Kraft pulls ‘suggestive’ Mac & Cheese ads and Motel 6 fires Richards Group over racist remark: Wednesday Wake-Up Call
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Kraft’s Mac & Cheese has pulled a campaign that encouraged people to “send noods” on National Noodle Day last week, after complaints on social media.
As Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl writes, the campaign, by Mischief @ No Fixed Address, was a “quick, racy gamble for the brand” that encouraged people to reach out to friends and family by sending “noods”—boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese. It was backed by an online ad, now deleted, in which "Saturday Night Live" actor Vanessa Bayer repeatedly speaks about sending "noods" not "nudes."
However many parents were not impressed by such a campaign from a family-friendly brand. Hashtags such as #BoycottKraft and #CancelKraft circulated on social media, with people posting that the brand “sexualized mac 'n' cheese” and acted “predatory” toward kids. A Change.org petition signed by nearly 500 people suggests the campaign “is intended to be humorous, but totally misses the mark with their target audience.”
Kraft has “tried to move past” the campaign, says Wohl, but with limited success. On Facebook, it posted a standard Kraft Mac & Cheese “smile” image on Monday. Brand followers quickly responded with reminders of #SendNoods.
A 34-year agency relationship came to an ignominious end yesterday when Motel 6 fired Richards Group, following a purported remark by Stan Richards, its 88-year-old founder. Richards allegedly said during a creative review that a proposed ad was "too Black" and would not resonate with Motel 6's "significant white supremacist constituents," report Ad Age’s Judann Pollack and Lindsay Rittenhouse.
The remark came during an Oct. 8 remote internal meeting attended by about 40 people to review an idea for an ad campaign that celebrated Black artists. Richards later apologized to the entire 750-person agency via Zoom but his apology was described by one employee as “tone deaf.”
Motel 6, whose Richards-created tagline is "We'll leave the light on for you," did not confirm the actual remark but stated: "We are outraged by the statements made about Motel 6 and our customers by a member of The Richards Group during one of its internal meetings. The comments were not only completely inaccurate, they are also in direct opposition of our values and beliefs as an organization.”
Apple unveiled its new iPhone 12 yesterday, with CEO Tim Cook promising “the beginning of a new era for iPhone” at a virtual presentation. The new models feature chips capable of running on 5G networks, specifically on Verizon.
However, as Ad Age’s Garett Sloane reports, it’s unclear what the benefits of 5G will immediately be for consumers. There are still questions about the efficiency of 5G wireless speeds and “even if 5G is deployed as widely as hoped, it’s unclear consumers will be around to enjoy it while the coronavirus is affecting people’s plans to go outdoors.”
Many consumers are also unclear on what 5G offers over 4G. Noah Mallin, chief brand strategist at IMGN Media, tells Sloane that “5G is kind of mess,” adding: “I think most consumers glaze over at the phrase because we keep hearing about it but no one actually experiences it.”
Ryan Reynolds’ Mint Mobile brand was among those quick to poke fun at Apple's 5G announcement, releasing a cheeky ad on Twitter in which he says “we may never know” what it really is, after a baffling explanation from Mint’s head of technology.
Black Friday is approaching, and while for most retailers it’s about selling, this year Ikea is using the occasion to buy back used furniture items. The Scandinavian retailer is offering to purchase customers’ old Ikea items starting Black Friday, which it's now dubbing "Buy Back Friday." Consumers can register to sell their items online, and in return they will receive vouchers to spend in store, with their value calculated according to the condition of the items. The used items will be sold in special second-hand areas of Ikea stores.
The initiative, created out of Edelman U.K., is running in 27 countries as part of a global sustainability push by Ikea, which says it wants to “help customers give their furniture a second life instead of making an impulse buy." It's backed by an ad you can see over at Creativity showing how a Billy bookcase can have several "lives" with different owners.
Shot in the arm: Facebook will reject ads that discourage people from getting vaccines, citing a new policy meant to prevent “harm” to public health efforts. The company will also put educational material about the flu shot in users’ feeds.
Coming 2 Amazon: "Coming2America," the long-anticipated sequel to the 80s Eddie Murphy movie, is being sold to Amazon Studios by distributor Paramount in a deal worth roughly $125 million, according to Variety. The deal would see the movie streamed by Amazon in December.
Virtuous duo: Krystle Watler and Genie Gurnani, the managing director and executive creative director of Vice-owned Virtue, speak to Lindsay Rittenhouse in the latest edition of Ad Age’s “Uncomfortable Conversations” about what it's like to have a seat at the table when you come from a marginalized group. The pair, who penned an open letter to their fellow diverse advertising professionals when they were appointed, discuss personal discriminations, role models and what it's like to support Black employees in the wake of George Floyd.
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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