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Ad Age Wake-Up Call: Hurricane Price-Gouging, Cuts at Disney/ABC TV Group and Other News to Know Today

By Published on .

Good morning. 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 Hurricane Harvey's floodwaters devastated southeastern Texas, some shops took advantage of the panic and jacked up prices of necessities. The state's attorney general's office received 684 consumer complaints by early Wednesday; they mostly involved "price-gouging of bottled water, fuel, groceries and other necessities," according to The Washington Post. A Best Buy sold a 24-pack of bottled water for a $42, which the company said was "a mistake in a single store." Meanwhile, Best Western is cutting ties with a location that charged nearly three times the standard nightly rate, and it reimbursed customers, the Post says.

For those in need of some feel-good news right now: A local retailer, Gallery Furniture, opened its showrooms as shelters, as Ad Age noted a few days back. The owner, Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale, has been receiving wide praise. ("Let's Hear It For the Mattress King of Houston," as Esquire writes.) Locally, he's famous for his funny commercials, like this vintage 1990 spot, featuring a mattress strapped to sports car.

Cuts
Walt Disney Co. is preparing budget cuts at Disney/ABC Television Group, The Wall Street Journal reports, adding that up to 300 jobs could be shed. Variety, meanwhile, says the restructuring targets "areas that have become outmoded or less vital to the management of the channels, such as traditional sales and distribution, and aspects of marketing operations for ABC and the cable channels." Disney and ABC are still smarting from another big blow – star producer Shonda Rhimes signing on with Netflix.

The voice
How is voice search going to affect advertising? A lot. First off, voice search means interruptive advertising. Also: "A screen affords space for multiple ads. However, with voice, we want one answer. We want the answer," writes Jay Friedman, COO at Goodway Group, in Ad Age. As he notes, ComScore predicts that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, so this is something the industry is going to have to figure out, fast.

Organic Doritos

Frito-Lay's Simply Organic Doritos and Simply Cheetos Puffs White Cheddar Jalapeno might actually get a shot at being in the aisles of Whole Foods, as Bloomberg News reports. PepsiCo would love to see them in organic food stores, and Amazon's purchase of the supermarket chain might offer them a way in, Bloomberg says. But before contemplating the business potential, let's pause for reflection. Organic Doritos. Seriously?

Just briefly:

Thanksgiving in July: Seasonal pumpkin-flavored products are arriving earlier and earlier, as The New York Times says: "Retailers this year are reaching peak pumpkin before most consumers have changed out of their summer shorts."

That was fast: Italian fashion brand Diesel has dropped Anomaly after just 10 months. It's going with Publicis Italia to run its global advertising account, as Ad Age's Emma Hall reports.

Moving on: Another agency exec is heading to Silicon Valley. Wieden + Kennedy Portland managing director Tom Blessington is going to YouTube, to be VP-brand, media & experiences, as Ad Age's Megan Graham reports.

Change at Fox: Michael Thorn, who oversaw "This Is Us," will step in for David Madden as president of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s entertainment division, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Protest power: Student protests at Georgetown sparked off a chain of events that led Nike to grant a concession on factory workers' rights, as Fast Company reports.

Blame the tourists: Macy's, Ralph Lauren and Tiffany & Co. all cited drops in tourist traffic and same-store sales on recent earnings calls, as Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli reports.

Farewells: Howard Bell, father of advertising self-regulation in the U.S., has died at age 91, Ad Age's Jack Neff reports. And Hong Kong entrepreneur and writer David Tang, who founded the Shanghai Tang fashion and home furnishings brand, has died at age 63, The New York Times says.

Campaign of the Day: Ikea and BBH Singapore found a woman capable of memorizing the Swedish retailer's entire 328-page catalog. Her name is Yanjaa Wintersoul, and you can watch a video of her astounding feats of memory here, on Creativity Online.

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