Saturday, October 01, 2016

13378: Verizon Voices Diversity Demands.

The New York Times reported Verizon is the latest client to demand diversity from its White advertising agencies. How amusing to see advertisers giving their ad shops 30 days to share action plans for achieving the diversity nearly all of them have failed to address for over 50 years. Then again, will clients be content with the clich├ęd, contrived and conniving crap including minority internship programs, inner-city grade school recruitment, chief diversity officers, diversity advisory committees and ADCOLOR® donations?

Brands to Ad Agencies: Diversify or Else

By Sapna Maheshwari

The advertising industry has tried for decades with little success to shed its “Mad Men”-like reputation as a profession dominated by white men. Now, some of the world’s biggest brands are viewing that lack of diversity as a liability.

In the last two months, three major brands have publicly put pressure on the agencies they work with to hire more women and minorities. The latest was Verizon, which joined General Mills and HP Inc., formerly a part of Hewlett-Packard, in telling agencies that a failure to do so could drive its business elsewhere.

The efforts reflect a growing concern among marketers that Madison Avenue’s largely white, male leadership may be hindering their efforts to connect with American consumers.

Diego Scotti, chief marketing officer for Verizon, sent letters to 11 of the agencies the company works with on Sept. 16, describing diversity as “an explicit business objective.” He gave the firms a month to submit details on how many women and minorities they employed across different roles and in senior leadership and asked for “action plans” describing how they would increase those numbers in the future.

“Marketers are expected to have a deep understanding and insight about their markets, about decision makers and about customers,” Mr. Scotti said in the letter, which has not been made public but was provided to The New York Times by Verizon this week. “We are more likely to create solutions that amaze our customers if our work force and suppliers represent the communities we serve.”

Verizon borrowed some of the language it used from letters HP sent to its agencies in August, urging them to hire more women in part because women buy about half of its computers and printers. General Mills, in seeking a new creative agency this summer, made headlines for saying it wanted creative departments it worked with to be staffed 50 percent by women and 20 percent with minorities.

“You don’t need to be a mom to make some Cheerios ads, but if we have more moms on the team making Cheerios ads, maybe we increase the probability we do work that connects with moms in a richer, deeper, more powerful, meaningful way,” Michael Fanuele, the chief creative officer of General Mills, said this week during an onstage discussion at an event hosted by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, known as the 4As, for Advertising Week.

“That’s really where our drive for diversity came,” Mr. Fanuele added. “It wasn’t some sort of moral high-horse stance about the failing ad industry.”

Ad agencies have already been grappling with accusations of racism and sexism and the sense that the industry’s approach to diversity is retrograde. In the last year, the chief executive of the J. Walter Thompson agency resigned after a lawsuit accused him of racist and sexist behavior, and dismissive remarks about gender equality were made by other top industry executives.

Several sessions held this week as part of Ad Week, the annual industry gathering in Manhattan, touched on those concerns, with panels on subjects like “Our Challenge to Erase Gender Stereotypes In Ads” and “Sexism in Advertising and What Brands Should Do.”

But the prospect of losing marketing dollars could drive change in a way that societal pressure has not. Verizon, for example, is one of the biggest advertisers in the United States, spending $1.3 billion on ads in both 2014 and 2015, according to Kantar Media.

“In order to push yourself to have a more diverse work force or a more humane work force, you have to be intentional about it — and nothing will drive intent faster than a client’s dollar,” Nancy Hill, president and chief executive of the 4As, said in an interview.

Women now make up nearly 50 percent of those working in the advertising industry, but only 11 percent of creative directors, according to a survey by the 3 Percent Conference, which supports female creative leadership at agencies. Mr. Fanuele, when describing the dominant creative “wizards” in the industry, described them as “a bunch of middle-aged white guys with baseball caps and funny beer jokes up their sleeves.”

“We’re still in a very male-dominated and nondiverse industry,” Mr. Scotti, who is from Argentina, said in an interview. “In order for us to create work that’s more connected with the consumer, it needs to come from a deeper connection to what’s going on in society and what’s going on in culture.”

Mr. Scotti said the commitment to diversity was “an important requirement” of doing business with Verizon, but that the company was not setting specific goals, quotas or penalties for the agencies it works with. HP, in its Aug. 30 letter, said it expected agencies to “make good” on formal plans for hiring more women within 12 months. General Mills said the percentages it mentioned were “meant to be directional” and that the company was focused on “the importance of working toward diversity goals over time.”

However, perhaps illustrating the challenges of enacting change in the industry, even those pushing for it can struggle to articulate how they respond to attempts to diversify. Mr. Fanuele, answering a question during Tuesday’s event about how agencies pitched General Mills after learning about its diversity goals, said at times it felt “tokenistic” to him.

“Some show up with all the right people around the table and it almost does feel like a quota of tokenism; it’s like ‘Oh, thank you. You found the, you know, Southeast Asian transgender woman who works somewhere in your network to come to our meeting to talk,’” he said. “And then other times it just looks beautiful and diverse and it’s very genuine and real and you’re not even, even though this has been a criteria, you’re almost not even conscious that it’s happening.”

It has been particularly exciting, he said, when the traditional creative directors arrive “looking like they look” and express a “genuine commitment to building teams and building departments that want to be magnets for more diverse talent.”

“When you see their eyes sparkle about the possibilities of teaching and mentoring and being taught and mentored by people who don’t look like they do, that’s been cool,” he said.

Friday, September 30, 2016

13377: Friday News On Saturday Morning.

Adweek reported on the latest happenings with Saturday Morning—an advocacy platform/program—launched by Butler, Stern, Shine and Partners Executive Creative Director Keith Cartwright, Twitter Group Creative Director Jayanta Jenkins, Amusement Park Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Smith and Geoff Edwards of Creative Artists Agency. Chobani Managing Director Kwame Taylor-Hayford later joined the founders. The quintet announced during Advertising Week that Airbnb and Procter & Gamble have expressed interest in supporting the efforts. If Saturday Morning wants support 24/7/365, simply embrace diverted diversity and advocate for White women.

Brands Like Airbnb and P&G Express Interest in ‘Saturday Morning’ Social Justice Project

Black creatives aim for conversation, sponsorships

By Patrick Coffee

Four prominent black creative directors launched the Saturday Morning project approximately two months ago as a way to further and formalize the sometimes challenging but important conversations facilitated by Black Lives Matter and related social justice movements.

On Thursday at The New York Times Center, the group, which now numbers five—Butler, Stern, Shine and Partners executive creative director Keith Cartwright; Twitter group creative director Jayanta Jenkins; Amusement Park chief executive officer Jimmy Smith; Geoff Edwards of Creative Artists Agency; and Chobani managing director Kwame Taylor-Hayford—explained the evolution of their passion project to an attentive Advertising Week crowd.

They also named two new potential brand partners in the form of P&G and Airbnb.

Cartwright said that the group’s initial letter, which they sent to press organizations on Aug. 1, has inspired more than 800 emails regarding their stated desire to “build awareness, promote change and shift the overall perception that black lives are in some way not as important as others.” The idea holds that interested parties from within the creative economy and beyond will submit original concepts designed to further progress in this area and that the members of Saturday Morning will determine which ones to promote via their platforms and partnerships.

“We will have ideas every quarter that we will bring to businesses and ask for sponsorships,” Cartwright said in laying out his plans for the group. “Airbnb is very interested, and [‎global marketing and brand building officer] Marc Pritchard of P&G called last week,” he added, stating that Pritchard expressed an interest in signing a petition that would commit P&G to helping Saturday Morning execute projects that may need funding.

“We are not an agency, and we are not competing with agencies,” Cartwright said, “[Because] we all have day jobs.”

Jenkins described Saturday Morning, which launched with the aforementioned letter and a website, as “an advocacy platform/program.” The group agreed that their project would initially operate on an earned media model in order to bring greater attention to the concepts and executions that it chooses to highlight.

“We’re not here to create something that will end up in Cannes,” said Smith, “though that’s not to say that there won’t be any ads.” He floated potential ideas on which Saturday Morning and its partners could collaborate, including legislation that would eliminate the controversial stop-and-frisk approach to law enforcement and a future in which robots perform traffic stops to reduce the likelihood of violent confrontations between police officers and members of the public.

“Many of us have relatives who are police officers … there would be chaos without them,” he added, suggesting that many officers who would like to participate in the ongoing conversation “feel like their voices aren’t being heard.”

Syracuse University has reached out to the group to discuss future collaborative projects. So has MAL for Good, the purpose-driven arm of Lee Clow’s TBWA\Media Arts Lab, or Apple’s dedicated ad agency.

“In summary, we will be releasing these ‘Peace Briefs’ and looking to engage individuals, businesses and universities to create a wealth of content,” said Taylor-Hayford. “Ultimately distribution is key … at some point this will require paid media to engage [with the public] through the brand coalitions we will form.”

The group plans to release its first such quarterly brief in early 2017.

13376: John Seifert’s Unconscious B.S.

Campaign interviewed Ogilvy Worldwide CEO—and ADCOLOR® Change Agent—John Seifert, who declared, “I want to be the most diverse and inclusive group of employees worldwide. More than 50% of our senior managers are going to be women. We’re going to have many more multicultural leaders who represent the world.” Wow, it’s amazing the old man’s statement wasn’t preceded by, “I have a dream…” After all, Seifert has been scratching his head over diversity for at least a decade, and even confessed in 2009 that the industry is “not exactly leading the way” in regards to creating inclusive workplaces. In 2011, he clumsily launched OgilvyCulture—which continues to be an oxymoron. And when he spouted, “We’re going to have many more multicultural leaders who represent the world,” it didn’t sound like U.S. minorities are part of the plan. Hell, his ADCOLOR® trophy might be the only accomplishment he has ever made in the area of diversity. So besides the diverted diversity pledge to promote more White women, Seifert’s grand vision for his White advertising agency sounds like, well, White lies.

Ogilvy & Mather veteran John Seifert takes charge amid refocus on heritage

John Seifert talks to Kate Magee about the future of the Ogilvy name and what it stands for in today’s ad industry.

In a world of portfolio careers, John Seifert is of that increasingly rare species: a loyal employee.

He joined Ogilvy & Mather as a summer intern in 1979. Now, 37 years later, he has taken centre stage as its worldwide chief executive and, as of this month, chairman after his predecessor, Miles Young, left to become warden at New College, Oxford.

Seifert will be the last person in the post who has worked with all previous eight chairmen of the company, including founder David Ogilvy.

So it is no surprise, then, that his vision is not one of radical change for the global network but more about ensuring it lives up to its heritage.

Seifert, though, concedes that building brands has become more challenging and requires a change in the way agencies operate.

“Every single one of our clients is asking for the same thing — make it easier to do business with you, make sure you have the talent and skills for the modern marketing world, and be quick,” he says. “Clients don’t want to pay us less, in truth — but they do want to pay us fairly for what value we create. We just have to be totally accountable for that.”

That will call for some internal changes at the network, one of which will include rationalising the number of O&M subsidiary brands.

“I think we have one brand and that’s Ogilvy. Over time, we have created lots of different entities that have Ogilvy in their name. But in a world that has got so complicated and so fragmented, I’m not sure that all those different entities signal to the market the brand promise of Ogilvy,” Seifert explains.

“We absolutely will focus on simplifying the offering. We’re still working on what the right brand naming is in the modern marketing world but I know it will be different from what it is today.”

The first casualty may have been Ogilvy Labs, the innovation facility that was closed in the summer. While the official argument was that innovative thinking was, and should continue to be, baked into all parts of the business, the demise of the division received some criticism.

Seifert stresses the changes do not mean the group will start taking a generalist view of the world — “we are not going to dumb things down” — but will make it easier for specialist staff to collaborate.

Other areas of focus include digital transformation and diversity — he has put both on the agenda for every management board at the company.

“I want to be the most diverse and inclusive group of employees worldwide,” Seifert asserts. “More than 50% of our senior managers are going to be women. We’re going to have many more multicultural leaders who represent the world.”

When asked what the timeline for these changes is, he replies: “I’ve had 37 years of training to be the CEO. We’re going to move fast.”

He adds: “One of our clients was saying at dinner last night, the consumer is changing faster than this client’s CEO feels that they are. And we feel clients are changing faster than we are. So we have to pick up the pace.”

Seifert has been at the helm of O&M’s North American operations since 2009 and was previously chairman of the company’s “global brand community” — a group of 25 clients worth more than £1bn in annual revenue. He has also led global brand teams for American Express, BP, DuPont and Siemens, among others. But it is these global relationships — and the “barons” who run them — that have been blamed in the past for impeding the growth of local agencies. O&M London, for one, is on its fourth chief executive in six years.

Seifert believes this to be a perceived problem rather than a real issue and that, while there is some “natural” tension between balancing local, regional and global work, this is not insurmountable.

“The London market is probably the most famous advertising market. It is a benchmark for the world. I remember living in Asia 25 years ago and everybody had the work of London on their reel and in their library because it set a standard that everyone admired,” Seifert says. “The role of London has shifted over time. It used to be this amazing domestic market of great creativity in marketing. Now it is a regional and global centre.”

But a great agency brand in London needs to be able to perform at a local, regional and global level, Seifert argues, adding that he has the right team in place to achieve this in London.

Like other countries, being able to perform on a global level is critical. “What I’ve said to everybody is it’s no longer good enough to be great in, say, Colombia or Argentina,” Seifert points out. “Now, you have to deliver a standard that the world admires. A big part of my agenda is to raise everybody up to a common standard of performance.”

Earlier this year, O&M became the Cannes Lions Network of the Year for the fifth consecutive time. The award has been a key measure of creative success for O&M in the past but Seifert hints that there might be less of a focus on this in the future.

“There’s a lot of debate around Cannes right now. It’s really expensive to send all the people that we would like to send there. There are more categories than most people even can name,” he says.

But he maintains that Cannes remains incredibly important as it has become the convening moment for adland: “So we have to be there, and be there in a compelling way. Whether we win Network of the Year again or not, I want to make sure we are doing work and are building brand cases that the whole world is envious of.

“I think creative success is defined by the work. The more work we can do to build our client’s brands, [the more successful we will be] at Cannes.”

Seifert’s overall goal for O&M is to ensure that it attracts the best global clients, has a diverse workforce and creates a strong portfolio of work. He says: “If we do those three things, I’ll be happy to go play golf.”

Thursday, September 29, 2016

13375: Running On Empty Heads.

Adweek reported on She Runs It (the White women’s organization formerly known as Advertising Women of New York), which presented data trying to explain why White women are allegedly underrepresented in leadership roles in the advertising industry. The funniest part of the Adweek piece is the title, “How the Ad Industry Can Help Women Attain Top Leadership Positions.” In most cases, asking adland to foster equality is like assigning The Three Stooges to build a nuclear weapon—it’s a task well beyond their capabilities, and the mere attempt is a dangerous proposition. Yet for White women, reaching C-suite roles on Madison Avenue is not really a challenge. White women have the numbers and the presence to make it happen, probably with minimal support from White men in the field. What makes the She Runs It platform absolutely obscene? White advertising women of New York have been co-conspirators with White advertising men in preventing racial and ethnic minorities from integrating into White advertising agencies for decades. To suddenly position themselves as victims—and put themselves ahead of true minorities—is pretty pathetic. If She Runs It is honestly interested in diversity versus diverted diversity, the organization should compare its data charts against those of racial and ethnic minorities. Hell, the White women would probably feel downright grateful for the exclusive privileges they enjoy.

How the Ad Industry Can Help Women Attain Top Leadership Positions

And why they’re leaving in the first place

By Katie Richards

It’s a well-known fact that there are not nearly enough women in leadership positions in the advertising industry. This year during Advertising Week, She Runs It (the organization formerly known as Advertising Women of New York, or AWNY) released new data around the topic of gender diversity in agencies and why more women aren’t taking on the top leadership roles.

The extensive study, “Accelerating the Path to Leadership for Women in Marketing and Media,” was commissioned in partnership with LinkedIn and Ernst & Young and looked at more than 4,000 companies. Results from the study account for roughly 3.7 million LinkedIn members.

She Runs It looked at men and women across seven disciplines in media and marketing including creative and media agencies, publishers and ad-tech companies. The results uncovered suggest that while 41 percent of “early stage professionals” are in media and marketing gigs, by the time you reach the executive leadership stage only 25 percent of those roles are filled by women.

But the most significant drop off point, according to head of She Runs It, Lynn Branigan, comes at the non-executive level, or the VP level. “Everyone always talks about the fact that we lose women in the messy middle, that we lose them when they are at childbearing age, that they want to have families that cultures and company cultures aren’t at a place where they are family friendly and that’s where we lose them. When you take a look at that chart you see the biggest drop starts at non-executive leadership, that makes you think something else is going on here,” Branigan said. Women are either stalled, she argued, of they are exiting the industry.

Branigan argued one of the ways women could help propel themselves into higher positions begins with networking. According to the research, 70 percent of endorsements on LinkedIn are made by men, with 69 percent of women’s endorsements coming from men and 78 percent of men’s endorsements coming from men.

Added Branigan: “Clearly the importance of building your network, endorsing others and building your social score are all-important things for women to do. We build our career based upon relationships. Women have to recognize our differences and be proactive in changing some behaviors that are more natural for men.”

Plus, at the middle management level, there are a few skills gaps between men and women in HR, finance and strategy that may be preventing women from getting to that next level. If companies begin building out programs in those areas that help provide women with the necessary skills, Branigan argued that could be one way to help women move up in the business.

13374: Rauxa Hearts Diverted Diversity.

Adweek reported that Rauxa—a White woman-owned White advertising agency that recently hired its first Chief Creative Officer, who happened to be a White woman—signed on its first Chief Marketing Officer, who also happened to be a White woman. Based on its “diverse” leadership, this place is definitely going to win an award from ADCOLOR® or The 3% Conference. Anyway, Rauxa CEO Gina Alshuler—another White woman—gushed, “We’re resolute in our commitment to growing our digital offerings, to advancing diversity in our industry, and to tapping data first and foremost to drive our work every day. What we saw in [new CMO Laurel Rossi] is a true industry leader who can adeptly bring these pieces, and more, together for us in order to build our brand and our solutions as we pursue the next wave of growth.” To be clear, the company is committed to digital, diverted diversity and data, probably in that order. “Diversity is a passion point for me,” said Rossi, “and Rauxa is devoted to it. This goes well beyond what everyone is talking about in the marketplace. My bugaboo is a lot of platitudes but not enough action. … I see my job as CMO to make sure that culture is pervasive and that clients know about it, too. … We often have a very narrow definition of diversity.” Well, the narrow definition of diversity used to focus on the need for greater racial and ethnic representation. The Rauxa women have expanded the definition to include themselves, ultimately further marginalizing true minorities. Oh, and Rossi apparently wants to include White people with disabilities ahead of colored people too. Finally, Rossi should avoid using “bugaboo” when discussing diversity, as it sounds like jigaboo; plus, “bugaboo” has connections to bogeyman, which definitely has racial/racist connotations in many cultures.

Rauxa’s First CMO Shares Why She Left a Holding Company for an Indie Agency

Laurel Rossi says she likes the diversity efforts, ‘progressive culture’

By Patrick Coffee

Rauxa, the California-based agency that is the largest such organization in this country currently owned by a woman, hired agency veteran and entrepreneur Laurel Rossi to serve as its chief marketing officer in New York. She is the first person to hold that position at the agency, which currently employs more than 200 across six U.S. offices.

In the new role, Rossi will work to help Rauxa develop its consulting, experiential and social media services while also expanding its Los Angeles production unit, Cats on the Roof, and furthering its commitment to developing an inclusive approach to talent recruitment and retention efforts.

“We’re resolute in our commitment to growing our digital offerings, to advancing diversity in our industry, and to tapping data first and foremost to drive our work every day,” says Rauxa CEO Gina Alshuler in a statement. “What we saw in Laurel is a true industry leader who can adeptly bring these pieces, and more, together for us in order to build our brand and our solutions as we pursue the next wave of growth.”

Before joining Rauxa, Rossi co-founded New York-based boutique agency Strategy Farm, which launched in 2008. Havas acquired the company in early 2011 for an undisclosed sum after several months of negotiations, and Rossi went on to serve as president of the resulting Havas Strat Farm organization as well as healthcare unit Havas Life & Wellness. When asked why she chose to move from a holding company to a far smaller independent agency, Rossi cited Rauxa’s marketing technology work, its “devotion to good creative” and its diverse leadership.

“Diversity is a passion point for me,” she says, “and Rauxa is devoted to it. This goes well beyond what everyone is talking about in the marketplace. My bugaboo is a lot of platitudes but not enough action.” Specifically, Rossi notes Rauxa’s “aggressive, progressive culture” while noting that 75 percent of its C-suite leadership team is female: “I see my job as CMO to make sure that culture is pervasive and that clients know about it, too.”

Rossi tells Adweek that efforts to make the agency more inclusive go beyond race and gender. “We often have a very narrow definition of diversity,” she says, citing her work on a project called Creative Spirit that began in Australia and aims to get companies in creative fields like advertising, film, architecture and music production to hire individuals with physical or intellectual disabilities such as those on the Asperger Syndrome spectrum. Rossi says she has been working on the Australian project for two years, that she plans to bring a similar effort to the states soon, and that Rauxa will ask certain partner organizations to agree to “hire someone of a different ability” as part of the larger initiative.

She says the flexibility of the independent agency model also played into her decision to leave Havas. “Independence gets you a lot of things [like] an uninhibited ability to see what the client needs and deliver it and the ability to make decisions on how to invest in clients’ businesses without a lot of handcuffs,” she says. “This lets us experiment with clients, which is what they’re asking for.”

In July, Rauxa hired Kate Daggett, veteran of agencies like Tenthwave and TBWA\Chiat\Day, as its first-ever chief creative officer. Rossi sees Daggett’s hire as an opportunity to renew the agency’s focus on creative work as it attempts to build a larger, more visible profile within the industry.

“It is a rare opportunity that you find an organization with the entrepreneurial culture of a startup, the innovation of the best tech firms, and the consistent endorsement of its blue-chip clients—all in one package,” says Rossi.

Rauxa’s client roster currently includes Verizon Wireless, marketing software company SteelHouse, healthcare provider WellCare and The Gap, among others.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

13373: Glass Is Ass.

Adweek asked, “Why Did JWT Just Launch a Print Women’s Magazine?” Um, as a smokescreen that might lessen the inevitable settlement amount stemming from the Gustavo Martinez discrimination lawsuit? JWT Innovation Director Lucie Greene dumps a lot of culturally clueless gobbledygook to present the publication, including explaining, “…[T]he title is purposefully non-gendered…” So “Glass” is not a reference to the mythical glass ceiling? Greene is actually demonstrating gender equality in adland, as she delivers diverted diversity bullshit as well as any White man.

Why Did JWT Just Launch a Print Women’s Magazine?

Innovation director Lucie Greene fills us in

By Kristina Monllos

J. Walter Thompson partnered with Getty Images to launch a pop-up magazine at Advertising Week in New York. Using data, insights and trends garnered from the agency’s innovation group, the result, Glass, is meant to be a “more diverse and future-facing” version of a typical women’s glossy magazine.

Inside the pages readers will find essays from the likes of Thinx’s Miki Agrawal, author Rebecca Traister and even JWT’s worldwide CEO Tamara Ingram. Adweek sat down with Lucie Greene, worldwide director of the agency’s innovation group, to find out why an agency would launch a print magazine.

13372: ADCOLOR® Commentary.

Campaign Editor-in-Chief Douglas Quenqua wrote a tribute to ADCOLOR® that ultimately—albeit unintentionally—showed how the organization perfectly symbolizes the sorry state of true diversity in the advertising industry.

To begin, Campaign really must stop referring to ADCOLOR® as “the industry’s premiere diversity conference” or “the ad industry’s premiere diversity event” already. For starters, the trade journal is using the wrong word—it should be premier versus premiere. And to be accurate, ADCOLOR® is not the first or leading diversity conference/event/thingy in our industry, as there are plenty of other equally lame programs out there. Then again, ADCOLOR® might be the premier smokescreen, allowing White men and White women to continue apathetically ignoring and actively denying any honest efforts for positive change.

Quenqua opened by confessing he only attended one day of the four-day extravaganza. In short, the editor mirrored industry members by displaying disinterest and declining dedication to true diversity. To push the perspective further, Quenqua revealed that ADCOLOR® creator Tiffany R. Warren asked for Campaign to provide coverage, as trade journals have historically failed to send reporters to record the festivities. To push the perspective over the edge, Quenqua also noted not seeing “a single chief creative officer from a top-tier agency”—as well as any CEOs (besides John Seifert), CMOs or holding company chiefs—in attendance. Quenqua’s observations confirm his own lack of awareness, as the editor of a major advertising trade journal should know by now that honchos from White advertising agencies and holding companies collectively comprise the biggest obstacle to progress. C-suite (short for Caucasian-suite in adland) executives appearing at an ADCOLOR® affair would be like Grand Wizards (or Campbell Ewald bigwigs) joining a Black Lives Matter rally.

Quenqua called his one-day ADCOLOR® immersion an “empowering, intelligent and inspiring” experience. Too bad empowerment, intelligence and inspiration have not led to meaningful and measurable action in regards to eliminating exclusivity in the advertising industry. Minimal attendance on the matter—literally and figuratively—remains the modus operandi for the ruling majority.

AdColor: Where were you?

By Douglas Quenqua

The industry’s premiere diversity conference just marked its 10th anniversary. The celebration was lonelier than it should have been.

First, a confession: I left this year’s AdColor conference too quickly. Rather than view the 4-day event as a chance to meet new people and connect with a community, I thought of it the way editors too often do, as a source of content. Campaign US’ creative editor, I-Hsien Sherwood, and I swooped in for the single day of panel discussions, wrote our stories and hopped on a plane before the stage went dark.

Despite my shortsightedness, I left with something I hadn’t intended to take: a buoyant sense of optimism about the future of the industry. This is not what you expect to take away from a diversity conference, given the grave and serious tones in which the topic is usually broached. But the AdColor Conference & Awards, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this week, is empowering, intelligent and inspiring in ways that other conferences are not.

Really, you should have been there.

Every day we hear ad executives and, lately, CMOs venting their frustration over the male whiteness of adland. They talk about the struggle to find non-white talent, to evolve their culture and “change the ratio.” And by all means, they should. But those complaints would carry more weight if they actually attended the industry’s premiere diversity event. Perhaps naively, I thought they would.

Early this summer I sat with Tiffany R. Warren, the founder of AdColor and chief diversity officer for Omnicom Group, to ask how Campaign US could get involved. I expected her to brush me off, to say she was up to her ears in ad trades wanting special access. Instead, she told me no advertising trade publication had ever sent a reporter to the event, the way we do with, you know, absolutely every other remotely ad-related event that attracts enough warm bodies to stage a panel discussion.

I can’t speak to the truth of Warren’s claims prior to this year. But I can confirm I didn’t see any of the usual suspects this week in Boca Raton, where the conference was held. In fact, aside from an advertorial package in AdWeek, I still haven’t seen a single mention of the conference—which I may have mentioned is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year—in any of the other ad trades.

Here’s what else I didn’t see: a single chief creative officer from a top-tier agency. And aside from Ogilvy Worldwide Chairman and CEO John Siefert, who was being honored as a “change agent” at the awards show on Wednesday, there was not a single major agency CEO. I saw no CMOs, and I certainly didn’t see any holding-company chiefs.

I have always looked sideways at people who crow about leaving an advertising conference “inspired.” How empty a life must be, I would think, for the soul to rise at a breakout session. But today I’m that guy. Because yesterday I heard Luvvie Ajayi, the blogger behind, eloquently dismantle the false equivalence behind #AllLivesMatter. (“Pride in my culture is revolutionary,” she said, “because the whole world is telling me I’m nothing.”) I heard Chloe C. Sledd, founder of VoiceLots, talk about founding her company to honor her father, who was nearly shot to death in his mother’s home by a group of Chicago cops who had the wrong address (and tried to cover up their mistake by planting drugs in his dresser. Luckily, Sledd’s mother was hiding under the bed). When Facebook’s Kiva Wilson half jokingly proposed making a virtual reality experience that simulates being a black executive who gets followed around a drug store, I grasped the potential of that technology in a way I hadn’t after CES.

The ad industry these days can be a moribund place. We talk about the “death” of everything from the agency model to TV commercials to print. Yet AdColor, an event founded and attended mostly by people who’ve been marginalized and dismissed, is vibrant, aspirational and –I’ll say it again—inspiring. It offers so much of what the industry’s leaders claim to be in search of. Their absence makes you wonder just how hard they’re looking.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

13371: Survey Says… Bullshit!

Advertising Age reported on a 4As survey showing nearly half of all advertising industry professionals think agencies are discriminatory. The rest of all advertising professionals are probably too culturally clueless to realize their own racist tendencies. Why the 4As felt the need to conduct a survey for such common-knowledge results is baffling. Here’s the most amusing factoid revealed by Ad Age:

While about half of respondents said they think agency life is still discriminatory, more than 60% agreed somewhat or totally that advertising agencies were more racist in the past than they are now, according to the survey.

Gee, that’s like declaring the U.S. was more unconsciously biased in the past, when slavery was legal and acceptable—and the Founding Fathers were racists and rapists.

The only necessary survey questions should be:

1. Why is the advertising industry still discriminatory after decades of recognizing the problem and promising to fix it?

2. When will White advertising agencies be forced to produce meaningful and measurable results regarding diversity?

4A’s Survey: Nearly Half of Industry Professionals Say Agencies Are Discriminatory

By Lindsay Stein

Nearly 50% of industry professionals believe agency culture is still discriminatory, if not as overtly as it once was, according to research findings released by the 4A’s at its Talent@2030 Conference during Advertising Week.

As part of its ongoing efforts around gender equality and diversity, the 4A’s conducted a member survey by via in June. Out of the 549 respondents, 74% said ad agencies are mediocre or worse when it comes to hiring diverse professionals. More specifically, 25% said the industry was mediocre, 29% said it’s not great and 20% said it’s terrible.

“The numbers didn’t really shock me, as we know the industry has to do better at hiring and retaining diverse talent,” said 4A’s President-CEO Nancy Hill via email.

While about half of respondents said they think agency life is still discriminatory, more than 60% agreed somewhat or totally that advertising agencies were more racist in the past than they are now, according to the survey.

However, respondents feel that ethnically diverse professionals are not given the same opportunities as white males, with 20% saying the ad industry is terrible about this, 28% saying it’s not great at it, and 25% saying it’s mediocre. The same goes for “differently abled” employees, the survey shows, with 17% of respondents saying the industry is terrible about giving disabled employees the same opportunities as white male staffers. Nearly one in three (29%) said the industry isn’t great when it comes to offering disabled people the same opportunities as white males, and 28% said the industry is mediocre at this.

“I challenge the agency community to participate in an important survey we intend to conduct to understand the make-up of our talent pool so we can begin to measure change in a real and meaningful way,” Ms. Hill said. “We will conduct this survey in the same way we do the salary survey each year.”

The new survey will be used by “agencies to benchmark themselves against industry norms” and to measure the advertising industry against other business sectors, she added. The 4A’s expects to get the survey in the field by the end of the year.

The 4A’s also fielded a second study with research partner SSRS on consumer views about diversity in ads. More than three out of four (81%) of respondents agreed that advertising has become more diverse in the last five years. Additionally, 74% of people surveyed said ads should realistically reflect America’s diversity, and 64% said advertising should ensure that all ethnicities in America are portrayed. That survey included 1,027 participants ages 18 and up.

Ms. Hill said via email that she was “pleasantly surprised” that consumers have noticed a difference when it comes to diversity in advertising.

“I don’t think it’s just about having diverse people in ads, I think it is about how we portray people, period,” she wrote. “Just because men have always had a say hasn’t meant that they are always shown in a flattering light. I think with a diverse and balanced approach, we will get a much more human touch in the work.”

The vast majority (71%) of respondents approve of diversity in marketing as long as it doesn’t seem gimmicky, the study found. Some 61% of consumers between 18 and 34 years old said they would like to see more advertising that includes diversity, adding that this would make a brand more favorable to them. That figure drops a little to 49% when it comes to respondents ages 35 to 54 and those older than 55.

Aside from the upcoming diversity talent survey, the 4A’s has added several new diversity initiative this year, such as proprietary studies, gender and diversity discussions at all 4A’s events, an online content series called See It & Bee It and dedicated diversity-related events.

13370: Advertising Week, Groundhog Day.

Advertising Age reported Advertising Week 2016 is a rerun of Advertising Week 2006, with White advertising agencies creating fresh smokescreens—including diverted diversity—to dodge accountability for decades of inaction regarding true diversity and inclusion.

“There’s a perspective that it’s now OK to speak up and have a voice,” claimed 4As President-CEO Nancy Hill. “And I think the other side is recognizing that there’s a need to allow that voice and celebrate it.” To be clear, Hill is only referencing diverted diversity, with an emphasis on the White women bandwagon. For true minorities such as Blacks and Latinos, it’s not “OK to speak up and have a voice”—unless you’re prepared to be blacklisted, blackballed and blacked out of the business.

In 2006, Omnicom refused to comply with agreements designed to promote diversity in the advertising industry, opting instead to establish a Diversity Development Advisory Committee, hire a Chief Diversity Officer, bankroll ADCOLOR® and devise dumb diversity drives that haven’t done diddly to demonstrably develop diversity. Today, Omnicom refuses to disclose its EEO-1 data.

What a difference a decade makes.

At Advertising Week, Industry Chases Inclusion

By Lindsay Stein

Advertising Week 2016 in New York has no single theme, according to Matt Scheckner, the event’s executive director, but the fact that more than a dozen panels are focused on gender, diversity and inclusion is very much deliberate.

This week’s content, he said, is meant to “mirror what are the most timely and topical” issues in the industry and in the world. And this year, the dialogue around gender and race equality, though far from new in the country and in the ad industry, has been reignited by a number of controversial events, whether it be police-related shootings or lawsuits over alleged discrimination.

This summer, Advertising Week partnered with Future Foundation to conduct a gender diversity study of the industry. The survey, which includes responses from 285 executives across the media, marketing and creative industries in the U.S.—73% of whom are female—revealed that 40% of women claim to have encountered gender discrimination in the workplace. The survey also found more than one out of three women (36%) claim to have experienced sexual harassment at work. Advertising Week and Future Foundation will release the full survey on Sept. 28.

Advertising Week is just one of several groups showcasing research around gender and diversity throughout the week’s festivities. Nonprofit Advertising Women of New York is unveiling a new brand identity, She Runs It, along with a study orchestrated by EY and LinkedIn aimed at helping advance women leadership in marketing and media. The 3% Conference will talk about the results from its Elephant on Madison Avenue study during a panel, and the 4A’s will release findings from its study about how diverse professionals are treated in the workplace and how consumers perceive diversity in ads during its Talent@2030 Conference. The 4A’s will also debut research on how consumers perceive women in ads during a panel featuring Madonna Badger, founder and chief creative officer at Badger & Winters, who launched the #WomenNotObjects initiative in January.

4A’s President-CEO Nancy Hill said gender and diversity are definitely prominent topics for this year’s Advertising Week, which is expected to have more than 100,000 participants, up from 95,000 in 2015. The four-day fest also saw a 64% increase in early registration for Advertising Week delegates and special events this year, compared with 2015.

“There’s a perspective that it’s now OK to speak up and have a voice, and I think the other side is recognizing that there’s a need to allow that voice and celebrate it,” said Ms. Hill, who challenged the industry and agency CEOs to take more action on diversity and gender issues following the discrimination lawsuit against WPP and J. Walter Thompson in March.

Despite the fact that Advertising Week is chock-full of gender and diversity talks, Mr. Scheckner doesn’t think any of the discussions or studies will be redundant or contradictory. “Everybody has a different take and that’s what makes it unique and adds richness to the whole thing,” he said.

Ms. Hill said the content really “runs the gamut,” with sessions ranging from gender and race to LGBT and transgender topics.

Each year, Advertising Week, which is entering its 13th year in New York City and 18th overall edition, has to make sure topics are fresh and relevant, said Mr. Scheckner, which is why this year’s event also has plenty of talks around virtual reality, programmatic advertising and the digitization of the industry.

As usual, you can expect a fair amount of self-promotion by participating agencies, vendors and others amid the panels and the parties. But the meatier sessions are likely to center on gender and diversity, which are beginning to shape the new-business world. Witness the “Free the Bid” initiative launched two weeks ago, which calls for all agencies to include at least one female director every time it triple-bids a production for a client. A couple weeks before that, General Mills told Ad Age that it’s requiring that agencies participating in its review be staffed with at least 50% women and 20% people of color within the creative department.

Monday, September 26, 2016

13369: “…The Idea Of Having More Diversity…”

Adweek spotlighted Clio Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Linda Kaplan Thaler, who rambled about diversity with bullshit including:

I would like to see more and more women in leadership positions. After all, we are seeing more and more that our clients are women. We need to reflect that as well. I love the idea of having more diversity, not just in gender but also obviously in race and every other form. My experience is the more diverse you are, the more creative you are because people come to it from different points of view.

Of course, now that Kaplan Thaler is out of the business, she’s eager to pontificate on embracing “the idea of having more diversity” that she failed to promote during her lifetime of achievement in the field. It’s so much easier to simply jump on the White women bandwagon of diverted diversity. For a clear picture of Kaplan Thaler’s idea of diversity, take a peek at the current leadership of her former White advertising agency.

Clio Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Wants to See More Diversity in the Industry

Linda Kaplan Thaler reflects on ad career

By Katie Richards


Current gig President, Kaplan Thaler Productions

Previous gig Chairman, Publicis Kaplan Thaler

Twitter @lindathaler2

You’re being honored with a Clio Lifetime Achievement Award this year. Do you remember winning your first Clio?

I don’t remember the first Clio I won, but I do remember the year I won four. One, I wrote the music and lyrics for “Kodak America,” then French’s mustard won two. I won for best comedy writing and then we won for a Burger King commercial. I was fairly young at the time and hadn’t been in the ad business very long, so I was really thrilled. It was incredible.

After stepping down as chairman of Publicis Kaplan Thaler early this year, what have you been working on?

I had been doing public speaking for several years off and on, but I decided to leave advertising this past February and be a speaker full time across the country, talking about a variety of topics. I love it because it’s a combination of me being able to give stories and insights and empowerment to people as well as my theatrical desires because I never quite gave up wanting to perform. That’s what I did in my 20s. I got to combine the two things and I love it.

What does your latest book, Grit to Great, tackle?

Robin Koval and I started The Kaplan Thaler Group about 20 years ago, and we are very proud of what we have accomplished. Along the way we decided to write books. Most recently we started looking at our success and realizing that neither of us are geniuses or incredibly talented, and we started researching really uber-successful people. We realized that success had nothing to do with the “it factor,” being brilliant or talented; it had more to do with what we called the “grit factor”—guts, resilience, initiative, tenacity—so we wrote this book Grit to Great.

As a woman who has achieved so much in this business, what do you make of all the conversations about the lack of diversity and sexism within the industry?

I would like to see more and more women in leadership positions. After all, we are seeing more and more that our clients are women. We need to reflect that as well. I love the idea of having more diversity, not just in gender but also obviously in race and every other form. My experience is the more diverse you are, the more creative you are because people come to it from different points of view.

What’s a highlight from your career that you’re most proud of?

One campaign that I am so proud that I have worked on with the team at Publicis Kaplan Thaler is something we did for the Anti-Defamation League called “ADL Imagine.” It was trying to get people to understand for the ADL centennial that they are more than just fighting anti-Semitism. They fight all types of hatred, bigotry and prejudice. They asked us to do a video to celebrate what the ADL had been fighting for. We started to think of all the lives that had been cut short because of a hate crime—Martin Luther King Jr., Anne Frank—we thought that would be a depressing film to show how young they were when they died, but what if we show a video of what they would have done had they lived. What would the newspaper lines read? We went to Yoko Ono and she was so moved by the idea that she gave us John Lennon’s Imagine song for free. It went viral in every country around the world. That’s one of the things I’m most proud of because it celebrates diversity of all kinds.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

13368: Wheels Up. Thumbs Down.

Newport is offering a jet-set getaway—where winners won’t be permitted to smoke on the plane or in the airport. Brilliant.