Friday Wake-Up Call: Apple Affected by Chip Security Flaws. Plus, More Store Closings for Macy's, Sears
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: Michael Wolff's hotly awaited book about the Trump White House goes on sale today. As Ad Age's Simon Dumenco writes, President Trump himself gave the book a jolt of PR. Trump says it's "full of lies," while his lawyer reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to Wolff and publisher Henry Holt to try to stop publication of "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House." Which of course has made people want to read it more; the move amounts to pouring "more fuel on the marketing fire," as Dumenco writes. The publisher is releasing the book four days early. It's already the No. 1 book on Amazon.
Wolff is set to talk about the book on NBC's "Today" show this morning. In the meantime, he's thanking the guy who gave him the kind of publicity you can't pay for.
Here we go. You can buy it (and read it) tomorrow. Thank you, Mr. President.— Michael Wolff (@MichaelWolffNYC) January 4, 2018
Related: The owners of conservative website Breitbart News are debating whether to remove Steve Bannon from his role at the publication, The Wall Street Journal reports. Wolff quoted Bannon, the former White House strategist, at length in the book. His quotes apparently infuriated the president, who said Bannon has "lost his mind." Trump also called Bannon "Sloppy Steve," a catchphrase that hit No. 1 on Twitter.
Crisis for Intel + Apple = more ad blocking?
Since Intel acknowledged that many of its chips are vulnerable to hackers, Bloomberg News says the company faces a "PR nightmare." Apple confirmed that all of its Mac and iOS devices have been affected by chip flaws affecting Intel and its competitors, flaws that it says "affect nearly all computing devices and operating systems."
Apple released updates to its software and says there will be more fixes coming; it adds that there have been no known breaches because of the flaws. How can consumers protect themselves? Many articles say the best way is to keep software updated. But here's something the ad industry might keep an eye on: Both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal quoted the same expert who suggested installing ad-blocking software for extra protection. The Times' story notes that uBlock Origin is popular with security researchers, and it quotes Jeremiah Grossman, the head of security strategy for SentinelOne, as saying, "The real problem is ads are dangerous. They're fully functioning programs, and they carry malware." How closely are consumers watching all this?
2017's meltdown has officially continued into 2018. Sears Holdings says it will close 64 Kmarts and 39 Sears between early March and April, CNBC reports. And as Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli writes, "Macy's announced it will shutter 19 more stores as leases come due, in addition to the 100 closures it announced in 2016." The move comes despite Macy's 1 percent increase in comparable sales for the November and December period, up from the same time frame in 2016. Despite some retailers having had pretty happy holidays, the Amazon effect is still strong. Here's another headline from CNBC yesterday: "Amazon grabbed 4 percent of all US retail sales in 2017, new study says."
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says his 2018 resolution is to fix what ails Facebook, "whether it's protecting our community from abuse and hate, defending against interference by nation states, or making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent." Garett Sloane, Ad Age's official decoder of Silicon Valley's corporate PR jargon, reads between the lines at what Zuckerberg really means:
"Interference by nation states?" You know who I'm talking about, right guys? It's Russia, let's just say it. Russia. Oh that feels good, I've been avoiding saying that out loud for a while.
Read more of Sloane's piece here; enjoy.
Surfin' Safari: Quiksilver's owner is buying rival beachwear brand Billabong, CNN reports.
Logan Paul: YouTuber Logan Paul, who was roundly criticized after showing a suicide victim in a vlog, says he's taking a break from YouTube, Billboard reports.
NFL: Some not so great news for upcoming ratings: "Three of the top five highest-rated NFL franchises—Dallas, Green Bay and Seattle—will be watching the playoffs from home," as Ad Age's Anthony Crupi writes.
Ciao: Jimmy Iovine, co-founder of the Beats brand, is set to leave Apple Music in August, Billboard reports.
Listen: In the latest Ad Lib podcast, Quartz publisher Jay Lauf talks to Ad Age editor Brian Braiker about the publication's resistance to programmatic and why brands have to customize their ads to fit Quartz's design.
Number of the day: 19. Subaru's new SUV has 19 cupholders, as The Wall Street Journal reports. The Japanese carmaker apparently believes that will appeal to beverage-guzzling U.S. consumers.
Ad of the day: Las Vegas' famed tourism campaign, "What Happens Here Stays Here," is back after going on hiatus after the mass shooting there in October. As Ad Age's E.J. Schultz reports, agency R&R Partners considered new approaches and tested them, but consumers liked the tried-and-true campaign. Watch a new spot here, about a time-traveler who tests the delights of contemporary Vegas.