TikTok defends 100 million U.S. users by suing Trump, and Netflix is in QAnon's sights: Tuesday Wake-Up Call
TikTok is taking Trump to court, and in its new legal filing the social video app disclosed new details about just how popular it is, with more than 100 million monthly active users in the U.S.
The company, which is owned by Chinese-based ByteDance, has signaled for weeks that it would appeal to federal courts after President Donald Trump signed executive orders to shut down the app in the U.S. On Monday, TikTok finally sued the Trump administration.
The New York Times reports that it will be tough for TikTok to challenge U.S. authorities that have wide latitude to declare national security threats. “Jason M. Waite, a partner at the law firm Alston & Bird, said courts would probably be reluctant to challenge the president on national security grounds. But if a court does decide to rule against Mr. Trump, that could end up curtailing the powers of the presidency,” The Times writes.
In its court papers, TikTok said it is seeing explosive growth with more than 100 million monthly active U.S. users. It had closer to 40 million monthly U.S. users in October, when Ad Age reported on leaked documents about its advertising program.
TikTok also said it has about 50 million daily active users in the U.S., according to CNBC.
Netflix’s marketing for its movie “Cuties,” about an immigrant child who joins a dance troupe, landed the company in hot water over its alarming portrayal of kids, and it’s now the talk of QAnon.
The foreign language film was supposed to be about the dangers of sexualizing children in pop culture, but Netflix’s marketing seemed to do just that. The tone deaf promotion also gave fodder to conspiracy-minded online commenters affiliated with QAnon. The group has popularized hashtags like “SaveOurChildren” and tries to link corporate America to twisted false narratives, like claiming Wayfair is a front for child sex trafficking.
“For the most part, the public backlash has subsided, but Netflix’s stumble is an example of a serious threat to brands in a hot digital landscape,” Ad Age reports. “They can get burned if they don’t understand the social media mood where QAnon followers are vigilantly looking for new targets.”
“As schools start back up around the country with some families jumping back into virtual schooling while others juggle ‘hybrid’ setups combining in-person instruction and at-home learning, there’s more opportunity for brands to address parental struggles in fresh ways,” writes Ad Age Creativity editor Ann-Christine Diaz.
Ad Age looked at how brands are approaching the back-to-school season. They are coming up with creative ways to repackage their products to appeal to parents dealing with the pandemic.
Ad agency Terri & Sandy tells Ad Age that its advice is to embrace imperfections. Show the chaos of the home that everyone understands now. One example was a recent spot by BJ’s Wholesale Club, which went with a messy yet accurate portrayal of mealtime.
A Twitch campaign went a little awry for Burger King. The restaurant chain was called out for invading video creators’ space there.
Burger King sought to use Twitch’s donate function to give $5 to people livestreaming on the site for a living. Twitch has a feature that reads out the text from people who donate, and in this case Burger King set the text-to-speech to promote its $5 value meal. Some creators felt like it was a slimy move.
“This activation was meant to be a fun-spirited experiment on the platform using a new functionality,” the agency behind it, David Madrid, said in an emailed statement to Ad Age. “While it was well-received by the players we engaged with, we value and respect the recent feedback from the Twitch community.”
The pharmacy chain CVS launched a media network on Monday. This makes the pharmacy giant just the latest retailer to open an ad platform so marketers can buy online ads powered by its deep data insights into consumers.
“This ‘closed loop’ system, in which CVS can use its own shopper data to show brands which ads and which placements are resonating with sales, could be particularly valuable to advertisers looking to avoid risk during the current economic climate,” writes Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli.
Split decision: Reckitt Benckiser concluded its review of its media agencies to handle its big-name brands in the U.S. like Lysol, Durex and Veet. Zenith, which already handled the account, retained some of the business, while Omnicom’s Hearts & Science won the nutrition brands side of the business, Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse reports.
That’s a relief: CNBC interviews WPP CEO Mark Read, who was optimistic about the state of the economy and advertising. “The worst is behind us,” Read says.
Fraud detected: A Chinese-based ad network has been found to be running a massive fraud operation, according to Forbes. Mintegral has its hooks in a number of popular apps in the U.S., but Forbes reports that it was enabling fraudulent ad clicks and could have compromised user privacy.
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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