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
Elon Musk is on his way to conquering the universe. The Tesla billionaire's SpaceX blasted the Falcon Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral, carrying its payload of a red Tesla Roadster. As it heads into orbit, the car is blasting out David Bowie's "Space Oddity," with a dummy astronaut at the wheel and a sign on the dashboard reading "Don't Panic" (a reference to the Douglas Adams sci-fi classic "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"). As far as marketing goes, it's a stellar move for Tesla -- and even more so for brand Musk. The New York Times writes that it's "the first time a rocket this powerful has been sent into space by a private company rather than a government space agency." Musk says he wants to see a new "space race," according to CNBC. His next plan is to launch a fleet of "BFRs" -- which stands (yes really) for Big F***ing Rocket -- and fly them en masse to Mars. Over to you, Jeff Bezos.
Jim Carrey dumps his Facebook stock
While Musk was blasting off, Jim Carrey was blasting Mark Zuckerberg. As Ad Age's Simon Dumenco writes, yesterday the actor took to Twitter, where he has 17.5 million followers, and announced that he's selling his Facebook stock and deleting his Facebook page because "Facebook profited from Russian interference in our elections and they're still not doing enough to stop it." The Twitterverse responded with Carrey gifs and quips, including "Let's close the internet!"
Snap defies the stock market
As the world watched the U.S. stock market nervously for signs of life, one media player defied expectations: Snap saw its shares soar by 20 percent after a strong earnings report. As Ad Age's Garrett Sloane reports, it added 9 million daily users in the fourth quarter, its largest growth spurt since going public last year. It now has 187 million daily active users, up from 158 million a year ago, and its $286 million in revenue beat analyst expectations by more than $30 million. However, don't get too excited: The company still has yet to turn a profit.
A day after the controversy over the Ram Trucks Super Bowl ad referencing Martin Luther King Jr., another auto brand, Mercedes, found itself in a predicament. As Ad Age's Angela Doland reports, the brand apologized Tuesday on Weibo, the Chinese microblogging platform, after posting an inspirational quote from the Dalai Lama on its Instagram account alongside a luxury car. The quote was, "Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open." In China, the controversy was not about misappropriating a revered spiritual leader: Mercedes apologized for hurting the feelings of the people of China, where the Dalai Lama is seen as an anti-China separatist.
Wynn is gone
Casino mogul and prominent Republican Steve Wynn has resigned as CEO of Wynn Resorts in response to sexual misconduct allegations reported by The Wall Street Journal last month. In a statement reported by the WSJ, Wynn, whose current resorts include the Wynn and Encore in Las Vegas, said he was stepping down, blaming "an avalanche of negative publicity." He will be replaced by Matt Maddox, president of Wynn Resorts.
Instagram's e-commerce move: Instagram is moving further into e-commerce, following Snapchat's opening of its first store last week. As Ad Age's Garrett Sloane writes, the platform has started testing "collection campaigns" -- ads that blend videos and product catalogs where consumers can complete purchases without leaving. Fashion and beauty brands Birchbox and Revolve are the first marketers to try it.
Surprise: Tronc, owner of the Los Angeles Times, "is expected to announce it is selling the newspaper," The Washington Post reports. The Post says the reported buyer is Patrick Soon-Shiong, a Los Angeles-area doctor who is already a major Tronc shareholder.
Sole setback: Christian Louboutin is facing a setback in its attempts to trademark its distinctive red soles in an ongoing court case. The European Court of Justice ruled that the combination of a color and a shape may be refused trademark protection, reports The Guardian -- meaning that other brands could be free to make red-soled footwear.
Fire and Fury: "Game of Thrones" fans are wondering whether Doritos just outed Peter Dinklage, aka Tyrion Lannister, as a Targaryen in its Super Bowl ad. By depicting Dinklage in a palatial room surrounded by fire, some fans tweeted that perhaps Doritos knew something they've speculated about for years.
Bigger in Texas?: But that's not the only conspiracy theory about a Super Bowl ad; others have pointed out that Amazon makes a fleeting reference to the weather in Austin, Texas, in its Alexa-themed ad. Is that a hint about the location of its new HQ? they wondered. Amazon, however, has dismissed the speculation in a statement to USA Today, claiming there's no connection.
Ad of the day: Choreographer/director Benjamin Millepied and Radiohead's Thom Yorke are just two of the creative talents that worked on a mesmerizing fashion film for New York brand Rag & Bone, starring Kate Mara ("House of Cards") and Ansel Elgort ("Baby Driver"). As Creativity Online reports, the film constantly shifts perspectives and also incudes iPhone footage captured by Elgort.