Tuesday Wake-Up Call: Who's using Amazon Alexa to shop? (Anyone?) Plus, Alex Jones is still tweeting
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: Amazon's Alexa was supposed to transform the way we buy things. After all, now we can shop by shouting commands in our living rooms. ("Alexa, order some Charmin Extra Soft Cushiony Touch!") But a report from The Information suggests that so far, people just aren't that into it:
"The Information has learned that only about 2% of the people with devices that use Amazon's Alexa intelligent assistant—mostly Amazon's own Echo line of speakers—have made a purchase with their voices so far in 2018, according to two people briefed on the company's internal figures."
Also according to the report, one of the sources said that of those who did try voice shopping, "about 90% didn't try it again." Maybe we'll get used to it. Or maybe it's human nature to want to see something (or at least a photo of something) before we buy it.
Though they'd resisted for years, Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify have all cracked down on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' audio and video content, deleting or delisting most of his videos and podcasts. (Apple acted first Sunday night by removing most shows from iTunes and its podcast app.) Even Pinterest and adult site YouPorn have shunned Jones' content, TechCrunch reports. (Yes, there was apparently Jones content on YouPorn, though it wasn't porn-y.) Twitter, however, has not caved in to peer pressure. A Twitter spokesman told Bloomberg News that Jones' "InfoWars and associated accounts currently comply with Twitter's rules." And Jones is still tweeting things like, "Now, who will stand against Tyranny and who will stand for free speech? We're all Alex Jones now."
A summary in one tweet: The Guardian's Alex Hern wrote, "Fascinating how it takes less than 24 hours from Apple blocking Alex Jones for YouTube, Facebook and Spotify to all independently discover that he was violating their rules after all."
Interestingly, Facebook says it didn't crack down on Jones for spreading misinformation. (He has claimed the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax, and he spread the bizarre Pizzagate conspiracy theory, among other things.) The violations cited were for Facebook's policies on hate speech and glorifying violence.
For the record: Despite the moves by Apple and Google against Jones' podcasts and videos, his InfoWars app is still in the Apple App Store and Google Play store. Also, Jones' InfoWars Life-branded products are still listed on Amazon.com. Including something called "Super Male Vitality" liquid drops, at $59.95 for two ounces.
RIP, Two Hats
Six months ago, MillerCoors launched a new light beer brand targeted at young drinkers. It's called Two Hats, it comes in lime and pineapple flavors, and it's aimed at 21- to 24-year-olds. But now Ad Age's E.J. Schultz writes that "the brewer is pulling the brand just six months after it hit shelves," and that executives say the move will free up money to invest in other new brands. So goodbye, Two Hats, and RIP to its very unusual, meme-ish commercial, which featured a bowling ball smashing wine bottles on a bar counter with the message, "Good cheap beer is coming. So stop your wine-ing."
Another female exec out the door
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi says she's leaving in October, after 12 years in the role; the India-born exec had pushed the company to offer healthier fare beyond soda and chips. Ramon Laguarta, a 22-year veteran of PepsiCo, will take over. Nooyi is not the only female CEO to be replaced by a man lately. As The New York Times writes:
"In recent months, the list of departing female chief executives has included Denise M. Morrison at Campbell Soup, Margo Georgiadis at the toy company Mattel, Sherilyn S. McCoy at Avon, Irene Rosenfeld at Mondelez and Meg Whitman at Hewlett-Packard. All five have been replaced by men."
A number to think about: When Nooyi leaves, there will be only 23 women leading companies in the S&P 500, as Bloomberg News notes.
Moving on: Hearst Magazines' Chief Content Officer Joanna Coles is leaving, as she announced in a very unusual video that shows her walking on a treadmill. Which is maybe a metaphor for moving on? Anyway, Ad Age's Simon Dumenco has a funny take on this.
Press delete: BuzzFeed News reports that "Jared Kushner used to personally order the deletion of stories at his newspaper," the New York Observer. The report says Kushner, now a White House adviser, asked a software engineer to remove stories about his friends, including NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
Window shopping: If you spot an animatronic fortune teller sitting on a sofa in a shop window, it's probably an ad. A startup called Burrow is taking advantage of empty New York storefronts to advertise its couches, writes Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi.
A new leaf: William Wrigley Jr. II, scion of the chewing-gum empire, "led a $65 million investment round for Surterra Wellness, a medical cannabis startup," Bloomberg News reports.
Bad news and relatively good news: "The NFL pre-season schedule kicked off Thursday with the lowest-rated Hall of Fame Game in recent memory," writes Ad Age's Anthony Crupi. On the upside, it still "managed to dwarf pretty much everything else that has aired on broadcast TV this summer."
Vocabulary word of the day: FUPA. Beyoncé used it in her Vogue cover story, and the magazine did not explain it. An acronym that stands for "fat upper pubic area" or "fat upper p---- area," the term attracted a lot of attention. Also, Beyoncé spoke of hers with fondness. As HuffPost writes, "When you're done clutching your pearls, just remember it's officially Beyoncé-approved now."
Headline of the day: "Robert Redford's retiring, but hey, we'll always have his Burger King ad," writes Ad Age's Megan Mowery.
Ad of the day: It's … Colonel Costanza? KFC's new Colonel Sanders is Jason Alexander, the actor who played hapless George Costanza on "Seinfeld." Ad Age's Jessica Wohl writes that the new ad from Wieden & Kennedy Portland involves a "somewhat creepy couch." Plus the whole spot is trippy. Watch it here.
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