Miller Lite gets medieval on Bud Light. And Europe punishes Google: Thursday Wake-Up Call
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What people are talking about today
Bud Light and Miller Lite are fighting again, like squabbling kids who don't know when they're driving everyone crazy and it's time to quit. Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors, you're the corporate parents here. Can you control your children, please?
Here's the latest in the ongoing spat: Miller Lite burned its rival by making ads that look like they're filmed on the set of Bud Light's medieval-themed "Dilly Dilly" commercials. But when the action breaks, the actors grab Miller Lites instead of Buds. "In the real world, more taste is what matters," the copy says, as Ad Age's E.J. Schultz writes. Bud Light, meanwhile, quickly released an ad hitting back against Miller. When does this spat end? Does any of this even make sense to consumers, or is it just too confusing and self-referential now? Does anyone care?
Bud fired the first shots in this battle, during the Super Bowl. And MillerCoors Chief Communications Officer Pete Marino reminds us of that: "We didn't pick this fight," he says. Which sounds a lot like, "Mom, he started it!" Whatever. But please work this out amongst yourselves.
Google's share price closed up 2 percent yesterday evening, boosting the company's market value by about $17 billion. Apparently investors weren't too put about the day's big Google news -- the European Commission's $1.7 billion fine against the company for what it calls "abusive practices in online advertising."
Ad Age's George Slefo writes that it's the third time that Google has been fined by European regulators, bringing the overall figure to about $9 billion. The latest violation involved AdSense for Search; Slefo writes that publishers "were restricted from working with other advertising partners if they embedded Google's search function on their websites, according to the E.U."
To be continued: European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager says regulators are still looking into the search markets for jobs and local listings. So this isn't over yet.
It's a not-so-great moment for the restaurant industry, with fierce competition on value-driven deals and new products, Ad Age's Jessica Wohl writes. And "while there are some standouts (we see you, Chick-fil-A), the broader industry is struggling to maintain or grow market share," Wohl writes in her look at where the big players stand.
Bonus: The story comes with an excellent animated illustration by Walter Newton, which shows Starbucks' mermaid sparring with Colonel Sanders and the Wendy's mascot.
Back to the basics: As the TV upfronts approach, Hallmark Channel is bucking some trends: It "won't spend its conversations with agencies and their clients talking up data sets or striking guarantees that are based on new metrics," Jeanine Poggi writes in Ad Age. "Instead, it will focus on the continued strength of its linear ratings and the stability of the company at a time when several traditional media behemoths are in a state of flux."
Wins: Interpublic's MullenLowe won the global creative account for Grey Goose, which had previously been at Omnicom's BBDO since 2015, E.J. Schultz reports. And SkinnyPop, the popcorn brand, picked Dentsu Aegis Network shop 360i as its integrated agency-of-record, Megan Graham writes. Previously the brand worked with McGarrah Jessee.
Facing the music: In a copyright lawsuit, 7-year-old Peloton is accused of stealing music from artists to accompany its workouts. "Experts say it is surprising that a company of Peloton's stature--the brand is expected to file an IPO-- could be in violation of licensing rights," Adrianne Pasquarelli writes in Ad Age.
Podcast of the day: Why did agency Johannes Leonardo buy a large piece of itself itself back from WPP? Johannes Leonardo president Bryan Yasko tells Ad Age Editor Brian Braiker that he's not a big fan of the holding company mindset. Listen to their conversation on the Ad Lib podcast.
Buzzword of the day: Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi answers all your questions about TV attribution, starting with the basics: What is it? ("Attribution is the ability to measure whether a TV commercial drives actual business results, such as someone test-driving a car, visiting a website or—the holy grail—making a purchase.")
Product of the day: Gucci is selling a pair of "distressed" (aka dirty- and gross-looking) leather sneakers for $870. "They basically look like something you'd buy at a Goodwill for four bucks," one Twitter commenter says, as quoted by CBS News. We should probably mention that $870 is the starting price; if you want the version adorned with a crystal chain, they'll set you back $1,590. Check them out here.
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