Monday, September 22, 2014

12085: Offensive Karma & Kaepernick.

Sports Illustrated stated a report claimed San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick was hit for unsportsmanlike conduct after hurling a racial slur at a Chicago Bears defender. Kaepernick denies the accusation and is appealing the penalty fine. The truth is critical in this scenario, as Offensive Karma will impact the team’s chances for a championship.

Report: Kaepernick unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was for racial slur

The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty drawn by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during San Francisco’s loss last Sunday to the Chicago Bears was for using a racial slur, according to a Fox Sports report cited by the San Jose Mercury News.

Kaepernick threw three interceptions in Chicago’s 28-20 upset of the 49ers last week, the first regular season game played at Levi’s Stadium. After his third, he exchanged words with Bears defensive end Lamarr Houston and received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Sideline video captured by KPIX-TV “appears to show that Kaepernick said something, although no audio could be heard,” according to the Mercury News.

Kaepernick told the Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami last week he did not say anything to Houston and that he did not use a slur. Referee Carl Cheffers attributed the penalty only to inappropriate language.

The 49ers quarterback is appealing his $11,025 fine for the penalty.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

12084: ‘Angry Black Woman’ Tweets.

From Adweek…

Shonda Rhimes Addresses Being Mischaracterized as an ‘Angry Black Woman’

Calls out The New York Times on social

By Michelle Castillo

Shonda Rhimes is calling out The New York Times for an article that suggested the Grey’s Anatomy creator is an “angry black woman,” and that she’s taking advantage of the stereotype to fuel the success of her shows, including the upcoming ABC series How to Get Away With Murder.

The article—which opens with the line “When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman”—claims that her upcoming law school drama will feature a strong African-American female lead and that the showrunner has followed a similar formula on her other hit shows, including Scandal.

Rhimes rightfully took issue with the Times’ assertions and sounded off on Twitter.

While it is true that sometimes Dr. Miranda Bailey (played by Chandra Wilson) from Grey’s and Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) on Scandal get frustrated, the same can be said about anyone on her shows—regardless of race or gender. In addition to anger, they also experience other emotions like elation, fear and, as Grey’s calls it, being “dark and twisty.” Grouping the characters as enraged people couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone is extremely emotionally volatile: It’s what makes compelling primetime drama.

That’s not to mention that while Bailey is one of the featured characters on Grey’s, the main character on the show is its namesake, Dr. Meredith Grey. And she’s a white woman. Private Practice was about Dr. Addison Montgomery, who was also a white woman. The four main stars of her other short-lived medical drama Off the Map were Caucasian, Hispanic and African-American. To suggest she only highlights black women on her shows is simply not true.

Plus, there’s this glaring inaccuracy: the Times’ TV critic suggested that Rhimes created How to Get Away with Murder. She didn’t. Pete Norwalk came up with the show’s concept, and he happens to be a white man. Rhimes is a producer on the series.

12083: Will.i.am Explains No.thi.ng.

Will.i.am explains the thinking behind the new Lexus NX commercial—although the behind-the-scenes video ultimately shows there’s no thinking behind the work.

From BrandRepublic…

Will.i.am discusses Lexus ad in new behind-the-scenes footage

By Louise Jack

Lexus has released some new footage from behind-the-scenes of its recently launched “facet city” ad for the Lexus NX.

The behind-the-scenes film shows a selection of action shots from the ad shoot with an interview with artist, will.i.am who stars in the ad.

He explains the premise of the ad. “The car is a geometric masterpiece and all the things the NX passes [in the ad] resemble the car’s aesthetics.”

He adds that his role in the ad is to spot the car as he is emerging from a club and take a “double-look” and appreciate its geometry.

The film is set to the star’s track, ‘Dreaming about the Future’. As part of the wider campaign will.i.am is designing his own limited edition version of the NX.

The ad launched on Wednesday evening.

12082: Color Commentary Critique.

The Tiffany R. Warren interview at AgencySpy garnered more comments that ultimately show diversity remains a dream deferred—and Chief Diversity Officers are perceived as token appointments perpetuating the notion of Delegating Diversity. While the AgencySpy thread managed to avoid attracting blatantly racist remarks, many of the opinions were clichéd—and a few were arguably flawed.

LetsBeHonest typed:

International award shows (Cannes) hand out awards to diverse groups such as Asians, Hispanics, Africans, African-Americans, Caucasians and everyone under the sun. It all comes down to talent — not skin color!

Not necessarily true or relevant to the main conversation. Award shows continue to be dominated by White men—from the entrants to the judges. White women are poorly represented as judges at Cannes, and minorities are more invisible. Pointing to international awards contests, by the way, is hardly an accurate gauge of anything. Besides, the discussion is about the dearth of diversity in our field, which extends beyond the creative department.

ExactDerp added:

Diversity is all about just Black and White. Latinos are getting there while Asians are still ignored. That’s ‘murica for you

Well, diversity might appear to be “all about just Black and White”—but only because Blacks and Whites have spent the most time publicly sparring over the issue. Also, based on the Marcus Graham Project Infographic, it’s not right to think “Latinos are getting there” in advertising agencies. The group remains grossly underrepresented in the field. That’s Madison Avenue for you.

trudathomey opined:

If [Tiffany R. Warren] wants to make a difference, she should ask John Wren to grant her hiring authority over any and every Omnicom shop in the network with less than five full time minority staffers.

Without hiring authority, she’s useless. Heartbreakingly so because people of color in general market ad shops need a real advocate.

Disagree with these statements. At the end of the day, Warren is a glorified HR executive. Sorry, but HR executives are not truly qualified to judge and hire candidates. When was the last time an HR executive—or even an in-house recruiter—actually made the call on hiring someone (excluding direct reports)? Warren doesn’t need hiring authority; rather, she needs firing authority. She needs the power to influence the managers and leaders with hiring authority and force them to broaden their talent pools. Or face termination. Period. And if it’s really going to work, Omnicom CEO John Wren has to lay down the law versus having Warren attempt to legislate and enforce matters. Wren must be the real advocate, which should come naturally for a Pioneer of Diversity.

12081: Five Fingers Of McDeath.

From USA TODAY…

5 reasons McDonald’s is falling apart

By Rick Munarriz, The Motley Fool

Another month, another wave of customer defections at your local Mickey D’s. McDonald’s (MCD) posted another disappointing showing in terms of store-level sales for the month of August. U.S. comparable sales slipped 2.8% for the month, falling by an even harder 3.7% worldwide. McDonald’s stock hit a new 52-week low on the news.

These are lean times for the world’s largest burger flipper, especially closer to home, where comps have fallen in 9 of the past 10 months. Let’s explore some of the reasons for the rut that the fast food giant finds itself in at the moment.

1. Quality is a problem

McDonald’s has been trying to upgrade the quality of its food, realizing that fast casual chains that offer higher-end fare with the convenience of quick-service restaurants are growing at its expense. Unfortunately, its reputation for having crummy food even within its own category isn’t going away.

A Consumer Reports survey of more than 32,000 fast food fans ranked McDonald’s dead last among 21 leading burger chains based on taste. When’s the last time an entrenched consumer brand dramatically reshaped consumer perception of the quality of its grub? It won’t be easy for McDonald’s.

2. The growing menu is causing delays and prep mistakes

McDonald’s is no longer just about burgers and fries, but giving customers more choices also has its drawbacks. McDonald’s hosted a webcast with its franchisees last year, alerting them on growing number of customer complaints about employee unfriendliness.

What’s making customers so unhappy? Industry trade mag QSR puts out its Drive-Thru Performance Study every year, tracking transaction speeds. Last year, it found that the average McDonald’s customer’s wait increased to more than three minutes after placing an order to receive it. That’s worse than the industry average, and a personal worst for McDonald’s.

Connect the dots, and it’s easy to see why the more complicated menu at McDonald’s is doing more harm than good.

3. The world is no longer its oyster

It’s been a rough go for McDonald’s domestically, but it was holding up relatively better overseas until this summer. August has offered a double whammy of international setbacks as a supplier scare has decimated its traffic in China, while Russian regulators shut down several locations on food safety concerns that may ore may not have had political motivations.

In short, the same world that was once there for the taking is starting to turn on McDonald’s.

4. McDonald’s is being cast as “the bad guy”

It’s been a year since the Service Employees International Union launched the Fight for 15 protests, trying to get fast food chains to boost their minimum wage to $15. As the country’s largest burger chain, McDonald’s has become the poster child for the campaign.

The end result is that a lot of people think it’s not just the food that’s cheap at McDonald’s. It’s not entirely fair. As big as McDonald’s itself may be, 80% of the restaurants are owned by independent franchisees working on leaner markups. However, those siding with the union’s push to roughly double wages at McDonald’s may be avoiding the chain on principle, even as most of its burger peers are holding up better in terms of comps.

5. Going back to basics may not be on the table

A common argument is that McDonald’s just needs to return to its simple roots and the Dollar Menu emphasis that served it so well in its heyday. The problem is that it isn’t likely to work. If McDonald’s scrapped the fancy coffee drinks, premium chicken sandwiches, and gourmet burgers off of its menu, do you really think sales would increase? Outside of a likely improvement in speed of service, it would lose more customers than it would gain by going back to basics.

Yes, a place like Five Guys can thrive without adding shakes, desserts, or fancy sandwiches. The challenge is being able to retain popularity once you start to scale back an expanded menu. This is where McDonald’s finds itself today, seemingly in a winless situation.

The Motley Fool is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news, analysis and commentary designed to help people take control of their financial lives. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

12080: Veep Bleeps.

The New York Post reported on recent gaffes delivered by Vice President Joe Biden, prompting the question: Did America’s first Black president choose a culturally clueless veep?

Gaffe-a-minute: VP invokes senator accused of harassment

By Geoff Earle

WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden on Friday committed his third stumble of the week when he praised former Oregon Republican Sen. Bob Packwood at a Democratic Women’s Leadership Forum — perhaps not the best venue to recall a figure identified with sexual harassment.

Biden invoked Packwood — who quit Congress in 1995 after 19 women accused him of making unwanted advances — while slamming the modern Republican Party for straying from the moderates who cooperated with Democrats in an earlier era.

“It was Republicans who expanded access to the polls. It was Republicans in the Judiciary Committee that did motor voter [registration]. It was Republicans that were involved, guys like Mac Mathias and Packwood and so many others. It wasn’t Democrats alone,” Biden said.

His slip came on a day when he was promoting the new White House “It’s On Us” campaign to discourage violence against women.

Biden’s comment capped a week in which he apologized after using the term “Shylocks” — a term with centuries-old anti-Semitic overtones — to refer to unscrupulous lenders preying on veterans.

Biden also referred to “the wisest man in the Orient” — using an antiquated term for Asia quickly red-flagged by critics.

Friday, September 19, 2014

12079: Get Bitch Off The Bus.

From The Los Angeles Times…

Metro yanks Fox TV show bus ads branded as racist, offensive to women

By Soumya Karlamangla

An advertisement for the new Fox television show “Red Band Society” was abruptly pulled from Los Angeles Metro buses Thursday after activists complained it was racist and offensive.

The ads for the series that premiered this week show actress Octavia Spencer next to the words “Scary Bitch.” Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Mark Littman said the agency decided to remove the ad because that label “denigrates women.”

“That speaks for itself,” Littman said. “That was not acceptable.”

The ads, which have been up for five weeks, will be removed from 190 Metro buses as soon as possible, said Metro spokesman Dave Sotero.

The announcement was made Thursday at a Metro committee meeting where a few dozen protesters showed up to speak against the ads. Among them was Jasmyne Cannick, who said the nickname perpetuates negative stereotypes about black women.

“I don’t know if I find it more offensive because I’m black, or more offensive because I’m a woman,” said Cannick, 36. “I sometimes think our city forgets that there are black people that still live here and call Los Angeles home.”

A Fox spokeswoman said in a statement that network executives were notified Thursday morning of the concerns around the ads and “immediately offered to remove the language.”

“Metro Los Angeles ultimately decided to take down the ads, and we respect that decision,” the spokeswoman said. “We sincerely apologize if the copy was offensive to viewers.”

Littman said though the decision was made public Thursday, Metro chief executive Art Leahy had chosen Wednesday to take down the ads after hearing about the complaints. Littman said CBS Outdoor, which handles the agency’s advertising contract, usually flags possibly questionable ads for review, but these were not flagged.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who also serves on the Metro board, said at the Thursday meeting that he wanted the ads taken down, and that the agency needs to tighten its advertising policy. Garcetti requested that Metro staff report back to the board on ways to avoid a similar situation in the future, said Jeff Millman, Garcetti's spokesman.

12078: Color Commentary Continues.

And the hits keep coming for the Tiffany R. Warren interview at AgencySpy.

trudathomey responded to KeepingItReal123 by typing:

I’ll spot you your ‘sham’ and raise you with ‘fraud.’

She’d be more useful if [she] had hiring authority.

Right now, she’s a living, breathing heat shield that let’s Omnicom’s shareholders point to her whenever the conversation of race comes to the forefront.

At some point, we actually need to stop having a conversation about the fantastically esoteric concept of ‘diversity’ in the advertising industry, and start interrogating the questions surrounding why talented minority applicants either aren’t being hired (at gen-market shops) or treated so horridly when they are that they swear never to step foot near an ad agency again.

Why is it off the table to just say this industry—and the overwhelming majority of white hiring managers in it—are just crown-to-sole racist? Has racial segregation ever happened by accident in the United States? Do white americans have some fantastic history of willingly desegregating any public or private setting, absent strong arm tactics from Washington?

If you’re working in an agency in a major city, given the massive demographic shifts that have swept this country in the last three decades and don’t have a person of color in any department, you’ve got to wonder why you feel comfortable enough to keep going in there everyday.

It’s likely you’re the reason why the industry looks like it does.

NotJustMe supplemented trudathomey with the following:

“Right now, she’s a living, breathing heat shield that let’s Omnicom’s shareholders point to her whenever the conversation of race comes to the forefront.”

THANK YOU FOR POINTING THAT OUT. I’m glad someone else had the same experience.

LetsBeHonest chipped in:

Tiffany gets paid very well and checks off the Corporate-African-American-Female-Executive-box which all large corporations self-impose. Diversity goes beyond being African-American. Sadly, we live in a country that can only see in black & white.

Tiffany — if you’re not getting minorities hired at advertising agencies, then what are you really doing beyond stating the obvious…?

International award shows (Cannes) hand out awards to diverse groups such as Asians, Hispanics, Africans, African-Americans, Caucasians and everyone under the sun. It all comes down to talent — not skin color!

Othello wrote:

The higher I go the less black people I see.

AyAyAy added:

How did they manage to lock out Latinos entirely? In Los Angeles, no less. Impressive.

And shiiiiiiiit declared:

NOTHING more bullshit than a diversity officer. Another symptom of the disease which is our PC world.

Looks like the ADCOLOR® enthusiasts are steering clear of this thread.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

12077: MediaBistro Hearts Blacks.

Ah-ha. Here’s the explanation for AgencySpy publishing the Tiffany R. Warren interview: MediaBistro is sponsoring a Here Are All The Black People event.

12076: Check The Stamps Smokescreen.

Why is the Chicago Department of Public Health encouraging citizens to Check The Stamps and fight illegal cigarette sales? This campaign feels like the work of Big Tobacco—and it probably is. The homepage declares:

WE ALL PAY THE PRICE.

The transport, distribution and sale of untaxed cigarettes hurts local families and steals public funds from local businesses and communities.

The illegal sale of cigarettes in the city comes in the forms of improperly stamped packs sold at retail stores, individual cigarettes sold at stores and on the streets and the sale of cigarettes to minors under 18.

Illegal sales hurt our communities by making cigarettes more accessible and easily affordable which adds to the devastation from disease and death in families. This is especially hard on our youth. Most life-long smokers start before the age of 18 and most eventually die from tobacco-related diseases. Cheap, readily available and illegally sold cigarettes make it easier for our children to start and harder to quit.

Yes, let’s do it for the children. You can even collect a $100 reward for your efforts.

12075: Keeping It Real At AgencySpy.

The Tiffany R. Warren interview at AgencySpy received another comment. KeepingItReal123 wrote:

Tiffany has a sham job. In the end, Tiffany reports to white folk (upper management) — whom fulfill their own egos about “giving back”. If you want more diversity in the agency world, then hire it! Don’t just organize sham programs like this for corporate-humble-brag-purposes. Plenty of ethnically diverse talent on Linkedin looking for gigs. Start there.

That prompted Been there done that to add:

Right on! What she does is check the diversity box for a lily white industry.

Ouch. The ADCOLOR® enthusiasts must be huddling to strategize on rebuttals.

12074: Color Commentary At AgencySpy.

Uh-oh. The Tiffany R. Warren interview at AgencySpy has already inspired a comment. YL2Austin wrote:

I just took a look at the AdColor site and lineup and man, only in the advertising industry can an event that’s aimed at the black community, featuring almost entirely black speakers and honorees, and no one else, be called diverse.

Is this what diversity in the ad world has been reduced to? No one pointing out the obvious that, hey, maybe AdColor should have diversified and allowed, I dunno, some more diverse points of view to be celebrated at the event?

Or why call this a diversity celebration when it’s an African American focused one? Why not just call it what it is, which is a nonprofit set up to celebrate and promote black achievement? That’s a good thing, but to call it diverse when it’s not is silly.

Expect ADCOLOR® enthusiasts’ rebuttals shortly.

12073: Does NFL Need Female CMO?

Adweek published a piece titled, “9 Women the NFL Should Consider for Next CMO”—however, the trade journal failed to include Pam Oliver. But seriously, does the NFL really need a woman in the CMO role? Despite the figures showing women comprise up to 45 percent of the league’s fans, are they truly a major target audience, especially in terms of profit? The advertising that runs during televised games surely doesn’t reflect that. Additionally, the NFL’s former (and interim) CMO was promoted to a global role, perhaps indicating the league sees greater potential wooing audiences abroad versus broads (sorry, couldn’t resist). Besides, it’s not like any CMO could affect the issues plaguing the NFL right now. The public doesn’t even know who a CMO is or what he/she does. The NFL needs to create a completely different position, perhaps titled something like Director of Ethics and Moral Conduct. Just a thought.

12072: So What Do You Doo-Doo?

AgencySpy published a piece titled, “So What Do You Do, Tiffany R. Warren, Chief Diversity Officer for Omnicom Group?” Actually, Sanford Moore has been asking the same question for years. The lengthy interview’s appearance at AgencySpy says a lot about the advertising industry’s state of diversity; that is, nobody really gives a shit about the subject. Looking forward to reading lots of thoughtful commentary from the blog’s regular visitors—but expecting to only see rah-rah mutterings from ADCOLOR® enthusiasts.

12071: Mentoring Campaign F*cked Up.

Advertising Age posted the print ads from the mentoring campaign hatched by Esquire magazine and three White advertising agencies. Sorry, but the art director and copywriter could benefit from some creative mentoring.

12070: Cartoon Misses The Boat.

From DiversityInc…

Newspaper Apologizes for Slavery Cartoon

By Chris Hoenig

A Pennsylvania newspaper has issued an apology after publishing an editorial cartoon that compared air travel to the slave trade.

In its Saturday edition, the Lancaster New Era ran a cartoon that depicts a couple standing before a diagram of the seating chart for a slave ship. “Must be where the airlines got their idea for passenger seating,” the old man tells his white-haired partner.

“To somehow link the inconveniences of air travel with slavery in general and the slave ships in particular was not only just plain wrong, it was deeply hurtful to our African-American community and all those who understand the horrors inflicted on the men and women forced into the slave trade,” John A. Kirkpatrick, President of Lancaster Newspapers, and Barb Roda, its Executive Editor, said in a statement. “As a Lancaster County pastor said of the editorial cartoon: ‘The African slave trade was our Holocaust, and to a majority of sane African-Americans it is painful for us to even entertain.’

“While the editorial cartoon was not drawn by someone on our staff, the decision to run it on our pages was made here. We are deeply sorry about printing this offensive cartoon.”

The cartoon was drawn by editorial cartoonist Robert Ariail. Someone posting under his name challenged commenters who questioned his drawing.

“Oh yes, when I fly on an airplane, I have absolutely been forced onboard against my will, shackled by my hands and feet, stacked next to my fellow passengers with no breathing room, no water and food for a period of weeks, with the certain knowledge that if the captain considers himself or herself in danger, he or she can throw me overboard, still shackled to my fellow passengers,” a commenter named Sara posted on Ariail’s site. “Also, when I arrive at my final destination, I expect to be stripped, then sold to the highest bidder. Seriously, what is this nonsense?”

Ariail’s response? “Sara, get a sense of humor, then come back and look at the cartoons.”

Ariail did eventually issue an apology of his own.

“Folks, I didn’t intend for this cartoon to create this kind of reaction,” he wrote. “I am sorry to those who are upset by it and I’m sorry to Sara for my flippant remark. My intent was to compare airline seating with the most extreme example I could think of—the famous slave-ship illustration. I didn’t mean to trivialize slavery, just make a hyperbolic point about our modern-day condition.”

By the mid-1700s—decades before the United States became an independent nation—tens of thousands of Africans were being forced from their homes, shackled and crammed aboard ships to the colonies and the Caribbean every year. Of the millions who started across the slave trade’s Middle Passage, hundreds of thousands died in the putrid, inhumane conditions and were dumped overboard. Those who survived the journey were sold to the highest bidder, destined for a life of forced servitude.

12069: Miller Lite Settles For TBWA.

Advertising Age reported TBWA was deemed the least awful agency to take over the Miller Lite account, beating Leo Burnett and WPP’s Royal Order in a shootout. Although shitout might be a better descriptor for the competition. Royal Order was fabricated for the pitch, led by the Chicago office of Ogilvy. WPP Overlord Martin Sorrell can now give the royal order to dismantle the temporary enterprise. Meanwhile, Omnicom is a big winner, as TBWA now covers Miller Lite while BBDO services Bud Light. And if anyone has a problem with conflicts, Omnicom will just shift the business to Fathom Communications.

Moving the account to the West Coast is a blow to the Chicago advertising community. MillerCoors Chief Marketing Officer Andy England delivered another bash by gushing, “…I think the sensibility that a California agency brought to the brief was critical. [Los Angeles] at this point is at the intersection of all great things: creativity, design, technology, entertainment, music—it’s all happening in L.A. right now.” Sounds like England is looking forward to more trips to sunny California, especially with Chicago winter weather approaching. One thing is certain: regardless of its state of origin, the next Miller Lite campaign will suck.

TBWA Wins Miller Lite After Agency Shootout

The Omnicom Shop Beats Leo Burnett and WPP

By E.J. Schultz

MillerCoors is looking to the West Coast for creative inspiration, tapping TBWA Worldwide’s Los Angeles office as Miller Lite’s agency of record. The Omnicom shop beat out Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett and WPP’s Royal Order, which both pitched the account from their Chicago offices during a review for the nation’s fourth-largest beer brand that began last month.

Omnicom will also pick up Hispanic advertising for the brand via Dallas-based Dieste, which will take over from Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Casanova Pendrill.

The move to TBWA signals a significant geographic shift for the brand, which had in recent years been run by agencies in Chicago and New York. It also means that Omnicom Group will control major creative accounts for MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch InBev, the nation’s two largest brewers. Omnicom Group’s BBDO has Bud Light.

MIllerCoors did not make a “deliberate choice to work with a California agency,” Chief Marketing Officer Andy England said in an interview. “But I will say that I think the sensibility that a California agency brought to the brief was critical.” He added that Los Angeles “at this point is at the intersection of all great things: creativity, design, technology, entertainment, music—it’s all happening in L.A. right now.”

Asked if he had any concerns about Bud Light’s presence at Omnicom, Mr. England said, “It’s about the best agency” and TBWA was “the best agency for the job,” adding that “they really understand our brand and our consumer.”

WPP had been working on the account on a project basis since April, after the brand cut ties with Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, which had split the account with WPP beginning in February. WPP had been using talent from Ogilvy and Johannes Leonardo. Royal Order was formed specifically for the MillerCoors business and was led by Ogilvy, Chicago.

All of the agencies invited to pitch Lite had existing links to MillerCoors. TBWA Worldwide’s Integer Group works on Blue Moon, while Leo Burnett has creative for Miller High Life. WPP’s Cavalry has Coors brands.

MillerCoors spent $160 million on measured media on Lite in 2013, according to Kantar Media. This year, the brewer continues to pour more marketing behind its retro packaging that first started rolling out late last year and harkens back to Lite’s creation in the 1970s as the nation’s first mainstream light beer. In August, MillerCoors told distributors in a memo that it was doubling its originally planned media buy for September, and plans to “make an even bigger splash with the new visual identity in October.”

Cans have been sold with the retro look all year and now the brand is converting bottles to the white packaging. The vintage look has given the long-struggling brand a boost, but Lite still hasn’t broken into positive territory. Sales-to-retailers declined by low single digits in the second quarter, the brewer reported. Volume sales at stores declined by 1.3% in the 52 weeks ending July 13, while dollar sales remained flat at nearly $1.9 billion, according to IRI.

Mr. England said Miller Lite’s heritage play is a “wonderful example” of “millennials caring about authenticity.” The brand, he said, “has spent a very long time, including on my watch, trying to be more interesting and trying to be more sexy.” But “what we discovered is that when we went back to our roots ... it was embraced by young and old.”

The resulting strategy, which will be undertaken by TBWA, is “coming back to the fact that Miller Lite is a great-tasting beer,” Mr. England said. “I think light beer has wandered” as a category, and Miller Lite “has come back to really talking about beer.”

TBWA’s debut campaign is expected by early next year.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

12068: The Dumb Leading The Dumber.

The New York Times reported Google is schooling Madison Avenue on digital. Not sure who would lend a helping hand to whom if the subject shifted from digital to diversity. Google and Madison Avenue could endlessly swap stories of abject failure, cultural cluelessness, institutionalized ignorance and deliberate discrimination.

Google Lends a Helping Hand to Madison Ave. on Digital Proficiency

By Stuart Elliott

GOOGLE is inviting Madison Avenue to go to the head of the class, offering tutorials to up-and-coming employees of advertising and media agencies on how to more effectively use digital tools like mobile, social platforms and video for marketing purposes.

Google is calling the digital school for agencies Squared, after the idea that squaring a number or letter in a formula — for instance, e = mc2 — exponentially increases its size or power. The Squared program is coming to the United States after being tested in Britain in 2012 and given a green light a year later; more than 300 employees of more than 60 agencies, including Carat, DigitasLBi, JWT, Mindshare and Starcom, have taken part there.

In this country, the first classes are being held in New York, beginning this week, for more than 40 employees of 17 or so agencies like Leo Burnett, Carat, Initiative, JWT, Ogilvy & Mather, OMD and Starcom. Some additional employees, of client companies, are also expected to take part in the program, which is scheduled to run for six weeks.

In addition to presentations by people who work for Google, participants will hear from other digital firms, among them BuzzFeed and Twitter, and from agency executives recognized as digital leaders. (Twitter recently announced a training program of its own for agencies, an online tutorial named Flight School.)

The Squared sessions are the most recent in a skein of efforts by Google to reach out to agencies. Among them were Google Partners, an online educational program; Project Re:Brief, which gave modern-day makeovers to vintage campaigns for brands like Alka-Seltzer (“I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”) by adding digital components; and Art, Copy and Code, which reworked Project Re:Brief to concentrate on present-day ads for brands like Volkswagen.

“The purpose is to make digital core to the agency experience by helping to educate the next generation of agency talent,” said Torrence Boone, a former senior Madison Avenue executive who is now global head for advertising sales and services of Google, and “exposing the industry to the possibilities unleashed by digital.”

Although “there’s been an incredible amount of progress in terms of the agency ecosystem’s embracing of digital platforms and products, the ask for the industry is, How do we get digital more embedded as a way we think about campaign development?” Mr. Boone said. “Digital acumen still can be thought of, used as, an add-on. We want to make it a starting point.”

The decision by Google to offer the Squared program reflects that while digital advertising may have come a long way, baby, to quote another vintage campaign, digital specialists like Google could certainly benefit further if Madison Avenue became more skilled at — and comfortable with — the likes of social media, search engine optimization and web video series.

“We are simply trying to provide a baseline of exposure to all of the amazing things that are happening across the digital landscape,” Mr. Boone said. “It’s not just about Google; it’s about the entire digital landscape.”

As for what Google is spending, all Mr. Boone would say is that “it’s a significant investment, and something we plan to scale, assuming the pilot here in the U.S. is successful.” The agencies are making an investment, too, he added, in paying the salaries of their employees for the 30 weekdays the workers are detached to attend the Squared sessions.

That, said Kathleen Brookbanks, chief operating officer for the OMD U.S. unit of OMD — part of the Omnicom Media Group division of the Omnicom Group — represents “a big commitment” for the agencies, and “it’s obviously something we gave more than the usual thought to.”

“We are sending three people from OMD in New York,” she added, “based on feedback from our U.K. office as to how valuable the learning was” from the Squared classes in London.

“As more and more money goes into the digital space, it’s a great opportunity for our people to get a deep dive into it,” Ms. Brookbanks said, adding: “We feel a strong confidence there will be more teaching about the space than just about Google. If it’s just about one vendor, you’re not going to send people for six weeks.”

Although Google competes in some ways with Madison Avenue — inspiring references to the company as a “frenemy,” as once famously remarked by Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP — “that doesn’t change our belief this program has a lot to offer,” Ms. Brookbanks said.

That sentiment was echoed by Sarah Baehr, executive vice president and managing director of Carat; Carat and its parent, the Dentsu Aegis Network unit of Dentsu, are sending six employees to Squared. “As managers and proponents of our industry, we should be training people to be bigger thinkers,” Ms. Baehr said. “We don’t always do as good a job as we can in helping people be successful in their roles.”

As for fears that Google might use the sessions for “recruiting the best and the brightest” from agencies to work at Google, “that’s not a great way to endear yourself,” she added, laughing.

Mr. Boone sought to reassure participating agencies about Google’s intentions. “The dialogue we’ve had with our agency partners has been productive,” he said. “They’re looking at this as a way to retain and develop talent, and drive differentiation in the marketplace.”

“What’s important to recognize is that the agencies have asked us for this,” he added. “It’s absolutely a friendly initiative where we’re coming together to invest in the next generation of talent.”

12067: Soft Drinks & Cigarettes.

From The New York Post…

Soda makers headed down same road as tobacco: analyst

By Richard Morgan

Soda makers, which have seen sales in the US fall for nine straight years, appear more like this generation’s cigarette sector, one Wall Street report contends.

Both sectors are under attack for health reasons and both have seen a years-long decline in sales, the report from Cowen and Co. explains.

More recently, soda makers are “taking a page out of the tobacco playbook by focusing in styles, flavors and price/mix to manage volume declines,” Cowen analyst Vivien Azer writes.

“Youth consumption [of soda] is falling notably, which is unhelpful in terms of driving future volumes,” Azer writes. “What is more, both categories have an outsized exposure to an economically challenged core consumer.”

Azer, in her report, “ Is Soda the New Cigarette?,” acknowledges differences between the products — but gives cigarettes an economic edge for “being dangerous but addictive.”

Soda, by comparison, is easily substitutable — with water being a cost-free option.

To manage volume declines, Azer says, both industries are emphasizing different styles, flavors and mix shifts.

Tobacco’s decades-old flight to filters and nicotine lights, for example, preceded soda’s rollout of diet and decaffeinated drinks.

Flavors encompass menthol, in one instance, and the re-introduction of Fanta, in the other.

Mix shifts have to do with packaging — different colors, designs and colors — all in an effort to engage new consumer niches with a differentiated brand.

12066: Lévy Not Léaving.

Adweek reported Publicis Groupe is extending CEO Maurice Lévy’s reign of terror through 2017. At this point, Lévy is becoming the Brett Favre of holding company honchos, repeatedly refusing retirement. Hey, he’ll leave right after purchasing one more shitty digital agency—promise!

Once Again, Publicis Groupe Extends Maurice Lévy’s Term

Holding company also names a new chief for Saatchi

By Noreen O’Leary

Publicis Groupe, in the wake of its failed merger with Omnicom, today unveiled management reorganization that includes the spring 2017 retirement of CEO Maurice Lévy and Saatchi & Saatchi global chief Kevin Roberts.

The announcement actually extends Lévy’s reign at the top, a job he said he was retiring from as long ago as 2011. As for Roberts, on Jan. 1 he’ll be succeeded by Robert Senior as CEO and Chris Foster as chief operating officer. Senior has been Saatchi’s EMEA chief executive while Foster had the role of chairman and chief executive of Saatchi Asia Pacific.

The appointment of Senior had been expected, as he had previously ascended from a top role at Fallon to help lead an alliance between Fallon and Saatchi. That alliance began in 2007.

When Senior and Foster assume their new roles, Roberts becomes executive chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi/Fallon and “head coach” at the holding company, tasked with “inspiring and motivating the groupe’s top leaders,” Publicis Groupe said. Currently, Roberts is the longest standing global CEO of a creative agency, having assumed the role in 1997. The shop’s top two accounts are Procter & Gamble and Toyota.

The No. 4 holding company’s announcement, which came after a supervisory board meeting in Paris yesterday, did not indicate who will succeed the 72-year-old Lévy.

The odd man out in the reorganization is Jean-Yves Naouri, Publicis Groupe’s COO, who was once considered a contender for Lévy’s job. (In the jockeying for position during merger negotiations with Omnicom Group, Naouri was said to be out of the company, although Publicis denied it.)

As part of the current changes, the Paris-based holding company has expanded its top management board, the Directoire, and Naouri is being dropped. The following executives are being added: Laura Desmond, CEO of Starcom MediaVest Group; Steve King, CEO of ZenithOptimedia; Arthur Sadoun, CEO of Publicis; and Rishad Tobaccowala, chief strategist of Publicis Groupe.

The holding company said that the additions will “lead the way for a new generation at the helm of the Groupe.” While speculation is that Lévy’s successor will come from that “new generation,” observers have previously doubted that a non-French exec would get the job. Sadoun is the only Frenchman in that group.

The chief strategist position is new for Tobaccowala, who had been chairman of DigitasLBi and Razorfish. As part of the changes, Publicis Groupe also is creating a new digital agency network, Razorfish Global, which will house the company’s digital units like Razorfish, Rosetta, Level Studios, Denuo and certain assets of its newly acquired Nurun agency. It will be run by CEO Tom Adamski, who was formerly the chief at Rosetta.

In addition, Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi media unit has been split into divisions: VivaKi Exchange, under CEO Simon Pardon and VivaKi Data, which will be run by Stephan Beringer. Beringer takes over from VivaKi CEO Frank Voris, who becomes CEO of Re:sources and has oversight of the company’s shared service centers and internal IT. The position of VivaKi chair will alternate annually between Starcom MediaVest’s Desmond, who assumes the initial term, and ZenithOptimedia’s King, with some sources wondering how well that division of duties will work between two corporate execs vying for position within Publicis.

Some observers also question how much the executive reorganization actually changes operations at a company Lévy has run since 1987, following its founder Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet. During the merger talks with Omnicom, speculation grew that certain Publicis Groupe execs had grown disenchanted about their roles in the combined company and were weighing prospects elsewhere.

“It’s difficult to see how Lévy loses power in this mélange of committees,” said one source. “Everyone (cited) in the (press) release is (there) to keep them happy. Looks like the troops were getting restless.”

The company plans to make a presentation to investors, providing more details about its growth strategy, before the end of October.

French investment bank Natixis expects that event to be revealing about Publicis Groupe’s future.

“This meeting looks like an important turning point for the group, as it will likely set out its strategic direction for the next three/four years to be continued by Maurice Lévy’s successor(s)…It will be an opportunity for Publicis to resolve its strategic dilemma and choose between a technology and services positioning,” analysts Jerome Bodin and Pavel Govciyan wrote in a new piece of research.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

12065: Anheuser-Busch InBev Bullshit.

Advertising Age reported Anheuser-Busch InBev issued a stern statement to the NFL: “We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season. We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league.”

Wow. It would take the entire Budweiser Clydesdales crew to haul such a load of bullshit. Here’s a brand that routinely objectifies women—and whose products probably fuel people prone to domestic violence and child abuse—criticizing the NFL for its “handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code.”

Although having an advertiser influence change in this fashion is certainly an interesting notion. Imagine if Anheuser-Busch InBev were to publicly condemn its White advertising agencies for their discriminatory dearth of diversity. Whatever, indeed.

A-B InBev to NFL: ‘We Are Not Yet Satisfied’

Brewer Issued Stern Warning to Troubled League

By E.J. Schultz

Anheuser-Busch InBev, one of the NFL’s largest advertisers and sponsors, has broken its silence on the league’s recent troubles in a stern statement that appears to put the NFL on notice.

“We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season,” the brewer stated. “We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league.”

Still, the brewer did not indicate that it is pulling its sponsorship or advertising. Asked to elaborate on what it wants the NFL to do, a spokesman said: “Unfortunately we are not prepared to share any additional details of our conversations with the league or our sponsorship activity at this time.”

Asked to respond, an NFL spokesman said: “We understand. We are taking action and there will be much more to come.”

The NFL yesterday said in a letter to teams and staff that it had retained the services of three female senior advisers to “help help lead and shape the NFL’s policies and programs relating to domestic violence and sexual assault.” One of the women assisting the league is Lisa Friel, former head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the New York County District Attorney’s Office.

A-B InBev since last week had repeatedly declined to comment about how the NFL had handled the Ray Rice domestic-violence matter. But today’s statement comes hours after the Radisson hotel chain last night said it was suspending its sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings in the wake of child-abuse charges against star running back Adrian Peterson.

Together, the two actions suggest that the solidarity that sponsors have exhibited in generally supporting the league is beginning to show some cracks. Either that, or sponsors are realizing they must speak with more conviction on the matter.

Jim Andrews, a senior VP-content strategy at sponsorship consultancy IEG, said A-B InBev’s statement “does an exceptional job walking the tightrope that sponsors find themselves in. Without disrupting any current investment in promotions and other NFL assets, and without abandoning its longtime partner, it aligns with and addresses the concerns of the many consumers who are disillusioned with the spate of recent events.”

He added that “while it will not satisfy those who want sponsors ‘to walk the walk’ by taking decisive action, its use of terms such as ‘disappointed,’ ‘increasingly concerned’ and ‘not yet satisfied’ go further than statements of this type typically do.”

Indeed, other sponsor statements have been more tepid.

USAA, the league’s “official military appreciation sponsor,” for instance, stated that “this is a situation that we’ll continue to watch closely,” while PepsiCo said last week that “we are encouraged to see the NFL is now treating this with the seriousness it deserves.”

Procter & Gamble’s CoverGirl brand continues to be criticized in social media for its NFL deal, which includes team-inspired makeup. Last night, the brand posted a statement on its Facebook page noting that “we have encouraged the NFL to take swift action on their path forward to address the issue of domestic violence.” But some fans remained unsatisfied, including one commenter who replied: “Maybe encourage them by dropping your sponsorship. Otherwise you’re just enabling them.”