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Your Friday Wake-Up Call: Facebook Confronts Big Issues. And General Mills Brings Back a Classic

By Published on .

Credit: iStock

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: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg promised to make political advertising on the platform more transparent, now that his social network is under serious scrutiny for its role in the 2016 U.S. election. Zuckerberg went on Facebook Live and promised to hand over 3,000 Russia-linked Facebook ads to congressional investigators probing the Kremlin's attempts to influence U.S. voters, as Ad Age's Megan Graham writes. The focus has been on the U.S. vote, but Zuckerberg mentioned the French and German elections, too. And the stakes go far beyond those three big Western countries. There are 2 billion monthly Facebook users who live across the globe, in countries with different laws, different languages and different local nuances to understand. There are countless elections that could be swayed, and not just by Russia. How is Facebook possibly going to deal with all the shadowy, scary corridors in the network it built on "likes"?

Facebook and shoppers
Setting aside the big questions over social networks' role in global democracy for a moment, here's some Facebook news for marketers: "Facebook will now let advertisers put digital ads in front of people who previously visited their real-life stores or those of their competitors," as Ad Age's George Slefo writes. Dick's Sporting Goods tested the product, for example, to reach people in winter, after they visited stores in summer. Facebook knows where users are if location services are enabled on their phone's Facebook app. How will consumers feel about this link-up of their virtual and real lives?

L'Oreal's heiress
Liliane Bettencourt, the world's richest woman and the heiress to the L'Oreal beauty fortune, has died at age 94, CNN says. Bettencourt's family controls 33% of the company. The later years of her life were marked by a family battle that played out in French courts and the tabloids; her daughter argued that a much younger man manipulated the elderly Bettencourt into giving him more than $1 billion, "including cash payments, Picasso and Matisse paintings and a private island in the Seychelles," as The Washington Post says.

The joy of artificial colors
Last year General Mills started selling natural Trix cereal, made with "radishes, purple carrots and turmeric" instead of artificial dyes, as The Wall Street Journal notes. But some customers apparently found the new Trix depressing. So the food company is reintroducing the old version next month alongside the more natural version, the Journal writes. While there's a trend toward healthier, more natural foods, packaged food companies are trying to figure out what consumers expect from them, and they're not always getting it right. Check out General Mills' teaser about the return of classic Trix below. Surprisingly, the company shared some brutal but funny consumer commentary about natural Trix. Like, "They are so ugly I can't even eat them. #barf #mymorningsareruined".)

Just briefly:

Ad fraud: When marketers lose dollars to ad fraud, Google is going to give them bigger refunds, Ad Age's George Slefo reports.

Lookalike: Buzzfeed has a Twitter morning show that starts Monday. Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi says "it will all look a whole lot like TV, including the ads."

Unionized: About 430 employees from Vice Media have unionized, Variety says, adding that they work on video content for Vice.com, cable channel Viceland, and Vice programming on HBO.

Spanx for your arms: Spanx has a new product to wear on your arms, and a Vogue reporter tried it out (during New York Fashion Week no less.)

About that Kendall Jenner ad: PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi talked to Fortune about the Pepsi ad starring Kendall Jenner that was panned, then pulled. She says she "looked at the ad again and again and again trying to figure out what went wrong."

Creativity of the day: Coke signed an endorsement deal with a video game character, as Ad Age's E.J. Schultz reports. Coke's new virtual celeb is Alex Hunter, who appears in the FIFA soccer game. As Schultz reports, there are certain advantages to virtual celebs: "No one is going to spot Hunter drinking Pepsi, or doing any of the other things that have caused endorsement deals to go sideways in real life."

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