Monday, August 31, 2009

7060: Peggy Olson 2009.

Check out these crazy copywriting sites:

The Writing Chick

The Writing Scorpion

Chick N’ Oodle

Are advertisers so pathetically horny that they want to believe their press releases and email blasts are being handled by hotties?

7059: Absolutely, Positively Stereotypical.

FedEx must think all minority businesswomen are fashion designer-boutique owners.

7058: Mad Mention.

Just wanted to briefly elaborate on the latest episode of AMC series Mad Men, tapping the perspective by Latoya Peterson. Creator Matthew Weiner really is culturally clueless, especially when dealing with Blacks. But more importantly, Weiner is dishonest in racial depictions, despite boasting the program is historically accurate. Last night’s installment crystallized the point. Through Carla the housekeeper, Weiner continues to present Blacks as noble and heroic—victims who stand with dignity in the face of adversity. Yet the show’s creator is simply unable or unwilling to reveal the true faces of Whites, opting to go with a cartoonish Blackface scenario that appears wildly outdated. Roger Sterling is so bizarre that White audiences will barely take offense. Weiner hasn’t hesitated to allow the Mad Men cast to display anti-Semitism, sexism and homophobia. Why won’t he let the characters show the true racism of the period?

7057: Color Commentary From Sanford Moore.

From Adweek…

Apartheid Alive and Well on Madison Avenue

By Sanford Moore

During the time when America was segregated, the late, great Nat King Cole’s groundbreaking television show was canceled because Madison Avenue and its clients would not sign on as sponsors. At the time he remarked, “Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark.” Not only was his comment painfully correct, but also eerily prophetic, given that 50 years later Madison Avenue is still discriminating against black Americans.

The streets of Madison Avenue are like the segregated graveyards of the past, filled with generations of unrecognized black contributions, talent and ambitions. The New York City Commission on Human Rights, in successive investigations dating from 1968 to 2005, has documented the consistent pattern of racial discrimination enforced by the major ad agencies and their corporate holding companies. They control a constellation of marketing, media buying, communications, lobbying and PR firms in which there is also a dearth of African-American executives.

Now, it’s time to get agencies where it counts—their wallets. Recently, I appealed to Bill Thompson, the New York City comptroller—who manages pension funds, which collectively own some $100 million of agency holding companies’ stock and some $6 billion of 46 of their clients’ stock—to pressure the agency CEOs to end the illegal and discriminatory practices of their affiliates. Like the fight to free the blacks of South Africa, which was aided by the divestiture movement led by the institutional investor community, we must now employ the same tactic in freeing black Americans from the insidious grip of the Mad Men.

Workforce statistics and documented discrimination fail to put this flagrant and purposeful discrimination in its proper economic and societal context. In 1968, the year of the first New York City Commission on Human Rights investigation, the seminal book, The $30 Billion Negro, was published. This revealed for the first time the extent and existence of the black consumer market. In 1979, when the commission’s follow-up report declared that a condition of “de facto segregation” existed for blacks on Madison Avenue, a sequel to the book, The $70 Billion Negro, was published. So while the Mad Men and their corporate clients had no aversion to reaping black dollars, they were averse to hiring black employees and executives.

The black consumer market has since grown exponentially and is currently worth almost $1 trillion to Madison Avenue’s corporate clients, according to Target Market News. Yet, Madison Avenue continues to denigrate the importance of African Americans and their consumer dollars. Madison Avenue agencies are still “afraid of the dark.”

This prejudice, this remnant of Jim Crow, not only discriminates against black employees, executives and vendors, but also is propagated on the greater American society. It is manifest in the paucity of black leads on network TV, and in the disproportionately low use of black models in television commercials and magazine ads. It is reflected in the rate and revenue disparity Madison Avenue forces on black radio stations as documented by the Federal Communications Commission. In fact, Madison Avenue has created and perpetuated a “separate and unequal” marketing paradigm. It is evident in its advertising, workforce, executive ranks and allocation of client ad dollars.

As reported by Nielsen, black-targeted media received some $2.3 billion in 2008. This figure represented 1 percent of measured ad spending. The figures for Q1 2009 reveal the same “niggardly” level of spending being allocated to black-targeted media. Of the $1.3 billion spent by the federal government via Madison Avenue prime contractors in 2006-07, only $6.1 million found its way into black media vehicles, according to Nielsen.

When confronted with these figures, Madison Avenue agencies attempt to rationalize their policies with media gibberish about “impressions delivered” and meeting arbitrarily concocted media criteria. What is being done is the same as when blacks were declared three-fifths of a person in the Constitution. Despite Jim Crow having been declared illegal more than 40 years ago, Madison Avenue continues to enforce a condition of marketing “peonage” on black Americans and the media that serve them.

Let us not forget that one of the differences between totalitarianism and democracy is the extent to which a free media system is supported by paid advertising. Also, let us consider the historical context since Cole uttered his scathing remark. Changes include the U.S. Voting Rights Act being passed, black rule in South Africa, black CEOs running U.S. corporations, black creative expression setting the tone of America’s pop culture, and the U.S.’s first African-American president. Yet Madison Avenue refuses to lift the “cotton curtain” of discrimination.

We have had 40 years of pious pronouncements by the leaders of the industry, 40 years of investigations, reports and obfuscation, 40 years of denying the significance of the black consumer market. It is time to return the favor. It is time to make the CEOs of the holding companies pay a price with their own money, to affect their compensation packages and their company’s stock price.

Thus my appeal to Thompson. As the youngsters say, it’s all about the Benjamins.

Sanford Moore is an industry critic, former agency executive and current black talk radio co-host. He can be reached at

7056: Biological Clocks Warfare.

Ad Age’s TalentWorks published the semi-annual perspective on why White women don’t succeed as well as White men in agency creative departments.

Creativity Knows No Gender, but Agency Creative Departments Sure Do

Why Motherhood and Creative Directing Don’t Mix

By Karen Mallia

This year’s Advertising Age Women to Watch were asked the question: Why are there so few women creative directors? The answers barely scratched the surface of this complex subject—one I and several other academic researchers have been investigating for several years. I’ve interviewed dozens of women on the subject, both highly successful creatives and others who dropped out, detoured or reinvented themselves after spending years building creative careers.

There is no doubt an extraordinarily complex relationship between sex and the creative job, or it wouldn’t still be an issue 100 years after women entered the field. Creative women have not enjoyed the level of success that women have found in every other advertising-agency department. The number of women in account management has doubled in the past two decades, resulting in equivalent numbers of men and women. More than half of planning and research employees are women. In media, women outnumber men 3-to-2. Yet, in creative, the ratio of men to women is 2.3-to-1.

Research shows that portfolio schools have had a fairly equal gender breakdown in the past few years. Women enter creative departments in numbers equal to men, yet they hold just 18% of creative-director positions—the logical career progression after seven to 15 years. So what happens?

What’s working against women
A convergence of cultural and organizational factors inhibits many women from climbing the creative ladder. First, there’s the pervasive masculine culture in agency creative departments. While some women can deal with it, research shows being an “outsider” negatively affects careers—and creativity. It’s an environment particularly hostile to female leadership as well.

Second, while their portfolios may get them their first jobs, a great book alone doesn’t get people hired in middle- to upper-level creative jobs. Creative directors show a conscious or unconscious prejudice for hiring people like themselves—people they want to hang around with. That buddy system often plays a role in giving out plum creative assignments, too. If women get sidelined to tampons and diapers, they’re unlikely to build award-show currency that furthers their careers.

Most important, the economic pressures of the past few years have made creative jobs tougher and more competitive for everyone—with fewer people doing more work, shorter lead times and 24/7 client demands. Combine that with the inherent nature of creative work and the way creative departments function, and work-life balance is almost impossible. Few advertising agencies have embraced policies that foster flex time, job sharing and flexi-place, the very workplace programs proven to enhance women’s careers.

Despite all that, women have succeeded in becoming creative directors in advertising agencies. And research has sifted out the traits they share: great creative talent, a competitive nature, resilience and an outgoing personality. They are politically astute, primarily focused on career and/or childless.

Aha, and there we have it: Gender isn’t really the issue; motherhood is.

Can’t have it all
No matter what your sex, a creative job is highly competitive, an unrelenting mind game that knows no timetable. As the second wave of feminism proved, you can’t have it all. So sacrifices are made. For some, that’s the agency career. For others, that’s children. Years ago, McCann Erickson, New York, Chairman Nina DiSesa directly said, “I wouldn’t have this job if I had kids.”

Some brilliant women opt out of agencies for freelance and consulting, such as former Wieden & Kennedy Art Director Charlotte Moore and Sally Hogshead, founding creative director/managing director of Crispin Porter & Bogusky’s West Coast office, who is self-employed as a consultant. Others, such as Linda Kaplan Thaler, CEO-chief creative officer, Kaplan Thaler Group, and Joyce King Thomas, exec VP-chief creative officer at McCann Erickson, New York, are lucky enough to have househusbands, or husbands whose careers give them more flexibility. Research didn’t reveal a single major-league executive creative director who has both children and a husband with an equally demanding job.

A rare few get to job-share, like Ogilvy Toronto’s co-executive creative directors, Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk. They also work in Canada, where generous maternity benefits and flexibility further underscore the huge impact organizational culture and policies can play in helping women succeed. Still others work in smaller advertising markets, leverage individually negotiated flexibility or part-time deals that aren’t widespread, start their own agencies, or freelance.

Sex roles are socialized. For creative women with fairly traditional expectations of motherhood, role conflict becomes untenable. They cannot have two 24/7 jobs. Creative work is just too consuming. Those women exit for alternate careers in real estate, academia and other fields.

The sad fact is that promotion and leadership in the creative department coincides with the ticking biological clock. And the creative job is much more difficult to balance with motherhood than any other agency position. Until huge institutional change occurs, women creative directors will remain an endangered species.

About the Author
Karen Mallia is a former copywriter and creative director who teaches creative strategy, copywriting and advertising campaigns at the University of South Carolina. She previously taught advertising at the City College of New York and at Fashion Institute of Technology/State University of New York. Her New York agency career spanned two decades and numerous agencies, among them Ogilvy; Scali, McCabe, Sloves; TBWA/Chiat/Day; and a host of smaller shops. She worked on brands ranging from cars to cosmetics, Fiberglas to fragrance to financial services. She continues to do strategic and creative consulting.

7055: Super Deal.

From The Miami Herald…

Disney to buy comic book powerhouse Marvel for $4B

By Ryan Nakashima
AP Business Writer

The Walt Disney Co. said Monday it is buying Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion in cash and stock, bringing such characters as Iron Man and Spider-Man into the family of Mickey Mouse and WALL-E.

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of 5,000 Marvel characters. Many of them, including the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, were co-created by the comic book legend Stan Lee.

Analyst David Joyce of Miller Tabak & Co. said the acquisition will help Disney appeal to young men who have flocked to theaters to see Marvel’s superhero fare in recent years. That contrasts with Disney’s recent successes among young women with such fare as “Hannah Montana” and the Jonas Brothers.

“It helps Disney add exposure to a young male demographic it had sort of lost some balance with,” Joyce said, noting the $4 billion offer was at “full price.”

Disney said Marvel shareholders will receive $30 per share in cash, plus 0.745 Disney shares for every Marvel share they own. That values each Marvel share at $50 based on Friday’s closing stock prices.

Marvel shares jumped $10.17, or 26 percent, to $48.82 shortly after the market opened. Disney shares fell 47 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $26.37.

Disney said the boards of both companies have approved the transaction, but it will require an antitrust review and the approval of Marvel shareholders.

Disney last made a big purchase in 2006 when it acquired Pixar Animation Studios Inc., the creator of the “Toy Story” franchise, for $7.4 billion in stock.

Disney CEO Robert Iger said the latest acquisition combines Marvel’s “strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters” with Disney’s “unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties” and ability to maximize value across multiple platforms and territories.

Marvel earned a net profit of $206 million last fiscal year, up 47 percent from a year earlier, on revenue of $676 million, as it took movie production in house instead of just cutting licensing deals.

7054: Do The Ride Thing.

David Barton Gym continues the peculiar advertising. See a few past examples here and here.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

7053: Mad Minstrel.

The third episode of AMC series Mad Men presented the return of Carla, the Draper’s housekeeper. And it appears that creator Matthew Weiner is attempting to integrate racist elements.

For example, Betty’s semi-senile father lost $5—which was actually lifted by young Sally Draper. While Carla searched for the missing money, she wondered aloud when the old man would accuse her of stealing the loot. After Gramps accidentally called Carla by the name of Viola—his old Black housekeeper introduced in the second season—he asked if Carla knew Viola. Carla snapped, “We don’t all know each other…” Plus, she displayed serious sass when continuing to deal with Grandpa. However, she didn’t join the kids and old man at the dinner table, opting to eat while standing nearby.

In another racial spectacle, Roger Sterling performed a song in full Blackface. It seemed a little out of place for 1960 New York—although completely in keeping with the show’s out-of-touch racial depictions.

7052: Seeking Diversity At BMW/MINI.

Rev. Jesse Jackson’s letter to BMW criticized the automaker for failing to participate in the annual Rainbow PUSH Automotive Project and declared, “This speaks to your lack of transparency of your business practices as they relate to diversity.”

MultiCultClassics decided to visit the BMW and MINI websites to see where the companies officially stood on the matter. BMW presented a “Diversity Pledge”—along with an awkward photo where the Black guy is standing next to a sign reading “Service.” MINI offered zero search results.

7051: BMW/MINI’s BIG Problem—Jesse Jackson.

Rev. Jesse Jackson asks BMW to explain how “No Urban Dictate” was issued

(August 19, 2009) The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, has sent a letter to BMW expressing concern over the actions of one of the automaker’s advertising agencies in issuing a “No Urban Dictate” for an upcoming BMW/MINI Cooper ad campaign. The request to discuss the matter comes after disclosure that BMW’s media buying agency sent an email to stations requesting information on ad rates, but specifically stated “No combos or urban formats” should be included.

In a letter to BMW Chairman and CEO, Jim O’Donnell, Jackson called the exclusion of urban radio stations “disturbing.” The letter also said, “This issue, along many others, continues to boycott communities of color and excludes us from participating on a level economic playing field even when we fully embrace and purchase your vehicles.”

Jackson also questioned BMW’s commitment to diversity by saying that the automaker had ignored earlier Rainbow PUSH requests for information and participation in discussions. “Because diversity and inclusion are so important to the automotive industry, each year Rainbow PUSH Automotive Project hosts a symposium whose mission and programs include a multitude of topics on diversity,” wrote Jackson. “The symposium’s purpose is to facilitate substantive dialogue, open communication on diversity opportunities, and to prevent this type of behavior recently demonstrated by BMW. However, you have repeatedly declined to participate in these dialogues.”

“This speaks to your lack of transparency of your business practices as they relate to diversity,” added Jackson.

The letter from the civil rights leader comes on the heels of a letter to BMW’s O’Donnell from the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) requesting a meeting to discuss “a corporate culture that condones discriminatory practices.”

Both NABOB and Rainbow PUSH have questioned the role of BMW’s African-American ad agency of record, The Matlock Group, and whether it was using the expertise of the agency to avoid the exclusion of urban radio stations and other African-American media outlets in the placement of advertising.

Thus far, both organizations say they are still awaiting a response from BMW executives.

7050: BMW—The Ultimate Jiving Machine.

From Target Market News…

NABOB wants to meet with BMW to discuss “No Urban Dictate” media buy e-mail

(August 17, 2009) The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the “No Urban Dictate” issue in an upcoming ad campaign for BMW’s MINI Cooper line. The trade organization has requested a meeting with the chairman and CEO of BMW, Jim O’Donnell, to discuss the implications of an email from the media buying agency for the carmaker requesting information from radio stations in the Boston, Houston, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. markets. The criteria stated “No combos or urban formats” should be included in the information requested.

In the letter, NABOB executive director, James Winston, wrote that the “fact that BMW/MINIs’ ad agency would be so bold as to put such discrimination in writing raises serious questions. The discriminatory avail issued on behalf of BMW/MINI raises the uncomfortable specter of a corporate culture that condones discriminatory practices, or, at best, fails to recognize the need for a corporate effort to promote diversity in your advertising practices—and in attracting customers for your products.”

The email, which originated from a senior buyer at Palisades Media Group, was shared with NABOB by Sherman Kizart, Managing Partner of the rep firm, Kizart Media Partners.

In a letter responding to Kizart’s query about the matter, Palisades chairman and CEO, Roger A. Schaffner said that the directive not to include Urban radio stations was the misguided decision of one person and not done “through any directive from Palisades Media personnel, or [BMW’s general market ad agency] Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners personnel or MINI personnel.”

”This was a single, isolated incident,” Schaffner’s letter continued, “that we have taken steps to make sure does not repeat itself in the future in any department of our company.”

Winston responded that “too many questions remain unanswered to sweep this matter under the rug.” Among the issues NABOB wants to discuss with BMW is its relationship with the Matlock Agency, its African-American ad agency of record. “Why didn’t BMW/MINI involve its African-American ad agency in these buys?” asks Winston. “When and how do you use your African-American agency?”

Others have raised questions about BMW’s advertising policies since the disclosure of the NUD email. David Honig, president and executive director of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, wrote to the FCC about the implications of the BMW email and the need for enforcement of regulations adopted by the Commission to end No Urban Dictates.

”This travesty has gone on for decades,” wrote Honig. “It took 24 years for the Commission to adopt this rule even though it was unopposed—Although the practice mostly occurs under the cover of whispered oral instructions, last week MINI Cooper’s agency issued a four-market written NUD.”

7049: Flygirls Receive Congressional Gold Medals.

From The Miami Herald…

3 female pilots honored for service during World War II

By Vytenis Didziulis

The three former Women Airforce Service Pilots who retired to South Florida were among the more than 1,100 female pilots who logged 60 million miles in non-combat missions between 1942 and 1943. Their primary mission was to protect U.S. coasts, freeing up male pilots to fight combat missions abroad.

After decades of taking a back seat to their true legacy as skilled pilots and gender barrier pioneers, these female pilots finally received the recognition they deserved:

The Congressional Gold Medal.

“I’m just overwhelmed,” said Frances Rohrer Sargent, 90. “We didn’t do it to get that. We just liked to fly.”

Sargent was joined by Ruth Shafer Fleisher, 87, at Saturday’s ceremony at Wings Over Miami Air Museum in which U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen presented the three South Florida pilots with original copies of the bill honoring the WASPs signed by President Barack Obama this summer.

The third pilot, Helen Wyatt Snapp, 91, was recovering from an illness and did not attend the ceremony.

The women were part of the first group of female pilots ever to fly war planes. Although they flew non-combat missions, their service was deadly: 38 female pilots died while protecting U.S. coasts from enemy invasions.

Yet their patriotic contributions went largely unrecognized for decades. They weren’t eligible for U.S. veterans’ status until 1977 and they were never awarded full military status.

Only about 300 original WASPs are alive today, most of them well into their 80s.

Ros-Lehtinen, who along with other female lawmakers pushed the legislation forward, said the WASPs now join the ranks of the Navajo Code Talkers and the Tuskegee Airmen, who at the time of their service were discriminated against because of their race.

“What’s most inspiring is knowing that they never did it to break any barriers or change histroy,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “They just loved to fly and wanted to do so in defense of our country.”

Sargent and Fleisher didn’t just like to fly, they were born to fly.

Fleisher, the daughter of an airplane mechanic who later managed an airport in Rochester, N.Y., started logging flights as early as age 13. She said she flew “anything she could.”

During her service, Fleisher tested AT-6 warbirds. After the WASPs were disbanded in 1944, she got a commission to join the Air Force as second lieutenant and retired in the Air Force Reserve as a major. She later became one of the first women to work in a control tower at Philadelphia International Airport.

Sargent started piloting in her early 20s in her native Little Rock, Ark., but once she caught the flying bug she didn’t stop until well into her 70s.

During the war, Sargent flew along North Carolina’s shores, on the lookout for enemy ships, submarines and planes. She later joined the Air Force Reserves and spent 30 years teaching aviation at Miami Dade College.

One of her students, 68-year-old Judy Portnoy, called Sargent “the most amazing person I know.”

Both Fleisher and Sargent moved to South Florida about four decades ago.

Fleisher manages a three-acre avocado grove in Homestead and Sargent lives in a retirement home in Old Cutler Bay.

They were both married and later widowed. Sargent has three children.

Growing up in a time when jobs for women were often limited to office jobs, nursing and teaching, Fleisher and Sargent are aware they were trailblazers.

“It was hard because people didn’t think about women flying,” said Sargent. “But we didn’t care, we did what we wanted to do.”

Fleisher agreed and said they proved all their doubters wrong.

“We, as some of the first women pilots, proved that we could fly military airplanes and do a good and decent job,” Fleisher said.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

7048: Pepsi Inspired By…

Looks like the Pepsi We Inspire campaign is ripping off P&G’s My Black Is Beautiful, which ripped off Vaseline’s SkinVoice, which ripped off…

7047: Google Thriller.

Can hardly wait to see what Google™ does to commemorate the late Senator Edward Kennedy.

7046: Another Microsoft Polish Joke.

MultiCultClassics continues to believe Microsoft received overly harsh criticism for its recent Poland Photoshop® fiasco—yet could not resist messing with this lame diversity ad appearing in the latest issue of Black Enterprise. The probable Poland version is below.

7045: Toy And La Toya.

Playing with the news in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Costco pulled a doll off store shelves after people complained it was racist. The Black “Cuddle With Me” baby doll had a pet monkey and wore a cap that read “lil’ monkey.” A spokesman from Costco stated the retailer regrets that the toy offended anyone. Just a lil’ bit, dude.

• Last month, La Toya Jackson was among the first people to insist her brother, Michael, had been murdered—and most figured she was nuts and/or seeking to promote a new album. Oops.

7044: Overreaction Of The Week.

Why are the Black Card Members predominately White?

Friday, August 28, 2009

7043: Post-Racial Prez.

From In These Times…

The ‘Post-Racial’ President

Barack Obama navigates a world where color still matters.

By Salim Muwakkil

With the nation’s first black president in the White House, some pundits have started employing the narrative of a “post-racial” America to frame events. In this view, Barack Obama’s election has leveled the playing field and obviated the struggle for racial equality. In many ways Obama has played along, scrupulously avoiding comment on racial matters since he began his presidential campaign.

Yet racism persists in the Obama-era, the supposedly post-racial world. According to culture critic and author Henry Giroux, this racism is different from the historical “crude racism with its biological referents and pseudo-scientific legitimations.” Instead, he writes, this new breed of racism “cynically recodes itself within the vocabulary of the civil rights movement, invoking the language of Martin Luther King Jr., to argue that individuals should be judged by the ‘content of their character’ and not by the color of their skin.”

Obama was atypically unequivocal in July when he criticized the Cambridge, Mass., police for “acting stupidly” in the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., professor of African and African-American studies at Harvard University. He also raised a few eyebrows by linking the Gates arrest to the historical problem of racial profiling.

In the Gates incident, the esteemed Harvard professor was mistaken for a burglar at his own home and later arrested for “disorderly conduct” for reportedly berating Sgt. James Crowley, the officer called to investigate.

Details were still sketchy at the time of Obama’s comments, and his unexpected response to the question sparked a torrent of criticism from right-wingers who were predictably eager to express their law-and-order bona fides. It also gave them fuel to inflame the kind of racial biases that tend to improve their electoral fortunes. Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” lives on.

Rush Limbaugh said Obama’s comments were a case of “a black president trying to destroy a white policeman.” Fox News’ Glenn Beck accused the president of being racist, saying Obama’s words revealed a “deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”

The president also angered some supporters, who thought his comments were inappropriate and distracting. “I thought I was in the Twilight Zone when I heard him make those comments at the press conference,” says Boyce Watkins, a professor of finance at Syracuse University and a media pundit. “I thought his remarks were irresponsible.”

Watkins objected because he thought Gates was an inappropriate symbol for racial profiling. A well-respected Harvard professor gets the press, he said, “while millions of poor black men who get no coverage are being victimized by the criminal justice system.”

Many wondered why a president whose campaign discipline was legendary would make such a startling strategic mistake.

The answer likely lies in Obama’s attempts to rectify what he considers an unbalanced depiction of his position on racial issues. He seems frustrated by criticism of his posture of racial neutrality, and hinted as much when he complained to the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson about coverage of his July 16 NAACP speech. “I’ve noticed that when I talk about personal responsibility in the African-American community, that gets highlighted,” he said. “But then the whole other half of the speech, where I talked about government’s responsibility ... that somehow doesn’t make news.”

Obama was speaking of the media’s predilection for talking about race in post-racial terms, though it’s a tendency he’s guilty of too. During his campaign, most of his advisors urged him to avoid the issue as too risky. Except for his excellent speech in Philadelphia—in which he contextualized the kind of black anger expressed by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor, even while condemning it—his campaign followed that advice and remained was race-averse.

Read the full story here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

7042: Advertising Is Brain Surgery.

This actual job listing demonstrates how employers are growing ridiculously demanding with prerequisites. “Experience in Oncology/Neuro-Oncology is highly preferred!” Is there a copywriting brain surgeon in the house?

Hello Creative Circle! Here’s a new opportunity for you to check out.

Position: Medical Writer - Oncology/Neuro-Oncology
Location: Other Areas
Status: Freelance
Estimated Duration: Open ended
Starts: Within a Couple Weeks
Rate: Up to $50/hr

Job Description:
Our client in the healthcare/medical industry is seeking a writer with experience writing articles for journals or publications.

This project involves interviewing/corresponding with physicians and developing content for a physician-to-physician newsletter.

Experience in Oncology/Neuro-Oncology is highly preferred!

If you feel you are qualified for this position please send your resume (and samples if applicable)

Best wishes!

Creative Circle

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

7041: Microsoft’s Polish Joke.

Microsoft is catching heat over some Photoshop® bungling involving Websites in the U.S. and Poland. As the images depict, the U.S. version shows a stereotypical diverse office grouping, while the version from Poland replaced the Black dude’s head with a White guy’s head.

Folks are calling it outrageous, racist and worse.

Um, not really.

The truth is, it’s a standard example of multicultural marketing. Granted, the execution is clumsy and amateurish. And it doesn’t help that they replaced the Black guy. But Microsoft is simply doing what nearly every major advertiser does: Presenting people that will be most relevant and appealing to the intended audience.

If we’re going to go after Microsoft, let’s be prepared to take our grievances to McDonald’s, Burger King, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, State Farm, Allstate, Kraft, Quaker Oats, General Motors, Ford, Toyota, etc.

Need a quick example to demonstrate the point? Check out Colgate here and here.

Sorry, but offense should be reserved for the blatantly offensive. Like Draftfcb, Omnicom, CP+B and more. There’s a difference between displaying cultural cluelessness, racism, misogyny, homophobia, ageism and other forms of gross insensitivity versus just being cheap.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

7040: Hold The Bun.

Late-night snacking in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• KFC is introducing a new “sandwich” in test markets, where the bun has been replaced by two fried chicken patties. The chicken surrounds bacon, cheese and sauce, and the item is called, “Double Down.” Can barely wait to see what audience Draftfcb will offend while marketing this mess.

• General Motors announced it will remove the “Mark of Excellence” logo from vehicles to place greater emphasis on individual brands. Also, “Mark of Excellence” is probably no longer a legally valid statement.

• A Black female technician filed a sexual- and racial-discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, Verizon. The woman charges the field office where she worked was a virtual frat house featuring blow-up dolls, pinups and group porn movie viewings—plus, coworkers once hung a noose in plain sight. Of course, Verizon vehemently denied the accusations. But that “Can You Hear Me Now?” dude definitely looks like a porn addict.

Monday, August 24, 2009

7039: Draftfcb Continues Offensive Streak.

Jim Edwards at BNET reported that Molson Coors Canada pulled 30 billboards like the one depicted above in British Columbia after offending folks in Toronto. A company spokesman mumbled, “We basically realize we’ve had a misfire here … It was a local insight. The intention was kind of playing off an East-West rivalry, but we’re sorry because obviously we’ve offended some people.” The advertising agency responsible is Draftfcb, which is on quite an offensive streak. The shop already displayed insensitivity for the same global client with a campaign for Miller Lite that pushed negative Italian-American stereotypes. And the list of audiences insulted by Draftfcb keeps growing and growing. These admorons are more culturally clueless than most people from, well, Draftfcb.

But wait, there’s more.

In an ironic twist, AAF Diversity Achievement and Mosaic Awards 2009 saw fit to hand its AAF District Two Diversity Achievement Award for Industry Career Achiever to Heide Gardner, SVP, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer of Interpublic Group. Interpublic Group is the parent company of Draftfcb. Look for Howard Draft to nab an ADCOLOR® Award.

7038: Mad Men Meets Ad Broad.

For those of who can’t get enough Mad Men, catch the post from Ad Broad. She also points out the interview with Deborah Laney, who plays Carla the housekeeper. The Laney piece is published on the show’s blog, yet the actress and character are not listed among the official Cast & Characters. Nice.

7037: Patronizing Baloney.

Now there’s a LUNCHABLES as awesome as her potential…? Your child’s future is like processed lunch meat?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

7036: Mad Men Follows Mad Ave.

Like Madison Avenue, the third season of AMC series Mad Men is slowly working its way toward integrating Blacks. Draper housekeeper Carla was mentioned, although not seen. And a Black man was riding in the elevator with Roger Sterling and Peggy Olson—but it didn’t appear to be Hollis the elevator operator. Maybe next week Sterling Cooper will establish a Diversity Development Advisory Committee.

7035: Must Have Flesh Flash Skills.

The douchebag behind this actual craigslist ad probably thinks he’s a digital rock star.

Seeking An Attractive Girl To Help Me Set Up A Website

Date: 2009-08-23, 6:32PM CDT
Reply to:

I recently registered a web site I am looking for a cute, pleasant young women to help me setup and maintain a simple web site. Nothing fancy, text, photos etc. This would be a part-time business for me but I would like a site that I would be proud of and one that is effective. I have an office in downtown Chicago and I live about 10 minutes south of the loop.
I am looking for a cute girl for several reasons. I have dealt with men in regards to computers, they are not good teachers. Also I would like you to model with some of the guitars. Wear a tasteful outfit, stand with the guitar and smile. You would be paid a fair hourly wage. I am a mature, white, professional and educated gentleman. You do not have to have a lot of experience just the knowledge and pride in doing a good job. I am polite, easygoing and respectful of women. The last thing in the world that I would do is sign a contract with some aggressive web site design firm and end up feeling that I am working for them.
Please send a photo and tell me about yourself. Thank you.

7034: Roxanne’s Revenge = $217,000.

From The New York Daily News…

Rapper behind ‘Roxanne’s Revenge’ gets Warner Music to pay for Ph.D

BY Walter Dawkins
Special To The News

Roxanne’s revenge was sweet indeed.

Twenty-five years after the first queen of hip-hop was stiffed on her royalty checks, Dr. Roxanne Shante boasts an Ivy League Ph.D. — financed by a forgotten clause in her first record deal.

“This is a story that needs to be told,” Shante said. “I’m an example that you can be a teenage mom, come from the projects, and be raised by a single parent, and you can still come out of it a doctor.”

Her prognosis wasn’t as bright in the years after the ‘80s icon scored a smash hit at age 14: “Roxanne’s Revenge,” a razor-tongued response to rap group UTFO’s mega-hit “Roxanne, Roxanne.”

The 1984 single sold 250,000 copies in New York City alone, making Shante (born Lolita Gooden) hip hop’s first female celebrity.

She blazed a trail followed by Lil’ Kim, Salt-N-Pepa and Queen Latifah - although Shante didn’t share their success.

After two albums, Shante said, she was disillusioned by the sleazy music industry and swindled by her record company. The teen mother, living in the Queensbridge Houses, recalled how her life was shattered.

“Everybody was cheating with the contracts, stealing and telling lies,” she said. “And to find out that I was just a commodity was heartbreaking.”

But Shante, then 19, remembered a clause in her Warner Music recording contract: The company would fund her education for life.

She eventually cashed in, earning a Ph.D. in psychology from Cornell to the tune of $217,000 — all covered by the label. But getting Warner Music to cough up the dough was a battle.

“They kept stumbling over their words, and they didn’t have an exact reason why they were telling me no,” Shante said.

She figured Warner considered the clause a throwaway, never believing a teen mom in public housing would attend college. The company declined to comment for this story.

Shante found an arm-twisting ally in Marguerita Grecco, the dean at Marymount Manhattan College. Shante showed her the contract, and the dean let her attend classes for free while pursuing the money.

“I told Dean Grecco that either I’m going to go here or go to the streets, so I need your help,” Shante recalls. “She said, ‘We’re going to make them pay for this.’”

Grecco submitted and resubmitted the bills to the label, which finally agreed to honor the contract when Shante threatened to go public with the story.

Shante earned her doctorate in 2001, and launched an unconventional therapy practice focusing on urban African-Americans — a group traditionally reluctant to seek mental health help.

“People put such a taboo on therapy, they feel it means they’re going crazy,” she explained. “No, it doesn’t. It just means you need someone else to talk to.”

Shante often incorporates hip-hop music into her sessions, encouraging her clients to unleash their inner MC and shout out exactly what’s on their mind.

“They can’t really let loose and enjoy life,” she said. “So I just let them unlock those doors.”

Shante, 38, is also active in the community. She offers $5,000 college scholarships each semester to female rappers through the nonprofit Hip Hop Association.

She also dispenses advice to young women in the music business via a MySpace page.

“I call it a warning service, so their dreams don’t turn into nightmares,” she said.

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons said Shante is a shining role model for the rap community. “Dr. Shante’s life is inspiring,” Simmons said. “She was a go-getter who rose from the struggle and went from hustling to teaching. She is a prime example that you can do anything, and everything is possible.”

Saturday, August 22, 2009

7033: Super Muslim Friends.

From The New York Daily News…

Muslim superheroes ‘The 99’ include burka-clad woman; hit show coming to British TV

By Nicole Lyn Pesce
Daily News Staff Writer

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … a burka?

The first Muslim superheroes—already a big hit in the Arab world—are bursting onto the international stage with a new British television series, reports the U.K. Telegraph.

Called “The 99” after Allah’s 99 attributes, the cartoon superheroes include a burka-clad woman named Batina the Hidden and a Saudi Arabian muscle-man named Jabbar the Powerful.

Forbes recently listed the Muslim super friends as one of the top 20 trends taking the world by storm.

“The 99” will hit the airwaves courtesy of Endemol, the production company behind the wildly successful “Big Brother,” with a mission to impart Islamic values in children across all faiths.

The characters’ creator Dr. Naif al-Mutawa, a clinical psychologist from Kuwait, was inspired to develop positive Muslim role models to counter the negative messages of jihadists.

“It hit me that the stories I was hearing were from men who grew up believing that their leader, Saddam, was a hero, a role model—only to one day be tortured by him,” he told the London Times. “I decided the Arab world needed better role models.”

Al-Mutawa created the characters “based on attributes such as generosity and mercy,” and expects them to have a universal appeal. “Those are not things that Islam has a monopoly on.”

Don’t worry about memorizing almost a hundred different characters, however. Although named “The 99,” there will never be a full cast, because it is forbidden to depict all of Allah’s attributes.

Friday, August 21, 2009

7032: Musings On Scouting For Talent.

A recent post re-published a tribute to Caldera, the special initiative for underserved kids founded by Dan Wieden. MultiCultClassics cannot resist commenting on one particular excerpt from the piece:

So, how does this relate to advertising? To me, it seems that an entire generation is being given the opportunity and tools to express themselves in a creative, productive way. The skills that they can learn here can both directly and indirectly influence the industry because some of these talented people could, at some point, decide that the experience they had would be beneficial in advertising, marketing, branding and PR. I wouldn’t be surprised if, at some point, these kids become future students at Brandcenter, The Creative Circus or other advertising/portfolio schools. Additionally, this is a group that could, one at a time, add much needed diversity to the industry.

Yes, the diversity debate will go on and it would be wrong for me, as a white, middle-class guy to be cavalier about it. It’s also tough for me to even open my mouth about diversity lest I get “blogttacked.” I know that I can’t control what people think or say. And I can’t control the fact that I am white. But I do know that there is good work being done here for all the right reasons. What I saw in Central Oregon matters—what Caldera does matters.

For starters, the following musings are not intended to “blogttack” the author or anyone else. Indeed, everyone must continue to freely air opinions if there is true hope for progress.

Caldera is—without question or doubt—a wonderful, noble and awesome effort. Yet positioning it as a tool for diversity doesn’t seem right. First and foremost, Caldera appears to be exposing kids to inspirational and creative ways of self-expression. The mission statement says, “caldera is a catalyst for transformation through innovative art and environmental programs.” It’s inherently about positive social change versus providing career counseling or guidance towards Madison Avenue.

But that’s beside the point MultiCultClassics wishes to ponder. Specifically, why do some folks think recruiting minorities involves underserved communities? Of the minorities presently in the business, how many had rough childhoods that would qualify as underserved? The presumption is slightly akin to clients who initially believe targeting minorities means appealing to low-income audiences.

When seeking White talent, no one ever considers scouting trailer parks and the Appalachian Mountains for candidates.

7031: TinTin Not In.

From The New York Daily News…

‘TinTin Au Congo’ book banned from Brooklyn libraries for depicting Africans as monkeys

By Erin Durkin and Simone Weichselbaum
Daily News Writers

Brooklyn’s chief librarian has yanked a nearly 80-year-old book from the shelves because it depicts Africans as monkeys.

Tintin Au Congo is the only book in the city library system hidden from public view after a reader complained that it was “racially offensive.”

The popular Belgian children’s work — due to be made into a movie by Steven Spielberg — is locked behind a series of hidden doors on the third floor of Brooklyn’s central library.

“‘Tintin au Congo’ was relocated,” said director Richard Reyes-Gavilan. It “had illustrations that were racially offensive and inappropriate for children.”

The curious have to make an appointment to see the original Georges (Herge) Remi piece. The next available date was Monday morning, said a library official.

Donna Lieberman, head of the New York Civil Liberties Union, blasted librarians “for taking the easy way out” and not considering the “long term in engaging in censorship.”

Marcus Ramirez, 26, agreed.

“It’s art, it’s an expression,” said Ramirez, 26, a security guard from the Bronx, looking at a recent reprint of the 1930 cartoon from a Brussels newspaper. “Other people get offended? I don’t see why.”

Spielberg isn’t offended either. The famed filmmaker will put Tintin on the big screen in 2011, highlighting the adventures of the young reporter who travels the world with his dog, Snowy.

Herge was a Belgian enthusiast who pushed a pro-colonial message, as Tintin taught dopey natives right from wrong during his travels to foreign lands.

Even Snowy the dog takes a shot at a young Congolese boy, telling Tintin the child “doesn’t look very bright.”

Library officials across the city said they’ve debated pulling about 25 books and DVDs from city shelves, including “Godless: The Church of Liberalism,” by Ann Coulter, and a Harold Robbins novel, but rejected the requests.

Only “Tintin” was blacklisted in Brooklyn — and quietly yanked from the shelves in 2007.

“Racism is relevant,” said Brooklynite Karina Estedan, 28, who agrees the book should be locked away.

“The public library caters to the sensitivity of the community. People are trying to erase the mistakes of the past.”

Thursday, August 20, 2009

7030: Corporate Tribalism—Part 1.

A recent perspective made reference to a new book: Corporate Tribalism by Thomas Kochman and Jean Mavrelis.

This book appears to have significant relevance for the diversity drama that continues in the advertising industry. MultiCultClassics has only started reading it, and plans to share thoughts via a series of posts in the weeks ahead.

The subhead of the book reads, “White Men/White Women And Cultural Diversity At Work.” Drawing on the training they’ve done with corporations for over 20 years, Kochman and Mavrelis have divided the book into two parts. The first part focuses on U.S. Corporate White Men (referred to as CWM), understanding what’s happening between them and others in the workplace. The second part focuses on U.S. Corporate White Women (referred to as CWW), understanding what’s happening between them and others in the workplace—plus, what’s happening between women within their own collective.

The very first paragraph of Chapter One is definitely worth viewing:

CWM in the United States often feel that corporate diversity initiatives do not include them—that “diversity is about everyone else but them” or that “they are the ones who now have to understand others, but others don’t have to understand them.” At face value, neither of these statements is true. CWM are key players in any organization, and the success of diversity initiatives needs their creative involvement just as it does the creative involvement of others. Moreover, members of other groups have spent decades leaving their different culture at the doorstep of the U.S. mainstream workplace to try to adopt or adapt to a cultural style that mainly fits and serves CWM. CWM miss the extent to which others have had to change their ways to accommodate them, so it seems now that the onus of having to change falls only on them. CWM, looking for others to ante up, fail to notice that the money of others is already in the pot.

This excerpt ought to be stapled to the forehead of every White Mad Man in the ad industry, especially those who constantly opt to delegate diversity.

MultiCultClassics encourages all visitors to pick up the book and follow along. In fact, we were tempted to mail a copy to Dan Wieden, but figured he’s got plenty of his own loot. So to Dan and everyone else, click here now.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

7029: Straight Talk Against Homophobia.

Kinda dig this campaign designed to teach teens to stop making homophobic remarks like, “That’s so gay.” Wonder if the Ad Council partnered with any Omnicom shops to produce the work.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

7028: Bankrupt And Binging.

Digesting the news with a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• The publisher of Reader’s Digest is filing for bankruptcy. They probably need more than a condensed bailout.

• A new Duke University Medical Center study shows a significant number of people older than 50 are binge drinking. Among Baby Boomers between 50 and 64 years old, 22 percent of men and 9 percent of women reported having five or more drinks at once in the past month. So how come all the booze advertising seems to be targeting young male audiences?

7027: Adpeople Are Big, Fat Liars.

Anybody else find it hypocritical that the Ad Council is hyping healthy living and dieting while most advertising agencies are hawking unhealthy living and fast food in mass quantities?

Monday, August 17, 2009

7026: Like Mad Ave, Mad Men Afraid Of Race.

Latoya Peterson, Writer Extraordinaire and Editor of Racialicious, wrote a piece about the role of race in AMC series Mad Men for Double X. Check it out. Plus, read Latoya’s additional thoughts on her Mad Men perspective.

7025: Deleting Digital Stereotypes.

From The Chicago Sun-Times…

Hispanics quickly gain digital skills

By Esther J. Cepeda

A few weeks ago, the City of Chicago released a report titled “Digital Excellence in Chicago: A City-Wide View.” It enumerated—among other sky-is-falling statistics—that African Americans in Chicago were 6 percent less likely to use the Internet than whites, called out Spanish-speaking residents as being the rarest users, and topped the entire thing off with: “Latinos as a whole stand out as the least-connected residents.”

My immediate thought—after hitting the roof—was this: That report may well be true, as far as it goes, but it leaves a dangerous impression that Hispanics in Chicago—and by implication all across the country—are digitally clueless. But, in fact, also true is that though they lag behind whites, a big percentage of Hispanics are online—and more wade into the Web every day, at a faster rate than any other group.

Plus, when Hispanics go online, surf’s up.

In a recent report called “The Power of the Hispanic Consumer On-line,” Scarborough Research says that a majority—54 percent—of Hispanic adults were online way back in 2007 and that number was growing by about 13 percent a year—so you know the percentage is considerably higher by now.

Then I remembered that in late March, Chicago-based research firm Mintel released results from a survey showing that Hispanics who are online are more likely to have profiles on social networking sites than non-Hispanics—48 percent of them have one compared with 43 percent of black Americans and 31 percent of whites. Other findings from that survey suggested that Latinos online adopt new media technology more quickly than non-Latinos, spend far more time than non-Latinos listening to Internet radio and downloading music and devote more time weekly to surfing, playing multiplayer games and blogging or commenting online.

Just last April, comScore Inc. released numbers that showed that during the past year, the growth of the U.S Hispanic Internet audience outpaced that of the total U.S. online population in terms of number of visitors, time spent and pages consumed. Those Hispanic online visitors—20.3 million just in the month of February—made up 11 percent of the total U.S. online population.

But a few statistics don’t tell the whole story. So I blew in some calls to people in the trenches with the young, old, black, white, brown, underemployed and out of work to get their take on things.

Phillip Jackson, executive director of the Black Star Project, an organization that promotes better education in minority Chicago communities, was surprised by the Chicago study, too.

“From my perspective, there is absolutely a divide but mostly among middle-aged and older people,” he said. “The younger people realize you have to be connected digitally to even exist anymore and they understand many businesses only accept resumes and applications over the Internet.”

Alvaro Obregon, new communities program director for the Resurrection Project, said: “Yes, there are issues with access, but if you look out there you’ll see young children doing the texting, they’ve got their mySpace, and this is forcing parents to say: ‘I want to know what my kids know’ and they’re getting out there and learning it.”

Catherine Zurybida, a coordinator at the Odyssey Project, which offers free humanities college classes to low-income students, immediately articulated my gut reaction:

“If that assumption was made by employers, they might conclude that a white candidate has better ordinary, everyday computer skills than a minority,” she said. “I would say that’s certainly not true, and it’s a very destructive stereotype.”

Exactly! The easy-headline-grabbing reports are not necessarily inaccurate, but they don’t tell the whole story and have a way of getting stuck in people’s minds to form limiting stereotypes. But now you know better.

So, clip and save my stats, too. And never let anyone’s numbers keep you from knowing that if we really want to talk to each other, technological barriers can be overcome.

7024: Creativity At Caldera.

From GoodWorks at…

In the Middle Of Oregon, Small Steps Toward Diversity

Caldera Program Exposes Children to Creative Possibilities

By Doug Zanger

There is something decidedly magical about Central Oregon. It is high desert—the exact opposite of what everyone thinks of when they think of my home state. When you get up to around 3,000 feet, away from the (not always) rainy Willamette Valley, you not only see change, but you can smell it in the air.

The same thing can be said about Caldera.

Back in April, Dan Wieden spoke at the 4A’s Leadership Conference. He was (and is) very honest about how “white, middle-class kids” make up the talent pool that creates messaging that targets inner-city consumers. But what to do about it—other than talk, blog and argue. One form of action came in the form of what is an incredible, year-round youth arts and education program in Caldera, where underserved youth in the Portland-area and Central Oregon start at age 11 and continue through to young adulthood.

Recently, I visited the Caldera summer camp. What I saw was nothing short of amazing. It wasn’t just the scenery, or the outstanding facilities at the camp. It was an energy that I don’t believe I have ever felt before. It was about expression. It was about hope. It was about pride. It was about trust. This was a celebration of limitless possibility—and the campers and instructors had perma-grin for good reason.

At a “Friends of Caldera” event a few months ago, a young woman, whose camp name is Lavida (also featured in the Caldera video), spoke passionately about what Caldera meant to her. It was (and is) clear that Lavida, now 20 and a Portland college student, benefited greatly because she was given the opportunity to grow and thrive. There are plenty of other children who will get the same chance because of Caldera’s guidance, inspiration and, most importantly, love. It felt great to be there and to see it all in action.

So, how does this relate to advertising? To me, it seems that an entire generation is being given the opportunity and tools to express themselves in a creative, productive way. The skills that they can learn here can both directly and indirectly influence the industry because some of these talented people could, at some point, decide that the experience they had would be beneficial in advertising, marketing, branding and PR. I wouldn’t be surprised if, at some point, these kids become future students at Brandcenter, The Creative Circus or other advertising/portfolio schools. Additionally, this is a group that could, one at a time, add much needed diversity to the industry.

Yes, the diversity debate will go on and it would be wrong for me, as a white, middle-class guy to be cavalier about it. It’s also tough for me to even open my mouth about diversity lest I get “blogttacked.” I know that I can’t control what people think or say. And I can’t control the fact that I am white. But I do know that there is good work being done here for all the right reasons. What I saw in Central Oregon matters—what Caldera does matters.

And I can’t wait to be a counselor there someday.

7023: Bollywood And Bias.

From The New York Daily News...

Shah Rukh Khan controversy mars India Independence Day Parade

By Joy Resmovits and Meredith Kolodner, Daily News Writers

Thousands turned out for a swirling celebration of India-American pride Sunday, but all they could talk about was the detention of a Bollywood superstar.

Onlookers in bright saris cheered as colorful floats blaring Bhangra tunes rolled down Madison Ave. for the 29th India Independence Day Parade.

Even as they cheered and waved flags, many in the crowd said the questioning of leading man Shah Rukh Khan weighed on their minds.

“I have been through the ordeal Khan saw,” said Tahir Nehmood, 28, an engineer who was once held at Kennedy Airport. “You have to ask, ‘Muslims are stopped the most often. Why is that?’”

Paradegoers were particularly upset that a man known as “our Brad Pitt” could be mistaken for a terrorist.

“It’s sad,” said Ram Iyer, 29, a financial controller who moved to the U.S. from Mumbai in 2002. “He’s very renowned. This was not right.”

Khan was questioned for more than an hour at Newark Airport Friday after his name appeared on a security checklist, U.S. Customs officials said.

The Muslim actor came to the U.S. to promote a new film, “My Name Is Khan,” about ethnic profiling after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Angry fans in one northern Indian city burned an American flag as word of Khan’s detention spread. Still, the incident did not stop the annual celebration in Manhattan.

Reshma Shetty, one of the best-known Indian-American actresses, made a splash atop the Daily News float.

As soon as Shetty walked out of her car, two young fans ran up to her clamoring for a photo.

“We wanted to cry when we saw her,” said Larissa Kermani, 14, a high school student from Kew Gardens, Queens.

Shetty said she loved being in the parade.

“Lots of times when you go places, you have to hide your culture,” Shetty said. “I think New York is not one of those places.”

7022: Only In Americana.

This Chicago sandwich shop always has odd advertising, with lots of posters featuring hotties and hawking 24-hour service. Plus, you can always buy a sub, chips, soft drink and cigarettes—an extra value meal for wannabe contestants for The Biggest Loser.

7021: Wieden’s Words = Teachable Moment.

Whenever MultiCultClassics posts something incorporating the speech Dan Wieden made at the 2009 4As Leadership Conference, the few comments tend to run a certain pattern. Most visitors display anger or other negative emotions toward the iconic adman. For the latest Wieden-related post, W+K alum Jimmy Smith left the comment below. Read it and check out the MultiCultClassics random ramblings immediately following.

Sometimes you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Dan did what very, very few ad cats of his stature do. He told the truth. Since the truth is more of what we need, I wouldn’t blast him for telling it like it is.

And while Dan can, should and absolutely will do better in terms of hiring more folks of color, he does deserve some credit for what he has done.

These are some of the folks of color who have (or still currently) worked at W+K.

Darryl McDonald - AD and the first brotha in the creative department
John Jay - ECD and the first partner of color in the history of W+K
Kilpatrick Anderson - AD
Feh Tarty - CD
Cheeraz Gorman - CW is a new hire and a star on the rise
Keith Cartwright - CD on Brand Jordan
Desmond Marzette - Writer
Brandon Pierce - CW
Charles Hall - CD
Jayanta Jenkins - AD
Tina Davis used to run Brand Jordan on the account side
Dara Marshall - Account Supervisor
Arty Tan - AD
Craig Namba - CW
Adrian Hilton - AD
Javier Castillo - AD
Donna Lamar headed up the production department in Amsterdam.
Robert Nakata - CD
And I worked there, too.

First, thanks to Smith and all others who have commented in the past. There is always validity in the opinions offered, whether one agrees with them or not.

For the record, MultiCultClassics never intended to blast Wieden. OK, maybe a little bit. But the truth is, Wieden’s words triggered two basic responses here: Disappointment and Heartbreak.

After all, a premier creative mind in our field is displaying the cultural cluelessness you’d expect to see from the most uninformed among us. Once again, we hear the same lines proclaiming, “There’s a lot more we can do.” Plus, we’re left with the same “solutions” of inner-city outreach programs. Don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but if an art director or copywriter presented the same idea to Wieden year after year—and it was an idea that has consistently proved ineffective—how would Wieden respond? Would he not blast the creative person for their lack of originality? If an art director or copywriter repeatedly told Wieden, “There’s a lot more I can do,” how long would the W+K founder tolerate the slacker?

Wieden’s admissions and revelations are not news. For example, Sanford Moore has been making the charges for decades. When Moore states that Whites are hijacking minority cultures while failing to allow recruit minorities into the industry, however, the man is branded as a corrosive rabble-rouser. On the other hand, Wieden confirms the accusations and is respected for being honest and “telling it like it is.” Hell, Wieden will undoubtedly win an ADCOLOR® award before Moore. Now that’s fucked up.

MultiCultClassics wonders about the residual effects Wieden’s words had on his peers. It’s highly probable that—at least on subconscious levels—White listeners breathed a sigh of relief and thought, “Hey, if Dan Wieden is struggling to figure things out, I shouldn’t feel too bad about my abysmal shortcomings with diversity.” Did Wieden inadvertently sanction the institutionalized lethargy that kills true progress?

Sadly, Wieden demonstrates that our top leaders remain thoroughly unqualified and incapable of building an inclusive industry. Every step forward is actually a rerun of past movement—Whites are moonwalking versus blazing ahead. There appears to be minimal real commitment because there is minimal real understanding of the imperative for change.

When Tiffany R. Warren joined Omnicom as its Chief Diversity Officer, DDB Worldwide Chairman and Chief Creative Officer Bob Scarpelli announced Ms. Warren met with an executive leadership committee and “[reminded] us of the far-reaching benefits of a diverse employee base.” Why do honchos need to have their memories jogged?

Whites in advertising hit the reset button with each half-hearted push to reduce exclusivity. Knowledge is seemingly never retained. The ignorance of the 1930s still lives in the 21st century. Once discrimination lawsuits threaten, the collective starts from Ground Zero with a fresh minority award show and urban internships. Or they take the easy route and delegate diversity.

If Madison Avenue bosses want to catch up in the digital arena, they don’t hesitate to purchase entire interactive networks and hire anyone with a hint of Web skills—even if the candidate’s résumé is devoid of agency experience. Grand initiatives are mounted. No sum of money slows down the proceedings. On the flipside, a minority has to prove complete expertise in advertising and marketing before being considered for an adperson role. Why, we’ll even ship you off to Howard University for training. Provided the educational extravaganza acquires its required funding, of course. Heaven forbid Whites might hold themselves to such lofty standards—or recognize their own need for rewiring.

Herein lies a significant hurdle that Whites deny and/or fail to grasp. That is, diversity demands active and deliberate transformations from the reigning majority—not just the invisible minority. The traditional hiring and retention practices are as outdated as the BDA business models. Assimilation must be replaced by multiculturalism. Waiting for candidates to magically arrive into cubicles must be abandoned for aggressive searching and recruitment. Being attracted to people who look, act and think like you must be switched with openness for others holding the potential for greatness.

In Corporate Tribalism, a new book on cultural diversity at work, authors Thomas Kochman and Jean Mavrelis noted “that people do not have an upfront awareness of what shapes their attitudes or worldview or the rules that drive or govern their behavior.” Additionally, gaining enlightenment calls for “a deeper level of probing, reflection and analysis.” These observations have direct relevance for the ruling majority in our industry. Does anyone believe serious—or casual, for that matter—introspection is currently happening among White adpeople?

To be clear, MultiCultClassics is not trying to stage a witch hunt. Wieden obviously has made extraordinary contributions in his career, and his diversity accomplishments are arguably so-so. The list of executives Smith provided is cool. In many ways, however, this is not about Wieden; rather, it’s about what his words and deeds symbolize. And it’s about seeking the “Teachable Moment” in the scenario.

Jimmy Smith insisted Wieden “can, should and absolutely will do better in terms of hiring more folks of color.” Totally agree with the “can” and “should” parts. Unfortunately, there’s an over 70-year-old industry-wide record of negligence betting against the “absolutely will” portion. The ruling majority cannot be trusted with self-regulation—especially when they are culturally clueless. Indeed, a 2006 USA TODAY story quoted Smith backing New York City’s Commission on Human Rights in its dealings with Madison Avenue shops:

Smith says he supports the commission’s move to force faster results: “Absolutely, you’ve got to have somebody step in.”

Wieden and the rest of the industry spout phrases like, “We’ve got miles and miles to go before we sleep.” Yet there is scant evidence of exhaustive, tireless planning and execution.

Perhaps it’s time for everyone to cease the rhetoric and draw inspiration from W+K’s biggest client’s slogan. Just do it.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

7020: Mad Men Shows Its Pride.

While the third season’s premiere of AMC series Mad Men featured zero minorities, it did present a scandalous gay encounter between art director Salvatore Romano and a hotel employee. Plus, Betty Draper even made a crude lesbian crack about her own daughter. Creator Matthew Weiner must have received creative consultation from Omnicom.

7019: White House Homecoming.

From The New York Times…

Madison and the White House, Through the Memoir of a Slave

By Rachel L. Swarns

WASHINGTON — In 1809, a young boy from a wealthy Virginia estate stepped into President James Madison’s White House and caught the first glimpse of his new home. The East Room was unfinished, he recalled years later in a memoir. Pennsylvania Avenue was unpaved and “always in an awful condition from either mud or dust,” he recounted.

“The city was a dreary place,” he continued.

His name was Paul Jennings, and he was an unlikely chronicler of the Madison presidency. When he first walked into the Executive Mansion, he was a 10-year-old slave.

But over the course of his long life, Mr. Jennings witnessed, and perhaps participated in, the rescue of George Washington’s portrait from the White House during the War of 1812 and stood by the former president’s side at his deathbed. He bought his freedom, helped to organize a daring (and unsuccessful) slave escape and became the first person to put his White House recollections into a memoir.

Next week, Mr. Jennings’s story will take center stage when dozens of his descendants gather for a reunion in the White House. Historians say it will be a remarkable moment in the history of the mansion, which was built with slave labor and now houses President Obama, the first black person to hold the office, and his family.

Historians say the visit will highlight the intimate, day-to-day role that enslaved men and women played in the White House, a community that is little known and whose members have long languished in obscurity.

“It really is a story that isn’t well told yet,” said Lonnie G. Bunch, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. “It lets people realize just how big a shadow slavery cast on America.”

Read the full story here.