Wednesday, September 20, 2017

13832: Burrell Breaks Barriers.

Adweek reported Tom Burrell became the one Black in The One Club Creative Hall of Fame. Kudos to Burrell, but surely there are other worthy Blacks—including Georg Olden, Roy Eaton and Harry Webber—who also deserve recognition in the exclusive club.

Tom Burrell Becomes First African-American Inducted Into One Club Creative Hall of Fame

He founded Burrell Communications Group in 1971

By Erik Oster

Burrell Communications Group founder Tom Burrell, who has been breaking barriers his entire career, has added yet another one to the list.

The One Club inducted Burrell into its Creative Hall of Fame, making him the first African-American to receive the honor, which dates back to Leo Burnett’s inaugural induction in 1961. Burrell was inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame back in 2004.

A pioneer in recognizing and celebrating the purchasing power of the African-American community, Burrell coined the phrase “Black people are not dark-skinned white people.” His advertisements for Coca-Cola are archived at the Library of Congress, recognized for their cultural and historical significance.

Tom Burrell began his career in the mailroom at Wade Advertising while still at Roosevelt University. The agency’s first black employee, he soon earned himself a junior copywriting position, working on the agency’s Alka-Seltzer and Robin Hood All-Purpose Flour accounts, according to the Advertising Hall of Fame. He went on to work at several agencies, including Leo Burnett and FCB, before founding Burrell Communications Group in 1971.

He retired in 2004 and currently serves as chairman emeritus for the agency, which is now led by co-CEOs Fay Ferguson and McGhee Williams Osse and CCO Lewis Williams. Burrell Communications Group currently counts McDonald’s, P&G, Comcast, Walmart, Toyota Motor Sales Inc., AARP and Hilton among its client roster.

In addition to his work in advertising, Burrell is the author of Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority and founded nonprofit The Resolution Project to “challenge and reverse ongoing mass media stereotypes and negative race-based conditioning.”

13831: Dancing For Diversity…?

The latest Google Doodle celebrates the 100th birthday of Mexican dance pioneer Amalia Hernández Navarro, and presumably also salutes Hispanic Heritage Month. Would Hernández Navarro dance with joy to learn Latinos represent a paltry 4% of Google’s current workforce?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

13830: Targeting Racists Is Easy!

Advertising Age reported it’s possible to target advertising messages to racists. Is this news? Is anyone surprised that an industry featuring lots of people exhibiting unconscious bias—as well as conscious bias—would have any trouble connecting with like-minded bigots? However, Ad Age insisted, “But it also turns out advertisers aren’t all that interested in deliberately reaching anti-Semites.” Maybe not, but advertisers are interested in deliberately conspiring with White advertising agencies where diversity remains a dream deferred, diverted, delegated and denied.

Turns Out, Brands Can Target Ads To Racists. But Would They?

By Garett Sloane

Turns out the ability to target specific bigotries is more widespread than first thought. But it also turns out advertisers aren’t all that interested in deliberately reaching anti-Semites.

On Friday, two more media outlets uncovered the ability for advertisers to target groups of people based on racist interests, this time on Google and Twitter. Racist-inspired ad targeting had first been discovered on Facebook on Thursday by investigative journalist group ProPublica.

Internet outrage aside, most advertisers are not surprised by this darker side of ad targeting. While ugly, targeting racists isn’t as much of a risk for brands as having their ads show up on racist websites through automated media buying, which is the typical brand safety concern with online ads.

“In theory, anyone could hack ad targeting tools on Facebook, but why would you unless you’re a Trump alt-right type,” asks one digital agency exec, speaking on condition of anonymity, because of the sensitivity of the subject. “Anyone could reverse engineer what racists are interested in. Like if they were interested in, say, Breitbart or some other publication, you could then target lookalike audiences. There are all sorts of crude tools to target them.”

Another agency exec discussed how those same ad targeting tools can also be used for good. In one instance, YouTube is able to identify young people who are prone to radicalization and customize the videos they see to offer content that could help discourage their violent tendencies.

YouTube has developed ad campaigns that target these types of youth, who are deemed to be at-risk of joining groups like ISIS.

“Think about how much is uploaded to YouTube every day,” the agency exec said. “The fact that it can flag as much as it does, is amazing. And anything can be used for evil.”

On Thursday, ProPublica had found areas in Facebook’s self-serve ad system where it could find groups of people based on their education history, and in more than 2,000 examples people on the social network had listed anti-Semitic terms as their fields of study. People had listed “Jew hater,” “how to burn Jews” and other offensive language, and they were able to be discovered in the ad system, and they were made available for targeting. Facebook said it was taking steps to shut down the ability to target against such offensive terms.

BuzzFeed and The Daily Beast found similar flaws in Google and Twitter’s ad platforms. On Google, there were racist search terms available for targeting—“black people ruin everything” and “Jews control the media,” among a number of others, according to BuzzFeed. Twitter had similar categories available, according to The Daily Beast.

The targeting loopholes weren’t a big concern to most advertisers, because they say they wouldn’t use them, however the issue does expose more problems with automated online advertising. Leaving machines to do much of the work, and with artificial intelligence taking over more of the thinking, there are more opportunities for these types of embarrassing mishaps.

“The lesson here for Facebook is this: People are crass, stupid, and sometimes evil,” says a social media agency executive. “Don’t automate anything without some level of human oversight or guardrails in place. Machines aren’t perfect.”

Monday, September 18, 2017

13829: Beam Diversity Up, Scotti.

Adweek reported on the dubious progress revealed by Verizon CMO Diego Scotti, who had mimicked HP CMO Antonio Lucio’s request for White advertising agencies to primarily promote White women and secondarily consider colored people. Sure enough, the fuzzy figures exposed by Scotti showed a big boost for White women and questionable results for people of color. When asked why he didn’t force quotas on his White ad shops, Scotti explained, “We don’t really believe in quotas, we believe in progress.” Okay, but how does one measure—and ultimately judge—progress if specific numbers aren’t applied to the equation? Scotti then segued to hyping his company’s latest diversity scheme, which involves an internship program for colored college students. Wow, that’s original. When discussing diversity, Scotti admitted, “This is not an easy thing to solve, so for me I never expected to have crazy results quickly, but I learned a few things that are important.” Whatever. But everyone should learn one thing that is important: High-tech companies like Verizon and HP are diversity dinosaurs—and these companies have maxed their quotas for conspiring with White advertising agencies.

One Year After Calling on Agency Partners to Be More Diverse, Verizon CMO Shares the Results

Diego Scotti on new hires and Verizon’s Ad Fellows program, which kicks off today

By Katie Richards

One year ago, Verizon CMO Diego Scotti sent a letter to all of the brand’s agency partners. In that letter, Scotti called on each of the 11 agencies on the Verizon roster to focus on improving the number of women and people of color working for them.

Scotti’s letter came around the same time that HP and General Mills put out similar demands, laying out quotas for their agency partners to reach. Verizon didn’t ask for agencies to meet a certain quota because as Scotti explained, “we don’t really believe in quotas, we believe in progress.” Instead he asked that all of the agencies share the current state of their workforce 30 days after the letter was sent out and deliver an action plan to improve upon those numbers in the future.

“Now we meet every quarter with all the agencies together, and everybody needs to report their progress in front of everybody else, which in and of itself is changing the dynamic of how we are having this conversation,” Scotti explained. It holds everyone accountable.

Now one year after making that call to action, Scotti shared how both Verizon and its partners are doing on the diversity and gender front.

At the agencies, 31 percent of employees at the leadership level are people of color, up nine percent from last year. Eleven percent of those in leadership positions are hispanic, up 5 percent; 51 percent are female, up 3 percent.

“This is not an easy thing to solve, so for me I never expected to have crazy results quickly, but I learned a few things that are important,” Scotti said. One of those important lessons Scotti learned came from starting an in-house agency that launched in February.

There are already 70 people working on Verizon’s in-house team and the staff is split, 50 percent white and 50 percent people of color. Additionally, 52 percent of the staff is female and 48 percent is male.

“The number one lesson is when you build something from scratch and you put the filter of diversity in it, you can do it,” he said. “If you create the right environment, then you can do it.”

Looking specifically at new hires, 210 employees have been hired in the past year to work on the Verizon account across agencies; 41 percent of the hires were people of color and 53 percent were women.

Creating an in-house agency and focusing on improving agency and internal diversity numbers was the first prong in Scotti’s diversity-focused approach for Verizon. Another prong is the Ad Fellows program, which officially kicks off today.

The Ad Fellows program selects 20 college graduates from across the country, all with diverse backgrounds, to participate in an eight-month fellowship program. Scotti hopes that at the end of the program, 90 percent of the fellows will score full-time jobs at one of the six companies participating in Ad Fellows.

What makes Ad Fellows different than your typical fellowship, though, is that Verizon tapped five of its agency partners—McCann, Momentum, Rauxa, Zenith and Weber Shandwick—to participate in the program.

Over the course of eight months, the 20 fellows will be split into smaller groups and rotate between Verizon and a handful of the participating agencies (which cover creative, media and PR). That way the recent graduates have a chance to explore different parts of the marketing and advertising business and find out what it is they want to do with their career and what parts of the business they excel in.

The program is fully paid and covers housing and expenses for all 20 fellows to ensure that people of all backgrounds can have the chance to participate.

While the program just kicked off today, Scotti already has big plans for its future. Outside of holding more cycles each year, Scotti hopes that the idea of an Ad Fellows program can extend beyond Verizon. He hopes one day that, “every company in America has an Ad Fellows program and they gather agencies to work with them. I would love to partner with the ANA or The Ad Club or some organization that could help bring other clients to partner with the ad agencies and make it a really big thing.”

Sunday, September 17, 2017

13828: Stock Schlock.

Leave it to stock image suppliers to invite you to “Elevate Your Work With Powerful Images”—via banner ads featuring thoroughly mediocre and forgettable images.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

13827: Googling Diverted Diversity.

Campaign reported Google is being slapped with accusations of gender discrimination in a U.S. lawsuit—ultimately proving the power of diverted diversity. After all, the tech company admits that women account for only 31% of the workforce; however, Latinos represent 4% and Blacks represent 2%. So where’s the lawsuit for people of color? Sorry, racial and ethnic minorities, but you’ll have to get in line behind all the angry White women.

Google accused of sex discrimination in US lawsuit

Google is being sued by three female former employees, who are claiming that it discriminates against women, paying them less and favouring men for promotion.

By Ben Bold

The three women have filed a lawsuit that claims that the technology giant while aware of the situation has done nothing to remedy it.

The suit has been filed in a San Francisco court; it argues that Google discriminates against female staff with lower pay and limited opportunities for promotion compared with men.

One of the trio, Kelly Ellis, a former Google software engineer, tweeted that she hoped to “force not only Google, but other companies to change their practices”.

Ellis joined Google in 2010 and despite her four years’ experience was given a role typically given to graduates. A male colleague with a similar level of experience was given a higher-ranking role, she said. She resigned four years later due to the “sexist culture”.

The plaintiffs are seeking class-action that would cover women who had worked at the company in the past four years, demanding unpaid wages.

Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano said in a statement: “Job levels and promotions are determined through rigorous hiring and promotion committees, and must pass multiple levels of review, including checks to make sure there is no gender bias in these decisions.

The majority (70%) of Google staff are men, with 80% of tech staff male and 75% of leadership positions.

The news follows a row that broke out last month at Google over an engineer’s memo criticizing its diversity initiatives, arguing that “psychological differences” explain why women are underrepresented in tech.

The 10-page memo, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” argued that “we need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism”.

Google is also under investigation by the US Department of Labor over its pay practices.

Friday, September 15, 2017

13826: WPPoop.

Adweek reported WPP is merging five shitty consultancies and design agencies to form a global pile of poop. Of course, blending shops from different countries will allow WPP to continue peddling the lie that it represents “the most diverse example of diversity of any single organisation.” Now, that’s a monumental bunch of bullshit.

WPP Is Merging 5 Consultancies and Design Agencies to Form a New Global Brand Offering

The unnamed agency will launch in January

By Erik Oster

WPP announced this week that it will combine five of its brand consultancies and design agencies to form a new global brand agency.

The new group, which has yet to be named, will combine Brand Union, The Partners, Lambie-Nairn, Addison Group and VBAT. The launch is set for January 2018, with the latter shop continuing to operate under its own name.

The network will include around 750 employees across 20 countries, with client billings estimated at over $100 million worldwide. Jim Prior will lead the network as the global CEO and Simon Bolton will serve as executive chairman. Prior currently serves as The Partners CEO, while Bolton serves as Brand Union’s worldwide CEO.

“Our clients and our industry are ready for change and by bringing these agencies together, we can serve clients across the full range of sectors, capabilities and geographies,” Prior said in a statement. “This convergence builds the next generation brand agency and is motivated by the opportunities for growth—for our clients and for us.”

“Bringing our agencies together will instantly give our clients the benefit of scale and single point of access to a breadth of services that covers almost every aspect of brand and communications,” Bolton added.

WPP’s decision to merge the entities seems to be keeping with reorganization trends at the holding company as it attempts to rebound from a disappointing first half of 2017. Despite some major account wins, WPP failed to meet first half revenue goals in August and saw its stock plummet as a result. That stemmed largely from U.S. clients reducing ad spending totals, but it placed additional pressure on CEO Martin Sorrell to reduce overall operating expenses to increase the network’s efficiency, but some observers called for a more radical reorganization at the holding company.

“The pressures that we’re seeing accelerate the need to simplify what we’ve got,” Sorrell said at the time.

“The brand consulting business has always struggled to achieve the critical mass that ad agencies and media agencies have achieved. WPP’s hands were tied on this to some extent as they continue to push for efficiencies and scale,” Greg Paull, founding principal of international consultancy R3, said.

The pending formation of the new global brand agency also follows on the heels of WPP announcing the merger of MEC and Maxus to form a new global media network earlier this year as part of its ongoing reorganization.

Like the newest offering, that one went without a name for several weeks before the holding group introduced the world to Wavemaker last month.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

13825: Enter The Little Dragon.

Advertising Age reported China loves hip hop too.

Rapper’s Delight: China’s Hip-Hop Talent Showcase Boosts Brands

By Angela Doland

A rapper named Little Dragon struts across a stage, baseball cap slung low on his forehead. The camera cuts to glistening McDonald’s chicken wings, and Little Dragon plugs the product in a rap couplet—in Mandarin. “Hip-hop snack box/share it and it’s better.”

Welcome to “The Rap of China,” a new singing contest and a major vehicle for sponsorships and product placements. It’s also the first rap talent show in a country not known as a thriving hotbed of hip-hop culture. More: It’s a massive hit. The online video platform that shows it, iQiyi, says there have been over 2 billion combined views in 10 episodes of the show, in which Chinese rappers in huge gold chains and slouchy sweats try to outdo each other.

It’s a success with sponsors too, including local brands Nongfu Spring water and Xiaomi electronics, as well as Absolut vodka, Chevrolet Camaro and McDonald’s. As is standard in China, sponsor content and product placements are a huge part of the show, and nobody is surprised to see a supposed rebel rapping about the pleasure of sharing McDonald’s snack boxes.

Big investment, big payback

Doing a rap show “was kind of a gamble—before it actually started, nobody knew what would happen,” says Kevin Cao, iQiyi’s commercial marketing director. “We put a lot of time and resources into it, investing more than $30 million.” The program has more than made that back, taking in almost $46 million in ads and sponsorships.

One reason for its success is that mainstream stars appear too. Heartthrob Kris Wu, an actor-singer and former boy band member, is a celebrity mentor for the rappers, and though people online mocked his hip-hop credentials, he draws huge audiences. His catchphrase “Can you freestyle?” became a meme that publicized the show all over China’s internet.

Until now, rap had been more subculture in China than mainstream, but nonetheless attracted government attention. In 2015, the Ministry of Culture blacklisted 120 songs, including hip-hop tunes, because of their subject matter (from flatulence to suicide). But the Communist Party apparently doesn’t object to rap music itself, since the state broadcaster put it in a propaganda video in 2015. That song sampled speeches by President Xi Jinping and included lyrics like “Reform the supply side and upgrade the economy.”

Online TV boom

IQiyi, part of Chinese search giant Baidu, originally planned to hold a mainstream singing contest, a common form of TV entertainment in China, and had collected $46 million from sponsors to do so, Cao says. When iQiyi scrapped that project to go the rap route, it returned the $46 million and started over.

China has 751 million people online, according to official statistics, and online TV has been stealing ad dollars away from traditional TV in China as it has elsewhere. Each of the local internet giants owns a big video platform: Baidu has iQiyi, Tencent Holdings has Tencent Video and Alibaba Group Holding owns Youku Tudou. Most of the programming is free to watch, though people who buy subscriptions for a few dollars a month get extra content and see fewer ads. With so many people skipping interruptive ads now, more branded content is being built into the shows, from song lyrics to branded “stickers” dancing across the screens.

Chinese brands, more than multinationals, have embraced the zany sponsorship opportunities as they tend to be more experimental with their marketing. But foreign brands seemed to grasp the potential of rap on the mainland. Ruey Ku, Publicis media content general manager in greater China, says she believes “foreign brands saw the high relevance of hip-hop culture with the youth they’re targeting.”

McDonald’s and Absolut were among three sponsors that came on board before shooting started, iQiyi says. Some sponsors joined afterward. McDonald’s, the second-biggest sponsor, went all in; it tapped Wu to appear in commercials, and it has a snack box to match.

The show’s top sponsorship cost $18 million and went to Chinese water brand Nongfu Spring, the name of which is emblazoned on the show’s logo. That’s at the high end for sponsorships of online TV but still affordable compared with traditional or satellite TV, where prices for a top show can run four times that.

Merchandise is another potential revenue stream. IQiyi created a brand called R!ch for the show, including big golden chain necklaces that feature in the contest. They’re on sale on iQiyi’s online shopping mall for $14 each. The company is also working on licensing deals with other brands.

But one of the biggest beneficiaries of the show has undoubtedly been the New York clothing brand Supreme, which Wu, the show’s star, wears. On search engine Baidu, queries about Supreme are up about 170% this summer compared with the same period last year, according to Kantar Media CIC. That’s just a stroke of luck for the Supreme brand: IQiyi says it’s not a product placement.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

13824: Conservative Crybabies.

Advertising Age published a Bloomberg News story about how conservatives in the tech industry feel “more isolated than ever”—especially after the backlash inspired by former Google employee James Damore’s notorious rant. The career-based isolationists should connect with Carl Warner for a tech-advertising pity party. It’s interesting that two fields where exclusivity is a major problem also allegedly discriminate against conservatives. Hell, it’s quite probable that each industry features a strong representation of culturally clueless conservative people at all levels. If these conservatives feel marginalized, well, they’ll have to get in line—plus, realize they still receive far more privileges than the average person of color.

Conservatives in Tech Say They’re More Isolated Than Ever

Shashi Ramchandani, who manages a team of engineers at Google, has never been shy about being a conservative working in Silicon Valley. He showed coworkers emails he exchanged with Ivanka Trump after he mailed her photos he took at the Republican convention, and on election night, he texted colleagues snapshots from the floor of Trump’s victory party in New York City. “They saw me first as a Googler, then as a conservative,” Ramchandani says.

In his 14 years at the company, he says he hasn’t felt like he had to keep his mouth shut—until last month when Google fired an engineer who penned a memo saying biological differences partly explain why more men work in tech than women.

Politics often don’t mix easily at work, but it’s particularly fraught in tech, where free thinking is prized yet the workforce is predominantly liberal. Now, as President Trump stirs up the culture wars at the same time as Silicon Valley faces a backlash for being so white and so male, conservatives in tech have their guards up like never before.

Ramchandani, whose parents came to the U.S. from India, wasn’t a fan of the memo. He particularly objected to its assumption that Google’s hiring favors women and minorities, which ran counter to his experience as a hiring manager. But he was also “extremely disappointed” Google fired the engineer. Ramchandani felt, for the first time, that he had to reconcile his love of Google with his conservative support for free speech and distaste for bureaucracy.

Ousted

Tech has seen ousters for unpopular political or cultural views before, like when the chief technology officer at Business Insider was forced out in 2013 over old racist and homophobic tweets, and the next year when the CEO of Mozilla stepped down after facing criticism for a $1,000 donation he’d made to a group that opposed gay marriage. But those were executives. The Google memo, which exposed a rank-and-file engineer exposed in a public way, hit closer to home for many conservatives, who say the current environment is more hostile than ever before. “Before it was, ‘I don’t agree with you,’ but now it has evolved into this new thing that is much more aggressive, ‘don’t even say something that is counter to what I believe,’” says Aaron Ginn, co-founder of Lincoln Network, which looks to connect conservative techies with government and political work.

Some fear losing their jobs while others worry they’ll be ostracized by colleagues. (That’s in a sector where 76% of technical jobs are held by men, and blacks and Latinos make up only 5% of the workforce.) Adding to the stress is Silicon Valley’s penchant for open floor plans, which make it hard to tune out an officemate on a rant, and the way companies encourage workers to socialize and bring their whole selves to their job. Several tech workers say they don’t post about politics on Facebook, where they’re friends with many coworkers. “My wife is very paranoid about me sharing my opinion, even on private WhatsApp groups with my friends,” said a former Amazon engineer who now works at Oracle. Most employees who spoke asked not to be identified because they worried about their job security.

An engineer at Microsoft first realized just how in the minority his political views were back in 2004, when George W. Bush was up for re-election. At lunch one day, his coworkers one by one slammed the Republican candidate. The engineer, just a few years out of college, recalls saying, “I’m probably going to vote for him.” He wasn’t prepared for the response. “They says, ‘You stupid person. How can you think about that?’” Things got so heated, he says, his manager sent a memo to his 100-person team, that said, in essence, “Hey, cool it. We have engineering tasks we have to focus on.”

Affecting the product

As contentious as 2004 may have been, it’s nothing compared to the polarizing election and presidency of Trump. The Microsoft engineer says now it’s even harder to have a productive political conversation, as colleagues lump him with a president whom he said doesn’t represent his conservative values, threatening the ability to do his job well. “Thirty years ago, there was somebody in their garage doing something amazing,” he says. “Now these projects have thousands of people on them. People have to work with you and like you. If you get labeled as a bad person because you voted the wrong way and start getting ostracized, it will impede on your job because most people can’t flip modes. They can’t have a heated political debate with you and then flip modes and have a heated technical debate with you.”

Google’s office felt like a funeral the day after Trump was elected, according to an employee who describes himself as libertarian. “A lot of people didn’t come,” he says. “The people who did were very quiet, almost like their aunt died.”

This Google employee believes the now infamous memo was relatively well-reasoned and that Silicon Valley’s diversity initiatives ignore data that conflict with their ideology. He’s regularly reminded of what he refers to as the company’s “social justice agenda,” like when he gets corporate email touting a donation to a non-profit that supports minorities, or hears an executive talk about hoping to have half of his leadership team be female, which he believes shows the company prioritizes some groups over others. He worries that the company is under pressure to reach 50-50 gender equity too fast, and it will impede the promotion opportunities for men. “Just do the math,” he says.

The Oracle engineer says the bro culture in tech is real and knows of female colleagues who face sexism, but with women making up fewer than a fifth of computer science graduates, the goal of reaching anything close to a 50-50 split feels “misguided” in the near term. “Some people are better than others, and when I work with a woman who is below average, I always have a thought that maybe she is a diversity hire, and I don’t think that’s healthy,” he says. He bristles slightly when he hears about female colleagues being heavily recruited by top firms.

Some confide in colleagues they consider friends. One liberal Google product manager says a conservative teammate who used to work at Goldman Sachs told him the environment now reminds him of his time in banking during the Occupy Wall Street protests, when he tried to lay low.

Ramchandani, who said he’s fiscally conservative but socially liberal, says the pressure on conservatives is “less of a Google thing than a Silicon Valley thing.” In the suburban Bay Area at large, he says, “I had more trouble coming out as a conservative than I did with my race or orientation or any other minority status.” He believes Google should recognize his fellow conservatives more but is nervous that conservatives are becoming more polarized themselves in recent weeks. He says on internal Google employee email groups for conservatives, he notices “a few loud voices” stoking an “us versus them” mentality, for example contemplating legal action against the company. “I found that distasteful because it’s biting the hand that feeds you,” he says. “We are here to do a job, not expound political values.”

The Oracle engineer, like some others, have opted to lay low during this tense time. “Work is work, and not everything needs to be about politics,” he says. While he sees liberal colleagues who sit nearby don’t seemingly need to filter their comments, he’s decided it’s not worth engaging, adding “I don’t want to be known as that guy who wants to argue with everybody.”

—Bloomberg News

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

13823: Talk To The Hand, #AWNewYork.

Not sure what the hell this banner is trying to say about the 2017 Advertising Week scheduled for September 25-29 in New York City. Actually, the banner—along with the website—says Madison Avenue still has a long way to go in terms of understanding digital. Maybe all the hands are hinting at the smorgasbord of events, which include plenty of diverted diversity diversions promoting the White women’s bandwagon and a single seminar titled, “CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion.” Gee, what an oxymoron. It’s like holding a get-together headlined, “KKK for Black Lives Matter.”

Monday, September 11, 2017

13822: White Girls Rule!

A MultiCultClassics visitor pointed to a MediaPost story spotlighting research from COMvergence that shows how White advertising agencies have appointed 195 new leaders over the past 16-18 months. The report appears to provide categorized breakdowns indicating the promotion of White women, but ignores racial and ethnic minorities. While White holding companies like Omnicom have steadfastly refused to publicize EEO-1 data, Omnicom President-CEO and Diverted Diversity Pioneer John Wren vowed to double the number of female creative leaders at BBDO in one year. In other words, Wren won’t share figures for racial and ethnic hiring, but he’ll put an exact quota on gender boosting—and the COMvergence report signals the female totals are being actively and openly revealed. Chip in HP CMO Antonio Lucio’s promise to expose his White advertising agencies’ success in accelerating the White women’s bandwagon, and it’s clear that gender diversity has leapfrogged true diversity. What’s more, advocating for White women has become the smokescreen du jour, deflecting attention from the exclusivity that has forever tainted the industry.

Report: U.S. Creative Agencies Appointed 195 To Leadership Roles In Last 16 Months

By Steve McClellan

New research from agency research firm COMVergence has found that over the last 18 months, major creative agencies in the U.S. have appointed 195 new leaders, of which 130 were recruited from the outside and 65 were promoted from within.

By gender, 120 of the newly appointed leaders were men and 75 were women.

The research defines leaders as among 10 key titles comprising the typical agency leadership team. However, similar titles are assigned the same title code (i.e., President, Chairman, Founder, Partner, Managing Director and General Director are assigned to CEO.)

Most of the appointed executive creative directors and chief creative officers were men.

However, nearly half of the 45 reported CEO/MD/Chairman appointments were women.

The report found that among the top 25 U.S. creative agencies FCB, Deutsch and Grey were the most aggressive leadership team recruiters during the 18-month period covered by the research (January 2016 to June 2017). Combined, those agencies accounted for 25% of the recruited leaders.

FCB, DDB and Droga5 were found to be the top women leadership team recruiters, while Havas and Leo Burnett were the top promoters of women to leadership positions.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

13821: Omnicom “Wins” Pepsi.

Adweek reported Pepsi handed its U.S. creative account to Goodby Silverstein & Partners, following an exclusive shootout between White advertising agencies in the Omnicom empire. “We are pleased to add Goodby Silverstein & Partners to our diverse roster of creative agencies across our beverage business in the U.S.,” gushed PepsiCo CMO of North American Beverages Division Greg Lyons. “We look forward to working with Goodby and continuing our longstanding partnership with Omnicom through the addition of another one of its agencies.” At this point, is there an Omnicom shop that hasn’t worked for PepsiCo? It’s a wonder that GS&P managed to best Fathom Communications and Zimmerman Advertising for the business.

Goodby Silverstein & Partners Wins Lead U.S. Creative Duties on Pepsi After Closed Omnicom Review

Work will span beverage division

By Patrick Coffee

PepsiCo has concluded a review launched earlier this summer by naming Goodby Silverstein & Partners as the newest member of its creative agency roster.

The food and beverage giant announced in June that it had called upon a lineup of Omnicom-only agencies to pitch for creative responsibilities on its flagship brand and others across its multibillion dollar beverage business. The news marks another development in a relationship that has lasted more than 60 years.

“We are pleased to add Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to our diverse roster of creative agencies across our beverage business in the U.S.,” said Greg Lyons, CMO of PepsiCo’s North American beverages division. “We look forward to working with Goodby and continuing our longstanding partnership with Omnicom through the addition of another one of its agencies.”

“We’re thrilled to work with one of the most iconic brands in the world,” said GS&P partner and chief creative officer Margaret Johnson. “Throughout the pitch, we had an instant connection with the Pepsi team, and we’re looking forward to having a partner with a shared vision and a desire for innovation.” Co-founder and chairman Jeff Goodby added, “We had fun. And I trust fun.”

It is unclear which other agencies were involved in the review, though BBDO and TBWA\Chiat\Day have recently worked on the business and two parties close to the matter indicated that 180LA also pitched. The larger company has partnered with Omnicom since 1960, when BBDO first won the Pepsi brand business, and it made several smaller changes through the decades before consolidating all creative work with the holding group in 2001. Omnicom later developed a dedicated unit called Galaxy that assembled cross-agency teams to work on the account.

A Pepsi spokesperson told Adweek today that the company’s agency lineup will not change beyond the addition of GS&P and declined to elaborate on the remit. One party close to the matter did indicate that the San Francisco shop will be lead agency for the main Pepsi brand and that its assignments may change or expand.

GS&P has recently worked on campaigns for several products within PepsiCo’s non-beverage Frito-Lay division including, most prominently, Tostito’s, Cheetos and Doritos.

Beyond Omnicom, Pepsi also collaborated with other agencies such as independent shop Mekanism, which will remain on its roster for now.

PepsiCo remains one of America’s biggest advertisers, and the beverage division represents its largest spend. According to the latest numbers from Kantar Media, the company spent $527 million promoting its beverages in 2016 and just under $100 million in the first quarter of 2017.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

13820: The 4% Conference…?

Adweek published digital diverted diversity drivel from Women in Digital Founder and Executive Director Alaina Shearer, whose Annual Women in Digital Conference will reserve only 4% of tickets for men to spotlight the percentage of women CEOs at Fortune 500 companies (a figure which has actually jumped to 6.4% since Shearer and her crew started planning the event). Somebody buy a ticket for Kevin Roberts already. James Damore too. White Women’s Bandwagon Passenger Nate Rogers—the first man to buy a ticket—delivered more drivel by declaring, “Don’t assume this is only a women’s issue. It’s a human issue, and guys need to take advantage of the opportunity to show their support. I understand some men may feel awkward being in the minority, but you don’t gain empathy and learn if you don’t feel awkward sometimes…and wake up bro, if you think it’s society’s fault and not your fault—you are society. Jump on it, man, it’s us!” Whatever. In keeping with the symbols-of-discrimination theme, the 4% of tickets left for men should be supplemented with crumbs left for minorities.

Why I Created a Digital Conference Where Only 4% of Tickets Are Set Aside for Men

Changing the tone by turning the tables

By Alaina Shearer

No men allowed. It’s the common thread, the secret sauce so to speak, behind every one of our meetings in every city. Now a national organization growing at a pace we can barely contain, Women in Digital is on a mission to connect as many women on the tech and digital side of advertising and marketing as possible.

And we have found it most productive if men are only in the room on select occasions. This year, there will be one such occasion: our national conference in October.

Every year, we plan to pick a new statistic and use the numbers to flip things around. For example, at this year’s conference, only 4 percent of tickets are reserved for men, reflecting the percentage of women who held CEO positions at Fortune 500 companies in 2016. If we sell out, that will be 36 men out of 900. The number of female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies has, since we began planning our event, risen to 6.4 percent—a number still so far short of where it should be.

One of the men attending this year’s Annual Women in Digital Conference will be Nate Rogers, the vice president of marketing and communications at OhioHealth, a system with more 10,000 employees in Columbus, Ohio, our headquarters city. He was also the first man to buy a ticket to this year’s conference.

Nate, who has been one of our most ardent supporters since we launched Women in Digital in June 2016, told me that being part of a scant minority of men at a conference focused on women in marketing and tech “allows you to feel true empathy for the other 51 percent of the population you should be working with, who may or may not be in roles they should be in.”

“Don’t assume this is only a women’s issue. It’s a human issue, and guys need to take advantage of the opportunity to show their support. I understand some men may feel awkward being in the minority, but you don’t gain empathy and learn if you don’t feel awkward sometimes,” Nate said, adding, “and wake up bro, if you think it’s society’s fault and not your fault—you are society. Jump on it, man, it’s us!”

There’s still so much work to do, and we need each other more than we know.

For most of us, a Women in Digital meeting is the first time in our professional careers we are among women only. Sure, there are women’s groups and organizations, but none are so honed in on our profession. Without men around, we have a chance to openly and honestly discuss the state of gender bias within our industry.

For example, what other professional women’s group can truly address the pain and frustration that comes in dealing with a room of mansplaining developers? Or the absolute degradation of a CEO calling social marketing “cute, just like you”? Or the feeling you get upon returning from maternity leave to find your seat at the power table effectively downgraded? These are just a few of hundreds of stories and experiences I have heard while traveling to Women in Digital events.

Now with nearly 400 members, we have launched in 17 cities, and more are on the way in 2018. But we’re not kidding ourselves. Not for a second do we believe we can do this without men at the table. In fact, we’re intentionally using a few of their old tricks.

We’re learning how to treat our relationships with each other as men do—business and power come first. But we’re not men, and never will be, so we do it in our own way with a tremendous amount of empathy and understanding. Beginning with individual and personal experiences from speakers or city leaders, our events then move into a favor exchange. We call them our Asks and Gives—with the male equivalent traditionally being known as the Good Old Boys Network.

The impact has been profound, and these favors are exchanged daily on our members- and women-only Slack account. Our members also have peer circles and meet once a month to confide in each other on issues too sensitive for a public setting or larger group.

OhioHealth was one of the first corporations to buy group memberships for over a dozen women on their digital team. Nate says as a leader, he’s seen a huge and positive impact on his team: “Our digital team is two-thirds female, and the fact that they’re seeing and engaging in conversations about gender in digital is awesome. I’m seeing open dialogue about what needs to change and open dialogue about what we’re doing right and what we could do better, which is incredible.”

It’s those “awkward” conversations that need to happen in order for change to truly occur. And if we as women, as men or as corporations and agencies keep brushing gender bias under the rug, one thing is for certain—nothing will ever change.

This year, we hope beyond hope that all 36 seats for men sell out. Because we have a lot of questions, and they have so many of the answers—more than they may realize. But most of all, we would hate for a little bit of awkward to scare them off. After all, we’ve been dealing with it for quite some time now.

Alaina Shearer is the founder and executive director of Women in Digital. She also founded Cement Marketing, a digital agency based in Columbus, Ohio.

Friday, September 08, 2017

13819: DDB’s Complete Lies.

Adweek reported DDB completed assembling its leadership clan by hiring—you guessed it—a White man. “This final hire of Eric [Zuncic] as Chief Strategy Officer puts the last puzzle piece in place,” said DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark. “Our North American leadership team is complete and encompasses some of the most impressive talent working in our industry. We are incredibly excited for Eric to join us and hit the ground running.” Guess Clark can take a well-deserved rest from her restless ambition to diversify the industry. Her leadership team is a complete farce that encompasses the exclusivity in the industry. All that’s left is for Clark to collect an ADCOLOR® trophy.

DDB Completes North America Leadership Team With Hire of Chief Strategy Officer From CP+B

Eric Zuncic starts on Oct. 2

By Erik Oster

DDB North America completed its leadership team with the hiring of Eric Zuncic as chief strategy officer, effective Oct. 2.

Zuncic will be tasked with overseeing strategy for all of DDB’s offices in North America, including We Are Unlimited, the McDonald’s-dedicated unit launched last year. He will report directly to DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark.

“This final hire of Eric as Chief Strategy Officer puts the last puzzle piece in place,” Clark said in a statement. “Our North American leadership team is complete and encompasses some of the most impressive talent working in our industry. We are incredibly excited for Eric to join us and hit the ground running.”

Zuncic arrives at DDB from Crispin Porter + Bogusky, where he has served as North America chief strategy officer since June of 2015, following over three years as head of strategy for Mekanism.

Zuncic’s hire follows the arrivals of Britt Hayes in the newly-created role of chief people officer and Toygar Bazarkaya as We Are Unlimited chief creative officer this past May, as well as Ari Weiss as DDB North America chief creative officer last December.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

13818: Just The Facts, Muchacha.

Advertising Age presented the 2017 Hispanic Fact Pack, which makes the perfect Hispanic Heritage Month gift for your favorite Latino or Latina. It’s undoubtedly a piñata of pointers to help multicultural marketers maximize their crumbs—or inspire culturally clueless Caucasians to steal the crumbs. And that’s a fact.

Ad Age’s 2017 Hispanic Fact Pack Is Out Now

By Laurel Wentz

Hispanics account for almost half of annual U.S. population growth, largely through U.S. births rather than immigration (25.8% of kids aged 9 and under are Hispanic). Totaling 57.5 million people, Hispanics are 17.8% of the U.S. population and growing.

That’s some of the key information in Ad Age’s fourteenth-annual Hispanic Fact Pack, distributed with the Aug. 21 issue of the print magazine. It includes data about marketers, ad spending, demographic change and how Hispanics use digital media. Rankings in the 32-page 2017 guide include the top 50 Hispanic advertisers, the 50 largest U.S. Hispanic ad agencies and the 15 biggest Hispanic media agencies. And a creative roundup highlights the most-awarded campaigns of the year.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

13817: FTC Versus Advertising Liars.

Campaign published a story detailing how an advertiser and its advertising agency were slapped by the Federal Trade Commission for creating false advertising—a rare scenario, given that advertising agencies typically get off scot-free when advertisers’ messages are ruled misleading and illegal. Imagine if the same sense of complete culpability was applied to the increasingly popular Kumbaya bandwagon, whereby advertisers air campaigns promoting diversity and inclusion, co-conspiring with White advertising agencies where equality is a dream deferred, delegated, diverted and denied. The FTC should create a special division to investigate and crack down on such cases of hypocrisy, concealment and outright lying. Then again, any fines would probably be rendered as tax-deductible donations to ADCOLOR® and The 3% Conference, ultimately perpetuating the discriminatory shenanigans.

After an agency settles a false advertising suit, how scared should the industry be of the FTC?

By Zoë Beery

An advertising lawyer explains what marketers can learn from this unusual case.

Near-instant memory improvement, miraculous joint pain recovery and reversal of a decade’s worth of cognitive decline are just a few of the things dietary supplements CogniPrin and Flexiprin claim to do. The Federal Trade Commission begs to differ.

In a false advertising suit settled last week, the FTC slapped the supplement’s manufacturers—and in an unusual move, the advertisers who helped to sell the products—with heavy fines and a consent decree.

Direct marketing firm Synergixx and its principals Charlie R. Fusco and Ronald Jahner now face a $6.5 million sanction (which is on hold due to inability to pay) and a 20-year bar on certain advertising practices. It’s a punishment that might leave other firms quaking in their well-heeled boots. But just how nervous should they be?

“It’s a bit of a warning signal—the FTC has said they may be looking more closely at the role agencies play in the creation of advertising, and that there may be increased enforcement action among those lines.” said Linda Goldstein, a partner and head of the advertising, marketing and digital media team at law firm BakerHostetler. “We’ve seen over the last few years a consistent pattern where the FTC is looking to go as far up and down the food chain as they can. The more parties facing potential liability, from an FTC vantage point, that all helps to create an environment where violations are less likely to occur.”

The settlement closes a case brought by the FTC and the attorney general of Maine in February that took aim at nearly every element of the marketing campaign for the supplements (which, like all dietary products sold in the US, went directly to market without FDA evaluation). Elements of the campaign created by Synergixx included radio segments misleadingly presented as talk shows that didn’t disclose guests’ connection with the supplement manufacturer, print ads with fictitious endorsements and an “unconditional 90-day money-back guarantee” whose scripts (written by the agency) failed to disclose the burdensome nature of the process through which consumers could obtain refunds.

Counterintuitive as it may seem, it’s rare for federal investigations to include campaign creators in false advertising actions. When the FTC brought suit in 2016 against Volkswagen over a campaign that touted the automaker’s “clean diesel” line as being exceptionally environmentally friendly, it did not name the multiple agencies that had produced those ads. It only named VW, because the company had fitted the cars with devices to obscure massive—and massively illegal—emissions levels during testing, a level and type of malfeasance that fell outside what an agency should be expected to verify when evaluating a client’s claims. As Georgetown Law professor Rebecca Tushnet told Campaign US at the time, “the software was deliberately programmed to give bad results, [so] I don’t think the ad agency was under any duty to say ‘Hey, you didn’t by any chance fake your results, did you?’”

The CogniPrin case is more similar to a 2014 FTC suit against Sony that alleged the company had inflated claims about the capabilities of the technology in its new Vita console, a suit that also implicated the agency that marketed the device: Deutsch LA was indicted for encouraging its own employees to post positive tweets about the Vita without disclosing that they worked for the agency and were not actual product users.

“Because the agency was the one that engaged the influencers, the FTC felt the agency had a great responsibility,” said Goldstein. As with the campaign for the supplements, the Commission was taking issue not with the agency’s failure to root out the false claims themselves, but with the misleading manner in which it presented those claims.

So long as agencies aren’t running such deceptive campaigns, they should be safe from FTC investigations. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t blindly trust their clients, either, said Goldstein. “You don’t necessarily have to go as far as your client does in ensuring that the claims are truthful, but you have to do due diligence.” Even if the contract shields an agency from liability in criminal court for a client’s false statements, those protections won’t hold up if a regulatory body gets involved. “Even if as an agency you are indemnified by your client, the FTC does not care,” she said. “Indemnities will not shield you against an FTC action.”

And, she added, neither will an unpredictable president. “I think a lot of companies have questioned whether, under a Republican administration, there’s going to be a shift away from what has been a fairly aggressive Commission,” she said. “This is another reminder that’s not the case. If the FTC believes there’s been real consumer injury, they’re going to continue to prosecute those cases with the same degree of vengeance.”

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

13816: Surveying Failure.

A MultiCultClassics visitor pointed to an Advertising Week 2017 tweet inviting people to take a survey allegedly designed to assess how far the advertising industry needs to go in terms of diversity and inclusion. The survey inadvertently delivered on its objective, as the questions are primarily focused on diverted diversity—that is, the promotion of White women—and essentially ignore the racial and ethnic inequality that has forever plagued adland. In short, the survey perfectly reflects the industry’s true interest in diversity and inclusion. It’s also important to remember that Advertising Week 2006 served as a backdrop when the New York City Commission on Human Rights sent subpoenas to agency executives as part of an investigation into the lack of Blacks on Madison Avenue. The decline of Black representation in the field underscores the “progress” made over the past decade—and ultimately shows how far the advertising industry needs to go in terms of diversity and inclusion. But hey, survey participants can provide data to confirm the obvious and receive a $5 Starbucks Gift Card for their efforts, which is $5 more than the average Black person will ever see from Madison Avenue.

Monday, September 04, 2017

13815: U.S. Army War Games.

AgencySpy posted on how the U.S. Army tagged a 12-month extension to its existing agreement with McCann—despite eliminating the White advertising agency from a creative review for future work. Are Beetle Bailey and Sad Sack leading this mess? Then again, President Donald Trump is the Commander-In-Chief.

U.S. Army Extends McCann’s Contract Again as Agency Continues to Protest Elimination from Creative Review

By Patrick Coffee

The U.S. Army can’t quite seem to make up its mind on McCann.

Today, the government entity officially extended the IPG network’s contract yet again, modifying its existing agreement to add another 12 months or $524,100,000 to its relationship.

This development is the latest in the long and dramatic story of the Army’s creative review, which officially began with an agency outreach effort in 2014 and could—according to a client spokesperson—be worth up to $4 billion over a decade. (Three years ago, a rep placed overall spending on the Army’s marketing efforts at around $200 million per year.)

Approximately one year after that initial news, the Army extended McCann’s contract by 18 months in what looked like a vote of confidence after a 10-year relationship.

The official RFP went out in January, and six months later the Army surprised everyone involved by officially disqualifying McCann due to a couple of technicalities that, according to our sources, involved document formatting and the agency’s status as a certified contractor despite its 11-plus year relationship with the Army.

McCann responded by filing an official complaint with the Government Accountability Office.

Now here’s the official Army take from today:

McCann World Group Inc., New York, New York, has been awarded a $524,100,000 modification (P00023) to contract W9124D-11-D-0036 to extend the performance period for services in support of the Army Marketing and Advertising Program. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 28, 2018. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, is the contracting activity.

Given the context, that’s good news for IPG, and some financial analysts noted the development this morning.

But it also hints at the opaque nature of the relationship between public entities and their advertising partners. The extension would certainly seem to support McCann’s work, and the disagreement that led to the agency’s elimination was handled by the Army’s contracting department rather than its marketing and PR division.

But McCann remains shut out of the review. According to parties who spoke to us about it earlier this summer, that leaves Omnicom and WPP as the final competitors.

However, if we’ve learned anything from Y&R, Navy, Campbell Ewald and decades of federal contracts before them, these sorts of challenges tend to take a very long time. Y&R, for example, didn’t start working on the Navy business until about a year after winning the review. And even if/when McCann’s official complaint is resolved or dismissed, the agency could still theoretically take its case to court in arguing that it was unfairly disqualified.

A McCann spokesperson declined to comment on the news. We reached out to both the Army’s marketing rep and the head of its contracting division this afternoon, and neither have responded.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

13814: You Da Managing Director.

From Adweek…

Wieden + Kennedy Portland Has a New Managing Director

As agency vet Tom Blessington leaves for YouTube, Karrelle Dixon steps into a new role

By Katie Richards

Wieden + Kennedy Portland promoted Karrelle Dixon to managing director as previous managing director Tom Blessington announced he will be leaving the agency to join YouTube as VP of brand, media and experiences. Blessington starts his new role in mid-September.

“Tom is well-known for his culture-shaping, innovative marketing campaigns,” Danielle Tiedt, YouTube CMO, said in a statement. “We can’t wait for Tom to bring his breakthrough ideas and rule-breaking spirit to YouTube.”

During Blessington’s time at W+K Portland, dating back to 1990, he worked on brands including KFC, Verizon, Levi’s, Facebook and American Express, among many others. Prior to joining W+K, Blessington worked for TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles, managing the agency’s Nissan and Infiniti accounts.

In Blessington’s absence, the agency has promoted Dixon to managing director of the Portland office, effective immediately. Dixon will work alongside ECDs Eric Baldwin and Jason Bagley.

“I have inherited an incredible business and brand that I am truly humbled to now lead. I am excited to work with my partners to build on the breakthrough work that Wieden + Kennedy has been making with great client partners. As we move into the next chapter of our story, my hope and goal is that we continue to be a diverse and dynamic environment that set the standard for creative excellence in the industry,” Dixon said in a statement.

Dixon joined W+K London in 2006 and was previously working on expanding global client relationships for the agency into places including Brazil, Korea and India. Before that, Dixon was working as global account director for Nike, the agency’s biggest account.

Dixon’s promotion comes less than a year after the creation of the agency’s new Wieden + Kennedy Stakeholders unit. Last October, the agency announced it was restructuring its leadership team by adding 15 new partners (including Dixon) to its roster, rounding out the number to 24.

“Given the size and complexity of the agency, we need more decision-makers representing more offices, more disciplines and different voices,” global president David Luhr said at the time of the announcement. “Our leadership needs to be a bigger and better reflection of the agency we have become.”

Saturday, September 02, 2017

13813: Heroic Bullshit.

Adweek reported on a campaign from the Ad Council featuring real diversity advocates as superheroes. It’s hardly the first time that superheroes have been utilized to promote diversity. Not sure if a White advertising agency led the patronizing adventure. Hell, when it comes to diversity in adland, there are more super villains than heroes.

The Ad Council Turned Real-World Diversity Advocates Into Superheroes for a Geolocation Game

PAX West attendees can collect virtual ‘Love Has No Labels’ cards

By T.L. Stanley

The Ad Council has been spreading the gospel of its inclusive Love Has No Labels campaign to the gaming community for more than a year.

At this weekend’s PAX West in Seattle, one of the largest gaming conventions in the country, the nonprofit PSA group leans in further, speaking to gamers in their own language with the launch of a mobile geolocation game called The League of Extraordinary Humans.

The game takes a diverse group of activists, LGBT pioneers, disabled gamers and other groundbreakers who “fight for love and inclusion” and turns them into virtual superheroes, complete with bold costumes and dramatic poses.

It’s part of the Ad Council’s ongoing Game for Good effort meant to promote a safe gaming environment for players, regardless of race, disability or sexual orientation. It’s an attempt to help counter much of the negativity and hostility found in some aspects of the gaming community, especially around topics like gender representation in games and the abusive language used in multiplayer chats.

“Since 65 percent of U.S. households have someone who plays games, and millennials have grown up playing, reaching out to gamers is really reaching out to the masses,” said Anastasia Goodstein, the Ad Council’s svp of digital innovation. “And we want to continue to show up in unexpected places.”

The League features a dozen “everyday heroes,” whose images were rendered by comic book artists onto virtual cards. Players at the conference will visit beacons and answer questions to unlock and collect the cards. (There’s a Love Has No Labels Pinny Arcade Pin for winners).

The real-life heroes include competitive gamer Mike Begum, aka BrolyLegs; transgender advocate Jazz Jennings; long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad; and Marley Diaz, 12-year-old founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks. They were chosen because of their work “to further inclusion of people regardless of race, religion, gender, sexuality, ability and age,” per a summary by the Ad Council.

Love Has No Labels, part of the trade show/fan fest’s diversity lounge at the Washington State Convention Center, partnered with Artifact Technologies to create a “deeper experience and deeper engagement” with the crowds, Goodstein said. On-site beacons have been placed at Square Enix, Twitch, Xbox and other booths, where players can unlock the hero images and backstories.

Questions along the way are intended to “have people rethink their biases and things like the diversity of their friend group,” Goodstein said. “We hope people will take a beat and think about the issues.”

The Ad Council also hosts a pair of panels on implicit bias and the role of diversity in gaming during the gathering, formerly known as the Penny Arcade Expo and expected to draw more than 70,000 fans over its four-day run.

Friday, September 01, 2017

13812: USTA BS.

Adweek reported the USTA is trying to embrace diversity by pitching tennis to minority kids. So, of course, the sports organization teamed up with a White advertising agency—Wunderman—whose leadership is about as diverse as, well, the USTA pre-Arthur Ashe or even pre-Althea Gibson. Whatever. In unsurprising fashion, Wunderman produced a video featuring a young Black tennis enthusiast in a low-income urban setting—creating graffiti with her racket. Expect to see a Latino video showing a kid playing against a mariachi band—mimicking a telenovela format.

USTA Launched an Inspiring Campaign to Get More Kids From All Backgrounds Involved in Tennis

Net Generation looks to bring up the next generation of greats

By Katie Richards

The 2017 U.S. Open is underway, and there’s a lot for the United States Tennis Association to celebrate. The USTA, the sport’s governing body, launched Net Generation this year, a youth tennis brand and initiative that aims to get more kids from around the country involved in tennis.

The USTA worked with its agency of record, Wunderman New York, and production company Rumur on the project.

“The USTA mission overall is to promote the game of tennis and to get more players,” said USTA marketing chief Amy Choyne. “We did an evaluation of all the youth programming that we have and decided to come up with a new, bold approach to inspire this next generation of tennis players.”

Fifteen-second, 30-second and 90-second versions of the spot above will run on TV and social media as well as at the U.S. Open itself.

Within Net Generation, the USTA hopes to provide a safe space for kids of all incomes and means participate in tennis and change the perception that it’s a sport solely for the wealthy and elite.

“The accessibility of the sport isn’t as hard as people think,” Choyne said. “Two of the factors we found in research and understanding our players is accessibility of the sport and also the price of the sport. We are trying to combat that with a lot of the work we are doing and also the diversity of the sport.”

The program will continue rolling out over the coming months, with more videos and ads on the way.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

13811: 100 Things That Trump Diversity.

100 Ideas That Changed Advertising by Simon Veksner delivers on its title, spotlighting key innovations, evolutions and revolutions that transformed the advertising field. Not on the list: Multicultural Marketing and Diversity.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

13810: Kari Traash.

Not convinced this annoying video really reflects the Kari Traa brand or resonates with its female audience. The responsible advertising agency—Wibroe, Duckert & Partners—is headquartered in Denmark and can probably best be defined by this video.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

13809: Diversity In Aisle 1.

AdFreak reported on a grocery store in Germany that created stunt to promote diversity. Hey, why not? Germans embracing equality and inclusion is not much more peculiar than White advertising agencies doing the same damned thing.

A German Supermarket Removed All Foreign Products for a Day to Make a Point About Diversity

The bold stunt comes as immigration tensions run high

By Angela Natividad

What does a grocery store look like without Greek olives, Spanish tomatoes and frozen goods from who-knows-where?

You’re about to find out.

To emphasize the importance of global diversity in a context everyone can understand, German supermarket Edeka made a surprising decision: It emptied its Hamburg location of all foreign-made products.

For shoppers wandering around confused, signs featured messages like, “So empty is a shelf without foreigners,” “This shelf is quite boring without variety,” “Our range now knows borders,” and, “We will be poorer without diversity.”

People mostly believe what their range of experience permits. Protectionist policy thrives on such blind spots: It’s easy to be racist when the groups you’re demonizing are abstractions.

That’s what gives this work its oomph—nothing is more personal than access to and preferences for food, which guarantee a visceral emotional reaction.

Hamburg is the second most populous city in Germany, behind Berlin, with resident aliens composing nearly 15 percent of the population. But German opinion’s become pretty tense since Chancellor Angela Merkel announced an open-door immigration policy for refugees two years ago.

The decision led to the arrival of 890,000 asylum seekers in 2015 alone … and early this year, Germany announced plans to roll the policy back. (The stance did, however, boost Germany’s prominence on the global stage.)

Online, vice chair of the Christian Democratic Union Party Julia Klöckner praised the campaign, calling it “a wise action” that would give people pause. The comment generated a bevy of replies, including one from Marcus Pretzell (no longer visible), representing an immigrant-hostile party, Alternative for Germany: “Why exactly should it be wise? Is it not rather completely mad?” he was quoted as saying, per The Independent.

Edeka’s got a reputation for producing the kind of quirky, unhinged advertising creatives look forward to. (2014’s much-lauded “Supergeil” comes to mind.) If you’re wondering why it would suddenly break tone to make a political stance this dramatic, consider that its work often has a moral bent.

In a 2015 Christmas ad, an old patriarch fakes his own death to compel his family to gather for the season. 2016’s holiday ad used an anti-consumerist message to remind people that being together is more important than gifts. And the controversial “Eatkarus” ad of 2017 is, at its heart, a story about embracing a path that alienates you from others—especially when you’re doing it for your own health and happiness.

“Edeka stands for variety and diversity,” an Edeka spokesperson said of the Hamburg activation. “In our stores we sell numerous foods which are produced in the various regions of Germany. … But only together, with products from other countries, it is possible to create the unique variety that our consumers value. We are pleased that our campaign caused so many positive reactions.”

13808: Pinterest & Pinheads.

Advertising Age reported on Diverted Diversity Diva Cindy Gallop, who is currently hijacking promoting a Pinterest campaign for diversity and inclusion. The image above shows one of Gallop’s contributions to the cause. Referring to the diversity-lowers-standards excuse, Gallop snapped, “It’s the single most appallingly insulting thing anybody can say. This is what men tend to say when challenged on diversity—‘Diversity is great, but it lowers the bar.’” Actually, it’s appallingly insulting that women in advertising have adopted the positions historically taken by racial and ethnic minorities facing discrimination—especially when the diversity-lowers-standards excuse has been utilized by White men and White women in adland as an alibi for denying employment opportunities to people of color.

“The problems will persist until men are operating in a working environment where they are surrounded by as many women as men, if not ideally more women than men,” gulped Gallop, “because it’s been the other way around for far too long.” In the ad game, the line should read: “The problems will persist until White men and White women are operating in a working environment where they are surrounded by as many people of color as White men and White women, if not ideally more people of color than White men and White women—because it’s been the other way around for far too long.”

Cindy Gallop Joins With Pinterest to Promote Diversity

By Garett Sloane

Cindy Gallop has a few choice words for certain men. This includes the now-ex Google employee, James Damore, recently fired for his claim that hiring to achieve diversity means sacrificing standards.

“Diversity raises the fucking bar,” says Gallop, an ad industry consultant and founder of IfWeRanTheWorld.

Her fighting words are emblazoned on a new ad campaign from Pinterest, “Right the Ratio,” that launches on the platform Wednesday, and she’ll say the same thing to anyone who will listen.

“You believe that the only people capable of creating great work are white men, and bringing women in makes it shit?” Gallop says incredulously of an attitude that Damore merely amplified.

“Right the Ratio” is another effort to encourage hiring parity in advertising and technology. The campaign includes videos and other content meant to appeal to the site’s predominantly female user base. More than 80 percent of Pinterest users are women, and many are digital savvy as well as creative-minded.

“I was interested in Pinterest as a colossal tech unicorn that has been powered by women as the primary users,” Gallop says.

But the campaign—the creative of which was worked on with Grow—is far from gender specific. Meant to help scrub sexism from company policies and work environments, the promoted pins will drive people to workplace advice and strategies for both women and men that are meant to help foster diversity.

Other prominent female advertising voices in the campaign include the creative director of Gimlet Media, Nazanin Rafsanjan, and Katie Facada, associate creative director at R/GA.

It’s only a coincidence that “Right the Ratio” launches just after Silicon Valley was stung by its latest flare-up of misogyny, which Damore wrote as a pseudo-scientific critique of women in technology.

He expressed stereotypical arguments about women being less interested in computer engineering, on average, and wrote that neurotic tendencies accounted for their lack of advancement. The point of the posting on Google’s internal message board, if there was one, was to suggest hiring for diversity leads to worse outcomes.

Gallop says she’s heard the same critique from men across Madison Avenue.

“It’s the single most appallingly insulting thing anybody can say,” Gallop says. “This is what men tend to say when challenged on diversity—‘Diversity is great, but it lowers the bar.’”

Parity for women in advertising is essential she believes, pointing out that women make up only 11 percent of creative directors.

Pinterest does have a higher ratio of women employees compared to many companies in Silicon Valley: 44 percent of its total workforce is women and 26 percent work in tech.

It’s not enough to be careful not to offend women in ads, Gallop says; the key is to hire more women as executives, and then fewer offensive ads would get made in the first place.

“The problems will persist until men are operating in a working environment where they are surrounded by as many women as men, if not ideally more women than men,” she says, “because it’s been the other way around for far too long.”

Monday, August 28, 2017

13807: High-Tech Hatemongers…?

This Lenovo video seems potentially insensitive given the increase of organized hate groups in places such as Charlottesville and beyond. Why, the Legion looks downright Klan-like with their high-tech hoods. And it doesn’t help that the creative co-conspirators include the ever-White advertising agency Ogilvy and Gentleman Scholar, a production company whose gentlemen-led staff appears to be typically exclusive.

13806: Vive La Exclusivity!

AgencySpy posted on Publicis Groupe hiring Emmanuel André as its first-ever Chief Talent Officer. Hey, it’s rare when “Publicis Groupe” and “Talent” appear in the same sentence. Not surprisingly, André is a Frenchman, sporting an accent mark in his last name like former Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Lévy. André and current Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun blathered on about the importance of talent without making a single mention of diversity or even diverted diversity. Additionally, André previously served as TBWA\Worldwide International President, where he focused “on the collective’s ‘people’ strategy, covering the key areas of training, career development, top talent recruitment and the culture at large”—although it must be noted that the TBWA pirates run a pretty exclusive ship. Then again, the multi-talented André also works as a photographer, where he’s dabbled in diversity, based on the picture below.

Publicis Cares About Its Employees, Names Emmanuel André as First Chief Talent Officer

By Erik Oster

Publicis hired Emmanuel André in the newly-created role of chief talent officer, effective September 18.

So, while Publicis employees can’t win awards (for a year or so), they do at least have a manager now.

In the role, André will be tasked with talent management and recruitment, working closely with the Publicis’ Solutions CEOs and CTOs while reporting directly to Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO Arthur Sadoun.

“Emmanuel’s appointment is an important step in our ambition to become the market leader in marketing and business transformation. Bringing a CTO at the top level of our organisation was critical at a moment when our people need to embark on our transformation journey,” Sadoun said in a statement. “Talent is the Groupe’s top priority and biggest asset. Emmanuel will have an important role to play in all the initiatives that are building our Groupe culture while attracting, rewarding, retaining and training the best and most collaborative team in the industry to serve our clients even better than before.”

“Publicis Groupe clearly has the vision, the right business model and the energy to write an exciting new chapter for our industry, and they’ve placed talent and culture at the top of their priorities,” André added. “I’ve spent my whole career witnessing how these things make all the difference in our business and I’m honored to join the team.”

André joins Publicis from Omnicom’s TBWA, where he has served as international president for the past two and a half years, following around four and a half as chief operating officer. He had been with TBWA since the agency absorbed Anglo-French marketing network GGT BDDP in 1998.

With TBWA he held roles as global account director, director of its corporate office, regional director for the Asia Pacific region and worldwide operations director, before becoming chief operating officer in November of 2010.