Bruce Willis hypes DieHard batteries (!) and Facebook blocks millions (!!) of ads: Monday Wake-Up Call
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In the wake of the meltdown at The Richards Group—the country’s largest independent agency, which last week lost a slew of accounts following founder Stan Richards’ racist remarks during an internal meeting about proposed ads for Motel 6—Ad Age Executive Editor Judann Pollack offers the big picture in “Can The Richards Group recover from a week of catastrophe?”
Though Richards stepped down on Thursday, an air of despair hangs over the battered Dallas shop. “The immediate question remains whether Richards Group, which reported revenue of $201 million in 2019, is now overstaffed for its diminished roster,” Pollack writes.
In a story headlined “As Richards Group hemorrhages clients, Dallas ad industry leaders warn of potential ripple effects,” Dom DiFurio of The Dallas Morning News reports that the local ad community is bracing for the worst:
Owen Hannay, chief executive of Dallas-based ad agency Slingshot, is concerned The Richards Group will have to shed “hundreds of employees into an advertising community that can’t absorb them.”
“And that’s just The Richards Group, folks,” he said. “You start looking at the edit companies, the freelancers, the shooters. ... The service side of the advertising business beyond the agencies is going to suffer mightily because they can’t replace that business.”
Keep reading here.
In the latest live “Ad Age Remotely” slated for 11:30 EDT today, Ad Age’s Jeanine Poggi speaks with Sarah Hofstetter, president of e-commerce analytics firm Profitero, about what to expect from the holiday shopping season. Details here.
“A total of 2.2 million ads on Facebook and Instagram have been rejected and 120,000 posts withdrawn for attempting to ‘obstruct voting’ in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs and communications Nick Clegg has said,” per an Agence France-Presse report (via The Guardian). “In addition, warnings were posted on 150 million examples of false information posted online, the former British deputy prime minister told French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche on Sunday.” Keep reading here.
In its Saturday/Sunday edition, The Wall Street Journal dubbed Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg “Washington’s New Power Broker.” That was the blaring headline on the front page of the paper’s Exchange section, above a photo-illo of a giant Zuck (in T-shirt and jeans, coffee cup in hand) treading through the D.C. skyline, Godzilla-style.
Online, the paper’s approach is more reserved. The story, by Deepa Seetharaman and Emily Glazer, is headlined “How Mark Zuckerberg Learned Politics.” They write that earlier in his career, “Zuckerberg made it clear he didn’t care for politics” but is now “an active political operator” who has dined with President Trump, confers with Jared Kushner and has personally “pressed lawmakers and officials to scrutinize rivals including TikTok and Apple.”
The bottom line: The Journal makes Zuckerberg sound like the social network’s lobbyist-in-chief, revved up into high gear by necessity to protect his company from, well, actual politicians. Keep reading here.
See also: “With Zuck’s Blessing, Facebook Quietly Stymied Traffic to Left-Leaning News Outlets: Report,” per Gizmodo’s focus on a particular portion of the WSJ story.
Meanwhile, Zuckerberg also made the front page of Sunday’s New York Daily News—along with Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos—under the headline “SO RICH, IT’S SICK” and above the subhead “World’s biggest billionaires stack assets even higher during global pandemic.”
Inside, the paper brands them “Pandemic Profiteers,” with the News’ Nancy Dillon noting that Zuckerberg “became a centibillionaire for the first time in late August, when his newly minted riches took him from about $54.7 billion in mid-March to the breathtaking $100 billion benchmark.” And Amazon boss Bezos has “posted a stunning 70% spike in his net worth as his personal holdings surged from $113 billion in mid-March to $192 billion on Friday, according to real-time tallies from Forbes.com.” Tesla chief Musk “saw his personal fortune skyrocket nearly 300% during the same period, jumping from $24.6 billion in mid-March to $92 billion last week.” Keep reading here.
It’s definitely not over ...
“The United States surpassed eight million known cases this past week, and reported more than 70,000 new infections on Friday, the most in a single day since July,” per The New York Times in a team-reported story about the continuing COVID-19 crisis. “Eighteen states added more new coronavirus infections during the seven-day stretch ending on Friday than in any other week of the pandemic.” The Times also lays out dire details about what’s going on in Europe right now. Keep reading here.
Twitter vs. Trumpworld
Twitter has found itself caught in yet another spat with the Trump administration: The short attention-span social network “has removed a tweet from White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas that claimed masks don’t work to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Newsweek’s Khaleda Rahman reports. “‘Masks work? NO,’ Atlas had tweeted Saturday, followed by misrepresentations of the science behind the effectiveness of masks in battling the coronavirus pandemic.” By Sunday morning, the tweet was gone and replaced with a note from Twitter: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules.” Keep reading here.
This week at Ad Age we’ll be keeping our eyes on Cannes, Snapchat, Netflix, the ANA, Bloomin’ Brands and more. Why? See the latest edition of “The Week Ahead” for the scoop.
And finally ... What took so long?!
“Advance Auto Parts has tapped Bruce Willis to recharge DieHard, the 53-year-old car battery brand it acquired from Sears last year,” Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz reports. In a two-minute spot that broke on Sunday, Willis “reprises his role as detective John McClane from ‘Die Hard,’ the action film franchise that began in 1988.” The commercial “was filmed like a Hollywood production, with plenty of references to the movies,” Schultz adds. See the spot and read the backstory on the campaign here.
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