Morning Update: Lynx goes metrosexual; Al Jazeera US channels axed; Droga5 actor protest; Publicis eyes Cheil stake

Creativity: Axe Adds Guy-Chases-Guy Scenes to Its New Take on Masculinity

Looking to “shed outdated views of masculinity,” Axe is veering from its historical girl-chases-guy storylines to show guys chasing guys, if ever so subtly, in a new campaign from 72andSunny.

The first work for the Unilever brand from the agency it appointed last year features the tagline “Find Your Magic” and a video showing one man dancing in women’s clothes and two others exchanging looks in a record store. Another out-of-home ad, titled “Androgynous Kiss,” shows two men preparing to kiss.

droga5 NY protest

Agency Spy: Actors Union and NYPD Visit Droga5’s Manhattan Headquarters

Actors unions are not too enthusiastic about the ad agency world.

SAG-AFTRA, formerly known as the Screen Actors Guild, is America’s biggest union for performers–and its organizers have chosen to single out Droga5 as an agency that uses non-union actors in its ads. (Many other agencies do the same thing, but you already knew that.)

The Guardian: Corset ad promising ‘sexy, tiny waist’ banned for being irresponsible

A TV ad showing women using a corset to squeeze their waists to a “sexy, tiny” size has been banned for being irresponsible.

The Shop Channel UK ran an infomercial promoting the Velform Mini Waist that showed women using the product with a presenter stating: “Have you ever wondered how celebrities get those tiny little waists they flaunt on the red carpet?”

The Drum: Al Jazeera America Shuts Down Unexpectedly

Al Jazeera America (AJAM), the US outpost for the Al Jazeera Network, has announced that it is ceasing all TV and Digital operations in the United States, effective by April 30th. Employees at the network, which was launched in 2013 with significant investment, $500m after acquiring Current TV, were informed of the decision at an “all-hands” staff meeting in New York City this afternoon.

Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based broadcaster, created the channel in an effort to lure the US audience to their brand of news, with more of a global perspective and depth, counter to the more “bite-sized” offerings of other US-based news channels. However, the network struggled to gain an audience and was only available in around 60 million US homes.

Campaign: Publicis Groupe considers bid for 30% of Cheil Worldwide

Publicis Groupe is considering a bid for a controlling stake in Cheil Worldwide.

The company is mulling an offer to take a 30 per cent stake in Seoul-based Cheil Worldwide, a report in Bloomberg has said.

The stake would make it the company’s largest stakeholder. Cheil began as Samsung’s in-house agency. Samsung currently owns around 25 per cent of the agency.


Hollywood Reporter: Fact-Checking Reed Hastings: Netflix’s Big Challenge Overseas

How Realistic is Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ plan for world domination?

Hastings shocked the CES audience in Las Vegas by revealing his streaming service went live Jan. 8 in 130 new countries, tripling the number of nations in which Netflix operates. There were minor exceptions — Syria, North Korea and Crimea, and a major one, China. He called Netflix the first global TV network, available “from Singapore to St. Petersburg, from San Francisco to Sao Paulo.” But that image of a universal monolith underestimates challenges ahead.

Netflix until now has picked mostly soft targets for international expansion — such countries as Canada, the U.K., France and Japan with educated populations, fast Internet connections and democratic governments. This new push includes a few territories that meet those requirements, such as South Korea’s 18 million broadband homes. But there also are 54 African countries, many with spotty tech infrastructure and lethargic download speeds, and the mostly autocratic and censorious regimes of the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

AdWeek: Who Are the Year’s Best-Loved Brands? Hint: Half Are Probably Younger Than You

Conventional wisdom holds that it takes decades of hard work for a company to become the most respected in its field. Maybe that’s still true, but consider this: half of the most respected brands in existence have been around fewer than 20 years.

That’s just one of the findings of the YouGov BrandIndex’s best-perceived brands of the year, released today. (You can find profiles of the Top 10 brands and charts of their brand growth in recent years below.)

Not only are the top placers surprisingly youthful companies, but they are—not coincidentally—also media and technology heavies. “New media and technology are dominating the list,” said BrandIndex CEO Ted Marzilli. “Seven out of 10 of these brands are these new media brands and many of them didn’t exist 10 years ago.”


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