Friday, June 7, 2019

A surprising ad from Amazon's smart home brand. Plus, Walmart delivers to your fridge: Friday Wake-Up Call | Advertising Age

Welcome to Ad Age’s Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news.

What people are talking about today
Amazon’s smart home security brand, Ring, is running some attention-getting Facebook ads. As Vice reports, Ring targeted a Facebook ad to people in Mountain View, California, labeling it a “neighborhood alert.” It featured real security camera footage of an unknown woman trying to open a locked car in a garage. “On May 22, this woman was caught on camera breaking into a vehicle at a Mountain View home near Castro St and Miramonte Ave.,” Ring’s sponsored post says, encouraging people to contact police if they see her.

Which raises some unsettling questions. As Vice writes, Ring’s ad is “using the image of a woman who is innocent until proven guilty and calling her a thief.” And it's doing that to sell surveillance cameras.

Whoever she is, she’s part bogeyman, part unwitting pitchwoman.

Ring says it sees these ads as a public service; it told The Verge that they “help keep neighborhoods safe by encouraging the community to work directly with local police on active cases.”

So why does this feel so “Black Mirror”?

The future is here, part 2
Would you let strangers into your home to stock your fridge with groceries when you’re not there? That’s what Walmart is doing. Ad Age’s Jack Neff writes: “Starting this fall, the retail behemoth will offer that possibility to about a million households in Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Vero Beach, Florida through a service called Walmart InHome.” Walmart thinks the concept has national potential.

Walmart’s rival, Amazon, did something similar with Amazon Key delivery—Amazon, being first, also had to establish the concept and help people get over the weirdness of delivery people entering your home when you’re out. Walmart is taking it a step further, letting people all the way into your fridge. But Walmart, please: Don’t judge us for our wilted lettuce and sticky countertops.

United we stand
“There is one thing in our country right now that unites Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, socialists and libertarians, vegetarians and carnivores, Ohio State and Michigan fans,” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai says.

It's hatred of robocalls.

And the FCC is taking action. Bloomberg News reports that “the agency, on a 5-0 bipartisan vote, authorized carriers to automatically identify and block unwanted robocalls.” Now let’s see whether it works.

Just briefly:
Nike says it’s “very concerned” about a rape accusation against Brazilian soccer star Neymar and is closely monitoring the situation, Reuters reports. Neymar, who is sponsored by Nike and plays with Paris Saint-Germain, has denied the allegation.

World Cup: Verizon, Volkswagen and Coca-Cola will be visible sponsors throughout Fox’s coverage of the Women’s World Cup, where the U.S. women’s national soccer team will defend its title. Read more by Ad Age’s Anthony Crupi.

Do you feel it?: “The specter of a regulatory inquiry into the tech industry is already being felt by advertisers,” Ad Age’s Garett Sloane writes.

1 percent: Amazon says its private-label business accounts for 1 percent of its sales, “a fraction of the share-of-business of rivals,” Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli writes. Target, for example, says one-third of its sales in 2018 were related to its “owned and exclusive brands.”

Entertainment No-Longer-Weekly: Starting in August, Entertainment Weekly will become a monthly—but it’s still keeping its same old name, for now. Read the latest publishing news from Ad Age’s Simon Dumenco.

Podcast of the day: “Other companies have decided to push advertisers away,” says Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising and partnerships for NBCUniversal. “We think that’s a big opportunity for our company. We’d like to invite them in. They’re very, very vulnerable right now,” given ad-skipping and cord-cutting. Yaccarino and NBCU’s head of marketing, Josh Feldman, were the guests on this week’s edition of the “Ad Lib” podcast, hosted by Ad Age Editor Brian Braiker. Listen here.

Ad of the day: What would you get if you mixed “A Star Is Born” with a Taco Bell ad? It would probably look like actor-singer Darren Criss’ new spot for Taco Bell Nacho Fries. It’s a dramatic (and cheesy-on-purpose) tale of love between a singer-songwriter and his Nacho Fries. Read more by Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl, and watch it here.


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