Monday, December 31, 2018

14435: C’MON WHITE MAN! Episode 54—The Year In Review.

(MultiCultClassics credits ESPN’s C’MON MAN! for sparking this semi-regular blog series.)

MultiCultClassics proudly presents 2018 White Man of the Year honors, saluting a variety of advertising industry figures whose conscious and unconscious biases perpetuate exclusivity, preclude inclusivity and prohibit progress.

• Former DDB New York Chief Digital Officer Joe Cianciotto leads the list for allegedly acting as an anti-gay asshole.

• Grey London CEO Leo Rayman declared the results of the IPA Diversity Report were bogus and claimed, “The IPA relies on honesty from agencies for its Diversity Study, but too many still insist on guessing their numbers, and some even willfully make them up to make themselves look better.” Such a paradox when an adman honestly concedes honesty can’t be expected in adland.

• Grey Worldwide CCO John Patroulis offered more honesty by saying, “If we’re honest about one of the barriers to diversity in creative departments, it’s socioeconomic.” Yet Patroulis honestly doesn’t recognize the socioeconomic barrier is rooted in White privilege versus Black disadvantage.

• Former Dr Pepper executive Justin Whitehead allegedly sexually assaulted a former Initiative associate director during a 2017 happy-hour event. Honestly, Whitehead should stick to drinking Dr Pepper.

• In 2006, MultiCultClassics called out Brownstein Group President and CEO Marc Brownstein for his cultural cluelessness on diversity and inclusion. Roughly 12 years later, Brownstein Group launched BG20 X 2020, a program designed to boost the shop’s minority representation to 20% by 2020. Sorry, but BG is 100% BS in 2018.

• Former AKQA ECD Wayne Deakin diversified divertsity with neurodiversity—calling his group the “invisible minority” in adland. Um, get in the invisible line, Invisible Man.

• Wieden + Kennedy Copywriter Chase Zreet scored his job by producing and performing in a rap video to show off his mad copy skills. Now that’s suck up!

John Winsor pontificated on how to save White holding companies from becoming irrelevant. Hey, Winsor is an irrelevant expert.

• Former PepsiCo Global Beverage Group President Brad Jakeman expounded extra excuses for his cultural cluelessness. Hey, Jakeman is an irrelevant consultant.

• Former HP CMO Antonio Lucio admitted his divertsity demands to White advertising agencies didn’t help people of color—then he landed a job with Facebook, which admitted it needs to do a better job of protecting the civil rights of users. Hey, Lucio should be an irrelevant consultant.

• Former JWT Worldwide Chairman and CEO Gustavo Martinez finally separated from WPP and hopes to wind up teaching at a university. Hey, Martinez will make an irrelevant instructor.

• Global Recruiters Network Sarasota President Tony Stanol continues to be an irrelevant headhunter.

• Former U.S. Army Marketing Director James Ortiz retired after getting caught in an allegedly inappropriate tryst with a McCann executive during the long-running account review. The White advertising agency declined to officially protest the retirement.

• >we Founder Carl Martin sought to tout “the world’s most inclusive company” and stumbled by partnering with the world’s most exclusive industry.

Bob Hoffman advocated for the creativity of old people with the oldest clichés ever.

• Campbell Ewald CEO Kevin Wertz advocated for backing White women—while backing away from backing Black people.

• Former Havas Chairman Vincent Bolloré was detained by French authorities and subsequently charged with bribing African governmental officials about a decade ago. And everyone thought nepotism was his worst offense.

• Is CP+B Chief Creative Engineer Alex Bogusky the Great White Hope or the Great White Hype?

• Former CP+B CCO Ralph Watson is the Great White Man’s Hope, charging back against charges of sexual harassment.

• Former Innocean USA CCO Eric Springer tried to face his sexual-harassment accuser on Facebook—but he failed to get likes and left.

• Former Ogilvy CCO Tham Khai Meng was allegedly dumped for sexual harassment—providing an opening for a White woman to replace him as part of the PR promise he made to hire 20 females into creative leadership roles by 2020.

• Former McCann Health Global CCO Jeremy Perrott suffered the side effects of sexual harassment: loss of employment. But instead of talking to his doctor, Perrott talked to his lawyer and filed a wrongful termination lawsuit.

• Former JWT London creatives who are straight White men filed a discrimination lawsuit arguing they were fired for being straight White men.

• Former Droga5 CCO Ted Royer was allegedly fired for sexual harassment, and quickly hired to freelance for a TIME’S UP/Advertising leader.

• Former Havas North America CCO and Chairman Jason Peterson is available for freelance—and he’d fucking love to fucking serve any fucking shop fucking crazy enough to fucking tolerate his fucking bullshit. If not, fuck you, because he’s still got a million Instagram followers.

• Former VMLY&R CEO Jon Sharpe cut out after just ten weeks on the job, although he was suspended and undergoing an investigative disciplinary process from the newly-merged company. Sharpe stated, “I have resigned from VMLY&R to pursue new opportunities. I strenuously deny the reports received and have vigorously defended myself against them. I will be making no further comment at this time.” Um, did he need to make a comment at all? Nobody knows what he was strenuously denying and vigorously defending himself against.

• Initiative Global CEO Mat Baxter should be red-faced over his two-faced Facebook face slapping, where Baxter tried persuading clients to boycott the social media service. Seems Baxter didn’t realize IPG—the White holding company that owns Initiative—has been sucking face with Facebook as an investor since at least 2006, earning hundreds of millions of dollars and bold-facedly selling the service to clients.

• Former Papa John’s Mascot John Schnatter took multiple pizza pies in the face after using the N-word during a conference call with former AOR Laundry Service. Schnatter later accused Laundry Service of prompting his slur and engaging in extortion. The conference call was apparently intended to school Schnatter on PR skills. Other reports claimed Laundry Service sought to persuade Schnatter to partner with Kanye West. Hey, there’s a good idea. The leader of Wasserman—the parent company of Laundry Service—pledged to publicly refute Schnatter’s complaints, but never delivered. Schnatter also tapped Jordan Zimmerman for advice, extending his poor choices for advertising agencies. And while pursuing legal action to position himself as a victim, Schnatter admitted having NDAs with at least two women, extending his personal list of isms and character defects.

• In contrast to Schnatter, P&G Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard proved to be a PR master and grand wizard. Pritchard pumped up White women, White elders and White advertising agencies—even assigning Black projects to the latter. The man confessed to cultural cluelessness and corporate negligence concerning diversity and inclusion—as well as concealing his ethnicity and taking advantage of White privilege. Yet Pritchard still received standing ovations, stand-up praise and standard awards for being a standout—albeit confused—hypocrite.

• White men leading White holding companies held positions of notoriety in the year, starting with former MDC Partners Chairman and CEO Scott Kauffmann, who deemed his company’s performance as unacceptable. MDC Partners felt likewise about Kauffman’s performance, inspiring the man to step down from his 3-year role. The highlights of the Kauffman era include proclaiming, “I’m intolerant of intolerance” and participating in an all-White panel on diversity at Advertising Week.

• Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun unveiled Marcel, and the response was, well, Marcellish.

• IPG Chairman and CEO Michael Roth issued memos and pink slips, probably hoping to write his resignation letter sooner than later. In the meantime, his PR machine generated revisionist history and celebrated lowered expectations.

• Former WPP Overlord Sir Martin Sorrell and current WPP CEO Mark Read are the Donald Trump-Mike Pence of adland. The first guy expelled an enormous mound of excrement—replete with sex scandals, financial fuck-ups and shady behavior. The second guy exposed himself as an unqualified replacement, and his attempts to clean up the mess ultimately created a bigger pile of shit.


Sunday, December 30, 2018

14434: Media Buying Is A Terrifying And Traumatic Experience.

Confessions of a young media buyer: ‘I got PTSD’ might be the most ridiculous entry in The Confessions series at Digiday—which is saying a lot, given that the series has been consistently awful and patently pathetic.

The pitiful “young media buyer” blubbered:

I got PTSD from my old job when I left for my new one. My body didn’t know how to cope with not constantly being stressed and also being treated poorly by my boss. My old boss used me as a whipping post. If anything went wrong, I was somehow the one who got yelled at. He took all his frustration out on me. It was not fun.

Really, dude? Sounds like someone would be better suited for a career with Old Navy—sales floor, not marketing—or serving as a Walmart greeter.

First of all, PTSD is a serious condition usually resulting from experiencing a terrifying event. There might be a handful of industry figures capable of inflicting such psychological damage, but most of them have been exposed by Diet Madison Avenue and summarily fired.

Secondly, to claim a former superior “used me as a whipping post” is an improper use of a whipping post. The doofus probably meant “whipping boy”—which makes the charge even more offensive. Of course, the young media buyer will likely view this critique as a public lynching.

At Digiday, the confessors are actually crybabies.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

14433: Michael Roth’s Memo To The Troops Features Massive Poops.

IPG Chairman and CEO Michael Roth is undoubtedly crossing his fingers that he wrote his last memo for 2018—as racist and sexist scandals at the White holding company prompted continuous messages to the troops over the past years.

The latest missive was posted at AgencySpy, which kinda indicates it’s not newsworthy material. However, there were a few gems to highlight:

FCB Health was named Healthcare Network of the Year, marking the third consecutive year an IPG agency has been awarded this prestigious honor.

Okay, but McCann Health pulled the plug on its Global CCO for violating the company’s Code of Conduct, marking too many consecutive years an IPG agency has been marred by this dubious honor. And the White man refuses to go quietly too.

At our annual Women’s Breakfast in Cannes, we [celebrated] “sheroes” who have changed the world through their excellence, perseverance and passion and featured feminist icon Gloria Steinem and founder of the #MeToo movement Tarana Burke.

Yeah, and the breakfast played on while the aforementioned Code of Conduct violator was quietly banned from attending Cannes. Hell, Ms. Burke could launch a #MeToo spin-off exclusively starring victims of IPG perpetrators and predators.

None of this would be possible without the supportive and inclusive communities we have worked so hard to build. At IPG, we take diversity, equality and inclusion seriously. An environment that encourages respect and trust is paramount, especially in a world often plagued by intolerance. This year we took additional actions to ensure that our workplaces and communities remain safe spaces. We hosted our first Day of Understanding with thought leaders on D&I and participants across the network. We spoke at major industry conferences and events on topics that included upholding change, what leadership looks like in violent times, and the importance of challenging stereotypes. One-third of all the women leaders who signed up in support of Time’s Up Advertising were from IPG and IPG agencies.

Um, none of this would be necessary if IPG wasn’t such a den of deviants. The “additional actions” were probably mandated by IPG attorneys feeling overwhelmed by discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits. And the “women leaders” supporting TIME’S UP/Advertising were likely “encouraged” to do so by Roth versus drawing inspiration on their own. Finally, it’s a wonder Roth didn’t brag about being on an all-White D&I panel at Advertising Week.

Roth’s memo warrants hitting the delete button pronto.

Friday, December 28, 2018

14432: Certain Stereotypes Come From Certain Types Of People.

Campaign published ODD Strategist Arif Miah’s stereotypical rant on racial and ethnic stereotyping in advertising. No offense, but Miah failed to address the root cause of the issue: racial and ethnic underrepresentation/misrepresentation in advertising is the result of racial and ethnic underrepresentation/misrepresentation in advertising agencies. Miah also noted the Advertising Standards Authority will kick off its ban on gender-stereotyping depictions in adverts next year, and he hoped that a similar initiative would follow for racial-and-ethnic-stereotyping depictions. Yes, adland’s ruling majority will get right on it—after instituting bans for stereotypical depictions of LGBTQ, elderly, disabled, neurodiverse, conservative and house-pet-loving segments.

Advertising must take on board Raheem Sterling’s comments on race

We can do far better in how we portray people from BAME backgrounds in our campaigns.

By Arif Miah

Racism. In a post-Trump world, it’s a topic that has pervaded worldwide conversation (for the good and bad) more than many of us ever thought it would in 2018.

In the UK, the latest story that has dominated both the front and back pages of our newspapers follows reports that footballer Raheem Sterling faced racist abuse from an angry fan at the recent Chelsea vs Manchester City game.

Sterling, who stoically brushed off comments with a smile on the pitch, later took to Instagram to call out the British media and its negative portrayal of young black footballers that, in his opinion, only fuels the racist behaviour witnessed at the game.

Since then, footballing legends from John Barnes to Gary Neville have discussed the broader coverage of ethnic minorities in the press that implicitly, through language and tone, provides rich fodder for modern-day racism. And, I’m afraid to say, I agree.

But this issue is not isolated to newspapers and football. The creative industries, like many others, also have their part to play. They are guilty of failing to cast people from ethnic backgrounds in empowering roles and often presenting them as subordinate to the white protagonist. The representation is, at best, plain lazy and, at worst, a scary view into the colonial lens that still pervades our industry.

In advertising, we’re used to seeing the Asian shopkeeper or a massive Bollywood-themed party; when black people dominate ads, it’s usually in the world of streetwear, rap and bling.

In the film industry, they check the diversity box by casting stereotypical roles such as terrorist, gang member, drug dealer, tech geek, cab driver or that sassy friend with attitude that’s always causing a scene.

Actors have long been vocal about the massive typecasting barrier they face from the roles they’re invited to audition for — usually stereotypical or specifically ethnic — while their white counterparts are free to stretch and challenge themselves within their craft.

Yes, one could argue that progress is being made. What about Black Panther, I hear you say? But Black Panther was a black movie, written for a black cast. Why can’t we have people of different ethnic backgrounds as lead protagonists in movies, TV shows, content and ads, regardless of their ethnicity, not just for it?

This lack of opportunity and prohibitive representation is fuelling prejudice and unconscious bias in our society. Whether we like it or not, what we see on screen enters our subconscious database and shapes our viewpoints. And this skewed presentation of ethnic minorities strengthens stereotypical associations and has limiting consequences on how they’re perceived by society.

If all we see is young black kids flexing or trying to become rappers, or Asian kids assuming the extremes of reclusive consumer geek or terrorist, it only reinforces existing race structures and inferiority complexes. How can young black and Asian kids confidently and proudly stretch themselves when the screens they watch prescribe what they should or expect to be?

The Ethnicity in Advertising report showed improvements in representation, but statistics show that they are predominantly in supporting or clichéd roles — that’s why a large proportion of people from ethnic backgrounds still feel inaccurately portrayed in advertising.

Next year, the Advertising Standards Authority’s ban on ads depicting gender-stereotyping will come into effect in an attempt to shift social attitudes and tackle the negative social impact of stereotypical representation.

Let’s hope, and lobby for, a similar ban for ethnic representation to follow suit. Because we cannot afford to wait. Government reports show racial and religious hate crimes growing at 14% and 40% year on year respectively. As an industry, we must to do our part to help change the negative social attitudes that affect the lives and careers of everyday Brits.

Arif Miah is a strategist at ODD

Thursday, December 27, 2018

14431: The Inconvenient Truth About The New York Times Campaign.

Others have noted the irony and hypocrisy of the advertisement depicted above for The New York Times, created under the direction of former Droga5 Chief Creative Officer Ted Royer, who was fired for alleged sexual harassment. The scenario also inspired The New York Times parody advertisement depicted below.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

14430: Facing Mat Baxter’s Two-Faced Facebook Face Slapping.

Advertising Age reported on Initiative Global CEO Mat Baxter boldly imploring all clients to stop doing business with Facebook. Baxter barked:

“It’s about time we take a collective stand against the egregious behavior of Facebook. Every time these sorts of stories [about privacy issues] surface they assure us that they are ‘trying harder’… enough is enough. I will be advising clients to stay off the platform entirely—hopefully, when they feel the pain of lost advertising dollars things might just change.”

Whoa, Mad Mat, settle down. Sorry, but the doofus’ daring damnation is deflective dookie.

For starters, a media wonk condemning bad behavior from others is pot-calling-the-kickback-black bullshit of the highest order.

It’s even zanier for the leader of Initiative to take such a holier-than-thou stance when the shop opened the year facing a lawsuit from an ex-associate claiming she was sexually assaulted by a Dr Pepper client—and the victim accused the White media agency of responding by trying to move her to a different account.

It’s also a little crazy that Initiative—which is part of IPG—would attack Facebook, considering the White holding company has been in bed with the social media service since at least 2006. There’s no doubt IPG has financially benefited from an exclusive relationship with Facebook, selling clients on the popular website. In 2011, IPG collected over $130 million in cash by selling part of its Facebook shares, a deal that received harsh criticism from the trade press. In 2012, an ex-executive filed a $381 million lawsuit demanding compensation for allegedly setting up the IPG-Facebook partnership. No offense, but Initiative now comes off like an angry pimp slapping a profitable hooker.

Most outrageous is Baxter’s tone and tiff, especially when held against the IPG character relating to diversity and divertsity. Here is a corporate entity always boasting leadership in inclusion, yet its walk never matches its talk. The faux advocacy for racial, ethnic, gender, generational, sexual orientation, disabled, neurological, house pets, etc. equality is contrasted by consistently crappy, conniving, cunning, criminal cultural cluelessness. And when the hypocritical lack of progress is called out, the responses are, “We’re on it” and “We’ve got to do better.” Enough is enough, indeed.

Before berating Facebook, Baxter better look in the mirror at his own face.

Ad industry puts Facebook on defensive with rebuke from top media executive

Are advertisers ‘on the cusp of a mighty rebellion’ against the social service?

By Megan Graham

The CEO of a major media agency has harsh words for Facebook and is urging clients to steer clear—feeding a debate about whether the recent barrage of privacy issues in digital advertising will lead to clients pulling ad dollars.

“It’s about time we take a collective stand against the egregious behavior of Facebook,” Mat Baxter, global CEO of Interpublic Group of Cos.-owned media agency Initiative, posted on LinkedIn Wednesday. His post linked to a Business Insider story that said Facebook allowed Netflix and Spotify to access users’ private messages. “Every time these sorts of stories surface they assure us that they are ‘trying harder’… enough is enough. I will be advising clients to stay off the platform entirely—hopefully, when they feel the pain of lost advertising dollars things might just change.”

Though issues have plagued Facebook as of late, advertisers have more or less turned a blind eye and continued spending on the platform.

Facebook’s VP of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson said in an emailed statement the tech company has been accused of not respecting people’s privacy settings and disclosing private messages to partners without their knowledge. “To reiterate, that is not true,” she said. On Tuesday, the tech company published a blog post titled “Let’s Clear Up a Few Things About Facebook’s Partners.”

“People have questions about how Facebook uses information and what controls we give them,” Everson said. “We clearly need to do more to educate them about their privacy options. This is a big focus for us heading into 2019.”

“Every day we work hand-in-hand with our advertising partners to help them grow their businesses and better serve their customers,” she continued. “We have a strong partnership with IPG agencies around the world and look forward to that continuing for years to come.”

Interpublic’s CEO Michael Roth said in an emailed statement that the holding company takes consumer privacy and protection “very seriously.”

“As an independent advisor to clients, we navigate a complex media environment and must balance audience engagement with brand safety,” he said. “We look to all media platforms to be transparent about their usage of consumer data and will continue to work closely with our media partners, including Facebook, to ensure we have the highest data and privacy standards for our clients.”

In a research note, Pivotal Research senior analyst Brian Wieser said Baxter’s comments were noteworthy, saying that though they didn’t believe the comments would “tangibly impact revenues immediately,” they “indicate that there are heightened risks to advertising revenue at Facebook at this time.”

“These comments echo perspectives we have heard from many of Baxter’s peers in private,” Wieser wrote. “Although a global CEO of a media agency does not dictate client spending decisions … they can influence clients to think differently about their bigger-picture spending choices. To the extent that digital advertising might represent half of many large clients’ budgets and for many Facebook could be half of that figure, public views such as these will at minimum contribute to ongoing scrutiny on Facebook and the search for alternative ways to deploy budgets.”

An executive at Lego Group, which brought on Initiative late last year as its global media agency, commented on Baxter’s advice on LinkedIn by touting the ethics of such a strategy. “Good on you for calling this out Mat,” wrote Ben Campbell, senior global strategist at the Danish toymaker, on LinkedIn. “It starts here—if the rest of the media network makes an ethical stance on this, we are on the cusp of a mighty rebellion. A rebellion based on values and moral compass, not just the pursuit of short-term metrics.” A spokeswoman from Lego did not return a request for further comment.

Clorox, which is not an Initiative client, isn’t looking to pull out of Facebook—yet—says Stacey Grier, vice president of brand engagement, who will become chief marketing officer at of Jan. 7.

“Our perspective is that we can do more good by working through Facebook and helping them and pushing them to address the problems rather than pulling out,” Grier says. “Obviously, that is an option in the long term. But we feel like they are going through some growing pains, and that is not surprising given the trajectory of their growth.”

“I think Mat is right; we should not spend anything with them,” says one media executive who has previously spent money with Facebook. This person suggests that brands who espouse so-called purpose-driven marketing are disingenuous if they continue to support Facebook. “Everyone in the industry has to take a look in the mirror and ask ‘What is the right thing to do?’” says this person, speaking on condition of anonymity. “But all anyone cares about is the dollar.”

Equinox, which advertises on Facebook, said it is being very careful about its dollars when it comes to the social-media platform. “We obviously have the same pause as everyone else does,” says Vimla Black Gupta, chief marketing officer at the New York-based fitness brand. “Everyone is a victim of this; we scrutinize every channel.”

Contributing: Adrianne Pasquarelli, Garett Sloane, Jack Neff, E.J. Schultz

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

14429: Cap’n Crunch’s Culturally Clueless Christmas Cruise.

Cap’n Crunch doesn’t sail with political correctness by presenting Christmas Crunch for the holidays. Looking forward to Kwanzaa Crunch in the days ahead.

14428: Tea-Bagging With JWT Canada.

The JWT Canada holiday promotion—JWTea—is outdated now that the White advertising agency is Wunderman Thompson. Guess the former JWT Canucks got tea-bagged by WPP CEO Mark Read. Merry Merger!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

14424: Mickey D’s Can SuperSize Your English Skills.

Why did Archways To Opportunity choose a Black girl to represent the 6500+ employees needing improvement with English skills? Or maybe the workers improved their English Muffin skills, dealing with Egg McMuffin® breakfast sandwiches.

Friday, December 21, 2018

14423: GSD&M Is Emotionally Unstable For Popeyes.

Adweek spotlighted the latest deep-fried dookie from White advertising agency GSD&M and Popeyes—Emotional Support Chicken on airline flights. No word if Annie the Chicken Queen will also serve as a stewardess.

Popeyes Is Offering ‘Emotional Support Chicken’ to Help Comfort Holiday Travelers

Currently available only at the Philadelphia airport

By David Griner

There have been a lot of questions in the news lately about emotional support animals being allowed on flights. Should they be limited to certain breeds? Should they be certified?

But no one has stopped to ask: Should they be deep fried?

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen has answered anyway, and now you can pick up an “Emotional Support Chicken” box if you happen to be flying this holiday season via Terminal C at Philadelphia International Airport.

The brand admits it’s poking some fun at the recent news around emotional support animals, which some see as an anxiety-reducing boon while others see as taking advantage of a loophole to bring just about any animal on board an airplane without transporting them through the official channels.

As of today, Delta is no longer allowing puppies and kittens as emotional support animals on flights, nor are animals of any age allowed on flights longer than 8 hours. This comes after a reported 84 percent increase in negative incidents—biting, peeing, etc.—involving emotional support or service animals on Delta flights in 2017 compared to 2016.

But Popeyes assures you its Emotional Support Chicken, developed by creative agency GSD&M, is “permitted to fly without any restrictions.”

Thursday, December 20, 2018

14422: Channing Dungey Streams To Netflix.

Adweek reported former ABC President Channing Dungey is heading to Netflix, where Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris also reside. Hopefully, Roseanne Barr wasn’t pitching any Netflix projects.

Former ABC President Channing Dungey Follows Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris to Netflix

She’s the latest to ditch broadcast TV for streaming

By Jason Lynch

Not too long ago, the most coveted TV jobs were in broadcasting. Now they increasingly seem to be at streaming services—specifically, at Netflix.

Former ABC president Channing Dungey is the latest to ditch broadcast for streaming. A month after announcing her exit from ABC, she found her new gig at Netflix, where she will be vp of original content.

Dungey, who is expected to start in February, will report to Cindy Holland, who also has the vp of original content title. She’ll help set the strategic direction for original programming at Netflix, which the company spent $8 billion on in 2018, and will oversee the company’s robust deals with creators like Shonda Rhimes, Kenya Barris, Marti Noxon and Jenji Kohan.

Dungey already has years of experience working with Rhimes and Barris, who she collaborated with at ABC before they each departed for Netflix during the past year. Rhimes’ ABC output included Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away With Murder while Barris created Black-ish.

“Channing is a creative force whose taste and talent have earned her the admiration of her peers across the industry. She’s a risk taker and ground-breaker, and talent loves working with her. I couldn’t be happier to welcome her to Netflix,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, in a statement.

Holland added, “We’re delighted to be adding Channing’s expertise, leadership and deep experience to Netflix, and I look forward to partnering with her as we continue to grow and evolve our global network.”

In her own statement, Dungey said, “I’m drawn to the forward-thinking, risk-taking and creative culture at Netflix and the deeply talented people there, especially Ted and Cindy, with whom I’m excited to partner on setting the strategy for original content. Given that ABC, the place I’ve called home for nearly 15 years, represents the gold standard of traditional broadcast, it feels like the perfect next step for me to join Netflix, the unparalleled leader in streaming. I’m invigorated by the challenges ahead and the opportunity to forge new relationships and excited for the very welcome reunion with incredible talent.”

Last month, Dungey decided to leave ABC, where she had been president of entertainment for the past three years, ahead of the Disney-Fox merger, which is expected to close early in 2019. She was replaced by Karey Burke, who had been head of Freeform original programming development.

In addition to talent like Rhimes, Barris and Ryan Murphy departing broadcast for streaming, broadcast execs are started to migrate there as well. Jennifer Salke, who had been NBC Entertainment president, left in February to run Amazon Studios.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

14421: MDC Stands For Morale-Destroying Crooks.

Advertising Age reported MDC Partners approved six-figure “retention incentive” bonus awards for five honchos, contingent in part on the executives staying with the White holding company through any successful deal in 2019. Outgoing MDC CEO Scott Kauffman will not receive a special payment—but MDC CFO David Doft apparently talked his way toward a bonus.

Okay, the following comments are obvious—and have been noted by others—yet seem worth publicly airing.

First, given that Kauffman already deemed the company’s Q1 performance “unacceptable,” doling out big rewards to the key perpetrators performers is, well, unacceptable.

Second, the company’s history with financial shenanigans makes these exclusive bonuses a PR nightmare—at least to anyone purporting to hold character, ethics and integrity.

Third, it’s outrageous that White advertising agencies within the White holding company were denied the chance to buy themselves back and bail out. Some folks can’t pay to leave, and others are getting paid to stay. Is it any wonder that MDC is quite possibly the worst of the major holding companies?

Fourth, this scenario underscores the morale-sapping, corrupt nature of the advertising industry. Corporate leaders net bonuses that waaaaay exceed the annual salaries of the majority of MDC employees—many of whom will likely soon get laid off with minimal severance pay.

Fifth, it’s more than a little ironic that Alex Bogusky—who has routinely displayed disdain for corporate crookedness—agreed to return to the MDCesspool. Or is Bogusky just another part of the problem? Bogusky recently proclaimed, “All our wounds are self-inflicted.” How prophetic.

Finally, the scenario actually poses possibilities for diversity. While an acquisition/takeover would probably accelerate Kauffman’s departure—eliminating the man who declared, “I’m intolerant of intolerance”—the arrival of Accenture could spark change, as the professional services firm did rank at number 41 on Fortune’s “The Best Workplaces For Diversity” list for 2018.

MDC will pay six-figure incentive to five execs to stay on until it closes a deal

Payment pact covers sale of company or assets, direct investments and capital markets offering

By Megan Graham

The board of MDC Partners has approved a one-time “retention incentive” award for five senior executives of the company that is conditional on continued employment through the successful closing of a significant transaction in 2019, according to an SEC filing Friday evening.

MDC Partners said in September that it was exploring potential strategic alternatives that could include the sale of the agency holding company, whose portfolio includes 72andSunny, Anomaly, Assembly and Doner.

The filing said that on Dec. 11, the Human Resources and Compensation Committee of MDC’s board of directors approved the awards for executives with the exception of outgoing CEO Scott Kauffman. Exec VP and chief financial officer David Doft and Exec VP and general counsel Mitchell Gendel will receive awards of $650,000. David Ross, Exec VP of strategy and corporate development, will receive an award of $500,000. The amounts are equal to the “applicable executive’s respective target annual bonus award for 2018.”

Payment of the awards is conditional on continued employment “through the successful closing of a significant transaction in 2019,” which would include a change in control of the company or the sale of assets, direct investment or “a capital markets offering with aggregate proceeds to the company from any such transaction equal to not less than $100 million,” the filing says.

“An executive will forfeit the 2018 Retention Award in the event that he or she resigns without good reason or is terminated for cause prior to a Payment Event,” the filing says.

MDC shares closed Friday at $2.90, down five cents for the day. MDC traded around $10 at the beginning of the year.

Representatives from MDC Partners did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In late November, MDC Partners shareholder FrontFour — which says it owns 5.1 percent of the holding company — in an SEC filing “stressed the importance of shareholder representation” on the board to better align its perspectives with that of MDC’s shareholders “particularly at this critical juncture.” FrontFour claims MDC’s board has rejected its requests.

MDC currently has a market cap—total value of its shares—of about $170 million.

Contributing: Bradley Johnson

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

14420: For McCann, Diversity & Inclusion Are Not In The Cards.

McCann continues to show its pseudo dedication to diversity and inclusion with diversionary stunts that are client-billable assignments too. The latest smokescreen involves promoting a version of UNO for colorblind people. “The Color of Inclusion” campaign purports to advocate for accessibility, supporting the visually impaired with caring, commitment and card games. McCann’s own diversity, on the other hand, is just a bunch of card tricks.

Monday, December 17, 2018

14419: Shocker! Adland Not Among The Best Workplaces For Diversity.

Fortune published The Best Workplaces For Diversity for 2018. The top 100 U.S. companies feature plenty of major advertisers, as well as consultancies that have been offering marketing services and encroaching into adland territory. Of course, there are no White advertising agencies—or any advertising agencies—on the list, despite the bullshit boasts of IPG and WPP.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

14418: For McCann, Hypocrisy Is Priceless.

This Mastercard video from McCann sings, “You can’t judge a book by the cover,” and implores viewers to “Start Something Priceless.” Um, McCann’s propensity for judging books by the covers has kept the advertising agency exclusively White forever. For a shop so averse to diversity, producing this oh-so-inclusive message is, well, priceless.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

14417: Forced Marriage From FCB Feels Forced & Fucked Up.

Campaign spotlighted The Home Office’s “Forced Marriage” campaign by FCB Inferno. Hey, adland shouldn’t be speaking out against forced marriage with a history of consummating unholy unions like VMLY&R, Wunderman Thompson and the mother of all creepy couplings, Draftfcb.

14416: For Deutsch, LA Stands For Loves Anglos.

Adweek reported Deutsch LA elevated a White man to Chief Creative Officer—demonstrating once again that the White advertising agency is no longer interested investing in diversity.

Deutsch Names New Chief Creative Officer for Los Angeles Office

Agency vet Brett Craig was elevated to the role

By Erik Oster

Deutsch named a chief creative officer for its Los Angeles office today.

The agency promoted Brett Craig to partner, CCO for that office, following nearly seven years with the agency. Craig joins a Los Angeles senior leadership team that includes president Kim Getty and chief digital officer Pam Scheideler. He will be tasked with overseeing all creative output for the office while reporting directly to Deutsch North America CCO Pete Favat. Favat formerly handled CCO duties for the Los Angeles office as well as for Deutsch North America.

“Brett and I share the belief that collaboration is the future of creativity and ideas. He’s led with that principle time and time again and has consistently created some of the best work in our industry,” Favat said in a statement. “He’s a creative leader who has inspired so many makers, and as we usher in this new year, I couldn’t ask for a better person to join me on this journey.”

“I’m incredibly honored to have this opportunity at Deutsch. I believe that ideas are made smarter by the people around you. As CCO, my vision is to bring a spirit of collaboration to everything we do,” Craig added. “It’s how we must interact with our clients and within the agency walls. No matter the level, department or discipline, collaboration is the only way to include everyone in the success of the agency and navigate the increasing complexity of our business.”

Craig joined Deutsch in 2012 and formerly served as executive creative director, working on brands including Taco Bell, Dr. Pepper, Diet Dr. Pepper and 7Up, including the “Web of Fries,” “Breakfast Defectors,” “Ronald McDonald,” a Super Bowl campaign that introduced the Quesalupa for Taco Bell and the creation of “Lil’ Sweet” for Diet Dr. Pepper. He also has been instrumental in new business efforts and led a campaign for H&R Block that kicked off the 2019 tax season.

Craig also authored the book Collaborate or Die: How Being a Jerk Kills Ideas and Careers and was named to the 2014 Adweek 50 list.

Before joining Deutsch, Craig spent 11 years with TBWA\Chiat\Day, rising from copywriter to group creative director while working with brands including Pepsi, PlayStation Call of Duty and Tostitos.

The appointment follows the arrival of executive vice president, head of production Diego de la Maza to Deutsch’s Los Angeles office earlier this month.

Friday, December 14, 2018

14415: Unconscious Bias On Black Consciousness Day…?

Leave it to an advertising agency in Brazil to commemorate Black Consciousness Day with a campaign that probably makes Blacks feel more self-conscious.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

14414: P&G’s In The Black By Buying Walker And Company.

Advertising Age reported Procter & Gamble bought Walker And Company and its health and beauty brands for people of color. Expect P&G Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard to count the acquisition as a diversity move. Plus, he’ll likely push to integrate the products with My Black is Beautiful, green-lighting a campaign that will be assigned to a White advertising agency and win gobs of ADCOLOR® trophies.

Procter & Gamble buys Walker & Co.

Tristan Walker, high-profile founder of brands for people of color, will stay on

By Jack Neff

Procter & Gamble Co. has agreed to buy Walker & Co.—a direct-to-consumer marketer of Bevel and Form Beauty personal-care products for people of color—for undisclosed terms.

CEO Tristan Walker, who founded the company in 2013, will join P&G as part of the deal. The former Foursquare and Twitter executive will move operations from Silicon Valley (Palo Alto, Calif.) to Atlanta.

Sold mainly direct-to-consumer, Bevel also is now in a majority of Target stores nationwide as well as on Amazon, Walker says, while Form Beauty is also sold online and in stores through Sephora. He declined to disclose sales numbers.

Walker launched Bevel in 2013 as a razor brand for men with coarse curly hair, whose faces get irritated by mass-market razors such as those from P&G’s category-leading Gillette. The high-profile social-media veteran hit the market with backing from Andreessen Horowitz, marking one of the earliest venture-capital investments in direct-to-consumer packaged goods. A second funding round in 2015 attracted high-profile backers such as John Legend, Magic Johnson and Google Ventures, and helped fuel the 2017 launch of Form Beauty haircare products for women.

Getting bought by P&G doesn’t mean Walker plans to do a big paid media push or hire outside agencies. “We don’t outsource branding,” Walker says. “They’re still going to let us operate and do our thing.”

That thing has involved building brands more slowly than many venture-backed direct-to-consumer players.

Dollar Shave Club, founded in 2011, made a bigger splash faster with a lot more venture capital—$164 million total to $33 million for Walker, according to Crunchbase. DSC spent heavily on media, at times outspending Gillette on TV prior to its acquisition by Unilever in 2016 for $1 billion.

But its growth slowed post acquisition, and possibly DSC had already reached most of its potential U.S. razor subscribers by the time Unilever bought it.

By contrast, Walker opted for a slower cash burn, less use of paid media and more focus on social-media and word-of-mouth, including from his high-profile customer-investors like Legend and Johnson. That more measured growth may ultimately mean more potential for acceleration with new backing from P&G.

“Building great brands means solving people’s problems by building products people love,” Walker says. “That takes time. And building great brands takes even longer. You can spend a lot of money marketing brands that don’t work. That has never been our approach.”

Walker once prevailed in a case Gillette brought against his company before the National Advertising Division of the the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which found Bevel could support its claim that its single-blade razors cause less irritation than Gillette’s multi-blade razors, though it had to modify some “clinically proven” claims. As P&G prepares to launch Gillette Skinguard two-bladed razors for men with sensitive skin early next year, executives have avoided making comparisons to Bevel.

Now, P&G is looking to learn from Walker how he does things. “One thing we can learn from Tristan,” says Lela Coffey, brand director for multicultural consumers at P&G Beauty, “is this ability to use these authentic connections that he’s built vs. the traditional CPG approach.”

Still, Walker says he’s looking forward to leaning on P&G’s capabilities in product development, distribution and media, as well as ultimately help in expanding his brands globally.

“We can really help Tristan broaden his reach and awareness,” says Coffey, whose duties include working on Pantene’s Gold Series and Head & Shoulders’ Royal Oils lines for women of color. “We are going to fuel him with some of the science we have available. Our R&D department will be his playhouse if that’s what he wants.”

Moving from Silicon Valley to Atlanta makes sense for Walker & Co. because Atlanta long has been the company’s top market for e-commerce and physical store sales, Walker says. “We want to be as close to our customer as we can.” And it’s only about an hour away from P&G’s Cincinnati headquarters by plane.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

14413: Accenture Bids On The Titanic Of Holding Companies.

Adweek reported Accenture is among a tiny trio trying to acquire MDC Partners, which is $1 billion in debt. It would be interesting to hear what the White holding company’s Chief Financial Officer has to say about this. Then again, probably not.

Accenture Among Final Bidders to Acquire MDC Partners Network

LionTree Advisors, JP Morgan Chase overseeing the process

By Patrick Coffee

International global management consultancy Accenture is reportedly among a small group of bidders seeking to acquire ad agency network MDC Partners and its 50-plus properties around the world.

Those properties include such agencies as Anomaly, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, 72andSunny, Assembly and Forsman & Bodenfors.

According to a source with direct knowledge of the matter, the deadline for bids was late November. The same source said Accenture is one of three finalists.

Media and telecoms-focused investment bank LionTree Advisors is overseeing the process, which was first reported in September by The Wall Street Journal. JP Morgan Chase is providing assistance, according to another source with financial ties to the business.

“There are always rumors in the marketplace, and we do not comment on them or engage in speculation,” said an Accenture representative.

MDC Partners declined to comment. A JP Morgan Chase spokesperson also declined to comment.

LionTree and hedge fund FrontFour Capital Group, which made headlines for filing an SEC complaint against MDC’s board of directors on Nov. 19, have not responded to multiple requests for additional information.

SEC reporting laws prohibit all involved parties from commenting on an active bid to avoid granting any given company unfair advantage.

This is not the first time MDC Partners, which is currently more than $1 billion in debt, has explored the possibility of an outright sale. In 2016, the organization worked with LionTree and JP Morgan to land a $95 million equity investment from Goldman Sachs.

Since then, many within the industry have speculated as to whether MDC would sell itself, in whole or in part, to an outside investor. Several recent reports named consultancies like Accenture, Deloitte and Bain Capital as potential buyers. A source close to MDC Partners echoed these thoughts and told Adweek that the bids were almost certainly for the entirety of the company, with the understanding that its final buyer would then go through a round of “pruning” to streamline the network.

The fact that multiple agencies (including 72andSunny and Doner) have recently attempted to buy themselves back, only to have their offers rejected by the MDC board of directors, supports this theory.

The party close to MDC called Accenture “the best bidder,” citing its “synergies” with the agency network and its proven ability to cut costs.

MDC Partners’ stock has lost a majority of its value this year and is currently trading at distressed levels.

The deal would also be in keeping with Accenture’s increasing moves into the creative marketing space via its Accenture Interactive division. In recent years, the division has acquired a series of primarily mid-sized shops around the world, including Australia’s The Monkeys, England’s Karmarama, Germany’s Kolle Rebbe, Brazil’s New Content, Meredith Xcelerated Marketing of New York and many more.

A recent Adweek profile of Accenture Interactive CEO Brian Whipple described the company as “the world’s largest digital agency.” However, some advertising executives have disputed the idea that Accenture can compete directly with traditional shops for creative or especially media accounts as long as its primary consulting division is simultaneously auditing their clients’ businesses.

In response, Accenture’s head of programmatic said it would never be in a position to audit its own work.

The company clearly aspires to expand into all areas of the marketing business. A source within Accenture Interactive told Adweek that it’s currently in talks to acquire a business that specializes in helping advertisers scale and measure paid social media campaigns.

The company in question did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

14412: Delivering Diversity From Facebook To 4As.

Adweek reported the 4As hired Simon Fenwick to serve as EVP Talent Engagement and Inclusion. In his previous role, Fenwick oversaw recruitment and diversity initiatives at Facebook—that bastion of inclusion. Prior to Facebook, Fenwick held talent and diversity positions with IPG Mediabrands and Starcom, more dubious diversity devotees. Oh, and he’s only been in the U.S. for about 14 years. Given the industry’s current climate, it’s amazing the 4As didn’t hire a White woman or woman of color for the job. Or maybe not.

Facebook Diversity Leader and Recruiting Manager Heads to 4A’s

Organization names Simon Fenwick evp, talent engagement and inclusion

By Lindsay Rittenhouse

The 4A’s has snagged Facebook executive Simon Fenwick as its executive vice president of talent engagement and inclusion. Fenwick will oversee the organization’s diversity, learning and development programs starting Jan. 2.

Fenwick’s role will span the 4A’s foundation, which includes the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP) and the 4A’s High School Programs, the Workplace Enlightenment Certification (WEC) and the Learning Academy.

Since March, Fenwick has been overseeing creative and brand recruiting and diversity initiatives at Facebook. Before that, he spent two years as executive vice president of global talent and diversity at IPG Mediabrands and from 2012 to 2015 served as senior vice president, group director of global talent at Starcom.

“Today, more than any time in history, people and their experiences across a connected world have become the true currency of a successful business,” Fenwick said in a statement. “As such, I believe in bringing people together to facilitate change and drive success.”

He added, “With the 4A’s being a true champion of diversity and inclusion, they’re the perfect home to help elevate people’s unique experiences to better the industry as a whole.”

According to the 4A’s, Fenwick volunteers with several organizations supporting the LGBTQ community and those that provide early career opportunities for diverse youth. Born in Kenya and raised in New Zealand and Australia, Fenwick has lived in the U.S. for the past 14 years.

He will relocate to New York from San Francisco for the new role, under which he will report to 4A’s CEO Marla Kaplowitz.

“As we continue to advocate for a more inclusive industry, Simon brings the passion, drive and experience to make that a reality,” Kaplowitz said in a statement. “From our MAIP program, which provides a platform to launch and sustain careers, to WEC, which creates safe and productive work environments, Simon will offer invaluable expertise to make the industry a better place to work.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

14411: Diageo Demands Divertsity From White Ad Agencies.

Advertising Age reported Diageo is demanding divertsity, pressuring its White advertising agencies to reveal gender figures. That’s right, the client wants to see exactly how White women are faring in the field. As for racial and ethnic minorities, well, keep walking. Sorry, but when it comes to true diversity, Diageo talks the talk, then walks away.

Diageo to agencies: We want your gender diversity stats

The marketing industry needs to make ‘faster progress,’ says CMO

By E.J. Schultz

Liquor giant Diageo is putting more heat on its agencies to share gender equality information after a similar effort earlier this year was met with a mixed response.

Global Chief Marketing Officer Syl Saller recently sent letters to Diageo’s agencies asking for details like the percentage of women on their leadership teams, information on their gender pay gap, and how they plan to address any gender imbalances.

“Despite all of our collective efforts as an industry, the pace of substantive change has been too slow in how women are portrayed in content, how qualified women are represented at a senior level in creative development and how women are selected to be creative directors on content,” Saller stated in the letter, according to an excerpt shared by a Diageo spokeswoman. “We need to make faster progress and the time for action is now.”

Diageo’s shops include 72andSunny (Smirnoff); Anomaly (Johnnie Walker, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal); AMV BBDO (Guinness); VMLY&R (Baileys); and Carat, which handles media.

Diageo began asking for gender diversity information earlier this year, Gráinne Wafer, global brand director for Baileys, said in July during an appearance at the Diversity in Marketing & Advertising Summit in London. But Wafer said when she started seeking the information she was “met with some blank faces,” according to coverage of the summit by The Drum.

“Some people are able to say ‘I know exactly what it is, here’s ours.’ Or ‘we’re not there yet but we have a plan’. That’s all I want to hear. That you have a plan,” she said, without naming specific agencies, according to The Drum.

Saller’s letter appears to be a way to put more pressure on the agencies to cooperate. While the letter sends a strong message, Diageo at this point has not laid out any specific targets or outlined consequences for shops that are not living up to gender diversity expectations, the company confirmed.

Beth Wade, global chief marketing officer at VMLY&R, said in an emailed statement to Ad Age: “Like Diageo, we strongly believe diversity enables better creative and more effective work. We have received the recent letter from Diageo and will be submitting our response.” She pointed to diversity efforts the agency participates in, including 3% Certification and Free the Bid, which is pushing for more female ad directors.

Wade added: “As part of the Baileys global digital agency-of-record selection process earlier this year, we showcased these diversity efforts to the team. We look forward to working with Diageo on their efforts to achieve gender balance and diversity in advertising.”

Anomaly and 72andSunny, two of Diageo’s largest creative agencies, declined to comment directly on the Diageo letter. 72andSunny publishes its gender diversity stats on its website. It shows that 20 percent of the agency’s creative directors globally are women, while 45 percent of employees at group director level and above are females. Carat declined comment.

Diageo has among the best track records for gender diversity in the alcohol industry. Women comprise 40 percent of its executive committee, while 45 percent of Diageo’s senior global marketing leaders are women. Earlier this year Diageo joined the Free the Bid organization, pledging to call on its ad agencies and content producers to include at least one female director on all creative bids. Also, Diageo recently developed a framework that it will use to improve gender portrayal in its marketing.

Diageo drew headlines in February when it put a woman on the face of Johnnie Walker bottles, calling her “Jane Walker,” as part of a limited-edition run timed with Women’s History Month.

Monday, December 10, 2018

14410: Caroline Jones Might Say, “We Do Divertsity Right.”

Campaign spotlighted the late Caroline Jones as part of its #TellHerStory series. Sorry, but the piece feels kinda lazy, as it appears the reporter only spoke with IPG SVP Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Heide Gardner. Granted, it might have been difficult to find additional sources, as there are fewer than 100 Black women holding executive positions in the U.S. advertising industry. Gardner remarked that Jones would be “disappointed to see where we are and that we are still having the same conversations about having diversity at the table.” Actually, the entire industry should be disappointed—and embarrassed. Instead, when it comes to delegating, diverting and denying diversity, the chronic offenders are not only forgiven, they’re awarded ADCOLOR® trophies.

‘She would be disappointed’: How the ad industry still fails black talent

Adland is still not living up to the legacy of Caroline Jones, one of the first black female vice-presidents of a major agency.

By Nicola Kemp

“We will not let you fail.”

The six words that advertising pioneer Caroline Jones said to Heide Gardner as she prepared to launch a talent and diversity initiative for the American Advertising Federation in the 1970s. It’s a commitment that reflects Jones’ living, breathing legacy as one of the first black female vice-presidents of any major agency and a champion of young talent.

As senior vice-president and chief diversity and inclusion officer at Interpublic, Gardner is still one of the most powerful and thoughtful drivers of diversity in the creative industries. And Jones has had a major impact on her career. “The reason she and other black icons in the industry wanted to launch this talent programme was that they were so tired of hearing ‘We can’t find any’ as an excuse to the lack of diversity in advertising,” Gardner says. “The entire programme was designed to take that excuse off the table.”

Yet, more than thirty years after the launch of the scheme, that same excuse remains firmly on the table. In many ways, the ad industry as it stands has not lived up to Jones’ legacy and, in doing so, failed generations of diverse talent. Reflecting on Jones’ “huge legacy”, Gardner says she would be “disappointed to see where we are and that we are still having the same conversations about having diversity at the table.”

She adds: “In terms of her disappointment, it would include all the thousands of people who came into the industry 22 years ago when we started the programme. Of all of those people, so few of them are at the helm of major agencies.”

Garnder notes that Jones and many people of a ethnic-minority background who came into the industry did so in order to influence the portrayal of people of colour. “That mattered deeply to her and it still matters now. I can’t tell you how many essays I read from young students that say I want to be at the table to make that change,” she points out.

A legacy of hope

Thirty years ago, a small column in Campaign noted the rise of Jones’ mould-breaking career. The article announcing Interpublic’s affiliation with a “new black shop” commented on the nine out of 10 failure rate of previous “black-managed agencies”. Paul Foley, then Interpublic’s chairman, was quoted as saying: “Black-owned agencies in the past have lacked professionalism, sound financial guidance, strong back-up support services and national and international scope. Our affiliation with Mingo, Jones, Guilmenot has the answer to all of these handicaps.”

Jones, one of the three founding partners of this fledgling agency, was creative services director and described in the article as “the highest-paid black creative in the US and the first black female vice-president of any major agency”.

Back then, the lack of support — and, at times, out-and-out racism — experienced by ethnic minorities in the ad industry was often ignored. For critics of all the press coverage focusing on diversity today — who are either “bored”, dismiss it as “virtue-signalling” or see it as distraction from the work — perhaps Jones’ legacy will provide a much-needed pause for thought.

Because what was sidelined was the impact and business importance of multicultural media; in essence, the work wasn’t as good because it did not understand or represent the markets it sought to serve. According to Gardner, the ad industry trade press did not focus on covering the multicultural side of the business. Instead, it was multicultural media that championed the sector and the individuals within it.

It is a state of play that ethnic-minority people are still dealing with, Gardner points out: “Having a high profile is really important, but it is having a profile internally within the business you work for that drives whether or not you are promoted. This idea of visibility is a problem for women and people of colour.”

True definition of a trailblazer

Having graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in English and science, Jones began her advertising career in 1963 as a secretary and copywriter trainee at J Walter Thompson, an agency where she rose to the position of creative director. She ultimately left Mingo, Jones, Guilmenot (later Mingo-Jones) to launch her own companies — Creative Resources Management and Caroline Jones Advertising, where she was president at the time of her death in 2001.

“She had a huge amount of social capital outside of the industry and she used that to help elevate the issue of diversity,” Gardner explains. This effort culminated in a huge summit that looked at diversity and the allocation of advertising dollars. Jones brought together the likes of Al Sharpton, the Association of National Advertisers and 4A’s alongside members of congress and federal government agencies. “One of the thing she did so well was bring all the sections of the industry together — it was a packed room at the Waldorf,” Gardner recalls.

Frustration as a force for change

Yet, despite being a true trailblazer with an impact far beyond the traditional realms of adland, Jones was at times “extremely frustrated”, Gardner remembers: “White executives and creators were able to leave their agencies, set up shop at a hotel room and immediately get clients. Someone like her didn’t get that opportunity as easily.”

It would be tempting to sugar-coat Jones’ career progression, but to not tell the truth of her struggle would be to ignore the barriers she had to face. “You have to remember that some went into the business as entrepreneurs not just because they saw business opportunities that were being overlooked, but also because they could not see business opportunities for themselves and they wanted to create those opportunities for young talent,” Gardner explains.

When Jones did strike out on her own, one of her founding clients was KFC. She had previously been the brains behind the brand’s hugely successful “We do chicken right” campaign.

Speaking truth to power

Reflecting on Jones’ lasting impact on the industry, Gardner says: “She spoke truth to power and I feel obligated to do the same. She used her social capital, her influence, to do what she could to make a difference and that is a powerful message to everyone.”

Jones was all about opening doors and dedicated her warmth, energy and time into supporting the next generation. Gardner notes that Jones used to show up at student programmes as long as her health permitted and, in many ways, connecting with and championing young talent was her life’s work.

Here is perhaps the point in the story when you might expect a glib statement about the power of role models. But for Gardner, the issue is far more complex than that: “It is not just a question of ‘You can’t be it if you can’t see it’, it is also a question of proof points — is your organisation somewhere where people like you can really make it?”

As Campaign speaks to Gardner, a blog post written by Kai Deveraux Lawson, a producer who has worked at agencies including Wunderman, AKQA and Momentum Worldwide, has gone viral. In the article, she describes the micro-aggressions that led her to quit her job in advertising. She writes: “I used to wonder why people of color leave the advertising industry, never return. It was hard to understand how someone could leave the set of skills they’ve worked so hard to refine, and the knowledge that’s taken so long to gain, only to never look back. Today, I can say from experience, that when it comes to mental health and peace, drastic times will always call for drastic measures.”

“I call it the thousand cuts,” Gardner says. “This is the power of the small. With #MeToo and #TimesUp, we are so focused on the obvious and the egregious that we aren’t paying attention to the power of ‘small’.” She explains that people could respond to comments or actions differently due to their identity and all these small things can add up and become internalised.

“My generation — we expected these kinds of things to happen. We had this mutual support and understanding that helped with resilience,” Gardner continues.

“Millennials are unprepared and shocked by these things. They ask: did that really happen? Does that mean what I think it does? Those are the issues that the business world has to focus on.

“What happens to people as human beings is, over time, you can internalise those thousand cuts and you can lose self-esteem and your faith in yourself.”

To talent from diverse backgrounds, the message is silent but clear: we won’t just let you fail, we will uphold a system in which you are almost destined to. In 2018, it should not require a leap of faith for the creative industries to work towards a level playing field — a legacy that Jones would be proud of.

Pictured above: Caroline Jones, centre, with Bob Johnson, founder, BET; Clarence Smith, co-founder, Essence; Earl Graves Sr., founder, Black Enterprise; and Tom Burrell, founder, Burrell Communications Group