Tuesday, March 31, 2009

6604: Take It To The Bank.

Bailing out with a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• New General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson acknowledged the automaker is open to filing bankruptcy to straighten out its financial mess. Hey, Henderson saw what happened to the last GM CEO who resisted such a move.

• The GM CEO also announced the company’s new “Total Confidence” program will cover the payments for cay buyers who lose their jobs. No word if Rick Wagoner qualifies for the deal.

• The Chicago Sun-Times filed for bankruptcy. Hey, maybe GM can build newspaper delivery trucks and, oh, never mind.

6603: Obama As Spokespresident.

President Barack Obama is the new Big Idea for any advertising campaign. But wasn’t President George W. Bush the Education President?

6602: Diversity Loopholes.

“Are you staring at my ass?”

Monday, March 30, 2009

6601: Listing Madison Avenue Flaws.

DiversityInc added another list, now commemorating the leading companies for supplier diversity. OK, these enterprises are wholly committed to providing opportunities to vendors and partners. They also likely employ multicultural advertising agencies to satisfy the corporate initiatives. So why do these companies continue conspiring with Madison Avenue shops that reject staff diversity and supplier diversity?

The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Supplier Diversity

1. Xerox Corporation
2. IBM Corporation
3. Ford Motor Company
4. Marriott International
5. Comerica Bank
6. Health Care Service Corporation
8. PG&E
9. Bank Of America
10. Henry Ford Health System

6600: Fired Up.

Damn. President Barack Obama viewed General Motors’ latest restructuring plan and declared, “They’re not there yet.” The President also remarked automakers are not moving “fast enough” to make changes. Then he fired GM honcho Rick Wagoner.

You have to wonder how President Obama would react to Madison Avenue leaders on diversity. What would the man have to say upon seeing the abject lack of progress and hearing the old, tired excuses from John Wren, Maurice Lévy, Michael Roth, Fernando Rodés Vilà and Sir Martin Sorrell?

6599: The Color Of Money.

The Federal Reserve will pay minorities with colored, counterfeit dollar bills…?

6598: Diversity Training 2.0

Carmen Van Kerckhove thinks most diversity training is, well, stereotypical. Ineffective too. So she launched diversity education firm New Demographic, and she’s out to change the game.

You can join the revolution by signing up for her FREE teleseminar:

The 5 Secrets You Must Know to Implement a Successful Diversity Strategy and Win the Respect of Your Organization.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at 5:00-6:00 pm EST

In this idea-packed teleseminar, you’ll discover how to:

• Uncover the self-sabotaging behaviors that get in the way of your own success.
• Overcome diversity fatigue at your organization.
• Frame the value of diversity in terms of your senior management’s priorities, instead of your own.
• Demonstrate to your senior leaders—in specific and measurable ways—how diversity can help achieve their key strategic initiatives.
• Become a trusted advisor to your senior management.

Carmen is founder and publisher of the race and pop culture blog Racialicious, she tours nationwide to speak out on matters of race and diversity, and she frequently appears on TV via CNN and more. Plus, she runs other blogs and hosts the podcast Addicted To Race. The woman makes Cyrus Mehri look like Miley Cyrus. And now you can hear Carmen for a lot less than Miley—because the new teleseminar is FREE.

Delegating diversity is so yesterday. Whether you’re a Chief Diversity Officer or a culturally clueless cubicle commoner, you will benefit from listening to Carmen’s 21st century advice. So grab your iPhone, BlackBerry or any other telecommunications device and dial for diversity.

Phone lines for the FREE teleseminar are limited, so sign up today. All you have to do is click here now.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

6597: Stereotypographical Error?

From Tampa Bay Business Journal, is this a typo—or just typical? Coke is launching a new campaign targeting Latinos. And the work was created by Hispanic Marketing and Advertising Agency of Record for Coca-Cola North America Ogilvy & Mather. ¿Que pasa?

Coke unveils marketing pitch for Hispanics

Tampa Bay Business Journal - Atlanta Business Chronicle

The Coca-Cola Co. has launched a multi-media marketing campaign aimed at the nation’s 45 million Hispanics.

The tagline “Destapa Tus Sueños,” or “Unleash Your Dreams,” is the Hispanic adaptation of the Atlanta-based beverage giant’s “Open Happiness” global integrated marketing campaign that began in January.

The campaign began airing a new television commercial on March 20 and will expand its media presence with a strong showing during Univision’s highest-rated program, “Premio Lo Nuestro” music awards, on March 26. The new ad will run on Spanish language networks including Univision, Telemundo and TeleFutura.

Also, beginning in May, Coca-Cola will start national marketing, advertising and public relations campaign featuring the Mexican National Team in the United States. It will offer several opportunities for soccer fans, including a soccer clinic with Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa; attending friendly matches of the Mexican National Team in the United States; in-game experience as part of Coca-Cola “Ball Kids” program in Mexican National Team matches and collectible premiums.

The campaign was developed with Ogilvy & Mather, the Hispanic marketing and advertising agency of record for Coca-Cola North America.

Coca-Cola has offices, including a customer development center, in St. Petersburg and Tampa.

Hat tip to Make The Logo Bigger.

6596: Janet Jagan (1920-2009)

From The Chicago Tribune…

Janet Jagan, 1920-2009: Chicago native was 1st female and white president of Guyana

Tribune staff report, Associated Press

GEORGETOWN, Guyana —Janet Jagan, a Chicago native who became Guyana’s first white and first female president, died Saturday, a government official said. She was 88.

Ms. Jagan died at a state-run hospital of an abdominal aneurysm, Health Minister Leslie Ramsammy said.

Ms. Jagan, a Jewish woman and a naturalized Guyanese, was elected president of the English-speaking South American country in December 1997, succeeding her husband, Cheddi Jagan, who died earlier that year.

At 77, she was the first white president of a country whose politics are polarized between its majority Guyanese of Indian descent—the backbone of her ruling party—and Afro-Guyanese, supporters of the opposition People’s National Congress.

“My husband told me I should take over should anything happen to him,” she told The Associated Press while contemplating her presidential run.

Opposition leaders repeatedly accused Ms. Jagan’s government of racism and took to the streets in sometimes violent protest. Ms. Jagan, in turn, claimed the opposition was trying to destabilize her government.

Citing reduced energy and stamina after a mild heart attack, she stepped down in August 1999, less than two years after taking office.

Ms. Jagan had lived in the former British Guiana, situated on the Caribbean in northern South America, since 1943. She met her husband in Chicago, where he was a dentist studying for his doctorate at Northwestern University. She was his assistant.

After they moved to his native Guyana, the two hard-line communists became active in politics. British and American administrations blocked Cheddi Jagan from power for decades, alarmed by his ties to Cuba and Moscow. She endured three years of house arrest and five months in jail with her husband in the 1950s, when he first won an election.

Cheddi Jagan got to rule Guyana in 1992, but he died before serving a full term.

6595: Someday My Prince Will Come.

A royal MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Disney is sparking controversy with its new Princess Tiana, the first Black princess from the entertainment company. Seems her prince will not be Black. Prince Naveen of Maldonia is tan, and he’ll be voiced by a Brazilian actor. Um, why didn’t Disney just go with the real Prince?

6594: Breaking News, Breaking Ground.

From The New York Times…

Obama Brings Flush Times for Black News Media

By Rachel L. Swarns

WASHINGTON — For the nation’s black magazines, newspapers, and television and radio stations, the arrival of the Obama administration has ushered in an era of unprecedented access to the White House.

President Obama gave Black Enterprise magazine his first print interview and gave a black talk show host one of his first radio interviews. This month, he invited 50 black newspaper publishers to meet with him at the White House. And at his news conference Tuesday, he skipped over several prominent newspapers and newsmagazines to call on Kevin Chappell, a senior editor at Ebony magazine.

It was the first time an Ebony reporter had been invited to question a president at a prime-time news conference.

“We have, at last, an equal seat at the table,” said Bryan Monroe, the vice president and editorial director of Ebony and Jet magazines. “We’re not going to get everything we need. But now we definitely can be heard.”

Mr. Obama is cultivating a new cast of media insiders in the nation’s capital, the correspondents and editors of the black media outlets that are devoting more staff members and resources to covering the first African-American president.

Outreach to these journalists allows Mr. Obama to get his message to black audiences through news organizations that typically celebrate rather than criticize this president. Officials say that the organizations reach people who are often missed by mainstream outlets and that their efforts reflect the president’s commitment to reach out to all Americans.

“We want people to know what we are doing and how the administration’s policies will impact their community,” said Corey A. Ealons, the president’s recently appointed director of African-American media.

In recent weeks, the administration has invited black media groups to listen in on conference calls with several senior Obama advisers, including Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff; Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser; and Shaun Donovan, the housing secretary. Officials also organized a meeting with Melody C. Barnes, who leads the president’s Domestic Policy Council. (The administration is also reaching to Spanish-language media and other minority media groups.)

To read the full story, click here.

6593: Color-Coordinated Google Ads.

AdPulp posted on the NAACP letter to advertisers, and Google posted the banner ads below.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

6592: Snickers Snacklish Speaks Bullshit.

MultiCultClassics wasn’t the only one to note the cultural cluelessness in the new Snickers campaign. Angry Asian Man took offense to the execution depicted above, prompting the response from Resist Racism below.

Friday, March 27, 2009

6591: T.G.I.F. & T.I.

In the Black with a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Brazilian President Luiz Inacio blasted “white people with blue eyes” for the economic woes in the world. Aiming his barbs at the European Union and the U.S., Inacio declared, “This crisis was caused by the irrational behavior of white people with blue eyes, who thought they knew everything and now show they know nothing.” When asked to elaborate, he replied, “I only record what I see in the press. I am not acquainted with a single Black banker.” Can’t even come up with a joke for this one, folks.

• Sears and Kmart are updating their websites to create more user-friendly experiences, allowing visitors to easily view items from both stores without clicking back and forth. For an even better experience, customers are encouraged to click Walmart.com.

• Charter Communications, the nation’s fourth-largest cable company, filed for bankruptcy. Customers are encouraged to click Comcast.com.

• T.I. was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for trying to buy machine guns and silencers. Machine guns and silencers make a weird combination. And the sentence seems light. After all, Foxy Brown got a similar sentence for attacking someone with a cell phone—without a silencer.

6590: More Thoughts On The NAACP Letter.

Let’s open by stating for the record that MultiCultClassics is a fan of Jim Edwards at BNET. He’s an exceptional journalist and smarter-than-hell writer. Edwards has never hesitated to share his views on the Madison Avenue diversity drama, which puts him in a very rare and elite class.

So it’s no surprise that Edwards posted his perspective regarding the NAACP letter to advertisers. Edwards wrote:

The letter uses language that is by turns collaborative and threatening. Like the Mafia, it makes P&G an offer it can’t refuse. Specifically, the letter says that using minority agencies is no longer an acceptable strategy for hiring minority talent. This will cause some consternation inside minority agencies, who may previously have assumed that the NAACP was on their side. The letter:

We are also aware that the large advertising agencies funnel some business to minority owned or minority targeted agencies. But for reasons discussed at length in the report, such initiatives do not effectively address the issues raised in the report, and we do not want to hear back from either the advertising agencies or Procter & Gamble about such initiatives. To address the issues raised in the report, it is important that Procter & Gamble understands that such responses are inadequate and, in some cases, counter-productive.

MultiCultClassics might be reading the letter a little differently than Edwards. First, the NAACP is hardly kicking multicultural shops to the curb. Rather, they are keeping the focus on Madison Avenue’s resistance to diversify mass market agencies.

Using multicultural agencies as an excuse for the industry’s exclusivity is an old and tired tactic. The platform simply doesn’t hold water. The reality is, multicultural shops are separate and unequal, even when they join a network. The shops do not see the amounts of revenue that mass market agencies enjoy—at any percentage or level. They are dissed by the networks, often relegated to minority supplements for the mass market agencies. Need proof? Name the last time a network permitted one of its multicultural shops to pitch a mass market account. Now, the culturally clueless might holler, “Hey, multicultural shops shouldn’t pitch mass market accounts because they specialize in minority audiences.” Fine, except it’s common knowledge that minorities actually make up the majority of consumers for certain brands. And minority figures for damned near every brand on Earth definitely warrant much larger slices of the budgetary pie than the shops currently receive.

As for the belief that “the large advertising agencies funnel some business to minority owned or minority targeted agencies,” well, show us the money. In the past years, there have been blatant examples of mass market agencies swindling their multicultural counterparts. And what’s more, the clients are co-conspirators. Take a look at the Omnicom-Nissan affair. Check out how P&G makes multicultural shops serve as “consultants” when mass market agencies execute campaigns targeting minority audiences. General Motors reassigned multicultural projects to mass market agencies. Mercedes-Benz allegedly rolled its total billings to the agency boasting the worst minority-hiring record of all the companies that signed pacts with New York City’s Commission on Human Rights.

The NAACP is merely acknowledging the bullshit and blowing off the stereotypical smokescreens. It’s not about the multicultural shops. It’s about the dearth of diversity within mass market agencies.

When addressing the NAACP’s request that advertisers instruct their agencies to use diverse teams, Edwards wrote:

That’s a laudable goal, but where are these execs to come from? The letter says that the industry already has plenty of “already available Black talent.” One possible answer: Big agencies could hire these execs from existing minority agencies—thus decimating the minority agency business, but getting clients and agency holding companies off the hook with Mehri and the NAACP.

“Decimating the minority agency business” is an old and tired excuse too. Please review the preceding paragraphs. The mass market agencies are already decimating the multicultural shops. Why stop at half the distance? Besides, when have mass market agencies ever hesitated to poach talent? Eric Silver recently left BBDO for DDB, and Agency Spy revealed that a number of BBDO creatives are following him. Omnicom has mandates prohibiting recruitment between sister agencies. Sure, the players cleverly maneuvered around the rules. But the fact is, no one lets pesky policies—legitimate or perceived—hamper their employment schemes.

Let’s push the matter further. Poll the professionals at multicultural shops and ask if they’ve been approached by mass market agencies. Better yet, pose the same question to minority executives at mass market agencies. MultiCultClassics will bet a week’s salary that nobody reports a significant increase in recruitment activity (unless a mass market agency is attempting to build its own multicultural unit). Harry Webber went so far as to offer donating $1,000 to the favorite charity of the Chief Diversity Officer who would set up an interview with him. Webber did not write the check. Multicultural shops, like everyone else, have experienced layoffs. Mass market agencies have dumped people of color. The market is flooded with minorities. It would be one thing if mass market agencies could say they met with minority candidates and found their skills lacking. But the meetings have not even occurred.

Jim Edwards is a brilliant guy, and he deserves praise for putting the opinions out there. Too bad the mass market agencies can’t support the positions in any way, shape or form.

6589: Yellow Menace.

He has Yellow Teeth—thanks to some heavy-handed Photoshop® manipulation.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

6588: 140-Character Book Review.

6587: Stamping Out Problems.

Sending the news in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• The Postmaster General said the post office is in dire financial straits, predicting they’ll run out of money by the end of the year. Gee, they should stock up on Forever Stamps.

• Kobe Bryant and his wife are facing a lawsuit from an ex-housekeeper who charges she was verbally harassed and humiliated. Bryant will probably just buy the woman a diamond ring to shut her up.

• IBM announced plans to dump 5,000 employees. Big Blue is making people blue—with pink slips.

• Chicago radio fans are irked over a decision to dump The Tom Joyner Morning Show for The Steve Harvey Morning Show. Except for White radio fans, who have never heard of either personality.

6586: John Hope Franklin (1915-2009)

From The New York Times…

John Hope Franklin, Scholar of African-American History, Is Dead at 94

By Andrew L. Yarrow

John Hope Franklin, a prolific scholar of African-American history who profoundly influenced thinking about slavery and Reconstruction while helping to further the civil rights struggle, died Wednesday in Durham, N.C. He was 94.

A spokeswoman for Duke University, where Dr. Franklin taught, said he died of congestive heart failure at the university’s hospital.

During a career of scholarship, teaching and advocacy that spanned more than 70 years, Dr. Franklin was deeply involved in the painful debates that helped reshape America’s racial identity, working with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., W. E. B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall and other major civil rights figures of the 20th century.

“I will always think of John Hope as the historian of the South who grasped the complexity of Southern public life as shaped by the horror of personal slavery,” said Nell Irvin Painter, the Princeton University historian. “Franklin was the first great American historian to reckon the price owed in violence, autocracy and militarism.”

It was a theme Dr. Franklin wrestled with into his last years. In an article in The Atlantic Monthly in 2007, he wrote, “If the American idea was to fight every war from the beginning of colonization to the middle of the 20th century with Jim Crow armed forces, in the belief that this would promote the American idea of justice and equality, then the American idea was an unmitigated disaster and a denial of the very principles that this country claimed as its rightful heritage.”

Dr. Franklin combined idealism with rigorous research, producing such classic works as “From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans,” first published in 1947. Considered one of the definitive historical surveys of the American black experience, it has sold more than three million copies and has been translated into Japanese, German, French, Chinese and other languages.

Robert W. Fogel, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at the University of Chicago, called it “a landmark in the interpretation of American civilization.”

Dr. Franklin also taught at some of the nation’s leading institutions, including Harvard and the University of Chicago in addition to Duke, and as a scholar he personally broke several racial barriers.

Read the full story here.

6585: NAACP MAP Recap.

The NAACP letter to advertisers inspired a range of responses around the Web. The Big Tent collected a few noteworthy comments, including folks questioning the courage of Black-owned agencies. In contrast, Agency Spy wondered why Black-owned agencies still get dissed. The event provided Adweek with a rare chance to report on a non-White topic—and ignited another thread that demonstrates many Adweek readers are ignorant morons. Jim Edwards at BNET predicted lots of meetings and little progress. While Danny G at AdPulp opined clients are blind to the people actually servicing their accounts. Kiss My Black Ads capped things off with a visual tribute to the correspondence.

You almost feel sorry for the clients. In February, the Association of National Advertisers received a request from the Association of Black-Owned Advertising Agencies for a meeting to talk about unfair business practices. Now the NAACP and Cyrus Mehri are demanding a powwow to discuss discrimination on Madison Avenue. At this point, advertisers are probably flinching every time they open the mailbox. Maybe they can just hold a joint conference call with all the unhappy parties.

Then again, no one should be surprised. The NAACP and Mehri announced their intentions to connect with advertisers last January. Everything is running on schedule. Too bad it conflicted with the recent celebrations over being named among the Top 50 Companies for Diversity® and the Top Ten Companies for Recruitment & Retention.

The NAACP and Mehri have stated relationships with multicultural agencies are irrelevant to the issue at hand. It’s time for advertisers to make their true feelings known—and back up the proclamations in their equal opportunity mantras and diversity advertisements. Or expose themselves as co-conspirators in the discrimination.

Given the state of the economy, advertisers cannot risk a possible consumer backlash or boycott. Diversity makes good business sense in more ways than ever.

Ultimately, this is on the advertising agencies. Will they allow their clients to take the heat for decades of industry inaction? Or will they step up and do the right thing the right way—and right now? Stay tuned.

6584: Does My Boxer® Look Big?

You look a little like an SUV…?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

6583: Exit Big House, Enter Poor House.

Dogging the news in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Former NFL star Michael Vick was released from prison to attend a bankruptcy hearing next week. A judge required that Vick pay for traveling to the hearing. C’mon, the guy is bankrupt.

• A new El Pollo Loco restaurant in south suburban Chicago was forced to close after being mobbed by patrons responding to a special chicken deal. Police were even called in to direct traffic. Looks like they won’t be going bankrupt anytime soon.

• The Houston Chronicle announced it was laying off 12 percent of its workforce. Should be no problem if the ex-employees open an El Pollo Loco restaurant.

6582: NAACP Says WTF To P&G, Et Al.

From The Big Tent at AdAge.com…

NAACP, MAP Target P&G, Other Marketers in Agency Diversity Fight
Letters Sent to 25 Leading National Advertisers

(Download a copy of the letter at The Big Tent)

By Ken Wheaton

The NAACP has sent a letter to Procter & Gamble Co. Chairman of the Board/CEO A.G. Lafley and 24 other marketers previously on Advertising Age’s Leading National Advertisers list asking that they “require their advertising agencies to use diverse teams in creative and account management positions.” Aside from Procter & Gamble, letters went out to AT&T, Verizon Communications, General Motors Corp., Time Warner, Ford Motor Company, GlaxoSmith Kline, Johnson & Johnson, Walt Disney Co., Unilever, Sprint Nextel Corp., General Electric Co., Toyota Motor Corp., Chrysler, Sony Corp., L’Oreal, Sears Holding Company, Kraft Foods, Bank of America, Nissan Motor Co., Macy’s, Anheuser Busch InBev, Honda Motor Co., Viacom and Berkshire. (Last month, the Association of Black-Owned Advertising Agencies sent a letter to the ANA challenging marketers on diversity.)

The letter, from NAACP Interim General Counsel Angela Ciccolo, was sent in conjunction with the Madison Avenue Project, an effort by the group and Civil Rights attorney Cyrus Mehri to bring diversity to advertising agencies either through persuasion or a law suit. Designed to open up another front in the battle and put pressure on clients, it requests that each company, “identify a senior executive to serve as a point of contact on the issue of racial bias in the advertising industry and to meet promptly with the NAACP.”

After a couple of pages of data combed from MAP’s previously released report, the letter dispenses with the niceties.

“The behavior [of the agencies] documented in the report is illegal, and we are sure that Procter & Gamble does not wish to be associated in any way with illegal behavior. The behavior documented in the report is not only illegal but also clearly out of step with the moral climate of the times, and again we are sure that Procter & Gamble would not want in any way to be so out of step with the times.”

It speaks momentarily of previous diversity efforts attempted in the agency world before declaring them ineffective. “To address the issues raised in the report, it is important Procter & Gamble understands that such responses are inadequate and, in some cases, counter-productive. That is why we wish to assist you in designing your approach to this issue. … We would like for you to instruct your advertising agencies to use diverse teams in creative and account management positions.”

The letter was released this morning at 8 a.m. ET. Ad Age will have further coverage, including response from the marketers and complete text of the letter, as the story develops.

6581: Ancient Chinese Secret…?

OK, sorry about the post title—couldn’t resist the classic ad reference.

Carmen Van Kerckhove is presenting a new FREE teleseminar:

The 5 Secrets You Must Know to Implement a Successful Diversity Strategy and Win the Respect of Your Organization.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at 5:00-6:00 pm EST

In this idea-packed teleseminar, you’ll discover how to:

• Uncover the self-sabotaging behaviors that get in the way of your own success.
• Overcome diversity fatigue at your organization.
• Frame the value of diversity in terms of your senior management’s priorities, instead of your own.
• Demonstrate to your senior leaders—in specific and measurable ways—how diversity can help achieve their key strategic initiatives.
• Become a trusted advisor to your senior management.

Carmen is founder and publisher of the race and pop culture blog Racialicious, and she also directs a diversity education firm called New Demographic. She tours all over the place to discuss matters of race and diversity, and makes frequent television appearances via CNN and more. Plus, she runs other blogs, hosts a podcast and probably operates a Laundromat on the side. Carmen has keen and contemporary perspectives on the issues, so you should listen up and learn. And given the collapsing economy, you can’t beat the FREE offer.

Stop delegating diversity and get actively involved. You don’t have to be a Chief Diversity Officer to attend and benefit. The culturally clueless are cordially invited to help the advertising industry move forward. Here’s your chance to create change—without spending any pocket change.

Phone lines for the FREE teleseminar are limited, so sign up today. All you have to do is click here now.

6580: You Go, Girl.

Not really sure where this ad is going…

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

6579: A Blog To Watch.

Laura Martinez launched another blog: La Sala de la Tele

Here’s the self-hype:

Welcome to La Sala de la Tele, the only place in the Internet where you will be able to see what’s new, what’s good, what’s not so good and what really sucks in Spanish-language TV advertising. The idea here is to have you, agency heads and creative directors, share with me your latest TV work and help me create the first, one-stop library of Hispanic TV spots. Once we accumulate a decent amount of spots, you’ll be able to drop by and share your thoughts about your own and your peers’ work.

6578: Applying Pressure.

Lining up a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Thousands lined the sidewalks of downtown Chicago, competing for 300 jobs at a new hotel scheduled to open in May. In this economy, the hotel will probably see more applicants than guests.

• Michael Jackson is mulling the possibility of adopting an African child. Can’t imagine the kid candidates lining up for that one.

6577: Trust Me, This Promotion Blows.

Think TNT series Trust Me sucks? Check out the promotion that lets you Be The Creative Director. Bad writing. Bad art direction. Bad execution. Really bad idea. You’d think Mason and Conner actually produced this shit. These guys make Billy Mays look like Bill Bernbach.

6576: Unemployed And Unequal…?

From The Miami Herald…

Unemployment hitting minorities harder
Hispanics and blacks are losing their jobs at a faster rate than the general population during the current recession.

By Jesse Washington, Associated Press

The ax fell without sound or shadow: Tatiana Gallego was suddenly called into human resources and laid off from her job as an admissions counselor for a fashion college.

“The way people tried to explain it to me was, I was the last one hired so I was the first one out,” said Gallego, 25, who had worked there for 17 months.

Last hired, first fired: This generations-old cliché rings bitterly true for millions of blacks and Hispanics who are losing jobs at a faster rate than the general population during this punishing recession.

Much of the disparity is due to a concentration of blacks and Hispanics in construction, blue-collar or service-industry jobs that have been decimated by the economic meltdown. And black unemployment has been about double the rate for whites since the government began tracking those categories in the early 1970s.

But this recession is cutting a swath through the professional classes as well, which can be devastating to people who recently arrived there.

Since the recession began in December 2007, Hispanic unemployment has risen 4.7 percentage points, to 10.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Black unemployment has risen 4.5 points, to 13.4 percent. White unemployment has risen 2.9 points, to 7.3 percent.

Gallego, whose parents were born in Colombia, graduated from the University of Rhode Island. Her mother is self-employed, and her stepfather works in construction.

She was stunned when she was told to leave by the end of the day because enrollment was down at her New York City school. She said she had recently received a positive performance review, and her bosses were planning to send her to a conference.

“Maybe I just don’t know that much about the business world, because I felt like I did more, I went above and beyond more than other people in my office did,” she said.

William Darity, a professor of economics and African-American studies at Duke University, said that “blacks and Latinos are relative latecomers to the professional world … so they are necessarily the most vulnerable.”

“We don’t have those older roots to anchor us in the professional world,” Darity said.

There are no recent government statistics that measure jobs lost by race and income. But Darity and others believe that professional Hispanics and blacks are more likely to lose their jobs in the recession.

“Many times blacks and Latinos are the last to be hired, so naturally they are first to be fired,” said Jerry Medley, who has been in the executive search business for 30 years.

“Not saying that it’s racism,” Medley said, “but if a manager or a senior executive is looking at a slate of individuals and has to let one of them go, chances are he or she will not let the person go that they spend a lot of time with at the country club or similar places.”

The less wealth you have, the harder unemployment hits. Darity cited 2002 data that showed black households with a median net worth of $6,000, Hispanic households with a median of $8,000, and white households with a median of $90,000.

Philip Salter was creative director for a Chicago advertising firm where about 75 percent of the revenue came from a contract with a Fortune 500 company to create ads targeted at minorities. When the firm lost that contract and two others, Salter’s job evaporated.

“When companies cut back their ad dollars, minority budgets are where they start,” said Salter, 62, who is black. “Unfortunately in this business, most clients just view [minority advertising] as an overlay or meeting an obligation that social organizations might place on them.”

6575: Oepidus Complex In The Beauty Aisle.

Is mom being aroused by the AXE Effect?

6574: WTF R&R VIPs?

DiversityInc supplemented its Top 50 Companies for Diversity® list with the Top Ten Companies for Recruitment & Retention. Now, we all know the advertising industry has failed miserably in those two areas. Regarding Recruitment & Retention, Madison Avenue’s been on R&R—in serious need of R&D. Yet the question remains, why do the Top Ten Companies for Recruitment & Retention retain AORs where EOE is AWOL and RIP?

The Top Ten Companies for Recruitment & Retention

1. American Express
2. Bank of America
3. Sodexo
4. Johnson & Johnson
5. Target
6. JPMorgan Chase
7. AT&T
8. Wells Fargo & Co.
9. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.
10. Accenture

Monday, March 23, 2009

6573: Bracelets Against Belts

Um, anyone else think a better spokeswoman for this campaign would be Rihanna?

6572: Homeless. Wireless. Clueless.

The Washington Post published a story on homeless people using cell phones to stay connected. The contextual ads include a message for the HP Officejet Pro (great for your home office) and Sprint telling consumers to cut the cords and dump their home phones. Perfect.

6571: Insuring Stereotypes.

Two insurance companies portray Latinas with plant-related jobs. Perhaps it’s the latest stereotype: Latinas are florists and landscapers; Black women are fashion designers and hairdressers; White women are caterers and boutique owners; Asian women are IT directors and dry cleaners.

6570: Consexual Advertising.

AdPulp also picked up on the Old Navy commercial with Black female sexual stereotypes—and Google Ads presented an Asian Girls for Love & Marriage banner. Nice.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

6569: The Girl’s Club.

We are family! I got all my sisters with me!

6568: Refreshin’ Recession.

Chewing the news in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Gum maker Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company began dumping 10 percent of its workforce. A Wrigley executive said the cuts “are being driven by our wish to have a leaner organization.” Maybe the company will go with a single Doublemint twin.

• Barnes & Noble reported 4Q profits dropped 29 percent. Next time, try cooking the books.

6567: Marching With Madness.

Still not convinced Credo Mobile presents a motivating offering. But give the company credit for creating a decent twist to the typical March Madness brackets with this campaign.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

6566: Old Navy Exposes Old Stereotypes.

From NewsOne at BlackPlanet.com…

JUST CURIOUS: What Do You Think About The New Old Navy Commercial?

By Nazneen Patel

Ok, so I don’t ACTUALLY think this Old Navy commercial is racist. But let’s just pick this apart for a moment.

All this talk about us being a post-racial society now that we have a Black president is clearly a load of BS. Everyone knows it. Obviously, it’s a major step in the right direction that we were able to elect Barack Obama to the presidency. But our work is not done. In fact, it’s only really just begun, as the prez never fails to remind us.

That said, the racist, black-white society we live in has trained us (by “us” I mean all people who are not white) to be a little skeptical. When it remains in the recent collective memory that Black folks couldn’t vote, couldn’t ride in the front of the bus, and couldn’t drink at the same water fountains as white people, it’s sort of expected no? When your own government, the same government who exploited and abused you and was now institutionalizing the discriminatory practices that STILL AFFECT US TODAY, and remains hostile towards you for generations, it’s hard not to give a side-eye to things like an otherwise benign Old Navy commercial.

Yea, it’s obnoxious and counterproductive to cry “RACE” every time something like this makes an appearance. Buying into what has become a profitable enterprise for most major media outlets, stoking public outrage, is useless and not at all revolutionary. I hear you, BlackPlanet.

But honestly, a naked Black female mannequin?

Among the many vitriolic stereotypes leveraged against the African-American community, one of the most incendiary has been the hypersexualization of Black men and women. Black men are always portrayed as the savage, sexually-superior antithesis to all things decent about white men. Black women are thought of as subhuman, irresponsible, and promiscuous. This is not MY opinion, bear in mind. There is a well-documented historical context to these assumptions. Why do you think one of the most infamous cases coming out of the Post-Reconstruction South was the Scottsboro case, where eight young Black males were accused of gang-raping two white women? Of course, after over 40 years of controversy, the truth was finally revealed that the women made up the whole accusation. It was precisely that deep-seated notion that Black men and women were capable of such lewd and sexual crimes, the idea that it was in their nature to be so oversexualized that a crime like this could not be put past them, that forced these men to wear the Scarlet letter for most of their adult lives.

So when a Black woman sees a mannequin meant to resemble her, from the hairstyle to skin color, to the twangy regional dialect, it’s hard to separate the mannequin from what it represents. It becomes difficult to understand why she is stripped of her clothing and left standing there with her “plastic” unmentionables censored. It just seems a little unnecessary doesn’t it? Why even go there?

Additionally, the bizarre way in which the white man and barking dog respond to the suddenly naked wife and mother raises an eyebrow. How interestingly cryptic that the “predator” is now the white man and the Black man is trying to protect his wife from his roving eye. This smacks of a “Black body as spectacle” mentality, something we used to see a lot more of when the Negritude movement was all the rage, which then influenced the Harlem Renaissance, etc.

Anyway, my bottomline here is that, while I personally am not going to read too much into this commercial, I can understand completely why Black women viewing this ad might feel at best, uncomfortable, and at worst, outraged.

6565: Irish Stock Market.

Get your Irish stock photography here, lads and lassies.

6564: No More Big, Fat Liars.

From The Chicago Tribune…

Federal Trade Commission’s plan to change rules on ad endorsements, testimonials worries marketers

Extreme results, disclaimers to be overhauled by FTC

By Mary Ellen Podmolik

Consumers lured by advertisements promising rock-hard abs, sparkling white teeth and bulging bank accounts soon may get a reality check.

Updated guidelines on ad endorsements and testimonials under final review by the Federal Trade Commission—and widely expected to be adopted—would end marketers’ ability to talk up the extreme benefits of products while carrying disclaimers like “results not typical” or “individual results may vary.”

Instead, companies would be allowed to tout extreme results only if they also spelled out typical outcomes.

“For a good part of the last decade, we have noticed a problem, particularly with consumer testimonials,” said Richard Cleland, assistant director of the FTC’s division of advertising practices. “The use of consumer testimonials had become almost a safe harbor for companies as long as they threw in some sort of disclaimer about results not being typical.”

The changes are sending shudders through companies that worry about their ability to motivate consumers to buy their products if they can’t sell the sizzle.

“There would never be another Jared,” said Julie Coons, president and chief executive of the marketing trade group Electronic Retailing Association, referring to Jared Fogle, who became Subway’s spokesman after losing 245 pounds eating the chain’s sandwiches and exercising. “We’re all going to have to regroup” if the proposals stand.

Fogle’s story is highlighted on Subway’s Web site, accompanied by an asterisk and the text, “Their results are not typical. Your loss, if any, will vary.”

“This is not something we are prepared to comment on at this point,” a spokesman for Subway said of the proposed guidelines.

The tougher rules, the first update to the guidelines since 1980, are designed to make it easier for consumers to judge the credibility of marketers’ claims. The changes would affect all forms of advertising and marketing, including blogs and company Web sites. The FTC could bring legal action against firms that don’t comply.

The final guidelines are expected to be issued later this year.

The revisions have drawn sharp criticism from product manufacturers, advertising agencies and trade groups who say it is the “aspirational” theme of their ads that motivates consumers to purchase their goods. Show less than the ultimate achievement, they say, and consumers are less likely to buy.

What’s more, they say, it’s impossible to determine typical results for many personal-care products because of unique physiological characteristics among humans and the varying levels of effort put into any endeavor.

“A lightbulb, I can give you a typical result,” said Jonathan Gelfand, general counsel for Product Partners LLC, which sells fitness programs, gear and nutritional supplements under the “Beach Body” brand.

“Showing what people start and end with and saying very prominently, ‘Results may vary,’ that is as true as you can make it,” Gelfand said. “If we can’t show a picture and give results, what are we going to do?”

He added, “Someone who can’t fit in an airline seat is not going to pick up the phone for a 10-pound weight change.”

A spokeswoman for weight-loss program provider Jenny Craig Inc.—whose celebrity endorsers have included Kirstie Alley, Valerie Bertinelli and most recently Phylicia Rashad—said it would be premature to comment on the guidelines.

Competitor NutriSystem Inc., which has been touted by Marie Osmond and whose Web site showcases a woman who lost 40 pounds, did not respond to calls for comment.

Friday, March 20, 2009

6563: Wrapping The News.

News digestion in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Two all-beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions in a soft flour tortilla. Mickey D’s has unleashed the Snack Wrap Mac—the innards of a Big Mac rolled into a tortilla—in Canadian test markets. Can’t help but think the McR&D folks are inherently lazy. Every “innovation” seems to essentially involve adding a patty or repurposing the existing grill debris. Why not just dump everything into a blender for McPuree?

• President Barack Obama apologized for a joke he made on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. While discussing bowling, Obama quipped his skills were “like Special Olympics or something.” He later called Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver to offer his regrets. Obama probably meant to say his skills were like McR&D workers or something.

• Sony will impose a one-year salary freeze for its full-time Japanese employees. The workers will probably set up PrayStations to hope PlayStations lead to PayStations.

• Ex-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was interviewed for CNN, saying he worked the past 12 months repairing his marriage and family life. Spitzer remarked, “I have spent a year with my family—with my wonderful and amazing and forgiving wife and three daughters —and we’ll rebuild those relationships, and hope to do that as time goes on.” His wife probably imposed a freeze on high-priced hookers.

• Walmart is paying out bonuses to its workers, as the retailer enjoyed a profitable year. Let’s hope the employees stimulate the economy by spending the extra loot on Snack Wrap Macs, PlayStations and Prostitutes.