Walmart and Pepsi go big at the Golden Globes. And Apple trolls competitors at CES: Monday Wake-Up Call

January 7, 2019 11:00 am

Pepsi's ad for the Golden Globes starred William H. Macy and a wee fuzzy alien. Pepsi’s ad for the Golden Globes starred William H. Macy and a wee fuzzy alien. Credit: Pepsi YouTube

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
If you skipped last night’s Golden Globes on NBC, you not only missed Lady Gaga’s matching blue gown and hair, you missed a few big-budget commercials loaded with special effects. Walmart plugged its grocery pickup service in four spots featuring beloved movie cars, from the Batmobile to the DeLorean from “Back to the Future” to Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine, writes Ad Age’s Jack Neff. The work is from Publicis Groupe-led Department W; check it out here, and be prepared to have “Cars” from Gary Numan be your Monday morning earworm.

Also during the Golden Globes, William H. Macy starred in a Pepsi commercial about a visitation from a cute but ill-tempered space alien who has a thing for Pepsi. Variety writes that the ad, which won’t air on TV again, is part of Pepsi’s plans to put more emphasis on entertaining people during events or moments that draw big audiences. Variety says the ad was Super Bowl-worthy. Thoughts?
Sign of the times: Netflix’s Twitter account tweeted a “shoutout to everyone who is watching commercials for the first time in several months.” As of this writing, the tweet had 46,000 likes on Twitter and counting. Gulp.

Apple hasn’t had an official presence at the CES gadget megashow in decades; the subliminal message is that Apple is above it all and doesn’t have to share the floor with other tech and electronics companies. This year as CES kicks off in Las Vegas, Apple is running a huge outdoor ad that is literally above it all, high up the side of a hotel overlooking the convention site.

“What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone,” the ad reads. As Endgadget writes, “with just a few words, it casts an Apple-shaped shadow over the convention.” The ad is a play on Las Vegas’ classic tourism slogan, “What Happens Here Stays Here.” It’s also a statement on Apple’s commitment to the privacy of its users’ data and highlights one of its big brand strengths, just days after a gloomy quarterly sales warning. And it’s a dig at the tech companies taking part in CES that have had data privacy issues. (Remember when Amazon recently sent 1,700 voice recordings to the wrong person?) Kudos to Apple: That’s a lot of messaging packed into nine words.

More on CES (including connected undies)
“Underwear that connects to the internet, televisions as thin as credit cards, and vehicles that park and drive themselves.” Those are just a few things that will be on display as CES kicks off Tuesday, Ad Age’s George Slefo reports. He talked to 10 experts about what they’re excited to see at there. Here’s one answer that might surprise you: Rohit Thawani of TBWA/Media Arts Lab tells Slefo that the French have been “bringing the heat to CES and are twice as innovative as any startup in [Silicon] Valley, or anywhere else.” So if you haven’t been paying much attention to French tech, c’est le moment.
Also: “FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and other U.S. government officials will be no-shows at CES 2019 this week” because of the government shutdown, Variety writes.

Beyond ping-pong tables and free snacks
Ad Age’s annual Best Places to Work list is out. It takes into account what’s “most important to employees overall: benefits, like fair pay, health insurance and PTO.” Less important are “ping-pong tables and free snacks.” No. 1 on the list for companies bigger than 201 employees is digital agency Elite SEM, which gives employees remarkable flexibility. Chacka Marketing, strong on diversity, tops the list for smaller companies. Other shops on our lists include Publicis Groupe’s The Community, WPromote and Interpublic Group of Cos.’ UM. Ad Age partnered with Latitude Research on the ranking; check it out here.

Just briefly:
Broadcast news:
“CBS News has tapped network veteran Susan Zirinsky as its new president and senior executive producer, succeeding David Rhodes, as the news organization looks to turn the page on a tumultuous period and make gains in the ratings,” The Wall Street Journal reports. Zirinsky was the inspiration for Holly Hunter’s character in “Broadcast News.”

‘Home Alone’: Which holiday ad got the most views? Unsurprisingly, it was the nostalgia-heavy Google “Home Alone” remake starring a grown-up Macauley Culkin, according to AcuityAds’ ranking. Read the list on Ad Age.

Creepy chic: A Chinese New Year ad from Burberry is getting some unwanted attention. “Burberry’s latest campaign has attracted a blitz of criticism on social media from Chinese netizens who liken the images to scary Asian horror movies,” Jing Daily writes.

Top 5: Check out the top 5 most creative brand ideas of the week, courtesy of Ad Age’s I-Hsien Sherwood and Max Sternlicht. No. 3 is a campaign from the British Army recruiting sensitive snowflakes and afficionados of selfies. Seriously.

Ad of the day: Now we know what a WW ad look like now that the brand is no longer called Weight Watchers? The “For Every Body” campaign from Anomaly “features real WW customers engrossed in the new activities and passions they’ve discovered since improving their health,” I-Hsien Sherwood writes in Ad Age. There’s more emphasis on wellness, less emphasis on weight loss and a quirky humor running through it all. “Celine meditates, sorta,” the ad says, as Celine breaks her concentration to wipe her nose. And then there’s also Oprah Winfrey, riding a bike. Check it out here.

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