Sunday, November 22, 2015

12945: ANA MM&DC BS.

At Advertising Age, Rochelle Newman-Carrasco provided a perspective on the latest ANA Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference titled, “Cultural Courage Trumps Cowardice.” Okay, but cash trumps crumbs—and it looks like multicultural marketing continues to see more of the latter than the former. It also looks like the same usual suspects—Allstate, Denny’s, Verizon, Western Union, Wells Fargo and Kaiser Permanente—are experiencing the same challenges, such as general lack of investment and gigantic lack of interest. Of course, folks are still debating and defining the total bullshit of total market. Newman-Carrasco’s closing remarks included, “Perhaps … we can look forward to a day when the Masters of Marketing conference authentically reflects inclusion and diversity, with an agenda crafted to turn up the volume on multiculturalism, elevating it from invisible to inclusive to influential.” Hey, according to Leo Burnett, the day will come in 2079. Until then, diversion trumps diversity.

ANA Multicultural Conference: Cultural Courage Trumps Cowardice

How Leading Brands Are Taking a Targeted and Total Market Approach

By Rochelle Newman-Carrasco

About two weeks before this year’s ANA Multicultural Marketing and Diversity Conference, Kimberly-Clark’s Lizette Williams wrote a LinkedIn post entitled “Courageous Leadership.” In it, she referred to a favorite quote: “True courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting in spite of it.”

Last week at the conference, this idea came alive in presentations by top executives from companies like Verizon, Allstate, Western Union and Kaiser Permanente. These leaders assembled in Miami—one of the most diverse cities in the world—to discuss their multicultural marketing strategies. They shared successes but emphasized that “this isn’t easy” and “it takes work.” They learned from failures and had the courage to say “I don’t know” or “I was wrong.”

Verizon’s Javier Farfan underscored the need to “get your house in order” as a foundation for multicultural effectiveness. Infrastructure and operational readiness were key ingredients for many marketers who worked on cultural fluency from the inside out. Apoorva Gandhi of Marriott International highlighted “differences that make a difference,” stating that “diversity of thought will always get you better results.”

Denny’s CMO John Dillon turned around the brand by understanding the new American family and strategically focusing on shared values inherent in the idea of a “diner.” “It’s an environment where everyone is equal,” said Mr. Dillon, adding that Denny’s work leverages insights that connect emotionally across cultures but are not “one size fits all.”

Wells Fargo’s Mariela Ure shared work targeting bilingual, bicultural Latinos that tested well against a broad spectrum of consumers. Wells Fargo’s total market strategy overlaps a total and target market approach. Michael Lacorraza, also from Wells Fargo, acknowledged that while it was “tempting” to consolidate creative under one agency roof, the benefits of working with specialized agency partners outweighed other efficiencies, suggesting that specialists delivered a greater return on insights.

Trying to define “total market” for those not familiar with the concept was not easy. Many speakers tried. The definitions were always preceded by caveats about how convoluted they were and how hard it was to explain simply. As an example, the ANA’s own definition reads:

“A marketing approach … which proactively integrates diverse segment considerations. This is done from inception, through the entire strategic process and execution … In marketing communications this could lead to either one fully integrated cross-cultural approach, individual segment approaches, or both in many cases, but always aligned under one overarching strategy.”

Total market was not developed as a replacement for target marketing. What total market was designed to address was out-dated “Mad Men”-esque marketing—the kind of marketing that targets a dominantly straight-white-traditional America; the kind of mono-cultural advertising that floods TV and print. Total market was intended to encourage, if not demand, that marketers finally reflect and respect all consumers, in the face of a demographic tipping point and the changed (not changing) face of America.

Conference chair Gilbert Davila reminded attendees that it wasn’t really about multicultural marketing—it was about marketing in and to a multicultural world.

Given the demographics of America, isn’t all marketing multicultural? At the conclusion of Manny Gonzalez’s presentation on Moet Hennessy’s strategy, titled “Reinventing a Classic for Today’s Millennial Consumer,” Mr. Davila asked a crystal ball question about the future of multicultural marketing. Mr. Gonzalez predicted a future blending of the ANA’s Masters of Marketing Conference with its Multicultural Marketing and Diversity Conference.

At Hennessy, Mr. Gonzalez works with master blenders—artists known for their craftsmanship. Perhaps, with this spirit in mind, we can look forward to a day when the Masters of Marketing conference authentically reflects inclusion and diversity, with an agenda crafted to turn up the volume on multiculturalism, elevating it from invisible to inclusive to influential. That said, when it comes to covering multicultural content, another Hennessy saying comes to mind: “Never stop. Never settle.” There is room for both a crafted cultural blend and “single malt” approach to the multicultural conversation, one that allows for deep dives into the specifics of reaching each segment. We live in the age of “And.” Why settle for “Or?”


Gwen Kelly said...

Concur completely.

Anonymous said...

From my perspective, the definition of "Total Market" is simple.

It means, "Brands that USED to spend money on ethnic ad agencies (staffed with many people of color), took that work away and gave it to all-white ad agencies instead (staffed with almost nobody ethnic), who in turn superficially hired a few on-screen actors of color and called the work 'multicultural'."

"Total Market" also means, "Brands complaining in 2015 that their ads are missing the mark and consumers aren't paying attention, not realizing that by snatching the few crumbs they gave to ethnic ad agencies away, and redistributing it to all-white agecnies, they just created superficial, inauthentic work that multicultural Americans (who are starting to make up the majority of the population) can see right through and choose to ignore."

BHMloop said...

Let me tell you what it’s like to bid an advertising job in 2015 with one of those white ad agencies that ate up all the multicultural crumbs.

The white vendor who’s going to get the job is given all the information they need to land the job, down to the tiniest detail, by the white person inside the ad agency doing the hiring.

Then they bid ANOTHER white friend of the white ad agency, to make it look fair. They tell this vendor “You’re not gonna get this job sport, just bid it out so it looks legit, and we’ll give you the very next job.”

Then they bid an ethnic vendor who actually knows their own damn market perfectly, but keep them the dark and out of the loop. They get zero information, just some vague crumbs, and have to guess what the hell is going on. The ad agency awards the job to their first white friend, which they were always gonna do anyway, and tells the client, “See? Ethnic vendors just aren’t up to the same level, we had to go with someone white.”

That’s how white vendors get all the Black History Month ad jobs these days, in case you were wondering.

Anonymous said...


Sounds just like hiring firefighters...

Anonymous said...

You're lucky. You get to bid.

Most of us can't even get close enough to bid with ad agencies, because the only people who know about the job in the first place are the white friends of the white agency creatives / designers / copywriters / etc.

Ad agencies are white people, choosing other white people, to join an exclusive circle of white people. That's how you get stupid ads like the Indian one on the front page.