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Your Thursday Wake-Up Call: Sports Illustrated's World Series Prophecy. Plus, WPP Takes Legal Action

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: The Houston Astros won the World Series by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7. Sports Illustrated prophesied the Astros' win in a cover story back in June 2014, when it seemed completely improbable. And though the 3-year old issue is selling online for up to $355, Sports Illustrated wants you to know you can buy it directly from the magazine for the low, low price of $19.95.

"Press 'like' to help Jesus win!"
We're finally getting a sampling of the online ads created by a Russian troll farm to meddle in the U.S. election last year. Ad Age's Garett Sloane takes a look at the ads, released as lawyers for Facebook, Twitter and Google testified on Capitol Hill this week; here's one.

There were anti-Trump ads too. Often, the trolls apparently just wanted to pit Americans against each other, stirring up chaos. In maybe the most dystopian-seeming anecdote to emerge from the hearings, Russian trolls used Facebook to organize an anti-Islam rally and a counterprotest in May in Houston, at the same time and place. Dozens of people actually showed up IRL; you can see photos of the rallies here. Just to recap: Yes, faraway Russian trolls pulled the strings and organized competing protests halfway across the world, in Texas. U.S. Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said it cost $200 in ad buys to accomplish that.

Also: Hours after getting grilled on Capitol Hill, Facebook reported that third-quarter ad sales topped $10 billion for the first time, up 50 percent from a year ago, Ad Age's Garett Sloane writes.

Moola
CMO pay is going up, up, up. The median 2016 compensation for the top U.S. marketing execs was up 24% from five years ago, hitting $1,261,755, according to data from Equilar, a corporate executive data provider. And some execs make way more than that. As Ad Age's E.J. Schultz reports, the top name on the list was Jonathan Hargis, executive VP and CMO at cable TV operator Charter Communications. His total compensation last year: $15,027,148.
Equilar also has compensation numbers on execs from brands like Coca-Cola and McDonald's. And there's another notable data point here: There's only one woman in the top 10, Stephanie Linnartz, global chief commercial officer at Marriott International. Read more here.

WPP vs. Asatsu-DK
The feud between WPP and Japan's Asatsu-DK just got more intense: WPP, the world's biggest agency company, says it has taken legal action in Japan against its longtime partner, Japan's third-biggest ad company. The two have been in a dispute since Bain Capital launched a bid to buy ADK for $1.3 billion. WPP owns about a quarter of ADK, and it believes Bain's offer is too low; so does another major ADK shareholder, Silchester International. ADK, meanwhile, wants to terminate its longstanding partnership with WPP so it can move on.
WPP says it sought the help of a Japanese arbitration court this week, and it also asked for a preliminary injunction from the Tokyo District Court. WPP wants authorities to rule that the way ADK terminated the companies' agreement is invalid. And it wants ADK to say it has no right to ask or require WPP to sell its shares in the company. ADK, meanwhile, threatened to launch its own legal proceedings in the case. Stay tuned.

Just briefly:

Pizza & protests: Papa John's founder disapproves of the way the NFL is handling the national anthem protests, and it says its pizza sales are suffering as a result, as Bloomberg News reports. His comments got a lot of pushback on Twitter.

Your daily sexual harrassment update: "Six women accuse filmmaker Brett Ratner of sexual harassment or misconduct" -- Los Angeles Times
"Dustin Hoffman sexually harassed me when I was 17 (Guest Column)" – The Hollywood Reporter
"NPR's Head of News Resigns Following Harassment Allegations" – NPR

Amazon: Amazon picked Interpublic Group of Cos. to handle its $1 billion-plus global media buying and planning duties, and the effort will be led by Initiative, Ad Age's Megan Graham reports.

Strike out: Under Armour Chief Marketing Officer Andrew Donkin has exited the company after its disappointing earnings report this week, Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli reports.

'Failing' New York Times? Um, no: "The New York Times is nearing its goal of an $800 million digital business," Recode writes.

Product of the day: In Japan, KFC collaborated with a local retailer to make bath salts scented with the fragrance of chicken (and 11 herbs and spices?) They're packaged in the shape of a chicken leg. Just add water.

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