Tuesday Wake-Up Call: Google's huge ad business just got huger. Plus, distress at the Daily News

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The Google Inc. logo at the company's exhibition stand at the Dmexco conference.
The Google Inc. logo at the company's exhibition stand at the Dmexco conference. Credit: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

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: Another day, another bleak headline about the news business. "Tronc's Daily News is slashing half its editorial staff," Ad Age's Simon Dumenco writes. Editor-in-chief Jim Rich was among those laid off, and as Dumenco notes, Rich now describes himself in his Twitter bio as "just a guy sitting at home watching journalism being choked into extinction." Meanwhile, the New York Daily News' own Twitter account seemed to go rogue after news of the layoffs, posting a few very surprising tweets – like one of a pony-tailed John Travolta in "Pulp Fiction" making a "what the heck is going on?" gesture. The tweets have been deleted, but Ad Age saved them for you. Twitter commenters speculated that someone (or several someones) still had access to the account after being let go.
Also: The Daily News' rival, the New York Post, has an editorial today about the cutbacks: "Monday's mass layoffs at the Daily News are bad news for New York: This town needs more good reporters, not fewer… We want to beat the News, but not like this."

Riviera reckoning
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity's revenues took a hit in the first half of 2018 after it scaled down the event to address the backlash about how expensive the event had gotten. As Ad Age's Megan Graham writes, the festival saw a 9 percent organic constant currency revenue decline, partly because of Publicis Groupe's decision to sit out the festival this year, and because of the event's "refreshed awards structure," parent company Ascential says. Also: Because of the financial implications of the "reset" of event, the role of Cannes Lions managing director has become redundant, organizers say. Jose Papa held the role for two years. On the upside though: Ascential says Cannes' approval ratings rose.

Now what?
The European Union slapped a $5 billion fine on Google for what it says are illegal practices to strengthen its dominance in search advertising, and it ordered Google to make changes or face more fines. Ad Age's George Slefo talked to experts about what this may mean for the digital ad ecosystem. And it's possible there won't be much impact. As Slefo writes:

Heather Physioc, director of organic search and performance content at agency VML, agrees that while the EU's decision does open up opportunity for other browsers and search engines to capture market share, Google's long-standing dominance will make it tough for competitors to put a dent in its business. "Google's vast resources and speed of innovation are unparalleled—it's hard for anyone to break in," she says.

Another sign of Google's dominance, despite the blow from the EU: Google's ad revenues in the second quarter grew a whopping 24 percent from a year ago, hitting $28.09 billion. The European Union's GDPR rules on data privacy may have had the unintended consequence of strengthening the biggest digital ad players, Google and Facebook, as Bloomberg News notes. Read more here.

Z-Burger, a Washington D.C.-based restaurant chain, apologized and blamed its social media agency for a tweet that "juxtaposed a photo of the murdered American journalist James Foley awaiting execution by ISIS in 2014 with an image of a hamburger," as the Washingtonian writes. (If you're wondering what kind of statement the tweet was attempting to make, well, so are we. There's a screen shot of the image here.) The North Carolina-based agency, Valor Media, also apologized, took full responsibility, and said a young art director didn't realize the image was of Foley. Z-Burger is a small chain with a few locations in the D.C. area, but the extreme poor taste of the tweet is getting attention. Entertainment news site TheWrap and even News Corp.'s Australian site News.com.au wrote about it. Will Sommer of The Daily Beast tweeted that he was amazed by the bad decisions that went into the post, adding: "In fairness, they did apologize after deciding gory executions doesn't fit with their corporate brand."
What?: Valor Media, in addition to apologizing, also tweeted this: "Valor Media will be the #1 media/advertising company in the country. This is just another learning experience on the road to our destination!!"

Just briefly:

What to watch today: AT&T reports its first earnings since it closed its deal to buy Time Warner, now WarnerMedia. The Justice Department has appealed a decision that cleared the way for the acquisition, and as Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi writes: "AT&T will field questions regarding what the appeal means for the future of the business and what might happen if the original ruling is overturned."

For sale: Sony Pictures Television wants to sell a piece of Crackle, its ad-supported streaming network, Variety reports.

More string: Tonia O'Connor is stepping down as chief revenue officer at Univision Communications, "the latest in a string of senior executive departures at the Spanish-language giant," as Variety notes.

Trojan: 72andSunny New York announced that it's the lead creative agency for Trojan Brand Condoms, after a competitive review.

Made in America: President Trump hosted an event celebrating American-made goods, with companies including Ford and Lockheed Martin taking part. NBC News notes, though, that "the president and his daughter largely manufacture Trump-branded products in countries like China, Indonesia, Turkey and Canada."

Payday: Nike is boosting the salaries of 7,000 employees "in the latest example of efforts by Nike management to address concerns about pay equity and reshape the company's culture," The Wall Street Journal says.

Papa John's: Ad Age's Megan Mowery has a handy timeline of all the twists and turns in the Papa John's saga, which culminated in founder John Schnatter resigning as chairman and the company trying to distance itself from him.

'Ready for the mic to be hot': Ad Age Editor Brian Braiker interviews Angelica Ross, one of five transgender actors in the groundbreaking FX show "Pose." One thought from Ross: "Some of our community members might have looked at [trans actors] and thought we were foolishly preparing. 'Oh girl, they're never gonna allow no trans girl to be on TV.' But a lot of us have been ready for the mic to be hot and now that it is, we're not putting it down."

Creativity pick of the day: Inside every adult is the little kid they used to be, as Haribo's amusing new candy ad reminds us. In the spot, a "leather-clad tattooed band comes off stage looking aggressive, but as soon as they tuck into their pack of Haribo Supermix, they start musing on how squishy it is and how it makes you feel super-relaxed," Ad Age's Alexandra Jardine writes. And the rockers have high-pitched little-kid voices. It's part of a long-running campaign; check it out here.

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