Sunday, December 17, 2017

13942: Sherpas For Hire.

The Drum reported former 4As President and CEO Nancy Hill is launching a consultancy—Media Sherpas—to advise companies and “help grow their businesses by simplifying the commercial content experience through a ‘focused and deliberate practice for each aspect of the communication ecosystem.’” Well, Hill certainly has keen expertise on the industry’s inane jargon. (BTW, there’s already a company out there called MediaSherpa, so Hill might need some consultation on copyright considerations.) The consultancy also offers assistance on “talent development initiatives including diversity and inclusion.” Okay, but it’s unclear how Hill might help in that area, given her difficulty achieving anything of meaningful or measurable value when running the premier trade association. Her skills as a Chief Diversity Officer were no more effective than, well, any other Chief Diversity Officer in the field.

Former 4A’s president and chief executive Nancy Hill launches consultancy

By Bennett Bennett

Previous 4As president and chief executive officer Nancy Hill has announced the opening of her new consultancy, Media Sherpas.

The goal of Hill’s new endeavor is to “help brands, agencies and others within the media landscape connect, explore and collaborate.” Media Sherpas looks to be an advisor to companies and help grow their businesses by simplifying the commercial content experience through a “focused and deliberate practice for each aspect of the communication ecosystem.”

“I consider myself a personal trainer for businesses, in the sense that I strive to bring out the best in everyone I work with,” said Hill. “My current clients and the companies I’m looking to partner with are ones who understand the need for objectivity and have a strong entrepreneurial spirit.”

The range of offerings within Media Sherpas include consulting on operations and financials, defining and promoting company culture and values, identifying revenue growth opportunities, and talent development initiatives including diversity and inclusion.

The first of the Media Sherpa practices is Agency Sherpa, which assists in meeting the needs of agencies. Cleveland-based Marcus Thomas and its 170 employees will be among the company’s first clients.

Jim Nash, Marcus Thomas’ managing partner said: “Nancy’s experience overseeing the 4A’s gives her a unique perspective on the challenges agencies face and the path to success and we’re looking forward to partnering with her in her new venture.”

Hill will assist the Marcus Thomas leadership team with strategic planning and a range of other initiatives.

“It’s important for our industry that agencies and brands across the board operate at their fullest potential, “ Hill said. “And I want to guide them to reach that potential by sharing some of the best practices I’ve established throughout my career.”

13941: This Is What Hacks Made.

The Honey Bunches of Oats Lady is bragging, “This is what I made!” That’s something the responsible creative team should never proudly utter in reference to the commercial.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

13940: McCann’s Mata Hari…?

Adweek felt like AgencySpy with the latest report involving McCann and the U.S. Army account under review. After being eliminated from competing, receiving a 12-month extension and winning a formal protest over the elimination, McCann is now being accused of compromising the review process. According to an email anonymously sent to WPP and Omnicom executives by staffers at the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army marketing director and a female McCann employee were engaged in an intimate relationship. The email writers insisted the romantic connection “shows a clear and present advantage and access to potentially critical information that could be used in the [McCann Worldgroup] proposal.” McCann stated the employee resigned in October—which was shortly after the White advertising agency succeeded in getting back into the review. Hey, will McCann submit an official and formal explanation to the U.S. Army? Heaven forbid the White advertising agency might deliver truth well told in this scenario. To sensationalize the scenario, Adweek even published a photo of the conspiring couple (depicted above).

$4 Billion U.S. Army Review Has Been ‘Compromised,’ Sources Claim

Army marketing director removed over alleged relationship with McCann staffer

By Patrick Coffee

The competitive review for the U.S. Army’s lucrative advertising contract has been irreparably compromised, according to an email written by concerned employees within the Department of Defense. Adweek has acquired a copy of the message, which the workers sent anonymously to WPP and Omnicom executives last week.

Those holding companies are currently competing against incumbent McCann for the Army account, which involves up to $4 billion in taxpayer-funded spending over 10 years, by the Department of Defense’s estimates. McCann has been the Army’s agency of record since 2005.

According to the email, a personal relationship between James Ortiz, director of marketing at the Army Marketing and Research Group, and a former McCann executive “shows a conflict of interest on both parties.” The authors also wrote that the situation “shows a clear and present advantage and access to potentially critical information that could be used in the [McCann Worldgroup] proposal.”

“As a bidder, your company should be granted the same access to information that all the other bidders are granted. Unfortunately, this is not the case when it comes to the incumbent agency McCann Worldgroup,” the email continued.

An Army spokesperson confirmed today that Ortiz has been removed from his position and reassigned pending the results of an internal investigation.

“Recently, Army Marketing and Research Group leadership was made aware of allegations of possible inappropriate conduct between a member of the AMRG staff and a defense contractor,” said the organization’s director of public affairs Alison Bettencourt. “Upon learning of these allegations, the employee was removed from all duties associated with the contract and temporarily reassigned within the organization. Appropriate authorities are aware of the allegations and an investigation into the matter is ongoing.”

James Ortiz could not be reached for comment.

The email sent to the holding companies included a link to a YouTube channel consisting of two videos. The videos, which Adweek reviewed, appear to show the two individuals in question kissing, holding hands and embracing during what Department of Defense sources described as a concert in Alexandria, Va., on Oct. 4, the same day as a strategy meeting between members of the McCann and Army teams.

Below is a photo of the scene provided by the sources. Adweek has identified the venue as The Birchmere in Alexandria.

A McCann spokesperson told Adweek that the employee in question resigned in October. He declined to comment on the review or the agency’s ongoing relationship with the U.S. Army.

The email, which bore the pseudonym “Janet Smith,” appeared intent on flagging McCann’s competitors about the potential for bias.

“As a bidder on this request for bid,” the email said, “you are completely within your right to file a protest to this process and insist that the McCann proposal be removed from consideration based on conflict of interest and unfair access to the U.S. Army that is not extended to the other bidders.”

Representatives for WPP and Omnicom did not respond to requests for comment regarding the message.

Army shakeup

The email also claimed that unnamed employees of McCann and the Army Marketing and Research Group “conducted a high-level meeting during the re-compete process” and that “according to the notes of that meeting,” the two parties shared information regarding the Army’s recruiting strategy “that would give unfair competitive advantage and favoritism to the incumbent vendor.”

The U.S. government’s official Guide for the Government-Contractor Relationship recommends that public employees not allow “special treatment” to affect their dealings with contractors, noting that “unduly close personal relationships with contractor personnel can create the appearance of favoritism, and may call into question the integrity of the procurement process.”

“It is clear that the process is corrupted and stacked against competing bidders—it is your right to correct it,” the email read before listing an official Pentagon complaint line and concluding, “NOTE: A similar email was sent to the holding company of the other ad agency who bid on this contract at the same time this was sent to you.”

Friday, December 15, 2017

13939: Publicis Pile Of One.

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

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

‘Power of One’ approach continues apace

By Patrick Coffee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 14, 2017

13938: XXXL Big Idea.

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

13937: Unlimited Exclusivity.

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

MCDONALD’S DEDICATED AGENCY WE ARE UNLIMITED BRINGS IN NEW CEO

By Lindsay Stein and Jessica Wohl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

13936: WPP CFO FYI.

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

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

Stacey Ryan-Cornelius spent 19 years with the agency

By Patrick Coffee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13935: 15 Minutes Of Infamy.

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

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

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

Agency veteran Kristen Cavallo takes over for Matt Williams

By Patrick Coffee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

13934: Cookies For Gender Equality.

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

13933: Delayed WTF 38—ADCOLOR® At 11.

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

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

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

:::

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Patrick Coffee

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating individual and industry-wide milestones

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

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

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

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

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

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

Major goals remain unmet

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tech moves in on promising talent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 11, 2017

13932: The Savage Truth.

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

Terry Savage to leave Cannes Lions after 33 years

By Robert Sawatzky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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