billion, according to Adobe Analytics, which looks at sales at the 100 biggest web retailers in the U.S. And the spree isn't over yet: Adobe is predicting another $6.6 billion in U.S. internet sales today on Cyber Monday, as Reuters reports.

For brick-and-mortar retail, the picture is murkier. But Reuters notes that "research firm ShopperTrak said store traffic fell less than 1 percent on Black Friday, bucking industry predictions of a sharper decline." It seems that's what passes for good news in retail these days.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Wednesday Wake-Up Call: A Shadowy New Ad Fraud Scam. Plus, Another Facebook Fail

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 05:30:00 -0500

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Just briefly:

Men behaving badly: John Lasseter, the revered animator and chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, is taking a leave of absence for six months because of unspecified "missteps," The Hollywood Reporter says. The Los Angeles Times talked to two women who described unwanted hugs from Lasseter, while other women said Pixar had a "boys club culture."

More men behaving badly: CBS has fired host Charlie Rose, and PBS has canceled distribution of his interview show, The New York Times says. Also watch how "CBS This Morning" handled news of sexual harassment allegations against Rose, with some details from Ad Age's Simon Dumenco.

Continue reading at AdAge.com




Your Tuesday Wake-Up Call: A Hidden Agenda in Starbucks' Holiday Cups? Plus, a Bain-WPP Truce

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 05:50:22 -0500

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No smoking: Starting this weekend, anti-smoking messages will air on U.S. prime-time TV and they're paid for by Big Tobacco, The Associated Press reports.

Semi-retirement: Rob Norman, global chief digital officer of GroupM, is leaving his full-time role but will continue on as an advisor, Ad Age's Megan Graham reports.

Bell Pottinger: Hanover Group, a communications consultancy, has acquired the Mideast assets of Bell Pottinger, the disgraced British PR firm, The Financial Times reports.

Continue reading at AdAge.com