Friday Wake-Up Call: J&J's huge payout, Olson resigns Papa John's, our Trump dump and more

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Credit: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital 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: It took just 45 minutes for a Missouri jury on Thursday to order Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Johnson's Baby Powder, to pay $4.69 billion "to 22 women and their families who had claimed that asbestos in the company's talcum powder products caused them to develop ovarian cancer," The New York Times reports. Six of those women, it said, have died. The Wall Street Journal calls it "the biggest single verdict in such cases so far." In a statement on its website, J&J said in part that it's "deeply disappointed in the verdict" and that the result, "which awarded the exact same amounts to all plaintiffs irrespective of their individual facts, and differences in applicable law, reflects that the evidence in the case was simply overwhelmed by the prejudice of this type of proceeding."

Olson resigns Papa John's
The trouble continues for Papa John's with the resignation of its PR agency, Olson Engage, reports Ad Age's Jessica Wohl. Olson said Thursday that it had resigned the account, which it's had since February, following the controversy over founder John Schnatter's use of the "n"-word in a May conference call with then-agency Laundry Service, and his subsequent resignation as chairman of the board.
Olson Engage was not on the call when Schnatter used the racial slur, Wohl reports, but the shop said in a statatement that it had "recurring differences with their founder regarding the best way to address the controversies and restore and advance the brand's corporate reputation for the good of their workforce and franchisees."

McCann Health fires Perrott
McCann Health has fired Global Chief Creative Officer Jeremy Perrott after a complaint against him alleging a violation of the company's code of conduct. Ad Age's I-Hsein Sherwood reports that Perrot was terminated before the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity last month. Prior to his dismissal, he had been a decades-long fixture in health advertising. In a statement, McCann said: "We received a complaint about a violation of our Code of Conduct by McCann Health's Jeremy Perrott. As a result, following an investigation, he is no longer with the company."

Trump dump: Not long after landing in London yesterday afternoon, President Trump went out of his way to berate Prime Minister Theresa May in an exclusive interview with Rupert Murdoch's "Sun" newspaper, published overnight. He blasted her Brexit strategy and said he thought recently resigned Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson would make a great Prime Minister. Today Trump meets the Queen. A giant blimp of Trump as an angry baby is set to fly over London, while a outdoor and banner campaign "thanks" Trump for fueling the global feminist movement. Take a look at the banners, which cross out the "f" word to replace it with "thank," over at Creativity.

Just briefly:
AT&T appeal: It's not over yet for the AT&T and Time Warner deal. On Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department said it was appealing a judge's decision allowing the takeover, according to reports. The department's antitrust division filed a notice of appeal in Washington federal court, says Bloomberg News, in a move that would vindicate the decision by the head of the antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, to challenge the Time Warner takeover.

Gawker's new boss: Reuters reported yesterday that Bryan Goldberg, the owner of sites including Bustle and Elite Daily, "has prevailed in the bankruptcy auction for Gawker.com with a $1.35 million bid." If you want to know more about Goldberg and his empire, Ad Age's Simon Dumenco has the lowdown; Dumenco says that Gawker will be "flipping over in its grave at the thought of its new owner."

Musk's latest mission: When he's not running Tesla or blasting off rockets into space, Elon Musk seems to want to save the world. The Tesla CEO earlier this week tweeted about his attempts to get involved with the Thai cave rescue and now he's promised to pay to secure clean water for homes in Flint, Michigan. Bloomberg News reports that in a tweet Wednesday, Musk promised to fund fixing the water in any house in Flint that has water contamination.

McDonald's salad investigation: Public health officials in Illinois and Iowa said Thursday they are investigating an outbreak of foodborne illness, according to a USA Today report. It says that 20 people who ate salads at McDonald's restaurants in Illinois have suffered from Cyclosporiasis, an intestinal illness, since mid-May, while 15 were sickened in Iowa. McDonald's, according to USA Today, said "'Out of an abundance of caution' it is in the process of removing salads from some restaurants and distribution centers and will resupply restaurants with salads from other suppliers."

It's National Fry Day: Because of course, and Dunkin' Donuts, which recently introduced its Donut Fries, has jumped on the "holiday." Ad Age reporter Megan Mowery writes all about it, and you can watch the purposefully awful video starring YouTube stars Rebecca Black and Miranda Sings here.

Creativity pick of the day: Reese Witherspoon sets off a female "chain reaction" in a new spot created to mark a partnership between AT&T and Witherspoon's "Hello Sunshine" media company to launch a video on demand channel. In the BBDO film, Witherspoon posts a photo of the word "Unstoppable" that in turn inspires people including a young skateboarder, a physicist and a music video maker. The final woman in the chain is a scriptwriter, and things come full circle as she pitches her script to Witherspoon, who asks "What inspired you?" Watch it here.

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