Saturday, December 20, 2014

12325: Amy Pascal Lacks Integrity.

The New York Times reported Sony Chair Amy Pascal attended the obligatory powwow with Rev. Al Sharpton to discuss her culturally clueless emails recently exposed to the public. Still wondering why this woman hasn’t been terminated. But it looks like Sony is running a PR scheme to back her, garnering supportive commentary from Oprah, Tyler Perry and even Chris Rock (the support from Rock, incidentally, is suspect, as Scott Rudin—Pascal’s email pal—produced Rock’s latest movie).

So why should Pascal be fired without further examination of her alleged “non-racist” persona? In her initial apology, Pascal insisted, “The content of my emails to Scott were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am.” Sorry, but the woman is delusional if she believes her own bullshit. It’s all a matter of integrity. The dictionary defines integrity as “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” Chairman and CEO of Automatic Data Processing, Inc. Josh Weston said, “I’ve always tried to live with the following simple rule: ‘Don’t do what you wouldn’t feel comfortable reading about in the newspapers the next day.’” It’s a safe bet Pascal is not comfortable reading about her ignorance in the newspapers and World Wide Web. So she should quit arguing that the conversation with Rudin was “not an accurate reflection of who I am.” Her position lacks moral character and honesty.

Most disturbing is Pascal’s disrespect for President Barack Obama. Are Hollywood power players so egotistical that they have no reservations pooh-poohing meetings with the Commander-In-Chief—and doing so with racist remarks? Unfortunately, Pascal is a racist. Or maybe saying she displayed “unconscious bias” would be a more contemporary way to describe the situation. Regardless, the woman should not be representing a major studio, especially given the discrimination and racism still so prevalent in the industry.

If Pascal had an ounce of integrity, she would resign. Hey, Madison Avenue is always looking for female leaders—and Pascal would fit right in.

Sony’s Movie Chief Meets With Black Leaders

By Brooks Barnes

LOS ANGELES — Black leaders, angered by racially insensitive emails sent by Amy Pascal, the movie chief at Sony Pictures Entertainment, emerged from a meeting with her on Thursday saying they had reached an understanding about how to move forward.

Ms. Pascal, who is also co-chairwoman of Sony Pictures, met at a Manhattan hotel with the Rev. Al Sharpton and the president of the National Urban League, Marc H. Morial, after the disclosure last week by hackers of unseemly racial banter in private emails. The email exchange in question, between Ms. Pascal and the producer Scott Rudin, turned on President Obama’s supposed taste for black-themed films.

“I left feeling that Amy is someone we can work with,” Mr. Morial, a former mayor of New Orleans, said in a telephone interview. “It’s important that we look forward. Amy again expressed her deep regret and committed Sony’s help in pushing for far greater diversity in movies and television.”

Asked whether Ms. Pascal had his support in keeping her job, Mr. Morial said: “One executive losing a job does not change the larger picture. The larger picture is our focus.”

Mr. Sharpton, who had harshly criticized Ms. Pascal after the online publication of her email exchange with Mr. Rudin, which he called “offensive, insulting,” wrote on Twitter that Thursday’s 90-minute meeting was a “very pointed and blunt exchange.” He added in comments with the news media that Ms. Pascal and other Sony leaders had agreed to meet again soon with civil rights leaders.

Mr. Sharpton called the email exchange between Ms. Pascal and Mr. Rudin, who was not involved in Thursday’s meeting, the byproduct of “an exclusionary, almost all-white hierarchy” in Hollywood. He added that, for him, “The jury is still out on where we go with Amy.”

Ms. Pascal declined to comment.

Ms. Pascal’s defenders, while not condoning the email exchange, point out that Sony has one of Hollywood’s better track records in making films with predominantly black casts. On Friday the studio will release a remake of “Annie” with Quavenzhané Wallis in the lead role. In 2014 Sony has also released “Think Like a Man Too,” “No Good Deed” and “About Last Night.”

The email exchange has polarized Hollywood’s black community.

Some people, like Oprah Winfrey, have voiced support. “I would hope that we would not stand in judgment, in such harsh judgment, of a moment in time where somebody was hacked and their private conversations were put before the world,” Ms. Winfrey told reporters this week. Tyler Perry similarly told CNN that he “absolutely” did not believe that Ms. Pascal was racist.

“When I read their comments, I see the humor, even if some people would find it unacceptable,” John Singleton, the director of “Boyz N the Hood,” wrote in The Hollywood Reporter.

But other black actors, writers and producers saw the comments as intolerable, with the television heavyweight Shonda Rhimes as perhaps the most outspoken. “Calling Sony comments ‘racially insensitive remarks’ instead of ‘racist?'” Ms. Rhimes wrote on Twitter. “U can put a cherry” on excrement “but it don’t make it a sundae.”

While silent publicly, other black actors, including Will Smith and Jamie Foxx, have privately phoned Ms. Pascal to express their support, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. Mr. Smith’s company, Overbrook Entertainment, has long been based at Sony. Mr. Foxx stars in “Annie.”

Friday, December 19, 2014

12324: Egyptian Tent Poles.

Would a female creative director have been permitted to produce this crude campaign for Viagra in Egypt? Hell, do female creative directors even exist in Egypt? Somebody get Kat Gordon on the case pronto.

From Ads of the World.

12323: C’MON WHITE MAN! Episode 40.

(MultiCultClassics credits ESPN’s C’MON MAN! for sparking this semi-regular blog series.)

AgencySpy published a post titled, “Translation Wins The NBA,” drawing comments that included displaying the whiny LinkedIn announcement from the sore losers at Goodby Silverstein & Partners depicted above. The White advertising agency apparently revised the announcement, retracting the whininess (depicted below).

The LinkedIn revision underscores at least two points:

1. Traditional ad agencies are digitally ignorant.

2. Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein are culturally clueless jackasses.

The first point was demonstrated in this case by GS&P posting a shitty message and thinking a quick change would make their ignorance disappear. Sorry, boys, but the World Wide Web has a way of exposing your true colors for eternity. Getting busted by AgencySpy regulars merely makes your stupidity even more embarrassing.

The second point has been demonstrated repeatedly by Messrs. Goodby and Silverstein over the years. Yet this latest instance is particularly pathetic.

What exactly was the intent behind originally stating that “Advertising is a weird business” in the LinkedIn announcement?

Was Goodby expressing deep-rooted annoyance that NBA CMO Pam El hadn’t heeded his self-centered sage advice on conducting account reviews? Heaven forbid Goodby might consider that his White Manifesto could have turned off El.

Was Goodby crying foul over Steve Stoute beating him at his own game by capitalizing on a relationship to help secure business? As MultiCultClassics previously noted, GS&P has consistently exploited relationships to snag accounts. When Chevrolet unceremoniously ejected the White advertising agency from Commonwealth, did Goodby post a snarky announcement targeting McCann? Doubt it.

Worse yet, does Goodby believe an inferior opponent beat him? Or there were some egregious flaws in the review process? If so, it clearly indicates how far Goodby has fallen—on professional, personal, spiritual and other levels.

At this point, Goodby should be quite accustomed to ass whuppings from seemingly lesser foes. GS&P was disconnected on Sprint by Team Sprint, quashed on Quaker Oats by Juniper Park, zapped on Propel Zero by Fathom Communications and chopped on Chevrolet by McCann. Being benched by the NBA in favor of Translation is just a continuation of the new normal for White advertising agencies such as GS&P. Better do something about it—or get used to it.

Most disturbing is the fact that Goodby has officially feigned concern for diversity—especially the dilemma of Black underrepresentation—in the industry. However, he appears oblivious to the profound progress exhibited by his latest defeat. Specifically, a Black-owned ad agency was not only allowed to compete against White shops for general market billings, but it actually won the business. Can Goodby see beyond his narcissism to realize his loss is a gain for adland?


Thursday, December 18, 2014

12322: Directing The Dearth Of Diversity.

Campaign selected the Top 10 Directors, a predominately White, completely male collection of filmmakers. This focuses a camera lens on the exclusive status quo in the UK advertising industry.

12321: Panning Golden Corral Pitch.

Adweek reported on the shootout results for what is arguably the most sought-after account ever: Golden Corral. Why, what White advertising agency wouldn’t kill for the chance to continue the breakthrough creative excellence the restaurant has established over the years? The competition featured White ad agencies Merkley + Partners, Mullen and ultimate victor VIA, undoubtedly staging a buffet battle worthy of spotlighting on AMC series The Pitch. VIA appears to be the stereotypical predominately White shop with experience producing painfully mediocre restaurant campaigns—a perfect match to serve and take orders from Golden Corral.

Golden Corral Finds Its Lead Agency in Maine

The VIA Agency prevails in 3-horse race

By Andrew McMains

Golden Corral has completed its search.

The VIA Agency is the new lead creative agency for the casual dining chain, according to sources. The independent shop in Portland, Maine, prevailed in a pitch against two other finalists: Merkley + Partners in New York and Mullen in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Golden Corral, which has more than 500 restaurants in 40 states, spent about $55 million in media last year, according to Kantar Media.

Recently, the casual dining chain has used freelancers and produced ads in house. So the hiring of a lead agency represents a shift in strategy as the brand looks to rebound from softness in sales.

Golden Corral could not immediately be reached, but sources said the contenders had been told of the decision.

VIA’s previous restaurant clients include Friendly’s and Romano’s Macaroni Grill.

The selection comes amid a flurry of fast-casual reviews, including creative searches for Panera Bread and Buffalo Wild Wings and a media search for Bloomin’ Brands, whose mainstay is Outback Steakhouse. Panera and Buffalo Wild Wings hired Anomaly and TBWA\Chiat\Day, respectively; the Bloomin’ search continues but is expected to be completed soon.

12320: Johnnie Walker Runs Away.

Adweek reported Johnnie Walker walked away from a 15-year relationship with Bartle Bogle Hegarty and settled on Anomaly as its new White advertising agency. Then again, Anomaly insists it’s not an advertising agency. Okay, but the place is predominately White. Plus, the stuff produced by the firm looks, feels, tastes, sounds and smells like the same old shit that spews from the butthole of a typical ad agency—and in Anomaly’s case, a mediocre one to boot. For the non-ad agency to win a shootout involving BBH, BBDO, Ogilvy and Wieden + Kennedy hardly indicates that Anomaly rocks; rather, the scenario underscores how the industry has become a landfill of generic shops where big ideas are routinely trumped by cronyism and Corporate Cultural Collusion. Hey, Anomaly resembles a White advertising agency more and more every day.

After 15 Years With BBH, Johnnie Walker Picks a New Agency

Anomaly wins Diageo’s global marquee brand

By Noreen O’Leary

Diageo has awarded Johnnie Walker, its global marquee creative account, to Anomaly after a pitch that included 15-year incumbent Bartle Bogle Hegarty as well as BBDO, Ogilvy & Mather and Wieden + Kennedy.

Agencies met this week with the client in Amsterdam for final meetings on the Scotch brand, which spent $40 million in measured media in 2013.

The review initially came as a surprise to some industry observers who saw BBH’s “Keep Walking” strategy as one of the best in spirits marketing. When the campaign broke in 2000, brand sales represented 13 percent of the global market; at the end of 2013, that figure exceeded 20 percent, according to IWSR.

The decision follows the launch of Johnnie Walker’s new BBH spot, “The Next Step,” using a year-end scenario that looks forward, rather than back, with a man walking through a dreamlike vision of 2015.

Nonetheless, the brand decided it was time to move on and determined the best way forward was with Anomaly.

“We were hugely impressed by the far-reaching creative vision which Anomaly proposed for our brand and with the strategic thinking that lies behind its development,” Guy Escolme, Johnnie Walker global brand director said in a statement.

12319: Hall Of Fame Head-Scratchers.

The AAF presented a press release announcing the 66th Annual Advertising Hall of Fame inductees, which included a few head-scratchers.

Does Spike Lee really deserve induction? While he’s an accomplished filmmaker, has he truly made breakthroughs in the advertising industry? Then again, Lee is certainly as—and perhaps more—deserving for recognition than Crispin Porter + Bogusky Chairman Chuck Porter.

Radio One Founder and Chairperson Catherine L. Hughes will become the first Black woman in the Hall of Fame. Congratulations to Hughes, but why isn’t Caroline Jones in the exclusive club too?

Wonder how the Hall of Fame clan feels about having inducted Bill Cosby in 2010.

PepsiCo, Seven Legendary Individual Inductees Headline the 66th Annual Advertising Hall of Fame®

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The 66th Advertising Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies & Gala Dinner will be held the evening of Monday, April 20, 2015, in the Grand Ballroom of New York’s historic Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

Elected by the Advertising Hall of Fame’s distinguished Council of Judges, here are this year’s “magnificent seven” to be inducted into the Hall of Fame:

John B. Adams, Jr. , Chairman, The Martin Agency

Lee Clow, Chairman, TBWA\Media Arts Lab; Director of Media Arts, TBWA\Worldwide

Catherine L. Hughes, Founder and Chairperson, Radio One, Inc.

Spike Lee, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Spike DDB and 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks

Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO, iHeartMedia, Inc.

Charles Porter, Chairman, Crispin Porter + Bogusky

Linda Kaplan Thaler, Chairman, Publicis Kaplan Thaler

John B. Adams, Jr. will also be presented with the distinguished David Bell Award for Industry Service, now in its second year, to recognize extraordinary and unique contributions and service to the advertising community and industry as a whole. It is named in honor of David Bell (Hall of Fame Class of 2007), a visionary leader and mentor to several generations of advertising professionals.

The Council of Judges made history this year by electing the Hall’s first ever African-American woman, Catherine L. Hughes.

This year’s corporate inductee is PepsiCo, one of the world’s most iconic companies, with beverage and food brands that are loved and enjoyed household names across the Globe. Among many things, PepsiCo pioneered the bridges between entertainment, music, pop culture, and advertising—and in doing so revolutionized the way we all see advertising today. It is one of only six companies ever inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame.

“Long being one of the world’s most storied brands, with a rich history woven into our cultural landscape, Pepsi has at the same time always stayed current—setting the trends and catching the spirit of each new generation with the cool and the new—and in doing so ushering in each new generation as a Pepsi Generation. It is a brand that isn’t just a part of the culture, it is that rare brand that has been a powerful and innovative force in making the culture,” said James Edmund Datri, President & CEO of the American Advertising Federation, which administers the Advertising Hall of Fame.

“Our Hall of Fame Council of Judges, composed of leaders of advertising and media, advertisers and distinguished Hall of Fame members, was deeply committed to choosing men and women of legendary stature and achievement,” said James R. Heekin III, Chairman and CEO of Grey Group and Chairman of the Advertising Hall of Fame. “This extraordinary Class of 2015 will inspire new generations to come and deserves to be celebrated as only the AAF can.”

Richard Porter, President, Media Sales, Meredith Corporation, and Vice Chairman of the Advertising Hall of Fame added, “This year’s Hall of Fame reflects not only the best and brightest in our industry, but also is a mirror on the tremendous value of having a diverse range of talented individuals with unique backgrounds and experiences who can build and lead the next generation of the advertising and media community. And our corporate honoree, Pepsi, has an incredible portfolio of outstanding work over the years as well.”

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

12318: Discovering Team Epiphany.

Adweek spotlighted Team Epiphany, self-described as “a brand solutions agency” with offices in New York and Portland. This place may be the most diverse enterprise in the industry.

This Agency Started Doing Influencer Marketing Before It Was Cool

All about a blend of social and experiential tactics

By Lauren Johnson


Who Managing partners (l. to r.) Sky Gellatly, Lisa Chu, Coltrane Curtis

What Brand solutions agency

Where New York

Since 2004, Team Epiphany has mixed experiential, social, influencer and public relations services for clients including Heineken, Cadillac and Incase. With offices in New York and Portland, Ore., Team Epiphany boasts a 70-person staff that excels in blurring tactics. To promote Cadillac’s ELR coupe during the 2014 New York Auto Show, the agency picked four popular Instagramers, gave them a car for two weeks and sent them on the road to document their travels. The photos were displayed in a gallery at the auto expo, which actually led to two car sales. That approach to off- and online marketing appears to be paying off—Team Epiphany’s revenue is up 30 percent year over year and is expected to reach $15 million for 2014. “It’s really great to activate on the ground but know that we’re creating assets that we can then amplify socially and digitally,” said managing partner Coltrane Curtis.

12317: Naomi Provocateur.

12316: Offend The Right Audience.

This Cablevision campaign from Brazil stereotypes gays and grannies. Bikers will probably be offended too.

From Ads of the World.

12315: Johnsonville Picks White Agency.

Adweek reported Johnsonville Sausage creative duties have been handed to White advertising agency Droga5 following a review. The sausage tug included White ad agencies Fallon, Crispin Porter + Bogusky and incumbent Cramer-Krasselt. As previously mentioned, C-K deserved to lose the business based on its thoroughly unappetizing “Bratsgiving” campaign. On the other hand, Droga5 has yet to produce any decent advertising for a food client. Want proof? Check out the culturally clueless crap created for Athenos products. Brats Appétit!

Droga5 Wins Hotly Contested Sausage Pitch

Add Johnsonville to the brands the agency amassed this year

By Andrew McMains

Droga5, Adweek’s U.S. Agency of the Year, has added sausage to its fire.

Johnsonville sausage has selected the New York shop to handle its creative business after a review, according to sources. Annual media spending is around $30 million.

Sources previously identified the other finalists as Fallon, Crispin Porter + Bogusky and the incumbent, Cramer-Krasselt. Avidan Strategies helped manage the process.

Droga5 could not be reached, and Johnsonville, which is based in Sheboygan Falls, Wisc., had no immediate comment. But sources said the contenders were told of the decision.

C-K’s Milwaukee office had handled the account since 2008.

The search did not include media planning and buying, which remains at Compass Point Media, the media unit of Interpublic Group’s Mithun.

Droga5’s latest win follows a string this year that included Air Wick, Clearasil, Quilted Northern, Dixie, Jockey, Dun & Bradstreet and Mirai, a new fuel-cell vehicle from Toyota. Along the way, the agency’s revenue grew 44 percent to an estimated $78 million.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

12314: Bayer’s Consolidation Headache.

Advertising Age reported Bayer consolidated global creative duties for a bunch of brands tied to its recent acquisition of Merck’s consumer healthcare business. The White advertising agencies benefiting from the consolidation are BBDO and JWT, while Havas Worldwide and Publicis Kaplan Thaler are big losers. Havas had covered most of the Merck brands involved—including Clariten, Coppertone and Dr. Scholls—for over 30 years.

A Havas spokeswoman emailed, “We are incredibly proud to have been a valued creative and strategic partner of these brands for more than 30 years. … For Dr. Scholls, we launched the most successful campaign with Gellin’, which doubled the business and ran for eight years, becoming part of the vernacular. We have had the Coppertone business for over 25 years and secured its market leadership despite numerous competitive launches. We helped make Afrin the No.1 nasal decongestant in North America.”

The Havas statement underscores at least four points. Let’s start by discussing the first three:

1. Being in the wrong holding company can adversely affect your success.

2. Merck and creative should never appear in the same sentence.

3. Producing effective-yet-mediocre work puts ad agencies at risk.

WPP and Omnicom, via their sheer size and political influence, are masters at crushing opponents in these increasingly common consolidation scenarios—which are essentially cost-cutting efficiency schemes designed by accounting wonks. Why, WPP is even ready to fabricate enterprises from scratch to appease clients and avoid conflicts (and the holding company did just that to deal with potential conflicts between Coppertone, Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic), while Omnicom offers an endless stable of generic White ad agencies that brands can be shuttled between forever.

The Merck brands highlighted by the Havas spokeswoman were promoted with lousy advertising over the years. Sorry, but Dr. Scholls’ “Gellin’” never became “part of the vernacular,” except maybe in the hallways of Havas and Merck. And the Clariten campaign? Clear crap. Merck is obviously not interested in—and probably incapable of approving—breakthrough creative ideas.

The Havas spokeswoman’s bragging about results allegedly enjoyed by the brands is pretty sad. The sales figures may build a case for the shitty work, but in the end, even the client isn’t buying the success, as they went ahead and reassigned the billings. Ad agencies that settle for mediocrity are always at risk to lose business.

As for the fourth point, here it is:

4. Minority ad agencies are so disrespected and inconsequential, they don’t receive mention in the proceedings, quietly scrambling for crumbs in the background—despite Bayer’s faux commitment to diversity and internationality.

Bayer Consolidates Global Creative for Merck Brands with BBDO, JWT

BBDO Gains Biggest Spenders—Claritin and Dr. Scholls—But Gives Up Phillips

By Jack Neff

Bayer has consolidated global creative assignments for brands involved in its October acquisition of Merck’s consumer healthcare business with Omnicom’s BBDO and WPP’s JWT. It has also moved the Phillips brand to JWT, the company confirmed.

BBDO picked up the biggest-spending brands including Claritin, Afrin and Dr. Scholls in the Americas. The three brands had a combined $164 million in U.S. media support last year and $135 million through the first nine months of this year according to Kantar Media. The assignments are global, except for Dr. Scholls, which only covers the Americas, because the brand is marketed elsewhere by RB.

JWT picked up the Coppertone and Miralax brands formerly owned by Merck along with the Phillips brand. Phillips was already was with Bayer, but formerly handled by BBDO as Bayer consolidated accounts along category lines. Combined, the brands picked up by JWT spent $50 million in measured media in 2013 and another $50 million through the first nine months of 2014, according to Kantar. Phillips was the biggest spender of the group, with $26 million in measured media outlays last year and $20 million so far this year.

Havas Worldwide handled most of the brands under Merck, including Claritin, Coppertone and Dr. Scholls. Publicis Kaplan Thaler handled Miralax. Spokespeople for Publicis couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

A Havas spokeswoman said in an e-mail statement: “We are incredibly proud to have been a valued creative and strategic partner of these brands for more than 30 years.”

She noted that Havas helped Claritin become a top allergy brand. “For Dr. Scholls, we launched the most successful campaign with Gellin’, which doubled the business and ran for eight years, becoming part of the vernacular,” she said. “We have had the Coppertone business for over 25 years and secured its market leadership despite numerous competitive launches. We helped make Afrin the No.1 nasal decongestant in North America.

“Having played such a large part in developing these brands, naturally we are disappointed that we will not be working on them going forward. We wish Bayer and their roster agencies all the luck in the future.”

BBDO referred calls for comment to Bayer. JWT couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Bayer already had shifted media from Interpublic’s Initiative to WPP’s Mediacom in October, shortly after completing its $14.2 billion acquisition of the Merck brands.

Monday, December 15, 2014

12313: Networking With República.

From Adweek…

Without a Pitch, República Wins Creative Work on Telemundo and NBC Universo

NBCU gives its theme-park agency a crack at networks

By Andrew McMains

In a sign of the vastness of NBCUniversal’s empire, República has added creative responsibilities on the company’s Telemundo network and NBC Universo, five years after the shop landed Hispanic marketing efforts on the corporation’s Universal Orlando Resort.

Media spending behind the new assignments is estimated at $15 million.

The Miami-based República landed the new business without a pitch, which, of course, is the sign of a happy client.

In a statement, Joe Uva, chairman of NBCU’s Hispanic enterprises and content unit, said República would “play an integral part in strengthening and expanding NBCU’s connection with the U.S. Hispanic community.”

The agency will work closely with Jacqueline Hernández, the unit’s chief marketing officer. Hernández has been in that role since May. The assignments don’t include media responsibilities, which remain at Horizon Media.

NBC Universo is the new name for mun2 and will launch Feb. 1 with a Hispanic language broadcast of the Super Bowl, the most watched program of the year.

República’s other accounts include Toyota, Google, Goya and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

12312: Soaking Up $72.9 Million.

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution…

Super Soaker creator awarded $72.9M from Hasbro

By Christopher Seward

The Atlanta-based company behind the Super Soaker water gun and Nerf toy guns has been awarded nearly $73 million in royalties from toymaker Hasbro Inc., according to the law firm King & Spalding.

Johnson Research and Development Co. and founder Lonnie Johnson have been in a royalty dispute with Hasbro since February, when the company filed a claim against the giant toy company. According to King & Spalding, which along with the A. Leigh Baier P.C. law firm represented Johnson, Hasbro underpaid royalties for the Nerf line toys from 2007 to 2012.

“In the arbitration we got everything we asked for,” said Atlanta attorney Leigh Baier. “The arbitrator ruled totally in Lonnie’s favor.” The attorney also said Johnson “is very pleased” with the outcome.

Johnson could not be reached for comment Wednesday, nor could Pawtucket, RI.-based Hasbro.

The arbitration agreement resolves a 2001 inventors dispute in which Hasbro agreed to pay Johnson royalties for products covered by his Nerf line of toys, specifically the N-Strike and Dart Tag brands, King & Spalding attorney Ben Easterlin said.

In a separate breach of contract suit filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta in February, Johnson accuses Hasbro of violating a 1996 agreement to pay him Super Soaker royalties of 2 percent for “three-dimensional products” based on the appearance of the toy and 1 percent for “two-dimensional visual representations.”

The suit says Hasbro sold water guns that were “visually similar and based upon the appearance of Super Soaker water guns that incorporate Johnson’s technology.” Johnson also wanted the court to force Hasbro to open its books to determine sales of Super Soaker products from 2006 to 20012.

Johnson, a nuclear engineer, Tuskegee University Ph.D. and former NASA scientist, founded his company in 1989. It was the same year he first licensed the Super Soaker, which generated more than $200 million in retail sales two years later, the company said. The toy was licensed to Larami Corp., which was later purchased by Hasbro.

Johnson holds more than 80 patents, with more than 20 pending, the company said, which said sales of the Super Soaker have approached nearly $1 billion.

As an Alabama high school senior, Johnson finished building a remote-controlled robot with a reel-to-reel tape player for a brain and jukebox solenoids controlling its pneumatic limbs, according to a 2008 profile in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

After graduating from Tuskegee he joined the Air Force, worked at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Sandia, worked for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab on the Galileo mission to Jupiter and the Mars Observer project, among others. He also helped design the Cassini robot probe that flew 740 million miles to Saturn.

He moved to Atlanta in 1990 before his Super Soaker invention made him wealthy. His inventions have included rechargeable battery technology and thermodynamic energy conversion technology.

12311: Talk About TalkAboutTheTalk.

TalkAboutTheTalk presents its message from The Brotherhood/Sister Sol in a powerful style, ultimately asking the question, “Do we want one America or two?” On the other hand, the video was produced by Saatchi & Saatchi in New York, a White advertising agency that exemplifies the two Americas created by an industry where exclusivity reigns and diversity is a dream deferred and denied. Granted, the Saatchi & Saatchi team included Sheldon Levy, a top-flight professional who deserves recognition and respect. Yet it’s difficult to separate the contradictions posed by these types of efforts.

12310: Culturally Clueless In Hollywood.

The New York Times reported Sony Pictures Chair Amy Pascal and film producer Scott Rudin issued the obligatory apologies for their culturally clueless email exchange first revealed by BuzzFeed. Not sure why Pascal still has a job, as her emails would be grounds for termination by most professional fields in these racially-sensitive times. On the other hand, Rudin is a notorious asshole, so no one should be surprised by his commentary. The executives’ conversation certainly underscores what Chris Rock recently said about Hollywood—a viewpoint that was further supported via the ignorance displayed by media mogul Rupert Murdoch and film director Ridley Scott.

Meanwhile, The New York Daily News reported Sony put the brakes on a press junket to promote the latest movie starring Kevin Hart, who received unflattering criticism in another email exchange between Pascal and Sony executives. If Pascal authorized halting Hart’s promo tour, she should definitely be canned. Another report from The New York Daily News claimed a source is saying Pascal will soon be fired. Pull the trigger already, Sony.

Finally, Pascal and Rudin should be banned from any upcoming awards ceremonies.

Sony Film Executives Apologize for Racially Tinged Emails About Obama

By Brooks Barnes and Michael Cieply

LOS ANGELES — Embarrassing, racially tinged emails about President Obama’s imagined movie tastes, posted online by hackers and reported by news sites, prompted public apologies on Thursday from Sony Pictures Entertainment’s movie chief and one of its top producers.

“To anybody I’ve offended, I’m profoundly and deeply sorry, and I regret and apologize for any injury they might have caused,” the film producer Scott Rudin said in a statement after the disclosure of his private email banter with Amy Pascal, Sony’s co-chairwoman, about Mr. Obama and black-themed films. “I made a series of remarks that were meant only to be funny, but in the cold light of day, they are in fact thoughtless and insensitive — and not funny at all.”

Ms. Pascal said in her own statement: “The content of my emails to Scott were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am. Although this was a private communication that was stolen, I accept full responsibility for what I wrote and apologize to everyone who was offended.”

The email exchange in question, reported by BuzzFeed, took place before Ms. Pascal attended a breakfast for Mr. Obama that was organized by Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of DreamWorks Animation.

“What should I ask the president at this stupid Jeffrey breakfast?” Ms. Pascal asked Mr. Rudin in an opening query. She then speculated that she might ask if Mr. Obama liked “Django Unchained,” about a former slave. Mr. Rudin countered with a suggestion about “12 Years a Slave,” while Ms. Pascal suggested other films involving African-Americans.

Finally, Mr. Rudin wrote: “Ride-along. I bet he likes Kevin Hart.” The email referred to a broad comedy, from Universal Pictures, that starred Mr. Hart and Ice Cube.

Mr. Rudin, who has been a producer of films like “Captain Phillips” and “The Social Network” for Sony, added in his apology, first posted on, that “private emails between friends and colleagues written in haste and without much thought or sensitivity, even when the content of them is meant to be in jest, can result in offense where none was intended.”

The emails were disclosed as part of a continuing dump of documents by hackers who attacked Sony’s computer systems, beginning in late November.

In a separate email exchange, also disclosed online, another Sony executive, Clint Culpepper, used harsh language in suggesting that the studio rebuff a salary demand from Mr. Hart, who has starred in several films for the company’s Screen Gems unit, including a coming movie, “The Wedding Ringer.”

“I’m not saying he’s a whore, but he’s a whore,” Mr. Culpepper wrote.

Representatives of the studio did not comment on Mr. Culpepper’s remarks. A spokeswoman for Mr. Hart directed a reporter seeking comment to an assertive post on his Instagram account. “I will never allow myself to be taken advantage of,” Mr. Hart wrote. “I refuse to be broken.”

Also on Thursday, the Rev. Al Sharpton, in a statement, condemned the exchange between Ms. Pascal and Mr. Rudin as “offensive, insulting” and took further aim at Ms. Pascal, saying her comments reflected a “troubling” lack of diversity at her studio and others.

People familiar with Sony’s response to the attack, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly, have said they expect to face further unauthorized disclosures in the days ahead.

12309: Semi-Praising Miami Ad School.

MultiCultClassics continues to be critical of the hackneyed instruction apparently being delivered to Miami Ad School students. So it seems only fair to display two decent campaigns created by German students for Airbnb and Brazilian students for Hellman’s Chili Sauce. However, there are no references to Hellman’s Chili Sauce on the foodmaker’s website—and if the students hatched the campaign for a fake product, the positive review is retracted.

From Ads of the World.

12308: To Sir Martin, With No Love.

Anybody else annoyed by holding company honchos as pseudo thought leaders? WPP Overlord Sir Martin Sorrell is a particular pest, posting LinkedIn perspectives and pontificating at professional powwows—yet ultimately offering zero insightful, deviceful or useful opinions. While speaking at the 42nd annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, Sorrell declared, “If anybody in this room thinks life is easy, think again.” Wow, thanks for the newsflash, Marty. Then again, life has got to be slightly easier when you’re making 780 times more loot than the average peon in your corporate empire.

At the event for UBS—emphasis on BS—Sorrell also “criticized companies for short-term thinking and focusing more on cutting costs rather than growing profits,” according to coverage from The New York Post. Um, Sorrell is a glorified financial wonk whose career actions have turned the advertising industry into an amalgamated automaton where all key decisions are scored with quarterly P&L reports and cold-blooded efficiencies in mind.

Other recent revelations resulting from Sorrell fondly gazing at his crystal balls:

• Explaining how WPP integrated digital into its institutional innards. Quick—name five digital powerhouses in the WPP collective. Okay, how about two or three…? ‘Nuff said.

• Unveiling “The 10 Trends Shaping the Global Ad Business”—no doubt ghost-written by the JWT trendy trendspotters regularly spewing tired trivia and common knowledge acquired via Google searches.

• Complaining that Cannes has become “a superficial bash that has gotten away from its roots as an agency ad competition and turned into a crass show of wealth.” After sharing his viewpoint, Marty was photographed at a Cannes soirée alongside Robin Thicke.

• Admitting WPP doesn’t recruit people very well—and Sorrell was really only talking about White people, as his holding company doesn’t recruit minorities at all.

If Sir Martin’s compensation for 2015 were tied to the quality of his thought leadership, he’d record the greatest pay cut in the history of mankind.