Coca-Cola combines Black History Month sentiments with Olympics sponsorship in a single promotion—including obligatory product placement.
Saturday, February 29, 2020
Oops, typed too soon. The patronizing promotion from Facebook pales in comparison to the Black History Month stunt from the playbook of 72andSunny, at least in terms of cultivating cultural clichés in the pursuit of self-promotion.
Friday, February 28, 2020
AgencySpy posted: “Ferrara Candy Selects Duncan Channon as Creative Agency of Record for Black Forest.” Based on the Duncan Channon website, the new White creative advertising agency of record for Black Forest has few Black staffers—and they won the account during Black History Month. Perfect.
Adweek spotlighted the annual BHM initiative from Derek Walker, who’s out to prove Black talent exists and is available for adland. Of course, Walker’s revolutionary advocacy will be ignored during the remaining 11 months of the year.
For the Second Year, This Agency Owner Highlights Black Talent in Advertising
Derek Walker addresses staff diversity, or lack thereof, during Black History Month
By Mary Emily O’Hara
To many people—and, of course, brands—Black History Month means revisiting the achievements great African-American leaders made in the past. But what about the here and now? And how does the celebration apply to the advertising industry itself, especially as it works towards greater inclusivity?
Derek Walker, founder of South Carolina agency Brown & Browner, got tired of hearing people in the industry wave away critiques about lack of staff diversity by saying they couldn’t find enough talent when it’s usually right under their nose.
“There’s a group of individuals who are already working, sometimes on the fringes, in advertising, who are experienced and can step in and do the job immediately,” said Walker. “And everyone says, ‘but I can’t find them.’”
For the second year in a row, the agency veteran is using the month of February to highlight black advertising professionals. Like an Advent calendar of talent, Walker profiles a different person each day—posting to Twitter and LinkedIn. They are art directors, creative directors, social media strategists, brand strategists and more. Thousands of likes and shares over the two years are adding up.
The professionals Walker profiles each February are already working in the industry. He hopes to not only bring people together through the project but also to influence industry hiring and promotion by pointing to their skills and experience. The project is a way of saying, we exist—and you can’t ignore us.
“It’s so important to highlight the black talent excelling in this industry because it shows young people of color who might be thinking about a future in it that there is space for them,” Oriel Davis-Lyons, creative director, Droga5, told Adweek. “That there is a path to follow and mentors they can reach out to. There’s no ‘old boys club’ for Black people, so we have to work harder to make the connections that can make all the difference in your career.”
The February profiles may seem like a fairly low-key social media project, but the response shows they’re filling a void. Alima Trapp, svp, strategic planning, Doner’s Detroit office, did more than allow Walker post her photo and bio. She got involved, offering to turn the month of profiles into an interactive digital calendar that will be completed after February ends.
Trapp told Adweek that the advertising industry presents stiff obstacles for black professionals. She pointed to several industry-wide problems, including what she sees as “true scarcity”—not only in underrepresentation, but a decline in numbers and diversity in human resources and talent acquisition, as well as a “lack of creativity and innovation in hiring practices and resources.”
The industry seems to fail most is in retention. According to Trapp, part of the problem is “the limited cultural competency and support required to retain diverse talent.” She hopes that what Walker is doing will grow beyond February, escalating conversation, networking building, appreciation and understanding among peers and beyond.
Walker has his own ideas about why retention is a challenge when it comes to racial minorities, women, LGBTQ and disabled professionals and other underrepresented groups. He said it comes down to glass ceilings blocking promotions, and a sort of willful ignorance on the part of leadership.
“There was an agency at an event complaining that they couldn’t find senior-level Black talent they could promote to creative director,” Walker recalled. “At their agency, they had [a Black] acd who was and is creative director-level talent. The individual left that agency as an acd and went to work on the client side as a group creative director without skipping a beat. But they’d been passed over at the previous agency for the last four or five years.”
The same promotion obstacles, Walker says, are often faced by women creatives as well. Walker cited two female creatives who carry the weight of the work at their agencies and want to manage teams of their own but find themselves regularly passed over for creative director roles.
Known for speaking out about diversity issues in advertising, Walker sometimes finds that frustrated young people of color reach out to him for advice. Recently, he said, a young creative reached out to him after being called “arrogant” at work because they had told their boss that they believed a particular job could be improved.
According to Walker, the biggest opportunity to improve diversity in the industry starts with changes to leadership. Too often, the focus is on the minority groups impacted by a lack of diversity instead of putting the onus on CEOs. Hiring a D&I coordinator isn’t enough.
“Those are not C-level positions,” he said. “They report to HR, not to the CEO. They can’t do any hiring and firing. They have less power than anybody else sitting at the table.”
If the power at the top continues to struggle with the idea of hiring and promoting underrepresented groups, Walker suggested tackling diversity the same as any other campaign: targeting CEOs.
“We haven’t dialed into that idea and realized that we should approach this as an advertising problem,” said Walker, “The target market for our message is white men.”
Thursday, February 27, 2020
This campaign was explained as follows:
In Sweden, sick-leave is the highest in February. Every year. It also has consequences for society, both in terms of economy and productivity. Making February a better month thus benefits not only ourselves but society as well. So Brämhults juice has decided to take up the fight against darkness, illness and sedentary. Using the power of nature in a juice shot, it’s time to Reclaim February. If you are in Gothenburg, Sweden and in case of health emergency, just break the glass to get a shot including chili, turmeric and black pepper.
Great, the goddamn Swedes are going to reclaim February, effectively denying Blacks to claim the 28 days (29 during leap years) for Black History Month.
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Adweek published a story titled, “Portrait Series Celebrates the ‘Illustrious 5%’ of Black Advertising Professionals,” which opened as follows:
Brooklyn-based photographer Kenny St. George can usually be found courtside, shooting for sports and lifestyle clients like the NBA, Nike and Slam magazine. While he hasn’t worked in ad land himself, St. George recently learned that African Americans make up only about 5% of the advertising industry—and decided to shine a light on some of the people who make up that small percentage through the new portrait series Our Seat.
Only adland would “celebrate” the “Illustrious 5%” when Blacks represent up to 13% of the U.S. population—with higher figures in key advertising industry markets including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Detroit.
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
It probably isn’t a Black History Month initiative, but TBWA\WorldHealth created #BlackHealthNow to expose the Black experience with medical professionals. Um, this is not a new phenomenon—it’s pretty common knowledge among the culturally competent. The discrimination that Blacks face in healthcare is similar to the biased bullshit presented in adland. White advertising agencies like TBWA\WorldHealth, incidentally, are shining examples of unhealthy environments for Blacks.
#BlackHealthNow Reveals Painful and Frustrating Experiences With Medical Professionals
TBWA\WorldHealth employees share their stories of bias in treatment
By Mary Emily O'Hara
The statistics are unmistakable. Black women are three times more likely to die from complications in pregnancy than white women. And according to the Office of Minority Health at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, black Americans are more likely to die from heart diseases, stroke, cancer, asthma, influenza and pneumonia, diabetes and HIV/AIDS than white Americans.
Pinning down all the factors behind such heartbreaking stats is far from easy, but one problem certainly seems to be playing a role in perpetuating the racial imbalance: Black patients say they aren’t being listened to.
Watch the intimate, emotional stories shared by black employees at TBWA\WorldHealth for the new campaign #BlackHealthNow, and it becomes clear: The medical profession may be plagued by unconscious bias that leads doctors and nurses to treat black patients differently—sometimes with deadly results.
The first few videos for the project feature TBWA\WorldHealth staffers Zaira Zafra, Bianca Williams and Trevor Gilchrist. Zafra shares a horror story of being pressured to have a hysterectomy—while pregnant—instead of removing uterine fibroids through laparoscopy. Williams and Gilchrist recall the deaths of their grandmothers and ways they observed their mistreatment.
The campaign is not tied to any brands, but stands alone as a public health initiative that encourages people to share their own stories on social media using the hashtag #BlackHealthNow. TBWA\WorldHealth has a unique direct line to the medical and pharmaceutical industries by virtue of its client base, and the team hopes to potentially partner with a medical association to scale up.
The campaign could grow in a more tech-centered direction as well. Bryan Gaffin, ecd at TBWA\WorldHealth’s Wildtype, told Adweek he’d like to see some sort of interactive database of approved doctors, or perhaps a ‘black health advocate’ badge that can be added to existing medical sites like ZocDoc.
#BlackHealthNow isn’t just about revealing personal trauma. It’s about empowering black patients as well as informing the medical establishment of an overarching problem. To help people act as their own medical advocates, Holloway and Geer published a list of10 questions everyone should ask their doctor, under the mantra, “Never feel embarrassed to ask for the health care you deserve.”
It’s an approach that Gilchrist knows well. In his video for #BlackHealthNow, he recalled, “When my grandmother was in the hospital the first and second time, I remember doctors talking to her as if she was a child.”
The experience left him with feeling committed to making sure no one else in his family experienced that level of disrespectful treatment.
“When my mother went to the hospital for kidney issues, I decided in that moment I wasn’t going to let what happened to my grandmother happen to my mom,” Gilchrist said. “I would be the person asking those questions. I made it a point to not be silent.”
Monday, February 24, 2020
The New York Times promoted The 1619 Project—focused on how slavery ultimately impacted society—for Black History Month, declaring “the truth can change how we see the world.” Okay, maybe the newspaper should consider how slavery inevitably affected and influenced the White advertising agency behind its campaign.
Sunday, February 23, 2020
MDC Partners Chairman and CEO Mark Penn penned an op-ed titled, “Free Roger Stone”—wherein he branded the affair a “political prosecution.” The perspective will probably lead to criticism directed toward Penn, despite the fact that his political hobbies are common knowledge. Hey, it’s not like he was defending Miles Nadal. Then again, MDC employees would likely prefer to learn their leader is spending all of his time focused on turning around the struggling holding company.
Saturday, February 22, 2020
Okay, this is probably not a Black History Month promotion, but Advertising Age reported on a Buffalo Wild Wings video starring Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Now, it’s not uncommon to use rap artists in campaigns, as White advertising agencies love hip hop. The responsible White advertising agency is none other than The Martin Agency—an enterprise with its own version of Boners Thugs-N-Harmony.
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Goes ‘Boneless’ To Promote Buffalo Wild Wings
After taking heat from Astros fans, B-Dubs is now looking for attention with a social media-driven campaign
By Jessica Wohl
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is calling itself Boneless Thugs-N-Harmony in a campaign from Buffalo Wild Wings that shows the chicken wing chain trying to drum up interest in its boneless wings by using nostalgia and social media.
Buffalo Wild Wings got the members of the rap group to star in a “Behind the Music”-style video, complete with a narrator’s voiceover telling the tale, a mock disagreement among the members of the group and bleeped words. The nearly two-minute spot has minimal branding for the wings chain.
It’s the latest effort by a brand to associate itself with a bit of a retro theme to draw the attention of those who are familiar with something from the 1990s, as well as younger consumers who are interested in throwback culture. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, which is still touring, is known for hits such as “Tha Crossroads,” which won a Grammy Award in 1997 and was recently mentioned on the NBC show “The Good Place.”
In the video, it appears that three members of the group—Flesh-n-Bone, Krayzie Bone and Wish Bone—want to change the group’s name and changed their individual stage names to include “Boneless” rather than “Bone.”
Layzie Bone, however, calls the change preposterous.
The other members of the group get him to try the boneless chicken pieces, which he declares “are actually pretty good,” adding “they ain’t change-your-name good.”
The push includes having the group promote the changing of the name through their own social channels. No word yet on how they’ll be announced during their upcoming tour dates. But there are plans to give away Boneless Thugs-N-Harmony merchandise on a BonelessThugs.com site, though customers have to pay for shipping.
The Martin Agency worked on the project.
The online-focused effort is rolling out after Buffalo Wild Wings criticized cheating by the Houston Astros, then apologized for its comments. B-Dubs noted how another team caught cheating, the Manchester City Football Club, was banned from Champions League play for two years and fined 30 million euros. “THAT’S how you punish a team that cheats,” it tweeted.
Buffalo Wild Wings handles its own social and community management.
Friday, February 21, 2020
Thursday, February 20, 2020
Supplementing its earlier TV commercial divertisement, Google acknowledged Black History Month with a 3-D doodle commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Greensboro sit-in. Appropriately enough, Google will ultimately put the progressive sentiments in a box during the other 11 months of the year.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Advertising Age reported former CP+B CCO Ralph Watson received approval to pursue specific defamation charges against two Diet Madison Avenue members. So, it’s turning into a He Said, She Said Certain Things Via Anonymous Online Posts scenario.
New York Judge Rules Ralph Watson Can Proceed With Certain Defamation Claims Against Diet Madison Avenue
The former CPB chief creative officer can sue two members for making allegedly defamatory comments on Facebook and Instagram
By Lindsay Rittenhouse
Ralph Watson, former Crispin Porter Bogusky chief creative officer, will be allowed to bring certain defamation claims against two members of the anonymous Diet Madison Avenue Instagram account who sought to dismiss his original suit, Judge John Koeltl of the U.S. District Court of Southern New York said in a ruling last week.
According to the ruling, certain of Watson's defamation claims against “Illinois Doe 1” and “NY Doe 2” for their alleged roles in getting him fired (he claims wrongfully) from the MDC Partners-owned agency will not be dismissed.
Koeltl said in his ruling that Watson can proceed with his defamation suit against NY Doe 2 for a complaint she made to CPB’s human resources department on Feb. 2, 2018, “alleging that the plaintiff sexually harassed her when she was employed at CP+B,” and for a May 24, 2018 DMA Instagram post alleging he “raped” her.
Koeltl ruled that NY Doe 2 could be sued for the May 24, 2018 Instagram post from DMA that linked to news reports of Watson’s original lawsuit, filed against the anonymous account on May 22, 2018. The post stated: “‘Gloves are off. I don’t care if the industry knows he raped me,’” according to court papers.
Watson, who joined CPB as its chief creative officer in 2014, was fired from the agency one day after NY Doe 2 allegedly reported him to HR on Feb. 2, 2018.
However, the judge ruled that defamation claims against NY Doe 2 for the initial DMA posts on Jan. 19 and Jan. 25, 2018—that first accused Watson of being one of several advertising executives to have allegedly sexually harassed women—were dismissed. “There is, however, no specific allegation that NY Doe 2 was personally involved in other potentially defamatory statements,” Koeltl said in the ruling.
Koeltl stated in his ruling that Watson can also proceed with his defamation suit against Illinois Doe 1 for a Feb. 2, 2018 Facebook comment the DMA member made in response to a post that questioned the nature of the former chief creative officer’s termination from CPB. The comment, the court ruling said, alleged that there were nine women who reported Watson for sexual harassment to CPB’s HR department. Koeltl ruled that Illinois Doe 1 can also be sued for posting a link to a GoFundMe page on May 25, 2018 with the comment, “‘I figured [donating is] the next best thing to giving money directly to his victims,’” because it “is also susceptible of a defamatory meaning because it asserts that the plaintiff had ‘victims.’”
“Illinois Doe 1 made two comments in response to speculation by others on Facebook that the plaintiff was not terminated for reasons related to sexual harassment,” the court document said. Illinois Doe 1’s responsive statements that ‘nine women reported him’ and the follow-up screenshot of the Instagram post celebrating the ‘nine particular women who shared painful stories with us’ are defamatory because they tend to give a reader the impression that the plaintiff sexually assaulted women and that Illinois Doe 1 endorsed that impression.”
Defamation claims against the other alleged DMA members in the suit, including NY Doe 3 and Doe 1, were dismissed. Koeltl also threw out Watson’s request in New York for “additional discovery” to uncover the identities of the DMA members. Koeltl said in the ruling, “To the extent that the plaintiff wishes to conduct more discovery, those are matters to be taken up with the California court that has been overseeing a lengthy discovery process for almost two years.” Last year, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge denied DMA’s requests to quash subpoenas ordering Instagram, Facebook and Gmail to provide information about the individuals behind the account. The Los Angeles suit that Watson filed in May 2018 names Diet Madison Avenue and other defendants listed as “Jane Doe 1,” “Jane Doe 2” and Does 3 through 100.
Watson also sued CPB in Colorado, which was dismissed last year.
The DMA Instagram account drew broad attention in the advertising industry in 2018 for naming men it claimed engaged in sexual harassment. The account posted names alongside Watson's, like Droga5 chief creative officer Ted Royer; Martin Agency Chief Creative Officer Joe Alexander; and former Wieden & Kennedy London chief strategy officer Paul Colman, who were all subsequently separated from their agencies.
Watson’s attorney Michael Ayotte did not return a request for comment. Ammon Louis Dorny of Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, one of the attorneys for Illinois Doe 1, was not available for comment.
The other attorneys for the Diet Madison Avenue defendants are Maura Wogan, Tyler Maulsby and Nicole Bergstrom of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz; Christine Bowman, Laura Pamela MacDonald and Tali Ravit Leinwand of Jenner & Block; David John Grech of Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani; and Rondiene Erin Novitz of Cruser, Mitchell & Novitz. They did not return requests for comment.
Forbes published a fluff piece titled, “How Google, Coca-Cola And Other American Companies Are Celebrating Black History Month 2020.” Um, by producing patronizingly deceptive divertisements—veritable heat shields of hypocrisy.
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Monday, February 17, 2020
Sunday, February 16, 2020
Verizon kicked off Black History Month with another letter from Diego—presumably Verizon CMO Diego Scotti—who gushed about the company’s BHM promotional activities—illustrated with what looks like royalty-free stock photography.
Celebrating Black History Month.
A letter from Diego.
2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment, which gave Black Americans the right to vote, making this February’s celebration of black history even more meaningful.
As the Executive Sponsor of the employee resource groups – Black Resource Association of Verizon Employees (BRAVE) at Verizon and Black Organizers, Leaders, and Doers (BOLD) at Verizon Media – I am proud to announce this year’s Black History Month theme: “Elevate and Empower!”
With 2020 being an important election year, the theme is a fitting one. BRAVE and BOLD are planning meaningful and impactful opportunities tied to voting education, voter registration, and the 2020 census.
Please join me on Feb 20 for our Black History Month webcast that will include valuable conversations with guest speakers. Watch for the invitation.
BRAVE and BOLD are working to merge into one employee resource group this year. Together, they will bring an even greater impact to the business, our employees and the community.
This is how we move the world forward together.
Saturday, February 15, 2020
Friday, February 14, 2020
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
The United States Postal Service delivered a Black History Month salute with the Gwen Ifill Forever stamp.
U.S. Postal Service Salutes Pioneering Journalist Gwen Ifill
43rd Black Heritage Stamp on Sale Nationwide Today
WASHINGTON — As the nation prepares to observe Black History Month, the U.S. Postal Service today issued the 43rd Black Heritage stamp, honoring one of America’s most respected journalists, Gwen Ifill. The dedication ceremony was held at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, DC, where she was a lifelong member.
“Gwen Ifill was a remarkable trailblazer who broke through gender and racial barriers,” said Deputy Postmaster General Ronald A. Stroman, who served as the dedicating official. “The Postal Service is proud to celebrate Gwen’s contribution as a remarkable journalist with this beautiful commemorative Forever stamp. Gwen was truly a national treasure, and so richly deserving of today’s honor.”
Joining Stroman to dedicate the stamp were Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor, PBS NewsHour; Eric Holder, partner, Covington & Burling Law Firm and former Attorney General of the United States; Michele Norris-Johnson, journalist and former National Public Radio host; and Ifill’s brothers Roberto (Bert) Ifill, educator and college analyst; Rev. Earle Ifill, member of the Atlanta North-Georgia Annual Conference of the Sixth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; and Ifill’s cousin, Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
“The Ifill family is thrilled that our sister, cousin and aunt has received this signal tribute to her legacy as a truth-teller, pioneer and exemplar,” said Bert Ifill, Gwen’s brother and spokesperson for the family. “As a reporter and moderator, Gwen was dedicated to two principles: getting the story right and getting the right stories out. As a mentor, supportive friend and family member, she was determined, not only to open doors for those of us previously locked out of opportunity, but also to provide floor plans to help us find our way through. She is forever in our hearts, and we are forever in her debt.”
Also, participating in the stamp dedication ceremony were Dorothy Tucker, broadcast journalist and president, National Association of Black Journalists; Rev. William Lamar IV, senior pastor, Metropolitan A.M.E. Church; and D.C. Washington, singer, conductor, member of Immanuel Bible Church and the nationally known Cathedral Choral Society in Washington, D.C.
The Black Heritage stamp series, introduced in 1978, also includes Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Height, Madam C.J. Walker, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Lena Horne and Gregory Hines. The stamp art features a photo of Ifill taken in 2008 by photographer Robert Severi. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp. News of the stamp is being shared with the hashtags #GwenIfillForever and #BlackHeritageStamps. Followers of the Postal Service’s Facebook page can view video of the ceremony at facebook.com/USPS.
Background on Gwen Ifill
Among the first African Americans to hold prominent positions in both broadcast and print journalism, Ifill was a trailblazer in the profession.
After graduating from college in 1977, Ifill’s first job as a journalist was at The Boston Herald American. She later worked at The Baltimore Evening Sun, The Washington Post and The New York Times, where she was a White House correspondent and covered Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992.
In 1994, Ifill moved to NBC, where she covered politics in the Washington bureau. Five years later, she joined PBS as senior political correspondent for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” and moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week,” becoming the first woman and first African American to moderate a major television news-analysis show. During her career, Ifill covered seven presidential campaigns and, in 2004, she became the first African American female journalist to moderate a vice-presidential debate. She also moderated the 2008 vice-presidential debate. In 2013, Ifill became part of the first all-female team to anchor a daily national broadcast news show, “PBS NewsHour.” Ifill died in 2016.
Among Ifill’s honors were the Radio Television Digital News Foundation’s Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award (2006), Harvard’s Shorenstein Center’s Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism (2009) and induction into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame (2012). In 2015, she was awarded the Fourth Estate Award by the National Press Club. She received numerous honorary degrees and served on the boards of the News Literacy Project and the Committee to Protect Journalists, which renamed its Press Freedom Award in her honor.
The 2016 John Chancellor Award was posthumously awarded to Ifill by the Columbia Journalism School. In 2017, the Washington Press Club Foundation and “PBS NewsHour” created a journalism fellowship named for Ifill. Her alma mater, Simmons University, opened the Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities in the fall of 2018.
The Gwen Ifill Black Heritage stamp is being issued as a Forever stamp, which will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
AgencySpy posted about Kat Gordon getting catty with Donny Deutsch by tweeting, “Donny Deutsch is Exhibit A for why @3PercentConf exists.” Okay, but Exhibits B-Z include generating revenue and attention via certification stunts, patronizing promotions and endless opportunities for the self-absorbed Gordon to demonstrate she’s a pseudo thought leader.
Monday, February 10, 2020
For Black History Month we recreated African American heroes as African gods. Although African Americans feel a separation from their motherland, they are still African by their values and traits. We found that clear parallels exist in the brave stories told of all black heroes and peoples.
Peoples? Um, it would be nice if the responsible advertising agency—Eleven—would hire a few Black peoples.