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Coke has an Aha moment, and Apple makes a 10-episode commercial: Friday Wake-Up Call

Ad Age 08 Nov 2019 11:00

Welcome to Ad Age’s Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. If you're reading this online or in a forwarded email, here's the link to sign up for our daily newsletter. You can also get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device.

Coca-Cola Co. is at work on its biggest North American brand launch in 13 years: It’s called Aha, and it’s a flavored seltzer water with cheerful branding. As Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz writes, the flavors include pairings like strawberry and cucumber or peach and honey, and a couple of them include a jolt of caffeine. The brand, which debuts in March, is Coke’s attempt to catch up to competitor, PepsiCo, which has had success with its Bubly sparkling water brand. 

Side note: Bubly hired Michael Bublé to star in a Super Bowl ad, so maybe one day we’ll see pop group A-ha plugging Aha. The band is back together, they’re touring, and their ‘80s classic “Take on Me” has nearly 1 billion YouTube views. Who knew?

Facebook’s Mic Drop
TikTok, the social app that’s a hit with Gen Z, is all about lip-syncing, dancing and goofing around. Facebook is trying to capture some of that silliness with a lip-syncing app that’s available only on Portal, the social network’s video-calling screen, Ad Age’s Garett Sloane reports. The app is called Mic Drop, and Facebook hopes it will help people see the appeal of Portal devices for video chatting. 

Sloane writes: “The app is Facebook’s latest attempt to infuse its products with activities that appeal to younger audiences and get them sharing more content and experiences within its walls instead of looking for fresher platforms like TikTok or Snapchat.” A question, though: Do young users really want to spend time with a Facebook gadget that is not their mobile phone?

Apple’s 10-episode commercial
“The Morning Show,” a tale of turbulent times in TV news, is the flagship show on Apple TV+, the company’s new streaming service. As The Wall Street Journal reports, it doubles as a commercial for Apple’s gadgets. The Journal writes:

“Apple products are visible in an average of 32 camera shots per episode, and an Apple logo is visible in roughly one-third of those shots, according to a Wall Street Journal tally from viewing all 10 episodes of the first season. Rival brands are scarce.”

And hey, why not? For Apple, it's free product placement. 

Just briefly: 
In a New York Times op-ed video, runner Mary Cain offers a damning look at Nike’s now-defunct Oregon Project, a training program for world-class runners. She describes being forced to lose weight until her body couldn’t cope; she broke five bones and lost her period for three years. The Times said Nike didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Nielsen’s future: Nielsen is splitting into two parts–one to handle global media and the other working on market analytics and tracking consumer preferences. “There’s very little synergy between the two, other than they started with the same name decades ago,” David Kenny, CEO of Nielsen Holdings, says. Read more by Ad Age’s Jack Neff.

Wins: “Boston Beer Co. has awarded creative agency duties on Samuel Adams beer and Truly Hard Seltzer to Goodby Silverstein & Partners,” E.J. Schultz reports in Ad Age.

Firsts: Forsman & Bodenfors is the first agency network to receive certification from The 3 Percent Movement across all of its global offices, and Adobe is the first brand to get certified, Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse reports. The group assesses companies by looking at women’s leadership, workplace culture and equal opportunity.

Booming business: The Trade Desk’s third-quarter revenue soared 38 percent year-over-year, partly on the growth of connected TV. “There is nothing I’m more excited about, nothing more game-changing than what is happening in connected TV,” says Jeff Green, CEO at the demand-side platform. Read more by Ad Age’s George P. Slefo.

Stunt of the day: For one day, Arby’s transformed its Times Square location into the LaDainian Tomlinson Steakhouse, in partnership with the NFL Hall of Famer. And the fast-food outlet’s temporary redesign was fancy—or fancy-ish. “Linen tablecloths covered wobbly tables, wine glasses were filled with red Mountain Dew and candles on every table were made of plastic,” Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing writes. Watch the video too. 

Ad Age Next: Publishing is happening Nov. 14 in Manhattan, with speakers from New York Media, The New York Times, Essence, The Atlantic and more. They’ll talk about the challenges faced by content-makers and the marketers that partner with them. Learn more here.

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