Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. You can get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app.
What people are talking about today
Terry Savage, chairman of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, is leaving after the 2018 event. He's been associated with the festival for 33 years. It's not clear what Savage's next step is, but in a statement released by the Cannes Lions, he alluded to future "business opportunities" that would continue to allow him to support creativity. These are times of change for Cannes. Publicis Groupe said it wouldn't participate next year, and the event has faced criticism, including about its price. Cannes has said it's scaling back next year, including by cutting prices and streamlining awards. Savage wrote in his release: "The festival has always evolved, and I am certain it will continue to evolve as the industry changes, and thrive as it has for 65 years."
He said, they said
What were the exact circumstances of creative veteran Joe Alexander's departure from The Martin Agency, following a sexual harassment investigation? Alexander says he resigned to spare the agency from a drawn-out investigation. But the Richmond, Va.-based agency has a different take, saying, "that decision was ours." In an internal memo, CEO Matt Williams and President Beth Riley-Kelley didn't give details on what happened, but they said the behavior Alexander was accused of was "inexcusable." Read more from Ad Age's Lindsay Stein here, along with the full memo. And in case you wondered what diversity advocate Cindy Gallop had to say:
Two thumbs up
The Wendy's Twitter account has suddenly, inexplicably started doing film criticism, and the fast-food burger chain sounds unexpectedly high-brow. Wendy's appreciates the coming-of-age themes in "Lady Bird," and it thinks "Blade Runner 2049" was "visually stunning." What's going on? For some reason, Eric Kohn of IndieWire tweeted at Wendy's to ask the chain's opinion on the best films of 2017. And Wendy's actually answered.
As Slate writes, in between the chatter about cinema, the "Wendy's account is continuing to respond to customer feedback about its food. Multitasking!"
Whoever runs Wendy's Twitter account is getting love from unexpected places.
We are Certified Fresh Never Frozen— Wendy's (@Wendys) December 6, 2017
Wendy's scored big on Twitter this year – the most retweeted tweet of 2017 was the teenager asking people to help him win a year's worth of free Wendy's chicken nuggets.
Ad fraud: The Trustworthy Accountability Group, or TAG, says its method can cut online ad fraud by more than 83 percent, Ad Age's George Slefo writes. The group, which is made up of ad industry trade groups, says it's a "monumental" breakthrough.
Test: Instagram is testing a standalone private messaging app called Direct, The Verge reports.
Spying: As The Wall Street Journal writes, "China's censors are spying on mobile chat groups." The Journal's story focuses in on a construction supervisor who was held by police for five days after making an off-color joke about a government official on the WeChat app.
Fancy: Hilton is launching hotel rooms where guests will be "able to personalize and control lighting, temperature and more from their mobile devices," USA Today says. It's being tested at a location in Memphis before a wider rollout next year.
Politics: All eyes on are on the Alabama Senate race because Republican candidate Roy Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct with underage girls. The Miami Herald reports that his "opponent, Doug Jones, a Democrat, is under fire for a flyer targeting minority voters."
Ooops: MSNBC says it made a mistake in deciding to part ways with contributor Sam Seder over a tweet he wrote years ago, and it's bringing him back, CNN says. MSNBC president Phil Griffin says, "sometimes you just get one wrong -- and that's what happened here."
10 months: Patrick Yee, the chief executive of fashion-focused agency Laird + Partners, is departing after 10 months on the job, The New York Post says.
Ho ho ho: NBA players sit on Santa's lap in ESPN's campaign promoting its games on Christmas Day. Ad Age's Anthony Crupi writes that it's a way to underscore how "televised basketball is now a holiday staple alongside more suspect traditions such as mistletoe, fruitcake and egg nog." Read more and watch the spots here.