Friday Wake-Up Call: Twitter password fail, Nike's sorry, YouTube pushes safety and more

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The Twitter app loads on an iPhone.
The Twitter app loads on an iPhone. Credit: Alex Flynn/Bloomberg

Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. What people are talking about today: Twitter users worldwide are busy changing their passwords after a bug in its systems exposed passwords in plain text internally. The social media platform made the announcement and advised users to change their passwords on Thursday, but tried to soften the blow by stating that there was "no reason to believe password information ever left Twitter's systems or was misused by anyone."

Twitter added that it removed the non-encrypted passwords from its system, and is working to avoid such an issue happening again. Meanwhile, Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal tried to put a positive spin on the embarrassing security issue, tweeting, "I'm sorry this happened, but am proud to work at a company that puts people who use our service first."

Nike CEO is sorry

Twitter isn't the only company busy apologizing: The Wall Street Journal reports that Nike CEO Mark Parker has apologized to employees "for allowing a corporate culture that excluded some staff and failed to take seriously complaints about workplace issues."

The Journal had earlier reported on allegations of inappropriate behavior and a "boys-club culture" at the company. Several top-ranking male executives departed last month, including brand president Trevor Edwards.

It also notes that Nike has promoted two women to senior leadership roles: On Monday, Amy Montagne was named VP and general manager of global categories, and last week the company named Kellie Leonard as its new chief of diversity and inclusion.

YouTube is Will Smith safe

In an effort to assure advertisers that it's creating a brand-safe environment, YouTube showed off new programs from stars like Will Smith at its annual pitch to advertisers, reports Ad Age's Garett Sloane.

At its NewFront event on Thursday, YouTube executives promoted the company's premium video ad product Google Preferred, under fire because of questions of quality; touted its now 1.8 billion monthly logged-in viewers; and brought in Deanie Elsner, president of Kellogg's snacks division, to represent wholesome brands that aren't scared to advertise on YouTube.

It also showed off some new ad-supported shows in the pipeline, including one with Will Smith, and announced programs with Kevin Hart, Demi Lovato, LeBron James and other big-name celebrities that are seemingly more reliable than some of YouTube's homegrown talent.

American Apparel back from the dead?

American Apparel will open its first brick-and-mortar location since its Chapter 11 filing, rebirth as a subsidiary of Canadian apparel manufacturer Gildan, and the closure of all its locations, Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli reports. The store is planned for Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles and is expected to open in November or December.

The retailer, which operated around 300 stores in its heyday, is running out-of-home ads in the U.S. and U.K. to promote its return. Sabina Weber, director of brand marketing, leads the relaunch.

Just briefly:

VW CEO charged: Volkswagen's former CEO Martin Winterkorn has been indicted in the U.S. As The New York Times reports, Winterkorn, who resigned in 2015, has been "charged with conspiracy in the company's rigging of diesel vehicles to feign compliance with federal pollution standards."

'Conan' slims down: TBS' late-night show hosted by Conan O'Brien will be pared down from one hour to a half-hour slot. Ad Age's Anthony Crupi reports the move is being spun as a reinvention of the late-night talk show format that will allow the development of more pre-produced segments, which do well online.

Adidas: We're gonna have a talk with Kanye: Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted distanced himself from controversial comments about slavery made by Kanye West, but said the company has not discussed dropping the rapper as a designer. It does plan to talk with West about the matter, he said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

Chili's picks shop: Chili's Grill & Bar has named O'Keefe Reinhard and Paul as its agency of record, reports Ad Age's Jessica Wohl. Chili's began working with OKRP in 2017 on a project basis, including the "Chili's is back, baby" work that has helped move the needle on sales and traffic.

Google revamp: Google is revamping Google News with a design that will incorporate elements of the Newsstand app and YouTube, Ad Age's Garrett Sloane reports. The search giant is expected to unveil the plans next week at its developer conference.

Creativity Pick of the Day: For UNESCO's World Press Freedom Day on Thursday, an ad in The New York Times urged readers to check out other news sources, too. As Ad Age's Simon Dumenco writes, the campaign, created by Droga5, is a joint effort by 36 news organizations including the Wall Street Journal, CNN, the BBC and NBC News. The campaign includes a banner ad, which you can check out here.

CORRECTION: In Thursdays's Wake-Up Call, an article on the Ad Age Survival Summit erroneously stated that Michelle St. Jacques, head of brand and R&D at Kraft Heinz, advised brands not to respond if President Trump tweets about them; the executive who made this statement was Kelly Stepno, senior director and Washington, D.C., practice lead at Apco Worldwide.

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