Monday, April 12, 2021

15387: Omnicom Seeks Better Asian Orientation—Er, Representation—In Advertising.


Advertising Age reported on the latest heat shield from Omnicom—a contest whereby entrants can submit PSA announcements advocating for better representation of Asian Americans in advertisements. The “3 in 5” contest name is inspired by poll results that showed over three in five Asian Americans claim they rarely spot characters who look like them in U.S. advertising. Hey, they’d see equally appalling underrepresentation in U.S. advertising agencies. And that’s no ancient Chinese secret. It’s unclear too if contestants must be of Asian descent. It would be odd—but not surprising—if the ultimate winners turn out to be the ruling denizens at White advertising agencies.


Omnicom PSA Contest Will Advocate Increased Representation Of Asians In Advertising


The winning entry will run across more than 35 national media platforms in May, which is AAPI Heritage Month


By Ethan Jakob Craft


More than three in five Asian Americans say they rarely see people who look like them in U.S. advertising, according to Morning Consult polling. That finding has inspired Omnicom to launch a public service announcement initiative to increase representation of Asians in advertising and to stop anti-Asian racism.


Starting Friday, April 9, Omnicom will begin inviting creatives to submit completed PSAs that recognize the underrepresentation of Asians in American ad media and foster AAPI storytelling as part its new “3 in 5” contest, spearheaded by employee resource group Omnicom People Engagement Network.


Entrants will have until April 23 to submit their work via a dedicated website, with a winner announced the following week, in time for the PSA to begin rolling in May, which is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.


The winning PSA will be selected by a trio of AAPI creative leaders: Musa Tariq, the chief marketing officer at GoFundMe; Eric Toda, global head of social marketing at Facebook; and Daniel Oh, senior VP, creative director of copy at Marina Maher Communications.


Participants will be tasked with creating 15- and 30-second PSAs, as well as standard IAB banners and digital out-of-home elements, “to create awareness around the fact that 3 in 5 Asians feel underrepresented in the media,” according to the initiative’s brief. “The CTA for our target must be to implement the ‘3 in 5’ rule in their next communications campaign.”


The winner will be compensated in exposure, with their PSA running across more than 35 national media partners who have donated ad space for the contest, including the Washington Post, Verizon Media, Buzzfeed and Meredith. The campaign will be live until May 31.


Omnicom’s “3 in 5” contest also calls on agencies to pledge to represent the country’s diverse populations adequately and suggests they ask their clients to similarly participate in the initiative. The contest tool kit outlines some steps interested parties can take to adopt the rule, such as casting three out of every 5 characters with Asian actors or partnering with three-in-five influencers of Asian heritage.


“By using a simple 3 in 5 reminder in May, we can form new muscle and new habits to extend beyond one month or moment in time. It’s imperative to use marketing as an empathy and humanity machine to create understanding of people and their stories,” the tool kit reads.


Participants can submit their work at, which will go live when the contest opens on Friday.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

15386: Digiday Confessing Is Regressing.


The latest installment of the Digiday Confessions Series isn’t really a confession—rather, it’s common complaining that isn’t even unique to the advertising industry. Although the anonymous whiner admits to being Catholic, which probably makes the confessional platform comfortable for the interviewee. The focus of the griping involves the ways that COVID-19 remote working has ignited a 24/7 culture and lack of boundaries. Gee, let’s offer prayers for the poor, suffering idiots with jobs.


‘There’s no stopping work’: Confessions of an agency exec on lack of boundaries, time off amid the pandemic


By Kristina Monllos


Burnout is nothing new for agency employees, but it’s gotten worse for some amid the pandemic. With continued work from home, employees feel they are unable to take time off or check out. The lack of boundaries and always-on mentality is getting to one agency exec at a creative shop. In the latest edition of our Confessions series, in which we trade anonymity for candor, we hear from the exec about the need for more boundaries and time off for the sake of mental health.


This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.


What’s going on?


Given the pandemic, people are afraid to take time off [or set boundaries]. It was bad before — boundaries weren’t enforced — but it’s gotten worse. Also, religious holidays don’t seem to be respected anymore at ad agencies especially. For example, I’m Catholic and I wouldn’t dare say I’m taking Good Friday off. No one has any boundaries when it comes to when they’ll email or text you. They’ll send out messages on Sundays, stuff like that.


How does that affect mental health?


When it comes to mental health, I had an issue recently where my teenager was experiencing anxiety and it got worse during the pandemic. He needed me. I was also very depressed. I couldn’t figure out how to ask for time off around mental health issues. It’s becoming more and more apparent that people, either themselves or their children, are suffering from mental health issues during the pandemic. Before, if you had an issue at home, you could say you weren’t going to the office because your kid was sick or something. Now, there’s no stopping work. There’s no way to say you need to take care of your family. I feel like a lot of people are burned out but there’s no solution. Companies will tell you to take time off but the work is still there. It’s been crazy.


Why do you say the lack of respect for boundaries has intensified?


Everyone knows that no one is going anywhere. They’re home. And people are working all different hours based on what they can do for their family. They’ll send out emails when they’re working, on Sundays, late at night, early in the morning. I tell my team that if I’m emailing them early in the morning I don’t expect a response, that’s just when I’m up, but given the pandemic, people know that you’re constantly available.


We’re a year into the pandemic. Why do you think lack of boundaries still persists?


The lip service [of taking time off when you need to or setting boundaries] has been there but I don’t think people actually have the tools to employ those strategies. At the same time, people are lacking the basic etiquette of respecting boundaries. People answer emails on vacation. Out-of-office alerts seem to be going up less.


When people feel like they can’t ever take a true vacation or check out, what does that do to people long-term?


We’re experiencing really high levels of burnout and that translates into how effective you are working. I think it leads to burnout and it causes mental health issues. It causes a lot of stress. It’s been a really hard year for a lot of people. Now that Pandora’s box has been opened that we know we can all work from home I don’t think people know how to [set boundaries when doing so.] It’s easy to ignore your mental and physical health and just keep working. Also, it feels like all there is to do is work sometimes and maybe employees are giving too much and in turn, a lot is expected. Work has become 365-days a year.


What do you hope people would actually be able to do regarding work hours and boundaries?


Obviously, with our business, you can’t really say you’re working 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and that’s it. But there’s got to be some sort of standard that’s set. People on my team try to take a day off and they’re interrupted. It could be something that could wait until Monday but it doesn’t wait. People should be able to take a day off without question.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

15385: Oh My Stars, This Campaign Sucks!


BBDO in New Zealand created this WWF campaign that proclaims microplastics in the ocean outnumber stars in the galaxy. Hey, there are more lame plastic-kills-wildlife advertisements than stars in the galaxy too.

Friday, April 09, 2021

15384: Holy Shit, BBDO.


BBDO in Colombia hatched this Sierra Nevada campaign hyping vegan burgers during Lent. The responsible creative team should pray to their personal deity for forgiveness.


Thursday, April 08, 2021

15383: UBS, UB Bullshit Artists.


Not sure what this UBS message is trying to say, as the bank does not have a wealth of impressive philanthropic initiatives and diversity figures—in fact, it’s all pretty unimpressive.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

15382: Boosting Boston Brotherhood.


Advertising Age spotlighted a new campaign promoting Boston—created by local advertising and brand agency Proverb—that seeks to present the city as diverse. If the firm succeeds in the bold endeavor, Proverb should be charged with executing a similar objective for Adland.


Boston Taps Local Black-Led Agency To Paint The City In A More Inclusive Light


Proverb rolls out “Boston All Inclusive” to create an additional narrative for overlooked businesses and neighborhoods


By Mike Juang


The city of Boston wants to boost tourism and the local economy’s recovery from COVID-19 by making its popular image more all-inclusive, all with help from a new marketing campaign cooked up by local advertising and brand agency Proverb.


The campaign, called “Boston All Inclusive,” wants to fight racism and discrimination by featuring small business owners and residents who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color. Proverb hopes the campaign will provide an alternative narrative to the stereotypes of Boston by creating an alternative story that is more inclusive and amplifies previously lesser-heard groups of people.


“The narrative built around the city over decades isn’t going to go away, but this campaign begins to create an additional narrative or narratives for people to tell more stories,” says Daren Bascome, founder and managing director of Proverb, a Black-led advertising and brand agency. The stories featured in the campaign aim to drive visitors to traditionally overlooked businesses and neighborhoods, particularly those that were hit hardest by the pandemic.


Bascome acknowledges having a campaign take on both racism and the pandemic-fueled downturn is a tall order. The campaign’s first goal will be to kickstart local tourism. “Our first audience is for people who are here, contemplating a staycation, or as simple as who you want to order takeout from,” says Bascome. The campaign also hopes to attract people within driving distance of Boston, including from the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut tri-state area.


For Bascome, who moved to Boston over 30 years ago and built both a family and a business in the city, the assignment was personal. “The spaces, faces and places that historically have led with the imagery of the city, especially when we look at popular culture, hasn’t always been our friend,” he says, citing movies, shows, and jokes about the city. When Proverb commissioned a market study to gauge how visitors perceive Boston, he says much of it didn’t come as news. “There was a sizeable gap between the city’s perceptions and the reality of the city we have come to know.”


“Boston has dealt with a unique stigma,” writes Martha J. Sheridan, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We own that narrative but we also need to shift it. We have the cultures and communities here to tell a broader and more authentic Boston story that has traditionally been marginalized.” She adds that this played into the bureau’s decision to seek a local agency to help tell the story. “We’ve let other people tell our story for us, and as destination marketing specialists it is our job to correct that.”


To help capture the spirit of the city from the point of view of minorities and people of color, the campaign features a diverse list of partners, photographers, typographists and narrators. The campaign is eschewing typical colors like red, white and blue in favor of a palette meant to evoke the colors of Boston, like red bricks, cobblestones, and the color of leaves in the fall.


The campaign is meant to increase what Bascome says is “spacial justice,” creating the feeling that the entire city belongs to them through representation. He says it’s part of the drive for greater inclusion and social justice currently facing the nation. “We really tried to create something that speaks to the moment we’re in both as a city and as a country.” says Bascome.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

15381: Panda Express Busts A Move.


Was this Panda Express commercial inspired by Voltaren? Or is OutKast down and out?