Thursday, July 18, 2019

14696: Now There Are Even More Con Artists And Crooks At 72andSunny.

Adweek reported 72andSunny added a page to its diversity playbook by establishing a partnership with ConCreates, an advertising agency comprised of currently and formerly incarcerated folks. Hey, it’s a natural coupling, given that 72andSunny is in the MDC Partners network, which was once led by a bona fide crook. Plus, 72andSunny is run by culturally clueless con artists. Somebody should throw the book—and playbook—at the shifty scumbags. Strangely enough, ConCreates appears to be an enterprise honestly dedicated to change and progress. 72andSunny, on the other hand, not so much.

72andSunny Partners with ConCreates, an Agency Staffed by Current and Former Prisoners

MDC shop’s New York office will serve as adviser and creative partner

By Minda Smiley

As the advertising industry continues to grapple with diversity, agencies are increasingly trying to find talent outside of the usual recruitment pipelines.

One agency in particular is offering up creative solutions from a population whose vantage point is distinctly unique: former and currently incarcerated people.

The idea for ConCreates came to founder and CEO Vincent Bragg in 2014 while he was serving time in federal prison for running a drug empire. Bragg said he was locked up with the founder of an underwear company, and during their time together, the two would “host think tanks” for the brand. It was through that experience that Bragg began to think he could do this for other brands as well, so he started to pull together a network of incarcerated people who were also interested in this type of creative thinking.

“As a way for me to show the world the creativity behind bars, I started a company and really dedicated my life to this,” he said. After being released from prison in 2016, Bragg joined a prisoner entrepreneurship program called Defy Ventures to get ConCreates off the ground.

“They helped me flesh out the structuring of the company and things like that. One of the things that was really great about that program was the mentorship,” he said, and it was one of his mentors who introduced him to Tim Jones, executive strategy director at 72andSunny New York.

72andSunny New York, which is owned by MDC Partners, has now established a partnership with the ConCreates network that currently spans 436 men and women in prison and 319 who’ve been released, according to Bragg. ConCreates has also built out its leadership team, which includes co-founder and chief innovation strategist Janeya Griffin, who grew up watching her parents struggle to find work after being imprisoned.

As adviser and creative partner, 72andSunny will help craft the agency’s positioning, proposition and visual identity, as well as consult on key client projects.

“When I met these guys, I was blown away by their vision and story,” said Jones. “We have multiple initiatives running to expand and diversify the creative class, but one of the key ways I think we can be most powerful in this space is helping to set up companies like ConCreates, who share the same mission.”

ConCreates operates as a crowdsourcing platform, meaning employees of the agency are sent briefs and asked to respond with their ideas. All who participate are compensated, with employees receiving additional payment as their ideas continue to advance (by making it into a client presentation, for instance). Ideas that actually end up going into production are ones that get rewarded the most.

Much of this correspondence happens via email and snail mail.

“We’re able to be nimble like a startup with a crowdsourced model,” said Bragg, who noted that 10% of ConCreates is owned by the entire company, so staffers also benefit from profit sharing.

Bragg said ConCreates has mostly done work for startups so far, but is now looking to collaborate with “brave brands looking to break the mold” who see the value in what this unconventional creative team has to offer.

He believes the skills needed to pull off crimes are often the same ones that creatives tap into for client work every day; for example, Bragg said one of the original “ConCreators,” who once successfully robbed 27 banks, was basically using the same thought processes as a strategist when coming up with his plan.

“We believe that creativity without opportunity is criminality,” he said. “We look at drug dealers as entrepreneurs. We look at graffiti artists as art directors.”

The hope is that by channeling these skills and talents into something positive, these people will get a chance at building a new life.

“Not only can we help people who’ve committed crimes become beneficial members of society again by learning these kinds of skills, but our hope is that these people become icons to perhaps others who are at that crossroads in life,” said Jones.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

14695: Toy Story—Adding To The Unlimited Resignations At We Are Unlimited.

Adweek reported Toygar Bazarkaya resigned from his Chief Creative Officer role at We Are Unlimited. Hey, Wendy Clark is probably checking Ted Royer’s availability. A spokesperson at the White advertising agency gushed, “Over two years and thousands of pieces of content, Toygar has been instrumental in shaping the McDonald’s brand story and We Are Unlimited as an agency.” Two years? We Are Unlimited should install a drive-through exit for employees, as the place deals with more turnovers than the Pillsbury Doughboy. Also, the statement should have read, “…thousands of pieces of caca.”

We Are Unlimited Chief Creative Toygar Bazarkaya Leaves to Join Optimist as Global CCO

Derek Green and John Hansa will serve as co-executive creative directors for Omnicom's McDonald's-dedicated unit

By Erik Oster

Toygar Bazarkaya is leaving his role as chief creative officer at We Are Unlimited to join Optimist as the agency’s first global CCO.

Derek Green and John Hansa will assume creative leadership of We Are Unlimited as co-executive creative directors, reporting directly to DDB North America CCO Ari Weiss.

“Over two years and thousands of pieces of content, Toygar has been instrumental in shaping the McDonald’s brand story and We Are Unlimited as an agency. We appreciate all he’s done to create business impact and award-winning work on this iconic brand and wish him the best in his future,” an agency spokesperson said in a statement. “We are pleased to have Derek Green and John Hansa step up as co-ECDs reporting to Ari Weiss, CCO of DDB North America who will be leading the creative vision.”

Bazarkaya first joined We Are Unlimited as CCO in April of 2017, a month after leaving Havas, where he served as CCO, Americas, as Weiss’ first major hire since arriving as DDB North America’s first CCO that February. We Are Unlimited opened in Chicago in November of 2016 to service the McDonald’s account Omnicom won in August of the previous year, following a lengthy review process. As of this January, it appears We Are Unlimited is no longer working exclusively with McDonald’s.

Bazarkaya joins Optimist as its first-ever global CCO.

“We are supremely excited to welcome Toygar at Optimist to unify all creative functions under his leadership. Now we are able to expand our progressive communication solutions to modern brands that want to change the game, not just ride mid-stream,” Optimist CEO Juergen Dold said in a statement. “Culture forward, always authentic, experientially rooted, channel agnostic, socially digital and always innovative—those are the qualities that our work will be measured on. We are a good fit for global brands with a strong desire to break down what’s not working and embrace what’s possible today, and Toygar will help us continue to deliver on this promise for clients.”

The brand experience agency launched in Los Angeles a decade ago and has since expanded to a team of over 150 with offices in New York, London, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Berlin and Prague. The agency counts Nike, Google, Target and Red Bull among its client roster. Last November, Volkswagen-owned Czech auto company Škoda selected Optimist as one of its two global creative agencies of record, following a review, and this year Uber Eats also named the agency as its brand experience partner.

“Experiences make us feel something and they stay with us. Experiences can be anything, and Optimist is one of the best at creating them for brands,” Bazarkaya said in a statement. “A brand experience has to have a strategic fit, have a great idea at its core and be able to express itself in any form, environment or platform, that’s what I love to do and take pride in. Great brands understand the importance of it, the team at Optimist are the best at it and I am excited to part of it.”

Monday, July 15, 2019

14693: Multicultural McDivertisement Deserves Receiving The Finger.

Advertising Age spotlighted a divertisement from Mickey D’s to celebrate National French Fry Day. The patronization and hypocrisy are escalated by We Are Unlimited being identified as the creators.

Diverse hands become the Golden Arches in McDonald’s National French Fry Day campaign

Mark Seliger shot the minimalist campaign from We Are Unlimited

By Ann-Christine Diaz

To celebrate National French Fry Day, which took place this weekend on Saturday, July 13, McDonald’s released a series of minimalist, photography-driven ads that show consumers uniting in the act of sharing its fries.

Striking images shot by Mark Seliger depict diverse pairs of hands—two men, two women, man and woman, old and young, each of different skin tones, set against a golden yellow backdrop. As they are about to dip into Mickey D’s signature offering, the hands come together to form McDonald’s iconic arches, with no official logo in sight.

The campaign, titled “Share the Love,” was created out of We Are Unlimited and appeared in out of home ads, social media and on a billboard above McDonald’s flagship restaurant in Times Square.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

14692: Confessor Calls Out Cultural Cluelessness Coming From Clients.

The latest installment in the Digiday confessions series spotlighted a “minority marketer” confessing over client-side cultural cluelessness. Wouldn’t be surprised if the anonymous complainer works at Procter & Gamble, HP, Verizon, Gillette, NIVEA, Honey Maid, Unilever or Papa John’s.

‘People are scared to speak up’: Confessions of a minority marketer

By Seb Joseph

Being an ethnic minority at a predominantly white workplace creates its own kind of stress.

In our latest Confessions, in which we exchange anonymity for honesty, a minority marketing professional discussed how they saw non-white colleagues favor white staff and limit people of their own color as a way to get ahead in their careers.

Excerpts lightly edited for clarity and flow.

How does the advertising industry compare to others you’ve worked in when it comes to racial prejudice and unconscious bias toward ethnic minorities?

In all my roles, I have always noticed a degree of prejudice and bias, but I did not expect it in a not-for-profit organization. The advertiser I worked at put across this image of being inclusive, yet some of the staff they hired didn’t hold those values. You could clearly see minority members of staff being talked down to and ignored in meetings. There was a feeling of superiority from some of the white team members, even new grads.

What made you feel like you didn’t fit in?

Being excluded from meetings, having my suggestions ignored and job duties like building influencer partnerships — core to my role — were allocated to other white members of the team who had less experience. I wasn’t the only one who noticed this as other non-white members were overlooked for promotions while recent grads came in and had their development fast-tracked through the marketing team.

Has this impacted your own progression?

My progression was non-existent and part of the problem. Sometimes it’s better to leave than constantly butt heads with clueless people.

How did you and other non-white colleagues react to that behavior?

Sometimes people make it through the door and forget where they came from. Too many people are accepting of things that aren’t right so long as they don’t have to get involved, which is sad. There is a nervousness about speaking up because they could be labeled as troublesome and consequently, limit their own progression. There’s this misconception that if you behave a certain way, then you’ll be accepted. What’s sad is you have to be a certain way and be cool with opinionated cliques when you’re from a minority background, which isn’t for everyone as people are all brought up differently.

Give an example.

I’ve seen marketers who are from ethnic minorities ignore suggestions from colleagues who look like themselves only to accept the same suggestions from white members of staff. It’s also common for minorities to be ignored or even told to be quiet. Unacceptable really. People are scared to speak up because they feel they will be labeled as playing the race card but why should people be made to feel like this?

Did you speak up when those instances happened?

I spoke up about it while I was at the charity, but it all got brushed under the carpet. And then you have a few meetings where they ensure you speak, but after a while, it goes back to normal. It’s a token gesture. The workspace should be somewhere that’s inclusive and where people can voice their opinions without feeling threatened, isolated or bullied. I’ve seen it really affect people and have a negative effect on their mental health because they were ostracized.

Do internal diversity groups help or hinder the problem?

Groups like that need full support right from the top of a business. In this organization, the so-called diversity group had one annual meeting and guess what: The founding members were all white with an agenda to push sexual equality. While this is also very important, it left race nowhere to be seen. If you want diversity and equality, you have to support all the issues that people are faced with.

How did the HR team react when you raised the issue with them?

HR teams can be the make or break of an organization. But things are swept under the carpet and not always taken seriously enough. In cases where I spoke to HR, they weren’t qualified or properly equipped to handle my issues or complaints. You end up with things being “investigated” but with no action being taken because they can’t substantiate.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

14691: Demonstrating For Divertisements To Fake Diversity.

Advertising Age published a paltry perspective from M&C Saatchi LA Executive Creative Director Maria Smith, who appeared to be making a case for producing divertisements. Of course, Smith’s place of employment features a leadership team that looks like the average White advertising agency. Smith opined, “Advertisers who practice diversity have the power to change the world.” Yeah, but not if advertisers continue to partner with White advertising agencies.

Advertisers who practice diversity have the power to change the world

A whole generation of kids who don’t fit into the traditional mold deserve to see themselves acknowledged as an important part of brands’ stories

By Maria Smith

Historically, people of color haven’t received much advertising screen time. As a Filipino American mom to biracial children, I want to change that reality. My kids, and a whole generation of kids who don’t fit into the “traditional” mold, deserve to see themselves represented, their existence acknowledged as an important part of brands’ stories.

Only a generation or two ago, my views would have held outlier status. Now, they are firmly in tune with society’s realization that diversity simply makes sense—not just for business, but for the bottom line. Even investors have seized upon this previously unrealized opportunity, putting money into more than a dozen funds focused on supporting businesses that live by the inclusion mantra.

These investors are tapping into the steady stream of dollars being spent by consumers who demand more of businesses than just a transactional relationship. It would serve the ad industry well to keep this more tuned-in consumer top of mind and follow suit.

A shifting advertising landscape

Until very recently, boutique and specialist agencies whose outreach focused on people of color occupied a niche space. That’s no longer the case. Consider Hispanic agency LatinWorks, which recently changed its name to Third Ear. The decision grew from a desire to appeal to more English-language clients with Hispanic backgrounds. Third Ear understands its agency is not separate from the mainstream—it’s fundamental to what the world needs today and tomorrow. In just 40 years, the Hispanic population is expected to make up 28% of the total U.S. population. Third Ear is simply anticipating this need.

More and more household brands are successfully incorporating diversity into their ads. Gatorade’s Sisters in Sweat piece, for example, features Serena Williams speaking to her baby daughter. The ad does a beautiful job of being inclusive without checking off boxes. Rather than coming off as a way to lump together people of color, Sisters in Sweat feels authentic, empowering and emotional.

In clear contrast, though, BuzzFeed’s recent “27 Questions Black People Have for Black People” nailed the pandering button on the head. BuzzFeed had to backpedal on Twitter after pushing out stereotype-laden content that might have cost it the trust of some users. What BuzzFeed discovered is that people of color may appreciate humor but don’t appreciate being lumped together as a single group.

These are the kinds of stumbles brands and agencies can make when they create content without careful and thoughtful upfront consideration. Before my team begins any project, we ask, “Who isn’t in the room who should be?” It’s a question that keeps us honest and guides our next move. When there is an important point of view that we need to consider, we ensure that someone with that pointz of view is part of the process. Otherwise, our work might come across as flat—or worse, as singling out a specific audience.

Making diversity a priority

This isn’t rocket science, it’s logic. How can you make sure the right people are in the planning room if they aren’t already in the building? Advertising teams must put forth more effort to bring more people of color into the fold, bucking the legacy status quo that says all ad industry execs must look like Mad Men’s Don Draper.

If people of color believe this stereotype, then they’ll likely look for alternative career paths. However, if they begin to notice that people who come from similar backgrounds and ethnicities are not just contributing to agencies but leading them, they might feel encouraged to do the same. And the benefit will be stronger, more innovative businesses, according to a Financial Management study on the outcomes of workforce diversity.

Advertisers are uniquely positioned to shape the diversity conversation. We thrust ideas, images, and videos into the world, content seen by mass viewership on unprecedented levels thanks to digitization and social sharing. Let’s use our power to generate work that tells people of color what they deserve to hear: “I see and value your contributions. You belong.”

Friday, July 12, 2019

14690: All White Adpeople Look Alike…?

Not sure what this campaign is trying to say—that all people in Adland look the same? Surely it didn’t require producing advertisements to make such an obvious point. Also, Sir John Hegarty is closer to resembling Walt Kowalski than Clint Eastwood.