Hallmark Channel reinstates same-sex bridal ad after pulling it: Monday Wake-Up Call
Welcome to Ad Age’s Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. If you're reading this online or in a forwarded email, here's the link to sign up for our Wake-Up Call newsletters.
Hallmark pulls ad featuring same-sex brides, then reinstates it
The Hallmark Channel last night reversed its controversial decision to pull an ad campaign featuring a same-sex bridal couple kissing, after high profile criticism for the move. As Bloomberg News reports, the cable network had pulled four ads by wedding planning registry Zola over the weekend after conservative group One Million Moms complained they promoted “the LGBT agenda.”
The move was subsequently slammed on Twitter by the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. Netflix also weighed in, with a post titled “Titles Featuring Lesbians Joyfully Existing And Also It’s Christmas Can We Just Let People Love Who They Love,” and Saturday Night Live trolled Hallmark with a skit featuring Scarlett Johansson, in which the host of a Hallmark-branded dating show says: “The true reason for Christmas is husband.”
Late Sunday, Hallmark apologized and said it would reach out to Zola to reinstate the commercials. Mike Perry, president and chief executive officer of Hallmark Cards Inc., said in a statement:
“The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused. Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision.”
Bulchandani takes the helm at McCann North America
McCann New York President Devika Bulchandani has been promoted to president of McCann North America, writes Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse.
Among her achievements at McCann, Bulchandani was key in the launch of the award-winning “Fearless Girl” statue on Wall Street for State Street Global Advisers.
Her new role is a huge one: Bulchandani will now oversee 1,500 employees across McCann agency offices in Detroit, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Casanova//McCann in Los Angeles and McCann Worldgroup Canada. She fills the role of Chris Macdonald, who was the president of McCann North America until he was promoted to his current role as global president of Advertising & Allied Agencies last year.
German train operator in row with Greta Thunberg
Germany’s main train operating company Deutsche Bahn is embroiled in a row with environmental campaigner and Time “Person of the Year” Greta Thunberg after she tweeted a photo of herself sitting on the floor of a train last week and referred to “overcrowded trains through Germany.”
The New York Post reports that Deutsche Bahn initially released a statement of apology, saying that said they “continue working hard on getting more trains, connections and seats.” But later, it stated that in fact Thunberg had later been given a seat in first class, adding “It would have been even nicer if you had also reported how friendly and competently our team served you at your seat in first class.”
Thunberg has responded that she hadn’t meant to criticize, saying “Overcrowded trains is a great sign because it means the demand for train travel is high!”
Burke leaves NBC: Steve Burke is stepping down as the head of NBC Universal next year, handing the reins to lieutenant Jeff Shell, reports Bloomberg News. He will leave in August when his contract expires.
VR data: Facebook has notified consumers who use Oculus virtual reality headsets that it will collect their data from the gaming world and use it for advertising on the social network, reports Ad Age’s Garett Sloane.
Podcast of the Day: BBDO Worldwide CEO Andrew Robertson discusses his passion for the work with Ad Age editor Brian Braiker here in the latest edition of Ad Age’s “Ad Lib” podcast. Find out about his love of Cinzano ads as a child growing up in Africa, his relationship with Ford today and how BBDO fits into the Omnicom ecosystem. Plus this interesting nugget: Robertson is the only agency executive with his own dish named after him at New York power lunch staple Michael’s.
Creativity Awards: Leaders from agencies including Wieden & Kennedy, Droga5, TBWA and Mother; brands such as Burger King, KFC, Spotify and Procter & Gamble, and production shops including Smuggler, Prettybird and Somesuch are among the jurors for the 2020 Ad Age Creativity Awards. Find out more about the awards and jurors here, and don’t forget the final submission deadline of January 7, 2020.
Campaign of the Day: Henry Golding is a rising Hollywood star after his roles in “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Last Christmas,” and now he’s also starring in a new docuseries for Hennessey. As Ad Age’s I-Hsien Sherwood writes, the “introspective and ephemeral” campaign via Laundry Service explores his life lived across several continents, with filming in England, Singapore and L.A. Plus, don’t forget to check out Creativity’s Top 5 creative campaigns from last week, including a Burger King campaign from Germany that appears to make customers choose between Whopper and “Star Wars” spoilers.
The final deadline is approaching to enter the Ad Age A-List awards: Entries must be in by Dec. 19. Find out how to enter here.