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As the feel-good racism movie "Green Book" swiped Best Picture at the Academy Awards, beating what would have been a Netflix first with "Roma," among the contenders for best Oscars ad was Nike. The brand debuted a powerful, female-focused addition to its "Dream Crazy" campaign, fronted by Serena Williams.
AdAge's Adrianne Pasquarelli writes that "Williams speaks about the head-shaking dismissiveness female athletes regularly endure; many of those who have broken barriers in sports have been called 'crazy.'" The ad calls out some of the misogynistic language often used about female athletes, such as "dramatic," "unhinged," "delusional" and "irrational."
In an unusual move, Nike gave viewers a heads-up about the spot before it broke, via email. Nike Plus users received a note on Sunday afternoon titled "A Message From Serena Williams," in which the tennis star invited consumers to join her in pushing "crazy dreams" further and suggested they watch the Oscars broadcast.
Nike could use the win. Last week was a bad one for the company thanks to Duke University star freshman Zion Williamson's Nike sneaker falling apart during the team's losss to in-state rival North Carolina.
Earlier this week Disney-ABC TV Group confirmed it sold out of commercial inventory in the Oscars. Although ABC announced the sell-out just four days before Sunday night's broadcast, insiders say the network closed out its last bit of Oscars business two weeks ago. This is in keeping with the pace of recent years.
As for Netflix, it did rack up a first: Alfonso Cuarón snagged the best director Oscar for "Roma." And as CNBC reports, the movie "could be the turning point for the movie industry to shift away from theaters."
Oscars not too boring?
With ratings still to be confirmed for the Oscars broadcast on ABC, early reports suggest viewers weren't too bothered by the show's lack of a host. The New York Times writes "the broadcast kept momentum with a string of mini-hosts," while CNN says Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's performance of "Shallow" "hit viewers right in the feels."
Other Oscars advertisers that hope the viewing figures will be up on last year's all-time low of 26.5 million include Cadillac, Budweiser, Verizon, which debuted Spanish-language ads featuring real customers, and Hennessy's epic, VFX-heavy spot directed by Ridley Scott. Catch up with other highlights in the roundup by AdAge's Jeannine Poggi.
Mayo for life: "Mini-host" Amy Poehler made a joke about ads during the awards, and it turned Hellmann's night into a winning one. As Vox reports, she quipped: "We won't be doing awards during the commercials, but we will be presenting commercials during the awards. So if all the winners could please say, 'Hellmann's Mayonnaise: We're on the side of food,' instead of speeches, that would be great." Hellmann's responded on Twitter by saying Poehler just won Hellmann's for life.
Huawei questions overshadow MWC
MWC (previously known as Mobile World Congress) begins today in Barcelona, but the wireless industry's largest annual trade conference could be dominated this year by ongoing questions over the fate of Huawei.
As The New York Times reports, the conference, a platform for glitzy launches from handset makers, among others, "is being overshadowed by less glamorous policy questions about how to safeguard the behind-the-scenes infrastructure that keeps those devices connected to the internet."
Last month, the paper reports, Britain's Vodafone "said it was pausing some 5G investments in Europe.The decision stemmed from the roiling debate about the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, and uncertainty over whether European countries would ban the company from 5G networks because of national security concerns being raised by the Trump administration."
The move "shows how questions swirling about Huawei risk a cooling effect on the broader wireless industry," it adds.
Nevertheless, this hasn't stopped Huawei from having a large presence at the show, and it's making headlines already. On Sunday, it unveiled its foldable 5G phone, the MateX, which according to CNET, boasts a unique design, and an eye-watering price of $2,600.
Samsung recently introduced a foldable-screen phone as well. Called the Galaxy Fold, it turns into a tablet at a cost of $1,980.
Pinterest vaccine action: Pinterest has tweaked its search function to crack down on anti-vaccination propaganda, reports The New York Times, after accusations that it's become a platform for anti-vaxxer information. Now, if someone types "vaccine" into its search bar, nothing will come up. This comes after BuzzFeed reported on Friday that YouTube said it would prevent channels that promote anti-vax content from running advertising.
Maternity leave lawsuit: Ashley Berg, an employee of experiential marketing agency BMF, claims agency leaders reneged on her promotion after she told the company she was pregnant with her first child and planned to take maternity leave, AdAge's Megan Graham reports. A lawsuit names BMF and founding partners Brian Feit and Bruce Starr, managing partner Ed Starr and chief operating officer Eric Brunman.
A stitch in time? Not all the interesting Oscars campaigns aired during the show. Check out a new spot by e-commerce company Stitch Fix that aired just before the ABC broadcast during the red carpet interviews. The spot, which shows a woman getting dressed for a big night in casual clothing, "highlights the versatility of Stitch Fix, which uses a mix of stylists and computer algorithms to send personalized apparel and accessories to customers on a regular basis," writes AdAge's Adrianne Pasquarelli.
Sequel success: "How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World" topped the domestic box office over the weekend with $55.5 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. The third in the series, it's the first DreamWorks Animation movie released by NBCUniversal since it bought the company in 2016.
Creativity Pick of the Day: Old Spice now has a dry shampoo offering and it's advertising it in a very Old Spice way -- by creating car hood ornaments out of your head. Creativity's Ann-Christine Diaz writes that the latest wacky campaign by Wieden & Kennedy Portland "invites consumers to share their headshots on social media for a chance to win a miniature version of their noggins, hair and all, to adorn their wheels." Plus: check out last week's Top 5 most creative ideas, including Shutterstock's beautiful reimaginings of Oscar movie posters, from Creativity here.