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Ad Age Wake-Up Call: Google and Walmart Partner Up, While WPP Cuts Its Forecast

By Published on .

Good morning. Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing and digital-related news. What people are talking about today: Google and Walmart are teaming up on an online shopping partnership, forming a united front against Amazon. Or as The New York Times puts it, "Google and Walmart are testing the notion that an enemy's enemy is a friend." Google Express, the internet giant's online marketplace, will offer Walmart products. And shoppers will be able to voice-order Walmart products using Google's virtual assistant, The Wall Street Journal reports. Amazon controlled almost 45 cents out of every dollar spent online last month, according to data from Slice Intelligence, the Journal says. For Walmart, the figure is 2 cents.

WPP shares plummet
WPP cut its full-year revenue forecast, predicting revenue growth between zero and 1% this year. Previously, it had predicted 2% growth. WPP's share price fell up to 12% after the company released its first-half earnings, and Bloomberg News said it was the biggest drop in 17 years. Agency holding companies have been hurting as some clients trim advertising budgets. UK-based WPP, the biggest agency company by revenue, singled out "pressure on client spending in the second quarter, particularly in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) or packaged goods sector." WPP also says it bought independent brand design agency, Design Bridge, which has about 400 people in London, Amsterdam, New York and Singapore.

He's pivotal
Ad Age's Lindsay Stein has an excellent profile of Brian Wieser, analyst at Pivotal Research; he's the most-quoted man in advertising, a man whose respected reports make ad and media stocks rise and fall. (He also happens to be an easygoing guy who lives in Portland, Ore. and whose ambition is to form an "early '80s post-punk, French new wave cover band.") From his time on Wall Street, Wieser learned this important takeaway: "Never trust a number unless you're sure the number you're working with is provided by someone who could go to jail if that number is wrong."

Trump slump
As Ad Age's Anthony Crupi reports, "the Donald can't seem to muster the big TV crowds his predecessor commanded." According to Nielsen's live-plus-same-day data, the president's address on Monday night reached about 27.7 million viewers across top broadcast and cable news networks. That was 32% less than the number who watched President Obama give a similar Afghanistan speech in 2009. As Crupi notes, if there's anybody who cares deeply about Nielsen ratings, it's Trump, who has been fixated on them since "The Apprentice" debuted in 2004.

Just briefly:

Future shock: How will Brexit affect the UK's ad business? Ad Age's Emma Hall looks at how the industry is addressing concerns about the unknown consequences. As one ad exec says, "We've jumped out of the 54th floor and we've gone past the 32nd, but we've not hit the ground yet."

Headline news: Facebook is giving a little something to publishers who feel their brands are losing weight in the social media era. As Ad Age's Garett Sloane reports, Facebook will let media partners put their own logos alongside headlines.

Singapore sugar: Seven companies that make soft drinks, including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle, have agreed to cap the sugar content of beverages sold in Singapore by 2020, The Financial Times says. The cap is 12%.

Good to the last drop?: A class-action lawsuit claims the U.S.'s best-selling bottled water brand, Nestle-owned Poland Spring, doesn't contain any actual spring water, The Washington Post reports. Nestle retorts that its product is 100% spring water and says the lawsuit's claims are "without merit."

So hard to say goodbye: The Village Voice is axing its print edition. Check out this compilation of the Voice's best covers by Ad Age's Garett Sloane – who could forget President George W. Bush as Dracula sucking the blood of the Statue of Liberty?

Shifting gears: Apple's self-driving car project is code-named "Titan," though it doesn't look quite so ambitious anymore. The company has scaled back its plans, The New York Times reports: For now, it's moving "from creating a self-driving Apple car to creating technology for a car that someone else builds." On the upside: Look for a self-driving shuttle service between Apple buildings.

Headline of the day: Business Insider has this gross (but intriguing) headline: "Casper's mattress testing is so thorough, it even invented a special machine to simulate back sweat."

Campaign of the day: The Kind brand put an art installation in Times Square to make a point about how much sugar kids eat (and to plug one of its own products.) As Ad Age's Jessica Wohl reports, there were statues of kids that look like they're made of sugar, along with a mountainous installation resembling 45,000 pounds of sugar, which is the amount consumed by U.S. kids every five minutes. (The sugar wasn't real, because bugs would have loved it.)

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