Not sure what this Nigerian campaign is trying to communicate. Pretty sure someone’s gonna be offended.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Advertising Age reported NASCAR hired Kenny Mitchell as managing director-brand and consumer marketing. Imagine that. A sport which has openly struggled with diversity manages to find and recruit qualified minorities—while its advertising agency has been driving in circles for decades on diversity.
People on the Move: Nascar Taps Sports Veteran Kenny Mitchell
By Fallon Atta-Mensah
Kenny Mitchell has been named the managing director-brand and consumer marketing for Nascar. He will be responsible for developing and executing the annual Nascar marketing plan and overseeing the company’s media strategies and planning in close collaboration with other Nascar departments. Mr. Mitchell joins the team from the Drew Tour, a division of Alli and the NBC Sports Group, where he served as VP and general manager. He holds a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College and a MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.
Friday, November 29, 2013
The copy in these Bolivian Coca-Cola ads reads:
A sedentary lifestyle kills like any disease.
Change your life for your own life.
Expect Coca-Cola to deny responsibility for this campaign in the days ahead.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Angry Asian Man spotted this commercial for an Alabama legal firm run by car accident, workers compensation and disability lawyers. Quite appropriate, as the spot is a total car wreck that could be categorized as a workplace disaster created by people with intellectual disabilities. Oddly enough, the firm’s YouTube channel features an infomercial starring a sexy and sophisticated Asian woman. Go figure.
Gap praised for quick response to racist graffiti against Sikh model, as more evidence of vandalism pops up
Racist graffiti replaced the words ‘Make Love’ with ‘Make bombs’ on a Gap subway poster featuring Brooklyn designer Waris Ahluwalia. Gap reacted by placing Ahluwalia front and center on its Twitter and Facebook profiles. But more examples of graffiti are showing up.
By Carol Kuruvilla / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Images of Sikh Model Waris Ahluwalia in Gap’s new “Make Love” campaign are still being defaced in New York City.
A vandal apparently tried to rip Ahluwalia out of a Gap ad inside the Christopher St. station.
Evidence of racist graffiti against the Sikh actor and designer started appearing online on Tuesday. Journalist Arsalan Iftikhar alerted his social media followers to a subway ad that compared the 39-year-old Ahluwalia to a terrorist.
The vandal replaced “Make Love” with “Make bombs,” then wrote, “Please stop driving taxis.”
Gap has been lauded for its quick response to the graffiti. The company asked Iftikhar for the whereabouts of the defaced ad. Then, it placed Ahluwalia front and center as its cover image on Twitter and Facebook.
“Gap is a brand that celebrates inclusion and diversity. Our customers and employees are of many different ethnicities, faiths, and lifestyles and we support them all,” the company said in a statement released to The News.
Gap spokeswoman Kari Shellhorn told The News that the company plans to erase all signs of the offensive remarks.
“We are working quickly to replace the vandalized images,” Shellhorn said.
The company’s supporters were quick to show their approval online.
Ahluwalia is an actor and designer who grew up in Brooklyn. He’s popped up on numerous “best dressed” lists and is known for his signature look—a sharp, tailored suit and his custom pink desert boots.
Ahluwalia has come to be seen as something of a role model for Sikhs, according to Kanwar Singh, a practitioner of the faith who lives in Richmond, Va.
After hearing about the racist graffiti, Singh started a Facebook page thanking Gap for choosing Ahluwalia to be a part of the “Make Love” campaign. Singh says he’s heard from hundreds of people — both Sikh and non-Sikh — from around the country and the world who have come out in support of Gap.
One of the most heartening messages he got was from a parent named Ashmeet.
“I took my 5-year-old son to see their billboard just to show him we are not that ‘different’ after all,” the message read.
There have been numerous instances of hatreds against Sikhs in the years after the 9/11 attacks. In September of this year, Sikh Columbia professor Prabhjot Singh was attacked by a group of thugs yelling “Osama” and “terrorist.” And last August, a temple shooting in Wisconsin claimed the lives of six Sikh people.
“I think it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that every single Sikh man, woman and child in this country has faced racism in some way,” Singh told The News.
“It’s been a struggle since 9/11 to educate others about our faith, who we are and what we believe in,” Singh said.
While some members of the community have criticized Gap for using the image of a Sikh man to sell their clothes, others are glad to see support from such a large American company.
“What Gap has done is they’ve placed a Sikh model on advertisement all across America,” Singh said. “Our community would never have been able to afford that kind of campaign.”
“We are grateful every single day to people in our community who recognize and support us,” Singh said.
Contemplating The Holiday:
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Advertising Age reported Sprint cut Leo Burnett from the starting lineup on the team—Team Sprint, that is. James Earl Jones and Malcolm McDowell should call the agency and dramatically announce, “You suck.” Leo Burnett will continue to handle below-the-line assignments with Digitas, the alleged leader on Team Sprint, which should now be renamed B-Team Sprint. Hell, given that Sprint lost $1.3 billion in the fourth quarter, the Publicis-owned shops don’t even deserve to play on the practice squad. How the creative TV portion of the account went to a startup is a mystery. A comment at AgencySpy indicates the new agency may have the financial backing of Publicis Groupe—which sounds like the kind of Corporate Cultural Collusion that merger partner Omnicom has mastered over the years.
Sprint Taps Figliulo & Partners for TV Creative
Leo Burnett No Longer Handles Broadcast, Remains On Roster
By Maureen Morrison
Sprint has signed on Figiulo & Partners, Ad Age has learned.
It’s believed that Mark Figiulo’s shop will take on Leo Burnett’s above-the-line work, which consisted primarily of TV. Burnett will remain on the roster for below-the-line work such as retail.
Burnett has been the telecom’s lead creative agency since late 2011, after then-new Chief Marketing Officer Bill Malloy joined the company. He swiftly dispatched longtime agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners and appointed a Publicis Groupe team known as Team Sprint to direct the carrier’s $1.4 billion in U.S. ad spending.
Although Burnett was the creative agency, the account was led by sibling agency Digitas, which will remain on the business. Publicis’ MediaVest, which handles media, will also stay on.
Figliulo & Partners was formed after Mr. Figliulo, a former TBWA/Chiat/Day creative director, left Chiat in July.
The move also comes a few months after Sprint announced that Mr. Malloy will be leaving the company in 2014. A replacement has yet to be named.
Sprint and Leo Burnett did not respond immediately to a request for comment. Figliulo & Partners could not be immediately reached.
Sprint is the 24th-largest ad spender in the U.S., according to Ad Age DataCenter. It spent a total of $1.4 billion in the U.S. on marketing, $810 million of which was for measured media, according to Kantar Media. Its biggest budget medium-wise is for Network TV, with $318 million spent in 2012.
‘Black business’ is dead — and that’s a good thing
By Aaron Freeman
Black business empires, as we’ve mostly known them, have been the products of racism.
Johnson Publishing flourished because white magazines didn’t attend to the interests of colored people. If you wanted to read about great boxer Joe Louis, singer Nat “King” Cole or ogle a fine brown beauty of the week, you’d best be reading Ebony and Jet.
White taxis didn’t make pickups in Negro neighborhoods, so robust networks of jitney cabs provided transport and employment to a generation of Chicago coloreds.
Then came the civil rights movement and its damn integration that wrecked segregation businesses. Chicago and the rest of the U.S. got way more black folk-friendly. Our shopping options were no longer limited to the South and West sides. We could not only shop at F.W. Woolworth’s, we could eat at its lunch counter — yes, it was still boring Caucasian chow, but post-segregation, we could legally eat it!
We didn’t have to buy our hair products from Johnson Products — we could get them from Revlon. We could read about colored celebrities in Time and Newsweek. The famed “talented tenth” of the Negro community was not stuck on the impoverished West Side. They didn’t have to stay in the ghetto — and, surprise, surprise, they didn’t. They took their smarts, drive and culture out of the old neighborhoods, downtown and to the North Shore.
We now know Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream fell short. Black and white boys and girls were playing together as sisters and brothers by the end of the decade he spoke those words in. His dream didn’t include the empowerment of women or gays or people with disabilities or Hispanics or Asians, for that matter. He couldn’t have imagined that the governor of Alabama, George Wallace, the poster child for segregation, would find Jesus and become so strong an advocate of integration that he got 80 percent of the black vote when he ran for re-election as governor a few years later. In King’s wildest dreams, there was no Barack Obama. In 1963, American Negros were awash in optimism when James Meredith became the first Negro to graduate from the University of Mississippi. We all knew education was the ticket to freedom and success.
The ticket is still being vigorously punched. As rough as some of the numbers look for modern black men, every decade, the number and percentage of black men who earn a college degree increase. In 1990 the proportion of black males over age 25 who had completed college was 11.1 percent. By 2000 it was 13.2 percent and by 2010 15.8 percent. If trends continue, we’ll be at 20 percent by 2020.
What if we are all James Meredith now? Ours is a world of massive open online courses. In the 21st century, a black parent need not merely dream of getting her child a Harvard University education. She can get one herself online free and tutor the kid herself to an even better one!
In 2013 there are more than 50,000 black business owners in the city of Chicago. Their annual household income is more than $75,000. They have above-average rates of education, homeownership and car ownership. They lead communities, influence opinions and hire people. Any one of them or their kids could be the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or Elon Musk (who is, by the way, an African).
Maybe the lack of celebrated, segregation-based black business empires masks a roiling cauldron of ebony entrepreneurs. Maybe those brothers and sisters are right now building the networks that will support the next explosion of black enterprise fueled by the current gains in black education.
Maybe, to quote from “Purlie,” by playwright and actor Ossie Davis, “the world ain’t comin’ to an end, my friend. The world is comin’ to a start.” Perhaps we fret now because we are all James Meredith and MLK. Maybe our only problem is that the future of black businesses in Chicago is brighter than most of us dare to believe.
Aaron Freeman is a comedian, filmmaker, director, teacher, commentator and creator of the satire “Council Wars.”
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Why Chicago’s history of black business success is fading
By David Mendell
Looking at the history of African-American business success, Chicago has no equal. Unfortunately, the past has not been prologue.
Chicago was the incubator for such significant black businesses as Johnson Publishing Co., Johnson Products and more than a dozen other nationally recognized black-led companies. No other city has birthed black business icons as notable as John Johnson, Ed Gardner and, of course, Oprah Winfrey.
But as those success stories fade into history, prominent black business professionals are raising unsettling questions about the current state of black entrepreneurship: Where is the next generation? Why do so many executive suites and corporate boardrooms lack minorities? And is Chicago’s mainstream business culture institutionally biased against promoting African-Americans into the upper ranks?
Chicago has more than its share of nationally recognized African-American politicians, entertainers, musicians and sports figures. But the decreasing visibility of major black business leaders is stark in comparison to the region’s sizable black population and its storied history. A Chicago Urban League survey released this year showed that only 6.6 percent of corporate board members in parts of four Great Lakes states are black.
“It used to be that Chicago was the mecca of black businesses, but there’s no doubt that we have gone backwards substantially when it comes to successful African-American entrepreneurs,” says John Rogers Jr., founder and CEO of Chicago-based Ariel Investments LLC.
Tapped by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011 to lead a task force on business diversity, Mr. Rogers has delivered numerous speeches citing the bleak statistics. But he wonders just how many corporate leaders have been listening. There are few black-led companies among the top 25 national firms in many important sectors—banking, construction, law, finance. When Don Thompson was named CEO of McDonald’s Corp. last year, he became just the sixth active black CEO at a Fortune 500 company. Loop Capital Holdings LLC’s James Reynolds and Mr. Rogers also are among the few exceptions that prove the rule.
“The reality is, we are not being included in the lucrative, fast-growing parts of our economy—the sectors where long-term, real wealth is created: hedge funds, private equity, investment banking,” Mr. Rogers says. ”The state of diversity in the finance industry is appalling. Ninety-nine percent of leaders talk a big game, but in places like Chicago, we have gone backwards. We’re just not fighting hard enough.”
Black leadership is equally hard to find in other key Chicago industries, such as commercial real estate development, futures and options exchanges and the burgeoning technology sector. If Mr. Rogers’ statements have merit, and the dismal statistics suggest they do, how did this happen? Why are blacks still so behind the curve, 50 years after the March on Washington?
Experts point to a complex array of reasons.
For one, cultural and consumer-buying patterns have changed. Larger, mainstream companies now market products to black consumers, and African-Americans are less likely to look solely at black-owned companies for their needs. Thus, it’s harder for a black entrepreneur to market products or services primarily to blacks and achieve success.
“Johnson Publishing and Johnson (Products)—those companies grew and thrived when there was real segregation in the market,” says Andrea Zopp, president and CEO of the nonprofit Urban League, which advocates for African-American causes. Today, that segregation is waning. The business model that John Johnson and Ed Gardner pursued—dominating the black market because the larger white consumer market was closed to them—no longer exists.
The recent economic crash also cannot be overlooked. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Chicago’s black business community has taken an even greater blow than white-owned businesses. Before the recession, Chicago had 17 banks either owned by minorities or focused on lending to minorities. Six failed. And as banks have failed and credit has tightened, minority entrepreneurs have found working capital harder to come by. In addition, when companies begin struggling for mere survival, efforts to diversify often are shoved to the back burner.
(MultiCultClassics credits ESPN’s C’MON MAN! for sparking this semi-regular blog series.)
The refusal of Omnicom and Publicis Groupe to reveal their hiring trends per the repeated requests of New York City Comptroller John Liu is disturbing—especially the way that Omnicom President and CEO John Wren has responded.
When Liu made another inquiry last April, the official Omnicom reply included the following:
“We do not believe that disclosing [the EEOC information] will meaningfully further the goal of workplace diversity. To the contrary, this information, which is susceptible to misinterpretation, could be manipulated by those with interests adverse to Omnicom’s and harm the company.”
Omnicom Chief Diversity Officer Tiffany R. Warren also spoke with Advertising Age and parroted her bosses’ position, adding that the company would “release a national report outlining some of its results in the diversity space” later in the year. Regarding the report, Ad Age wrote the following:
“[Our report] is a national project, not local to New York City,” [Warren] said. It will “talk about how internal and external outreach has been” in addition to quantitative achievements regarding the agencies’ efforts in “bringing in and hiring, and also retaining diverse employees, as well as women.”
Okey-doke. Technically, the year is not yet over, so Omnicom still has about a month to unveil the report. But in case the company seeks to delay sharing the truth—particularly in light of the impending Omnicom-Publicis Groupe merger—any criticism must fall squarely on the shoulders of Wren. He can’t ignore Liu as he ignored Bob Garfield’s 2008 open letter accusing Omnicom of displaying homophobia.
After all, Wren launched a Diversity Development Advisory Committee in 2007. He has approved millions of dollars toward scholarships and diversity programs. Wren hired Warren as the holding company’s Chief Diversity Officer. And he was named a Pioneer of Diversity by the AAF.
Given the man’s unprecedented diversity achievements, how could it possibly harm Omnicom to comply with Liu’s call to action?
C’MON WHITE MAN!
Monday, November 25, 2013
Mickey D’s is offering to be a wrangler for unruly kids, sorta denying the fact that their super salty, sugary and fatty food-like menu items will probably turn little ones into psycho monsters.
Business Insider reported Buzzfeed bounced Copyranter, and the excuse for the termination varies depending upon which side you care to believe. Blogger Mark Duffy claimed he was booted for criticizing a Unilever campaign. Buzzfeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith sorta confirmed it, adding that Duffy had a habit of posting material that Smith was not comfortable defending. Not sure what Smith was smoking when he hired Duffy, as the tone of posts have actually softened over time, likely in deference to Buzzfeed’s flaccid editorial standards. Suggestion for Smith: recruit Kiran Aditham from AgencySpy—then all you’ll have to do is bring on a proofreader too.
Katy Perry’s ‘offensive’ appearance at AMAs
By Hardeep Phull
Everyone was expecting Miley Cyrus to do something outrageous at Sunday night’s American Music Awards, but it turned out to be her usually squeaky-clean pop rival who did the offending.
Katy Perry raised plenty of eyebrows as she opened up the ceremony at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles with a culturally insensitive, Japanese-themed performance of “Unconditionally” which featured the singer dressed as a Geisha. Within minutes, fans and viewers were accusing her of cultural appropriation with one Twitter user commenting “This is the performance equivalent of an offensive Halloween costume.”
Sunday, November 24, 2013
AgencySpy reported JWT INSIDE Managing Director Tonya Garrett has left the agency, allegedly transferring to another WPP company. In case you’re unfamiliar with JWT INSIDE, here’s some hype from the clumsy, typo-riddled website:
Hi, we’re JWT INSIDE. Since 1949, we’ve been advancing employee engagement worldwide through employer branding, internal communications, recruitment advertising and technology solutions. From awareness and attraction to engagement and retention, we deliver IDEAS that influence every stage of the employment lifecycle. We’re in the business of helping companies discover what makes them great so they can attract and retain like-minded candidates. And we’re driven to help you bring your employer brand to life. Because people join cultures, not companies.
Um, JWT offering “IDEAS that influence every stage of the employment lifecycle” is like the Ku Klux Klan giving guidance on diversity initiatives. Since when is a traditional advertising agency—where exclusivity and discriminatory hiring practices are status quo—qualified to instruct others on advancing employee engagement? “Because people join cultures, not companies” is particularly obscene coming from a company where the culture is predominately White. JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Bob Jeffrey once insisted that AMC series Mad Men “has been a positive recruiting thing for our industry.”
If the ad below exemplifies the skills of JWT INSIDE, employers and prospective clients are encouraged to stay outside.
Youth voice SB.TV plots growth beyond YouTube
By Maisie McCabe
Jamal Edwards, the founder of the online youth video broadcaster, says his expansion plans are about more than money.
When Jamal Edwards breezes into the Hospital Club in Covent Garden 30 minutes late for his meeting with Campaign, he unapologetically explains that he has come from Heathrow. He has been prepping for some promotional work he is doing around the launch of the video game Call Of Duty: Ghosts. As a young man who has singlehandedly built up a digital media business — SB.TV — Edwards works to his own timetable.
Since starting off making videos with a camera he received for his 15th birthday, Edwards has established SB.TV as one of the leading youth media platforms in the UK, with more than 368,500 subscribers on YouTube. Although the Google-owned video site currently forms the bulk of the business, SB.TV is looking to build on its own website. To this end, Marc Boyan’s Miroma Ventures took a minority stake in the company last month, valuing it at £8 million.
SB.TV, named after Edwards’ rap name Smokey Barz, began as a way for him to share the videos he was making of his friends freestyling. He says he did not plan to turn it into a business; that it “just sort of happened”. Since it has, though, he has embraced it. On his YouTube channel, Edwards works with the specialist video network Base79, which was founded by Ashley MacKenzie, son of Kelvin, while Sbtv.co.uk is represented by the youth sales house W00t! Media.
Edwards was part of YouTube’s own upfronts-style event, Brandcast – for branded content opportunities — in October. He wants a brand to be fully integrated in SB.TV’s quest to discover new talent in the US under the banner “Stateside Breakthrough”. Edwards says he is offering the chance to align “with a talent platform that breaks talent that’s not X Factor but in a much more grassroots, credible way”. Base79 is currently speaking to agencies about the opportunity.
Stateside Breakthrough will build on the content SB.TV has already created for brands. Edwards has interviewed stars such as Rita Ora about the importance of self-belief for the Government’s training programme, National Citizen Service, and produced a video series with another YouTube star Colin Furze and J2K, a rapper and inventor, for Pernod Ricard’s flavoured vodka Oddka. Such content is promoted and optimised (through “tagging” and “analytics”) with the help of Base79, which manages 1,500 YouTube channels.
The Brandcast opportunity coincides with brands and agencies getting more and more interested in creating content. Charlie McGee, a group trading director at Aegis Media, says brands are looking to collaborate with content producers that are authentic. “Brands are looking for genuine talent,” McGee says. “They do want to collaborate, but it has to feel genuine. Not everyone’s doing it, but demand is on the up; we’re definitely going to hear more of it.”
Even as just a YouTube channel partner, SB.TV is probably already bringing in hundreds of thousands of pounds in pre-rolls. We cannot be sure as Edwards is still the majority shareholder and small-company exemptions mean it only reports abbreviated accounts. But whatever his official revenue, Edwards has been able to tell his mum he told her so. “She didn’t get it [at first],” he explains with a laugh. “She was like: ‘Stay in Topman, it’s a steady income.’”
It is not just about making money either: Edwards is looking to help other young people. He wants to branch out beyond music to other channels (fashion, games, gadgets, business, comedy and sport) and engage young people in politics. “The reason youth clubs get shut and EMA [Education Maintenance Allowance] is abolished is because young people don’t vote,” Edwards says. “I feel like, as I have a large following, ‘How can I make them engaged in a cool way?’ So that’s what I’m doing.”
The investment from Miroma should allow SB.TV to expand into those new channels. “SB.TV needs to look at the next phase,” Boyan, who knows Edwards’ mother, the singer and X Factor 2005 contestant Brenda, explains. “We hope to grow the SB.TV platform. It has 200 million views, with no overheads. If we had five or six verticals, that would be a billion views.
“We are hopeful that it will be as big, if not bigger, than Vice. Jamal is inspirational to young people.”
Edwards is a passionate and engaging man, committed to developing his business and helping others. At 23, he has already achieved so much, and counts Sir Richard Branson among his mentors. By appointing a managing director and business development person, he hopes SB.TV will become a fully fledged media business. And, after attending the Media Week Awards last month, Edwards wants to be there as a nominee in 2014. You would not bet against it, though he might be a bit late.
Wanda Coleman dies at 67; Watts native, L.A.’s unofficial poet laureate
During four decades as a force on the L.A. poetry scene, Coleman produced works that compelled attention to racism and hatred.
By Elaine Woo
With her dark skin and “unconkable kinky hair,” Wanda Coleman found growing up in Los Angeles in the 1950s often felt like torture.
“The stultifying intellectual loneliness of my 1950s and ‘60s upbringing was dictated by my looks,” she wrote years later. “Boys gawked at me, and girls tittered behind my back. Black teachers shook their heads in pity, and White teachers stared in amusement or in wonder.” Books became her precious refuge but were hard to come by because the libraries, she noted, “discouraged Negro readers.”
Such trials could grind any person down, but for Coleman they became a vital source for poetry that compelled attention to racism and hatred — the themes that most drove her to transcend the barriers of her birth and take her place as one of the city’s most perceptive writers.
A native of Watts who long was regarded as L.A.’s unofficial poet laureate, Coleman died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a long illness, said her husband, poet Austin Straus. She was 67.
During four decades as a force on the Los Angeles poetry scene, Coleman wrote more than 20 books, including novels and collections of short stories and essays.
She was most eloquent in poems, illuminating the ironies and despair in a poor black woman’s daily struggle for dignity but also writing tenderly and with humor about identity, tangled love, California winters and her working-class parents.
“She wrote not just about the black experience in Los Angeles but the whole configuration of Los Angeles in terms of its politics, its social life,” said Richard Modiano, executive director of Beyond Baroque, the Venice literary center where Coleman gave powerful readings. “I would call her a world-class poet. The range of her poetry and the voice she writes in is accessible to all sorts of people.”
Among Coleman’s best-known works was “Bathwater Wine” (1998), which brought her the Lenore Marshall National Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets in 1999. Her next volume, “Mercurochrome” (2001), was a finalist for the National Book Award, whose judges said, “Coleman’s poetry stings, stains and ultimately helps heal wounds” of racial injustice and gender inequality.
Opinionated and fiercely individualistic, Coleman was also a critic and former columnist for The Times, whose scornful 2002 review of celebrated author Maya Angelou’s “A Song Flung Up to Heaven” — one in a series of follow-ups to “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” — caused a tempest in the world of letters.
Coleman panned the memoir as “a sloppily written fake” conceived to satisfy commercial rather than aesthetic tastes. Her harsh attack on the iconic black writer drew national media coverage and led the African American owner of the specialty bookshop Esowon to ban Coleman from his store. But she remained unbowed.
“Others often use the word ‘uncompromising’ to describe my work,” she told Contemporary Poets in 2001. “I find that quite pleasing.”
Born in Los Angeles on Nov. 13, 1946, Coleman was the daughter of George and Lewana Evans. Her father was an ex-boxer who ran a Central Avenue sign shop by day and mopped floors as a janitor by night. Her mother was a seamstress and housekeeper who sometimes worked for Hollywood stars such as Ronald Reagan. Both parents nurtured a love for books and music, which helped soothe the pain of prejudice, uncaring teachers and the cruelties of peers.
Many of her poems burned with remembered insults and injustices, as in “Chapter 2 of the Story” from “Bathwater Wine,” which describes her experiences with a librarian whose bifocals “magnified the bigotry in her eyes.”
her gray eyes policed me thru the stacks like Dobermans
she watched me come and go, take books and bring books
she monitored the titles and after a while decided
she’d misjudged her little colored girl
and for a time she tried to apologize in her way. to engage
in small talk. i never answered back. once, she set
special books aside to gain my trust respect smile
i left them untouched
hating her more for that.
she watched me come and go, take books and bring books
she monitored the titles and after a while decided
she’d misjudged her little colored girl
and for a time she tried to apologize in her way. to engage
in small talk. i never answered back. once, she set
special books aside to gain my trust respect smile
i left them untouched
hating her more for that.
CBS series The Crazy Ones continues to crap out the cartoonish chronicles of fictional (bordering on science fictional) advertising agency Lewis Roberts + Roberts. The episodes have become so annoyingly awful that the program doesn’t warrant weekly reviews, prompting the following collection of random comments.
The show’s creators must realize they’ve got a major stinker on their hands, as evidenced by the reliance on celebrity guest appearances to boost audience interest. Kelly Clarkson, Josh Groban and Ed Asner have already willingly embarrassed themselves; plus, Brad Garrett of Everybody Loves Raymond fame recently joined the cast as partner and gay account executive Gordon Lewis. It’s only a matter of time before Betty White receives a cameo role. And the creators are probably debating which nostalgic actress to inevitably present as Simon’s ex-wife—Suzanne Somers? Linda Evans? Pam Dawber?
The Gordon Lewis character is a head-scratcher addition to the cast. Why is he so openly gay, always making references to his husband? It’s even odder that seven episodes passed before an account person was inserted into the mix. Before then, creatives solely ran all the client meetings, pitches and productions. Yeah, that’s pretty believable. On Bizarro World. Or maybe Ork.
While Lewis Roberts + Roberts maintains a predominately lily-white staff, the clients are colorful. In fact, the agency has so many Black clients, you’d think it was a multicultural firm. Why isn’t Gordon advocating for pitching LGBT accounts? Surely Robin Williams would have a field day with that angle.
One episode depicted Simon and copywriter Zach both sleeping with the same client. This scenario may actually be more accurate than the high number of Black clients peppering the place. However, it doesn’t reflect well on the real advertising industry, painting admen as predatory sex fiends. Such reckless behavior usually happens when someone is a bona fide drunk like Don Draper versus an alleged recovering alcoholic like Simon.
Andrew the art director is simply too ugly to couple with Sydney or the actress portraying his girlfriend in Episode 9. Hell, he ought to be matched with Gordon.
Last Thursday’s episode was the most obscene to date, with Simon and Gordon letting the results of a softball game—and later a mini-motorcycle race—decide which department should be forced to terminate an employee. Sadly, true agency downsizings have been executed in less professional ways.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Advertising Age published an editorial by 4As President-CEO Nancy Hill regarding Congress potentially passing a tax provision or bill that would alter the long-held deduction of advertising costs. The trade publication also ran a story featuring other industry wonks bemoaning the possible “ad tax” creation.
Hill wrote, “We must bring the full power of our collective voices to the opposition. If you haven’t already, contact your members of Congress and let them know that what we do is essential to the businesses in their districts and in the nation as a whole. General tax reform may a worthy goal, but changing the advertising deduction is not the path to take.”
“It is essential that everybody in the advertising community speak up loudly and quickly that this proposal is misguided and highly damaging,” implored ANA Group Exec VP-Government Relations Dan Jaffe. ANA CEO Bob Liodice chipped in that “a major new tax liability which would increase the cost of advertising and cause a substantial disincentive for companies to spend additional advertising dollars.”
Let’s hope the battle cry is more effective this time versus the 2009 bullshit attempt at building an army to advance industry diversity.
Then again, let’s not.
Hill added, “Changing or removing the advertising deduction is also contrary to more than 100 years of business history.” Hey, that’s roughly the same amount of time that our industry has dragged its feet on reforming discriminatory hiring practices. Liodice would have to grudgingly admit to it as well. Additionally, Publicis Groupe Overlord Maurice Lévy gushed over the election of Barack Obama in 2009; hence, you’d think he would support the president’s tax reform proposals.
But seriously, why should a field that thrives on exclusivity also enjoy special monetary benefits? Hell, Congress shouldn’t just stop at instituting the “ad tax” on Madison Avenue. Legislators should launch a “diversity tax” too, fining advertising agencies for failing to integrate their ranks.
Now that’s an idea worth rallying around.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Adweek reported New York City Comptroller John Liu has renewed his requests that Omnicom and Publicis Groupe reveal their hiring trends. Look for Omnicom President-CEO John Wren—a.k.a. Pioneer of Diversity—to ask soon-to-be Publicis Omnicom Groupe Diversity Diva Tiffany R. Warren to issue a
NYC Official Again Prods Omnicom, Publicis to Reveal Hiring Trends
Comptroller wants to know the number of minorities, women in their ranks
By Andrew McMains
New York City comptroller John Liu has renewed a previous call for Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe to disclose the numbers of minorities and women in their ranks, amid the planned merger of the two holding companies.
Liu justified the call by noting that New York City pension funds hold 653,928 shares of Omnicom stock and 175,786 shares of Publicis Groupe stock. Collectively those shares represent a combined value of $61 million, Liu added, in a letter he sent to Omnicom chairman Bruce Crawford and Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy.
In 2011, Liu pushed for ad holding companies to disclose the composition of their workforces by race and gender across major job categories. Interpublic Group and WPP Group complied but Omnicom and Publicis Groupe did not. Now as the latter two companies that collectively employ 130,000 staffers prepare to merge, Liu, fresh off his failed bid to become mayor of New York City, is speaking up again.
This time, he’s asking the companies to include its staff breakdown by race and gender in their joint proxy statement seeking shareholder approval for the merger, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2014. Liu also wants the combined company to provide annual updates on the data.
Failure to take such steps “undermines investor confidence in your commitments to diversity and non-discrimination at a critical moment,” Liu said, in his letter, a copy of which the comptroller distributed to media outlets today.
It was not clear how—if at all—the two holding companies would respond. Representatives for each could not immediately be reached.
‘America is good at teaching… white kids’
By Richard Johnson
M. Night Shyamalan, who directed “The Sixth Sense,” focused on education for his recently published book, “I Got Schooled.”
At the apartment of former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, who founded the Parents’ Transparency Project, Shyamalan spoke to a group that included Grace Hightower, Katie Couric, Alexandra Pelosi, Gilt Groupe founder Kevin Ryan, Newark Schools chief Cami Anderson and Success Academy Charter Schools founder Eva Moskowitz.
“In America, we’re actually educating our kids very well… but just the white kids,” Shyamalan said. “If you pull out schools in which 85 percent of students qualify for a free meal, which are predominantly African-American and Hispanic, the data show that the rest of the kids are being taught better in America than anywhere else in the world. Countries like Finland teach their white kids well, and we teach our white kids better.”
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Advertising Age reported Mickey D’s is blaming its advertising agencies for weak sales. Um, didn’t the fast feeder essentially force-feed “I’m Lovin’ It” to its ad shops a few years ago? Let’s be honest, there really hasn’t been any consistent breakthrough work done under the lame campaign. Whenever Mickey D’s wants to spike sales, they either roll out the MONOPOLY Game or thaw out the McRib® sandwich. According to the Ad Age story, in 2012 McFranchisees were encouraged to stay open on Thanksgiving (they should’ve introduced McTurkey Burgers) and Christmas (Black franchisees were probably prompted to introduce Kwaanza promotional menu items). Not sure what’s sadder, working at Mickey D’s on holidays or eating there on holidays. Will Leo Burnett and DDB soon receive a stocking full of McCoal? BTW, the photo above looks like Ronald and friends are visiting Subway.
McDonald’s Blames Ads For Weak Sales, Puts Shops in Hot Seat
Trouble in McDonaldland: Chain Turns to Marketing to Restore Lost Momentum
By Maureen Morrison
As McDonald’s feels the heat to increase sales, it’s lighting a fire under the agencies that steward its $1.4 billion in U.S. marketing spending.
According to analysts who attended the company’s biannual investor meeting last week, CEO Don Thompson said McDonald’s is leaning on its agencies to step up their work. One analyst said the company has even expressed interest in reaching out to new shops. Its primary agencies are Publicis’ Leo Burnett and Omnicom’s DDB.
“We believe that some of the creative [national TV ads] that have aired in recent quarters in the U.S. have not resonated as well with McDonald’s customer base as the company would like to see,” said Janney analyst Mark Kalinowski in a note issued the day after the McDonald’s meeting. “While this is not the only challenge McDonald’s faces in the U.S., it is one of them, and to combat it there have been some internal personnel changes. We would also not rule out the possibility of ad-agency changes at some point.”
A spokeswoman for McDonald’s denied any agency shifts are being contemplated. “Our ability to be a leadership brand is in large part due to our partnerships with the best and brightest people in the industry, including talent from some of the top agencies in the business,” she said. “To be clear, we have not put any of our national advertising agencies ‘on notice’ or into review. And we are not entertaining other agencies outside of our current national-agency roster.”
She added: “At McDonald’s, we demand a lot from ourselves as marketers and from our agencies to bring the boldest and best ideas and thinking. This is nothing new.”
The chain has been under strain since its sales began decelerating in early 2012. In October of last year, McDonald’s posted its first global sales loss in nine years. U.S. same-store sales were up 3.3% in 2012, but that lagged 2011, when U.S. sales rose 4.8%. Global sales last year rose 3.1%.
The company has been trying to pump up sales by rejiggering its marketing calendar. Last year it pushed its popular McRib from October to December, hoping to bump holiday sales because of tough comparisons from the prior year. It also urged franchisees to stay open on Thanksgiving and Christmas to eke out more sales, and reworked the 2013 marketing calendar to fit more dollar-menu and value marketing. Those moves frustrated franchisees as they began to feel a profit pinch.
That marketing calendar is now under the gun. Last week the company blamed too many menu introductions being rolled out too quickly for nagging customer-service issues. At the investor meeting, McDonald’s executives said that between March and July it rolled out four products—McWraps, blueberry-pomegranate smoothies, Egg White Delight McMuffins and its new line of Quarter Pounders—at a pace that was too speedy and complex, which slowed down operations.
But that hasn’t stopped it from pushing its McCafé platform as a priority. McDonald’s is testing packaged coffee in select grocery stores, a move that executives at the investor meeting said they hope will sell more McCafé in restaurants.
Third-quarter same-store sales for 2013 in the U.S. rose 0.7%. Global same-store sales were up 0.9%.
Internal shuffling The internal personnel changes referred to in Mr. Kalinowski’s note likely include the departure of U.S. CMO Neil Golden—the chain’s stateside top marketer since April 2008—which was announced in September. In February, the company named Global Brand Officer Kevin Newell as U.S. brand and strategy officer, a new position that the CMO reports to.
Mr. Newell, a Leo Burnett and Burrell Communications alumnus, both on the McDonald’s roster, is acting CMO as the company searches for a replacement. Marlena Peleo-Lazar continues to be the chain’s chief creative officer.
The shuffling wasn’t confined to the marketing suite. Last December, McDonald’s named Jeff Stratton its U.S. president, replacing Jan Fields. In October, the chain named Atif Rafiq its first global digital officer. While the recent domestic work of its agencies is largely seen as tepid, McDonald’s has been doing well on the creative front globally. It was one of the top 10 marketers in Ad Age’s Award Report, mainly on the strength of work in Australia and Canada.
Army: ‘Ugly’ women seem more competent
By Joe Tacopino
Attention, pretty girls — Uncle Sam does not want you!
An Army colonel has called for pictures of only “ugly” women to be used in promotional material, because they are perceived as more competent than sexy female soldiers, according to Politico.
In leaked e-mails, Col. Lynette Arnhart says pretty girls should not be used to promote the Army because they look like they wouldn’t want to “break a nail.”
“In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead,” the colonel wrote.
Arnhart is on a panel trying to entice more woman into combat roles.
“There is a general tendency to select nice-looking women when we select a photo,” Arnhart said. “Such photos undermine the rest of the message, and may even make people ask if breaking a nail is considered hazardous duty.”