Friday, July 20, 2018

14244: Partners In Grime.

Papa John’s is getting cooked, as the N-word scandal suddenly appears to be just a small slice of a pathetic, profane and politically-incorrect pizza party. Forbes published a lengthy report titled, “The Inside Story of Papa John’s Toxic Culture,” alleging sexual harassment and bad-boy behavior are basic ingredients of the company.

Meanwhile, Advertising Age reported White advertising and media agencies—specifically, Publicis Groupe’s Fallon and IPG’s Initiative—are cutting ties with the client. The stories imply the shops are taking the high road and rejecting the apparently nasty former CEO John Schnatter and controversial company. If so, the scenario demonstrates the new hypocrisy in adland.

It’s unclear why Fallon was even working for Papa John’s, as the White advertising agency is already servicing Arby’s. How many fast feeders can one agency handle? Plus, reports of merger talks between Papa John’s and Wendy’s means Fallon would have faced more potential conflicts. And Publicis Groupe is not without controversy itself, plagued by publicized and private problems. Given the financial challenges facing the White holding company, it’s not exactly in a position to decline revenue, regardless of the source.

The decision to split by Initiative is really hypocritical, especially considering the news that another IPG firm—Powell Tate—is covering PR duties for Papa John’s. IPG owns some of the worst examples of sexual harassment and racism in recent years. So any company on the IPG roster is actually uniquely qualified to partner with Papa John’s. Hell, IPG is globally recognized for leadership in gender, racial and ethnic discrimination—the company’s conscious bias experience is unmatched.

In short, the shared cultural cluelessness between all parties creates a perfect union.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

14243: Equivocal Equity.

Adweek published a perspective from 4As SVP Talent Engagement and Inclusion Keesha Jean-Baptiste, who sought to introduce a semi-fresh term into the dismal diversity discussion: Equity. Sorry, but Jean-Baptiste probably won’t succeed in her attempt to reboot the global conversation. For the average advertising executive, the net impression of equity will not be significantly different than equality, inclusion, fairness, etc. Additionally, equity entails more work than the familiar terms. If there’s one thing White people in adland have demonstrated quite clearly, it’s their unwillingness to exert extra effort to end exclusivity. In short, when it comes to tackling true diversity, White adpeople are lazy. This laziness is particularly disturbing when considering the field has traditionally embraced late nights and weekends, nose-to-grindstone hustle and workaholic obsessiveness as the status quo. And it underscores the obscenity of being all in and going all out for divertsity. That is, the ruling majority is committed 110% to promoting White women, yet apathetic and indifferent to people of color.

Jean-Baptiste does call out how the popular emphasis on gender equality has not benefited true diversity. And she even injected intersectionality better than other pseudo-revolutionaries. However, there’s a contradictory angle to Jean-Baptiste’s words—the talk doesn’t match the walk. Specifically, the 4As spends greater time, money and resources on the White women’s bandwagon versus the colored car. And where the hell is 4As President and CEO Marla Kaplowitz on any of this?

Equity can’t happen while inequality, underrepresentation and cultural cluelessness run rampant. Plus, equity requires EQ—aka Emotional Intelligence—which would demand further effort and action. And don’t ignore the fact that equity needs financial backing beyond the typical diversity budget. It’s a bit unrealistic to hope everybody will elevate their games and extend their wallets, especially when the majority of folks show they don’t really want to play and definitely don’t want to pay.

In the end, White adpeople put the “quit” in equity—they give up before legitimately and honestly trying. Oh, and it doesn’t help that a trade association has less than zero authority to mandate or even influence industry-wide change.

To Further Embrace Diversity, Agencies Need to Focus on Equity

It offers an equal share of voice, power, status and influence

By Keesha Jean-Baptiste

The ad industry has been talking about diversity and inclusion for years. But after decades of critical thought, we’re still not there yet. So, what are we missing? What haven’t we tried? What can bridge the gap between the world we see now and the world we want to see?

Equity.

Not to be confused with equality, equity is not only about treating everyone the same. And while the spotlight in advertising has evolved from diversity to inclusion, it’s also important to recognize that equity is not diversity, nor is it inclusion.

Equity is the impact of both; it’s equal access and fairness. And equity is the thing we haven’t pushed or measured.

Equity is focused, intentional correction of imbalances. It’s when efforts to drive more people of different backgrounds into the industry—diversity—and cultures that embrace, involve and engage those people of difference—inclusion—offer diverse groups an equitable share of voice, share of power, share of influence, share of decision-making and share of status. Equity breaks up the dominance of one culture and allows space and room for those who have been unrepresented to have a seat at the table.

So how do we know equity is the big missing element? How can we tell we haven’t achieved equitable share for all?

Take a look at agency award photos. Take a look at who is pictured crowding around a Lion onstage in Cannes. Take a look at your executive leadership team. Take a look at your summer intern group. Take a look at your board.

What you will see is a reflection of the inequity that’s still stubbornly in place. While we are seeing more gender balance, other areas of difference are underrepresented throughout the workplace, especially in management and executive roles.

So how do we create more equitable cultures of difference at work? Here are three areas where you can start moving the needle today.

Talk about race

People like to believe we are in a post-racial world where race no longer matters and racial prejudice and discrimination no longer exist. We’re not there. And until we deal with the fact that we’re not, it will be difficult to see, appreciate and have empathy for other areas of racial difference and the impact that people’s racial identity can have on their lived experience.

As an industry, we’ve been laser-focused on gender diversity but without the critical awareness that gender identity does not live in a silo. You cannot separate my gender from my race because they are intermingled in how I experience life and how people interact with me.

By acknowledging the importance of gender diversity over racial diversity, we’ve actually widened the inequity between white women and women of color and between white men and all people of color. While we’ve seen white men in power passing the baton to white women, who are breaking through to senior management and executive-level positions, we are seeing a decline in such advancement among men of color and men and women of color are still hitting the glass ceiling. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who identify as African-American/black, Asian and Hispanic or Latino make up only about 22 percent of advertising, public relations and related fields.

So add race to the conversation, because if your agency gender balance is improving but you still have racial homogeneity, are you really creating a culture of difference and equitable representation?

If you want to talk about race but are not sure how to start, there are programs like the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP), AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Students Program and ADCOLOR FUTURES that are actively filling the talent pipeline with candidates and busting the myth that ample racially/ethnically diverse talent can’t be found or that the talent is not ready.

Add cultural competence to your job descriptions

To be culturally competent means to have the ability to understand and communicate effectively with people from cultures and backgrounds that are different from yours.

We need to start thinking of cross-cultural competence as a critical ability, something as teachable and necessary as presentation skills. In order to sustain cultures where people of difference feel like they belong, we need to create a workforce of people who know how to navigate workspaces and relationships with all types of people.

It’s important to recognize that cultural competence is a skill everyone should have because equity means we all shoulder the responsibility of being more culturally literate and socially conscious about what’s happening in the world. We shouldn’t rely solely on people of difference to notice when something is inappropriate, offensive or tone deaf.

Correct the ‘only one’ syndrome

Representation matters at all levels. When you look closely at your agency makeup, you may find that there are departments, teams and roles that have either no person of difference or sometimes only one. We have to change that—it leads to isolation and tokenism. Tracking numbers on a macro (office) and micro (team) level makes a difference to spotting the places where diversity is lacking.

Not only does it impact whether people of difference feel a sense of belonging, but it’s also a clear sign that they don’t have the same share of voice, representation and influence in the room and on your teams. Whether it’s one woman, one person of color or one Muslim, how can one person carry that weight for all?

This is where measurement can be incredibly helpful. You need a tangible way of seeing that your efforts are actually being sustained and not falling back. I encourage agencies to participate in Diversity Best Practices (DBP) and the Working Mother Research Institute’s Inclusion Index, an annual benchmarking study that helps companies understand the gaps in their efforts and provides specific strategies and resources to elevate inclusion strategies.

Culture assessments can also be impactful in understanding the experiences, burdens and hidden pressures of those who are the only member of a group. This can create a meaningful dialogue that should not only equip your recruiting teams to improve their practices but should also foster a level of understanding that can help you get real about retaining talent who bring a wealth of different perspectives and, often, untapped insight to your agency.

When every agency adds equity—correcting imbalances—as part of its inclusion agenda, the industry will begin to see lasting change.

Keesha Jean-Baptiste is the svp, talent engagement and inclusion at the 4A’s.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

14242: Maestro & Mandela.

On the centenary of the late Nelson Mandela’s birthday, the ever-patronizing and diversity-dedicated Google celebrates with a Doodle tribute to Maestro Kurt Masur, German conductor and humanitarian.

14241: Papa John’s Cont’d.

Adweek reported the Papa John’s N-Word Scandal is escalating, as Casey Wasserman—CEO of the company that owns Laundry Service—declared Papa John’s Founder John Schnatter’s charges of extortion are “completely false.” Plus, Adweek stated Forbes claimed that Laundry Service resigned the account after Schnatter allegedly used the N-word and “made other racially insensitive statements” during the infamous conference call. This story has more messed up ingredients than a Papa John’s pizza with the works. On the one hand, Schnatter isn’t getting much respect from his company (where he’s still the majority shareholder), as the man has even been kicked out of his office. However, he’s receiving support from sources including The Patriot Post. On the flipside, Wasserman issued a company memo saying, “All matters pertaining to Laundry Service, Cycle, Wasserman and their clients are strictly confidential…”—which begs the question of how the conference call details were made public. While Wasserman revealed his company now has “a centralized PR strategy to go on the record and refute [Schnatter’s charges],” it seems like he’s not moving fast enough to set the record straight. This is ironic, given that Laundry Service was allegedly offering Papa John’s guidance for dealing with the media. Mark Twain observed, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” Laundry Service, Wasserman, Papa John’s and Schnatter could all benefit from heeding Twain’s words.

On a side note, MultiCultClassics might have jumped the gun by initially branding Laundry Service as a typical White advertising-media agency. The place boasts being committed to diversity and appears to have an inclusive staff—at least what’s left of the staff after recent layoffs. Papa John’s looks pretty diverse as well. The leadership at the Wasserman-led parent company, not so much.

Wasserman CEO Calls Founder of Papa John’s Extortion Claims ‘Completely False’ in Memo

Company plans ‘to go on the record and refute them’

By Patrick Coffee

The CEO of the company that owns Papa John’s now former ad agency Laundry Service today sent a memo to all employees calling recent claims by the brand’s founder John Schnatter “completely false.”

In the memo, which Adweek acquired, Wasserman CEO Casey Wasserman also advises employees to avoid talking to the press or discussing client business with anyone outside the parent company, Laundry Service or its production division Cycle.

Last Monday, Adweek broke the news that Laundry Service had parted with CEO Jason Stein and approximately 60 employees due to “client attrition.” The following morning, Forbes reported that the agency had resigned the account following a May strategy call in which Schnatter used the N-word and made other racially insensitive statements.

Schnatter subsequently resigned as chairman of the pizza chain.

On Friday, Schnatter claimed in interviews with local TV and radio stations near the company’s headquarters in Louisville, Ky., that unnamed Laundry Service employees had “pressured” him into the conversation and attempted to “extort” his company for $6 million before leaking news of the call to Forbes.

Wasserman strongly denies those statements in the note. He also writes that the company will soon come forward specifically refuting Schnatter’s claims.

“As you all know, there’s been a lot of coverage about Laundry Service and Wasserman related to the Papa John’s situation in the past several days,” the note begins. “The disparaging and outrageous comments about Wasserman and Laundry Service that have been covered are completely false and we have a centralized PR strategy to go on the record and refute them. Until that time we cannot expect the media to know the truth.”

The note tells employees to defer to third-party PR firm Principal Communications Group if a journalist should reach them by phone or in writing, advising them to avoid even providing a “no comment” response.

“To this end there are a lot of journalists making inquiries about Papa John’s and Laundry Service, and those inquiries should continue be referred to our corporate public relations representative, Melissa Zukerman,” the note reads.

It concludes: “All matters pertaining to Laundry Service, Cycle, Wasserman and their clients are strictly confidential and should not be disclosed to anyone outside the company.”

A spokesperson for Laundry Service and Wasserman declined to comment for this story. A Papa John’s representative did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

This morning, The Wall Street Journal reported that Schnatter and his lawyer sent a letter to the company’s board of directors calling his decision to resign “a mistake.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

14240: Dirty Laundry Service…?

The Papa John’s N-Word Scandal has added bitter ingredients and bitter pizza, with Founder John Schnatter insisting an advertising-media agency—Laundry Service—pressured him to use the derogatory term that’s leading to his brand ouster. In a videotaped interview, Schnatter tried to explain the incident occurred during a Laundry Service media training apparently intended to help Papa John’s executives learn to deliver public remarks better. Somebody should have warned Schnatter that receiving advice on culturally competent communication from an advertising-media agency is like seeking unconscious bias training from the Ku Klux Klan. Schnatter went on to accuse Laundry Service of extortion, charging the advertising-media agency offered to “make [the story] go away” if Papa John’s coughed up $6 million. The scenario is so crazy, it’s probably true. Hey, Laundry Service recently executed major layoffs that indicate the company is hurting for money. Plus, based on his commercial performances, Schnatter isn’t creative enough to make up such a bizarre story. On the flipside, Schnatter repeatedly stressed that racism isn’t part of the Papa John’s corporate character. Um, better check your receipt on that claim. BTW, is Lil John still interested in joining the team?

14239: Credle Crapola.

Campaign published a 1200-word pile of bullshit dumped by FCB Global CCO Susan Credle, who shat out her caca commitment to diversity in advertising. According to Credle, “Diversity of talent is a matter of life and death for agencies.” Technically, Credle’s editorial excrement was focused on divertsity, as she waited until the final paragraph to briefly mention people of color. Plus, Credle appears to be a fair-weather feminist. That is, in 2012, she declared, “I never got into this business thinking that it’s going to be tough for a woman. … And I actually never felt it was tough for a woman—I thought it was just tough.” Now Credle’s a fiery revisionist revolutionist for the White sisterhood. As for people of color, Credle is suddenly committed to getting more of them on juries at award shows. Hey, why not? After first securing spots for White women, we might as well give minorities the right to vote for trophies too. Sorry, but people like Credle will see to it that racial and ethnic minorities—as her previous agency estimated—are over 60 years away from experiencing equality in adland. Divertsity of talent is a matter of life and death for agencies. It’s a fact of life.

Diversity of talent is a matter of life and death for agencies

By Susan Credle

It took too long, but the industry has finally realized we need to more actively address the glaring diversity gap in creative agencies, says FCB’s global chief creative officer, Susan Credle.

When I started my career in advertising, I had very few female leaders around me to look up to. My first agency job was intimidating. I’d worked hard to get there, but I still felt like I’d be laughed out of the room (full of men) if I presented my own ideas.

In the last 20 years, I’ve been thrilled to see diversity evolve from being a nice thing to do, to being a responsible thing to do, to finally becoming a business imperative. It took too long, but the industry has finally realized we need to more actively address the glaring diversity gap in creative agencies.

In an industry that demands innovation, and consumers that demand representation, homogenous agencies face an existential threat.

Agency leadership has to prioritize and advocate for diversity

Diversity of talent in our offices has progressed in a lot of ways, particularly with women. I’m proud to be part of an agency with female CCOs in India, Brazil, San Francisco, Chicago, and Canada, and to work with an incredible head of talent—Cindy Augustine—who’s constantly pushing us to do more and cast our net wider.

Last year, we played a huge role in Free the Bid, a global initiative started by director Alma Har’el that advocates for ad agencies and brands to ensure at least one bid for every commercial job comes from a woman director. (On average, each project gets three bids, and after years of gender bias, women directors don’t often have the opportunity to build competitive reels.)

If we can guarantee that one of every three bids is from a female director, we’ll see change in a heartbeat. I thought it was a brilliant idea. So I called all my CCOs in North America to see if they agreed (they did), and then I called my CCO friends in other major agencies to ask if they’d be willing to sign on. Within 24 hours, my entire company and just about every agency were on board.

That’s one benefit of being a woman in a position of power: being able to quickly network with other CCOs and advocate for women. As a result of Free the Bid, FCB has significantly increased its outreach to women directors and they’ve been awarded many of the jobs.

It also started an encouraging trend among production companies. They’re funding more young women and helping to build their reels because they know they have a third of a chance of winning a job if they have a talented woman on their roster.

Find and nurture diverse talent

Today’s consumers don’t just want ads to be relevant to their interests and needs; they want them to speak to who they are and where they come from. Thanks to the Internet and social media, today we’re all exposed to different stories, we interact with people who aren’t like us, and we see more of the world.

This is especially true on platforms like YouTube. In part due to its strong creator culture, YouTube has been a home to groups that have been underrepresented in traditional media. Case in point: nearly two-thirds of black millennial viewers say YouTube is a place where black people have a voice. And, in the US, 60 per cent of self-identified LGBT respondents see positive change for LGBT people on YouTube in a way they don’t in traditional media.

It’s clear that consumers want to connect with and get inspired by others who share their background. This holds true for the stories we tell too and it starts with who we hire to tell those stories.

First and foremost, we have to make the industry itself more attractive, particularly to first-generation college graduates. It’s on us to emphasize that the industry is purposeful, respected, financially rewarding, and that we truly believe our efforts at work are worth the time we put in.

Secondly, we should look beyond portfolio schools. Where are the poets? Where are the painters? Where are the photographers that tell amazing visual stories but haven’t thought about advertising?

Third, we need to value diverse voices. We can’t hire diverse people and then ask them to act like everyone else. Remember when women went to work and tried to act like men? That’s not embracing diversity.

A lot of agencies strive to bring in young people with diverse backgrounds and expertise—and that’s a good first step. But research has shown that there needs to be diverse talent representation in an agency for people to feel comfortable speaking up. If you’re the only person of color in the room, it’s that much harder to find your voice. Leadership must commit to making people feel creative, not intimidated. Mentorship is important here—I mentor several people once a month so they know they’re a valued team member and have someone at the top to talk to.

How to stay accountable as we make progress on diversity efforts

The time is now for agencies to make change. Lip service isn’t enough. Here are the three tenets I use to hold myself and my teams accountable.

1) Commit: It can’t be a one-and-done effort. You have to wake up every day committed to making it work and, when it’s not working, ask why. We should be incentivizing organizations to treat diversity as more than just a box to check; it’s vital to the business because it has real economic value.

2) Measure: Support diversity efforts with hard data. If another agency is watching what you’re doing and sees tangible proof that diversity is making a positive difference, how quickly do you think they’ll want to do the same thing? That’s what happened with Free the Bid—when people saw that more great female directors were suddenly being celebrated, more people wanted to commit to the cause.

3) Talk: Keep the conversation going across all levels. Every time I talk to my CCOs, we discuss how they’re approaching diversity, and if we’re hiring people who will push us to the next level creatively. If diversity isn’t part of the hiring conversation, it becomes invisible. It’s one of those things that has to be front and center all the time.

I truly believe the more you show diversity out in the world representing your company, the faster your company will become diversified. At FCB, PR is an important part of that effort. We’re always pushing for diverse representation on panels, award juries, and in the press. For instance, I’m thrilled FCB is sending the first “Working Parent Cannes Correspondent,” Sarah Latz, and her son Henry to cover the Cannes festival for us this year.

The challenge we as an industry have to collectively take up

Advertising is a people business, and it only gets better when we have talented people with different points of view. The changes I’ve seen since joining the industry are amazing and inspiring, but we can always do more.

We’re not going to solve the diversity gap overnight—it’ll take a high level of focus, urgency, and commitment across the industry. But it’s a goal worth fighting for, and an essential one for the future of advertising.

We’ve done a better job representing white women, but I’ve seen very little change with people of color. That’s a high priority for me. On every jury and every panel, every time we put a group together, the team isn’t complete unless it includes people of color. Is that an impossibility within your organization? Then that’s your next brief.

Monday, July 16, 2018

14238: Wells Fargo Re-Bullshitting.

Wells Fargo is re-affirming its commitment to communities—while everyone else is re-affirming Wells Fargo is a culturally clueless criminal.

14237: More Martin Mumbo-Jumbo.

Shoot Online also spotlighted The Martin Agency’s Talent and Culture department, providing more details than the Adweek report presented in a previous post. For starters, Shoot Online’s headline positions the Talent and Culture department as a diversity and inclusion initiative. So newly hired Director of Strategic Engagement Kelsey Larus might be a Chief Divertsity Officer after all.

Chief Culture Officer Carmina Drummond offered more gobbledygook by declaring, “We want progress. We’ve discovered it’s not enough to have diversity initiatives or incentives. Those efforts are right, but right can be ignored. We need to be intentional in our behavior to create positive change.” Um, it would be nice to know the specific “diversity initiatives or incentives” that have been not-enough-yet-right-but-ignored at The Martin Agency. Keep in mind, the White advertising agency is part of IPG, the White holding company that boasts being recognized for leadership in diversity and inclusion. Shouldn’t IPG’s flagship shops already have extraordinarily effective initiatives and incentives in place to ignite progress?

Drummond also stated, “What attracted me to Kelsey was her experience driving culture-focused reform. She’s versed in how work communities move, grow, rise (and fall) to challenges. We’re excited to burn some bridges and build better ones.” Wow. Having “experience driving culture-focused reform” and being “versed in how work communities move, grow, rise…” sounds like stuff you’d type in a LinkedIn profile without offering tangible or measurable proof of execution. And which bridges need to be burned and built better? Hey, maybe the staff held a symbolic bonfire including a Joe Alexander effigy.

Shoot Online noted, “The Martin Agency has proactively closed the gender pay gap, pledged to #FreeTheBid, spearheaded the Times Up Advertising movement, tripled its paternity leave, amped up the re-entry program for working mothers, and hired a conflict resolution specialist to serve as a resource to employees.” Plus, Danny Robinson was elevated, becoming the first Black person on the executive committee. Gee, the changes appear to favor White women over people of color. Acknowledging the agency needed to work on true diversity (versus just divertsity), CEO Kristen Cavallo recently pledged, “We’re on it.” Get on it, already.

The Martin Agency Launches Talent & Culture Dept. To Promote Diversity, Inclusion

The Martin Agency has created a department called Talent & Culture that will report to Carmina Drummond, Martin’s chief culture officer.

“We want progress,” said Drummond. “We’ve discovered it’s not enough to have diversity initiatives or incentives. Those efforts are right, but right can be ignored. We need to be intentional in our behavior to create positive change.”

As a part of this ambition, Martin has hired Kelsey Larus as director of strategic engagement. Larus has an extensive background in strategic implementation having worked for the Obama Administration, the Democratic National Convention and two Presidential inaugurations.

“What attracted me to Kelsey was her experience driving culture-focused reform,” explained Drummond. “She’s versed in how work communities move, grow, rise (and fall) to challenges. We’re excited to burn some bridges and build better ones.”

Larus joins Marty Ritter, VP/ talent development, and Tina Chamberlain, VP/talent resources, in their sprint for change. The Martin Agency has proactively closed the gender pay gap, pledged to #FreeTheBid, spearheaded the Times Up Advertising movement, tripled its paternity leave, amped up the re-entry program for working mothers, and hired a conflict resolution specialist to serve as a resource to employees.

These changes continue a series of moves made by new leadership at Martin. Most recently was the appointment of Danny Robinson to chief client officer. Robinson, a creative director who possesses his MBA and founded urban pop culture agency, Vigilante, is the first African American on the Martin executive committee. CEO Kristen Cavallo also doubled the representation of women to the highest level of the company, adding Karen Costello as chief creative officer and Drummond as chief culture officer. Costello is the first female to hold the role of CCO in the agency’s 53-year history.

“Corporations often hide behind ‘fit’ and not ‘contribution’ as a metric,” said Cavallo. “Fit can be a rationale for homogeneity, and that’s dangerous. This is our chance to do things differently.”

Sunday, July 15, 2018

14236: The Mama & The Papa.

NBC News reported Papa John’s Founder John Schnatter—who resigned as chairman of the board after getting caught using the N-word—is also being removed from marketing materials. This is a major endeavor, as it requires completely revising the brand. How far will the company go? The scenario offers a unique opportunity for the pizza maker to reach out to a wider audience. Expect to soon meet Annie the Chicken and Pizza Queen.

Papa John’s pulling founder’s image from marketing after racial slur report

John Schnatter resigned as chairman of the board following a report of his use of the N-word during a media training exercise.

NEW YORK — Papa John’s, which has featured founder John Schnatter as the face of the company in logos and TV ads, is pulling his image from its marketing after reports he used a racial slur.

His face was off at least some materials by late morning Friday, though the company said the details and exact timing for everything were still being worked out. The pizza chain said there are no plans to change its name.

Schnatter is still on the board and is the company’s largest shareholder — meaning he remains a key presence. Papa John’s has acknowledged in regulatory filings that Schnatter’s public role as its pitchman could be a liability if his reputation was damaged. The company got a taste of that last year, when Schnatter stepped down as CEO after blaming disappointing pizza sales on the outcry surrounding football players kneeling during the national anthem.

This week, Papa John’s was already trying to further publicly distance itself from Schnatter after Forbes reported he used the N-word during a conference call in May. Schnatter apologized and said he would resign as chairman. That prompted the company’s stock to recover some of the losses it suffered after the report, and shares were up less than 1 percent Friday. Schnatter owns nearly 30 percent of the stock.

In addition to appearing in TV ads, Schnatter’s image has been on packaging and at the center of a logo that usually was all over the website of the Louisville, Kentucky-based company.

Keith Hollingsworth, a professor with Morehouse College’s business department, said keeping Schnatter in the marketing and advertising would signal to people that the company does not have a problem with his comments, or that it doesn’t think they are a big deal.

“Five years from now, they might be able to start bringing him back. But at the moment, you have to be very decisive and show you take this very seriously,” Hollingsworth said.

Schnatter had used the slur during a media training exercise, Forbes said. When asked how he would distance himself from racist groups, Schnatter reportedly complained that Colonel Sanders never faced a backlash for using the word. Schnatter subsequently issued a statement acknowledging the use of “inappropriate and hurtful” language.

“Regardless of the context, I apologize,” the statement said.

The fallout from his comments continued Friday. The University of Louisville said it will remove the Papa John’s name from its football stadium, and that it will rename the John H. Schnatter Center for Free Enterprise at its business college. Earlier in the week, the school said Schnatter resigned from its board of trustees.

Major League Baseball had also said it was indefinitely suspending a promotion with Papa John’s that offered people discounts at the pizza chain after a player hit a grand slam.

Papa John’s International Inc. began operations in 1984 and had more than 5,200 locations globally. The company cannot afford to alienate customers, with sales already under pressure from rivals such as Domino’s. For the first three months of this year, Papa John’s said a key sales figure fell 5.3 percent in North America.

14235: Chief Divertsity Officer…?

Adweek reported on the latest shenanigans at The Martin Agency, which invented a Talent and Culture department and tapped a White woman to run it. New Director of Strategic Engagement Kelsey Larus—dubbed by Chief Culture Officer Carmina Drummond as an “interesting, interesting hire”—was discovered via LinkedIn and lacks any advertising agency experience. Larus has worked for the Obama Administration and Democratic Party; and fittingly, her hiring feels like a political maneuver. Drummond remarked, “We needed someone objective and who valued us. We actually brought [Larus] in for an interview not knowing how we might utilize her.” Based on the Adweek article, The Martin Agency executives still aren’t sure how Larus might be utilized. Or maybe Drummond’s gobbledygook makes complete sense to everyone except the MultiCultClassics editorial staff. For now, it appears the White advertising agency just hired a Chief Divertsity Officer—not to be confused with Chief Diversity Officers—which is actually an original stunt.

The Martin Agency Creates Talent and Culture Unit Led by Former Obama Administration Staffer

Kelsey Larus will help drive organizational change

By Lindsay Rittenhouse

IPG’s The Martin Agency has created a new Talent and Culture department aimed at driving change and progress among its staff seven months after the ouster of longtime chief creative officer Joe Alexander due to sexual allegations made against him.

To lead the department, The Martin Agency hired Kelsey Larus as director of strategic engagement. Larus will report to chief culture officer Carmina Drummond, who picked up that title in March.

Drummond told Adweek that Larus is an “interesting, interesting hire,” as her background is certainly not in advertising. Larus worked for the Obama Administration, both in the White House and on President Obama’s campaigns. She also served as the director of housing for the 2012 Democratic National Convention and worked on two presidential inaugurations.

The Martin Agency discovered Larus through LinkedIn, and Drummond said the shop was immediately drawn to her background in “driving organizational change,” as internal issues that needed to be addressed were not solely “advertising issues or Martin Agency issues, but company issues.”

“We went through a really tough December, and the agency needed to heal,” Drummond added. “We needed someone objective and who valued us. We actually brought her in for an interview not knowing how we might utilize her.”

Drummond said Larus came aboard about six weeks ago.

The Talent and Culture department will focus on three areas: talent resources, talent development and strategic engagement.

“We are always looking for new talent but we also have tremendous talent at the agency,” Drummond said, explaining that the department will be responsible for making sure all employees have the resources they need to be supported and the “foundation to own and nourish their careers.”

Drummond said the new department was born from the ideas of several “really smart people” who realized there is “a real hunger for aligning culture with business initiatives.” The department will ensure The Martin Agency is fostering an environment where staff can form relationships, have the right impact on the agency and feel they are fulfilling a purpose, according to Drummond.

“It just really clicked that this is how it needs to be done,” Drummond added.

The addition of the Talent and Culture department is just the latest development in The Martin Agency’s cultural transformation after Alexander left in December.

Most recently, the agency promoted senior creative Danny Robinson to the newly created role of chief client officer. Robinson is the first African American to serve on The Martin Agency’s executive committee and has been tasked with working with account management and creatives to unlock innovative ideas and identify growth drivers for clients.

Drummond noted that Robinson’s appointment also highlights The Martin Agency’s commitment to “understanding the capabilities of our talent” and transitioning them in roles that allow them “to look at things in a new way.”

Drummond was given the chief culture officer title after serving as the agency’s senior vice president and director of operations. She was promoted as part of The Martin Agency’s March initiative to double the representation of women on its executive committee. That initiative was led by The Martin Agency’s first female CEO in its 53-year history, Kristen Cavallo.

Cavallo previously elevated Karen Costello to the chief creative officer role to replace Alexander. Costello is also The Martin Agency’s first female CCO.

“Corporations often hide behind ‘fit’ and not ‘contribution’ as a metric,” Cavallo said in a statement. “Fit can be a rationale for homogeneity, and that’s dangerous. This is our chance to do things differently.”

Saturday, July 14, 2018

14234: SapientRazorfish Fishiness.

Adweek reported on layoffs at SapientRazorfish, revealing potential plans to “retire the Razorfish brand” and dump the remains into the global Publicis.Sapient dung heap. This is not surprising at all.

SapientRazorfish Lays Off 100 in U.S. as Publicis Prepares to Retire the Brand, Sources Say

Agency will reportedly be folded into Publicis.Sapient

By Patrick Coffee

SapientRazorfish, the “digital transformation agency” created by the union of SapientNitro and Razorfish, went through a U.S. restructuring this week.

Sources who spoke to Adweek on condition of anonymity said multiple offices were affected, with one putting the total number of layoffs at approximately 100.

The same sources characterized the move as the beginning of a larger plan to retire the Razorfish brand and fold the organization into Publicis.Sapient, one of Publicis Groupe’s four major “solutions hubs” that currently includes Sapient Consulting. Until late 2017, the Digitas organization was also part of that group.

“As we work to evolve Publicis.Sapient, we have been evaluating our business model to ensure we can be the best digital transformation partner to our clients,” wrote a company spokesperson. “As part of that process, we recently made the difficult decision to part ways with a small number of our people.”

The spokesperson declined to elaborate further and did not directly address or dispute specific claims made by Adweek’s sources.

According to a party with knowledge of the business, the downsizing was intended to correct a revenue imbalance noted in the company’s forecast for the third and fourth quarters of 2018. While the consulting division of SapientRazorfish has reportedly seen double-digit growth so far this year, the digital and creative portions of its practice have not been as successful—and the company may not meet revenue goals for 2018.

Another source told Adweek that Los Angeles and Cleveland were the offices hit hardest by this round of downsizing and that several executive-level leaders within SapientRazorfish were let go.

Publicis acquired Razorfish from Microsoft in 2009 for more than $500 million and spent nearly $4 billion on Sapient in 2015. Since then, the company has struggled to define its goals for the two organizations, eventually combining them to form SapientRazorfish in late 2016 and relaunching the brand early last year as a provider of six key offerings ranging from data management to artificial intelligence.

Beyond its consulting practice, SapientRazorfish’s offshore operation, which employs roughly 10,000 people in India and performed much of the back-end work on the Marcel platform, has been a marked success. Last year, the organization announced plans to double its workforce in the next three to five years.

The last major restructuring occurred in November 2017, when co-CEO Chip Register announced his retirement and SapientRazorfish global CEO Alan Wexler became chief executive of the Publicis.Sapient organization. The company’s stated goal at the time was simplification.

Onetime Sapient CEO and chairman Alan Herrick, the first chief executive of Publicis.Sapient who was once seen as a potential successor to former Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy, also left the organization several months ago.

According to multiple sources, the transition from SapientRazorfish to Publicis.Sapient began earlier this year and already applies to all the agency’s internal operations. Publicis is expected to make further announcements in the coming months.

14233: Backward Bullshit.

This promotional divertsity message for “Have Her Back” features patronizing puffery from Campbell Ewald CEO Kevin Wertz. Actually, it’s hard to think about how many talented people of color have been driven away from advertising—waaaaay more than women, incidentally—because of the cultural cluelessness at White advertising agencies like Campbell Ewald. Hell, it’s not as if Campbell Ewald has lacked White female representation—and the place has hustled to add even more women at the leadership levels. So you’d think Wertz would work to woo back the larger minority group, given his agency’s record on the matter. But his actions speak for him quite clearly.

Friday, July 13, 2018

14232: IPG Health Violation.

Campaign reported McCann Health Global CCO Jeremy Perrott was fired after an internal investigation determined he had violated the company’s Code of Conduct. While no official statements specified the violating behavior, an unnamed source claimed Perrott used “offensive and inappropriate language.” Additionally, Campaign revealed Perrott was axed days before the 2018 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The scenario inspires at least two points of criticism:

1) Because McCann can’t or won’t divulge details of the violating behavior, and Campaign stated it involved “offensive and inappropriate language,” it’s impossible to know if Perrott’s words were sexist, racist, homophobic, ageist, political, religious, etc.—or a combination of culturally clueless obscenities. This is especially important to Cindy Gallop, Kat Gordon and Diet Madison Avenue, as they’ll be unable to take credit for Perrott’s firing.

2) IPG deserves derision for apparently keeping the affair quiet during Cannes—essentially, the band played on by conducting patronizing propaganda and a blissful breakfast to display faux commitment to divertsity and inclusion, despite having employed veteran violators, bigots and predators in C-suites throughout the holding company. Gotta believe IPG Chairman and CEO Michael Roth must be experiencing writer’s cramp from all the memos penned in recent years.

McCann Health terminates global CCO following employee complaint

Jeremy Perrott violated the agency’s code of conduct.

By Oliver McAteer

McCann Health’s global chief creative officer Jeremy Perrott has been fired following “a complaint about a violation” of the company’s code of conduct.

Perrott, who had been with the Interpublic Group company for nearly three decades, was let go in the days leading up to the 2018 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

A person with knowledge of the matter said the complaint surrounded allegations of “offensive and inappropriate language.”

A statement from McCann reads: “We received a complaint about a violation of our Code of Conduct by McCann Health’s, Jeremy Perrott. As a result, following an investigation, he is no longer with the company.

“Our foremost priority is to foster a workplace where people are respected and valued, and importantly, an environment where people feel safe and protected to come forward to report actions that run counter to our values and code of conduct.”

McCann Health is in the process of replacing Perrott. Other members of his former leadership team are taking on his responsibilities in the interim.

Perrott was not immediately available for comment.

14231: Diet Croak…?

Campaign reported the defamation lawsuit involving former CP+B CCO Ralph Watson, MDC Partners and Diet Madison Avenue is moving forward, as Watson’s attorney registered documents at Los Angeles Superior Court. Meanwhile, the Diet Madison Avenue GoFundMe donation drive has collected about $2000—which is roughly $98,000 short of its goal and/or $9,998,000 short of Watson’s demands. Hey, freedom of speech ain’t free.

Diet Madison Avenue defamation case moves forward

The Instagram account is being sued alongside MDC Partners after Crispin Porter & Bogusky’s former CCO claims he was unfairly fired.

By Oliver McAteer

The lawyer representing former Crispin Porter & Bogusky chief creative officer Ralph Watson has approached a court as legal action against anonymous Instagram account Diet Madison Avenue formally begins.

Applications for an order to “deem Diet Madison Avenue served” and “allow plaintiff to begin discovery” were made at Los Angeles Superior Court today, according to Michael W. Ayotte, of the Law Offices of Michael W. Ayotte.

It signals the next phase in the defamation lawsuit, which was filed in May.

The documents, registered in the Superior Court of California of the County of Los Angeles, accuse Diet Madison Avenue, as well as Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2 and Does 3 through 100, of defamation, intentional interference with contractual relations, intentional interference with prospective economic relations and negligent interference with prospective economic relations.

On February 2, Watson was let go from his role at MDC Partners’ CP+B after working at the agency since 2014. Watson has filed a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, with the intent to sue CP+B for wrongdoing.

In early January, Diet Madison Avenue published a list of men in the advertising industry that it alleged to be sexual harassers, the document states, adding that Watson was not on that list.

The lawsuit claims that on January 19, Diet Madison Avenue posted the following statement on Instagram: “Ralph Watson. The women that you targeted & groomed (like all predators do), because they were young & just starting out their careers...the women that you assumed would stay quiet are stronger than you ever gave them credit for. And their voices have created a timeline. Going back years. Corroborated stories. Spanning across multiple agencies. And even continents.”

Watson was contacted by multiple colleagues and friends shortly after the comments were published, alerting him to the posts, the document adds.

He then contacted his employer’s HR director, and was told CP+B had received no credible complaints or evidence of sexual harassment against him, according to the lawsuit.

Watson was fired days later. He “has suffered loss of salary, benefits and additional amounts of money he would have received had he not been terminated,” and “has largely been unable to secure any work in the advertising industry since,” the lawsuit claims.

Watson is also suing MDC Partners on a number of grounds including age discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy. The separate lawsuit was filed at the end of June.

A spokesperson for CP+B said the agency “stands by its decision to terminate Mr. Watson’s employment in February 2018.”

“MDC Partners and CP+B intend to vigorously defend themselves and their employees against the litigation commenced on June 29 2018 by Mr. Watson.”

At the time the first lawsuit was filed, a spokesperson for Diet Madison Avenue told Campaign US: “We have legal representation. It will be fascinating to see how Instagram deals with this issue – and how they deal with users’ privacy and freedom of speech on their platform. It will set a precedent for what is and is not permitted on this platform during the #MeToo era.”

Diet Madison Avenue strongly urged the legal teams involved to contact the Electronic Frontier Foundation – a non-profit that defends digital privacy, free speech and innovation.

“Similar suits have always been dropped,” the spokesperson added.

Representatives from the account did not respond to inquiry for comment.

Diet Madison Avenue launched a GoFundMe page in the wake of the lawsuit. It has raised nearly $2,000 of the $100,000 target.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

14230: Sir Peanut’s Monkey Business.

Campaign published a lengthy report titled, “Sorrell reveals ‘very different approach’ with €300m MediaMonks deal,” wherein Sir Martin Sorrell declared, “It’s a very different approach and a very different structure—one that is built for the future, not for the present and certainly not for the past.” Um, somebody tell Sir Peanut that living in reality should be the goal, which means not obsessing about the past or the future. Honestly, the man is starting to sound like President Donald Trump. What’s next—building the first holding company in outer space?

Sir Peanut considers his brainchild to be different because he’s viewing it through the eyes of an accountant, envisioning a financial arrangement that might appear unique. But a realistic perspective reveals a rerun of the same old story. That is, Sir Peanut is erecting an enterprise from scratch, just as he’s erected White advertising agencies for client customization. His other erections include Enfatico, Cavalry and Team Detroit. There’s a clear pattern of corporate erectile dysfunction here. And every declaration of doing things different implies and/or admits his previous wankfest—WPP—is flawed, failed and fucked up.

Schemes are already being sketched to expand MediaMonks, undoubtedly mixing more monks into the management muck and praying a monastery materializes. Sorry, but this style of business development ignores the need to establish a foundation based on shared vision, as well as common principles and practices for leadership, trust and integrity. Being an accountant, Sir Peanut prefers spreadsheets; hence he’s most comfortable inserting names and brackets into an Excel org chart versus creating a human culture. When evaluating people, quarterly cash value trumps sustainable character.

Of course, diversity is not part of the plan. Why, the photograph illustrating the Campaign report (depicted above) underscores the reality. Three White Stooges are out to make money for themselves. Literally and figuratively, there’s no visible divertsity in the picture either. Forget #MeToo—it’s just #MeMeMe.

Finally, it’s sad to see Sir Peanut being crowned Senior Monk (as depicted below) by his newly acquired sycophants. Former monks in the menagerie include Neil French, Alexei Orlov, Kevin Roberts, Gustavo Martinez and Tham Khai Meng—alongside professional ties to Harvey Weinstein and the Presidents Club Charity Dinner. And while the official investigation results were not publicized, the allegations against Sir Peanut covered being a pain to chauffeurs, a prick to peons and a patron to prostitutes. In short, Sir Peanut is closer to a megalomaniac than a monk.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

14229: Ogilvy Liars & Losers.

Fast Company reported Ogilvy terminated Chief Creative Officer Tham Khai Meng for “behavior” that the publication implied was likely tied to sexual harassment. If the implication is true, the man deserves a Cannes Ass Lyin’ award for his divertsity drivel and declarations in recent years. And Ogilvy deserves derision and damnation for purporting to be ignorant about the outrageous hypocrisy presented by the ex-creative honcho. Finally, Ogilvy CEO John Seifert should have his ADCOLOR® trophy rescinded. In 2009, Seifert admitted the industry is “not exactly leading the way” with diversity and inclusion. Based on this latest fuck-up, Seifert isn’t leading at all.

Ogilvy fires chief creative officer after misconduct investigation

CEO John Seifert announced the termination of Tham Khai Meng today. Meng has led Ogilvy’s global creative business since 2009.

By Jeff Beer

Global advertising agency network The Ogilvy Group’s CEO John Seifert announced in a memo to employees today that the company had terminated its chief creative officer Tham Khai Meng, after an internal investigation into misconduct allegations.

“After carefully reviewing the investigation’s findings with several of my partners, we concluded that Khai’s behavior was a clear breach of our company values and code of conduct,” wrote Seifert. “I have decided to terminate Khai’s employment with the company with immediate effect.”

Meng joined Ogilvy in 200 [sic] as a regional creative director in Asia Pacific, and was promoted to worldwide chief creative officer in 2009. He’s long been the company’s creative spokesperson, an industry thought leader who appeared regularly and prominently at advertising conferences around the globe. He also led Ogilvy to win Network of the Year at Cannes five times in a row, from 2012 to 2016.

This is just the latest in the ad industry’s own #MeToo reckoning. Over the last six months, a handful of agency leaders have lost their jobs due to misconduct, including Droga5’s former chief creative officer Ted Royer and WPP CEO Martin Sorrell. Beyond the C-suite, anonymous Instagram account Diet Madison Avenue steadily logged and voiced industry accusations until it was shut down last month and sued for defamation.

Here is Seifert’s memo in full:

Two weeks ago, I was informed of employee complaints regarding the behavior of Tham Khai Meng, Chief Creative Officer of The Ogilvy Group.

I found these complaints serious enough to appoint external legal counsel to investigate the matter.

After carefully reviewing the investigation’s findings with several of my partners, we concluded that Khai’s behavior was a clear breach of our company values and code of conduct. I have decided to terminate Khai’s employment with the company with immediate effect.

Each year, we ask every employee in the company to read, authorize, and fully commit to a code of conduct that each of us is responsible for living up to. Over the past 70 years, we have institutionalized shared values and a standard of professional behavior unique to the Ogilvy brand.

This is an important moment to reaffirm that no individual in this company is too senior or too important not to be held accountable for their actions.

Thank you for your support.

Ogilvy declined to comment further.

14228: The Color Of Clio.

Given all the commotion surrounding gender-diverse juries for award shows, it’s odd for Clio to produce a banner ad announcing 2018 juries that features an old male judge. Plus, it’s disturbing—albeit not surprising—to see the 2018 Clio Entertainment Jury is predominately comprised of White men and White women. And it’s quite an unimpressive bunch of White people to boot.

14227: Peanuts And Nutcases.

Advertising Age reported Sir Martin Sorrell succeeded in acquiring MediaMonks, which could lead to him losing millions in share awards from his exit package with WPP. Whatever. It seems like only yesterday—versus last April—that Sorrell proclaimed his undying love for WPP. Yet his first major move with S4 Capital involved outbidding his former lover, wooing a Dutch digital production company into the new whorehouse holding company. Sorrell had also assured everyone that his fresh enterprise posed no threat to WPP, insisting S4 was a “peanut” compared to his original empire. Well, it appears Sorrell might lose some money—which is likely peanuts for him—while kicking his ex-partners in the nuts. The ultimate losers, however, are everyone nutty enough to be working for WPP or S4 right now. Smart employees are advised to leave in a Jif.

Sorrell won MediaMonks, but will he lose WPP payout?

By Megan Graham

Martin Sorrell won the battle to acquire Dutch digital production company MediaMonks. But WPP, the holding company he formally helmed, reiterated on Tuesday that he may lose out on a multi-million dollar payout.

The acquisition by Sorrell’s S4 Capital was confirmed early Tuesday morning in an announcement to the London Stock Exchange. Shareholders of MediaMonks, which has revenues of $129 million, will receive cash and shares in S4 Capital. S4 describes the deal as a merger and says its objective is to “provide clients with digital services, which are agile, efficient, and of premium creative quality.”

“WPP’s lawyers wrote to Sir Martin’s lawyers last week pointing out the breach of his confidentiality undertakings in his approach to Mediamonks after his resignation from WPP,” a WPP spokesman said Tuesday. “Despite subsequent protestations from Sir Martin’s lawyers, we are well aware of the facts and he has jeopardised his LTIP entitlement.”

“LTIP” refers to a long-term incentive plan entitlement for Sorrell, as outlined in a contract from 2008.

Asked whether it would still pay Sorrell the share awards it says he is risking, WPP declined to comment.

As for Sorrell, “Sir Martin strenuously denies the allegation and is confident that the facts will speak for themselves,” said a spokesman.

“The WPP legal position has no merit,” the spokesman added. “We had taken legal advice before moving forward. The legal letters were just a feeble and weak attempt to disrupt our bid—and failed.”

During WPP’s annual general meeting in June, one shareholder pointed out that without further information shareholders would not be able to assess whether a termination package for Sorrell was appropriate. Another asked why Sorrell’s intention to start his own advertising company didn’t constitute “gross misconduct” in and of itself.

At that meeting, WPP released proxy vote results that indicated about 27 percent opposed the company’s compensation report, not including abstentions. That compensation report includes the long-term incentive plan entitlement.

The long-term incentive plan outlines that Sorrell is entitled to share awards worth up to approximately $23 million (£20 million) in future payments.

WPP leaders at the June meeting cited Sorrell’s claim that he didn’t see himself as competition. In public appearances and interviews, Sorrell has compared S4 Capital to a “peanut” in comparison to the holding company.

As for his venture competing with his former company, Sorrell said onstage at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, “I have to admit that some people have peanut allergies.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

14226: Starbucks To Stop Sucking.

CNN reported Starbucks plans to eliminate plastic straws in its stores by 2020. And Starbucks hopes to eliminate discriminating against Blacks in its stores by 3020.

Starbucks is eliminating plastic straws from all stores

By Danielle Wiener-Bronner

Starbucks is going strawless.

The coffee company announced Monday that it will phase out plastic straws from all of its stores by 2020.

The changes will help Starbucks (SBUX) eliminate more than 1 billion plastic straws per year, the company said.

Plastic straws contribute to ocean pollution and pose a danger to marine life. Some governments have begun banning them.

To eliminate straws, Starbucks is transitioning from the flat, plastic lids that require them, to ones that feature a raised lip you can drink from. The new designs have drawn comparisons to an adult “sippy cup.”

Frappuccino drinks will still be served with dome lids, but with straws made from paper or compostable plastic. Coffee drinkers who prefer straws for other beverages can request the new eco-friendly versions.

Some Starbucks drinks, like cold brew with cold foam, are already served in cups with strawless lids.

Starbucks will begin rolling out the new lids for all drinks this fall, starting with stores in Vancouver, Canada, and Seattle.

In a statement, CEO Kevin Johnson called the move away from plastic straws a “significant milestone” in the company’s sustainability efforts.

Starbucks had already committed $10 million to help develop recyclable, compostable cups for hot drinks.

Other companies have been ditching plastic straws as bans on the item have gone into place.

Last month, McDonald’s (MCD) said that it would start switching to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland in September. The transition will be complete in 2019, the company said.

The announcement from McDonald’s followed an April proposal by the UK government to ban plastic straws in the country. In May, the European Union also suggested a ban on some plastic items, including straws.

In the United States, local governments are already putting similar restrictions into place. Seattle’s ban on plastic straws and utensils went into effect last week. Oakland and Berkeley, California, and other cities have also banned the use of disposable straws.

The UK government said that 1 million birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals die each year from eating and getting tangled in plastic waste.

“Plastic straws that end up in our oceans have a devastating effect on species,” said Erin Simon, director of sustainability research & development and material science at World Wildlife Fund, US, in a statement. “We hope others will follow in [Starbucks’] footsteps.”

Starbucks said that it is the largest food and beverage retailer to have promised to get rid of plastic straws.

Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program, called Starbucks’ decision a “shining example” of how companies can help fight ocean pollution.

“With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we cannot afford to let industry sit on the sidelines,” he said in a statement.

—CNN’s Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.

14225: Gender Jive.

Campaign asked, “Has the industry turned a corner towards gender balance?” The answers include plenty of divertsity disclosures that continue to underscore how gender equality in adland essentially means promoting culturally clueless White women—and fuck everybody else.

The Lighthouse Company Founder Kathleen Saxton said, “I believe there is a fundamental shift in how recruitment in the industry is managed. This is due to many years of lobbying that has, rightfully, shamed the industry into doing better.” First, it must be noted that Saxton’s company is a recruitment firm, so the woman is directly responsible for the industry’s global exclusivity, as well as the lesser inequality that White women have faced. Yet Saxton inadvertently exposed key differences between battling for divertsity versus true diversity. White women have seen major gains after only a few years of lobbying, while racial and ethnic minorities have seen minimal changes after countless decades of speaking out. White women have, “rightfully, shamed the industry into doing better,” while people of color who have shamed the industry were systematically expelled from the field.

LIZH Founder Liz Hunter (another professional recruiter) remarked that tokenism—in regards to the promotion of White women—is a “way of change which is here to stay.” In short, hiring token White women is totally cool. On the other hand, tokenism for racial and ethnic minorities is completely reprehensible, especially to White men and White women in the business. Unless it involves hiring a Chief Diversity Officer.

Saxton further revealed her cultural cluelessness when discussing the dearth of true diversity. “Part of the problem [with the lack of minorities] is the pipeline, which the industry needs to work on,” opined Saxton. “It’s roughly at the level it was for women a decade ago.” Um, the level mark disparity is closer to 75 years than ten years. And the pipeline has been produced, policed and perpetuated by recruiters—who are a much bigger part of the problem than the alleged deficit of qualified candidates of color.

Has the industry turned a corner towards gender balance?

By Emily Tan

Years of campaigning for better gender balance in advertising and marketing is finally bearing fruit, observers have suggested, following a succession of high-profile appointments of women.

In the past fortnight alone, Christine Removille was appointed global president of Carat, Anna Watkins was hired as managing director post for Oath UK and Danielle Bassil stepped up at Digitas as its new UK chief executive.

“I believe there is a fundamental shift in how recruitment in the industry is managed,” Kathleen Saxton founder of recruitment agency The Lighthouse Company, said. “This is due to many years of lobbying that has, rightfully, shamed the industry into doing better.”

Companies in the industry are now more conscious about sexist recruitment practices and are actively asking for long- and shortlists that are gender balanced, Saxton added. “This is also true on the part of the recruiters.”

There is, however, some concern that some of this change is tokenism that will snap back once attention has moved on. But, for better or worse, even tokenism is a “way of change which is here to stay,” Liz Hunter, founder of headhunting company LIZH, said.

“Women as I see it are trying to create an industry culture and an effective way of doing this is to include a variety of candidates within the pipeline,” she said. She cautions though that the word tokenism is counter-productive to the movement, regardless of company motivations.

In the case Bassil’s appointment to chief executive of Digitas, the process was based on meritocracy, Sue Frogley, chief executive Publicis Media UK said. “Dani fully-deserved her promotion based on her talents alone. But, of course, I am delighted to have another woman joining my leadership team. More broadly speaking across the industry the glass ceiling is shattering all around us, which is just great.”

There is also an increased willingness on the part of companies to relax rigid working practices born of an era where the working spouse was supported by a stay-at-home spouse, a move that benefits both women and men.

Saxton revealed: “There was a big agency network last year that asked us to recruit two new managing directors for them with a long-list that included as many qualified women as possible. We found some fantastic candidates, one, however, wanted a four-day work week and another needed flexible hours because they had moved out of London.

“Initially, the group said no. But they were such strong candidates, and I told them that if they were serious about improving diversity, they had to consider changing a policy that demanded full hours sat in the office. To their credit, they capitulated and both women have proven very successful hires.”

Beyond a real attitude shift within the industry, other factors can be credited to the happy convergence of growing awareness, the availability of senior female talent, and an industry in flux paving the way for fresh talent, Saxton said.

However, she added there is much to be done in the way of improving the industry’s black and ethnic minority representation, particularly at a senior leadership level.

“Part of the problem is the pipeline, which the industry needs to work on. It’s roughly at the level it was for women a decade ago,” Saxton added.

14224: Cannes Cons XVII.

Adweek published the following quote from former R/GA Chief Creative Officer Chloe Gottlieb:

“I think 2018 is a watershed year in terms of inclusion and equality in the workplace. … #MeToo was like this spark that created a fire, and the fire is going to burn down structures, and things are going to look very different.”—Chloe Gottlieb, Google’s new director of user experience, in the press room

It’s true that “2018 is a watershed year in terms of inclusion and equality”—for White women in adland. Hell, Gottlieb was able to leverage her privilege to land at Google, another company desperately seeking to diversify, and apparently settling in its efforts by boosting Caucasian female representation.

Also disturbing are the constant references to #MeToo, given that the movement originated to help survivors of sexual violence—especially underrepresented women of color—versus White women in a field where exclusivity is the norm. The “spark” has been around since 2006, incidentally, and was only hijacked by adwomen in recent years. Sorry, but Gottlieb hasn’t evolved much since her “Here Are All The Black People” appearance.

Monday, July 09, 2018

14223: Get Shorty.

Advertising Age reported WPP and S4—Sir Martin Sorrell’s new enterprise—are in a bidding battle to acquire Dutch digital production company MediaMonks, with the bigger White holding company warning that Sorrell could lose share awards from his exit package if he executes the purchase. Is it really effective to threaten Sorrell with money losses? WPP should be totally aware of Sorrell’s wealth, as he received loads of loot while running the company. As previously stated, when a pimp leaves his whorehouse, the remaining hookers rarely succeed in financially reprimanding him. And no one should be surprised when the pimp proceeds to collect new hookers to build a different whorehouse. Hell, Sorrell has literally—allegedly— demonstrated he’s capable of paying for hookers with his own cash.

Additionally, the scenario is another example of the prioritization of imperatives in adland. That is, when a White holding company needs digital, huge digital agencies are purchased. When a White holding company needs diversity, cue the crickets chirping. Then again, this case involves WPP, an enterprise that once boasted its staffers “represent perhaps the most diverse example of diversity of any single organisation.” And if either White holding company succeeds in buying MediaMonks, they’ll undoubtedly view the global offices of the Amsterdam-based firm as a diversity win—despite the fact that MediaMonks is run by two White men. Indeed, even the term “monk” has gender-specific and exclusivity-based components. And neither Sorrell nor the leaders at WPP will ever be mistaken for monks.

WPP and Martin Sorrell in furious battle over MediaMonks

By Alexandra Jardine

A battle between WPP and Sir Martin Sorrell’s new vehicle, S4, to acquire Dutch digital production company MediaMonks is turning ugly, with WPP threatening to withdraw share awards from Sorrell’s exit payoff if he goes ahead with the purchase.

According to Sky News, WPP has written to Sorrell via its lawyers, Slaughter & May, alleging that he is “likely to be in breach of his confidentiality obligations” and would forfeit outstanding share awards if he went ahead with the bid.

Both WPP and Sorrell’s S4 are bidding for MediaMonks, which is based in Amsterdam and has 11 offices globally, including in Shanghai, Los Angeles, London and Sao Paulo. Its most recent office opened in Mexico earlier this year. The company specializes in high tech digital production, including virtual reality, with recent projects including developing beer bottle-shaped smart speakers for Brazilian beer Skol, customized dresses created using digital fashion data for H&M and a virtual reality experience in Oslo for Audi that won an award at the recent Webbys.

A spokeswoman for MediaMonks, which is run by co-founders Wesley ter Haar and Victor Knaap, would only say: “They’re flattered to be mentioned in this context and it’s a testament to the work MediaMonks’ team is doing. Beyond that, they never comment on speculation.”

However, one Amsterdam source, who preferred not to be named, says: “It’s no surprise as MediaMonks is working in exactly the kind of technologies Sorrell’s been talking about. Plus, MediaMonks is a rapidly expanding company, a real Dutch success story.”

Earlier this week Sorrell won financial backing from Crispin Odey, an influential London investor, for his new venture.

14222: Continuing “The Talk.”

Okay, when the P&G-BBDO “The Talk” campaign first launched, MultiCultClassics wondered about the inspiration for the concept, as it all felt very familiar. Granted, the tradition of such conversations between Black parents and their children is hardly new—and even common knowledge in the Black community. This, incidentally, underscores the cultural cluelessness of P&G and BBDO, as they apparently needed to hire consultants of color to deliver the “insight” for the campaign. Regardless, at least two recent sources come to mind that pre-date “The Talk”—besides numerous films going back at least to Boyz n the Hood with its exchanges between Furious Styles (Laurence Fishburne) and Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr.). Specifically, the two sources are:

1) For black parents in Pasadena, shootings give fresh relevance to ‘The Talk’—a story published by The Los Angeles Times in 2012.

2) A Conversation With My Black Son by Geeta Gandbhir and Blair Foster—a video published by The New York Times in 2015.

Not saying it’s unusual for advertisers and agencies to find inspiration from real-life sources. But it’s disturbing that P&G would assign a major project for My Black is Beautiful to a White advertising agency, while reducing the crumbs tossed at Black and Latino advertising agencies. Ironically, when P&G faced White backlash to the campaign, Blacks showed support for the advertiser. Would the support hold if everyone knew how the advertising assignment ultimately dissed Blacks in adland?