Monday, November 20, 2017

13898: Playing Games By Playbook.

MediaPost Agency Daily reported 72andSunny is making the most of “The 72andSunny Playbook”—which now looks a lot like the same playbook used by just about every White advertising agency feigning a commitment to diversity. First, the shop is upgrading 72U, the minority internship program that 72andSunny insists is not a minority internship program. Okay, but it’s based on the same old thinking that non-Whites require special education to succeed in the business—unless they’re seeking roles in reception, security, janitorial maintenance or the mailroom. Don’t expect 72andSunny to enlist Derek Walker as a 72U instructor. However, 72andSunny is delegating diversity by bringing in a minority to oversee the patronizing activities. Recruiting former diversity director of The One Club, Tracey Smith, allows 72andSunny to check off the minority and gender boxes of their inclusion quota, executing a diversity double whammy! Gee, it seems as if the only senior-level minorities being courted in adland these days are Chief Diversity Officers. Except at Deutsch. Whatever. In the end, White advertising agencies continue to play the same old games, filling their trophy cases with ADCOLOR® awards, Glass Lions and 3% Conference Certifications—yet never filling their offices with U.S. minorities.

72andSunny Upgrades Residency Program

By Larissa Faw

72andSunny is revamping its residency program 72U to better align with its global mission to expand and diversify its potential participants.

“We want 72U to be a platform that delivers on our company’s purpose, and benefits culture, knowing that it will also benefit our company and our industry at large,” says John Boiler, founder /creative co-chair, 72andSunny. “We pride ourselves on being builders of opportunities, and believe that a wider, more diverse creative industry starts with access.”

This change follows the appointment of Tracey Smith to head the unit as director. She joins 72U from The One Club, where she was director of diversity. In her new role, she will help the creative residency source and develop fresh new talent that might not otherwise have access to creative careers.

72U will host three 12-week sessions a year; two sessions will be in-house at 72andSunny Los Angeles, while the third session will take place off-site, in a city, either domestically or internationally.

The program also includes mentoring, real-world experience and a speaker series.

As a creative residency located inside 72andSunny’s offices, 72U will invite eight to 10 participants from a variety of backgrounds and introduce them to careers in the creative industry.

The deadline to apply is November 28. Applications are available at

Sunday, November 19, 2017

13897: Recruiter’s Big Goose Egg.

Advertising Age seems to be copying Digiday with a series titled, “Confessions of an Advertising Recruiter,” authored by Global Recruiters Sarasota President Tony Stanol. In the latest installment—“Sucking the Life out of the Golden Geese”—Stanol combined common knowledge with uncommonly dull writing to demonstrate the uselessness and cluelessness of recruiters. Hell, Stanol admitted he actively worked in the industry “in the olden days,” which helps invalidate his credibility. If Stanol is typical of most recruiters, he’s as responsible for the state of affairs in adland as the leaders he’s seeking to advise. That is, recruiters perpetuate the workplace dilemmas by recycling the same White people throughout the system. The article illustration (depicted above), appropriately enough, features White geese. And idiots like Stanol inspire readers to reach for Grey Goose.

Confessions of an Advertising Recruiter: Sucking the Life out of the Golden Geese

By Tony Stanol

I recently completed an audit of key issues facing several dozen senior agency leaders. These conversations inevitably turn to talent in the ad industry, you know—those valuable assets that go down in the elevator every night.

One CEO suggested I would do the ad biz a great service by shining the spotlight on a disturbing observation I’ve had for some time: namely, the industry is sucking the life out of its employees.

Top talent is, unfortunately, being squeezed out of advertising by the increasing pressures on the business. The three main symptoms are: an overloaded workforce; an exodus to other industries; and the cry for better work-life balance.

Overloaded workforce

A watershed event hit our industry in 2008. The Great Recession resulted in budgets being slashed, agency positions eliminated and severe belt-tightening. Advertising employment hit the lowest point in decades. This created a snowball effect.

Cost-cutting hit publicly traded holding companies particularly hard because they answer to financial analysts.

At the same time, procurement departments became more involved in agency service fee negotiations. One egregious example of a recent procurement exercise was a “reverse auction.” This involves agencies racing to the bottom of the cost structure competing against each other in real-time, online!

New digital tools suddenly enabled more precise and timely marketing communications feedback. This created more of an ROI world with clients asking, What have you done for me lately, agency? In the olden days, there were no precise measures of sales impact from advertising. When we created a new Oreo commercial, if it copy-tested well, we aired it.

Morale seems to be an all-time low. The big squeeze resulted in being asked to do more with less, having fewer people with an increasingly heavier workloads. When I worked on the Colgate account at Ted Bates (yes, that long ago), I was an AE with an AAE below, and I reported to a dedicated Management Supervisor and to a partially allocated SVP, all on an account billing less than $6 million! Not today, friends.

Exodus to other industries

Advertising has always been a semi-glamorous business that attracts many talented people. But today, advertising seems to be attracting fewer college grads, who are hired instead by Wall Street, high-flying tech firms or even the client side.

With the Dow at all-time highs, it’s understandable that Wall Street will attract more than its fair share. One agency exec said he recently spoke to a room full of new recruits, 90% of whom were women. When he asked his HR chief where all the men were, she said they were headed to Wall Street.

There is a certain allure to tech firms, as well—especially by those candidates who spend so much time with their noses in social media. However, many people are soon disillusioned when they’re hired by Facebook, only to find themselves in a room with 80 other engineers, each trying improve the utility of a single button. Others have said that, from the inside, Google is just a glorified Yellow Pages.

As for defections to the client side, where the grass is always greener, check out my first column in this series.

Work-life balance

Millennials and Gen Xers have taken up the cry for better work-life balance, a term not formerly in the lexicon of this Boomer.

One candidate some years ago quit her hectic job because she was simply fried. She said she was taking a “radical sabbatical” away from the rat race, and would get another job before she ran out of money. I ended up placing her in an agency with an enlightened CEO who afforded her the work-life balance she craved. She stayed several years.

Some agencies are coming around to more flexible hours, unlimited PTO, more functional training, as well as encouraging continued education and working from home. But not many.

Time to refocus on the people, people. Or else you’ll have empty elevators at night.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

13896: Rewriting Reality.

Advertising Age published diverted diversity droning from The Female Quotient CEO and Founder Shelley Zalis, who managed to type roughly 900 words on diversity without a single mention of race and ethnicity in the workforce (she only referenced race once, when discussing casting for ad campaigns). Zalis’ opening line underscores her primary focus on promoting White women: “When it comes to diversity in marketing, we’ve come a long way—but we still have a long way to go.” No, when it comes to diverted diversity, Madison Avenue has come a long way. But for true diversity, the advertising industry has gone a long way backwards. Racial and ethnic representation is downright Googlesque—after 60+ years of openly recognizing the issue—and Black representation has actually declined. Zalis’ second sentence explains the phenomenon: “Marketing has a unique role to play in rewriting the rules on diversity in business.” Yes, adland has managed to rewrite the rules on diversity in business—by rewriting diversity to mean gender equality first and foremost.

Diversity and Inclusion: Rewriting the Rules for Marketing

By Shelley Zalis, CEO and Founder, The Female Quotient

When it comes to diversity in marketing, we’ve come a long way—but we still have a long way to go. Marketing has a unique role to play in rewriting the rules on diversity in business.

Numerous studies show that diverse teams deliver superior results. For example, recent research found that inclusive teams make more effective business decisions up to 87% of the time. Even more compelling, Deloitte’s most recent Human Capital Trends report found that companies with inclusive talent practices can generate up to 30% higher revenue per employee and greater profitability than their competitors.

Clearly, diverse teams operating in inclusive cultures can offer ideas and viewpoints that help drive innovation and effectiveness for the business. This is especially true in marketing, where a team that reflects the incredible diversity in the marketplace is much more likely to develop messaging and advertising that resonates. Yet, even with these clear ties to results, corporate America’s approach to diversity hasn’t resulted in dramatic advancements.

For marketing organizations—and businesses in general—diversity is important, but its benefits may not be realized without an inclusive culture.

Sadly, there’s no magic wand to wave. But every little step in the right direction gets us closer to where we want to be (and is 100% better than nothing). Here are some things marketing can do to promote diversity at every level:

Hire diversity of thinking.

Throughout the hiring process, it’s worth taking time to remind decision-makers about the business value of diversity and encourage them to embrace various backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, rather than gravitating to people who are similar to themselves, which is a natural human tendency. After all, a diverse team can be more innovative and effective. To reach diverse pools of talent, it may also be helpful to broaden your recruiting sources so that you are meeting the talent you need where they already are.

Tackle the “messy middle.”

When striving to improve an organization’s diversity, hiring is literally just the beginning. For many organizations, entry-level representation is often reflective of the available talent pool. Consider gender as an example. Research shows that, on average, entry-level representation is roughly 50% women compared to 19% women in the C-suite. This is especially true in marketing, where women are often a large proportion of the workforce at lower rungs of the ladder but a much smaller proportion at higher levels.

As with hiring, decision-makers should not only make a conscious effort to embrace diversity, but also model inclusive leadership behaviors. An organization’s culture is greatly shaped by the people at the top. We need to reimagine workplace culture to retain our best talent.

While education to build awareness can be helpful, it isn’t enough. Organizations now have the ability to make structural changes and implement transparent, data-driven solutions to make better decisions that lead to more diversity and, thus, better business outcomes, according to Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trends.

Vote with marketing dollars.

Marketing is uniquely positioned to shape how people think and should use that position to create positive change. It’s not just about making sure ad campaigns feature different races, genders and ages; it’s about making sure that different kinds of people are portrayed in a fair, accurate and realistic way—instead of cynically or lazily relying on age-old stereotypes that prey on and reinforce society’s existing biases.

In June 2016, my company, The Female Quotient, partnered with the Association of National Advertisers and its Alliance for Family Entertainment to launch #SeeHer, an initiative to help achieve a more accurate portrayal of women and girls in advertising and the media. So far, more than 1,000 brands, with $40 billion of U.S. ad spend, have joined and signed up to use the Gender Equality Measure to assess and eliminate bias in their advertising. And more companies are signing up every day.

A way to take this a step further is to include explicit diversity requirements in RFPs and agency partners. To win work, marketers can look for tangible evidence that their agency is committed to hiring and developing a diverse workforce and fostering an inclusive culture. Not only is that likely to land a better result, it begins to set a standard of expectation beyond your organization.

The ultimate goal: Driving empathy, not sympathy

At the end of the day, good feelings and supportive words are nice, but to really make a difference, decision-makers should bring the rational decision of supporting diversity back to the human level through an inclusive culture. Supporting a culture of empathy is what we’re really driving at—so that we can understand people and different ways of thinking and truly value those for the insight they bring. When that happens, it is likely that inequality will begin to shrink and strength will begin to build as those numbers change throughout the ranks. After all, one person at the top of an organization has power, but a group of committed leaders has impact.

This could be the start of a major positive trend, and marketing is at the heart of the action. To change how people behave, we need to change how they think. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what marketing is all about?

Shelley Zalis is CEO and founder of The Female Quotient. Launched in 2013, The Female Quotient emphasizes collaboration and mentorship to activate change in advancing gender equality in the workplace. It leads The Girls’ Lounge, a destination at conferences, companies and college campuses where women connect, collaborate and activate change together. The Girls’ Lounge has become the largest community of corporate women and female entrepreneurs transforming workplace culture. Deloitte Digital and The Female Quotient have joined forces to deliver joint programming that continues to promote equality and inclusion in the workplace, and the shared belief that they aren’t a social imperative—they’re a business imperative.

Friday, November 17, 2017

13895: Scared Straight Is Scary.

It’s easy to imagine how the idiots responsible for “Scared Straight Out of Advertising” thought they had a brilliant idea, as hacks rarely realize they are hacks. But this video is heinous on so many levels, from the global stereotyping to the clich├ęd script to the substandard production values. The exclusive millennials casting displays a true ignorance of the audience too. In the end, the video actually succeeds in positioning the advertising industry as a place to avoid.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

13894: Google Doodle Dawdle.

Today’s Google Doodle features renowned Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, celebrating the late artist on what would have been his 87th birthday. Wonder what Achebe might think about the colonialistic conditions at Google…

13893: Moronic Millennial Muttering.

The latest bellyache in the Digiday “Confession Series” comes from an “Agency Millennial” who declared, “Nobody wants to help each other.” Boo-hoo. Actually, the young executive instantly invalidated any potential credibility with his/her opening line: “I work at a digital agency.” Sorry, but toiling at a digital agency is a few rungs below serving as a Starbucks barista.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

13892: Remaking Exclusivity.

Adweek published a report titled, “Agencies Are Remaking Themselves to Satisfy Client Demands”—detailing how “up-and-coming shops” are creating fresh business models. The story makes no mention of diversity, despite the alleged client demands for inclusion at White advertising agencies. Plus, the accompanying illustration (depicted above) features no clear diversity. Brilliant.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

13891: Side Effects Of Racism.

NPR published a report titled, “Scientists Start To Tease Out The Subtler Ways Racism Hurts Health.” The researchers should consider using the advertising industry as a rich source for data.