Spuds MacKenzie returns, sort of. Plus, a Big Tech antitrust probe: Wednesday Wake-Up Call
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The reincarnation of Spuds MacKenzie
Spuds MacKenzie was Bud Light's pitchman (errr, pitchdog?) in the '80s; now a brand of dog treats is using the famous name. A company called Spuds Ventures holds the trademark registrations for the name when it comes to pet products, and its planned lineup includes dog treats infused with hemp seed, hemp oil and CBD, Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl writes. The first product is “Spuds MacKenzie Anti-Anxiety & Calming Smoky Bacon Dog Treats." But following a trademark suit settlement, the company says it can't use the same dog imagery that Bud Light used. So while the original Spuds was portrayed by a female bull terrier named Honey Tree Evil Eye (may she rest in peace), the new pup mascot is a rescue dog with an unknown mix of breeds.
It’s unclear what Bud Light parent Anheuser-Busch InBev thinks of all this; it declined to comment.
An antitrust probe for Big Tech
Bad news for Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon: The Justice Department says it is launching a sweeping antitrust review on whether major online platforms have hurt competition, stifled innovation or harmed consumers in other ways. The Wall Street Journal reports that the move
could ratchet up the already considerable regulatory pressures facing the top U.S. tech firms. The review is designed to go above and beyond recent plans for scrutinizing the tech sector that were crafted by the department and the Federal Trade Commission.
Meanwhile, there’s other big news expected out of Washington D.C. soon, with the FTC set to announce a record-breaking $5 billion fine for Facebook for violating user privacy. It frankly could have been much worse for Facebook: The Washington Post reports that officials originally hoped for a fine of “tens of billions of dollars, and imposing more direct liability for the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg.” To put things in perspective, Facebook made $55 billion in ad revenue last year.
NBC’s 2020 Olympics forecast
The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics open exactly one year from today. And NBC says it’s on track to exceed the record $1.2 billion in ad sales that the 2016 Games in Rio brought in, Ad Age’s Anthony Crupi writes. NBC is pitching the event as a highly brand-safe environment for advertisers. The Tokyo Games, to be held July 24 to Aug. 9, 2020, will take place between the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. And Crupi writes that “If nothing else, the competition could prove to be an oasis in a sea of political ugliness on the home front.”
Big deal: Zion Williamson, No. 1 pick of the pro basketball draft, just signed an endorsement deal with Nike’s Jordan brand. In February, Williamson’s Nike shoe famously ripped apart on the court while he was playing for Duke University, but apparently everyone's moved past that. Read more from Bloomberg News.
Adland earnings: Interpublic Group of Cos. reported organic growth of 3 percent for the second quarter, but investors were unimpressed. “IPG shares fell more than 2 percent on Tuesday morning as a slowdown in the U.S. appears to be weighing on overall results,” Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse writes.
Agency moves: Britt Nolan, who announced his departure from Leo Burnett last week, will become DDB’s North American chief creative officer, Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz and Ann-Christine Diaz report. He replaces Ari Weiss, who is promoted to global chief creative officer. Also, Christian Juhl will be the next global CEO of WPP’s GroupM, effective Oct. 1. Juhl, previously global CEO of GroupM's Essence, takes over for Kelly Clark, Lindsay Rittenhouse writes.
On a roll: “Snapchat added 13 million daily users in a breakout second quarter, thanks to the viral explosion of a pair of augmented-reality filters,” Ad Age’s Garett Sloane writes. Snapchat has emerged from a rough patch, and its success is “boosting credibility with advertisers, who are starting to pile into the platform.”
Well, this is unexpected: Frank Abagnale, the one-time con man played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie “Catch Me If You Can,” has changed course and dedicated himself for decades to teaching FBI agents how to spot fraud. Now, in a video from digital agency Levelwing, he offers some thoughts about fraud in the ad industry. Read more by Ad Age’s Jack Neff.
Unwanted freebie: “Forever 21 customers are fuming after the company added free Atkins diet bars to some online orders in the US,” BuzzFeed News reports. After a backlash, the company says it removed the freebie from orders.
Podcast of the day: Dhanusha Sivajee, chief marketing officer at The Knot Worldwide, talks about why she loves hosting themed costume parties. But if you ever get an invitation, beware: “I turn people away if they don’t come dressed up. These are my friends, they should know better. There’s no room for lameness at my parties.” Listen to her conversation with Ad Age’s Alfred Maskeroni and I-Hsien Sherwood here, and subscribe to their Ad Block podcast via iTunes and Spotify.
Product of the day: Kellogg is partnering with House Wine to offer up a special limited-time pairing: a box of red wine and a box of Cheez-Its, CNN reports. It’s a wine-and-cheese party in a box—two boxes, to be precise.
Creativity pick of the day: How do you get people to stop peeing in public? At a train station in Mureaux, in suburban Paris, Ogilvy Paris painted charming murals on walls where people were relieving themselves; the paintings include images of kids, to remind potential urinators that children frequent the station, Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz reports. The effort has reportedly led to an 88 percent reduction in public urination (but we don’t really want to know exactly how they measured that). Check out the campaign here.
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