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Good morning, and welcome to another week of political upheaval, in which brands and organizations will continue to question whether to distance themselves from President Trump in the wake of last week’s violence at the Capitol.
Many already have. Last night, the PGA of America said its board voted to terminate an agreement to host next year’s PGA Championship at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, reports Bloomberg News. The club was the location of Trump’s 2020 election fundraiser last year (and, given Trump’s love of golf, the move is also arguably hugely symbolic.)
“It’s become clear that conducting the PGA championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand and would put at risk the PGA’s ability to deliver our many programs and sustain the longevity of our mission,” Jim Richerson, PGA of America’s president, said in a video message.
Meanwhile, hotel chain Marriott stated over the weekend that it will suspend donations to Republican senators who voted against certifying President-elect Joe Biden, after considering the “destructive events” at the Capitol. Other major brands, including Bank of America, Ford and AT&T, also said they would take the events into consideration before making future donations.
Ad Age today reveals our Best Places to Work for 2021, and, after a year of upheaval when most agency employees have been working for their companies virtually and issues of racial injustice have come to the fore, a few priorities have naturally changed.
Some employees have lauded measures their companies have taken amid COVID-19, such as help with remote working and support for working families, as well as efforts on diversity and inclusion. But what distinguishes top performers essentially remains; winning companies embrace a culture of caring for their employees. “For me, company culture is very important, especially now that I am working at home,” one employee explained. “I don’t see my colleagues personally (because of COVID-19), but I feel that I am strongly connected with them.”
Digital agency PMG tops the list of top-rated firms with over 201 employees, while marketing agency Grow Enrollments is number one for companies with less than 200 staff. Subscribers can access the full list of winners, compiled by Ad Age Datacenter in partnership with market research firm Latitude Research, here.
After Trump's Twitter ban, where can he go to vent online in future? Not Parler, at least for the moment, as big tech closes ranks on the social network, which has become a haven for far-right supporters. As the New York Times reports, following moves by Apple and Google to remove Parler from their app stores, on Saturday Amazon said it would kick the platform off its web-hosting service at midnight Pacific Time on Sunday (which it duly did.)
Amazon told Parler in a letter that it had sent the company 98 examples of posts on its site that encouraged violence and that many remained active. John Matze, Parler’s chief executive, told the Times that Parler was looking for a new hosting provider. However, in an update posted this morning, he said that it would probably be down for “longer than expected.”
Just ahead of the Super Bowl, the surge in COVID cases in California has thrown advertising shoots into question. However, for the moment, production is carrying on, report Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz and Lindsay Rittenhouse.
Although SAG-AFTRA, the Producers Guild of America and the JPC issued a recommendation on Jan. 3 to halt production in Southern California, an ensuing memo from the Association of Independent Commercial Producers clarified that productions remain legally permissible in Los Angeles and do not have to come to a halt. Even so, health concerns are paramount and “agencies and production companies at this point are in the midst of evaluating what’s currently on the table to see whether shifting strategies or postponing makes sense.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the erstwhile “Terminator” star and former Republican governor of California, has gone viral with a video he tweeted at the weekend, in which he compared the events at the Capitol last week to the Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany.
Set to portentous music, the seven-minute film includes moments like Schwarzenegger lifting the “Conan sword” (from his film “Conan the Barbarian”) and saying “Our democracy is like the steel of this sword ... the more it is tempered, the stronger it becomes.” He also describes Trump as “the worst president ever” and wishes Joe Biden success. The clip has had almost 30 million views on Twitter so far.
The Week Ahead: CES kicks off today in virtual form, and ESPN televises the College Football National Championship, pitting Ohio State versus Alabama. Also this week: Delta has results out, and General Motors global Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl is appearing on Ad Age Remotely to discuss its logo change. Check our calendar roundup here.
Zoom with Nelly: Hard on the heels of her interview with Rick Astley, Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl has been catching up with another pop legend, speaking to Nelly on Zoom about his role in Frito-Lay’s campaign for the Flamin’ Hot variety of Lay’s, which puts a new spin on his 2002 hit “Hot in Herre.” Catch it here.
Catch up with Carrie: HBO Max announced last night that “Sex and the City” is coming back in a 2021 revival show named “And Just Like That.” Featuring the original stars, except Kim Cattrall, it will begin production in the spring.
Being the GOAT: Ford is using a herd of goats to emphasize the Ford Bronco Sport’s ruggedness in a new campaign by Wieden+Kennedy, writes Ad Age’s Ethan Jakob Craft. And, in other auto news, VW has a new ad out for its ID4 battery-electric model that uses zoetropes to illustrate advances in transportation.
King of rebrands: Burger King is getting rave reviews for its rebrand through Jones Knowles Ritchie, writes Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz in this week’s “Trending” roundup, with design review site Brand New praising its “vintage appeal.” You can also watch Ad Age’s Creativity team discussing the retro new look, and other top ideas of the week, in our first Top 5 review of 2021, here.
That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call. Thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well.
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