Thursday, April 11, 2019

Patagonia strikes back. Plus, the National Enquirer is for sale: Thursday Wake-Up Call | Advertising Age

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
Budweiser’s parent company has a beer brand called Patagonia, and the logo includes an outline of jagged mountain peaks. Sound familiar? Patagonia, the outdoor brand, uses very similar branding. As Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli writes, the retailer is suing Anheuser-Busch InBev, alleging trademark infringement. It’s not just about the name and logo, either. Pasquarelli writes:

“Many of the elements AB InBev is using to market the beer are similar to Patagonia’s branding and products, such as black down jackets with the Patagonia name on them, and reclaimed wood for fixtures on a pop-up store, the lawsuit claims. In addition, the beer has a ‘tree positive’ mission in which AB will plant a tree for every case of beer purchased, the lawsuit alleges.”

It’s hard to build the kind of brand love Patagonia has amassed over decades; it embraced environmentalism decades before “brand purpose” was de rigueur. Dear AB InBev: You’re a giant with your own time-honored brands. You know exactly how to build a brand the real way. What's up with this?

‘Women of all shapes, sizes and skin types’
Gillette has waded into controversy again. On social media, the company’s Venus line posted a photo of plus-size model and influencer Anna O’Brien wearing a two-piece bathing suit at the beach. And Gillette “immediately came under fire both from people accusing it of promoting obesity and others who mocked the brand and trolled the model with cruel ‘fat-shaming’ comments,” Alexandra Jardine writes in Ad Age. Gillette’s Venus says it is “committed to representing women of all shapes, sizes, and skin types because all types of beautiful skin deserve to be shown.” It’s the second time in months that Gillette has stirred strong emotions; in January, its ad tackling toxic masculinity became a conversation piece.

So how is the model coping with all the online hate directed at her? “So much has happened in the last 5 days,” O’Brien wrote on Instagram. “The only thing I have to say is, I’m ok.”

The National Enquirer -- the supermarket tabloid that allegedly kept quiet about President Trump's personal life but told all about Amazon founder Jeff Bezos -- is up for sale. Parent company American Media Inc. is ready to part with its tabloid business, including the Globe and the National Examiner, Bloomberg News reports. “We feel the future opportunities with the tabloids can be best exploited by a different ownership,” CEO David Pecker said in a statement quoted by Bloomberg.

You’re probably wondering if this has anything to do with Pecker’s longtime ties to Trump, and to the Enquirer’s reporting on Bezos’ relationship with a woman outside his marriage. (The Amazon founder has accused American Media of trying to blackmail him.) According to The Washington Post, yes, it does. The Post reports that Anthony Melchiorre, who controls the hedge fund that owns most of American Media, is concerned about the tabloid industry's financials and unhappy with the Enquirer’s reporting methods. “The Trump thing was an issue, and [Melchiorre] was really disgusted by the Bezos reporting,” an unnamed source familiar with Melchiorre’s thinking told The Post.

So who wants to buy some tabloids? Enquiring minds want to know.

Just briefly:
Dentsu-Aegis Network is strengthening its Amazon practice with a new consulting arm to help brands navigate a world dominated by the e-commerce giant,” Ad Age’s Garett Sloane reports. It’s called Sellwin Consulting. As in, sell and win.

Pushback: Snap takes issue with an eMarketer forecast projecting the app will lose U.S. users this year. “"The methodology of eMarketer’s recent forecast is flawed. The report does not factor in key recent developments at Snap, such as our revamped Android app, or reference our statement in February that we do not anticipate a sequential decline in our daily active user total in Q1 2019 …” There’s more from Snap’s statement, quoted in Variety. The report also has eMarketer's rebuttal to the rebuttal.

Big Brother is listening to you: "Thousands of Amazon workers are listening to what you tell Alexa," Bloomberg News reports. It's part of Amazon's effort to effort to improve how the digital assistant responds to human speech. Bloomberg says it talked to seven people who have worked on the program, where workers sign non-disclosure agreements.

Here we go again: Facebook says it’s “rolling out a slew of new and expanded ways to rein in the spread of misinformation across its websites and apps, amid heightened global scrutiny of social networks’ actions to remove false and violent content,” Bloomberg News writes.

Facebook + Stephen Curry: Facebook is touting its new show with Stephen Curry as it tries to convince advertisers to spend money on its Watch video platform, Garett Sloane writes in Ad Age. (He’s also got slides from the pitch deck.)

More of Magnolia: Chip and Joanna Gaines walked away from their HGTV hit “Fixer Upper.” But now they're getting a whole network. “Discovery will rebrand its DIY Network into a still-unnamed Chip and Joanna Gaines channel in the summer of 2020,” Jeanine Poggi writes in Ad Age.

Ad of the day: PSA -- on April 20, national parks across the U.S. are free. An ad from Grey New York reminds us just how much we need a break from our daily lives. Because “modern life is full of small indignities,” as Ad Age’s I-Hsien Sherwood writes. Like standing next to an obnoxious guy on the bus. Wouldn’t you rather be looking at a nice tree somewhere? Watch the spot here.


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