Wednesday Wake-Up Call: AT&T's big, big win. Plus, a tense day for WPP

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Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital 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: AT&T won, and the Trump administration lost. A federal judge cleared the $85 billion mega-merger between AT&T and Time Warner, despite the Justice Department's attempt to halt the deal. Time Warner owns a lot of media brands, including HBO, Cinemax, Warner Bros. and CNN, which President Trump constantly trashes as "fake news," raising questions about whether the attempt to block the deal was political. Ad Age's Simon Dumenco has a handy cheat sheet of seven things to know about the case. Such as, it will probably pave the way for other mergers. As Bloomberg News' Shira Ovide tweeted, "Brace yourselves for LITERALLY EVERY DEAL TO HAPPEN NOW." It was an all-caps kind of day.

Meanwhile in London
Former CEO Martin Sorrell is not expected to show up at today's WPP annual shareholder meeting in London, as Bloomberg News writes. But there could be some drama nonetheless. This weekend, The Wall Street Journal reported that WPP had investigated this year whether Sorrell used company funds on a prostitute, an allegation Sorrell forcefully denied. The Financial Times says two employees alleged they saw Sorrell going into a brothel. Both reports relied heavily on anonymous sources.
WPP, the world's biggest ad firm, has never explained the circumstances leading to Sorrell's departure two months ago, and several shareholder advisory groups were annoyed by the lack of transparency. They recommended voting against the re-election of Chairman Roberto Quarta, and against Sorrell's pay deal. As Bloomberg says, Sorrell is still set to receive as many as 1.65 million shares of WPP over five years, and "the shares are worth about 20 million pounds ($27 million) based on WPP's current stock price." Sorrell and WPP aren't quite through with each other. Stay tuned.

'The biggest, most lucrative'
The World Cup starts tomorrow. And though the U.S. men's national soccer team didn't qualify, advertising around the U.S. broadcasts is selling just fine. Actually, better than fine: Ad Age's Anthony Crupi writes that "stateside broadcasters Fox and Telemundo say demand for ad inventory has been robust." In the era of DVRs and Netflix, it's another sign of the appeal of live sports for advertisers. And while Fox isn't sharing any numbers yet, Mike Petruzzi, senior VP of ad sales, Fox Sports Media Group, says: "We think this will be the biggest, most lucrative World Cup to air on English-language TV."

Just briefly:
A shameless plug for our Small Agency Conference:
The headliners are Lee Clow, global director of Media Arts, TBWA, and Anselmos Ramos, former co-founder of David, now with his own startup, Gut. It's happening July 17 and 18 at the Marina del Rey Marriott, Marina del Rey, California. Read all about it here.

Cannes Lion winners?: Ad Age asked top global creatives for their best guesses on what campaigns will win big at the Cannes Lions. Tide's Super Bowl hack has many admirers. In the words of Vann Graves, chief creative officer at JWT Atlanta, it "resurfaced something that had been lost in our country's current climate: humor."

Your ad here: Reddit is launching native video ads that will appear in-stream and play automatically without sound. Ad Age's George Slefo writes that "Reddit's made it no secret that it's trying to grow up, and it's aggressively expanded both staff and its advertising capabilities as it attempts to woo Madison Avenue for more ad dollars."

Buy now: Snapchat and Instagram are both weaving e-commerce into new areas of their apps, Garett Sloane writes in Ad Age.

Just say no: "Apple changed its App Store rules last week to limit how developers harvest, use and share information about iPhone owners' friends and other contacts," Bloomberg News writes.

Out: Paul Marciano, co-founder of the Guess? brand, has resigned as executive chairman and will leave the company in 2019, The Wall Street Journal reports. He had faced misconduct allegations, and he denies wrongdoing.

Number of the day: U.S. podcast ad revenue rose 87 percent in 2017 to $314 million, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. And it's forecast to jump higher. Read more in Ad Age.

Video of the day: Vanity Fair called it "schlocky." The Daily Beast called it "crazy." And with no further ado, we now present the four-minute video that President Trump showed North Korea's Kim Jong Un at their summit. It's crafted in the style of a trailer for a Hollywood action flick, and it purports to lay out the stakes for North Korea, the U.S. and the world. As the voiceover says: "Two men, two leaders, one destiny. A story about a special moment in time when a man is presented with one chance that may never be repeated. What will he choose?" Trump reportedly showed it to Kim on an iPad. And, Trump says, "I think he loved it."

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