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Your Thursday Wake-Up Call: Trump Threatens the Networks; Facebook Wants a Billion People Using VR

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: President Trump lashed out at TV networks, angry about their news coverage. He tweeted: "With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!"

As CNN points out, the president's threat is "essentially toothless," since "licenses are granted to individual local stations -- and NBC doesn't even own most of the stations that broadcast its content across the country."

Still, the idea of a president muzzling the media is something many found chilling. Among Trump's other comments yesterday was this: "It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it."

In response, Seth Meyers quipped on NBC's Late Night: "'People should look into it?' Not only is he a wannabe dictator, he's a lazy wannabe dictator. It's not that hard to look into it; it's literally the First Amendment."

WPP vs. ADK saga heats up
The biggest obstacle to Japanese agency Asatsu-DK selling itself to Bain Capital remains WPP, its largest shareholder. In a statement, WPP says it wants more money, questions whether ADK sought other buyers, and says the Japanese agency was a terrible partner anyway. WPP also refers mysteriously to "disastrous" ADK deals with companies like Gonzo and Bungeisha (who?).

WPP's statement appears to be a response to an 11-page FAQ from ADK that rehashes an even longer earlier statement that reads like it was translated from Japanese by Google. The two companies agree on nothing. WPP says ADK "knows full well that it cannot" terminate their agreement. ADK says either party can terminate the deal "at any time by giving not less than 12 months written notice," and it says several major law firms agree. Take that, WPP.

Small stakes, big stakes
Internet giants like Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group have a huge influence on people's daily lives and habits in China, probably even more than Google and Facebook do elsewhere. But China's government has lately seemed wary of the power of private companies, and it wants the state to have a stake in a few big local internet companies, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Journal says internet regulators have talked about taking 1 percent stakes in Tencent, which owns all-purpose app WeChat; Twitter-like Weibo; and video platform Youku Tudou, which is owned by Alibaba. The move would give the state "a direct role in corporate decisions," the Journal says. That's on top of the ways it already controls China's internet industry – with heavy regulations, monitoring and censorship.

A billion
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that he wants 1 billion people in virtual reality. That's a very grandiose and Facebookian goal, though as Recode points out, the company "already has three other billion-user products: Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp." In hopes of bringing VR to more people, the company launched a second, cheaper VR headset called Oculus Go that will cost $199. Zuckerberg's announcement came a few days after he got pushback for doing a VR tour of hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico; he said he was sorry to anyone who was offended.

Just briefly:

The Spine: Publicis Groupe now has something called "Publicis Spine," which will help the company target individual users; Ad Age Lindsay Stein explains it better here.

Big win: Publicis Media's Starcom USA won Lionsgate's nearly $400 million media account, Ad Age's Megan Graham reports.The incumbent was GroupM's Mindshare.

What now?: Fox has English-language broadcast rights for next year's World Cup, but the U.S. men's team failed to qualify. Ad Age's Anthony Crupi has some ideas how Fox could make the best of it; for example, by going "all-in on its coverage of Team Mexico."

Out: Actress Rose McGowan, one of the women who accused Harvey Weinstein, had her Twitter account suspended, The Hollywood Reporter says. She has been vocal this week about Weinstein, his former company and Ben Affleck, with tweets that included some accusations and four-letter words (though it's not clear why Twitter suspended her.)

When did they know?: The Weinstein Co. said this week that it was "shocked" by women's allegations against its co-founder, and didn't know about his settlements with them. But the New York Times says the company was aware of Harvey Weinstein's payoffs to women in 2015.

Movies Anywhere: Most of the big Hollywood studios are cooperating on an app called Movies Anywhere, so you can store your digital movies in one spot. Paramount and Lionsgate are the holdouts, Wired says.

FYI: The corporate parent of the Coach brand is now named Tapestry, as The New York Times reports.

Racist algorithm: Chinese app WeChat "apologized for an error in its algorithm that provided the N-word as a translation for a neutral Chinese term for black foreigners," Sixth Tone reports.

Creativity pick of the day: Monica Lewinsky, now an anti-bullying activist, worked with BBDO on a powerful campaign that re-creates internet trolls' heinous online comments in real-life situations, as Age's Alexandra Jardine reports. Watch it here.

Contributing: Laurel Wentz.

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