Wednesday Wake-Up Call: Facebook enters dating, Oath's mobile mashup and more

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the annual F8 summit.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the annual F8 summit. Credit: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images

Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. What people are talking about today: It's got your data, now it wants to arrange your dates. Facebook announced it will enter the world of online dating, among other announcements at its F8 developer conference, and the move is causing a stir.

As Ad Age's Garett Sloane reports, the company says it's working on a dating service to compete with Tinder, Bumble, Match and others. Zuckerberg claims it will match people based on shared interests and encourage deep connection, "not just hookups." Details are still scant, but Zuckerberg also says Facebook friends would not be among the selection of potential dates.

The news was enough to send shares in, owner of Tinder and OKCupid, plummeting; Bloomberg reported they fell 22 percent after the announcement. But many on Twitter poked fun at the move, as the Daily Beast points out, with barbed comments about Russian trolls, Cambridge Analytica and more. One Twitter user notes that she's "already Facebook friends with a bunch of people I regret dating I don't need to expand that list."

Zuckerberg summoned to London

Meanwhile, having faced Capitol Hill, Zuckerberg himself could soon have a date with U.K. lawmakers. Ad Age's Simon Dumenco reports that MP Damian Collins of the House of Commons' Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee sent a formal letter to Facebook Head of Public Policy Rebecca Stimson that included an "invitation" to Zuckerberg to appear before the committee. A follow-up tweet from Collins clarifies that it's "part of its inquiry into fake news and disinformation. "

The letter included the following paragraph: "It is worth noting that, while Mr Zuckerberg does not normally come under the jurisdiction of the U.K. Parliament, he will do so the next time he enters the country. We hope that he will respond positively to our request, but if not the Committee will resolve to issue a formal summons for him to appear when he is next in the U.K."

Oath's mobile mash-up

Oath is packing Samsung's flagship phone with apps from Yahoo and AOL in the first deal of its kind for the new digital media company under Verizon ownership, writes Ad Age's Sloane. The mobile mash-up was announced just as Oath kicked off advertiser season with its NewFronts in New York City, where it showed off its digital video lineup, including 10 new series that will run on AOL and Yahoo properties. HuffPost, Yahoo Sports, Verizon go90 and other media brands have been combined under Oath, which is the company Verizon built out of it acquisitions of AOL and Yahoo.

Verizon's deal with Samsung means Galaxy S9 phones will come preloaded with four apps, including Verizon's go90 video service, Newsroom (a Yahoo News spinoff) and Yahoo Sports and Finance. The inclusion on Samsung's top phone is the type of deal Verizon hoped it could land when it bought AOL and Yahoo for their digital media reach.

Separately, Oath is getting to know shoppers through their Yahoo emails, Sloane reports. Oath, he says, is turning electronic receipts into shopper-marketing data for advertisers with one of its top selling points the ability to decipher shopping behavior by analyzing email, ad executives say.

Snap defends redesign

Following Snapchat's controversial redesign, Snap Inc., shares plunged as much as 15 percent after the company reported first-quarter revenue below analysts' projections, Bloomberg News reports. Revenue rose to $230.7 million from $150 million during last year's first quarter, missing predictions for $244.9 million. However, founder and CEO Evan Spiegel defended the redesign, saying: "We firmly believe that it's the right thing to do for our community."

Just briefly:

Loud and clear? Under Armour is "focused on being a louder brand," says CEO Kevin Plank, but analysts are skeptical. In an earnings call, reports Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli, Plank cited marketing around its new HOVR running shoe and campaign with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as examples. The brand reported a 6 percent increase in revenue over the year-earlier period to $1.2 billion, led by a 27 percent increase in international sales. But North American sales were flat year over year, and Under Armour generated a loss of $30 million in the quarter.

Apple's buyback: Apple is promising to buy back an additional $100 billion in stock, reports The New York Times, "by far the largest increase in its already historic record of returning capital to investors." The company reported that it sold 52.2 million iPhones in the quarter, or 3 percent more than a year earlier, but an 11 percent increase in the phone's average price boosted revenue by 14 percent.

Wired TV: Conde Nast unveiled plans for three new TV channels at its NewFront presentation. A dedicated Wired channel will debut later this year, followed by channels for Bon Appetit and GQ, reports Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi. The channels will be available on Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire.

Unisex scouting ads: Boy Scouts of America is rolling out its "See You Out There" campaign to recruit both boys and girls, writes Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli. In the first marketing push since the Boy Scouts announced it would open its ranks to girls, both sexes will appear, alongside language that refers to both as "scouts."

Media-free wedding: Only one reporter will have access to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19, reports The New York Times. Prince Harry is no fan of the British tabloids, in particular after the paparazzi's role in his mother's death and negative articles about his fiancée. Even longtime royal photojournalists will not be allowed to enter St George's Chapel at Windsor. "They actually hate the British press," one journalist, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Times of the prince and his brother.

Creativity Pick of the Day: Was George Washington a beer fan? Budweiser would like to think so. The brand is scrapping its "America" packaging in favor of a new patriotic approach inspired by the founding father. As Ad Age's E.J. Schultz reports, its new "Freedom Reserve Red Lager" is "inspired by George Washington's hand-penned recipe from his personal military journal dating back to 1757." The recipe appears in a notebook that Washington kept while he served as a colonel in the Virginia militia. Take a look at the designs here.

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