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Ad Age Wake-Up Call: Samsung Heir's Prison Sentence, a Supermarket Food Fight 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 and digital-related news. What people are talking about today: Samsung heir Jay Y. Lee has been convicted in South Korea on charges of bribery and embezzlement and sentenced to five years in prison. The case suggests that South Korea is starting to look more carefully at close ties between politicians and the family-run conglomerates that play a huge role in business there, as The Wall Street Journal reports. Mr. Lee, who is the company's de facto leader, has been behind bars since February in the case, which is linked to a scandal that ousted the country's previous president. So far the legal woes seems to have had little or no impact on Samsung's business, though: Sales were up 20% in the second quarter. This week the company unveiled its Galaxy Note 8, the successor to its explosion-prone Note 7.

There's some leadership uncertainty going forward, though. As The New York Times reports, the case could create a succession crisis at Samsung. Also, with Lee behind bars, "wheeling and dealing with the leaders of Silicon Valley may be more difficult, and other major moves could be slowed," the Times says.

Peace & love
Walmart's new ad seems like a contemporary take on Coca-Cola's iconic "Hilltop" commercial, as Ad Age's Jack Neff reports. It shows a diverse group of people coming together for dinner in a sun-soaked field, and the soundtrack is '60s anthem "Get Together," the one with the lyrics, ""Come on people now, smile on your brother. Everybody get together, try to love one another, right now." Coming soon after the violence in Charlottesville, Va., the ad might strike some people as a strong social statement (though despite the timing, it has clearly been in the works for a while). But Walmart, strongly represented in Trump country, seems to be treading carefully. Neff says it "hasn't gone out of its way to publicize the ad in social or conventional media."

Food fight
Come Monday, Amazon is going to cut prices on more than a dozen best-sellers at Whole Foods, as Ad Age's Jessica Wohl reports. That was fast: Monday is when Amazon's $13.4 billion purchase of the supermarket chain is expected to be final. Cue the grocery price wars; The Washington Post quotes a private equity exec who says grocers are terrified, adding, "Prepare for blistering competition and complete upheaval." A column in Bloomberg looks at how supermarket chains are positioned to withstand the shock; it concludes that Kroger "in particular doesn't seem to have a clearly defined plan to help fend off this new pressure."

Just briefly:

Unplugged: "The eclipse was so impressive, Americans stopped watching Netflix and porn," as Quartz reports. Pornhub said its traffic Monday afternoon dropped to some of the lowest levels in years, Quartz says. Netflix traffic was down 10%.

Many hats: Leslie Berland, Twitter's CMO and head of communications, is taking on another role, Recode reports. She's now overseeing human resources too.

Cuts: New York-based ad tech company Verve has "quietly laid off staff in recent weeks," including its VP-sales, Recode reports.

Ciao: Starbucks is planning to close its online store, and it's having a clearance sale of espresso machines and mugs, Business Insider reports.

Logos matter: Millennials kill off apps if they don't like the way they look on their screens, as Ad Age's George Slefo reports. That's based on findings from Comscore, which says Gen-Xers don't care as much.

Macy's: The retailer has a new creative agency of record, BBDO New York, as Ad Age's Lindsay Stein reports.

ICYM: "Homeland" fans took out an ad in The Hollywood Reporter to belatedly protest the death of a beloved character (no spoilers here, even four months later.) Showrunner Alex Gansa responded to them, saying he's also in mourning.

Number of the day: 28. Sears is planning to close 28 more Kmart stores this year. That's on top of 180 Sears and Kmart stores that have already closed this year, CNN says.

Campaign of the day: Former Lakers star Kobe Bryant sent Twitter challenges to four big athletes and a rapper for a Nike campaign, as Ad Age's E.J. Schultz reports. It's all part of a rather unusual R/GA campaign about colors and what emotions they inspire.

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