Thursday, October 31, 2013

11539: The Clueless Crazy Ones.

The latest installment of CBS series The Crazy Ones integrated Black people via a gospel choir singing about erectile dysfunction pills. Actually, Blacks regularly appear on the program as clients. This is accurate to real life, as advertisers tend to be more diverse than their agency partners. It’s also accurate for White agencies to use Black people in clichéd and stereotypical ways.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

11538: Down In The Valley.

From Mashable…

How One Man Is Tackling Tech’s Diversity Problem

By Tracey Wallace

The tech industry isn’t a hub of cultural diversity, that much we know. In fact, according to a Human Capital Venture Capital report — the only study ever conducted on VC-backed founders and their race, gender, education and age — 87% of founders are white and 92% of them are male.

Those numbers have hit the public sphere, and programs such as CNN’s “Black In America: The New Promised Land: Silicon Valley” have used the HCVC report to drive home the Valley’s lack of diversity. But few are actively addressing the issue with viable solutions quite like Tristan Walker.

Tristan Walker, former VP of business development at Foursquare, knows exactly what it takes to reach the top of the tech industry among a crowd that is significantly skewed toward white males. In 2012, Walker left Foursquare to become an “Entrepreneur in Residence” at Andreessen Horowitz, and while he works on his new, yet-undisclosed venture, he is paying it forward with his fellowship program CODE2040, which helps young black and Latino engineers get their foot in the door in Silicon Valley.

“CODE2040 is my pride and joy,” says Walker. “The goal of it is to get the top performing black and Latino engineering undergraduates internships in the technology space, specifically Silicon Valley. We want to give them the tools and access they need to be incredibly successful.”

During the program’s inaugural 2012 summer session, CODE2040 hosted five fellows, providing guidance, mentors and a chance to hear the likes of Mike Abbott, a leading venture capitalist, speak in an off-the-record fashion about the industry.

The fellows also had exposure to media training with Bloomberg’s Emily Chang. “We tell these guys, you always got to know your pitch because you never know when folks might ask you what you do, why you do it, how you do it,” says Walker. “So we mock on-air interviews.”

This past summer, CODE2040 welcomed 18 fellows, and in the summer of 2014, Walker says he wants 50 fellows on both coasts.

“The impetus behind founding CODE2040 was so folks wouldn’t make the same mistake that I made when I was young, and that was not knowing that Silicon Valley existed,” says Walker. “I didn’t know that Silicon Valley existed until 2008, when I came out here for business school. And I was ashamed! Had I known about the greatness that is Silicon Valley and folks who were my age fundamentally changing the world, my career path might have been a little bit different. We want these kids to understand what Silicon Valley is all about.”

And how is Silicon Valley reacting to the opportunity for diversity within their summer internships?

“Pretty much all of the startups were very excited about the work that all of the fellows did. Most, if not all of them, will be back on next summer, which we are really proud of,” says Walker.

“It is really important for us to bring really high quality engineering talent to these startups and what we found, which is really great, is that that talent exists! A lot of startups would say, ‘Well, diversity is a big, important thing for us to think about, but we just can’t find the talent.’ And I think we call their bluff on a lot of that.”

Studies have shown, too, that in coming decades, the current minority-majority demographics will radically change, and for the tech industry — an industry solidly built on innovation and being ahead of the curve — that means change needs to happen now.

“The reason we called it CODE2040, is that in the year 2040, black and Latinos will be the majority of the country. If we are not incorporating the perspective of what will be the majority of our country in 20 or 30 years, something is wrong,” says Walker.

“When you think about what all the research suggests and about the fact that this demographic, and a lot of folks would agree, is the most culturally influential demographic in the world, you combine that with all the innovation and the early adopting-ness of Silicon Valley, and really special things can happen. That’s where a lot of the billion-dollar-plus opportunities lie.”

As for Walker’s own advice to the fellows who are accepted to the program, he tries to give them as much perspective as possible.

“It really starts with one thing: You really don’t get what you don’t ask for. I tell these folks to really pursue the dream that they have with vigor, but mostly, also having the faith that things can, will and probably should work out,” he says.

11537: Anticipating Embarrassment.

Anxiously waiting to learn who won the Love That Chicken! Chorus promotion and nabbed the $1,000 grand prize. Honestly, how long does it take to pick a winner? On a side note, has anyone ever dressed up as Annie the Chicken Queen for Halloween?

Monday, October 28, 2013

11535: Pottery Barn’s Clueless Costumes.

From The Los Angeles Times…

Pottery Barn apologizes, withdraws Asian Halloween costumes

By Anh Do

Pottery Barn apologized for selling a Halloween costume of a sushi chef and a kimono that an Asian civil rights group had complained were culturally offensive.

The retailer confirmed late Monday that the items had been removed from its website.

“We did not intend to offend anyone with our Halloween costumes and we apologize,” said Leigh Oshirak, vice president of public relations and marketing for Williams-Sonoma, parent company of Pottery Barn. “Thank you for bringing this to our attention.”

Asian civil rights activists spoke out after the store began selling the products, a kimono and a sushi chef outfit featuring the Rising Sun of the Japanese flag. The group demanded “immediate removal” of the clothing and requested an apology.

“Our problem is not with the attire itself; it is with the fact that Pottery Barn is marketing these outfits as costumes,” wrote Ling Woo Liu, director of strategic communications for Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

She cited a student-led campaign launched at Ohio University several years ago, using the mantra “We’re a culture, not a costume,” and urging youths to think deeper when it comes to Halloween clothing.

The poster campaign sprung up on other campuses and includes phrases such as “You wear the costume for one night. I wear the stigma for life.”

She called Pottery Barn’s apology via email to The Times “very passive.”

“It would help to show they have learned a lesson,” she said.

“Like other minorities, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are real people who cannot and should not be commodified as Halloween costumes,” Liu said.

11534: Subway’s Strange Soccer Spot.

Not sure what motivated this Subway commercial introducing new spokesman Pelé. Is the sandwich chain launching a senior menu?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

11533: My Black Is Boastful.

The COVERGIRL Capitol Makeup Collection taps into The Hunger Games franchise. Um, aren’t the Capitol characters supposed to be wealthy, narcissistic villains?

11532: Exploring African Creativity.

From Campaign…

Africa rising

October is Black History Month in the UK, but Africa is determined not to be stuck in the past. Jonathan Akwue and Richard Robinson chart the explosive growth of the continent’s new breed of creativity.

By Jonathan Akwue and Richard Robinson

In 2000, The Economist declared that Africa was a “hopeless continent”. It was a deliberately inflammatory statement, but it wasn’t hard to see why the magazine had reached this conclusion.

Much of Africa seemed trapped in a cycle of corruption, inefficiency and poverty. Africans — although proud of their cultural identities — shared a sense of frustration at the failure of the continent to keep pace with the rest of the world.

A decade later, the picture had changed radically. The Chinese had made significant investments in the region’s infrastructure and become Africa’s largest trading partner.

Multinationals, too, saw the opportunities: in 2011, Procter & Gamble’s “grow Africa” strategy identified the continent as its next frontier. The race to uncover African creative talent was on.

Today, five of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world are in Africa. The term “Africa rising” is so common, it is practically a meme — and African creativity is bursting out of the continent across every medium.

The ripples of this can be felt here in the UK. Afrobeat is what the cool kids are listening to; Malaika Firth (pictured, right), a Kenyan/British model, is on the cover of Vogue; and the Nigerian film industry is the world’s second largest after Bollywood.

This new wave of creativity is captured in the acronym Tina: this is new Africa. Any agency without Africa on its strategic plan is already late to the party.

The way of the lion

According to Felix Kessel, the co-founder of the South African agency OwenKessel, it took a long time for African nations to build up their confidence and find their voice. Now a new breed of creative has emerged who is unapologetically African, willing to take risks and break the stereo¬types.

Kofi Amoo-Gottfried, now the global communications director at Bacardi, previously worked with one of this article’s authors, Richard Robinson, to set up Publicis Groupe’s West African operation.

Amoo-Gottfried’s vision was to reclaim Africa’s birthright as a creative force. As a start-up, they had to think laterally when recruiting.

To find good client services people, they looked to the banks, hiring their corporate relations managers. Journalists and bloggers were brought in as copywriters, while artists and designers honed their skills on the job.

Amoo-Gottfried also reached out to his network, bringing in experienced creatives from India and the US. Teams were regularly sent out to local marketplaces to conduct primary research. “In Africa, there are no short cuts,” Amoo-Gottfried explains.

A mobile, social continent

Another driver of African creativity is technology. Agencies in South Africa already compete on the world stage, but digital technology is also connecting creatives across Africa to developments in the rest of the world. As Kessel points out, mobile is increasingly important: “Although the cheapest way to get a message out in South Africa is still TV, that is not true in places such as Nigeria and Kenya, where it is mobile first.”

Gaurav Singh, the chief digital officer at the Kenyan agency Scangroup, agrees: “The design process starts with mobile. Our technologists are not coming out of traditional universities, they are teaching themselves. They do front-end design, but they code, too. For us, mobile is not a by-product, it is the product.”

However, Amoo-Gottfried injects a note of caution: “There is more demand for agencies to provide truly local solutions. No-one’s cracked mobile yet.”

The use of social media is also spreading rapidly across the continent. Kessel says African oral traditions are providing opportunities for branded storytelling: “People don’t mind marketing if it contains a story worth sharing.” As in the West, brands are starting to think more in terms of conversation and engagement, rather than purely broadcast. “Right now, Nigeria is the most experimental place on earth,” Kessel adds.

African creativity reborn

There are a number of platforms showcasing African creativity. Examples include Bozza and African Digital Art. Google has created the Africa Connected platform, and Diesel has partnered the fashion brand Edun to launch Studio Africa online.

African creatives are gaining international recognition. The Zimbabwean graphic artist and designer Sindiso Nyoni has worked on projects for brands such as Nike and Audi. In 2010, he created R!OT, an alias that explores subversive street style. His work has been exhibited as far afield as Mexico City, New York and Croatia.

At an agency level, OwenKessel’s work for Amstel and the South African newspaper Business Day reflects a renewed confidence and willingness to challenge the establishment. Ogilvy Africa’s “on-the-job interview” campaign for Radar Security in Kenya demonstrates a fresh approach using word-of-mouth and social media.

In the UK, a fresh group of young creatives are emerging. Engine’s Akwasi Poku says: “Marketers see that the audience demographic is changing and are starting to look for a more diverse talent pool. That creates opportunities for creatives like me.”

It’s clear Africa is leaping forward with creativity and passion at a rapid pace. UK agencies should take note.

Jonathan Akwue is a partner at Engine, and Richard Robinson is the managing partner at Oystercatchers

11531: Blackface Is The New Black.

The Huffington Post reported Julianne Hough donned Blackface for a Halloween party, appearing as “Orange Is the New Black” character Crazy Eyes. A blackpedaling Hough later stated, “I am a huge fan of the show Orange is the New black, actress Uzo Aduba, and the character she has created. It certainly was never my intention to be disrespectful or demeaning to anyone in any way. I realize my costume hurt and offended people and I truly apologize.” Clueless is the new Black—or the old White.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

11530: McD’s Throws Tomatoes At Heinz.

Ronald McDonald is pulling a McMafioso move. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Mickey D’s is dumping Heinz ketchup from its menu items because former Burger King Worldwide CEO Bernardo Hees was named to run H.J. Heinz Company. While a Heinz spokesperson insisted the fast feeder mostly uses the company’s products in overseas markets versus U.S. markets, it still must be quite a hit for the ketchup maker. Talk about getting screwed in 57 varieties.

McDonald’s squeezing out Heinz ketchup

By Teresa F. Lindeman / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

McDonald’s is moving to clear Heinz ketchup out of its system.

The restaurateur this week confirmed that it has started the process of moving to other vendors, following the appointment of former Burger King Worldwide CEO Bernardo Hees to run Pittsburgh-based H.J. Heinz Co. Mr. Hees also serves as vice chairman of the board of Miami-based Burger King.

“As a result of recent management changes at Heinz, we have decided to transition our business to other suppliers over time,” according to a statement from Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s.

The decision appears to put an end to a years-long push by Heinz officials to regain ground with the restaurant giant that operates more than 34,000 locations around the globe, although most American customers buying Big Macs aren’t getting Heinz ketchup with their fries anyway.

McDonald’s had soured on Heinz once before, back in the early 1970s. The Pittsburgh company had 90 percent of the business supplying ketchup and pickles to the fast-growing chain, according to author John F. Love’s 1986 book, “McDonald’s: Behind the Arches.”

After Heinz couldn’t meet McDonald’s need for ketchup as a result of a tomato shortage, the restaurant chain took most of its business elsewhere.

This time around, the split is more about the people than the product.

Heinz was acquired this year by a partnership of 3G Capital and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Mr. Hees is a partner in 3G Capital, which acquired Burger King a few years ago.

For Heinz, the impact of McDonald’s decision will likely be seen more in international markets. “It’s a global transition to other suppliers. Heinz was only used in two markets in the U.S.,” said Lisa McComb, director of McDonald’s U.S. media relations.

In this country, Heinz ketchup has been served in McDonald’s restaurants only in the Pittsburgh and Minneapolis markets. But Heinz had been gaining ground in some international markets.

In the U.S., other fast-food operators such as Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A use Heinz’s Dip & Squeeze portion-controlled ketchup servings.

A Heinz spokesman did not respond directly to McDonald’s statements, but reiterated comments made last month on the issue. “As a matter of policy, Heinz does not comment on relationships with customers,” said Michael Mullen, senior vice president of corporate and government affairs.

“All our food-service customers globally remain valuable to the company and are an important part of what has made the H.J. Heinz Co. what it is today. We continue to operate respecting every customer while upholding the high level of confidentiality and business ethics that the H.J. Heinz Co. has built with our business partners over the years.”

11529: Jay-Z On Barneys Bias.

From The New York Daily News…

Jay Z breaks his silence over Barneys furor, says he’s ‘no stranger to being profiled’

After days of backlash over his high-end deal with Barneys, as they face racial profiling accusations.

By Rich Schapiro / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Jay Z is finally rapping about Barneys.

Facing a backlash over his links to the under-fire department store, the superstar rapper insisted Saturday that he has remained silent until now because he’s been “waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys.”

“I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgments, no matter who it’s towards, aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?” Jay Z said in a statement. “I am no stranger to being profiled and I truly empathize with anyone that has been put in that position. Hopefully this brings forth a dialogue to effect real change.”

Jay Z drew ire after two black customers stepped forward this week accusing Barneys of racial profiling.

The Brooklyn-born rapper has a collection with Barneys scheduled to debut on Nov. 20.

“I am not making a dime from this collection; I do not stand to make millions, as falsely reported,” Jay Z said.

“Making a decision prematurely to pull out of this project, wouldn’t hurt Barneys or Shawn Carter, but all the people that stand a chance at higher education,” he added.” I have been working with my team ever since the situation was brought to my attention to get to the bottom of these incidents and at the same time find a solution that doesn’t harm all those that stand to benefit from this collaboration.”

Jay Z insisted the attacks against him are unfair.

“Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately?” he said. “The negligent, erroneous reports and attacks on my character, intentions, and the spirit of this collaboration have forced me into a statement I didn’t want to make without the full facts.”

11528: Best Place For Bad Writing.

Digiday published a column from Agency Exec X, who wondered why certain advertising agencies were recently listed on LinkedIn as being great places to work. The perspective clearly shows that Digiday continues to be clueless about real advertising agencies—as well as the business world in general. For starters, the editors didn’t even bother proofreading the typo-riddled piece. Additionally, if the writer is indeed an “agency executive,” he has the maturity of a 12-year-old. The rant reads like an extended comment left at AgencySpy. The moron should realize that companies usually win such honors via self-promotional puffery and ballot box stuffing by employees. Leave it to Digiday to attempt to validate the uninformed mumblings of a pseudo adman. Then again, the Digiday crew is comprised of pseudo trade journalists.

Are These Agencies Really The Best Places to Work?

By Agency Exec X

If you follow any of the Twitter feeds of some of the bigger agencies you will be aware that some of them were on LinkedIn’s recently published ‘100 Most in Demand’ companies. For a few days there were self-congratulatory tweets here there and everywhere.

But lets look a little deeper into this list. Is that something you should be really shouting about? Of the agencies that made it we have Ogilvy (26), Leo Burnett (43), JWT (46), RazorFish (59), Saatchi & Saatchi (64), Digitas (87) and BBDO (98). Razorfish and Digitas were the only digital agencies. Are we to believe that given the chance a well suited digitally savvy employee wouldn’t rather work at somewhere like R/GA or AKQA? They are certainly the more creative of these types of network.

Google and Apple were Nos.1 and 2 on the list, but 3,4,5 were Unilever, P&G and Microsoft. Now despite what Unilever and P&G would have you think believe (and en masse trips to Cannes) they are still big marketing companies that do things by the book 99.9 percent of the time. For anyone with creative yearnings they are soul crushing places to work. And the stories you hear about Microsoft clients are so evil they would make Dick Cheney blush.

Let’s have a look at some of the other neighbors. Nearby to JWT and Razorfish we have Haliburton. Hey, the job at Haliburton didn’t work out so I’m going to go work in Advertising. It can’t be as bad as being gang-raped then imprisoned or killed in Iraq, right? Actually among the top 100 there are many more energy companies. Not clean energy companies. Dirty energy companies. Really, the most filthy and dirty companies. And then of course there is Goldman Sachs.

Lastly there is the fundamental question of who actually relies on LinkedIn for a job? I’ll give you a clue it begins with an L too. A big fat L on your forehead. It’s basically the place you go if you don’t have any real friends, a portfolio or all else has failed.

So, one way at looking at this would be to say, ‘Congrats guys, you are the most in demand agencies for money-grabbing, bottom-feeding, buy-the-book losers who can’t get a job anywhere else!’ But that’s just one way. I’m sure these are super-nice places to work! As someone once said there are lies, damned lies and statistics.

Friday, October 25, 2013

11527: Jay-Z & Barneys Odd Couple…?

From The New York Post…

Fans target Jay Z over Barneys ‘racism’

By Tara Palmeri

Fans are targeting Jay Z for continuing to endorse Barneys after the store was accused of racially profiling two young black shoppers.

Brooklyn dad Derick Bowers has set up an online petition to boycott the Upper East Side fashion emporium and pressure the hip-hop mogul to end his collaboration with it for allegedly making false complaints against Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips.

“Jay Z should be appalled by Barneys’ actions,” Bowers wrote in the petition on

“Without his vast wealth and brand power, they would see him the same as they see Trayon Christian.”

Jay Z is collaborating with the store on a collection called “A New York Holiday.” His rep did not respond to calls for comment.

Meanwhile, Barneys yesterday apologized for the way the two black customers were treated, and said the store has hired a civil-rights expert to review what happened.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

11526: ‘Ship My Pants’ Ships Out.

A news report indicated the Kmart CMO responsible for the “Ship My Pants” campaign took a new job with Big Lots, which undoubtedly has Draftfcb executives shitting their pants. Moving from Kmart to Big Lots is like going from Draftfcb to, well, Draftfcb—it’s swapping one outhouse for another.

‘Ship My Pants’ guy joining Big Lots to boost viral marketing

By Dan Eaton, Staff reporter—Business First

Would Big Lots Inc. be willing to ship its pants for younger consumers?

The Columbus-based closeout retailer Monday announced the hiring of Andrew Stein as senior vice president and chief customer officer. Stein is former chief marketing officer of Kmart and was part of the team behind that chain’s popular, award-winning — and delightfully juvenile — Ship My Pants ad campaign.

Stein will be in charge of Big Lots’ marketing, advertising and brand development, including beefing up the retailer’s online presence through, digital marketing and social media.

CEO David Campisi said in a press release that Stein will help evolve the advertising strategy from traditional print and television to the new digital age via social media, blogging and viral messaging to “reinvigorate the Big Lots brand with our core customer and reintroduce us to a customer segment that hasn’t been fully engaged recently.”

Ship My Pants is a nice viral bona fide in that respect, with 29 million views on YouTube.

No word was mentioned about ecommerce. Big Lots dabbled in online retailing several years ago under previous CEO Steve Fishman but stopped. Campisi has said the company is looking into ecommerce and could have a plan in 2014.

Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) has 1,524 stores in the U.S. and 79 stores in Canada operating as Big Lots, Liquidation World and LW.

11525: Is Risk Racist?

Never realized that Hasbro’s Risk—The Game of Global Domination—was really about White men ruling the world.

From Ads of the World.

11524: Arby’s Seeks New White Agency.

Adweek reported Arby’s put its creative account up for review. In early 2012, the business was handed to incumbent Crispin Porter + Bogusky sans review. The naming of new CMOs prompted both agency shifts, showing that the fast food account moves fast. The only thing that doesn’t change is Arby’s producing shitty advertising—and shitty food. Oh, and no minority shops will be allowed to compete either, unless they decide to conduct the review on AMC series The Pitch.

Arby’s Puts Creative Up For Review

Move follows c-suite turnover at roast beef giant

By Gabriel Beltrone

Arby’s latest creative agency search comes on the heels of turnover in its CEO and CMO posts.

Crispin Porter + Bogusky is the incumbent on the business. Arby’s and CP+B both declined to comment.

The fast food brand named a new chief executive, Paul Brown, in April of this year. The following month, chief marketing officer Russ Klein—an ally of Crispin’s from his days working with the agency while a marketer at Burger King—parted ways with the brand. At the end of September, Arby’s hired named Rob Lynch as its chief marketing officer. Lynch previously served as vp of marketing at Taco Bell, part of Yum! Brands.

Klein hired Crispin sans review in early 2012, shortly after starting at Arby’s. Advertising for the brand was previously created by BBDO, which won it after a review in late 2010.

Arby’s annual media spending is estimated at more than $100 million.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

11523: Captivating Captains.

Captivate Network is running a Movember promotion that placed Cap’n Crunch alongside Captain Morgan. Daryl Dragon didn’t make the cut?

11522: 40 Acres And Bull.

From Adweek…

Racist Tweet About Lottery Winner Quickly Deleted From Atlanta Newspaper’s Feed

‘40 acres and a whole lotta mules’

By David Griner

The past few years have seen many a regrettable tweet from supposedly professional companies, but this one just might be the most cringe-worthy of them all. This morning, the Atlanta Journal Constitution posted a tweet saying, “$1M GA Lottery winner Willie Lynch can get 40 acres and a whole lotta mules.”

The tweet linked to a brief article on lottery winners, which did not include any sort of “40 acres and a mule” reference. The phrase refers to a post-Civil War proposal to help freed slaves begin new lives by giving them land previously held by whites. Such proposals became a source of bitterness among black Southerners when the policies were reversed shortly after the war.

New York magazine’s website reports that the tweet was soon deleted and that “a spokesperson at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was unaware of the message and is now trying to figure out why it happened.” An apology has been posted, which you can see below.

11521: Out Of Africa—And Out Of Mind.

From The New York Daily News...

Woman slammed for ‘Africa themed’ party photos showing guests painted black, wearing jungle costumes

The woman, identified only as Olivia, posted several pics from the party to Facebook showing guests in offensive and cartoonish costumes, including black paint, tribal makeup and animal print loincloths.

By Philip Caulfield / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

An Australian woman is being skewered online for hosting an “African themed” 21st birthday party featuring guests in blackface and cartoonish jungle costumes.

The woman, identified only as Olivia, posted several insensitive pics from the party to Facebook in September, but they went viral after Tumblr user Black in Asia spotted them and reposted them last week.

Guests at the bash partied in black or brown body paint, George of the Jungle-style costumes and cheetah-print loincloths, the photos showed.

Others wore dreadlock wigs, tribal-style paint and other mock-traditional garb.

One guest inexplicably donned a hooded Klu Klux Klan costume.

“Attendees were all asked to wear ‘African themed’ clothing to depict the continent and this is what resulted… blackface, elephant and gorilla costumes, warpaint, native American headdresses (?!) and more…. I’m at a loss for words,” Tumblr user Black in Asia wrote.

“And yes, this is from 2013.”

Jezebel called the pics “revolting and offensive.”

The young woman later took to Tumblr to defend herself.

“It was my ‘African themed’ party and it was honestly made that theme because I have always wanted to go to Africa (to teach english) but haven’t made it there yet,” she wrote.

“In no way was this party intended to hurt anyones (sic) feelings or upset anyone at all.”

“However, some guest did decide to paint themselves, although this was in no way my intention or encouraged in the slightest. I understand that this has offended some people and I have no idea how these photos have even been seen, they were simply put on facebook for my guests to see the photos of themselves,” she wrote.

She later described a friend from Mauritius, an island nation off Africa’s eastern coast, who painted himself white for the party but wasn’t pictured in Black In Asia’s post.

She insisted that no one was offended by his costume choice.

She also denied Black in Asia’s assertion that she “flatly refused” to take the pics down after someone complained.

“Also, I have NEVER been asked to take these photos down, however if I had of course I would have done so, as I had no idea that anyone other than friends and guests could see these photos…” she wrote.

“For those who know me at all you would know the last thing in the world I would want to do would be to offend people.”

Her Facebook and other social media accounts have since been deleted, reported.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

11520: MillerCoors 360 Lighter.

Advertising Age reported MillerCoors is cutting 360 employees in response to lousy sales. Gee, looks like calling in the Cavalry didn’t work out.

MillerCoors Eliminates 360 Jobs in Face of Weak Sales

Big Beer’s Woes Continue

By E.J. Schultz

MillerCoors is cutting 360 positions, which includes laying off 200 salaried employees, in response to the tough sales conditions facing the company and beer industry.

“To realize our ambition, we must have the financial flexibility required to seize opportunities and address challenges head-on,” CEO Tom Long and Ed McBrien, president of sales and distributor operations, said in a memo to distributors. “Given our current fixed-cost base, we can’t meet these long-term investment requirements. Simply put, our fixed-cost base is too high and our organizational structure is too complex.”

In a statement, the brewer confirmed that “approximately 200 salaried employees will be leaving the organization and another 160 open salaried positions will be eliminated.” The Chicago-based brewer employs about 8,800 people nationally. The cuts will be spread across “all functions of the company,” including sales and marketing, a spokesman told Ad Age. The cuts are meant to “help the company meet long-term investment requirements in its brands and breweries while at the same time achieve its operating margin and profitability goals.”

The distributor memo cited a “period of rapid and disruptive change” in the U.S. beer industry, including “consumer fragmentation, continued high unemployment and increased competition from wine and spirits.”

SABMiller, which holds a joint-ownership stake in MillerCoors along with Molson Coors, reported last week that MillerCoors sales to retailers fell 1.9% in the quarter ending Sept. 30, with Miller Lite dropping “mid-single digits” and Coors Light down “low-single digits.”

The brewer is hoping to spur sales next year with several new products, including Miller Fortune, a higher-alcohol line extension, as well as a citrus-flavored seasonal line extension of Coors Light, called Coors Light Summer Brew. The brewer is also expected to invest more marketing in its economy brands, including Miller High Life and Keystone Light.

Monday, October 21, 2013

11519: Rihanna Too Racy For Mosque.

From The New York Post…

Rihanna kicked out of famed Abu Dhabi mosque over racy photos

The ‘Diamonds’ singer shocks visitors to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque after posing for pics that didn’t mesh with ‘sanctity’ of religious site.


Rihanna brought a little more instability to the Middle East.

The “Diamonds” singer was booted from the famed Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi over the weekend after posing for some photos that were racy by the standards of the holy site.

Though she covered up — by her standards — in a head-to-toe black form-fitting outfit, complete with a hijab headcovering, the 25-year-old pop star clearly didn’t get the memo on the spirit of Islamic law. In photos that were posted on her Instagram site, Rihanna could be seen posing in several provocative poses with lips pancaked in ruby red lipstick — a no-no for a society that stresses covering up women’s sexuality.

“She left without entering the mosque, after being asked to do so, due to the fact that she had taken some pictures that do not conform with the conditions and regulations put in place by the Centre’s management to regulate visits in a way that takes the status and sanctity of the mosque into consideration,” a representative for the mosque told local media outlets in a statement.

Not everyone was starstruck by the celebrity visitor.

“Rihanna pics at Sheikh Zayed mosque are disrespectful to the place of worship,” said one irate tweeter flagged by Al Arabiya.

The mosque spokesperson added that “the singer” came for a private tour to the mosque at a gate that is not meant for visitors — without identifying herself or coordinating the visit in advance.

The mammoth Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the largest religious center in the United Arab Emirates. Named after the late ruler of the country, it’s become one of the highest-profile mosques in the region since it opened in 2007.

Rihanna covered up for her concert in the United Arab Emirates’ capital Saturday night — a Bedouin inspired look she dubbed “Empress RiRi.”

Saturday, October 19, 2013

11517: Touching Documentary On Hair.

From The New York Daily News…

‘You Can Touch My Hair’ documentary digs deep into African-American roots

African-American women allow strangers in Union Square Park to get a feel of their afros, weaves, braids and dreadlocks in a film that explores how they and others view their diverse tresses.

By Rheana Murray / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

It’s not every day a group of black women let you — invite, you, even — to touch their hair.

But that’s the premise of the short film, “You Can Touch My Hair,” which shows strangers in Union Square Park approaching African-American women, reaching out with eager hands for a feel of their Afros and dreadlocks.

“I want to see if it’s soft,” says one white woman. “Yeah, it is! It’s soft like a baby’s.”

The exhibit was organized by Antonia Opiah, the founder of, a website dedicated to black hair. Her film, created in partnership with Pantene Pro-V and premiering Sunday night on YouTube, aims to dig deeper into the country’s fascination with African-American hair, and how the women who wear it feel about being the subjects of such wonder.

And it all centers around one loaded question: Can I touch your hair?

“One woman in the film said she gets asked almost every day,” said Opiah, who recently moved to Paris from New York. “It’s a frequent thing people are experiencing. Mostly people with natural hair. I realized there was a story to be told here.”

Comparisons were drawn to Sarah Baartman, the 19th-century slave who lived in cages as a freak show attraction, so gawkers could admire her oversized derriere.

Asking to touch a woman’s hair elicits those same feelings of freakishness, Opiah explained.

“Women say it made them feel like they’re different or strange. It made them feel vulnerable,” she said. “It makes them feel like they’re some sort of an alien. And I do feel like it’s different when a white person asks than when a black person asks the question. When a white person asks, there is an inclination to question the intent. When a black person asks, there is an assumed shared experience — it feels like less of an affront.”

In the film, several women share their stories, including activist Michaela Angela Davis, who points out that when it comes to hair, black women are doomed from the beginning.

“Most of us are taught or start off with the understanding that something is wrong with our hair,” she says. “Whether it’s our grandmothers wrestling us to the ground to tame it into ponytails. … There’s pain and crying and suffering. And most people who do our hair, their first lesson is to change it.”

At a panel discussion following a private preview of the film, the women brought up painful memories from school — bullies who jammed their hands in girls’ weaves and screamed “track check!” as well as swim lessons and beach days they had to miss out on of fear their hair would get wet.

Opiah hopes the film helps relieve some of the curiosity about black women’s hair, and open the discussion for more questions.

Her next film will focus on how hair culture differs in cities like Paris and London.

“They don’t have the same racial history as America,” she said. “I think it will be really exciting to see, do they get offended by those questions?”

The film premieres 9 p.m. Sunday on

Friday, October 18, 2013

11516: Unhealthy Practices At Herbalife…?

From The New York Post…

Minority coalition calls for Herbalife probe

By Michelle Celarier

A new group of Hispanic and black leaders is calling for a probe into Herbalife, accusing the controversial seller of nutritional products of recruiting minorities into its “pyramid scheme.”

The coalition is urging California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Santa Cruz District Attorney Bob Lee to investigate what it calls “Herbalife’s deceptive marketing and predatory business practices which target vulnerable minority communities.”

The group plans to hold a press conference Friday morning outside the attorney general’s office to coincide with a Los Angeles pep rally of Latino Herbalife distributors, which thousands are expected to attend.

The coalition has been spearheaded by outspoken Herbalife critic Brent Wilkes, the national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens.

It also includes two major African-American organizations, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Congress of Racial Equality, among others.

The coalition will announce a 1-800 bilingual help line that will “allow victims to report their experiences,” according to a statement.

Herbalife, which is the subject of a short attack by hedge fund activist Bill Ackman, denies it is a pyramid scheme.

11515: Here’s To You, Ms. Robinson.

Last week, Adweek noted the dearth of digital dames. Now Advertising Age published Pereira & O’Dell Executive Creative Director Jaime Robinson’s tired perspective on the dearth of dames in advertising agency leadership positions, where Robinson expressed the following:

The fact that there’s a steady drum-beat of discussion in the media and at conferences about this topic is a good thing; we should find ways to address the challenges women face and overcome them. But truth be told, what isn’t helpful is that a lot of the talk in these circles and on social media too is starting to veer towards being negative all the time. It’s not constructive. So here’s what I’m not going to do in this letter. I’m not going complain that there aren’t enough of us. I’m not going to talk about how you can generate ideas and can contribute just as much as men over the course of your advertising career. That’s obvious.

Whatever. Must admit to not being overly concerned about the alleged plight of White women in the field. However, a quick glance at the Pereira & O’Dell leadership displays a stereotypically White environment (although co-founder PJ Pereira is Brazilian) that is predominately male. So maybe Robinson should be complaining.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

11514: Meet Super-Creative Steve Stoute.

Business Insider invited visitors to Meet The 24 Most Creative People In Advertising Right Now—and the number 15 slot was filled by Steve Stoute. Really? Stoute deserves praise for landing accounts and assignments typically denied to advertising professionals of color; however, his shop has yet to consistently produce breakthrough creative. The Business Insider story claimed, “Perhaps nobody embodies the integration of hip-hop culture into the mainstream [better] than Steve Stoute, whose book ‘The Tanning of America’ covers that very subject.” Okay, that explains the dubious honor. Even trade websites love hip hop.

11513: The Crazy Ones Stuck On Suck.

The opening four minutes of the fourth installment of CBS series The Crazy Ones contained zero funny moments. At the 14:00 mark, the lack of funny was still holding strong. Not a snicker in sight by 8:22. And the crickets were chirping during the closing blooper clips. The episode depicted the main characters at Roberts + Roberts experiencing a group creative block. Obviously, the show’s writers were stuck too.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

11512: Human Rights On Madison Avenue.

Blog Action Day 2013 is focused on the topic of Human Rights. For a quick primer, scan The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948.

Has the dearth of diversity on Madison Avenue ever been properly framed as a human rights issue? Certainly not in recent years, despite the occasional intervention of the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Rather, today’s diversity discussions tend to dwell on the standard “it’s a good business decision” angle, emphasizing the importance of building staffs that reflect and relate to the U.S. audiences targeted by most major advertisers. Unfortunately, the popular, polite and passive route doesn’t succeed for a couple of reasons.

First of all, the standard “it’s a good business decision” angle has not been proven. In fact, Whites might argue that based on indicators like awards and account assignments, exclusivity works just fine. Because the advertising industry has been predominately Caucasian forever, it would be extraordinarily difficult to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that a diverse company could produce better creative.

Secondly, in situations involving human rights, politeness has never led to dramatic progress. This has been proven time and again. Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stressed non-violence; however, they were not polite in their protests. Polite people are not typically thrown into jails or assassinated. On Madison Avenue, politeness will get you promoted to Chief Diversity Officer or elected to Diversity Advisory Committees—plus, you can win prizes like ADCOLOR® Awards and Pioneers of Diversity honors—but you won’t truly impact change.

The second point is particularly sobering and even offensive when considering the advertising field. The greater society usually comes around to showing respect to rabble-rousers such as Gandhi and Dr. King; conversely, adland has traditionally blacklisted (pun intended) revolutionaries while crowning Whites who essentially expressed the same opinions.

For example, Dan Wieden exclaimed the industry was fucked up in the area of inclusiveness, and he ultimately nabbed an ADCOLOR® trophy. Harry Webber pretty much said the same thing in 1969 and hasn’t been welcome in a White agency since. And although he’s made unprecedented contributions for diversity and equality, as well as produced award-winning campaigns, Webber has yet to be invited to an ADCOLOR® gala.

Jeff Goodby wondered, “Where Are All The Black People?”—and he received praise and accolades for asking. Sanford Moore has posed the question for decades and is still waiting to be thanked for his inquiries and groundbreaking achievements.

John Wren, Michael Roth, John Seifert and other advertising leaders have admitted there’s a lot of work to do in order to end the separate-but-unequal conditions. Lowell Thompson and Hadji Williams offered identical observations and suddenly found a lot less work.

Shunning the industry’s real heroes for human rights makes us look a little inhuman—and it definitely ain’t right.

11511: 140 All-White Characters.

From DiversityInc…

Twitter Board Highlights Silicon Valley’s Lack of Diversity

By Chris Hoenig

Twitter is going public, valuing itself in the $10 billion to $12 billion range. And who best to control a company with that valuation? Apparently, nobody but white men.

As part of the paperwork for its initial public offering, the company has revealed its board of directors. Every single member is white. Every single member is a man. Go through Twitter’s investors and executive officers and you will find one lone woman: General Counsel Vijaya Gadde—and even Gadde is a late addition to the team, having been on the job for less than two months.

Executives say they do think it’s important to find a woman to join the board but that there’s a lack of qualified female candidates in the tech industry. However, Twitter, one of several Silicon Valley companies to publicly decline to reveal its EEO-1 data, is not your average tech company, as evidenced by the seven white men who will lead the company. It is also a media outlet, an entertainment center and one of the largest advertising platforms in the world.

The board includes some traditional tech honchos like former Netscape CFO Peter Currie and former Google executive David Rosenblatt, but it also has former News Corp. executive Peter Chernin and Peter Fenton from Benchmark Capital. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and co-founders Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey round out the board.

Costolo seemed to take the most offense to criticism of Twitter’s leadership. While the company has declined comment, Costolo slammed (on Twitter, of course) one of the sources The New York Times used in an article about the all-white board.

Qualified Women

A Yale School of Management professor told the Times that he came up with a list of 20 women qualified to sit on Twitter’s board in less than 10 minutes, and that he could easily name 20 more. After talking to several tech insiders, recruiters and academics, the Times offered its own list of 25 women. They include Joanne Bradford, President of the San Francisco Chronicle, who includes Yahoo! and Microsoft on her résumé; Intel President Renée James; AOL Brand Group Chief Executive Susan Lyne; and Geraldine Laybourne, a former executive at Nickelodeon and Disney, who has a tech-heavy résumé including board stints at EA (Electronic Arts), Symantec and children’s tech startup Kandu.

Also on the list: a board member at Google, successful advertising executives, the founder of USA Network, Time Inc.’s former chief executive officer and the creator of Grey’s Anatomy, just to name a few.

Benefits of Diversity

If Twitter’s all-white, all-male board thinks it can make appropriate decisions because its members can relate to Twitter users … think again.

Women outnumber men on Twitter, with a study putting that difference at approximately 53 percent to 47 percent. And a Pew Research study finds that about 25 percent of Twitter users are Black, even though Blacks represent only about 12.5 percent of the population in the U.S.

Is there a business benefit to having women on the board? According to a Catalyst study, companies with the highest percentages of women board directors got a far greater return on equity than those with the least, outperforming those companies by 53 percent. Return on sales was also higher (by 42 percent), as was the return on invested capital—by a whopping 66 percent.