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: For 11 minutes on Thursday, President Donald Trump's Twitter account mysteriously disappeared. "@realDonaldTrump does not exist," was the message some people saw.
Twitter at first spoke of "human error," then later blamed the episode on an employee whose last day of work was Thursday.
Through our investigation we have learned that this was done by a Twitter customer support employee who did this on the employee's last day. We are conducting a full internal review. https://t.co/mlarOgiaRF— Twitter Government (@TwitterGov) November 3, 2017
We hate to jump to conclusions, but we will anyway: It sounds like someone went rogue. The unnamed employee, whoever it is, quickly became a folk hero to people who think @realDonaldTrump has violated Twitter's terms of service (for example, by threatening to annihilate North Korea.)
So how did a lone customer support staffer have the power to silence a world leader with nearly 42 million Twitter followers? Inquiring minds want to know.
War of the pizzas
A battle of snark erupted on Twitter between DiGiorno and Papa John's. After Papa John's founder reported falling pizza sales (and blamed the whole thing on the NFL's handling of the national anthem protests), frozen pizza maker DiGiorno subtly started trashing the other brand.
Us: 🍕📈— DiGiorno Pizza (@DiGiornoPizza) November 1, 2017
Better Pizza.— DiGiorno Pizza (@DiGiornoPizza) November 1, 2017
Papa John's changed its Twitter bio to add this retort: "Frozen pizza = the pizza equivalent of a participation trophy." Check out more of the exchange on Eater.
'Best game in town'
Yes, NFL ratings are down, and there's still controversy over players kneeling during the national anthem. But as Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi reports, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves says "it's still the best game in town" for advertisers. He added that he doesn't know of any sponsors pulling spots because of players protesting social injustice. Poggi adds this bit of context: "NFL viewership is down 5% for the first seven weeks of the season, but that's better the big four broadcast networks' overall prime-time performance in their season so far." In other words, the problem probably isn't football. It's TV.
While you were sleeping, the iPhone X went on sale in much of the world. And the lines in Asia are long, as Reuters reports. In China, social posts showed a Chinese engineer reportedly proposing to his girlfriend by buying 24 iPhone Xs, arranging them in heart formation and sprinkling rose petals over the tableau, as Technode reports. Since the phone starts at $1,266 in China, that's a $30,384 proposal, at least. Apple, meanwhile, is predicting strong demand: It says the gadget will lead it to record-high revenues in the year's last quarter, in the $84 billion to $87 billion range.
Bad News for the News: Teen Vogue is axing its print edition, Women's Wear Daily says. And Joe Ricketts, the billionaire who founded TD Ameritrade, pulled the plug on the publications he owns, shutting down Gothamist, LAist, DCist, SFist, Chicagoist, Shanghaiist and DNAInfo. A week ago, employees had unionized.
Hmmmm: The Wall Street Journal says the U.S. Justice Department is considering a lawsuit to block its $85.4 billion sale to AT&T Inc. But CNN reports that Cowen Research analysts believe "'the press leak is likely a negotiating tactic' by the government 'and that the deal is still likely to close.'"
Whatever: T-Mobile US and Sprint are reportedly trying to salvage their merger, The Wall Street Journal says, though recent reports suggested Sprint's parent company wanted to call things off. This on-again, off-again thing is getting boring -- wake us when there's something to announce.
Houston Strong: How did World Series ratings stack up to previous years? Anthony Crupi of Ad Age reports that Fox "averaged 18.7 million TV viewers over the course of the series, making it the third most-watched Fall Classic in the last 10 years."
'Stranger Things': Nielsen says the second season of the Netflix show averaged 8.8 million viewers in the first three days of its release, Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi writes.
Ta ta: Starbucks is selling tea brand Tazo to Unilever for $384 million, USA Today reports.
Bummer: A Chinese millionaire paid $1,146 for a splash of 1878 Macallan single malt in a hotel bar in Switzerland, but the whisky turned out to be fake, the BBC says.
Creativity pick of the day: Uber has had a rough year, and this new Asia Pacific spot for the brand changes the conversation; it's also charming. The film by Forsman & Bodenfors shows Asian drivers riding in cardboard boxes instead of cars, to "illustrate the absurdity of how we get around cities," as Ad Age's Alexandra Jardine reports. Watch it here.
To find out more about all things new in marketing, join us at the Ad Age Next conference in New York on Nov. 15 and 16. It's an evolution of our long-running Digital Conference, Ad Age's biggest event of the year, retooled for efficiency and a view over the horizon. Next sets down on the frontiers of AI, voice-controlled assistants, ad blocking, chatbots, VR, light speed creative work and more; takes your questions; and hits the next stop. Speakers represent companies including Amazon, Google, Procter & Gamble, Walmart, Procter & Gamble, 360i, Headliner Labs, MediaLink, Burger King, IBM and more. See the full agenda here. We hope you'll come away energized and empowered.