Oracle wins TikTok bid, and Unilever focuses pandemic relief on women: Monday Wake-Up Call
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Oracle has won the bid to acquire TikTok’s U.S. operations, with the news emerging just hours before President Trump’s September 15 deadline to ban the video-sharing app if it did not reach a deal.
Microsoft confirmed on Sunday that its bid had been rejected, and people familiar with the talks said that Oracle was the winning bidder. There’s already speculation, however, that a deal with Oracle might appear more like a corporate restructuring than an outright sale. For example, Oracle could take a stake of a newly formed U.S. business while serving as TikTok’s U.S. technology partner and housing TikTok’s data in Oracle’s cloud servers.
There’s plenty more to come from this saga: As reported by the Wall Street Journal, in a statement late Sunday, Walmart suggested it is considering joining the Oracle group, saying it is continuing “discussions with ByteDance leadership and other interested parties.”
Also, it’s unclear whether any deal with Oracle will be approved by either Beijing or the Trump administration; so far, no comment.
Working women have been disproportionately affected by ongoing homeschool regimes and lack of childcare during the coronavirus pandemic. There’s even a name for it; the “she-cession.” Now Unilever is addressing this issue in a new relief effort.
As Ad Age’s Jack Neff reports, the second phase of its United for America pandemic-relief campaign puts an added $5 million towards helping women-owned businesses and children who lack computers or WiFi access for home schooling. For example, the company is joining the group Luminary to provide 250 fellowships for women-owned businesses, at least half of them owned by women of color. “Our focus is on supporting vulnerable groups,” says Rob Master, VP of media and digital engagement, in an interview.
It’s all part of Unilever's ongoing corporate focus on purpose marketing, writes Neff, and comes “as consumer expectations rise for companies to take a more active role improving the daily lives for the people who buy their products.”
As Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse writes, hot on the heels of the breakaway group of Barry Wacksman, Saneel Radia and Mike Rigby, “people close to the matter say Rachel Mercer, VP and head of strategy in New York is departing the Interpublic Group of Cos. agency, while Colby Dennison, global head of operations, business transformation, and Philip Rackin, VP of business transformation, may not be far behind.”
The departures have yet to be officially confirmed, but if true, insiders say R/GA's business transformation group, built in response to consultancies' encroachment on Madison Avenue, will be all but depleted. The beginnings were promising in 2015, when R/GA was named Ad Agency’s Agency of the Year; where it goes next will be a bellwether for the industry and something we’ll be following closely.
Amid fierce criticism from the White House over the issue of postal voting, the beleaguered USPS is fighting back with support from celebrities, as well as a new ad campaign from McCann Worldgroup that is meant to increase trust among citizens. But this is not the first time it has used advertising to boost its reputation.
Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing has dug into the archives to take a fascinating look at USPS's campaigns over the years, which show how it has worked with the ad industry to address its business challenges. From its cartoon figure “Mr. Zip” promoting ZIP codes in the 1960s, to “We deliver for you” in the 90s and the holiday spot with a little girl who wants a hippo for Christmas, check out her definitive history here.
Facebook blow: Facebook has been dealt a blow in its fight to fend off Australian legal action surrounding Cambridge Analytica, reports the Guardian. In a ruling this morning, the social network failed to convince the federal court it did not carry out business in Australia at the time of the scandal.
Amazon hiring: Amazon has this morning announced plans to hire 100,000 more employees in the U.S. and Canada, reports the Wall Street Journal. The company also said it would open 100 new operations buildings amid a boom in online shopping.
The week ahead: Ad Age’s Women to Watch Conference & Awards takes place tomorrow; Apple has a new product to unveil; the World Retail Congress is later in the week; plus, it’s National Coloring Day today if you need some stress relief. Check out our Week Ahead roundup here.
Creativity of the Day: “Old Town Road” rapper Lil Nas X is asking people to create cover art to inspire his next track in a campaign with Adobe. The idea, conceived by agency Pereira O’Dell, is to promote Adobe’s Creative Cloud and “inspire the next generation of creators.” Find out more over at Creativity and, in case you missed it, don’t forget to catch up with our live edition of Creativity’s Top 5 campaigns of last week.
That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call. Thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well. For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter: @adage.
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