Sunday, July 24, 2011

9073: More “Hail To The V” Social Commentary.

MultiCultClassics was only semi-kidding when suggesting that Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and The Richards Group should call in Edelman when facing PR nightmares. At very least, agencies need to be extremely careful about crafting responses, as things can easily backfire on the World Wide Web. For example, an AdFreak post for the “Hail to the V” campaign generated a comments thread featuring the highlighted statements above. Stacie Barnett, a principal at
Richards Partners (the public relations division of The Richards Group), screwed up for no less than three reasons:

1. Since Michael Wolff took over Adweek, the trolls and nutcases leaving comments routinely rival the insane asylum conditions at AgencySpy. This ain’t the place for professional debate.

2. Barnett put the spotlight on The Richards Group’s “multicultural experts” again. Like it or not, RichardsLerma and Shift have been virtually under the radar for years, perhaps allowing The Richards Group to quietly create its own version of “cross-cultural” marketing. Regardless, it’s unfair to throw the minorities under the bus. As many critics have pointed out, the racial/ethnic components of the talking vajayjay spots are only one reason for the campaign’s awfulness.

3. This is also not the time to defend the diversity of The Richards Group. Especially when scrolling through the agency’s leadership tells the story quite clearly.

Here’s some free advice from MultiCultClassics to The Richards Group: End all public announcements regarding “Hail to the V” immediately. Hide under your desks until Summer’s Eve is ready to issue its apology and pull the campaign. Then say it was a great opportunity to get women to talk about a taboo topic, everyone learned a lot from the experience and you hope to continue the conversation with a fresh round of breakthrough messages.


Anonymous said...

What is even worse about her (Richards Group employee) comment is the insinuation that there is diversity spread across the 600 employees. There are 3 African Americans in non administrative or IT roles. That is 0.5%.

HighJive said...

Well, realize that diversity is defined as anything that is not a White male. Women, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, etc, all count toward diversity. Additionally, all employees, from mailroom attendants to janitorial staffers to security, can be added to the overall figures. Not defending Barnett's comment, just clarifying the propaganda. Remember, she's in PR.

Darrk man said...

I'm the person that posted the original comment under Darrk Man. One thing to make known is that I've been in the ad business for 14 years now planning media. So when i say that I doubt there were any people of color to tell everyone how stupid the ads were I was speaking from experience. As someone that has seen the BS that can be put forth about "diversity" my question to the PR person would be this. Of those 20 people that are "diverse" how many are client facing? How many are above the supervisor level?