Friday, December 15, 2017

13939: Publicis Pile Of One.

Adweek reported Publicis Groupe will streamline operations by moving major U.S. agencies into shared offices. The holding company is positioning the action as symbolic of the organization’s “Power of One” theme, but it feels more like the power of procurement. What’s the point of investing in Marcel if everyone’s going to be in the same location? Plus, it’s another example of industry commoditization, where individual White advertising agencies are essentially generic—they all look alike. Then again, watch for Publicis to also fold their minority shops into the common buildings and call it a diversity initiative.

Publicis Groupe Is Moving All Agencies Into Shared Offices in Its Major U.S. Cities

‘Power of One’ approach continues apace

By Patrick Coffee

As part of its ongoing attempt to streamline operations around the world, Publicis Groupe announced this week that each of its agencies will combine offices in six major U.S. cities: New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta and San Francisco.

This means that, moving forward, every Publicis-owned company in those locations will be housed a single building.

“In the spirit of the Power of One, we strive to better serve our clients through deeper collaboration, cross-agency sharing and insight,” said a Publicis Groupe spokesperson. “As we often do, we are continually considering opportunities to consolidate our operations in major cities where it makes sense for both our clients and people.”

According to parties familiar with the matter, employees of all Publicis agencies, including Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, BBH, Publicis Worldwide, Spark Foundry, Starcom Worldwide, SapientRazorfish, DigitasLBi and MSLGroup learned about the change on Tuesday.

The news follows an announcement in September that Saatchi & Saatchi would move out of its lower Manhattan headquarters after more than 30 years and relocate to the Publicis Groupe hub at 1675 Broadway in Midtown.

In Chicago, all Publicis entities will be located at 35 West Wacker Drive, long known as “The Leo Burnett Building.” The Boston office at 40 Water St. in Congress Square is currently the shared headquarters of DigitasLBi and SapientRazorfish, while Atlanta’s 384 Northyards Blvd. houses Moxie Interactive and the Detroit offices of Leo Burnett and MSLGroup are located at 3310 West Big Beaver Rd. in Troy, Mich. The San Francisco location does not appear to have been determined at this time.

Two people with knowledge of the moves said they were not related to any further reorganization or staffing reduction across the Publicis Groupe in North America. It is not clear whether they will have any operational affect on the individual agencies involved.

Over the past two years, the holding group has moved through several stages of restructuring, creating four global “solutions hubs” and naming a new generation of leaders including, most prominently, CEO Arthur Sadoun.

Publicis also made headlines this summer by announcing its plans to sit out the Cannes Lions and all other awards festivals in 2018. Sadoun later confirmed that his company would be back the following year after Cannes parent company Ascential agreed to certain cost-cutting measures.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

13938: XXXL Big Idea.

This campaign from Turkey appears to be celebrating diversity of size for a health club.

13937: Unlimited Exclusivity.

Advertising Age reported We Are Unlimited brought in a new CEO—replacing one White man with another. What’s more, the new White man has ties to Omnicom. Come to think of it, so did the old White man. Given all the hoopla about promoting White women—aka diverted diversity—it’s strange that DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark continues to ignore her restless ambition to diversify her McEmpire. Then again, Ad Age stated We Are Unlimited is seeking to transform from Mickey D’s exclusive peons to “a more sustainable agency.” So maybe that’s why Clark is erecting a typical White advertising agency.


By Lindsay Stein and Jessica Wohl

DDB North America’s dedicated McDonald’s agency We Are Unlimited will come under new leadership after one year in business, with iCrossing’s Mark Mulhern taking the helm as CEO on January 8.

The leadership change comes as We Are Unlimited, which at first was solely dedicated to McDonald’s U.S. marketing, prepares to pitch for other accounts.

Mulhern will fill the post that was initially held by former BBDO Senior Director Brian Nienhaus, who was the first chief executive of the DDB bespoke shop. Nienhaus is moving into a new role within Omnicom. Specific details were not disclosed, but DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark says Nienhaus will work with both DDB and holding company Omnicom in the post.

“Brian was part of the pitch team and came into the account naturally,” says Clark, adding that We Are Unlimited is at a point now where it is looking to pivot from a startup into a more sustainable agency.

She says DDB and McDonald’s made a “collective and collaborative decision” to hire Mulhern, who has been “successfully” leading iCrossing New York for the last two-and-a-half years, as president. Hearst-owned iCrossing was one of Ad Age’s 2017 Agencies to Watch. Mulhern will report to Clark.

Mulhern, who earlier in his career spent three years at sibling agency BBDO as an executive vice president, will look to continue to build momentum for McDonald’s, says Clark. He will also help take We Are Unlimited to other clients by pitching for other accounts in 2018. When the two businesses began working together in August 2016, We Are Unlimited made a deal with McDonald’s to not pitch for other business for 18 months, but after that, the shop will have the opportunity to bring in new clients.

In May, DDB North America Chief Creative Officer Ari Weiss hired Toygar Bazarkaya, known for his creative work at Havas and BBDO, as the first chief creative officer of We Are Unlimited. The agency was created under prior McDonald’s leadership following a major creative agency review at the world’s largest restaurant chain. Back in 2016, Deborah Wahl was McDonald’s U.S. chief marketing officer and Mike Andres was its U.S. president. Chris Kempczinski took the McDonald’s U.S. president role at the beginning of 2017, just as We Are Unlimited officially began as McDonald’s national agency. In May, Morgan Flatley, who knew Kempczinski from their tenures at PepsiCo, joined the Golden Arches as U.S. CMO.

“We are grateful for Brian’s leadership and his incredible commitment during this first year of our new agency model,” Flatley said in a statement provided by DDB. “We welcome Mark and look forward to leveraging his expertise as we build upon our creative and integrated marketing approach aimed at enhancing connections with our customers.”

Mulhern is joining We Are Unlimited as McDonald’s prepares to promote a new value menu. The chain is trying to maintain and grow the sales momentum that has been rolling along since the October 2015 debut of All Day Breakfast. A new $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu debuts Jan. 4, including items such as $1 any size soft drink, $2 two-piece Buttermilk Crispy Tenders and $3 Happy Meals. McDonald’s, which has roughly 14,000 restaurants across the country, posted a healthy 4.1 percent increase in comparable sales in the third quarter.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

13936: WPP CFO FYI.

Adweek reported Sir Martin Sorrell executed a diversity double whammy by naming Stacey Ryan-Cornelius as Chief Financial Officer of WPP Health & Wellness. Then again, Ryan-Cornelius was already a 19-year veteran with Ogilvy, which is part of the WPP empire; hence, she doesn’t necessarily represent a new hire. Plus, Adweek stated the announcement was made shortly after WPP nabbed the Walgreens Boots Alliance account—so was the move maybe tied to client diversity requirements? Oh, wait, that’s not a possibility. After all, WPP is “perhaps the most diverse example of diversity of any single organisation” on the planet. Finally, Ryan-Cornelius won’t have to use much of her accounting skills to realize her salary doesn’t come close to matching the obscene compensation enjoyed by Sorrell.

Martin Sorrell Handpicks an Ogilvy Veteran to Manage Finances at WPP Health & Wellness

Stacey Ryan-Cornelius spent 19 years with the agency

By Patrick Coffee

WPP made longtime analyst and Ogilvy veteran and worldwide controller Stacey Ryan-Cornelius the organization’s first chief financial officer today, tasking her with managing the monetary policies and procedures of its global Health & Wellness division.

WPP CEO Martin Sorrell handpicked Ryan-Cornelius for the role after working with her at Ogilvy for nearly 20 years. She begins in early January, and the latter agency is currently in the process of setting up succession plans for her.

“One of Martin’s biggest pushes lately is consolidation: picking the best of our talent to give the best to clients,” said the new CFO. “I sit in on all our quarterly meetings, so he sees me five times a year. Over the course of my 19-year tenure at Ogilvy, I’ve had the chance to be involved in multiple WPP initiatives. My reputation preceded me.”

Health & Wellness launched in February as the larger WPP group moved to consolidate its various healthcare-focused agencies—including ghg, Ogilvy CommonHealth, Sudler & Hennessey, Grey Healthcare and media firm CMI—under a single team led by Mike Hudnall, who formerly managed Team Pfizer.

The announcement immediately followed news that WPP had won the Walgreens Boots Alliance account after a competitive review. The client spends an estimated $600 million on paid media globally each year.

Prior to joining Ogilvy in 1999, Ryan-Cornelius spent several years with PwC, where she specialized in conducting audits for such clients as Viacom, Ziff Davis Publishing, Simon & Schuster and WPP’s own Y&R.

Moving forward, she will continue working with Ogilvy across the networks’ shared clients.

“I’m excited for my own Next Chapter,” Ryan-Cornelius said, referencing Ogilvy’s own recent restructuring moves and WPP’s plans to assemble the next generation of leadership across its agencies. “I am thrilled for the opportunity and humbled by the trust that both WPP and Ogilvy have placed in me,” she added, citing the time she spent working with Ogilvy chairman and CEO John Seifert and chief financial officer Steve Goldstein.

Regarding the new position, she said her first priority will be “building strong relations with the rest of the executive team and global network” as WPP aims to expand its presence in one of the most profitable corners of the marketing world.

13935: 15 Minutes Of Infamy.

Adweek reported The Martin Agency appointed a White woman to serve as CEO, replacing the White man who had joined the White advertising agency in 1991 and elevated to the CEO position in 2012. The move was undoubtedly tied to the dumping of another White man who had been running the creative department, as well as allegedly running after and sexually harassing women of all races and ethnicities for roughly 20 years. Hell, it begs the question as to whether IPG Chairman and CEO Michael Roth wrote his recent memo condemning sexual harassment in response to the predators in Hollywood or Richmond. At least Roth acted quicker with his culturally clueless cleanup in this instance. That is, when Campbell Ewald was caught displaying racist behavior, months passed before Roth held the agency CEO accountable by firing him. It looks like Roth’s reaction time has improved with The Martin Agency, and maybe he rendered a decision in 15 minutes.

So it’s once again fitting to put a spin on The Martin Agency’s popular GEICO campaign: 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on potential sexual harassment lawsuit settlements.

In the Wake of a Sexual Harassment Scandal, The Martin Agency Names New CEO

Agency veteran Kristen Cavallo takes over for Matt Williams

By Patrick Coffee

The Martin Agency announced the appointment of a new CEO today, less than two weeks after the departure of former chief creative officer Joe Alexander amid a wave of sexual harassment allegations.

Kristen Cavallo, a longtime industry veteran who spent more than 12 years with the agency before leaving for fellow Interpublic Group shop MullenLowe, will take over for Matt Williams as the highest-ranking executive at the Richmond, Va.-based company.

The incoming CEO most recently served as U.S. chief strategy and growth officer at MullenLowe, overseeing its offices in Boston, New York, Los Angeles and Winston-Salem, N.C.

“This is an important moment,” said Cavallo in a statement regarding her new position. “I want people to feel the possibilities that exist for this agency. They are talking about us, but soon I hope they are rooting for us. As a strategist, I love opportunities for transformation, and feel fortunate to play a part, with the full support of Interpublic and its leadership, to help re-write the ending of this chapter.”

She indirectly addressed the Alexander controversy: “Obviously, there is a need for a new direction, and the culture has to evolve. To be the first female CEO of this agency, in this year, under these circumstances—the weight of this isn’t lost on me. It’s going to be hard, but we can do hard things. As a mom, I want my kids to see that, and to set an example that resilience and possibility matter.”

The Martin Agency parted with Alexander last Friday but initially declined to comment on the reasons for his departure.

The following week, Adweek published a story based on conversations with 11 individuals who had worked directly with Alexander, two of whom spoke on the record. The piece included summaries of his alleged misbehaviors, which included multiple instances of sexual harassment over the course of approximately 20 years. It also noted that the agency and Alexander reached a monetary settlement with a former employee in 2013.

An internal memo sent to all Martin Agency staff later the same day stated that leadership made the decision to force Alexander out after one unnamed female employee came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment. Alexander continues to insist that all allegations made against him are “false” and that he resigned of his own accord rather than face “a drawn-out, hurtful investigation.”

Industry advocacy group the 4A’s later rescinded Alexander’s “100 People Who Make Advertising Great” honor, stating, “We support agencies that take action to create safe and respectful environments for all employees.”

“The Martin Agency has established its place as a storied brand, serving great clients and producing some of the industry’s most awarded creative work. Kristen spent her formative years at the agency, so she knows how special a place it can be,” said IPG chairman and CEO Michael Roth, adding, “Kristen has been described as bringing stability and purpose to teams and organizations, even those on unstable ground.”

A spokesperson for The Martin Agency deferred all questions regarding today’s news to its parent company. An IPG representative did not make Cavallo available for interview today and declined to comment on the current status of both Williams and president, COO Beth Rilee-Kelley. The former executive joined the agency as account director in 1991 and received the CEO promotion in late 2012, while the latter served as head of human resources before being promoted to COO and later president in 2016.

Alexander is not the only longtime executive to leave The Martin Agency in recent months. Chief strategy officer Earl Cox, who spent more than three decades with the company, officially retired in September to be replaced by former senior vice president, managing director, strategic planning Michael Chapman.

According to the press release, The Martin Agency leadership will report directly to IPG as the holding group completes an investigation regarding Alexander’s departure and works to support the incoming leadership.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

13934: Cookies For Gender Equality.

Gee, even Chinese restaurants are jumping on the diverted diversity bandwagon.

13933: Delayed WTF 38—ADCOLOR® At 11.

MultiCultClassics is often occupied with real work. As a result, a handful of events occur without the expected blog commentary. This limited series—Delayed WTF—seeks to make belated amends for the absence of malice.

Adweek reported on the 11th annual ADCOLOR® soiree held in September, which sold out for the first time in history. Sorry, but that historical factoid—along with Adweek misspelling the organization’s name (it’s all caps)—underscores the advertising industry’s true disinterest and disregard for diversity. Two comments were particularly noteworthy:

“Diversity and inclusion has become a hot topic in the recent years, but seemingly relating to gender more than race. Rarely, if ever, do you see black or brown faces in the ad industry. This is the real reality of advertising—the illusion of inclusivity. When it comes to race and inclusion, I don’t know that I can truly say I’ve seen much actual progress. It’s always a discussion but never an action.”


“The industry has barely scratched the surface. We like to congratulate ourselves for small wins, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, the flip side is that we have not made systemic lasting change.”

The first comment came from a Senior Content Producer at BBDO New York. Gee, the Creative Residency Program and Comic Book don’t demonstrate action?

The second comment came from the Talent Director at 72andSunny. Gee, the 72andSunny Playbook and 3% Conference Certification don’t demonstrate systemic lasting change?

Whatever. To salute ADCOLOR® on its 11th anniversary, blog visitors are invited to read the 2007 post commenting on the organization’s birth.

Adcolor 2017 Highlights the Industry’s Progress and Challenges on Diversity as Tech Scoops Up Young Talent

The business has come a long way, but still has far to go

By Patrick Coffee

This week, approximately 700 professionals in the advertising, marketing and technology industries gathered in Los Angeles for the 11th annual Adcolor diversity and inclusion conference.

The event, which sold out for the first time, featured such luminaries as Uber chief brand officer Bozoma Saint John, actor and activist Jesse Williams, ad agency boundary-breaker Carol H. Williams and rapper-turned-Martha Stewart BFF Snoop Dogg.

As in past years, Adcolor 2017 focused on celebrating the achievements of people of color along with members of the LGBTQ community and other underrepresented groups. Conversations across the three-day event mirrored the state of our country: Many speakers referenced the recent presidential election, and the word “Charlottesville” came up several times with no real need for explanation. Despite this underlying sense of urgency and defiance, it was not a time spent bemoaning an industry or a culture in crisis.

“In a world and country where we’re reminded time and time again that our differences should divide us, Adcolor encourages people to come together to celebrate our differences,” said Wieden + Kennedy Portland account supervisor Analysa Cantu. “It’s those different perspectives that will allow us to make better work in our culture-influencing industry and ultimately, make us stronger as a society.”

TBWA\Chiat\Day New York content director and Adcolor Futures honoree Anastasia Garcia added, “One thing we’ve all experienced is the ‘only one syndrome’: being the only LGTBQ, minority or woman in the room. It’s very rewarding to have an experience like this when we’re not the only ones anymore. It’s more than just networking … it’s about the emotional support that this provides.”

Celebrating individual and industry-wide milestones

Even as ad agencies face continued criticism for a lack of diversity, Adcolor made clear that people of color, both established and up-and-coming, are doing great work every day—as they have for decades.

“There’s much more awareness and conversation about [diversity and inclusion] than ever before,” said TBWA Worldwide North America chief diversity officer Doug Melville, who compared the agency world’s gradual progress on that front to its attempts to get ahead of the last decade’s digital wave.

“Ten years ago, there was one chief digital officer, and this poor individual had to solve every related problem at the company,” Melville added. Similarly, many networks hired chief diversity officers in the aughts to better organize their efforts. Agencies and holding groups have approached the challenge differently, with some essentially arguing that every employee is equally responsible for developing a more inclusive workplace.

“To say that [the chief diversity officer role] is not necessary doesn’t give justice to the importance and scale of the work,” he said. “People often ask me if there were one tip I could walk away with, and I say, ‘Give difference the benefit of the doubt.’ There is a perception that difference is inferior.”

BBDO associate creative director Nedal Ahmed told Adweek, “I think as an industry we are learning that to tell diverse stories, you need diverse perspectives. Diversity has the power to keep work fresh—and honest.”

Founder and president Tiffany R. Warren of Omnicom has shaped Adcolor into a well-oiled machine that vividly illustrates the products of that process. While watching the young marketers in the Futures program present their “hackathon” projects on empathy in the workplace, hearing DigitasLBi North America group director of talent engagement and inclusion Ronnie Dickerson Stewart explain how to make a real-world impact on agency culture, and listening to Carol H. Williams recount the many times when she was the only black face in the room at Leo Burnett in the 1970s, it was hard not to conclude that the industry has made significant progress.

Major goals remain unmet

The event itself was an unqualified success, yet many still voice deep skepticism of the business at large.

“Diversity and inclusion has become a hot topic in the recent years, but seemingly relating to gender more than race,” said BBDO New York senior content producer Whitney Collins, who has worked in advertising for years, though she did not attend this week’s conference. “Rarely, if ever, do you see black or brown faces in the ad industry. This is the real reality of advertising—the illusion of inclusivity.”

The tables at Adcolor’s awards show were filled with faces just like the ones Collins described, but they remain the exceptions to the rule. “When it comes to race and inclusion, I don’t know that I can truly say I’ve seen much actual progress,” she said. “It’s always a discussion but never an action.”

Loren Monroe-Trice, talent director at 72andSunny (which was one of Adcolor’s main agency sponsors along with GSD&M) agreed. “The industry has barely scratched the surface,” she said. “We like to congratulate ourselves for small wins, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, the flip side is that we have not made systemic lasting change.”

“There is tangible evidence of progress, like the fact that the conference sold out this year,” said Thas Naseemuddeen, partner and chief strategy officer at independent L.A. agency Omelet. “But when I think about the way I am perceived in the press and in the back of your mind as a female creative person of color, I always think—am I a quota? Maybe it’s a weirdly shielded form of affirmative action, but what can I do with this opportunity? How can I change perceptions of young brown women?”

“The biggest hope we all have is that it’s not just a fad,” Naseemuddeen said regarding the recent wave of C-level promotions for women in the agency world. “It’s super encouraging to see, but why is it just starting now?”

Tech moves in on promising talent

While advertising has devoted a greater share of its resources to finding and nurturing minority talent in recent years, the tech industry may ultimately prove better equipped to do so.

“Something that was very surprising to me as a newcomer was who was investing in us,” Anastasia Garcia told Adweek. “One is Omnicom … but it’s mainly Apple, it’s Google, it’s Facebook.”

Apple sponsored Adcolor Futures for the third year in a row while Google supported the University program, and the larger conference included events in which representatives from Facebook showcased “the emotional power of VR” and Twitter executives highlighted the difficulties of enacting real, lasting change in an organization.

“It’s definitely visible to me that tech companies are looking to help us grow,” Garcia said. “This freedom to explore is something that young talent is looking for, and I feel like ad agencies just aren’t investing in that at this point in time. Being here speaks volumes over any press release.”

Doug Melville also noted that tech companies, unlike agency holding groups, “have unlimited data and money,” with Naseemuddeen adding that they are able to attract young people “way further upstream” for that very reason. But tech’s own struggles to diversify have also led to a wave of criticism and negative headlines, with the issue growing especially pointed since Google began publicizing its staffing numbers two years ago. BBDO’s Collins countered that, while such companies have drawn many employees from the international community, “Our own urban minorities are notoriously underrepresented.”

“We often say the talent is not out there, but Adcolor dispels a lot of that,” said David Elfving, an associate creative director in Apple’s marketing department. “It’s easy to participate in efforts like this, and it’s one way to bring people together in a meaningful way.”

The fact that Elfving is a white man—as were a small number of the conference’s attendees—points to what several agency talents described as a next step in this ongoing conversation.

Where does the movement and the business need to go now?

“We need to take a hard look at ourselves, be uncomfortable, and get vulnerable,” said Monroe-Trice about the future. “Where have we done well? We talk a good game. We talk about business case. We believe it’s the right thing to do. That’s not enough. We have to take a stand, take risks and support our talent. Leadership must get in the game—not advise from the sidelines.”

For Naseemuddeen, this means bringing her almost exclusively older, white, male agency partners to Adcolor and similar events in the coming years while also mentoring younger minority talent. “The only criteria you need to go to this is having an open mind,” she said. “I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

Melville noted that many shy away from such conferences—and the diversity and inclusion conversation in general—due to “fundamental unease” and a very human tendency to focus on controversy. “Negativity gets a lot of headlines,” he said in echoing a line spoken by Snoop Dogg during the duo’s conversation on Monday night. “I wish more people would highlight what we’re doing that’s good. TBWA spent $150 million in five years with female and minority-owned [vendors] and no one writes about it.”

For Wieden + Kennedy Portland executive creative director Eric Baldwin, “Working with Glenn Singleton at Courageous Conversation has taught us that it’s not about ‘talk versus action.’ It’s both. If we don’t talk about the challenges people of color face, then we won’t progress, we won’t see true change.”

Still, Collins emphasized that action is critical. “We need to see minorities in positions of power,” she said, noting that this process starts with education in the form of “more awareness and more scholarships for minorities and the underrepresented.”

Melville remains optimistic that the ad and tech industries will continue to move forward, if not as quickly or decisively as many would like. “Diversity is not easy; It’s not a simple fix because there are so many small, different pieces like pay, access and geography,” he said. “[But] 50 percent of everyone in America under 34 years old is multicultural. We’re making the media and the message, and we’re driving purchase decisions. This is the audience of the future.”

Monday, December 11, 2017

13932: The Savage Truth.

Campaign reported Cannes Lions CEO Terry Savage will leave his role after the closing of the 2018 festival. Wonder if Savage turned in his resignation to Martin Sorrell. The most shocking part of the Campaign story involved Savage’s financial success; specifically, the 2017 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity collected $82 million in revenue. Wow. The majority of minority advertising agencies don’t come close to matching the annual revenue of an awards show. It also begs the question of comparing the typical White advertising agency’s awards show budget to the diversity budget. Such a revelation would underscore the crumby and savage inequalities in the advertising industry.

Terry Savage to leave Cannes Lions after 33 years

By Robert Sawatzky

Terry Savage, Cannes Lions’ longtime leader, chief spokesman, and a figure many viewed as the heart and soul of the global creativity festival, will be moving on after the 2018 event ends.

As a gauge of Savage’s success leading the festival, Cannes Lions had 16,392 entries in 2003, the year he was appointed as CEO. In 2016, entries reached a peak of 43,101. The 2017 festival brought in about US$82 million in revenue for Ascential—7% higher than 2016 despite “slightly reduced” entry and delegate numbers, according to Ascential.

“I have given a large part of my life to Cannes Lions and enjoyed every minute,” Savage told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “I am embedded in creativity and want to use that passion to help others to also follow this path—which I will.”

The chairman’s departure comes at a time of reflection and change for Cannes following criticisms that the Festival has lost some of its creative focus and become too costly and excessive. In response, Cannes Lions consulted with industry players before announcing a wide array of changes for 2018, including a shortened five-day programme, a simplified award structure, plans to separate commercial and non-profit work and changes to pricing policies. Some, however, feel the moves don’t go far enough.

Savage, who noted his decision to leave was not taken lightly, downplayed the notion that his departure was part of a wider signal to the industry that the Festival is willing to change to return to creative roots. “Those that do know me well will know that I embrace change and new directions,” he said, reiterating his past insistence that Cannes has always been a reflection of the industry but has not strayed from creativity.

“All platforms need to be creatively engaged—agencies, marketers, media, PR,” he said. “Creativity is certainly changing, and maybe because of the changes and the complexity of the industry you have to look at it in different ways, but it is still at the very centre of Cannes Lions and our regional events Spikes Asia, Dubai Lynx and Eurobest.”

Ascential Events chief executive Philip Thomas praised Savage’s “big personality with a big passion for creativity and for the Festival he has worked on for so long,” noting they would continue to work closely in the lead up to the 2018 event.

Savage said his focus for the next six months will be on making the revised 2018 Festival a success. Beyond that, he would not divulge what will come next, but hinted that Cannes’ creative successes could be applied elsewhere.

“Post Cannes, through the business opportunities I have before me, I will continue to ensure that the profound commercial and social impact of creativity takes a preeminent place in organisations around the world, and look forward to helping others achieve a like-minded position,” he said.

Asked if he has any regrets about his decades-long leadership of the festival, Savage was unequivocal: “None that I will waste a second thinking about,” he said.

Savage was named Cannes Lions’ executive chairman in 2005 and became chairman in 2006, taking on a strategic business development role for the division’s other festivals, including Eurobest, Dubai Lynx and Spikes Asia. Prior to his becoming Cannes CEO in 2003, he was executive chairman of the cinema advertising company Val Morgan, in Australia. Under his leadership, the company expanded from Australia into New Zealand, the US, South America, the Middle East and Asia.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

13931: Human Rights In Adland.

Today is Human Rights Day, which presents an opportunity to consider human rights as applied to the advertising industry—specifically, pertaining to the concept of diversity. Despite the industry’s efforts to politely position diversity as a business imperative—i.e., diversity is good for business, embrace diversity of thought for better ideas, gain relevance by reflecting the diversity of the marketplace, blah, blah, blah—diversity is a human rights issue. After all, when Madison Avenue came under fire for its dismal dearth of diversity over a decade ago, the charge was led by the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

To commemorate the special day, Human Rights Watch coordinated with 24 landmarks around the world to shine bright blue in a show of solidarity. One participating building is the John Hancock Center, home of FCB Chicago, a member of the IPG empire. In regards to diversity, a peek at FCB Chicago leadership hardly displays a reflection of the marketplace (the 2010 United States Census—advertised by Draftfcb, incidentally—recorded city demographics at 32% Black and 28% Hispanic). Plus, the scenes of the White advertising agency’s office are typically exclusive, with the most prominent Black staffers appearing to be serving in the mount room. Meanwhile, IPG boasts to be recognized for leadership in diversity and inclusion, yet the White holding company also owns a list of offenses to counter the clichéd claims of commitment—including the latest sexual harassment scandal via The Martin Agency.

So take a moment to meditate on human rights and diversity in the advertising industry. It’s well beyond being time to do the right thing—and the human rights thing.

13930: Tired Message.

Canadian kids with disabilities are fighting for inclusion too. Add another group leapfrogging over racial and ethnic minorities for a proverbial place at the table.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Friday, December 08, 2017

13928: Say It Ain’t So, Joe.

Adweek reported on the departure of The Martin Agency Chief Creative Officer Joe Alexander after facing numerous sexual harassment charges. While Adweek stated Alexander resigned, Advertising Age published a memo from The Martin Agency CEO Matt Williams and President Beth Riley-Kelley announcing the “decision was ours” to dump the 26-year veteran creative director. Wonder if IPG Chairman and CEO Michael Roth will issue a follow-up memo to condemn Alexander, given that The Martin Agency is part of IPG, the oh-so-committed to diversity and inclusion holding company. Does anyone honestly believe Alexander represents an isolated case even within the IPG network? If adland conducted a thorough search-and-sack of sexual harassers, it would literally and figuratively change the face of the industry. Hey, it could create an extraordinary opportunity to fill jobs with diverse candidates. Or more likely, Madison Avenue will simply continue to promote White women and declare itself progressive.

For now, it’s fitting to put a spin on The Martin Agency’s popular GEICO campaign: A high-level advertising executive sexually harassing women? Not surprising. What is surprising? How much White advertising agency leadership knows about such illegal shenanigans—yet fails to admit and address it at all.

The Martin Agency Chief Creative Officer Joe Alexander Exited After Multiple Sexual Harassment Complaints, Sources Say

He denies the allegations

By Patrick Coffee

Joe Alexander, the former chief creative officer at The Martin Agency of Richmond, Va., left the company last week after several sexual harassment claims about him were made with the agency, according to multiple agency veterans who spoke to Adweek.

Alexander spent more than 26 years with Martin, serving in the top creative role since 2012. During his tenure, the agency was best known for its award-winning work for such clients as Geico and Walmart. Alexander denies all allegations of impropriety, stating that they are “false.”

Eleven individuals, including 10 women and one man, talked with Adweek about their experiences working with Alexander, who is married with children. Several said they reported concerns about his behavior to the agency, citing incidents as far back as the late 1990s. According to one woman who worked there in the 2000s, his nickname among some staff at the time was “HR Joe.”

“There are instances when we’re unable to provide details in deference to the request of individuals who have come forward to report actions of others that are inconsistent with our values and guidelines,” said an agency spokesperson.

“We have demonstrated consistently that when we are made aware of behavior by individuals that run counter to IPG’s values and guidelines, we take swift action,” read a statement provided by the agency’s parent company. “In this case, as soon as IPG was made aware of these allegations, we made sure that the right action was taken. We continue to look into the manner in which this situation was handled.”

Alexander is denying the claims against him and said he chose to leave.

“The allegations you are reporting on are false. All of them,” he said. “The Martin Agency is my family. Rather than a drawn-out, hurtful investigation, resigning was the proper thing to do to protect my family and all the people I’ve worked so closely together with in my 26 wonderful years. I will always love that place and people who make it so special. Please respect my privacy during this very, very sad time.”

Most sources asked that their names not be included in this story, saying they feared retaliation that might damage their careers. The only exceptions are former vp, associate creative director Sissy Estes, who worked at The Martin Agency from 2007 to 2012, and senior art director Daniela Montañez, who worked there from 2007 to 2013.

Estes told Adweek that she approached late agency president Mike Hughes about what she believed was a brewing problem in 2012, the same year Alexander was promoted to chief creative officer. She told him the newly installed CCO could not continue hitting on women. “Mike said, ‘OK,’ and I got laid off three weeks later after logging a 100-hour week,” she said.

Three individuals said that when they complained about Alexander’s conduct several years ago, they were told to resolve their issues with him directly. Montañez approached human resources in 2012 to let them know that she was uncomfortable working with Alexander. “I was told to speak directly to Joe,” she said, adding that a manager then told her, “I’m sure you’ll be happy wherever you choose to go.”

Regarding these specific comments, the Martin Agency representative said, “Everyone’s recollection from four years ago will be different. We can say, however, that it’s never been our practice at the Martin Agency to tell an employee to address issues that made him/her feel unsafe or threatened directly with the person who made him/her feel that way. Our employees have always been our top priority.”

At least one employee’s complaint to the company was settled in 2013 for an undisclosed sum. Attorney Tara Hanley, partner at the Dallas law firm Markland Hanley LLP, confirmed that one of her former clients “did have a matter” involving The Martin Agency and Alexander that year.

According to nine sources with knowledge of the story—two of whom worked at the agency at the time—a woman in the creative department accused Alexander of sexually harassing her and then firing her after she repeatedly rejected his advances. The sources who spoke to Adweek also said the settlement forbid the woman from working for the larger Interpublic Group again in any capacity. According to her online resume, she has not held a full-time job since being dismissed in 2013.

The Virginia law firm that represented The Martin Agency in connection with the former employee’s claim did not respond to a request for comment, and the agency declined to comment about the matter.

Two additional women told Adweek that Alexander made improper sexual advances toward them. One, a former executive, said he passed her his hotel key and invited her to his room to have sex during a business trip. They were both married at the time. She told multiple coworkers about the incident, and three of them separately confirmed the story for Adweek. One said this was Alexander’s way of “testing the waters” with women he found attractive.

Another former worker said Alexander joked about threesomes and at one point propositioned her.

Three other former employees said Alexander regularly belittled coworkers, telling multiple women that they needed to lose weight and commenting on the size of their breasts in front of male colleagues. They allege that he once described a black female employee as “chocolate thunder” and frequently told Mormon staff members that no one wanted to spend time with them because they wouldn’t drink alcohol.

IPG’s Response to #MeToo

The Martin Agency’s parent company was quick to respond to national concerns about harassment in workplaces. After The New York Times and The New Yorker ran explosive stories about Harvey Weinstein in early October and inspired the #MeToo movement, IPG CEO Michael Roth issued an all-staff memo proclaiming that his company has “zero tolerance” for sexual harassment and encouraged employees to call a 1-800 “IPG AlertLine” to anonymously report misbehavior.

But the former employees who spoke to Adweek said they weren’t aware of this resource when they worked at The Martin Agency, despite the fact that it has existed for nearly 20 years.

One former employee told Adweek that she and several of her colleagues filed complaints about Alexander on Thursday. The next day, a spokesperson confirmed that he was no longer with the company but declined to discuss the reason.

“Had we known about the 800 number [when we worked there], none of this would have happened,” said Estes. “This has been happening for decades.”

Thursday, December 07, 2017

13927: CES B.S. P.S.

Advertising Age provided follow-up coverage to the CES B.S. involving cries of protest over the male-dominated keynote addresses slated for the annual tech trade show. Critics are demanding a greater female representation. Oh, and toss in a few colored people too—beyond the custodial and security workers at the event. While the true focus of the backlash is advocating for women, the discussion is hijacking all the ridiculous rhetoric and rationalizations routinely applied to racial- and ethnic-based discrimination. For example, a CES official defended the dearth of dames by claiming there’s a “limited pool” of qualified candidates. The ever-loud Cindy Gallop countered by snapping, “Fuck that shit.” If a minority ever used such a response to ignorant bias, he/she would be blackballed, blacklisted and blacked out. Gallop, on the other hand, will likely collect an ADCOLOR® Award for her cussing. Meanwhile, no one’s complaining about the CES promotion depicted above.


By Megan Graham

Days after it started receiving backlash for appearing to include only men in the keynote addresses listed online, the group that runs the massive tech conference CES is describing details of a previously planned “Keynote Panel” that includes at least one prominent female executive. The group, the Consumer Technology Association, has also responded to criticism in a blog post.

The panel, presented by the consultancy MediaLink, will feature A&E Networks president and CEO Nancy Dubuc, Discovery Communications president and CEO David Zaslav and LionTree founder and CEO Aryeh Bourkoff as well as other panelists yet to be announced. It will actually comprise more than one talk: a conversation among MediaLink CEO and chairman Michael Kassan and Zaslav and Bourkoff, followed by a panel moderated by MediaLink Vice Chairman Wenda Harris Millard that will include Dubuc and others.

The panel has been in the works for months, according to Karen Chupka, senior VP of CES and corporate business strategy at the Consumer Technology Association. CES organizers typically parcel out keynote announcements leading up to the January conference, she says. MediaLink’s CES keynote in past years has included Facebook VP Carolyn Everson, former McDonald’s USA Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl and JP Morgan Chase CMO Kristen Lemkau.

In the CTA’s online response to criticism of its lineup so far, Chupka said keynote speakers must be presidents or CEOs of a large entity “who has name recognition in the industry.”

“As upsetting as it is, there is a limited pool when it comes to women in these positions,” she wrote. “We feel your pain. It bothers us, too. The tech industry and every industry must do better.”

That didn’t satisfy Gina Glantz, co-founder of GenderAvenger, the group whose missive against CES on Nov. 29 struck a nerve.

“There’s not some force outside of them setting the criteria,” Glantz says. “They set the criteria, and if its result is all white men, then they need to rethink their criteria to ensure they have innovative, smart, different … perspectives on their stage of women and of people of color.”

Diversity advocate Cindy Gallop, a former agency exec turned coach and consultant as well as founder of Make Love Not Porn, dismissed CES’ argument that it had a “limited pool when it comes to women in these positions.”

“Fuck that shit,” she says. “The industry body that produces the biggest consumer tech event in our industry should be setting the agenda … Who represents the cutting edge of consumer tech in the way we want to showcase? Maybe they’re number two, maybe they’re not leading a company that is as humongous as some of these.”

In an interview with Ad Age, Chupka said the conference has already changed how it does things to include speakers in other facets of the conference. The MediaLink keynote panel is part of CES’ “C Space” programming, which focuses on “creative communicators, brand marketers, advertising agencies, digital publishers and social networks.”

The keynote stage is “one of the very few stages where that opportunity still exists to get that global microphone,” she says. “That’s why we’ve started at looking at things like panels, that’s why we’ve gone and put together a C Space Keynote, that’s why we have Super Sessions, and that’s why we have some of these different types of speaking opportunities. Because we know not everybody is going to fit one bill or one mold or one criteria.”

“It just seems like to me this is one unique opportunity that we hold for global CEOs,” Chupka says. “Quite frankly, companies still want to do them, they’re still very important in the mix, and to lower the criteria would just then make it really hard to get companies like that to participate in that level again. The very first question somebody asks you is who’s been on that stage. If I’m not putting somebody up there that is of the caliber of their CEO, they’re going to say, we don’t want that opportunity. That’s just how savvy marketing is these days.”

Chupka also points out the women that are “all over CES” in its Eureka Park and high-profile speaking engagements.

“Last year, we had over 275 female executives speaking at CES. That’s bigger than most conferences are,” she says. “These were females that were in leadership positions across a variety of different industries. I know it’s really easy to take a look at the big and shiny thing, but my god, there are so many great women speaking at CES each year, and sort of to disregard that is also unfair.”

She says the show has lasted 50 years by making sure it keeps up with what’s happening. “We’re not saying we’re perfect, and we’re not saying that this is the end of the story,” Chupka says. “Every year we try to look at what can we do differently.”

GenderAvenger’s Glantz says the newly announced programming doesn’t stack up to the individual keynote addresses that are currently assigned to men.

A panel is “no substitution for the most prominent slots at this conference,” she says. “All the other keynotes are individuals… There’s no comparison between that and a single man standing onstage delivering his speech to the entire audience.”

“The attendees will see six men onstage, and no individual women featured,” she says. Gallop added that she believes the conference should still add at least two more keynote speakers to hold individual sessions, at least one representing women and at least one representing people of color.

“That’s the only viable response” to the eruption of anger at the conference lineup on social media and via other outlets, she says.

13926: Time’s Adperson Of The Year…?

Time magazine’s 2017 Person of the Year honor went to “The Silence Breakers”—represented by a predominately female group—to salute people who spoke out against sexual harassment and assault. JWT Global Communications Officer Erin Johnson wasn’t featured among the assembly, though she technically qualifies. Of course, expect Kat Gordon and Cindy Gallop to barge into the conversation.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

13925: 4A’s Diverted Diversity Webinar.

The 4A’s is presenting a free diverted diversity webinar titled, “Preventing Discrimination and Harassment in the Creative Workplace.” Um, the 4A’s has generations of failure preventing racial and ethnic discrimination in the advertising industry—so why is the trade organization suddenly an expert at helping allegedly beleaguered White women?

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

13924: Science & Fiction.

Chicago Early Learning is undoubtedly doing good for the community and society at large—but its advertising could benefit from additional schooling. Why is the young scientist depicted above conducting chemistry experiments unsupervised and out on the street? Doesn’t she deserve a basic lab environment?

13923: CES B.S.

Advertising Age published a report titled, “Marketers Lash CES For Lack of Women Keynote Speakers”—which provided diverted diversity darlings like Antonio Lucio and Brad Jakeman an opportunity to call for a boycott and brand the situation as unacceptable. Of course, the bold activists never hesitated to partner with the White advertising agencies of Omnicom, an exclusive organization that will gleefully give you an ADCOLOR® Award, but never give you EEO-1 data. The patronizing protestors better hope nobody at the tech trade show develops a hypocrite detector.

Monday, December 04, 2017

13922: Qfix Needs Fixing.

India is becoming the new Brazil in terms of scam ads.

13921: Restructuring Bullshit.

Adweek reported Publicis.Sapient is restructuring once more, now streamlining versus adding layers of bureaucratic mediocrity. Why not streamline the name to Pubic.Shit?

Publicis.Sapient to Go Through Another Restructuring as Co-CEO Retires

Co-CEO Alan Wexler will take over as single leader

By Lindsay Rittenhouse

Publicis.Sapient co-CEO and longtime agency executive Chip Register announced today that he will retire at the end of 2017. Co-CEO Alan Wexler will take over as the leader of the digital shop as the holding group looks to further streamline its digital division.

Nigel Vaz, the Publicis Groupe global business transformation lead in charge of overseeing the expansion of such efforts across the holding group’s network, will begin working directly with Wexler. The idea behind the collaboration is to simplify Publicis.Sapient.

“This is the next step in evolving the Publicis.Sapient organization and will accelerate even more our ability to bring to our clients our consulting and technology capabilities in a seamless way [in order to] to become the indispensable partner of their transformation,” said Arthur Sadoun, Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO. “It is a key endeavor to strengthen our Digital Business Transformation offer, and this will be the primary objective for Alan and Nigel in their respective roles.”

Vaz will still report to Wexler, and both will continue to serve on the Publicis Groupe Executive Committee. Wexler is specifically tasked with accelerating integration of digital business transformation across the network.

In his retirement, Register will focus on building his Digital Engagement Center for the Prevention of Violence, the nonprofit he started with his wife, Andrea, to help at-risk people “exposed to belief systems that urge violence as a means to advance a political or social agenda.” Publicis said it will support the nonprofit in producing creative content aimed at violence prevention.

“I want to thank Chip for his many years of leadership and wish him success on the launch of this digital engagement center as it is an important step forward toward the reduction of violence in our society,” Sadoun added. “We are proud to help sponsor this initiative, and Publicis will work as a partner to enable its purpose.”

In November of 2016, Register was appointed co-CEO of Publicis.Sapient alongside Wexler. Around the same time, Publicis Groupe underwent its major restructuring, dividing its creative, media, healthcare and digital properties into four “hubs” including Publicis Communications, Publicis Media, Publicis Healthcare and Publicis.Sapient. In October, the holding group added another unit, Publicis Spine, to handle data assets, tech and talent across its global media network.

Before that, Register served as CEO of Sapient Consulting since 2015 and worked with the larger Sapient Corp. since 2007.

13920: Exclusivity Reimagined.

Adweek published diverted diversity dizziness by Mechanica Founding Partner and Creative Director of Design Libby Delana, who declared diversity demands that the advertising industry must reimagine how work gets done. It’s a nice—albeit delusional—sentiment. After all, adland can’t even reimagine how work gets done in order to keep up with technological advancements. And the industry has thoroughly failed to reimagine its hiring practices. Delana recognized, “…[We] need to reevaluate the hiring practices that have kept the industry dominated by one or two cohorts for so long.” Okay, but she doesn’t seem to admit the two cohorts conspiring to maintain exclusivity have been White men and White women. For proof, simply view “Our Leadership Team” at the Mechanica website.

The Advertising Industry Must Reimagine How Work Gets Done to Ever Really Become Diverse

Get over the strikes we traditionally count against people

By Libby Delana

The advertising industry knows it has a problem. For years now, ad executives have been having an ongoing discussion about diversity in the industry, or really the lack thereof.

Even before clients started handing out ultimatums demanding agencies start looking more like the markets they’re meant to serve, the industry knew they weren’t working with enough people of color and that there were lots of women in the middle ranks but hardly any at the top.

None of this is open to debate. In fact, denying it at this point is likely to put you out of a job. From the ad trades to conference panels, diversity is as hot a topic in 2017 as it was in 2016 or the year before that. Advertising Week saw many panels focused on the issue, bringing both big brand marketers and agency representatives together to discuss the need for diversity in the industry at large and the place of activism within it, especially in the context of our political environment.

Endless op-ed pieces have been written on the subject, and larger agencies have even hired diversity departments to try to shake up the talent pipeline and bring in people of different backgrounds.

All of this is good and well intentioned, but as the years go by, it’s apparent we as an industry don’t have much to show for all the talk. When the 3% Conference was founded in 2011, it took its name from the fact that only 3 percent of creative directors were female. Now, due in part to the attention the highly influential conference has focused on the issue, that number is up to 11 percent. It’s a huge improvement, to be sure, but still a dismal number for an industry that is almost perfectly divided between men and women.

The conference’s focus this year has shifted from the advancement of women into creative leadership roles to the broader theme of a “business event about the importance of diversity to creativity.” This is perhaps the best of many good ideas that have emerged from the conference in recent years.

By looking at diversity as a whole instead of dividing gender from race, agency leaders are asked to look at the systemic issues that have made inclusion an entrenched problem for so long. It asks all of us to rethink how we work, who we hire or promote and why, what qualifies as good creative work, and who gets to decide that.

A recent study concluded that diversity and inclusion drive better decision making, which forces us to think about our biases, and to consider that if we’re sold on raising up one group, we’d better be thinking up ways to include everyone else at the same time.

To start, we need to reevaluate the hiring practices that have kept the industry dominated by one or two cohorts for so long. By checking the same boxes and hiring people with the usual degrees, multiple internships, a straight line up the advertising ladder, we’ll never build a more diverse workforce.

We need to get over the strikes we count against people—living far from the office, a gap on their resume, an unconventional education, the lack of a portfolio or work in another language—and find new ways to measure creativity, commitment and work ethic that includes people who might not look exactly like the traditional “desirable” candidate. Coming up with new metrics shouldn’t be so difficult for an industry so obsessed with creativity.

Secondly, we need to adjust how we ask people to work. The structured hours of the modern work environment were created for very different jobs than the ones we do today—and certainly not creative ones. The 9-to-5 was created for shift workers on the factory line, and most of those people were men.

At the time, this new way of working certainly seemed like progress, but for those of us living in the modern era, with kids, long commutes, aging parents to care for, or creative interests outside of the office, highly structured work hours (and in the case of many advertising firms, long hours and weekends) can act as a barrier to some of the best creative minds out there.

There are a number of initiatives underway to address this issue. For example, nonprofit startup OpenWork is focused on inspiring and helping employees and employers work together at the team level to reimagine how work gets done for the betterment of all.

The industry needs to create flexible working environments that invite more people in and allows them to balance their work and their lives no matter what those lives look like. If we’re going to ask people from outside the same old groups, lifestyles or neighborhoods to come and give us their ideas and knowledge, we need to play by their rules as much as we ask them to play by ours.

In order to make an impact on the larger systems that make it harder for women and people of color to succeed, we need to stop talking and start changing our own systems in a real way. These ideas are not difficult to implement if the will is really there.

Real inclusion is not just about trying to hire people with different backgrounds, genders or ethnicities, it’s about creating an industry that actually values their ideas and their contributions, and creates a space where they can be themselves.

Libby Delana (@parkhere) is a founding partner and creative director of design at Mechanica.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

13919: LAIF Out Loud.

This Nigerian campaign is another example of advertising award shows generating advertising that doesn’t merit awards—as well as digital agencies having no business producing creative.

13918: Pervert Island & Adland.

Advertising Age published a truly bizarre rant by Simon Dumenco and David Hall titled, “Escape From Pervert Island,” featuring an amateurish video discussing the rash of alleged sexual harassment and predatory behavior from prominent figures. Slow news day, boys? The rant includes, “And the truly maddening thing is that, so far there hasn’t actually been any closure to any of these individual cases.” Um, Dumenco and Hall ought to pay attention to their publication’s trade focus, where such cases are routinely dragged out ad infinitum.

Rant of the Week: Escape From Pervert Island

By Simon Dumenco and David Hall

We now live in a media monoculture in which all the news, all the time, is about awful men who can’t seem to keep it in their pants.

It’s gotten to that point that it’s refreshing when there’s news that’s NOT about sexual misconduct. Nuclear Armageddon, anyone?

This is obviously going to be never-ending. And the truly maddening thing is that, so far there hasn’t actually been any closure to any of these individual cases.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

13917: J.C. Penney Pulls Liles Simmons.

Advertising Age published a Bloomberg News report about J.C. Penney dumping Russell Simmons’ clothing line after allegations of sexual misconduct by the media mogul. According to a correction at the end of the story, the original piece ran with a photo of Kevin Liles versus Simmons. Oddly enough, it’s not the first time that Liles has been mistaken for Simmons. Hey, maybe the allegations against Simmons aren’t true and his accusers encountered someone else…

J.C. Penney Pulls Russell Simmons Apparel Line After Allegations

J.C. Penney pulled a Russell Simmons menswear line after the media mogul was accused by two women of sexual misconduct.

The department-store chain introduced the Simmons-created Argyleculture line in September 2016. The collection of sweaters, polos and blazers was part of the chain’s push to attract more young men to its stores. The products were being sold on J.C. Penney’s website and at about 80 of the chain’s 875 stores, according to a company spokeswoman.

“The company decided to discontinue selling Argyleculture in light of the recent allegations,” a spokeswoman says.

Simmons, co-founder of hip-hop record label Def Jam Recordings, said on Thursday that he would step down from his companies after a second woman—screenwriter Jenny Lumet—accused him of sexual misconduct, according to the Associated Press.

Simmons’ holdings include Rush Communications, yoga studio Tantris, energy drink Celsius and production company Def Pictures.

The brand’s products are still available on Amazon and eBay. Representatives for those companies didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

—Bloomberg News

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article included a Bloomberg photo that identified the subject as Russell Simmons. It was record executive Kevin Liles.

Friday, December 01, 2017

13916: Cannes Lions Are Cowardly.

Adweek reported Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity will downsize, bowing to the whims of White advertising holding companies. When clients pressure White advertising agencies to lower costs, there is widespread wailing and gnashing of teeth. But when adland pulls the same moves on vendors and award shows, it’s all good. The time has come to change the event name to Cannes Liars and update the trophies to reflect reality.

13915: O&M Streamlining & Subterfuge.

Adweek published an interview titled: “Why Ogilvy’s Worldwide CEO Is Streamlining Both Agency Structure and Technology—John Seifert explains what he’s focused on in 2018.” Not surprisingly, Seifert belched out roughly 1,300 words on his grand vision without a single mention of diversity, despite insisting in 2017 and 2016 that it was an imperative in the “next chapter” of the White advertising agency. So much for being an ADCOLOR® Change Agent. Then again, it’s a safe bet that Seifert will streamline diversity and inclusion efforts, focusing on the promotion of White women in 2018 and beyond. Ogilvy will then gain certification from The 3% Conference, allowing parent Death Star WPP to continue declaring itself “perhaps the most diverse example of diversity of any single organisation.”

Thursday, November 30, 2017

13914: RAPP Integrity—An Oxymoron.

Campaign published a perspective from RAPP Global CEO Marco Scognamiglio, who pontificated on the imperative for integrity in business. Um, was this grand vision inspired to calm clients and potential jurors who might wonder about the alleged lack of integrity displayed by former RAPP Global CEO Alexei Orlov? A career adman lecturing on honesty is like Harvey Weinstein advocating for gender equality. What’s next—a Scognamiglio sermon on the benefits of diversity?

Filling the integrity void

By Marco Scognamiglio

As time has shown, poor judgment from the C-Suite throughout the business world has become emblematic of the need to overhaul how our industry is managed, says RAPP’s global CEO.

An article earlier this year in the Financial Times that examined society’s waning trust of institutions in the wake of the deadly Grenfell Towers high-rise fire—and numerous incidents of banking chicanery—featured a quote that gave me pause. “The next time I receive an invitation to chair an event on ‘how business can win back trust,’ I will suggest we change the title to ‘how to run a trustworthy business.’”

My time in advertising has offered a front-row seat to observe the erosion of the notion of trust, just as it reinforced my belief that honesty must rise in its place.

Many corporations, from GM to Apple, are widely perceived as virtually omnipotent. Similarly, the advertising agency holding companies present their employees a codified, hierarchical structure from which they dispense directives, and expect very little in the way of pushback. The assumption has always been simple: “Trust us; we know better than you.” After all, the people calling the shots are there for a reason. Right? And yet, as time has shown in the pages of the trade press, poor judgment from the C-Suite throughout the business world is regularly on display. These moments have become emblematic of the need to overhaul how our industry is managed.

In doing so, much like the world that advertising serves, we find “control” resides in the audience—or in our case, our colleagues.

To get to honesty may require some moral finetuning. It may mean we must trust that the people we work alongside can handle both good and bad news. After all, we once hired these same people for their knowledge and character. Why have we now decided they can only handle what we tell them? Akin to consumers who reject pushed messages, our colleagues aren’t buying into the one-sided, staged rhetoric.

I am an adherent to the notion that you will have a competitive edge if your colleagues are reasonably happy with their job. Vineet Nayar, author of “Employees First, Customers Second” underscored that simple, but elusive premise by declaring “Your employees are the gateway to customer satisfaction, and if they aren’t happy, the customer isn’t going to be happy.”

Taking a page out of Richard Branson’s employee-centric management playbook, I embarked on a listening tour to gauge the level of engagement our own staff had with our brand. Being true to your word begins with listening and ends with integrity. Whether inside a global organization or a small business, leaders who sit down with constituents to listen and ask questions—then take the appropriate course of action post-meeting—can yield a world of benefit.

Suffice it to say, there was plenty we could be doing differently. But let’s not be Pollyannaish about this, should I really have been surprised?

These conversations starkly reveal the lack of shared vision and the depth of misalignment of message or mission. These are tough talks, as fundamental differences come to light and disheartening trends surface. But they are also the most fruitful in diagnosing next steps. No matter the topic, they almost always require a large dose of introspection that often leads to a wholly uncharted course. I decided that we needed to take our agency back to the core values that it was founded upon: curiosity, passion and accountability.

To embark on this transformation meant I needed to evolve our leadership team in our New York North American office without exception. These moves were difficult, but we needed to approach our client’s business differently. Above all, this level of transparency put us on the hot seat to remain accountable and begin actioning on next steps.

The path of integrity begins, and potentially ends here, as you’ve now personally become the mechanism to deliver upon what was discussed. Promise too much, and under-deliver, and you create a credibility gap. Recognizing this and steering a course to both avoid this pitfall and attend to the most pressing problems is mission-critical.

And then you do it again. And again.

The impact of honesty and consistency on morale is, not shockingly, massive. What is surprising is that while many leaders claim to understand and embrace these principles, many more don’t practice them to be effective.

Consistency is the handmaiden of integrity. It forges the bond that can survive and work the strains of crisis.

Having integrity may not win any awards, and it may not show up on a balance sheet. But righting the ship when something’s been off-kilter for any reason will yield dividends. Although it has taken some time, we are seeing an increase in employee happiness—and our clients have taken note, too.

It also helps an executive sleep better at night.

Marco Scognamiglio is Global CEO at RAPP.

13913: Cold Medicine Campaign Is Sick.

Ogilvy in Uruguay is responsible for this Web•C campaign, which appears to be wildly offensive and disrespectful to women. The top execution shows how sneezing from a cold can bust an entire crew of art thieves. The lower execution appears to show how sneezing from a cold can expose a wife who’s holding a multi-partner orgy while hubby was away on a business trip…? Will Ogilvy submit this garbage for a Glass Lion?

13912: Foote, Cannes & Belding…?

AgencySpy posted the following memo from FCB Worldwide CEO Carter Murray:

Earlier this week, the organization that owns Cannes Lions announced extensive changes in an effort to refocus the Festival on its creative roots. Over the last few months, CCOs across IPG — including our own Susan Credle — have worked hard to share with Cannes leadership our pain points and suggestions for Festival improvement. While the changes announced Monday don’t address all our concerns, it signals a strong step in the right direction.

FCB has always believed in this Festival and strongly feels that our presence this year should reflect our commitment to creativity. As such, we are mandating that 75% of our 2018 attendees will be talent who are directly responsible for our creative output (writers, art directors, designers, producers, etc.).

As Susan and I have said before, creativity is the heart of our industry. Each year, Cannes Lions reminds the world of this. We are proud to be long-standing partners with the Festival in this important mission, and we look forward to making 2018 our best Cannes yet.

Best as always,


Wow. There’s so much to consider after reading that memorandumb.

First, it seems like only yesterday that the White advertising agency showed its belief in Cannes Lions—in perhaps the most notoriously awful way imaginable.

Second, how does the 75% figure measure against percentages from past years? More importantly, what does 75% equal in actual numbers and expenditures? It would be interesting to compare FCB’s Cannes Lions budget to the agency’s diversity budget. It’s a safe bet that the comparison would be crepes to crumbs.

Third, directly related to the previous point, what percentage of the 75% will be creative people of color? From the United States of America?

Fourth, when Murray identifies the “talent who are directly responsible for our creative output,” who is represented by “etc.” in the parentheses? Is he openly admitting the uselessness of account people, planners, media, etc. in the creative process?

Finally, how convenient that the remaining 25% provides ample room for idiots like Murray to attend the exclusive gala.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

13911: Calling Out Ignorance.

CNN reported President Donald Trump advanced his Commander-in-Cultural-Cluelessness title by making racially-offensive cracks during an event saluting Navajo veterans. Trump probably apologized by offering to take them to a Washington Redskins game. Regardless, it all begs yet another question pertaining to the advertising industry. In recent weeks, as the alleged womanizing, sexual harassment and predatory actions of prominent men like Trump, Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K. have been revealed, Madison Avenue critics have wondered why advertising agency executives haven’t been exposed for similar offenses. Yet when public figures are condemned and banned for displaying biased and bigoted ignorance, why doesn’t anyone ask when advertising agency executives will be called out for such behavior too?

At a Navajo veterans’ event, Trump makes ‘Pocahontas’ crack

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump, during an event at the White House honoring Navajo code talkers Monday, referenced his nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, “Pocahontas,” a label he has long used about the Massachusetts Democrat.

“I just want to thank you because you are very, very special people. You were here long before any of us were here,” Trump said. “Although, we have a representative in Congress who has been here a long time ... longer than you—they call her Pocahontas!”

He then turned to one of the code talkers behind him, put his left hand on the man’s shoulder and said: “But you know what, I like you. You are special people.”

Trump did not name Warren.

The comment, met with silence from event attendees, revives an insult the President has long thrust upon Warren but restated during a high-profile meeting with the Native American war heroes.

“It is deeply unfortunate that the President of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur. Donald Trump does this over and over thinking somehow he is going to shut me up with it. It hasn’t worked out in the past, it isn’t going to work out in the future,” Warren told MSNBC shortly after Trump’s remark.

While Pocahontas was a historical character from the 17th Century, many have pointed out that using her name in a disparaging way insults native peoples and degrades their cultures.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday the use of “Pocahontas” was not a racial slur and that it “certainly was not the President’s intent” to use a racial slur.

“I don’t believe that it is appropriate” to use a racial slur, Sanders said during her daily briefing, but added that she didn’t think Trump’s comment was such a slur.

Sanders then targeted Warren, saying that “the most offensive thing” was Warren claiming to be Native American.

“I think Sen. Warren was very offensive when she lied about something specifically to advance her career, and I don’t understand why no one is asking about that question and why that isn’t constantly covered,” Sanders said.

The National Congress of American Indians—the largest and oldest group representing Native Americans—has condemned Trump’s use of “Pocahontas” to deride Warren, noting that the famed Native American was a real person whose historic significance is still important to her tribe, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe in Virginia.

“We cannot and will not stand silent when our Native ancestors, cultures and histories are used in a derogatory manner for political gain,” Jacqueline Pata, the group’s executive director, said earlier this year after Trump called Warren “Pocahontas” at a speech before the National Rifle Association.

Conservatives have previously criticized Warren for claiming that she is part Native American, and the senator’s heritage became an issue during her Senate campaigns.

Trump has seized on the attacks and has regularly called Warren “Pocahontas.” The attack dates back to his 2016 campaign.

“Pocahontas is at it again,” he tweeted in June 2016. “Goofy Elizabeth Warren, one of the least productive U.S. Senators, has a nasty mouth. Hope she is V.P. choice.”

He added, “Crooked Hillary is wheeling out one of the least productive senators in the U.S. Senate, goofy Elizabeth Warren, who lied on heritage.”

And earlier this month, he added, “Pocahontas just stated that the Democrats, lead by the legendary Crooked Hillary Clinton, rigged the Primaries! Lets go FBI & Justice Dept.”

He has also used the nickname privately.

Sources told CNN earlier this year that during a meeting with senators at the White House, Trump taunted Democrats by saying “Pocahontas is now the face of your party.”

Trump has routinely given his political opponents nicknames, but the slight against Warren is one of his most culturally insensitive.

Warren says she is, in fact, part Native American, citing “family stories” passed down through generations of her family.

“I am very proud of my heritage,” Warren told NPR in 2012. “These are my family stories. This is what my brothers and I were told by my mom and my dad, my mammaw and my pappaw. This is our lives. And I’m very proud of it.”

The legitimacy of Warren’s heritage has been widely debated and Scott Brown, her 2012 Senate campaign opponent, has even suggested Warren take a DNA test to prove her heritage.

Harvard Law School in the 1990s touted Warren, then a professor in Cambridge, as being “Native American.” They singled her out, Warren later acknowledged, because she had listed herself as a minority in an Association of American Law Schools directory.

Critics seized on the listing, saying that she received preferential treatment for questionable Native American heritage. Warren contends that her career was never furthered because of her Native American genealogy.