Facebook data deals reportedly face criminal investigation: Thursday Wake-Up Call

By Published on .

Credit: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. You can get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app.

What people are talking about today
Hungary's government has been encouraging couples to make more babies, and it put up some billboards featuring a lovey-dovey couple to get the point across. But whoever designed the ad picked the wrong stock art, as Orla McCaffrey writes in Ad Age. The man and woman in the ad are famous for modeling in the ubiquitous "distracted boyfriend" meme; he played the guy ogling a random woman, and she played his disgruntled girlfriend. They're basically the poster children for bad relationships -- which made it hilarious to see them in an ad touting family values. Oops.

Bad news for Facebook, part 1
Remember back in June, when reports said Facebook had cut data-sharing deals with phone- and device-makers, giving partners access to a lot of users' personal data? Now federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into such deals, The New York Times reports. The Times writes:

"A grand jury in New York has subpoenaed records from at least two prominent makers of smartphones and other devices, according to two people who were familiar with the requests and who insisted on anonymity to discuss confidential legal matters."

Facebook tweeted that it is cooperating with investigators and that it takes the probes very seriously. Interestingly, just last week, Facebook made a major announcement about how it will be putting more emphasis on privacy.

Bad news for Facebook, part 2
Mass outages hit Facebook and Instagram yesterday, and Facebook's Ads Manager went down too. As Ad Age's Garett Sloane writes, some ad execs are not pleased. Akvile DeFazio, a social media advertiser with her own agency, Akvertising, told Sloane by email:

"Being unable to access Facebook and Instagram has caused significant disruption to our business and to our clients today. We have clients that spend up to hundreds of thousands of dollars per day advertising on those channels. ... It's setting us back a day, causing a ripple effect to the bottom line. ... This isn't the first time an outage has occurred."

Ad planners -- and ordinary Facebook and Instagram users -- took to Twitter to complain about the outages. Meanwhile, the Denny's Twitter account offered up some snark: "instagram and facebook are down but Denny's is always open."

Fox News vs. 'the voice of a few'
As Fox News pitched itself to advertisers yesterday in an upfronts presentation, there were protesters outside the building; they're angry about two separate controversies involving hosts Jeanine Pirro and Tucker Carlson. As Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi writes, both hosts' shows have lost advertisers over the last week (and you can read her story for an explanation of why). Marianne Gambelli, who leads ad sales for the organization, told agencies and clients attending the event, "The voice of a few shouldn't stop you from marketing to consumers who will buy your brand."

Just briefly:
Agency layoffs:
Indie agency Barton F. Graf just went through layoffs as clients trim spending and switch to project work. Ad Age's Megan Graham and Ann-Christine Diaz report that about 15 people are said to have been laid off.

Trading places: CBS and NBC "have agreed to an even trade for their next Super Bowl broadcasts," because the swap is good for both networks, Ad Age's Anthony Crupi writes.

Android adware: "Security researchers have found a new kind of mobile adware hidden in hundreds of Android apps, and downloaded more than 150 million times from Google Play," TechCrunch reports.

No fair?: Spotify "has filed a complaint against Apple with European antitrust officials, accusing it of giving its own music service an unfair advantage over competitors," CNN reports.

'Corngate': Big Beer's ongoing battle just got sillier. Coors Light today announced a "smart beer tap" that lights up whenever the brand gets criticized by Bud Light. Read about it in the Ad Age Marketer's Brief.

Podcast of the day: Sebastian Tomich, global head of advertising for The New York Times, talks to Ad Age Editor Brian Braiker in this week's edition of the Ad Lib podcast. The Times is putting subscriptions first; what does that mean for its ad business?

Ad of the day: A giant, one-ton white dog stars in a new Skoda ad from France. It's funny (the dog accidentally crushes the sofa), but it also makes a serious point about dogs and car crashes, as Ad Age's Alexandra Jardine writes. "In the event of an accident, your dog becomes a one-ton projectile," the ad from agency Rosapark informs us. (Who knew?) Which is why Skoda made a seat belt for dogs.

If you're reading this online or in a forwarded email, here's the link to sign up for our daily Wake-Up Call email newsletter.

Most Popular