Saturday, April 19, 2014

11830: Madison Avenue Striking Out.

The New York Times reported Major League Baseball released figures indicating only 8.3 percent of players identified themselves as Black. In 2008-2009, Cyrus Mehri and the Madison Avenue Project presented research results showing even worse numbers for Blacks in the advertising industry:

Based on national demographic distribution data, 9.6% of advertising managers and professionals should be African-Americans. The actual percentage in 2008 is 5.3%, representing a difference of 7,200 executive-level jobs.

Gee, it seems like Blacks have a better chance of landing a job in the big leagues versus adland. Madison Avenue continues to strike out.

Friday, April 18, 2014

11829: Mack Trucking.

AgencySpy reported JWT Director of Trendspotting Ann Mack is bailing out of the Commodore’s ship of fools for a position with Facebook. It’s safe to predict the agency will proceed to interview any monkey with a Magic 8-Ball® and the ability to conduct Google searches to replace Mack.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

11828: Yay! The Crazy Ones Is Over.

Didn’t bother watching the final episode of CBS series The Crazy Ones. The show presented Simon Roberts’ ex-wife, played by Marilu Henner. Guess Betty White and/or Rue McClanahan weren’t available. Oh, wait a minute. McClanahan’s dead. Wish this program were too.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

11827: Most Promises Broken.

Saw this banner ad for the AAF Most Promising Minority Students program and couldn’t help but think of the patronizing hypocrisy inherent in such initiatives. Sure, many potential candidates receive unique opportunities through these endeavors. Yet it’s also true that the supply exceeds the demand; that is, not every minority student applying for a slot lands an internship—or heaven forbid, an actual job.

If the industry is indeed concerned about diversity, let’s spend just one year where every minority student interested in the field is awarded an internship. Hey, let’s go further. For 2014, let’s fill every single intern position with a minority. Is anyone crying reverse discrimination? Um, there have likely been years in the past where every intern in adland was White. So why not turn the tables for a season? After all, the unemployment rate among minority students is disproportionately high. So mandating that internships should only be filled with minorities makes sense from business and social angles.

Perhaps Diversity Champion Sir John Hegarty and Pioneer of Diversity John Wren could join forces to support the worthy cause.

Monday, April 14, 2014

11826: Ripping John Wren’s Raise.

MediaPost News reported Omnicom President and CEO John Wren received a bump of over $3 million in 2013, boosting his income to roughly $18.1 million. Wonder how much of the pay increase served as compensation for being named a Pioneer of Diversity—despite failing to answer New York City Comptroller John Liu’s repeated requests to reveal the company’s hiring trends. Wren also neglected to publish the national report hyping Omnicom’s inclusion initiatives, which was initially promised to be delivered toward the end of last year. Of course, Wren proudly applauds all the contrived, pointless and patronizing examples of delegating diversity that he’s financed over the years. Hell, if Wren received $3 million for every legitimate, measurable diversity-related accomplishment he’s made in his career, well, the total amount wouldn’t exceed his 2013 raise.

Double-Digit Pay Raise For Omnicom’s Wren in 2013

By Steve McClellan

Omnicom CEO John Wren received a double-digit bump in total compensation in 2013 to nearly $18.1 million, up 22% from the $14.8 million he received in 2012, according to company financial documents.

That made Wren the highest compensated executive at the company last year. The biggest piece of that income came in the form of a $10 million cash payment from the company’s Non-equity Incentive Plan Compensation. He also drew a $1 million base salary as well additional performance based remuneration.

Wren’s big raise came as he managed Omnicom to a solid growth year in 2013—the firm posted organic revenue growth of 3.5%, tied with WPP at the top among the major holding companies and above the 3.1% average holding company growth last year according to Pivotal Research analyst Brian Weiser. (MDC, not included in that calculation posted organic growth over 8% albeit from a much lower revenue base).

Company CFO Randall Weisenburger was the second highest compensated executive at Omnicom in 2013 with total remuneration of just under $12 million, a 13% increase from the $10.6 million he earned in 2012.

Rounding out the top-5 highest compensated executives at the company last year were SVP Finance and Controller Philip Angelastro ($2.4 million); Treasurer Dennis Hewitt ($1.3 million), and General Counsel Michael O’Brien ($2 million).

Omnicom is the first of the major ad holding companies to report executive compensation for its top managers last year, although WPP reported last month that CEO Martin Sorrell received a roughly $38 million payout in early 2014 as part of long-term incentive compensation program.

Executive compensation has been a sore spot for many investors in recent years. Two years ago shareholders voted against WPP’s compensation package and as a result Sorrell agreed to a reduced salary, smaller contributions to his pension and more restricted opportunities under its long- and short-term incentive compensation programs. Most of the publicly traded holding companies this year will allow investors to vote on an advisory basis at annual meetings for or against their companies’ pay programs.

Omnicom also reported that it will hold its annual meeting this year on May 20th at the offices of its PR subsidiary FleishmanHillard, in Washington, D.C. With the company still awaiting regulatory approval for its proposed merger with Publicis Groupe, it’s not likely shareholders will be asked to vote on the merger at that meeting. The companies now hope to complete the merger sometime in the third quarter.

Omnicom has put up for re-election at its meeting its existing slate of members of its board of directors. Bruce Crawford, 85, is Chairman of the board.

There are no resolutions from shareholders on this year’s voting ballot. For the last two years, the Controller of the City of New York John Liu has submitted a proposal demanding that the company make public its filings to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. It was voted down both years. But Liu has asked Omnicom and Publicis to file data on the gender and ethnic make-up of their workforces in proxy materials distributed to shareholders before they vote on the merger.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

11825: Crazy Dork & Mindy.

As predicted, CBS series The Crazy Ones persuaded Pam Dawber to embarrass herself on the pathetic program. There’s something about this scenario that accurately reflects the real advertising industry; that is, the prevalence of irrelevant people (e.g., Dawber and Robin Williams) seeking to regain or prove their relevance in pitiful fashion. It’s like watching a washed-out athlete well beyond his/her prime still struggling to stay in the game. The Crazy Ones is AMC series The Pitch, performed by C-grade celebrities. Stop the sadness.

11824: Mickey D’s Cannes Honor.

The New York Times reported the following:

McDonald’s was chosen to receive the 2014 Creative Marketer of the Year Award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, to be held in Cannes, France, from June 15 through June 21; the award is to be presented on June 21.

Um, not lovin’ that announcement.

Seriously, what has Mickey D’s produced in the last year that would warrant such an honor? Additionally, 2013 and 2014 sales have barely been positive. Finally, Mickey D’s continues to display cultural cluelessness via its segregated marketing. McDonald’s as a corporation displays a certain dedication to diversity, yet it perpetuates hypocrisy by partnering with White agencies while throwing McCrumbs to minority shops. In short, the fast feeder creates mediocre advertising, fails to generate significant sales bumps and maintains the racist status quo in our industry—but ultimately earns the 2014 Creative Marketer of the Year Award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Call it a Golden Arches Lion. Or maybe Golden Arches Lyin’ would be more appropriate.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

11823: Big Mama’s Subway.

From The New York Daily News…

California woman sues Subway after she finds ‘Big Mama’ written on her flatbread pizza order

Allison Brown said she was mortified when she pulled her order out of her bag and saw the words ‘Big Mama’ scrawled on her box in black marker. Brown and her lawyer, Daniel Gilleon, plan to sue for sensitivity training to be part of Subway’s franchise agreements.

By Nancy Dillon

A California woman says a Subway restaurant worker was a flat-out bully when he wrote a tasteless fat jab on her flatbread pizza order, reducing her to tears.

She now plans to file a lawsuit demanding that sensitivity training be a part of the chain’s franchise agreements, she and her lawyer told the Daily News Friday.

Allison Brown said she was mortified when she pulled her order out of her bag on March 27 and saw the words “Big Mama” scrawled on her box in black marker.

“I just broke down crying. I couldn’t eat it. I kept thinking, ‘Big Mama’ doesn’t need to eat. It started really messing with me. I started thinking, ‘Maybe I need surgery. Do I really look that bad? What’s wrong with me?’”

Brown, a 45-year-old nursing assistant from Murrieta, Calif., said she immediately contacted the shop’s owner and was told the employee admitted writing the cruel remark, but countered that he only wrote it on one of her boxes, not all the items in her family’s order.

“The owner said the employee didn’t know better, that he just didn’t get it,” Brown told The News. “He begged me not to go to the media, so I tried to work with him, but then nobody was calling me back. It’s not right. This really hurt me.”

Brown said she called Subway’s corporate office the next day and cried through a message that was never returned. She felt the issue was getting swept under the mat, she said.

Eventually she had a lawyer send a letter demanding sensitivity training, not money. She turned down an offer of $5,000 for a confidentiality agreement and now plans to file a lawsuit under California’s unfair business practices law, her lawyer Daniel Gilleon told The News.

“This isn’t about money,” she said Friday. “This breaks my heart. Here Subway promotes itself as a place for people who need help eating better, then this happens. What if the wrong person got a box like mine? What if they saw that and tried to commit suicide?”

Gilleon said a letter sent by Subway’s corporate office this week refused to take any responsibility for the issue. He now plans to file the lawsuit in the next few weeks, he said.

“We’re going to do it for sure, unless they comply with our demand,” Gileon said, explaining that he took Brown’s case pro bono.

“They need to make sure all employees take training. And it’s something they should have done already. It should be in their franchise agreements,” he said. “If they can dictate how thinly the onions on the sandwiches are sliced, they can and should do this.”

In a statement to local ABC station 10News, restaurant owner Sanjiv Mehta said he tried to do what was right.

“As a small business owner, I do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. When I learned of this incident I immediately investigated and disciplined the employee involved. I also made contact with the customer in an effort to resolve this matter,” he told the station.

“Both the Subway franchisor and local franchisee have a zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind. The franchisee took immediate action to investigate and terminated the employee involved,” Kevin Kane, a public relations manager for Subway, said in an email to The News. “All Subway restaurants are individually owned and operated and matters involving restaurant employees are handled on the local level.”

“I’m never going to eat at another Subway again,” Brown vowed Friday. “They don’t deserve my money.”