Female artists dominate Grammys, ads include debut for Travis Scott-backed hard seltzer Cacti: 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. Female-dominated Grammys

Female artists dominated at the Grammy Awards last night, held at an outdoor location in Los Angeles to allow for social distancing.

The big winners included Beyoncé, who won four awards, bringing her lifetime total to 28, the most Grammy award wins of any female artist. Megan Thee Stallion took best new artist (and also performed her raunch hit with Cardi B, “W.A.P.”), Taylor Swift was awarded  album of the year for “Folklore” and Billie Eilish won record of the year for “Everything I Wanted.” 

As The New York Times reports, Black Lives Matter was also a prominent theme at the awards, with singer-songwriter H.E.R. winning song of the year for “I Can’t Breathe,” a “fist-in-the-air anthem for Black Lives Matter,” while Lil Baby performed his song, “The Bigger Picture,” as a “dramatic showdown with riot police.”A prickly debut

TV advertisers in this year’s Grammys broadcast on CBS included Anheuser-Busch InBev, with the debut campaign for new Travis Scott-backed hard seltzer brand, Cacti. 

As Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz reports, the spot portrays the fictional origin story of the brand, which Scott had a big hand in developing, and the rapper also co-directed it. It depicts a group of people on motorcycles speeding through an agave field to discover the drink under an object that presumably fell from outer space. The TV buy also benefited from the contextual Grammys tie-in; Scott was nominated for best melodic rap performance for “Highest in the Room,” although he didn’t win. 

Other notable advertisers during the awards included Apple, with a catchy new spot for AirPods Pro called “Jump,” which features Japanese Double Dutch phenomenon, Kengo Sugino.Tackling the ‘she-cession’

Social media lit up with furious women last week when Burger King made a major misfire on International Women’s Day, tweeting the phrase, “Women belong in the kitchen.” 

As Ad Age’s Alexandra Jardine reports, it was no surprise; women around the world are expressing rage and frustration after months in a pandemic that has threatened to derail their progress and has sparked the so-called “she-cession.” According to one report, the pandemic is threatening to reverse decades of women’s economic progress, with women on average now spending more than 30 hours a week looking after children.

Some advertisers are now trying to rally behind them; Ikea, Procter & Gamble, BT and Walgreens Boots Alliance have all run campaigns tackling issues including the “gender chore gap,” the stresses of child care while working from home and the fact that women are far more likely to have lost their jobs or been furloughed in the pandemic. However, as Burger King found out, it’s a sensitive issue, and brands need to approach it right. Royal opportunities

It may not have done them any favors with their royal relatives, but following their blockbuster interview with Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle can expect the cash to keep pouring in, at least on this side of the Atlantic.

According to a new Ad Age-Harris Poll survey, about a third of Americans who watched last week’s broadcast say they are more likely to purchase a product or service if Markle endorses it, and 28% said the same about Prince Harry. 

The royal couple’s biggest business opportunities are in apparel, streaming services and luxury goods. Meanwhile, Markle’s openness about mental health was greeted favorably by the American public: 55% of respondents to the Ad Age-Harris Poll said it is “a positive step that will help others in similar situations.”Just briefly

TV special: WarnerMedia’s head of advertising, JP Colaco, will join Jeanine Poggi on Ad Age Remotely at 11:30 a.m. EST today, ahead of his first time leading WarnerMedia’s upfront efforts after taking the reins in October. He’ll be discussing the state of the TV marketplace heading into the spring ad haggle, the streaming wars and HBO Max’s upcoming ad-supported tier.

The Week Ahead: SXSW kicks off tomorrow in virtual form. It’s also the start of March Madness, with limited fan attendance and all games played in Indiana, and Bloomberg is holding its annual Equality Summit. Check out our weekly calendar roundup here. 

Sting in the tale: Ahead of World Down Syndrome Day next Sunday, a charming new spot from Italian Down Syndrome organization CoorDown features the vocal talent of Sting. He performs a lively, original jazz track about a virtuous circle of hiring people with Down Syndrome, tracing and retracing the various steps of the chain. See the spot, by New York agency Small, here. And don’t forget to check out the Creativity team’s review of the Top 5 creative 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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