Sunday, May 31, 2009

6792: The Girls’ Club.

Advertising Age presented its Women To Watch 2009, featuring a few women of color including the executives below.

Esi Eggleston Bracey
VP-Global Cosmetics, CoverGirl

By Jack Neff

BATAVIA, Ohio—“Easy, breezy” as CoverGirl’s slogan may be, the cosmetics business hasn’t always come easy for P&G. Nor has it always been a thing of beauty.

Olay cosmetics failed, and Max Factor got booted from most U.S. stores but Walmart over the past decade. CoverGirl has faced a tough fight against L’Oreal in particular.

But the business has never been in better shape than now under Esi Eggleston Bracey, 38, VP-global cosmetics. CoverGirl has been gaining share for more than a year and, thanks to Lash Blast mascara, it been staging a particularly effective run at an eye makeup business long dominated by L’Oreal’s Maybelline.

CoverGirl’s U.S. shares were up in all three of its major categories—eye, lip and face—last year and last quarter, and brand sales overall were up despite broad recession-fueled in cosmetics, according to Information Resources Inc. data from Deutsche Bank.

When P&G Chairman-CEO AG Lafley in April referred to a current restructuring of the beauty business allowing “our best-performing beauty and grooming leaders to get more responsibility and to grow faster,” clearly Ms. Bracey was one of them. Though she’s had the global role for two years, she’s in the process of relocating from Hunt Valley, Md., to Geneva to assume more direct day-to-day oversight of the global business.

“Without a doubt, CoverGirl’s mascara innovation [Lash Blast] has grown the eye segment,” Ms. Bracey said in an e-mail. “We’ve tripled our market share in mascara in the past three years and doubled our market share in the eye segment in the same time frame.”

More recently, Cover Girl and Olay Simply Ageless Foundation, backed in an unconventional but highly successful move by Ellen Degeneres as spokeswoman, became the best-selling foundation at mass retailers during its first full quarter on the market, she said.

Ms. Bracey was P&G’s first female African-American general manager, though she says the milestone is really about valuing diversity more broadly. “If my role inspires people to appreciate our unique gifts,” she said, “then I’m making a difference, and that means a lot to me.”

Ms. Bracey’s move into general management in 2007 wasn’t her first tour of duty on cosmetics. And it actually allowed her to reap benefits of work she did as a marketing director on the business early in the decade, said Dave Rose, a former CoverGirl brand manager, now marketing consultant.

Those were tough times, he noted, just after P&G pulled the plug on Olay cosmetics, with little in the CoverGirl innovation pipeline, he said. Ms. Bracey provided the leadership to help change that.

“People were pretty shell shocked,” he said. “She did a good job of getting us going again.”

Vida Cornelious
Creative Director, DDB, Chicago

By Jeremy Mullman

CHICAGO—When Anheuser-Busch approached its agencies about launching Bud Light Lime in late 2007, DDB had a problem: The product was supposed to appeal to women and cocktail drinkers, and its A-B account team didn’t have either. So the agency’s chief creative officer, the late Paul Tilley, handpicked Vida Cornelious, a standout creative on the agency’s McDonald’s account, to lead the shop’s pitch for the business and its work on the brand.

Ms. Cornelious proposed that the agency position Bud Light Lime as “a summer state of mind.” The agency won the pitch, and the campaign Ms. Cornelious created—featuring music from the pop star Santogold—turned the brand into Anheuser-Busch’s most successful product launch, by some measures, since Bud Light itself.

Ms. Cornelious, a New Jersey native, attended Hampton University undergrad and later received a master’s degree in advertising from the University of Illinois. Her first advertising job out of school was with Burrell Communications.

Since joining DDB nine years ago, Ms. Cornelious, 38, has worked on some of the agency’s largest accounts and most memorable campaigns, including Dell’s memorable “Dude, you’re getting a Dell” effort.

A ‘day job’
For the past four years her primary focus has been McDonald’s, which she said remained her “day job” even during the Bud Light Lime push. In that role, she focuses on product launches, having developed campaigns to get salads, snack wraps and an Angus Burger off and running.

She’s also regularly worked as a mentor to other young, minority creatives.

Marlena Peleo-Lazar, McDonald’s chief creative officer, ranks Ms. Cornelious “among the best” creatives the marketer has worked with. “This is clearly a woman who should be honored and celebrated,” she said. “McDonald’s and a whole host of other world-class brands have benefited from her insights and expertise.”

Indeed, she has been honored, having her work shortlisted at Cannes and winning a gold medal from the Chicago Creative Club and a 2008 AdColor Award.

After Ms. Cornelious’ AdColor win, DDB Chairman Bob Scarpelli remarked that he was “proud DDB has her.”

Alas, not for long. Later this month Ms. Cornelious is departing the agency to accept a group creative director role at GlobalHue, an agency that specializes in both general-market and multicultural advertising efforts. “From a professional standpoint, having an opportunity to lead a team really appealed to me,” she said. “But I also think that, with where we are in the culture right now, with a diverse president, that it’s a real opportunity to make strides in how ethnic marketing is perceived.”

6791: Twitter Suspension Lifted.

The one-day suspension is over, as Twitter has restored the MultiCultClassics account. There was no explanation for the reversal, just as there was no reasoning offered for the shutdown. But the incident did demonstrate Twitter is not in touch with its users, as the service provided zero human connections and plenty of irrelevant links to useless content—somewhat symbolic of the overall Twitter experience. Although we did pick up one Horny Kitty follower.

Feel free to join Horny Kitty by following us on Twitter.

6790: Ruling Minorities.

From The New York Times…

The Waves Minority Judges Always Make

By Adam Liptak

WASHINGTON — Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first black member of the Supreme Court, ended his 24 years there bitter and frustrated. He had been unable, he said, to persuade his colleagues in many cases concerning racial equality, the cause to which he had devoted his life.

“What do they know about Negroes?” Justice Marshall asked an interviewer. “You can’t name one member of this court who knows anything about Negroes before he came to this court.”

But the other justices did get to know Justice Marshall, and even the more conservative ones acknowledged that his very presence exerted a gravitational pull more powerful than his single vote.

“Marshall could be a persuasive force just by sitting there,” Justice Antonin Scalia told Juan Williams in an interview for a biography of Justice Marshall, recalling the justices’ private conferences about cases. “He wouldn’t have to open his mouth to affect the nature of the conference and how seriously the conference would take matters of race.”

President’s Obama’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the Supreme Court, where she would be the first Hispanic and the third woman, has raised questions about how her background would affect her decision-making. But there is another question, too: How would she alter the larger dynamic among the justices?

The first woman on the court, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, often says that wise old women and wise old men reach the same conclusions. But empirical research on federal appeals courts tugs in another direction.

In sex discrimination and sexual harassment cases, according a 2005 study by Jennifer L. Peresie in The Yale Law Journal, “female judges were significantly more likely than male judges to find for plaintiffs.”

Perhaps more surprisingly, the study found, “the presence of a female judge significantly increased the probability that a male” on a three-judge panel “supported the plaintiff in the cases.” Indeed, “panels with at least one female judge decided cases for the plaintiff more than twice as often as did all-male panels.”

A study in The Columbia Law Review last year found a similar effect in voting rights cases. “When a white judge sits on a panel with at least one African-American judge,” the study, conducted by Adam B. Cox and Thomas J. Miles, concluded, “she becomes roughly 20 percentage points more likely to find” a voting rights violation.

In an interview, Ms. Peresie, a Washington lawyer, cautioned against extrapolating to the Supreme Court from studies of appeals courts. “Maybe one out of nine is different from one out of three,” Ms. Peresie said.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court and currently the only female justice, said that she and Justice O’Connor, who preceded her, brought a distinct perspective to the court.

“As often as Justice O’Connor and I have disagreed, because she is truly a Republican from Arizona, we were together in all the gender discrimination cases,” Justice Ginsburg recently told Joan Biskupic of USA Today.

But Justice Ginsburg said her own influence in all sorts of cases at the justices’ conferences was uncertain. “I will say something — and I don’t think I’m a confused speaker — and it isn’t until somebody else says it that everyone will focus on the point,” Justice Ginsburg said.

Mark Tushnet, a law professor at Harvard and an authority on the Supreme Court, said Justice O’Connor’s arrival at the court “did affect the way other justices responded.”

“These are older guys,” Mr. Tushnet said. “They haven’t dealt with women on a professional basis on the whole.” Similarly, he said, “very few of the present justices have interacted as equals with Hispanic professionals.” All justices bring their life experiences to the bench in some sense, of course, and Justices Marshall, O’Connor and Ginsburg seemed to devote special attention to cases involving the groups they belonged to.

In a 1992 reminiscence, Justice O’Connor wrote that Justice Marshall was “constantly pushing and prodding us to respond not only to the persuasiveness of legal argument but also to the power of moral truth.” She recalled the moving stories Justice Marshall would tell to support his view that racism played a pernicious role in the administration of capital punishment.

It is not clear, though, that any of those stories caused Justice O’Connor to change her vote. “Justice O’Connor was not nearly as sympathetic to racial civil rights claims as she was to gender claims,” said Lawrence Baum, a political science professor at Ohio State.

Justice Clarence Thomas, the second African-American justice, is by some measures the most conservative justice since 1937, while Justice Marshall was the most liberal. “Thomas is living proof and a daily reminder that not everyone from a particular background has a particular point of view,” said David J. Garrow, a historian at Cambridge University, in England.

Judge Sotomayor has attracted attention for her musings in a 2001 speech about the impact her background might have on her decision-making, remarks a White House spokesman on Friday said reflected a poor choice of words.

“I would hope,” she said, “that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

She added, in a less noted passage, that giants on the court, including Justice Benjamin Cardozo, the second Jewish justice, had on occasion stumbled. “Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society,” Judge Sotomayor said.

Still, many judges say that the law is a set of neutral principles that can be applied mechanically and ought not to vary depending on the judge applying them.

Justice Felix Frankfurter, dissenting in a 1943 decision that struck down a law requiring students to salute the flag, reminded his colleagues that he was, as a Jew, a member of “the most vilified and persecuted minority in history” and thus likely to be sympathetic to a broad interpretation of freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. “But as judges,” he went on, “we are neither Jew nor Gentile, neither Catholic nor agnostic.”

Cases with special resonance for Hispanics may not have quite the same profile as cases concerning religion, race and gender, but the Supreme Court will nonetheless face several of them in the years to come, particularly in the areas of immigration, election law and language education in the public schools.

The presence of a Hispanic justice, Professor Tushnet said, will have the usual effect. “Every time there’s a new justice,” he said, “everybody has to say, ‘How will he or she react if I say this?’ ” That is not only an outsider’s view. Justice David H. Souter, the justice whom Judge Sotomayor hopes to replace, has written that the addition of a new judicial perspective necessarily unsettles the existing ones on a court.

“Anyone who has ever sat on a bench with other judges knows that judges are supposed to influence each other, and they do,” Justice Souter wrote in a 1998 dissent in a death penalty case. “One may see something the others did not see, and then they all take another look.”

6789: The Power Of Diversity.

Diversity won Britain’s Got Talent.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

6788: Aiming For The Truth.

From The New York Daily News…

You never read this headline: ‘Black cop shoots white cop’

By Errol Louis

Many will assume that the killing of Officer Omar Edwards was the result of a tragic but honest mistake, an accident with no malice or racial bias at work.

That would be a reasonable conclusion—and a dead wrong one.

There is nothing reasonable about the fact we never see black or Latino cops accidentally gunning down white undercover officers, but the reverse has been true in several high-profile cases.

It’s true that Edwards may have violated Patrol Guide procedures by wheeling around with a weapon in his hand instead of instantly freezing and dropping his gun when ordered to do so.

The officers who killed Edwards may have violated policy, too. We don’t know what kind of warning was shouted, and the fatal bullet reportedly entered Edwards’ back, raising questions about why and when he was seen as a deadly threat.

For now, we must leave it to departmental investigators and the courts to sort out what happened.

But even before the evidence is in, what every New Yorker can do is acknowledge—and battle—the malicious myth that most black men are up to no good and likely to commit criminal violence.

It’s a mindset that leads the public to believe nuts and fraudsters—most recently, Bonnie Sweeten of Florida, who set off a national search by falsely telling FBI agents she and her daughter had been kidnapped by two black men in a Cadillac.

The story wasn’t true—and Sweeten faces criminal charges for lying—but America fell for it hook, line and sinker, launching national Amber alerts. In a similar case, a campaign worker named Ashley Todd last year falsely claimed a 6-foot-4 black man carved a “B” (for Barack Obama) into her cheek. That, too, was a lie.

And so was the 1994 tale spun by Susan Smith of South Carolina, who said a black bogeyman carjacked her two sons - who, it turned out, had died when Smith killed her children by rolling her car into a lake.

This isn’t South Carolina or Pittsburgh or Florida: We New Yorkers like to pride ourselves on being tolerant and sophisticated. But we, too, are susceptible to the bias trap.

One news headline described Edwards as “mistaken for a thug”—a reminder of the slurs cops throw around on the job and off. People get classified as thugs, perps, skells, punks and worse.

An onslaught of gangsta rap and other cultural garbage bolsters the bias. We pay a heavy price by letting racist imagery, words and accusations slosh around society unchecked and unchallenged.

In the tense, split-second needed to separate a cop from a crook on a dark street, those myths may have cost a good man his life.

6787: Twitter Litter.

Twitter has suspended the MultiCultClassics account. Must have committed a flagrant foul. Although it’s doubtful, as the service is rarely used and barely liked. Of course, Twitter permits the continued viewing of spam tweets, and even emailed alerts for new losers followers.

6786: Hair-Raising News.

A few sentences in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Phil Spector received a prison sentence of 19 years to life for murdering an actress. Let’s hope he finds a new hairstylist in the pokey.

• A Krispy Kreme factory in Virginia is being sued by Fairfax County officials who claim plant waste has messed up the area’s sewage system, breaking environmental laws and causing millions of dollars in damage. Krispy Kreme can probably get the suit instantly dropped by showing up at pre-trial meetings with boxes of doughnuts.

• Southwest Airlines plans to let passengers fly with small pets for an additional $75 fee. Large pets must be stowed in the overhead compartments.

• A local Pennsylvania newspaper apologized for running a classified ad calling for President Barack Obama’s assassination. The message read, “May Obama follow in the steps of Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy!” The paper’s editor said his staff failed to catch the historical connection. Do they award Pulitzer Prizes for extraordinary ignorance?

6785: Calling Out Racism Isn’t Racist.


Commentary: Judge Sotomayor is not a racist

By Sherrilyn A. Ifill
Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Sherrilyn Ifill is a professor of law at the University of Maryland School of Law and a civil rights lawyer who specializes in voting rights and political participation. She is the author of “On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century,” and is a regular contributor to The Root at

(CNN) -- When Don Imus denigrated in clearly racist terms the championship women’s basketball team from Rutgers University; when actor Michael Richards screamed at black guests in a comedy club, calling them the “n-word” and invoking the threat of lynching; when Trent Lott said that things would have been better if a southern segregationist had been elected president a half-century earlier, responsible white people from across the ideological spectrum stepped forward to explain that these individuals were not racist.

The “R” word has become the taboo of the white world. By this I mean that calling someone racist is a taboo, not racism itself.

So when Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich and several other conservative commentators call a sitting federal appeals court judge and Supreme Court nominee who happens to be Latina, a racist, it’s time to push back. Real hard.

The evidence offered in support of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s alleged racism is a speech she gave in Berkeley, California, in honor of Judge Mario G. Olmos, a former judge, community leader and graduate of Boalt Hall Law School who died an untimely death at the age of 43.

The offending section of the speech is this: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” This passage inspired Gingrich, former speaker of the House of Representatives and potential 2012 presidential candidate, to call Judge Sotomayor “a Latina racist.”

To lift one statement out of Judge Sotomayor’s eight-page speech without examining the context and substance of her remarks, is an example of the kind of shoddy character assassination that I suspect will dominate this judicial confirmation process.

Judge Sotomayor’s speech is, in fact, an excellent meditation on how the experiences of judges might affect how they approach aspects of judicial decision-making. It explores the important, and too-little examined reality that judicial deliberations can be affected by a judge’s background, perspective and experience.

In the next sentence immediately following the passage above, Judge Sotomayor says, “Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice [Benjamin] Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society.”

Could she have been referring to Buck v. Bell, the 1927 case in which Justice Holmes—widely regarded as perhaps the most brilliant justice in the Supreme Court’s history—upheld the state’s plan to sterilize Carrie Buck, an 18-year-old white woman, who was accused of being congenitally retarded. Buck’s main crime seems to have been the fact that she’d had a child out of wedlock.

In any case, Justice Holmes upheld the sterilization order, emphatically and coldly stating, “three generations of imbeciles is enough.” Does anyone seriously believe that a woman, and especially a woman of color “with the richness of her experiences” would not have “reach[ed] a better conclusion” than that adopted by Justice Holmes in 1927?

In fact Buck v. Bell is the perfect example of how a “wise old [white] man” got it wrong in a way that a woman judge or a racial minority most likely would not.

It’s worth pointing out that in that same speech Judge Sotomayor cautioned, “we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group.” But she acknowledges that “there may be some [difference in her judging] based on my gender and my Latina heritage.”

What Gingrich and others decry in Judge Sotomayor should be applauded. Judge Sotomayor has the humility to recognize the difficulty of achieving true and pure impartiality. Instead, as she pointed out in her speech, “[t]he aspiration to impartiality is just that—it’s an aspiration because it denies the fact that we are by our experiences making different choices than others.”

Unlike so many judges who by virtue of being white and male simply assume their impartiality, Judge Sotomayor recognizes that all judges are affected by their background and their life experiences.

Ironically, it was Justice Cardozo who recognized this when he said, “[t]he great tides and currents which engulf the rest of men, do not turn aside in their course, and pass the judge by.” Justice Cardozo concluded that “[n]o effort or revolution of the mind will overthrow utterly and at all times the empire of … [a judge’s] subconscious loyalties.

These are the realities of judicial decision-making evoked by Judge Sotomayor’s speech. It’s perhaps easier to say as [then-Supreme Court nominee] Clarence Thomas so famously did, that a judge can simply, “strip down like a runner,” and become utterly impartial simply by putting on a black robe. But it is more honest to acknowledge that regardless of race, gender, ideology or professional background, impartiality is always a work-in-progress for judges.

Even Judge Richard Posner, a conservative stalwart on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals once observed that, “Litigation commonly involves persons at different social distances form the judge, and the more proximate will garner the more sympathetic response regardless of actual desert.”

Justice Thomas is the perfect example of how hard it can be for a judge to lay aside the personal experiences that shape his worldview. His views about the affirmative action cases that come before him are shaped quite clearly by what he regards as the self-sufficient dignity of his hard-working grandfather and the humiliation he says he felt when others believed his scholarly accomplishments were the result of affirmative action.

White judges are also shaped by their background and experiences. They needn’t ever speak of it, simply because their whiteness and gender insulates them from the presumption of partiality and bias that is regularly attached to women judges and judges of color when it comes to matters of race and gender.

Only a judge who is conscious and fully engaged with the reality of how her experiences may bear on her approach to the facts of a case, or sense of social justice, or vision of constitutional interpretation, should be entrusted to sit on the most influential and powerful court in our nation.

Too often we have allowed ourselves to be placated and charmed by fantasies about umpire judges calling “balls and strikes,” without ever asking which league the game is being played in or whether the umpire was standing in the best position to see the play. We forget that when deciding whether a batter checked his swing, the homeplate umpire will routinely ask for the alternative perspective from the first or third base umpire before calling a “swing and a miss” a strike.

Judge Sotomayor rightly suggests that these things matter. She notes in her speech that “personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.” She should know this. She’s been a trial judge. None of the other justices who will serve with Judge Sotomayor will have had that experience.

Judge Sotomayor’s speech is one of the most honest and compelling statements about judicial impartiality we’re likely to hear from a judge of her stature.

It ends with this humble observation:

“Each day on the bench I learn something new about the judicial process and about being a professional Latina woman in a world that sometimes looks at me with suspicion. I am reminded each day that I render decisions that affect people concretely and that I owe them constant and complete vigilance in checking my assumptions, presumptions and perspectives and ensuring that to the extent that my limited abilities and capabilities permit me, that I re-evaluate them and change as circumstances and cases before me requires. I can and do aspire to be greater than the sum total of my experiences, but I accept my limitations. I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate.”

It’s entirely appropriate to question Judge Sotomayor about this speech at her confirmation hearings. She is evidently more than capable of explaining in compelling, clear language what precisely she wanted to convey in this speech. But Judge Sotomayor is not a racist.

It is an insult of unimaginable proportion to unleash this charge on her, based on one sentence from her Berkeley, California, speech. It is not just irresponsible to make this charge against a sitting federal appeals court judge based on this flimsy record; it is—and here I’ll break the taboo—racist to do so.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Sherrilyn Ifill.

Friday, May 29, 2009

6784: Stayin’ Alive.

Oops. Wrote the epitaph too soon for JWT/Chicago. After agency honchos announced the shop would be shutting down for good, the staff wound up victorious in defending the Illinois Bureau of Tourism account, which requires maintaining an Illinois presence. You know you’re in a messed up company when leadership can’t even manage to go out of business.

6783: American History And Histrionics.

Comic stripping in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Archie proposed to Veronica, dissing long-time girlfriend Betty. The spurned blonde cried, “I am so sad, I don’t even know what to say.” Jughead is probably making a move for some comic-book comfort sex.

• American Airlines will start going “cashless” on domestic flights, accepting credit and debit cards only for in-flight purchases. How can a business refuse to accept cash? At this point, you’d think the airline industry would be open to accepting livestock for services.

• Adios, Jose. A new Pew study shows the top Latino name for U.S. newborns has been declining in popularity over the years, possibly because of the “Americanization” of second-generation Latinos. Probably means we’ll be seeing a lot more Latino kids named Barack, LeBron and Usher.

6782: Tagging Diversity Ads, Part 20.

Corporations love producing diversity ads to hype commitment to an inclusive workforce. Yet these advertisers seem unconcerned about partnering with advertising agencies where diversity is almost viewed with adversity. Granted, many companies compensate by mixing up their AOR rosters with minority-owned shops. But does such a move really negate the contradictions of associating with agencies that have steadfastly resisted moving beyond predominately White work environments?

This week, MultiCultClassics presents actual corporate diversity ads that have been “tagged” with special messages to highlight the hypocrisy.

Click on the ad and read closely.

6781: “Now That’s Fucked Up.”

Back in April, MultiCultClassics commented on the 4As 2009 Leadership Conference, and wondered about a function organized by The Marcus Graham Project and Diversity in Media. Kenji Summers and Lincoln Stephens recently delivered a few details, attaching a press release for the event.

Under The Influence took place on April 28 in San Francisco, following a 4As panel discussion on diversity and inclusion. The industry mixer sought “to highlight new realities emerging in the advertising world by showcasing organizations and individuals who are leading the change in developing the next generation of diverse media & advertising industry professionals.”

Participants included Erin O. Patton, author of Under The Influence: Tracing the Hip Hop Generation’s Impact on Brands, Sports & Pop Culture. Patton made a brief presentation and signed books, with proceeds benefiting The Marcus Graham Project.

Here’s what Lincoln Stephens had to say:

“The 4As conference was a great opportunity for The Marcus Graham Project to make its industry debut, as we prepare to launch and pilot our programs. The panel that we were invited to participate in was called A New Reality in Diversity & Inclusion. Following the panel, The Marcus Graham Project hosted a networking event entitled Under The Influence that featured presentations by various organizations.

One of the disappointing facts is that out of the 300 CEO and attendees of the conference, many of which received invitations to our event, only two CEOS actually attended, Nancy Hill, CEO of the 4As, and Larry Woodard, CEO of Vigilante.

The challenge is to engage these CEOS to even attend events like Under The Influence, which featured comments from the brand architect behind brand Jordan, Erin O. Patton. The disappointment in their [lack of] attendance did not discourage me or the effort, though—it just gave it even more reason to be.”

Stephens’ spirit is strong and admirable. He’s moving in the right direction, and The Marcus Graham Project is sure to be a success and a force.

Yet one must express puzzlement over the no-shows. After all, this was the place where Nancy Hill continued to address diversity, and Dan Wieden delivered his controversial call-to-action. You’d think Wieden would have led his culturally clueless comrades to the affair. Instead, it looks like the CLIO Lifetime Achievement Award recipient talked the talk, then walked.

In Wieden’s own words, “Now that’s fucked up.”

Thursday, May 28, 2009

6780: Talk That Talk Radio.

DJ Safi spoke with Cheeraz Gorman about diversity in advertising and beyond at W+K Radio. DJ Safi is pretty culturally clueless, but at least she tried to converse on the topic. Anyway, go listen to the discussion via podcast.

6779: Changing The Game.

Playing with the news in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Whoever dies with the most toys wins. Toys “R” Us bought toy seller FAO Schwarz. Wonder if the deal was made with play money.

• O.J. Simpson’s lawyers appealed his conviction on Tuesday, arguing the trial was “fundamentally unfair.” Um, because being in prison prohibits Simpson from finding Nicole’s true killers?

6778: Tagging Diversity Ads, Part 19.

Corporations love producing diversity ads to hype commitment to an inclusive workforce. Yet these advertisers seem unconcerned about partnering with advertising agencies where diversity is almost viewed with adversity. Granted, many companies compensate by mixing up their AOR rosters with minority-owned shops. But does such a move really negate the contradictions of associating with agencies that have steadfastly resisted moving beyond predominately White work environments?

This week, MultiCultClassics presents actual corporate diversity ads that have been “tagged” with special messages to highlight the hypocrisy.

Click on the ad and read closely.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

6777: Sotomayor Called Racist By Racists.

From The New York Daily News…

GOP Holy Trinity on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor: She’s a ‘racist’

Daily News Staff

Never ones to shy away from a fight—even a losing one—the Holy Trinity of the GOP—Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh—have taken to calling the Supreme Court justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor a ‘racist,’ with Gingrich even going so far as to ask her to withdraw.

The anger is aimed at comments Sotomayor made at a University of California-Berkeley lecture in 2001. “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,” Sotomayor said.

In a Twitter post Wednesday afternoon, Gingrich wrote, “Imagine a judicial nominee said ‘my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman’ new racism is no better than old racism.”

“White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw,” he added. “Latina woman racist should also withdraw.”

Conservative firebrand Ann Coulter echoed Gingrich on Wednesday’s “Good Morning America.”

“It does a disservice to minorities—to women and minorities—that we are supposed to be empathizing for,” she said. “Saying that someone would decide a case differently… because she’s a Latina, not a white male, that statement by definition is racist.”

Immediately after the announcement on Tuesday, Rush Limbaugh was the first to started banging the war drum by calling Sotomayor a “horrible choice” and “a racist … or reverse racist.”

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs quickly and easily threw water on the conservative fire.

“I think we’re satisfied that, when the people of America and the people of the Senate get a chance to look at more than just the blog of a former lawmaker… that they’ll come to the same conclusion that the president did,” Gibbs said. “I think when people get a chance to look at her record, I feel certain that partisan politics will… take a backseat to common sense and open-minded decisions based on a full examination of the record. And I think that’s what every Supreme Court and every judicial nominee deserves.”

6776: DJ Diversity.

Tune in on Thursday at 9:30am PST to W+K Radio and hear Dan Wieden’s 4As speech. Later, W+K staffers will discuss diversity in the advertising business and beyond. Is the turtle supposed to symbolize the industry’s movement on the issue?

6775: Fashion Trendsetters Not Present.

AdFreak spotted a fashion spread in American Express’ Departures Magazine featuring “Today’s Real Mad Men.” Um, these guys are stylish? And no one could find a single well-dressed Mad Man of color? Really?

6774: Tagging Diversity Ads, Part 18.

Corporations love producing diversity ads to hype commitment to an inclusive workforce. Yet these advertisers seem unconcerned about partnering with advertising agencies where diversity is almost viewed with adversity. Granted, many companies compensate by mixing up their AOR rosters with minority-owned shops. But does such a move really negate the contradictions of associating with agencies that have steadfastly resisted moving beyond predominately White work environments?

This week, MultiCultClassics presents actual corporate diversity ads that have been “tagged” with special messages to highlight the hypocrisy.

Click on the ad and read closely.

6773: Imagine That.

This actual ad placement makes the headlines, well, unimaginative.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

6772: Bracelets And Benches.

Looking for a job in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• A couple of entrepreneurs have created bracelets that announce you’re unemployed. The hope is that wearing the bracelets will lead to conversations and even networking opportunities. You’d think one could communicate their unemployment status by simply wearing a depressed and destitute facial expression.

• President Barack Obama nominated federal judge Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court. If approved, Sotomayor will be the first Latino member on the high court—as well as the second female in the current group. Which undoubtedly delights Clarence Thomas.

6771: Tagging Diversity Ads, Part 17.

Corporations love producing diversity ads to hype commitment to an inclusive workforce. Yet these advertisers seem unconcerned about partnering with advertising agencies where diversity is almost viewed with adversity. Granted, many companies compensate by mixing up their AOR rosters with minority-owned shops. But does such a move really negate the contradictions of associating with agencies that have steadfastly resisted moving beyond predominately White work environments?

This week, MultiCultClassics presents actual corporate diversity ads that have been “tagged” with special messages to highlight the hypocrisy.

Click on the ad and read closely.

6770: Seductive Search Optimization.

Nice copy placement.

Monday, May 25, 2009

6769: Confidentiality Disagreement.

This actual job listing is pretty hilarious. A digital art director is sought by a CONFIDENTIAL agency. But the request ends by instructing candidates to apply with Arc Worldwide. Then again, it’s probably fine. Because everyone knows art directors—especially digital art directors—never read the copy.

6768: A Soldier’s Story.

From The Root…

In October 2006, First Sergeant Charles King was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. He left behind a poignant, heartfelt journal for his infant son, filled with all the lessons he would never be able to teach him. Read an excerpt from A Journal for Jordan.

6767: Tagging Diversity Ads, Part 16.

Corporations love producing diversity ads to hype commitment to an inclusive workforce. Yet these advertisers seem unconcerned about partnering with advertising agencies where diversity is almost viewed with adversity. Granted, many companies compensate by mixing up their AOR rosters with minority-owned shops. But does such a move really negate the contradictions of associating with agencies that have steadfastly resisted moving beyond predominately White work environments?

This week, MultiCultClassics presents actual corporate diversity ads that have been “tagged” with special messages to highlight the hypocrisy.

Click on the ad and read closely.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

6766: Who’s On First?

Firsts of fury in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• American Girl is introducing its first Jewish doll, Rebecca Rubin, the daughter of Russian immigrants living in New York in the early 1900s. Given that Addy the Black doll is a fugitive slave, look for Rebecca to struggle with life in the Jewish ghettos. Such sweet imagery for little girls.

• President Barack Obama picked former astronaut Charles F. Bolden to lead NASA. If approved, Bolden will be the first Black NASA administrator. Change has come to outer space too.

• Citigroup honcho Richard Parsons will soon be introducing his first love child, as the married executive is fathering a kid with model-philanthropist MacDella Cooper. Look for Parsons to offer bailout baby money.

• Kinda late on this news, but ex-NFL star Michael Vick left prison on Wednesday to serve his remaining sentence via house confinement. Hound-lovers probably think it should be doghouse confinement.

6765: Show Me The Lack Of Money.

Whatchu got? Um, a bankruptcy filing…?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

6764: Xerox Adds Color.

From The New York Daily News…

Ursula Burns to head Xerox, will be first black woman to be CEO of Fortune 500 company

By Heidi Evans, Daily News Staff Writer

The new head of Xerox Corp. is a native New Yorker who grew up in a lower East Side housing project.

Xerox will be the first Fortune 500 company headed by a black woman when Ursula Burns, 50, takes the reigns this summer.

Burns replaces Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy, 56, who told shareholders Thursday she would be retiring in July and had picked her lieutenant as her successor.

Burns climbed the corporate ladder at Xerox, beginning as a summer engineering intern in 1980 and rising to president of the printing giant in 2002.

As president, Burns oversaw a large chunk of the company’s operations including overseas research and development, engineering, manufacturing and marketing.

She helped to build Xerox into the world’s largest maker of high-speed color printers.

Last year, Burns ranked 10th on Fortune magazine’s top 50 Most Powerful Women in America. She’s the second-highest placed African-American woman behind only Oprah Winfrey, who was ranked No. 8.

Reached at their Rochester home Friday, Burns’ teenaged daughter, Melissa, 16, called her mom “a great person, a wonderful inspiration.”

“She has taken us back to the old neighborhood a few times,” said Melissa, a reference to Delancey St. on Manhattan’s lower East Side. “Apparently it’s a lot better now than it was when she was growing up.”

Burns, who attended Cathedral High School, was the middle of three children from two different absentee fathers.

In a 2003 interview with the New York Times, she described growing up poor in “the projects” - with “lots of Jewish immigrants, fewer Hispanics and African-Americans, but the common denominator and great equalizer was poverty.”

Burns’ mother took in ironing and ran a home day care center so she could send her kids to Catholic schools.

Burns, a math whiz, graduated from Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn with an engineering degree. She got a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1981 from Columbia University.

After she was named president, she told a reporter, “My perspective comes in part from being a New York black lady, in part from being an engineer. I know I’m smart and have opinions worth being heard.”

Burns is married to Lloyd Bean, a retired Xerox scientist. The couple have two children.

She wouldn’t talk Friday, but in a letter to her staff, she said: “This company has … provid(ed) me with opportunities and experiences I couldn’t even dream of as a little girl growing up on the lower East Side of Manhattan. I feel so fortunate.”

She and her family celebrated by going out to dinner after the promotion became official.

“The house is filled with mail and flowers,” daughter Melissa said. “We are all happy for her.”

6763: Fresh Thoughts On Blogosphere.

Thought For This Day has been around since January, so MultiCultClassics is a little late to spot it. Better late than never. Alvin Gay, CEO of Footsteps, shares his thoughts on the business and life. It’s definitely worth checking out. Although the man needs a logo for his blog. Maybe Craig Brimm could help him out…?

6762: Illness-Causing Advertising.

There is a better way to communicate this message. But probably not a worse way.

Friday, May 22, 2009

6761: GlobalHue Mimicking White Agencies?

GlobalHue likely turns global hues of red every time Jim Edwards of BNET calls. Edwards has been reporting on all the drama surrounding the multicultural shop and the Bermuda Tourism account. From noting accusations of overbilling to race-based overreactions to potential political overthrows, Edwards has probably given the place more press than it’s ever received. A Google® search ranks the BNET posts among the top five results for GlobalHue. Edwards even chipped in a story on racial-ethnic strife between GlobalHue and Montemayor y Asociados Inc.


If everything negative turns out to be true, GlobalHue still looks like an amateur compared to the typical White agencies. The questionable bookkeeping won’t rival the schemes of Ogilvy & Mather, Doner or Leo Burnett. Omnicom alone has presented greater race-related obscenities worldwide, including consistent displays of homophobia and screwing minority shops.

Edwards called GlobalHue’s media buying for Bermuda Tourism weird, supposedly because the agency poured more loot into TV One and the Gospel Music Channel versus bridal magazines and the New York Times. Um, it’s SOP for multicultural shops to support minority media—and clients usually force the shops to do so. For a bigger crime worth uncovering, try exposing the way White agencies ignore minority media.

Regarding winning accounts through personal relationships and sans reviews, well, White agencies mastered those maneuvers from jump.

Not trying to defend GlobalHue here. MultiCultClassics has never been overly impressed by the enterprise, and regularly criticizes their corny and clichéd campaigns. If the agency is indeed breaking the rules, Edwards should continue the journalistic blitzkrieg. But based on the past actions of White agencies, any alleged financial improprieties can and will be remedied by simply writing a reimbursement check and calling it a day. The rest of the “misconduct” is Madison Avenue 101.

Hey, it’s a twisted sign of progress that multicultural shops can occasionally be corrupt too.

6760: TGIF Before Memorial Day Weekend.

Working for the holiday weekend in a MutiCultClassics Monologue…

• A meat producer in Illinois recalled about 96,000 pounds of beef, citing potential contamination. Great news for Memorial Day barbecues.

• In Chicago, the revised standards for craigslist ads formerly categorized as “Erotic Services” are getting mixed reviews from law enforcement. A Cook County sheriff’s official said, “Indications are that it is still being used to advertise prostitution.” Craigslist Chief Executive Jim Buckmaster insisted, “There is no nudity, illegal services or prohibited language in these ads, at all.” An attorney remarked, “It looks like they have toned it down quite a bit. There are still scantily clad individuals, but it’s nothing you can’t see in the telephone book.” Great news for Memorial Day orgies.

• Change has come to Philadelphia, Mississippi, as the city elected its first Black mayor this week. The city is known for the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers at the hands of Ku Klux Klan members. “This shows a complete change of attitude and a desire to move forward,” said new Mayor James A. Young. “When I campaigned, the signs on the doors said, ‘Welcome,’ and I actually felt welcome.”

6759: Monumental Bullshit.

The doctors at this place must do a better job of picking ads.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

6758: The Hot Dogs Of War.

Digesting the news in a MultiCultClassics Monologues…

• Looks like the hot dog wars are nastier than we realized. The maker of Ball Park hot dogs is suing Oscar Mayer over the claims in its advertising. A spokesman for Ball Park declared, “Simply put, we believe that these untrue statements are all a bunch of baloney.” Well, that would mean the statements have more nutritional value than any brand of hot dog.

• Barnes & Noble reported 1Q losses at $2.7 million. Even the most bibliophilic Barnes & Noble employees don’t want to read the company books.

• John Deere 2Q profits dropped 38 percent. Not sure the company produces a contraption capable of digging them out of that hole.

• DreamWorks announced plans to create the first big-screen movie of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. However, the dream may be deferred, as two of MLK’s kids are threatening to sue because they weren’t involved in the film deal. Guess someone forgot to sit down together at the table of brotherhood and contract negotiations.

6757: Talent Competition Or Popularity Contest?

Did Adam Lambert fail to win American Idol because he didn’t fit the All-American profile?

Even Helen Keller would agree Lambert’s talent far exceeded anyone else’s in the entire competition.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

6755: Downsizing Digest.

Quick hits in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Nike announced plans to kick out 1,750 workers. Not sure how many will be sweatshop employees from Third World nations. Just do it.

• American Express will dump 4,000 workers. Membership does not have its privileges.

6754: Mad Men In Black.

Mat Burnett of Chicago-based advertising and marketing agency Super Genius examines the classic Johnson Publishing campaign. Catch it all at

6753: Don’t Know Diddly About Doodling.

Um, you’ll have to do a little better than this to become a professional designer.

Monday, May 18, 2009

6752: Hot Dog-Eat-Dog World.

When did the hot dog category become so hard-sell and competitive? Plus, attacking Hebrew National seems anti-Semitic.

6751: CEA Needs…?

Just wanted to quickly comment about the Advertising Age story on the Center for Advertising Excellence at Howard University’s John H. Johnson School of Communications.

The CEA requires a $1 million annual budget to execute its goals. The 4As pledged financial support to the tune of $250,000 per year—and emotional support in the efforts to raise the additional $750,000 annually. However, the 4As payments are contingent upon the CEA’s success in collecting $750k yearly. To date, the CEA has netted over $270,000, spiked by a $100,000 donation from Wieden + Kennedy.

As always, any contribution made toward creating a more inclusive industry is commendable. Yet we can’t help but think the scenario is another symbol of Madison Avenue’s penchant for delegating diversity—and displaying a lack of true commitment to progress.

For starters, the CEA appears to be a collaborative initiative between the 4As and Howard University, but it really isn’t. Sources claim officials from the historically-Black institution hatched the idea and sold it to former 4As honcho O. Burtch Drake. So it sorta looks like outsiders developed a solution and must also act as fundraisers to make it happen.

That aside, the struggle to acquire $750,000 is disturbing, even in these lousy economic times. Indeed, it’s pretty outrageous when considering the following factoids:

• Omnicom leader John Wren—who allegedly demanded his agencies come into compliance with the pacts signed with New York City’s Commission on Human Rights—recently nabbed a bonus of $25 million. Incidentally, Wren’s agencies failed to meet his mandate, and the shops boast the worst hiring records of the bunch.

• IPG leader Michael Roth enjoyed a 21 percent increase in his over $11 million annual salary. And his cronies grabbed wads of loot too.

• Doner in Detroit supposedly owes ex-employee John DeCerchio $55 million.

• Leo Burnett paid $15.5 million to settle a lawsuit charging the shop overbilled the U.S. Army.

Meanwhile, the industry pours money into spectacles such as the irrelevant CLIO Awards, handing trophies to Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and NBA bad boy Mark Cuban. And how much cash will be burned at the Cannes International Advertising Festival?

Agencies nationwide allocate serious resources to boost digital capabilities, while offering mere shillings to boost diversity. Why?

Hell, Dan Wieden coughed up $100,000, and he’s neither a 4As cardholder or among the 16 agencies working with the NYCCHR.

Madison Avenue recruits other people to fix its exclusivity problems, then ducks out when the freelancers’ bill arrives. Expect the next player in this continuing drama to be Gary Coleman.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

6750: Letters From Moe, Larry And Curly.

The letters below appeared at Advertising Age. A brief MultiCultClassics response immediately follows…

Anger over cuts to Chrysler’s budget

RE: “Obama Halves Chrysler’s Planned Marketing Budget” (AA, May 11). This is sick. If Obama wanted to be a CEO of a business, he should have gone into the business world. According to his supervisor at the law firm he worked at in Chicago, Obama had a hard time grasping the “big picture,” and this was on cases that involved rents, furnace repairs, etc. Maybe that is why he has run up unsustainable debts, i.e., he really doesn’t know how much a trillion is. This is clearly unconstitutional and a blatant abuse of power.
Richard Cowart
Dubuque, Iowa

Obama’s cut of Chrysler’s marketing budget is a bald-faced violation of the First Amendment. A suit should be brought immediately and driven as fast as possible to the Supreme Court. The suit should be joined by all media since it is a direct assault on them, as well.
Fred Johnson
Savannah, Ga.

Barry is an absolute idiot. When the auto industry needs more advertising, he unconstitutionally “cuts” Chrysler’s budget. He is a tyrant, and he needs to be taken down a notch. We are dealing with someone who has never run a business, owned a business, or ever had to make sure to meet a payroll.
William Goodman
El Paso, Texas

The Three Stooges responsible for these letters clearly haven’t been reading the news. Or living on Earth.

Chrysler is moving to dump 25 percent of its dealerships, admitting the system is outdated and messed up. Looks like President Barack Obama was on the money in recognizing the automaker failed to properly run its business.

Plus, the marketing Obama developed to secure the presidency far exceeds anything hatched by Chrysler and its agencies in the last decade at least. So Barry is a better adman too. Perhaps Messrs Cowart, Johnson and Goodman have been responsible for Chrysler’s local dealership campaigns…?