Jay-Z faces Kaepernick questions over NFL deal and Revlon could be up for sale: Friday Wake-Up Call
Welcome to Ad Age’s Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. You can get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device; sign up here.
Jay-Z faces Kaepernick questions over NFL deal
Jay-Z this week inked a new deal with the NFL that involves his Roc Nation company selecting performers for events including the Super Bowl half time show—but not everyone is happy about it.
As Ad Age’s Anthony Crupi reports in this week's Sports Media Brief, Jay-Z faced “a flurry of questions” about Colin Kaepernick during a press conference about his justifications for teaming up with the NFL. The rapper had previously been a vocal supporter of Kaepernick, who became the star of high-profile Nike ads after kneeling during the national anthem but hasn’t been listed on an NFL roster since 2016.
However, Jay-Z had his own thoughts about the matter. “I think that we forget that Colin’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice, correct?” he said. “This is the next thing. … So what are we gonna do? You know what I’m saying? [Help] millions and millions of people, or we get stuck on Colin not having a job.”
Revlon considers its future
Revlon has hired Goldman Sachs to “explore strategic alternatives,” reports the Wall Street Journal, as the cosmetics brand struggles to keep up with changing consumer tastes. The Journal quotes a person familiar with the matter as saying that the company, owned by Ron Perelman’s investment firm, “is considering all its options, including a sale of all or some parts of its business.”
In the '80s and '90s, Revlon was a top beauty brand, famous for its ads featuring supermodel Cindy Crawford. But the Journal says more recently Revlon has faced competition from startups by celebrities like Kylie Jenner, as well as losing marketing share to the likes of L'Oréal. It has also failed to reap benefits from its acquisition of Elizabeth Arden in 2016.
The company last week posted a $63.7 million net loss in the second quarter but said it would invest a $200 million loan in its business.
Papa John’s has yet another new agency
Papa John’s—still trying to recover from the controversy caused by its founder and former chief executive John Schnatter—has hired Camp & King as its latest creative agency, writes Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl.
The pizza chain has parted ways with Endeavor Global Marketing after only one year. Prior to that, it worked with Laundry Service, but that relationship came to an explosive end in July 2018, when Forbes reported on Schnatter’s use of the n-word on a training call with the agency.
However, despite a decline in sales, things are looking better for the brand; it has a new chief marketing officer, Karlin Linhardt, who joined in March, and is preparing to launch advertising featuring Shaquille O’Neal. The company said last week it is optimistic about his role as a brand ambassador.
Ad Age Next: D-to-C is coming
Direct-to-consumer brands including Allbirds, Rockets of Awesome, Billie and ThirdLove will be sharing some of the secrets of their success next month at Ad Age’s Next D-to-C event.
The event will take a look at the rise of digital-native brands that have disrupted the retail landscape in recent years, with leaders in the field discussing their evolving marketing, how they use data and more. It's a hugely important sector; their emergence has led large marketers to acquire or create their own d-to-c brands, and TV networks to court them.
To register for the event, which will be held at Convene in Midtown Manhattan on Sept.9, click here.
Retained: Publicis Groupe's Starcom and Epsilon have retained Novartis' global media account following a seven-month review, reports Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse. They will form a bespoke unit, NovartisOne2, to service the assignment.
Game on: Activision Blizzard has hired Creative Artists Agency exec David Messinger as its global chief marketing officer, writes Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz. It’s a new role, overseeing units with games including “Call of Duty,” “Overwatch” and “Candy Crush.”
Inside story: Barton F. Graf creative director Avinash Baliga has written his personal account of what went wrong at the agency for Ad Age. Read his fascinating story—including how the agency pitched a creative idea involving Benicio del Toro dressed as a cactus—here.
Campaign of the Day: The NFL kicks off its 100th season on Sept. 5, and to celebrate, it’s released a stirring new film. As Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz writes, it “features vignettes of NFL players, fans, and other notable athletes and pros appearing laser-focused, buried in thought and staring fiercely at the camera, as if there’s serious business to come.” Everyone in the spot, by 72andSunny, is singing a version of the classic pop tune “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” but instead of the original lyrics, they chant: "We ready.” Watch it here, and even if you’re not an NFL fan you might feel excited about the new season.
If you're reading this online or in a forwarded email, here's the link to sign up for our Wake-Up Call newsletters.