(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.
• John Winsor pontificated on how to save White holding companies from becoming irrelevant. Hey, Winsor is an irrelevant expert.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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 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.
• 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.
C’MON WHITE MAN!