Saturday, August 19, 2017

13794: Whining About Brazil.

Is it a good idea for a wine-choosing app to depict bad choices that were likely tied to overdrinking? The only explanation for such poor creative thinking: the advertisement was hatched in Brazil.

Friday, August 18, 2017

13793: SafeAuto Soul Train Wreck.

Never imagined to one day use SafeAuto and Soul Train in the same sentence. Sad.

13792: Great White Hype At Hill Holliday.

AgencySpy posted a memo from Hill Holliday Chairwoman and CEO Karen Kaplan, who joined IPG CEO Michael Roth in commenting on the racism exposed at Charlottesville, Virginia. Hill Holliday, incidentally, is part of the IPG network of White advertising agencies. Anyway, here is Kaplan’s heartfelt statement to her minions:

Hello everyone

The events in Charlottesville and the political aftermath of the last several days have left many of us stunned, shaken and saddened.

As Americans, we enjoy different political views, and we approach the world from many perspectives. But when the line has been crossed between right and wrong, between discourse and hatred, we must stand up. There is no place in this country for Neo-Nazis, the KKK, white supremacists or any other ideological hate group that uses discrimination and violence as a path to power. There is no “side” in this, except the right one.

Hill Holliday is a place of inclusion and respect, and we stand firm together against any kind of racism, hatred, intolerance or discrimination. Our country may feel divided at times, but our family should not.

We stand unequivocally with the Chairman and CEO of IPG, Michael Roth: “This isn’t a partisan or political issue, it’s an issue of basic humanity, and standing up for what is right at a particularly difficult moment. We are counting on all of you to do that, by showing respect for our differences, and living up to our commitment to fairness and inclusion.”

If you would like to talk to senior leadership, start a discussion, or make your voice heard, we are here. My door is always open. And finally, please stay safe if you are participating in any protest events. Let’s take care of each other, and defend the values that our company and this country stand for: liberty, justice, and equal rights for all.



To call Hill Holliday “a place of inclusion and respect” where employees “stand firm together against any kind of racism, hatred, intolerance or discrimination” is pretty silly—especially when a peek at the agency’s leadership shows a standard Caucasian clan. Oh, the shop likely boasts tremendous diverted diversity and diversity of thought. And Kaplan has mounted a soapbox before to promote equal pay for White women in the field—openly acknowledging things are much worse for women of color. Yet she also admitted it’s easy to “game the system when you report diversity numbers.” So any talk of inclusion and respect at Hill Holliday should be taken with a big grain of salt. In a humongous mountain of salt. Where there are probably very few specks of pepper.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

13791: Shut Down & Shut Up.

Adweek reported: “[President Donald] Trump Shuts Down Manufacturing Council After More CEOs Resign in Protest.” Now Trump will have more time to DEFEND NEO-NAZIS AND WHITE SUPREMACISTS! But seriously, shutting down a council after members are hauling ass to get out is like firing the CEO of a White advertising agency caught displaying racist behavior about three months after the incident occurred—then telling the press you took immediate action to address the situation.

13790: The One Club’s One Black…?

The 2017 inductees of The One Club Creative Hall of Fame includes Tom Burrell. The One Club added a blurb that reads:

The iconic advertising pioneer whose illustrious career transformed both the way people of color were portrayed in communications, as well as their roles within the industry itself. It’s a never-ending mission, but one with a defined starting line that he helped create.

With all due respect to Burrell, the statement isn’t accurate. While the iconic advertising pioneer certainly helped transform how Blacks were depicted in advertising, he was preceded by others in the field. The statement about transforming “their roles within the industry itself” is also fuzzy. Burrell’s agency served—and continues to serve—as a launching pad/stepping stone for many Blacks in advertising, but given the diminishing numbers, it’s tough to define any transformative phenomenon.

On the flipside, to recognize the plight of Blacks in advertising as “a never-ending mission” is factually correct. Sobering too, despite Leo Burnett’s prediction that the Promised Land is a mere 66 years away.

To be clear, Burrell’s induction to The One Club Creative Hall of Fame is a well-deserved honor. That he appears to be the only minority in the rare company is a tad disturbing.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

13789: Diversity Resonates At VML…?

Adweek reported VML created a new position—Director of Inclusion and Cultural Resonance—and delegated diversity promoted a social media staffer to the role. Not sure what “Cultural Resonance” means. To date, the White advertising agency has displayed resounding cultural cluelessness. Hopefully, the fresh leader will fare better than the standard Chief Diversity Officer.

VML Now Has a Director of Inclusion and Cultural Resonance to Address Diversity

God-is Rivera takes on a new role

By Katie Richards

VML announced today that it is promoting God-is Rivera to a new position at the agency: director of inclusion and cultural resonance.

In the new role Rivera will be tasked with energizing the agency’s diversity and inclusion practices across the board, as a member of the HR team. She will report to Ronnie Felder, managing director of human resources, but will also continue to work with clients.

“I am so extremely excited to begin in this new position,” Rivera said. “I am proud to see the level of commitment that VML displays when it comes to the important mission of inclusion and diversity, and I am honored to have the opportunity to further define our voice in this important and necessary space.”

Rivera joined the agency’s social media practice back in 2016 and, according to global CEO Jon Cook, has made an impact when it comes to diversity and inclusion since she joined the agency.

“It became clear that we needed to formalize and expand this as a new, official role to truly continue the momentum and needed progress we want as an agency in this critical aspect of our culture and capability,” Cook said in a statement.

Some of her main focuses moving forward will be to create an inclusive environment for all employees within VML as well as taking a closer look at VML’s hiring practices to boost diverse hires across the agency.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

13788: Burn, BK, Burn.

The creative geniuses who believe this Burger King campaign is a good idea should be, well, fired.

13787: Michael Roth’s Racism Rant.

AgencySpy posted a memo from IPG CEO Michael Roth, who condemned the racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Roth failed to receive a Twitter spanking from President Donald Trump, probably because Roth doesn’t register a mini-blip on Trump’s radar. Hell, the moron only earned a post on AgencySpy—and a probable ADCOLOR® Award nomination. Roth will undoubtedly copy the memo into the holding company’s gobbledygook on diversity and inclusion. Yet given the historical cultural cluelessness at IPG, Roth speaking out against racism is like, well, a White supremacist speaking out against racism.

13786: A Trumpeting Twit.

Bloomberg News reported Merck CEO Ken Frazier bailed out of President Donald Trump’s Council of Manufacturing Executives to protest Trump’s slow response in condemning the racism behind the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump immediately dissed Frazier via Twitter by declaring, “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” Classy. If Trump ever resigns the presidency, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF HOTEL & CASINO PRICES!

Merck CEO Quits Trump Council Over Response to Charlottesville Violence

Merck & Co.’s CEO resigned from President Donald Trump’s council of manufacturing executives Monday, saying “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values” by rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy. He was almost immediately attacked by Trump on Twitter.

Following a weekend of violence in Virginia involving white supremacist groups that Trump has been criticized for not taking a forceful enough stand against, Merck CEO Ken Frazier said “as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

Less than an hour later, Trump tweeted in response, “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”

The council has included top executives from Boeing Co., Dow Chemical Co. and Johnson & Johnson. Frazier’s resignation from the group—the latest CEO to quit one of Trump’s high-profile executive advisory groups—comes after a weekend of violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, following demonstrations by white supremacists that resulted in one death.

Other brands have tangled with the president, his supporters or his opponents, with a variety of results.

Bloomberg News

Monday, August 14, 2017

13785: El Chapo Crapo.

Adweek published a story displaying cultural cluelessness on the trade journal’s part—and discriminatory exclusivity on the advertising industry’s part. The article headline read: “This Agency Proved You Don’t Have to Be a Spanish-Language Shop to Work Across Cultural Lines.” So the typical Latino agency is now being labeled a “Spanish-Language Shop”—as if dialect is the primary distinguisher for multicultural marketing enterprises? Wonder what Adweek would call a Black agency. Urban-Slang Shop? Jive Firm? Ebonics Agency? And why is it newsworthy that a White advertising agency “proved” it’s possible to do work ordinarily assigned to non-White shops? Hell, it’s becoming increasingly common for White advertising agencies to snatch the crumbs from minority advertising agencies. Grey, BBDO, 72andSunny, The Richards Group, GSD&M and Saatchi & Saatchi are just a few of the White advertising agencies posing as multicultural marketers. In the Adweek article, Mistress is the agency that utilized on-staff minorities to produce a campaign for Univision. The Los Angeles-based shop boasts a staff that is “international” and “over-indexing on Spanish speakers,” according to Mistress Partner Christian Jacobsen. “Everybody has to operate in ways that reflect the consumer. America’s changing.” Yes, but the advertising industry is not changing—at least not in regards to diversity. Agencies like Mistress, however, are over-indexing on bullshit speakers.

This Agency Proved You Don’t Have to Be a Spanish-Language Shop to Work Across Cultural Lines

Mistress calls on bilingual creative talent for Univision promo

By T.L. Stanley

Univision wanted to make a big splash with its ripped-from-the-headlines series, El Chapo, about the rise and ultimate fall of one of the world’s most notorious drug lords.

As part of the promo push, network execs envisioned an extensive millennial-targeted digital campaign to hype the scripted drama about Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, a rags-to-riches cartel king so infamous he was profiled in Rolling Stone by actor Sean Penn.

The caveat for agency Mistress was that the work had to be solely in Spanish.

Los Angeles-based Mistress, which doesn’t market itself as a multicultural agency, drew from its bilingual creative team to come up with more than 200 pieces of content for a social media effort that eventually logged 28 million impressions and nearly 4 million video views. It mixed folklore, memes and modern imagery, using lucha libre fighting, marionettes, news footage and narco tombs to brand the Mexico-set series and engage young mobile-centric audiences.

Mistress is one of many agencies working across cultural lines, like Anomaly on Telemundo’s 2018 FIFA World Cup account, showing “there’s no longer a wall” between general market and specialty firms, said partner Christian Jacobsen, who describes the Mistress workforce as “international” while “over-indexing on Spanish speakers.”

“Everybody has to operate in ways that reflect the consumer,” Jacobsen said. “America’s changing.”

Agencies can reap the rewards when they change with it, as 180LA demonstrated by winning two Grand Prix at Cannes recently for its “Boost Your Voice” campaign. The shop credited its diverse employee pool, specifically point person Karla Burgos, for the program that turned Boost Mobile retail locations into polling places for the 2016 election.

Y&R North America, Huge and TBWA\Chiat\Day, among others, have recently hired or advanced Latino execs to chief creative and ecd roles, marking at least a few diversity gains in advertising.

Mistress’s creative director on the El Chapo project was Lixaida Lorenzo, a native of Puerto Rico and a vet of Hispanic-focused agencies, whose team recreated a drug trafficker’s mausoleum for an Easter egg-filled Facebook 360 video and hired artist Dan Payes to make customized marionettes of the show’s gangsters. The puppets starred in videos, viewed more than 1 million times, pulling strings and being manipulated, an overarching theme of the series.

“We wanted to tap into that rich Mexican storytelling history,” said Scott Harris, partner and ecd. “And everything needed to be vetted and authentic.”

Univision considered a number of agencies for its nascent franchise (three seasons of El Chapo are planned), and execs said they didn’t want to limit themselves or take an expected marketing approach.

“We knew there was an opportunity to bring in new audiences,” said Silvia Garcia, svp, the net’s media planning and multiplatform strategy. Mistress “understood that this series would appeal across languages and cultures,” and its work “built out the world of El Chapo in a way that helped drive ratings, awareness and a deeper connection with our audience.”

Among the El Chapo assets on Instagram and other platforms: portraits of the main characters made out of money, gun smoke and simulated blood spatter, and “lucha de la droga” posters pitting warring villains against each other, Mexican wrestling-style.

The real-life Guzman, a twice-escaped prisoner, was re-arrested in 2016. His extradition to the U.S. early this year ahead of the show’s April launch gave the Mistress team even more fodder, and they used developments in his case and news footage for up-to-the-minute videos on YouTube and Facebook.

Original content, not clips from the series, drove the campaign and set it apart from being “purely promotional,” Jacobsen said. “It extended the mythology.”

It also broadened the campaign’s reach to English speakers, who made up about 40 percent of the Twitter engagement, execs said, noting the fluidity in today’s TV fans, including second-generation American-born viewers and their comfort level with both English and Spanish.

The nine-episode run of El Chapo, a raw and often cheeky first-time collaboration between Univision’s Story House Entertainment and Netflix, pulled the broadcaster out of a ratings slump, with its finale reaching 3.5 million viewers. It’s now airing with English subtitles on Netflix, and the second season debuts on Univision in September.