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Your Tuesday Wake-Up Call: Cannes Gets an Overhaul. Plus, Brands Have a Hannity Predicament

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 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity heard the industry's complaints. The event has gotten too big and too pricey, and it's scaling back. Ad Age's Lindsay Stein reports that Cannes is "trimming the event's length, cutting back prices and streamlining awards." The event in June will last five days instead of eight. It's getting rid of the Cyber, Integrated and Promo & Activation Lions. The price of a full-access "Complete Pass" is being trimmed by about $1,045 (but then again, the event is shorter, too.)

All the soul-searching came after Publicis Groupe said it wouldn't participate next year, and WPP CEO Martin Sorrell called it "too expensive." Despite the changes, it's still going to be pricey: A ride to Cannes from the Nice Airport will set you back $93.

Smashing coffee machines
A few more brands have distanced themselves from Sean Hannity's show on Fox News. Hebrew National and Reddi-wip, both owned by ConAgra, tweeted that they had removed Hannity from their advertising plans. HelloFresh said it didn't advertise there, and the Society for Human Resource Management said it hasn't been running ads on Fox since Friday. There's been a flareup of controversy about the conservative host since he seemed to suggest that Alabama Senate candidate's Roy Moore's alleged sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old girl was "consensual." Hannity later apologized and said he misspoke, though he still suggested people shouldn't rush to judgment about Moore.

The predicament: Watchdog group Media Matters and others have been contacting brands on Twitter, asking them why they're running ads on Hannity's show. And some brands seem unsure about what to do. Realtor.com first said it would pull its ad, then backtracked, as Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi reports. Hannity supporters started smashing Keurig coffee makers after a tweet by the brand saying it wouldn't advertise on his show. But the brand apparently regrets its tweet. The Washington Post ran a memo from the CEO that said the brand's Twitter account shouldn't have given "the appearance of 'taking sides.'" There are a few lessons here. Ad boycotts are tricky. And also, whatever happens, it's the social media manager's fault.

For what it's worth: Hannity says he doesn't support a Keurig boycott, Fortune reports. And apparently he likes the brand, since he owns five of its coffee machines.

Fake news
Online misinformation is an international epidemic that goes way beyond Russia's attempts to influence U.S. voters on social media. As Mashable reports, "in at least 17 other countries, fake news 'played an important role' in recent elections, according to a new report from democracy watchdog Freedom House.'" Before an election in Kenya, fake news affixed with a CNN or BBC logo spread on Facebook and WhatsApp, the report says. And in some cases, governments are paying people to post propaganda. Under the Philippines' authoritarian president Rodrigo Duterte, people can earn money writing positive online messages about the government. Facebook's sunny dream of bringing the world together is starting to look a lot ... darker.

Dentsu: 'Market conditions remain challenging'
In another sign that these are tough times for agencies, Japan's Dentsu Inc. says it had a quarterly organic gross profit decline of 2.1% in the July-September quarter. The company, which owns agencies including Carat, iProspect, Isobar, mcgarrybowen, Merkle and Vizeum, says "market conditions remain challenging," though it didn't elaborate much on that. The company does about half its business in its home base of Japan, where it says it was impacted by a lack of major events compared to the same period last year (such as the 2016 Summer Olympics.) Dentsu also mentioned that it's feeling impact from a plan in Japan to improve its working conditions and cut down on long hours; the plan was put in place after a young Japanese hire committed suicide, a case that labor authorities said stemmed from overwork.

Next arrives in New York
Ad Age's new Next conference begins Wednesday in New York, bringing together speakers from marketers and innovators including Google, Amazon, Procter & Gamble, The Washington Post, Walmart, PepsiCo, Twitter, Wayfair, Burger King, Bloomberg, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Headliner Labs and Complex Networks. Join us to explore AI, chatbots, voice marketing, rapid-fire creative iteration, next-level ad blocking, VR and even the way we see the future.

Just briefly:

Worth reading: Ad Age's Jack Neff takes a look at executives who've found there's life after marketing. A former Facebook exec is now racing motorcycles. A CMO became a social studies teacher, while a media exec became a brewer.

Butterball U: There is such a thing as Butterball University, and it's where the staff of Butterball's help line learn how to help amateur cooks who call or email at Thanksgiving asking for turkey help. They get about 100,000 calls over the holidays. Read Ad Age's Judann Pollack entertaining Q&A with a woman who's been working the help line for 18 years.

What people are watching: "The Good Doctor" and "This is Us" are the season's C7 darlings, as Ad Age's Anthony Crupi reports.

More Frodo: Amazon says it has acquired global TV rights for a "The Lord of the Rings" series, The Hollywood Reporter says.

Another one: Cast and crew of "One Tree Hill" wrote a letter accusing former showrunner Mark Schwann of sexual harassment, Variety reports.

Google: Missouri's attorney general has launched an anti-trust investigation into Google, Bloomberg News reports.

Quote of the day: "Vogue Arabia put Gigi Hadid in a hijab and a face veil. This is the same as a brand putting a model in a fat suit, and then claiming they're representing plus-size women," writes Nafisa Bakkar, the CEO and co-founder of Amaliah.com, in Ad Age.

Worth watching: Pharrell Williams performed in China at a big gala hosted by Alibaba Group this weekend, and he sang an original song about … shopping. Watch Williams' duet with Chinese-Canadian singer Kris Wu here, and read more on Creativity Online.

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