Google accused of YouTube bias and Burger King tackles cow farts: Wednesday Wake-Up Call
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Google accused of YouTube bias
Pressure on Google is mounting this week over charges of monopoly, ahead of the anticipated antitrust inquiry by the U.S. Department of Justice. Having already been accused of search dominance and of making upgrades that make it harder for websites to win traffic, now it’s being alleged that Google is handing its own YouTube platform a secret advantage when promoting video clips.
An investigation by the Wall Street Journal found that changes made by Google have given preference to YouTube clips in search, to drive traffic there over competitors. The Journal conducted Google searches for videos that are available on YouTube as well as competitors and found “the YouTube versions were significantly more prominent in the results in the vast majority of cases.”
The article cites in particular a clip of basketball star Zion Williamson that the NBA posted online in January; the clip had more views and comments on Facebook, but the YouTube version still featured more prominently in a Google search. As the Journal points out, “the prioritization appears to contradict the company’s public posture on how it indexes and ranks videos in its search results.” However, a Google spokeswoman denied the claim.
Burger King tackles cow farts with lemongrass
With the rise in environmental awareness and plant-based eating threatening fast-food brands, Burger King yesterday revealed it has come up with a novel way of tackling the problem. It’s reducing methane emissions emitted by the cattle used in its burgers by feeding some lemongrass to the cows.
As Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl reports, it’s promoting the push with a two-minute video directed by Michel “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” Gondry, which enlists social media sensation Mason Ramsey, (aka the “Walmart yodeling kid”) to sing a song about cow farts.
The idea for the cows’ new menu came from the agency We Believers. Scientists, in collaboration with the agency and Burger King, tested the addition of different herbs to their diets. They found that adding lemongrass to the cattle’s feed doesn’t alter the taste. (Restaurant Brands International’s global Chief Marketing Officer Fernando Machado says he can't tell the difference). While the new beef is initially only available in five markets, Burger King is making the recipe open source, and is also hoping competitors will adopt it. (This article is a subscriber exclusive: Find subscription options at AdAge.com/membership.)
Trump’s heartland GenZ worries
As November’s Election election looms, President Trump should be worried about GenZ voters in the heartland. That’s the view of Paul Jankowski, founder and CEO of Nashville-based marketing agency/consultancy New Heartland Group, who will be taking the virtual stage at Ad Age’s Aug. 3-5 Small Agency Conference & Awards to share his insights.
Jankowski has just published his third book, “The New Heartland Speaks: The Marketer’s Guide to Reaching America’s Most Powerful Cultural Segment” and, in an interview with Ad Age’s Simon Dumenco, says that the research reveals 59 percent of New Heartland Gen Zers and just under 50 percent of New Heartland Millennials aren’t happy with Trump’s performance in office. “If the president thinks that means the New Heartland is a box-check for his reelection, he’d better think again,” he says.
With no end in sight for lockdowns in some states, a trip to a virtual island might be the only vacation many people are getting this summer. Now brands and agencies are targeting these people by experimenting with their own custom islands on the super-popular video game (and Ad Age Hottest Brand) Animal Crossing, writes Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing.
Companies turning to the fantasy islands include Chuck E. Cheese, which is technically bankrupt, but is attracting a burgeoning audience of fans on Twitch with its island, where you can meet a mouse called Chadder. Others include Sunkist Growers, which worked with Edelman to develop a “Sunkist island” filled with lemon and orange trees, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, on whose island you can go swimming in its waters and learn about marine life. That sounds like escapism from the pandemic if we ever heard it.
P&G elevator pitch: If you’ve always wanted to pitch P&G, here’s your chance. For the second year, Procter & Gamble is offering selected participants at this year’s Ad Age Small Agency Conference & Awards a chance to make an elevator pitch. This year, the elevator will be virtual, but you still have five minutes to demonstrate what you’ve got. The program is open exclusively to conference attendees; apply here.
Digital plateau: Traffic to digital native news outlets has “plateaued” in recent years, according to new figures from Pew Research, and while employment rose steadily before the pandemic, its rate was lower than that of newspapers and TV. What’s more, a majority of digital display ad revenue goes to two tech companies: Google and Facebook.
Tesla clampdown: A German court ruling has banned Tesla from using terms like autopilot or “full potential for autonomous driving” on its website or other advertising, reports TechCrunch. The ruling argues that the terms mislead the public as to the capabilities of Tesla’s system. Elon Musk was unimpressed, however, tweeting: “Tesla Autopilot was literally named after the term used in aviation. Also, what about Autobahn!?”
Podcast of the Day: Dennis Crowley, co-founder and executive chairman of Foursquare, is this week’s guest on the Ad Block podcast. Crowley shoots the breeze with Ad Age's I-Hsien Sherwood and Alfred Maskeroni on vintage motorbikes, hot dog condiments and running a Division IV soccer team, the Kingston Stockade, here.
Message in a (paper) bottle: It may not clink when you pour, but it’s sustainably sourced: Diageo has created the first 100 percent plastic-free paper-based spirits bottle for its whisky brand Johnnie Walker. Read more from Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz over at Creativity, and don’t forget to check out last week’s Top 5 Creativity campaigns, including Amy Schumer’s Tampax pitch and a bold ad for birth control device Annovera.
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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