Sunday, September 24, 2017

13837: Enter The Dragon Truck.

Why would Dragon run this advertisement in an airline inflight magazine—or at all, for that matter?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Friday, September 22, 2017

13835: McCann’s Fart Of War.

Advertising Age reported McCann won its official protest over being eliminated from a review to retain the U.S. Army account. The reversal was preceded by a 12-month extension of the current contract between the White advertising agency and its military client. At this rate, McCann could ultimately lose the business yet still realize gazillions in revenue.

McCann Worldgroup Wins Protest Against U.S. Army

By Lindsay Stein

McCann Worldgroup was won the protest it filed this summer against the Army’s Government Accountability Office alleging that its elimination from a review for the Army’s business was “arbitrary and capricious.”

According to a GAO Bid Protest Docket, GAO Attorney Scott H. Riback “sustained”—or upheld—McCann’s protest, which means the contracting office must consider the agency group’s proposal for the business. The Army has not yet settled on a winner.

It also means the agency won’t have to follow through on plans, according to one McCann executive, to take the matter to the Court of Federal Claims if the protest had failed.

In January, the U.S. Army released a request for proposals for its advertising and marketing business. An Army representative said at the time that the mandated review “estimates the contract ceiling to not exceed $4 billion” over a period up to a decade.

McCann Worldgroup complained this summer that it had been cut even though the contracting officer had failed “to read McCann-Erickson’s entire proposal.”

Amid the protest, the U.S. Army last month extended its current contract with McCann Worldgroup for another full year. According to a government document, McCann had been “awarded a $524,100,000 modification” to its contract, with a new “estimated completion date of Sept. 28, 2018.”

The agency network, which includes Weber Shandwick and UM, has held the business since 2005 and reaps an estimated $30 to $40 million in annual revenue from the account.

McCann referred calls to the client. Representatives from the Army were not immediately available to comment about the sustained bid protest.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

13834: There’s Something About Mary.

Check out this Audi commercial from Venables Bell & Partners and this Volkswagen commercial from Deutsch. Two spots for German automakers created by White advertising agencies feature the Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song. That’s the power of exclusivity.

13833: Workout Needs Work.

Noah’s Ark Communications in Nigeria created this campaign that compels women to avoid excuses for not exercising and work out with anything on hand. Okay, but it’s odd that these women can’t find proper weights—but had no problem acquiring stylish fitness gear. Plus, the women don’t look like they suffer from a lack of conditioning.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

13832: Burrell Breaks Barriers.

Adweek reported Tom Burrell became the one Black in The One Club Creative Hall of Fame. Kudos to Burrell, but surely there are other worthy Blacks—including Georg Olden, Roy Eaton and Harry Webber—who also deserve recognition in the exclusive club.

Tom Burrell Becomes First African-American Inducted Into One Club Creative Hall of Fame

He founded Burrell Communications Group in 1971

By Erik Oster

Burrell Communications Group founder Tom Burrell, who has been breaking barriers his entire career, has added yet another one to the list.

The One Club inducted Burrell into its Creative Hall of Fame, making him the first African-American to receive the honor, which dates back to Leo Burnett’s inaugural induction in 1961. Burrell was inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame back in 2004.

A pioneer in recognizing and celebrating the purchasing power of the African-American community, Burrell coined the phrase “Black people are not dark-skinned white people.” His advertisements for Coca-Cola are archived at the Library of Congress, recognized for their cultural and historical significance.

Tom Burrell began his career in the mailroom at Wade Advertising while still at Roosevelt University. The agency’s first black employee, he soon earned himself a junior copywriting position, working on the agency’s Alka-Seltzer and Robin Hood All-Purpose Flour accounts, according to the Advertising Hall of Fame. He went on to work at several agencies, including Leo Burnett and FCB, before founding Burrell Communications Group in 1971.

He retired in 2004 and currently serves as chairman emeritus for the agency, which is now led by co-CEOs Fay Ferguson and McGhee Williams Osse and CCO Lewis Williams. Burrell Communications Group currently counts McDonald’s, P&G, Comcast, Walmart, Toyota Motor Sales Inc., AARP and Hilton among its client roster.

In addition to his work in advertising, Burrell is the author of Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority and founded nonprofit The Resolution Project to “challenge and reverse ongoing mass media stereotypes and negative race-based conditioning.”

13831: Dancing For Diversity…?

The latest Google Doodle celebrates the 100th birthday of Mexican dance pioneer Amalia Hern├índez Navarro, and presumably also salutes Hispanic Heritage Month. Would Hern├índez Navarro dance with joy to learn Latinos represent a paltry 4% of Google’s current workforce?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

13830: Targeting Racists Is Easy!

Advertising Age reported it’s possible to target advertising messages to racists. Is this news? Is anyone surprised that an industry featuring lots of people exhibiting unconscious bias—as well as conscious bias—would have any trouble connecting with like-minded bigots? However, Ad Age insisted, “But it also turns out advertisers aren’t all that interested in deliberately reaching anti-Semites.” Maybe not, but advertisers are interested in deliberately conspiring with White advertising agencies where diversity remains a dream deferred, diverted, delegated and denied.

Turns Out, Brands Can Target Ads To Racists. But Would They?

By Garett Sloane

Turns out the ability to target specific bigotries is more widespread than first thought. But it also turns out advertisers aren’t all that interested in deliberately reaching anti-Semites.

On Friday, two more media outlets uncovered the ability for advertisers to target groups of people based on racist interests, this time on Google and Twitter. Racist-inspired ad targeting had first been discovered on Facebook on Thursday by investigative journalist group ProPublica.

Internet outrage aside, most advertisers are not surprised by this darker side of ad targeting. While ugly, targeting racists isn’t as much of a risk for brands as having their ads show up on racist websites through automated media buying, which is the typical brand safety concern with online ads.

“In theory, anyone could hack ad targeting tools on Facebook, but why would you unless you’re a Trump alt-right type,” asks one digital agency exec, speaking on condition of anonymity, because of the sensitivity of the subject. “Anyone could reverse engineer what racists are interested in. Like if they were interested in, say, Breitbart or some other publication, you could then target lookalike audiences. There are all sorts of crude tools to target them.”

Another agency exec discussed how those same ad targeting tools can also be used for good. In one instance, YouTube is able to identify young people who are prone to radicalization and customize the videos they see to offer content that could help discourage their violent tendencies.

YouTube has developed ad campaigns that target these types of youth, who are deemed to be at-risk of joining groups like ISIS.

“Think about how much is uploaded to YouTube every day,” the agency exec said. “The fact that it can flag as much as it does, is amazing. And anything can be used for evil.”

On Thursday, ProPublica had found areas in Facebook’s self-serve ad system where it could find groups of people based on their education history, and in more than 2,000 examples people on the social network had listed anti-Semitic terms as their fields of study. People had listed “Jew hater,” “how to burn Jews” and other offensive language, and they were able to be discovered in the ad system, and they were made available for targeting. Facebook said it was taking steps to shut down the ability to target against such offensive terms.

BuzzFeed and The Daily Beast found similar flaws in Google and Twitter’s ad platforms. On Google, there were racist search terms available for targeting—“black people ruin everything” and “Jews control the media,” among a number of others, according to BuzzFeed. Twitter had similar categories available, according to The Daily Beast.

The targeting loopholes weren’t a big concern to most advertisers, because they say they wouldn’t use them, however the issue does expose more problems with automated online advertising. Leaving machines to do much of the work, and with artificial intelligence taking over more of the thinking, there are more opportunities for these types of embarrassing mishaps.

“The lesson here for Facebook is this: People are crass, stupid, and sometimes evil,” says a social media agency executive. “Don’t automate anything without some level of human oversight or guardrails in place. Machines aren’t perfect.”

Monday, September 18, 2017

13829: Beam Diversity Up, Scotti.

Adweek reported on the dubious progress revealed by Verizon CMO Diego Scotti, who had mimicked HP CMO Antonio Lucio’s request for White advertising agencies to primarily promote White women and secondarily consider colored people. Sure enough, the fuzzy figures exposed by Scotti showed a big boost for White women and questionable results for people of color. When asked why he didn’t force quotas on his White ad shops, Scotti explained, “We don’t really believe in quotas, we believe in progress.” Okay, but how does one measure—and ultimately judge—progress if specific numbers aren’t applied to the equation? Scotti then segued to hyping his company’s latest diversity scheme, which involves an internship program for colored college students. Wow, that’s original. When discussing diversity, Scotti admitted, “This is not an easy thing to solve, so for me I never expected to have crazy results quickly, but I learned a few things that are important.” Whatever. But everyone should learn one thing that is important: High-tech companies like Verizon and HP are diversity dinosaurs—and these companies have maxed their quotas for conspiring with White advertising agencies.

One Year After Calling on Agency Partners to Be More Diverse, Verizon CMO Shares the Results

Diego Scotti on new hires and Verizon’s Ad Fellows program, which kicks off today

By Katie Richards

One year ago, Verizon CMO Diego Scotti sent a letter to all of the brand’s agency partners. In that letter, Scotti called on each of the 11 agencies on the Verizon roster to focus on improving the number of women and people of color working for them.

Scotti’s letter came around the same time that HP and General Mills put out similar demands, laying out quotas for their agency partners to reach. Verizon didn’t ask for agencies to meet a certain quota because as Scotti explained, “we don’t really believe in quotas, we believe in progress.” Instead he asked that all of the agencies share the current state of their workforce 30 days after the letter was sent out and deliver an action plan to improve upon those numbers in the future.

“Now we meet every quarter with all the agencies together, and everybody needs to report their progress in front of everybody else, which in and of itself is changing the dynamic of how we are having this conversation,” Scotti explained. It holds everyone accountable.

Now one year after making that call to action, Scotti shared how both Verizon and its partners are doing on the diversity and gender front.

At the agencies, 31 percent of employees at the leadership level are people of color, up nine percent from last year. Eleven percent of those in leadership positions are hispanic, up 5 percent; 51 percent are female, up 3 percent.

“This is not an easy thing to solve, so for me I never expected to have crazy results quickly, but I learned a few things that are important,” Scotti said. One of those important lessons Scotti learned came from starting an in-house agency that launched in February.

There are already 70 people working on Verizon’s in-house team and the staff is split, 50 percent white and 50 percent people of color. Additionally, 52 percent of the staff is female and 48 percent is male.

“The number one lesson is when you build something from scratch and you put the filter of diversity in it, you can do it,” he said. “If you create the right environment, then you can do it.”

Looking specifically at new hires, 210 employees have been hired in the past year to work on the Verizon account across agencies; 41 percent of the hires were people of color and 53 percent were women.

Creating an in-house agency and focusing on improving agency and internal diversity numbers was the first prong in Scotti’s diversity-focused approach for Verizon. Another prong is the Ad Fellows program, which officially kicks off today.

The Ad Fellows program selects 20 college graduates from across the country, all with diverse backgrounds, to participate in an eight-month fellowship program. Scotti hopes that at the end of the program, 90 percent of the fellows will score full-time jobs at one of the six companies participating in Ad Fellows.

What makes Ad Fellows different than your typical fellowship, though, is that Verizon tapped five of its agency partners—McCann, Momentum, Rauxa, Zenith and Weber Shandwick—to participate in the program.

Over the course of eight months, the 20 fellows will be split into smaller groups and rotate between Verizon and a handful of the participating agencies (which cover creative, media and PR). That way the recent graduates have a chance to explore different parts of the marketing and advertising business and find out what it is they want to do with their career and what parts of the business they excel in.

The program is fully paid and covers housing and expenses for all 20 fellows to ensure that people of all backgrounds can have the chance to participate.

While the program just kicked off today, Scotti already has big plans for its future. Outside of holding more cycles each year, Scotti hopes that the idea of an Ad Fellows program can extend beyond Verizon. He hopes one day that, “every company in America has an Ad Fellows program and they gather agencies to work with them. I would love to partner with the ANA or The Ad Club or some organization that could help bring other clients to partner with the ad agencies and make it a really big thing.”