Thursday Wake-Up Call: The War Against Tony the Tiger. Plus, the Olympics on Snapchat

By Published on .

Kellogg's Cinnamon Frosted Flakes
Kellogg's Cinnamon Frosted Flakes Credit: Kellogg's

Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related 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
How do you fight obesity? Chile's answer is a stunning crackdown on the marketing of junk foods, including tactics targeting kids. Cartoon brand mascots on labels are one casualty of the new rules. As The New York Times reports, "They killed Tony the Tiger. They did away with Cheetos' Chester Cheetah." The must-read story has before-and-after photos of cereal boxes; General Mills' Trix looks blah without its signature cartoon rabbit. Even Mars' M&M's characters are out. A senator told The Times that the reform required "a hard-fought guerilla war" against the food companies; the regulations also include big warning labels about fat, sugar, calories and salt on packaging, and strict rules on TV advertising.
PepsiCo, maker of Cheetos, and Kellogg, maker of Frosted Flakes (Tony the Tiger's brand), went to court, "arguing that the regulations infringe on their intellectual property," The Times says, adding that the case is pending. The new rules have had an impact beyond marketing: Some companies (including Coca-Cola) are overhauling their product lines, with more low-calorie offerings.
This is a revolución. Are other governments taking notes?

The Olympics in vertical video
The 2018 Winter Olympics have already started, and NBC's live prime-time coverage of the Games begins tonight. But somehow, the opening ceremony doesn't happen until 6 a.m. EST on Friday, well after the action has started. Which is totally confusing; as Slate writes, "the Olympics opening ceremony is a lie."
Anyway. There's also a new, Snapchatty way to watch the Olympics. Ad Age's Garett Sloane reports that NBC's Olympics will stream live moments on Snapchat, which is a test for the app before it expands live streaming to more networks and other events. The videos will be vertical, "though viewers can push the frame to follow the action if it moves outside the vertical limits of the screen," Sloane writes. Downhill skiing might look good in a vertical video. But hockey?

These boots are made for blockchain
L.L. Bean, the classic outdoorswear retailer founded in 1912, is getting all high-tech. The company will test boots and coats that have sensors and transmit data to the public Ethereum blockchain platform, The Wall Street Journal writes. L.L. Bean's innovation specialist tells The Journal that the info to be collected, "likely to include temperature, frequency of wear and number of washes, could show whether customers use the products as intended and whether new products live up to supplier promises." And whatever the companies learn could be applied to new products and marketing. To take part in the test, customers have to be open having tracking sensors in their boots. But they might get discounts.

One of the super-disturbing, "Black Mirror"-ish tech trends of early 2018 has been "deepfakes" porn, or "pornographic videos manipulated so that the original actress's face is replaced with somebody else's," as the BBC explains. That means people have been watching porn movies altered to make it look like Gal Gadot, Katy Perry or Taylor Swift is the star. But there's been a sudden crackdown on the practice. Reddit just shut down the r/deepfakes subreddit, calling it "involuntary pornography," as Motherboard writes. Twitter and Pornhub banned deepfakes too.

Just briefly:
The Oscars: ABC says it's 98 percent sold out of commercial time for its March 4 Academy Awards telecast, Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi reports.

Moving up: Wendy Clark has been promoted; she's now global president and CEO of Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Ad Age's Lindsay Stein writes.

Macy's: A line of "modest" fashion targeting Muslim consumers will launch this month at Macy's, with products including hijabs and maxi-dresses, The Washington Post reports.

Gerber baby: Lucas Warren, a 1-year-old boy from Georgia, is the 2018 Gerber baby of the year, and the first with Down's Syndrome, USA Today reports.

Logan Paul: The YouTube star did a citizen's arrest on an intruder at his mansion in L.A., The Daily Beast reports. Also, in a new video, he tasers two dead rats.

The trouble with algorithms: The Wall Street Journal looks at how YouTube recommendations "often lead users to channels that feature conspiracy theories, partisan viewpoints and misleading videos, even when those users haven't shown interest in such content."

Lots of drama: The new owner of the Los Angeles Times, biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, is "inheriting a lot of drama—of an operatic scale unpredecented in the recent history of media companies," writes Ad Age's Simon Dumenco, who put together a handy timeline of all the dysfunction.

Listen: In the latest edition of the Ad Lib Podcast, Antonio Lucio, chief marketing officer for HP, talks to Ad Age editor Brian Braiker about leading a push for diversity on the brand's agency teams, with initial results that were encouraging, but not stellar.

Number of the day: $100 million. Vice Media "missed its 2017 revenue goal of $805 million by more than $100 million," The Wall Street Journal reports.

Brief of the day: Ad Age is "reaching out to the creative community to produce work that confronts the issue of gun violence head on," as Ann-Christine Diaz writes, adding that the hope is to get real sponsors on board. Read more here.

Most Popular