Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. And happy Friday the 13th. What people are talking about today: "Omnicom says its CEO John Wren makes 596 times its employees' median pay, while IPG's Michael Roth makes 264 times the median," Ad Age's Megan Graham writes. The U.S.'s Dodd-Frank Act, enacted after the 2008 financial crisis, now requires companies to disclose that ratio, and advertising giants Omnicom Group and Interpublic Group reported the figures this week. A word of caution though: Experts say there are big variations in the way companies calculate their median salary numbers, so it's hard to compare the figures company-to-company. Read Graham's full story, which includes more interesting data points. Such as this: Wren took home $23,959,325 last year, while Roth's total compensation was $16,883,818.
Friday Facebook thoughts
For those who haven't overdosed on Facebook news, here are two thoughts to end the week on:
1. Zuckerberg's one-time personal pollster, Tavis McGinn, launched his own small polling company, Honest Data. The company recently polled Americans and found that 32 percent of them believe Facebook has a negative impact on society, Recode reports, adding: "For context, that makes Facebook less of a societal ill than Marlboro cigarettes but worse than McDonald's fast food." And only 7 percent of Americans say Google has a negative impact, Recode says.
2. If stricter privacy laws are enacted, Facebook doesn't believe that would significantly hurt its ad sales, Facebook's VP for Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson said at a Wall Street Journal event. "We are not anticipating major changes to our overall revenue and business model," Everson said, quoted by The Journal.
A potential buyer is reportedly looking at Tronc, owner of the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News and more. The New York Post, citing unnamed sources, reports that Leon Black's buyout shop Apollo Global Management is interested. The report comes as Tronc still hasn't finalized a deal to sell the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune to Patrick Soon-Shiong, a pharmaceutical and biotech billionaire. Also this week, Tronc fired Lewis D'Vorkin, chief content officer of Tribune Interactive and former LA Times editor, and laid off several dozen other employees, the Times reported.
For the record: It's been nearly two years since Tribune Publishing rebranded as Tronc, and it's still impossible to hear the name without cringing. Some rebrands eventually get more palatable, but the awfulness of this one stands the test of time.
This bud's for you
The Discovery Channel has Shark Week, Vice's TV channel has Weed Week. To promote Viceland's five-day extravaganza of marijuana-related programming that starts April 16, the channel worked with The Glue Society on a series of "horror parody" spots, where mass quantities of weed burst forth from a TV, a fridge and a toilet, Ad Age's I-Hsien Sherwood writes. In case you wondered, the weed in the ads is real. As Sherwood writes:
Viceland used 20 pounds of pot on camera—that's enough for 453 felony offenses in Florida—but, according to Meghan Kirsch, SVP, marketing and creative at Viceland, not nearly enough for a stress-free shoot. "We really could have used closer to 100 pounds," she says.
By the way: Viceland says last year's Weed Week brought its best ratings of 2017.
NBA: The marketing arm of the NBA players Union, Think450, announced its first board of directors, "including heavy hitters from the entertainment, banking and education industries," E.J. Schultz writes in Ad Age. This summer, a new collective bargaining agreement gave the union more power to cut licensing deals.
Toys R Us: Toy magnate Isaac Larian, whose company makes Bratz and Little Tikes, tried and failed to raise enough money to buy Toys R Us through crowdfunding, The Associated Press says. But he plans to bid anyway for the ailing retailer's U.S. and Canadian stores. Funding for the bid will come from "his own coffers, other investors and bank financing," AP says.
VW: Herbert Diess, head of the Volkswagen brand, was named to take over as CEO of the company overall; read more from Bloomberg News. He had joined VW two months before the carmaker's emissions cheating scandal came out.
Not so hot: During the Apple HomePod speaker's first 10 weeks of sales, it had just 10 percent of the smart speaker market, compared with 73 percent for Amazon's Echo devices, Bloomberg News reports, citing data from Slice Intelligence.
Time after Time: This week, the newsmagazine updated an already iconic Donald Trump cover that showed the president getting rained on in the Oval Office. In the new cover, by Tim O'Brien, he's still getting rained on, but his desk is now under water. The coverline is "Stormy." Read more by Ad Age's Simon Dumenco. The Time cover made the "Creativity top 5 brand ideas of the week" too; check out the video, by Ad Age's Alfred Maskeroni and Ann-Christine Diaz.
Listen: For the latest Ad Lib podcast, editor Brian Braiker talks to Intel's Alyson Griffin about storytelling, including a tale about drones collecting whale snot.
Creativity pick of the day: French retailer Monoprix has a funny new ad out featuring "the worst song in the world." Ad Age's Alexandra Jardine writes that "it's a mix of cheesy '80s rock with horrible chord changes, a bad sax solo, random Spanish words, an obligatory rap section and some fantastic lyrics." So what does that have to do with shopping for groceries at Monoprix? Watch and find out.
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