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Your Friday Wake-Up Call: A Massive Hack Attack, NFL Booze Ads and Other News to Know Today

By Published on .

Credit: iStock

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: U.S. credit reporting agency Equifax got hacked, and it looks bad. Not only does the data breach potentially affect 143 million people, but the hackers got sensitive data points on consumers -- names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver's license numbers. About 209,000 people also had their credit card numbers accessed, as Bloomberg News reports.

The response from CEO Richard F. Smith was bland: "This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes." But is "disappointing" the right word choice for such a severe breach? Also, people are confused about the Equifax help site, which leads to a completely different web address that immediately demands six Social Security Number digits. On social media, some people complained it didn't seem to work right, or they wondered whether it was a phishing site.

So crisis communications experts, how is Equifax doing on this? Is there a better way?

Harmless Ham
Nestlé just bought a company with meat-substitute brands called "Benevolent Bacon" and "Harmless Ham," as The Wall Street Journal reports. Unilever, meanwhile, bought tea maker Pukka Herbs, which says on its website that its "heartfelt desire is to create a healthier, happier world through the incredible power of organic herbs." The buys are emblematic of consumer goods' giants rush to follow consumer tastes and buy small niche brands, as the Journal notes. Incidentally, that's something activist investor Nelson Peltz wants Procter & Gamble to do better, as Ad Age's Jack Neff writes. Peltz, who wants a P&G board seat, said in a white paper outlining his vision that the company "needs to get better at acquiring, integrating and growing small brands," as Neff writes.

Booze and Football
New NFL rules allow liquor ads, and a spot from Diageo's Crown Royal whiskey ran on the first commercial break of the season opener between the Chiefs and Patriots. As Ad Age's E.J. Schultz points out, liquor ads still are barred from having a football theme, and must carry a "prominent social responsibility message." The Crown Royal ad from Anomaly is pretty hilarious in its attempt to edge right up to the line of what's acceptable without crossing it – the ad looks like a football training session, minus a pigskin. Also, everybody's drinking water, though for some reason the gym walls are decorated with Crown Royal bottles.

Also: Though NFL ratings dropped last year, advertisers spent a record sum for ads, as Recode points out.

Just briefly:

$4.99: U.S. college students can get both a premium Spotify subscription and one for Hulu for a total of $4.99 a month.

Bye-bye: Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter is retiring, and Ad Age's Media Guy, Simon Dumenco, predicts that the next in line is Janice Min, who "brilliantly reimagined dowdy trade paper The Hollywood Reporter as an uber-glamorous glossy."

That was fast: Now that British PR firm Bell Pottinger its tainted by scandal, its Asian operations are rebranding. The new name for Bell Pottinger Asia is Klareco Communications, the Financial TImes reports. Klareco, it says, is Esperanto for "clarity."

The next Seattle: Amazon wants a second headquarters, as The New York Times reports, and there's likely to be a bidding war among cities trying to woo the e-commerce giant.

Adieu: Pierre Bergé, the businessman and co-founder of the Yves Saint Laurent fashion house, has died, according to The New York Times.

Tribute: Sarah Hofstetter, CEO of 360i, has written a lovely tribute to former Kraft marketer Tom Bick. Bick died this week of a heart attack at age 52.

Number of the day: 1 billion. Season seven of "Game of Thrones" was pirated more than 1 billion times, according to anti-piracy company MUSO, Variety reports.

Campaign of the day: This sci-fi film about the robot apocalypse is actually an ice cream commercial from Halo Top. Watch it here, and read more from Ad Age's Jessica Wohl.

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