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: The Cannes Lions are here, and Ad Age has a team in southern France keeping you up to date on the big ad festival. They're doing an evening newsletter you can subscribe to here, they've got a live blog, they're hosting events and they want people to come say hello. Also, Ad Age's Megan Graham checked in with Cannes veterans who offered pro tips, from comfy shoes to a miracle French hangover remedy. (It's something called Oxyboldine, in case you want to jot that down.)
Le guide: Perhaps you're not totally sure how to pronounce "Cannes." WPP's Ogilvy tweeted out a handy guide: "Can, as in 'can of soup,' is the right way." It's not very fancy-sounding, but maybe you can throw a mention of "rosé" into your conversation. Or "yachts." Or why not both?
'Inspirational and relatable true stories'
Not to be confused with "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" or "Unbreakable," the M. Night Shyamalan superhero movie, Fox Networks Group has a new branded content series called "Unbreakables – Stories That Heal." As Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi writes, FNG execs will be looking for sponsors in Cannes for the series, which will tell "the inspirational and relatable true stories of people who have overcome disease, injury, accidents and other adversities." The series on FNG properties from FX to National Geographic stems from research by TBWA, and it will take various forms, including 6-second ads. Fox Networks Group and TBWA will present the series today at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. And as Poggi writes,
"This is part of Fox's broader efforts to revamp the TV ad format, making commercials look more like the content people are tuning in to watch and reducing commercial time to better compete with streaming rivals like Netflix and Hulu."
In other words, they're commercials dressed up in new outfits.
Keith Weed, Unilever's chief marketing officer, has had it with social media influencers who buy followers. And the consumer goods giant says it will no longer work with them, according to Variety. "We need to take urgent action to rebuild trust before it's gone forever," Weed said in a statement, as reported by Variety.
Weed is expected to announce the move today at Cannes. As The Wall Street Journal reports, Weed also wants social media platforms to step up and do more to fix the problem. Unilever, owner of brands from Lipton to Dove, was the fourth-biggest global ad spender in 2016, according to Ad Age's Datacenter.
Flashback: For context and perspective, read Simon Dumenco's take on the issue of buying social followers from back in February. He says brands are partly to blame for the problem. And "what really needs to happen is brands have to put the screws to Twitter et al. and demand real solutions to the bot plague," he writes.
'We are the 0.1 percent': Mira Kaddoura, founder and ECD of agency Red & Co., makes the case for why more women should found their own agencies, and why brands should hire them. "Brands pay lip service to diversity and inclusion, but money talks: They continue to award work to business-as-usual agencies, and to no one's surprise, advertising continues on its misogynistic path." Read it in Ad Age.
Press pause: AMC said it's suspending "Talking with Chris Hardwick" while it looks into claims by the host's ex-girlfriend, actress Chloe Dykstra, that he subjected her to sexual and emotional abuse, CNN reports. Hardwick denies any abuse.
Newsprint to blockchain: A team of reporters and editors left the hedge-fund-owned Denver Post to found a news outlet called The Colorado Sun. As The New York Times says, "They will be partnering with the Civil Media Company, an ambitious New York start-up that aims to use blockchain technology and crypto economics to start 1,000 publications nationwide by the end of the year."
Ta ta, Tronc: Starting today, Biotech billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong will be the new owner of the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, after he purchased them from Tronc. Soon-Shiong also remains a major shareholder of Tronc, and he tells the LA Times: "I hope that I can convince the board to drop the name Tronc. I think we need to go back to Tribune…. The legacy of this [company] needs to be respected and I always thought Tronc was a silly name." (So did a lot of people.)
Creativity pick of the day: It's the video game innovation you didn't know you wanted. Sugar-free Tic Tac Gum has released two games where you control the action on your screen by chomping on your gum. The games, from TBWA/Chiat/Day New York, are available through Snapchat lenses. Read more by Ad Age's I-Hsien Sherwood, and watch how it works here.