Morning Update: Why Zoolander 2 ads work; Netflix laughs off figure claims; How being on cable doomed Al Jazeera USA

AdWeek: Zoolander No. 2’s Ads Brilliantly Mix With the Fashion World, Even While Critiquing It

The sequel to Zoolander is probably going to be terrible, but—let us finish—the marketing for it is actually pretty cool and inventive.

Zoolander No. 2 continues the adventures and foibles of inexplicably famous male models Zoolander and Hansel (played by Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson). The film’s marketing blitz began with the two actors walking in Valentino’s fall 2015 show, and the most recent ad, created by Testa and Partners and described as a “mini-movie,” debuted during the Golden Globes and features Zoolander as the new face of Fiat.

NetflixThe Guardian: Netflix executive dismisses NBC’s ratings reveal as ‘remarkably inaccurate’


Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, has criticised figures released by NBC that purported to show audience numbers for some of the streaming company’s original series.

The Drum: The Simpsons The Simpsons creator Matt Groening linked to Netflix

Matt Groening linked to Netfix

Industry observers argue that the likelihood of increased creative control over any such Netflix-produced title (as opposed to US TV networks where such liberties are not always guaranteed) would peak Groening’s interest.

AdAge: See the Spot: The True Life of a McCafe Mom

Kraft Heinz Co. is rolling out a campaign for McCafe coffee, this time focusing on the balanced taste of the coffee and balancing in everyday life.

A new :30 spot shows a mom getting through a day including some not so perfect pigtails for her daughter, participating in a video chat for work and serving as a napkin.

Washington Post: This is what doomed Al Jazeera America

The announcement that the Al Jazeera Media Network was shutting down Al Jazeera America caught many off-guard, but it could not have been a complete surprise. Its struggles were well-publicised. Its ratings were horrifically low. Critics inside and out protested it was boring, tepid, old school, too objective, not objective enough, or way too Americanized to be interesting. Reports of low morale in the newsroom abound. It was also embroiled in numerous lawsuits, including damaging accusations of workplace bias and gender discrimination, and more recently, defaming professional athletes.

What really doomed Al Jazeera America from the beginning was its decision to offer straight, sober journalism via legacy cable and satellite TV carriers, distribution platforms on which such a product is fast becoming extinct. Al Jazeera America was also quasi-commercial at best, but the gatekeeping companies it had to appease are highly commercial.

Al Jazeera America had the unenviable task of marrying Al Jazeera’s self-described mission of subversive journalism that challenges power with being digestible enough to American TV viewers to attract a respectable number on a nightly basis. It would have to be domesticated, yet it was an outwardly foreign brand — one many Americans still unfairly associated with Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, even after the channel’s Arab spring coverage was widely hailed.

NY Times: Iran Prisoner SwapHuffington Post Waited to Report U.S.-IranPrisoner-Swap Negotiations

At least one news organisation appears to have known about the negotiations between the United States and Iran over a prisoner exchange that included a Washington Post reporter before the arrangement was announced. But it chose not to publish information about the talks.

The Huffington Post wrote on Saturday that it did not run an article about the prisoner-swap negotiations though it had learned about the talks in the fall from a State Department official who spoke on the record. The Huffington Post also wrote that American government officials had said earlier that reporters from The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal were withholding details about the talks as well.


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