Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Big Tech’s antitrust worries. Plus, Apple’s new privacy moves: Tuesday 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; sign up here.

What people are talking about today
The antitrust threat against Big Tech is getting bigger. Yesterday’s Wake-Up Call noted reports that the U.S. Justice Department appears ready to probe Google. Now we know more. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission have a plan to divide oversight of the four big players:

[The] Justice Department now has authority over any potential antitrust investigation into Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc., while the [Federal Trade Commission] has oversight of Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. Google and Facebook appear to be closest to being in the agencies’ investigative crosshairs, according to people familiar with the matter.

But wait -- there’s more: Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives say they’re looking at the digital giants too, to see whether they’re involved in anti-competitive conduct and whether existing laws and enforcement are enough.  

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, cites “growing evidence that a handful of gatekeepers have come to capture control over key arteries of online commerce, content, and communications.”

'Sign In With Apple'
Apple hosted its annual developers conference yesterday and put a big focus on privacy. As Ad Age’s Garett Sloane reports, Apple says it will soon launch a “Sign In With Apple” function to let people log into various apps and services, challenging similar login offerings from Google and Facebook. Apple, though, says its move will offer people privacy by giving them the option to withhold their real email addresses from developers and brands. Which could be an obstacle for some marketers. “For pure performance-based advertisers it can make a big difference to not have email addresses,” Brian Wieser, global head of business intelligence at GroupM, told Sloane.

Other (eyebrow-raising) Apple news: “Apple Just Announced It's Selling a Mac Monitor Stand for $999,”  Bloomberg News reports. In other words, you can a piece of metal from Apple the same price as an iPhone XS.

'Jeopardy' spoiler alert
If you’ve managed to remain in the dark about yesterday's episode of “Jeopardy,” stop reading now, lest we spoil the surprise.

Here goes: The winning streak ended for contestant James Holzhauer, after 32 games and over $2.46 million in winnings. Who beat the professional sports bettor? A librarian from Chicago named Emma Boettcher. The Atlantic writes:

“Holzhauer’s loss actually took place well before Friday evening—it was taped on March 12. Even though the episode’s result came to light before being aired, it’s impressive that producers, contestants, audience members, and (presumably) their loved ones all kept quiet for months.”

March 12! In the age of social media, there’s something beautiful about how long the secret stayed secret.

Also: The Hollywood Reporter looks at “Jeopardy” ratings; during the week of April 29, Holzhauer’s streak led the syndicated game show to its best ratings in 14 years.

Just briefly:
Austin, Texas-based GSD&M is the new U.S. creative agency of record for Universal Parks & Resorts, Lindsay Rittenhouse reports in Ad Age. One of the agency’s tasks: Promoting Universal Orlando Resort's "Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure,” based on the character from the “Harry Potter” series.

Tweeter-in-chief: President Trump, unhappy with CNN’s coverage of his policies, suggested in a tweet that people should boycott the media company’s parent company, AT&T. Read more from Bloomberg News.

Wilted: FTD, the flower and gift delivery service, has filed for bankruptcy protection, the Chicago Tribune reports. (The company’s famous ”Say It With Flowers” slogan dates back over a century.)

Brand pro tip of the day: MeUndies, the underwear brand, says its best-performing social content is photos of couples wearing matching undies, which get "around 25 percent more engagement than other content.” Good to know. Read more by Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing.

Product of the day: IHOP now has a burger that includes “a buttermilk pancake that’s been griddled with Cheddar cheese [and] nestled between two burger patties,” Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl writes. Because yes, the pancake chain is hyping its burgers again. And this one actually sounds very on-brand, and maybe even ... tasty?

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