Friday, January 20, 2017

Thursday, January 19, 2017

13508: Truth In Diverse Advertising…?

Adweek published an MLK Day perspective by Big Communications Writer and Content Creator Edward Bowser, who urged marketers to keep showing diversity in advertising—even if President-Elect Donald Trump inspires the lessening of such depictions. Not convinced Trump will influence matters per Bowser’s concerns. Plus, MultiCultClassics has a slightly different view on the trend to display diversity in campaigns. In many respects, the current crop of diverse depictions actually mirrors Trump. That is, the public is seeing lots of token gestures for inclusiveness; however, the images are just a smokescreen covering up cultural cluelessness. If the people behind the work really want to honor MLK’s dream, they’d push for diversity in the White advertising agencies churning out the patronizing propaganda.

Marketers Will Be Tempted to Dial Back Their Diversity Under Trump. We Can’t Let Them

Now is not the time to ‘wait’

By Edward Bowser

“Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was ‘well timed’ in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’”

Those words were penned by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on scraps of paper nearly 54 years ago while he sat in a jail here in my home city of Birmingham, Ala.

Sadly, those same words could have been typed on a blog last week and still be just as relevant.

Today, we celebrate the legacy of a man whose work has become the embodiment of racial harmony and inclusion.

In four days, we will witness the induction of a president whose campaign was steeped in division and exclusion.

Call it a dream deferred.

As President-elect Donald Trump’s rise to power ran parallel with the nation’s growing civil unrest, pundits quickly invoked MLK’s name whenever they were shaken from their comfort zones. From football players peacefully kneeling during the playing of the national anthem in protest of police brutality to actors taking the stage to calmly challenge our future vice-president to embrace his country’s diversity, critics of today’s civil rights movement retaliated with the same tired phrases:

“That’s not the proper way to protest.”

“There’s a time in a place for everything. That’s not the right time.”

And this doozy: “MLK would never support that.”

Clearly they never read King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” where he reminds us that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

Don’t whitewash King’s legacy; he was so much more than a dreamer. He was action personified. In 1967, during a meeting of clergy, King spoke on the war in Vietnam with fiery passion: “We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time.”

It’s a lesson I hope my fellow marketing professionals will take to heart in these turbulent times.

Over the past few years, marketers have created ads as diverse as the country we call home. Tylenol’s #HowWeFamily campaign embraced LGBT households while H&M’s “Close the Loop” spot shattered fashion norms by featuring a Muslim model wearing a hijab. Cheerios and Old Navy rightfully brushed off closed-minded trolls who attacked their ads featuring interracial couples.

These small steps became giant leaps toward greater representation for minority communities. Those spots, and the growing tide of more like them, are a true reflection of our country—varying hues of color, faith and culture.

Complicated, yet beautiful.

And with 80 percent of parents saying they prefer seeing diverse families in ads, it seems like inclusion should be a low-risk, high-reward opportunity for forward-thinking marketers.

But times are changing.

Trump’s presidential campaign was built on fear—the fear of a changing America. Our country is evolving and King’s dream of black and white girls and boys holding hands in harmony is more than just a vision; it’s increasingly a reality.

It’s easy to talk about the greatness of that dream, but when it actually takes hold, well, that’s when folks get uneasy.

That brings us to 2017, where critics wave off frank discussions about racial inclusion as idle chatter from a culture that has become “too politically correct.” This dismissiveness sets a dangerous precedent that could unravel decades of progress.

My fear is that de-emphasizing diversity will drag us back to the days where “diversity” in advertising simply meant copping out with targeted media, with pro-LGBT ads reserved for magazines aimed at gay readers and black actors being used by major brands only for ads in “urban” markets. I fear that the genius of Wells Fargo’s “Learning Sign Language” spot—where differences are not seen as stumbling blocks—could wind up on the cutting room floor.

I mean, when the leader of the free world refuses to champion diversity, why should marketers bother? As many of us know, all it takes to kill a bold message is for one client in the room to say “let’s not stir the pot” or “maybe not right now.”

Well, marketers, if you think this is the time to tone down inclusiveness, think again. We need your creative insight and bravery now more than ever.

We need more ads like Barbie’s Imagine the Possibilities’ campaign to broaden the imaginations of young girls, shattering gender stereotypes and reminding them that no goal is unattainable.

We need more spots like Russell Simmons’ Making Moves campaign, which raises discussions about the racial profiling and violence that have shackled the black community for decades.

Now more than ever, we need marketers to do what they do best, tell engaging, authentic stories about the communities they serve, even when reflecting that diversity will invite vile backlash from those who want to keep such conversations out of the national spotlight.

That’s King’s true legacy: Not dreaming, but the fierce urgency of action.

And don’t delay. When you hear clients or colleagues say “wait,” remember Dr. King’s words, and know that what they often mean is “never.”

Edward Bowser (@etbowser) is a writer and content creator at Big Communication in Birmingham, Alabama.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

13507: Coach Moms, Cut Minorities.

Adweek reported the 4As launched “a new virtual coaching program designed to help moms in the agency world stay on the leadership track.” Gee, White women already in the field get an exclusive coaching program for advancement, while minorities are forced to sit on the bench—provided they even make the team at all.

4A’s Aims to Help Mothers in the Ad Industry Get Ahead With a New Initiative

Mothers@Agencies program launches in February

By Christine Birkner

Long hours and intense deadlines can make it difficult for mothers to land leadership roles at agencies, and about 49 percent of women in the ad industry say that family responsibilities are the key barrier to career advancement, according to an IPG study. The 4A’s is aiming to change that with a new virtual coaching program designed to help moms in the agency world stay on the leadership track.

The 16-week program, Mothers@Agencies, launching on Feb. 7, includes eight one-hour sessions led by executive coaches over a group conference call. Coaches will offer tips on finding a balance between motherhood and career responsibilities.

“The 4A’s has a long-standing commitment to advancing the careers of women in the industry and ensuring that we’re calling attention to areas of disparity in leadership roles, where women tend not to be equally represented,” said Laura Honeycutt, svp of learning and development at the 4A’s.

It’s a cause that’s been championed by 4A’s president and CEO Nancy Hill, who has advocated for more gender equality and women in leadership roles at agencies.

“We know that women are vulnerable, because when they become mothers, they feel like they have to make choices between motherhood and their careers,” Honeycutt added. “If we can give them tools to help them navigate this challenging phase of their careers, then there will be more opportunities for women to stay on leadership tracks and aspire to larger leadership roles in their agencies.”

The Mothers@Agencies program was piloted in 2015 by 4A’s member agency Geometry Global in Chicago. After garnering positive feedback from the program, the agency partnered with the 4A’s to deliver it to a broader audience.

“People who participated said it made them more effective at home and at work,” Honeycutt said. “It helped them figure out ways that they could not sabotage themselves and overcome feelings of guilt and judgment.”

13506: Holy Shit From Hegarty.

Campaign reported Diversity Defender Sir John Hegarty is now advocating for Old White men too. Hegarty declared, “Our industry overly worships at the altar of youth.” Um, the industry actually worships at the altar of Anglo, and Hegarty has been religious in maintaining the status quo for his entire career. He’s the Cardinal of Cultural Cluelessness. The Bishop of Bias. The Pope of Prejudice. And suddenly he’s condemning ageism as a sin. Jesus.

Hegarty: ‘Adland overly worships at the altar of youth’

By worshipping at the altar of youth, adland will struggle to move forward. Other creative industries do not have this problem, Sir John Hegarty tells Kate Magee.

Is there a secret team that “disappears” any ad agency employee who turns 50 and still has the audacity to show up to the office?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that if you walked the floors of an agency.

Aside from those occupying senior positions, the vast majority of an agency’s workforce is under 35. As the IPA’s most recent Census shows, the average age of employees in all member agencies is 33.7. This has not changed since 2009.

“Our industry overly worships at the altar of youth,” Sir John Hegarty says. He is speaking to Campaign after The Advertising Club of New York released a film about the Bartle Bogle Hegarty founder in its Inspiration series.

He adds: “I’m not being cynical about that. I played that card as much as I possibly could when I was 25. I was the young, angry, creative guy, and it worked for me.”

Embracing the new

But while being “obsessed with the next thing” brings tremendous benefits to adland, keeping its ideas fresh and relevant, the downside is that the industry is too quick to ignore its heritage and devalue experience.

This wasn’t the case when Hegarty first started. He was inspired by Bill Bernbach, who was in his fifties, and also worked with legendary CDP creative director Colin Millward, who was a similar age: “We revered him. He was a god.”

Now “we burn out” such individuals or shun them in favour of more energetic young creatives, Hegarty says.

He believes this trait of the ad industry is not repeated in other creative professions. Hegarty points to architect Frank Gehry, who is still working at 87: “Nobody in architecture has asked Frank to put the pen down and let a 24-year-old carry on doing it instead.”

Hegarty also criticises the view that an older person cannot write ads that will resonate with a younger audience: “No-one in Hollywood turns round to Quentin Tarantino and says: ‘How can you write a movie that will be watched by 25-year-olds?’ But they do in our industry.”

Shared knowledge

This dismissive attitude towards experience leads to ignorance of the industry’s heritage. While someone in fashion would recognise the creations of Coco Chanel, and a painter would know Leonardo da Vinci’s work, that sense of shared knowledge does not exist in adland, Hegarty claims.

He says: “Walk around UK agency creative departments and ask ‘Have you seen John Webster’s work?’ — I guarantee they say ‘Who is John Webster?’. He produced some of the greatest TV ads of the last 50 years. But they wouldn’t know him.”

Moreover, Hegarty believes most would not have seen the past 50 Cannes Lions Grand Prix winners. “I’m not asking you to read War and Peace or go to a library for a week and immerse yourself in the works of some amazing art movement. It takes 50 minutes to watch 50 years. That’s an education,” Hegarty says, adding that past ads contain “gems of writing, thinking and design that you can learn from”.

That’s because adland has lost this culture of studying the past: “In our industry, we’ve lost that sense of where we’ve come from and understanding how to go forward.”

Nurture, protect and guide

In order to improve the longevity of people in adland, Hegarty believes the industry should do more to nurture, protect and guide its creative talent. He thinks account people should act like band managers, helping creatives look after their long-term prospects.

“Creative people are not very good at managing their careers,” Hegarty explains. “Somebody waves a large cheque in front of them and they go ‘Oh, my God, look at all that money I can earn’ and they go off and do it.

“But if you take the money and run, you’ll surround yourself with less good people and the work will decline. You’ve got to be playing at the top level to sustain it. That pushes your game.

“[Creatives] are abused and used by the industry. Who’s the richest person in advertising? He’s not a creative. Look at the other creative industries. Who’s the richest person in architecture? It’s not the accountant who works for Frank Gehry — it’s Frank Gehry.”

Hegarty adds: “The industry needs to remember that creatives are the real talent.” In the past, he says, the top people were Bernbach, Millward, George Lois and David Abbott: “Now you go to Cannes and on stage are the heads of these big groups who’ve never had a fucking idea in their lives. We’ve allowed them to take over because they are good at the numbers. Then they eventually kill the business.”

Sustaining a career

According to Hegarty, another reason sustaining a creative career is so difficult is the unique demands of creativity in advertising – that an idea is not repeatable. Unlike in industries such as music, where Sir Mick Jagger can still delight audiences with Jumpin’ Jack Flash 48 years after it was written, advertising creatives have to come up with a new idea every day. Hegarty couldn’t just roll out Levi’s “Laundrette” again for another client.

He believes most creative people have a ten-year window when they produce their best work. So what can you do after that period? His advice is to stay connected: “Remain curious. Don’t become a cynic — that’s the death of creativity. Surround yourself with great people.

“You’ve got to have confidence and believe in yourself. If you don’t have confidence, you will start doing ordinary things.”

Instead of staring at screens all day, creatives need to seek out different stimuli, Hegarty suggests: “Creative people are ciphers for ideas and thoughts. They have to absorb all this stuff, then it comes back out and you reinterpret it. If you are not taking in that inspiration, then what are you reinterpreting?

“What are you doing that is going to make you different?”

13505: White Women + White Men.

Adweek reported Joan—a White-female-owned advertising agency—hired its first senior creative team. And it turns out the two White women enlisted two White men. Gee, it sure would be bizarro if Joan failed to earn certification from The 3% Conference.

Joan Hires Its First Senior Creatives as It Eyes Being More Than a ‘Female-Run Ad Agency’

Dave Canning and Dan Treichel come aboard

By Patrick Coffee

Joan scored one of the 2016’s most prominent boutique-agency launches last May, when former Wieden + Kennedy creative director Jaime Robinson, and Ogilvy and Refinery29 veteran Lisa Clunie joined forces to provide clients with a “more flexible” approach to marketing.

That September, their agency effectively made its public debut with “Rules for the Modern Woman,” a campaign promoting Netflix with female-driven scenes from its many original series.

Now, after naming a string of staffers to fill roles like chief data officer, strategy lead and head of business operations, Joan has snagged the award-winning duo of Dave Canning and Dan Treichel to serve as co-executive creative directors in its newly opened Manhattan office. They are Joan’s first senior creative hires, and both report directly to Robinson.

“There’s something about [Dave and Dan] that I personally fell in love with,” Robinson said. “They’re incredibly kind and funny, and their creativity has a playful edge to it which I absolutely love.”

Robinson first encountered the pair as they promoted Climate Name Change, a clever 2013 project for 350 Action that proposed naming tropical storms after climate-change doubters like Sen. Marco Rubio.

“We want top-notch creatives,” Robinson said, explaining the Joan approach to hiring, “someone who has a sense of big ideas that cross the boundary between advertising and entertainment and also uses data in fresh, interesting ways … instead of maintaining the status quo.”

Canning in a statement: “We couldn’t be happier to be joining Joan. Jaime and Lisa are two of the smartest and most talented people in this business and we can’t wait to ride their long, illustrious coat tails to many successes.” Treichel adds, “After one Skype with Jaime and Lisa we looked at each other and said, ‘We really, really hope we get this job.’”

The duo helped lead 180 Amsterdam’s work for Asics before meeting with the Joan team in New York. They’ve collectively worked on campaigns ESPN, Southern Comfort, Clash of Clans and PS4 while working for Barton F. Graf, Wieden + Kennedy, Droga5 and other prominent shops.

They are also Joan’s most visible male employees. When the agency came onto the scene last year, many stories focused on the fact that it belonged to the still-rare breed of shops founded and led by women. But Robinson framed the group’s mission more broadly.

“Diversity is part of what we stand for, and it’s core to our foundation and our beliefs,” she said. “What we’re really looking for are unusual thinkers and creators, interesting combinations of people from diverse ethnic, gender and career backgrounds … who will make the magic that we want.”

Most of Joan’s clients, like General Mills and Adidas, are general-market brands that don’t specifically target female consumers. Robinson also mentioned several new business wins she can’t yet reveal and said Joan is looking to continue growing at “what I would call a phenomenal pace” in 2017 by expanding its existing relationships and aggressively pitching when the opportunity feels right.

The agency opened the office in December and plans to continue complementing core staff with a rotating cast of project-based freelancers as its full-time team grows.

“We are building a culture here from a crew of like-minded individuals,” Robinson said. “Our job is to make amazing work.”

Robinson expects Joan to launch multiple campaigns in the coming months.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

13504: Hidden Figures Of Diversity.

IBM professed its commitment to diversity via a campaign inspired by Hidden Figures—check out the videos here, here, here, here, here and here. Ogilvy & Mather created the messages. Wonder if OgilvyCulture led the charge. Whatever. IBM should ask the White advertising agency to reveal the hidden figures of its true racial and ethnic makeup.

13503: From Dream To Action.

From Campaign…

Honor Dr. King by making his holiday about action, not just remembrance

By Vann Graves

Let’s use Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a time to gather and ask ourselves what actions we are prepared to take, suggests Vann Graves, CCO of J. Walter Thompson Atlanta.

To many who were not yet born during the Civil Rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered primarily as a speaker. The power of his immortal “I Have a Dream” speech still resonates as strongly today as it did when he spoke on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. Eminently quotable, his words continue to inspire across social media, worldwide.

But beyond being one of history’s greatest orators, Dr. King was, first and foremost, a man of action. He was an inspiring organizer who could rally people together to demand change they never thought possible. And though he is remembered for his non-violent tactics, he was a fighter in the truest sense of the word: never afraid to be aggressive when the situation called for it.

This is why framing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as simply a day of remembrance does a disservice to the man and his legacy. According to The King Center, when Coretta Scott King and those at the newly formed organization first observed the holiday one year after his assassination, it was positioned not as a memorial, but a “celebration of Dr. King’s life, education in his teachings and nonviolent action to carry forward his unfinished work.”

Those goals, education and action, are as important now as they have ever been in the decades since Dr. King’s death. As we head toward Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, we also head toward the dawn of an era where many fear that much of what Dr. King fought for may be pushed aside, even erased. In this unsettled and unsettling climate, our intentions must turn to action, not memory.

In the words of the Reverend, “Almost always, the creative, dedicated minority has made the world better.” As advertisers, it is our first instinct to communicate, to tell a story. But this MLK Day, we must use our creativity and our dedication to not just say something, but do something.

For starters, let’s use Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a time to gather and ask ourselves what actions we are prepared to take. Agency leaders should get everyone in a room and figure out what it is they want to invest their time and energy into. Ask yourself and your team—what do we have to offer, and what do we believe we can accomplish with our collective powers? And when you figure it out, whether it’s helping out an existing organization, forming a new one or creating a tool that can push a cause forward, don’t relegate the initiative to after hours or extracurriculars. Build it into your business plan.

Let’s use our talents to mobilize others into action. It has always been at the core of our profession to harness the energy of crowds—to tap into the culture and the zeitgeist and push it forward with our creativity and our reach. The voice we give to our clients is one we can give to the people; whether we act as consultants, helping budding activists learn how to amplify their own voices, or as a catalyst, using our platform to advocate for the issues most important to us.

As we gear up to take action, let’s remember the words of President Barack Obama in his recent farewell address, “I am asking you to believe—not in my ability to bring about change, but in yours.” It’s a sentiment that surely would have made Dr. King proud, and it’s one we all need to work to live up to, now more than ever.

—Vann Graves is chief creative officer of J. Walter Thompson Atlanta.

Monday, January 16, 2017

13502: MLK On Advertising 2017.

I have a dream that one day on Madison Avenue, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the conference table of brotherhood. Granted, it looks like the dream will happen after White women, White senior citizens, White LGBT, White people with disabilities, A-list celebrities and non-U.S. minorities secure their seats at the table.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

13501: The JWT Love Boat.

Campaign presented the latest episode of the JWT soap opera, as lawyers for the White advertising agency and WPP exchanged volleys with the legal team representing JWT Chief Communications Officer Erin Johnson. Last November, Johnson returned to the White advertising agency—while still pursuing her discrimination lawsuit—and quickly complained that JWT engaged in retaliation by restricting her job duties and confining her in an uncomfortably positioned workstation. The JWT/WPP lawyers countered with bullshit including:

• JWT CEO Tamara Ingram invited Johnson to join the new Diversity and Inclusion Council. Hey, why not? After all, Johnson’s lawsuit helped inspire the corporate smokescreen.

• According to the court documents, “The Company … finally insisted that [Johnson] return to work in order to earn the money she was being paid…” Gee, that doesn’t sound like intimidation in the slightest.

Keep in mind that former JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Gustavo Martinez was allowed to resume employment for WPP from the safe seclusion of Spain and Latin America. Johnson was forced back to the scene of the alleged crimes and stuffed in a cubicle near Human Resources.

JWT hits back, says Johnson’s ‘punishment’ of her own making

By Eleftheria Parpis

The PR director’s duties have been cut back to accommodate her own concerns, not to retaliate, say lawyers.

Lawyers for J. Walter Thompson and WPP denied on Tuesday that chief communications officer Erin Johnson was enduring “highly visible punishment” since returning to work at the agency on Nov. 2, insisting that her duties have been curtailed to accommodate her own concerns.

The memo, filed in Manhattan federal court by the law firm of Davis & Gilbert, comes in response to a Nov. 11 request for an injunction filed by Johnson’s attorneys. That request claimed that Johnson was told by JWT CEO Tamara Ingram that she was being “kept in a box”—forbidden from talking to the press, discouraged from taking notes in meetings and forced to sit in front of the human resources director all day—to punish her and dissuade other employees from testifying on her behalf.

In the 23-page letter filed Tuesday, JWT’s lawyers said it was Johnson who refused to perform her full duties upon finally returning to work after an eight-month absence. The letter paints a picture of an agency struggling to accommodate an embattled executive, and now seeking only to extract some work for the money it continues to pay her.

JWT granted Johnson’s request for a paid leave of absence “without any obligation to do so” even before she filed her sexual discrimination suit against CEO and Chairman Gustavo Martinez in March, strictly to accommodate her concerns, said the letter. Then, once Martinez had been removed and replaced by Ingram, the agency began inviting Johnson back to the agency to work on Ingram’s new Diversity and Inclusion Council. Johnson refused, the letter said, because it would run counter to her experience at the agency, and because her ongoing suit would raise conflicts of interest.

“She was adamant that there were certain duties that she could not or would not be able to perform as a result,” the letter said. “The Company took these issues to heart and when it finally insisted that she return to work in order to earn the money she was being paid, it agreed to revise her responsibilities to specifically address each and every one of her concerns.”

“It simply cannot be the case that a Company that has gone out of its way on numerous occasions to accommodate an employee’s requests and address her concerns has engaged in retaliation,” it said.

As for Johnson’s new seating arrangement, the letter claims it is the result of an office-wide reconfiguration that occurred in her absence rather an attempt to intimidate her. “As part of this reconfiguration, and consistent with a new trend in the industry, seating for most of the Company’s employees is an open-plan setup, complete with glass doors in all work/seating areas,” the letter said. “Notably, Plaintiff’s work area in this open-plan setup … is on the executive floor, next to the Company’s Chief Creative Talent Officer and near all the Company’s other executives.”

The letter denies that Ingram told Johnson she was being “kept in a box,” insisting that those were Johnson’s words in her initial meeting with Ingram. It was in that same meeting that Ingram told Johnson to stop taking notes, because Johnson was asking questions clearly designed to further her ongoing suit, the attorneys claim.

“During this meeting, Plaintiff took notes in response to a list of questions she had with her that were obviously intended to gather information for her case,” said the letter. Another reason Johnson’s duties have been reduced is that JWT was forced to hire new communications executives over the past eight months, not only to make up for Johnson’s absence but for the departure of other communications staff. (Former director of communications Anaka Kobzev departed the agency in April for Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day.)

“Defendants have no obligation now to change the duties or reporting relationships of the people working in the communications department just because Plaintiff finally decided to return to work,” the letter said.

The new letter does not deny that Ingram has prevented Johnson from talking to the press for fear she would become the story, calling it “a legitimate concern for the Company.” Furthermore, if Johnson feels she is being ostracized by her coworkers, the cause is most likely her attempts to publicize the suit at the expense of her coworkers’ privacy, said the letter. In particular, it cited her alleged attempts to publicize a video of Martinez joking about rape at an internal meeting that featured her coworkers’ faces.

“If Plaintiff feels that she is a ‘pariah’ or ‘suspect character’ at the Company, that feeling is entirely of her own doing,” it continued.

Johnson’s lawyers did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

13500: Martinez Is Fucking Screwy.

Campaign reported former JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Gustavo Martinez officially denied almost all of the accusations directed at him in the discrimination lawsuit filed by JWT Chief Communications Officer Erin Johnson. Specifically, Martinez confirmed making his “too many fucking Jews” in Westchester County comment, but insisted he had “attempted to communicate that he and his wife wanted to live in a diverse community.” Oh, so now Martinez is a diversity crusader. Expect him to nab an ADCOLOR® Award soon. And since when is anti-Semitism less offensive than sexism and racism? Would Martinez also get a pass for declaring there are “too many fucking Blacks” in Brooklyn and “too many fucking Hispanics” in the Bronx? BTW, how many fucking Jews are currently working at JWT? How was Martinez working to transform his former fucking agency into a diverse community?

Additionally, Campaign reported that after Martinez made arguably racist—and rapist—comments at a Miami meeting, JWT Global Chief Talent Officer Laura Agostini and JWT Chief Creative Officer Matt Eastwood counseled their ex-boss about avoiding the use of “rape” in public statements. Of course, the officers apparently didn’t have any suggestions regarding Martinez’s culturally clueless comments involving Blacks.

Gustavo Martinez formally denies all allegations, except one

By Eleftheria Parpis

The former JWT CEO says his “too many Jews” comment was meant to convey his desire to live in a more diverse community.

Lawyers for Gustavo Martinez, the former chairman and chief executive of J. Walter Thompson who resigned in March amid allegations of sexist and racist behavior, has formally responded to the lawsuit filed against him by chief communications officer Erin Johnson.

In the 23-page document filed in Manhattan federal court Tuesday night, Martinez denies every substantial accusation of discriminatory behavior, except one.

In Johnson’s discrimination lawsuit, filed against Martinez on March 10, 2016, the PR chief claimed that her boss—in addition to engaging in an “unending stream of racist and sexist comments” around the office—had met with an industry journalist in February 2016 and “told the reporter that he disliked living in Westchester County because there are ‘too many Jews.’”

In a column that same day, Campaign US editor in chief Douglas Quenqua identified himself as the unnamed journalist in question. He recalled hearing Martinez make the comment, he said, but assumed he had misheard, partly because of Martinez’s accent. The comment was made before the recorded portion of the interview, said Quenqua. In the document filed Tuesday night, Martinez confirmed that the meeting had taken place, and did not deny that he had made the comment. Instead, he sought to clarify his meaning, saying he “attempted to communicate that he and his wife wanted to live in a diverse community.”

In a separate document filed Wednesday morning, the law firm of Davis & Gilbert, representing WPP and JWT, made a similar clarification regarding a conversation that Johnson alleges took place during a work lunch with Laura Agostini, JWT global chief talent officer, and Tarun Rai, CEO of Southeast Asia, in London in February 2015. In Johnson’s complaint, she claims that Martinez told the group that he and his wife “hated” living in Westchester because it was cold and because he “hate[s] those fucking Jews” (a statement he felt free to make “because he was in Europe,” according to Johnson’s suit). According to the WPP document filed Wednesday, Martinez actually said “that his wife also hated Westchester because she was from Europe and not Jewish, and she felt that the community in Westchester was cliquey.”

Both Martinez, who was born in Argentina and grew up primarily in Spain, and co-defendants WPP and JWT have made the former CEO’s alleged discomfort with English a lynchpin of their defense, repeatedly asserting that his comments were not meant as sexual or derogatory. In Martinez’s response filed Tuesday, he states that a meeting between he and Johnson on May 20, 2015, in which she claims Martinez became “angry and aggressive” when she told him his comments about rape were unacceptable, was simply “part of plaintiff’s job regarding his communications and language limitations [because] English was not his first language.”

Last year, when the two sides were debating whether a video of Martinez making a joke about being raped, “and not in a nice way” during an internal JWT meeting in Miami should be admitted as evidence, lawyers for WPP claimed he was only trying to ease the tension in the room because a wild party the night before had unnerved many of the employees, but he was stymied, in part, by his unfamiliarity with the language. “No one should fault Mr. Martinez (for whom English is his fourth language) for at least attempting to address with some humor the events that the employees had experienced,” said the lawyers.

Much like Martinez’ s filing, today’s WPP document also denies the bulk of Johnson’s allegations. In one notable denial, the company counters the PR chief’s assertion that Agostini never took action regarding Martinez’s behavior. “[B]oth Agostini and [JWT chief creative officer Matt] Eastwood spoke to Martinez after the Miami meeting and counseled him that he should not use the word ‘rape.’”

In December, US District Judge Paul J. Oetken rejected WPP’s motion to dismiss the suit, saying that Martinez’s actions created “a workplace cut through with hostility.” He had initially given the defendants a deadline of Jan. 3rd to respond to Johnson’s accusations, but later extended the deadline to Jan. 11th.

Following an eight-month paid leave of absence, Johnson returned to work at JWT on Nov. 2nd. Though she sought an injunction shortly after she returned to stop the “highly visible punishment” she was allegedly being subjected to in the office, Johnson’s lawyers, Vladeck, Raskin & Clark, have since abandoned that request in order to proceed more quickly to trial. WPP’s lawyers have denied the veracity of the claims made in the injunction request.

Neither WPP’s lawyers; Martinez’s lawyers, the firm of Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker; nor Johnson’s lawyers returned calls for comment.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

13499: Trulicity Duplicity.

Trulicity presents a ton of true side effects—with an “actor portrayal” to boot.

13498: Double Down Diverted Diversity.

Advertising Age announced: “BBDO Names Tara DeVeaux CMO; Doubles Down on Insights, Data.” Actually, the White advertising agency doubled down on diverted diversity and regular diversity, appointing White women and Black women to key roles. Gee, BBDO will definitely earn certification from The 3% Conference.

BBDO Names Tara DeVeaux CMO; Doubles Down on Insights, Data

Omnicom Shop Also Elevates Crystal Rix to Chief Strategy Officer

By Lindsay Stein

BBDO New York has hired Ming Utility and Entertainment Group President Tara DeVeaux as its new chief marketing officer, while upping Business Development Director Crystal Rix to chief strategy officer as part of the shop’s plan to become more data and insight-driven.

Ms. DeVeaux, who reports to BBDO New York CEO John Osborn, takes on Ms. Rix’s business development responsibilities, in addition to enhancing the agency’s marketing and helping tell its story. Simon Bond, who left BBDO in 2015 to become chief growth officer at Interpublic, previously served as CMO of the Omnicom agency. Ms. Deveaux is a BBDO vet—prior to opening Ming, she had been exec VP-account manager there.

While the chief strategy officer title is new, the responsibilities of Jeff Kenyon, who left BBDO New York in August after serving as the head of planning, will fall under Ms. Rix’s remit. Ms. Rix will oversee the agency’s streamlined strategic practice, which now includes communications planning and data and marketing science. She reports to BBDO New York President Kirsten Flanik. Ms. Rix will continue to lead strategic guidance on the AT&T brand in addition to her expanded role.

The newly streamlined operation will allow BBDO to be more upfront with data and use it in smarter ways to help clients reach the right audiences across various channels, said Mr. Osborn.

“We want to continue to do world-class mass advertising and communications to large audiences, but more and more we know we have to also be able to deliver precision-based marketing on behalf of our clients,” he said.

Ms. Flanik added that speed is important, which is why the agency has evolved its digital thinking and communications planning into the narrative of “data times context times creativity equals the new economic multiplier.”

The end goal for the 120-year-old agency remains the same, which is to create great content that drives business growth, but in today’s world, Mr. Osborn said that requires BBDO to do things differently and make sure it is set up in the best way to deliver all solution sets for clients.

Ming CEO Brian DiLorenzo said, “We’re sad to lose Tara. She has been a valued partner since the very inception of Ming. But we’re absolutely happy for her and her new opportunity. Having been good friends and colleagues for many years and more to come, we all wish her the very best.”

Mr. DiLorenzo co-founded Ming with Ms. DeVeaux and chief creative officer and Chairman Linus Karlsson in June 2014. Mr. Karlsson said they have found someone to take over Ms. DeVeaux’s role, and will be announcing that person shortly.