Monday Wake-Up Call: Facebook's Zuckerberg crams for a test, and two top creatives form a new agency

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Mark Zuckerberg at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2016 CEO Summit in 2016.
Mark Zuckerberg at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2016 CEO Summit in 2016. Credit: Guillermo Gutierrez/Bloomberg

Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. What people are talking about today: Mark Zuckerberg is getting "a crash course in humility and charm" before he testifies on Capitol Hill this Tuesday and Wednesday about Facebook's data privacy scandal, The New York Times reports. He'll even wear a suit and tie instead of his typical T-shirt. "Ahead of Mr. Zuckerberg's trip to Washington, Facebook has hired a team from the law firm WilmerHale as well as outside consultants to coach him on questions lawmakers may ask," the Times says. This weekend, "Saturday Night Live" trolled the Facebook founder and his perceived sorry-not-sorry attitude about data privacy, with Alex Moffat standing in for Zuckerberg during the Weekend Update segment. "Sure, maybe Facebook sold out our democracy to Russian troll farms, my bad," Moffat's faux-Zuckerberg said. "But on the other hand, Farmville."

Number to know: Facebook PR chief Elliot Schrage manages "between 500 and 700 full-time policy and communications employees," according to The Information.

'Eerily similar'
CNBC discovered that a data analytics company called CubeYou was using quizzes to collect information about users and sharing that data with marketers, and it reached out to Facebook to ask about it. In response, Facebook suspended CubeYou pending an investigation. The CubeYou situation is "eerily similar" to the Cambridge Analytica scandal that sparked Facebook's spiraling data privacy scandal, CNBC says. Like political data firm Cambridge Analytica, CubeYou handled data gathered by researchers working with the Psychometrics Lab at Cambridge University, with data supposedly being gathered for academic research. As CNBC writes:

"The CubeYou discovery suggests that collecting data from quizzes and using it for marketing purposes was far from an isolated incident. Moreover, the fact that CubeYou was able to mislabel the purpose of the quizzes, and that Facebook did nothing to stop it until CNBC pointed out the problem, suggests the platform has little control over this activity."

A Facebook exec thanked CNBC "for bringing this case to our attention." If Facebook wants to look like it's being more pro-active about data privacy, this is a fail.

YouTube and kids
YouTube has come under criticism for letting inappropriate or offensive content slip through to kids. Now, Wired reports, over 20 groups on consumer rights, privacy and children's health are getting together to file a complaint against YouTube with the Federal Trade Commission. The groups want the FTC to investigate whether YouTube is violating a law on children's online privacy protection that requires websites to get parents' permission before collecting data about children. YouTube says it's not designed for children under 13; it created a separate, more protected app, YouTube Kids, for that purpose. But, as Wired reports:

"The complaint to the FTC argues that most children aren't watching YouTube Kids, which launched in 2015. They're watching the same YouTube as the rest of us, and the company is aware of that, says Josh Golin, executive director of the Center of a Commercial Free Childhood, a nonprofit behind the complaint."

To bolster their case about why YouTube deserves more scrutiny, the watchdog groups also cite a study from Smarty Pants, a market research firm focused on youth and families, which described YouTube as the No. 1 brand for children in 2017. "A whopping 96% of kids ages 6-12 are aware of YouTube, and 94% say they either love (71%) or like (24%) it," the study said.

Two co-founders of the agency David, Anselmo Ramos and Gaston Bigio, have opened Gut, an independent global creative agency based in Miami and Buenos Aires. As Ad Age's Ann-Christine Diaz writes, the pair had announced in November that they would be leaving the WPP-owned shop, where they worked for clients including Burger King, Kraft-Heinz and Budweiser. What's behind the name Gut? "It's our philosophy. We really believe it embraces, in three letters, what the company needs to be about, and that's bravery," Ramos says.

Read more by Diaz here, and check out the shop's logo, which is vaguely intestinal but somehow also zany and cute.

Just briefly:
Ad Age's Megan Graham is at the 4A's "Accelerate" conference in Miami; keep an eye out for her coverage.

She's back: Laura Ingraham returns tonight to Fox News after a week-long vacation, but many of her advertisers are still staying away, concerned about her mockery of teenage Parkland, Florida, student David Hogg. (She later apologized.) Read more on CNN.

Denver Post: The newspaper "took the extraordinary step this weekend of publicly blasting its New York-based hedge-fund owner and making the case for its own survival," The New York Times says.

Sinclair: Sinclair Broadcast Group has allowed a liberal watchdog group, Allied Progress, to run a commercial that's critical of Sinclair's coverage. But as CNN reports, "There's a catch. The company is running its own message right before and after the ad."

ICYMI: Check out Ad Age's third annual list of Women to Watch Europe ahead of our dinner honoring them in London on June 6. And read more by Judann Pollack.

Quote of the day: "I've been around long enough to remember sitting in a creative agency in the early '70s, where a creative director walked into my office and said, 'I don't do radio, get this radio schedule off the media plan.' … The good old days weren't that great," Irwin Gotlieb tells Ad Age's Megan Graham. The GroupM chairman announced Friday that he was retiring from his role and will now serve as an advisor to WPP.

You can get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app.

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