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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 Wake-Up Call newsletters.

Omnicom’s optimism

“We fully expect to return to positive organic growth in the second quarter and the balance of the year.” That’s what Omnicom CEO John Wren told analysts on Thursday in an earnings call, Ad Age’s Judann Pollack reports. The context for that statement, also from Pollack’s story:

The company reported a 9.3% falloff in worldwide revenue in the fourth quarter of last year to $3.76 billion, and an 11.9% drop for the full year to $13.2 billion, compared to 2019. Organic growth for the quarter fell 9.4% in the U.S., the sharpest drop excluding the U.K., which was down 12.4%, and the Middle East and Africa, which plunged 36.8%. For the full year, organic growth slid 10% in the U.S.

Keep reading here.

The view from Texas

Here’s a snapshot of what it’s been like trying to do agency work in Texas this week:

“We are open-ish,” says Elisa Silva, partner and managing director at Dallas’ 3HeadedMonster. “There’s been no real pattern to when or for how long some combination of power, WiFi, mobile service, and/or water will be lost for some fraction of our team. So our primary concern has been the essentials for our folks—that they are warm, that they have water, and that they are fed.”

That’s just one bit of testimony from “How Texas agencies are coping amid ‘mayhem’ caused by epic winter storm,” also from Ad Age’s Pollack.

Speaking of Texas ...

From the Department of Tone-Deaf Politicians with Self-Inflicted PR Problems, via The Hill:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Thursday confirmed he flew to Mexico with family members Wednesday evening, responding for the first time to widespread backlash in his home state that’s been battered by a severe winter storm. Cruz said in a statement shared with The Hill that he accompanied his daughters on a flight to Mexico since they had the week off with school canceled.

“Wanting to be a good dad,” Cruz said, he decided to fly “with them last night and am flying back this afternoon.”

See also:  “People Are Tweeting Pictures Of Their Frozen Homes At Ted Cruz, And It’s Getting Ugly,” per BuzzFeed.


And hey, while you’re grazing on BuzzFeed ...

... why not load up on a heaping helping of timely service journalism? Specifically, “20 No-Cook Meals You Can Make To Feed Yourself Or Your Family After A Power Outage”—a story BuzzFeed gave major play on its homepage Thursday afternoon and evening.

(Non-perishable) spoiler alert:  No. 3 on BuzzFeed’s list is—no lie—“Canned Chicken Salad.” [Insert laughing-face and/or crying-face emoji of your choice here.]

Game on

Lexus is trying to lure gamers with a car made just for them, Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz reports. On Thursday, the Toyota-owned luxury brand ...

... revealed the “Gamers’ IS,” a modified-version of the IS 350 F Sport sedan that is dressed up with a gamer-friendly design and features, including a custom-built gaming PC in the trunk with a high-def curved monitor in the passenger seat and a retractable keyboard and mouse platform, plus a 3D-printed game controller.

Essential context:  “Yes, this is a marketing stunt,” Schultz writes. “Lexus made only one of these”—and it’s destined for auto shows, “once those come back.”

Keep reading here.

Award-winning ... you?

A reminder that the entry window is wide open for the 2021 Ad Age A-List and Creativity Awards, recognizing agencies, standout work and forward-thinking leaders and talents in the industry. The final deadline is March 2. More details here.

See also:  “Small Agency Awards entries are now open.”


Congress is going after Big Tech again, per Bloomberg News. David McLaughlin and Billy House report that,

The chief executives of Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Twitter Inc. are set to testify in Washington next month as Congress gears up for a new round of scrutiny of giant technology companies. Two separate House committees on Thursday announced plans to examine the power of the major tech platforms. The three executives will testify in March, while a House antitrust panel announced hearings to consider legislation that could curb the companies’ dominance.

Keep reading here.

See also:  “Facebook employee called inflated ad metrics ‘deeply wrong,’” also per Bloomberg News (via Ad Age).

Just briefly

Reality check:  “No-commission trading means ‘you’re the product,’ lawmaker says in Robinhood-GameStop hearing,” per MarketWatch.

Making sense of the numbers:  “Why Are COVID-19 Cases Really Falling?,” from Slate.

Roku rocks:  “Roku gains after quarterly revenue forecast tops estimate,” from Ad Age.

Join the club:  “Sam’s Club names VMLY&R its first agency of record after review,” also from Ad Age.

That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call. For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter: @adage.

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