Sunday, August 31, 2008

5887: Airport Insecurity.

Fueling the news in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Diddy is feeling the rising cost of fuel too, as he’s grounded his private jets and started flying commercial. “I’m actually flying commercial,” said Diddy. “That’s how high gas prices are. I’m at the gate right now. This is really happening, proof gas prices are too high. Tell whoever the next president is we need to bring gas prices down.” Diddy’s already hawking the money-saving values at Burger King. Maybe Southwest Airlines is his next sponsor.

• Given that the Republican National Convention is taking place in Minneapolis, has anyone considered the PR possibilities of holding a speech in the airport toilet stall made famous by Senator Larry Craig? Just a thought.

• Over 100,000 people gathered on Saturday in Mexico to complain about the rampant crime plaguing the country. But the protest ended early when all the participants were kidnapped. Just kidding.

5886: Fruit Of The Latinas.

Guess Latinas like lounging around la casa in their undies.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

5885: Crooked Employees Of The Month.

Light business news in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• You know all those annoying GM ads hawking the employee discounts that are being extended to the rest of us? Well, now reports show GM is suing its own employees for allegedly improperly extending the discounts to non-relatives before the latest promotion. The unauthorized discounts have cost GM up to $450,000. A GM spokesman insisted the timing of the lawsuits and the extended discounts promotion was coincidental. Maybe the automaker will create an Employee Lawsuit savings event.

• GM also announced a recall of 944,000 SUVs, trucks and cars because of potential fires. Maybe the automaker will create a You Recall What We Recall event. Or they could simply hold a fire sale.

• Experts are predicting Kmart will inevitably go extinct following parent Sears’ announcement of a 62 percent drop in 2Q earnings. Lights out for the annoying Blue Light character?

5884: Ridikulous.

American Apparel does Afrika. Whatever.

5883: 2 Audiences, 2 Advertisers, 1 Happy Family.

Lowe’s and Walmart make it a family affair for Blacks and Latinos.

Friday, August 29, 2008

5882: Is The LPGA An Old Boys’ Club?

At’s The Big Tent, Bill Imada presents a thoughtful perspective on the LPGA (Ladies’ Professional Golf Association) and its recent decision to mandate that golfers speak English. On the one hand, these types of action are hardly surprising from the world of professional golf. Though you’d think someone would have given the matter more careful deliberation before ratifying the silly rule.

After all, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton just demonstrated the glass ceiling has been cracked, yet hardly shattered. Women need to gain respect, not invite disrespect. And seemingly lost in the Michael Phelps hoopla was the fact that women athletes scored quite a few gold medals at the Olympics in basketball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, gymnastics, track and field and more. Women’s professional sports have always suffered from a lack of fan participation and interest. The LPGA especially should find ways to lure larger audiences versus turning them off. Why is a sport that literally shushes spectators so concerned about the language players must use when whispering?

5881: Memory Games.

Recalling the news in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Remember O.J. Simpson? Well, the co-defendant in the upcoming robbery and kidnapping trial attempted to delay the proceedings, but a Nevada Supreme Court panel rejected the request. The co-defendant wanted a separate trial, believing it will be impossible to get a fair deal if sitting next to Simpson. Perhaps, but his chances of getting a fair book deal will dramatically improve.

• Remember Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick? He filed a lawsuit to stop next week’s hearing to decide if he should be ousted from office. The lawsuit contends that Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, who will lead the hearing, cannot be impartial because she has already indicated she believes Kilpatrick is guilty. Hey, it’s not like Granholm is forcing Kilpatrick to sit next to O.J. Simpson during the hearing.

• Remember DMX? The rapper and actor pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges stemming from a Miami drug case, and now must face more charges in Arizona. Somebody make sure he doesn’t drive to Arizona.

• Remember Dell? The computer company reported 2Q profits dropped 17 percent. Looks like more dudes are not getting a Dell.

• A new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed 12 percent of Native Americans and indigenous Alaskans die from alcohol consumption—over three times the national norm. And probably 100 percent of Americans will not remember this report by next week.

5880: The Fight Goes On…

From The Chicago Tribune…

Obama’s nomination doesn’t end fight for civil rights

By Dawn Turner Trice

DENVER — More than five decades after the start of the modern civil rights movement, the country has its first African-American nominee poised to compete in a general election for the U.S. presidency.

While civil rights leaders, black politicians and others consider Sen. Barack Obama’s nomination the culmination of a dream, they fear his ascent may suggest to some that the civil rights battles of the past have been won and that it is time to lay down arms.

No need for race-based remedies or preferences, anymore. No need for civil rights groups or leaders.

But those leaders stress that such a line of thinking is flawed and can’t be further from the truth. They believe Obama’s nomination should be viewed as a milestone and evidence that the country is heading in the right direction. Still, they say, where race is concerned, the country remains a work in progress.

“Racism didn’t end when Richard Parsons got his job as the head of Time Warner or when Kenneth Chenault became the head of American Express,” said Marc Morial, the National Urban League’s president and chief executive.

He said the same “blacks have arrived” argument was made three decades ago when cities across the country began electing blacks as mayors.

“Harold Washington being elected mayor of Chicago didn’t end racism in that city,” said Morial, the former mayor of New Orleans.

He said Obama’s nomination may mark a fundamental shift away from racial-identity politics to so-called post-racial politics. But, he added, the nomination doesn’t diminish the need for activism on behalf of social justice.

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton said that it’s “irrational” to expect Obama’s nomination to represent the end of the civil rights movement or even its fulfillment.

‘Fix an entire nation?’
“Black mayors couldnt solve all the problems,” he said. “So how do we expect one man to get in there and fix an entire nation?

“Throughout the black community, we’ve got double-digit unemployment, health and health-care disparities, education disparities. If we elected a messiah, he couldn’t close some of those gaps,” Sharpton said.

Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, said that when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, there were 11 million poor children. Today there are 13 million, with blacks representing a disproportionate share of the total.

“We have a cradle-to-prison pipeline that threatens the last 45 years of civil rights progress,” she said. “I think about the election and I’m so proud of America right now, but we have to continue to ensure that everybody partakes in the American dream.”

Ward Connerly, the black California businessman who has led several voter initiatives around the country aimed at banning affirmative action, said he understands that racism is still a factor and that some people of color face great odds.

“But I think it’s impossible to make the argument that black Americans need to be treated differently because black people can’t get a fair shake in America,” he said. “You need special public policies to level the playing field? How do you look at Sen. Obama and make that argument?”

He said in the past 50 years, the country has undergone a profound change.

“We have stripped away the argument that you have to have one group of policies for one group of people over the other,” he said.

Not enough
But Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said that the country’s problems with race are so entrenched and institutionalized that 50 years of change is not enough.

“Race got locked in with our country’s founding,” he said. “Even after the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, members of Congress allowed separate but equal to be the law of the land until 1954” and the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that ended legal segregation in schools.

Clyburn said Obama’s election could serve as a huge step toward moving beyond deep racial divisions, but that it is only one step.

At an event Thursday commemorating the 1963 March on Washington, the National Urban League’s Morial said Obama’s nomination is not only a celebration but an opportunity to recommit to the causes of the civil rights movement.

“We usher in a new era of our work,” he told the crowd of about 400. “Our work is not over.”

5879: Conflicting Concepts.

Tampax says it’s Mother Nature’s Gift. Midol says it’s The Curse. But there’s one thing we can all agree on: These Ads Suck.

5878: When You Wish Upon A Minority.

Disney amuses minorities with similar ads for Blacks and Latinos.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

5877: Researchers Not Lovin’ Fast Food Marketing.


Does Marketing Contribute to Obesity in African-Americans?
Study Indicates It Does, but Economic, Cultural Factors Also to Blame

By Emily Bryson York

NEW YORK -- There is a body of statistical data suggesting that the black community has been left behind on the road to healthier-food marketing.

That’s according to an article in the September issue of the American Journal of Public Health, which examined marketing and advertising studies conducted between 1992 and 2006 and looked at foods and beverages marketed to blacks vs. whites.

Sonya Grier, lead researcher on the project and associate professor of marketing at American University’s Kogod School of Business, said her group uncovered 20 studies done during the 14-year period. Each study, she said, found disparities in marketing to the two groups. This chasm, she concludes, creates an environment that contributes to obesity.

New study to come
Ms. Grier and Shiriki Kumanyika are primary investigators on a five-year, $4.5 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study obesity prevention in black children. Less than one year in, the pair is now gearing up for their own full-fledged study.

The article may be the first comprehensive look at food marketing to blacks, considering the types of products offered to a market, promotions, advertising and other communications, distribution and availability of specific products and price. The research does not single out specific marketers.

Ms. Grier also noted that in some black neighborhoods, it’s easier to find a fast-food restaurant than it is a grocery store.

“It’s probably true in terms of having access to fresh fruit and vegetables,” said Richard McIntire, spokesman for the NAACP, adding that a number of major cities, including Detroit and Baltimore, seem to have fewer and fewer grocery stores. At the same time, fast food continues to grow. “You often have fast food carry-outs; Chinese, Mexican or other well-known fast-food restaurants seem to have more of a presence than a traditional grocery store or even a corner market in some cases,” he said.

Unhealthy environment
And at those markets, Ms. Grier said, some studies indicate that point-of-sale displays are more likely to support higher-calorie products such as candy and soda. “It doesn’t make for an environment that’s supportive of healthy eating,” she said.

While there are a number of factors, particularly economic and cultural, contributing to the situation, Ms, Grier emphasized that marketers have gone to great lengths to change their positioning for other demographics.

“Companies are constantly changing marketing strategies over social concerns about healthy eating,” she said. “We don’t see with the same frequency or fanfare in terms of targeted marketing to African-Americans, and all we’re suggesting is there needs to be a more balanced approach to create a healthier food environment for African-Americans.”

As part of the article, Ms. Grier says that food marketers need to take a hard look at how they’re communicating with the black population. She also appeals to black media to pursue sponsors that hawk healthier products, and communities to push for better access to supermarkets and farmers’ markets.

5876: Assorted Train Wrecks.

Working on a railroad in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• The New York Times reported scholars believe it’s unlikely that Harriet Tubman ever uttered the words attributed to her in Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Democratic National Convention speech. Clinton’s quotes included, “If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.” The scholars believe Clinton was probably paraphrasing popular expressions associated with the Underground Railroad conductor. They probably also believe Clinton’s campaign ultimately derailed into a massive train wreck.

• Sears reported 2Q profits fell 62 percent. Tiffany reported 2Q profits doubled, due in part to strong sales in Asia and Europe. Which makes sense, as folks in the U.S. can’t even afford to shop at Sears.

5875: Total Worldwide Cheesiness.

Colgate smiles with celebrities for Black and Latino audiences. And White audiences got Brooke Shields. And it just goes on and on and on and on and on…

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

5874: Spy Prerogative.

They say it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind. Well, the woman best known as SuperSpy might rewrite the statement to read: It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her blog. From Agency Spy to The Fifth Column to The Brief. Now she’s back at Agency Spy. At least for six months. Mark your calendars.

5873: Driving In Circles.

These ads are strikingly similar… in their lameness.

5872: The Ad Industry On Life Alert…?

Another age-related rant from…

Is the Nation’s Richest Market Virtually Ignored?
65-plus -- Is there anyone in the agency business remotely close to that age?

By Piet Verbeck

The advertising business seems to be way out of touch with one of the fastest growing and certainly the richest market of all: 65-plus. The reason could be that there is nearly no one in the agency business even remotely close to that age.

At age 65, most people in America don’t just start living on a tiny fixed income in a small condo and then shuffle off to the nursing home. They begin, in fact, to consider how they will spend the money that they have spent their life accumulating. That money, dear friends, is more than two-thirds of the nation’s financial wealth. In 2030, the 65-plus population will double to about 71.5 million, so please listen up.

Sixty-five-plus is the time for us to travel to places we’ve never seen, move to places we’ve always wanted to live, shed our work clothes and buy some cool vines, buy toys for our grandkids, communicate and buy on the Web, and work on our bodies to stay in shape. In short, 65-plus is a whole new life for a huge market that’s never seen so much money and never had so much time.

It’s a pity the advertising business has such a hard time relating to these people. Think they already do? Look at the spots on the nightly news tonight or check out CNN during the day. Most of the ads are done without an ounce of feeling, care or creativity.

You know people have to be coaxed into watching a commercial. So why don’t you coax the 65-plus market. Instead, you yawn, bang out the facts, shove the spots on the tube and run them with jackhammer frequency. Here’s news: You cannot bore this market into buying, not any more. We are not really interested in what the Flying Nun thinks about our bones, what Florence Henderson thinks about our pets, what Ed McMahon thinks about our bathrooms or what Robert Wagner wants us to do with our mortgages.

[Read the full lecture here.]

5871: Adweek Examines Ageism In Advertising.

MultiCultClassics has regularly blasted Adweek/Adwhite for its consistent cultural cluelessness in recent years. But now there’s a topic where the staff does demonstrate credibility and expertise: ageism. Noreen O’Leary presents the in-depth report below.

War of the Ages
How a host of new agency realities are pushing boomers out before their time

By Noreen O’Leary

The ad biz has always been a game for the young. But has ageism become the norm?

Earlier this month, a judge set a December trial date for a $30 million age-discrimination suit by a Universal McCann media exec, George Hayes, against the agency and its corporate parent, Interpublic Group. Hayes says he was fired by a younger boss who believed young people at the agency “got it” when it came to new media in a way that older staffers did not. In addition, Hayes claims, his former boss viewed “age and experience as a hindrance, rather than a benefit.”

The two sides seem ready to go public with the private concerns of a generation of industry execs fearing displacement at a time they should be in their peak earning years.

Valid or not, the contentions of Hayes -- a former evp, client services let go at age 53 -- ring true for a large number of other executives on the street who are arguing their relevance.

Even within the youth-obsessive traditions of the ad industry, there’s a new sense of gloom about the career prospects for mid- to upper-level employees.

Creative executives, who have obviously always felt the need to exude a hipness born of cutting-edge culture, now feel it tenfold thanks to the fast pace of digital technologies and emerging delivery channels. Now others are feeling youthful pressures in a media world and larger consumer society informed by technological change. But the issues are more complicated; they’re as much about compensation and changing skill sets as they are about tenure. Factor in the current economic downturn and client budget cuts that create an incentive to lose higher-salaried employees, and it’s no wonder some in the industry see an overt ageism taking hold that could make a new minority: those over 50.

“Baby boomers always say that 40 is the new 30 [and] 50 is the new 40. In advertising, 50 is the new 65. As soon as you hit that barrier, you’re considered old,” says Dorothy Higgins, 54, who is consulting after being laid off earlier this year from one of the industry’s media companies.

That barrier, in fact, may be dipping even lower. Says one of Higgins’ peers: “It’s now starting at 40 or 45. Unless you’ve gotten to a certain stage in your career where you have one of those bullet-proof jobs—where you are extremely key to a client—you’re vulnerable.”

Not to be discounted in all of this is the fact that with “CMOs getting younger, you have a casting issue,” says Nancy McNally, 53, a former top executive at agencies like Ammirati & Puris and clients like American Express.

Industry observer Rick Kurnit, a partner at law firm Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein & Selz, agrees that client-casting issues play a role and points out that it cuts two ways. While younger CMOs may relate better to agency staffers in their peer group, he says, older ones look for the agency perspective on new media creative they themselves may lack. There may also be an element of being in the wrong career place at the wrong time. Boomers climbed their careers ranks in a different agency world. Amid new unbundled economic realities, CFOs, demanding that 75 percent of payroll come from client income, can attain cost savings more readily by cutting higher-salaried staffers. The newly empowered client-procurement people look to buy agency hours at cost and young staffers are obviously cheaper. “None of these factors reflect the merits of these [older] people, unfortunately,” Kurnit says.

[Read the full report here.]

5870: Playing Games.

Dolled up with a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• A federal jury awarded Barbie dollmaker Mattel $100 million in the copyright case against Bratz dollmaker MGA Entertainment. Look for Barbie to buy a few more dream houses and a new ride for Ken.

• Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm will hold a hearing next week to decide whether or not to oust Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. While the two are both Democrats, their relationship has reportedly been strained. One political commentator remarked, “She never liked the mayor, and the mayor was lukewarm toward her.” Guess he never returned her emails and IMs.

• Southwest Airlines cut 190 flights due to lower customer travel demands. Maybe the company should produce a TV spot with Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick that asks, “Want to get away?”

5869: Whitewashing The Obamas.

If folks were outraged over L’Oréal’s lightening of Beyoncé, wait until they see the Obama Paper Dolls. Mrs. Obama and the girls almost pale in comparison to the McCains.

5868: Madison Avenue And The Color Line—3.

The first chapter of Madison Avenue and the Color Line by Jason Chambers spotlights pioneers like Claude Barnett, William B. Ziff and John H. Johnson. Chambers shows how media leaders in publishing and radio helped define the Black consumer market and the ways to connect with the audience. It’s a tight, insightful perspective that’s probably unprecedented in its thoroughness—and should definitely be read.

Rather than play spoiler by regurgitating the details (buy the book and check it out yourself), MultiCultClassics will offer a few tangential observations.

Even as far back as the early 1900s, professionals have been forced to make a case for targeting minority audiences. The arguments require presenting facts and figures to justify the marketing budget investment—as well as dispel the misconceptions and negative stereotypes. Indeed, the stereotype-busters have almost become stereotypical. The group has $megazillion of purchasing power. The group is not monolithic. The group has middle-class segments. The group is educated. The group has strong American values. The group is brand loyal. The group is not comprised of fill-in-the-color-skinned White people. Embracing the group will not adversely affect the brand’s relationship with Whites. The overall practice continues today, distinguishing minority advertising agencies from general market counterparts. The predominately White agencies pitch accounts by displaying concepts, credentials and capabilities. The minority shops must always begin by convincing prospective clients that an audience actually exists. And the proof must be delivered again and again, sometimes with every new assignment.

Last year, Starcom MediaVest Group unveiled its self-proclaimed breakthrough study of Blacks titled Beyond Demographics. Yet anyone familiar with the audience recognizes Beyond Demographics barely goes beyond the obvious. In February, the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies announced its landmark study on Latino Cultural Identity. Regardless of the true worth of all the research reports, it’s amazing to witness the need to repeatedly school clueless corporate types.

The Democratic National Convention attendees will soon salute Barack Obama as the party’s official presidential candidate. The event marks a milestone in America’s progress with equality, and some wide-eyed idealists believe it signals the end of cultural divisions.

Meanwhile, on Madison Avenue, people still express shock and awe that minorities are members of society.

This is the fourth installment of MultiCultClassics’ running review of Madison Avenue and the Color Line by Jason Chambers. See the previous posts here, here and here.

5867: A Room Of Their Own.

Home Depot decorates Black spaces with African touches above and Latino spaces with colors of your land below.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

5866: Damn, NAMAD.

NAMAD almost makes Mad Ave look like the United Nations. And the ad looks like no Mad Men or Women were involved.

5865: Creative Circle Opportunity Is An Oxymoron.

Here’s another gem from Creative Circle, filled with code and contradiction. A big ideas thinker—for promotions. Working with a team full of creative talent—without much supervision (i.e., you’ll work alone, on your own). Work under a Creative Director that came to us from a major worldwide agency in London—who will undoubtedly push irrelevant concepts while whining Americans simply “don’t get it.” Of course, the agency will pay for relocation—but won’t offer money to send you back home when it turns out to be a bust.

Copywriter-ATLANTA—Opportunity from Creative Circle

Estimated Duration: Possible Fulltime
Starts: ASAP
Rate: DOE

Job Description:
Are you a big ideas thinker? Are you strategic and someone that understands promotion?

Would you be interested in working on a GLOBAL campaign for a Fortune 500 client?

Are you interested in working with a team full of creative talent that pushes for award-winning work?

This is a rare opportunity for PAID relocation to Atlanta to work under a Creative Director that came to us from a major worldwide agency in London.

In this role, you will be responsible for the conceptual development and verbal expression of creative concepts on assigned brands and individual projects without much supervision. You must provide writing support and expertise in a wide variety of executional media such as write-ups of creative concepts, campaigns for presentations, headlines and body copy for POS, print advertising, OOH, interactive media, etc.

You will also be involved with promo, concepts, scripts and production of television and radio advertising, training and sales videos, etc.

Client will pay for relocation costs!

5864: New School Idea For Old School Issue.

From The Chicago Tribune…

Radical idea: Open the doors of affluent suburban schools to Chicago students

By Richard D. Kahlenberg

Sen. James Meeks’ (D-Chicago) proposed student boycott of Chicago public schools next month has sparked furious controversy. Should students miss their first day of class for the worthy goal of promoting equity in public school spending? Leaders such as Mayor Richard Daley and Chicago Public Schools Chief Arne Duncan are worried about the disruption involved as Meeks seeks to enroll Chicago students at New Trier High School in Winnetka.

Missing from the discussion is a bigger point: The main reason New Trier’s students achieve and graduate at much higher levels isn’t per-pupil expenditure; it’s differences in the socioeconomic status of the student bodies in Chicago and New Trier.

Decades of research have found that the biggest determinant of academic achievement is the socioeconomic status of the family a child comes from and the second biggest determinant is the socioeconomic status of the school she attends. The main problem with Chicago schools isn’t that too little is spent on students but that the school district has overwhelming concentrations of poverty.

In the 2005-06 school year, Chicago public schools spent $10,409 per pupil, much less than New Trier ($16,856), but slightly more than several high-performing suburban school districts, including ones in Naperville ($9,881) and Geneva ($9,807). The key difference is that while 84.9 percent of Chicago students come from low-income homes, New Trier has a low-income population of 1.9 percent, Naperville has 5 percent and Geneva 2.4percent.

What Chicago students need even more than higher per capita spending is what New Trier, Naperville and Geneva schools provide: middle-class environments. It’s an advantage to have peers who are academically engaged and expect to go to college; parents who actively volunteer in the classroom and hold school officials accountable; and highly qualified teachers who have high expectations. On average, all these ingredients to good schools are far more likely to be found in middle-class than poor schools.

Low-income students in the 4th grade who are given a chance to attend more affluent schools are two years ahead in math of low-income students in high- poverty schools, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Indeed, low-income students in affluent schools outperform middle-class students in high-poverty schools. More important, research has long found that while black students don’t do better sitting next to whites per se, low-income students of all races do better in middle-class environments.

What is to be done? To provide genuine equality of educational opportunity, Sen. Meeks shouldn’t be seeking merely equal funding—a 21st Century version of “separate but equal.” Instead, a reasonable number of low-income students in failing Chicago schools should be given the opportunity to attend high-performing schools in Chicago’s affluent suburbs.

This may sound like a radical idea, but long-standing interdistrict public school choice programs exist in several metropolitan areas—including Boston, St. Louis, Hartford, Conn., Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Rochester, N.Y., and Indianapolis. Typically, low-income students who transfer into these programs achieve at high levels and are more likely to graduate and go on to college.

Even Chicago has experienced successful urban-suburban integration through the historic, court-ordered Gautreaux housing programs, which gave low-income minority families a chance to live in the suburbs. Gautreaux students rose to the occasion and performed significantly better when given the chance to attend good middle-class schools. Meeks would do well to push for a new school-based version of Gautreaux allowing low-income Chicago students a chance to attend good middle-class suburban schools. Overwhelming evidence suggests that equal spending just isn't enough.

Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, is the author of “All Together Now: Creating Middle-Class Schools through Public School Choice.”

5863: Playing The Race Card Games.

Dodge drives the same concept for Latinos above and Blacks below.

Monday, August 25, 2008

5862: Sterling Pooper.

Are the creative forces behind AMC series Mad Men taking summer hours? There was not a single decent idea in the latest episode.

5861: Is That A Hot Pocket In Your Pocket…?

A pocket-sized MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Hot Pockets has recalled 216,000 pounds of product after learning the food stuff might contain small pieces of red plastic and other foreign material. If only Hot Pockets would get rid of the foreign Master in its advertising campaign.

• Telecommunications company Embarq announced plans to cut 500 to 700 jobs. Most of the firings will take place in the Network Services organization, which is responsible for installing and maintaining the company’s network. So customers can look forward to more dropped service people and dropped calls.

5860: Copying Cultural Computer Files.

Walmart runs identical programs for Latinos and Blacks.

5859: Translating Steve Stoute.


Profile: Steve Stoute
Helping the beat go on for brands

By Eleftheria Parpis

NEW YORK Steve Stoute, the 38-year-old CCO of Translation Consultation & Brand Imaging, launched in 2004, has been building brands since he was barely out of high school. But the former record executive -- who once managed artists such as Mary J. Blige and Nas -- still considers himself an advertising neophyte.

“I really am a novice,” says Stoute, who despite his modest characterization has built a lucrative career connecting brands to the much sought-after hip-hop-inspired youth market. In fact, he’s being honored by the American Advertising Federation in November with an induction into the organization’s Advertising Hall of Achievement.

“It’s something that took me by surprise,” says Stoute of the honor. It shouldn’t have. Stoute, who earlier this year launched Translation Advertising with Jay-Z -- as a division of Translation Consultation & Brand Imaging -- has leveraged the increasingly smitten relationship between Madison Avenue and the entertainment business into a lucrative career. His matchmaking efforts over the years have paired Jay-Z with Reebok, Justin Timberlake with McDonald’s and Gwen Stefani with Hewlett-Packard.

Most recently, Stoute paired Wrigley’s with artists including Chris Brown to help rebrand its chewing gum products. He commissioned the singer to revamp the brand’s classic Doublemint jingle, which was released first as a four-minute single, “Forever.” (The blogsphere subsequently lit up with fans angry they hadn’t been told about the Wrigley’s connection.) Wrigley’s new campaign also includes revamped jingles for Big Red by Ne-Yo and for Juicy Fruit by Dancing With the Stars contestant and country singer Julianne Hough.

Brown’s “Forever” was recently nominated for MTV Video Music Awards’ Music Video of the Year. “It’s incredible that an artist was nominated for a Video of the Year with a Wrigley’s jingle,” says Stoute.

With no formal business training, Stoute relies on instinct. He says he developed his insight into consumer behavior by watching people window-shop. “I’ve always paid attention to what people pick up and put down,” says Stoute, whose client roster includes State Farm, Samsung and General Motors.

[Read the full story here.]

5858: Can You Segregate Me Now? Good.

Verizon plays the same ad tune to Latinos above and Blacks below.

New Addition: Verizon spins another version for female publications.

5857: Madison Avenue And The Color Line—2.

Madison Avenue and the Color Line by Jason Chambers is a serious chronicle of Blacks in the U.S. advertising industry. How serious? Well, the book’s introduction alone runs a whopping 19 pages in length.

Chambers does a thorough job of setting the table, presenting contemporary anecdotes, referencing scholars like Marilyn Kern-Foxworth and Anthony Cortese, detailing early pioneering efforts and more.

The author also makes straightforward, provocative observations like, “Yes, advertisements are entertaining and their creators design them to grab and keep our attention, but their first job is to persuade us to take an action, to buy a product. But because of the ubiquity of advertisements, we sometimes fail to recognize the role advertisements have in persuading us about things beyond the particular product or idea they sell.”

As previously stated, this book is not an easy read—at least for those of us accustomed to zipping through slim perspectives by authors like Seth Godin and Ken Blanchard. Chambers has painstakingly compiled a ton of facts and data covering roughly 100 years of history. The introduction probably contains more information and about Blacks in advertising than the average adperson—especially the average White adperson—currently comprehends.

As diversity continues to be an issue on Madison Avenue, commanding a working knowledge of the situation becomes imperative. For that reason, all agency leaders—regardless of your race or ethnicity—need to check out this book and gain enlightenment. You should minimally pick up a copy and peruse the 19-page introduction (remember, it’s probably shelved in your local bookstore’s African-American Studies section).

Or if you’re a really lazy cheapskate, the publisher has posted the introduction online.

This is the third installment of MultiCultClassics’ running review of Madison Avenue and the Color Line by Jason Chambers. See the previous posts here and here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

5856: Obesity And Diversity.

Next Stop—Obesity High! And what’s with the ultra-diverse student body? The only kids missing are Harold and Kumar.

5855: All Minority Recruitment Ads Look Alike.

ConEd plugs the same idea to recruit Blacks above and Latinos below.

5854: Going For The Gold—And Golden Arches.

Sunday Morning News in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• The U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team won gold medals by beating Spain 118-107. No word how the team from Spain—who sparked controversy with their slit-eyed tribute—will salute the U.S. champs.

• Alabama is going after fat state workers, mandating they must get fit within a year or else they’ll be charged $25 per month for health insurance that’s currently free. No word if the workers will be permitted to pay the amount with McDonald’s gift certificates.

• Madonna’s latest tour features a video presenting John McCain alongside images of Hitler. Not sure how many homes or bunkers Hitler owned.