Thursday, April 30, 2009
The World According To Google presents content discovered while searching for other things. The pontificating and posturing presented at this week’s 4As Leadership Conference inspired the latest collection.
Today’s search word: Bullshit.
The ever-opinionated Sanford Moore commented on Dan Wieden’s speech via AdAge.com…
More obfuscation and mendacity in the form of hiring kids, mentoring and college programs—rather than hiring professionals and promoting those within the ranks. At least Dan Wieden was honest that Mad Ave is filled with “middle-class, white kids making enormous sums of money to target inner-city consumers.” This is not irony, it is racial arrogance of the highest form which makes it permissible to have creatives who only know about inner-city consumers vicariously. These same agencies use this talent to pilfer, to “carpetbag” urban/ethnic assignments to the exclusion of Black ad agencies and Black creative talent.
It is not irony, it is “Whiteploitation” of Black culture, lifestyle and creativity just like it was in the music industry when white artists like Elvis, Pat Boone, Tom Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, ad nauseum copied, stole, “covered” original Black recording artists who were banned from white radio stations. These and numerous other white artists made their careers on the backs of Black creative and performing genius. The same exclusion happened in pro-sports permitting generations of white players to become stars while Blacks of superior talent were banned from competing.
This is not irony, it’s called “Jim Crow” and is the foremost cultural exponent of America’s artistic and creative footprint. Let’s quit the crap and call it for what it is. The Mad Men on Mad Ave have excluded Black talent, appropriated Black culture and reaped the financial, career rewards of this exploitation for generations. But nothing lasts forever…and that’s why the Mad Men are going to face financial and reputational “clawback” for the blatant “picking of Black minds” while leaving Black talent to pick cotton. Indeed, “Cotton” has come to Mad Ave and as the late, great James Brown said, “It’s the Big Payback.” Steal that!
Financial and unnatural disasters in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…
• Chrysler will file for bankruptcy, as the contextual ads literally circle like vultures.
• Starbucks reported 2Q earnings dropped 77 percent. Maybe the company should return to using the breast-baring mermaid logo and let baristas go topless too.
• Dow Chemical reported 1Q profits dropped 97 percent, yet still beat Wall Street’s expectations. Wow, talk about low expectations.
• The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) pulled a downloadable children’s coloring book following complaints from parents. The book featured pictures of the 9-11 terrorist attack. A FEMA official said, “We removed the content from our Web site after reviewing www.FEMA.gov for appropriate material. FEMA for Kids assists children in understanding disasters and we will continue to post appropriate material that supports its mission.” Guess kids can look forward to the upcoming Hurricane Katrina watercolor book.
From The News & Observer…
Ernie Barnes, painter who played pro football, dies
By Thomasi McDonald and Matt Ehlers - Staff writers
Ernie Barnes, the Durham-born former professional football player and painter best known for the “Sugar Shack” dance scene that appeared on a Marvin Gaye album and in the closing credits of the “Good Times” TV show, died this week in California.
He was 70.
Hailed as a pioneer of the “neo-mannerist” style, Barnes’ use of elongated figures in motion has been widely imitated. Among his career achievements, Barnes was named official artist of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, and was honored in 2004 as “America’s Best Painter of Sports” by the American Sports Art Museum.
“Ernie Barnes is one of the premier figurative artists of the late 20th and 21st centuries. His richly detailed paintings and drawings chronicling the lives of people have made a profound contribution to the contemporary history of American art,” Paul Von Blum, a lecturer in African-American studies and art history at the University of California, Los Angeles, said.
Before he was famous, Barnes was a football player at Hillside High School with a passion for art. After graduating from high school, Barnes enrolled at North Carolina College, now N.C. Central University, on a football scholarship.
Drafted into professional football in 1959, Barnes, a lineman, played for the New York Titans, Baltimore Colts, San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos.
Although he was always sketching and painting, his art career took off after his retirement from football in the mid-1960s. “Sugar Shack” appeared on the cover of the 1976 Marvin Gaye album “I Want You.” Although Barnes’ art provided him with a good living, he didn’t like the limelight, said his brother, James Barnes.
“Ernie was the type of guy who just wanted to be an artist,” James said. As for fame, “he was too laid-back for all of that.”
Durham provided inspiration for Barnes’ art. “Sugar Shack,” James said, was inspired by scenes from the Durham Armory, where musicians, including James Brown, would make tour stops.
Growing up, daughter Deidre Barnes of Durham said her father wouldn’t let his children have coloring books. He said it would “stifle my creativity,” she said, laughing. He gave his children blank sheets of paper on which to color.
Ernie Barnes was born with a rare blood disorder that eventually contributed to his death, said James. He died Monday night in a Los Angeles hospital, near where he had made his home for decades.
James said Ernie loved flowers. Their mother used to say that he was “marked for flowers” because he had a birthmark that looked like a pansy.
Until the end, James said, his brother enjoyed flowers. He said thousands of flowers were planted in Ernie’s California backyard.
“His yard is lit up right now.”
There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
Initial reports from the 4As 2009 Leadership Conference inspire classic lyrics by Buffalo Springfield. But it’s too early to tell if we’re dealing with buffalo or bull.
The topic of diversity surfaced in at least four areas:
• The Marcus Graham Project and Diversity in Media made a presentation titled, “Under The Influence: The New Reality in the Future of Advertising.” Not sure what it was about, but Kenji Summers might offer details eventually.
• A hiring and inclusion panel discussion allowed Omnicom Chief Diversity Officer Tiffany R. Warren and others to deliver the standard insights and suggestions. It’s amazing that such basic notions must be repeated again and again. Or maybe not, as cultural cluelessness is rooted in ignorance.
• 4As President and CEO Nancy Hill addressed diversity in her speech, hyping MAIP and Howard University’s Center for Excellence in Advertising. Yet she still acknowledged the persistent “dearth of African Americans in middle and senior ranks.” Hill seems committed to seeking solutions. Will she succeed in finding any before Cyrus Mehri forces the issue? The President and CEO announced the organization will now be known as the 4As. Don’t hold your breath waiting for it to become the 6As—with the addition of AAs (African Americans, for the slow readers among us).
• Industry icon Dan Wieden, perhaps motivated by Eric Holder, bravely challenged the entire assembly to get its act together regarding diversity. Ironically, Wieden is not an official 4As member. Plus, his big idea involved launching youth outreach programs, which is among the most expected and contrived answers. Give Wieden kudos for his openness and honesty. It’s just that the global dilemma demands greater, breakthrough thinking.
Talk and good intentions are always plentiful at exclusive conferences. However, as demonstrated during last week’s Diversity in Advertising Career Day, the ultimate actions don’t support the grandiose visions.
If Hill truly hopes to execute an extreme makeover on the advertising industry’s sorry reputation and propel us through the 21st century, let’s focus on the problem that has remained unresolved since the early 20th century.
P.S. This post was quickly assembled, so forgive any sloppiness or errors. Retractions and revisions will be published if necessary.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
A hot-button topic takes center stage
By Rupal Parekh
Diversity has been a hot topic at the 4A’s conference this year, and Mr. Wieden’s presentation followed a panel discussion on hiring and inclusion.
Panelists including Omnicom Group’s chief diversity officer, Tiffany Warren, noted that the current recession offered agencies an opportunity to draw on career-changers and they shared their thoughts on best practices in attracting and retaining diverse talent. Among the key takeaways for agencies:
• Re-evaluate the agency’s recruitment process regularly to ensure that hires who have transferable skill sets suited to the continually evolving ad business are identified.
• Mentoring should take place not only across racial boundaries but also across geographic and age boundaries. And don’t stop mentoring employees just because they have left the industry. Remain in touch to nurture them and follow their growth.
• Focusing on talent from the top down is a must. Companies such as Campbell conduct regular reports on the demographics of staff at all levels to track the company’s progress.
• Create groups that allow interns to network and share ideas.
• Be transparent. Focus on keeping and growing diversity-hiring initiatives, but if none are in place, admit it—and change.
Dan Wieden Makes Impassioned Diversity Pitch at 4A’s
Legendary adman challenges industry to finally face the challenge head on
By Andrew McMains
SAN FRANCISCO Speaking plainly, directly and at times profanely, Wieden + Kennedy’s Dan Wieden today used the platform of the American Association of Advertising Agencies to urge agencies to finally deal with the relative lack of diversity in the industry.
Wieden pointed to an outdoor camp for at-risk youth he helped create in Oregon as a concrete example of what he has done to introduce minorities to the art of filmmaking and the possibility of working in advertising. At the same time, he acknowledged that his agency is still predominantly white, though its percentages of African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians have increased in the past six years.
The issue of diversity “continues to gnaw at me because, like it or not, in this business I essentially hire a bunch of white, middle-class kids, pay them enormous, enormous sums of money to do what? To create messages to the inner-city kids who create the culture the white kids are trying like hell to emulate,” said Wieden, one of the featured speakers on the last day of this year’s 4A’s Leadership Conference. “But if you go into the inner city, odds are these kids aren’t even going to see advertising as a possibility, as an opportunity for them. Now that’s fucked up,” he said.
Wieden added: “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not bringing this up today because I think Wieden + Kennedy is doing this phenomenal goddam job at rectifying the situation. I think we’ve made some progress. But we’ve got miles and miles to go before we sleep.”
African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics today represent nearly 18 percent of Wieden’s Portland, Ore office and about 24 percent of its New York office, up from about 6 percent and 10 percent, respectively, in 2003, Wieden said. To achieve those increases, the independent agency has utilized Howard University’s Center for Excellence, the Minority Advertising Training program and outreach specialists like Partners in Diversity.
“I repeat, though, I’m not bringing that up just to brag. If had any common sense, I would avoid this topic like the plague,” Wieden said. “But I thought, maybe, just maybe it might be more inspirational to hear from someone as screwed up as you are. And you are screwed up, aren’t you? I mean look at this room: how many black faces do you see here?” Roughly a half-dozen of the 150 or so attendees remaining in the audience in the waning hours of the conference could be described as people of color.
Wieden pointed to his camp, Caldera, as a manifestation of his own soul-searching on the issue of diversity. The sleepover camp, which opened in 1996, offers arts and environmental activities to adolescents in the hope that they will “find their voice,” Wieden said.
By way of illustration, Wieden showed a 10-minute film that a teenage girl created about the experience, which blended music with images of campers waking up, drumming in groups, dancing and singing in front of a campfire. The film ended with the song, “Amazing Grace” and the screen copy message: “I love you all. The end.”
“Why not have that agency of yours adopt one of these things—one of this groups that is focused on diversity—and get messy with it?” Wieden said. “We need to get these kids that have no idea what we do in the commercial arts and the fine arts—we need to open these doors wide and get them in.”
Wieden concluded by saying that “there are many, many undiscovered voices out there-voices that against all odds can rise up and enrich this culture and perhaps one day change the very nature of the marketplace for the better.”
Wieden’s address on diversity was unexpected-the conference agenda said he would talk about the “new realities of global brands”-but far from the only words uttered on the topic during the two-day general session. On Tuesday, 4A’s CEO Nancy Hill and chairman Tom Carroll spoke about the importance of addressing the relative paucity of minorities at agencies and 4A’s svp of talent development David Prince led a panel discussion on hiring and inclusion.
After the conference, Carroll credited Hill with advancing the dialogue on diversity and said “a year from now, we’re going to show tangible” progress. “We’re not going to talk about it. We’re going to just show it. And if we haven’t done fuck-all in 12 months, then shame on us.”
This year’s Leadership Conference attracted about 300 attendees, down from an estimated 375 last year. Next year, the conference will be combined with the 4A’s media conference in a nod to the increasingly strong ties between creative development and media strategy. Having a single conference for creative and media agency leaders will also be more efficient, according to Hill.
Hundreds of news items in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…
• President Barack Obama is celebrating his 100th day in office. Jackie Chan is celebrating his 100th movie. The duo should produce a Rush Hour sequel to commemorate the milestones.
• Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lewis Lazare reported ad agency Leo Burnett could lose 300 jobs if client Philip Morris makes good on rumored spending cuts. Cigarettes will kill you every time.
• An irate Sears shopper in New York is suing the retailer for $300 million after store managers failed to make good on a price guarantee, refusing to match a competitor’s lower price on a TV set. Sounds like the perfect premise for a reality TV show.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Dumping out the news in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…
• To get more bailout money, General Motors agreed to dump its Pontiac brand and 21,000 workers. Um, keeping the automaker in business while losing 21,000 American jobs seems contradictory. So much for the rally caps.
• Handset maker Nokia announced plans to dump 450 workers. There’s probably an iPhone app for that.
From The New York Times…
Obama Is Nudging Views on Race, a Survey Finds
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Marjorie Connelly
Barack Obama’s presidency seems to be altering the public perception of race relations in the United States. Two-thirds of Americans now say race relations are generally good, and the percentage of blacks who say so has doubled since last July, according to the latest New York Times/ CBS News poll.
Despite that, half of blacks still say whites have a better chance of getting ahead in American society, the poll found. Black Americans remain among the president’s staunchest supporters; 70 percent of black respondents now say the country is headed in the right direction, compared with 34 percent of whites.
The poll found broad support for Mr. Obama’s approach on a variety of issues, including one of the most contentious: whether Congress should investigate the harsh interrogation tactics authorized by George W. Bush. Sixty-two percent of Americans share Mr. Obama’s view that hearings are unnecessary.
Americans seem to have high hopes for the president; 72 percent said they were optimistic about the next four years. By and large, Americans expect him to make significant progress in health care, energy and immigration policy, issues central to his ambitious domestic agenda.
But the optimism is tempered by a feeling of resignation about two of the most difficult challenges he faces: reviving the economy and ending United States military involvement in Iraq. Most Americans say Mr. Obama has begun to make progress on both fronts, but many do not expect either the recession or the war to be over by the end of his term.
It is not unusual for new presidents to enjoy substantial public support at this point in their tenure. But Mr. Obama’s 68 percent job approval rating is higher than that of any recent president at the 100-day mark. Mr. Bush had the approval of 56 percent of the public at this juncture.
But while Americans clearly have faith in Mr. Obama, the poll revealed something of a disconnect between what the public thinks the president has already accomplished and what it expects him to achieve.
Fewer than half of those surveyed, 48 percent, said Mr. Obama had begun to make progress on one of his major campaign promises, changing the way business is conducted in Washington. And just 39 percent said he had begun to make progress on another major promise, cutting taxes for middle-class Americans, even though the stimulus bill he signed into law does include a middle class tax cut.
Mr. Obama will mark his 100th day in office on Wednesday with a trip to St. Louis and a prime time news conference, where aides say he will make the case that he has made “a down payment” on fixing the nation’s biggest problems. The poll found that Americans seem to share that view, suggesting the White House has been effective at casting Mr. Obama as an agent of change, while persuading the public that change will take time.
“With all Obama wants to do and all he’s got going, it’s going to take more than four years,” said Larry Gibbons, 58, a retired restaurant manager and a Republican in Phoenix who voted for Mr. Obama’s opponent, John McCain. Speaking in a follow-up interview to the poll, he said, “Obama is attacking everything at once and I do approve of that.”
Throughout Mr. Obama’s candidacy and his young presidency, race has been a subtle thread woven through his message of change. Yet the president shies away from talking about it. In response to a question at his last news conference, Mr. Obama conceded that his election had created ‘’justifiable pride on the part of the country,” then quickly shifted gears, adding, “That lasted about a day.”
But Americans do feel differently about race and race relations with Mr. Obama in the White House, according to poll respondents who spoke in follow-up interviews. Some, like Jacqueline Luster, 60, a retired bank employee in Macedonia, Ohio, say that the times are changing, and that Mr. Obama seems to be speeding that change.
“With him as president, people seem to be working together toward the same goals, and that has helped race relations,” said Ms. Luster, who is black and a Democrat. “Before there was more of a separation, blacks working for black goals and whites for white goals. Obama has helped change the perception of blacks in a positive way, but it’s also the times.”
Another Democrat, Lisa Fleming, 49, who is white, said that even in the small Illinois town, Potomac, where she lived, she noticed “people of different races being kinder to each other” since Mr. Obama’s election. In Kansas City, a white Republican homemaker, Mary Robertson, 78, said Mr. Obama’s ‘’openness and acceptance have helped others be more open and accepting.”
The nationwide telephone survey was conducted Wednesday through Sunday with 973 adults. For purposes of analysis, blacks were oversampled in this poll, for a total of 212, and then weighted back to their proper proportion in the poll, based on the census. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for all people, and plus or minus seven points for blacks.
After nearly 100 days of watching Mr. Obama conduct the affairs of state, more than two-thirds of Americans say he is not a typical politician, though most say he is set apart more by his style and his personal qualities than his policies.
For instance, the poll found that the public appears divided over whether the Obama administration has broken with the Bush administration in its overall foreign policy. Forty-three percent of respondents said there had been some change in foreign policy since Mr. Obama took office, the poll found, while 44 percent said there had been no change. Thirteen percent did not have an opinion.
Yet the public does give Mr. Obama credit for improving the image of the United States with the rest of the world. And it found support for Mr. Obama’s overtures to Iran and Cuba; a majority, 53 percent, said they favored establishing diplomatic relations with Iran, while two-thirds favored Mr. Obama’s plans to thaw relations with Cuba.
Megan Thee-Brenan, Marina Stefan and Dalia Sussman contributed reporting.
Agency Spy reported on the Diversity In Advertising Career Day held last week in New York. Clumsy writing aside, the story and accompanying comments thread revealed the typical bullshit—plus, a few head-scratcher moments.
Bartle Bogel Hegarty allegedly set up a table with a sign requesting candidates simply drop off résumés. Not surprising.
The representative of one agency actually refused to accept résumés. Others failed to offer business cards or contact details. These shops are obviously unfamiliar with the job fair concept.
Some agencies admitted they weren’t hiring, and directed candidates to apply or register via their websites. Nice. And be sure to clearly indicate your race, ethnicity and gender on the online forms.
Another comment observed “maybe even more than half” of the attendees weren’t minorities. Hey, if Robert Downey, Jr. could pull it off in Tropic Thunder…
The official sponsors consisted of numerous notable organizations, including the 4As. What were the people in charge thinking? We all know the industry is hardly in a hiring mode right now. So why didn’t anyone shift the focus and turn the day into an informational seminar, portfolio review or potluck picnic?
Yes, the industry has consistently demonstrated it’s incapable of generating effective solutions for diversity. But the inability to coordinate the most basic get-together is sad.
Hype for the Diversity In Advertising Career Day stated the event would let agencies “showcase their company’s commitment to diversity.” Mission accomplished.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Forget Diversity Job Fairs. This actual job listing presents a Dancer Job Fair. The economy is stimulating an increase in exotic applicants. But there are mixed reviews regarding the financial rewards.
Dancer JOB FAIR (Chicago)
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 2009-04-26, 11:13AM CDT
For one week only Club 390 — Chicagoland’s Premiere Gentlemen’s Club is holding open auditions for dancers!
Club 390 is hiring gorgeous, stunning and attractive girls to become part of the Club 390 team!
We’re looking for HOT new talent! If you have an upbeat, out-going and friendly personality with a passion for being center stage & in the spotlight and have super sexy moves, we are looking for YOU!
At Club 390 you will have unlimited opportunities to earn as much money as you want! We offer flexible scheduling with part-time & full-time availability, insurance for those who qualify; a fun, high-energy workplace and an upscale clientele.
If you’re over 18 and want to make $200-$500 a day — make plans on attending our open auditions starting tonight (Sunday) at 7:30 PM.
THIS IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL LADIES, INCLUDING COLLEGE GIRLS, WHO WANT TO MAKE A TON OF CASH!
No need to call, just come in and see us at Club 390, 390 East Joe Orr Rd. in Chicago Heights, IL. 708-758-2582. www.club390.com Ask for a manager when you arrive!