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Your Wednesday Wake-Up Call: Facebook in the Hot Seat. Plus, a Really Bad Day for Under Armour

By Published on .

Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. What people are talking about today: The suspect accused of killing eight people in a truck attack in Manhattan on Tuesday was an Uber driver, reports say. Uber told The New York Times that Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in what authorities are calling a terror attack, had passed a background check. The ride-hailing company also says it has offered to help the FBI. Uber, in constant crisis this year, has faced questions before about the effectiveness of its background checks; will this revive them? Headline writers have seized on the suspect's Uber connection: "From Truck Driver to Uber Driver to Terror Attack Suspect," was the Times' headline.

Uncomfortable questions
Facebook, Google and Twitter go back to Congress today to get grilled – for a second day – about how Russia hijacked their platforms to spread divisive messages during the U.S. presidential election last year. A day earlier, the tech giants admitted they don't yet have the ability to stop a similar scenario in the future, as Bloomberg News reports.

On Tuesday, Sen. John Kennedy hammered Facebook's general counsel with tough questions, and the Facebook rep actually appeared to squirm in his seat. "I'm trying to get us down from la-la land here," the Louisiana Republican said. "The truth of the matter is, you have 5 million advertisers that change every month, every minute, probably every second. You don't have the ability to know who every one of those advertisers is, do you?"

Watch the moment here:

And what it all means for advertisers: BuzzFeed News says brands aren't troubled by Facebook's Russian ads scandal. Its report (here) says Facebook ad spend has gone up during the crisis, and it quotes a few ad executives saying the scandal actually shows why it's worth advertising on Facebook: "For better or worse, one key takeaway from this is how effective Facebook can be as an advertising medium," Kyle Bunch, managing director of ad agency R/GA's social practice, told BuzzFeed.

Also: Facebook reports its third quarter earnings after the market closes today.

The truth about logos
Marketers' favorite logo? Nike's swoosh. For consumers, the top-rated logo is Coca-Cola's. In a poll for Ad Age, Morning Consult asked brand experts and ordinary consumers to weigh in on their favorite (and least-favorite) logos. There are a few surprises – ordinary consumers ranked retro-looking Gerber and Quaker Oats higher than the marketers did. Also, note to Airbnb: Consumers are still not into your logo.

'Terribly disappointed'
"Americans, it seems, are over Under Armour," The Washington Post writes. Ouch. The company's shares dropped 19% on Tuesday after the sportswear company reported its first quarterly sales decrease since it went public in 2005. One analyst says the sportswear company doesn't command enough brand loyalty and hasn't done enough to appeal to women, the Post reports. "We are incredibly disappointed with our 2017 performance," Kevin Plank, Under Armour's founder said. Sales fell 4.5% in the last quarter.

Just briefly:

A truly terrible idea: Germany's state rail network, Deutsche Bahn, wants to name a high-speed train after Anne Frank. The New York Times reports that the proposal is causing an outcry; trains were used to send Frank and other Jews to death camps during the Holocaust.

'House of Cards': Netflix suspended production of its signature original show, "House of Cards," following allegations that star Kevin Spacey made a sexual advance on a 14-year-old boy decades ago, Bloomberg News reports.

Another one: The head of NPR's news department, Michael Oreskes, has been placed on indefinite leave after two women said he had harassed them in the late 1990s, the broadcaster reports.

Toys, toys, toys: With Toys R Us going through bankruptcy, Walmart is making a big toy push for the holidays, Ad Age's Jack Neff reports.

Laundry Service: Papa John's new creative agency is Laundry Service, Ad Age's Jessica Wohl and Lindsay Stein report. "We're an e-commerce brand – it's time we stop thinking in TV scripts," the pizza chain's CMO says.

Creativity pick of the day: Toyota's new spot stars 100 people, ages 0 to 100. Toyota says it took 736 hours to film and edit. Watch it here, and read more by Ad Age's E.J. Schultz.

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