Monday Wake-Up Call: 'Crazy Rich Asians' hits No. 1 at the box office, and other news to know today
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. Search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app. What people are talking about today: "Crazy Rich Asians" was reportedly No. 1 in the North American box office this weekend, yet another sign that moviegoers are eager to see stories with more diverse casts. The romantic comedy cost $30 million to make, and it more than made up for that in North America ticket sales in its first five days, hitting $34 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter. And it was the best opening for a rom-com in three years.
Another reference point: Warner Bros. spent $11.1 million on U.S. TV to promote the movie, as Ad Age's Anthony Crupi points out; the first teaser aired during the season finale of the CW's "Riverdale" in May.
The quote: "This shows — once again, with emphasis — that true diversity matters," Brad Simpson, a "Crazy Rich Asians" producer, said, as quoted by The New York Times. "Audiences are tired of seeing the same stories with the same characters. And we have to give people a reason to get off their couch or devices. We have to give them something different."
'This is not a typo': In other box office news, Kevin Spacey's movie "Billionaire Boys Club" opened in 10 theatres in the U.S. on Friday, and it made … $126. "That is not a typo," as Quartz writes, estimating that only about 10 theater-goers paid to see the movie, which was made before Spacey's reputation was tarnished by sexual misconduct complaints.
Gone in six seconds
The six-second ad format is all the rage. But what can you really say in six seconds? Here's Ted Danson in a new Smirnoff ad, seemingly flustered about the time limitations: "Wait, what do you mean we only have six seconds? How, how? Hi, I'm T--, uh, no, this is Smirnoff, and I'm --." And that's it, because six seconds are up.
Danson "didn't know what a six-second ad was, so we kind of ad-libbed that one, which is fantastic. It worked out great," Jay Sethi, VP-Smirnoff in North America for brand owner Diageo, told Ad Age's E.J. Schultz. "The Good Place" actor's work on the campaign by 72andSunny includes six- and 15-second ads, and he also appears with other celebs, including actress Jenna Fischer, Jonathan Van Ness of Netflix's "Queer Eye," actress and LGBT activist Laverne Cox and comedian and actress Nicole Byer.
"Spanish is sexist. Here's what creatives can do about it," is the headline on an Ad Age point of view piece by Juan José Quintana, executive creative director at multicultural agency Orci. He writes: "With the recent #metoo movement and all the progress in the LGBTQ community, I, as well as many other Spanish writers, have come to the realization that our old and beloved language now seems sexist, discriminatory, and at times, stereotypical." It's a problem stemming from the way Romance languages like Spanish are built, with some nouns being masculine and others feminine. He suggests writers make deliberate choices to embrace feminine words and expressions that include both genders, such as "la comunidad empresarial" (the business community, with comunidad being a feminine noun) instead of "los empresarios" (the businessmen). Read his full argument here.
What is JÜV Consulting? It's "one of several new marketing firms that illuminate the inner workings of kids these days without condescending to them," as The New York Times writes in a profile. Its staff are ages 14 to 22. JÜV, whose name comes from "juvenile" and "rejuvenate," has been working with clients including Edelman and Viacom. The executive team spent this summer together in a Brooklyn loft, and left this month to go back to college, although they will work remotely during the school year, The Times says. One pro tip for corporate America from the 19-year-old CEO: "The term 'lit' isn't really cool anymore ... Even though a lot of us still colloquially use it, if a company did it, that's cringey. Because lit, our parents now know it."
Also: Apparently the team is looking to hire some "badass young people. From the JÜV website: "Right now, there are middle-aged 'youth experts' that exist to give companies advice on how to market to our generation, but we exist to reclaim our narrative – you in?"
Uh oh: "Apple pulled illegal apps from its App Store in China after coming under fire from state media for not doing enough to filter out banned material," The Wall Street Journal says. China is a huge market for Apple, and these are sensitive times for U.S. companies operating there, with fears about how the U.S.-China trade war will play out.
Backlash: "We realize that more and more people have fear of companies like ours," Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told CNN, speaking about "the perceived power that companies like ours have over how they live and even think every single day." (And meanwhile, President Trump complained that social media discriminates against conservatives.)
Ad of the day: Lil Yachty and Donny Osmond are an odd pairing, and yet the 20-year-old rapper and a 60-year-old former teen idol made a song together. And it's about Chef Boyardee, as Ad Age's Jessica Wohl reports in Ad Age. Wohl says it's "cheesy yet curiously catchy"; watch it here.