Facebook exec denies political bias, and a coronavirus spat gets heated: Tuesday Wake-Up Call
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Last month, Facebook weathered an ad boycott led by the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League, due to the tech company’s anemic response to hate speech and disinformation on the platform, particularly from politicians. Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s VP of global business solutions, defended its actions.
“The same hate speech standard that you and I have to adhere to is the same hate speech standard that any political figure has to adhere to,” she tells Ad Age’s Garett Sloane. She also pushed back against charges from critics that Facebook is politically biased.
“The truth is we are not trying to be neutral in the sense that we have no values. We have actually very clear values, we have values around voice, around safety, authenticity, privacy, dignity. We have values, but depending which side of the aisle you’re on, depending on a decision we make, you might think we’re one way or the other, but there is no advantage to us to be taking sides.”
Clorox is getting its first female CEO, a rarity among household and personal care companies, despite the historical marketing of cleaning products to women. Linda Rendle will take over from Chairman-CEO Benno Dorer—who is stepping down to pursue philanthropic work—next month.
“Rendle is a 17-year Clorox veteran who most recently was president of the company, and before that exec-VP of cleaning, international strategy and operations,” writes Ad Age’s Jack Neff. “She keeps intact a tradition at the company: She began her career at Procter & Gamble Co.—just like every other Clorox CEO since the company was separated from P&G in 1969 following an antitrust ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Rendle inherits a Clorox whose sales are surging during the pandemic, as cleaning became a top priority worldwide, and consumers snatched up products including Glad trash and storage bags and Brita water filters. Organic sales in the most recent quarter were up 24 percent, and advertising costs jumped 28 percent.
Tom Goodwin, head of futures and insight for Publicis Groupe, caused a backlash from industry notables with his Twitter hot take criticizing concern over coronavirus deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that 30,000 more Americans could be killed by the coronavirus in the next three weeks, bringing the total to 182,000.
“I find the total obsession with Covid deaths over all other deaths entirely gruesome. 7500 Americans die every day but only the ones with this precise new Virus matter,” Goodwin tweeted. “R/GA U.S. Chief Strategy Officer Tom Morton was quick to respond to Goodwin, stating in a tweet: ‘Because it's a new disease with no vaccine and no cure and 150,000 Americans are dead. Please no more clickbait contrarianism. You're better than this,’” writes Ad Age’s Lindsey Rittenhouse. “Goodwin then went off on Morton,” prompting Wieden + Kennedy Chief Creative Officer and Co-President Colleen DeCourcy, The 3% Movement Founder Kat Gordon and Stink Studios CEO-Partner Mark Pytlik to come to Morton’s defense.
Publicis Groupe, for its part, said Goodwin’s views “are not reflective of the company’s,” a point Goodwin himself made, though it would be interesting to see what Publicis’ employee social media policy looks like.
The Rock 'n' goal: The XFL, the long-suffering alternative football league, had to shut down its inaugural season due to coronavirus and subsequently declared bankruptcy—a bit ironic given that its raison d'être was faster, more exciting (and therefore more dangerous) gameplay. Now Dwayne Johnson, his ex-wife and business partner Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital Partners are snapping it up for $15 million, just before an auction.
'Tis long past the season: Lifetime holiday movies have become the stuff of memetic legend, lauded as silly treacle and mindless sap to fall into amid an age of Bad News. But until now, there’s never been an LGBTQ-focused flick in the rom-com heavy lineup. Rival network Hallmark has never run one, either. That will change with Lifetime’s “The Christmas Set-Up,” which features a trip home to a meddling matchmaker mom, but one without the usual qualms about her son’s sexuality.
Carry-out: Chipotle is selling merch covered in guacamole. Okay, not quite. It turns out that, when boiled, avocado skins and pits make a lovely pink dye, and the restaurant chain is offering T-shirts, sweatshirts and tote bags colored with it. “Each piece, like each batch of guacamole, is unique,” writes Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl. “The dyed tote bag ($20) has text that reads ‘it’s okay to be a little extra,’ while the sweatshirt ($45) reads ‘extra,’ nods to the extra charge for guacamole at the chain.”
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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