Tuesday Wake-Up Call: Planters puts peanuts in beer, Trump rebrands Ted Cruz and the ANA confab is (almost) upon us
Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. You can get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app.
What people are talking about today: There's some, er, interesting news for adventurous ale lovers: Planters peanuts, sometimes served alongside beer, will now be put into one. Ad Age's Jessical Wohl reports that a collaboration between the Kraft Heinz-owned brand and Chicago-area-based craft brewer Noon Whistle Brewing will result in an offering called Mr. IPA-Nut, which will only be sold in Illinois.
The brew is made with Planters peanuts, and Wakatu and Citra hops "to deliver a citrus aroma and a hint of honey-roasted peanuts, followed by a slightly salty finish." It's 6.3 percent alcohol by volume. The average light beer, by contrast, checks in at 4.2 percent. So, there's that.
Wohl, who says it's the latest move by Planters to update the brand's image, notes that such collaborations in beer are increasingly common: "IHOP released IHOPS Pumpkin Pancake Stout in the New York tri-state area at bars and festivals in September. Dunkin's latest beer collaboration is Harpoon Dunkin' Coffee Porter, which it released with Harpoon Brewery in early October. Budweiser and Jim Beam recently hooked up on a co-branded lager."
Who wants to be a millionaire?: With lottery fever spreading across America, CNN helpfully offers "The do's and don'ts of office lottery pools," including "Don't use cash" ("If possible, pay your pool leader with an electronic account, such as PayPal or Venmo, so you have written confirmation of your payment for a certain lottery"). In other words: Trust no one. Meanwhile, Chipotle, somewhat less helpfully, tweets that the "the Mega Millions jackpot is now at 653,061,224 sides of guac." Plus a depressing side note from CNBC: "Here's the tax bite on $1.6 billion Mega Millions and $620 million Powerball jackpots."
A federal case: Ad Age's Brian Braiker, EJ Schultz, Jack Neff, Adrianne Pasquarelli, Alfred Maskeroni and Max Sternlicht are on the ground, or will be shortly, in Orlando, Florida, for the ANA conference, which formally starts Wednesday. If you're planning to be there, please say hi. And whether you're going or not, you'll want to read "What to expect at this year's ANA annual conference." It includes, ominously, "The feds are watching." ("The ANA recently confirmed reports that the FBI has asked for cooperation in its probe into media-buying practices, but since the ANA doesn't have any direct information...it's asking members if they wish to cooperate. The question is, who will want to?")
Status update: "Facebook is losing another long-tenured founder from an acquired company: Brendan Iribe," Bloomberg News reports. Iribe was the CEO of Oculus VR when Facebook bought it in 2014 and was the vice president of computer-tethered virtual reality at the social network. "His departure comes shortly after the founders of Instagram and the CEO of WhatsApp also left the Facebook-controlled units," Bloomberg adds. TechCrunch connects Iribe's exit to "some internal shake-ups in the company's virtual reality arm last week that saw the cancellation of the company's next generation 'Rift 2' PC-powered virtual reality headset, which he had been leading development of."
Best practices: The Week's Jeff Spross has a smart take on "How Best Buy survived the retail apocalypse." For starters, he writes,
Unlike Toys 'R' Us or Sears, which were both sunk by the debt foisted on them by massive leveraged buyouts, Best Buy was able to stay nimble. In fact, it's only gotten nimbler. Since 2012, Best Buy has actually cut its debt load in half and increased its cash on hand almost threefold. ... As rivals were being felled by balance sheets overloaded with debt, Best Buy was cleaning up its own.
Spross also details some of the most effective things Hubert Joly did when he came on board as CEO in 2012. Flashback: "Best Buy unveils rebranding that was a year in the making," by Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli (in May).
Ted Cruz, rebranded: Remember "Lyin' Ted"? Donald Trump has a new nickname for the junior U.S. Senator from Texas, and it's even more cringeworthy than the old one. See "Trump says he's made up with 'Beautiful Ted' Cruz," via The Hill. See also: "Line for Trump's Houston Rally Formed More Than a Day in Advance," via The New York Times.
Roll film: "While the 'Halloween' reboot is dominating at the box office, another Halloween-themed movie hit theaters this month, with a cast including Mark Hamill," Ad Age's Jessica Wohl reports. "But instead of coming from a major studio, it comes from King's Hawaiian." Yes, the dinner roll brand. The 82-minute animated film is called "The Legend of Hallowaiian."
Ad infinitum: The bottom line of Ad Age Datacenter's latest analysis of midterm campaign ad spending is that it sucks to be a TV viewer and/or radio listener (but great if you're a station owner) in a lot of places across the country right now, but particularly in Florida and Illinois, which both have races that have surged well past the $100 million mark.
Nice save!: Today is the early bird deadline for Ad Age's 2019 Agency A-List and Creativity Awards. Submit by 11:59 PM EST and you'll save $200 on entry fees.
Looking ahead: "Here's what to watch when AT&T and Comcast report earnings this week," per Bloomberg News.
My bot could have painted that: Today's print edition of The New York Times has a piece titled "Up for Bid, Art Signed 'Algorithm,'" but the online version of the piece has a cheekier headline: "Christie's, Trying to Be Relevant, Puts AI Art on the Block."
Stay awhile: Airbnb has hired Musa Tariq as marketing director for experiences, Ad Age's I-Hsien Sherwood reports. Tariq is a veteran of Ford, Apple, Nike, Burberry, J. Walter Thompson and Saatchi & Saatchi.
Ad of the day: Google is "tying HBO's popular 'Game of Thrones' series with its Pixel Chromebook, a hybrid laptop squarely positioned to compete with similar products such as Microsoft Surface," Ad Age's George Slefo writes. "A new ad plays to the tune of Foreigner's 'Cold as Ice,' and features one frozen Night King who uses Google Slides, software similar to PowerPoint, to coordinate an attack with his undead army against the fictional world better known as 'The Realm.'" See it here.
Wake-Up Call's Angela Doland is on vacation this week. Simon Dumenco is filling in for her.