Aftermath of the Facebook boycott, and TikTok's countdown on pause: Monday Wake-Up Call
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Ad Age looks back on July's Facebook ad boycott to see what’s changed. Many brands and agencies, out of the more than 1,000 that joined the movement, say they are ready to return now that Facebook has a plan of action in place.
Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s VP of global business solutions, tells Ad Age that the company is on the right track and has promised its closest partners a “set of deliverables, which we have sent out … to many, many clients. They have the timeline in their hands and I’ve said to them, ‘hold us accountable.’”
The Stop Hate for Profit boycott started as a way to pressure Facebook into being tougher on what the civil rights groups considered hate speech and disinformation. Ad Age talked with advertisers that say it is going to be tough for some of the brands to now walk back and say, “problem solved.” One major marketing exec for a top brand, who was speaking on the condition of anonymity, even suggested those boycotting brands are now “screwed.”
But Facebook is confident that it is about to implement some of the strictest brand-safety protocols in the industry, with audits of its progress and closer work with groups like the Global Alliance for Responsible Media.
Meanwhile, Everson tells Ad Age in an interview published today: “That is my job, my job is to be the face of Facebook to the industry, and take their feedback, get their feedback, go back into the company, ensure that we have the right actions in place. So I can go and look people in the eye that I have known for 20-plus years and say we’re committed and we’re on this and here’s the timeline.”
TikTok, the Chinese-based social media app, has a lot of support among U.S. youth, just not its politicians. President Donald Trump targeted the social video app for deletion in America, promising to ban it outright over national security concerns.
Can Trump even do that? Variety says it's not so clear.
Trump said he was ready to sign the order Saturday, but the deadline came and went. Talks could still be ongoing, but here’s what was known as of Sunday night:
• Trump had promised to kick TikTok out of the U.S. because he claims it poses a serious risk by delivering data to the Chinese government. Vogue has another theory: It’s possible the president’s ego was wounded that a rising star on TikTok, comedian Sarah Cooper (also one of Ad Age’s hottest brands in 2020), made fun of him, and that’s why he is on a rampage to shut it down.
• TikTok did not take the threats lying down. The company has been pressing the case that it is willing to do whatever it takes to prove it’s not a threat. From USA Today: “We’re not going anywhere,” said TikTok U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas.
• Trump is not the only one in Washington concerned about TikTok. Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said on Sunday, “I have urged that TikTok be closed down.”
• There are reports of negotiations to sell TikTok’s U.S. operations to ease national security fears. But Trump loyalists continued to press hard against the company on Sunday, and a Microsoft bid for TikTok had looked shaky, reports The Wall Street Journal. That is, until Microsoft announced late Sunday it may have a plan, CNBC reports.
The chicken-and-biscuits chain Bojangles underwent a bit of a racecar redesign. The brand hired Dale Earnhardt Jr., the NASCAR hero, to be the voice in its ads, reports Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl. There also is a new streamlined logo.
“The look is the chain's first significant update of its branding,” Wohl reports. There’s also a new 30-second commercial to ride alongside the rebranding, called “Tick Tick Boom,” in which Earnhardt declares: “It’s Bo time.”
More companies are filing their corporate reports this week. offering a snapshot of how corporate America is handling the pandemic.
• Disney will be the one to watch on Tuesday, with parks having been closed for April, May and June. But Disney+ was streaming, so maybe on-demand video will be a bright spot, but obviously theatrical releases have been nonexistent.
• Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons all deliver results on Thursday, having been delivering food items to families in quarantine. Let’s see how many chicken sandwiches and Whoppers were sold.
Ad Age is hosting the always-popular Small Agency Conference & Awards, today through Wednesday, as a virtual event. Expect no shortage of intensity, though, as the agency world grapples with some of the most serious issues it’s ever faced.
“The event will begin with intimate workshops conducted by Nathan Young, president of 600 & Rising; Sunday Dinner’s Lindsey Slaby on formulating your go-to-market strategy and Dan Jeffries, founder of Jeffries Consulting, who will discuss best practices for working with procurement,” according to the agenda.
More than 30 speakers are on the docket exploring topics like diversity and inclusion, wage issues, the COVID-19 economy and the upcoming election. You can still reserve your seat, here.
Line of “Succession” breaks: If you missed it this weekend, James Murdoch resigned from the family business, or empire, rather. The younger brother left Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp over disagreements regarding editorial standards at flagship media properties, reports The New York Times.
Safety is a shopper’s best friend: Nordstrom and other retailers have a new use for Instagram influencers, hiring them to take photos in stores to demonstrate the safety measures in place. The retailers need web celebrities to show the public that it’s safe to shop, according to The New York Times.
Tectonic ad tech shift: There are now signs that U.S. regulators are ready to follow the lead of Europe by looking into how the advertising technology ecosystem works. The Wall Street Journal reported at the start of the weekend that Congress requested a deep look at how consumer data gets traded online to power programmatic internet ads.
That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call. Thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well. For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter: @adage.
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