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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.

What happens in the Clubhouse

While the business world continues to work itself into a frenzy about Clubhouse, concerns have emerged about the popular new audio app’s security, and they’re not going away.

Despite Clubhouse saying last week that it has taken steps to prevent hacking, Bloomberg News reports that an unidentified user was able to stream Clubhouse audio feeds this weekend from “multiple rooms” into their own third-party website, according to Reema Bahnasy, a spokeswoman for Clubhouse. 

The company says it has permanently banned that particular user and installed new safeguards to prevent a repeat. But according to the Stanford Internet Observatory, the first organization to publicly raise security concerns about Clubhouse on Feb. 13, users of the invitation-only app “should assume all conversations are being recorded.” 

Further reading: Clubhouse isn't the only player in the social audio revolution; read strategist Mike Proulx's opinion piece on Clubhouse vs Twitter Spaces here.

What to expect at SXSW

SXSW is coming up March 16-20 and in Ad Age’s new digital edition, out today to download for subscribers, Garett Sloane has taken a look at what marketers should expect from its five-day online format. 

As Sloane writes, while delegates can’t look forward to Texas barbecue or strolls down East Sixth Street in Austin, there are some upsides to the virtual event: For one thing, “anyone could tune in, no need for a plane ticket.” It’s also cheaper, starting at $249 for an online pass, compared to the usual ticket prices of up to $1,350. 

A virtual lounge will try to capture the spirit of an in-person venue in Austin via Zoom, and while panels and sessions will be prerecorded, organizers are hoping conversation can cross over to other platforms including Zoom, LinkedIn and Twitter. The aforementioned Clubhouse is also expected to be big news at SXSW, allowing people to speak together and mingle, but without the live video element. 

Beyond SXSW

What else can we expect from industry events this year? Ad Age’s Ethan Jakob Craft reports on what’s currently being promised, from Cannes Lions and Advertising Week to the Tokyo Olympics. 

As well as virtual offerings including the NewFronts and Upfronts, there are a number of events later this year that are slated to run using in-person or hybrid live-virtual formats. And while there are undoubtedly question marks on to-be-determined agendas, the current trend “seems to be one of optimism that a return to normalcy will come before the end of the year.” Fingers crossed. 

Meanwhile, in Texas

It’s not just the lack of SXSW that’s affecting our friends in Austin this spring; agencies in Texas continue to reel from the effects of last week’s winter storm. As Ad Age’s Judann Pollack writes in this week’s Agency Brief, Pentagram’s Austin office has been “totally lost” due to the weather. According to a sad email from Lana McGilvray, who runs Purpose Worldwide and whose husband, DJ Stout, runs Pentagram, a trip to the office revealed that “the roof had caved in, art was falling from the walls and there was about a foot of water on the floor.” Our sympathies to everyone affected. 

Last call

Entries for Ad Age Leading Women Europe are due by Feb 24. Our annual program recognizes trailblazing women in the industry who reside and work in Europe. Formerly known as Women to Watch, its new name further reflects what women in the industry are doing and leading. Submit your free entry here; you can nominate yourself, or a colleague or client. 

Just briefly

The Week Ahead: It’s National Margarita Day today, which could liven up your Monday. Plus Macy’s, Domino’s Pizza, Papa John’s and Cinemark are all reporting earnings this week. Check our weekly calendar roundup here

ICYMI: "Saturday Night Live" was full of gems this weekend, but in particular we noticed this sketch about a spec ad agency, starring Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Page as a job applicant whose ideas include a questionable idea for Netflix. 

Typo trolling: McDonald’s is officially launching its new chicken sandwich this week, but rival Popeye’s jumped at the chance to promote its own by banking on consumers’ spelling mistakes. Agency Gut bought up 50 different URLs likely to result from clumsy typing of McDonald’s early access link, chkndrop.com. The first 10,000 consumers to land on them could claim a free Popeye’s sandwich. Read more here; and hear the Creativity’s team discussion of the campaign on our livestreamed Top 5 ideas of the week


That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call, thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well. For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter:@adage. From CMO Strategy to the Ad Age Datacenter Weekly, we’ve got newsletters galore. See them all here. 

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