GOP politicians push back against brands over voting rights: Tuesday 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.Georgia on my mind

Republican lawmakers are pushing back against companies that are calling out new voting restrictions passed by the Georgia state legislature. Last week, Major League Baseball announced it would move the 2021 All-Star Game out of the state, while execs at Delta, United Airlines, Coca-Cola, Merck, TIAA and Uber have criticized the new laws.

In a statement released on Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accused companies of “absurd disinformation” meant to “mislead and bully the American people.” Of course, it’s the justification behind Georgia’s Election Integrity Act that is actually misleading. There was no widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, but the 100-page law levies new hardships for voters in the name of curbing fraud.

Just the All-Star Game move will cost Georgia $100 million, according to a local travel official, and while most brands that have weighed in have only released vague statements, more-concrete action could quickly become a huge financial burden to the state.Up for grabs

Facebook’s $750 million media review is making big waves. “The shops that pitch the account also represent clients who buy Facebook inventory,” writes Ad Age’s Garett Sloane. “As with any media account this massive, there may be a temptation for agencies to sweeten the pot by ramping up spending on Facebook in an effort to win the business.”

And while the business is likely lucrative, any agency signing on will need to deal with regulatory morass facing the tech giant, as antitrust advocates push to break it up and politicians question its practices.

The results of the review should have a real impact on where Facebook spends its dollars for years to come. The company hasn’t reviewed its media since 2014, when the business went to WPP’s Mindshare and Dentsu, and this will be its first major overhaul.Seat at the table

Elise James-DeCruise joins the Ad Council as the organization’s first chief equity officer. She’ll be tasked with overseeing its DE&I efforts, not only internally with regard to hiring and workplace culture, but also in its public communications, including the creative campaigns it puts out every year with its many agency partners.

“This work is truly at the intersection of my passion for community building, advertising for social good and my longstanding commitment to the advancement of equity and inclusion across the workforce, workplace, marketplace and community, and I couldn’t be more excited,” James-DeCruise said in a statement. “I look forward to supporting everyone across the organization as we partner together to create psychologically safe and brave spaces and deepen the connections between our work and our values.”

James-DeCruise joins from Cleveland-based independent shop Marcus Thomas, where she was chief diversity and inclusion officer at Marcus Thomas, a Cleveland-based independent marketing communications agency. Prior to that, she was VP, global head of multicultural marketing and inclusion at MediaMath in New York.Women’s History Month may be over, but there’s still time to give someone you know the recognition they deserve. To submit your nomination for Ad Age’s Leading Women U.S., click here.Final decision

Google won a major victory at the Supreme Court, with a 6-2 decision declaring the company did not infringe copyright when it used Oracle’s code in its Android operation system.

Oracle was seeking as much as $9 billion in the suit, which has been working its way through the courts for a decade. The ruling—with dissents from the conservative end of the bench, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito—stands in contrast to the priorities of many legislators on both sides of the aisle, where antitrust and anti-tech sentiment is currently running high.Turning a (proverbial) page

The city of Boston needs a reconstruction project on par with the Big Dig, and it’s tapped a local Black-owned agency to do it. The city has long had a reputation for racism and discrimination, particularly after images of white residents rioting against the desegregation busing of schools played out on national news in the 1970s, (The Red Sox were also the last major league baseball team to desegregate. The actual monster at Fenway Park has never been green.)

Advertising and brand agency Proverb is tasked with creating a new campaign to fight racism and discrimination. “Proverb hopes the campaign will provide an alternative narrative to the stereotypes of Boston by creating an alternative story that is more inclusive and amplifies previously lesser-heard groups of people,” writes Ad Age’s Mike Juang. “The stories featured in the campaign aim to drive visitors to traditionally overlooked businesses and neighborhoods, particularly those that were hit hardest by the pandemic.”

Instead of the usual red, white and blue motifs of a city proud of its colonial heritage, the new campaign, called “Boston All Inclusive,” features the colors of Beantown today: red bricks, cobblestones, fall leaves.Just briefly

Hot tip: A new report from finds that social media is now the second biggest source of financial advice for 18-24 year olds, just behind friends and family. That could explain the power of forums like r/WallStreetBets to drive stock prices, but it could also make young people more susceptible to pump-and-dump schemes and other financial pitfalls.

Be kind, rewind: If you missed Ad Age’s latest town hall event on investing in minority-owned businesses, we’ve got you covered. Check out our review of the key points from yesterday’s candid discussion between industry leaders here.

Feature, not bug: And another study from the Journal of Business Ethics finds that bad bosses might not be an accident. When firms need some … ahem … questionable accounting done, they purposefully hire people with the right negative personality traits to facilitate the fix.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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