Friday Wake-Up Call: Fox says sorry for Robbie Williams' World Cup prank. And Time Warner will get a new name
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: At the World Cup opening ceremony in Moscow, Robbie Williams looked right at the camera and flipped the bird at gazillions of viewers around the world. Fox is very sorry about that. "As it was broadcast live, we did not know what would happen during Robbie Williams' performance and we apologize," said Fox, which is broadcasting the World Cup in the U.S. Read more in Variety.
The AT&T-Time Warner deal officially closed. Meaning a phone company now owns media brands HBO ("Game of Thrones"), Warner Bros. ("Wonder Woman" and "Harry Potter") and everything under the Turner umbrella, including TBS and CNN. AT&T says it will drop the name Time Warner. Which, as Business Insider founder Henry Blodget tweeted, is "a big name to retire." The Media Business Formerly Known as Time Warner will get a new name later on, AT&T said in a statement. Any guesses? And please don't suggest the obscene-sounding acronym that comes by combining a T and a W with an A, T and T. Obviously, some people on Twitter have thought of that already.
ICYMI: Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi took a look at what the AT&T-Time Warner deal means for advertising.
Two top comms execs at tech companies announced their departures on the same day. Here goes:
Part 1: After 10 years at Facebook, Elliot Schrage is leaving his job as head of public policy and communications. He told Recode that he wanted to "start a new chapter." Because, he says, "leading policy and communications for hyper growth technology companies is a joy — but it's also intense and leaves little room for much else. Mark, Sheryl and I have been discussing this for a while." Schrage will help the company find a replacement, and then he'll be an adviser to CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg. Schrage steered Facebook's response during its recent debacles, including the Cambridge Analytica user data privacy scandal. The New York Times says it talked to three (anonymous) sources who said there had been "some internal pressure for Mr. Schrage to leave because of criticism of how Facebook has dealt with fallout from Cambridge Analytica and other issues." A Facebook spokeswoman denied that characterization, The Times says.
Part 2: Kristin Binns, Twitter's head of corporate communications, is leaving after two years at the company. She's joining video game publisher Activision Blizzard, where she will be senior vice president and chief communications officer, according to a press release.
"Lasagna wings with extra Italy"
What would happen if you made a bot watch over 1,000 hours of Olive Garden commercials and then asked it to write its own ad? Comedy writer Keaton Patti claims he knows the answer. His script, purportedly authored by a bot, caught the fancy of Ad Age's Simon Dumenco and 258,000 people who clicked Twitter's "like" button. The script involves something called "Gluten Classico" and "lasagna wings with extra Italy."
This is apparently a gag, though some people on Twitter think a bot really wrote this. But that wouldn't be so far-fetched. Remember when McCann Erickson Japan announced it had an "AI creative director" and then pitted it against a human creative in a contest to find out who could make the best Clorets ad? Online voters chose the human-created ad, but the race was pretty close.
Wins: Ad Age's Megan Graham and Adrianne Pasquarelli noted two of yesterdays' big wins. Nike-owned Converse named IPG's Initiative to handle its global media planning and buying, after a review. Omnicom's PHD, the incumbent, didn't go for the business again. And Ally Financial picked WPP's MediaCom to handle its media business, including buying and planning. Spark Foundry had the business for a decade.
Think pink: Rosé is everywhere, and even a couple Taco Bell locations are offering it, as Ad Age's E.J. Schultz writes. Nielsen says U.S. rosé sales jumped 64 percent in the year ending May 19. And The New York Times says John Bon Jovi is in the rosé business now too. As he says, "I got older. Tequila shots, I've been there done that."
Cannes preview?: The Association of Independent Commercial Producers Show gave top honors to "Welcome Home," Apple's transfixing ad from TBWA/Media Arts Lab, and the "It's a Tide Ad" Super Bowl campaign from Saatchi & Saatchi. Read more by I-Hsien Sherwood in Ad Age.
Diversity: "Google barely raised the number of women and underrepresented minorities among its ranks, while it got less white and more Asian over the past year, according to the search giant's fifth annual diversity report," The Associated Press reports.
Trade secrets: Six current and former Fitbit employees "have been charged in a federal indictment with possessing stolen trade secrets from their former employer Jawbone," the Los Angeles Times reports. Jawbone was once valued at $3 billion but went out of business last year.
Creativity pick of the day: 1980s pop culture gave us Madonna, Cabbage Patch Kids and delightfully low-budget commercials that were the memes of their day ("Clap on, clap off… The Clapper!") In that vein, Schwinn has created an '80s-style info-commercial to plug a limited-edition bike co-branded with Netflix's hit series "Stranger Things." (The show is set in the '80s and features lots of scenes of kids biking.) As Adrianne Pasquarelli writes, Schwinn's commercial touted a 1-800 number, and "orders were only received via phone, in keeping with the '80s theme." The 500 limited-edition bikes were sold out in a week. Check it out here.