Thursday, March 31, 2016

13141: Commodore Clan To The Rescue!

Advertising Age reported a group of JWT executives filed affidavits in support of former JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Gustavo Martinez. The group’s legal statements focus on videotaped remarks Martinez allegedly made during a 2015 JWT meeting in Miami. The night before the meeting, the hotel apparently hosted a “rowdy” party attended by many Blacks. The next day, Martinez allegedly said he “found … different and strange characters in the elevator,” and added, “I was thinking I was going to be raped at the elevator,” but “not in a nice way.” The affidavits included, “We heard the comments that Gustavo made that are alleged in the complaint and at issue in this motion. Given the content of the highly unusual events occurring at the hotel in the night before the meetings, combined with Gustavo’s lack of command of the English language and the fact that he was making a joke about himself, we did not find the comments he made offensive. It was clear that Gustavo was trying to ease the tension that we were all feeling and the people in the room seemed to appreciate his attempt to do so.” Wow, that’s mighty White of them. Although one of the JWT supporters identified himself as Black and stated, “I am African-American and I took responsibility as executive producer of [JWT diversity program/smokescreen] Differenter because diversity is an issue I feel passionate about. The comments Gustavo made during the meeting had nothing to do with race and I did not feel at the time of the meeting or now that there was anything racist about them.” Okey-doke. But joking about getting raped “not in a nice way” is pretty inappropriate and ignorant too. Plus, who gets to decide whether or not something is offensive? Being the resident diversity advocate doesn’t make one an expert or official spokesperson on anything. Need proof? Check out the majority of Chief Diversity Officers. And excusing stupidity on “Gustavo’s lack of command of the English language” is pathetic. If things go worse for Martinez, the affidavits signers could look bad. Have any of them—besides the Differenter dude—ever defended diversity? What’s next? A corporate pardon for former WPP executive Neil French?

JWT Execs File Affidavits Saying Allegations Against Martinez Are Overblown

WPP Seeks Protective Order to Seal Video That Purportedly Shows Incident

By Maureen Morrison

WPP and JWT are seeking to seal a video that lawyers for Erin Johnson have asked to be admitted into evidence in a suit filed March 10 against JWT and its CEO Gustavo Martinez claiming that he made multiple racist and sexist remarks.

While the affidavits and protection order focus on the video, Ms. Johnson alleged a number of other incidents in her lawsuit, many of which she claims were witnessed by other JWT employees.

The agency and holding company last night filed a number of documents to the courts, including a motion for a protective order for the video and affidavits from senior executives supporting that order. The protective order seeks to seal the video Ms. Johnson’s lawyers submitted. Not much detail is given in the protective order why the company is looking to seal the video.

The video has become a major point of contention for this case. Ms. Johnson said in her original lawsuit that there was video of Mr. Martinez making racist comments. It later came out that the tape in question was from a company meeting at a hotel in Miami. On March 14, Ms. Johnson’s team filed an amended filing that sought to submit a DVD into evidence, saying the disc “contains an excerpt of the video footage from the May 2015 meeting in Miami.”

That was a reference to a company off-site meeting where Ms. Johnson’s original suit said Mr. Martinez made inappropriate comments. “On or about May 18, 2015, Martinez addressed a group of approximately 60 employees for a global meeting to pilot a new agency method for generating ideas,” the suit said. “The previous night, there had been a large party at the hotel’s night club attended by mostly African American guests. At the start of his presentation, Martinez described the hotel as ‘tricky.’ He explained that he ‘found … different and strange characters in the elevator.’ He further explained, ‘I was thinking I was going to be raped at the elevator,’ but ‘not in a nice way.’”

The judge assigned to the lawsuit against JWT and its now-former chairman-CEO Gustavo Martinez on March 21 ordered the plaintiff to provide copies of a contested video to him and the defendants for review.

“We were all in attendance at the JWT two-day meeting at the Viceroy Hotel in Miami on Monday, May 18 and Tuesday, May 19, 2015,” said a joint affidavit from Lynn Power, president of JWT New York; Matt Eastwood, chief creative officer of JWT; Amy Avery, global head of analytics at the agency; Jinal Shah, global digital strategic director and many other JWT senior executives.

“We are aware of several problems that occurred at the hotel before and during those meetings,” the document said. “We know that the police were dealing with a rowdy crowd at the hotel on a Sunday night and we are aware that employees believed that they had things stolen at the hotel. Events at the hotel caused apprehension amongst the JWT employees.”

The document continued: “We heard the comments that Gustavo made that are alleged in the complaint and at issue in this motion. Given the content of the highly unusual events occurring at the hotel in the night before the meetings, combined with Gustavo’s lack of command of the English language and the fact that he was making a joke about himself, we did not find the comments he made offensive. It was clear that Gustavo was trying to ease the tension that we were all feeling and the people in the room seemed to appreciate his attempt to do so.”

It also said: “While we would not have chosen the same words he did, it was clear that he was not creating an uncomfortable atmosphere for the company’s employees, but rather he was sincerely trying to make us feel as relaxed for the important day ahead despite an unfortunate series of events outside of the company’s control.”

Other affidavits filed include one from Keni Thacker, senior event technology specialist. He filmed the video in question and said in the document that he is executive producer of Differenter, JWT’s diversity and inclusion program. “I have read the complaint and some of the press coverage of same, which characterize the comments that Gustavo Martinez made at the meeting as racist,” he said in the document. “I am African-American and I took responsibility as executive producer of Differenter because diversity is an issue I feel passionate about. The comments Gustavo made during the meeting had nothing to do with race and I did not feel at the time of the meeting or now that there was anything racist about them.”

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

13140: Maurice Lévy, Ladies Man.

Advertising Age reported Publicis Groupe Chairman and CEO Maurice Lévy is backpedaling as a result of the backlash bombarding him for his ignorant comment on former JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Gustavo Martinez. Technically, Lévy is standing by his contention that Martinez presented an isolated incident versus represented the industry in general. The moron went on to boast about all the White women thriving in Publicis Groupe, and he even made a nod to the LGBT community. However, he failed to acknowledge any progress with racial and ethnic diversity. Lévy is probably too busy reviewing the White male candidates vying to succeed him once he finally retires.

Maurice Levy Responds to Gender Comment Backlash

Memo From Publicis CEO Says Sorrell ‘Once Again Showed Extraordinary Level of Hypocrisy’

By Alexandra Bruell

Gender discrimination was the hot topic at the 4A’s Transformation Conference in Miami last week, following the high-profile lawsuit that Erin Johnson, a communications executive at WPP’s JWT, filed against JWT CEO Gustavo Martinez the previous week.

But Mr. Martinez wasn’t the only subject of criticism in light of the suit. Publicis CEO Maurice Levy also caught his share of backlash for the way he responded to the news coming out of rival WPP in an interview following his conference keynote. “I don’t believe what happened at JWT is an example of what’s happening in our industry,” Mr. Levy said during the Q&A with New York Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg. “It’s a one-time mistake, a huge mistake, a huge fault. But it’s not a fair representation of the industry.”

Among those criticizing Mr. Levy’s statement was WPP CEO and rival Martin Sorrell.

Mr. Sorrell said he disagreed “violently” with Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy, who told the audience that the Mr. Martinez situation is a “one-man mistake.”

“Maurice has a habit of ignoring the facts and not letting the facts interfere with his analysis,” said Mr. Sorrell, who was being interviewed at the 4A’s by The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta.

Now Mr. Levy responding to criticism, clarifying his position in a staff memo that was also made available on the Publicis website.

Here’s his message he sent to employees:

Bonjour,

Last week’s talks at the 4A’s Transformation 2016 conference in Miami and the larger discussion that has since developed on social media and in the press, have, without question, called for a clarification of my own.

When I replied to Jim Rutenberg’s question, I focused on the JWT problem, a WPP agency, and the allegedly racist, anti-Semitic, and sexist comments made by its CEO, such as they were reported in the complaint filed by Erin Johnson (case 1:16-cv-01805 filed on 10 March 2016 at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York: I encourage you to read the complaint, it is appalling). I condemned them very strongly. I must say that his comments, if true, are jaw dropping. To such an extent, that in my opinion, they can only represent the unforgivable fault of one man, as opposed to an industry-wide evil. On this point, I maintain my position, and I dare hope that I am right—I can’t for one second imagine that it is common in our industry (or in any other) to make jokes at every turn about women, blacks and Jews, and to speak of a subject as sensitive as rape, as it was depicted in Erin Johnson’s complaint. Should a case of this nature be brought to our attention in our own Groupe, we would react strongly and without delay.

I am not wide-eyed, and I am well aware that striking the deserved balance is still some distance away. We know there is a lot of work left to be done, across the industry, with regards to compensation, mobility, promotions, leadership and hiring.

On gender equality and diversity, Publicis, its founder and myself, are a part of those who have always been on the forefront of the fight for equal treatment, hence our mantra “Viva La Difference”. I recalled that the first female CEO ever within our industry was appointed by Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, founder of Publicis, in 1938. This may seem anecdotal, but it is far from being so—eleven years before the landmark book The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir was published. Our Supervisory Board is equally made up of women and men and is chaired by a woman, an intellectual, whose written and spoken statements on feminism go without mention. We have 38% women in executive positions—even if I know we must go the extra mile so that this number is higher, especially for top positions. Hence my pride that our largest agencies are managed by women. Our commitment on this front is strong, and we hope to be even more exemplary, working hard to achieve this goal. Thus, our support of initiatives that engage and celebrate women and diversity in all its forms within the Groupe, notably Viva Women and Égalité (Equality, an LGBT movement). Thus, our financial support of the Women’s Forum that promotes gender equality and tackles societal challenges from a women’s perspective. We are not perfect, far from it, but we are determined to take further action for as long as necessary.

As far as Martin Sorrell’s comments, I must say that he once again showed his extraordinary level of hypocrisy. I mean, really? The situation began in his company, in one of his largest agencies, with a CEO, therefore someone who is meant to lead by example. His colleague did everything possible to have her story be heard, without it being so, even from the very person who should listen—the Chief Talent Officer. A situation that has been going on for over a year, and his response as CEO of the largest advertising company globally was nothing but a dilatory tactic, attacking ad hominem one of his colleagues during a flagship industry event, while my name was neither mentioned or implied in the question.

We could have expected more dignity from him, especially during my interview. I refrained from damning WPP, whose reaction in this affair is all but glorious. I know that we don’t have the same values, no matter the light we shed on our behaviors. Our actions are living witnesses to our values, whether in business, family or moral matters, or in regard to compensation. Rarely will Martin Sorrell have so well deserved the description given to him by so well by David Ogilvy.

Facts truly are stubborn things. For Publicis Groupe, gender equality and diversity across the industry have mattered for decades and we will continue to pursue them restlessly. Our values are strong and generous—leaving no room for such behaviors that tarnish our industry.

The David Ogilvy description for Mr. Sorrell that Mr. Levy linked to was “odious little jerk.”

In a response Tuesday evening, a WPP spokesman gave no ground. “From what we’ve seen and heard his comments, which were publicly reprimanded immediately by Nancy Hill, head of the 4As, stirred up a hornets’ nest, which Levy is now attempting to deal with,” the spokesman said in an email. “Levy is clearly attempting damage limitation for ill-judged remarks at the 4As Conference. We are glad to hear he is attempting to reverse his original position. After all, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

13139: GS&P Loves Hip Hop.

AgencySpy published a post titled, “GS&P Launches Interactive Multi-Screen Hip-Hop Video Sponsored by Doritos.” While Jeff Goodby apparently continues to be baffled by the lack of Blacks in the advertising industry, he doesn’t hesitate to hijack hip hop to sell snack chips. Brilliant.

Monday, March 28, 2016

13138: Tamara Ingram’s WoManifesto.

Advertising Age reported new JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Tamara Ingram—who replaced Gustavo Martinez—declared, “Top of my agenda is diversity and inclusiveness. Not only is it going to be top of my agenda, it’s going to be top of all my executives’ agendas and top of every country manager’s agenda.” Of course, Ingram’s really just talking about diverted diversity; that is, she’s out to promote White women in the field. Granted, it’s a major step towards progress, as her predecessor was allegedly out to rape White women. “I absolutely believe to the core of my being that diversity of people creates diversity of thinking, which enables diversity of ideas,” gushed Ingram. “I genuinely believe we have not tapped that diversity and that inclusiveness in our workplace. It is our duty to produce a more positive narrative and to include all our people in order that we live in safer times.” Ingram genuinely admitted JWT has “not tapped that diversity and that inclusiveness in our workplace,” despite the fact that parent holding company WPP is “perhaps the most diverse example of diversity of any single organisation.” It should also be noted that prior to assuming her new position at JWT, Ingram held leadership positions at Saatchi & Saatchi and McCann Worldgroup, where she failed to deliver on her core-of-my-being beliefs and duties regarding diversity.

New JWT CEO Sets Out Diversity Agenda at London Event

Tamara Ingram: ‘It Is Our Duty to Produce a More Positive Narrative’

By Emma Hall

On just her fourth day as CEO of J. Walter Thompson Co., Tamara Ingram has already set out a clear agenda for diversity.

Ms. Ingram chose the London launch event for a JWT film series called “Her Story: The Female Revolution” and a new report on “Female Tribes” as the backdrop for her first public engagement since taking on the CEO position.

Speaking without a script, Ms. Ingram said, “Top of my agenda is diversity and inclusiveness. Not only is it going to be top of my agenda, it’s going to be top of all my executives’ agendas and top of every country manager’s agenda.”

Ms. Ingram was speaking at a movie theatre in central London’s Piccadilly Circus called Picturehouse Central, in front of an audience of 130 people, made up of JWT staffers, CEOs and senior marketers, academics, and representatives of the British government and diversity groups.

Ms. Ingram’s predecessor, Gustavo Martinez, left JWT “by mutual agreement” last week, after Erin Johnson, chief communications officer at the agency, filed a lawsuit claiming that he had made multiple “racist and sexist slurs.”

Explaining her reasons for championing diversity, Ms. Ingram added, “I absolutely believe to the core of my being that diversity of people creates diversity of thinking, which enables diversity of ideas ... I genuinely believe we have not tapped that diversity and that inclusiveness in our workplace. It is our duty to produce a more positive narrative and to include all our people in order that we live in safer times.”

The documentary series highlights the gains by women in the last 50 years, and features interviews with female leaders including Hillary Clinton and Chilean president Michelle Bachelet. It was co-produced by J. Walter Thompson Entertainment, and executive produced by the agency’s global creative director, Jaspar Shelbourne.

Originally James Whitehead, executive partner at JWT London, was going to introduce the film’s director, James Rogan. The agenda was changed so that Mr. Whitehead introduced Ms. Ingram, who made her remarks and then introduced Mr. Rogan.

The film was followed by a panel discussion hosted by TV journalist Kirsty Walk with panelists including U.K. businesswoman Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho; Caroline Dinenage, Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice and Minister for women and equalities; Richard Cristofoli, marketing director at department store Debenhams; and Rachel Pashley, JWT’s global planning head.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

13137: Maurice Lévy Is A Douchébag.

Advertising Age reported Publicis Groupe Chairman and CEO Maurice Lévy is an ignorant douchébag. Commenting on the Gustavo Martinez mess, Lévy remarked, “I don’t believe what happened at JWT is an example of what’s happening in our industry. It’s a one-time mistake, a huge mistake, a huge fault. But it’s not a fair representation of the industry.” Well, it depends on how you view the Martinez scenario. That is, it’s wrong to believe the average Mad Man is a sexist, misogynistic buffoon—mostly because the majority of White men in the field are increasingly supportive of White women and diverted diversity. However, it’s right to believe the average Mad Man is a culturally clueless moron perpetuating the discriminatory exclusivity in the field (although the average Mad Man may not be as blatantly racist as Martinez appears to be). Martinez’s cultural cluelessness—as well as Lévy’s ignorance—definitely and fairly represents the industry in general.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

13136: Sir Martin Sorrell Is A Hypocrite.

Advertising Age reported WPP Overlord Sir Martin Sorrell is a hypocritical, lying jackass. During a video interview at the 4As Transformation Conference, Sorrell admitted “there is a problem” with diverted diversity and real diversity in the advertising industry. Additionally, he “violently” disagreed with his equally culturally clueless peer—Publicis Groupe Grande Dunce Maurice Lévy—who believes the Gustavo Martinez debacle is a “one-time mistake” and not indicative of a widespread problem in adland. “Maurice has a habit of ignoring the facts and not letting the facts interfere with his analysis,” said Sorrell. In contrast to Lévy, Sorrell acknowledged White women are underrepresented in leadership roles; plus, he recognized the representation of Blacks, Latinos and the LGBT community is “unacceptably low.” Now, what makes Sorrell’s analysis so remarkably obscene—besides the facts that Martinez and Neil French were employed by WPP—is the fact that WPP recently proclaimed itself to be “perhaps the most diverse example of diversity of any single organisation.” Sorry, but WPP is perhaps the most blatant example of exclusivity and discrimination of any single White holding company. And Sorrell is perhaps the most annoying example of hypocrisy, dishonesty and cultural cluelessness in the advertising industry.

Martin Sorrell to 4A’s Gathering: ‘There Is a Problem’ With Gender, Diversity

Women Make Up Half of WPP’s Staff, but Only 33% Account for Senior-Level Talent

By Lindsay Stein

One week after J. Walter Thompson’s former CEO Gustavo Martinez resigned for alleged sexist and racist remarks, WPP CEO Martin Sorrell said “there is a problem” in the industry regarding gender and diversity issues at the 4A’s Transformation conference.

Mr. Sorrell said he disagrees “violently” with Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy, who told the audience on Tuesday that the Mr. Martinez situation is a “one man mistake.”

“Maurice has a habit of ignoring the facts and not letting the facts interfere with his analysis,” said Mr. Sorrell, who was being interviewed by The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta. Mr. Auletta was on stage in Miami and Mr. Sorrell was in London, participating via video. Mr. Auletta kicked off the interview by asking Mr. Sorrell who he’d like to punch in the nose. “I think it depends on how this interview goes,” Mr. Sorrell responded.

Discussing gender in advertising, Mr. Sorrell said that across the 190,000 staffers at WPP, 50% are women, and when looking at the junior and mid-management level talent, the number is about the same. However, he said the senior-level number for women at the holding company drops to 33%, and the same is true across other diverse groups, such as Hispanics, African-Americans and the LGBT community, which is “unacceptably low.”

WPP, he said, has programs in place to try to improve this through training programs.

At one point Mr. Auletta noted that “WPP took several different positions as this unfolded in the press,” but Mr. Sorrell pushed back saying the company responded appropriately at each time to the information it had.

While Mr. Sorrell said there’s a “limited amount” he can say regarding the Mr. Martinez and WPP lawsuit filed by JWT communications chief Erin Johnson, he made it clear that the former CEO’s resignation was a “mutual” decision.

“Whether you believe that Gustavo is innocent or guilty—which is yet to be determined in a court of law—in the court of public opinion, he has been sentenced and judged and found guilty,” said Mr. Sorrell. “He thought and I thought and we thought it was in the interest of the company for him to resign and be replaced by Tamara Ingram as CEO.”

He added that WPP did not insist that Ms. Johnson take a leave of absence, and “it’s up to her if she wants to come back to the company or not.”

Discussing another hot topic—the ANA-4A’s feud around rebates and transparency—Mr. Sorrell said, “Rebates do not exist in the U.S.”

“We’re quite willing to talk to any client that has any concerns with arrangements at any agency,” he added. “If they have any concerns, they should take that up with us.

Mr. Sorrell also said that the likes of Facebook and Google are “not technology companies – they’re masquerading as technology companies, but they’re new media owners.” And, he added, “the degree of transparency there is even less.” Even though he may refer to these tech giants as “frenemies,” WPP still has major deals with them, with $4 billion going into Google and $1 billion in Facebook out of its $73 billion media book. “There are frenemy relationships in most industries,” he said.

Friday, March 25, 2016

13135: Diverted Diversity Discussion.

Adweek reported on the diverted diversity discussions continuing at the latest 4A’s Transformation Conference. According to Adweek, “Nancy Hill, president of the 4A’s, added a last-minute panel Thursday morning with the goal of having an open, unplugged conversation about diversity.” Okay, but the main topic was really about promoting White women in the field. At the 2010 Transformation Conference, MultiCultClassics won a competition and presented The Cultural Competence Contest to protest the lack of diversity in the advertising industry. In 2016, the “open, unplugged conversation about diversity” is just a Caucasian girlfriend get-together. Now that’s a transformation.

What the Advertising Industry Can Do to Finally Create Gender Equality

Diversity conversation continues at 4A’s

By Katie Richards

Gender equality has been a major topic of conversation at this year’s 4A’s Transformation conference. From the sessions on stage to discussions over drinks, equality seems to be on everyone’s mind. So much so that Nancy Hill, president of the 4A’s, added a last-minute panel Thursday morning with the goal of having an open, unplugged conversation about diversity.

Hill sat on the panel with Aaron Sherinian, chief communications and marketing officer of the United Nations Foundation; Madonna Badger, chief creative officer of agency Badger and Winters; and Shelley Zalis, CEO and founder of The Girls’ Lounge.

The panelists all agreed that change isn’t happening quickly enough. Zalis cited a recent study from McKinsey & Co. that showed gender parity in the C-suite will take 100 years at the rate we’re going.

So what can the industry do to stamp out sexism and gender inequality?

“The best news is that this is something that, as agencies, we can start the practice of respecting the dignity of women in advertising literally tomorrow,” Badger said. Badger and her agency recently pledged to stop objectifying women and men in their ad campaigns. The “Women Not Objects” campaign went viral as soon as it hit the Web in January.

“Women control over 80 percent of purchasing decisions in this country, and yet over 91 percent of them feel like they don’t connect with the advertising they are seeing,” Badger added.

Hill said it starts with diversifying leadership and hiring more women at agencies at the creative level to ensure women’s ideas are being heard. A few years ago, she pitched a TV campaign idea to DirecTV about astronauts controlling TV channels from space. When she saw the ad, the entire cast was men. The creatives said they didn’t know of any women astronauts so it never occurred to them to put a woman in the spot.

“If you don’t have a woman at the table to say, ‘Hey, wait a minute. That’s not right,’ then chances are that creative will get through,” Hill noted.

Additionally, taking a closer look at middle management, or the “messy middle,” could be another starting point. While the industry starts out with an equal split of men and women, it tapers off at the top. Women in middle management often begin thinking about starting a family, while men think about moving up. Plus, men “really don’t know how to take on supporting and encouraging this gender equality conversation because they haven’t really trained,” Zalis added.

Hill went back to the fact that diversity and equality starts at the top. CEOs, she said, should also function as chief diversity officers, tasked with creating a balanced and equal workplace.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

13134: Ad Ageism.

Advertising Age extended its sudden interest in diversity by publishing a piece titled, “Ageism in Advertising: How One Man Beat the Odds,” featuring Dave Shea, who’s becoming the poster child for old guys feeling like victims of discrimination. Sorry, but White elders such as Shea still have a better shot at landing a job in advertising than young, vibrant and qualified minorities. And it’s sad that Advertising Age’s inclusive coverage features everything and everyone except non-Whites.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

13133: Wendy Clark, Give It A Rest.

Advertising Age published more diverted diversity by presenting mumbo jumbo from DDB Worldwide North America CEO Wendy Clark, who declared the industry must “stay restless” on gender and diversity issues. “We will not rest until our company reflects the marketplace we serve,” hollered Clark. “It’s a very clear and simple objective and it’s something I think is entirely possible if we stay focused on it.” The Ad Age article then went on to highlight all the ways Clark has helped White women advance in the field. Clark should give it a rest. Or better yet, insist that DDB’s parent holding company—Omnicom—release its EEO-1 data. It’s entirely possible if shareholders stay focused on being honest and transparent.

DDB’s Wendy Clark: Industry Must ‘Stay Restless’ on Gender Discussion

Former Coca-Cola Marketer Is 78 Days Into Her North American CEO Role

By Lindsay Stein

DDB Worldwide North America CEO Wendy Clark said the industry must “stay restless” on the discussion of gender and diversity issues on day one of the American Association of Advertising Agencies annual Transformation conference.

The Coca-Cola marketing veteran, who is 78 days into her chief executive role at DDB, said the lawsuit against WPP and J. Walter Thompson’s former CEO Gustavo Martinez is “terribly sad for everyone involved.”

“We have to stay really focused on this discussion. We can’t allow it to become a conversation when something goes wrong,” said Ms. Clark, who added that the industry must talk about it, report on it, and judge and measure itself.

“We will not rest until our company reflects the marketplace we serve,” she added. “It’s a very clear and simple objective and it’s something I think is entirely possible if we stay focused on it.”

While at Coke, Ms. Clark—one of Ad Age’s 2016 Executives to Watch—headed the women’s leadership counsel. When she began leading the counsel, she said the company had 19% women in leadership roles, and when she left Coca-Cola at the end of 2015, the number jumped to 32%.

Two weeks ago, Ms. Clark said DDB launched a campaign on International Women’s Day called “Talent Has No Gender.”

“Talent is made up of a lot of things, but gender is not one of them,” said Ms. Clark. “Talent has no race, no religion, no sexual orientation, no age.” DDB is putting unconscious bias training into place for all leaders across North America, as well as anyone involved in the hiring process, and by the end of the year, it will touch all 2,000 employees in the region, she said.

Ms. Clark also touched on the important role the industry has on the country as a whole. She said the industry must have a voice and take responsibility to stand up for values it believes in. “We as an industry are the communicators, the content creators, the messengers and the marketers. We have an opportunity—in fact I’d say a responsibility—to create a marketplace, an environment that represents the values that our industry was built on and our country was built on,” she said.

On the work front, Ms. Clark said agencies today must be able to do good work at the speed and pace of the market in an efficient manner. Agencies, she added, have to help clients realize the inefficiencies and redundancies within their own organizations, while also understanding the pressures and challenges faced by brand marketers on any given day.

In addition to talent, Ms. Clark said collaboration is “at the root of speed and efficiency.” She introduced DDB Flex, a new approach for the agency focused on cross-capabilities and collaboration with other agencies, media partners, marketing partners and clients. DDB has started using this method with clients like McDonalds, State Farm and Clorox.

“In a marketplace that demands collaboration, how people work is equally as important as what they do,” said Ms. Clark.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

13132: Ad Age On Diversity.

During Black History Month, Advertising Age could only manage to publish a single perspective on diversity from a student associated with the High School for Innovation in Advertising and Media (iAM), MAIP and the AAF Most Promising Multicultural Students Program. But thanks to former JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Gustavo Martinez, the trade publication dedicated plenty of column space to diversity and diverted diversity in the advertising industry. Gracias, Gustavo!

Monday, March 21, 2016

13131: Diverted Diversity Advocates.

Adweek rendered a ridiculous report regarding responses to the resignation of former JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Gustavo Martinez, featuring a subhead that read, “Diversity advocates see mixed signals in ouster of JWT’s Martinez .” The ridiculousness comes from using the label of “diversity advocates” in reference to the idiots interviewed.

The first “diversity advocate”—FCB Global Chief Talent Officer Cindy Augustine—offered the following bullshit:

“This is a moment where people will look at us and wonder whether there is progress being made. This is the time to redouble our efforts. There are lots of efforts being made, and I think that will continue; this is definitely not the time to take our foot off the gas. It reminds everyone, whether in the ad industry or society at large, that this is a systemic issue everywhere. We are not exempt.

“We’re pretty proud of our efforts. We have [global chief creative officer] Susan Credle, and we have Dana Maiman who runs FCB Health, which is one of the biggest healthcare practices out there. Under [global CEO Carter Murray], probably half of the team members are women. We are very proud and we are just beginning, but we don’t need to be an exception.”

Augustine is exceptionally dumb. She hinted at her dumbness when ripping Raven-Symoné last year, and confirmed it with this latest verbal vomit. To excuse the industry’s diversity disaster as “a systemic issue everywhere” is dodging responsibility and accountability in grand style. To proudly point to promoting White women as progress is pathetic. Sorry, but FCB today is closer to being like IPG sister agency Campbell Ewald versus the revolutionary company envisioned by former Draftfcb President and CEO Laurence Boschetto.

The second “diversity advocate”—the 100% annoying Kat Gordon—added the following drivel:

“No agency is immune from instances of sexual harassment. Nor does it indicate a toxic agency environment. The single most critical thing is that an agency has a clear no-tolerance plan in place and that it enforces that policy swiftly and emphatically should proof of harassment be in evidence. The JWT case is a cautionary tale of what happens when an agency fails to take complaints of harassment seriously when they are first raised.”

Of course, Gordon only sees a sexual harassment case, despite the fact that the charges include anti-Semitism and racism. Additionally, she’s delusional to believe any agency “has a clear no-tolerance plan” that’s actually being enforced. Hell, she’ll probably have trouble finding takers for her certifiably inane certification program to benefit White women.

The third “diversity advocate”—Nancy Vonk—dumped the following dung:

“If the JWT allegations are true, the world just witnessed that sweeping it under the rug is a terrible strategy. … Maybe at this point we can all agree, there’s a better way to address harassment claims. Now company leaders need to state loud and clear that it’s the right thing to do and it’s safe to do it. The unwritten rules that have been at play from the beginning of time need to be torn up, and new ones that support employees need to be displayed in neon in our workplaces. Nothing short of consistent demonstrations that claims will be met with swift action, with no penalty to the employee, will convince people they can and should bring their problems forward. … This could take a while. If history shows [plaintiff Erin Johnson] told the truth, history will show she was a very brave person who helped us all.”

Vonk views the JWT scenario as primarily a sexual harassment case too, which isn’t surprising, given that her “diversity advocate” title is the result of having spanked Neil French in 2005. However, Vonk’s pontifications regarding protecting whistleblowers are outrageous. The woman is clearly ignorant regarding the many minorities who’ve been blacklisted for protesting the discrimination and racism still prevalent in the advertising industry. It should be noted that Vonk’s French rant was titled, “Female Like Me,” an apparent nod to the popular “Black Like Me” book.

For Adweek to deem these three stooges “diversity advocates” is a sad reflection of the state of affairs in the advertising industry, where diverted diversity is the inclusive bandwagon of the moment. Why has no one been asked to comment on the anti-Semitism and racism in the scenario? Could Adweek even identify individuals qualified to speak on such matters? It would be a monumental challenge for anyone to name five legitimate diversity advocates working on Madison Avenue today.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

13130: Mad Ave’s Murky Mischief.

Why the Picture of Diversity on Madison Avenue Is So Murky: Companies’ varying reporting methods make it tough to discern the racial and gender makeup of the ad industry” are the headline and subhead of a lengthy report from The Wall Street Journal. There’s nothing new presented in the article—including the figures showing Black representation in the industry has actually declined in recent years. Guess the minority scholarships, internships, high schools, inner-city outreach programs and ADCOLOR® awards aren’t working after all. But you’d never know it, thanks to the smokescreens, diverted diversity, Chief Diversity Officers, EEO-1 data dodging and other assorted schemes Madison Avenue executes to conceal the truth.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

13129: The Diversity Of Patronization.

The Advertising Hall of Fame is seeking advertisers for its program. Can’t help but feel like the sponsors backing the All-White extravaganza include a lot of the usual suspects also backing ADCOLOR®. Gee, such diverse supporters.

Friday, March 18, 2016

13128: Adios, Gustavo Martinez.

Adweek reported JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Gustavo Martinez resigned, and he’s been replaced by—you guessed it—a White woman. Not sure how this balances out from a diverted diversity perspective, as a foreign “global” minority was swapped with a member of the new minority. Why, JWT remains always first in the quest for inclusive nirvana.

JWT CEO Gustavo Martinez Resigns Amid Suit Accusing Him of Racist, Sexist Comments

Chief client team officer Tamara Ingram immediately assumes the role

By Patrick Coffee

One week after JWT global communications chief Erin Johnson filed a discrimination suit against agency chairman and CEO Gustavo Martinez, the embattled executive has resigned.

The agency’s parent company confirmed in a statement on its home page this morning that Martinez will be replaced by WPP chief client team officer Tamara Ingram, effective immediately.

“Following recent events,” the statement reads, “Tamara Ingram, currently Chief Client Team Officer at WPP, (NASDAQ: WPPGY) has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of J. Walter Thompson Company, replacing Gustavo Martinez, with immediate effect. By mutual agreement, Martinez has resigned in the best interest of the J. Walter Thompson Company.”

Ingram, who led the P&G business at WPP for more than a decade, became one of the most powerful female executives in advertising when she was promoted last year.

According to the statement, she will be replaced immediately by WPP global business development director George Rogers, who will also retain his previous position.

Last week, WPP stood by Martinez after Johnson filed a suit in federal court accusing him of making “an unending stream of racist and sexist comments” that made her job as global head of PR for JWT “virtually impossible.” Earlier this week, various crisis experts told Adweek that WPP may have been too hasty in defending Martinez. It appears the company will no longer do so.

The latest developments in the case involved the introduction of a DVD that, according to Johnson’s legal team, includes footage of Martinez joking about rape and making racist statements about African Americans at a Miami hotel in 2015. The team also amended its complaint to note that Martinez effectively accused Johnson of perjury in his initial statement denying her accusations.

WPP then announced, via internal memo from CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, that it would retain the law firm Proskauer Rose LLP to “conduct an independent investigation into the allegations in the complaint” by interviewing employees who had direct contact with Martinez.

We’ll update this story as it develops.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

13126: Commodore In Crisis…?

Crisis Experts Say WPP May Have Been Too Hasty in Defending JWT’s Accused CEO” is the title of a story published by Adweek. It’s somewhat hilarious that “crisis experts” are weighing in on the JWT CEO WTF, as the scenario hardly warrants to be labeled a crisis—except by self-absorbed advertising agency denizens. Sure, it could reach crisis-level status if the story exploded to reveal how Madison Avenue has denied diversity for decades, leading to client defections and a public backlash that forced the industry to change. But that’s about as likely as Gustavo Martinez being honored by the 3% Conference and ADCOLOR®. “If [JWT] flubs it,” said crisis consultant Terence Clarke, “they’ll be accused of living in a Mad Men age where behavior of this type was rampant.” Um, the Commodore’s Crew is living in a Mad Men age where behavior of this type is rampant. Hell, former JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Bob Jeffrey once gushed that AMC series Mad Men was “a positive recruiting thing for our industry.” This entire mess isn’t a crisis—it’s a comedy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

13125: Why Gustavo Martinez Should Be Fired.

Campaign Editor-in-Chief Douglas Quenqua wrote a perspective on JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Gustavo Martinez, essentially confirming the man is quite capable of committing the alleged bad behavior that led to a discrimination lawsuit. Quenqua included a quote from Martinez that read, “I consider myself global, and I want to consider this company global, because that is one of the added values that we can offer to the clients.” Should the charges against Martinez prove to be true, the man ought to be terminated. But not just because the nasty deeds he’s accused of executing are unlawful. No, he should first and foremost be fired for failing to meet the self-defined requirements and responsibilities of his role. If Martinez considers himself global, he must also consider that the actions and attitudes that might be acceptable in his homeland don’t play on a global stage. Another consideration involves the hypocrisy he represents given the JWT dedication to diversity and the WPP stance on diversity—as well as sister agency Ogilvy & Mather’s patronizing pontifications on gender issues via the Dove Real Beauty campaign. Martinez’s alleged racist and sexist violations create a hostile work environment where minorities and even White women would not feel welcome. BTW, is it a coincidence that Neil French was also employed by WPP?

Et tu, Gustavo?

By Douglas Quenqua

J. Walter Thompson’s new CEO was supposed to be a new kind of executive. Which is why I thought I couldn’t believe my ears

The tape wasn’t rolling yet when Gustavo Martinez said something I literally couldn’t believe.

I was at JWT’s midtown flagship to interview Martinez as he reflected on his one-year anniversary as chairman and chief executive of J. Walter Thompson, one of the biggest advertising companies in the world. We were seated at his desk, making small talk about our lives as I fished around for my notebook and recorder.

In passing, he told me he had moved to Westchester briefly, but it hadn’t worked out.

“Too many Jews,” I thought I heard.

But no, he didn’t say that. Did he? Obviously not. This was the chief executive of the world’s oldest advertising agency, a polished, media-trained executive talking to a reporter on the record. Clearly that’s not what he said.

Besides, his communications director, Erin Johnson, was sitting right there.

I dismissed it immediately. Some combination of my hearing loss and his rapid-fire, thickly accented speech, I decided. I put it out of my mind and moved on. Frankly, I never thought of it again.

Then came news this morning that Johnson had filed a discrimination lawsuit against JWT and Martinez, claiming he regularly made vile comments about raping her and other female staffers. That he joked about black people being “monkeys.” And that he had complained about “fucking Jews.”

And once, the lawsuit said, he told a reporter he disliked Westchester because it had “too many Jews.”

The advertising industry is no stranger to racism and misogyny. People who only know the business from “Mad Men” could be forgiven for thinking they were founding principles. And lord knows the marketing world still has a lot of diversifying to do. Just this week, the Marketing Hall of Fame announced its three latest inductees. Was anyone surprised to see they were all male and white?

Martinez, who vehemently denies the allegations, was supposed to be a step in the right direction. Born in Buenos Aires, raised between Italy and Canada, and now the boss of adland’s oldest institution, he was touted as the new face of advertising in America. He even hit all the right notes during our talk.

“I consider myself global, and I want to consider this company global, because that is one of the added values that we can offer to the clients,” he said.

Over the past few hours, private conversations with past and present colleagues of Martinez have revealed no other instances of outrageous remarks. But those conversations have also revealed less shock than one might expect. Love him or hate him, Martinez has a reputation for not being politically correct — at least not in the way Americans are accustomed to.

Indeed, at Advertising Week last year, 30 minutes into a panel discussion on “The Latin Spring,” the moderator called him out for stereotyping Latinos.

“We are — I’m sorry — we are very rich in terms of experience, in food, is amazing, in wine, in dancing, in singing, so yes … “ he said.

“Well those are all a little stereotypical,” the moderator interrupted.

“Well yes, but is good one,” Martinez replied.

Stereotyping anyone is generally a bad idea. It prevents us from seeing the person sitting right in front of us. It’s a lesson that Martinez needs to learn, and I’m glad I was reminded of. Being global and saying all the right things doesn’t make you a respected leader. Acting like one every day — that’s what it takes.

Monday, March 14, 2016

13124: Yo Mama.

Clio presented an office tour of Mother New York, including a shot of the agency’s “Wall of Mothers” featuring portraits of staffers’ moms. Why, it’s the mother of all pictures of exclusivity.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

13123: Big Is Beautiful.

Advertising Age published an interview with Lane Bryant CMO Brian Beitler on the new “This Body” campaign featuring plus-size models. The discussion spotlighted the notions of diversity and inclusion in relation to beauty standards. Oddly enough, the advertising agency behind the campaign—Laird + Partners—specializes in fashion, luxury and lifestyle. In short, the place is responsible for perpetuating a lot of the traditional beauty standards that Lane Bryant is seeking to shatter. Or perhaps expand is the more appropriate term.

Lane Bryant’s CMO Talks Barbie, Bodies and Branding

Brian Beitler Debuted the Plus-size Retailer’s New Campaign ‘This Body’ Last Month

By Adrianne Pasquarelli

Earlier this week, TV ads for a new campaign from plus-size retailer Lane Bryant were reportedly rejected for raciness by networks including ABC and NBC. ABC has not publicly commented, while NBC told the New York Daily News it had asked for minor edits. Unveiled last month, the campaign “This Body” from agency-of-record Laird & Partners pushes inclusivity by featuring plus-size models such as Ashley Graham and Precious Lee. It also included the 700-unit chain’s first Sports Illustrated ad. Chief Marketing Officer Brian Beitler lays out his strategy for dealing with marketing challenges, and keeping the 112-year-old brand part of a conversation that increasingly includes more diverse body types—Barbie recently unveiled a new range of dolls, while Target has a new plus-size collection, for example.

Ad Age: How does “This Body” continue the evolution of previous campaigns #ImNoAngel and #PlusIsEqual?

Mr. Beitler: The first campaign was about finding a way to show that everything defined as beautiful wasn’t true beauty. As we moved into fall, we said there was an anthem that needed to be made for the industry to change, for all women of all body types to be seen and represented equally. Now, “This Body” plays the role of getting to the type of dialogue we want to have as a brand. Our bodies don’t constrain what we can do and anybody can have an impact on their world. The partnership with Sports Illustrated shows that “This Body” belongs in an iconic, image-focused magazine just like any others. Our hope here is that this is a platform for women to articulate how and what they use their bodies for. It’s to allow women to express themselves without boundaries.

Ad Age: What has the reaction been thus far? Have you seen any sales uptick?

Mr. Beitler: The reaction continues to be very positive. We’re getting phone calls from women shopping our brand and those who don’t, who believe the message is right even if they are a size 4 or 6. We just posted, as a public company, our fifth quarter of consecutive positive comps in a tough retail environment. Not only is the message being heard, but it’s resulting in new customers coming to the brand and existing customer spending more.

Ad Age: Do you have a comment on the recent decision by ABC and NBC to not broadcast your new ad? Will you be editing it, as requested by NBC?

Mr. Beitler: We created this commercial with an intent to air and felt there was nothing objectionable in it. Our plan is to keep the edit “as is,” we believe it’s a beautiful and appropriate expression of women’s bodies. We do plan to air this through our own media channels as well as through digital channels.

Ad Age: How do you think the cultural conversation has shifted regarding body diversity?

Mr. Beitler: We are seeing a much greater degree of acceptance and inclusion. Progress has been made and we’ve seen an evolution with inclusion of women of all shapes and sizes in media and fashion. We’ve seen them walk the fashion runway, we’ve seen Barbie change the way that Barbie is defined. Brands are starting to wake up and to listen. There’s a huge financial opportunity in this—this is a category of women who have been largely ignored by publications and she has money to spend and an appetite for fashion. There’s growth for us and others.

Ad Age: With so much of the conversation on diverse body types and plus size getting more play with fashion houses and brands, how can Lane Bryant remain relevant?

Mr. Beitler: We’ll continue to lead and push the dialogue and hopefully receive some credit from both the consumer base and media base for being willing and able to do that, as a brand in business for special sizes for over 100 years. Sure you might worry as others enter the space, but the reality is we feel strongly that we know this customer better than anybody.

Ad Age: What are some of the challenges you faced in developing the new campaign?

Mr. Beitler: The biggest challenge of finding any idea is trying to find an idea broadly inclusive and embraced by all women young and old. The more relevant you are to consumers and women in general the more desirable the brand will be. We don’t look at the issue around body as being a feminist issue or women’s issue, we look at it as a human issue.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

13122: 1+1=Crumbs.

1+1=3: Changing the Equation with the Booming Hispanic Market is the title of a new book by Dieste, a leading targeted marketing communications company headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The mathematical formula refers to the agency manifesto that includes the following:

I’m Hispanic. I’m American. Does that make me half-Hispanic and half-American? Or does it make me something more? Someone who can fully enjoy everything that I am. Someone who’s not caught in the middle, but rather someone who can tap into the full range of a uniquely rich experience. A person who wants credit for his complete personality and not just what some people want his to be. Hispanic Millennials slide comfortably between two cultures.

Okay, but in the White-dominated world of advertising, 1+1=crumbs. And multicultural marketing experts slide uncomfortably into second-class citizenship or worse.

Those realities aside, 1+1=3 is an informative, insightful and inspirational read, nicely conceived and designed by Dieste staffers and illustrated by Carlos Tourné.

Friday, March 11, 2016

13121: The Most White Creative Women.

A MultiCultClassics visitor pointed to The 30 most creative women in advertising identified by Business Insider. It’s worth noting that women of color comprised about 3 percent of the group. Maybe Kat Gordon could team up with ADCOLOR® to create the 3%-of-3% Conference.

13120: Admen Behaving Badly…?

The New York Post reported on a lawsuit charging JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Gustavo Martinez engaged in sexist, racist and abusive behavior. Martinez allegedly made comments about raping co-workers, grabbed a female associate by the neck, called Blacks “monkeys” and “apes” and spewed anti-Semitic remarks. Surely this couldn’t have happened at a WPP agency, as the holding company’s people “represent perhaps the most diverse example of diversity” imaginable—especially during Women’s History Month. Martinez, incidentally, is a native of Argentina. Then again, diversity doesn’t negate ignorance, so Martinez could represent perhaps the most perverse example of perversity in the field. Meanwhile, WPP issued an internal memo stating, “WPP lawyers have been conducting an inquiry into previous correspondence on these matters since Feb 25 and has found nothing as yet to substantiate these charges.” Oh, and it appears the lawyers are also investigating Kinetic Worldwide CEO Mauricio Sabogal for a blog post he wrote that allegedly contained “offensive and discriminatory treatment and views of Americans.” Sabogal, incidentally, is a native of Colombia. The recruiters at Campbell Ewald are probably inquiring about poaching Martinez and Sabogal right now.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

13119: Talking Trash.

Campaign published more diverted diversity drivel from Maxus Worldwide CEO Lindsay Pattison, who challenged all White people to “Walk the Talk” and support equality for White women. Pattison should take a long walk off a short pier.

Lindsay Pattison: Let’s all try harder to walk the talk with women’s equality

By Lindsay Pattison

Many leaders pledged parity on International Women’s Day yesterday, but we must ensure we actually deliver on our promises, says Lindsay Pattison, the worldwide chief executive of Maxus.

After some visible leaders across the globe pledged for parity to mark International Women’s Day yesterday, my hope is that they go on to deliver the goods – to make actionable changes within their organisations.

Clearly, with new analysis revealing a £300,000 pay gap over the working life of a man and woman, there is lots of work to be done yet.

In our own industry, while we start out positively with a 50/50 split, women account for just 30 per cent of leadership positions in agency roles. While media agencies are doing better than this in terms of women in management roles, our report card would still read, “could do better”.

As a woman who has reached the top, I’m sometimes highlighted as an example that everything’s now all right. Well, it isn’t – certainly not yet – and so it feels even more important now to “walk the talk” in every way I can.

What does ‘walking the talk’ mean?

I often talk to people starting out in their careers about “stepping in front of the work” and saying yes to every opportunity. Being visible. Having a voice. Building confidence and building a profile. This often means pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone. And that place can be hugely uncomfortable.

The opportunity to practice what I preach came early this year with an invitation to do my first live TV interview for the BBC. As an advocate of women having greater visibility on public platforms, I felt unable to pass up what was an exciting – but hugely daunting – request. Public speaking is now a key part of the job for any leader, but I confess I was still really nervous about the prospect of going on live TV.

But it was also a great opportunity to champion the importance of getting more women in senior roles in our industry. Incidentally, this year’s theme at Wacl (Women in Advertising and Communications London), led by president Lindsey Clay, is “speak up”, encouraging all women to get themselves seen and heard on public platforms.

Being visible and mentoring

Women in senior roles have a hugely important role to play in giving other women a leg up the career ladder. Ensuring companies at least shortlist women for executive management and heads of department roles is one way, as well as practical changes for progressive flexible working and shared parenting policies to enable us all to work smarter day to day.

Every woman in a senior role should be encouraged to become involved in mentoring. It is impossible to over-emphasise the importance of positive role models. Senior females have a duty to lean in, speak up and be visible.

That’s why I’ve launched two global initiatives for the amazing women of Maxus. The first is called – you guessed it! – “Walk the Talk”, a programme of equality events in three regions, designed to empower about 200 of our senior women with the confidence and tools to excel in their careers. We’re also rolling out “Mind the Gap”, an initiative reviewing pay, flexible working, maternity and paternity policies. A big part of this was making our own salary data at Maxus visible (currently 4 per cent in favour of men versus a global norm of 23 per cent – good but still some way to go).

A level playing field

The aim with any equality initiative should not be to create an undue advantage for women, but simply a level playing field. The world I hope for is one where women stand side by side with male counterparts to drive business success together.

After all the business case for doing so is explicit: just one example is McKinsey which found a direct correlation between top-team diversity and financial performance, with a 53 per cent higher return on equity for companies ranking highest for executive board diversity.

Our ad industry has the important job of representing and speaking to an entire cross-section of society, and IPA president Tom Knox has rightly called for adland to push for diversity across the board. So I’m asking us all to walk the talk, put our money where our mouths are, lean in and speak up about equality – on International Women’s Day and every single other day.

Lindsay Pattison is the worldwide chief executive of Maxus

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

13118: International Diverted Diversity Day.

The advertising industry diverted diversity by saluting International Women’s Day with a plethora of patronizing poop. At TBWA, 100 Male Agency Staffers Read Heartbreaking Quotes From Their Female Co-Workers. The 2016 Women of Tomorrow winners were announced. Suki Thompson challenged everyone to speak out and be fearless. Tracy De Groose wrote a letter to her sons on gender equality. BBH Deputy Executive Creative Director Caroline Pay undoubtedly wants to pay it forward for females. Campaign presented 10 inspiring ads celebrating women. The Ad Club of New York President and CEO Gina Grillo unveiled the I’mPart diversity initiative is launching a program for up-and-coming female professionals. And the list goes on. Yes, let’s join together in praise of White women. Yet how many of these revolutionary advocates bothered to acknowledge Black History Month in February? Hell, no one even gave a nod to My Black Is Beautiful.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

13117: Faux Diversity Works.

Adweek reported a new survey shows people respond very favorably to depictions of diverse families in commercials. Somebody should take a survey to see how people respond upon learning these commercials are produced by White advertising agencies where diversity is diverted, deferred and denied. It’s the New Hucksterism. Or the Old Racism.

A New Survey Looks at the Growing Demand for Diversity in How Ads Portray Families

Parents applaud (and reward) brands that reflect reality

By Kristina Monllos

We all know by now that the American family looks a lot different than it used to. Whether defined by LGBT parents, nonmarried parents or stay-at-home dads, two out of five households today do not fit the traditional mold, notes a new report, “Family Diversity Is the Norm,” from YouGov and Johnson & Johnson-owned parenting site BabyCenter.

But exactly what does that mean for brand marketers? Just as the makeup of families has changed, so have the ads targeted to them.

“For brands, the good news is that there’s lower risk when stepping into this territory,” said Ted Marzilli, CEO of YouGov BrandIndex, noting that 80 percent of parents say they like seeing diverse families in ads. (The report also found that 60 percent of parents say a brand that respects all kinds of families is an important factor in their purchasing decisions.) But, it’s not just enough to show diverse families in ads. “You have to be authentic,” Marzilli pointed out.

Among the campaigns depicting people outside the cookie-cutter casting call that were singled out by the report: “This Is Wholesome” from Mondelez’s Honey Maid, “Learning Sign Language” from Wells Fargo and “Like a Girl” from Procter & Gamble’s Always.

“This is something marketers can’t ignore,” said Julie Michaelson, head of global sales for BabyCenter. “The real trick, though, is, how do they do it right? How do they navigate this new reality of the American family to help them make stronger connections with today’s parents and tomorrow’s parents as well?”

The question will be addressed during two panel discussions on March 12 at South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, Texas: “Media’s New American Family: No Norman Rockwell” and “The Scariest Word in Brand Advertising: Family.”

See below for more insights from the report:

• 80 percent of parents say they like seeing diverse families in advertising.

• 66 percent of parents say a brand that respects all types of families is an important factor in their purchasing decisions.

• 41 percent of millennial parents agree that they are more likely to purchase products from brands that use more diverse family types in their advertising.

• 70 percent of millennial parents have chosen not to purchase something because they don’t believe in what the company stands for.

• Two out of three parents agree: a brand that realistically reflects parenting today is an important factor in their purchasing decisions.

• Three out of four parents agree: a brand that shares my values is an important factor in their purchasing decisions.

• 60 percent of single parents say the growing variety of family types is a good thing. However, 27 percent say it doesn’t make a difference, and 13 percent say it’s a bad thing.

• 52 percent of moms agreed that they pay more attention to ads that feature an image of a real mom (rather than actors or models). This number is even higher among millennial moms (57 percent).

• 61 percent of parents agree that “brands tend to claim to support causes that are popular regardless of whether they are making an authentic commitment to that cause.”

• 57 percent of parents agree: “Once I find a brand or product I love, I’ll tell my friends about it on social media.”

• 50 percent agree: “I follow brands I am loyal to on social media.”

• 49 percent of Millennial parents agree they would be more likely to talk to their friends about a product if the brand used more diverse family types in their advertising.

• 87 percent of parents agree society is becoming more accepting of different types of families.

• 84 percent parents agree “as long as there’s love and support, any family structure can succeed.”

Monday, March 07, 2016

13116: WPP Profits From Diversity…?

A MultiCultClassics visitor pointed to The Drum writing about WPP integrating diversity into its latest financial report. The holding company is in the black—but there are few Blacks in the holding company. What’s most outrageous about WPP’s presentation is that the money figures are precise—right down to exact percentage points—while the diversity statements are vague and patronizing puffery.

According to The Drum, WPP has “‘always been conscious of the need for diversity in the workplace’ but not through a sense of moral responsibility.” The quarterly P&L reports, on the other hand, reflect a sense of fiscal responsibility. So what sense of responsibility does WPP assign to diversity?

“While we have never believed that only a teenager can understand a teenager or only a pensioner can understand a pensioner, there can be no doubt that diversity among our people is a professional necessity,” explained WPP. “For us, diversity is not simply a question of race, colour or gender; at least as important is a diversity of attitude, of mind-set, of ways of approaching problems. Uniform, conventional thinking will never of itself meet the demands of our clients.” Does this mean WPP feels a professional responsibility to foster diversity in the workplace? And if so, how will the professional responsibility be implemented, enforced and measured?

“The results reported here, presented in dispassionate numbers, are all the product of the inventive work of tens of thousands of talented individuals—and with no two alike,” stated WPP. “They come from countless different backgrounds and have countless different ways of looking at the world. They embody skills that range from the statistician to the screenwriter. They represent perhaps the most diverse example of diversity of any single organization.” Okay, then why does the advertising industry still admit to having a huge problem with diversity? WPP’s “most diverse example of diversity” sounds like the stereotypical smokescreen and/or pure bullshit. Hell, WPP leadership doesn’t even qualify as diverted diversity, in terms of the representation of White women.

When it comes to financial reports, WPP is extraordinarily thorough with its accounting. Yet when addressing diversity, WPP is extraordinarily thoughtless with its accountability.

WPP salutes its diverse workforce as it reports revenue and profit growth

By Stephen Lepitak

WPP took the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of its global workforce as it reported a 6.1 per cent growth in revenue to £12,235bn within its preliminary results for 2015, with headline profit at £1.245bn, an increase of 8.1 per cent.

The world’s largest advertising agency network saw billings increase by 3.1 per cent to £47.6bn with pre-tax profit up by 2.8 per cent to £1.5bn which benefited from restructuring costs set at £106m, IT transformation costs of £37m, investment write-downs valued at £79m and IT asset write-downs of £29m. The company also gained Chime Communications in a deal with private equity firm, Providence, agreed a strategic alliance through Kantar with Comscore and purchased IBOPE in Latin America.

During 2015, the group competed 52 transactions, 18 of which were investments and acquisitions made in new market, with 37 in quantitative and digital sectors and eight driven by individual client needs, it revealed.

By region, North American reported revenue increased by 15.2 per cent, the United Kingdom by 8.4 per cent, Western Continental Europe declined by 5.6 per cent while Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Americas and Central and Eastern Europe combined saw a reported increase of 3.5 per cent.

2016 started with January bringing in like-for-like revenue increase of 4.2 per cent, with sales up 2.3 per cent on the previous year. A further 15 acquisition and investment deals have been so far in 2016, WPP revealed, with one in advertising and media investment management, two in data investment management, three in PR and seven in direct, digital and interactive. One has also been made in sports marketing and another in healthcare.

Within the report, chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell, highlighted the uncertainty created by the upcoming ‘Brexit’ referendum in June, as well as the falling cost of oil.

Curiously, in concluding its report, WPP took the opportunity to highlight the diversity of its workforce; stating that it had “always been conscious of the need for diversity in the workplace” but not through a sense of moral responsibility.

“While we have never believed that only a teenager can understand a teenager or only a pensioner can understand a pensioner, there can be no doubt that diversity among our people is a professional necessity. For us, diversity is not simply a question of race, colour or gender; at least as important is a diversity of attitude, of mind-set, of ways of approaching problems. Uniform, conventional thinking will never of itself meet the demands of our clients,” it stated.

“The results reported here, presented in dispassionate numbers, are all the product of the inventive work of tens of thousands of talented individuals — and with no two alike. They come from countless different backgrounds and have countless different ways of looking at the world. They embody skills that range from the statistician to the screenwriter. They represent perhaps the most diverse example of diversity of any single organisation,” it added.

The group currently employs 190,000 people full time across 3,000 offices in 112 countries.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

13115: Hollywood Matches Mad Ave.

From Campaign…

#AdvertisingSoWhite: It’s an industry thing, you wouldn’t understand

By Danny Robinson

There are some not-so-surprising similarities between Hollywood and Madison Avenue

Chris Rock called the Oscars “the white BET Awards.”

Not so fast, Pookie.

Last Sunday night, Sam Smith won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Eight months earlier, to the day, he took home a different award for his vocal stylings. On June 28, 2015, Smith won Best New Artist at the BET Awards. He was not at the show to pick up his trophy because, as co-host Anthony Anderson noted, “He’s white and didn’t think he would win at the BET Awards, and didn’t think he could win, but we showed him we love him, too.” Smith was one of four white nominees that night.

Come on, people. It’s got “black” in the name and it was still more inclusive than this year’s 88th Annual Academy Awards.

Yes, Chris Rock was the host.

Yes, a few black actors and actresses read the nominees.

Sure, a black model handed the statuette to a presenter who then handed the statuette to a winner.

On the bright side of the lack of diversity, only two black people showed up in the In Memoriam montage of the program.

But alas, as was in 2015, there were no nominations for a black, Latino, Asian or Native American actor, writer or director.

Before you ask, I did not boycott the Oscars. I wish I had; it was a bit of a yawn. But I was wide awake during the first few minutes, waiting to see where host Chris Rock was going to take things.

And as expected, he went there.

Rock came out like Adonis Creed, throwing jabs at everyone from the Academy, to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, to the ever-unconscious Stacey Dash. He made me laugh. Not as much as Louis C.K. or the duo of Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe did — chalk another win up for the white guys — but I laughed. And while I expected to hear people try and fail to retell Chris’s jokes the next day, I was worried that the most important thing the “Pootie Tang” co-star said was buried between jokes: “We want opportunities. We want black actors to get the same opportunities. That’s it.”

Yep, that’s it. Not handouts. Not tokens or resigned inclusion. Opportunities.

There are some not-so-surprising comparisons to be drawn between the current state of Hollywood and Madison Avenue. Case in point: At a much smaller event that will take place in just a few months, the Advertising Hall of Fame induction ceremony, there are no people of color receiving the “most prestigious award bestowed in the advertising industry honoring individuals who have raised the standard for advertising excellence.”

Admittedly, this is an unfair comparison, since there are a limited number of people in the ad industry eligible for this award; there are only a handful of people nominated each year; and, unlike the Oscars, there were people of color inducted last year.

But the root of the long-term problem lies in facts like this: According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, since 2013, African-Americans are the only minority group to have seen a decrease in representation over the past four years and currently represent less than 6% of the advertising industry. The numbers for Asians and Latinos are growing, but at a very slow pace.

If you follow the numbers to their logical conclusion, it is becoming less likely that someone of color will have the opportunity to be nominated for any advertising hall of fame, of any kind, anytime soon.

Like Hollywood, one obvious source of the problem in the ad business is that the people who make the decisions to “green-light” often hire those who look like they do—white and male. In Hollywood, producers and writers decide not just the content, but what content is developed and who’s cast. Ninety-eight percent of Hollywood’s producers and writers are … wait for it … white.

This year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took a dramatic step to change the state of their industry. The president of the Academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, launched a five-year plan that “aims to promote more diversity of age, gender, race, national origin, and point-of-view in Hollywood.”

What makes this initiative different from what other organizations are vowing to do to create opportunities for people of color? It acknowledges that the problem lies within and that for the situation to change, the institution must change. So they’re changing. They’re changing the diversity of their own staff and governance. They’ve invited its most diverse group ever of new members. They’ve revoked voting privileges from members who are no longer “active.” They’ve created new seats on its board of governors and committees for women and people of color. They are also pushing for changes at the front end of the process, including encouraging productions to not just find but hire more diverse crews.

The ad industry has been preaching and promoting change for years. They could take a page out of the Academy’s plan to get it right by making big, sweeping and meaningful changes at the highest level all with the goal of providing opportunity.

“We want opportunities. We want black actors [ad people, marketers, coaches, police officers] to get the same opportunities. That’s it.”

I’m not expecting, nor do I want, next year to be the black Academy Awards. And the goal isn’t to change Madison Avenue to MLK Boulevard — although more than a few agencies could use some uptown flavor. But given the current trends, we are more likely to see an industry that looks a lot like the last two Oscars than not. And, as the title of Sam Smith’s award-winning song so aptly notes, if those who have the power to make sweeping changes in the ad industry don’t use that power, the writing’s on the wall.

Danny Robinson is SVP/group creative director at The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va.

13114: Nepotism Trumps Diverted Diversity.

Campaign spotlighted an ad campaign jointly created by Sir John Hegarty and his son. The diversity advocate is essentially a nepotistic asshole. Oh, and their commercial sucks too. It’s patronizing pap probably produced to pander to PrideAM Award jury participants. The entire scenario is a bizarro blend of nepotism trumps diversity and diverted diversity. Give the Hegarty clan credit for originality in perpetuating exclusivity.

Watch: John Hegarty and son’s first joint ad campaign for men’s fashion service

By Omar Oakes

John Hegarty and his son are today unveiling their first joint ad campaign after writing an inaugural spot for a men’s fashion service.

The ad, by Hegarty’s incubator business, The Garage Soho, has been written for The Chapar, which aims to provide an alternative to the “torture” of shopping on the high street with the help of a personal stylist.

After curating a selection of premium items to suit the shopper’s own personal taste and body shape, The Chapar then delivers a bespoke ‘trunk’ direct to the customer’s home or office.

The 60-second spot was written by John Hegarty and directed by Elliot Hegarty through Royle Productions. It was art directed by Rosy Thomas.

The ad is being launched on cinema and will be unveiled by Picturehouse Central in London this afternoon during an exclusive movie screening of Hail, Caesar!, the new movie by the Coen Brothers.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

13113: Typecasting Calls.

Adfreak spotlighted a video featuring actresses reading real casting call specs with sexist requirements. Hey, someone should do a similar video for minority actors, where the routine casting call specs include racist stereotypes that are discriminatory and arguably illegal.

Actresses Read the Real (and Really Sexist) Casting Calls They’re Subjected to Each Day Project encourages women to create their own content

By David Griner

If you needed evidence women are still stymied by stereotypes in ads and shows, look no further than this eye-opening and eye-rolling video.

“Casting Call, The Project” features 18 women reading real casting notices into the camera, with their reactions ranging from raised eyebrows and exasperated sighs to obscenities and abject disgust.

“In our quest to find and create work, we became all too familiar with reading character breakdowns posted on casting call notices via the numerous casting websites (some legitimate and reputable, others, not so much),” wrote the three artists who created the project. “Throughout this journey, we would often share with each other particularly ridiculous, hysterical and appalling casting call notices.”

The three friends—Julie Asriyan, Laura Bray and Jenna Ciralli—decided to compile some of these many infuriating notices into a video that could be passed along by those who share their frustrations. The plan seems to be working, with the video having received more than 320,000 views in its first 24 hours on Facebook.

Each casting call included in the video is riddled with undertones (or blatant overtones) of stereotypes about gender, race, age and body type.

Most convey the usual ad/film stereotypes: “Loves being a woman, so she probably wears a push-up bra.” “She’s actually pretty, even with no makeup.” “Nerdy type of girl, nevertheless she has a boyfriend who loves her.” “Her cleavage is her best feature.”

Several highlight the casting industry’s laughable view of feminism, with lines like: “Lead actress needed for film about feminism. She is moderately attractive.” Another: “Prefer an actor who is not thin. This is a great role for a feminist.”

The goal of the project, created by three friends in New York, isn’t just to point out the industry’s sexism and ridiculous tropes. It’s also about showing creative women why they should also be focused on producing their own content. By taking ownership of the creative process, women can “bring about the roles we all want to see for female actors,” the project’s creators said.

If you’re interested in learning more about the women included in the video, you can read their acting bios on the project’s website, CastingCallTheProject.com.