Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. Also, a friendly reminder: Applications for Ad Age's Agency A-List are due Wednesday. In other words, tomorrow. Here's how to enter.
What people are talking about today
The Lakers just retired Kobe Bryant's No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys. To mark the occasion, Nike revived its beloved campaign starring puppet versions of Bryant and LeBron James. In one of three spots, the puppets are lounging on a beach at sunset, sipping coconut juice, and Bryant taunts James about the honor he just got. "LeBron, I'm saving you an incredible burden," he says. "You should be grateful that you're not retiring two jerseys like myself. Imagine the weight of having two jerseys that inspired the nation, Le Bron. No – the world." (Watch it above.)
For fans in the market for commemorative merch, Nike also partnered with Undefeated on two limited edition Bryant jerseys, one for each retired number; Highsnobiety says the pair sells for … $524.08.
What's next for ESPN
In a surprise resignation, ESPN President John Skipper is stepping down to take care of a substance addiction problem. As Ad Age's Anthony Crupi writes, the news came just a month after ESPN extended his contract through 2021. Who will eventually replace him? Crupi says Skipper's departure may "accelerate what many insiders believe is the inevitable coronation of rising star Connor Schell, who this summer was elevated to exec VP for content." Whoever takes over won't have a simple task. The Walt Disney Co., ESPN's parent company, is buying big chunk of 21st Century Fox, including regional sports networks. And as The New York Times says, "ESPN's next president will have to integrate those networks and their thousands of employees into the broader ESPN kingdom, as well as figure out how they fit into ESPN and Disney's broader strategy."
When it comes to attracting ad dollars, Amazon is small player compared to the mighty duopoly, Google and Facebook. But it's determined to claim a bigger share of the pie. Ad Age's Garett Sloane writes that "Amazon is aiming to unite its far-flung video ad offerings, from the live-streaming hub Twitch to IMDb, in a move that could make it a stronger alternative to Google and Facebook." To do that, it plans to let video ads flow through the Amazon Ad Platform to its properties, Sloane writes, citing insider familiar with the strategy. Brands want options, and Amazon wants their attention. Apparently, it's succeeding. eMarketer says Amazon's U.S. ad revenue is expected to jump nearly 50 percent this year to $1.7 billion.
An audio-animatronic, "silicone-skinned" Donald Trump has joined the "Hall of Presidents" attraction at Walt Disney World, which features talking robotic versions of U.S. leaders, The New York Times says. Many people wondered why it took so long to add him. The Times says the "delay had prompted online conspiracy theories, the most common one being that Disney was trying to silence Mr. Trump." A website called WDWMagic posted a video of the robot Trump making pretty non-controversial remarks about history, the Constitution and American optimism. One YouTube commenter said, "I like this Trump better, just saying." Watch it here.
Another WTF moment: In this holiday video greeting from Publicis Groupe, CEO Arthur Sadoun looks like he's aged 20 years. But wait, it's just makeup. And it's all a joke about how hard the top job is. Previous CEO Maurice Maurice Lévy appears at the end, looking spritely and youthful.
Biggie: Microsoft is reviewing its global media account, Ad Age's Megan Graham reports.
Bye: Ian Schaefer, founder and former CEO of DeepFocus, is leaving his new role at Engine Group for a job "outside of the ad industry." His post is on Medium (though he's not giving many clues about what's next.)
Huh: Bloomberg Media just debuted a Twitter news network called TicToc, and it's an "odd bird," as Ad Age's Simon Dumenco writes.
Cleanup: Facebook will start demoting "spammy posts that bait engagement," Axios reports. Facebook's example of the tactic is, "LIKE this if you're an Aries!"
WannaCry: North Korea was to blame for the massive WannaCry malware attack, Thomas Bossert, an aide to President Donald Trump, writes in The Wall Street Journal.
Ikea: European regulators are investigating whether the Swedish retailer was given unfair tax advantages, The New York Times reports, adding that Starbucks and Apple have faced similar scrutiny.
ICYM: "Could nostalgia save the holidays for Toys R Us?" asks Ad Age's Alexandra Jardine. If you're a child of the 80s or 90s, you'll want to check out the retailer's new work. There's plenty of vintage ad footage, not to mention a remix of the store's old earworm "I don't wanna grow up."