Sunday, September 30, 2018

14312: BK BS.

David in Miami is responsible for this Burger King campaign featuring the “former house” of Mickey D’s executives, where grills are depicted in the environments. Sorry, but this concept is a little too complicated—as well as stalker-like in its invasion of private property. Wonder how many David employees—especially the top honchos at the firm—are exclusively eating at BK.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

14311: Chop Chop.

This cooking utensils campaign from China would probably not cut it with PETA.

Friday, September 28, 2018

14310: Invisible BS.

Adweek reported on another divertsity deal—inVisible Creatives—delivering a dazzling database designed to drum up dames for creative roles in adland. Unlike the “Where Are All The Boss Ladies?” program that highlights White women in executive positions, inVisible Creatives uncovers junior, mid-level and senior creative talent. Gee, it’s just a matter of time before somebody targets White female toddlers and embryos for copywriter, art director and creative director roles. The new database is global, so folks can insist it promotes diversity versus divertsity. In the end, inVisible Creatives will likely do little to help the truly invisible men and women being denied access to the advertising industry.

New Database for Uncovering Female Talent in the Ad Industry Targets Junior, Mid-Level Creatives

InVisible Creatives wants more women in creative director positions

By Lindsay Rittenhouse

A new global database aimed at unveiling female talent in the ad industry hopes to finally raise the amount of women holding creative director positions—which today remains at just around 11 percent.

The site, called inVisible Creatives, is claiming to do something its predecessors, including Where Are the Boss Ladies?, didn’t: spotlight junior, mid-level and senior talent, with a particular emphasis on their work.

“We didn’t want to become yet another female group,” Laura Visco, co-founder of inVisible Creatives and a creative director at 72andSunny Amsterdam, told Adweek. “There are many initiatives out there but none of them are actually focused on the work, the ideas. We feel that if we keep on ignoring to talk about work, we keep on feeding the narrative that women are not creative.”

Visco added, “Where Are the Boss Ladies? is focused on management level and we are focused on junior, mid-level and senior talent.”

Visco and fellow inVisible Creatives co-founder Maddy Kramer—a senior art director at Saatchi & Saatchi New York who helped create Tide’s iconic Super Bowl campaign—said they designed, funded and developed the database entirely themselves and today it’s garnered more than 300 profiles from 31 countries.

Mara Lecocq, founder of Where Are the Boss Ladies?, told Adweek she’s completely supportive of Visco and Kramer.

“Similar territories but different audiences,” Lecocq said in an email to Adweek, “inVisible Creatives is mid-level creative-focused and portfolio driven. Where Are the Boss Ladies focuses on giving access to senior executive leaders for women to work for (all departments), or for companies to hire to lead departments and companies. Target is young women looking for role models, versus inVisible Creatives is agencies looking for female doers.”

Visco said her and Kramer’s fire for launching inVisible Creatives ignited when they originally distributed a spreadsheet last year to various agencies and ad groups to fill in with their targeted female talent (currently exclusive to those in creative roles such as copywriters, art directors, designers, illustrators, etc.). At which time, some anonymous person changed the name of the document to “Handmaids”—which, thanks to the widely popular Hulu series A Handmaid’s Tale, everyone knows to mean a female servant.

“That’s actually when we understood that this was a big issue and that we needed to do something,” Visco said.

InVisible Creatives allows industry executives to sift through female creatives by country. So, if you were to go to the U.S. dropdown menu, you’d find profiles of women like Droga5 associate creative director Kia Heinnen, complete with her contact information, biography and of course work examples spanning her photography and campaigns she’s worked on such as “Ask More of Your Phone” for the launch of Google’s Pixel 2.

“We want the database to be focused around the work, and portfolios, with a focus on junior to senior talent, the ones that get very little visibility in general,” Kramer added.

On the main landing page of inVisible Creatives, Visco and Kramer also feature a section called “portfolios of the month,” showcasing several standout portfolios handpicked by industry leaders. This month, Visco said because the “initiative was way too fresh to ask someone else,” she and Kramer curated the list.

Beginning in October, she said the duo will select one curator a month to select up to 10 portfolios to be showcased. Javier Campopiano, FCB Mexico CCO, will be the first curator to select the profiles for next month.

“We are asking different people we know in the industry,” Visco noted. “So far, everyone has been super collaborative and excited to discover new talent and work.”

This month’s featured portfolios include Josefina Franci, a creative director in Argentina and the first Latin American to win the Young Lions U.K.; Marcela Angeles, a creative director at Edelman in Mexico and a Young Lions 2014; and Erin Evon, a senior art director at R/GA New York who also worked on the “It’s a Tide Ad.”

Visco and Kramer are now looking for agencies and ad recruiters to take a pledge to consider at least one woman in their database for potential job opportunities. Their agencies, 72andSunny Amsterdam and Saatchi & Saatchi N.Y., have signed on.

“This industry so far has been predominantly male, with their own vision of the world,” Visco said. “Having more female leaders will impact the way women get represented in advertising, for the benefit of society as a whole. Ultimately, this industry needs to understand that diversity is not a moral issue. It’s a creative one.”

Thursday, September 27, 2018

14309: Champion Of Certain People.

Adweek reported Antonio Lucio left his Global CMO role at HP to take a similar position with Facebook. The article subhead proclaimed, “Executive championed diversity in advertising.” This statement demonstrates that it doesn’t take much to be crowned a diversity champion in adland. Indeed, Lucio was actually a divertsity champion, literally prioritizing the promotion of White women over others, and accepting the clichéd excuses for denying people of color into the field. So it’s fitting that he landed at Facebook, where White faces and White women are doing fine. In the advertising industry, true diversity champions get blacklisted, blackballed, black-eyed and blacked out. Divertsity champions, on the other hand, receive praise, respect, accolades, ADCOLOR® Awards, etc.—as well as elevated employment opportunities.

Facebook Hires HP’s Antonio Lucio As Its New Global Chief Marketing Officer

Executive championed diversity in advertising

By Patrick Coffee

Antonio Lucio, global chief marketing and communications officer at tech giant HP Inc., is leaving for the same role at Facebook, the company confirmed today. Lucio will report to Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox and start on September 4.

“[Antonio] has an extraordinary reputation in the industry as a leader, a marketer, an operator, and a wise, gracious, and deeply principled human being,” said Cox in a statement. “He has been outspoken on the need to build authentic global brands with integrity and from places of principle, and also on the importance of building diverse teams at every level in the organization. From all our interactions with him, he is a force of nature, and we are lucky to have him.”

Cox continued: “Facebook’s story is at an inflection point. We have never faced bigger challenges, and we have never had more opportunities to have a positive impact on the world—in our families, our friendships, our communities, and our democracy—by improving our products at their core, and then by telling the story outside that we all know to be true inside.”

“Purpose and impact have been at the center of every career decision that I have ever made,” said Lucio, adding that he will work to “support [Facebook’s] evolution. “Facebook is one of the world’s most impactful brands, at a pivotal moment in its history.”

Lucio spent more than three years with Palo Alto-based HP following its split from the The Hewlett Packard Corporation. During his tenure, he was perhaps best known as an outspoken advocate for diversity.

In 2016, for example, he gave each of HP’s agency partners 30 days to submit a plan explaining how they would increase the number of women and people of color within their creative departments. One year later, he shared each shop’s “scorecard” publicly, stating that they each had “more work to do with underrepresented groups.” At this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, he introduced the #MoreLikeMe initiative to diversify attendance, released a study showing that diverse ads are more effective and led a panel on the topic.

Prior to joining HP in 2015, Lucio held the global CMO position at Visa as well as top executive roles at PepsiCo and Kraft.

Vikrant Batra, who had been global head of marketing for HP’s printing division, will succeed Lucio. Additionally, the company promoted chief communications officer and head of communications, corporate brand and events Karen Kahn to its executive leadership team. Both will now report directly to president and CEO Dion Weisler.

“The appointments are symbolic of the deep bench of talent within our Marketing and Communications organizations,” read a statement from Weisler. “Our corporate reinvention over the last several years has been fueled by the remarkable power of our brand—in our marketing leadership and emotional connection to our customers, and in our corporate narrative and purpose-driven positioning.”

Weisler proceeded to thank Lucio for his service, adding, “With a brand that has never been stronger, it’s a testament to his leadership that we are prepared with the right team to continue to reinvent HP and drive shareholder value.”

In January, Facebook CMO Gary Briggs announced that he would be retiring after four and a half years with the company. Briggs, who was formerly vp of consumer marketing at Google, said he would be consulting other companies, working on political campaigns and helping Facebook “hire someone great” to replace him in the meantime.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

14308: Patronizing Pizza Hut.

Advertising Age spotlighted the new campaign to kick off Pizza Hut becoming the official pizza of the NFL, a title formerly held by Papa John’s. This is like Curly replacing Shemp. The lead commercial—“Lines”—seems to be a counterpoint to John Schnatter’s cultural death spiral, presenting a patronizing pizza party topped with diversity, inclusion and plenty of cheesiness. The responsible White advertising agency is Goodby Silverstein & Partners, which adds an extra layer of hypocrisy to the pie. Pizza Hut Chief Brand Officer Marianne Radley gushed, “The tone of it and the message that’s coming across is something that’s been part of our brand values for years.” Okay, but how did the recent campaign featuring Italian stereotypes reflect the brand values? Plus, the pitch where GS&P won the business starred a standard, exclusive collection of White advertising agencies. Sorry, but Pizza Hut’s dedication to diversity and inclusion is just a bunch of lies lines.

Pizza Hut touches on racial diversity in football ad—but it’s no Nike

By Jessica Wohl

Less than a week after Nike tackled racial diversity head on with an ad featuring former National Football League player Colin Kaepernick, who began the movement to kneel during the national anthem, Pizza Hut is broaching the subject—a whole lot more lightly.

Unlike the reaction that greeted Nike, it’s doubtful the spot will generate any controversy for Pizza Hut, which is just beginning its first season as the official pizza of the NFL. That’s a designation it took over from Papa John’s after its now-departed founder John Schnatter blamed the league’s handling of player protests during the anthem for its weaker pizza sales.

Pizza Hut Chief Brand Officer Marianne Radley said the company hopes to use the first weekend of football season to spread a positive brand message. While the Pizza Hut ad doesn’t carry the NFL logo — more on that in a bit — it is clearly meant to deliver a message of unity to the 70 percent of Americans who identify as NFL fans.

The new spot, called “Lines,” a 30-second ad from new agency GSD&M, is set to run during every NFL game this weekend, and during some college games the following weekend, Radley told Ad Age on Thursday.

The spot begins with shots of various football moments as a voice-over mentions the line of scrimmage, goal lines and yard lines. Then the message is delivered, on cue, as a guy gets his pizzas delivered. The voice-over says, “If we look beyond the lines, all that’s left is common ground.” Then a gathering of people, from various ethnicities, happily eat pizza while watching football.

“It just creates a little bit more of that emotional reason,” Radley says of the spot. In other words, it takes just a hint of a societal stand.

The Pizza Hut ad, set to run during the first quarter of tonight’s game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles, came together in about a month as a way to promote the work the company is doing on its “brand purpose,” says Radley. Cut downs will also run on social media.

The new spot is meant to complement Pizza Hut’s fall football campaign and share more about company values such as inclusiveness, unity, fun, and getting people together. “Let’s keep it simple, it’s about pizza and football,” she says. “We think pizza is something everything can agree on.”

Of course, it also lands weeks after Schnatter’s use of racial slurs became public and forced rival Papa John’s into PR overdrive. “It was definitely something we listened to and thought of,” Radley says.

With so much conversation about differences, she said, the time was right to focus on similarities. And for those customers who might want to switch chains, Pizza Hut is offering competitors’ customers a free pizza after they join its rewards program and make a purchase.

“We did share the ad with the NFL and it was well received by them,” says Radley.

Still, the spot doesn’t include the NFL shield, which official sponsors can use. Radley says that’s because Pizza Hut wants the values message to play more broadly, not just to NFL fans. The ad is also set to run during some college games the weekend of Sept. 15 (it’s an NCAA sponsor) and is meant to appeal to high school football fans as well.

Radley also showed the “Lines” spot to the Yum Brands chain’s franchisee board, on Thursday morning. “The tone of it and the message that’s coming across is something that’s been part of our brand values for years,” she says.

It also has a completely different feel from Pizza Hut’s typical marketing, which also got a new football update. Just this week Pizza Hut began airing spots featuring Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers, hyping a $7.99 large, two-topping pizza online deal.

Those more traditional pizza spots will run throughout the season.

As for the ad that’s likely to keep generating buzz, the Colin Kaepernick spot for Nike, “I think Nike definitely gave this a lot of thought and they decided Kaepernick was the right person to represent their 30th anniversary,” Radley says of Nike’s spot, which commemorates the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” work.

Monday, September 24, 2018

14306: Bogusky Baloney.

Advertising Age published a lengthy interview with CP+B Chief Creative Engineer Alex Bogusky—via email with no follow-up opportunities—who declared, “I don’t have any interest in a reunion tour … the second time around will be very different.” Not surprisingly, Bogusky’s careful communication completely avoided the industry’s current political and social climates. That is, he dodged diversity and divertsity, despite the fact that his CP+B predecessor is embroiled in legal actions involving alleged sexual harassment and wrongful termination tied to social media. And it could be argued that MDC Partners is struggling due to greed and corruption at the company’s core. Bogusky has routinely displayed disdain for the kind of corporate irresponsibility executed at the upper echelons of MDC Partners, so it will be interesting to see how he connects with Scott Kauffman’s replacement. As for diversity/divertsity, Bogusky has routinely displayed cultural cluelessness in these areas. Does Bogusky realize the second time around will be very different, due in large part to the industry being very different—at least in terms of baloney and bullshit? Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

14305: Delayed WTF 43—Missing Target.

MultiCultClassics is often occupied with real work. As a result, a handful of events occur without the expected blog commentary. This limited series—Delayed WTF—seeks to make belated amends for the absence of malice.

Campaign reported on a concept by The Escape Pod for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, featuring a bike-sharing station turned into a rifle rack, presumably intended to highlight the ease of obtaining firearms. Campaign wrote, “The 18ft-long structure features signage to highlight the disparity between Illinois and neighbouring Indiana state gun laws.” Not sure what Campaign meant to imply with that statement. According to The Chicago Tribune, Indiana gun laws are much less stringent than Chicago gun laws, thanks in part to Vice President Mike Pence, the former Indiana governor. Plus, it’s more than a little naïve to combat gun violence with a publicity stunt. But advertising agencies are forever eager to shoot for awards by any means necessary—including patronizing promotions.

Why Chicago hopes this installation will spark discussion around gun crime

By Gurjit Degun

A row of 10 replica rifles have been installed in a bike-sharing station in Chicago to show how easy it is obtain a weapon.

The 18ft-long structure features signage to highlight the disparity between Illinois and neighbouring Indiana state gun laws.

It also has an iPad for donations to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The organisation is asking people to share the campaign on social media with the hashtag #GunShare.

Nicholas Berg of Ojo Customs built the installation. US brand experience agency The Escape Pod worked with the Brady Center on the activation, which is running from 10 to 16 May.

Saturday, September 22, 2018


Advertising Age reported SAG-AFTRA called for a strike against BBH after the White advertising agency cut its ties to the actors union. Ad Age wrote that BBH argued the SAG-AFTRA contract “was outdated and not adapted to a digital-first environment.” Um, couldn’t that statement also be applied to any White advertising agency, including all BBH offices in the U.S. and beyond? It’s still odd how BBH can get away with its statements and actions when no other shops in the Publicis Groupe network have joined the contract rejection. Plus, are BBH clients approving the move? Seems like the strike is too narrowly targeted. Maybe the SAG-AFTRA could add grievances by accusing BBH of underutilizing actors of color.

SAG-AFTRA calls for strike against BBH, alleging ‘exploitative practices’

By I-Hsien Sherwood

The national board of actors union SAG-AFTRA voted unanimously today to authorize a strike against BBH. The union is instructing its members not to work for the agency, which employs on-air talent in its work for clients like Sony, Amazon, Google and Netflix. Among other complaints, SAG-AFTRA has accused BBH of paying as little as $150 to union members who auditioned with a live bear, according to Variety.

The move comes two weeks after BBH itself ended its nearly 20-year relationship with the union. “BBH’s decision to abandon their commitment and responsibilities to our collective bargaining agreement by shooting non-union is not only unethical, it undermines a working actor’s right to fair wages, health care and on-set safety,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris in a statement Thursday.

For its part, BBH says the agreement was outdated and not adapted to a digital-first environment, where social media personalities can often make more popular content than paid performers. The agency “is not well-served by a contract that was designed for a traditional media landscape,” BBH posted earlier this month in an open letter to “the talented actors” who work with it, noting that “many of our peer agencies are not signatories, making it hard to compete sustainably in a way that benefits our clients.”

In response, SAG-AFTRA has pointed to options like the Low Budget Digital Waiver, which excuses agencies from minimum rates on productions under $50,000.

The last agency to feel the full wrath of SAG-AFTRA was Droga5 in 2015, when the union called out the agency for exploitation of talent, a charge Droga5 denied. The independent shop has never been a signatory to a contract with the union. Neither have agencies like 360i, 72andSunny, R/GA and Anomaly.

The strike is in effect only for BBH and does not include other Publicis Groupe agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett. BBH did not immediately return a request for comment.

Friday, September 21, 2018

14303: Brazilian Booze BS.

This Brazilian campaign encourages coping with everyday hassles by resorting to booze—which will then allow the hackneyed creative team to come up with Alcoholics Anonymous advertising campaigns to counter the effects.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

14302: Papa Don’t Preach.

It’s been tough to keep up with the rash of reactive stunts involving Papa John’s in recent weeks. Here are highlights of the bitter ingredients, bitter pizza:

• Advertising Age reported executives at the pizza company underwent “unconscious bias” training, with plans to roll out the reprogramming initiative across the workforce. Um, shouldn’t it be anti-unconscious bias training? Otherwise, it sounds like employees are being trained to display unconsciousness in their biases—which would qualify former Papa John’s Chairman John Schnatter to serve as an expert instructor.

• Speaking of Schnatter, he refuses to go away, despite having resigned his leadership position. He launched a website to rally the troops by declaring “I Am Papa John.” Okay, but his image and likeness are being removed from Papa John’s advertising, promotions, in-store signage, POP, pizza boxes, etc. Hell, Peyton Manning probably isn’t returning his calls too. What’s more, a shareholder sued the company, charging “it misled investors by failing to disclose inappropriate behavior by its executives.” Will customers also request refunds upon learning the pizza maker was/is run by bad boys?

• New advertising agency Endeavor initially produced a lame video with typing text, which felt impersonal and lacking accountability. Endeavor CMO Bozoma Saint James tweeted that she would hold Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie accountable for improving the pizza company’s culture. This was a unique—and perhaps unprecedented—twist in reality, as an advertising agency urged a client to act inclusively.

• Endeavor followed through with another lame idea, producing a campaign starring diverse Papa John’s franchisees and employees. Sorry, but better inclusiveness does not lead to better pizza. Another rebranding move involved redesigning the logo and removing the apostrophe. So now there’s bad behavior and bad grammar.

• Still no word from Casey Wasserman, who pledged in July “to go on the record and refute” the charges of extortion and other gripes that Schnatter leveled at former AOR Laundry Service. The company that tried to counsel Schnatter on media relations continues to show a lack of expertise in the area.

In the end, is the erasure of Schnatter as mascot an overreaction? After all, it’s more common for racist mascots to simply get a new hairdo or C-suite office.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

14301: Virginia Is For Liars.

Adweek published a lengthy report on The Martin Agency applying a fresh spin on the classic “Virginia Is For Lovers” tourism campaign. Hey, wonder what unexpected twist former CCO Joe Alexander would’ve put on the line. An Associate Creative Director who worked on the concept explained, “We wanted to talk about some of the bigger topics that we’re grappling with in society right now, finding stories about race, about socioeconomics and about sexual identity, but also tell those in a real, human and thoughtful way.” Once again, it’s pretty hypocritical to pontificate on issues that are being avoided in one’s own hallways—and have a client pay you to do it too. Adweek wrote, “The campaign is also notable for its portrayal of groups historically underrepresented in advertising.” Hey, The Martin Agency is notable for its denial of groups historically underrepresented in advertising too.

The Martin Agency Redefines ‘Virginia Is For Lovers’ Nearly 50 Years After Its Inception

The new tagline focuses ‘everyone’ and the challenges people overcome together

By Erik Oster

Developed almost 50 years ago when the agency was still known as Martin & Woltz Inc., The Martin Agency’s “Virginia is for lovers” has stood the test of time, becoming one of the most iconic tourism slogans ever created.

Virginia Tourism Corporation moved its account to BCF in 2006, but in the wake of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville that ended in violence during the summer of 2017, The Martin Agency transformed its iconic tagline into “Virginia is for everyone” and added the hashtag #StandForLove in a message that ran across social media, a homepage takeover and a sign outside the agency’s headquarters.

Virginia Tourism Corporation then returned its account to The Martin Agency last December for an assignment that began at the start of the year.

The Martin Agency has introduced the next evolution of “Virginia is for lovers,” with a new campaign entitled “LoveShare,” which brings together different groups of real people for a variety of scenarios grappling with issues of race, sexual identity and class.

“Seeing what happened in Charlottesville last year … We wanted the chance to get that message out there and let people know that is not what this place stands for,” The Martin Agency associate creative director Mik Manulik told Adweek.

“Virginia Tourism, in terms of how they approach what love means and what that tagline means, is looking to redefine those things,” added fellow associate creative director Scot Crooker. “To be able to do what we’re doing with this client—as we’re redefining ourselves, as the entire industry is trying to redefine itself—is all pretty great.”

Broadcast spots will roll out this month locally in strategic locations on the eastern seaboard while long-form ads online will delve more deeply into the individual stories. The campaign also encompasses print and social media components.

“Jena and John” features an interracial couple whose families take a vacation for the first time together. While showcasing the families bonding over food and a tour of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, the spot transcends typical tourism advertising with an honest look at the dynamics of the families, such as when Jena’s mother expresses that she was initially concerned over how her grandchildren might be treated.

Another ad, “Jared and John,” shows a son reconnecting with his father over Chesapeake Bay oysters after years apart, dealing with the difficulties in their relationship following Jared coming out to his father.

A third, considerably less dramatic ad, follows the meeting between a sommelier and a grape grower.

“It’s a very different tourism campaign,” Virginia Tourism Commission president and CEO Rita McClenny told Adweek. “I’ve never seen a tourism campaign that has focused on people that have been put together in circumstances that are meant to solve something,” and audiences are “meant to think about why they’re together.”

She explained that Virginia saw a lot of tourism from repeat visitors who tended to be older, and the campaign was aimed at a younger demographic.

It was also a chance, Manulik explained, to “revisit” The Martin Agency’s iconic tagline nearly 50 years after its inception and define what it means in 2018.

“When you get to talk about love, define what that is, it makes sense to represent a place that’s inclusive and loving,” Crooker said. “There’s a lot more to Virginia than those things that might be topical out there.”

“We wanted to talk about some of the bigger topics that we’re grappling with in society right now, finding stories about race, about socioeconomics and about sexual identity, but also tell those in a real, human and thoughtful way,” Manulik said. “We wanted to present a fair and real statement of these people and how they’re finding love in these issues and these divisions … and view that in a way that I don’t think is talked about enough in a genuine and authentic manner,” while also “showing how it’s the simple things, like really good food and good drink that can bring people together.”

Manulik said that the authenticity of the ads derived, in part, from the decision by the agency and Virginia Tourism to follow them through and “not steer [the ads] to the conclusion that we wanted.”

He explained that the agency “searched very hard for people with “complicated, very human stories and let those stories play out on camera,” adding that “there was a balance between keeping it authentic and genuine while also keeping it compelling. We found stories that we believed in and let those stories lead the process.”

“The hope and the belief was that [if] we bring these people here and immerse them in some of the things that make us human … we felt pretty confident that it was going to do something for the people involved,” Crooker said. “We felt like this is a chance to prove what it means to say ‘Virginia is for lovers’ versus talking about it.”

The campaign is also notable for its portrayal of groups historically underrepresented in advertising.

“When you talk about the question of the interracial couple and how race is dealt with in our country, that seems to be the preeminent issue of our society, so that was pretty natural,” Crooker said. “There’s been a lot of conversation about race but to be able to have that conversation within a tighter family unit is a much more interesting way to be able to … explore how we all interact with it.”

“Conversations about race and sexual identity and socioeconomics are more prevalent than ever,” he continued. “I think all of us are taking a step back and thinking about these things in a more serious manner. To do that, even in our industry, is important.”

The campaign’s social initiatives aim to spread the inclusive message further, and the hope is that there are many more “LoveShare” stories to tell.

“This is just the beginning, hopefully, of a much bigger, longer conversation,” Crooker said.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

14300: I Scream For Peace.

This campaign from India seems to think murder, war and nuclear Armageddon can be avoided with ice cream. Hey, for President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, it might actually work.

14299: Plain Jane Pontification.

Adweek published divertsity dimwittedness from Jane Smith CEO and CCO Alisha Goldstein, who stumbled into “5 Steps for Instilling a Diverse Culture in Your Agency.” Goldstein declared, “The need for diversity is not new to our industry, but our definition should be.” Yes, rejiggering the definition allows White people in adland to skirt around the dearth of racial and ethnic diversity—and instead promote White women, diversity of thought, diversity of experience, diversity of house pets, etc. Goldstein proudly presented her “strategies for nurturing (and amplifying) a diverse group of voices” as follows: 1) Mentor; 2) Encourage debate; 3) Celebrate successes; 4) Give constructive feedback and; 5) Learn from your team. Um, shouldn’t a competent leader already be doing these things naturally? Oh, wait a minute—“competent” and “leader” are two terms that rarely coexist with White people in the advertising industry. It’s always amazing how common sense and common knowledge are trumpeted as breakthrough thinking by folks who had previously never given a thought to the issue of inclusiveness. BTW, the Jane Smith leadership displays Jane Doe diversity.

5 Steps for Instilling a Diverse Culture in Your Agency

It needs to go further than the steps taken in recruitment

By Alisha Goldstein

If innovation is the brains behind a modern global agency, then diversity is certainly its heart.

As my startup has grown, I’ve come to realize that a commitment to culture is just as important as a commitment to clients. And I have seen firsthand how diversity can drive innovation and creativity.

The need for diversity is not new to our industry, but our definition should be. Like many entrepreneurs, my own definition of diversity was initially too narrow, focusing solely on inherent traits such as race and gender. Instead, teams also require acquired diversity—traits gained through experience, such as cross-functional and international experiences—to fuel dynamic engagement among team members, drive innovation and potential and stimulate ideas that can stand out in the current complex media landscape.

A 2017 survey of 171 companies by the Boston Consulting Group agrees, finding “a clear relationship between the diversity of companies’ management teams and the revenues they get from innovative products and services.” The innovation boost isn’t limited to a single type of diversity, the study notes. “The presence of managers who are female or from other countries, industries or companies can cause an increase in innovation.”

To quote Steve Jobs, “The more varied the input, the more original the output.”

But hiring alone isn’t enough. It’s also important to focus on encouraging and rewarding individual growth and promoting teamwork across the board. This approach is key to creating a non-competitive, supportive work atmosphere where all employees have each other’s back and where managers actively mentor and encourage advancement.

To that end, here are my strategies for nurturing (and amplifying) a diverse group of voices.


As a creative leader, it is necessary to develop talent through mentorship. To me, that means challenging each individual to break out of their comfort zones, pushing them and their potential into new territories and expecting growth and self-sufficiency at all levels. Regular and proactive reviews are a great way to monitor accomplishment.

Encourage debate

Invest in team building and create opportunities for everyone at all levels to have an opinion. Brainstorms both with and without leadership are important. Know that fostering a high degree of trust will allow you to perform better and more productively, with more knowledge sharing and innovation.

Celebrate successes

Acknowledge the success of the individual as well as the team to build confidence, trust and moral. Celebrating and rewarding good work is a big part of encouraging and ultimately achieving both individual and company growth. Leaders should never be threatened by their team’s successes—giving credit and accolades for a job well done should be a pleasure and is a sign of the leader’s success as well.

Give constructive feedback

Not every idea is going to work. Take time on even the busiest projects to give feedback on why an idea or approach didn’t quite work. Sometimes the process is as important as the idea and is often overlooked. Offering feedback on efficiency and approach to process is valuable, especially in a service business, and includes all team members in achieving our goals.

Learn from your team

As agency leaders, it is our job to seek out, observe, absorb and digest new thinking and perspectives. As entrepreneurs, we know we don’t get it right every day and that there is always a lot to learn. I quickly figured out that my team is a limitless resource offering incredibly valuable insight.

Simply put: Diversity propels innovative thinking, and globalization demands it. Creating a culture of difference is no longer a choice but a requirement to building a modern global business.

Alisha Goldstein is the founder, CEO and CCO of Jane Smith.

Monday, September 17, 2018

14298: Kauffman KO’d.

Adweek reported on MDC Partners CEO Scott Kauffman’s inevitable “stepping down” after three years on the job—to which the industry responded with a collective shrug. Kauffman assumed the role after predecessor Miles Nadal was exposed as a multi-million-dollar crook, and things sorta went downhill from there. For example, Kauffman announced the holding company’s “unacceptable” 2018 Q1 results, leading to the firings of top executives just before the Q2 report. Plus, some of the most scandalous lawsuits involving sexual harassment happened under Kauffman’s watch. Regarding diversity in advertising, however, Kauffman talked tough and appeared to be a potential proponent for change. “I’m intolerant of intolerance,” declared Kauffman. “We are on a journey that is not going to end, at least as long as I’m on this planet.” Well, he’s still on the planet, but no longer with a position of power in the ad world.

MDC Partners CEO Scott Kauffman Is Stepping Down After 3 Years

Board of directors begins search for new chief

By Erik Oster

Scott Kauffman is stepping down as chairman and CEO of MDC Partners, roles he has held since 2015. Kauffman previously served as presiding director of the board, beginning in 2006.

The board of directors has started a search for a new chairman and chief executive and entered into a succession agreement with Kauffman, who will step down by the end of the year. He will remain on MDC Partners’ board through the end of his current term in June 2019. Prior to the succession, Kauffman will continue to receive his base salary and benefits but will not be eligible for an annual bonus for the 2018 calendar year or any additional incentives. Within 60 days of the succession date, he will receive a lump sum payment of $3,600,000.

“We appreciate Scott’s efforts to lead MDC during a challenging transition time for the Company and the industry,” Larry Kramer, chairman of MDC’s HR & compensation committee, said in a statement.

Kramer stated that Kauffman has advanced MDC Partners’ “offerings in data and technology, demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion and put in place a foundation that we believe sets our agencies up for success going forward” and that “his commitment to stay on as we conduct this search ensures continuity and stability for our agencies, our talent and our clients as we begin our next chapter.”

“As we look ahead, our board is fully committed to creating and delivering value to our shareholders,” he added. “The person we identify to lead MDC going forward will share that deep commitment, with a focus on delivering the most innovative and creative business solutions to our growing client roster.”

MDC declined to comment beyond the statement.

“This is the right time for me to transition back to the board, and I look forward to supporting our partners, the executive team and my colleagues throughout this process to ensure that we have the stability and continuity necessary for success,” Kauffman said.

The move follows MDC Partners reporting “poor” results for the first half of the year in an August earnings call, which was accompanied by a promise to reduce costs. It also comes in the wake of the July departure of CMO Bob Kantor and other corporate executives. In May, MDC Partners’ stock fell 35 percent in the wake of a first-quarter earnings report that Kauffman called “unacceptable.”

Last February, Goldman Sachs invested $95 million in the company three months after its stock dropped 60 percent upon news that it would not hit its quarterly revenue goals.

Kauffman succeeded company founder Miles Nadal, who resigned amid a 2015 SEC investigation into his finances and later agreed to repay more than $20 million.

MDC Partners agencies include CP+B, 72andSunny, Anomaly, Doner, Assembly and several others.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

14297: Delayed WTF 42—Havashit.

MultiCultClassics is often occupied with real work. As a result, a handful of events occur without the expected blog commentary. This limited series—Delayed WTF—seeks to make belated amends for the absence of malice.

Advertising Age spotlighted a Havas video featuring leaders from the White advertising agency referring to BBDO, FCB and Leo Burnett as “shitty agencies”—which is essentially the port-a-potty calling the kettle black. Havas Creative North America CEO and Chairman Paul Marobella and Chief Creative Officer and Chairman Jason Peterson contended the other shitty shops were not competitors; rather, the real competition is “kids with iPhones and millions of YouTube followers.” Okay, but Havas isn’t even capable of competing with BBDO, FCB and Leo Burnett, so facing off against iPhone-packing wunderkinds is an even greater challenge for the creatively-challenged outhouse. Oh, and the animated poop emojis probably make Marobella and Petersen appear old and outdated to their kiddie opponents. However, the images feel really appropriate on their empty noggins—they’re the crowned creators of crap. The video was intended to be an internal communication, avoiding companywide emails that suck, according to Messrs. Marobella and Petersen. Um, mission not accomplished. As the old ad saying goes, “Today’s layout is tomorrow’s toilet paper.”

Saturday, September 15, 2018

14296: Booby Bouquet.

This AstraZeneca advertisement from Egypt was explained as follows:

Creative Concept for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals to breast cancer and ovarian cancer to show that this portfolio gives women new hope. The concept and the art direction show the most things that women love and that are the flowers and the portfolio presented in a bouquet of flowers in the form of the woman's body, especially the breast and ovaries, which explains that the portfolio blooms these areas again.

Um, it also shows that pharma advertising sucks worldwide.

Friday, September 14, 2018

14295: DMA MIA.

Adweek reported on the latest legal lunacy starring former CP+B CCO Ralph Watson and Diet Madison Avenue. A lawyer representing the DMA crew—courtesy of TIME’S UP—believes the pseudo-whistleblowers won’t lose their anonymity, despite Watson and his legal team serving subpoenas to Facebook and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) for the true identities. At the same time, at least one DMA member is resorting to legal maneuvers allegedly involving seeking additional counsel, presumably to stall matters. No word if the second law firm being tapped by the DMA member will be funded by TIME’S UP—but it’s safe to say the GoFundMe donation drive won’t cover the counsel costs. Whatever. In the end, the DMA crew’s identities aren’t really the main legal point. Rather, the focus should be on deciding whether or not the DMA crew engaged in defamation that led to Watson’s termination. Ironically, the advertising industry has always been skilled at bending the truth and dodging legal accountability—and it looks like DMA is showing its advertising experience.

Diet Madison Avenue’s Lawyer Explains Why He Doesn’t Believe the Group Will Be Unmasked

Defamation suit leads to battle over Instagram subpoena

By Patrick Coffee

The next phase in a legal battle that could have ramifications well beyond the ad industry unfolded in recent weeks as Diet Madison Avenue, the Instagram account that rattled the agency world earlier this year by accusing several male executives of sexual harassment, retained a legal team dedicated to defending its members’ anonymity in court.

The case has sparked intense debate about balancing an individual’s right to personal privacy in the social media era with the rights of the accused to defend themselves and use the legal system to out their accusers.

Diet Madison Avenue’s attempt to have a May defamation suit filed by former CP+B CCO Ralph Watson dismissed raises opposing questions: If it succeeds, will other people feel empowered to post unproven accusations against public figures? If it fails, will future whistleblowers be discouraged from coming forward?

One of the lawyers representing Diet Madison Avenue thinks the group is on solid legal ground, despite widespread speculation that its members would be unmasked after the judge overseeing the case approved a request to serve subpoenas to Facebook and Google’s parent company, Alphabet. The ultimate goal of that request was to reveal the identities of the two Jane Does named as defendants in the suit, along with other collaborators behind DMA’s Instagram and Gmail accounts.

“I feel good about DMA’s position at this point,” said A. Louis Dorny, a partner at San Francisco-based law firm Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, “strongly” disagreeing with those who think the subpoena will force Instagram and Gmail to reveal the people behind the account. “In layman’s terms, the judge needed to authorize the subpoenas because there had been no appearance by defendants in the court. They don’t have to show up until they’ve been served. Watson is in a precarious procedural posture.”

Get ready for a long legal showdown

Dorny and his partner, Elizabeth Vanalek, made a special appearance on behalf of Jane Doe 1 in L.A. County Superior Court on Aug. 21. They successfully applied to extend the subpoena so their client could seek additional counsel, all but ensuring a lengthy legal showdown. Dorny confirmed that Jane Doe 1 has hired a second law firm but declined to name it.

A GoFundMe page set up to support DMA’s legal defense raised less than $2,000 of its $100,000 goal. But Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, a network of attorneys and PR professionals established by the National Women’s Law Center earlier this year to handle workplace sexual harassment claims, agreed to take the case, confirmed group director Sharyn Tejani in a statement.

Dorny, who is among a group of more than 800 attorneys who signed up to work with Time’s Up, told Adweek that his firm is handling the defense on a pro bono basis.

Diet Madison Avenue created a firestorm in the agency world in January, when it started publicly accusing prominent men of sexual harassment or other offenses with varying degrees of specificity. The original Instagram account accumulated more than 15,000 followers, and its posts preceded or coincided with the firings of top executives at Wieden + Kennedy, Droga5, Publicis and other agencies. The account shut down immediately after news broke of Watson’s lawsuit. (Soon after, a new account with the same name went live.)

The anonymous people behind the account earned support from those who said they were helping expose a longstanding undercurrent of misogyny in the advertising industry. They also drew the ire of critics who questioned the legality of the claims, most of which were posted with no supporting evidence or named accusers.

Will Diet Madison Avenue be revealed?

In May, Watson sued DMA, along with the two Jane Does, for defamation over a January Instagram Stories post that described him as a “predator” who had “targeted and groomed” young women. He later filed a second suit against his former employer and its parent company, accusing them of wrongful termination and reverse sex discrimination.

Dorny, the lawyer for Diet Madison Avenue, said “defamation cases are very hard” to prosecute in California and elsewhere. “You need very specific facts, and here I don’t think Mr. Watson has them. He has dressed up a complaint that he wants to be an online defamation compliant, but like so many cases, [it is] in fact a pretext to spook people into silence—and that’s not going to happen here.”

He said the legal team representing Jane Doe 1 will bring a motion to quash the subpoena this week. If successful, it would prevent Facebook and Alphabet from handing over the names and addresses associated with the Diet Madison Avenue account. Dorny said he hopes the judge will act to “protect the identities of people exercising their constitutional right to speak and to speak anonymously.”

Attorney Michael Ayotte, who represents Watson, believes there’s precedent for the court to honor his request to name the accusers. He cited language from Judge Monica Bachner’s order, which stated that Ayotte had good cause to request the subpoena and “demonstrated a prima facie case of defamation,” conditionally sufficient to “compel disclosure of the identities of the anonymous individuals behind Diet Madison Avenue.”

“The issue has already been resolved and no valid grounds exist to quash the subpoenas,” Ayotte told Adweek, speaking on behalf of himself and his client.

Dorny confirmed that his firm “has had communications with Facebook, Instagram and Google” but declined to elaborate. The social platforms themselves didn’t have much to say.

“We respond to valid legal requests but don’t comment on specific cases,” said an Instagram spokesperson, who directed Adweek to its terms and conditions page. Google representatives did not respond to an email requesting comment.

A spokesperson for CP+B declined to comment on the case. Adweek sent a direct message to Diet Madison Avenue’s existing Instagram account but has not received a reply.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

14294: BBH BK BS.

Campaign reported on a new Burger King campaign from BBH London, who “won” the account sans a pitch. The dreadful work stars BK UK CEO Alasdair Murdoch promoting a contest that invites people to post videos of themselves eating and reviewing an imaginary sandwich. Wow, what a breakthrough concept. Is BBH London following the lead of its U.S. sister shops by refusing to hire union talent for advertising? Will BBH even bother showing up to review the entries?

Burger King hands UK creative to BBH without a pitch

Bartle Bogle Hegarty has created a competition-led campaign for Burger King, after the agency was appointed to the fast food brand’s UK creative account earlier this year without a pitch.

By Simon Gwynn

The win sees the Publicis Groupe agency once again involved in the fast food sector, after KFC moved its creative account from BBH to Mother last year.

BBH was approached after a change of management at Burger King UK by private equity group Bridgepoint Capital, which acquired the franchise late last year.

Burger King’s UK chief executive, Alasdair Murdoch, who features in its campaign, and marketing director Katie Evans joined the business in February. Evans took over from Renato Rossi, who moved to Miami to lead marketing for the brand in North America.

Evans was previously marketing director at upmarket rival Gourmet Burger Kitchen.

The brand is today launching “The opportunity you haven’t been waiting for”, a nationwide search for the first person to try the new Crispy Chicken Burger. Playing with the apparently poor perception of the chicken options in Burger King, the contest will pay the (un)lucky winner £20,000 for trying the product.

Murdoch himself announces the search in a video and post on LinkedIn.

The campaign was created by Fred Rodwell and Andy Parsons at BBH, and runs across online display, social, press and out of home. To enter, consumers have to post a video of themselves eating, and giving a review of, an imaginary Crispy Chicken burger, with the hashtag #20Kfirstbite.

On top of the cash prize, the winner will also appear in the first TV ad from BBH, which will launch on 3 October.

Evans said: “We are delighted to have BBH on board. Their inspiring portfolio of work and experience in our sector gives us real confidence that they understand our brand challenge and how we need to engage and resonate to build brand growth in the UK.”

Ian Heartfield, chief creative officer at BBH added: “The chance to rebuild an iconic brand, one that’s famous for ground-breaking, disruptive work, is every agency’s dream brief. We’re pumped that Burger King have chosen us to help reinvent their entire customer journey, and bring the fight to the McOpposition.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

14293: Mind Your Weight.

This is your brain on pharma advertising. CONTRAVE® presents a bizarre visual metaphor in its commercial. Oh, and the weight-loss drug features potential side effects including nausea, constipation, headache and vomiting—which can perhaps help reduce your weight further.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

14292: STEM Sell.

Advertising Age published sponsored content from the Ad Council, featuring an interview with partners of the new She Can STEM campaign. While the She Can STEM website displays diversity, the partners spotlighted by Ad Age (depicted above) display divertsity. Hey, let’s encourage all girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and math. Pursuing a career in advertising and marketing, however, is an exclusive endeavor.

Monday, September 10, 2018

14291: Innocean Not Innocent…?

Adweek published a lengthy report on two more women filing lawsuits against Innocean, doubling the number of legal actions experienced by the White advertising agency this year. However, one of the new suits involves alleged woman-on-woman violations. So at least Innocean is showing a diversity of discriminatory deeds. Other charges include a “rowdy college fraternity” culture, where former CCO Eric Springer introduced a “Velvet Hammer” award that some employees deemed offensive. Um, most employees prefer performance bonuses—even in the form of Target gift cards. And now, certain women might receive cash awards in the form of settlements, bringing fresh meaning to the phrase, “Hammer Time.”

2 More Women Sue Innocean, Alleging Wrongful Termination and Discrimination

4 suits have been filed against agency in past year

By Patrick Coffee

Two women formerly employed by Hyundai’s ad agency Innocean USA filed suit last month against the company in California’s Orange County Superior Court, seeking damages and jury trials.

Their claims include negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, wrongful termination, gender discrimination and statutory assault and battery. When combined with two earlier suits reported by Adweek in March, four women have now sued the agency over the past year.

Innocean’s lawyers have not filed a response in either case. “Innocean does not comment on active litigation,” said a company representative.

‘A rowdy college fraternity’

Lawyers for Carol Lombard Seelig, the agency’s former vp and director of integrated production, filed one suit on Aug. 22. It alleges that Seelig was subjected to a hostile work environment by now-former chief creative officer Eric Springer, who is named as a co-defendant in the suit. Seelig also claims that after nearly three years at the agency, she felt pushed out following a medical leave.

According to someone close to the matter, Seelig was replaced by a freelancer named Victoria Guenier, a former colleague of Springer who would later go on to sue him and Innocean for sexual harassment and wrongful termination.

Seelig, described by a former colleague as “well-liked” and respected in the industry, worked at several agencies, including David&Goliath and Y&R, before heading to Innocean in mid-2014 to lead its production team. The following year, she was diagnosed with Laing distal myopathy, a genetic muscle disorder that affects one’s mobility.

The suit claims Innocean’s culture “rapidly devolved into that of a rowdy college fraternity” after the agency brought on Springer as CCO in January 2016 “despite the fact that he was generally known within the advertising industry as a bully.” It alleges that Seelig and other employees were “pressured to engage in excessive alcohol use” at events, that Springer repeatedly demeaned her by loudly demanding that she explain why she had to walk with a crutch, and that he had a habit of making “demeaning comments about women generally.”

Specifically, the suit mentions the internal Velvet Hammer award, which Springer created soon after taking the job and allegedly named in reference to a slang term describing a sexual act. (Urban Dictionary lists several definitions, ranging from a sex act to a female leader who is good at her job).

A former Innocean employee told Adweek the award was “supposed to recognize those who had gone above and beyond to push through innovative work.” The object itself, which stood on display in the office lobby, consisted of an upside-down purple hammer. Adweek’s source and the lawsuit claim that multiple employees, including Seelig, objected to the award as a sexist, phallic symbol and suggested its name and appearance be changed.

A party close to the agency provided the image below.

According to the suit, Springer did not respond well to this criticism and “retaliated against [Seelig]” by changing her job duties to require more travel in addition to “demand[ing] that she attend an all-night production immediately prior to a business trip to Chicago.”

Seelig claims she reported this incident to HR, which declined to investigate. She went on short-term disability leave in May 2016 to seek treatment for her condition and eventually resigned from Innocean in February 2017 “due to the hostile work environment imposed upon” her, according to the suit.

Springer declined to comment for this story. He and the agency agreed to part ways after the Guenier case was settled in July.

Seelig is asking for unspecified damages due to emotional distress, disability discrimination and negligence.

Allegations of assault and battery

Lawyers representing Innocean’s former media investment supervisor Joan Veronica Baker also filed a lawsuit in the same court on Aug. 17. It names the agency, its South Korean parent company, and vp, director of media consolidation Rebecca Rogers as defendants, accusing Rogers of a range of violations.

In the lawsuit, Baker says the agency hired her in November 2016 and concealed the fact that it only intended to bring her on for a short-term project and “work [her] intensively” before treating her as an “expendable” asset.

The suit also claims that Rogers, Baker’s manager, forced her to work until midnight and on weekends and later “embarked on a vicious campaign to drive [her] out from the company.” It describes three alleged instances of abuse, including one in which the vp “forcefully grabbed [Baker’s] arm, swung [her] around in her seat” and yelled, “This isn’t your meeting!” during a conference room gathering attended by agency and department leaders. The suit makes the case that the September 2017 episode amounted to statutory assault and battery.

Rogers declined to comment, citing ongoing litigation.

Baker reported Rogers to HR and requested a transfer multiple times during the 15 months she spent at Innocean. In the suit, she alleges that HR promised to send Rogers to management classes but didn’t as the intimidation and bullying escalated.

Baker went on medical leave for anxiety attacks, headaches and asthma in March 2018 after Innocean USA CEO Steve Jun refused a final transfer request, according to the legal filing. She felt “forced to resign” the following month “in an effort to preserve her mental and physical well-being as well as to avoid having further interact [sic] with Rogers,” the suit states.

The document posits that the company would have “certainly taken immediate disciplinary action” had Baker’s supervisor been a man rather than a woman.

A time of transition

According to a source close to the agency, Innocean leadership sent out an email this week asking employees to refrain from discussing the lawsuits with journalists or other outside parties.

The law firms representing Seelig and Baker have not returned phone calls seeking comment.

Contacts at Innocean’s corporate headquarters in Seoul, South Korea have not responded to multiple emails regarding the cases filed against the agency’s U.S. subsidiary over the past year.

After Adweek broke the news of the suit pending against Innocean in March, the agency launched an internal investigation and hired The 3% Movement, a for-profit group that conducts internal evaluations of agencies based on gender and racial diversity, maternity leave policies and other factors, then provides certifications based on certain benchmarks.

“3% is actively engaged with Innocean in 3% Certification through a time of transition,” said founder and CEO Kat Gordon. “Our priority is in helping amplify the voice of employees about what is working and what needs to change. We’re heartened by efforts on that front.”

The previous suits filed against Innocean within the past year are now closed. Lawyers for Victoria Guenier, who accused Springer and the agency of sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination, reached a settlement in July. Onetime account director Catherine Bennett, who claimed she was wrongfully fired after reporting former vp of customer relations management Michael Sachs for harassment, filed a notice of settlement in her case on June 27.

“Regarding the Catherine Bennett matter, it has been resolved,” said an agency spokesperson.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

14290: Reading Rhetoric.

Advertising Age reported new WPP CEO Mark Read declared the White holding company must have stronger businesses delivering “better work, better strategy, better reputations.” Gee, the guy sounds like Papa John’s. And like the pizza maker, Read avoided discussing diversity during his first call with investors and analysts as the official chief executive—which was a missed opportunity, as WPP being “perhaps the most diverse example of diversity of any single organisation” is one of the few bragging points left. Meanwhile, Sir Martin Sorrell couldn’t avoid commenting on Read’s promotion, calling the succession process “a complete waste of time” given that the selection of a White man was a done deal. Plus, Sorrell insisted the CEO role should be shared between Read and Andrew Scott. Leave it to a Napoleonic narcissist to believe two men should replace half a man. Actually, Read did comment on diversity of talent in regards to recent hires. According to Ad Age, “[Read] also said the group needs to hire a different mix of talent, perhaps people who have consultancy experience and who understand how both agencies and technology work. He mentioned major new hires that had experience at Accenture and Deloitte Digital.” Okay, but Accenture and Deloitte are not exactly meccas of diversity. And Read—like his predecessor—is not exactly a defender of diversity.

WPP’s Read calls for ‘better work, better strategy and better reputations’ from creative shops

By Megan Graham

On Mark Read’s second official day of work as the new chief of WPP, he fielded questions from investors and analysts about his vision for the company and how the company will face increased competition from consultants and clients bringing their accounts in house. The world’s largest holding company saw shares tumble upon its second quarter earnings Tuesday.

WPP posted organic growth of 0.7 percent in the second quarter, but reduced its margin guidance for the year as it plans to spend more to spur growth. Read said the company is reviewing strategy as it pertains to structure, underperforming operations and how WPP will position itself for the future, and said that the company will issue updates by the end of the year.

“We’ve had one quarter of growth,” Read said on a call with U.S. analysts, saying this was the company’s first quarter of like-for-like net sales growth since the first quarter in 2017. “It’s too early to declare victory, though it is a positive step.”

Read said the company’s priorities lie in strengthening its creative agencies (saying “We need to have stronger businesses with better work, better strategy, better reputations as well as ensure that those companies have the capabilities that they need to grow”), as well as in data investment management. WPP will also focus on improving its performance in North America. The region saw like-for-like net sales decline by 3.3 percent in the second quarter.

“Changes seem inevitable, with fewer agency brands, for example, and some kind of change to the way in which Kantar is situated within WPP seems likely too, especially considering the expected auction for Kantar’s direct competitor Nielsen,” Pivotal senior analyst Brian Wieser wrote in a research note.

“However, we think that growth will mostly be a function of execution in adapting to evolving client needs with investments around internal and external e-commerce, data and consumer experience-focused capabilities,” Wieser wrote. “We think it is particularly positive for WPP that its new CEO has extensive experience in these areas, which should be helpful for the company as it evolves going forward.”

In a research note, Liberum Capital said it “would not expect a revolution in its approach nor a breakup, but we would expect a significant evolution.”

The note added that WPP’s claim it will address underperforming units raises the possibility the holding company may look to dispose of “at least significant parts of its Market Research (what it calls Data Investment) assets.”

This “would have the dual benefit of both improving the stated performance of the group and essentially resolving any balance sheet concerns, thus allowing WPP greater flexibility to drive growth,” the note said.

Analysts asked on the call how the company is thinking about competition from consultancies like Accenture and Deloitte, which are increasingly sparring against traditional agencies for pieces of business. Some clients are also bringing business in-house that was traditionally relegated to their agencies.

Read said WPP needs to understand how to implement marketing technology to help clients develop programs that run through from strategy, creative and execution of technology. He also said the group needs to hire a different mix of talent, perhaps people who have consultancy experience and who understand how both agencies and technology work. He mentioned major new hires that had experience at Accenture and Deloitte Digital.

Read also defended agencies’ ability to do much of that work better than consultancies.

“The value of our business is the ability to generate ideas to inspire consumers, to develop visions around how companies can grow, and I do think that agencies are better qualified to do that than consultants that tend to write hypotheses at the beginning of the project then spend the next three months proving the conclusion they’d come to at the start of the process.”

He added that WPP’s agencies need to be more amenable to working onsite with their clients.

“It’s something where historically agencies have been reluctant to let people work outside their operations and the consulting firms have been more familiar to do that,” he said. “I’d like to see any of our clients looking to outsource anything to consultants or bring them in-house — they should have a conversation with us. I think we can very effectively develop solutions with them … I think it’s an opportunity for us if we do it correctly.”