Tuesday Wake-Up Call: Howard Schultz 2020? Plus, Apple's dissing Facebook again

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Starbucks' Howard Schultz in Shanghai last year.
Starbucks' Howard Schultz in Shanghai last year. Credit: Starbucks

Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. What people are talking about today: Howard Schultz is stepping down as Starbucks' executive chairman later this month. But that's not the most interesting part. The New York Times asked Schultz straight-out if he was planning a presidential run, and Schultz didn't shoot the question down. "I intend to think about a range of options, and that could include public service," he said. In the same interview, he said he wanted to be truthful about his ambitions "without creating more speculative headlines." But, um, surely Schultz realized his coy comments to The Times were the best way to unleash a torrent of speculation? Such as this headline in Fortune, asking, "Will [Schultz's] next role be presidential candidate?" The New York Times chose an intriguing photo to illustrate its story; it shows Schultz in what looks like an Italian palazzo, complete with grand piano and candelabra, looking like a head of state on a visit abroad. Schultz 2020?
Insert dad joke here: David Axelrod, President Obama's campaign strategist, tweeted this about the Starbucks exec: "There are already several dark horse candidates for '20. How about a dark roast candidate?"

Throwing shade
What's with all Apple's jabs at Facebook and its ad revenue model? Apple just did it again at its biggest event of the year, the Worldwide Developers Conference. As Garett Sloane writes in Ad Age, Apple will start asking users of its Safari browser if they're OK with letting Facebook track them around the internet. "We've seen all seen these 'like' buttons and 'share' buttons and these comment fields," Apple's head of software engineering, Craig Federighi, said on stage. "Well, it turns out these can be used to track you, whether you click on them or not. And so this year, we are shutting that down," he said, to applause. As Sloane writes, "sites susceptible to Google tracking will also show similar pop-up messages" asking them to opt in to tracking. Still, Apple seems more willing to openly tackle Facebook, and the images on the giant screen behind Federighi singled out Facebook, not Google. Facebook definitely has user privacy issues to tackle, but Apple's attacks are starting to feel … personal. Are they unsporting?
Also: Though advertisers have seemed so far to shrug off Facebook's user privacy scandal, "there's a lot going on beneath the surface that will significantly impact Facebook's financial future," writes Judy Shapiro, founder and CEO of engageSimply. Read her full POV in Ad Age.

iPhone addicts
In other news from Apple's big conference, the company offers help for people with iPhone addictions, including kids. As Bloomberg News writes,

The most notable enhancement is called 'Screen Time,' an activity report showing how much time you're spending inside of individual apps, how often you pick up your phone and which apps are sending you the most notifications. People can set time limits on specific apps and get alerts reminding them to stop using that software as the limit approaches.

When it comes to kids' phones, parents can control which apps or types of apps can't be used at certain times. But as for grown-ups, how many people will really put limits on themselves, even if they know they've got a problem? Apple, we've got a better idea: Let kids control how often their tech-addicted parents can look at their iPhones. Now that would get serious results.

New Yorker writer Ken Auletta's much-anticipated book "Frenemies," about the disruption of the ad industry, is out today. Ad Age editor Brian Braiker chatted with Auletta for an Ad Lib podcast and asked about the title: "Who are advertising's 'frenemies?' It's not just Facebook and Google."
Here's part of Auletta's answer:

The frenemies are agencies' former friends and now competitors, including the clients who were taking more advertising in-house. Those frenemies are a threat to the ad agencies and the media agencies. But the existential threat to the entire business, to advertising itself, is the public, which doesn't want to be interrupted by your ads.

That's a succinct summary of the industry's core challenges. Which leads us to another question: If there are so many frenemies now, who are the friends?

Just briefly:
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity will name music-streaming platform Spotify its 2018 Media Brand of the Year. That's instead of awarding an individual, a "media person of the year," Ad Age's Megan Graham writes. Past honorees include Steve Ballmer and Mark Zuckerberg.

Also: By the way, you can sign up here for Ad Age's nightly Cannes newsletter, wrapping up each day's events Monday through Thursday during the festival.

Dealmaking: Vista Equity Partners is buying a majority stake in Integral Ad Science, which measures things such as ad viewability, fraud and brand safety. Ad Age's George Slefo writes that Integral Ad Science "was perhaps the last major verification company operating in its space that hadn't been acquired."

Trump vs. the Eagles: President Trump disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles to the White House, he says, because only "a small number of players decided to come." And he seized on the occasion to talk about the NFL anthem protests again.

Golf à gogo: "Discovery Inc., has teed up a 12-year, $2 billion deal with the PGA Tour that gives the cable colossus exclusive international rights to televise and stream some 150 golf tournaments, or around 2,000 hours of content per year," writes Ad Age's Anthony Crupi.

Nickelodeon: Cyma Zarghami, who has worked at Nickelodeon for over three decades, is leaving amid management changes at Viacom, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Flash sales: Rue La La is buying Gilt Groupe, combining two flash sales sites, Fast Company reports.

Creativity pick of the day: Adidas' 90-second World Cup ad crams in appearances by 56 well-known performers, athletes and celebs, including David Beckham, Paul Pogba, Lionel Messi, Caroline Wozniacki, Karlie Kloss and Pharrell Williams. Ad Age's Alexandra Jardine writes that "the whole effect is a bit like a massive, noisy, celebrity-packed circus-slash-club night." Watch it here, and test your sports and pop-culture savvy by counting how many famous people you recognize.

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