Sunday, December 31, 2017

13962: Neurodiversity Is Rad.

Campaign presented “All I want for 2018: the industry’s hopes and predictions for the year”—with eight allegedly prominent industry figures, as well as media world and adland leaders, sharing their wish lists for the year ahead. Not surprisingly, only one person mentioned diversity. Direct Line Group Marketing Director Mark Evans offered the following:

Personal: May businesses embrace “radical diversity”

In 2018 I expect more people to wake up to the fact that diversity isn’t just about social justice but makes fundamentally good business sense; to those ready to embrace “radical diversity” will come the spoils.

My tip is that neurodiversity will quickly creep further towards the top of the agenda. It is the diversity conversation yet to happen but with the greatest potential upside to performance. The “superpowers” of those with autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and other neurodivergent conditions will become recognised as critical, particularly in a world where tasks that require repeatable precision will increasingly be automated and innovation will come from the edges from the people whose brains are wired differently.

Gee, Evans probably believes that people should not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their cranium. It’s unlikely, however, “that neurodiversity will quickly creep further towards the top of the agenda,” as it would require leapfrogging over White women, White LGBT, White people with physical disabilities, White elderly people and many other segments—including house pets. Of course, neurodiversity has already gained more public interest than racial and ethnic diversity. A peek at the board and leadership of Evans’ company, incidentally, displays zero diversity, so talking about embracing “radical diversity” is radical hypocrisy. Evans could benefit from having his brain rewired.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

13961: Mainstreaming Mental Illness.

Campaign published a perspective from Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners Creative Director Chris Plehal, who advocated for accurate and frequent depictions of people with mental illnesses in advertising. Um, has adland ever accurately and frequently depicted anyone in any group at anytime? Sorry, but Plehal’s pleas will only lead to borrowed interest and patronizing pap. Which means lots of White advertising agencies are bound to jump all over it—because, ironically, the prospect of generating self-promotion and winning awards makes adfolks go crazy.

Why advertising shouldn’t fear mental illness

By Chris Plehal

As professional communicators, it’s about time we figured out how we can initiate those conversations, says a creative director at RTO+P.

A few years ago, I saw a commercial in which a floating bathrobe followed a woman. Blue and furry, the bathrobe had sleepy Muppet eyes, as if Cookie Monster’s skin somehow gained sentience. As the woman tried to spend a day with her family, the bathrobe kept throwing itself on her shoulders in a heavy, floppy bear hug.

The bathrobe represented the woman’s depression. As I watched, I thought, “This ad makes depression seem extra weird.” It reinforced the stigma of mental illness as something we can’t talk about directly. It must become abstracted—envisioned as a floating bathrobe or, in other versions of the ad, an umbrella, a cloud, or an amorphous blue blob.

To me, the ad made one point clear: mental illness is really hard to talk about. As professional communicators, it’s about time we figured out how we can initiate those conversations.

A larger conversation about mental health has bubbled around the edges of culture for a while now. Take the Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen.” It has near-“Hamilton” levels of hype and praise and deals head-on with issues like social anxiety and depression.

Similarly, consider The New York Times’ bestseller, “Hyperbole and a Half.” In technicolor scribbles, cartoonist Allie Brosh paints a hilarious and heartbreaking account of her own depression. Allie’s illustrated self, wearing a dirty gray hoodie, detaches from society almost completely, finally finding comfort when she discovers an abandoned kernel of corn under the fridge. (It makes sense in the book; I promise.)

Then, we have “To the Bone,” a fictionalized account of director Marti Noxon’s battle with anorexia, and Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why,” which addresses the aftermath of a suicide. In media of all kinds, creative people have begun to drag mental health out of the shadows and into the light.

Nonetheless, a tremendous social stigma still attaches itself to mental illness. As a result, opening up about your own struggles can prove terrifying. I speak from experience here; as a child, I found myself hospitalized for anorexia and, as an adult, have battled intense anxiety issues. Speaking publicly about those parts of myself has proved one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The cultural acceptance still doesn’t seem quite there.

As advertising and media professionals, we have the power to shape that culture. It’s up to us to portray mental illness accurately and frequently. We need to make saying “I have borderline personality disorder” as easy as saying “I have allergies.”

Recently, I had the chance to work with nonprofit Bring Change to Mind to create an interactive conversation tool. The tool lets you choose from a list of mental disorders, then select the person with which you’d like to talk. For example, you can select “How to talk about depression with a football fan,” “How to talk about anxiety with a chef,” or “How to talk about bipolar disorder with a history major.” Then, the tool offers up a written conversation starter or a short video showing someone broaching the topic.

The tone of the project remained light—almost silly. The idea wasn’t to trivialize mental illness, but rather make conversations about it more approachable.

Other agencies have done great work on behalf of mental health groups as well, but this attitude should extend beyond nonprofits. Think of that Cheerios ad a few years ago—the one that featured a mixed-race family. It wasn’t an ad about mixed-race families. It was about cereal. But it accurately portrayed modern life and helped knock down a conversational barrier.

As people who broadcast words and images to millions, we as advertisers need to strive for a similar impact around mental health. We need to become brave enough to talk about these issues in normal, everyday ways. To make it less weird. Less scary.

I don’t suggest we capitalize on mental health to sell products. But, when creating ads, shows or films, we can make that extra effort to portray mental illness as the everyday issue it is. If we do it right, those individuals struggling will feel more comfortable opening up to their friends and family, who, in turn, will feel better equipped to offer support.

So, let’s hang up the sad blue bathrobe and accurately portray the changing culture of mental health. It will seem scary and awkward. We’ll probably make some mistakes. But, bringing these issues into the open could help hundreds of thousands of people. We owe it to them to try.

Chris Plehal is a Creative Director at Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners.

Friday, December 29, 2017

13960: Lil News Item.

FOX News reported Lil Jon is prepared to become CEO for Papa John’s, replacing former CEO John Schnatter. It’s unlikely to happen, however, as the pizza company has already opted to promote current company president Steve Ritchie—although Lionel Richie would have been a better choice too. And either Lil Jon or Lionel Richie would have made a superior partner for Peyton Manning.

Lil Jon wants to be Papa John’s new CEO

By Taylor Rock

Papa John is out, Papa Lil Jon is in. The rapper has informally agreed to step in for former CEO John Schnatter, who stepped down from his position at the pizza chain just weeks after blaming poor sales on NFL protests. Although he already has a replacement — current president Steve Ritchie — Twitter thinks the latter is a better choice.

“Now that Papa John isn’t the CEO of Papa John’s, I think the only valid choice for the next CEO is Lil Jon,” Devin Smith tweeted, to which the Turn Down for What artist replied, “I WILL HUMBLY ACCEPT THE POSITION AS YOUR NEW CEO. I CAN START IMMEDIATELY (smiley face).”

Caroline Smith, a senior recruiter at Papa John’s International, responded to the tweet saying, “Still waiting on your resume! Is it a deal breaker if we won’t rename the company Papa Lil John’s?”

Others offered their stamps of approval, like Hayden H., who said, “Lil Jon is the only man I trust to lead Papa John’s out of these dark times,” and @notuhleeuh, who wrote, “Make Papa John’s great again.”

The official Twitter account for Papa John’s Pizza even commented on the ordeal by using one of the rapper’s signature exclamations: “OKAAAY!”

Thursday, December 28, 2017

13959: Hot Dogs, Hot Damn.

This probable scampaign from Brazil seems to emulate the over-consumption tactics of U.S. fast feeders, contributing to the obesity epidemic in the South American country. But to position hot dogs as snack options to inhale between fast food meals is as obscene as any marketing messages hawked by Big Tobacco, Big Liquor or Big Pharma.

13958: Girls Gone Mad.

Advertising Age published a diverted diversity declaration from Barber Martin Agency Chief Creative Officer Deb Hagan, who boldly contends, “Gone forever is the age of Mad Men. Welcome to the age of Mad Women. Yes, we are mad, and mad women get things done. We change cultures. We make things better. And we don’t stay mad forever.” Um, let’s keep in mind that the Mad Women in AMC series Mad Men weren’t much more evolved than their male counterparts. And the White women on the TV show weren’t exactly championing diversity or fighting for anyone but themselves. Sorry, but “the age of Mad Women” is not a sign of progress. It’s just a female version of “the age of Mad Men.”

The Age of Mad Women

By Deb Hagan

Joe Alexander was my boss. He was chief creative officer of The Martin Agency until this month, when he left after sexual harassment allegations.

I’ve sat quietly for more than a week watching The Martin Agency struggle under the wake of one man’s terrible decisions. And while some may view this situation as unfortunate, it’s actually incredibly fortunate. Fortunate for the women of The Martin Agency who are now coming forward with stories of harassment, fortunate for giving the industry the launching pad to take a stand on creating a safer work place and fortunate for The Martin Agency to take the lead in an industry-changing event.

For years, as senior VP and group creative director, I was the highest-ranking woman in the creative department reporting directly to Joe. I am not here to defend him. Nor am I here to pile onto the accusations.

But let’s remember that an agency is not built on a single person. Rather, it’s built on the collective of like-minded folks who share values, which in turn builds a culture that makes an agency strong. And today, The Martin Agency still has those certain values that have made me—and others—admire it and love it for so long.

Many agencies have a history of an inexcusable amount of sexism and harassment, behavior starting to come to light as women become more empowered. But, if supported during this dark night of the soul, The Martin Agency just might show the world how an agency can transform its culture into something we can all be proud of again.

A lot of people are talking about the role of leadership in what happened. They may have their flaws, but my belief is that the leadership of The Martin Agency is perfectly capable of taking this event and turning it into a disruptive movement for all agencies.

The message to be shared is not one of taking down Martin. It’s one of dismantling the age-old Mad Men mentality—an ad culture once thought so unique to the American business place it warranted a highly successful show on AMC. From the outside when watching that show, it seems absurd. But living this industry as I have for 26 years, there’s more fact than fiction still to this day in what it portrayed.

Gone forever is the age of Mad Men. Welcome to the age of Mad Women. Yes, we are mad, and mad women get things done. We change cultures. We make things better. And we don’t stay mad forever.

So let’s support The Martin Agency in its quest to be better. In my mind, it’s off to a great start.

Deb Hagan

Deb Hagan is chief creative officer at Barber Martin Agency in Richmond, Va.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

13957: Delayed WTF 40—Jakeman Jive.

MultiCultClassics is often occupied with real work. As a result, a handful of events occur without the expected blog commentary. This limited series—Delayed WTF—seeks to make belated amends for the absence of malice.

Advertising Age posted video interviews with outgoing PepsiCo Global Beverage Group President Brad Jakeman, who shared the things he learned from creating the Kendall Jenner “Jump In” Pepsi video that people jumped all over. Based on Jakeman’s comments, it appears the man missed the real lessons. So as a public service, MultiCultClassics will attempt to offer enlightenment on a few points:

• Jakeman contended the traditional advertising research tools are “woefully inadequate,” whining that the testing processes are not equipped to address the present reality that shows “we live in a world now where one person with 50,000 Twitter following can have a significant impact on your brand.” Sorry, but Jakeman’s professional pontification sounds like a pity party, as well as uninformed navel-gazing. The world hasn’t changed so much as the technology. That is, in the pre-Digital Age—where Jakeman seems to reside—marketers such as Procter & Gamble had formulas to measure public responses. For example, P&G recognized receiving a single complaint letter actually meant a considerably larger proportion of people were offended too, but just hadn’t made the effort to draft and mail their unhappiness. In today’s world, the public can mount a backlash with far fewer hassles. It’s not about key influencers stirring mass outrage; rather, it’s simply that pissed-off people can easily and readily express themselves. More on Jakeman’s flawed reasoning in this area can be viewed in the summation below.

• Jakeman complained marketers are unfairly persecuted for one slip, griping how folks will invalidate any corporate good that might have occurred in the past. The problem with this argument is Jakeman’s citing of Unilever and Dove as victims of a recent social media blunder. Sorry, but Unilever and Dove were not spanked for an isolated misdeed. The marketer and brand have a history of hypocrisy and offensiveness. Believe it or not, the public is quite forgiving when forgiveness is warranted.

• Jakeman pleaded for constructive feedback and sympathetic assistance in times of trouble. “We are now publishing thousands of pieces of content,” explained Jakeman. “There are going to be these issues. And when they happen, be the person that reaches out to that company and [says], ‘How can I help?’ Don’t be the person that piles on.” Um, lots of persons weighed in with advice over the Pepsi failure. And in these times of account competition, it’s a safe bet countless firms would gladly deliver their services. Jakeman’s request is absurd, given the fact that the “Jump In” video was developed by an in-house enterprise—which sorta symbolizes a position that PepsiCo doesn’t want or need outside support.

In summation, in the future, Jakeman should consider deeper thinking before speaking. People took offense to “Jump In” because it was offensive. No existing or imagined research tool was necessary. Indeed, traditional probing devices have never effectively gauged anything. The disaster resulted from the cultural cluelessness of Jakeman and his team. Period. Offending marketers don’t deserve compassion or a second chance, especially in a generic marketplace presenting near-unlimited options—and doubly especially when the marketer has a reputation for fucking up. Marketers and brands that live with integrity and show respect can avoid having to regularly retract, backpedal and beg for forgiveness. Oh, and if clients like Jakeman truly desire culturally competent content, hire culturally competent creators versus woefully inadequate insiders and/or Omnicom drones.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

13956: Annie The Spook.

Now Annie the Chicken Queen is hawking Ghost Pepper Wings—and the end result is scary awful.

13955: Why SapientRazorfish Stinks.

Advertising Age reported on another Mad Man Behaving Badly—newly terminated SapientRazorfish Head of North America Business Development Adam Grohs, who allegedly “created a hostile work environment and discriminated against women” who didn’t “suck up to him.” Remember when former Publicis Groupe Chairman and CEO Maurice Lévy opined that Gustavo Martinez presented an isolated incident versus representing the industry in general? And how he gushed about combining SapientNitro and Razorfish, declaring the “market leaders” would revolutionize the planet? And when he green-lighted more management layers at Razorfish to enhance the “world-class talent” running the mediocre mess? And the ways he continued to destroy the digital field via asinine acquisitions and piss-poor planning? The truth is, Lévy is a classic failure, executing common mistakes related to mergers and acquisitions. Building successful enterprises demands defining visions, fostering mutual respect, agreeing on goals, establishing processes for prosperity and empowering leaders with integrity—as opposed to clumsily purchasing companies, dumping bodies into shared office space and expecting unity to magically happen on its own. In the end, Grohs didn’t create a hostile work environment. Lévy did. If anything, Grohs is a symptom—or collateral damage—of a bigger ailment. What’s more, Lévy’s blundering does not represent an isolated incident.


By Lindsay Stein

Adam Grohs, elevated earlier this year at SapientRazorfish to business development lead for North America, is no longer with the company, following reports that he created a hostile work environment and discriminated against women.

Ad Age spoke to five different women regarding Grohs’ behavior. One female SapientRazorfish executive said she made a formal complaint to human resources in the last few months. But Ad Age has learned of at least one other formal complaint made by a woman executive to the company’s HR department about Grohs, along with other informal complaints alleging he created a hostile work environment. Grohs did not respond to inquiry for comment.

A now-former employee says she made the initial formal complaint to HR in spring of 2016 that she says led to an internal investigation. The woman who filed this complaint alleges that Grohs discriminated against women and created an antagonistic work culture.

“He’s a bully,” the woman who filed the complaint told Ad Age. “I’d walk into rooms and he’d tell me to shush. He’d scream and yell. I literally couldn’t do my job. He was very disrespectful.”

A different female senior leader within SapientRazorfish who has first-hand knowledge of this specific HR complaint and investigation says, “I’ve experienced his hostility toward women. He was a very reluctant to work with any smart woman. He did not like a woman with an opinion.”

This woman told Ad Age Grohs had been “very rude and dismissive” of her as well as other women. “He loved junior women who would suck up to him,” she says.

SapientRazorfish confirmed that Grohs is no longer with the company. Monday was his last day.

“We take all issues presented to HR very seriously and thoughtfully,” a SapientRazorfish representative said in a statement. “The company encourages and promotes a comfortable and conducive work environment for all of our employees. We do not tolerate behavior that in any way disrupts this environment. While we do not discuss internal issues, we can acknowledge that there were concerns raised regarding Adam, and we’ve dealt with those issues.”

Earlier this year, Grohs was promoted from regional business lead to his most recent role of North American business development leader for SapientRazorfish.

During the company’s internal investigation of Grohs’ behavior in 2016, a third person with knowledge of the matter said that both men and women reported having similar issues with Grohs. These people, however, did not lodge formal HR complaints.

“He’s a bully and he can be demeaning toward other people in the workplace,” this person told Ad Age under the promise of anonymity.

According to another former Sapient executive who wishes to remain anonymous, “It’s the inherent bias that he’s shown in the workplace toward females: removing female high performers from projects without justification, yelling and belittling high performers in large meetings in front of male peers.”

Sunday, December 24, 2017

13953: Age Diversity Is Puzzling.

A MultiCultClassics visitor pointed to The Drum, where Engine CEO Debbie Klein presented “5 hot topics you should take seriously in 2018”—which ultimately showed Klein should not be taken seriously in 2017 and beyond. Here’s an excerpt worth ripping apart:

Age diversity

2018 may be the year that the advertising industry finally brings its most underappreciated demographic—over-50s—into the spotlight.

Gender and ethnicity diversity have been the top of the agenda this year. And rightfully so, considering there are still only 31% of senior positions in creative agencies taken by women, and 11.4% of industry jobs filled by black, Asian and minority ethnic people. But there’s a missing piece in the diversity puzzle—and that’s age diversity.

Just 6% of people working in the advertising industry are over 50, compared with 30% working in other knowledge industries like law and finance. Creative agencies and brands are bursting with great awards programmes and cultures targeted at young people—from ‘30 under 30’ programmes to action-packed team away-days—but they lack the equivalent rewards for older people, and too many over-50s end up pursuing other avenues, such as a highly paid client role, writing or directing.

Agencies need to harness the potential of over-50s. This age group is a valuable source of creativity which also has the experience to spot mistakes and pass on their expertise to younger colleagues, and to help produce work that properly reflects our society.

Over-50s command huge purchasing power, with their spend accounting for over £320bn of UK spending. Brands should be waking up to this and looking at better ways to capture the potential of this age group properly in 2018.

It would be sad—but not surprising—if age diversity leapfrogged over racial and ethnic diversity, allowing elder White people to join White women, LGBT White people, physically disabled White people, intellectually and developmentally disabled White people and thoughtful White people (i.e., diversity of thought), ultimately maintaining and increasing the exclusivity in the advertising industry.

Stating that elder White people comprise a mere 6% of adland’s workforce sounds bad, until compared with Blacks, Asians and Minority Ethnics representing 11.4% of industry jobs. In other words, the individual minority groups probably hold fewer jobs than elder White people—the alleged “missing piece in the diversity puzzle” is still bigger than the Black puzzle piece, for example. Need a visual to demonstrate the point? Take a peek at the people of Engine.

13952: Delayed WTF 39—Spirited Diversion.

MultiCultClassics is often occupied with real work. As a result, a handful of events occur without the expected blog commentary. This limited series—Delayed WTF—seeks to make belated amends for the absence of malice.

During Advertising Week 2017, the oh-so-inclusive and progressive Advertising Club of New York presented another diversity initiative—Creative Spirit, which is described as follows:

Creative Spirit is a certified 501c3 nonprofit organization devoted to creating integrated employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) at the best companies in the world. We believe that hiring those with IDDs is not charity, but a privilege. Research strongly supports the fact that hiring neuro-diverse employees drives better thinking and brings a new base of loyal, productive employees to an organization.

Great. Here’s another underrepresented segment that will leapfrog over racial and ethnic minorities to grab a seat at the adland conference table of exclusive humanity. Hey, it’s “not charity, but a privilege.” As opposed to the ruling majority in the field, a group of people who mostly secured their positions via White privilege.

Plus, it’s sad how Advertising Week served as a stage for exposing the dearth of racial and ethnic diversity in 2006—and now, over a decade later, Madison Avenue dodges accountability by embracing every non-White-male group except racial and ethnic minorities in order to appear committed to change. When it comes to addressing true diversity, Mad Men and Mad Women (i.e., White adpeople) seem to suffer from special intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

13951: Stepmom Stupidity.

Adweek published diverted diversity dim-wittedness from Frank About Women VP and Associate Director of Strategic Planning Kate Hanley, who identified stepmoms as the latest underrepresented sub-segment in advertising. Hanley, however, proves there’s a surfeit of stupid strategic planners providing useless information under the guise of thought leadership. Pity the creative teams who have to partner with idiots like Hanley—as well as the culturally clueless clients who might buy her bullshit.

As Family Ads Become More Inclusive, One Group Remains Invisible: Stepmoms

It’s a role that’s perhaps most thankless during holidays

By Kate Hanley

Here we are in the thick of the holidays, and brands selling everything from chicken stock to snow tires are painting some pretty cozy pictures of family life. And yet it’s not that magical for all of us.

In fact, 45 percent of Americans would prefer to skip Christmas, according to a study from a few years back. And another study found 42 percent of Americans are part of a stepfamily.


Maybe. But anybody who’s navigated the logistical nightmares and emotional minefields of blended-family holidays knows all too well how fraught they can be. Ensuring that kids get equal time with their parents, that all the stepsiblings and half-siblings feel equally loved, and honoring established traditions while attempting to create new ones can be an emotionally exhausting task.

And often, this thankless burden is shouldered by an unlikely champion: the stepmother.

Yet these efforts often go unnoticed, at best. In the worst cases, stepmoms can be downright demonized for simply existing at the holidays. Even people who’ve never had a stepmom can instinctively bristle at the notion of one. But where does this negative perception come from? While Disney didn’t start it—its wicked stepmothers are simply extensions of a well-established fairy tale tradition—it certainly has kept the myth alive for generations of children.

And sure, it’s easy to blame Disney. But when’s the last time any brand stood up for stepmoms? In an age where brands are eager to showcase inclusivity and to celebrate the changing face of American families—like Honey Maid’s “This Is Wholesome” campaign and Angel Soft’s “Just Dad” spot—we still don’t see a lot of love for stepmoms.

Why not try showing her as the unsung hero she is? For example:

• Shine a spotlight on the emergency maxi-pad run she makes for her stepdaughter … I’m looking at you, Always.

• Give a nod to the never-ending dropping off of left-behind makeup and sports gear to mom’s house. A crossover car for the crossover parent, perhaps?

• What about the invisible products we seldom celebrate? Stepmoms are kinda like Spanx, after all. We want them to be super supportive while we pretend they’re not there.

• If moms need #allthewine (which they do, according to the memes flooding my social media), then maybe there’s a whiskey out there strong enough for #stepmomlife!

So, this holiday season, hug a stepmom. Or better yet, fix her a drink.

It’s time to rethink how you approach today’s American family a bit more.

Kate Hanley

is vp and associate director of strategic planning at Frank About Women, a think tank based at MullenLowe Winston-Salem.

Friday, December 22, 2017

13950: Holiday Hijinks Stinks.

Adweek reported on the annual Publicis Groupe message to the troupes, which is a pile of poupe. Employees of the Paris-based holding company must watch the video and think, “Another year, another clueless leader.” Actually, the spectacle stars Publicis Groupe Chairman and CEO Arthur Sadoun and former Chairman and CEO Maurice Lévy, so there are two lousy leaders on display. Does anyone feel disgust and resentment that Sadoun has initiated companywide cutbacks, prompted by Lévy’s piss-poor financial management, yet approved substantial funds and resources to produce a 2-minute mess—complete with make-up special effects? Sorry, mon ami, but in lieu of a holiday bonus, please enjoy an entertainment extravaganza brought to you by the dim-witted duo most responsible for the company’s revenue decline. Merry fucking Christmas.

Oh God, Look What Running Publicis Groupe for Six Months Has Done to Arthur Sadoun

Suddenly decrepit CEO sends his holiday wishes

By Patrick Coffee

To fall back on a phrase rendered meaningless by overuse this year, 2017 marked the end of an era for Publicis Groupe.

After 20 years atop the holding company, Maurice Lévy stepped down and handed the reins to the younger generation, as predicted, choosing crowd favorite Arthur Sadoun to succeed him as chairman and CEO.

Another changing of the guard concerns the Groupe’s traditional holiday video greeting to its employees globally. In years past, Lévy famously used the video to poke fun at both the absurdity of the ad industry and at himself as an aging, deeply European executive resistant to the tides of time.

But this year is Sadoun’s first time delivering the greeting. And wow, does he suddenly look old! The normally dark-haired, youthful-looking, 46-year-old exec looks haggard as hell. He looks 20 years older, easily. And wait, is that Lévy appearing at the 1:25 mark looking … decades younger, with dark hair where his grey used to be, and a completely stress-free air about him?

What the hell is going on here?!

Yes, past years’ more elaborate productions have given way to a simple, almost earnest message that exists primarily to poke fun at Sadoun’s ability to weather what has, by all accounts, been a transitional year for Publicis—along with all the things that word entails.

Sadoun does indeed look a bit long in the tooth, thanks to the magic of makeup. He only went through one Twitter Q&A this year!

Lévy has not completely disappeared from the Publicis orbit, of course. But it’s now Sadoun’s vessel to steer, and he has spent much of his six-month tenure whipping the ship into shape by consolidating and trimming fat. Most famously, he opened the 2017 Cannes Lions by announcing that his company would skip this and all other awards shows for one year, starting July 1.

We are slightly disappointed that Publicis did not include any references to Marcel, the AI platform whose creation reportedly ate up a significant share of those other expenses. Next year we’ll determine how effectively the bot can really help Publicis Groupe’s 80,000 employees in 30 countries achieve greater synergies in serving their clients.

After watching this clip, one might conclude that Publicis opted to cut budgets both for award submissions and video production this year. But its top executives certainly didn’t skimp on cosmetics. After all, they are French!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

13949: DDBullshit Artists.

Advertising Age presented a podcast starring DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark and DDB North America Chief Creative Officer Ari Weiss. Full disclosure: MultiCultClassics didn’t bother listening, as Ad Age’s descriptor copy provided enough fodder to critique the DDB dynamic duo duet. Clark said, “If we’re going to have the right tension between the bottom line financially and creatively then we have to be side-by-side on these decisions. [Weiss] has to be as interested in the P&L and budget dialogue and discussions in what we do as I have to be on the creative agenda and the work.” Wow. Remember when the primary “tension” came from conflicts between left-brain thinkers and right-brain thinkers? Now it’s billable hours versus big ideas. Clark sounds like she ought to be the CFO, not the CEO. Responding to the recent rash of sexual harassment in the industry and society at large, Clark declared, “We’ve now seen the pervasiveness. Any of us can put up rhetoric. What are the actions you’re taking? What are you doing to demonstrably say this environment, this culture, will be better and intolerant of that?” Once again, Clark talks tough, and she can be expected to make eliminating sexual harassment her restless ambition for 2018. However, she’ll inevitably corroborate her own words—that is, Clark will show how she can “put up rhetoric” with the best of them.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

13948: Super Sex Objects.

This series of photos was described as follows:

Los Angeles-based fashion photographer Viktorija Pashuta, famous for her creative viral photo shoots, comes up with a new series of high fashion images exclusively for BASIC Magazine, where she reimagines what famous AVENGERS MARVEL CHARACTERS would look like if they were female.

Sponsored by luxury suitcase company DESENO, the photographer transforms six famous superheroes like THOR, IRONMAN, HULK, CAPTAIN AMERICA, BLACK PANTHER and HAWKEYE into WOMEN SUPERHEROES. Using one-of-a-kind fashion pieces from European & US designers, she creates images that aim to empower all women around the world and inspire them to be strong, independent and almighty.

Okay, but not sure these images really save the day, so to speak. After all, the women are arguably objectified and hardly inspirational. Actual female heroes in the Marvel universe exhibit greater strength, independence and almightiness. Plus, some of the Marvel characters already have female versions. Finally, the lack of diversity is super insulting.

13947: Too Many Chiefs.

Adweek reported Ogilvy Worldwide Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Donna Pedro was also named the new Chief Ethics Officer—which makes for a very long title to fit onto a business card. Not sure what the move really means, besides providing Ogilvy with an opportunity to brag about promoting a woman of color. Adweek discussed the topic of sexual harassment, prompting Pedro to proclaim, “We’ve always had all types of anti-harassment policy, whether it is sexual harassment, racial harassment, harassment in general. We don’t condone bullies at Ogilvy.” Condoning bullshit, however, is another story.

Ogilvy & Mather Names New Chief Ethics Officer

Chief diversity and inclusion officer Donna Pedro takes on the role

By Erik Oster

After nearly a year, Ogilvy & Mather now has a full-time chief ethics officer.

“In the spirit of our people-first agenda, I am delighted to appoint my partner of nearly 10 years, Donna Pedro, as our new chief ethics officer for The Ogilvy Group Worldwide,” worldwide chairman and CEO John Seifert said in a statement.

Pedro will take on the role in addition to her existing duties as worldwide chief diversity and inclusion officer and will be based in New York. She replaces Joe Panetta in the position, an agency veteran of 17 years who passed away last January. Pedro has been handling responsibilities related to the role on an interim basis since June.

“Over the last six months I’ve really taken ethics under my wing, looking at it from a diversity and inclusion perspective, because it’s about the people,” Pedro explained, “so every decision I make is in the best interest of our people, our clients and our brand.”

Going forward, she views her role as “fine tuning” existing policies and procedures, citing “ensuring that our social media policy reflects the world that we live in today” as a goal looking toward the new year.

“At Ogilvy we’ve always had very strong policies around people,” she continued. “Those policies have existed since I have been at Ogilvy.”

Pedro joined Ogilvy & Mather back in 2007. As chief diversity officer she has overseen the creation of an external and internal diversity advisory board, created the agency’s professional networks and developed a comprehensive strategy to drive Ogilvy’s workplace agenda.

Regarding the issue of harassment, Pedro said, “We’ve always had all types of anti-harassment policy, whether it is sexual harassment, racial harassment, harassment in general. We don’t condone bullies at Ogilvy.”

“I have recently reviewed our policy in light of things that are going on in the external world and I think our policy is pretty clear: we will investigate any charge or claim and it is a no-tolerance policy,” she added. “Oftentimes when we make determinations and it results in someone’s termination, the world doesn’t know it but we’re not afraid to do that and we have done that.”

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

13946: Shorty Shout Out.

Is Travelocity appealing to Black travelers with its “Be My Gnomie” promotion?

13945: Running On Empty.

Forbes published a diverted diversity dispatch for She Runs It, another not-for-profit organization that’s not-for-diversity, but rather, for the promotion of White women, exclusively in marketing and media. “The desire and intention to solve for diversity and inclusion in this industry is sincere across all stakeholders, but companies struggle to make meaningful progress,” claimed She Runs It President and CEO Lynn Branigan. “Even across our own [She Runs It] community I am aware that we need to champion a more diverse population and move beyond a single dimension of diversity as it relates to gender.” Really? What evidence exists to corroborate the contention that any marketing and media stakeholder is sincere in embracing diversity? Reality displays an absolute lack of sincerity. And for Branigan to admit her own brainchild bunch isn’t championing the global cause—viewing diversity as primarily a gender issue—underscores her cultural cluelessness and lack of credibility.

She Runs It Launches Coalition To Quantify Diversity And Inclusion In Marketing And Media Industry

By Jennifer Rooney, Forbes Staff

At a time when diversity and inclusion initiatives have only become a bigger priority in the marketing and media industry, led in part by prominent CMOs who are lending their voices to myriad efforts, She Runs It, a not-for-profit organization that aims to pave the way for women leaders in marketing and media, today introduces a consortium designed to “solve for inclusion and diversity in marketing and media”—with measurement.

Called the Inclusion and Diversity Accountability Consortium (IDAC), it launches in collaboration with Diversity Best Practices and is based on the premise that “what gets measured, gets done.” The initiative is rooted in a drive to quantify success in diversity and inclusion in the marketing and media industry.

Initial participants include Blue 449, DigitasLBi, Estee Lauder, Fullscreen, GroupM, KBS, Leo Burnett, L’Oreal USA, Publicis Communications, SapientRazorfish, Starcom USA and Unilever.

“The desire and intention to solve for diversity and inclusion in this industry is sincere across all stakeholders, but companies struggle to make meaningful progress,” said Lynn Branigan, president and CEO of She Runs It, in a statement. “Even across our own [She Runs It] community I am aware that we need to champion a more diverse population and move beyond a single dimension of diversity as it relates to gender. We believe this initiative is additive to others, and that the actions required of consortium participants will move us from preaching to practice to progress as we isolate and attack the obstacles that have made true diversity elusive for our industry.”

Consortium participants must commit to three key actions: They must take part in an annual benchmarking study called the DBP Inclusion Index, which seeks to identify areas of opportunity for diversity and inclusion efforts within companies; they must have executive presence at quarterly roundtable discussions designed to share best practices; and they must implement or maintain initiatives specific to each company in fostering diverse talent and building inclusive cultures.

“The advertising and marketing industries would significantly benefit by ensuring that their cultures are inclusive and their employee base is diverse and representative of the growing and changing marketplace and consumer base,” said Deborah Munster, executive director for Diversity Best Practices, in a statement.

“Creativity and innovation thrive when different perspectives, disciplines and experiences are recognized, respected and cultivated,” added Marilu Marshall, senior VP, executive management, chief inclusion and diversity officer at Estee Lauder. “As a global consumer-facing company, with diverse employees, brands and products, we continue to prioritize these values in all that we do and are proud to be a part of the Inclusion and Diversity Accountability Consortium.”

Mike Densmore, president of KBS New York, acknowledged the depth of the challenge the industry faces. “Everyone in advertising knows the lack of diversity within our industry doesn’t properly represent the realities of the world we live in, and this issue needs to be addressed with tangible action in order for things to change,” he said. “And there’s no question industry leaders agree that this is a social issue they strongly believe needs to be fixed. The problem is most people are viewing it incorrectly. Diversity is much greater than just a social issue: it’s actually a productivity and economic issue. There are multiple studies that prove the companies with the most diverse talent base thrive the most from an employee satisfaction standpoint as well as bottom-line growth.”

Indeed, as the focus on diversity and inclusion continues to sharpen across the industry, the coalition will both add to and benefit from parallel efforts.

“Our organization, and indeed the entire industry, has been looking to make meaningful change happen for decades,” Branigan said. “It’s clear that no one effort is going to get the job done. We look at this as an industry-wide platform that provides a tool for media and marketing companies to measure and track progress. We believe that every initiative is additive, and we celebrate all of the individuals and groups who want to join our consortium or wave similar flags.”

Monday, December 18, 2017

13944: Imaginary Diversity.

Adweek reported on a Shutterstock survey allegedly showing that nearly 90% of marketers agree “diverse images” in advertising have positive effects on the reputation of a brand. And if the patronizing progressiveness can be acquired via royalty-free pictures from shitholes like Shutterstock, all the better. Of course, the majority of marketers are completely comfortable creating “diverse images” by partnering with White advertising agencies where diversity remains a dream deferred, diverted, delegated and denied.

Most Marketers Agree Diverse Images in Ads Help a Brand’s Reputation, According to New Report

Shutterstock study surveyed 1,500 marketers

By Erik Oster

Marketers are largely in agreement that using diverse images is good for brands, according to a recent study by Shutterstock.

“We are pleased to learn from the research that marketers in the U.S. are making a conscious effort to be more inclusive with their choice of imagery showing nontraditional families and nonprofessional models,” Shutterstock curator Robyn Lange said in a statement. “It’s clear that societal changes combined with shifting attitudes are influencing the demand for more modern imagery that represents a diverse range of communities.”

The survey involved over 1,500 marketers from the U.S., U.K. and Australia answering questions about their use of imagery and offers an expansion of Shutterstock’s 2016 survey of U.K. marketers’ use of imagery.

Among the most striking of the study’s finding was that 88 percent of U.S. marketers in the survey agreed with the statement “Using more diverse images helps a brand’s reputation.”

Nearly half of U.S. marketers in the survey agreed it was important to represent modern day society in marketing imagery, with 41 percent agreeing with the statement.

Looking at image usage in the last 12 months, 33.9 percent of U.S. marketers in the survey said they’ve used more “racially diverse models” and 21.4 percent have said they used more images featuring “nonprofessional models.”

A total of 8.6 percent of U.S. marketers said they’d used more images in the past 12 months featuring a “nontraditional family,” while 10.6 percent used more images featuring same-sex couples and 10.2 percent used more images featuring people with disabilities.

Of U.S. marketers that had used more images of “nonprofessional models,” 57 percent pointed to better representing modern society as the reason, while 65 percent of those using more images of “nontraditional families” selected that response as the reasoning, as did 83 percent of those who used more images of same-sex couples.

“Our research shows that globally, marketers are shifting their attitudes and selecting images primarily to represent modern day society. Marketers are also recognizing that choosing images that are relatable to diverse groups benefits their brand’s reputation,” Lange added. “Striking a chord with consumers is no longer about serving them images of perfection, as social media has helped to change how people view images. Consumers prefer images that accurately portray the world around them, as opposed to a perfected version of the world offered by marketers.”

There was widespread agreement among marketers that the industry still has room to improve.

Over 91 percent of U.S. marketers surveyed agreed with the statement “There is still room for growth in using more diverse images by marketers.”

13943: WPP Hotline Heats Up.

Adweek and Campaign reported on the resignation of AKQA International Creative Director Duan Evans, with the latter trade journal stating the split was tied to inappropriate behavior exposed through WPP “whistleblowing hotline” complaints. Neither publication revealed details of Evans’ alleged improprieties, so it’s unclear if the man is another sexual harasser in adland. Hey, why didn’t Evans receive the same holding company support as Gustavo Martinez? Or maybe Evans will resurface shortly as International Creative Director in Spain, the new WPP sanctuary for sexual harassers.

WPP whistleblowing hotline triggered Duan Evans exit from AKQA

Duan Evans, international creative director for AKQA, resigned from the agency following an internal investigation triggered by parent company WPP’s independent whistleblower hotline.

By Nicola Kemp

Evans resigned from the agency after he was suspended for disciplinary reasons and, according to AKQA, he did not receive any form of compensation or notice payment.

A spokesperson for AKQA stated that an investigation into Evans was launched following complaints from its independent whistleblowing hotline, WPP’s “Right to Speak” service and complaints from employees. The spokesperson said the complaints were the first they had received about his conduct and were investigated immediately.

In addition to the disciplinary process, AKQA asked WPP to carry out a separate investigation and interviews with a number of employees.

The spokesperson added: “We have a duty of care to our employees, and an obligation to protect the anonymity of anyone who raises concerns, and will not provide further details without their consent.”

WPP’s whistleblower hotline is run independently by a third party and has been in operation since 2003. Employees of the network are able to access details via their company intranet service, Inside WPP.

The full statement from AKQA

“Duan Evans resigned during a disciplinary process while he was suspended from the business. He did not receive any form of compensation or notice payment. Following reports the company received from our employees and our independent whistleblower hotline, we launched an investigation. The complaints were the first we had received about his conduct and were investigated immediately. In addition to the disciplinary process, we asked WPP to carry out a separate investigation and interviews with a number of employees. We have a duty of care to our employees, and an obligation to protect the anonymity of anyone who raises concerns, and will not provide further details without their consent.

“The company will not tolerate any form of misconduct, including discrimination or harassment. Reporting procedures and channels to make a complaint or raise concerns include: encouraging employees to report an issue to any senior employee they are comfortable with or their line manager and HR professionals; a confidential, independently managed, whistleblowing hotline; and an anonymous feedback service. All our employees are required to sign Business Code of Conduct and Diversity at Work policies that make our zero-tolerance position clear.

“Once an employee has made a complaint using any of the reporting procedures or channels available the company will begin an investigation and, subject to its findings, take appropriate remedial action — including terminating employment, regardless of job title or tenure.

“We communicate regularly to ensure staff are aware of reporting channels and to encourage their use, including at all-company meetings. We have increased the frequency of these communications in recent months. Also, we have a series of initiatives in place [schedule attached] that provide training to employees, give real-time feedback, and encourage a diverse, dignified and inclusive community. Our aim is to learn and make improvements continuously to ensure ours is a workplace where everyone is listened to, feels safe and supported, and is treated with respect.”

Sunday, December 17, 2017

13942: Sherpas For Hire.

The Drum reported former 4As President and CEO Nancy Hill is launching a consultancy—Media Sherpas—to advise companies and “help grow their businesses by simplifying the commercial content experience through a ‘focused and deliberate practice for each aspect of the communication ecosystem.’” Well, Hill certainly has keen expertise on the industry’s inane jargon. (BTW, there’s already a company out there called MediaSherpa, so Hill might need some consultation on copyright considerations.) The consultancy also offers assistance on “talent development initiatives including diversity and inclusion.” Okay, but it’s unclear how Hill might help in that area, given her difficulty achieving anything of meaningful or measurable value when running the premier trade association. Her skills as a Chief Diversity Officer were no more effective than, well, any other Chief Diversity Officer in the field.

Former 4A’s president and chief executive Nancy Hill launches consultancy

By Bennett Bennett

Previous 4As president and chief executive officer Nancy Hill has announced the opening of her new consultancy, Media Sherpas.

The goal of Hill’s new endeavor is to “help brands, agencies and others within the media landscape connect, explore and collaborate.” Media Sherpas looks to be an advisor to companies and help grow their businesses by simplifying the commercial content experience through a “focused and deliberate practice for each aspect of the communication ecosystem.”

“I consider myself a personal trainer for businesses, in the sense that I strive to bring out the best in everyone I work with,” said Hill. “My current clients and the companies I’m looking to partner with are ones who understand the need for objectivity and have a strong entrepreneurial spirit.”

The range of offerings within Media Sherpas include consulting on operations and financials, defining and promoting company culture and values, identifying revenue growth opportunities, and talent development initiatives including diversity and inclusion.

The first of the Media Sherpa practices is Agency Sherpa, which assists in meeting the needs of agencies. Cleveland-based Marcus Thomas and its 170 employees will be among the company’s first clients.

Jim Nash, Marcus Thomas’ managing partner said: “Nancy’s experience overseeing the 4A’s gives her a unique perspective on the challenges agencies face and the path to success and we’re looking forward to partnering with her in her new venture.”

Hill will assist the Marcus Thomas leadership team with strategic planning and a range of other initiatives.

“It’s important for our industry that agencies and brands across the board operate at their fullest potential, “ Hill said. “And I want to guide them to reach that potential by sharing some of the best practices I’ve established throughout my career.”

13941: This Is What Hacks Made.

The Honey Bunches of Oats Lady is bragging, “This is what I made!” That’s something the responsible creative team should never proudly utter in reference to the commercial.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

13940: McCann’s Mata Hari…?

Adweek felt like AgencySpy with the latest report involving McCann and the U.S. Army account under review. After being eliminated from competing, receiving a 12-month extension and winning a formal protest over the elimination, McCann is now being accused of compromising the review process. According to an email anonymously sent to WPP and Omnicom executives by staffers at the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army marketing director and a female McCann employee were engaged in an intimate relationship. The email writers insisted the romantic connection “shows a clear and present advantage and access to potentially critical information that could be used in the [McCann Worldgroup] proposal.” McCann stated the employee resigned in October—which was shortly after the White advertising agency succeeded in getting back into the review. Hey, will McCann submit an official and formal explanation to the U.S. Army? Heaven forbid the White advertising agency might deliver truth well told in this scenario. To sensationalize the scenario, Adweek even published a photo of the conspiring couple (depicted above).

$4 Billion U.S. Army Review Has Been ‘Compromised,’ Sources Claim

Army marketing director removed over alleged relationship with McCann staffer

By Patrick Coffee

The competitive review for the U.S. Army’s lucrative advertising contract has been irreparably compromised, according to an email written by concerned employees within the Department of Defense. Adweek has acquired a copy of the message, which the workers sent anonymously to WPP and Omnicom executives last week.

Those holding companies are currently competing against incumbent McCann for the Army account, which involves up to $4 billion in taxpayer-funded spending over 10 years, by the Department of Defense’s estimates. McCann has been the Army’s agency of record since 2005.

According to the email, a personal relationship between James Ortiz, director of marketing at the Army Marketing and Research Group, and a former McCann executive “shows a conflict of interest on both parties.” The authors also wrote that the situation “shows a clear and present advantage and access to potentially critical information that could be used in the [McCann Worldgroup] proposal.”

“As a bidder, your company should be granted the same access to information that all the other bidders are granted. Unfortunately, this is not the case when it comes to the incumbent agency McCann Worldgroup,” the email continued.

An Army spokesperson confirmed today that Ortiz has been removed from his position and reassigned pending the results of an internal investigation.

“Recently, Army Marketing and Research Group leadership was made aware of allegations of possible inappropriate conduct between a member of the AMRG staff and a defense contractor,” said the organization’s director of public affairs Alison Bettencourt. “Upon learning of these allegations, the employee was removed from all duties associated with the contract and temporarily reassigned within the organization. Appropriate authorities are aware of the allegations and an investigation into the matter is ongoing.”

James Ortiz could not be reached for comment.

The email sent to the holding companies included a link to a YouTube channel consisting of two videos. The videos, which Adweek reviewed, appear to show the two individuals in question kissing, holding hands and embracing during what Department of Defense sources described as a concert in Alexandria, Va., on Oct. 4, the same day as a strategy meeting between members of the McCann and Army teams.

Below is a photo of the scene provided by the sources. Adweek has identified the venue as The Birchmere in Alexandria.

A McCann spokesperson told Adweek that the employee in question resigned in October. He declined to comment on the review or the agency’s ongoing relationship with the U.S. Army.

The email, which bore the pseudonym “Janet Smith,” appeared intent on flagging McCann’s competitors about the potential for bias.

“As a bidder on this request for bid,” the email said, “you are completely within your right to file a protest to this process and insist that the McCann proposal be removed from consideration based on conflict of interest and unfair access to the U.S. Army that is not extended to the other bidders.”

Representatives for WPP and Omnicom did not respond to requests for comment regarding the message.

Army shakeup

The email also claimed that unnamed employees of McCann and the Army Marketing and Research Group “conducted a high-level meeting during the re-compete process” and that “according to the notes of that meeting,” the two parties shared information regarding the Army’s recruiting strategy “that would give unfair competitive advantage and favoritism to the incumbent vendor.”

The U.S. government’s official Guide for the Government-Contractor Relationship recommends that public employees not allow “special treatment” to affect their dealings with contractors, noting that “unduly close personal relationships with contractor personnel can create the appearance of favoritism, and may call into question the integrity of the procurement process.”

“It is clear that the process is corrupted and stacked against competing bidders—it is your right to correct it,” the email read before listing an official Pentagon complaint line and concluding, “NOTE: A similar email was sent to the holding company of the other ad agency who bid on this contract at the same time this was sent to you.”

Friday, December 15, 2017

13939: Publicis Pile Of One.

Adweek reported Publicis Groupe will streamline operations by moving major U.S. agencies into shared offices. The holding company is positioning the action as symbolic of the organization’s “Power of One” theme, but it feels more like the power of procurement. What’s the point of investing in Marcel if everyone’s going to be in the same location? Plus, it’s another example of industry commoditization, where individual White advertising agencies are essentially generic—they all look alike. Then again, watch for Publicis to also fold their minority shops into the common buildings and call it a diversity initiative.

Publicis Groupe Is Moving All Agencies Into Shared Offices in Its Major U.S. Cities

‘Power of One’ approach continues apace

By Patrick Coffee

As part of its ongoing attempt to streamline operations around the world, Publicis Groupe announced this week that each of its agencies will combine offices in six major U.S. cities: New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta and San Francisco.

This means that, moving forward, every Publicis-owned company in those locations will be housed a single building.

“In the spirit of the Power of One, we strive to better serve our clients through deeper collaboration, cross-agency sharing and insight,” said a Publicis Groupe spokesperson. “As we often do, we are continually considering opportunities to consolidate our operations in major cities where it makes sense for both our clients and people.”

According to parties familiar with the matter, employees of all Publicis agencies, including Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, BBH, Publicis Worldwide, Spark Foundry, Starcom Worldwide, SapientRazorfish, DigitasLBi and MSLGroup learned about the change on Tuesday.

The news follows an announcement in September that Saatchi & Saatchi would move out of its lower Manhattan headquarters after more than 30 years and relocate to the Publicis Groupe hub at 1675 Broadway in Midtown.

In Chicago, all Publicis entities will be located at 35 West Wacker Drive, long known as “The Leo Burnett Building.” The Boston office at 40 Water St. in Congress Square is currently the shared headquarters of DigitasLBi and SapientRazorfish, while Atlanta’s 384 Northyards Blvd. houses Moxie Interactive and the Detroit offices of Leo Burnett and MSLGroup are located at 3310 West Big Beaver Rd. in Troy, Mich. The San Francisco location does not appear to have been determined at this time.

Two people with knowledge of the moves said they were not related to any further reorganization or staffing reduction across the Publicis Groupe in North America. It is not clear whether they will have any operational affect on the individual agencies involved.

Over the past two years, the holding group has moved through several stages of restructuring, creating four global “solutions hubs” and naming a new generation of leaders including, most prominently, CEO Arthur Sadoun.

Publicis also made headlines this summer by announcing its plans to sit out the Cannes Lions and all other awards festivals in 2018. Sadoun later confirmed that his company would be back the following year after Cannes parent company Ascential agreed to certain cost-cutting measures.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

13938: XXXL Big Idea.

This campaign from Turkey appears to be celebrating diversity of size for a health club.

13937: Unlimited Exclusivity.

Advertising Age reported We Are Unlimited brought in a new CEO—replacing one White man with another. What’s more, the new White man has ties to Omnicom. Come to think of it, so did the old White man. Given all the hoopla about promoting White women—aka diverted diversity—it’s strange that DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark continues to ignore her restless ambition to diversify her McEmpire. Then again, Ad Age stated We Are Unlimited is seeking to transform from Mickey D’s exclusive peons to “a more sustainable agency.” So maybe that’s why Clark is erecting a typical White advertising agency.


By Lindsay Stein and Jessica Wohl

DDB North America’s dedicated McDonald’s agency We Are Unlimited will come under new leadership after one year in business, with iCrossing’s Mark Mulhern taking the helm as CEO on January 8.

The leadership change comes as We Are Unlimited, which at first was solely dedicated to McDonald’s U.S. marketing, prepares to pitch for other accounts.

Mulhern will fill the post that was initially held by former BBDO Senior Director Brian Nienhaus, who was the first chief executive of the DDB bespoke shop. Nienhaus is moving into a new role within Omnicom. Specific details were not disclosed, but DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark says Nienhaus will work with both DDB and holding company Omnicom in the post.

“Brian was part of the pitch team and came into the account naturally,” says Clark, adding that We Are Unlimited is at a point now where it is looking to pivot from a startup into a more sustainable agency.

She says DDB and McDonald’s made a “collective and collaborative decision” to hire Mulhern, who has been “successfully” leading iCrossing New York for the last two-and-a-half years, as president. Hearst-owned iCrossing was one of Ad Age’s 2017 Agencies to Watch. Mulhern will report to Clark.

Mulhern, who earlier in his career spent three years at sibling agency BBDO as an executive vice president, will look to continue to build momentum for McDonald’s, says Clark. He will also help take We Are Unlimited to other clients by pitching for other accounts in 2018. When the two businesses began working together in August 2016, We Are Unlimited made a deal with McDonald’s to not pitch for other business for 18 months, but after that, the shop will have the opportunity to bring in new clients.

In May, DDB North America Chief Creative Officer Ari Weiss hired Toygar Bazarkaya, known for his creative work at Havas and BBDO, as the first chief creative officer of We Are Unlimited. The agency was created under prior McDonald’s leadership following a major creative agency review at the world’s largest restaurant chain. Back in 2016, Deborah Wahl was McDonald’s U.S. chief marketing officer and Mike Andres was its U.S. president. Chris Kempczinski took the McDonald’s U.S. president role at the beginning of 2017, just as We Are Unlimited officially began as McDonald’s national agency. In May, Morgan Flatley, who knew Kempczinski from their tenures at PepsiCo, joined the Golden Arches as U.S. CMO.

“We are grateful for Brian’s leadership and his incredible commitment during this first year of our new agency model,” Flatley said in a statement provided by DDB. “We welcome Mark and look forward to leveraging his expertise as we build upon our creative and integrated marketing approach aimed at enhancing connections with our customers.”

Mulhern is joining We Are Unlimited as McDonald’s prepares to promote a new value menu. The chain is trying to maintain and grow the sales momentum that has been rolling along since the October 2015 debut of All Day Breakfast. A new $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu debuts Jan. 4, including items such as $1 any size soft drink, $2 two-piece Buttermilk Crispy Tenders and $3 Happy Meals. McDonald’s, which has roughly 14,000 restaurants across the country, posted a healthy 4.1 percent increase in comparable sales in the third quarter.