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Your Tuesday Wake-Up Call: Netflix's Hideous Christmas Sweaters. Plus, a Goof by Google Maps

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: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings turned a staid corporate earnings presentation into a surreal commercial for "Stranger Things"-themed ugly Christmas sweaters (on sale at Target for $32.99.) Hastings briefly vanished from the video feed, then reappeared wearing a heinous holiday sweater, part of a product line tied to the hit sci-fi show. "We're learning how to do merchandising," Hastings said, as other execs slipped on sweaters too. "We've got some amazing displays and amazing materials out at Target." (Watch the action about 41 minutes into the video below.) Target has said the "Stranger Things" merch is just the start of its collaboration with Netflix.

Stunts aside, there was actual news at the presentation: Netflix plans to spend up to $8 billion on content next year.

Also: Eggo appeared in the first season of "Stranger Things", and it wasn't a paid product placement. With another season about to debut, the Kellogg Co.-owned brand is making the most of the moment, as Ad Age's Jessica Wohl reports.

Teen spirit
Facebook just acquired teen app TBH, which stands for "To Be Honest," as Ad Age's George Slefo explains in a handy guide for the uninitiated. The app's goal is to create positive vibes. Kids answer multiple-choice polls about their friend circles ("Who has the best smile?" is a sample question). Those compliments are delivered anonymously, in the form of virtual gems. As Slefo writes, "TBH is hot right now, in part, because everyone's mom and dad are now on Facebook." The app's cheery simplicity and shiny, happy ethos maybe also appeal to Mark Zuckerberg at a time when Facebook is getting a lot of bad press, and he's under pressure to prove that his creation is a force for good.

Unusual suspects
When companies hire CMOs lately, they often choose candidates from outside the company, as Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli and E.J. Schultz report. Sometimes, that means "hiring a CMO with zero experience in the industry in which their new company competes," as they write. The job hops can be unusual. Such as: Canada Goose, which makes parkas, hired a former Ultimate Fighting Championship executive. Overall, what does the trend mean? It's not easy for companies to grow right now, and they're hoping someone from the outside has the answers.

Unsolicited diet tips from Google
A test feature for Google Maps showed people how many calories they could burn if they walked somewhere instead of driving. And for some reason it converted the calorie figure into pink mini cupcakes. Like this:

But as Buzzfeed reports, people "haaaated it," and Google Maps is ending the test after "strong user feedback." Some people said they felt judged.

Just briefly:

Adman/prankster: A well-known email prankster also happens to be a former designer at TBWA Manchester, The Daily Mail reports. His emails have tricked famous people into responding; successful targets include Eric Trump, Anthony 'The Mooch' Scaramucci and Harvey Weinstein, the report says. He is now reportedly out of work, and his Twitter account says you can support him on Paypal.

Snappy: NBCUniversal and Snap Inc. will work together to make Snapchat content, The Wall Street Journal says.

He-Man and Skeletor: The '80s kid cartoon characters are back as brand pitchmen. Ad Age's Ann-Christine Diaz and Alexandra Jardine explain why: "They remind us of a more innocent time."

Amazonian ambitions: Amazon is reportedly at work on its own private-label sportswear brand; Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli says that's "another uh-oh" for the apparel industry.

Weinstein Co.: Colony Capital will invest in The Weinstein Co., and the two are also talking about a possible sale of "all or a significant portion" of the film company's assets, as CNBC says. Colony's head is Tom Barrack, a longtime friend of President Trump.

Childhood dreams: As a boy in the 1970s, John Hoke sent a doodle to Nike's then-president, Phil Knight, who suggested he come back someday and work there. Hoke is now Nike's chief design officer, and The New York Times has a Q&A with him.

Product of the day:

Though we take issue with the choice of "fortnightly." It's a super confusing word. Twice monthly or every two weeks?

Creativity pick of the day: Beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev has been buying up small breweries. In response, an association that represents craft brewers has a stunt to take on "the oppressive big beer machine" – it says it's trying to crowdsource $213 billion to buy AB InBev. Read more by Ad Age's E.J. Schultz, and watch the video here.

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