Monday Wake-Up Call: 'Uncle Drew' had a solid box office debut, and other news to know today

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Spot the Pepsi logo in this 'Uncle Drew' still.
Spot the Pepsi logo in this 'Uncle Drew' still. Credit: Lionsgate/Quantrell Colbert

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: "Uncle Drew," the feature-length movie that evolved out of Pepsi ads, opened Friday. Skeptics, take note: Variety says the marketing campaign-turned-feature scored better than expected at the domestic box office. The Lionsgate movie, which features NBA star Kyrie Irving playing a 70-something guy who's great on the basketball court, had been targeting an opening of $10 million to $13 million, Variety says. In the end, "'Uncle Drew' racked up $15.5 million from 2,742 theaters," the report says, making it the weekend's No. 4 movie. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, "Lionsgate stands to profit from the movie, which cost less than $20 million to produce before marketing." The "Uncle Drew" title character first appeared in a 2012 Pepsi video that went viral. The all-star cast helps the movie's appeal: Along with Irving, it stars basketball players Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Webber, Lisa Leslie and Reggie Miller, and Tiffany Haddish is in it too.
By the way, the reviews haven't been bad. The Chicago Tribune says: "Somehow, as corny and predictable as it is, and even with a tsunami of product placement, it works. It's pretty funny; it's pretty charming; it's good-natured. And as a bonus, it's neither a 'Star Wars' nor a Marvel movie."
Also: ICYMI, watch how Pepsi has been promoting the "Uncle Drew" movie, with more info from Ad Age's E.J. Schultz about how the movie came to be via a deal between PepsiCo's in-house Creators League studio, Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment and Temple Hill.

Diet Madison Avenue update (is a reveal possible?)
In May, former Crispin Porter & Bogusky Boulder Chief Creative Officer Ralph Watson filed suit against Diet Madison Avenue, the closely watched (and anonymous) Instagram account that has accused men in the ad industry of sexual harassment and misconduct. Watson's suit said that defamatory statements posted by Diet Madison Avenue led to his wrongful termination from CP&B; in a statement, he also said he had never harassed anyone. In a new twist, The New York Times reports that Watson filed another suit Friday, this time against CP&B, "for wrongful termination and other charges including age discrimination." The suit reportedly says Watson accuses the agency of firing him based on the Diet Madison Avenue allegations and without a proper investigation. According to The Times, CP&B and its owner MDC Partners released a statement standing by the decision to dismiss Watson and pledging to "vigorously defend themselves and their employees" against Watson's lawsuit. The Times' story also looks at the broader implications of the case and considers whether the anonymous people behind Diet Madison Avenue might see their identities revealed during the legal battle.

'Who is Wanda?'
If you've been watching the World Cup, you may have some questions. Such as, "Who is Wanda and why is she advertising herself at the World Cup?" as someone posted on Twitter. Actually, Wanda is a huge Chinese property developer and its billboard features prominently during the games. It's one of a few Chinese sponsors of the event, including dairy company Mengniu and two electronics groups, Hisense and Vivo. As the Los Angeles Times writes, "When several sponsors walked away from FIFA and the World Cup following the corruption scandal that rocked the organization three years ago, Chinese companies rushed to fill the void." And it doesn't matter that China isn't playing in the World Cup as the country has increasingly enthusiastic soccer fans. One of them is Chinese President Xi Jinping, who hopes to turn China into a soccer powerhouse. The LA Times says there were almost 43,000 World Cup tickets sold in China, the most ever as "Chinese fans purchased less than 11,000 tickets to the last two World Cups combined."

'David vs. Goliath'
Toppers Pizza, a Wisconsin-based chain that has 86 locations, is taking on mighty Domino's, which has over 5,500 U.S. locations. As Ad Age's Jessica Wohl writes, the small chain is pushing ahead with ads poking fun at Domino's, despite a cease-and-desist letter from the bigger brand. What annoyed Domino's? Apparently, it was a flyer in Minnesota. Wohl writes:

"In June, a flyer for a new Toppers in Duluth, Minnesota, featured a Domino's truck delivering dough and a Toppers staffer carrying a bag of flour. 'Not making dough in-house? What. The. Truck,' the ad reads."

Starting today, Toppers plans more ads featuring the Domino's truck, Wohl reports. Domino's declined to comment. Check out the full story here; one interesting detail is that the Toppers founder used to work with Domino's, many years back.

Just briefly:
After a review, Ally Financial picked Anomaly as its creative agency and R/GA for digital duties, Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli and Megan Graham report. Ally had worked for about seven years with Grey, which did not take part in the review.

'GDPR lite': California's Consumer Privacy Act goes into effect in January 2020 and "it will without question have massive implications for every brand, agency and tech company both here and abroad," writes Ad Age's George Slefo.

'Political'?: Facebook "stopped running an ad for Walmart and another from Procter & Gamble because they struck political notes but lacked a 'paid for by' label," writes Ad Age's Garett Sloane. (After Sloane's story ran, Facebook reversed its decision about the Walmart ad, which talked about "bringing jobs back" to America.)

Under pressure: Activist investor Daniel Loeb wrote a letter pressing Nestlé to reorganize. "Nestlé's management is not moving quickly enough to exit underperforming and non‐strategic businesses," he wrote to the company's CEO and board, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The return of Roseanne?: "I've already been offered so many things, and I almost already accepted one really good offer to go back on TV, and I might do it," Roseanne Barr tells Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in a new podcast. Which raises obvious questions. Such as, what network would have offered Barr a show? Read more on ABC News.

Creativity pick of the day: Women's body hair is something you don't really see in ads, even in commercials for hair removal products. But there's a whole lot of it in a new spot from a women's razor brand called Billie, which shows fuzzy legs, armpits, bellies and toes. "If ever you want to shave, we'll be here," is the ad's rather surprising message. Read more by Ad Age's Jack Neff and Ann-Christine Diaz.

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