Thursday, September 30, 2010

8016: Gay Is Beautiful…?

Levi’s was among the honorees at the GLAAD Media Awards in Advertising event, picking up a prize for essentially ripping off a standard Black History Month concept.

8015: Whites Riding High In The Motor City.

A Miniature MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• A new census survey indicated the percentage of White folks in the Motor City shot up dramatically—from 8.4 percent in 2008 to 13.3 percent in 2009. So it looks like Whites are making a comeback in Detroit. The same can’t be said for the Lions or Pistons.

8014: Peggy Olson Begs To Differ.

The AdweekMedia Real Time Advertising Week coverage spotlighted a panel of adwomen declaring the glass ceiling is no longer a problem. Um, has anyone tallied the number of female creative directors lately? Or minority females? Sorry, ladies, but the spirit of Peggy Olson is alive and well on Madison Avenue.

Is the glass ceiling a thing of the past?

By Elaine Wong

The glass ceiling is no longer a problem for most women. Or so a panel of leading female media and marketing executives say. That was the general sentiment at “Beyond The Glass Ceiling,” an Advertising Week event devoted to the topic. The high-powered panel featured moderator Lori Senecal, president and CEO of ad agency Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners; Kenetta Bailey, svp of marketing at WE tv; Robin Domeniconi, svp and chief brand officer of Elle; Jodi Kahn, evp at iVillage Network; and Susan Malfa, svp of ad sales at Bravo & Oxygen media networks.

“The glass ceiling is more of a thing of the past,” Senecal said in her opening remarks. “It’s not something we are experiencing [as much] as we did a few years ago.” In some cases, younger females haven’t even heard of the term. Senecal recalled a particular case when someone said to her: “A glass ceiling? You mean, [as in] a skylight?” “It has a whole new meaning for the next generation,” Senecal said. “There are a lot of signs that it is time to leave this notion of a glass ceiling in the past.”

The women on the panel certainly haven’t fallen short of their goals. Kahn, for instance, was charged with reinventing NBC Universal’s formerly laggard iVillage women’s brand. A year later, the site—a hub for bloggers and those looking to connect with other women—has relaunched several new verticals, notched more new advertisers and is now looking to position itself as the leading women’s online destination brand. Bailey, meanwhile, helped spearhead one of Wedding Central’s most successful campaigns, including one for the TV show Bridezillas.

And there is broader evidence of women’s rising consumer and spending power. Women now hold a majority of the nation’s jobs—the first time this has ever happened—and they’re now the “most powerful consumer group, with spending power of over $5 trillion today,” Senecal said. “The real story is looking beyond the glass ceiling and acknowledging the power women have today as [the most] influential [group of] consumers,” she said.

And today’s high-charged, career-driven females also possess a civic-minded spirit. Just look to Pepsi’s Refresh Project, said Bailey, an alumna of the consumer products company. Not only that, but women today are highly involved and active engagers in the fast-growing digital space. “[We’re] in a digital deluge. A lot of brands are dipping their toes in. But there is no more toe-dipping. We need to jump in,” she concluded.

Update: Based on the comments being posted at Adweek, not everyone agrees the glass ceiling is a thing of the past.

8013: Same Old Story.

From The Digerati Life…

Age Discrimination In The Workplace

Just like with anything else, unemployment seems to be particularly cruel to certain demographic groups — in particular, to those who find themselves at the extreme ends of the age spectrum. That is, the younger and older folks get the short end of the stick when our economy goes through the wringer as it just did. The recovery will be slowest for job seekers on the fringes. So when “they” say that the recession is over, it’s hard to buy.

When you’re over 50 and unemployed, you could be facing an uphill battle to get back into the workforce until we start seeing more vigorous growth in the economy. And who knows when that will finally happen? Like many people in my generation, I share their feelings.

On the other hand, if you look at the plight of the younger generation in this current economy, you’ll see that they’ve got quite a disadvantage with having to face present day college education costs as well as paltry job prospects. It may not be so easy if you’re just starting out today.

Age Discrimination In The Tech Workplace
Which leads me to the job situation here in my neck of the woods. The truth is that things are pretty good over here if you’ve got specialized skills. I know of many places that are hiring, especially if you have a technical background. But there’s a caveat here, which I found well covered in this expose and discussion over at TechCrunch. The author calls it a dark secret, but it doesn’t strike me as such when they say that “age discrimination” is alive and well in Silicon Valley. Not necessarily because I’ve known this all along, but because I’m of the mindset that age discrimination is indeed alive and well anywhere! What that really means is that the longer you stew in a rank and file job, the harder will it be for you to make any progress with your career. And worse, you become much more expendable as you age. Again, not a surprise if you’re not seeing any career growth, but certain professions are more notorious for this than others.

For instance, what about modeling? Or those “dangerous jobs” where you need to be extremely physically fit to be effective? What about athletes? I guess we all face the same truth: that we should stay proactive about our work and think ahead if we’re to keep our place in the company. And it’s really our responsibility to avoid feeling too complacent about what we’re doing. As the tired old cliches go, the only constant is change. Expect the unexpected. This reality will never be forever.

That said, I picked up some great tips from that TechCrunch post. Before you decide to sit back and think you’ve escaped the brunt of the past financial crisis or recession, read on. I think these pointers ring true no matter what white collar job you hold.

Whether we like it or not, it’s a tough industry. I know that some techies will take offense at what I have to say, but here is my advice to those whose hair is beginning to grey:

1. Move up the ladder into management, architecture, or design; switch to sales or product management; or jump ship and become an entrepreneur (old guys have a huge advantage in the startup world). Build skills that are more valuable to your company, and take positions that can’t be filled by entry-level workers.

2. If you’re going to stay in programming, realize that the deck is stacked against you. Even though you may be highly experienced and wise, employers aren’t willing or able to pay an experienced worker twice or thrice what an entry-level worker earns. Save as much as you can when you’re in your 30s and 40s and be prepared to earn less as you gain experience.

3. Keep your skills current. This means keeping up-to-date with the latest trends in computing, programming techniques, and languages, and adapting to change. To be writing code for a living when you’re 50, you will need to be a rock-star developer and be able to out-code the new kids on the block.

That last point resonates. Heh, now you know why I’ve decided to take a shot at entrepreneurship. It’s all about the hair color!

8012: Stating The Painfully Obvious.

At Advertising Week, Graham Stanley Advertising President and CEO Larry Woodard said the industry is finally admitting it has serious problems with diversity, digital and more. Um, Woodard needs to brush up on his Madison Avenue trivia. First, diversity has been a topic of discussion at Advertising Week for many consecutive years. Second, in her keynote address at the 2009 4As Leadership Conference, Nancy Hill quoted former 4As Chairman Jock Elliott admitting to the dearth of diversity—an admission made in 1968. And let’s not forget advertising agency founder Milton Biow speaking out on the need for a more inclusive workplace—in the 1940s. The industry has been finally admitting there’s a diversity problem for about 80 years.

As for the serious problems with digital, well, that’s no revelation either. For proof, simply visit the Advertising Week website. The design is total shit and it’s almost impossible to navigate.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

8011: A Latino Love-Hate Relationship.

On Monday, the AdweekMedia Real Time Advertising Week coverage showed Procter & Gamble and Wing bragging about efforts targeting Latinos. On Wednesday, advertisers were being criticized by marketing specialists—including Wing representatives—for ignoring Latinos. By the end of the week, expect a revolución.

8010: Minorities In Advertising Week.

AdweekMedia is offering Real Time Advertising Week coverage, and the majority of depicted minorities are celebrities who don’t work in advertising.

8009: How Not To Make Money Blogging.

Here’s another job listing that shows why content on the Web sucks. The employer is paying less than $250 for five +400-word articles, including one titled, “How to Make Money Blogging.” Um, if you knew how to make money blogging, you wouldn’t have to take hack jobs paying sweatshop wages.

Title: Five Articles on Blogging
Project ID: 650902
Budget: Less than $250

Category: Writing, Editing & Translation
I need five 400-500 word informative articles on Blogging written. One article for each of the following topics:

How to Make Money Blogging
The Pros and Cons of Free Blogging
Should I Start a Personal Blog?
Blogging Tips
How Do I Increase My Blog Traffic?

Must be original and pass Copyscape.
Freelancer must a be native English speaker/writer.
Please bid for the entire project, not price per article.

Possibility for long-term partnership. Please inform me of your ability to write articles across a variety of industries, experience with producing online content, sample of work if available, turnaround time, etc.

8008: Playing The Percentages.

Surveying the news in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• A Gallup survey shows depression is up 25 percent in the Gulf region since the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. BP should now stand for BiPolar.

• A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows most Americans are pretty ignorant about their own religions. However, nearly everyone agrees BP is going straight to hell.

• The Government Accountability Office released a report indicating that women have still made little progress in attaining management positions in the workplace. Imagine the reports that would be generated if there were a Madison Avenue Accountability Office.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

8007: JWTF, Bob Jeffrey?

AdweekMedia has been offering Real Time Advertising Week coverage, and today JWT honcho Bob Jeffrey was spotlighted for the Quote of the Day.

JWT’s Bob Jeffrey on ‘Mad Men’ and recruiting

“Mad Men … has been a positive recruiting thing for our industry. Even though it’s advertising in the ‘60s, it shows people having fun. There’s a certain sexiness, a certain glamour.”

Honestly, this douche dude is so tired. But what do you expect from a man who once blathered about idea racism? Perhaps someone should tell Jeffrey that the industry has absolutely failed to recruit minorities for decades. Surely he doesn’t think the ultra-White Mad Men might reverse the results in this area. Additionally, the global holding companies have succeeded in draining the fun, sexiness and glamour from Madison Avenue. Need proof? Simply visit JWT.

8006: Over 3.4 Billion Sold.

Big deals in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Southwest Airlines is buying competitor AirTran in a deal estimated at $3.4 billion. Bet the amount would have been significantly less if the purchase were made through Priceline.

• Unilever announced plans to purchase Alberto Culver in a deal estimated at $3.7 billion. Which means Unilever will own even more brands that ignore the efforts of the Dove Real Beauty campaign.

Monday, September 27, 2010

8005: Muslim Hero Not An Oxymoron.

From The New York Post…

Muslim superhero inspired by wheel life

Comic-book fans will soon be getting their first glimpse at an unlikely new superhero—a Muslim boy with superpowers in a wheelchair.

The Silver Scorpion is the brainchild of a group of disabled young Americans and Syrians who were brought together last month in Damascus by the Open Hands Initiative, a nonprofit organization founded by US philanthropist and businessman Jay T. Snyder.

An early sketch shows a Muslim boy who lost his legs in a land-mine accident and discovers he has the power to control metal with his mind.

Sharad Devarajan, co-founder and CEO of Liquid Comics, which is now turning the young people’s ideas into pictures and a story line, said the goal is to release the first comic book in early November in both Arabic and English.

Snyder says he was inspired by President Obama’s effort to reach out to the Muslim world in his January 2009 inaugural address. Last month, Snyder flew 12 disabled Americans to Damascus to meet their Syrian peers, and one of their main goals was to come up with ideas and story lines for the new superhero.

“The only limit was the imagination these kids had—the opportunity for a great story,” said Snyder. “They helped create something by their combined talents, and that becomes a gift to the world.”

8004: Adweek Discovers Diversity.

Adweek presents a special Diversity Issue this week. Noreen O’Leary examines how Millennials might ultimately affect the makeup of Madison Avenue. There’s the obligatory discussions on U.S. Census figures and the marketing implications, probably co-written by Census agency Draftfcb. Uniworld Chairman Byron Lewis pontificates about recruitment and retention while avoiding questioning ex-client Burger King’s decision to fire its multicultural agencies in favor of a White agency. Eleftheria Parpis rambles on about “young, color-blind consumers” changing how clients make and place ads. Lucia Moses talks to Essence Communications President Michelle Ebanks. Cyrus Mehri and Janelle M. Carter continue to hype the Madison Avenue Project. There’s the expected editorial from Tiffany R. Warren, along with a perspective from one of her mentees. And Barbara Lippert interviewed commercial actor Jamison Reeves. Guess this guy wasn’t available to chat.

(Also, for a diversity issue, it all seemed heavily Black.)

8003: Mad Men Mention.

Lane Pryce, following in the footsteps of former regular character Paul Kinsey, has jungle fever. Pryce, his father and Don Draper visited the Playboy Club, and the Brit immediately connected with a Black woman—gushing that she was the finest waitress around. It was later revealed that Pryce is having an affair with his “Chocolate Bunny,” professing to be in love with her. She appeared to feel the same about her sugar daddy.

Creator Matthew Weiner probably thinks he’s being provocative and realistic with the new character. But in the end, Weiner is simply pushing Black female stereotypes that continue today. In the world of AMC series Mad Men—and Madison Avenue—Black women are servants or sex objects.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

8002: The Great Moral Issue Of Our Time. Still.

From Adweek…

Perspective: View From the Front Lines
Despite gains, much work still needs to be done

By Cyrus Mehri and Janelle M. Carter

In 1968, then chairman of Ogilvy & Mather John Elliott Jr., speaking at the 51st annual American Association of Advertising Agencies meeting, called the failure of the industry to hire a greater number of African Americans “the great moral issue of our time.”

Today, the lack of African Americans employed by the general-market advertising agencies is still a great moral issue requiring redress. Equally important for the agencies, the lack of diversity is also a business issue.

Although the percentage of African-American managers and professionals in the advertising industry has increased from 2.3 percent to 5.2 percent between 1975 and 2006, there still remains a shortage of African-American advertising managers and professionals, according to the 2009 report “Research Perspectives on Race and Employment in the Advertising Industry” by Marc Bendick and Mary Lou Egan. African-American prospective and current advertising professionals continue to struggle to achieve parity in employment opportunities in the advertising industry. African Americans are less likely to get a fair opportunity to be hired for jobs for which they are highly qualified. For these reasons, last year our firm and the NAACP launched the Madison Avenue Project.

Our firm has heard from many people adversely affected by the industry’s lack of equal employment opportunities. To our dismay, we’ve heard several stories from African-American professionals who had impressive resumes and portfolios and were heavily recruited by advertising agencies, until they showed up for the interview. The moment they walked in the door and their skin color became apparent to the agency, the reception of the hiring team, say these professionals, quickly went from enthusiastic to lukewarm, at best. Needless to say, they were denied the opportunity to work at those agencies.

African-American professionals able to get their foot in the door face barriers in getting assigned to the biggest and best accounts, or receiving the same opportunities for mentorship and training as their white counterparts. For those African-American professionals who don’t wash out of the agency within a couple of years, they undoubtedly hit the brick ceiling that keeps them from advancing to higher-paid positions and executive-level titles. According to the report, in 2006 only 2.5 percent of professionals earning more than $100,000 in 16 reporting ad agencies were African American.

Elliot called for change more than 40 years ago. Yet the lack of diversity and equal employment opportunities continue to be the great moral issue that the advertising industry has yet to fully address. If the industry isn’t motivated by a moral reason to change, then perhaps it may find motivation in the business reason.

According to a report by Richard Lapchick, a leading advocate for racial fairness in sports, “White Men Dominate Advertising Agencies’ Creative Director Positions as Exemplified by Ads Aired During the Super Bowl,” not one of the 52 ads produced by ad agencies that were aired during the 2010 Super Bowl had a person of color as the creative director. Only 6 percent of those creative directors were female. Interestingly, one of the most popular ads aired during the 2010 Super Bowl was Doritos “House Rules,” which was created by an amateur Hispanic male, who won Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” contest.

Lapchick’s report further found that the Super Bowl ads overwhelmingly lacked diverse actors and were even derogatory towards women and people of color. If more people of color are involved in the decision-making process of creating ad campaigns, it’s more likely that the ads will reflect the diversity of American consumers and less likely that ads that are insensitive to subtle racial issues will be published.

People of color constitute over 25 percent of the American population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2006-08 American Community Survey. Accordingly, the “general market” is more diverse than it ever has been and will continue to diversify over time. As a result, it’s important, from a business perspective, that the top decision makers as well as the workforce within the general-market agencies represent America’s increasing diversity. Diverse perspectives will make the agencies better able to create ads that connect with America’s consumers and lead to a more creative work product.

To achieve change, the ad agencies must start by redressing their errors and implementing equal employment policies and practices and creating an inclusive culture that allows all employees, regardless of race, an equal opportunity to build a successful career within the advertising industry. The Madison Avenue Project remains committed to holding the advertising agencies to their duty to establish and maintain equal employment

Cyrus Mehri is a founding partner at Mehri & Skalet, the law firm that formed the Madison Avenue Project in 2009 with the NAACP to reverse discrimination against African-American professionals in the advertising industry. Janelle M. Carter, an associate, is actively involved with the project. They can be reached at and, respectively.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

8001: General Motors Goes Beyond General Market.

According to this Advertising Age story, it appears that General Motors is slowly reversing its decisions to dump minority advertising agencies in favor of White firms. Hey, it’s the least the automaker can do, given the fact that they received bailout money from a Black president.

GM Assigns Cadillac to Carol H. Williams
Automaker Brings Back Former Multicultural Agency

By Laurel Wentz

NEW YORK -- General Motors Corp. is bringing back one of its former multicultural agencies, Carol H. Williams, to handle the African-American assignment for Cadillac.

Cadillac announced today it will be working with the independent African-American agency in conjunction with Fallon, Cadillac’s creative agency of record. Unlike other GM brands, Cadillac doesn’t have a U.S. Hispanic agency of record.

“We need to tell the Cadillac story to affluent, urban consumers in ways that are relevant to them,” said GM’s Joel Ewanick, VP-marketing. “Carol H. Williams has worked with Cadillac and other luxury brands in the past, and we think their experience will be valuable as we develop a multicultural marketing strategy for GM’s flagship brand.”

Ad Age reported earlier this week that GM named Spike DDB, the joint partnership between film director Spike Lee and DDB Worldwide focusing on integrated communications and niche marketing to African-Americans, trendsetters and transcultural consumers, as its African-American agency of record for Chevrolet. Carol H. Williams held the Chevrolet business until 2008, when it moved to Sanders/Wingo, El Paso, Texas after a review but that turned out to be a short-lived assignment.

Until the two Cadillac and Chevrolet assignments announced this week, GM had no African-American agency of record.

Carol H. Williams is the fourth-largest African-American agency, with 2009 revenue of $21.02 million, an 11.7% drop from the previous year, according to Ad Age’s multicultural agency ranking. Spike DDB was ranked No. 15, with 2009 revenue of $2.6 million.

On the Chevrolet agency roster, Spike DDB joined Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and U.S. Hispanic agency LatinWorks. Both were selected, without review, by Mr. Ewanick. Unlike the scattershot of African-American work, Mr. Ewanick’s choice of LatinWorks replaced 13-year Hispanic marketing incumbent Accentmarketing, Miami. LatinWorks was Advertising Age’s 2009 Multicultural Agency of the Year.

The appointment of an Asian-American agency is still to be determined.

Friday, September 24, 2010

8000: Chevy Rides Familiar Race Road.

Check out the Adweek story below. A brief MultiCultClassics perspective immediately follows…

Chevy Taps Spike DDB
N.Y. shop picks up African-American ad chores

—David Gianatasio

General Motors’ Chevrolet has made another move, tapping Spike DDB in New York to handle its African-American ad chores following a review, the client has confirmed.

Sanders/Wingo in El Paso, Texas, had previously handled that assignment.

“We’ve seen outstanding work from Spike DDB for their current clients and the creative approach they offer Chevrolet will be a great fit for the brand,” said Chris Perry, vp, U.S. marketing at Chevy.

The client’s yearly African-American ad spending was not disclosed. Past client spending in that sector has been $30-40 million. All told, Chevy spends about $650 million annually on ads, per Nielsen.

The client consolidated general-market creative chores at Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in May and tapped sibling shop LatinWorks for Hispanic market duties last month. Omnicom also has an ownership stake in Spike DDB.

On the one hand, Sanders/Wingo hardly produced breakthrough work for Chevy, essentially continuing the celebrity-driven angle that predecessor Carol H. Williams started. But Spike DDB clearly benefited more from the DDB part of its name than the Spike part. After all, the agency’s website features a logo, street address, phone number and link that reads: Click To Contact Us For A Copy Of The Current Reel. Guess the Chevy executive who gushed, “We’ve seen outstanding work from Spike DDB for their current clients and the creative approach they offer Chevrolet will be a great fit for the brand,” clicked on the link. In the end, it’s another example of Omnicom’s ability to package minorities for car companies—and ultimately maintain industry segregation.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

7999: Choking The Chicken At KFC.

The New York Daily News reported on the latest publicity scheme from KFC. The chain’s inability to lure customers with the deep-fried legs and breasts on its menu has forced KFC to introduce more enticing legs and breasts.

Lend us your rears: KFC wants college women to advertise their ‘bun-less’ chicken sandwich

By Lindsay Goldwert, Daily News Writer

College women, be on the lookout. KFC is hot for your buns.

The fast-food chain is seeking “college co-eds” willing to offer their backsides as “human billboards” for their “bun-less” Double Down chicken sandwich.

“KFC is taking advertising to a whole new medium: the backsides of college sweatpants,” a company scribe wrote in a press release.

“It’s hard to imagine anyone escaped the buzz of the Double Down earlier this year,” said John Cywinski, Chief Marketing and Food Innovation Officer for KFC. “But in an effort to reach consumers coast-to-coast, and especially our key target of young men, we’ve established yet another advertising first – one that’s fitting of the Double Down’s head-turning history.”

Despite its crowing, the chicken franchise is hardly the first to use posterior advertising.

Companies including Victoria’s Secret, Juicy Couture as well as college apparel have long since utilized the seat of the sweatpants for ready advertisement.

The practice has even spawned its own advertising genre.

“Ass-vertizing” has been used in the last decade to sell everything from Kodak film to sneakers.

Females willing to loan out their rear-end real estate to hawk the 480-540 calorie sandwich will be rewarded with the customized sweatpants, KFC gift certificates and $500.

7998: Blockbuster, Beer And Busty.

A slow news day in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11, unable to handle its nearly $1 billion debt. Wow, that’s one serious late fee.

• Budweiser plans to give away free beer on September 29. Look for lots of Blockbuster employees to take advantage of the promotion.

• Sesame Street rejected a Katy Perry video slated to appear on the season premiere, as producers admitted it might be too racy for kids. However, Sesame Street could finance significant urban renewal by introducing Tickle Me Katy dolls.

7997: Interracial Identity Is In.

From The Los Angeles Times…

Where the interracials may take us
Of all Americans, they represent the best opportunity to end identity politics and point America back to its tradition of individualism.

By Eli Steele

We may be in the midst of an interracial baby boom. A recent Pew Research Center study reported that interracial marriages rose from 6.7% in 1980 to a record 14.6% in 2008. If these marriages produce children at the national average, one out of seven Americans could claim two or more races. In Western states where interracial marriage is more common, the ratio rises to nearly one out of four.

The day will arrive when this interracial generation reaches political consciousness and finds itself at odds with America’s divisive identity politics. Of all Americans, they represent the best opportunity to end these politics and point America back to its tradition of individualism.

Most minorities today fall conveniently within categories such as African American, Chinese American or Mexican American. These labels arose during an era of political correctness that literally placed race, ethnicity or religion before national identity. Since the 1960s, minorities have found in their racial identity a preferential gateway into public and private institutions.

Will such identity politics survive the interracial baby boom? Will new categories arise for the African German American or Chinese Latino American? Will a critical mass of interracials become an eclectic race in their own right? Or will they bypass the labels and embrace individualism?

These questions await my children. The birth of my son two years ago, and my daughter four months ago, marks the third interracial generation in my family. At first glance, their names — Shelby Jack Steele and June Rose Steele — signify little. But in fact these are what might be called melting pot names.

Shelby is the name of their paternal great-grandfather, who was born to slaves and married a white woman he met in the early civil rights movement. Jack is their other paternal great-grandfather, who survived the Holocaust and rebuilt his life in New York City. June is their maternal great-aunt, who was a flower child and a direct descendant of the first Mormons. Rose is their paternal great-great-grandmother (great-grandfather Shelby’s mother), a slave who gave birth to 13 children. Rose is also Rosario, their maternal great-grandfather, who raised cattle in the Sonora mountains of Mexico.

Jack and June will grow up hearing stories of their ancestors’ struggles, triumphs and defeats. They will learn how each forebear’s unique journey converges in their blood, giving them no easy allegiance to a single race. Individuals rather than tribes will form the foundation for their individuality.

Then one day a stranger will stare into their faces, unable to deduce a single race in the mix of features: “What are you?” If they are anything like I was when I was growing up, they will begin with their family history, only to be asked again, “But, what are you?” In the age of identity politics, it is not stories but race that matters.

Jack and June may have a hard row to hoe. Identity politics have made racial identity a social currency, rewarded by preferences in college admissions, government contracts and employment. Jack and June have the bloodlines to win preferences. But if they do, they enter into a world where no choice is clean-cut. Do they join the black, Jewish or Latino organizations — or all of them? Do they publicly cultivate one racial identity while privately living free of such categories with family and friends? Or do they come to the conclusion that identity politics cannot offer anything but the pretense of racial purity?

And then the ultimate irony: Jack and June are naturally more diverse than any amount of social engineering in neighborhoods, schools or offices can achieve. They are creations of a high humanism: the love of their parents, grandparents and great-great grandparents. Jack and June are the result that social engineering — integration, inclusion and diversity — often fails to achieve.

My hope is that my children and their peers will restore a weakened American legacy: the self-invented and self-made individual. If they do, they will be free, as their ancestors were, to carve out identities and contribute to an already rich heritage for future generations.

Eli Steele is a filmmaker and graduate student at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy. He is developing a documentary on interracial Americans.

7996: Mad Men Mention.

The asinine Clorox commercial that has been running during episodes of AMC series Mad Men has a companion banner on the program’s website. Not sure if the call to action—Find out what Clorox® Regular Bleach can do for your whites—refers to clothing or the majority of folks on Madison Avenue.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

7995: Infomercial For Integration.

Advertising Age reported on the latest effort to boost diversity on Madison Avenue—brought to you by the 4As and VCU Brandcenter. The big idea involves recruiting minority youth with an infomercial titled, “Pursuit of Passion: Diversity in Advertising.” The propaganda is slated to debut during Advertising Week at the end of September, and it stars a slew of prominent adpeople. Does anyone know if there are cameo appearances by Harry Webber and Sanford Moore? Just asking.

7994: Make The Logo Smaller. Microscopic Even.

Does it look like BP is decreasing the size of its logo in advertising?

7993: Beauty Queen.

Queen Latifah was part of P&G’s My Black Is Beautiful campaign—and now she’s declaring, “I feel beautiful…” with Pepsi. Look for her to appear in the Dove Real Beauty propaganda soon.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

7992: Advertising With Balls.

This Axe infomercial has been around for a while, but it’s still worth a look.

7991: Astrological Sign Of The Times.

Here’s another actual job listing that explains why most World Wide Web content sucks. The employer is seeking 200 posts on astrology for under $250. If you’re interested, your horoscope reads: You are a desperate and pathetic hack.

Title: 200 posts on Astrology forum
Project ID: 000000
Budget: Less than $250

Category: Writing, Editing & Translation


Need to write 200 posts on Astrology forum Post must be useful and have minimum cca 20 words and more not “I agree” “It’s ok” so only somebody who understand astrology, tarot and numerology.

I have account so you can write under my account.

10 posts per day.


Monday, September 20, 2010

7990: Revisionist History.

From The Chicago Tribune…

On race, look away, look away, look away …

By Leonard Pitts

“I wish I was in the land of cotton, old times there are not forgotten …”
—lyric from “Dixie”

Actually, old times there are forgotten quite a bit.

For 145 years, ever since a grim-faced Robert E. Lee rode away from Wilmer McLean’s house in Appomattox, Va., where he had surrendered his army, apologists for the South have been trying to induce the rest of us to forget the causes of the Civil War, to imbue an act of treachery and treason with a nobility of purpose it did not, in fact, possess.

“States’ rights,” they say. “States’ rights to maintain a system of human slavery,” they do not say.

It is the social and political equivalent of an extreme makeover. The thinking seems to be: When history collides with cherished self-image, change history.

Something very similar seems to be afoot with regard to a related event much closer to us in time: the civil rights movement of the ‘50s and ‘60s.

Just a few months ago, we saw conservative activist Glenn Beck claim ownership of that movement, in defiance of historical memory. “… We were the people that did it in the first place!” he cried.

Last week, in an essay in The Washington Post, University of Virginia professor Gerard Alexander analyzed voting trends from the civil rights era to bolster his thesis that social conservatism is not intolerant. Somehow, he never got around to explaining how it is, then, that social conservatives were always the ones standing in schoolhouse doors, blockading polling places, burning buses and cracking skulls.

And now, here’s Haley Barbour. The governor of Mississippi raised eyebrows and blood pressures a few weeks ago when, in an interview with Human Events, a conservative Web site and magazine, he credited his generation of white Southerners with leading the South into a new era of integration. It was, he said, “my generation, who went to integrated schools. I went to integrated college — never thought twice about it.”

Barbour is 62. In the Mississippi of his youth, he legally could not have gone to integrated schools. As for college: He attended Ole Miss in 1965; three years after, the attempt by a single black man, James Meredith, to enroll there required negotiations between the attorney general and the governor and ultimately, the intercession of U.S. marshals; a riot ensued in which more than 100 marshals were injured and two people killed.

Pressed on this in a later interview, Barbour doubled down. Those years of forced integration were, he said, “a very pleasant experience.” He singled out a black classmate, Verna Bailey, with whom he said he developed a friendly rapport. They sat next to each other; she let him copy her notes. “I still love her,” he said.

So Margaret Talev of McClatchy Newspapers called Bailey, now an educator in Oregon. “I don’t remember him at all, no,” said Bailey, “because during that time that certainly wasn’t a pleasant experience for me. My interactions with white people were very, very limited. Very, very few reached out at all.”

While she didn’t remember Barbour, Bailey did remember days when “I thought my life was going to end.” She did remember being pelted with coins and beer. She did remember “this mass of anger and hostility.” Bailey completed four years of course work in three — not because she was a great student, she said, but because she couldn’t wait to get out of there.

Memory is a funny thing, isn’t it? It softens rough places. It absolves our sins. Memory forgives us.

But sometimes, it is morally necessary to forgo that salve, to embrace the rough places and lack of absolution, for the lessons they have to teach. Apparently, some conservatives still can’t bring themselves to do that, even now.

That’s truly sad. When history collides with self-image, it is not history a principled person seeks to change.

7989: Mad Men Mention.

The latest episode of AMC series Mad Men stumbled into race-based topics.

Peggy Olson and Abe, a liberal dude she met at a party in a previous episode, held a clumsy conversation about civil rights. It started when the guy criticized one of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s clients for being racist and refusing to hire Negroes. During the debate, Peggy related her trials and tribulations as a woman to the plight of Negroes. When the man pointed out that there were no Negro copywriters on Madison Avenue, Peggy insisted they could succeed by pushing like she did.

After a dinner date, Roger Sterling and Joan Harris were robbed at gunpoint by a Black man. That ought to kill all chances of the agency recruiting a minority anytime soon.

Later in a meeting, Peggy openly questioned the client’s racist hiring practices. Don Draper lectured her that the agency’s only responsibility was helping clients sell products and services—and Ken Cosgrove made a joke that involved Sammy Davis, Jr. Of course, no one questioned the agency’s racist hiring practices.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

7988: Only Seeking The Breast.

Sure, craigslist dumped its erotic services section, but as this actual ad shows, the predators and sex addicts will not be denied.

Large-Breasted Figure Model (Chicago)

Date: 2010-09-19, 5:47PM CDT

Reply to:

Looking for a woman with natural, exceptionally large (i.e., 34D, 34DD, 32G) breasts to figure model for drawings/pastels.

7987: Saluting The Maladjusted.

From The Times-Picayune…

‘Maladjusted’ people changed New Orleans and the world

By Jarvis DeBerry

“I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes…. They will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience’ sake.”—Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963

Think about the kind of person you’d have to be to risk your enrollment in school, your employment, your physical safety—in short, everything—to fight against unjust laws that the rest of the world seems to be content in following.

According to Andrew Young, Martin Luther King thought you’d have to be a little off. And he thought Young, a New Orleans native who was one of King’s most visible lieutenants, wasn’t quite off enough. In a 1996 PBS documentary Young reveals King’s opinion that Young was not sufficiently outraged at segregation.

“Martin always said, look, normal people don’t challenge the law of the land. He said you got to be strong enough to be creatively maladjusted. And sometimes he said, Andy, you’re too well-adjusted…. But we need people around who can’t be adjusted. People who have to upset things.”

Criticized by white clergy in Birmingham for not waiting for things to get better and for encouraging his followers to break the law, King wrote from jail that the troublemakers would be the ones we’d one day celebrate as heroes.

Fifty years ago this month, young people in New Orleans who were righteously maladjusted to segregation and its dispiriting laws, decided to publicly disobey and accept what followed. Cecil Carter Jr., Oretha Castle, Sidney Goldfinch Jr. and Rudolph Lombard, all of the Congress of Racial Equality, deliberately broke the law at a lunch counter at McCrory’s on Canal Street, The week before, other CORE members had staged the city’s first sit-in at Woolworth’s, but it was the McCrory’s case that went to the Supreme Court.

Their activism paid off for us. Their arrests and convictions were overturned. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote, “these convictions, commanded as they were by the voice of the State directing segregating service at the restaurant, cannot stand.” But their activism came at a high personal cost.

Castle lost her job at Hotel Dieu hospital. Lombard, a student at Dillard, sat in jail several weeks while school was in session. Goldfinch, a white Tulane grad student, was hung in effigy on the campus and got so many death threats that he couldn’t get life insurance. He also struggled to find work with an arrest record. “It affected my entire life,” he said. Hugh Murray Jr., who participated in the sit-ins at Woolworth’s, moved out of his parents’ homes when they started getting bomb threats. Jerome Smith would soon participate in the Freedom Rides and get beaten brutally and often because of it.

Speaking of being maladjusted, Smith, according to several published accounts, in a May 1963 meeting with U.S. Attorney Robert Kennedy was not so cowed by the official’s presence that he swallowed his anger. There were luminaries there—James Baldwin, Harry Belafonte, Lorraine Hansberry, Lena Horne and psychologist Dr. Kenneth Clark. But in “Robert Kennedy and his Times,” Lena Horne is quoted as saying Smith “just put it like it was. He communicated the plain, basic suffering of being a Negro…. He took us back to the common dirt of our existence and rubbed our noses in it…. You could not encompass his anger, his fury, in a set of statistics, nor could Mr. Belafonte and Dr. Clark and Miss Horne, the fortunate Negroes, keep up the pretense of being the mature, responsible spokesmen for the race.” Even so, Kennedy reportedly left that meeting feeling offended by Smith.

If Smith had been nicer, more conciliatory, that meeting may have ended with smiles. But according to the book “Nobody Turn Me Around: A People’s History of the 1963 March on Washington,” weeks after that meeting, President John F. Kennedy gave “the most aggressive presidential address in history on race, which was quickly followed by the most comprehensive legislation in modern history.”

But before the McCrory’s case was heard by the Supreme Court and before Smith let loose on the attorney general, young people here had to muster the courage to disobey.

And further bend our laws toward justice.

7986: Ad Agencies Address Intolerance. Please.

Adweek published an inane piece titled, “Open Dialog: Addressing Perceptions of Islam. How would ad agencies tackle the problem of religious intolerance toward Islam and help resolve the issue of the Park51 center?” The report features the thoughts of ad shops Gotham in New York, Arnold in Boston, AgencyTwoFifteen in San Francisco, Campbell-Ewald in Detroit and Conversation in New York. Not sure why anyone would think ad agencies—with a storied history of cultural cluelessness—could possibly address such an issue. Heaven forbid these shops might turn their creative energies towards industry diversity instead.

7985: Witchcraft And Other Evil Sorcery.

Any Witch Way in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell responded to her decade-old proclamation that she once “dabbled in witchcraft” by insisting it happened in her youth. O’Donnell explained, “I was in high school, how many of you didn’t hang out with questionable folks in high school? But no, there’s been no witchcraft since, if there was, Karl Rove would be a supporter.” Ha. What a comedienne. Sort of like Samantha in Bewitched. Also, the bigger concern involves the questionable folks O’Donnell hangs out with today.

• BP announced that after 5 months of work, the blown-out Gulf oil well is finally dead. Along with Louisiana tourism. Look for BP’s goodwill efforts and Pollyannaish propaganda to quietly pass away too.

• A forthcoming study from Temple’s Fox School of Business claims to crack the code on landing a bigger salary. The tactics include negotiating, being aggressive and collaboration. On Madison Avenue, additional tactics include playing the Buddy Cards of cronyism and nepotism, as well as maximizing White privilege.

7984: Cartoonish Commercials.

From The New York Times…

Coming Children’s Show Draws Complaints

By Stuart Elliott

An advocacy organization is stepping up its criticism of a series for children that is scheduled to begin appearing next month on the Nicktoons cable channel. But those involved with the show are defending it.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, based in Boston, filed a complaint about the show with the Federal Communications Commission. The complaint, filed on Tuesday, calls on the commission to prevent Nicktoons from presenting the series because, the organization says, the series is nothing more than a program-length commercial that violates policies regulating children’s television.

The series, called “Zevo-3,” is to feature characters that appear in commercials for Skechers shoes aimed at children. It is to begin appearing on Nicktoons — part of the MTV Networks unit of Viacom — on Oct. 11.

A problem with the show, the organization tells the commission, is that the characters are known to children solely as representatives of Skechers shoes because they have appeared only in Skechers spots, comic books and other marketing materials.

Another problem, the organization says, is that the animated stars of the series — named Elastika, Kewl Breeze and Z-Strap — embody shoe lines, making their very appearance onscreen the equivalent of an ad for those shoes.

The organization likens “Zevo-3” to a children’s show proposed in 1992 that would have been centered on Chester Cheetah, the animated mascot for the Cheetos brand of snacks sold by the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo. Outcries over that proposal as too commercialized for children’s programming helped kill it.

“It’s clear that Skechers and Nicktoons are flouting the policies established by Congress to protect children from excessive commercialism,” Susan Linn, director of the organization, said in a statement. She described “Zevo-3” as “a 22-minute commercial masquerading as a kids’ TV show.”

Kristin Van Cott, senior vice president for creative development at Skechers Entertainment, took issue with the organization’s stance.

“We’ve all worked hard to ensure that we are within the parameters of F.C.C. requirements,” Ms. Van Cott, who is also an executive producer of the series, said in a statement that was e-mailed to reporters.

“While we commend the goals of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood to watch over the airwaves,” Ms. Van Cott said, the show is worthwhile because it has “strong and positive characters who deal with issues that kids confront on a regular basis, from peer pressure to family relationships.”

David Bittler, a spokesman at MTV Networks, said in an e-mail message: “This show does not violate the Children’s Television Act. We obviously wouldn’t air it if it did.”

7983: Beer Advertisers Slurring In Spanish.

From The New York Post…

It’s Spanglish lite

By Ana Maria Ariza Buitrago

Beer companies must think Spanish-speaking people are already drunk when they are watching their advertisements.

That has to be why they’ve decided to mangle this beautiful Romance language and talk down to the 58 million Hispanics who might want a brew or two.

It’s worse than the mauling they give English—“drinkability,” after all, isn’t a word, although Budweiser has made it the slogan of an entire advertising campaign.

Spanish-speaking beer drinkers aren’t so flexible, and few seem to find humor in indecipherable word play and just plain bad translations.

In Spanish, Budweiser’s catchphrase is “tomabilidad”—which is a neologism like “drinkability” but doesn’t make as much sense.

Corona, which is headquartered in Mexico—where Spanish is obviously the primary language—tells beer drinkers to “Más una fría que beer.” Maybe they’re trying to say it’s “the coldest beer,” but the translation is closer to “More one cold what beer.”

Talking to a group of Spanish speakers, including Prof. Gerardo Piña-Rosales, president of the American Association of the Spanish Language, found that no one really understood what it meant.

Nor did anyone understand Coors Light’s phrase “Emborícuate.”

As best anyone can tell, the company and its ad agency tried to merge the words drunk in Spanish—borracho—and Borícua, which is a way people from Puerto Rico are described.

Why those two words were joined is anyone’s guess. Coors Light and the other beer companies didn’t return phone calls.

Michenelle Groller who is a Spanish teacher in Brooklyn said, “these ads are not only misleading, but mostly offensive.”

“These advertisements are approved or looked upon as OK because they are written in a different language. If they were written in English they would have never made it past the planning stages,” she added.

Piña-Rosales says that instead of picking qualified translators, companies seem to randomly select less-capable individuals who can’t get the job done. “The beer advertisement is just one of the multiple examples I see daily.”

There are plenty of instances in the past of American companies butchering the Spanish language.

One of the most famous cases was when Chevrolet marketed its Nova car in Spanish-speaking countries without changing the name. Nova in Spanish unfortunately means “no go.”

“This is something that we as Spanish speakers have to fight against,” Piña-Rosales said.

Opponents of this misuse of Spanish say companies are encouraging the spread of Spanglish, and changing words to fit their needs.

“Although I was born here in the US, I find these ads demeaning to the Spanish language,” said Kristina Puga, a consumer in Jamaica, Queens who is fluent in both languages. “I never liked the taste of these beers and now I like them even less.”

Daniel Fernandez, a member of the American Association of the Spanish Language, thinks that the advertising agencies should reach out more to native speakers. “Unfortunately, they don’t look for our opinion. They’re not only promoting beers, they’re promoting bad Spanish.”

Not on tap
Spanish language advocates are “muy caliente” with brewers of their Latin ad campaigns.

• Tomabilidad: Bud ad speak for drinkability. No such word in Spanish.

• Más una fría que beer: Corona’s ad line, which translates into: “More one cold what beer” Huh?

• Emborícuate: Native speakers are at a loss of what this Coors Light phrase means.

Friday, September 17, 2010

7979: What The Elle.

Check out the side-by-Sidibe here. Elle magazine is taking heat for its series of 25th anniversary covers—particularly the one featuring actress Gabourey Sidibe. First, critics are crying Sidibe’s skin has been digitally lightened. Next, the other subjects in the series were shot to display their full figures, while Sidibe was depicted in close-up fashion. Finally, readers believe Sidibe has an unflattering hairstyle. Elle said, “Nothing out of the ordinary was done. We have four separate covers this month and Gabby’s cover was not retouched any more or less than the others… If you take a look at the portfolio, each of the women were shot in different ways and for different reasons.” Hey, there’s nothing precious about this picture.

7978: Goldmaneaters.

From The New York Post…

Boys club bashed

By Dan Mangan

Well, it is “Goldman” and not “Goldpeople.”

Goldman Sachs yesterday was slammed with a scathing sex-discrimination lawsuit accusing Wall Street’s most profitable investment bank of “systematic and pervasive discrimination” against female employees—who allegedly are paid less and treated worse than their male counterparts.

The class-action suit by three ex-employees charges that Goldman retaliated against one of them after she reported an attempted sexual assault by a married male colleague, tolerated racist e-mails and allowed a managing director to hire scantily clad “female escorts” in “Santa hats” for a 2007 holiday party, where they socialized with male employees.

“This case challenges Goldman Sachs’ practice of treating its talented female professionals like disposable, second-class citizens,” said Kelly Dermody, one of the lawyers representing the women in the Manhattan federal court action.

“By coming forward, the plaintiffs are working to ensure a level playing field across Wall Street,” Dermody said.

A Goldman spokesman said, “We believe this suit is without merit. People are critical to our business, and we make extraordinary efforts to recruit, develop and retain outstanding women professionals.”

Much of the suit relates to allegations that Goldman underpaid the plaintiffs—former vice-president H. Christina Chen-Oster, 39, former managing director Lisa Parisi, 48, and ex-associate Shanna Orlich, 30—compared to men in similar positions, and that the bank offered male workers more support and better opportunities to advance.

The suit argues that discrimination results in a “stark” underrepresentation of women in Goldman’s management ranks—where females account for just 29 percent of vice presidents, 17 percent of managing directors and 14 percent of partners, according to the most recent figures.

Chen-Oster also accuses Goldman of discriminating and retaliating against her “after a Goldman employee assaulted me in the fall of 1997.”

The suit said in that year, Chen-Oster and other employees in the Convertible Bonds Department, as part of a Goldman-sponsored dinner, went to Scores, a Manhattan topless bar.

“At the end of the evening, a married male associate in her group insisted that he escort her to her boyfriend’s apartment building a few blocks away,” the suit alleges. “In the hallway outside the apartment, the male colleague surprised Chen-Oster by pinning her against the wall, kissing her and groping her, and attempting to engage in a sexual act with her. Chen-Oster did not invite or welcome the attempt, and had to physically defend herself.”

After reporting the incident in 1999 to her supervisor, the suit said, “Chen-Oster began to experience increased hostility and marginalization at the firm.”

The suit said that in June 2002, a man was appointed as a reviewer of Chen-Oster’s work performance, despite it being known that he had sent “racially offensive e-mails around the group, including one entitled ‘Learn Chinese in 5 Minutes,’ which included statements such as ‘Our meeting is scheduled for next week … Wai Yu Cum Nao?’”

Thursday, September 16, 2010

7977: Poor Pimps.

From The Chicago Tribune…

In DePaul study of Chicago pimps, most were abused as children

By Duaa Eldeib, Tribune reporter

Most of the two dozen former pimps and madams questioned by DePaul University researchers for a study on Chicago’s sex trade had suffered both physical and sexual abuse as children.

The study, “From Victims to Victimizers: Interviews with 25 ex-pimps in Chicago,” by researcher Jody Raphael and Brenda Myers-Powell, a former longtime prostitute, found a staggering 88 percent of those surveyed suffered physical abuse growing up, while 76 percent endured sexual abuse. In many cases, the abuse forced them to leave home early and turn to pimping to survive.

The majority also traded sex for money before becoming pimps, Raphael said. Of the 25 former pimps interviewed, seven were women, nearly all of whom had been victims of violence and prostitution.

Myers-Powell, who spent more than 20 years on the street, works as peer coordinator for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s prostitution intervention team and does advocacy work through the Dreamcatcher Foundation, which helps victims of prostitution. For the study, she spent about two hours interviewing each former pimp. Each was paid $250.

Raphael, a research fellow at the DePaul University College of Law, developed a 91-question survey for the study. She and Myers-Powell work with End Demand Illinois, a coalition aimed at ending prostitution and sex trafficking.

The former pimps reported having made between $150,000 and $500,000 a year. Many of them said they felt pimping was less risky than dealing drugs or committing a felony.

A rising awareness of international sex trafficking in recent years has shed light on pimping in Chicago, Raphael said.

“We have the same phenomenon — local girls are being pimped and trafficked in the same way, which is what we’re beginning to understand now,” she said.

More than half the pimps said they paid law enforcement in order to survive in the business, as well as bellmen, hotel clerks and bartenders for referring customers, according to the study.

“The fact is their business survives on the tolerance of all these other entities,” Raphael said. “They’re saying there’s no end of customers. They’re falling off the trees.”

7976: One Size Fits All.

Tide washes through two audiences with a single brown-skinned girl.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

7975: Mad Men Mention.

The latest issue of Rolling Stone declares AMC series Mad Men is “the Best Show on TV.” Um, must have missed the memo on that revelation.

The advertising surrounding Mad Men has always been more effective than the advertising it portrays. After all, this is a program whose ratings wouldn’t warrant a full season on a major network. The actors don’t possess the skills of their peers—honestly, does anyone really think January Jones deserved an Emmy nomination? The actress portraying Sally Draper might have nabbed a Nickelodean Kids’ Choice Award if she hadn’t been forced to execute a masturbation scene.

Mad Men is the best show on television? Right, and Tad Winter and Phil Smith are in line for a Gold Lion.