Wednesday, November 30, 2016

13450: Documenting Doddering Diverted Diversity.

Campaign declared photographer Dylan Collard “champions diversity” via a recent project—titled “Ages of Us”—featuring portraits documenting how people change with age. Doddering diverted diversity is gaining momentum and will surely leapfrog over racial and ethnic diversity soon—thanks to diversity champions like Collard.

Photographer Dylan Collard champions diversity in Ages of Us exhibition

Dylan Collard created Ages of Us, an exhibition in which he documents how we change as we age.

By Kate Magee

The photographer took the same bench to 23 locations in California and asked people to sit on one of the three seats representing youth, middle and old age.

Following the exhibition, Teamspirit, a financial comms agency, invited Collard to bring the chairs to its offices to raise awareness of age diversity.

What was your inspiration for Ages of Us?

In 2015, I shot a series of portraits of mostly elderly volunteers. I was fascinated by what experiences had shaped these faces. Around that time, I worked in SE1 and walked my dog every evening.

Our route took us past a takeaway. There was a bench and I’d often see someone sitting waiting for their food with that “lost in thought” expression and it fascinated me.

What was it like filming Ages of Us?

Incredible. I flew the seats to the US and had the frame made as I couldn’t find anything like it in the US. Shoots were quick as in public settings people get more self-conscious the longer they sit.

Who was the most interesting person you shot?

I loved the surfers who talked to us on Asilomar Beach and Weike Betten, a biophysicist who chatted about her hopes for a better future for everyone and her desire to have “a happy dog”.

I was also blown away by a couple of teenagers who had deep ideas about how they didn’t want to waste their youth.

How did the tie-up with Teamspirit come about?

My agent suggested taking the bench on a “bench visit” into agencies. Teamspirit champions age diversity both within the agency and in its work with financial-service brands to understand and embrace the unique talents and experiences of people of all ages, so it was a great fit.

What is the best age?

Every stage of life has its joys, stresses and pressures, and we negotiate through them in different ways, with increasing experience and awareness. But I miss the naïvety of youth and the freedom of imagination that goes with that.

How can we best come to terms with the ageing process?

Age does not matter so follow the advice of Olivia Roberts (18), who warned that if you spend your life worrying about the future, “all of a sudden you’re gonna wake up and realise there’s nothing next and you wasted all your time worrying”.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

13449: Dodging Diversity.

Campaign presented a bait-and-switch with content titled, ‘You need diversity of thought and diversity of experience’ Phil Hall—featuring an interview with Mediacom Chief Commercial Strategy Officer Phil Hall, who blathered on about his career in the field. The story’s headline might have led readers to think Hall would offer the standard diversity dodges, opting to embrace diverted diversity and avoiding true diversity. But Hall didn’t even do that. In fact, besides mentioning that the Mediacom business is diversifying and growing, the interview failed to directly touch on any form of diversity. The Campaign content inadvertently reflected diversity in the advertising industry perfectly; that is, the notion is occasionally mentioned, but never legitimately discussed and acted upon.

‘You need diversity of thought and diversity of experience’ Phil Hall

Mediacom’s Phil Hall tells John De Napoli why collaboration is crucial, why it’s hard to switch off, and why “t-shaped” people are the industry’s rising stars...

Who are the industry’s biggest boundary pushers, the ones who have really made a difference? And who do they most admire? In association with The Trade Desk, we invite the biggest industry names to interview their boundary-pushing peers – and pass on the baton, in an interview relay.

In the previous instalment, Mean Broadcast’s managing director, John De Napoli, chose Mediacom’s chief commercial strategy officer, Phil Hall, as his boundary pusher. Now he speaks to him…

What made you get into the media industry?

I needed to get a job! I had no plans to enter the industry at all. I didn’t even know what it was before I started working in it. I’d just come back from university and saw an ad in the Guardian to work for TSMS. I did a bit of research, turned up and started from there, in the airtime management unit. It was a really good starting place.

You’ve been at Mediacom for 16 years – what makes it the place for you?

It has changed beyond belief in terms of size and client base, which has made it really interesting. It was a relatively small agency and it’s growing really fast. Since the early days, we’ve had a culture which is if you can find a way to add value, if you spot an opportunity, you can do it. People rally around you to support you, and there’s no politics — which makes it refreshing, and makes it a place where you can actually get something done.

What qualities make a successful director and which of these do you have?

The obvious things you need to be successful in any role are self motivation, problem solving, curiosity, and refusal to accept the norms. The nuts and bolts of this business haven’t actually changed — it’s everything around the edges. I think the people that can challenge the norms, and say there’s a different way of doing things — executing a campaign or selling a product — are really succeeding at the moment. Collaboration has never been more important. If you’re an expert in a disconnected silo then you’re less than half as effective as someone who is perhaps less talented but is really connected into the business.

What keeps you motivated and interested?

Two things keep me motivated. Our business is diversifying and growing, and at Mediacom we’re always looking at ways we can get involved in different things outside of the day to day planning and buying of media. If we can look to add value for clients in other ways and take advantage of all the change, that’s really interesting work.

The second thing is working with really talented people. It’s an amazing thing to help someone build their career and fulfill their potential. I’ve had people work for me who’ve left — such as Simon Broderick who’s at MediaCom APAC, and Naomi Harston who’s now at Google — who’ve gone on to have brilliant careers. There are people in my current team who will go on to run big businesses in media and it’s fantastic to be a part of that.

Who do you admire on the sales side of the industry?

I really like people that can adapt their sell to suit our clients and our business. People who work in a more collaborative way will get a lot more out of media. Sales companies can be relatively small in their sector but really punch above their weight by working more innovatively. I admire the way that Nick Bampton ran that team at Channel 5, the way that Tim Bleakley at Ocean sets up his business, and Chris Forrester — to whom I’m passing on my baton. These are people that haven’t always worked at the biggest places but have really engaged with customers and clients, and thought about how they can adapt their sell.

What’s going to happen for TV trading, radio and online in the next few years?

Programmatic and automation is the obvious answer. It’s happening now, and at a fast pace which is only going to accelerate. I think you’re going to see a two-tier system of trading where the bulk of the inventory is traded in a programmatic way, and then the icing on the cake is traded in a more traditional way, which is less data driven and more about brand equity. I think it’s an incredible opportunity.

The mistake a lot of people make in the industry is thinking that with automation will come a de-skilling of people and less need for talent. I think the opposite is true. Since the industrial revolution people have been saying that more automation and mechanisation means the need for people will become less and less, and it has never been true. If anything, agencies will grow, taking on different sorts of people.

It’s clear that some of the old skills are less valuable now. We need new ones to succeed, including the ability to be collaborative, and take complexity out of buying, translating the processes back into client-friendly language. There’s too much technical jargon in our business, which is disguising what people are trying to achieve. People who immediately default into jargon, and can’t properly vocalise what they are trying to do, probably don’t understand it. You need, for want of a better word, ‘interpreters’ within the business.

Media agencies have traditionally pushed through and promoted people that are technically excellent at what they do. That’s fine, but increasingly we’re valuing the skills of more t-shaped people — generalists who can bring together different parts of a team and can hold it all together to deliver a result back to a client. That’s a valuable and vital skill which you didn’t particularly need in media agencies five or six years ago. In the past, it’s always been that the trading people could sit in their silo and deliver great results. That’s not enough now. You need diversity of thought and diversity of experience. Those people harnessed together, working collaboratively, will be the key to success.

How would you go about attracting that new talent?

You’ve got to be very clear in your direction. For people to really succeed in my team they have to have a curiosity and a desire to help the rest of the business. Go out and see what the planners are talking about, what the content specialists are talking about, talk to data people, and think about your specialisms and how they can enhance the whole. If you sit there in a silo, you’re not adding value.

What’s your advice to an up-and-coming Phil Hall?

Do something you enjoy. We spend lot of time and put a lot of energy into the job, so you’ve got to enjoy it. Find somewhere where there’s a culture of identifying and fast-tracking talent and ideally a supportive boss. Work out how to add the most value to what you do, and just hurl yourself into it. That’s got to be your ambition, to find something where your success is in your own hands.

What’s the next big thing in media?

It’s the thing it’s always been: people. It’s about talent and people and harnessing them in the right way. Our industry has always been and will always be about people. Digital, programmatic, and content are inherently important, but if you haven’t got a well-managed and motivated team which is creating something different to service a client’s business, you will never truly succeed.

What’s next for you?

I’ve just started a new role here which is really exciting, and I’ve been working towards that for last 18 months. It’s a more strategic role, looking at the commerciality in our business and looking at how we can create new products to help clients and media owners, and work in more interesting ways. Beyond that, I’d like to run a media business one day. I think that’s where my career is leading and what I enjoy doing. Whether that’s agency or sales I don’t know.

The progress I’ve made over last few years has been a result of really enjoying what I do. Karen Blackett gave me a great bit of advice four or five years ago — she told me if I ever have three months in a row where I’m not enjoying my role I should go and talk to her before getting downhearted or starting to look elsewhere. I now give that advice to other people. Everyone has bad months and stress from things out of our control. But three in a row and there’s more likely to be a problem. I’ve never had three bad months in a row.

I want to keep enjoying my job and keep making a real difference at Mediacom and in the industry, getting more experience working in senior management, and working with talented people out there to create new, different ideas for clients.

Monday, November 28, 2016

13448: Campaign For Generation Geriatric.

Campaign published a lengthy report that sought to explain “Why ageism is adland’s next frontier”—supporting the position with data from the recently conducted Campaign-MEC survey. The content is too long to copy, so check it out directly. Actually, the Campaign and MEC perspectives on the matter are total bullshit. Ageism is not adland’s next frontier; rather, it’s the next generation of diverted diversity. A senior smokescreen. A hoary heat shield. The White-dominated advertising industry continues failing to embrace racial and ethnic diversity. As a result, everyone eludes responsibility and accountability by advocating for other groups under the guise of showing commitment to inclusion. The current diverted diversity dodge involves promoting White women. In fact, Campaign peppered maternity bias into the ageism article. Now elder White men and women are crying discriminatory victimhood, despite having spent entire careers ignoring and opposing true diversity initiatives. The sad reality is, these White folks will have no problem—and exhibit zero reservations—pushing themselves ahead of racial and ethnic minorities in the battle for advertising jobs. The Campaign piece, appropriately enough, even features an interview with an old White man whose last name is Wight, who shared research that allegedly makes a case for keeping seniors on staff. Thanks to Campaign and MEC, doddering diverted diversity is gaining strength with age.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

13447: Weekend Chicken Shit.

What do Gene Hackman and Deidrie Henry have in common? Both thespians are indirectly noted in the Popeyes timeline at the fast feeder’s website. In 1972, the chicken chain’s flagship restaurant was rebranded and renamed after Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle, the character portrayed by Hackman in The French Connection. Interestingly, Doyle was an alcoholic racist. In 2009, Annie the Chicken Queen—a “feisty spokesperson” who likes to “tell it like it is”—was birthed by a White advertising agency. Hackman won an Academy Award for his performance, while Henry will likely nab an ADCOLOR® Award someday.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

13446: Cups Of Cultural Cluelessness.

These Cup Noodles commercials are culturally clueless crap. What inspired the soup seller to feature Blacks—is the cheap cup of chemicals popular with minorities? One possible explanation for the cultural cluelessness: the responsible advertising agency—High Wide & Handsome—appears to be predominately White Caucasian & Anglo-Saxon.

Friday, November 25, 2016

13445: Diverted Diversity Donation Drive.

Campaign reported HP and Visa made diverted diversity donations to Free The Bid—the drive designed to detonate the dearth of director dames. For Diverted Diversity Defender and HP CMO Antonio Lucio, the contribution reflects the technology company’s bullshit bold demand for diversity and inclusion—starting with White women. Meanwhile, Visa SVP of North American Marketing Lara Balazs declared the following on the company blog:

Visa is thrilled to take the pledge to #FREETHEBID globally. We want to partner with like-minded agencies who value diversity and inclusion as much as we do…

Well, that would explain the cash donation from BBDO. But a search for “diversity and inclusion” at the White advertising agency’s website presented no results. In contrast, Visa and HP are pretty explicit in their online commitment to the cause. Yet both advertisers continue to team up with White advertising agencies where diversity is a dream deferred, delegated, diverted and denied.

Balazs also remarked, “Visa’s ‘Everywhere You Want to Be’ stands not only for acceptance of our product physically and digitally, but also acceptance of diversity and inclusion. [Participating in #FreeTheBid] is a way to not just talk about it, but walk the talk.”

Okay, but when will Visa and HP “walk the talk” and end the hypocrisy of partnering with ad shops that demonstrate acceptance of discrimination and exclusion?

HP and Visa ‘walk the talk,’ donate funds to #FreeTheBid

By Kathryn Luttner

Both brands back their promise to support female directors with funds to help the initiative grow globally.

When director Alma Har’el announced her #FreeTheBid initiative, challenging both agencies and brands to include at least one female director on triple bids, several agencies, brands and production companies signed on—but no one donated money. Today, HP and Visa become the first corporate sponsors of #FreeTheBid, pledging more than $100,000 to help the program grow globally.

HP CMO Antonio Lucio and Visa SVP of North American Marketing Lara Balazs made the financial support public today at the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day event at the United Nations. HP is donating $100,000 to the initiative. And Balazs declined to detail the amount of Visa’s contribution.

The financial support comes on the heels of both companies making public pledges to advance their diversity and inclusion efforts. In September, Lucio challenged HP’s ad and PR agencies to diversity their workplaces, and last month Visa Global CMO Lynne Biggar declared diversity and inclusion in the workplace a “strategic business imperative” in a blog post.

“We’re excited to implement this pledge globally, giving women a voice in advertising to the benefit of everyone, everywhere,” said Lucio. “Diversity is a business imperative, not just a moral one. We hope to inspire more brands and agencies to join us in this pledge and #FreeTheBid.”

Others putting money where their mouths are include agencies BBDO, Gyro, and Fred & Farid. Airbnb is also expected to make a monetary pledge next week, said a source. Although only a handful of companies have committed financially, the movement is growing. Nineteen agencies (including 72andSunny and Joan), five brands (HP, Visa, eBay, Coca-Cola and Nestle) and 13 production companies (such as Great Guns and Wondros) have taken the pledge to include more female directors in their bidding processes.

“Visa’s ‘Everywhere You Want to Be’ stands not only for acceptance of our product physically and digitally, but also acceptance of diversity and inclusion,” Visa’s Balazs said. Participating in #FreeTheBid “is a way to not just talk about it, but walk the talk.”

Until today, #FreeTheBid was solely financed by Har’el, with donations funneled through the nonprofit Women Make Movies. The funds provided by HP and Visa will be used to hire someone to run the #FreeTheBid website, which is currently maintained by Har’el and a friend. The two admit they can’t keep up with the “hundreds” of daily emails, so adding a full-time staffer is the first step in taking the initiative global. Har’el, whose work includes ads for Airbnb and Stella Artois, also wants to start a board of directors selected from #FreeTheBid-friendly ad agencies and brands to examine case studies that will back their actions with proven methodologies.

“We intend to continue growing as the No. 1 source for ad agencies and brands to discover female directors,” she said. “The more women are given a voice and an opportunity in advertising, the faster we can change how women are represented and turn them from an object to a subject.”

Thursday, November 24, 2016

13444: Happy Thanksgiving, Jive Turkeys.

13443: Half A Crumb…?

Campaign reported Procter & Gamble executed an efficiency move that cut the number of its White PR and advertising agencies by about 50 percent. No word if P&G’s minority agencies suffered similar reductions. Then again, it would require laser-like precision to halve crumbs.

P&G halves agencies in efficiency drive

P&G has cut the number of PR and ad agencies it works with by roughly 50%, as it looks to boost the efficiency of its marketing spend.

By Shona Ghosh

The FMCG giant still spends around $500m (£400m) a year on marketing and advertising — its third highest cost after staff and product.

According to Ad Age, chief brand officer Marc Pritchard said P&G would look to “open sourcing in creativity” to create ads to cut costs. It will also use digital technology for production and pool production within agencies.

Speaking during an investor day, Pritchard highlighted the SK-II luxury brand, whose open sourcing of ads means costs are down “about 50%”.

A spokeswoman told Ad Age that while P&G agency Leo Burnett created SK-II’s “Change destiny” campaign, briefs for other projects had been handed out to other agencies inside Publicis.

Pritchard added: “We reassigned several brands to higher-quality partners, and we cut the workload to produce far fewer but much better advertising and marketing campaigns.”

P&G has divested around 100 brands over the last two years to refocus on its best performing brands, leaving it with around 70 to 80 brands. Cost-cutting resulted in a better than expected first quarter, with $2.7bn in net earnings, up 4% year on year. Net sales stayed flat at $16.52bn.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

13442: HP Deaf & Dumb.

Campaign reported HP produced a holiday video featuring a deaf character that is being criticized as patronizing and clueless. Gee, HP Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Antonio Lucio will have to ask his White advertising agencies to add a section to their diversity action plans to include disabled people.

HP holiday ad starring deaf character hits sour note with disability advocates

By Kathryn Luttner

The ad strikes a pitying tone, garbles sign language and has no subtitles, note critics.

The HP film stars two brothers. One is a musician, and the other is deaf. The deaf brother can’t fully participate in his brother’s pastime, so he looks solemnly in the mirror, sulks in the bathtub and angrily plays air guitar in his bedroom. However, the guitarist brother has an HP Spectre x360 laptop, which allows him to transform their basement into a sensory overload experience. Primary-colored light bulbs shine brightly with each stroke of his guitar, giving the deaf brother the chance to “hear” the music, and he cracks a smile for the first time in the nearly three-minute commercial.

The spot, which began airing in 60-, 30- and 15-second versions in the UK and the US last week, is notable for furthering a trend among brands of featuring disabled people in advertising. A young woman with cerebral palsy jokes about her condition’s effect on her sex life in Mars’ UK Maltesers ads from AMV BBDO, and a wheelchair basketball team enjoys pints of Guinness after a game in a US ad for the beer from BBDO, New York. And Microsoft and Spotify have recently featured deaf people in their ads to emotionally demonstrate the power of their product.

But unlike those ads, which have been generally greeted with approval from disability groups, the HP commercial is rubbing some Deaf advocates the wrong way, both for the tone of its content and some glaring technical oversights.

“It’s this narrative of ‘I feel sorry for myself, I can’t hear,’ which is B.S.,” said Tari Hartman Squire, founder and CEO of disability-inclusive, strategic marketing firm EIN SOF Communications. “I believe this ad is out of touch and did not engage the Deaf community in its creation.”

Josh Loebner, director of strategy for Knoxville-based advertising agency Designsensory and owner of the Advertising and Disability blog, agrees: “I’m quite disappointed. They’re continuing to portray the stigma that because that person is disabled, there’s a pity that’s associated with disability, and I would argue that’s just not the case. Creatively, they could’ve gone beyond what they did.”

Worse, the ad slighted the very community it’s supposedly embracing by overlooking some basic factors, said the critics. “There are no captions, and the frame cuts off the signing between the two brothers,” making it impossible for Deaf people to follow the conversation, said Squire. “It’s sloppy at best, destructive at worst.”

But HP and AMV BBDO, the company’s AOR for its personal computer business, said they consulted the deaf community. Deaf actor Joshua Castille plays the main character, and the UK’s Action on Hearing Loss (formerly Royal National Institute of the Deaf) advised on the script. Signing experts taught the actor who plays the musician brother to sign, so he could create an authentic bond with Castille on set.

“Josh can’t take verbal direction, so everything had to be signed to him,” said Tom Suiter, HP Corporate Communications. “It’s a testament to his acting talent that he could take that direction so well and give as powerful a performance as he did.”

Abigail Brown, an account executive on Mars at AMV BBDO, London, expressed her appreciation of the film on Twitter last week. Although she did not work on the agency’s HP spot, she tweeted that it “brings back so many memories of being that deaf kid, trying to get what music sounds like.” Born with a genetic bone condition called osteogenesis imperfecta, Brown began losing her hearing at 8 years old and experienced severe hearing loss by the time she was 14, exactly the same time her friends started really getting into band culture.

“I remember being at a gig in Union Chapel in London and just crying because all my friends were clearly loving the music, and all I could hear was feedback from my hearing aids reacting with the sound system,” Brown said. “My favorite thing to do in a club was to turn my hearing aids off, stand next to the speakers and feel the vibrations. ‘Brothers’ is just a more dramatic, more compelling version of that experience; it demonstrates that aural sound is not the only way we can enjoy music.”

Still, Squire believes the ad is a “huge swing and a miss” from HP, one of the first companies, along with Apple and IBM, to have an accessible technology division.

That BBDO is the agency behind the offending spot surprised Squire, who considers it to be one of the most “disability-savvy” agencies. She also thinks one of the agency’s other commercials—“Learning Sign Language,” which BBDO NY made for Wells Fargo—is a model for Deaf inclusivity. That spot employed wider camera angles to allow viewers to see the signing and included captions.

Michael Kaufer, actor and director of Deaf Film Camp, agrees it’s difficult to see the sign language in the HP spot (though he was able to catch a little bit through lip-reading, he said). But he still gave the brand credit for trying. “On the positive end, it is good to have a deaf actor. If you asked me to do that role, I would do it, but I wouldn’t be comfortable,” he said, comparing it to an AA member having a shot of whiskey in an ad. Sure, feelings of self-pity occur from time to time, but it’s not the image he wants to portray.

Loebner also takes issue with the isolationism. Other than a neighborhood jog to air out his frustrations and being silently annoyed at his brother’s concert, Castille’s character is portrayed as living in a lonely, isolated world. “And it’s not just his house, it’s in the young man’s basement,” he said. “That’s what we think of. If somebody has a disability, they’re probably just in a basement. Clearly, that is not the case!”

In one scene, the deaf character is frustrated at his inability to enjoy his brother’s performance. But that, too, is out of touch with reality, said the advocates, because there’s a growing industry of interpreters at rock concerts. Kendrick Lamar and Iggy Azalea have made headlines for hiring interpreters at Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits music festivals. Metallica, the Weeknd, Tove Lo and Charli XCX have also followed suit. In March, 7UP created a “Concert for the Deaf” with EDM superstar Martin Garrix.

Loebner questions why HP and AMV BBDO opted to strike such a powerless tone: “HP really missed the mark and could’ve done a substantially better job to say, ‘You know what? We don’t want to share a story that isolates this individual that has a disability, but rather, simply, we want to show how that person can engage with a larger narrative where the person with a disability is amongst others with varying abilities at this concert.’”

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

13441: Lenovo Computes Cultural Clichés.

Add Lenovo and its White advertising agency to the folks who love hip hop.

13440: Indra Nooyi’s Sweet Hypocrisy.

Advertising Age reported on PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi’s response to the election victory of Donald Trump. “I had to answer a lot of questions, from my daughters, from my employees—they were all in mourning,” claimed Nooyi. “Our employees are all crying and the question that they are asking, especially those who are not white: ‘Are we safe?’ Women are asking, ‘Are we safe?’ L.G.B.T. people are asking, ‘Are we safe?’ I never thought I’d have had to answer those questions.” Gee, now it’s clear where PepsiCo Global Beverage Group President Brad Jakeman gets his hypocrisy. Like Jakeman, Nooyi is allegedly a staunch defender of inclusion and equality—while partnering with White advertising agencies where discrimination is the norm and diversity is a dream deferred, delegated, diverted and denied. Heaven forbid the exclusive shops might prompt non-White PepsiCo employees and customers to ask Nooyi: “Are we represented?” Nooyi can do little about Donald Trump. But she does little about her White advertising agencies, despite having the power and authority to demand change. Yet no one is asking about that.

PepsiCo CEO on Trump Win: ‘Our Employees Are All Crying’

By E.J. Schultz

How is Donald Trump’s election going over at PepsiCo? Not so well, according to CEO Indra Nooyi.

Ms. Nooyi, a self-identified Hillary Clinton supporter, was among the business leaders fielding questions about the election at The New York Times’s DealBook conference last week in Manhattan. The Times today published the interviews. When Andrew Ross Sorkin asked her how she felt the day after the election, Ms. Nooyi replied: “Do you have a box of tissues here?”

Ms. Nooyi, an Indian-born immigrant, continued: “I had to answer a lot of questions, from my daughters, from my employees—they were all in mourning,” she said. “Our employees are all crying and the question that they are asking, especially those who are not white: ‘Are we safe?’ Women are asking, ‘Are we safe?’ L.G.B.T. people are asking, ‘Are we safe?’ I never thought I’d have had to answer those questions.”

But she added that “the first thing that we all have to do is to assure everybody in the United States that they are safe. Nothing has changed because of this election. What we heard was election talk and we will all come together and unify the country.”

Mr. Sorkin reminded Ms. Nooyi that PepsiCo once hired Mr. Trump to promote Diet Pepsi. The future president starred in this 1988 ad promoting the soda along with a Mike Tyson-Michael Spinks boxing match.

In a backhanded compliment, Ms. Nooyi quipped that Mr. Trump and Mr. Tyson were a “good combination.” She also addressed Mr. Trump’s comments on women, including offensive language that was caught on a hot mic during his 2005 “Access Hollywood” appearance. Mr. Trump dismissed it as “locker room talk.”

“How dare we talk about women that way,” Ms. Nooyi said. “I don’t think there is a place for that kind of language in any part of society—not in locker rooms, not in football players’ homes, not in any place. If we don’t nip it in the bud … this is going to be a lethal force that is going to take over society.”

Some analysts have speculated that Ms. Nooyi might have a political future. She downplayed those ambitions on a July earnings call, saying “in the foreseeable future, so next several years, I see myself running PepsiCo.”

During the Times interview, she was quizzed on Mr. Trump’s protectionist trade views. She downplayed the potential impact on PepsiCo, saying that the company is “local in every country and does very little cross-border movement.” But she added that “there might be discrimination against American companies overseas if there is protectionism in the Unites States.”

Ms. Nooyi also addressed the recent passage of new soda taxes. Measures have been adopted in Chicago’s Cook County, the California cities of San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, and in Boulder, Colo.

“Soda taxes are there to balance budgets. It’s got nothing to do with public health issues,” she said. But she also confronted the much-publicized criticism of sugary soda from health advocates. “Overnight you can’t take away the sugar because the consumer says—‘I love the sugar.’ “

So “what we have been doing is stepping the consumer down,” she added, alluding to PepsiCo’s moves to gradually reduce calories in its drinks. “We have to get you used to the new taste … We have to retrain your palate because for years your genetic makeup loved sugar. So we are retraining consumers around the world to step down their levels of sugar.”

Monday, November 21, 2016

13439: Desperately Seeking Farm Girls.

A MultiCultClassics visitor pointed to a Wall Street Journal story claiming that White advertising agencies are rethinking hiring tactics in light of Donald Trump’s election victory. The surprising support from middle-class White people has shops considering broadening outreach efforts. According to the Wall Street Journal:

A diversity hire “can be a farm girl from Indiana as much as a Cuban immigrant who lives in Pensacola,” said John Boiler, chief executive of the agency 72andSunny, whose clients include General Mills Inc. and Coors Light. The agency plans to expand its university recruitment programs to include rural areas.

Yes, and the Indiana farm girl will get the nod ahead of the Pensacola Cuban immigrant every time. Guess this means the inner-city toddler recruitment will be trumped by rural White farm kids recruitment. Thanks to Donald Trump, diverted diversity is expanding daily, with White advertising agencies hatching more excuses to justify exclusionary hiring practices. Grab them farm girls by the pussy!

Trump’s Win Has Ad Agencies Rethink How They Collect Data, Recruit staff

Trump’s win spurs concerns that ad agencies are out of touch with consumers

By Alexandra Bruell and Suzanne Vranica

Advertisers are grappling with a stark realization: After spending years courting U.S. consumers with aspirational images of upscale urban living, they may have misjudged the yearnings of much of their audience.

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president with a wave of support from middle American voters, advertisers are reflecting on whether they are out of touch with the same people—rural, economically frustrated, elite-distrusting, anti-globalization voters—who propelled the businessman into the White House. Mr. Trump’s rise has them rethinking the way they collect data about consumers, recruit staff and pitch products.

A few days after the Nov. 8 election, the chief executive of the ad agency giant McCann Worldgroup summoned top executives to discuss what the company could learn from the surprising outcome. One takeaway for him and his staff was that too much advertising falsely assumes that all U.S. consumers desire to be like coastal elites.

“Every so often you have to reset what is the aspirational goal the public has with regard to the products we sell,” said Harris Diamond, McCann’s CEO. “So many marketing programs are oriented toward metro elite imagery.” Marketing needs to reflect less of New York and Los Angeles culture, he said, and more of “Des Moines and Scranton.”

Some marketers, concerned that data isn’t telling them everything they need to know, are considering increasing their use of personal interviews in research. Meanwhile, some ad agencies are looking to hire more people from rural areas as they rethink the popular use of aspirational messaging showcasing a ritzy life on the two metropolitan coasts. One company is also weighing whether to open more local offices around the world, where the people who create ads are closer to the people who see them.

“This election is a seminal moment for marketers to step back and understand what is in people’s heads and what actually drives consumer choice,” said Joe Tripodi, chief marketing officer of the Subway sandwich chain.

Even as many ad agencies try to improve their gender and racial diversity, industry executives say they also need to ensure their U.S. employees come from varied socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds.

A diversity hire “can be a farm girl from Indiana as much as a Cuban immigrant who lives in Pensacola,” said John Boiler, chief executive of the agency 72andSunny, whose clients include General Mills Inc. and Coors Light. The agency plans to expand its university recruitment programs to include rural areas.

Given how polling underestimated Mr. Trump’s support, the election underscores the limitations of “research methodologies that even in the era of big data are subject to human bias,” said Antonio Lucio, the chief marketing officer of HP Inc.

As a result HP, the personal computer and printer arm of the former Hewlett-Packard Co., is re-evaluating its reliance on research techniques like online polls and seeing if it needs to increase its use of personal interviews and ethnography, which is when researchers try to understand how people live by visiting them in their homes or work environments.

David Sable, global chief executive of Y&R, a creative agency owned by WPP PLC, said the election is a lesson for marketers and agencies that have become too infatuated with big data. Mr. Sable said that Y&R will “double down” on its eXploring program, which involves spending time with consumers in their own habitats. For example, the agency has in the past done laundry with families in London as part of its research for a packaged-goods company.

“If you want to understand how a lion hunts you don’t go to the zoo, you go to the jungle,” he said.

David Droga, creative chairman and founder of Droga5, whose clients include Yum Brands Inc.’s Pizza Hut and J.P. Morgan Chase, said the election validated its immersive approach. The shop this year sent employees to Johnsonville headquarters in Wisconsin to interview many of the sausage company’s employees for an ad campaign. “We really want to make sure we not just understand our demo, but the mind-set of our demo right now,” Mr. Droga said. (Droga5 also did work for Hillary Clinton, including a TV spot that depicts her fighting for children throughout her public life.)

Advertising executives also said the surprising outcome to the election would likely hamper advertising spending next year, as marketers try to figure out what implications the new administration’s decisions will have on businesses.

“I believe there will be a slowdown” in the first quarter as marketers take a “wait and see” approach to Mr. Trump’s policies, said Maurice Lévy, chief executive officer of Publicis Groupe SA.

WPP’s GroupM, the largest ad buying firm in the world, had been anticipating U.S. ad spending would grow 3% to $183.9 billion next year. Kelly Clark, global CEO of GroupM, now said he anticipates ad spending growth in the U.S. will likely decline a few percentage points over the next six months. “We do believe that investment decisions will be delayed,” said Mr. Clark.

If agencies internalize the societal changes the election reflected, the content or tone of advertising could change, some ad executives predicted.

“The election will have spooked the liberal elite away from high concept, ‘make the world a better place’” advertising to “a more down-to-earth ‘tell me what you will do for me’ approach” said Robert Senior, worldwide chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi, a creative firm owned by Publicis Groupe.

Mr. Senior said the change will likely manifest itself in less use of fantastical imagery and escapism and more real world and real people in ads.

Mr. Tripodi of Subway says marketers are too focused on aggregating people into broader groups and painting them with the same brush. He said global marketers such as Subway should try to do more local marketing and advertising that can better reflect the concerns of specific communities.

Mr. Diamond of McCann says the ad industry’s move to have regional hubs servicing large patches of the world is now out of sync with movements in many countries—the U.S., U.K., and China, for example—where citizens seem frustrated with aspirational globalism. He said McCann, which has offices in about 90 countries, had been moving toward more regional hubs. It now wants to beef up its local creative teams.

In a world “demanding local distinctiveness, you have to have creative that reflects that,” Mr. Diamond said.

Some advertisers weren’t caught off guard. Susan Credle, global creative chief of ad agency FCB, relayed a conversation she had before the election with a marketer who felt that an aspirational message would hurt its business.

“If we were having that conversation today, it would be an even stronger point,” she said.

13438: I&C Is B&S.

Oh, look! Campaign is seeking to revolutionize the predominately White advertising industry by introducing I&C, a discussion forum and awards show charged with “celebrating an inclusive and creative ad culture.” Yep, there’s no better way to ignite change than launching another navel-gazing gathering with segregated trophies. The email invitation for nominations is downright nasty with its references to “outdated concepts like ‘multicultural marketing’ and ‘ethnic outreach’” that apparently stymie progress in the advertising industry. Um, multicultural marketing and ethnic outreach haven’t led to a more inclusive advertising industry; however, the two are hardly the root cause of the global problem. While multicultural marketers and ethnic outreachers must own up to their contributions to the issue, they are also adversely affected by the disrespect, discrimination, crumbs and total market shenanigans from clients and White advertising agencies. Sadly, the root cause of the global problem will either not participate in I&C at all or wind up receiving a shiny object at the clichéd and contrived extravaganza.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

13437: Ad Council Promotes The Light.

Adweek reported on the recent ridiculous rhetoric from Ad Council CEO Lisa Sherman, who declared, “…[I]n a world that can be dark, it’s up to us to bring the light.” Thank goodness the hypocritical Love Has No Labels campaign is here to lighten the darkness. In a world where there are dark-skinned people, Ad Council continues to employ the Whites—right down to hiring James Corden to emcee its annual public-service dinner. Why the organization might bemoan the election of Donald Trump is bewildering. The President-Elect seems to perfectly reflect the exclusivity and cultural cluelessness of the organization.

The Ad Council Says Its Work Is More Crucial Than Ever in Dark Times

‘It’s up to us to bring the light,’ says CEO

By Tim Nudd

While its work includes a number of campaigns in support of left-leaning causes, the Ad Council is officially an apolitical organization. Still, the results of last week’s presidential election, and the months of rancor preceding it, hung heavy over the group’s annual public-service dinner in New York on Wednesday—with plenty of gallows humor from the host, James Corden, and words of encouragement and solace from Ad Council CEO Lisa Sherman.

In her speech to the agency and media partners assembled at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, Sherman, two years into her CEO role after succeeding Peggy Conlon, used a metaphor about superheroes to urge them to continue the good fight for social change.

“You know what the best part is? Your superpowers are real. And believe me when I say, they have never been more essential,” she said. “How many of you have looked at the division and derision in our country, the desperation and conflict overseas, the chasms in our own communities? Or struggled with some fear, stress or heartache in recent weeks and felt helpless? Just wanted to give up? But in a world that can be dark, it’s up to us to bring the light.”

She added: “There are few groups of people more capable of creating a better world—a more united, a more prosperous, more safe, more educated world—than those in this room. We have the talent. We certainly have the ability. And most of all, we have the heart. And if we don’t help those around us come together in service of the common good, who will?”

Corden opened the evening with an amusing speech that included plenty of jokes about the election. “If you voted for Donald Trump, put your hand up. Go on, do it,” he dared the guests. When not a single hand was raised, he crowed: “You fucking liars. One of you did. One of you did!”

He also needled Facebook, one of the night’s platinum sponsors.

“Where are my Facebook people? Where are they?” he said, scanning the room. As the Facebook attendees began to cheer at their table, Corden made a not-so-veiled reference to the fake political news that spread on the site in recent months.

“Hey, Facebook. Great job on the election, guys. Seriously, bang-up job,” he said with a sarcastic thumbs-up, before adding: “You can tell it’s Facebook because it’s filled with all your current friends, and that one guy from high school who’s now a Trump supporter.”

Corden also made a few cracks at ad people generally.

“This is the night you set aside to feel better about yourselves after spending 364 days of the year figuring out how to trick people into eating at Jack in the Box,” he said at one point. “It’s nice to have the Jack in the Box people here tonight. What you have in front of you—that’s food.”

The Ad Council honors a corporate executive at its dinner each year. This year it was Shantanu Narayen, president and CEO of Adobe, recognized for his philanthropic work and public service contributions through the Adobe Foundation—including a special focus on fostering creativity in youth.

Other attendees included Lizzie Velasquez, an anti-bullying activist who stars in the Ad Council’s “I Am a Witness” bullying prevention campaign; the Henderson-Strong family, who were in the Emmy-winning “Love Has No Labels” PSA; and Jocelyn Esparza from the High School Equivalency campaign.

Sheryl Crow performed a set of songs at the end of the dinner, which was themed #APowerForChange and ended up raising $4.5 million to support the Ad Council and its 40 national public service campaigns.

The dinner was chaired by Margo Georgiadis, president of the Americas at Google and chair of the Ad Council’s Board of Directors. Platinum sponsors included Adobe, Facebook, Google, iHeartMedia Inc. and Clear Channel Outdoor.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

13436: One Plus One Equals Poo.

Adweek reported Publicis Groupe merged Sapient and Razorfish into a single digital dung heap. It wasn’t too long ago that Razorfish was blended with Rosetta to create a multi-layered mess. The agency site map keeps expanding, but the content isn’t really progressing. Iconic adman Jay Chiat asked, “How big can we get before we get bad?” Um, the digital shops here have been bad for many years. At this point, Publicis Groupe is pushing the bigness of bad.

Publicis Groupe Merges Global Digital Networks Sapient and Razorfish

SapientRazorfish combines assets

By Patrick Coffee

Publicis Groupe confirmed weeks of rumors today, announcing the merger of its SapientNitro and Razorfish networks to create a new global operation it’s calling SapientRazorfish. The goal is to better meet clients’ digital marketing needs within a single organization.

According to a statement from Publicis, the move, which had been in the works for months but still came as news to most of the two units’ 10,000-plus employees around the world, creates a network “designed to better fuse the significant experience and technology capability across the two businesses in response to client needs for digital expertise at scale.”

SapientRazorfish will be part of the Publicis.Sapient “solution hub,” which also includes Sapient Consulting and all DigitasLBi operations. Publicis brand experience network Rosetta will continue to operate as a unit dedicated to the Samsung business.

“By creating SapientRazorfish and by implementing a more integrated management structure, we are combining the very best digital and technology assets in one combined unit,” said newly promoted group chairman Alan Herrick. “SapientNitro and Razorfish have been clear market leaders since the invention of digital. To now bring them together builds on the great success we have seen in many recent collaborations with clients.”

The announcement is also in keeping with the larger Publicis Groupe’s “Power of One” approach, which focuses on consolidation as a selling point for clients eager to cut marketing expenses and streamline related partnerships.

In the abstract, Publicis hopes SapientRazorfish will leave the holding company better prepared to address the complementary challenges of change and speed in order to serve clients’ increasingly digital needs.

There is also a series of leadership changes. Herrick, who had been president and CEO of the larger Publicis.Sapient umbrella group that formed earlier this year, will now be chairman of the new unit. Former Razorfish global CEO Shannon Denton was named global chief strategy officer of SapientRazorfish in addition to global practice lead at Publicis.Sapient.

Alan Wexler and Chip Register, who had been CEO of SapientNitro and Sapient Consulting, respectively, will now serve as co-CEOs of SapientRazorfish. The two will also assume regional leadership of Publicis.Sapient in North America, while global chief strategy officer Nigel Vaz leads the European and Asian operations from his home base in London.

Publicis Groupe framed the announcement as a way to further what it believes to be an advantage over its rival holding companies in the digital sector. It also hopes to retain business by offering clients a more fully integrated resource for digital services.

“For the past 10 years, Publicis Groupe has been leading the way in reshaping our company to be more digital,” said chairman and CEO Maurice Levy in a statement. “SapientRazorfish is a powerful new entity in the marketplace uniquely combining customer experience strategy, omnichannel commerce and technology deployment to create a new breed of digital transformation partner pointed at today’s most critical client need—reshaping their businesses for the future. I am confident that Alan and Chip, together with the new Publicis.Sapient structure and management in place, will continue to drive digital revenue to our goal of 60 percent by 2018.”

In a joint statement, Wexler and Register said, “We are excited to assume responsibility for leading Publicis.Sapient. Now we start this new chapter to further integrate in response to the increasing digital demands of our clients.”

Friday, November 18, 2016

13435: McMore Of The Same.

Adweek reported on the McAgency of the Future—officially called We Are Unlimited—and unveiled the key leaders of the dedicated enterprise. The photo accompanying the story (depicted above) confirmed DDB CEO Wendy Clark’s restless ambition “to be as diversely inclusive as the marketplace that we serve on behalf of our clients” is a total lie. McBabel is unlimited McBullshit.

McDonald’s and Omnicom Launch New Dedicated Agency

BBDO’s Brian Nienhaus named CEO

By Patrick Coffee

Following months of speculation, Omnicom and McDonald’s announced the launch of their new dedicated unit We Are Unlimited today in Chicago.

The shop will go by Unlimited and serve only the fast food giant, with former BBDO New York senior director Brian Nienhaus acting as CEO and reporting directly to Wendy Clark, the DDB North America chief executive who led the McDonald’s pitch.

“Brian’s experience leading integrated teams that span digital, social, sponsorships and traditional advertising working across multiple Omnicom sister agencies, many of whom are part of Unlimited, has uniquely qualified him to take the reins as CEO of this agency,” said Clark in a statement.

Clark and McDonald’s CMO Deborah Wahl referred to the unit as an “agency of the present” at Advertising Week in 2016, in referring to what they claim to be an unprecedented degree of integration. To that point, Unlimited includes “embedded” teams from such disparate organizations as The Marketing Store, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Adobe and The New York Times’ T Brand Studio in an attempt to more effectively coordinate all of the chain’s massive marketing efforts.

“Whether it’s a social post, an anthemic film or in-restaurant messaging, we are confident that analytically inspired, creatively driven thinking and work from Unlimited will help shape McDonald’s marketing in completely new ways to break new ground and fuel increased business impact,” said Wohl.

McDonald’s consolidated its marketing business with Omnicom in August following a four-plus month review, thereby ending a 35-year relationship with Publicis and Leo Burnett Chicago. The review initially included all three of the industry’s largest holding companies, but WPP dropped out in May, allegedly in response to contractual agreements that would have the winning unit operate at cost until reaching unspecified revenue goals. McDonald’s never commented on what some in the industry called “unheard of” demands.

In addition to Nienhaus, several other agency veterans will assume leadership positions at Unlimited. John Hansa, who led the McDonald’s creative work at Leo Burnett, will be executive creative director; Jon Ellis of DDB (who also worked on the McD’s account there) will be chief production officer; former Element79 controller Linda Poe joins Unlimited as chief financial officer; veteran strategist Graceann Bennett will serve as chief strategy officer; Chip Knicker, who managed ecommerce for Accenture North America, will be chief digital officer; The Marketing Store’s former svp, account director Ursula Ostrom will serve as svp and group director.

Nienhaus said, “I’m incredibly honored to assume a leadership role in changing the way agencies deliver client solutions. To do so in partnership with McDonald’s, one of the world’s most iconic brands, and the stellar team we’ve brought together, is both exciting and humbling.”

He promised that the agency, which will employ approximately 200 “brand practitioners” in its new Chicago headquarters, will be fully staffed by the time operations officially begin on January 1, 2017.

McDonald’s spent approximately $820 million on measured media in 2015 according to Kantar Media.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

13433: Galloping Gobbledygook.

Campaign published earlier crazy talk from diverted diversity diva Cindy Gallop, who urged White people to “stop talking about diversity” and presumably do something about it. Of course, based on Campaign’s version of Gallop’s rant, the veteran adwoman’s perspective on diversity is really focused on promoting White females. She also issued a challenge to attendees at the recent girlfriend get-together from The 3% Conference: “Write a strategic and creative brief for diversity within your company. Let’s come up with an incredibly strategically insightful, creatively innovative way to make your company diverse.” Um, most White advertising agencies can’t even manage to draft competent briefs for client projects. And if someone did craft a brief per Gallop’s instructions, the inevitable executions would undoubtedly regurgitate clichéd, contrived and culturally-clueless concepts including minority internships, tax-deductible scholarships, inner-city toddler recruitment, diversity committees, Chief Diversity Officers and charitable contributions to ADCOLOR® and The 3% Conference. And after making minimal-to-zero progress boosting racial and ethnic percentages, everyone would proceed to promote more White women and old White men, cheering it as addressing diversity with high-fives all around. Finally, Gallop would take full credit for igniting change while tearfully accepting an ADCOLOR® Award.

Cindy Gallop urges 3% Conference to ‘stop talking about diversity’

By Eleftheria Parpis

When agencies tell their employees that it’s vital to diversify, “you seriously alienate straight, white men,” said the activist.

Cindy Gallop, speaking at the 3% Conference in New York City on Thursday, gave men a selfish reason to hire and promote more women into senior positions: It’ll make their lives easier.

“Women make shit happen and get things done,” said Gallop, addressing attendees of the conference’s “Manbassadors” track, a concentration dedicated to the role of men in creating change. “It’ll make your life easier instantly.”

Women will do all the things that you don’t want to do and they won’t take credit for it, Gallop told the men—while simultaneously acknowledging this is behavior women need to change.

Gallop’s talk centered on seven steps she said would help foster diversity. One, put more women in leadership positions. Then, give them senior roles, step back and give them autonomy; equalize pay; stop talking about diversity; communicate through demonstration and end sexual harassment.

Though she bemoaned the tenor of the 2016 presidential election, she expressed gratitude that it had brought the topic of sexual harassment into the public eye. It is a widespread problem in the industry, and one that every woman working in it has been subjected to, including herself, she said, and it has had a profound impact on talent. “Sexual harassment manages women out of the industry,” she said. “Our industry has lost so much talent, so much creativity, so many skills over the decades because of sexual harassment.”

In regards to diversity, Gallop challenged the orthodoxy by advising the audience to stop talking about it. “Talking about diversity doesn’t help,” she said.

When agencies tell their employees that diversity is a priority, “you seriously alienate straight, white men,” she said. “They feel threatened and feel unsure of their position within your company.” And echoing the sentiment of another speaker, author Steve Almond, she said, “when men feel threatened, men weaponize their self-doubt.”

Not only should agencies stop talking about diversity in general, she said, they should stop talking about their diversity programs because it makes other people feel they don’t have to own the issue. “When people feel diversity is taken care of, they won’t do anything,” she said. Research has proven when you focus on remedying one area, it gives permission to “carry on with the same vices in other areas,” she said. It’s the same principle behind drinking a diet soda so you can eat a bag of potato chips.

“The quickest way to make people understand the business benefit of gender equality and diversity is to do it in a way that makes those benefits manifest,” she said.

To do that, she gave the audience a challenge, reminding them of the conference’s theme, “What are you going to do about it?”

“Write a strategic and creative brief for diversity within your company,” she said. “Let’s come up with an incredibly strategically insightful, creatively innovative way to make your company diverse.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

13432: Visions Of Diversity.

Advertising Age published a perspective on diversity by Alma Creative Chairman and CEO Luis Miguel Messianu. Interestingly enough, Alma is directly tied to DDB, an agency whose alleged ambition is to become diverse. And both agencies are in the Omnicom network, which refuses to share its EEO-1 data to clearly demonstrate a commitment to diversity. Seems like associating with a White advertising agency and White holding company might mess with Messianu’s message.

Diversity Is an Integral Part of the Vision, Not a Quota

By Luis Miguel Messianu

As of late, the word “Diversity” seems quite ubiquitous in our industry lingo, and I often wonder why it took so long. Should we attribute it to the current political environment we are living in our already great nation? Should we thank a few visionary clients for bringing it up, especially during the pitch conversation? And we can certainly commend a new generation of leaders who have made it a point to bring this notion to the forefront and address it head on, even embarking on breaking bias initiatives!

As someone who has made a living in the Hispanic market (now better known as multicultural) for quite a few years, allow me to share a perspective: “Diversity” cannot be a quota, a checklist, or the politically correct thing to do. Diversity should be an integral component of a vision, a key element of the DNA of a company culture and an uncompromising commitment. And no, I’m not talking just as a Latino immigrant who had to fight hard to make sense of questions and comments like: “What’s Hispanic about it?” “Do we really need a separate campaign?” or “You don’t look Mexican.” I’m talking as an entrepreneur who clearly understands the enormous value and benefits of a wide range of cultural backgrounds, of diverse angles and perspectives as it relates to origin, race and gender.

Diversity should be a firm’s firm commitment, and clients will certainly reap the benefits of the rich currency of insights and freshness. Culture continues to be a powerful anchor to make a connection on behalf of brands, and a unique way to establish long term relationships with consumers that are more and more elusive, and that now can even block us. I find it odd (and even ironic) that while our industry is focused on one-on-one programmatic media, we still see certain clients approaching “Total Market” with a simplistic and even lazy view geared exclusively at achieving efficiencies — but at the expense of effectiveness. In this era of specialization, the marketing machine that keeps our economy in motion cannot afford to take the easy way out!

Now, more than ever, if you really want to disrupt and get noticed, you need to connect with an audience in a culturally relevant manner, and in order to do so you need to tap into powerful know-how and expertise. Think about it: would you go to a general practitioner if you had a heart problem? Or would it make more sense to visit a recognized cardiologist? The analogy works since you can look at multicultural talent as especially qualified to help your brand make an emotional connection with an elusive consumer segment.

The more diverse an agency is, the more it creates a unique ecosystem that can generate a fun environment, that will foster respect, openness and a spirit of collaboration. Today agencies can be a place where culture, creativity and technology converge, and where people are encouraged and empowered to celebrate their diverse upbringing.

Diversity is good business … diversity pays off … but above all, diversity is a mission statement and, as such, should be nourished, continuously enhanced and celebrated!

Luis Miguel Messianu is creative chairman and CEO of U.S. Hispanic agency Alma, Miami

Monday, November 14, 2016

13431: Annie Is A Moron.

The latest Popeyes commercial featuring Annie the Chicken Queen is somewhat oxymoronic: Hushpuppy Butterfly Shrimp is a Jumbo Dog.

13430: Colorblind Ambition…?

The Digiday Agency Summit in Phoenix included mumbo-jumbo from DDB CEO Wendy Clark, who continued her campaign for diversity. Granted, Clark still emphasized gender equality, meaning her true focus is probably diverted diversity. Whatever. Digiday posted a “live” broadcast from the summit featuring Clark declaring her White advertising agency’s ambition: “It is simply to be as diversely inclusive as the marketplace that we serve on behalf of our clients. Period. That’s our ambition—and we will not rest until we meet that ambition at DDB.” Okey-doke. But Omnicom SVP Chief Diversity Officer Tiffany R. Warren appears to be regularly resting on Sundays. Hey, adland is waiting with bated breath to see how the McAgency of the Future realizes the bold ambition. In the end, Clark’s ambition is not unique. The lack of an action plan, unfortunately, is not unique too.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

13429: Weekend At Warren’s.

A MultiCultClassics visitor spotted a piece from The New York Times revealing “How Tiffany Warren, an Executive at Omnicom Group, Spends Her Sunday.” Heaven forbid the newspaper might wonder how Warren spends her Mondays through Fridays. The story opened by stating, “As senior vice president and chief diversity officer of Omnicom Group, one of the biggest marketing, communications and advertising companies in the world, Tiffany R. Warren is the head of a team focused on advancing the careers of women, minorities and L.G.B.T. employees.” Yep, promoting White women is on top of the to-do list, followed by minorities and LGBT.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

13428: Orlov Loving Living.

Campaign reported on the latest silliness involving former RAPP Global CEO Alexei Orlov, whose narcissistic navel-gazing can be viewed at his website titled, “Thoughts on the Life of Business and the Business of Life.”

In the “Life Lessons” section, Orlov offered the following:

The power of social and digital media has allowed everyone and anyone a voice—the court of public opinion has become a moral compass regardless of whether such opinion is correct and based on fact. And with this power, the world needs to know its place. As they say, with great power comes great responsibility. And to my mind, too many of us simply do not have an understanding of how to behave.

My greatest disappointment is that kindness has fallen away from the term humankind. We have become too rushed. We offer opinions for the sake of being opinionated. We have forgotten one of the most important lessons—slow down to gather pace.

Wow, that’s deep. Deep dookie, that is.

Based on the accusations leveled against him, Orlov has stripped the humanity and kindness from the term humankind. Plus, he appears to be among those who “simply do not have an understanding of how to behave.” Yet while Orlov’s ordeal has been “punishing” for him, he’s been free of punishment. In fact, he’s apparently still on the Omnicom payroll, advising the Global CEO of the Diversified Agency Services Group of companies, which is within the Omnicom empire. That’s truly the life of business and the business of life for White men in the advertising industry.

Ex-Rapp boss Orlov writes of ‘punishing’ last few months amid discrimination lawsuit

Alexei Orlov, the former global chief executive of Rapp who resigned in June amid allegations of racism and sexism, has written about a “punishing” last few months on his blog.

By Omar Oakes

The Omnicom agency is involved in a lawsuit brought by Rapp’s former US president, Greg Anderson, who has sued for wrongful termination and discrimination.

In one blog post, spotted by Agency Spy, Orlov wrote that “some of you who know me well are waiting and have been waiting for me to react to certain things that have happened in my life in the last punishing few months…. Those in power — in command of social media, companies and people whose very lives depend on their next move — would do well to be more reflective and then more responsive to the whole of an issue, rather than reactively seeking immediacy over depth.”

The former chief executive also writes about a series of “Life Lessons”, in which he claims that his greatest disappointments is that “kindness has fallen away from the term humankind.”

Orlov left Rapp in June and was replaced by Marco Scognamiglio. Since then he has worked as an advisor to the global chief executive at the Diversified Agency Services Group of companies, which is a division of Omnicom.

Friday, November 11, 2016

13427: The Wrath Of Commodore.

Adweek reported on the latest nonsense involving JWT and Global Communications Officer Erin Johnson, who returned to work despite still pursuing her discrimination lawsuit against the White advertising agency and White holding company WPP. Johnson and her lawyers are now claiming that JWT is messing with the Global Communications Officer, prohibiting her from resuming her original responsibilities. Then again, if Johnson proceeded to serve as Global Communications Officer, she’d likely spend the majority of her days responding to press inquiries about her own status and lawsuit details. Can someone actively suing a company also operate as a credible spokesperson for the enterprise? The industry standard in these scenarios—where a minority is charging a White advertising agency with discrimination—involves expelling the complainer from the company and ejecting the individual from the entire field. It will be interesting to see how a White woman fares in this situation.

Whistleblower Says JWT Has Turned Her Into a ‘Pariah’ and Is Pressuring Her to Resign

Erin Johnson feels marginalized over high-profile lawsuit

By Patrick Coffee

What’s it like to return to work eight months after you filed an explosive lawsuit that led to the ouster of your agency’s global CEO?

For Erin Johnson, worldwide PR chief for J. Walter Thompson, the experience has been like being placed “in a box” with little actual work to do and a looming sense of being an outcast among her peers.

At least that’s the way her return was described in a letter filed in court by her legal team late Thursday. The lawyers representing Johnson were requesting a conference with the judge to discuss a potential injunction that would stop the agency from “unlawful conduct” in the way it treats her now that she’s back at work.

According to the law firm—Vladeck, Raskin & Clark—JWT has engaged in this conduct with the ultimate goal of pressuring Johnson to resign.

Johnson returned to work last week with the lawsuit still ongoing. Her legal team’s letter asserts that JWT CEO Tamara Ingram has since put her “in a box” by seating her in a cubicle directly in front of the head of HR and making it “clear that Johnson would no longer be permitted to do anything that resembled the duties of her prior position as chief communications officer.” It continues: “Johnson has virtually no work to do. … As a result of defendants’ retaliatory actions, plaintiff is nothing more than a pariah at JWT.”

Johnson sued the agency and its now-former CEO and chairman Gustavo Martinez in March for allegations of discriminatory behavior that allegedly included anti-Semitic statements and an incident in which Martinez allegedly told Johnson in front of her co-workers, “Come here, so I can rape you in the bathroom.” He resigned the following week.

The legal team now claims that JWT and its leadership engaged in “multiple acts of retaliation” against her and “attacked her personally” during her subsequent leave of absence. It also states that, since returning to work at the WPP shop’s New York office last week, Johnson has experienced “demeaning treatment” designed to prevent her from interacting with co-workers.

“Defendants’ mistreatment of plaintiff is designed to deter witnesses” who might testify on her behalf, the letter reads, claiming that “several sources” confirmed to Johnson that those plans “have succeeded.”

The Nov. 1 announcement by global CEO Tamara Ingram that Johnson would return to work surprised many in the industry, and this week’s letter claims that lawyers for JWT misrepresented her reasons for doing so during a court session on Sept. 9. On that date, the JWT team said Johnson had resisted “‘repeated attempts’ to have her come back to work.” Johnson’s legal team states in its letter, however, that the agency later acknowledged discussing only the general possibility of her returning. Those discussions reportedly ended in June.

Johnson allegedly tried to get JWT to discuss the exact nature of the work she would do upon her return, but the agency “dismissed [her] legitimate questions” by insisting that her job would be exactly the same as it was before the lawsuit was filed, her lawyers stated.

Johnson’s legal team asserts that JWT falsely blamed Johnson’s “refusal to assume many of her former responsibilities.” The letter goes on to claim that Ingram “chided” Johnson for bringing negative attention to the agency by returning to work.

Finally, the letter states that, when asked how long Johnson would remain “in a box,” Ingram said, “How long do these things take? … It could take a long time.”

Johnson’s lawyers assert that all of these actions have amounted to an attempt to get her to resign from her job. They called for the judge in the case to schedule a conference regarding a preliminary injunction or restraining order that would order all agency leaders to “stop the retaliatory conduct” immediately. “Here, JWT has positioned Johnson as a suspect character, not fit to supervise staff, communicate with the press or former colleagues, or otherwise reassume the job she had performed successfully for a decade,” the letter reads.

When asked for comment, a JWT spokesperson wrote, “We will respond to the request at the appropriate time in the court proceeding.”

13426: Airbnb Airs Community Commitment.

Adweek reported on the latest damage control from Airbnb—a declaration of the company’s Community Commitment pledge via video. Imagine if White advertising agencies and White holding companies tried to mimic Airbnb’s communications tactic. Such videos would require legal disclaimers longer than the average pharma commercial.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

13425: #BlackNextGensMatter.

Advertising Age published a perspective by Kevin Walker at CultureLab, who opened by stating, “As a cultural strategist, I am often struck by the lack of information and insight around next-generation black consumers.” Wonder how Walker feels about the lack of investment and next-generation crumbs allocated to reach the audience.

Reaching Next-Gen African-American Consumers

By Kevin Walker

As a cultural strategist, I am often struck by the lack of information and insight around next-generation black consumers.

This is missed opportunity. There is money to be made, social currency to gain and brand relevance to enhance by understanding and connecting with millennial and Gen Z African Americans.

An influential demographic

According to Nielsen, next-gen blacks are social-media leaders: They are the meme generators, the colorful web commentators. These generations of African Americans are also leading the way in forging new models for music distribution. For example, Chance the Rapper has rocketed to great success without a record label. His critically acclaimed “Coloring Book” is a streaming-only album, which may become the first Grammy-winning album released without a record label and without a mechanical version. He built his audience through social media and SoundCloud mixtapes. Black millennials like Issa Rae and Donald Glover are providing fresh and innovative content with their hit TV series, HBO’s “Insecure,” and FX’s “Atlanta,” respectively. Both shows provide very contemporary, quirky views of black life that younger audiences have responded to in record numbers.

The strength of this group is not necessarily their number but their influence, as well as spending and media use compared to other groups.

The influence of next-gen African-Americans is undeniable when you look at social media language (slang words and phrases like “clapback,” “squad goals,” “lit,” and “dragged”), in music (Trap) and viral dances (Juju).

This group shapes consumerism and, in many instances, mainstream culture like no other.

A resurgence of cultural identity

There is a commonplace narrative when it comes to young African Americans that they are part of a multicultural melting pot, where they have blended in with their non-black friends. Their identity, it is said, is more generational than racial.

While this may be true for some, black identity is growing among this group, and so is resegregation, offline and online. In exploring the black digital realm, you will discover certain hashtags like #BlackGirlMagic, and you will gain insight into a separate world where black youths connect. Black youth are creating a separate digital landscape where cultural freedom, snarky humor, celebration of black identity, black linguistic innovation and socio-political commentary all co-exist.

Essentially, next-gen African-Americans are blacker than ever!


These cultural and economic forces, manifested in the digital realm, have been developing for a while, but the collective black voice on various digital mediums grew exponentially after the #BlackLivesMatter movement on Twitter.

Since #BlackLivesMatter, there have been various other hashtags that have served as rallying calls and celebrations of cultural pride. Examples include #oscarsowhite (a protest hashtag highlighting the absence of people of color at the Oscars), #blackboyjoy (a response to negative imagery and narratives of black men highlighting joyfulness among black men) and #BlackGirlMagic (a hashtag celebrating achievement, beauty, freedom and flyness among black women).

Online and elsewhere, rising black cultural consciousness has reshaped the next-gen black consumer.

Gaining cultural currency

Sadly, even as social media is growing in importance, and as black digerati influence the mainstream, we find a glaring lack of diversity inside corporate and agency social media departments.

Without question, this is a barrier to more authentic outreach to black millennials and Gen Zers. However, it also presents an opportunity for brands going forward.

The code to unlocking the love from this consumer is a complex one. This is a consumer who is hypersensitive about the role of brands; who has a great awareness of self and culture; who is ready to pounce on any person or company who abuses the community, or appropriates without reverence or respect. The collectivism, amplification and quickness of black people on Twitter and social media is a game changer. A once-marginalized group has found its power.

Much like efforts to reach general market millennials, it is not about traditional marketing and branding. Smart marketers who want to build relationships with next-gen African-Americans should have authentic insights about black next-gen socio-political sensitivities, they should have authentic cultural sensibility and, most of all, cultural empathy.

To get this right requires assembling targeted insights from across the marketing mix, from experiential and content development to user experience and customer experience. The acknowledgement and affirmation of Black Lives Matter by AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is guaranteed to add a halo and affinity for AT&T among next-gen African-Americans. The same goes for Ben & Jerry’s in their Black Lives Matter activity. Even smartly executed and comical culturally insightful tweets can add to the win for companies. Take the hilarious use of Birdman’s infamous “Put Some Respek On It” meme by a Texas-based burger chain:

Whataburger is another example of comical but tastefully funny leverage of black culture.

In reaching next-gen African-Americans there also needs to be more attention paid to analytics. There is a black hole when it comes to targeted analytical insight of this group, due to the limitations of the current listening and analytic tools that drill down to black consumers. (Are you listening, Silicon Valley?)

Incremental sales and profit to be gained

Young African-American consumers love themselves and their culture more than ever, but the question remains, Can companies tap into their world in a relevant and winning way? Can they show these consumers some love, and win more fans, resulting in more sales and profit in the process?

Companies can embrace culturally insightful black next-gen outreach. All they have to do is try.