Ad Age Wake-Up Call: More Problems for Google, and Other News to Know Today

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Good morning. Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing and digital-related news. What people are talking about today: Google CEO Sundar Pichai canceled a highly awaited all-staff meeting to talk about that infamous memo: a 3,300-word treatise from an engineer who claimed women in tech can't tolerate stress like men do, Recode says. The engineer, James Damore, was fired and has become a cause celebre for the alt-right. Recode says employees were worried that participating in the talk would make them a target of online harassment. "Googlers are writing in, concerned about their safety and worried they may be 'outed' publicly for asking a question in the Town Hall," Pichai wrote to staff, according to Recode. Plus, Quartz says alt-right Damore supporters are planning protests on Google's U.S. campuses.

Double cheese
Looks like Facebook's new video hub is "taking the safe road," as Ad Age's Garett Sloane points out. There's no shows about politics or hard-hitting news. But there's a presumably inoffensive show about cheese, because "people go nuts for this stuff."

Oh Lord
CNN has fired Jeffrey Lord, Trump defender, after a Twitter exchange "in which he evoked – mockingly, he said – a Nazi salute," according to The New York Times. When Lord got the call, he was riding in a town car sent by the network. The car dropped him back at home instead of taking him to the studio. "I didn't have to walk, I thanked them for that," Lord told The Times.

New Coke
Coca-Cola is having an "existential crisis over sugar," as Quartz writes. The company will offer a $1 million prize to anybody who can find a new, natural, low- or no-calorie sugar alternative. But the prize sum is a "little cheap," one analyst says, since such a sweet innovation for the soda industry would be worth multiples of that.

Just Briefly:

No rain on Macy's parade: The retailer showed a glimmer of hope in its financial results, and it's got great expectations for a marketing strategy to debut next month, Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli says. Kohl's did pretty good too.

No more Ratatouille: Chipotle closed a restaurant in Dallas where a diner shot a viral video of rodents scurrying around the floor, Reuters reports.

O'Reilly factor: Fox News Channel's bottom line doesn't seem to have suffered despite firing its biggest star, Bill O'Reilly, as Fast Company points out. "The overall picture for Fox News is pretty rosy in our current era of unremitting political drama," Fast Company says.

Oh snap: Snapchat daily active users hit 173 million, an increase of 4 percent quarter over quarter, but that's a slow-down in growth, as Ad Age's Garett Sloane reports.

Lego lets go: "Lego traded its CEO in for a younger Danish model" is the amusing headline from Quartz. Niels Christiansen, 51 and Danish, will replace the company's first-ever non-Danish CEO, Bali Padda, who held the role eight months.

Wacko trend of the day: Workout pods, or gyms "no bigger than a generous toilet cubicle," are popping up in the middle of the streets in China, as Tech in Asia reports. There are a lot of quirky sharing economy goings-on in China right now, from umbrella rental services to karaoke pods.

Campaign of the day: This one is pretty hard to describe. It's an Adidas ad where Kendall Jenner is channeling the Botticelli Venus, but there's a sci-fi vibe, and it involves a blow-up Statue of Liberty. Watch it here, and read a better explanation by Creativity Online's Alexandra Jardine.

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