U.K. proposes tough laws on big tech and Reebok denies Beyoncé diversity row: Monday Wake-Up Call
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
The crackdown on big tech by governments across the world continues. Today, the U.K. government is announcing it wants to impose some of the toughest regulations in the world on tech firms. It's proposing legislation to make companies such as Facebook and Google legally responsible for unlawful content and damaging material, and goes even further to say that individual “senior managers” at those companies could be personally liable.
As the Financial Times reports: “Companies will have to take “reasonable and proportionate action” to tackle “online harms” -- ranging from terrorist content and child sexual exploitation to problems that “may not be illegal but are nonetheless highly damaging” such as disinformation, extremist content and cyberbullying.”
Under the proposed new laws, an independent regulator would be able to issue fines, although it isn't clear yet whether a new regulator will be established or whether the U.K's existing Ofcom will be in charge. A 12 week consultation period on the proposals will now follow.
More bad news for Facebook: New Zealand’s privacy commissioner called the company “morally bankrupt pathological liars,” according to the Guardian, in a series of tweets that has now been deleted, in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks.
Reebok’s Beyoncé denial
After the announcement last week that Adidas has formed a partnership with Beyoncé , it’s being rumored that the star had also been having discussions about signing deals with other brands. However, Reebok is denying a report that the singer left a meeting because the brand did not have enough diverse representatives at the table.
As Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli reports, writer Nick DePaula said on ESPN’s "The Jump," that when Beyoncé asked if the team in the room would be the team working on her product, and was told that they would be, she said, “Nobody in this room reflects my background, my skin color and where I’m from and what I want to do."
However, Reebok, which is owned by Adidas, immediately denied the report in a statement, calling it “categorically false.” A request for comment to Parkwood Entertainment, the firm run by Beyoncé, was not returned.
Alexa, book me a doctor's appointment
Alexa can already tell you the weather forecast and play your favorite music – and now, Amazon has plans for its digital assistant to manage your healthcare too.
According to the Wall Street Journal, until now healthcare has been slow to take off in voice technology because of privacy concerns, but Amazon says that Alexa can now transfer “sensitive, personal health information using software that meets health-privacy requirements under federal law.” Five companies, including insurance firm Cigna, have developed Alexa features using the protocol. These will include help consumers with tasks such as “ scheduling urgent-care appointments, tracking when drugs are shipped, checking health-insurance benefits or reading blood-sugar results.”
Also: Amazon is also developing wireless earbuds for Alexa that mirror Apple’s popular AirPods, reported Bloomberg on Friday. The earbuds with built-in Alexa access could be available by the second half of this year and will help people to use Alexa while on the move.
Ghosn is gone: Nissan shareholders have voted Carlos Ghosn off the company's board, reports The Guardian, following the arrest of the former chairman in November on financial misconduct charges. At a meeting in Tokyo, shareholders elected to remove Ghosn, as well as Greg Kelly, a U.S. executive who also faces charges in Japan. They approved a motion to replace Ghosn with Renault's chairman, Jean-Dominique Senard.
Cannabis app: TheWeedTube, a video site for cannabis content, is launching a mobile app on April 20, reports Ad Age’s Orla McCaffrey. The channel allows users to upload cannabis-focused videos that range from cooking with cannabis to tutorials on growing marijuana.
Price drop: The Wall Street Journal reports that Pinterest plans to set a price range for its initial public offering that will place it at below the $12 billion it was last valued at by private investors. The company is expected to pitch the shares to investors today.
Expensive: Former Ticketmaster CEO Fred Rosen has co-founded Red Carpet Home Cinema, which will rent first-run films for up to $3000, says the New York Times, which calls the service "Netflix for one percenters."
Ad of the Day: A fake movie poster becomes a short film about 19th century influencers starring Florence Pugh, in Adobe’s new campaign directed by the “Scrubs” actor/director Zach Braff. It's the result of a contest by Adobe inviting young creators to come up with a poster for a film that hadn’t even been made yet. Braff and agency Pereira O’Dell turned the design of the winner, Boston University student Sam West, into the wittily-scripted film starring Pugh, Alicia Silverstone and Andy King. Watch it here, and don’t forget to check out Creativity’s Top 5 campaigns of last week, including Bud Light’s revival of the Bud Knight in a "Game of Thrones" style move.