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
Burger King apologized and pulled an ad to plug its Vietnamese Sweet Chilli Tendercrisp burger that was sent from its New Zealand Instagram account. The video clip showed people trying, awkwardly, to eat the burgers with chopsticks. Twitter user Maria Mo, among others, called the ad out on Twitter; she accused the brand of making fun of Asian culture. “Orientalism is harmless funnnn,” she tweeted.
The ad has been getting wide attention far beyond New Zealand. In the U.S., outlets including The Washington Post, People and HuffPost picked up the story about the fast-food chain being under fire for the content.
Burger King apologized, calling the ad insensitive and saying it "does not reflect our brand values regarding diversity and inclusion,” according to Bloomberg News. VMLY&R New Zealand reportedly handles creative, social, digital and media for the brand; the agency directed queries to Burger King.
Dolce & Gabbana suffered massive fallout from some very similar ads in China last year; a boycott call spread, and the luxury brand had to cancel its Shanghai fashion show. The Dolce & Gabbana story was big international news; surely Burger King New Zealand heard about it?
A question: Are Asian and Chinese consumers paying attention to this? As Bloomberg notes, the fast-food chain is expanding in Asia and opened about 100 new restaurants last year in China. It’s feasible that one social ad from New Zealand (population 4.8 million) might hurt the brand’s prospects in China (population 1.4 billion).
Warm fuzzies from Heat
Heat, bought by Deloitte Digital back in 2016, seems to know what Droga5, the indie creative shop just acquired by Accenture Interactive, is going through right now. To welcome Droga5 to the club of ad agencies owned by consultancies, Heat delivered a stash of donuts and aspirin to its offices, and released a video of the stunt.
“Don’t worry Droga,” Heat’s message says. “Everything’s gonna be alright. Welcome to the future.”
We suppose for the agencies involved in these deals, there may be mixed feelings: Part of you feels like celebrating and part of you feels hungover, wondering what on earth you’ve done.
‘Privacy for America’
As Congress ponders legislation on consumer data privacy, ad industry trade groups have joined together to try to influence lawmakers’ thinking. George P. Slefo writes in Ad Age that the new coalition is called “Privacy for America,” and it groups together the 4A's, Association of National Advertisers, Digital Advertising Alliance, Interactive Advertising Bureau and Network Advertising Initiative.
The group is pushing for federal privacy legislation, including a "Data Protection Bureau" at the Federal Trade Commission. You might wonder whether federal regulation on consumer data is in the self-interest of the advertising trade groups, which represent brands and agencies along with digital players like Facebook.
But as the thinking goes, there’s clearly something worse: 50 states with their own separate privacy policies.
Real news about The Onion: Great Hill Partners, a private equity firm, “bought The Onion from Univision Communications Inc., along with Gizmodo, Deadspin and Jezebel,” Bloomberg News reports. The sites reportedly sold for much less than the $135 million Univision paid as it acquired them in 2016.
Oops: The San Francisco Giants, which play in Oracle Park, gave fans a calendar with a view of the city’s skyline, Bloomberg News writes. But there was something missing: The city’s tallest building, the Salesforce Tower, which is headquarters to Oracle's rival. The team claims that, hey, it was an honest mistake, according to Bloomberg, and that it hasn't gotten a new photo since the tower was built.
Electric: A new campaign from Audi “attempts to debunk perceptions about EVs that have kept them from breaking into the mainstream, including fears about range, charging infrastructure and performance,” Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz reports. (There may be another barrier giving people pause about Audi’s e-tron SUV: The starting price tag is $74,800.)
Zombies forever: AMC says another spin-off of “The Walking Dead” will debut in 2020. “It will center on two young females who are among the first generation to come of age in the apocalypse,” Ad Age’s Jeanine Poggi writes.
Product of the day: Perhaps you saw this and thought it was an April Fools’ Joke. “It's two individually delicious things that should never, ever be combined: mayonnaise and Cadbury Creme Eggs, the combination of which is dubbed, very questionably, ‘[Seriously] Good Mayo,” the “Today” show writes. The odd collaboration comes from Heinz and Cadbury. And it’s only available in the U.K.