Questions over Apple’s ‘sexist’ credit card and Alibaba’s ‘singles day’ tops last year: Monday Wake-Up Call
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Apple credit card is ‘sexist’
Apple and its credit card partner Goldman Sachs are caught up in a row over its new Apple Card and whether its algorithms unintentionally discriminate against women. On Saturday, Bloomberg News reported that a Wall Street regulator had opened a probe into Goldman Sachs credit card practices after a viral tweet from tech entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson, founder and CTO of Basecamp, that alleged that the Apple Card’s algorithms discriminated against his wife, giving him 20 times more credit than her.
Then yesterday, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who's another user of the card, weighed in, saying he can borrow 10 times as much as his wife on their Apple Cards even though they share bank and other credit card accounts. “Algos obviously have flaws,” Wozniak said. “A huge number of people would say, ‘We love our technology but we are no longer in control.’ I think that’s the case.”
At the moment these are just allegations, but the criticism is potentially embarrassing for Apple, which rolled out the card earlier this year, promoting it as “created by Apple, not a bank.” Which, as Hansson, pointed out in one of his tweets, makes it hard for the company to blame Goldman for the issue.
Alibaba’s ‘singles day’ tops last year
Alibaba’s “singles day,” the massive online shopping event held annually by the Chinese retail behemoth, has already topped last year, and it isn't even over yet.
After a glitzy launch event in Shanghai, which saw a live-streamed, pre-event performance by Taylor Swift kick-off at midnight, sales had already exceeded last year’s $30 billion by approximately 4 p.m. local time, according to a tweet from Alibaba. Earlier on, Bloomberg News reported it had seen more than 114 billion yuan ($16.3 billion) of purchases in fewer than 90 minutes.
Singles day, which was originally started as an antidote to Valentine's Day for single people, is widely seen as a bellwether of the Chinese economy and, given the current concerns over the trade war with the U.S, its results will be keenly observed by investors.
Goodbye, Marlboro Man
Robert C. Norris, who played the iconic Marlboro Man, has died at the age of 90, marking the end of an era in advertising history. As the New York Times reports, Norris was one of several men who played Marlboro Man during the decades-long campaign by Philip Morris and Leo Burnett. Despite appearing in commercials that ran for about 14 years, Norris never smoked and eventually abandoned the campaign because he felt he was setting a bad example for his children.
Interesting fact: Norris wasn't actually an actor or model; he was a rancher. But, according to People, when Marlboro turned up at his ranch in Colorado to shoot some commercials, the tobacco company decided to replace their professional model with him, as Norris seemed incredibly authentic to the role and "already dirty."
Super Bowl return: Longtime Super Bowl advertisers WeatherTech and Kia are coming back to the game, report Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz and Jeannine Poggi. Both brands have confirmed their return; last month Avocados from Mexico also said it would be back.
Tik Tok deal: “Yandex, a company often called the Google of Russia, says it struck a partnership deal that will connect its ad network into TikTok, the Chinese-based viral video app,” reports Ad Age’s Garett Sloane.
Podcast of the Day: On Ad Age’s Ad Lib podcast this week, David & Goliath co-founder David Angelo talks to Ad Age’s Brian Braiker about life after acquisition, working in Los Angeles and what people get wrong about brand purpose. Have a listen here.
Campaign of the Day: Ikea has this year joined the U.K.’s "Christmas Bowl" for the first time, but instead of producing a heartwarming or sentimental spot, its holiday ad is all about shame. That’s “home shame,” as a bunch of ornaments and toys in a couple’s apartment start rapping, hilariously, about how terrible their home decor is. Real-life grime artist MC D Double E voices the track, which includes a toy dinosaur telling them their home is “very, very, very, very unacceptable.” Check it out here, and don’t miss Creativity’s Top 5 campaigns from last week, including a love story about canned fruit from Thailand that pays tribute to Chinese director Wong Kar-Wai.
Ad Age Next: Publishing is happening Nov. 14 in Manhattan, with speakers from New York Media, The New York Times, Essence, The Atlantic and more. They’ll talk about the challenges faced by content-makers and the marketers that partner with them. Learn more here.