Wednesday Wake-Up Call: Takeaways From a Leak of Snapchat Secrets. Plus, Bannon Leaves Breitbart

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Snapchat's logo
Snapchat's logo Credit: Snapchat via YouTube

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 deadline for our Creativity Awards deadline is Jan. 11 at 5 p.m. EST. That's Thursday.

What people are talking about today: Steve Bannon has stepped down from his post as executive chairman at Breitbart News amid the drama over Michael Wolff's White House book, "Fire and Fury." Bannon, a former strategist for President Trump, was quoted in the book trashing the president's children, among many other transgressions. Then Trump started calling Bannon "Sloppy Steve", said Bannon had lost his mind and tweeted that his former strategist had been "dumped like a dog by almost everyone." Now Bannon is out of a job, and he won't be appearing on Sirius XM anymore either, The New York Times says. The final insult, according to TheWrap: Fox News says it's not interested in hiring Bannon as a contributor. That quite a fall from grace. The whole saga is downright Shakespearean.

Belatedly
In the week since vlogger Logan Paul released an upsetting video showing the body of an apparent suicide victim, YouTube hasn't said much about it, beyond a statement quoted in the media ("Our hearts go out to the family of the person featured in the video.") Now YouTube is talking about it more on Twitter: "Many of you have been frustrated with our lack of communication recently. You're right to be. You deserve to know what's going on." It adds: "The channel violated our community guidelines, we acted accordingly, and we are looking at further consequences."

Some context here: Paul, who pulled the video and apologized, might be pulling in up to $14 million a year on YouTube, as Wired says, quoting data from SocialBlade. He's also making quite a bit of money for YouTube, which takes a 45% cut of ad revenues from creator videos. Some people have been calling YouTube out for saying it "acted accordingly" after Paul posted the video: Actually, Paul took the video down himself.

Snapchat leak
The Daily Beast says it got hold of five months of internal data about usage of Snapchat, which is secretive about its numbers. (It doesn't say how it obtained the leaked data.) Here are two big takeaways:

In September, "an average of 19 million users checked Snap Maps daily, just 11 percent of the app's total daily user base," The Daily Beast says. Snap Maps, a location feature, hasn't caught on like the company hoped.
Also, only "an average of 20 percent of Snapchat users consumed content from a Discover Edition daily." Discover is a portal for media within the app.

The Verge says the numbers explain why Snapchat had to redesign. And TechCrunch comments that "the leak as a whole paints a picture of an app that's falling short of living up to its reputation as a communication sensation." Haven't people been saying that for a while?

Facebook's $500 toy
Facebook is reportedly planning to sell a communication-focused device for the home, according to Cheddar, the digital streaming news service, which adds that the gadget would sell for $500 and debut in summer 2018. As Ad Age's Garett Sloane writes, there have been "rumblings of concerns about privacy and letting Facebook into the home with a camera and listening device." Here's a few knee-jerk questions about the gadget, reportedly called Portal. What does this thing do that a smartphone doesn't? And also: $500, seriously?

Just briefly:
It's a new year:
JC Penney is no longer working with McGarryBowen and has gone with New York-based Badger & Winters, Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli reports.

"Game of Thrones": Accenture has agreed to acquire Germany-based Mackevision, which produces 3D-enabled and immersive product content. Mackevision, which has over 500 employees, is known for visual effects work on HBO's "Game of Thrones."

An update (finally): Hulu now has more than 17 million subscribers, up from 12 million U.S. users the last time the company gave an update in May 2016, Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi writes. By comparison, Netflix has more than 50 million U.S. subscribers.

Lawsuit: A longtime lawyer for President Trump sued BuzzFeed Inc. for defamation after it published a dossier including allegations the attorney had ties to Russian officials, The New York Times reports. The lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, also sued the firm that put together the dossier, Fusion GPS.

Weird internet stuff: "The meme 'eating Tide Pods' has surged again on social media," Ad Age's Jack Neff writes. One video shows people in animal costumes cooking pizza topped with little pouches of Tide detergent.

Solid gold: "Hershey is trying tactics that might seem more characteristic of an underdog than a legacy player," as Ad Age's Jessica Wohl writes. Like a golden candy bar that doesn't contain any chocolate.

Their dog ate their homework: Twitter missed a deadline to answer written questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee about interference from Russia, Axios reports. Twitter says it looks forward to finalizing its responses soon.

Actually: Music mogul Jimmy Iovine says he's not leaving Apple in August, denying news reports, Variety says.

What happens in Vegas: There are pole-dancing robots at CES in Las Vegas, and Recode has a video.

Creativity of the day: Ikea made an ad you're supposed to pee on; it's a pregnancy test. "The ad, which showcases the company's Sundvik crib, encourages viewers to simply pee on a small marked strip on the bottom of the ad," as Ad Age's Ann-Christine Diaz writes. Pregnant pee reveals a lower pricetag. Read more and watch a demo here.

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