Welcome to Ad Age’s Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. You can get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device; sign up here.
What people are talking about today
“The Big Bang Theory” had its finale on CBS, and here’s a mini-spoiler: Someone finally fixed that broken elevator that’s been a running gag throughout the show’s 12 seasons. (For a recap with real spoilers, click here).
So with “Big Bang” off the air, what’s coming to TV later in 2019-2020? Ad Age’s Jeanine Poggi predicts the hits and misses of the upcoming season, based on trailers from this week’s TV upfronts. Fox’s “Prodigal Son,” about a serial killer and his son, looks like a winner; Poggi writes that actor Michael Sheen’s “crazy eyes alone made me want to watch more.” Her other bets include ABC’s “Mixed-ish,” a “Black-ish” spinoff, and NBC’s “Sunnyside,” a comedy starring Kal Penn as a disgraced politician/advocate for immigrants.
In the category of potential duds is NBC’s “Indebted,” a supposed comedy. Poggi writes: “It may seem unwise to count out Fran Drescher, but there was simply not one moment of the trailer for NBC’s ‘Indebted’ that even prompted us to crack a smile, let alone chuckle.”
Hotel Taco Bell
Taco Bell is opening a hotel, and it’s got a rather snooty name: “The Bell: A Taco Bell Hotel and Resort.” It will open in August in Palm Springs, California, for a limited time. This is part of Taco Bell’s attempt to stand out from the pack of fast food chains, Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl reports. Wohl writes:
“This is meant for those dedicated fans who might already sport a Taco Bell-inspired tattoo or at least wear a bikini or swim trunks emblazoned with images of the chain’s various sauce packets while they relax on a hot sauce packet-inspired pool float.”
If that mention of Taco Bell tattoos stopped you in your tracks, check out the fast-food chain’s compendium of Taco Bell fan tattoos. One guy even inked a taco on his ring finger, signifying his everlasting commitment.
In other quirky hospitality news
The TWA name died when the airline folded in 2001, marking the demise of a brand that once symbolized Jet Age glamour (complete with on-board smoking and free cocktails.) Now the brand name is resurrected at the TWA Hotel at JFK International Airport, which is based in the futuristic former Trans World Flight Center designed by Eero Saarinen. MCR’s hotel opened this week after a $265 million renovation by MCR and MORSE Development. (Check out The New York Times’ slide show.)
The hotel has museum exhibits featuring TWA’s teapots, playing cards and flight attendants’ uniforms. Basically, it’s a shrine to the TWA brand.
New shop: “Anheuser-Busch InBev has been quietly brewing its own U.S. in-house agency for the past year,” Ilyse Liffreing writes in Ad Age. The shop is called Draftline.
Deal-watching: “Amazon is close to an agreement to buy the ad-serving technology of bankrupt company Sizmek,” Bloomberg News reports.
Broader horizons: TripAdvisor is staffing up its advertising revenue team as it prepares to woo advertisers outside the travel and hospitality category, Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli writes.
Blushing Brides: When Dotdash announced it was buying Condé Nast’s Brides magazine this week, things got a little awkward. Read more by Simon Dumenco in the Ad Age Publisher’s Brief.
Podcast of the day: Keith Reinhard, chairman emeritus of DDB, reminisces about creating McDonald’s “You Deserve a Break Today” campaign and the McDonaldland characters -- as well as about losing the account unexpectedly. Listen to his conversation with Judann Pollack on the Ad Age Ad Lib podcast.
Brand blunder of the day: Gucci got flak last year after sending a turban out onto the runway on a white model; critics said it was disrespectful to Sikhs. So did Gucci pull the item? Apparently not. As The Washington Post reports, Gucci’s turban recently went on sale for about $800 at Nordstrom, sparking another backlash. “The turban is a Sikh article of faith, not a cute fashion accessory,” someone tweeted. Read more here.