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Facebook challenges Zoom with Messenger Rooms and household brands respond to Trump disinfectant remarks: Monday Wake-Up Call
Facebook takes on Zoom with Messenger Rooms
As our quarantined world continues to download Zoom, Facebook is fighting back with its own videoconferencing solution. As Ad Age’s Garett Sloane reports, the company is enhancing Facebook Messenger with a new feature called Rooms, which will allow 50 people to “hang out” at a time. Messenger Rooms will eventually also integrate with Facebook’s other properties, Instagram Direct, WhatsApp and home video device Portal, and users won’t have to have a Facebook account to participate in a meeting.
As part of a livestream on Friday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg talked through how the new videoconferencing space could differ from Zoom: For example, during the testing process his friends and coworkers could just drop in throughout the day, making it a “less-scheduled” experience than a Zoom conference. He also said there would be controls that would prevent “annoying” people from just entering, if the host wants to screen visitors.
There’s no word yet, however, on whether Facebook’s offering can prevent people from embarrassing themselves during a video conference. In another cautionary tale about Zoom (or maybe it’s just about the strain of lockdown), Time reports that a California planning commissioner had to resign after “throwing his pet cat and apparently drinking a beer” during a Zoom meeting.
The 'Tide Pods' president
Household cleaning brands are in the spotlight as the uproar over President Trump’s remarks about disinfectants continued over the weekend, with more companies responding to his proposal that injecting such products might help kill coronavirus.
On Friday morning, Lysol and Dettol maker Reckitt Benckiser stated that “under no circumstance” should its disinfectant products be administered into the human body, through injection, ingestion or any other route. Clorox (the subject of a satirical song by comedian Randy Rainbow on Twitter, featuring the lyrics “Just a spoonful of Clorox makes your temperature go down”) also issued a statement, PR Week reports, saying: “Bleach and other disinfectants are not suitable for consumption or injection under any circumstances. People should always read the label for proper usage instructions.”
Meanwhile, USA Today reports that Trump has now been nicknamed the "Tide Pods" president on Twitter, after the P&G product (which became infamous in 2018 when teens started putting them in their mouths as a challenge) began trending on Twitter. The Washington Military Department's Emergency Management Division pleaded, "Please don't eat Tide pods or inject yourself with any kind of disinfectant" and to not "make a bad situation worse."
Old Spice highlights black communities
Marketing around coronavirus and relief efforts hasn't focused much on the impact on African Americans. But Old Spice has become one of the first brands to do so, writes Ad Age’s Jack Neff, as part of a new effort with BET Network to provide financial, educational and community support to black communities suffering from the impact of the virus.
Agency Wieden+Kennedy created a spot narrated by comedian Deon Cole—who’s appeared in previous ads for the P&G brand—highlighting its efforts to raise funds for his hometown of Chicago and fellow Old Spice pitchman Terry Crews’ hometown of Flint, Michigan, during the pandemic. It aired during BET Network’s “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort” on April 22. Other companies taking part included Facebook, Toyota and Unilever. As Neff notes, it’s an unusually serious approach for the often zany brand. But according to Old Spice Associate Brand Director Matt Krehbiel, “While Old Spice enjoys keeping it lighthearted, we also understand that during these uncertain times they are experiencing a range of emotions. It’s a devastating reality that this virus is impacting African Americans at a concerning rate.”
Brewers get creative to help shuttered bars
With bars around the world still closed during the pandemic, brewers are coming up with creative ways to help them out financially. In Denmark, the country's famous export, Carlsberg, is asking Danes to “adopt a keg.” A campaign via Grey Europe lets people fill up their virtual keg online and exchange it for beer when real bars reopen. Meanwhile, in a global effort starting in Brazil, Heineken is running a campaign that encourages people to buy a beer now to drink later in a bar. People can purchase a beer on a website and nominate their favorite bar, and Heineken will match each purchase with a donation to that bar. It’s supported by an ad by Publicis depicting empty bars, set to the Simple Minds track “Don’t You Forget About Me.” Check it out at Creativity Online.
Postponed: Dentsu, parent of Dentsu Aegis Network, is postponing its 2020 first quarter financials release due to the impact of Covid-19, writes Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse. The company also said the impact of the virus and of the delayed Tokyo Olympics on its business and results for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31 is “under assessment.”
Hired: Allstate has hired Accenture Interactive’s Droga5 to lead its creative account following a review, reports Lindsay Rittenhouse and Adrianne Pasquarelli. Leo Burnett previously held the Allstate account for decades, but the insurer moved creative inhouse several months ago.
Departed: John Legere, former CEO of T-Mobile, has resigned from the wireless carrier’s board of directors to pursue other options, reports Ad Age’s George Slefo. T-Mobile formally completed its merger with Sprint earlier this month. Legere had originally planned to stay until June.
Corona creativity of the day: While some larger food companies are thriving during the pandemic, plenty of the smaller businesses, like coffee shops and bakeries are suffering. So Kraft Peanut Butter is stepping in to help, in an effort from Canadian agency Rethink. Ad Age's Ann-Christine Diaz writes that the brand is donating its unused ad space to small brands across the country so they can remind consumers they're still open to serve them. Rethink is also helping those businesses to make their own spots, too. You can check some of them out here.
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.
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