10 biggest stories of 2018

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Papa John's Founder John Schnatter
Papa John's Founder John Schnatter Credit: Business Wire

With 2018 in the rearview mirror, a few of the year's main events still appear larger than life. Here are 10 stories that will continue to reverberate through the media and marketing industries well into 2019 and beyond.

Martin Sorrell and WPP

WPP's board fired founder and CEO Martin Sorrell following an investigation for unspecified irregularities. Sorrell denied unverified reports he used company funds to pay a hooker, but acknowledged possible truth in reports he can be difficult.

Facebook's serial scandals

That's a whole 'nother list. Click here.


Crispin Porter & Bogusky's Ralph Watson, Droga5's Ted Royer, W&K London's Paul Colman and others were accused of sexual misconduct. And Diet Madison Avenue, the Instagram account that publicized many of the allegations, could see its anonymous team outed if a subpoena in Watson's lawsuit survives legal challenges.

Papa John's meltdown

Founder and CEO John Schnatter's use of the N-word got him fired. His suit against the company still bearing his name grinds on, leaving behind a bad taste.

AT&T-Time Warner

The Justice Department acquiesced to a $65 billion deal that creates a content and distribution giant of unprecedented media-industry scale.

Roseanne saga

A racist Twitter rant by Roseanne Barr led ABC to fire her from its popular reboot. The show was changed to "The Conners"—and it's doing just fine.

FBI investigates media rebates

The FBI's investigation into U.S. media rebates became public. The news turned up the heat, and gave Luma Partners founder and CEO Terence Kawaja a chance to troll the October ANA conference wearing an FBI jacket.

GDPR roils ad industry

The European Union's privacy law stuffed people's email boxes with requests from media and marketers to opt into things and spooked the industry.

Peltz wins, kind of

Nelson Peltz finally took his Procter & Gamble Co. board seat after the most expensive and perhaps nastiest proxy fight in history. P&G appears to be listening, adopting much of Peltz's restructuring advice and reporting strong quarterly results in October.

Election spending

Candidates spent $5.3 billion on midterm elections, according to Kantar Media, topping the $4.5 billion outlay for the 2016 presidential election. Maybe this is how social media finally helps local media.

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