Wednesday Wake-Up Call: Head & Shoulders tweaks president, Snapchat tweaks its design

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Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. What people are talking about today: President Trump surprised his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron by brushing a bit of alleged dandruff off the Frenchman's stylish suit -- a meme-worthy moment that inspired a lot of armchair psychology. Was it a put-down? A power play? Or just an affectionate gesture capturing their bromance for the cameras? (Hmm.) Obviously, Head & Shoulders found something to say about this on Twitter. The Procter & Gamble brand made a video of someone packing anti-dandruff shampoo in a crate to be shipped to the French Embassy. "Whether you're meeting the president or on your first date, we believe everyone should be 100% flake-free," it wrote. In a fraught political moment, it isn't easy to find the right tone for this kind of thing, and Head & Shoulders played it safe. There were snarkier jokes to be made. Maybe "Saturday Night Live" will make them.

'Groundhog Day'
"In a scene that could be taken straight out of the movie 'Groundhog Day,' YouTube will once again find itself having to quell advertisers' fears during its NewFront presentation next week," writes Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi in her preview of the event. That's because YouTube is facing flak over brand safety, which is exactly what happened last year before the Google-owned video platform made its big pitch to advertisers. CNN Money reported last week that ads from over 300 companies and organizations were showing up on channels featuring unsavory content including white nationalist messages, conspiracy theories and North Korean propaganda. Google's VP of agency and media solutions talked to Poggi about its brand safety efforts: "I think everyone appreciates this is a journey, but clients feel good about the progress."
More on YouTube: "YouTube Hosted Graphic Images Of Bestiality For Months," BuzzFeed reports. A YouTube employee told BuzzFeed that the company "didn't catch bestiality thumbnails as they don't necessarily have the same characteristics as typical pornography." Indeed.

'A redesign to the redesign'
There was a lot of pushback against Snapchat's redesign, which put messages from friends in one place and content from brands, publishers and influencers in another. Now, as Recode reports,

"Snapchat is rolling out a redesign to the redesign for a small group of users -- it's taking user-generated Stories and putting them on the Discover page, where they'll exist alongside stuff from brands, celebrities and publishers -- similar to how they did before the redesign was rolled out."

It's not clear what this means, as Recode writes, but Snapchat commented on the test by saying that it's "listening to our community," which suggests the company was sensitive to the backlash. But it's unclear how lasting any damage could be. Kylie Jenner was among the celebs who dissed the new design a few months ago, but she's been using Snapchat to post cute footage of her baby's tiny toes, so maybe she's gotten used to it.

Havas woes
French billionaire Vincent Bollore is a well-known name in advertising and entertainment, but his sprawling business empire also does logistics and transport, among many other things. On Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported that Bollore was being held for questioning in France amid an investigation into possible bribery in Africa. Le Monde newspaper says investigators are looking at whether agency group Havas, then controlled by Bollore's namesake company, provided some African politicians with below-market rates for work on election campaigns -- with the goal of being rewarded with lucrative contracts for Bollore Group to run container terminals. Havas denies any wrongdoing and says executives are happy to cooperate with the probe, Bloomberg reports. Vincent Bollore was chairman of Havas until 2013, at which point his son Yannick Bollore succeeded him. Havas comes in at No. 10 on Ad Age's Datacenter's list of the biggest global agency groups by revenue.

Just briefly:
MSNBC is doing damage control after the emergence of homophobic blog posts supposedly written years ago by host Joy Reid, who says she was hacked. The network cites the work of an independent security consultant who believes the posts are fake. Read more on CNN.

The keys to your car: Amazon will start delivering packages into car trunks, and Ad Age's E.J. Schultz and Adrianne Pasquarelli answer your questions about that. Like, how does stuff stay safe?

Pre-emptive strike: Spotify rejiggered its app to give free users a few extra perks, before YouTube launches its new subscription music product. Read more from Bloomberg News.

New role: Nike exec Sophie Bambuck is the new CMO of Converse, Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli reports.

Cookies and cheese: Kraft Heinz created a new brand of cookie called Jif Jaf to launch in China. Some of the cookies are chocolate sandwich biscuits with wacky fillings, including cheese. Read more in Ad Age.

Surprised? "Diet Coke's new campaign and brand overhaul was good enough to power the struggling soda to its first quarterly sales gain in North America in nearly eight years," writes Ad Age's E.J. Schultz. That's despite the brand's widely panned Super Bowl ad.

Creativity pick of the day: They look like "Sesame Street" clips, but they deliver shocking messages. Kansas City nonprofit Youth Ambassadors worked with VML on videos featuring real quotes from kids about what to do if there's a shootout in your neighborhood, or if your mom overdoses. "No child should have to learn a lesson like this," is the message. Read more by Alexandra Jardine, and watch the PSAs here.

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