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Your Monday Wake-Up Call: A Dove Ad Fails, Big-Time. And a McDonald's Sauce Shortage Provokes a Frenzy

By Published on .

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: Dove, famous for promoting "Real Beauty," released a bizarre and racially insensitive ad that seemed to show a black woman transforming into a white woman. The Unilever brand apologized, but as Ad Age's Jack Neff writes, the "apology has been met mostly with derision since it was issued Saturday, including threats of boycotts and questions about how the ad could have been approved in the first place." It's not clear who made the body wash ad, which showed a black woman stripping off a T-shirt, revealing a white woman. As some users on Twitter pointed out, racist soap ads go way back.

Harvey Weinstein got fired
Hollywood super-producer Harvey Weinstein has been fired from the company he co-founded, The Weinstein Co., following a report he paid off women who accused him of sexual harassment, The New York Times reports. Mr. Weinstein and his brother own 42 percent of the company. Much of Hollywood has been silent about Weinstein, who has worked on hits from "Pulp Fiction" to "The King's Speech," and who is also a longtime Democratic donor and fundraiser. Saturday Night Live for some reason abstained from mocking him during its show this weekend, an omission that got attention. The New York Times says Saturday Night Live wrote jokes about Weinstein but didn't use them.

Mobs at McDonald's
McDonald's underestimated the fervor of "Rick and Morty" fans. The cartoon kindled nostalgia for 90s-era Szechuan-inspired dipping sauce, and the chain promised to resurrect the special sauce in very limited quantities on Saturday. Turns out they were much too limited: Many people tried in vain to get the sauce, then vented on social media about going home empty-handed. One Twitter video showed a crowd chanting "we want sauce!" McDonald's spun the sauce shortage in a positive way ("we were truly humbled by the amazing curiosity, passion and energy this community showed …") And it's bringing back the sauce sometime this winter. For now, you can buy it on eBay, where people are selling it from $60 to a totally ridiculous $1,000.

Trump and Facebook 'embeds'
President Trump has claimed that "Facebook was always anti-Trump." But Brad Parscale, digital director for his campaign, thinks Facebook is how the president won the election. A few factoids from his interview with CBS' 60 Minutes:

1. The Trump campaign had "embeds" from Facebook helping it learn the platform. Though Facebook offered the same to the Hillary Clinton campaign, 60 Minutes says her campaign declined the offer.
2. The Trump campaign made 50,000-60,000 different automated Facebook ads a day on average, Parscale says.
3. And then there's this crazy exchange, about an email Parscale received in early 2015:

Brad Parscale: It said "Donald Trump is thinking about running for president. We need a website in two days." So I wrote back, I said, "Yeah, I'll do it for $1500."

Lesley Stahl: $1500?

Brad Parscale: Yeah. And by the end, it was $94 million.

CBS says that's what his company was paid, including money to buy ads.

Just briefly:

'Kick some butt': What should marketers take away from last week's Association of National Advertisers event in Orlando? As HP's Antonio Lucio said, "We need to get our confidence back and kick some butt." Read more takeaways on Ad Age.

With great power comes great responsibility: The Walt Disney Co.'s Marvel Entertainment scrapped a planned partnership with defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. after fans objected, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Blast from the past: A look back at 1997 ad rates for "Seinfeld" has some interesting lessons for today's marketers, as Ad Age's Anthony Crupi writes.

Russian trolls: A study from Oxford University says "Russian trolls and others aligned with the Kremlin are injecting disinformation into streams of online content flowing to American military personnel and veterans on Twitter and Facebook," according to The Washington Post.

Creativity pick of the day: Feet get to wear a lot of comfy sports gear; breasts, not so much. An animated spot for Decathlon's Kalenji brand shows two "boobs watching jealously in the bushes as a pair of feet come by in comfortable trainers," as Ad Age's Alexandra Jardine writes. The spot is by French agency Rosapark.

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