Sunday, August 20, 2017
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Friday, August 18, 2017
AgencySpy posted a memo from Hill Holliday Chairwoman and CEO Karen Kaplan, who joined IPG CEO Michael Roth in commenting on the racism exposed at Charlottesville, Virginia. Hill Holliday, incidentally, is part of the IPG network of White advertising agencies. Anyway, here is Kaplan’s heartfelt statement to her minions:
The events in Charlottesville and the political aftermath of the last several days have left many of us stunned, shaken and saddened.
As Americans, we enjoy different political views, and we approach the world from many perspectives. But when the line has been crossed between right and wrong, between discourse and hatred, we must stand up. There is no place in this country for Neo-Nazis, the KKK, white supremacists or any other ideological hate group that uses discrimination and violence as a path to power. There is no “side” in this, except the right one.
Hill Holliday is a place of inclusion and respect, and we stand firm together against any kind of racism, hatred, intolerance or discrimination. Our country may feel divided at times, but our family should not.
We stand unequivocally with the Chairman and CEO of IPG, Michael Roth: “This isn’t a partisan or political issue, it’s an issue of basic humanity, and standing up for what is right at a particularly difficult moment. We are counting on all of you to do that, by showing respect for our differences, and living up to our commitment to fairness and inclusion.”
If you would like to talk to senior leadership, start a discussion, or make your voice heard, we are here. My door is always open. And finally, please stay safe if you are participating in any protest events. Let’s take care of each other, and defend the values that our company and this country stand for: liberty, justice, and equal rights for all.
To call Hill Holliday “a place of inclusion and respect” where employees “stand firm together against any kind of racism, hatred, intolerance or discrimination” is pretty silly—especially when a peek at the agency’s leadership shows a standard Caucasian clan. Oh, the shop likely boasts tremendous diverted diversity and diversity of thought. And Kaplan has mounted a soapbox before to promote equal pay for White women in the field—openly acknowledging things are much worse for women of color. Yet she also admitted it’s easy to “game the system when you report diversity numbers.” So any talk of inclusion and respect at Hill Holliday should be taken with a big grain of salt. In a humongous mountain of salt. Where there are probably very few specks of pepper.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Adweek reported: “[President Donald] Trump Shuts Down Manufacturing Council After More CEOs Resign in Protest.” Now Trump will have more time to DEFEND NEO-NAZIS AND WHITE SUPREMACISTS! But seriously, shutting down a council after members are hauling ass to get out is like firing the CEO of a White advertising agency caught displaying racist behavior about three months after the incident occurred—then telling the press you took immediate action to address the situation.
The 2017 inductees of The One Club Creative Hall of Fame includes Tom Burrell. The One Club added a blurb that reads:
The iconic advertising pioneer whose illustrious career transformed both the way people of color were portrayed in communications, as well as their roles within the industry itself. It’s a never-ending mission, but one with a defined starting line that he helped create.
With all due respect to Burrell, the statement isn’t accurate. While the iconic advertising pioneer certainly helped transform how Blacks were depicted in advertising, he was preceded by others in the field. The statement about transforming “their roles within the industry itself” is also fuzzy. Burrell’s agency served—and continues to serve—as a launching pad/stepping stone for many Blacks in advertising, but given the diminishing numbers, it’s tough to define any transformative phenomenon.
On the flipside, to recognize the plight of Blacks in advertising as “a never-ending mission” is factually correct. Sobering too, despite Leo Burnett’s prediction that the Promised Land is a mere 66 years away.
To be clear, Burrell’s induction to The One Club Creative Hall of Fame is a well-deserved honor. That he appears to be the only minority in the rare company is a tad disturbing.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Adweek reported VML created a new position—Director of Inclusion and Cultural Resonance—and
delegated diversity promoted a social media staffer to the role. Not sure what “Cultural Resonance” means. To date, the White advertising agency has displayed resounding cultural cluelessness. Hopefully, the fresh leader will fare better than the standard Chief Diversity Officer.
VML Now Has a Director of Inclusion and Cultural Resonance to Address Diversity
God-is Rivera takes on a new role
By Katie Richards
VML announced today that it is promoting God-is Rivera to a new position at the agency: director of inclusion and cultural resonance.
In the new role Rivera will be tasked with energizing the agency’s diversity and inclusion practices across the board, as a member of the HR team. She will report to Ronnie Felder, managing director of human resources, but will also continue to work with clients.
“I am so extremely excited to begin in this new position,” Rivera said. “I am proud to see the level of commitment that VML displays when it comes to the important mission of inclusion and diversity, and I am honored to have the opportunity to further define our voice in this important and necessary space.”
Rivera joined the agency’s social media practice back in 2016 and, according to global CEO Jon Cook, has made an impact when it comes to diversity and inclusion since she joined the agency.
“It became clear that we needed to formalize and expand this as a new, official role to truly continue the momentum and needed progress we want as an agency in this critical aspect of our culture and capability,” Cook said in a statement.
Some of her main focuses moving forward will be to create an inclusive environment for all employees within VML as well as taking a closer look at VML’s hiring practices to boost diverse hires across the agency.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
AgencySpy posted a memo from IPG CEO Michael Roth, who condemned the racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Roth failed to receive a Twitter spanking from President Donald Trump, probably because Roth doesn’t register a mini-blip on Trump’s radar. Hell, the moron only earned a post on AgencySpy—and a probable ADCOLOR® Award nomination. Roth will undoubtedly copy the memo into the holding company’s gobbledygook on diversity and inclusion. Yet given the historical cultural cluelessness at IPG, Roth speaking out against racism is like, well, a White supremacist speaking out against racism.
Bloomberg News reported Merck CEO Ken Frazier bailed out of President Donald Trump’s Council of Manufacturing Executives to protest Trump’s slow response in condemning the racism behind the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump immediately dissed Frazier via Twitter by declaring, “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” Classy. If Trump ever resigns the presidency, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF HOTEL & CASINO PRICES!
Merck CEO Quits Trump Council Over Response to Charlottesville Violence
Merck & Co.’s CEO resigned from President Donald Trump’s council of manufacturing executives Monday, saying “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values” by rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy. He was almost immediately attacked by Trump on Twitter.
Following a weekend of violence in Virginia involving white supremacist groups that Trump has been criticized for not taking a forceful enough stand against, Merck CEO Ken Frazier said “as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
Less than an hour later, Trump tweeted in response, “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”
The council has included top executives from Boeing Co., Dow Chemical Co. and Johnson & Johnson. Frazier’s resignation from the group—the latest CEO to quit one of Trump’s high-profile executive advisory groups—comes after a weekend of violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, following demonstrations by white supremacists that resulted in one death.
Other brands have tangled with the president, his supporters or his opponents, with a variety of results.
Monday, August 14, 2017
Adweek published a story displaying cultural cluelessness on the trade journal’s part—and discriminatory exclusivity on the advertising industry’s part. The article headline read: “This Agency Proved You Don’t Have to Be a Spanish-Language Shop to Work Across Cultural Lines.” So the typical Latino agency is now being labeled a “Spanish-Language Shop”—as if dialect is the primary distinguisher for multicultural marketing enterprises? Wonder what Adweek would call a Black agency. Urban-Slang Shop? Jive Firm? Ebonics Agency? And why is it newsworthy that a White advertising agency “proved” it’s possible to do work ordinarily assigned to non-White shops? Hell, it’s becoming increasingly common for White advertising agencies to snatch the crumbs from minority advertising agencies. Grey, BBDO, 72andSunny, The Richards Group, GSD&M and Saatchi & Saatchi are just a few of the White advertising agencies posing as multicultural marketers. In the Adweek article, Mistress is the agency that utilized on-staff minorities to produce a campaign for Univision. The Los Angeles-based shop boasts a staff that is “international” and “over-indexing on Spanish speakers,” according to Mistress Partner Christian Jacobsen. “Everybody has to operate in ways that reflect the consumer. America’s changing.” Yes, but the advertising industry is not changing—at least not in regards to diversity. Agencies like Mistress, however, are over-indexing on bullshit speakers.
This Agency Proved You Don’t Have to Be a Spanish-Language Shop to Work Across Cultural Lines
Mistress calls on bilingual creative talent for Univision promo
By T.L. Stanley
Univision wanted to make a big splash with its ripped-from-the-headlines series, El Chapo, about the rise and ultimate fall of one of the world’s most notorious drug lords.
As part of the promo push, network execs envisioned an extensive millennial-targeted digital campaign to hype the scripted drama about Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, a rags-to-riches cartel king so infamous he was profiled in Rolling Stone by actor Sean Penn.
The caveat for agency Mistress was that the work had to be solely in Spanish.
Los Angeles-based Mistress, which doesn’t market itself as a multicultural agency, drew from its bilingual creative team to come up with more than 200 pieces of content for a social media effort that eventually logged 28 million impressions and nearly 4 million video views. It mixed folklore, memes and modern imagery, using lucha libre fighting, marionettes, news footage and narco tombs to brand the Mexico-set series and engage young mobile-centric audiences.
Mistress is one of many agencies working across cultural lines, like Anomaly on Telemundo’s 2018 FIFA World Cup account, showing “there’s no longer a wall” between general market and specialty firms, said partner Christian Jacobsen, who describes the Mistress workforce as “international” while “over-indexing on Spanish speakers.”
“Everybody has to operate in ways that reflect the consumer,” Jacobsen said. “America’s changing.”
Agencies can reap the rewards when they change with it, as 180LA demonstrated by winning two Grand Prix at Cannes recently for its “Boost Your Voice” campaign. The shop credited its diverse employee pool, specifically point person Karla Burgos, for the program that turned Boost Mobile retail locations into polling places for the 2016 election.
Y&R North America, Huge and TBWA\Chiat\Day, among others, have recently hired or advanced Latino execs to chief creative and ecd roles, marking at least a few diversity gains in advertising.
Mistress’s creative director on the El Chapo project was Lixaida Lorenzo, a native of Puerto Rico and a vet of Hispanic-focused agencies, whose team recreated a drug trafficker’s mausoleum for an Easter egg-filled Facebook 360 video and hired artist Dan Payes to make customized marionettes of the show’s gangsters. The puppets starred in videos, viewed more than 1 million times, pulling strings and being manipulated, an overarching theme of the series.
“We wanted to tap into that rich Mexican storytelling history,” said Scott Harris, partner and ecd. “And everything needed to be vetted and authentic.”
Univision considered a number of agencies for its nascent franchise (three seasons of El Chapo are planned), and execs said they didn’t want to limit themselves or take an expected marketing approach.
“We knew there was an opportunity to bring in new audiences,” said Silvia Garcia, svp, the net’s media planning and multiplatform strategy. Mistress “understood that this series would appeal across languages and cultures,” and its work “built out the world of El Chapo in a way that helped drive ratings, awareness and a deeper connection with our audience.”
Among the El Chapo assets on Instagram and other platforms: portraits of the main characters made out of money, gun smoke and simulated blood spatter, and “lucha de la droga” posters pitting warring villains against each other, Mexican wrestling-style.
The real-life Guzman, a twice-escaped prisoner, was re-arrested in 2016. His extradition to the U.S. early this year ahead of the show’s April launch gave the Mistress team even more fodder, and they used developments in his case and news footage for up-to-the-minute videos on YouTube and Facebook.
Original content, not clips from the series, drove the campaign and set it apart from being “purely promotional,” Jacobsen said. “It extended the mythology.”
It also broadened the campaign’s reach to English speakers, who made up about 40 percent of the Twitter engagement, execs said, noting the fluidity in today’s TV fans, including second-generation American-born viewers and their comfort level with both English and Spanish.
The nine-episode run of El Chapo, a raw and often cheeky first-time collaboration between Univision’s Story House Entertainment and Netflix, pulled the broadcaster out of a ratings slump, with its finale reaching 3.5 million viewers. It’s now airing with English subtitles on Netflix, and the second season debuts on Univision in September.
Sunday, August 13, 2017
Campaign published diverted diversity dopiness from Saatchi & Saatchi Chairwoman and Global Chief Creative Officer Kate Stanners, who blathered on about how integrating White women into juries makes a big difference at award shows. Of course, she didn’t think to apply the same notion to truly diversify matters with racial and ethnic minorities—at award shows and advertising agencies. Bringing equality for White men and White women is more than enough, thank you very much.
Finding our voice on a jury
By Kate Stanners
Issue of judging as a woman and what difference better gender-balanced juries make to the process and decisions.
I first sat on a jury at Cannes 12 years ago. Thinking back on it now, it’s interesting to remember just how intimidating it was. Myself and Susan Cheadle, who I didn’t really know at the time, were the only two women on a jury of 21. I went from having never even been to Cannes, to sitting on a film jury full of huge egos who were a lot more experienced than me, and it was daunting. I found it really difficult to find my voice in that environment and the only way I got through was by mentally preparing everything I was going to say and by throwing myself completely into the fight.
Cut to 2015 when I went back to Cannes and was asked to judge on the exact same jury. By that time, I was the most senior woman in the room but there was still only two or three women on a jury of 22. It was a different experience and I can remember there being a few pieces of work that I really fought for, one of them being the Magnum film, “Be true to your pleasure”, that starred several transgender people. I thought it was incredibly powerful and beautiful.
Another woman on the jury was the chief creative officer of Deutsch New York, and it became clear that she and I both liked the same things. I realised then, although still not in its entirety, that gender was the discerning factor at play. Although, if I’m honest, it wasn’t until this year that it really dawned on me. I judged Titanium and Integrated this year and for the first time the gender lens was finally balanced. We were a jury of 50/50 men and women and due to the very nature of Titanium we watched a lot of creative work that polarized the group.
One defining example was the “Kenzo World” film. The men in the room agreed the piece was an amazing film, but it resonated on a much deeper level and in an utterly different way with the women. It said to us — you can be kooky, you don’t just have to be beautiful, you can also be a bit mental and mad. I’ve always been told by clients that women don’t like to look stupid in films but actually it turns out, woman can be shown to be fun and also silly and still be aspirational.
Not surprisingly, “Fearless Girl” was unanimous but again the women felt something about what it actually did and meant. On a professional basis we could all applaud how it had impacted the world, but the emotive nature of the idea that it was this little strong girl, spoke to us more profoundly.
In the end, we all laughed about the women on the jury being the loudest voices in the room. The process for me was defining because the room told us that it was ok to be a women and to say “I like this because it talks to me” when previously, I hadn’t validated it as being a good enough reason to. It was truly liberating to be in that environment. All the jurors came from different cultural backgrounds, different jobs, each one representing different experiences and rung on the career ladder. It was a melting pot and layered upon all that, it was still ok to play a gender card where previously it hadn’t. Well done to Cannes for in the majority getting 40%-50% juries.
The truth is men and women do see things differently — and that’s only a good thing. However, what it does mean is that women haven’t been able to express ourselves fully as an industry because juries haven’t been well enough represented, and add to this the unconscious bias that the work is selected on, you quickly start to see the problem. Historically male juries have selected and awarded work through a male bias. The work we’ve traditionally put out there, put as our best in class, has unwittingly had a gender bias. It has had a gender lens filter on it.
I’ve realised it’s about bringing what is truly unique to the table and part of that is your gender, as well as your age, where you live and how you’ve been brought up — it’s the total sum of you. As men or women we bring logic, rationale and reason as well as emotion, intuition and feeling. This is what our business is about. Most of us have got to where we are by marrying those together — it’s science and art. The balance is about addressing an unbalance.
Kate Stanners is the chairwoman and global chief creative officer of Saatchi & Saatchi
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Friday, August 11, 2017
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Wednesday, August 09, 2017
At The Root, Damon Young wrote a perspective titled, “Procter & Gamble Release an Ad About ‘the Talk,’ and White People Respond With the Wettest, Saltiest, Stupidest White Tears Ever”—discussing “The Talk” and the online talk it inspired.
Tuesday, August 08, 2017
This Popeyes Hot Honey Crunch Tenders commercial could have been a perfect opportunity to team up Annie the Chicken Queen and the Post Honey Bunches of Oats Lady—plus, throw in BuzzBee from Honey Nuts Cheerios to complete the terrible trifecta.
Monday, August 07, 2017
Adweek reported on Jopwell, a New York-based online careers platform that helps major companies connect with diverse talent. To date, Jopwell has worked with Condé Nast, the NBA, Pinterest, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and BlackRock. Probably not on the Jopwell client roster: any White advertising agencies.
This Startup Is Helping Condé Nast, Pinterest, the NBA and Other Brands Find Diverse Job Candidates
Jopwell helps major companies discover new talent
By Christopher Heine
Jopwell has been around less than two years, but it’s already being used by the likes of Condé Nast, the NBA, Pinterest, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and BlackRock. What’s the draw? Filling a cross-category industry void in helping large companies figure out how to become more diverse—that’s what.
The New York-based online careers platform specializes in helping black, Latino and Native American college students and professionals find new employers. And perhaps more importantly, Jopwell has helped 70-plus major companies find more diverse talent tens of thousands of times in recent months. The service is free for candidates and charges employers an undisclosed fee to recruit from the site.
There’s a dose of smart tech at play, too. Jopwell’s algorithms analyze a candidate’s resume, skills, past experiences and preferences. This allows Jopwell to suss out qualified applicants for hiring managers, who then can have access to them by searching the platform for candidate profiles.
D.A. Abrams, the USTA’s chief diversity officer, lauded the service.
“With so many career opportunities out there, we can only achieve our mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis by reaching out to the best diverse talent,” he said.
Jopwell, which was part of the Y Combinator startups program, has raised $4 million to date. When considering the ad industry’s problems with diverse hiring, it’s easy to see why investors are intrigued by the opportunity Jopwell appears to represent. According to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, 74 percent of 4A’s members surveyed last fall felt agencies were either mediocre or worse when it comes to hiring a diverse group of employees.
And take the example of recent Fashion Institute of Technology graduate Alysia Lewis, who felt the need to pitch her employment availability via Facebook in a provocative way just to get ad companies’ attention. Her promo proclaimed: “Your Agency Hates Black Women.”
“Agencies are very white, but I didn’t mean to tell them, ‘You’re a terrible person,’” Lewis told Adweek senior editor Patrick Coffee. “It’s more of a joke, like, ‘You’re awful, sure, but you’d be 10 percent less awful if you hired me.’”
Campaign posted a perspective from Ogilvy Worldwide Chief Communications Officer Jennifer Risi and Ogilvy Worldwide Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Donna Pedro, who hyped the faux commitment to diversity at their company before extending the hype to ColorComm, an independent initiative sponsored by Ogilvy and other White advertising entities. ColorComm supports women of color in marketing and communications, a marginalized group that continues to be dissed while the diverted diversity bandwagon favors White women in the field. Risi and Pedro wrote, “As agencies, we must remind ourselves that a diverse workforce is the core of effective marketing communications and a critical component of our business.” Question: Why must we “remind ourselves” about diversity? Answer: Because White advertising agencies seem to keep “forgetting” about it. IPG is joining the ColorComm party too. However, a true indicator of the sincerity of Ogilvy and IPG would be to compare the sponsorship dollars for ColorComm versus, say, The 3% Conference. Is ColorComm receiving crumbs-like contributions? Risi and Pedro also declared, “Diversity is the lifeblood of creativity at any agency.” Um, for that statement to become true, the typical advertising agency would have to undergo a complete transfusion.
Modernizing Madison Avenue: The importance of agency diversity
By Donna Pedro and Jennifer Risi
As technology and globalization continue to change the corporate landscape, the pursuit of diversity in the agency world is more important than ever to drive creativity and innovation.
If we’re really honest with ourselves, the ad industry itself has been out of sync with the accelerated diversification of the outside world. It was just last year when the American Association of Advertising Agencies released survey data showing that a whopping 74 percent of 4A’s members felt agencies were either mediocre or worse when it came to hiring a diverse group of employees.
Over the years, more and more agencies have allocated resources entirely dedicated to ensuring their talent pool is more representative of the increasingly diverse client base we service. Taking a step back, we can see how this shift in the industry’s foundation is now beginning to have a real effect on the culture at agencies across the spectrum. What’s more, we are starting to see it reflected in the client work.
As the industry continues to evolve, it is imperative that we remain committed to living the values that will help us deliver quality results for our diverse range of clients—not by just understanding what diversity means in theory, but by continuing to institute changes that we can actually see.
We know that to truly affect change, it must begin at the top. It’s up to the agency CEOs to set the tone for diversity and inclusion and for senior leadership to help convert ideas into actions. Ogilvy Worldwide Chairman and CEO John Seifert has made diversity and inclusion a core tenet of his transformation strategy for the agency, and women hold nearly half of the positions in the newly appointed Ogilvy USA leadership team. We need even more agencies to take bold actions like this if we want to continue to move the needle beyond just hearing about diversity and inclusion in meetings or reading about it in memos.
And while the agency world has come a long way when it comes to diversity and inclusion, we have a lot more work to do. That’s why it’s so important for agencies to continue partnering with organizations like ColorComm. Its objectives provide a good benchmark that agencies can use to guide us toward the industry’s trajectory—establishing agencies as diverse as the clients we work with and the brands that they represent.
ColorComm, an organization that convenes and supports women of color in marketing and communications, begins its annual conference in Miami today. At the event, Ogilvy will once again open the conference and lead a panel, focusing on the changing landscape of the consumer world, driven largely by globalization, increased fragmentation and digital transformation—and what that means for agencies and their clients today.
It’s that kind of assessment that produced fertile ground for Founder and President Lauren Wesley Wilson to launch ColorComm in 2011. “You really need a support system when you’re navigating your way through communications and it doesn’t happen formally,” she told Huffington Post’s Black Voices. “You kind of just have to figure out how to get there on your own.”
As agencies, we must remind ourselves that a diverse workforce is the core of effective marketing communications and a critical component of our business. It’s vital that we provide the support that Wilson describes if we want to evolve as an industry that keeps pace with our clients and their brands.
By working closely with organizations like ColorComm, we can help to set the global agenda and challenge the entire industry to recruit and retain a mix of talent at every level. Diversity is the lifeblood of creativity at any agency. And when we really get down to it, it’s the clients and their brands that have the most to gain by ensuring agencies are truly reflective of today’s modern marketing landscape.
David Ogilvy understood early on why it was critical to have a diverse workforce and pioneered an inclusive culture that has remained a constant virtue at the agency. We are honored to carry on his legacy of leadership and serve as an example toward broader industry transformation.
The world has changed. Our industry has changed. As our own agency continues to transform, our goal is to continue to lead by example—igniting an “inclusion revolution” that reverberates throughout the entire agency world.
Jennifer Risi is Ogilvy’s Worldwide Chief Communications Officer and Donna Pedro is Ogilvy’s Worldwide Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
Sunday, August 06, 2017
Campaign presented “The top five most politically incorrect ads from China”—featuring a collection of culturally clueless communications created by the communist country. Yet when it comes to stereotypical and racist garbage, is China really any worse than the U.S. or U.K.? The offensive shit being excreted by White-dominated countries is no ancient Chinese secret.
The top five most politically incorrect ads from China
There are corners of the world where advertising, even by global brands, seems stuck in an era where wives are compared to used cars.
By Rick Boost
In a new video, we count down through five of the most politically incorrect pieces of marketing to come out of China in recent years.
The digital age has brought about a social justice revolution. Calls worldwide have been deafening for greater scrutiny on brands to censor potentially offensive content. Due to the power of vocal online communities, a poorly received campaign going viral can severely tarnish a company’s image within hours, meaning that advertisers have to keep more culturally aware than ever.
As the leading market in Asia, a lot of attention is focused intently on China. However, though the country’s financial growth has been phenomenal, the evolution of its creative marketing content has faced problems. Clearly, China is not the only APAC country with problematic advertising, but as seen in this video, outrageous claims, overt sexualisation, and a lack of modern sensitivity are fairly regular occurrences. If China wants to stay ahead of competing nations in the region, avoiding brand mishaps like these will be extremely important.
Saturday, August 05, 2017
AgencySpy posted that Public Works in Minneapolis won AOR duties for Post Honey Bunches of Oats. Peeking at the staff of the White advertising agency makes any thoughts of reviving the Honey Bunches of Oats Lady downright scary.
Friday, August 04, 2017
Digiday published its latest “confession”—emphasis on con—via a whining rant from an alleged female ex-creative agency executive who believes “young creative agencies still have much to improve from a diversity standpoint.” Of course, the complainer is focused on diverted diversity, and she challenges shareholders to “ensure a gender, ethnic mix.” See, it’s ladies before ethnics even in the demands. There’s also a strong undercurrent of ageism being positioned ahead of racial and ethnic equality. The confessor thinks old White advertising agencies are more progressive than young White advertising agencies too. “The older, more corporate global businesses have had a long time to think about the role of women in their organization and come to the conclusion that we need different, new thinking and different skill sets because our [profit and loss statement] specifically says that works,” she explained. No, the old White shops are facing more pressure to embrace inclusion—due in part to decades of actively and consciously resisting change—and now they’re taking the easy route by promoting White women already in the pipeline and declaring themselves liberal-minded pioneers. Oh, and most shareholders don’t give a shit about diversity either.
Confessions of an ex-creative agency exec: ‘Guys think they are already feminists’
By Lucinda Southern
While agencies publicly push for more workplace diversity, the story is a different one internally. In our latest Confessions, where we trade anonymity for honesty, a female former creative agency executive says young creative agencies still have much to improve from a diversity standpoint. Ultimately, says our confessor, it’s up to shareholders to fix the gender imbalance. Answers have been edited for clarity.
What was the atmosphere like at your last agency?
What I found odd was how extraordinarily powerful the men in the organization were, even when they were very junior. There are kids in their early 20s, doing roles they have no training in. They had bought into this cultural mentality that could destroy planning, destroy thinking and destroy strategy.
How did you see men and women treated differently?
You have a campaign for a creative product, and there’s 16 guys in the room and one woman — there’s no balance of views. The orthodox view is, “This is going to be great,” but they don’t realize the product is not for women. Tactically bad decisions are made without consultation. These blind spots would be shown up vividly if more women in the organization say, “This is not the true voice.” Women weren’t taken seriously or able to have authority. The men were encouraged to challenge overtly, but when women did the same, they would fall off the career ladder. Guys shout in meetings as a way of showing creativity. If women shout in meetings, which happens rarely, there’s a real problem. You’d see dreadful decisions being made as a result; enormous amounts of money are wasted.
How did it get to this point?
Guys think they are already feminists, but they behave with nonchalant entitlement. Every generation has to learn the same things as the one before. It takes experience to realize women are good for business. The younger generation thinks they know it, but the more you get in a room together, the more like the 1960s it is.
How does sexism affect younger agencies differently than established ones?
The older, more corporate global businesses have had a long time to think about the role of women in their organization and come to the conclusion that we need different, new thinking and different skill sets because our [profit and loss statement] specifically says that works. Businesses that over-empower the young haven’t worked that out yet. I wasn’t judged on outcomes of business results, but judged on what the younger, more junior people thought of me, which wasn’t that much because I didn’t always say they were great.
All these gender equality initiatives make it seem like there’s change, at least from the outside.
All awareness is a good thing, but it’s the dynamics in the room that are a much bigger challenge.
So what would help? Quotas? Or winning work on diversity numbers?
Any and all of those things could work, but they don’t affect internal thinking. There are two levers: Either the organization is shamed into rethinking in a public way or the business doesn’t thrive.
So where does the responsibility lie?
Shareholders have to be asking questions around why senior women leave, why it didn’t work out and interrogate those reasons because one day it will blow up. Ultimately, shareholders need to believe in the long-term viability of the business and ensure a gender, ethnic mix. You say you are a creative agency representing a new generation? Show me in the numbers.
Thursday, August 03, 2017
Adweek reported Infiniti is the latest brand to shift its business—sans a review—from one White advertising agency to another within a single White holding company. Specifically, the automaker swapped CP+B for 72andSunny, which are sister White shops in the MDC Partners network. It’s not the first time that MDC Partners has mimicked Omnicom by engaging in Corporate Cultural Collusion—or even the first time the White holding company has done so with Infiniti. Hell, Omnicom pulled the same stunts when servicing the Infiniti account before CP+B. Oh, and CP+B will hang onto the U.S. business, reducing the agency’s suffering. It’s a Corporate Cultural Collusion car collision.
Infiniti to Name 72andSunny as Global Creative Agency of Record Without a Review
Crispin Porter + Bogusky will retain the U.S. business
By Patrick Coffee
Auto giant Nissan has moved global creative responsibilities for its luxury brand Infiniti from Crispin Porter + Bogusky to 72andSunny, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the change who spoke to Adweek on condition of anonymity.
There was no review, and agency and client have reportedly not yet finalized the details of their relationship.
The same parties who confirmed the move also stated that CP+B has retained its status as U.S. creative agency of record for the Infiniti brand, meaning the business will stay within the larger MDC Partners network.
“We continue to work with CP+B as well as other partners,” said Infiniti’s director of corporate communications, who declined to elaborate or address whether the company had officially begun working with 72andSunny.
A CP+B spokesperson deferred to the client for comment and a 72andSunny representative referred Adweek to the holding group, which also sent the request back to Infiniti’s PR department.
Crispin triumphed over six other agencies to win the global business in late 2014, with now-former vp of marketing Vincent Gillet citing the shop’s “maker culture” as a deciding factor in the decision. CP+B proceeded to open an office in Shanghai to serve its newest client, expand its creative teams in Hong Kong and Boulder, Colo., and relocate the global portion of the business to Los Angeles so as to “be in close proximity to the Infiniti Design Center and their team.”
The effects of this latest shift on the CP+B organization are unclear at this time.
Japan-based Nissan restructured its $750 million relationship with Omnicom in the U.S. earlier this year, consolidating all related work on the East Coast in an effort to be closer to its Tennessee headquarters.
According to the latest numbers from Kantar Media, Nissan spent approximately $171 million promoting the Infiniti brand in the U.S. last year and $42 million during the first quarter of 2017. At the time of the last creative review in 2014, analysts estimated its global media spend to be approximately $450 million, but updates on that total were not available at the time this story was published.
This development marks the latest in a string of big-name creative accounts (Sprint, Dos Equis, etc.) that have changed hands without a formal review. It also extends a 72andSunny streak that most recently saw the agency purportedly winning unspecified projects for insurance giant Allstate.
Wednesday, August 02, 2017
Adweek reported Michael Houston has been named Worldwide CEO of Grey—making him the only Black man leading a top 10, holding company-owned White advertising agency. Houston even offered a few thoughts on diversity: “In many regards, the industry uses diversity as a throwaway term. … If we are in the business of creativity, and we define that as putting two or more things together that have previously never been together, then from a business case, it calls for different perspectives. … This has traditionally been a business for White, privileged men. What changes do we have to make at the root to pave the way for people who may have come from more modest places?” The new leader also said he’ll strive to make Grey address racial, gender and age inclusion versus “glossing over them.” Finally, Houston declared, “Those people [who do not believe in diversity] will be left outside.” Well, let the evictions begin.
Grey Announces a New Generation of Leadership, Promoting Michael Houston to Worldwide CEO
Jim Heekin will be executive chairman
By Patrick Coffee
WPP’s Grey Group today announced its most significant leadership change in more than a decade, promoting Michael Houston to the global chief executive officer role.
Houston will oversee all of the network’s 430-plus offices and approximately 6,500 employees around the world. His predecessor Jim Heekin, who became CEO of Grey Group in 2005 and chairman the following year, will step into the executive chairman role, effective immediately.
The news comes on Grey’s centennial. Larry Valenstein and Arthur Fatt started the company as Grey Studios in August 1917.
Moving Grey into its second century
“One hundred years ago today, Grey opened its doors in New York,” wrote Heekin in a memo that went out to all staff this morning. “The Centennial has been a time to reflect on our extraordinary journey and look to the future. As we celebrate our anniversary, and a decade of record growth and creative performance, the time is right for the elevation of a new generation.”
Heekin went on to praise Houston’s “personal qualities and business achievements,” adding, “It has been a pleasure to watch him grow to become one of our most dynamic and talented leaders. He has an innate ability to bring out the best in people, both his colleagues and clients alike.”
“One of the things we will take forward [after 100 years] is that Grey has always been a highly strategic agency,” Houston told Adweek while reflecting on his decade-long tenure (he joined Grey as a global chief marketing officer in 2007). “This isn’t a knee-jerk response or appointment based on some necessity or weakness. This is part of a strategic plan that [Heekin], myself and the rest of our management have been working on for over a year.”
The plan followed last year’s launch of the Grey Brand Experience Group, which established four divisions to sort the network’s services by disciplines like shopper marketing, activations and mobile. Three months earlier, Houston became the group’s global president after serving as North American CEO.
Since then, Grey has made a number of promotions around the world, naming new executives to lead its African, European and Latin American networks while promoting Debby Reiner to CEO of its New York headquarters and hiring John Patroulis of BBH to replace departed chief creative officer Tor Myhren, who went to Apple in 2015.
“It’s been an invigorating, rewarding ride for the past 10 years,” Houston said, “and now we’re putting the team in place for the next [decade].”
Expanding definitions of creativity and success
When asked whether Grey would be the latest in a line of agencies to go through a large-scale restructuring, Houston said, “There will be no 17-page memo coming up anytime soon.” Still, he hinted at potentially “evolved structures” that would help Grey become more “indispensable to clients.”
“We need to offer more solutions that really speak to the way consumers are living their lives today: more experiential and immersive,” he added.
To Houston, that means “[opening] our aperture regarding creativity and our definition of it.”
“What you’ll notice from us in the future is that one size fits all no longer works,” he said, adding that Grey has been expanding its Brand Experience approach to every region it serves and that these groups will look and operate differently so as to cater more effectively to the populations in their respective areas. He also noted forthcoming partnerships with other WPP agencies around the world, stating that “Grey merges with agency X” announcements will be far less likely than news about the agency working with a sister shop to develop client-specific offerings.
“We have every intention of being here in 100 years … but we must give something to consumers rather than just communicating a message,” he said of the changing definition of success for contemporary ad agencies. “We didn’t hire [Patroulis] to tighten up our 30-second TV spots. … It’s really about looking at how the creativity manifests itself.”
Asked to identify Grey’s competitors, Houston said a shorter list would consist of organizations that don’t fit that description. “Everyone feels pressure to evolve, and in terms of direct competitors, I look at anyone who shows a great agility and speed in their evolution,” he said.
“There is no silver bullet or single way, but we’re all headed to the same place,” he added, describing a market filled with “frenemies” that can include everything from fellow legacy shops to “pure-play digital agencies,” media companies and tech platforms. Houston said he has confidence in the quality of Grey’s output relative to other holding company-owned networks. “A few days ago, while talking to a consultant,” he said, “I wondered at what point the creative product actually became the commodity.”
The right time for a change
“One cold December night I will never forget was 11 years ago when [former Grey chairman and CEO] Ed Meyer walked out,” Heekin told Adweek. “That was it—but that’s not the way I want to do it.”
The 30-plus-year industry veteran cited Grey’s recent global Revlon win, in which he played a pivotal role, when explaining that he plans to stay engaged with day-to-day operations and maintain his close working relationship with Houston while ceding ultimate authority to the new CEO.
“My 12 years have been a transformation period—a rebuild, if you will—at Grey,” he said, calling his tenure “the culmination of my career” and adding, “The rise in our creative reputation is the single thing I’m most proud of. No one gave Grey a shot.”
“I just feel damn good about it—I really do,” Heekins said.
At 45, Houston is one of the youngest chief executives in the ad industry. He is also the only African American currently leading a top 10, holding company-owned agency, and he believes that gathering a group informed by different experiences will be a key part of helping Grey retain its competitive edge.
“In many regards, the industry uses diversity as a throwaway term,” Houston said, and he hopes agencies like his can move away from quota-based hiring. “If we are in the business of creativity, and we define that as putting two or more things together that have previously never been together, then from a business case, it calls for different perspectives.”
He continued, “This has traditionally been a business for white, privileged men. What changes do we have to make at the root to pave the way for people who may have come from more modest places?”
Houston went on to say he plans to focus on ensuring that his organization addresses racial, gender and age disparities rather than “glossing over them.”
“Those people [who do not believe in diversity] will be left outside,” he said.
The next 5 years
As the newly promoted CEO tells it, the first half of Grey’s life to date was about turning Valenstein and Fatt’s project into a sustainable organization. For the following four decades, Meyer worked to make that network global before selling to WPP in 2005.
“The next 10 years were where Jim came in, and he very squarely had his eye on creativity,” Houston said. “The coming five years—not that I will only be around for five—are about redefining and opening the definition of what is creative. There’s a greater urgency around what we need to do today than we’ve ever had in our history. And the time line is shrinking.”
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
Ads of the World features a collection titled, “2017 Visual Trend: Color Surge.” However, the collection is only spotlighting ways that “unusual color combinations immediately ignite interest and entice consumers”—versus showing the patronizing and hypocritical trend of White advertising agencies to insert people of color into campaigns, contrasting the actually exclusive workplaces where there are no color surges of minority representation.
Monday, July 31, 2017
Advertising Age reported Procter & Gamble cut its digital ad spending by $140 million—and still enjoyed sales increases. Hey, why not? The mega-advertiser reduced the crumbs given to minority shops—and let White advertising agencies produce Black advertising without blinking, and maybe sales weren’t adversely affected too. The scenario even inspires some sidebar pondering: specifically, has P&G ever dedicated $140 million annually to multicultural marketing?
P&G Slashes Digital Ads by $140M Over Brand Safety. Sales Rise Anyway
By Jack Neff
Procter & Gamble’s concerns about where its ads were showing up online contributed to a $140 million cutback in the company’s digital ad spending last quarter, the company said Thursday. That helped the world’s biggest advertiser beat earnings expectations. Perhaps even more noteworthy, however, organic sales outperformed both analyst forecasts and key rivals at 2% growth despite the drop in ad support.
P&G didn’t call out YouTube, the subject of many marketers’ ire earlier this year, in its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings release, but did say digital ad spending fell because of choices to “temporarily restrict spending in digital forums where our ads were not being placed according to our standards and specifications.”
Those cuts amounted to nearly a percentage point of profit margin for the quarter, with cuts to agency and production fees further boosting profits.
People familiar with the matter said P&G left YouTube in March over brand-safety issues, though P&G has also had problems with ads appearing on video content that didn’t match its goals. It’s unclear whether or to what extent the digital cuts came from other venues, though Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller in a media call also noted Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard’s broader efforts to eliminate “a significant amount of waste” in the digital media supply chain.
YouTube parent Google reported strong revenue growth last quarter despite what appears to be a dwindling advertiser brand-safety revolt. But P&G isn’t in a hurry to resume spending either. Despite the cuts P&G had “very strong relative organic sales growth,” Moeller said. “So we stand in pretty good net as a result of all those choices.”
Asked whether P&G sees any need to put that money back into digital media in the future, Moeller said, “Clearly we don’t need to be spending money that is seen by a bot and not a person. Clearly we don’t need to be spending money on ads that are placed in inappropriate places, and that’s why you see a significant reduction.”
So how well did P&G do in the quarter? Globally its organic sales, excluding effects of divestitures and currency, rose 2% to $16.1 billion on a unit volume increase of 2%. That compared to categories that were roughly flat, Moeller said on an investor call later, adding that P&G’s organic sales actually accelerated over the fiscal year even as category growth slowed.
P&G U.S. revenue rose 2% on 4% unit growth. The spread there owes largely to a 12% cut in prices of Gillette razors, which boosted volume but reduced sales at least for the short term. The beauty business, long a company laggard, this time led with 5% organic sales growth.
All-in net earnings rose 15% to nearly $2.3 billion for the quarter, with nearly half the gain from those digital media cuts.
Rival Unilever, which hasn’t pulled out of YouTube but similarly reduced marketing spending last quarter, increased global organic sales 3% on flat volume. Rivals Kimberly-Clark Corp., Colgate-Palmolive Co., RB (Reckitt Benckiser) and Johnson & Johnson’s Consumer business all had down or flat organic sales and volumes, mostly combined with decreases in advertising spending where that was reported.
P&G’s forecast for its new fiscal year, which began July 1, leaves room to hike marketing spending from productivity gains, and the $140 million cut last quarter could grow further still if P&G follows through on its threat to stop spending on digital media that doesn’t have third-party audience measurement verified by the Media Rating Council by the end of the calendar year.
While P&G has increased its U.S. TV upfront commitment for this year, according to people familiar with the matter, it’s far from certain all digital dollars it cuts would go there or elsewhere. CEO David Taylor was non-committal on the investor conference call when asked about plans for next year’s spending.
“Certainly we are and have been rethinking marketing overall, and it will evolve,” Taylor said, but didn’t specify what that would mean for media spending. While Taylor has criticized past P&G moves to cut spending in the fiscal fourth quarter to boost profits, last quarter’s digital cuts, motivation aside, essentially did that. Over five years, P&G is aiming for $2 billion in marketing cuts, including media, with a heavy emphasis on cleaning up the digital supply chain.
Sunday, July 30, 2017
Adweek reported on this over a year ago, but it’s definitely worth reviewing. SapientNitro Digital Strategist William Yu sought to spotlight the lack of diversity in Hollywood by replacing White stars in movie posters with John Cho. Nice concept and execution—probably the best thing to ever come out of SapientNitro. As this blog has criticized the digital shop in the past, it’s only fitting to apply Yu’s idea to spotlight the lack of diversity in SapientNitro leadership too.
John Cho Appears in Popular Movie Posters to Address Lack of Diversity in Hollywood
SapientNitro digital strategist’s campaign goes viral
By Katie Richards
Take a look at a handful of movie posters from some of the hottest films, from Avengers: Age of Ultron, Me Before You and Jurassic World. What do you notice?
William Yu, a digital strategist at SapientNitro, noticed a serious lack of diversity. “The lack of representation of Asian-Americans in media is something that’s always been top of mind for me,” Yu told Adweek. Recently, Yu came across a study reporting that movies with more diverse casts actually lead to higher box office numbers and returns on investments. So why, he thought to himself, is Hollywood still not putting Asian actors in starring roles and hiring white actors for Asian roles?
That prompted the 25-year-old Korean American to launch the Starring John Cho campaign on Twitter with Harold & Kumar actor John Cho as the star. Yu took a number of big movies from the past year and a few highly anticipated ones for 2016 and replaced faces of lead characters with Cho’s to address the serious lack of diversity in Hollywood.
Chris Evans as Captain America in Avengers: Age of Ultron suddenly becomes John Cho. Matt Damon in The Martian, Daniel Craig in Spectre, Ryan Gosling in The Nice Guys, all replaced with Cho’s face. Yu went with Cho because the actor is one of the most well-known Asian-American actors in Hollywood and, with a starring role in the Harold & Kumar franchise and a role in Star Trek, Cho “has both the presence and the bankable talent to build a tent pole around,” Yu said.
Yu also made sure to pick from a wide range of genres to show that Asian-Americans can play every role from the action star to the romantic lead.
“I really wanted to give people visual and tangible evidence that having an Asian-American star in a leader role wasn’t quite so crazy or outrageous but it was actually quite fitting,” Yu said.
After picking a leading man and a few movie posters, Yu created the hashtag #StarringJohnCho, built a website where people could see all of the posters and read about the project and let the conversation kick off from there. The goal, he said, was always to “spark and ignite a conversation about Asian-Americans and how they are presented in Hollywood.”
The campaign has already gained traction on Twitter and, as Yu hoped, sparked a conversation and even a larger movement with fans of the campaign creating their very own movie posters. Cho has even been in on the action, tweeting a heart at the Starring John Cho Twitter account.