Wednesday, July 27, 2016

13273: White Women On Top.

Adweek reported Rauxa, the industry’s largest independent woman-owned agency, hired its first Chief Creative Officer—who just happens to be a White woman. Is it double diverted diversity if White women perpetuate the promotion of White women? The 3% Conference must be experiencing multiple orgasms over the news. A peek at Rauxa’s people, however, shows the place looks like a typical White advertising agency.

Rauxa, the Industry’s Largest Woman-Owned Agency, Names First Chief Creative Officer

Kate Daggett will take on the new role

By Patrick Coffee

Rauxa, a California-based full-service marketing agency, announced the hiring of Kate Daggett as its first chief creative officer on the same day it certified its status as the the largest independent agency currently owned by a woman.

Daggett brings more than 15 years of agency experience to the new role, which will see her leading Rauxa’s creative teams across the country while working out of its New York office.

Before joining Rauxa, she served as executive creative director at Tenthwave Digital, a New York-based agency that was acquired by Wire Stone earlier this year. During her three-year tenure at Tenthwave, Daggett helped build the agency’s creative department, led several successful pitches and played a key role in facilitating the acquisition. Previous roles include vp, group creative director at Digitas, where she ran the American Express account, along with creative director positions at TBWA\Chiat\Day New York and Agency.com.

“We may be an unknown agency now, but won’t be for long,” Daggett told Adweek about her new employer. “When I was considering joining Rauxa I did my research and actually spoke with agency folks who’d worked with them on shared business. I even called one of their past clients. The feedback I got was consistent. People said that they are an impressive agency, filled with smart people, which was a wonderful confirmation that Rauxa is an agency ready to compete on a bigger level.”

“We are huge fans of Kate’s work, leadership, innovative spirit and integrity,” said Rauxa chief strategy officer Ian Baer. “We’re excited about evolving our creative offering and thrilled that Kate is calling Rauxa home.”

Direct Mail veteran Jill Gwaltney founded the agency in Costa Mesa, Calif., in 1999. Since then, the shop has expanded to include six offices and 230 employees across the United States. Its current client list includes Gap, Alaska Airlines, Allergan, Blue Shield of California and Verizon, which consolidated direct marketing duties for the FiOS portion of its business with Rauxa earlier this year. The agency has been largely defined by its data-driven approach to creative work.

Today Rauxa also used data drawn from Ad Age’s 2016 Agency Report to tout its status as the industry’s largest independent agency owned by a woman.

“Being independent means that we report to no one but our clients, allowing us to devise and deliver the very best solutions for them,” said agency CEO Gina Alshuler in a statement. The executive, who took over for Gwaltney last year after working in accounts, added, “Being woman-owned and woman-led instills the team with a powerful combination of empathy and grit that has built enduring relationships with clients, partners and colleagues.”

Daggett added, “As a female creative, it’s hard not to love the fact that Rauxa is predominantly female-led. But beyond that, I saw an independent spirit and a deeply-routed tenacity in Rauxa that was exciting. We’re going to make to make exceptional, award-winning work that will undoubtedly drive our clients’ business amidst a rapidly evolving world—and we’re going to have a lot of fun while doing it.”

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

13272: DUDE, Please.

Not too sure about this Communities for Development video from DUDE in Italy. The philanthropic initiative undoubtedly has good intentions. Yet the depicted Ugandans come off as primitive versus progressive. The comparisons to Silicon Valley have added clumsiness, as the technology community has admitted to a digital dearth of diversity in its ranks. Oh, and DUDE—demonstrated by the people page on its website—looks far more like Silicon Valley than Bulambuli Valley.

Monday, July 25, 2016

13271: Black Opinions Matter…?

PRWeek asked experts to critique Black Lives Matter from a communications perspective. However, it was a segregated group of professional judges, mostly from minority advertising and marketing enterprises. Why weren’t any White experts tapped for an opinion? Also, are multicultural marketing executives really in any position to rate the grassroots movement when their own discipline is sorely lacking promotional effectiveness and focus? Adpeople of color, heal thyself.

Experts: Black Lives Matter’s decentralized structure is holding it back

By Chris Daniels

Communications pros praised the grassroots organization’s passion and use of social media, but said its lack of centralization is hindering its response to critics and the mainstream press.

Just over a week after the killing of five police officers during a rally in Dallas, experts say Black Lives Matter is at a critical point in its history.

Four years after its founding, the grassroots movement remains polarizing. Politicians, celebrities, and other newsmakers have passionately weighed in both in support of and against the group — or at least its rallying cry — and it has also generated sometimes sensational headlines in the media.

Founded as a hashtag by three citizens following the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old African-American Trayvon Martin, Black Lives Matter is very much a grassroots organization. Shanelle Matthews, the San Francisco-based director of communications for Black Lives Matter, was unavailable for comment before press time, but earlier this year she told PRWeek that its more than 30 chapters work mostly autonomously with the goal of rebuilding “the black liberation movement and [to] affirm the lives of all black people.”

In particular, the organization has focused on advocating for “those marginalized within black liberation movements.”

But has it been successful?

A just-released poll from the Pew Research Center, conducted from February 29 to May 8, shows diverging attitudes, awareness, and understanding of Black Lives Matter. Roughly four-in-10 Americans back the movement, with support highest among blacks (65%, versus 40% for whites), Democrats (64%, against 20% for Republicans), and adults younger than 30 (at about six-in-10).

More than a third (36%) of people familiar with Black Lives Matter say they don’t understand the organization’s goals. Another 30% had either not heard of it or nor did they have an opinion.

Has Black Lives Matter lost control of the message?

On social media, critics of the group have responded with the hashtag “#AllLivesMatter,” believing the term “Black Lives Matter” devalues other races. Meanwhile, some newsmakers, from presidential candidate Donald Trump to conservative radio host Glenn Beck, have argued that the name of the movement is divisive.

Others believe the movement will fail to gather support resulting in serious reform.

However, the communications experts interviewed by PRWeek reject that assertion, saying any challenge the organization has in gaining widespread public support stems from other issues, including its decentralized structure. They also say mainstream media coverage has been biased against it, sensational, or knee-jerk.

Kim Hunter, president and CEO of Lagrant Communications, says Black Lives Matter is well intended, noting “that as an African-American male, believe me, I understand the rationale for the creation of the organization. I have been harassed and pulled over by police without reason, and I have no illusion that it was because of the color of my skin.”

However, he says the group’s honorable intentions have not been well-communicated to the general public. As a result, there is confusion, disruption, and misrepresentation of what Black Lives Matter actually stands for among newsmakers and the media, he contends.

“I think the fact that it is a grassroots organization is a good thing, but they can be more systematic, procedural, and defined in their approach,” says Hunter. “Many of their spokespeople are inconsistent with their messaging. If they are truly going to have an impact, they need to be better formalized in what they want to achieve.”

He adds that the organization should align with allies and credible spokespeople who could help it gain better leverage in the media and help with clarity of message.

“They need sophisticated groups and individual stakeholders who are passionate about what Black Lives Matter wants to achieve and who are part of the organization,” he explains. “But I don’t know a single person who is a part of it right now.”

Fay Ferguson, co-CEO of trans-cultural communications firm Burrell, agrees that for Black Lives Matter to advance its goals for reform, it should build one unified organization to oversee messaging. She calls centralization crucial, given the dissenting views.

“I understand the need for local chapters, so that people can get into the streets because that’s where things happen. But I think they also need a unified structure around the organization to help control content and messaging, because anyone can put their spin on it right now,” notes Ferguson.

She notes that it should step up sit-down meetings with police departments nationwide. “That to me is the missing piece,” Ferguson says. “They need to take the movement from protesting to conversation and making real change.”

Still, she applauds the “excellent job” Black Lives Matter has done to bring the issue of injustice against black Americans to the forefront, which is what it set out to do.

“They have been very good at activating youth of all cultures and backgrounds, which I think is important because this isn’t a black problem; it really is an American problem,” says Ferguson. “They’ve also been really good at using social media; their Twitter handle is always active with posts and responses.”

Media bias

Neil Foote, president of the National Black Public Relations Society, says the biggest challenge the movement faces is biased and sensational media coverage. News articles often connect the Black Lives Matter movement to people who have used violence, even if there is no affiliation.

“There have been some negative things that have been assigned to the Black Lives Matter brand, which they will just have to overcome,” says Foote, who also owns the firm Foote Communications. “They have to keep communicating that they are a non-violent group and that they are working for change. The next thing for them will be to communicate what those specific changes should be.”

While the NBPRS does not have a formal relationship with Black Lives Matter, it has discussed various issues with chapters around the country. The organization also plans to address how African-Americans are portrayed in the media at its national conference in Chicago at the end of October.

“Clearly, the bigger issue that Black Lives Matter gets at is how African-Americans are portrayed in the media, which is to say in a negative and perpetuating way,” says Foote.

Zandra Zuno Baermann, executive director and multicultural marketing practice lead at Golin, agrees that the mainstream media has done Black Lives Matter no favors. She argues that, generally speaking, the press does a poor job addressing issues facing people of color.

“This is a reflection, to a certain point, on the lack of diversity that exists in newsrooms and the limited understanding of not only the issues, but also the context and historical background,” says Zuno Baermann. “What we see covered in mainstream media are moments-in-time versus the overall Black Lives Matter movement. The coverage is still very much on the surface with a tendency for media to shift coverage to what is breaking news, versus really taking that deeper dive.”

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?