Wednesday, May 31, 2017

13697: FCB—King Of Chaos.

The ad depicted above for a Workfront seminar on “How FCB Conquered Agency Chaos” seems a little odd—especially running while Cannes is about to start—given the White advertising agency’s sad history with lion imagery.

13696: JWT Is 4 With R3.

Campaign reported JWT jumped 15 spots to secure the fourth position in the R3 new business chart for April. Could it be argued that losing culturally clueless douchebags from leadership positions leads to increased profits? See, embracing diversity and inclusion is a smart business decision. JWT Global Communications Officer Erin Johnson should be allowed to promote the news.

J. Walter Thompson leaps 15 spots in R3’s new business chart for April

McCann, DDB, Mindshare and MediaVest Spark also had strong months, according to global data from the search consultancy.

Within creative and digital agencies globally, the fastest mover this month was J. Walter Thompson, which moved up to the 4th spot from 19th last month thanks to a raft of wins across multiple markets and disciplines. McCann maintained top position on the back of a Coca-Cola project in the US and more Reckitt’s business in Europe. DDB’s global EA Sports win kept it in the top five. Looking at media agencies, Mindshare moved from 8th to 2nd with global wins including Jaguar China. Universal McCann picked up global business from Coach and Accenture.

Among creative and digital agencies in the US, there was no change in the top five rankings through April–with DDB moving up off the back of the Miller Lite win and J. Walter Thompson entering the list for the first time this year. For media agencies, MediaVest Spark jumped up to 2nd with its H&R Block win, and Mindshare was the biggest mover, securing the TJX business and other wins.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

13695: Hot Air From Airbnb.

Campaign reported Airbnb is advocating for diversity by openly recruiting women and racial and ethnic minorities during Cannes. Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall tweeted, “The most diverse brand needs the most diverse creative team.” Okay, but Airbnb calling itself “the most diverse brand” in light of its own recent history is like WPP labeling itself as “perhaps the most diverse example of diversity of any single organization.” Regardless, it’s sad to see Mildenhall go from acknowledging that White women have leapfrogged over racial and ethnic minorities in diversity discussions to ultimately taking an HP diverted diversity approach. Campaign was quick to point out Airbnb’s dismal diversity figures—although it’s just the exclusive trade publication playing pot calling the kettle non-Black. Adding Cannes to the equation makes the entire mess perhaps the most diverse example of diversity hypocrisy of any single scenario.

Are you a woman or non-white creative? Airbnb wants to meet you at Cannes

By Ilyse Liffreing

The brand is on a mission to expand the diversity of its creative team.

On Monday, Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall called upon women and creatives of color to send in their most “stellar work” for a chance to meet up at the Cannes Lions festival in June.

“The most diverse brand needs the most diverse creative team,” Mildenhall tweeted on Monday with the hashtag #CannesDoDiversity. Mildenhall includes a link to Airbnb’s diversity micro-site, which now includes a special section that prompts those interested to email to connect.

Cannes has long been a place for agencies to recruit new creatives, and for creatives to advance their careers. Traditionally, the recruiting has taken place quietly to avoid upsetting current employers or quasi-friendly competitors.

But Airbnb has been on a mission of late to diversify its creative team, and the company doesn’t seem inclined to be quiet or patient about it.

“The industry has been talking about the need for diversity for as long as I’ve been in it,” said Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall in a press release promoting the Cannes recruitment effort. “It is now time for us all to stop talking, and start on-boarding opportunities for these vastly underrepresented creators. And I, for one, will do everything within my power to ensure we do so.”

The message on the Airbnb careers site makes it clear that qualifying creatives don’t need to be in France for an opportunity to join the team. “And if you’re not going to Cannes, we should still talk,” it says. Airbnb did not immediately return calls inquiring which positions it was hoping to fill or how many candidates it was hoping to meet.

Armed with its “Belong Anywhere” slogan, Airbnb—part travel agency, part home-sharing platform—has already done much to nurture inclusivity among its members. Most recently, the brand promoted a movement around marriage equality by giving out free “acceptance rings”: incomplete black wedding rings meant to symbolize the gap in marriage equality in Australia. The campaign received 98 percent positive sentiment, and rings were ordered at a rate of over one a minute, according to the company.

And in February, after opposing Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, the brand launched its #WeAccept campaign with a Super Bowl commercial that promised housing for 100,000 people in need, beginning with refugees, over the next five years.

Mildenhall has also been an outspoken advocate for including more ethnic judges at Cannes. This year, the former Coca-Cola and Mother executive will be chair of the Creative Effectiveness jury.

Although Airbnb has built its brand around diversity, the company is currently facing its own deficit. The brand posts the gender and ethnic makeup of its employees online, and in 2016, about 43 percent of employees were female, a number that shrunk to 30 percent among the company’s leadership. When it comes to multiple ethnicities, the representation is even worse.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

13693: W+K Tells WOC To Take Off.

Campaign reported Wieden+Kennedy staffers launched On She Goes, a travel website for women of color. Does the site warn colored girls to avoid trips to adland? Hopefully, the unoriginal effort won’t crash-land like from American Airlines. And if W+K wins a Glass Lion or similarly patronizing prize for the project, well, now that’s fucked up!

Wieden+Kennedy creates an in-house travel site for women of color

By I-Hsien Sherwood

On She Goes brings agency voices and community contributors together to carve out a new space in conscientious tourism.

The web is rife with travel advice, often tailored to the needs of the “standard” tourist: upper-middle class, white, male, American. But the challenges women face on the road are often different, and they’re magnified for women of color.

Racism, sexual harassment and cultural sensitivities about gender roles or dress codes affect women of color more harshly than other travelers, so the advice they seek out to address their concerns needs to come from an intersectional perspective. On She Goes, a new website founded by a group of Wieden+Kennedy Portland employees, aims to fill a void that Fodor’s, Atlas Obscura and Lonely Planet can’t.

“This project was born out of a need for the voices and perspectives of women of color to be channeled and heard,” said Serita Wesley, production editor and member of the six-woman core team from W+K’s publishing department that created On She Goes. “The topic of travel is a major one at Wieden+Kennedy, especially due to the number of International offices. The women of color working on this project heard the call of other women of color that this project was needed more than ever.”

Though newly live this week, On She Goes is already heavy with content. There’s a community forum for visitor questions and conversation, and a podcast hosted by Aminatou Sow, founder of Tech LadyMafia and co-host of the “Call Your Girlfriend” podcast. YouTuber and TEDx Portland host Lindsey Murphy stars in a video series on travel hacks for women of color, with tips from choosing the right power adapter to hair care on the road.

But the bulk of the editorial content is articles from paid contributors, like advice for black women visiting Tokyo or how to travel as a fat woman. At launch, the site boasts 50 articles from 20 different writers. While the site is specifically intended to help meet the needs of women of color, “We welcome anyone who our content resonates with, who finds the information and perspectives we’re sharing helpful, “ said core team member Rebecca Russell, a strategist at W+K.

A section featuring in-depth advice for women traveling to specific cities begins, of course, with an exploration of Portland. Yes, it’s rainy. Yes, it’s one of the whitest cities in America, and women of color can expect a certain level of exoticization. But it has plenty of food trucks owned by people of color and multicultural film festivals. And the pot is legal. Similar examinations of New York City and Los Angeles are forthcoming.

On She Goes began as a project at W+K nearly a year ago—an experiment conducted by the publishing department to see what it takes to build a new content platform with an engaged community. “We were given the opportunity to create something different for an audience of our choice,” said Meron Medhanie, a strategist at W+K. “We knew from personal experience that women of color face different challenges when traveling or preparing to travel, and we wanted to create a site that speaks to those nuances and perspectives.”

They began recruiting other strategists, artists and writers in the agency to build out the platform or to write initial content. Now that On She Goes is live, the publishing department is running it as a W+K property. Shepherding it through the early stages of establishing an audience and adding new features is now part of their job description at the agency—it’s not a side gig or a pro bono project. W+K is currently providing the funding for running the site and paying writers, but though there are currently no ads, the team is open to financial partnerships in the future.

Each quarter, the theme of the site will rotate. For its debut, On She Goes is exploring the mantra “We Belong Here,” a declaration that women of color should be able to feel welcome in whatever communities they visit, tempered by the understanding that it isn’t yet true.

“How many of us have dreamed of being travel writers when we grew up? said Dez Ramirez, core team member and assistant publisher at W+K “Now we have a space to be that writer, and tell the story that we haven’t seen or read yet.”

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Friday, May 26, 2017

Thursday, May 25, 2017

13690: Annual Waclique.

Campaign spotlighted the annual Wacl Future Leaders. The accompanying photo (depicted above) underscores the power of diverted diversity. The Campaign story opened by declaring, “This year’s Wacl Future Leaders are sending the industry a clear and simple message…” Yes, and the message is that White women are doing fabulously in adland—while the fair representation of women of color remains a dream deferred, delegated and denied.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

13689: Promoting Alcoholism.

Y&R in Chile seems to believe that liquor is required to handle even mundane daily milestones. Given the serious problem of alcoholism in Chile, this campaign is wildly irresponsible and thoroughly reprehensible.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Monday, May 22, 2017

13687: Publicis Groupe’s Financial Follies.

Campaign reported a French magazine claimed Publicis Groupe “incorrectly accounted for a settlement agreed with one of its software and IT services suppliers.” Um, does anyone doubt Publicis Groupe might fuck up the finances regarding any deal connected to a digital enterprise? Hell, whatever happened with the $500 million termination fee stemming from the failed merger with Omnicom? The White holding company’s accountants must be cooking the books with all the skills of world-class French pastry chefs.

Publicis Groupe refutes accounting allegation

By Maisie McCabe

The agency has strongly refuted claims made in a French magazine that it has incorrectly accounted for a settlement agreed with one of its software and IT services suppliers.

Yesterday the weekly news magazine L’Orbs reported on claims made by Fabrice Rémon, founder of the shareholder activist organization Gouvernance en Action, that the way Publicis Groupe had accounted for the settlement inflated its results.

In a statement, Publicis Groupe said the dispute was “arbitrated and resulted in a settled resolution, covered by a confidentiality agreement, whereby Publicis Groupe would be compensated for the costs of the delays and difficulties it sustained.”

The compensation was accounted for through a reduction of the book value of the balance sheet assets relating to the project, in part through the neutralization in the 2014 accounts of the extra costs the delays had caused and in part to cover extra costs in subsequent years as a result of the delays, Publicis Groupe said.

Publicis Groupe did not mention this accounting treatment in the notes to the financial statements for the 2014 or in that year’s annual report as its auditors — who had validated the treatment — deemed it was not necessary to do so.

In its statement, Publicis Groupe said it communicated this information to Rémon and to L’Obs ahead of publication. It said it reserves “all our rights for any damages that such publications may have on our stock price, the company or our shareholders.”

Sunday, May 21, 2017

13686: Diversity Heroes & Villains.

Advertising Age reported on a media event where CW representatives spoke about diversity, with the trade publication writing that the “network reminds buyers that all heroes don’t wear capes.” Okay, but White advertising agencies have used superheroes for diversity smokescreens in lieu of personally taking heroic actions. Plus, most advertising executives with hiring authority—who typically perpetuate the exclusivity with discriminatory hiring practices—could be categorized as super villains in the diversity scenario.

CW Upfronts Diary: In a Pitch for Diversity, Network Reminds Buyers That All Heroes Don’t Wear Capes

By Anthony Crupi

After a week of brazen hucksterism designed to separate advertisers from their marketing dollars, Gina Rodriguez on Thursday detonated an emo bomb onstage at the New York City Center, and for the first time since the upfronts began it felt like the audience wasn’t being outright hustled.

As she has done so eloquently in past upfront presentations, the star of the CW’s “Jane the Virgin” won over buyers with a heartfelt speech about how television has the potential to bring people together by fostering understanding and empathy. (It probably goes without saying that she wasn’t talking about cable news.)

“I’m an artist, and I see the world through that lens,” Rodriguez said, noting that she stars in one of the five CW shows with a woman at the top of the call sheet. “Art tears down misconceptions and opens eyes to the beauty of our differences. We can’t all be the same, but we can learn a lot about what we are not through art.”

Rodriguez went on to thank CW president Mark Pedowitz for his efforts to program a network that more accurately reflects American dynamism and diversity. “The CW uses its platform to build bridges for understanding and inclusion,” she said, before wrapping with a more overt appeal for advertisers to reach for their checkbooks. “For those who have yet to join us: The doors are wide open, baby.”

Rodriguez effectively became an ambassador for the CW two years ago, when she made her first upfront address to TV buyers. Her spiel, which was delivered with all the warm fuzzies of a Grammy Awards acceptance speech, included an acknowledgment that advertising dollars made it possible for her and her cast mates to pursue their lives’ passions. “Thank you for letting me do what I love every day,” she said. “It may be just money to you, but to us it’s our dreams!”

On the off chance that anyone in the room today didn’t respond to Rodriguez’s speech, Pedowitz doubled down on the “awwwwws” with an absolutely shameless clip from a puppy cam from Guide Dogs of America.

Of course, as the upfronts are meant to prime the pump for the June/July negotiations, the CW pitch featured its share of more blatant entreaties for ad dollars. Sporting a green cape with a stylized $ emblazoned on the back, Rob Tuck, exec VP-national sales, swooped in to talk up streaming, demos and stacking rights. When “Supergirl” star Melissa Benoist asked why the ad sales chief was rocking the garish accessory, Tuck introduced himself as “Salesman,” and suggested that he join in when the CW airs its annual four-part superhero crossover stunt in November.

The crossovers have been a huge success for the CW, which notched its highest ratings in six years during last fall’s multi-show event. Deliveries for “Arrow” and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” alone doubled during their respective stunt episodes, and “The Flash” put up the network’s biggest numbers of the season.

Speaking of the capes-and-cowls set, Pedowitz noted that another new superhero series is making its way to the CW schedule in 2017-18, as “Black Lightning” joins fellow DC Comics properties “The Flash,” “Supergirl,” “Arrow” and “Legends of Tomorrow” in mid-season. Produced by the ubiquitous Greg Berlanti, “Black Lightning” stars Cress Williams (“Prison Break,” “Hart of Dixie”) as a retired crime fighter who resumes punting rump and taking names after gang violence threatens to tear his city apart.

Also in the hopper for next season are “Valor,” a military drama about a team of damaged yet vertiginously-cheekboned young U.S. Army helicopter pilots who embark on a suicide mission to extract a soldier being held captive by terrorists, and a reboot of the ‘80s kitsch artifact “Dynasty.” A sudsy whirl of intrigue, excess and weapons-grade bitchery, this new-look Carringtons saga drew the most noise from the buyers in the crowd.

A second mid-season offering, “Life Sentence,” features “Pretty Little Liars” alum Lucy Hale as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl who survives cancer only to face the existential dilemma of What Now? Hale, who appeared eager to emulate Gina Rodriguez’s charm offensive, interrupted her own stage patter to ask producer Bill Lawrence (“Scrubs,” “Cougar Town”) to make his presence known so that she might thank him for giving her the opportunity to work with him.

Before Pedowitz brought Upfronts Week to a close with an invitation for the audience to join him outside the theater for a toast with some “Dynasty”-quality bubbly, the CW boss wanted to reiterate his earlier assertion about how the network has evolved from a vanilla TV channel to “a digital-linear hybrid.” Pedowitz illustrated this shift with a particularly revelatory graphic, which put the median age of the CW TV viewer at 45 years old and that of the net’s digital audience at 26.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

13685: Burnett’s Billboard Body Bigotry.

Advertising Age reported on a stunt by French anti-racism organization Le Conseil Representatif des Associations Noires (Le CRAN), whereby a Black man “tattoed” with racial epithets walked through the streets of Paris to bring attention to racism. That Leo Burnett—a global White advertising agency—hatched the concept brings grand hypocrisy to the act. Then again, Leo Burnett employees probably offered lots of legitimate insight, at least from the racist side of the equation. The concept might have been more powerful if a White person had been adorned with all the slurs typically used by bigots, bringing consciousness to unconscious bias.

This ‘Human Billboard’ Tattooed With Insults Highlighted Racism in France

Man Walked the Streets of Paris Ahead of the French Election

By Alexandra Jardine

French anti-racism organization Le Conseil Representatif des Associations Noires (Le CRAN) highlighted the country’s ongoing racism problems ahead of the country’s Election last month, by sending a man through the streets of Paris tattooed in racist insults.

Agency Leo Burnett Paris collated the racist insults and names included in the tattoos via social media, interviews with celebrities and audio testimonials. On April 24, Le CRAN sent the man out into crowded areas of the city to hand out leaflets, and encouraged people to tweet about it with the hashtag #jeffaceleracisme. With National Front leader Marine Le Pen running for President at the time, it was a timely stunt.

“We want to alert the French to racist insults, the impact of which is often underestimated,” explained Louis Georges Tin, president of Le CRAN, in a statement.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

13683: 100% Bullshit.

The Media Online reported a self-promotional billboard for Black-owned BWD Advertising was investigated for being racist after receiving a complaint from a “member of the public” in South Africa. Is Gustavo Martinez freelancing for WPP in Johannesburg now? But seriously, the individual apparently took offense to the billboard proclaiming, “100% Black Owned Advertising Agency. Some things are better at 100%.” In the end, the Advertising Standards Authority ruled the message was not racist. Hey, somebody ask the ASA to investigate the White advertising agencies in the country. Those places are full of racism. And it’s likely that BWD Advertising collects Vegemite sandwich crumbs compared to its exclusively White counterparts.

BWD’s ‘100% black-owned’ ad agency billboard not racist, says ASA

Posted By TMO Reporter

A billboard with the wording, ‘100% Black Owned Advertising Agency. Some things are better at 100%”, using an image of a cup of black coffee, is not racist, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled.

The BWD Advertising billboard, on a footbridge spanning across the M1 South approximately one kilometre north of the Marlboro Drive off-ramp in Johannesburg, was the subject of a complaint lodged by a member of the public in February.

After a two-month investigation, the ASA directorate said transformation processes, such as B-BBEE, were the result of government policy, and were aimed at improving the overall wealth and prosperity of those sectors of the community that did not previously have the means to create their own prosperity. The advertisement did not impose “any burden on any person or race and is therefore not in contravention of Clause 3.4 of Section II of the Code”.

Therefore the advertisement clearly makes a hypothesis and is justifiable in terms of government’s B-BBEE policy, it said. The complaint was dismissed as the billboard’s message was not infringing on any government or advertising laws. The ASA said BWD Advertising was merely exercising its right to broadcast an achievement and an “edge” it has in the advertising industry.

Bongani Gosa, founder and CEO, established BWD Advertising in 2006 as a full service marketing agency. Gosa said the billboard was placed to communicate BWD’s achievement as one of the very few South African advertising agencies that are 100% black owned, which honours the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) strategy. This mandate clearly calls for companies to increase the number of black people participating in the country’s economy to fight high unemployment rates and challenges imposed by the past.

Gosa said he was relieved that the ASA clearly saw his agency’s intention with the billboard – to celebrate, not affront. “I firmly believe in growing our country by empowering the youth. Only if they are mentored correctly, will they lead the country forward without racism and corruption, which is something that I promote passionately. No divided country can truly prosper,” he said.

Gosa employs 10 full-time employees and gives five graduates the opportunity every year to gain work experience. BWD Advertising also contributes financially to the the Each One Teach One Foundation, a business mentorship initiative that helps accelerate the growth of entrepreneurs. The foundation gives small-business owners and entrepreneurs the opportunity to get face-to-face time with proven business specialists, enabling upcoming entrepreneurs and owners of SMMEs with expert advice and invaluable insights.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

13682: Exclusive Explicit Event.

AgencySpy posted on the “Implicit Bias Workshop” being held at Venables Bell & Partners, where attendance for the event is mandatory. The mandate is likely rooted in the fact that the White advertising agency hired an outside consultant to run the workshop, making it a pricey experiment if no one shows up. Sorry, but does “Implicit Bias” really apply to an industry where discriminatory exclusivity has been publicly recognized for over 60 years? At some point, the label should change to “Explicit Bias” for honesty and accuracy. The hack editors at AgencySpy called the affair an “Implicit Bias Workshop Party”—and considering the lack of diversity among VB&P’s leadership, is it much different than the infamous Campbell Ewald Ghetto Days party?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

13681: Garden-Variety Lunacy.

Campaign reported on the latest installment of the Erin Johnson-Gustavo Martinez soap opera, with lawyers exchanging pre-trial jabs. Here’s one point worth noting:

Also under contention is the subpoena of Johnson’s medical records. Lawyers for the defense have requested authorization to subpoena her mental health records, which Johnson lawyers have declined to provide.

Earlier this week, Martinez’s lawyer Ricki Roer filed a letter to the court requesting to address “a defendant’s entitlement to discovery of plaintiff’s psychological/mental health records, even when only ‘garden variety’ emotional distress damages are claimed.”

Wow, Martinez and his lawyers are lowdown assholes. Has anyone inquired about Martinez’s mental state? Based on everything recorded to date, the man is a garden-variety bigot, misogynist and moron.

Johnson, WPP battle over access to sensitive documents as TBWA is pulled into drama

By Eleftheria Parpis

The holding company’s lawyers seek to keep its internal investigation private while asking to see Johnson’s emails about an alleged job offer.

As the Erin Johnson lawsuit against J. Walter Thompson, WPP and former CEO Gustavo Martinez inches its way to trial, the legal teams are butting heads over the admissibility of sensitive documents.

In documents filed with the US Southern District Court on Wednesday, lawyers for WPP and JWT requested a protective order to stop Johnson, JWT’s Chief Communications Officer, from subpoenaing documents pertaining to the internal investigation conducted by Bettina Plevan, a partner at law firm Proskauer Rose, in the weeks after Johnson filed her sexual harassment lawsuit. Howard J. Rubin, partner at WPP legal firm Davis & Gilbert, claims that the report, which details the substance of Plevan’s interviews with 32 current and former agency employees, is protected by attorney-client privilege.

The defense is also seeking a protective order to block access to documents related to a report prepared by Merrick Rossein, an employment law professor and human resources consultant who provided equal-employment training to Martinez and counsel to the agency’s legal team after the suit was filed, including advice about the retention of Martinez in an executive position elsewhere at the holding company.

Reports summarizing the findings were shared with Johnson and the legal team from Vladeck, Raskin & Clark “subject to an agreement that Plaintiff would treat the reports as confidential,” writes Rubin.

The defense is also arguing that Johnson should be compelled to turn over documents “relating to her efforts to seek alternative employment, including at another advertising agency, TBWA Worldwide.”

It was earlier revealed that Johnson had been offered a job at Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day before filing her suit, but turned it down, telling Martinez in a text that she was “loyal” to him and “felt like we had a good year together.” The defense lawyers argue that any documents related to that job offer are relevant “to whether she believed she was experiencing harassment and/or retaliatory treatment,” and whether her working environment at JWT was “as hostile or retaliatory as she claims.”

Asked whether the agency had been contacted by attorneys regarding the case, a TBWA spokeswoman said, “We haven’t received the subpoena yet and can’t comment.”

The flurry of memos filed Wednesday also included a request from the defense lawyers for a 60-day extention of the discovery deadline, citing Johnson’s “voluminous and burdensome discovery requests.” Johnson’s legal team has subpoenaed Plevan and Rossein for all documents related to the case, including communications that concern Martinez’s “ability to use the English language,” a defense lawyers for Martinez and WPP have used to explain Johnson’s claims that Martinez regularly made comments about rape and sex, using terms like “talk about the sex” and “sex of angels.”

The plaintiffs are also attempting to subpoena all documents about behavior and statements Martinez made “with respect to women or their appearance,” “Jews or Westchester County,” “people of color,” the Miami corporate meeting where Martinez was recorded making a rape joke, and female employees like global president Claire Capeci, who Martinez, claim Johnson’s lawyers, said was “bossy” and should be “hogtied” or “raped.”

The legal teams met last month with Magistrate Judge James C. Francis to discuss discovery but were unsuccessful in attempts to reach an agreement.

Also under contention is the subpoena of Johnson’s medical records. Lawyers for the defense have requested authorization to subpoena her mental health records, which Johnson lawyers have declined to provide.

Earlier this week, Martinez’s lawyer Ricki Roer filed a letter to the court requesting to address “a defendant’s entitlement to discovery of plaintiff’s psychological/mental health records, even when only ‘garden variety’ emotional distress damages are claimed.”

At the conference on April 26, states Roer in the letter, Johnson “for the first time stipulated” that she would be “claiming ‘only garden variety’ emotional damages.” The judge approved the team’s request to file a motion.

Calls to representatives for WPP and Johnson for comment were not immediately returned.

The current deadline for discovery is May 26.

Monday, May 15, 2017

13680: Exclusivity Extinguishes Innovation.

Campaign published a perspective from Mirum Client Services Director Ali Merifield, who sought to explain “why innovation stalls without diversity.” Merifield presented lots of progressive opinions and theories, yet offered no case studies on how her digital agency has benefited from executing and embracing diversity. Indeed, a look at the London office leadership doesn’t display much diversity. And to seemingly prove her own point, the work isn’t very innovative.

Why innovation stalls without diversity

By Ali Merifield

Leaders who want to drive innovation through diversity need to be willing to expose themselves to some discomfort and awkwardness, writes Mirum’s head of client services.

Innovation. Every company talks about what it is, how to achieve it, why it is needed, what it costs. However, one of the core ingredients often missed is diversity. Silicon Valley has long suffered from a diversity problem, and it could be stifling the innovation it has been built on.

Leaders who want to drive innovation through diversity need to be willing to expose themselves to some discomfort and awkwardness. It might slow down process and expose some shortcomings and weaknesses elsewhere in the system.

Diverse teams mean people coming together from different backgrounds, experiences, cultures and educational baselines. In tech, where rapid development is valued, the time it takes a diverse team to get into a rhythm of working together may be longer than the norm.

Problem solving and product development won’t be as comfortable, or as much fun, as working in a homogenous group straight out of the same social, cultural and educational background. An unvaried group will likely feel buoyed up by each other, by their shared thinking and agreement, confident that they have cracked the problem. But the shared assumptions and tacit agreement is what will cause them to fail.

The more diverse group, having questioned each other more, disagreed and debated, probably won’t have as much confidence that they have found a solution at all. However, the fact that they bring different thinking and experiences, can question assumptions and challenge the status quo, means they are far more likely to achieve a more innovative solution.

It feels good to be in a group of people who agree firmly and fast. It is harder to have to navigate unchartered waters with people who think very differently from us. So how can businesses ease that process to encourage the diversity needed to truly innovate?

The first challenge is to understand that diversity is about more than hiring and quotas, and goes beyond the HR department. Every employee can be an advocate for their company, and every employee has a network they can reach. Quotas simply don’t work when the pool in which you fish is already self-selecting, so companies need to find inventive and unexpected ways to bring in candidates.

This is all part of ensuring your employees represent your customers. Consumers are as diverse as our workforce should be, in order to innovate and ideate for them, a point that Lesley Miley took up at Twitter as VP Engineering, the only black engineer in a leadership position at the time, prior to leaving for Slack.

In 2014, Pew Research Center outlined Twitter’s user profile as 27 percent African American, 25 percent Hispanic Americans and 21 percent women. Yet only 3 percent of Engineering and Product employees at Twitter were African American or Hispanic and less than 15 percent were women. Miley argued that if the user base is not represented in the employee base, the product won’t fit the demand.

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) did a study on diversity and innovation and defined two aspects of diversity: inherent (traits you were born with such as gender and ethnicity) and acquired (traits you gain from experience, for instance working with certain demographics and living in other cultures). Two-dimensional (2D) diversity is where leaders of companies exhibit at least three inherent and at least three acquired diversity traits.

The study found that the employees at 2D companies are 70 percent likelier to report that the firm captured a new market. In the fast-moving tech industry, the risk of ignoring new ideas and missing new market opportunities could mean the difference between survival and collapse.

Diversity is a mindset; it takes a concerted effort to drive it through potential reticence, challenges and hurdles. It has to come from the top and encouraged throughout an organization because it takes determination to step outside the day-to-day demands of leading a company to look back in.

In “The View from the Cheap Seats,” Neil Gaiman tells the story of when he was invited to the first ever, state-sponsored science fiction convention in China in 2007. Intrigued, he asked what drove the turnaround in government from disapproving to encouraging Sci-Fi. A party official explained that while China is the best in the world at making phones, gadgets, the ideas for those products, the IP, come from elsewhere. They had toured North America, and asked people at Google, Microsoft, Apple a lot of questions. “We discovered that they all read science fiction when they were teenagers,” he said. “So we think maybe it’s a good thing.”

Whether it’s recruiting beyond our horizons or dreaming beyond our reality, the tech industry needs to think about diversity in the most diverse way possible. Championing diversity won’t be easy, but it will take you into new directions you didn’t expect.

—Ali Merifield is head of client services at Mirum.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

13679: Driving Miss Annie, Part 2.

Annie the Chicken Queen traded in her $5 Boneless Wing Bash ride for a new set of wheels to hype her $5 Flavor Favorites—and she even upgraded with a chauffeur. Guess Morgan Freeman wasn’t available.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

13678: HBCU FU.

Business Insider reported Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was greeted with boos while delivering commencement remarks at Bethune-Cookman University, an HBCU in Florida. Hey, maybe President Donald Trump was nearby at his Mar-a-Lago Club and could have stopped by to calm the crowd, as he’s “always had a great relationship with the Blacks.”

Betsy DeVos just spoke at a historically black university, and the crowd booed so loudly the college president threatened to stop graduation

By Abby Jackson

Betsy DeVos was met with raucous boos as she reached the lectern to deliver her commencement remarks at Bethune-Cookman University on Wednesday.

For nearly the entire time the secretary of education spoke, she was booed, shouted at, and met with calls of “Go home!” from students and audience members.

About two minutes into DeVos’ speech, the university’s president, Edison Jackson, stopped her to address the students disrupting it.

Jackson said degrees would be mailed to students if their behavior continued.

“Choose which way you want to go,” he said.

DeVos restarted her speech, but the threat went unheeded as boos picked up again. DeVos powered on, sticking to prepared remarks. She addressed some of the opposition to her speaking at the historically black university in Daytona Beach, Florida, asking for those critical of her to hear her out and voicing her support for historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs.

“We support you, and we will continue to support you,” she said.

DeVos released a statement after the speech addressing BCU graduates. “I was grateful for the opportunity to speak with and honor the graduates of Bethune-Cookman University…I have respect for all those who attended, including those who demonstrated their disagreement with me,” the statement read.

The weeks leading up to her speech were marked by vocal opposition from students, civil-rights organizations, and Florida education groups, who say she does not understand the history and significance of HBCUs.

On Tuesday, petitions were delivered to university leaders urging them to disinvite DeVos from the commencement ceremony.

“Secretary DeVos has no understanding of the importance, contributions, and significance of HBCUs,” said a petition signed by more than 8,000 people.

Both DeVos and the Trump administration have endeavored to engage HBCUs in conversations about higher education, meeting with leaders of HBCUs and voicing support for their contributions.

But their efforts have been marked by gaffes and uncertainty about the administration’s plans to help better serve the institutions.

After meeting with leaders of HBCUs in February, DeVos ignited controversy with a statement that called HBCUs “real pioneers when it comes to school choice.”

She implied that HBCUs and school vouchers, of which DeVos is a fierce supporter, similarly afforded students better options.

HBCUs “are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality,” she said. “Their success has shown that more options help students flourish.”

She failed to acknowledge that many HBCUs were created because black students could not attend white segregated schools. In other words, they weren’t providing better options — they were the only options for black students.

DeVos later posted a series of tweets clarifying the racist history that necessitated the emergence of HBCUs.

In a statement last week, President Donald Trump seemed to indicate that key funding for HBCUs might be unconstitutional and therefore scrapped. Experts saw his comments as a signal that certain funding for HBCUs was at risk. Trump later pledged his “unwavering support” for the schools.

13677: DDB Diversity Dookie.

A comment left for the previous post on the new DDB Chief People Officer read: “So it is your conclusion that because she is a white woman she necessarily isnt [sic] fit for the role? People are people.”

Wow, that’s a pretty inane inference. But just to clarify, this blog did not conclude new DDB Chief People Officer Britt Hayes’ White woman status necessarily makes her unfit for the role. Hell, it’s difficult to guess what the role even entails.

The appointment did, however, lead this blog to conclude the following:

• DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark is full of shit. Despite all the talk about “staying restless” and her company’s bold “ambition” to promote diversity, the woman habitually hires White people at every unequal opportunity. Clark makes Joe Isuzu look like Jesus.

• Omnicom President-CEO John Wren is full of shit. Despite being named a Pioneer of Diversity, the man continues to dodge accountability on inclusion. Wren makes Tommy Flanagan look like Abraham Lincoln.

• The entire scenario is full of shit. Clark and Wren have already professed their dedication to diverted diversity, pledging support for White women. The Chief People Officer announcement shows a willingness to fabricate fresh positions in order to elevate White women to executive suites. And if Hayes is overseeing diversity initiatives, what the devil is Omnicom SVP Chief Diversity Officer Tiffany R. Warren doing—besides running ADCOLOR? Never mind that Hayes last worked at Grey and JWT, the Sodom and Gomorrah of exclusivity. Additionally, while DDB has embraced the Chief Diversity Officer smokescreen in the past, the company website seems to focus on gender and LGBT in the Inclusion/Diversity section. Wait, there’s more. DDB New York boasts, “So what makes us different? Our people and how we think about your business. Our talent spans the globe and is diverse not only in skill, but in experience and spirit.” In short, DDB puts gender diversity, LGBT diversity, foreigners with visas diversity, diversity of thought, diversity of skill, diversity of experience (code for Old White Guys) and diversity of spirit ahead of racial and ethnic diversity.