Thursday, May 24, 2018

14159: Overreaction Of The Week.

MullenLowe in the U.K. created this campaign for Cif—and the ad featuring a Black man is reminiscent of historical racist advertising.

14158: Losses & Losers.

Advertising Age reported Infiniti is rolling with a new White advertising agency, which is actually the White advertising agency that originally held the account before it moved to the White advertising agency that just lost the account—and the new White advertising agency has technically been working on Infiniti even after losing the account. Oh, and both White advertising agencies are in the same unacceptably awful White holding company. Plus, it’s just the latest chapter in a sad story that has been sputtering for years.

72andSunny’s Infiniti loss is CPB’s gain

By E.J. Schultz

Infiniti is on the move again within MDC Partners. The automaker and 72andSunny have cut ties less than a year after the shop was hired to handle creative for several global vehicle launches. “We leave this relationship with best wishes for the success of the Infiniti brand. We are excited to be freed up for future opportunities in automotive,” 72andSunny CEO Matt Jarvis said in a statement.

72andSunny, which was hired last August, has been handling all global creative responsibilities, including big campaigns running in the U.S., such as one called “Thrones” for the new QX80. That meant less work for MDC sibling agency CPB, which has been working with Infiniti since 2014. But CPB will now be back in the pole position on the brand, according to people familiar with the matter.

CPB had remained on the roster even as 72andSunny handled global. CPB is behind [the] ad now running in the U.S. for Infiniti’s tie-in with Marvel for the new “Avengers: Infinity War” movie.

An Infiniti spokesman declined to share details on the global agency move, only saying that “Infiniti continues to use various agencies for our creative around the globe.”

One factor that could have worked in CPB’s favor is the installment late last year of Linus Karlsson as global chief creative officer. The Swede has auto experience from his time serving as creative chairman of Commonwealth McCann, overseeing Chevrolet, a role he held until March of last year.

For MDC, keeping Infiniti is critical, considering its current financial situation. The holding company reported disappointing first quarter results that chairman and CEO Scott Kauffman characterized as “unacceptable,” citing some client cutbacks and slower conversion in its new-business pipeline.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

14157: Dreaming Of Gender Stereotypes.

Y&R in Mexico is responsible for this Save the Children campaign, imploring people to not let kids’ dreams die. But the dreams seem somewhat sexist—why can’t girls dream of being firefighters and astronauts?

14156: Paying For Divertsity.

Campaign published divertsity demands from Now CEO Melissa Robertson, who presented forceful directives for collapsing the gender pay gap. It’s amazing how White women take bold stances on issues affecting White women, despite never coming close to displaying such revolutionary bravado for true diversity. For example, Robertson exhibited outrage at the “excuses” given for salary disparities between White men and White women, underscoring her displeasure by listing the top lies. Yet it’s a safe bet Robertson has quickly embraced the “excuses” routinely shat out to justify the underrepresentation of racial and ethnic minorities. Robertson backed mandating annual audits for all companies to clearly show income inequities. But would she approve annual audits to honestly reveal the industry’s lack of people of color? Why, Robertson was quick to publicize specific figures detailing how her company dramatically addressed the gender pay gap in a single year. Let’s see the inclusion numbers for non-Whites at Now—right now. Next, Robertson ordered special amenities and considerations for women in the field, including flexible work schedules, paid parental leave and returnships. Minorities, on the other hand, are expected to undergo additional training and assimilate to the White culture in order to gain access into adland. Robertson calls for “a complete cultural and behavioural overhaul” to ensure her paycheck matches her male peers’ paychecks. Okay, but the total reprogramming should start by confronting the dilemma of true diversity—a problem that has been ignored waaaaay longer than the gender pay gap. To be fair, Robertson is not unique among White women, and the intent of this post is not to single her out. Rather, the goal is to use Robertson as representative of a larger group and collective attitude covering both White men and White women. The road to true diversity requires simply applying the tips Robertson highlighted for the gender pay gap. After all, those tips were hijacked from the tactics of civil rights icons in the U.S. and U.K. In the end, White women—in concert with White men—will eventually close the gender pay gap. And minorities will pay the price by having to once again experience another deliberate delay of authentic equality.

A view from Melissa Robertson

When does doing the right thing become illegal? Tips on closing the gender pay gap

How should businesses even get started solving the gender pay gap? Now’s chief executive shares some advice.

For the last month, I’ve been slightly obsessed by all the gender pay gap chat, and notably all the ridiculous ‘excuses’ given to justify — sorry, ‘explain’ it. You know, things like women choose to work in low paid roles and sectors, women want to work fewer hours, women don’t really like technical jobs, women don’t want high paid jobs. Almost as if there is nothing that can be done about it. But of course we all know that isn’t true. The bigger question is how quickly?

According to YouGov, over 50% of people in the UK don’t believe the gender pay gap will ever close. The World Economic Forum is slightly more cup-half-full with a prediction of 217 years. But the introduction of mandatory annual auditing is a crucial first step to doing something about it. Currently this is only for companies with over 250 staff, which accounts for around 11,500 companies. Hopefully this will extend downwards, so that medium size businesses have to do it, and in time, everyone. I know this is a bit controversial, because in smaller companies, just one person of either gender can make a huge impact on the data. But it forces companies to think about it more consciously.

It’s not the first time I’ve banged the drum about this. We worked out our pay gap last year. We’re a company of around 50 people, with two female founders and a female managing director. Most people in the agency would say that this was a company where women have a powerful voice, which made the stark reality of the numbers surprising and hugely disappointing. We hadn’t quite computed the obvious discrepancy in, crudely, the number of men at the top and women at the bottom. In a year, we have dramatically changed our stats — from a median gap of 34.6% last year to 14.3% this year. We now have a female head of film and content, a female lead designer, and two female associate creative directors. Our transition has been actively managed around natural churn, but shows what can be achieved when you are determined and focused. We’re pleased at the progress, but not resting on our laurels just yet.

But… you can’t just ring up a headhunter and specify that you want a woman for a role. That’s been illegal since 1975. And here lies a potentially legal conundrum because I don’t think the 2010 Equalities Act is entirely cut and dry. In terms of corporate reputation, there will be an imperative to improve on gender pay gaps. And the Labour party has talked about imposing fines and sanctions on companies that show no improvement in their statistics. But there’s a real danger that the only way to truly deliver against expectations is to replace an unfortunate, but not-entirely-illegal-because-it’s-difficult-to-prove unconscious bias, with potentially-illegal-if-you’re-not-careful conscious bias.

Yet it’s so much more than that. What is really required is a complete cultural and behavioural overhaul. Book in some unconscious bias training and take a long hard look at your working and hiring practices. With this more positive and less illegal hat on, there are plenty of things you can do. You can insist on shortlists that always have at least one woman. You can make your business more attractive by improving your policies on flexible working and paid parental leave. You can change your attitudes (and pay) on the financial worth of certain roles that often have gender biases (HR vs Finance let’s say). You can appreciate the value of a returning mother (or father) — Creative Equals have an awesome programme of Creative Returnships, which agencies should be crying out for. From personal experience I was much better at my job after becoming a mother, because you have totally learnt how to focus and get shit done.

So, for all those businesses that haven’t yet dared to work out their pay gap, I urge you to do it. Do it urgently. Set it in motion today. Whatever your size. You will almost certainly be disappointed. But use that as impetus. Because it’s only when we confront our frailties that we then do something about them.

Melissa Robertson is the chief executive of Now.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

14155: Lack Of Culture & Talent.

This Brazilian campaign for GPS | Lifetime magazine shows how “Lack of Culture Isolates You.” Hey, lack of culture also leads to culturally clueless campaigns where men are business leaders in boardrooms and women are housewives in dining rooms…?

Monday, May 21, 2018

14154: Questioning Big Pharma.

The New York Times and other news sources have reported how Alkermes is promoting Vivitrol as a treatment for the opioid-dependence epidemic. But it looks like regulators won’t let the drug maker advertise specific details, leading to blind messages such as the billboard depicted above. Or maybe the campaign was created by addicts…?

14153: White Noise On Divertsity.

Campaign published a bold proclamation from AnalogFolk Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Matt Dyke, who called on White men to “make some noise” and lead the charge for divertsity and diversity. The responding sound to Dyke’s battle cry is crickets chirping. Dyke actually stumbled into the paradox. That is, the sole group with enough power and numbers for preventing the global problem is also perpetuating the global problem. White women are igniting change for themselves because they have enough power and numbers—plus, they’re taking advantage of their own White privilege. On the flipside, racial and ethnic minorities can’t collect enough crumbs to increase the crickets chirping.

(BTW, Dyke should concentrate on making noise—and making change—at AnalogFolk, where the staffers look like typical adfolk, in terms of diversity.)

A view from Matt Dyke

Hey white guys, make some noise

Diversity is everyone’s fight argues AnalogFolk’s founder and chief strategy officer.

The chances are that you are a privileged white guy reading this.

And chances are you’ve twigged that this is yet another article banging on about diversity.

So you’re probably thinking about whether you should read this.

Because you’ve read this before.

Or an article pretty much like it.

It’s not because you’re not interested.

You already know the arguments.

You’re already sold that change needs to happen.

But you feel slightly awkward as the white guy.

This isn’t your fight.

Except that it is.

Melinda Gates is a powerful woman.

They don’t come much more powerful or influential.

But at SXSW she said that she doesn’t believe one woman on the team can make the difference.

One person of colour on the team doesn’t make the difference.

Because there’s only one of them.

But many more of you.

You can affect change much more effectively than they can on their own.

Bozoma Saint John, chief brand officer at Uber is one woman.

And she’s a woman of colour.

She also didn’t mince her words at SXSW.

She wants, “white men to look around in their office and say, ‘Oh look, there’s a lot of white men here. Let’s change this.’ Why do I — as the black woman — have to fix that?

There’s 50 of you, there’s one of me. Ya’ll fix it. Everybody else needs to make the noise. I want white men to make the noise.”

So there you go, make some noise.

Because change isn’t happening at the scale or pace that it should be.

But we can change that today.

As a white man leading an independent agency network, I need to think about making noise more than most.

Start-ups are important in any industry. They bring fresh ideas. New ways of doing things.

They bring disruption. And if the industry takes heed of this disruption, everyone benefits.

So I feel a sense of responsibility.

But also excitement at the opportunity we have to make a difference.

We encourage people to bring their whole selves to the workplace.

It builds an authentic community.

It also leads to greater variety of ideas based on diverse personal experiences.

We need to work on the cultural growth plan.

Not just our product growth plan.

We can keep asking the questions until people take notice.

We can check our own unconscious bias.

And help others check theirs.

Because we all have them.

We can change how you recruit and interview.

We can go and speak to the women, people of colour or neuro-diverse in our company.

Ask them how we can support them.

Let them know we’ve got their back, we’re in this together.

We can make change happen.


Matt Dyke is founder and chief strategy officer at AnalogFolk

Sunday, May 20, 2018

14152: NABS BS.

Campaign published a perspective from NABS CEO Diana Tickell, whose organization “is here to improve the wellbeing of everyone in the advertising and media industry.” Tickell believes prioritising mental wellbeing should be a business imperative in adland. Great—yet another agenda item that takes priority over true diversity. Heaven forbid anyone might be concerned about how the industry’s exclusivity and discriminatory hiring practices might adversely affect the mental wellbeing of racial and ethnic minorities.

A view from Diana Tickell

Why prioritising mental wellbeing is a matter of urgency for adland

As Mental Health Awareness Week kicks off adland must face up to some uncomfortable questions about employee wellbeing.

Staff turnover in adland is at 30%, compared with 10% for business at large, a state of play which makes prioritising mental wellbeing a business imperative.

In the first quarter of this year NABS took more calls to its Advice Line than at any other time in six years. Back then the majority of calls were about redundancy — now more than a third are for emotional support, of which 64% are about mental health and work pressures.

We are working in an increasingly fast-paced and adrenaline-charged industry. It’s exciting, but it’s relentless and it can be physically and mentally exhausting.

Research we conducted with Mind at the end of last year makes for uncomfortable reading. More than two thirds said they had considered leaving the industry because of poor wellbeing at work. More than a third said their mental health over the past year had been poor or very poor.

The cost of burnout

People are our most valuable asset in our industry — but they need to be happy, healthy and thriving to perform at their best. The good news is this is achievable if we work together to prioritise mental wellbeing in the workplace.

When we’re mentally distressed less oxygen reaches the brain and cortisol increases. This results in a reduction in critical thinking, decision-making, creativity and the ability to focus — all of which are critical if our industry is to flourish. Over time stress can even lead to depression and burnout.

With staff turnover in Adland at 30%, compared to 10% on average — the potential knock-on effect of poor mental wellbeing to our industry is huge.

When we experience positive mental wellbeing, more oxygen and glucose gives the brain the energy to perform at its best.

Shifting the dial

It is this latest thinking in neuroscience and positive psychology that led NABS to create our SHEPARD Model for Wellbeing featuring the seven elements we believe make up good wellbeing: satisfaction, health, emotions, perceptions, awareness, rewards and diversity. This framework underpins how we design and deliver all our services.

All too often investment in mental wellbeing is an afterthought as a result of major incidents or loss of income due to a stressed workforce. This is the wrong approach: it should be a preventative measure and a series of positive interventions which become a way of life, rather than a reaction.

We need to care for our brain and minds as we do our bodies. Interventions can include regular exercise, mindfulness, improved diet and building stronger, more supportive relationships.

At NABS our masterclasses on topics including ‘Building Resilience to Pressure’ and ‘Mindfulness for Busy Working Parents’ give people the tools they need to flip a pattern of negative thinking and approach those inevitably stressful times in a more positive and productive way.

During one-to-one wellbeing coaching sessions we will advise our clients how to raise the issue of mental health with their manager and what to ask for.

We also empower them to ask for a change to their working practices if it would benefit their mental health. This may mean asking for flexible working, or making sure clients know that they aren’t available after hours on one or two nights a week.

The power of openness

It is encouraging that every day we find more people willing to speak out about the issues of mental health — but what about those who don’t feel confident to ask for help?

We realise many managers lack suitable training to identify and support their employees’ mental wellbeing. In our research with Mind, 46% said they wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to their line manager if work was having a negative impact on their mental health.

This is why we are trialling a new masterclass at NABS which will give attendees the tools to become leaders who understand and care about the wellbeing of their teams. It will teach the importance of creating an environment which promotes individual brain and mind health.

Building nurturing cultures

Employers need to create better working environments and a culture which supports individuals’ wellbeing. Our industry thrives when people are at their most creative.

At a recent NABS event at Advertising Week Europe, Unruly co-founder Sarah Wood revealed the company had installed a no dress code policy, standing desks, snooze pods and working spaces for introverts who need peace and quiet.

Our Working Parents Initiative White Paper highlights how businesses are changing their culture for the better, including Rufus Leonard which offers home-working across the company and incorporates flexible working into job descriptions.

Company leaders need to set the tone for how their staff perceive and respond to stress. If there is a culture of presenteeism, long hours and micro-managing then staff will suffer through a lack of confidence, anxiety and stress.

When people are feeling a sense of happiness, satisfaction, achievement and trust they perform at their best. Three quarters of industry employees say they would be more likely to stay with an employer who is interested in their wellbeing.

We are lucky to work in one of the most exciting and fast-moving professions there is. But we need to urgently prioritise mental wellbeing in the workplace, otherwise talent will be lost and we will all suffer.

Diana Tickell is CEO of NABS

Saturday, May 19, 2018

14151: Disabling Exclusivity.

Campaign reported on the latest divertsity demonstration, where Sarah Newton, MP, the minister for state for disabled people, health and work, challenged adland to set quotas to increase representation of people with disabilities. Newton remarked, “…We have made huge strides improving the representation of women and LGBT communities but this is [a] step we really need to take as a country to be truly inclusive as a society.” Once again, a UK official emphasizes the imperative “to be truly inclusive as a society” without a single reference to racial and ethnic minorities. Seems like people of color face handicaps when applying for work in adland too.

Minister calls on ad industry to set targets for representations of disability

By Nicola Kemp

Sarah Newton, MP, the minister for state for disabled people, health and work, has called on the advertising industry to set itself targets to increase the representation of people with disabilities in advertising.

Speaking at Media360 in Brighton today, Newton said: “The broadcast industry has set themselves some standards around representation of disabilities in the media maybe that is something you can do — set yourself your goals and measure against them over time.”

She added: “This is all about a movement for change, we have made huge strides improving the representation of women and LGBT communities but this is step we really need to take as a country to be truly inclusive as a society.”

In a discussion with Sam Phillips, chief marketing officer of Omnicom Media Group UK and chair Open UK, Phillips praised brands including Maltesers and Channel 4 for their commitment to representation but said “with some notable exceptions you don’t see disabled people on screens.” She urged the industry to build that inclusivity into the very earliest stages of brand planning.

Newton said we need to shift our focus to what people can do, not focus on what they can’t. She urged businesses to sign up to the government’s disability confident scheme.

She said: “There can be a lot of fear, businesses aren’t sure about how to recruit disabled talent and how to make reasonable adjustments, but it is really easy to take that step and sign up to disability confident.” She also highlighted the government grants available to businesses to help make their workspaces accessible.

According to Newton it is incumbent on all of us to think about how we can reflect that diversity of people in out population. She added: “Some businesses say to me they don’t feel comfortable [featuring disabled people in advertising] or it doesn’t fit with their core message. But one in five of your customers can have a disability so how can they not fit with your business.”

In a question from the floor Newton was challenged on how the media and advertising industry can drive more aspirational images of disability in the media when the reality of the cuts to support we are giving to disabled people is anything but aspirational. “How can the media industry give a representation that is real and genuine and not in contradiction with the reality of the situation,” she said.

Newton defended the government’s approach and said they were taking a ‘person centric’ approach and emphasised the support it was providing in enabling disabled people to work. She said: “Only half of disabled people who want to work currently have the ability to do that. So many people tell me they don’t want to be on benefits they want to work.”

An all-party work and pensions select committee recently criticised the government’s disability policy. Frank Field MP, chair of the committee, wrote: “A pervasive lack of trust is undermining its entire operation. In turn, this is translating to untenable human costs to claimants and financial costs to the public purse.”

Friday, May 18, 2018

14150: Sucky Successors.

Digiday published a piece titled, “The Rundown: Drama atop WPP,” where the reporter speculated on possible successors to Sir Martin Sorrell. The accompanying image (depicted above) presented a selection of White men available to fill Sorrell’s shoes—which are probably not very big at all.

14149: We Are Untalented.

We Are Unlimited created a campaign starring John Goodman, Charles Barkley and Gabrielle Union to hype Mickey D’s fresh beef—and the spots are anything but fresh. The concept of being rendered speechless by enhanced junk food feels like something from the 80s. Plus, using Goodman and Barkley—two old guys who’ve struggled with obesity over the years—is patently ignorant and downright irresponsible. We Are Unlimited went from annoyingly outdated rap to cloyingly outdated crap.