(Closing out the month on a lighter note.)
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Is Agency Spy the Sodom and Gomorrah of advertising blogs, or is it an accurate barometer for the industry?
This week, the blog featured a series of comment threads with race- and ethnicity-based bullshit.
The first intolerant instance involved the already overanalyzed Bozell-Muse faceoff on AMC series The Pitch.
Next, narrow-minded pinheads left remarks over the resignation of Anomaly Director of Integrated Production Kwame Taylor-Hayford.
Responses to Doug Melville being named Chief Diversity Officer of TBWA completed the trifecta—although there’s still an opportunity for additional bigotry and ignorance on Friday.
The question must be asked: How well do the culturally clueless commentators represent the global ad community?
(MultiCultClassics credits ESPN’s C’MON MAN! for sparking this semi-regular blog series.)
MultiCultClassics really wanted to move on from this topic, but later felt compelled to go a final round.
Bozell Executive Creative Director Jerry Stoner just doesn’t know when to quit. At Agency Spy, former Bozell Social Influence Director Scott Bishop was roundly and rightly ripped for being a douche bag on AMC series The Pitch. As if to put an exclamation point on his questionable social media expertise, Bishop sought to engage the trolls—which is the equivalent of Karl Childers trying to hang with the Jersey Shore crew. As Bishop took further pummeling, Stoner swooped in to defend his former mate. The ECD insisted The Pitch’s editors made Bishop look completely out of character, sinisterly cutting together sound bites to misrepresent the man. Managing Principal Kim Mickelsen chimed in with backing too. Forget that Mickelsen spent most of the episode snapping at Bishop, and Stoner also criticized his coworker directly to camera. The appalling part is that Stoner was quick to declare Bishop was the victim of deliberate distortion, yet when someone suggested perhaps Jo Muse was similarly doctored, the ECD didn’t seem open to the possibility.
Additionally, at the AMC blog, Stoner “liked” comments casting Muse as a racist.
Back at MultiCultClassics, Stoner misinterpreted Muse’s position on diversity, probably in an attempt to justify his Omaha-based agency’s Whiteness.
But to top it all off, Stoner had the stones to support his perspectives by quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Wow. Just wow.
Mr. Stoner, here are two more MLK quotes to consider:
• Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
• Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.
C’MON WHITE MAN!
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Advertising Age reported General Motors faced securities regulators last week to defend a $600,000 payment made to Mother New York in 2011. The potential issue? The wife of GM CFO Dan Ammann is an officer and partner in the advertising agency. What makes it all really obscene? Remember, the automaker once dumped its minority shops, handing the multicultural assignments to White agencies. Now it appears spouses from White agencies also receive preferential treatment over minorities. Hell, if GM officials’ house pets opened agencies, the cats and dogs would land AOR status before non-White adpeople.
GM Defends Payment to Ad Agency of CFO’s Spouse
Partner in Mother is Married to Automaker’s Ammann
By Mike Colias
A $600,000 payment from General Motors to an advertising agency in which the wife of CFO Dan Ammann is a partner prompted a mea culpa from GM to securities regulators last week, according to Automotive News.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, GM said it recently learned about the payment, made in 2011 to ad agency Mother New York. Pernilla Ammann, wife of GM CFO Dan Ammann, is an officer and partner in the agency.
GM told the SEC that the transaction “has been properly ratified” under GM’s policies that govern business involving related parties, “but not all the required procedures were followed.”
“‘Properly ratified’ means our CEO and general counsel approved the transaction as being appropriate and in the company’s interest,” GM spokesman Dave Roman told Bloomberg in an e-mail. “In this instance, it was ratified after the fact.”
Mother New York worked on a project related to the centennial of the Chevrolet brand, Mr. Roman said.
The arrangement wasn’t disclosed in the original proxy material for GM’s annual meeting on June 12, according to last week’s filing.
GM said it “recently learned about” the relationship. “They are not doing any work for us at this time,” Mr. Roman said.
GM spent about $1.8 billion on U.S. advertising in 2011, trailing only AT&T and Procter & Gamble, said Jon Swallen, head of research at Kantar Media, a New York company that tracks ad spending.
GM’s marketing department is changing as Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick looks for efficiencies and strives to make Chevrolet and Cadillac global brands.
GM picked Aegis Group’s Carat as the GM agency for media planning and buying, and consolidated Chevrolet’s ad business under one newly formed company, Commonwealth. Chevrolet previously used 70 ad agencies around the world.
Bloomberg contributed to this report.
Hispanic Shop LatinWorks Wins AOR for Texas Lottery Account
As the Multicultural Population Becomes the Majority in More States, Is This a Sign of Things To Come?
By Laurel Wentz
As more of the population in America’s most multicultural states is increasingly non-white, future pitches may be geared toward reaching a market that is no longer divided between the general market and a minority population of different ethnicities.
In Texas, where 57% of the population is already multicultural, and mostly Hispanic, the Texas Lottery is awarding its entire account to Austin-based LatinWorks, which previously handled the Hispanic portion. The business is believed to be worth about $30 million.
When the Texas Lottery holds state-mandated agency reviews, agencies can pitch for pieces of the account, or as a group for the whole business. In the pitch just ended, LatinWorks pitched for the whole account with the support of small digital and media agencies.
More traditionally, incumbent TracyLocke is believed to have teamed up with Hispanic agency Lopez Negrete Communications and urban shop Sanders Wingo for the African-American portion.
“The other agencies came at it from a general-market angle and partnered with different multicultural agencies, with African-American experts and Hispanic experts,” said Christian Filli, LatinWorks’ VP of strategic planning. “We took a different approach. We have a different model, where we own the consumer insights, and rely on partners for different disciplines.”
As the winner, LatinWorks will be the lead agency, and work with Springbox to grow Texas Lottery’s digital presence, and the David Group to support LatinWorks’ in-house media planners.
“In certain markets like Texas where Hispanics are the majority, it makes sense that an agency with an understanding of that target across all levels of assimilation will be well positioned,” said Alejandro Ruelas, managing marketing and the agency’s CMO.
In Texas, for instance, the shift is accelerating, with more than 60% of the state’s population projected to be multicultural by 2016, Mr. Filli said.
In deciding to go for the whole account, rather than just the Hispanic portion, “It wasn’t from a place of ambition or arrogance, but understanding that’s where the state is going,” said Sergio Alcocer, LatinWorks’ president and chief creative officer.
He said the agency has handled non-Hispanic work before for clients such as Mars’ Skittles candy and Anheuser-Busch, but always on a project basis rather than as the agency of record.
“Our objective is not to be a general-market agency,” Mr. Alcocer said. “What we want is to bring the multicultural phenomenon to the mainstream in categories where it makes sense to lead with multicultural because that’s where the business opportunity is. It’s a formula of the past that only the general market can lead.”
MultiCultClassics first “met” Adonis Hoffman via a 2010 post spotlighting a how-to book on diversity Hoffman had published through the 4A’s. At the time, MultiCultClassics wrongly presumed the book was another token effort from the trade organization, and that Hoffman was perhaps the equivalent of a Chief Diversity Officer—as the role is defined by Sanford Moore—for 4A’s President and CEO Nancy Hill. Hoffman quickly clarified matters, and visitors are encouraged to view his comments at the aforementioned post.
MultiCultClassics had promised to review Hoffman’s book and dedicate more blog space to the man’s accomplishments. Sincere apologies for the extraordinarily long wait.
While Hoffman is a strong proponent for diversity—in the advertising industry and beyond—his official title is Lawyer and Leadership Counsel. Hoffman’s online profile states he “provides strategic communications, corporate and public policy counsel to business leaders, policymakers, academic institutions, diplomats and international organizations.” Plus, his resume includes serving as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, as well as Senior Vice President and Counsel at the 4A’s.
Hoffman is definitely an advocate for the advertising industry, as evidenced by his work with the 4A’s. So his diversity-related initiatives almost make Hoffman appear like a PETA-loving vegetarian employed at Mickey D’s.
Diversity: How To Do It Right technically addresses all industries and enterprises. Yet it has obvious, particular and direct relevance to advertising agencies. Additionally, it’s written in such a way that even the most culturally clueless Old White Guys will be able to comprehend it. Hoffman distills his points to single-page action items designed to inspire movement and progress, providing a straightforward roadmap for Madison Avenue.
Hoffman’s book is comprised of two parts. Part 1 is headlined, “10 Principles and Best Practices for Diversity and Inclusion,” and the 10-page section summarizes the top ten reasons why typical ad shops have failed to eliminate exclusivity. That is, the majority of Mad Men have not embraced the simple instructions. Part 2 features “50 Things Every Business Leader Should Know About Diversity,” and opens with some sage suggestions:
If you don’t believe in the value of diversity for your organization, here are a few words of advice:
First, don’t tell anyone how you really feel.
Second, get some confidential counseling from one of your CEO peers, a board member or someone you trust and respect.
Third, fake it until you become a true believer.
And fourth, once you commit, do it right or don’t do it at all.
Another pearl of wisdom from Hoffman urges:
One of the well-worn excuses for not achieving diversity is “we can’t find any qualified minorities” or “all the really talented minorities have been snapped up.”
Please resist saying these things because they are not true, and they will make you sound racist and stupid.
Hoffman’s no-nonsense words certainly apply to Jeff “Where Are All The Black People?” Goodby, Dan “Now That’s Fucked Up!” Wieden and every ADCOLOR® nominee hopeful organizing a minority internship or inner-city youth outreach program. In the end, Hoffman argues diversity is possible through three key components that advertising agencies cannot and/or will not deliver: commitment, cash and cultural competence.
Diversity: How To Do It Right is available for a mere $22.50, and only $10.00 for 4A’s members. It would be interesting to learn how many copies have been sold to date—and how many purchasers actually bothered reading the publication. Any 4A’s member agencies unfamiliar with the book and its contents deserve to have their names placed on Cyrus Mehri’s subpoena and Sanford Moore’s shit list.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
MultiCultClassics knew it would regret the decision to actually watch another episode of AMC series The Pitch. This blog does not, however, regret its review of the Bozell versus Muse spectacle. Plus, MultiCultClassics stands behind its opinions of the drama.
Yet there are aftereffects that must be categorized as annoying and offensive—and these matters warrant attention. Specifically, the online comments at the AMC blog and Agency Spy show a pattern of ignorance ignited by Jo Muse’s observations about the JDRF clients and Bozell team.
To recap, after the briefing at JDRF headquarters, Muse called his partner in Culver City to discuss the meeting. During the conversation, Muse remarked that the clients and competitors were very “Midwestern”—and he even used the words “White” and “vanilla” to describe them. Critics have branded Muse a racist, and Bozell Executive Creative Director Jerry Stoner has joined the debate. Responding to Muse’s phone chat, Stoner typed, “It bothered me. … So sad the ‘race’ issue played a role. Honestly, I never thought about it. For me, it was about helping JDRF. I was born in Detroit and to some extent understand the problem, but it had [no] place in this pitch.” When a woman argued that Muse was not being racist, Stoner replied, “Mr. Muse made the ‘Vanilla’ comment. Perhaps you can explain that.”
OK, Mr. Stoner, MultiCultClassics will attempt to explain that to you and anyone else requiring the social tutorial.
For the record, this blog does not know Jo Muse or Jerry Stoner. Additionally, the following opinions are based on personal speculation rooted in having spent too many years in the advertising industry.
On The Pitch, Mr. Stoner appeared to be a reasonable, thoughtful and God-fearing man. So MultiCultClassics will try to appeal to his intellectual side.
To begin, Mr. Stoner is strongly encouraged to pick up a copy of Corporate Tribalism by Thomas Kochman and Jean Mavrelis. Reading the book will enlighten him on the nuanced and blatant differences between Whites and Blacks in corporate scenarios. Refusing to read the book will demonstrate that Mr. Stoner is a culturally clueless jackass. The ball is in your court on this one, Jerry.
Stoner and Muse have been in the ad game for roughly the same amount of time. However, it’s safe to say that the two have vastly distinct careers and experiences. MultiCultClassics will bet that Stoner has never:
• Faced racial discrimination from clients and peers
• Been asked by a client to explain what’s “Black” (or “White”) about a campaign concept
• Had a client refuse to let him work on a project or piece of business because he’s White
• Been shut out of pitches because of his agency’s racial or ethnic identity
• Consistently dealt with budgets far lower than the industry standard
• Been the only White guy in the agency—or even in the room
• Received instructions from a client to do something musical
• Been mistaken for a mailroom attendant, janitor or security guard
• Had to produce a colored pool-out of the White agency’s big idea
The list could go on, but everyone—including Stoner—will hopefully get the gist. Now, MultiCultClassics will bet that Muse has encountered everything noted here. Regularly.
Mr. Stoner, when you walk into a conference room and see the clients and competitors are all White, you don’t flinch. Honestly, you never think about it. You’re right at home. But Mr. Muse has spent his career handling multicultural marketing—and coping with the list above. He’s used to engaging with diverse groups in inclusive settings. Hence, he might notice. And he might share his observations with his partners. It’s no big deal to him. It shouldn’t be a big deal to you.
When reviewing The Pitch installment starring Bozell and Muse, MultiCultClassics wondered, “Are there any minorities at Bozell?” A visit to the Bozell website revealed the image below:
A visit to the Muse website revealed the images below (sorry, MultiCultClassics couldn’t fit the entire staff into the collection):
So what’s more disturbing? A guy who notices he’s in a room full of White people, or a guy who doesn’t notice he’s in an agency full of White people—when our industry has been seeking to embrace diversity for over 60 years?
MultiCultClassics ripped Muse’s shop for its performance on The Pitch. But this blog has always known Jo Muse is a staunch advocate for diversity. As Muse pointed out, his was the first multicultural shop to target Blacks, Latinos and Asian Americans. Some may recall the agency used to be known as Muse Cordero Chen & Partners. Anyway, the point is that Jerry Stoner beat Jo Muse on a reality TV show; however, when it comes to important stuff in the real world, Jo Muse kicks Jerry Stoner’s ass 24/7. It’s no contest.
Does that start to explain it to you, Jerry?
P.S., You might be interested in picking up a copy of this book too.
The accusations of racism compelled MultiCultClassics to overturn the decision to avoid watching AMC series The Pitch—and thanks to digital technology, the latest episode of the reality TV show was actually viewed.
The faceoff between Bozell and Muse definitely spotlighted all of The Pitch’s problems previously presented by this blog and critics at large. Sources have griped the producers and editors make participating agencies look bad. MultiCultClassics contends the editing only dramatizes the competitors’ true strengths and weaknesses—and this week’s installment was no exception.
The Bozell-Muse showdown underscored two points worth examining:
1. The lack of level playing fields between White shops and minority shops
2. The self-sabotaging attitudes prevalent at minority firms
In the real world, account reviews are typically held between similar agencies. Hell, it’s one reason why minority shops are always iced out of the festivities. Not sure who elected to pair these shops. Maybe the rural-urban angle seemed intriguing. More likely, the move indicates The Pitch’s producers just don’t understand the ad game.
To be blunt, Bozell against Muse equals the San Antonio Spurs versus the Los Angeles Clippers—or maybe the former New Jersey Nets. BTW, that’s a huge compliment to Bozell, as the place is not exactly championship material. If the advertising industry were the NBA, Bozell would be the Harlem Globetrotters. No disrespect to Muse, but a fairer matchup would have been Bozell and GlobalHue, Burrell, Carol H. Williams or commonground.
Bozell boasted greater experience, resources and talent. The Omaha team tapped multiple executives from multiple departments, and wound up producing multiple, multi-channel concepts. The Culver City crew appeared to have one copywriter and an art director with a Creative Director title—and they shat out a lame mood board. Sorry, but the duo was not very good. Need proof? Bozell beat them with its back-up campaign. Ouch.
This blog once suggested that The Pitch should force White shops to toil under the substandard conditions minority shops routinely face, while allowing the minorities to enjoy the Caucasian benefits. That didn’t happen here. Rather, it was a clash between unequal adversaries, resulting in a blowout. A bona fide laugher. Can’t fault Bozell for anything—they simply brought their game.
Kudos to Executive Creative Director Jerry Stoner for leading his players to victory, despite having to cope with a douche bag Social Influence Director and a shrewish Managing Principal. The work was hardly stellar; in fact, the TOD notion was dumb, and BeTheVoiceOfOne appeared to be a conservative evolution of the client’s original position (there were foam “number one” hands at the briefing). Regardless, Stoner was savvy enough to keep the second concept alive, and he knew how to make authentic connections with the clients and his partners, demonstrating the skills of a wily veteran. As mentioned above, The Pitch dramatizes true strengths and weaknesses, and Stoner has plenty of strengths.
OK, time to consider the second underscored point involving the self-sabotaging attitudes prevalent at minority firms.
Most below-the-line enterprises—from digital to direct marketing—exhibit second-fiddle/redheaded-stepchild tendencies, and minority shops fall into the low self-esteem mix. Indeed, the racial and ethnic components arguably compound the situation. And Muse clearly displayed the unfortunate phenomenon.
After the briefing, Jo Muse was already conceding defeat, declaring he “didn’t win the chemistry game.” Online comments charged Muse was being racist when saying he was unable to portray “a Midwestern White guy or White girl” persona—as well as his “vanilla” observation. The conversation was private and code, and Whites will be hard-pressed to comprehend it. Additionally, in certain ways, Muse was correct. The clients and competitors were painfully White (are there any minorities at Bozell?). Not convinced the mutterings qualify as racist; however, it felt defeatist. On this stage, the Muse team would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their campaign. The agency should have focused on big ideas. Instead, Muse members were whining about being outside of their comfort zones and areas of expertise. Um, why the fuck did you sign up for The Pitch? Did Muse envision battling a peer minority shop?
Creative Director Marcus Moore is probably super-talented, yet he wasn’t ready for the challenge. Bringing in a presentation coach was ridiculous, and further exposed the self-sabotaging behavior. Direct the energies on refining the campaign, not the side antics. A pitch requires utilizing the best presenter, and if Jo Muse questioned Moore’s abilities, the Chairman should have found another person more qualified or handled the job himself.
Ironically, the Muse team did not look rehearsed or polished during the final presentation. Moore’s opening MLK quote might have been interesting if the phrase had relevance to the campaign. It did not. Most importantly, One Less Prick was sophomoric, contrived and completely out of character for JDRF and its audience. Muse lost the minute the mood board was unveiled. Hell, they lost by opting to pursue the theme line at all.
Despite formidable odds, Muse could have put on a winning performance. Diabetes is a major concern for minorities. Muse could have leveraged its prowess targeting multicultural segments into a broader context. The research people could have uncovered fresh insights for the JDRF folks. The creatives could have fought harder and made it an all-hands-on-deck affair. Did Muse exert more sweat on White Space than the televised task? The agency should have re-read Craig Brimm’s Manifesto for inspiration.
Sadly, Muse teammates figured they had lost from the start. In contrast to Bozell, the Culver City shop lacked leadership, unity and confidence in the work. Self-sabotaging and defeatist attitudes become self-fulfilling prophecies.
It would be a tragedy if bigots used The Pitch to advance opinions that minorities are professionally inferior. To repeat, other minority shops could have trounced Bozell. If LatinWorks or Grupo Gallegos joined the bout, the potential and possibilities would be obvious and evident. Diversity must still be confronted in the advertising industry. The real issues won’t be solved on reality TV.
Oh, and MultiCultClassics won’t waste 45 minutes on The Pitch again.
Monday, May 28, 2012
The online chat for last night’s episode of AMC series The Pitch has inspired a whopping 44 comments so far. Not sure if that’s good or bad; last week’s episode collected 122 comments. Worth noting are a few statements depicted above, charging racism from Muse Communications. Plus, it appears that White Space did not air after all.
Despite a momentary interest in catching how Muse Communications fared in the competition, MultiCultClassics will continue reviewing AMC series The Pitch without actually watching the show.
After all, what’s the point? Seeing local, lower-tier advertising agencies duke it out for potential contract assignments—under ridiculous timelines—is the entertainment equivalent of, well, examining the real campaigns produced by these mediocre shops.
According to the press releases, Omaha-based Bozell bested Culver City-based Muse Communications for a job with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Whoop-dee-damn-doo. There will doubtless be critics ripping the minority agency, secretly thinking the outcome proves non-White agencies and executives are inferior to the Old White Guys. Don’t buy the bullshit. The only thing proven in this scenario is that a minority shop is just as capable of generating bad ideas as a White shop. No revelation there. If anyone needs verification that White agencies churn out lousy work too, simply observe the commercials running during daytime TV. Or even primetime, for that matter.
This week’s creative confrontation highlighted the offensiveness of The Pitch’s core premise. That is, doesn’t the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation deserve better than the half-assed and quickly conceived efforts of so-so agencies? Hell, Don Draper and crew staged a more compelling presentation for Jaguar—and the talent at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce has always been suspect. Maybe Jo Muse should have offered to sleep with the client à la Joan Holloway.
No word yet on the impact of airing the White Space spot. The YouTube counter indicates over 4,000 views for the video, which is probably more eyeballs than The Pitch regularly attracts. It’s tough to mount a revolution when dealing with low audience ratings.
Epithet that divides Mexicans is banned by Oxnard school district
‘Oaxaquita’ (little Oaxacan) is used by other Mexicans to demean their indigenous compatriots — who are estimated to make up 30% of California’s farmworkers.
By Paloma Esquivel, Los Angeles Times
Rolando Zaragoza, 21, was 15 years old when he came to the United States, enrolled in an Oxnard school and first heard the term “Oaxaquita.” Little Oaxacan, it means — and it was not used kindly.
“Sometimes I didn’t want to go to school,” he said. “Sometimes I stayed to fight.”
“It kind of seemed that being from Oaxaca was something bad,” said Israel Vasquez, 23, who shared the same mocking, “just the way people use ‘Oaxaquita’ to refer to anyone who is short and has dark skin.”
Years later, indigenous leaders are fighting back against an epithet that lingers among immigrants from Mexico, directed at their own compatriots. Earlier this month the Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project in Oxnard launched the “No me llames Oaxaquita” campaign. “Don’t call me little Oaxacan” aims to persuade local school districts to prohibit the words “Oaxaquita” and “indito” (little Indian) from being used on school property, to form committees to combat bullying and to encourage lessons about indigenous Mexican culture and history.
Indigenous Mexicans have come to the U.S. in increasing numbers in the last two decades. Some estimates now put them at 30% of California’s farmworkers. In Ventura County, there are about 20,000 indigenous Mexicans, most of whom are Mixtec from the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero who work in the strawberry industry, according to local organizers.
Many speak little or no Spanish and are frequently subjected to derision and ridicule from other Mexicans. The treatment follows a legacy of discrimination toward indigenous people in Mexico, said William Perez, a professor of education at Claremont Graduate University who has interviewed and surveyed numerous indigenous Mexican students.
“One of the main themes is the discrimination, bullying, teasing and verbal abuse that they receive from other Mexican immigrant classmates who are not indigenous,” he said. The abuse, which often goes unnoticed or is minimized by teachers and administrators, has left some of the indigenous students too embarrassed to speak their native languages, he said.
Educators and others in the U.S. often don’t recognize diversity within the Mexican community, said Gaspar Rivera-Salgado, a researcher at the UCLA Labor Center who has written extensively about indigenous Mexican migration.
“We forget that it’s a multilingual, multiethnic community,” he said. “We forget about the fact that 62 indigenous languages are spoken in Mexico.”
The organizing project’s campaign, Rivera-Salgado said, “is a really interesting way to confront, very directly, something that the Mexican nation and the Mexican immigrant community sometimes sweeps under the rug, and that’s the prevalence of racism and discrimination that indigenous people have to endure in Mexico and that is reproduced here in the United States.”
Elvia Pacheco, a Mixtec mother who lives in Oxnard, said her U.S.-born son’s middle school teacher poked fun at him for his Oaxacan heritage. Pacheco is from Oaxaca; the boy’s father is from the central state of Guanajuato.
One day her son came home and threatened to kill himself if she made him go to school again.
When she asked what was wrong, “He said, ‘You embarrass me.’”
“It’s the worst thing a mother can hear from her son — to be renounced because of who you are,” she said.
Since then, they have taken classes about Mixtec history and culture and participated in the project’s organizing efforts. It has made a world of difference, she said.
Denis O’Leary, a member of the Oxnard School District’s Board of Trustees, was at an event to launch the campaign.
“I’m very proud of the students and the parents that stood up on this issue,” he said. “We need to now learn from this and do better.”
On Wednesday the school district unanimously passed the resolution originally proposed by the organizing project prohibiting the derogatory terms and creating an anti-bullying committee, O’Leary said.
Though the district had existing policies prohibiting bullying and taunting, “This resolution is going to let teachers know, and administrators know, that this group, that nobody really thought of, has suffered. And we need to pay attention,” he said.
The latest episode of AMC series Mad Men showed the ugly, sexist side of the advertising business and beyond. The prospective Jaguar client made a request to Pete Campbell and Ken Cosgrove: he would support Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce in the upcoming account review, provided Joan Holloway slept with him. The agency partners initially asked Joan to prostitute herself for $50,000. Joan responded by demanding an agency partnership with a 5% stake in the business. Meanwhile, Peggy Olson was put in charge of the other accounts while Don Draper and the men focused on the car pitch—and Don insulted her by throwing money in her face. Peggy then permitted another agency’s principal to throw money in her face with a job offer, which she accepted. Don sought to throw more money at her with a counter offer, but to no avail. Megan Draper and her actress friend almost literally played sex kitten roles, while Pete’s wife Trudy played the shrew. Aspiring actress Megan later appeared for an audition where she was asked to “turn around” and display her curves. There was even a Black reference, with Joan’s mother suggesting hiring a housekeeper by hollering, “Get a colored girl in here—they’re used to being bossed around.” Imagine if the Jaguar client had submitted a requisition for Dawn Chambers. Although in true Matthew Weiner fashion, the secretary was the only female shown respect in the episode—because, dammit, a Black woman would never be mistreated in a 1960s Madison Avenue shop.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Talent Zoo posted the following job listing for Draftfcb Chicago:
At Draftfcb the Account Supervisor is the liaison between the agency and the client, the bridge between the brand and creative strategy, the communicator between all the internal teams, the mentor for junior members of the team, the champion and challenger of good ideas, the team rallier when needed and the leader when opportunities arise. We are looking for someone who knows what it takes to build relationships—not just with the clients but internally as well. This person understands a client’s business—what levers drive the machine—and finds the best place for the agency in that model.
• Develops and executes relevant marketing strategies with account team
• Demonstrates effective day-to-day leadership of the marketing team in terms of direction, opportunity identification and guidance
• Immerses self in client’s business and not only champions stellar, business-building ideas but knows how to effectively collaborate in order to bring those ideas to life
• Prioritizes all account activities to achieve optimum efficiency and profitability
• Establishes effective balance of advisory and advocacy skills with clients and the team
• Identifies opportunities to help grow direct reports and advance them to the next level
• Has charisma, a positive attitude, adaptability and the ability to multi-task
• Is subjective, resourceful and quick-thinking
• Demonstrates effective communication and creative problem-solving skills
• Has excellent oral, written, interpersonal and analytical skills
• Possesses an integrated background with a wide array of digital experience (web, mobile, social, search, etc.)
• Enthusiastic about business beyond traditional marketing aspects
• Sees the big picture and has the vision to drive big ideas and digital initiatives
• Comfortable with digital analytics measures, terminology and applications (click tracks, omniture and webtrends are preferred)
• Knowledgeable about digital formats, implementation and execution
• Has earned a bachelor’s degree
• Has 6+ years of relevant industry experience
Oh, and candidates must be capable of maintaining gleeful spirit after agency has just executed a 200-person bloodbath.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Came across this 2009 post from What Would Thembi Do? and thought it was worth sharing an edited excerpt.
A few of you have asked me to comment on the latest Popeyes ad featuring “Annie The Chicken Queen,” and the ad is finally on YouTube so I shall. I have to break down this amazingly disturbingly delineative and demonstrative character name, almost Linnean, name first:
1. Annie: the diminutive form of a traditional English name as though she were a slave with no surname
2. The Chicken: self-explanatory
3. Queen: this is what we word nerds call a contronym, or a word with two meanings that are opposites. Sure, if you’re British royalty you are a “Queen,” but the name “Queen” or “Queenie” is also a typical slave name — a pet name that no white people had, but implied that this slave was ‘special,’ so basically not a queen at all and in fact merely property not a ruler. Thank you, Alex Haley, for telling that history with the book Queen, and thank you, Halle Berry, for such a woeful performance in said miniseries, which further proves that no good can come from this nomenclature.
Kudos to Popeyes for putting forth such an immense level of effort to create a fictitious character with a name so descriptive and classifying that it rivals Linnean taxonomy and is almost an onomatopoeia for the sound of clanging shackles. “Annie The Chicken Queen” is jam-packed with so many antebellum stereotypes about black people that the commercial itself could never be a disappointment.
I am so tired of feisty black women who speak the truth and call you “honey” in advertising, but I’ve given up on fighting that aspect of the stereotype. What I want to know is, why did this women touch her ‘kitchen’ while she was talking about chicken unless that was some covert call to action for the black community and I didn’t get the memo? Why does she reference Popeyes chicken as “my chicken,” when it’s fried and sold everywhere from St. Louis to Seoul, Korea? I thought Popeye was the one frying it up back there, and even then isn’t the internationally standard recipe a corporate secret? Oh wait, I get it, food is somehow better when it’s prepared by a black women whose self-worth depends on how good her fried foods taste! Popeyes, as a company, should be ashamed, but they’ve already released a typical statement filled with “oh um, that’s offensive? really? we’re lovin’ it, though!” type of language. I will be following up on this disgusting campaign here at WWTD and in the meantime continuing not to eat at Popeyes.
Memorial Day Weekend 2012 commemorates special fallen service people—namely, the Draftfcb employees axed in response to the MillerCoors account shifts announced earlier this month. Razorfish might have also trimmed workers, as the beer maker fired the digital shop too.
The trade press has been oddly quiet about the scenario, perhaps deciding to stop publishing news on advertising bloodbaths. Agency Spy reported up to 40 people were cut, while AdScam declared at least 200 staffers were dumped. The AdScam numbers are probably more accurate. Losing a multi-brand beer account translates to lots of billings and bodies. Plus, Draftfcb is notorious for trickling pink slips, quietly letting employees go in small spurts over an extended period of time.
It’s bad news overall for the Chicago job market. New York-based Saatchi & Saatchi picked up the Miller Lite account, while a Chicago-based coalition of WPP shops will handle Coors. Agencies often avoid hiring former staffers from ex-AORs, so the newly unemployed will face a tough road ahead.
Add the MillerCoors departure to the SC Johnson dismissal of roughly a year ago, and it’s safe to say Draftfcb is reeling. Management shuffles can’t be helping matters or morale. Draftfcb Chairman Howard Draft’s dream of running a small shop may come true sooner than later.
The self-proclaimed Agency of the Future has a fuzzy future, mostly because it ultimately acts like a relic of the past. That is, Draftfcb features all the characteristics of a standard BDA—politics, egos, bureaucracies, silos, outdated processes, lumbering structures, contrived catchphrases and White men. The breakthrough model is a Model T. A New Brand Agency is an old brontosaurus. And accountability apparently does not apply to the powers that be.
Don’t forget that Draftfcb President and CEO Laurence Boschetto promised, “…by 2014 we will be an organization that no longer uses the term ‘diversity and inclusion.’ We are working tirelessly, from the C-suite to the intern ranks, to foster an atmosphere of inclusion, where everyone is empowered to reach great heights.” Um, by 2014 Draftfcb may no longer be an organization—period.
The Black Beauty Standard
By Tami Winfrey Harris
One undercurrent to the recent hyper-focus on black women’s bodies has been the idea that while the majority culture has strict beauty standards, black folks just don’t give a damn. In our own communities, black women’s bodies–whatever they look like–are A-OK.
Not sharing the majority culture’s beauty standards is not the same as not having any at all. The black community has its own standard for what women should look like. It’s not more relaxed and it can be just as oppressive as the more mainstream standard.
Flip through King or any black-targeted lad-style magazine and there is no doubt you will see a standard at play. (Standards for women’s bodies are generally predicated on the male gaze.) It is, for sure, a standard that is different from the Eurocentric mainstream, but it is a standard: small waist, round booty, juicy thighs, boobies optional.
And just so we get this clear, round and juicy do not equal fat. In fact, many black women work out in order to achieve this standard. On Buffy the Body’s fitness website, b.Nomics, on an article about exercises that yield a more ample and rounded rear, a woman named Kristina asks:
I recently started working out. I already have a big butt but want it bigger and more “bubbly.” How can I work out, not lose the booty I already have, get a bigger booty and NOT a bigger waist? I’m so confused. Please help, Buffy!!
Different standards, but two, clear standards, nonetheless.
And just like the mainstream standard, there are women dying or harming themselves to fit the popular black aesthetic. From Rolling Out:
“The quest to have a perfect posterior was almost deadly for a California woman who became a multiple amputee after the botched procedure. April Brown of Los Angeles had multiple limbs removed after living for five years in “excruciating pain” from silicone butt injections. The mother and former cosmetologist had her legs and part of her arms removed to save her life after doctors reported that she had multiple infections from the substance she placed into her body. “They call it butt injections,” she told a local NBC news station. “These things are done at pumping parties. They call it medical grade silicone, but a lot of it is industrial grade silicone.”
The problem with the current narrative about black bodies is two-fold. One, in our hyper-body conscious and fat-phobic culture, the meme that black people have no standards is used to otherize and denigrate black culture. And two, as long we pretend that there is no black beauty standard, then women, like April Brown, will continue to be oppressed by the thing we claim doesn’t exist. If we don’t acknowledge the black aesthetic, then we cannot move—as the mainstream should also move—toward celebrating a diversity of natural, healthy bodies as beautiful—big booties, little booties and everything in between.