Thursday, May 31, 2018

14167: Dieting For Dollars.

Campaign reported Diet Madison Avenue resurfaced after a brief hiatus likely tied to being targeted with a defamation lawsuit by former CP+B CCO Ralph Watson. Plus, the anonymous Instagram account launched a GoFundMe donation drive, seeking to raise $100,000 for its legal defense. The DMA crew must be pretty nervous to think they’ll need a six-figure purse for lawyer fees. Of course, they’re accepting anonymous donations. As of this posting, the fundraising effort has collected $1750. Cindy Gallop and Kat Gordon should make generous contributions. Maybe IPG Chairman and CEO Michael Roth will encourage female executives in his holding company to pass the basket.

Diet Madison Avenue asks for $100,000 after lawsuit is filed

The group said “Instagram holds all the cards” and called on others to petition the social media giant to protect users’ privacy.

By Oliver McAteer

Diet Madison Avenue isn’t going anywhere.

The anonymous Instagram account, famed for shining a spotlight on sexual misconduct in adland by calling out alleged acts of harassment and discrimination, has launched a GoFundMe page and vowed to keep victims’ voices alive.

The group is raising money after Ralph Watson, former chief creative officer of CP+B’s Boulder office, filed a defamation lawsuit following allegations which were published by the account earlier this year. He’s asking for $10 million-plus in damages.

A description on Diet Madison Avenue’s GoFundMe page reads: “We are raising funds to defend our team members and volunteers against false accusations. Any amount you can donate will help. Please feel free to help donate anonymously. 100 percent of the funds will be used only for legal assistance, any amount left over will be donated to the Times Up Legal Defense Fund.”

Diet Madison Avenue claims it has legal representation and is asking for $100,000 in donations. Around $1,400 has been raised so far. Representatives from the movement were not immediately available for comment.

The account went dark in the wake of the lawsuit filing last week, but came back to life over the weekend with a promise that the stories which have been shared with the group are “safe, locked away offline and will remain secure.”

“They will never be revealed no matter how much money,” a spokesperson posted. “We made a promise to you to keep your identities safe, and we will NEVER break that promise.”

Another post added: “Thanks all. We love ya. We are still around.”

The documents, filed in the Superior Court of California of the County of Los Angeles, accuse Diet Madison Avenue, as well as Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2 and Does 3 through 100, of defamation, intentional interference with contractual relations, intentional interference with prospective economic relations and negligent interference with prospective economic relations.

On February 2, Watson was let go from his role at MDC Partners’ CP+B after working at the agency since 2014. Watson has filed a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, with the intent to sue CP+B for wrongdoing.

In early January, Diet Madison Avenue published a list of men in the advertising industry that it alleged to be sexual harassers, the document states, adding that Watson was not on that list.

The lawsuit claims that on January 19, Diet Madison Avenue posted the following statement on Instagram: “Ralph Watson. The women that you targeted & groomed (like all predators do), because they were young & just starting out their careers...the women that you assumed would stay quiet are stronger than you ever gave them credit for. And their voices have created a timeline. Going back years. Corroborated stories. Spanning across multiple agencies. And even continents.”

Watson was contacted by multiple colleagues and friends shortly after the comments were published, alerting him to the posts, the document adds.

Watson then contacted his employer’s HR director, and was told CP+B had received no credible complaints or evidence of sexual harassment against him, according to the lawsuit.

Watson was let go days later. He “has suffered loss of salary, benefits and additional amounts of money he would have received had he not been terminated,” and “has largely been unable to secure any work in the advertising industry since,” the lawsuit claims.

A spokesperson for Diet Madison Avenue told Campaign US last week: “We have legal representation. It will be fascinating to see how Instagram deals with this issue — and how they deal with users’ privacy and freedom of speech on their platform. It will set a precedent for what is and is not permitted on this platform during the #MeToo era.”

Diet Madison Avenue strongly urges the legal teams involved to contact the Electronic Frontier Front — a non-profit that defends digital privacy, free speech and innovation.

“Similar suits have always been dropped,” the spokesperson added.

Representatives from MDC Partners and CP+B declined to comment.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

14166: No, Canada!

This self-promotional video presents lg2 as a bargain, thanks to the Canadian exchange rate. Plus, the advertising agency’s staff appears to be very diverse. However, a peek at the real lg2 leadership shows the exclusivity rate is the same as White advertising agencies in the U.S. and U.K.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

14165: Unrepentant Serial Defamers…?

Campaign, Advertising Age and Adweek reported former CP+B CCO Ralph Watson filed a defamation lawsuit against Diet Madison Avenue and two anonymous individuals allegedly helping to run the Instagram account. Watson charges he lost his job because of false and accusatory DMA posts, and he’s seeking $10 million in damages. He intends to sue CP+B too. Within a day of the breaking news, Diet Madison Avenue went dark. The pathetic proceedings inspired a couple of cuckoo comments worth criticizing.

(To reiterate, MultiCultClassics had only made one visit to the anonymous Instagram account, so the following observations are mostly based on reports from trade journals.)

Responding to the lawsuit, the DMA crew stated, “Ultimately we believe [it’s] a freedom of speech issue. … We have not engaged in any criminal activities. We have published [third-party] information as is.” The secret pseudo-crusaders also remarked that if Instagram reveals their identities, “That will mean serious consequences for the millions who use Instagram’s platform.” Wow, the DMA crew is really stupid—and self-absorbed too.

Does freedom of speech permit people to engage in defamation? That looks to be the position that Watson and his lawyer are taking, and it seems like a pretty sound legal course. While the DMA crew claims they “published [third-party] information as is,” didn’t they also label Watson as an “unrepentant serial predator” in posts? Plus, the DMA crew labeled themselves as an outfit dedicated to “Exposing sexual harassment & discrimination in ad agencies since Oct 2017, cuz HR won’t.” In short, the DMA crew has actively and openly injected editorial perspectives into the “information” provided by third parties in order to trigger action (i.e., employment termination). Hell, the mission statement implies that the DMA crew is deliberately attempting to punish alleged perpetrators. Oh, and despite anything they might insist or think, the DMA crew doesn’t know for certain if the “information” they published is true. In the end, Watson and his lawyer may have to show DMA and its accomplices-informants directly injured the ex-CCO. But does the First Amendment protect the DMA crew if they consciously participated in defamation? Doubt it.

Additionally, the DMA crew viewing themselves as potential martyrs representing “the millions who use Instagram’s platform” is silly and sad.

Of course, The 3% Movement Founder Kat Gordon weighed in. “Societal changes take all different types of levers and pressure points—it takes all,” Gordon declared. “Whether or not you agree with what [Diet Madison Avenue] has done, this will be proof of whether what they’re doing is legally sound.” Gordon should just come out and admit she supports DMA. Not sure what Gordon meant with her “societal changes” statement. Is she condoning vigilante tactics? Yes, societal changes are activated in a variety of ways. But should we embrace the change agents promoting negativity and hate? Sorry, the DMA crew is not comprised of heroes and heroines—rather, they’re closer to being trolls. As well as mediocre writers and unoriginal thinkers.

To make a sloppy segue, Diet Madison Avenue symbolizes the key differences between fighting for divertsity versus fighting for diversity. If racial and ethnic minorities launched an anonymous Instagram account to expose everyone on Madison Avenue displaying conscious bias—or blatant racism—the reaction would be quite different. For starters, the number of followers would not exceed double digits, as true diversity doesn’t generate interest in adland. Second, the exclusive majority would roundly condemn the initiative and show universal, compassionate support for anyone accused of cultural cluelessness. Third, the account creators would be hunted down and expelled from the industry, furthering the underrepresentation of non-Whites in the field. In short, revolutionary schemes benefiting racial and ethnic minorities would never be tolerated. But when such maneuvers benefit White women, anything goes—and anything will be inevitably approved.

Ironically, if Watson succeeds in his legal battle and bags $10 million, it will underscore the prevalence of a gender pay gap in adland. After all, it’s highly unlikely that Erin Johnson collected as much in her settlement with JWT and WPP.

Monday, May 28, 2018

14164: Women Of Honor.

Salute the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion of the World War II era, the only Black Women’s Army Corps unit deployed to Europe during the conflict. Plus, check out other heroic figures who served in the Women’s Army Corps and Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps.

14163: Peruvian Paint Bomb.

For American Colors, DDB in Peru paints the competition as careless, callous and criminal. Okay, but the campaign fails to present the advertiser as beautiful in comparison. Hell, it almost makes viewers feel bad about living in a civilized society.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

14162: Dirty Old Freeman…?

Advertising Age reported Translink, the Vancouver transit system, put the brakes on using Morgan Freeman as a voiceover for rider announcements after the iconic actor was hit with allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior. One odd sentence in the Ad Age story reads: “Freeman joins several others of his generation, including Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey and Jeffrey Tambor, who have faced similar accusations.” Is sexual harassment now a generational issue?

Vancouver transit silences Visa’s Morgan Freeman campaign

By Adrianne Pasquarelli

Allegations of inappropriate behavior are already costing Morgan Freeman at least one business relationship. TransLink, the Vancouver transit system, said Thursday that it is pausing its collaboration with the actor, just one day after announcing that Freeman will voice rider announcements this summer.

Freeman’s TransLink announcements are part of an ad campaign with Visa Canada for its tap-to-pay offering.

“In light of information we’ve learned this morning of allegations regarding actor Morgan Freeman, TransLink has decided to pause his voice announcements as part of a Visa ad campaign on our transit system,” TransLink said in a statement, adding that it will discuss the matter further with Visa.

A Visa spokeswoman did not immediately comment on the company’s relationship with Freeman.

On Thursday morning, CNN reported allegations that Freeman engaged in inappropriate behavior, including making sexual comments about female employees and creating a toxic work environment at Revelations Entertainment, the company he runs with business partner Lori McCreary. Freeman joins several others of his generation, including Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey and Jeffrey Tambor, who have faced similar accusations.

Freeman’s publicist did not respond to a request for comment.

Freeman’s well-recognized baritone is frequently heard in commercial voiceovers for brands including Visa. The actor also recently starred in a high-profile Super Bowl spot for Mtn Dew. He has served as the narrator for documentaries such as the Academy Award-winning “March of the Penguins” and hosts National Geographic’s “The Story of God.”

National Geographic did not respond to a request for comment.

Freeman’s Mtn Dew ad has not aired on TV since May 14, according to iSpot. A representative from PepsiCo, which owns the soda brand, confirmed that the talent rights for the ad expired.

Several spots in Visa’s “Everywhere you want to be” campaign that use Freeman’s voice, including “Party” and “Banana Boat,” are currently airing, according to iSpot. The actor is also voicing Visa’s FIFA World Cup campaign, which stars soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Two years ago, Freeman provided the voiceover for an ad in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. In the spot, he asks, “Our children are looking to us. What example will we set?”

Contributing: E.J. Schultz, Jeanine Poggi

Saturday, May 26, 2018

14161: Blackett Is Beautiful.

Campaign spotlighted WPP U.K. Country Manager and MediaCom Chairwoman Karen Blackett, who appeared at the Creative Equals Future Leaders in London and remarked, “15% of our creative talent is from EU markets and we want them to feel they belong.” Um, does anyone who isn’t White feel they belong in adland?

WPP’s Blackett: opportunity for creative industries is to make people feel they belong post-Brexit

Karen Blackett, UK country manager at WPP and chairwoman at MediaCom, has said the opportunity for the creative industries is to make people feel like they belong in a post-Brexit world.

By Nicola Kemp

Speaking at the Creative Equals Future Leaders in London last week, Blackett (pictured) said: “15% of our creative talent is from EU markets and we want them to feel they belong.”

Describing modern Britain as a “beautiful fruit salad of people”, she said the more that diversity is reflected in organisations the easier it becomes to connect with people.

A question of confidence

Blackett noted that, regardless of how we voted, Brexit is coming and it has knocked consumer confidence. A state of play which she says means that for brands it is no longer about getting on consumers’ consideration list it is about getting on the “priority list”.

She said the current market is described internally within WPP as grappling with “VUCA” (volatility; uncertainty/the known unknowns; complexity and ambiguity/the unknown unknowns).

However, she noted that “this is the ninth consecutive year we are predicting growth in the advertising industry”.

Digital, technology and data

Despite the industry’s much-discussed focus on data and digital transformation, according to Blackett, less than 10% of clients at Group M have a single view of a customer. She said: “If we can harness this data it will be like catnip for the creative solutions we can come up with.”

Blackett said that technology allows us to do more for our clients and ‘whatever department we work in we need to lean into this’. In practical terms she said this means knowing who your tech partners are.

She said the core question for the industry is “how do we ensure we have a point of difference?” “When clients are bringing things in house the question is how can we be with them on that journey and have a role?”

Technology allows us to do more for our clients—whatever department we work in we need to lean into this she added, and asked, “who are your tech partners do you know your tech partners.”

“How do we ensure we have a point of difference? Bringing things in house for clients—how can we be with them on that journey and have a role. Technology allows us to do that but it can also be a threat,” Blackett added.

Friday, May 25, 2018

14160: Channel 4 Not 4 Diversity.

Campaign reported on the Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award, an annual honor that provides commercial airtime to the top campaign concept from brands and advertising agencies allegedly focused on diversity. The first award in 2016 went to Mars brand and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO for a Maltesers campaign featuring people with disabilities. Lloyds Bank and Adam & Eve/DDB nabbed the next award for a campaign on mental health stigma. This year, the brief topic is the portrayal of women in media. In short, the contest should be renamed the Channel 4 Divertsity in Advertising Award. It’s becoming apparent that the U.K. advertising industry does a better job of ignoring racial and ethnic minorities than its U.S. counterpart. If the U.S advertising industry employs fewer than 100 Black female executives, how many can be found in the U.K.? Hey, maybe a White advertising agency will submit a concept portraying the handful of the Black women in adland across the pond. But probably not. Oh, and the female judges listed by Campaign are all White women, with the exception of the IPA Head of Diversity, who identifies as Asian. And the ladies will be joined by two White men. Yep, the judging committee will be an accurate representation of the U.K. advertising industry.

Channel 4’s next Diversity in Advertising Award calls for original portrayals of women

By Brittaney Kiefer

Channel 4 will give its next Diversity in Advertising Award to a creative idea that challenges the portrayal of women in media.

The annual award offers £1m worth of commercial airtime to the best campaign idea from brands and agencies focused on diversity. Each year the broadcaster’s brief has explored a different theme aimed at improving diversity in advertising.

Starting in 2016, the same year as the Rio Paralympics, the first winner was Mars brand Maltesers and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which created ads depicting people with disabilities in everyday, humorous situations.

Most recently, Lloyds Bank and Adam & Eve/DDB won the award for a campaign about non-visible disability. The bank’s spots tackled mental health stigma.

Channel 4’s new brief comes in the wake of the #MeToo movement, debates about the gender pay gap, and 100 years since women won the right to vote in the UK. The broadcaster has tasked creatives with developing campaigns that will challenge stereotypes, objectification and sexualisation of women.

The deadline for this year’s entries is 9 July, and a shortlist will be revealed on 17 July. A winner will be announced in September and the campaign will launch in early 2019.

Runners-up will also be offered match-funded commercial airtime.

Finalists will pitch their ideas to a judging panel, chaired by Channel 4’s chief commercial officer Jonathan Allan.

The judges will include Claire Beale, global editor-in-chief of Campaign; Dan Brooke, chief marketing and communications officer at Channel 4; Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox chief executive; Jane English, business director for 4Creative; Karen Fraser, director credos and head of strategy at the Advertising Association; Gemma Greaves, chief executive of The Marketing Society; and Leila Siddiqi, head of diversity at the IPA.

Channel 4 has committed to providing the Diversity in Advertising Award each year until 2020.

Maltesers, the original winner of the award, has continued its push for more diverse advertising, with ads launched last month that tell the stories of women often misrepresented in media.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

14159: Overreaction Of The Week.

MullenLowe in the U.K. created this campaign for Cif—and the ad featuring a Black man is reminiscent of historical racist advertising.

14158: Losses & Losers.

Advertising Age reported Infiniti is rolling with a new White advertising agency, which is actually the White advertising agency that originally held the account before it moved to the White advertising agency that just lost the account—and the new White advertising agency has technically been working on Infiniti even after losing the account. Oh, and both White advertising agencies are in the same unacceptably awful White holding company. Plus, it’s just the latest chapter in a sad story that has been sputtering for years.

72andSunny’s Infiniti loss is CPB’s gain

By E.J. Schultz

Infiniti is on the move again within MDC Partners. The automaker and 72andSunny have cut ties less than a year after the shop was hired to handle creative for several global vehicle launches. “We leave this relationship with best wishes for the success of the Infiniti brand. We are excited to be freed up for future opportunities in automotive,” 72andSunny CEO Matt Jarvis said in a statement.

72andSunny, which was hired last August, has been handling all global creative responsibilities, including big campaigns running in the U.S., such as one called “Thrones” for the new QX80. That meant less work for MDC sibling agency CPB, which has been working with Infiniti since 2014. But CPB will now be back in the pole position on the brand, according to people familiar with the matter.

CPB had remained on the roster even as 72andSunny handled global. CPB is behind [the] ad now running in the U.S. for Infiniti’s tie-in with Marvel for the new “Avengers: Infinity War” movie.

An Infiniti spokesman declined to share details on the global agency move, only saying that “Infiniti continues to use various agencies for our creative around the globe.”

One factor that could have worked in CPB’s favor is the installment late last year of Linus Karlsson as global chief creative officer. The Swede has auto experience from his time serving as creative chairman of Commonwealth McCann, overseeing Chevrolet, a role he held until March of last year.

For MDC, keeping Infiniti is critical, considering its current financial situation. The holding company reported disappointing first quarter results that chairman and CEO Scott Kauffman characterized as “unacceptable,” citing some client cutbacks and slower conversion in its new-business pipeline.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

14157: Dreaming Of Gender Stereotypes.

Y&R in Mexico is responsible for this Save the Children campaign, imploring people to not let kids’ dreams die. But the dreams seem somewhat sexist—why can’t girls dream of being firefighters and astronauts?

14156: Paying For Divertsity.

Campaign published divertsity demands from Now CEO Melissa Robertson, who presented forceful directives for collapsing the gender pay gap. It’s amazing how White women take bold stances on issues affecting White women, despite never coming close to displaying such revolutionary bravado for true diversity. For example, Robertson exhibited outrage at the “excuses” given for salary disparities between White men and White women, underscoring her displeasure by listing the top lies. Yet it’s a safe bet Robertson has quickly embraced the “excuses” routinely shat out to justify the underrepresentation of racial and ethnic minorities. Robertson backed mandating annual audits for all companies to clearly show income inequities. But would she approve annual audits to honestly reveal the industry’s lack of people of color? Why, Robertson was quick to publicize specific figures detailing how her company dramatically addressed the gender pay gap in a single year. Let’s see the inclusion numbers for non-Whites at Now—right now. Next, Robertson ordered special amenities and considerations for women in the field, including flexible work schedules, paid parental leave and returnships. Minorities, on the other hand, are expected to undergo additional training and assimilate to the White culture in order to gain access into adland. Robertson calls for “a complete cultural and behavioural overhaul” to ensure her paycheck matches her male peers’ paychecks. Okay, but the total reprogramming should start by confronting the dilemma of true diversity—a problem that has been ignored waaaaay longer than the gender pay gap. To be fair, Robertson is not unique among White women, and the intent of this post is not to single her out. Rather, the goal is to use Robertson as representative of a larger group and collective attitude covering both White men and White women. The road to true diversity requires simply applying the tips Robertson highlighted for the gender pay gap. After all, those tips were hijacked from the tactics of civil rights icons in the U.S. and U.K. In the end, White women—in concert with White men—will eventually close the gender pay gap. And minorities will pay the price by having to once again experience another deliberate delay of authentic equality.

A view from Melissa Robertson

When does doing the right thing become illegal? Tips on closing the gender pay gap

How should businesses even get started solving the gender pay gap? Now’s chief executive shares some advice.

For the last month, I’ve been slightly obsessed by all the gender pay gap chat, and notably all the ridiculous ‘excuses’ given to justify — sorry, ‘explain’ it. You know, things like women choose to work in low paid roles and sectors, women want to work fewer hours, women don’t really like technical jobs, women don’t want high paid jobs. Almost as if there is nothing that can be done about it. But of course we all know that isn’t true. The bigger question is how quickly?

According to YouGov, over 50% of people in the UK don’t believe the gender pay gap will ever close. The World Economic Forum is slightly more cup-half-full with a prediction of 217 years. But the introduction of mandatory annual auditing is a crucial first step to doing something about it. Currently this is only for companies with over 250 staff, which accounts for around 11,500 companies. Hopefully this will extend downwards, so that medium size businesses have to do it, and in time, everyone. I know this is a bit controversial, because in smaller companies, just one person of either gender can make a huge impact on the data. But it forces companies to think about it more consciously.

It’s not the first time I’ve banged the drum about this. We worked out our pay gap last year. We’re a company of around 50 people, with two female founders and a female managing director. Most people in the agency would say that this was a company where women have a powerful voice, which made the stark reality of the numbers surprising and hugely disappointing. We hadn’t quite computed the obvious discrepancy in, crudely, the number of men at the top and women at the bottom. In a year, we have dramatically changed our stats — from a median gap of 34.6% last year to 14.3% this year. We now have a female head of film and content, a female lead designer, and two female associate creative directors. Our transition has been actively managed around natural churn, but shows what can be achieved when you are determined and focused. We’re pleased at the progress, but not resting on our laurels just yet.

But… you can’t just ring up a headhunter and specify that you want a woman for a role. That’s been illegal since 1975. And here lies a potentially legal conundrum because I don’t think the 2010 Equalities Act is entirely cut and dry. In terms of corporate reputation, there will be an imperative to improve on gender pay gaps. And the Labour party has talked about imposing fines and sanctions on companies that show no improvement in their statistics. But there’s a real danger that the only way to truly deliver against expectations is to replace an unfortunate, but not-entirely-illegal-because-it’s-difficult-to-prove unconscious bias, with potentially-illegal-if-you’re-not-careful conscious bias.

Yet it’s so much more than that. What is really required is a complete cultural and behavioural overhaul. Book in some unconscious bias training and take a long hard look at your working and hiring practices. With this more positive and less illegal hat on, there are plenty of things you can do. You can insist on shortlists that always have at least one woman. You can make your business more attractive by improving your policies on flexible working and paid parental leave. You can change your attitudes (and pay) on the financial worth of certain roles that often have gender biases (HR vs Finance let’s say). You can appreciate the value of a returning mother (or father) — Creative Equals have an awesome programme of Creative Returnships, which agencies should be crying out for. From personal experience I was much better at my job after becoming a mother, because you have totally learnt how to focus and get shit done.

So, for all those businesses that haven’t yet dared to work out their pay gap, I urge you to do it. Do it urgently. Set it in motion today. Whatever your size. You will almost certainly be disappointed. But use that as impetus. Because it’s only when we confront our frailties that we then do something about them.

Melissa Robertson is the chief executive of Now.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

14155: Lack Of Culture & Talent.

This Brazilian campaign for GPS | Lifetime magazine shows how “Lack of Culture Isolates You.” Hey, lack of culture also leads to culturally clueless campaigns where men are business leaders in boardrooms and women are housewives in dining rooms…?

Monday, May 21, 2018

14154: Questioning Big Pharma.

The New York Times and other news sources have reported how Alkermes is promoting Vivitrol as a treatment for the opioid-dependence epidemic. But it looks like regulators won’t let the drug maker advertise specific details, leading to blind messages such as the billboard depicted above. Or maybe the campaign was created by addicts…?

14153: White Noise On Divertsity.

Campaign published a bold proclamation from AnalogFolk Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Matt Dyke, who called on White men to “make some noise” and lead the charge for divertsity and diversity. The responding sound to Dyke’s battle cry is crickets chirping. Dyke actually stumbled into the paradox. That is, the sole group with enough power and numbers for preventing the global problem is also perpetuating the global problem. White women are igniting change for themselves because they have enough power and numbers—plus, they’re taking advantage of their own White privilege. On the flipside, racial and ethnic minorities can’t collect enough crumbs to increase the crickets chirping.

(BTW, Dyke should concentrate on making noise—and making change—at AnalogFolk, where the staffers look like typical adfolk, in terms of diversity.)

A view from Matt Dyke

Hey white guys, make some noise

Diversity is everyone’s fight argues AnalogFolk’s founder and chief strategy officer.

The chances are that you are a privileged white guy reading this.

And chances are you’ve twigged that this is yet another article banging on about diversity.

So you’re probably thinking about whether you should read this.

Because you’ve read this before.

Or an article pretty much like it.

It’s not because you’re not interested.

You already know the arguments.

You’re already sold that change needs to happen.

But you feel slightly awkward as the white guy.

This isn’t your fight.

Except that it is.

Melinda Gates is a powerful woman.

They don’t come much more powerful or influential.

But at SXSW she said that she doesn’t believe one woman on the team can make the difference.

One person of colour on the team doesn’t make the difference.

Because there’s only one of them.

But many more of you.

You can affect change much more effectively than they can on their own.

Bozoma Saint John, chief brand officer at Uber is one woman.

And she’s a woman of colour.

She also didn’t mince her words at SXSW.

She wants, “white men to look around in their office and say, ‘Oh look, there’s a lot of white men here. Let’s change this.’ Why do I — as the black woman — have to fix that?

There’s 50 of you, there’s one of me. Ya’ll fix it. Everybody else needs to make the noise. I want white men to make the noise.”

So there you go, make some noise.

Because change isn’t happening at the scale or pace that it should be.

But we can change that today.

As a white man leading an independent agency network, I need to think about making noise more than most.

Start-ups are important in any industry. They bring fresh ideas. New ways of doing things.

They bring disruption. And if the industry takes heed of this disruption, everyone benefits.

So I feel a sense of responsibility.

But also excitement at the opportunity we have to make a difference.

We encourage people to bring their whole selves to the workplace.

It builds an authentic community.

It also leads to greater variety of ideas based on diverse personal experiences.

We need to work on the cultural growth plan.

Not just our product growth plan.

We can keep asking the questions until people take notice.

We can check our own unconscious bias.

And help others check theirs.

Because we all have them.

We can change how you recruit and interview.

We can go and speak to the women, people of colour or neuro-diverse in our company.

Ask them how we can support them.

Let them know we’ve got their back, we’re in this together.

We can make change happen.


Matt Dyke is founder and chief strategy officer at AnalogFolk

Sunday, May 20, 2018

14152: NABS BS.

Campaign published a perspective from NABS CEO Diana Tickell, whose organization “is here to improve the wellbeing of everyone in the advertising and media industry.” Tickell believes prioritising mental wellbeing should be a business imperative in adland. Great—yet another agenda item that takes priority over true diversity. Heaven forbid anyone might be concerned about how the industry’s exclusivity and discriminatory hiring practices might adversely affect the mental wellbeing of racial and ethnic minorities.

A view from Diana Tickell

Why prioritising mental wellbeing is a matter of urgency for adland

As Mental Health Awareness Week kicks off adland must face up to some uncomfortable questions about employee wellbeing.

Staff turnover in adland is at 30%, compared with 10% for business at large, a state of play which makes prioritising mental wellbeing a business imperative.

In the first quarter of this year NABS took more calls to its Advice Line than at any other time in six years. Back then the majority of calls were about redundancy — now more than a third are for emotional support, of which 64% are about mental health and work pressures.

We are working in an increasingly fast-paced and adrenaline-charged industry. It’s exciting, but it’s relentless and it can be physically and mentally exhausting.

Research we conducted with Mind at the end of last year makes for uncomfortable reading. More than two thirds said they had considered leaving the industry because of poor wellbeing at work. More than a third said their mental health over the past year had been poor or very poor.

The cost of burnout

People are our most valuable asset in our industry — but they need to be happy, healthy and thriving to perform at their best. The good news is this is achievable if we work together to prioritise mental wellbeing in the workplace.

When we’re mentally distressed less oxygen reaches the brain and cortisol increases. This results in a reduction in critical thinking, decision-making, creativity and the ability to focus — all of which are critical if our industry is to flourish. Over time stress can even lead to depression and burnout.

With staff turnover in Adland at 30%, compared to 10% on average — the potential knock-on effect of poor mental wellbeing to our industry is huge.

When we experience positive mental wellbeing, more oxygen and glucose gives the brain the energy to perform at its best.

Shifting the dial

It is this latest thinking in neuroscience and positive psychology that led NABS to create our SHEPARD Model for Wellbeing featuring the seven elements we believe make up good wellbeing: satisfaction, health, emotions, perceptions, awareness, rewards and diversity. This framework underpins how we design and deliver all our services.

All too often investment in mental wellbeing is an afterthought as a result of major incidents or loss of income due to a stressed workforce. This is the wrong approach: it should be a preventative measure and a series of positive interventions which become a way of life, rather than a reaction.

We need to care for our brain and minds as we do our bodies. Interventions can include regular exercise, mindfulness, improved diet and building stronger, more supportive relationships.

At NABS our masterclasses on topics including ‘Building Resilience to Pressure’ and ‘Mindfulness for Busy Working Parents’ give people the tools they need to flip a pattern of negative thinking and approach those inevitably stressful times in a more positive and productive way.

During one-to-one wellbeing coaching sessions we will advise our clients how to raise the issue of mental health with their manager and what to ask for.

We also empower them to ask for a change to their working practices if it would benefit their mental health. This may mean asking for flexible working, or making sure clients know that they aren’t available after hours on one or two nights a week.

The power of openness

It is encouraging that every day we find more people willing to speak out about the issues of mental health — but what about those who don’t feel confident to ask for help?

We realise many managers lack suitable training to identify and support their employees’ mental wellbeing. In our research with Mind, 46% said they wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to their line manager if work was having a negative impact on their mental health.

This is why we are trialling a new masterclass at NABS which will give attendees the tools to become leaders who understand and care about the wellbeing of their teams. It will teach the importance of creating an environment which promotes individual brain and mind health.

Building nurturing cultures

Employers need to create better working environments and a culture which supports individuals’ wellbeing. Our industry thrives when people are at their most creative.

At a recent NABS event at Advertising Week Europe, Unruly co-founder Sarah Wood revealed the company had installed a no dress code policy, standing desks, snooze pods and working spaces for introverts who need peace and quiet.

Our Working Parents Initiative White Paper highlights how businesses are changing their culture for the better, including Rufus Leonard which offers home-working across the company and incorporates flexible working into job descriptions.

Company leaders need to set the tone for how their staff perceive and respond to stress. If there is a culture of presenteeism, long hours and micro-managing then staff will suffer through a lack of confidence, anxiety and stress.

When people are feeling a sense of happiness, satisfaction, achievement and trust they perform at their best. Three quarters of industry employees say they would be more likely to stay with an employer who is interested in their wellbeing.

We are lucky to work in one of the most exciting and fast-moving professions there is. But we need to urgently prioritise mental wellbeing in the workplace, otherwise talent will be lost and we will all suffer.

Diana Tickell is CEO of NABS

Saturday, May 19, 2018

14151: Disabling Exclusivity.

Campaign reported on the latest divertsity demonstration, where Sarah Newton, MP, the minister for state for disabled people, health and work, challenged adland to set quotas to increase representation of people with disabilities. Newton remarked, “…We have made huge strides improving the representation of women and LGBT communities but this is [a] step we really need to take as a country to be truly inclusive as a society.” Once again, a UK official emphasizes the imperative “to be truly inclusive as a society” without a single reference to racial and ethnic minorities. Seems like people of color face handicaps when applying for work in adland too.

Minister calls on ad industry to set targets for representations of disability

By Nicola Kemp

Sarah Newton, MP, the minister for state for disabled people, health and work, has called on the advertising industry to set itself targets to increase the representation of people with disabilities in advertising.

Speaking at Media360 in Brighton today, Newton said: “The broadcast industry has set themselves some standards around representation of disabilities in the media maybe that is something you can do — set yourself your goals and measure against them over time.”

She added: “This is all about a movement for change, we have made huge strides improving the representation of women and LGBT communities but this is step we really need to take as a country to be truly inclusive as a society.”

In a discussion with Sam Phillips, chief marketing officer of Omnicom Media Group UK and chair Open UK, Phillips praised brands including Maltesers and Channel 4 for their commitment to representation but said “with some notable exceptions you don’t see disabled people on screens.” She urged the industry to build that inclusivity into the very earliest stages of brand planning.

Newton said we need to shift our focus to what people can do, not focus on what they can’t. She urged businesses to sign up to the government’s disability confident scheme.

She said: “There can be a lot of fear, businesses aren’t sure about how to recruit disabled talent and how to make reasonable adjustments, but it is really easy to take that step and sign up to disability confident.” She also highlighted the government grants available to businesses to help make their workspaces accessible.

According to Newton it is incumbent on all of us to think about how we can reflect that diversity of people in out population. She added: “Some businesses say to me they don’t feel comfortable [featuring disabled people in advertising] or it doesn’t fit with their core message. But one in five of your customers can have a disability so how can they not fit with your business.”

In a question from the floor Newton was challenged on how the media and advertising industry can drive more aspirational images of disability in the media when the reality of the cuts to support we are giving to disabled people is anything but aspirational. “How can the media industry give a representation that is real and genuine and not in contradiction with the reality of the situation,” she said.

Newton defended the government’s approach and said they were taking a ‘person centric’ approach and emphasised the support it was providing in enabling disabled people to work. She said: “Only half of disabled people who want to work currently have the ability to do that. So many people tell me they don’t want to be on benefits they want to work.”

An all-party work and pensions select committee recently criticised the government’s disability policy. Frank Field MP, chair of the committee, wrote: “A pervasive lack of trust is undermining its entire operation. In turn, this is translating to untenable human costs to claimants and financial costs to the public purse.”

Friday, May 18, 2018

14150: Sucky Successors.

Digiday published a piece titled, “The Rundown: Drama atop WPP,” where the reporter speculated on possible successors to Sir Martin Sorrell. The accompanying image (depicted above) presented a selection of White men available to fill Sorrell’s shoes—which are probably not very big at all.

14149: We Are Untalented.

We Are Unlimited created a campaign starring John Goodman, Charles Barkley and Gabrielle Union to hype Mickey D’s fresh beef—and the spots are anything but fresh. The concept of being rendered speechless by enhanced junk food feels like something from the 80s. Plus, using Goodman and Barkley—two old guys who’ve struggled with obesity over the years—is patently ignorant and downright irresponsible. We Are Unlimited went from annoyingly outdated rap to cloyingly outdated crap.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

14148: VML 4GN WTF.

To promote 4GN Festival Internacional De DiseƱo, VML in Colombia “seized the opportunity to delve deeper into how design can be used to make the world a better place.” Sorry, but the opportunistic propaganda is culturally clueless and globally offensive.

14147: Invisible Black Girl Magic.

Campaign published a perspective from Madwell Publicity Manager Lisa Vanterpool, who presented the standard viewpoint on Black women as a distinct demographic. While Vanterpool does a decent job of delivering the message, it’s disturbing that adland must be regularly reminded of such basic information. After all, Black advertising agencies have been repeating the factoids for at least 60 years. Then again, maybe it’s to be expected given that the U.S. advertising industry employs less than 100 Black female executives. Hey, it’s tough to get the White majority on Madison Avenue to recognize a group they rarely even see.

What is black girl magic, and why should brands care?

By Lisa Vanterpool

Brands are missing out by completely missing the point, says Lisa.

I don’t normally make it a habit of trying to speak for an entire group of people (it rarely ends well) but I’m willing to make an exception on this particular topic.

Black women.

Those two words probably conjure up all sorts of stereotypes, none of which I’ll dive into here, but I will get right to the point: black women have been overlooked for far too long by brands.

“Impossible!” you say. “What about #BlackGirlMagic and #BlackLivesMatter and #BlackGirlsRock?” Listen, I’m a fan of hashtags too, but they can’t do all of the heavy lifting—especially when just 19 percent of people featured in advertising are from minority groups.

Black women’s values are incorporated into every facet of their lives. Not only do they show up at the ballot box and the box office, but they also show up at the cash register spending with a discerning eye for brands that do their due diligence and speak to them in a holistic and well-informed way. And we’re not talking pennies: according to a recent Nielsen report, black women control the lion’s share of the African-American community’s $1.2 trillion in spending power.

The crux of the problem lies in the fact that brands aren’t willing or eager to learn the ins and outs of this demographic. We’ve seen them consistently trip over their feet and inevitably end up alienating most of them in the process. From Dove to Tarte to Shea Moisture to Pepsi—oh, Pepsi—it happens time and again. Efforts to be inclusive backfire, and the backlash is significant. It doesn’t help that advertising has itself remained an industry with little to no diversity, making the problem even more deep-rooted.

So what are brands to do? How can they genuinely reach black women and all their magic?

Well, they have to care—truly care. Black women can detect fakeness faster than most. (Allow me to personally verify that this is true.) Brands need to spend time with black women to see what they really care about, understand their values and what makes them tick, and get to know what’s going on within their communities. They need to listen—and then speak.

There are some brands who are getting it right. Take Gap for example. Their recent Instagram ad for their Love by GapBody line was exceptional. The image depicted a beautiful and intimate moment of a black woman breastfeeding her child and the stunning ad was able to nail it on few fronts. It showed compassion, love and a softness that isn’t often portrayed. Further, it was seen as catalyst to promote breastfeeding among African American mothers as they have the lowest rate of breastfeeding initiation and duration—about 64.3 percent, compared to 81.5 percent for white families and 81.9 percent for Hispanic ones.

It’s just one example of something brands more often miss the mark on: that black women have a desire to see themselves and their communities reflected genuinely and positively in branding, packaging and advertising. Far too often, black women have been automatically lumped into an “urban” group, but the truth is that that’s only reflective of a portion of the community. Black women want to see themselves in advertising in all walks of life, from career woman to mom to entrepreneur and everything in between, because part of the magic of black women is their dexterity to adapt to what works best for them.

Black women are willing to spend money on the brands and products they believe in. If brands continue to ignore these facts they’ll continue to miss out on huge—magical, even—opportunities.

Lisa Vanterpool is a publicity manager at Madwell, an advertising agency located in Brooklyn.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

14146: Mean Girls At Time’s Up…?

Advertising Age reported Time’s Up/Advertising fucked up its inaugural event. Seems the organizers turned it into an exclusive affair by initially rejecting the RSVPs of women who weren’t currently employed at a White advertising agency—which nixed freelancers and women between jobs. Technically, the action should have barred the self-promoting Cindy Gallop and Kat Gordon from attending the festivities. Time’s Up/Advertising quickly issued an apology and re-invited the rejectees, although the mess kinda confirmed contentions recently presented here.

Time’s Up/Advertising opens event after blowback

By Megan Graham

Time’s Up/Advertising, the group founded by high-level industry executives to take tangible action against discrimination, found itself accused of just that as some industry women signing up for the group’s first big events today were turned down. The group has since opened up today’s community meetings, planned concurrently in 14 cities around the country, to include freelancers and others who are not current agency employees.

Time’s Up/Advertising, an initiative launched this year to address sexual harassment and systemic inequality in the workplace in partnership with Time’s Up found itself on the receiving end of complaints in recent days on social media by women who claimed their RSVP’s were declined.

In a Facebook post Sunday night, the organization responded to feedback and apologized.

“Sisters, it seems we messed up. Thank you for getting that message to us. The last thing we want to do is exclude people who should be in the room,” the post said.

“The concerns we are seeing about missing the input of freelancers and people in the ad community who are in-between jobs are more than valid. Freelancers’ experiences in the agencies are often the very feedback we need because of circumstances that might have led to freelancing or finding themselves without a [full time] position in the agency. We also didn’t stop to see that often those of you most hurt by this problem are, sadly, no longer in our agencies. These are the kinds of blind spots we are aiming to fix. We are sorry. We want you to know that you will not be turned away at the door.”

The post added that many of its event venues will be at capacity, but did switch to a larger venue in New York — the Hammerstein Ballroom — and it invited freelancers or women between jobs to join the event. Time’s Up/Advertising wrote that the venue would be able to accommodate up to 2,200 women and would take in as many as fire code will allow.

The organization will also be livestreaming the first portion of its event in New York via Facebook Live. The 14 meetings around North America — and an online forum to reach beyond major cities — have the goal of facilitating face-to-face interactions with women in the industry to create solutions, identify and mentor people representing diversity and adopt progressive agency training and education, according to the group’s website.

Time’s Up/Advertising said it capped the original invite at “women who work in advertising agencies” because it wanted feedback on what wasn’t working at agencies, and because it sought a safe space (free of press, anti-women’s groups and — for the first meeting — men). The post called that decision an “imperfect solution.”

“We don’t expect you to trust us before we’ve even started,” the post continued. “Thankfully we are not alone and there are lots of you willing to put yourselves on the line to work on this together. The truth is, it helps us to hear the conversations that are happening in forums that aren’t our own. Tomorrow’s meetings will be made better by all of you who continue to use your voices to hold us accountable.”

Among those who initially had their RSVP rejected is Lucy Small, a creative technologist and president of the American Advertising Federation in Miami.

“It’s a shame that whoever is organizing these events has taken the title of this movement and has immediately chosen to indiscriminately and opaquely exclude formidable women in the advertising community,” she wrote in an email to Ad Age. “Botched events like this not only hurt the credibility of this movement in the advertising and creative space, but also the trust women have in organizations wanting to ‘support’ them.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

14145: Dog Shit From Pedigree.

This Pedigree campaign from BBDO in Chile is, well, a dog. The agency explained that older adults only connect with family members on birthdays and holidays, so adopting a pet could provide companionship throughout the entire year. Wow, that’s asking the viewer to fetch a lot of information. The actual net impression is that Pedigree is selling dog food for senior citizen consumption.