Barstool Sports admits to 'moronic' behavior, and Dollar Shave Club tries something new: Wednesday Wake-Up Call

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Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy in 2017
Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy in 2017 Credit: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

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What people are talking about today
Barstool Sports' founder acknowledges some "moronic" behavior by the company. What happened? Comedian Miel Bredouw says the media brand ripped off one of her videos and put it online. After she filed a takedown notice to Twitter, she says, Barstool harassed her with hundreds of messages trying to get her to retract her complaint. At one point, Barstool absurdly offered Bredouw a $50 gift card for Barstool merch in hopes of convincing her.

Bredouw took her story to Twitter, where it went viral, offering a new vantage point into Barstool's culture (which critics describe as sexist and bullying.) Then Barstool responded.

"Unfortunately Barstool Sports has idiots in our company much like many other companies, and those idiots acted like idiots," Barstool's founder, Dave Portnoy, told Business Insider. "I regret our lawyer offering a 50 dollar gift card to our store not because it's illegal in any manner but it's just so moronic and makes us look like assholes."

It's definitely not a gracious apology, but it's on-brand.

ICYMI: Ad Age editor Brian Braiker sat down with Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini for the "Ad Lib" podcast in January to discuss the brand, its growth, its revenue model and its behavioral ... issues.

'Dark, sweaty, stinky places'
After launching razors, toothbrushes and colognes, Dollar Shave Club is entering a new frontier of men's grooming by offering deodorants and antiperspirants. As Ad Age's Jack Neff writes, the new line (called Groundskeeper) will also include an existing product, wipes for the derrière. In case you wondered, the Unilever-owned direct-to-consumer brand says there's a solid rationale for grouping together products meant for the underarm and the bottom.

"What connects the whole line is taking care of your dark, sweaty stinky places that don't get a lot of love and attention throughout the day," Michael Dubin, CEO and co-founder, says.

Alrighty then.

Irreconcilable differences
Coors Light and 72andSunny are splitting up after three years of working together. MillerCoors is launching a creative agency review, and 72andSunny will not participate, Ad Age's E.J. Schultz reports. It sounds like the relationship wasn't going so well. The agency says:

"We've put a lot of great work on the table for this brand and some of it made it out into the world, but not enough. At this point, our creative differences are such that we are in better service as fans and beer drinkers than as their agency."

Age of influence
Instagram has a new ad offering to link up brands and influencers, or internet celebs; the company calls it "branded content ads." As Ad Age's Garett Sloane writes:

"Until now, brands could hire popular Instagram users to work on ad campaigns and promote products with branded content, but the posts would only reach the followers of the influencer. Branded content ads let the advertisers promote these Instagram posts just like they would any other ad."

In short: After a brand hires a celebrity to promote a product on Instagram, it can now pay money to get that branded content in front of more eyeballs than usual. Get ready to see even more influencer posts on Instagram.

Just briefly:
Amazon ads
: Ad Age's Garett Sloane looks at the Amazon Attribution beta program, which "has given a select few agencies and brands a window into which ad campaigns drive consumers to fill their digital shopping carts."

Branded podcasts: Here's a surprise -- Trader Joe's ranks in the top 1 percent of all podcast downloads, regardless of genre. Ad Age's George Slefo examines some successful branded podcasts and what they're doing right.

Ch-ch-ch-Chia: Ad Age chatted with Joseph Pedott, the man who sold not only the Chia Pet, but also The Clapper, and who also wrote those earworm-y ads. He talks about how to make memorable commercials (and why friends told him "The Clapper" was a terrible name.)

Barneys + cannabis: Barneys is putting an upscale cannabis lifestyle and wellness shop in its Los Angeles store. "It is something that we feel our customers are telling us they want us to be part of, this shift," Danielle Vitale, CEO of Barneys, tells Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli. Watch their conversation at Shoptalk, the retail conference in Las Vegas.

Headline of the day: "We're Living in a Golden Age of Classy Pork Rinds," The Wall Street Journal reports.

Ad of the day: Halo Top's new campaign from 72andSunny includes lines of dialogue you don't expect to hear in ice cream ad. Sample chat around the ice cream truck: "What's a mortgage?" a kid asks. A grown-up customer replies: "It's like waterboarding, only you do it to yourself." The message is that it's hard being a grown-up, and adults need ice cream to cope. Read more from Ad Age's Jessica Wohl, and watch the spots here.

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