Thursday Wake-Up Call: The Real Reason Trump Loves McDonald's? Plus, Essence Magazine Gets Sold

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Credit: Courtesy of McDonald's

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. Also, a reminder: The extended deadline to enter Ad Age's Agency A-List is today at 5 p.m. EST.

What people are talking about today
There are explosive allegations in Michael Wolff's much-discussed new book about President Trump, from the claim that he didn't actually want to win the election, to the supposed secrets of his wispy coif. (It reportedly involves scalp-reduction surgery and stiffening hairspray. Though keep in mind that the White House press secretary says the book contains a lot of things that are "completely untrue." ) Buried in all the juicy anecdotes is an interesting brand-related detail. Trump, a lover of fast food, "had a longtime fear of being poisoned, one reason why he liked to eat at McDonald's — nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely premade," Wolff wrote in an excerpt of the book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," that appeared in New York magazine. Also, Wolff says the president likes retiring to bed at 6:30 p.m. with his phone, a few TV screens and a cheeseburger. Is it a McDonald's cheeseburger? Quarter Pounder with cheese, maybe? Wolff doesn't elaborate.

Crazy brand tweet of the day
In other news involving Trump and fast food, the Twitter account for KFC in the U.K. and Ireland mocked Trump's tweet taunting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the one where he wrote: "I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!" Here's the parody tweet:

What do you think – are you able to laugh at the joke?

Also: A group calling itself Resistance SF protested Twitter's decision to allow Trump to keep using the platform, The Verge reports. Activists projected the message "@jack is #complicit" onto Twitter's headquarters, accusing CEO Jack Dorsey of endangering the world by letting Trump continue to tweet.

The Fakies
Bear with us for one last Trump-related item – it's that kind of day. Trump tweeted that on Monday he will announce "THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR." Ad Age's Simon Dumenco has questions about Trump's addition to awards season, including: "Should reporters arrive at the event—presuming it's some kind of press conference—in gowns and tuxedos?" Stephen Colbert nicknamed the awards "The Fakies" and said he had put a "for your consideration" billboard in Times Square. He hopes to sweep categories including "Least Breitbarty" and "Smallest Button."

Essence
Time Inc. has sold Essence, and as The New York Times says, it's "once again a fully black-owned magazine." The buyer is Richelieu Dennis, co-founder of Sundial Brands, which makes beauty products including SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage. Sundial was just acquired by Unilever, with Dennis staying on as CEO and executive chairman. The deal, which includes the Essence Festival, comes as Meredith Corp. is preparing to buy Time Inc.; a few titles are being sold off to other buyers. Dennis told The Times he bought Essence "to serve and empower women of color."

Just briefly:
Out: CBS News fired its political director, Steve Chaggaris, following allegations of past "inappropriate behavior," CNN reports.

CES: FCC chairman Ajit Pai will not attend CES in Las Vegas after all. The cancelation comes after Pai's much-contested move to scrap net neutrality. As the AV Club says, Pai has bailed "on the chance to be the most-hated person at CES."

Finally: Taco Bell is going to sell fries, as Ad Age reports. They're nacho fries, and they're a limited edition.

Huh: Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel is exploring the possibility of creating a conservative cable news network, and he has reached out to the Mercer family about funding, BuzzFeed News reports.

Spotify: The music streaming service filed for an initial public offering in the U.S. last month, Axios reports.

Spat: A spat between Uber and Dentsu-owned Fetch Media continues. Reuters says Fetch is suing Uber in California to try to force the ride-sharing company to pay unpaid bills; Uber has claimed Fetch billed it for fake ads.

Creativity pick of the day: Dating app OKCupid's new campaign plays with the acronym "DTF" (down to f***). But it's not about one-night stands; instead it shows people who are looking for other things from the platform. They're DTFall Head Over Heels, DTFight about the President, DTFour Twenty, etc. The Wieden & Kennedy New York campaign tapped acclaimed contemporary artist Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari, and the visuals are funny and arresting. Read more by Ad Age's Alexandra Jardine, and check out the campaign here.

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