Microsoft eyes Discord, Lysol and Tripadvisor clean up: Wednesday 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. Microsoft eyes Discord

Microsoft is eyeing a new move into social media with the $10 billion acquisition of gaming chat community Discord. According to Bloomberg News, Discord has been talking to potential buyers and Microsoft is in the running, although no deal is imminent and Discord may choose to go public instead. It’s also said to have held previous talks with both Epic Games and Amazon. 

Discord started as a video game chat community that lets gamers communicate by video, voice and text, but during the pandemic its focus has broadened into more general online chat, particularly among a younger audience.  It has more than 100 million monthly active users.

It’s the latest attempt by Microsoft to bag a hot social media property; it looked at buying TikTok and has also held talks with Pinterest. Microsoft’s Xbox business has also been expanding the suite of subscription perks it provides as part of its Game Pass offering and Discord could be a good fit; Xbox chief Phil Spencer has been talking to the company, according to one person.Cleaning up

Even as the travel sector starts to open up again, many consumers are still hyper vigilant when it comes to hygiene. So  Tripadvisor is hoping to restore confidence for travel brands through a new partnership with Lysol, reports Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli. 

It includes special Lysol sanitization kits with names such as “Restroom Rescue”, and “Germ Busters” for the 8 million tourism and hospitality businesses on the site. Business owners can also access education and guidelines for cleaning and sanitation via a website. It’s the latest in a string of partnership deals for Lysol, which has pacts with Delta, Hilton and Airbnb.

In other news, Lysol’s owner Reckitt has officially rebranded to be known solely as Reckitt, as opposed to Reckitt Benckiser. But, as Ad Age’s Jack Neff points out, it’s “the only name people ever called it anyway,” despite a 12-year effort to become known as RB. 

To learn more about marketing trends and partnerships, attend Age Next: Retail, a livestreamed conference on April 20. Get details here.Y’all…fine? 

Popeyes is planning to take the chicken sandwich wars to the U.K. as part of an aggressive overseas expansion plan. The Times of London reports that the Restaurant Brands International chain plans to open 350 U.K. restaurants over the next decade, the first by the end of this year.

The expansion comes after Popeyes last week announced a deal to expand in Mexico with a franchise partner; it has also opened restaurants in Spain and Switzerland. The Times says the chain hopes to “woo British consumers with its classically trained chefs and Louisiana charm.” Let’s hope the likes of KFC, Burger King and McDonald’s are “all good” (or should that be “fine,” as we say in Britain,) with that. Facebook fights pirates

Facebook yesterday announced new measures for brands to assert their intellectual property rights, reports Ad Age’s Garett Sloane. The safeguards focused on two key areas: videos uploaded by creators that could violate a brand’s copyrighted materials; and fake products promoted by unscrupulous sellers.

Facebook also said it introduced a new metric for advertisers to gauge the size of the potential audiences they can reach depending on how many brand safety filters they use. Facebook has been trying to give brands more control over where their ads appear, so they can decide on the substance of the content and creators they want to support.Just briefly

Live with Salesforce: Sarah Franklin, president and chief marketing officer of Salesforce, joins Ad Age’s Mike Juang in today’s live episode of Remotely. Franklin, who was promoted to her role in January, will discuss democratizing and diversifying tech, the role of the CMO in a post-COVID world and marketing lessons from the pandemic. Tune in here at 1.30PM E.T.

Royal impact: Prince Harry is to take the role of chief impact officer at Silicon Valley mental health services startup BetterUp. Mail Online reports that he will “help promote an app used by corporate giants including Hilton, Facebook Chevron to improve the wellbeing of their staff.”

Casting call: Dove infiltrated other brands’ commercial casting calls in its latest effort to promote a more diverse notion of beauty, writes Creativity editor Ann-Christine Diaz. In a campaign by Spanish agency Lola MullenLowe, the Unilever brand worked with independent casting agencies to get diverse female talents into ad auditions for major brands—and then offered to pay the fees for the talents if they were cast. The women won roles in spots for Krispy Kreme, Magnum and more.

Calling small agencies: Ad Age’s annual Small Agency Awards are back, honoring small, independent shops that showed their strength and creativity by producing innovative and exciting work despite the overwhelming hurdles presented by the pandemic. Enter here. The final deadline is April 27.

In memoriam: Veteran marketing and communications exec Molly Parsley, who had represented agencies including Pereira O’Dell, AKQA and Edelman, died unexpectedly last week in San Francisco. PJ Pereira, co-founder and creative chairman of Pereira O’Dell and former executive creative director at AKQA, shares his memories in this tribute. 

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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