Wednesday, May 25, 2016

13201: 100% Diverted Diversity.

Campaign reported on the latest 100% diverted diversity bullshit from The 3% Conference: the launch of a survey asking, “Exactly how pervasive is sexual harassment and gender bias in the advertising industry?” According to Campaign, the survey was “driven by the JWT discrimination case” involving the alleged ignorance of former JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Gustavo Martinez. However, The 3% Conference will play ignorant regarding the charges of anti-Semitism and racism in the case. Is a formal survey really necessary? Publicis Groupe Hairman and CEO Maurice Lévy—along with lots of prominent ad women—might insist there is no problem. The survey site claims, “Research from The 3% Movement reveals 23% of ad women have witnessed or experienced sexual harassment and 25% have personally experienced gender discrimination.” Okay, but the percentages for minorities who have witnessed or experienced harassment and/or personally experienced discrimination are waaaay higher.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

13200: Objecting To Objectification.

Adweek reported on the Naja “Nude for All” lingerie campaign that allegedly celebrates diversity and rejects gender stereotypes. The campaign was created by Badger & Winters, a shop that recently generated press when it “made a commitment to never objectify women in our work.” Um, does depicting beautiful models wearing nothing but lingerie really support the commitment? Give Naja founders Catalina Girald and Gina Rodriguez credit for not choosing a standard White advertising agency to handle the campaign. At the same time, how diverse and inclusive is Badger & Winters?

‘Nude for All’ Campaign Breaks Lingerie Ad Stereotypes

Work by Badger & Winters features a diverse cast of women

By Christine Birkner

When Catalina Girald saw Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Gabby Douglas compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics, it sparked an interesting product idea. Girald, a former gymnast, herself, was taken aback by the fact that Douglas, who is African-American, was wearing a “nude” ankle wrap that didn’t match her skin tone.

“I wore ankle wraps many times and hadn’t ever thought about the fact that they don’t make them in other colors. It made me realize that ‘nude’ is not ‘nude’ for everyone,” Girald said.

Two years later, when Girald launched her lingerie company, Naja, she kept that idea in mind. Today, the company is debuting ads on New York’s subways for Nude for All, its new lingerie line that’s available in seven shades of nude for every skin tone. The ads feature 10 racially and ethnically diverse women who all have varied, and accomplished backgrounds, including a soloist for the San Francisco ballet, a software engineer and a Harvard Business School student. Naja plans to post the women’s stories on its website and social media channels later this summer, and expand the campaign to include more outdoor ads in other cities.

Also appearing in ads for the lingerie is Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez, co-founder of Naja. How Girald and Rodriguez became business partners is a story in itself. Right after she started Naja, Girald was approached by Procter & Gamble to appear in a video series showcasing up-and-coming Latinas, where she met Rodriguez, who also appeared in the videos.

“At the time, Gina and I were the only two people who really weren’t up-and-coming,” Girald said. “I had just started the company, and she didn’t have the part on Jane the Virgin yet. We were both struggling artists, and we became friends. Eight months later, she won the Golden Globe, so I asked her to help me launch the nude lingerie, and she loved the idea.”

The campaign was directed by Badger & Winters, whose co-founder and chief creative officer Madonna Badger is fighting sexism in advertising through #WomenNotObjects, an effort to combat ads that objectify women.

“I’m still bothered by the fact that most lingerie portrays women as sexual objects, and I wanted to change the way that lingerie is advertised to women,” Girald said. “I saw an article in the New York Times about #WomenNotObjects, and it resonated with everything I was feeling, so I reached out to them.”

“They fell in love with my story, and when Madonna and her team got ahold of the campaign, it turned out incredibly well,” she said. “We initially had an image where the women were serious, but Madonna wanted the image where the women were jumping up and down. She wanted to show their personalities.”

“The happy creative helps to drive home a more serious message about diversity,” Girald said. “We wanted to make people smile, and then, make them realize that there’s a broader issue here. You see the race and ethnicity issue more than anything.”

Monday, May 23, 2016

13199: Frivolous Follies.

Adweek reported lawyers for JWT, WPP and Gustavo Martinez filed motions to dismiss the infamous discrimination suit, and the motions called Erin Johnson’s claims “frivolous.” Okay, the official definition of “frivolous” includes:

1. characterized by lack of seriousness or sense: frivolous conduct.

Based on the definition, if Johnson’s charges are indeed frivolous, it appears that JWT, WPP and Martinez have overreacted with extreme seriousness and sense of purpose.

After all, Martinez saw fit to resign his global position.

Meanwhile, JWT and WPP immediately replaced Martinez with a White woman—Tamara Ingram—who instantly declared, “Top of my agenda is diversity and inclusiveness.” Ingram followed up by creating a Diversity and Inclusion Council and partnering with inQUEST, a diversity and inclusion consulting firm. Plus, Ingram is establishing a hotline for whistleblowers, which is unlikely to attract callers considering the way JWT and WPP are now treating Johnson.

Additionally, while the motions might be valid from a strict legal perspective, the documents feature a few items that border on being frivolous, in terms of lacking seriousness or sense. Adweek wrote, “According to the document, the ‘alleged racist and anti-Semitic comments referenced in the Complaint’ also ‘have no bearing on [Johnson’s] retaliatory harassment claim’ since she is neither Jewish nor a minority.” Does this mean White people cannot feel threatened by alleged anti-Semitic racists? BTW, did the lawyers conduct DNA and genealogy investigations to conclude Johnson is free of any Jewish or minority ties?

Adweek also wrote, “The argument holds that, while Martinez’s conduct as alleged may have been ‘offensive,’ it was not illegal because ‘Courts have repeatedly held … that a few sexual or racially-charged comments do not create a hostile work environment.’” Perhaps, but in an industry with a long history of sexual harassment and racial/ethnic discrimination, such alleged behavior receives heightened responses—as demonstrated by the aforementioned reactions from JWT, WPP and Martinez. It could be argued that Martinez’s alleged remarks and behavior fueled an already hostile work environment.

In the end, there’s a lot to dismiss in the motions to dismiss. But that’s to be expected when corporate lawyers team up with advertising agency executives. It’s Tommy Flanagan meets Joe Isuzu.

Lawyers for JWT, WPP and Gustavo Martinez File Motion to Dismiss Discrimination Suit

Filing calls Erin Johnson’s claims ‘frivolous’

By Patrick Coffee

Lawyers for WPP, J. Walter Thompson and Gustavo Martinez filed motions in New York’s U.S. District Court today seeking to dismiss in its entirety the suit filed by global chief communications officer Erin Johnson against her employer this March.

That suit, which inspired headlines around the world, led now-former JWT global chairman and CEO Martinez to resign one week after it was filed. He was immediately replaced by WPP chief client team officer Tamara Ingram.

Today’s filing by Davis & Gilbert LLP, the firm representing JWT and its parent company, urges the judge to dismiss the case on the federal, state and city levels. The 30-page document argues that Johnson and her legal team have failed to prove that she suffered any sort of “materially adverse” consequences due to Martinez’s behavior, which allegedly included racist and anti-Semitic statements, incidents of sexual harassment and at least one rape joke caught on camera during a 2015 meeting with employees and client representatives at a Miami hotel. It also claims that accusations of Martinez retaliating against Johnson for raising concerns about his behavior to the agency’s global chief talent officer Laura Agostini are baseless.

The document calls Johnson’s amended complaint alleging violations of the federal Equal Pay Act and Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act forbidding discriminatory behavior by employers “frivolous.” It also argues that she used her relationships with various media outlets to further publicize her case and that a text message sent to Martinez just over a week before her legal team let JWT and WPP know that a suit would be filed disproves her claims about being subjected to a hostile work environment.

In that text, Johnson allegedly told Martinez that she had rejected a job offer from another agency “because I am loyal to you and what you are doing,” adding, “I felt like we had a good year together. So I hope I wasn’t wrong to stay. Lol”

The filing also states that Johnson’s claims regarding “her alleged reduced 2014 bonus” cannot be validated because the reduction of that bonus occurred “before she complained about her bonus in ‘late April and early May 2015,’ and before she allegedly complained in May 2015 about Martinez’s racist comments.” It further states that Johnson never clarified as to whether Martinez was made aware of her complaints regarding the aforementioned comments and that she therefore has no direct evidence that his actions were made in retaliation against her.

The filing claims that Johnson mentioned “virtually nothing supporting a hostile work environment claim” during the nine-month period between May 2015, when Agostini told Johnson she would investigate the claims made against Martinez, and the day in February when Johnson and her legal team let the companies know that a suit would be filed.

Regarding the implication that Martinez’s behavior created “a hostile work environment” for Johnson (which serves as the subject of her state and city-level claims), the filing argues that many of the incidents in question are “irrelevant” since they occurred before she “purportedly engaged in protected activity,” meaning activity that happened after the first formal complaints were made against Martinez in May 2015. According to the document, the “alleged racist and anti-Semitic comments referenced in the Complaint” also “have no bearing on her retaliatory harassment claim” since she is neither Jewish nor a minority.

Johnsons’s initial suit stated that, after she told Martinez that his rape jokes were inappropriate, he told her to “come to him so he could ‘rape [her]’ in the bathroom.” But today’s filing states that such incidents do not amount to sexual harassment because her complaints contain “no allegation that he actually talked about ‘the sex.’”

The argument holds that, while Martinez’s conduct as alleged may have been “offensive,” it was not illegal because “Courts have repeatedly held … that a few sexual or racially-charged comments do not create a hostile work environment.” The document goes on to cite various cases that included “more offensive” behavior but were not ruled to have created such an environment since they were “petty” and, in several instances such as the Miami meeting, were not directed at Johnson herself.

According to the filing, any adverse consequences Johnson suffered for filing related complaints—including the reduction of bonuses, the removal of certain duties from her schedule and her exclusion from executive meetings—amount to only “minor annoyances” that cannot be considered retaliation by her employer. “Not only did Johnson remain as Chief Communications Officer,” the document reads, “but she fails to allege how losing these minor duties adversely impacted her job.” WPP’s lawyers also argue that Johnson failed to prove definitively that Martinez slashed her 2015 bonuses in response to the complaints she made against him and that her request to be placed on paid leave following the suit’s initial filing “belies any claim that such leave is materially adverse.”

Finally, the document argues that the claim that these allegedly retaliatory acts “dissuaded Johnson from complaining” or otherwise affected her ability to do her job is disproven by the very filing of her suit.

Lawyers for Martinez himself, who hired a separate firm after resigning from his job, also filed their own motion to dismiss Johnson’s claims today.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

13198: Whitey Chocolate.

This campaign shows mcgarrybowen in Brazil is as culturally clueless as mcgarrybowen in the U.S.

13197: Ogilvy’s Pipe Dream.

Campaign reported on a new internship scheme from Ogilvy & Mather apparently designed to attract a truly diverse crop of Whites into the field. Appropriately called The Pipe—as the idiots behind the concept must be smoking some pretty serious shit—the programme targets White folks ranging from young people unable to afford college to retirees. Ageism be damned! Plus, O&M joined other White agencies in signing a pledge to pay a minimum amount of money to newbies. So not only will there be a greater number of Whites flooding the industry, but they’ll probably receive more compensation than inner-city minorities earn. Brilliant.

Ogilvy & Mather looks for school leavers and retirees for new placement scheme

Ogilvy & Mather has become the latest agency to set up an initiative to boost diversity, with a group-wide creative internship programme.

In a bid to ensure applicants come from all walks of life there are no requirements for people entering the scheme to have any particular qualifications or experience. Ogilvy is looking to hire 14 interns through the programme, which is called The Pipe in homage to founder David Ogilvy’s smoking pipe.

The interns will be paid the London Living Wage (£9.40 an hour) and work on briefs from across the Ogilvy & Mather UK group, which includes Ogilvy & Mather, OgilvyOne, branding agency Coley Porter Bell, Ogilvy PR, Ogilvy Healthworld, social@Ogilvy and behavioural change arm OgilvyChange.

A spokeswoman said it was hoping for a huge variety of candidates — from 18-year-olds who cannot afford to go to university through to 65-year-olds who have retired and are looking for a new challenge.

Ogilvy & Mather plans to assign these interns to a mid-weight creative at the agency. This will benefit the mid-weight creative as well as the intern as it will enable them to develop people management skills as well as experience guiding the creative direction of colleagues, which will equip them for the promotion to creative director.

The Pipe’s application process will require budding creatives to first send in a piece of creative work — anything from an ad design to song lyrics. Then, 200 applicants will have two weeks to answer a brief before the top 50 are invited for an interview.

The Ogilvy & Mather creative directors Johnny Watters and Angus George came up with the idea for The Pipe, and are supported by the group chief creative officer Emma De la Fosse and head of talent acquisition Matt Jordan.

Aspiring agency creatives often have to work lengthy periods for free or just expenses before securing their first full-time job. With rents and the cost of living rising, this has led to an increasing proportion of junior creatives coming from more prosperous backgrounds.

Creature’s creative partner Stu Outhwaite and Ben Harris have led a campaign, supported by Campaign, to ensure agencies commit to the Placement Poverty Pledge. It requires shops to pay their creative placements the London Living Wage and at least £100 a day after three months.

Ogilvy & Mather has recently signed up to the pledge for its traditional creative placements, joining agencies such as Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, Adam & Eve/DDB, Outhwaite’s Creature, Wieden & Kennedy, Saatchi & Saatchi and TBWA\London.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

13196: Consexual Advertising.

A sexy ad for Virgin Airlines activated contextual advertising from iStock featuring images of virgins.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

13194: Diversity Is A Bad Investment…?

Campaign published an article spotlighting former Deutsch Diversity Director Felicia Geiger, who stated that when she received her pink slip, “I was told that the agency was no longer going to invest in diversity.” Okay, the official definition for “invest” includes:

1. to put (money) to use, by purchase or expenditure, in something offering potential profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value.

Based on the definition, have White agencies such as Deutsch ever invested in diversity? Sure, these shops make charitable, tax-deductible donations to smokescreens like ADCOLOR®, The 3% Conference, IAM High School, etc. Plus, these diversity investors might proclaim the loot offers “potential profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value.” But are the generous equality fighters honestly committed to the investments? Probably not. In short, White advertising agencies do not emotionally and philosophically invest in the concept of diversity.

The Deutsch scenario is extra obscene on a professional level, as the agency is part of IPG, the self-proclaimed leader in diversity and inclusion. According to IPG officials, Deutsch executives reportedly have their compensation tied to meeting diversity goals. It would be interesting to learn the financial figures associated with the efforts, as well as the identities of the agency honchos with hiring power affected by the inclusion initiatives. Who is being rewarded and penalized—and what are the exact dollar amounts? Deutsch North America CCO Pete Favat and Deutsch Chairman Linda Sawyer will certainly struggle to come out in the black due to their unwillingness to employ Blacks. In the end, is Deutsch any different than IPG sister agency Campbell Ewald?

It’s appalling how clients continue to invest in these agencies.

Deutsch ‘no longer going to invest in diversity,’ says former head of program

By Douglas Quenqua

Felicia Geiger, ex-diversity director, says budget to support initiatives like MAIP, TORCH and ADCOLOR was eliminated in January

Faced with financial constraints, Deutsch NY chose earlier this year to eliminate its diversity budget so it could invest in other areas, says the agency’s recently dismissed director of diversity and inclusion.

“I was told that the agency was no longer going to invest in diversity,” said Felicia Geiger in a telephone interview. “They wanted to put their efforts behind other initiatives, such as technology.”

Geiger, who had been with the Interpublic Group agency since 2002, says the agency’s director of human resources informed her of the change in January. Geiger was also told at the time that the shift would likely result in her position being eliminated. Her last day with the company was March 30.

The director of human resources position has been held by Robin Lander, though Geiger declined to confirm it was she who made the statement.

A Deutsch spokesperson initially denied that the agency had cut its diversity budget. The agency later followed up with a written statement, “Diversity and inclusion is a business imperative at Deutsch, not because it’s fashionable but because it makes the thinking and the work better.”

The agency added: “Diversity and inclusion initiatives have always been led by Robin Lander, who is not only director of HR, but a partner at the agency. She oversees implementation and we continue to make considerable investments in a number of diversity programs and initiatives, pro-bono work for companies that support diverse audiences, and lastly recruitment initiatives aimed at attracting diverse candidates.”

A Deutsch spokesperson denied that the agency had cut its diversity budget. No one from the agency was immediately available to comment further.

Geiger’s dismissal was first reported last week by Campaign US in a Q&A with Chairman Linda Sawyer and NA Chief Creative Officer Pete Favat following the agency’s announcement that it had hired two new CCOs, Jason Bagley in Los Angeles and Dan Kelleher in New York.

Sawyer and Favat were addressing concerns that both new CCOs, as well as the agency’s three other most recent senior hires, were all white men.

When Sawyer and Favat were asked about Geiger’s dismissal, EVP and director of communications Vonda LePage, who had been sitting in on the call, characterized it as a strategic move to shift the responsibility for diversity to everyone in the agency.

“One of the philosophies we lean into is that everybody at Deutsch, from the CEO to the receptionist, owns diversity,” she said. “And we wanted to really make sure that everybody was stepping up and owning it. And by having one person who owned it, which is what that role was, kind of took the responsibility off everybody else.”

The agency’s written statement this afternoon added, “IPG has numerous programs we regularly participate in.

In fact, every senior manager’s compensation is tied to diversity and inclusion objectives developed by IPG.”

Geiger says that before she was dismissed, she had implored agency executives to try filling the CCO roles — one of which had formerly been held by a woman, Kerry Keenan — with a diversity candidate. “I had suggested this would be a great way to infuse diversity at the most senior levels, and that suggestion was not taken up,” she said.

Geiger first joined Deutsch as a general recruiter in 2000. She briefly left the agency for TBWA in 2001, but was brought back by Deutsch in 2002. She was appointed the agency’s first director for diversity and inclusion in 2008.

At first, the job came with a budget “well over six figures,” Geiger says. That money went toward establishing internships for diversity candidates and employee resource groups, as well as sponsoring internal programs that invited groups like the Brotherhood/Sister Sol and Ghetto Film School into the agency to talk about their work. Deutsch was also a perennial supporter of programs like M.A.I.P, the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program run by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, ADCOLOR and TORCH, a nonprofit that exposes New York City high school students to career opportunities.

Deutsch received numerous diversity awards during Geiger’s tenure, including a MAIP Service Award, a Coalition for the Homeless Partnership award, the Live Out Loud Corporate Leadership Award and the IPG Inclusion Award for Community Partnerships. Geiger said Deutsch also received consistently high scores in the IPG Climate for Inclusion Survey, an annual anonymous survey that measures employee satisfaction with agency diversity and inclusion programs.

Geiger herself received an ADCOLOR change agent award in 2011, and a 2013 TORCH L.I.G.H.T. award.

In last week’s interview, Sawyer boasted of Deutsch’s high rates of gender inclusion. “We have always had a lot of women in management and in our organization,” she said. “If you look at our senior leadership, we’re at like 58% women, and if you look at our organization overall, we’re over 50% women, as well as around 50% in our creative department.”

Geiger says her diversity budget began to shrink in 2014, when the agency started scrutinizing budgets across the board. When she was told in January that the budget — and probably her position — was being eliminated, she reacted with disbelief.

“I was gobsmacked,” she said “What do you say to that? I’m not going to throw a fit.”

“I said I would like to keep this confidential, because as the agency cheerleader, people would flip if they found out,” she said. “And we agreed that we would keep this under wraps.”

In the days after Geiger’s dismissal became public, supporters protested the decision on Twitter using the hashtag #WTFDeutsch.

(See Campaign article for Twitter comments.)