Adweek presented its Best Of The 2000s Winners, and ultimately demonstrated its editorial staff is still living in the 20th century. Read the brief tribute below, followed by a MultiCultClassics perspective.
Multicultural Agency of the Decade
“GlobalHue has consistently offered creative solutions that embrace a wide variety of cultures and ethnicities,” says Olivier Francois, president, CEO and head of marketing at Chrysler. “Their work is a testament to a greater understanding of the changing needs of the audiences we’re trying to reach.” This sentiment reflects the agency’s successful investment in demographic research following the 2000 U.S. Census, which helped fuel the shop’s growth into the largest, smartest multicultural agency in the U.S. with revenue of $83 million in 2008. Memorable work includes the award-winning “Grandma’s Hands” spot for Walmart, TV and online efforts for the Navy, and spots for Subway and Chrysler. In 2009, the agency won a significant general assignment from Jeep that resulted in the striking tagline, “i live. i ride. i am. Jeep.” Chrysler is hardly alone in its praise. One Walmart rep says GlobalHue’s “intelligent understanding of customers” and ability to convert that knowledge to business-building initiatives “is an example to all of us.” Joe Saracino, vp of marketing communications at Verizon Wireless, adds: “GlobalHue has shown uncommon dedication to our business and to the quality of the work they do for us. We are very pleased to know that the industry views their work with similar high esteem.” —Mike Chapman
MultiCultClassics admits in advance that this perspective is a little sloppy—but the Adweek contest was too.
Where to begin? First and foremost, the overall salute is a total farce, and not just in regards to multicultural advertising. Simply view the comments for the White Agency of the Decade polling. The thread reflects the sentiments expressed for nearly every category. The finalist list in each division seemed nonsensical, and the reader voting was clearly bullshit, with agencies like Euro RSCG and Burrell allegedly stuffing the electronic ballot boxes in their own favor. Stay classy, adpeople.
On the one hand, awards always feature controversy and sour grapes (check out these comments too). However, the handling of Multicultural Agency of the Decade was particularly curious, and it’s probably rooted in Adweek’s continuing cultural cluelessness—as well as the ridiculous segregation that exists within the industry.
Why are the minorities dumped into a single receptacle? Do they all look the same to Adweek? The smaller Asian American shops surely suffered in the competition. Where do the GLBT agencies fit in the
Adweek doubtlessly struggled to concoct praise for Globalhue, as the publication does not regularly spotlight multicultural shops. Indeed, the most press Globalhue has received in the 2000s involved Jim Edwards’ probing of its Bermuda account dilemmas. No disrespect intended, but can anyone name, say, five great campaigns Globalhue has created in the past ten years? To call the Jeep tagline “striking” is being generous—or disingenuous. Yeah, Globalhue picked up lots of new assignments. But its relationship with IPG certainly impacted the wins. Plus, it was recently reported that 50 percent of Globalhue’s revenue comes from its Latino unit, yet Adweek made zero mention of work from the segment. How much time did Adweek spend examining the multicultural contenders?
If minorities comprise a sole category, the Latino agencies should have dominated. The last ten years—at least in the multicultural silo—have arguably been the decade of Latino marketing. The audience has exploded, along with interest and support from advertisers. For evidence, note the numerous White firms that launched Latino enterprises. If Adweek scrutinized by account wins, The Vidal Partnership and Lopez Negrete definitely deserved recognition. If Adweek judged by creative, wouldn’t Grupo Gallegos have warranted a mention? It’s one of the few minority shops to win at Cannes.
The Adweek awards also inadvertently pointed out the inequities lingering on Madison Avenue. For example, White Agency of the Decade Goodby, Silverstein & Partners once netted over $2 billion in earnings in a few months. Globalhue—the largest U.S. multicultural agency—boasted revenues of $83 million in 2008. The staff of Globalhue is
Too bad Adweek didn’t include a category for Victim of Discrimination. Of course, industry minorities would have lost that honor to Steve Biegel.