Can you afford Apple’s new $549 AirBra Max? Plus, the marketing industry’s fear factor: Wednesday Wake-Up Call
Welcome to Ad Age’s Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. If you’re reading this online or in a forwarded email, here’s the link to sign up for our Wake-Up Call newsletters.
Here’s a catchy political promise that’s easy to remember: “Biden Vows 100 Million Doses of Vaccine Within His First 100 Days,” per Bloomberg News. Cue a flurry of fact-checking on Day 101 of the Biden Administration.
Where the rubber hits the road: “CVS, Walgreens hiring thousands of workers in advance of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout,” per The Boston Globe.
$549 things that make you go hmmmm ...
Apple has triggered social media wags with the price tag on its latest product release. AirPods Max, over-the-ear headphones that are meant to strike “a perfect balance of exhilarating high-fidelity audio and the effortless magic of AirPods,” per Apple’s typically poetic hype, will cost $549 when they go on sale Dec. 15.
As the Ghost of Luke Ellington (@LukeReuel) tweets, “Air pods max cost more than the PS5. Y’all trippin @Apple.”
Ivy home for christmas (@sincerelyivy_) declares that “for $550 those airpods max better give me echolocation like bailey from finding dory.”
Meanwhile, Steve Kovach (@stevekovach), the technology editor at CNBC.com, tweets, “Sorry, I can’t hear you. My AirPods Max automatically mute poor people.”
Adding to the amusement: the look of the headphones’ carrying case—which Parkscope Joe the Squirrel (@parkscopejoe) and others have likened to a bra.
That’s probably a better joke than the one we were going to make about $749 Apple AirPanties.
“One of the things that was really appealing to me about Ogilvy from a capability standpoint is the incredible breadth of capabilities it has, from creative to digital transformation to PR to the health vertical,” incoming Ogilvy North America CEO Devika Bulchandani tells Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse. “The capabilities sitting in-house are excellent. What we have to do is bring them to bear for clients. Not in silos. In a seamless manner.” Keep reading here.
“Everyone across the marketing industry seems stressed out, angry and afraid,” M.T. Fletcher observes in the debut installment of Fletcher on Marketing, a new Ad Age column. The stress is, collectively, killing us:
When people are too stressed to think big thoughts, ideas get smaller and more disposable. That’s the reason brand recall has plummeted, the same reason your advertising can’t break through. Iconic campaigns are more likely to be found on historical reels than anything made in the last 10 years. ... If we don’t get our heads back into the game of creativity, the downward spiral will continue.
Keep reading here.
Who, BTW, is Fletcher? Some clues, per the bio at the end of the column: “M.T. Fletcher has worked for agencies, clients, consultancies and holding companies. Restless by nature, M.T. can be found wandering the hallways of corporate America and wreck diving on Madison Avenue.”
Not that Billie
“The Federal Trade Commission is suing to block Procter & Gamble Co.’s acquisition of women’s shaving and grooming brand Billie after an 11-month review,” Ad Age’s Jack Neff reports. The grounds? The FTC thinks that P&G gobbling up Billie would “eliminate growing competition that benefits consumers.”
Keep reading here.
You thought we were done with Apple? One more #OneMoreThing
Apple, Bloomberg News reports, “has moved its self-driving car unit under the leadership of top artificial intelligence executive John Giannandrea, who will oversee the company’s continued work on an autonomous system that could eventually be used in its own car.” Giannandrea, who’s also in charge of Siri and other machine-learning projects, came to Apple in 2018 from Google.
Why this matters: Giannandrea is a major player at Apple—he’s a senior VP—and this expansion of his portfolio signals that Apple remains serious about its self-driving car ambitions. As Bloomberg notes, “In 2014, Apple set out to build an autonomous electric car to take on Tesla and other manufacturers, only to pare back its ambitions around 2016.”
Essential context: Apple’s move comes in the wake of Uber distancing itself from its own autonomous vehicle efforts. See: “Uber, After Years of Trying, Is Handing Off Its Self-Driving Car Project,” from The New York Times on Monday.
Entry strategy: “The Ad Age 2021 A-List and Creativity Awards are open for entries,” per, well, us.
Mag Man: “Michael Bassik Leaves MDC to Resurrect Brooklyn Magazine and Sell Sprinkles,” per The Wall Street Journal.
Max drama: “Who’s Behind the Fight Between Warner Bros. and Hollywood? It’s AT&T,” per The New York Times.
Lone star: “Elon Musk says he has moved to Texas, calls California overly ‘complacent’,” per The Verge.
That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call. For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter: @adage.
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