Monday, September 30, 2013

11482: Matthew Weiner Is A Mad Man.

Advertising Age spotlighted an interview with AMC series Mad Men Creator Matthew Weiner, where he discussed the dearth of diversity in the advertising industry. Weiner declared the business has a “shameful past” rooted in exclusivity. “Advertising in particular is still not integrated,” said Mr. Weiner. Hearing people bash adland for its shady and outdated hiring practices is always entertaining, yet is Weiner really a qualified mouthpiece for the cause? According to Weiner, “There are still no Black people in advertising.” Um, did he miss Here Are All The Black People and Dr. Cornel West? Plus, Weiner should make a contribution to hear Xavier Ruffin’s counterargument. The truth is, Hollywood is not significantly more evolved than Madison Avenue—and Weiner is not above engaging in nepotism like the ad agencies he’s criticizing. Weiner’s cultural cluelessness and hypocrisy make him a perfect fit to join the modern-day Mad Men.

‘Mad Men’ Creator: ‘Advertising Has a PR Problem’

Matthew Weiner Talks About Lack of Diversity And Consumers’ Conflicting Feelings Toward Industry

By John McDermott

Matthew Weiner says advertising has had “a shameful past” when it comes to integration, and that it hasn’t advanced all that much since the era depicted in the show he created, “Mad Men.”

“There are still no black people in advertising,” said Mr. Weiner, who was interviewed by author A.M. Homes Sept. 27 at the New Museum as part of its Visionaries Series. “Advertising in particular is still not integrated.”

“Mad Men” has addressed the volatile racial climate of 1960s America more often in recent seasons, but Mr. Weiner said he still gets questions about why there aren’t more African-Americans on the show.

‘Shameful past’

The unfortunate truth, he said, is that the show’s main characters—who are mostly wealthy, white male advertising executives—would not have had much interaction with African-Americans.

“It’s a shameful past,” he said. “We tried to find a picture of a department store for when we were doing Menken’s department store and there was the black department store and the white department store.”

The even more unfortunate truth, he said, is that advertising remains a white person’s world today. “Those African-Americans who are in the halls of these—now there are two agencies in the world, I think, they’ve merged so much—they are pioneers,” he said.

One thing that has rapidly changed in the media world is how it’s consumed. When Mr. Weiner started “Mad Men” in 2007, he said he was told he couldn’t stream episodes on the internet because people’s attention spans for web video topped out at five minutes.

Of couse, that didn’t prove to be true. Netflix accounts for nearly a third of North American broadband traffic, according to a May report from research firm Sandvine, and “Mad Men” is one of the shows contributing to all that binge watching.

Given his upbringing, it’s surprising Mr. Weiner ever went to work in TV at all, let alone win nine Emmys.

“I was not allowed to watch TV as a kid,” Mr. Weiner said. “We were allowed to watch on Friday and Saturday night, but I was a terrible student and a bit of a troublemaker, and so it was the first thing that got taken away.”

He made up for lost time in college when he got his first TV set. “I watched everything,” he said. His first TV work was for sitcoms—including “Becker” and “Andy Richter Controls the Universe”—before landing a writing gig on “The Sopranos” before “Mad Men.”

Fickle relationship

The original golden era—the one Mr. Weiner partially missed—featured family-friendly network shows that people had to tune in at a particular time to watch. The current golden era—the one Mr. Weiner helped create—features cable shows about complex anti-heroes, with viewers watching episodes at different times, different rates and sometimes on devices other than TVs.

There are some things that never change, though, like consumers’ fickle relationship with advertising.

“Advertising always has a PR problem,” Mr. Weiner said in a post-event interview with Ad Age. “People love it and they greet it with hostility at the same time. It’s an interruption, it’s a distraction, it’s someone trying to sell you something. And at the same time it’s 90% of our entertainment.”

Sunday, September 29, 2013

11481: The True Crazy Ones…

Adweek reported the premiere episode of CBS series The Crazy Ones was a ratings hit:

According to Nielsen live-same-day data, the series premiere of [Robin] Williams’ new CBS comedy The Crazy Ones drew a staggering 15.5 million viewers and a 3.9 in the adults 18-49 demo, making it the biggest sitcom debut since the Tiffany Network introduced 2 Broke Girls in 2011.

The beneficiary of a comprehensive marketing campaign and a huge Big Bang Theory lead-in, The Crazy Ones made short work of the first of two episodes of NBC’s The Michael J. Fox Show. The 9 p.m. installment of MJFS drew half the audience of The Crazy Ones, averaging 7.52 million viewers and a 2.2 in the demo.

Looks like The Crazy Ones labels the show and its audience.

11480: Ally Banking On Stereotypes.

This Ally Bank commercial will not find allies at Sons of Italy in America or The National Italian American Foundation.

11479: Dear Me, I’m Clueless.

Campaign presented Dear me: Letters to my younger self—featuring U.K. industry leaders sharing what they’ve learned over the years with their younger selves. Mediacom Chief Executive Karen Blackett was the only person to mention diversity in her note. The others have apparently not yet learned anything about inclusivity in their careers.

11478: MetroPCS Is Culturally Shirtless.

This Latino MetroPCS commercial ditches Chad and Ranjit for a friendlier fellow—yet the results are arguably as offensive. The concept seems to communicate that customers may lose their shirts with other carriers. Does losing one’s shirt really translate across cultures? Regardless, it’s a tad sexist for the men to lose their shirts while the women are stripped down to their lingerie. An old nun, however, only exposes her dowdy bra. The entire mess is the work of Richards/Lerma, those wonderful folks who gave you talking vaginas. These hacks bring tastelessness to new heights.

Hat tip to Mi blog es tu blog.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

11477: Support Mad Black Men Now.

Filmmaker, writer and designer Xavier Ruffin has reached nearly one-third of his funding goal for Mad Black Men. As payday has arrived for most adpeople, take a moment to learn more about the project and make a contribution. Hurry, the drive ends October 9.

11476: Here Are All The West Videos.

The One Club posted videos of Dr. Cornel West speaking at Here Are All The Black People. Still suspect the audience would have preferred—and benefited more greatly from—hearing Kanye West versus Cornel West. But you be the judge. At least The One Club is doing a better job of recording these events.

Friday, September 27, 2013

11475: Predictive Poop, Pee & Pap.

Advertising Age videotaped JWT Director of Trendspotting—and Marian Salzman protégé—Ann Mack providing her standard Magic 8 Ball® wisdom. Mack is keeping her eye on wearable tech and predictive personalization, which allowed her to sprinkle a Big Data reference into her trendy mumbo-jumbo. Honestly, do hucksters like Mack ever deliver anything that couldn’t be acquired via a basic Google—but certainly not Bing—search? Here’s a prediction: Over the next 12 months, Mack will fail to offer a single insight that creatives will be able to incorporate into a campaign, commercial or coupon flyer.

11474: C’MON WHITE MAN! Episode 33.

(MultiCultClassics credits ESPN’s C’MON MAN! for sparking this semi-regular blog series.)

Back in August, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners Co-Founder Rich Silverstein launched an elaborate help wanted ad for an executive assistant. After receiving over 4,500 applications, Silverstein wound up picking a young, White, blonde woman. Imagine that.

And he’ll probably try to win a Cannes Lion for his oh-so-clever classified.


Meet the Woman Who Beat Out 4,500 Other Applicants for the Toughest Job in Advertising

Grace Diebel has what it takes

By Tim Nudd

It was the greatest ad seeking an executive assistant in the history of executive assistants—sending applicants from an intimidating Craigslist post through a set of ludicrous online challenges and on to many rounds of interviews (in person and in Google Hangouts).

“Rich Silverstein answers to nobody,” said the ad. “And that nobody could be you.”

A month later, we have a winner.

After receiving a staggering 4,500 applications, San Francisco agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners today revealed Rich Silverstein’s new assistant. Her name is Grace Diebel. The Fairfax, Calif., native and U.C. Davis graduate wasn’t put off by the horror stories of how demanding Silverstein can be. Like most of the applicants, she was intrigued by the creativity of the job listing and figured the work would be just as interesting.

“I could tell they were having fun with it. I thought, ‘Yeah, this guy is probably a little intimidating,’ but I wasn’t afraid,” she says in a Q&A. “I was a fan of the posters and branding-identity work that he’d done for the Golden Gate National Parks, so I thought that somebody who loved the outdoors and Marin [County] couldn’t be all that bad.”

Diebel, who was brought into the agency three times for eight separate interviews, starts this Monday. “The most important thing is that this isn’t a reality-show contest; this is a job,” she says. “And I was picked because they think I can do the job. So I’m going to do the job really well.”

11473: Guido Barilla Lost His Noodle.

From The New York Post…

Barilla: ‘Gays can eat someone else’s pasta’

By Bruce Golding and Post Wires

His company still makes fusilli and elbows, but the head of Barilla has made it clear he prefers his pasta straight.

Guido Barilla sparked international outrage when he said he’d never feature a gay couple in ads for his firm’s foodstuffs — adding that if homosexuals don’t like it, they can buy another brand.

“I would never do [a commercial] with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect, but because we don’t agree with them,” the company chairman told Italian radio Wednesday evening.

“Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role,” Barilla, 55, said, adding that if gays “like our pasta and our advertising, they’ll eat our pasta. If they don’t like it, then they will not eat it and they will eat another brand.”

Anger at the remarks boiled over Thursday, with gay-rights activists announcing a boycott of the world’s largest pasta maker.

Aurelio Mancuso, head of Italy’s Equality Italia group, said: “We accept the invitation from the Barilla owner to not eat his pasta.”

Rich Ferraro of GLAAD said his mom, Linda, had emptied her cupboard of the company’s products.

“I was raised on Barilla,” Ferraro said. “My mom told me that this morning she looked in her cabinets and they were still filled with Barilla pasta, and after I told her what Mr. Barilla said, she said she was going to be dumping out all those boxes of pasta and switching brands.”

Even Mayor Thomas Freeman, of upstate Avon — where Barilla operates one of two US plants — said he “totally” disagreed with the remarks.

“I feel sorry for Mr. Barilla that that’s what he feels,” Freeman said.

But the two-term Democrat said he hoped anger at the company didn’t damage sales too much, noting that the Avon plant had brought 140 jobs to the village of 3,700.

“Barilla makes a very wonderful product. They are on all our shelves here,” Freeman said.

At Mario Batali’s Eataly Italian food mall in the Flatiron District, shoppers slammed Guido Barilla’s remarks as “inappropriate” and “harsh.”

“I actually sent my roommate an e-mail saying it’s a fine family tradition not to buy Barilla, so this strengthens that,” said Cassandra Evanisko, 26 of Brooklyn.

John Rhymes, 28, of Brooklyn, said he never buys Barilla because “it tastes like chalk.”

“Being human beings, where we all have to get along, we should just be tolerant,” he added.

Guido Barilla issued a statement saying he was sorry for hurting anyone’s “sensitivity” but insisted that traditional families “have always been identified with our brand.”

He also re-iterated his support for gay marriage, which is illegal in Italy, although he is against gay adoptions.

The controversy trended on Twitter, where Alessandro Zan, a gay member of the Italian parliament, tweeted: “You can’t mess around with consumers, including gay ones.”

Other users blasted Barilla in multiple languages, labeling the brand “hate pasta” and calling Guido Barilla “horrendously sexist and homophobic.”

“Thanks Barilla, another reason to buy quinoa pasta instead of your white flour poison!” tweeted Tif Lowder of Chicago.

11472: C’MON WHITE MAN! Episode 32.

(MultiCultClassics credits ESPN’s C’MON MAN! for sparking this semi-regular blog series.)

As the trade publications and blogs have spent little to no time covering diversity-related news from Advertising Week 2013, MultiCultClassics is left to spotlight an Adweek piece titled, What Paul Venables Learned from Maya Angelou. During a discussion on creative leadership, Venables, Bell & Partners Co-Founder and ECD Paul Venables referenced Maya Angelou by declaring, “People aren’t going to remember what you said. They’re not even going to remember what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel. And that’s how you manage, from that standpoint of how are these people feeling?”

Can’t speak for anyone else, but Venables makes the MultiCultClassics editorial board feel ill.

Given that Angelou expressed unhappiness when the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. were rewritten, it should be noted that the famed poet’s actual quote reads, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Venables was so inspired that he forgot the exact words to a simple phrase? Maybe he also recruits candidates by saying, “I have a dream…a dream job, that is.”

Regardless, the true offense is when White admen who have typically done nothing to promote diversity recite the utterances of respected figures—especially figures who might not appreciate the industry’s record of exclusivity and discrimination. Wonder if Venables realizes that Angelou also said, “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.” Stick that in your inspirational managerial insights file, Mr. V.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

11471: The Pitch Sucks In Spanish.

Didn’t bother watching the latest installment of AMC series The Pitch. In fact, this review will be posted before the episode finishes airing. A Latino agency is competing against a White agency. Perhaps the network is saluting National Hispanic Heritage Month.

11470: The Crazy Ones Sucks.

MultiCultClassics mistakenly thought CBS series The Crazy Ones debuted a few weeks ago. Wish it had—as that would’ve resulted in missing the premiere episode.

If AMC series The Pitch and TNT series Trust Me were stuffed into a trash compactor, the produced garbage would still smell less shitty than The Crazy Ones. The promotional hype calls the show a single-camera workplace comedy. That’s one camera too many—and it’s impossible to identify a single moment that could be classified as comedic. The only positive thing about The Crazy Ones is its 30-minute format. A full hour would have been pure torture.

Mork is a more believable character than Robin Williams’ Simon Roberts. Buffy should be recruited to slay Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Sydney Roberts. Creator David E. Kelley comes off like a staff writer for AgencySpy.

The Crazy Ones bears virtually zero resemblance to the real advertising industry—except in its depiction of a star-fucking, staff-fucking, nepotistic, predominately White agency.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

11469: Gorillas In Our Midst.

The New York Daily News reported on Patrick, a 430-pound male gorilla being evicted from Dallas Zoo after displaying aggressive, sexist behavior towards female apes. Too bad Patrick doesn’t work in the advertising industry, where sexual harassment, gender discrimination and misogyny are totally acceptable. In fact, the monkeys on Madison Avenue are rarely bounced for such behavior; rather, the victimized females are typically shuttled off with hush money. And if rude simians are expelled, it’s usually with financial backing from cronies for a startup agency.

‘Sexist’ gorilla being kicked out of Dallas Zoo

Patrick, a 23-year-old Western lowland gorilla who was born in the Bronx Zoo in 1990, has nipped at female apes he was to mate with and even bit one, and has belittled others. Patrick will be transferred to the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens in Columbia, S.C.


A “sexist” male gorilla at Dallas Zoo is being evicted and sent for therapy after he bit one female companion and belittled others.

Patrick — a 430-pound Western lowland born at New York’s Bronx Zoo in 1990 — will be moved to Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens in Columbia, S.C., according to ABC 27.

It’s hoped that his new bachelor pad at the resort known for helping primates with behavior problems will bring out his softer side.

Bosses in Dallas said the cranky 23-year-old ape gets along fine with humans, but not with other gorillas.

When he was paired up with females to breed, he instead bit one and nipped at others.

He only had one male pal — Jabari — but he was shot dead in 2004 after escaping and injuring three people, according to the Dallas News.

So Patrick was forced to spend his time alone in his own enclosure.

With Dallas Zoo acquiring two new male gorillas, officials say the time has come to move him on.

“It’s not like we haven’t tried, he’s been here for 18 years,” Dallas Zoo spokeswoman Laurie Holloway told Reuters.

“He’s beautiful and smart and everyone loves him. We’re really sad to see him go, but it’s for the best for the zoo and for Patrick,” she added.

The grumpy beast will at first be separated from Riverbanks’ three other gorillas. Eventually, it’s hoped, he will move in with them to a spacious living area.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

11468: Bank Of Not Black America.

From The New York Daily News…

Bank of America ordered to pay $2.2 million to 1,000 black job seekers it discriminated against

An investigation by the Labor Department found that Bank of America’s Charlotte office had used “unfair and inconsistent selection criteria” in order to deny African Americans work.

By David Knowles / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

As an employer, it wasn’t exactly the bank for all of America.

Bank of America was ordered Monday to pay 1,147 African American job applicants $2,181,593 in back wages and interest after a judge found that the company’s Charlotte office had racially discriminated against them.

Judge Linda S. Chapman ruled that the bank used “unfair and inconsistent selection criteria” when it routinely chose white applicants over black job-seekers in 1993 and again between 2002 and 2005.

In 1993, the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs launched a review of the bank that turned up evidence of “systemic hiring discrimination” against African Americans, denying them entry-level clerical and administrative positions.

Bank of America vigorously contested the allegations and argued that the Labor Department did not have the legal authority to impose fines against it, but the judge sided with the government’s claim that because the bank is a federally insured entity, it qualifies as a federal contractor.

The ruling was a long-awaited victory for the Labor Department, which had first brought the case to court in 1997.

“Wherever doors of opportunity are unfairly closed to workers, we will be there to open them — no matter how long it takes,” OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu said in a statement. “Judge Chapman’s decision upholds the legal principle of making victims of discrimination whole, and these workers deserve to get the full measure of what is owed to them.”

The bank must now pay $964,033 to 1,034 applicants who were rejected for jobs in 1993, and another $1,217,560 to 113 African Americans who were denied work between 2002 and 2005. In addition, Bank of America has been ordered offer jobs to 10 applicants who were originally turned down.

The bank, meanwhile, refused to comment on the specifics of the ruling.

“At Bank of America, diversity and inclusion are part of our culture and core company values,” Christopher Feeney, a spokesman for the bank, said in a statement. “We actively promote an environment where all employees have the opportunity to succeed.”

Monday, September 23, 2013

11467: This Is How Latinas Roll.

From The Los Angeles Times…

Latina bicyclists answer macho bike culture with their own chain gang

In many Latino families, women are considered fragile. That doesn’t apply to the members of the Ovarian Psyco Cycles Brigade.

By Denise Florez

Growing up, Evelyn Martinez’s mother didn’t want her to ride a bike.

“She thinks it’s not safe for women to be riding late at night, and cars are dangerous too,” Martinez said.

Moreover, her mother told her: “Bicycles are for men.”

But after a chance meeting last year, Martinez joined an all-female, predominantly Latino cycling group that is both an answer and a challenge to the aggressive male biking culture. Like men’s bike crews, it defies L.A.’s monolithic car culture with an in-your-face ethic, reflected in its name: the Ovarian Psyco Cycles Brigade.

The group says the name “is a play on words intended to be playful and simultaneously create some sort of acknowledgment/acceptance/pride in one’s historically oppressed body.”

Without blushing, the women use “feminine positive” slogans and catchphrases too risque for a family newspaper.

“This is a way to empower ourselves and use language that describes and empowers us,” said Maryann Aguirre, this summer’s group leader.

Martinez isn’t the only one in the group who started riding at a later age because of parental apprehension. In many Latino families, women are considered fragile and must be protected.

“A lot of the times the women that have never had the privilege of riding a bike is because they don’t have the resources, or it’s the fear of physically falling, or no one was there to teach them or motivate them,” Martinez said.

The nine core members are mostly Latinas in their 20s from Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles and Lincoln Heights who work for nonprofits. Each month, they organize a women’s “Luna Ride” during the full moon, usually around their neighborhoods.

Their August ride, the biggest of the year, was a takeoff on Critical Mass, a monthly ride that spread from San Francisco to 300 cities, including Los Angeles. Just over 100 female riders joined the 30-mile ride from the Watts Towers to Hollenbeck Park, making five other stops along the way. They often choose political themes for their trips; July’s was the California prison hunger strike.

The women also sponsor coed rides — although the men might have to listen to a lecture on male privilege and machismo.

Cycling is growing among young women but still lags far behind men’s participation; only one in five riders in Los Angeles is female, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition reported in 2011. The cyclists believe more women will turn out for rides with a female stride.

With male riders, “there’s that whole bro-ish kind of stuff,” Aguirre said. “We’re not about who can ride fastest, we’re about sisterhood.”

One Sunday evening In June, 10 howling and cheering women started off from the Soto Street Metro station for the Supermoon Ride, celebrating the biggest and brightest moon of 2013.

Instead of the typical spandex gear, the women wore skinny jeans, houndstooth and plaid printed tights, studded vests and huarache sandals. Two of the women had T-shirts with the group’s logo, the torso of a woman forming the ovarian “gang” sign: thumb and forefinger touching to represent ovaries and fallopian tubes.

As they passed Cesar Chavez Avenue, a few obscenities rang out from passing motorists. The Brigade didn’t hesitate to respond.

Passers-by occasionally encourage them, including older Latinas who say they never had a chance to ride a bike, Martinez said.

“Older women come up to me and tell me ‘Mija que bueno! Es muy bien ejercicio!’ (That’s so good my daughter! It’s really good exercise),” Martinez said.

Aguirre, 23, is a single mother who started biking two years ago with the group; now it’s her main mode of transportation. She even tows her 5-year-old daughter to day care in a trailer.

Martinez, meanwhile, has lost more than 50 pounds over dozens of rides in her year with the Psycos.

“I wanted to be able to show other women on bikes that your weight, age or size doesn’t matter,” said the 21-year-old. Now her mother wants to learn to ride too.

11466: Russell Simmons, Brand Visionary.

Adweek named Russell Simmons as Brand Visionary in its 2013 Brand Genius Awards. Guess Adweek loves hip hop too.

Brand Visionary: Russell Simmons

One of Russell Simmons’ first stints at marketing involved him passing out fliers for college parties back in the ’70s. Things have changed a bit since then, of course. “Everything is different—the world moves faster,” he says. “When I started branding, there were no cellphones. You know, I’m old. I’ve been around for a minute, baby.”

At 55, Simmons isn’t exactly old, but he has come a long way from those fliers.

Some 30 years after starting out as a fast-talking club promoter from Queens, Simmons, this year’s Adweek Brand Visionary, has become a living legend in the spheres of media and marketing, a cynosure who’s created some of the world’s coolest brands—from Def Jam records to the Phat Farm clothing line. More recently, he launched the Web-video property All Def Digital. If urban culture has a godfather, then Russell Simmons is it.

“Russell’s great gift was to show that hip-hop was a true American art form,” according to Dan Charnas, author of The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop. “Russell’s refusal to do anything but present this stuff the way it needed to be presented—that ignited the fire that this entire culture became.”

In other words, it’s one kind of challenge to market a single product—and quite another to market an entire lifestyle. In the early ’80s, when the zeitgeist required black artists to soften their sound, lyrics and appearance to get airplay on pop radio and MTV, Simmons instead insisted on packaging acts like Run-DMC using their real street clothes and sensibility—not as black music, but as teen music with broad appeal. It worked, and quickly. By 1984, The Wall Street Journal had dubbed Simmons “the mogul of rap.”

In the decades since, Simmons has proven to be a serial entrepreneur, building his own empire and paving the way for other moguls.

In 1999, Simmons and business partner Lyor Cohen sold their remaining 40 percent stake in Def Jam Recordings to Universal Music Group for a cool $135 million. In 2004, Simmons unloaded Phat Farm for $140 million. Today, he’s at the center of a whole constellation of companies—men’s fashion label ArgyleCulture, yoga apparel line Tantris, the prepaid Visa product RushCard, news site GlobalGrind and All Def Digital, a YouTube network focused on urban music, comedy and the spoken word.

“ADD has been a constant exciting fun road,” says Simmons. “I can’t believe how much cool shit is coming through my office. It’s allowing me freedom to be like a super indie—shoot what I want, put out what I want and promote what I want.”

With partners like UMG and DreamWorks-owned AwesomenessTV, the new venture is an opportunity for Simmons to add to the list of talent that can thank him for helping launch their careers. That’s not limited to musicians: Def Comedy Jam, the popular HBO show Simmons produced in the ’90s, served as an early platform for actors like Chris Tucker and Martin Lawrence.

“I get into businesses where I have something to contribute, and that’s been my history,” says Simmons. “That’s what keeps me alive: giving.”

Simmons has given plenty—and that includes philanthropy. He’s an outspoken social activist whose causes range from ethnic understanding to animal rights. “I don’t want to be limited by the brand that the world makes me,” he says.

There seems to be little chance of that. —Gabriel Beltrone

Sunday, September 22, 2013

11465: Reviewing The Crazy Ones.

It’s odd that no trade publications or blogs have commented on CBS series The Crazy Ones, a comedy show set in a fictional Chicago advertising agency. After all, AMC series Mad Men routinely inspires columns and posts—and even AMC series The Pitch draws occasional press. The Businessweek review below indicates The Crazy Ones may rival short-lived TNT series Trust Me with its awfulness.

Review: Robin Williams in The Crazy Ones

By Jessica Grose

In the new CBS sitcom The Crazy Ones, Robin Williams stars as Simon Roberts, the temperamental head of a Chicago advertising agency called Roberts + Roberts, which he co-owns with his uptight daughter, Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar). He’s unorthodox and difficult: Roberts pulls Scottish accents at inopportune moments and boxes with a giant toy robot in his office. (So basically, he’s Robin Williams.) We’re meant to believe he’s a genius, because he explains to a roomful of McDonald’s executives in the pilot that his pitch is not about burgers and fries, but about the notion that “family is everything.”

Have you heard this somewhere before? The brilliant but mercurial creative director, the strained familial relationships, the man who is the beating heart at the center of mucky commerce? Oh, right, it’s Don Draper from Mad Men. (The two shows even share an actor, James Wolk, who plays the squirrelly Bob Benson on Mad Men and the slutty Zach Cropper on Crazy Ones.) And though the series are fairly different—Crazy Ones, a half-hour comedy, is terrible—both embrace the stock character of the stormy yet special creative.

The figure of the adman as volatile magician arose in the 1950s and ’60s, according to Cynthia Meyers, an associate professor at the College of Mount Saint Vincent and the author of the forthcoming book A Word From Our Sponsor: Admen, Advertising, and the Golden Age of Radio. In the early part of the 20th century, Meyers says, ad concepts were dictated by account executives. Illustrators and copywriters just worked for them. Back then, the “hard sell” was the main strategy. A burger ad would focus on concrete qualities such as how fresh the beef is.

Starting in the early ’60s, the “soft sell”—ads appealing to the client’s and consumer’s associations and emotions—began to dominate, and the designers and writers became much more heralded. Along with them came “a romantic terminology about the creative process,” Meyers says. Ads shifted from being about a burger’s juiciness to narratives about how burger grill marks remind you of your father’s love. TV writers in particular, Meyers speculates, like writing about advertising because they see television as experiencing the same central conflict between art and commerce. (Thirtysomething, which featured a married couple who ran an ad agency, memorably explored this theme in the ’80s.)

Mad Men works because showrunner Matthew Weiner is also a master of the soft sell. When Don Draper is pitching Kodak an ad for its Carousel slide projector, he evokes a deep sense of nostalgia, which means “the pain from an old wound” in Greek, he tells the executives. He shows photographs of his perfect young children and beautiful wife in years past and transports his clients—and viewers—to wistful memories.

Crazy Ones isn’t going for the same emotional chords that Mad Men hits so effortlessly. Williams does his thing, inhabiting characters—Mike Tyson and an American Indian from an old western—and the others are just satellites around his manic energy. It’s a shame, because Hamish Linklater, who plays the agency’s art director, and Gellar are both talented actors. All this mugging might have worked for Williams 20 years ago, but here it feels outdated and irritating.

There’s definitely a space in the TV universe for a lightly comedic Mad Men. Most of us work in offices in which to some degree we sublimate our true selves, so it’s a pleasure to live vicariously through characters who not only buck authority but also wrestle with issues of authenticity. But when Simon Roberts shows a clip from a 1972 McDonald’s ad depicting a father and son playing together, and says to the McDonald’s executives, “I was flat broke, but I still had enough money to buy her a Happy Meal. Made me look like a king to her,” it feels glib. Both Mad Men and Crazy Ones are trying to sell the audience on their product. With Crazy Ones, no one’s buying.

11464: Here Are All The Black Speakers.

The newly named Here Are All The Black People will feature keynote speaker Cornel West. Interesting choice. The man has certainly spoken out on issues involving diversity and discrimination. Plus, his academic background may make him comfortable communicating to fresh college graduates and younger audiences. Yet wouldn’t the attendees prefer Kanye West versus Cornel West? After all, Here Are All The Black People appeared to be shying away from the political and focusing more on the professional. West (Cornel, not Kanye) recently called Rev. Al Sharpton “the bonafide house negro of the @BarackObama plantation” on Twitter (in 2009, incidentally, Sharpton celebrated the NAACP’s 100th anniversary with the equality champions at Ogilvy). So if you’re going to expose wannabe advertising executives to a fiery guy like West, why not include, say, Sanford Moore too?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

11463: Coke Tops In Insensitivity.

From Sky News…

Coca-Cola apologizes for ‘retard’ bottle cap

By Sky News

Coca-Cola has apologized to a family who found the message “You Retard” printed inside a bottle cap.

Blake Loates, from Alberta, Canada, found the offensive message after buying a bottle of Vitamin Water, which is owned by the drinks firm.

“We immediately thought, you have got to be kidding me?” she said.

“We thought it might have been a disgruntled employee or someone in a (bottling) plant playing a joke.”

She took a picture of the bottle top and her father Doug wrote a letter of complaint to the drinks firm, mentioning his younger daughter Fiona, who has cerebral palsy and autism.

In his letter, seen by the Huffington Post, he told the company: “The R word is considered a swear word in our family. We don’t use it.

“We don’t tolerate others using it around us. We ARE oversensitive but you would be too if you had Fiona for a daughter!”

Coca-Cola said it has been printing one random French word and one random English word on the inside of each Vitamin Water cap.

Shannon Denny, from Coca-Cola Refreshment Canada, said: “We did not mean to offend at all. We are certainly very apologetic for this oversight.”

The company says it now has a system in place to review words printed on the bottle caps, and says it has recalled the remaining products.

11462: Turning Off The Pitch.

Didn’t bother watching the latest installment of AMC series The Pitch, but the show seems to be ripping off the Staples Easy Button with its banner icon above. A better concept is below.

11461: Segregation, Lexus Style.

Not sure what the hell is going on in this Lexus IS commercial—but it’s probably racist.

11460: Mad Black Men Seeks Green.

Xavier Ruffin thinks AMC series Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner is a liar.

The filmmaker, writer and designer is out to debunk Weiner’s White lies that Blacks were invisible in the advertising industry during the Mad Men era. Ruffin’s counter-argument comes in the form of an original web series titled Mad Black Men.

To realize his dream, Ruffin is seeking financial support to fund the production. Visit Indiegogo now for all the details—plus, follow Ruffin on Facebook and Twitter.

Then make like Hollis the elevator attendant and help Ruffin rise to the occasion with a contribution. Hurry, the campaign drive ends October 9.

Friday, September 20, 2013

11459: Old Boys’ Club Seeks Girls.

Campaign reported the Solus Club—an 84-year-old dining club for U.K. media and advertising executives—is admitting female members for the first time in its history. Look for the organization to fully embrace diversity in the 22nd century.

The Solus Club to admit women for first time

The Solus Club, the dining club for senior members of the media and advertising industry, is opening its doors to women for the first time in its 84-year history

By Jeremy Lee

The news was given to members at its annual general meeting at the Dorchester on Wednesday evening and followed a ballot carried out earlier this summer.

Of the 117 members eligible to vote, 109 did so. Ninety-eight voted in favour and 11 against. From January, senior women in marketing communications will be allowed to join.

The issue of allowing female members has long been an embarrassment to Solus Club leaders.

In September 2003, its then club president Mike Moran and president-elect tried to push through the reform but were thwarted by the “old guard”. Shortly afterwards Hamish Pringle, then the IPA’s director general who had been due to become club president, resigned in protest.

Don Thomson, the current president of the club and a former chief operations officer of Global Radio, was determined to force through the changes as part of his presidency, arguing that the ban on women is increasingly difficult to defend while robbing the club of potential new members.

11458: Biker Bully Bullshit.

The Colombian creatives suggesting the solution to bullying involves dressing kids in Harley-Davidson gear should be beaten up.

From Ads of the World.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

11457: More Total Market Total Bullshit.

Almost missed this Advertising Week 2013 event scheduled for September 23 at the Hard Rock Café:

Total Market Strategy: Top Marketers’ Not-So-Secret Weapon

You’ve heard the term… and you’ve probably also heard different interpretations of its meaning. Amidst the rapidly shifting demographics of our nation, the concept of multicultural marketing is being phased out in favor of marketing to a truly multicultural nation. Top consumer marketers talk about what Total Market Strategy means to their business, and share examples of how they are using it to drive sales growth.

Hear their techniques on marketing to all consumers regardless of ethnicity or language by leveraging the similarities — rather than the differences — in consumer insights, creative development and go-to-market strategies.

Interestingly enough, the panelists include executives from MillerCoors and Colgate Palmolive. Um, both advertisers employ multicultural advertising agencies—and Colgate even saluted Uniworld Founder Byron Lewis for his ADCOLOR® honor. If these racist hypocrites really believe “the concept of multicultural marketing is being phased out,” let’s hope they notify their minority shops before pulling away the crumbs.

11456: Havas Talent Is An Oxymoron.

Adweek interviewed Havas Worldwide President Andrew Benett, who has written a new book—The Talent Mandate—that examines recruiting and managing employees. This explains why Benett is participating in an Advertising Week event on the topic; that is, the panel chat is nothing more than a promotional party. Talent and Havas are two words that should never appear in the same sentence, except when noting how the latter utterly lacks the former. The index of Benett’s book makes reference to diversity—but it’s “diversity of ideas” versus anything to do with inclusive workplaces. Yet that’s to be expected from someone connected to an enterprise fueled by nepotism in an industry rooted in exclusivity and discrimination.

11455: Advertising Week Peek 4.

Given that Advertising Week 2013 takes place during Hispanic Heritage Month, perhaps there should be a special acknowledgement to commemorate the occasion. Why, just think of the many great advertising icons that saluted Latino culture over the years.

The Frito Bandito illegally crossed the border long before it became a political issue—all for a handful of those irresistible corn chips.

The Taco Bell Chihuahua brought authenticity to the fast food chain, leading the way for later tortilla trailblazers such as Chef Lorena Garcia.

And the Talking Latina Vagina for Summer’s Eve shattered stereotypes and opened doors for cartoon coochies everywhere.

Of course, celebratory Advertising Week parties will extend invitations to Salma Hayek and Sofia Vergara.