Tuesday, May 31, 2016

13208: Racism Made In China.

Advertising Age—along with lots of media sources—reported on a Qiaobi detergent commercial from China that is being deemed perhaps the most racist advertisement ever. Um, not really. As the Los Angeles Times pointed out, there’s a long history of racist detergent advertising, much of it coming from the United States. Plus, it’s no ancient Chinese secret that China is on the same planet as, say, Germany, when it comes to cultural cluelessness. It’s actually more offensive when U.S. agencies such as the former Draftfcb consistently churn out culturally clueless crap—despite being part of a holding company boasting leadership in diversity and inclusion. Even from a global perspective, hypocrisy and ignorance trumps ignorance alone.

This Chinese Ad Caused an International Outcry; Now the Brand Is Trying to Erase It

Widely Denounced as Racist, It Disappeared From the Brand’s WeChat Account

By Angela Doland

CNN asked if this Chinese commercial was “the most racist ad ever.” Vibe’s headline was: “There are few words to describe the racism packed into this detergent commercial.”

The ad shows a Chinese woman shoving her black boyfriend into a washing machine. The cycle runs, and when he emerges, he’s been “cleaned”—into a Chinese man.

The commercial is for a detergent brand called Qiaobi, which appears to be a small startup sold mostly through e-commerce. It’s also a shot-for-shot rip-off of an Italian spot uploaded to YouTube 10 years ago. (In the Italian ad, a pasty, hairy white guy is transformed into a buff black guy.)

The international press discovered the Chinese ad Thursday; a day later a search on Google News turned up over 120 articles on it.

The full-length Chinese spot was still viewable early Friday on the brand’s WeChat account, where it was posted weeks ago. One of those posts had said the ad was created with help from a team of directors from popular Hunan TV, a satellite channel. (Hunan TV did not return an email seeking comment.)

By evening, though, the full-length version was gone. All that remained was a post that included a 5-second cut of the end of the ad, without the black actor. That post said it had appeared on big media channels, including Hunan TV, Jiangsu TV and CCTV-7. It was not clear whether Chinese TV giants ran the abridged or longer version, and whether the ads ran locally or more widely.

Ad Age contacted someone representing Qiaobi online. He declined to answer questions, aside from saying that the brand is sold online, on WeChat and in a few shops.

A woman who identified herself as an employee of an agency called Guangdong Today Media had posted about the ad on Weibo, the microblogging service. She took pictures of the spot ostensibly running in a movie theater in the central city of Xi’an, perhaps to show the ad’s reach. Ad Age reached out to ask about the post; she erased it. A version also disappeared from video sites iQiyi and Youku. But copies remained, including on YouTube.

How did this ad get made in the first place? One Shanghai art director at a major international ad agency said Chinese people weren’t as shocked as foreigners, partly because few know anyone who is black. “When we were children we always told jokes about black people turning white, washing their skin and turning white,” he said. “So when we see this ad, it seems very usual.”

On Weibo, some people said Westerners were too “politically correct.” But there was also harsh criticism. A user with the handle Xu Bugouzishu wrote: “If you can’t see any racism in this ad, then congratulations, you are racist!” In a Shanghai café, young office worker Lin Fei watched it and said: “I wonder how those people would feel if a Chinese person was washed into something whiter?”

Sunday, May 29, 2016

13206: Experimenting With Diversity.

Campaign published a perspective from Managing Director of Sunshine and Co-Founder of The Great British Diversity Experiment Nadya Powell, who shared details of the experiment’s focus on addressing the exclusivity in adland. Powell wrote, “The experiment provides practical and relevant actions to drive change specifically for the communications and creative industries,” and she presented five advice actions. “If every leader across the communications industry implemented the recommendations of the report we would build a better communications environment,” declared Powell. “If we know that diversity in the workplace leads to better experiences, solutions, and a better world in which to live, what excuse do we have not to change?” Give Powell credit for being idealistic; however, the root barriers to progress involve her being unrealistic. That is, history has shown “every leader” in the industry will not implement anything. Rather, the task is delegated to powerless Chief Diversity Officers or impotent Diversity Committees. Additionally, we do not “know that diversity in the workplace leads to better experiences, solutions, and a better world in which to live…” Because the ruling White majority has sustained exclusivity, there is zero proof that diversity will lead to better results. For now, The Great British Diversity Experiment is a not-so-great failed experiment.

The Great British Diversity Experiment 2016: Top 5 findings

In 2015, a group of senior leaders who work for the diversity cause in the advertising and marketing world got together to discuss one of the most pressing problems in our workplaces, writes Nadya Powell.

If the UK population is becoming more diverse, why do the majority of creative ideas we pitch to our clients so often get decided by a group of middle class white men, rather than a group that accurately reflects the target audience?

To tackle this issue, Daniele Fiandaca, Alex Goat, Laura Jordan-Bambach, Jonathan Akwue, Bejay Melunga, Tolu Farinto, Karen Fraser and myself founded The Great British Diversity Experiment.

The experiment provides practical and relevant actions to drive change specifically for the communications and creative industries.

We offered the following advice actions to businesses dedicated to creating diverse teams:

Create an environment where team members are comfortable being themselves

The teams that fared best were those where individuals felt empowered to be their authentic selves rather than conforming to type, and where ideas won by a democratic vote, instead of by cultural consensus.

The creative process is broken — readdress it

We need to embrace messiness and go beyond using standard decision-making mechanisms. Take the time to explore all ideas, and create strong structures and boundaries for the ideation process, to reap the rewards of truly diverse teams.

Re-train leaders

Question whether the archetypal role of the all-encompassing creative director is still fit for purpose. The experiment pointed less to a Don Draper-esque style of leadership, and more to the skills of empathetic, careful facilitators, capable of listening and creating space for a team to grow and flourish, with guidance.

Implement the ‘Rooney Rule’

Acknowledge that bringing in diverse talent is not a “CSR thing”, but is critical to business success. Demand that every new role has a diverse shortlist. Look harder, further and accept that often a round peg in a square hole is a good thing. The experiment showed that true diversity serves creativity by allowing people to be themselves and to draw on their experiences without being judged.

Make your attitudes as accessible as your buildings

14% of the UK identify themselves as having a physical disability — yet how many people in your company are from this community? Even worse, how many companies have not even discussed how you can encourage more people with a disability into your company? This is an issue that isn’t receiving the attention it deserves and our industry is falling behind because of it. Let’s start the debate and inspire change.

This is not an exercise in industry-bashing but a tool to confront the elephant in the room. If every leader across the communications industry implemented the recommendations of the report we would build a better communications environment. Teams that reflect the society with which we communicate produce more compelling, engaging work.

If we know that diversity in the workplace leads to better experiences, solutions, and a better world in which to live, what excuse do we have not to change?

Nadya Powell is managing director of Sunshine and a co-founder of the Great British Diversity Experiment

Saturday, May 28, 2016

13205: Campbell Ewald Get Out Day.

AgencySpy reported Campbell Ewald axed 10 percent of its staff in the past month, speculating the downsizings were the result of four client defections—three of which were directly tied to the Ghetto Day debacle. For years, Chief Diversity Officers have insisted diversity and inclusion are good for business. It’s always been a tough notion to prove, however, as the chronically exclusive advertising industry has never had a clear example to cite as a standard. Yet now there’s evidence that a lack of diversity and inclusion—coupled with blatant racism—is bad for business. Thanks, Campbell Ewald!

Friday, May 27, 2016

13204: Digitize Diversity.

Adweek reported History is celebrating a new show via a project that will initially digitize 4,000 post-slavery documents to help Black families trace their ancestors. Hey, someone should digitally document every Black person who has worked in the advertising industry. Such an effort would likely involve far, far fewer than 4,000 documents.

History Celebrates New Show Roots With Project to Digitize Post-Slavery Documents

Will help African-American families trace their ancestors

By Katie Richards

When immigrants came into the United States through Ellis Island or arrived on the Mayflower, it was all carefully documented so that today, family members can easily trace the arrival of their ancestors. For those with relatives that arrived on slave ships, it’s much harder to trace, but a new campaign from History, “Reading for Roots,” aims to help those families learn more about their ancestors by digitizing some of the important records and documents.

“Reading for Roots” was created around History’s new show Roots—a four-night, eight-hour miniseries and one of Adweek’s 12 TV shows you don’t want to miss this summer—which debuts this weekend. As History was preparing to launch the show, it came across the Freedmen’s Bureau Project, an initiative seeking to digitize all of the records from the Freedmen’s Bureau.

With nearly 4 million slaves freed by emancipation, there were a high volume of documents detailing where they came from, who they worked for, who their families were, what their own names were and so on. The Freedmen’s Bureau Project has been working to digitize all of these documents, asking volunteers to sign up and help index over one million documents.

“The Freedmen’s Bureau have all these documents that they still need to read and they have an incredibly intense process wherein they have to check the document two or three times to make sure it’s accurate,” Elizabeth Luciano, vp, brand marketing at A&E, told Adweek. “So, why don’t we give people that chance to help this project along by letting them simply do it online in an easy manner?”

In partnership with 360i, History built a website that houses roughly 4,000 documents from the Freedmen’s Bureau, dating back to the 1860s. The idea was to tap into millennial viewers who, according to a key insight from History, would rather donate time than money. Volunteers simply need to visit the Reading for Roots website, open up a document and type in any names and dates they come across.

The campaign fits nicely with the show, which focuses on slavery in America and follows one family’s struggle to stay alive. “Roots is a story about family heritage, identity and where you come from. We want to make sure we could provide people with similar backgrounds in the United States with the ability to tell their story,” Luciano added.

History hopes to have all 4,000 documents digitized by the time the final episode of the show airs next Thursday. FamilySearch will house all of the documents online. They will also be available in the National Museum of African American History and Culture when it opens in September.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

13203: Dancing With Diversity.

Google saluted Frankie Manning, Ambassador of Lindy Hop and swing dancing. Meanwhile, when asked about diversity, Google tends to start tap dancing.

13202: Keeping Up With The Joanses.

Numerous media sources have reported on the launch of Joan, a new White-female-owned advertising agency founded by Lisa Clunie and Jaime Robinson. The hype includes promoting “The Joan Foundation for Diversity in Advertising” with website copy that reads:

The world needs more irregular thinkers, and those are likely to come from more surprising places. See, as creative people, our unique life experiences are the building blocks for our best ideas. So, we’re establishing a foundation where a percentage of our time and profits will be spent seeking and inspiring brilliant people from all walks of life to join our field.

Watch this space as the Foundation announces its board, goals and plan.

Oh boy, MultiCultClassics will be visiting often to learn the exciting details.

Additionally, Robinson declared, “You don’t need to be a woman to work at Joan. Our philosophy is that a diversity of talent is what brings unique, interesting ideas. If you have the same, you’ll get the same.”

Okay, but right now, the diversity appears to be diverted—that is, it looks like the inclusiveness is exclusive to White women. Will the “percentage of our time and profits” dedicated to battling sameness exceed 3%? Or is this just the same old, same old smokescreen?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

13201: 100% Diverted Diversity.

Campaign reported on the latest 100% diverted diversity bullshit from The 3% Conference: the launch of a survey asking, “Exactly how pervasive is sexual harassment and gender bias in the advertising industry?” According to Campaign, the survey was “driven by the JWT discrimination case” involving the alleged ignorance of former JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Gustavo Martinez. However, The 3% Conference will play ignorant regarding the charges of anti-Semitism and racism in the case. Is a formal survey really necessary? Publicis Groupe Hairman and CEO Maurice Lévy—along with lots of prominent ad women—might insist there is no problem. The survey site claims, “Research from The 3% Movement reveals 23% of ad women have witnessed or experienced sexual harassment and 25% have personally experienced gender discrimination.” Okay, but the percentages for minorities who have witnessed or experienced harassment and/or personally experienced discrimination are waaaay higher.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

13200: Objecting To Objectification.

Adweek reported on the Naja “Nude for All” lingerie campaign that allegedly celebrates diversity and rejects gender stereotypes. The campaign was created by Badger & Winters, a shop that recently generated press when it “made a commitment to never objectify women in our work.” Um, does depicting beautiful models wearing nothing but lingerie really support the commitment? Give Naja founders Catalina Girald and Gina Rodriguez credit for not choosing a standard White advertising agency to handle the campaign. At the same time, how diverse and inclusive is Badger & Winters?

‘Nude for All’ Campaign Breaks Lingerie Ad Stereotypes

Work by Badger & Winters features a diverse cast of women

By Christine Birkner

When Catalina Girald saw Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Gabby Douglas compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics, it sparked an interesting product idea. Girald, a former gymnast, herself, was taken aback by the fact that Douglas, who is African-American, was wearing a “nude” ankle wrap that didn’t match her skin tone.

“I wore ankle wraps many times and hadn’t ever thought about the fact that they don’t make them in other colors. It made me realize that ‘nude’ is not ‘nude’ for everyone,” Girald said.

Two years later, when Girald launched her lingerie company, Naja, she kept that idea in mind. Today, the company is debuting ads on New York’s subways for Nude for All, its new lingerie line that’s available in seven shades of nude for every skin tone. The ads feature 10 racially and ethnically diverse women who all have varied, and accomplished backgrounds, including a soloist for the San Francisco ballet, a software engineer and a Harvard Business School student. Naja plans to post the women’s stories on its website and social media channels later this summer, and expand the campaign to include more outdoor ads in other cities.

Also appearing in ads for the lingerie is Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez, co-founder of Naja. How Girald and Rodriguez became business partners is a story in itself. Right after she started Naja, Girald was approached by Procter & Gamble to appear in a video series showcasing up-and-coming Latinas, where she met Rodriguez, who also appeared in the videos.

“At the time, Gina and I were the only two people who really weren’t up-and-coming,” Girald said. “I had just started the company, and she didn’t have the part on Jane the Virgin yet. We were both struggling artists, and we became friends. Eight months later, she won the Golden Globe, so I asked her to help me launch the nude lingerie, and she loved the idea.”

The campaign was directed by Badger & Winters, whose co-founder and chief creative officer Madonna Badger is fighting sexism in advertising through #WomenNotObjects, an effort to combat ads that objectify women.

“I’m still bothered by the fact that most lingerie portrays women as sexual objects, and I wanted to change the way that lingerie is advertised to women,” Girald said. “I saw an article in the New York Times about #WomenNotObjects, and it resonated with everything I was feeling, so I reached out to them.”

“They fell in love with my story, and when Madonna and her team got ahold of the campaign, it turned out incredibly well,” she said. “We initially had an image where the women were serious, but Madonna wanted the image where the women were jumping up and down. She wanted to show their personalities.”

“The happy creative helps to drive home a more serious message about diversity,” Girald said. “We wanted to make people smile, and then, make them realize that there’s a broader issue here. You see the race and ethnicity issue more than anything.”

Monday, May 23, 2016

13199: Frivolous Follies.

Adweek reported lawyers for JWT, WPP and Gustavo Martinez filed motions to dismiss the infamous discrimination suit, and the motions called Erin Johnson’s claims “frivolous.” Okay, the official definition of “frivolous” includes:

1. characterized by lack of seriousness or sense: frivolous conduct.

Based on the definition, if Johnson’s charges are indeed frivolous, it appears that JWT, WPP and Martinez have overreacted with extreme seriousness and sense of purpose.

After all, Martinez saw fit to resign his global position.

Meanwhile, JWT and WPP immediately replaced Martinez with a White woman—Tamara Ingram—who instantly declared, “Top of my agenda is diversity and inclusiveness.” Ingram followed up by creating a Diversity and Inclusion Council and partnering with inQUEST, a diversity and inclusion consulting firm. Plus, Ingram is establishing a hotline for whistleblowers, which is unlikely to attract callers considering the way JWT and WPP are now treating Johnson.

Additionally, while the motions might be valid from a strict legal perspective, the documents feature a few items that border on being frivolous, in terms of lacking seriousness or sense. Adweek wrote, “According to the document, the ‘alleged racist and anti-Semitic comments referenced in the Complaint’ also ‘have no bearing on [Johnson’s] retaliatory harassment claim’ since she is neither Jewish nor a minority.” Does this mean White people cannot feel threatened by alleged anti-Semitic racists? BTW, did the lawyers conduct DNA and genealogy investigations to conclude Johnson is free of any Jewish or minority ties?

Adweek also wrote, “The argument holds that, while Martinez’s conduct as alleged may have been ‘offensive,’ it was not illegal because ‘Courts have repeatedly held … that a few sexual or racially-charged comments do not create a hostile work environment.’” Perhaps, but in an industry with a long history of sexual harassment and racial/ethnic discrimination, such alleged behavior receives heightened responses—as demonstrated by the aforementioned reactions from JWT, WPP and Martinez. It could be argued that Martinez’s alleged remarks and behavior fueled an already hostile work environment.

In the end, there’s a lot to dismiss in the motions to dismiss. But that’s to be expected when corporate lawyers team up with advertising agency executives. It’s Tommy Flanagan meets Joe Isuzu.

Lawyers for JWT, WPP and Gustavo Martinez File Motion to Dismiss Discrimination Suit

Filing calls Erin Johnson’s claims ‘frivolous’

By Patrick Coffee

Lawyers for WPP, J. Walter Thompson and Gustavo Martinez filed motions in New York’s U.S. District Court today seeking to dismiss in its entirety the suit filed by global chief communications officer Erin Johnson against her employer this March.

That suit, which inspired headlines around the world, led now-former JWT global chairman and CEO Martinez to resign one week after it was filed. He was immediately replaced by WPP chief client team officer Tamara Ingram.

Today’s filing by Davis & Gilbert LLP, the firm representing JWT and its parent company, urges the judge to dismiss the case on the federal, state and city levels. The 30-page document argues that Johnson and her legal team have failed to prove that she suffered any sort of “materially adverse” consequences due to Martinez’s behavior, which allegedly included racist and anti-Semitic statements, incidents of sexual harassment and at least one rape joke caught on camera during a 2015 meeting with employees and client representatives at a Miami hotel. It also claims that accusations of Martinez retaliating against Johnson for raising concerns about his behavior to the agency’s global chief talent officer Laura Agostini are baseless.

The document calls Johnson’s amended complaint alleging violations of the federal Equal Pay Act and Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act forbidding discriminatory behavior by employers “frivolous.” It also argues that she used her relationships with various media outlets to further publicize her case and that a text message sent to Martinez just over a week before her legal team let JWT and WPP know that a suit would be filed disproves her claims about being subjected to a hostile work environment.

In that text, Johnson allegedly told Martinez that she had rejected a job offer from another agency “because I am loyal to you and what you are doing,” adding, “I felt like we had a good year together. So I hope I wasn’t wrong to stay. Lol”

The filing also states that Johnson’s claims regarding “her alleged reduced 2014 bonus” cannot be validated because the reduction of that bonus occurred “before she complained about her bonus in ‘late April and early May 2015,’ and before she allegedly complained in May 2015 about Martinez’s racist comments.” It further states that Johnson never clarified as to whether Martinez was made aware of her complaints regarding the aforementioned comments and that she therefore has no direct evidence that his actions were made in retaliation against her.

The filing claims that Johnson mentioned “virtually nothing supporting a hostile work environment claim” during the nine-month period between May 2015, when Agostini told Johnson she would investigate the claims made against Martinez, and the day in February when Johnson and her legal team let the companies know that a suit would be filed.

Regarding the implication that Martinez’s behavior created “a hostile work environment” for Johnson (which serves as the subject of her state and city-level claims), the filing argues that many of the incidents in question are “irrelevant” since they occurred before she “purportedly engaged in protected activity,” meaning activity that happened after the first formal complaints were made against Martinez in May 2015. According to the document, the “alleged racist and anti-Semitic comments referenced in the Complaint” also “have no bearing on her retaliatory harassment claim” since she is neither Jewish nor a minority.

Johnsons’s initial suit stated that, after she told Martinez that his rape jokes were inappropriate, he told her to “come to him so he could ‘rape [her]’ in the bathroom.” But today’s filing states that such incidents do not amount to sexual harassment because her complaints contain “no allegation that he actually talked about ‘the sex.’”

The argument holds that, while Martinez’s conduct as alleged may have been “offensive,” it was not illegal because “Courts have repeatedly held … that a few sexual or racially-charged comments do not create a hostile work environment.” The document goes on to cite various cases that included “more offensive” behavior but were not ruled to have created such an environment since they were “petty” and, in several instances such as the Miami meeting, were not directed at Johnson herself.

According to the filing, any adverse consequences Johnson suffered for filing related complaints—including the reduction of bonuses, the removal of certain duties from her schedule and her exclusion from executive meetings—amount to only “minor annoyances” that cannot be considered retaliation by her employer. “Not only did Johnson remain as Chief Communications Officer,” the document reads, “but she fails to allege how losing these minor duties adversely impacted her job.” WPP’s lawyers also argue that Johnson failed to prove definitively that Martinez slashed her 2015 bonuses in response to the complaints she made against him and that her request to be placed on paid leave following the suit’s initial filing “belies any claim that such leave is materially adverse.”

Finally, the document argues that the claim that these allegedly retaliatory acts “dissuaded Johnson from complaining” or otherwise affected her ability to do her job is disproven by the very filing of her suit.

Lawyers for Martinez himself, who hired a separate firm after resigning from his job, also filed their own motion to dismiss Johnson’s claims today.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

13198: Whitey Chocolate.

This campaign shows mcgarrybowen in Brazil is as culturally clueless as mcgarrybowen in the U.S.

13197: Ogilvy’s Pipe Dream.

Campaign reported on a new internship scheme from Ogilvy & Mather apparently designed to attract a truly diverse crop of Whites into the field. Appropriately called The Pipe—as the idiots behind the concept must be smoking some pretty serious shit—the programme targets White folks ranging from young people unable to afford college to retirees. Ageism be damned! Plus, O&M joined other White agencies in signing a pledge to pay a minimum amount of money to newbies. So not only will there be a greater number of Whites flooding the industry, but they’ll probably receive more compensation than inner-city minorities earn. Brilliant.

Ogilvy & Mather looks for school leavers and retirees for new placement scheme

Ogilvy & Mather has become the latest agency to set up an initiative to boost diversity, with a group-wide creative internship programme.

In a bid to ensure applicants come from all walks of life there are no requirements for people entering the scheme to have any particular qualifications or experience. Ogilvy is looking to hire 14 interns through the programme, which is called The Pipe in homage to founder David Ogilvy’s smoking pipe.

The interns will be paid the London Living Wage (£9.40 an hour) and work on briefs from across the Ogilvy & Mather UK group, which includes Ogilvy & Mather, OgilvyOne, branding agency Coley Porter Bell, Ogilvy PR, Ogilvy Healthworld, social@Ogilvy and behavioural change arm OgilvyChange.

A spokeswoman said it was hoping for a huge variety of candidates — from 18-year-olds who cannot afford to go to university through to 65-year-olds who have retired and are looking for a new challenge.

Ogilvy & Mather plans to assign these interns to a mid-weight creative at the agency. This will benefit the mid-weight creative as well as the intern as it will enable them to develop people management skills as well as experience guiding the creative direction of colleagues, which will equip them for the promotion to creative director.

The Pipe’s application process will require budding creatives to first send in a piece of creative work — anything from an ad design to song lyrics. Then, 200 applicants will have two weeks to answer a brief before the top 50 are invited for an interview.

The Ogilvy & Mather creative directors Johnny Watters and Angus George came up with the idea for The Pipe, and are supported by the group chief creative officer Emma De la Fosse and head of talent acquisition Matt Jordan.

Aspiring agency creatives often have to work lengthy periods for free or just expenses before securing their first full-time job. With rents and the cost of living rising, this has led to an increasing proportion of junior creatives coming from more prosperous backgrounds.

Creature’s creative partner Stu Outhwaite and Ben Harris have led a campaign, supported by Campaign, to ensure agencies commit to the Placement Poverty Pledge. It requires shops to pay their creative placements the London Living Wage and at least £100 a day after three months.

Ogilvy & Mather has recently signed up to the pledge for its traditional creative placements, joining agencies such as Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, Adam & Eve/DDB, Outhwaite’s Creature, Wieden & Kennedy, Saatchi & Saatchi and TBWA\London.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

13196: Consexual Advertising.

A sexy ad for Virgin Airlines activated contextual advertising from iStock featuring images of virgins.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

13194: Diversity Is A Bad Investment…?

Campaign published an article spotlighting former Deutsch Diversity Director Felicia Geiger, who stated that when she received her pink slip, “I was told that the agency was no longer going to invest in diversity.” Okay, the official definition for “invest” includes:

1. to put (money) to use, by purchase or expenditure, in something offering potential profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value.

Based on the definition, have White agencies such as Deutsch ever invested in diversity? Sure, these shops make charitable, tax-deductible donations to smokescreens like ADCOLOR®, The 3% Conference, IAM High School, etc. Plus, these diversity investors might proclaim the loot offers “potential profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value.” But are the generous equality fighters honestly committed to the investments? Probably not. In short, White advertising agencies do not emotionally and philosophically invest in the concept of diversity.

The Deutsch scenario is extra obscene on a professional level, as the agency is part of IPG, the self-proclaimed leader in diversity and inclusion. According to IPG officials, Deutsch executives reportedly have their compensation tied to meeting diversity goals. It would be interesting to learn the financial figures associated with the efforts, as well as the identities of the agency honchos with hiring power affected by the inclusion initiatives. Who is being rewarded and penalized—and what are the exact dollar amounts? Deutsch North America CCO Pete Favat and Deutsch Chairman Linda Sawyer will certainly struggle to come out in the black due to their unwillingness to employ Blacks. In the end, is Deutsch any different than IPG sister agency Campbell Ewald?

It’s appalling how clients continue to invest in these agencies.

Deutsch ‘no longer going to invest in diversity,’ says former head of program

By Douglas Quenqua

Felicia Geiger, ex-diversity director, says budget to support initiatives like MAIP, TORCH and ADCOLOR was eliminated in January

Faced with financial constraints, Deutsch NY chose earlier this year to eliminate its diversity budget so it could invest in other areas, says the agency’s recently dismissed director of diversity and inclusion.

“I was told that the agency was no longer going to invest in diversity,” said Felicia Geiger in a telephone interview. “They wanted to put their efforts behind other initiatives, such as technology.”

Geiger, who had been with the Interpublic Group agency since 2002, says the agency’s director of human resources informed her of the change in January. Geiger was also told at the time that the shift would likely result in her position being eliminated. Her last day with the company was March 30.

The director of human resources position has been held by Robin Lander, though Geiger declined to confirm it was she who made the statement.

A Deutsch spokesperson initially denied that the agency had cut its diversity budget. The agency later followed up with a written statement, “Diversity and inclusion is a business imperative at Deutsch, not because it’s fashionable but because it makes the thinking and the work better.”

The agency added: “Diversity and inclusion initiatives have always been led by Robin Lander, who is not only director of HR, but a partner at the agency. She oversees implementation and we continue to make considerable investments in a number of diversity programs and initiatives, pro-bono work for companies that support diverse audiences, and lastly recruitment initiatives aimed at attracting diverse candidates.”

A Deutsch spokesperson denied that the agency had cut its diversity budget. No one from the agency was immediately available to comment further.

Geiger’s dismissal was first reported last week by Campaign US in a Q&A with Chairman Linda Sawyer and NA Chief Creative Officer Pete Favat following the agency’s announcement that it had hired two new CCOs, Jason Bagley in Los Angeles and Dan Kelleher in New York.

Sawyer and Favat were addressing concerns that both new CCOs, as well as the agency’s three other most recent senior hires, were all white men.

When Sawyer and Favat were asked about Geiger’s dismissal, EVP and director of communications Vonda LePage, who had been sitting in on the call, characterized it as a strategic move to shift the responsibility for diversity to everyone in the agency.

“One of the philosophies we lean into is that everybody at Deutsch, from the CEO to the receptionist, owns diversity,” she said. “And we wanted to really make sure that everybody was stepping up and owning it. And by having one person who owned it, which is what that role was, kind of took the responsibility off everybody else.”

The agency’s written statement this afternoon added, “IPG has numerous programs we regularly participate in.

In fact, every senior manager’s compensation is tied to diversity and inclusion objectives developed by IPG.”

Geiger says that before she was dismissed, she had implored agency executives to try filling the CCO roles — one of which had formerly been held by a woman, Kerry Keenan — with a diversity candidate. “I had suggested this would be a great way to infuse diversity at the most senior levels, and that suggestion was not taken up,” she said.

Geiger first joined Deutsch as a general recruiter in 2000. She briefly left the agency for TBWA in 2001, but was brought back by Deutsch in 2002. She was appointed the agency’s first director for diversity and inclusion in 2008.

At first, the job came with a budget “well over six figures,” Geiger says. That money went toward establishing internships for diversity candidates and employee resource groups, as well as sponsoring internal programs that invited groups like the Brotherhood/Sister Sol and Ghetto Film School into the agency to talk about their work. Deutsch was also a perennial supporter of programs like M.A.I.P, the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program run by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, ADCOLOR and TORCH, a nonprofit that exposes New York City high school students to career opportunities.

Deutsch received numerous diversity awards during Geiger’s tenure, including a MAIP Service Award, a Coalition for the Homeless Partnership award, the Live Out Loud Corporate Leadership Award and the IPG Inclusion Award for Community Partnerships. Geiger said Deutsch also received consistently high scores in the IPG Climate for Inclusion Survey, an annual anonymous survey that measures employee satisfaction with agency diversity and inclusion programs.

Geiger herself received an ADCOLOR change agent award in 2011, and a 2013 TORCH L.I.G.H.T. award.

In last week’s interview, Sawyer boasted of Deutsch’s high rates of gender inclusion. “We have always had a lot of women in management and in our organization,” she said. “If you look at our senior leadership, we’re at like 58% women, and if you look at our organization overall, we’re over 50% women, as well as around 50% in our creative department.”

Geiger says her diversity budget began to shrink in 2014, when the agency started scrutinizing budgets across the board. When she was told in January that the budget — and probably her position — was being eliminated, she reacted with disbelief.

“I was gobsmacked,” she said “What do you say to that? I’m not going to throw a fit.”

“I said I would like to keep this confidential, because as the agency cheerleader, people would flip if they found out,” she said. “And we agreed that we would keep this under wraps.”

In the days after Geiger’s dismissal became public, supporters protested the decision on Twitter using the hashtag #WTFDeutsch.

(See Campaign article for Twitter comments.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

13193: RAPP Crap.

Adweek reported on a lawsuit filed by a former RAPP U.S. President charging the company with discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination. Sounds like the makings of RAPP rap lyrics. The details are too zany to regurgitate, so please read the article below. But it appears to be another example of White whistleblowers pursuing legal action after complaining about the racist, sexist and inappropriate behavior of superiors. Hey, when White people complain about discrimination, it leads to multi-million-dollar lawsuits. When minorities complain about discrimination, it leads to blacklisting.

Former RAPP U.S. President Files Lawsuit Accusing CEO of Discrimination and Wrongful Termination

Alexei Orlov allegedly referred to multiple women as ‘fat cows’

By Patrick Coffee

Recently departed RAPP U.S. president Greg Andersen has sued his former employer alleging wrongful termination, retaliation and discrimination in a suit echoing the case that recently led to the resignation of J. Walter Thompson global chairman and CEO Gustavo Martinez.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles against RAPP Worldwide and RAPP California by the law firm of Rushovich Mehtani LLP claims that CEO Alexei Orlov fired Andersen for reporting on the chief executive’s allegedly “destructive” behavior to global head of human resources Carolyn Doud and one of parent company Omnicom’s in-house attorneys.

The full filing cites the agency’s “repeated failures to show basic respect for the civil rights of various employees” and accuses Orlov of subjecting his staff to “sexual and racial harassment, gender and age discrimination, and retaliation for trying to put an end to such injustices.”

Adweek reached out to RAPP and the larger Omnicom organization for comment on the suit but did not receive a response by the time this story was published. Aanand Mehtani of Rushovich Mehtani LLP declined to comment on the case.

Orlov joined RAPP as global CEO in June 2014 after serving as chief marketing officer for Volkswagen’s China region. His previous agency experience includes executive roles at Interpublic Group and WPP’s Wunderman, where he was worldwide executive vice chairman.

The suit claims Orlov immediately “created a hostile work environment” after joining RAPP and “demonstrated through his comments and actions that he harbored discriminatory animus against women and various racial and ethnic groups.”

Specifically, Andersen claims he witnessed Orlov referring to unnamed women as “fat cows” on “several occasions” and that the CEO once chided a Jewish employee for being “miserly with money.” According to the suit, Orlov also pressured an employee working on the agency’s Pfizer account to acquire Viagra for him without a prescription, claiming he needed the drug “because he has a young wife.” Andersen claims that he then reported the incident to the managing director of RAPP New York.

Orlov also allegedly declined to promote an unnamed female executive whom Andersen was “grooming” for a leadership position, stating that she was “too pretty” to be taken seriously.

According to the suit, Orlov dismissed a claim of sexual harassment against another RAPP leader. Andersen witnessed a “drunk” executive speculate “loudly” that an unnamed female employee was not wearing underwear, the suit states. When Andersen reported the violation to Orlov, he allegedly responded with an email reading, “I do not want to see this man’s demise.” The executive in question remains a RAPP employee.

The filing claims that many RAPP employees were fearful of Orlov, who was known as “vindictive” and allegedly told approximately 70 people at a meeting in the agency’s Dallas office, “Mess with my brand or my direction and I will break off your finger and shove it up your ass.”

Nonetheless, Andersen allegedly encouraged other staff members to file complaints about Orlov’s behavior, facilitated an investigation by human resources and the agency’s legal department and eventually lost his job for speaking out.

Andersen also claims that his age may have played a role in Orlov’s decision to fire him, noting that he heard the CEO state that he “did not want [his] company filled with people in their forties or fifties” in front of Doud and other agency leaders on “several occasions.”

In claiming damages inflicted by Orlov and RAPP, the suit states that Andersen has suffered for “telling the truth about the unlawful and discriminatory mistreatment of various employees of Defendant.” Andersen claims he was terminated directly after returning from a vacation in April.

Adweek’s AgencySpy blog reported that he had been let go after nearly three years with the agency, but RAPP gave no reason for his abrupt departure at the time. Andersen previously served as CEO of BBH New York and was promoted to lead U.S. operations at RAPP after serving as managing director of its Los Angeles office.

Monday, May 16, 2016

13192: Lévy’s Succession Plan—For WPP…?

Campaign reported Publicis Groupe Chairman and CEO Maurice Lévy thinks WPP Overlord Sir Martin Sorrell’s successor should not be a douche bag. “Whoever succeeds [Sorrell] needs to be a good human being,” insisted Lévy. “Not wicked and nasty, generous and not greedy, sharing and not selfish or egotistical.” Um, Lévy is hardly qualified to list requirements for the WPP role, as the moron has been unable to identify a replacement for his own wickedly nasty, greedy, selfish and egotistical position. The verbal volleys between Lévy and Sorrell are almost comedic in their campy craziness and cultural cluelessness. Has anyone done more damage to the industry than this dim-witted duo?

Lévy: Sorrell’s successor should not be ‘wicked and nasty’

By Kate Magee

PARIS: Maurice Lévy, the chairman and chief executive of Publicis Groupe, has told Campaign that whoever succeeds WPP’s chief executive, Martin Sorrell, needs to be “a good human being – not wicked and nasty.”

“Whoever succeeds [Sorrell] needs to be a good human being – not wicked and nasty, generous and not greedy, sharing and not selfish or egotistical,” he said.

Lévy’s comments came after WPP chairman Roberto Quarta acknowledged that the world’s largest marketing services company has begun both an internal and external search for Sorrell’s successor. “At some point we all leave our jobs. The question is when,” Quarta wrote in WPP’s 2015 Annual Report. “Whether, in Sir Martin’s case, that happens tomorrow, in one, two, three, four, or five years, or even over a longer period, we have already begun to identify internal and external candidates who should be considered.”

Lévy is himself due to retire in May 2017.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

13191: Campaign Births B.S.

Campaign announced the birth of its new website in contrived and clichéd fashion. In recent months, the trade publication has grown increasingly vocal regarding the dearth of diversity in the U.S. and U.K. advertising industries. Yet Campaign also admitted its own Whiteness in culturally clueless, contrived and clichéd fashion. A peek at the U.K. Campaign staff tells the tale of hypocrisy. White people who live in alleged glass-ceiling houses…

Saturday, May 14, 2016

13190: JWTerrible Inclusion Idea.

Advertising Age reported JWT—still reeling from the Gustavo Martinez fiasco—has created a Diversity and Inclusion Council. The clichéd and contrived smokescreen will likely be followed by a spike in minority internships, inner-city recruiting, chief diversity officer hiring, white women promotions and tax-deductible ADCOLOR® donations.

JWT Creates Diversity and Inclusion Council Following Lawsuit

WPP Shop Starts Hotline, Partners With Consulting Firm to Review Policies

By Lindsay Stein

J. Walter Thompson Co. CEO Tamara Ingram has created and will lead a global executive diversity and inclusion council for the agency, a move that comes after her predecessor, Gustavo Martinez, was sued for allegedly making multiple “racist and sexist slurs.”

In addition, Ad Age has learned that JWT is partnering with consulting firm inQUEST to provide an independent review of the agency’s policies, procedures and practices. InQUEST, which helps companies create diverse and inclusive cultures, has worked with the likes of Novartis, Bosch and Make-A-Wish, according to its website.

Another part of Ms. Ingram’s plan includes the development of an internal network with a “talk-to-me hotline” for employees to call if they are upset or concerned about certain issues.

Ms. Ingram introduced the council to employees in a video sent to its worldwide staff today. In the video she says, “We fundamentally believe that diversity and inclusion is essential if we are going to deliver the extraordinary work that we need to do, to transform and grow our clients business. We need to represent all people to get those engaging insights that can deliver the engaging ideas that can make such a huge a difference for our clients.”

The agency has also hired Celia Berk, most recently Y&R chief talent officer, as the agency’s chief experience officer, a newly created role. Ms. Berk will play a critical role in the executive diversity and inclusion council and help oversee the internal feedback network. Other members of the council are still being determined.

Ms. Berk will also manage the talk-to-me hotline that will allow employees voice issues or suggestions to improve their experience as employees, Ms. Ingram said in the video.

Representatives from JWT were not immediately available for comment.

JWT Chief Talent Officer Laura Agostini will remain in her role. Both Ms. Berk and Ms. Agostini will report to Ms. Ingram.

In March, four days after she took the helm at the agency, Ms. Ingram set out a agenda for diversity at a London launch event, where she unveiled a JWT film series called “Her Story: The Female Revolution” and a new report on “Female Tribes.”

Ms. Ingram, a former Ad Age Woman to Watch, succeeded Mr. Martinez on March 17, who resigned “by mutual agreement” a week after JWT Chief Communications Officer Erin Johnson filed a discrimination lawsuit in New York.

Earlier this week, Splenda hired J. Walter Thompson Canada as its creative and strategy agency of record for North America, marking the agency’s first significant win since the departure of Mr. Martinez.

Friday, May 13, 2016

13189: JWTrouble Abroad.

Advertising Age reported JWT in Korea is undergoing a corporate overhaul after its top executive resigned as a result of a corruption probe involving bribing clients. Hey, maybe multilingual global citizen Gustavo Martinez is available to replace the Korean crook.

Amid Investigation, J. Walter Thompson Overhauls Korea Structure

Prosecutors Are Reportedly Probing a Suspected Bribery Case Connected to Former MD

By Angela Doland

JWT is getting a new structure in Korea after its top executive there was targeted by a corruption probe.

Junghwan Kim, who was managing director until February, resigned in connection with an investigation by the prosecutor’s office. Korean news reports say he was arrested amid allegations he set up slush funds to bribe clients. Several other employees, including the finance director, have been suspended pending the probe’s findings, JWT said.

J. Walter Thompson said Friday that its Asia Pacific branch will set up a new unit in partnership with Y&R Korea, another WPP agency. It will use the J. Walter Thompson name but will operate within Y&R, according to a statement from the agency’s Singapore-based regional headquarters.

The unit will be managed by Y&R’s managing director for Korea, in partnership with J. Walter Thompson’s Asia Pacific and Y&R Asia Pacific’s chief executive officers. A spokeswoman declined further comment.

The JWT Korea agency had about 80 employees. Staff handling multinational accounts would move into the new structure, while other employees would be laid off, the Kukmin Libo newspaper reported.

When news of the probe broke in March, the agency said it was cooperating fully with Korean authorities, had hired external auditors and was conducting an internal investigation as well. All WPP employees are required to take anti-bribery and anit-corruption online training, and senior executives have to sign a WPP code of business conduct every year, according to WPP’s web site.

Mr. Kim had been with the agency since 2004 and serviced accounts including tobacco and ginseng company KT&G.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

13188: The Havas Dysfunctional Family.

Campaign spotlighted Havas Chief Talent Officer Patti Clifford, who bragged about the agency’s 56 percent female majority. First of all, Havas Chief Talent Officer is an oxymoron. And Clifford is a regular moron. Commenting on an onboarding program that explains to new staffers the agency connections to enterprises like the Bolloré Group, Clifford gushed, “Regardless of where an employee joins the Havas Group, they will know they are part of a bigger connected family.” Yes, and the bigger connected family runs on nepotism.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

13187: Who Needs Chief Diversity Officers?

Campaign published a routine perspective questioning the value of Chief Diversity Officers. This is hardly a new topic, as the subject gets debated regularly. Responding to some agencies’ contention that CDOs are unnecessary when diversity becomes the responsibility of all staffers, Omnicom SVP CDO Tiffany Warren argued, “If creativity is everybody’s responsibility, then why do you have the chief creative officer? You would never say that. Of course you need the chief creative officer to oversee the art directors and the copywriters to make sure that the product that comes out of the agency is appropriate.” Okay, but chief creative officers are hired and fired based on profits, performance and results. How many CDOs can clearly measure their success? Hell, Omnicom won’t even show its EEO-1 data, opting instead to show off its ADCOLOR® Awards. Meanwhile, minority representation on Madison Avenue continues to decline—while the smokescreens and diversions are on the rise.

Is it time to give up on chief diversity officers?

By I-Hsien Sherwood

Earlier this year, Deutsch eliminated its chief diversity officer position, which it had created in 2008. “One of the philosophies we lean into is that everybody at Deutsch, from the CEO to the receptionist, owns diversity,” said Vonda LePage, EVP and director of communications at Deutsch, during an interview with Campaign US. “And we wanted to really make sure that everybody was stepping up and owning it. And by having one person who owned it, which is what that role was, kind of took the responsibility off everybody else.”

But can a grassroots approach to diversity tackle institutional issues or muster resources from across disciplines to jumpstart programs and conversations? Can individuals working on their own — and on their own time — ensure that an organization pursues workforce diversity as tirelessly as it chases a shelf full of trophies or a lucrative client list? If an agency puts everyone in charge of diversity, isn’t that the same as putting nobody in charge?

“If creativity is everybody’s responsibility, then why do you have the chief creative officer?” said Tiffany Warren, senior vice president and chief diversity officer for Omnicom Group. “You would never say that. Of course you need the chief creative officer to oversee the art directors and the copywriters to make sure that the product that comes out of the agency is appropriate.”

“So us even asking this question almost makes us feel obsolete, like we’re dating ourselves,” she added.

The duties of a CDO vary from agency to agency and holding company to holding company. Certainly, there is some overlap with human resources and its focus on recruiting and retaining the right talent. For its part, Deutsch has said diversity efforts will be overseen by Robin Lander, director of HR. But CDOs in the industry say that doesn’t cut it.

“It’s not about just going out and hiring. It’s about human nature and organizational tradition and systems,” said Heide Gardner, senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer at IPG, Deutsch’s holding company. Gardner was the first CDO in the industry, promoted from head of diversity in 2003. “At the holding company level, it’s ultimately about enhancing shareholder value,” she said.

That means not only hiring diverse talent, but training, supporting and keeping them and creating an agency culture that is inviting. It also means working with agency producers and suppliers, according to Doug Melville, chief diversity officer for North America at TBWA. “So how can we hire more businesses in our creative supply chain that are owned, operated and controlled by female and diverse entrepreneurs?” he said.

In the last three years, he boasts, TBWA has spent over $100 million with women-owned businesses in its creative supply chain — a draw for clients. “From the client standpoint particularly, a lot of the times supplier diversity is what they most want to talk about,” Melville said. “That’s the relationship that is outside HR, but that’s where the clients will contact me. I will go places with them or on their behalf.” It’s tough to imagine entry-level employees — or even a head of human resources — having the wherewithal to select suppliers agencywide.

Rob Schwartz, CEO of TBWA New York, said having a CDO is a point of pride for the agency. “What I like about it is that it’s official that we’re taking diversity seriously,” he said. “It’s unambiguous our point of view on it. We actually have someone who thinks about this when they wake up and dreams about it when they go to sleep. It’s opening up avenues to talent that, had we not had Doug here, we might not have thought about.”

Of course, diversity has lately become the third rail of agency life, so perhaps it’s not surprising that people are reluctant to publically support the idea that the CDO is obsolete. Yet in a Campaign US poll, 40 percent of people said that companies didn’t need a CDO in 2016. Those were the minority opinion holders — 60% said CDOs were still necessary — but it was less a minority than one would think by what agency leaders say on the record.

And the idea that everyone at an agency must own diversity is hardly one without support. Nancy Hill, president and CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, made headlines when she kicked off this year’s transformation conference by declaring that “If you’re the CEO, you’re the chief diversity officer.”

Still, at IPG, having a single person with a single team empowered to make necessary changes has paid off. Racial and ethnic minority representation among IPGs managers has increased 94% since 2005, the company says. Women now make up 54% of all managers. Gardner oversees more than 40 diversity programs, and a portion of the incentive pay for CEOs at IPG subsidiaries is tied directly to diversity goals.

“We need a senior leader at IPG corporate and a team that can support our ambitious goals on diversity and inclusion,” said CEO Michael Roth in a statement. “This group partners across the IPG network to drive change and deliver results, which we’ve seen over the last decade. We also know there is still much work left to do.”

Of course, relying on individuals within an organization to effect change can be tricky when the individuals themselves are the ones who need to change.

“People choose people that look like them. It makes them feel safe, makes them feel comfortable,” said Singleton Beato, executive vice president for diversity and inclusion strategy and talent development at the 4A’s. “So if somebody isn’t really creating systems and processes and procedures to make you think differently in the moment, then your muscle memory is what will kick in and what will lead, and that’s why we are where we are.”

“My point of view is you do need a chief diversity officer if you’re going to see change,” she said. “This is really a change agent, more so than any other role. They have to change something that goes against normal behavior and organic thinking and attitudes.” And that sort of widespread change doesn’t happen without someone enforcing it.”

While plenty of smaller agencies go without a CDO or someone with similar duties, no other major agency has created a CDO position and then eliminated it. The optics are certainly problematic, even for an agency like Deutsch, which has a strong track record of gender diversity and has regularly received high marks from IPG for employee satisfaction about diversity efforts.

“Eliminating a diversity director role feels like a cost-cutting measure masquerading as a progressive move,” said Kat Gordon, founder of the 3% Conference. “And it misses a critical point — diversity is an economic multiplier. Saying you’re doing so because ‘everyone should own diversity’ misses another critical point. It’s not an either/or situation. It’s a both/and. Everyone in the company should own diversity, yes, and you need a champion who leads diversity and embeds it into the culture of the agency.”

But agencies that don’t effectively prioritize diversity — however they go about it — will find themselves falling behind in the battle for the best talent. “I have counterparts at Facebook, Twitter — every single one of those companies has a CDO now, and they’re empowered, and they have resources, and they are beginning to get organized,” Warren said. “And when they mature and those teams grow, it’s going to be really difficult for agencies to match what they offer.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

13186: Discover The Bias.

Anybody else sense an undercurrent of racism in this Discover Card commercial guaranteeing 100% U.S. based customer service?

Monday, May 09, 2016

13185: Miami Ad School Copycats.

Is Miami Ad School encouraging its students to fill their portfolios with award-winning work produced by others?

Saturday, May 07, 2016

13184: Mad Men Motives Murky.

Campaign columnist Maisie McCabe published a perspective on admen behaving badly, wondering if the industry was “really ready to fight for gender equality.” Um, the average Mad Man isn’t even ready—or able and willing—to fight for regular equality. The current White women bandwagon is likely fueled by a longing for fairness—that is, a lust for fair features.

Is ‘cadland’ really ready to fight for gender equality?

By Maisie McCabe

What would you do if someone in their early twenties approached you during the dog minutes of an awards show to ask for your advice on getting into the industry?

Would your response depend on how attractive they were or how much Champagne you had consumed?

One such aspiring advertising executive included me in an e-mail to an experienced creative in the wee hours of Friday morning. In the e-mail, she told a depressingly believable story. Unfortunately, the man — for it was a man — had been more interested in looking down her top than offering any practical advice when she spoke to him at the Creative Circle Awards at the Roundhouse that evening.

Apparently, the adman said he would like to take her home as she would be “a better trophy” than the ones handed out on stage earlier. It’s amazing that she didn’t rush off to hail a cab right then. Just as we found last year with the Protein World campaign, young women are just not willing to put up with stuff they think is sexist and degrading. And isn’t it wonderful.

In her e-mail, the woman said she had been “blown away by the work you all create and what you represent yet last night you showed me exactly why women are a minor group in the industry”. The man in question did not receive the e-mail as she got the address wrong. But I know who you are. And I hope you had a shocking hangover on Friday.

The IPA and Campaign research into gender published earlier this year found that women make up just 24.6 per cent of creative and design departments. The proportion among the most senior ranks is even smaller. Paul Burke suggested in Campaign last week that the prevailing creative team model was partly to blame. But there are so many other factors at play.

It’s depressing that this kind of incident happened on the very same day that the Advertising Standards Authority asked for evidence on the issue of gender stereotyping in ads. The body wants to hear people’s views, read academics’ research and do a study of its own to ensure that the regulatory system is getting it right on the portrayal of the sexes in advertising.

If your response to a person interested in getting into the industry is to gush about how attractive they are, I’d suggest it’s unlikely that you’re committed to portraying men and women responsibly in your work for clients. I might be wrong, but I’d be surprised.

If the J Walter Thompson scandal has taught us anything, it’s that no-one should stand by while colleagues act inappropriately. We owe it to the next generation not to leave it to them to call people in authority out.

Friday, May 06, 2016

13183: CLIO Charting Cluelessness.

CLIO Awards challenge people to evolve creatively. Sorry, but most CLIO Winners are closer to being primates and Neanderthals on the Darwinian chart.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

13182: Shitting On McKinney Hype.

AdFreak spotlighted an effort from McKinney that protests the North Carolina Bathroom Bill targeting transgender citizens. Now, MultiCultClassics has spanked McKinney in the past for its appearance on The Pitch, as well as a self-promotional stunt involving a 12-year-old minority intern and a Black History Month campaign. So this latest concept is hardly unprecedented in its hypocrisy. Apparently, the agency hatched the project “because we value equality, diversity, inclusion and human rights…” Yes, and the McKinney brain trust perfectly reflects the agency’s commitment to such high-minded tolerance. Perhaps McKinney should use the oh-so-clever toilet paper to wipe up its own bullshit.

McKinney Printed N.C.’s Bathroom Bill on Toilet Paper. You Know What to Do With It

An effort to ‘Flush HB2’

By Patrick Coffee

“It makes great cocktail napkins, bookmarks, facial tissues. But you know what’s best to do with it!” Yes, Durham, N.C., agency McKinney knows where its home state’s controversial House Bill 2 belongs—in the toilet.

The Charlotte City Council passed a nondiscrimination ordinance in February that included a rule allowing transgender people to use public restrooms assigned to the gender with which they identify. Furious opposition groups supported by Gov. Pat McCrory then ran ads arguing that the ordinance would make it easier for male sexual predators to get closer to victims by posing as women.

The state legislature later called a special session to pass “HB2,” which requires all North Carolina residents to use the public restrooms associated with their birth gender. The move has enraged civil liberties groups nationwide, and North Carolina has been the focus of plenty of backlash over HB2.

McKinney proposes a solution to the HB2 problem: Flush it. And they mean this quite literally, as you’ll see in the video below.

As noted in the clip, PayPal cited the bill in announcing that it would abandon plans to open a facility in Charlotte. And the NBA also raised doubts about hosting its 2017 All-Star Game in the city’s Time Warner Cable Arena, home of the Hornets.

Last month, McKinney chairman and CEO Brad Brinegar became one of more than 100 chief executives across the country to sign an open letter asking McCrory to repeal the new law. That group most prominently included Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook and Brian Chesky of Airbnb. The letter called HB2 “bad for North Carolina, bad for America, and bad for business.” Brinegar also recently appeared on CNN to speak out against a bill he called “regressive” and “reactionary.”

McKinney was inspired to create the project by advocacy groups Equality NC and Human Rights Campaign, which launched “Turn Out NC” encouraging residents to petition their legislators regarding the bill’s repeal. (The agency does have a connection to the latter organization; its longtime COO, Joni Madison, became COO and chief of staff at Human Rights Campaign last month.)

In a statement, McKinney told AdFreak that it worked on this project “because we value equality, diversity, inclusion and human rights … and we don’t care which [bathroom] you feel most comfortable using.”

“We tried to create something that could stand as a visual for what many North Carolinians think about the bill,” added group creative director Will Chambliss. “We hope people read it and then, well, you know the rest.”

Gov. McCrory has so far resisted calls to revisit HB2, but the bill continues to serve as a considerable headache for the former Charlotte mayor and city councilman. Public opinion polls now show his oppontent, Democratic attorney general Roy Cooper, with a small lead six months before November’s gubernatorial election.

McKinney mailed AdFreak a roll of the toilet paper so we might join in the efforts to “flush this bill down the toilet of history.” We’ll let you know how that goes.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

13181: White Moms Wanted.

AgencySpy exposed StrawberryFrog as a diverted diversity drone, spotlighting how the agency created a campaign to position itself as a mom-friendly workplace. Okay, but the moms depicted in the video appear to be predominately White. Plus, StrawberryFrog executes some questionable tactics for dealing with ex-teammates and new hires.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

13180: Mad Men Madness.

The New York Times published diverted diversity drivel via a report titled, “For Women in Advertising, It’s Still a ‘Mad Men’ World.” The article ultimately underscored that it’s an even worse ‘Mad Men’ World for minorities, as the only woman of color featured was Publicis Groupe Chief Diversity Officer Sandra Sims-Williams. Meanwhile, FCB Global CCO Susan Credle is suddenly feeling “invisible” and discriminated against, despite once insisting advertising was not tougher for women. Hey, it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind. Is it still a ‘Mad Men’ World for White women in advertising? Well, whining aside, the Joan Harris and Peggy Olson types have progressed quite nicely. Dawn Chambers and Hollis, on the other hand, remain stuck in segregated and stereotypical roles.

Monday, May 02, 2016

13179: Diverted Diversity Is Discrimination.

Campaign published diverted diversity dreck from Paul Burke, a lifetime adman who has suddenly gone from Cro-Magnon to pro-feminist. Regarding the alleged underrepresentation of White women in the creative department, Burke’s theories include the challenges rooted in how art directors and copywriters work in duos. Why, when a White male creative is paired with a White female creative, it’s only natural that they become romantically involved. Burke contends that the typical White male creative thinks, “If I have to work so closely with just one person, I’d rather it was a bloke”—and as a result, they lean towards teaming up with men versus women. Okay, so how does this explain the even more woeful underrepresentation of non-White men? Burke’s belief should probably read, “If I have to work so closely with just one person, I’d rather it was a White bloke.” And herein lies the true issue. It’s not that White men prefer White men versus White women. Rather, White men prefer White men versus any human being that is not a White man. Sorry, but that’s discrimination.

Jobs for the girls: paving the way for women in creative departments

By Paul Burke

Doing away with outdated creative department structures will both modernise agencies and further the cause of women in adland, Paul Burke writes.

Velcro, Teflon, Post-it notes and the microwave. All created accidentally by people who were trying to invent something else. And with his piece in Campaign two weeks ago, Jonathan Burley may well have done something very similar. Like 18 Feet & Rising, he has dissolved the rigid and outmoded structure of creative teams to improve his agency’s work. But, in so doing, he may also have solved a far knottier problem that has dogged our industry for years. And that is:

The woeful shortage of women in creative departments

Women are well-represented in all other departments, yet, in 2016, still about 80 per cent of creatives are men. The reason is very simple: they still work in pairs. We’re so accustomed to it, we have lost sight of how ridiculous it is. The team structure, introduced by Bill Bernbach, was a system designed for days gone by – for 50s America when there were far fewer women in the workplace. And it was a system designed for men. But the world was moved on, so don’t creative departments need to move on too?

The ‘arranged marriage’

In order to get a job, creatives are forced into very close relationships. As the old cliché goes, it’s like a marriage. They work together as one. They need to like each other, enjoy spending time together, think along similar lines and really “get” each other. Otherwise, the partnership won’t work. So quite often when that partnership comprises a man and woman who like each other, enjoy spending time together, think along similar lines and “get” each other, what do you think is going to happen?

Oh, shut up

Stop with the pretend outrage. You know perfectly well what happens. And, given how much they have in common, it’s no great surprise. The only surprise is that it doesn’t happen more often. I can think of several male/female teams who went from being a creative item to a romantic one, and four who ended up getting married. But living happily ever after is rare so, rather than risk careers collapsing if the relationship does, creatives may prefer to work with someone of the same sex. Fine. Except for one thing: the vast majority are men, so it’s a system that works against women. Of course, there are female teams too – but they’re often given the “girly” briefs and denied the opportunities afforded to “the boys”.

The cavalcade of caveats

Yes, I know that all this can be robustly denied. I’m not saying that either party sets out with this in mind. Neither am I suggesting that men and women can’t work together without fancying each other. But it is a real issue and it’s made worse by being a delicate subject that is seldom discussed. Because if male creatives were to say “If I have to work so closely with just one person, I’d rather it was a bloke”, they would be viewed as sexist. So they don’t say it. They just do it.

The solution?

Jonathan and 18 Feet & Rising seem to have accidentally come up with it. Phase out the old, outmoded team structure. If creatives worked independently, they could mix and match, working together on certain projects when their combined skills are required – like everyone else does in the 21st century. Creative departments would immediately benefit from a greater diversity of people and a greater proportion of women. The industry would improve, the work would improve and the age-old problems would disappear. For example:


If a woman is one-half of a creative team, it can be difficult to take time off to have a baby. And not just for her. While she’s away, her partner’s career can stagnate. They are a team and that team’s ability to work together will be affected by her having a child. If they worked solo, this wouldn’t be an issue. Technology has made creating ads the perfect job for working from home. No longer being part of a malfunctioning team will make women’s jobs more secure and easier to balance with childcare.

The howls of protest

I can hear them now from the patriarchy by the pool table. “But we work better as a pair,” they will say, because that’s all they know. But the good ones will raise no objection. They will welcome the chance to do work with different people, absorb different perspectives – particularly female ones – and watch their work improve. They will be more like digital creatives, who tend not to be shackled to one partner. Those departments are far more fluid, have far more women and they are doing brilliantly. What more do you need to know?

Implement the invention

If women are ever going to get equality of opportunity, the way creative departments are structured and the way their personnel are trained and hired need to change – forever. Dismantle the male-dominated team system and break down those barriers. The party’s over, boys. But look at it this way: if you’re any good, you’ll be going to a far better party. One where girls are invited.

Paul Burke is an award-winning copywriter and novelist who has worked at J Walter Thompson, BMP DDB and Y&R