Apple battles with Epic Games as Twitter advises on privacy rules: Wednesday Wake-Up Call
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Apple’s court fight with Epic Games, maker of Fortnite, began yesterday in California, kicking off a battle royale that could decide the future of the App Store and the $100 billion app economy. As the New York Times reports, the trial, expected to last three weeks, began with Epic CEO Tim Sweeney telling the court that Fortnite's aim “is to build something like a metaverse from science fiction.”
Epic’s lawyers previewed a series of emails between Apple’s top executives which it said were evidence that it purposely created a “walled garden” that locks consumers and developers inside, forcing them to use Apple’s payment system. Apple countered with the argument that its 30% commission is in line with industry standards and that Epic’s requests would make iPhones less secure.
On another front, Apple’s latest system update is keeping the ad world on edge as iOS 14.5 now requires users to opt in to sharing data and being tracked by apps. Ad Age’s Garett Sloane writes that Twitter yesterday sent advertisers an advisory about the just-released data tracking rules on Apple devices, telling brands to brace for disruptions to ad campaigns. Twitter said it will start showing users a data permission notice within the next two weeks.
However, fears that consumers may all opt out may be unfounded. An Ad Age Harris Poll found that while many people are concerned about data collection, most aren't taking steps to actively avoid it. What's more, iPhone users who have gone through the update are more willing to share their data than those on the old system. For example, the poll shows 47% of those running the latest update would allow Facebook to track and share iPhone data, compared to 19% of users not running 14.5.
The Newfronts continue, with Verizon Media yesterday highlighting its out-of-home and augmented reality activations, in what’s likely to be its last Newfronts as Verizon Media following its sale to Apollo Global Management.
Ad Age’s Mike Juang reports that Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan gave an introduction “dressed in a white bomber jacket that sported a purple Yahoo logo, which will be the new name of the company.” The presentation emphasized new out-of-home formats including Cooler Screens, which replaces the glass doors of store cooler aisles with digital displays, as well as ways of tracking football games using augmented reality.
Today marks Cinco de Mayo, and as bars and restaurants open up across the U.S., celebrations may be happier this year than last. However, they also come with a “side of purpose,” writes Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing.
Some alcohol brands are supporting restaurants with activations as they struggle to get back on their feet in the wake of the pandemic. For example, tequila brands Jose Cuervo and Teremana Tequila are reimbursing people who order from restaurants, while Don Julio is serving up vouchers to spend at local eateries. Meanwhile, Estrella Jalisco takes on a separate cause, partnering with the “world’s first” LGBTQ+ mariachi band, and Tostitos has a fun push with actor Danny Trejo involving a virtual fiesta.
We’ve seen plenty of bizarre brand swag this year, but this is one of the weirdest giveaways yet. Expedia has teamed with singer Joe Jonas on a collaboration that includes the distribution of 3D-printed replicas of Jonas’ hand, writes Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli.
The limited-edition blue hands will be given to the first 250 customers who ask for them. It’s all to highlight a study that found that 60% of Americans say they need a “helping hand” when booking travel now compared with before COVID-19. And why Joe Jonas? Because, er, he “travels a lot.”
Bringing back gold: Caitlyn Jenner has released her first campaign ad in the California governor race, in which the former athlete and reality star hails people of California as “the warriors, the kings and the angels” and says she wants to “bring back the gold to the Golden State.” Watch it here.
Pivotal moment: Ad Age's Creativity continues its AAPI Heritage Month celebration of creative excellence with a piece from Bing Chen, president and co-founder of non-profit Gold House. Chen writes about his former career in nurturing creators at YouTube, recounting a pivotal moment when he and his colleagues created the foundation for what would become the brand’s worldwide creator ecosystem. Find out more here.
Prangent pause: Yahoo is killing off its 15-year-old crowdsourced Q&A service Yahoo Answers, and stopped accepting new questions as of April 20. Ad Age’s Simon Dumenco explored the hilarious viral video that presaged its demise, titled “how is prangent formed.”
Zoomed out: Even the CEO of Zoom has Zoom fatigue, reports the Wall Street Journal. Eric Yuan told a (virtual) audience that he no longer books back-to-back Zoom calls. “I do have meeting fatigue,” he confessed.
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. From CMO Strategy to the Ad Age Datacenter Weekly, we’ve got newsletters galore. See them all here.
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