Jury could hear Fortnite court fight and brands rally voters ahead of presidential debate: Tuesday 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.
Apple and Epic battle could be heard by jury
Apple and Epic Games’ showdown over whether Fortnite should be allowed in the App Store could be heard by a jury, after the companies battled it out in court yesterday. As the New York Times reports, in a three-hour videoconference hearing in Oakland, California, Epic accused Apple of abusing its power, saying its unwillingness to let Epic use its own payment system was “anticompetitive” and “monopolistic.” Apple, meanwhile, argued that Epic had created a “self-inflicted wound” by not complying with its payment policy and had other ways to distribute its games.
U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers recommended that a jury hear the case next summer, saying jurors might be better equipped to consider the issues and that a jury verdict is less likely to be overturned by an appeals court. However, she will rule in the next few days on whether Apple allows Fortnite back into the App Store in the interim.
The court battle came as Google is also changing the way it takes payments through its Google Play app store, in the wake of the Fortnite saga. The company is making it clear to developers that it will take a cut of many in-app payments if consumers use its Google Play app store, although it's also updating its Android software to make it easier for people to use other app stores, too.
Brands rally for presidential debate
The first 2020 presidential debate kicks off tonight in Cleveland, and brands are rallying their efforts to reach the potentially substantial TV audience for Trump vs Biden. NBC, CBS and ABC have all sold out their commercial inventory around the first debate and, as Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing reports, advertisers include Seventh Generation, in whose 30-second spot young people ask older generations to cast a vote on their behalf—that is, a solution to the climate crisis.
Vodka brand Absolut is releasing its first broadcast TV commercial in three years, which shows a truck passing outside the United States Capitol carrying a simple message: "Dear America, your vote can shake or stir the election. Vote first, drink second.” And Smirnoff is running an ad for seltzer that urges Americans, “Don’t drink and debate politics.”
Tips for Amazon Prime Day
Amazon yesterday confirmed that its Prime Day shopping event will take place from Oct 13-14 this year, just weeks ahead of Black Friday. The move could push the start of the holiday shopping season forward, writes Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli, as well as appealing to crowd-averse customers who want to avoid brick-and-mortar stores.
Pasquarelli outlines some tips from retail experts for marketers on making the most of consumer spending. They include diversifying fulfillment options in case stock is stretched thin, being ready with inventory, using all of Amazon’s ad offerings and maintaining some promotions through Black Friday. Also: Take advantage of all other retailer platforms during the shopping frenzy. In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Uncle Ben’s rebrand could have gone further
Mars Food brand Uncle Ben’s last week revealed that it’s changing its name to Ben’s Original as part of an overhaul that will also see it drop the image of a Black man from packaging. But according to some industry observers, the rebrand didn’t go far enough, writes Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl.
One Black creative director with experience in the food industry calls the rebrand “a watered-down solution,” adding that “It would have been a smarter play to scrap it and start clean, but big brands don’t do that. If they were to move completely away from the name, they would have to do a lot of work.” Meanwhile, Americus Reed II, a marketing professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, says Uncle Ben’s announcement “passes the sniff test” but he also wishes the brand would have gone further with the evolution of the name.
Sold: Walt Disney has sold ad tech firm TrueX to Gimbal, which specializes in mobile and location data-powered advertising, Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi reports. The company says that it will now look to create an addressable network of premium connected TV inventory powered by Gimbal’s data sets.
Reprieved: Uber has been granted a further 18-month license to operate in London after an appeal found it was a “fit and proper” company to run private hire car services, reports The Guardian. A previous ruling banned operations over safety concerns.
Trolled: Burger King’s latest effort to troll rival McDonald’s comes to you from Denmark, where the company undertook a labor-intensive task. To highlight the importance of customer service, it wrote personal replies to more than 1,000 customers who had left comments on the McDonald's Denmark Facebook page over the course of last Thursday night, Sept. 24. It also offered them each a free Whopper, via a link provided in the reply. You can take a look at the campaign, by agency Uncle Grey, over at Creativity.
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.
From CMO Strategy to the Ad Age Datacenter Weekly, we’ve got newsletters galore. See them all here.
Subscribers make the difference. Individual, group and corporate subscriptions are available—including access to our Ad Age Datacenter. Find options at AdAge.com/membership.