Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Monday, May 22, 2017

13687: Publicis Groupe’s Financial Follies.

Campaign reported a French magazine claimed Publicis Groupe “incorrectly accounted for a settlement agreed with one of its software and IT services suppliers.” Um, does anyone doubt Publicis Groupe might fuck up the finances regarding any deal connected to a digital enterprise? Hell, whatever happened with the $500 million termination fee stemming from the failed merger with Omnicom? The White holding company’s accountants must be cooking the books with all the skills of world-class French pastry chefs.

Publicis Groupe refutes accounting allegation

By Maisie McCabe

The agency has strongly refuted claims made in a French magazine that it has incorrectly accounted for a settlement agreed with one of its software and IT services suppliers.

Yesterday the weekly news magazine L’Orbs reported on claims made by Fabrice Rémon, founder of the shareholder activist organization Gouvernance en Action, that the way Publicis Groupe had accounted for the settlement inflated its results.

In a statement, Publicis Groupe said the dispute was “arbitrated and resulted in a settled resolution, covered by a confidentiality agreement, whereby Publicis Groupe would be compensated for the costs of the delays and difficulties it sustained.”

The compensation was accounted for through a reduction of the book value of the balance sheet assets relating to the project, in part through the neutralization in the 2014 accounts of the extra costs the delays had caused and in part to cover extra costs in subsequent years as a result of the delays, Publicis Groupe said.

Publicis Groupe did not mention this accounting treatment in the notes to the financial statements for the 2014 or in that year’s annual report as its auditors — who had validated the treatment — deemed it was not necessary to do so.

In its statement, Publicis Groupe said it communicated this information to Rémon and to L’Obs ahead of publication. It said it reserves “all our rights for any damages that such publications may have on our stock price, the company or our shareholders.”

Sunday, May 21, 2017

13686: Diversity Heroes & Villains.

Advertising Age reported on a media event where CW representatives spoke about diversity, with the trade publication writing that the “network reminds buyers that all heroes don’t wear capes.” Okay, but White advertising agencies have used superheroes for diversity smokescreens in lieu of personally taking heroic actions. Plus, most advertising executives with hiring authority—who typically perpetuate the exclusivity with discriminatory hiring practices—could be categorized as super villains in the diversity scenario.

CW Upfronts Diary: In a Pitch for Diversity, Network Reminds Buyers That All Heroes Don’t Wear Capes

By Anthony Crupi

After a week of brazen hucksterism designed to separate advertisers from their marketing dollars, Gina Rodriguez on Thursday detonated an emo bomb onstage at the New York City Center, and for the first time since the upfronts began it felt like the audience wasn’t being outright hustled.

As she has done so eloquently in past upfront presentations, the star of the CW’s “Jane the Virgin” won over buyers with a heartfelt speech about how television has the potential to bring people together by fostering understanding and empathy. (It probably goes without saying that she wasn’t talking about cable news.)

“I’m an artist, and I see the world through that lens,” Rodriguez said, noting that she stars in one of the five CW shows with a woman at the top of the call sheet. “Art tears down misconceptions and opens eyes to the beauty of our differences. We can’t all be the same, but we can learn a lot about what we are not through art.”

Rodriguez went on to thank CW president Mark Pedowitz for his efforts to program a network that more accurately reflects American dynamism and diversity. “The CW uses its platform to build bridges for understanding and inclusion,” she said, before wrapping with a more overt appeal for advertisers to reach for their checkbooks. “For those who have yet to join us: The doors are wide open, baby.”

Rodriguez effectively became an ambassador for the CW two years ago, when she made her first upfront address to TV buyers. Her spiel, which was delivered with all the warm fuzzies of a Grammy Awards acceptance speech, included an acknowledgment that advertising dollars made it possible for her and her cast mates to pursue their lives’ passions. “Thank you for letting me do what I love every day,” she said. “It may be just money to you, but to us it’s our dreams!”

On the off chance that anyone in the room today didn’t respond to Rodriguez’s speech, Pedowitz doubled down on the “awwwwws” with an absolutely shameless clip from a puppy cam from Guide Dogs of America.

Of course, as the upfronts are meant to prime the pump for the June/July negotiations, the CW pitch featured its share of more blatant entreaties for ad dollars. Sporting a green cape with a stylized $ emblazoned on the back, Rob Tuck, exec VP-national sales, swooped in to talk up streaming, demos and stacking rights. When “Supergirl” star Melissa Benoist asked why the ad sales chief was rocking the garish accessory, Tuck introduced himself as “Salesman,” and suggested that he join in when the CW airs its annual four-part superhero crossover stunt in November.

The crossovers have been a huge success for the CW, which notched its highest ratings in six years during last fall’s multi-show event. Deliveries for “Arrow” and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” alone doubled during their respective stunt episodes, and “The Flash” put up the network’s biggest numbers of the season.

Speaking of the capes-and-cowls set, Pedowitz noted that another new superhero series is making its way to the CW schedule in 2017-18, as “Black Lightning” joins fellow DC Comics properties “The Flash,” “Supergirl,” “Arrow” and “Legends of Tomorrow” in mid-season. Produced by the ubiquitous Greg Berlanti, “Black Lightning” stars Cress Williams (“Prison Break,” “Hart of Dixie”) as a retired crime fighter who resumes punting rump and taking names after gang violence threatens to tear his city apart.

Also in the hopper for next season are “Valor,” a military drama about a team of damaged yet vertiginously-cheekboned young U.S. Army helicopter pilots who embark on a suicide mission to extract a soldier being held captive by terrorists, and a reboot of the ‘80s kitsch artifact “Dynasty.” A sudsy whirl of intrigue, excess and weapons-grade bitchery, this new-look Carringtons saga drew the most noise from the buyers in the crowd.

A second mid-season offering, “Life Sentence,” features “Pretty Little Liars” alum Lucy Hale as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl who survives cancer only to face the existential dilemma of What Now? Hale, who appeared eager to emulate Gina Rodriguez’s charm offensive, interrupted her own stage patter to ask producer Bill Lawrence (“Scrubs,” “Cougar Town”) to make his presence known so that she might thank him for giving her the opportunity to work with him.

Before Pedowitz brought Upfronts Week to a close with an invitation for the audience to join him outside the theater for a toast with some “Dynasty”-quality bubbly, the CW boss wanted to reiterate his earlier assertion about how the network has evolved from a vanilla TV channel to “a digital-linear hybrid.” Pedowitz illustrated this shift with a particularly revelatory graphic, which put the median age of the CW TV viewer at 45 years old and that of the net’s digital audience at 26.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

13685: Burnett’s Billboard Body Bigotry.

Advertising Age reported on a stunt by French anti-racism organization Le Conseil Representatif des Associations Noires (Le CRAN), whereby a Black man “tattoed” with racial epithets walked through the streets of Paris to bring attention to racism. That Leo Burnett—a global White advertising agency—hatched the concept brings grand hypocrisy to the act. Then again, Leo Burnett employees probably offered lots of legitimate insight, at least from the racist side of the equation. The concept might have been more powerful if a White person had been adorned with all the slurs typically used by bigots, bringing consciousness to unconscious bias.

This ‘Human Billboard’ Tattooed With Insults Highlighted Racism in France

Man Walked the Streets of Paris Ahead of the French Election

By Alexandra Jardine

French anti-racism organization Le Conseil Representatif des Associations Noires (Le CRAN) highlighted the country’s ongoing racism problems ahead of the country’s Election last month, by sending a man through the streets of Paris tattooed in racist insults.

Agency Leo Burnett Paris collated the racist insults and names included in the tattoos via social media, interviews with celebrities and audio testimonials. On April 24, Le CRAN sent the man out into crowded areas of the city to hand out leaflets, and encouraged people to tweet about it with the hashtag #jeffaceleracisme. With National Front leader Marine Le Pen running for President at the time, it was a timely stunt.

“We want to alert the French to racist insults, the impact of which is often underestimated,” explained Louis Georges Tin, president of Le CRAN, in a statement.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

13683: 100% Bullshit.

The Media Online reported a self-promotional billboard for Black-owned BWD Advertising was investigated for being racist after receiving a complaint from a “member of the public” in South Africa. Is Gustavo Martinez freelancing for WPP in Johannesburg now? But seriously, the individual apparently took offense to the billboard proclaiming, “100% Black Owned Advertising Agency. Some things are better at 100%.” In the end, the Advertising Standards Authority ruled the message was not racist. Hey, somebody ask the ASA to investigate the White advertising agencies in the country. Those places are full of racism. And it’s likely that BWD Advertising collects Vegemite sandwich crumbs compared to its exclusively White counterparts.

BWD’s ‘100% black-owned’ ad agency billboard not racist, says ASA

Posted By TMO Reporter

A billboard with the wording, ‘100% Black Owned Advertising Agency. Some things are better at 100%”, using an image of a cup of black coffee, is not racist, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled.

The BWD Advertising billboard, on a footbridge spanning across the M1 South approximately one kilometre north of the Marlboro Drive off-ramp in Johannesburg, was the subject of a complaint lodged by a member of the public in February.

After a two-month investigation, the ASA directorate said transformation processes, such as B-BBEE, were the result of government policy, and were aimed at improving the overall wealth and prosperity of those sectors of the community that did not previously have the means to create their own prosperity. The advertisement did not impose “any burden on any person or race and is therefore not in contravention of Clause 3.4 of Section II of the Code”.

Therefore the advertisement clearly makes a hypothesis and is justifiable in terms of government’s B-BBEE policy, it said. The complaint was dismissed as the billboard’s message was not infringing on any government or advertising laws. The ASA said BWD Advertising was merely exercising its right to broadcast an achievement and an “edge” it has in the advertising industry.

Bongani Gosa, founder and CEO, established BWD Advertising in 2006 as a full service marketing agency. Gosa said the billboard was placed to communicate BWD’s achievement as one of the very few South African advertising agencies that are 100% black owned, which honours the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) strategy. This mandate clearly calls for companies to increase the number of black people participating in the country’s economy to fight high unemployment rates and challenges imposed by the past.

Gosa said he was relieved that the ASA clearly saw his agency’s intention with the billboard – to celebrate, not affront. “I firmly believe in growing our country by empowering the youth. Only if they are mentored correctly, will they lead the country forward without racism and corruption, which is something that I promote passionately. No divided country can truly prosper,” he said.

Gosa employs 10 full-time employees and gives five graduates the opportunity every year to gain work experience. BWD Advertising also contributes financially to the the Each One Teach One Foundation, a business mentorship initiative that helps accelerate the growth of entrepreneurs. The foundation gives small-business owners and entrepreneurs the opportunity to get face-to-face time with proven business specialists, enabling upcoming entrepreneurs and owners of SMMEs with expert advice and invaluable insights.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

13682: Exclusive Explicit Event.

AgencySpy posted on the “Implicit Bias Workshop” being held at Venables Bell & Partners, where attendance for the event is mandatory. The mandate is likely rooted in the fact that the White advertising agency hired an outside consultant to run the workshop, making it a pricey experiment if no one shows up. Sorry, but does “Implicit Bias” really apply to an industry where discriminatory exclusivity has been publicly recognized for over 60 years? At some point, the label should change to “Explicit Bias” for honesty and accuracy. The hack editors at AgencySpy called the affair an “Implicit Bias Workshop Party”—and considering the lack of diversity among VB&P’s leadership, is it much different than the infamous Campbell Ewald Ghetto Days party?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

13681: Garden-Variety Lunacy.

Campaign reported on the latest installment of the Erin Johnson-Gustavo Martinez soap opera, with lawyers exchanging pre-trial jabs. Here’s one point worth noting:

Also under contention is the subpoena of Johnson’s medical records. Lawyers for the defense have requested authorization to subpoena her mental health records, which Johnson lawyers have declined to provide.

Earlier this week, Martinez’s lawyer Ricki Roer filed a letter to the court requesting to address “a defendant’s entitlement to discovery of plaintiff’s psychological/mental health records, even when only ‘garden variety’ emotional distress damages are claimed.”

Wow, Martinez and his lawyers are lowdown assholes. Has anyone inquired about Martinez’s mental state? Based on everything recorded to date, the man is a garden-variety bigot, misogynist and moron.

Johnson, WPP battle over access to sensitive documents as TBWA is pulled into drama

By Eleftheria Parpis

The holding company’s lawyers seek to keep its internal investigation private while asking to see Johnson’s emails about an alleged job offer.

As the Erin Johnson lawsuit against J. Walter Thompson, WPP and former CEO Gustavo Martinez inches its way to trial, the legal teams are butting heads over the admissibility of sensitive documents.

In documents filed with the US Southern District Court on Wednesday, lawyers for WPP and JWT requested a protective order to stop Johnson, JWT’s Chief Communications Officer, from subpoenaing documents pertaining to the internal investigation conducted by Bettina Plevan, a partner at law firm Proskauer Rose, in the weeks after Johnson filed her sexual harassment lawsuit. Howard J. Rubin, partner at WPP legal firm Davis & Gilbert, claims that the report, which details the substance of Plevan’s interviews with 32 current and former agency employees, is protected by attorney-client privilege.

The defense is also seeking a protective order to block access to documents related to a report prepared by Merrick Rossein, an employment law professor and human resources consultant who provided equal-employment training to Martinez and counsel to the agency’s legal team after the suit was filed, including advice about the retention of Martinez in an executive position elsewhere at the holding company.

Reports summarizing the findings were shared with Johnson and the legal team from Vladeck, Raskin & Clark “subject to an agreement that Plaintiff would treat the reports as confidential,” writes Rubin.

The defense is also arguing that Johnson should be compelled to turn over documents “relating to her efforts to seek alternative employment, including at another advertising agency, TBWA Worldwide.”

It was earlier revealed that Johnson had been offered a job at Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day before filing her suit, but turned it down, telling Martinez in a text that she was “loyal” to him and “felt like we had a good year together.” The defense lawyers argue that any documents related to that job offer are relevant “to whether she believed she was experiencing harassment and/or retaliatory treatment,” and whether her working environment at JWT was “as hostile or retaliatory as she claims.”

Asked whether the agency had been contacted by attorneys regarding the case, a TBWA spokeswoman said, “We haven’t received the subpoena yet and can’t comment.”

The flurry of memos filed Wednesday also included a request from the defense lawyers for a 60-day extention of the discovery deadline, citing Johnson’s “voluminous and burdensome discovery requests.” Johnson’s legal team has subpoenaed Plevan and Rossein for all documents related to the case, including communications that concern Martinez’s “ability to use the English language,” a defense lawyers for Martinez and WPP have used to explain Johnson’s claims that Martinez regularly made comments about rape and sex, using terms like “talk about the sex” and “sex of angels.”

The plaintiffs are also attempting to subpoena all documents about behavior and statements Martinez made “with respect to women or their appearance,” “Jews or Westchester County,” “people of color,” the Miami corporate meeting where Martinez was recorded making a rape joke, and female employees like global president Claire Capeci, who Martinez, claim Johnson’s lawyers, said was “bossy” and should be “hogtied” or “raped.”

The legal teams met last month with Magistrate Judge James C. Francis to discuss discovery but were unsuccessful in attempts to reach an agreement.

Also under contention is the subpoena of Johnson’s medical records. Lawyers for the defense have requested authorization to subpoena her mental health records, which Johnson lawyers have declined to provide.

Earlier this week, Martinez’s lawyer Ricki Roer filed a letter to the court requesting to address “a defendant’s entitlement to discovery of plaintiff’s psychological/mental health records, even when only ‘garden variety’ emotional distress damages are claimed.”

At the conference on April 26, states Roer in the letter, Johnson “for the first time stipulated” that she would be “claiming ‘only garden variety’ emotional damages.” The judge approved the team’s request to file a motion.

Calls to representatives for WPP and Johnson for comment were not immediately returned.

The current deadline for discovery is May 26.

Monday, May 15, 2017

13680: Exclusivity Extinguishes Innovation.

Campaign published a perspective from Mirum Client Services Director Ali Merifield, who sought to explain “why innovation stalls without diversity.” Merifield presented lots of progressive opinions and theories, yet offered no case studies on how her digital agency has benefited from executing and embracing diversity. Indeed, a look at the London office leadership doesn’t display much diversity. And to seemingly prove her own point, the work isn’t very innovative.

Why innovation stalls without diversity

By Ali Merifield

Leaders who want to drive innovation through diversity need to be willing to expose themselves to some discomfort and awkwardness, writes Mirum’s head of client services.

Innovation. Every company talks about what it is, how to achieve it, why it is needed, what it costs. However, one of the core ingredients often missed is diversity. Silicon Valley has long suffered from a diversity problem, and it could be stifling the innovation it has been built on.

Leaders who want to drive innovation through diversity need to be willing to expose themselves to some discomfort and awkwardness. It might slow down process and expose some shortcomings and weaknesses elsewhere in the system.

Diverse teams mean people coming together from different backgrounds, experiences, cultures and educational baselines. In tech, where rapid development is valued, the time it takes a diverse team to get into a rhythm of working together may be longer than the norm.

Problem solving and product development won’t be as comfortable, or as much fun, as working in a homogenous group straight out of the same social, cultural and educational background. An unvaried group will likely feel buoyed up by each other, by their shared thinking and agreement, confident that they have cracked the problem. But the shared assumptions and tacit agreement is what will cause them to fail.

The more diverse group, having questioned each other more, disagreed and debated, probably won’t have as much confidence that they have found a solution at all. However, the fact that they bring different thinking and experiences, can question assumptions and challenge the status quo, means they are far more likely to achieve a more innovative solution.

It feels good to be in a group of people who agree firmly and fast. It is harder to have to navigate unchartered waters with people who think very differently from us. So how can businesses ease that process to encourage the diversity needed to truly innovate?

The first challenge is to understand that diversity is about more than hiring and quotas, and goes beyond the HR department. Every employee can be an advocate for their company, and every employee has a network they can reach. Quotas simply don’t work when the pool in which you fish is already self-selecting, so companies need to find inventive and unexpected ways to bring in candidates.

This is all part of ensuring your employees represent your customers. Consumers are as diverse as our workforce should be, in order to innovate and ideate for them, a point that Lesley Miley took up at Twitter as VP Engineering, the only black engineer in a leadership position at the time, prior to leaving for Slack.

In 2014, Pew Research Center outlined Twitter’s user profile as 27 percent African American, 25 percent Hispanic Americans and 21 percent women. Yet only 3 percent of Engineering and Product employees at Twitter were African American or Hispanic and less than 15 percent were women. Miley argued that if the user base is not represented in the employee base, the product won’t fit the demand.

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) did a study on diversity and innovation and defined two aspects of diversity: inherent (traits you were born with such as gender and ethnicity) and acquired (traits you gain from experience, for instance working with certain demographics and living in other cultures). Two-dimensional (2D) diversity is where leaders of companies exhibit at least three inherent and at least three acquired diversity traits.

The study found that the employees at 2D companies are 70 percent likelier to report that the firm captured a new market. In the fast-moving tech industry, the risk of ignoring new ideas and missing new market opportunities could mean the difference between survival and collapse.

Diversity is a mindset; it takes a concerted effort to drive it through potential reticence, challenges and hurdles. It has to come from the top and encouraged throughout an organization because it takes determination to step outside the day-to-day demands of leading a company to look back in.

In “The View from the Cheap Seats,” Neil Gaiman tells the story of when he was invited to the first ever, state-sponsored science fiction convention in China in 2007. Intrigued, he asked what drove the turnaround in government from disapproving to encouraging Sci-Fi. A party official explained that while China is the best in the world at making phones, gadgets, the ideas for those products, the IP, come from elsewhere. They had toured North America, and asked people at Google, Microsoft, Apple a lot of questions. “We discovered that they all read science fiction when they were teenagers,” he said. “So we think maybe it’s a good thing.”

Whether it’s recruiting beyond our horizons or dreaming beyond our reality, the tech industry needs to think about diversity in the most diverse way possible. Championing diversity won’t be easy, but it will take you into new directions you didn’t expect.

—Ali Merifield is head of client services at Mirum.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

13679: Driving Miss Annie, Part 2.

Annie the Chicken Queen traded in her $5 Boneless Wing Bash ride for a new set of wheels to hype her $5 Flavor Favorites—and she even upgraded with a chauffeur. Guess Morgan Freeman wasn’t available.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

13678: HBCU FU.

Business Insider reported Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was greeted with boos while delivering commencement remarks at Bethune-Cookman University, an HBCU in Florida. Hey, maybe President Donald Trump was nearby at his Mar-a-Lago Club and could have stopped by to calm the crowd, as he’s “always had a great relationship with the Blacks.”

Betsy DeVos just spoke at a historically black university, and the crowd booed so loudly the college president threatened to stop graduation

By Abby Jackson

Betsy DeVos was met with raucous boos as she reached the lectern to deliver her commencement remarks at Bethune-Cookman University on Wednesday.

For nearly the entire time the secretary of education spoke, she was booed, shouted at, and met with calls of “Go home!” from students and audience members.

About two minutes into DeVos’ speech, the university’s president, Edison Jackson, stopped her to address the students disrupting it.

Jackson said degrees would be mailed to students if their behavior continued.

“Choose which way you want to go,” he said.

DeVos restarted her speech, but the threat went unheeded as boos picked up again. DeVos powered on, sticking to prepared remarks. She addressed some of the opposition to her speaking at the historically black university in Daytona Beach, Florida, asking for those critical of her to hear her out and voicing her support for historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs.

“We support you, and we will continue to support you,” she said.

DeVos released a statement after the speech addressing BCU graduates. “I was grateful for the opportunity to speak with and honor the graduates of Bethune-Cookman University…I have respect for all those who attended, including those who demonstrated their disagreement with me,” the statement read.

The weeks leading up to her speech were marked by vocal opposition from students, civil-rights organizations, and Florida education groups, who say she does not understand the history and significance of HBCUs.

On Tuesday, petitions were delivered to university leaders urging them to disinvite DeVos from the commencement ceremony.

“Secretary DeVos has no understanding of the importance, contributions, and significance of HBCUs,” said a Change.org petition signed by more than 8,000 people.

Both DeVos and the Trump administration have endeavored to engage HBCUs in conversations about higher education, meeting with leaders of HBCUs and voicing support for their contributions.

But their efforts have been marked by gaffes and uncertainty about the administration’s plans to help better serve the institutions.

After meeting with leaders of HBCUs in February, DeVos ignited controversy with a statement that called HBCUs “real pioneers when it comes to school choice.”

She implied that HBCUs and school vouchers, of which DeVos is a fierce supporter, similarly afforded students better options.

HBCUs “are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality,” she said. “Their success has shown that more options help students flourish.”

She failed to acknowledge that many HBCUs were created because black students could not attend white segregated schools. In other words, they weren’t providing better options — they were the only options for black students.

DeVos later posted a series of tweets clarifying the racist history that necessitated the emergence of HBCUs.

In a statement last week, President Donald Trump seemed to indicate that key funding for HBCUs might be unconstitutional and therefore scrapped. Experts saw his comments as a signal that certain funding for HBCUs was at risk. Trump later pledged his “unwavering support” for the schools.

13677: DDB Diversity Dookie.

A comment left for the previous post on the new DDB Chief People Officer read: “So it is your conclusion that because she is a white woman she necessarily isnt [sic] fit for the role? People are people.”

Wow, that’s a pretty inane inference. But just to clarify, this blog did not conclude new DDB Chief People Officer Britt Hayes’ White woman status necessarily makes her unfit for the role. Hell, it’s difficult to guess what the role even entails.

The appointment did, however, lead this blog to conclude the following:

• DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark is full of shit. Despite all the talk about “staying restless” and her company’s bold “ambition” to promote diversity, the woman habitually hires White people at every unequal opportunity. Clark makes Joe Isuzu look like Jesus.

• Omnicom President-CEO John Wren is full of shit. Despite being named a Pioneer of Diversity, the man continues to dodge accountability on inclusion. Wren makes Tommy Flanagan look like Abraham Lincoln.

• The entire scenario is full of shit. Clark and Wren have already professed their dedication to diverted diversity, pledging support for White women. The Chief People Officer announcement shows a willingness to fabricate fresh positions in order to elevate White women to executive suites. And if Hayes is overseeing diversity initiatives, what the devil is Omnicom SVP Chief Diversity Officer Tiffany R. Warren doing—besides running ADCOLOR? Never mind that Hayes last worked at Grey and JWT, the Sodom and Gomorrah of exclusivity. Additionally, while DDB has embraced the Chief Diversity Officer smokescreen in the past, the company website seems to focus on gender and LGBT in the Inclusion/Diversity section. Wait, there’s more. DDB New York boasts, “So what makes us different? Our people and how we think about your business. Our talent spans the globe and is diverse not only in skill, but in experience and spirit.” In short, DDB puts gender diversity, LGBT diversity, foreigners with visas diversity, diversity of thought, diversity of skill, diversity of experience (code for Old White Guys) and diversity of spirit ahead of racial and ethnic diversity.

Friday, May 12, 2017

13676: DDB CPO BS.

Adweek reported DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark hired the company’s first Chief People Officer—Britt Hayes—who just happens to be a White woman. Perhaps the title should really be Chief White People Officer. Prior to joining DDB, Hayes worked for other White advertising agencies. Her new role includes overseeing diversity initiatives. Based on the exclusivity at DDB, handling the diversity duties shouldn’t exceed 1% of her professional time.

DDB North America Names Its First Chief People Officer

Britt Hayes will report to CEO Wendy Clark

By Erik Oster

DDB North America hired Britt Hayes to fill the newly-created position of chief people officer.

In the role, Hayes will oversee talent and development programs, diversity initiatives and recruitment, working closely with leaders from the network’s 17 North American offices while reporting to DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark.

“At the very core of our business is people. Nothing works in our agencies, or in our industry for that matter, without talented people and the bright ideas and brilliant work they create,” Clark said in a statement. “Britt is a proven and accomplished business leader. Her ability to identify, nurture and develop talented people to create the best work of their careers is exactly what was so compelling about having Britt join us at DDB. I am genuinely delighted to welcome such a talented woman and leader to our executive team.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining DDB at such an exciting time,” Hayes added. “Wendy, Ari and the leadership team have such a clear vision for the modern agency model, and I’m honored to be part of building a team with so much momentum behind it.”

Hayes joins DDB from Grey Group, where she has spent a little over a year serving as executive director, creative management, following over five years with JWT as director of creative management and head of creative talent. She arrives at DDB with 18 years of related experience, and she was named on The Adweek 50 list of top influencers for 2012 while at JWT.

Hayes’ appointment follows the arrival of Ari Weiss as DDB North American chief creative officer in December and the announcement last month that Toygar Bazarkaya would join DDB’s dedicated McDonald’s unit, We Are Unlimited, as CCO beginning on May 15.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

13675: Commenting On AgencySpy.

Campaign presented a report titled, “9 anonymous comments about the death of AgencySpy anonymity,” detailing the decision to alter the commenting process at the blog. The trade publication was technically correct in noting “the death of AgencySpy anonymity” versus the death of the blog itself, which arguably started happening around 2008 as Mediabistro handed the editorial reins to mild-mannered morons like Matt Van Hoven and Kiran Aditham. Why, it got to the point where any available monkey could land an editor position. The next milestone spin in the death spiral involved AgencySpy being purchased in 2014 by Adweek’s parent company, leading to more devolution, dysfunction and demoralization.

The original AgencySpy USP was to provide a forum for commentary—the blog was fueled by user-generated content—with the actual posts essentially posing topics for discussion. It was a rant fest, where advertising people could call out bad behavior, vent about the demise of integrity in the field or just rip the industry’s poseurs and douchebags. AgencySpy hosted a fair amount of diversity-related debates, and the anonymity factor allowed the truly ignorant to freely express their conscious bias. Critics whined and former McCann Chairman Nina DiSesa even attributed a suicide to AgencySpy contributors—which might have been one of the most outrageous comments to ever appear at the blog.

But the party is officially over at AgencySpy. All that remains is for someone to call time of death.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

13674: In The Black.

Adweek reported: “McCann and Leo Burnett Win Black Cubes at ADC Awards…” So the two White advertising agencies now have more Black Cubes than Blacks in cubes.

13673: To Sir The Baptist With Love.

From Campaign…

Ad man turned rapper Sir the Baptist on what he learned at Leo Burnett

By I-Hsien Sherwood

The hip-hop star’s first album debuts May 12, but he learned to market his music in adland.

Sir the Baptist has opened for Beyoncé, won accolades from Jay-Z and performed in a coffin onstage at Lollapalooza. But just a few years ago, he was better known as William James Stokes, an ad man from the South Side of Chicago working on the McDonald’s account at Leo Burnett.

He realized the techniques he was using to promote other musicians would work for his own music as well. So he gave up his steady agency job to pursue his music career and started driving for Lyft to make ends meet, networking with the people he picked up and recording with equipment he kept under his seat.

After signing with Atlantic Records a year ago, he gave up driving other people around, but he returned to Lyft late last year with a song written for the ride sharing app’s branded short film, “June,” directed by John Kahrs of “Monsters Inc.” and “Toy Story 2.”

Sir the Baptist’s debut album “Saint or Sinner” from Atlantic Records drops May 12. Ahead of the premiere next week, he spoke with Campaign US about the influences he’s carried with him from his advertising days.

How did you get into advertising in the first place?

I’ve always had a knack for marketing and branding. That goes back to when I was a child helping my dad in the church or in the early branding of my artist career. But through some networking and introductions I got my first position in digital marketing at Leo Burnett.

What accounts did you work on?

I quickly transitioned to Artist & Brands, which was a partnership between McDonald’s, Leo Burnett and [music producer] Rodney Jerkins. This allowed me to work with McDonald’s and many other brands. This allowed me to work with McDonald’s and many other brands. One of the biggest projects that I worked on was implementing a digital jukebox in all McDonald’s wi-fi networks nationwide. This experience made me realized that I could replicate these kinds of ideas to my own music career.

Why did you decide to leave the advertising industry?

I wanted to invest in myself and put these ideas to build and better my career. I realized that I had a sound that wasn’t as conducive to work for other artists as myself, and so I decided to go all-in to push my career.

You ended up homeless and driving a car for Lyft afterward. Was being an ad man really worse than that?

I enjoyed my time in the ad world, but I always knew that I had a larger calling to be a preacher, as my father was in the church. Except my preaching applies to a larger group of people at music festivals, over the radio and beyond.

I wouldn’t say that the ad world was holding me back, but I did feel a sense of liberation when I had to make my music career work. Especially when I was driving Lyft and sleeping out of the back of my van.

Most agencies struggle to attract and keep talented people of color. Did that play a role in your departure?

I can’t say that race was a primary reason for leaving the ad world. But I will say that I was one of the few black creatives in the films that I worked in, and there was certainly a sense of inequality that exists in the advertising world.

Is there anything you learned in advertising that you use in your career as a musician?

Absolutely. I use a lot of the marketing, branding and ad ideas that I learned at Leo and Artist & Brands in my current music career. I loved working for McDonald’s. Implementing the digital jukebox on their wi-fi network and seeing millions of streams and downloads on their system really gave me the confidence to know that I can do the same for my artist career.

You recently wrote the song “Movin’” for a Lyft ad. What’s better, making ads or being in them?

What was great about Lyft is that I was able to score a section of their short film. So it was a mix of being featured in the film but also creating the score to fit the scene and what the company needed for that section.

More importantly, I have a very deep connection to the company. They helped me get through a time in my life to get to where I’m at now as a recording artist. And I was also able to perform at their 2016 Holiday Party in San Francisco and develop a strong relationship with their co-founder John Zimmer.

John the Baptist came to a bad end. Do you expect a similar fate?

We shall see! I am prepared for whatever the future holds for my fate. But I know that I have been sent here to change the culture and heal music and hip hop in a way never done before. That is my sole goal right now for 2017.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

13672: Cannes 43.5% Conference.

Advertising Age reported women will comprise 43.5% of the judges at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, a figure that has doubled over the past five years. DDB Worldwide North America President and CEO Wendy Clark was tapped to chair Glass Lions—an honor she undoubtedly earned by producing Mickey D’s campaigns that deserve an Ass Lion. No word on the number of racial and ethnic minorities among the judges. Hell, Fearless Girl has a better chance of being named a judge than any person of color.

Monday, May 08, 2017

13671: Diverted Diversity Not Diverse.

Business Insider presented, “The 30 most creative women in advertising”—a collection of creative females that shows diverted diversity is not very diverse.

13670: Hilltop View.

Campaign reported on 4As President and CEO Nancy Hill’s farewell address delivered at the 2017 Transformation Conference, where the outgoing leader offered accolades and affirmations to the advertising community. Stressing that the industry should not be branded by the “alleged bad behavior we read about in the headlines,” Hill declared, “We are better than that. You are better than that.” Okay, but how much better?

Hill admitted that when assuming her 4As role in 2008, “We were already behind in technology, we were already behind in media and, we were clearly behind in taking a leadership role in the growing discussion on diversity and gender equality.” But she countered the confessions by claiming, “We have taken a front-and-center position on diversity and gender equality. We have built a media practice that benefits all of our members and has allowed us to take a stance on issues as wide ranging as trust and transparency, measurement standards, privacy, fraud and ad blocking. As well as SAG/AFTRA negotiations & patent trolling. And, we have become digitally centered with a mobile-first approach on every new product we develop.”

Really? Even the statement about becoming “digitally centered with a mobile-first approach on every new product we develop” is debatable—simply attempt to navigate the 4As website on any mobile device, and it will underscore that most advertising people have as long a way to go with digital as they do with diversity.

And as diversity remains a major concern for this blog, MultiCultClassics will critique Hill’s contentions on the topic.

First of all, despite anything that follows in this post, MultiCultClassics salutes Hill for having attempted to bring about change in the area of diversity. Unfortunately, a trade organization does not have the power and authority to mandate—or for that matter, even influence—new industry practices, attitudes or behaviors. Regardless, Hill took on the challenges better than her predecessor, O. Burtch Drake—although that’s like saying Lloyd Christmas is smarter than Harry Dunne. In short, Hill cannot force anyone to change, especially when the people who must change have steadfastly refused to do so for over 60 years.

Hill believes, “We have taken a front-and-center position on diversity and gender equality.” Around 2008, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, Sanford Moore and Cyrus Mehri were speaking out, condemning the discriminatory conditions that persist on Madison Avenue. Today, the protestors are virtually invisible, as White women have leapfrogged over racial and ethnic minorities to take a front-and-center position in the diversity discussion. The 4As jumped on the gender bandwagon with the rest of the industry too.

Since 2008, the advertising industry has made little progress in the area of diversity, and it’s actually regressed with certain segments. There’s little evidence of anything being better—except perhaps the smokescreens and shields created to conceal the truth.

Nancy Hill’s farewell: ‘We’re better than that’

By Douglas Quenqua

In a tearful address, the departing 4A’s president urged the agency community to look beyond salacious headlines and focus on progress.

Nancy Hill, the departing president of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, delivered a tearful farewell address at the group’s 2017 Transformation conference in Los Angeles on Monday, assuring the agency community that it is not defined by the “alleged bad behavior we read about in the headlines.”

“We are better than that,” she said to applause. “You are better than that.”

Which is not to say Hill doubted the behavior exists.

“I know that sexual harassment happens,” she said. “I know that racism and sexism both exist. I know that there are probably some bad actors out there that maybe aren’t as forthright with their clients as we’d like them to be.”

But the agency world has much to be proud of, including “talent that creates work that moves brands, moves markets and moves perceptions,” and “work that influences culture, shapes the conversations and changes lives,” she said.

Hill, who was elected president in 2008, has overseen a tumultuous era in the agency business that’s included the Great Recession, existential challenges to the agency business model, a number of high-profile sexual harassment scandals, the erosion of trust between agencies and brands, and accusations of dirty dealing among media agencies.

But rather than taking the tough love approach, as she did at least year’s conference, Hill used her opening remarks on Monday to reminisce about her journey in the industry and encourage its members to focus on the progress they’ve made.

“Thirty-five years ago, when I started as a traffic coordinate at W.B. Doner in Baltimore, I would have never, ever imagined myself up on this stage in front of all of you,” Hill began, pausing midway to joke about the tears she was already shedding.

“The odds on when this was going to happen were not this early,” she said.

Though the 4A’s faced intimidating challenges when she took the job in 2008—“We were already behind in technology, we were already behind in media and, we were clearly behind in taking a leadership role in the growing discussion on diversity and gender equality”—the organization and its members have come a long way in addressing them, said Hill.

“We have taken a front-and-center position on diversity and gender equality,” she said. “We have built a media practice that benefits all of our members and has allowed us to take a stance on issues as wide ranging as trust and transparency, measurement standards, privacy, fraud and ad blocking. As well as SAG/AFTRA negotiations & patent trolling. And, we have become digitally centered with a mobile-first approach on every new product we develop.”

Marla Kaplowitz, CEO of MEC North America, will assume the presidency when Hill steps down in June.

Before taking the position in 2008, Hill served as CEO of Lowe New York and EVP and managing director for BBDO New York after working at Doner, TBWA/Chiat/Day and Goldberg Moser O’Neill, which became Hill Holiday in 2001.

Hill plans to consult and spend more time in Ecuador, where she volunteers and teaches, after she steps down in June.

“Thank you for letting me represent you for just a little while,” Hill said on Monday. “It’s been an honor and a privilege. Thank you.”

Kaplowitz is slated to take the stage at Transformation later on Monday, when she will share her vision for the future of the 4A’s in an interview with Bill Koenigsberg, Chairman of the 4A’s Board of Directors and President, CEO and Founder of Horizon Media.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

13669: All The News That’s Shit To Print.

India continues to emulate Brazil with its nonsense advertising—and this campaign for Asianet News qualifies as fake news.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

13668: Death Spiral Acceleration.

AgencySpy posted on a memo from SapientRazorfish CEO Alan Wexler explaining the latest C-Suite evictions and structural erections.

Here’s an excerpt:

Effective immediately, we are simplifying the structure of our organization by combining our Practice teams with SapientRazorfish’s Transformation Acceleration Team, which was recently created to identify transformation opportunities and shape digital enterprise capabilities needed to successfully execute against our strategy. This combination will create a tighter connection between our ability to shape the front-end of our business and deliver on the transformational outcomes for our clients at the speed they require by allowing greater access to our offering and digital business transformation experts. Adrian Slobin will lead the Transformation Acceleration Team and Practices that align to it.

Based on this new structure, we have come to a mutual agreement with Shannon Denton and he will be leaving the organization. He has led Razorfish through extraordinary change over the last eighteen years, with his passion for innovation always ensuring his team and organization stayed far in front of the competition. We wish him great success in his next venture.

Well, it’s a safe bet that Denton’s next venture won’t be as fucked-up as the psycho ward he’s leaving. At least he’ll be relieved of all the garbled gobbledygook and looney levels at SapientRazorfish. Let the transformation—and death spiral—acceleration begin!

Friday, May 05, 2017

13667: The Hypocrisy Of DNA.

Prince Ea presents a compelling take on the true importance of race via “The Poetry of DNA” for MyHeritageDNA. However, the message was hatched by Berlin Cameron, a White advertising agency whose leadership underscores that race does matter in adland.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

13666: Printing Scam Ads…?

Is India becoming the next Brazil, in terms of generating scam-like ads? Why would a local printer see value in producing a campaign featuring Hitler?