Sunday, September 30, 2012

10571: Social Drunking.

This Alcoholics Anonymous campaign from Brazil appears to invite recovering alcoholics to “relax without relapse” at venues where booze is present and prevalent. Not sure that even the advertisers depicted in the likely scam layouts would want to endorse such a message.

From Ads of the World.

10570: The Truly Disadvantaged Today.

From The Chicago Tribune…

Revisiting the ‘truly disadvantaged’ 25 years later

By Clarence Page

Twenty-five years after sociologist William Julius Wilson’s important study on urban decline and vanishing marriageable men, poverty is still with us. And we’re finding lots of new ways to argue about it.

Back then, Ronald Reagan-era conservatives were blaming urban “areas of concentrated poverty,” single parenthood and welfare dependency. Many liberals mounted soapboxes to blame racism as their convenient one-size-fits-all explanation.

Wilson, then a University of Chicago sociologist who since has moved to Harvard, offered an alternative view in “The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy,” a short book — 176 pages — that stirred hundreds of follow-up studies and changed the national conversation about poverty.

Wilson blamed the decline on post-World War II industrial America and the evaporation of good-paying jobs. Without the resources that enabled two-parent families to sustain themselves, inner cities were left with a new largely dependent “underclass.”

Memorably, the book introduced such new terms as “marriageable men” to describe the shortage of men who were capable economically and otherwise to make good husbands. Even if you agree with social conservatives, as I do, about the importance of two-parent families, efforts to improve the supply of marriageable men have fallen woefully short of demand.

That message echoed at a conference sponsored by the Century Foundation in Washington, D.C., to revisit Wilson’s book on its 25th anniversary. Wilson’s book offered a center-left counterweight to conservative Charles Murray’s provocative1984 book “Losing Ground,” which argued for ending welfare dependency by ending welfare. Murray didn’t get that wish, but his book stirred a national debate that led to the 1996 welfare reform law that President Bill Clinton signed, after vetoing two other harsher bills passed by a Republican Congress.

The good news: Children on welfare dropped to their lowest level in 30 years after welfare reform was passed, helped by the era’s economic boom. The bad news, Wilson said at the Century forum, is that the “underclass” is still with us, although the word has fallen out of political correctness in many circles.

“There is little wrong with our ‘underclass’ that a little time and a lot of jobs would not cure,” I wrote in a column about Wilson’s then-new book. I have since expanded that view. Culture matters, too, I have realized. It doesn’t do any good to offer some people a job if their values don’t lead them to take it. That concerns Wilson, too. At the conference, he and other policy experts explored the importance of “neighborhood effects” that can undermine values and incentives to, for example, pack up and move to where jobs might be more available.

Wilson credited welfare reform and the robust economy of the 1990s with reducing underclass poverty, but noted that poverty has rebounded since 2000. The dip in the 1990s might prove to be only a “blip” in the long-term decline of concentrated poverty communities, he said.

Black prison incarceration also has increased, putting even more of a chill on black incomes, family life and marriageable men.

“Quite frankly I think that (President Barack) Obama’s programs have prevented poverty, including concentrated poverty, from rapidly rising, considering the terrible economy,” Wilson said. He included Obama’s stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which earmarked $80 billion for low-income Americans. It included such emergency benefits as an extension of unemployment benefits, a temporary increase in the earned income tax credit and additional funds for food stamps. It also offered $4 billion in job-training and workforce enhancement programs and $2 billion for neighborhood stabilization efforts, Wilson noted.

Taken together, Wilson said, Obama’s programs exceed the spending on low-income Americans by any of the six previous presidents. “Now given all of this action during Obama’s first term,” in terms of addressing problems of concentrated poverty, Wilson concluded in his prepared remarks, “which presidential candidate would you take your chances on …?” Which one, indeed.

Neither side has all the answers in our national poverty debate. But we need to at least talk about it, before we make the matter worse.

10569: Brawling Entertainment Television Awards.

From The New York Daily News… Rick Ross and Young Jeezy brawl at BET Awards

The hip-hop heavyweights — and their entourages — exchanged words and shoves backstage inside the Atlanta Civic Center before the beef spilled outside.

By Mimi Brown and Rich Schapiro / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

ATLANTA—Rappers Young Jeezy and Rick Ross fought backstage at the taping of the BET Awards in Atlanta Saturday, triggering a wild brawl in the parking lot.

The hip-hop heavyweights — and their entourages — exchanged words and shoves inside the Atlanta Civic Center before the beef spilled outside, witnesses told the Daily News.

“It was absolute chaos,” witness Christina Collins, 31, said. “Jeezy’s people and Rick Ross’ people were brawling.”

Atlanta cops arrived about 7 p.m. and squirted pepper spray to break up the fracas, authorities said.

There were no serious injuries reported or arrests, and despite reports to the contrary, no shots were fired, authorities said.

But witnesses described a terrifying scene.

“People were everywhere,” said a 23-year-old woman who declined to give her name. “It was scary. I left the area. You never know with these types of brawls.”

Witnesses said the scuffle broke out shortly after Ross apparently dissed Jeezy during a performance.

The 2012 BET Awards show is expected to air next month.

Rich Schapiro reported from New York.

10568: Fast Feeders Mess With Kids’ Brains.

From The Los Angeles Times…

Your brain on a Big Mac: Kids turned on by fast-food logos

By David Lazarus

Purveyors of fast food such as McDonald’s try to make impression on young consumers. And a new study of kids’ brains shows that it’s working.

Researchers at the University of Missouri in Kansas City and the University of Kansas Medical Center did MRI scans of kids’ noggins while showing them assorted corporate logos.

Turns out that when a logo for a fast-food chain comes up — the golden arches, say — the pleasure centers of kids’ brains light up, showing that a connection is being made to something considered a treat or a reward.

A similar effect is nowhere to be found when logos for non-food brands are flashed.

“Research has shown children are more likely to choose those foods with familiar logos,” says Dr. Amanda Bruce, who led the study. “That is concerning, because the majority of foods marketed to children are unhealthy, calorifically dense foods high in sugars, fat and sodium.”

The tests were conducted on children ages 10 to 14. They were exposed to 60 food and 60 non-food logos.

The food logos triggered increased activity in areas of the brain known to be involved in reward processing and in driving and controlling appetite.

”The brains of children are ‘imprinted’ with food logos,” Bruce says. “Without the necessary inhibitory processes to aid in decision-making, youths are particularly susceptible to making poor choices about what to eat.”

And there’s your bottom line: The marketing of junk food plays a significant role in the obesity epidemic.

In other words, kids often crave bad-for-you food because they’ve been wired by ads and commercials to associate the related brands with pleasure.

Does that mean we should have curbs on junk-food ads, just as there are limits for cigarette and alcohol ads?

I say yes. But I’ll save the free-speech debate for another day.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

10567: Walgreens Profits Unhealthy.

The Associated Press reported Walgreens 4Q profits dropped 55 percent versus last year. Don’t expect the historical factoid to be featured in the current crappy campaign. At the corner of unhappy and unhealthy.

Walgreen’s fourth-quarter profit falls 55 percent, tops forecasts

From Associated Press

Walgreen Co.’s fiscal fourth quarter net income tumbled 55 percent compared to a year ago when the drugstore operator recorded a big business sale gain.

Its adjusted earnings still trumped Wall Street expectations. But shares of the nation’s largest drugstore chain fell almost 2 percent in premarket trading Friday.

The Deerfield, Ill., company’s stock price had climbed more than 17 percent in the quarter.

Walgreen said Friday that it absorbed a bigger inventory-related charge in this year’s quarter and another charge due to a multi-billion dollar investment in European health and beauty retailer Alliance Boots. Walgreen also took another sales hit from a split with pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co. that shifted customers away from its stores.

Overall, Walgreen earned $353 million, or 39 per share, in this year’s quarter. That compares to $792 million, or 87 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding one-time items like the charges, Walgreen earned 63 cents per share. That topped analyst expectations of 55 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue fell 5 percent to $17.1 billion from $18 billion a year ago.

Walgreen runs 7,930 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, or more than its main competitors CVS Caremark Corp. and Rite Aid Corp.

The company announced in June that it planned to branch out overseas with the Alliance Boots investment. That amounted to $4 billion in cash and more than 83 million shares for a 45 percent ownership stake in the Swiss company, which runs the largest drugstore chain in the United Kingdom. Walgreen took a 9-cents-per-share charge in the quarter from that deal.

The company also recorded a “last-in-first-out” inventory charge of 10 cents per share in this year’s quarter compared to 4 cents per share last year.

LIFO is a method of accounting for inventory that assumes a company sells its newest inventory first. The company takes a credit or charge each quarter according to the anticipated inflation rate for the year.

Last year’s quarter also included an after-tax gain of 30 cents per share, due to the pharmacy benefits management business sale.

Pharmacy benefits managers, or PBMs, run prescription drug plans for employers, insurers and other clients.

Walgreen and St. Louis-based Express Scripts, the nation’s largest PBM, had stopped doing business last year after months of talks failed to produce a new contract, and Walgreen’s sales have dropped for several months because of this. The companies have since agreed to a new contract, but it didn’t start until Sept. 15, or after the fiscal fourth quarter ended.

Walgreen rivals CVS Caremark and Rite Aid have both claimed new customers due to this stand-off, and Walgreen said it took a hit of about 6 cents per share in the quarter due to the dispute.

For the full fiscal year, Walgreen earned $2.13 billion, or $2.42 per share, on $71.63 billion in revenue.

Walgreen shares fell 72 cents, or 2 percent, to $35.88 in premarket trading.

10566: It’s The Economy, Stupid.

This campaign from Germany seems to be saying, “Economy-wise, we’re fucked.”

From Ads of the World.

10565: Naturally Awful Pharma Ads.

Another campaign from abroad that shows pharma advertising sucks worldwide.

From Ads of the World.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

10563: Taco Bell Says No Más Media, Draftfcb.

Advertising Age reported Taco Bell is reviewing its media-planning duties—and incumbent Draftfcb is not part of the plan. Perhaps the cross-cultural experts should spend more time honing their cross-discipline skills. The inevitable layoffs hopefully won’t include too many minority executives. After all, Taco Bell’s target audience is primarily White, as Latinos won’t touch the shit, despite the efforts of Chef Lorena Garcia. Taco Bell CMO Brian Niccol insisted the review is based on a desire to “set the brand up for success over the next 50 years.” Well, that explains the decision to dump Draftfcb, since it likely won’t be around in 50 years—or even 50 months. Then again, don’t bet on Taco Bell being around either. Hey, there are only so many flavors of Doritos to use for Locos Tacos extensions.

Taco Bell Embarks on Media-Agency Search

Fast Feeder’s CMO, Brian Niccol, Wants to ‘Set the Brand Up for Success Over the Next 50 Years’

By Maureen Morrison

A plum piece of media business is up for review: Yum Brands’ Taco Bell is searching for a new partner to help it with media-planning duties, Ad Age has learned.

The business had been handled by Interpublic’s DraftFCB, Taco Bell’s lead agency, and it is understood the agency would not participate in the review. A spokesman referred calls for comment to the restaurant chain.

It was not known whether a consultant is overseeing the review, but Santa Monica-based consultant Select Resources International oversaw the Taco Bell digital review earlier this year, which went to Publicis Groupe’s Digitas. WPP’s MEC will continue to handle media buying; Digitas, the chain’s digital agency of record, handles digital media planning.

Not only is the search for a new media-planning shop a compelling brand opportunity for shops—in a year that hasn’t seen many media reviews—Taco Bell is also a sizable ad spender.

Parent Yum Brands ranked as the 50th-largest national advertiser last year, according to the Ad Age DataCenter, with total spending of $835 million. Of that amount, it devoted the most to Taco Bell, followed by Pizza Hut, then KFC.

The search has been initiated by Brian Niccol, chief marketing and innovation officer at Taco Bell—a new role he was appointed to one year ago following a stint at Pizza Hut.

“DraftFCB continues to be our lead agency, and we’re extremely proud of their creative work,” Mr. Niccol said in a statement to Ad Age.

He went on to describe why the restaurant is looking to shake up its media-agency strategy. “Over the last few months we have been working with our franchisees to set the brand up for success over the next 50 years—specifically how we can lead and maintain leadership in traditional, social and digital media,” Mr. Niccol said. “These include two-step changes that will position Taco Bell for growth. The first is how our media is spent, which includes a new agreement that shifts from local to national, includes Hispanic and more digital. Second is our media strategy. To build off our current success, we are actively looking for an agency partner to help us with national media-planning strategy.”

Although DraftFCB is maintaining much of its Taco Bell business, the departure of this piece of the account—along with the loss of the digital account to Digitas—signals the relationship may not be as strong as it once was.

Taco Bell is also especially important to DraftFCB after losing the entire MillerCoors account earlier this year, as well as SC Johnson last year and much of the Kraft business—all accounts that were won by predecessor agency Foote Cone & Belding. Notably, Taco Bell, along with Yum sibling KFC, is one of the last major creative accounts from the FCB era. Wins the agency can tout have included Cox and Discover.

It may not be the last of the moves on the account either. Several executives familiar with the matter said that other roster agencies and Interpublic shops are being considered for additional potential Taco Bell assignments. Taco Bell did not respond to questions regarding the matter.

From a creative perspective, DraftFCB has some reprieve given special promotions have helped Taco Bell improve sales this year, after a slumping 2011. That was thanks in large part to its Doritos Locos Taco, its largest product rollout ever. The chain also this year rolled out its upscale Cantina menu.

The Taco Bell account is handled largely out of DraftFCB’s Orange County office. The agency’s other big piece of Yum business, KFC, is handled out of Chicago. Much of DraftFCB’s New York office is in the health-care business, though that shop earlier this year won the Sea World account.

Contributing: Alexandra Bruell

10562: Georgie Badiel Is Bad.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

10561: Interns, Interns, Interns.

At The Big Tent, Eric Buchanan—Talent Acquisition Manager, RPA, and President, Multicultural Advertising Training Program—published a post titled, “How to Attract -- and Retain -- a More Diverse Agency Staff.” The solution? Interns. In fact, Buchanan might have set a record for most mentions of the word “interns” in a single essay. Is anyone in the industry capable of coming up with an original concept to tackle the dearth of diversity? Regurgitating the same old idea feels like the work of, well, interns.

10560: Why Diversity Fails, Exclusivity Reigns.

The recent Business Insider story on Deutsch NY CEO Val DiFebo led to a 2009 New York Magazine article on the advertising agency and its figurehead, Donny Deutsch—ultimately showing why diversity continues to fail on Madison Avenue. And why Donny Deutsch continues to be a douche bag.

Donny’s father, David Deutsch, had started a small advertising agency and, in 1983, hired his son—“I was a member of the lucky sperm club,” says Donny.

In short, Deutsch openly acknowledges taking advantage of nepotism and White privilege. The card-carrying lucky sperm club member is a dick.

Donny hired young, driven people, who worked 90-, 100-hour weeks. “Jews, chicks, and fags” was how Donny sometimes described the mix. “A big, dysfunctional, ethnic family.”

Notice the word “racial” was not included in the descriptors. Deutsch created and cultivated a tight-knit family based on exclusivity.

At Deutsch in the nineties, professional and private inevitably blended. The place was known for its masculine vibe—an “obnoxious boys’ club,” says one observer— where even the women described themselves as testosteronized. There was a “he-man eating club,” in which guys ordered pounds of meat and ate it with their hands. “People were having sex all over the place,” says one employee. At a Christmas party at a Park Avenue restaurant, another recalls, “I had to ask two people engaged in oral sex to move so I could get my coat.”

Deutsch put the ass in assimilation. Keep in mind, these discriminatory hiring practices didn’t take place during some pre-Civil Rights period or even Mad Men timeframe. It all happened in the 1990s—and likely continues today.

Deutsch today has 1,000 employees (two are his assistants), $2.4 billion in billings, and a new industrial space the size of a city block. “He was the only guy among the outrageous upstarts who figured out the big picture,” says Randall Rothenberg, Ad Age columnist and Booz Allen Hamilton exec. Donny has promoted mature, stable, capable team players—many of them women. Four of his six managing partners, and all those in New York, are women.

“I don’t think of myself as a woman,” protests Val DiFebo, director of client services, from her tiny office. Yet, in part, Donny is probably at ease with them—as at ease as his coiled energy permits—because they’re women. “Every alpha male brings emotional bullshit to work,” says Donny, “Women want to get the job done.” Donny introduces two of his female partners the same way: “We’re like husband and wife at work,” he says. “We finish each other’s sentences.” Indeed, they are confidantes. Brash Donny is often found dispensing boyfriend advice. (“Tell him you want to be with him, and walk if he says no.”)

Deutsch has bizarre professional relationships when it comes to women. His personal relationships with women are pretty messed up too. If females want to move forward at the agency, they must be “wife” material for the man. Wonder how many minority women have made it past the bridesmaid stage.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

10559: Omnicom Faces Discrimination Lawsuit.

Business Insider reported on a discrimination lawsuit filed against Omnicom, with charges including taunts about the male plaintiff’s sexuality. Hey, maybe Bob Garfield was right when he wrote the 2008 open letter to Omnicom CEO John Wren and complained the holding company’s agencies were producing homophobic commercials.

Omnicom Discrimination Lawsuit Reads Like A Gossip Column

By Laura Stampler

Sports media veteran Ray Katz filed a $3 million lawsuit against Omnicom alleging wrongful termination and discrimination, and it’s quite the page-turner. It features allegations of fraud, anti-Semitism, taunts regarding sexuality and overall bullying.

“Plaintiff is a 52 year old, unmarried, Jewish male,” the lawsuit — filed against Omnicom Group, OMD, Optimum Sports, and former CFO Mark Amabile — begins. According to the suit, Katz was discriminated against for being all three — even though he once dated professional poker player Beth Shak … on a reality TV show.

“Amabile repeatedly questioned Mr. Katz’s status as a non-married male,” the lawsuit says. “Further commenting that Plaintiff ‘must be homosexual if he is not married at his age.’”

The former NFL marketing director appeared on Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker in 2010 — as a suitor — on a date with Shak.

Here are the highlights of the rest of Katz’s allegations:

• Katz “exceeded the revenue and profitability goals set for his department, and year six was similarly on track to beat all goals,” the suit states. He alleges he was fired because there wasn’t revenue to support his position.

• Revenue generated by Optimum was assigned to other units of Omnicom, and expenses from those units assigned to Optimum, in violation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the suit alleges.

• Katz alleges he was fired for generating revenue for accounts like State Farm, Lowe’s, Bank of America, and Visa as opposed to working on Amabile’s pet projects. The lawsuit says Amabile “concentrated his efforts on obtaining sponsors for Diamond Nation, a local New Jersey baseball camp at which defendant AMABILE’s son was a student… Upon information and belief, it was defendant Amabile’s intent to curry favor with the camp and its college coaches in order to assist in obtaining extra baseball instruction, scholarship offers for his son, and admission to universities which would not admit his son without the prospect of baseball contribution.”

• Katz didn’t have a happy birthday. “Mr. Katz was given a book ‘Golf over 50,’ a disparaging greeting card calling attention to Mr. Katz’s advancing age, and a candle with the numbers 6 and 1, signifying 61 years old, and further mocking Mr. Katz’s age was displayed on the birthday cake,” the suit states.

• On top of allegedly being told that he must be gay if he was still single, “Plaintiff, on numerous occasions was told that single people need to make less money than married people and Plaintiff was witness to occurrences of this practice being enforced.”

• Katz says he saw defendants allegedly discriminate against Jewish vendors, for being “untrustworthy.” He doesn’t offer any evidence of that in the lawsuit.

Katz joined Leverage Agency as president of sports properties and media in October 2009. He’s currently managing partner at Source1 Sports.

Omnicom and Katz did not respond for comment.

10558: Ad Age Salutes Eunice W. Johnson.

From Advertising Age…

Ebony Founder Eunice W. Johnson Lived a Life of Smart Moves

By Linda Johnson Rice

Eunice W. Johnson

Founder, Ebony; Creator, Fashion Fair

One thing a lot of people don’t know about my mother is that she actually selected the name Ebony for the magazine that she and my father founded. While my father was still in search of a name, she suggested that they reach for their roots and offered Ebony as a contender. Now, the magazine reaches millions of readers on a monthly basis. Coming up with the name was one of many smart moves made by my mother, Eunice Johnson.

Originally from Selma, Ala., she moved to Chicago and became what I would call a real steel magnolia. Her negotiation skills were very genteel and ladylike but tough. She was very smart and savvy in the way she conducted business, and this is one of the reasons she was one of the most successful businesswomen of her time.

A stickler for perfection, my mother believed in things being fair and equitable. I will never forget the time we visited a certain designer, and my mother was hoping to purchase key pieces for one of her fashion shows. She sat down with her checkbook open and was uncapping her pen to begin writing the check. She then paused and said to the designer, “I don’t think I like that price.” The designer tried to persuade my mother that the price was right, but she stuck to her guns and we left. The next thing I knew flowers, perfumes and phone calls were pouring into our hotel room—all from the designer, who was ready to give my mother a better deal!

When you came away from spending a day with Eunice Johnson, you came away with more knowledge than you had when you started. Her class, style and presence were second to none. My mother, who passed away in 2010, had an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit and because of her impeccable forward thinking, our brands—Ebony, Jet and Fashion Fair—are still revered in the African-American community. She always told me you had to strive for the best. Johnson Publishing is as relevant today as it was in 1942 when it was founded. As we move ahead, we are going to develop more into a lifestyle brand. We will evoke an Ebony lifestyle—but it will really be a Johnson lifestyle.

10557: Baby Bias…?

Why is this Baby Can Wait campaign only depicting Black teens?

Monday, September 24, 2012

10556: Keija Minor’s Major Accomplishment.

From The Huffington Post…

Keija Minor Named ‘Brides’ Editor-In-Chief, First African-American To Head Up A Condé Nast Magazine

Huffington Post | By Julee Wilson

Keija Minor has been named the editor-in-chief of Brides, making her the first person of color to ever hold the title at a Condé Nast Publications (CNP) magazine.

To put it simply—Minor’s new appointment is major news.

CNP, the privately owned company that produces 18 magazines including Vogue, Glamour, Vanity Fair and GQ, has been in existence since 1909. That’s 103 years that no black editor has ever been named to the top of an editorial masthead at the company—until now. Yikes!

Minor fills the top spot at Brides that was left vacant after the announcement earlier this month that Anne Fulenwider would be leaving the title to become the new editor-in-chief of Marie Claire.

Minor’s new gig got us wondering: Are there or have there ever been any other black editor-in-chiefs at mainstream publications?

Ebony’s EIC Amy DuBois Barnett was Managing Editor (Time, Inc.’s equivalent of an EIC position) at Teen People, which made her the first African-American woman to head a mainstream consumer magazine. And she’s in good company with Newsweek’s former EIC Mark Whitaker, who was the first African-American to lead a national news magazine before becoming Executive Vice President and managing editor for CNN Worldwide.

To be fair there are special interest publications, which reach a larger spectrum of ethnicities and focus on more niche subjects like music, that have been run by an editor of color. As in the case of GIANT magazine, which was helmed by Emil Wilbekin—who is now the editor-at-large at Essence.

In addition, African Americans have held executive level positions at mainstream publications—Corynne Corbett the beauty director at Essence was the executive editor at Real Simple and Minor was the executive editor at Brides before this recent promotion.

Minor’s experience helming a magazine is anchored in her tenure (2008 to 2011) as EIC at Uptown, a lifestyle glossy aimed at affluent African Americans. Her journey from a black publication to the pinnacle of a mainstream title is one that is commendable and will no doubt be looked at as a shining example that black editors can ascend in publishing—and particularly after spending time at a niche publication.

Although the industry is still largely homogenous, it looks like it’s moving (slowly but surely) towards reflecting the increasingly colorful makeup of the country. We just hope as time goes on brides-to-be won’t be the only ones that benefit from a more diverse point-of-view and leadership when grabbing a glossy off the newsstand.

10555: Val DiFebo Is A White Woman.

Okay, the following post is admittedly a tad sloppy—yet it was inspired by recent commentary and observations.

Business Insider spotlighted Deutsch NY CEO Val DiFebo, clarifying a quote the adwoman made in a 2009 New York Magazine article. DiFebo now insists the statement in question—“I don’t think of myself as a woman”—should have read: “I don’t think of myself as a woman, but a businessperson that is a woman.” One has to wonder if DiFebo didn’t mean to say, “I don’t think of myself as a women, but as a businessman that is a woman.” After all, other high-level female advertising executives have shown that succeeding in the field often demands becoming “acceptable” by White adman standards:

• Socialistic CEO Colleen DeCourcy confessed to being “one of the boys” throughout her career.

• Former Leo Burnett Chief Creative Officer Cheryl Berman stated in a 2009 Wall Street Journal story, “I guess you could say I was Peggy Olson in the 70’s, when I walked into an agency called Leo Burnett. When I walked out 30 years later, I guess you could say I was Don Draper.”

• Former BBH Chair Cindy Gallop encouraged adwomen to “Be the bitch. … It’ll get you more places and more of what you want than receding invisibly into the background in a charmingly feminine way will.” Plus, Gallop constantly flaunts her fascination for younger men and pornography.

• Why, even DiFebo ultimately displays the gender-morphing phenomenon. It’s no secret that Deutsch has historically been a boy’s club—and a wild one to boot. Founder Donny Deutsch is notorious for his womanizing, as well as his penchant for dropping F-bombs. The Business Insider story made a reference to a bright orange sign attached to the white board in DiFebo’s office that reads, “Tell it to me fucking straight.”

It could also be argued that White women have an easier time meeting such assimilation requirements. Diversity experts and market researchers clearly recognize the differences between professional women across racial and ethnic groups—especially the varied attitudes and behaviors regarding work. White women probably greatly outnumber non-White women on Madison Avenue for a reason—and it may be rooted in their ability to relate with White men, transforming themselves and gaining acceptance.

In the end, DiFebo likely succeeds because she is a businessperson that is a White woman.


Why Deutsch’s Val DiFebo Said ‘I Don’t Think of Myself As A Woman’

By Samantha Felix

Deutsch NY CEO Val DiFebo wants to set the record straight: She does, in fact, think of herself as a woman.

The truncated quote that has haunted DiFebo — it comes up in Google searches — was originally published by New York Magazine in 2010 as: “I don’t think of myself as a woman.”

But she told Business Insider that it should have read: “I don’t think of myself as a woman, but a businessperson that is a woman.”

While sitting with us, DiFebo remarked that ever since the article ran, anytime she meets with someone new, the first thing out of their mouth is, “So, I heard you don’t think of yourself as a woman?”

DiFebo has been with Deutsch since 1992, playing a key role in shaping the growth of its New York office. Her up-beat personality reflects the culture and energy of the office.

But DiFebo is no softy. The bright orange sign plastered to the white board behind her desk says it all: “Val DiFebo; CEO, Deutsch, New York; Tell it to me f--king straight.”

10554: McReality Versus Reality.

This Mickey D’s campaign from Australia hypes the freshness of ingredients. Of course, reality presents a slightly different story.

From Ads of the World.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

10553: Mad Men Are Sad Men At Emmys.

The Los Angeles Times wrote:

Still to come: Are Emmys voters bored of “Mad Men” dominating TV’s top honors? Or are they still head over heels in love with AMC’s period drama?

“Mad Men” stands poised to win best drama series for the fifth year in a row unless the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ voters do something shocking and give the top drama honor to something else.

Oops. Typed to soon. The Pitch didn’t win anything either—hell, the show didn’t even earn a nomination.

10552: Ad Age Recognizes Women In Adland.

Advertising Age spotlighted the 100 Most Influential Women in Advertising. Highlights included Caroline Jones among the Innovators.

Caroline Jones

Founder, Caroline Jones Advertising

As one of the most successful African-American women in advertising, Caroline Jones left an indelible mark on adland. In addition to being the first black woman creative director at J. Walter Thompson—where she worked her way up from secretary and copywriter posts—Ms. Jones held executive positions at BBDO and other general-market agencies. Later she launched and co-founded several well-respected specialty shops, including Caroline Jones Inc., where she was president at the time of her death at age 59 in 2001. Some of her biggest clients included McDonald’s, American Express, Anheuser-Busch and Kentucky Fried Chicken, which took Ms. Jones’ “We Do Chicken Right” campaign and adopted it as its general-market slogan. “Her importance in the industry was not fully understood,” ad exec Ted Pettus old Ad Age near the time of Ms. Jones’ death. “There are all too few role models for African-American men and women in this business, and Caroline was one of them.”

Ad Age recognized three Black women in the Power Players category.

Pam El

VP-Marketing and Advertising, State Farm

Pam El, VP-marketing and advertising for State Farm, has kept the nation’s-largest auto insurer at the forefront of an ultra-competitive category with massive ad spending and contemporary marketing.

“Like a Good Neighbor” is now “Get to a Better State,” while the insurer’s familiar red three-oval logo was revamped to remove “auto, fire, life,” emphasizing aggressive moves into other services such as State Farm Bank. It was the company’s first logo refresh in nearly 60 years.

Ms. El joined State Farm in 2002 after stints at the Martin Agency, US West and Terabeam. Her outside initiatives include serving on the board of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. At State Farm, she encourages teamwork, including among the marketer’s various agencies. “They can’t have my back if they are at each other,” she said at an industry conference a couple years ago.

Ann Fudge


In a lengthy mid-1990s profile about her glass-ceiling-breaking ability, Ann Fudge cited the race riots she lived through following Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination as a transformative experience. “They made me incredibly determined,” she told The New York Times.

“I wanted to do something that black people hadn’t done before.” General Mills and Kraft Foods (she was president of Maxwell House at the latter) she did just that at Y&R, becoming CEO at one of the largest agencies in the business—a rarity for a black female. While she was unable to stem account losses at the agency and retired three years later in 2006, her appointment is seen as a watershed for adland. She also served as a member of President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

Renetta McCann

Chief Talent Officer, Leo Burnett

One of the most prominent female and African-American executives in the advertising and marketing industries, Renetta McCann started her career in 1978 at Leo Burnett. She rose steadily through the ranks to become global CEO of Starcom MediaVest, the giant Publicis Groupe-owned media-investment arm, in 2005. Ms. McCann was always a multitasker: She won and led the Sony Consumer Electronics business in 1991 at Starcom while also becoming a mother. She juggled diaper-changing with media plans for 28 separate Sony product lines.

“When you’re in a meeting with Renetta she’s always thinking three meetings ahead,” Dan Albert, then exec VP-chief media strategist for Starcom USA, told Ad Age in a 2001 interview. “You have to be on your guard.”

And now it is potential hires who will need be on their guard: Ms. McCann emerged from a consulting post to rejoin Leo Burnett this month as chief talent officer.

10551: Gordon Parks On New York.

The New York Times presents a slideshow featuring the work of the late Gordon Parks, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year.