Sunday, November 30, 2014

12269: Panning Cinema Ads Research.

Campaign reported on some useless research involving the alleged effectiveness of cinema advertising. According to a recent study, cinema ads are eight times more effective at making brands stand out than TV commercials. Gee, that’s about as earth-shattering as discovering Kraft content gets four times better ROI versus advertising. For starters, cinema ads don’t have the same competition for attention, as moviegoers are almost forced to watch. The research showed people recalled the cinema ads better than TV spots. But since when has message recall equated to sales bumps? Plus, advertisers who simply run their TV commercials in theatres often receive eye rolls and dismissive groans from audiences. Even the Campaign story pointed out the pointlessness in drawing any conclusions based on the study results. Oh, and the research was conducted by a source called Digital Cinema Media. Can’t imagine these clowns had any vested interest in presenting the data in flowery fashion.

Cinema ads eight times more effective at making brands stand out than TV, says DCM

By Gurjit Degun

Ads shown in cinemas have more of an impact on the audience compared with those watching TV, according to research by Digital Cinema Media (DCM).

The study, which was presented at DCM’s Upfronts event at Bafta this morning, found cinema ads are “processed by the brain more consciously” and so concluded that cinema is “more powerful and emotionally engaging”.

The study was conducted by Hall & Partners, and included 1,200 participants including a cinema “cell” that was recruited in the foyer of cinemas and a TV “cell” recruited through an online panel.

The results concluded that cinema ads are just over eight times more effective at making a brand stand out.

Both samples were asked how many of a range of ads they remembered seeing. While 13 per cent of the cinema sample remembered the brand they had seen in the cinema, only 1.6 per cent of the TV sample could do the same.

It also found that those watching ads in a cinema are twice as likely to recall a brand, than those viewing TV ads.

When the participants were shown an unbranded still from an ad, three times as many of those who saw it in the cinema were able to recall which brand it was for.

Simon Rees, the chief executive at DCM, said: “Maybe we’re stating the obvious, but the sheer impact and engagement of watching an ad on the big screen means cinema is the medium of choice when it comes to strengthening a brand, delivering key messages, increasing awareness and attracting new customers, especially amongst a desirable, hard to reach target audience.”

However, Lindsey Clay, the chief executive of Thinkbox, the marketing body for TV advertising, questioned the findings, saying people only visit the cinema occasionally.

She said: “TV is a major part of everyday life and the foundation of the biggest brands. IPA Touchpoints shows that going to the cinema accounts for 0.4 per cent of the average person’s media day; watching TV accounts for 48 per cent.

“Seventy-five per cent of the UK goes to the cinema in a year; TV reaches 93 per cent a week.

“So cinema is a great addition to TV advertising but in no way is it a replacement. These findings need some perspective.”

12268: Furtive Fake News Item.

From The Onion…

Temple University Receives Anonymous Donation To Build Center For Discrediting Rape Allegations

PHILADELPHIA—Stipulating that the funds be used for “furthering the invalidation of sexual assault claims wherever they occur,” an anonymous donation received Thursday by Temple University is reportedly intended to be used to build a center for discrediting rape allegations. “The donor, who has chosen to withhold his identity, requested that his $30 million endowment go toward a facility dedicated to undermining accusations of sexual abuse,” said alumni relations representative Cheryl Walker, adding that an unsigned letter accompanying the sizable contribution specified that the center act as a campuswide resource for damaging the reputation of rape victims, as well as a hub for research into methods of sowing doubt about sexual misconduct charges. “This benefactor, who is clearly a very wealthy individual, made plain through his legal intermediary that all students, faculty, and alumni have access to the center, and that especially promising work into tearing apart rape allegations until the accuser herself becomes an object of ridicule—even if such discrediting occurs decades after the fact—could receive additional funding.” Walker added that while $30 million was a significant amount of money, Temple had chosen to decline the funding and hoped it would not hear from the anonymous donor again.

12267: Bigoted Black Lager…?

From The New York Daily News…

Heartland Brewery receives backlash for ‘racist’ slogan

The beerhouse is drawing criticism for its Bavarian Black Lager, which promises customers will become ‘a slave to the flavor.’ Several people, including Kristen John Foy of the National Action Network, say the slogan is racist and inappropriate.

By Thomas Tracy

Heartland Brewery is drawing some bad buzz over a slogan that for many invokes slavery.

The boneheaded beerhouse’s Bavarian Black Lager promises customers will become “a slave to the flavor” — sparking a brouhaha among customers who believe the seasonal suds’ saying smacks of racism.

“It’s just wrong,” said one white patron as he stared up at the sign at the brewery chain’s Union Square location.

“It’s actually crazy,” added a 42-year-old man who would only identify himself as Ryan.

“There’s a better way to express what they’re trying to express without eliciting that mindset.”

The beer slogan’s racist interpretation wasn’t lost on Ryan’s father-in-law.

“I can see that people will find it offensive,” said the 70-year-old man, who only gave his first name as Russ. “It doesn’t bother me, but I can see that it will bother someone else.”

The brewery has also been criticized on social media.

“Hey a-------,” Drew Cerria wrote on the company’s Facebook page on Nov. 12. “In case you’re not aware, that’s totally racist and f----- up!”

Kirsten John Foy of the National Action Network called the beer’s slogan “absolutely inappropriate, offensive and intentionally provocative.”

“At a time when race relations are at the heart of the national and local discourse, Heartland Brewery has decided to evoke the pain and trauma of our nation’s most shameful and hateful legacy and use it as a cheap marketing ploy,” he said.

At Heartland’s Midtown location, drinkers were stunned by the tasteless tease — once it was pointed out to them.

“Now I feel bad that I didn’t recognize it before,” said Astoria resident Natalie King, 31, who is white. “I think these days people are immune to the word slave.”

The dark, slightly bitter lager has ruby highlights, chocolate and caramel malts, and 6.5% alcohol. The glass it’s served in has a picture of a white dominatrix balancing a pint on a leather-clad submissive’s behind, hinting at a different explanation for the word “slave.”

Employees said the Bavarian Black Lager has been part of the pub’s winter menu for years and is poured at all of its locations. The beer is tapped right after Halloween and is always served in the “slave” glasses, employees explained.

No one has complained about it before, they said.

“I really haven’t heard that about (the beer),” said Anna Anderson, the manager of the Union Square location, who is African-American.

Many black customers and employees shrugged off the questionable undertones.

“It’s a beer,” said Taryn Harris, 40. “I didn’t interpret it that way. People are slaves to whatever they like. They’re a slave to their addictions, be it food or sex. That’s how I interpreted it, as an addiction, not anything else.”

Maquino Sylvester, 21, a waiter at the Union Square location, also saw nothing wrong with the beer’s logo.

“It’s supposed to be something hot,” he said, looking at the picture. “I’m not offended, but I’m no racist. Why should we focus on black or white? We are all going to the same place one day.”

Saturday, November 29, 2014

12266: Holy Moses, Murdoch!

From The New York Daily News…

‘Since when are Egyptians not white?’: Rupert Murdoch defends all-white ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ cast on Twitter

Critics claim the upcoming film about Moses is racially inaccurate and offensive because it features white actors playing famous Egyptians. But the media mogul doesn’t understand the controversy: ‘Of course Egyptians are Middle Eastern, but far from black. They treated blacks as slaves,’ he tweeted.


Media magnate Rupert Murdoch defended the all-white cast of “Exodus: Gods and Kings” on Twitter, declaring that that Egyptians are whites who “treated blacks as slaves.”

Critics claim the upcoming film ― which tells the story of Moses’ escape from Egypt ― is racially inaccurate and offensive. Director Ridley Scott cast Christian Bale as Moses and a slew of other white actors as famous Egyptians.

But Murdoch ― who owns the studio producing the film ― doesn’t understand the backlash.

“Moses film attacked on Twitter for all white cast. Since when are Egyptians not white? All I know are,” he Tweeted Friday.

Commenters quickly pointed out the mogul’s faulty logic.

“To be fair, everybody @rupertmurdoch knows is probably white,” @bart_smith tweeted.

”Have you seen depictions of King Tut or other ancient Egyptians? They didn’t exactly resemble Channing Tatum,” @marcwilmore responded.

Murdoch tried to backpedal after the controversial tweet.

“Of course Egyptians are Middle Eastern, but far from black. They treated blacks as slaves,” he tweeted.

“Okay, there are many shades of color. Nothing racist about that, so calm down!” he said in another.

But those messages only made things worse.

“You really shoulda quit three tweets ago,” @DKuzLA responded.

Others wondered if the tweets were satire or if the 83-year-old had a stroke.

Previously, Joel Edgerton, another one of the film’s stars, sounded off about the casting controversy.

“I got asked to do a job and it would have been very hard to say no to that job,” he said.

Murdoch is the founder, chairman and CEO of both News Corporation and 21st Century Fox. The later owns 20th Century Fox, the film studio producing “Exodus: Gods and Kings.”

The movie opens on Dec. 12.

12265: In-Store Cyber Sale…?

Best Buy is celebrating Cyber Monday online and in store. Um, why call it “Cyber Monday” if you can shop in the store? Plus, the sales are not even very special. Will Best Buy be able to keep its website up? Maybe that’s why the place is offering to let customers experience Cyber Monday in the stores. Or more likely, the retailer is simply desperate for shoppers.

12264: Omnicom’s Digital Dumbness.

Advertising Age reported on Omnicom’s maneuvers involving digital agencies, with the holding company taking full ownership of Critical Mass and allowing EVB to buy back its independence. Omnicom is clearly handling its digital acquisitions differently than Publicis Groupe, taking a slow and steady—albeit clumsy—approach versus overspending to grab every digital shithouse that comes within sniffing distance of Maurice Lévy. Then again, the two holding companies do have a commonality; specifically, both are completely clueless about digital and how to properly integrate it into their respective corporate cesspools. The proposed Publicis Omnicom Groupe was intended to be unique, an original enterprise that would compete with powerhouses like Google. Unfortunately, the leaders at the holding companies barely understand how to use Google.

Omnicom Takes Ownership of Critical Mass While EVB Goes Indie

Latter Shop Relocates to Oakland, Calif. from San Francisco

By Alexandra Bruell, Maureen Morrison

Omnicom is taking full ownership of digital agency Critical Mass as its digital creative shop EVB buys back its independence.

“Omnicom is pleased to increase our majority stake in Critical Mass,” said an Omnicom spokeswoman. “Critical Mass is a highly successful global digital marketing agency with a strong management team led by Dianne Wilkins, a digital veteran. They are an important asset to our portfolio of agencies and work with many of our top clients around the world.”

“I can confirm that EVB is no longer a part of the group,” she added.

The changes come less than a year after the failure of Omnicom’s attempted merger with Publicis, which has a more-aggressive digital M&A strategy. A few weeks ago, Publicis agreed to acquire Sapient Corp for $3.7 billion. Omnicom has remained fairly quiet.

But Omnicom has never been known for acquiring large digital agencies, instead preferring small acquisitions and investments. It’s staying the course for now as evident in its latest move to relinquish one digital shop and take full ownership of another.

“In terms of Omnicom’s M&A approach—it is growing through a combination of strategic acquisitions as well as focused organic investments in our agencies,” said a spokeswoman. “Meeting our clients’ needs by service offering and geographic location is the first test for all our acquisitions, followed by cultural fit and price.”


Omnicom bought a majority stake in San Francisco-based EVB in 2006. The holding company now owns a 60% stake, up from 51% in 2012. The agency was founded in 2000 by CEO Daniel Stein and Exec Creative Director Jason Zada. Mr. Zada in August 2008 left the agency to focus on directing, producing and writing. In March 2014, the Omnicom shop tapped Shane Ginsberg from sibling Organic and named him president. EVB most recently announced plans to move to Oakland, Calif., from San Francisco.

EVB declined to comment.

Critical Mass

Omnicom invested in a majority of Calgary-based Critical Mass in 1999 and as of 2014 owned 54% of the company. Unlike Omnicom’s other digital agencies which are part of larger creative agency networks—Organic lives within BBDO and Tribal is part of DDB, for example—Critical Mass operates independently.

“We had been running with split ownership that prevented us form being emotionally completely within Omnicom,” said Ms. Wilkins. “We didn’t necedssarly have all the same tools to grow and branch out that some of the competitive sets backed completely by their holding companies have.” She said there’s not yet an “articulated strategy” mapping out how the shop will take advantage of a parent that’s completely invested, but the goal will be to expand the shop by geography, services and capabilities.”

Ms. Wilkins is currently based in Calgary, Canada, but has plans to move to New York next month. The shop’s New York office is also moving from midtown east to 200 Varick Street by the end of January.

Critical Mass was founded in 1995 as a promotional CD-ROM developer and a year later entered web development, designing Mercedes-Benz USA’s corporate website. Now it has more than 700 people and eight full-service offices, operating across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. This past January, the shop tapped Huge’s Conor Brady as chief creative officer and Chris Hayes as chief marketer, and over the past couple years it has made investments in Latin America and the U.K.

Friday, November 28, 2014

12263: Lowell In London.

Artist/Writer/Recovering Adman Lowell Thompson was interviewed by London-based Design Week, including a showcase of his adverts (that’s what Londoners call the work). Check it out here.

12262: Redskins Salute Indians.

In light of the Washington Redskins Thanksgiving Greeting, it seems the team also has an opportunity to commemorate Native American Heritage Month.

12261: Redskins’ Thanksgiving Turkey.

From The New York Daily News…

Washington’s NFL team tweets tone-deaf Thanksgiving greeting

Washington ― whose nickname is an offensive term for Native Americans ― posted a Thanksgiving greeting on Twitter Thursday. Critics quickly slammed the team for its tone-deaf, awkward message.


Well, this is uncomfortable.

Washington’s NFL team ― whose nickname is an offensive term for Native Americans ― wished their Twitter followers a happy Thanksgiving Thursday.

The holiday greeting did not go over well. Critics quickly cut into the team for its tone-deaf tweet.

Critics have long pressed the football team to ditch the controversial nickname. In September, the Daily News decided it would no longer publish the unacceptable name or its logo, which features a feathered Native American.

Still, Washington’s team has refused to change, even after the U.S. Patent and Trademark office revoked its trademark in June.

12260: Sabra Dips Into New White Agency.

Adweek reported on yet another advertiser selecting a new White advertising agency following a review. Sabra Dipping Company picked The Martin Agency to handle advertising for its hummus, salsa, guacamole and yogurt vegetable dips. According to the company’s website, Sabra has a deep commitment to diversity:

We are committed to equal opportunity in all aspects of employment and to fostering a work environment where people feel comfortable and respected. Our objective is for the diversity of our employees to match the diversity of the population wherever we operate and for the performance of all employees to be judged fairly and based on their contribution to our results. Sabra Dipping Company encourages an inclusive culture, which enables all employees to do their best.

Um, did the company whose “objective is for the diversity of our employees to match the diversity of the population wherever we operate” notice its new advertising agency is as White as its Greek Yogurt Dips?

The Martin Agency Replaces Cool Whip with Hummus

As Kraft brand leaves, Sabra arrives

By Andrew McMains

Three weeks after Kraft moved to shift its Cool Whip brand out of The Martin Agency, the shop replaced the hole in its cupboard with Sabra dips and spreads.

Martin, a unit of Interpublic Group, is now lead creative agency for the Sabra Dipping Co., succeeding StrawberryFrog in New York. The company’s media spending approaches $15 million a year.

StrawberryFrog had handled the business since 2008, when Sabra had a 10 percent share of the refrigerated flavored spreads market. Today, however, the brand is a leader in the category, accounting for more than 60 percent all sales. Beyond hummus, Sabra sells salsa, guacamole and a yogurt vegetable dip.

Ah, but in September the company installed a new CEO—Shali Shalit-Shoval succeeded Ronen Zahar—and decided to play the field, launching an agency search that resulted in the hiring of Martin. StrawberryFrog, a unit of Apco Worldwide, defended and was among a handful of finalists for the business, according to sources.

In selecting Martin, Sabra director of marketing Eric Greifenberger cited the shop’s “keen understanding of our consumer, the fresh dips category, and Sabra’s brand potential,” adding that it provides a “depth and breadth of talent uniquely suited for supporting our needs going forward.” Martin CEO Matt Williams, in turn, described Sabra as an “amazing brand.”

The creative shift has no impact on Sabra’s other roster shops, which include OMD (media planning and buying), Colangelo (shopper marketing), Shared Experiences (event marketing) and Seymour Public Relations.

StrawberryFrog CEO Scott Goodson is proud of his shop’s role in helping Sabra achieve a “formidable leadership market position,” but acknowledged that “with new company leadership, it’s not at all unusual for change to be a part of their formula for success.” Optimistically, he added, “We look forward to applying our abilities to the next food brand looking to enjoy the same growth trajectory as Sabra.”

Thursday, November 27, 2014

12259: Thanksgiving Musings.

Given that November is Native American Heritage Month, Thanksgiving seems like the appropriate day to acknowledge the honor. The Native Americans attending the original Thanksgiving feast were the Wampanoags, who ultimately helped the Pilgrim invaders survive in the unfamiliar land. Additionally, the main menu item was likely venison—provided by the Wampanoags—versus turkey (a delicacy that Native Americans also introduced to the Pilgrims). The Wampanoags were considered to be devilish heathens by the Pilgrims, which is ironic when realizing the Pilgrims probably would have died and gone straight to hell if not for the Wampanoags’ life-saving support. For many Native Americans today, Thanksgiving is the National Day of Mourning. Thankfully, the NFL didn’t schedule a holiday game featuring the Washington Redskins.

12258: Deutsch LA Tweets BS.

Advertising Age reported the FTC spanked Sony and Deutsch LA for deceptive messages delivered via tweets—marking the first time an advertiser and its White advertising agency have faced charges over Twitter misbehavior.

A press release from the FTC stated that Deutsch LA “misled consumers by urging its employees to create awareness and excitement about the PS Vita on Twitter, without instructing employees to disclose their connection to the advertising agency or its then-client Sony.” The complaint also revealed “about a month before the gaming console was launched, one of Deutsch LA’s assistant account executives sent a company-wide email to staff asking them to help with the ad campaign by posting comments about the PS Vita on Twitter…”

The parties ultimately reached a settlement, with Deutsch LA presenting its own legalese-filled remarks: “Deutsch LA is pleased to have concluded negotiations with the FTC regarding 2012 advertising for the Sony Vita. In the proposed Order, Deutsch LA, Inc. did not admit to any violation of the law and sought to resolve all open issues to avoid protracted legal proceedings. Deutsch LA appreciates the FTC’s staff’s cooperation in bringing this matter to resolution.”

Wow. The only thing missing from Deutsch LA’s statement is having it read aloud with Joe Isuzu as voiceover.

Does anyone think for a millisecond that Deutsch LA is not guilty of everything the FTC charged? It goes to the digital ignorance of traditional White advertising agencies, as well as such firms’ tactics designed to boost response rates and data. Heaven forbid a shop could produce content that might inspire legitimate consumer enthusiasm. Instead, ad agencies routinely instruct staffers to view YouTube videos, like Facebook pages, tweet 140-character compliments, vote promotional support, etc.—and even recruit their personal social networks in the false festivities. Oh, and digital agencies do the same damn things.

For Deutsch LA to insist it “did not admit to any violation of the law” is creative copywriting at its finest. The agency’s statement is about as honest as this yelp review of the shop’s office.

FTC Calls Out Sony—and Deutsch LA—for Deceptive Advertising

First Time FTC Has Charged An Agency Or Company Regarding Twitter Behavior

By Maureen Morrison

The Federal Trade Commission doesn’t think that Sony’s claims that its PlayStation Vita handheld device was game changing, was game-changing at all.

Sony Computer Entertainment America has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers with false advertising claims about the “game changing” technological features of Vita during its U.S. launch campaign in late 2011 and early 2012. The commission also targeted ad agency Deutsch, Los Angeles, for both its traditional advertising and a social-media effort. In fact, the FTC said this is the first its charged any agency or company with deceptive conduct related to Twitter posts.

According to a FTC statement, Sony claimed that the handheld console would revolutionize gaming mobility by enabling consumers to play their PlayStation 3 games via “remote play,” and that they could engage in “cross platform” play by starting a game on a PS3 and then continuing it on the Vita, right where they left off. The FTC alleged that each of these claims was misleading.

But the FTC went farther. In a separate action, it stated that Deutsch Los Angeles, the agency handling the Vita launch, “knew or should have known that the advertisements it produced contained misleading claims about the console’s cross-platform and 3G capabilities.”

It also said that Deutsch LA “misled consumers by urging its employees to create awareness and excitement about the PS Vita on Twitter, without instructing employees to disclose their connection to the advertising agency or its then-client Sony,” said a FTC press release.

The agency used the #gamechanger hashtag in its ads to direct consumers to Twitter to talk about Vita. But, “about a month before the gaming console was launched, one of Deutsch LA’s assistant account executives sent a company-wide email to staff asking them to help with the ad campaign by posting comments about the PS Vita on Twitter and using the same ‘#gamechanger’ hashtag,” according to the complaint.

The participating employees, however, did not clearly state that they worked for Sony’s agency. In other words, the FTC said, agency employees could be mistaken for regular consumers.

“Deutsch LA is pleased to have concluded negotiations with the FTC regarding 2012 advertising for the Sony Vita,” said the agency in a statement. “In the proposed Order, Deutsch LA, Inc. did not admit to any violation of the law and sought to resolve all open issues to avoid protracted legal proceedings. Deutsch LA appreciates the FTC’s staff’s cooperation in bringing this matter to resolution.”

In all, the proposed settlement orders prohibit both Sony and Deutsch LA from making similar claims in the future when promoting the features or capabilities of handheld gaming consoles. The proposed order against Deutsch LA also bars it from “misrepresenting that an endorser of any game console product or video game product is an independent user or ordinary consumer of the product.” In addition, the proposed order requires Deutsch LA to disclose a material connection between any endorser of a game console product or video game product and Deutsch LA. These requirements are in line with the FTC’s Endorsement Guides, said the FTC.

As part of its settlement with the FTC, Sony will provide consumers who bought a Vita before June 1, 2012, either a $25 cash or credit refund, or a $50 merchandise voucher for select video games or services. Sony will provide notice via email to consumers who are eligible for the voucher after the settlement is finalized by the FTC.

Though it’s rare for the FTC to file a complaint against an ad agency, this isn’t the first time. For example, back in 2002, the FTC filed a complaint stating that Wonder Bread and its ad agency Campbell Mithun made unsubstantiated claims that Wonder Bread’s “added calcium could improve children’s brain function and memory were unsubstantiated and violated federal law.”

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

12257: J.R. Smith On Black Friday.

The New York Daily News reported on New York Knicks Guard J.R. Smith and his Instagram post about Black Friday. Not sure if it matters whether or not this will result in Offensive Karma affecting the NBA team’s success. The lackluster and inept play by Smith and Carmelo Anthony make it all moot at this point.

Knicks’ J.R. Smith links ‘Black Friday’ to slavery in bizarre Instagram post

‘DID YOU KNOW: Black Friday stemmed from slavery? It was the day after Thanksgiving when slave traders would sell slaves for a discount,’ read the since-deleted graphic.

By Jaime Uribarri | NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Don’t expect J.R. Smith to master something as complicated as the triangle offense when he can’t even grasp basic American history.

The Knicks shooting guard made a fool of himself on Instagram Tuesday night by linking the term “Black Friday” with slavery.

“DID YOU KNOW: Black Friday stemmed from slavery? It was the day after Thanksgiving when slave traders would sell slaves for a discount to assist plantation owners with more helpers for the upcoming winter (for cutting and stacking fire wood, winterproofing etc.), hence the name,” read the graphic, complete with an illustration of a slave auction.

“You’re a f------ idiot” was one of the the more blunt responses to the head-scratcher of a post, while others, like Twitter user @j_weech1, tried enlightening Smith about the true meaning of the term.

“It’s called Black Friday because businesses get into the black (profit) for the year, because it’s the biggest day.”

Smith’s only reaction was to quickly delete the post, but not before attentive Instagram users from took a screen shot for posterity.

Now untying opposing players’ shoelaces will go down as the second-dumbest thing Smith has ever done.

12256: SC Johnson’s Shifty Shifts.

Chicago Business Journal Advertising Reporter Lewis Lazare wrote a column titled, “The great migration: [SC Johnson] quietly shifts key ad accounts to Energy BBDO from Ogilvy”—and it looks like another clear case of Corporate Cultural Collusion involving Omnicom.

In 2011, Energy BBDO and Ogilvy won all of the SC Johnson business originally handled by Draftfcb. According to Lazare, “an [SC Johnson] spokeswoman…said…that the company is ‘going through a review exercise’ and added ‘it’s typical we would do this as contracts are up.’” Um, what the fuck is a “review exercise”—some sort of corrupt calisthenics? Are other agencies being invited to compete for billings? Or does SC Johnson’s boasts of being “A Family Company” mean it keeps business in the family via a nepotistic style?

Lazare speculated on the reasons behind SC Johnson surreptitiously shifting accounts from Ogilvy to Energy BBDO:

In the spring of 2013, long after [SC Johnson] had split up its advertising business between Energy BBDO and Ogilvy, Salman Amin arrived at [SC Johnson] as its chief operating officer after having served as global chief marketing officer at PepsiCo for a number of years.

At PepsiCo, Amin would have come to know BBDO and its flagship New York office quite well. BBDO for decades worked with PepsiCo on its flagship Pepsi cola brand and other PepsiCo products.

Sources say Amin had long held BBDO in high esteem. So Ogilvy may not have been too surprised to see a big chunk of its [SC Johnson] business start to move to Energy BBDO over the past year after Amin had settled in at the home products giant.

If Lazare is correct, it appears Omnicom is extending its Corporate Cultural Collusion tactics from PepsiCo and related Quaker Oats to SC Johnson.

On the one hand, SC Johnson is a lousy client and creatives’ nightmare, consistently producing crappy campaigns. At the same time, the company makes claims such as “Integrity is part of our DNA”—plus, SC Johnson displays a deep commitment to diversity and inclusion. SC Johnson Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson officially stated, “…cultivating inclusion and diversity is much more fundamental than driving business results. It is a vital foundation to ensure that SCJ attracts, retains and inspires the best people. That’s why the company formally launched its first diversity initiative in 1992. And it’s why we continue to make it a top priority today and into the future.” Okay, so why does the place continue to conspire with White advertising agencies where exclusivity reigns and diversity has been denied forever?

Sorry, but no amount of Glade candles can mask the stink emanating from the “review exercise” being conducted between SC Johnson, Energy BBDO and Omnicom. It’s simply an example of nepotism, cronyism and other assorted isms at work.

12255: Coke’s Lily-White Christmas.

A new Coca-Cola holiday commercial from Ogilvy (apparently originally produced with Coca-Cola Germany) forgoes the polar bears for Santa Claus, Jimmy Durante and slice-of-life scenarios. However, it’s a predominately White Christmas, with only one background Black person and an ambiguous Asian/Latina character in the entire 60-second spot. Where the hell was OgilvyCulture while this contrived shit was being storyboarded?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

12254: CarMax Picks New White Shop.

Adweek reported CarMax selected McKinney as its new White advertising agency, following a shootout including BBDO in Atlanta and The Martin Agency in Richmond, Virginia. As previously noted, adpeople and car salespeople rank high among the most dishonest professions, so the review could have boiled down to determining which untrustworthy White agency lied best in order to service the deceptive client. Don’t know too much about McKinney, although a peek at the agency website shows the leadership is predominately White. Plus, the shop once embarrassed itself competing on AMC series The Pitch. Guess the CarMax win is a step up for the North Carolina agency. Congratulations!

CarMax Picks Its Next Lead Agency

Brand spends $60 million in media annually

By Andrew McMains

CarMax has selected McKinney as its new lead creative agency, according to sources.

The used-car retailer spends about $60 million in media annually. The selection came after a review in which there were two other finalists: BBDO in Atlanta and The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va. Final presentations took place on Friday and Monday at CarMax’s headquarters in Richmond.

McKinney and CarMax could not immediately be reached. But sources said CarMax shared its decision with contenders.

As lead agency, McKinney succeeds Silver + Partners in New York, which did not participate in the review. Silver, formerly known as Amalgamated, has worked on the brand since 2010 and created this year’s “Slow Clap” ad for the Super Bowl.

The search coincided with the installation of a new chief marketing officer. Jim Lyski, former CMO at Scotts Miracle-Gro, arrived in August, filling a vacancy left by the December 2012 exit of Joseph Kunkel, who was svp of marketing and strategy.

12253: Havas Approves Bolloré Offer.

Campaign reported the Bolloré clan gained approval to buy a controlling stake in Havas. Between Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Lévy and the Bolloré boys, the French sure have shown a penchant for purchasing enterprises of dubious value. It’s only a matter of time before the two parties sit down for café au lait and croissants to discuss a merger of morons.

Havas board approves Bolloré takeover

By Maisie McCabe

The Havas board has approved the Bolloré Group’s attempt to buy a controlling stake in the company.

At a meeting last week the Havas board reviewed the findings of an independent report into the offer. The report said Bolloré’s offer is fair as it “offers a premium on Havas’s intrinsic value”.

The Bolloré Group filed a share exchange offer of nine shares in Bolloré Group for five shares of Havas on 17 October. The offer represents a 19.5 per cent premium on the price of Havas shares prior to the deal being made public.

The “group committee” of Havas employees approved the deal on 27 October.

Following the recommendations of the independent report, the approval of the group committee, and the Bolloré Group’s willingness to support Havas’s future growth, the board decided the offer was in the interest of Havas, its employees and its shareholders.

Yannick Bolloré, the chairman and chief executive of the Havas Group, said: “I am delighted by the positive opinion issued today by the board of directors of Havas. I am also pleased that this offer was favourably welcomed by the group committee.

“The success of this transaction will enable our group to benefit from the support of a long-term shareholder”.

Monday, November 24, 2014

12252: With Frenemies Like These…

Adweek reported Crispin Porter + Bogusky—the new White advertising agency for Infiniti—is teaming up with Anomaly, whose Shanghai office will handle the China portion of the account for the first year or two until CP+B can establish an office in the country. CP+B and Anomaly are sister agencies in the MDC Partners holding company; plus, the two competed against each other during the pitch for the entire account.

There are at least a couple of elements in this scenario that may be deemed as typical White advertising agency bullshit.

For starters, minority advertising agencies are routinely rejected from even participating in account reviews with the excuse that the firms lack global resources. Yet White advertising agencies lacking global resources are granted a few years to build a shop in foreign lands where they are culturally clueless. Adweek initially reported the following:

In its RFP, Infiniti, a unit of Nissan, identified its priority markets as the U.S., China and Hong Kong, though the brand also is sold in Europe, the Middle East, Russia, South Africa, Mexico, Canada and seven other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. So, having a global footprint is key to servicing the business.

In other words, CP+B was competing with the full knowledge that it did not have offices or capabilities in the priority markets identified by the client.

How do White advertising agencies such as Anomaly literally lose a pitch and still win significant business from the client? Looks like MDC Partners is emulating Omnicom with its use of Corporate Cultural Collusion. Last October, Adweek also reported the following:

Infiniti executives briefed Anomaly but the shop exited before final presentations last month, sources said. And after those presentations, the execs narrowed their focus to Crispin and Goodby.

Did Anomaly exit early knowing there was a good chance of nabbing Infiniti’s China business? Something smells fishy here.

Adweek ran a headline that stated “Crispin Turns to a Frenemy” for global assistance. Sorry, but there are no frenemies within holding companies. In the end, it’s all just business as usual for global advertisers and White advertising agencies, perpetuating the cronyism, exclusivity and discrimination that poisons our industry.

Crispin Turns to a Frenemy to Create Infiniti Ads in China

Gets help from sister shop and pitch rival Anomaly

By Andrew McMains

To handle a key market for its new global Infiniti business, MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky has turned to a rival, albeit one from the same holding company.

Until Crispin opens an office in Shanghai, China, Anomaly’s office there will create ads for the region. The move is unusual, as Anomaly competed against Crispin for Infiniti’s global account. But the luxury auto brand has immediate needs and high growth expectations in China, and starting an office takes time.

As such, Anomaly will handle the China portion of the account for at least a year—and possibly longer—until Crispin sets up shop. The account sharing also illustrates the imperfect choice that Infiniti faced when it selected Crispin instead of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to take on its global business. Goodby has no overseas offices and Crispin has just a few, in London; Copenhagen, Denmark; Gothenburg, Sweden; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In the end, though, Crispin will get by with a little help from a frenemy.

Beyond the MDC connections, Infiniti vp of global marketing Vincent Gillet noted a “genuine cultural fit and respect between CP + B and Anomaly.”

There’s also, of course, a revenue benefit to Anomaly, whose Shanghai office employs about 40 people and is led by CEO Eric Lee, executive creative director Elvis Chau and chief strategy officer Richard Summers. Other accounts include Budweiser, Converse and Pepsi, for which it Mirinda, a citrus soda brand. The office opened in 2013.

In explaining the partnership with Crispin, Anomaly global CEO Carl Johnson cited an affinity with the car brand, its leadership and Crispin. “We are therefore delighted to help our sister agency in the first year or two as they set up operations in Shanghai,” Johnson said.

Crispin CEO international Richard Pinder said the account sharing was borne of “trusting people rather than structures,” adding that Anomaly Shanghai’s leaders “know the market well, the issues.” Besides, he added, “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to find out that when you’re in the car business, China is kind of important.”

12251: Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner…?

From The New York Times…

Indianapolis Star Newspaper Apologizes for Cartoon on Migrants

By Emma G. Fitzsimmons

The Indianapolis Star removed a cartoon from its website over the weekend after readers complained that the drawing was racist for depicting an immigrant family climbing through a window to crash a white family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

The newspaper should not have published the cartoon, the paper’s executive editor, Jeff Taylor, said in a statement on Saturday. The cartoon, by the artist Gary Varvel, featured a white father unhappily telling his family, “Thanks to the president’s immigration order, we’ll be having extra guests this Thanksgiving.”

Mr. Taylor said that he was uncomfortable with the depiction when he saw it online, but editors decided to leave it up to allow readers to comment on it, and “because material can never truly be eliminated once it is circulating on the web.”

They decided to remove it on Saturday, he said.

“This action is not a comment on the issue of illegal immigration or a statement about Gary’s right to express his opinions strongly. We encourage and support diverse opinion,” Mr. Taylor wrote. “But the depictions in this case were inappropriate; his point could have been expressed in other ways.”

Many readers took issue with the heavy mustache worn by the immigrant father when the cartoon was posted on Friday. The mustache was later removed from the cartoon before the entire cartoon was taken down.

Mr. Taylor said that the cartoonist did not intend to be “racially insensitive” or for the cartoon to be read literally.

“He intended to illustrate the view of many conservatives and others that the president’s order will encourage more people to pour into the country illegally,” he said.

Mr. Varvel has been the editorial cartoonist at the newspaper since 1994, and his work is nationally syndicated through Creators Syndicate. The original cartoon was still posted to his Twitter page on Sunday evening. He did not respond to requests for comment.

He published several cartoons last week in response to the president’s immigration actions, which are expected to grant up to five million unauthorized immigrants protection from deportation. One cartoon showed the president’s car driving over the United States Constitution. Another showed the president dressed as a king for deciding to take action on his own.

Reporters at the newspaper criticized Mr. Varvel in 1999 when he illustrated invitations for an event that raised money for a Republican candidate for mayor, and the publisher agreed it was inappropriate. Mr. Varvel said at the time that he made “a stupid mistake” and thought the sketch was for a birthday party, not a political event.

12250: Enabling Bill Cosby.

From The New York Times…

Calling Out Bill Cosby’s Media Enablers, Including Myself

By David Carr

Amid the public revulsion at the news that Bill Cosby, a trailblazing black entertainer, allegedly victimized women in serial fashion throughout his career, the response from those in the know has been: What took so long?

What took so long is that those in the know kept it mostly to themselves. No one wanted to disturb the Natural Order of Things, which was that Mr. Cosby was beloved; he was as generous and paternal as his public image; and that his approach to life and work represented a bracing corrective to the coarse, self-defeating urban black ethos.

Only the first of those things was actually true.

Those in the know included Mark Whitaker, who did not find room in his almost 500-page biography, “Cosby: His Life and Times,” to address the accusations that Mr. Cosby had assaulted numerous women, at least four of whom had spoken on the record and by name in the past about what Mr. Cosby is accused of having done to them.

Those in the know also included Ta-Nehisi Coates, who elided over the charges in a long and seemingly comprehensive story about Mr. Cosby in The Atlantic in 2008.

Those in the know included Kelefa T. Sanneh, who wrote a major piece in The New Yorker and who treated the allegations as an afterthought, referring to them quickly near the end of a profile of Mr. Cosby this past September.

And those in the know also included me. In 2011, I did a Q. and A. with Mr. Cosby for Hemispheres magazine, the in-flight magazine of United Airlines, and never found the space or the time to ask him why so many women accused him of drugging and then assaulting them.

We all have our excuses, but in doing so, we let down the women who were brave enough to speak out publicly against a very powerful entertainer.

Mr. Whitaker has said he didn’t want to put anything in the book, which he wrote with Mr. Cosby’s cooperation, that wasn’t confirmed — which of course raises the question of why he wouldn’t have done the work to knock the allegations down or make them stand up.

And given that the allegations had already been carefully and thoroughly reported in Philadelphia magazine and elsewhere, any book of the size and scope of Mr. Whitaker’s book should have gone there.

Mr. Coates recently expressed regret on The Atlantic website that he did not press harder on Mr. Cosby’s conflicted past. In the course of his reporting, he said he came to the conclusion that “Bill Cosby was a rapist.”

He added: “I regret not saying what I thought of the accusations, and then pursuing those thoughts. I regret it because the lack of pursuit puts me in league with people who either looked away, or did not look hard enough.”

I was one of those who looked away. Having read the Philadelphia magazine story when it came out, I knew when the editors of the airline magazine called that they would have no interest in pursuing those allegations in a short interview in a magazine meant to occupy fliers.

My job as a journalist was to turn that assignment down. If I was not going to do the work to tell the truth about the guy, I should not have let him prattle on about his new book at the time.

But I did not turn it down. I did the interview and took the money.

I paid for that in other ways. The interview was deeply unpleasant, with a windy, obstreperous subject who answered almost every question in 15-minute soliloquies, many of which were not particularly useful.

After an hour of this, I mentioned that the interview was turning out to be all A. and no Q. He paused, finally.

“Young man, are you interested in hearing what I have to say or not?” he said. “If not, we can end this interview right now.”

Mr. Cosby was not interested in being questioned, in being challenged in any way. By this point in his career, he was surrounded by ferocious lawyers and stalwart enablers and he felt it was beneath him to submit to the queries of mere mortals.

He was certain of his own certainty and had very little time for the opinions of others. Mr. Cosby, as all of those who did profiles on him have pointed out, was never just an entertainer, but a signal tower of moral rectitude.

From the beginning, part of his franchise was built on family values, first dramatized in “The Cosby Show” and then in his calling out the profane approach of younger comics and indicting the dress and manner of young black Americans.

Beyond selling Jell-O, Mr. Cosby was selling a version of America where all people are responsible for their own lot in life.

He seldom addressed bigotry and racism. Instead, he exhorted individuals to install their own bootstraps and pull themselves into success. And while they were at it, they should pull their pants up and quit sagging, a fashion trope Mr. Cosby found inexcusable.

It proved to be a popular theme with white audiences and less so with black ones. A generation of black comics who revered other pioneers like Richard Pryor found Mr. Cosby’s lectures tired and misplaced.

But that moralism, which put legs under his career as an author and a public figure, made Mr. Cosby a target. In 2005, ABC News reported on accusations of a former Temple University employee, who said that the entertainer drugged and fondled her.

That was followed by a report on “The Today Show” that he did the same thing to Tamara Green, a California lawyer.

The Philadelphia magazine story with a more comprehensive list of victims came out in 2006 and was followed by a story in People magazine about Barbara Bowman, who said that she was drugged and assaulted. And then the story just died.

Mr. Cosby was (mostly) out of view, his lawyers pushed back and tried to knock down every story and victim, and no one in the media seemed interested any longer. Mr. Cosby was old news, he had been investigated but never criminally charged, and there seemed to be little upside to going after a now-ancient story.

But as Mr. Cosby’s profile rose again when it became clear that he would get another ride on television with shows on NBC and Netflix, so did the scrutiny.

In February of this year, Newsweek published accounts from two of his victims, including Ms. Green, who called Mr. Cosby a “rapist” and “liar.”

In the end, it fell to a comic, not an investigative reporter or biographer, to speak truth to entertainment power, to take on The Natural Order of Things.

On Oct. 16, comedian Hannibal Buress took the stage in Philadelphia, Mr. Cosby’s hometown, and railed against the incongruity of his public moralizing and private behavior. He told the audience, “I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch ‘Cosby Show’ reruns.” (TV Land has since canceled those reruns, and both Netflix and NBC have shelved projects with Mr. Cosby.)

He said Mr. Cosby has the “smuggest old black man public persona that I hate. Pull your pants up, black people. I was on TV in the ’80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.”

And then he dropped the bomb. “Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby. So, brings you down a couple notches.”

Social media, a nonfactor when the allegations first surfaced, feasted on a clip of the set posted on Philadelphia magazine’s website.

On the heels of Mr. Buress’s routine, Mr. Cosby’s public relations people asked his Twitter followers to make funny memes of the entertainer, and that promptly backfired in a massive way.

With NBC and his other former partners having jettisoned him, Mr. Cosby’s lawyers were left alone in the bunker, playing Whac-a-Mole against charges from women that are popping up everywhere. And on Sunday, The Washington Post did a comprehensive recap of the charges.

For decades, entertainers have been able to maintain custody of their image, regardless of how they conducted themselves. Many had entire crews of dust busters who came behind them and cleaned up their messes.

Those days are history. It doesn’t really matter now what the courts or the press do or decide. When enough evidence and pushback rears into view, a new apparatus takes over, one that is viral, relentless and not going to forgive or forget.

12249: Exclusivity Is Like Spinach…?

Kat Gordon continued her 3% Conference crusade with a lame LinkedIn post featuring a header that read:


Really? There’s nothing new about the scenario. It’s actually been deemed a civil rights violation—and potentially illegal too—for over 60 years. And to trivialize the issue as similar to spinach in one’s teeth demonstrates ignorance, insensitivity and cultural cluelessness. Gordon is broadening her dearth of dames as creative directors platform by proclaiming, “I am not advocating on behalf of my gender. I’m advocating on behalf of our industry. We all will prosper—every gender, ethnicity and culture—when we stop perpetuating this maxim and embrace a more complex and prosperous truth.”

You go, girl. But let’s also embrace the more complex and prosperous truth that White women are doing waaaaay better in the creative department—as members of creative teams—than minorities. And your breakthrough header should be revised per the message below.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

12248: Café Numero Uno Ca-Ca.

Are advertising agencies in Brazil producing any real work? Not sure what this campaign is trying to communicate—and who it’s targeting—but the ad featuring a slave in the background presents classic cultural cluelessness.

From Ads of the World.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

12247: Stayin’ Alive With Jeff Goodby.

Forbes published a perspective from Goodby Silverstein & Partners Co-Founder and Co-Chairman Jeff Goodby titled, “A Survival Guide For New CMOs,” where the adman essentially presented a pep talk on how to become a better Chief Marketing Officer. Gee, can’t imagine the average CMO is interested in employment tips from an old-school White advertising agency creative director. After all, Goodby technically works for CMOs, not vice versa.

There are a few basic—and blatant—flaws with Goodby’s desire to play sensei to prospective bosses, revealing the inherent character defects of Old White Guys and narcissistic nimrods. (This is presuming that Goodby wasn’t actually writing an invitation of sorts, indirectly indicating the qualities and characteristics he longs for in a CMO buddy—in which case he would still come across as an Old White Guy and narcissistic nimrod.)

For starters, only a fool seeks to change others. Your first priority must be to change yourself. In fact, it should be the sole goal, as we really can’t control other people’s actions and attitudes—unless we have the authority to fire them. While there are advertising agency executives who have boasted firing clients, the overwhelming majority realizes they are servicing—and even serving—at the pleasure of a CMO.

Related to the point above, we must always begin by honestly examining our own contributions in a professional relationship. That is, are we doing everything possible to ensure premier profitability*—in every sense of the term—for all parties? And more importantly, are we causing problems that hinder success?

Unfortunately, advertising agency executives such as Goodby inadvertently erect roadblocks and dilemmas for CMOs, primarily because of ties to holding companies. Thanks to WPP, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe, IPG and the rest, agencies experience the same challenges as advertisers: e.g., the imperative to hit quarterly earnings, reduced and limited resources, unrealistic deadlines, consensus and committee thinking, clumsy hierarchies, revolving door management shifts, unclear priorities, dysfunctional partnerships, etc. Additionally, the holding companies have commoditized agencies, rendering shops generic. Agencies ultimately bow to the holding companies’ whims, which are every bit as awful as the bullshit dumped on advertisers by their overlords.

Omnicom, Goodby’s parent Death Star, is a master at the game. How else can one rationalize Goodby Silverstein & Partners being replaced as AOR for PepsiCo’s Propel Zero by Fathom Communications? Or the shuffling of the Quaker Oats account through Omnicom sister shops? Or the insane maneuverings in the Commonwealth debacle? Sorry, but Goodby is a mere puppet in the modern political proceedings, making his CMOs preaching and pontifications pretty pathetic.

In the survival guide lecture, Goodby also veered into a sad tangent regarding account reviews, decisiveness and speed. Goodby wrote:

Almost all CMOs of any stature have loads of ready opinions about which campaigns they admire. They all have strong thoughts about who the best four or five agencies in the world are. But the moment they move into a new job, they totally forget all this and act like they’ve just landed here from the planet Zork.

If you need a search consultant to help you make this decision, fine. Tell him or her that you want to have an agency in a month. One month. Tell the agency you want the new campaign a month after that. Watch. It will happen. And it will be good.

Um, Goodby sounds like a citizen from the planet Zork. Holding companies and conflicts prevent staging shootouts starring “the best four or five agencies in the world.” Hell, Omnicom routinely organizes closed competitions between sister shops. Plus, the aforementioned commoditization and generic issues result in reviews with a hodgepodge of rivals. For example, the NBA is currently pitting incumbent Goodby Silverstein & Partners versus R/GA and Translation—which undoubtedly has Goodby banging his head against the wall.

Goodby’s speed statements—“Tell the agency you want the new campaign a month after that. Watch. It will happen. And it will be good.”—are outrageous. Whatever happened to fighting for time to properly craft messages? Most agencies fail to generate good work with a decent production schedule in place. Goodby Silverstein & Partners’ campaigns for Sprint and Quaker Oats were hardly breakthrough. The agency’s cross-cultural milk campaign sucks. Are these examples of churning crap out in a month? Goodby should take a moment to rethink his words.

A Survival Guide For New CMOs” reflects Goodby’s corporate cluelessness and outdated beliefs. Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis composition, allowing Goodby to air his frustrations of coping with constant chaos. Harkening back to the glory days of tyrannical clients positions the adman as a doddering dinosaur. CMOs with the potential to become the next Steve Jobs can be counted on one hand—and Captain Hook’s notorious hand at that.

The 2014 Jeff Goodby is no 1983 Jeff Goodby. He acknowledges today’s CMOs cover more responsibilities than ever—responsibilities that Goodby Silverstein & Partners do not comprehend or influence. Yet Goodby is apparently still living the delusion that the universe revolves around big ideas exclusively hatched by the White advertising agencies.

Goodby’s condescension and prima donna tone hurt the pitch. The adman missed an opportunity to inspire. “A Survival Guide For New CMOs” could have been “GS&P Amazingly Extends New CMOs’ Lifespans” or “How New CMOs Can Win Trips To Cannes.” He needed to show how Goodby Silverstein & Partners help turn new CMOs into rock stars. The focus should have been on Goodby’s performance and the wonders he and his agency bring to the party, as opposed to recommending what his bosses ought to be doing.

Finally, why the hell is Goodby advising CMOs on job security? In recent years, Goodby Silverstein & Partners lost Quaker Oats, Propel Zero, Sprint, Hewlett-Packard, Chevrolet, Corona Light and Modelo Especial. And the agency is not alone in having billings and business yanked in 45-month intervals. Account reviews are as common as corny jingles. In the end, the short tour of duty applies to both sides of the equation. So it’s kinda crazy for a traditional White advertising agency executive to be explaining job security to his employers.

To summarize: Transformational change begins with you, not them.

*Addendum: Premier Profitability is a term intended to cover a range of objectives. The word profitability goes beyond sales figures and financial gains to include profiting or benefiting in professional and personal ways. Careers should advance and happiness should ensue. The creative content has to generate awareness, entice responses, build relationships, provide entertainment, deliver information, win awards, etc.—it must delight and impress the creators, agency partners, clients, consumers and industry peers.

12246: VWD, V.F.W.

From The New York Times...

V.F.W. Goes Gender-Neutral, Recognizing Female Veterans

By Richard A. Oppel Jr.

When the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States secured its congressional charter in 1936, “veterans” were usually men and the spouses of those who fell in battle were “widows.” That, of course, is now very different. (Indeed, even during World War II several hundred thousand women served in the United States military, including nurses and members of the Women’s Army Corps.) Now, more than 15 percent of active-duty United States service members are female. So the V.F.W. is changing, too, winning congressional approval to alter the wording of its charter. No longer is it “a national association of men” who served in wartime; it is one of “veterans.” And it is no longer to assist “widows” — rather, “surviving spouses.” The changes, approved at the national convention, were made in bills just passed by the House and Senate. “We didn’t change our congressional charter to be politically correct,” the V.F.W. National Commander, John W. Stroud, said in a statement. “We changed it because being an eligible service member or veteran is what’s important to our great organization, not one’s gender.”

12245: Clichés Run In The Family.

London MAD published an odd piece criticizing advertisers and advertising agencies for using outdated and inaccurate clichés when depicting families—plus, the trade journal suggested data-based scenarios to improve relevance and realism. It’s tough to respond to this piece. On the one hand, trade journals are hardly qualified to be schooling advertising agencies on how to do anything. On the other hand, it ultimately points to the lack of diversity in White advertising agencies, where the exclusive staffs are so culturally clueless, they can’t even connect with their own group. On the third hand, there’s nothing more offensive than when good old-fashioned cultural cluelessness runs in the family. Finally—on the fourth hand—most annoying are the agencies shamelesslyly depicting uncommon-yet-clichéd families in order to cut through the clutter.

Advertisers — Drop The Family Cliches And Target The Real Opportunities

By Sean Hargrave

Advertising generally relies on cliches, and so it’s little surprise that when families are represented in advertisements that one of the many fallback options will come to the fore—particularly at this festive time of year.

The favourite one, for me, is the husband on the phone organising a financial matter that the little woman behind him wouldn’t possibly understand—so generally sticks to the washing up or hoovering. Then there’s the children who are either sickly adorable or having a teenage sulk that can usually only be overcome by some amazing new combination of spices that mum or dad (remember it’s not financial, so dad doesn’t have to be on the phone) can throw in a pot to spice up dinner.

The great thing about digital is that it’s data driven—and so the industry is under increasing pressure to prove or disprove assumptions with research. That’s exactly what OMD UK has just done, with Time Inc UK. The picture that emerges from their research with families is fascinating. The macro view is one we’ve all come to realise is happening around us. The traditional mum and dad roles are merging. Of the traditional mum roles, two-thirds of families now share child care and a third of parents share shopping decisions. With the traditional dad role, working and earning money is now shared by both parents (41%). These all mark significant increases from research carried out just half a dozen years ago.

If we move on to cliches, 41% of families with children at home argue less than once a month and 18% don’t argue at all. So that’s nearly two in three families where the rows depicted in adverts are actually rare, rather than typical. And here’s another thing—two in three 16- to-24-year-olds and 35- to-54-year-olds each appreciate having family time together. The teenager or millennial who is being forced to sit down to dinner or attend a wedding just doesn’t pan out as an accurate representation of most families.

Technology is not causing a rift between sulky kids on Instagram and parents wanting to spend time together. In fact, the researchers suggest that the popularity of second screening means families are increasingly likely to sit together and watch a show that would be ruined by online spoilers otherwise. Thus, more than two in three families see sitting down and watching television as a way of spending quality family time together.

So, cliches aside, what should marketers be looking out for?

Well, not surprisingly, nearly two in three mums are swapping products to save money as well as taking a look at their finances due to the tough economic times the country has been through. So, maybe advertisers should consider swapping the roles and having mum on the phone to a financial services company while dad hovers around in the background?

If you’re looking for an opportunity that comes from reevaluating the family unit, here’s one you might want to bring into the next brainstorm. It’s not directly mentioned in the research, but here’s my thought—and you can have it for free.

We’ve all noticed grandparents are being increasingly asked to help out with childcare because of both parents working. Hence, the research shows that two in three “grannyminders” are asked to look after children in a typical week, yet only 15% are ever rewarded financially or with a treat.

If that doesn’t ring a target gift market bell for a campaign to focus on, then I don’t know what will. You see, sometimes by scraping away the cliches you can actually get to the real opportunities that are out there. How many parents do you think are out there who know they should treat grandparents to an extra special gift this Christmas? How many grandparents have you seen portrayed in Christmas television adverts this year receiving a thank you gift? None, right? How many spas have you seen advertising a “treat nan” offer or family days out locations, such as historic houses or theme parks, running a “bring grandad for free” offer on family tickets? I imagine the answer is still none, right?

So drop the cliches, look at the data, and that is just one huge opportunity that will leap out of the research of looking at what is out there—rather than what previous assumptions have told you is typical.

Friday, November 21, 2014

12244: No Secret To Banner Success.

Victoria’s Secret must get great click-thru rates for its banners, as they combine two popular Web elements: sales and porn.

12243: Pooh-Poohing A Hermaphrodite.


Polish town rejects Winnie the Pooh for being ‘hermaphrodite’

By Timothy McGrath, GlobalPost

BREAKING: Winnie the Pooh is a hermaphrodite, exposes himself in public and has no business being around children — at least according to a Polish town council.

Officials in the Polish town of Tuszyn (87 miles southwest of Warsaw) were deciding on a mascot for the town playground, when the classic children’s character was suggested as a candidate. They decided to rule Winnie out, because he’s an “inappropriately dressed” bear of “dubious sexuality.”

Sure, Winnie is a honey junkie who spends most of his time with a chronically depressed donkey and a suspiciously energetic tiger, and if you don’t want your kids hanging with that sort of crew, then fine. But if you don’t want Winnie at playgrounds because he doesn’t wear pants and has no external genitalia, you’re living in the past, my friend.

According to the Croatian Times, members of the Tuszyn town council were having this totally reasonable conversation about Winnie’s biological sex and choice of outerwear when one of them decided it was worth recording and leaking to media. We all owe this person a debt of gratitude. Because now we know the following things about the members of the Tuszyn town council.

Resident and councilor Ryszard Cichy apparently believes this about Winnie: “The problem with that bear is it doesn’t have a complete wardrobe. It is half naked which is wholly inappropriate for children.”

An unnamed official apparently knows why: “It doesn’t wear underpants because it doesn’t have a sex. It’s a hermaphrodite.”

And another resident, councilor, and human who lives on this Earth, Hanna Jachimska, apparently blames Winnie’s creator, Alan Alexander Milne: “This is very disturbing but can you imagine! The author was over 60 and cut his (Pooh’s) testicles off with a razor blade because he had a problem with his identity.”

We also learned that some members of the Tuszyn town council are biased against intersex individuals. So there’s that.

Winnie’s out of the running for playground mascot, but as the councilors move forward with the decision-making process, they should consider that their no-pants rule excludes nearly every cartoon character ever invented, except for Goofy, who rocks an orange turtleneck sweater, charcoal vest, blue slacks and laceless brown shoes. Classy.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

12242: Singing For Scents.

Glade hired singer Kevin Ross to serenade holiday scented candles via a new spot from Ogilvy. Wonder if OgilvyCulture was called in to consult on—or even co-create—this contrived, clichéd and concept-free commercial.