Sunday, July 24, 2016

13270: A Matter Of Trust—Or Bust.

Campaign published an unintentionally hilarious perspective from Gideon Spanier, who insists advertising executives “must start talking to end crisis of trust.” Um, does Spanier realize that—among the least-trusted professions—advertising practitioners typically rank alongside used car salesmen? Trusted adman is an oxymoron. And Spanier is an ordinary moron. Actually, he’s a trade journalist, so maybe his cluelessness can be excused. He’s clearly spending too much time hearing the whines of White advertising agency executives. For example, Spanier drones on about the evils of procurement on the client side. Yet he doesn’t seem to realize the big agencies—especially those tied to holding companies—are just as bad. That is, the advertising agency procurement police are dictating exactly how much money will be allocated for all agency expenditures. Minimal dollar values are now assigned to everything from FTEs to RFPs to LOEs. Above-the-line initiatives receive below-the-line resources. Billable hours trump big ideas. The advertising industry is not facing a trust crisis; rather, it’s a financial crisis.

The ad industry must start talking to end crisis of trust

Advertising is an industry built on long-term relationships and it is in need of counselling.

By Gideon Spanier

Both sides are to blame. Marketers want more for less and their procurement departments have been squeezing media agencies’ margins for years. At the same time, agencies have turned to less transparent ways to make money such as rebates and acting as principal.

The widely accepted narrative is that media agencies have kept one step ahead of marketers, which is why ISBA and the Association of National Advertisers, the trade bodies for advertisers in the UK and the US, have urged members to tighten up their contracts with agencies. But marketers must accept some responsibility. It’s absurd that ISBA and the ANA, and their counterparts on the agency side, have barely been on speaking terms.

Hostilities show little sign of improving as Group M has been asking pointed questions about the role of media auditors, which advise clients on how their agency is spending their money.

All this needs to be seen in the context that, contrary to what some think, the media agency business model is hurting. According to Kingston Smith, margins at the big UK media agency groups fell below 13% last year. That’s a big drop from 15.6% in 2014 and the average of 18% since 2000.

The way forward for agencies must be to move into higher-value consulting services, which is what marketers say they want. The problem is that when procurement strikes, price becomes the deciding factor.

When Volkswagen Group recently reviewed its media, it staged an e-auction. MediaCom, the incumbent, was said to be furious because only it knew the real prices that it was being asked to discount against while rivals were offering discounts “blind”.

Stephen Allan, global boss of MediaCom, won’t comment about Volkswagen but says more broadly: “Do you want to treat agencies like vendors or like agencies — what is it?”

Procurement has a role to play. Marc Pritchard, chief marketing officer at Procter & Gamble, makes a good point when he says procurement should take a more public role in this discussion.

But, ultimately, it’s about advertisers and agencies needing to treat each other with honesty — a key theme from an Oystercatchers debate last week, where it emerged that most advertisers wildly underestimated just how costly it is for an agency to pitch.

This is the communications business. It shouldn’t be so hard to talk.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

13269: Black Voices Matter…?

Responding in part to the phenomena of Black Lives Matter, Advertising Age interviewed Translation Founder and CEO Steve Stoute, Amusement Park Entertainment CEO and Chief Creative Officer Jimmy Smith, 135th Street Agency Founder and CEO Shante Bacon and MING Utility and Entertainment Group President Tara DeVeaux. Here’s an excerpt from Stoute’s statements:

At the root of any societal issue is human truth, especially those truths we find hard to confront. The advertising business has always been about telling stories around human truths, and making those stories accessible to and consumable by the masses.

Today, the truth is that racism is alive and well in this country. The truth is that due to ignorance, lack of education and socially conditioned prejudice, the value of a black life is still being questioned.

How can we as a community come together to speak out against racial injustice, when we perpetuate that very injustice within the walls of our own agencies? We can never properly use the power of this platform as long as the industry continues to perpetuate the same cycle while justifying a lack of diversity not only throughout hiring practices, but in the work that we create.

Just take a look at the numbers—only about 5.85% of the advertising world is made up of African-Americans, and it is the only minority group to have seen a decrease in representation over the last four years. African-American men are one the most underrepresented groups in the entire industry, at just 2.58%. It doesn’t have to be this way.

I want to challenge all agency leads to execute a company-wide diversity check and strategize on creating pathways to improve the diversity of their staff and by extension, the creative. This is not just about diversity in terms of race, but a diversity of perspective.

African-Americans, women and other minorities have so many barriers to entry, and if those walls were torn down, they would bring so much to this community and to the work. In these trying times, we must come together to end racism in all of the places it lives. We cannot be afraid to start that fight in our own backyards.

Does Advertising Age’s decision to create and publish such content help from a diversity standpoint? It’s hard to say. In an industry where cultural cluelessness is so prevalent, White people might not even know how to process the color commentary. Not sure why Advertising Age kept the conversation segregated. Given the Wieden + Kennedy response to recent events, it would have been interesting to get Dan Wieden’s viewpoint—which would hopefully be more thoughtful than gasping, “Now that’s fucked up!” Or maybe have Jeff Goodby wonder, “Why are all the Black people getting shot?

Friday, July 22, 2016

13268: Twitter Quitter.

Advertising Age posted a Bloomberg News story on racist attacks via Twitter against Leslie Jones, with USA TODAY and other sources supplying more details on the ugly scenario. Jones received support from the public, celebrities and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Not sure if Allstate has extended its Good Hands® to the actress.

Twitter Bans a Breitbart Editor for Leading Abuse Campaign Against Actress Leslie Jones

‘Ghostbusters’ Star Says She’s Quitting Twitter After Flood of Hateful Messages

Twitter promised to strengthen its rules and procedures in order to curb targeted abuse against users, beginning with a ban against Milo Yiannopoulos, technology editor for the conservative news website Breitbart.

Known by his Twitter handle @Nero, Mr. Yiannopoulos is accused of leading an online campaign of racial and sexual taunts against Leslie Jones, who appeared in the “Ghostbusters” remake last week. Fed up with the abuse, Ms. Jones said Tuesday that she was leaving Twitter for good.

“No one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others,” Nu Wexler, a spokesman for San Francisco-based Twitter, said in a statement. “Over the past 48 hours in particular, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of accounts violating these policies and have taken enforcement actions against these accounts, ranging from warnings that also require the deletion of Tweets violating our policies to permanent suspension.”

Mr. Yiannopoulos, who had more than 338,000 followers on Twitter, responded in a comment on Breitbart, saying that Twitter’s actions violated the right to free speech.

“With the cowardly suspension of my account, Twitter has confirmed itself as a safe space for Muslim terrorists and Black Lives Matter extremists, but a no-go zone for conservatives,” Mr. Yiannopoulos said. “This is the end for Twitter. Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: you’re not welcome on Twitter.”

Ms. Jones’s departure and the ban followed an attempt by Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, to resolve the situation. Earlier, he had reached out directly to the actress:

Twitter has struggled to balance its desire to provide an open forum for all views, while keeping it from becoming a deafening megaphone for people seeking to harass another user. In January, Twitter took the step of removing Mr. Yiannopoulos’s verification—the blue check denoting an authenticated account—but did not go any further. Last month, Omid Kordestani, Twitter’s executive chairman stressed that all voices were needed, even amid hateful rhetoric.

In any case of blocking a Twitter user, the decision is subjective, after review of user reports sent to the company about abusive behavior. Mr. Yiannopoulos’s supporters are saying that Twitter’s actions show an anti-conservative bias, and are unearthing controversial tweets that didn’t get blocked.

Making Twitter safer from those who harass and make threats is one of Mr. Dorsey’s top five priorities for the year, and he has vowed to get tougher on trolls. Now, Twitter said it will take a closer look at how it polices abusive behavior.

“We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter,” Mr. Wexler said. “We agree. We are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to better allow us to identify and take faster action on abuse as it’s happening and prevent repeat offenders.” Twitter would seek to reduce “the burden on the person being targeted,” he said. “We’ll provide more details on those changes in the coming weeks.”

Bloomberg News

13267: Boozy Brazilian Bullshit.

Here’s more bullshit from Brazil for Alcoholics Anonymous.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

13266: ADT WTF.

This ADT campaign is not new, but what compelled the White advertising agency to select Ving Rhames as a spokesman? Will Rhames get medieval on your ass if you dare to challenge ADT home security?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

13265: JWT Blind, Deaf & Dumb.

Campaign reported JWT London will seek to address diversity via a “blind recruitment” scheme for entry-level candidates. While candidates will still have to submit a CV, it won’t be reviewed until later in the process because JWT admits “submitting a CV limits diversity of opportunity to enter the advertising industry.” Um, is that a confession of biased and discriminatory hiring practices? The contrived tactic is screwy on a number of fronts. First, it ignores the bigger problem regarding a lack of mid- and senior-level minority talent, who will presumably continue to face rejection in epic style. The mystery arrangement also ignores the issues of cultural differences; that is, minority newbies may be inserted into an exclusive environment that isn’t equipped or qualified to welcome them. In the end, JWT doesn’t need a “blind” program. Rather, the White agency needs a curriculum to reform the deaf and dumb discriminators. Oh, and all successful job applicants will win a blind date with Gustavo Martinez.

JWT London to use ‘blind recruitment’ for entry-level hires

J Walter Thompson London has pledged to use a “blind recruitment” approach in its next round of hiring at entry level as the WPP agency seeks to improve its diversity.

By Omar Oakes

The recruitment scheme, called JWT Pioneers, has up until now sought graduates, but the agency is now seeking applicants from a wider range of backgrounds.

Applicants will be still be asked to submit a CV, but the agency said this will no longer be looked at until the candidates are whittled down to a much later stage. Instead, applicants will now be asked to answer six questions which will be used to assess them for interview selection. JWT said submitting a CV limits diversity of opportunity to enter the advertising industry.

JWT has also widened the scope of roles being offered. As well as traditional roles in account management, planning and creative production, the agency is also looking for applicants with any background who could specialise in shopper marketing, CRM or insight and analytics.

Tamara Ingram, the global chief executive of JWT, said diversity and inclusion would be top of her agenda when she took the job in March. Ingram replaced Gustavo Martinez, who had resigned following accusations of sexism and racism made in a discrimination lawsuit.

The WPP shop will take applications until 12 September, interview candidates in mid-October, and look to have new starters beginning work in January 2017.

Kate Bruges, co-director of talent at JWT London, said: “We know that talent comes in a huge variety of forms and from different backgrounds and generations. You might be a recent graduate, a school leaver or, alternatively, you might have been working for a few years and realise you yearn to do something more creative.

“We really don’t mind what your background is and whether your interest is in analytics, PR or film — what matters to us is that you are curious, courageous, capable and collaborative.”

13264: Political Pundits & Pinheads.

Campaign reported DDB Worldwide Chief Creative Officer Amir Kassaei implored Muslims to wage a “holy war” on terrorism via Twitter. Gee, can’t this warmonger limit his wrath towards conspiring judges at Cannes? But seriously, Kassaei crossed a professional line that wouldn’t be tolerated in legitimate business fields. His comments create an arguably hostile workplace for Muslim DDB staffers; plus, the call to arms could fuel the ignorance of other small-minded employees seeking murderous revenge. Then again, Omnicom sister agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners freely forces its anti-Trump political views on staffers and the public—despite the fact that Jeff Goodby has been a registered Republican. Of course, when bleeding heart activists like Kassaei and Goodby are asked to fight for diversity, you’ll barely hear a tweet.

Amir Kassaei calls for Muslims to wage ‘holy war’ against terrorists

Following the attack in France, DDB Worldwide chief creative officer makes a personal, angry plea on Facebook

By Douglas Quenqua

Amir Kassaei, chief creative officer of DDB Worldwide, took to Facebook this morning, hours after a truck loaded with weapons killed at least 83 people in Nice, France, to call upon Muslims to wage war against radical Islam.

After declaring his own atheism, Kassaei says the time has come for Muslims to rise up against the “animals” who commit murder in the name of their god. If that means war, he says, then it would be the only war worthy of the title “holy.”

As a litany of shootings and terrorist attacks have played out around the globe in recent weeks, a number of agencies and brands have performed small acts of protest or advocacy. Last week, Both Wieden+Kennedy and Hill Holliday turned their Web sites into statements of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Earlier this week, Coca-Cola ran an ad in USA Today and on digital billboards that said, “We live as many. We stand as one.” And following the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando in June, several agencies quietly began working on anti-gun campaigns that have yet to debut.

But Kassaei, who has a reputation for being outspoken, is among the few individuals from the industry to make his voice heard. Though he posted the statement to his personal Facebook page, rather than the one he maintains for business, Kassaei, who was born in Iran and raised in Germany, quickly shared it with his 18,000 Twitter followers.

DDB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

13263: Keeping Up With The Joneses.

Did Allstate replace Dennis Haysbert with Leslie Jones? The smarter move would have been to let her complement Haysbert—and replace the mediocre and moronic Mayhem.

13262: GS&P&Exclusivity.

AgencySpy published a post with the headline: “GS&P Adds a Dozen New Members to Its Creative Department.” The photograph featuring the new employees inspires asking Jeff Goodby, “Where are all the Black people?”

Monday, July 18, 2016

13261: Campaign’s Banner Bullshit.

Campaign created a banner ad displaying diverted diversity at its best. That is, the trade publication is offering assistance to “the brave and the bold” job seekers—bold marketers, creative disruptors, digital thinkers, advertising mavericks and ad tech innovators—symbolized by a White woman.