Texas sues Google alleging fixed ad prices, and Rick Astley croons for Frito-Lay: Thursday Wake-Up Call
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President Trump and his supporters in the Republican party have been picking fights with tech companies for years. In October, the Justice Department filed an antitrust suit against Google, and now, the Republican attorney general of Texas has filed a suit against the search giant alleging anti-competitive actions in ad tech.
According to Texas, Google rigged ad auctions to drive up the prices brands paid to advertise on its platforms. The state also claims Google and Facebook illegally colluded to avoid competing with one another, though the suit presents few details.
This is Ken Paxton, the same AG who tried to overturn the presidential election earlier this week by seeking to have 20 million votes in four states thrown out. That suit met a quick demise at the hands of the Supreme Court, but this Google suit won’t evaporate come the next presidential administration.
This year has been a bad one for most businesses, but the next few years could be very good ones, at least for e-commerce brands. So says GroupM, which is predicting that online sales will make up $7 trillion in annual revenue by 2024. By 2027, it expects that number to hit $10 trillion.
The WPP shop is basing its predictions on strong growth in the sector in the second half of 2020. “The media investment company further estimates that global retail e-commerce, excluding food and delivery services, will work out to $3.9 trillion in 2020, or 17% of equivalent global retail sales—more than double its annual sales activity in 2016,” writes Ad Age’s Ethan Jakob Craft.
TikTok is one of the hottest brands in the world, and there are hundreds of open positions around the world. But many job applicants had their personal data routed to servers in China without their knowledge, according to Business Insider.
Those who applied on TikTok’s own site or on LinkedIn may not have been affected. But applicants who used their Facebook login to apply were routed to a Chinese URL, and all applicants had their data processed by Chinese company Kundou. Users in the European Union and Japan were notified this would happen. U.S. applicants were not. After Business Insider inquired about the redirect, it was removed, though TikTok did not comment on the change.
The company is still facing a potential ban in the U.S., so it is sensitive to criticism that it collects data that could be accessed by the Chinese government.
Rick Astley, the internet’s favorite musical prank, will appear in an ad for Frito-Lay in January. There’s a New Year’s resolution tie-in where he insists healthy eaters shouldn’t have to “give up” their beloved snacks. Get it?
“I like to snack," Astley tells Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl on the latest episode of the “Ad Lib” podcast. “He favors salt and vinegar and plain potato chips, or crisps, as they're known in the U.K. ‘Believe me, crisps have been a big thing in my life.’”
He also chats about his fame on social media, his new Christmas song and his current band. “We have a closet, midlife-crisis rock band," he says. "In an alternate universe that's what I would have been, I think, is a drummer in a little punk band.”
Because that's how he rolls.
Force of personality: Baby Yoda is the adorable merchandising hit of the season. Now the cute star of Disney+ hit “The Mandalorian” is taking the place of another star—the one atop Christmas trees (or at least Baby Yoda plushies and figurines stuck at the top of an evergreen). Let’s see the Elf on the Shelf search its feelings.
Coin-op: Alt-currency Bitcoin hit $20,000 on Wednesday for the first time in its history. Economists and traders still disagree on whether crypto is a good investment or just digital chocolate gelt, but in uncertain times, especially when distrust of institutions is high, the appeal of an unregulated medium of exchange not tied to any government is obvious.
Getting the axe: Tyson Foods fired seven managers who placed bets on how many of their workers at a meat processing plant in Iowa would contract coronavirus. For the record, six of the workers at the plant have died from COVID-19 so far, and more than a thousand workers at this single plant have been infected.
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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