Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Essay 4248

If I Did It in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• A federal judge did it, giving the rights of O.J. Simpson’s “If I Did It” book to the family of murder victim Ron Goldman. Which means Fred Goldman will do it, arranging new publishing and broadcast deals to help offset the $33.5 million wrongful death judgment secured by the family in 1997—and O.J. doesn’t get diddley.

• Jay-Z insists he didn’t do it, asking a federal judge to drop a lawsuit against him. Employees at Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club in New York charge they’re being underpaid. But the music mogul insists he’s a shareholder, not an employer—therefore, he’s not responsible for payroll at the establishment. So the employees aren’t even likely to get 40/40 acres and a mule.

Essay 4247

Essay 4246

Looks like girlfriend’s “workin’ it” at a gentlemen’s club.

Essay 4245

From national news sources…


Nike settles Chicago race case for $7.6 million
Employees charged company withheld lucrative jobs from black employees

PORTLAND, Ore. — Nike Inc. has reached a $7.6 million settlement in a class-action race discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of 400 black employees of the company’s Chicago Niketown store, the company said Monday.

The lawsuit, filed in 2003, claimed managers at the retail store used racial slurs to refer to black workers and customers. They also said the store segregated black employees into lower-paying jobs as stockroom workers and cashiers rather than giving them lucrative sales jobs. And they alleged managers made unfounded accusations of theft against black workers and directed store security to monitor black employees and customers because of their race.

Nike has denied the allegations.

Under the terms of the agreement, Nike Retail Services will pay $7.6 million to the current and former employees to resolve the claims. The lawsuit covers black employees who worked at the store from 1999 until now.

Nike also must make a host of other changes to address diversity, such as appointing a diversity consultant to monitor the Chicago store’s compliance and a compliance officer at Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton. The company must also add an ombudsperson at the store and conduct diversity training for all supervisors and managers there.

Nike also is required to review its human resources practice, create equal opportunity objectives for the store and review its theft-loss policies. It also will create a formal mentoring program for black employees.

The company and the attorney for the plaintiffs declined to comment further on the case.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Essay 4244

Word of the Day in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• New York City legislators are now seeking to symbolically ban “bitch” and “ho”—after already passing a resolution to stop the use of the N-word. The measures are not legally enforceable. As if we needed more reasons to arrest rappers.

• Music mogul Diddy is looking for a new assistant—literally. He’s only accepting video applications via YouTube. “It’s a new age, new time, new era,” said Diddy in a video clip. “Forget coming into the office and having a meeting with me and being all nervous. … What better job than that to have me scream at you, go crazy, keep you up at late hours, have you sleep-deprived?” In other words, he’s seeking a bitch or ho.

Essay 4243

Essay 4242

This ad takes “Puttin’ hot sauce on it” literally.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Essay 4241

False reports in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• PepsiCo is taking heat for potentially misleading consumers about its top-selling Aquafina bottled water. Despite the label depicting a mountain, the product is actually drawn from public sources—that is, Aquafina is glorified tap water. A consumer group has been pressuring certain manufacturers to blatantly communicate their water does not come from mountain streams or exotic locales—also targeting Coca-Cola for its Dasani brand. PepsiCo will now re-label Aquafina. “If this helps clarify the fact that the water originates from public sources, then it’s a reasonable thing to do,” said a PepsiCo spokeswoman. “We don’t believe that consumers are confused about the source of Dasani water,” said a Coca-Cola spokeswoman. “The label clearly states that it is purified water.” Sounds like purified bullshit.

• Usher and his fiancée called off their wedding scheduled for yesterday. No comment on the reasons behind the cancelled event, which was slated to take place at music executive L.A. Reid’s Long Island mansion. It’s safe to guess they weren’t planning to serve Aquafina or Dasani at the nuptials.

Essay 4240

Here’s a blast from the past—the following article originally appeared in the June 27, 1969 issue of Time Magazine…


The Black Man In the Gray Flannel Suit

To a housewife, it’s a soul cookbook,

To a brother, it’s the natural look,

To a fighter, it’s the main event,

To a smoker, it’s a Kent.

Most white Americans will never hear that hip version of the popular Kent jingle, which is sung by a chorus of wailing voices against a background of driving rhythm and blues music. It is beamed only over black radio stations to black audiences. P. Lorillard, the manufacturer of Kent, is one of a growing number of U.S. companies that are making a special effort to woo Negro consumers, who spend an estimated $30 billion a year. In particular, tobacco companies, department stores and cosmetics makers have all found the soul sell an effective conduit to Negro buyers. Because of the development of a separate black identity and its unique idiom, companies are turning to black advertising agencies to set the pitch.

New agencies are starting up to serve the need, though most of them bill less than $1,000,000 annually. Last week, for example, Zebra Associates opened shop in Manhattan with an integrated staff. The agency is a partnership between Raymond League, a former account executive at J. Walter Thompson, and Joan Murray, a correspondent for Manhattan’s WCBS-TV. Their biggest account is the national campaign for All-Pro Chicken, the franchising chain headed by Brady Keys, retired professional football star. Zebra’s admen are not the least self-conscious about using heavy Negro dialect in their ads. Sample from an All-Pro radio commercial: “Good-lookin’, don’t shout. Go ‘head on. Tell me ‘bout it.” League sees his agency’s future in aiming ads at low-income groups of all colors, who together spend about $100 billion a year. Because black agencies concentrate on the ghetto, he figures, they have the best experience in selling to all the poor.

Up from Bleaching Cream. Some black ad agencies are already well established. A couple of the more successful are Chicago’s Vince Cullers Advertising Inc. and Manhattan’s Howard Sanders Advertising & Public Relations. For 15 years, Vince Cullers got by on the fringes of advertising as a freelance artist in Chicago; it was tough for a Negro to find a job in a white agency. In the past three years, the rise of black consciousness has turned his color into an asset. His agency now bills an estimated $1.5 million a year from accounts that include Kent, Newport and True cigarettes, Wayne-Gossard Corp. and the Joe Louis Milk Co. His ads are characterized by what he calls “a pride in being black.” One magazine layout for Afro-Sheen, a hair preparation that is supposed to enhance the natural, curly look, carries the headline: “A beautiful new product for a beautiful new people.” That is quite a change from the wording of older ads for cosmetics intended to bleach skin and straighten hair.

The same sense of black pride is found in the slogans of Howard Sanders, a former radio executive who opened his own agency on Madison Avenue in 1966 and now bills $1.5 million. His frank approach is illustrated by a campaign to present R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to the black community. One picture shows a Negro in a white shirt and necktie adjusting a complex piece of laboratory equipment. The caption: “What’s Franklin Weaver doing in our chemical plant if he’s not there to sweep?” It would be difficult for a white agency to be so candid.

The largest users of Negro advertising are about 300 radio stations that spin soul music for predominantly black audiences. This market has created a need for specialists. Detroit’s Carl Porter, a 28-year-old Wayne State graduate, has built up his Theme Productions by producing and selling radio commercials as well as distinctive, hard-rhythm station breaks. “We squeeze 50 tons of soul into six seconds,” he says. Porter creates radio spots for Mustang Malt Liquor, Lanolin Plus Liquid, Mystery of Black Cosmetics and other products, and his billings are running at a rate of $450,000 this year. He argues that only a black firm can “get the ear” of modern blacks, but concedes that not even he can communicate with all of them.

“I doubt that we could do a commercial that would relate to a person over 40,” he says. “Blacks over 40 still cut their hair short. I can’t tune in on their thinking.”

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Essay 4239

Essay 4238

Twists and Turns in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Mickey D’s changed its mind and cut Twista from a scheduled music tour. “McDonald’s USA made the decision following concerns raised about the artist’s controversial lyrics,” read a company statement. “Although we respect free speech and artistic expression, we do not condone or perpetuate derogatory language.” Mickey D’s will now replace the rapper. Seems like the perfect comeback opportunity for Vanilla Ice or MC Hammer.

• Nicole Richie was sentenced to serve four days in jail for her latest DUI. She’ll probably just slip through the cell bars and become a fugitive.

Essay 4237

First, the kid’s hair looked better before the Wahl trim. Second, mom’s ‘do is pretty messed up too.

[MultiCultClassics often critiques questionable work created by multicultural advertising agencies. But the truth is, in terms of volume, percentages and any other measuring standard, the majority of lousy ideas are produced by White agencies. In the spirit of inclusion, this week MultiCultClassics spotlights some White ad trash.]

Friday, July 27, 2007

Essay 4236

Friday Evening News in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Don Imus and CBS are closing in on a settlement that could mean a ton of loot for the fired shock jock. Sources claim CBS might buy out Imus’ original contract—which had $40 million remaining—to avoid litigation. That’s a lot more than the average rapper gets for using derogatory terms to demean women.

• The board chairman at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island resigned after admitting he used the N-word during a trustee meeting. The 80-year-old moron was allegedly bemoaning the hassle of finding minority candidates for the board when he uttered the term. He insists the word “kind of slipped out” and later said in an interview, “I apologized for that. What else can I do? Kill myself?” But wait, there’s more. He claims he’s never spoken the word before and said, “The first time I heard it was on television and then rap music or something.” Talk about playing the Don Imus card. To top it all off, the man now says his resignation is for personal and family-related reasons, and is not tied to his use of the N-word.

• The town of Hazleton in Pennsylvania will have to rethink its tough anti-immigration law, as a federal judge ruled it’s unconstitutional. “The genius of our Constitution is that it provides rights even to those who evoke the least sympathy from the general public,” wrote the judge. “Hazleton, in its zeal to control the presence of a group deemed undesirable, violated the rights of such people, as well as others within the community.” Wonder if any of the town’s legislators are graduates of Roger Williams University.

Essay 4235


Finding fault with Mad Men’s rendering of ethnic minorities in the advertising industry is somewhat impossible because, well, they barely exist. They’re invisible, in a Ralph Ellison style. Series creator Matthew Weiner hit the bull’s-eye in this area.

As historians like Tangerine Toad have recorded, Madison Avenue circa 1960 emitted a very WASPy aroma. Ethnic minorities were segregated then as they are today. Non-WASPs lived on distinctive planets. At the show’s fictional Sterling Cooper headquarters, it was awfully tough locating a Jewish employee to make a prospective Jewish client feel “comfortable”—agency honcho Roger Sterling snickered, “I had to go all the way to the mailroom, but I found one.”

Writers at Forbes observed, “In the 1950s and ‘60s, despite its image as a progressive industry, advertising clearly lagged when it came to diversity. Unfortunately, it still does. Back then, you had white shoe firms with WASPy staffers working for WASPy clients, while, as one of the characters in Mad Men puts it, ‘most of the Jewish guys work for the Jewish firms selling to Jewish people.’ Replace Jewish with African-American and you get a picture of the industry today.” Technically, you can also swap Jewish with Latino, Asian, Native American, Russian, GLBT and essentially every cultural designation on Earth. (Note: the Forbes writers made faulty comparisons that we’ll pick up later.)

The pilot episode saw adman Don Draper probing a Black waiter for cigarette insights. Not sure why Draper conducted the focus group, as his agency would never entertain wooing non-White audiences. Blacks in the next episode were bathroom attendants and sandwich sellers. No sign of Latinos, Asians or Native Americans so far. Too bad the copywriter who took the secretary on an agency tour in the second installment didn’t venture into the mailroom or janitorial closet. Although it’s a safe bet non-White minorities wouldn’t be spotted at those stations either.

It’s unlikely Mad Men will acknowledge executives for Pepsi-Cola—led by men including Edward F. Boyd—pioneered marketing to Black consumers in the 1940s and 1950s. Or the late Vince Cullers of Chicago launched the first Black advertising agency in 1956, while Luis Díaz Albertini founded Spanish Advertising and Marketing Services, the first Latino shop, in 1962. Hell, even Alex Trebek won’t recognize such trivia.

Then and now, race is the taboo topic. In Adweek’s interview with Mal Macdougall, the original Mad Man admitted, “The booze, the sex, the cigarettes, the suits, the haircuts, the harassment, the office politics, the ‘we own the world’ attitude—even the offices—are absolutely dead-on true.” Yet Macdougall neglected mentioning institutionalized apartheid. Why is it easier to joke about sexual advances that bordered on assault?

Mad Men has not blatantly addressed race; however, Weiner knows it’s out there. Adweek published an interview wherein Weiner said, “The men of that period had a different code and a lot of it is sexist and racist and selfish.” Contrary to the contentions of critical adfolks, Weiner has apparently done his homework. We’ll soon discover if he’s comfortable exploring the industry’s biases beyond anti-Semitism. Sadly, if Weiner sticks to telling an authentic Madison Avenue story, race will stay relatively untouched and deeply buried.

Returning to the notions forwarded by the Forbes writers, it’s important to consider certain realities. Contrasting 1960s Jewish firms to 21st century minority shops doesn’t fly. “Most of the Jewish guys work for the Jewish firms selling to Jewish people” is an incorrect statement. Yes, the early Jewish agencies served Jewish clients. But they didn’t direct messages exclusively to Jewish communities. Doyle Dane Bernbach—a Jewish shop with Jewish clients—produced the famous campaign that literally proves it via the headline, “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s real Jewish Rye.” The Jewish shops’ success at capturing mass markets inevitably lured broader clientele.

The 1960s creative revolution in the advertising industry brought additional significant changes. Italians and various White minorities joined the party. Don’t mean to sound paranoid, but somewhere along the journey, the WASPy, Jewish, Italian and assorted White people combined forces to control the lion’s share of business. Ethnic minorities like Blacks and Latinos were ghettoized, prohibited from expanding outside their respective pigeonholes.

BBDO Chief Creative Officer David Lubars told Advertising Age, “In no way does [Mad Men] reflect the business today. It really doesn’t. In fact, in some ways it really plays into the stereotype that advertising is full of sleazebags, but if you go into most agencies you see a lot of ethics and a lot of good hard work and people telling truth, so this really plays into the whole kind of side of the industry that I personally don’t see.” Lubars is indisputably right on a host of levels, and blindly wrong on others.

As Bill Green of the popular Make The Logo Bigger blog declared, Mad Men is depressing. In more ways than we might realize.

[Whether they realize it or not, Tom Messner, Tangerine Toad, Hadji Williams, George Parker, Bill Green, Jetpacks and other semi-anonymous blog posters contributed to this essay. Thanks to everyone.]

Essay 4234

Essay 4233

How many times has this tired concept been used? The responsible copywriter and art director should have their creative licenses revoked.

[MultiCultClassics often critiques questionable work created by multicultural advertising agencies. But the truth is, in terms of volume, percentages and any other measuring standard, the majority of lousy ideas are produced by White agencies. In the spirit of inclusion, this week MultiCultClassics spotlights some White ad trash.]

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Essay 4232


Not sure what’s more fascinating: watching the new AMC series Mad Men or seeing genuine adfolks reacting to the show.

The majority of initial criticism came from guys who actually toiled in the era. The comments targeted the authenticity of details, from the number of client meeting participants to the model of typewriters. No way did executives have booze in the office. Presentations should have displayed a sea of layouts. Research reports would never be tossed in the trash. Creative directors didn’t spew such corny lines. Mastermind Matthew Weiner clearly hadn’t done his homework, griped the bona fide Mad Men.


For starters, how reliable are the memories of men who admittedly drank their lunches for decades?

Mad Men, like any other television program, uses creative license to enhance drama. If Weiner had depicted totally accurate images of our business, even PBS and The History Channel would have rejected the concept. Instead, he exaggerated reality, pushed stereotypes and inflated clichés. You know, the tactics still employed by today’s Madison Avenue practitioners. We’re responsible for the blurring between fact and fiction. Why do we get annoyed when outsiders beat us at our own game?

Interestingly enough, there are virtually zero protests over the exclusivity illustrated in Mad Men. Perhaps because we concede someone is finally exposing truth in advertising.

Ladies first.

A modern agency president quoted by Advertising Age remarked Mad Men projected, “A sad but real portrayal of professional women in the 1950s. I found the show mesmerizing mostly because I was haunted by the true reality faced by our mothers, daughters or sisters in the ‘golden era’ of advertising.”

Haunted? Hey, things are pretty scary right now. Granted, White women have greatly benefited from affirmative action—indeed, the segment has reaped the biggest rewards from it. And they definitely have enjoyed the most progress in the advertising industry, arguably taking advantage of being the earliest minority group allowed inside. Yet while 21st century White women are well represented, particularly in account services and media departments, their salaries lag behind the money made by male counterparts. Plus, White women consistently struggle for the power positions.

Regarding the sex object angle, it’s difficult to say. Did the 1960s sexual revolution help alter roles? Was the secretary’s doctor visit and request for birth control pills another symbolic statement from Weiner? We’ll defer to the hardcore feminists on this point. But let’s note that dinosaur sexists like Neil French are being gradually expelled from the current system. Laws to fight discrimination and harassment evolved corporate cultures too, despite the scarcity of publicized charges against Madison Avenue agencies. At the same time, the business continues to feature female professionals and professional females—the latter being the unqualified girlfriends and mistresses of lecherous men with hiring authority.

Adweek interviewed Mal Macdougall, who was a BBDO copywriter on the Lucky Strike account in the 1960s, and he said, “We had never heard the term ‘sexual harassment,’ but it was what took place all the time. The women—with few exceptions they were secretaries, junior writers or ‘young media types’—never, to my knowledge, complained. Married? So what.” Proud to be a Mad Man, no doubt.

Mad Men stars at least one gay character. It’s tough to predict how this minority group will ultimately be represented. But the show does recognize gays were players on Madison Avenue. Since our GLBT expertise is limited, we’ll invite advocates to come out and share their thoughts.

Which brings us to the ethnic minorities—and the completion of this part of the essay.


Essay 4231

Essay 4230

Just between friends with a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• A new study shows obesity may be linked to friendship. That is, if you’ve got fat friends, you may become fat too. The researchers believe the reason is “the spread of norms from people to people. People change their minds about what constitutes an acceptable body mass index” based on the size of their close pals. It’s also probably linked to people thinking that Ronald McDonald is their friend.

• Walt Disney Company became the first major Hollywood studio to ban the depiction of smoking, proclaiming there would be no puffing in its family-targeted, Disney-labeled films. Plus, the company will “discourage” smoking in movies distributed by Touchstone and Miramax. However, per their contract agreements, Mickey Mouse and the Little Mermaid will still be permitted to smoke in their trailers during filming.

• A Manhattan accountant requested two new credit cards from ExxonMobil when his old card was expiring. ExxonMobil wound up sending the guy 2,000 cards. The man’s credit limit must be incredible.

Essay 4229

At some point in the production process, the following conversation had to take place:

White Adperson 1: Say, do you think anyone will have a problem with this photo?

White Adperson 2: What do you mean?

White Adperson 1: Well, it kinda looks like, um… the Afro-Americans are bowing to the White guy.

White Adperson 2: Huh? No way.

White Adperson 1: You don’t think so?

White Adperson 2: Jesus Christ, they’re sprinters in the starting blocks. And they’re symbolizing the Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor. Duh.

White Adperson 1: Maybe we should show it to an Afro-American. Like the one working in the cafeteria.

White Adperson 2: Fuck, are you Jesse Jackson or something? The ad’s fine. Stop being so goddamn PC.

White Adperson 1: You’re right. Sorry.

White Adperson 2: Let’s go, we’ve got to present the rough cut for our Hot Pockets® commercial…

(Thanks to Racialicious.com for spotting the ad.)

[MultiCultClassics often critiques questionable work created by multicultural advertising agencies. But the truth is, in terms of volume, percentages and any other measuring standard, the majority of lousy ideas are produced by White agencies. In the spirit of inclusion, this week MultiCultClassics spotlights some White ad trash.]

Essay 4228

Not-So-Ancient Chinese Secret: White agencies continue to show cultural cluelessness when depicting Asians, as spots for Stride™ gum and Hot Pockets® clearly demonstrate.

(Click on the essay title above to view the work via Racialicious.com—chop-chop!)

[MultiCultClassics often critiques questionable work created by multicultural advertising agencies. But the truth is, in terms of volume, percentages and any other measuring standard, the majority of lousy ideas are produced by White agencies. In the spirit of inclusion, this week MultiCultClassics spotlights some White ad trash.]

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Essay 4227

Overreaction of the Week: Bahlsen Cookies.

Came across these German gourmet cookies while at the local grocery store. Notice all the versions appear to have descriptive names to enhance their tastiness. Except the chocolate versions are called Afrika. Shouldn’t the vanilla wafers be dubbed South Afrika? Or the butter cookies could be labeled Oriental. The Waffelettens appear to be biracial. Leave it to Germany to apply cultural insensitivity to snack items.

Essay 4226

Not completely sure the ad was created by a White agency, but want to believe only a White agency could assemble a multicultural band like this.

[MultiCultClassics often critiques questionable work created by multicultural advertising agencies. But the truth is, in terms of volume, percentages and any other measuring standard, the majority of lousy ideas are produced by White agencies. In the spirit of inclusion, this week MultiCultClassics spotlights some White ad trash.]

Essay 4225

Styling and profiling with a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• The dry cleaners originally sued for $54 million over losing a Washington man’s pants are now hoping to raise money for their legal fees—by displaying the infamous trousers (pictured above). The storeowners owe about $100,000, and the fundraising event netted nearly $64,000 in donations. The moron who filed the lawsuit must be shitting his pants right now.

• G-Unit rapper Tony Yayo, charged with beating up a 14-year-old kid for wearing a sweatshirt with the logo of a rival recording company (see Essay 1901), rejected a plea deal that would have required a nine-month jail sentence. “It’s not even a good deal for a guilty person,” griped Yayo’s lawyer. Yayo should try to raise legal defense funds by displaying the offending sweatshirt.

• A study released by the Pew Hispanic Center showed only 13 percent of all Latinos voted in 2006, versus 27 of all Blacks and 39 percent of all Whites. Somebody needs to raise those numbers.

Essay 4224

Essay 4223

Unintentional Remark of the Week goes to branding guru Al Ries, who published a rant in the latest issue of Advertising Age on the mistake of diluting brands via new media. Ries wrote:

“‘Multi’ is one of the most dangerous words in the dictionary. Multimedia, multiplatform, multifunction, multichannel, multidigital, multifaceted. Whenever you hear the word ‘multi,’ you can be pretty sure it’s a sign of trouble.”

Hmmm. Wonder how advertising agencies desperate to sell clients on integrated marketing—hyping services with the terms above plus multidisciplined and multitalented—might react to Ries’ proclamation.

But it’s certainly true that Madison Avenue has long viewed as dangerous the word multicultural, avoiding it with multiple excuses and a multitude of lame alibis and outright lies.

Ries likely abhors the word himself, as the man’s company is co-operated by—you guessed it—his daughter. They’re both probably multimillionaires. And Ries is multilingual, displaying fluency in many forms of bullshit.

Essay 4222

“Just like a superhero, NonyX Nail Gel clears out the unsightly keratin debris that causes discolored nails.” Um, don’t recall any superhero boasting those amazing powers.

[MultiCultClassics often critiques questionable work created by multicultural advertising agencies. But the truth is, in terms of volume, percentages and any other measuring standard, the majority of lousy ideas are produced by White agencies. In the spirit of inclusion, this week MultiCultClassics spotlights some White ad trash.]

Essay 4221

From The Chicago Sun-Times…


Mcdonald’s shouldn't clown around with raunchy lyrics

McDonald’s says it has booked Twista for a series of free shows because he will “resonate with young adults … in a way that is consistent with our brand.” The Chicago rapper certainly has a following among impressionable kids. But is the Oak Brook-based giant so eager to sell them Big Macs that it hasn’t bothered to listen to Twista’s demeaning message?

An artist who litters his songs with “ho” and “bitch,” Twista provides anything but the kind of “clean performance” McDonald’s says it is looking for. It’s one thing to hip up a brand long associated with Ronald McDonald. It’s quite another to label yourself with a very different kind of clown who demeans females.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Essay 4220

MultiCultClassics targeted Adcolor™ last June (see Essay 4008), but spotting the advertisement depicted above demands a fresh response.

According to the organization’s self-hype, “Adcolor™ is a collaboration between the ADVERTISING Club of New York (Ad Club NY), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the American Advertising Federation (AAF), the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA), and Arnold Worldwide. This first of its kind cross-industry initiative is meant to serve as a catalyst for the next generation of diversity programs by combining the energy of the marketing, advertising, and media industries to identify current issues and opportunities around diversity. Specifically, our goals are to: Celebrate the accomplishments of outstanding diverse professionals; Leverage their stories as a road map for others to follow; Mine new data to shine a light on key challenges; Uncover new ways of spurring diversity in our collective industries.”


The first Adcolor™ project is The Adcolor Awards, designed to salute “outstanding diverse professionals at the junior, mid and senior levels in each segment of our industry.” Nominees must fall into one of five silos: American Indian or Alaskan Native; Asian or Pacific Islander; Black (Not Hispanic Origin); Hispanic; or Multi-Ethnic/Multi-Racial. Additionally, The Adcolor Awards categories include: Rising Star (less than 7 years experience); Innovator (an individual who has championed a new way of thinking); Change Agent (an individual who has played a leading role in spurring diversity within their organization); and Legend (15+ years experience). To view the complete contest legalese, surf to adcolor.org or click on the essay title above.

So who deserves the prestigious prizes to be doled out during the gala extravaganza in November?

One person who immediately comes to mind is Patricia Gatling, Commissioner and Chair of the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Unfortunately, Gatling doesn’t qualify because—per the official entry mandates—she isn’t employed in the advertising, marketing or media industry. Ditto New York City Councilman Larry Seabrook, who proclaimed Madison Avenue honchos “ran like chickens with their asses plucked clean” after they failed to attend public hearings on diversity last September.

Radio talk-show host and activist Sanford Moore warrants a nod for his numerous contributions—plus, for criticizing the industry with references to economic colonialism and slavery. His radio gig places him in the media industry slot. Then again, his harsh statements likely would not endear Moore to the judging panel.

Carmen Van Kerckhove of New Demographic has spotlighted the cause on her blogs and podcast. She may even fit a couple of the ethnic profiles. Alas, the judges could argue Van Kerckhove, like Gatling and Seabrook, is not a member of the club.

Laura Martinez Ruiz-Velasco is another contender. As the former founder and editor-in-chief of Marketing y Medios magazine, she gave the industry an honest, insightful and open view of Latino marketing. Until bloated conglomerate VNU decided to fold the publication, that is. While she continues to write for trade magazines and publish a blog, Martinez Ruiz-Velasco has temporarily lost her national soapbox, making a victory pretty challenging.

Matthew Creamer and Lisa Sanders of Advertising Age have delivered outstanding reporting on diversity issues in the past year. But they lack the color required to secure a nomination.

Steve Hall of Adrants.com has organized diversity recruitment seminars, conferences and job fairs—in addition to posting editorials on his popular blog. Sadly, he’s deficient in the pigmentation area too. Sorry, Steve.

Which leads us to The Adcolor Awards ultimate candidate: Hadji Williams.

For starters, Williams satisfies the ethnic eligibility angle.

Despite his occasional disdain for the business, Williams currently handles assignments as a consultant and freelance creative, which places him within the marketing and advertising industries. His book, blog, articles and speaking engagements position Williams in the media industry as well. He’s a veritable triple threat.

He’s too seasoned to be a Rising Star, yet too young for the Legend class. And the term Change Agent is annoying. Hence, let’s designate Williams as an Innovator.

Has Williams championed a new way of thinking on the issues of diversity in the advertising world? Hey, he rewrote the book. Literally.

“Knock The Hustle: How to Save Your Job and Your Life from Corporate America” is the sole contemporary tome that tackles the complexities of our culture-based crises. Williams offers advice, inspiration, wisdom and action plans. KTH has generated positive reviews from outsiders and insiders—including Madison Avenue veteran Tom Messner. A second edition with updates and original extensions is slated to release this year. And Williams’ blog complements the book with up-to-the-minute rants. You’d be hard-pressed to match the reach and results of KTH.

Williams keeps the hits coming with printed perspectives, podcast appearances and blog comments. He remains tireless and committed to voicing opinions that others dare not touch. Granted, Williams has ruffled more feathers than Frank Perdue in his heyday. But that’s to be expected when you’re battling nearly four decades of lies and lethargy.

Over the years, Williams has acted as a college instructor, molding and influencing future adpeople. He’s also spoken to entry-level professionals in a mentoring capacity. In short, there’s not a better role model in the game.

Sure, Williams is a controversial choice for The Adcolor Awards, especially if the real intent is to forward the stereotypical, sanitized sentiments associated with diversity. Hopefully, Adcolor™ will hold true to its lofty aspirations in an advanced style. While there may be individuals orchestrating change on smaller and local planes, it’s difficult to imagine anyone who has generated greater, broader returns than Williams.

In the meantime, MultiCultClassics staffers will proceed with the entry preparations, due on August 1. Adcolor™ requests two letters of recommendation, which might call for assistance from blog visitors and associates.

Stay tuned.

Essay 4219

Can’t help but wonder if the advertising industry is getting old, tapping memories of long lost youth. Or are today’s young turks merely lazy, finding inspiration from tired vehicles like That ‘70s Show?

[MultiCultClassics often critiques questionable work created by multicultural advertising agencies. But the truth is, in terms of volume, percentages and any other measuring standard, the majority of lousy ideas are produced by White agencies. In the spirit of inclusion, this week MultiCultClassics spotlights some White ad trash.]

Essay 4218

A McMultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Mickey D’s has sparked McControversy with its upcoming 10-city music tour starring raunchy rapper Twista. In a Chicago campaign protesting the negative influences of rap, Twista appears in billboards calling for an end to demeaning language and violent sentiments. “If we are going to continue to put money behind stuff we say we have a problem with, then you’re part of the problem,” said the pastor of St. Sabina Catholic Church, which sponsored billboards. Somebody get a comment from Mayor McCheese.

• Mickey D’s posted its second-ever loss on Tuesday. “We continue to increase our relevance to busy consumers by delivering choice, variety and convenience that our customers have come to expect from McDonald’s,” said Chief Executive Jim Skinner. “Our business around the world is strong, and the energy, alignment and commitment behind enhancing the McDonald’s brand have never been better.” Maybe the Twista team-up is part of the enhancement efforts.

• A new study showed people drinking diet soda developed the same risks for heart disease as people drinking regular soda. Especially if you’re combining the diet soda with a Super-Sized Big Mac Extra Value Meal.

• Activists are protesting the proposed sale of a Bronx building, insisting it is “the birthplace of hip-hop.” Clive Campbell, aka DJ Kool Herc, hosted early hip-hop parties in the place during the 1970s and proclaimed, “This is the Bethlehem of hip-hop.” Visitors will probably bring gifts of guns, frankincense and marijuana.

Essay 4217

Essay 4216

What’s more effective for putting you to sleep than Lunesta? Viewing ads for Lunesta.

[MultiCultClassics often critiques questionable work created by multicultural advertising agencies. But the truth is, in terms of volume, percentages and any other measuring standard, the majority of lousy ideas are produced by White agencies. In the spirit of inclusion, this week MultiCultClassics spotlights some White ad trash.]

Essay 4215

From The New York Daily News…


Rev. Sharpton Backs Idea on Rap Lyrics

By CAROLYN THOMPSON, Associated Press Writer

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has challenged the entertainment industry on denigrating lyrics, on Monday supported a state senator’s idea to pull public investments from companies that won’t clean up their act.

Holding the entertainment industry accountable will be a primary goal of the newest chapter of Sharpton’s National Action Network, said the activist minister, who announced the formation of the Buffalo-Niagara branch while in town to address a convention of black criminal justice professionals.

Roughly $3 billion from New York’s state pension fund is invested in the entertainment industry, according to state Sen. Antoine Thompson, who requested an inventory of entertainment industry investments from the state comptroller earlier this year.

Thompson suggested leveraging the investments to open dialogue with industry executives.

“We just want to have more responsible entertainment where we’re not using language that’s offensive to anybody,” the Buffalo Democrat said.

“The idea of divesting New York State taxpayers’ money from record companies that have a double standard when it comes to language is something that will be a priority,” said Sharpton, who led the drive to have Don Imus fired from his syndicated radio show for calling the Rutgers University women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos.”

In April, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons said the recording and broadcast industries should consistently ban three racial and sexist epithets from all so-called clean versions of rap songs and the airwaves. Expressing concern about the “growing public outrage” over the use of such words in rap lyrics, Simmons said the words “bitch,” “ho” and “nigger’ should be considered “extreme curse words.”

Sharpton said the Buffalo chapter of NAN also would consider town hall forums and other venues to steer young blacks toward positive goals, especially now that the city has elected its first black mayor and has a black schools superintendent and police commissioner.

“I remember many years ago when I would come to Buffalo, we dreamed of days of black empowerment,” Sharpton said. “Now we have to make sure the conduct of our black citizens complements that achievement. We cannot undermine them with the conduct of killing each other, selling drugs to each other and really celebrating a culture of depravity and decadence.”

The Buffalo-Niagara Falls chapter is the 36th branch of NAN, which Sharpton founded to protect civil rights for minorities.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Essay 4214

This ad is Imodium-induced shit.

[MultiCultClassics often critiques questionable work created by multicultural advertising agencies. But the truth is, in terms of volume, percentages and any other measuring standard, the majority of lousy ideas are produced by White agencies. In the spirit of inclusion, this week MultiCultClassics spotlights some White ad trash.]

Essay 4213

Perceptions and reality in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• America has elected its first female president. At least that’s the plan for next season’s FOX series “24.” Actress Cherry Jones (pictured above) will star as President Allison Taylor. The series has already depicted two Black presidents. So the show could be categorized as Un-Reality TV.

• Fred Goldman plans to request that a federal bankruptcy judge grant him the rights to O.J. Simpson’s cancelled “If I Did It” book. “This is the first opportunity we have ever had to take an asset from the killer,” said Goldman. The family of Nicole Brown Simpson is also seeking a piece of the action. There’s gotta be a reality TV series in the works with this scenario.

• Rappers Ja Rule and Lil Wayne were busted for gun possession in separate incidents on Sunday. For most citizens, Sunday is a day of rest. For rappers, it’s a day of arrest.

Essay 4212

Essay 4211

A self-respecting creative director would have passed on this ad.

[MultiCultClassics often critiques questionable work created by multicultural advertising agencies. But the truth is, in terms of volume, percentages and any other measuring standard, the majority of lousy ideas are produced by White agencies. In the spirit of inclusion, this week MultiCultClassics spotlights some White ad trash.]

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Essay 4210

Inking the news in a MultiCultClassics Monologue..

• A tattoo artist from Long Island, New York (pictured above), is suing Converse for allegedly ripping off his design for a $60 pair of sneakers. “As soon as an artist puts paintbrush to canvas, or in this case, needle to skin, the artwork is fixed in a tangible medium” and deemed protected by copyright, said the artist’s lawyer. Maybe tattoos should include a © within every design.

• Do all Asian American students at UC schools look the same? A group of Pacific Islander and Asian students from UCLA is urging the school to expand its demographic identification system to spotlight low numbers in some of those communities. “Pacific Islanders are just pushed under this umbrella of Asian and are never really seen,” said a Samoan American junior at UCLA. “Our small numbers are never recognized.” The school officials admit there is room for change. “We’re a university, so we always think more information is better,” said the director of policy and external affairs in UC student affairs. “The question is the cost.” In other words, change is cool if it only requires spare change.

• The federal minimum wage will rise from $5.15 per hour to $5.85 this week. Which means Mickey D’s employees will receive and additional 70 cents per hour to provide the same unfriendly and incompetent service.

• India elected its first female president on Saturday, which is extraordinary for a country with widespread and deep-rooted gender discrimination. Until now, it seemed like the only respected females in India were cows. Congratulations to Pratibha Patil—a lawyer, congresswoman and former governor of the northern state of Rajasthan—on her breakthrough victory.

Essay 4209

Here’s another example of Dove abandoning its Real Beauty concept whenever the mood strikes. Guess it’s a “real beautiful” woman’s prerogative to change her campaign.

[MultiCultClassics often critiques questionable work created by multicultural advertising agencies. But the truth is, in terms of volume, percentages and any other measuring standard, the majority of lousy ideas are produced by White agencies. In the spirit of inclusion, this week MultiCultClassics spotlights some White ad trash.]

Essay 4208

Neglected to mention this last week.

Carmen Van Kerckhove interviewed Laura Martinez, discussing multicultural marketing and the ways in which it can reinforce essentialist notions about racial or ethnic groups.

Van Kerckhove is co-founder and president of New Demographic, an anti-racism training company; plus, she edits a network of blogs including Racialicious, Anti-Racist Parent and Race in the Workplace. Martinez is the former editor-in-chief and founder of Marketing y Medios, the premier source reporting on Latino marketing.

The interview can be heard via Addicted to Race, New Demographic’s weekly podcast about America’s obsession with race.

Click on the essay title above to check it out.

Essay 4207

Trivia Fact: The products depicted here are called “Singles” because they don’t legally and technically qualify to be labeled as cheese (that’s also why Cheez Whiz® is spelled with a “z”—it’s not real cheese). So this ad depicts a fake cow hawking fake cheese.

[MultiCultClassics often critiques questionable work created by multicultural advertising agencies. But the truth is, in terms of volume, percentages and any other measuring standard, the majority of lousy ideas are produced by White agencies. In the spirit of inclusion, this week MultiCultClassics spotlights some White ad trash.]