Tributes to Kobe Bryant pour in after his tragic death: Monday Wake-Up Call
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Tributes to Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash
Tributes have been pouring in for Kobe Bryant, the NBA legend and advertising icon, after he died in a helicopter crash in California Sunday, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
At the Grammys last night in L.A.’s Staples Center, host Alicia Keys opened the show with the words: “We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now. We’re literally standing here, heartbroken, in the house that Kobe Bryant built.” As the New York Times reports, during the show singer Lizzo also gave out a shout out to Bryant while his iconic jersey appeared during performances by Aerosmith and Run DMC and Lil Nas X’s ensemble remix of “Old Town Road.” ABC last night aired an instant primetime special on the life of Bryant.
Meanwhile Nike honored Bryant in a tweet titled “Mamba Forever,” since retweeted more than 80,000 times, hailing him as “one of the greatest athletes of his generation.” As Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz reports, the star was a longtime Nike endorser, a star of countless ads and also was known to help write his own ads. He was also an investor in BodyArmour and intimately involved in the sports drink’s marketing, sometimes collaborating with Brian Ford, a former Wieden & Kennedy copywriter with whom he has previously partnered on Nike. "Being creative is what I love to do," Bryant told Ad Age in a 2017 interview about his work on the brand. BodyArmour posted on Instagram: “Words cannot express the heartbreak we feel right now.”
Meanwhile, Schultz also writes, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said it would postpone all activity along the Las Vegas strip surrounding the launch of its new advertising campaign, which broke last night during the Grammys. Instead, it will show a tribute to Bryant.
Advertisers back scandal-hit Grammys
The Grammys was understandably overshadowed by Kobe Bryant’s tragic death. But ahead of the event in L.A., advertisers continued to support the show despite a series of scandals.
As Ad Age’s Anthony Crupi reports, “advertisers have not wavered in their support of the show,” despite accusations of sexual misconduct and vote rigging. Just 10 days before the event, Recording Academy president and CEO Deborah Dugan was placed on administrative leave, and subsequently filed a lawsuit against her employer alleging that she was sidelined only after raising allegations of sexual harassment and “other improprieties.”
However, Crupi writes, advertisers didn’t appear to cancel due to the scandal, and among the brands debuting fresh spots during Sunday’s broadcast were IBM, Coors Light as well as the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. McDonald’s also debuted a new campaign during the show, with ads for its Quarter Pounder voiced by “Succession” star Brian Cox, writes Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl. It’s the first glimpse of the creative approach McDonald’s is taking with Wieden & Kennedy New York, which it hired last year as lead U.S. creative shop.
Facebook reveals more on Super Bowl ad
With just a week to go before the Super Bowl, the teasers are coming thick and fast. This morning, Facebook revealed a little more about its campaign, details of which were earlier leaked on social media by one of its stars, an over-excited Sylvester Stallone, who was recreating a famous scene from “Rocky.”
As Ad Age’s Garett Sloane reports, this morning it released two teasers, which kind of explain the whole “rock” theme. So, in addition to “Rocky,” the campaign sees Chris Rock doing one-handed push-ups, while another clip shows kids preparing model rockets for liftoff. The explanation: It's all about Facebook Groups, with all the real-life groups in the spot associated with different elements of the word "rock."
In other Super Bowl news, Ad Age’s Jeannine Poggi writes that Fox is adding more commercial time to the sold-out Super Bowl LIV to make room for last-minute advertisers. It's adding one extra commercial break to the game, called a "floater," meaning it will come when there is an unforeseen break in the action, and it will accommodate marketers who are "significant" sponsors of both the NFL and Fox Sports.
For all the latest news on the Super Bowl, check out Ad Age's Super Bowl Alerts newsletter. Sign up right here. Plus, Join Ad Age on Jan. 28 as we bring together some of the top brands, agencies and creatives, including Hyundai, BBDO, Sabra hummus, Madonna Badger, Pop-Tarts and WeatherTech, to discuss what it takes to pull off a Super Bowl commercial.
"Ocean liner:" Mike Bloomberg’s advertising spend on the presidential campaign trail has reached $246 million to date, according to the latest Ad Age Datacenter analysis of campaign ad spending in partnership with Kantar/CMAG. “It’s like Bloomberg is steering his own personal ocean liner through the foamy electoral waters,” write Ad Age’s Simon Dumenco and Kevin Brown. Read more here.
Apple “surge:” Apple’s stock has rallied, closing Friday at $318.31, and the company now has a market value of nearly $1.4 trillion, reports the Wall Street Journal. Apple reports results Tuesday and analysts predict iPhone shipments will see growth for the first time since fiscal 2018 with the launch of 5G.
Hall of Fame: Edelman CEO Richard Edelman, photographer Annie Leibovitz and Nina DiSesa, former chairwoman and chief creative officer of McCann Erickson will be among the honorees inducted into the 2020 Advertising Hall of Fame, reports Ad Age’s Ethan Jakob Craft. The American Advertising Federation's 71st annual induction ceremony takes place in late April.
Podcast of the Day: In the latest Ad Block podcast, Jeff Sweat, longtime agency PR and now young adult author, tells Ad Age's I-Hsien Sherwood and Alfred Maskeroni about growing up Mormon and leaving the religion with his wife and family as an adult.
Campaign of the Day: With the spread of the coronavirus hampering travel for Chinese residents during New Year celebrations, a charming film created by Airbnb feels a bit bittersweet, writes Creativity editor Ann-Christine Diaz. The “exquisitely animated tale” shows how the site helps reunite a family whose daughter has moved away to a big city, so they can continue their New Year tradition. Watch it here, and don’t forget to check out Creativity’s Top 5 campaigns from last week, including HBO’s album of “soothing” tracks promoting Season 10 “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” provided by none other than the show’s ranting character, Susie Greene.
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