Saturday, September 26, 2020

15153: Good Max Maximizes Bad Problems Presented By COVID-19.

This Good Max campaign from Venezuela seeks to scare men into shaving regularly by claiming beards can increase the threats associated with COVID-19. Hey, it’s only a matter of time before Gillette cuts into the conversation—probably producing branded coronavirus masks.

Friday, September 25, 2020

15152: Another One—Racist Icon, That Is—Bites The Dust.

Advertising Age reported Cream of Wheat’s Rastus is the latest culturally clueless character being nixed in an act of revisionist brand history. Plus, parent company B&G Foods has pledged to provide reparations scholarships to aspiring Black and Latinx chefs. Hey, somebody should check if any descendants of Frank White are available and eligible.


Cream Of Wheat Plans To Remove The Black Chef From Its Packaging


By Jessica Wohl


B&G Foods will remove the image of a Black chef from all Cream of Wheat packaging and is starting to support aspiring minority chefs through scholarships as the company responds to calls for brands to confront old marketing that is seen as insensitive. 


“For years, the image of an African-American chef appeared on our Cream of Wheat packaging,” stated B&G Foods, which has owned the brand since 2007. “While research indicates the image may be based upon an actual Chicago chef named Frank White, it reminds some consumers of earlier depictions they find offensive.”


B&G Foods’ announcement about the Cream of Wheat packaging update comes a day after Mars Food announced its Uncle Ben’s brand would be renamed Ben’s Original, and would drop the image of a Black man from its packaging. Other brands that continue to review their imagery and branding include Aunt Jemima, which In June announced plans to retire its brand name and image, and Mrs. Butterworth’s. 


Cream of Wheat was introduced in 1893 and has long been marketed using a Black chef character, which is believed to be based on Frank White. In the early 1900s, Cream of Wheat ads showed the chef to be named Rastus, a name that sometimes implies a simple Black man and that today comes across as racially offensive. That name has not been used by the brand more recently, but the image of the chef on the packaging is interpreted by some as being a servant.


“It seems like their approach is a very thoughtful and understanding one,” says Ned Brown, chief creative officer at ad agency Bader Rutter. “The character is not embedded into the name, so they can recalibrate and change their brand without pulling apart all of the cards that built the house.” 


B&G Foods also announced that it has started to develop relationships “with several of the leading culinary schools to help support and aid in the development of African American and Latinx candidates through various scholarship and other initiatives.”


The company has not said how soon the image will be removed, but it can take months for new products to appear in stores. The Cream of Wheat logo without the man’s image appears on B&G’s Facebook page. As of Thursday, Cream of Wheat continued to show the image in social media profiles where it is less active than Facebook. The character is included in its Instagram profile, where Cream of Wheat has not posted since 2018, and in its Twitter profile, where it has responded to posts but has not done one of its own since 2017.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

15151: Uncle Ben Resigns After 70 Years Of Servitude, Er, Service.

The Associated Press reported Uncle Ben has left the building—replaced by a “Ben’s Original” logo. Plus, parent company Mars announced a goal to boost the number of people of color in its U.S. managerial ranks by 40%. And the initiative launches by ousting the Chairman of the Board…?


Goodbye to ‘Uncle Ben’: Rice brand to change its name to ‘Ben’s Original’


By Associated Press


NEW YORK — The Uncle Ben’s rice brand is getting a new name: Ben’s Original.


Parent firm Mars Inc. unveiled the change Wednesday for the 70-year-old brand, the latest company to drop a logo criticized as a racial stereotype. Packaging with the new name will hit stores next year.


“We listened to our associates and our customers and the time is right to make meaningful changes across society,” said Fiona Dawson, global president for Mars Food multi-sales and global customers. “When you are making these changes, you are not going to please everyone. But it’s about doing the right thing, not the easy thing.”


Several companies have retired racial imagery from their branding in recent months, a ripple effect from the Black Lives Matters protests over the deaths of George Floyd and other African Americans in encounters with police.


Quaker Oats announced in June that it would drop its Aunt Jemima character from syrup and pancake packaging, responding to criticism that the character’s origins were based on the “mammy” stereotype, a Black woman content to serve her white masters. Quaker said packages without the Aunt Jemima image would start to appear in stores by the end of the year, although the company has not revealed the new logo.


The owner of Eskimo Pie has also said it would change its name and marketing of the nearly century-old chocolate-covered ice cream bar. Beyond food brands, the Washington NFL franchise dropped the “Redskins” name and Indian head logo amid pressure from sponsors including FedEx, Nike, Pepsi and Bank of America.


Geechie Boy Mill, a family-owned operation in South Carolina that makes locally grown and milled white grits, is also planning a name change. Geechie is a dialect spoken mainly by the descendants of Black slaves who settled on the Ogeechee river in Georgia, according to dictionary website


“We are in the process of changing our name and have developed a whole new brand. We look forward to sharing it with the public,” said Greg Johnsman, owner of Geechie Boy Mill.


Mars had announced in the summer that the Uncle Ben’s brand would “evolve.”


Since the 1940s, the rice boxes have featured a white-haired Black man, sometimes in a bow tie, an image critics say evokes servitude. Mars has said the face was originally modeled after a Chicago maitre d’ named Frank Brown. In a short-lived 2007 marketing campaign, the company elevated Uncle Ben to chairman of a rice company.


Dawson said months of conversations with employees, customer studies and other stakeholders led the company to settle on “Ben’s Original.” She said the company is still deciding on an image to accompany the new name.


Mars also announced several other initiatives, including a $2-million investment in culinary scholarships for aspiring Black chefs in partnership with the National Urban League. It also is planning a $2.5-million investment in nutritional and education programs for students in Greenville, Miss., the majority-Black city where the rice brand has been produced for more than 40 years.


Mars said it has set a goal of increasing the number of people of color in its U.S. management positions by 40%. The company did not give a time frame for hitting that target.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

15150: Procter & Gamble Diversity Data Calls For Mega Rolls Of Charmin.

Advertising Age reported Procter & Gamble released its diversity figures—which mostly made a statement about its divertsity. That is, women account for 48 percent of managers. Whoop dee damn doo. As for Blacks—bundled under employees of African descent—the managers figure is at 8 percent, jumping a whopping single percentage point since 2015. In 2017, P&G unveiled The Talk, followed in 2019 by The Look. Not yet in the series of propagandistic heat shields—Walk The Walk. The only walking involves Marc Pritchard striding to the podium to accept an ADCOLOR® trophy or shiny bauble to divert attention from the company’s abject hypocrisy.


P&G Shares Diversity Data After Its Own Marketing Raises Expectations


By Jack Neff


Procter & Gamble Co., whose high-profile marketing on race and gender equity in recent years has raised expectations for its own performance, is publicly releasing global and U.S. employment diversity data—including some on ethnicity for the first time. The move comes after the company’s marketing helped spur a shareholder resolution calling for more data disclosure.


In a “2020 Representation Data” post that P&G is sharing with employees today, the company says 48 percent of managers and 41 percent of senior managers in its Global Leadership Council (GLC) are women. The disclosure also covers the ethnic makeup data that P&G hasn’t shared publicly in the past. “Multicultural” employees make up 25 percent of overall P&G employment, 28 percent of management and 36 percent of representatives on the GLC.


The report, which includes comparisons to the company’s 2015 data, shows diversity improvements on most fronts, but less so for employees of African descent, who make up 10 percent of total employment, 8 percent of management and 6 percent of GLC members. Those numbers are largely unchanged from 2015, except a one percentage-point increase in management representation.


Overall, P&G reported significant progress in multicultural representation at all levels, particularly at the senior-most GLC, up to 36 percent from 23 percent in five years. Those diversity gains came mainly from people of Asian Pacific descent, with lesser gains in Hispanic/Latinx representation.


As P&G Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard has said previously, the company notes in the new report that it’s not where it wants to be in multicultural representation, where its target is to move to 40 percent of overall employment vs. the current 25 percent. P&G is far closer to its goal of 50/50 representation of men and women at all levels, though its largely manufacturing and administrative employment base of positions that often don’t require college degrees is about two-thirds male.


Generally, P&G’s diversity numbers come in well ahead of agency holding companies that have reported data in recent months. They’re also similar to key competitors such as L’Oréal, Johnson & JohnsonUnilever and Estée Lauder, which posted diversity numbers this summer on Instagram in response to a call by the group Pull Up for Change. But Unilever’s diversity representation on its U.S. leadership team appears well ahead of P&G’s.


P&G did tell Pull Up for Change in July that 13 percent of its U.S. beauty business leadership is Black but has not previously released data on the ethnic makeup of its management across the whole U.S. business.


While the new release goes further than P&G has publicly gone up to now, it’s not likely to satisfy the Berkeley, Calif.-based group As You Sow, which has filed a shareholder resolution for the company’s October annual meeting calling for annual disclosure of Equal Opportunity Commission data and more detailed promotion, recruitment and retention-rate data by gender and ethnicity.


“Procter & Gamble has put a huge amount of resources around trying to recruit more diverse clients and marketing around racial justice themes,” says Meredith Benton, workplace equity program manager of As You Sow. “What we don’t have is data from Procter & Gamble.”


That was before P&G indicated it would publicly release more data, which Benton said she welcomes, but she still wants more-detailed data sets released, including annual Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data.


“There are standardized data sets that a pretty significant portion of the S&P 100 releases,” Benton says. “Procter & Gamble has declined to release that data. And then there are additional indicators that we find to be highly useful in understanding the effectiveness of a diversity, equity and inclusion program. And that’s around promotion rates, recruitment rates and retention rates of diverse employees. A smaller subset of the S&P 100 currently provides that.”


Benton says P&G’s high-profile marketing on gender and racial justice issues, including such videos as “The Talk” and “The Look” and the #WeSeeEqual series, has created expectations that it will lead other companies in data disclosure too. The issue is of importance to shareholders, she says, because of numerous third-party studies and statements by P&G that diverse teams outperform others.


In its response to the shareholder proposal, on which it recommends a “no” vote, P&G says that it already provides substantial reporting to the public and at least eight third-party evaluators or scorecards on its employment diversity data. Adding another reporting system wouldn’t provide much value but would add to administrative costs, the company argues.


“We believe our efforts, externally and internally, provide ample evidence that the company means what it says on diversity and inclusion and is making substantive progress linked to the strength of our business,” the company says.


“For us, it’s being able to tell the entire story,” says P&G Chief Communications Officer Damon Jones. “If we want people to judge whether we’re walking the talk, we want them to look at the data, the programs, multiple aspects, as opposed to having a singular dimension by which they measure our success.”

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

15149: Pulling Up The Rear With Vanguard.

The 4As launched its latest heat shield—Vanguard—with a 62-page pdf that reads like a Black advertising agency’s pitch deck, chock-full of factoids about underrepresented minorities in adland. Some of the slides actually reflect poorly on the 4As. For example, one statement reads:


In 1978, 5% of the advertising workforce was Black

Fast forward 40 years and only 6% are Black


In other words, all of the 4As’ faux concern and flaccid concepts over four decades have amounted to a single percentage point of progress. Yet now the trade organization promises to ignite revolutionary change for up to $7550 per participating White advertising agency…?


Finally, is Vanguard an appropriate moniker for a force assembling over 40 years into a crusade? A better name might be 4Ass Flank Guard.

Monday, September 21, 2020

15148: Annie The Chicken Queen Has Flown The Coop.

The Popeyes YouTube channel tells the true story: Annie The Chicken Queen is gone. And she didn’t even get a send-off like the Honey Bunches of Oats Lady. Damn.


Sunday, September 20, 2020

15147: Love That Enhanced Chicken From Popeyes.

Check out the disclaimer in the footer of the Popeyes website: All pictures are shown for illustrative purposes only. Actual product may vary due to product enhancement.


Um, yeah.