Friday, February 24, 2017

13567: BHM 2017—Truth Initiative.

Okay, it’s technically not a Black History Month moment, but Campaign reported the Truth Initiative is turning smoking into a social justice issue by comparing Big Tobacco’s targeting of Blacks to racial profiling. The concept was hatched by 72andSunny, which adds layers of hypocrisy and deceit to the propaganda. Plus, it’s not even an original notion—simply type “Newport” into this blog’s search field to see. “We hope young people will help us spread the word,” said Truth Initiative CEO and President Robin Koval. “When you see a social injustice, when you see tobacco being advertised up to 10 times more in black neighborhoods, call it out. We’re always looking to get young people to engage with us whether sharing our hashtag or coming to thetruth.com to enroll. The way we’ll stop this is by getting young people engaged.” Hey, wait until the young people gain awareness of the discriminatory exclusivity happening at White advertising agencies like 72andSunny. It’s bona fide social injustice—and that’s the truth.

Truth turns tobacco advertising into a social justice issue

By Alison Kanski

In the new #StopProfiling campaign, Truth Initiative accuses the tobacco industry of profiling African-Americans and people in low-income communities.

The Truth Initiative has made smoking not just a health issue, but a social justice issue in its new campaign #StopProfiling.

One thing the campaign is capitalizing on is the recent surge in protests and renewed focus on social justice issues since Donald Trump’s inauguration. In the past, many of its campaigns have been more lighthearted, like a campaign showing smokers are less likely to get dates on Tinder, said Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative.

“We felt that there is a shift in the cultural mood right now,” Koval explained. “Young people are feeling that they want to make a statement about this country and that they care about all the things going on. We know young people care a lot about social justice issues. It felt like a good time to pivot a little bit and take a more serious tone in our advertising.”

The campaign, which began Sunday, takes aim at tobacco’s advertising tactics. The campaign focuses on tobacco’s targeting of African-Americans and people with lower incomes. In two videos featuring comedian Amanda Seales, the campaign points out that black neighborhoods have up to 10 times more tobacco advertisements and low-income neighborhoods are more likely to have tobacco retailers near schools.

“Some people might say, ‘Isn’t the tobacco industry just targeting their best customers? Isn’t that what all brands do?’” said Koval. “It’s not as innocent as that. That’s not just marketing, that’s singling people out and that’s called profiling.”

Along with the videos, which premiered during the Grammys on Sunday night, the Truth Initiative is running a robust digital campaign for #StopProfiling aimed at young people from 15 to 24 years old. The initiative used the MTV Video Music Awards last August to kick off another campaign called #Squadless.

“We like to use these tentpole events where you can aggregate lots of young viewers in a single moment and start to generate awareness,” Koval said. “We’re igniting the spark on a major event like the Grammys, but the real power is in all of our finishers, the people who follow and engage with us afterward.”

The initiative took over YouTube on Sunday with the campaign and promoted the hashtag on Twitter Monday, Koval said. The campaign will also include work with influencers on Snapchat and Twitter.

Truth worked with several agencies to help create the campaign: Ketchum for PR, 72andsunny for advertising, and Assembly for media planning. This campaign is an extension of Truth’s Finish It campaign, which began in 2014 and aims to make this generation of young people the generation that ends smoking.

“We hope young people will help us spread the word,” Koval said. “When you see a social injustice, when you see tobacco being advertised up to 10 times more in black neighborhoods, call it out. We’re always looking to get young people to engage with us whether sharing our hashtag or coming to thetruth.com to enroll. The way we’ll stop this is by getting young people engaged.”

Thursday, February 23, 2017

13566: By The Color Of Their Cola…

This campaign was hatched by loved in Germany, with an explanation that read:

They look different on the outside but are all the same on the inside. That’s true of people all over the world — and now of cola, too. Or at least ALI COLA, the first cola that comes in six different skin colors. In 2017, politics is lurching to the right — in Germany, Europe and the USA. So the German agency loved relaunched the pro-tolerance cola brand ALI COLA and invented their own cola. Instead of coming just in the usual black, ALI COLA is available in six different skin colors. But though they look different, all six colors taste exactly the same. They’re all the same; they just look different on the outside. Like people. ALI COLA responds to prejudice and with humor. [sic] The slogan: Cheers to tolerance. The brand also supports Kiron, an NGO that has found a way to cut red tape and help refugees earn university qualifications thanks to online courses and partner universities.

Um, German pro-tolerance is as oxymoronic as, well, Madison Avenue pro-tolerance. And it’s odd to deliver such a concept via a cola brand, especially given the history of intolerance connected to Coca-Cola.

13565: BHM 2017—Havas.

Adweek reported Havas in Chicago pooped out a pathetic promotion to pay tribute to Black History Month. The agency created a “jobstacle course” designed to help non-Black employees get a sense of what it’s like for Black people to work in the predominately White advertising industry. Ironically, the wannabe breakthrough concept features all the standard clich├ęs involved with being Black on Madison Avenue and beyond. “I love reading these articles about how white and old the industry is, and the industry itself acknowledges and talks about the problem versus actually changing and activating on the kind of issues we have,” said Havas Chicago CCO Jason Peterson. “We are by no means perfect, but acknowledging the issue and talking about it is something we take really seriously. I think everyone needs to look at it and think about how we are going to change and act differently if we want this industry to evolve and be better.” Well, for starters, Peterson might consider the simplicity of substance over style, sharing the hiring figures at his own office and within the nepotistic Havas network. Of course, such an act doesn’t allow for self-absorbed hype in trade publications. But it would clearly underscore the true obstacles Blacks face from idiots like Peterson—the results of which can be fully experienced by peeking at the Havas careers section on the company website.

This Agency Created an Obstacle Course to Show People What It’s Like to Be ‘Black at Work’

Havas Chicago’s plan for Black History Month

By Katie Richards

In honor of Black History Month, Havas Chicago wanted to do something that would get its employees and the people of Chicago to not only reflect, but also learn a little something about what it’s like to be black in an ad agency today.

A team of employees decided to create an obstacle course in the lobby of the building. Each obstacle was designed to teach the rest of the agency about what a black man or woman might experience in the workplace while also starting a much needed conversation about the lack of diversity in the advertising industry.

“I love reading these articles about how white and old the industry is, and the industry itself acknowledges and talks about the problem versus actually changing and activating on the kind of issues we have,” Jason Peterson, the agency’s chief creative officer, said. “In my point of view, America is multicultural, so if you’re an agency that doesn’t have or isn’t made up of a multicultural point of view, there’s no way you can do your job properly.”

Peterson went to Jason LaFlore, an art director at Havas Chicago, and a few other creative and strategy people at the agency and asked them to come up with “something that’s going to show our point of view and not be passive and have a real active positioning,” Peterson said, in honor of Black History Month.

LaFlore and his team got to work and came up with the idea of the #BlackAtWork campaign. Each obstacle in the “jobstacle course” came from real experiences or conversations members of the team previously had in their careers.

The first obstacle, the beam of perception, is a balance beam that participants have to cross. On one side of the beam, the agency printed the word “angry.” On the other side, it printed “lazy.” The purpose of the beam is to illustrate some common stereotypes that present themselves in the workplace.

“If you’re too nonchalant about your job, you’re automatically seen as lazy,” LaFlore explained. “If you’re too passionate about your job, you might be seen as the angry black man or the angry black woman.” The beam is meant to illustrate the fine line between falling into one or the other stereotype.

A second obstacle, the speech bubbles, is about why certain questions and comments are inappropriate. Examples include “Can you teach me how to Dougie?” and “That’s so ghetto.” The team hung the comments and questions from the ceiling, teaching people to dodge the culturally insensitive words.

A similar obstacle, the Hollywood shuffle, tackles the weight many black people feel when co-workers ask them about black culture, the assumption being that one person knows everything from the latest dance moves to slang or cultural trends.

“It spoke to the idea that a lot of times, whether it’s a company party or something, people expect that the black guys are going to dance,” LaFlore said. “I don’t always know all the dance moves and all the trends that are happening just because I’m a minority in the office.”

The obstacle course will be up in Havas Chicago’s office for the rest of February. As with past activations the agency has set up in its lobby, the hope is that people will see the sign on the lobby window (it currently reads “Black At Work”) and pop in to see what’s going on. Anyone can take the challenge, even other agencies in the Chicago area.

“We are by no means perfect, but acknowledging the issue and talking about it is something we take really seriously,” Peterson said. “I think everyone needs to look at it and think about how we are going to change and act differently if we want this industry to evolve and be better.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

13564: 72andShitty.

Wow, 72andSunny has no shame, promoting diversity via a Smirnoff campaign starring a Congolese-French-DJ-albino and a Swedish-Iranian-deaf-hip-hop-artist—along with a tagline proclaiming, “We’re Open.” Not sure such openness is actually present at the White advertising agency. “We’re all the same on the dancefloor” is debatable; but we’re definitely not all the same on the floors of a typical shop like 72andSunny.

13563: Tinny Titanium.

Campaign reported Titanium Worldwide (a minority-owned collective headquartered in New York City) tapped member Ten35 (a shop with offices in Chicago and Houston that focuses on multicultural and generational audiences) to help Mercedes-Benz woo Blacks in Atlanta. The scenario underscores the advertising industry’s diversity zaniness on multiple levels. That is, a minority-owned collective headquartered in New York City—which has a Black population of about 25%—must recruit a shop with offices in Chicago and Houston—which have respective Black populations of about 36% and 25%—to service a client in Atlanta—which has a Black population of about 54%. Mercedes-Benz couldn’t find a qualified agency in Atlanta, where Blacks essentially dominate? To top it all off, the photo illustrating this news story featured a White woman. Perfect.

Meet the minority-owned collective fueling Mercedes-Benz’s African-American outreach

By Kathryn Luttner

Titanium Worldwide catered to the LGBT community first; now, it’s after Atlanta residents for the automaker.

It’s not often that a football team gets to play their first game in a new stadium as reigning world champions. But with their appearance in the Super Bowl this Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons could be exactly that when they christen Mercedes-Benz Stadium next season. This stroke of luck wasn’t part of Mercedes-Benz USA’s original plan to win over Atlanta residents, but for VP of Marketing Drew Slaven, it doesn’t hurt the brand’s chances in a town where the automaker is planting some serious roots.

The initiative, titled “Take Back Atlanta,” began two years ago when Mercedes-Benz moved its American headquarters from Montvale, N.J., to an Atlanta suburb. That same year, the brand bought the naming rights to the Falcons’ new stadium, making it the second to bear the Mercedes-Benz name (the other is the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans). Now, the automaker has tapped Chicago and Houston-based marketing agency Ten35 (part of minority-owned collective Titanium Worldwide) to connect with African Americans in its new hometown.

To be clear, Slaven doesn’t like the term “Take Back Atlanta”—even though the phrase originated from the automaker—because he said, Mercedes-Benz is the best-selling luxury automotive brand in town, so “there’s nothing to take back.” Although it isn’t entirely focused on the African American community, that is a big factor. “In our new home, we want to not simply be No. 1, we really want Atlanta and Mercedes-Benz to go hand-in-hand,” Slaven said.

If you haven’t heard of Titanium Worldwide or read about Mercedes-Benz’s big push into the African American community, it’s all part of Titanium CEO Robyn Streisand’s plan. She takes a “walk, crawl, run” strategy to business—and her own collective of minority-owned agencies is a testament. Titanium Worldwide soft launched in 2013, but Streisand, an LGBT entrepreneur (and Barbara’s second cousin), didn’t announce it until last year, because she wanted to “prove the model. Holding companies are watching us.”

That model, she said, bloomed from a frustration she encountered after 20 years at her own marketing agency The Mixx. Fortune 500 companies regularly approached for small jobs, she said, but when it came to the big campaigns, the argument was always the same: minority-owned businesses simply didn’t have the depth—in talent, money and resources—to do the job. So Streisand interviewed more than 150 agencies across the United States and landed on 17 to form Titanium. “There’s no overlap in skill sets,” Streisand said proudly. “Everyone has their own lane.”

And yet, there’s one point of contact and one P&L (while maintaining 17 individual agencies), which was one of the attractions for Mercedes-Benz who had been a client of The Mixx for 10 years. (The other, Slaven said, was authenticity. “When you want to talk to a community, to work with a provider that understands that [community]—that lives that [community]—is really important,” he said.) That single point of contact is something agencies are increasingly looking to provide, as witnessed by recent client-centric restructurings from Publicis and Ogilvy.

In 2015, the community that Mercedes-Benz zeroed in on was LGBT. That same year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to legalize same-sex marriages, so the timing was no coincidence. Titanium developed a year-long strategy of print and digital advertising, in addition to paid social media and an event at the New York International Auto Show, to deliver 2.2 million digital impressions and 135 percent increase in brand mentions on gay news websites.

Plus, the National Gay Media Association awarded Mercedes-Benz the top honor in its automotive category at its first Ad POP Awards (POP stands for Pride in Online and Print). In the end, Streisand said marketers have thanked her for “getting corporate to wake up and smell the coffee.”

“It can’t be that you’re just advertising at Gay Pride,” she said. “You want 100 percent on the HRC Equality Index. One and done at Pride is not enough anymore.”

Fast forward to 2017, and Ten35 is implementing Streisand’s “walk, crawl, run” strategy to its Take Atlanta Back initiative. Sherman Wright, managing partner and COO of the agency, said the campaign won’t be a one-off effort. While it’s still in development, Wright said to expect “heavy digital components and an experiential element” that connects personally with the communities of Atlanta.

“What’s important to understand is the African American community is not this monolithic community,” Wright said, adding that it’s important for marketers to understand the nuances. “You look at things such as accomplishments and that values are placed in achievement. Making sure the idea of luxury comes through this idea of achievement” is extremely important to African Americans, so look for Mercedes-Benz and Ten35’s work to pay “homage to that journey and the hard work and commitment that goes into it.”

If successful, Wright said the carmaker will expand this African American initiative nationwide, taking the minority-owned collective along with them—proving that together, minority-owned agencies can tackle the big jobs.

13562: BHM 2017—Regions.

Regions flies through Black History Month by saluting Tuskegee Airmen and launching scholarships.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

13561: Persistent Sister.

How many of the 79 Likes for this Erin Johnson LinkedIn post are from JWT and/or WPP executives? Maybe she’ll post a follow-up that reads, “Nevertheless, He Persisted”—which would be a thinly veiled reference to how Gustavo Martinez was persistent in his alleged cultural cluelessness and discriminatory shenanigans.

13560: BHM 2017—AT&T Again.

Technically, this is also not a BHM advertisement; rather, it’s yet another example of self-promotional pap tied to the EBONY Power 100, this time from AT&T. Saluting its SVP of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer, the communications company bragged, “It’s not just what she brings to the table, it’s who she brings with her.” Really? Who does she bring with her? Milana Vayntrub? Unfortunately, like most Chief Diversity Officers, she has no power to influence inclusiveness at advertising agencies.

13559: Fantastic 40s.

Campaign declared, “Fight the youth: Campaign US’ Digital 40 Over 40 opens for nominations”—puffing up the anti-ageism smokescreen to further deny true diversity. Can’t wait to glorify the graying White geezers doing digital. Heaven forbid Campaign might honor 40 over 40 minorities in the advertising industry. Could 40 minorities even be identified? And would they be awarded 40s for their achievements?

Monday, February 20, 2017

13558: BHM 2017—NBA Logos.

To celebrate Black History Month, Artist Hebru Brantley redesigned and reimagined all 30 NBA logos.

13557: Rauxa Regresses…?

Remember Rauxa, the White woman-owned White advertising agency that hired a White woman as its first Chief Creative Officer last year? No? Doesn’t matter. AgencySpy posted that the CCO bailed out for a role with Facebook, and she’ll be replaced by three ECDs—two of which are White men. Such a blow to diverted diversity in the advertising industry. Oh, and the image above is from the Rauxa Restaurant & Show in Mexico, which looks a lot more interesting—and more diverse—than the advertising agency.

Rauxa’s First CCO Leaving for Creative Role at Facebook

By Patrick Coffee

Kate Daggett, who became the first-ever chief creative officer at indie agency Rauxa last summer, will be leaving after this week to accept a job on Facebook’s team.

A spokesperson told us that Daggett had been offered a great opportunity at Facebook and that she leaves on good terms, though the agency had initially planned to have her run its creative efforts for far longer than six months. The precise nature of the new role is not clear, but we do hear that it’s an internal creative leadership position.

Moving forward, the agency plans to work via a model in which three ECDs simultaneously lead its creative department as part of a larger move to flatten its structure. John Avery, longtime veteran of Deutsch’s VW team, holds that position in L.A. while George Singer, who has been with Rauxa since 2009 and works on its Verizon business, serves as ECD in New York. The re-organization had already begun at the time Daggett got the call from Facebook, and Rauxa also plans to announce the hire of a third creative lead in coming weeks.

Early last year, Verizon consolidated the portion of its FiOS direct marketing business that had been at MRM//McCann with Rauxa. The former agency then went through a series of executive-level departures including that of CEO Michael McLaren, who is now with Merkle.

Just over a week ago, Rauxa also officially launched its Culver City-based content marketing arm, Cats on the Roof, under the tagline “Tell better stories.” This unit has been in operation for several months and already completed projects for brands including Verizon, Best Buy, Swarovski and 20th Century Fox.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

13556: BHM 2017—President Trump.

Black History Month would not be complete without replaying President Donald Trump honoring the tremendous history of African Americans throughout the world.

13555: Give A Hand For Diversity.

A Canadian Saatchi & Saatchi campaign advocating for Gender + Sexual Diversity only features White hands. Perfect.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

13554: BHM 2017—Comcast NBCUniversal.

Technically, this is not a BHM advertisement; rather, it’s another example of self-promotional pap tied to the EBONY Power 100, this time from Comcast NBCUniversal. Congratulating its VP of Inclusion & Multicultural Marketing, the company proclaimed, “Leaders Drive Innovation.” Okay, but the advertisement is anything but innovative.

13553: Twitter Twits.

Business Insider listed “The 30 best people in advertising to follow on Twitter”—which reflected the advertising industry pretty perfectly, in that the list featured mostly White men and White women, including a fair amount of diverted diversity defenders. Sorry, but the Twitter talents of Cindy Gallop, Kat Gordon, Lindsay Pattison and Wendy Clark rival the tweeting prowess of President Donald Trump.