Decoding the Marketing of the 'New and Improved' Mark Zuckerberg

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Ad Age "Media Guy" columnist Simon Dumenco's media roundup for the morning of April 17, 2017:

How did you spend Easter weekend? President Trump spent it protesting anti-Trump protestors (See No. 1, below), on Twitter, naturally (No. 2). Melissa McCarthy spent it further obliterating the Sean Spicer brand (see No. 7). Much of the world apparently spent it going to see "The Fate of the Furious" (No. 5). And Mark Zuckerberg, we're guessing, probably spent it doing something vaguely noble and statesmanly (No. 4). Anyway, let's get started ...

1. Slate's Daniel Politi neatly sums up the weekend's anti-Trump protests:

Protesters gathered in dozens of U.S. cities on Saturday as part of a "Tax March," in which people demanded that President Donald Trump release his tax returns. ... Organizers claimed more than 180 events were planned across 48 states in an effort to counter Trump's frequent assertions that nobody cares about his tax return. One of the largest rallies took place in Washington, D.C., where protesters gathered in front of the Capitol before marching along Pennsylvania Avenue. In Florida, marchers gathered at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort. There were also large rallies in New York and Los Angeles.

2. President Trump is doubling down on his messaging (he's consistent on this front, at least) that any negative news about him or objections to him must be "fake news" and/or artificially drummed up by his opponents.

3. "A man who allegedly killed an elderly father after he had enjoyed an Easter meal with his children -- then posted a video of the killing on Facebook -- is now the subject of a manhunt spanning several Midwest and Northeast states, police said Monday," per CNN. Quick question: Is anyone keeping track of how many times Facebook video has been used to broadcast horrific, self-incriminating crimes?

4. Speaking of Facebook, in a BuzzFeed feature headlined "Selling Mark Zuckerberg," Nitasha Tiku takes a deep dive into the "new and improved" Mark Zuckerberg, writing that the Facebook CEO is ...

... leading the charge for Silicon Valley tech CEOs who, post-election, have committed to leaving their bubble and interacting with the American public. ... The most obvious example of the new and improved Zuckerberg is his 2017 personal challenge: to travel to all 50 states and talk to "folks" about their lives and concerns for the future.

Before we move on, let's dwell on these two sentences further down in Tiku's piece: "It is indeed tempting to see Zuckerberg's listening tour, manifesto, and newly folksy demeanor as an attempt to beta-test a presidential bid -- perhaps for 2020, the same year he turns 35. ... If you think of Zuckerberg as a startup CEO, positioning himself like a fourth-term senator doesn't make sense -- but it does if you think of him as the head of a 14-year-old nation-state called Facebook."

5. "Fate of the Furious races past Star Wars to break global box office record," per The Guardian (subhead: "Sequel speeds ahead of The Force Awakens with global opening weekend takings of $532.5m despite grossing less in North America than its predecessor").

6. ICYMI: "That Time Sean Spicer (Really) Dressed as the White House Easter Bunny," via Fox News.

7. And finally, also ICYMI, Melissa McCarthy was back as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on the weekend's "Saturday Night Live" -- and the segment is currently No. 1 on YouTube's "trending" chart.

Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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