The ESPN decision to pull broadcaster Robert Lee from handling a University of Virginia football game in Charlottesville sparked lively debate for sure. But no worries—the network is bound to rebound after choosing to replace White advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy with White advertising agency Droga5. Let the hypocritical and patronizing games begin!
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Campaign published a perspective from Spotify Global Head of Partner Solutions Danielle Lee, who declared, “To change advertising, you must begin with the people.” Lee actually underscores the greatest challenge to diversity—i.e., change in the advertising industry demands staffing revisions. Which means lots of people currently holding positions must be replaced, unless the overall number of available jobs dramatically increases. Given that the opposite appears to be true—i.e., the job market is shrinking—expect to see even greater efforts by the existing exclusive majority to defend their status by any means necessary.
To change advertising, you must begin with the people
By Danielle Lee
Spotify’s global head of partner solutions believes that brands need to change their input in order to affect their output.
I am a devoted mom, an advertising executive, a Drake fan, an avid runner, a wannabe interior designer—and a black woman.
All of those labels define me at any given moment more than my basic demographic profile online. When I see advertising that reflects those interests and introduces new information or helpful products, I’m intrigued, engaged even.
Yet more often than not, ad creative and targeting appears to be based on reaching a woman of a certain age, of a certain ethnicity who lives in a certain area, using a certain device—without leveraging deeper insights to demonstrate an understanding of my experience.
Once in a while it works, but usually I receive ads that don’t match my interests or needs at all. The communication is not authentic. It’s frequently almost tone deaf.
We all know that authenticity in advertising is essential to driving impact. People-based marketing is a meaningful step forward on a strategic level. As an industry, we’re moving beyond targeting only by cookies and devices and looking more holistically at understanding the person.
With streaming data, we have access to a rich and textured data set that enables a much deeper understanding than ever before. As people stream music in more moments throughout the day, we’re learning much more about their moods, mindsets and behaviors over time.
When we know more about people’s passions, the brief or target audience transcends “reach Hispanic A18-39 on mobile.” It becomes “reach business owners during their commute who are obsessed with technology” or “find moms while they’re working out who want healthy snack options.” Imagine all the creative opportunities born from briefs that are informed by contextual insights.
People-based marketing is only the beginning. There’s another transformation that we, as an industry, need to make. Now that we understand and can identify audiences, we need the right creative. And to nail the creative messaging, we have to make sure the right people have a seat at the table.
A diverse team brings varied experiences and points of view to the conversation which shine through in the creative. Without those diverse voices, you squander the opportunity to connect in a real way, an authentic way that drives brand value and outcomes.
This year, I believe the diversity conversation has moved from talk to real action for the first time in a while. Creatives and marketers seeking inspiration are boldly taking on some heavy issues that plague our communities and the advertising industry and threaten creativity.
The year 2017 has also been marked by ads and content that highlight inclusion and multicultural harmony like AirBnB’s Super Bowl Spot and Spotify’s “I’m with the Banned.” We’re collectively recognizing that diversity isn’t a buzzword; it is a business imperative.
When brands understand how to connect with their consumers, they win big across the board. In order to get there, we need to have diverse teams and more people of color in leadership positions. We need to take advantage of the abounding technological advances, but not at the expense of cultural connection. Brands can’t simply preach multi-cultural narratives; we have to live them from the inside out.
At Cannes this summer, it was refreshing to look around and see people of all genders, colors and backgrounds discussing their experiences and sharing ideas—even Jesse Jackson was there to champion our industry.
“Advertising over the years has helped to push boundaries and knock down walls,” he said. “Topics such as interracial and same-sex marriage have been brought to the forefront of the social consciousness in no small measure through their depiction in advertising.”
It’s clear that we have more work to do. Let’s get after it. The truth is we can’t afford not to.
Danielle Lee is Spotify’s global head of partner solutions.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Campaign reported Mindshare promoted Nilufar Fowler to Worldwide Central CEO. Not sure about Fowler’s racial/ethnic origin, but she appears to be more interested in diverted diversity than true diversity. Whatever. Mindshare undoubtedly checked its minority quota box twice with Fowler’s elevation—the new leaders is a 1) female 2) of color—even though she was already on staff.
Mindshare promotes Fowler to worldwide central CEO
Mindshare has promoted its global lead on Unilever, Nilufar Fowler, to Worldwide Central chief executive at the Group M agency, replacing Marco Rimini.
By Omar Oakes
Fowler succeeds Marco Rimini, who has moved into the newly-created role of chief development officer, reporting to global chief executive Nick Emery.
As chief executive of Mindshare Worldwide Central she will now be responsible for running the agency’s global client teams and also reports to Emery.
Mindshare has also created Rimini’s new role to allow him to “drive core differentiating products”, such as Shop+, its bespoke service for brands on Amazon, and the agency’s global Fast initiative (Future Adaptive Specialist Team).
Rimini, who joined the agency 11 years ago from J Walter Thompson, has been tasked with working with regional Mindshare chief executives and global client leaders to support them so the agency can better become “adaptive marketing partners” that clients want.
Fowler has been replaced as global client leader for Team Unilever by Ailsa Lochrie, who was EMEA chief operating officer.
Lochrie will now be responsible for WPP’s second biggest client account. Last month Unilever announced its marketing budget was likely up be up year on year after a decline in spend last year, the analyst Liberum reported.
As EMEA chief operating officer, Lochrie was working in a coordination role alongside Helen McRae, the Western Europe chair who is also UK chief executive. Lochrie’s replacement has not yet been chosen.
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
The Chinese office of a White advertising agency owned by a Japanese holding company produced this campaign for Playboy condoms that would never have been approved in the U.S. Now that’s diversity in action!
Advertising Age reported that Hyatt Hotels celebrated “50 years of inclusivity dating back to the chain’s Hyatt Regency Atlanta hotel, which opened its doors to civil rights leaders in 1967.” According to Ad Age, the hotel’s marketing team considered not releasing the already-produced video after the events in Charlottesville, Virginia. However, it appears little consideration was given to the hypocrisy of partnering on the piece with MullenLowe, a White advertising agency whose leadership doesn’t appear to be too welcoming to minorities. Mullen was founded in 1970, so it would be unfair to speculate if civil rights leaders in 1967 would have encountered open doors at the agency. On the other hand, Lowe was founded in 1952; hence, it’s safe to say the place would have slammed shut its doors to civil rights leaders in 1967. Oh, and the currently combined MullenLowe is part of the IPG network, where feigned commitment to diversity and inclusion is as customary as a mint on the pillow.
Monday, August 21, 2017
Campaign published witless words from Sue Unerman—sporting an upgraded title of MediaCom Chief Transformation Officer—who declared, “Facebook and other media must make room for diversity of thought.” Um, Facebook has enough trouble just dealing with regular diversity. Unerman should focus on her true interest of diverted diversity versus whatever she sought to accomplish in her silly essay. The CTO did make a couple of comments worth examining:
There used to be a poster in MediaCom’s old office which I am thinking of re-issuing. It showed dogs and cats and mice working productively together with the slogan: “I hate you; you’re hired”. Its intention was to point out that diversity of opinion makes you stronger and that a good argument with a thesis, antithesis and synthesis, gets you better decisions…
Sure, MediaCom loves diversity of opinion, but its commitment to true diversity is questionable, as a peek at the company’s Global Leaders and Executive Committee shows a pretty exclusive breed of dogs, cats and mice. “I hate you; you’re hired” appears to be only half true for racial and ethnic minorities (the first half, to clarify for any clueless readers).
For a stronger, more balanced society, and for a stronger, more successful workplace, we need to encourage not just diversity of gender and personal attributes, but also diversity of thought.
Is “personal attributes” the new catch-all phrase for anyone who isn’t primarily a White man or White woman? If so, it’s a safe bet that Unerman and her MediaCom pals think diversity of thought trumps personal attributes.
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Friday, August 18, 2017
AgencySpy posted a memo from Hill Holliday Chairwoman and CEO Karen Kaplan, who joined IPG CEO Michael Roth in commenting on the racism exposed at Charlottesville, Virginia. Hill Holliday, incidentally, is part of the IPG network of White advertising agencies. Anyway, here is Kaplan’s heartfelt statement to her minions:
The events in Charlottesville and the political aftermath of the last several days have left many of us stunned, shaken and saddened.
As Americans, we enjoy different political views, and we approach the world from many perspectives. But when the line has been crossed between right and wrong, between discourse and hatred, we must stand up. There is no place in this country for Neo-Nazis, the KKK, white supremacists or any other ideological hate group that uses discrimination and violence as a path to power. There is no “side” in this, except the right one.
Hill Holliday is a place of inclusion and respect, and we stand firm together against any kind of racism, hatred, intolerance or discrimination. Our country may feel divided at times, but our family should not.
We stand unequivocally with the Chairman and CEO of IPG, Michael Roth: “This isn’t a partisan or political issue, it’s an issue of basic humanity, and standing up for what is right at a particularly difficult moment. We are counting on all of you to do that, by showing respect for our differences, and living up to our commitment to fairness and inclusion.”
If you would like to talk to senior leadership, start a discussion, or make your voice heard, we are here. My door is always open. And finally, please stay safe if you are participating in any protest events. Let’s take care of each other, and defend the values that our company and this country stand for: liberty, justice, and equal rights for all.
To call Hill Holliday “a place of inclusion and respect” where employees “stand firm together against any kind of racism, hatred, intolerance or discrimination” is pretty silly—especially when a peek at the agency’s leadership shows a standard Caucasian clan. Oh, the shop likely boasts tremendous diverted diversity and diversity of thought. And Kaplan has mounted a soapbox before to promote equal pay for White women in the field—openly acknowledging things are much worse for women of color. Yet she also admitted it’s easy to “game the system when you report diversity numbers.” So any talk of inclusion and respect at Hill Holliday should be taken with a big grain of salt. In a humongous mountain of salt. Where there are probably very few specks of pepper.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Adweek reported: “[President Donald] Trump Shuts Down Manufacturing Council After More CEOs Resign in Protest.” Now Trump will have more time to DEFEND NEO-NAZIS AND WHITE SUPREMACISTS! But seriously, shutting down a council after members are hauling ass to get out is like firing the CEO of a White advertising agency caught displaying racist behavior about three months after the incident occurred—then telling the press you took immediate action to address the situation.
The 2017 inductees of The One Club Creative Hall of Fame includes Tom Burrell. The One Club added a blurb that reads:
The iconic advertising pioneer whose illustrious career transformed both the way people of color were portrayed in communications, as well as their roles within the industry itself. It’s a never-ending mission, but one with a defined starting line that he helped create.
With all due respect to Burrell, the statement isn’t accurate. While the iconic advertising pioneer certainly helped transform how Blacks were depicted in advertising, he was preceded by others in the field. The statement about transforming “their roles within the industry itself” is also fuzzy. Burrell’s agency served—and continues to serve—as a launching pad/stepping stone for many Blacks in advertising, but given the diminishing numbers, it’s tough to define any transformative phenomenon.
On the flipside, to recognize the plight of Blacks in advertising as “a never-ending mission” is factually correct. Sobering too, despite Leo Burnett’s prediction that the Promised Land is a mere 66 years away.
To be clear, Burrell’s induction to The One Club Creative Hall of Fame is a well-deserved honor. That he appears to be the only minority in the rare company is a tad disturbing.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Adweek reported VML created a new position—Director of Inclusion and Cultural Resonance—and
delegated diversity promoted a social media staffer to the role. Not sure what “Cultural Resonance” means. To date, the White advertising agency has displayed resounding cultural cluelessness. Hopefully, the fresh leader will fare better than the standard Chief Diversity Officer.
VML Now Has a Director of Inclusion and Cultural Resonance to Address Diversity
God-is Rivera takes on a new role
By Katie Richards
VML announced today that it is promoting God-is Rivera to a new position at the agency: director of inclusion and cultural resonance.
In the new role Rivera will be tasked with energizing the agency’s diversity and inclusion practices across the board, as a member of the HR team. She will report to Ronnie Felder, managing director of human resources, but will also continue to work with clients.
“I am so extremely excited to begin in this new position,” Rivera said. “I am proud to see the level of commitment that VML displays when it comes to the important mission of inclusion and diversity, and I am honored to have the opportunity to further define our voice in this important and necessary space.”
Rivera joined the agency’s social media practice back in 2016 and, according to global CEO Jon Cook, has made an impact when it comes to diversity and inclusion since she joined the agency.
“It became clear that we needed to formalize and expand this as a new, official role to truly continue the momentum and needed progress we want as an agency in this critical aspect of our culture and capability,” Cook said in a statement.
Some of her main focuses moving forward will be to create an inclusive environment for all employees within VML as well as taking a closer look at VML’s hiring practices to boost diverse hires across the agency.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
AgencySpy posted a memo from IPG CEO Michael Roth, who condemned the racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Roth failed to receive a Twitter spanking from President Donald Trump, probably because Roth doesn’t register a mini-blip on Trump’s radar. Hell, the moron only earned a post on AgencySpy—and a probable ADCOLOR® Award nomination. Roth will undoubtedly copy the memo into the holding company’s gobbledygook on diversity and inclusion. Yet given the historical cultural cluelessness at IPG, Roth speaking out against racism is like, well, a White supremacist speaking out against racism.
Bloomberg News reported Merck CEO Ken Frazier bailed out of President Donald Trump’s Council of Manufacturing Executives to protest Trump’s slow response in condemning the racism behind the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump immediately dissed Frazier via Twitter by declaring, “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” Classy. If Trump ever resigns the presidency, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF HOTEL & CASINO PRICES!
Merck CEO Quits Trump Council Over Response to Charlottesville Violence
Merck & Co.’s CEO resigned from President Donald Trump’s council of manufacturing executives Monday, saying “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values” by rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy. He was almost immediately attacked by Trump on Twitter.
Following a weekend of violence in Virginia involving white supremacist groups that Trump has been criticized for not taking a forceful enough stand against, Merck CEO Ken Frazier said “as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
Less than an hour later, Trump tweeted in response, “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”
The council has included top executives from Boeing Co., Dow Chemical Co. and Johnson & Johnson. Frazier’s resignation from the group—the latest CEO to quit one of Trump’s high-profile executive advisory groups—comes after a weekend of violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, following demonstrations by white supremacists that resulted in one death.
Other brands have tangled with the president, his supporters or his opponents, with a variety of results.
Monday, August 14, 2017
Adweek published a story displaying cultural cluelessness on the trade journal’s part—and discriminatory exclusivity on the advertising industry’s part. The article headline read: “This Agency Proved You Don’t Have to Be a Spanish-Language Shop to Work Across Cultural Lines.” So the typical Latino agency is now being labeled a “Spanish-Language Shop”—as if dialect is the primary distinguisher for multicultural marketing enterprises? Wonder what Adweek would call a Black agency. Urban-Slang Shop? Jive Firm? Ebonics Agency? And why is it newsworthy that a White advertising agency “proved” it’s possible to do work ordinarily assigned to non-White shops? Hell, it’s becoming increasingly common for White advertising agencies to snatch the crumbs from minority advertising agencies. Grey, BBDO, 72andSunny, The Richards Group, GSD&M and Saatchi & Saatchi are just a few of the White advertising agencies posing as multicultural marketers. In the Adweek article, Mistress is the agency that utilized on-staff minorities to produce a campaign for Univision. The Los Angeles-based shop boasts a staff that is “international” and “over-indexing on Spanish speakers,” according to Mistress Partner Christian Jacobsen. “Everybody has to operate in ways that reflect the consumer. America’s changing.” Yes, but the advertising industry is not changing—at least not in regards to diversity. Agencies like Mistress, however, are over-indexing on bullshit speakers.
This Agency Proved You Don’t Have to Be a Spanish-Language Shop to Work Across Cultural Lines
Mistress calls on bilingual creative talent for Univision promo
By T.L. Stanley
Univision wanted to make a big splash with its ripped-from-the-headlines series, El Chapo, about the rise and ultimate fall of one of the world’s most notorious drug lords.
As part of the promo push, network execs envisioned an extensive millennial-targeted digital campaign to hype the scripted drama about Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, a rags-to-riches cartel king so infamous he was profiled in Rolling Stone by actor Sean Penn.
The caveat for agency Mistress was that the work had to be solely in Spanish.
Los Angeles-based Mistress, which doesn’t market itself as a multicultural agency, drew from its bilingual creative team to come up with more than 200 pieces of content for a social media effort that eventually logged 28 million impressions and nearly 4 million video views. It mixed folklore, memes and modern imagery, using lucha libre fighting, marionettes, news footage and narco tombs to brand the Mexico-set series and engage young mobile-centric audiences.
Mistress is one of many agencies working across cultural lines, like Anomaly on Telemundo’s 2018 FIFA World Cup account, showing “there’s no longer a wall” between general market and specialty firms, said partner Christian Jacobsen, who describes the Mistress workforce as “international” while “over-indexing on Spanish speakers.”
“Everybody has to operate in ways that reflect the consumer,” Jacobsen said. “America’s changing.”
Agencies can reap the rewards when they change with it, as 180LA demonstrated by winning two Grand Prix at Cannes recently for its “Boost Your Voice” campaign. The shop credited its diverse employee pool, specifically point person Karla Burgos, for the program that turned Boost Mobile retail locations into polling places for the 2016 election.
Y&R North America, Huge and TBWA\Chiat\Day, among others, have recently hired or advanced Latino execs to chief creative and ecd roles, marking at least a few diversity gains in advertising.
Mistress’s creative director on the El Chapo project was Lixaida Lorenzo, a native of Puerto Rico and a vet of Hispanic-focused agencies, whose team recreated a drug trafficker’s mausoleum for an Easter egg-filled Facebook 360 video and hired artist Dan Payes to make customized marionettes of the show’s gangsters. The puppets starred in videos, viewed more than 1 million times, pulling strings and being manipulated, an overarching theme of the series.
“We wanted to tap into that rich Mexican storytelling history,” said Scott Harris, partner and ecd. “And everything needed to be vetted and authentic.”
Univision considered a number of agencies for its nascent franchise (three seasons of El Chapo are planned), and execs said they didn’t want to limit themselves or take an expected marketing approach.
“We knew there was an opportunity to bring in new audiences,” said Silvia Garcia, svp, the net’s media planning and multiplatform strategy. Mistress “understood that this series would appeal across languages and cultures,” and its work “built out the world of El Chapo in a way that helped drive ratings, awareness and a deeper connection with our audience.”
Among the El Chapo assets on Instagram and other platforms: portraits of the main characters made out of money, gun smoke and simulated blood spatter, and “lucha de la droga” posters pitting warring villains against each other, Mexican wrestling-style.
The real-life Guzman, a twice-escaped prisoner, was re-arrested in 2016. His extradition to the U.S. early this year ahead of the show’s April launch gave the Mistress team even more fodder, and they used developments in his case and news footage for up-to-the-minute videos on YouTube and Facebook.
Original content, not clips from the series, drove the campaign and set it apart from being “purely promotional,” Jacobsen said. “It extended the mythology.”
It also broadened the campaign’s reach to English speakers, who made up about 40 percent of the Twitter engagement, execs said, noting the fluidity in today’s TV fans, including second-generation American-born viewers and their comfort level with both English and Spanish.
The nine-episode run of El Chapo, a raw and often cheeky first-time collaboration between Univision’s Story House Entertainment and Netflix, pulled the broadcaster out of a ratings slump, with its finale reaching 3.5 million viewers. It’s now airing with English subtitles on Netflix, and the second season debuts on Univision in September.
Sunday, August 13, 2017
Campaign published diverted diversity dopiness from Saatchi & Saatchi Chairwoman and Global Chief Creative Officer Kate Stanners, who blathered on about how integrating White women into juries makes a big difference at award shows. Of course, she didn’t think to apply the same notion to truly diversify matters with racial and ethnic minorities—at award shows and advertising agencies. Bringing equality for White men and White women is more than enough, thank you very much.
Finding our voice on a jury
By Kate Stanners
Issue of judging as a woman and what difference better gender-balanced juries make to the process and decisions.
I first sat on a jury at Cannes 12 years ago. Thinking back on it now, it’s interesting to remember just how intimidating it was. Myself and Susan Cheadle, who I didn’t really know at the time, were the only two women on a jury of 21. I went from having never even been to Cannes, to sitting on a film jury full of huge egos who were a lot more experienced than me, and it was daunting. I found it really difficult to find my voice in that environment and the only way I got through was by mentally preparing everything I was going to say and by throwing myself completely into the fight.
Cut to 2015 when I went back to Cannes and was asked to judge on the exact same jury. By that time, I was the most senior woman in the room but there was still only two or three women on a jury of 22. It was a different experience and I can remember there being a few pieces of work that I really fought for, one of them being the Magnum film, “Be true to your pleasure”, that starred several transgender people. I thought it was incredibly powerful and beautiful.
Another woman on the jury was the chief creative officer of Deutsch New York, and it became clear that she and I both liked the same things. I realised then, although still not in its entirety, that gender was the discerning factor at play. Although, if I’m honest, it wasn’t until this year that it really dawned on me. I judged Titanium and Integrated this year and for the first time the gender lens was finally balanced. We were a jury of 50/50 men and women and due to the very nature of Titanium we watched a lot of creative work that polarized the group.
One defining example was the “Kenzo World” film. The men in the room agreed the piece was an amazing film, but it resonated on a much deeper level and in an utterly different way with the women. It said to us — you can be kooky, you don’t just have to be beautiful, you can also be a bit mental and mad. I’ve always been told by clients that women don’t like to look stupid in films but actually it turns out, woman can be shown to be fun and also silly and still be aspirational.
Not surprisingly, “Fearless Girl” was unanimous but again the women felt something about what it actually did and meant. On a professional basis we could all applaud how it had impacted the world, but the emotive nature of the idea that it was this little strong girl, spoke to us more profoundly.
In the end, we all laughed about the women on the jury being the loudest voices in the room. The process for me was defining because the room told us that it was ok to be a women and to say “I like this because it talks to me” when previously, I hadn’t validated it as being a good enough reason to. It was truly liberating to be in that environment. All the jurors came from different cultural backgrounds, different jobs, each one representing different experiences and rung on the career ladder. It was a melting pot and layered upon all that, it was still ok to play a gender card where previously it hadn’t. Well done to Cannes for in the majority getting 40%-50% juries.
The truth is men and women do see things differently — and that’s only a good thing. However, what it does mean is that women haven’t been able to express ourselves fully as an industry because juries haven’t been well enough represented, and add to this the unconscious bias that the work is selected on, you quickly start to see the problem. Historically male juries have selected and awarded work through a male bias. The work we’ve traditionally put out there, put as our best in class, has unwittingly had a gender bias. It has had a gender lens filter on it.
I’ve realised it’s about bringing what is truly unique to the table and part of that is your gender, as well as your age, where you live and how you’ve been brought up — it’s the total sum of you. As men or women we bring logic, rationale and reason as well as emotion, intuition and feeling. This is what our business is about. Most of us have got to where we are by marrying those together — it’s science and art. The balance is about addressing an unbalance.
Kate Stanners is the chairwoman and global chief creative officer of Saatchi & Saatchi
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Friday, August 11, 2017
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Wednesday, August 09, 2017
At The Root, Damon Young wrote a perspective titled, “Procter & Gamble Release an Ad About ‘the Talk,’ and White People Respond With the Wettest, Saltiest, Stupidest White Tears Ever”—discussing “The Talk” and the online talk it inspired.
Tuesday, August 08, 2017
This Popeyes Hot Honey Crunch Tenders commercial could have been a perfect opportunity to team up Annie the Chicken Queen and the Post Honey Bunches of Oats Lady—plus, throw in BuzzBee from Honey Nuts Cheerios to complete the terrible trifecta.
Monday, August 07, 2017
Adweek reported on Jopwell, a New York-based online careers platform that helps major companies connect with diverse talent. To date, Jopwell has worked with Condé Nast, the NBA, Pinterest, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and BlackRock. Probably not on the Jopwell client roster: any White advertising agencies.
This Startup Is Helping Condé Nast, Pinterest, the NBA and Other Brands Find Diverse Job Candidates
Jopwell helps major companies discover new talent
By Christopher Heine
Jopwell has been around less than two years, but it’s already being used by the likes of Condé Nast, the NBA, Pinterest, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and BlackRock. What’s the draw? Filling a cross-category industry void in helping large companies figure out how to become more diverse—that’s what.
The New York-based online careers platform specializes in helping black, Latino and Native American college students and professionals find new employers. And perhaps more importantly, Jopwell has helped 70-plus major companies find more diverse talent tens of thousands of times in recent months. The service is free for candidates and charges employers an undisclosed fee to recruit from the site.
There’s a dose of smart tech at play, too. Jopwell’s algorithms analyze a candidate’s resume, skills, past experiences and preferences. This allows Jopwell to suss out qualified applicants for hiring managers, who then can have access to them by searching the platform for candidate profiles.
D.A. Abrams, the USTA’s chief diversity officer, lauded the service.
“With so many career opportunities out there, we can only achieve our mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis by reaching out to the best diverse talent,” he said.
Jopwell, which was part of the Y Combinator startups program, has raised $4 million to date. When considering the ad industry’s problems with diverse hiring, it’s easy to see why investors are intrigued by the opportunity Jopwell appears to represent. According to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, 74 percent of 4A’s members surveyed last fall felt agencies were either mediocre or worse when it comes to hiring a diverse group of employees.
And take the example of recent Fashion Institute of Technology graduate Alysia Lewis, who felt the need to pitch her employment availability via Facebook in a provocative way just to get ad companies’ attention. Her promo proclaimed: “Your Agency Hates Black Women.”
“Agencies are very white, but I didn’t mean to tell them, ‘You’re a terrible person,’” Lewis told Adweek senior editor Patrick Coffee. “It’s more of a joke, like, ‘You’re awful, sure, but you’d be 10 percent less awful if you hired me.’”
Campaign posted a perspective from Ogilvy Worldwide Chief Communications Officer Jennifer Risi and Ogilvy Worldwide Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Donna Pedro, who hyped the faux commitment to diversity at their company before extending the hype to ColorComm, an independent initiative sponsored by Ogilvy and other White advertising entities. ColorComm supports women of color in marketing and communications, a marginalized group that continues to be dissed while the diverted diversity bandwagon favors White women in the field. Risi and Pedro wrote, “As agencies, we must remind ourselves that a diverse workforce is the core of effective marketing communications and a critical component of our business.” Question: Why must we “remind ourselves” about diversity? Answer: Because White advertising agencies seem to keep “forgetting” about it. IPG is joining the ColorComm party too. However, a true indicator of the sincerity of Ogilvy and IPG would be to compare the sponsorship dollars for ColorComm versus, say, The 3% Conference. Is ColorComm receiving crumbs-like contributions? Risi and Pedro also declared, “Diversity is the lifeblood of creativity at any agency.” Um, for that statement to become true, the typical advertising agency would have to undergo a complete transfusion.
Modernizing Madison Avenue: The importance of agency diversity
By Donna Pedro and Jennifer Risi
As technology and globalization continue to change the corporate landscape, the pursuit of diversity in the agency world is more important than ever to drive creativity and innovation.
If we’re really honest with ourselves, the ad industry itself has been out of sync with the accelerated diversification of the outside world. It was just last year when the American Association of Advertising Agencies released survey data showing that a whopping 74 percent of 4A’s members felt agencies were either mediocre or worse when it came to hiring a diverse group of employees.
Over the years, more and more agencies have allocated resources entirely dedicated to ensuring their talent pool is more representative of the increasingly diverse client base we service. Taking a step back, we can see how this shift in the industry’s foundation is now beginning to have a real effect on the culture at agencies across the spectrum. What’s more, we are starting to see it reflected in the client work.
As the industry continues to evolve, it is imperative that we remain committed to living the values that will help us deliver quality results for our diverse range of clients—not by just understanding what diversity means in theory, but by continuing to institute changes that we can actually see.
We know that to truly affect change, it must begin at the top. It’s up to the agency CEOs to set the tone for diversity and inclusion and for senior leadership to help convert ideas into actions. Ogilvy Worldwide Chairman and CEO John Seifert has made diversity and inclusion a core tenet of his transformation strategy for the agency, and women hold nearly half of the positions in the newly appointed Ogilvy USA leadership team. We need even more agencies to take bold actions like this if we want to continue to move the needle beyond just hearing about diversity and inclusion in meetings or reading about it in memos.
And while the agency world has come a long way when it comes to diversity and inclusion, we have a lot more work to do. That’s why it’s so important for agencies to continue partnering with organizations like ColorComm. Its objectives provide a good benchmark that agencies can use to guide us toward the industry’s trajectory—establishing agencies as diverse as the clients we work with and the brands that they represent.
ColorComm, an organization that convenes and supports women of color in marketing and communications, begins its annual conference in Miami today. At the event, Ogilvy will once again open the conference and lead a panel, focusing on the changing landscape of the consumer world, driven largely by globalization, increased fragmentation and digital transformation—and what that means for agencies and their clients today.
It’s that kind of assessment that produced fertile ground for Founder and President Lauren Wesley Wilson to launch ColorComm in 2011. “You really need a support system when you’re navigating your way through communications and it doesn’t happen formally,” she told Huffington Post’s Black Voices. “You kind of just have to figure out how to get there on your own.”
As agencies, we must remind ourselves that a diverse workforce is the core of effective marketing communications and a critical component of our business. It’s vital that we provide the support that Wilson describes if we want to evolve as an industry that keeps pace with our clients and their brands.
By working closely with organizations like ColorComm, we can help to set the global agenda and challenge the entire industry to recruit and retain a mix of talent at every level. Diversity is the lifeblood of creativity at any agency. And when we really get down to it, it’s the clients and their brands that have the most to gain by ensuring agencies are truly reflective of today’s modern marketing landscape.
David Ogilvy understood early on why it was critical to have a diverse workforce and pioneered an inclusive culture that has remained a constant virtue at the agency. We are honored to carry on his legacy of leadership and serve as an example toward broader industry transformation.
The world has changed. Our industry has changed. As our own agency continues to transform, our goal is to continue to lead by example—igniting an “inclusion revolution” that reverberates throughout the entire agency world.
Jennifer Risi is Ogilvy’s Worldwide Chief Communications Officer and Donna Pedro is Ogilvy’s Worldwide Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer