Wednesday Wake-Up Call: The latest on the Roseanne Barr scandal (she blames 'Ambien-tweeting')

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From Credit: Courtesy ABC/Greg Gayne

Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. What people are talking about today: Flash back to the ABC upfront presentation just two weeks ago, when the network couldn't stop talking about its No. 1 hit, the "Roseanne" reboot. The president of Disney-ABC TV Group, Ben Sherwood, even quipped: "If anyone came to play a drinking game based on how many times we mention 'Roseanne,' you're welcome." But the show had a sudden downfall Tuesday, with ABC axing it after a shockingly racist Twitter comment by star Roseanne Barr. (Barr's now-erased tweet referred to Valerie Jarrett, one of President Obama's most trusted advisers. "Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj," she wrote.) In Ad Age, Jeanine Poggi looks at what's next for ABC and asks,"Will doing the right thing hurt?" One media buyer told her: "This changes ABC's position and capacity. All of a sudden it's a sizeable hole to fill post upfront presentation."
A single, powerful sentence: "Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show," said ABC's entertainment president, Channing Dungey, in a statement.
Ambien? What?: Barr apologized and also pledged to quit Twitter, then kept on tweeting. In one stream-of-consciousness message, she said she was under the influence of a sedative while writing about Jarrett:

"guys I did something unforgiveable so do not defend me. It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien tweeting-it was memorial day too-i went 2 far & do not want it defended-it was egregious Indefensible. I made a mistake I wish I hadn't but...don't defend it please."

But, confusingly, Barr also has been retweeting messages from people defending her. Which is what she says she doesn't want anyone to do.
Word: retweeted a CNN article whose headline referred to Barr's "bizarre" Twitter rant. "Bizarre is one word to describe Roseanne's comments about Valerie Jarrett, or you could use this one," tweeted, linking to the entry for "racist."

The return of Martin Sorrell
Martin Sorrell has been away from the ad world for all of six weeks. But surprise, surprise: Already, "he's baaack," as Ad Age's Megan Graham writes. Sorrell plans to build a new advertising, marketing services and ad-tech company, after his sudden April resignation as CEO of WPP following an internal investigation into unspecified "personal misconduct."
Derriston Capital, a British firm, plans to acquire S4 Capital, an investment vehicle backed by Sorrell. In a reverse takeover, Derriston will change its name and become S4 Capital, and Sorrell will become its executive chairman, as Graham explains. Early Wednesday, The Guardian reports that Sorrell is already "closing in on a number of potential acquisition targets."
For the record: While Sorrell has been plotting his next act, WPP has stayed silent about the circumstances that led to Sorrell's departure from the company he spent 33 years building. (He has denied any wrongdoing.) We still don't know what the "personal misconduct" allegation was, or what the results of WPP's internal probe were. Anyone? Anyone?

'Close your eyes for a moment. Yes, close them.'
What exactly went down yesterday when over 8,000 U.S. Starbucks closed for a few hours of anti-bias training? The company helpfully provided its guidebook, worksheets and training videos for everyone to check out. Rapper Common starred in a few videos coaching people to examine their own bias and experiences. ("Close your eyes for a moment. Yes, close them. I want you to think of a time you felt seen. Heard. Like you belonged.") The training is a response to the backlash after two black men were arrested in a Starbucks Philadelphia. To spark conversation, Starbucks also shared audio of staff recounting their own moments of prejudice. One cashier recounted hiding the tips jar when a group of young black men came in, because he was afraid they would steal it. Later, the group asked if the shop had a tips jar. Because they wanted to … leave a tip.
Also: Ad Age's Jessica Wohl looks at how Starbucks marketed the closures to its customers. For one, the Starbucks web site carried the message: "We'll see you tomorrow," in case you worried your corner café was shutting down forever.

Just briefly:
The 4As are angry Accenture is getting into the programmatic business: "We find this unacceptable," the ad agency trade group says, noting that Accenture has a "massive amount of information it has collected from agencies—both as auditor as well as via the agency review process." Read more by Ad Age's E.J. Schultz.

Half and half: About half of Hulu's 20 million subscribers are shelling out for the ad-free version, 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch told Recode's Code Conference.

Moving on: Greg Glenday, chief revenue officer at Shazam, is taking a job as CEO at Adspace Networks. Ad Age's George Slefo writes that "Apple's looming acquisition of Shazam has prompted one of the company's senior executives to bounce."

Growing up: Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi looks at Freeform (formerly known as ABC Family) which has been trying to "focus on edgier programming that pushes into weightier topics." And she also chatted with Yara Shahidi, a star of ABC's "Black-ish" and its Freeform spinoff, "Grown-ish."

Win: A new dedicated Publicis Groupe team, including Digitas and Spark Foundry, will handle Macy's $400 million U.S. media account. Read more by Ad Age's Megan Graham and Adrianne Pasquarelli.

Creativity pick of the day: There's an H&M spot on the viral video chart that's making us seriously crave a summer trip to the seaside. The Ad Age writeup calls it "travel porn that actually seems less aspirational than within reach, and which makes the clothes look pretty darn good." The soundtrack is the Charles Trenet classic "La Mer," which is just perfect. Happy Wednesday.

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