Thursday, April 30, 2015
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Adweek revealed the share price of MDC Partners dramatically dropped due to breaking news of an SEC probe into CEO Miles Nadal’s expenses, including $8.6 million in reimbursed medical charges, travel and commuting costs and other expenditures over a six-year period. Um, that’s roughly $8.6 million more than the average MDC employee records on expense reports in a sixty-year period. It sure underscores how the advertising industry has devolved when SEC investigators make appearances. Why, it used to be only organizations like New York City’s Commission on Human Rights targeted the industry.
MDC Partners’ Stock Plummets After News of SEC Probe Into CEO’s Expenses
Agency holding company dropped bombshell on investor call
By Noreen O’Leary
The share price of MDC Partners, the holding company that includes Crispin Porter + Bogusky and 72andSunny, has plummeted this morning on news of an SEC investigation into the CEO’s expenses.
MDC dropped a bombshell yesterday in its after-market first-quarter earnings call, when the CFO noted that on Oct. 5, 2014, it received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission requesting documents “relating to CEO expenses, the company’s goodwill and certain other accounting practices, as well as trading in the company’s securities by third parties”.
Raising eyebrows is why MDC has been sitting on such a big piece of investor information for the past six months and chose to only disclose it now.
As a result, Bahamas-based MDC chief Miles Nadal “voluntarily” agreed to pay back the company $8.6 million for reimbursed medical expenses, travel and commuting costs, charitable and other unspecified expenses which “lacked appropriate substantiation over the six year period from 2009 to 2014,” CFO David Doft told investors on the call, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha.
MDC said it has been fully cooperating with the SEC, as has Nadal, and the company believes “the inquiries are at an early stage,” according to Doft.
One apparent executive casualty so far: Last week, company chief accounting officer Michael Sabatino was moved into a new role at MDC where he will work on “special projects” while Doft assumes the additional role as principal accounting officer.
This morning, MDC’s stock, with shares trading in heavy volume, has dived by more than a third to around $19, after closing at $28 yesterday.
In MDC’s newly-released proxy for its upcoming annual shareholders’ meeting on June 4th, the company reported that Nadal earned total compensation of nearly $17 million in 2014, down from almost $21 million in 2013. Last year’s whopping payout for Nadal was the highest among holding company CEOs, including those at MDC’s huge competitors like WPP, Omnicom and Interpublic.
Following the SEC subpoena, MDC created a special committee of independent directors looking into the review of perks and payments to CEO Nadal and Nadal Management Limited. Because of that, the company incurred legal and other costs of $5.8 million in the first quarter, on top of the $1.2 million expense included in its fourth-quarter results. MDC added that it expects to recognize a one-time gain of $8.6 million in the second quarter, relating to the reimbursement of those amounts which were previously expensed through the company’s profit and loss statement.
In addition to the reimbursement put forward by the special committee, the company is implementing “remedial steps” to improve internal controls. Among them: Adoption of a new private aircraft usage policy coupled with a new travel and entertainment policy and the hiring of two new senior execs, including an svp of internal controls and compliance and a director of compliance and risk management who will be responsible for managing internal controls, reviewing monthly expense reports and ensuring compliance with the new policies. (Both those execs will not report to Nadal, but to MDC’s audit committee.)
On the investor call, when JPMorgan’s Avi Steiner asked why MDC has waited so long to go public with the explosive news, Doft deflected: “Since October, the company has been actively cooperating with the production of documents for review by the SEC, formed a Special Committee of Independent Directors to review certain matters. That review was just concluded in time with this earnings report and given the findings, we felt that it was appropriate to disclose at this time.”
In the first quarter, MDC reported revenue rose 10 percent to $302 million, with organic revenue increasing 7 percent.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
The website recap stated the fourth of the seven final episodes of AMC series Mad Men—Time & Life—brought Dawn Chambers back into the picture. Seems Dawn was still employed at the agency after all. However, she was almost fired by Roger Sterling for allegedly failing to pay the rent for the office. It turned out that Dawn was not to blame, but she and Shirley continued to fear for their jobs. If creator Matthew Weiner weren’t so culturally clueless, he’d show Dawn and Shirley leaving Sterling Cooper & Partners to launch their own Black advertising agency—and BET could pick up the spin-off series. Bring in Tyler Perry as producer and call it: “Diary of a Mad Men Black Woman.”
Monday, April 27, 2015
Adweek reported Cannes named nine jurors for the Glass Lion trophy introduced to salute work that “breaks through unconscious gender bias” and “shatters stereotypical portrayals of men and women.” The jury will include Leo Burnett CCO Susan Credle, who once said that she never thought the advertising business would be tough for a woman. However, Credle’s agency does admit that minorities face definite disadvantages in the field. Adweek also wrote, “While the award will initially spotlight gender, festival organizers said it could highlight other cultural issues down the line.” Yep, unconscious gender bias consciously trumps diversity.
Cannes Names Inaugural Glass Lion Jury
Shattering gender bias in advertising
By Kristina Monllos
The Cannes Lions festival has today named the nine jurors responsible for awarding its inaugural Glass Lion, or Lion for Change. Launched with a focus on gender, the new award will celebrate work that “breaks through unconscious gender bias” and “shatters stereotypical portrayals of men and women.”
Cindy Gallop, founder of IfWeRanTheWorld and former chief of Bartle Bogle Hegarty New York, serves as jury president for the new award.
“I want every single creative in every country around the world to desperately want to win the Glass Lion,” said Gallop in a statement. “The work that wins this award represents The New Creativity: the gold standard for creative and socio-cultural change in our industry.”
Gallop is joined by Marcello Serpa, partner and co-president of the board for AlmapBBDO in Brazil; Catherine Emprin, managing director of BETC in France; Tista Sen, national cd and svp of JWT in India; Laura Jordan Bambach, creative partner of Mr. President in the U.K.; Nick Bailey, CEO and ecd of Isobar in the U.K.; Susan Credle, CCO of Leo Burnett in Chicago; Gail Heimann, president of Weber Shandwick in New York; Jennifer Siebel Newsom, founder and CEO of The Representation Project; and Elizabeth Nyamayaro, senior advisor to Under Secretary-General of UN Women and head of the @HeForShe Campaign.
“It’s no secret that one gender and one viewpoint is over-represented in our industry, which means inevitably a certain viewpoint is over-represented,” said Bailey in a statement. “The Glass Lion seeks to redress that by recognizing work that holds a mirror up to the world as it really is, rather than just as a minority of people see it.
“That’s why it’s particularly exciting to see not just a truly international mix in the jury, but also a mix of viewpoints from both within and from outside our industry.”
While the award will initially spotlight gender, festival organizers said it could highlight other cultural issues down the line.
Adweek reported a new 4As and ANA task force has been launched to investigate media kickbacks, an issue that 4As President Nancy Hill called the advertising industry’s “elephant in the room.” Um, adland has more elephants in the room than Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. Look for the trade groups to eventually recruit an army to tackle the corruption. Let’s hope the efforts are more effective than the half-hearted and half-assed attempts to end the exclusivity that’s plagued the industry for over 60 years. Hey, media kickbacks trump diversity.
As Firestorm Grows Around Media Kickbacks, the Industry Launches a New Task Force
4A’s and ANA vow to investigate marketers’ concerns
By Andrew McMains
It has been called (by 4A’s President Nancy Hill, specifically) the ad industry’s “elephant in the room.”
The issue? Allegations of media agencies pocketing discounts on volume media buys and not sharing the “kickbacks” with clients.
Well, now the elephant is finally getting the scrutiny many feel it deserves.
The 4A’s and the Association of National Advertisers today formed a joint task force to examine the accusations, and the 10-person group represents a who’s who in the media field.
Members include the heads of holding company media divisions like WPP’s GroupM, Omnicom’s Omnicom Media Group and Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest Group, along with marketing leaders from Unilever, Procter & Gamble, L’Oréal, and Subway. Rounding out the panel are 4A’s President Hill, ANA CEO Bob Liodice and Horizon Media CEO Bill Koenigsberg, who’s also chairman of the 4A’s board.
The group will start meeting next month with the goal of identifying “material issues” related to media transparency and “address them with constructive dialogue and pragmatic course of action.” Recommendations are expected later this year.
The idea of agencies profitting from volume-buy discounts is nothing new. In fact, the practice is common in certain regions of the world, including Asia and Latin America, where marketers generally are aware of it. The U.S., however, is a different story: ad holding companies maintain that they don’t pocket any discounts here.
Still, broader anxiety and distrust between agencies and marketers have given this issue legs ever since consultant and former media agency CEO Jon Mandel reignited the topic during a presentation at an ANA conference last month.
Mandel asserted that media kickbacks are widespread and that, despite assertions to the contrary, media agencies aren’t being transparent about them.
Of course, Mandel, who works for brand marketers, has a vested interest in pointing out problems with agencies. In short, marketers may hire him to investigate the practices of their shops. Still, transparency has long been a concern of marketers in their dealings with agencies, and merely suggesting that agencies aren’t being open with their clients was enough to set off a firestorm that continues a month later.
Three weeks after Mandel’s accusations, Hill made her “elephant in the room” comment at the 4A’s Transformation Conference in Texas. At the time, she said the 4A’s was already talking to the ANA about the topic and “we will continue to have those conversations to work toward what I hope will be some really good guidelines for everyone to think about.”
She further encouraged “everybody to have those conversations—agencies and clients—about the trust you need to have in each other because it’s very important in what we do.”
Since then, media commentators have fanned the flames, and analysts have questioned the extent of the practice of pocketing volume discounts, with one, Brian Wiener of Pivotal Research, going so far as to downgrade his outlook on some holding companies on the premise that losing such discounts would impact their profitability.
And as the companies reported on their first-quarter results this week, other analysts questioned their CEOs about the practice. The bosses, however, maintain that their agencies don’t operate this way in the U.S. and that in markets where they do collect discounts, they’re transparent about it with clients.
In Interpublic Group’s earnings call this morning, for example, CEO Michael Roth told analysts that his company addressed the issue 10 years ago in its drive to comply with then new federal standards for financial reporting that arose out of the Sarbanes-Oxley law of 2002.
“We embarked on a full transparency program within IPG to make sure that there’s transparency and that any rebates will be properly reflected in our contracts and given to our clients,” Roth said.
He added that in markets outside the U.S. where there are rebates, “our contracts are clear that those rebates belong to our clients (or specify) how we’re instructed to treat those rebates.”
Hill believes much is riding on the success of the task force, which she said must “ensure that the long-standing partnership between clients and agencies is grounded in trust and understanding.”
Liodice simply feels that “transparency concerns—real and perceived—need to be addressed and mitigated.” Now, conceivably, they have the stakeholders in place to get that done.
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Decided to review the second and third of the seven final episodes of AMC series Mad Men by simply reading the recaps posted at the show’s website. New Business apparently provided another
token cameo appearance by Shirley—the last Black secretary standing—who assisted Roger Sterling’s White secretary. The Forecast didn’t seem to feature any people of color, at least based on the recap transcript. Joan Harris visited Sterling Cooper & Partners’ LA office and met Dee, the receptionist. Can’t tell from the text is Dee is Black, but it’s unlikely, given the agency’s past opposition to letting Black women work in reception. Must admit that reading the recaps versus actually watching the episodes is a quicker and more efficient waste of time.
In the first of the seven final episodes of AMC series Mad Men, Don Draper had a new White secretary, so it looks like Dawn Chambers is Black history. But Shirley is still around and made two
token cameo appearances. Ken Cosgrove was fired and offered a generous severance, which he ultimately rejected. Did Dawn Chambers receive compensation for her dismissal?
AgencySpy noted layoffs at Rosetta, the awful digital agency acquired by Publicis Groupe in 2011 and ultimately folded into the Razorfish Global turd pile. Since its acquisition, there have actually been quite a few Rosetta reductions and restructurings, as is often the case in such purchases—all of which makes Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Lévy’s contention that there will be no layoffs resulting from the recent Sapient acquisition total bullshit spread on a stale croissant.
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Advertising Age published a fluff piece on diversity by The Advertising Club of New York President and CEO Gina Grillo. Um, has anyone checked the diversity at The Advertising Club of New York?
The Advertising Industry Needs Diverse Leadership to Thrive
As U.S. Nears Diversity Tipping Point, Ad Industry Needs to Take the Lead
By Gina Grillo
It’s been said for years that the demographic makeup of the U.S. is headed for a seismic shift—that the non-Hispanic white majority would eventually become a minority. A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that this is happening even faster than anyone thought before. Projections for the tipping point when non-Hispanic whites would no longer account for more than 50% of the population were initially pegged at the year 2050.
As reported in a recent Ad Age article, updates from the Census Bureau have pushed this date up to 2044. While the overall rate of population growth is slowing due to declining birth rates, because of years of steady immigration the country is diversifying at a pace never before seen in our history. In 2044, the U.S. will be 49.7% white (compared with 63% today), 25% Hispanic (compared with 17% today), 12.7% black, 7.9% percent Asian and 3.7% multiracial.
As an industry that exists to communicate with consumers of all backgrounds and walks of life, the advertising industry stands to benefit more than most by cultivating a highly diverse and inclusive environment that reflects the changing demographics around us. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 582,000 Americans employed in advertising and communications in 2014, less than half are women, 6.6% are black or African American, 5.7% are Asian and 10.5% are Hispanic. Together, we can change this.
Diversity of thought is powerful. We need to become the industry that embraces a vast array of talent from different ethnic and racial backgrounds, while also making a real effort to recruit people of different cultural experiences, ages, genders, religions, sexual orientations and lifestyles. This will give us the insights and the skills to evolve alongside the massive demographic, technological and social shifts that we’ll see in the coming decades.
One company that has taken diversity very seriously and benefitted from it in interesting ways is Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Its commitment to diversity and inclusion in hiring and promotion is one of the many things the company has done that landed it the top spot on Diversity Inc’s Top 50 list, which assesses diversity management in corporate America and around the world.
But Novartis goes far beyond just hiring employees from diverse backgrounds. The company supports employees in their work and gains valuable business insights from them though voluntary resource groups that bring together employees of similar backgrounds—from ethnic groups to veterans, women, working parents and those affected by cancer. These groups benefit employees through career development and networking, and they benefit the company because they are an innovative way for Novartis to conduct research, gain new perspectives and find culturally competent insights without even having to look outside the company. A strategy like this would be powerful for any business, but could be a game-changer in the ad industry.
Encouraging diversity and inclusiveness in our industry isn’t only a matter of fairness and ethics—it’s also smart business. In a recent study by McKinsey and Co. on the effects of top-team diversity at a wide range of international businesses, the findings were incredibly telling: “For companies ranking in the top quartile of executive-board diversity, ROEs (returns on equity) were 53% higher, on average, than they were for those in the bottom quartile.” The same study found that U.S. public companies with diverse executive boards have a 95% higher return on equity than those without.
While the numbers alone should be a call to action for leaders in the ad industry in our community, I think the real takeaway is that by building diverse leadership teams that reflect where our country’s demographics are headed, executives can lead by example, showing their rank and file that they promote and support diversity at every level. For starters, diverse teams are more creative and innovative. New perspectives, constructive conflict resolution and fresh problem-solving approaches come to the forefront when people of varied backgrounds work together. Studies have shown that teams made up of people with diverse experiences outperform groups of like-minded experts. When this sort of thinking is allowed to flourish in a leadership team, that’s when companies see the real benefits of diverse staffing.
Diversity at the top also sends a clear message to employees. Corporate cultures that embrace diverse leadership in an authentic way attract and retain the best talent at all levels. This should be a wake-up call that hiring diverse employees at the entry level and filling quotas isn’t the best way to create a diverse and innovative team. There also needs to be grooming and promotion of staff from different backgrounds, generations and cultures all the way up the ranks, and executive searches need to look outside of the advertising world to attract fresh talent.
In advertising, building a staff with varied perspectives and knowledge about cultural nuances is crucial. Without it, there’s no way to communicate authentically in an ever more globalized business environment or in an America that grows more diverse by the day. We all need to do a better job of not just attracting talent from diverse backgrounds, but retaining and promoting them if we’re going to stay relevant going forward.
Gina Grillo is president and CEO of The Advertising Club of New York.
Friday, April 24, 2015
The DiversityInc Top 50 List for 2015—surprise, surprise—did not include any advertising agencies or advertising holding companies. However, the lineup featured major advertisers like Mastercard, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Cox Communications, General Mills, IBM, Target, Comcast, Dell, Allstate, Walt Disney, Toyota, Colgate-Palmolive, Kraft Foods and Verizon. It’s astonishingly hypocritical how corporations can be so committed to inclusiveness, yet conspire with White advertising agencies where diversity remains a dream deferred and denied. DiversityInc should add a qualification requirement regarding a candidate’s relationship with White advertising agencies. They’d struggle to identify even five legitimate contenders.
P.S., not sure what’s up with the invisible company occupying slot 40.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Adweek reported Chuck E. Cheese’s is seeking a new White advertising agency. The pizza arcade has recently worked with The Richards Group, who showed great creative versatility by handling talking mice and talking vaginas. It’ll be tough to find White rats that can top that kind of talent.
Chuck E. Cheese’s Seeks New Creative Agency
The pizza arcade chain spends $28 million a year on media
By Noreen O’Leary
Chuck E. Cheese’s is looking for a new creative agency to revive the fortunes of the faded pizza arcade brand, sources said.
The Irving, Texas chain spent $28 million on media spending in 2014, according to Kantar Media. Most recent reports have the account handled by The Richards Group, Dallas, but reps there haven’t responded to an inquiry.
In January Chuck E. Cheese’s brought in a new chief marketing officer, Michael Hartman, who was previously senior marketing officer at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
When reached by Adweek, Hartman declined to comment on the agency review.
In addition to Richards, the brand has also worked with several agencies in the past, including Zambrelli for TV advertising, M/C/C for social media marketing and Apollo Interactive for website development.
Founded in 1977 by Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell, Chuck E. Cheese’s was the first family restaurant to integrate food with entertainment and arcade games. (It has continued to use its namesake animatronic mouse mascot as a fixture in ads.) In recent years, the chain has also had the dubious distinction in the media for curious outbreaks of violence at its stores, including an incident last in month in Ohio where patrons beat employees.
While Chuck E. Cheese’s has done little to change with the times, it nonetheless has strong millennial brand awareness and had grown to 577 outlets as of March 2014.
Chuck E. Cheese’s is owned by CEC Entertainment, which was bought by an affiliate of turnaround investors Apollo Global Management last year, for about $950 million.
Adweek reported on an ANA survey showing marketers and agencies disagree on key items including briefs, approval processes and compensation. Wonder how the two differ on the topic of diversity. Marketers are quick to declare a commitment to inclusiveness. Agencies, not so much. Interestingly enough, the Adweek story featured an illustration (depicted above) of two White men shaking hands. Perfect.
There Are Big Disconnects in This New ANA Survey of Marketers and Agencies
On compensation, briefing, approving ads
By Andrew McMains
A new Association of National Advertisers survey of marketers and agencies reveals (perhaps not too surprisingly) little harmony and much discord.
While marketing and agency leaders agree that agencies are valuable to marketers and help drive business results, they differ on how well they work together, the clarity of assignment briefs and the quality of the ad-approval process.
Specifically, just 27 percent of agency leaders polled found marketer briefs to be clear, compared to 58 percent of the marketers. Similarly, only 36 percent of the agencies were satisfied with how marketers approve ads, versus 54 percent of marketers, according to the ANA.
As you might expect, the biggest disconnect was in compensation. Nearly three-quarters of clients (72 percent) described their agency compensation as fair, while only 40 percent of the agencies agreed.
As ANA President Bob Liodice acknowledged, “There are disturbing legacy issues that continue to plague the partnership that have been further complicated by blossoming transparency concerns.” He added that the ANA is “committed to making tangible improvements and will be working in partnership with the 4A’s to actively address those issues.”
In all, the ANA polled 126 marketer executives and 105 agency honchos in its survey, which took place in January and February. Fifty-eight percent of the agency respondents work at full-service agencies, 23 percent at creative-only agencies, 12 percent at media shops and the remaining 7 percent are specialty players.
The full survey is available to ANA members.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Adweek published a fluff piece titled, “The Boys Club of Chief Creative Officers Finally Gets Some Female Faces.” Based on the accompanying photographs, it appears to be predominately White female faces. Jumping on the Caucasian Chicks Bandwagon is nothing more than the latest diversity diversion.
The Boys Club of Chief Creative Officers Finally Gets Some Female Faces
Women claim 5 top roles in 6 months
By Andrew McMains
After years of withering criticism about the dearth of women leading creative departments, the industry finally seems to be listening.
Five women have been named to creative chief positions—at Young & Rubicam, Wieden + Kennedy, Ogilvy & Mather and Wunderman—in the past six months, with Y&R, for example, recruiting Leslie Sims from McCann Erickson to become chief creative officer in New York and promoting Pam Mufson to co-executive creative director in Chicago.
Award show juries also have become more egalitarian, with the Art Directors Club and the Clios mandating that there be an equal number of male and female jurors. Meanwhile, Cannes Lions will have five female jury presidents this year, which represents a third of the total pool.
The 3% Conference, whose name reflects the tiny percentage of female creative directors listed in the 2004 Communications Arts Advertising Annual, has seen creative chiefs rise to 11 percent.
Agencies acknowledge the imbalance in their upper creative ranks and are trying to address it. DDB in March launched Better by Half, an initiative that seeks to identify and remove obstacles that prevent women from advancing. The goal is to have 50 percent of DDB’s creative leaders (cds, ecds, CCOs) be women within five years. Currently, only 10 percent of top creatives inside DDB are female.
Mark O’Brien, DDB North American president, said the agency is working on identifying the hurdles that women face. “Barriers are there that we don’t see,” he noted. “We expect that if we remove the barriers, the rise will happen naturally.”
The obstacles are many: the lack of mentors, male leaders favoring men’s work over that of women and little support for mothers, observed Y&R’s Sims and Toni Hess, who became CCO at Wunderman last fall. These issues determine whether women stay and rise or leave.
“The emotional pull to have children and families really can’t be overlooked,” said Hess. “We work in a wonderful, amazing business that is a lot of fun but is incredibly demanding.”
With more women steering corporate marketing and an influx of millennials at agencies, Sims expects creative departments to evolve and become more amenable to helping women strike a better work-life balance, which in turn will allow them to compete on a level playing field with their male counterparts.
“Diversity of any kind on an agency leadership team is a real advantage,” Sims explained. “And given that there’s such a wide array of clients and even a broader diversity of consumers, making sure you have a mixture of perspective is really important.”
Industry headhunters predict that the influx of women creative chiefs would grow at a steady clip, given the healthy supply of seasoned midlevel talent. Agencies are “looking for modern leaders,” said Debra Sercy of Grace Blue. “And women increasingly are in consideration because they’ve risen through the ranks, they have proven their ability, they’re agile, they’re fearless, they’re strategic and they’re smart.”
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
How I Made It: Advertising veteran Jimmy Smith
By Ronald D. White
The gig: Advertising veteran Jimmy Smith, 53, has orchestrated award-winning work for brands including Nike and Gatorade, the latter involving the adoption of the more edgy “G” in packaging and marketing the sports drink. Since 2011, Smith has been chief executive and chief creative officer of Amusement Park Entertainment, which he founded with advertising conglomerate Interpublic Group, to develop “branded entertainment” — industry lingo for making the product or brand the centerpiece of an app, game, event, television show or movie, rather than creating an ad that viewers can ignore.
Another gig: Smith has added more traditional advertising and marketing back into his playbook. His businesses will operate as part of a larger company called simply Amusement Park, formed with longtime executives from DGWB Advertising & Communications. Smith is chairman and chief creative officer of the new firm. Partners Mike Weisman, Ed Collins and Jon Gothold have taken on the jobs of CEO, president and executive creative director, respectively. The venture operates out of offices in Los Angeles and Santa Ana, where DGWB has occupied the town’s historic city hall. Combined, the businesses have nearly 90 employees.
Parental influence: Smith, born in Muskegon, Mich., points to the determination of his father, James, to leave factory work and run his own business, eventually acquiring a restaurant franchise. “It was the first time that I could remember of a black person owning something in Muskegon,” Smith said. “It stayed in my head that I could do that too.” His mother, Evelyn, was a teacher and his language guide. “I couldn’t speak or write or do anything, from a very young age, without being corrected on the right way to do it by my mom, in a healthy way.”
Becoming “Bewitched”: Branding and advertising was an early career idea, Smith said, that he got from “Bewitched,” a sitcom that ran from 1964 to 1972 about New York ad exec Darrin Stephens. In the show, Stephens marries a witch, Samantha. The only drawback was having an evil witch — Endora — for a mother-in-law. “Darrin’s wife was beautiful,” Smith said. “He had a big house and if it wasn’t for Endora, it seemed like a pretty easy gig.”
Fallback plan: Smith attended Michigan State from 1981 to 1984. He majored in advertising but still entertained his childhood dream of becoming a professional basketball player. Michigan State has one of the nation’s most successful men’s basketball programs. “After I was cut from the Michigan State basketball team three years in a row,” Smith said, “I thought, ‘OK, I think I need to make this advertising thing happen.’”
ABCs of advertising: “I went to New York, Detroit, Chicago, anywhere I could go to get a job interview.” At Chicago’s Burrell Advertising (now Burrell Communications), one of the largest multicultural marketing firms in the world, Smith forgot the name of the person he was supposed to see. Despite the mix-up, Smith got the job. There he met a young co-worker named Lewis Williams, now Burrell’s chief creative officer, who “taught me the ABCs of advertising,” Smith said. “The main thing he taught me was huge. ‘They try to act like it’s a secret. They act like it’s rocket science. Advertising is not rocket science.’ That gave me confidence. It allowed me to feel comfortable any time I was presenting an idea.”
Becoming a mad man: The business “was intimidating because mostly they don’t like what you are presenting,” Smith said. “You go in and get to be humiliated. It’s personal. It’s mine and my team’s idea and they are just putting bullet holes in it. That is the way it is in advertising.” Smith built his name as he moved from agency to agency, including Wieden + Kennedy, where he was a writer and creative director for the Nike account; BBDO, where he was executive creative director; and TBWA\Chiat\Day’s L.A. office, where he was Gatorade’s group creative director.
Appealing to all: Having been told that his ad ideas were “not black enough” or “too black,” Smith said he liked the atmosphere at Muse Cordero Chen in the 1990s. There, he said, one “could walk down halls and hear Mandarin at one moment, Spanish the next, someone else speaking Japanese. If you are only a black agency, then your ideas are only going to come from that culture, same thing if you are at a white agency. But if you mix all of those cultures together, that’s where the most powerful ideas are going to come from.”
Diversity: Smith said he has tried to foster creative freedom in his diverse team, which draws from the worlds of sports, art and entertainment. “Find that coach who is going to give you the green light, who understands what you do, the value that you bring,” he advises.
Family affair: Smith’s wife, Smoke, works at Amusement Park Entertainment, as do their sons, Sequel, 28, and Jarrel, 27. Work is never far away, even when he and his wife manage to get away to a concert. “When I’m at the concert, it’s always, ‘Maybe I can use Lil Wayne in that,’ or some other idea. You can’t help it.”
Monday, April 20, 2015
At Campaign, TubeMogul UK Managing Director Nick Reid thinks TV advertising’s come a long way in 60 years. Diversity in advertising, not so much. Ditto diversity in television advertising. In fact, it might take another 66 years before we’ll see even a hint of progress. Stay tuned.
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Campaign published a perspective on the D&AD White Pencil by Decoded and HHCL Founder Steve Henry that ultimately underscored the hypocrisy behind the do-gooder trophy. Henry blathered on about “the rise of empowered and knowledgeable consumers who are demanding accountability”—and he cautioned companies involved in shady and/or unethical practices were opening themselves to criticism and condemnation. Um, what about White advertising agencies? After all, these places have made diversity a dream deferred and denied for over 60 years. Leo Burnett won the first White Pencil in 2012, and the agency remains predominately White despite producing patronizing pap calling for an end to exclusivity. Any advertising agency vying for a White Pencil should first be required to reveal the true diversity of its staff. That would surely make White Pencil seekers turn pale.
The power of good
Today’s empowered consumers want brands that make the world a better place. The white Pencil aligns perfectly with this, Steve Henry writes.
A while ago, before all the hoo-ha about Tesco, I saw an ad for a BOGOF on crisps, above that famous line: “Every little helps.”
And I thought: well, you’re helping to make people unhealthy there, which wastes millions of pounds in healthcare and kills people early.
This might seem a tad unfair – after all, crisps are still legal. But it was the BOGOF encouraging increased consumption, coupled with the line, that stuck in my throat like a huge ridged steak-flavour snack. In my view, a brand needs to have the genuine interests of its customers at its heart… otherwise it’s a non-brand.
And that led me to a question: is it time for the trivial industry to get serious?
I was inspired by the fact that I recently met one of my heroes – Paul Polman, the chief executive of Unilever and architect of the Sustainable Living Plan. This pledges to halve Unilever’s carbon footprint by 2020 and make all of its brands a genuine force for good. It’s the most ambitious commercial mission out there. And also incredibly smart.
Because the biggest trend in the commercial world right now is the rise of empowered and knowledgeable consumers who are demanding accountability.
I have been doing some online judging for the white Pencil recently, and a lot of the smartest ideas embrace a grass-roots, bottom-up approach. As Naomi Klein said recently, empowered individuals are our main hope of survival. (Unilever aside, maybe our only hope.) Because big business and politics have proved themselves to be incredibly corrupt, greedy, stupid and short-sighted over the last generation.
The best chance for our children to inhabit a world that isn’t a complete nightmare lies in the potential of individuals getting together via the internet to make their voices heard.
Judging the white Pencil was probably the most inspiring judging I have ever done – and the hardest. Trying to decide if a particular cause is great while the idea may be only average is heart-breaking. But it was great to see all that talent trying to make the world a better place. And, incidentally, usually avoiding paid-for media to do it – making apps, clothing, events, etc. instead.
Clearly, all successful brands will soon be subjected to massive scrutiny. Even as I write this, Nicole Kidman is being attacked for endorsing Etihad Airways by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which claims that the airline is “abusive” to its staff.
Those businesses that have ripped off their customers with misleading promotions – well, the public could come after them like Operation Yewtree on crystal meth. I think this is predominantly incredibly positive.
Of course, there is a negative side to it – and it’s highlighted in Jon Ronson’s new book about the public shaming of individuals on Twitter.
But, to me, the main positive is that the energy is out there. Massive numbers of people are frustrated – and, according to Ronson, the big stimulus for a Twitter onslaught is “misuse of privilege”.
Empowered consumers won’t take cynical behaviour lightly. They destroyed the News of the World, which was the biggest-selling newspaper in Britain, in a fit of moral disgust. And the actions of those ordinary people were far more punitive than anything the establishment would ever mete out.
In the 1976 film Network, Peter Finch played a newsreader embittered by the corruption he saw. He urged his TV viewers to go to their windows and shout: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.” He created a viral piece of action.
And the interesting thing is that a huge – I mean, really huge – number of companies could get attacked.
Tax avoidance? Encouraging addictive or unhealthy behaviour? Exploitative supply chain? Misleading people? Dubious ingredients? Unnecessary carbon footprint? Cover-ups?
You could get attacked for any one of them.
A friend in the newspaper industry said that, going back eight years, nobody really thought phone-hacking was wrong. It was just regarded as an example of what the ever-changing technological world was bringing about. There are big lessons for data exploitation here.
But, as Polman said, the current generation has the opportunity to right all the wrongs and create a decent, sustainable future.
Which is a brilliant way of saying: the last generation has completely fucked the planet up and, if we don’t move quickly, it’s game over for our kids. That’s something to ponder for everybody working in advertising.
Are you complicit in something nasty – or are you one of the good guys? How do you feel about the accounts you are working on this week?
We all have a choice. If Polman can do good in one of the biggest companies in the world, you can do it in yours.
If you want a selfish reason – last year, the two white Pencil winners went on to win black Pencils.
But there’s a bigger reason, and it’s known by a rather unfashionable name.
For me, the only way is ethics.
Steve Henry is a founder of Decoded and HHCL. He is the foreman of D&AD’s white Pencil jury
Friday, April 17, 2015
Wanted to briefly extend the examination of The San Francisco Egotist response that read:
First: We judged the people that were nominated. Are there ultra-talented minorities in the SF ad scene? Of course. But they weren’t nominated. If you know a more diverse group that should be recognized, by all means, nominate them when we do this again next year. Nothing’s stopping you. Claiming it’s from “racism” is frankly, bullshit.
Second: Half of the list is women. This wasn’t done on purpose. It just worked out that way, which we think is very representative of the city in general.
Third: If you know great minority ad people who we should recognize, why didn’t you nominate them? Or would you rather just bitch about the problem instead of doing something about it?
First: Claiming it’s not from “racism” is frankly, ignorant. The advertising industry started out as a highly exclusive—and racist—field. Anyone with a brain and sense of history must admit to the truth. For over 60 years, the industry has failed to embrace diversity, clinging to outdated and discriminatory hiring practices. Is the current racism as blatant as what was executed back in the day? No. But to deny that racism is a root cause of today’s predominately White environment displays stupidity of the highest order. Then again, The San Francisco Egotist is barely half a rung above AgencySpy in the IQ department, so the cluelessness is not surprising.
Second: Half of the list is women—and most of them are White women. The San Francisco Egotist thinks this is very representative of the city in general. Sadly, the U.S. Census Bureau appears to confirm the matter. However, that should not justify the exclusivity of the 32 Under 32 clique. After all, the San Francisco advertising community is not creating messages targeting only San Francisco. These White agencies are appealing to a diverse America. It simply makes sense that an agency’s staff might reflect the inclusiveness of the audiences being addressed. Additionally, the industry has allegedly made a commitment to fostering diversity. To use the old excuse of “there just ain’t no minorities in our neck of the woods” is frankly, bullshit.
Third: The San Francisco Egotist snapped, “Or would you rather just bitch about the problem instead of doing something about it?” Um, what the hell has the online publication ever done to solve—or even acknowledge—the problem? Sorry, but the 32 Under 32 list perpetuated the problem. Celebrating exclusivity is nothing to be proud of.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Advertising Age asked, “Have Girl-Powered Ads Empowered Female Directors?” The piece seemed to serve as a soapbox for female directors whining about limited opportunities and pigeonholing. Um, minority directors experience ultra-limited opportunities and institutionalized pigeonholing.
Have Girl-Powered Ads Empowered Female Directors?
Commercials Are Celebrating Women, but Few Are Directed by Women
By Alexandra Jardine
“This Girl Can,” an ad from Sport England, attempts to encourage women to get fit by depicting them exercising in a totally honest way. Far removed from the glossy spots of Nike or Under Armour, it opens with a close-up of a swimmer’s jiggling backside and goes on to feature other “real” females—red-faced and sweaty, cellulite and body fat wobbling proudly. The ad has earned more than 7 million views on YouTube since launching in January and generated massive creative buzz.
But its director, Kim Gehrig, has an admission to make: “This project was the first time in which I actually admitted to being a female director.”
Australian-born Ms. Gehrig, a former creative at Mother who is signed to U.K. production company Somesuch, believes that her unisex first name has helped her get a foot in the door with agencies who assumed she was a man. She’s not alone; another female director named Kim, Backyard’s Kim Nguyen, says this has been suggested to her, too.
“I didn’t want to get pigeonholed as a female director who only did tampon and makeup ads,” said Ms. Gehrig. “But with ‘This Girl Can,’ I felt that it was important that there was a female voice for the piece.”
It’s one of several recent ads with a strongly “female” voice that has proved widely popular on social media; others include the groundbreaking “Like a Girl,” from Procter & Gamble’s Always brand, which was also directed by a woman, Lauren Greenfield.
Known for her documentary work on films such as “The Queen of Versailles,” Ms. Greenfield, represented by Chelsea Pictures, was nominated for a Directors Guild of America award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials for “Like a Girl”—but says she was shocked to find herself the first solo woman to receive a nomination.
She believes “Like a Girl”—which started out online, drew 75 million views worldwide and eventually became a Super Bowl ad—proved that women’s voices can make a real impact. “I think brands are starting to recognize that women can really drive these huge numbers,” she said. “If success means hiring a woman, it will happen.”
Yet female directors are still uncommon in the commercial production world. Reasons cited include a lack of role models, a macho culture among “old-school” production crews and a flawed perception that women are only capable of working on certain kinds of advertising.
“I still walk into meetings where people are shocked I am a woman,” said Ms. Gehrig. “Agencies are fine but crews can be really intimidating. There is a very blokey culture around the technical side of filmmaking, although that is now changing with younger directors of photography.”
A perception that women “can’t do comedy” is also a barrier for female directors, although that cliché is being demolished by the likes of movies such as “Bridesmaids,” TV shows such as “Girls,” and comedians such as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
“There is only a handful of female directors that do comedy,” said Amy Nicholson, an agency creative and documentary maker who recently signed with Supply and Demand for commercial representation. “Although ‘Saturday Night Live’ has shattered that whole thing about women not being funny, directing is a little different—someone has to trust you to get that performance out of that incredibly funny person. But it would be great if there was to be some dovetailing of those two worlds.”
There are also practical considerations for female directors that men haven’t traditionally had to deal with. “You have to give the client the impression that there is nothing else going on in your life, and that is hard when you have kids,” said Ms. Gehrig, who has a young daughter. “I hid my pregnancy, and couldn’t shoot after seven months because of insurance.”
Lack of role models is widely cited as a reason women don’t become directors. “On 99% of sets, people have come up and said to me that they haven’t worked with a female director before,” said Backyard’s Ms. Nguyen, who has filmed for the likes of MTV and ESPN.
“The tipping point will be when more women are doing it,” said Rattling Stick’s Sara Dunlop, whose résumé includes spots for KFC, Vodafone and the Royal Navy. “When you are a girl and interested in film, you don’t think of directors as being women, so maybe you gravitate toward other roles.”
That tipping point could be coming fast. According to Ms. Greenfield, Sundance is now “almost half women” and a brunch held there for women in film was packed.
Park Pictures’ Alison Maclean, who recently directed a Clinton Foundation campaign for International Women’s Day in which prominent women were heard but not seen, said that while women still need to be “tenacious and bloody-minded” to make their names via the traditional route, “we will see women come up through other channels—for instance via YouTube and social media.”
Sometimes having a feminine touch can be an advantage. Ms. Gehrig believes the (non-actor) women cast in the Sport England ad wouldn’t have necessarily trusted a male director to film them, for example, in such glorious close-ups. “There is a unique point of view that a female director can offer,” she said.
Yet Ms. Gehrig is wary of what some are calling “fem-vertising.”
“That frankly makes me feel quite sick,” she said. “I don’t want brands just to be jumping on this bandwagon.”
And even in a world where female directors are in demand, it’s still important for women not to be pigeonholed, warned Ms. Dunlop. “I work really hard to get a cross-section of work that doesn’t just have female leads. It’s important to get work that transcends your gender,” she said. To make her point, she cited a famous quote from movie director Stephen Daldry: “You don’t need to be a dog to direct ‘Lassie.’”
The San Francisco Egotist presented San Francisco’s 32 Under 32 for 2015—and sparked well over 32 comments on the exclusive group’s lack of diversity. Plus, the publication lived up to its egotist name with snide and culturally clueless responses.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Campaign reported Havas UK Group Chairman and Global Co-President Kate Robertson is stepping down to spend more time on a UK not-for-profit organization she co-founded to “empower young leaders around the world.” Hey, maybe it’s an effort that can bring diversity to the advertising industry. Or more likely, lure additional White women to the field.
Kate Robertson steps down from Havas
Kate Robertson is stepping down from her role as UK group chairman and global co-president of Havas Worldwide after 12 years to focus more of her time the One Young World forum.
Robertson co-founded the UK-based not-for-profit One Young World with support from Havas back in 2009, with a mission to empower young leaders from around the world.
She will continue as a consultant to Havas through to the end of next year.
Over a 12-year career at Havas, Robertson has led the UK Havas Group in serving global clients including Barclays, Reckitt Benckiser and Jaguar, and most recently led the UK acquisition of Work Club in 2014.
Andrew Benett, the global chief executive of Havas Creative Group and Havas Worldwide, said Robertson has “contributed considerable value” to Havas over the years, and delivered record growth for the group last year.
He said: “Kate has an energy and enthusiasm for her work that is unparalleled.”
Robertson said: “I’ve had a great time at Havas with brilliant clients and wonderful employees. But One Young World has become an overwhelming passion and one that needs an enormous amount of attention.”
The forum will host its 2015 summit in Bangkok this November.
Robertson’s is the latest in a series of exits by long-term Havas employees. Chris Pinnington, the company’s global chief operating officer, left last July after 30 years and David Jones, the former chief executive of Havas Worldwide and co-founder of One Young World, quit in January 2014 after 15 years at the agency.
At the same time the network has made a string of high profile hirings, including Sean Lyons from R/GA who now leads Havas digital strategy and Chris Hirst, the former chief executive of Grey London who joins in September to lead Havas across Europe.
Advertising Age reported Kraft Senior Director of Data, Content and Media Julie Fleischer declared not all data is crap. However, the overwhelming majority of digital content excreted by Kraft definitely qualifies as crap. Ditto most of what comes out of Fleischer’s mouth.
Kraft’s Julie Fleischer at Ad Age’s Digital Conference: Not All Data Is Crap
Data Literacy and Clarity Will Drive Marketing, Improve Ad Impressions
By Felicia Greiff
Kraft’s Julie Fleischer took a bold stance at Ad Age’s data conference last October that marketers did not take lightly: ninety percent of data is crap.
“It’s become my calling card,” Ms. Fleischer said today at Ad Age’s Digital Conference in New York. “I’ve sort of become the ‘data is crap’ lady.” Ms. Fleischer, Kraft’s senior director of data, content and media, and Bob Rupczynski, Kraft’s VP-media and consumer engagement, took the stage to clarify their position on cloudy data.
The problem wasn’t that all data was crap; the problem was that most of the data Kraft had access to was crap. Now, Kraft is building its own data system to collect information about its consumers.
“I want to understand our consumers through different lenses,” Ms. Fleischer said. “First-party data is not crap.”
Ms. Fleischer found that Kraft’s marketers were unequipped to analyze and use data. Most of its marketers didn’t have experience with data beyond what they handled in Microsoft Excel.
“It just hasn’t been a skill they teach in school,” Ms. Fleischer said. She spoke to Kraft’s marketers about focusing on addressability and the importance of knowing and reaching consumers on a granular basis, an idea that was well received.
As Ad Age reported last October, Kraft used third-party data to help target consumers, but found that most of the people they wanted to reach weren’t really seeing their ads. Their concerns over ad fraud, viewability and overall inventory murkiness caused Kraft to reject up to 85% of all impressions offered via real-time ad marketplaces.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
The Los Angeles Times reported UCLA approved requiring students to take courses on diversity. Gee, imagine if Madison Avenue did the same, mandating that all employees enhance their cultural competence. Of course, it’s so much easier to delegate diversity and make tax-deductible donations to ADCOLOR®.
UCLA faculty overwhelmingly approves required courses on diversity
By Larry Gordon
UCLA’s faculty approved, by a large margin, a controversial new policy that requires most future undergraduates to take a course on ethnic, cultural, religious or gender diversity.
The strongly supportive vote announced Friday night was the culmination of efforts that began two decades ago and previously faced rejections.
In a tally posted online, the campus-wide Faculty Senate voted 916 to 487 to begin the requirement for incoming freshmen in fall 2015 and new transfer students in 2017. It would affect students in the College of Letters and Science, which enrolls 85% of UCLA undergraduates.
The approval in the two-week online voting is a victory for UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. He endorsed the requirement, saying the courses would help prepare students to live and work in a multicultural society. Other supporters said the case for the classes was made more compelling by several recent incidents on campus that raised allegations of anti-Semitism and a lack of attention to racial bias.
Opponents said students were overburdened with other requirements, particularly in the sciences, and said the budget-strapped university could not afford extra classes. Additional questions were raised about whether these classes improve ethnic relations and whether they typically skew left politically.
Most other University of California campuses and the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture already require such courses.
Similar proposals were rejected by the UCLA faculty three times in the last two decades. And the vote announced Friday came after a lengthy and difficult process.
In late October, the faculty of the College of Letters and Science voted by a narrow margin – 332 to 303—for the requirement. In the following weeks, two other faculty panels added their approval. At that point many people on campus thought the debate was finished. But as allowed by campus rules, opponents petitioned for a vote by the entire campus faculty, a much larger group, and an election was scheduled.
“A diversity-focused course requirement has been a long-standing priority for me because of its clear value to our students, so I am very pleased with the campuswide faculty vote approving the proposal,” Block said in a statement Friday. “I want to thank the many faculty members and students who have worked hard for several years to make the diversity requirement a reality.”
In the recent online election guide, 70 professors and administrators posted statements of support and five expressed their opposition.
Among those for the new requirement, physical sciences dean Joseph Rudnick wrote: “Just as a proper introduction to the nature of the scientific enterprise is an irreplaceable component of a complete education, an exposure to rigorous scholarship on diversity is essential preparation for life in the world that awaits our graduates.”
In contrast, political science professor Thomas Schwartz wrote that there is little need for the courses and that proponents seem to be exaggerating how biased UCLA students are.
“The idea that 21st century American 18 year-olds who have been admitted to UCLA are so afflicted with bigotry that they must be forced to endure an attitude-altering course is preposterous. It is like forcing Norwegians to get inoculated against malaria,” he wrote.
Supporters say the requirement measure would not increase the units needed for a diploma and that many students are already taking classes that meet it. More than 100 existing courses across many departments are said to fit the bill and more will be added.
Monday, April 13, 2015
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Clorox apologizes for tweeting ‘where’s the bleach’ after Apple rolls out diverse emojis
By Rachelle Blidner | NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Clorox had to clean up its act after this gaffe.
The company apologized for tweeting about bleach in response to the release of new emojis of people of color.
“New emojis are alright but where’s the bleach,” Clorox tweeted after Apple released 300 new emojis, including ones with black and brown faces, Wednesday.
The company said it meant to comment on why there was no bleach emoji along other household item emojis that were introduced.
But many people understood the tweet as a call for bleaching the new emojis to make them white.
Some Twitter users said they were offended while other laughed at the company’s cluelessness.
Clorox has since deleted the tweet.
“We apologize to the many people who thought our tweet about the new emojis was insensitive,” Molly Steinkrauss, a spokeswoman for Clorox, told CNN Money.
“We did not mean for this to be taken as a specific reference to the diversity emojis—but we should have been more aware of the news around this. The tweet was meant to be light-hearted but it fell flat.”
Business Insider reported Omnicom Group CEO John Wren “earned” a 33 percent salary bump in 2014 despite failing to consummate the merger with Publicis Groupe. Hey, why not? Wren also failed to justify his Pioneer of Diversity title.
Omnicom CEO John Wren earned a 33% pay rise to $24 million in the year of its failed merger with Publicis
By Lara O’Reilly
John Wren, the CEO of the second largest advertising agency holding group in the world, Omnicom, received $24 million in compensation in 2014 — the same year as his company’s failed $35 billion merger attempt with France-based Publicis Groupe.
Wren’s total compensation was up 33% on 2013, according to the company’s latest SEC filings.
Wren’s base salary was $1 million, but 95% of his compensation is tied into performance. He also receives other personal benefits such including $82,751 for personal use of aircraft, an auto allowance of $9,120, a medical allowance of $4,000, and a “years of service award” of $5,000.
While Wren’s take-home might seem high, it is less than half of that of WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell’s pay package. He is set to receive $53 million in share awards this year, on top of his $1.6 million salary. In 2013, Publicis Groupe’s Maurice Lévy earned $6.3 million in total compensation (the company’s annual report for 2014 is not yet out.)
Lévy admitted last year that Publicis was the more interested partner in the proposed merger with Omnicom, which may explain why Omnicom — and Wren’s pay — were relatively unaffected by the merger’s collapse.
Omnicom posted a 5% lift in revenue to $15.3 billion, and a 11.4% rise in net profit to $1.1 billion in the 12 months to December 31.
Publicis Groupe suffered a torrid first nine months of the year but managed to pull it back in the fourth quarter, reporting a 4.3% lift in revenue for the full-year to €7.23 billion ($7.8 billion,) and a 4.7% rise in headline profit to €829 million ($890 million).
Friday, April 10, 2015
Adweek reported IPG CEO Michael Roth could collect up to $42 million if there’s a change of control at the holding company—which includes $12.6 million in severance. Gee, that’s roughly $12.6 million more than the average IPG employee receives upon being terminated.
Interpublic’s CEO Stands to Get $42 Million if the Holding Company Changes Hands
Michael Roth earned $13 million in 2014
By Noreen O’Leary
Interpublic chief Michael Roth stands to gain nearly $42 million should there be a change in control at the holding company, according to the company’s newly released annual meeting proxy statement. Of that amount, $12.6 million would reflect severance and $13.5 million in performance shares. (The balance comes from payment of bonus, stock options, performance cash, restricted stock, medical, dental and vision, 401K match and bonus.)
Elliott Management is one of Interpublic Group’s largest shareholders with around a 6.9 percent stake now and an ownership cap of 9.9 percent. (Some people familiar with the activist investors believe they will increase their stake in Interpublic.) While the investors’ objective is to improve the company’s margin levels to industry standards, Elliott Management continues to look for possible acquisition deals for IPG as well, sources tell Adweek. The hedge fund first disclosed its stake in the industry’s fourth-largest holding company last July.
In the “Estimated Termination of Employment and Change of Control Payments” table in IPG’s proxy statement, other senior execs are also in line for a nice payday, with CFO Frank Mergenthaler entitled to $14.7 million; chief strategy and talent officer Philippe Krakowsky, $12 million; general counsel Andrew Bonzani, $5.8 million; and chief accounting officer Christopher Carroll, $4.5 million.
In terms of total 2014 compensation, Roth earned nearly $13 million, of which $1.4 million was salary. The rest was comprised of stock awards and cash incentive payments.Mergenthaler received $5.4 million; Krakowsky, $4.6 million; Bonzani, $2.3 million and Carroll, $1.6 million.
Details of Roth’s 2014 payout come after rival Omnicom disclosed its CEO John Wren received $24 million last year and WPP chief Martin Sorrell stands to collect shares worth $53 million as part of his 2014 compensation.
Interpublic shareholders’ annual meeting is on May 21 in New York City.
Campaign published another White woman whining as MediaCom Chief Strategy Officer Sue Unerman complained about the ways White women are depicted in advertising. Hey, minorities are barely depicted at all.
Is adland’s gender politics dated?
By Sue Unerman
“Um, excuse me, but the client would like to see him with his top off.”
The first and only casting session I ever attended was for the Ajax house-proud hunk. I had been involved in every stage of the pitch and idea. It was for a new cleaning product that did not require a second wipe: after you sprayed your kitchen surface and wiped, there was no need to do so again with a wet cloth.
The agency that we were pitching with showed us early ideas that involved what mums and housewives could do with the time saved. As I remember, they included learning French and playing a round of golf.
I was fresh from doing some research into mums in the UK. I had spoken to those working only in the home as well as those with full- and part-time jobs. One thing was clear: they were not going to learn French in the time saved from wiping a surface. Indeed, many of them were already “saving” that time because they didn’t do a second wipe. (Who does?)
But the benefit would sell and an ad campaign would ensure that the product had shelf room. After I explained my problem with the concept to the rest of the team, the creative director asked: “What is it that housewives do want, then?” I replied: “For someone else, anyone else, to do the cleaning.”
From this came the idea of the “house-proud hunk”. The ad showed a hunk (obviously) cleaning someone’s kitchen with the slogan: “Save him time cleaning — get him new Ajax!”
I went along to the casting session, where the client said to me, in a whisper, to ask the producers if the models auditioning could take their shirts off.
Years later, once again we seem to have gone backwards: cleaning ads no longer feature fantasy hunks doing the housework for hard-pressed housewives but housewives dancing with joy after cleaning their own floors or scouring the house so it could be ready for their “prince”. A recent poll from News UK found that the ad industry is “still portraying women in subservient roles while men are depicted as powerful”.
Who cares if the advertising is effective at selling stuff? Well, women care, for a start. One of the most notable points in my research was that women notice how they are depicted and feel criticised and judged by it much more than men do. Reflecting women’s real roles in life will lead to a competitive advantage versus other brands — so, if I were writing ads, that’s what I would do.
As Richard Huntington, the chief strategy officer at Saatchi & Saatchi, said of a recent Mumsnet study: “Advertisers are still stuck in the rut of seeing mums in the role of cook, cleaner and nurse — while dad has fun playing outside and getting messy with his kids. We need to focus less on the drudgery if we are to reflect the reality of modern mothers.”
Sue Unerman is the chief strategy officer at MediaCom
Thursday, April 09, 2015
Adweek published a report titled, “In Spite of a ‘Boys’ Club’ Industry, Women Are Advancing in Ad Tech.” If it’s like other advertising industry divisions, the biggest benefiters are White women. And the graphic accompanying the piece (depicted above) is in stark contrast to the infographic recording minority representation in the field.
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
Maya Angelou stamp features misattributed quote
By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service issued a new limited edition “Forever” stamp Tuesday, honoring the late poet, author and civil rights champion Maya Angelou, but it carries a quote that apparently originated elsewhere.
Angelou rose from poverty, segregation and violence to become a force on stage, screen and the printed page. She died last May at her Winston-Salem, North Carolina, home at 86.
The stamp dedicated Tuesday at a Washington ceremony showcases Atlanta artist Ross Rossin’s 2013 portrait of Angelou, an oil painting in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery collection.
The stamp includes the quotation: “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
Children’s book author Joan Walsh Anglund told The Washington Post the quotation is in her book of poems “A Cup of Sun,” published in 1967. Anglund, 89, said she didn’t know about the stamp but that she hopes it is successful.
“It’s an interesting connection, and interesting it would happen and already be printed and on her stamp,” Anglund said. “I love her and all she’s done.”
The quote has been attributed to Angelou before. Last year, while presenting the National Medal of the Arts and Humanities, President Barack Obama attributed the quote to Angelou while honoring other artists.
Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer said Tuesday that the quotation was included because it’s something Angelou referenced frequently.
“Maya Angelou cited this sentence frequently in media interviews and other forums and it provides a connection to her first memoir ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,'” he said. “The sentence was chosen to accompany her image on the stamp to reflect her passion for the written and spoken word. The sentence held great meaning for her and she is publicly identified with its popularity.”
Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland, designed the stamp based on Rossin’s portrait, the postal service said.
Angelou was a longtime professor of American studies at Wake Forest University.
Tuesday, April 07, 2015
Campaign asked four White men, “Why do clients shun the big debates?” Good question. Clients have been forever quiet about the abysmal lack of diversity at the White advertising agencies they conspire with.
Monday, April 06, 2015
Adweek published a perspective by Hill Holiday Chairman and CEO Karen Kaplan on closing the gender pay gap in the advertising industry. Kaplan acknowledged the wage chasm is worse for Black women and Latinas—and the figures she cited are likely even more pathetic for colored gals on Madison Avenue. Can’t help but wonder what Kaplan—as an entitled White woman—has actually done to foster and promote diversity in the industry. When faced with combatting White exclusivity in the field, the Hill Holiday honcho probably heads for the hills and takes a holiday.
Women Need to Get Into Corporate Boardrooms to Close the Gender Pay Gap
A call to action: Go disrupt
By Karen Kaplan
One of the things I’m most proud of is the recent success our industry has had in increasing creative career opportunities for women and in changing persistent gender stereotypes; the progress of The 3% Conference and the announcement of the Cannes Glass Lion are great steps. Moreover, the well-deserved attention for conversation-changing work like P&G’s “Like a Girl” and Under Armour’s “I Will What I Want” campaigns is testament to the fact that powerful creative and progressive change doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.
But there’s a dirty little secret that needs to get higher on our agenda, one that persists in our industry. ICYMI, Patricia Arquette gave it a shout-out at this year’s Oscars—the gender pay gap. The reality is that in 2014, women earned 82.5 cents on the dollar to men. It’s even worse for women of color. Black women earned 68.1 cents, while Hispanic women earned 61.2 cents.
And lest you assume this doesn’t affect your career path, think again. It happens all the way up the economic food chain, in our industry and every other. A Federal Reserve Bank of New York study explored gender differences in executive compensation and found that female execs get consistently less incentive pay than their male counterparts, even after differences in performance, title, tenure and age were taken into account.
Then there’s this: If the pace of change in the annual earnings ratio were to continue at the same rate as it has since 1960, it would be 2058 before we reached earnings equality. I don’t know about you, but I’m not waiting around for that.
The obvious way to ensure pay equity is to have more women running companies, but as we all know, women currently hold just 5.2 percent of Fortune 500 CEO roles. That means 94.8 percent are held by men.
We know that disrupters and innovators come from the outside. [Writer] Clay Shirky contends that institutions have a vested interest in perpetuating problems to which they are the solution. Think about that. He’s saying that it’s instinctive for institutions to preserve the problem, and when the status quo is threatened, their goal actually shifts to self-preservation. So it makes sense that the 94.8 percent are not going to initiate the change because the 5.2 percent politely asked them to.
There is another way, and that’s by having more women serve on corporate boards, influencing from the top not the bottom. Let’s approach the situation like any business challenge begging to be solved by a smart, modern agency. Why should we change the status quo, and how?
Why is it important for more women to be directors? Modern board composition has to include people who naturally connect with main street, not just Wall Street. That means people who are empathetic to and representative of the population that supports the company. That often means women, people of color and people with backgrounds, perspectives and life experiences a little broader than the traditional profile of a corporate director. Modern directors have to understand what people are thinking and feeling today. And since women constitute the majority of consumers and a growing percentage of the labor pool and leadership, it makes sense we would add value in the boardroom. The value of this shift in perspective is priceless, and CEOs should ignore it at their own peril.
So how do we change things? Here’s my call to action: Instead of waiting for more male Fortune 500 CEOs to get around to modernizing their corporate boards and considering women directors, let’s pivot. Let’s get more women to actively pursue those board seats. Let’s go out and get ourselves on boards.
Where do you start? First, volunteer for the boards of non-profits, community organizations or schools. There’s no shortage of worthy causes that could benefit greatly from your skill set and experience. So figure out what you are passionate about and go serve. Second, stay networked. Third, position yourself. Figure out what you uniquely bring to the party and how that aligns with the needs of a modern board. Finally, think about what you’ve already done and can continue to do in your career that will best prepare you and position you to serve as a director.
And good news for those of you in this industry. Turns out that the skill set of a good advertising person parallels that of a good independent director almost perfectly. We are trained to parachute into an unfamiliar industry, get up to speed quickly on the key business issues and draw key learnings from analogous categories. We are curious, open and collaborative. We are trained to understand the consumer, and we bring an outside perspective that enables us to separate the important from the urgent. In short, what we do for our clients every day is exactly what a good independent board director does for a public company.
Karen Kaplan (@karenkaplanHH) is chairman and CEO of Hill Holliday. She started out at the agency as a receptionist in 1982.
Sunday, April 05, 2015
Gee, it looks like Offensive Karma applies during NCAA March Madness too. To review, Offensive Karma is defined by a team’s display of offensiveness in the form of words or actions rooted in bigotry, discrimination and ignorance—which then leads to the team’s ultimate demise in a championship tourney. In the case of the NCAA Tournament, it actually worked in reverse. That is, Kentucky Guard Andrew Harrison used a racial slur in reference to Wisconsin Forward Frank Kaminsky during a post-game interview—after the Badgers had beaten the Wildcats. But hey, let’s not get caught up in technicalities.