Monday, January 30, 2017

13523: Publicis Groupe Poope.

Adweek reported Publicis Groupe officially announced it will swap an old White Frenchman—Maurice Lévy—with a younger White Frenchman— Arthur Sadoun—in the role of Chairman and CEO. Vivé la Divérsity! Does this mean Lévy’s office will no longer be available via Airbnb?

Maurice Lévy Will Be Succeeded by Arthur Sadoun as Publicis Chairman and CEO

After 30 years, a changing of the guard

By Katie Richards

Publicis Groupe announced today that Arthur Sadoun will become the holding company’s next chairman and CEO, effective June 1. Sadoun will take over the role from Maurice Lévy.

Lévy, 74, has been with the holding company since 1971 and took on the role of chairman and CEO in 1987. Under Lévy’s management Publicis Groupe made a number of big moves in the industry including the $3.7 billion acquisition of SapientNitro and a massive restructuring of the holding company announced in December 2015. He also attempted to engineer a merger with Omnicom Group, but that fell through.

According to a press release, Lévy made the selection of Sadoun, 44, along with the network’s nominating committee and Elisabeth Badinter, the chairman of the supervisory board and president of the nominating committee. The committee began its process to find a successor for Lévy in November.

“First of all, I’d like to congratulate Arthur,” Lévy said in a statement. “I am extremely happy with this choice, which is the most appropriate and judicious for the future of our Groupe, and congratulate Arthur warmly … I have known Arthur for many years. We have worked very closely together. He is a seasoned professional with an inspiring vision of our industry and of our clients’ needs. He knows them well, he understands them well, and he knows how to deliver the solutions and services they need to grow, develop and transform by selecting the best talent. He has the intelligence, the energy and the passion necessary to master our trade in a connected world that is changing and evolving constantly.”

Sadoun has long been considered a potential candidate to take over Lévy’s role, but became a clearer choice in recent months following the restructuring of Publicis Groupe in December 2015. At the time, Sadoun was named CEO of Publicis Communications which is comprised of the network’s creative agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett and BBH.

“Leading the company founded by visionary Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet and made into a global communications leader by Maurice Lévy is an immense honor and an incredible challenge,” Sadoun said in a statement. “A challenge that I’ll meet with open arms, thanks to the continued contribution of Maurice’s wisdom and experience, and the support of Steve King, the Management Board and the talented individuals who make up Publicis Groupe.”

Sadoun made a relatively quick rise to the top at Publicis Groupe, kicking off his career there in 2006 as CEO of Publicis Conseil. He was named global CEO of Publicis Worldwide in 2013 and added a leadership position at MSL Group to his responsibilities in 2015.

Along with the news of a successor for Lévy, Publicis Groupe also announced that Steve King will join the network’s management board. King currently serves at CEO of Publicis Media.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

13522: Disabled Diversity.

Campaign published a perspective by ThinkDesignable Founder and Rufus Leonard Account Director Marianne Waite, who advocated for marketing to disabled people. Waite’s commentary included the following:

Gone are the days when “disability” was a conversation reserved for charities and hospitals. As a society, we are starting to recognize that brands and agencies are accountable for representing all of us.

And so, while “diversity” is the buzzword of the day, it’s time brands designed with the diverse needs of our population in mind—and that includes the millions of disabled people.

Okay, and if the advertising industry continues to address diversity as it always has—or as it always hasn’t, to be more accurate—expect people with disabilities to receive attention and action well before racial and ethnic minorities. BTW, a peek at the Rufus Leonard leadership shows people with disabilities and racial and ethnic minorities are less represented than house pets.

It’s time brands woke up to the incentives for understanding disabled people

By Marianne Waite

Failing to meet the needs of disabled people is not just discriminatory, but risks missing out on a massive market opportunity, writes ThinkDesignable’s founder.

Gone are the days when “disability” was a conversation reserved for charities and hospitals. As a society, we are starting to recognize that brands and agencies are accountable for representing all of us.

So I was pleased to see Maltesers’ new Braille billboard in Farringdon, London, which marked World Braille Day on Jan 4.

While this represents more of an installation than an ad, it shows that this type of intimate, tactile communications platform can deliver brand messages in an extremely impactful way.

The Braille billboard also delivers a profound message around inclusion, since it demonstrates the divide between ability levels—excluding the masses so they may experience what discrimination feels like. The Braille translation reads, “Caught a fast bus once—turns out it was a fire engine.”

The poster also marks a continuation of Maltesers’ efforts to better represent disability in advertising—having already released three ads featuring disabled actors during the Rio Paralympics, which used humor and were built around the strapline, “Look on the light side.”

The Mars brand’s overall approach should be a wake-up call for other brands afraid to address disability—amply demonstrating that humour is a strong lens through which to explore this very everyday topic.

A vicious circle

But, sadly, for most brands, there’s still a long way to go when it comes to inclusive design. A widespread lack of awareness, understanding and interest, partly fueled by media-desired “perfection” and partly by a fear of getting it wrong, means well-intentioned ideas rarely become a reality.

This is a vicious circle. Many, if not most, businesses are missing out on the wider consumer impact of inclusive design and the chance to be the leaders of this change.

A common mistake is to create naive, hug-fest comms designed to make the able-bodied feel fuzzy and warm—reinforcing a damaging “them and us” attitude. Take the recent HP Christmas ad for one of its laptops, for instance, which was widely criticized because, while purporting to handle the theme of deafness, it lacked subtitles and used sign language inconsistently.

If more marketers and creative directors were aware of the disability market, and really understood its opportunities, they’d realize there is a huge, untapped market out there—especially in our aging population.

Not considering persons with disabilities or physical differences when designing products is ignoring a market the size of China. And this is why the British government has stated that the British high street would be £249bn better off if disabled people and their families were catered to more effectively.

The disability isn’t the story

Quite often, when inclusion is attempted, the difference or disability is the focus. I can’t wait to see more adverts feature disability in a more understated way—as in the part of Clarissa Mullery in British crime drama series Silent Witness.

She is first and foremost a highly talented forensic lab-scientist. She is married, and she just happens to have a disability. This is dealt with in a way which is incidental, unexplained and doesn’t define her. It illustrates how we can focus on commonalities rather than differences.

It’s not hard to get to that point. Almost all everyday products could be redesigned in a way which is more inclusive. But few, if any, have helped to change the perception of disability yet.

I’d like to see the likes of Ikea or Habitat tackle easy-access bathrooms. I’d like H&M to think about how their clothes could be easier to wear for people who are constrained in their movements. And I’d like Accessorize to consider a style of walking cane to match its handbags and scarves.

There are riches in store for brands courageous enough to explore a more authentic vision of the world we live in.

And so, while “diversity” is the buzzword of the day, it’s time brands designed with the diverse needs of our population in mind—and that includes the millions of disabled people.

—Marianne Waite is founder of ThinkDesignable and account director at Rufus Leonard.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

13521: On White Judges, Jurors & Executioners.

Campaign reported Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall is asking via Twitter, “Where are all the dark-skinned jurors at Cannes?” Um, they’re hanging with all the dark-skinned Cannes attendees and dark-skinned Cannes award winners—as well as with the dark-skinned micro minority group in the overall advertising industry. And they’ll never receive the respect and recognition granted to the dark-skinned celebrities and dark-skinned performers at Cannes. Mildenhall inadvertently answered his own inquiry by tweeting, “…so grateful that @cindygallop & others have made a huge impact re women. Now the ethnic diversity agenda needs to pick up pace…” Yo, Gallop and others have leapfrogged racial and ethnic diversity by promoting diverted diversity, especially at venues like Cannes, where they’ve even inspired a special trophy for their propaganda. The racial and ethnic diversity agenda will pick up pace only after “justice” has been delivered to White women, White LGBT, White people with disabilities, non-U.S. minorities and dark-furred house pets.

Airbnb’s Mildenhall: Where are all the dark-skinned jurors at Cannes?

By Emily Tan

The chief marketing officer unleashed a barrage of tweets taking aim at the Cannes Lions 2017 jury president lineup.

Cannes Lions Festival has announced the first 16 jury presidents for the upcoming awards and Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall was quick to note that there were no “dark-skinned” jury presidents in the lineup at all.

Of the 16 jury presidents, two are of Southeast Asian-Chinese descent (Ogilvy’s Tham Khai Meng and Dentsu’s Ted Lim) and six are women.

It is understood that Mildenhall himself has been named a jury president, but the category he will be judging has not been confirmed.

Campaign has asked the Cannes Lions team for comment and for the full breakdown of the remaining jury presidents. The team has responded but not been able to issue a statement as of press time.

13521: There’s A Big Crap For That!

Adweek reported on the first Mickey D’s campaign from its new White advertising agency—We Are Unlimited—featuring a spot hawking, “There’s A Big Mac® For That!” Damn. This contrived and cliché-ridden commercial plays like the worst minority advertising ever. Mickey D’s has promised to generate 5,000 pieces of marketing content this year. More like 5,000 pieces of shit.

Friday, January 27, 2017

13520: DDB=Diverted Diversity Bullshit.

Adweek reported DDB New York announced fresh diverted diversity and actual diversity—hiring a White woman and promoting a Latina—despite negating the faux progress by also appointing two White men to new positions. Technically, the White advertising agency hired two White people, promoted a White man and promoted a Latina. So the legitimate diversity is debatable at best. In short, DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark’s restless ambition regarding diversity is experiencing arrested development.

DDB New York Names Its First CMO and Tech Lead in a Round of Hires and Promotions

Plus 2 new managing partners

By Patrick Coffee

The New York offices of DDB announced a series of four promotions and new hires today.

Former group business director Melissa Martinez is now chief marketing officer, the first to hold that title in New York. Global business director Michael Collins has been promoted to partner and managing director. The agency also hired Condé Nast veteran Kimberly Bernhardt to serve as managing partner and Alexander Rea as its first creative technology officer.

“It’s an exciting time for us,” said DDB New York president and CEO Chris Brown. “We had a successful 2016 with revenue and profit growth and we are very focused on maintaining this momentum in 2017. These promotions and hires are part of this and reinforce our commitment to ensuring we attract and retain the very best talent.”

Martinez joined DDB more than two and a half years ago after serving in account director roles at the New York offices of BBDO, Havas and Ogilvy & Mather. Brown noted that she had been running “big integrated pieces of business for us” including portions of the New York Lottery and State Farm accounts. In the new role, she will also be responsible for new business development and strategic initiatives including the introduction of U.S. clients to DDB Flex, the new model debuted last year by North American CEO Wendy Clark.

“The decision to name a CMO is about recognizing the dynamic, changing times we’re in,” Brown told Adweek. “It’s really important to be very clear about what you do and how you do. [Martinez] will work with leadership to provide a strategic perspective for how the agency markets itself.”

Bernhardt previously worked in the publishing world as executive director of communications at Glamour magazine. She previously served as evp on the Unilever business at Edelman, the world’s largest independent PR firm. “We often talk about brands needing to act like publishers,” Brown said, “So we need people who know how that works: How brands can create experiences that truly deliver on the paid, owned and earned media model as well as creating content and working with influencers.”

Prior to his promotion, Collins served as global business director leading integrated teams on Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon global surgery business. The managing partner title brings with it additional responsibilities regarding agency/client relationships in his group, which includes Merck, Lilly, Huawei and Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies.

Rea comes to DDB from VR-focused production studio Framestore, where he served as head of creative technology and worked on McCann New York’s “Field Trip to Mars” project, which was the single most-awarded campaign at Cannes last year. DDB created his new position to help provide leadership for the technological aspects of all client projects.

Regarding the office’s plans moving forward, Brown said, “I don’t think we’ve ever been busier from a pitch perspective ... there’s always lots of stuff happening, and we’re creatively busy in production on all of our clients, including new campaigns for the Tribeca Film Festival and the Ad Council.”

13519: Old Perspective On Ageism.

How to be ageless in advertising” is the latest anti-ageism propaganda published by Campaign. Battery Creative Director Raymond Hwang shared 10 tips that have allegedly worked to keep him a vital in the field despite being in his mid-40s. Ironically enough, the tips are old. Hwang declared, “It’s been said that advertising celebrates youth. That’s just partially true. I think it’s more accurate to say that advertising celebrates youthfulness.” Actually, it’s even more accurate to say that advertising celebrates White youthfulness in its workplaces—and Black youthfulness in its work.

How to be ageless in advertising

By Raymond Hwang

When it comes to longevity, earned authority and youthful audacity make for a potent mix, writes Battery creative director.

It’s been said that advertising celebrates youth. That’s just partially true. I think it’s more accurate to say that advertising celebrates youthfulness.

As in life, our business has a kids table and a grown ups table. You have to be comfortable at both.

It’s a lesson I learned early on. I remember my first client meeting. I probably looked like I was 14. My creative director got sick so it fell on my newbie shoulders to speak on their massive global brand.

When the clients saw me sans expected adult, it wasn’t pretty. If disappointment has a sound, they made it loud and clear. After the eye rolls and deflated postures, the meeting was promptly rescheduled. And boom, I was back on the plane. Not so much older but definitely wiser.

Flash forward to today.

I’m now in my mid-40s and fortunate enough to be doing some of the most rewarding work of my career. A lot of this I attribute to mastery of craft coupled with an endless curiosity of all things new.

That mindset isn’t exclusive to advertising. You can easily put industry giants like Alex Bogusky, David Droga and Lee Clow in the same category as innovators like Dr. Dre, Richard Branson and Kelly Slater.

These icons continue to turn us on to new talent, approaches and philosophies. Their instincts are proven to be gold (or platinum). And if they ever threw a party, you can bet both Tyga and Paul McCartney would kill to be there.

When it comes to creative longevity, earned authority and youthful audacity make for a potent mix.

Here are 10 tips that have worked for me:

Own your authority. If you’ve been in the business for a while, you’ve created work seen by millions and partnered with the best makers in the world. Be proud of it.

Be a sponge. Stay tapped into the bigger world. Stay curious. It’s more fun. If every year, fewer and fewer people know your references, get some new ones.

Execute flawlessly. Humans are innately responsive to mastery. Whether it’s music, film or chateaubriand, we know when something’s impeccably done. Sweat the details and it’ll become muscle memory before you know it.

Never say it can’t be done. In Hawaii, there’s a saying. “If can, can. If no can, still can.” Nine out of 10 times work turns out better than the budget or brief would have most people believe.

Learn to love presenting. It’s a bigger fear than public nudity but embrace presenting. It protects your ideas and makes you invaluable.

Drop the “I”s. A good partner is someone you can stand being stuck in an elevator with, a good CD is someone teams get excited to share work with, a leader is the person that lifts everyone around them. Always be that guy or girl.

Embrace your team. Talk to all departments, juniors and seniors, clients, be comfortable at every table. Relatability goes a long way.

Have an outlet. Music, photography, cooking, whatever it may be, it’s important to have something no one can screw up but you. Many times you’ll find it’s complementary to your career skills.

Exercise. I always felt that thinking should burn more calories. It doesn’t. So surf, bike, do yoga, whatever it takes to keep your temple as sharp as your mind.

Smile. It keeps you young and besides, in general, the more you laugh the better the work is.

By the way, I’ve found that everyone who complains that they’re old has been saying that since they were young.

Don’t fall into that habit. It’s a trap.

The world (and advertising) will always need youthful minds and grown-up skills. Have both.

—Raymond Hwang is creative director at Battery.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

13518: Asinine Assassination.

This Mazda advertisement from Saatchi & Saatchi in Israel should have been shot down in the concept stage.

13517: Kiss My Black App, JWT.

Adweek interviewed JWT NY CCO Brent Choi, who discussed the Black Lives Matter app that now lets Blacks mark themselves “unsafe” for being Black in America. The Adweek story claimed the special app function was “[t]imed to Martin Luther King Jr. Day and President Trump’s inauguration.” Hey, it should also automatically activate for anyone coming within a mile radius of former JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Gustavo Martinez. Plus, add a GPS feature to identify White advertising agencies like JWT as unsafe places of employment for Blacks.

JWT Explains Its Black Lives Matter App That Lets Black Americans Mark Themselves ‘Unsafe’

CCO Brent Choi also picks his 3 favorite ads

By Tim Nudd

In a powerful twist on Facebook’s “Safety Check” feature, which lets users in a crisis area tell friends they’re safe, J. Walter Thompson and Black Lives Matter recently launched “Unsafety Check”—a web app that allows black people on social media to mark themselves unsafe for being black in America.

Timed to Martin Luther King Jr. Day and President Trump’s inauguration, it’s a clever and sobering way to raise awareness of the impact of race and racism on American society.

Brent Choi, chief creative officer of JWT New York and Canada, revealed some backstory about the app when he sat down with Adweek for a video interview in our ongoing “Best Ads Ever” series.

Check out the [video], in which Choi picks his three favorite ads ever (including a recent masterpiece from another JWT office)—and tells us about a certain pop star who’s been inspiring to him (and his 11-year-old daughter) lately.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

13516: Dance, Daddy, Dance!

This Honey Nut Cheerios commercial is cloying and annoying. Cheerios has gone from Black dads to gay dads to douche dads to dancing dads. In the Cheerios bizarro universe, there are no moms or sons. Look for a pool-out starring Nelly and his daughter soon. And while General Mills appears to love seeing Black men in its advertising, the cereal maker doesn’t seem to love seeing Black men in its advertising agencies, despite the bullshit mandates for diversity.

13515: Adland ‘17 Is Exclusivity 101.

Campaign published a painfully long piece titled, “This is adland ‘17: Part one: Gender”—including a bizarre subhead proclaiming, “All the signs point to a more diverse industry in our second-ever survey – more agencies took part this year, while comparisons for those that also participated in the inaugural survey showed improvement.” In keeping with the current diverted diversity trend, the trade publication opted to begin the examination by focusing on White women. “Ethnicity” will apparently be covered next week. Sorry, but “all the signs point to a more diverse industry” is only true when adding White women to the diversity equation. Hell, the image accompanying the report (depicted above) even featured White male and female icons. Campaign is literally and figuratively whitewashing the issue.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

13514: Stereotypical Diverted Diversity.

Campaign reported Unilever CEO Paul Polman and Chief Marketing Officer Keith Weed implored political and business leaders to embrace diverted diversity by fighting against stereotyping, as it ultimately hurts White women. It’s still unclear why Unilever feels qualified to lead the charge, as the advertiser has historically created the stereotypes now being condemned. Polman declared: “Empowering women and girls offers the single biggest opportunity for human development and economic growth. It goes without saying, it’s crucial for business. … The World Economic Forum’s latest Gender Gap Report notes that we may not achieve economic equality among men and women for another 170 years. That’s just not good enough. We need to lead the change in tackling unhelpful stereotypes that hold women—and men—back.” If it’s going to take 170 years for White men and White women to achieve economic equality, how long will minorities have to wait?

Unilever calls on leaders to drive fight against stereotyping

Unilever’s chief executive, Paul Polman, and chief marketing officer, Keith Weed, have called on political and business leaders to recognise the effect of stereotyping and take action to tackle it.

The FMCG giant unveiled, a study that surveyed more than 9,000 people in eight countries: Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Turkey, the UK and the US.

It found that gender stereotypes both remain highly pervasive, and have a significant impact on people’s lives.

Among the findings were that:

• 60% of women and 49% of men say that stereotypes personally impact their career, personal life, or both

• 77% of men and 55% of women believe that a man is the best choice to lead a high stakes project

• Two thirds (67%) of women feel they are “pressured” to simply “get over” inappropriate behavior

• The majority of both men (55%) and women (64%) believe that men do not challenge each other when they witness such behavior

• A large majority, 70%, of respondents believe the world would be a better place if children were not exposed to gender stereotypes in media and marketing

• 75% said it was the responsibility of senior leaders to take action

The research comes seven months after Unilever launched #Unstereotype, its ambition to completely eradicate gender stereotypes for its ads.

Weed said: “Stereotypes and social norms have a huge impact on gender equality issues globally. Whether consciously or unconsciously we are all subject to the biases in our mindsets.”

The survey sample was a mix of Unilever employees and members of the general public, and was split roughly equally between men and women. Polman and Weed unveiled the research at a panel discussion at the 2017 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Polman added: “Empowering women and girls offers the single biggest opportunity for human development and economic growth. It goes without saying, it’s crucial for business.

“The World Economic Forum’s latest Gender Gap Report notes that we may not achieve economic equality among men and women for another 170 years. That’s just not good enough. We need to lead the change in tackling unhelpful stereotypes that hold women — and men — back.”

Monday, January 23, 2017

13513: Johnnie Walker’s Political March.

Campaign reported on patronizing political pap for Johnnie Walker—created by White advertising agency Anomaly—that celebrates U.S. diversity with a contemporary spin on the classic tune “This Land is Your Land.” Based on the predominately White people section at Anomaly’s website, minorities should realize this adland is not your adland.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

13512: Snowballing Diverted Diversity.

At Campaign, Cilla Snowball explained “How adland can crack gender equality in 2017”—which essentially means that diverted diversity will extend throughout the year as more White women are promoted in White advertising agencies. Snowball’s lengthy perspective isn’t worth re-posting, so here’s the condensed version:

Eliminate the gender pay divide; Unconscious-bias training for everyone; Know your diversity stats and set targets; Get more female creatives; Encourage women to say what they want; Encourage women to say what they don’t want; Get men to lead on equality; Balance shortlists, balance everything; Theworktheworkthework, and; Sponsor promising female leaders.

Heaven forbid a culturally clueless idiot like Snowball might replace the gender-based terms with racial and ethnic references to address true diversity. But given the current and historical attention paid to actual inclusiveness, the title of such an exposition would have to read, “How adland can crack racial and ethnic equality by 3017.”

Saturday, January 21, 2017

13511: Bandwagons & Busses.

Advertising Age reported White advertising agencies are not only jumping on the White women bandwagon, they’re busing staffers to the women’s rights march in Washington, D.C. Why, WPP’s JWT New York is shuttling around 50 employees to the event—although it’s a safe bet Erin Johnson isn’t getting a free ride. And once again, minorities and true diversity are pushed to the back of the bus.

Ad Agencies Are Busing Staffers to Women’s Rights March in D.C.

By Lindsay Stein

A number of advertising agencies are supporting and organizing efforts around the global marches for women’s rights on Saturday, including several that are paying for transportation down to Washington, D.C.

The grassroots event, which started as the Women’s March on Washington, has vastly expanded, with more than 600 marches expected to take place worldwide one day after Donald Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States, according to the Women’s March website. Marches are scheduled in cities across all 50 states and dozens of countries including Mexico, Canada, India, Iraq, Spain, Japan and the U.K.

Interpublic Group shop Huge is busing 50 staffers, men and women, to D.C. from New York on Friday ahead of the march, while also covering expenses for meals, Metro transportation and poster-making materials. Most of the team plans to sleep at Huge’s D.C. office, but a few will bunk with colleagues in the city.

As soon as Huge saw interest among staffers in New York to go to D.C. for the march, CMO Patricia Korth-McDonnell said the shop started thinking of ways to support them. When the numbers continued to swell, Huge decided to cover all transportation, food and lodging at the office, especially because Airbnb prices have been surging and all hotels are sold out.

“We definitely support people getting engaged in the community and we are an organization that celebrates activism and we are also really proud of the diversity of our team and of our gender mix across the board, including technology, design and leadership,” she added.

Similarly, WPP’s JWT New York is busing about 50 employees, nearly half of them men, to D.C. on Friday evening. The staffers plan to wear specially created matching T-shirts that say, “Keep It Coming #ShatterSomeGlass.” (All T-shirts were printed in extra-large sizes so the team can wear them over their coats in January D.C. weather.)

Leslie Ali, executive creative director at JWT, has been organizing the agency’s marching efforts “out of personal passion, as well as from just knowing from colleagues that there’s so many things people want to express and going to the march feels like doing something.”

“The agency just wants to see us go down there and support the things we love,” she added.

Among other agencies also participating, Publicis New York CEO Carla Serrano is taking two buses of employees to the march on Saturday. Badger & Winters is organizing march groups Saturday in New York and Washington under the banner of its #womennotobjects campaign. And Work & Co is sending two buses to D.C. from New York.

New York City-based Chandelier Creative is sending four employees from different departments—writing, social media, film and design—to participate in the D.C. march and represent the agency’s values. The team also plans to talk with people from all over the country during the march and share their stories and concerns.

Laundry Service has a number of people going to marches in various cities and is allowing them to take over the agency’s social channels throughout the event, said Jason Stein, CEO and founder of the agency. The shop is also posting in social media a video about empowering women that it created and it’s handing out “Future Is Female” T-shirts to staff, clients and friends, as it did on Women’s Equality Day last August.

“Our support is not a statement about our political beliefs,” Mr. Stein said. “It is a reflection of our continued commitment to gender quality, women’s rights and empowerment of female leadership.”

While Iris Worldwide has nothing formally planned around the marches, the agency provided all staffers with information about them and gave them the option to take off on Friday afternoon to travel to D.C.

Marie Davidheiser, the agency’s New York managing director, also sent a note to employees that said: “Participating in politics is our civic duty; it’s one of the ways we can continue to have a voice, protect our diversity and individual rights.”

A team from TBWA’s Backlash offering, which provides all 12,000 employees with daily cultural news and insights from around the globe via internal videos and Instagram, will attend the march in D.C. to capture footage for its next agency-wide post.

Agency executives said staffers hadn’t asked about attending the presidential inauguration.

13510: White-Bread Women.

Adweek reported two White women in advertising launched “Not This White Woman”—an anti-Trump clothing and products line.

“Normally, of course, we’d want to be inclusive of all races in any product that we make, but because these aren’t normal times—because right now racism and white supremacy are on the rise—and because white women played a key role in this election, speaking out as a white woman specifically here feels necessary,” explained the co-creators (Freelance Copywriter Michelle Hirschberg and Droga5 Group Creative Director Karen Land Short). Actually, for the advertising industry, these are very normal times, as racism and White supremacy are an established part of the norm. Land Short need only scan her own agency’s hallways to confirm the truth. Additionally, diverted diversity makes speaking out as a White woman quite common.

Unique? Not these White women.

Why 2 Agency Creatives Launched ‘Not This White Woman,’ an Anti-Trump Clothing Line

Proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood

By Erik Oster

If you were disappointed with how certain demographics voted in the 2016 presidential election, you’re not alone.

Freelance copywriter Michelle Hirschberg and Droga5 group creative director Karen Land Short found a way to channel their frustrations with fellow white female voters, who supported President-elect Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by a 53-43 margin last November and contributed to his surprise victory. The duo made clear that they were decidedly not part of that group with the launch of Not This White Woman, a clothing and merchandise line featuring the slogan. Smaller font below reads, “#StillWithHer.”

“Normally, of course, we’d want to be inclusive of all races in any product that we make, but because these aren’t normal times—because right now racism and white supremacy are on the rise—and because white women played a key role in this election, speaking out as a white woman specifically here feels necessary,” said Hirschberg and Land Short.

All profits from the sale of Not This White Woman merchandise will be donated to Planned Parenthood, which has seen a spike in fundraising since election night. In addition to various t-shirts, Not This White Woman also sells sweaters, buttons and mugs. So far the “boyfriend tee” has been their best seller.

Hirschberg and Short considered other nonprofits such as the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center, but ultimately decided on Planned Parenthood because they guessed that the incoming Congress would attempt to defund the organization. Last week, House Speaker Paul Ryan promised to introduce related legislation as part of an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

“A t-shirt is, of course, a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things,” Hirschberg and Land Short tell Adweek, “so we’re also staying vigilant and active in dozens of other ways. We hope others are too.”

The project’s genesis can be traced back to Hirschberg writing the phrase on a sticky note she left on the Subway Therapy Wall in Union Square Station in Manhattan. After commiserating about the outcome of the election, the two creatives decided to create a t-shirt featuring the phrase.

Hirschberg and Short explained, “Obviously this election was different from the others. It went so far beyond policy. Trump labeled people. Mexicans were rapists. Muslims were terrorists. Women were objects.”

“After the stat came out that 53 percent of white women voted for Trump, it seemed like there was one more label. White women were Trump voters. We were part of the problem. We were okay with racism. Okay with sexism,” they added. “Whether those white women voted in spite of Trump’s divisive rhetoric or not, it felt important to stand up for inclusiveness in any way we could. And we will continue to find ways to do that.”

In speaking to others who remain wary about the Trump administration, they said, “If we have any advice for those also struggling, it’s to keep moving. Keep trying things. And to breathe.”

Friday, January 20, 2017

Thursday, January 19, 2017

13508: Truth In Diverse Advertising…?

Adweek published an MLK Day perspective by Big Communications Writer and Content Creator Edward Bowser, who urged marketers to keep showing diversity in advertising—even if President-Elect Donald Trump inspires the lessening of such depictions. Not convinced Trump will influence matters per Bowser’s concerns. Plus, MultiCultClassics has a slightly different view on the trend to display diversity in campaigns. In many respects, the current crop of diverse depictions actually mirrors Trump. That is, the public is seeing lots of token gestures for inclusiveness; however, the images are just a smokescreen covering up cultural cluelessness. If the people behind the work really want to honor MLK’s dream, they’d push for diversity in the White advertising agencies churning out the patronizing propaganda.

Marketers Will Be Tempted to Dial Back Their Diversity Under Trump. We Can’t Let Them

Now is not the time to ‘wait’

By Edward Bowser

“Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was ‘well timed’ in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’”

Those words were penned by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on scraps of paper nearly 54 years ago while he sat in a jail here in my home city of Birmingham, Ala.

Sadly, those same words could have been typed on a blog last week and still be just as relevant.

Today, we celebrate the legacy of a man whose work has become the embodiment of racial harmony and inclusion.

In four days, we will witness the induction of a president whose campaign was steeped in division and exclusion.

Call it a dream deferred.

As President-elect Donald Trump’s rise to power ran parallel with the nation’s growing civil unrest, pundits quickly invoked MLK’s name whenever they were shaken from their comfort zones. From football players peacefully kneeling during the playing of the national anthem in protest of police brutality to actors taking the stage to calmly challenge our future vice-president to embrace his country’s diversity, critics of today’s civil rights movement retaliated with the same tired phrases:

“That’s not the proper way to protest.”

“There’s a time in a place for everything. That’s not the right time.”

And this doozy: “MLK would never support that.”

Clearly they never read King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” where he reminds us that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

Don’t whitewash King’s legacy; he was so much more than a dreamer. He was action personified. In 1967, during a meeting of clergy, King spoke on the war in Vietnam with fiery passion: “We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time.”

It’s a lesson I hope my fellow marketing professionals will take to heart in these turbulent times.

Over the past few years, marketers have created ads as diverse as the country we call home. Tylenol’s #HowWeFamily campaign embraced LGBT households while H&M’s “Close the Loop” spot shattered fashion norms by featuring a Muslim model wearing a hijab. Cheerios and Old Navy rightfully brushed off closed-minded trolls who attacked their ads featuring interracial couples.

These small steps became giant leaps toward greater representation for minority communities. Those spots, and the growing tide of more like them, are a true reflection of our country—varying hues of color, faith and culture.

Complicated, yet beautiful.

And with 80 percent of parents saying they prefer seeing diverse families in ads, it seems like inclusion should be a low-risk, high-reward opportunity for forward-thinking marketers.

But times are changing.

Trump’s presidential campaign was built on fear—the fear of a changing America. Our country is evolving and King’s dream of black and white girls and boys holding hands in harmony is more than just a vision; it’s increasingly a reality.

It’s easy to talk about the greatness of that dream, but when it actually takes hold, well, that’s when folks get uneasy.

That brings us to 2017, where critics wave off frank discussions about racial inclusion as idle chatter from a culture that has become “too politically correct.” This dismissiveness sets a dangerous precedent that could unravel decades of progress.

My fear is that de-emphasizing diversity will drag us back to the days where “diversity” in advertising simply meant copping out with targeted media, with pro-LGBT ads reserved for magazines aimed at gay readers and black actors being used by major brands only for ads in “urban” markets. I fear that the genius of Wells Fargo’s “Learning Sign Language” spot—where differences are not seen as stumbling blocks—could wind up on the cutting room floor.

I mean, when the leader of the free world refuses to champion diversity, why should marketers bother? As many of us know, all it takes to kill a bold message is for one client in the room to say “let’s not stir the pot” or “maybe not right now.”

Well, marketers, if you think this is the time to tone down inclusiveness, think again. We need your creative insight and bravery now more than ever.

We need more ads like Barbie’s Imagine the Possibilities’ campaign to broaden the imaginations of young girls, shattering gender stereotypes and reminding them that no goal is unattainable.

We need more spots like Russell Simmons’ Making Moves campaign, which raises discussions about the racial profiling and violence that have shackled the black community for decades.

Now more than ever, we need marketers to do what they do best, tell engaging, authentic stories about the communities they serve, even when reflecting that diversity will invite vile backlash from those who want to keep such conversations out of the national spotlight.

That’s King’s true legacy: Not dreaming, but the fierce urgency of action.

And don’t delay. When you hear clients or colleagues say “wait,” remember Dr. King’s words, and know that what they often mean is “never.”

Edward Bowser (@etbowser) is a writer and content creator at Big Communication in Birmingham, Alabama.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

13507: Coach Moms, Cut Minorities.

Adweek reported the 4As launched “a new virtual coaching program designed to help moms in the agency world stay on the leadership track.” Gee, White women already in the field get an exclusive coaching program for advancement, while minorities are forced to sit on the bench—provided they even make the team at all.

4A’s Aims to Help Mothers in the Ad Industry Get Ahead With a New Initiative

Mothers@Agencies program launches in February

By Christine Birkner

Long hours and intense deadlines can make it difficult for mothers to land leadership roles at agencies, and about 49 percent of women in the ad industry say that family responsibilities are the key barrier to career advancement, according to an IPG study. The 4A’s is aiming to change that with a new virtual coaching program designed to help moms in the agency world stay on the leadership track.

The 16-week program, Mothers@Agencies, launching on Feb. 7, includes eight one-hour sessions led by executive coaches over a group conference call. Coaches will offer tips on finding a balance between motherhood and career responsibilities.

“The 4A’s has a long-standing commitment to advancing the careers of women in the industry and ensuring that we’re calling attention to areas of disparity in leadership roles, where women tend not to be equally represented,” said Laura Honeycutt, svp of learning and development at the 4A’s.

It’s a cause that’s been championed by 4A’s president and CEO Nancy Hill, who has advocated for more gender equality and women in leadership roles at agencies.

“We know that women are vulnerable, because when they become mothers, they feel like they have to make choices between motherhood and their careers,” Honeycutt added. “If we can give them tools to help them navigate this challenging phase of their careers, then there will be more opportunities for women to stay on leadership tracks and aspire to larger leadership roles in their agencies.”

The Mothers@Agencies program was piloted in 2015 by 4A’s member agency Geometry Global in Chicago. After garnering positive feedback from the program, the agency partnered with the 4A’s to deliver it to a broader audience.

“People who participated said it made them more effective at home and at work,” Honeycutt said. “It helped them figure out ways that they could not sabotage themselves and overcome feelings of guilt and judgment.”

13506: Holy Shit From Hegarty.

Campaign reported Diversity Defender Sir John Hegarty is now advocating for Old White men too. Hegarty declared, “Our industry overly worships at the altar of youth.” Um, the industry actually worships at the altar of Anglo, and Hegarty has been religious in maintaining the status quo for his entire career. He’s the Cardinal of Cultural Cluelessness. The Bishop of Bias. The Pope of Prejudice. And suddenly he’s condemning ageism as a sin. Jesus.

Hegarty: ‘Adland overly worships at the altar of youth’

By worshipping at the altar of youth, adland will struggle to move forward. Other creative industries do not have this problem, Sir John Hegarty tells Kate Magee.

Is there a secret team that “disappears” any ad agency employee who turns 50 and still has the audacity to show up to the office?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that if you walked the floors of an agency.

Aside from those occupying senior positions, the vast majority of an agency’s workforce is under 35. As the IPA’s most recent Census shows, the average age of employees in all member agencies is 33.7. This has not changed since 2009.

“Our industry overly worships at the altar of youth,” Sir John Hegarty says. He is speaking to Campaign after The Advertising Club of New York released a film about the Bartle Bogle Hegarty founder in its Inspiration series.

He adds: “I’m not being cynical about that. I played that card as much as I possibly could when I was 25. I was the young, angry, creative guy, and it worked for me.”

Embracing the new

But while being “obsessed with the next thing” brings tremendous benefits to adland, keeping its ideas fresh and relevant, the downside is that the industry is too quick to ignore its heritage and devalue experience.

This wasn’t the case when Hegarty first started. He was inspired by Bill Bernbach, who was in his fifties, and also worked with legendary CDP creative director Colin Millward, who was a similar age: “We revered him. He was a god.”

Now “we burn out” such individuals or shun them in favour of more energetic young creatives, Hegarty says.

He believes this trait of the ad industry is not repeated in other creative professions. Hegarty points to architect Frank Gehry, who is still working at 87: “Nobody in architecture has asked Frank to put the pen down and let a 24-year-old carry on doing it instead.”

Hegarty also criticises the view that an older person cannot write ads that will resonate with a younger audience: “No-one in Hollywood turns round to Quentin Tarantino and says: ‘How can you write a movie that will be watched by 25-year-olds?’ But they do in our industry.”

Shared knowledge

This dismissive attitude towards experience leads to ignorance of the industry’s heritage. While someone in fashion would recognise the creations of Coco Chanel, and a painter would know Leonardo da Vinci’s work, that sense of shared knowledge does not exist in adland, Hegarty claims.

He says: “Walk around UK agency creative departments and ask ‘Have you seen John Webster’s work?’ — I guarantee they say ‘Who is John Webster?’. He produced some of the greatest TV ads of the last 50 years. But they wouldn’t know him.”

Moreover, Hegarty believes most would not have seen the past 50 Cannes Lions Grand Prix winners. “I’m not asking you to read War and Peace or go to a library for a week and immerse yourself in the works of some amazing art movement. It takes 50 minutes to watch 50 years. That’s an education,” Hegarty says, adding that past ads contain “gems of writing, thinking and design that you can learn from”.

That’s because adland has lost this culture of studying the past: “In our industry, we’ve lost that sense of where we’ve come from and understanding how to go forward.”

Nurture, protect and guide

In order to improve the longevity of people in adland, Hegarty believes the industry should do more to nurture, protect and guide its creative talent. He thinks account people should act like band managers, helping creatives look after their long-term prospects.

“Creative people are not very good at managing their careers,” Hegarty explains. “Somebody waves a large cheque in front of them and they go ‘Oh, my God, look at all that money I can earn’ and they go off and do it.

“But if you take the money and run, you’ll surround yourself with less good people and the work will decline. You’ve got to be playing at the top level to sustain it. That pushes your game.

“[Creatives] are abused and used by the industry. Who’s the richest person in advertising? He’s not a creative. Look at the other creative industries. Who’s the richest person in architecture? It’s not the accountant who works for Frank Gehry — it’s Frank Gehry.”

Hegarty adds: “The industry needs to remember that creatives are the real talent.” In the past, he says, the top people were Bernbach, Millward, George Lois and David Abbott: “Now you go to Cannes and on stage are the heads of these big groups who’ve never had a fucking idea in their lives. We’ve allowed them to take over because they are good at the numbers. Then they eventually kill the business.”

Sustaining a career

According to Hegarty, another reason sustaining a creative career is so difficult is the unique demands of creativity in advertising – that an idea is not repeatable. Unlike in industries such as music, where Sir Mick Jagger can still delight audiences with Jumpin’ Jack Flash 48 years after it was written, advertising creatives have to come up with a new idea every day. Hegarty couldn’t just roll out Levi’s “Laundrette” again for another client.

He believes most creative people have a ten-year window when they produce their best work. So what can you do after that period? His advice is to stay connected: “Remain curious. Don’t become a cynic — that’s the death of creativity. Surround yourself with great people.

“You’ve got to have confidence and believe in yourself. If you don’t have confidence, you will start doing ordinary things.”

Instead of staring at screens all day, creatives need to seek out different stimuli, Hegarty suggests: “Creative people are ciphers for ideas and thoughts. They have to absorb all this stuff, then it comes back out and you reinterpret it. If you are not taking in that inspiration, then what are you reinterpreting?

“What are you doing that is going to make you different?”

13505: White Women + White Men.

Adweek reported Joan—a White-female-owned advertising agency—hired its first senior creative team. And it turns out the two White women enlisted two White men. Gee, it sure would be bizarro if Joan failed to earn certification from The 3% Conference.

Joan Hires Its First Senior Creatives as It Eyes Being More Than a ‘Female-Run Ad Agency’

Dave Canning and Dan Treichel come aboard

By Patrick Coffee

Joan scored one of the 2016’s most prominent boutique-agency launches last May, when former Wieden + Kennedy creative director Jaime Robinson, and Ogilvy and Refinery29 veteran Lisa Clunie joined forces to provide clients with a “more flexible” approach to marketing.

That September, their agency effectively made its public debut with “Rules for the Modern Woman,” a campaign promoting Netflix with female-driven scenes from its many original series.

Now, after naming a string of staffers to fill roles like chief data officer, strategy lead and head of business operations, Joan has snagged the award-winning duo of Dave Canning and Dan Treichel to serve as co-executive creative directors in its newly opened Manhattan office. They are Joan’s first senior creative hires, and both report directly to Robinson.

“There’s something about [Dave and Dan] that I personally fell in love with,” Robinson said. “They’re incredibly kind and funny, and their creativity has a playful edge to it which I absolutely love.”

Robinson first encountered the pair as they promoted Climate Name Change, a clever 2013 project for 350 Action that proposed naming tropical storms after climate-change doubters like Sen. Marco Rubio.

“We want top-notch creatives,” Robinson said, explaining the Joan approach to hiring, “someone who has a sense of big ideas that cross the boundary between advertising and entertainment and also uses data in fresh, interesting ways … instead of maintaining the status quo.”

Canning in a statement: “We couldn’t be happier to be joining Joan. Jaime and Lisa are two of the smartest and most talented people in this business and we can’t wait to ride their long, illustrious coat tails to many successes.” Treichel adds, “After one Skype with Jaime and Lisa we looked at each other and said, ‘We really, really hope we get this job.’”

The duo helped lead 180 Amsterdam’s work for Asics before meeting with the Joan team in New York. They’ve collectively worked on campaigns ESPN, Southern Comfort, Clash of Clans and PS4 while working for Barton F. Graf, Wieden + Kennedy, Droga5 and other prominent shops.

They are also Joan’s most visible male employees. When the agency came onto the scene last year, many stories focused on the fact that it belonged to the still-rare breed of shops founded and led by women. But Robinson framed the group’s mission more broadly.

“Diversity is part of what we stand for, and it’s core to our foundation and our beliefs,” she said. “What we’re really looking for are unusual thinkers and creators, interesting combinations of people from diverse ethnic, gender and career backgrounds … who will make the magic that we want.”

Most of Joan’s clients, like General Mills and Adidas, are general-market brands that don’t specifically target female consumers. Robinson also mentioned several new business wins she can’t yet reveal and said Joan is looking to continue growing at “what I would call a phenomenal pace” in 2017 by expanding its existing relationships and aggressively pitching when the opportunity feels right.

The agency opened the office in December and plans to continue complementing core staff with a rotating cast of project-based freelancers as its full-time team grows.

“We are building a culture here from a crew of like-minded individuals,” Robinson said. “Our job is to make amazing work.”

Robinson expects Joan to launch multiple campaigns in the coming months.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

13504: Hidden Figures Of Diversity.

IBM professed its commitment to diversity via a campaign inspired by Hidden Figures—check out the videos here, here, here, here, here and here. Ogilvy & Mather created the messages. Wonder if OgilvyCulture led the charge. Whatever. IBM should ask the White advertising agency to reveal the hidden figures of its true racial and ethnic makeup.

13503: From Dream To Action.

From Campaign…

Honor Dr. King by making his holiday about action, not just remembrance

By Vann Graves

Let’s use Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a time to gather and ask ourselves what actions we are prepared to take, suggests Vann Graves, CCO of J. Walter Thompson Atlanta.

To many who were not yet born during the Civil Rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered primarily as a speaker. The power of his immortal “I Have a Dream” speech still resonates as strongly today as it did when he spoke on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. Eminently quotable, his words continue to inspire across social media, worldwide.

But beyond being one of history’s greatest orators, Dr. King was, first and foremost, a man of action. He was an inspiring organizer who could rally people together to demand change they never thought possible. And though he is remembered for his non-violent tactics, he was a fighter in the truest sense of the word: never afraid to be aggressive when the situation called for it.

This is why framing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as simply a day of remembrance does a disservice to the man and his legacy. According to The King Center, when Coretta Scott King and those at the newly formed organization first observed the holiday one year after his assassination, it was positioned not as a memorial, but a “celebration of Dr. King’s life, education in his teachings and nonviolent action to carry forward his unfinished work.”

Those goals, education and action, are as important now as they have ever been in the decades since Dr. King’s death. As we head toward Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, we also head toward the dawn of an era where many fear that much of what Dr. King fought for may be pushed aside, even erased. In this unsettled and unsettling climate, our intentions must turn to action, not memory.

In the words of the Reverend, “Almost always, the creative, dedicated minority has made the world better.” As advertisers, it is our first instinct to communicate, to tell a story. But this MLK Day, we must use our creativity and our dedication to not just say something, but do something.

For starters, let’s use Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a time to gather and ask ourselves what actions we are prepared to take. Agency leaders should get everyone in a room and figure out what it is they want to invest their time and energy into. Ask yourself and your team—what do we have to offer, and what do we believe we can accomplish with our collective powers? And when you figure it out, whether it’s helping out an existing organization, forming a new one or creating a tool that can push a cause forward, don’t relegate the initiative to after hours or extracurriculars. Build it into your business plan.

Let’s use our talents to mobilize others into action. It has always been at the core of our profession to harness the energy of crowds—to tap into the culture and the zeitgeist and push it forward with our creativity and our reach. The voice we give to our clients is one we can give to the people; whether we act as consultants, helping budding activists learn how to amplify their own voices, or as a catalyst, using our platform to advocate for the issues most important to us.

As we gear up to take action, let’s remember the words of President Barack Obama in his recent farewell address, “I am asking you to believe—not in my ability to bring about change, but in yours.” It’s a sentiment that surely would have made Dr. King proud, and it’s one we all need to work to live up to, now more than ever.

—Vann Graves is chief creative officer of J. Walter Thompson Atlanta.

Monday, January 16, 2017

13502: MLK On Advertising 2017.

I have a dream that one day on Madison Avenue, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the conference table of brotherhood. Granted, it looks like the dream will happen after White women, White senior citizens, White LGBT, White people with disabilities, A-list celebrities and non-U.S. minorities secure their seats at the table.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

13501: The JWT Love Boat.

Campaign presented the latest episode of the JWT soap opera, as lawyers for the White advertising agency and WPP exchanged volleys with the legal team representing JWT Chief Communications Officer Erin Johnson. Last November, Johnson returned to the White advertising agency—while still pursuing her discrimination lawsuit—and quickly complained that JWT engaged in retaliation by restricting her job duties and confining her in an uncomfortably positioned workstation. The JWT/WPP lawyers countered with bullshit including:

• JWT CEO Tamara Ingram invited Johnson to join the new Diversity and Inclusion Council. Hey, why not? After all, Johnson’s lawsuit helped inspire the corporate smokescreen.

• According to the court documents, “The Company … finally insisted that [Johnson] return to work in order to earn the money she was being paid…” Gee, that doesn’t sound like intimidation in the slightest.

Keep in mind that former JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Gustavo Martinez was allowed to resume employment for WPP from the safe seclusion of Spain and Latin America. Johnson was forced back to the scene of the alleged crimes and stuffed in a cubicle near Human Resources.

JWT hits back, says Johnson’s ‘punishment’ of her own making

By Eleftheria Parpis

The PR director’s duties have been cut back to accommodate her own concerns, not to retaliate, say lawyers.

Lawyers for J. Walter Thompson and WPP denied on Tuesday that chief communications officer Erin Johnson was enduring “highly visible punishment” since returning to work at the agency on Nov. 2, insisting that her duties have been curtailed to accommodate her own concerns.

The memo, filed in Manhattan federal court by the law firm of Davis & Gilbert, comes in response to a Nov. 11 request for an injunction filed by Johnson’s attorneys. That request claimed that Johnson was told by JWT CEO Tamara Ingram that she was being “kept in a box”—forbidden from talking to the press, discouraged from taking notes in meetings and forced to sit in front of the human resources director all day—to punish her and dissuade other employees from testifying on her behalf.

In the 23-page letter filed Tuesday, JWT’s lawyers said it was Johnson who refused to perform her full duties upon finally returning to work after an eight-month absence. The letter paints a picture of an agency struggling to accommodate an embattled executive, and now seeking only to extract some work for the money it continues to pay her.

JWT granted Johnson’s request for a paid leave of absence “without any obligation to do so” even before she filed her sexual discrimination suit against CEO and Chairman Gustavo Martinez in March, strictly to accommodate her concerns, said the letter. Then, once Martinez had been removed and replaced by Ingram, the agency began inviting Johnson back to the agency to work on Ingram’s new Diversity and Inclusion Council. Johnson refused, the letter said, because it would run counter to her experience at the agency, and because her ongoing suit would raise conflicts of interest.

“She was adamant that there were certain duties that she could not or would not be able to perform as a result,” the letter said. “The Company took these issues to heart and when it finally insisted that she return to work in order to earn the money she was being paid, it agreed to revise her responsibilities to specifically address each and every one of her concerns.”

“It simply cannot be the case that a Company that has gone out of its way on numerous occasions to accommodate an employee’s requests and address her concerns has engaged in retaliation,” it said.

As for Johnson’s new seating arrangement, the letter claims it is the result of an office-wide reconfiguration that occurred in her absence rather an attempt to intimidate her. “As part of this reconfiguration, and consistent with a new trend in the industry, seating for most of the Company’s employees is an open-plan setup, complete with glass doors in all work/seating areas,” the letter said. “Notably, Plaintiff’s work area in this open-plan setup … is on the executive floor, next to the Company’s Chief Creative Talent Officer and near all the Company’s other executives.”

The letter denies that Ingram told Johnson she was being “kept in a box,” insisting that those were Johnson’s words in her initial meeting with Ingram. It was in that same meeting that Ingram told Johnson to stop taking notes, because Johnson was asking questions clearly designed to further her ongoing suit, the attorneys claim.

“During this meeting, Plaintiff took notes in response to a list of questions she had with her that were obviously intended to gather information for her case,” said the letter. Another reason Johnson’s duties have been reduced is that JWT was forced to hire new communications executives over the past eight months, not only to make up for Johnson’s absence but for the departure of other communications staff. (Former director of communications Anaka Kobzev departed the agency in April for Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day.)

“Defendants have no obligation now to change the duties or reporting relationships of the people working in the communications department just because Plaintiff finally decided to return to work,” the letter said.

The new letter does not deny that Ingram has prevented Johnson from talking to the press for fear she would become the story, calling it “a legitimate concern for the Company.” Furthermore, if Johnson feels she is being ostracized by her coworkers, the cause is most likely her attempts to publicize the suit at the expense of her coworkers’ privacy, said the letter. In particular, it cited her alleged attempts to publicize a video of Martinez joking about rape at an internal meeting that featured her coworkers’ faces.

“If Plaintiff feels that she is a ‘pariah’ or ‘suspect character’ at the Company, that feeling is entirely of her own doing,” it continued.

Johnson’s lawyers did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

13500: Martinez Is Fucking Screwy.

Campaign reported former JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Gustavo Martinez officially denied almost all of the accusations directed at him in the discrimination lawsuit filed by JWT Chief Communications Officer Erin Johnson. Specifically, Martinez confirmed making his “too many fucking Jews” in Westchester County comment, but insisted he had “attempted to communicate that he and his wife wanted to live in a diverse community.” Oh, so now Martinez is a diversity crusader. Expect him to nab an ADCOLOR® Award soon. And since when is anti-Semitism less offensive than sexism and racism? Would Martinez also get a pass for declaring there are “too many fucking Blacks” in Brooklyn and “too many fucking Hispanics” in the Bronx? BTW, how many fucking Jews are currently working at JWT? How was Martinez working to transform his former fucking agency into a diverse community?

Additionally, Campaign reported that after Martinez made arguably racist—and rapist—comments at a Miami meeting, JWT Global Chief Talent Officer Laura Agostini and JWT Chief Creative Officer Matt Eastwood counseled their ex-boss about avoiding the use of “rape” in public statements. Of course, the officers apparently didn’t have any suggestions regarding Martinez’s culturally clueless comments involving Blacks.

Gustavo Martinez formally denies all allegations, except one

By Eleftheria Parpis

The former JWT CEO says his “too many Jews” comment was meant to convey his desire to live in a more diverse community.

Lawyers for Gustavo Martinez, the former chairman and chief executive of J. Walter Thompson who resigned in March amid allegations of sexist and racist behavior, has formally responded to the lawsuit filed against him by chief communications officer Erin Johnson.

In the 23-page document filed in Manhattan federal court Tuesday night, Martinez denies every substantial accusation of discriminatory behavior, except one.

In Johnson’s discrimination lawsuit, filed against Martinez on March 10, 2016, the PR chief claimed that her boss—in addition to engaging in an “unending stream of racist and sexist comments” around the office—had met with an industry journalist in February 2016 and “told the reporter that he disliked living in Westchester County because there are ‘too many Jews.’”

In a column that same day, Campaign US editor in chief Douglas Quenqua identified himself as the unnamed journalist in question. He recalled hearing Martinez make the comment, he said, but assumed he had misheard, partly because of Martinez’s accent. The comment was made before the recorded portion of the interview, said Quenqua. In the document filed Tuesday night, Martinez confirmed that the meeting had taken place, and did not deny that he had made the comment. Instead, he sought to clarify his meaning, saying he “attempted to communicate that he and his wife wanted to live in a diverse community.”

In a separate document filed Wednesday morning, the law firm of Davis & Gilbert, representing WPP and JWT, made a similar clarification regarding a conversation that Johnson alleges took place during a work lunch with Laura Agostini, JWT global chief talent officer, and Tarun Rai, CEO of Southeast Asia, in London in February 2015. In Johnson’s complaint, she claims that Martinez told the group that he and his wife “hated” living in Westchester because it was cold and because he “hate[s] those fucking Jews” (a statement he felt free to make “because he was in Europe,” according to Johnson’s suit). According to the WPP document filed Wednesday, Martinez actually said “that his wife also hated Westchester because she was from Europe and not Jewish, and she felt that the community in Westchester was cliquey.”

Both Martinez, who was born in Argentina and grew up primarily in Spain, and co-defendants WPP and JWT have made the former CEO’s alleged discomfort with English a lynchpin of their defense, repeatedly asserting that his comments were not meant as sexual or derogatory. In Martinez’s response filed Tuesday, he states that a meeting between he and Johnson on May 20, 2015, in which she claims Martinez became “angry and aggressive” when she told him his comments about rape were unacceptable, was simply “part of plaintiff’s job regarding his communications and language limitations [because] English was not his first language.”

Last year, when the two sides were debating whether a video of Martinez making a joke about being raped, “and not in a nice way” during an internal JWT meeting in Miami should be admitted as evidence, lawyers for WPP claimed he was only trying to ease the tension in the room because a wild party the night before had unnerved many of the employees, but he was stymied, in part, by his unfamiliarity with the language. “No one should fault Mr. Martinez (for whom English is his fourth language) for at least attempting to address with some humor the events that the employees had experienced,” said the lawyers.

Much like Martinez’ s filing, today’s WPP document also denies the bulk of Johnson’s allegations. In one notable denial, the company counters the PR chief’s assertion that Agostini never took action regarding Martinez’s behavior. “[B]oth Agostini and [JWT chief creative officer Matt] Eastwood spoke to Martinez after the Miami meeting and counseled him that he should not use the word ‘rape.’”

In December, US District Judge Paul J. Oetken rejected WPP’s motion to dismiss the suit, saying that Martinez’s actions created “a workplace cut through with hostility.” He had initially given the defendants a deadline of Jan. 3rd to respond to Johnson’s accusations, but later extended the deadline to Jan. 11th.

Following an eight-month paid leave of absence, Johnson returned to work at JWT on Nov. 2nd. Though she sought an injunction shortly after she returned to stop the “highly visible punishment” she was allegedly being subjected to in the office, Johnson’s lawyers, Vladeck, Raskin & Clark, have since abandoned that request in order to proceed more quickly to trial. WPP’s lawyers have denied the veracity of the claims made in the injunction request.

Neither WPP’s lawyers; Martinez’s lawyers, the firm of Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker; nor Johnson’s lawyers returned calls for comment.