Thursday, January 31, 2019

14496: Lawyer Makes Argument For Racial And Ethnic Equality In UK Advertising.

More About Advertising published a lawyer’s perspective on the Naomi Osaka / Nissin controversy involving an animated depiction deemed as “whitewashing” the Haitian-Japanese tennis star (see side-by-side depiction above and make the call).

The lawyer used the scenario to leverage deeper navel-gazing on “fair and appropriate racial representation in advertising,” citing the Lloyds Banking Group’s Ethnicity in Advertising report. Most disturbing is the lawyer remarking, “In the context of the regulators recently publishing more specific rules against negative gender stereotyping in advertisements, it is worth asking whether it is now time for similar, more nuanced rules to be introduced to reduce racial stereotyping in advertising and to encourage better racial representation overall.” By all means, now that White women have been addressed, let’s consider extending equal courtesy and respect to racial and ethnic minorities.

It should also be noted that Nissin is no stranger to serving cultural cluelessness by the cup.

Nick Breen: is Naomi Osaka cartoon a one-off or indicative of a broader problem?

One of tennis star Naomi Osaka’s sponsors, Nissin, has come under fierce criticism after it released an advertisement featuring a cartoon representation of Osaka, who is ethnically half-Haitian and half-Japanese, with pale skin and wavy brown hair. The sponsor has been accused of ‘whitewashing’ the athlete. This is the second time in recent history that Osaka has been caught up in controversy concerning racial representation; in September last year, the Herald Sun was accused of racism after publishing a cartoon featuring depictions of Osaka and Serena Williams with physical characteristics which were considered by many to be racist.

Although Nissin has since apologised both to the athlete directly and to the public in general for the advertisement, it provokes a broader question regarding fair and appropriate racial representation in advertising. According to Lloyds Banking Group’s Ethnicity in Advertising report, although there has been a significant increase in representation for B.A.M.E. (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) groups since 2015, still only seven per cent of lead roles in advertisements are played by someone from a B.A.M.E. group.

However, it is not only the quantity of representative advertising that is important, but the nature of such representation. This latest controversy concerning Osaka highlights this distinction as the issue has been the nature of her representation. Inaccurate and insensitive cultural and racial portrayals in advertising has been as problematic an issue as representation, with 34 per cent of Black respondents believing that they are portrayed inaccurately in advertising according to the Lloyd’s report. In the same report, 29 per cent of Black respondents believe that they are negatively stereotyped in advertising.

In the UK, the CAP Code rules state that advertisements must not contain anything that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence, with particular care being taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race. In the context of the regulators recently publishing more specific rules against negative gender stereotyping in advertisements, it is worth asking whether it is now time for similar, more nuanced rules to be introduced to reduce racial stereotyping in advertising and to encourage better racial representation overall.

With increased scrutiny on fair B.A.M.E. representation across other areas in the media industry; notably TV, film and theatre, it is only a natural progression for similar steps to be made in advertising.

Nick Breen is an associate at international law firm Reed Smith.

14495: Gillette And Grey Present The Worst A Mad Man Can Get.

Just about everyone has already criticized and commented on the Gillette “We Believe” video from Procter & Gamble and Grey, but MultiCultClassics will cut into the conversation regardless.

Back in 2013, after Wieden + Kennedy was eliminated from the shootout for the Gillette account—leaving Saatchi & Saatchi, Grey and then-incumbent BBDO as contenders—MultiCultClassics remarked that the razor brand was obviously not interested in doing creative work. The “We Believe” video confirms the contention.

First of all, Grey is a White advertising agency, despite being led by a Black man. The cultural cluelessness has been evidenced by the shop’s generational segregation, Grey Executive Strategy Director Howard Roberts sputtering divertsity psychobabble, Grey Worldwide Chief Creative Officer John Patroulis spitting up socioeconomic stupidity and Grey London CEO Leo Rayman admitting our industry lies about minority underrepresentation. With the contrived and heavy-handed “We Believe” video, Grey shows it’s woefully unqualified to even represent White men.

Procter & Gamble is equally ignorant, as well as patronizingly offensive. The advertiser has a renowned penchant for messaging formulas, and the “We Believe” video follows a disturbing blueprint last seen with “The Talk” and “#LoveOverBias.” The formula goes something like this: White corporation + questionable commitment to diversity + hypocritical call to harmony + White advertising agency production + big budget versus crumbs = pathetic bullshit that wins ADCOLOR® Award.

It doesn’t help that Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard confesses his cultural competence is crappy. Plus, he’s quick to jump on bandwagons—and will undoubtedly soon approve anti-ageism advertisements for Fixodent.

In summation, when exclusively White advertisers partner with exclusively White advertising agencies to deliberately deliver diversity-related duplicity designed to drive sales of consumer goods—as well as shamelessly promote false enlightenment—everyone should take offense. For the people behind “We Believe” to profess beliefs that run counter to actions is, well, unbelievable.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

14494: Non-Fake News And Truth In Advertising From The New York Times.

The New York Times advertisement above—presumably created by Droga5, which allegedly terminated its Chief Creative Officer for sexual harassment—inspired the parody message below.

14493: When Alleged Predators Attack—The Diet Madison Avenue Drama Continues.

Advertising Age reported former CP+B CCO Ralph Watson took his legal show coast to coast by filing a new lawsuit against alleged Diet Madison Avenue members in New York, complementing a similar lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, as well as a lawsuit against CP+B in Colorado. What’s more, the New York filing also targets an alleged DMA member in Illinois. Gee, the anonymous Instagrammers might have to restart the GoFundMe donation drive. Then again, Watson is displaying predatory tendencies in his litigious pursuits, which could diminish any sympathy for his cause. News of the latest lawsuit being released near the Super Bowl—which will likely feature lots of divertsity drivel—is a timing fumble too.

New suit filed in New York against people alleged to be behind Diet Madison Avenue

Former CPB exec Ralph Watson has already sued Los Angeles members of DMA and his ex-employer

By Megan Graham

Former CPB Chief Creative Officer Ralph Watson has filed a new suit against individuals he claims are behind Diet Madison Avenue that live in New York. This marks the third suit filed by Watson, who has also sued people he has claimed are Los Angeles members of DMA as well as his former employer.

The Diet Madison Avenue Instagram account drew broad attention in the advertising industry last year for naming men it claimed engaged in sexual harassment. After their names were posted on the anonymous account, several big-name creatives were separated from their agencies, including Watson.

Watson’s latest suit, filed January 17 in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, is against four individuals believed to live in New York, as well as one allegedly living in Illinois, along with an “unknown business entity” and “Does 1 through 50,” whose identities are unknown. The suit alleges Watson was “falsely accused of being a ‘serial predator’ and ‘rapist’” and continues to “suffer severe emotional distress from having his highly successful career destroyed by a malicious and reckless campaign of rumor and innuendo.”

The suit says Watson “is informed and believes” DMA is a collective of 17 anonymous individual defendants, with at least an additional 42 individuals who have provided assistance.

In May of 2018, Watson filed a suit in the Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles against Diet Madison Avenue, in which he claimed that defamatory statements posted on the account led to his wrongful termination from the agency. That suit’s defendants included “Jane Doe 1” and “Jane Doe 2,” who it alleged were Los Angeles County residents, as well as “Does 3 through 100.” Watson also sued his former agency in June 2018.

Watson’s lawyer, Michael Ayotte of the Law Offices of Michael W. Ayotte in Hermosa Beach, California, declined to comment on the New York suit. The court docket did not yet list Diet Madison Avenue’s legal representation.

The new suit alleges that Watson is aware of the real identity of the four New York individuals but “is suing [them] under an anonymous name to protect the privacy of [these] individual[s] until a suitable protective order is reached by the parties and approved by the Court.” It also states that the individual in Illinois has “sufficient minimum contacts to the State of New York as a result of his or her involvement in the events giving rise to this complaint.”

In a filing in the Los Angeles case, Watson’s attorney said the plaintiff filed the suit before the expiration of the statute of limitations since Watson “anticipates some DMA members will argue they are not subject to personal jurisdiction in California.”

The filing references a Colorado federal action Watson has also filed against his former agency, which is ongoing and awaiting a decision by the court on whether the case will go to arbitration or proceed to Colorado federal court.

Diet Madison Avenue did not respond to an Instagram direct message requesting comment.

In August 2018, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Monica Bachner signed an order allowing Watson’s legal team to serve business record subpoenas to Instagram, its parent Facebook and Gmail (part of Alphabet-owned Google) to provide identifying information about the anonymous individuals behind Diet Madison Avenue. The court’s next hearing for the case occurs on Friday, February 1.

14492: Calling Out The Greed And Gluttony Addiction In Adland.

Advertising Age published a perspective by Michael Farmer, author of Madison Avenue Manslaughter, who argued that WPP must address its addiction to cost reduction. Farmer presents an interesting argument; unfortunately, there are no 12-Step programs for what’s ailing adland.

The White holding company business model is based on cost reduction, and dinosaurs like WPP have arguably overdosed on the compulsivity. Keep in mind that WPP was founded by a narcissistic bean counter. Iconic Adman Jay Chiat asked, “How big can we get before we get bad?” WPP Creator Sir Martin Sorrell seemed to ask, “How cheap can we get before we get bad?” And Sorrell’s grand invention has been answering the question for longer than anyone cares to admit.

WPP fueled the commoditization of creativity, rendering White advertising agencies generic and interchangeable. Plus, greater cost savings are promised to anyone selecting a full plate from the company buffet—and if you don’t like anything on the menu, we’ll prepare a dedicated dish of bland talent. Clients came to realize they could cook up their own in-house units too. Additionally, serving everything as price-based Extra Value Meals opened the competition to anyone with access to basic production utensils.

WPP CEO Mark Read and Sorrell appear to be overeaters of their own corporate cuisine, stone-cold procurement addicts in deep denial. So Farmer’s attempt to stage an intervention is a waste of time and resources.

Opinion: WPP’s addiction to cost reduction needs to change

Recent agency mergers focus on the wrong problem, argues veteran agency consultant

By Michael Farmer

Does anyone seriously believe that the WPP-led mergers of VML with Y&R (creating the eyesore VMLY&R) and of Wunderman with J. Walter Thompson (now Wunderman Thompson) are strategic moves that will restore WPP’s growth, profitability and share price performance? These mergers are mostly a continuation of the agency cost-reduction activities practiced by WPP since 1986, when it bought the underperforming J. Walter Thompson.

Mark Read inherited a difficult situation after the departure of Martin Sorrell. WPP’s growth and profitability had already sagged in 2017 and 2018, causing a serious decline in its share price. It’s understandable that Read needed some “quick hits” to fix his profit problem. Agency mergers to cut overhead and senior management costs must have seemed obvious, and they could be disguised to look “strategic.”

However, these mergers / cost reductions focus on the wrong problem. What’s really killing agencies and holding companies is the declining level of agency fees and billing rates, and the uncontrolled growth of agency workloads. These are “price problems” rather than “cost problems,” and they are not currently being addressed by agency CEOs.

Up to 2005 or so, most creative ad agencies were “fat” with resources. This was a hangover from the media commission days, when agency income was astronomically high relative to the amount of creative work that needed to be done. The big creative agencies could “staff up to the gills,” in the words of one former agency CEO, and ensure that they had more than enough people to do “anything and everything” for their clients. They never needed to worry about counting the amount of work they were doing; they could handle anything.

Holding companies acquired agencies under these conditions, and they began to squeeze agency staffing every year so that profit margins could widen. Agency squeezing was the basis for the growth of holding company margins from 5% in the ‘80s to the 15-20% levels expected today.

Once fee-based remuneration replaced media commissions, though, and agency fees were in the hands of fee-cutters from finance or procurement, agencies had to downsize even faster every year, getting rid of surplus headcounts.

After 2005, though, with the introduction of digital (and later, social) media, agency Scopes of Work grew more rapidly despite fee cuts, and agencies were out of surplus resources. Agencies continued to cut their staffs, though, failing to use growing Scopes of Work as the new basis for negotiating fees. They didn’t document the work they were doing, client by client. They had never done it in the past; why should they do it now?

I know of few holding companies today who have agencies who plan, document and measure their Scopes of Work in a uniform manner—and have a methodology to negotiate fees based on the amount of work they do. It’s a disgraceful oversight—fees and Scopes are left in the hands of clients. Procurement tells agencies what fees they are prepared to pay, at what billing rates, and marketing piles on unplanned creative work in the hope that something will happen to rekindle brand growth.

If Mark Read wants to make an enduring long-term impact at WPP, he needs to refocus his agencies on “getting paid for all the work they do” at appropriate rates. This will require WPP agencies to engage in the tedious, routine exercise of planning, documenting and measuring the work they do, client by client, with a uniform agency-wide system, and using this information to plan for client brand growth and negotiate annual fees. Thus far, agency CEOs have shown a distain to initiate this nitty-gritty work, strategic though it might be. Instead, CEOs focus on getting new clients to replace the ones that they so routinely lose.

It will take some real WPP muscle to redirect agency CEOs to get their agencies to take control of fees and Scopes of Work. Is this on the CEOs’ agendas for VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson? I hope so. The price problem needs to be solved.

SOW management is hard to do, but it reaps long-term benefits. Today’s apparent strategy, though—merging agencies to get rid of overhead and top management costs—has no long-term future unless it is coupled with serious efforts to regain control of fees and workloads.

Michael Farmer is chairman and CEO of Farmer & Co., a firm that works with global agencies and their clients to improve management disciplines and brand performance. He is also author of “Madison Avenue Manslaughter.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

14491: Examining Ex-Overlord Sir Martin Sorrell’s Expensive Expense Reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported WPP requested ex-Overlord Sir Martin Sorrell repay roughly $219,000 in expenses—which is definitely not peanuts—that included covering ski trips, travel for his family and items for his swanky New York apartment. Hey, the allegation that Sorrell used company funds to pay a prostitute might be true after all. Of course, it’s just chump change for someone slated to collect a $26 million exit package from the White holding company—which is roughly $26 million more than the soon-to-be-laid-off 2,500 WPP employees can expect to receive.

14490: WPP Plans To Transform Into A Titanic Turd.

Advertising Age reported WPP CEO Mark Read unveiled a turnaround scheme for the White holding company that includes a shiny new logo and dumping 2,500 employees over three years. Maybe the dots in the logo represent each redundant worker. Read proclaimed WPP would become a “creative transformation” company. Okay, but WPP is really the original “creative deformation” company. That is, through constant takeovers, clumsy mergers and dedicated dumpsters, the White holding company set the standard for the commoditization of creativity. A WPP statement admitted the place has become “too unwieldy, with too much duplication”—which translates to generic value between sister shops and even rival White holding companies. Read would be hard-pressed to explain how the arranged marriages that hooked up VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson will lead to transformative creativity. Besides, Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun already positioned his White holding company as being “the market leader in marketing and business transformation.” Sorry, Read isn’t transforming—rather, he’s just downsizing a dinosaur.

WPP unveils three-year turnaround plan

The holding company plans staff cuts, investment in creative leadership and fewer brands

By Megan Graham

The WPP of the future will have fewer companies; a structure more focused on what clients want rather than off-the-shelf offerings; and be more heavily invested in creativity, tech and talent. The holding company will also have a slimmed-down workforce. WPP expects to reduce jobs by 2,500 over three years from its current global count of 134,000 people. And there is a new holding company logo to top it all off.

The holding company unveiled its turnaround plan to investors and analysts on Tuesday in London and announced its intention to become a “creative transformation” company as it tries to address its underperformance. WPP says it will invest an incremental £15 million a year in creative leadership in each of the next three years, with a particular focus on the U.S.

WPP CEO Mark Read said the new positioning has already helped the holding company notch new business, including Volkswagen’s creative account in North America. Read was joined by other WPP leaders and clients in discussing its plans to strengthen its offerings in the areas of communications, experience, commerce and technology. The goal is to simplify a holding company that has become “too unwieldy, with too much duplication,” WPP said in a statement.

WPP discussed a lengthy to-do list, but some analysts felt it could have been bolder.

“We give a cautious welcome to the new strategy announced this morning but feel it could have been more ambitious and wide-ranging,” Liberum analysts wrote in a research note Tuesday. The note added that WPP could have targeted more cost savings. “Our view is they could have done more here—we thought £500m [per year] was a reasonable figure (with £500m of restructuring costs) based on a 5% reduction in the staff numbers and property savings.”

WPP anticipates spending £300 million in the next three years on actions like integrating companies like VML and Y&R or Wunderman and JWT; disposing or cutting down underperforming businesses; closing “unsustainable operations”; establishing a “consistent shared service infrastructure” for 30 countries; and further developing co-location, or putting employees onsite with clients. The company says it expects annual savings from those actions to total £275 million by the end of 2021.

Though the company spoke of its plans to have fewer, but stronger, companies within its walls, Read has said no other major agency network mergers are in the works for now.

The holding company is also trying to lean into trends affecting the agency business, like its efforts to co-locate agency talent inside clients as some marketers are seeking more in-house work. That kind of effort makes WPP “collaborative” instead of “combative,” says chief client officer Lindsay Pattison.

Pattison added that WPP shops are finding ways to create deeper relationships with clients beyond traditional communications—for instance, she says WPP worked with Unilever to co-create products like a “Day2” dry-wash spray for clothes. She says that product idea came from an insight from Kantar.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

14488: Getting In The Weeds Of Cannabis Industry Copywriting.

The actual job listing below is seeking “a freelance copywriter who has experience writing in the Cannabis industry including CBD products.” Really? There are experienced Cannabis industry copywriters out there available for freelance? Seems like White advertising agencies are too specific and restrictive in defining job requirements. A review of Cannabis industry advertising doesn’t indicate a strong need for experience—or talent, for that matter.

Freelance Writer

ON Advertising Inc.

ON Advertising is looking for a freelance copywriter who has experience writing in the Cannabis industry including CBD products. You will be working closely with the account team at ON Advertising on a project basis to develop content for a fast-growing client.

Professional Experience and Skills

You must be able to bring products to life for sellers as well as end users, giving them a full view of what they can expect to experience with those products. Background experience with content marketing for multi-market collateral and websites will be key for this position. We are seeking writers who have experience writing for natural food products and/or cannabis products. Along with your resume please supply 2-3 examples of your professional copywriting for consideration.

Position Details

Freelance — Estimate 10-15 hours per week

3-6 months in Duration (Possibly longer)

Remote Work — US or Canada

Job Type: Contract

Saturday, January 26, 2019

14487: SAG-AFTRA Strikes Out With Its Anti-BBH Campaign.

It’s sad how SAG-AFTRA is promoting its strike against BBH—viewed as a premier creative White advertising agency—with some really contrived and crappy advertising.

Friday, January 25, 2019

14486: AMV BBDO’s DIVERSish Is Offensive And Hypocritical BULLSHITish.

This DIVERSish video for The Valuable 500—created by AMV BBDO—is offensive on so many levels. The concept exposes how companies feigning commitment to diversity are dismissing disability from the global cause. The video depicts over-the-top, stereotypical characters delivering the standard rhetoric and blatant lies about pledging to progress. Um, AMV BBDO has expertise in such matters because the White advertising agency is a shining example of institutionalized exclusivity, deliberate divertsity, active racism and conscious bias. The script was likely inspired by actual conversations held at the Omnicom shop. AMV BBDO is not DIVERSish—rather, the place is a culturally clueless shithole.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

14485: WPP And POSSIBLE Concede To Being Lousy Losers.

Advertising Age reported POSSIBLE withdrew its legal complaints over the allegedly cheap bid DDB offered to nab the U.S. Army account. Great—now the WPP digital shop can concentrate on enhancing its 3% Certification, which undoubtedly helped the White holding company secure a spot on the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.

The U.S. Army scenario underscores modern pitch process poopiness, replete with lawsuits, lowballing, lasciviousness and lying. And technically, the actual winner doesn’t even exist, as DDB is still frantically assembling a dedicated team to service the account. Don’t be surprised if Ted Royer joins the ranks.

WPP’s Possible drops complaint over U.S. Army ad business

The filing comes five days after McCann moved to dismiss its own complaint.

By Megan Graham

WPP’s Possible has filed to dismiss its U.S. Court of Federal Claims complaint regarding the U.S. Army agency account, which was awarded to Omnicom’s DDB in November. This comes days after Interpublic Group of Cos. agency McCann moved to dismiss its own complaint, which was originally filed in November.

It appears to signal the end of a long-protracted battle for the sought-after account.

Possible, which fought for the agency account against McCann and DDB, filed its complaint in December. The agency alleged that at the price DDB promised the Army, the Omnicom shop would “likely be unable to perform the basic requirements of the contract.”

It further charged that DDB “could not have offered the levels of innovation that Possible did” at the price it promised. Although the complaint was filed in late December 2018 it was unsealed this month. DDB also filed to intervene as a party defendant on the action.

In a filing Wednesday, Possible submitted a notice of voluntary dismissal “with prejudice of all claims asserted against Defendant United States of America in Possible’s complaint.”

A spokeswoman for Possible declined to comment. A DDB representative could not be immediately reached for comment.

The lucrative Army account went up for review in 2014 but has been extended multiple times along with its contract with McCann. After the business was awarded to Omnicom Group’s DDB in November, McCann filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office, which was ultimately unsuccessful. The GAO denied McCann’s protest bid on the grounds that its submission was incomplete because of a missing disk. McCann then took the matter to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, where it remained until it moved to dismiss last week. People close to the matter told Ad Age McCann’s pulling out had to do with pricing.

News of Possible’s dismissal was first reported Wednesday evening by Adweek.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

14484: Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index Includes WPP…?!!

The 2019 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index included White holding company WPP on the list of 230 enterprises. This is actually a victory for the WPP PR department churning out patronizing propaganda. After all, has anybody at Bloomberg been following the JWT antics featuring wild discrimination lawsuits and wilder gender pay gaps? Sister agencies aren’t exactly sister-friendly either. Sorry, WPP has hardly been a choirboy to the girls.

WPP CEO Mark Read gushed, “As we continue to build a culture at WPP that is inclusive, collaborative and diverse in our talent and in the work we create, we’re proud to be recognised in the Gender-Equality Index as a leader in our industry.” Hey, IPG also claimed to be recognized as a diversity and inclusion leader. Too bad such advertising agency claims aren’t held to the same legal scrutiny as advertising claims.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

14483: MDC Partners—Where Shitty Shareholders Live.

Advertising Age shared the latest shareholder shenanigans at MDC Partners, where the financial woes are so bad, the White holding company is merging meetings to save money. An annual and special meeting combo will be held on June 4, partly to appease the demands of FrontFour Capital to replace current board members. Other agenda items will likely include reviewing lowball settlement offers for the lawsuits involving CPB+ and Doner. Maybe the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity will introduce a trophy for Shareholder of the Year. Imagine the potential revenue to be generated by eager entrants in such a category.

Responding to activist investor, MDC sets date for annual and special meeting

Showdown on director selection could take place June 4

By Megan Graham

Beleaguered advertising holding company MDC Partners, which is mulling a sale and searching for a new CEO, has set a June date for a combined annual and special meeting of shareholders. The move follows one of its major shareholders earlier this month announcing its intention to call a special meeting to replace three current MDC board members with new ones.

FrontFour Capital Group sent a letter to MDC on Dec. 31 announcing it had become clear to the shareholder that it and MDC had “reached an impasse.” The letter said FrontFour leaders were left with no choice but to requisition a special meeting of shareholders to be held no later than March 29. It is also agitating to replace three board members, including MDC’s recently departed CEO Scott Kauffman, with new ones.

In a statement issued today, MDC said it has set the combined annual and special meeting of shareholders for June 4 in response to a requisition by FrontFour.

“The board of directors of the company has determined that, rather than incur the additional expense and disruption that would be associated with holding two shareholder meetings in quick succession, it would be in the best interests of the company to hold the requisitioned meeting at the same time as the annual meeting takes place in June,” the statement said.

MDC said its board had also approved an adoption of an advance notice bylaw, “establishing a framework requiring advance notice for the nomination of directors by shareholders of MDC Partners.” The advance notice requirement is effective immediately and will be presented to shareholders for confirmation at the June meeting, MDC said.

The holding company’s board said it has retained Kingsdale Advisors as its strategic shareholder and communications advisor and Stikeman Elliott as legal advisors.

FrontFour Capital could not be immediately reached for comment.

Monday, January 21, 2019

14482: Annual MLK Day Google Gobbledygook Garbage.

I Have A Dream—that Google will someday get serious about diversity.

14481: How To Make The Advertising World Better On MLK Day.

As people in the advertising industry take the day off and feign interest in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., please reflect on an MLK quote:

“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.”

Sadly, the advertising industry continues to refuse creative dedicated minorities the opportunity to make good on MLK’s words. Instead, a field allegedly filled with creativity delivers a shipload of solutions—from scholarships to internships to mentorships to sponsorships—that are contrived, clichéd and crappy. The creative majority is seemingly dedicated to delegation, diversion and discrimination—almost always denying the dream to make the world better.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

14480: McCann Calls Ceasefire On Legal Battle For U.S. Army Account.

Advertising Age reported McCann finally surrendered in its legal battle to retain the U.S. Army account—which is good, as the client already awarded the business to DDB last November. No word if the IPG-owned White advertising agency will continue its covert Mata Hari tactics to win back the billings. Meanwhile, WPP-owned White digital agency POSSIBLE is pursuing legal action against DDB, charging the Omnicom-owned White advertising agency won via a lowball bid that can’t meet the requirements of the contract. Hey, all is fair in love and war. The scenario sure underscores the sad-sack nature of holding companies. That is, decades of senseless takeovers and mergers have led to the commoditization of creativity, where agencies are essentially generic. Additionally, CFOs have gained more power than CCOs, turning the ad game into a money game. So it’s totally possible that DDB financially engineered a victory. DDB Global President and CEO Wendy Clark has certainly displayed desperation and dumbness when dealing with high-stakes affairs. It’s also likely every competitor—especially Clark—delivered deception in regards to diversity, blatantly lying about the underrepresentation of minorities in their respective offices. And if the cost estimates are wonky, DDB will literally and figuratively pay the price. Hell, the U.S. Army has already indicated increased scrutiny around its budgetary spending. Did the military branch ever think pulling away from pitch participants would be more controversial and complicated than pulling out of Syria?

McCann retreats from Army review

Shop files for dismissal of its protest in long-running saga’s latest twist

By Megan Graham

McCann is finally waving a white flag after a long battle for the U.S. Army account.

In an unexpected twist to a long-running saga, McCann filed January 18 to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims requesting “the voluntary dismissal of its protest” that was initially filed in November.

The lucrative account went up for review in 2014 but has been extended multiple times along with its contract with McCann. After the business was awarded to Omnicom Group’s DDB in November of last year, Interpublic Group of Cos.’ McCann filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office which was ultimately unsuccessful. The GAO denied McCann’s protest bid on the grounds that its submission was incomplete because of a missing disk. McCann then took the matter to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, where it remained until today’s filing by the agency to dismiss.

The agency, which has been fighting to stay on with the Army for years, did not offer a reason for its decision. In an interview, McCann Worldgroup CEO Harris Diamond didn’t discuss specifics, but said the agency was proud of the long, Effies-winning relationship with the Army.

“We helped the United States Army explain its mission: Recruit the folks that wanted to serve in the country’s interest,” he says. “We’re really proud of it. We’re disappointed we won’t be going ahead, but really proud of what we accomplished.”

People close to the matter say McCann’s pulling out had to do with pricing. Some details of the bid process became public once the third rival in the pitch, WPP agency Possible, filed another complaint in December of last year about DDB’s pricing.

Possible alleged in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that at the price DDB promised the Army, the Omnicom shop would “likely be unable to perform the basic requirements of the contract.” It further charges that DDB “could not have offered the levels of innovation that Possible did” at the price it promised. Although the complaint was filed in late December 2018 it was unsealed this month. DDB also filed to intervene as a party defendant on the action.

DDB’s attorney couldn’t be reached for comment on McCann’s withdrawal and a DDB spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Darwin Hindman, head of the government contracts practice at law firm Baker Donelson and an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt Law School, says a truly lowball bid could do the Army more harm than good.

“Even though one of the reasons for competition is to drive down lower prices, at some point the argument is that the benefit to the government may be lost if the contractor bids a price that is so low that [the contractor] is losing money,” he says. “Experience has shown that contractors who are not getting paid a fair price will try to cut corners or not put their best people on the contract,” he says, adding that some could default if the account is unprofitable.

Adds Hindman: “Even though it saves the government money in the short-term, it’s actually not in the government’s best interest to make an award like that because they may find they’re getting an underperforming contractor or may have to reprocure that contract later, which of course is expensive and messy.”

As of press time, the court had tentatively set an oral argument to hear Possible’s suit March 1 in Washington, D.C. Possible and its attorney declined to comment.

In the meantime, McCann continues working with the Army; its contract will continue through March.

The Army contenders are jumping through all these legal hoops for a good reason.

Government accounts “are multi-year, they typically reflect an agency-of-record assignment, and in today’s project-based, cost-managed environment, these are highly prized because they are lucrative and they are typically relationships that are renewed at the end of the contractual period,” says Forrester analyst Jay Pattisall. He adds that because opportunities like the Army business are “few and far in between,” agencies can see them as worth the hassle of legal action.

The 2020 Census drew similar levels of agency contention. WPP’s Y&R won the account in 2016 after a review—sparking speculation that the agency had lowballed the bid. The Wall Street Journal subsequently reported that Y&R had submitted a proposal that would cost the government agency $14 million for a three-year deal, a far lower bid than other players, which ranged from $25 million to more than $30 million.

An agency review for the California State Lottery some 17 years ago involved its own share of intrigue. In January 2002, the client awarded its creative and media account to DDB in Los Angeles. But WPP’s Grey Worldwide Los Angeles protested the win, alleging DDB didn’t reveal it would buy media from sibling media shop OMD.

The lottery’s director wrote to agencies involved in the pitch to say that while she dismissed Grey’s allegation, she was calling for a new review because both shops didn’t comply with state regulations requiring agencies to disclose the names of officers and directors and other media partner information. It didn’t work out for either shop: IPG’s FCB was named the eventual winner.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

14479: Jayanta Jenkins Jumps To HP.

From Adweek…

Jayanta Jenkins Joins HP as Global Executive Creative Director

Former Twitter marketing lead will work across all business units

By Doug Zanger

Long-tenured agency and brand creative leader Jayanta Jenkins has joined HP as its global executive creative director. The role will see him work across all of HP’s business units to develop continued continuity in the brand’s communications. Jenkins will report to Karen Kahn, HP’s chief communications officer.

Jenkins, who started his career on the agency side with The Martin Agency, Wieden+Kennedy and TBWA\Chiat\Day, most recently served as global group creative director at Twitter for just over two years and spent a year in a similar role at Beats by Dre. Additionally, Jenkins is a co-founder of the Saturday Morning collective that includes 72andSunny ecd Keith Cartwright, former R/GA Los Angeles ecd Geoff Edwards and Amusement Park founder Jimmy Smith.

According to Jenkins, the opportunity to join the brand came about organically and made sense as he “has been a big fan of HP for quite some time.” He noted some standout work including past campaigns featuring Jay-Z and more recent work such as “The Wolf” with Christian Slater, as well as the tech giant’s consistently impactful “Reinvent Mindsets” diversity and inclusion marketing.

“I love the emotional storytelling [HP] does, and it’s exactly where my heart is,” he said.

On the latter, Jenkins feels that inclusion is “built into the culture [at HP], and … there’s no box-checking. It’s an approach and behavior” as opposed to some other companies that are “saying the right things, or putting the right things on the walls as a veneer.”

“I think organizationally [in Silicon Valley], there are still a lot of challenges that are very well alive when it comes to embracing inclusion and diversity,” he noted. “But the good news is that it comes down to the output of the work and then being able to show up and demonstrate. I’ve been able to see some things, informed some discussion, raise bars and open doors in a wonderful way.”

Much like his time at Twitter—where he moved from sports and product marketing to technology—Jenkins says that this latest role is filled with the unknown, yet he believes it to be more of a strength and an enhancement to his long creative career.

“I think that’s where the spark of growth happens,” he said. “And my biggest asset in this experience in looking forward is, ultimately, being willing to embrace an uncomfortable feeling while being curious. I’ve found a really comfortable place for myself in tech by being uncomfortable. That’s what I’m thriving on, and I love these types of challenges.”

Jenkins will continue to work on Saturday Morning projects with Cartwright, Edwards, Smith and recent addition, Deja Cox, a brand agent at Observatory (formerly CAA Marketing). The group is planning to release a new campaign for P&G that has been in the works and continues to seek other partnerships to add to the roster that includes Twitter and Spotify.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

14477: Mickey D’s And DDB Are So Ghetto.

Why is this Mickey D’s advertisement from DDB in Austria titled “Ghettofaust”—which translates to Ghetto Fist?

14476: Former McCann Health Global CCO Racks Up Minor Victory.

MediaPost reported on the latest legal volleying between IPG/McCann and former McCann Health Global CCO Jeremy Perrott, with a motion to dismiss Perrott’s $25 million wrongful termination lawsuit being denied by a judge in Virginia. Hey, Virginia is for T&A lovers. MediaPost reiterated Perrott’s contention that IPG and its Chairman and CEO Michael Roth have jumped on the White women’s bandwagon, creating a “toxic corporate policy” for White men. Yes, and side effects include vomiting vulgarities and speedy termination.

Judge Tosses IPG/McCann Motion To Dismiss $25 Million Suit By Former CCO Perrott

By Richard Whitman

A U.S. District Court in Virginia has denied a motion to dismiss a $25 million law suit against Interpublic Group and its agency McCann by former McCann Health global chief creative officer Jeremy Perrott. But the denial, by Judge Robert E. Payne was ordered without prejudice, meaning IPG and McCann can try again if they want to.

Perrott was terminated by McCann Health in June for alleged violation of the firm’s code of conduct, including alleged remarks to women such as “nice rack” and “nice ass.”

Perrott filed his lawsuit in October denying wrongdoing on his part and charging the defendants with wrongful termination, defamation, tortious interference with contract, common law conspiracy and gross negligence.

In its motion to dismiss IPG/McCann countered that Perrott failed to state an actionable claim, noting that Perrott was “advised of seven complaints by his colleagues in New York prior to his termination.” Defendants also stated that evidence at trial would “also show that McCann management acted appropriately to address the situation, and to protect its employees in the face of Plaintiff’s behavior.”

In his suit Perrott also accused various parties at the agency of acting “upon orders from [IPG CEO Michael] Roth…in furtherance of IPG’s toxic corporate policy of ritualistic sacrifice to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements—a corporate policy that spares no male at IPG, MWG or McCann Health and that promotes fear, distrust and loathing amongst executive talent.” He alleged that IPG had a “predetermined agenda to appease #MeToo and #TimesUp by unceremoniously getting rid of” Perrott.

In its dismissal motion IPG/McCann argued that Perrott was attempting to “cast himself as victim” by issuing a “full-throated indictment of the #MeToo movement in an effort to excuse his inappropriate behavior.” And he did so “despite providing no reason why he—one of Defendants’ key creatives—would be singled out and sacrificed to this movement.”

IPG/McCann also argued that the Virginia court lacked jurisdiction and venue because none of the parties involved in the contest live in the state and none of the alleged action or behavior occurred there. If not dismissed, at the very least the case should be transferred to New York where the activity in dispute occurred, the defendants argued.

Judge Payne said the defendants could separately refile dismissal motions of they choose to do so, but for now the case will proceed and in Virginia.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

14475: Omigod, My School.

The creative team responsible for this campaign from India should never be allowed to go near any children. Ever.

14474: “Male, Pale & Yale” Partners With “Male, Pale & Stale.”

Adweek reported on how The&Partnership is allegedly making the Wall Street Journal a less “male, pale and Yale” publication. Hey, that sentiment should go over as well with the WSJ audience as the JWT London creative department. Plus, it’s a pretty hypocritical statement coming from a predominately White advertising agency connected to a White holding company. Sorry, but Wall Street and Madison Avenue hardly represent the roads to diversity.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

14473: “Nothing Changes If You Don’t” Changes Nothing.

Advertising Age spotlighted the latest patronizing pap in the “Nothing Changes If You Don’t” campaign from OBERLAND in New York. Does this work really help the cause? The exaggerated scenarios are likely to make the culturally clueless and unconsciously biased think, “Hey, I’m not that bad.” OBERLAND ECD Bill Oberlander revealed the overall initiative will cost roughly $100,000, and he noted, “That’s a full-time employee.” Did anyone consider that actually hiring a minority would’ve been a far greater demonstration of the alleged commitment to progress? Oh, and OBERLAND seems to need more diversity in its own hallways. White people in glass houses…

Oberland agency confronts bias with new videos; conducts wage-gap audit

Shop will invite other indies to join its ‘Nothing Changes if You Don’t’ initiative

By I-Hsien Sherwood

In the first episode of “Mad Men,” ad agency exec Roger Sterling drags David Cohen, the only Jewish person at the company, out of the mailroom to pitch to Menken’s department store. He doesn’t get to speak. He’s just there to make the client “feel comfortable.”

That kind of tokenism is less naked these days, but it’s still a familiar situation for many minorities of all kinds, pulled into meetings or focus groups for the sake of optics or to meet the letter but not the spirit of diversity quotas. The scenario plays out in a new PSA from creative agency Oberland. Two self-congratulatory executives pull an Asian-American coworker into a pitch for Tokyo Steakhouse. One of the many problems with that approach—she’s Chinese, not Japanese.

“There’s this idea that the solution is to just get a minority in the room and everything will be fixed,” says Carol Watson, senior director, global advisory services at management consulting firm Diversity Best Practices. The video is part of Oberland’s “Nothing Changes If We Don’t” project, a yearlong effort to highlight problems in the industry and motivate agencies to fix them.

In another video, a female employee gets condescending “advice” about controlling her emotions from a male coworker. Meanwhile, a male creative director in the background throws a fit during a review. In a third, a female creative’s ideas are ignored by male creative directors. Ironically, they’re working on a tampon account. When she pushes back against their over-the-top idea, they shame her, saying, “I thought you were a feminist. I thought this was your thing.”

At the end of each video an industry insider lays out the issue for viewers. Watson covers tokenism, Co:Collective CEO Rosemarie Ryan handles double standards and Barton F. Graf CEO Caroline Winterton explains how women’s ideas get overlooked.

Two previous videos, one on ageism and one tackling racism, debuted in October, with explainers by Cindy Gallop, founder of IfWeRanTheWorld, and Keni Thacker, event technology specialist at J. Walter Thompson. “People are realizing they don’t have to tolerate bad behavior. There’s been a shift, and not just in our industry,” Ryan says. “A lot more diversity is happening on the client side, which makes for different expectations.”

For this phase of its campaign, Oberland solicitied real stories from its employees who have experienced bias. The scenarios rang true for Winterton. “As soon as you get asked, you know why they’re doing it,” she says of being put on brands traditionally viewed as “female-led,” like laundry detergent. “You go in, have a point of view, and [men] disagree because they have their own opinions. You know you’ve been put in a position because you’re female, and then your opinion gets shot down.” At the same time, she adds, when working on “masculine” brands, like automotive, “your opinion as female is seen as less valid.”

In addition to the videos, which the agency hopes help to call out negative practices at other companies, Oberland is also looking inward. The 25-person shop began an audit of its own practices last year. Since then, it’s brought on its first human resources officer. A legal team helped rewrite the employee handbook, which rolls out in April and includes changes to accommodate new labor laws, mandatory sexual harassment training and a new work-from-home policy, the most requested addition from staff.

Results from an employee census and wage gap analysis are expected in February. That will show any disparities in pay due to age, gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation, which can then be remedied. The entire process is an expensive one for the five-year-old agency. The videos, the audits, the outside consultants and the expected remedies will cost about $100,000 for the year, says Executive Creative Director Bill Oberlander. “That’s a full-time employee,” he adds.

But transparency about the costs and any difficulties is part of the plan, adds President Drew Train. Oberland’s goal is for other agencies, particularly other independent shops unbeholden to large holding company policies, will be able to use their example to make changes, too. “We’d love to have a road map for others,” he says. “’Here’s how much it cost: X amount for the compensation study, X amount to close the wage gap.” The audits and other resulting documents will also be made public.

“The new handbook isn’t a secret,” Oberlander says. “[Other agencies] can copy and paste the family policy.”

Other agencies are also contributing to the effort now. In addition to the industry influencers in the videos, Project Worldwide offered shooting space for the first round of videos, and Huge hosted the second round. A third round of videos, expected in the spring, is open to other agencies looking to write or shoot their own videos or who want to collaborate. “This time,” Train says, “we’re going to invite other agencies into the kitchen.”

Monday, January 14, 2019

14472: IPA Diversity Study Displays Diverse Denial, Distortion And Deception.

Campaign reported on the latest IPA diversity study, ultimately showing the annual effort is filled with smokescreens, powered by heat shields and fueled by falsehoods. In short, it’s a time-wasting pile of racist bullshit.

The fake news: collected data showed gender, racial and ethnic diversity improved.

The real news: IPA experienced the lowest response rate in the study’s 3-year history.

The real news is significant for a number of reasons. First, White people in adland know full well that IPA has historically been dealing with deficient and deceitful data. Fewer liars only make the results more misleading. Second, the reduction of responses underscores that White people are increasingly bored by diversity and quite content with perpetuating the status quo. Honestly, M&C Saatchi Group Chief Creative Officer Justin Tindall is the poster boy for unconscious bias and passive bigotry. Third, it’s obscene how the advertising industry is quick to position itself as data-driven when creating campaigns, but deliberately distorts and denies data when concealing cultural cluelessness. And there’s plenty of data to prove it.

14471: Doner Is Doddering And Delinquent On Diversity.

Adweek reported on a former Doner creative director who filed an age discrimination lawsuit against the White advertising agency after being terminated days before she turned 60 years old. A Doner spokesperson disputed the charges, providing more opinionated information than most agencies do in such scenarios. That is, standard agency procedures are to avoid commenting on personnel moves and pending legal matters. Whatever.

It’s tough to speculate on who might be right or wrong in this case. But MultiCultClassics will share a few thoughts anyway.

First, the agency claims the individual was terminated as part of a larger staff reduction. This could be true, as Doner is connected to the terminally messed up MDC Partners—and the shop allegedly sought to buy itself back from the financially failing holding company. Plus, it seems unlikely Doner would engage in discriminatory behavior when former MDC Partners CEO Scott Kauffman declared, “I’m intolerant of intolerance.” Then again, there are other instances of noisy separations at MDC Partners, including the ejections of Kauffman and predecessor Miles Nadal.

The fired executive claimed Doner informed her the staff reduction targeted workers who did not have the “anticipated skills, knowledge and abilities needed by employees in the future.” Wow, the HR wonk responsible for that statement should have been let go too. The ever-evolving changes in digital and technology make it impossible to predict the needs of the future. Indeed, if agencies hope to survive, investment in educating employees to stay abreast of shifts and trends must become a priority.

The Doner spokesperson stated, “Doner takes pride in recruiting and nurturing a diverse and inclusive workforce and treating all our employees fairly.” Again, if Doner was actually “nurturing” their workforce, wouldn’t the shop provide the knowledge and resources for employees to acquire the “anticipated skills, knowledge and abilities needed” to succeed in the future—or minimally warn employees to maintain their own professional development? Regardless, what’s more outrageous is the blatant bullshit in the spokesperson’s contention. A peek at the people of Doner displays diversity in terms of gender and even age. However, the racial and ethnic representation is far from diverse and inclusive. Keep in mind that Doner boasts being “Born & Bred in the Motor City”—and Detroit is among the top U.S. cities with large Black populations. The diversity and inclusion at Doner does not reflect the overall country, and definitely does not come close to fairly representing the “Detroit spirit” allegedly felt in “every office, from LA to London.”

Sorry, but the White exclusivity at Doner makes a strong argument that the agency workforce lacks the “anticipated skills, knowledge and abilities needed by employees in the future.” For Doner to deliver the standard declaration of being diverse and inclusive is, well, old.

Creative Director Sues Doner for Age Discrimination After Getting Fired Days Before Her 60th Birthday

Susan Walsh says the agency told her she lacked ‘anticipated skills’

By Lindsay Rittenhouse

Susan Walsh, who worked for Doner for 10 years, first in 2008 as a copywriter and later as a creative director, has filed a lawsuit against the agency for age discrimination.

The suit, filed on Dec. 17 in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan, alleges that Walsh was abruptly and unjustly fired from her job at Doner Detroit last May, three days before her 60th birthday. Her departure was among a round of layoffs that targeted employees who did not possess the “anticipated skills, knowledge and abilities needed by employees in the future,” the lawsuit alleges Doner told Walsh upon her termination.

“Susan Walsh’s employment was terminated by Doner as part of a larger staffing reduction last spring,” a Doner spokesperson said in a statement to Adweek. “Her separation from employment was not due to any of the alleged reasons stated in her complaint. Doner has complied with all applicable laws and firmly believes that her lawsuit is without merit. Doner takes pride in recruiting and nurturing a diverse and inclusive workforce and treating all our employees fairly. Doner intends to vigorously defend Ms. Walsh’s lawsuit.”

The spokesperson added, “Ms. Walsh filed an earlier charge with [the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)] for alleged discrimination. Doner contested this claim, and the EEOC dismissed the charge in September 2018. Specifically, the EEOC found that the information obtained regarding Ms. Walsh’s charges did not establish any violation of the law.”

It is not clear why that complaint was dismissed. The EEOC was unavailable for comment as it is closed until the government reopens.

Walsh’s attorney, Shereef Akeel of Troy, Mich., firm Akeel & Valentine, disputed that the original complaint filed with the EEOC was dismissed because Walsh’s claims against Doner were unfounded. Akeel said the EEOC “did not make finding either for or against Doner” and did not have the resources to investigate further so it issued a right to sue letter on Sept. 21.

“Typically, the right to sue (which we got) is issued to allow the lawyers, like us, to then pursue the action,” Akeel said.

Matthew Disbrow of Detroit firm Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn is the lead attorney representing Doner. The agency has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit.

In the suit, Walsh is described as a standout employee who regularly received promotions, salary increases and positive performance reviews during her time at the agency. Doner’s culture shifted, the suit alleges, after the agency hired global chief creative officer Eric Weisberg in the summer of 2016. Walsh says the new CCO showed preferential treatment to younger employees—including reassigning work from older employees to younger ones.

The filing states that Weisberg openly expressed a fondness for “digital natives,” a phrase often used to describe people who grew up with the Internet, namely millennials and Gen Zers.

Weisberg did not respond to Adweek’s request for comment via his Doner email address.

Walsh says the only explanation she received for her termination was that she had been identified “for a reduction in force” as one of a group of employees, including two of the three oldest employees in the creative department, who did not have the “anticipated skills, knowledge and abilities needed by employees in the future,” per the suit.

According to the lawsuit, Walsh’s direct manager, whose consistently positive performance reviews were attached as evidence in the case, was not aware of the decision beforehand. Walsh was also unaware ahead of time that she lacked the unspecified skills listed in the “reduction in force” order, the suit claims.

A ‘brilliant mind and a hard worker’

Randy Belcher served as executive creative director at Doner Detroit before his retirement in July and was Walsh’s manager. Belcher had been with the agency since 2000, after spending 10 years at The Martin Agency.

Belcher declined to comment on the lawsuit and denied any prior knowledge of it but said he was not part of the decision to fire Walsh.

“I worked with Susan for a couple of years,” Belcher told Adweek. “She was a wonderful writer and talented woman. I cannot speculate on why Doner did what Doner did.” He called Walsh a “superior talent” and said he hopes “this all resolves itself out where everyone is happy in the end.”

According to performance reviews, Belcher once recommended that Walsh be promoted to associate creative director from senior copywriter. (Before she was elevated to creative director in 2014, and given two pay increases that year.)

In one review, Belcher called Walsh his “go-to copywriter.”

“I can always count on her for a fresh and surprising perspective,” Belcher wrote in a 2014 review. “I can give her the most ridiculous deadlines—’Can you spend an hour on this tonight?’—and she always comes through. I think she’s a brilliant mind and a hard worker. I would recommend her for greater client responsibility.”

“Susan was a superstar,” said attorney Akeel, adding that the issue of age discrimination is “running rampant in the marketing industry” due to a false perception that “older folks can’t keep up” with the ever-evolving digital landscape.

The issue of age along with racial and gender discrimination has plagued the advertising industry, and has been widely discussed, for some time. Walsh’s lawsuit is not the first of its kind. Suzanne Hernandez, who worked as executive director of insights and analytics at WPP-owned brand consultancy Landor Associates up until her termination last June, sued her former employer in October for age discrimination. Her case read quite the same as Walsh’s. Hernandez, 60, was allegedly one of several older employees excluded from pitches or fired and then replaced by “digital natives,” that lawsuit stated.

Akeel questioned what specific “anticipated skills, knowledge and abilities” Walsh lacked.

“Clearly, she went above and beyond expectations and there was no evidence of a downturn in her performance,” he said. “She wasn’t told that she wasn’t keeping up or lacking in some area. It speaks volumes to the fact that age appears to have taken a role in her firing.”

Agency’s shifting practices called into question

The suit states that a month after Weisberg was named CCO, the agency conducted a “substantial” round of layoffs targeting employees over 40 and then began replacing them with younger people. Though Walsh was spared during the first round, the suit says she was not given any additional raises, despite receiving “several” previously, or considered for promotions. Additionally, Walsh was no longer invited to pitch meetings and her ideas and contributions (as well as accounts) were handed to younger employees, despite her having won several clients for Doner, according to the lawsuit.

For example, Walsh is credited with helping secure the Beaumont Health win in November 2016 (an account she then oversaw), among other new business, including Children’s Mercy Hospitals, Summa Health, Ally Financial, Penn Gaming and Bristol-Myers Squibb, according to the lawsuit. During the 2017 Super Bowl, the suits states, Walsh wrote and produced a regional 30-second spot for Michigan’s largest health system, Beaumont Health, which was part of its “Never Settle” campaign.

The suit states that after Walsh’s winning pitch for the Bristol-Myers Squibb business in 2014, the client repeatedly insisted she be present at meetings “given her extensive experience in the medical and pharmaceutical areas.”

Walsh previously survived several rounds of layoffs, including one in 2009 that was a result of the agency losing PNC Bank as a client, one in 2010 due to the loss of Mazda and one in 2015 after the agency lost J.C. Penney, according to the suit.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

14470: Divertsity And Dildos At The Consumer Electronics Show.

Advertising Age reported on a sex scandal at CES, where a company was disqualified after winning an innovation award, and even prevented from attending as a show exhibitor. The problems stemmed from the company’s innovative entry: a robotic dildo. Of course, the company’s female founder is turning the scenario into an example of gender bias in the tech industry, insisting that CES has allowed men with sex devices to exhibit in the past. “CES and the [Consumer Technology Association] have a long, documented history of gender bias, sexism, misogyny, and double standards—much like the tech industry as a whole,” the company founder complained. “From the exclusion of female founders and executives to the lack of female-focused products allowed to exhibit on the floor—there are demonstrable issues with diversity.” Sounds like somebody desperately needs her own invention.

Sex toy maker blasts CES over award flip-flop

Company says it was stripped of innovation honor and not even allowed to exhibit at the tech show

By Garett Sloane

The Consumer Electronics Show stripped a sex toy of its innovation award, and the maker of the robotic stimulator is not taking the snub lying down.

The hardware firm behind the sex toy is called Lora Dicarlo, and its founder Lora Haddock issued a strong rebuke of CES and its leadership on Tuesday regarding their decision to take back the awarding of the honor, pointing to it as evidence of the ongoing issue of gender-bias in tech. The firm had submitted its Osé personal massager into the robotics and drone product category.

“Our almost entirely female team of engineers is developing new micro-robotic technology that mimics all of the sensations of a human mouth, tongue, and fingers, for an experience that feels just like a real partner,” Haddock wrote in a blog post. “We’re talking about truly innovative robotics.”

Not only had CES reneged on the accolade, Haddock said, but they then blocked Lora DiCarlo from attending as an exhibitor at the annual event.

“The product does not fit into any of our existing product categories and should not have been accepted for the Innovation Awards Program,” a CES spokeswoman said in an e-mail statement on Tuesday. “[The Consumer Technology Association] has communicated this position to Lora DiCarlo. We have apologized to the company for our mistake.”

However, Haddock pointed to other sex-related tech that appeared at CES in the past. For example, Abyss Creations has showed off sex robots at the Las Vegas tradeshow.

CES organizers were not immediately available for further comment.

At last year’s CES, organizers were criticized when no women were included in its lineup of keynote speakers. Haddock said there is a bias against women at the event and in the tech industry, in general.

“CES and the CTA have a long, documented history of gender bias, sexism, misogyny, and double standards—much like the tech industry as a whole,” Haddock wrote. “From the exclusion of female founders and executives to the lack of female-focused products allowed to exhibit on the floor—there are demonstrable issues with diversity.”

14469: Not Showing Any Love For New Pepsi Campaign.

Adweek reported on the new global campaign for Pepsi—For The Love Of It—which is a blatant rip-off of concepts from Diet Coke, Mickey D’s and Pornhub. Wonder if Brad Jakeman, Senior Advisor and Consultant to PepsiCo, teamed up with Creators League to hatch the latest disaster.