Watching commercials in French is played out now. The new big thing is watching French commercials with English subtitles. pic.twitter.com/RZpgJ88m12— Le Old Spice (@OldSpice) January 29, 2018
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
Old Spice is back with another stunt from Wieden & Kennedy. During the Grammy Awards last night, the Procter & Gamble brand ran an ad entirely in French, with no subtitles, translation or explanation. (Watch it above.) The spot showed a young woman running around her charming cobblestone-paved village and frantically crying out "Old Spice!" People were really confused, and that was intentional. As Ad Age's Alexandra Jardine writes, the idea was that "mystified viewers could head over to the brand's YouTube channel to see the subtitled version and find out what was really going on."
Even with translations, the ad is wacky. Old Spice, it turns out, is the name of the woman's lost dog, and that's why she keeps shouting it. And in the final scene, when the main character gazes hungrily into her lover's eyes, what she's actually saying is, "Let's go home and eat snails." The whole spot is a send-up of French fragrance advertising. There's even a scene of French women flinging open shutters in unison, just like in Chanel's classic 1990's ad for Égoïste cologne. Old Spice has also renamed itself "Le Old Spice" on Twitter, and it's tweeting in not-so-grammatical French.
Also: The Grammys got pretty political throughout, including a skit in which Hillary Clinton read aloud from Michael Wolff's "Fire & Fury." The passage in question was about President Trump's McDonald's habit.
The man who built Ikea
The founder of Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad, has died at age 91. The company's official press release calls him "a great entrepreneur of the typical southern Swedish kind--hardworking and stubborn, with a lot of warmth and a playful twinkle in his eye." The non-official obituaries paint a non-official (and more nuanced) portrait.
From The New York Times: "He rarely gave interviews, but made no secret of his alcoholism, saying he controlled it by drying out three times a year."
From The Washington Post: A book called "The Truth about Ikea," by former senior manager Johan Stenebo, shattered some myths about the founder's frugality. "The aging Volvo that appeared in many news stories about the executive was merely a prop and publicity device," Stenebo wrote. Instead, he said, Kamprad drove a Porsche.
From The Associated Press: "But his missteps in life, including early flirtations with Nazism, never rubbed off on IKEA, one of the world's most recognizable brands." Years later, Kamprad reportedly apologized for his past political convictions, saying, "Can one ever get forgiveness for such stupidity?"
Everyone knows there are bots on Twitter. But a New York Times deep dive on the topic has astonishing and disturbing details. The must-read story focuses on a company called Devumi, which The Times says sells fake followers (the company denies that.) Well-known people with Devumi followers include actor John Leguizamo, billionaire Michael Dell, former swimsuit model Kathy Ireland and a Twitter board member, Martha Lane Fox, The Times says. The report says "at least 55,000 of the accounts use the names, profile pictures, hometowns and other personal details of real Twitter users, including minors, according to a Times data analysis." For example, a fake avatar modeled on the account of a real 17-year-old "frequently promoted graphic pornography, retweeting accounts called Squirtamania and Porno Dan," the report says. Postscript: After the story appeared, the New York attorney general said his office would investigate Devumi.
'Because I can'
Diet Coke is putting its first ad in the Super Bowl since 1997, as Ad Age's E.J. Schultz writes. The company isn't sharing details about exactly what the 30-second spot will look like. But as Diet Coke rolls out a slimmer new can, a redesign and additional flavors like twisted mango and feisty cherry, it's also debuting a campaign by Anomaly Los Angeles. Schultz says the campaign "seeks to inject the struggling soda with a youthful, blunt-talking vibe and move away from the glossy, feminine approach it has used for years."
Also: Our Super Bowl editorial partner, USA Today, wants your opinion. Two Budweiser Super Bowl ads are in the championship round of the USA Today Ad Meter 30th Anniversary bracket, and you can vote on the best one. Both spots feature the brand's beloved Clydesdales … although funnily enough, Bud isn't using the horses in this year's Super Bowl, as Ad Age's E.J. Schultz reports.
Nutella riots: There was mayhem when a French supermarket chain offered Nutella at steep discounts. As Ad Age's Simon Dumenco writes: "For Americans, the story of the Nutella Riots is, of course, irresistible. We are used to being the ones displaying operatic shopping-related greed, though it usually comes in late November and tends to involve Walmart parking lots."
Been there, done that: Omarosa Manigault is going back to reality TV after her stint at the White House. The Hollywood Reporter says she will appear on CBS's "Celebrity Big Brother."
Burgerfication: Burger chain BurgerFi launches a marketing push with ads starring "an illusionist, a daredevil and a metalhead mom," Ad Age's Jessica Wohl writes.
LA Times tumult: Chicago journalist Jim Kirk will replace editor Lewis D'Vorkin as editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times. The paper, reporting on tumultuous times in its own newsroom, calls it "another dramatic shake-up at the Los Angeles Times."
Ooops: Fitness tracking app Strava released a heatmap of where its users are and inadvertently gave away the location of secret U.S. army bases, The Guardian reports.
Ad of the day: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos makes an appearance in a Super Bowl ad teaser, Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi writes. The concept? Alexa has lost her voice, the company has to figure out what to do, and Bezos looks awfully worried.