Friday, February 15, 2019

14525: BHM 2019—For Adland, Black History Month Offers 28 Days Of Denial.

Adweek published a lengthy report on Black History Month celebrations at White advertising agencies. Guess the trade journal couldn’t find a single Black advertising agency to feature. Whatever. The patronizing highlights include:

Deutsch will host a panel discussion on Black women in corporate America, along with a workshop, dance class and exhibition by Black artists. According to Adweek, a Deutsch mouthpiece declared the core of the agency “is in its talent and that ‘creating an inclusive place for our employees is our number one priority.’” Okay, but the statement is coming from an exclusive place that fired its Diversity Director, who later claimed, “I was told that the agency was no longer going to invest in diversity.”

• TBWA\Chiat\Day appears to have delegated the festivities to Chief Diversity Officer for North America Doug Melville.

• Havas is regurgitating its #BlackAtWork propaganda for all the Blacks who fucking love working there.

Forsman & Bodenfors will screen a movie—either The Hate U Give, Selma, Black Panther or Coming to America. Adweek didn’t probe on how the Sweden-based agency arrived at selecting the film finalists.

Allen & Gerritsen CEO Andrew Graff said, “Black History Month is a time to reflect on the past and inspire A&G’s commitment to consistently evolve and bravely challenge ourselves to be inclusive.” Sorry, but a peek at the agency leadership displays a lack of bravery and an abundance of culturally clueless cowardice.

Given the many art and music events planned at White advertising agencies, it’s safe to say that saluting Black History Month in adland is a bunch of song and dance.

14524: JWT Commodore Sailing Toward Another Stormy Court Battle.

Campaign reported the JWT London discrimination case—where a group of White, British, privileged, straight men charge they were fired after voicing concerns over JWT London Creative Director Jo Wallace griping about White, British, privileged, straight men—will go to tribunal. Remember when JWT New York CEO Lynn Power argued the internal perception and external perception were very different for the White advertising agency—i.e., she claimed the place did not have the diversity and divertsity dilemmas that the Gustavo Martinez-Erin Johnson lawsuit seemed to symbolize? Bwahahahahaha!

JWT discrimination case to go to tribunal

Group includes Chas Bayfield.

By Jeremy Lee

The straight, white, middle-aged men who claimed they were forced out of J Walter Thompson as part of a diversity drive are taking the agency to an employment tribunal.

The men involved, which include senior creative Chas Bayfield, have engaged law firm Judge Sykes Frixou to fight the case. They are due to serve papers either tomorrow (Friday 15 February) or early next week.

JWT will then have a maximum of 28 days to respond to the claims in writing, giving its side of the case. Once it has replied, the tribunal will decide whether there will be a full hearing to decide on the case. If they can prove that they were discriminated against, there is an unlimited payout.

Campaign broke the story of the allegations in November. It is alleged that they were ousted after raising concerns about the comments of JWT creative director Jo Wallace at a Creative Equals conference in May. Wallace introduced herself as a gay woman and said that she wanted to “obliterate” the reputation that the agency was full of white, privileged straight men after the company announced a gender pay gap of 44.7%. Wallace was speaking in a joint presentation with JWT executive creative director Lucas Peon.

The story attracted considerable media attention and it is believed that the BBC is making a programme about the case. Since the allegations first came to light, WPP is in the process of merging JWT with Wunderman.

Wunderman Thompson declined to comment.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

14523: BHM 2019—At Walmart, It’s Reigning Young Men and Young Women.

Walmart presents #ReignOn for Black History Month, spotlighting exceptional Black youth.

14522: Publicis.Sapient Poops Out More Digital Dookie.

AgencySpy posted on the latest shuffling at Publicis.Sapientthe industry’s biggest digital dunghill. There’s even a new website featuring an embarrassingly bad video, demonstrating once again that digital agencies shouldn’t be allowed to handle creative assignments. Plus, the website appears to show off an oh-so-diverse staff—until realizing the tattooed hipster and crew are available for hire via royalty-free stock photography.

Publicis.Sapient Names New CEO as the 28-Year-Old Razorfish Brand Comes to an End

By Patrick Coffee

The reorganization of Publicis.Sapient has finally happened.

As part of its earnings call today, Publicis Groupe announced that Nigel Vaz will become the CEO of Publicis.Sapient, with predecessor Alan Wexler moving into the chairman role.

Vaz was formerly CEO of Publicis Sapient International in the EMEA and APAC regions.

The release goes on to state, “As part of this news, Vaz is also leading a rebranding of Publicis Sapient, which will see the company come together to create a single unified brand laser-focused on combining creatives, technology, research and analysis in order to provide a comprehensive service to clients in the digital business transformation (DBT) space.”

The subtext here confirms Adweek’s July 2018 report regarding Publicis’ plans to fold the 28-year-old Razorfish organization (which had since merged with Sapient) into Publicis.Sapient, which is one of the holding company’s four larger “solutions hubs.” Publicis never confirmed the story despite the fact that the Razorfish Wikipedia page currently reads that it “announced plans to sunset the SapientRazorfish brand and roll the remaining employees under the Publicis.Sapient organization.”

The description continues: “By fusing our experience, capabilities, customer experience and viewpoint, along with innovative engineering, within a culture renowned for problem-solving creativity, Publicis Sapient will be able to leverage its skillsets in management consulting and other emerging areas such as data and AI to deliver an authentic customer-centric approach to its clients, helping them digitally transform in the process. This people-centric approach to digital business transformation will continue to evolve alongside the preferences of clients and their consumers.”

In a statement, Vaz said he is “honored to take on the role of Publicis Sapient CEO at this time” and that he will work to integrate its “consulting, industry expertise, experience and engineering capabilities at scale while enhancing the culture and values, which have made us an integral business transformation partner since our inception”

As the July story noted, this merger has been going on for some time and went through multiple delays, as many such large-scale projects tend to do. Publicis has also made several efforts to streamline the organization—the July story also noted triple-digit layoffs, and multiple parties reached out to us after it went live to state that the ultimate number of U.S. employees affected was around 200.

It should be noted that SapientRazorfish employed more than 12,000 at the time, and the new entity includes 20,000 across 35 offices around the world.

According to sources close to the organization, more cuts came in recent weeks and primarily affected the creative side of the business.

A Publicis.Sapient spokesperson declined to comment beyond the release.

Razorfish came to life in 1990 as one of the original digitally-oriented agencies. Microsoft acquired the company in 2007 and then sold it to Publicis two years later for an estimated $530 million in cash and stock, with Razorfish and Sapient becoming one in late 2017. As of this moment, the RazorfishSapient website still exists, but that will not be the case for much longer.

Publicis missed its earnings goals for the final quarter of 2018, and while Arthur Sadoun said the results were “outstanding” given the “challenging” environment, he acknowledge that this quarter would make for a “bumpy ride.”

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

14521: BHM 2019—Macy’s Lasting Legacies Last For Years.

Macy’s celebrates Black History Month by honoring lasting legacies—which looks a lot like last year’s lollapalooza.

14521: Anheuser-Busch InBev Casting Confessions And Fish Tales.

Advertising Age reported on the aftermath of a published VICE article titled, “My Bikini Audition From Hell Shows How Little Hollywood Has Changed,” wherein an actress exposed her allegedly unacceptable experience at an Anheuser-Busch InBev commercial casting session. Apparently, the auditioning actresses were instructed to wear bikinis and dance, even though the actual spot featured female characters semi-conservatively clothed and not dancing.

Don’t mean to sound insensitive, but after reading the complete VICE article—and watching the lame commercial—it’s difficult to extend much sympathy to the actress-author. Hell, if you’re trying out for a beer company’s commercial and you’re required to arrive in a bikini, well, don’t expect to be judged on your thespian skills. Granted, A-B InBev, the production company, the casting agency and the White advertising agency deserve to be panned, pummeled and punished for the lazy, lousy and lecherous casting specs. Then again, it’s not uncommon for creatives and directors to be unsure about details like wardrobe and actions at the storyboard stage—and if the goal is to portray underwater mermaids, it’s not unusual to want to get a sense for an actress’ features and physical abilities. In the end, the scenario showed the overwhelming majority of actresses seemed quite content to face potential objectification for the chance to collect residuals. Besides, the hazards of casting calls for White women pale in comparison to the discriminatory disrespect routinely dumped on actors of color—where talent is instructed to dance, sing, rap, talk street, wear culturally clueless costumes, assume stereotypical roles and worse. And that’s only if they’re even allowed to audition for lead roles.

Casting agency accused of inappropriate behavior on AB InBev Super Bowl ad shoot

Actress’ essay alleges it was a ‘bikini audition from hell’

By E.J. Schultz and Megan Graham

Anheuser-Busch InBev and an ad production company on Thursday responded to allegations that a casting agency engaged in inappropriate behavior while selecting talent for a Super Bowl ad for the marketer’s Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer.

In a first-person essay published in Vice in December, actress Ingrid Haas alleged that she had a “bikini audition from hell” when auditioning for a mermaid-themed commercial for an alcoholic brand that she does not identify. In the essay, Haas claims women were required to wear bikinis and instructed to dance at the audition.

An InBev spokeswoman confirmed the commercial the writer references was for Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer.

Haas wrote that she told the casting associate she wouldn’t dance and claims he responded by saying, “’Well, we all make choices,’ with the not-so-subtle subtext of, ‘You’re not getting this job.’”

The casting associate was not named and instead was referred to as “Man Bun” in the piece. An Anheuser-Busch InBev spokeswoman referred questions about the casting agency to Stink, the production company credited on the ad.

Chelsea Phillips, VP for the Beyond Beer division at AB InBev in a statement said: “The behavior described in the Vice article is completely unacceptable and goes against everything that our brand and company stand for. I regret that this individual had this experience. Anheuser-Busch does not tolerate any discriminatory or demeaning behavior. I reached out to the production company who produced the commercial, because we hold our business partners to this same standard.”

Stink issued a statement that also named Traktor, the directing group credited for the ad. “Stink and Traktor do not tolerate sexual harassment of any kind,” Stink said in its statement. “No one should be made to feel uncomfortable, and we expect all collaborators and contractors to act respectfully. Furthermore, we will not be working with the individual at the casting agency involved in the commercial shoot described in the Vice article again.”

Bullish, the creative agency on the ad, referred all inquiries to AB InBev and said “we fully support its stance.”

Contacted for comment, Dan Cowan, owner of the casting agency, Broad-cast, which worked on the commercial, said “My company has been in business for the past 25 years and we have cast over 3,500 commercials during that time. There have never been any allegations of impropriety made against me or my company.”

In an email to Ad Age, Cowan said, “For this particular commercial, over 200 actresses were auditioned and each person had approximately one minute to be videotaped for the directors to review. No one was ever alone with this actor or any of the other 199 actresses involved with the audition. Each actor was asked to dress in a bikini top and shorts or track suit. Each actor was asked to dance at the beginning of their audition as this was a way to show one’s level of confidence.”

He added: “Knowing we have to audition over 200 actors in an 18-hour period, I do not tolerate any behavior that would make someone feel rushed or uncomfortable. In fact my staff has always been complimented on our welcoming and comfortable work environment for all actors. I have reviewed this internally with my staff to continue to make my office a welcoming environment where every actor feels safe.”

The ad portrays the two mermaids, Bonnie and Vivian, as the brand’s founders. The characters wear shirts, not bikinis, in the ad. In an interview about the ad in January, Phillips stressed that the mermaids are not portrayed in a sexualized fashion. “It has two females in a founder position and presented in a different way than we have ever seen alcohol present females characters before.”

Update: After this story was published, Ingrid Haas, the writer of the Vice story, sent Ad Age a statement by Instagram message. It said, “The Bon & Viv spot turned out great and I hope we continue to see more female creators and bosses depicted in ad campaigns. My audition experience was unfortunate and unacceptable. I hope we all get more comfortable with women saying no to uncomfortable, degrading or inequitable situations.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

14520: BHM 2019—Mickey D’s 365Black Is A Few Days Late…?

It’s February 12 and Mickey D’s 365Black has not yet acknowledged Black History Month. Time to cut a few digits from 365?

14519: CarMax To Stage A Competitive Car Wreck.

Advertising Age reported CarMax is shopping for a new White advertising agency, potentially trading in its White advertising agency of roughly five years for a fresh model. Given that advertising executives and car salespeople consistently rank high among the most dishonest professions, the competition could become a bullshitters shootout. Plus, CarMax is based in Virginia, where local politicians are dealing with multiple blackface and sexual assault charges. So don’t be surprised if the competitors includes Campbell Ewald, The Martin Agency and any shop freelancing Ralph Watson, Ted Royer or Jeremy Perrott.

CarMax creative account is up for review

Used-car retailer spent nearly $100 million in U.S. measured media in 2017

By Megan Graham

Used car retailer CarMax is test-driving new creative agencies.

The Richmond, Virginia-based company confirmed to Ad Age that it was reviewing its “advertising agency relationship.” A spokeswoman for CarMax said McKinney, its current agency, is participating in the review.

Durham, North Carolina-based McKinney has worked with the brand since 2014. An agency representative couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

CarMax said it works with Vizeum as its media agency.

CarMax has more than 195 stores across the country, according to its website. The company spent an estimated $97.9 million in measured media in the U.S. in 2017, the most recent year for which full-year figures were available, according to Kantar Media.

With CarMax, McKinney’s “Greenie” work — its response to a mock luxury ad for a couple’s 1996 Honda Accord in 2017 — won a bronze Cannes Lion for real-time response in the “Social & Influencer” category. As bidding for the car on eBay skyrocketed, CarMax could only offer the Kelley Blue Book value to the couple, so made a video offering much-inflated prices for each of the personal items shown in the video, like a cat and a sandwich, for a total of $20,000.

CarMax said in December it is piloting an “omnichannel” buying experience that lets customers purchase cars online or start the process at home and complete the purchase in-store.

Monday, February 11, 2019

14518: BHM 2019—Ads Of The World Without Blacks.

Ads of the World presented a collection of Top Chinese New Year Ads, along with collections for events including the Super Bowl, Christmas, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, April Fools’ Day, International Women’s Day, Halloween, U.S. Election and more. Black History Month Ads, however, are excluded.

14517: Striking Back And Striking Out With Alex Bogusky.

CPB+ Chief Creative Engineer Alex Bogusky created a video series to attack JUUL for its deceptive promotional tactics, and the latest installment is explained as follows:

After two videos calling bullshit on #JUUL’s marketing, Alex found out he fucked up. First instinct was to hide it but instead he’s outing himself and looking for advice from the community. Let’s turn this into something good.

Whatever. But why is Bogusky rocking a BBH t-shirt? Is he supporting the White advertising agency in its battles with SAG-AFTRA? Maybe Bogusky should donate his JUUL loot to the media artists union. Hey, MDC Partners could use the cash too.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

14514: BHM 2019—Three Stripes And You’re Out, Adidas.

Advertising Age reported on the adidas Black History Month shoe—an all-white design from the “Uncaged” line—that drew immediate public outrage. “Toward the latter stages of the design process, we added a running shoe to the collection that we later felt did not reflect the spirit or philosophy of how Adidas believes we should recognize and honor Black History Month,” explained adidas in a statement. “After careful consideration, we have decided to withdraw the product from the collection.” The shoemaker apparently failed to use “careful consideration” when crafting the shoe, opting for culturally clueless consideration.

Adidas pulls Black History Month shoe after backlash

The all-white shoe drew ire from consumers.

By Adrianne Pasquarelli

February has only just begun, but one retailer has already landed in hot water over a product related to Black History Month. On Monday, Adidas announced it was pulling a running shoe from its Black History Month lineup following social media backlash.

The all-white shoe was part of a new collection featuring designs inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, according to a statement from Adidas. The Renaissance is the 1920s movement that marked a turning point of recognition for the cultural contribution from African Americans.

The collection includes shoes and apparel across all performance categories. The shoe in question was all-white and part of the “Uncaged” line—it immediately drew criticism from consumers for its color and name.

Adidas removed the shoe from its collection, and issued a statement regretting its inclusion.

“Toward the latter stages of the design process, we added a running shoe to the collection that we later felt did not reflect the spirit or philosophy of how Adidas believes we should recognize and honor Black History Month,” the sportswear company said. “After careful consideration, we have decided to withdraw the product from the collection.”

Other brands have come under fire for similar seemingly tone-deaf products and marketing. In September, Los Angeles-based retailer Revolve pulled a sweatshirt that read “Being fat is not beautiful, it’s an excuse,” from its site. In addition, in last year’s Super Bowl, Fiat Chrysler used a Martin Luther King Jr. speech as part of its commercial, which drew the ire of viewers.

14513: Popeyes’ Pathetic Pap Perpetuates Poopiness.

The geniuses at GSD&M should be red-faced over this Red-Stick Chicken commercial with Annie the Chicken Queen pumping puerile pepper puffery.