Brands ponder TikTok's future, and Publicis axes exec over cringey tweets: Wednesday Wake-Up Call
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Ad Age looks at the possible ramifications of a Microsoft purchase of TikTok, and finds that plenty of brands would welcome the stability of a U.S. owner. President Donald Trump has been applying serious pressure to ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, to relinquish its U.S. holdings.
Meanwhile, U.S. brands are already feeling out rival apps like Triller, to see if it could have similar appeal with Gen Z audiences, Ad Age reports. “Brands that are on TikTok’s platform are calling their marketing teams to get status reports on whether ad campaigns are still good to go,” Ad Age writes. “Also, Brands and video creators are looking for new outlets just in case the ban happens.”
• Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli looks at a litany of brands—Old Navy, Eddie Bauer and PacSun—that are running TikTok campaigns for back-to-school marketing. Eddie Bauer, which is trying TikTok ads after boycotting Facebook, says it has “no concerns” about a ban, yet.
• ByteDance is getting pushback in China about potentially giving up its U.S. holdings, with people worried the company is caving to Washington, Reuters reports.
• There could still be other suitors out there, too, although it looks that Apple is not among them, Axios reports.
• The Wall Street Journal reports on some of the competing apps that are attracting skittish TikTok stars.
Tom Goodwin, who was the head of futures and insights at Publicis Groupe, was booted from the company on Tuesday after a series of ill-received tweets about the coronavirus.
“I find the total obsession with Covid deaths over all other deaths entirely gruesome,” Goodwin tweeted on Monday. Colleagues were offended at what appeared to be a callous dismissal of coronavirus deaths. One R/GA exec said Goodwin’s remarks would be the end of their “professional correspondence.”
On Tuesday, Publicis said: “Since the beginning of this pandemic, Publicis Groupe has taken decisions and actions led by the principles of unity, empathy and humanity despite the collective hardships. These posts and exchanges by Tom Goodwin this week on social media do not meet the standard of conduct we expect.”
Twitter says it is likely to face a stiff fine from the Federal Trade Commission over a privacy lapse that failed to protect people’s data for years. Here’s what happened:
• Twitter said “the probe may lead to a ‘probable loss’ of $150 million to $250 million,” Bloomberg reports.
• Last year, Twitter disclosed that it had inappropriately used some key user data, like phone numbers that were collected for security reasons, and applied them to ad services.
• Twitter warned investors that the issues could lead to an erosion of trust with consumers and advertisers.
• This all occurred before Twitter was attacked in a high-profile hack that compromised the accounts of some of its biggest users, including presidential candidate Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama.
Luxury retailers are adapting to coronavirus just like Walmart and other discounters. Nieman Marcus, Tiffany & Co. and Bloomingdale’s offer curbside pickup, and brands like Gucci and Valentino have sales reps standing by online to talk with their wealthy online shoppers by video, Bloomberg News reports.
“Companies must figure out how to conjure up their signature atmospheres, from iconic color palettes to warm smiles, when patrons aren’t actually in the building,” Bloomberg News writes. “Upping the ante is the fact that these companies’ customers expect perfection—a Birkin shopper in one of Cais’s focus groups, for example, thought her bag was cheaply made when it arrived in six months instead of nine. This attitude stands in stark contrast to the rest of retail, where companies like Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. have built up their shipping to get goods to customers as fast as possible.”
On Tuesday, The Walt Disney Co. showed strength in a key part of the business, Disney+. While the streaming Netflix rival missed expectations, hitting 57.5 million subscriptions at the end of its fiscal third quarter (April through June), it said it has since topped 60 million.
Investors liked its aggressive plan for home movies; Disney will bypass theaters with its live-action, new release “Mulan,” allowing viewers to rent it at home for $29.99 in September.
Audi hits brakes on ad: German car-maker Audi apologized for an ad that featured a child eating a banana while leaning leisurely against the grill of one of its automobiles. The ad raised eyebrows for both its inappropriate pose and the fact it was a dangerous place to position a child, in a blind spot at the front of a car, the BBC reports.
Man of BioSteel: Super Bowl-winning quarterback Patrick Mahomes added another brand to his belt of endorsement deals, reports Ad Age's Luke Guillory, signing with Toronto-based BioSteel, the sports nutrition company.
Joz market: Apple’s longtime product leader Greg “Joz” Joswiak will soon be the senior leader of worldwide marketing at the tech giant. Joswiak will take over from Phil Schiller, who will remain with the company as a fellow and in other roles, Apple announced.
Breakfast mac: Kraft is now declaring that mac and cheese is a fine meal in the morning, hoping it helps families cater to their pickiest eaters, reports Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl, who looks at the new marketing campaign.
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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