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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. 

Order up

With millions of Americans sheltering in place, food delivery services have been some of the biggest winners of the pandemic era. Both DoorDash and Uber Eats ran Super Bowl ads, shelling out for the hefty placement price in addition to enlisting big-name talent, like a reunited Wayne and Garth and the Muppets of Sesame Street.

Those bids are paying off. An Ad Age-Harris Poll survey finds that “43% of U.S. adults who recalled seeing DoorDash’s Super Bowl spot said they order food from third-party apps or services at least once a week, as do 38% of those who recalled seeing the Uber Eats Super Bowl spot,” write Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz and Jessica Wohl. “Among the total group surveyed, just 28% order from such services at least once a week.”

The lucrative marketplace means creatives have also been able to take more chances, promoting more local restaurants, funding charitable initiatives and landing A-listers for commercials.

The next slice

Pizza chain Papa John’s founder John Schnatter accused execs at Laundry Service, including former CEO Jason Stein, of conspiring to harm his reputation following a conference call during which he used a racial slur, according to newly unsealed court documents.

“Laundry Service immediately began to discuss how Mr. Schnatter’s statements on the call could be used against him to damage his image so ‘he gets fucking sent out to pasture on this shit’ (in Stein’s words),” reads Schnatter’s complaint, as Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl reports.

Oh, and there’s a tape. Apparently a Laundry Service employee recorded Stein statements and took issue with what they saw as working against the interests of a client. However this suit continues to unfold, it seems unlikely to rehabilitate Schnatter’s reputation.

Safety dance

Facebook is testing a new brand safety tool that could give advertisers a much larger degree of control over the placement of ads in the News Feed. “So far, Facebook has only revealed the most basic details of the test, in which participating advertisers will have ‘topic exclusion tools’ to avoid appearing next to subjects like ‘crime and tragedy,’” writes Ad Age’s Garett Sloane.

An anonymous agency exec says brands will be able to exclude not only potentially dangerous topics, but also controversial ones like politics and social issues. It also signals a fundamental shift in Facebook’s position. “After years in which Facebook’s teams insisted that context does not matter for advertising in News Feed,” Sloane adds, “there is now a growing understanding that it absolutely does.”

At the same time, Facebook lifted its ban on political advertising today for the first time since the November presidential election.

Unsafe at any feed

A new report from UCLA and UC Berkeley finds that fast food workers in Los Angeles are at increased risk of COVID-19 transmission, particularly among people of color, who are disproportionately likely to work in food service jobs. Some employers are punishing employees who report unsafe conditions or customers who refuse to wear masks, adding to the danger.

Many workplaces aren’t disclosing when coworkers test positive, so employees are even unable to take their own precautions to protect themselves. A single McDonald’s location in California has been traced to 32 infections, the report says, and striking workers had their hours cut.

While the study focuses on California, this phenomenon has been documented nationwide. With a momentary dip in coronavirus cases leading to re-opened businesses in states like Texas, many more workers face the prospect of having to choose between staying employed and staying healthy.

Just briefly

Brand refresher: Fear is the secret to making funny ads quickly, Mint Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Aron North tells Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing on the latest episode of the “Marketer’s Brief” podcast. And it helps to have brand owner Ryan Reynolds in text threads.

Never trust a show over 30: Fox renewed “The Simpsons” for the show’s 33rd and 34th seasons, extending its reign as the longest-running primetime scripted TV series. It will air its 700th episode later this month.

Tune in: Initiative's new Global CEO Amy Armstrong will discuss the future of the agency model in a live episode of Ad Age “Remotely” at 11:30 a.m. EST today. She’s the first woman to run the IPG shop, and she’ll also talk about how Initiative is addressing DE&I issues.

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.

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