Thursday, May 05, 2016

13182: Shitting On McKinney Hype.

Adfreak spotlighted an effort from McKinney that protests the North Carolina Bathroom Bill targeting transgender citizens. Now, MultiCultClassics has spanked McKinney in the past for its appearance on The Pitch, as well as a self-promotional stunt involving a 12-year-old minority intern and a Black History Month campaign. So this latest concept is hardly unprecedented in its hypocrisy. Apparently, the agency hatched the project “because we value equality, diversity, inclusion and human rights…” Yes, and the McKinney brain trust perfectly reflects the agency’s commitment to such high-minded tolerance. Perhaps McKinney should use the oh-so-clever toilet paper to wipe up its own bullshit.

McKinney Printed N.C.’s Bathroom Bill on Toilet Paper. You Know What to Do With It

An effort to ‘Flush HB2’

By Patrick Coffee

“It makes great cocktail napkins, bookmarks, facial tissues. But you know what’s best to do with it!” Yes, Durham, N.C., agency McKinney knows where its home state’s controversial House Bill 2 belongs—in the toilet.

The Charlotte City Council passed a nondiscrimination ordinance in February that included a rule allowing transgender people to use public restrooms assigned to the gender with which they identify. Furious opposition groups supported by Gov. Pat McCrory then ran ads arguing that the ordinance would make it easier for male sexual predators to get closer to victims by posing as women.

The state legislature later called a special session to pass “HB2,” which requires all North Carolina residents to use the public restrooms associated with their birth gender. The move has enraged civil liberties groups nationwide, and North Carolina has been the focus of plenty of backlash over HB2.

McKinney proposes a solution to the HB2 problem: Flush it. And they mean this quite literally, as you’ll see in the video below.

As noted in the clip, PayPal cited the bill in announcing that it would abandon plans to open a facility in Charlotte. And the NBA also raised doubts about hosting its 2017 All-Star Game in the city’s Time Warner Cable Arena, home of the Hornets.

Last month, McKinney chairman and CEO Brad Brinegar became one of more than 100 chief executives across the country to sign an open letter asking McCrory to repeal the new law. That group most prominently included Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook and Brian Chesky of Airbnb. The letter called HB2 “bad for North Carolina, bad for America, and bad for business.” Brinegar also recently appeared on CNN to speak out against a bill he called “regressive” and “reactionary.”

McKinney was inspired to create the project by advocacy groups Equality NC and Human Rights Campaign, which launched “Turn Out NC” encouraging residents to petition their legislators regarding the bill’s repeal. (The agency does have a connection to the latter organization; its longtime COO, Joni Madison, became COO and chief of staff at Human Rights Campaign last month.)

In a statement, McKinney told AdFreak that it worked on this project “because we value equality, diversity, inclusion and human rights … and we don’t care which [bathroom] you feel most comfortable using.”

“We tried to create something that could stand as a visual for what many North Carolinians think about the bill,” added group creative director Will Chambliss. “We hope people read it and then, well, you know the rest.”

Gov. McCrory has so far resisted calls to revisit HB2, but the bill continues to serve as a considerable headache for the former Charlotte mayor and city councilman. Public opinion polls now show his oppontent, Democratic attorney general Roy Cooper, with a small lead six months before November’s gubernatorial election.

McKinney mailed AdFreak a roll of the toilet paper so we might join in the efforts to “flush this bill down the toilet of history.” We’ll let you know how that goes.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

13181: White Moms Wanted.

AgencySpy exposed StrawberryFrog as a diverted diversity drone, spotlighting how the agency created a campaign to position itself as a mom-friendly workplace. Okay, but the moms depicted in the video appear to be predominately White. Plus, StrawberryFrog executes some questionable tactics for dealing with ex-teammates and new hires.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

13180: Mad Men Madness.

The New York Times published diverted diversity drivel via a report titled, “For Women in Advertising, It’s Still a ‘Mad Men’ World.” The article ultimately underscored that it’s an even worse ‘Mad Men’ World for minorities, as the only woman of color featured was Publicis Groupe Chief Diversity Officer Sandra Sims-Williams. Meanwhile, FCB Global CCO Susan Credle is suddenly feeling “invisible” and discriminated against, despite once insisting advertising was not tougher for women. Hey, it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind. Is it still a ‘Mad Men’ World for White women in advertising? Well, whining aside, the Joan Harris and Peggy Olson types have progressed quite nicely. Dawn Chambers and Hollis, on the other hand, remain stuck in segregated and stereotypical roles.

Monday, May 02, 2016

13179: Diverted Diversity Is Discrimination.

Campaign published diverted diversity dreck from Paul Burke, a lifetime adman who has suddenly gone from Cro-Magnon to pro-feminist. Regarding the alleged underrepresentation of White women in the creative department, Burke’s theories include the challenges rooted in how art directors and copywriters work in duos. Why, when a White male creative is paired with a White female creative, it’s only natural that they become romantically involved. Burke contends that the typical White male creative thinks, “If I have to work so closely with just one person, I’d rather it was a bloke”—and as a result, they lean towards teaming up with men versus women. Okay, so how does this explain the even more woeful underrepresentation of non-White men? Burke’s belief should probably read, “If I have to work so closely with just one person, I’d rather it was a White bloke.” And herein lies the true issue. It’s not that White men prefer White men versus White women. Rather, White men prefer White men versus any human being that is not a White man. Sorry, but that’s discrimination.

Jobs for the girls: paving the way for women in creative departments

By Paul Burke

Doing away with outdated creative department structures will both modernise agencies and further the cause of women in adland, Paul Burke writes.

Velcro, Teflon, Post-it notes and the microwave. All created accidentally by people who were trying to invent something else. And with his piece in Campaign two weeks ago, Jonathan Burley may well have done something very similar. Like 18 Feet & Rising, he has dissolved the rigid and outmoded structure of creative teams to improve his agency’s work. But, in so doing, he may also have solved a far knottier problem that has dogged our industry for years. And that is:

The woeful shortage of women in creative departments

Women are well-represented in all other departments, yet, in 2016, still about 80 per cent of creatives are men. The reason is very simple: they still work in pairs. We’re so accustomed to it, we have lost sight of how ridiculous it is. The team structure, introduced by Bill Bernbach, was a system designed for days gone by – for 50s America when there were far fewer women in the workplace. And it was a system designed for men. But the world was moved on, so don’t creative departments need to move on too?

The ‘arranged marriage’

In order to get a job, creatives are forced into very close relationships. As the old cliché goes, it’s like a marriage. They work together as one. They need to like each other, enjoy spending time together, think along similar lines and really “get” each other. Otherwise, the partnership won’t work. So quite often when that partnership comprises a man and woman who like each other, enjoy spending time together, think along similar lines and “get” each other, what do you think is going to happen?

Oh, shut up

Stop with the pretend outrage. You know perfectly well what happens. And, given how much they have in common, it’s no great surprise. The only surprise is that it doesn’t happen more often. I can think of several male/female teams who went from being a creative item to a romantic one, and four who ended up getting married. But living happily ever after is rare so, rather than risk careers collapsing if the relationship does, creatives may prefer to work with someone of the same sex. Fine. Except for one thing: the vast majority are men, so it’s a system that works against women. Of course, there are female teams too – but they’re often given the “girly” briefs and denied the opportunities afforded to “the boys”.

The cavalcade of caveats

Yes, I know that all this can be robustly denied. I’m not saying that either party sets out with this in mind. Neither am I suggesting that men and women can’t work together without fancying each other. But it is a real issue and it’s made worse by being a delicate subject that is seldom discussed. Because if male creatives were to say “If I have to work so closely with just one person, I’d rather it was a bloke”, they would be viewed as sexist. So they don’t say it. They just do it.

The solution?

Jonathan and 18 Feet & Rising seem to have accidentally come up with it. Phase out the old, outmoded team structure. If creatives worked independently, they could mix and match, working together on certain projects when their combined skills are required – like everyone else does in the 21st century. Creative departments would immediately benefit from a greater diversity of people and a greater proportion of women. The industry would improve, the work would improve and the age-old problems would disappear. For example:


If a woman is one-half of a creative team, it can be difficult to take time off to have a baby. And not just for her. While she’s away, her partner’s career can stagnate. They are a team and that team’s ability to work together will be affected by her having a child. If they worked solo, this wouldn’t be an issue. Technology has made creating ads the perfect job for working from home. No longer being part of a malfunctioning team will make women’s jobs more secure and easier to balance with childcare.

The howls of protest

I can hear them now from the patriarchy by the pool table. “But we work better as a pair,” they will say, because that’s all they know. But the good ones will raise no objection. They will welcome the chance to do work with different people, absorb different perspectives – particularly female ones – and watch their work improve. They will be more like digital creatives, who tend not to be shackled to one partner. Those departments are far more fluid, have far more women and they are doing brilliantly. What more do you need to know?

Implement the invention

If women are ever going to get equality of opportunity, the way creative departments are structured and the way their personnel are trained and hired need to change – forever. Dismantle the male-dominated team system and break down those barriers. The party’s over, boys. But look at it this way: if you’re any good, you’ll be going to a far better party. One where girls are invited.

Paul Burke is an award-winning copywriter and novelist who has worked at J Walter Thompson, BMP DDB and Y&R

Sunday, May 01, 2016

13178: ASA Defending White Women.

The Guardian reported the Advertising Standards Authority—UK’s advertising watchdog—launched an investigation over gender stereotyping in adverts. Given the admission that the “increasing political and public debate on equality issues” inspired the initiative, it’s safe to say this is another example of diverted diversity in adland. After all, the ASA is essentially segregating the “equality issues” to focus on protecting White women. “We’re serious about making sure we’re alive to changing attitudes and behaviours,” declared ASA CEO Guy Parker. So what about racial and ethnic stereotypes in adverts—as well as the underrepresentation of minorities in campaigns? Guess it’s easier for the ASA to show concern for objectifying White women versus discriminatory depictions for people of color.

ASA launches investigation into gender stereotyping of women in adverts

By Mark Sweney

Watchdog says research project follows increasing political and public debate on equality issues

The UK advertising watchdog is to launch an investigation to see whether rules about the objectification, sexualisation and stereotyping of women in ads need to be tightened.

The Advertising Standards Authority, which received more than 37,000 complaints and banned or forced changes to almost 3,500 ads last year, said that it was prompted to start the research project into gender stereotyping in ads following the “increasing political and public debate on equality issues”.

The ASA will also look at the depiction of men and boys in advertising, however it is the portrayal of women which is likely to garner the most scrutiny.

Campaigns such as Protein World’s “Beach Body Ready” ads have sparked a huge backlash about body-shaming and objectifying women.

The ASA cleared the campaign of breaking rules despite almost 4oo complaints and 70,000 signatories to an online petition about its portrayal of women.

The advertising watchdog banned the ad for misleading health and nutrition claims.

The ASA said it would explore a range of issues including how ads present women with an idealised or unrealistic body image, the mocking of women and men in ads where they take on roles against stereotype, and using gender-specific marketing tactics to target children. “We’re serious about making sure we’re alive to changing attitudes and behaviours,” said Guy Parker, chief executive of the ASA.

The ASA said it intended to examine the evidence on gender stereotyping in ads, seek views from the ad industry and other stakeholders, and commission research into public opinion.

The ASA said it would be open-minded about the outcome of the research project, but that if the evidence suggested tougher regulation was needed it would look to implement new rules. “We’ve already been taking action to ban ads that we believe reinforce gender stereotypes and are likely to cause serious and widespread offence or harm,” said Parker. “We want to engage further with a wide range of stakeholders on the effect of gender stereotyping on society, including through our call for evidence.”

Earlier this month, the ASA banned a Gucci ad for irresponsibly featuring an “unhealthily thin” model.

In February, the watchdog banned a campaign featuring girls taking slimming pills to lose weight for a beach holiday after 200 complaints that it promoted an unhealthy body image among young women.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

13177: BBDO Mexico Stinks.

BBDO Mexico thinks smelly feet pose sexual dangers to women and children. The responsible creatives must have foot fetishes. Idiots.

Friday, April 29, 2016

13176: Deutsch Dodges Diversity.

Campaign published an interview with Deutsch North America CCO Pete Favat and Deutsch Chairman Linda Sawyer, probing the two on recent senior-level hires that were predominately White and male. Appropriately enough, the accompanying colorless photo of the two executives showed them not staring directly at the camera; that is, Favat and Sawyer can’t look you straight in the eye and deliver a legitimate response regarding their agency’s exclusivity. The answers provided by the diversity-diverting duo were dodgy, as well as culturally clueless clichés and contrived cover-ups. Net comment: Two industry leaders are making zero deliberate efforts to address discriminatory hiring practices. Worse yet, Deutsch is part of the IPG network, self-recognized for leadership in diversity and inclusion.

Why Deutsch hired two white, male CCOs

By Douglas Quenqua

“A different point of view doesn’t mean a different gender or a different race,” says NA CCO Pete Favat

The news yesterday that Deutsch had simultaneously hired two new chief creative officers — Jason Bagley in Los Angeles and Dan Kelleher in New York — didn’t come as much of a surprise. It had been eight months since NY CCO Kerry Keenan left the agency, and more than a year since former LA CCO Pete Favat was elevated to North American CCO, leaving the LA role empty. Someone needed to fill those jobs, and Bagley and Kelleher seem like a natural fit.

The surprising part was that Deutsch, an agency long associated with female leaders, had become the latest shop to present a photo of its senior leadership that featured nothing but white men. And it wasn’t just yesterday: Out of five senior hires the Interpublic Group agency has made in 2016, every one has been male and white. And three of those hires — chief technology officer Trevor O’Brien, chief strategy officer Andrew Dawson and Kelleher — will now form what Deutsch calls its “three-pronged leadership” team in New York, meaning the office’s go-to-market strategy will be dominated by white men.

Fifteen years ago, no one may have noticed. But in 2016, issues of diversity in advertising have taken on a new urgency. The JWT discrimination lawsuit, the Campbell Ewald “ghetto day” email, the Bloomingdale’s ad about “spiking her eggnog.” There’s a reason that Nancy Hill, CEO of the Association of American Advertising Agencies, opened the group’s annual gathering in March with an emotional speech admonishing agency leaders, “If you’re the CEO, you are the chief diversity officer.”

On Wednesday, Deutsch Chairman Linda Sawyer and Favat answered questions about the job search, Deutsch’s record of diversity and the struggle to find good talent.

You are fresh off the process of hiring two new CCOs, both of whom ended up being white men. Any thoughts on why this process so often ends up arriving at the same conclusion?

Pete Favat: It’s a long process, with a lot going on. A large portion of the work we do for clients is tech and digital, so if there is one major filter that we are looking for with candidates, it’s someone who has a balance between understanding the digital and being well-versed in more — I hate to say traditional — but storytelling type of work. We talked to a lot of people, and there are people who are very strong digitally but don’t have a very strong sense of TV or traditional mediums, or vice versa. We go into it looking for someone who is a bridge builder between technology and traditional mediums. That’s the first filter.

The second filter is simple: Are they nice people? Do they respect people? They’re not going to come in and be a complete jerk. It’s a simple process, but finding the right people was extremely difficult.

Linda Sawyer: We have always had a lot of women in management and in our organization. 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.

When you talk about the notion of talent having no gender, that cuts both ways — this was about finding the right people, and it happened that the two people we landed on with the right skill set and chemistry happened to, in this case, be men.

How many candidates did you speak to overall?

Favat: We spoke to about 20 people. It is interesting, because we’re fully aware of the importance of all this, but never does it run through our mind that we need to hire a woman, or we need to hire an African American, or we need to hire a man. That’s never part of the process. We keep an eye on the overall picture of the company. But we never go into it saying we need to fill this position with a specific gender, nor would our clients ask us to do that. It’s more important to get the right talent and the right person in the job.

But diversity among senior creative leadership is such a specific issue. So doesn’t it sometimes make sense to say, ‘These are CCO positions. We really do need to look for someone with a different point of view”?

Favat: A different point of view doesn’t mean a different gender or a different race. A different point of view can be anybody. So yeah, we definitely look for different points of view and people who have skill sets that are more modern than anybody else. But I don’t know if I’d say if a woman would have a different point of view than a man would, so I don’t know if that’s ever a part of it.

Deutsch has made five senior hires this year, all of whom have been white men. That is something of a trend, no?

Favat: I don’t know if it’s a trend. We’ve hired new people but we’ve also promoted females into senior positions. We’ve promoted people like Kim Getty in LA to president [Jan 2015] and Pam Scheideler is now chief digital officer of LA [Feb 2016]. I’ll also say that In LA, from a CD standpoint, we have promoted six women up to senior level roles as creative directors.

I think what happens is, the photo dictates so much these days. We even wrestle with that — do we include a photo or not? It’s that one photograph in that one moment that makes it look that way. But when we promote someone to a CD, there’s no photo, there’s no story. So in some ways maybe we should start writing stories that these people are getting promoted.

So beyond the picture, there was no discussion about the need to find something other than two white men to fill these roles?

Favat: No, because, I don’t think any of us look at somebody as a white person or a black person or a woman or an African American. We look at people as, Do they have the talent and the skill set to take on this role? And also a person who clients just adore. We look at that and say, “Who would fit that role?”

Sawyer: I think your question is very apropos for an organization where you look across the board at senior leadership and it’s predominantly white men. That is a seriously missed opportunity. We’re very fortunate that because we do have such a well-balanced organization from top to bottom, we can just focus on bringing in the right talent. Yet we do believe in the whole notion of diversity of thought, and I think it’s paid off very well.

But in New York, the three prongs of your go-to-market strategy are all represented by white men. No concern that a client will see that and question how you will reach different groups of people with three guys who look the same? Favat: Actually they don’t look the same at all. Dan is completely bald, Trevor is like a 7’ tall Irishman, and Andrew is like a 5’6” guy from Brooklyn. [Laughter] They don’t look anything alike actually.

They also report to Val Difebo and Linda Sawyer. I don’t know, I don’t walk around saying all white men look alike. We just look at people as individuals.

Your head of diversity in New York, Felicia Geiger, was recently let go. Are you eliminating the position?

Vonda LePage, EVP, director of communications: We’re eliminating the position. One of the philosophies we lean into is that everybody at Deutsch, from the CEO to the receptionist, owns diversity. 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. And so now our diversity efforts are spread much more through, not just HR departments, but other departments.

13175: Unilever’s Universal Lies.

Adweek reported Unilever is using its Dove brand to address beauty ideals for women in India. Um, Unilever is behind the Fair and Lovely skin-lightening product, which makes the Dove effort a fairly lovely act of hypocrisy.

Dove’s Latest Mission? Revamping Beauty Ideals in India

Brand hopes to spark change with new short film

By Kristina Monllos

Dove’s got a new short film, Let’s Break the Rules of Beauty, which champions a more inclusive approach to beauty for Indian women.

The 50-second short, from Indian film director, screenwriter and documentary filmmaker, Pan Nalin, showcases a variety of women whose look and style doesn’t necessarily fit the Indian beauty ideal of “youthful looks, fair skin, long black flowing hair and a trim figure.”

“[This] is the first Dove Masterbrand campaign created specifically for India,” said Victoria Sjardin, senior global brand director, Dove Masterbrand. “India is a country growing and evolving at a rapid pace and yet the traditional beauty ideal remains narrow and restrictive. In fact, our new research suggests 76 percent of Indian women believe that in today’s society, it is critical to meet certain beauty standards.”

According to the brand’s research, the pressure to comply with Indian beauty ideals comes from external, traditional and societal factors and 80 percent of India’s 631 million women believe that they need to look a certain way to do well in life.

“This campaign is designed to encourage India to embrace its diversity in beauty, and spark change against the variety of pressures and influences that are keeping a narrow beauty ideal alive,” said Sjardin. “Our hope is to genuinely start a conversation about expanding the beauty ideal and embracing the varieties of beauty that come from a country with 631 million women, 29 states and 22 languages.”

The digital campaign isn’t the brand’s first effort in India. Hoping to raise the self-esteem of young women in India the brand launched the Dove Self-Esteem Project in 2014. It has already educated 300,000 young people to date and, according to Sjardin, the brand aspires to reach 2.65 million young people by 2020.