Friday, December 14, 2018

14415: Unconscious Bias On Black Consciousness Day…?

Leave it to an advertising agency in Brazil to commemorate Black Consciousness Day with a campaign that probably makes Blacks feel more self-conscious.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

14414: P&G’s In The Black By Buying Walker And Company.

Advertising Age reported Procter & Gamble bought Walker And Company and its health and beauty brands for people of color. Expect P&G Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard to count the acquisition as a diversity move. Plus, he’ll likely push to integrate the products with My Black is Beautiful, green-lighting a campaign that will be assigned to a White advertising agency and win gobs of ADCOLOR® trophies.

Procter & Gamble buys Walker & Co.

Tristan Walker, high-profile founder of brands for people of color, will stay on

By Jack Neff

Procter & Gamble Co. has agreed to buy Walker & Co.—a direct-to-consumer marketer of Bevel and Form Beauty personal-care products for people of color—for undisclosed terms.

CEO Tristan Walker, who founded the company in 2013, will join P&G as part of the deal. The former Foursquare and Twitter executive will move operations from Silicon Valley (Palo Alto, Calif.) to Atlanta.

Sold mainly direct-to-consumer, Bevel also is now in a majority of Target stores nationwide as well as on Amazon, Walker says, while Form Beauty is also sold online and in stores through Sephora. He declined to disclose sales numbers.

Walker launched Bevel in 2013 as a razor brand for men with coarse curly hair, whose faces get irritated by mass-market razors such as those from P&G’s category-leading Gillette. The high-profile social-media veteran hit the market with backing from Andreessen Horowitz, marking one of the earliest venture-capital investments in direct-to-consumer packaged goods. A second funding round in 2015 attracted high-profile backers such as John Legend, Magic Johnson and Google Ventures, and helped fuel the 2017 launch of Form Beauty haircare products for women.

Getting bought by P&G doesn’t mean Walker plans to do a big paid media push or hire outside agencies. “We don’t outsource branding,” Walker says. “They’re still going to let us operate and do our thing.”

That thing has involved building brands more slowly than many venture-backed direct-to-consumer players.

Dollar Shave Club, founded in 2011, made a bigger splash faster with a lot more venture capital—$164 million total to $33 million for Walker, according to Crunchbase. DSC spent heavily on media, at times outspending Gillette on TV prior to its acquisition by Unilever in 2016 for $1 billion.

But its growth slowed post acquisition, and possibly DSC had already reached most of its potential U.S. razor subscribers by the time Unilever bought it.

By contrast, Walker opted for a slower cash burn, less use of paid media and more focus on social-media and word-of-mouth, including from his high-profile customer-investors like Legend and Johnson. That more measured growth may ultimately mean more potential for acceleration with new backing from P&G.

“Building great brands means solving people’s problems by building products people love,” Walker says. “That takes time. And building great brands takes even longer. You can spend a lot of money marketing brands that don’t work. That has never been our approach.”

Walker once prevailed in a case Gillette brought against his company before the National Advertising Division of the the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which found Bevel could support its claim that its single-blade razors cause less irritation than Gillette’s multi-blade razors, though it had to modify some “clinically proven” claims. As P&G prepares to launch Gillette Skinguard two-bladed razors for men with sensitive skin early next year, executives have avoided making comparisons to Bevel.

Now, P&G is looking to learn from Walker how he does things. “One thing we can learn from Tristan,” says Lela Coffey, brand director for multicultural consumers at P&G Beauty, “is this ability to use these authentic connections that he’s built vs. the traditional CPG approach.”

Still, Walker says he’s looking forward to leaning on P&G’s capabilities in product development, distribution and media, as well as ultimately help in expanding his brands globally.

“We can really help Tristan broaden his reach and awareness,” says Coffey, whose duties include working on Pantene’s Gold Series and Head & Shoulders’ Royal Oils lines for women of color. “We are going to fuel him with some of the science we have available. Our R&D department will be his playhouse if that’s what he wants.”

Moving from Silicon Valley to Atlanta makes sense for Walker & Co. because Atlanta long has been the company’s top market for e-commerce and physical store sales, Walker says. “We want to be as close to our customer as we can.” And it’s only about an hour away from P&G’s Cincinnati headquarters by plane.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

14413: Accenture Bids On The Titanic Of Holding Companies.

Adweek reported Accenture is among a tiny trio trying to acquire MDC Partners, which is $1 billion in debt. It would be interesting to hear what the White holding company’s Chief Financial Officer has to say about this. Then again, probably not.

Accenture Among Final Bidders to Acquire MDC Partners Network

LionTree Advisors, JP Morgan Chase overseeing the process

By Patrick Coffee

International global management consultancy Accenture is reportedly among a small group of bidders seeking to acquire ad agency network MDC Partners and its 50-plus properties around the world.

Those properties include such agencies as Anomaly, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, 72andSunny, Assembly and Forsman & Bodenfors.

According to a source with direct knowledge of the matter, the deadline for bids was late November. The same source said Accenture is one of three finalists.

Media and telecoms-focused investment bank LionTree Advisors is overseeing the process, which was first reported in September by The Wall Street Journal. JP Morgan Chase is providing assistance, according to another source with financial ties to the business.

“There are always rumors in the marketplace, and we do not comment on them or engage in speculation,” said an Accenture representative.

MDC Partners declined to comment. A JP Morgan Chase spokesperson also declined to comment.

LionTree and hedge fund FrontFour Capital Group, which made headlines for filing an SEC complaint against MDC’s board of directors on Nov. 19, have not responded to multiple requests for additional information.

SEC reporting laws prohibit all involved parties from commenting on an active bid to avoid granting any given company unfair advantage.

This is not the first time MDC Partners, which is currently more than $1 billion in debt, has explored the possibility of an outright sale. In 2016, the organization worked with LionTree and JP Morgan to land a $95 million equity investment from Goldman Sachs.

Since then, many within the industry have speculated as to whether MDC would sell itself, in whole or in part, to an outside investor. Several recent reports named consultancies like Accenture, Deloitte and Bain Capital as potential buyers. A source close to MDC Partners echoed these thoughts and told Adweek that the bids were almost certainly for the entirety of the company, with the understanding that its final buyer would then go through a round of “pruning” to streamline the network.

The fact that multiple agencies (including 72andSunny and Doner) have recently attempted to buy themselves back, only to have their offers rejected by the MDC board of directors, supports this theory.

The party close to MDC called Accenture “the best bidder,” citing its “synergies” with the agency network and its proven ability to cut costs.

MDC Partners’ stock has lost a majority of its value this year and is currently trading at distressed levels.

The deal would also be in keeping with Accenture’s increasing moves into the creative marketing space via its Accenture Interactive division. In recent years, the division has acquired a series of primarily mid-sized shops around the world, including Australia’s The Monkeys, England’s Karmarama, Germany’s Kolle Rebbe, Brazil’s New Content, Meredith Xcelerated Marketing of New York and many more.

A recent Adweek profile of Accenture Interactive CEO Brian Whipple described the company as “the world’s largest digital agency.” However, some advertising executives have disputed the idea that Accenture can compete directly with traditional shops for creative or especially media accounts as long as its primary consulting division is simultaneously auditing their clients’ businesses.

In response, Accenture’s head of programmatic said it would never be in a position to audit its own work.

The company clearly aspires to expand into all areas of the marketing business. A source within Accenture Interactive told Adweek that it’s currently in talks to acquire a business that specializes in helping advertisers scale and measure paid social media campaigns.

The company in question did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

14412: Delivering Diversity From Facebook To 4As.

Adweek reported the 4As hired Simon Fenwick to serve as EVP Talent Engagement and Inclusion. In his previous role, Fenwick oversaw recruitment and diversity initiatives at Facebook—that bastion of inclusion. Prior to Facebook, Fenwick held talent and diversity positions with IPG Mediabrands and Starcom, more dubious diversity devotees. Oh, and he’s only been in the U.S. for about 14 years. Given the industry’s current climate, it’s amazing the 4As didn’t hire a White woman or woman of color for the job. Or maybe not.

Facebook Diversity Leader and Recruiting Manager Heads to 4A’s

Organization names Simon Fenwick evp, talent engagement and inclusion

By Lindsay Rittenhouse

The 4A’s has snagged Facebook executive Simon Fenwick as its executive vice president of talent engagement and inclusion. Fenwick will oversee the organization’s diversity, learning and development programs starting Jan. 2.

Fenwick’s role will span the 4A’s foundation, which includes the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP) and the 4A’s High School Programs, the Workplace Enlightenment Certification (WEC) and the Learning Academy.

Since March, Fenwick has been overseeing creative and brand recruiting and diversity initiatives at Facebook. Before that, he spent two years as executive vice president of global talent and diversity at IPG Mediabrands and from 2012 to 2015 served as senior vice president, group director of global talent at Starcom.

“Today, more than any time in history, people and their experiences across a connected world have become the true currency of a successful business,” Fenwick said in a statement. “As such, I believe in bringing people together to facilitate change and drive success.”

He added, “With the 4A’s being a true champion of diversity and inclusion, they’re the perfect home to help elevate people’s unique experiences to better the industry as a whole.”

According to the 4A’s, Fenwick volunteers with several organizations supporting the LGBTQ community and those that provide early career opportunities for diverse youth. Born in Kenya and raised in New Zealand and Australia, Fenwick has lived in the U.S. for the past 14 years.

He will relocate to New York from San Francisco for the new role, under which he will report to 4A’s CEO Marla Kaplowitz.

“As we continue to advocate for a more inclusive industry, Simon brings the passion, drive and experience to make that a reality,” Kaplowitz said in a statement. “From our MAIP program, which provides a platform to launch and sustain careers, to WEC, which creates safe and productive work environments, Simon will offer invaluable expertise to make the industry a better place to work.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

14411: Diageo Demands Divertsity From White Ad Agencies.

Advertising Age reported Diageo is demanding divertsity, pressuring its White advertising agencies to reveal gender figures. That’s right, the client wants to see exactly how White women are faring in the field. As for racial and ethnic minorities, well, keep walking. Sorry, but when it comes to true diversity, Diageo talks the talk, then walks away.

Diageo to agencies: We want your gender diversity stats

The marketing industry needs to make ‘faster progress,’ says CMO

By E.J. Schultz

Liquor giant Diageo is putting more heat on its agencies to share gender equality information after a similar effort earlier this year was met with a mixed response.

Global Chief Marketing Officer Syl Saller recently sent letters to Diageo’s agencies asking for details like the percentage of women on their leadership teams, information on their gender pay gap, and how they plan to address any gender imbalances.

“Despite all of our collective efforts as an industry, the pace of substantive change has been too slow in how women are portrayed in content, how qualified women are represented at a senior level in creative development and how women are selected to be creative directors on content,” Saller stated in the letter, according to an excerpt shared by a Diageo spokeswoman. “We need to make faster progress and the time for action is now.”

Diageo’s shops include 72andSunny (Smirnoff); Anomaly (Johnnie Walker, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal); AMV BBDO (Guinness); VMLY&R (Baileys); and Carat, which handles media.

Diageo began asking for gender diversity information earlier this year, Gráinne Wafer, global brand director for Baileys, said in July during an appearance at the Diversity in Marketing & Advertising Summit in London. But Wafer said when she started seeking the information she was “met with some blank faces,” according to coverage of the summit by The Drum.

“Some people are able to say ‘I know exactly what it is, here’s ours.’ Or ‘we’re not there yet but we have a plan’. That’s all I want to hear. That you have a plan,” she said, without naming specific agencies, according to The Drum.

Saller’s letter appears to be a way to put more pressure on the agencies to cooperate. While the letter sends a strong message, Diageo at this point has not laid out any specific targets or outlined consequences for shops that are not living up to gender diversity expectations, the company confirmed.

Beth Wade, global chief marketing officer at VMLY&R, said in an emailed statement to Ad Age: “Like Diageo, we strongly believe diversity enables better creative and more effective work. We have received the recent letter from Diageo and will be submitting our response.” She pointed to diversity efforts the agency participates in, including 3% Certification and Free the Bid, which is pushing for more female ad directors.

Wade added: “As part of the Baileys global digital agency-of-record selection process earlier this year, we showcased these diversity efforts to the team. We look forward to working with Diageo on their efforts to achieve gender balance and diversity in advertising.”

Anomaly and 72andSunny, two of Diageo’s largest creative agencies, declined to comment directly on the Diageo letter. 72andSunny publishes its gender diversity stats on its website. It shows that 20 percent of the agency’s creative directors globally are women, while 45 percent of employees at group director level and above are females. Carat declined comment.

Diageo has among the best track records for gender diversity in the alcohol industry. Women comprise 40 percent of its executive committee, while 45 percent of Diageo’s senior global marketing leaders are women. Earlier this year Diageo joined the Free the Bid organization, pledging to call on its ad agencies and content producers to include at least one female director on all creative bids. Also, Diageo recently developed a framework that it will use to improve gender portrayal in its marketing.

Diageo drew headlines in February when it put a woman on the face of Johnnie Walker bottles, calling her “Jane Walker,” as part of a limited-edition run timed with Women’s History Month.

Monday, December 10, 2018

14410: Caroline Jones Might Say, “We Do Divertsity Right.”

Campaign spotlighted the late Caroline Jones as part of its #TellHerStory series. Sorry, but the piece feels kinda lazy, as it appears the reporter only spoke with IPG SVP Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Heide Gardner. Granted, it might have been difficult to find additional sources, as there are fewer than 100 Black women holding executive positions in the U.S. advertising industry. Gardner remarked that Jones would be “disappointed to see where we are and that we are still having the same conversations about having diversity at the table.” Actually, the entire industry should be disappointed—and embarrassed. Instead, when it comes to delegating, diverting and denying diversity, the chronic offenders are not only forgiven, they’re awarded ADCOLOR® trophies.

‘She would be disappointed’: How the ad industry still fails black talent

Adland is still not living up to the legacy of Caroline Jones, one of the first black female vice-presidents of a major agency.

By Nicola Kemp

“We will not let you fail.”

The six words that advertising pioneer Caroline Jones said to Heide Gardner as she prepared to launch a talent and diversity initiative for the American Advertising Federation in the 1970s. It’s a commitment that reflects Jones’ living, breathing legacy as one of the first black female vice-presidents of any major agency and a champion of young talent.

As senior vice-president and chief diversity and inclusion officer at Interpublic, Gardner is still one of the most powerful and thoughtful drivers of diversity in the creative industries. And Jones has had a major impact on her career. “The reason she and other black icons in the industry wanted to launch this talent programme was that they were so tired of hearing ‘We can’t find any’ as an excuse to the lack of diversity in advertising,” Gardner says. “The entire programme was designed to take that excuse off the table.”

Yet, more than thirty years after the launch of the scheme, that same excuse remains firmly on the table. In many ways, the ad industry as it stands has not lived up to Jones’ legacy and, in doing so, failed generations of diverse talent. Reflecting on Jones’ “huge legacy”, Gardner says she would be “disappointed to see where we are and that we are still having the same conversations about having diversity at the table.”

She adds: “In terms of her disappointment, it would include all the thousands of people who came into the industry 22 years ago when we started the programme. Of all of those people, so few of them are at the helm of major agencies.”

Garnder notes that Jones and many people of a ethnic-minority background who came into the industry did so in order to influence the portrayal of people of colour. “That mattered deeply to her and it still matters now. I can’t tell you how many essays I read from young students that say I want to be at the table to make that change,” she points out.

A legacy of hope

Thirty years ago, a small column in Campaign noted the rise of Jones’ mould-breaking career. The article announcing Interpublic’s affiliation with a “new black shop” commented on the nine out of 10 failure rate of previous “black-managed agencies”. Paul Foley, then Interpublic’s chairman, was quoted as saying: “Black-owned agencies in the past have lacked professionalism, sound financial guidance, strong back-up support services and national and international scope. Our affiliation with Mingo, Jones, Guilmenot has the answer to all of these handicaps.”

Jones, one of the three founding partners of this fledgling agency, was creative services director and described in the article as “the highest-paid black creative in the US and the first black female vice-president of any major agency”.

Back then, the lack of support — and, at times, out-and-out racism — experienced by ethnic minorities in the ad industry was often ignored. For critics of all the press coverage focusing on diversity today — who are either “bored”, dismiss it as “virtue-signalling” or see it as distraction from the work — perhaps Jones’ legacy will provide a much-needed pause for thought.

Because what was sidelined was the impact and business importance of multicultural media; in essence, the work wasn’t as good because it did not understand or represent the markets it sought to serve. According to Gardner, the ad industry trade press did not focus on covering the multicultural side of the business. Instead, it was multicultural media that championed the sector and the individuals within it.

It is a state of play that ethnic-minority people are still dealing with, Gardner points out: “Having a high profile is really important, but it is having a profile internally within the business you work for that drives whether or not you are promoted. This idea of visibility is a problem for women and people of colour.”

True definition of a trailblazer

Having graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in English and science, Jones began her advertising career in 1963 as a secretary and copywriter trainee at J Walter Thompson, an agency where she rose to the position of creative director. She ultimately left Mingo, Jones, Guilmenot (later Mingo-Jones) to launch her own companies — Creative Resources Management and Caroline Jones Advertising, where she was president at the time of her death in 2001.

“She had a huge amount of social capital outside of the industry and she used that to help elevate the issue of diversity,” Gardner explains. This effort culminated in a huge summit that looked at diversity and the allocation of advertising dollars. Jones brought together the likes of Al Sharpton, the Association of National Advertisers and 4A’s alongside members of congress and federal government agencies. “One of the thing she did so well was bring all the sections of the industry together — it was a packed room at the Waldorf,” Gardner recalls.

Frustration as a force for change

Yet, despite being a true trailblazer with an impact far beyond the traditional realms of adland, Jones was at times “extremely frustrated”, Gardner remembers: “White executives and creators were able to leave their agencies, set up shop at a hotel room and immediately get clients. Someone like her didn’t get that opportunity as easily.”

It would be tempting to sugar-coat Jones’ career progression, but to not tell the truth of her struggle would be to ignore the barriers she had to face. “You have to remember that some went into the business as entrepreneurs not just because they saw business opportunities that were being overlooked, but also because they could not see business opportunities for themselves and they wanted to create those opportunities for young talent,” Gardner explains.

When Jones did strike out on her own, one of her founding clients was KFC. She had previously been the brains behind the brand’s hugely successful “We do chicken right” campaign.

Speaking truth to power

Reflecting on Jones’ lasting impact on the industry, Gardner says: “She spoke truth to power and I feel obligated to do the same. She used her social capital, her influence, to do what she could to make a difference and that is a powerful message to everyone.”

Jones was all about opening doors and dedicated her warmth, energy and time into supporting the next generation. Gardner notes that Jones used to show up at student programmes as long as her health permitted and, in many ways, connecting with and championing young talent was her life’s work.

Here is perhaps the point in the story when you might expect a glib statement about the power of role models. But for Gardner, the issue is far more complex than that: “It is not just a question of ‘You can’t be it if you can’t see it’, it is also a question of proof points — is your organisation somewhere where people like you can really make it?”

As Campaign speaks to Gardner, a blog post written by Kai Deveraux Lawson, a producer who has worked at agencies including Wunderman, AKQA and Momentum Worldwide, has gone viral. In the article, she describes the micro-aggressions that led her to quit her job in advertising. She writes: “I used to wonder why people of color leave the advertising industry, never return. It was hard to understand how someone could leave the set of skills they’ve worked so hard to refine, and the knowledge that’s taken so long to gain, only to never look back. Today, I can say from experience, that when it comes to mental health and peace, drastic times will always call for drastic measures.”

“I call it the thousand cuts,” Gardner says. “This is the power of the small. With #MeToo and #TimesUp, we are so focused on the obvious and the egregious that we aren’t paying attention to the power of ‘small’.” She explains that people could respond to comments or actions differently due to their identity and all these small things can add up and become internalised.

“My generation — we expected these kinds of things to happen. We had this mutual support and understanding that helped with resilience,” Gardner continues.

“Millennials are unprepared and shocked by these things. They ask: did that really happen? Does that mean what I think it does? Those are the issues that the business world has to focus on.

“What happens to people as human beings is, over time, you can internalise those thousand cuts and you can lose self-esteem and your faith in yourself.”

To talent from diverse backgrounds, the message is silent but clear: we won’t just let you fail, we will uphold a system in which you are almost destined to. In 2018, it should not require a leap of faith for the creative industries to work towards a level playing field — a legacy that Jones would be proud of.

Pictured above: Caroline Jones, centre, with Bob Johnson, founder, BET; Clarence Smith, co-founder, Essence; Earl Graves Sr., founder, Black Enterprise; and Tom Burrell, founder, Burrell Communications Group

Sunday, December 09, 2018

14409: Retirement Ad Should Be Permanently Retired.

It’s about two years old, but this FedGroup advertisement actually ran in an HR publication—despite displaying sexist and ageist attitudes that would warrant a reprimand from the HR department.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

14408: Laundry Service Ignores Pizza Stains From Papa John’s.

AgencySpy posted on the latest happenings at Laundry Service, spotlighting the hiring of Leo Macias as Global Chief Creative Officer and the promotion of Jordan Fox as Head of Laundry Service and sister shop Cycle. Senior leadership defined authenticity, collaboration, diversity/inclusion and meaningful work as the “philosophical and cultural” pillars of the enterprise. Okay, but it’s becoming a tired trend for shops to recruit foreigners for executive positions and label it as diversity in action. Plus, has Casey Wasserman—CEO of parent company Wasserman—ever delivered on his promise to “go on record and refute” the accusations against the firm made by former Papa John’s mascot John Schnatter? Inquiring minds want to know.

Laundry Service Introduces New Leadership Team

By Erik Oster

Laundry Service has entered a new leadership cycle.

The Wasserman creative agency hired Leo Macias (pictured, right) as global chief creative officer and named Jordan Fox (pictured, left) as head of Laundry Service and sister company Cycle.

Macias will officially begin in his role on December 10 and report directly to Fox.

“Leo is a brilliant creative mind with a track record of successfully building and leading world-class global teams. He’s unbound by convention, and shares our philosophy that meaningful work happens through diverse thought, collaboration and authenticity,” Fox said in a statement. “His positive energy is inspiring, and together we look forward to (continuing to build) meaningful relationships between brands and people.”

Macias joins Laundry Service from DDB Colombia, where he spent the past three years as CCO, working with brands including AB InBev, Avianca and Poker. Before that, he spent nearly two years as a creative director for DM9DDB in São Paulo, working with clients such as Mercedes-Benz and Johnson & Johnson. Before joining DDB, he spent three years with the São Paulo office of Publicis Groupe, working with clients such as Nestlé, Purina and Procter & Gamble.

Laundry Service managing director Amy Hellickson and Laundry Service and Cycle CMO Mike Mikho will continue in roles as part of the senior leadership team, reporting to Fox.

Fox and the senior leadership team have identified and articulated “Authenticity; Collaboration; Diversity/Inclusion; & Meaningful Work” as the agency’s “philosophical and cultural” pillars as it enters its next era, while promising an increased focus on collaboration and a commitment to transparency and the “deliberate” and “thoughtful” pursuit of growth.

“Jordan (Fox) has exhibited strong leadership and has worked to establish a collaborative environment focused on cultivating great talent and delivering for our partners,” Wasserman CEO Casey Wasserman said in a statement. “His understanding of our business and command of culture and marketing will drive his success as head of Laundry Service and Cycle.”

Laundry Service played a central role in this summer’s Papa John’s saga. Papa John’s founder and former chairman John Schnatter claimed that unspecified Laundry Service employees had “pressured” him into a conversation in which he used racist language and attempted to “extort” his company to the tune of $6 million before ultimately leaking the news. An internal memo from an unnamed Laundry Service executive denied Schnatter’s claims and advised agency employees to avoid discussing the matter with the press.

Laundry Service resigned the Papa John’s account back in May following the offensive phone call. It subsequently parted with 60 employees, citing “client attrition.” CEO Jason Stein also left the agency in July to launch a new company called Stein’s.

Friday, December 07, 2018

14407: WPP Delivers Diversity Of Disciplinary Drubs And Dismissals.

Campaign reported Wunderman suspended ECD Abi Ellis, pending an official investigation for undisclosed reasons. Plus, new VMLY&R CEO Jon Sharpe bailed out while undergoing a disciplinary investigation for undisclosed reasons—although Sharpe remarked, “I have resigned from VMLY&R to pursue new opportunities. I strenuously deny the reports received and have vigorously defended myself against them.” Add the Ogilvy UK redundancy programme, and it’s safe to declare WPP presents perhaps the most diverse examples of dismissals of any single organisation. For Mark Read, CEO stands for Chief Executive Obliterator.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

14406: Toyota And Burrell To Play In The Super Bowl.

Advertising Age reported Toyota handed a Super Bowl assignment to Burrell Communications, the automaker’s Black advertising agency. So after five years, Total Toyota actually reduced the total control enjoyed by White advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi? Well, at least there’s less of a chance that the spot will be shot on a former slave plantation.

Toyota gives its multicultural shop, Burrell, a Super Bowl assignment

The automaker will plug its RAV4 crossover

By E.J. Schultz

Toyota will appear in the Super Bowl for the second straight year, and the automaker is giving its multicultural agency, Burrell Communications, the assignment. The ad will be for the 2019 RAV4 compact crossover.

Saatchi & Saatchi normally takes the creative lead on Toyota’s big general market campaigns, including previous Super Bowl ads. So Burrell’s assignment represents a significant win for the agency.

“Toyota’s multi-agency approach is part of the brand’s broader strategy to embrace diversity nuances throughout the strategy, creative and communications of all its campaigns,” Toyota said in a statement. Saatchi & Saatchi will handle “media and communications strategies” for the ad, according to the statement. But “the Super Bowl execution will tap into learnings to have Burrell Communications develop and produce the creative.”

Burrell, which is on Toyota’s roster of regular agencies, is on the upswing thanks in part to its new Social Listening Lab. The proprietary tool, developed in 2017, gathers feedback for campaigns and pitches from a focus group of 10,000 African-American influencers with a combined reach of 115 million consumers.

Toyota sat out the 2017 Super Bowl, but came back in 2018 in a big way with three ads: two 60-second spots and one 30-second ad. It represented Toyota’s biggest Super Bowl ad buy ever. The 2018 game was broadcast by NBC, which also aired the Olympics starting just days later. Toyota is an Olympics sponsor, and has a tight relationship with NBC, so the large ad buy made sense.

A Toyota spokeswoman declined to reveal the length or creative details for the ad for Super Bowl LIII, which will be carried by CBS on Feb. 3.

Ed Laukes, head of marketing for the Toyota Division, told Automotive News that RAV4 is worthy of the “biggest set of eyeballs on the planet” that it will get with the Super Bowl ad. The vehicle, which was redesigned for 2019, is the best-selling nonpickup in the nation, according to Automotive News.

Toyota is the fourth automaker to confirm a Super Bowl ad buy, following Mercedes-Benz, Kia and Hyundai.

Last season, 11 auto commercials ran featuring six brands: Ram and Jeep (both owned by Fiat-Chrysler), as well as Hyundai, Kia, Toyota and Toyota-owned Lexus. In the 2017 game, eight automakers ran a total of 10 ads. Lexus has not commented on its plans for 2019. Honda has confirmed to Ad Age that it will sit out the game for the second straight year. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, a regular Super Bowl advertiser, has not yet made its plans public, and typically does not do so until the week leading up to the game.

14405: Jo Wallace Represents White, Privileged Mad Women.

Given the recent dustup swirling around JWT London (now Wunderman Thompson London), it seems fitting to spotlight alleged instigator-obliterator Jo Wallace, the creative director whose commentary about White, privileged Mad Men apparently upset a handful of White, privileged Mad Men—as well as an original Mad Man.

Wallace’s cultural competence credentials can be viewed via her perspective published by The Drum in 2017. While she purports to be a diversity advocate, Wallace is really hyping divertsity.

Presenting 9 out of 10 “proactive suggestions”—she claimed the mysterious tenth is unprintable—Wallace managed to regurgitate the standard clichés that never seem to succeed in the advertising industry. Of course, Wallace undoubtedly considers herself a breakthrough visionary, like so many before her. That is, White people who start to think about diversity and inclusion inevitably believe they’ve hatched innovative ideas that no one has ever thought of before. It would be interesting to see Wallace’s personal hiring record to date, especially in regards to BAME candidates. Then again, probably not.

Wallace gleefully slams White, privileged men, oblivious to the fact that she’s a White, privileged woman. It’s a case of the pot calling the kettle White and privileged. Does Wallace realize her White privilege actually allows her to mount a soapbox? After all, if a woman of BAME background delivered such bold statements in a similarly harsh fashion, she would be obliterated from the field. Instead, Wallace will receive invitations to speak at The 3% Movement events and nab ADCOLOR® trophies.

Keep in mind, Wallace was so enlightened and aware of the imperative for equality, she took a job at a White advertising agency that raised the bar for gender pay gaps and sexual harassment. And as Wunderman Thompson moves forward, she can expect the shop to become a data-driven versus diversity-driven enterprise.

Hey, it’s just food for thought for Wallace’s next Good Girls Eat Dinner exclusive affair.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

14404: Sir Martin Sorrell’s Nuts Are Growing.

Advertising Age reported Sir Martin Sorrell acquired San Francisco-based digital media and programmatic consultancy MightyHive, adding the enterprise to his S4 Capital peanut factory. “The merger with MightyHive marks an important second strategic step for S4 Capital,” quipped Sorrell. “The peanut has now morphed into a coconut, and is growing and ripening.” You’d think Sorrell would drop the peanut jokes, given that he left WPP while being investigated for having his nutsack serviced by a hooker.

S4’s acquisition of MightyHive is official

Martin Sorrell’s S4 announces deal valued at $150M for the San Francisco-based digital media and programmatic consultancy

By Megan Graham

Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital says the much buzzed-about potential acquisition of San Francisco-based digital media and programmatic consultancy MightyHive is on — announcing early Tuesday a deal valued at $150 million.

S4 — whose stated focus is on digital creative, digital media buying and planning and first-party data — said in a London Stock Exchange U.K. regulatory disclosure that programmatic advertising spend is seeing significant growth and that MightyHive is “well-positioned to capitalize on the digital transformation and disruption of marketing.” MightyHive saw revenue increase at a compound annual growth rate of 129 percent from 2015 to 2017, S4 said.

MightyHive will become a wholly owned subsidiary of S4 and CEO and co-founder Pete Kim and COO and co-founder Christopher Martin will join the S4 Capital board of directors while remaining in their day-to-day roles at MightyHive.

Six-year-old MightyHive — which has offices in New York, London, Singapore, Toronto, Stockholm and Sydney — realized about a year ago it was going to need a partner to grow at the clip it desired, Kim says. MightyHive says its hundreds of clients include OpenTable, Sephora, Sprint and US Bank. Kim says the company aims to help agencies and advertisers modernize themselves for a new era of digital marketing. MightyHive provides consulting and services in the realm of media operations and training, data strategy and analytics.

Sorrell tells Ad Age that S4 knew of MightyHive’s reputation in the digital media buying and planning realm and threw its hat in the ring for a potential deal a few months ago — which became a “complex and demanding process,” he says.

Along with MediaMonks, the Dutch digital production company S4 announced it would acquire five months ago, Kim says he saw the “very, very strong appeal” in the prospect of marrying creative and media within S4. “We really see the long-term benefits and potential of really powerfully recombining these things,” Kim says.

S4 has an operating model in which it has a single profit-and-loss statement, rather than fragmented P&Ls across different businesses, and Sorrell says its elements will work together to feel more unitary than a traditional holding company or parent company.

Sorrell’s access to major clients is likely attractive to an ambitious entrepreneur, said Julie Langley, a partner at M&A adviser Results International, in an emailed statement. She said MediaMonks and MightyHive are “highly complementary businesses” that will bring together digital-first content with digital-first media buying. Langley added MightyHive also helps clients wanting to bring in-house certain disciplines, a trend that’s been widely discussed in the industry.

To fund the cash component of the deal, S4 plans to raise £74 million by issuing new shares. The company said in the disclosure it expects the admission of new ordinary shares and the completion of the merger to occur on Dec. 24, 2018.

New capital raising will be led by Stanhope Entrepreneurs Fund, a growth-capital fund whose founder and CEO will join S4’s board upon admission. The company added that MediaMonks executives Victor Knaap, Wesley ter Haar and Peter Rademaker have been appointed as S4 directors. Kim and MightyHive’s Martin have been appointed S4 directors conditionally.

As for what’s next for S4, Sorrell says a key step will be deepening the client base it will have between MediaMonks and MightyHive.

“The real opportunity is organic growth,” he tells Ad Age. “We will succeed or fail on the basis of organic growth.”

Sorrell says S4 has “three quarters to seven-eighths” of what it needs at this point. Geographically the company has a number of target areas, he says and while MightyHive and MediaMonks have some separate geographic footprints, “[there are] some very strong geographical synergies that we can get by bringing the two businesses closer together,” according to Sorrell.

In terms of further acquisition opportunities, Sorrell says he’d like to see S4’s content and digital media buying and planning businesses further developed, along with first-party data. He said first-party data is very difficult to find and expensive but important.

“In the meantime, we’ll work with very significant clients who have strong databases and first-party data to develop their data,” he says.

Sorrell continued his long-running “peanut” joke in the acquisition disclosure. In public appearances and interviews, Sorrell has previously described S4 Capital as a “peanut” in comparison to WPP to insinuate that it is not in competition with the company he previously founded, grew for decades, and then exited following an internal investigation.

“The merger with MightyHive marks an important second strategic step for S4 Capital. The peanut has now morphed into a coconut, and is growing and ripening,” he said.

14403: Ogilvy Involuntary Redundancy Programme Coming Soon.

Campaign reported the Ogilvy UK voluntary redundancy programme resulted in nearly 50 departures, which equals roughly 4% of the staff. How did the volunteers affect the diversity of the staff? The Advertising Diversity Taskforce will want to update its breakthrough report for sure. No word on when the involuntary redundancy programme kicks in—or when WPP CEO Mark Read will merge Ogilvy with a third-rate digital shop, igniting even more redundancies. Hey, he should change his name to Mark Readundancy.

Founder David Ogilvy once wrote, “We are looking for gentlemen with ideas in their heads and fire in their bellies. If you join Ogilvy & Mather, we shall teach you everything we know about advertising. We shall pay you well, and do our damnedest to make you succeed. If you show promise, we shall load responsibility on you—fast. Life in our agency can be very exciting. You will never be bored. It’s tough, but it’s fun.” At Ogilvy UK, they are looking for heads to fire. They will pay you obligatory severance, and do their damnedest to make you leave. And you’ll have to load your belongings—fast. Life is tough.

Ogilvy UK voluntary redundancy results in almost 50 departures

Redundancy option was open to all staff.

By Gurjit Degun

Ogilvy UK has completed its voluntary redundancy programme, which will result in the departure of fewer than 50 staff.

The business offered the option to all employees in October after bringing its separate agency brands together and insisted that it was not a cost-cutting move.

Following the completion of the process, Michael Frohlich, chief executive of Ogilvy UK, said the programme affected less than 4% of staff, equating to around 50 people.

Campaign reported in May that there were 1,200 employees in the business after it merged Ogilvy & Mather, OgilvyOne and Ogilvy PR to become Ogilvy UK.

That figure preceded a string of high-profile departures, including chief strategy officer Kevin Chesters, chief creative officers Mick Mahoney and Emma de la Fosse, chief client officer Charlie Rudd and chief production officer Clare Donald.

Strategy partner James Whatley announced he would be among the people to leave in his personal newsletter at the end of last week.

Frohlich said: “As planned, we have completed a limited redundancy programme affecting less than 4% of our workforce in select areas of the organisation in the UK. These actions are part of Ogilvy UK’s transformation, as we focus on strengthening the agency for the future by investing in the areas that will bring the greatest value to our clients and support our own growth as a business.”

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

14402: Advertising Diversity Taskforce Finds No Advertising Diversity.

Campaign spotlighted the Advertising Diversity Taskforce’s Who Are We? report, which revealed the underrepresented in adland include: 1) people from BAME backgrounds; 2) women in senior-level roles; 3) women with children and; 4) people over 45 years old. The Advertising Diversity Taskforce is represented by AnalogFolk, Creature, Engine, Essence, Grey, IPG Mediabrands, Lucky Generals, MediaCom, Primesight, Wavemaker, We Are Social and Wieden + Kennedy. Why these White advertising agencies saw the need to conduct a study is baffling, as simply strolling their own hallways could have provided all the data necessary.

Monday, December 03, 2018

14401: Adweek Presents Anglos Of The Year.

Adweek presented its choices for Global Agency of the Year, U.S. Agency of the Year, Breakthrough Agency of the Year, International Agency of the Year, etc. The photographs representing the firms displayed an expected lack of diversity. Wieden + Kennedy, however, appeared to make a covert concerted effort to appear inclusive—even though they admit being fucked up.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

14400: Celebrating The Diversity Of Hanukkah…?

M&C Saatchi in Israel and Roladin Bakery & Patisserie make Hanukkah a multicultural experience with multi-colored desserts.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

14398: Intel Agency Inside Goes Inside Out Instantly.

Adweek reported Intel is incinerating Agency Inside, its in-house unit. Launched in 2015, the technology company hyped the division a lot, with Intel Vice President and Global Creative Director Teresa Herd explaining how to build an in-house agency in Advertising Age just last August. Oh well. Perhaps she’ll provide a follow-up on how to dismantle such enterprises, as the move apparently led to layoffs for up to 50 employees. Adweek wondered if Intel’s White advertising agencies will snatch up absorb the work handled by Agency Inside. Hey, Intel should stage a sprinting competition for the extra business.

Intel to Shutter In-House ‘Agency Inside’ Creative and Production Operations in Strategic Pivot

Nearly all employees have been laid off

By Lindsay Rittenhouse

Silicon Valley tech giant Intel has laid off all of the creative and production staffers at Agency Inside as it prepares to focus the in-house hub it launched about three years ago only on account services, according to Teresa Herd, vice president and global creative director at Intel.

Herd added that the company is reorganizing its in-house operations to focus on working more closely with external agency partners, cutting all creative and production staffers earlier this week. According to people with direct knowledge of the matter, those cuts amount to 30 to 50 employees. Those sources indicated that Intel will likely retire the Agency Inside name.

Herd, who built the in-house hub in 2015 and has been overseeing it ever since, declined to confirm the amount of employees cut or whether the Agency Inside name will remain.

“Agency Inside was founded to tell the brand’s untold stories to consumers and to bring brand awareness on a global scale,” Herd said. “As Intel’s business has evolved and expanded, it is recalibrating its focus to marketing to the ecosystem. If telling brand stories won’t move business in the ways that Intel wants it to move, then the org’s focus as it stands today no longer fits into the overall marketing concept.”

She added that Intel will likely “shift away from wide-scale brand and business-to-consumer marketing” going forward and instead focus “on particular audiences.”

Herd and former Intel CMO Steve Fund, who left the company in July, both joined Intel in 2014 from Staples, where Herd was vice president and global creative director for 14 years. One person close to the business said Fund was a big proponent of in-housing creative work and led that approach at Staples, where he was senior vice president of global marketing, and then at Intel.

Together, Herd and Fund brought 60 to 70 percent of all Intel’s marketing efforts in-house through Agency Inside, leaving primarily only broadcast and business-to-business marketing to external partners.

Intel currently works with several external agencies including mcgarrybowen on lead creative, TBWA on B2B marketing and Dentsu Aegis Network, which picked up the company’s global media account in October. When contacted by Adweek, all of the agencies deferred to the client.

It is unclear if any of these organizations will pick up additional work now that Agency Inside has closed.

Intel has yet to name a new CMO. The company also forced out CEO Brian Krzanich in June after an internal investigation uncovered a personal relationship with an employee.

Doug Zanger and Patrick Coffee contributed reporting.

Friday, November 30, 2018

14397: NBA CMO Pam El Retiring Her Jersey.

Adweek reported NBA CMO Pam El is retiring at the end of the year. Gee, the typical CMO changes teams more often than Chucky Brown.

NBA CMO Pam El Announces Plans to Retire at the End of 2018

She first joined the organization in 2014

By Katie Richards

After a 35-year career in marketing, Pam El has announced she will retire at the end of the year. El currently serves as the evp and CMO of the NBA. Although she will be leaving her role, the NBA noted that El will continue to work with them, serving as an adviser on marketing and branding matters in the future.

El joined the NBA in 2014 after a brief stint at Nationwide. Prior to that she spent 11 years at State Farm where she served as marketing vice president in charge of sales and marketing in the U.S and Canada. During her time at State Farm, El worked closely with the NBA and WNBA to establish a partnership between the two leagues and the insurance company.

“We are grateful for her incredible impact spearheading marketing strategy for all four of our leagues, and we wish her well in retirement after an award-winning career,” NBA deputy commissioner and COO, Mark Tatum, said in a statement.

Some of her other achievements while with the NBA include launching the leauge’s “This Is Why We Play” campaign and the WNBA’s “Watch Me Work” campaign. El also spearheaded a new brand identity for the NBA in a move to get more global recognition for the league.

Throughout her career, El has been recognized for her work in the marketing world. She has received numerous honors from Adweek including, most recently, being honored in the annual Adweek 50 list (for the third consecutive year) for raising the league’s profile in the U.S., but also worldwide.

El noted in a statement that working for the NBA, “has been an amazing privilege,” for her.

“I am particularly proud of the terrific team of marketing experts we’ve assembled globally—truly a skilled group that is among the best in professional sports. With this great team now in place, it’s the right time for me to transition from a full-time position to focus on board opportunities, my non-profit work and spending more time with my family and friends,” she added.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

14396: MDC Partners Nixes Buyback Deals From Its Shitty Shops.

Adweek reported certain White advertising agencies—including Doner and 72andSunny—proposed buying themselves back from MDC Partners, but were rejected by the White holding company’s board of directors. Any buyback plan should require that agency leaders who collected big bucks in such deals return their booties—with interest. And the refunded money would then be distributed to all former employees who were terminated as a result of mergers and buyouts at MDC Partners. Oh, and each terminated employee should be allowed to deliver a single kick to the groin of former MDC Partners CEO Miles Nadal. Surely the board of directors would green-light these ideas—at least the one involving kicking Nadal in the nuts.

MDC Partners Board Reportedly Rejected Agencies’ Buyback Offers

Company counters investor demands for executive shakeup

By Patrick Coffee

At least one of the more than 50 agencies owned by struggling network MDC Partners recently made an effort to buy itself back from the company only to be rejected by the board of directors, according to Adweek’s sources.

On Wednesday night, MDC responded to a Nov. 19 SEC filing by hedge fund investor FrontFour Capital Group that aggressively called for change on the board and criticized its leadership for not acting quickly enough.

News of the filing was first reported Wednesday afternoon by The Wall Street Journal.

“FrontFour first initiated private conversations with the Board in August 2018 in an attempt to constructively outline a strategy that would result in the replacement of Scott L. Kauffman as CEO with a candidate better suited to leverage the strength of the Issuer’s agencies and grow the Issuer’s market share in key industries,” the SEC document read.

It went on to criticize MDC’s leadership for “hastily” announcing Kauffman’s plans to resign the following month “without having commenced a search for his replacement.”

FrontFour, the text continued, believes “significant changes to the composition of the Board are required in order to ensure that the best interests of shareholders are represented” and has begun to explore options including “a special meeting of shareholders requisitioned for such purpose.”

The Greenwich, Conn.-based hedge fund owns approximately 5.1 percent of MDC Partners.

“MDC Partners welcomes open and constructive conversations with our shareholders and seriously considers all ideas and suggestions that may enhance long-term shareholder value,” read a statement from MDC Partners issued Wednesday night. “We have had an ongoing dialogue with FrontFour, and are disappointed that they elected to go public with their concerns at this time.”

It continued: “While we expect communication with FrontFour to continue, our focus remains on conducting our previously announced strategic review and CEO search process, and we remain committed to delivering value for all our shareholders.”

A spokesperson for FrontFour has not yet responded to questions regarding the timing of the filing and the specific changes to the board it believes will “better align the perspective of the Board with that of the Issuer’s shareholders.”

The news comes at a financially precarious time for MDC Partners, which laid off several executives in July before Kauffman lamented “poor” results for the first half of 2018. The company’s stock has lost half its value since August, and its estimated debt is greater than $1 billion.

U.S. CMO Ryan Linder was promoted the global role in October.

According to sources within MDC Partners, multiple agencies have explored the possibility of buying themselves back.

One source said Doner leadership determined the process would ultimately cost more than $500 million and therefore wasn’t workable. Other sources said 72andSunny’s recent offer to buy its independence was rejected by the MDC board.

Spokespeople for Doner and 72andSunny declined to comment. MDC Partners declined to elaborate beyond its Wednesday statement.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

14395: Talking Shit (And Ship) About Diversity.

Advertising Age published a lackluster look at the advertising industry’s state of diversity, ultimately exposing the advertising industry’s state of denial. Other key states in the exclusive union include delegating, diverting and discriminating.

The net takeaway: racial and ethnic minorities are being recruited, but not retained—and this only applies to entry-level workers. Gee, what a newsflash.

Yep, it looks like all the minority internships, college scholarships, inner-city high school apprenticeships and embryonic courtships are bringing in shiploads of colored candidates. Unfortunately, newbies quickly discover the typical White advertising agency is no Love Boat, so they bail out. The Ad Age report didn’t include hard figures, incidentally, so the youth-related summations are questionable and suspect too.

Speaking of questionable and suspect, the article gathered insights from the usual suspects—specifically, Chief Diversity Officers. It’s ironic that these individuals noted the lack of mid- to senior-level minority hiring, as “diversity and inclusion executive” seems to be the sole role that White advertising agencies are quick to fill with mid- to senior-level people of color. To compound the problem, White advertising agencies are even quicker to let CDOs launch kiddie internships, scholarships, apprenticeships and courtships—and then proclaim mission accomplished.

Most disturbing are the closing comments from Omnicom SVP CDO Tiffany R. Warren:

“It’s about recognizing and considering people of color in ways that their white counterparts are being considered. Is there equity in how we deal out the retention and leadership opportunities? It just takes a quick audit and review of who’s within your agency now, who’s ready for that step up. … I want to be really clear: It’s not that difficult.”

Um, Warren’s been steering the ship since 2009. If it’s not that difficult—and she’s working for a Pioneer of Diversity and restlessly ambitious diversity defender—why hasn’t Warren managed to turn Omnicom into a multicultural Mecca?

Cue the colored crickets chirping.

Why diverse talent is being found and hired, but not sticking around

By I-Hsien Sherwood

More than 1,000 people, most of them young marketers, gathered last month near Manhattan’s Penn Station for The One Club’s cheekily named diversity conference, Here Are All the Black People.

Part job fair, part speaker series, the event brought people of color looking to break into or advance careers in advertising face-to-face with recruiters from dozens of agencies. Senior creatives critiqued portfolios, and panelists from the 3% Conference and brands like Facebook and Diageo discussed how to tackle racism, sexism and ageism in the workplace.

Industry events like this now dot the calendar, and they’re increasingly popular, with big names behind them. In September, 1,200 people attended the 12th annual AdColor Conference in Los Angeles, a gathering jointly sponsored by Microsoft and Omnicom Group. In August, 750 people showed up for a luncheon to celebrate the latest crop of high school and college students to come out of the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ Multicultural Advertising Internship Program, an initiative that’s in its 45th year.

But the progress made by diversity and inclusion efforts in the industry has largely been concentrated at the entry level. The problems come later: While diverse talent is being found and hired, it’s not being sufficiently supported or groomed to reach senior levels.

Falling short

According to an Association of National Advertisers survey published earlier this month, 9 percent of administrative, clerical and entry-level staff at member companies that responded are African-American, but only 4 percent of senior level staff are African-American. While 6 percent of overall employees at ANA member companies are black, only 3 percent are CMOs.

According to an ANA survey from earlier this year, Asians make up 10 percent of ANA member company employees but just 5 percent of CMOs. The ratios are similar for Hispanics: 8 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

The success that recruitment efforts are seeing isn’t translating to better representation at the top because the attrition rate for people of color in the industry is so high. “I don’t think there’s a problem at the junior level,” says Carl Desir, diversity and inclusion director at R/GA and former VP for talent initiatives at the 4A’s. “Where it gets more difficult is in the mid-to-senior executive levels. If they don’t stay, we can’t groom them for leadership.”

Yet agencies and brands continue to focus on building out the diversity “pipeline.” There seems to be a new internship program or portfolio school initiative unveiled every few weeks. But while these programs and events are both good and necessary, these days the pipeline isn’t the problem, say the people responsible for diversifying agency rosters. Poor retention and a lack of leadership are driving people of color away from the industry—or failing to keep them—almost as fast as they can be recruited.

“We are very gung-ho about finding and encouraging these young people and getting them super excited, and then we kind of throw them to the wolves to figure it out,” says Tiffany Edwards, engagement and inclusion director at Droga5. “That leads to what we call the ‘leaky bucket.’ You can funnel in as many people as you want, but within the first one to two years, they all slowly start to leak out the bottom.”

The focus on bringing students and diverse young talent into the industry can mask institutional problems that no amount of recruitment can fix. Certainly it’s easier for an agency to show up at job fairs than to analyze and correct an environment that isn’t welcoming to people who don’t fit a particular mold.

“It becomes a way for organizations to make the focus external instead of internal,” Edwards says. “Instead of figuring out why we’re not promoting people of color or hiring people of color into senior positions, let’s go find a bunch of the most promising high school students and say we’re ‘doing diversity.’“

And if the newcomers aren’t happy in their positions or don’t feel they’re getting the right kind of support professionally or culturally, it’s only natural to see them as the problem, rather than the organization and all its built-in biases, Desir says. “Advertising has been a straight white man’s world since it was created,” he notes. “People are attracted to and drawn to people who look, act, think just like them. So when you have this shift where culture and society is becoming more diverse and the industry is not, and people feel like they’re losing what they’ve built—whether that’s true or not—you’re going to have pushback.”

Plugging the leaks

In advertising, quality is subjective. Copy, art and strategy don’t lend themselves to dispassionate appraisal, especially in an industry where people work in small close-knit groups. “When you get a team who feels comfortable, it’s easy,” says Kelly Davis, global chief human resource officer at Droga5. “But if you get a team filled with people that are different from you, how do you get the best from them?” Managers need to be trained to value opinions and ideas that feel unfamiliar to them, she says, and to appreciate cultural references that may not resonate with them but will with a broader audience.

It’s a task that becomes easier to accomplish the more it’s already been accomplished—a classic virtuous cycle. Tapping diverse talent for promotion puts them in leadership positions. As creative directors or account directors, they’re in a position to more easily recognize the contributions of other underrepresented talent. In turn, entry-level staffers have people higher up in the organization whose career paths they can emulate and who can serve as mentors and advocates.

But that means creating space within organizations for new kinds of people. The traditional hiring model seeks a person to fill a position, usually one that’s been recently vacated or one created by the current teams. Instead, companies looking for new ideas should build positions around the right people, Edwards says.

“We’re still trying to shape the talent to fit our very old model of what advertising is, instead of actually helping them develop their creativity and flourish and figure out why they’re valuable,” she says. “They’ve been told there’s this cookie-cutter way to be in advertising: this is what a portfolio should look like, this is what good work looks like. They’re not trained to be their authentic selves.

By now, most companies recognize the value in having diverse teams, or at least give lip service to the idea. A January 2018 study from McKinsey & Co. showed that executive teams with the highest ethnic and cultural diversity were 33 percent more likely to lead profitability in their industries. Companies that lacked diversity were 29 percent less likely to pull in high profits. But the question remains: How much diversity is enough?

When it comes to women’s representation, 50 percent parity is an easy metric to settle on because women are half the population, says Tiffany R. Warren, Omnicom senior VP and chief diversity officer and the founder of AdColor. For people of color, demographic data can help. African-Americans are 13 percent of the U.S. population, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, and Hispanics make up 18 percent. But in the areas where advertisers and their agencies are clustered, the numbers are much higher. Only 45 percent of New York City and 50 percent of Los Angeles are white, according to the census. Minneapolis is only 64 percent white, the census found, while 74 percent of employees in the ANA survey at member companies are white.

“If you’re in a majority-minority town, and your agency or company is at 4 percent, you have to examine yourself,” says Warren. “What, systematically, is happening that you’re not reflecting the cultural diversity of the city that you’re in?”

A simple solution

For all the hand-wringing about diversity and where the industry has gone wrong or is falling short, the fixes are relatively straightforward, Warren says. Spend the time required to build out diverse teams. Spend the money required to hire talented senior-level people from underrepresented groups.

“It’s about recognizing and considering people of color in ways that their white counterparts are being considered. Is there equity in how we deal out the retention and leadership opportunities? It just takes a quick audit and review of who’s within your agency now, who’s ready for that step up,” she says. “I want to be really clear: It’s not that difficult.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

14394: Merger She Wrote—The Wunderman-JWT Mix-Up.

Adweek reported WPP CEO Mark Read continues to poop in a blender, concocting the latest dookie smoothie with two titanic turds—Wunderman and JWT. This excremental execution doesn’t allow for initial integration like VMLY&R, so the new outhouse will be called Wunderman Thompson. Gee, iconic advertising agencies are assuming second-class citizenship in the downsizing WPP empire. “To achieve transformative outcomes, clients today need inspiration that is rooted in data-driven insight. I am really excited to be able to deliver that within one agency,” said Wunderman Thompson CEO Mel Edwards, who will co-run the crap factory with Tamara Ingram. “Wunderman Thompson offers precisely what clients want: brilliant creativity, expertise in data and sophisticated technology skills.” Wow, that’s the most creative copy to ever come out of Wunderman. Regarding this merger, one thing is certain: White men will be obliterated.

WPP Will Merge J. Walter Thompson With Wunderman to Form Wunderman Thompson

Exclusive: World’s oldest agency joins digital network

By Patrick Coffee

WPP leadership has decided to merge J. Walter Thompson, the world’s oldest ad agency, with digital network Wunderman, a spokesperson for the former company confirmed today. The news was announced to employees at the start of the business day in New York.

WPP leadership has decided to merge J. Walter Thompson, the world’s oldest ad agency, with digital network Wunderman, a spokesperson for the former company confirmed today. The news was announced to employees at the start of the business day in New York.

The resulting organization will be known as Wunderman Thompson and be headquartered in JWT’s offices on Manhattan’s Lexington Avenue. It will employ approximately 20,000 people in 200 locations across 90 global markets. WPP is expected to debut a new visual identity for the company in the coming days.

Mel Edwards was promoted to global CEO of Wunderman in September after her predecessor, Mark Read, succeeded Martin Sorrell as WPP’s chief executive. She’ll keep that title, with JWT worldwide CEO Tamara Ingram serving as chairman.

“To achieve transformative outcomes, clients today need inspiration that is rooted in data-driven insight. I am really excited to be able to deliver that within one agency,” said Edwards. “Wunderman Thompson offers precisely what clients want: brilliant creativity, expertise in data and sophisticated technology skills. I couldn’t be more honored to lead this new organization and its exceptional people.”

JWT calls itself “the world’s best-known marketing communications brand,” and in the last 150-plus years it has created such iconic campaigns as the Oscar Meyer Weiner Song and the Toys “R” Us Kid anthem, in addition to some of the earliest ads for Henry Ford’s Model T automobiles.

Wunderman, which began 60 years ago as the first direct marketing agency, has since expanded into the fields of brand strategy, consulting, ecommerce and, perhaps most importantly, data analytics.

“Coming together was a decision driven by the opportunity to better serve our clients, expand our offering and create an agency effectively positioned for the future,” Ingram added. “Both JWT and Wunderman have been built by the commitment of many talented people whose combined capabilities will further distinguish us in the market.”

JWT did not elaborate beyond these statements. A WPP spokesperson declined to comment.

This is the second major merger announced by Read since taking the helm of the world’s largest holding company. His first, which mashed VML and Y&R together to create VMLY&R in September, similarly combined a digital network with an older, more traditional agency.

One source with executive-level connections at Wunderman told Adweek that the two firms, which have been “moving closer together” in recent months and share several major clients including Shell, Nestle and Johnson & Johnson, will effectively operate as one.

“Wunderman in many ways has become the darling of WPP,” the person said, calling the decision an obvious one for the sake of efficiency and account planning.

An email sent to top holding company executives earlier this month confirmed that all Wunderman staff will relocate from their headquarters in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle to JWT’s office in January. This move continues the holding group’s strategy of housing its agencies in various “campuses,” the newest of which are located in Toronto and New York’s 3 World Trade Center.

Rumors of the merger have been around for weeks, according to several people who spoke to Adweek. One recruiter described it as an “open secret” in the agency world. A WPP veteran said the merger had been discussed as “something that was clearly being considered” in recent leadership meetings.

Another holding company executive said the move is in keeping with Read’s “less is more” vision for the company, adding that Wunderman and other digitally oriented agencies will likely serve to support JWT’s above-the-line creative offering moving forward. That source compared the partnership to Wunderman and Possible, which joined forces to create a digital “super group” in 2017.

A source on the client side who recently went through a pitch led by Possible also noted that the agency often refers to Wunderman as part of a package deal in a manner similar to Publicis Groupe’s “Power of One” approach, where multiple agencies team up to pitch for a single account.

Possible and Mirum, which are part of the Wunderman and JWT networks, respectively, will reportedly retain their independent brands.

Three WPP employees confirmed that Read will reveal his strategic plans for the larger network at an executive summit on Dec. 11. At an October meeting in Brooklyn, the CEO spoke with agency leaders about the company’s visual identity and strategic positioning, which he reportedly described as a “radical evolution.”

Several questions remain unanswered, chief among them how the move will affect the structure of Wunderman’s and JWT’s operations in London, India, Asia and Latin America. But the people who spoke to Adweek said no more leadership announcements are expected before 2019.

A rich legacy

William James Carlton founded Carlton & Smith in 1864, four years before hiring bookkeeper and eventual namesake J. Walter Thompson (who purchased the business in 1877 for $500). Its opening marked the first business designed to sell advertising services to clients. The 1899 launch of JWT’s London office made it the first such American operation to expand overseas, and the agency also hired the industry’s first female copywriter, Helen Lansdowne Resor, more than 100 years ago.

The agency celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2014.

Wunderman, Ricotta & Kline opened its doors in 1958 and pioneered the practice of direct marketing before WPP acquired it in 1973. Among the innovations attributed to founder Lester Wunderman are the 1-800 number, the Columbia House record club model, and the American Express customer rewards program.

President Richard Nixon hired Wunderman in 1972 to help Americans better understand the U.S. Postal Service’s still-new ZIP code system.

Despite its considerable value and the role it currently plays in nearly every significant piece of business handled by WPP, Wunderman has largely flown under the radar. The agency does not yet boast the name recognition of other holding company properties like Grey, Y&R, Ogilvy and JWT.

That will almost certainly change in the months and years to come.

Monday, November 26, 2018

14393: TIME’S UP/Advertising’s Messy, Murky, Mushy Mission.

Adweek published a lengthy look at the latest lollygagging from the ladies at TIME’S UP/Advertising. The stumbling sisterhood declared, “Our mission is to create workplaces that are Safe, Fair, and Dignified.” An accompanying chart (depicted above) feels like something conceived, composed and crafted by an intern—and the type of intern who landed her gig solely through blood relations to a major client.

David Ogilvy said, “Search the parks in all your cities. You’ll find no statues for committees.” The TU/A mission statement and goofy graphic appear to underscore Ogilvy’s perspective. It’s easy to imagine a giddy steering committee covering a whiteboard with Post-It Notes, pondering every pillar and overthinking each participle. Although it’s more likely the Ms. Magna Carta was cobbled together via IM and email. A competent creative director would have instructed the group to start over, because the final mess is kinda embarrassing.

Aren’t professional advertising agencies already striving—at least through HR-drafted employee handbook instructions—to foster Safe, Fair and Dignified workplaces? Surely shops within holding companies have processes and principles that employees are required to uphold. Sorry, but TU/A is presenting common knowledge, common sense and common courtesy.

Additionally, how is TU/A authorized to enforce anything? Especially considering the majority of its members are hardly credible advocates for equality. Need proof? Adweek pointed out that women of color already feel left out from the cause. It’s time to admit that WOC underrepresentation in the advertising industry has been orchestrated by White men and White women. Contrary to the hysterical hollering from Cindy Gallop, there’s no evidence to believe White women will fight to secure true Safety, Fairness and Dignity for all. Indeed, there’s lots of historical data to demonstrate they won’t do the right thing.

Intersectionality is a tough concept to grasp, and tougher if you’re culturally clueless. Even the woman who originated the notion—Kimberlé Crenshaw—admits there are complex and confusing components. Certain Chief Diversity Officers have attempted to inject intersectionality into conversations, but the continuing conflicts show there’s still a great need for awareness and acceptance before taking action. Yet how can one expect to make proper decisions in this overall scenario if the collective membership is not fully informed and legitimately enlightened?

Anyway, here’s a suggestion/comment that’s bound to piss off TU/A enthusiasts: Ending sexual harassment and gender inequality—particularly in the advertising industry—is a man’s job. Hate to admit it, but IPG Chairman and CEO Michael Roth has done waaaaay more to address matters than TU/A. Granted, he’s been forced to act because his network is seemingly filled with predators and perpetrators. Nonetheless, the old man is setting standards for performance, practice and punishment. To be clear, this suggestion/comment is rooted in a few imperative realities: 1) men must minimally be a partner in any solutions; 2) men are better equipped to go toe-to-toe with offenders and; 3) men need to make amends for having started the problems—even if by virtue of simply sharing the same gender as the chronically-corrupt bad boys.

Think of it as a form of reparations. Then again, in the advertising industry, White men and White women have steadfastly refused to acknowledge their roles and responsibilities in nettlesome affairs and be held accountable for their misdeeds.