Westworld IRL; Another Boeing Crash: Thursday’s First Things First

Plus, more updates from CES 2020 and the TCA winter press tour

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If Westworld Season 3 Is Anything Like This Teaser Dinner, We’re in for a Ride

At CES 2020 in Las Vegas this week, Giant Spoon and HBO again pulled out all the stops for a themed experience, just like they did for the buzzworthy SXSW events promoting Game of Thrones and Westworld’s second season.

This time, it was by plunging dinner party attendees into a dystopian world of completely open data to promote WestWorld’s third season. And they did so by, well, mining everyone’s data and creating a scripted experience from it to thoroughly creep out every non-actor who attended the event. There were personalized meals, people you’d never seen before who knew you (and too much about you) by sight, and in the end, a proposition that the fictional host company, Incite, just go ahead and take over every decision for you from now on. Don’t worry. The algorithm will save you.

Read more: Adweek’s Sara Jerde and Nick Gardner were there, and they each left the dinner with a personalized prediction for how the rest of their lives will pan out.

Boeing Plane Crashes Shortly After Takeoff in Iran, All 176 Aboard Dead

Early Wednesday morning in Iran, another Boeing plane crashed, killing all 176 passengers and crew onboard a flight headed for Ukraine. This time it wasn’t the 737 Max 8, which has been grounded since March 2018, but a related model: the 737-800. Local media reported that technical problems were to blame for the crash, according to the New York Times.

Things were already looking bad for Boeing. The two 737 Max 8 crashes in October 2018 and a March 2019 killed a combined 346 people, and led to the suspension and eventual removal of CEO Dennis Muilenburg.

Read more: Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky expressed condolences in a Facebook post.

Take a Ride in the $225,000 All-Electric Faraday Future FF91

Faraday Future, a luxury electric automaker that was founded in 2014 and has been plagued by the financial troubles of its former CEO, is finally taking orders for its $225,000 for its all-electric FF91. The company’s new CEO Carsten Breitfeld, who led BMW’s i8 electric fleet, said the car should be in production by the end of the year. The carmaker claims the FF91 has a range of 400 miles—though that may change once it goes into production. To compare, the Tesla Model 3’s range is 325 miles.

Read more: The car comes with its own voice assistant, and the finished model will have massaging technology in the rear seats.

ABC Sets Monthly Event Strategy and Orders Pilot for Thirtysomething Revival

At the Television Critics Association winter press tour, ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke said she’s working to bring some “swagger” back to broadcast television. ABC revealed its plans for how to do that throughout 2020 yesterday at the semiannual conference, announcing its plan to forego a host for the Oscars again this year—a decision that paid off last year with improved ratings. The network is also ordering a pilot for a revival of the late 90s show Thirtysomething, planning a limited run of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire hosted and executive produced by Jimmy Kimmel and has scheduled another live musical, Young Frankenstein Live!, for the fall.

Read more: ABC has also ordered another Bachelor series to debut April 13—this one with 20 contestants who live “music-centric” lives.

Best of the Rest: Today’s Top News and Insights

Ad of the Day: Social Media Reaction Prompts Panera Bread to Return French Onion Soup to Its Menu

When Panera Bread cut french onion soup from its menu in September, people were pissed. And so they funneled their anger into Twitter, as people often do. This time, the social media fury paid off—Panera brought the soup back, and announced its return by hiring Phyllis from The Office to read some of the mean tweets people sent to the company during the French onion’s hiatus.

Marketers Share How—and When—They Give Feedback to New Talent

“In the first few weeks, the most helpful feedback for new employees is task based—very specific and actionable pointers on how to physically do the job. Any feedback relating to attitude or behavior should be approached with extreme caution and only given if absolutely necessary in the first few weeks. This sort of feedback should be kept light-hearted and with positive intent assumed.”

—Caroline Dilloway, client service director, StormBrands

“It’s important to proactively look for ways to give new employees credit for ‘getting it’—a lot of times new people can feel threatening, as though their positive contributions might overshadow the folks who came before. We like to avoid the idea that it’s a zero sum situation; new people mean new opportunities, ideas, perspectives that elevate everyone, and we want to recognize early and often when they demonstrate that.”

—Josh Kelly, managing partner, Fine

“You have to be constructively candid with people about their work early on but this doesn’t have to mean stifling their creativity or micromanaging their process. We like to celebrate the early wins and milestones of a new employee while recognizing some of the unique, creative ways that person went about achieving them.

Ideally, this feedback should be a two-way street. We hire great people for their perspective and creativity, so it’s important to actively seek out their feedback in the first few weeks so we’re aware of how we can improve as an organization.”

—Mike Donoghue, CEO and founder, The Alpha Group

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@klundster kathryn.lundstrom@adweek.com Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.