Visa picks W+K, and Facebook wrangles anti-vaccine lies: Friday Wake-Up Call
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Financial giant Visa picked Wieden+Kennedy as its new creative agency, five months after issuing an RFP that began the company’s move away from BBDO. Publicis maintains its hold on Visa’s $200 million global media account.
“Until the review, Visa had worked with BBDO on creative campaigns, including its recent Olympics work that switched from the games to messages of safety around the coronavirus,” writes Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli. “The agency had been invited in July to pitch to retain the business.”
This marks yet another big, mainstream brand that has selected W+K to lead its creative messaging, perhaps hoping to capture some of the playful irreverence of the agency’s work for McDonald’s and Old Spice—or the gravitas of its long-running Nike partnership.
Social networks are trying to clamp down on misinformation and vitriol, but that train may have already left the station. Two months after Facebook said it would ban ads with anti-vaccination messages, it’s beginning to remove falsehoods about the impending COVID-19 vaccines, including claims that they contain microchips, reports The New York Times.
Previously, Facebook reduced the visibility of such posts, but left them up. The move comes as YouTube starts to employ additional filters and warnings for comments on videos. Offensive posts will trigger a pop-up before going live, reminding viewers to “keep comments respectful.”
Whether the posters responsible for the notoriously caustic commentary on YouTube take that as a challenge rather than a warning remains to be seen.
Good news for moviegoers, bad news for movie theaters. Warner Bros. movie studio announced it will release all of its films slated for 2021 simultaneously in theaters and on its HBO Max streaming service. That’s 17 movies so far, including the sci-fi epic “Dune,” a fourth “Matrix” film and some kind of “Suicide Squad” sequel. “Wonder Woman 1984” was already lined up for a Christmas release on the platform, six months later than its pre-pandemic release date.
While the move will undoubtedly drive subscribers to HBO Max, even with its $14.99 monthly price tag, it could be a death blow for many theater chains, which are already struggling to cope with a 78% drop in ticket sales this year.
The news sent AMC and Cinemark stocks plunging, and both theater chains seemed blindsided. Cinemark may refuse to run some Warner films in protest, and AMC CEO Adam Aron pointed to the promise of vaccines as argument against Warner’s scorched-earth policy. But no sweeping release schedule, virtual or otherwise, survives first contact with audiences. If this tactic doesn’t work well for the first few films Warner releases simultaneously, expect a revision as quick as the rollout.
Gila Wilensky is president, U.S. at WPP media agency Xaxis. She is also married to a rabbi, which makes her a rebbetzin—a situation she never expected to find herself in, but one she has embraced since meeting her husband on a dating app. (His profile didn't mention his occupation.)
On the latest episode of the “Ad Block” podcast, Wilensky talks about how the role has evolved over the years, "especially as religions have become more modern, more inclusive, more egalitarian, and as women take on careers," she says. It’s much like being a first lady. She gets to know congregants, leads charity work, conducts community outreach and teaches.
Wilensky also weighs in on trying out for MasterChef and the lessons we'll all take from our pandemic-enforced digital sabbaticals.
Skin, deep: A new manga features tennis star Naomi Osaka battling aliens with her racket, and unlike a previous illustration in Japan, her skin tone will be correct. A noodle ad last year depicted her with light skin, so the creators of the comic “Naomi Unrivaled” reached out to Osaka’s sister—an illustrator herself—to make sure they got it right.
Shelling out: Gamers strapped for cash might be choosing between a PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X, but Sony has paid three times as much as Microsoft for ads to promote the new PlayStation; $15 million to $5 million. Without a new console to hawk, Nintendo’s ad spend trails, but even that was up 138%.
Make like a tree and shine: Christmas tree sales are up nearly 30%, and consumers are buying bigger and earlier than usual. Still stuck at home for the holidays, many Americans are trying to inject a little cheer and are turning to the Yuletide staple to help.
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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