Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. You can get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app.
What people are talking about today
YouTube star Logan Paul is back, already. And he wants everyone to know how much he's changed. His new video is a very serious suicide-prevention PSA that includes interviews with survivors and advocates. (Watch it above.) He's also donating $1 million to the cause. Paul took a three-week break from YouTube after posting footage of a suicide victim hanging from a tree in a forest in Japan – a video that was widely criticized, and that he apologized for and removed. His new video is nothing like his usual work. It's polished and free of sophomoric antics, and it seems to bear the stamp of an experienced PR team. It casts Paul as having had a life-changing experience; there's a moment when he washes his hands and face, as though he's washing away past sins. Nearly 9 million people have watched. Many commenters are applauding his effort and saying he deserves another chance. "Thank you for taking the time to educate yourself and thank you for humbling yourself," one person says. Some take a more cynical view.
So I'm putting you on the spot @LoganPaul - if you are truly changing, then it should show in every video you make from here on out. It DOES NOT END with a well timed PR piece, where you wash your face and hands in slowmo, have a new haircut, and speak with a somber affectation.— Jimmy (@jfwong) January 24, 2018
Also: YouTube, a target of criticism for the Paul scandal and others, is investing $5 million in its program for creators who promote empathy, Variety reports.
WPP and a men-only charity gala
A U.K. charity that hosted a longstanding men-only black tie fundraiser has shut down after a Financial Times investigation described how "hostesses were subjected to groping, lewd comments and repeated requests to join diners in bedrooms elsewhere in the Dorchester," the hotel that hosted the gala.
WPP traditionally sponsored a table at the event, which took place last week. After the FT report appeared, WPP ended its association with the Presidents Club dinner, which raises money for children's charities. (Soon after, with charities giving back donations, the Presidents Club said it would close down.) WPP says the company was not aware of any incidents until the FT reported on them, Bloomberg News reports. WPP CEO Martin Sorrell told the BBC he had attended in the past and had "never seen anything like that."
Still, the basic organization of the event feels … wrong, not to mention glaringly out of touch with the #MeToo moment. The gala was men-only and staffed by hostesses who reportedly were given short black dresses to wear. One of the lots on auction was a night at a strip club, as the FT reported. Champagne, whisky and vodka flowed. As a few people commented on Twitter, what could go wrong?
Wieden & Kennedy London's chief strategy officer, Paul Colman, is no longer with the agency, as Ad Age's Lindsay Stein reports. The company has provided no explanation. But as Stein writes, "Ad Age has learned there was at least one HR complaint filed against Colman alleging inappropriate behavior toward a female colleague, according to a person with knowledge of the matter." Colman could not immediately be reached for comment. An agency spokeswoman confirmed that Colman was no longer working there but said the agency could not comment on internal matters. She added that "W&K does not tolerate harassment of any kind." Read more by Stein here.
Super Bowl udpates
Once again, Procter & Gamble's Febreze will bring potty humor to the Super Bowl. Last year's spot celebrated the half-time bathroom break and the product that could neutralize the odor. ("I love you half-time bathroom break, but sometimes, you stink.") As Ad Age's Jack Neff reports, this year's ad from Grey New York is about a guy named Dave "whose bleep don't stink." Or as Neff writes, he's "an unusual odor-free defecator."
In another Super Bowl spot from Grey New York that's out today, Bill Hader stars as a guy who discovers that you can stack three flavors of Pringles together – pizza, BBQ and jalapeno – to create a spicy barbecue pizza effect. Read more by Ad Age's Jessica Wohl, and watch it here. And don't forget that you can use Ad Age's Super Bowl Ad Archive to look up how brands have advertised in the past. Or, for example, to find out what ads ran in 2005, the last time the Patriots and the Eagles faced off. Read more on that by Ad Age's Nat Ives.
Also: Check out the USA Today Ad Meter 30th Anniversary Bracket -- a March Madness-style bracket -- to help choose the best Ad Meter winner of all time. It's reached the Elite Eight.
Censorship 1: BuzzFeed News finds that there are "at least 1,700 Twitter accounts that have been blocked in at least one country," providing a look at how the social network collaborates with governments, "democratic and authoritarian alike."
Censorship 2: In China, government censors are erasing phrases like "anti-sexual harassment" on social media, The New York Times reports. Authorities are apparently worried about social unrest that could be sparked by a local #MeToo movement.
Snap: The company's VP of product, Tom Conrad, will leave in March, TechCrunch reports. The timing isn't great for Snapchat, since it's rolling out its redesign.
New gig: Meg Whitman, who is stepping down from her job as CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, will join the new mobile media business founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, Bloomberg News reports.
Retailpocalypse: Toys "R" Us is closing up to 182 stores, or 20 percent of its shops in the U.S., The New York Times reports.
"Murphy Brown": The classic show is coming back to CBS, along with original star Candice Bergen. As Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi writes, "At this rate there won't be any original shows on broadcast TV within a decade."
Creativity pick of the day: People who don't really understand what's at stake in the net neutrality debate can get a lesson from … Burger King. As Ad Age's Jessica Wohl writes, "it's explained in the BK way: with Whoppers." Watch the stunt by David Miami here.