Thursday, July 31, 2014

11963: Is Unilever Digitally Dumb?

Advertising Age reported Unilever is staging a global digital agency review that will include incumbents and fresh contenders. One key problem with the competition is underscored by scanning the incumbents, which include traditional advertising agencies, digital agencies, media companies and PR firms. In short, everyone thinks they can deliver digital. Plus, some of Unilever’s digital agencies (e.g., Razorfish) are barely capable of delivering decent digital. Additionally, clients like Unilever believe they can receive adequate digital from any source—or maybe they secretly believe they’ll get the same old digital shit from any source, and this exercise is simply about identifying the cheapest vendor. Regardless, this review demonstrates the commoditization of digital, where all the players are generic hacks lining up for the opportunity to produce banner ads and email blasts. Let the online games begin.

Unilever Begins Global Digital Agency Review to Revamp Roster

CPG Giant Evaluating Creative, Web Development, Online Marketing, Mobile, Social and Data and Analytics

By Alexandra Bruell

Unilever has begun a formal global digital agency review, according to industry executives.

The London-based packaged-goods giant has enlisted MediaLink to aid in the search, which appears to be an effort to revamp its global digital roster across brands and digital practices, including creative, web development, online marketing, mobile, social media and data and analytics, people familiar with the brief said.

The agencies invited to participate include incumbents and non-incumbents across various agency holding companies. They will present capabilities in mid-August, beginning a long process that’s not expected to wrap up until the end of the year.

A Unilever spokeswoman did not provide comment on deadline Tuesday. MediaLink declined to comment.

The move comes as the marketer was wrapping up a U.S.-focused digital agency roster evaluation. That process has now been folded into the larger pitch.

WPP’s Ogilvy; Publicis’ Razorfish; IPG’s Huge, R/GA and Lowe Profero; Engine Group’s Noise; and independent VaynerMedia are among the many shops that have supported digital efforts for Unilever brands. A number of PR shops, such as Edelman, GolinHarris and Weber Shandwick have also handled social media efforts for various brands.

Unilever in December 2013 announced plans to cut its worldwide marketing headcount by 12%, or more than 800 people. The company also said it would continue to trim agency and commercial production fees, framing the moves as part of continuous cost savings of the sort that have been common since Paul Polman became CEO in 2009.

Following a media review in 2012, the company decided to keep its U.S. media buying at WPP’s Mindshare and later awarded a global media planning assignment to Omnicom Group’s PHD. MediaLink supported that search as well.

Unilever spent $1.29 billion on total U.S. advertising in 2013. It’s ranked 28 on the Ad Age DataCenter’s list of top U.S. ad spenders.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

11962: Sprint Framily = Shirato Family.

Didn’t realize the inane Sprint Framily is a deliberate rip-off of the Shirato family featured in a campaign for Japanese mobile phone company SoftBank. This is a clear example of how humor and concepts do not necessarily translate across cultures and continents. Of course, asking a culturally clueless White advertising agency from the U.S. to handle the foreign exchange is like letting the KKK reinterpret Nollywood movies. Oh, and it also demonstrates how ad shops will shamelessly prostitute themselves for billings.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

11961: Rewriting Truth In Advertising.

Digiday reported advertising agencies have been updating their own Wikipedia pages with puffery and propaganda. Is this really surprising? It demonstrates once again the digital cluelessness of shops believing they can and must control all online conversations. For example, BBH was caught rewriting itself as “one of the world’s most famous creative ad agencies.” Right. And Sir John Hegarty is a champion for diversity. The old coot recently criticized the “digital Taliban”—and now it appears his own staff features Web terrorists. Brilliant.

11960: Dynamic Duos Defy Diversity.

Adweek presented, “These 5 Dynamic Duos Are Nailing Digital Marketing”—spotlighting CMO-exec pairings allegedly leading the way in the digital arena. Like so many digital and social media enterprises, the dynamic duos display a damned disappointing dearth of diversity.

11959: Under 140 Characters Of Color…?

The New York Times reported Twitter joined other social media sources in admitting an appalling lack of diversity in its ranks. The news is hardly surprising, as Twitter already revealed its board was an all-White male clan in 2013. The popular service should be renamed Twhiter—with a White rooster as its logo.

Twitter, Like Other Big Tech Companies, Comes Up Short on Diversity

By Mike Isaac

The technology industry continues to provide evidence that it is not terribly diverse.

Twitter released a statistical breakdown of the genders and ethnic backgrounds of employees on Wednesday afternoon. And like many of the company’s peers, the “diversity report” is not so diverse.

Nearly 60 percent of Twitter employees identify as white in the report, while 70 percent of Twitter’s global employees are male. The most underrepresented groups were blacks, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and Hispanics, with a combined total of those groups making up less than 7 percent of the company’s United States-based employees.

Twitter said 30 percent of its employees are women. But among tech employees, only one in 10 is a woman. Among people in leadership positions, 21 percent are women.

“We are keenly aware that Twitter is part of an industry that is marked by dramatic imbalances in diversity — and we are no exception,” wrote Janet Van Huysse, vice president for diversity and inclusion and former vice president for human resources at Twitter, in a company blog post.

“Like our peers, we have a lot of work to do,” she wrote.

Twitter, based in San Francisco, is hardly alone in its position. Facebook reported a similar demographic breakdown in June: About 57 percent of Facebook’s United States-based workers are white and 34 percent Asian, with additional ethnic groups such as blacks or Latinos making up fewer than 9 percent of the company’s United States employees.

In fact, when Facebook posted its numbers last month, its head of diversity, Maxine Williams, said nearly the exact same thing as Twitter’s Ms. Van Huysse: “As these numbers show, we have more work to do — a lot more,” Ms. Williams wrote.

Recently, technology giants have faced intense criticism of their hiring practices from minority activist groups. The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., the civil rights leader and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, has led the charge, appearing at Facebook and Google’s public shareholder meetings and urging them to release more detailed descriptions of their company demographics.

“There is no talent deficit, there’s an opportunity deficit,” Mr. Jackson said in a statement. “This is another step in the right direction to rectify the lack of inclusion and diversity in Silicon Valley.”

Twitter, like Facebook and other companies in the industry, stressed that it has started a number of initiatives to change the ratio of minorities and women in positions at the company. That includes partnerships with organizations like Girls Who Code and sponsorships with outfits like Out in Tech, which promotes opportunities for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

But like many of these organizations have said time and again — there’s still more work to do.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

11956: Interpreting Cindy Gallop.

The Drum invited Cindy Gallop to share her ideas on revolutionizing the advertising industry. Watch the video and attempt to unscramble the gobbledygook. Good luck!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

11955: Whites Storming The Castle.

Advertising Age reported White Castle is placing its account in review, and incumbent Zimmerman from Omnicom will compete to hold the business. Should be a fierce showdown between Zimmerman and Fathom Communications—like watching Curly and Shemp battle for the role of the third stooge.

White Castle Begins Agency Review

Omnicom’s Zimmerman Has Handled Account Since 2009

By Malika Toure

Burger chain White Castle is conducting an agency review, the company confirmed Friday.

The incumbent, Omnicom’s Zimmerman, has led the fast-food brand’s creative and media efforts since 2009. Prior to that, JWT spent 15 years as White Castle’s agency of record.

“We always look at all of our partners on a regular basis, every five to seven years,” said Kim Bartley, White Castle VP-marketing and menu development. The marketer issued a request for proposals to agencies in June and has seven shops in the running, she said. It plans to make a decision by October.

“Zimmerman is one of the agencies being considered,” she added. “It’s a very good partner.”

Zimmerman called the review normal procedure for White Castle. “We’re very proud of the work our companies have done together,” a Zimmerman spokesman said in a statement, “and we’re happy to go in and present additional work, confident that our successful partnership will continue.”

White Castle spent more than $9 million in measured media in 2013, according to Kantar Media. The company has no plans to increase its ad spend in the short term, according to Ms. Bartley. “But we’re long-range planners,” she said. “This year, we are 93 years old.”

The review comes five months after Zimmerman lost the much larger Papa John’s business to Grey.

Part of the criteria will be plans to broaden White Castle’s appeal and contemporize the brand, Ms. Barley said. “It’s about showing business acumen, combining traditional and digital,” she said.

Rojek Consulting Group is assisting the effort, the third White Castle review for Rojek President Lorraine Lockhart. “What used to be a more operationally-driven company is now more marketing and brand driven,” Ms. Lockhart said.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

11954: Cause Marketing From Hypocrites.

Adweek reported on the trend of advertising agencies showing interest in cause marketing. Apparently, “the emergence of the millennials”—an audience with do-gooder tendencies—helped motivate the integration of cause marketing into agency service offerings. Popular causes include environmental affairs, feminist issues, and LGBT rights. Now, what makes this all so despicable is Madison Avenue’s historic willingness to service clients who have hurt the environment (e.g., Dow, BP, Monsanto, etc.). More outrageous is the industry’s continuing discriminatory practices—especially against women and minorities. To top it off, advertising agencies have admitted cluelessness when trying to insert millennials into their ranks. Any agency selling expertise in cause marketing should first be required to publicly display their records regarding any of the topics above. Otherwise, clients should have a cause for concern.

Agencies Increase Focus on Cause Marketing

Young & Rubicam’s Inspire practice is latest example

By Erik Oster

Cause marketing is a growing trend in advertising, as agencies seek to align the brands they represent with social causes customers care about. The growing agency focus on cause marketing is now larger than ever, as evidenced by WPP’s Young & Rubicam Group’s decision to open a practice called Young & Rubicam Group Inspire entirely devoted to advertising with a cause.

Young & Rubicam Inspire is “drawing upon employees at several of the more than a dozen units of the Young & Rubicam Group, among them the public relations agencies Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe, the branding agency Landor Associates, the public affairs agency Penn Schoen Berland, the digital agency VML, the direct marketing agency Wunderman and, of course, the advertising agency Y&R,” reported The New York Times. The new practice already has a presence online and on Twitter, and Young & Rubicam has been considering forming such a practice for three years, according to chairman and CEO Peter Stringham. Stringham told The New York Times that the realization that such a practice was necessary was accelerated by “the emergence of the millennials,” now seemingly advertising’s favorite target demographic, adding that “what the younger generation does washes back into the general population.”

He pointed to Trish Wheaton, managing partner for global new business at Y&R, as the principal advocate for forming the new practice. Wheaton identified the goal of the organization as meeting consumers’ “high expectations about the companies they do business with and the brands they will be loyal to,” while offering “a multidisciplinary approach that is unique, powerful.” While the practice is starting small in its early stages, Wheaton is hopeful that it will grow over time. “Right now, we’re pulling together teams that have expertise to work on a given initiative,” she said. “In due course, we would hope we will be successful enough to have some dedicated full-time employees.”

Young & Rubicam Inspire is the latest example showing that cause marketing can no longer be ignored. Others include Havas PR’s recent Havas Worldwide Climate Practice and Publicis Groupe’s recent acquisition of Salterbaxter, which The New York Times describes as “a consultancy that specializes in advising marketers and brands on sustainability.”

Popular causes in advertising include environmental concerns, feminist issues, and LGBT rights. Pride month saw a wealth of campaigns from brands including Burger King, YouTube and Lucky Charms. Female empowerment campaigns included Dove’s award-winning “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign and Always’ recent viral success “Like A Girl.” Criticism surrounding another Dove campaign, “Beauty Patches,” demonstrates the hazards of cause marketing: appearing insincere, or even tone-deaf and offensive.

Consumers have a natural skepticism about brands allying themselves with causes, and it takes tact to appear to not be using the cause solely for financial gain. Environmental ads are routinely labeled “greenwashing,” with Coca-Cola a notorious offender in the eyes of many groups. The terms “pinkwashing” and “rainbow washing” have also sprung up, to describe ads that capitalize on women’s issues and LGBT issues. As cause marketing becomes more prevalent, consumer skepticism will only increase and such campaigns will need to be handled with expert care on the part of advertisers, and backed by meaningful initiatives from brands.

As Stringham put it, “People trying to pull the wool over shareholders’ eyes or consumers’ eyes is not something we want to take part in. There is nothing we can do that masks the truth.”

Saturday, July 12, 2014

11953: WTF NRA.

The NRA proclaims: We’re the longest-standing civil rights organization in the U.S. Okay, but how many true civil rights heroes have lost their lives via gunfire?

Friday, July 11, 2014

11952: Cumia Commentary.

Wonder if Anthony Cumia—formerly of The Opie & Anthony Show on SiriusXM—will be asked to serve as a character witness for Donald Sterling. Gawker posted samples of Cumia’s Twitter rant, and it’s not pretty. Gotta believe even Don Imus would shun the shock jock. The culturally clueless, misogynistic moron deserved to get bitch slapped—and pink-slipped.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

11951: Miami Ad Fools.

Is Miami Ad School preparing students for life in the real advertising industry with courses in insensitivity and cultural cluelessness?

From Ads of the World.

11950: Sex Harassment Down Under.

There’s something about this Australian campaign against sexual harassment that doesn’t feel right. It’s trying too hard to be clever with an unfunny subject. Plus, advertising people creating messages to fight sexual harassment demonstrates hypocrisy of the highest order. What’s next? Diversity recruitment ads?

From Ads of the World.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

11949: Pam El Drafted By NBA.

Advertising Age reported Pam El—formerly of State Farm Insurance—has been named CMO of the NBA. Guess her promotional connections with Chris Paul and LeBron James paid off. No comment or congratulatory voicemail yet from former L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Pam El Named NBA CMO

Former State Farm Marketer Calls New Job a ‘Dream Come True’

By E.J. Schultz

The National Basketball Association has hired former State Farm marketing executive Pam El as its chief marketing officer.

Ms. El will report directly to NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum and oversee the league’s global marketing operation, “directing brand development, overall marketing and advertising for the NBA, WNBA and NBA Development League,” according to a statement from the NBA.

The NBA has not had a CMO since the 1990s, when the position was held by Rick Welts, who is currently the president and chief operating officer of the Golden State Warriors, according to the NBA. Most recently, the league’s top marketing position was filled by Jamie Gallo, whose title was exec VP-marketing. Mr. Gallo, a former ad agency executive, left the NBA in January.

Ms. El left State Farm about a year ago after an 11-year run. Most recently she served as VP-marketing.

Mr. Tatum said in a statement said that he had “personally worked with Pam for many years on the NBA’s partnership with State Farm,” adding that, “she will be a huge addition as we work to build our brand on a global scale.”

Ms El referred to her new role as “a dream come true,” saying in a statement that “I love the competitiveness of the game and admire the league’s world-class teams and passionate global fanbase.”

She will start work on Aug. 18.

11948: Chocolate City Mayor Nuts.

From The New York Times…

Ray Nagin, Former New Orleans Mayor, Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

By Allen M. Johnson Jr. and Campbell Robertson

NEW ORLEANS — C. Ray Nagin, the former mayor of New Orleans, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Wednesday on federal corruption charges, ending a case that began with the rebuilding of the city after Hurricane Katrina.

The sentence was less than the recommended 15 years, but Judge Ginger Berrigan of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana told the court that the evidence failed to show that Mr. Nagin had organized or had been a leader of a corruption scheme.

“Mr. Nagin claimed a much, much smaller share of the profits of the crime than any other member of the group,” Judge Berrigan said, referring to the businessmen who profited from the scheme. The judge said that Mr. Nagin’s leadership was much needed after Hurricane Katrina but that it had also been lagging.

Prosecutors objected to the sentence, a move that could set up an appeal.

Mr. Nagin, who will remain out on bond, hugged family and friends after the sentencing, and was quickly driven away from the courtroom. “I’m trusting God is going to work all this out,” he said during sentencing. The judge ordered him to report for prison no later than Sept. 8.

Reaction was swift, and mixed.

“I think that he got off lightly considering the violations of the public trust,” said Edward E. Chervenak, a political science professor at the University of New Orleans and a critic of Mr. Nagin during his eight years as mayor.

“I think he should have gotten more time,” says Michelle Alford, 37, a native of New Orleans and a hotel employee. “He did nothing to benefit the city. I think he should have gotten 20 years at least. I think it’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous.”

A longtime civil rights advocate in New Orleans, Jerome Smith, said he offered Mr. Nagin words of encouragement after the sentencing. “I just let him know that he has spiritual support,” Mr. Smith said.

Mr. Nagin, a Democrat, was found guilty in February on 20 counts, most relating to kickbacks from contractors looking for city work. He was arrested in January 2013, nearly three years after he left office. He was charged with taking kickbacks in the form of cash, cross-country trips or help with the family-run granite countertop company; the bribes were handed out by men looking for city business ranging from software supplies to sidewalk repair. Many of the schemes, though not all, took place after Hurricane Katrina, when contractors crowded into the city for rebuilding work.

Many of those involved eventually pleaded guilty and testified at length against Mr. Nagin at his trial.

The corruption had been so thoroughly covered in the local news media that few people were surprised by the verdicts in February. Mr. Nagin had come into office in 2002 as a reformer from the business world and a foe of cronyism. But the city grew frustrated with his stewardship, particularly in his second term when the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina stalled and Mr. Nagin seemed unengaged. By the time he left office in 2010, many in New Orleans had moved past frustration and were simply ready to see him go.

Throughout the trial the courtroom was half-empty, except for a riveting two days when Mr. Nagin took the stand and denied everything, at times with a glib dismissal. At one point he even refused to recognize his own signature on receipts that federal prosecutors displayed on a large screen.

In a court filing urging a stiff sentence, federal prosecutors had described Mr. Nagin’s testimony as “a performance that can only be summed up by his astounding unwillingness to accept any responsibility,” and listed in detail 22 instances in which they said he had lied on the witness stand. As they had at trial, prosecutors also contrasted Mr. Nagin’s attention to detail in some of the kickback schemes with what many came to see as his lackadaisical stewardship in office.

“These repeated violations, at the expense of the citizens of New Orleans in a time when honest leadership was needed most, do not deserve leniency,” wrote Matthew M. Coman, an assistant United States attorney.

Robert Jenkins, the lawyer representing Mr. Nagin, had urged leniency, arguing that Mr. Nagin has a “completely sterling record” outside of the convictions and that the behavior described at trial is a “complete aberration to his otherwise outstanding life.”

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

11947: Sorrell’s Spotty Trendspotting.

WPP Overlord Sir Martin Sorrell published a perspective titled, “The 10 Trends Shaping the Global Ad Business” via LinkedIn—which immediately begs the question why Sir Marty is on the social site with nearly 108,500 followers. That’s a lot of WPP sycophants. Regardless, one must also wonder if the amazing JWT Trendspotting Crew helped their boss type the piece. Of particular disinterest is the following excerpt:

2. Supply exceeds demand—except in talent

Despite the events that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, manufacturing production still generally outstrips consumer demand. This is good news for marketing companies, because manufacturers need to invest in branding in order to differentiate their products from the competition.

Meanwhile, the war for talent, particularly in traditional Western companies, has only just begun. The squeeze is coming from two directions: declining birth rates and smaller family sizes; and the relentless rise of the web and associated digital technologies.

Simply, there will be fewer entrants to the jobs market and, when they do enter it, young people expect to work for tech-focused, more networked, less bureaucratic companies. It is hard now; it will be harder in 20 years.

To his credit, Sir Marty has previously covered the topics of talent recruitment and development in the industry, albeit mostly admitting his own companies do a lousy job in the areas. Hell, he recently lost JWT Director of Trendspotting Ann Mack to Facebook, underscoring his point about folks’ desire “to work for tech-focused, more networked, less bureaucratic companies.” Yet like the pap annually excreted by the JWT Trendspotters, Sir Marty’s pseudo thought leader puffery lacks any true vision or action plans to address the issues. Indeed, the man appears oblivious to the fact that he’s directly responsible for the trends, given his continuing success at erecting tech-fucked-up, poorly networked, brontosaur-like bureaucracies.

Monday, July 07, 2014

11946: Red Lobster’s Endless Shit.

Advertising Age reported Red Lobster chose Publicis Kaplan Thaler as its new “creative” shop. Red Lobster Senior VP-Marketing Mark Gilley claimed the decision was based in part on the work PKT has done for Wendy’s that “broke conventions”—but completely failed to brake sales skids. Why doesn’t Red Lobster simply ‘fess up and admit it doesn’t give a shit about creative? Endless account reviews ultimately lead to Endless Shrimp promotions.

Red Lobster Names Publicis Kaplan Thaler Creative Agency

Marketing Chief Says Shop’s ‘Convention Breaking’ Wendy’s Work Was Factor in Decision

By Maureen Morrison

Red Lobster has named Publicis Kaplan Thaler its lead creative agency.

The move comes two months after the chain put its account into review, a move that was prompted by Red Lobster’s impending departure from parent company Darden. WPP’s Grey had handled the business since 2010, when it won the account from Richards Group.

Grey, which created the chain’s “Sea Food Differently” tagline, did not participate in the latest go-round, but the agency still fields creative for Darden sibling brands Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse. SMG’s Spark handles Red Lobster’s media.

The review, which began in April, had been whittled down to a contest among four shops: Interpublic’s Martin Agency, and indie agencies Olson and Barkley. Pile & Co. oversaw the process.

Mark Gilley, senior VP-marketing at Red Lobster, noted that the chain chose Publicis Kaplan Thaler because of its creative pitches, its existing work and digital and social strategy, the last of which is an particularly important element for Red Lobster as it moves more marketing dollars into digital. He added that the agency’s work for Wendy’s and its use of spokeswoman Red helped Red Lobster choose Publicis Kaplan Thaler because that tactic “broke conventions” in the fast-food category.

Mr. Gilley said that the chain has been pleased with the current “Sea Food Differently” tagline, though he said it’s not certain whether the line will remain with Publicis Kaplan Thaler. He expects the first campaign from the new shop to debut later in the first half of 2015.

Darden said U.S. same-restaurant sales in the most recent quarter increased 2.4% at LongHorn Steakhouse, declined 3.5% at Olive Garden and slid 5.6% at Red Lobster. Red Lobster’s U.S. systemwide sales were down 3.1% to $2.4 billion in 2013, according to Technomic, which ranks the chain as the 26th largest in the country.

Darden in December said it planned to sell or spin off the struggling Red Lobster brand, responding to pressure from an activist hedge fund trying to boost the stock price. In May, the chain announced it would sell Red Lobster to private-equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion.

It’s unclear what Golden Gate Capital has in mind for Red Lobster. But before the sale was announced in December, Darden CEO Clarence Otis said that marketing spending for the chain would decrease, because as a percentage of sales, “it’s floated up higher than is sustainable, and that’s going to be a key focus area for the new Red Lobster going forward.”

Mr. Otis said then that as the company ramps up digital-marketing capabilities for its brands, “we would expect our television marketing expenses to scale down dramatically.”

Red Lobster is the 114th biggest brand in terms of U.S. spending, according to Ad Age’s DataCenter. In 2013, the chain spent $156.2 million in U.S. measured media, down from $159.6 million in 2012.

11945: Extra! Extra! Offensive! Ignorance!

From The New York Post…

Obama called the N-word in headline

By Kevin Fasick and Laura Italiano

The WHAT in the White House?

Well-heeled West Villagers will be in for a rude surprise when they open the latest copy of their local newspaper and see the headline, “The N----r in the White House” — except without the dashes.

The shocking headline in the WestView News is a reference to President Obama and sits at the top of Page 15 above an opinion piece that criticizes what it calls the anti-black “racism” of far-right voters.

The convoluted screed by author and journalist James Lincoln Collier is actually a pro-Obama piece — but that didn’t stop West Villagers from decrying the printing of the slur.

“It’s disrespectful in any context to refer to the president of the United States as the N-word,” said one West Villager, Eugene May.

“If you were quoting something or referring to the historic context of the word being used, I can understand the justification,” said May, 31.

Any ironic intent in calling Obama by the word was no consolation, he said.

“It seems he’s just using it for shock value,” May added.

Fellow West Villager Joe Megie, a self-described “black Republican,” also blasted the headline.

“My first take is, it’s sad,” said Megie, 38, the CFO of Gay Men’s Health Crisis.

What, neighbors wondered, was the neighborhood monthly’s 86-year-old editor/publisher, George Capsis, thinking?

“The editorial staff continues to object” to the use of the word, Capsis writes in a head-scratcher of an explanation.

“In this article, however, Jim reminded me that The New York Times avoids using the word which convinced me that WestView should,” he added.

Collier “wanted to use the word” to “shock us into accepting that there are people who believe and use this outrageous word,” Capsis went on.

In the piece, Collier, an author of novels for young adults, complains that “far-right voters hate Obama because he is black.”

“The simple truth is that there is still in America an irreducible measure of racism,” the piece reads, going on to condemn how “America’s increasing tolerance of far-right opinion has made racism more acceptable.”

Capsis, who did not respond to email and voicemail requests for comment on Saturday, must have been expecting backlash from the toxic header.

Below the piece ran another op-ed, written by an African-American columnist and titled, “The Headline Offends Me.”

“The decision to use the headline feels misguided to me,” Alvin Hall writes. “I don’t see how its use benefits anyone, but I do feel all too clearly how it deeply offends me.”

Capsis is no stranger to controversy. Last year, he slapped state Sen. Brad Hoylman in the face at a rally for mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, whom he blamed for causing the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

11944: Stripped Of Dignity.

From BBDO in Brazil, an online lingerie sales tool designed for pornography and sex addicts with romantic tendencies. Gee, where were these clever deviates when Pornhub needed them?

From Ads of the World.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

11943: Cannes Under The Microscope.

Campaign published a perspective pointing out how the latest Cannes soiree had a scientific angle—featuring seminars with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and futurist Jason Silva—which showed that science is playing an increasing role in creativity. Really? More like the self-absorbed attendees are pseudo intellectual poseurs taking breaks between fawning over Bono, Kanye West and Robin Thicke. At Cannes, star-fucking will always trump star-gazing.

Cannes looks to science for cutting-edge thinking

From astrophysics to GNR to ‘human augmentation’, science is playing an increasing role in creativity.

By David Benady

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity sees itself as more than an advertising awards ceremony.

Creativity can mean many things to many people and, this year, the Palais des Festivals played host to an array of sessions. This ranged from the actor Ralph Fiennes in conversation with The Guardian’s editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, to Ogilvy & Mather’s chief creative officer, Tham Khai Meng, in a seminar on “cosmic quandaries and creativity” with the celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Some believe this kind of thinking is more important than ever. As technology progresses at breakneck speed, everyone needs to soak up insights from as wide a palette as possible to ensure their thinking does not stagnate.

Mark Holden, the planning and strategy director at PHD and the man who brought gamification to Cannes last year, provided “Mindtrip: a complete reboot of the way we see the world” in 2014.

The session featured the US TV presenter and futurist Jason Silva discussing subjects such as transcension and envisioning a world where genetics, nanotechnology and robotics (GNR) combine to forge a new type of biologically engineered human.

This is not as far-fetched as it sounds — Google has hired the futurist Ray Kurzweil as a director of engineering. He believes that the GNR revolution will eventually change what it means to be human.

Holden admits he did not understand Twitter when it launched as he saw it through the lens of text messaging: “Today, there’s so much wearable technology and I don’t get it. So that is why it is really important to think about where we are going.”

In O&M’s session, Tyson, who rose to fame after declaring Pluto is not a planet, said creativity and scientific discovery are strongly linked. Pointing to two well-used phrases — “he has it down to a science” and “he has raised it to an art” — he suggested they are “kindred souls” when it comes to making something great.

Tham said agencies were increasingly hiring scientists such as cartographers and “all kinds of storytellers”. He noted: “We have this eternal pursuit of knowledge – it’s cultural; steeped in our civilisations. We are trawling everywhere like these guys [the astrophysicists] are trawling stars and planets — it’s very much alike when you think of this whole cosmos out there.”

Tyson urges creatives to think like scientists: “We are all basking in the moving frontier of cosmic discovery.”

Elsewhere, Dentsu’s executive creative director, Yasuharu Sasaki, and Sony Computer Science Laboratories’ Jun Rekimoto provided examples of science creating new forms of “human augmentation”, with consumers “jacked in” to computerised interfaces that enable them to experience or control “out-of-body” experiences.

What the implications could be for advertising — or even society at large — remain unclear, but it is fascinating to watch these trends unfold.

Holden likens the feeling to viewing a catwalk show — fashion designers’ extraordinary creations may not be suitable to wear, but they give you ideas about the direction the industry is heading.

“If you have a future-minded perspective, you see things differently,” he points out. “We’ve heard most of what the industry has to say about storytelling and brand engagement; we are now having to reach outside and bring in new perspectives.”

11942: True Love Rings False.

Not loving this contrived campaign for Love & Co.

From Ads of the World.

Friday, July 04, 2014

11941: Not Buying Acura Campaign.

Thoroughly unimpressed with this Acura campaign concocted by Jerry Seinfeld. The work seems to be getting more PR for its celebrity creative director than its conceptual content. With the series of spots, Seinfeld makes look like Bill Bernbach. Give Seinfeld credit for accomplishing something he never could figure out with his long-running comedy show; that is, he finally managed to integrate a Black character in a leading role. But it’s not clear what the car salesman is supposed to be. He says, “I sell cars. You sell you.” Okay, but the majority of his unfunny banter is not selling cars. In fact, the most he offers about the latest Acura is that it comes in a variety of colors before blurting, “I’ll get the paperwork started.” Actual Acura dealers should be so lucky in their salesmanship. If Seinfeld really wants to push the envelope, he should produce pool-outs with cameo appearances by Michael Richards.

11940: American Apparel Bored…?

The New York Post reported ousted American Apparel CEO Dov Charney is staging a comeback. Meanwhile, plans are underway to add women to the company’s board of directors. Below are a few of the candidates being considered.

American Apparel may see women on the board

By James Covert

Dov Charney may soon be back at American Apparel — but if so, things will be different.

The retailer’s controversial founder, ousted two weeks ago in a surprise coup, would not return to the board or necessarily assume any executive role, sources told The Post.

Meanwhile, insiders said a new plan under consideration calls for American Apparel to add women to the board for the first time, including possibly the chairman’s seat.

That’s a bold counterpoint to longstanding criticism that Charney had created a hostile work environment for female employees.

These dramatic changes could come in the days following the flamboyant founder’s recent move to enlarge his stake in the company to 43 percent, putting him within striking distance of a majority.

Charney, whose chairman’s title was stripped while he was suspended as chief executive at a June 18 meeting, has agreed to hand over voting rights from his equity stake to investment firm Standard General LP, which has loaned him the cash to enlarge the stake, sources said.

That deal has enabled the New York investment firm to negotiate directly with American Apparel’s board, sources said. Last week, the board implemented an anti-takeover “poison pill” defense after Charney and Standard General disclosed their stock-buying deal.

In a Wednesday letter to its investors, the fund said it has “opened a constructive dialogue” with American Apparel’s current board to find an “amicable and expeditious resolution” to the crisis.

Standard General also said it is “prepared to lend its credibility and capital resources” to avert liquidity concerns, including a $10 million loan from Lion Capital that was thrown into default by Charney’s ouster.

Under the Charney-Standard deal, the company founder has agreed to let the firm call the shots at the retailer in exchange for promising to uphold his longstanding policy of manufacturing clothes in the US and paying workers at its LA factory a living wage, sources said.

Charney, who is expected to remain the company’s largest investor, likewise has no guarantees about his future at the company, as he and Standard General await the outcome of a board investigation into alleged willful misconduct, according to sources.

“No decision has been made [about Charney’s role] until we get through the investigation,” a source close to the situation said, adding it is of “utmost importance” that the board investigation be completed.

Last month, Charney got blitzed when the board moved to fire him, alleging a pattern of behavior that materially harmed the company. Among its key allegations were that he had allowed a blogger to post naked pictures of a former employee who had sued for sex harassment in 2011.

In addition to adding women to the board, Standard General is looking to add seasoned retail pros, sources said. The reconstituted board also may include members of the current board, according to a source.

The new board will “be able to quickly identify and empower a strong management team,” Standard General said in its Wednesday letter.

“This transaction is not about the founder, nor is it an endorsement of him,” Standard General wrote to its investors. “He will serve no role if he is deemed unfit.”