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: Sears, longtime giant of American retail, has reportedly filed for bankruptcy protection. Sears Holdings Corp. "collapsed into bankruptcy under pressure from too much debt and too few shoppers," Bloomberg News reports, adding that the company lodged its filing at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. There's a lot of history at stake here. As USA Today has noted, Sears
"launched its own merchandise brands, such as Kenmore and DieHard, created Allstate Insurance, and even ventured into the stock brokerage and real estate brokerage businesses. At one time, it owned and occupied the tallest building in America, the Sears Tower in Chicago. It even had the foresight to partner with CBS and IBM in an early Internet portal known as Prodigy."
Sears was an innovator once, the Amazon of its time. So spare a thought for Sears today; its story is a reminder of how empires can fall.
Also: Judann Pollack wrote about her Sears memories last year for Ad Age, recalling the days when "you didn't even need to write a letter to Santa -- you just checked off cool things in the Sears wishbook."
Not good news for agencies
Today brings some sobering data points about the percentage of marketers building in-house agencies. As Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli writes:
"In news that's surprising to no one, in-house agencies are on the rise. What is new, however, is just how much. The vast majority, or 78 percent, of members of the Association of National Advertisers have some form of in-house agency, according to a new report by the group, which surveyed 412 client-side marketers."
That's a big jump from the last time ANA delved into the subject in 2013, when it found that 58 percent of marketers it surveyed had an in-house team. Read Pasquarelli's full report here.
You're probably familiar with the clichés of fruit-juice marketing. "We call it the 'chirping birds and smiling kids strategy' that women have been seeing for 50 years," Lesya Lysyj, Welch's U.S. president, told Ad Age. E.J. Schultz reports that "as more moms abandon juice because of sugar concerns, the old ad approach no longer works." And the brand is trying something different.
Welch's new campaign targets Gen X guys, who are loyal juice drinkers. Ads from Barton F. Graf show grapes getting squashed by machinery and splattering the guys' faces. It's quite an unusual approach, with media buys to match, including during NFL coverage and on Howard Stern's satellite radio show.
William K. Coors, who spent decades as chairman of the family brewery bearing his name, has died at age 102, The New York Times reports, noting his "ultraconversative" views and his belief in limited marketing spend. "We don't need marketing," Mr. Coors once said, as quoted by The Times. "We know we make the best beer in the world."
Trendspotting: The Just For Men brand -- known for some macho marketing over the years -- has a new spot that show a guy putting on eyeliner. Ad Age's Jack Neff examines how the male grooming category has embraced an evolved vision of what it means to be a man.
Brain drain: Tony Stanol, president of Global Recruiters, looks at why agency staff are departing for tech companies, and what the ad giants are doing to fight back.
Number of the day: Florida politicians booked another $27 million in TV ad buys Thursday -- a day when you might have expected them to have other priorities, since it was just after Hurricane Michael hit. Read more from Simon Dumenco and the Ad Age Datacenter team.
Video of the day: The Parkland, Florida students behind March For Our Lives worked with pop artist Kesha, her brother Sage Sebert, McCann New York and The Mill on a music video illustrating "the seemingly hopeless chain of events around school shootings and gun violence," as Ann-Christine Diaz writes in Ad Age. To reinforce the message about a vicious cycle, the video plays three times, with slight modifications each time. The Kesha video is also at the top of Ad Age's pick of the week's Top 5 creative ideas; watch it here.