Tuesday, December 31, 2013

11669: MultiCultClassics Year In Review.

To kick off 2013, Marcus Graham Project Executive Director and Co-Founder Lincoln Stephens told everyone How to Solve Adland’s Diversity Problem. Twelve months later, there’s little evidence that anyone followed—or even read—the straightforward advice. In January, Translation Founder and CEO Steve Stoute was named Executive of the Year by Advertising Age. In June, Stoute’s shop was unceremoniously dumped by Bud Light via an act of cronyism that could be called Buddy Light. Michael Houston elevated to Chief Executive of Grey North America, becoming one of the few Blacks to land in the executive suites of White agencies without also being a recording artist like Alicia Keys, John Legend and honorary Clio recipient Will.i.am. The Richards Group—those wonderful folks who gave you talking vaginas—applied their cultural cluelessness to Dodge RAM and made farming look as exclusive as Madison Avenue. Speaking of exclusivity, Adweek’s Young Influentials of media, marketing, technology and consumer brands featured a single Black person who has never worked in media, marketing, technology or consumer branding. Of course, Donald Glover is a writer, actor, rapper, comedian and producer, which means he’ll probably become a brand ambassador in 2014. OgilvyCULTURE staged a Cross-Cultural Roundtable without a round table or cross-cultural participation (i.e., there were no Whites present). Laurence Boschetto’s declaration that by 2014 Draftfcb would be an agency that no longer used the term “diversity and inclusion” remains a dream deferred, as the visionary was discharged of his duties. The Anti-Defamation League asked us to Imagine a World Without Hate through a commercial imagined and executed by an agency whose leadership is virtually devoid of people of color. Mark LaNeve is still an asshole. The race discrimination lawsuit against IPG ended after the jury deliberated in 11 minutes—roughly the same amount of time IPG has dedicated to diversity since launching in 1960. White women whining increased a few decibels thanks to the ADC’s patronizing 50/50 initiative, alleged shock over the lack of female Cannes jurors and a lame letter containing womanly wisdom that included, “Don’t be a dick.” However, Goodby Silverstein & Partners Co-Founder Rich Silverstein engineered an elaborate search for an executive assistant, reeling in at least 4,500 applications before selecting a White woman. “Vive la Nepotism!” seems to be the motto of Paris-based holding company Havas. Cheerios served up a biracial bambino and Bee-Boys. Annie the Chicken Queen emulated Mary J. Blige by singing about fried chicken. Omnicom Overlord John Wren was inexplicably saluted as a Pioneer of Diversity. True advertising pioneer Bill Sharp passed away in July. The Publicis Groupe-Omnicom merger was unveiled with fanfare, festivities, figuring and fun. In contrast, the Cross Cultural Marketing and Communications Association started with an apathetic shrug. Where are all the Black people who thought it would be cool to have Cornel West preach at the annual (W)here Are All The Black People? Advertising Week allowed folks to feign interest in diversity for nearly one week. Blog Action Day allowed MultiCultClassics to view the industry’s dearth of diversity as a human rights issue. Total Market appears to be Total Bullshit. And finally, total bullshit is what New York City Comptroller John Liu has repeatedly received from Omnicom and Pioneer of Diversity John Wren.

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