Brands clean up with TikTok and Apple eyes the auto market: Monday Wake-Up Call

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. Cleaning up with TikTok

If you’re launching a cleaning brand these days, look no further than TikTok. The craze for cleaning videos on the social platform has both cult newcomers and household brands heading there hoping to boost sales, reports Ad Age’s Garett Sloane, as products that in the past would have been labeled “as seen on TV” are now “as seen on TikTok.” 

One example is Pink Stuff, now one of the top products on Amazon but relatively unheard of even just six months ago. The brand attributes its recent success to TikTok cleaning videos, says Sloane (which, if you haven’t seen, generally feature someone scrubbing a grimy bathtub or oven until it sparkles, to a catchy pop soundtrack.)

Amazon has even created a new page on its website for such cult, “internet-famous” products that are the “latest to go viral.”  Mainstream brands including Dawn and Fabuloso already appear on TikTok frequently, and there’s also a trend for “TikTok videos of toilet bowls rinsed in Lysol, and sinks covered in Comet.”Grabbing the wheel

Apple is suspected to be eyeing a move into cars, as the industry inevitably moves toward computerization and self-driving vehicles. The Wall Street Journal reports this weekend that Apple recently approached automakers including Hyundai about a potential manufacturing partnership, after “contemplating its move for years,” and insiders say it’s looking into every aspect of the auto industry.

While Apple has yet to comment, the move makes sense as cars become ever more computerized, and “auto makers are scrambling to build or commission their own whole-car operating systems.” But what Apple’s plans are remains a mystery, and whether it plans to compete directly with the likes of Tesla or to go straight to the self-driving route and launch “an Apple mobility company, instead of an Apple car,” has yet to be revealed. 

In other Apple news, the company debuted a playful new ad touting its privacy benefits and App Tracking Transparency. Filmed by “Snow White and the Huntsman” director Ruper Sanders, it shows a man’s day overtaken by a growing horde of hangers-on to illustrate how using an app can leave you open to companies after your data.Rebel with a cause

Rebel Wilson is the star of a multimillion-dollar campaign from “buy now, play later” company Afterpay, which debuted during last night’s Billboard Music Awards. Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli reports that the Australian brand is the latest newcomer in the online payments sector to make a bid for market share, following the likes of Klarna.

Unlike Klarna’s somewhat surreal marketing, Afterpay takes a more straightforward approach to explaining how such systems work. The main spot shows Wilson explaining the buy now, pay later concept to a perplexed shopper. “It’s kinda like … having the abs now, but getting six weeks to do the sit-ups,” she says. Or, eating a whole tub of ice cream, but spreading out the resulting calories over six weeks, she adds.Judy John on Asian hate

Judy John, global chief creative officer of Edelman, is among the latest contributors to Ad Age’s creative excellence series celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. John, known for her work on Always’ “Like a Girl,” discusses Edelman’s work for Ajinomoto, the world’s leading producer of MSG, and a brand that has stood up against the ongoing discrimination and hate crimes endured by those of Asian descent with its campaigns such as “Redefining Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.” Having grown up in a small town “where we were one of two Asian families, both of which ran Chinese restaurants,” it’s a deeply personal project for her; read more over at Creativity.Just briefly

Tune in: Ad Age In-Depth: TV Pivot starts today at 11 a.m. ET. RSVP at to hear from NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia, State Farm, Fox and more.

Group hug: Groupon has hired Interpublic Group’s FCB as its global creative partner, moving on from incumbent TBWA/Chiat/Day New York, reports Ad Age’s Brian Bonilla in this week’s Agency Brief. 

The Week Ahead: The 2021 D&AD Awards take place May 26-27, with ceremonies to announce this year’s Pencil winners at 1 p.m. ET on both days. Plus, Best Buy and Dick’s Sporting Goods are reporting earnings and the “Friends: The Reunion” special debuts on HBO Max (could it be any more hyped?) Check our calendar roundup.

Demon barber: “Lucifer” actor Tom Ellis gets a shave with a robotic arm at the top of the U.K.’s tallest mountain in a gripping product demo by Saatchi & Saatchi London for mobile brand EE touting the stability of its connection. Watch it over at Creativity, and don’t forget to catch up with the team’s live review of the 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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