What you need to know in advertising today

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Getty

As Facebook faced a string of crises, it sought to tie its critics to George Soros, the billionaire at the center of many fringe right-wing conspiracy theories.

This summer, with anti-Facebook sentiment growing in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and other fiascos, the social-media company had a public relations firm it had hired to attempt to pin the blame on Soros for the growing Freedom from Facebook movement, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. At Facebook’s behest, Definers Public Affairs distributed to reporters a research report that accused Soros of quietly backing anti-Facebook groups and urged them to dig into the alleged financial connections between those groups and the businessman, The Times reported.

Click here to read more about The New York Times’ story.

The story is loaded with other tidbits including how Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer intervened with one of his colleagues on Facebook’s behalf this summer, and Facebook COOSheryl Sandberg’s efforts to downplay widespread Russian propaganda in 2016.

Facebook has since published a blog post disputing several parts of the story.

In other news:

Ad tech company Taboola wants to reach you while you’re waiting for your ride, and it’s part of a plan to take on Apple News. Israeli ad tech firm Taboola has formed a strategic partnership with ride-hailing app Via.

Inside the unique partnership that helped ‘A Star Is Born’ soar at the box office by targeting music fans and live events. Live Nation Productions President Heather Parry talked to Business Insider about the unique way the company helped the movie get noticed by concertgoers.

A new breed of ad agency is cashing in on the direct-to-consumer boom, and big agencies are scrambling to catch up. Some like Decoded and Azione are incubating their own DTC brands, while others like YellowHammer and Diff are upending traditional fee models.

Giants like Oracle and Salesforce are salivating over direct-to-consumer startups, but insiders say winning business is ‘inherently messy.’ Business Insider spoke with a dozen direct-to-consumer brands, marketing clouds, consultants, bankers, and agencies and found that brands are taking different approaches with their marketing technology.

Nike is opening a 68,000-square-foot flagship store of the future in New York City. Spanning six floors and 68,000 square feet, it is packed with brand-new customer experiences that Nike has never done before.