Monday, April 30, 2012

10058: Disney Auditions With Diversity.

Disney holds diverse auditions for people who resemble the popular cartoon characters. Which means there are actually fewer positions available for minority princesses—but a huge number of openings for dwarfs.

10057: Intel Ultrabook Ultra-Clichéd.

Intel uses ancient Chinese clichés to sell its Ultrabook. Look for a Japanese companion commercial to feature Ultraman.

10056: Jessica Paré Displays Pair.

Megan Draper doesn’t spend much time with Black characters on AMC series Mad Men, but actress Jessica Paré played opposite weepy Nick—and displayed her pair—in Hot Tub Time Machine.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

10055: Mad Men Goes Nowhere With Diversity.

So far, Tanner Colby is dead wrong in his prediction that Black culture would be better integrated into AMC series Mad Men this season. Secretary Dawn Chambers is turning out to be the equivalent of a modern-day Chief Diversity Officer—that is, a token character with no real purpose besides being a minority. For the third episode in a row, Mad Men was essentially void of meaningful minority representation, accurately reflecting the industry it depicts.

10054: This Year, Obama Killed Kimmel.

Anybody else think President Barack Obama outperformed Jimmy Kimmel at the 2012 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner?

10053: Wendy’s Redheaded Stepchildren.

Advertising Age reported on Wendy’s redheaded version of the Doublemint TwinsWendy Thomas and an unnamed character appearing in new promotional spots. So far, the dynamic duo is more annoying and less attractive than the dude wearing a red wig from a previous campaign. The real Wendy got a minor makeover, but she’s still about as comfortable on camera as a local car dealer. The new redhead, on the other hand, is already inspiring parody commercials. In short, the two women are the equivalent of finding a red hair in your cheeseburger. Can’t help but think the fast food chain has completely lost its way. At this point, Wendy’s wouldn’t even benefit from persuading the red-haired Ronald McDonald to defect to their team.

10052: Sad Commentary.

Here’s another sad example of:

1) Advertisers who view any space as a potential ad placement, and;

2) Advertisers who are clueless about digital.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

10051: Bleak For Blacks In South L.A.

From The Los Angeles Times…

Blacks in South L.A. have a bleaker jobs picture than in 1992

Median income in South Los Angeles is lower now than during the 1992 riots, and the unemployment rate has reached even more dire levels.

By Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times

Two decades after the L.A. riots brought pledges of help to rebuild South Los Angeles, the area is worse off in many ways than it was in 1992.

Median income, when adjusted for inflation, is lower. Many middle-class blacks have fled in search of safer neighborhoods and better schools.

And the unemployment rate, which was bad at the time of the riots, has reached even more dire levels. In two areas of South Los Angeles — Florence Graham and Westmont — unemployment is almost 24%. Back in 1992, it was 21% in Florence Graham and 17% in Westmont.

Last summer, thousands of South Los Angeles residents showed up to a job fair that brought out almost 200 employers at Crenshaw Christian Center on Vermont Avenue. The event, organized by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), was seen by some as grandstanding.

“People were really skeptical,” said Kokayi Kwa Jitahidi, a community organizer with the nonprofit Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. “People thought, ‘Another job fair?’”

There have been training and other job programs — both privately and government-funded — in the roughly 51-square-mile area in the last two decades. A post-riots report said the area needed an investment of about $6 billion and the creation of 75,000 to 94,000 jobs.

The federal and state governments spent as much as $768 million, according to a 1994 estimate, but the main aim of Rebuild L.A. — the group leading the revitalization effort — was to steer the private sector to create jobs in the area.

Toyota, Pioneer Electronics and IBM were among the corporations that held seminars and classes.

The training center started by Toyota, in conjunction with the Los Angeles Urban League, was one of the few that succeeded in the decade after the riots. It’s now closed, but it produced about 1,000 graduates trained in entry-level automotive skills.

Most of the private-sector programs, however, had little effect.

“There are many things the private sector does well, but investment in depressed areas is not often one of them,” said Chris Tilly, director of the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. “The nature of private-sector investors is to look where the payoff is. If you’ve got large swaths of the city where there are bad schools, poor people and crime, that’s not where private investment will go.”

During the 1970s and ‘80s, many South Los Angeles residents were able to make a middle-class living working in manufacturing and aerospace. But those jobs disappeared when those employers closed up shop, resulting in mass layoffs.

Labor activists and residents said that when jobs now become available in the area, they often don’t pay living wages.

The situation “is worse today,” said the Rev. Richard Byrd of Krst Unity Center of Afrakan Spiritual Science, near Western and Florence avenues. “From the standpoint of where we ought to be today, we’ve failed to make any progress.”

At the time of the riots, South L.A. was almost 50% African American. Many with the means to leave have since moved to areas such as the Inland Empire and Lancaster and Palmdale in the Antelope Valley.

Now South Los Angeles is 30% African American, according to U.S. Census data, and black-owned businesses that once had a stronghold in the area have declined steadily.

Meanwhile, Latinos attracted by affordable housing have settled in the area and now make up about 64% of the population. Latino-owned businesses have cropped up along the main corridors. Mexican grocery stores are thriving. Immigrants flock to money-wiring outlets to send funds to relatives in Mexico and Central America. Spanish has become the language most commonly heard in the streets of South Los Angeles.

The demographic shift has made it even more difficult for African Americans to find good jobs, said Vernon M. Briggs Jr., a Cornell University labor economist who has studied the effect of immigration on blacks for more than three decades.

Latino immigrants, he said, tend to form tight-knit job networks. “What employers learn to do, if they find workers they’re content with, they ask those workers to bring any relatives or friends and become more dependent on them.”

Michael Richardson, assistant manager of We Build, a pre-apprenticeship construction training program run by the Los Angeles Unified School District, said that’s been the case in South Los Angeles.

“We have to have that same mentality that we have to look out for each other,” said Richardson, who is African American.

Other economists say that residents of South L.A. are also stigmatized simply because they live in the area, which still suffers from the perception that residents are not highly educated, even though progress in that area has been made.

It’s unlikely that the area will see much improvement any time soon, UCLA’s Tilly said.

What’s lacking, he said, is “muscular public investment” in education. And, he said, the economic recovery needs to get stronger.

“Those folks are most likely to advance when there’s strong economic growth and a strong public-sector investment,” he said. “I don’t want to say there’s no hope, but I will say that aspect of the national political environment makes me pessimistic at the moment.”

10050: Saturday With Selita Ebanks.

Friday, April 27, 2012

10049: Delayed WTF 18—Dove Still Sucks.

MultiCultClassics is often occupied with real work. As a result, a handful of events occur without the expected blog commentary. This limited series—Delayed WTF—seeks to make belated amends for the absence of malice.

Dove and parent company Unilever continue to push the Real Beauty bullshit via The Ad Makeover App. The Facebook application claims to let users “replace those feel-bad ads” that prey on women’s self-esteem with warm-and-fuzzy Dove propaganda. Um, isn’t that like swapping Roseanne Barr for Rosie O’Donnell?

As it turns out, The Ad Makeover App is nearly as misleading and deceptive as the advertising it purports to counter—and not just because the device fails to deliver on its promises. No, this scenario once again shines a spotlight on the offensive hypocrisy behind the Dove campaign. Will the amazing app erase idealized-stereotype-embracing ads for TRESemmé, Sunsilk, Lux or Close Up? What about racist skin-lightening products like Fair and Lovely?

Hey, somebody ought to introduce an Axe App that turns Dove’s un-retouched women into ultra-sexy hotties. That would be awesome.

10048: Black Ninja Goes International.

Did anyone track down this guy to ensure he received residuals or some sort of compensation?

From Ads of the World.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

10047: Uptown With Paula Patton.

10046: Vanity Fair-Skinned Campaign.

From those wonderful folks who gave you talking vaginas—The Richards Group—comes another peculiar campaign targeting women, this time for Vanity Fair Lingerie. Can’t help but think all the models in the ads and even on the Vanity Fair website are extraordinarily, well, fair. In a world of whiteness. The non-White (?) woman is racially and ethnically ambiguous. Hell, the only color comes from the bras and panties. There’s not a single sassy sistah girl in the bunch.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

10045: Paula Patton Partly Promotes Pepsi.

Paula Patton is officially hawking Pepsi NEXT—but apparently no one told her to avoid showing up for promotional events wearing Coca-Cola red dresses.

10044: Dining While Black.

From The New York Daily News…

‘Dining while black’ a real thing; ‘table side racism’ study shows waitstaff give African-Americans poorer service

Waitstaff admits giving black diners lousy service based on belief that they’re poor tippers

By Lindsay Goldwert / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

New evidence of racist restaurant waitstaff may leave a bad taste in the mouths of African-American diners.

After polling 200 servers in 18 North Carolina restaurants, researchers found that a shocking 38.5% discriminated against black customers.

Waiters admitted that they often gave them poorer service, based on their expectations that black diners would be poor tippers, demanding and rude.

Sarah Rusche, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at North Carolina State, called it a situation of “dining while black.” “‘Tableside racism’ is yet another example in which African-Americans are stereotyped and subsequently treated poorly in everyday situations,” said Rusche. “Race continues to be a significant barrier to equal treatment in restaurants and other areas of social life.”

The survey, which was published in the Journal of Black Studies, also found that 52.8% of servers reported seeing other servers discriminate against African-American customers.

The research uncovered how racist chatter often permeates the workplace.

The study mentioned that Denny’s employees were found to have racist attitudes toward its customers, going so far as to refer to a sudden influx of black patrons as a “blackout.”

Games of “pass the black table” are often played, according to the study.

Yet, only 10.5% reported never engaging in or observing racialized discourse.

Black diners reported having to be asked to wait unreasonable amounts of time for a table and even to be refused service.

Some diners reported that they were mistaken for valet parkers, coat checks and bathroom attendants.

Of the servers polled, approximately 86% were white. While Rusche admits her study represented a small sample, she believes it’s an accurate representation of the restaurant community in North Carolina and the U.S. in general.

In fact, Rusche admitted that these numbers may even be low.

“People tend to underplay their racist feelings because it’s socially unacceptable,” said Rusche. “On a national level, these racist preconceived notions and poor treatment may actually be more prevalent.”

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

10043: Bizarro Brazilian Berlitz.

Not sure what the hell this Berlitz campaign from Brazil is trying to communicate—but pretty certain two of the three ads are offensive.

From Ads of the World.

10042: Black Consumers In Black & White.

Advertising Age presented a “Custom White Paper” on Blacks—In Plain Sight: The Black Consumer Opportunity.

There’s something semi-depressing about the supplement. Is it that only two Black advertising agencies—Burrell and Footsteps—bothered to place advertisements in the special section? And neither ad is very good? Or could it be the repetitive regurgitation of standard arguments about buying power, brand loyalty, non-monolithic, trendsetting, media savvy, authenticity, blah, blah, blah? Perhaps it’s the obligatory perspectives from big clients advocating for targeting the segment, despite the fact that the majority of advertisers don’t engage minority agencies or audiences at all—and those who do grossly underfund the efforts. Hell, it’s probably a combination of the aforementioned, along with the sobering reality that marketing to Blacks must still be introduced, promoted, validated, justified and ultimately positioned as an opportunity.

10041: Unrealized Creative Potential.

Advertising Age reported on a global study indicating 75 percent of people believe they are not living up to their creative potential. Last year, Draftfcb Chairman Howard Draft admitted only 20 percent of the work his agency generated could be deemed great creative—so his shitty shop is actually doing worse than the global norm. And Draft was arguably generous with his estimate.

Global Study: 75% of People Think They’re Not Living Up to Creative Potential

Adobe Data Looks at How Creativity Is Perceived and Valued Around the World

By Rupal Parekh

Only 25% of people believe they are living up to their potential to be creative, and more than 75% of people feel that their countries are not living up to their collective potential to be creative.

That was just one of the startling findings in a global-benchmark study, conducted by Adobe and just released, about how creativity is perceived and valued in different regions. The research was fielded in March and April, with 5,000 adults in the U.S., U.K., Germany, France and Japan interviewed.

“The purpose of the study was to get a gut feel for how people are feeling about creativity today,” Ann Lewnes, senior VP-marketing at Adobe, told Ad Age. The release of the data coincides with a campaign that Adobe is launching to market a new service, the Creative Cloud, a suite of touch applications available on Android and iPad devices.

Across the study data, people in the U.S. said they have the highest regard for the value of creativity but also expressed the most concern about the way creativity is valued.

In the U.S., 52% of respondents described themselves as creative, the highest of all the regions. It was significantly higher than France, which was 36%, and much higher than Japan’s 19%.

Overall, Japan rose to the top as the most creative country, but Japanese respondents themselves didn’t view Japan as the most creative. Tokyo was deemed the most creative city—cited by 30% of people—followed by NYC.

Six in 10 people felt that being creative is valuable to their country’s economy, while in the U.S. that number was seven in 10. France was the country with the lowest number of people thinking creativity is very important to its economy—13%.

Nearly two-thirds of all surveyed believe that being creative is valuable to society. In all regions, more than half said they believe that creative impulses increase during times of economic uncertainty or downturns.

More than half of all the respondents said that the educational system stifles creativity.

“The most disturbing data was on the state of education. … Teachers were perceived as the least-important judges for creativity, which is troubling for the future and for youth,” said Ms. Lewnes, who pointed out that with severe budget problems, arts programs are often one of the first things cut.

Respondents overall reported that they spent less time creating at work than they did outside of work.

“We see that as being hampered by lack of time and the environment they are in not being conducive to creativity,” said Matt Norquist, exec VP at StrategyOne, which conducted the research. “We clearly haven’t quantified the value of creativity in the workplace. … Productivity and creativity shouldn’t be [contradictory]. If we can get to the point where the two are brought together, that value can be taken to the bank.”

Indeed, respondents reported increasing pressure to be productive rather than creative at work. In the U.S. and U.K., 80% of people felt that way, while the number rose as high as 85% in France.

“That speaks to discouragement in the workplace for creativity,” said Ms. Lewnes.

And despite the proliferation of open-space environments in ad agencies and design firms, it’s possible that such office settings may be hampering rather than fostering creativity. Seven in 10 of the respondents reported that they prefer to work by themselves when being creative.

Interestingly, social media plays at most a minor role in motivating people to create; less than 15% of respondents said it plays a large role.

10040: NASCAR Seeks White Shop For Diversity.

Earlier this month, Target Market News reported NASCAR is seeking an advertising agency to help it reach minority audiences. There is no plan, however, to engage minority shops for the push. In fact, a NASCAR marketing official stated, “In a perfect world, we’re looking for a full-service agency to do it all.” Newly-hired NASCAR Director of Brand and Consumer Marketing Kim Brink is a 20-year veteran of General Motors, another corporate entity that has made questionable decisions regarding the choice of White agencies to handle multicultural duties. In 2007, NASCAR CEO Brian France declared, “If we don’t get diversity right, this sport will not achieve what it needs to achieve from a popularity standpoint.” Maybe Drive For Diversity should be renamed Jive For Diversity.

NASCAR seeking more black fans again, but black ad agencies need not apply

NASCAR has announced it is again renewing its efforts in diversity, this time from getting more drivers of color to attracting more African-Americans and Hispanics to become fans of the sport. Part of that initiative will include hiring an advertising agency to develop a number of new marketing initiatives.

The agency search was announced by Kim Brink, director of brand and consumer marketing for NASCAR. Brink, who was hired less than six months ago, previously spent 20 years at General Motors where she oversaw marketing for the Chevrolet and Cadillac brands. She is looking for an agency that will use an integrated approach to reach out to various consumer segments.

According to staffers of the NASCAR marketing department, there are currently no plans to hire an African American or Hispanic agency to help the racing organization achieve its ethnic outreach or marketing goals. “In a perfect world,” said a member of the marketing department, “we’re looking for a full service agency to do it all.”

In past years, NASCAR has had aggressive initiatives to attract and support more black drivers to the sport. Those efforts ended with only marginal success.

After enjoying a boom in popularity in the early 2000’s, TV audiences and ratings for its races have declined in the past five years. In 2010, BET was carrying a reality show, “Changing Lanes,” that was backed by NASCAR that highlighted the competition between 10 minority drivers to become drivers in major races. None of the drivers was able to achieve lasting success.

NASCAR, which is a privately company and does not release data on its marketing spend, has used general market ad agency, JUMP Co. since 2005 to handle its advertising.