Thursday, December 31, 2015

12988: Giving The Finger To Droga5.

AdFreak spotlighted the Android “Fingerprints” commercial created by Droga5, including a supplemental tweet featuring the cast members. AdFreak pointed out the Black fingers among the cast. When MultiCultClassics first saw the spot on TV, the question of diversity came up, as it’s difficult to distinguish race and ethnicity via fingers. Not sure why Android and Droga5 felt compelled to present the commercial’s inclusiveness. It would be interesting to reveal the racial and ethnic makeup of the Droga5 team behind the campaign. Based on the agency’s historical exclusivity, the revelation would likely inspire giving the finger to Droga5.

Everyone Is a Finger in Droga5’s Zany New Ad for Android

Diversity, sort of

By Gabriel Beltrone

Visual synecdoche rules in Droga5’s new Android spot, in which fingers dressed up as caricatures stand in for consumers.

There’s a hitchhiker finger in a Hawaiian shirt, and a subway commuter with a bright red afro, and a masked Mexican wrestling finger—but they all fit right in using Google’s mobile operating system, says the ad.

Titled “Fingerprints”—presumably because everyone has a unique digit—the spot the latest under the brand’s “Be together. Not the same” tagline. That’s a good thing, or at least, has a better ring to it than “Android. The smartphone platform for people who have fingers.”

Overall, the concept is inevitably not as charming as Android’s supercut of different animal species playing together to the sounds of Roger Miller’s 1973 tune “Oo-De-Lally”—among Adweek’s 10 best ads of 2015. It also can’t but evoke Steve Oedekerk’s absurd Thumbs! series, despite the perhaps more obvious association with generic finger puppets.

Regardless, the cute concept survives on neat little twists like the introduction of an extraterrestrial finger, and a werewolf finger, and a finger with a Carmen Miranda fruit hat.

Those visual gimmicks, strung together this time by a version of Barry Louis Polisar’s 1993 children’s song “I Need You Like a Donut Needs a Hole,” are nice enough. Some YouTube commenters are wondering where the black fingers are—a reasonable question, especially given the ad’s emphasis on diversity.

But, perhaps on the bright side, Google clearly didn’t mean anything by what looked to some like an omission. (The marketer has, for its part, tweeted a series of photos of the cast, which includes black finger actors—see below.) Regardless, whether you’re a French painter finger or a finger with all gold everything, the marketer only really cares that you’re not an Apple finger.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

12986: Star Wars Exclusivity.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was so-so, despite its box office success. If even Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker was brought back, why didn’t anyone extend the same courtesy to Lando Calrissian? Perhaps John Boyega as Finn satisfied the Black quota for a galaxy far, far away…? And no, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata doesn’t compensate for snubbing Billy Dee Williams.

Monday, December 28, 2015

12985: George “Meadowlark” Lemon (1932-2015).

From CNN…

Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon, famed hoops jester, dies at 83

By Brandon Griggs, CNN

George “Meadowlark” Lemon, the basketball star who entertained millions of fans around the world with his antics as a longtime member of the Harlem Globetrotters, died Sunday in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 83.

Lemon played 24 seasons and by his own estimate more than 16,000 games with the Globetrotters, the touring exhibition basketball team known for its slick ball-handling, practical jokes, red-white-and-blue uniforms and multiyear winning streaks against overmatched opponents.

He also was one of a handful of Globetrotters whose fame transcended sports, especially among children during the team’s heyday in the 1960s and 1970s. Lemon was immortalized in a Harlem Globetrotters cartoon series and appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” episodes of “Scooby Doo” and many national TV commercials.

A gifted player whose basketball skills were sometimes overshadowed by his on-court high jinks, Lemon was known for sinking half-court hook shots, throwing behind-the-back passes and pretending to spy on his opponents’ huddles.

Nicknamed the “clown prince” of basketball, he also pioneered a trademark routine in which he doused a referee with a bucket of water and then pranked fans by heaving another bucket—filled with confetti, not water—into the stands as people scrambled to get out of the way.

“For a generation of fans, the name Meadowlark Lemon was synonymous with the Harlem Globetrotters,” Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider said. “He was an incredible entertainer and brought happiness and lifelong memories to millions around the world. We have lost a great ambassador of the game.”

Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, Lemon joined the Globetrotters in 1954 after serving two years in the Army. Over the next quarter-century, he and the team played almost everywhere, from high school gyms to Madison Square Garden to an exhibition in Moscow during the Cold War.

His website says Lemon and his teammates played before popes, kings, queens, presidents and regular basketball fans in almost 100 countries.

After a salary dispute Lemon left the Globetrotters in 1979 to form his own comedic basketball teams, which performed under the names Meadowlark Lemon’s Bucketeers, the Shooting Stars and Meadowlark Lemon’s Harlem All Stars.

He returned to the Harlem Globetrotters for a 50-game “comeback” tour in 1993.

Lemon was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003. He spent the last several years of his life serving as an ordained minister and motivational speaker.

His death follows that of early Globetrotter player and teammate Marques Haynes, who died in May.

12984: Caucasian Committee.

Campaign reported Publicis Groupe is seeking someone to lead a U.K. committee that will oversee British operations. From those wonderful folks who gave you more management layers comes a corporate committee. Brilliant. Look for the slot to be filled with a White man, or possibly a White woman. Campaign tossed MediaCom CEO Karen Blackett into the pool of contenders, but is the Publicis Groupe clan ready for such progress? Doubt it. Hell, Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Lévy can’t even figure out how to integrate digital and traditional advertising.

Publicis Groupe eyes candidates for top UK committee role

By Gideon Spanier

Publicis Groupe executives are jockeying to see who will head a UK committee that will oversee all of the group’s British operations for the first time.

Insiders said details about the new role were still being worked out and it was not yet clear if the post will carry clout or be a symbolic title.

Much will depend on the calibre of the person who is appointed to head the underperforming UK operations amid speculation that the group could consider an outsider for the role.

Observers said two Britons — Robert Senior, the global chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi, and Iain Jacob, the president of the media agency Starcom Mediavest Group in Europe, the Middle East and Africa — were likely to be leading internal contenders for the job.

Other senior Britons within Publicis Groupe include Steve King, the worldwide chief executive at the media agency ZenithOptimedia, and Luke Taylor, the global chief executive of the digital agency DigitasLBi. However, it less clear if either King or Taylor would take the role of heading the UK committee.

King has just been promoted to a wider role as the global head of Publicis Media, a new unit encompassing all its media buying operations, and is expected to focus on the US, where Publicis Groupe has just lost Procter & Gamble’s estimated $2.7 billion account.

One source claimed an outsider with heavyweight credentials might have a better chance of forcing UK agencies from different disciplines to collaborate more closely and suggested Publicis Groupe could approach Karen Blackett, the boss of WPP’s media agency MediaCom.

But she has just been promoted from UK chief executive to chairman of MediaCom and there is no suggestion that Publicis Groupe has been in contact recently.

Some observers said Phil Georgiadis, the chairman of Blue 449, part of ZenithOptimedia, could also be a plausible candidate for the UK committee, having experience of a diversified group at M&C Saatchi.

Maurice Lévy, the chief executive of Publicis Groupe, needs to turn things around in Britain, its third most important market after the US and its native France.

UK revenues fell in 2014 and again in the first three quarters of 2015 despite the booming local ad market.

Lévy told Campaign that no decision has been made about the UK committee and said mention of any individuals, including Blackett, was speculation. Publicis Groupe did not respond to further requests for comment.

Lévy said earlier this month that he wanted to shake up the world’s third-biggest advertising group by breaking down silos between media, creative, digital and healthcare by appointing a committee head for each country and chief client officers with a group-wide role.

The company said: “In order to co-ordinate and best take advantage of all of the group’s assets, a committee will be set up in the main countries where Publicis Groupe operates. This committee will represent all solutions and will be led by a group representative. The first to be put in place is a US committee, and will be led by Laura Desmond.”

Lévy has also appointed global heads of media, creative, digital and healthcare, who will look after all the agencies in their respective discipline.

One person claimed the chief client officer role was “a job that is destined to fail” because it will be likely to play second fiddle to the agency bosses. The new group structure launches in January.

Desmond has been given the role of chief revenue officer, in charge of the chief client officers and the US committee, after SMG, the agency she headed since 2008, lost Procter & Gamble.

Publicis Groupe has fallen behind rivals since its failed global merger with Omnicom last year.

Revenues rose 1 per cent on an organic basis in the first nine months of 2015. WPP’s rose by 4.8 per cent and Omnicom’s by 5.5 per cent over the same period.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

12983: Coke Shop Is Not Colorblind.

Adweek spotlighted a Coca-Cola campaign by Denmark advertising agency Essencius presenting imagery that could only be seen by colorblind people. Based on the People page at Essencius’ website, the place does not appear to be colorblind when it comes to hiring. Then again, it is Denmark.

Ad of the Day: This Coca-Cola Campaign Can Be Deciphered Only by Color-Blind People

Ishihara image is cryptic to everyone else

By David Gianatasio

Can you connect the dots?

Ad agency Essencius recently launched a teaser campaign in Denmark touting stevia- and cane-sugar-sweetened Coca-Cola Life, but only about 5 percent of the population could actually see the message.

That’s because the copy was “hidden” in an image that looked liked blobs of greenish-brown bubbles to most viewers. (Technically, they’re called reverse Ishihara images.) Color-blind people, however, saw the word “Life” nestled within the design.

“Our idea is based on the premise of engaging many by targeting the few,” explains Essencius managing partner Brian Orland. “Surprising people and getting them curious about the hidden message in the campaign has had a great impact on the engagement rate.”

The images appeared in digital ads, social media, outdoor installations and at department-store sampling sessions. According to the agency, the unorthodox approach generated substantial earned media, reaching more than 17 percent of the Danish population between 10 and 60 years old.

Though kind of random (why use color blindness as a campaign hook at all?), the gambit does seem in keeping with the general trend toward social inclusiveness in advertising, and recalls brands’ obsession a few months back with the color of a certain dress. (It’s pink, dammit!)

That said, marketers should proceed with care. Some folks might construe such campaigns as exploitative or offensive, and take brands to task for trying to leverage the unique qualities or perceptions of specific groups for commercial gain.

Luckily for Coke in Denmark, no controversy bubbled up.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

12982: Leo Burnett Is Diverse…?

Adweek presented a fluff piece titled, “Q&A: How Leo Burnett’s CEO and CCO Built a Creative Powerhouse in 10 Years.” Um, when did Leo Burnett become a creative powerhouse? Creative outhouse would be a more accurate descriptor. Worldwide CEO Tom Bernardin used the word “diverse” twice, with neither instance applying to actual diversity. For example, when discussing his shop’s evolution over the last ten years, Bernardin boasted, “It was an organization that was really managed almost entirely from people based in Chicago—which was OK at the time—to one now that is very geographically diverse.” Yep, he achieved geographic diversity in a decade. Racial, ethnic and cultural diversity, however, will require at least 66 years to accomplish. Bernardin also gushed, “I’m proud of how diverse the agency is today in terms of a management team…” A peek at the Leaders page on the agency website shows Bernardin is either culturally clueless or colorblind.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

12980: New Year’s Shit List.

Campaign published “My New Year’s wish list” by BBDO New York President and CEO John Osborn. The lead wish read, “That the push for greater diversity in the creative ranks of agencies yields greater results.” Um, when did diversity become segregated to the creative ranks? Is there fair and equal representation in all the other departments? Maybe Osborn is another jumper on the 3% bandwagon for more White women as creative directors. He could recruit She-Hulk and boast hiring a woman of color. His New Year’s resolutions should include applying for certification. Hey, it’s easier than trying to persuade his bosses at Omnicom to cough up EEO-1 data on staffing figures.

My New Year’s wish list

By John Osborn

BBDO New York president and CEO shares his hopes for 2016

With the New Year upon us, here are some of my wishes for the year ahead. In no particular order:

That the push for greater diversity in the creative ranks of agencies yields greater results.

That the decision to uphold Pete Rose’s ban from Major League baseball puts the issue to rest once and for all.

That, someday, there is one street in New York City that is not under construction.

That something actually gets done in Washington and that politics attracts better, more qualified candidates from the private sector.

That “Happy Holiday” decorations and messages not appear before Halloween.

That the term “unicorn” goes the way of, well, unicorns.

That Ricky Gervais continues to surprise and offend during the Golden Globe awards.

That the Olympic Games in Rio be fraught with excitement on the field, rather than off.

That the American Red Cross doesn’t have a major catastrophe to deal with this year.

That Uber, black cars and taxis can all get along (so we can get where we need to go).

That Cannes not add any more new categories.

That someone invents the mother of inventions … how to create more time to do everything we want out of life.

That people like me stop publishing year-end wish lists!

And that the New Year brings peace, prosperity, a greater sense of purpose and togetherness.

John Osborn is president and CEO of BBDO New York.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

12979: Chief Diversity Officers’ Lament.

The Drum dumped a dung heap of drivel about Chief Diversity Officers—aka pimps or diversity parasites, as accurately and eloquently labeled by Sanford Moore. Omnicom Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Tiffany Warren admitted that justifying the role is a constant challenge. Of course, Warren deflects the justification examination by doling out ADCOLOR® Awards with glee. TBWA Chief Diversity Officer Doug Melville said, “When I walk into a room everyone has a different definition of what I do because they’re all defining the word differently. Understanding where everyone is coming from, based on the lens they see the world with, is one of the biggest challenges of a role like this.” It’s more likely that when Melville walks into a room, everyone has no idea what he does—including Melville. LIDA Managing Director Jonathan Goodman revealed his agency staffed the Ikea account with Swedish folks to gain cultural competence for the brand. Did LIDA also hire people with Tourette Syndrome to handle Tourettes Action or virgins to deal with Virgin Holidays? A peek at the People page on the LIDA website displays the shop’s full range of diversity and inclusion. It continues to boggle the mind how Chief Diversity Officers remain such fuzzy entities. And it’s obscenely ironic how Chief Diversity Officers struggle to become honestly, credibly and professionally integrated into the advertising industry.

‘If you support a culture of sameness, how can you expect to innovate?’ — Diversity officers, inclusivity and overcoming cultural barriers

By Gillian West

The relatively new role of chief diversity officer has become increasingly key in establishing inclusiveness as a tangible asset in the workplace, finds Gillian West.

Just 10 years ago less than a fifth of Fortune 500 companies employed a chief diversity officer. By 2012 that number was up to 60 per cent and has been rising ever since. But what exactly is a chief diversity officer? What does their day-to-day schedule look like? And why, in people-led service industries such as advertising and marketing, is the role so important?

Billy Dexter, managing partner of executive search firm Heidrick and Struggles, is a leader in talent acquisition and diversity related efforts for more than 20 years. In the report ‘The Chief Diversity Officer Today: Inclusion Gets Down to Business’, he points to the success in global markets pushing the growing need for diversity and diverse ways of thinking to prominence.

Meanwhile, self-proclaimed “champion of diversity” Tiffany R Warren, vice-president and chief diversity officer at Omnicom Group, explains: “The role of chief diversity officer is a unique hybrid between HR, talent management, supplier diversity, crisis management, creative review, mentoring and corporate and social responsibility.” Justifying the role is a constant challenge for diversity officers, she adds.

“The biggest challenge a chief diversity officer or diversity champions face is the daily question of ‘why?’ In my role I do not produce a tangible product, but what I do can lead to creating a new one. I don’t build companies, but I can help a diverse supplier establish themselves and secure new partners. I may not create an ad, but my contribution will help to fashion a story told from a diverse point of view.”

Appointed chief diversity officer of TBWA in 2012, Doug Melville tells The Drum the first thing the agency did following his appointment was to look at diversity as if it were a client, coming up with a game plan for success.

“We got a team of planners, strategists and creatives together and they came back with three elements — representation, supplier diversity and culture — that need to be satisfied to be successful, and these elements dictate what I do day to day,” he says. He believes no two chief diversity officers are the same as the role varies depending on who they report to, their style of management and, most importantly, their vision of diversity. “When I walk into a room everyone has a different definition of what I do because they’re all defining the word differently,” he explains. “Understanding where everyone is coming from, based on the lens they see the world with, is one of the biggest challenges of a role like this.”

Coming from an entrepreneurial background, Melville believes his varied career path — from driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile to leading the business development team and marketing efforts of Magic Johnson Enterprises — have paid dividends in this role as relating to people is step one.

“I’ve been to each state [in the US] three times and that really helps when it comes to breaking the ice. Whether internal or external, you have to be able to understand people’s point of view and then encourage them to open up their minds so we can have more creativity.”

A common misconception of the chief diversity role, according to Melville, is the idea it is solely based “within agency walls”.

“In the last three years, TBWA has spent over $100m with businesses led by diverse entrepreneurs. More people than ever before are choosing to start their own businesses.

“They would rather find niche opportunities and work on those than be in an advertising agency, and we need to tap into that in addition to what we do internally,” he says.

When it comes to looking for talent “the competition is the entrepreneurs”, he adds. Lida managing director, Jonathan Goodman, makes a similar observation, claiming it’s not a lack of diversity that’s stopping diverse talent pursuing marketing and communications, it’s just “not the cool kid in town” thanks to social media giants and the lure of striking out on your own.

“Historically advertising and marketing agencies aren’t great when it comes to diversity, it’s been a white, male, upper middle-class reserve where if you’re graduating from Oxford or Cambridge and not sure what to do next you’re welcomed with open arms,” he says.

“[But] when it comes to clients they are starting to worry about whether you really understand their business. Do you have the cultural expertise as well as the business acumen?”

When assembling the Ikea account team at Lida, they added Swedish people because they understand the culture and the nuances better, explains Goodman.

Diversity can also be a brand identity issue, with companies seeking assurances that diverse teams will be employed to carry out their services. TBWA’s Melville says: “Some of our largest clients — PepsiCo, Nissan, MillerCoors — want to know which businesses we’re working with when we create content for them, and what percentage of those businesses are owned by women or diverse leaders.

“It’s something that’s growing more, and more brands want to know that what we do goes along with their principles. A lot of clients are hiring, or already have, chief diversity officers and that helps when it comes to collaborating on projects.”

One such brand is Dell, whose vice-president of global talent and chief diversity officer, Marie Moynihan, finds her day ruled by the same three elements as Melville. “My role is about creating awareness of the value of diversity and inclusion.

“The good news is, in Dell, it’s now less about convincing people of the value of diversity and more about reflecting stories to raise awareness and championing programmes that will continue to make us more inclusive.”

Despite Dell being one of DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity for the past five years running, Moynihan admits to feeling frustrated that the problem hasn’t been solved yet. “Everyone would like it to be more straightforward — set a target and go after it. But it’s more complex than that — you need to have a deeper understanding of the issue and a comprehensive approach,” she explains.

Roxanne Hobbs, founder of The Hobbs Consultancy, which aims to transform businesses via inclusivity, welcomes the advent of the role of chief diversity officer role but warns “the challenge is being taken seriously” and hints at a few potential pitfalls.

“The inclusion role should be fully routed in the business,” she says. “It will only work when the commercial advantages of being more diverse and inclusive are understood by everyone in the business. You need to be careful that businesses don’t think ‘we’ve got someone looking after this now, job done’.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility, not just the responsibility of that person with it in their title.”

After promoting diversity for more than 15 years, Omnicom’s Warren adds: “Why does it make business sense to have a diverse workforce was a question often asked in the 80s, it doesn’t make sense now if you don’t have a diverse workforce.

“If you support a culture of sameness, how can you expect to innovate or disrupt?”

Sunday, December 20, 2015

12975: Class Action For Crumbs.

Advertising Age reported the defunct Commonground/MGS is now facing a class action lawsuit for terminating employees without notice when the enterprise sank. It would be somewhat obscene if the class action lawsuit succeeds against the failed minority holding company, considering all the class action lawsuits that have fizzled out after targeting the advertising industry for its lack of diversity. Plus, any monetary awards delivered to the ex-employees would be paid in crumbs.

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Commonground/MGS

Suit Seeks 60 Days’ Pay and Benefits For Employees; Says Shop Shuttered Without Sufficient Notice

By Maureen Morrison

Plenty of agency employees are enjoying holiday bonuses and parties this time of year. But not those who worked for Commonground/MGS.

Those employees were unceremoniously fired and told that as of Dec. 5, they were out of a job, as the agency closed its doors due to what the company told them was financial issues.

Now a class action lawsuit is being filed against PCH Communications, which does business as Commonground/MGS. PCH is a creation of Panton Equity Partners, the private-equity firm that significantly backed the formation of Commonground/MGS last year.

The plaintiff is Jorge Espinosa, who was managing partner of the Miami office of Commonground/MGS. That office was originally MGSCOMM before the formation of Commonground/MGS network in fall 2014.

“This action arises from Commonground’s decision to terminate substantially its entire workforce without a single day’s notice,” reads the beginning of the complaint. The complaint, which said that the plaintiff was acting on behalf of more than 100 employees, alleges that the employer violated a law called the WARN Act that requires employers to give employees 60 days’ notice of mass layoffs.

“This mass layoff was a violation of the rights of the Plaintiff, and others similarly situated, to receive 60 days’ advance notice of their respective termination under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act,” reads the complaint, filed in district court in the Southern District of Florida.

The complaint said that the Dec. 5 terminations “resulted in the loss of employment for at least 33% of the employees who worked at, were assigned work from, or reported to its Miami office (excluding part-time employees).” The agency overall was believed to have nearly 200 employees throughout its five offices.

The suit aims to award to those employees “their respective wages, salary, commissions, and bonuses, the cost of health and pension benefits, pay for personal days, accrued vacation pay, severance pay, and other fringe benefits for a period of 60 days.”

Former representatives for the now-defunct agency declined to comment.

“Our hope is to get the employees what they are due under federal law, which is 60 days of pay and benefits,” said Brian Chaiken, an attorney for Mr. Espinosa. “The fact that they were given no notice, and they were let go the same day they got notice and weren’t given much of an explanation makes some, especially those who had been around since before the merger, feel they were treated badly.”

When employees were notified of the closing, PCH sent an email to all, saying, “As many of you may be aware, the agency has been dealing with financial challenges. Over the last several weeks, we have been carrying out good-faith negotiations with our senior lender to attempt to obtain relief from these challenges, and we believed we were close to an acceptable resolution with the lender. It continued, “To our surprise and dismay, however, the lender took hostile actions against CGMGS and froze our bank accounts earlier this week.”

Mr. Chaiken said that the WARN Act does have some exceptions, like unexpected events, but he did not expect PCH and Commonground to be exempted, because that often pertains to disasters like fires.

But the memo specifically mentioned the WARN Act. “While the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act of 1988 may require advance notice of your permanent layoff, the unforeseeable circumstances of the lender’s actions and our faltering business circumstances that necessitated our good faith efforts to actively secure capital to prevent closing the agency, did not afford us an opportunity to provide such advance notice,” it said.

“Faltering business” may have been carefully chosen language. Mr. Chaiken said that another exception is the faltering company exception, though he does not believe that applies either, as that is generally for the closing of a plant or location and not an entire business.

Earlier this month, Sherman Wright and Ahmad Islam, co-founders of Commonground before the merger and partners of commonground/MGS, told Ad Age that they were working on launching a new agency with no relation to the dead entity. MillerCoors, a client of Commonground/MGS, would remain with the two execs at their new shop.

Other agencies that were part of the deal that formed Commonground/MGS include Vidal Partnership, Sway Public Relations and others, creating what its partners called a wholly minority-owned network. Coinciding with formation of the network, three of the ventures—Commonground Marketing, MGSCOMM and Vidal Partnership—merged to form the agency Commonground/MGS. The move united all the agencies involved, forming an entity with offices in New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

12974: Eraser Wanted.

Don’t understand the oddly placed period in the headline. And is the white lead pencil code for IPG seeking to hire Whites only?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

12971: Applebee’s A-Team (Anglo-Team).

Adweek reported Applebee’s replaced its old White advertising agency with a new White advertising agency. For proof of the Whiteness, simply visit the people page of the new shop’s website. According to Adweek, the shootout pitted Barkley against FCB Chicago—which is like trying to decide between the mediocre menu items from Applebee’s Two For Twenty deals.

Applebee’s Picks Kansas City’s Barkley as Its New Creative Agency

Account had been with Crispin Porter + Bogusky

By Patrick Coffee

Top American casual chain Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar, which announced in November that it would end its three-year relationship with Crispin Porter + Bogusky, has chosen Barkley as its new agency of record after an informal review that a source said pitted the independent Kansas City shop against FCB’s Chicago office.

Barkley, which is perhaps best known for its work for Sonic, will handle all 2016 campaigns as Applebee’s moves forward with plans to transform its overall marketing and advertising strategies.

Prior to the selection, Applebee’s parent company DineEquity, Inc. announced plans to consolidate most of its operations at its Glendale, California headquarters in what it called a plan “designed to accelerate growth in its core brands and speed development of traditional and non-traditional locations.” Applebee’s International president Steven R. Layt also resigned as part of this move.

The chain’s svp of marketing and culinary Darin Dugan said, “As we take the iconic Applebee’s brand to new places, we’re excited about the creative potential of the Applebee’s-Barkley relationship.” He added that “Barkley’s track record of driving results in the restaurant category and contemporizing established brands makes the agency an ideal partner to support our new direction.”

Barkley CEO Jeff King said he’s enthusiastic about the assignment: “Applebee’s invented the casual dining segment and has a unique and rich heritage. We are thrilled about the opportunity to help a powerful brand tell a new story extremely well.”

This is not the first time the chain and agency have teamed up. Barkley’s Blacktop unit has worked on Applebee’s menu design and other below-the-line projects for several years. DineEquity Inc. spent $165.4 million on measured media for Applebee’s in the U.S. last year, according to Kantar Media. The company spent nearly $100 million in the first half of 2015, marking an increase from its 2013 total of $177 million.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

12970: New Leaders = Old Leaders.

Adweek reported mcgarrybowen announced a new leadership team—although it’s really just reshuffling White people already in the system. According to Adweek, “The moves mark the first time mcgarrybowen has had a formal leadership team in the U.S. …” Guess the previous regimes were based on informal cronyism and nepotism.

Mcgarrybowen Announces New Leadership Team, Naming Simon Pearce U.S. CEO

Aims to prep agency for expansion

By Marty Swant

Mcgarrybowen today announced New York president Simon Pearce as its new U.S. CEO. The agency also named Chicago chief creative officer Ned Crowley as its new U.S. chief creative officer and global chief strategy officer Jennifer Zimmerman as its new U.S. chief strategy officer. (Zimmerman will also remain in the role of global chief strategy officer.)

The moves mark the first time mcgarrybowen has had a formal leadership team in the U.S., putting it more in line with parent Dentsu Aegis Network. The new structure also helps prepare the agency for key new offices and acquisitions in 2016 including in Asia and Europe.

Global chairman Gordon Bowen said in a statement that the new U.S. leadership structure will help the agency better scale in the U.S. and globally. Mcgarrybowen–which has offices in New York, Chicago and San Antonio–opened a new office in San Francisco this year after winning the AOR account for Intel. Other key wins in 2015 include Olive Garden and J.C. Penney.

“Mcgarrybowen has always been built on a strong trifecta of solid account, creative, and strategic leadership,” Bowen said in the statement. “This new leadership model reflects our core belief in delivering iconic creative work that builds our clients’ businesses, and also allows me to concentrate on growing and developing our offering on a global scale. I am delighted to have this incredibly talented team spearheading our U.S. operations.”

The newest of the three new leaders is Pearce, who joined mcgarrybowen in April after leading BBDO’s global business for HP. Crowley, who joined in 2007, helped establish and grow the agency’s Chicago office and worked with clients such as Disney, Kraft Foods, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Zimmerman joined the agency 12 years ago and has focused on new agency wins and campaigns for brands such as Procter & Gamble, United Airlines and Intel.

“This is an exciting new leadership team structure,” Pearce said. “I look forward to working even more closely with Jen and Ned to continue to help clients find their leverageable business and brand advantage and to deliver award-winning creative that drives successful business outcomes.”

Monday, December 14, 2015

12969: A List Exclusivity.

Campaign published, “In pictures: adland’s finest come together at Campaign A List party.” The gallery included a blurb that read, “Adland’s most influential people schmoozed against a backdrop of banana-scented wallpaper, and at least one creative director got slapped. As you nurse your hangover, check out highlights from the event in the gallery.” Besides a couple of cameo colored-person appearances, the most influential people appear to be most insulated—that is, they’re mostly White. Does “A” stand for Apartheid… or Anglo… or Assholes?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

12968: Sprint’s Solé Survivor.

Adweek reported Sprint appointed a new Chief Marketing Officer, tapping Roger Solé, who has run the beleaguered company’s Latino advertising and acquisition initiatives. Solé replaces Kevin Crull, who had served as CMO for a whopping seven months. Wow, seems like the Frobinson family lasted longer than Crull. And why are minorities only allowed to lead when an enterprise is in a death spiral?

Sprint Names a New CMO, Promoting Its Head of Hispanic Advertising to the Role

Roger Solé was also president of ops in Puerto Rico

By David Gianatasio

After seven months on the job, Kevin Crull is out as Sprint’s chief marketing officer, replaced by Roger Solé, who has led the company’s Hispanic advertising and acquisition efforts and served as president of its operations in Puerto Rico.

Crull becomes president of Sprint’s central region—which covers states such as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and Ohio—encompassing more than 500 company-owned or Sprint-branded retail stores.

In a statement, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure praised both executives, noting that Solé has been “integrally involved in shaping many of our key acquisition initiatives that have helped drive the growing momentum we are now enjoying. [He] has increased our ability to serve Hispanic customers and has spurred innovation across the organization.”

Solé will oversee advertising, customer acquisition and retention, and all digital and social efforts.

Claure said Crull “has guided some of our most important initiatives, designing and launching innovative and disruptive programs that have been resonating positively with customers.” The executive’s marketing skills and “broad management and operational expertise” make him a natural fit for the newly created role of central region president, Claure said.

Since joining Sprint in May, Crull had launched several high-profile consumer offers, including “All-In,” “Direct 2 You,” “iPhone Forever,” and its 50 percent off campaign. Regardless, Sprint slid behind T-Mobile into fourth place among domestic wireless carriers this year.

Sprint spends in excess of $800 million annually on domestic ads, per Kantar Media. A year ago, the company chose Interpublic’s Deutsch L.A. as its lead creative agency. MediaVest handles buying chores.

This marks the second CMO shuffle at a major advertiser in as many days. It follows Walmart’s announcement that its U.S. chief marketer, Stephen Quinn, would retire next month. Former Target CMO Michael Francis will join the retailer in a senior consulting capacity.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

12967: Operation Bullshit.

Campaign picked “Top 10 regional press ads of 2015,” and the number 1 spot went to Operation Black Vote. Could anything be more obscene than rallying Black voters via a White advertising agency? Yo, let your voices be heard in Britain—but expect being told to shut up in Adland.

1. Operation Black Vote ‘if you don’t register…’

Reducing the sense of cynicism and powerlessness among Britain’s black and Asian communities by encouraging them to use their votes was never going to be easy. But Saatchi & Saatchi chose to tackle the challenge head-on by having prominent black celebrities including the Homeland actor David Harewood and the former footballer Sol Campbell “white up” and be photographed by Rankin to illustrate the consequences of not making their voices heard.

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

Creatives: Rob Potts, Andy Jex

Friday, December 11, 2015

12966: Exclusivity Of The Year.

Adweek named Grey Global Agency of the Year, and the accompanying photograph (above) almost makes the place look diverse. But Grey is more White than gray—or any other color. Meanwhile, BBDO was awarded U.S. Agency of the Year, and the accompanying photograph (below) underscores the shop’s Whiteness.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

12965: Digiday Is Diversity Dumb.

A MultiCultClassics visitor pointed to a Digiday essay titled, “2016 Year in Preview: Holding companies make diversity their business.” The Digiday dummies are clearly gazing into a defective crystal ball, given the nonsense of their predictions. That the essay spotlights Brad Jakeman and Kat Gordon as leading advocates in the faux revolution only underscores the sad state of affairs. Digiday also underscored its own lack of credibility by misspelling the name of IPG Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Heide—not Hilde—Gardner. Hell, the illustration for the essay (depicted above) highlights a key dilemma; that is, diversity has come to mean promoting White women. If holding companies are indeed making diversity their business, it’s only by turning the issue into an advertising campaign exercise, executing deliberately deceptive messages, glittering generalities and outright lies.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

12964: R.I.P. CG MGS.

AgencySpy reported the Commonground/MGS holding group is history, allegedly the result of a financial dispute. Hey, it’s tough to build a business with crumbs versus currency.

12963: Multibillion-Dollar Bullshit.

Advertising Age reported on the Omnicom multibillion-dollar media win from Procter & Gamble, where much of the business was formerly handled by Publicis Groupe. This must really piss off Publicis Groupe Chairman-CEO Maurice Levy, who’s still smarting over the failed merger between the White holding companies. Meanwhile, don’t expect Omnicom to take the opportunity to hire with diversity in mind—or share EEO-1 data on any new jobs created by the victory.

Omnicom Big Winner in Multibillion-Dollar P&G Review

Publicis Groupe’s Starcom Mediavest Group Is U.S. Incumbent on $2.6B Business

By Alexandra Bruell

Procter & Gamble has awarded Omnicom the bulk of its multibillion-dollar media buying and planning business in its first major North American buying shift in nearly two decades.

Omnicom won the majority. Carat will have about one-third of the business, and Starcom Mediavest Group, the incumbent on the U.S. buying and planning business, will likely hold onto some brands, according to people familiar with the matter.

P&G will also divide its business among agencies by category across North America. Typically it’s been divided by region.

Omnicom was the newcomer to a review that began earlier this year, covering the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. The holding company’s media agency network Omnicom Media Group pulled together a team that competed with incumbents, including Publicis Groupe’s Starcom Mediavest Group, Dentsu Aegis’ Carat and WPP’s Mediacom. SMG is the longtime incumbent on the massive U.S business. Carat supports buying in Canada, as well as global planning. And Mediacom supports buying in various international regions. SMG and Carat have shared duties on North American communications planning, which was last reviewed in 2004. P&G last reviewed U.S. media buying in 1997 and Canadian media buying last year, when Carat won.

All came to the review armed with holding-company resources. Tech giant Sapient played a leading role on the team that Publicis put forward, according to people familiar with the matter. Mediacom led the charge for WPP, and tapped into GroupM resources.

Omnicom Media Group chose Scott Hagedorn, CEO of its data and tech hub Annalect, as a leading exec. But the group also had another advantage. Daryl Simm, as director of worldwide media at P&G, led the company’s last U.S. media review in 1997 that consolidated the account with Starcom Media Group. He moved to Omnicom Media Group the following year. This win brings him back into the P&G fold nearly two decades later. Mr. Simm is currently global CEO of the Omnicom media agency network.

Holding company CEOs were also involved at some level, and it’s no surprise for an account of this size.

In 2014, P&G spent $2.66 billion on U.S. measured media, which is a decrease from the $3.47 billion it spent in 2013, according to Kantar Media. That number will likely be a bit smaller this year as P&G divests much of its beauty business—including the CoverGirl, Clairol and Wella brands—to Coty. Duracell and the beauty brands P&G is spinning off to Coty had measured media spending of around $350 million last year, per Kantar Media. SMG sister agency Zenith supports the Coty media account.

Still, the company will continue to invest in global media. For the just-concluded fiscal year, the company cut the number of agencies it works with by 40% globally, trimming agency and production spending by around 15%, or $300 million, with “more savings ahead of us in year two,” said Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller during the company’s fiscal year earnings reported in July. Some of the agency and production costs will be reinvested in media and other advertising programs the company said at the time.

P&G’s move comes on the heels of Publicis announcing a massive reorganization and leadership changes. Publicis’ SMG supports much of the P&G creative and media business. As part of the reorg, Pubilcis’ media networks, including SMG and ZenithOptimedia will be rolled up into one Publicis Media hub. Steve King, CEO of ZenithOptimedia, will oversee the hub, and SMG global CEO Laura Desmond will move into a holding company role overseeing chief client officers. That leaves SMG, the longtime incumbent on the massive U.S. P&G media business, with U.S. leaders but no dedicated global CEO.

Following the announcement, Publicis CEO Maurice Levy told Ad Age that the P&G review had no impact on its decision to roll up its media agencies under one larger network, and that the company had briefed P&G CMO Marc Pritchard on its reorganization plans in March.

Renee Wilson, who for years had worked closely with P&G as client chief at Publicis’ PR network MSLGroup, also left to lead the PR Council, the trade group announced on Friday.

While P&G has held onto its agency relationships for U.S. buying, the company also has made drastic changes to its digital media buying processes over the past couple of years. A few years ago, it brought programmatic buying functions in-house under a new internal operation called Hawkeye.

Contributing: Jack Neff

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

12962: Pepsi Challenge 2015.

Adweek reported that Hero, a boutique advertising agency in New York, challenged PepsiCo Global Beverage Group President Brad Jakeman to make good on his recent rant about broken agency models by hiring small agencies instead. Jakeman responded with praise for the feisty shop’s passion. Based on the Hero website, the place appears to be pretty diverse, which also plays into Jakeman’s oh-so-bold stance on exclusivity. In short, here’s an opportunity for the PepsiCo executive to kill multiple birds with one stone. Or will Jakeman continue to talk the talk, yet walk with White advertising agencies?

12961: The Art Of Marching.

The New York Times published a story titled, “Black Artists and the March Into the Museum”—including photos, videos and more.

Monday, December 07, 2015

12960: Brainless B.S.

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. And brainless campaigns are from Argentina.

From Ads Of The World.

12959: The Wiz Is Anti-White…?

From The New York Daily News…

‘Reverse racism’ social media backlash over ‘The Wiz’ is absurd

By Leonard Greene

If there are any doubts remaining over how polarized this nation is over race, consider the social media backlash that developed over a simple TV musical.

NBC drew 11.5 million viewers Thursday evening with a live production of “The Wiz.”

The telecast also prompted immediate cries of “reverse racism” from some whites upset with the all-black cast.

“Can you imagine the outrage if a show advertised an “All White Cast”?! But #TheWizLive is getting praised for having an “All Black Cast” tweeted a user named Melly.

Another user wrote: ‘why are there no whites starring in #TheWiz? this is racist! can u imagine if it were the other way? #whitelivesmatter #TheWizLive.’

Yes, we can imagine. But we don’t have to. They called that one “The Wizard of Oz.”

Let’s get this out of the way first: There is no such thing as reverse racism. Something is either racist or it’s not.

Secondly. The Wiz debuted on Broadway 40 years ago before it became a motion picture starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Richard Pryor.

If you’re just learning about it now, you have bigger problems than your faulty racial meter.

The argument over “The Wiz” is similar to ones we’ve heard for generations about black organizations. It goes something like this:

Why do we need historically black colleges and universities? If we had historically white colleges and universities, then black people would be up in arms.

Here’s the response: We’ve had historically white colleges and universities in our country We just didn’t call them that. Instead, we used names like Harvard, Yale, Georgetown and Ole Miss.

“The Wiz” racist? Please. Only if they had made all the wicked witches white.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Saturday, December 05, 2015

12957: Exclusivity Reaches New High.

Advertising Age reported employment at U.S. advertising agencies hit its highest level since 2001. No mention of Black employment levels being at an all-time low for the industry. Which makes the rising numbers of White people dominating the business even more obscene. Of course, everything will be solved by 2079.

Ad Agency Employment Reaches Highest Level Since 2001

Staffing Nears 200,000, Sign of Strength for Agencies in Digital Era

By Bradley Johnson

U.S. ad agency employment is at its highest level since 2001, a sign of strength in an industry that is adapting to the digital era.

Advertising agencies employed 199,100 people in October, the highest level since May 2001, according to Ad Age Datacenter’s analysis of jobs data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Robust employment is an indication of how the agency business is successfully navigating marketing’s transition to digital. Agencies from all advertising and marketing-services disciplines generated nearly 40% of 2014 U.S. revenue from digital services, according to Ad Age Datacenter’s analysis.

Ad agencies have added 38,500 jobs since agency employment hit its recession-era nadir of 160,600 in January 2010.

Employment remains below its all-time peak of 207,400 in August 2000 in the frenzy of the dot-com bubble.

Agency employment in 2000 and 2001 was artificially boosted by ad spending—largely offline, in TV and print—by short-lived dot-coms flush with cash from venture capital and initial public offerings.

The dubious dot-coms are long gone, but agencies are more digital than ever.