Your Friday Wake-Up Call: Everyone Loves KFC's Hilarious Twitter Joke. Plus, Apple and Facebook Disagree
Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. What people are talking about today: It's Friday. It's been a long week. You deserve a laugh. Here it comes, courtesy of a Twitter user who noticed something weird about KFC's account.
.@KFC follows 11 people.— Edge (@edgette22) October 19, 2017
Those 11 people? 5 Spice Girls and 6 guys named Herb.
11 Herbs & Spices. I need time to process this.
You can check for yourself: KFC's Twitter account follows the five former Spice Girls and six men named Herb, a coded nod to the Colonel's secret original recipe. KFC is getting some love today.
In a world where everything is broken, @kfc following 11 Herbs and spices brings everything back into focus.— Brandy (@bchelle318) October 20, 2017
Also, Ford's VP-chief brand officer offered to hire the person who dreamed this up.
At a time when traditional retail is struggling, the subscription box model is getting more attention. Stitch Fix filed for an IPO, and the regulatory filing reveals good numbers on the service, which curates personalized fashion picks and mails them to you. As Fortune writes, "it's seen revenue rise 13-fold since 2014 to $977.1 million this year." Now sportswear maker Under Armour is getting into the subscription service game too, as Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli reports. The brand calls its new offering ArmourBox. Also, Rent the Runway has a new campaign out, trying to convince people they should rent everyday clothes, not just fancy formalwear.
Facebook vs. Apple
News outlets are getting something many have wanted for a while – the right to put up a paywall inside Facebook's Instant Articles publishing format, which means they can encourage more subscriptions. Publishers including The Los Angeles Times, Hearst, The Economist and The Washington Post are in a test group, as Ad Age's Garett Sloane writes. But the feature only works on Android phones for now, not on iPhones. Because while Facebook wants publishers to get all the revenue from subscriptions, "Apple wants a cut," as Sloane writes. Did we really need another reminder of how tough times are for publishers?
The 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party started this week, and Beijing has been blanketed in red banner propaganda posters. Schoolchildren were asked to watch President Xi Jinping's 3 1/2 hour speech on TV. Local companies are expected to do their part, and tech giant Tencent Holdings delivered. The company behind the WeChat app created a mobile game where you can "clap" for Xi by tapping on your smartphone, after watching clips from his speech. The New York Times says the game has racked up over 1 billion claps; players are invited to share their scores on WeChat. Meanwhile, in a country where Facebook and Twitter are already banned, the party congress is also a time of extra-heavy duty online censorship. People aren't even allowed to update their WeChat profile pictures, nicknames and taglines this month.
Honest ads: Trying to prevent future foreign meddling in U.S. elections, three senators are pushing for legislation that would regulate political ads on Google, Facebook and Twitter. Recode looks at the details, adding: "Within the tech industry, the Honest Ads Act is likely to provoke a mixed response."
Consumer packaged goods: Unilever and Nestle "reported another round of weak sales, ratcheting up pressure to accelerate promised turnarounds," The Wall Street Journal says. Procter & Gamble, the world's biggest advertiser, reports quarterly earnings today.
Sorry: M&C Saatchi's Justin Tindall sparked controversy for an op-ed in which he listed things that bothered him in the industry, adding that he was "bored of diversity being prioritised over talent." He has apologized.
Nutella invasion: Ferrero International, the Italian maker of Nutella, just bought Ferrara Candy, the U.S. maker of Lemonheads and RedHots. The Wall Street Journal says Ferrero also has its eye on Nestle's U.S. candy business.
Headline of the day: From Fox News, "California restaurant 'proudly' serves Popeyes chicken as its own, charges $13."
Creativity pick of the day: Will Ferrell plays a smartphone-addicted dad in what Ad Age's Ann-Christine Diaz calls a "funny-sad" campaign from Common Sense Media. In one spot, his family bemoans how much they miss him – though it turns out he's sitting at the dinner table with them, playing with a filter that makes him look like a cat. Watch it here.