Sunday, July 31, 2016


Advertising Age reported on the Corporate Cultural Collusion between IHOP and IPG, with the pancake seller swapping White advertising agencies within the White holding company network. “We thought about other agencies and other resources within IPG before we even thought about going outside of the system,” said IHOP Senior VP-Marketing Kirk Thompson. Yes, heaven forbid one might find something different and better from another White holding company. Guess the colorless, generic degradation of the industry makes all White advertising agencies look alike. The scenario is most outrageous because the account shifted to Campbell Ewald L.A., part of a franchise that recently lost clients as a result of racist rowdiness. Amazingly, Campbell Ewald L.A. has a minority division—sociedAD—to handle Latino marketing for IHOP. Hey, it is the International House Of Pancakes, although sociedAD will soon discover the true value of pancake crumbs.

IHOP Switches IPG Agencies, Hires Campbell Ewald L.A.

After Four Years With Dailey, Pancake Chain Aims to Move ‘at Warp Speed’

By Jessica Wohl

IHOP is hungry for another Interpublic Group agency’s creative approach.

The pancake chain has picked Campbell Ewald L.A. as its new creative agency, replacing Dailey L.A. after a four-year run.

“Those years with Dailey took our work very far forward. It was time to build on that success and pause and think about what’s the best way to take it onto the next level,” Kirk Thompson, senior VP-Marketing, IHOP Restaurants, said in an interview. “We needed to do everything we were doing well at warp speed.”

The change comes after a multi-agency review that took place entirely within IPG, Mr. Thompson said.

“We thought about other agencies and other resources within IPG before we even thought about going outside of the system,” he said, adding that the 58-year old chain wants to build on what it has been doing.

For IHOP, breakfast competition has been heating up. Denny’s, for example, just came out with a new pancake recipe, while McDonald’s has been selling breakfast throughout the day since October. At the same time, potential patrons are being more influenced than ever with messages across TV, print, radio, digital and social.

IHOP has changed agencies a number of times in recent years. It worked with IPG’s McCann L.A. from 2002 through 2007, MDC Partners’ Vitro from 2007 to 2010, then returned to McCann L.A. from 2010 to 2012 before working with Dailey from 2012 until this switch.

IHOP is currently advertising its line of “Paradise Pancakes” for the summer. It has also been promoting itself as the home of Breakfast All Day.

Campbell Ewald’s first work on the brand should break in late September and is expected to include a new tagline, which Mr. Thompson declined to share. IHOP’s new work will also include Hispanic advertising led by sociedAD, part of Campbell Ewald.

“Many of us on the Campbell Ewald team have cherished memories of eating at IHOP with our families and friends and we’re thrilled to bring this overwhelming love that guests and fans have for the iconic brand to life through the creative,” Campbell Ewald CEO Kevin Wertz said in a statement provided by IHOP.

IHOP will continue to work with other IPG agencies as well, MRM/McMCann on digital and social and BPN on media strategy and planning.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

13276: Forced Content.

Luke Skywalker is taking a break from training Rey to bring Jedi enlightenment to Content Marketing World.

Friday, July 29, 2016

13275: Cheerios Closed To Diversity.

Adweek reported General Mills will hold a closed review for its U.S. creative and content work. The closed review is undoubtedly open to White advertising agencies, as Adweek speculated the competition will include McCann, Saatchi & Saatchi and an unnamed WPP shop. Despite Cheerios’ open-mindedness involving characters of color such as Gracie and Raphaëlle—as well as celebrity shills like Nelly—count on minority contenders to be shut out.

General Mills Launches a Closed U.S. Creative and Content Agency Review

Includes McCann and Saatchi & Saatchi

By Patrick Coffee

Multinational food manufacturing giant General Mills has launched a comprehensive review affecting all of its creative and content agency relationships in the United States. The company, which includes such brands as Cheerios, Yoplait, Quaker Oats, Häagen-Dazs, Betty Crocker, Annie’s and more, is one of America’s largest single advertisers.

“We have a responsibility to ensure we have the right agency partners to continue growing our business and agency reviews are a routine part of running a successful business today,” a General Mills representative said in a statement today.

Details regarding the review remain sparse. The company’s primary U.S. creative agencies are currently IPG’s McCann Worldgroup and Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi, but in the past 18 months alone General Mills has added Fallon, 72andSunny, JWT and Wieden + Kennedy to its roster in varied roles.

The review would appear to be a move toward consolidation on the part of GM, which has been working to cut operational costs across its global organization. Last week, The Wall Street Journal and other publications reported that the company planned to eliminate at least 1,400 jobs across its offices in the U.S., Brazil and China, citing a reduced demand for products such as canned soup across its increasingly health-conscious consumer base. WSJ described this latest round of cuts as “part of a yearslong effort to slash expenses” which is in keeping with similar moves by competitors like Mondelez International.

Sources with direct knowledge of the matter tell Adweek today that the closed review will likely include McCann, Saatchi & Saatchi and an unnamed WPP agency.

Saatchi & Saatchi has been a GM partner agency for more than 35 years. McCann has also worked on brands like Nature Valley and Hamburger Helper for some time, and in 2013 it won Pillsbury away from Saatchi in what a representative described as “a vote of confidence” from the client.

JWT also recently joined the General Mills roster to handle the Häagen-Dazs brand, while the company brought Wieden + Kennedy aboard last year as agency of record for Yoplait. It is unclear whether either of these agencies are participating in the review.

Representatives at McCann and Saatchi & Saatchi declined to comment for this story, while JWT, Wieden + Kennedy, 72andSunny and Fallon had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.

Last year, General Mills launched its first media review in more than a decade, eventually choosing WPP’s Mindshare as its U.S. agency of record. The company spent just under $700 million on measured media in 2015 and $186 million in the first quarter of 2016, according to the most recent numbers available from Kantar Media. These totals mark a decline from 2014, when General Mills spent a total of $850 million.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

13274: JWTripe.

Campaign posted patronizing propaganda from JWT London Co-Director of Talent Kate Bruges, who gushed about all the wondrous programmes the agency has in place to foster diversity. The only thing missing is, well, actual diversity. Why, the editorial is even illustrated with a stock photo (above) featuring White people. Bruges’ perspective falls apart from the start, as the title reads, “Diversity of talent leads to diversity of thought”—which remains the standard cliché of a dream deferred, diverted and denied. The exposition also includes the latest cliché in the global conversation—Unconscious Bias—which Bruges spells out with initial caps. If you’ve been aware of a problem for decades, yet haven’t actively addressed it, can you really hide behind the “unconscious” notion? Honestly, at least former JWT honcho Gustavo Martinez was open about his ignorance. Speaking of Mr. Martinez, what’s the status of the lawsuit from Erin Johnson? Maybe Bruges’ public announcements are part of a settlement…?

Diversity of talent leads to diversity of thought

A view from Kate Bruges

In our creative industry diversity of thought comes from diversity of talent, it’s as simple as that, writes Kate Bruges, the co-director of talent at JWT London

Recently the industry has woken up to diversity in a big way. Tom Knox, the current IPA President has put it centre stage and in partnership with Campaign has made an important step by publishing the agencies’ own diversity statistics.

Nothing like some healthy competition to get agencies to sit up, take notice and change. Great initiatives like the 3% Conference have put the spotlight on the lack of female creatives at the heart of our industry and our industry’s output.

J Walter Thompson’s Female Tribes work puts the economic worth of women, Female Capital, centre stage. Many companies talk a good game now on Diversity. The benefits of a diverse workforce are well rehearsed. From McKinsey to Harvard Business Review, Facebook to Google, it’s unarguable.

However, this effort needs to be organic, joined up and right at the heart of an agency’s culture. It’s no use reaching out to attract a wider socio-economic and geographic group if your internships and work experience positions remain unpaid (and no, covering expenses isn’t enough).

Only those with family support, whether financial or the provision of a London roof over their heads, can possibly survive. So we pay our interns and offer around 100 every year. It’s no use reaching out to attract a wider socio-economic and geographic group if your internships and work experience positions remain unpaid (and no, covering expenses isn’t enough).

We believe opening up access to as many as possible by offering two-week paid positions all year round is the best way to lift the veil on an industry that has remained something of a closed shop — the roles known only to those who already have family and friends’ connections with the industry.

It’s no use inviting a broader base of talent, not defined primarily by university degree, to apply for positions if the CV remains central to initial screening. Unconscious bias means that with the best will in the world, we quickly make assumptions about others based upon a limited amount of information.

We can have a tendency to hire in our own image and our personal definition of success. This can mean we revert to the academic and work-experience rich traditional CV as a reliable shorthand to sift from the hundreds of applicants to those favoured for interview.

Our own Pioneers Programme is open to everyone, not just graduates, and takes a blind approach, looking only at answers to six questions to screen applicants for that crucial first interview.

Importantly it also steps outside the standard milk round timing of traditional graduate recruitment programmes. Our Pioneers Programme is open for applications now and successful candidates will start in January.

And when our Pioneers arrive we want them to see that it’s possible to have a great and rewarding career in our industry whatever your lifestage. Many female applicants for example will already be taking into consideration how their careers will develop should they start families.

But it’s no use supporting mums through better maternity policies if fathers are left out of the equation. It’s then still Mum that is seen to bear the burden and pay the career progression price. The focus must always be on attractive family friendly policies to support mothers and fathers in combining family life and career and the language around this is of real importance.

So, we don’t have a JWT Mums group but we do have JWTFamily, a support group for everyone doing the juggling act that is family and creative advertising.

And finally it’s no use encouraging talent at different life stages, who live in different places and have different passions that positively inform their work if the underlying culture is about five days a week presenteeism.

Shift the focus to productivity and output and let that be the key performance metric. This is what makes sense, attracts and excites the diversity of talent we need in our industry. Obviously all of the above is work in progress, here and across the industry but even beginning the journey is a huge step.

Diversity has to be top of the agenda, joined up, at the very heart of the agency’s culture and more importantly, practices, and understanding and calling out Unconscious Bias the personal responsibility of everyone.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

13273: White Women On Top.

Adweek reported Rauxa, the industry’s largest independent woman-owned agency, hired its first Chief Creative Officer—who just happens to be a White woman. Is it double diverted diversity if White women perpetuate the promotion of White women? The 3% Conference must be experiencing multiple orgasms over the news. A peek at Rauxa’s people, however, shows the place looks like a typical White advertising agency.

Rauxa, the Industry’s Largest Woman-Owned Agency, Names First Chief Creative Officer

Kate Daggett will take on the new role

By Patrick Coffee

Rauxa, a California-based full-service marketing agency, announced the hiring of Kate Daggett as its first chief creative officer on the same day it certified its status as the the largest independent agency currently owned by a woman.

Daggett brings more than 15 years of agency experience to the new role, which will see her leading Rauxa’s creative teams across the country while working out of its New York office.

Before joining Rauxa, she served as executive creative director at Tenthwave Digital, a New York-based agency that was acquired by Wire Stone earlier this year. During her three-year tenure at Tenthwave, Daggett helped build the agency’s creative department, led several successful pitches and played a key role in facilitating the acquisition. Previous roles include vp, group creative director at Digitas, where she ran the American Express account, along with creative director positions at TBWA\Chiat\Day New York and

“We may be an unknown agency now, but won’t be for long,” Daggett told Adweek about her new employer. “When I was considering joining Rauxa I did my research and actually spoke with agency folks who’d worked with them on shared business. I even called one of their past clients. The feedback I got was consistent. People said that they are an impressive agency, filled with smart people, which was a wonderful confirmation that Rauxa is an agency ready to compete on a bigger level.”

“We are huge fans of Kate’s work, leadership, innovative spirit and integrity,” said Rauxa chief strategy officer Ian Baer. “We’re excited about evolving our creative offering and thrilled that Kate is calling Rauxa home.”

Direct Mail veteran Jill Gwaltney founded the agency in Costa Mesa, Calif., in 1999. Since then, the shop has expanded to include six offices and 230 employees across the United States. Its current client list includes Gap, Alaska Airlines, Allergan, Blue Shield of California and Verizon, which consolidated direct marketing duties for the FiOS portion of its business with Rauxa earlier this year. The agency has been largely defined by its data-driven approach to creative work.

Today Rauxa also used data drawn from Ad Age’s 2016 Agency Report to tout its status as the industry’s largest independent agency owned by a woman.

“Being independent means that we report to no one but our clients, allowing us to devise and deliver the very best solutions for them,” said agency CEO Gina Alshuler in a statement. The executive, who took over for Gwaltney last year after working in accounts, added, “Being woman-owned and woman-led instills the team with a powerful combination of empathy and grit that has built enduring relationships with clients, partners and colleagues.”

Daggett added, “As a female creative, it’s hard not to love the fact that Rauxa is predominantly female-led. But beyond that, I saw an independent spirit and a deeply-routed tenacity in Rauxa that was exciting. We’re going to make to make exceptional, award-winning work that will undoubtedly drive our clients’ business amidst a rapidly evolving world—and we’re going to have a lot of fun while doing it.”

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

13272: DUDE, Please.

Not too sure about this Communities for Development video from DUDE in Italy. The philanthropic initiative undoubtedly has good intentions. Yet the depicted Ugandans come off as primitive versus progressive. The comparisons to Silicon Valley have added clumsiness, as the technology community has admitted to a digital dearth of diversity in its ranks. Oh, and DUDE—demonstrated by the people page on its website—looks far more like Silicon Valley than Bulambuli Valley.

Monday, July 25, 2016

13271: Black Opinions Matter…?

PRWeek asked experts to critique Black Lives Matter from a communications perspective. However, it was a segregated group of professional judges, mostly from minority advertising and marketing enterprises. Why weren’t any White experts tapped for an opinion? Also, are multicultural marketing executives really in any position to rate the grassroots movement when their own discipline is sorely lacking promotional effectiveness and focus? Adpeople of color, heal thyself.

Experts: Black Lives Matter’s decentralized structure is holding it back

By Chris Daniels

Communications pros praised the grassroots organization’s passion and use of social media, but said its lack of centralization is hindering its response to critics and the mainstream press.

Just over a week after the killing of five police officers during a rally in Dallas, experts say Black Lives Matter is at a critical point in its history.

Four years after its founding, the grassroots movement remains polarizing. Politicians, celebrities, and other newsmakers have passionately weighed in both in support of and against the group — or at least its rallying cry — and it has also generated sometimes sensational headlines in the media.

Founded as a hashtag by three citizens following the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old African-American Trayvon Martin, Black Lives Matter is very much a grassroots organization. Shanelle Matthews, the San Francisco-based director of communications for Black Lives Matter, was unavailable for comment before press time, but earlier this year she told PRWeek that its more than 30 chapters work mostly autonomously with the goal of rebuilding “the black liberation movement and [to] affirm the lives of all black people.”

In particular, the organization has focused on advocating for “those marginalized within black liberation movements.”

But has it been successful?

A just-released poll from the Pew Research Center, conducted from February 29 to May 8, shows diverging attitudes, awareness, and understanding of Black Lives Matter. Roughly four-in-10 Americans back the movement, with support highest among blacks (65%, versus 40% for whites), Democrats (64%, against 20% for Republicans), and adults younger than 30 (at about six-in-10).

More than a third (36%) of people familiar with Black Lives Matter say they don’t understand the organization’s goals. Another 30% had either not heard of it or nor did they have an opinion.

Has Black Lives Matter lost control of the message?

On social media, critics of the group have responded with the hashtag “#AllLivesMatter,” believing the term “Black Lives Matter” devalues other races. Meanwhile, some newsmakers, from presidential candidate Donald Trump to conservative radio host Glenn Beck, have argued that the name of the movement is divisive.

Others believe the movement will fail to gather support resulting in serious reform.

However, the communications experts interviewed by PRWeek reject that assertion, saying any challenge the organization has in gaining widespread public support stems from other issues, including its decentralized structure. They also say mainstream media coverage has been biased against it, sensational, or knee-jerk.

Kim Hunter, president and CEO of Lagrant Communications, says Black Lives Matter is well intended, noting “that as an African-American male, believe me, I understand the rationale for the creation of the organization. I have been harassed and pulled over by police without reason, and I have no illusion that it was because of the color of my skin.”

However, he says the group’s honorable intentions have not been well-communicated to the general public. As a result, there is confusion, disruption, and misrepresentation of what Black Lives Matter actually stands for among newsmakers and the media, he contends.

“I think the fact that it is a grassroots organization is a good thing, but they can be more systematic, procedural, and defined in their approach,” says Hunter. “Many of their spokespeople are inconsistent with their messaging. If they are truly going to have an impact, they need to be better formalized in what they want to achieve.”

He adds that the organization should align with allies and credible spokespeople who could help it gain better leverage in the media and help with clarity of message.

“They need sophisticated groups and individual stakeholders who are passionate about what Black Lives Matter wants to achieve and who are part of the organization,” he explains. “But I don’t know a single person who is a part of it right now.”

Fay Ferguson, co-CEO of trans-cultural communications firm Burrell, agrees that for Black Lives Matter to advance its goals for reform, it should build one unified organization to oversee messaging. She calls centralization crucial, given the dissenting views.

“I understand the need for local chapters, so that people can get into the streets because that’s where things happen. But I think they also need a unified structure around the organization to help control content and messaging, because anyone can put their spin on it right now,” notes Ferguson.

She notes that it should step up sit-down meetings with police departments nationwide. “That to me is the missing piece,” Ferguson says. “They need to take the movement from protesting to conversation and making real change.”

Still, she applauds the “excellent job” Black Lives Matter has done to bring the issue of injustice against black Americans to the forefront, which is what it set out to do.

“They have been very good at activating youth of all cultures and backgrounds, which I think is important because this isn’t a black problem; it really is an American problem,” says Ferguson. “They’ve also been really good at using social media; their Twitter handle is always active with posts and responses.”

Media bias

Neil Foote, president of the National Black Public Relations Society, says the biggest challenge the movement faces is biased and sensational media coverage. News articles often connect the Black Lives Matter movement to people who have used violence, even if there is no affiliation.

“There have been some negative things that have been assigned to the Black Lives Matter brand, which they will just have to overcome,” says Foote, who also owns the firm Foote Communications. “They have to keep communicating that they are a non-violent group and that they are working for change. The next thing for them will be to communicate what those specific changes should be.”

While the NBPRS does not have a formal relationship with Black Lives Matter, it has discussed various issues with chapters around the country. The organization also plans to address how African-Americans are portrayed in the media at its national conference in Chicago at the end of October.

“Clearly, the bigger issue that Black Lives Matter gets at is how African-Americans are portrayed in the media, which is to say in a negative and perpetuating way,” says Foote.

Zandra Zuno Baermann, executive director and multicultural marketing practice lead at Golin, agrees that the mainstream media has done Black Lives Matter no favors. She argues that, generally speaking, the press does a poor job addressing issues facing people of color.

“This is a reflection, to a certain point, on the lack of diversity that exists in newsrooms and the limited understanding of not only the issues, but also the context and historical background,” says Zuno Baermann. “What we see covered in mainstream media are moments-in-time versus the overall Black Lives Matter movement. The coverage is still very much on the surface with a tendency for media to shift coverage to what is breaking news, versus really taking that deeper dive.”

Sunday, July 24, 2016

13270: A Matter Of Trust—Or Bust.

Campaign published an unintentionally hilarious perspective from Gideon Spanier, who insists advertising executives “must start talking to end crisis of trust.” Um, does Spanier realize that—among the least-trusted professions—advertising practitioners typically rank alongside used car salesmen? Trusted adman is an oxymoron. And Spanier is an ordinary moron. Actually, he’s a trade journalist, so maybe his cluelessness can be excused. He’s clearly spending too much time hearing the whines of White advertising agency executives. For example, Spanier drones on about the evils of procurement on the client side. Yet he doesn’t seem to realize the big agencies—especially those tied to holding companies—are just as bad. That is, the advertising agency procurement police are dictating exactly how much money will be allocated for all agency expenditures. Minimal dollar values are now assigned to everything from FTEs to RFPs to LOEs. Above-the-line initiatives receive below-the-line resources. Billable hours trump big ideas. The advertising industry is not facing a trust crisis; rather, it’s a financial crisis.

The ad industry must start talking to end crisis of trust

Advertising is an industry built on long-term relationships and it is in need of counselling.

By Gideon Spanier

Both sides are to blame. Marketers want more for less and their procurement departments have been squeezing media agencies’ margins for years. At the same time, agencies have turned to less transparent ways to make money such as rebates and acting as principal.

The widely accepted narrative is that media agencies have kept one step ahead of marketers, which is why ISBA and the Association of National Advertisers, the trade bodies for advertisers in the UK and the US, have urged members to tighten up their contracts with agencies. But marketers must accept some responsibility. It’s absurd that ISBA and the ANA, and their counterparts on the agency side, have barely been on speaking terms.

Hostilities show little sign of improving as Group M has been asking pointed questions about the role of media auditors, which advise clients on how their agency is spending their money.

All this needs to be seen in the context that, contrary to what some think, the media agency business model is hurting. According to Kingston Smith, margins at the big UK media agency groups fell below 13% last year. That’s a big drop from 15.6% in 2014 and the average of 18% since 2000.

The way forward for agencies must be to move into higher-value consulting services, which is what marketers say they want. The problem is that when procurement strikes, price becomes the deciding factor.

When Volkswagen Group recently reviewed its media, it staged an e-auction. MediaCom, the incumbent, was said to be furious because only it knew the real prices that it was being asked to discount against while rivals were offering discounts “blind”.

Stephen Allan, global boss of MediaCom, won’t comment about Volkswagen but says more broadly: “Do you want to treat agencies like vendors or like agencies — what is it?”

Procurement has a role to play. Marc Pritchard, chief marketing officer at Procter & Gamble, makes a good point when he says procurement should take a more public role in this discussion.

But, ultimately, it’s about advertisers and agencies needing to treat each other with honesty — a key theme from an Oystercatchers debate last week, where it emerged that most advertisers wildly underestimated just how costly it is for an agency to pitch.

This is the communications business. It shouldn’t be so hard to talk.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

13269: Black Voices Matter…?

Responding in part to the phenomena of Black Lives Matter, Advertising Age interviewed Translation Founder and CEO Steve Stoute, Amusement Park Entertainment CEO and Chief Creative Officer Jimmy Smith, 135th Street Agency Founder and CEO Shante Bacon and MING Utility and Entertainment Group President Tara DeVeaux. Here’s an excerpt from Stoute’s statements:

At the root of any societal issue is human truth, especially those truths we find hard to confront. The advertising business has always been about telling stories around human truths, and making those stories accessible to and consumable by the masses.

Today, the truth is that racism is alive and well in this country. The truth is that due to ignorance, lack of education and socially conditioned prejudice, the value of a black life is still being questioned.

How can we as a community come together to speak out against racial injustice, when we perpetuate that very injustice within the walls of our own agencies? We can never properly use the power of this platform as long as the industry continues to perpetuate the same cycle while justifying a lack of diversity not only throughout hiring practices, but in the work that we create.

Just take a look at the numbers—only about 5.85% of the advertising world is made up of African-Americans, and it is the only minority group to have seen a decrease in representation over the last four years. African-American men are one the most underrepresented groups in the entire industry, at just 2.58%. It doesn’t have to be this way.

I want to challenge all agency leads to execute a company-wide diversity check and strategize on creating pathways to improve the diversity of their staff and by extension, the creative. This is not just about diversity in terms of race, but a diversity of perspective.

African-Americans, women and other minorities have so many barriers to entry, and if those walls were torn down, they would bring so much to this community and to the work. In these trying times, we must come together to end racism in all of the places it lives. We cannot be afraid to start that fight in our own backyards.

Does Advertising Age’s decision to create and publish such content help from a diversity standpoint? It’s hard to say. In an industry where cultural cluelessness is so prevalent, White people might not even know how to process the color commentary. Not sure why Advertising Age kept the conversation segregated. Given the Wieden + Kennedy response to recent events, it would have been interesting to get Dan Wieden’s viewpoint—which would hopefully be more thoughtful than gasping, “Now that’s fucked up!” Or maybe have Jeff Goodby wonder, “Why are all the Black people getting shot?

Friday, July 22, 2016

13268: Twitter Quitter.

Advertising Age posted a Bloomberg News story on racist attacks via Twitter against Leslie Jones, with USA TODAY and other sources supplying more details on the ugly scenario. Jones received support from the public, celebrities and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Not sure if Allstate has extended its Good Hands® to the actress.

Twitter Bans a Breitbart Editor for Leading Abuse Campaign Against Actress Leslie Jones

‘Ghostbusters’ Star Says She’s Quitting Twitter After Flood of Hateful Messages

Twitter promised to strengthen its rules and procedures in order to curb targeted abuse against users, beginning with a ban against Milo Yiannopoulos, technology editor for the conservative news website Breitbart.

Known by his Twitter handle @Nero, Mr. Yiannopoulos is accused of leading an online campaign of racial and sexual taunts against Leslie Jones, who appeared in the “Ghostbusters” remake last week. Fed up with the abuse, Ms. Jones said Tuesday that she was leaving Twitter for good.

“No one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others,” Nu Wexler, a spokesman for San Francisco-based Twitter, said in a statement. “Over the past 48 hours in particular, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of accounts violating these policies and have taken enforcement actions against these accounts, ranging from warnings that also require the deletion of Tweets violating our policies to permanent suspension.”

Mr. Yiannopoulos, who had more than 338,000 followers on Twitter, responded in a comment on Breitbart, saying that Twitter’s actions violated the right to free speech.

“With the cowardly suspension of my account, Twitter has confirmed itself as a safe space for Muslim terrorists and Black Lives Matter extremists, but a no-go zone for conservatives,” Mr. Yiannopoulos said. “This is the end for Twitter. Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: you’re not welcome on Twitter.”

Ms. Jones’s departure and the ban followed an attempt by Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, to resolve the situation. Earlier, he had reached out directly to the actress:

Twitter has struggled to balance its desire to provide an open forum for all views, while keeping it from becoming a deafening megaphone for people seeking to harass another user. In January, Twitter took the step of removing Mr. Yiannopoulos’s verification—the blue check denoting an authenticated account—but did not go any further. Last month, Omid Kordestani, Twitter’s executive chairman stressed that all voices were needed, even amid hateful rhetoric.

In any case of blocking a Twitter user, the decision is subjective, after review of user reports sent to the company about abusive behavior. Mr. Yiannopoulos’s supporters are saying that Twitter’s actions show an anti-conservative bias, and are unearthing controversial tweets that didn’t get blocked.

Making Twitter safer from those who harass and make threats is one of Mr. Dorsey’s top five priorities for the year, and he has vowed to get tougher on trolls. Now, Twitter said it will take a closer look at how it polices abusive behavior.

“We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter,” Mr. Wexler said. “We agree. We are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to better allow us to identify and take faster action on abuse as it’s happening and prevent repeat offenders.” Twitter would seek to reduce “the burden on the person being targeted,” he said. “We’ll provide more details on those changes in the coming weeks.”

Bloomberg News

13267: Boozy Brazilian Bullshit.

Here’s more bullshit from Brazil for Alcoholics Anonymous.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

13266: ADT WTF.

This ADT campaign is not new, but what compelled the White advertising agency to select Ving Rhames as a spokesman? Will Rhames get medieval on your ass if you dare to challenge ADT home security?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

13265: JWT Blind, Deaf & Dumb.

Campaign reported JWT London will seek to address diversity via a “blind recruitment” scheme for entry-level candidates. While candidates will still have to submit a CV, it won’t be reviewed until later in the process because JWT admits “submitting a CV limits diversity of opportunity to enter the advertising industry.” Um, is that a confession of biased and discriminatory hiring practices? The contrived tactic is screwy on a number of fronts. First, it ignores the bigger problem regarding a lack of mid- and senior-level minority talent, who will presumably continue to face rejection in epic style. The mystery arrangement also ignores the issues of cultural differences; that is, minority newbies may be inserted into an exclusive environment that isn’t equipped or qualified to welcome them. In the end, JWT doesn’t need a “blind” program. Rather, the White agency needs a curriculum to reform the deaf and dumb discriminators. Oh, and all successful job applicants will win a blind date with Gustavo Martinez.

JWT London to use ‘blind recruitment’ for entry-level hires

J Walter Thompson London has pledged to use a “blind recruitment” approach in its next round of hiring at entry level as the WPP agency seeks to improve its diversity.

By Omar Oakes

The recruitment scheme, called JWT Pioneers, has up until now sought graduates, but the agency is now seeking applicants from a wider range of backgrounds.

Applicants will be still be asked to submit a CV, but the agency said this will no longer be looked at until the candidates are whittled down to a much later stage. Instead, applicants will now be asked to answer six questions which will be used to assess them for interview selection. JWT said submitting a CV limits diversity of opportunity to enter the advertising industry.

JWT has also widened the scope of roles being offered. As well as traditional roles in account management, planning and creative production, the agency is also looking for applicants with any background who could specialise in shopper marketing, CRM or insight and analytics.

Tamara Ingram, the global chief executive of JWT, said diversity and inclusion would be top of her agenda when she took the job in March. Ingram replaced Gustavo Martinez, who had resigned following accusations of sexism and racism made in a discrimination lawsuit.

The WPP shop will take applications until 12 September, interview candidates in mid-October, and look to have new starters beginning work in January 2017.

Kate Bruges, co-director of talent at JWT London, said: “We know that talent comes in a huge variety of forms and from different backgrounds and generations. You might be a recent graduate, a school leaver or, alternatively, you might have been working for a few years and realise you yearn to do something more creative.

“We really don’t mind what your background is and whether your interest is in analytics, PR or film — what matters to us is that you are curious, courageous, capable and collaborative.”

13264: Political Pundits & Pinheads.

Campaign reported DDB Worldwide Chief Creative Officer Amir Kassaei implored Muslims to wage a “holy war” on terrorism via Twitter. Gee, can’t this warmonger limit his wrath towards conspiring judges at Cannes? But seriously, Kassaei crossed a professional line that wouldn’t be tolerated in legitimate business fields. His comments create an arguably hostile workplace for Muslim DDB staffers; plus, the call to arms could fuel the ignorance of other small-minded employees seeking murderous revenge. Then again, Omnicom sister agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners freely forces its anti-Trump political views on staffers and the public—despite the fact that Jeff Goodby has been a registered Republican. Of course, when bleeding heart activists like Kassaei and Goodby are asked to fight for diversity, you’ll barely hear a tweet.

Amir Kassaei calls for Muslims to wage ‘holy war’ against terrorists

Following the attack in France, DDB Worldwide chief creative officer makes a personal, angry plea on Facebook

By Douglas Quenqua

Amir Kassaei, chief creative officer of DDB Worldwide, took to Facebook this morning, hours after a truck loaded with weapons killed at least 83 people in Nice, France, to call upon Muslims to wage war against radical Islam.

After declaring his own atheism, Kassaei says the time has come for Muslims to rise up against the “animals” who commit murder in the name of their god. If that means war, he says, then it would be the only war worthy of the title “holy.”

As a litany of shootings and terrorist attacks have played out around the globe in recent weeks, a number of agencies and brands have performed small acts of protest or advocacy. Last week, Both Wieden+Kennedy and Hill Holliday turned their Web sites into statements of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Earlier this week, Coca-Cola ran an ad in USA Today and on digital billboards that said, “We live as many. We stand as one.” And following the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando in June, several agencies quietly began working on anti-gun campaigns that have yet to debut.

But Kassaei, who has a reputation for being outspoken, is among the few individuals from the industry to make his voice heard. Though he posted the statement to his personal Facebook page, rather than the one he maintains for business, Kassaei, who was born in Iran and raised in Germany, quickly shared it with his 18,000 Twitter followers.

DDB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

13263: Keeping Up With The Joneses.

Did Allstate replace Dennis Haysbert with Leslie Jones? The smarter move would have been to let her complement Haysbert—and replace the mediocre and moronic Mayhem.

13262: GS&P&Exclusivity.

AgencySpy published a post with the headline: “GS&P Adds a Dozen New Members to Its Creative Department.” The photograph featuring the new employees inspires asking Jeff Goodby, “Where are all the Black people?”

Monday, July 18, 2016

13261: Campaign’s Banner Bullshit.

Campaign created a banner ad displaying diverted diversity at its best. That is, the trade publication is offering assistance to “the brave and the bold” job seekers—bold marketers, creative disruptors, digital thinkers, advertising mavericks and ad tech innovators—symbolized by a White woman.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

13260: Can’t Beat The Racial Thing.

Advertising Age reported on the patronizing propaganda from Coca-Cola depicted above. Is Coke really the brand to be advocating for racial harmony—especially given its history on such matters?

Coke Weighs in on Racial Relations Debate With Unity Ad

A Full-Page Ad Declares ‘We Live as Many. We Stand as One.’

By E.J. Schultz

Coca-Cola today took a stab at joining America’s rising conversation on race relations with an ad that sought to link the brand with optimism and inclusion.

A full-page ad running in USA Today stated: “We live as many. We stand as one,” against the brand’s familiar red backdrop and white ribbon. Coke is also running the spot across its national network of digital billboards, including in Times Square. The marketer also put the ad across its own social channels, including its Facebook page, where it generated the usual fierce debate that comes whenever brands tackle social issues. The ad was done in-house and will run today through Sunday, a Coke spokeswoman confirmed. She also confirmed that it was made in response to the racial relations debate that is occurring in the wake of the high-profile killings of two black men by law enforcement and the deadly attack on police officers in Dallas.

“Throughout the history of Coca-Cola, we have stood for optimism, diversity and inclusion. Deep in our heritage is a commitment to bringing people and communities together to find common ground,” she said in an email. “Today, we shared a message of unity on our digital and social networks: ‘We live as many. We stand as one.’ This represents an idea we hope everyone can embrace.”

But not everyone is embracing it on social media. It got a mixed reaction on Facebook, drawing 250 comments within six hours. Here is a sample of the feedback…

Saturday, July 16, 2016

13259: Hill Heading For The Hills.

Adweek reported 4As President and CEO Nancy Hill is leaving the trade organization in 2017. Hey, there’s no better way to promote White women in the advertising industry than by letting Hill depart…? Wonder if her successor will assume the 4As Chief Diversity Officer role too. Adweek revealed Hill intends to spend time teaching and doing volunteer work in Ecuador. She’ll undoubtedly use the experience to recruit minority candidates for the field.

President and CEO Nancy Hill Is Leaving the 4A’s After Nearly 9 Years

Trade org begins search for new chief executive

By Patrick Coffee

The ad industry’s largest trade organization, the 4A’s, announced today that its chairman and CEO, Nancy Hill, will be stepping down next year and that the search for her successor has officially begun. After leaving the organization in June 2017, Hill plans to work as a consultant and spend time in Ecuador teaching and doing volunteer work.

Hill assumed the top role at the American Association of Advertising Agencies in January 2008 after holding executive positions at such shops as Lowe, BBDO and Hill Holliday. In her eight-plus years atop the organization, she has often served as a de facto spokesperson for those advocating for greater racial and gender equality within the industry.

“Nancy has incredible passion for the advertising industry,” said Horizon Media founder and 4A’s board chair Bill Koenigsberg in a statement. “During the past eight years, she has advocated tirelessly for issues—such as gender and diversity—that continue to make the industry better.”

Koenigsberg added, “Nancy joined with five years of service in mind, but this last March the board again asked her to stay on, extending her contract through June 2017.” That year will also mark the organization’s 100th anniversary.

A press release announcing Hill’s departure credits her with modernizing the organization during a tumultuous period for the ad industry and expanding its representative skill set by including more marketing and media agencies. Hill has repeatedly tried to facilitate a more inclusive and supportive environment within the advertising business by including people of different racial backgrounds and sexual orientations in conversations about the future of the industry. She’s also encouraged greater transparency in media practices and has supported advocacy groups like the 4A’s Foundation, TAG (Trustworthy Accountability Group) and 3MS (Making Measurement Make Sense).

“The past eight years have been the experience of a lifetime,” said Hill in a statement, adding, “It has been a pleasure to help guide the industry through changing times and to bring issues that I am so passionate about to the forefront. The advertising agency business is continually evolving to meet the needs of clients and identify the best new ways to reach consumers. It has been an honor to play a part in shaping the future of an industry I love.”

The 4A’s is currently in talks with MediaLink to lead the search for Hill’s successor. So far, the organization has not given any indication as to whether it has considered specific candidates to replace Hill.

Friday, July 15, 2016

13258: BBDO’s Diverted Diversity Milestone.

Adweek reported BBDO hired its first White female Chief Creative Officer to run the creative department in its Atlanta office. It’s amazing—amazing in a pathetic way, that is—for BBDO to be marking the gender milestone in 2016. Hell, BBDO hired a Black man as CCO before a White woman. Plus, BBDO had a White male CCO serve as a panelist for a Here Are All The Black People event. The White advertising agency’s inclusive spirit is totally groundbreaking. Or maybe wind-breaking is a more appropriate term.

BBDO Names CP+B Veteran as Its First Female Chief Creative Officer

Robin Fitzgerald will lead the Atlanta office

By Patrick Coffee

BBDO Atlanta has hired Robin Fitzgerald to serve as chief creative officer in Atlanta, making her the first woman to hold that position within the Omnicom agency’s network in the United States.

During an earnings call in April, Omnicom CEO John Wren promised to double female leadership within BBDO’s creative department over the following 12 months. Fitzgerald’s hire appears to be the first major attempt to make good on that promise.

Fitzgerald replaces longtime BBDO veteran Wil Boudreau, who announced this week that he would leave the network after 25 years to become North American chief creative officer at WPP’s The&Partnership in New York. She will partner with president and CEO Drew Panayiotou to reshape the creative department in the Atlanta office, which currently works on such accounts as Toys “R” Us, Norwegian Cruise Line and Novant Health.

“Not only is Robin fantastically talented, but she also understands the always-on world in which today’s clients operate, embraces technology and analytics, and generally is someone who can lead the way forward,” said BBDO’s global chief creative officer and North American chairman David Lubars in a statement. “Plus she’s a good soul. I am excited and flattered that Robin has agreed to join BBDO Atlanta and work with Drew to help make that agency something truly special.”

Prior to joining BBDO, Fitzgerald spent nearly six years with MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Los Angeles, where she worked on Old Navy, Applebee’s, Netflix, Vitaminwater and PayPal. She helped lead creative on PayPal’s 2016 Super Bowl ad and got promoted to vp, executive creative director the month after the Big Game. Earlier this week, Adweek’s AgencySpy reported that Fitzgerald would leave CP+B and chief creative officer Kevin Jones would lead the PayPal account.

The newly minted creative chief began her career as a copywriter at Bozell Omaha in Nebraska and later served as a creative director at TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles. She has been named among the “Most Creative People” in advertising and social media marketing by Business Insider, and her work has won various honors including an Emmy nomination.

“I love places that love making great work and am looking forward to making a lot of it with the team in Atlanta,” said Fitzgerald, who will begin her new job on Sept. 12.

Regarding her hire, Panayiotou said, “Robin’s prior experience, proven track record and innovative orientation make her a dream fit for what we do and what we hope to do even better for our clients.”

Thursday, July 14, 2016

13257: Twin Cities Troubled.

A MultiCultClassics visitor pointed to a StarTribune article reporting on the dearth of diversity in the Twin Cities advertising community. To help solve the problem, White advertising agencies are turning to—ta da!—The BrandLab. Why do White advertising agencies presume minority candidates do not exist—and such candidates must be bred in specialized training programs? It feels like faux philanthropy that’s actually philistinism.

Twin Cities ad industry struggling to increase diversity in ranks

The BrandLab is trying to pick up the pace by doubling percentage of minorities by 2017.

By Nicole Norfleet

After three months of unanswered and rejected job applications, Travon Sellers decided to remove his headshot from his résumé.

Sellers, who is black, thought his five internships, college degree, years of experience as a freelance designer and support from industry contacts would be enough to earn him an entry-level job at a Twin Cities advertising agency. To that point, though, the 24-year-old south Minneapolis native had been shut down.

People of color make up little more than 6 percent of Twin Cities advertising industry employees, less than the racial diversity of the general population and lower than the nearly 23 percent of the broader national workforce in advertising, public relations and related services who are nonwhite, according to a study published last year by advocacy group the BrandLab.

By 2017, the BrandLab wants to double the percentage of minorities in the local industry and is expanding its services to achieve that goal.

“Whether we like it or not, advertising is so ubiquitous it influences how people feel about themselves, how they see themselves,” said Mike Lescarbeau, CEO of ad house Carmichael Lynch and a BrandLab board member. “So if the people making that work all come from the same background likely that work is going to be narrow in its depiction of human beings and roles people can play and all that.”

Despite outreach efforts to attract minorities to the field such as Sellers, who went through two BrandLab internships, many industry insiders admit frustration that marketing offices still remain mostly white even during a time when clients are clamoring for more minority representation on their creative teams and in their ads.

“In the advertising arena, you can still count with your fingers the number of people in a given agency that are people of color,” said Lorenz Esguerra, the managing director of business development at Minneapolis ad agency Colle+McVoy.

Twin Cities firms need to increase their racial diversity to stay competitive against other agencies in markets on the coasts or in larger cities that naturally attract diverse talent, he said.

“Gone are the days where you basically target women and you bring a team of men; that doesn’t work anymore,” said Esguerra, who is Filipino. “Or you pitch a Hispanic audience, and you don’t have somebody that actually represents that market. It just isn’t authentic.”

Nowadays, some advertising clients ask for bios of the agency’s account team complete with photos to see how diverse the group coming up with their marketing ideas is — a practice that was unheard of five years ago, said Erinn Farrell, general manager of advertising firm Space150.

“The more backgrounds you bring into that and the more points of view you bring into that, you strengthen the idea by challenging it,” Farrell said. “It’s not one note. Suddenly it becomes layered. Those layered ideas are good for business.”

Two years ago, Space150, which doesn’t track its diversity numbers, removed its education and age requirements to try to get more diverse candidates. This spring the firm launched its internship program on Snapchat so potential interns could use its geofilter feature at campuses and expanded its usual targeting to include historically black schools like Howard University and Spelman College.

Barriers still present

While many marketing professionals acknowledge the diversity problem, they give varying reasons for the dearth of ethnic minorities in local advertising operations.

Dorion Taylor has grown used to being one of the only black people in the room. The unwanted title has followed him since he was a teenager when his parents sent him to a mostly white high school in the Milwaukee suburbs to his current position as director of new business at Carmichael Lynch, where people of color make up more than 10 percent of the agency.

While Taylor made the decision early on that he wanted to be in a creative field, he said many young people, especially those of color, aren’t aware that advertising is a viable career option.

“They still don’t know what they can do … I think it’s just getting that pool bigger,” he said.

To Elliott Payne, the lead strategist for Space150, much of the problem has to do with how people are hired, which he said can be inherently biased. Oftentimes, advertising job openings are spread by word-of-mouth and are filled quickly.

Payne, who is black, was told of an available job at Space150 after he met the then vice president of strategy in his graduate school class. Not everyone can be so lucky, he said.

“The natural forces at play in this industry is to hire who you know and if the people who work in the industry don’t have a diverse personal network, the network of the industry is not going to be diverse,” Payne said.

After he was inspired by black social justice movements that erupted in the wake of police shootings, Payne decided to build his own network of people of color within the local marketing world. Starting last fall, Payne, who also volunteers for the BrandLab, organizes monthly social meetups for the group to help people better network.

A marketing office can’t begin to address the diversity problem until it builds an inclusive work environment, said Carmichael Lynch’s Lescarbeau. Even when a person of color gets a foot in the door, he or she won’t stay if he or she feels marginalized within the office, he said. Inclusion extends beyond race and also includes gender, sexual orientation, age and other differences.

“I think agencies traditionally have been tough places to break into and it takes quite a bit of time for people to feel a part of things,” he said.

Offering solutions

The BrandLab has been trying to guide students of various ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds into marketing careers since 2007, when the late John Olson, who was head of the Olson ad agency, founded the group. Christine Fruechte, BrandLab board chair and chief executive of Colle+McVoy, became involved soon after the organization was established.

“This is not a new issue,” Fruechte said. “It has been an issue that has been around as long as I’ve been in the industry, but it’s one that leaders have to take responsibility for and set the tone from the top down.”

At Colle+McVoy, which is currently helping to pilot new BrandLab workshops, about 12 percent of the staff are people of color.

The BrandLab offers several programs including a classroom initiative in which staff meet with high school students in their schools and teach a marketing curriculum. This past school year was a record of about 720 students being served in 14 metro schools.

Another large part of the BrandLab is its summer paid internships at marketing offices across the Twin Cities. Numerous agencies as well as companies with in-house marketing offices partner to host interns or donate to the organization including 3M and Best Buy. The BrandLab also provides around $30,000 in college scholarships each year.

Sellers, who went through the classroom program, a scholarship and internships through the BrandLab, said when he first went on tours of agencies he determined “I need to do this!”

“I didn’t have any models of people who did a 9 to 5 everyday,” he said.

As the BrandLab looks to the future, it plans to expand its offerings to make sure young people thrive as they enter the industry, said Ellen Walthour, BrandLab executive director.

The BrandLab is piloting “Fearless” workshops that it hopes will help companies’ staffs deepen their comfort in talking about race and biases. BrandLab is launching a mentorship program where marketing professionals team up with BrandLab alumni. The organization is also creating a mobile app alumni network so that graduates can stay in touch with one another. In addition, the BrandLab will start to offer skills-based training for alumni such as how to build a portfolio to help them be more competitive as they apply for jobs and internships, Walthour said.

“Full success is … meeting kids in high school, exposing them to a career they never heard of, building a pathway, breaking down barriers and making sure they land,” Walthour said.

Next steps

Besides taking part in BrandLab activities, Walthour gave several other ways companies can diversify their workplaces. For one, agencies should publicly post all their job openings to allow for a larger and more diverse pool of applicants, she said. They should also make sure all of their internships are paid so that it’s not only people who can afford to be unpaid who are applying for internships. Agencies should also collect and release their demographic data to keep better track of how well they are doing, she said. The BrandLab will conduct another survey in the fall of marketing companies’ diversity rates.

Despite the challenges, BrandLab supporters and industry insiders say they are confident that numbers will improve.

Mandana Mellano, chief media officer at ad firm Fallon, who is Iranian American, said she encouraged other people to not give up on finding their way in the industry.

“I think it’s so important for people to know that there are options and sticking with your plan. … If everybody comes in and gives up, where do we go?” she said.

Late last month, Sellers finally was given the break he needed when he landed a job as the marketing information manager at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn.

“I have no doubt that I will be a creative force in this industry. … I know I’m going to kill it. I’m going to climb the ladder.”

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

13256: Lewie Allen Is A Troublemaker.

Campaign spotlighted fortysix Managing Director Lewie Allen, who’s seeking to cause trouble by fostering diversity. The story included the following quote from MullenLowe Profero CEO Dale Gall: “Looking for a fresh approach and seeking digital natives from disadvantaged backgrounds, if pursued as literally and exclusively as that, actually becomes the opposite of diversity.” Okay, but continuing the hiring practices that literally perpetuate exclusivity actually becomes the opposite of diversity too. Plus, is Gall aware of the MullenLowe 25/40 Project? Gall has a lot of gall critiquing Allen’s efforts, especially when peeking at the leadership at MullenLowe Profero.

Young leader of Dentsu Aegis’ new venture aims to cause the ‘good kind’ of trouble

Lewie Allen, the youthful head of Dentsu Aegis Network’s digital agency Fortysix, may be new to the industry but he believes his original approach will prove the power of diversity.

Lewie Allen is wearing a red cap, grey hoody, red jeans and red trainers. But, despite appearances, he isn’t a young creative grad. Allen is, in fact, the managing director of Fortysix, Dentsu Aegis Network’s latest venture.

The digital creative agency, which was launched last month, has a remit to employ young people from diverse backgrounds. Dentsu Aegis worked on the project with Freeformers, a company that helps businesses with digital transformation, and then hired Allen, a former Freeformers employee, to lead it.

Fortysix’s launch clients are Santander and Kellogg and, over the coming months, the five-strong shop will work with other Dentsu Aegis clients on redesigning their websites, creating video content and helping develop their brands’ social media strategy. After establishing itself, Fortysix will start pitching for its own business. “I’m hoping to shake up the industry and cause a bit of trouble — the good kind — and demonstrate the power of diversity and different approaches,” Allen asserts. “In a lot of ways, I’m not sure [how we’re going to do this] because there will be a lot of testing and learning.”

In common with other Dentsu Aegis agencies, Fortysix is a standalone shop but will operate on the same profit-and-loss account. The agency will differ from its sister shops by taking a less traditional approach to briefs. It will be assisted by a panel of advisors from inside and outside the industry.

Allen is already making his mark by taking a fresh approach to recruitment. He hired his first four employees at Upload Live, a digital workshop for young people, organised in partnership with Freeformers. Dentsu Aegis also took on two people as a result of the event.

“The room was very much a reflection of London — very diverse,” Allen says. “Everyone came along knowing they were going to get something out of it.”

The event struck a chord with Allen, who found his own career path when he took a digital crash course at Freeformers. “The idea that I was able to make websites, apps and do different things quite easily was super-intriguing and I just ran with it,” he says.

Allen is a million miles from the stereotypical white, middle-class adman. He left school with just three GCSEs but knew he wanted a creative career.

Allen kept in touch with Freeformers and, when a job vacancy arose, jumped at the chance to become a trainer. In this role, he showed corporate bosses how to use digital technology to help their businesses.

While at Freeformers, Allen spent time with high-level clients, such as Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays personal and corporate banking. But while he is used to dealing with senior figures, Allen’s lack of an industry background means Tracy De Groose, chief executive of Dentsu Aegis Network UK, is taking a risk with his hiring. Allen does not think agency experience is necessary. “I think that might be my strength,” he says. “I am very digital, I consume things in a lot of different ways and this gives me an insight into audiences that other managing directors might not have.”

Gi Fernando, founder of Freeformers, says Allen can “communicate technical aspects of marketing and comms in an easy-to-understand way”.

De Groose says: “Lewie has strong beliefs on the role that marketing has in the world. He has real clarity in how he sees things working and he’s very articulate about it. The combination of his youth and vitality is very powerful.”

At 28, Allen may not have the experience of his fellow agency bosses but he has a clear opinion on how the industry needs to develop. “There’s a slight over-awareness of the fact that we are being advertised to — and digital has probably played a massive part in that,” he says. “I think once that sense washes away, it will be back to how it was.” He adds: “Brands will need to cement themselves into society and be pivotal in communities without necessarily advertising in the sense that we like to think of nowadays.”

Some would argue that De Groose should be bringing diversity into the network, rather than setting up a separate agency. Dentsu Aegis did not take part in the diversity survey Campaign and the IPA published earlier this year. De Groose insists that the group does make diverse hires but adds that, sometimes, people from non-traditional backgrounds feel different from their colleagues because they are still in the minority – something Fortysix will address.

Dale Gall, chief executive of MullenLowe Profero, says there’s much to admire in De Groose’s new venture. However, she will need to ensure Fortysix isn’t siloed. He explains: “Looking for a fresh approach and seeking digital natives from disadvantaged backgrounds, if pursued as literally and exclusively as that, actually becomes the opposite of diversity.”

Allen describes the job offer as “surreal” and something he didn’t see coming. Combining a humble nature with natural confidence, he clearly appreciates — and is excited about — the task ahead.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

13255: Agents Of Shield.

MultiCultClassics planned to comment on the Wieden + Kennedy #BlackLivesMatter post, as well as the subsequent Hill Holliday copycat concern, but Brandon Burns’ commentary below exceeds anything this blog could have generated. White advertising agencies should complement #BlackLivesMatter with #BlackJobsMatter.

The Diversity Shield

A Response to Wieden+Kennedy’s statement on #blacklivesmatter

Last week, two black men were murdered by police officers, five police officers were executed by a revenge-seeking vigilante and, to much acclaim, Wieden+Kennedy replaced the homepage of its website with a statement on the matter. In publications from Advertising Week to The Washington Post, the beautifully written message, which was originally delivered by a black employee to colleagues via an internal email, was applauded after the advertising agency’s management team had the foresight to amplify its words by featuring them on the company website, along with a heads-up to the press.

On the surface, this was a commendable effort by one of the strongest voices in advertising. To start, there was the poignant message itself. Also, at W+K, black employees are few and far between, so the decision to feature the work of one so prominently deserves kudos. Clearly, intentions were good.

The effort, however, is likely net-negative.

As a black man with over a decade of experience in the ad industry — most recently at Wieden+Kennedy — I have seen small men hide behind big words. I have seen them discriminate, whether it was intentional or not, and then use the agency’s prior good deeds as shield against any blame for the current offense. And while my personal career has been net-positive, along the way I have lost jobs to objectively less qualified candidates, I have fought, and won, a case of racial-based wage depression, and I’ve even had to report a manager to HR for harassment, only to be fired by the accused 24 hours later. Each respective agency has voiced support for diversity in very public ways; nevertheless, each engaged in actions that broke the federal laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace.

Will Wieden+Kennedy’s #blacklivesmatter homepage change the fact that the agency’s management team is exclusively white? Will it change the fact that 28 of its 30 creative directors are not just white, but white and male? Or that roughly 80% of the copywriters, art directors, and technologists who create the agency’s output are also exclusively white males?

And while not related to black lives, but still concerning the topic of diversity, what about the gender issues at W+K? What about the fact that 20% of the female creatives quit at the end of last year? What about the fact that, during layoffs this March, women were disproportionately affected? What about the fact that after a group of women decided to communicate their frustration via an all-agency email, global management replied-all to say that they should not talk about such things out in the open? Where was the concern for diversity then?

The other side to this story is that Wieden+Kennedy is well aware of these issues and is, despite mistakes along the way, actively making efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive environment. The agency has declared 2016 a Year of Diversity within the agency. They are encouraging all employees to take part in off-site workshops on inclusion and bias. A large Girl Wanted sign hangs in a prominent place on the creative floor. The company homepage now features the message that #blacklivesmatter.

It is very hard to assert that an organization is discriminatory when it has done so much in the name of diversity.

Or is it? As a hiring manager, I worked very closely with the in-house recruiting team; I am well aware of their valiant efforts to find new talent of all races and genders. Yet, nevertheless, when they share the portfolios of the best candidates with the Creative Directors — 93% of whom are white males — it is, time and again, the white male candidates who are pursued and hired.

Of course, each Creative Director has reasons why he may prefer one candidate’s portfolio over another’s. And while I sat on the other side of the building in the technology group, the majority of the Creative Directors I interacted with are perfectly pleasant people, and I never once felt unwelcome in their presence.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to remember that unconscious bias exists in every human being, no matter how kind. It is crucial to remember that humans, naturally, form faster connections with people similar to themselves. And it is crucial to remember that the human brain can always rationalize its own actions. The cop always has a reason why he shot the black guy. The bro always has a reason why he’s not into black girls. The lady on the subway always has a reason for grabbing her purse a little tighter. The creative director always has a reason why he hired, promoted or gave preferential treatment to someone who happens to look like him.

And despite all the diversity initiatives, despite the #blacklivesmatter homepage, despite honest efforts by some within the organization to create a truly diverse environment, there are reasons why a diverse environment has yet to manifest at Wieden+Kennedy.

But this is not just the story of one advertising agency. This is the story of an entire industry. There are few agencies that would skip out on the chance to attach its name to a feel-good diversity initiative, but what good is it if the company itself doesn’t become more diverse in the process? How can we applaud an agency for making an effort, and then look the other way when those efforts don’t lead to real, actualized change? How can we be sure that voicing support for diversity doesn’t become a shield, protecting agencies from the constructive scrutiny needed to come to terms with what its problems really are, and eventually find real solutions?

How do we move from talking about change to actual change?

Handicap Unconscious Bias

No matter the data, people will always have a stronger connection with people similar to themselves. The only way to remove bias from an individual is to remove it from the system itself. Review portfolios blind. Standardize parameters for promotions and raises. Conduct performance reviews regularly, without fail.

Again, in the chaos of an agency, these are often seen as low priority initiatives. But they will also serve as protection — of a more legitimate kind. The goodwill attributed to an agency for undertaking diversity initiatives is subjective, but being able to say that each and every employee receives rewards and punishments in the exact same way, via a blind, unbiased system, is objectively solid and your best defense.

Kill Subjectivity with Specificity

Agencies always say they want to hire people who are humble. But what does that mean? Growing up in a white household, that may mean staying quiet and not rocking the boat. Growing up in a black household, that could mean speaking up and falling on your sword for a cause. Who’s right?

Agencies look for creatives that have that “special something.” What does that mean? Work for a recognizable brand? A particular award? A headline that made you laugh?

From personality traits to skillsets, agencies often times fail to define success by specific, objective terms. Traits like being humble or “nice” are subjective, but ones like work ethic and leadership experience are not; either you’ve produced a volume of work or you haven’t, either you’ve been a manager before or you haven’t. A “good” copywriter is subjective; one that has experience in comedy is not. “That ad made me laugh,” is subjective; but a copywriter who wrote a humorous ad that won an award, or went viral, or produced sales results is probably more objectively talented when it comes to using humor in his job.

Minorities (and Women), Speak Up

Those who are in power will never fully see things from the perspective of those on the sidelines. Those who are in power will rarely put their concerns before yours. This is your fight, our fight. We must hold our employers to task, and not let the hush-hush culture of corporate America stop us from sharing our stories and calling out injustice when we see it.

White People, Don’t Take It Personally

Minorities, unfortunately, are used to discrimination. We’ve seen white friends, white teachers, and white colleagues — people we know and love — do and say discriminatory things. We’ve learned that, when it comes down to it, many perfectly decent people simply don’t know any better. And that’s okay; we can only make decisions using the filters that we have, and bias is a natural part of human behavior. So when it is brought to your attention that you may have discriminated against someone, don’t flip out. Don’t go into the, “Wait, you think I’m a racist?!” line of defense. Don’t get mad that your transgression has been exposed because, really, unconscious mistakes are made every day.

You don’t even have to truly understand. Just listen, acknowledge, and try to do better.