Tuesday, November 20, 2018

14387: Wrestling With Gender Equality In Advertising.

Campaign published a perspective from The Beyond Collective CEO Zaid Al-Zaidy—inspired by the JWT London fiasco—that underscores the similarities and differences between how the U.S. and U.K. advertising communities fumble with diversity and divertsity. The last time MultiCultClassics noticed Al-Zaidy, he was suggesting that the United Kingdom address its diversity dilemmas by emulating the United States. Al-Zaidy’s proposal seemed like Harvey Weinstein seeking advice from Bill Cosby. Interestingly enough, the U.K. is following follies from the U.S. in regards to gender equality and sexual harassment. Just as the loose cannons at Diet Madison Avenue sparked controversy and a lawsuit, a loud-mouthed creative director allegedly did the same across the pond. Al-Zaidy recommends the industry find a “safe place” to calmly confront the complexities and conflicts. Unfortunately, we’re running out of neutral continents. Perhaps someone should simply stage a tag-team wrestling match pitting Cindy Gallop and Jo Wallace against Ralph Watson and the JWT London crew.

It’s little wonder some white men have begun to feel like the enemy

There are few places for reasonable and rational debate beyond screaming headlines or shaming posts on social media.

By Zaid Al-Zaidy

As that most gammony of dead white scientists, Isaac Newton, famously said: “To every action, there is always an equal and opposite reaction.” And so we see it with reports that a number of white men from J Walter Thompson London are calling out the agency for discrimination on the basis of their colour, gender, nationality and sexual orientation.

Without wanting to go into the precise details of this incident, being not in full knowledge of the facts, it seemed inevitable that the industry would reach this milestone. The time bomb has been ticking away in a cupboard of our creation.

It goes without saying that the campaigns to increase the representation of women, ethnic and other minorities (of which I remain a proud but fairly lonely member) are a good thing. The problem is that, with the high temperature that has been set by some, which many would argue is only commensurate with the level of rebalancing that is required, a lot of men — particularly white men of a certain era — have become positioned as or made to feel like they are the enemy. They are therefore scared.

You might think that the word “scared” is excessive, given the horrific nature of some of the #TimeTo and #MeToo stories. And, of course, the context is very different. But this vulnerability has come about because there are few places for reasonable and rational debate beyond the screaming headlines or shaming tweets or social media posts by those whose virtue doesn’t just need signalling but shouting from the rooftops.

“Safe places” are often mocked, but that’s exactly what we need — somewhere for balance and nuance and shades of grey in an industry where everything has become binary.

Bias isn’t black and white — it’s time that we acknowledge everyone is somewhere on the “ism” spectrum, depending on multiple internal and external influences. Therefore, no one person can claim to be a paragon of virtue, despite this social media-fuelled arms race to appear to be so. It’s little wonder, then, that some men (particularly white ones) have begun to feel like they are under constant attack.

The industry’s navel-gazing and attempts to rectify the complex wrongs of the past have been done in the full glare of the lights of publicity. At times, it has seemed like point-scoring or a quick PR hit, rather than a concerted effort to change the industry to better reflect society and our ultimate customers — the public. It’s in all of our interests that we create an environment that isn’t a case of “them and us”. It’s a case of bringing everyone together.

As that old dead white dude also said: “Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.”

Zaid Al-Zaidy is chief executive of The Beyond Collective

Monday, November 19, 2018

14386: Personality, Cultural Fit And Bullshit.

A paragraph from the Advertising Age report on the “culture” at Havas Chicago warrants additional commentary:

While Havas took a beating on social media for the video, Sarah Pak, VP of strategic accounts at Robert Half’s The Creative Group, says that she is seeing more agencies trying to stand out by being brazen about their personality. “Even though the market is so tight for creative and marketing professionals, our clients are still requiring personality and cultural fit to be No. 1,” she says. “If you fit the culture, then we’ll make sure you are happy here. But you have to fit our culture first.”

Sorry, but the VP from Robert Half is a half-wit. The moron explains why our industry is such a mess in terms of diversity and inclusion. Plus, she shows how recruiting firms—besides being ignorant and useless—are complicit in maintaining the discriminatory exclusivity.

The No. 1 requirement is personality and cultural fit? What happened to experience, performance and talent? Does a candidate’s potential factor into the equation? And don’t trophies trump all of the above?

Take a peek at job postings from recruitment firms. There’s never a bullet point indicating the imperative for personality and cultural fit. Indeed, job postings typically feature a laundry list of skills and capabilities specifications—usually written by the hiring agency versus the recruiter. Is the VP of strategic accounts implying hiring agencies and recruiters hold side conversations to define personality and cultural fit?

As Havas Chicago demonstrated, leaders who hype an agency’s personality and culture are narcissistic, delusional jackasses. White holding companies have commoditized creativity, turning the overall advertising industry into a generic dung heap. Painting walls with graffiti images—and hosting Halloween parties with soft porn dancers—are smokescreens designed to conceal mediocrity.

Recruiters believe they’re “seeing more agencies trying to stand out by being brazen about their personality,” but candidates view such places as analogous to old men donning bad toupees and driving fancy roadsters.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

14385: ABC WTF.

This commercial for Trelegy hijacks the Jackson Five and their classic ABC tune. Anybody else think it’s inappropriate for a pharmaceutical company to use music from an artist who suffered an early death with lots of prescription drugs in his system?

Saturday, November 17, 2018

14384: ABC Changing Channels And Channing Dungey.

From Advertising Age…

Channing Dungey out at ABC

By Jeanine Poggi

Channing Dungey is stepping down as president of entertainment at ABC just two years after she assumed the role.

Dungey, who has spent 14 years at the company, will be replaced by Karey Burke, who currently leads original programming at ABC sibling channel Freeform.

This comes as ABC parent Walt Disney nears its acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets, including the cable channels FX Networks and National Geographic. Dungey will remain at ABC until the transaction closes.

Dungey’s departure is the latest executive shuffle inside the Mouse House amid the acquisition. Ben Sherwood, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC TV Group, will also depart the company once the deal is closed.

When Dungey was appointed in 2016, she became the first African-American to lead a major broadcast TV network. But her tenure has been filled with several controversial decisions, including the cancellation of the Tim Allen comedy “Last Man Standing,” which now airs on Fox; the decision not to air an episode of “Black-ish” that included athletes kneeling and white supremacist violence; and of course, the cancellation of “Roseanne” following a racist tweet by Roseanne Barr. Dungey also oversaw the much-hyped revival of “American Idol,” which averaged just a 1.6 rating last season.

The past two years have also seen the departure of showrunner Shonda Rhimes, whose shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How to Get Away With Murder” own the Thursday night block, and “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris, to Netflix.

ABC is in last place among the Big Four broadcasters in the commercial ratings in the three days after a show airs, an industry standard known as C3. The network is averaging a 1.0 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, trailing Fox, which is averaging a 2.0, NBC with a 1.9 and CBS with a 1.2. ABC is down 18 percent year-over-year and has lost one-third of its gross ratings points in the last two seasons.

Contributing: Anthony Crupi

Friday, November 16, 2018

14383: How McCann Will Beat The U.S. Army.

Advertising Age reported McCann lost its protest with the Government Accountability Office, effectively being eliminated from the U.S. Army account review again. Of course, that isn’t stopping the White advertising agency from continuing its efforts to get back into the competition, as McCann plans to pursue legal action with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. If the next maneuver fails, expect the White advertising agency to appeal to The People’s Court. From there, the initiative will move to Shark Tank and Dancing With The Stars. Concurrently, McCann will introduce a program a la The Bachelorette, where contestants vie to serve as a covert femme fatale for the White advertising agency. This ain’t over yet, folks!

McCann loses protest bid in Army review but vows to fight on

By E.J. Schultz and Megan Graham

McCann has suffered another significant setback in its attempt to hang onto the lucrative Army account it has held for 13 years. WPP and Omnicom are still alive in the review, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Interpublic shop was eliminated from the review earlier this year, but it fought the decision by filing a protest with the Government Accountability Office. The GAO this week denied the protest bid, but McCann is vowing to take the matter to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

The government did not publish details of its decision. In an internal memo issued today, McCann Worldgroup CEO Harris Diamond stated “we were eliminated from the review by the contracting officer, not our client, based solely on a technical issue related to a missing disk, notwithstanding the fact that we believe they are in possession of all the necessary information needed to evaluate our proposal fairly.”

He added that the agency would “pursue every channel necessary to have the quality of our proposal fairly evaluated, including bringing the matter to federal court where a judge will evaluate our case.”

“I’m very proud of the relationship we’ve had with the U.S. Army. It’s been an honor. I’m proud of the work and proud of what we’ve accomplished together,” Diamond told Ad Age. “I think that we are the right team to take them forward in a complex recruiting environment.”

As for McCann’s next move, he said: “We’re going to go forward and make our argument … we want to be allowed to be evaluated. Not asking to win, we want to be evaluated.”

In January 2017, the U.S. Army released a request for proposals for its advertising and marketing business. An Army representative said at the time that the mandated review “estimates the contract ceiling to not exceed $4 billion” over a period up to a decade. McCann Worldgroup, which includes Weber Shandwick and UM, has held the business since 2005 and reaps an estimated $30 to $40 million in annual revenue from the account, Ad Age reported last summer.

Omnicom declined comment. WPP referred comment to the client.

Last September, McCann Worldgroup won a separate protest it filed against the Army’s Government Accountability Office alleging that its elimination from a review for the Army’s business was “arbitrary and capricious.”

In October, McCann released new work for the client as part of a “Warriors Wanted” campaign.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

14382: The 3% Movement Membership Has Its Privileges.

Adweek spotlighted a patronizing promotion presented at the latest soiree of The 3% Movement. Created by San Francisco-based Heat, the concept challenged attendees to “check their privileges” along with their coats. The onsite gimmick directed people to an online gimmick, ultimately showing how everyone is splintering in diverse divertsity directions, seeking to address every marginalized group out there. What’s most outrageous is that the majority of The 3% Movement fans—White women and White men—have historically leveraged their White privilege to dominate the advertising industry, quash any attempts at progress and hijack all equality discussions. An original idea would have been for the coat-check staff to deliberately lose attendees’ items. Instead, at the end of the girlfriend get-together, the pseudo crusaders got their White privileges back along with their designer hats and coats.

Heat Asks 3% Conference Goers to Check Their Privileges at the Door

Deloitte-owned shop wants attendees to leave the 7th annual event more aware

By Lindsay Rittenhouse

At the seventh annual 3 Percent Conference, which is being held Thursday through Friday in Chicago this year, Deloitte-owned Heat wants guests to be “as aware of your privileges as the coat on your back,” senior brand strategist Catherine Dailey told Adweek.

The San Francisco-based shop is operating a coat check—positioned directly next to where guests sign into the event—that doesn’t just take outer layers. Each person that checks a coat with Heat will receive a ticket stub with scratch-off statements shedding light on certain privileges many mainstream individuals in the U.S. take for granted.

The privileges include: “I have never had to ‘come out.’ I have never gone to bed hungry. I am not taught to fear walking alone after dark in average public spaces. I can afford to visit a healthcare professional multiple times a year. I can go to new places knowing that there’ll be a bathroom I can use. I am not nervous in airport security lines. I do not have a disability.”

Guests are intended to scratch off which privileges with which they identify, revealing facts angled to open their minds a bit about their advantages, such as: “Sixty percent of transgender Americans avoid using public bathrooms for fear of being harassed. Only four states offer third gender options on birth certificates. Ninety-four percent of teen females have experienced body shame. Only 46 percent of working-age adults with learning disabilities are employed.”

Dailey noted that these are more “non-obvious, day-to-day” privileges people often overlook.

While tickets varied in terms of listed privileges, they all ended the same: “I want to do better.” When scratched off, this message is revealed: “By acknowledging our privileges, we can work to create opportunities for everyone, building a more diverse and inclusive world.”

A diverse team of Heat employees collaborated on the project, discussing what biases they face in their own daily lives that then fueled the list of privileges, according to Dailey.

Heat copywriter Rebecca Wang, who was instrumental in creating that list, said there are lessons to be learned for all.

Dailey admitted that she was not consciously aware of how many public spaces in 2018 are still inaccessible to people with certain disabilities until she began working for her current boss, whose husband is in a wheelchair.

“I notice more when I go places, which have wheelchair access,” Dailey said, who now always double checks that Heat’s out-of-office gatherings like happy hours are held at accessible places.

Once you’re aware of your privileges, Wang explained, you can use them to “help others.” Heat hopes each 3 Percent Conference attendee walks away with a heightened sense of consciousness and empathy, she said.

That, and their coats.

Tickets given to people who visit the coat check direct back to Heat’s website, which features a digital privilege check during the two-day conference. Resources on Heat’s commitment to diversity and inclusion are included on the landing page. The project is also being supported on the agency’s social channels.

14381: Annie The Chicken Queen Censored.

Annie the Chicken Queen continues to hawk poultry products, even though Popeyes and White advertising agency GSD&M don’t post her commercials online. So it’s not clear how long these uploads featuring turkey promotions, censored hot sauce and golf course gators will be viewable. Actually, the spots are barely viewable now, at least from a lameness perspective.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

14380: Stan Lee (1922-2018).

The late Stan Lee is best known for his comic book creations. Yet he was a heroic equality defender too.

14379: JWT London Falling Down On White Men.

Campaign reported JWT is facing another discrimination lawsuit, except this one involves JWT London being accused of discriminating against straight White men. Sorry, Gustavo Martinez, you’re no longer eligible to join the legal fight as a plaintiff.

The latest fiasco started when JWT Creative Director Jo Wallace reportedly spoke at a Creative Equals event, introducing herself as a lesbian and declaring her mission to “obliterate” JWT’s reputation as a “Knightsbridge boys’ club” for White, British, privileged, straight men. A few days later, a group of White, British, privileged and straight male employees allegedly met with the JWT HR department to voice their concerns. Within days of the HR powwow, the group was obliterated and made redundant—that is, the guys were fired.

For the initial news stories, JWT London declined to respond, opting for the standard line: “It’s not appropriate for us to comment on individuals in an ongoing process. Any redundancies at JWT London are handled fairly, lawfully and without any form of discrimination.”

Okay, people are allegedly treated fairly when fired, but what about when hired? Given the earlier revelation that JWT London has a terrible gender pay gap problem, it’s safe to say the White advertising agency engages in discriminatory practices—so it’s reasonable to presume the place is capable of wrongdoing in any employment-related area.

Additionally, once the news spread—and Wallace likely started getting targeted with criticism—JWT London sources proceeded to inappropriately comment. The sources even remarked that seemingly disproportionate firings of White men were to be expected, as White men are disproportionately in the majority at JWT London.

Yet the bigger news bomb came when clarifying that Wallace was not delivering a monologue at the Creative Equals event. Rather, she shared the stage with JWT London Executive Creative Director Lucas Peon; plus, JWT London CEO James Whitehead was in the audience. Um, Peon and Whitehead—whose last names are wildly appropriate in the overall scenario—actually deserve the most flak, as they had to be aware of the gender discrimination at JWT London long before Wallace realized she was getting screwed by her employer. And the two male leaders had to be directly involved with the decisions that sparked the redundancy of White men.

BTW, if the redundant White men ultimately take their former employer to court, they can offer the JWT Female Tribes gender pay gap campaign as evidence of a pro-White-women workplace. Hell, they could toss in JWT Worldwide CEO Tamara Ingram’s tampon crusade too.

At this point, WPP CEO Mark Read is probably wondering if he can institute a lawsuit freeze.

Finally, look forward to JWT London positioning itself as innocent and progressive by having the Commodore replace Victoria Beckham for the Spice Girls Reunion Tour. Or he could join Village People, as the group has never really featured a Commodore character.