Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related 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
There is now such a thing as "an agency of record for voice marketing." JPMorganChase just tapped VaynerMedia for that role, and it might be an industry first, Ad Age's Lindsay Stein reports. JPMorgan ChaseChief Marketing Officer Kristin Lemkau tells Stein: "I feel like a lot of brands were playing catchup on Facebook and Snap, and consumers are always a little ahead of brands, so it would be nice to be ahead on voice."
Facebook is banning ads for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. So you'll no longer see messages on the platform urging you to "use your retirement funds to buy Bitcoin!" (That's one example Facebook cites.) Ad Age's George Slefo writes that scammers had "turned to Facebook to post ads for sketchy 'initial coin offerings,' also called ICOs, or to offer financial advice for products that were similar to a ponzi scheme." Slefo talks to one expert who says he wouldn't be surprised if Facebook's rivals, including Google, make a similar move.
"Droga5 has placed Chief Creative Officer Ted Royer on leave and hired an outside firm to handle an internal investigation in the shop's HR processes," Ad Age's Lindsay Stein reports. The company isn't saying much more. Royer has worked at the agency since 2006, after working in Singapore, Argentina and Australia. Read Stein's full article here.
Separately, Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli reports that Vice's chief digital officer, Mike Germano, is no longer at the company. He had already been suspended after The New York Times reported allegations of sexual harassment against him. The company declined to explain his exit. There's also some reorganization going on, Pasquarelli reports, with Vice combining its internal agencies. Digital shop Carrot Creative (where Germano was CEO) is now part of creative agency Virtue Worldwide.
Super Bowl Countdown
It's happening in four days. Here's the latest:
1. Budweiser made two ads. The one that will run in Sunday's Super Bowl broadcast is about its canned-water disaster relief efforts. And the other, to run on TV later, features a galloping Clydesdale, which is usually the signature of Bud Super Bowl ads. Ad Age's E.J. Schultz asks, "Did Bud make the right call?" You can vote in our poll, here.
2. Dan Fietsam, CCO of Laughlin Constable, offers some thoughts on how marketers can stay sane for the Super Bowl, along with this rather crazy anecdote: "One year, when I was the creative director on Bud Light, we presented over 200 scripts to the brewery, then shot 30 spots to get to the five that actually aired on the night of the big game."
3. FWIW, during the State of the Union address, President Trump alluded to the controversy over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem; he spoke about "why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem."
Also: In other NFL news, 21st Century Fox Inc. "is close to a deal for the rights to 'Thursday Night Football,'" Bloomberg News reports. It adds that the deal could still collapse.
Lost at sea: The French coast guard is searching at sea for the head of surfwear brand Quiksilver, Pierre Agnes, The Associated Press reports. His boat had returned to shore, empty.
$64,000 question: A man from Wisconsin spent $64,259 on a full-page ad in The Washington Post urging a new investigation into the death of his son, who was shot to death by police in 2004, CBS News reports.
Ford & WPP: Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford's Lincoln brand and Ford Motor global chief marketing officer, talks to Ad Age's E.J. Schultz about the company's move to evaluate its relationship with WPP.
Triple threat: Amazon, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are working together to offer "health-care services to their U.S. employees more transparently and at a lower cost," Bloomberg News reports. Healthcare stocks fell.
Xerox: Xerox Corp. is close a deal with Japan's Fujifilm Holdings Corp., The Wall Street Journal reports, adding that a deal would "mark the end of the independence of the stalwart of 20th-century American industry."
Creativity pick of the day: Yes, it's another Super Bowl ad. Or actually, it's two ads, for two different PepsiCo products, that will run back-to-back – a battle of the brands, if you will. Peter Dinklage of "Game of Thrones" does a fiery rap lip-sync on behalf of Doritos Blaze, while Morgan Freeman offers an icy retort with a Missy Elliott tune, for Mtn Dew Ice. It's by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Read more by Ad Age's E.J. Schultz, and watch it here.