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Trump approves TikTok deal, and Sandy Hook ad wins an Emmy: Monday Wake-Up Call
It’s been a busy weekend of news regarding President Trump’s stand-off with the Chinese tech sector. On Saturday, Trump approved Oracle’s bid for the U.S. operations of TikTok “in concept,” telling reporters he had given the deal his “blessing.” Under terms of the deal, Oracle and Walmart will reportedly control 20 percent of the new TikTok Global, while Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic, already investors in TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance, are also expected to take stakes in the new company. TikTok Global will likely be headquartered in Texas and will hire “at least” 25,000 people, Trump said.
While the complexities of the deal need to be ironed out, there's still trouble ahead for WeChat, the Chinese-owned “super-app.” Yesterday, the Trump administration’s curbs on WeChat were put on hold by a judge in San Francisco as they were due to go into effect. An injunction was granted at the request of the U.S. WeChat Users Alliance, which had argued that prohibitions on the app would violate the free-speech rights of millions of Chinese-speaking Americans. Up to an estimated 19 million people use WeChat in the U.S. and, on Friday, Bloomberg reported that downloads of the app, owned by Tencent, had surged ahead of the possible ban.
Sandy Hook Promise's “Back-to-School Essentials” ad, in which a typically saccharine back-to-school promo turns into a chilling list of items kids need to protect themselves in a shooting, won the 2020 Emmy for Outstanding Commercial last night.
Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz reports that the harrowing spot, directed by Smuggler’s Henry-Alex Rubin for BBDO New York, fought off fierce competition, including from Jeep’s popular “Groundhog Day” Super Bowl ad starring Bill Murray, as well as Procter & Gamble’s “The Look” spot illustrating the unconscious bias faced by Black men.
Meanwhile, the big TV winner at the virtual Emmy’s show, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel at a mostly empty Staples Center, was Canadian comedy “Schitt’s Creek,” scooping nine awards. But the awards telecast on ABC, which included presenters wearing hazmat tuxedos, got short shrift from critics: the New York Times’ Mike Hale writes that “the spontaneity that was award shows’ saving grace was largely replaced by stage-managed banality.”
Major media agencies are bracing for a massive telecommunications review this fall; T-Mobile is placing its estimated $2.1 billion media account into play, reports Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse.
That figure includes the Sprint business, following the completion of T-Mobile's $26.5 billion merger with Sprint in April. According to the request for proposal (RFP) obtained by Ad Age, T-Mobile is searching for an agency “that demonstrates creative problem solving, straightforward leadership, robust capabilities and practices diverse and inclusive thinking.”
Following the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday, another female icon has paid tribute; this time a symbolic one from the world of advertising. State Street Advisors' “Fearless Girl” appeared in an RBG-style lace collar in a full-page New York Times ad this weekend, alongside the caption “Here’s to the original.”
Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz reveals that the ad was created out of McCann in under eight hours, from ideation to approval. The collar was pulled from an RBG costume of one of the agency’s staffers and then placed onto the statue, which now stands across from the New York Stock Exchange. State Street Global advisors already had the Sunday ad space, originally intended for a mask statement, but with news of Ginsburg’s death, the company quickly changed course to create the new memorial.
The upside of tough times: Ad Age Datacenter’s Bradley Johnson wrote “Downtime Opportunity,” a 56-page white paper that examines marketing, product and media innovation in the worst of times from the Great Depression to the great coronavirus pandemic. Conclusion: Economic downturns reset the table for marketers and media, creating new rules, opportunities and brands. The report is available here for purchase and download, free for Ad Age Insider and Ad Age Datacenter subscribers. Go here for the quick take: How marketing can thrive in the worst of times.
Behind Dunkin's 'Charli': Dunkin’s VP Brand Stewardship Drayton Martin explains what 16-year-old TikTok influencer Charli D'Amelio brings to the brand, and why it named a drink for her, in an interview with Ad Age’s Ethan Jakob Craft. Read it here.
The week ahead: The Ad Age Next: Food & Beverage Conference takes place online tomorrow, and also scheduled this week are the One Club’s diversity conference, Where Are All the Black People, and the ANA’s Media & Measurement Conference. Plus, Fox’s “The Masked Singer” returns (now, perhaps, with added significance). Check out our weekly calendar.
No more mayhem: Allstate is rolling out its first advertising from Droga5, and it doesn't include its long-running “Mayhem” theme. Instead, the ads have a quirky tone and use the tagline “You're in good hands,” reports Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli. Watch them here. And don't forget to stream Creativity's live edition of the Top 5 ads from 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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